Friday, August 31, 2012

Getting to Know You with Featured Author: Louisa Bacio

Welcome to our Getting To Know You
Featured Authors Month
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning about the quirks and works of author, Louisa Bacio.

TBB: How and when did you become a professional author?

LB:  There’s a difference between writer and author, isn’t there? I started out as a journalist, and sold my first full-length novel Sex University: Physical Education in 2010. I’ve always written, but there came a time when I decided to start to submit my fiction.

TBB: Which of your books is your favorite and why? 

LB: The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome.  I believed in the book from the start, and readers definitely have seemed to connect with the characters.

TBB:  If you had to describe that book using ONLY ONE word what would it be?

LB:  Daring.

TBB:  Is there a message imbedded into your stories you hope readers will get?  If so, what is it?

LB:  Be yourself, and love who you will. I dislike bullying, especially based on one’s sexuality. I believe in my writer’s slogan "Love Knows No Bounds".

TBB:  Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

"I’ve been fortunate to always know that I wanted to be a writer."--Louisa Bacio

TBB:  Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

LB:  My father – I’m an only child and my mother passed away when I was a teen. He’s been extremely supportive of me to do what I want. Plus, he’s pushed me that as an only child, I’ll be the only one to support him when he gets “old.”

TBB:  What is your worst habit?

LB:  Red Bull.

TBB:  What song lyrics get stuck in your head most often?

LB:  “Safety Dance.” Thanks a lot for bringing that up.

TBB:  If you were a t-shirt, what slogan would appear on you?

T-Shirt Quote Courtesy of Louisa Bacio

TBB:  Favorite time of year (or fave holiday)?

LB:  Halloween, absolutely.

TBB:  If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?

LB:  Daphne. My favorite cartoon is Scooby-Doo. I should say Velma because I’ve always been the “smart one” in glasses. But my husband recently confessed that he married me for my looks, and the smarts were an added part of the package.

Want More Louisa?
Visit her on the web here:

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sweet Variety with Guest Blogger: Donna Alward

 Win a copy of In the Line of Duty &
welcome back featured author 
Donna Alward to the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about keeping it fresh and here's what she had to say...

My favorite episode of Everybody Loves Raymond is when he has a flash-back on when he and his wife were dating and she made him lemon chicken. He made the comment that he could eat it every day of his life, it was so good. Fast forward many years to a plate of lemon chicken. Ray’s getting tired of it. He says, “Lemon chicken again?” She says, “What did you make for dinner?” He replies “Nothing”. With a rather superior tone, she answers, “Well, you can eat that, and we’ll eat lemon chicken.”

No matter how much you love something, a little variety can be a welcome change. And while I love writing my ranchers and cowboys for Harlequin Romance, sometimes it’s to do something a little different.

There’s a challenge with this – in delivering the kind of story my readers have come to expect while I play around in a different sandbox. Hopefully the KIND of story I write – deeply emotional with a strong sense of place – translates through no matter if I’m on a cattle ranch in Alberta or if, in my latest release, I’m in small town Nova Scotia with a sexy pub owner and a female RCMP officer.

Doing something different has helped me stay fresh, I think, and it many ways. First of all there’s the setting and characters. My First Responders series with Samhain Publishing is all about the uniform – paramedics, cops, firefighters. Instead of on horseback, they’re zooming on the scene in their cruiser or ambulance.  I also was able to set the stories in the province where I live: Nova Scotia. I picked one of my favorite places as the setting: the Annapolis Valley. It’s close to the ocean, but also features gorgeous farmland and wineries.  There are so many beautiful spots in Canada. I love the prairies and the Rockies, but I am so happy to have this chance to spotlight somewhere new.

It’s also a shorter format for me.  I’m used to writing about 55,000 words for Harlequin Romance, but this series is made up of novellas, all close to the 30,000 word mark. Writing short was challenging (you need to write tight) and fun! It’s a bit of a faster pace and I enjoyed it so much. There are four books total in the series (the third is out in November), so for readers who choose print over e-book, the first two will be in one print volume in 2013 and the last two in a second volume to follow after that.

And I did get a chance to write slightly sexier than normal. Not red-hot, but definitely with a higher sensuality than I usually do.

Finally, the editing process is quite different between my two publishers. By writing something different, I learn things that I can apply to all my writing – like tight writing, how to add bits of sensuality without necessarily adding sex, how different editorial methods highlight different weaknesses and strengths in my writing that I can apply across the board. Not only does switching it up keep ME fresh mentally, but it truly helps keep my writing fresh.

And that’s always a good thing – for me, and hopefully for my awesome readers too!

So here’s my question to you – do you like it when an author does something a little different, and how different is too much?

A Note from the Book Boost:  Great post, Donna.  I'm the complete opposite--I write every genre.  From horror to inspirational--no joke!  But MOST of my stories do have a legal or law enforcement theme thanks to my background.  So, I guess that's the tie that binds for me.  Thanks for joining us and please come again soon.


When it comes to love, sometimes a girl has to go above and beyond. 

Jake Symonds has been a thorn in Constable Kendra Givens’s side since the night they first met, when she’d had to arrest him. In his boxer shorts. The drunken comments he made that night are worsened by the truth she’ll never admit. For a fleeting moment, they’d connected.

Two years later, when she’s called to investigate a break-and-enter at his pub, the last thing she expects is for the now-competent businessman to cook her breakfast. But she’s no fool. The former bad boy still lurks beneath the charm. And his business involves the one thing that she’s hated since it ruined her childhood. Alcohol.

As far as he’s concerned, Jake has changed, but Kendra still has a stick up her butt. Yet he can’t help but like her sass and quick wit. One well-aimed baseball at the carnival dunk tank later and he’s got a date.

Their spark of attraction quickly flares out of control, but their emotional baggage is stacked too high to risk anything deeper—until one tragic night strips the barriers from their deepest fears. And Kendra realizes the greatest danger Jake presents is to her heart.


Warning: Readers should be aware that any sexy comments made to police officers will be used against them in the hottest way possible. 
It had been a long night, and Constable Kendra Givens was ready to clock out and collapse in bed when a call came through twenty minutes before her shift ended. And it couldn't be a run-of-the-mill call either. Oh no. It was a break-and-enter at Jake's Pub. Just who she wanted to deal with this morning - Jake Symonds.

She pulled into the empty parking lot and sighed. The pub was the newest watering hole between Wolfville and Kentville, and she was no stranger to calls from the staff. Sometimes things got a little heated as the night wore on and the drinks flowed freely. Luckily, the majority of calls dealt with throwing a local in the drunk tank for the night to sleep it off.

Most of the time she managed to avoid talking to Jake, with his thickly lashed hazel bedroom eyes and crooked know-it-all smile that met at two ridiculous dimples. He was too confident. Cocky, even. Just the kind of guy that rubbed her the wrong way and tried her patience.

As she shut off the cruiser he appeared in the door of the pub. The sun was already up and cast a golden light on the shrubs and trees around the barn-like structure. It was August, and she should be just getting up to enjoy the summer day rather than wanting to go to bed. She should be looking forward to an afternoon at the beach rather than sleeping in her hot apartment with no air conditioning.

Instead she was face-to-face with cocky Jake Symonds. Perfect.

She slammed the door of the car and strode to the pub entrance. It's your job, she thought. Just get it over with and then it's beddy-bye time.

Jake was waiting for her at the doorway, wearing faded jeans and a button-down shirt that was, thankfully, buttoned but left untucked. His eyes looked sleepy, and the shadow of a day's whiskers stubbled his jaw. Dammit. She might not like Jake, but she couldn't deny he was a looker. Especially now, all sexily rumpled and without his trademark half-smile. He looked pretty grouchy now that she thought about it.

For some reason the idea gave her pleasure. The day was looking up after all. Perhaps this time she'd have the upper hand. Because normally Jake had a way of staring at her that made her feel about four inches shorter and about ten years younger. With pimples. And braces.

"Jake," she greeted, keeping her voice curt. She was here to do a job, and the sooner they got through it the sooner she could be out of here.

"Constable Givens. Pleasure as usual."

Annoyance flared at the ironic tone in his voice. She suspected that getting under her skin was his goal anyway, so she ignored it and looked blandly into his stupidly handsome face. "Heard you had a break in."

"Looks that way. Woke up when I heard the car doors slam, but I was too late. Got a make and partial plate for you though."

"Great. Let's go in and get this over with, shall we?"

Jake stood aside and let her open the door. Her cheeks heated as she realized he'd deliberately let her do it herself. Not that she expected a man to open a door for her everywhere she went, but she knew with Jake it was deliberate. He didn't do anything without a purpose. It had always been that way, she suspected.

The inside of the pub was dim with the lights off. The smell of alcohol from the previous night still lingered in the air, mingled with the scent of frying grease and French fries. Kendra's stomach let out a low growl, but in the silence of the open room it was embarrassingly loud.

"End of shift for you, I expect."

"Yes, just about, so let's get this done so I can go home, yeah?"

He moved past her and his scent followed, something fresh and slightly spicy, and she realized quite suddenly that Jake had showered before bed. None of the smells of a night tending bar were on him. She swallowed thickly as an image - quite unwanted - flitted through her brain of Jake underneath the hot shower spray in the middle of the night.

Was he as beautifully built as he used to be? She imagined so. She swallowed. She'd been a newbie officer, and he'd been home on leave before being deployed overseas again. That was before he'd opened his own place. Back then he'd taken to frequenting the other establishments in the area. And on that particular night he'd been the one in trouble for public drunkenness, and she'd been the arresting officer who'd had to put him in the tank to cool his jets.

Right after she'd made him put his clothes back on. The memory of that evening still made her squirm uncomfortably. His eyes had laughed at her, all green and impish and knowing.

She probably hadn't needed to cuff him, but she had anyway to prove a point. Of course, Jake being Jake, that had opened the door to a whole other level of innuendo. Suggestions he'd felt free to make during the whole drive.

Now he was supposed to be all respectable, a business owner in the community, blah, blah. Kendra frowned at his back as they made their way to the back entrance of the pub. She should be able to forget it, right?

But she suspected a woman didn't easily forget the sight of nearly naked Jake. And what made matters worse was that he knew it.


Want More Donna?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Donna and be entered to win a copy of In the Line of Fire.

**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!**   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll (& Edit) with Guest Blogger: Marian Lanouette

Welcome author Marian Lanouette 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about the joy of writing and here's what she had to say...

I find tremendous joy in writing and have most of my life. It has gotten me through some tough times, such as, heart surgery and a job layoff. I found writing very therapeutic. While recovering, I completed my first novel. I can’t express the euphoric feeling ones gets when you type ‘The End.’ I didn’t know at the time that my work was just beginning. No work is complete until it has gone through the editing process.

Along with the joy, there’s also an enormous amount of frustration. Rejection after rejection had me contemplating my next step. It even had me questioning if I should keep writing. I loved my story, why didn’t the agents and publishers? One kind editor took the time to write me a note explaining what the work needed before it could be sold. He said the story was great, but I needed some classes on POV (point of view).

Thus, began my journey into writing organizations, conferences and classes. I can’t stress how important they are to a new writer, and even today, I take them to hone my skills.

Now, life consists of writing, editing, editing some more and then editing again. Once the writing’s up to par, I send it out to my critique partners for their opinions and suggestions. When I get it back from them, more times than not, it requires more editing. And that’s okay. Before I submit my work to an agent or publisher, I want to know it’s the best I have to offer.

Recently, I sold two of my books in the Jake Carrington Mystery series. With the contract, the publisher supplied professional content and line editors. More editing? You bet. Did it upset me? Absolutely not.

In the process of working with these editors I learned so much, which in turn, will improve my work going forward. The tweaking they did to each story elevated the content and me as an author. Did I agree with every single change? No, there were minor points I thought should stay in the story.

The editors would point out why they felt something should be rewritten or removed completely. Once we discussed it, the editors agreed; but most times, I deferred to their opinions and suggestions. I write for a living, they edit. I am not so locked on each individual word, that I won’t change it. It’s the story that’s important. If their changes improves the story or make it stronger, I say go for it.  It’s important to respect your editor and their opinions.

In nature there is a time to plant, a time to weed and time to pick the fruits of your labor. Writing imitates nature this way; there is a time to create, a time to edit and a time to let go of your work and move on to the next project.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Well said, Marian.  I've been a writer for over a decade and only this past year, took on the job of a professional editor.  Both jobs make me better at the other.  An amazing process and one that those outside the industry may never understand.  Congrats on your mystery series!  Please tell us more.


On days like this, Jake questioned if there was a God. He held the broken, lifeless body of the infant girl in his arms, tears running down his face. He didn’t try to hide them. Jake’s emotions reflected in the eyes of everyone. His partner Louie turned away and kicked the chair. Jake knew this horror would live with each of them for the rest of their lives.

Keith Amara, the morgue assistant, tapped Jake on the shoulder.

“I’ll take her.”

“She didn’t have a chance.” Jake handed her to Keith.

“No, she didn’t.”

He lay the child on the stretcher with such care that Jake’s respect for Keith increased immensely. Jake reached down and pulled the sheet up over the baby to conceal her from the morbid crowd that waited in the street below. He never understood the fascination of the onlookers at each crime scene. He believed they hoped to view the body so they could talk about the gruesome details, get their fifteen minutes of fame. Some would offer up a silent prayer of thanks to God for the safety of their children. Tragedy, even the tragedy of a stranger, affected people—it reaffirmed their zest for life, even here in the slums.

Jake composed himself. Turning to face the suspect, he fisted his hands at his side to contain his fury. The line of the law could be blurred here, Jake understood. Each officer wanted a piece of the creep. Knowing he had to keep a tight rein over the situation, Jake held his voice level when he spoke to Washington. He saw no humanity in the suspect; his act alone proved Washington had none. Looking into Washington’s eyes he observed they were dead, like the child he’d killed. He wore a dirty, wrinkled cotton T-shirt with stained jeans. The front of the jeans showed a large, wet patch where Washington pissed himself. The only thing this creep cared about was his next fix.

Jake walked to the body, reached down and uncovered it, and forced himself to look at the baby again. Her head, crushed in on the left side, reminded Jake of a broken hardboiled egg. He could estimate the amount of force that was required to cause such a wound, yet the baby didn’t die immediately. She had lain there suffering until one of the older children snuck out of the apartment and got a neighbor to call the police.

Now he stood in the doorway of the living room watching the police process the room. A child, who knew how to stay out of an adult’s way. Jake guessed his age at nine, though his eyes were those of an old man. They reflected life on the street. No child’s eyes should hold such darkness. He understood the pain on the boy’s face, because every day of his life he dealt with the violent death of his own sister at the age of fifteen. It haunted him, invading his thoughts and dreams at unexpected times.

Could he have done something to prevent it?

Want More Marian?

Visit her on the web here:

Follow her blog here: 

Pick up a copy of her book (pre-order) today!  Click here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting to Know You with Featured Author: Joya Fields

Welcome to our Getting To Know You
Featured Authors Month
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning about the quirks and works of author, Joya Fields.

TBB:  How and when did you become a professional author?

JF:  My career in writing began with non-fiction writing. About eight years ago, I took a writing class and then submitted an article to a local parenting magazine. Imagine my surprise when my first story got accepted! It was the first of many articles I wrote, and I met lots of cool people over the years and even got great ideas and information for my fiction writing.

I’ve been writing fiction short stories for the Trues magazines for over four years, and just this past year, my debut novel—a romantic suspense—released from The Wild Rose Press.

TBB:  Which of your books is your favorite and why?

JF:  My favorite book is usually the one I’m currently writing. In this case, it’s a romantic suspense about a girl who survives a serial killer, when the rest of her family is murdered. It’s a survival story and the heroine is very strong and determined. I wish I could be more like her.

TBB:  If you had to describe that book using ONLY ONE word what would it be?

JF:  Scary

TBB:  Is there a message imbedded into your stories you hope readers will get?  If so, what is it?

JF:  For sure! I tend to write the same thing over and over again. Bad things happen in life, but when they do, you need to stay strong, forge ahead, and things WILL get better. No matter if a serial killer is after you, or your boyfriend is a cheating liar, things will improve. Fight. Stay strong. Hmmm…I think I’m adding more than one message, aren’t I?

TBB: Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

"Being a writer is a solitary endeavor, but in order to be a good writer, you have to get out there in the world and live in order to write about it."--Joya Fields

TBB:  Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

JF:  My grandmother. She passed away many years ago, but I think a part of her—her goodness, her gentle ways—is in every heroine I write.

TBB: What is your favorite breakfast food?

JF:  Cold pizza.

TBB:  If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?
Book Cover Quote Courtesy of Joya Fields

TBB:  Favorite time of year (or fave holiday)?

JF: Fall. I love how the weather cools off a bit, and I get back to my usual schedule once summer ends.

TBB:  If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?

JF:  Definitely Mr. Magoo. I live in my own world and I’m sort of clueless sometimes.

Want More Joya?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Writing for Love or Money with Guest Blogger: Margaret Fieland

Win an print copy of Sand in the Desert 
& meet author Margaret Fieland 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to discuss the business of writing and here's what she had to say...

Do you want to earn your living as a full-time writer? Do you fantasize about having the entire day to devote to your writing? Have you thought through what this would mean? I have.

My mother was an artist who specialized in portraits in oils. Back in the 1930's, when she was in art school, her teacher advised her not to become a commercial artist. Why? Because, he said, she had too much talent. In the end, she married, continued to paint, give her work away, and take care of me and my sister. She believed she would have been happy as a commercial artist. The only two pieces of advice were to keep my money in my own name and to always be able to support myself.

Unlike some, I did not always know I wanted to be a writer. In fact, the idea never crossed my mind. My choice was to become a professional musician or not, and I decided on no. Music, like writing, is a chancy profession where it can be difficult to make a living. In addition,  I didn't want to spend all my time on music. I ended up as a computer software engineer, a profession I continue to practice today.

I love poetry, and I have every intention to continue writing it, but in a lot of ways I'm lucky I don't have to earn my living as a poet. Few poets do. Since I don't appear to be headed for "best-sellerdom"--I would have to supplement my income by teaching, editing, ghost-writing, opening a writing services business, or one of the many other ways writers earn enough to live on. Right now, I choose not to do this. Might I at some future date? Sure. Back in 2005, I was absolutely, positively, sure I'd never, ever, write a word of fiction.

I've written poetry as far back as I can remember, but I didn't become serious about it, or take myself seriously as a writer, until about 2005, when I wrote a poem I wanted to keep and to share. This led me ultimately to organizing my writing and to the Muse Online Writers Conference, where I "met" Linda Barnett Johnson, joined her writing forums, and started writing fiction. I wrote my first novel, a children's chapter book, in a weekend, and then spent the next year and a half or two years learning enough to make it publishable. It will be out next year. My novel, Relocated, has just been published by MuseItUp publishing and I've got a book of poems that I wrote to go with the book published through CreateSpace.

What am I missing by not writing full-time, and what can I do about it? Well, first of all, I'd love to have more time to devote to in-person critique groups and writing conferences. Could I manage this? I have vacation time that I could devote to this, there are several conferences that take place every year in the Boston area, and we could manage the money if it were a priority.

And there we have it: I haven't made it a priority. This past spring, with a fair amount of trepidation, I participated in a workshop at the annual Mass Poetry Festival. Not only did I have a blast, it opened my eyes. I managed to make the commitment and follow through. I gave up a weekend with my family down on Cape Cod, and I drove from my home in Millis to Salem and back on both Saturday and Sunday by myself. But I did it. I hope that I can participate again this coming spring. I'd like to present a workshop, so I'm now considering what I could present.

It's certainly possible to make a living as a writer, just as it is possible to make a living as a musician, and for a while I fantasized about retiring and writing full time. But several things hold me back.

I do better with structure and organization, the kind I get from having a job where I have an office I can go to, a boss I report to, and a schedule I need to keep. I like that. I'm good at the work, I enjoy it, and it pays well. I need the accountability. I'm far, far more productive when I have little time to write than when I have a lot. I type fast, over fifty words a minute. I succeeded in finding the time to participate in National Novel Writing Month for the past two years, and to complete it successfully. Most poems, mine included, are short. To quote Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock, "Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult." 

If I decide to earn my living as a writer at some future time, I know I could make it work. If you're reading this, and you want to, I say go for it. Just have a clear idea of the pros and cons.

A Note From the Book Boost: Nicely thought out post, Margaret.  I, for one, am glad you've decided to write fiction (even though you once said "never").  Best of luck with the release and the poetry.  Please come back again soon!


When fourteen-year-old Keth's dad is transferred to planet Aleyne, he doesn't know what to expect. Certainly not to discover Dad grew up here, and studied with Ardaval, a noted Aleyni scholar. On Aleyne, Keth’s psi ability develops.

However, psi is illegal in the Terran Federation. After a dangerous encounter with two Terran teenagers  conflict erupts between Keth and his father. Keth seeks sanctuary with Ardaval.  Studying with the Aleyne scholar Keth learns the truth about his own heritage.

After Keth's friend's father, Mazos, is kidnapped, Keth ignores the risks and attempts to free him. Little does he realize who will pay the cost as he becomes involved with terrorists.

Excerpt (edited for length):

I gazed across the table at Orodi. My heart thumped. I needed to say something. Orodi looked pretty and sweet. “Mazos says I can come tomorrow afternoon to start learning glass blowing. In the meantime, would you like to go for a walk this afternoon?”

Orodi smiled, and her eyes crinkled at the corners. “There’s a park around the fountain in the center of the city.”

Shaffa swallowed his bite of stew. “It’s lovely, lots of flowers and trees, and hidden grottoes simply perfect for two.” He slapped me on the back. “You’ll love it.”

I frowned at Shaffa. “Isn't three or four more usual?” Embarrassment filled me, but I asked anyway.

Shaffa grinned at me. “Two is a good start.”

Shaffa loaned me his bicycle, a sort of mauvish pink like his sister’s. Orodi jumped on hers and started down the street, with me wobbling after her.

Don’t believe what they tell you when they say you never forget how to ride a bicycle. I hadn’t been on a bike in years -- Washington, D.C, had too much traffic and no bicycle paths -- and it showed. Fortunately, the other cyclists gave me a wide berth, and I steadied by the time we reached the park

“I’m sorry I’m such a poor rider,” I lamented as we pulled up to the park, ashamed of my poor biking skills, and wondering what Orodi thought of me now.

“You’ll improve,” Orodi smiled at me, and I realized she didn’t mind.

We parked our bikes in the rack in front of the park entrance. Orodi took my hand and pulled me along one of the paths into the park. “Come on, we have to visit the fountain first, and you need to take a drink. Afterward we can go explore a little.”

As Shaffa said, they made a park from the oasis, with a red ground cover, short and thick, and beds of flowers. Several paths led into the park, winding out of sight behind purple rocks. The umbrella trees provided welcome shade.                         

I stared at our clasped hands, enjoying her soft skin against mine. Orodi’s hand appeared broader than mine, but my fingers were longer. When I glanced up, she smiled at me.

“You’re going to kiss me. I know the perfect spot.”

My mouth dropped open and my face flushed. Orodi laughed, and I observed the mischievous glint in her eye. Excitement bubbled up my throat, but nothing came out of my mouth. We walked along in silence until we reached the fountain.

The fountain had a large basin made of shiny purple stone. Water spouted from a hole in the center, reaching a height of eight feet before splashing back down. Scattered along the rim, men and women dipped their hands in the water and drank. I trembled as I gazed into Orodi’s eyes, wondering what would happen next.

Want More Margaret?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Margaret and be entered to win a copy of Sand in the Desert, print edition.

**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!**  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting to Know You with Featured Authors: Beth & Letty

Welcome to our Getting To Know You
Featured Authors Month
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning about the quirks and words of the dynamic duo, Beth Henderson and Letty James.

TBB: How and when did you become a professional author?

Beth: The moment I got the call from an editor the beginning of September 1989. It was my first sale!

Letty: The call for my first sale came February 2008. From that, you can tell I’m a little behind Beth’s curve.

TBB:  Which of your books is your favorite and why?

Beth: Well, I don’t write just one type of story so there isn’t just one favorite but numerous favorites: Nikrova's Passion for romantic-suspense; At Twilight for historical romance; A Week 'Til The Wedding for romantic-comedy; and Loving Trixie Fine for the fun of mixing romantic-comedy with fantasy with mystery with adventure and a heroine I wanted to be – and for the chance it gave me to work with Letty!

Letty: Whatever I’m working on at the moment tends to be my favorite because I’m immersed in that world. What I love about Loving Trixie Fine is the unique heroine – how many 65-year-old romantic heroines are out there? And we need more!

TBB:  Is there a message imbedded into your stories you hope readers will get?  If so, what is it?

Beth: Gosh! I hope no one thinks there is a message imbedded in anything! I read for entertainment and “messages” ruin the whole thing for me!

Letty: Be daring!

Beth: I like Letty’s answer better than mine now. :)

TBB: What is your top writing career goal?

Beth: Er…get rich? :) Make the Amazon top 100 best seller list…maybe be in the top 10?

Letty: Hmm, maybe I’ll move in with Beth when she’s rich. No, that wouldn’t work because we’d probably talk rather than write. I would like to have the publishing houses waiting for my next book. Perhaps an editor calling me every month with words of encouragement. Sending champagne and flowers to keep me in the mood. My son tells me there is a 1 in 220 chance of being on The New York Times Bestseller List. That sounds good.

TBB:  Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

“Being a writer is one of the most depressing (because of all the waiting to get word back on anything, and the rejections that never go away) and rewarding (because it’s what I always wanted to do) professions around.”--Beth Henderson

"Being a writer is like living a double life. Nobody really understands what’s going on between the writer and the page. And, sometimes even I don’t understand why certain things appear – but I love it when the crazy things pop up!"--Letty James

TBB:  What is your favorite breakfast food?

Beth: French toast with powdered sugar, cinnamon and lots of maple syrup…at a restaurant. I hate cooking. If that’s not available, it’s nice cold chocolate milk and donuts, the little ones with white powdered sugar on them. Hey, maybe it’s powdered sugar that’s my favorite breakfast food!

Letty: Absolutely – in a restaurant! In fact, that’s my favorite date – getting up before dawn and watching the sunrise at the diner. Start with hot tea, then corned beef hash topped with over-easy eggs and lots of buttery, salty grits. This has my southern roots all over it. So, to narrow it down to one food, it must be the hash because I could eat just that if I had to. And, my favorite hash is the kind that comes out of a can. Which is great because I can fry it up at home if I get desperate.

TBB:  If you were a t-shirt, what slogan would appear on you?

T-Shirt Quote Courtesy of Beth Henderson.

T-shirt quote courtesy of Letty James.

TBB:  Favorite time of year (or fave holiday)?

Beth: I love autumn the best – cool temperatures and gorgeous colors. Favorite holiday – Christmas, of course! I love to give and get presents…mostly to give them. Love the challenge of finding just the right thing for someone.

Letty: You’re going to think I’m such a girly girl, but I love Valentines’ Day because it’s near my birthday and I kind of roll all the happiness in one. I refuse to see it as a stressful time and instead see it as a creative time. I love to make unusual Valentines, like silver and purple. Plus, it usually snows and it gives me a great excuse to read all day. And, oh yeah, a good day to eat chocolate, or better yet, buy it half price the next day.

TBB:  If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?

Beth: CATWOMAN so I could wear that slinky black outfit. Might have to give up those powdered sugar breakfasts to fit in it though.

Letty: Beth is stealing all my ideas here. Next time I get to go first. She’s not a cartoon, yet, but I would love to be Herminone Granger. She’s cute, smart, and better at magic than any boy. Although, I would have fallen for one of the twins rather than Ron.

Want More Beth & Letty?

Learn more about their work!  Click here.

Pick up a copy today!  Click here.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting to Know You with Featured Author: Meggan Connors

Welcome to our Getting to Know You
Featured Author Month
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning about the quirks and works of author, Meggan Connors.

TBB: How and when did you become a professional author?

MC:  I think of a professional author as someone who is an author for a living. I guess until I hit my big break, I will continue to consider myself a speech pathologist.

That being said, I've always wanted to be a writer. I've written lots of tired, bad poetry (oh, the tortured prose of my youth!), and several novella-length stories. I also published a few professional articles, too.

But grad school, followed by working at least one job (and, more often, a couple at a time), forced the writing into a holding patterns. It wasn't until my youngest hit age two that I turned back to writing. Once I proved to myself that I could finish a manuscript, I had to figure out how to get that baby out to the world. So I joined Romance Writers of America, entered a couple of contests.  Became a finalist in some and not in others, and learned a lot. On a lark, I submitted The Marker to Soul Mate Publishing, and the rest, as they say, is history.

TBB:  If you had to describe that book using ONLY ONE word what would it be?

MC:  Gritty.

TBB: Is there a message imbedded into your stories you hope readers will get?  If so, what is it?

MC:  Ah, jeez. I know it's trite (really, I do!), but it'd be that love can conquer anything. In all of my stories, I throw so many obstacles at my couples that they have to overcome in order to be together, and it's fun to see them get past those obstacles and toward their happy ending.

TBB: Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

"I'm a genius! Oh, no, I suck."--Meggan Connors

TBB:  Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

MC:  My husband. He's the biggest source of support I've ever had, and he's funny. Not to mention, when I'm writing cops, he's pretty helpful, since he is one.

TBB: What is your worst habit?

MC:  I hate to admit it, but I bite my nails. I know, it's gross. I've tried everything, including painting them with fish oil (or whatever that nasty stuff is). I just wound up with a nasty taste in my mouth and bad breath, and bitten nails. Ugh.

TBB: If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?

Book Title Courtesy of:  Meggan Connors

TBB: Favorite time of year (or fave holiday)?

MC:  Halloween. I like to dress up, and really, there's not all the family melodrama. And: CHOCOLATE! (I have heard of some people—and I don't know who, because I'm not saying it's me—going through their children's candy stashes and taking out several pieces of chocolate. When questioned, the response is, "Oh, this piece of candy looked bad. I'm just trying to make sure you're safe.")

TBB:.  If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?

MC:  Velma from Scooby Doo. Because I'm blind and I like turtlenecks (I'd like to think I'm pretty smart, too—or at least that I'm as smart as some meddling kid.)

Want More Meggan?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Time to Grow With Guest Blogger: Heather Smith

Welcome Writer Heather Smith
to the Book Boost today!

She's here to chat about how she's grown in writing and in life and here's what she had to say...

This year has been full of changes for me. It was a year ago this month that I landed my first full-time writing job. I had been pursuing a writing job for years. Well, seriously for two years and sort of hopelessly for a few years before that. You see, I never thought I could make a living as a writer. I mean, creative fields are not exactly known for their living wages and steady employment. However, a few years ago I decided that my writing was no longer a hobby, but what I wanted to do with my life.

Once I realized that writing was not going to go away, I started looking for little jobs here and there. A small publication, a few articles online, and even writing preparation guides and practice tests for local schools. One thing lead to another until I was pretty confident that I could make some income as a freelance writer and just work my boring retail job to make up the rest of my income.

Then the worst happened. My retail job went down the drain. Now, jobless and on the search for steady income, I was desperate enough to apply to almost any job that paid. I applied everywhere and heard back from a couple that wanted to pay just barely above minimum wage. I was about to give in and take a desk job when I applied for my dream job. It sounded like they were looking for someone that had way more experience than I had, but I could try, right?

I got an interview and went in with the full knowledge that this probably either had massive strings attached or was just not what it claimed to be. I walked out of the interview with a job offer at my dream job – a writer. And not just any writer, but a writer that could use what I am best at- collecting lots of information and making it interesting for the average person!

Now, a year later, I still love my job. Better still, having my steady job freed up time to devote to my personal life; which had before been sorely lacking. I went big into online dating and, after a series of dismal first dates and a couple of mediocre second dates, found my boyfriend. This month will be our sixth together and I still get butterflies every time I see him.

So, you see this year has been one of many changes and many improvements to my life. They say that August is “Weed Month” because this is the month that growth occurs the most. Well, my life has certainly grown like a weed in the past year.

I hope that you can see my story as a hopeful one in your own lives. Never give up, never surrender. I know that it may not seem like it sometimes, but you can make a living as a writer and be successful while enjoying yourself. I am thankful every day that I get to live out my passion.

Remember that writing is inspired by life.  Live the kind of life you want to write about.  Your writing will become richer and more realistic because of it.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Heather, this is a great story.  You are finally living your dream.  Congrats on a great year and a great new relationship.  Keep those butterflies in flight!  Hope you'll join us again in the future here at the Boost.

Want More Heather?

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. 

She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. Reach her here.  Visit her on the web: click here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Getting to Know You with Featured Author: Blair Bancroft

Welcome to our Getting to Know You
Featured Author Month
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning about the quirks and works of author, Blair Bancroft.

TBB: How and when did you become a professional author?

BB:  I became an author twice. When my youngest entered first grade, I wrote a spy adventure (with some romance), based on my experiences traveling 10,000 miles in the USSR during the Cold War. It even had an agent and made the rounds in NY, but not only was it a serious “first novel” by an unknown, I think editors had a hard time wrapping themselves around the concept that there could be “good” Russians. In those days, long before word processing, revisions were really tough, and I was never a writer who got it “right” on the first draft, so I put my writing aside, along with the book.

I didn’t attempt to write again until the fall & winter of 1990-91 when PCs had made writing so much easier. And it was eight long years after that before I was finally published in December 1999.

TBB:  Which of your books is your favorite and why?

BB:  I used to reply to that question by saying: “Whatever book I’m working on at the moment.” But, truthfully, looking back after so many years, I have to say my very first romance, The Sometime Bride. I had no idea of the “rules” of romance and wrote it from the heart. It’s an epic spanning Britain’s entire Peninsular War against Napoleon, plus the final battle at Waterloo, all of it told through the eyes of two young people who are forced into marriage at a very early age.

TBB:  If you had to describe that book using ONLY ONE word what would it be?

BB:  Epic.

TBB:  Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

“Don’t be afraid to break the rules.”--Blair Bancroft

BB:  I have to qualify this by saying that you don’t want to cut your own throat. So many times when editors say, “Write the book of your heart,” they really mean, Write the book of their heart, not yours.  But I believe there are editors out there who truly appreciate books that aren’t “cookie cutter” models of all those before them and it’s the “outside the box” books that will last, instead of fading into obscurity in a month.

TBB: Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

BB:  My mother, Wilma Pitchford Hays, who was a successful author of children’s books, from first grade to teen.

TBB:  What song lyrics get stuck in your head most often?

BB:  Most recently, “Shall We Dance?” from The King and I.

TBB:  If you were a t-shirt, what slogan would appear on you?

T-Shirt Quote courtesy of Blair Bancroft.

TBB: Favorite time of year (or fave holiday)?

BB:  June or September on Cape Cod, Summer in England, April & October in Florida

Want More Blair?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Getting to Know You With Featured Author: Emma Leigh Reed

Welcome to our Getting to Know You 
Featured Author Month 
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning all about the quirks and works of author, Emma Leigh Reed.

TBB:  How and when did you become a professional author?

ELR: I started writing in earnest five years ago.  Originally my plan was to write a nonfiction depicting my son’s journey through autism.  As it was too emotional to write, I decide to weave his story of autism into a romance.  From there, my love of writing fiction took hold.

TBB:  Which of your books is your favorite and why?

ELR:  Crashing Hearts is by far my favorite book. This was a therapeutic book for me to write, allowing me to work through the emotions of my son’s autism, but also allowing me to let my own heart to heal after my own personal relationship difficulties.  There are still chapters in this book that I can’t get through without crying.

TBB:  If you had to describe that book using ONLY ONE word what would it be?

ELR:  Healing.

TBB:  What is your favorite breakfast food?

"Coffee is my breakfast typically, although I love home fries and omelets on occasion."--Emma Leigh Reed 

TBB:  What is your worst habit?

 ELR:  Shutting myself away from people, especially in difficult times.

TBB:  If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?
Book Title Courtesy of:  Emma Leigh Reed

TBB:  Favorite time of year (or fave holiday)?

ELR:  Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the giving, especially without taking credit for it, and seeing people open their presents. Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving them too.

Want More Emma?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Doggone Magic with Guest Blogger: Cliff Dunbar

Win an autographed copy 
of Silver’s Treason 
& meet author Cliff Dunbar 
today at the Book Boost!

He’s here to talk about the magical mutts and here's what he had to say...

Silver’s Treason is a novel about a military dog with paranormal abilities.  Silver is a hermesdog, one of a hypothetical breed named after Hermes Trismegistus, an ancient Greek/Egyptian figure associated with magic, science, and alchemy.  In the book, hermesdogs are the product of an experimental breeding program conducted in secret by the US Army.

The Hermes Project uses selective breeding techniques to develop and refine their successive generations of dogs.   Selective breeding is a simple enough process.  Some animals get to pass their genes on to the next generation.  Some don’t. The next generation then looks and acts marginally different from the current one.  Those differences add up after a few generations.  What do you have then?

With natural selection, individuals are eliminated as a result of environmental factors.  Deer that are slow do not survive attacks by fast-moving predators and don’t live long enough to reproduce.  Deer that are fast survive and pass their “fast” genes on to the next generation.

With artificial selection, we (humans) decide we what want to see in the next generation.  Want cows with more milk?  Breed the high-producers only.  Want faster horses?  You’re not going to breed the slowpokes.

Dr. Ralph Crandall (a/k/a “Crackpot Crandall”) puts the dogs through a series of tests designed to measure the H-Factor, an umbrella term used to describe clairvoyance, psychokinesis, precognition, etc.  The dogs’ performance is scored and ranked.  The top ten percent are bred, and their offspring are put through the same tests.  This continues for generation after generation.  What do you get at the end of that?  We can only speculate, since we haven’t actually done the tests (though we could, if we had the resources, patience, and interest).

One of my goals in writing Silver’s Treason was to portray completely canine characters, without even the slightest hint of anthropomorphism.  To that end, I did quite a bit of background research on canine evolution, intelligence, communication, etc.  When the novel was published, I sent a copy to two authors who had greatly influenced my thinking:  Ray and Lorna Coppinger, authors of Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution.  They were kind enough to respond in an e-mail that I “got the dog behavior down really well”.  I felt pretty good about that.

The Coppingers provide a fascinating theory of canine evolution in their book.  The most likely ancestors of our present-day dogs were the wolves that approached human dwellings to feed on their garbage.  Because no two animals are exactly alike, some wolves were friendly with humans and some were not.  The friendlier wolves were treated better by humans, which helped them survive.  That furry little wolf over there looked cute to an early human; he survived to produce furry little offspring that looked even cuter.  That other wolf over there liked to snuggle; his offspring liked to snuggle too.  Traits that appealed to humans were therefore bred into wolves; as the generations passed, we gradually got dogs.

All of this is based on the premise that those canines who associated with humans were better able to survive than those canines who did not.  To my knowledge, no one has ever considered whether the reverse might also be true.

Did humans who associated with dogs have a better survival rate than those who did not?  Did the dogs’ keen senses of hearing and smell, their protective fangs and nails, tip the balance so that the humans who loved them came to outnumber the humans who did not?  In other words, did canines have an effect on human evolution just as humans did on theirs?

It’s obvious that any effects of canines on human evolution are nowhere near as dramatic as the effects of humans on canine evolution.  But I think it’s unlikely that there were no effects at all.  What exactly those effects might be and how they might manifest themselves in our appearance, senses, and behavior, I will leave you to wonder about, just as I often do.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Cliff, thanks for joining us today and helping us to understand the research behind your book.  This is quite interesting and it sounds like you've given this a lot of thought.  Hope you'll visit us again in the future!


Caught in the crossfire between paramilitaries, drug dealers, rebel guerrillas, and the Colombian Army, US Army Private Jeff Thompson and Silver, his K9 companion, are forced to make their way through the jungles of southwestern Colombia to rescue a drug lord's daughter held captive by rebel guerrillas.

Silver, the product of a decades-old breeding project overseen by the American military, possesses supernatural abilities that are barely under her control. When Jeff is surprised by a payoff from the drug lord and seduced by his beautiful daughter, the US Army believes he has gone over to the other side and sends a Retrieval Team after him, with a powerful dog of its own.


“I just want to see Silver again,” the American said. “I want to see her fed and watered.”

“First you must tell me if the DEA will attack again,” Ariana said.

Thompson closed his eyes, as if he might fall asleep. He spoke so softly Ariana had to lean close to him to make out the words. “I don’t know. I’m not DEA. Jeffrey Thompson, US Army, Private First Class, 965-26-4381. Name, rank, and serial number. Now will you bring Silver?”

US Army? For a moment Ariana took pity on the American soldier. To die so young, so far away from home, and for what cause? There was nothing noble about making war on international market forces with a gun and a dog. That was just stupid.

“No,” Ariana said. “The men tell me that the dog’s eyes change color, and that she stirs up the wind and that bullets cannot harm her. Why would they say that?”

"How could you believe such nonsense?” Thompson whispered. “She’s just a dog.”

Want More Cliff?

Visit him on the web here:

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

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Cliff and be entered to win an autographed copy of Silver's Treason.

**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!** 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting to Know You with Featured Author: Alexa Bourne

 Welcome to our Getting to Know You 
Featured Author Month 
here at the Book Boost!

Today, we're learning all about the quirks and works of author, Alexa Bourne.

TBB:  How and when did you become a professional author?

AB:  Well, in 2003 I decided to treat my writing as a second job and focused on it more as a professional rather than an amateur, but I didn't sign my first “professional” contract until 2011.

TBB:  Which of your books is your favorite and why?

AB:  As much as I love my first release, my next release, Fractured Paradise, is my favorite. It's set in my mom's hometown of Sunderland, England and it was originally written as a way for me to deal with my grandmother's death in 2003. When I revised it for my e-publisher, I focused more on honoring my British heritage. I love the characters and the journey they take to reach their happily-ever-after.

TBB:  Is there a message imbedded into your stories you hope readers will get?  If so, what is it?

AB:  I write about characters who must forgive themselves before they can fully embrace the love that's before them.

TBB:  Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

"Quit complaining, get back to work, and always, always be professional." --Alexa Bourne

TBB:  Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

AB:  My best friend Nancy has been my biggest inspiration. She has read every single thing I've written-the good, the bad and the ugly. She tells me like it is instead of just what I want to hear. She sends me gifts that inspire me, she promotes me and my work, and she's always keeping me in line!

TBB:  What is your favorite breakfast food?

AB:  Cold pizza.

TBB:  What is your worst habit?

AB:  I am a procrastination queen.

TBB:  If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?

AB:  It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Because I'm a complete optimist who can find the positive in absolutely any situation.)

TBB:  If you were a t-shirt, what slogan would appear on you?

T-shirt Quote courtesy of Alexa Bourne! :-)

TBB:  If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?

AB:  My favorite character is Marvin the Martian, but I wouldn't want to be him. He's not very smart.

Want More Alexa?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's All in the Weeds...err...Cards With Guest Blogger: SM Blooding

Win a set of Tarot Dolls &
meet author SM Blooding 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to discuss making magic out of weeds and here's what she had to say...

I love being outdoors! I love walking in it, biking in it, reading, writing, drawing, playing…anything I can do inside, except watching TV, I’d prefer to do outside. There is so much inspiration out there! I mean, indoors, sure, you’ve got your walls. And your TV…*shrug*…It’s a necessary evil I could probably live without. You’ve got the same old pictures…Great. You’ve got your decorations that you change up every now and again, maybe.

It’s easy for my mind to become stagnant by remaining indoors all the time. I love to people watch, dog watch, geese watch. I love watching geese chase people. That’s awesome. Unless it’s the geese chasing me, and then the awesome’s OVER.

The thing that inspires me the most, however, are weeds.

Weeds are one of those things that people hate. There are chemicals to destroy them, which seem to help them grow, while killing the grass. It’s marvelous. People will go and pull them, then complain about the level of effort it took to do so. There’s yelling, complaining, bribing others to take care of them for you, and I’ve seen more than one post about them. Also, I had an entire—okay, almost entire—hand-written letter (I’m dating myself here) from my grandmother complaining about the weeds in her garden.

They’re AWFUL. They destroy the look of beauty of our yards. They choke out the more delicate flowers and herbs (herbs are weeds too, that were adopted into the non-weed family) in our garden. They’re a nuisance.

However, we hate them for the all the reasons that make them awesome.

The weed has learned to adapt. It can grow just about anywhere, as anyone with a yard can attest. They grow when you don’t water them, when you over water them, and they generally look healthier than the plants you paid for and purposefully planted.

They’re hardy. Killing a weed is not impossible by any sense of the word, but it is difficult. Once a weed has decided to GROW in your garden, once it’s got its root-hold in your yard, you should just own it. It’s yours. The end. Forget about the flowers that really aren’t suited for your climate. Just take the free weeds, give them less water and be done with it.

They’re FREE. You don’t even have to buy them. They come into your yard on their own. You don’t even have to ask for them. They just arrive, free of charge and make your yard and your garden green. Isn’t that nice?

Now, let’s talk about our DEAREST friend, and my favorite flower, the dandelion for just a second. Dandelions have been used for medicinal purposes since the tenth century. I would guess, it’s been longer than that, but who am I to say. You can eat the leaves. The roots help with your liver. It makes a wine I’ve never tried, and its nutritional value is amazing. It has almost as much iron as spinach, and is high in Vitamin A. It also has protein, fat, and carbs, as well as calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin C.

That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Can’t you see this book? Now, granted, I wouldn’t write about a talking dandelion. No-no. However, I would create a character called Leo, and embody the richness, the wonder, the muted power of the dandelion. Then I’d make him wholly unwanted. I’d throw in a villain intent on eradicating him from the face of the planet, and then bring on an apocalyptic event in which the only person who could save the world is…Leo. I’d give him bushy blond hair, and make him fall in love with a woman called Rose. It’d be EPIC.

Okay. Okay. So, obviously, I need to work to flesh that one out a bit, because I’m pretty sure I’ve read that book. However, I could tweak it, throw in a dragon—no, no. Not a dragon because that has definitely been done. How about a vampire. Yeah. A vampire. And make him glow in the dark. No. Make him sparkle with shadow. Yeah. That could work. Then I’d put him smack dab in the middle of…Vail, Colorado. Oh, yeah. This is working out swell. And he doesn’t drink blood. He drinks…melatonin. *evil giggle*

Sometimes, when people ask me what inspired a story, I always cringe a little. It’s the smallest things that inspire the best stories. If you were reading one of my interviews, what would you say if a weed inspired a book? Would you want to read it? It’d probably be a worthwhile read

A Note from the Book Boost:  Thanks for joining us today, SM.  Your enthusiasm is very welcome here and I'm in total agreement about the geese (go away you long-necked hissing things).  Please tell us more about your book!


She imprisoned and beat him.

And now she thinks he’s her trophy.

Synn El’Asim will do almost anything to prove her wrong. But he’s only proving her right. Queen Nix awakened his Mark of power and inducted him into the House of Wands. She knew what she was doing. The son of the two most powerful Families standing against her is the ultimate prize. What she didn’t take into consideration was that maybe he was too strong for her.


The Families are weakened, and it’ll take a lot more than one young man with a powerful Mark to take on…

The Hands of Tarot.

Want More SM?

Visit her on the web here:

Follow her blog here:

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

Contest Time:

Win a set of Tarot Dolls and an autographed copy of The Hands of Tarot.  Follow SM Blooding on her Virtual Blog Tour.

Details here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Wonder of Weeds with Guest Blogger: Devon Ellington

Welcome author Devon Ellington 
to the Book Boost!

Here to discuss weeds in the writing garden...

In 2010, I chucked my life working backstage on Broadway and writing, living a block from Times Square, to move to Cape Cod and just write.  I swapped two full-time careers and "the City That Never Sleeps" for one full-time career in a place with a bit of quiet (at least, off-season).

I have a garden for the first time, and I’m learning about a lot about things I never knew I needed to learn.  Like slugs.  And crabgrass.  And weeds.

I’ve always loved dandelions.  They’re good for you (when they’re not growing out of something toxic) and they’re pretty.  However, this summer, when I’m battling them all over my lawn (the grass isn’t growing fast, but the dandelions sure are), I’m ready to go after them with a flamethrower.  A little over-the-top, but you get the idea.

As weeds sprout up in my actual garden, I started thinking about weeds in the writing garden.  Part of that is a rocky Saturn Retrograde.  Saturn is the planet of life lessons, and goes retrograde once a year.  If you’ve ignored the life lessons Saturn presented in the previous retrograde, Saturn will come and kick your behind until you pay attention.  It took three Saturn Retrogrades, each increasingly frustrating, between when I knew it was time to leave Broadway and when I actually left.  Sometimes I get stubborn.

Once I moved here, I thought I had it down -- I paid attention, I thought I was dodging the butt-kicking.  However, I got complacent in a couple of areas of my writing life.  I accepted assignments that didn’t challenge me in the right way because they were easy, and because the offer appeared to give me the financial stability I craved, while giving me the freedom to keep my own schedule.  My gut instinct reminded me that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  But I made the decisions anyway -- and have paid for them during this Retrograde.  Before I said yes, I knew I was coming to the end of a particular cycle of work, and that I needed to move on.  I said yes in order to buy time, and it backfired.

Additionally, I’d been so focused on moving to the location of my dreams to write, and so exhausted once I got here, that I stopped asking myself, “What do you really want to write?” and, instead, just scrambled for whatever writing would pay the bills.  There’s nothing wrong with paying the bills -- we all have to do that.  And I hadn’t panicked so far as to work for content mills.  I retained some self-respect.  But I was making choices for the next month’s bills instead of doing that WHILE going beyond and looking at the bigger picture of my writing career.

I’m working with two publishers: one has my urban fantasy series; the other has paranormal romances with different primary protagonists in each, but set in the same location.  I have to stay on track for them. I enjoy working with them, they’re good to me, it’s not a problem.  But I have to stay focused. I taught a year-long novel-writing class and wrote with the class, so I have that trilogy to place; I have several manuscripts in the queue that need a polish and the go out on submission.

Yet, I feel restless.  One of the short stories I started in class, a historical mystery, has the potential to be a novel.  Another (also a mystery, set in a different historical time period), had the potential to be a series, melding ideas for several different stories and characters I’ve played with for years into one cohesive whole.  I’m teaching and ghostwriting  and reviewing books for pay and doing all kinds of short-turn-around business copy and articles that I enjoy AND that pay the bills.  I don’t believe in having a “niche” -- I believe in being a Renaissance Writer, able to write across a wide watch of topics, and that’s what I’ve achieved.

So why am I restless? Frustrated?

Because I feel unfocused.  I’m looking at the tip of my nose instead of at the horizon.  I’ve got the perfect place to write, and I’m earning my living by my pen.  I’m reliable, a steady worker, on time with clean copy, and I can attack an idea from an unusual angle and communicate it effectively.  But I’m only looking at today’s list, tomorrow’s deadlines, next week’s job listings.  I’m not reaching.

I’m taking some time, now -- while juggling deadlines, always juggling deadlines -- to really think about what I want the next few years of my writing career to encompass. What kind of writing will make me happiest?  How can I keep challenging myself?  What types of writing haven’t I yet explored that interest me?  What do I want to learn?

I don’t have all the answers yet; but now that I'm asking the right questions, I feel more up-beat.  Now that I’m asking myself the questions, I look forward to returning the the page every morning.  My energy and attitude and excitement about the day and the page are back.

I’m looking forward to not just the answers, but how I get there.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Thanks for joining us today, Devon.  This is a very thoughtful and interesting post and one I can deeply relate to.  What a unique perspective on weeding through the world of writing.  Please tell us more about your latest!


Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost.

Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.


“You cut off a man’s head, Ms. Lazarus,” Wyatt East said. “I have to ask you questions.”

Jain snuck a look at her watch. Two and a half hours in the interrogation room. Dennis was running out of time. Jain looked up at Wyatt, watching him pace back and forth across the room, and folded her arms on the table. “I understand that, and I’m willing to answer anything, but we need to get to the hospital or Dennis will wind up in the same shape as Mike.


“If we don’t get to him in time.”

“Since you’re the one who decapitated Mike, I’m not so sure I should let you near Dennis.”

“If you let me near him fast enough, I won’t need to decapitate him.”

“So you admit that you would?”

“If necessary.”

“And why would it be necessary?”

“By the time I separated Mike’s head from his body, there wasn’t anything of Mike left. I saw it snuff out. He was completely under his handler’s control. Whoever his handler is.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Wyatt slammed his palm on the metal desk.

“Detective East, your carefully planned gestures don’t intimidate me. I deal with much more dangerous factions every day than annoyed cops.”

“Maybe you should give me some information about who you really are and what you really do and I won’t be such an annoyed cop.”

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