Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stealing The Learning Year Label, Swamp Zombies, and Goals

I saw an author who posted about this year being a learning year for her. I liked that statement enough to run like a thief and use it for myself. We started watching The Walking Dead, and in season two when they're on the farm, the zombies would wander into the swamp and get stuck. It was pretty funny. If you've seen the show, you get it. If you haven't, then picture them standing there, wanting to get out and eat you but not having a clue how to do that. So they stand there and growl, and wave their arms, and drool. It's pretty gross and funny.

That was me in 2013 only I didn't drool or want to eat people. I was stuck in a writing bog and couldn't get out no matter what I tried. And I tried. The idea of a learning year gives me a handhold to help me out of the bog for 2014. I don't seem like such a failure despite being knee-deep in muck and mire. I'm not a zombie, so therefore, I can escape if I look for the path out.

This year--2013--was my learning year. And I'm going to share some of my muck and mire with you so I can start digging out.

In 2012 I wrote 3 full-length books, 3 novellas over 20K words and 1 under 20K. I started a fourth novel and made it to 70K words. I wrote over 560,000 words combined. All but one of those books released in 2012, which was exciting and awesome.

Then...I hit the muck and got stuck. It wasn't immediate. It was me being surrounded by sticky stuff, sometimes dumped unceremoniously by a dump truck. Sometimes, it was spread stealthily when I wasn't looking. It didn't happen overnight. It took about six months to catch up to me.

2012 was a hard year, in and around all of that writing. I lost a job in June I had loved and it was like losing an entire family. The next week I lost a client for another job (I was working with an elderly couple who were the perfect romance couple. Someday, when it doesn't hurt, I will blog about it. But they meant the world to me. I had really grown attached to them.) I lost my dad two weeks later. I grieved, and wrote a book. In the fall, I hunted for jobs all fall and got turned away. It was a pretty crappy year.

2013 was better in that no one died. I know I turned to my writing then to hide from the pain I felt and I still feel. I think 2013 was my year to finally start dealing with some of this. I hid for a lot of the year, but finally...I'm starting to see how I got stuck, and how I can get out of it.

The last pile of muck didn't help at all. With a little success comes criticism. In November 2012 the reviews started rolling in for what I had written. Lots of good ones from people who love the worlds I built and the characters I created. I cherish them. I know not everyone can love what you create but some people are really cruel with their words. They feel they bought it and they can trash it all they want. I agree on some level because yes, you bought it, you have a right to not like it. I also learned as a child that if you had nothing nice to say, to not go there. There are ways to say how you feel about a book without demoralizing and ripping out the soul of an author. They tell us to grow a thick skin... It only grows so thick, no matter how hard you try. My goal for 2014 is to read less of them, good or bad.

That's my blog about my bog, folks. That's where I've been stuck. I don't want to be stuck there any longer, so I'm going to make 2014 be the year I climb out like a swamp monster and go back to my writing and my life. It's going to be scary, but I hope what I've learned will help me keep from falling back into the pit. Don't worry--no brains will be eaten. I am hoping books will be written, though.

Thank You...
I want to thank my readers and my friends for the support, for believing, for reading and loving what I create. I promise to write for you in 2014.

There are a few special friends who get hugs and kisses for holding me together during 2013. I don't want to start naming names and leave someone out and have them feel hurt... You know who you are. Thank you.

Thanks for all who come to the blog. I hope you enjoy it. I'm going to scale back for 2014, but in return you'll get more books. I think that's a good pay out.

I want to thank my editor for believing in me, for talking me off the ledge, and for being my biggest cheerleader. Thank you, Diana.

Mia's Goals for 2014. 
I didn't make a goal for 2013 because I was afraid. I knew 560,000 words was remarkable. The books seemed to flow out of my fingers seamlessly and easily. I had no clue why and I didn't want to take it for granted. So I didn't make myself a goal. Maybe I knew then I was depressed and I wasn't going to get far in 2013, so why make it worse? I don't know.

I know for 2014, I'm going to have to set myself some goals. I need to learn from 2013 and move forward. 

1) Most important goal: Finish the book I have 70,000 on. I had a breakthrough on the plot so now I need to give it the chance to be read. I have to finish it first.

2) Other projects: Finish the novella I have for Spy Games. Consider writing the last idea I have for it. Consider the next project. I want to write about cowboys so I finally get a horse on my cover. 2014 will be the year of the horse cover. I know it.

3) Have less blog guests. A friend pointed out how much time I'm stealing from my writing by assembling posts for this blog. I'll continue blogging to keep me writing and honest, but guest posts are not going to be a priority.

4) Spend less time on Facebook and other social media. It's both a blessing and a curse. I need to manage this more effectively.

5) Believe in my fans and friends, and my editor. They love what I write and I need to go back to writing my stories for them.

6) Finally...believe in myself as an author, friend and person. This is the hardest goal.


For the last time in 2013, thank you for stopping by.
If you drink tonight, please don't drive. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lindsey R. Loucks, The Princess Bride, a Haunted Apartment Building, and a #Giveaway!

Today we have Lindsey R. Loucks talking about the inspiration for Haunted Chemistry, her latest paranormal romance release. I loved The Princess Bride but I never saw the movie until I was in my twenties and had a fun roommate who practically lived and breathed the movie. My kids now think it's a fun afternoon adventure as well. Stay tuned until the end to see what comments you need to leave to win an e-copy of Haunted Chemistry!



The Princess Bride, a Haunted Apartment Building, and a #Giveaway!

Okay, show of hands, who here has seen The Princess Bride? …five…eight…twenty. Awesome! Now, who here has seen it at least fifty-two times? Surely I’m not the only one.
            I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I’ve seen that movie because when I was little, my older brother and I would watch it every weekend. We would travel downstairs where it was cool with our Diet Pepsis and quote the entire movie while we watched. We made it our shared little sister-big brother bonding ritual, and I loved every second of our time together and the movie.
            So, like the spooky things lurking in my garage (I’ll share that story for another day), it seemed only natural that The Princess Bride and my brother would work their way into my writing. Ian Reese, the love interest in my novella, Haunted Chemistry, is very loosely based on my brother. Notice how I said “very loosely” because otherwise I’d be Ian’s drug-addicted younger sister, and I promise I’m not! But in the story, Ian mentions that he and his sister watched The Princess Bride every weekend. Sound familiar? I thought that detail would make him a more lovable person, just like it made my brother one of my favorite people.
            So how about you? How many times have you seen The Princess Bride? Did you have a shared ritual with a sibling as a child? Tell me about it in the comments for a chance to win an e-copy of Haunted Chemistry. I’ll choose a winner on January 3rd through Random.org.

But first, here’s the blurb, links, and an excerpt:
Blurb for Haunted Chemistry:

When bookish college co-ed Alexis heads to the laundry room in her new apartment, she runs into Ian Reese, the chem lab partner she crushed on all last semester. And the guy who stood her up on their first date. But she’s down for an awkward reunion, and no better place than her creepy laundry room.
Ian has every intention of making amends, but just when Alexis begins to trust him again, a new threat calls more than their future together into question. A ghost from the apartment’s past is hellbent on revenge, and if he wants to get his girl, he’ll have to get the ghost first.

Add Haunted Chemistry to Goodreads:

Buy Haunted Chemistry at...

Excerpt from Haunted Chemistry:
“Uh, Alexis?”
My name on his tongue sounds amazing, but I try not to notice. I turn, the bulk of my laundry bag holding the door open for me. “What?”
He swallows and glances at his black boots. “It’s great to see you again.”
I nod. It’s great to see him, too, but I’m not the one who didn’t show up for our date at the end of last semester and who vanished for an entire summer with no explanation. Maybe he forgot about our non-date, because he sure isn’t trying to explain himself. But why didn’t he call to tell me he wouldn’t be coming instead of making me wait for him?
My bag bites its weight into my shoulder. When I shift it to the other one, the door creaks closed in Ian’s face. I wince. I didn’t mean for that to happen.
“Well.” He frowns through the broken squares in the window. “See you.”
“Yeah.” With a sigh, I watch him walk away. I’ve missed our group study sessions where we’d always sit next to each other and accidentally nudge each other’s knee or foot. I’ve missed how easy it is to be with him. I’ve missed him. He doesn’t seem like the type who wouldn’t call to say he couldn’t make it. But he didn’t.

About the Author:
Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she's not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she's dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she'll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.
            She's been with her significant other for almost two decades.

Check out Lindsey’s website: http://www.lindseyrloucks.com
Follow Lindsey on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindseyRLoucks
Follow Lindsey on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LindseyRLoucks

Don't forget the giveaway! 
        How many times have you seen The Princess Bride? Did you have a shared ritual with a sibling as a child? Tell me about it in the comments for a chance to win an e-copy of Haunted Chemistry. Leave your email address as well. I’ll choose a winner on January 3rd through Random.org.

 Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Interviewing Myself, My Love of Bacon, And Endgame #eroticromance

Happy day after Christmas! I hope you all had a peaceful day filled with good things. You can't always get what you want, but I hope you all got what you needed spiritually and gift-wise. I got candy and time with the family so my day was good. 

For giggles I decided to fill out my own interview, which sounds really weird in some ways but hey, it's a way to get to know me if you don't, and if you already know me, well...you know I'm lacking a few pieces of the puzzle. 

So, here's me, interviewing...me. By Mia Downing. 

Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice? 
All of it. I love coffee in all versions. I love tea and choose that when I'm sick because it's perfect comfort drink. I also am a Diet Coke fan.

Favorite Movie: Pretty Woman. 

Favorite Color: Blue. I find earth tones soothing, though.

Favorite book/author: Oh, gee. I have a few from many genres. I adore Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, anything Julia Quinn, Bertrice Small, Tymber Dalton's Reluctant Dom. Watership Down is a huge favorite, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is why I started writing. Lots of variety. 

How do you feel about bacon?

Oh, bacon... How do I love thee... Let me use pictures to show you.
Bacon is art...
Bacon is naughty!

Bacon can be religious...
Bacon can be useful...
Bacon can earn a living! 
Bacon is logical. 

Bacon, I love you.


So those of you that don't know, I send guests an interview sheet and this is part of the questionnaire. I usually delete it out, but now you can see what people have to put up with when they come here to visit. 

The REAL questions… (you don’t have to answer all of them but I do want to know more about you AND what’s under your bed. I’m growing dust elephants for profit. I don’t want to be out-marketed.)

*Tell us a little about yourself. (Please answer this one even if you think it’s boring. Make something up, tell us about your cherry stem tying skill… Tell us about your knitting or your llama…whatever works.)

I guess I have to answer my own question. I'd love to say I'm a lingerie model or a spy, but I'm really boring. I have a small farm in New England with a variety of animals that all eat and poop, and you can't not feed them because that's mean. I have two teen kids and a husband to help take care of it all. I'm the woman who is stopped all the time because I look like Aunt Gladys's neighbor's daughter or some weird thing. I do knit. I don't like llamas after spending weekends camping in this weird petting zoo in Canada when I was a kid. They'd close the gates and set the llamas, deer and goats free to roam around your camper. It sounds fun, but it was really scary when I was five. I don't like emus, either. 

What’s under your bed?
HUGE dust elephants. Often a random cat, old socks, my scunchies seem to hide there, luggage and some knitting supplies. 

What comes first, plot or characters?
Characters. I'll catch a glimpse of a scene and ask myself how this character got to that place. Who, what, when and why are my friends in this instance. 

Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process.
I am a pantser in that the story develops when it develops. I don't do character arcs or notebooks or even pictures. I will start with whatever scene I see and then from there the story can go anywhere. I often write the beginning, then the ending, and then fill in the middle. I don't write linear (meaning scenes in order) and it's a holy hell editing mess. I can't have a critique partner because of this, but I do have 2 friends I trust to see the mess when I'm stuck. The only good thing about my process is no one has yet complained about a saggy middle. 

Oddest thing on your desk?
A six shooter rubber band gun. A woman has to defend herself against sneak attacks.

What’s your most interesting writing quirk?
 I have to have music for every book and if I don't have the right song, I can't write. Oddly I know if it's right or not because if it's rigth I can't hear it at all. I put it on loop and write until I hear it, then it's time to change. The song reminds me of a situation or character in some aspect. 

What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in?
I love the happily-ever-after. You can drag their souls through the mud and know at the end everything will be okay. I love writing sex that drives the plot or shows character growth. 

What is the hardest thing about being an author?
 Promotion. Marketing. Bad reviews. Believing in my writing and my thought process. 

What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
The commute, though that thirty seconds down the stairs can be full of detours and pit falls, and then opening the files and avoiding Facebook is another adventure.

I also love the good reviews and hearing from friends and readers. Their emails and messages usually show up just when I need them most. So thank you, guys. 

Tell us about your latest release! 
My last release was Spy Games: Endgame, book 3 in the series. I absolutely love this series and I had such a great time working on it. If you haven't read any of them, it's best to start with book one, Spy Games: Trained for Seduction and work your way through them. 

Endgame was fun because it was a different sort of heroine and hero. I'd written two books of alpha males and incredibly strong yet submissive women. Now, don't fret. Both Aaron and Charlotte learn to find that trait within themselves, but they're probably the most interesting in their sexual journey. I love that Charlotte is as hard as nails outside and yet she's so damaged and conflicted you can't help but cheer when Aaron melts through her icy exterior with his charm and wit.  

Blurb for Endgame...
Sexy spy Charlotte Smith doesn't go by the code name Dragon
Queen because she's sweet and cuddly. She's cold, hard, and mean and has been training for the past five years to take down the men who destroyed her soul and left her burning for revenge. But when she meets her next assignment at a wedding, her body protests there's much more to life than kicking asses and taking names. Actor Aaron James is witty, hot as hell, and he smells divine. But women with suicidal endgames don't indulge in casual sex, and they definitely don't fall in love.

Since meeting Charlotte at his brother's wedding, Aaron's life has been nothing but trouble. He's plagued by memories of the kiss he stole from her, and he senses underneath her aloof nature and frosty glare is a woman with passion and fire. When Charlotte is assigned as his bodyguard after a botched kidnapping attempt, he's psyched. What better way to get in her panties than have her pretend she's his girlfriend? Until Aaron realizes too late he wants more than in her panties... he want's Charlotte's heart.

Contains: Explicit language, really hot sex, anal sex, toys, light bondage, very light BDSM, an actor wannabe spy and his kick-ass spy bodyguard.

Available in E-book and print


Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Chrys Fey Chats Hurricane Crimes #TWRP #RomanticSuspense

Today we have sister The Wild Rose Press author, Chrys Fey! She's got lots to chat about and has included an excerpt from her latest TWRP release, Hurricane Crimes. This romantic suspense looks awesome! She's also got my favorite Power Ranger on her desk, so treat her kindly! My son loooved Power Rangers. Adam was such a hottie! 



Quick round for Chrys Fey:

Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice? Both, but I can only drink decafe.

Favorite Movie: Little Women (with Winona Ryder)

Favorite Color: Neon Green

Favorite book/author:
Too many good books to name. My favorite author is Nora Roberts.

How do you feel about bacon? Smells great, but I’m a vegetarian. Although, I will admit that it is the one thing I miss.

We'll cook some vegetarian bacon for you, Chrys! 

Now for the REAL questions...

Tell us a little about yourself.
The moment someone asks me to talk about myself my mind goes blank. *comes back an hour later* Alright, I’m ready now. Although my stories are always thrilling, I lead a pretty boring life and live vicariously through my characters. On a Friday night you can find me on my couch reading a book or watching a movie while I write. It’s a wonder that I have any friends at all! Oh, and I believe I was a vampire in a past life because the sun and I do not get along.

What’s under your bed?

Skeletons. Oh wait, that’s my closet. ;) Under my bed is a dust bunny village the size of Disney World, and occasionally a couple of my new kittens. I recently rescued four kittens that lived outside my apartment complex, and they have decided the space under my bed is their hideout. I imagine they go there to plot chaos.

What comes first, plot or characters?

That’s a tricky question. Most of the time, I think of a great idea for a story that rapidly expands into a full plot, but there has been times when a character would spring out of my thoughts like a jack-in-the-box and demand a story. How can I say no when they’re so persistent?

Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process.
Definitely a plotter. The moment I get a story idea I write on a piece of paper how I want it to begin and on the back I write how I want it to end. I write every event that needs to take place and even snippets of conversations that need to happen. Having a detailed list helps me to stay focused, but sometimes while I’m writing my MC will tell me he/she wants something else to happen (or doesn’t want something to happen). And when they put their foot down, I do what they say!

Oddest thing on your desk?
A green Power Ranger action figure. It was my nephew’s toy, but he wanted me to have it so I could put in on my desk. And on my desk is where it stays.

What’s your most interesting writing quirk?
I act things out a lot –especially to know how to describe a movement. I also have conversations with myself, but I’m two people so it’s okay.

What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Editing. I go through a few rounds of editing before I am comfortable enough to send my manuscript to my editor for consideration. After that, with the help of my fabulous editor at The Wild Rose Press it is remarkably easy.

What’s the easiest thing about being an author?

Writing. It has come naturally to me ever since I was six years old and I wrote my first story about a boy and a girl who go fishing on a sail boat. All by themselves.

Tell us about your latest release!
Hurricane Crimes is my debut eBook from The Wild Rose press and is now available on Amazon! It is a romantic-suspense that takes place during a hurricane.

Blurb for Hurricane Crimes:
After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.

Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he's trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.

As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?


Excerpt from Hurricane Crimes
On the television set, which was fighting to stay alive, was breaking news. She caught bits and pieces of it as she emptied the bowl of blood-tainted water and threw out the cloth. It was about a high-speed chase that had occurred about a half-hour ago. Beth shook her head. Apparently, Donovan wasn’t the only idiot driving around during a hurricane.

She went back into the living room and began replacing all the medical supplies into the first-aid kit. Behind her, a reporter was explaining that the driver of the car was believed to be a murder suspect.

“The name of the—”

The lights flashed, prompting Beth to snatch up her flashlight.

“Donovan Goldwyn.”

Her fingers went cold around the plastic tube as ice frosted her veins. She straightened her spine and turned stiffly to the television, her heart wasn’t beating in her chest. On the screen was the picture of the man who was right now changing in her bedroom. Above it was a caption in bold letters that read—SUSPECT.

She gripped the flashlight in her frozen fingers. Her heart thudded fearfully. She stared into the immobilized violet eyes through the glass.

“Oh my god,” she gasped.

She had brought a murderer into her home!


Links for Hurricane Crimes:

About Chrys Fey...

Chrys Fey is the author of the short stories—The Summer Bride and Fallen. She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

Connect with Chrys on the Web!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Layla Chase--Childhood Fascination Sparks Plot For Hot For The Uniform #eroticromance

Today we have erotic romance author Layla Chase! She's discussing how a childhood fascination sparked her plot for Hot For The Uniform. Who doesn't love a hunky fireman? I know I do, and I'll be putting this hot little read on my Christmas list! 



Childhood Fascination Sparks Plot
By Layla Chase

Who doesn’t love a firefighter? From the first time I saw a red shiny fire truck roll through our neighborhood when I was 5 or 6, I knew there was something special about the people on that vehicle. All the shiny chrome, the dials, the gauges, and ladders. We kids knew better than to follow the big lumbering truck with the blaring siren any farther than the end of our block. But I remember standing on the edge of the curb and craning my neck to see several houses down the cross street, hoping to see them save someone. I am thankful that I’ve never had a reason to place an emergency call to put out a fire anywhere near me.

When I started plotting my story now titled Hot For The Uniform, I got the idea from a publisher’s call for an erotic story that had fetish as a theme. I remembered how I loved those big red trucks and then just took that fascination a couple steps further. What if a little girl who loved fire trucks grew into an adult who fixated on men in uniform? What would happen if the sight of guys in tight t-shirts and suspenders holding up their turnout pants kicked up her libido?

That’s when my heroine was born and to make her obsession even worse, I made her clumsy so that fires just seemed to keep happening in her immediate vicinity. As I worked on the wacky situations she’d get into, I was also thinking of the calm firefighter who I’d pit against her. The one who’d be responsible and sensible—good traits for a man who has to face emergency situations and make decisions about the safest solution. Unless he’s hit with a dash of lust…

BLURB: Rikka Brendan accepts a teaching position in small town Arroyo, Texas, hoping the new location will help her fight her attraction to men in uniforms. Her logic? She’ll get to know the guys as people and the fetish will lessen. Enter newly installed Captain Conor Malloy to investigate three rescue calls in less than eight weeks. When the attraction flames from sparks to 3-alarm lust, does Conor have any hope of convincing Rikki they have more than a sexy combustion? 

Hot For The Uniform is a novella of approximately 16,000 words and was previously published as Uniform Desire by Amber Quill Press.

Available at: AMAZON


On a dare from a close friend, Layla Chase challenged herself to explore the steamier side of romance and discovered all sorts of characters whose stories needed sharing. She writes contemporary and historical stories from her mountain home in California that she shares with long-time husband and two dogs. To date, Layla has had 18 short stories and novellas published.

Ways to stay in touch with Layla’s releases:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kay LaLone's Ghostly Clues #YoungAdult

Today we have a change of pace. Kay LaLone is stopping by with her middle school-aged Young Adult release from MuseItUp Publishing, Ghostly Clues. If you like YA or have a middle school aged child, this mystery has good reviews and looks like an engaging read! Plus Kay is a nice lady and likes bacon. 




Quick round with Kay LaLone!
Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice?   coffee
Favorite Movie:  Grease
Favorite Color:  Purple
Favorite book/author: Nora Roberts
How do you feel about bacon? Love it.

What comes first, plot or characters? 

Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process.
I start with an idea and free write from there. Later I read through and plot out the story and see where my character is taking me.

Oddest thing on your desk?
I don’t have a desk. Usually I sit on the couch with the laptop on my lap. If I want to be alone, I go to my bedroom and write.

What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in? 
I get to be young again, if only through my characters.

What’s under your bed? 
Lots of dust bunnies, box of books, and some of my husband’s junk.

What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Marketing my book. It doesn’t leave much time for my writing projects.

What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
Coming up with new ideas.

Tell us about your latest release!

Blurb for Ghostly Clues...

The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom. 

Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul. 
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead.  The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.

 Excerpt from Ghostly Clues...
The house was blanketed in a quiet slumber. I snuggled under the sleeping bag with Allison, trying not to think about ghosts, as I drifted to sleep.
Random pictures floated in my mind like ghostly images.
I tiptoed among tombstones and my heart ached as if I had lost something or someone. He had to be here, somewhere. The gravestones rose like stone walls. No names engraved on them. No dates. No R.I.P. Nothing. Just smooth, flat stones. Ghosts—grayish, smoky forms with black eyes—floated over the tombstones.  I shivered, suddenly cold, freezing. My breath visible like a little ghost. I didn’t want to look at the ghost anymore so I looked down at my feet. A tombstone with Grandma’s name appeared out of nowhere. The earth moved. The dirt around the headstone broke away and gnarled fingers clawed their way into the air, searching, grasping. Shriveled fingers clutched my leg.
Something grabbed at my leg—the hand, I screamed and frantically wiggled out of my sleeping bag, bumping MJ as I tried to get away from the hand I thought I felt grab at my leg.

Buy Link for Ghostly Clues


About Kay LaLone...

I’m Kay LaLone. Ghostly Clues is my first middle grade novel published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law live near by) and two dogs and a cat. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and anything that goes bump in the night. Or anything that interest my characters. Making my characters come to life for readers is important to a good story. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book. I do reviews on the books I read and post them on my website and blog.
Connect with Kay on the Web! 


Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Meet My New Hero And Dealing With Writer's Block

I've been suffering a little writer's block for the past year. I feel like someone set my muse free with a ticket to Vegas and $1000 in poker chips and I haven't seen him since. I hope he's good and drunk, and feeling no pain.

I did write some. I rewrote the entire ending for Spy Games: Endgame to the tune of 5K words, and I did a free short story for the GoodReads M/M Romance Group--about 13,500 words. I've dabbled here, and dabbled there. Started a few new things and lost interest. So I've decided maybe a bit of photo inspiration will help this book jump start again. I wrote like gangbusters until I hit one section in the book and I just can't seem to write past it. I did skip over and got the ending written. But this one scene is killing me. 

So I decided I needed to revisit the character photos to see if a spark might call the muse back to do some work. Unlike most of my books, this hero actually has an actor as inspiration. I saw him on TV and said to my then sober and present muse, "Yes! There he is!"

 So peeps, I'd like to introduce you to my new hero, Marek Young! He owns a coat just like this one, so I thought it fitting.

In real life, this is Colin O'Donoghue, and the photo is of him in ABC's Once Upon A Time as Captain Hook. The photos aren't mine  (I wish.) 

Keep that last photo in mind when you read the story as it's important! 

So my question...if you're an author, what do you do about writer's block? And readers, what do you think of my next hero? 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kaylin McFarren's Blog Tour Stop For Buried Threads #giveaway

Today we're a stop on Kaylin McFarren's blog tour for her latest release, Buried Threads. Kaylin is a true lover of bacon and has an interesting writing quirk that would make any organized girl envious. 

Pump Up Your Book and Kaylin McFarren are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash! It's a tour-wide contest so you can visit her other tour spots for more chances to win. 



Interview questions for 
Kaylin McFarren 

Quick round:
Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice?
Red wine…and lots of it. Especially after I finish writing a book. I figure it’s well deserved…and who’s going to argue with an intoxicated woman when she’s on top of the world? Or dining room table?

Favorite Movie:
There are lots of movies I’ve enjoyed, but my favorite would probably be the one I’ve seen the most. This hands down is Pirates of the Caribbean – mainly because Johnny Depp is so damn cute and entertaining to watch.

Favorite Color:
I’m a purple kind of girl.

Favorite book/author:
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Unfortunately, this book is timely but it’s captivating at the same time. Picoult turns a phrase like no one else I’ve read.

How do you feel about bacon?Watch out arteries! This one’s a real weakness, especially when I can smell it cooking or devour it after baked with brown sugar.

What’s under your bed?
Goodness, I don’t know if I can get down that far. Being spoiled with an amazing cleaning gal, I’d probably venture a guess and say itty bitty dust bunnies squeezing together in the crevasses in my wood floor.

What comes first, plot or characters?

In a wonderful literary world, character-driven plots rule. Which means, characters are my priority as they help move my stories along.

Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process.
Okay, I admit it!! I’m a pantser…and definitely by choice. I’ve tried workshops, storyboards, sticky notes, journals and the like. But ideas and plots just seem to come to me, especially in my dreams. I’ve been known to write a complete synopsis in a few hours and work strictly off of this. On occasion, new characters come to mind. They detour me a bit, due to their independent thinking. But before we end up in Kalamazoo, I rein them in during my four-hour-a-day routine and bring my episodes full circle.

Oddest thing on your desk?
That would be my chipped coffee mug. I was gifted this ugly red thing by my literature professor in college. It has a printed slogan on it – work like a fiend – and somehow I just can’t seem to part with it.

What’s your most interesting writing quirk?
I have a few, but I guess the fact that I create a character book before I start writing ranks way up there. I sit down and cut out pictures of actors and models from magazines and gossip rags. Then I chose their birthdates and use a horoscope book to determine their traits and flaws. This is all assembled, along with their “new” names and addresses, into a notebook, which I use for a reference guide while I’m writing.

What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in?
Disclosing unlikely villains and killing them off in the most unexpected way.

What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Criticism is probably the toughest and this occasionally comes from book reviews. Like an visual artist, you’ve cut open your wrists and allowed your passion to flow onto pages. Then you have no choice but to stand back quietly and listen to reactions, which might not always be to your liking. My solution? Push it aside and try to move on.

What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
Looking back on a day-to-day basis, writing didn’t always come easy for me, but at least I’m doing what I love and hanging in there for the long haul. When it’s completed, I can marvel for a short while at my beautiful book cover before moving on to the next project.

Tell us about your latest release!
Okay…here’s the crux of the story. Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen work together as the successful owners of a treasure hunting company. But a seemingly simple assignment – to track down a priceless gem that is believed to buried in a shipwreck deep within the Sea of Japan – takes a startling, and dangerous, turn.

Faced with a monk’s dark prophecy that a natural disaster will soon strike Japan, killing millions, Rachel and Chase must embark on the mission of a lifetime in order to uncover the three cursed samurai swords that can avert the catastrophe.

Chaos ensues as their adventure takes them from shark infested waters and creepy caves to haunted hidden tombs and a confrontation with Yakuza gang members. Time is running out as the prophecy’s day of reckoning draws near. But will Rachel and Chase succeed before disaster strikes?

Hmmm…guess you’ll have to read Buried Threads to find out.

Buried Threads Blurb...

Rachel’s mouth sagged. “You mean you’re really a monk? But how’s that possible? You’re not even wearing a robe, and your hair…”

He simply smiled.

A disturbing prophecy sends a treasure hunting duo on an urgent race to rescue a country in Kaylin McFarren’s heart pounding new novel, Buried Threads. Full of erotic suspense and wild adventures, this is one trip that readers will never forget!

Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen work together as the successful owners of a treasure hunting company. But a seemingly simply assignment – to track down a priceless gem that is believed to buried in a shipwreck deep within the Sea of Japan – takes a starling, and dangerous, turn.

Faced with a monk’s dark prophecy that a natural disaster will soon strike Japan, killing millions, Rachel and Chase must embark on the mission of a lifetime in order to uncover the three cursed samurai swords that can avert the catastrophe.

Chaos ensues as their adventure takes them from shark infested waters and creepy caves to haunted hidden tombs and a confrontation with Yakuza gang members.

Time is running out as the prophecy’s day of reckoning draws near. Will Rachel and Chase succeed before disaster strikes?

Purchase your copy at AMAZON


About the Author:

Kaylin McFarren is a California native who has enjoyed traveling
around the world. She previously worked as director for a fine art gallery, where she helped foster the careers of various artists before feeling the urge to satisfy her won creative impulses.

Since launching her writing career, McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her participation and support to various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Her latest book is Buried Threads (Book 2 of the Threads series).

Visit her website at www.kaylinmcfarren.com.

Connect & Socialize with Kaylin!


Pump Up Your Book and Kaylin McFarren are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash!
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins October 7 and ends December 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, January 3, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
  • Only U.S. citizens can win the Kindle Fire.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

YouTube Code for Book Trailer:

Thanks for stopping by!