Monday, August 21, 2017

Interview with John Herrick, BEAUTIFUL MESS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Del Corwyn hasn’t had a hit film since his Academy Award nomination 40 years ago. He’s desperate to return to the spotlight but teeters on bankruptcy. Del is a forgotten legend—until, while combing through personal memorabilia, he discovers an original screenplay written by his once-close friend, Marilyn Monroe, who named Del as its legal guardian. The news goes viral. Suddenly, Del skyrockets to the A-list and has a chance to revive his career—if he’s willing to sacrifice his friend’s memory and reputation along the way.

Beautiful Mess is a humorous coming-of-age story about a 78-year-old man who lives in his own fictional world. The novel incorporates lesser-known facts about Marilyn Monroe and imagines the further impact she might have made on pop culture if her life hadn’t reached an abrupt end.

Check out the book trailer! You can find it at my website,

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
I’ve had a minor issue evolve into a major one. My novel From the Dead centered around Jesse Barlow, a preacher’s son who left home to pursue a career in California. Things go south for Jesse, and after a suicide attempt, he returns home to make amends, conduct some serious self-reflection, and find a way to emerge from his father’s shadow. When I first identified the concept, the preacher’s son aspect was just a fact, the launching point for the novel. I didn’t plan to dig into the details of Jesse’s faith. But as I planned the book, I realized I couldn’t do his story justice without introducing a faith element to it, because it would have represented such a significant part of who he is. So From the Dead became mainstream fiction with a strong religious bent. That made marketing the book much more difficult because people will attack you from both sides, but many other readers recognize the intended balance.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I would never be opposed to a major press. However, I love the benefits of the small indie route I’m on right now. I have the opportunity not only to write, but to stay involved in all aspects of the project, from creative to marketing to analytics. In a way, I get to be a creative director, but I’m surrounded by people who are much better at making particular aspects happen. You can’t beat experience like that. So if I ever sign with a New York house, I have a working knowledge of each team member’s role, which will help me collaborate and communicate. When your team fires on all cylinders and you collaborate well, the product ends up so much stronger. Many people underestimate the value of recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and their end-product suffers for it.

How involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
One of the benefits of working with a smaller indie press is that your involvement is welcome. My professional background is a blend of creative, IT, analytics, project management, and marketing, so I tend to collaborate well. Although my involvement with the Beautiful Mess cover design was limited, I’ve found the artwork for all my past books myself. I think that’s because, as the writer, I know not only what the novel contains, but what it doesn’t contain—the “why” factors that motivate the characters but don’t get included in the manuscript. So I can sense when an image resonates with the story. But to date, I have written all the copy for my books—years ago, I wrote ad copy for radio, which helped prepare me for that. Nothing goes to waste.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
You know, I’ve never tried a critique group. I’m wary of getting input on a novel until the first draft is complete, because well-intended comments at the wrong time can dishearten a writer. You NEED criticism—you can’t improve as a writer without it—but you don’t need it too early. You can always make your draft better, so I focus on planning the story and getting the words on the page. Once the first draft is completed, I have a few people who read the drafts and are willing to give me honest feedback, even if it’s harsh.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I usually have a playlist going. For Beautiful Mess, I listened to several film scores, which was a first for me. Since it’s a romantic comedy, most of the scores were lighthearted and fun, such as The Intern, Finding Neverland, It’s Complicated, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I need a detailed plan. Most of my stories begin with a 50-100 page sketch, a miniature version of the novel. In fact, it’s so detailed, I lift some dialogue blocks from it verbatim! But it’s the only way I’ve found I can complete a project. I need a road map. That’s where my years working in the IT world helped—I developed discipline, troubleshooting skills, and project management experience. The key to my first novel was pretending the book was a 9-month software implementation project, and creating a project plan, including time estimates and milestones. Whatever works!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the publishing arena?
Never give up! Ever. The best things in life, the most substantive achievements, take YEARS (not months) to come to fruition. So if you want to develop a high-quality reputation as a writer, determine to put in the years of effort. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Oh my word, I adore my little niece and nephews. Perhaps the greatest honor of my life is being Uncle John, and one of the greatest privileges is getting to treasure those kids. We have so much fun together, and it’s amazing to watch their personalities develop year by year.

What’s next for you?
I have another romantic comedy ready to go in late 2018. For the latest on my work, feel free to check out my website, You’ll find my Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads links there, too. Hearing from people is such a privilege. I read and try to reply to everything I receive.

Thanks so much for letting me stop by!


A fallen star. Four Los Angeles misfits.
And the Marilyn Monroe you only thought you knew.

Del Corwyn is an aging relic. An actor who advanced from errand boy to Academy Award nominee, Del kept company with the elite of Hollywood’s golden era and shared a close friendship with Marilyn Monroe. Today, however, he faces bankruptcy.

Humiliated, Del is forced to downgrade his lifestyle, sell the home he's long cherished, and fade into a history of forgotten legends—unless he can revive his career. All he needs is one last chance. While searching through memorabilia from his beloved past, Del rediscovers a mysterious envelope, dated 1962, containing an original screenplay by Marilyn Monroe—and proof that she named him its legal guardian.

Del surges to the top of Hollywood’s A-list overnight. But the opportunity to reclaim his fame and fortune brings a choice: Is Del willing to sacrifice newfound love, self-respect and his most cherished friendship to achieve his greatest dream?

A story of warmth, humor and honesty, Beautiful Mess follows one man's journey toward love and relevance where he least expects it—and proves coming-of-age isn't just for the young.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Blast: THE DEVIL'S ASSISTANT series by H D Smith

Dark Hope (The Devil’s Assistant, Book 1)

After five years of working for the Devil, Claire Cooper believes she lives an otherwise normal life. Until she finds herself in jeopardy for a murder she did not commit. Desperate to save her life and soul, she enters Purgatory, but runs afoul of the Devil's sister, Pagan Queen Mab. Mab has her own agenda and uses Claire to get even with the Devil. Claire learns each ruler is in a race to discover “the girl” in the prophecy to fix time. As Claire peels away clues to the real killer, she realizes she must outwit the Devil’s children or end up a prisoner in Purgatory forever.

On Sale for only $.99 for a limited time! eBook: Audio: (Narrator: Lauren Fortgang)

Dark Awakened (The Devil's Assistant Book 2)

Last spring Claire’s seemingly normal—if not totally screwed up—life was tossed on its head. For five years she’d been one of the damned—a human that knows the truth about the otherworldly among us. She’d worked for The Boss—the Demon King himself—as his administrative assistant, handling everything from early retirements, to Maintenance’s incessant requests for dental.

No one gets dental.

Then she walked into Purgatory—totally not her fault—went back in time, and awakened powers she never knew existed. Now Claire has a prophecy hanging over her head, a diamond ring hidden in her sock drawer, and the blood of a long dead royal running through her veins.

And it’s only going to get worse.

Her vow to live free or die takes a serious hit when she’s forced back under The Boss’s protection. Of course, there’s no protection from fate, or the Bounty Hunter sent to deliver her to Purgatory. And as if being “the girl” in the prophecy wasn’t enough, Claire soon discovers there are three other contenders for her role—two of whom want her dead.

Follow more of Claire’s adventures in Dark Awakened, the second installment of the Devil’s Assistant Series, to find out if she’s lucky enough to escape with her life, or if she’s just the first notch on the next contender’s belt.


Dark Forsaken (The Devil's Assistant Book 3)

Last Spring, Claire was framed for the murder of Junior, the Devil’s oldest hellspawn. Last Summer, she reawakened the fourth realm, saved the world (after almost destroying it), and wound up with the worst job ever.

Now, Claire’s been locked out of her realm, given an assistant that doesn’t actually assist, and told to handle a small problem in Underworld that might just get her killed.

And to top it all off, Mab’s made one of the contenders her untouchable. So, yeah, you could say Claire’s having one of those days.

Follow more of Claire’s adventures in Dark Forsaken, book 3 of the Devil’s Assistant Series, to find out if Claire can defeat the latest contender, survive the quads, and replace the curator before Harry figures out she’s stolen his blood.


Dark Contender (The Devil's Assistant Book 4)

One final contender stands between Claire and claiming the Fallen Throne—but Faith isn’t giving up without a fight. Defeating Faith and taking her blood isn’t all Claire has to worry about. She must find the last few drops of her own original blood—before the big three usurp her realm and end any chance of her completing the prophecy.

Mace offers a strong shoulder, but as long as Claire aches for the missing Thanos, she can’t let herself lean on it.

Meanwhile, the Oracle has emerged from a 500-year hiatus to gleefully fling monkey wrenches into Claire’s timeline. Claire loses several hours to one of the hag’s schemes, resulting in Faith getting away with the Prince of Time. Which definitely isn’t part of the prophecy.

Putting the Time King back together again won’t be easy. Even if Claire manages to gather all the parts, nothing fits like it did before. The cracks expose the truth that will change everything…including who’ll be the last man standing by Claire’s side.



Buy them on AUDIO!

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Author Website: Twitter: Facebook: Goodreads: Amazon Author Page:

Author Bio:hdsmith

HD Smith is a software developer by day and an author of kick-ass Urban Fantasy at night. She grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has a Masters degree in Computer Science, but her love of writing has really unleashed the creative siren in her soul. For more information, visit HD's website at

Interview with Michelle Jester, THE FUNERAL FLOWER

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did try the traditional route initially. I sent out query letters to agents and publishers.

How long before you got your offer of representation? Was it for your first novel?
I heard from several agents around the three week mark, which I felt was encouraging. I didn’t get overly excited though, mainly because I somewhat understood the process a bit and for one reason or another on both sides, neither really worked out. Either I was too unwavering or they were. So, I basically shelved the book after that until around the eleventh month when I received the first call from a publisher. It was one of my favorite publishers (!!) who had been forwarded one of my query letters from one of those agents (who is now a dear friend). After that, two other publishers contacted me.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book?
The main factor which pushed me to self-publish was because of the strong “opinions” from the agents/publishers. One said I shouldn’t include so much God content, while another said I shouldn’t include so much harsh subject matter. Having to exclude either of those elements really made my book no longer mine. “The best chance your book has,” my husband said one day, “is to be what it is.” So, on June 19, 2016, I started the journey to self-publish my first novel, The Funeral Flower. Its debut was a year and a day later on June 20, 2017.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
One of my most important ‘processes’ is to wear rings that have something to do with the story. For The Funeral Flower I had two rings, one a cameo style with a carnation and the other one was just a frilly, white carnation. As far as music or silence, it differs from scene to scene and day to day.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, four. It was an incredible team and I found each editor offered a ‘specialty’ or something they really excelled at.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
The paperback is through Barnes and Noble, ebook through Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Kobo. Several independent booksellers are also carrying it in their stores and on their sites; however I do not have the full list of those. Here are the short links:

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
My advice is to write your own way. Remember that everyone has different writing styles like we all have different fashion styles. We may be influenced by designers or others who wear clothing we like, but we don’t mirror them fully. We each have our own place in this world. SO BE YOURSELF and let your work reflect that.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I try to fall in love with as many things in life as I can. My top passions though are photography, nature, reading and people. 

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer –  (I really am the worst at answering these kind of questions)
dogs or cats? Dogs
Chocolate or vanilla? Depends on what it is. Ice cream: vanilla. Candy: chocolate.
Coffee or Tea? LOVE THEM BOTH!
Talk or Text? Depends. Text is often preferable unless it’s an emergency, a serious topic or a confidential one. However, sometimes I just need to connect and talk.
Day or Night? LOVE THEM BOTH!

What’s next for you?
We just wrapped the first part of filming the book trailer for Love, Cutter and the novel will soon be off to editing!

The Funeral Flower
Michelle Jester
Publication date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Devastated by the death of her grandfather, six-year-old Kelly Rodgers barely manages to cope with the profound loss. Already facing issues at school, she finds herself spiraling deeper into despair, when a fateful interaction through the fence in her backyard gives her hope. In the years following, Kelly realizes that life’s tragedies can be dealt with through acceptance; until another series of agonizing events leaves her heart in pieces.
Finding herself thrown into new surroundings, Kelly embraces her life and resolves to never fall in love. That decision is easy to keep until her junior year when she is drawn by an unavoidable attraction to the new guy, tormented James Delaney. The moment he looks up at her and smiles, her body betrays her. And he notices. She is determined to avoid him, but soon Kelly is forced to face the inevitable truth: She doesn’t want to avoid James… and he won’t let her.
Even though tragedy always follows love.
This book is intended for mature audiences due to critical subject matter. Note: Due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+

Author Bio:
I am a hopeless romantic (I think this is the most important thing to know about me). In addition, I live in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana with my husband and high school sweetheart. Together we have a son and daughter.
Throughout my life writing and photography have been my main creative outlets. Especially when I am stressed, I know I can go to either of those things and pour out that anxiety into something good and productive.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#Excerpt: SOCIAL MEDIA by J A Huss

Social Media
JA Huss
Publication date: August 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When Grace @FilthyBlueBird tweeted her dirtiest, most delicious secret desires to MovieStar @VaughnAsher she never expected a reply, let alone a face-to-face meeting and an offer of a lifetime.
And when MovieStar @VaughnAsher figured out the woman vacationing at his family’s St. Thomas resort was the author of all those dirty hashtags she was relentlessly tweeting at him… well, that was a challenge he couldn’t pass up. He was more than happy to #RockHerFilthyWorld.
@FilthyBlueBird’s online fantasy is about to collide with her real-life reality. And it’s about to happen now.
What started out as a fun, filthy tweet turned into the romance of a lifetime. If—that is—your idea of romance is the #asshole real-life persona of a kinky off-screen control freak.

GRACE @FilthyBlueBird
I can’t stand silence, it drives me crazy. So I’m a talker. I’m a gabber. I’m what they call… social. I pin things, I share things, I plus things. I like, I follow, and I comment.
But most of all… I tweet. I’m a tweeter. I live for the Twitter. I chirp good morning like a little blue bird from my bed in the AM and then chirp good evening again every night.
Even before social media took over the world I was this girl. From my very first year I have been one of those butterflies. Yes—I’m putting my hand up to stop the protests—my very first year. Because my first birthday picture was of me whispering a secret into my big brother’s ear.
And after social media took over the world I embraced this girl. My bestie, Bebe, and I have this whole social thing down to a science. We are the champions of chatter, the proponents of prattle, the backers of blather. We are the goddesses of gossip and we own this shit. We take bubbly optimism to a whole new virtual level. Our motto is Happiness is a #Hashtag and we live life knowing the fairy tale is possible, even if you only get it online.
Who needs reality anyway? Reality is being orphaned at thirteen. Reality is foster homes and loneliness. Reality is a risk ripe for disappointment.
But thank God for Bebe and her family. They welcomed me in with open arms and instead of something tragic, I became the poster child for surviving and came out the other end not only intact, but better than ever.
But back to my mouth—and by extension, my fingertips since they do all my talking on Twitter—it has a mind of its own.
And that mind is very dirty.
Yes, my name is Grace Kinsella and I’m a filthy tweeter.
I can turn a hundred and forty characters into living sex. I can string words together in a way that will make you wet your panties with lust. I can make a man blush before he even gets to the hashtag. I am famous for pithy filth.
In fact, my girlfriends and I have an online Facebook group called the Filthy Blue Birds. And we’re not the only ones. The world of pithy filth is booming, friends. There are endless groups like ours. There are legions of shy girls who come alive when faced with the hundred-and-forty-character challenge. And there is a very special place online where we meet, challenging each other to achieve a new level of smexy typing.
I call that Twitter list Dirty Heaven. I made it up, like literally I’m the freaking founder. So Dirty Heaven is my kingdom and I’m the queen.
I’ll stop here to take a bow.
Besides being a list, Dirty Heaven is an online competition that happens on Twitter every Saturday night across the world—yes, we have filthy tweeters from all walks of life. At 8 PM Eastern the FT’s come alive and each league puts up their best and brightest. You get one tweet, one hashtag, and one chance to shine.
I don’t win anymore, it’s simply not fair. I’m now the judge. But back when we were first putting this together my tweets took me to Dirty Heaven time after time after time. That’s back when we used to have the competitions nightly and the group was small. Just fifteen or twenty of my closest online stranger friends. Each competition we had an online muse and we took turns choosing who would benefit from our blush-inducing prose. Sometimes the girls picked models or rock stars.
I only ever had one muse and his name is Vaughn Asher.
Yes, the Vaughn Asher. A Hollywood legend. He started out in the boy band 2 Far Out, then when his angelic voice changed as he hit puberty he graduated into Disney sitcoms. Most child actors would fade after that, never able to make the transition. But Vaughn Asher doubled down on the workouts—gaining the title of Most Envied Body in Hollywood six years in a row from Buzz Hollywood Magazine—and the preteen wannabe turned into an action-hero heartthrob overnight.
Just thinking his name makes me sigh. He’s so freaking gorgeous. That messy dark hair that makes him look like he just rolled out of bed. Those tight abs that just make you want to drag your tongue all over them to see if they taste as good as they look. And that package, boy. He’s never done any nudes so I have to use my imagination, but my imagination is vivid. I have a very clear picture.
Besides, you know what they say about a man’s thumbs, right? Well, Vaughn Asher has incredible thumbs. And large feet. They say that too.
Yes, doing filthy things to his six-foot-two frame has been my idea of Dirty Heaven for almost three years now. I’d like to say I’ve said everything imaginable about him, but that’s not true. I never run out of ideas. It’s like my brain only exists to compose a one-hundred-and-forty-character sentence that will turn him red.
That’s my fantasy. That’s my fairy tale. Vaughn Asher doing things to me that can only be said in a hashtag.

Author Bio:
JA Huss is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

#Excerpt: BLOOD MONEY by Cynthia Rayne

Blood Money
Cynthia Rayne
(Lone Star Mobster #3)
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

How far would you go to protect someone you love?
When Jasper Tan joined the Lone Star Mafia, his family said he’d dishonored the Tan name and turned their backs on him. Jasper vowed to never let anyone get close again—until he met Victoria Hale. Vick is a hacker and the outfit’s secret weapon when it comes to digging up dirt on folks. They’ve become the best of friends and Lord knows Jasper wants much more, but he can risk letting her in?
Vick puts her family first as well. Her older brother, Jackson, has been fighting an addiction for years and she’s stayed by his side, even when their parents gave up on him. Jackson owed money to some dangerous people. To save him, Vick compromised her morals by striking a scandalous arrangement with Simon Caldwell.
Infatuation has turned to obsession, and Simon is a cold-hearted, ruthless bastard who’ll stop at nothing to keep Vick. Can Jasper protect her? And will these friends become lovers?

Author Bio:
Cynthia Rayne is a USA TODAY bestselling author of the Lone Star Mobster Series, Let it Ride Series, and the Four Horsemen MC Series. While Cynthia was born and raised a damn Yankee in Ohio, her parents hail from Dixie, and she grew up on homemade buttermilk biscuits and southern wisdom. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, reading way too many romance novels, and drinking a truly obscene amount of coffee.
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Friday, August 11, 2017

#Excerpt: THE LAST DRAGON RIDER by Errin Krystal

The Last Dragon Rider
Errin Krystal
(The Wild Realms of Véneanár, #1)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.
When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.
The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?

She began wrapping the cloth tightly about her, binding her breasts firmly, criss-crossing the gauzy fabric around her torso and across her stomach, tying it off at her hip. She shimmied into a pair of leather leggings and reached for her foot wraps. To other races—like the dwarves and humans—the elves lack of footwear was strange. The elven people had strong ties to the lands, their magic and mystique were inexplicably linked. Even those who did not practice magic felt the connection to nature, and the elven people had maintained the practice throughout their long history.
After binding her feet and leaving only her toes exposed, she tossed an olive green tunic over her head before quickly weaving her tresses into a thick braid.
Sivath was waiting, and Flintathriël was late. Again.
She was reaching for her leather jerkin when he finally appeared in her doorway.
Arms akimbo, he slouched against the frame, all lean muscle and sharp angles beneath his leathers. Silver-white hair fell across his forehead, hiding the dark arches of his brows as he gazed at her with silvery blue eyes. The mop of hair barely touching his shoulders. His coloring typical of the royal family.
Her gaze traced his tattoos. Sweeping vines encompassed runic symbols, curling downward from his bottom lip, winding and weaving their way down his chin and neck. She knew every line that twisted and spread across his shoulders, and across his back. Etchings that disappeared beneath his tunic and reappeared along his arms. She still remembered the day he received the markings, branding him Nuvian. The day she first gave herself to him, the day she truly became his.

Author Bio:
Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.
She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

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Interview with Matthew S Cox, THE ELDRITCH HEART

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
The Eldritch Heart is at its core a love story between two people trapped between the expectations of a society that conflicts with them and a decades-long war that has been ruinous for both sides. Princess Oona has spent most of her sixteen years in isolation within the castle out of fear that assassins from the neighboring kingdom will try to kill her. For twenty years, her kingdom and the adjacent realm of Evermoor have been fighting. Her father, the king, who is also the high priest of Lucen, teaches that the savages cavort with demonic forces and hate them for being pure.

Oona has known for some time that she has feelings for her servant girl, Kitlyn, feelings that go well beyond best friend. Alas, not only is their love frowned upon in a kingdom where the God of Purity is revered, a vast gulf of social status separates them. (Lucernians, you see, are quite obsessed with social order.)

Ever since seers have foretold the king’s heir will end the war between the kingdoms, the forces of Evermoor have been trying to kill her. As the pressures of her station increase, Oona becomes increasingly desperate to tell Kitlyn how she feels, but her greatest fear—worse than any assassin—is that Kitlyn will reject her as disgusting if she confesses her love. She would rather keep quiet and keep her dear friend close, even if it means never speaking the truth.

However, it soon becomes clear that Princess Oona’s life may not last too much longer. When the king appears to be setting her up for an arranged marriage to the Prince of Ondar, Oona cannot take it anymore. Hoping her love follows, she runs away into the woods, looking to leave the pressures of royalty and war behind.

Do you have a favorite character?
Although asking this question feels like being a dad asked to say which child he likes the most, I’d say it’s Althea from Prophet of the Badlands. She’s such an endearing blend of hope, innocence, strength, and ‘aww.’

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Actually yes. Once. The Hand of Raziel (Daughter of Mars #1) got its start as a serialized blog fiction I was writing a few years ago. When I first started, I introduced the character Pavo intending for him to be a one-scene police infiltrator trying to get into the Martian Liberation Front undercover. In my first draft of the first chapter, Risa (the main character) kills him without batting an eyelash right in front of the man she’s meeting to pick up an explosive device.

Some beta readers commented that it made her cold and unlikable – and to a point I had kinda been going for that, but I wound up having second thoughts. So, Pavo changed up a bit and wound up being the primary love interest for her throughout the series. (The other guy who had been originally intended to be an on-again-off-again romance also changed to suit this, becoming infatuated but ever at arms’ length since she won’t let him in.)

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
When I finished my first novel, I looked into “how to get published.” I wound up running into a lot of rather sanctimonious types who reacted to a long book like I’d handwritten something evil and wrapped it in human skin. You’d think I’d committed an atrocity against all of literature by daring to think someone might want a 200k+ novel as a debut. So, I set it aside and wrote Division Zero, intending it to be shorter and easier to query.

I sent out a bunch of queries to agents, all of which came back with more or less the same “this is great, but I don’t think I’m the right agent for you.” Responses. At the time, I spent my evenings in a writer’s chat room, where another author who had been published by Curiosity Quills Press often visited. I asked her if she’d read a few of my chapters and let me know if she thought the non-responses I had gotten were due to a flaw in the writing. She did, and within a few days, she suggests that I query her publisher directly, thinking they’d like it.

So, I did, and they wound up offering me a contract.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
After I queried Curiosity Quills, I received a request for a full in about three weeks. It took about three months after I sent that in to receive word back that they were interested. Technically, Division Zero was the third novel I wrote, but it’s the first one published.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
My books (except for the Divergent Fates Anthology) are all contracted with Curiosity Quills.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I’ll start off by getting a concept for characters and an overall glimmer of a story. Bit by bit, I jot down notes of events I wish to happen during the story, and eventually, I build that into a chapter outline. Once I have that done, I’ll come up with chapter names, and then I transfer the whole thing to Word and start going.

When I’m drafting new content, I need silence. Music (even instrumental) distracts me too much. There are some exceptions – I had Walpurgisnacht by Faun on while writing the harvest lord scene in Emma and the Silk Thieves, and Secrets by Bevin Hamilton was playing in the background while I wrote a particular chapter in Nine Candles of Deepest Black.
Sometimes I can handle instrumental music when editing.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Outline. When I first started trying to write something longer than an essay for school, I sat down and started going – and got lost. Not being able to finish discouraged me for a long time. When again I tried to write a fiction novel, I realized I needed a backbone to follow, so I tried outlining… and it worked. 37 novels later, I still outline everything. Even short stories.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I still can’t afford to hire an editor myself. Thankfully, my publisher has editors.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My paperbacks are available at Barnes and Noble (orderable).

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I’m not a big fan of marketing. I hate feeling like a sales weasel, even if it is a necessary evil. I’ve tried facebook ads, a blog, and twitter, but I don’t do as much as I probably should because I get spam-cooties and feel like a tool.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yeah. I suppose I’m the classic old-school author who wants to sit in a cave and write and leave the marketing to professionals. Alas, that doesn’t really work until you’re a big name with a huge press behind you.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I’m a fan of video games, roleplaying games, movies, and I love my cats.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Cats, chocolate, coffee (though I do like a nice herbal tea), and usually text—unless I need to get a complicated idea relayed fast. I’m more of a ‘late afternoon’ person than a night owl. I hate waking up early (always have, even as a kid), but I can’t stay up too too late anymore, so I usually fizzle out around one in the morning.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on some collaborative projects with JR Rain, as well as an urban fantasy novel and a LitRPG middle grade. I’ve got a pile of books scheduled for release in 2018 and what’s left of 2017. If anyone’s curious, my release schedule is here:

The Eldritch Heart
Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Princess Oona Talomir enjoys the little things that come with her station: a handmaiden, her lavish bedchamber, and scores of fancy dresses―the duty to win a decades’ long war, not so much.
Oh, did I mention assassins?
Seers foretold the conflict would end by her hand. From the moment she drew her first breath, the neighboring kingdom has been trying to kill her so she could not grow powerful enough to destroy them. The king, fearing for his daughter’s life, has kept her confined to the castle grounds for most of her sixteen years. With the tide of war turning against them, the burden of her crown becomes too much to bear, yet one thing lifts her spirits amid the gloom.
Her servant girl, Kitlyn.
Alas, in a kingdom obsessed with the god of purity, she is terrified to confess her forbidden love. When her father makes a demand she cannot abide―marry a prince to forge a military alliance―Oona panics. He is handsome and honorable, but he’s not Kitlyn. Unable to admit why she cannot obey, Oona does the only thing she can think of, and runs away.
Alone and unprepared in the wilderness, she prays the gods will let Kitlyn find her—before the assassins do.

Author Bio:
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

#Excerpt: DOMINION RISING, Fantasy & SciFi Collection by Top Selling Authors

Dominion Rising Collection
Publication date: August 8th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Find all the Sci-Fi and Fantasy reads you’ve been craving in one fantastic set!
Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairytales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 23 BRAND NEW novels set in fantastical realms. Sword and sorcery, far-flung galactic empires, alternative history, epic magic, slipstream futures: this collection of carefully selected, exclusive novels is sure to please and delight readers of speculative fiction.
Over five thousand pages packed with aliens, faeries, vampires, gargoyles, warriors, telepaths, space pirates, starship captains, hapless mercenaries, street urchins, robots, cyber-enhanced humans, badass heroines, and lost princesses.
Dominion Rising brings you a galaxy of talented authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Gwynn White, Margo Bond Collins, Tom Shutt, Felix R. Savage and Erin St Pierre; USA Todaybestselling authors P.K. Tyler, Anthea Sharp, S.M. Schmitz, K.J. Colt, Dean F. Wilson, Lisa Blackwood, Marilyn Peake, JC Andrijeski and Erin Hayes; and award-winning and Amazon bestselling authors S.M. Blooding, Melanie Karsak, Timothy C. Ward, Daniel Arthur Smith, Tony Bertauski, Rebecca Rode, Cheri Lasota, Ann Christy, Becca Andre, Logan Snyder, Ella Summers, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy notable Samuel Peralta.

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The authors of Dominion Rising are bringing you brand new 23 science and fantasy stories for just $0.99—and you could win big just by reposting this post and talking about the giveaway with the hashtag #DominionRising. Ends August 15, account must be public.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#Excerpt: LOVE ON THE RISKY SIDE by Mariah Ankenman

As the shape came closer, she realized it wasn’t Bigfoot—because he doesn’t exist—she reminded herself. It was also not a bear. Her vision finally focused on a large gray horse. Not only a horse, but a rider, too.

The clouds in the night sky dissipated, allowing the moonlight to shine down into the woods. Kayla’s heart skipped a beat as the two towered over her.

The man sat upon the horse like a warrior of olden days. Long, dark hair fluttered about his face in the wind—sharp, high cheekbones, a smooth, square jawline, and thick, dark brows pressed down over a pair of deep, warm brown eyes.


His voice rumbled over her like a warm blanket. What she wouldn’t give for a warm blanket right now.

“Do you need some help?”

She hesitated at his question, staring into his eyes. They looked so kind and trusting, but a man’s eyes had deceived her before. Until two days ago, David’s eyes had always been normal; sure, the guy had given off the jerkwad vibe at times, but she never suspected the evil hidden behind those eyes. Was this man the same? Could she trust those eyes?

Did she really have a choice?

No. She had no idea where she was and was literally freezing. Yes, she needed help. The only question, would this man be her salvation…or her downfall?


Falsely accused of the murder of her best friend, Kayla Jenkins is on the run for her life. She ends up lost in dark, snowy woods off some backcountry road in the middle of nowhere. Frightened and colder than she’s ever been in her life, she almost thinks she’s hallucinating when a warrior on a white steed saves her.

In all his years as the sheriff of Peak Town, Colorado, Jake Ryder has never come across a half-frozen woman alone in the woods. She’s terrified…and lying to him, yet something about her calls to him on a primal level.

Even with her trust of law enforcement lower than the harsh temperature, Kayla finds it difficult to keep her secrets hidden from the kind and far too handsome sheriff. But as her faith in Ryder grows, she not only risks the real murderer finding her, but losing the one thing she has searched for her whole life and only just found…love.

Buy links:

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman began writing at the tender age of five. Her first book “George and the Green Glob” received high praise from her mother. Many years, and green glob stories later, Mariah received a playwriting degree from the University of Wyoming. After a few years in Hollywood, working in “the biz,” she came home to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. When she’s not writing Mariah loves to read, crochet, and play her ukulele. She loves to hear from readers.
Social media:

Twitter: @MAsBooks

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