Author Spotlight: Emily Camp

This Week’s Author: Emily Camp

Book Spotlight:

Author Bio:

Emily Camp is an author of several young adult novels. She also studies literature and is currently working toward a creative writing degree.

Follow me and find my books here: https://beacons.ai/emilycampwrites

Interview With Emily Camp:

1. Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels? I write young adult and new adult romances. I have two that have mystery elements to them as well. A Homecoming to Forget is about a girl with amnesia and she tries to figure out what happened to her the night she lost her memory.  I like to write characters that people can relate to. I feel like I’ve accomplished that in my stories. 

I’ve been busy writing a story for Kindle Vella. It’s a soap opera type story, some romance and lots of drama. It’s called What Is Hidden. Vella is a serial fiction platform, so far I’ve published over 100 episodes for this and am still working on more. I’m planning on finishing at about 120 episodes. I’m also currently brainstorming a project for an upcoming anthology in May and have another YA romance with a little bit of suspense in the works. It’s about a girl who’s ex-boyfriend is stalking her. She fake dates a guy to get the stalker off her back, and we all know what happens when people fake date in fiction. The problem is, the stalker doesn’t give up that easily. I was wanting to have it ready by spring, but I’ve been focusing on my vella projects the last few months. 

2. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author? I fell in love with storytelling at an early age. I remember reading and watching things and trying to come up with my own endings before they happened. But my first time thinking I could be an author was when I was 13 and fell in love with the book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I even wrote a story inspired by that book. I still have the story, too. If there would have been fanfiction back then I’m sure I would have written fanfiction for it as well. 

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

I started posting my stories on Wattpad to get a feel for what readers thought about my writing before I published on Amazon. I actually had a decent following there. But one thing I did was I made a document of all the kind messages readers sent me while I was writing there. I look at it whenever I feel like giving up. 

4.Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing? Absolutely. I have used several life experiences. 

5. Who was your easiest character to write about and why? The easiest character I’ve written is Kacey from Boy of the Week. Because I got the idea of her from my teenage self. From some of the feedback I get about that book, I’m not the only one who was like her in high school. 

What was your hardest and why? My hardest character was Pierce from Sydney’s Last Night. I never really felt like I understood her at the time. She lost her sister and was grieving a sibling. I’d never experienced that when I wrote about it. However, I did lose my brother six months after I published the book. I don’t know if that would be harder to write now or not. 

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

Author Spotlight: Scarlett Kol

This Week’s Author: Scarlett Kol

Book Spotlight:

Author Bio:

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.

Interview With Scarlett Kol:

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

I have a smattering of different novels out there. My debut novel was a near-future Robin Hood retelling. It’s a little bit dystopian, a little bit biopunk, and is told from the point of view of an upper east side Maid Marian named Mercury. However, my first and true love is more of the paranormal/urban fantasy type stories. Most of my novels to this point are standalones featuring witches, demons, wraiths, and anything else I can think up (Wicked Descent, Sleepless, Keeper of Shadows), however I always like to temper my magic with a little bit (or a lot) of romance as I adore writing those intimate moments between characters. My latest release will be Fierce which is book three from my Faraway High Fairytales series. This is a super fun series of fairytale retellings set in a contemporary Iowa high school in the fictional town of Faraway. So far, I’ve tackled the Little Mermaid but with angels (Falling), Sleeping Beauty but with Celtic mythology and portal magic (Dreamer), and the latest release will be The Twelve Dancing Princesses but make them a cheerleading squad and wolf shifters (Fierce). The nice thing about this series is that they all interconnect, but are completely standalone so you can read them in any order and still get a complete story. After that I plan on launching a brand-new series centered around tarot, so definitely watch my social media for that!

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

I was always a huge reader and had an amazing librarian who turned me on to paranormal and contemporary fantasy in middle school However, somewhere around my early teen years as I devoured Christopher Pike and Anne Rice novels, I realized I had my own stories to tell. I loved the books I was reading and started writing short stories for local contests, and even won a few. After high school, life kind of got in the way, but I still wrote some moody, angtsy poetry for a bit and focused on studying. After my first son was born, I realized I’d strayed away from what I loved and wanted to get back to something that felt like “me”. I started writing this Women’s Fiction/Reese’s Book Club type book, but it just wasn’t coming together. Around that time, a friend gave me this book she thought I might like that I’d never heard of called Twilight and it sparked the love I had back in my teens for those kinds of paranormal stories. I’d convinced myself I had to give up the childish things I used to love but here was this writer in her 30’s doing what I wished I had. I scrapped the novel I’d started and picked up a pen to write a YA story full of magic, mystery, and swoony romance. The rest was history.

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

Omigosh! This is such a great question as I still battle with this on every single project. It doesn’t seem to matter how many books I write or how much I hear that people love them, I’m constantly struggling with the thoughts that this book won’t be as good as my past ones, or it should be so much better, or the book I’m reading is leaps and bounds more amazing than mine. However, if I let those thoughts take over, I’d never publish another thing! Fortunately, I have an amazing set of writer friends who are my cheerleaders and support system who put me back on track when I fall. But what’s really been working for me lately is promising myself that no one needs to read what I’m writing. “It’s a first draft, if it sucks, I won’t publish it/submit it/send to readers.” Usually once I get through the first draft, it might still suck, but there are pieces in there that I love and then I strive to make the book match those parts. Eventually, I’m a few drafts in and have switched to thinking about the release so it moves from “this sucks” to “it’s coming out soon, better make it shine”. I also put a photo of my cover in my workspace to remind me that if I finish the story I get to put that pretty on my shelf.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

All the time, whether I realize it or not (however, people I know will usually let me know). I think we all write what we know to some extent as that’s how we experience the world and we reflect it back in our writing. Most of time it’s usually a character or character trait, something minor like an object or saying, or a place fictional place I wrote about that is totally a real place somewhere that meant something to me. However, I do have one kiss in one of my books that is based on a real kiss I had once … I’ll let you all guess which one.

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

The easiest character was Brea Vardan from Dreamer. She’s a bit of an overthinker and is probably one of the characters I’ve written that is most like myself in how they think and break down information. The hardest character was definitely Berkley James from Sleepless. I tore down and rebuilt this book about twenty times! I think she was the hardest because she has a ton of bad stuff that happens to her in the book and it weighs on her pretty heavy which makes it tough for her to try to fight her way out of it. My heart kind of broke for her a bajillion times while I wrote that book.

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

Author Spotlight: Amanda Marin

This Week’s Author: Amanda Marin

Book Spotlight:

About The Author:

When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing back a book as a present for her. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about faraway knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.

Nowadays, Amanda writes books of her own. She is a USA Today bestselling author and works in scholarly publishing. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and stories with characters that make you go “awww.” She lives in New England with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.

Stay in touch!

Interview With Amanda Marin:

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

Yes! Young adult fiction holds a special place in my heart. I got really into reading YA almost ten years ago while experiencing some major health issues. YA quickly became my go-to comfort read at the time, and as I recovered, I started to dabble in writing it. It took a couple of tries to get right, but I stuck with it. Eventually, I churned out a draft of my first novel to get published: North to Nara, a YA dystopian romance.

North to Nara grew into a trilogy (the Crimson Sash series), and it’ll always hold a special place in my heart! “North” (as I call it for short) is a forbidden love story that reinvents the Hester-Dimmesdale romance from The Scarlet Letter against a backdrop of modern social issues. I like to think that it has a positive, deeper meaning beyond the surface-level story of the two sweet, beautiful main characters who only want the chance to love each other.

Being a sucker for retellings, I also write fairy tales and mashups with a twist. The heroines in my Happily Other After short story series choose endings other than their originally crafted Prince Charming. I’ll be adding another story to that collection in early 2023. In the meantime, I have two mythology-based academy stories out (or coming out soon!) in anthologies in 2022. I love putting a modern spin on old stories!

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

Tough question … but mostly because the answer is SO simple! I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even as a kid, I loved reading and writing stories. I was an early reader, and I used to walk around with notebooks and journals from the time I could write. To me, there’s nothing better than becoming immersed in a story—books are my cure-all when I’m sad and my happy place when times are good.

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

I usually find comfort in knowing that other authors have experienced the same sorts of doubts. Imposter syndrome, lackluster reviews, rejections from agents and publishers—all the greatest writers have faced these … as have my own writer pals. There’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone in your struggles!

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

Absolutely! Without pointing fingers, I will say that some of the guys in my Cinderella story, “Another Midnight,” have a similarity or two to one or more of my exes (shhhh—don’t tell!). Plus, I have lived with PTSD for many years. I drew on some of my treatment/coping experiences in my novel Sky to Sea, which is a sequel to North to Nara. I wish I could say that I could dance, paint, or foretell the future like the muses and seers in my Mythic Academy series … maybe someday if I cross my fingers and keep practicing!

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

Another great question … My hardest character to write was Micah, the cinnamon-roll hero in my Crimson Sash books. He’s SO good and selfless, especially at the beginning of the trilogy. Writing him made me much more aware that kindness matters in real life as much as a novel! I learned from him even while I invented him, I guess. The easiest to write was Corisande, a siren who falls for her intended victim, in my upcoming novella A Song of Salt and Secrets. She’s shy, awkward, well-meaning, and a bit nervous all the time. I can relate! LOL 🙂

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

Author Spotlight: Diana Dawn

This Week’s Author: Diana Dawn

Book Spotlight:

Fallen Snow: Book 1 (Whispering Willows) by [Diana Dawn]
First two books currently free!

“A mix of fairy tales and modernism with romance, adventure, and magic…a perfect fit!”

Snow found herself falling into another world…literally…as she ran from her evil stepmother who was trying to kill her. And now, a new world full of romance and mystery and magic awaited her. But, she is still hunted…still in constant fear for her life from that witch. Searching for her “prince and protector” among the handsome strangers in this mystical remote village, she finds new friends among its residents, both historical and present-day folks. It’s a mysterious woods where once you fall into it, you can’t leave. This was her new home, a world of magic and new family and friends and…romance.

A new twist on a fairy tale retelling and re-imagining romance adventure…‘Fallen Snow’ is the first book in the Whispering Willows series.”…a captivating fairy tale and fantasy book featuring the theme of romance!”–Five Star Review

About The Author:

Diana Dawn is a writer and author of the book series, Whispering Willows. As a lover of fairy tales and romance, Diana has focused her writing on romantic fiction, with an occasional 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. You can find all about what is happening with my books at https://dianadawnbooks.com/

Upcoming book highlights:

Releasing Feb. 8th, I have a story “A Taste of Love” in the Valentine’s boxed set “With Every Beat of My Heart”. Available for pre-order now https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09K7P1RMQ

Releasing Feb. 13th, I have a stand-alone Valentine’s short story “Valentine’s Crush” as a part of a Holiday series. Available for pre-order now. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DTT8C8J

Releasing May 3rd, I have a story, “Dragon Hearts Beating” in the YA dragon-themed boxed set “Dracos”. Available for pre-order now. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09HX31P21

Please check out my series Whispering Willows! The first two books are free to download either on my website or online. Plus, you can find more info on the rest of the series on my website or my Amazon page.

https://books2read.com/u/m2Ze8r

https://dianadawnbooks.com/

Interview With Diana Dawn:

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

My largest endeavor has been my series, Whispering Willows. It started back in the late 1990s. I was part of a small online writing club. I decided to write my story around what would happen to Snow White if she “fell” into another world. It was a “shared world”. 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. I have books one through eleven published so far and plan to wrap up the series on book twelve this year. However, I have a lot of other projects in the pipeline, so I hope I can get book twelve done this year! I am part of many multi-author boxed sets from this year on through 2025! Most recent are two stories for Valentines. One is a contemporary romantic suspense story coming out as a stand-alone book in a Holiday themed series by Indie/Pendent Book Services. It’s called “Valentine’s Crush” about two high school teachers who fall for each other but at the same time have to deal with a student’s deadly crush on one of them. Also, I have a story coming out in a Valentine’s themed multi-author boxed set titled “With Every Beat of My Heart”. My individual story is called “A Taste of Love” about a contestant on a reality cooking show with a crush on a celebrity chef. And in May, I will be part of a multi-author YA dragon-themed boxed set called “Dracos”. My story is titled “Dragon Hearts Beating”. This set is a collection of YA stories about dragons ranging from shifters to romance to adventure and beyond. And since it’s YA, it’s a clean read. All of my stories are clean and suitable for YA.

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

I started writing stories and stage plays when I was in elementary school. I really enjoyed re-writing endings to shows that I wanted to change, as well as writing new ideas that I had in my head. As a child, first, I would “act them out” with my dolls, then I finally moved on to just writing them on paper. Then in high school, I would type them on the computer. Hence, the author in me was born.

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

I have my husband read everything first. He always has some good feedback. Then sometimes I have my mom or dad read them, but that’s usually when I’m finished. I try to get my best friend to read stuff, but she’s just too busy! LOL! My husband is my biggest asset. He says I’m my own worst critic. (Aren’t we all!) For example, lately, I’ve been stuck on this one story more than any other project I’ve worked on for different reasons. My husband says I’m too hard on myself and the project is going fine. I even went to an outside editor source for feedback. It didn’t really help, and instead I came to the conclusion that my husband was right and I just need to go with my gut when I have doubts.

Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?

They say “write what you know”. I have found this to be true. I have a lot of stories that are historical romance, which I love to write. Well, I had some ideas that were contemporary romance that I wanted to try my hand at. I was surprised at how easy they were to write. It was like the words went right from my brain to the paper with little effort. Whether it was dialogue or scene descriptions, I couldn’t figure out why it was so easy. Then I realized it was because it was what I KNEW. I discovered it was much easier to write contemporary romance, because conversations, surroundings, everything is what we live with now, every day. That isn’t to say I am going to stop writing historical stories, but I’m certainly not going to shy away from contemporary romance, either.

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

Snow White has been my easiest character. She is the main character in my series, Whispering Willows. Since I have always loved the character of Snow White, I found that writing about her innocence, sweetness, and naïve charm was a breeze for me. It was easy to take her and weave a world around her, adding characters and adventures into her life. My hardest character is probably the one I am writing now. It’s not just the character, but as I mentioned, it’s been a challenge to finish the whole story. I had an idea in my head that took place in the 1700s, that I now have to convert to a post-apocalyptic story (for various reasons). You’d be surprised how difficult it is to convert the character styles, dialect, period attire, time era scenery, etc.

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

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!