Author Spotlight: Joseph Gage

This Week’s Author: Joesph Gage

Book Spotlight:

The Mouse by [Joseph Gage]

Fourteen-year-old Joven can’t deal with his brothers constantly teasing him for being shy, so he runs away from his family farm to the darkenwood, a forest claimed by some to be magical. He hates his nickname, Mouse, and vows to prove to his family that he isn’t afraid of everything. When he meets a talking mouse named Eek, the forest proves to be magical indeed. Aided by his new companions, he tries to overcome many obstacles to climb out of the shadow of his brothers and be his own person. He meets a few really special people and creatures on his adventure, who show Joven that even a mouse can have the heart of a lion!

Twas the eve before Christmas
And all through the night,
The creatures were stirring to give you a fright.
The monsters came out from their warm nestled nooks, in search of some mayhem so dear reader come look.

Explore the twisted side of the holidays with this dark collection. Serial killers enjoying their Christmas vacation. Zombies terrorizing the holiday. Santa revealing his true colors. Learn about Frau Perchta and more winter legends who are here to delight and terrorize the holiday.

About Joesph Gage:

Joseph was born and raised in the Piney Woods of East Texas. He is a painter, musician, and even writes a bit. You can visit him online at www.josephgage.com

www.linktr.ee/justjoe300 for all of my links in one place.

You can see his art at www.facebook.com/rideordieart

Interview With Joseph Gage:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

I wrote my first book, The Mouse, while I was unemployed, recovering from a nervous breakdown after my parents died. It was a labor of love. I had always wanted to write but never thought it was something I could do. Then I lost both of my parents, my girlfriend was killed in a hit and run while crossing the street, and I had a nervous breakdown. I ended up in jail and then on the street homeless. It was a traumatic time in my life. I turned to writing to find a way to cope with things. I think I had most of the book done before I considered publishing it. My friend and fellow author, DC Gomez, was a huge encouragement to me. I will remain forever grateful for her advice as I went through the process of publishing my first book. I also designed the cover, edited the book, formatted it, etc. No other hand touched that book from conception to publication. It was a huge learning experience to me, but more than that, it gave me the courage to pursue writing full time.

Fast forward, now I have a story in an anthology coming out December first, called Once Upon a Twisted Christmas. My next full novel is book one in my new series, The McAlister Chronicles. It is a thriller, Eye for an Eye, and will be out in December or January. The book follows the life of retired Navy Seal Nathan McAlister, called Mac by most people. The first book will most likely be out in January. Book two is already in the planning stage. I am really excited for both books. Not to mention this Christmas anthology. I am trying to finish out the year with a bang, and it has been a quite the journey! I am pretty open about sharing my story. I went through a lot, but I always try to encourage people. I have come so far, and I really just want to write interesting stories that people enjoy reading.

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time writing but never considered it something I could do professionally. After I lost my parents in 2016, I felt adrift in the world. Grief was overwhelming, but  writing short stories helped me cope. The Mouse started out a short story  just for fun, but I fell in love with the characters, and as the story unfolded on the pages I was writing, I started to take it more seriously. Slowly the idea that I could do more than write as a hobby began to take hold.

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

Great question. I have struggled with so much doubt. I was bullied and abused as a child. My self esteem used to be zero. I have fought tooth and nail against my own negative self image. It takes constant vigilance. One thing I did is I started paying attention to what I was saying about myself. If I am saying negative things, even jokingly, I am crushing my self esteem. So I shut that down. I say positive things about myself. Even when I don’t feel like it. It might sound cheesy, but I have to tell myself that I do deserve good things, that I am good enough, and other affirmations. Doubt and low self esteem are truly dangerous enemies of happiness and success. And I never forget where I came from. I had a nervous breakdown after my parents passed away. I was homeless, living on the street, on drugs, hopeless. I really learned about who I am through it all. Now, when the doubt creeps in, I stop and mindfully remember where I was and how far I have come. Also, every time a reader tells me how much they enjoy one of my books, it makes my day. That’s what it is really about.

 Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

Oh yes, for sure. I battled addiction for a large portion of life. I have lived in a world that most people don’t know exists. I have known true fear, terror, and seen things I will never forget. Phillip K. Dick said it best in the book A Scanner Darkly when the main character talks about what the world of addiction is like, saying “Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.” (Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly)

The stories I write are completely fiction, but the emotional response of the characters comes from my experience. I write damaged characters, anti-heroes, flawed people who are dealing with life on their own terms. My first love with books was as a reader. I love books with characters who I can believe in, so I try to write books with characters who are relatable. I know pain. I know grief. I know happiness, joy, and love. These are the things I write.   

 Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

My easiest character I think was Joven, the main character of The Mouse. I was shy as a child. Seriously so. That is a whole other story about that, and how I overcame it. I may blog about it one day if enough people want to hear about it. My hardest character has been Mac, the anti-hero in my next novel, Eye for an Eye. I don’t want to give too much away, but he isn’t your typical good guy. It took some thought to write his character the way I really wanted.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: H. Gortlitz Scott

This Week’s Author: H. Gorlitz Scott

Book Spotlight:

Sivoa: Sunrise by [H. Gorlitz Scott]

In a desert kingdom, a sixteen year old girl is determined to escape a vile sorcerer, but is challenged by the maneuverings of an unseen insurrection.

Home to the largest library in Sivoa, Libris Del Sol is a wonder to behold. It has stood since before known civilization and is the most desired Kingdom in the world.

Dragonira is desperate to leave it behind.

Tormented by a lifetime spent at the mercy of her abusive father, she steals an escape spell that puts her face to face with the prince. Surprised by her appearance and wary of an underground rebellion, he and his family force her to stay within the palace walls.

Meanwhile, a troubled oracle struggles to cross the continent to warn of the kingdom’s demise before it is too late to save them.

Captain Halloween by [Michael Spiroff, Heather Gorlitz]

Do you know a child who loves Halloween? Do you remember that one haunting house where the fear was not worth the candy? Move over Great Pumpkin! Children will have fun trick-or-treating with the fearless, mysterious Captain Halloween!

Schoolchildren taunt and tease Peter “Pumpkinhead” because of his love of pumpkinseeds, which ultimately leads to a schoolyard dare: to trick-or-treat at the haunted house of the wicked witch on Halloween night. Peter never returns. For a generation, Halloween is all but banned. Until a brave schoolgirl named Clare takes the same Halloween dare Peter once took. In costume eerily similar to Peter Pumpkinhead long ago, a school-age Captain Halloween, along with a black cat named “Boo,” saves both Clare and Halloween from the wicked witch, forever!

About H. Gorlitz Scott:

H. Gorlitz Scott

H. Gorlitz Scott was born somewhere between orange groves and raised amongst the alligator people of America’s most phallic of states – Australia Lite. There, she and her sentient hair have taken to drawing a land of make-believe to live in so that she did not become one of the zombie hoards.

This hobby turned fully professional after she and her husband spawned a swamp elf that constantly needs to be fed. In addition to publishing her own line of comics, Scott has provided illustrations for gaming companies such as Aldorlea Games, Rose Portal Games, and The Historical Game Company.

Not wanting to leave the make-believe adventures of her early life behind, she turned to writing them down; a process that was significantly faster, and more effective, than interpretive dance (which she is terrible at).

Scott continues to write, draw, and stare at spaceships from her home in Orlando, Florida to this day. “Hey, somebody has to live here.”

Interview With H Gorlitz Scott:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

I’ve had a hand in quite a number of publications, but I’ve only a couple of novels that are totally mine – those being Sivoa in its various forms.

This setting and story was originally published as a comic series, but because I was a single person doing all of the things that a small team would normally do, it took me an uncomfortable amount of time to produce. Switching to a strictly prose format sped things up considerably.

The first book in the series, Sivoa: Sunrise, covers the comic from the beginning on past where it left off. In a nutshell it’s about Dragonira – a teenaged girl trying to escape an evil sorcerer, while indirectly contending with a secret insurrection.

The mini-sequel, Sivoa: Mourning takes place a short time afterward and features a bunch of Sivoa: Sunrise side characters that don’t continue on into Sivoa: Zenith, which is the proper second book in the series. As a reader, it drives me nuts when I don’t know what happens to a character outside of the main timeline, so I decided to write about them a little. 😅

Sivoa: Zenith continues with Dragonira’s story and features a drastically different world than the one she grew up in (not that it would take much). She finds herself having to deal with life in magic-using capitalist society, crazy religious factions, culture shock – all while having to hide who she is. It gets pretty nuts.

This novel is still in progress, but because I’m not restricted by the exclusivity rules of a publishing house, I have been sharing some work-in-progress snippets from it to patrons at http://patreon.com/dragonmun 

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?

I can’t say that I actually had an aha! moment, but it definitely stemmed from comics. I read comics and I liked to draw, so I started creating comics. At first they were these weird one-page things involving aliens trying to sort Earth shit out (which made my kid brother laugh immensely), then they went one to more, uhhhh, structured things like a webcomic about samurai vegetables being idiots. Eventually – and in response to my BFF asking me endless questions about characters that appeared in my sketchbooks -I started drawing Sivoa as a comic.

10+ years later I had something of an emotional meltdown, where I realized that I wasn’t enjoying making comics anymore – even though I still wanted to get this story told. I guess that was when I wanted to become “an author.”

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

This is going to sound egotistical, but I focus on the good reviews that the book has received. Most of them are by close friends and fans of the comics. The fact that they like my writing in that form as well is a pretty huge confidence boost. I mean, jumping from comics to prose is a pretty big leap for the readers as well and that they liked the story enough to do that means a lot to me. I love my readers so much and I appreciate their patience more than I can put into words (ironically). 

Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

I’m going to out myself as an extreme nerd here, but because I spent so many years “role-playing” villains online, Flag was actually my easiest character to write. He is nothing like me and I definitely don’t relate to him on any kind of moral level, but I learned how he thinks in all this time, so I can drop right in and write him without much issue.

Dragonira, on the other hand, started off as a fighting game character concept that then morphed into a coping mechanism for things that I witnessed dear friends go through. I had to learn who she was for the comic and then even moreso for the novel. It’s been a lot of fun figuring her out, but there’s also been a lot of prose thrown out because it wasn’t exactly her.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

Indirectly, yes. Certain interactions with toxic people has led me to realize that people can indeed get fixated on horrible motivations for extended periods of time and that interventions don’t always work. My going through the process of having and raising a child informs a viewpoint I need for Sivoa: Sunset, the third book in the series. I also learned that family doesn’t necessarily mean blood and that reflects a bunch in Sivoa: Zenith…

I feel I must stop here to say that my own family life isn’t reflected in the story at all. My parents are amazing and my brother is awesome. My extended family is dear to me and I am totally blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. 🥰

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: Sophie Bartow

This Week’s Author: Sophie Bartow

Book Spotlight:

“I fell in love with this little harbor.”
“Charming beginning for a series.”

Enjoy this steamy small-town romantic suspense series with a sense of family that will have you falling in love.

From the moment Sally Miller arrived in Swan Harbor, she felt at home. And after a year in the small town, she’s ready to look toward the future instead of living in the past. Then a note appears. And another; leaving her worried, she might have to run once again.
Danny Patterson gave up his dream of going to medical school, when his father had a stroke. He spends his days on a lobster boat, and his nights caring for his parents and siblings. But his response to Sally has him remembering the dreams he’d long buried.

Welcome to Swan Harbor, where Granny’s is the place for gossip and apple pie. Will Sally trust Danny enough to let him in? Will Danny put his heart on the line? Will their friends meddle? Find out in this Prequel to this small-town series.

Welcome to Swan Harbor
Welcome to Swan Harbor is the Prequel in Swan Harbor: A Contemporary Romantic Suspense Series. Each novel stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending, but threads from secondary stories weave throughout. Grab a chair, open your book, and come meet my friends.

https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/f444de2a-be62-11eb-98c0-a3a5fdb1eb8f

About Sophie Bartow:

Sophie Bartow

Sophie Bartow is married, a mother of four, and currently lives with two spoiled cats and a dog. When she is not involved with her family, you’ll find her writing, reading, or watching some of her favorite televisions shows while plotting her next book. You can connect with her via her website:

SophieBartow.com

Interview with Sophie Bartow:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far.

I write small town romantic suspense books. On 10/8, my 9th book came out. Each book stands alone, but there are multiple stories that carry through the series. And so, I try to give hints about past stuff, but they are really more fun to read in order.  I also have ‘stories’ within my series. “Swan Harbor’s Hope’ is a set of 5 books that revolve around ‘saving’ the town’s hope, and a Spanish Galleon pirate ship that has been docked in the center of town forever.  

Book 1, Book 9, and the next 2-3 books are connected in what I’m calling my ‘love trials’ books.  

In addition to the above, I also have free novellas. One of them can be downloaded from my website. And the second one shows up in promos on BookFunnel and StoryOrigin.  

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

Book 10 of my series is due out 11/12/2021. It’s called The Innocence of Love and centers around the Sheriff of my town and his wife, Molly. She is pregnant with twins and well… let’s just say that they have been a lot of fun to write. But – the book isn’t part of my ‘trials of love’ set for nothing. Books 11 and 12 were set up in Book 9.  I also have about 5 novellas in my head and I’m participating in a romantic suspense anthology due out next April called Love is Fatal. 

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author? 

I loved to write as a kid and have always had a vivid imagination. But for the past 34+ years, I have been a speech/language pathologist working with adult post stroke patients. When my daughters were seniors, I decided that I needed a new journey and allowed my R Brain out to play. My first book was published in March 2020. And I’m having a blast. 

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

I know this is probably uncommon, but I don’t really have doubts about my writing. I know that I can weave a good story and that some people will love my series and others won’t. My doubts come in when I think about all that’s involved on the business side and what if no one buys the books. BUT I’ve run a private practice for 23 years so… I’m trying to tell myself that it’s a marathon and go from there. 

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

As I said before, I’m a speech path and yes, I write my career into my stories.  I have several characters who stutter, a couple who’ve had strokes. One who has Alzheimer’s. And in Book 10 that comes out 11/12, a baby has a cleft palate. A teen boy has had a head injury (which happened in Book 4), the MFCs mother has Parkinson’s AND the MFC is carrying twins.  But she’s having boys and I have twin girls. 

Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

Easiest character – That’s a tough question but maybe Ava King. And not because she’s anything like me. But somehow her personality flowed. She’s the mother of my MFC in Book 3. And then gets her own book, in Book 5. In the beginning, she sees herself as Rapunzel and is looking to be rescued.  Needless to say; her MMC is definitely the perfect book boyfriend.  This book, Kisses, Family & Hope just won 2nd prize in Romance in the Royal Palm Literary Competition. 

My hardest character was probably Liam Reade, but darn has he been a lot of fun. He’s the brother of the MMC in Book 3, is the MMC in book 4 and has shown up in several since. He hid behind his affability to keep from giving his heart to Elsa and that boy held his cards close to his vest forever…

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: Ellie Raine

This week’s author: Ellie Raine

Book Spotlight:

Multiple Award-winning Gothic Fantasy. A Reaper knight embarks on an epic adventure to free his soul from his twin brother’s body.

Xavier, an apprentice Reaper knight with split magic, is thrust into a dark prophecy when his soul is ripped out and sealed inside his twin brother. To free himself, he must cross the five realms of Land, Sky, Ocean, Dream, and Death to find his missing body, hopefully alive. Unaware of their secret life, a young woman Reaper is sent on a mysterious mission to reunite the brothers. For it’s been Foreseen that the end of existence is near and the fate of the world hinges on these cursed twin Reapers being whole again. But none of them are prepared for what’s to come…

A vivid new world filled with deep lore rooted in magic, shrouded in gothic mystery, and seeping with extraordinary world-building.

Foreboding dreams. Visions of destruction. An epic adventure of mystery, magic, and mayhem…

The Orbs of Azure, relics of the Dream kingdom obscured in legend, are said to be hidden in Aspirre’s subconscious plane and blessed by the wise Shepherd of Dreams. Xavier and his twin, Alexander, have a destiny to fulfill that will lead them to the Orbs of Azure, in time. But with Xavier’s soul still trapped in his brother’s body, even Willow’s ominous visions can’t show her what it will mean for the world. But there is one Seer who has more answers… her grandfather, the King of Dreams.

Icy waters. Intertwined fates. An epic adventure of mystery, magic, and mayhem…

The Pearl of Emerald, a relic of the Ocean kingdom drowned in ancient fables, is said to be lurking in the depths of Marincia’s icy waters and blessed by the graceful Artist of Beauty. Xavier and his twin, Alexander, learn of their destiny that leads them to the Pearl of Emerald. But when a selfish queen goes to war with Grim, they must survive a dual battle with both the living and the dead.

High storms. Air-bound ships. An epic adventure of mystery, magic, and mayhem…

The Phoenix of Scarlet, a relic of the Sky kingdom overshadowed by ancient tales, is said to soar through the thunderous skies of Culatia’s floating islands and blessed by the thrilling Archer of Storms. Xavier and his twin, Alexander, learn that their destiny isn’t what they were told as they meet the Phoenix of Scarlet. Now they want nothing to do with the prophecy surrounding them. But it’s too late to turn back now, for if they stop now, they could lose the ones they love most.

Divided kingdoms. The End of Existence. An epic adventure of mystery, magic, and mayhem…

The Blossom of Gold, a relic of the Land kingdom thought lost to the times, is said to rest within the overgrown ruins of Everland’s lost city and blessed by the nurturing Gardener of Life. Xavier and his twin, Alexander, reluctantly face the destiny they’ve grown to despise as they are taken to the Blossom of Gold. They only hope it’s the right choice.

About Ellie Raine:

Writer’s Digest award-winning fantasy author Ellie Raine is a voracious BookWyrm when it comes to epic adventures, detailed world-building, and thrilling battles. Fueled by coffee-bean concoctions brewed by the finest caffeine alchemists in the kingdom of Atlanta, Georgia, she only emerges from the depths of these daring tales when she is summoned back to the physical realm to spend time with her brood.

Her high fantasy series, the NecroSeam Chronicles, has won several awards including First Place in Fantasy for Writer’s Digest, a Silver Medal for Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards, and additional awards from Readers’ Favorite and  the Book Excellence Awards.

She is a lover of ravens and a dreamer of dragons, but above all else, she is a scribe to the stories that guide her.

EllieRaineAuthor@gmail.com

www.NecroSeam.com

www.EllieRaine.com

Interview With Ellie Raine:

1.    Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

My main series right now is the NecroSeam Chronicles, an award-winning gothic fantasy adventure saga. There are five books total for the general series, and two prequels out so far. Outside of the NecroSeam universe, I also have a children’s illustration book, and an adult fantasy noir called Nightingale with Pro Se Productions. I have a few books in the works right now that I’m testing the waters of, but I’m still deciding which one to finish next.

2.    What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author? 

That would be my first creative writing course in college. I went to the Art Institute of Atlanta for Game Art and Design, then needed an extra elective to fill up my credits. I picked creative writing because it wasn’t full. Didn’t have anything to write, so I just wrote the story I was going to make into a game, and boom—I was in love. Never looked back after that.

3.    What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

When I was first starting out, I had to constantly remind myself that I was writing for me, and that I was writing what loved, not what someone else wanted. When I started getting positive feedback for my books in messages and reviews, I printed those out and framed them on my wall so I didn’t forget that someone out there at least loved what I did. Nowadays, I’ve received a few awards and fan mail, so when I’m feeling like the worst writer in the world, I see them on my wall right above my computer so I can’t forget they exist.

4.    Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

Absolutely. One example is a character in the NecroSeam books named Octavius. He has a type of magic that lets him sense the presence of germs that he describes as feeling like little pin pricks against his skin. The inspiration for that comes from a condition I have called Irlene Syndrome. Basically, I see in pixels. My vision is filled with little colorful dots that vibrate and dance around everything I look at, like static on a T.V. screen. When I created Octavius, I translated my visual experience as if it were a tactile one, and I imagined the static would feel like prickling if I could touch it.

5.    Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?


The main twins Xavier and Alexander were definitely the easiest characters to write about for me because their personalities are more or less modeled after the two moods of my husband, whom I met when we were 10. I’ve known him for so long, it’s hard not to accidentally slip him into some character personalities at this point.

As for the hardest character to write, I think the villain, Macarius, was the hardest. I’m not a murdering megalomaniac, so trying to write in the eyes of a psychotic serial killer was challenging.

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Author Spotlight: A.L. Davroe

This week’s author: A.L. Davroe.

She’s a very friendly lady that I had the fortune to meet at LLS. She’s very intelligent and full of talent. I’m honored to know her and call her a friend.

Book Spotlight:

Royal Revolution (Tales of Turin) by [A.L. Davroe]

Blithe owes everything to Castia. Her health, her power, her position. These gifts come at a price. As Castia’s magic apprentice, Blithe must fulfill the duties of Right Hand to her Hexen mentor.

Castia’s aspirations are high. High enough to overthrow the other eight women who rule over the Pillars of Hexen and become the one true queen of Turin.

The results leave Blithe questioning her own humanity and the person she has become, but she has a clear goal in mind — one that will change her world forever. She just needs a little more time. And a little more power…

Length: Novelette
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Audience: Mature (violence)

About A.L. Davroe:

A.L. (Amanda) writes both YA and adult cross-genre fiction.
She lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and has had such colorful careers as a meta-data specialist, barista, cheese-maker, a food safety specialist, and a government inspector.

Amanda’s work ranges from teen to adult and spans across multiple genres including Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, and Romance.  Her work has been published in various outlets including self, traditional, and small press.  Much of her work can be considered cross-genre and sometimes ranges into speculative.  She likes redemption stories, alternative histories, retellings, generally pushing comfort zones, and reexamining perspective.

Her educational background includes vocational schooling as a vet tech; undergraduate degrees in English and Anthropology with minors in Women’s Studies, Religion, and African Studies; Master’s work in Mental Health Counseling; and extensive certifications and FDA training in food safety, codes, and regulations.

Website: www.aldavroe.com
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/aldavroe/
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ALDavroeFanPage
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/a.l.davroe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aldavroe

Interview A.L. Davroe:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

I’m kind of all over the place!  I’ve got YA and adult oriented stories ranging from short stories to novels in sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and horror published across indie, small press, and traditional publishing.  My most recognizable work is the Tricksters series consisting of the duology, NEXIS and REDUX which is a YA futuristic dystopian.  This month I’m putting out the second story in my Tales of Turin series called GOBLIN GEMS and the third, HEXEN HAND, is coming out in November.  Tales of Turin is a dark fantasy collection of smaller novella and novelette length pieces that each follow individual “hexen” (witches).  These individual stories are part of a parallel narrative that culminates in a final storyline.  The first story for it, ROYAL REVOLUTION, came out last year.  That story follows Blithe a hexen apprentice who is helping her mentor to become the most powerful hexen of all.  GOBLIN GEMS follows Soraya who teams up with a goblin lord to help stop a slave trafficking ring.  And HEXEN HAND follows Marimeg who gets dragged into protecting a group of soldiers on a secret mission through a haunted forest.  In the end, these strong heroines are gonna start a war in the final story coming out next year.

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?

I’ve been writing since my freshman year of high school when my friend asked me to do a fanfiction with her.  I started writing on my own just a bit after that when I finished reading a book and didn’t want to leave so I made my own world I could always play in when I get bored (I still go back to that world whenever I need a touchstone).  I think the moment I knew I wanted to try publishing something is when I finished my first novel THE WILL OF THE FALLEN which is the first of my Dark Covenant Universe.  Weirdly, it wasn’t about “me” getting published, it was entirely that the story wanted to be told and it wanted to be told to others. That’s when I actually started trying to get an agent.  I didn’t get an agent for that novel, but I did for my second one (SCAR-CROSSED).  My third novel (NEXIS) actually sold to a publishing house.  I still haven’t published THE WILL OF THE FALLEN because I want to be able to do the story justice and, as a more experienced author, I realize the novel needs a little bit more…But, I will one day share it with the world!  SCAR-CROSSED also hasn’t been sold (not for lack of trying), but the market was just too overwhelmed with paranormal romance at the time we were pitching it (right after Twilight flooded the market).  I should probably start trying to pitch it again…

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

Oh gosh, that’s a tough one.  I think back on interactions I’ve had with people who have expressed a love for or resonance with my work.  One of the things that always drives me is remembering an interaction with a young lady who told me my work got her through a particularly bad patch in her life and another one who said that she’d never felt like she resonated with a character before until she read one of mine.  Thinking about something like that reminds me that it doesn’t matter how many people don’t like my work as long as there is someone out there who does.  If that doesn’t work then sometimes I’ll read good reviews.  Often it just comes down to realizing that as long as I like what I’m writing then at least I’m happy.  In the end I can’t please everyone and I wouldn’t want to – my work would suffer because of it.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

I wish more of my life experiences were part of my writing.  Imagine if paranormal beings were actually real???  I think that one of the big aspects I bring to my writing are the emotions and the gravity of reality.  I don’t always write the sweet, fluffy stuff because that’s not how life actually is.  I write about the hard things and people going through those hard things because they’re more realistic and human that way.  I deal with teen pregnancy, people getting kidnapped and tortured by serial killers, and coping with trying to find humanity after becoming a monster.  Not all my work is like that and it’s not usually front and center, but it’s usually somewhere in there for spice.  I like exploring the depths of the human experience and I don’t gloss over what that experience can be like.  I’m all about the grey areas.

Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

Honestly, I’m not sure who the easiest character was.  I think that I have favorite characters and books that came to me easier, but that’s not a reflection on who was easiest.  I think maybe the most organic one that didn’t require too much thought to write was Jeanette Sauderheim from FOR YOUR HEART.  I wanted a slightly chubby, cat loving nerd who wore glasses and would actually be HAPPY about getting sucked into a fantasy situation because, at the time, I felt underrepresented in the YA community and wanted a character who actually looked and acted like me.  So, Jean was easier to write because she’s the most like me out of all my characters.  However, I think all my characters have a little of me in them – though, of course, I try to make them different from me too.

I think the hardest was probably Ellani Drexel from The Tricksters series.  Ella is a very unique person who grew up in the kind of setting that readers sometimes have a difficult time resonating with.  She’s very intelligent in some areas but quite naive in others and she’s also going through a physical and emotional experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  It was hard just writing characters in a setting that is a freakish mix of the past and future where things have been selectively forgotten or reinvented.  It’s harder writing some traumas that you’ve never personally encountered – Ella loses a parent and becomes disabled in a tragic accident then has to deal with being held captive against her will while her death is announced to everyone on the outside.  It’s exceptionally difficult to write a sheltered teenager who is also a genius in a specialized area.  This girl can do crazy mathematical equations and is a genius computer programmer, but she’s a bit socially inept and she’s still only sixteen so some of her reasoning is not mature – she makes teen-girl-in-love decisions despite being able to hack into databases.  She’s flawed and complex and has her rollercoaster moments but my hope is that readers see how strong she becomes as a heroine throughout the series.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: Evelyn Lederman

This week’s author is Evelyn Lederman. She’s a phenomenal woman and author. I met her at LLS in 2018. I actually won a prize she donated at the welcome event. It was a purse full of books! I was overjoyed with that! I was overjoyed when I found out that we also shared the same favorite color (purple) and the same birthday (August 15th)!

Her Books (Click book photos to buy):

When adopted fifteen-year-old Pepper Samuels receives a surprise scholarship to Blakeway Prep School, she didn’t expect to attend a secret academy for witches. Witches? She wasn’t a witch. Was she?

Bishop Academy is selective of the most magical of the families. Those bloodlines powerful enough to change the world.

With an evil magic syphon threatening Pepper and her new friends, she has a whole lot to learn if she wants to keep them safe. Can she pull it off in time or will her coven of friends end before they get started?

Sixteen-year-old Salyt Edwards comes to Bishop Academy and discovers the truth about her real family and the untapped magical abilities at her fingertips.

With the Council, her biological father, and grandmother trying to control her magic and life, Salyt fights for her right to live and love as she wants. But how can one student battle “the powers that be” and make a difference?

She’s not sure, but with her long-lost sister by her side, they can do anything.

The Enchanted Ones awaited Hana’s arrival to begin their war against the Brethren. When Hana reunites with her sisters, she’s amazed at the powers they now possess. She fears their faith in her is ill placed and will cost lives.

Zach More renounced the Brethren’s teachings as a teenager and now he fights to free his sister-cousins. After a chance meeting with Hana, he realizes the bond that exists between the two of them. Although she rejects him, they both know that only a joining between soul mates will this daughter of Eden’s Dragon fulfill the prophecy her mother foresaw.

About Evelyn Lederman:

Evelyn Lederman

I clearly remember a conversation I had with my sister and a friend about infinite parallel universes. We were outside Sedona, Arizona. All of a sudden 5 young women started talking in my mind. That was the start of ‘The World’s Apart’ series. ‘The Chameleon Soul Mate’ was published in August 2014, followed by ‘The Crystal Telepath’ in December 2014. The floodgates have opened and I have more books in the Worlds Apart series as well as other series coming. I’m loving the ride!

Interview with Evelyn Lederman:

  1. Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?
    I write escapism; taking the reader to places they can’t travel to any other way. My first two series were set in parallel dimensions. The first realm is full of telepathic beings and the second is a world controlled by vampires. My adult-focused books fall in the paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi categories. They fall in the moderately hot category when it comes to sex. Only the Outer Worlds Passion Series has ‘foul’ language. It’s a hot, sexy sci-fi series.
    My latest book, ‘Salyt & Pepper’ is the start of a new series (Bishop Academy) set in a secret witches academy. It’s my second Young Adult (YA) series. The first series was the scifi Zaratan Trilogy which starts with an alien invasion and it’s told third-person through a 14-year-old girl’s eyes who was ‘Selected’.
    In November, I’ll be publishing my 5th (and last) novella in the Eden’s Dragon series set in the Worlds of S.E. Smith’s Magic, New Mexico. It follows the theme I set in the Worlds Apart and Nightshade Saga series where finding one’s soul mate transforms the couple.
  2. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?
    I attended my first romance novel conference in 2010 as a reader and a number of the authors said their characters talked to them. When I retired, my older sister said I could start writing romance novels. I told my sister that I had no desire to write. On February 23, 2014, I was driving to play tennis and a real conversation that took place outside of Sedona, Arizona, played in my head. The next thing I knew, five young women started talking to me. That was the start of the Worlds Apart Series, with the ‘Chameleon Soul Mate’ being the first novel I published.
  3. What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?
    There is nothing more rewarding than hearing from a reader how much she/he loved my book(s). A sixteen-year-old boy who had his grandmother drive to Ft. Myers to meet me after he read ’Selected’. The author of this blog, Nicole, ordered all my books for a second time because her boyfriend took off with my books.
  4. Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?
    Since I write paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy, there isn’t a lot in my books that reflect my life experiences. I do put some of myself in some of my characters in reflect to what I’d do. Alexandra Mann in ‘The Chameleon Soul Mate’ and Kara in ‘Selected’ probably closest reflect me at different phases of my life.
  5. Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?
    The easiest were Alex and Kara who I mentioned above. In the Nightshade Saga series, my heroines (particularly in Books 1-3) are extremely broken. They were difficult to write because they start with a negative experience and have difficulty coping. In romance, you have to end the book with a happily ever after  and it’s a gradual slope to be as realistic as possible.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: Anna LaVerne

This week’s author is Anna LaVerne. I’m not as familiar with her as I am with the authors I have met in Savannah. She seems like a very sweet woman. I’m honored that I have gotten the chance to become acquainted with her and I see a beautiful friendship in our future. I also see many wonderful things in her future.

Her Books (Click book photos to buy):

Blood for Atlantis (God Born Book 1) by [Anna LaVerne, Michelle Hoffman]

Wendy has lived in a fog of depression for as long as she can remember. Then one day, a handsome siren named Morgan shows up at her door and whisks her away to the sea, where she’s hit with a barrage of memories.

She remembers . . . growing up on the seventh isle of Atlantis as Meri. Training to learn the art and techniques of war.

She remembers . . . being called to the Ring as a potential Key of Atlantis-Protector of the undersea realm, where she meets her four protectors: Morgan, Aden, Breck, and Laki. She remembers . . . being swept up into the feuds of the Gods, leaving her no choice but to stand with her four handsome mermen and fight her way out, or die trying. . . . and now, the gods will never forget her***Full length reverse harem novel.

Born in the underworld from nothing more than a wish from one god and a gift from Chaos, Lucinda knows she is destined for more. Instead, she spends centuries with her powers dampened and held captive to the underworld. With all things, change inevitably arrives. When the three hounds who guard the gates of Hell arrive in Tartarus, her magic flows free. She must travel into the depths of Chaos to claw her way out, fighting the demons set against her just to face the gods who want to kill her.

Reverse Harem

Interview With Anna LaVerne:

1.     Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

My newest novel, Lucinda’s Gate, is a sister book to Blood for Atlantis. Both are reverse harem stand alone novels that exist in the same universe. It is available for pre-order currently and will be released on October 1st on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Born in the underworld from nothing more than a wish from one god and a gift from Chaos, Lucinda knows she is destined for more. Instead, she spends centuries with her powers dampened and held captive to the underworld. With all things, change inevitably arrives. When the three hounds who guard the gates of Hell arrive in Tartarus, her magic flows free. She must travel into the depths of Chaos to claw her way out, fighting the demons set against her just to face the gods who want to kill her.

I am also currently working on the third book to my Mystic Harem Trilogy. I have plans to release that book in December 2021

2.     What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author? 

As a kid I would make up crazy stories and share them with everyone. My mom always told me that I should be a writer. It stuck. Unfortunately, I am dyslexic, so it wasn’t until I fell in love with reading that being an author really stuck with me. I purchased Pride and Prejudice from a scholastic book fair, because I was determined to learn to read better. I read the book over and over again. I was in the fifth grade and owe my love of literature and ability to read well to Jane Austin.

  1. What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

My editing skills and dyslexia. The first book I ever released, Elmora, was hit bad with reviews. I didn’t have the money or resources to hire an editor properly and had entirely too much faith in my own lacking abilities. Thankfully, I made some amazing connections and was able to get my first work edited and re- released.  Unfortunately, the damage was done. I decided to keep my pen name and my first work available as a reminder of how much harder I have to work. I will always have insecurities about my writing, but I won’t stop because this is what I love to do.

4.     Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

In my first novel, Elmora, I drew some from my own life experiences, however I ultimately try to separate my stories from my real life.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: DC Gomez

This week’s author is DC Gomez. She’s an amazing woman who I had the pleasure of meeting at an event I’m very fond of. I’d been curious about her books for awhile. It wasn’t until I attended an reading at the event that I tipped over the edge and bought an entire series from her. She’s very talented.

Her Books (Click book photos to buy):

Death's Intern (The Intern Diaries Book 1) by [D. C. Gomez]

What would you do if Death knocked at your door? For Isis, it was the day her whole life changed.The day retired Army vet Isis Black accidentally knocks a man off a crowded fire escape at a wild party is the day she can’t seem to forget. But when she answers her door to Death standing on the other side with a job offer, she is convinced she’s stuck in a dream she can’t wake from–or maybe a nightmare.
Given three days to decide if she’ll take the position as Death’s Intern for North America, Isis has no idea what to do. On one hand, her life has no purpose and she spends most of her time alone. But working for Death … well, that is ludicrous and somewhat terrifying.
But when Isis’s only friend Bob goes missing, she finds a new focus unlike anything she’s ever experienced before. On top of that, someone is stealing innocents’ souls and sabotaging Death’s efforts to get them to their afterlife.
Is Isis willing to work with Death, a talking cat, and a boy genius to save Bob and all the hopeless souls that are missing?

*** This is a story of courage and a chase to save humanity. Fans of The Dresden Files and Good Omens will fall in love with the Intern Diaries.

The Origins of Constantine: An Intern Diaries Novella (The Intern Diaries) by [D. C. Gomez]

When the god Anubis needed a friend, the universe sent him the most unlikely companion: a feisty little cat.

Discover how the infamous five-thousand-year-old talking cat, Constantine of the Intern Diaries, became a permanent fixture in the life of Death.

This fast-paced, action-packed Novella will have you turning the page and falling in love with the most unlikely of duos.

The Cat Lady Special (The Cat Lady Series Book 1) by [D. C. Gomez]

What would you do if you had nothing to lose?

Angela has reached the end of her rope. Bills are piling up, money is sparse, and her two-timing ex-husband traded her in for a “Barbie” lookalike. Depression and lack of hope put her in a world filled with never-ending pain, and when she loses the one thing she has left—her will to live—she knows there’s nothing left to go back to. Until an unexpected knock on her door wakes her up.

The lonely, sad cat lady comes face to face with a new and exciting opportunity, if only she grabs the bull by the horns and accepts. When she does, she learns of a crazy family secret, but she also finds a way to save herself, and the people she loves most.

The Cat Lady Special is a story of second chances, discovering your inner savior, and of finding hope in the most unexpected places. It will appeal to fans of “How Stella Got her Groove Back” and “Breaking Bad.”

Another World (Another World Trilogy Book 1) by [D. C. Gomez]

Bullied, unwanted and alone, Madison can’t wait to get out of New York City. In a last ditch effort to save her life, she takes a plunge down a garbage chute to get away from her tormentors. What she never expects is to be dropped in the middle of a whole new world.
The only thing she ever wanted was to escape her depressing life, and now that she did, she will stop at nothing to get back to it. Knights and witches are her constant company, and if that isn’t crazy enough, the horses in the world of Pardisium talk.
But escaping isn’t as easy as she thought, and the way home won’t be available for a while. With no other option, she might as well make the best of her vacation away from home.
In this coming of age young adult novel, follow Madison while she makes all kinds of trouble in Pardisium. Fans of Merlin and Alice and Wonderland will be delighted by this magical journey.

From Eugene With Love: An Intern Diaries Novella (The Intern Diaries) by [D. C. Gomez]

When his merchandise is stolen and his colleague kidnapped, Eugene only has one choice: to call on Death’s team.

Eugene and his colleagues at Pestilence’s lab have lost another dangerous drug, but this time the stakes are higher than ever. A group of highly organized werewolves have the merchandise, and they are distributing it to everyone they can in Texarkana. The overdoses are at an all-time high.

Thankfully, he has friends in high places, and when he calls on Death’s team, they answer. However, Constantine the five-thousand-year-old talking cat, Bartholomew the boy genius, and their massive underground network system have less than twenty-four hours to find the werewolves. Otherwise, people will start dying, and this time, they won’t stop…

About DC Gomez:

D. C. Gomez

D. C. Gomez is a USA Today Bestselling Author, born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. She study film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

Those experiences shaped her quirky sense of humor. D.C. has a love for those who served and the families that support them. She currently lives in the quaint city of Wake Village, Texas, with her furry roommate, Chincha.

Interview with DC Gomez:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

The first thing I think everyone needs to know about my books is that I write in multiple genres. This is something a lot of writers avoid, but I really enjoy it. It fits with my personality and passion, I’m never bored. My books range from Urban Fantasy, children’s books, middle school, women’s lit and even devotionals. With every book that I write, my goal is always to engage the readers and provide them with the best experience that I can create.

I currently have four different series in the works. The Intern Diaries is my Urban Fantasy series that is fully completed with five novels and 3 novellas. This one is based on the four horsemen of the apocalypse and takes place in Texas. The Cat Lady Special is my fiction work, dealing with a depressed cat lady turns arms dealers. For my middle school readers, I’m working on my Another World trilogy. In this trilogy, we follow the adventures of Madison as she ends in another world while trying to escape her tormentors in NYC.  Charlie’s Fables is my series for elementary students focus on providing inspiration and motivation for young kids.

What can readers expect for me? I’m currently in the process of working on several new series. One is a spin-off of the Intern Diaries. One of my secondary character, Eric, leaves the Reapers’ Team in Texarkana and joins the Order of Witches to hunt a group of rouge witches that betrayed them.

I’m also introducing a brand new series, The Elisha and Elijah Chronicles, set in a post-apocalyptic time. A war between humans and witches brought the world to destruction, now everyone co-exist in a pseudo peaceful manner. At least that’s what Elisha believed. Elisha is one of the most powerful witches alive and lives with her familiar, Elijah (a necromancer kitty).

Did I mentioned I like to write fun quirky characters? If you enjoy adventure, and lots of madness: I’m your girl.

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?

Being an author is probably a recent development for me. I knew since high school that I was meant to be a story-teller. My dad jokes about the fact I have been creating insane tales all my life. But I went to college for filmmaking, and spent most of my time writing scripts and short stories. Like many people, one of the item in my bucket list was to write a novel. After many years talking about I finally decided to take the leap four years ago. I’m an avid reader, so the magic of books just captivating. After finishing Death’s Intern (book 1 in the Intern Diaries), I was hooked. I felt in love with the creation process, the freedom and flexibility that comes with writing books.

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

Doubts are very common for all creative individuals. Many of us even suffer from the imposter syndrome. For me, I had to learn to “Do it Afraid.” One of my mentor shared this quote and it truly changed the way I saw things. I didn’t have to try to overcome the doubts, fears or insecurities; instead I acknowledged them and kept on moving. When those thoughts hit me, I focused on the process.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

My writing incorporates many of my experiences, as well as those around me. I take notes of jokes that I heard, stories people tell me, interesting places I visit, and people I met. My pulling from my life, I’m able to create stories that people can relate and feel like they are part of them. It’s probably one of the reason I love writing urban fantasy (UF). I can take real places and insert magic to create a unique experiences. For most of the locations in my UF stories are places that I have either lived at or visited.

Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

This is such a hard question. My stories are so character driven that it’s hard just to pick one character that was the easiest to write. I probably don’t have just one, but I can tell you Constantine is probably my favorite. Constantine happens to be a 5000 year old talking cat from Ancient Egypt who works for Death training the Interns. He is bossy, in your face and he says exactly what he thinks and does what he wants. Constantine is a mixture of my mom’s personality and my cat. Pretty much the two being that can still boss me around at my age, LOL. Do I have a character that was the hardest to write? Not exactly. My two angels, Nakir and Samael, were probably the hardest to find their voice. I decided to set these series of short stories in the Intern Universe, and my poor angels were overtaken by all the other characters, including Constantine. It wasn’t until the adventures took them away from Texarkana and the Reaper’s Crew that their true personalities came alive. Having two angels hunt demons in human form with very little angelic powers has been exciting to write.

Follow me everywhere: https://linktr.ee/StarsBooksAndTea

Author Spotlight: EJ Everette

This week’s author is EJ Everette. I will admit that I don’t know her as well as I should. Yet. I have a strong feeling that she and I will become very good friends. I can tell that she has a very kind and compassionate soul. Without further ado, I shall introduce her properly!

Her Books (Click book photos to buy):

All Gray Marshall wanted to do was spend her summer surfing and enjoying lazy days with her besties and watch movies with her kid brother, Charlie. Unfortunately, summer school had to ruin her lovely plans and she is forced to spend two months in geometry work hell. There is no way she will survive the monotony!!That is, until a tall, dark, and handsome guy literally bumps into Gray in the halls on day one and her entire world gets flipped upside down. Not only is Reid sexy as sin, he has a twin and three other friends who all qualify for panty-melting status. Despite their attractiveness, Gray is not a social person. Years in abusive homes have made her hesitant, anxious, and all-around antisocial. So why do these five guys make her want to spend every moment with them? Why doesn’t she fear their presence, a presence they basically force upon her within minutes of meeting? And what is with the way her body literally buzzes when they touch her” After decades bouncing between realms, Reid, Rip, Mitch, Chance, and Dean have finally found the prophecy girl they have been searching for. But…she has no idea who she is, what she is capable of, or how important she is to them and their people. Worse yet, the council has forbidden them from telling her anything until she comes into her power. That task, in and of itself, isn’t too hard, except that every single one of them know the truth and they can only resist the pull for so long before they claim what is rightfully theirs. Shit, it’s been prophesized. Waiting to Ignite is book one in a slow burn new adult paranormal reverse harem romance series. Gray has a lot to learn about who she is and where she really comes from, but first she has to survive summer school and the guys who guest star in her dreams at night. Not to mention someone, or some thing, has a special interest in her as well, and they aren’t looking to date her.

This can’t be real. There is no reality where I have… powers? And what do the guys mean when they say I am part of a prophecy? After Gray wakes up following tragedy, she is confused, frightened, and hell, a little bit angry. When the guys tell Gray just how important she is, she loses it. Gray is tired of manipulation. Tired of games. The old Gray let herself be a victim. Allowed herself to be a pawn in the plans of others. Those bones have been broken, scars have been formed, and the new Gray refuses to revisit that pain ever again. But when an enemy comes for her, Gray finds herself alone and once again her life hangs in the balance as someone else calls the shots. After they tell Gray the truth about who they are, where they are from, and the destiny that lies before her, the guys are beyond shocked when Gray demands space, pushing them away from her at every turn. This isn’t right. They are her guardians, hand chosen to protect her and keep her aligned with the path that leads to peace. How are they supposed to do that when she won’t even let them in the same room? Not to mention, now that the igniting has taken place, their bonds are stronger, leaving them all desperate to be with the one their lives are bonded to. When Gray goes missing, the guys have to put aside their own pain and focus on saving the woman they can’t live without, even if she doesn’t accept their love yet. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the truest strength, comes from pain. Gray is about to find out just how much she can break and, in turn, how much she wants to survive. If she is going to bring about the prophecy she is destined for, she is going to have to ensure she is strong enough to conquer those who oppose her. Sometimes, we have to feel the burn of the flames before we can conquer the fire within.

About EJ Everette:

A little about me — I probably read more than I should since I am supposed to be writing these days, but books give me the perfect excuse to escape my crazy life for a few! This is why I strive to write characters, worlds, and stories that will do the same for my readers. I am a Mom (half an egg carton full of kids) and a military spouse. I have seen some of the world but my goal is to visit so many more places before my hips give out!

I enjoy short walks on sunset beaches (because long walks sound exhausting) and the occasional glass of wine or mug of beer. I sing as often as I can (even in stores where some might think it is frowned upon) and dance even though I likely scare those watching.

Mostly I am happy to be lucky enough by some f@#ked up miracle to live the version of my life I get to live right now and hope you enjoy hanging with me!

Interview With EJ Everette:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

Since the start of my writing career (a whole 6 months ago) I have published two books from my debut series, The Ignited Girl, and have another on the horizon! The Ignited Girl focuses on the life of Gray, a seventeen year old young woman who was dealt a crappy hand and had to fight for the life she finally has with her younger brother and Grams. Things are smoothing out for her, though she is far from pleased with her next hurdle in life- summer school. That is, until she shows up to campus and runs into a goofy sexy guy over and over again. Add in his friends of equal god-squad status, and Gray has her hands full. Not one to usually enjoy the company of people, especially men following a rough past, Gray feels oddly pulled toward this group of guys- safe in their presence and definitely attracted to them… all of them. The guys have a few secrets they aren’t sharing with Gray, though. She may not understand what she is feeling, or why, but they are very aware of the pull, it’s purpose, and know exactly how she is feeling. All five of them are following their path as it aligns with a prophecy shared with their ancestors long ago… a prophecy featuring a very clueless Gray… a prophecy that will change everything about her life, her past, and present her with a future she is not ready for. Books one and two (Waiting to Ignite and Igniting the Flame) are already out on Amazon and KU. Book three, When the Heart Ignites, is due out in the coming months. This series has six books total planned for it and so far each book averages about 118k words- I like them thicc!

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?

When I was eleven, a horrible tragedy struck the United States – the Columbine school shooting. I had never heard anything about school shootings before, but this was everywhere. I watched interviews with parents and teachers. My school changed its policies for visitors, as did so many others, and security tightened. Within a year, there was another shooting all over the news. My heart, though still in pre-teen mode, was deeply saddened by what was happening around us. In the year 2000, I wrote a song in honor of those lost in the shootings and to bring attention to the chaos happening in the world. It was submitted to contests all over the US by my teachers and was even published in a book about a year later, though they chose to represent it as a poem instead of a song. The point is, regardless of publication and attention, I felt some sort of solace in expressing the emotions I had built up within me through words. It would be years before I would write something to publish again, but the writing bug got to me then and never left. I knew, even at that young age, that I wanted to chase that feeling of completion I received when writing. It took me a few decades, and quite a crazy life in between, but today I still write for the same reason- to express the emotions fluttering around inside of me on a daily basis. My hope is that just one person can be positively impacted by the scramble of words I put onto paper- able to feel all the intensity of my own passions woven within the text.

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

Oh what a great question! I wish I had the ultimate answer. I just recently left my corporate job to write full time and start my own business. It is TERRIFYING! It is one thing to work for someone else, but to work for yourself and know every penny you earn is directly related to whether or not your art is appreciated by others… bury me alive with spiders and scorpions and I would be less afraid! Still, the community of authors and readers is EXTENSIVE and so supportive. Between my epically amazing support system at home, my readers and other authors in my genre, and my own determination to finish the things I start no matter what the opposition, I find ways to keep myself moving forward. Also- I think it is incredibly important to take days of rest for my brain and my heart. Sometimes things aren’t as easy, words don’t flow as smoothly, or life is hectic (I have six kids- this is almost always for me!). The best way I have found to overcome the paranoia of failure and slumps in my writing is to take the emotional time I need whenever necessary to refresh, recharge, and allow myself to be human!

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

It is actually pretty much the opposite for me. I was married at 17 years old. I didn’t have a traditional high school experience nor did I live through the dating stage for very long before settling down. My husband and I just celebrated 17 years of marriage, still going strong, but the teen heartthrob moments, butterflies, and back and forth dating games? I never had any of that. I don’t regret meeting Mr. E or the life we have together, but I have found a way to live vicariously through my writing by developing characters that experience all the things I didn’t. It’s actually incredibly cathartic!

Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

I have quite a few different, incredible characters in my current series. I absolutely LOVE writing Gray, my FMC. She is strong but not afraid to deal with the emotional turmoil she has lived through. She has so many hardships thrown her way, and she finds a way to rise above them. I am in awe of her determination and the way she looks after her little brother. She has some goofy moments, some very teen-like boy crazy moments, and her sarcasm makes my heart happy, but when the going gets tough, Gray embraces the suck and gets tougher. Her POV comes naturally to me- so natural I often find myself dreaming of her as if I know her in real life, not just in my head. She is, by far, the easiest for me to write! As far as the hardest to write, I’d have to say it is Chance. He is broody, angry about a life he can’t control, and basically an asshole in all ways. While those characters tend to be the ones I am attracted to the most in books and movies, writing everything from his moody perspective is a challenge. I have to remind myself that he is just angry, not evil, and convince myself not to have someone beat him upside the head when he says or does dumb things just to piss Gray off. He is one of my favorite characters, but getting into this mindset takes more time and energy than any of the others.

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Author Spotlight: Rita Sawyer

This week’s author is Rita Sawyer. Her and her daughter are both very talented. They are also a pleasure to spend time with. I’m blessed to have met Rita. I’d say where I met her from, but many people who read my blogs can probably figure it out pretty quickly. I met a lot of people there in the past three years. It’s been amazing.

Her Books (Click book photos to buy):

Jessie and Victor were both strong willed people always used to being in control. How they fell in love was still a mystery.

Jessie Brazen had made her choice when she decided that taking care of her sisters was more important than following her heart. The problem was she already made the mistake of giving her heart away to Victor. Their whirlwind romance had come to halt even though she’d pledged to love him forever when she sent him away.

Getting married on a whim may not have been the smartest thing Victor Weatherly had ever done. He’d given Jessie the time and space she had asked for. Instead of asking him to come back like he hoped she sent him divorce papers. He never planned on letting her go forever, so now he was back to remind her how good they were together and get her to change her mind.

Will Jessie push him away again? Or will Victor figure out the secret keeping them apart?

Andrew liked living in the quiet small town of Carver Ridge. His peaceful life is thrown upside down the day Angie rolls into town. He shouldn’t want her, but he does. She thinks he’s an overprotective Neanderthal. When it comes to her maybe he is. They can’t seem to stop pushing each other’s buttons. Then she posts a review on a travel site inviting all the single women of the world to visit town. One of the perks worth seeing that she lists is all the hot single men. Now his little town is being swarmed by women looking for a man and Angie says it’s his fault.

Angie knew she was impulsive. While taking a picture for a review of the Brazen sister’s lodge Andrew walked into the shot. She decided not to let the picture go to waste, and used it as a selling point of the town. It wasn’t her fault Andrew had a nice ass, now was it? Andrew is not pleased, but it doesn’t stop him from kissing her whenever he gets the chance.

Can they get past their animosity and admit that they want each other?

Tim met the woman of his dreams, but he let her get away. For six months he searched for her, but though he had some basic information he wasn’t able to find her. Then when he’d almost given up she walked back into his life. He’s determined to get her to give them a second chance.
Trish had believed Tim the first time he’d said he wanted a relationship with her. Then he’d gone home and hadn’t contacted her. So she tried to push him out of her head and heart. Six months later she’s still working on it. When a chance at a mountain vacation lands in her lap she takes it hoping to spend the two weeks purging out of her system for good. The last she expected to find was Timber standing in the lobby of the lodge.
Can Trish trust him this time when he says he wants her? Will she risk getting her heart broken even worse than it already was?

Blake wants Kimmie the minute he sees her. Once he gets to know her he’s sure she’s the one. But she’s coming off a bad breakup and he doesn’t want to push her. He figures if she stays in town long enough when she’s over it he’ll be there waiting. He gets her a job at the local elementary school hoping it will convince her to stay in town. What he really wants is for her to fall in love with him and stay forever.
Kimmie is falling for Blake. They’re growing close, but he seems to be holding back. Frustrated she starts to think it might be best for her to go home when her contract is up. She doesn’t want to leave her friends. She would be miserable with or without them and Blake, but the thought of seeing Blake with someone else would kill her.
Can Blake convince her to stay or will his hesitance be what causes him to lose her?

Justin knew his cousin’s fiancée hadn’t meant to entice dozens of women to come to Carver Ridge to find a man. But that was what had happened. His plan had been to avoid the women as much as possible until things died down. Then he caught sight of CJ at the town’s carnival. Something about her made him want to get to know her.

CJ came to Carver Ridge on a mission and it was not to snag one of the bachelors. She hadn’t even known about the travel review that had women arriving in droves hoping to catch the eye of one of them. She was there to do a job. Meeting Justin Mitchell changes all that. Especially when she makes the mistake of flirting with him.

Justin hadn’t known what he was missing before she came to town. Now that he did he wasn’t letting CJ go without a fight.

About Rita Sawyer:

Rita Sawyer is a Massachusetts native, who did brief stints in Georgia and Maine. Now she lives about an hour from Boston with her husband. She has always been an avid reader, mostly romance novels (though she says she’ll read anything).

She writes contemporary romances and romantic comedies. Her stories vary in heat level from sweet to sizzling, but she hopes they all have at least a hint of humor. What good is romance without a little laughter? If you enjoy family and friend based series then you’ve found the right author. More about Rita and her books can be found at www.RitaSawyer.com. Readers can contact her anytime at ritasawyer2@yahoo.com.

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Interview With Rita Sawyer:

Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?

I write contemporary romances and romantic comedies. So far all the books I’ve published have been romances with lots of family and friend dynamics thrown in. I like writing series because I want to know what happens to the other characters that make appearances in the books.

As for what’s upcoming. I have two books in editing. One will be a new release and the other is a re-release of a title I’ve gotten my rights back on. I’m also working on the remaining books in my Carver Ridge Bachelor series, and romantic comedy trilogy I hope to have out next year (maybe in time for the Literary Love Savannah conference).

What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?

I can pinpoint it to when my youngest son was three. I always loved reading, but never thought about wanting to write until then. I made up stories for him when it was nap or bedtime. I still didn’t pursue writing at that point. It took another three years for me to actually take the plunge.

My husband deserves all the credit for it. I was working third shift and reading a lot to stay awake in the downtimes. When I started complaining about scenes or the endings of the books I was reading he told me to write my own story so I could make all the choices. I took his suggestion and put myself to the test. 27 books later I still blame/thank him for giving me the push I needed.

What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?

There are times or points during writing where doubts creep in. I’m sure all writers have them. But I know that I can’t let them derail things for too long. I think since I write series having past and future characters to focus on during those times it helps to push through the uncertainties.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

Of course, LOL. I mean everything you see and do impacts your writing whether you know it at the time or not.

Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?

So far the easiest character to write was Bobbie from book 6 in the Brazen Sister Series. She came to me as a full-fledged character. I just knew her personality and loved it. My most difficult character was Ace from book 4 in my Heiresses In Aprons Series. Ace needed to be a jerk. Honestly he really did. Part of his redemption depended on it. So making him so bad, but too awful was a fine line. In the end I think he turned out okay.

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