Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Release - CREATUS by Carmen DeSousa

In every myth there is a modicum of truth…
The reason we believe in Fairy Tales—and Monsters.

As the sun’s rays peeked above the horizon, lighting the abyss below her, she inhaled a deep breath, closed her eyes, and jumped. She didn’t scream; she didn’t look down. As much as she hated her life, she hoped it wouldn’t end this way. She’d really like to see him one more time.

Her life didn’t flash before her eyes as she’d always heard. Just an image of her mother covered in blood and her Dark Angel telling her he was sorry.

Creatus, by best-selling author Carmen DeSousa, is a new romantic-suspense novel with a supernatural edge that answers the myths and fairy tales you’ve heard about preternatural sentient beings.

Prepare yourself to believe.

Download Creatus:

In order to spread the news, we are also giving away a $50 gift card! In order to qualify, just share this post’s URL in the Raffle Copter and share via Twitter. You can enter once a day.

Contest ends midnight, Monday September 2, 2013. The drawing, which includes all participating websites, will be held Tuesday, September 3, 2013. The winner will be posted the same day.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Interview with Author Y. I. Lee

I have been given the pleasure of an interview with my friend, author Y. I. Lee. (I know her as Vonnee). She is a talented writer and a very sweet human being. Her book, Through a Glass, can be found on Amazon and on Smashwords in e-book format.  She writes mostly YA and in the fantasy genre which happens to be a genre I love to read. Vonnee and I are Facebook friends and what this interview pointed out to me is that, not only was she born and raised in the town I currently live in, but she currently still lives fairly close. I do believe she and I are going to have to arrange to meet in person sometime soon!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, the eldest of three children. I loved to read, and from a young age my greatest joy was to curl up with a good book; over time I naturally progressed into writing.

At the age of ten I ambitiously attempted my first novel, but quickly realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew and gave up. I was staying with my aunt at the time and will always remember her words. “Wait until you’re older and have lived a little. In the meantime work hard at school, and perfect your English.”

Her wise words stayed with me, and the seed to write was planted. In the coming years in between a successful singing career, I continued to put pen to paper writing poetry and short stories. Over time, I found myself in the enviable position of being able to write full time, and my love of fantasy found its full expression.

I live in the beautiful county of Warwickshire with my patient and encouraging husband, Keith. Patient, because he’s often forced to wait for his meals, as I am lost in my fantasy worlds…encouraging because he lets me read my new books to him, and gives me honest and helpful feedback .

Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?
I don’t exactly use a pen name. I use the initials of my Christian names along with the complete surname.

What type of writing do you do? What genre do you write in? My books have no overt violence, sex, or bad language. There may be dark moments, but they are pertinent to the story. I write fantasy/adventure for youth/adult.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it?
I suppose I was around nine or ten when I felt urged to express myself though writing. At school I struggled a bit with spelling, but excelled in composition, probably because I have such a vivid imagination. Writing gave me the power to create my own worlds, and express myself through the characters I invent.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
My ideas can come from something as mundane as a household item; like a TV channel changer. For example the changer could have a special button which if accidentally pressed…need I say more? Or it could be something a person says or does. I’m a bit of a people watcher. With fantasy, the sky’s the limit; all you need is the imagination. One of my books, The Shadowed Valley, was born out of personal tragedy.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

Dana Pratola, Tommie Lyn, Karin Kaufman, Ted Dekker, John Bunyan, Frank Peretti, Caprice Hockstad, Sarah Witenhafer

What are your current writing projects?
At the moment I am in the process of writing the sequel to my latest book, Through a Glass. When that is completed and published, I have a children’s fantasy which was written some time ago, and is in the wings waiting to be edited.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it?
Fortunately, for the past few years I have managed to avoid it…ideas keep flowing. However, when I’ve had a rare blank moment I just type; I find doing that wakes the imagination and gets things moving again. Also reading can inspire as does music.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I can struggle a bit with showing vs telling. It’s something my editors’ and I look out for during the editing process. Also continuity can be a challenge, especially with a sequel.

What do you love most about writing?
It would have to be the freedom to give full rein to my imagination, and the opportunity to invent strange and sometimes scary worlds. Plus the enjoyment of control over the weird and wonderful characters I create. I love the excitement of knowing the beginning and the end of a story, while having no idea what’s likely to happen in the middle…the thrill of going along for the ride while trusting the story will culminate in the ending I’ve formulated.

Is there anything that you have learned about yourself through writing/pursuing your career as a writer?
Yes, I’ve realised I can be a bit insular. I’m basically a shy person and find it hard sometimes to express myself. Whereas writing allows me the freedom to be and to say what I would normally find hard to express. My writing is helping me to go deep inside myself, drawing out emotion and challenging my thoughts and feelings.

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?)
I’m not sure I would want to. However, if I did I would choose to be Irene from Through a Glass. She has a pretty torrid time in the book, but her companion, Stagman, is quite gorgeous! I would love to spend some time with him.

Do you have any advice for other writers? My advice is simple. Write for yourself, and keep writing even when you don’t feel like it. Perseverance and commitment is the key to success. Don’t be put off by what others say, or negative reviews. Make sure your book is well edited and as good as it can possibly be. If you love to write, then don’t give up. Stick at it!

You can find more of author Y. I. Lee's books on her Amazon author page. Please leave Vonnee some comments and let her know you appreciate her taking the time for this interview.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Mirabella the Mermaid Detective - Children's Book Review

Image: Copyright Emma & Margo Gibbs

My good friends Margo Gibbs and Emma Gibbs have a wonderful story for children. I met Margo and Emma back when a friend directed me to their completed crowdfunding page for their Mirabella story, and I contacted them to do a post for the Chapter Book Challenge. They very kindly donated time and effort and write a post that was helpful to the other writers in the challenge.

Now, about Mirabella the Mermaid Detective: My ten year old read it easily and really enjoyed it. My seven year old just started reading it. She is enjoying it so far.She is like me in that she has a soft spot for mermaids and stories about them.

I read the book too, and I think it is a wonderful little book. Mirabella, as a mermaid, is a believable young girl. She is adventurous and courageous, which are two traits I like to encourage in my own daughters. She has two friends who remain mostly by her side in the book, a lionfish named Seamese and a cuttlefish name Luna. The book chapters are a series of connecting stories, each being able to be read on its own. This makes it easy for me to read the stories to my four year old son too, as his attention span would not last for the entire book in one sitting. I can just read him one part of the story at a time and he will feel as though he has had a complete story. (And before you think anything about boys not liking mermaid stories, stop right there. Boys can and DO like mermaid stories, and there is no reason why they shouldn't!)

The story is enchanting, and the pictures are even more magical. The artist has captured the story so well in the smattering of full-color pictures that can be found throughout the book. I know my daughters would be thrilled to have any one of the illustrations as a poster in their room. Laurent Lalo, as the illustrator for Mirabella has done a beautiful job.

We have it downloaded onto my husband's iPad. My children love the interactive touch they get when reading a story on the iPad. Getting to move the pages with a finger swipe, for some reason, appeals to these children who have grown up being very well-versed in technology.

I think most children will enjoy Mirabella the Mermaid Detective's story.


Margo & Emma Gibbs are a mother-daughter writing team from the Sunshine coast in Queensland, Australia, who have been creating stories together ever since Emma was very little. They both love reading, exploring, the magical natural world around them, and secretly both wish that they were mermaids. Mirabella the Mermaid Detective is their first book.

Laurent Lalo is a French-born world traveling illustrator who has over 40 years of experience transforming imagination into illustrations. He has illustrated hundreds of books and currently lives in Nournea, where he regularly swims on the New Caledonian Reef.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Secret Subject Swap - Inspiration

Today I am participating in the Secret Subject Swap. It happens once a month. This month the subject was sent to me by J. C. Wolfe and the subject sent was "inspiration." To see the others involved, click here.

For me, inspiration takes on many forms. There is inspiration for my stories. The ideas created for my stories often come from my children. I have seven children, some grown and some still young, but they have, throughout their lives, provided me with inspiration for many, many stories. My youngest will sometimes say something that is completely ridiculous, but it will spark a new picture book idea in my mind. My ten year old daughter might be bossing her siblings around during a game of make-believe and idea is formed for a chapter book. My 6 year old son might ask me a question, and an idea for an early reader comes to me. My seven year old daughter might be trying to find a superhero toy for her to join in with her brothers game of "Superheroes" and a need for a new superhero story pops up in my mind. Sometimes just knowing the things that my children love and are interested in can bring me oodles of story ideas.

If you ask me who inspires me as an author, I can't give you any names as there are too many. Inspiring authors run the gamut from relatively unknown names to world-famous names. Whenever I read a story that sucks me into its world and doesn't let go until I finish reading the book and, reluctantly, have to leave its world and come back to reality, I am inspired to make my writing just as gripping and just as unforgettable.

I am inspired when I see other authors helping one another, whether it is through offering to be beta reader,s offering manuscript critiques, sharing each others' books through social media, blogging about one another and each others' books, commenting on each others blogs, congratulating each other on achievements, encouraging one another and any number of other things that authors do to support and lift each other up. Being an author can be lonely and really hard on the ego. We need each other.

I'm inspired by everything in the world around me. Being a writer means that I have a vehicle for making myself heard if there is an injustice I have noticed or a topic I desperately want to share with the world. And I am incredibly inspired by writers who stand up for what they believe in by writing about it and sharing their views in the wide world of the Internet.

What inspires you?


The the other writers in the swap are:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Creating a Female Superhero Challenge - Announcing the winners! #CAFSC

image found on Pinterest

We had 27 entries into the Creating a Female Superhero contest, with 4 of them ineligible for the prizes because they were written either by me or a member of my family, that still left 23 entries to judge. I loved reading all of the stories, but having to pick a first, second and third place story sucked, because the stories were so good! I decided to score them based on certain (secret to me) criteria being met, and then the winners were arrived at based on highest scores. I'm still annoyed that not everyone could win. If you didn't win, DO NOT assume that means your story wasn't good. There was a very high quality to every story submitted to the competition, and that is what made this so difficult to judge.

First off, it is my pleasure to announce which charity has won the vote to receive the proceeds from the anthology. The winning charity is (winning by three votes):

Because I Am a Girl

From the website: "
"Because I am a Girl is a global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty.
Girls in the poorest regions of the world are among the most disadvantaged people on the planet. They are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be denied access to education, more likely to be denied medical care, and more likely to be malnourished, simply because they’re girls. And yet, studies show that if you give a girl enough to eat, an education and a safe environment, she’ll work to raise the standard of living for herself, her family and her community.

 We operate a wide range of programs worldwide to improve the status of girls and give them equal access to health care, education, protection, independence, and an opportunity to participate in society.

Our State of the Worlds Girls report series is an ongoing investigation to shine the light on specific barriers to young girls’ development and their access to basic human rights."

Now for the winners of the Creating a Female Superhero Challenge:

In first place, with his female superhero called S.O.S, is Stephen J.Mitchell.

Stephen has won:

- A trophy, proclaiming you the winner of the "Creating a Female Superhero Challenge"
- A print copy of  "The Everything Guide to Writing Graphic Novels: From superheroes to manga - all you need to start creating your own graphic works" by Mark Ellis and Melissa Martin-Ellis

In second place, with his female superhero called Arcana, is Phil Johnson.

Phil has won:

 - A Superhero Writer t-shirt 
In third place, with her female superhero called Snowfire, is Lisa Shambrook.

Lisa has won:

 - A Superhero Writer mug

The three of you need to e-mail me with your mailing addresses so I can send your prizes to you. Congratulations!

To read all of the stories submitted, just click on the linky tool:
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Click here to  view this Linky Tools list...


I have not started putting the anthology together yet, so I am still allowing submissions for the anthology. Please follow the format suggested for the competition. You can either post the stories on your blog or e-mail them to me. We already have nearly 30,000 words worth of stories and details to include. I will take submissions until we reach 50,000 words or I start putting together the anthology, whichever comes first.

Work - Insecure Writers Support Group Post for August 2013 #IWSG

This is my sixth monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the IWSG is:
 "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

This is my post for Insecure Writer's Support Group for August 2013. The topic I chose for this one is "work."

The one thing that will make the dream of becoming a published author come true, the most important ingredient in the mixture of success, is a strong work ethic. It will never happen without putting the work in. If you want to publish a book, you first have to sit down and write it. It won't be easy, and once you are finished, then the real work starts. That's when you have to start editing and revising it. You will have to cut some of it out, rewrite some of it and write some new parts to it. You will have to make sure that everything makes sense and nothing is out of context. You will have to check your language and then, once all of that is done, you will need critique partners to tell you what else you need to do, and beta readers to tell you even more ways that it can be improved. You will need to check and re-check and check some more to make sure there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. It takes work and drive and the will to keep at it no matter what might try to get in your way.

I am about to publish the anthology of fairy tales written by members of the Chapter Book Challenge.  The Kindle version is almost finished. I have spent a ton of time editing and proofreading each story and working on getting the format just right. I am determined to make sure that the Kindle will have useful clickable links. I have made the table of contents clickable to take a person to the story of their choice and the title of that story once they get there is clickable to take them back to the table of contents. The author byline under the title of each story will be clickable to take the reader to that particular author's bio. And in the bio, there are clickable links to take the reader to that author's websites. In an anthology which has several different authors, I think this kind of things increases the reader's enjoyment of the book and the ease for them to use it. It's a lot of work, but worth it to create a fabulous book for people to buy. The editing and proofreading is also a lot of work, but no one wants to read a story full of typos, spelling mistakes, poor punctuation and grammar problems.

And once the Kindle version is out, I have to spread the word about it while I am putting together the print version. The print version won't need any clickable links. and through all of this, the germ of an idea for a new kind of publishing company is growing in my mind, so I know I will be doing a different kind of work if I want this new idea to come to fruition.

But you know what? It feels good to do the work. And even more? It feels great when everything comes together and the finished product is there, ready to go out into the world.

Have you been doing the work it will take to make your dreams come true?