Tag Archive | spring

Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 12

 

Swan and Shadow by Kaki Olsen

 

 

“Aislin is cursed. A regular college student at night and a swan during the day, Aislin can only break the curse by finding her true love. But when her beloved discovers the truth, will his fear override their love? This modern adaptation of Swan Lake will help you discover what love really means.”

 

~ AMAZON ~

 

 

 

Kaki Olsen is always on the brink of another adventure. If she couldn’t be a writer, she’d be a full-time musician or travel guide and she would take her lunch breaks at Fenway Park. Until that happens, she speaks both Spanish and English at her every-day office job, but she has vacationed enthusiastically in such places as Istanbul and Ireland. She has lived in five states, but will always refer to Boston as home.

She regularly contributes academic papers on zombies or wizards to Life, the Universe and Everything, a sci-fi/fantasy symposium originated at her alma mater, Brigham Young University. Her published works have appeared in such magazines as Voices and AuthorsPublish.
She is a doting aunt and librarian of two bulging bookshelves.

~ TWITTER ~ FACEBOOK ~

 
 

 
 
What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

When I have a meaning to a specific story, I stick with it and it’s very hard to depart from that.  I wrote this story to illustrate the bravery of the main character in choosing a less-than-ideal life, but wound up writing a different choice for her that showed her to be brave in a different way.  It’s what my interpreter trainer would call intra-lingual interpretation, where you have to look for different meanings or definitions to express the same word when you can’t identify what you need to say.

 

Which of your personality traits did you write into you characters? (Deliberately or accidentally)

One of the few things that I’m very good at in personal interaction is giving advice while listening well.  Both of my main characters have that trait, but for one of them, it doesn’t manifest until she has to befriend someone she thought of as her antagonist.  I also turned one character into a fashion enthusiast, which is another one of my hobbies.

 

 

Excerpt #1

“How was work?” I asked after another round of Crazy Eights.

I’d cleverly invented a summer job at a day camp to explain my sister’s long absences.  The fictional employer even had Fourth of July festivities and was something of a slave-driver.

“You know,” Aislin joked, “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

Everyone laughed at that and Sosi paused in mid-shuffle to respond. “I’m surprised you had to work.”

“I get holiday pay to kid-herd,” Ash said with a wave of her hand.  “We made patriotic lanyards, listened to one of the counselors do his George Washington impression…”

“Torture with benefits,” Avril chuckled.  “I’m jealous.”

“Why?” I teased.  “We had that lady who called the fly-overs alien invasions.”

“Are we sure they’re not?” Ethan countered. “They’re probably waiting for the 1812 Overture.”

“What about the scavenger hunt?”

Aislin dug her list out of her shorts pocket and scanned it for effect. “I got everything.  The guy wearing a flag as a skirt was the hardest one, but he was at the Charles/MGH stop.”

“No fair,” Ethan protested.  “We couldn’t use the T.”

“You had the whole Esplanade and worked in teams,” my sister pointed out.  “How did the petition go?”

“Ask the boys,” I suggested.  “We were trying to find a World War II veteran.”

“One hundred and thirty-seven signatures and an offer to post on an animal rights website,” Darren announced.  “I bet we could have gotten more if we hadn’t stopped for lunch.”

“And just what are we saving the Pacific narwhal from?” I asked.

Darren and Ethan exchanged looks and said, in unison, “Surfers.”

 

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Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 11

 

A Savage Ghost by Donna K. Weaver

 

 

Lia Savage reluctantly puts her dream of opening a dessert boutique on hold to help her dad remodel a castle he’s inherited in Washington State. Soon, a specter targets her younger sister.

Lia enlists the help of strapping Coop Montgomery, the head gardener and her former crush. As they search together for a way to rid the castle of its ghost, the romance she used to dream about with Coop kindles. But Lia’s gentle giant means to stay in Washington while she’s determined to return to California. She must find the courage to face both the ghost and her future.

With Coop. Or without him.

Get your copy today!

 

 

 

A wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Army veteran, karate black belt, and online gamer. Author of the Safe Harbors series; Second Chances 101, Book 5 in the Ripple Effect series; and A Savage Ghost.
 

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Q&A with the Author!!!

 

 What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

 

Like most writers I know, I begin to doubt myself. I have thoughts of, “Wow, this is terrible. No one’s going to like these characters or this storyline. This has to be the worse thing ever written. Why do I even bother?” Those are the days this song’s my theme song:


 

 Which of your personality traits did you write into you characters? (Deliberately or accidentally)

 

I think there’s probably a lot of my traits that shows up in my characters. From being a black belt to hating crowds to being in love with Irish castles. Yeah. But, unless you know me, you won’t know which.

 

 
And a snippet!

 

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Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 10

The Sun Still Shines by Jodi Orgill Brown

In a candid and witty memoir, Jodi recounts how her life was transformed when, as a thirty-three-year-old wife and mother, she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Unwilling to accept her new fate, Jodi’s family searches for a doctor who will join their fight against the odds. But when the surgery that could save her life thrusts her into battle with a devastating spinal fluid leak and facial paralysis, even her own children fear her new appearance and physical failings. Jodi perseveres, even with an injured body and spirit. Interweaving the inspiring, provoking, and sometimes disturbing, Jodi reveals the hells and highs of her journey as she fights for hope and purpose—and life.

~ AMAZON ~ SMASHWORDS ~

 

Jodi Orgill Brown is inspired by people who live fulfilled lives in spite of their struggles. She loves spending time with her muses, namely, her husband Tolan, and their four children, Trenden, Lindi, Casen, and Daven. Her favorite outing locations include Hebgen Lake, Montana, Hawaii\u2019s North Shore, the rolling hills and woods of Virginia, the Weber River Parkway Trail, and even her own backyard.

When she is not writing, reading, or enjoying family time, you’ll find Jodi visiting neighbors or having lunch with a girlfriend on 25th Street in Ogden. She loves learning principles through analogies and she discovers inspiration all around her, from nature, stories, friends, and especially from her children.

Jodi holds a BA in communications from Brigham Young University, an MS in organizational communications and leadership from the University of Utah, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She is the founder of Amplio Development, and is dedicated to living and teaching personal improvement. She resides in northern Utah with her husband and their four children.

Book Jodi as a keynote speaker, consultant, or presenter:
Email: ampliodevelopment@gmail.com
Website: 
www.ampliodevelopment.com

10 Favorite Things

10. The salty smell of the ocean
9. The reflection of the evergreen trees and hills as seen in Hebgen Lake (Montana)
8. The chirping of crickets and the sight of fireflies on late Virginia nights
7. The sounds of water trickling and falling over rocks and down riverbeds and streams
6. The statistical impossibility and reality that all four of my children inherited confederate blue grey eyes from their grandfather, their only recessive-gened relative
5. The coalescing of two people to form one perfect small human
4. Nature, which turns decay into dirt which grows and harbors life
3. Words strung together to form poetry in motion
2. Ten intertwined fingers linking together to form one whole
1. The transformational power of unconditional love

Q & A with the Author:

When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

I’ve been a writer my whole life, long before I published a book. As a youth, I scribbled poetry in endless notebooks, wrote stories with heartbreaking endings, and teamed up with friends to throw a twist into every English writing assignment. I love the power of words. When I was in 8th grade, my English teacher had us write about our favorite author. I wrote a letter to the publisher and asked for information on my favorite author of the day, Jack Weyland. A few weeks later, Mr. Weyland called me on the phone! He later followed up and sent a packet of reference material to my home. My favorite author became one of my greatest inspirations. He writes powerful stories, but he also showed me that is he a real person. Today we are Facebook friends and recently he sent me a note of congratulations on my book reaching a #1 spot on Amazon.com. He continues to inspire me!

Are you currently working on a project, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

Yes, several projects are in the works. I’ve always thought of myself as a nonfiction writer, but I also love storytelling. Current and future projects include both. I am writing a sequel to my memoir, detailing the hard realities of my second life, post brain surgeries. In addition, I’m working on a nonfiction book that shares simple life-changing principles, akin to a modern-day book of parables. One of the projects I am most excited about is a creative narrative based on the real-life experiences of my grandmother, who lived one of the most incredible stories I’ve ever known. I hope to resurrect her strength by telling the lesser-known and humble heroics of her life.

 

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Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 9

 

Save the Last Dance for Me by Cora Lee

 

 

Picture1Mr. Benedict Grey is the only heir to a long-standing title, and he knows his duty: find a suitable girl, get married, secure the succession beyond himself. But if a gentleman could be called a wallflower, Benedict would fit the description perfectly. And for the past six years, he’s been out of Society more than he’s been in it. How will he find a woman to wed and bed when he can barely converse with the ladies of the ton?

Lady Honoria Maitland has promised her dying father that, before he breathes his last, she would find a husband to take care of her. But she wants a gentleman that loves her, not her dowry or her name. When she reunites with her old friend Benedict, she proposes a plan that will help them both: a faux courtship and betrothal. She can teach him how to woo a woman and simultaneously ease her father’s last days. But Honoria’s clever plan failed to account for Benedict’s heart…or her own. Is she strong enough to bear the loss of her father and her friend?

Amazon | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo | iBooks
All Romance E-books/Omni Lit

 

 

A graduate of the University of Michigan with a major in history, Cora is the 2014 winner of the Royal Ascot contest for best unpublished Regency romance. She went on a twelve year expedition through the blackboard jungle as a high school math teacher before publishing Save the Last Dance for Me, the first book in the Maitland Maidens series. When she’s not walking Rotten Row at the fashionable hour or attending the entertainments of the Season, you might find her participating in Historical Novel Society events, wading through her towering TBR pile, or eagerly awaiting the next Marvel movie release. If you’d like to find out more about Cora or her books you can visit her website, sign up for her newsletter, or connect with her on Facebook or Goodreads.

 

 
Snippet #1:

“I would marry you, you know.”

She froze. “What?”

“If we were caught together. If I compromised you.” His eyes met hers in the half-light. “And not just because I’m looking for a wife now. I would have then, too.”

He didn’t have to explain when then was. She knew he was thinking of the day her mother died. He never did tell her how he’d gained entry into the house or how he found her bedchamber without disturbing anyone, but he’d managed to do both late that night. He’d sat with her and held her hand as she had talked of her mother, then cradled her against him when she’d wept. Only when she had calmed did either of them realize the potential for an immense scandal his presence caused. And even then he’d stayed with her until she fell asleep.

Her fingers tightened on his sleeve in response. Perhaps some of the old
Benedict still existed after all.

Ready for some Author Q&A?

 

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

Lately it’s been focus. I was a teacher for a number of years, so a large portion of my adult life was regulated by bell schedules and after school meetings. I have a lot more freedom now, but my brain is used to unstructured time being down time. I have to consciously remind myself that writing time is precious, and that I can scroll through Facebook
posts later 🙂

Which of your personality traits did you write into you characters? (Deliberately or accidentally)

I gave Benedict (Save’s hero) my love of books and reading, though his taste is different than mine (he tends toward academic treatises and I gravitate to good storytelling). He also has a serious aversion to cold weather, which I share. We both returned home to cold winters after living for several years in warmer climates, and neither of us is particularly fond of the change 🙂

 

 

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Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 8

368c4-spring16

 

Sparks by RS McCoy

 

 

 “Everyone in the world has a Spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive.”

 

Starting school is supposed to be a fun and exciting time for any new student. But for Lark, a skilled archer and fledgling mind-reader, it’s a creative form of torture. Locked in rooms and hallways with both friends and enemies, bombarded by the thoughts and feelings of his peers, Lark is a prisoner.

On a quest to master his Spark, Lark’s mentor–his one ally–is anything but helpful. What Lark fails to realize is the value of his rare ability, and just how far some are willing to go to have control of him.
On a quest to master his Spark, Lark’s mentor–his one ally–is anything but helpful. What Lark fails to realize is the value of his rare ability, and just how far some are willing to go to have control of him.
 

~ AMAZON ~ B&N ~ KOBO ~ GOODREADS ~
 ~ SMASHWORDS ~ iBOOKS ~ CREATESPACE ~

 

 
Rachel McCoy is a Texan living in New Jersey. Between binge watching MTV reality shows and baking gluten free treats, she writes paranormal fantasy and science fiction novels. She is the self-published author of the Sparks Saga trilogy as well as numerous short stories, some of which now reside in anthologies. Back when she lived in the real world, Rachel earned a degree in marine biology, which contributed to her die-hard love of manta rays.

 

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Snippet #1
 

“In order to complete this Round, you
must learn to fight another unarmed student without the use of your Spark. To
prove you have successfully mastered this form of combat, you must defeat each
and every Round Two student. Only then will I award your stripe. Use of combat
techniques outside of my presence, or that of the combat instructor, will mean
a free trip home.” The smile on his face made it clear as day that my trip home
was what he wanted.

Avis led me to the dining hall, which
was completely full—I guessed at least a hundred others. I had never been to
the dining room so early, and the volume was just as bad as I feared. Aside
from the audible roar of students at breakfast, their thoughts screamed into my
head until I could do nothing but follow behind Avis like a dog.

He pushed me towards a table and
brought over a plate of biscuits and bacon. “What’s this for?”

“How are you going to fight anyone if
you can’t even lift up your little twig arms? Eat.”

I couldn’t exactly argue with him; he
was right. I was at a complete disadvantage compared to the well-fed students
of Myxini. It’s going to be a massacre. Not in the mood to
deny the opportunity to eat, I shoveled it in my mouth and tried as best I
could to not wince from the ache in my brain. Before I could even finish, Avis
dropped a second plate in front of me. “Eat,” he said again, and I ate. By the
time we left, I was certain I’d never eaten as much at one time, and it didn’t
feel pleasant.

 

Facts About the Author:

I really struggle with time management. I have two little kids, a husband that works 60+ hours a week, and recently starting hitting the gym after back surgery. My schedule is full and writing often takes the hit when I need to get something done. I end up working late at night to hit my deadlines, but in the end, I always make them!

My characters often have a no-nonsense attitude and a large vocabulary of curse words. My husband is literally a sailor and we are proficient users of all the words my mother hates. I think profanity adds an authenticity to my characters and, when used appropriately, really adds to their depth. And in fantasy it’s a lot of fun to create some more interesting terms!

 

 
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Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 7

The Witch’s Reward by Liz McCraine

Fairy tales are not a thing of the past.

 

In the kingdom of Aggadorn, seventeen-year-old Larra Stoneworth of the village of Farr discovers she has a strange magical power. But the law for humans having such magic is simple: death. When word of Larra’s gift reaches the palace, the king’s son is sent to capture her and bring her to trial. During their journey from Larra’s small village to the city, Larra faces dangers unlike any she has ever imagined. Though Larra’s magic may seem a threat to some, another far more sinister threat emerges that endangers the life of everyone—even the king himself.

An innocent girl with powers she didn’t know she had. A noble prince sent to imprison her. A powerful counselor gone mad with jealousy. An evil plot. A death sentence. And above all, the strength of one young woman to do what is right, no matter the consequences.

Pick up your copy today!

 

Liz McCraine is an outdoor enthusiast, military spouse, and mother. She loves to ride horses and go hiking with her family. When she isn’t writing or corralling children, Liz enjoys relaxing with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Her motto is: If it doesn’t have a happy ending, I don’t want to read it.

Twitter | About Me | Amazon

Snippet 1:
The cage was made of wood and metal. The wood looked dark and heavy, hewn from the sturdiest of trees. The structure was equal in height as it was in length, the top and bottom separated by long, steel rods four or five feet tall. It was an inescapable prison guaranteed to contain the most dangerous beasts of the forest. Claw marks scratched the floor and impossibly marred the steel, testifying that the cage had been used before, and often. It had been built onto a wagon, and was hitched up to two large draft horses. And as Larra stared, she realized this cage for wild beasts was to be her new home. She was now the animal among the humans.
One of her guards opened the barred door, and before she realized what was happening, she was lifted by the waist and roughly shoved inside. She fell sprawled out on her stomach, the impact against hard wood stunning her before the brief onslaught of pain. Recognizing she was about to be locked in, she struggled to rise, the act difficult without the use of her hands. She quickly moved on her knees toward the door, reaching it just as it slammed shut in her face. No emotion was visible on the faces of the knights as they locked her in. The bright summer sun glinted off their helmets, casting their features in shadows. Larra leaned into the bars.
“Don’t do this,” she begged.
They ignored her.
“Cease your ranting, witch,” came a deep voice from behind them. Her guards stepped away to reveal the younger man who had read the proclamation, the one with the aloof, hazel eyes. The captain, their leader.
Beyond him the cottage door was shut, and Larra saw no sign of her grandmother through the windows.
“Please,” she shouted as he walked past. “Can you at least tell me if my grandmother is all right?”
The man altered his direction, heading to the wagon with long, direct strides.
“I told you to be silent,” he warned. Stopping just inches away, he stared at her hard. “You will do as you’re told.” He nodded at something beyond the wagon. “Do you see those wolfhounds?”
Larra hadn’t noticed the two large dogs when she was first dragged from the cottage. They lay in the shade of a wide tree, waiting the command of their master.
“They’re trained to hunt and kill. They can outrun a deer at full speed across a field. If you try to run, those hounds will track you down and tear you to pieces.” His eyes remained fixed on hers, revealing nothing but his determination to do his job. “And remember,” he continued, “any use of your power will result in your immediate death. The king values the lives of his knights far more than your own. Do you understand?”
He didn’t wait for her to respond, but turned quickly away, striding to a big black horse that was close to seventeen hands tall. He rode to the front of the party and, lifting his arm in the air, signaled the group to move forward.
Larra was thrown off balance as the wagon jolted. The drafts strained the first few steps from the weight of their load, despite their obvious strength. Without the use of her hands, Larra couldn’t steady herself and ended up sprawled on the floor again. Struggling to sit, she was eventually able to lean into a corner, peering anxiously through the lines of horses and riders to catch one last glimpse of her home. There was still no sign of her grandmother, and the ache in her heart expanded even as the cottage shrank from sight.

And let’s look at some Q&A’s with Liz!

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

Coming up with proper nouns. For me, creating names to fit the people and places in my stories takes an enormous amount of effort. I could write a dozen pages in the time it takes me to decide on a name for one of my characters.

Which of your personality traits did you write into your characters? (Deliberately or accidentally).

Queen Lissa is pretty sassy to her husband, King Steffan. It was a little too easy to write.

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Spring Countdown Blitz – Day 6

 

 The Haunting of Springett Hall by E.B. Wheeler

Eighteen-year-old Lucy doesn’t know why she’s haunting Springett Hall in Victorian England. All she remembers of her life is that she was trying to fix a terrible mistake. Now, a necromancer’s plans threaten everyone in the house–living and dead–and her only hope of stopping him is enlisting the help of a servant named Philip–the one living person who can see her. But as Lucy delves into the mystery surrounding her death, she realizes Philip may have secrets of his own.

 

 

 

E.B. Wheeler grew up in Georgia and California. She attended BYU, majoring in history with an English minor, and earned graduate degrees in history and landscape architecture from Utah State University. She’s the award-winning author of THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL and BORN TO TREASON (May 2016), as well as several short stories, magazine articles, and scripts for educational software programs. She lives in the mountains of Utah with her husband, daughters, various pets, and as many antique roses as she can cram into her yard. If she had spare time, she would spend it playing harp and hammered dulcimer, gardening, hiking, shooting archery, knitting, and reading.

 

Connect with the Author:

Snippet 1:

I stared at the room’s reflection in the glass doors of a bookcase, trying to focus on the blank space where I should have been. Why could Philip and Edmund see me when I couldn’t see myself? I passed my fingers over the glass. “What do I look like?”

Philip sighed and set aside his book. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t know what I look like. I can’t look in a mirror, and I don’t remember. Will you please tell me?”

“Why does it matter?” Philip grumbled.

“Wouldn’t it bother you not to know?”

“I suppose.” He shrugged. “You have long, dark hair.”

“I can see that part. What color are my eyes?”

“Brown.” Philip picked up another book.

“Just brown?”

“If you want a poem about them, ask Sir Edmund.”

“Perhaps I shall.”

“They’re dirt brown,” he said, still focused on his book.

I stepped back and blinked my dirt-colored eyes. “I think you’re just being horrid again. The worst part is, I can’t even cry when you hurt my feelings.”

Philip tilted his head back and exhaled. “They’re the color of fresh soil when the gardener first takes his spade to it in the spring. It’s dark, and rich, and full of potential—one of the most beautiful colors in the world.”

I gaped at him, and he met my stare. He leaned forward, deep blue eyes fixed on mine. Something in my chest trembled at the intensity of his gaze, and I fought the desire to flee. Or to rush into the harbor of his arms. I felt certain I would be safe there, but that certainty filled me with a fear I couldn’t understand, and a deep, painful longing.

I shook myself and blinked rapidly. What was I doing? What was I feeling? I hardly knew anything about Philip, and I was dead.

 

Q & A with the Author:

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

Sometimes when I’m writing, I hit the, “Why am I doing this? This is the worst drivel ever set to paper,” mindset. It usually happens when I crash into a plot hole or some difficult part of the character’s development. It’s really hard for me to slog through it. That’s what I do, though: I slog through it. I set time aside for writing every day, and I make myself write at least a little even when I don’t feel like it. I find when I keep writing, I get new ideas, I get excited about the story again, and then I’m back on my writing high.

Which of your personality traits did you write into you characters? (Deliberately or accidentally)

I think we all put more of ourselves into our writing than we realize. My characters may have picked up more of my insecurities than I would like. I did intentionally use my own experiences with a disability to influence how Lucy, the main character, reacts to being helpless in her disembodied state.

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