Author Spotlight – Amanda J Evans


Author Spotlight

It’s time for another episode of Author Spotlight. This week, the spotlight shines on Amanda J Evans.
AmandaAmanda is an award-winning writer of paranormal and fantasy novels as well as children’s stories. Growing up with heroes like Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones, her stories centre on good versus evil. An early tragedy in her life has also made its way onto the page and Amanda brings the emotions of grief to life in her stories too. Amanda lives in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland with her husband and two children. Her first novel Finding Forever won Best Thriller in the 2017 Summer Indie Book Awards and her second novel Save Her Soul won Silver for Best Paranormal in the Virtual Fantasy Con Awards 2017. Amanda has a publishing deal with Handersen Publishing and her first children’s book, “Nightmare Realities” was released on the 25th of September 2017. Her latest story, Hear Me Cry, a fantasy romance telling of the old Irish myth of the banshee won the Book of the Year Award at the Dublin Writers Conference 2018. Amanda is currently working on part 2 of The Curse Angels and a paranormal romance novel that she hopes to submit to agents and publishers in 2019. Amanda is also the author of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, published in 2012.  You can find out more on her website 

 Books By Amanda J Evans


Finding Forever – A Romantic Suspense Novella

Summer Indie Book Awards 2017 Winner for Best Thriller

findingWhen love refuses to give up

I look at his face, the face of the man who holds my heart, my forever, only his heart has stopped beating.

A woman desperately searching for her forever….

 Liz Parker thought she’d found her forever the moment she said “I do”, but fate had other ideas. Waking up with a tattered wedding dress and her dead husband in her arms was not the way she planned her honeymoon. Distraught, she promised she would follow him. Death wasn’t taking forever away from her. Of course, she hadn’t planned on being rescued by pirates either, or the fact that Charles’ body would be left to rot on the beach.

Two lives collide…

 When Liz meets John, he becomes her only hope, her chance to bring Charles’ body home, but there’s something more. Why does he look at her with such pity? Why does he agree to help her when no one else will? Why won’t anyone believe that Charles exists?

Is Liz going mad?

Find out in Finding Forever the debut novella from Amanda J Evans. A blend of psychological thriller mixed with romance and unexpected twists. Finding Forever will prove to you that when you believe in love anything is possible.

Praise for Finding Forever:

 “Really enjoyed it….didn’t want to go to bed without finishing it….brilliant” –Maria B Bourke

I really enjoyed it. The suspense kept me reading to the end.” –Lesley Robson

Fantastic story! Kept me gripped from the beginning. The twists were amazing.” –Sarah Ellis

Absolutely brilliant. It was great. Action, intrigue and romance all rolled into one neat tidy package.” –Terri Osborn

Buy Links:



Barnes and Noble

Google Bookstore

 Read Chapter 1 of Finding Forever on Amanda’s Website:


 Save Her Soul – A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance

Virtual Fantasy Con Awards 2017 Silver Award for Best Paranormal Book 

 What would you be willing to give up to have your revenge?

save her soulKate is willing to give up everything to see her sister’s murderer get what he deserves. She’s gathered evidence, she’s learned to fight, and now she’s ready for payback. Revenge is her reason for living and all she thinks about is watching the killer’s face as the last breath leaves his body.

Drake’s no ordinary guy. For centuries, he’s been trying to save Kate’s soul. His mission – to make sure the evil trapped inside her is never released. But time is running out. Can Drake stop Kate from unleashing hell on earth or is the world doomed?

Their fates are tied in more ways than they realize and as secrets are revealed, Drake is put to the ultimate test. Can he find the strength needed to break the curse? Will Kate finally get her revenge and unknowingly unleash the ancient evil hidden within her?

Find out in this new paranormal romance from Amanda J Evans

Get your copy on Amazon

Read the first 6 Chapters Free on Instafreebie (opt-in not required)

Hear Me Cry – A Fantasy Romance Novella Retelling of the Irish Myth of the Banshee

Winner of the Book of the Year – Dublin Writers Conference 2018

hear me cryIsla is a warrior of the Summer Court. She has one mission, to keep humans out of Faery. Kill them on sight. When she inadvertently saves one and triggers the mating bond, her life changes forever.

On the run and hiding from her own people, Isla must protect the one thing she’s been trained to hate. With magic now flowing through her veins, she must learn to control it if she is to survive.

The faery are coming. Her once commander leads the charge. Will Isla be ready in time? Can she harness her magic and resist the darkness?

As both sides clash, Isla learns that her kind possesses a cruelty she could never have imagined. Her loyalty will be tested. To save the one she loves, she must give up everything, including her life as she knows it.

Find out how the banshee came to exist in this dark fantasy retelling of an old Irish myth.

 Praise for Hear Me Cry

 “A fabulous, mystical read with an unforgettable ending.” –Claire Allan Author

Here’s an excerpt:

Border patrol was always boring. Walking up and down along the veil, eyes peeled in case any human should cross. I hated it, especially the south patrol. Nothing ever happened. To make matters worse, I was alone. No one to chat with, the rustling leaves beneath my feet the only sound. It was just me on the border of the Summer and Autumn Courts, walking between the crisp leaves and blooming flowers. I wanted to be where the action was, where the rest of the warriors were stationed. The north. It was colder and rougher terrain, but at least they saw action. I was stuck here watching the leaves fall off the trees, the large branches shielding me from the blazing sun. Nothing to look at but forest and fields of flowers. Poppies as far as the eye could see.

“Why couldn’t I have been sent to the north?” I sighed as I kicked a pile of leaves. “It’s not fair.” I knew why. It was because I was short, slight, and female. But I could take any of the male warriors and they knew it.

I turned to march along the trail again, the sunlight bouncing off the rippling veil that kept the faery and human worlds separate. The humans couldn’t see or feel the veil, but to me it looked like a pool of clear water suspended in mid-air, rippled from the breeze that blew against it. It has a bluish tint to it as well. It was about the only pleasant thing to look at. The trees lost their appeal after an hour and the poppies, if I didn’t see one again for the rest of my life I wouldn’t care. Who needs fields and fields of them anyway? The Summer Queen must have run out of ideas. I scoffed as I marched through the trees. What’s the point in being a trained warrior if I never see battle, never get to kill a human?

I’d never seen a human, but I had heard the stories. Vicious beings who loved nothing better than to capture a fae and torture them to death or, worse, enslave them for eternity. I shuddered at the thought.

“Help! Help!”

The shouts echoed. I jumped, turning on my heels to see where the noise was coming from.


“It’s coming from inside the veil,” I mumbled as I raced forward. My mind conjured up images of fallen fae, my brothers, trapped and pleading for help. Instinct kicked in and I jumped through the barrier between our worlds, awakening all my senses.

My feet sank into lush green grass and I crouched low, blinking rapidly as bright sunlight assaulted my eyes. I tossed my dark curls over my shoulders and turned my head left and right, looking for the threat. It was quiet. Tall oaks trees covered the ground on both sides, a short pathway through them where the veil had spat me out. In front of me was a vast expanse of water, surrounded by hills and mountains. The grass here was greener than I’d ever seen. I pushed to my feet, looking behind me at the rippling veil. I could only see a small opening from this side, the rest hidden in the canopy of trees. No wonder no humans ever made it through to the other side.


I spun. The shouts came from the water. Two hands poked up through the surface, waving frantically before they were swallowed, pulled beneath and into the darkness.

Running toward the embankment, I kicked off my shoes and plunged into the water. Fae normally weren’t very good swimmers…except for me. I loved the water. It called to me on a deeper level, obeying my commands. I don’t know why and no one seemed to be able to explain it either.

I opened my eyes to look through the darkness. Another of my talents. When I saw legs kicking, I forced my body in that direction. The water clung to my clothes, trying to drag me into the depths. The figure started to sink again, arms raised. I was too late.

I pushed myself as hard as I could. Grabbing a fistful of hair, I tugged upward so I could get a firm grasp on the body. I kicked my legs and we rose to the surface. My head emerged and I sucked in a deep breath, my arm secured tightly around the person’s neck. We weren’t too far from shore.

I pulled the body onto the grassy bank and bent over to catch my breath, refilling my lungs, coughing up the water I’d swallowed. I pushed my wet hair back off my face, forcing it behind my shoulders. The water dripped down my back as I tried to calm my breathing.

I looked down at the body. A male. His lack wet hair covered his face but I caught of glimpse of freckles across his high cheekbones. His full lips were blue. I brush the hair out of the way and gasped when I saw his ears. A human male. He was motionless.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can purchase Hear Me Cry in paperback and ebook from
Amazon, iBooksKoboBarnes and Noble

Surviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind
Nightmare Realities – Spooky Short Stories for Ages 9-16

Connect with Amanda on  Facebook, Amanda J’s Readers GroupTwitterGoogle+, LinkedInInstagram

Author Spotlight – David M. Salkin


Author Spotlight

Welcome to another Author Spotlight. This week, the light shines on David M. Salkin.

 davidA bit of a Renaissance Man, David M. Salkin is an author, gourmet chef and oenophile, scuba diver, Master Graduate Gemologist, and elected local-government official for 24 years.

In a secret lab, the DNA of Agatha Christy, Nelson DeMille, Lee Child, and Michael Crichton were combined in a Petri Dish, and Salkin was born. His books have received Gold and Bronze medals in the Stars & Flags book awards, and David has appeared as a guest speaker all over the country, including three times as a panelist at Thrillerfest in NYC. David has also written two screenplays, and continues to work on getting them produced. David is the author of fourteen published thrillers in various genres, including military espionage, crime, horror, science-fiction, action-adventure and mystery.

David is a graduate of Rutgers College with a BA in English Literature. When not traveling, diving, cooking or writing, Salkin works with veterans. He’s an associate member of the Philip A. Reynolds Detachment of the Marine Corps League and the Veterans Community Alliance.

Let’s Take a Look at His Books

  1. The Team (Post Hill Press)
  2. The Team II – Into the Jungle (Post Hill Press)
  3. The Team III – African Dragon (Post Hill Press)
  4. The Team IV – Shadow of Death (Post Hill Press)
  5. The Team V – Dangerous Ground (Post Hill Press)
  6. Hard Carbon (Post Hill Press)hard
  7. Deep Black Sea (Permuted Press)
  8. Dark Tide Rising (Permuted Press)deep
  9. Deep Down (self-published)
  10. The MOP (Post Hill Press)
  11. Forever Hunger (self-published)forever
  12. Necessary Extremes (Penguin Books)
  13. Crescent Fire (Penguin Books)
  14. Battle Scars [self-published?]

battle scars.jpg

Marine Corporal Sean Nichols is wounded in a devastating ambush that takes the lives of his three friends and leaves him an amputee. If not for the heroism of his sergeant, Deke Tilman, who pulled him out of the road, Sean would have surely died with his fire team. With the help of Deke, Sean now embarks on his next mission—recuperate from his serious injuries, and visit the families of his fallen comrades as he tries to make peace with such profound loss.

Battle Scars is a thought provoking drama with compelling characters that illustrates the resiliency and strength of the human spirit, the power of love and friendship, and the ability to overcome even our darkest moments. Gritty realism and original storytelling breathe life into Battle Scars as it inspires us with a surprising tale of heroism and the great sacrifice made by our modern war fighters. A Novella you can read in a few hours, but will think about for days.

“Battle Scars is an incredible story of brothers in arms and the bonds formed in combat. The struggles that are faced by combat veterans returning from war are real and nothing I’ve read brings that story to life like Battle Scars. This is a must read!” –LTCOL T. Kevin White “TK”, 150th Special Operations Wing

“This book is a gut check for those who have worn the cloth of the nation. For those who have not it is a testimonial for those who have served and sacrificed. As Americans we are blessed with freedom. It comes at a price.”James E. Livingston, Major General USMC (Ret), Medal of Honor Recipient

“This book was a tough read, and at the same time I couldn’t put it down. Salkin got this one right! Every now and again you come across a book that is as much cathartic as it is entertaining. At a time when we are losing way too many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, it struck a chord with this Old Soldier.”-COL William L. Peace, Sr., U.S. Army National Guard

“David Salkin has fired at close range and with unerring accuracy with this tale! He takes a tough situation that is all-too-often neglected and gives it life. This story is for all veterans and their supporters. His first-person writing style makes the reader feel present throughout the story. It’s a quick read that will leave you thinking long after completion. I most strongly recommend it to all who are interested in understanding better the true costs of America’s conflicts—past, present, and future. “- Major General GT Garrett, USA (Ret), 42nd Infantry Division

“Dave hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s a quick read simply because you don’t want to stop turning the page. This may be fiction but it certainly doesn’t read that way.”Neil T. Roeder, LTC, MS USAR

“David Salkin’s story is a must-read for all Veterans and supporters. This book not only entertains you, it educates you on the price paid by those who have the guts to walk the walk. His first-person writing takes you on a ride which seems to bring out all emotions and it also places you right on the battlefield. Maybe it’s just my love of heroic deeds but it sure knocked me on my knees. The read is overall life-like and is very consistent with the actions taking place every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kudos to Dave for really knocking this one out of the park.”Christian S. DiMeo (Ret) SFC., USMC / Embassy Marine Cairo/Beirut/Geneva – ARMY NG / Operation Enduring Freedom

“Battle Scars” hits like an RPG! Camaraderie, adrenaline, fear, loss, hope and redemption all in one exhilarating and disturbingly beautiful tale. Hard to believe David hasn’t been on the battlefield, because this tale rocked me back for days! A must read for everyone who is, has been, or supports our warriors!”Wayne Emery CPT, USA MACV Vietnam

You can purchase any of David’s books on Amazon

Connect with David on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or through his website

Author Spotlight – Lyra Shanti


Author Spotlight

LyraToday’s spotlight is on Lyra Shanti. Lyra is a novelist, poet, playwright, and songwriter who currently lives in Florida with partner and spouse, Timothy, and their two insane cats. A lover of nature, animals, anime, music, theatre, movies, myths, and of course, great books, Lyra seeks inspiration from everywhere possible! 

Author of the award winning sci-fi series, Shiva XIV, Lyra is a dreamer of worlds far away. More books include The Artist, a wild tale of love, madness, and redemption, as well as The Rainbow Serpent, a re-imagining of Adam and Eve. Further information about Lyra’s stories, music, and more can be found

Shiva XIV (book 1):

shivaA dying kingdom. A galaxy in peril. And only the reincarnation of an ancient god can save them.
Prophesied to become the messiah of his kingdom, Ayn is charged with saving his people from disease and war. But when an unknown enemy threatens everyone he loves, the destiny he thought was his spins out of control.
His sheltered existence torn asunder, Ayn finds himself on an epic journey where he meets new friends, foes, and a mysterious cat creature that no one but Ayn can see.
Is the supposed reincarnation of “The Great Adin” losing his sanity? Or is everything guided by Fate? Ayn must decide before the entire galaxy is destroyed!

Let’s Take a Look Inside

Lost in thought as he walked, Ayn didn’t notice the strange creature following him. It wasn’t until he almost tripped over it that he could see something was there. For only a second, he thought he saw a strange blur of white and gold. It looked like a cat of some kind, but he wasn’t certain. One second, the creature was there, and the next, it was gone!

He wondered if he had slipped back into lucid dreaming. Meddhi-Lan would be so embarrassed about me right now, he thought, disappointed in himself.

Then, there it was again. The white and gold cat thing – just briefly in focus for a moment on the side of the street. This time, however, it seemed as if it were smiling at him. Now Ayn knew he was dreaming.

“Save me!”

Ayn stopped dead in his tracks, then looked around. He had heard a voice speaking directly into his mind!

“Please! Save me!” begged the mysterious, childlike voice yet again.

Ayn looked ahead at Zin who was casually walking without any notice or care about the strange voice.

Ayn gulped and begrudgingly decided to answer back in his mind. “Um… who are you and how may I save you?”

“Well,” purred the voice in his mind, “I suppose you could answer me a riddle.”

“A riddle?” Ayn silently replied.

“Yes!” said the voice, “a riddle!”

“I’m sorry,” said Ayn, “but I’m not very good at riddles.”

“Oh, well,” the voice said, disappointed, “I guess I’ll just be trapped here forever.”

Ayn looked around to see where the voice was coming from, but all he could see were street vendors and random passersby.

“I’m over here!” cried the voice in his mind.

Ayn began following the voice, using only his gut feelings. After a few moments of concentration, he could vaguely make out the shape of the white and gold cat creature he had seen before, and it was indeed trapped.

The poor cat-like animal was caged inside of a wooden box that was sitting on the back of a metallic, plasma-powered vehicle. How the creature managed to get inside the box was a mystery to Ayn, but he was trapped there nonetheless.

The vehicle was parked on the side of the street without a driver in sight. Ayn wasn’t sure if he should be getting involved, but at the same time, he wondered how often a person is psychically asked for help by a cat.

Ayn looked around to see if anyone was watching him. When he believed he wasn’t noticed, Ayn dropped his bag and ran over to the creature. Bending over and gazing directly at the animal, Ayn could see it more clearly.

The creature wasn’t really a cat, though it shared similarities, such as its ears, paws, and tail. However, upon closer inspection, Ayn could see that the mysterious animal also had tiny talons on its feet, as well as small wings that were chained together with a plasma-powered lock. Ayn looked into its nearly human-looking eyes and felt sorry for the poor cat-bird creature.

“Don’t just gawk at me!” said the strange animal. “Get me out of here!”

“How did you even get in there?” asked Ayn cautiously. “Weren’t you just behind me a few moments ago?”

“No, silly boy,” replied the cat-bird as it bent back its ears, “you must have been dreaming! Now help me out of this box!”

“How can I do that?” asked Ayn innocently.

The animal sneered and cocked its head, looking at Ayn as if he had asked the stupidest question in the universe.

“Aren’t you The Bodanya?”

Ayn was shocked that the creature knew of his true identity, and he began nervously looking around, wondering if anyone had heard the animal’s question.

“Don’t worry, Ayn. No one but you can hear me. In fact, not many can even see me… unless I want them to.”

Ayn was amazed and intrigued. “How is that possible?” he asked the cat-bird.

“Enough of you asking me questions! I am the one who asks the riddles!”

Ayn shook his head. “Alright then,” Ayn replied, “ask me what you want.”

The creature smiled, then looked deep into Ayn’s blue eyes. “Let’s see if you can answer me this,” said the cat-bird. “Why is it, with all my powers to control time and space, I am somehow still unable to escape this metal trap?”

Ayn didn’t know which part of the riddle to think upon first. His mind immediately jumped to the idea of the creature having powers that controlled time and space, and yet, Ayn’s heartfelt sympathy when it came to the cat-bird being trapped in a cage against its will.

The creature stared at Ayn with expectant eyes, waiting impatiently for an answer.

“Well,” Ayn slowly began, “first, I would need to know how it came to be that you were caught inside such a cage.”

The creature cocked its head and looked at Ayn with a sneer. “How can you ask me such a silly question?! I was caught by magic, of course!”

Magic? thought Ayn, stopping himself from giggling.

“What’s so funny?” asked the cat-bird.

“I… I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in magic,” said Ayn, matter-of-fact.

The creature snorted, then shook its head. “Well, you’re in for a big surprise then!” said the cat-bird with a sarcastic chuckle. “You’ll find out how wrong you are soon enough though,” the creature purred. “Now, stop asking me foolish questions and solve my riddle!”

Ayn gulped and looked around again, searching for Zin with his eyes. However, Zin was nowhere to be found. Ayn feared he had become separated and began feeling light headed at the thought of being alone in such a big city.

“Concentrate, Bodanya!” commanded the cat-bird.

After a deep breath, Ayn cleared his mind – the way Meddhi-Lan had taught him. He began using a technique that The Dei priests called “Symbol Touching.” The technique involved closing one’s eyes and imagining a symbol, or an image of any kind, at which point, if you focused on the feelings the image gave you, answers and truths would inevitably come.

At first, Ayn didn’t see or feel anything, but when he let himself imagine the cat-bird, and its unfortunate situation in the cage, Ayn’s mind began seeing a vast amount of images, almost at once. In his mind’s eye, he saw the creature in chains, being lured into the metallic cage with offerings of brightly-colored, sweet tasting fish. However, the image quickly changed to an entirely different setting. It was a planet… a wasteland.

Ayn intuitively sensed that it was the once great, but now mostly abandoned planet of Sirin. He didn’t know why he was seeing such a strange vision. Nevertheless, he let his mind wander further into the Symbol-Touching, for he could feel he was close to an answer to the cat-bird’s riddle.

Just then, he saw more cat-like creatures, though they were much, much bigger. In fact, they were like gigantic lions, but with wings, and all of them had stoic faces that seemed to Ayn similar to the priests of Deius.

As Ayn saw himself approach the giant cat-birds, they surprised him by turning their enormous heads in one direction at the same exact time – all looking directly at him. Their eyes seemed to glow, and Ayn wondered what they were trying to tell him.

Then Ayn remembered something Meddhi-Lan used to say: “When you want your dream-image to explain its meaning, simply ask it what it wants or feels. It will more than likely tell you. Dream-symbols are always honest, but you have to be brave enough to ask them honest questions.”

Ayn took a deep breath and gathered his courage. “Excuse me, magnificent creatures,” he addressed them in his vision. “May I inquire what it is you want to tell me?” The giant cat-birds all pricked their ears back at the same time like they were hearing a strange sound they had never heard before. “Do you understand my question?” asked Ayn.

After a moment of silence, he saw them simultaneously open their mouths wide. Ayn wondered if they were going to give out a loud roar. Just in case, Ayn covered his ears, and as he suspected, that’s exactly what they did. The roar, however, was even louder than Ayn could imagine. It was so loud that his ear drums felt like they would bleed.

Oh, please stop! Ayn begged in his mind, hoping they’d hear him telepathically. Unfortunately, they didn’t stop. The roar became so thunderous that it felt like Ayn would pass out from the intensity of the vibrations. When he could stand no more, Ayn heard something else within the roar; it was almost a whisper, as if a tiny voice was mixed inside the deafening loudness. When Ayn tried to fixate on the whisper, everything seemed to go completely quiet. He then heard what the whisper was saying: “Save us. We are slaves to time. Please… save us.”

Shiva XIV Copyright 2014-18 Lyra Shanti

Get your copy on Amazon.

 shiva 3

Her are some of her other books: The Artist

artistMusic… Madness… Sex… and Art. Can love save a man from himself?

Apollo Antonius Vidali was born and bred to be a great artist and musician, but in his search for artistic brilliance, he finds demons best left forgotten.

Fighting his treacherous past seems impossible until he meets a beautiful woman named Coda. To Apollo, she’s an angel of mercy. The only drawback is her own quest for respect as a composer. In a time when women were not seen as equals, Coda may prove more than Apollo bargained for as their love is put to the test. Adding fuel to the fire is Lord Sebastian Raleigh, a contemporary who challenges Apollo in more ways than one.

In this passionate drama, all forms of art mingle with the sacred and profane as one man searches tirelessly for redemption. Will he succeed or will he drown in the raging storm of his soul?

Purchase The Artist  here

The Rainbow Serpent


rainbowIn the time before humanity as we know it, there was a garden, a tree of knowledge, and a serpent who sought the truth.

A re-imagining of the “fall” from the snake’s point of view, this unique novella is a spiritual fairy tale for the ages.

“Flawless in composition, the story is plainly, yet eloquently written with beautiful imagery that reflects the universal truths of life, transparent as the colors of a rainbow.” – Eva Pasco

“A tender, compassionate tale that joins the hearts of creature and human being as one and the same.” – Neil

“This is a lovely spiritual fairy tale for all ages.” – pearlhunter

Get your copy of The Rainbow Serpent on Amazon
Lyra 2

To connect with Lyra, visit her websiteFacebookTwitter, Instagram, or her Amazon author page

Writing Tips From Fiction Authors

Tip1: “My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay your hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.” — Michael Moorcock

Tip 2: “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” — Zadie Smith

Tip 3: “Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution.” — Michael Moorcock

Tip 4: “In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.” — Rose Tremain

Tip 5: “Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” — Will Self

Tip 6: “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” — Jonathan Franzen

“Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.” — Zadie Smith

Tip 7: “Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.” — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 8: “Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear).” — Diana Athill

Tip 9: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

Tip 10: “Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted ‘first readers.'” — Rose Tremain

Tip 11: “Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.” — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 12: “Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.” — Sarah Waters

Tip 13: “The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can’t deal with this you needn’t apply.” — Will Self

Tip 14: “Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!” — Joyce Carol Oates

Tip 15: “The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.” — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 16: “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.” — Elmore Leonard

Tip 17: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” — Neil Gaiman

Tip 18: “You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.” — Will Self

Tip 19: “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” — Neil Gaiman

Tip 20: “The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’” — Helen Simpson

Author Spotlight – D.L. Pitchford


Author Spotlight

DLWelcome back to Author Spotlight. This week, the light shines on D.L. Pitchford. D.L. was the youngest of four daughters born in Northern California to her parents Bobby and Pam, but the family moved to Southwest Missouri when D.L. was only four.

A love of creativity and a hunger for learning were an essential part of D.L.’s childhood. Her mother encouraged art and literature in every form, and by the age of ten, D. L. was already writing her own stories. This love only grew as D. L. attended college at Drury University, where she got her BA in English, Writing, and Fine Arts in 2013.

In 2014, D.L. married her husband, and they now have two little boys.

Billy Dixon Series – A New Adult Coming of Age / Slow-Burn Romance

If We Had No Winter (Billie Dixon #1)

no winterAfter her parents’ divorce, introverted Billie Dixon buries herself in her studies. Her plan? To stay out of sight, out of mind, and out of trouble. But that plan fails when she starts at Bradford College.

While hopeful to renew her relationship with her estranged father, she struggles to resist the advances of her persuasive tutoring student. But no one gets under her skin like her best friend’s playboy roommate, whose snarky smirk drives her up a wall…and into his bed.

But is Billie too broken to open her heart again?

If she can’t find closure with her father, she’ll close the door on love. But a huge fight with her father threatens to ruin any hope of healing her past and securing her future.

Here’s a peek inside:

By the time Zane and I finish at the Eyrie, it’s late, and with the final at eight, I want nothing more than to collapse on my bed and fall asleep. Holding a conversation with Zane is exhausting—both from the number of hours we’ve spent studying and from his unwavering attempts to hijack the conversation.

I kick off my shoes and drop my backpack at the foot of my bed before slipping into pajamas.

Thankfully, Val is elsewhere.

I lay my glasses on my desk and curl up under the covers.

Someone shoves a key in the door lock.

With a groan, I turn toward the wall and bury my head under the blanket, preparing for the bright fluorescent light that’s sure to follow.

“Hush,” Val says as the door creaks open, “I think she’s sleeping. That’s a first.” She shuffles inside the room, trying to avoid making noise, and opens her closet. “I’m going to grab a new shirt. This one has deodorant on it. Am I spending the night in your room or not?”

Her companion snorts, probably at her concern over deodorant. Xander—not that I’m surprised. “Who’re you trying to impress? We’re literally going across the hallway to have sex.”

She rifles through her closet, metal scraping against metal as she pushes hangers aside. “Should I wear this one? Or this one?”

There’s no sound for a moment.

“Well, your tits look great in the lacy one.”

“Xander! If I stay the night in your room, I might not have the time to come back for my stuff in the morning. I need to dress normally.”

“Right,” he says, sarcasm eating away at his voice, “we wouldn’t want you to do the two-doors-away walk of shame.”

Val huffs. “Which shirt?”

The mattress squeaks as he sits on her bed. “How the hell am I supposed to know? If you want a girl’s opinion, ask a fucking girl. Wake up Dixon and ask her.”

Dear God, no.

Val releases a low growl and returns to flipping through her closet. “Billie? Please! That bitch wouldn’t know fashion if it walked up to her naked and bit her on the ass.”

My grip tightens on the sheets, and for a while, the only sound is the scraping of hangers against the metal rod as she continues her quest for the perfect outfit, no longer concerned about the noise she’s making.

The bed squeaks again.

“Don’t call her that.” Xander’s words are so quiet I strain to hear them.

I frown.

Val pauses, then resumes rifling through her clothes. “She’s such a snob—and what the hell does she have to feel superior about? Doesn’t she know everyone hates her?”

“That’s not true.”

She releases a mirthless laugh. “Fine, she has one friend—and she’s as much of a bitch to him as she is to everyone else.” She pulls out another hanger. “I’m wearing this one.”

“Then you don’t get their friendship. You don’t get her.”

“Are you seriously defending her right now? You have to deal with her bullshit more than anyone else because your roommate is the only one who can stand her. All she does is play on her laptop and draw in that stupid sketchbook anyway. She’s not so special.”

“Have you seen it?”

“Seen what? The sketchbook?” The empty hanger clatters to the hard floor. “Like she’d show me what’s inside.” Val’s voice is muffled. “It’s probably a bunch of stick figures, and she won’t show anyone because she wants people to think she’s amazing.”

“You never know,” Xander says noncommittally, “maybe she is amazing. I bet she’s too nervous to show anyone. She’s probably really good.”

“I highly doubt that. Now, how do I look?”

He groans. “Why does it matter if we’re just going to bed? Can we go now? Jimmy’s studying till they close the library. I told him to make himself scarce for a while.”

“Fine, let’s go.”

Their footsteps lead to the door, but they stop as Val fumbles in her purse.

“Oh, come on, I just had them.” She laughs triumphantly as she yanks her jingling keys free, and the door opens.

“Seriously, can we go already?”

Val scoffs, and her keys jingle again.

The door shuts behind them, and Val locks the deadbolt from outside.

I push the covers away to breathe and stretch across the mattress. Above me, the dark ceiling plays back the discussion. I can picture it all in my head down to the irritated crinkle between Xander’s eyebrows at her high-maintenance apparel needs. He’s sent me that same look often. But the way his voice sounded when he spoke about me: soft, pensive, kind—that’s new.

Book Links:
The Longer We Dwell (Billie Dixon #2)

dwellBillie Dixon’s bipolar mother wants her in therapy and won’t take no for an answer. Her sister wants her to act the role of perfect daughter and bridesmaid for her mother’s wedding. And Xander wants her to admit feelings that don’t exist.

But her infectiously bubbly housemate doesn’t think she needs therapy. When the two become fast friends, Dahlia provides Billie with the effortless companionship she craves. Plus a thirst-quenching solution for her depression. But a bottle of wine isn’t the best coping mechanism when your mom’s an alcoholic.

Can Billie trust her instincts before she loses herself?

Now, Billie must choose between her first female friend and her own mental health. If she doesn’t keep herself together, she’ll end up every bit the alcoholic as her mother.


Book Links
Who We Might’ve Been (Billie Dixon #3)

whoAfter an eye-opening summer abroad, Billie Dixon’s world has fallen apart. Her childhood best friend has replaced her. Her boss at the gallery doesn’t think she’s paid enough dues to be a “real artist.” And Xander ignores her, even though they’re roommates. But she’s made her peace with that.

When her photography professor partners her with Dahlia Finnick, it’s only a matter of time before she intrudes on Billie’s life. And this time, Dahlia pursues what she’s always wanted—Billie—and she doesn’t care who she hurts in the process. Even if that person is the object of her affections.

Can Billie look past Dahlia’s faults and give her a second chance? Can she give one to herself?

Now, Billie has to choose between the acceptance she craves and the love she lost. But to mend her broken relationships, she must take her first leap of faith.

Book Links

For more information, visit D.L.’s Website, Amazon author page, or connect with her on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterestBookbubGoodreadsBook and Main Bites, or Google+

Author Spotlight – Karen Kinna


Author Spotlight

karenKaren Kinna is in the Author Spotlight today. Karen was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Now living on a secluded lake near Austin, Texas with three rescue dogs — a wiener, a basset, and one crazy corgi, Karen writes full-time in a constant flurry of dog hair and stray kibble. Her hobbies include doing canine agility with corgi “Madd Maxx.” (Maxx and Jaxx even have their own Instagram account! “MaxxAndJaxx”)

A proud member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), Karen is a past vice-president of SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors) where she is still very involved with conferences and contests.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Simon Fraser University, with minors in Journalism and Shakespeare.

For 14 years, Karen was a featured entertainment columnist twice a week for a large newspaper chain based in southern British Columbia. (MetroValley News.) She cut her teeth in the writing world by interviewing actors, authors, and musicians – including Diana Gabaldon, Robin Williams, and Alan Jackson.

Her ON STAGE theatre columns were syndicated and circulated to an audience of over 100,000 readers.

Karen has written plays for the stage, children’s books, and sci-fi and parenting articles for the past two decades.

Her first love is Contemporary Romance — the steamier the better!

When not writing, Karen narrates sexy romances for Audible under a pseudonym, in her home sound studio. She loves doing character voices and channeling her inner actress.

Life is too short for regrets! Recently, she has started kayaking and wakeboarding – Her Facebook motto is “Fifty and Fabulous!”

Wild at Heart Trilogy

Heart of the Storm (book 1)

heart of the stormA skillful cross between “We Bought A Zoo” and “Twister,” Karen Kinna’s compelling debut novel is sure to take the romance world by storm – literally.

When zoologist, fiery redhead Quinn Gallagher is sent into a Cat 3 hurricane to rescue the four-legged residents of a fledgling zoo on the wind-swept banks of Lake Charles, Louisiana, she isn’t prepared for the stiff opposition of Head Curator and Veterinarian, Dan Taylor. Stealing his coffee, his pride, and eventually his heart, Quinn is a force to be reckoned with in this madcap tale of delightful characters and epic conflict. Readers will never forget the pink Cadillac named Maribelle, an RV named Lucifer, a snake named Elmo, and a ferret named Houdini.

Heart of Fire (book 2)

heartWhen beleaguered cattle rancher Brody Gallagher answers the door to pregnant dark-haired beauty Tess Taylor, he is unable to send her packing, and her arrival compounds the strange activities that have been plaguing the ranch. An arsonist is on the loose and neither Brody nor the local police can get a lead on the culprit.

Worried about finances, cut fences, and increasingly violent fires, Brody and Tess are thrown together in the fight of their lives, sparking a raging inferno of passion which threatens to consume them both.

Get your copy of the Wild at Heart Trilogy on Amazon

Christmas in Canada (contains 2 complete novellas)

ChristmasIdentical twin sisters, Mac and Claire Adams, couldn’t be more different! Each woman finds themselves on a terrifying Christmas Eve adventure — and each meets the man of her dreams in the process….

Set in the lush snowy landscape high up in the Cascade Mountains of British Columbia, these two novellas are spine-tingling adventures of life and death… and unexpected passion.

Tomboy Mac isn’t into men … and certainly has no warm feelings for stranded helicopter pilot Beau Lamont from Baton Rouge Louisiana.

Type-A Claire has her life scheduled to a T. . . and doesn’t plan on letting billionaire oil tycoon Travis Smith from Austin Texas derail her life plans.

Christmas in Canada is available on Amazon

For more information, visit Karen’s website or connect with her on Facebook.