author alert

August 2019 Quarterly Author Newsletter

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Today’s post is a copy of my quarterly author newsletter for August 2019. I’ve been issuing these newsletters for just over a year, and I’m excited to share them on my blog. To read the current quarterly newsletter, you can sign up via my author website via this link. I’ve included a link to this quarter’s blog below to give you a chance to get to know me a little better. I’ve started a new section in the newsletter – highlighting my fellow authors… take a look to see who’s being promoted this week.

Click Here to Read the Newsletter

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Author Spotlight: Barbara Roman

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Welcome to next edition of the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & BOOK ALERT series. Today, we’re sharing:

Barbara Roman. Barbara and I met about two years ago through the publisher Creativia, who is now known as Next Chapter Pub. I always enjoy chatting with her and am excited to share more about her with you today. I’ve read one of her children’s books, Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13, and will be picking a new one listed below to read in the next few weeks. Why not join me? Let’s get to know this wonderful author…

About the Author

Since childhood, I’ve been torn between two worlds:  writing and singing.  It’s difficult to serve two masters, as they say, but I was compelled to do so.  When I was not singing, I was writing and vice versa. I’ve learned, for me, that one creative expression nurtures the other.  At 76, I’m still a rock ‘n roller!  Love that music.  But I sing jazz standards professionally, and often write my books to either classical or New Age music.  I’m from the East Coast originally but moved west many years ago to escape the winters – hate snow – love sunshine, ocean, and warm days.  I’m tenacious and determined (and probably a bit daft), which matters to me as a writer.  I’m also loyal and empathetic, which I hope matters to others.

Key Links:

Amazon Author Page

BookBub Author Page

Next Chapter Author Page

Twitter

Goodreads

Book Overview

Although Barbara has written a lot more books, we’re focusing on two today that will be available for a discounted price in August. Check that out! I love when authors are generous like this… I can’t wait to get them and read one this month.

Whatever Became of Sin?

.99 Kindle edition from Aug 17 – 21

http://mybook.to/whateverbecameofsin

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30047767-whatever-became-of-sin?from_search=true

On a flight to Washington D.C., the past twelve years of Michael Warren’s life begin to unravel. An environmental lobbyist, Michael is on his way to testify before a Senate Committee, and destroy the plans for a housing development built on land tainted with the same toxic waste that killed his six-year-old daughter, Dominique. A cassette handed to Michael by a stranger on the plane changes everything. Michael is sidetracked to New Orleans, where he learns a disturbing truth and faces the most difficult decision of his life: shall he expose those responsible, or compromise to save another child’s life?

***

Before the Boy (prequel to The Moon Singer Series)

.99 Kindle edition from Aug 18 – 22

http://mybook.to/BeforeTheBoy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39335357-before-the-boy

Billie Nickerson must accept her own mortality as the only way she can assure her son will receive the intuitive gifts he was born to inherit, to save her family – and perhaps the world – from a disastrous fate. But learning that she has died too soon creates a Karmic crisis as Billie tries to escape the afterlife and return to her loved ones. In this chilling prequel to The Moon Singer Trilogy (The Crystal Clipper, The War Chamber, The Wind Rose) we learn the uncanny circumstances that informed Billie Nickerson’s decision to raise her son, David, to become a seeker of spiritual truth. As his teacher and mentor she gave him the courage to overcome his unexpected deafness, to excel at music – and to hear the voice within that speaks from his soul.
Though Billie’s life is fraught with danger and dark spirits, and the power that David acquires places him in grave jeopardy, the story is an illustration of a mother’s love and devotion that transcends the boundaries of the here and the hereafter.

***

Interview: Questions & Answers

1.  I see that you write under two different pen names. Please tell us more.

As B. Roman I penned the 4-book YA Fantasy series The Moon Singer and the suspense thriller Whatever Became of Sin?  As Barbara Roman I authored the children’s books Hubert in Heaven – a hi-tech angel gets his wings  and  Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13.  It just sort of happened that way.  I have to have two author pages on Amazon because they don’t merge your works if they are under different names.  The other sites show all my works under B. Roman.

2.  What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

My suspense fiction,  Whatever Became of Sin?,  is for adults who love a fast-paced and complex mystery, who like to see ruthless, greedy people get what they deserve!  It’s for people who enjoy a satisfying “revenge” novel.  

I’m hoping Before the Boy will bridge the generations from teens to adults.  The main character in The Moon Singer series is a deaf teen, David Nickerson – who is a gifted musician, skilled with computers and is also fascinated by crystal energies and the occult.  I had envisioned it being of interest to teens with a disability who would be looking for a super hero, or who might want to read “higher minded” stories as opposed to those with vampire sex, teen killing machines and such darker fare.  But I find that it’s adults who read and review the books – that I know of.  It’s possible teens are reading samples and Kindle Unlimited free pages; I don’t know. The Prequel to the series, Before the Boy, focuses more on the adults in David’s life, but the book can still be considered Young Adult fare.  There’s a nice love story in it as well, between the free-spirited Billie and the disciplined Navy Officer, Isaac Nickerson.  Opposites really do attract!

Adults are also attracted to my children’s books, which doesn’t surprise me as they are somewhat sophisticated in their vocabulary and underlying messages, but just about all the reviews recommend the books as important to children. 

3.  What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and succeed, try and fail, try and succeed, etc.!  Mostly learning through trial and error – and much rejection.  It was only after negligible exposure of my self-published books that I just happened upon a Facebook post from one author to another regarding Creativia Publishing (now Next Chapter Publishing).  I researched Creativia, sent an email query and miraculously they took on my Moon Singer trilogy and all my subsequent books. It’s still a challenge to be noticed in the river of millions of books on the market, thanks to self publishing and Indie publishers that make it easier for authors to have a book published very quickly. The competition is fierce and you must be diligent.  There is no guarantee for success.  

4.  What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

My original professional experience is as a vocalist with jazz groups and big bands. I began singing as a teenager and 60 years later  I still give one concert a year.  Consequently, music plays a major part in my writing.  My first book was a non-fiction self-help book about the power of music to improve our lives, and once I began to write fiction, music played an integral part of the plot (particularly The Moon Singer series).  I love dancing – especially tap dancing, but my knees don’t.  I think it’s time to wear copper stockings!  And seeing films; I love movies and find I am inspired to resolve plot points in my own stories when I see a good film, even if it’s in a different genre than what I’m writing about.

5.  What gave you the idea for your book?

Ideas and inspiration come from a variety of sources, and usually when you least expect it.

The Moon Singer trilogy grew out of an inspiration after I found a magical “singer” crystal at a crystal party years ago.  It is (I still have it, of course) shaped like a miniature sailboat. This crystal chose me, as they are programmed to do.  In pondering its energy, a story began to take shape and guided me through writing all of the adventures.  Young David Nickerson comes by his own Singer because it was meant for him; he is the one true owner of the Singer crystal which manifests into the Moon Singer ship which takes David on all of his adventures.  Because the sacred gem holds all of the secrets and knowledge of the universe, it is David’s vehicle to learn about life, courage, selflessness and unconditional love. 

After I wrote the trilogy  (The Crystal Clipper, The War Chamber, and The Wind Rose),  I realized the one story that had not been told is that of David’s mother, Billie Nickerson.  She is such an integral part of the MS trilogy because throughout the series her death hangs heavy in David’s heart.  She is the driving force behind David’s experiences and he is constantly trying to understand why she died so soon and how their karmic destinies intertwine.  Though it took years to write the trilogy, the prequel, Before the Boy, was written fairly quickly because I knew so much about Billie and her devotion to her son, a devotion that was preordained. 

6.  From the mystical realm in these books and your children’s books, what led you to go in in the opposite direction to write a suspense fiction, focusing on ruthlessness, avarice and corruption?

Whatever Became of Sin?  is a story I never imagined I would write, considering my penchant for more metaphysical subjects. But it was a “grounding” experience to keep me creatively engaged when my ideas for my Trilogy went dry. It’s a character driven story of racial hatred and sexual obsession that leads to a heinous baby switching scheme to cover up murder and political conspiracies. I love good books and films about the human psyche (not Psycho; that scares the Bedevil out of me), but how the choices we make lead us down the path of goodness or to the path of wickedness. My books only contain implied violence (I’m very squeamish) and absolutely no blatant sex (I’m terrible at writing it – and I take heart in knowing that John Grisham says the same about his attempts at writing sex scenes!) But conflict and chaos being very appealing to readers, this book has those ingredients galore.

7. Some authors like to make an argument or address an issue when they write. Is there an issue that you’re addressing with your book? If so, what is it?

The main focus of the fantasy books is selfless love and being of service to others.  For deaf teen David Nickerson, his quest is always to save a life that means more to him than his own, and in doing so he delves into questions about his life purpose and soul mission, while also dealing with very real day-to-day problems, such as the death of his mother in the car crash that crippled his sister.  But in all my books, including suspense or children’s stories, I touch on issues of integrity, ethics, compassion, helping others become the best they can be.

8.  What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

What I like most is getting lost in the story and getting carried away by the plot.  A big challenge is the fact that I’m a very slow writer at times, because I still work a demanding day job.  By the end of the day I’m brain tired.  But I try to get some editing or a line or two of plot down, or do some research; I do a LOT of research for my books to make them credible and interesting.  The only large blocks of time I have are during my two days off, and even those are filled with the distractions of life.   Also, my novels are very complex – I go from past to present, sometimes the future – tell back stories about the characters, create a spider web of intrigue and then go crazy tying up all of the threads together at the end into something surprising and satisfying.  But the true bane of a writer’s existence is the marketing, the promotion, the social media, the “begging” for reviews.  It’s all (can I say this?) such a “time suck”!  Hours that I prefer be spent writing.

9.  What do you like about writing in your genre?

The MS series and my children’s books are all about that inspiration from on high, as though they were written for me on some other plane and I am just the channel. Those stories are all about reaching beyond the personal ego to find some grand purpose for my characters.  In this genre I always worry “did I say it precisely as it was given to me by the Muse, did I put on the page what I see in my mind – my third eye – and do it justice?”

On the opposite side of the spectrum is writing a suspense thriller, more rooted in the here and now and with very human components.  This genre grounds me, and it’s really fun even though it’s also quite difficult to pull off because of the plot twists and turns I must incorporate to keep the reader turning the page.  I can see myself writing this type of story from here on.

10. Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?

Initially, there is always sheer inspiration.  A title, a scene, a concept grabs hold of me and won’t let go.  I start throwing notes into the computer, little by little the notes gel into a scene or ideas for research – lots of research.  Then I just let it take me along.  After I have a lot of notes and scenes and plot lines written I begin to create a chapter outline for continuity and to tie everything together.  But it’s often a slog as opposed to a smooth ride.

11. Do you have an upcoming promotion you want to tell us about?

Whatever Became of Sin? will be offered for 99c for the Kindle edition from August 17 to August 21.  The prequel to The Moon Singer series, Before the Boy, will be priced at 99c from August 18 to August 22. I’d love your readers to take advantage of the special price and review the books.  This is so important to authors.  Reviews help us rise in the Amazon rankings, encourage sales and hopefully more reviews.   

12. What do your plans for future projects include?

My work in progress is another suspense fiction, a family saga that takes place in the wild world of the wine industry as well as in the courtroom.  The characters are deliciously malevolent, and innocent people get caught up in their ruthlessness, psychoses and murderous villainy.  Again it’s a slow go because of my job but at some point it’s going to catch momentum and I’ll be a writing machine until it’s done!

13.  Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

PLEASE NOTE:  I have NOT yet written my best book.  With each one I am trying to be better at story telling, at the craft of writing, of touching people emotionally, or just entertaining them.  In the coming years I hope that I sharpen my skills and write a truly breakthrough novel.  My books have gotten nice response and very favorable reviews, but I know I can do better and I strive for that.

14. What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you? Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers? 

I would really like to get more reviews from international readers – whether English speaking or otherwise.  Two of my books (The Crystal Clipper and Whatever Became of Sin?) have been translated into several languages and are ready and waiting for some reviews.

15.  If you could co-write a book with a famous author who would it be?

Boy, would I love to co-write with John Grisham or David Baldacci and come up with a rip-roaring success of a legal thriller.                       

That concludes today’s author alert and spotlight. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Barbara… I love meeting and befriending new authors, and this was the perfect chance to share someone special with all of you!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Author Spotlight: Tyler Colins

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Welcome to next edition of the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & BOOK ALERT series. Today, we’re sharing:

I ‘met’ Tyler online about two years ago through our blogs. I found her style humorous and her comments friendly… you could say we hit it off! Tyler read one of my books, and I read one of her books. After a few months, we found ourselves chatting away from time to time… and then… Tyler connected with my publisher and joined the team at Creativia, which is changing its name to Next Chapter Pub this summer, as well as adding several new imprints, audio books, foreign language translations, and tone of other great features and options. Tyler and I are both thrilled about what’s coming down the pike… but today, this post is all about her! Not only has Tyler read several of my books, she took the time to participate as a beta reader on the last one to help me fine-tune character development, dialog, and tone. Today… we’re gonna learn what makes this amazing woman so special!

About the Author

(in her own words)

I’m primarily a writer of fiction and blog posts, and a sometimes editor and proofreader of books, manuals, and film/television scripts.  Fact-checking and researching, organizing and coordinating are skills and joys (I love playing detective and creating structure).  My fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries.  My genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and helpful “affirmative” non-fiction.

So-o, here I am, staring up a new blog for aspiring and established e-Book writers.  The plan: to share the (long) journey of getting to this stage, and impart “learnings” and “teachings”.  There’s a lot I hope to accomplish with this blog, but it may be a while before that happens.  There’s a lot on the ol’ plate currently – taking care of Mom, working full-time, and attempting to get another book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series written (never mind blog postings and other writing projects).

It’s very challenging and it’s all good.  As I like to say: teeny focused baby steps are just as effective as long forceful strides.  It may take a little longer, but we will get there.

Key Links:

Book Overview

The four books in the series we’re spotlighting today are part of “The Triple Threat Investigation Agency” series—revolving around three feisty female P.I.s, living on Oahu. Click the link to get to each one on Goodreads to read reviews, mark them as To Be Read or learn more. Hurry up and read them before the 4th book gets so popular that you’re behind: Forever Poi.

The Connecticut Corpse Caper

(Click here for my review)

Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?

(Click here for my review)

Coco’s Nuts

(Click here for my review)

Forever Poi

Interview: Questions & Answers

  • What are your real, author, and/or pen names?
    • Tyler-Addison Colins is it.  🙂
  • What is your location? (City, State, Country, or whatever you are comfortable sharing)
    • Toronto, but my heart and soul belong to the U.S. (God willing, one day, I’ll live there).
  • How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
    • I was first published on Smashwords in 2015—starting with The Connecticut Corpse Caper, and later followed with Can you Hula like Hilo Hattie?, and Coco’s Nuts.  All are now with Creativia.
  • Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
    • Honestly, I’d love for my books to reach a wide audience, to entertain, to be “recognizable”.  If I make good sales (and maybe acquire a television series or film deal), hey, that’d be awesome. 🙂

JJC COMMENT: We should have our own TV channel at Creativia with all our books turned into movies or shows… hmm… I’m getting some ideas about bigger and bolder marketing.

  • What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
    • People who like cozy mysteries with a touch of grit . . . who enjoy a little humor . . . who want to totally escape.
  • What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
    • Never give up.  Learn all you can about the art of writing.  Have a blog. Join communities.  Reach out—constantly.
  • What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
    • Given I went with Smashwords, I didn’t have many; finding a formatter and cover designer were the two biggies. 
  • Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
    • I belong to various Facebook writing communities, such as Creativia Street Team and Journeys.
  • What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
    • Given Mom-care and a full-time job—up and above writing/blogging/editing—it’s very difficult presently to embrace hobbies or interests.  But it’s all good.  J
  • Some authors like to make an argument or address an issue when they write. Is there an issue that you’re addressing with your book? If so, what is it?
    • Sometimes I like to slip in an issue without putting it in anyone’s face—for example, the drug epidemic a few years ago (Hula) and the homelessness (Hula).  I’d actually like to spotlight the latter in the next book, but given the characters write the books, we’ll have to see how that transpires.
  • What gave you the idea for your book?
    • The ideas simply pop into my head; I can’t say I’ve been influenced by anything or anyone.
  • What are the most important things about you that you would want prospective readers to know? (Personal challenges you’ve faced that influenced you while writing this book, funny stories about the writing or research, etc.)
    • No matter what the odds, follow your dream/love.  If it’s writing, do what you can when you can.  Time and life’s circumstances may not always be your friends, but stand strong and persevere.  It will come; somehow, in its own sweet time, it always does.
  • What’s the craziest/funniest/most enjoyable thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
    • The most enjoyable—visiting Hawaii and getting to learn it intimately (so descriptions are more “real”).
  • What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
    • I love writing; my toughest challenge is finding time.  I’m now getting up for 2:00 a.m. to make it happen, before seeing to Mom’s needs and heading to work.

JJC COMMENT: I don’t think I could ever do that! I tend to wake up for two hours in the middle of the night, but I like to stay in bed until about 7am…

  • What do you like about writing in your genre?
    • Everything!
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an author?  What things, if any, influenced that decision?
    • I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was quite young.  As an only child of older parents (they didn’t have much time or interest for yours truly), I had to create my own fun.  That was done through—what else?—writing and drawing.
  • With so many books being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
    • I’d like to believe the quality makes them stand out—solid writing, interesting plots, and fun/funny characters.
  • Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
    • My characters lead the way.
  • Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
    • Yes, I read reviews—and I’ll respond, sure.  Yes, I do learn from reviews; reviewers provide some very solid/useful feedback.
  • What advice would you give to your younger and/or older self?
    • To my younger self I’d have given a good swift kick in the as—uh—butt and gotten out in the writing world sooner.  Being introverted and shy, and super UN-confident, held me back.  A lot.  Still does. 
  • Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)?   Who designs your book covers?
    • Covers do make a difference.  Most people seemed to (really) hate my old TT Agency covers.  Creativia designed some simple, but effective ones that I find quite eye-catching.

JJC COMMENT: I thought the old ones weren’t as complimentary as the new one… they weren’t bad, but I didn’t think they properly represented the books. I do like the new ones a lot more!

  • Please give us an insight into your main characters.  What do you think makes them special?
    • They’re all unique with distinct personalities.  JJ, the narrator, is calm, mature, and thinks things through.  Her cousin Rey is brash, impetuous, and melodramatic, and won’t take “no” for an answer.  Rey’s BFF, Linda, is smart and little “nerdy”.  Together, they meld well.
  • What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author?
    • That I know exactly what I want as an author . . . that I have a ton to learn about making it happen (I truly suck at promotion/marketing) . . . and that I have a little confidence now to see it through to wherever it takes me.
  • Do you write full-time or part-time?
    • How about here-and-there time?  🙂
  • What do your plans for future projects include?
    • Right now, getting the fifth book in the series written.  Down the road, having a website, writing a “self-searching” book (still have to give that one some thought).
  • What do you think the hardest part of writing is?  What is the easiest?
    • The hardest part for most is the commitment—sitting down regularly and actually writing.  The easiest, for others, seems to be the promotion and marketing components once the writing is completed.
  • What type of books do you like to read?
    • Who are some of your favorite authors?  Primarily mysteries—Reichs, Kellerman, Evanovich . . . Cudney.  🙂

JJC COMMENT: Oh, wait… that’s me! What do you think, should I believe her or is this just our humor?

  • What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you? Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
    • <LOL> Read my books—please.
  • Name 3 influential authors on you and tell us why.
    • The three aforementioned, particularly Evanovich.  She makes me laugh (which is not an easy feat).
  • Which other authors and/or books do you think are similar to your own books?
    • I’m not sure, to be honest. 
  • Do you blog and share book reviews of other authors? Tell us all about it.
    • I post twice a week on my blog—about editing, a book, my books, whatever strikes my fancy at the time.  I will review books whenever possible, given time constraints.
  • Who are your own least and favorite characters?
    • My favorite character: Rey.  She’s a hoot (maybe a little bit of what I’d really like to be).  My least character: Cash, JJ’s sometimes boyfriend.  He’s hunky and arrogant, and everything a romance hero should be (I believe) . . . and he’s a pain in the butt. 
  • What are you afraid to write about?
    • My feelings about me / my life and situation.  Let’s leave it at that.  J
  • If you could co-write a book with a famous author who would it be? If it was another writer you admire but isn’t well known, who would it be?
    • Great question.  A famous author?  Hemingway.  Bradbury.  Joyce.  Brontë.  (You didn’t say they had to be alive.)  🙂

JJC COMMENT: Oh, she thinks she’s so funny, huh? Rule breakers… what can you do about them?

Wrap Up

That concludes today’s author alert and spotlight. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Tyler… I’ve read three books in this series, so you need to hurry up and finish the first three… maybe we could buddy read the fourth one together later this summer?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Author & Book Alert: A Matter of Latitude by Isobel Blackthorn

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Welcome to next edition of the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & BOOK ALERT series. Today, we’re sharing:

Isobel Blackthorn and her novel, A Matter of Latitude, because it has an upcoming discount that you need to know about. Isobel is an author at Creativia Pub / Next Chapter Pub, the same place where I am published. I’ve previously read one of her novels, Clarissa’s Warning, and you can click the link to see my 5-star review of this excellent drama about what happens to a woman on the Canary Islands. If you’re interested in A Matter of Latitude, you can purchase it via Amazon here.

A Matter of Latitude is .99 cents from July 16th through 20th. I just bought a copy… who wants to buddy read with me this week?

Book Overview

From the acclaimed author of The Drago Tree comes a riveting thriller about survival, revenge and long-hidden secrets.

When Lanzarote anti-corruption activist Celestino is T-boned on a lonely road, he knows the collision was no accident. Wounded and fearing for his life, he hides in an abandoned fishing village, waiting for a chance to make it home.

Meanwhile, his wife Paula is distraught and sets out to look for him. Paula’s search for her husband quickly descends into mayhem, danger and intrigue. Before long, she realizes she’s being followed. She needs answers, and fast.

But where is Celestino, and will he ever make it back alive?

“A Matter of Latitude simmers with danger, betrayal and treachery, drawing the reader into the island’s history of shady dealings and uneasy relationships between natives, tourists and expats… Isobel Blackthorn has crafted an atmospheric and setting-rich novel with alluring lyrical style.” – Sandi Wallace, award-winning crime fiction author

About the Author

Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of unique and engaging fiction. She writes across a range of genres, including psychological thrillers, gripping mysteries, captivating travel fiction and hilarious dark satire. Isobel was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019.

Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel, The Unlikely Occultist. 

Isobel carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain, her former home. Many of her novels are set on the islands, including The Drago Tree, which was released in 2015 and is now in Spanish translation, Clarissa’s Warning and A Matter of Latitude. These novels are setting rich and fall into the broad genre of travel fiction, and the novels are as much stories about the islands themselves as they are straight-ahead entertainment.

Isobel has led a rich and interesting life and her stories are as diverse as her experiences, the highs and lows, and the dramas. Some of her writing is dark, like the psychological thriller, Twerk, which is based on six years of research and first-hand accounts of dancers working in what are euphemistically called gentlemen’s clubs. 

A life-long campaigner for social justice, Isobel has written, protested and leant her weight to a range of issues including family violence. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia.

Key Links:

author.to/IsobelBlackthorn

viewbook.at/Occultist

viewbook.at/ClarissaWarning

viewbook.at/Latitude

http://isobelblackthorn.com

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn

https://twitter.com/IBlackthornhttps://www.instagram.com/isobelblackthorn

Interview: Questions & Answers

  • What is your location?
    • I am British and I live in Australia. I also used to live in the Canary Islands and Barcelona. I speak enough Spanish to get by. As an author, I am very much European in style. My home is wherever I happen to be at the time.
  • How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles?
    • I self-published my first book, a memoir, in 2011. I did well considering I knew not a thing about book marketing. In 2012, I got my first break into the small press scene when Ginninderra Press picked up my short story collection. A gap of almost three years, then Odyssey Books offered to publish my first novel, The Drago Tree, a love story set in the Canary Islands. They went on to publish another two novels and re-released the short stories. After that, I journeyed into the dark side with three novels – all dark thrillers – published by HellBound Books, USA. I was put onto Creativia in late 2018, and they now have my next two Canary Islands novels and The Unlikely Occultist, a work of biographical fiction based on the life of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey.
  • Tell us a little bit about your books including the genres.
    • I write in a variety of genres, including mysteries, dark thrillers, contemporary and literary, and historical fiction. My most popular books are those set in the Canary Islands – The Drago Tree, Clarissa’s Warning and A Matter of Latitude. These are stand-alone novels yet they share characters and a world, and they are sequential in time. That said, they are not a series, more a collection. I will be adding to that collection soon with a fourth novel set on Fuerteventura, drawing on characters in Clarissa’s Warning. Each of these novels tackles some of the issues facing those islands. The local culture and the environment are under serious threat from tourism and corruption. The islands have a dark history of colonial conquest and harsh colonial rule. For some reason, those tiny dots of land in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of southern Morocco, have embedded themselves in my heart. I may or I may not continue setting novels there. The only reason I might not is because each time I do, it sets up a deep yearning and I end up looking on real estate sites and planning to migrate.
  • Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
    • My goal is simply to progress. I have reached a stage of critical mass with nine novels, a memoir and numerous short stories under my belt. I either expand and flourish somehow, either in the Indie scene or by entering mainstream publishing, or I will be treading water. I was shortlisted for a prestigious literary award this year, and I would like that to happen again. We all want to do better than we are in this very competitive and swamped industry. Only those who persist and work hard prevail. I am one of those types.
  • With so many books being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
    • I have been told I have a distinct voice, a brand. Each of my novels is different from the rest yet there is something that connects them all. Me, I guess! My novels contain interesting themes, tackle big ideas or issues. I started out writing in the style of literary fiction. That was how I learned to write because they are the books I love. My writing has a definite literature feel about it, so I’m told. I also like to experiment with genre and with narrative style. A lot of my novels are genre hybrids, they do not sit easily in any box.
  • Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
    • This entirely depends on the story I am writing. The Drago Tree started out as a single sentence. I went with the flow, went with my characters. A Matter of Latitude was heavily plotted start to finish. It proved a very tricky book to write as I wanted to include the theme of corruption and tourism, but I did not want that to come across wooden and I also didn’t want to land myself in the mire as regards litigation. I trod a very fine line. I like well-woven exposition in a novel, it enriches the story, and I am not one for straight ahead, four to the floor entertainment driven books, that just isn’t my style. I like to duck and weave a bit, slow things down, get the reader thinking. Generally, I plot as little as possible.
  • Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
    • I do read all my reviews. I love it when a good one comes in and usually that’s the case. Negative reviews are disappointing, but I don’t take it personally. Sometimes, very occasionally, someone decides to be really nasty, either a troll or just someone vindictive and spiteful. When that happens, and it has a few times, it can be quite upsetting. Kinda knocks your confidence, which of course it is meant to. I work hard to get reviews. I network, pitch to bloggers, do all the usual things to encourage reviews. I am in the difficult situation of being in Australia, writing books set in Spain that appeal to UK readers. So my Amazon reviews get split between three territories, US, UK and AU. Very annoying! We all know Amazon reviews matter. They matter far too much!
  • Do you write full-time or part-time?
    • I am a full-time author. That includes all the book promotion. I start my working day when I wake up and finish around seven. That amounts to about thirteen-hour days, seven days a week. Of course, there is a lot of down time and I am not chained to my desk. Writing needs a lot of air around it, a lot of space. In that time, I also do some paid work to keep myself afloat.
  • What do your plans for future projects include?
    • I am at work on a full non-fiction biography of Alice Bailey. This is my most exciting project to date. Along with this, I am writing an historical fiction novel based on my own family history and after that, I might try my hand at a children’s book set in Australia – in my bid to crack the market here – and a novel based on a very mysterious and little known occult figure of the 19th century. I also have my fourth and possibly last Canary Islands novel, which is almost finished and ready to submit. It is a mystery with a dark twist.

Wrap Up

That concludes today’s author alert and spotlight. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Isobel… I love meeting and befriending international authors, and this was the perfect chance to share someone special with all of you!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Alert: Magnetic Reverie by Nico J. Genes (.99 Kindle Download)

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Today, I am sharing an author and book alert: Magnetic Reverie by Nico J. Genes. This is her first book in ‘The reverie’ series, which I will be reading next month. Anyone want to join in a buddy read? The Kindle version is discounted right now for only .99 cents through July 7th.

Have you ever had a dream which was so vivid and intense that you felt it simply had to be real?  A dream which made you forget about your current reality in hopes of continuing to explore this exciting land of milk and honey?  Were you really able to fully distinguish the dream from the real world?  

(Magnetic Reverie is the 1st book from The Reverie series, but can be read as standalone too.)

Genre: FF romance / Bisexual romance / Lesfic / romantic suspense

“If I have more than one life, I would definitely dedicate this one entirely to you.”

– Magnetic Reverie by Nico J. Genes

***

Links:

https://linktr.ee/nicojgenes_writer
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16764698.Nico_J_Genes

Video Trailer:

 https://youtu.be/VkO6iQGlInghttps://www.facebook.com/magneticreverie/Amazonhttp://hyperurl.co/p2kdzt

***

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Author / Series Alert: Ellen Crosby & Wine Country Mysteries

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In the past, I used to share a weekly author alert on my blog. Often it was a new indie writer I’d come across, or it might have been one I really enjoyed reading. Since I’ve given up writing my 365 Daily Challenge and have been posting mostly book reviews and my own book promotions, I decided I needed to get back to a few basics again. One of those will be sharing an alert on authors and series I’ve either finished or gotten caught up on and am awaiting the next book.

I’ve been a major fan of series ever since I was a young child and participated in summer readathons at my local library. I used to sit for hours and read books only ever in order… I’m ashamed to say I have only been about 80% faithful to that rule of reading in order, but I’m trying to be as consistent as possible these days. This week, I’m starting with a series I actually have read in order — The Wine Country Mysteries by Ellen Crosby.

I think the Wine Country Mysteries might be my favorite series right now. There are 9 books currently published with the next one due out in the Fall of 2019. I can’t wait to take that one on, even hoping I get a NetGalley ARC or find a potential blog tour. Although they fall under the cozy mystery category, they are much more complex and dynamic. All the books have detailed histories on wine-making, American politics, and the forming of the US as a nation during the Revolutionary period. Crosby is brilliant when it comes to including facts about the past in her tales. I lap it up each time and truly find her to be an impressive author. I’ve only read this one series and not the other which has two books thus far. I might give it a chance in the future, but for now, I’m focused on the wine country!

Lucie Montgomery was injured in a car accident that left her with a limp and a cane. She inherited the family vineyard after her parents both died. While her mother was killed in an accident, her father might’ve been murdered. You’ll have to read one of the books to find out the truth. She has a brother and a sister, but we mostly only see the brother. There are a few local residents whom we’ve gotten to know, and even some who end up being killers in future books — I love it! We meet some of the help at the vineyard, the local cops and news reporters, and tons of out-of-town family. The supporting cast is wide and varied, but they always make you feel a connection to the story. My favorite books have been the ones about politics, even those that reveal presidential secrets (really, true ones!). Lucie is smart and dependable; she’s not nosy nor flighty. I would be friends with her, even if she is a little direct for my taste, at times. The best part, I’ve learned so much about wine that I can’t wait to test it all out. I doubt that will happen, since like books, there are more vintages or versions of wine than one could truly imbibe! All that said, I highly recommend this series. It’s solid and intriguing with each and every book.

Meet Ellen Crosby

For some links to a few sites that might help you decide to move forward, and to read my 9 reviews of the books in her Wine Country Mysteries, check these out:

https://thisismytruthnow.com/crosby-ellen/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/371811.Ellen_Crosby

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Release Day: Justice for Belle by Didi Oviatt

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It’s my latest author alert and today we’re revisiting Didi Oviatt, a past spotlightee (is that a word… wait, I’m a writer — should I know?), to congratulate her on the LAUNCH DAY of her newest book: Justice for Belle. I’ve read and loved two of Didi’s other books, Search for Maylee and Aggravated Momentum. Check out her dedicated profile page on my blog too! See my review of Justice for Belle below…

Official Purchase Link

Book Quote:

***Call me weird, obsessed, paranoid, twisted or whatever, but I have this nasty little habit of trying to guess what kind of killers people would be… if they were actually killers, that is. Whenever I see someone in a crowd who stands out among the rest, I see it. It all depends on their size, the way they move, the look in their eyes. Everything plays a part, and the image is usually fairly detailed. Then, I jot down my observations for future use.***

Blurb:

Ahnia, has a very dicey past, one that is scratching under the surface, just dying to get out. She’s hit rock bottom, broke and desperate to be on top again. When she finds herself partnering up with man she hardly knows, and who’s utterly untouchable, she’s forced out of her comfort zone and left to question her own sanity. Will Ahnia and Mac’s dangerous business move be a success? Or, will Ahnia find herself in the clutches of an unforgiving force, brought about by her childhood sin? In this nail biting thrill ride, no one is as they seem… and no one is truly safe with those they trust.

Book Review:

Justice for BelleJustice for Belle by Didi Oviatt

Justice for Belle is one fast-faced novella! But in truth, I wouldn’t expect any less from author Didi Oviatt whose thrillers and suspense novels I’ve read in the past always get your heart racing and your mind flying. Another fantastic release showing why she’s on the rise as an amazing storyteller who will gut-punch you with twists and shocks when you least expect them.

The story: Ahnia did something wrong. We don’t know what it is, but it was bad. Very bad. Only one person knows. Or so she thought! The problem, other than what this other person might do to Ahnia, is that Ahnia seems to only be able to write when she’s coming off the high of doing something awful. A best seller as a teenager / early 20s young woman made her popular, but now, can she live up to that expectation? Several years later, she’s intrigued by a guy who makes an offer, but then she finds out what’s really going on behind the scenes. Who should she trust?

GIRL – no one! Never trust anyone once you’ve done what you’ve done. Poor Belle… will there ever be justice? Interested in the novella yet? The premise is outstanding, and the best part, we really don’t ever know why something happened in the past. We get bits and pieces, but it’s not really important. It’s the psychological FREAK-OUT we go thru wondering what happened that revs our engines. That’s a great author… now… the ending?!? I don’t ever expect Oviatt to do what you think she will, and that’s an amazing thing. She likes to make you wait just a bit longer, then pops you one with a doozy of a shock factor. Nothing personal, but I’m staying away from her in a dark alley!

Less than two hours, this is a wild ride… it slows down for a few chapters to let you catch your breath, but don’t be fooled. You’re not getting a break again after that first pause, so relish the hunt and figure out who’s behind the games in this great novella.

View all my reviews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her  thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, Justice for Belle, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle. 

Didi can be found on her Website/Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly AMAZON

Excerpt #1:

“You get lost?” Mac’s voice rings loudly at my side.

I jump, knocking a cold glass bottle of booze over with my arm. I grab it back up with trembling hands. I straighten myself to a stand and hand it over before grabbing two more for myself. Mac takes a step closer to me no sooner than the fridge door shuts completely.

The scent of him is just as fresh as the first day we met; only tonight there is a muskier underlining. The delicious smell of his natural skin, no doubt. My knees weaken, and I take a step back. The center of my back touches the counter causing me to reach back with my free hand and grab ahold of it for balance.

“What are you doing?” I ask desperately under my breath.

“You were taking a while, so I thought I’d check up on you.” His voice is wanting and raspy.

“I’m fine.”

I duck and spin, maneuvering my body around him. I’m careful not to brush our flesh together. He props himself against the exact spot of the counter that I just left by the hip, his gaze fixated on me. I look away, twist the top off of my first drink and guzzle the entire thing as if my life depends on it. He, too, takes a drink, but barely a sip. The serious clench of his jaw tells me that he means business. My chest tightens.

“Why are you really here?” I ask.

“A few reasons, actually.”

“Which are?”

“I’m trying to decide which one I wanna tell you first.”

He takes another sip and continues to stare. I toss my empty bottle into the trash can, and twist open the top of my next. It’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Aside from my own heavy breath, I hear only haunting silence.

“Start with whatever it is you’re so afraid to say.” I breathe, my heart quickening another pace.

Mac takes a few quick steps forward, again closing the gap between us. The wildness of his eyes and his hair reminds me of a lion, ready to pounce. Soon I’m backed against the wall, with our chests pressed together. I stare at his mouth. His lips are the perfect shade of pink. I want to lick them. I tuck my own in and bite the insides lowering my head…denying him access. He places his palms against the wall, beside my shoulders, and lowers his forehead to mine.

“You’re not who I thought you were,” he says, the hops in his breath mixing with my own.

I close my eyes tightly and breathe him in. The image I once had of his fists closing in around the neck of an unknown man as he shook the life from him is all I can think about. God, I wish I could stop enjoying the thought of death. I can feel his heartbeat through my shirt and my nipples harden. The heat from his body screams danger, and the pool of nerves between my legs wants it.

“Mac,” I whisper, our foreheads still together.

I try and lift my arms to push him away, but can’t. Like dead weight, they stay motionless at my sides. I shake my head against his. This is wrong.

“Ahnia, I know we can’t do this. I just… I…”

Mac slaps an open palm against the wall. It’s an angry, powerful blow a mere foot from my face. I jump, feeling the vibration of it against my entire body.

“F**k!” He shouts, and pulls himself away.

He runs a fist through his hair and storms off. After helping himself to another beer from my fridge, he disappears back into the living room, leaving me behind to gather myself. I take a couple deep breaths and run my shaking hands down the front of my shirt a few times.

I’m scared to death of him right now, but I don’t want him to leave either. I can’t kick him out, what if he comes at me? Or worse, what if I wind up throwing myself at him. I don’t trust me at this point, any more than I don’t trust him.

***

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.