Written In the Stars Anthology Spotlight: Diana Dawn

Written in the Stars Author: Diana Dawn

Interview with Diana Dawn:

Tell us what prompted you to start the series? Be as detailed as you want.

My Whispering Willows series actually started back in the late 1990s. I was part of a small online writing club. We all would write a chapter a week or so. I wrote there for several years on this same series. The writing club finally shut down in 2009. I didn’t do anything with my work for the next 10 years. Then, recently in 2019, I decided to not let all of that time and dedication go to waste, so I made the leap to self-publish my chapters into a book series.

How did you feel as you were writing the first book? Has that feeling changed between then and now? If so, how?

When I first started writing the chapters for this story, I had no idea how far it would go. I love all things Snow White, so I decided to write my story around what would happen to Snow White if she “fell” into another world. It ended up well over 200 chapters before the writing group shut down. I am proud of how far the story has gone. It’s so much more than I thought it would be in the beginning. There are more characters, emotion, and drama than I ever thought I would write!

How many times have you had a specific idea for the story but it has been derailed because the characters decide to go a different way?

Many times, but all for the best! Since the story/series grew into something much bigger than I first expected, I was able to expand my characters, and also bring in new ones… including some darker characters and deeper story themes. The series evolved from a sweet and naïve fairy-tale type story into something much deeper and exciting and dramatic!

What was the most difficult part in writing the series?

Originally, in the writing group, we were using a “shared world”. The moderator was a little…odd. She made things difficult for us. Folks started filtering out until there were only a few of us left. Then she just shut the whole thing down. The few of us left just took the group to another location and continued to write. It was much more peaceful at that point. LOL! So in putting my chapters of the “shared world” into a series, I only used my writing, of course, but I did change some character names and other things from the original version. My husband has been an important part in my converting the story into a series, believe it or not. He has a lot of feedback and gives me ideas. I record all of the books for him so he can listen on his way to work. I’ll get into his car and hear my voice, which is a weird feeling! LOL!

If you could give advice to anybody else considering writing a series, what advice would you give?

Each book in my series builds on the previous book, like a soap opera. This has made it difficult to market. Fans of my series love the cliffhangers that I have at the end of each book. They tell me it really gets them excited for the next release. But the downside of that is that readers need to start at the beginning of the series to know what all is happening. I think I would advise anyone thinking of writing a series to think more modularly. Try to have the books more standalone. They can still relate to each other in some way, but then a reader can pick up, say, book three, and not be totally lost. The relation can be something subtle that would make them curious enough to then purchase the first and second books, etc. This would be impossible for my current series. So it would take some planning on the author’s part to plan out this type of writing strategy.

About the Author:

Diana Dawn

Diana Dawn is a writer and author of the new book series, Whispering Willows. As a lover of fairy tales and romance, Diana has focused her writing on romantic fiction, with a hint of classic fables. She has been a lifelong writer and first began creating stories in grade school. When she isn’t glued to her computer or lost in her next fantasy story, Diana enjoys taking vacations with her husband and three children. She would love to hear your thoughts or feedback at http://www.DianaDawnBooks.com. Or drop her a line at Diana@DianaDawnBooks.com for a special free promotional offer related to her Whispering Willows book series!

Message from Diana:

Please visit my website for details and synopsis of my series, and a free download of some of the books! Plus, in addition to my series, I have more books coming out and a monthly newsletter with giveaways and other fun things!
https://dianadawnbooks.com/

Also, I just started a new reader’s group on Facebook, along with my Facebook author page. I would love for you to join us!
Dawning Books Reader’s Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/3109388419321551)
Diana Dawn Books (https://www.facebook.com/DianaDawnBooks)

On sale until January 31st! Get your copy before it’s too late!

Author Spotlight: Maria Vermisoglou

This Week’s Author: Maria Vermisoglou

Book Spotlight:

About The Author:

Maria Vermisoglou is an International Bestselling author of fantasy and paranormal with an obsession for witches. She loves throwing her heroes into impossible situations. Maria draws inspiration from books, travel, and…the ceiling. (So blame the ceiling!)
Maria started writing when the stories she read became too boring and the voices in her mind too loud.
When she’s not writing, she loves a good riding on the fantasy dragon, but a book can also be exciting, along with a cup of tea.
Nowadays, you can find her in Athens, exploring the mysteries of the ancient world.

Subscribe in her newsletter and you can stay up to date with her works and get first dibs on book sales, giveaways, all the fun stuff.https://maraki2311.wixsite.com/creativequill/
Follow Maria on social media: https://linktr.ee/portal_to_the_unknown

Interview With Maria Vermisoglou:

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

I started with YA novels featuring witches, but I have expanded to shifters, mermen and other paranormal creatures. I even have some holiday, fairytales and mythological books. I mostly write paranormal fantasy because I love magic and unexplainable stuff. My obsession is witches but not the classical evil witches, but I strive to craft a different image than the cliches. Healers, bartenders, fighters, you name it, and their goal is to save humans from demons and themselves. If they fall in love with a human along the way, all the better! Upcoming? I have planned a NA Alice retelling (shifters and elementals), several other witch books in my series and an entirely new series that has nothing to do with magic! *insert shocked face*  A genius on the run. The Irish mafia with a secret plan. Romance, mystery, and heists! I said too much, huh?

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

I didn’t know I wanted to be an author. It all started with a story. I always crafted stories in my mind. I took a part of the story and twisted it into something new, but never wrote it down. It helped me come to terms that this story had ended. The last goodbye to the characters I loved so much. Ha, ha. One day, I had finished another great story and the what ifs tortured my mind. What if the character was a witch? What if…? And that’s how my first story was born. I didn’t know if I wanted to know an author. I just wanted to quiet the noise in my brain. Word after word, page after page became a book. And then more books. I joined anthologies and published my own books. I never thought of myself as an author as in I never thought I’d become one, but I love it. Helps me cope with the challenges of life and it makes me happy. As a reader, books were my friends, my escape, so I want to offer that to my readers as well. A gateway to my little portal where we’re all accepted, we’re all heroes and we can all ride giant hippocampi!

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

My only doubt is: Someone can write it better than me. I’m a pantser, so half the time I don’t know where the story is going, so it’s challenging to overcome that fear. It never truly goes away, but I believe in my stories and I’ve learned a lot over time. Sure, there are many people who might have done it better, but they’re not me. These characters chose me as their voice and I will do my best to represent their stories as best as I can. My readers love my stories so instead of doubting myself, I should write faster 🙂

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

Yes. In the Hands of Zaztice is a Greek mythology novella that’s set in Athens, where I live and most of the story represents real events. Except the monsters. Haven’t encountered them yet. Ha. But even the monsters are symbols. I didn’t have a sword, but sometimes, one step is enough to light the path for you and the monsters to go away.

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

Hardest: Violet (The Eulogimenoi series). I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. It was a hazy mess that made no sense. The easiest character is Eva because she was a witch and somehow, I could sync with her thoughts and understand her real easy. It’s like the story wrote itself. 

Contact me at nikkiereads@starsbooksandtea.com if you’d like to be featured here!

Written In the Stars Anthology Spotlight: Lexi Ostrow

Written in the Stars Author: Lexi Ostrow

Interview With Lexi Ostrow:

Tell us what prompted you to start the series? Be as detailed as you want. 

I honestly can’t remember what triggered this series. I LOVE writing light-hearted Christmas romances and it seemed like retelling the fairy tales was not done before. The choice really came when I had to decide what heat level to make the series. Since fairy tales are traditionally a younger audience, I decided this would become my first full YA/NA series.

How did you feel as you were writing the first book? Has that feeling changed between then and now? If so, how? 

I just remember the words flying off the tips of my fingers. I’m not sure if it’s because the source material is so ingrained in my head – despite my many changes – or if it’s just because I always seem to flow so well with my Christmas romances. I’m currently writing book four, and I have learned that my joy is still there, but it’s considerably stronger when I’m twisting a favorite fairy tale – like the Princess and the Frog or Hercules (yes, I know, it’s technically a myth but it’s my series :D)

How many times have you had a specific idea for the story but it has been derailed because the characters decide to go a different way? 

Thankfully, never in this series. Due to needing to follow an iconic arc, the characters seem to play nicely. Now, other series… let’s just say single books have frequently turned into series to tie things up or been completely rewritten.

What was the most difficult part in writing the series? 

Picking which comes next! Thankfully, my street teamers are happy to vote. Only once have I gone against their choice – and I apologized to them. 2020 was rough. Pandemic aside, a mystery illness took over my life (that is undiagnosed but I’ve stopped letting it win), we had to move from New Orleans, we had to sell our first home, and ya know…COVID. I needed Hercules in my life so I made some adjustments and swapped Beauty and the Beast to this year.

If you could give advice to anybody else considering writing a series, what advice would you give? 

Keep a journal if the series books connect together. Don’t leave any detail out because your readers will spot even the smallest change like the name of a shop.

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling Author Lexi Ostrow has been in love with the written word since second grade when her librarian started a writing club. Born in sunny southern California she’s spent time in various places across the country and is not-so-patiently waiting for the USCG to return her to New

 Orleans. Mom to a toddler and an array of pets, her house is never lacking stories to tell.

Lexi has been a writer ever since the second grade in some form or another. Getting her degree in creative writing and her master’s in journalism she couldn’t wait to get a chance to put her fantasies down on paper. From paranormal romance to thriller there isn’t a genre she doesn’t love to spend her time reading or writing. With her BA in creative writing from UCR and her MA in multi-media Journalism from Emerson College, she’s ready to take on the literary world one novel at a time.

Reading and writing are her first loves, but her passion for shopping, love for yummy food and her love for all her many pets are not far behind. Lexi is an enthusiast Whovian and DC Comic Show lover who isn’t afraid to talk someone’s ear off about them. She hopes to one day help other readers fall in love with writing as she did.

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On sale until January 31st! Get your copy before it’s too late!

Author Spotlight: Shelley Nolan

This Week’s Author: Shelley Nolan

Book Spotlight:

Six young women discover hidden powers that make them the target of unscrupulous adversaries. Only by learning to harness their newfound abilities and work together will they be able to gain their freedom. As they fight to break free, they soon learn that more is at stake than just their lives.

Arcane Awakenings – a fast-paced paranormal fantasy novella series

When Merry inherits a bookshop from a grandmother she never knew existed, the last thing she expected was to be transported to another world. But while claiming her inheritance, she accidentally triggers a spell that takes her to Tirana; a world where magic is real, and where her grandmother left behind powerful enemies.

Now those enemies are after Merry, and she has to return home before they catch up with her. With the transportation spell broken, and mages and enforcers on her tail, she flees with her grandmother’s familiar, Sadie. But the black cat can’t save her when she draws the attention of the guild. On the run and searching for a way to remake the spell to take her home, Merry encounters dangers that may prove costly to both worlds.

Merry must learn to wield elemental powers of Air, Earth, Water, Fire and Spirit to have any hope of returning home. If she fails, she will be stuck in Tirana forever, while an ancient enemy may gain the foothold it needs to rid the world of magic for good.

Five hundred years ago, the cure for the common cold went horribly wrong, turning those infected into freaks consumed with hate and rage. Forced underground, the freaks return above ground at night, driven to attack the surface dwellers – their bite infecting thousands more.

To fight the freaks and protect mankind from extinction, scientists created genetically enhanced soldiers. Stronger, faster, with enhanced senses, wardens are trained from birth to protect the weaker humans.

The Captain of the Ward, Jackson Kyle, is infected while saving the life of another warden. Due to his genetic enhancements, he is like no other freak. His faculties intact, he escapes from the Ward and encounters a mysterious young woman. The second he touches her, he is caught in a bond, compelled to protect her at all costs. For she will decide the fate of humankind.

‘The first dead body I ever saw was my own’ – Tyler Morgan. Twenty-five. Murdered by the Grim Reaper

Welcome to the Reaper’s Ascension Series, where death is only the beginning!

After she is resurrected by the Grim Reaper, Tyler Morgan discovers a dark and hidden world. Not sure who to trust, and with enemies closing in, she will have to master her newfound abilities to have any hope of staying alive.

This set contains all three books, and the prequel short story, delivering a spine chilling urban fantasy sure to delight fans of the supernatural and suspense.

About the Author:

Shelley Russell Nolan is an avid reader who began writing her own stories at sixteen. Her first completed manuscript featured brain eating aliens and a butt kicking teenage heroine. Since then she has spent her time creating fantasy worlds where death is only the beginning and even freaks can fall in love, with more fantasy and sci/fi series in the works

The first two books in her debut adult urban fantasy series, Lost Reaper and Winged Reaper, were published by Atlas Productions in 2016, with Silver Reaper published in 2017 to complete the series. 2018 saw the release of her Arcane Awakenings Novella Series, while Odyssey Books published Dark Justice, the first book in a new post-apocalyptic series, in 2019. The sequel, Dark Vengeance, was released in April 2021 with the third book, Dark Allegiance, released in December 2021. In 2020 Shelley also released the first three books in her Merry Magic Series, portal fantasy books featuring witches, magic and talking cats.

Born in New Zealand, moving to Australia with her family when she was seven, Shelley currently lives in Central Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two young children. They share their home with two wrecking ball kitties, and two crazy dogs on a mission to chew. She loves to hear from her readers so feel free to contact her on Facebook, Goodreads, or at her website – shelleyrussellnolan.com.

Interview with Shelley Nolan:

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

I currently have 12 books published, in four different series, as well as a number of short stories.

My debut series, Reaper’s Ascension, is a paranormal fantasy about a young woman who ends up working for the Grim Reaper after she is murdered. There are three books in the series, and a prequel short story.

My second series is Arcane Awakenings, a Young Adult paranormal fantasy set in the same town as my Reaper series, and follows six young women as they discover psychic abilities – abilities that make them the target of unscrupulous scientists. This series is six novellas, though I have put two novellas in each book.

My third series, The Last Ward, is a bit different, as it is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy set 500 years after the cure for the common cold went horribly wrong, creating freaks filled with rage towards the uninfected. The story focuses on the former captain of the Brimfield Ward after he is infected. His struggle to retain his humanity is put to the test when he encounters a mysterious young woman with the power to destroy all humankind. There are three books in this series, with the last book released in December 2021.

I am currently working on Merry Magic, a portal fantasy series about a young woman who accidentally triggers a spell that transports her to another world – a world where magic is real and she is mistaken for an infamous witch with powerful enemies. The first three books of Merry Magic have been released and I am working on book four now.

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

I have wanted to be an author ever since I was sixteen and I starting turning my daydreams into stories. Those daydreams usually involved me being swept up in some kind of adventure by  discovering magical powers, being transported to another world or into the pages of my favourite books. As an avid reader it felt natural to turn my daydreams into stories. Using my friends as inspiration for the characters, I fell headlong into creating my stories and knew that being an author was all I ever wanted to do.  Only, I didn’t know how to go about it.

Back then there were no creative writing classes or groups locally and no internet to connect with other would be authors. So my desire to be an author sat on the back burner for many years. I was still writing, but it wasn’t until I got my first computer and was able to connect online with other writers and discovered workshops that I realised I could finally achieve my dream. 

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

Impostor syndrome is something most authors deal with, and I am no exception. Often when I am writing a first draft I think it is terrible. But if I let it sit for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes I realise it isn’t as bad as I think it is. It is amazing what some distance can do. Sometimes I read through my older books, and when I get caught up in the story, I know I didn’t do too bad a job. I also have trusted beta readers who will tell me straight if something isn’t working for them.

While I know not every reader will enjoy my stories, it helps to remind myself that I have spent years working on my craft. Long before my first book was published, I was attending masterclasses and workshops where I had the opportunity to work one on one with industry professionals. Having the acquisitions editor of a major publisher tell me how much they loved my story was a huge boost to the ego, and was the first time I thought I could make a career out of writing stories.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

I lost my father to cancer when I was thirteen, and it took me years to realise that I had created story worlds where death could be overcome. One of these is in Reaper’s Ascension, where the main character is resurrected after she agrees to work for the Grim Reaper. I have another story, outlined and partially written many years ago, in which the main characters dies in this world only to be reborn in another one. I also tended to write characters who had lost their fathers at an early age or who were estranged from them.

A less morbid way I have included actual life experiences is by setting Reaper’s Ascension and Arcane Awakenings in the fictional town of Easton. Only, Easton is really the town I live in. I changed the name so I could alter some of the town’s characteristic as needed.

While the black cat familiar who mentors Merry, in Merry Magic, is based on my house panther, and my other cat makes an appearance as the familiar of Merry’s love interest.

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

The easiest character for me to write about was the teenage heroine in my very first story, Intergalactic Heroine for Hire. I started writing IGH when I was sixteen, and Sharon Chambers was a mix of my friends and me. That story was a full on romp where Sharon (AKA me and my friends) got to be sharp witted, sharp tongued and save the universe. That story has not yet been published, as I had no idea what I was doing way back then and Sharon came across to initial readers as mean rather than witty. But IGH and Sharon still hold a special place in my heart, and I hope to one day go back and take the kernel of the idea and turn it into a proper story.

The hardest character for me to write was Jackson, the main male character in Dark Justice, The Last Ward Book One. This was my first time writing from a male character’s point of view and I had to show how hard it was for him to hold on to the last shred of his humanity after he was infected with the freak virus. Dark Justice has a beauty and the beast vibe, but the initial draft had him acting too beastly to ever be considered a love interest for the main female character. It took a few rewrites to nail his character down and provide a satisfying read. The third and final book in the series, Dark Allegiance, was published in December and I will admit to shedding a tear as I penned the last chapter. After taking such care to create a memorable character, it was hard to say goodbye to Jackson and the rest of his Ward.

Contact me at nikkiereads@starsbooksandtea.com if you’d like to be featured here!

Author Spotlight: Sheri Lynn

This Week’s Author: Sheri Lynn

Book Spotlight:

A pirate. A lady. He decides she belongs to him.

Priscilla is bored with her life. She yearns for adventure and excitement. She pleads and begs her father to allow her to go on his next trip to the intriguing pirate infested islands. When she’s told no, she sneaks on the ship anyway.

Nathaniel is the quartermaster on the ship he currently sails on. His quest for his own ship is almost complete. When he visits a harbor town, he discovers the greatest treasure he could imagine and like any other trinket, he takes her with him.

Her dreams and her realities aren’t coinciding. Priscilla learns the hardships and threats on the open sea and of living on an unrefined island. But Nathaniel and his amber eyes burn her in every conceivable, delicious way.

Nathaniel is committed to silencing his harrowing past. When an opportunity for revenge presents itself will he pursue it? Can Nathaniel keep Priscilla safe?

Once Priscilla experiences the true pirate in Nathaniel, will it be more than she can withstand?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy, sexy pirate tale includes elements of danger, action, adventure, mystery, suspense, sensual scenes, and power exchange. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.

On Nysa, women exist solely as recreation for men.

Calliope dreams of escaping Nysa, traveling to Earth and living free. Her plans are thwarted when she ends up placed with a dedicated soldier as his plaything. Regardless of her developing feelings for Amerrande, she knows she must not let anything get in the way of her plans to escape, and after a terrifying attempt and hazardous journey, she reaches Earth – only to discover freedom is not long lasting, as Amerrande is sent to find and execute her.

Phaedra has one purpose: service assignment soldiers for one month in whatever capacity they desire. Her doctor sedates and forces her to leave for the desecrated and disease-ridden Earth, followed by transport to Neoma, the frozen death planet. His plan was to save her from a life of servitude and offer her a freedom she wouldn’t have had. But all isn’t as it seems. And when Phaedra learns to see and trust with her heart and not her eyes, she will risk not only her life, but the life of the man she wants to share it with.

This is a two book collection consisting of Charm Him, Disarm Him and Impress Her, Possess Her. Both books read as standalones and have a HEA.

Publisher’s Note: These steamy sci-fi, apocalyptic romances contain elements of action and adventure, and power exchange.

Traveling to the island of Roatan, Honduras, for her college best friend’s wedding, it never crossed Sophia’s mind that her college boyfriend, Trevor, could be in attendance. She hadn’t heard anything from or about him since graduation when he left to bounce around to different locations and pursue his immature dreams. She assumed no one else had either. Wrong. He has quite a reputation in West End, Roatan.

Trevor was told of and agreed to the unlikelihood of Sophia traveling to the simple island destination. He didn’t give it a second thought. Until he saw her sitting on a barstool at the tiki bar. Now he can’t stop thinking about her. Fantasizing about her. She still has flowing, auburn hair and a fiery attitude to match.

Both recognize the fire still burning between them. But neither is inclined to relight the match.

They wanted different things. They took separate paths and found success. Did either find the happiness they had together? Will either act on the passion between them? If they do, it will force them into the exact dilemma they suffered a decade ago.

Can and will Trevor let her return to the lucrative lifestyle she always wanted and obtained? A decade without her couldn’t silence his doubts about losing her the first time.

Will Sophia leave her ‘West End Wonder’ living the satisfying life he chose for himself? She’s dated the high-powered business moguls she dreamed of. But she’s never appreciated and enjoyed them as much as she does Trevor and experiencing his laid-back island lifestyle.

When secrets come to light…

Emma is returning to the scene of her indiscretion, unsure of the welcome she will receive. But after five years, it’s time to ask for her former fiancé’s forgiveness and to introduce her young son to his rightful father.

Annabelle is fleeing after being betrayed and humiliated by her beau and her best friend. Going west to stay with her cousin and her family, she hopes to make a new start. But when her curiosity gets the best of her, she meets Clyde, who promptly decides she needs to be taken in hand.

Claude and Clyde are twin brothers who work on the Big G Ranch, but they are keeping a secret about the past. When it is discovered, will they lose their positions and the women who have stolen their hearts?

This is book two in the Big G Ranch series and can be enjoyed independently.

Publisher’s Note: This historical western contains elements of action, adventure, mystery, suspense and power exchange. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.

Together they were combustible, but every fire can burn out of control.

Holly’s life wasn’t really working out the way she expected. She’d graduated high school and gone off to college only to be forced home. She worked a depressing job in the local diner, giving her paychecks to her mother, and dreaming of the day she could return to school.

Ash entered the diner she worked at one cold, rainy night and the spark between them flared immediately. He made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. She was offered a contract providing her with a substantial amount of money —her family desperately needed—if she agreed to his terms for one week. Seemed simple enough.

Little did she know what he actually bought and how much she would relinquish.

Publisher’s Note: This dark, contemporary romance is intended for adults only and contains elements of mystery, suspense, possible triggers for some readers, sensual scenes and power exchange. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.

About the Author:

An image posted by the author.

I’m Sheri and I write as Sheri Lynn and Sheridan Knight. I grew up an Army brat, so my childhood involved moving every three years. However, truly a southern gal, I currently split my time in Alabama and Florida with my husband, one Chihuahua, two Golden Retrievers, and a turtle. I have two sons, who live on their own, a daughter in college, and a stepson and stepdaughter.

Romance novels have always been my first reading choice. I’m a hopeless romantic, and that trait materializes in every aspect of my life. “Wearing your heart on your sleeve” has been a common phrase repeatedly heard throughout my life. Writing romance and happily ever-afters come naturally.

Whether a result of my childhood, or not, I love to travel. Warm weather and beautiful beaches are always my choice destination.

Social media:

https://www.facebook.com/sherilynnauthor/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sheri-lynn

https://www.instagram.com/sherilynnauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SexyScintillatingRomancebySheriandSheridan/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14678523.Sheri_Lynn

https://mailchi.mp/sherilynnauthor/sherilynn-sheridanknight

https://sherilynnauthor.com/

my email:  sherilynnauthor@yahoo.com

Interview with Sheri Lynn:

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

I write romance across several genres.  Vampire.  Western.  Contemporary.  Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic.  Historical Suspense.  Historical Fantasy.  Whenever I get inspired, I go with it.  I enjoy writing characters who aren’t necessarily looking for love, but it finds them.  Some of them reject it and fight against it… but I do love a happy ending.

This year is the first year since I began publishing in 2015 that I intentionally did not sign onto any new projects, and I have no deadlines to meet (except my own). I want to finish the next books in several series I started, and I am currently working on a contemporary story which will release in June of this year.

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

I’ve always loved reading and writing.  I’ve always had a creative imagination. I was the girl who cried when the day came to finally pack up her Barbie dolls because I was too old to continue crafting lives for them. 

I sat down at my laptop after my second son was born and wrote my first novel.  I shopped it around a little bit, but I had two young sons, a full-time job, and gave birth to a daughter a few years later. It would be over twenty years before I published anything where others could read it.  But during those years, I stayed active in a writers’ group and kept writing and eventually decided to submit another story which did get published in 2015.

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

Remember or reread the positive reviews. And yes, there are negatives ones too. But we are all different and what one person hates… another can love. Remind myself why I write. I write because I love it. Even if I never become a ‘huge success’, I am successful because I stuck with it and people have read my words and enjoyed them.

I also walk away from it periodically. Writing can be a lonely endeavor. It can be harsh. And I feel beaten down on occasion. So, I force myself to step back for a week or two or even a month. And, by the time I sit back down at my laptop I’m anxious to get back at it.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? 

I think all my characters have parts of me in them. They say we write what we know. I tend to write about small towns because I lived in them most of my life and I love the laidback lifestyle.

In my book, West End Wonder, there is a wedding on the island of Roatan, Honduras. My husband and I spent many years frequenting the island. I changed the names of the resort, bars, and restaurants, but they are based on my experiences. The entire scooter accident scene and my description of the hospital are also factual (well, it was me driving with my mom on the back).

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

Hmm. I love them all, but there are occasions that getting inside their mindsets, understanding them, and delivering it through my words proves difficult.

I think the easiest characters I have written would be the females I wrote for a co-authored series with Isabella Kole. They are Western romances, the Big G Ranch series. All their stories came easy to me, and it was so much fun bringing them to life.

The hardest character might be Echo from a sci-fi series I started with one novella in an anthology which is no longer available and continued the story in a separate anthology, Chosen By An Alien which will be no longer available in February. I plan on combining them this year and re-releasing with new material and the next story.

If you could include any graphics you’d like added, the books you want me to spotlight (up to five), and your author photo and bio. I so appreciate you for participating in this feature! 

Contact me at nikkiereads@starsbooksandtea.com if you’d like to be featured here!

Written In the Stars Anthology Spotlight: Scarlett Kol

Written in the Stars Author: Scarlett Kol

Interview with Scarlett Kol:

Tell us what prompted you to start the series? Be as detailed as you want. 

This series started in a bit of an unconventional way. I signed up for an anthology of books that were retellings of The Little Mermaid, and since it was one of my favorite fairy tales as a kid I knew I needed to be a part of it even though I didn’t have anything written. As I started writing the story and building the world, I knew it needed to be expanded and there could be so many other stories happening at Faraway High. Fortunately, I had also signed up to do a Sleeping Beauty anthology later that year with the same group, so I had the idea to link those two stories and then continue on with the series after the anthology publication term was up. It’s great because they are standalone stories so people can start where ever they want and if my readers ever lose passion for these stories I don’t have a huge connected plot that needs to be wrapped up, yet at the same time, it’s a common world with some common characters which makes it fun for those readers who choose to read all the books.

How did you feel as you were writing the first book? Has that feeling changed between then and now? If so, how?

I loved, loved, LOVED The Little Mermaid, so to get to write in that world was a huge kick for me. Plus, I think the twists I put on the original made it even more fun. However, this was the first book I’d ever written that wasn’t going to a publisher and the group of authors in the set had done a lot of work in the fairy tale space, so I was a bit intimidated. However, readers have really loved this story and I’ve had great feedback on it so now I’m a lot more comfortable. I’m super proud of how the story has been received by readers and I will love Arianna and Griffin forever. 

How many times have you had a specific idea for the story but it has been derailed because the characters decide to go a different way?

Ha! All. The. Time. My characters just run their mouths and, all of a sudden, a light bulb goes off and I have to pivot and go with it. Sometimes things need to get reined back in, but sometimes it makes me realize things about the characters and the stories that I never truly understood until that moment. 

What was the most difficult part in writing the series?

The most difficult part is trying to write stories that people want to continue reading. When working with fairy tales it can be tricky because some people will specifically stay away from stories that they didn’t like the original, even if the author has done an amazing job on the retelling. Since this series is based on fairy tales, there is the added pressure of making people want to read stories they initially aren’t interested in based on prior experiences with that story.

If you could give advice to anybody else considering writing a series, what advice would you give?

Hmmm … everyone is different so honestly, you do you. However, if I had to pinpoint something I wish I’d known, I’d say to plan out the entire series from the start. Even if you don’t know all the details and things may and will likely change, knowing where you plan to go with the series will help you lay down the Easter Eggs and little details that interconnect your books and your world better. Readers totally notice that stuff and it makes it easier to build each book on the last.

About the Author:

Scarlett Kol is the USA Today Bestselling Author of dystopian, paranormal and fantasy novels for young adults. Born and raised in Northern Manitoba, she grew up reading books and writing stories about creatures that make you want to sleep with the lights on. As an adult, she’s still a little afraid of the dark. Scarlett lives just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

On sale until January 31st! Get your copy before it’s too late!

Written In the Stars Anthology Spotlight: Breezy Jones

Written in the Stars Author: Breezy Jones

Interview with Breezy Jones:

Tell us what prompted you to start the series? Be as detailed as you want. 

I saw a cover for a different genre but it made me think of Disney descendants. So I decided to do a set of fairytale descendants academy. Malefic mixology specifically was inspired by maleficent.

How did you feel as you were writing the first book? Has that feeling changed between then and now? If so, how? 

I felt excited to be starting a new world and a girly twist on the dark fairytale. I feel a lot the same continuing it.

How many times have you had a specific idea for the story but it has been derailed because the characters decide to go a different way? 

That doesn’t often happen to me because I’m a huge plotter. But sometimes I’ll rework my plot if the writing isn’t working.

What was the most difficult part in writing the series? 

Not writing myself into a whole. Lol, I’ve done that with my winters series. Where the details must all connect and fit while staying within the realm I’ve created.

If you could give advice to anybody else considering writing a series, what advice would you give? 

Keep track of all the details. Even if you think it’s unimportant I promise it is.

About the Author:

Breezy lives in a small town in Florida with her husband, daughter, son and three furbabies, as a SAHM. If you ask what first got her into writing, she’ll tell you it was over the ending of Divergent. She remembers laughing at the first person to suggest that she could write a book, but chose to give it a shot.

When she’s not writing Breezy splits her time among her many hobbies; reading, repainting dolls, makeup and graphic design, just to name a few. These things don’t come without a cost; coffee and wine. While writing hasn’t always been her goal, she has fallen in love with building a world from nothing and watching it flourish.

On sale until January 31st! Get your copy before it’s too late!

Written In the Stars Anthology Spotlight: Megan Grooms

Written in the Stars Author: Megan Grooms

Interview With Megan Grooms:

Tell us what prompted you to start the series? Be as detailed as you want.

I love this series. The first inspiration came from A Knights Tale movie. There is a female blacksmith and no one thinks she does well, of course she kicks ass at it, and I have always loved that idea. The second came from watching too much Forged in Fire. I decided that Lena would be a bladesmith, not a blacksmith. I also knew I wanted Zander in there as an understand loving male lead, but he decided who he was and how they met. Lena and Zander took the reins after that.

How did you feel as you were writing the first book? Has that feeling changed between then and now? If so, how?

The first book was fun because I was making up the world as I was going along. I could add as many characters as I wanted and describe them any way I wanted. The second book was a bit harder because I had to make sure things matched to the previous story. I needed to add as many details as I could, without just repeating myself from the first book. The last book (that I’m currently working on) is the hardest. This one is the last book in the series and I’m having to direct them more toward and ending. My characters don’t like it when I direct and sometimes, I get a little stuck.

How many times have you had a specific idea for the story but it has been derailed because the characters decide to go a different way?

That happens all the time! I’m a pantser when it comes to writing. I have a general idea of where I want the story to go, and particular scenes that I feel need to be in it, but other than that I don’t plan because they always take me off track. I love it though. I can’t write well if they are not talking to me.

What was the most difficult part in writing the series?

I’ve had to kill a few people that I didn’t want to, and might have to kill more before it’s over. Killing them, and giving the death enough page time, and emotions is a little hard for me, especially when I need to keep the story going. The ending I’m finding difficult to get right as well, which is why it’s taking a little while to get the book done. It has to be done before my conference in July though so I have a deadline, those are good for me lol

If you could give advice to anybody else considering writing a series, what advice would you give?

Have a general outline of where the story is going to end overall. Make sure that you slowly work towards that goal. I would also wait until all books are written before publishing the first one, unless you are very good at keeping on time. I will be sure to do that before I do another series. I feel guilty making people wait, and sometimes if the wait is too long, they’ve forgotten about your book. I love series though, either a continuation of the same people, or in the world with each book focusing on different MC. What ever you do, just write it, first for yourself, then for others. If you love it, chances are, someone else will too.

About the Author:

Megan Grooms is mother of one and author of Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural, and Contemporary Romance. She loves writing strong female characters, and their struggles with life and love, as well as the strong men who love them for who they are, and support them, even if that means letting them go. She loves to learn about legends, and myths, and working old, not often heard of, lore into her supernatural, and fantasy stories. Hearing from those that have read her books is the highlight of her day and she encourages readers to reach out to her.

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

Written In the Stars Anthology Spotlight: Maria Vermisoglou

Written in the Stars Author: Maria Vermisoglou

Interview With Maria Vermisoglou:

Tell us what prompted you to start the series? Be as detailed as you want. 

It was actually part of a shared world anthology. An academy of species where each author wrote the story of a species but kept the big events same for each story. I chose the mermen despite the fact (at the time) I thought them limited. I mean, they could only swim, right? Nope. I soon discovered mermen had amazing skills. Magic is a big factor in their lives, but they can have feet and live like humans. If you don’t mind having a hot roommate with blue skin, who’s addicted to water. 

How did you feel as you were writing the first book? Has that feeling changed between then and now? If so, how?

Very insecure and filled with energy. While at times, I feel insecure or “what have I done?” but I mostly feel strong and determined. And irritated at what my characters got themselves mixed up with. Lol. 

How many times have you had a specific idea for the story but it has been derailed because the characters decide to go a different way?

I’m a pantser so that’s a usual occurrence and the reason I never plan. The few times I’ve planned, my characters thought they were guidelines they could ignore. I have specific ideas like Yuri has ocean powers that are uncontrollable, but I never plan step-by-step scenes because it’s pointless. My characters will just ignore them. As irritating as this is, my characters have good ideas and the most interesting twists. 

What was the most difficult part in writing the series?

Keep the information consistent. I have to consult the map and the previous book to make sure this is actually what I said before.

If you could give advice to anybody else considering writing a series, what advice would you give?

Be prepared to deal with lots of papers and notes flying around and an exploding head. Don’t do it unless you really are prepared to dive into chaos. Series are tough.

About the Author:

Maria Vermisoglou is an International Bestselling author of fantasy and paranormal with an obsession for witches. She loves throwing her heroes into impossible situations. Maria draws inspiration from books, travel, and…the ceiling. (So blame the ceiling!)
Maria started writing when the stories she read became too boring and the voices in her mind too loud.
When she’s not writing, she loves a good riding on the fantasy dragon, but a book can also be exciting, along with a cup of tea.
Nowadays, you can find her in Athens, exploring the mysteries of the ancient world.
You can stay up to date with my releases and contact me through my website: https://maraki2311.wixsite.com/creativequill/

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

Author Spotlight: Lily-Ann Johnson

This Week’s Author: Lily-Ann Johnson

Book Spotlight:

Blondie's Hero (Heart of Teufel Hundens Book 1) by [Lily-Ann Johnson, Ash Arceneaux]

Mary-Alice Roberts (Blondie) owns one of the busiest Marine Bars on the East Coast. Getting dumped via Text Message is just the start of her problems. She also needs an experienced Bartender who can fill in right away.

Marine Staff Sargent, Jake Peterson is medically retired, and needs a job to keep his mind busy and not live in the past. The Bartending job at Teufel Hundens sounds like the perfect solution.

When Blondie’s Ex decides to blame Blondie and Jake for his misfortunes and retaliates against Blondie.

Will Jake be the Hero Blondie needs and save her? Or will revealing his actual wealth and him being the cause of her ex’s anger have Blondie doubting not only Jake but their budding love as well?

Seamlessly Yours (Seamlessly Erotic Fairytales) by [Lily-Ann Johnson]

Cynder Whelan knows three absolute truths in her heart, nothing is better than a man in a well-made suit, both her parents had wills, and forever love exists. Ever since her father died she has been stuck with her stepmother and nasty stepsisters. Cynder has made it her goal to make sure Willow Wolf, the fashion house her parents built stays in business and one of the best. Even if that means working ungodly hours for her stepmother Rachel and never getting credit for her designs.Santon James is a self-made man, who lives by the moto is work hard, play harder. He owns one of the largest high fashion textile distributing company in the city and all the fashion houses want access to him. He only deals with the best and now that he back, he is waiting just to snap up the best the city has to offer even if that means playing dirty. Will a chance meeting between Santon and Cynder spark a connection that will set Cynder free.

Originally featured in Suit Porn 2 Anthology at LLS 2019.

About The Author:

No description available.

Lily-ann Johnson is an amazon best selling muti-genre author who lives in North Carolina. Married very own Marine and high school sweetheart with two amazing boys, a dog and 5 cats. 
If you don’t find her with her nose in a book. She can be found at her local VFW Post supporting various different military and non-profit organizations. 

Interview With Lily-Ann Johnson:

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

I am currently just finished a Valentines story for the Military Romance anthology Cupid Wore Dogtags. My story is Valentine’s Hart. 
I am also writing a story Seamlessly Tied for Suit Porn 4 for LLS 2022 that will be part of my Seamlessly Erotic Fairytales retellings.  I have two books bookmarked for Heart of Teufel Hundens series. 

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

I always wrote poems and short stories but I knew I wanted to be a published romance author when I had so many ideas in my head they just had to get out.  Plus who doesn’t love a happy ending. 

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

 I have a circle of friends that I bounce ideas off. They are honest and if I have questions about my writing or the flow of the things they keep me centered and give me the kick I need to get back at it. 

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

I do put real life situations in my books. The crab scene from Blondies Hero actually happened but it was no where near as romantic. Hubby left me on beach getting attacked by crabs while he ran to safety.

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

Easiest was (Blondie) Mary-Alice because I put a lot of myself into her. Easiest male would be Jazz from Seamlessly Wishful ,as I based him off a real life friend. 
Hardest would have to be Rich from Nikki’s Marine because he didn’t want to be happy at first. 

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