Friday, February 27, 2015

We Are All Winners!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the the Book Blog Tour hosted by Bewitching Tours in celebration of my latest mystery adventure, Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire.

The 10 Winners have been contacted! Thank you to all of you who followed the tour from beginning to end! I was thrilled and delighted to chat with you--your comments were an inspiration to me. I hope you'll continue to follow my Blog as well as my Facebook page. Please don't forget to subscribe to my website to get advance news about my next book release, The Keeper of the Book as well as my upcoming appearances and contests. 

Thank you again. I hope each and every one of you fall in love with my series and with Sophia and Cullen. Don't forget Please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review of Shattered Shells: Third novel in Author Francene Stanley's Paranormal Moonstone Series

Touching Story Written From The Heart

Shattered Shells is the third novel in the paranormal Moonstone series set in the seaside village of St. Ives. In this book, the protagonist Liliha continues to alter lives with the use of her moonstone—an ancient Egyptian ring that merges her with the minds of those in turmoil. Through positive and rational thinking, Liliha is able to enable people to save themselves. My first thought when reading the book was that Author Francene Stanley who is an amazing person, has a gift for creating broken and flawed characters.

Liliha is a woman buried deep in grief. She's lost her husband, her daughters are living far away and her loneliness permeates the air like a bad smell. This becomes even more evident as she attempts to help an equally broken young girl, Ellen, get back on her feet—placing her in the path of a pimp and a crook who would like nothing more than to do Liliha harm. As she awakens with no memory in a hospital, she realizes the ring is gone. Dun Dun Dun!

Can I just start by saying I love this author’s imagination. She goes to places where I myself love to go—magical heirlooms that offer up psychic powers and force people to play detective. How could I resist that premise? The difference is she truly writes from the heart and I feel this series is best suited to those who love and adore women’s literature. I myself tend to reach for paranormal, adventure, mystery and thrillers but I tend to shy away with anything that has too much feeling and this one had me feeling emotions all over the place! Great Job Francene! I do recommend reading the first two books in the series first to gain a richer understanding of the story as a whole.

#bookreview #authorbookreview #paranormal #womenslit #womensfiction #emotionalread #FranceneStanley #writtenfromtheheart #moonstoneseries #shatteredshells

Monday, February 23, 2015

Stuck in the Research Mudbog: Rachael Stapleton tells us when to spin our wheels and when to get pulled out?

Final Tour Stop: Feb 23rd Fang-Tastic Books

Sometimes, you just can’t avoid research—it’s like driving through mud. Actually I’m reminded of Burketon Hills, a thrilling and muddy place my Dad used to take me where 4x4 trucks with oversized tires would climb dunes and play in the mud. Much like currently writing the third book in my Temple of Indra series except now I am the monster truck spinning my wheels and flinging dirt. The message behind both mud bogging and research is the same—drive through enough of it, and you’re probably going to get stuck. With research tires spinning, historical wars flying and forward progress on your novel halted, what is a writer to do?

Well first off let’s talk about whether or not research is really necessary for your book. In my opinion, yes, although the amount depends on what genre you’re writing. Historical fiction and tech-based science fiction being quite reliant on research but really even mainstream fiction requires research at times. Getting into the mind of cops, killers, and the opposite sex doesn’t come naturally to all of us.

My series hinges on reincarnation and time travel of a sort which technically feels a lot like historical fiction because two of my main characters go back to where it all began to rescue one of their own. Here are some of the tabs open on my browser this morning Wallachian Revolution of 1848, The Politics of Witchcraft Studies, Romanian Folklore and Haunted Romania. Need another coffee? Me too.

I thought I knew enough about Romania to set a fictional backdrop there, after all I watched Dracula, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf and Transylvania 6-5000. Tee hee! Unfortunately, as I pour over the historical facts and political strife that was the Danubian Principalities, I realize this place has undergone a lot of war and finding the right time period is going to be a challenge.

Why don’t I just abandon this setting? Great idea! How much easier would it be to just pick a new setting for my book, Prague, Austria, Hungary—oh wait I did that in Book One and it was also full of political strife,  besides would you leave your once shiny new toy truck stuck in the mud? Me neither. I’m a Taurus and that makes me as stubborn as a bull.  I would love to take a trip to Transylvania to visit the fifteenth century Corvinești Castle that is northwest of the Carpathian Mountain range and situated by the river Zlasti. Wouldn’t that shake something loose?  From the pictures, it’s an imposing building, with forty-three rooms, two balconies and two bridges supported by four massive stone pillars. I could do some in-person research on the torture chamber, no, it’s not the red room of Fifty Shades, it’s even worse. Gasp! I could learn about the Hunyadi era when many people were brutally tortured and killed within the castle walls, brutally beaten, hanged and decapitated.  The funny thing about research is a lot of the stuff I learn doesn’t even wind up in my story. But it still informs my writing. This is part of the job and it’s the reason you should not shy away from it. So here is my advice for when your virtual truck gets hung up on a rock or you flood that magnificent engine that is your brain?

Rock It Out
As soon as you get stuck, you need to come to a complete stop, go in reverse, and get back where you started from—solid ground—so head back to your notes. To do this you need to be organized ahead of time. If you didn’t write an outline before then take the time and do it now. Start with the hook. This is a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: “An architect travels back in time to save his wife.” The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture and can be used in online pitch contests. Some hints on what makes a good sentence: Shorter is better. No character names. Which character has the most to lose in this story? What does he/she want to win. Now expand that sentence to a full paragraph describing the story setup, major disasters, and ending of the novel. Ideally, your paragraph will have about five sentences. One sentence for backdrop and story setup, one sentence each for your (3) disasters, then one more sentence to tell the ending. Note: This is not the back-cover copy for your book. This paragraph summarizes the whole story. Your back-cover copy should summarize only about the first quarter of the story.

Add Traction
Place dry, solid objects beneath the edge of the tire in the direction you want to go (forward or reverse). Some drivers like floor mats or sticks, I like characters. Characters are an intricate part of any novel. For each of your major characters, write a one-page summary sheet that tells: name, a one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline, what he/she wants (motivation), what does he/she want (goal), what’s preventing him/her from reaching this goal (conflict), what will he/she learn, how will he/she change (epiphany). Once you’ve created characters, take your four-page synopsis and make a list of all the scenes using a spreadsheet that you’ll need to turn the story into a novel.

Winch It
If you plan to drive through mud on a regular basis, it is probably wise to outfit your truck with some sort of winch. Even if you don’t have a winch, a friend’s Hi-Lift jack can be used to pull the vehicle free. Likewise a good writers group can come in handy. Sometimes we need a little help from our writer friends. Take your prep work with you and talk it out. I can’t count how many times I've been rescued by Yvonne, Susan, Marissa, Lora, Connie and Ann.

Last But Not Least—Pull It Out
Oftentimes, the best and quickest way to get your truck unstuck is to have another truck simply pull you out. Which means get back to writing and worry about the historical accuracy, names of places, people and dates, during the rewrites. The truth is I love to research. I could spend years delving into castle architecture alone just to write a thriller that hinges on one small and obscure architectural fact. I would live in research land forever but at a certain point, you need to just write. That is why I’ve put a rule in place. I allow myself to research during two phases: the idea phase and the rewriting phase. In between, research is a distraction.

Here are some of the great sites offering research advice that I live by.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire: Last Stop This Monday

Well, this book blog tour has been a blast everybody! Thank you to Roxanne at Bewitching Book Tours for arranging it and all of her affiliated sites for hosting me. I'd also like to thank my publisher, Solstice Publishing and all of their amazing authors for joining in! I feel blessed to have toured around so many great blogs meeting a ton of potential new Sophia & Cullen fans.

Join me Monday for my last stop "Stuck in the Research Mudbog" on Fang-tastic, where I'll be blogging about book research and what to do when you get stuck in it. If you missed any of my interviews or guest posts, please feel free to click below and catch up. I will re-post all contest to my own website but the links below are your last chance to enter the Rafflecopter contest. On Monday, there will be 10 Winners chosen at random to receive the first book in my Temple of Indra Series.

I'd also like to take a minute to thank all of my Facebook and Twitter followers and supporters. Your likes, shares and tweets mean so much to me. 

I'd especially like to thank my Aunts: Sharon, Karon, Sharlene, Nancy and Doreen. I think one or all of you have commented, liked and or shared every piece of content I've ever posted. You make me smile. How could I ever fail when I have such a loving and supportive family. xo

Book Blog Tour Stops, Dates, Links

January 28 
Interview & Contest Announcement

January 29th 
Character Interview with Sophia Marcil

January 30th 

February 4th 
Celebrating New Release & Leslie's Character Reveal 

February 5th 
Dreaming up Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire’s All Star Cast
February 6th 
Books, Bestsellers & Breaking Into the Business Interview
February 9 Interview
Penny's Tales
February 9 Review

Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock 

February 10 Spotlight
Mommabears Book Blog

February 11 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt

February 12 Character Interview
Eclipse Reviews

February 13 Interview
Author Karen Swart

February 16 Guest blog

February 16 Spotlight
Jodie Pierce's Ink Slinger's Blog

February 17 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

February 18 Spotlight
Books N Pearls 

February 19 Spotlight 

February 20 Spotlight
More Romance Please

February 23 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

#Bookblogtour #authorinterview #funnyauthorinterview #blogpost #researchblogpost #historicalresearch #guestblog #spotlight #mystery #timetravel #romance #fiction #amazonbestseller #curseofthepurpledelhisapphire #freebiefriday #templeofindra #rachaeljackson #rachaelstapleton #Bewitchingbooktours #fangtasticbooks #booksnpearls #moreromanceplease #fictionzeal #creativelygreen #auggietalk #karenswart #eclipsereviews #paranormalromanceandauthorsthatrock #jodiepierce #inkslinger #characterinterview #soundtrack #dreamcast #kindlebestseller #solsticepublishing

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Curse of The Purple Delhi Sapphire: Creating Kickass Librarians

Tour Stop: Feb 17th Interview from the Creatively Green Write at Home mom

Sophia Marcil is given a family heirloom that pulls her into a past life, eventually opening the door to psychic dreams and a book full of magical spells.  Unfortunately, the heirloom comes with a madman hell-bent on possessing her and her gifted stone.

This makes us wonder do you think special powers like time travel, mind reading, and telekinesis are a gift or a curse and if you could choose one which would it be. If I could choose one, it would most likely be time travel because much like Sophia I adore history. However, I can see the potentials danger involved. I would be nervous and reluctant to use such a power in real life—at least the first time—temptation would eventually win out. I think an even cooler power might be teleportation. Lunch in Paris? A play in New York? I love to travel and a gift like that would allow me to whisk myself off to a deserted Island for a much needed tan or hit up Japan for some fresh sashimi.  No airports, no line ups. Now there’s a gift I could get used to.
Do you prefer e-books or paperbacks? I read mostly on an ereader right now because I have children. The youngest being two—so I really only get the time to read in bed right before I crash. It’s actually my sleeping prescription. Take 10 pages and call me in the morning, otherwise I would probably lay awake like every other female in the country with an overactive brain.
What is your favourite thing about your ereader? When I finish a book, I can get another with the push of a button. Especially if it’s a series or an author I’m enjoying.
Do you think e-books have overtaken paperbacks? Right now I’d say it’s fairly even although we’ll see in a month when I get my most recent statement. I think some people are reluctant to let go of paperbacks. As a society, we spend so much time connected, looking at screens. Sometimes we all just want an isolated experience without the feeling of distraction.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you? I think most people would be shocked to discover that I wanted to be a librarian at one time. Blame it on Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or maybe even The Mummy for making the life of the librarian look so exciting. But truthfully, if my writing career hadn’t panned out then you can bet that’s where I would have went next. The few people I told laughed at me—not that working in a library is a joke—but I guess in there mind I wasn’t the stereotypical prim and proper spinster-in-the-making. Or maybe it was unfathomable that I would want to willingly navigate the dewy decimal system. Whatever it was, it was apparently hard to believe. That’s part of the reason why Sophia and Leslie are adventurous, sexual and quirky librarians. Of course it’s convenient to the plot that Sophia be a well-read individual who would have access and be knowledgeable when it came to history and ancient curses but I also just wanted to give the world some kick-ass librarians. Mission complete!

At times throughout your series, you write through the eyes of a killer. What is that like?
You know I’ve actually had this discussion with my writers group. Whether you’re writing a serial killer, a demon, an army of zombies or simply a bully, why is it so much fun to write from the villain’s perspective? Well I guess because sometimes it’s good to be bad. Villains are not boxed in or weighed down with pesky things like morals and values, the way the protagonist is, at least not usually. Rules—what are those? The law—why would I obey that? I feel as though there is a freedom to color outside of the lines. It’s the same reason I like writing fantasy—it’s a chance to experiment and get a little crazy. Although I will admit at times, being in the bad guys head can get downright creepy and I have had to research disturbing things like which knife would sufficiently gut a person—yeah true story. I once tried to write a scene late at night and I was hearing noises within 10 minutes which is why I now write during the day especially when I’m in the mind of my stalker.

What are you calling the next book in the series? Any details you can share?
The Keeper of the Book—it’s unique from the first two novels in the series because part of it is written from the perspective of Sophia’s Sixteen year old daughter Alanna who is crushed when her mother dies in a séance gone wrong. After three months of living with Cullen and her mother's best-friend Leslie, she begins to suspect that they're keeping a secret from her. The search for the truth becomes a dubious adventure, taking Alanna from curious libraries to the castles of Eastern Europe as she trails after her father in the hopes that her mother might still be alive. One question always lingering, if they find her, can they rescue her from the past? 

What book are you reading now? I’m in the midst of doing some reviewing. I just finished S.C Alban’s book, A Life without Living and I’m about to get into Francene Stanley’s, Shattered Shells. After that it will be Debauchery by Bernard Foong and then I plan to do another proofread of  G.L Morgan’s Cauldron Bearer for one of the members of my writing group. Her book hasn’t been picked up yet but it is very good and should be! Did you hear that agents and publishers. JJ

What is in your to-read pile? On standby I have, Cold As Ice by Ann Stuart and In Like Flynn by Rhys Bowen.

What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress? Today I’m being featured on Books & Pearls. You can enter the rafflecopter there. You can also check out my interview on Out of Control Characters. All stops are listed and linked on the media page of my website Don’t forget to enter my Rafflecopter to win a free copy of the first book in the Temple of Indra Series.

#kickassauthorinterview #authorinterview #interview #books #librarians #librarianmeme #librariansinfiction #Rafflecopter #TempleofIndra #CreativelyGreenWriteatHomeMom #BewitchingBookTours #fiction #mystery #timetravelromance