A Wild Week

Apologies for the lack of meaty posts on the blog this week. White Witch Magic came out this past Tuesday and I’ve been wrapped up in new release stuff and promotion. I promise next week it will be back to your regularly scheduled blogging, starting with a guest tour and giveaway! Until Monday…

It’s Release Day!

Get your hands on the first book in the series, Black Mountain Magic, right now for just 99 cents!

White Witch Magic – Kentucky Haints #2

We need peace in the valley, y’all.

City girl and unpracticed witch Lorena Mills never dreamed she’d be living in a small Appalachian town in the backwoods of Kentucky, but here she is. Mated to a handsome, brash, and sometimes aggravating Lycan named Deacon Kelley, she’s slowly becoming a better witch and more of a backwoods kind of gal.

Lorena’s job in the town of Blue Ditch is to study the creatures known as Wolvites—once thought to be feral, mindless beasts, now known to have human forms—in an effort to advance science and magic. However, when Lorena is kidnapped by the nefarious witch Neala, who once tried to destroy Deacon’s family, she discovers she doesn’t know nearly enough about either subject. Neala wants Lorena to cure her Wolvite mate Dafydd of a quick-killing virus that is ravaging their species: except, there is no cure. Lorena has to find one, and fast, or the Wolvites will slaughter Deacon’s family.

Forced to work with the Wolvites, Lorena learns about their culture and gains sympathy for them, thanks to a kinder, gentler, diplomatic Wolvite named Kendrick who would like to see an end to the violence. Lorena would love to facilitate peace between the Wolvites and Lycans, but is such a thing even possible?

If she wants to keep Deacon—and his family, and the entire town of Blue Ditch—safe, she’s going to have to find a way. Good thing her powers may be stronger than she ever imagined…

Read the first chapter

Purchase it at:

Amazon | Barnes & NobleKobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Paperback

The Joy In Doing

I’ve discovered lately, and maybe you already know this as a writer, that when you actually make yourself focus and write, the more you can write, and sometimes even much more than you expected to. For example:

I’m an ultra-procrastinator. I have writing projects to work on, I really do want to work on them, I have time to work on them, but when it comes to actually sitting down and getting the work done, it’s a big old groaaaan. I can find a million ways to distract myself: internet, TV, reading pointless things, doing chores. I like to write, I want to write, but that also means putting the work in, and that doesn’t seem like much fun.

But, with a lot of griping and grumbling, I finally make myself do it. I give myself a small word count to reach and tell myself if I get to that I can consider it an accomplishment. And you know what happens, very often? Once I start writing, I don’t usually stop at that small number. The words start flowing, the ideas start coming, and before I know it, I’m writing. The kind of good, happy writing that makes me feel satisfied when I’m finished with it. The other day I told myself I’d just hammer out 1,000 words and I ended up writing over 6,000! My hands were actually sore and that’s why I stopped. That doesn’t happen every day, of course, and I don’t always have time for that much work, but it just goes to show when I actually put the effort in it quickly becomes enjoyable and easy.

Sometimes it’s just about getting over that initial block and reluctance. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish after you didn’t want to start to begin with. The story is in there, if you’re willing to put the time in to follow it. It’s another one of those writing mysteries.

For example, I put off working on this blog post for a few hours, and now it’s finished. Score!

Upcoming Release and A Sale!

White Witch Magic, the sequel to Black Mountain Magic, will be released this Tuesday, February 21st! To celebrate, right now until the end of February, you can get Black Mountain Magic from Smashwords for only 99 cents. Just input the code “CD94D” when you check out!

Witches and Lycans and hillbillies, oh my!

Lorena Mills is a witch, but she’s not very good with potions and incantations. Working for a government agency that puts down dangerous uprisings of supernatural creatures, she does much more paperwork than spell casting. When her less-than-magical job lands her in the small Appalachian town of Blue Ditch, Kentucky, in the shadow of Black Mountain, her life starts to get a whole lot wilder.

In the forests surrounding the town, Wolvites—twisted, bestial creatures who hunt and kill humans—are posing a threat. When handsome, charming, and altogether reckless local Deacon Kelley insists on taking matters into his own hands, Lorena has more than monsters to worry about. He won’t stay out of her way, and he won’t take no for an answer.

Deacon is a Lycan–in modern terms, the non-shifting descendants of werewolves–and he and his family have protected Blue Ditch for generations. But now, something too sinister to be controlled by their efforts alone is stirring, and the Wolvites are far more vicious than they’ve ever been. Will Lorena be able to stop the threat and uncover the deadly secrets surrounding it before it’s too late?

To keep the town, and Deacon, safe, she’ll have to—and she’s really starting to like this town.

Learn More/Buy | Get it for 99 cents at Smashwords with code CD94D

 

We need peace in the valley, y’all.

City girl and unpracticed witch Lorena Mills never dreamed she’d be living in a small Appalachian town in the backwoods of Kentucky, but here she is. Mated to a handsome, brash, and sometimes aggravating Lycan named Deacon Kelley, she’s slowly becoming a better witch and more of a backwoods kind of gal.

Lorena’s job in the town of Blue Ditch is to study the creatures known as Wolvites—once thought to be feral, mindless beasts, now known to have human forms—in an effort to advance science and magic. However, when Lorena is kidnapped by the nefarious witch Neala, who once tried to destroy Deacon’s family, she discovers she doesn’t know nearly enough about either subject. Neala wants Lorena to cure her Wolvite mate Dafydd of a quick-killing virus that is ravaging their species: except, there is no cure. Lorena has to find one, and fast, or the Wolvites will slaughter Deacon’s family.

Forced to work with the Wolvites, Lorena learns about their culture and gains sympathy for them, thanks to a kinder, gentler, diplomatic Wolvite named Kendrick who would like to see an end to the violence. Lorena would love to facilitate peace between the Wolvites and Lycans, but is such a thing even possible?

If she wants to keep Deacon—and his family, and the entire town of Blue Ditch—safe, she’s going to have to find a way. Good thing her powers may be stronger than she ever imagined…

Learn more/Pre-order

Have a great weekend!

 

Ancient Ties by Marie Johnston

Today I’m hosting Marie Johnston and her paranormal romance, Ancient Ties. Marie is giving away a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!


Kaitlyn Savoy might’ve been raised human, but she’s fully embraced her shifter side in her role as Guardian. Protecting her species calls to her blood, but unfortunately, so does her new partner. She pretends indifference to his cutting remarks about her heritage and the inconvenient blackouts she experiences after each shift.

Chayton Eagle’s honorable bloodlines include an ancient father and full-blooded Sioux mother. When he joins the West Creek Guardians and meets Kaitlyn, he can’t believe fate chose her to be his mate. But it’s too late. He already swore himself to another female.

When the two Guardians have to partner for a mission, it brings them too close to resist their attraction. Until Chayton discovers the promise he made in the past may kill his future.


EXCERPT:

He pulled away from the house to drive slowly through town. There wasn’t much traffic, but like most shifter colonies, they made their actions count and didn’t waste time running errands.

His smile died. “When we go hunt, we’ll hike into the woods and hide our gear. We shift and search, but we leave town the way we came.”

The shifting thing again? “Ashamed?”

Chayton abruptly pulled to the side of the road. He twisted in his seat to face her, his dark eyes deadly serious. “Any weakness will get exploited here, Kaitlyn. You think I’m a dick, wait until you meet every other shifter in this colony. This isn’t a place touched by modern inclusive thinking. Their motto is still the strong survive and if anyone finds out a Guardian roams their streets to enforce how someone else says to govern them and she can’t shift normally, they will use your shifting defect as an example. Mato wouldn’t allow anything less.”


BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Ties-Moonlight-Shifters-Romance-ebook/dp/B01MFEATE2/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ancient-ties-marie-johnston/1125059988?
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ancient-ties-1


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marie Johnston lives in the upper-Midwest with her husband, four kids, and an old cat. Deciding to trade in her lab coat for a laptop, she’s writing down all the tales she’s been making up in her head for years. An avid reader of paranormal romance, these are the stories hanging out and waiting to be told, between the demands of work, home, and the endless chauffeuring that comes with children.

Website: http://www.mariejohnstonwriter.com/
Blog: http://www.mariejohnstonwriter.com/blog
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjohnstonwriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjohnstonwriter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11248716.Marie_Johnston
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Marie-Johnston/e/B00R6SC79Q/

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

The Evolution Of Writing Tools

I’ve had a lot of writing tools over the years. I started out in high school writing in notebooks. I got a manual Brother typewriter for Christmas when I was 12 or 13, but even by the standards of the day (goodness I’m dating myself, but 1989? 1990?) it was archaic, clunky, and hard to use, and the keys always stuck. The only way to correct typos was with white out paper (remember that stuff?), though you could buy ink cartridges with a correction ribbon as well. Nevertheless, I did type out a short story on it and sent it to a magazine. Hilariously, they sent it back unread because the typesetting was so bad as to be nearly unreadable. I was 14 and more optimistic than smart, what can I say?

My first ‘technological’ writing tool was a Brother word processor. MUCH better than a manual typewriter, but by today’s standards still a cumbersome, difficult piece of equipment. They keyboard part (which was also a typewriter) weighed about seven hundred pounds, and the cables to hook it up to the monitor were plentiful. Despite it being a huge advancement over a typewriter, its technological capabilities were limited. Printing anything took years, as it printed by literally typing out everything on the screen (and to print out an entire book took about six ink cartridges). It did take 3.5 disks though, which I saved tons and tons of stories on. I can no longer access those disks because the files on them can’t be read by newer technology. Nevertheless, I wrote many stories and books on it and submitted them to magazines and contests. I even got a short story published. I also had a ‘laptop’ word processor, but I didn’t have a printer to hook it up to so I mostly wrote fan fiction on it.

And then, in 2000, we got our first desktop computer. Oh, the ease of writing! The technology! The mountains of stories and books I wrote and submitted and had rejected! Truly astounding. The internet also enabled me to become a hugely popular fan fiction author, which is where I cut my writing teeth to full sharpness (I won’t tell you the fandom or my screen name, to spare my dignity, but there’s a few friends who read this whom I actually met through that writing).

And then on to laptops, eventually. With each new machine came better technology and a better version of Word. Just recently, I replaced my old laptop because I’d had it nearly four years and it was getting to the point it was usable, but not very efficient. Kind of like that one light switch in your house that’s wired backwards so you have to turn it off to turn it on, or the toilet handle you always have to jiggle. It’s comfortable and you know the workaround by heart, but why not fix the issue and do it without the unnecessary jumping through hoops and voodoo spells you have to cast to make it work right?

My new laptop types beautifully, has more memory, better graphics, more storage, and Word 2016 runs as smooth as butter, the words just flowing from my fingertips onto the screen like the technology is right inside my head. I’ve come all this way from pounding sticky keys and cramping my hand with a pen and notebook. Do I miss the old ways? No, not at all. But nostalgia isn’t always about wishing you could do something the hard way again.

How have your writing tools evolved?

Regenerate by Sarita Leone

Today I’m hosting Sarita Leone and her paranormal romantic suspense, Regenerate. Sarita is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! Today’s excerpt from her novel is an EXCLUSIVE–as will be all stops on the tour, so make sure to check out the other dates for more!

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!


The Octopus isn’t an urban myth—and its agents are anything but ordinary. The intelligence bureau is so well-hidden most doubt its existence. A handful know its location. And fewer walk the halls in the subterranean compound.

Benjamin Sinclair didn’t ask to be a scientific miracle but every mission has its risks and one perfectly-placed bullet ended his life—for a brief moment in time.

Nicole Anima battles demons every day. Life as a paranormal resources operative gives her tortured mind a rest—and keeps her from contemplating her own death.

When Anima and Sinclair partner on a globe-trotting race to eliminate the threat about to cripple humanity, all hell breaks loose. Leaping from planes, crashing into continents, dealing with voodoo priestesses, and running through jungles with zombies hot on their trail doesn’t leave much time for romance, but this duo somehow manages to sizzle.

Two agents. Telepathic mind paired with regenerated commando. One world—and a mission to save it.


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

“He’s no man,” she whispered.

Sinclair and the rest of the zombie operatives would never be acceptable in her eyes. She had no idea how many there were and didn’t intend to ask. One was too many as far as she was concerned. To have any of them called a man was unbearable.

All traces of lightness vanished from the voice coming through the phone.

“No time to split hairs. What he is—or isn’t—isn’t important. What does matter is getting both your asses in here as fast as possible. And, like it or not—and I know just which side of the fence you’re on—you will work with Sinclair.”

“No.” One last stand, just because she could.

“Refusal is not an option. Am I understood, Agent Anima?”

She didn’t have to answer because, in the end, they both knew the truth. Refusal wasn’t an option.

She tapped the screen with her fingertip. She put the cell back into the cupboard and closed the door. The security system engaged the instant the wooden panel shut.

Nicole headed for the bathroom. Time to take a two-minute shower, jump into some clothes and grab a firearm before an escort arrived to deliver her to headquarters. No more, no less.

She’d apply minimal makeup on the plane. If there weren’t a pile of documents demanding her perusal, she’d get some sleep. It would probably be the last hours of peace she’d experience in the foreseeable future.


BUY LINK:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarita Leone is an award-winning author who has written romance in many forms including Regency, paranormal, and contemporary. She loves happily-ever-afters in any setting!

When she’s not writing, Ms. Leone spends her time hiking, learning languages, and traveling. She loves adventure and can pack a suitcase, grab her passport, and hit the road in less time than it takes to peel an apple!

Website: http://www.saritaleone.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarita.leone

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen

Today I’m hosting Stephanie R. Sorensen and her historical steampunk, Toru: Wayfarer Returns. Stephanie is giving away a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! Stephanie is also here today to give us an interview!

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!


INTERVIEW WITH STEPHANIE R. SORENSEN

Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?

As a writer, I spend a great deal of time imagining myself as someone else. Many someone elses! I enjoy getting inside the heads of my characters and imagining their interactions and feelings. One of the main delights in both writing and reading for me is being someone else for a while. For example, I’ve always wanted to go into space, but I’m exceedingly nearsighted and not the most athletic pencil in the box, so that dream goes into the “Highly Unlikely” category. Flying all the way to Mars in such a realistic way was marvelous, thanks to author Andrew Weir through his protagonist in “The Martian,” all without actual risk of death.

However, I’ve never wanted to be someone else permanently. In fact, my very first essay, written in first grade as a sentence completion exercise, consisted of the following: “When I grow up, I want to be me.” I can still remember gravely pondering other options, along with various career paths and identities, and rejecting them all in favor of essential me-ness. I did want to be an elf, but my elders explained that was not an option.

What did you do on your last birthday?

My husband and I drove 500 miles each way to pick up a puppy. She was my birthday present. A little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a ruby and white Blenheim. She is outgoing and energetic and loves demanding attention during writing sessions. She also enjoys hunting butterflies.

What part of the writing process do you dread?

That point about two thirds of the way through the first draft. You are out in the middle of the rushing river of writing with the rope of the core story line held between your teeth, swimming like crazy to reach the opposite shore and the dry land of a first draft. But you are weary, and the finish line is still far away, and the idea that seemed so great when you started is now the stupidest idea a human brain ever invented. All comfort (“You can fix it on the re-write!”) seems hollow and empty and you are possessed by overwhelming urges to caulk the cracks on your unreachable second story window frames or take up the study of Tibetan. It is misery.

My husband is a recording engineer, and he finds that same moment with his rock bands when they come up to track their albums. They lay down rough cuts of each song, which is fun and lively, but then they have to go in and repeat recordings until they have a really strong performance of each song so they can move on to the mix stage. (“Editing” for music.) At some point, they are sick of all their songs, hate their album and just want to be done, but they are not done. He tells them, “You wanted to swim the English Channel, and you trained and prepared and now you are in the water, two thirds of the way across. You cannot give up now. Keep going. France is out there. Now play it again.”

So I guess it is a universal point in the creative process. I just mutter to myself, “France is out there. Keep writing.” I get a lot of laundry and dusting done until I can summon the courage to start up again.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I don’t suffer from writer’s block exactly, but I do suffer from a busy life and lots of people who want me to do things with them and for them. I like them, and theoretically want to be a good person who helps others, but I get filled with purple rage when I’ve planned a writing day and something comes up. I’m getting better at defending my time, but I can lose whole days because someone interrupted me or wanted a meeting in the middle of a planned writing session. It’s not really writer’s block, for if I know I have an uninterrupted patch of time ahead of me, the writing usually flows pretty well, but if I know I will be disturbed, I cannot get down to work. I need to solve this so I can use smaller chunks of time to write, but for the moment it’s a real problem for me.

Tell us about your latest release.

“Tōru: Wayfarer Returns” is a story about a young man in 1850s Japan who wants to save his country from encroaching Western powers. It’s got a lot of real Japanese history and culture and figures in it, but it’s an alternate history flavored with hints of steampunk and a sweet romance. Basically revolutionary samurai with dirigibles take on foreign invaders. I love Japan and lived there for several years, so the story is a way of sharing that experience with others, wrapped up in an adventure story. It’s more New Adult or Adult than teen YA. The story and characters are pretty upbeat and earnest, so not a good fit for fans of dark dystopias, horror, erotica or violent action-adventure. Historical fiction and historical fantasy fans interested in Japan enjoy it quite a bit.

Thanks for the interview, Stephanie!


A nation encircled by enemies

A noblewoman with everything to lose

A fisherman with everything to prove and a nation to save.

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures.

Tōru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Tōru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come.

Recognition for “Toru: Wayfarer Returns”
— Finalist, Fantasy category, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
— Bronze Medal Award, Multicultural Fiction category, 2016 eLit Book Awards

Kirkus review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/stephanie-r-sorensen/toru/
Historical Novel Society review: https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/toru-wayfarer-returns-sakura-steam-series-book-1/


EXCERPT:

“Rather than argue with them, you should invite them to make the first flight with you,” said Takamori. “At first they will agree, since it is their place as the leaders. Everyone is very excited about the dirigibles. Set the time and place for the first flight. Jiro should explain that is not a good time because of the wind or something technical that needs testing first. You argue with Jiro and perhaps even scold him for impertinence in front of the daimyōs.”

“Yes, I am often scolded for impertinence,” said Jiro. “I have a talent for it, you know.”

“Indeed you do,” said Tōru. He saw where Takamori was going. “Then they notice the risks and uncertainties…and they ask me if it is safe. I tell them honestly that we have no idea if it is safe or if it will work, and that we might all crash to a fiery death and therefore perhaps I should test it first myself before we endanger them.”

“And I will be impertinent again and tell you in front of them that you don’t have a clue how to fly one of these dirijibi!” Jiro finished the plan for them. “Which is also true, by the way. I know how to fly one of these, and you don’t.”

“You’ve never flown one either,” protested Tōru.

“I have built one. Almost. Soon. How many have you built?” asked Jiro, with his broad grin.

Tōru opened his mouth and closed it again.

“See? Problem solved,” said Takamori, as he pounded Tōru on the back. “We have a fine dirijibi pilot, the finest dirijibi pilot in all of Japan, our good man Jiro here.”


BUY LINK:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toru-stephanie-r-sorensen/1123110310?ean=9780996932318


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie is a writer based in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she lives at 10,251 feet with her husband, five chickens, two bantam English game hens and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. After a former life in big cities-New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston, Mexico City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Santa Fe-she now enjoys the birdsong and quiet writing time she finds in Leadville. Her first novel draws on her experience living and working in Japan; her next historical novel is set in Mexico where she also lived for several years. As a Leadville local, she likes her Victorian attire spiced with a little neo-Victorian futurism and the biggest bustle possible.

LINKS:

Website: http://stephaniersorensen.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011148014463
Publisher website: http://palantirpress.com/
Publisher Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Sassa-Margot/100010457895534
Publisher Twitter: https://twitter.com/SassaMargot
Sell sheet PDF: http://palantirpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Toru-Sell-Sheet.pdf

 

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

Multitasking For The Creative Author

For most of my writing life, I’ve been a pretty single-minded author; that is, I only work on one project at a time. Writing a book is a task that takes focus. Every day you go back to the keyboard, pick up where you left off, and continue the story. It’s a lot of mental work that can sometimes be difficult and stressful. At other times it’s a joy, of course, and that’s why we still do it. This has usually been my method: keep plodding forward on the same trail until I get to flatter, clearer ground and the going gets easier.

Lately though, I’ve decided to start trying to work on multiple projects at once. I had an idea for an interconnected series–the books aren’t dependent on each other but set in the same world–and each book is a different story. I figured I’d try writing all three at once. Well, not really at once, but at least simultaneously. My reasoning is that if I get stuck on one, or I’m not feeling a story on a certain day, I have the other stories I can work on and I’m still writing.

Is it working? Sorta.

There’s pros and cons to working on multiple things at once, and of course, those pros and cons are also based on your own writing style, the way your creativity works, and what you’ve trained your brain to do. Here’s the bad and good I’ve found so far:

Pros:

  • Keeps your brain from getting burnt out on any one idea.
  • You can remain creative even when you’re not feeling like working on something–you can still write, just switch to another project.
  • Working on one project may give you ideas to break through a block on another project.
  • It feels really productive to have so many things going at once.

Cons:

  • All the projects take longer to finish.
  • It’s harder to keep focus, since you’re often changing subjects.
  • You start to feel guilty if you pay too much attention to one project and not enough to another.
  • You need to produce more ideas.

I’m still experimenting with this, and I also know I’m working against the way my brain has always functioned when it comes to writing. Still, it gives me options when I come to the keyboard and just can’t muster the energy for a certain project. I can switch to another one I’m feeling instead, and I’m still writing. I’m still producing content.

How about you? Do you work on multiple projects at once, or can you only focus on one thing at a time?