Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rhyannon Yates Author Interview

My guest author today is Rhyannon Yates. Rhyannon began writing at the age of five with a charming story about a misunderstood girl and her pet hippo. She grew out of her pachyderm-peddling ways, and spends her time now trying to crank out the next great American fantasy novel while binge-watching Netflix.

Rhyannon lives in Florida with her husband, her cat, and her two offspring.

Here is an interview she did for our Indie Lights Book Parade.

ILBD: What inspired you to write your first book?

RY: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but Catalyst grew out of two different writing projects, one of which has early drafts that go back to my thirteen-year-old self. I was working on both projects simultaneously, and had the problem for one that I had a great antagonist, but no real problem, while for the other, I had an awesome conflict, but not defined antagonist. I ended up picking up my antagonist from one story, as well as a few of said story’s key characters, and plunking them into the world of the other.

IMBP: What book are you reading now?

RY: Abhorsen by Garth Nix. I’m rereading it for the first time in years, and I’d forgotten how much I love the Abhorsen Series. Garth Nix combines realism with fantasy so seamlessly, and the idea of stepping through the veil between life and death, and the notion of controlled versus uncontrolled magic influenced me as an author quite a bit. The more I read of his work, the more I see his influence in my own writing, which, on the one hand, is awesome, because Garth Nix is amaze-balls, but on the other, makes me wonder if I’m being too derivative or unoriginal. Reading is so stressful as an author. Sometimes you read something and think “If this nonsense can get published, I can definitely succeed!”, and other times you read things that are just genius and spend the next week in a spiral of booze and self-loathing, researching accounting school because you’ll NEVER succeed as an author.

ILBP: Do you have any advice for other writers?

RY: Not that I’m a great success (YET), but the best advice I’ve found is just to write. Life comes prepackaged with excuses. I have two young children, a nine-to-five job, volunteer responsibilities, and a marriage to maintain. Life is busy, and writing time doesn’t just present itself. Make time, and guard that time. It’s easy to blow it off and see it as expendable, but the Law of Infinite Probability notwithstanding, your novel won’t write itself.

ILBP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

RY: I feel like that is one of my biggest challenges, is that my work doesn’t really have a message. I remember that I used to get so annoyed in English class when we were supposed to dissect these works of literature to find what the author's message was. To borrow from John Green, books belong to their readers. If you read Catalyst and find a message that impacts you in a profound way, that’s awesome, and I’m glad that the book is able to mean something to you. If you read it and enjoy it and walk away without feeling like any great message was conveyed, I’m great with that, too. I’m much more into the idea of a story that stays with someone than in trying to impart anything deep and philosophical.

ILBP: What are you working on right now?

RY: I’m in the middle of writing a book called “Catalyst”, which will hopefully be ready for publication in June. It’s been a long time coming, and now that the end is in sight, I’m starting to get really excited about the future of the book, whether it will be a series or a standalone, that sort of thing. The book deals a lot with race issues, social hierarchies, and the personal effects of mental illnesses like anxiety, all set against the backdrop of this fractured world that has literally sequestered itself in a bubble, away from the rest of the universe.

ILBP: While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

RY: There are definitely pieces of myself in Levi. I’ve dealt with anxiety and panic my entire adult life, and Levi is a particularly anxious hero. Our triggers are different, but the results are the same. Levi fears change and lack of stability, where my triggers tend to fall more into the realm of the irrational. We do share several anxiety coping methods, which you can see when Levi gets really nervous, and which I didn’t really put in as a conscious “Oh yes, let’s give this character a similar anxiety tic”, but which I feel fit him well anyway.

About her book:

Two thousand years after the Schism, the borders are beginning to weaken. Wraiths are turning to dust in the streets, people are dropping dead, the chests torn open and inner organs burned away, and all Levi Keats wants to do is deliver a disciplinary summons and go home to the safety of his University office. A simple administrative duty turns perilous with the addition of a suspected murderer, a rogue border patrol agent, and the increasing possibility that prophesies of the Great Cataclysm are slightly less fictitious than previously assumed.

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

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Click here to enter

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cheri Roman author of the Rephaim series

Writing a book is difficult enough. Writing a series of books comes with its own set of problems. That is what my guest author today, Cheri Roman, discusses. Cheri is a writer, editor, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, in whatever order works best in the moment. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on the next novel in her fantasy series, Rephaim. Cheri lives with her husband and Jack, the super Chihuahua.

The Shoulda/Coulda/Woulda of Series Writing

The realization came to me, about half way through Descent, that the story I was writing couldn’t be contained inside one book. If I tried, the book was going to have to be opened with a forklift. So, I ended Descent with a sigh of satisfaction and started Quest.

By the time I finally finished Quest, all my other characters were giving me the silent treatment. I think it’s because I didn’t write their stories first. Characters can be touchy that way. Turns out they were right. I was writing the stories out of order. Now I’m finishing up Sacrifice, and I finally feel like I’m back on track. Not coincidentally, Quest will have to be completely rewritten, and another book, Illusions, has taken its place as third in the series.

So what could I have done differently from the outset that would have saved me from this dilemma?
I could have started out by deciding how many stories would be in the series and what issues would be addressed in each one. But the truth is I didn’t do that because I didn’t know that there would be more than one story.

I could have done single paragraph synopsis for each book. That way I would know what direction to take at the beginning of each tale.  However, aside from reason number one, my plots have a habit of changing as the characters shape the story. So, plot synopsis might have been helpful, but not completely effective.

I could have drawn out a story arc for each character and a series arc or plot thread that connects all the books. I did, in fact, draw out a story arc for the first book. In the end though, this wasn’t as beneficial as I had hoped. Descent’s final draft looks nothing like my original arc. I am actually working on a connecting plot thread and am pretty happy with the results so far.

I could have chosen a different theme for each book in the series. (Again. See reason one.) I may still do that, but at the moment there is the whole silent treatment thing going on.

These are all good ways to start out on a series. I definitely should have used more of them, but as you might have noticed, I didn’t and it’s a little late now. So what am I going to do? Well, first I’m going to invite all my characters to tea and apologize for not writing their story first. (I’m not really sorry. Despite the drawbacks I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way and I’m a better writer for it. But, one makes certain sacrifices in the interests of diplomacy.) After apologizing, I’m going to ask them what happens next. And then I’m going to write it down.

About her book:

Fulfilling one’s destiny requires sacrifice…

Escaping a global catastrophe, angel-human hybrid, Shahara, lands safely in Babylon with her beloved Volot, an angel with a sacred mission. But the victory is a hollow one, for the world she knew has been obliterated. Battered by the loss of her family and the denial of her most cherished dreams, Shahara’s new life begins to disintegrate as she is lured by promises of power and fulfillment into the violent, blood-soaked ambitions of a ruthless enemy. With her marriage shattered and countless lives hanging in the balance, Shahara must make a devastating choice. Can she survive her decision, or will victory require the ultimate sacrifice? By turns romantic, suspenseful and terrifying, this epic fantasy treads the knife edge of human frailty and superhuman courage.

Visit Cheri at:

Amazon author page:

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tracie Roberts - The Élan Series

Tracie Roberts is my guest today. As a creative writing teacher, she has a lot of advice for new writers. She has shared some with us. 

When I tell my students that I am an author, one of the remarks I get is, "I'm writing a story, too. Do you think I can bring it in and you take a look at it for me?" I always tell them yes because I would never want to crush a child's desire to write, but ultimately I find that the young writers just want me to praise them for simply getting something scratched out. I'm sure what they share with me is the best they can produce at the moment, but when I offer advice for improvement that's when the dejected looks come.

I have had some students take the advice I give them and improve their writing; and that's what I want to share today--some tips for first-time writers who want to go beyond a few pages of “telling” what will happen in their stories. And since I am not far removed from being a first-time writer, I'm only going to address topics I feel I can comfortably give advice on.

First, know your premise. What is the idea behind the story? What do you want to express to the reader? Where do you want the story to take the reader and where will it end? These are questions for you to answer, either before you start writing or as the story develops. For my novel ECHO, I knew I wanted the reader to consider the topic of being responsible for one's choices. I had an idea that I wanted my story to take my characters down a path that may make readers question if what is illegal is always wrong, but I didn't know how far I was willing to go to support that point. My characters did, though, and that'll be discussed later. Also, some writers feel at ease starting a story that they don't know the end to. I'm not one of them. I usually know what will be tied up at the end of one of my works, just not how. That's what I work through in outlining. And that's what I suggest to my students---know what will happen even if you can't figure out how just yet.

Plus, limiting the amount of "what" will happen keeps your story from getting out of control. When the students in my Creative Writing class were tasked with drafting a short story based on a picture they were given, some of the stories they came up with got out of hand. I had to constantly remind my students that they had a limit of ten pages. Most of them said, "Oh, I can write all that in less than ten. Don't worry." What I got was "tellings" of stories, not actual stories. I had trouble with letting my story get out of hand when I first started writing. The two novels I have out now, ECHO and BLUR, (plus the third, BOUND, coming out in May) were originally just one book. I realized as I was writing that there were too many ideas to cover in just one novel, so I broke the story up into two, then three, books. The pacing is better in each novel and no major plot point is rushed in any of the books. So, limiting the number of big events (or plot twists) to a couple or three, even in a novel, helps keep a writer focused on the premise.

Second, know your characters. What makes your character tick? What does a normal day for him look like? What are his hopes, fears, dreams. etc.? Again, questions that, when fully answered, are most helpful in truly representing your characters in all their brilliance and flaws. When I taught Creative Writing for two years, I assigned my students a character biography sheet and a list of interview questions to answer in order to understand their characters and motivations. I've included links here and here to a couple of good ones, but a Google search will also pull up useful bio sheets and questionnaires. Should you complete this for every character in your story? I didn't for ECHO, but I later found myself creating sketches on Scrivener for most of the characters in my series and adding traits as they manifested while writing BLUR and the novella, Whispers.

Third, know yourself. Are you willing to put in the effort to write this story? Are you comfortable with the topics you'll be exploring? Are you afraid of hurting others with or being embarrassed by this story? Most people don't want to "write" a novel/story, they want to "have written" one, because face it, writing is tough! I know. It took me five years to finally start The Elan Series, and seven years to publish my first book, ECHO. Now, I find that ideas for stories just come to me, usually as a single line or thought that pops into my head and I get frustrated that I don’t have enough time to get to them all.

And some of the topics are taboo. When I wrote ECHO, I found myself asking, “What will my mom or my husband think of me writing about illicit relationships or witchcrft? Will they be upset?” What I realized is that, though I don’t want to hurt my family, I can’t dishonor myself, my gift, or my story by not telling it. Still, even I shy away from certain topics. I can’t write erotica or horror, but it has more to do with my comfort level than whether I believe those genres should be written or shared. As writers, though, we must push ourselves to explore edgy topics but still feel okay with ourselves for doing it.

As a debut author, these are my suggestions to new writers just starting out: understand your premise, really get to know your characters, and be aware of what you can and will do to get your story out there. You'll never know if you've got what it takes until you try.Keep reading to find out about her books.

He’s the one she’s been dreaming of…

Tara McAllister has her life figured out: graduate from college, get a job teaching at her old high school, and find a boyfriend that won’t care that she’s a practicing witch. Everything is falling into place…until the visions begin. Tara’s practice has given her a gift--she sees the future. And for her, it includes a gorgeous man that she’s never met but definitely knows. She can feel it. Now all she has to do is find him.

…but is he the one she’s destined to be with?

Derek Williams just wants to get by. He goes to school, works to help support his family, and enjoys the occasional party with his friends—as long as his gift doesn’t create a ruckus. Derek is an empath, born to feel what others feel and able to change their emotions with a touch. His inherited gift comes with an added benefit—the ability to find his soul mate, the one person he’s meant to be with. And he’s found her; he just has to convince her of their connection.
As their relationship heats up and their abilities grow stronger, Tara and Derek must overcome the objection of family and friends, the advances of former flames, and a secret that could ruin them both—if their love is to survive.


Tara McAllister has come to terms with her soul mate being underage and a student in her class. She knows that it’s illegal, but legalities are inconsequential where the heart’s concerned. The soul deep connection that drew them together over the summer has strengthened. Just as she feels comfortable enough to dream about a future with her élan, a tragic accident threatens to rip her happiness from her grasp.

Derek Williams chose to pursue the one woman who made his whole existence worthwhile, despite the fact that she was older and his English teacher. Once he convinces her that they are meant to be with each other, he finally feels at peace planning their future together. Then one night and one misstep jeopardize everything they’ve built and fought for.

Tara and Derek’s love story—the story that explores the balance between what’s right and what matters—continues in BLUR, Book 2 in The Élan Series.

BLUR will be available in February through Amazon. Click on the covers to order your copies today.

Visit Tracie at:

Website –
Facebook – tracie.roberts13

Twitter - @tracie_roberts

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Thanks to our wonderful parade authors we've got fantastic swag baskets for three awesome winners! Prizes include ebooks, gift cards and fun!

Remember, winning is as easy as visiting, clicking or commenting--easy to enter; easy to win!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Once Again" and "Only One Way Home" by Deborah Heal

My guest author today is Deborah Heal. She has visited with me before. She has a new book out and wants to share it with all of you. Make sure you keep reading all the way to the bottom where there's a link to enter a raffle and win some great prizes!

There were several things I really liked about these books, one of which was the history element. My parents instilled a love of history and me that I have yet to outgrow. In both of these books historical facts abound.

Meredith Randall is a history professor with a secret weapon. A computer program, gone awry, allows her to witness history firsthand and she brings the reader right along with her. However, Meredith get so excited about her fines, that she has trouble not letting others know exactly how she got her info on Illinois history and genealogical history for her clients.

One of her clients, Brett Garrison, is interested in winning history, but must tread lightly around his fellow professor. He has a feeling she has a secret of her own that she has no desire to reveal.

Merrideth Randall’s day job is teaching history at McKendree College. But after hours she turns to her first love, historical research. And she has a tool other historians can only dream of—a computer program that rewinds time!
 Merrideth makes a virtual visit to the 1780s, hoping to be the first to locate Fort Piggot. Along the way, she gets a first-hand look at the lives of the courageous pioneers of the Illinois Country, who withstood Indian attacks, hardship, and loneliness to settle the rich land.

One of the settlers is James Garretson, who risks his life to take the Gospel to the very tribe that wreaked havoc on his family. Merrideth is amazed that he could forgive a crime so huge. Hero or fool, James Garretson is the ancestor of her colleague Brett, a physics professor at McKendree College.

With her findings, Merrideth is able to help Brett with his genealogy, but she can’t tell him everything she learned—like that he inherited his black hair and green eyes from James Garretson, or that his aunt’s poetry is eerily similar to the verse Garretson’s wife Isabelle used to compose at her spinning wheel.

Brett has rock-star status on campus, but amazingly enough, he seems to be pursuing Merrideth—in spite of her firm policy against dating co-workers. She would love to tell him about her amazing program, but discretion is not his strong suite. She has secrets about herself that she’d just as soon he didn’t find out either. But one virtue Brett does have is patience, and he’s quite willing to wait for Merrideth to figure things out.

Professor Merrideth Randall’s latest after-hours genealogy consulting gig takes her and friends Abby and John to the small southern Illinois town of Golconda on the Ohio River. She expects to have to research the old-fashioned way at the courthouse. But thankfully, her client’s ancestor Matthias Frailey once hung out in Golconda’s ancient Ferry House Inn, and that means Beautiful Houses, Merrideth’s time-rewinding software, will work after all.

It doesn’t take Merrideth and her friends long to time-surf back to find out what they need to know about Matthias Frailey and his family. But when they become eyewitnesses to the arrival of the Cherokee on the Golconda Ferry on December 3, 1838, they cannot tear their eyes away from the tragedy that unfolds—nor from Matthias Frailey’s heroic response to it. The people are herded down Main Street on their Trail of Tears, bound for the Oklahoma Country, while the townsfolk only watch, or even cheer. But not Matthias Frailey. He does what he can to help them, especially a very spirited—and very pregnant—woman named White Dove who insists on walking so others may ride in the wagons.

Spending so much time inside Matthias’ head, Merrideth has no doubt that he is the kind, selfless man he appears to be. It’s impossible not to fall a little in love with him—despite the fact that he lived in another century. Meanwhile, in the here and now, handsome Golconda historian Aaron Landis is doggedly pursuing her. And back home her McKendree College colleague Brett Garrison keeps calling while he waits for her return. But are they—or any man—worthy of her trust? Too bad there isn’t a way to time-surf in their heads. Now that would be a dating tool she could really put to good use.

If these books sound like something you would enjoy, click on the covers to go to Amazon to make your purchase.

Connect with Deborah

Facebook Author Page:

Here's the link to enter the giveaway. The more entries you have, the better your chances are of winning.

Monday, February 23, 2015

David Edmonds - "Lily of Peru"

My guest today is David C. Edmonds, a former Marine, Peace Corps Volunteer, Senior Fulbright Professor of Economics, academic dean and U.S. government official with long experience in Latin America. He's the author, editor or ghostwriter of seven other books, including the award-winning Yankee Autumn in Acadiana. Dr. Edmonds grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi and studied at Mississippi Southern, L.S.U., Notre Dame, Georgetown, George Washington and American University. He currently lives in lovely Tarpon Springs, FL with his wife Maria.

About his book:

Markus goes to war-torn Peru for one reason: to take home the woman he's loved since his Peace Corps days—Marisa with the long dark hair and sparkling blue eyes. But when he arrives in Lima, he's confronted by a general with a subpoena, agents with guns, and the startling accusation that she's a key figure in one of the most bizarre terrorist movements in the world.

And they want his help in bringing her to justice.

Markus is stunned. Is she the Marisa of his dreams, or is she the bomb-throwing terrorist on her wanted posters? The truth lies somewhere down the road, and nothing is going to stop him from finding it—not the soldiers who dog his every step, not the terrorists who think he's on their side, and not the hostile natives and witches who chase him through the eastern jungles.

If this sounds like something you'd like to read, just click on the cover to go to Amazon.

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Thanks to our wonderful parade authors we've got fantastic swag baskets for three awesome winners! Prizes include ebooks, gift cards and fun!

Remember, winning is as easy as visiting, clicking or commenting--easy to enter; easy to win!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Song of the Week - "God Hears"

This is an emotional roller coaster of a week for me. I don’t usually talk about it, and I don’t plan to today. There are days in all of our lives where we just need comfort from God. I know so many people who are going through so many different situations in their lives right now. We all need to know that God hears.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Romans 8:26-27. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” These verses have helped me through many difficult days.

The Song of the Week is actually a new song to me, but it is exactly what I needed to hear. God hears me and I don’t even have to say a word.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Jaima Fixsen, author of historical romance novel "Incognita"

Jilted and faced with returning to the battlefields of Spain, Captain Alistair Beaumaris is quite sure his life can’t get any worse. Then he mistakes a perfectly respectable widow for a female of a much more interesting variety, and discovers he was wrong—on both counts. 

Incognita is the second book in the Fairchild series, which chronicles an aristocratic family in Regency England. The first book, Fairchild, tells the story of Sophy, Lord Fairchild’s illegitimate daughter, who must carve her way through a world that has no place for her. Incognita, the second book, follows Sophy’s rejected suitor, a Captain in the British army during the peninsular war: his unconventional love story and the complex web of relationships in the Fairchild family. 

Here’s letter from the conflicted and lonely Lady Fairchild, not included in the novel, that she writes (but is too proud to send!) to Sophy, her estranged step-daughter, in the midst of Alistair’s troubles. 

From the correspondence of Lady Fairchild

Dear Sophy, 

I’ve written you so many letters I can hardly close my desk—they slide over each other, ramming against the top of the drawer—but I never send them so they sit here, getting battered about the corners. I’ve started even more that I can’t finish, and they end up in the fire. 

It shouldn’t be this hard. What I want to say is, I’m sorry. For not loving you from the first, when you lost your mother and came to my home, and then, when you became like a daughter to me, for not loving you well. I should have listened, when you told me you loved Tom and couldn’t marry Alistair. I just wanted to keep you close and see you settled happily. Alistair seemed the best chance for both. 
Now I’m less certain. He was broken hearted for a week or two, but now he’s tangled up with a Widow with Problems. I don’t see it ending well at all. He feels though, more than you think. It’s a sad tangle. 

Are you happy with Tom? Is he good to you? It’s hard, imagining you married to a stranger. I wish I knew how you are faring, that I’d listened, and held your hand as you drove to church for your wedding. The chance for that is gone, but if I could convince you that I only ever had your best interests at heart…I’d like to see you, in your home, with your new husband. I’d like to be your friend, if you will let me. I’m not good at apologies, or at starting over, but I want to try. 

Is Tom kind? Does he smile at you and tell you to stay off high-tempered horses? I hope you listen. You’ve had enough scrapes of that kind. 

London is empty with you gone. I miss you. 

With affection,


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

James DiBenedetto - "Dream Student"

My guest author today is James DiBenedetto, author of Dream Student. Want to learn more about him? Keep on reading.

1. What inspired you to write your first book?

DREAM STUDENT came from asking a simple question.  Why, in most mystery stories, do average people try to solve a crime or catch a killer themselves, when most normal people would do the sane thing and just call the police?
I tried to come up with an answer, and what I thought of was: maybe they wouldn’t go to the police if the only evidence was in their heads.  If they saw the crime through the eyes of the killer, and that was the only proof they had.  If they saw it in the dreams of the killer.  So there was the idea: if you could see someone else’s dreams, and that person was committing crimes, what could you do about it?  You’d have no physical proof, the police would never believe you.  You’d have to start investigating yourself, if you wanted to stop them.
Sara, the main character of DREAM STUDENT, came into being along with that idea, and so did the college setting of the book.

2. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The actual story of DREAM STUDENT (and the rest of the Dream Series) is not based on real people or events, but the background settings and some of the minor characters definitely are.  In DREAM STUDENT, Sara attends a (very thinly) fictionalized version of my college; the apartment building she lives in in book four, DREAM FAMILY, is basically the building I lived in when I moved down to Washington, DC, and so forth.

3. What book are you reading now?

I’m finishing my yearly re-read of my favorite novel ever, “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin.

4. What are your current projects?

I’m working on the latest book in the Dream Series. This is the ninth book, and it’s called SHATTERED DREAM. I hope to have it released by the end of April.

5. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Absolutely. Every time I read my work over, I see things I would change. But I think every author feels that way. Leonardo Da Vinci said it best – “art is never finished, only abandoned.”

6. Who designed the covers? 

The original covers for my first six books were hand-painted by a local artist who also was the head graphic designer at my old employer, Ami Low. She did a fantastic job, and gave me exactly what I wanted. But unfortunately, what I wanted was not what readers in my genre were looking for. So I had to change the covers, and the new covers were designed by Emma Michaels (, who’s also done an amazing job.

7. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

Not exactly. What I feel like, sometimes, is that the characters are actual people, and I’m only passing on the stories that I’ve heard from them, rather than creating them myself.

You can visit James at: (Facebook)

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

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Remember, winning is as easy as visiting, clicking or commenting--easy to enter; easy to win!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Song of the Week - I Can Only Imagine

When I was a child I used to wonder what heaven would be like, at least until my friend’s mother told me not to even try and imagine. That may sound like a harsh thing to say to a child, but it also makes sense at the same time. We really cannot imagine what heaven will be like. The Bible does give us some clues, but I’m sure our finite minds can’t comprehend it.

This week I want you to dwell on heaven; not wondering necessarily what everything will look like, but simply meditating on the Savior and worshiping Him.

Stacy Claflin, author of "Gone"

Stacy Claflin, author of Gone, is my guest author today. She loves writing and reading a variety of genres. She's been writing and telling stories as long as she can remember. As a kid, her story telling would get her into trouble when she would try to convince other kids that her stories were real.
When she's not busy writing, she spends a lot of time with her family. She runs a preschool from home and homeschools her kids.

About her book:

Macy Mercer only wants a little independence. Eager to prove herself grown up, she goes to a dark, secluded park. She’s supposed to meet the boy of her dreams who she met online. But the cute fifteen year old was a fantasy, his pictures fake. She finds herself face to face with Chester Woodran, a man capable of murder.

Distraught over his own missing daughter, Chester insists that Macy replace his lost girl. He locks Macy up, withholds food, and roughs her up, demanding that she call him dad. Under duress from his constant threats and mind games, her hold on reality starts to slip. Clinging to her memories is the only way of holding onto her true identity, not believing that she is Chester’s daughter. Otherwise she may never see her family again.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. In Gone, the main character is a teenager who sneaks off to meet a boy she met online. After she meets him, Macy realizes that he isn’t who he pretended to be. It’s too late though, because she can’t get away.
She’s ripped away from her family and everything she loves. Though she struggles to get away, her captor has thought everything out thoroughly.
The message I want readers to get is that you should never meet with someone you met online alone. Be safe and smart about it. I also want parents who read this to realize how important it is to know what their kids are doing online.

How much of the book is realistic?

I tried to make it as realistic as possible. I read about several true kidnappings so that I had a good idea about what the captors did and how the kids felt. Even though it’s completely fictitious, I believe the events could happen in real life.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

It was somewhat emotionally traumatic writing about a girl being kidnapped. I actually had to take a month or two break from writing it because I was experience physical and emotional stress from writing and researching.

After my break, I was able to finish without any more issues. It’s a sensitive subject, so it makes sense that being so close to the subject matter would be upsetting. I think it would have been more concerning if I hadn’t reacted in some way.

What are your current projects?

I always have multiple projects going at any given time. I’m writing a story that is an offshoot of the Gone books. This one is about a side character who discovers that her life is in danger.
I’m also editing a book from another series. It’s a paranormal romance – quite different from my suspense novels!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have a lot because I’ve learned so much as an author. A few of my top tips:

-Learn from successful authors. Follow their blogs, listen to their podcasts, join online groups, and do anything else you can to find out their secrets.

-Always educate yourself on the craft of writing. Ask for constructive criticism, read blogs and books on the topic, join critique groups…use your imagination!

-Treat it like a profession even if you have a day job. If you act like it’s only a hobby, that’s all it will ever be. I consider it my second job, and treat it as such.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading The Fault In Our Stars. It’s time to pick up something from my large to-be-read pile!

Here's an excerpt from her book. If you want to pick up a copy, simply click on the cover

Sitting in his warm truck across from the park, Chester Woodran watched her walk across the open field. An overhead light turned on as she passed under it in the dusk. Her long, dark hair swished back and forth behind her. She wandered around the playground, walking between the climbers and slides until she stopped in front of the swings.

He had spent hours watching her. Studying her. He knew her almost better than she knew herself.
The moment of truth would arrive soon. She’d come a few minutes early, but he wouldn’t deviate from the schedule. He would act exactly on time. He’d laid the groundwork. He wasn’t going to let her change a thing.

Chester pulled out his phone and scrolled through the pictures, stopping at his favorite. It was the girl in the park for sure, although he couldn’t see the details of her face up close yet. He would have to wait a few minutes.

From the phone, her light brown eyes shone at him. Her shy, almost insecure face smiled sweetly.
His heart sped up at the thought of many weeks of work coming together at long last. The waiting was about to end.

Clenching the steering wheel with all his might, he took several deep breaths to calm himself. Every precaution had been taken. Prepared with painstaking care. There was no chance of anything going wrong so long as he stayed with the plan.

The alarm on his digital wristwatch beeped. He turned it off and then leaned back into the seat, adjusting his over-sized glasses

It was time.

You an visit Stacy:

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Lisa Buie-Collard - "THE SEVENTH MAN"

My guest author today is Lisa Buie-Collard author of "THE SEVENTH MAN". If you like mysteries/thrillers, you might want to put her books on your TBR list.

She is a writer, mother, wife, sister, and daughter. She's been a server, dental assistant, teacher, journalist, and gardener. She loves to travel and speak French. She's from north Florida, but now abide in Georgia where she writes full time and has completed six novels. "Writing is life, life is writing…"

She has generously given you an excerpt from her new book. I hope you enjoy!

Daybreak would come too soon, if the storm didn’t swallow it. “You will go first. Don’t walk on the ledge. Lean in toward the building and ignore those poor excuses for railing,” he said to her. “I’ll be right behind you, and don’t look down. From up here the landing would be unkind.”
“I don’t want to go out there.”
“I know. But we have no choice. Now, go now.”
She scooted out the window, turned to face him, and stretched her feet to find the foot space inside the ledge. He held her arms as she clung to the windowsill until she said, “I found it.” Her voice wavered, but she didn’t panic.
He guided her to one side, before he twisted out and down, finding the thin space easily.
“There’s nothing to hold on to,” she said. This time her voice shook, and she reached for one of the feeble railings.
“Don’t touch the railing. Lean in toward the building.”
“I can’t do this!’
“Yes, you can.” He moved beside her and shifted until his arm encircled her back. They made it to the next window without having to climb a security wall, but this was a large building and he knew what it would take, on his own, to get to the edge of it. She had flattened herself and continued inching along. He tried not to hurry her as they moved across the cold and clammy all-but-vertical roof tiles, on their toes in the slight indent given them. The front of his jeans soon stiffened with damp, and the ground was a long way off. They had to make it to the end of the building. There, he knew a way down to the one-story shops fronting Kennington Lane. No other option existed. Escape was a given.
They hit the first divider. “We have to get over the security wall,” he told her.
“I can’t!”
“I will push you up.” He balanced himself and pulled off his coat.
“No, we can’t do this, we’ll fall.”
He took her chin in hand and stared through the dark at her. “We will do this. There is no other way.”
“Leave me. Leave me and I won’t say anything.”
“I’ll not leave you up here alone. I’ll get you to safety, but you must do as I tell you. All right?”
“Do as I say anyway.”
She did. His plan worked more or less perfectly, and when they made it over the second one her movements became more confident.
They passed the fourth divider before he heard the helicopters. He glanced at the clouds overhead. Where was that snow? Hell, he’d be happy for rain. Beggars couldn’t be choosers and all that. Staring at her short-cropped head of hair in front of him, and knowing they had at least one more wall, he made a decision. “Let me by. We must make that wall before the ’copters arrive.”
She flattened herself as best she could. He stepped around her, holding his breath, not looking toward the ground. Ignoring all the space to his right, he raced to the partition and turned, his hand outstretched to help her.
She stood right where he’d left her, wild-eyed and stiff, as if turned to stone. The ’copters sounded louder, closer. He guessed that in less than a minute, bright searchlights would pin them, like dead moths on a collector’s board. He couldn’t leave her to tell all, and he couldn’t kill her from this distance. He’d counted on her confusion, her trepidation at the height and slant of the roof. The instant he started toward her, she twisted away, trying to head back the way they’d come. Perhaps because of the policemen below, her fear of him seemed greater than her fear of her precarious position. Damn her fear, or was it bravery? He knew what would happen, and it did. In her haste, she teetered off balance, and grabbed for the flimsy pipe rail. It gave instantly, bending under her slight weight, and over she went.

Her first novel, EVANGELINE’S MIRACLE, might also be of interest to you.

Genre: mystery
Evangeline didn’t know she was waiting for a miracle, until one found her.
A grieving ghost, an unsolved mystery, a lost child, a broken marriage, and an estranged mother and daughter. Can one young woman find the answer to the mystery before yet another tragedy strikes?
In 1878 Lady Miracle Sobieski dies a sad, broken-hearted aristocrat. Yet her restless spirit reaches through time to a particular young woman to try and avert a mysterious legacy of tragedy.
In 2001 Evangeline Lacroix loves her husband to distraction. But her unspoken fears strain their three-year marriage to the breaking point. As her life falls apart, Evie finds herself compelled to solve the 100 year-old mystery. Elusive and sometimes dangerous clues entangle her in an intricate web of deceit and disaster that threatens everything she’s ever known. As time runs out, she discovers a connection between herself and the haunted ghost.

Will Evie ignore her life-long fears and listen to the past? Will she save Miracle, and in so doing save herself, before tragedy strikes again?

Click on either of her covers to purchase her books.

You can visit Lisa:

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Thanks to our wonderful parade authors we've got fantastic swag baskets for three awesome winners! Prizes include ebooks, gift cards and fun!

Remember, winning is as easy as visiting, clicking or commenting--easy to enter; easy to win!