Welcome Teri Polen with Sarah and #WritingTechinques

I’m so happy to introduce new friend, Teri Polen, who writes YA fiction and has recently released her debut novel Sarah. Teri and I met when she hosted an October/Halloweenish promotion for multiple authors on her blog and was kind enough to include me.

Since then, I’ve come to realize we have many common friends in the blogosphere. In addition to that, she held me glued to the pages through Sarah, a spooky YA novel centered around a vengeful ghost. You can find my five star review for Sarah on Amazon, but before you go gallivanting off, check out Teri’s post on writing techniques. The character quirks section really made me stop and think!

~ooOOoo~

Epiphanies (for me) in Writing Techniques

I’ve never had any ‘formal’ training in writing – both of my degrees are in business, and learning how to interpret balance sheets was worthless when it came to crafting a story.  Over the years, I’ve taken advantage of the free writing workshops at the annual book festival where I live (and discovered how horribly wrong I’d been doing things), attended numerous webinars, and read Stephen King’s On Writing so many times I could probably recite some passages from memory.  Once my brain had been rewired with the basics, I had to sift through various techniques to discover what worked for me.

One of my online classes required me to complete an extensive questionnaire about my characters – things I’d never thought about, like boxers or briefs, nervous habits, did they like long walks on the beach, and fav flavor of pop-tarts.  Okay, maybe not exactly those questions, but they seemed just as obscure at the time.  All I saw were pages and pages of homework – but once I started interviewing my characters, everything changed.  The deeper your understanding of your characters, the easier it is to breathe life into them and make them come alive for your readers.

Outlining – your either love it or hate it, but it seemed like a waste of time when I already had the general plot direction in my head.  Then I’d wind up in places I’d never planned, wrote myself into corners, found minor characters leading the story, and had no idea how I’d gotten there – raise your hand if those surroundings look familiar.  But I wasn’t a complete pantser either, so when I came across the Basic Beat Sheet at http://jamigold.com/, I knew I’d struck gold (pun totally intended).  A beat sheet is the road map of a story broken down into three acts that include the inciting incident, pinch points, midpoint, crisis, climax and resolution.  After typing in the projected total word count for your book, it calculates the page count and word count where these plot points should occur – which also helps with pacing.  You can print it out and fill in the blanks from there.  Every writer has their own process, but this one helped me focus and stay on track.

It all comes down to personal preferences and motivations and can be trial and error, but researching, talking to other authors, and reading about the craft of writing will help you find your path – there’s no magic formula to writing a novel.  And keep in mind, the learning never stops – there’s always room for improvement.  Now head to your writing caves!

Author, Teri Polen, outdoors and smiling for cameraAuthor Bio:
Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, is her first novel.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Connect with Teri at the following haunts:
Website

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads 

~ooOOoo~

Book cover for the novel SARAH shows girl with long black hair hiding her face crawling down steps from attic doorBook Blurb for SARAH:
Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

Purchase SARAH from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 

Have You Hugged Your Mutant Today?

Mutants are fun! Mutants are romantic! Mutants make great reading, and for the month of March, they come FREE or DISCOUNTED.

Today, my dear friend Sandra Cox has brought her mutant collection back to my blog. In celebration of her upcoming release, book 3 in the series, she is currently offering books 1 and 2 at FREE or DISCOUNTED pricing through April 3rd. Don’t miss your chance to grab this breezy collection and get caught up on all the fun and romance of this charming YA series.

Book cover collection for the Mutant Series, YA novels by Sandra Cox

Mutant Series
By
Sandra Cox

Love Lattes and Mutants
FREE between March 1 and April 3.

http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/31123

Blurb:
Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…

~ooOOoo~

Love, Lattes and Danger
.99¢
between March 1 and April 3.

http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/31628

Blurb:
It’s a dirty job, but some mutant’s got to do it…

Joel Eisler is a mutant with special talents. He can detect an oil leak in the ocean simply by tasting the water. Because of this unique ability, he’s been purchased by a large oil company, along with his dolph sister, Amy. The upside of spending his days and nights in the ocean is that it gives him the opportunity to save the lives of his brother dolphins. The downsides are life as a closely monitored slave—and that he can’t be with Piper, the dolph-girl he loves…

To make matters worse, Joel discovers the lab he grew up in has extracted his sperm and Piper’s egg and created a baby, and his handler, Craven, is plotting to kidnap Amy for more experiments. Now Joel must rescue the infant, bring her to Piper, and find a way to save Amy. And if that’s not enough of a challenge, he needs to convince Piper she belongs with him instead of her all-too-human boyfriend—if Craven doesn’t get to them first…

~ooOOoo~

Cover for the book Love, Lattes and Angel, showing a pretty blond girl. YA book by author Sandra CoxLove, Lattes and Angel available for preorder

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/32232

Blurb:
Some teens go to the Caribbean on spring break. Piper goes to save the world.

Piper Dunn isn’t who you would call a normal teenager. For one thing, she doesn’t want anyone to know she was born with a blowhole. Even stranger, she has two love interests. Joel, a fellow dolphin-human hybrid, and Tyler, a human.

It’s hard to choose when a mad scientist is hot on Piper’s trail. Worse, she’s trapped in the Bermuda Triangle. And . . . wait for it . . . Angel, her test-tube daughter, is apparently a real-deal reincarnation. It all adds up to an impossible situation, with happy endings all but lost at sea. Unless, of course, a voodoo high priestess casts a spell or two . . .

~ooOOoo~

Author Sandra Cox in a candid shotBio:
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters, and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened-in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast. Readers can find Sandra at sandracox.blogspot.com, on Facebook, or at twitter.com@Sandra_Cox. 

Mae Clair Presents: Will O’ the Wisp by C. S. Boyack #YA #MagicalRealism

Have I got a treat for you today! Blogging friend, Craig Boyack, has just released a tale guaranteed to appeal to young and old alike. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this wonderful novel, which combines elements of magical realism, mystery, and fantasy, as well as a highly appealing coming of age theme. As I don’t post reviews on my blog, you’ll have to check Amazon for my five star review/rating—but I do have to point out several things that stood out for me about this novel:

Title and book cover:
I’m a Will o’ the Wisp fanatic from long ago. That bobbing, weaving sphere of light might not get as much exposure on my blog, as say my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, but I’ll readily devour any novel built around the legend of a “hinkypunk” or “spook light” — especially when the myth is so cleverly woven into the plot.

Setting:
Craig chose to set his novel in 1975, which resonated strongly with me. He fully immersed me in a time I remember well, making it easy to identify with his lead character, Patty Hall. I’m also a sucker for coming of age tales and anything that transports me back to those whimsical days of childhood. Here’s a small snippet from my Amazon review to give you an idea of what I mean:

This is an engaging YA read, but it’s also a treat for adults who will remember the era in which this is set. I loved the glimpse into a small rural town/farming community and the magic and whimsy of friendship. Remember Quisp cereal, your first teen dance, roaming through fields at night, exploring old cemeteries, sharing secrets with your friends? All of that magic and more is here. Patty is an everyday kid you can’t help but cheer for and admire. A delightful read for young and old alike.

And now, I invite you to take a closer look at WILL O’ THE WISP.

Book cover for Will O' the Wisp by C. S. Boyack depicting a ghostly floating light over a stream with trees

BLURB:
There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty is going to have to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

EXCERPT:
In this scene, Patty and her friend, Laura are watching late night horror movies. There is a killer on the loose in their small town.

We curled up together on the couch and cuddled under Mom’s afghan. Mom turned the light off and went upstairs.

When the first alien eye peeked out of the TV screen, Laura said, “Maybe that’s it. Look, it’s green and it moves around too.”

“I don’t think so. It wasn’t attached to anything.”

“You said you were a long ways off. What if it’s one of those?”

“I would have seen that. Besides, they all get sick and die at the end. That’s not the worst that could happen.”

“Okay,” Laura said, “I don’t want to watch anymore. Besides your alien, there’s still a lunatic on the loose. He could jump through the window any old time.”

“I’ll go get my flashlight. You turn off the TV and I’ll make sure you aren’t in the dark.”

“Why do I have to be the one to stay here?”

“Okay, it’s in my backpack, but make sure you keep it on.”

She went upstairs and came back to the top of the stairs. Once the light was on, I hobbled to the TV and pushed the knob in.

I made three steps toward the staircase.

The light went off.

I screamed.

Laura screamed.

Mom ran out and bumped into Laura. Mom screamed.

Mom made Rick check the whole house with his gun in hand. She chewed us both out for not being more grown up. “I swear, no more Nightmare Theater for you, ever…”

Purchase Links:
WILL O’ THE WISP has two versions. This is due to use-permission on a particular song lyric used in the novel. If you live on the Northern American Continent, purchase your Kindle copy here.

Anywhere else in the world, grab your Kindle copy here.

Author C. S. BoyackConnect with C. S. Boyack at the following haunts:
Blog 

Twitter 
Goodreads 
Find all of Craig’s novels here  

Mae Clair Presents: Love, Lattes, and Mutants by Sandra Cox #YA #newrelease

Before sharing the wonderful new release by Sandra Cox, just a quick note to say that my ECLIPSE LAKE book tour is continuing today, and you can find me at Read Your Writes Book Reviews. And now *drum roll, please*….

Are you in the mood for something fun and different? If so, I think you’re going to love this one. I’m happy to share in the cover reveal and release excitement for LOVE, LATTES, AND MUTANTS by Sandra Cox. Check out this delightful book below, and be sure to enter Sandra’s giveaway. This fun-sounding YA title is available now!

TITLE:  LOVE, LATTES, AND MUTANTS
PUBLISHER:  Kensington Publishing
RELEASE DATE:  February 17, 2015

Love, Lattes and Mutants

 

Blurb:
Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…

Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story…

Purchase from:
EKensington
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Author, Sandra CoxAuthor bio:
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Connect with Sandra at the following haunts:
Blog 

Twitter 
Facebook

 

Attractive gold seahorse necklaceGIVEAWAY ALERT:
Enter the Rafflecopter drawing here

First Prize:
A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbucks Card

Attractive rope and gold starfish bracelet

2nd Prize:
A Piper-approved bracelet

 

Enchanter by Joanne Wadsworth, YA Fantasy Romance with G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

New Zealander, Joanne Wadsworth is celebrating the release of ENCHANTER, book three in her Magio-Earth Series, a very cool YA fantasy romance series with heroes and heroines of conflicting and opposing worlds. Get swept up with Protectors, Warriors and soul-bonded mates in this fast-paced engaging novel, and be sure to check out the Giveaway Alert at the bottom for some fabulous kiwi-inspired goodies!

Enchanter Book Cover

BLURB:

To love and protect…across worlds.

On planet Magio war rages between Peacio’s protectors and Dralion’s warriors. Friendships and soul-bonds are forbidden, yet deadly secrets lurk within a high-ranking inner circle.

Eighteen-year-old Peacian Silvie Carver’s worst problem is completing finals until her best friend receives forewarning that Silvie is the key to keeping her enemy king from making a decision that will escalate the war. Silvie must save her loved ones’ soul-bonds from being torn apart, and all without revealing her emerging and rare fire skill during the mission.

Dralion warrior and enchanter, Guy Moyer, has been fighting his soul’s demand to find his mated one…who also happens to be his enemy. Except Silvie shows up on Dralion’s off-world Australian Outback station and though they renounce their bond, his soul demands he aid and protect her.

When Silvie finds herself impersonating a warrior, she’s pulled to the fiery edge of her control as she seeks to influence the king’s decision. Can the mated pair turn the tide of the war and find their place with each other?

Buy ENCHANTER at:
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook
iTunes
Kobo
Kensington Publishing

Look for JOANNE WADSWORTH at the following haunts:
AUTHOR WEBSITE & BLOG
AMAZON PAGE (For books)
BARNES & NOBLE PAGE (For books)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
TWITTER
GOODREADS

EXCERPT:

I’m so sorry about your mother, Guy.” I scraped one foot forward, touching my toe to his, needing some form of connection too.

“She had the biggest heart, the gentlest smile, and hair as black as midnight, so long it touched her waist, right about—” He smoothed down my sides and cupped my hips. “—here.”

Heat raced through my veins and I shuffled my other foot forward. Closer was better, and no doubt due to the bond at play. “You miss her?”

“Always.” He slid his thumbs into the small gap between the waistband of my cutoffs and t-shirt. “She was life itself, which is why I appreciate the here and now. You never know when someone will be gone.”

My chest tightened, his loss cutting into me far more than it should. “She sounds wonderful.”

“She was.” He pulled back a little and fingered his necklace. From the center of the thin strap of leather, a small gold ring dangled. “It’s been so long. I almost forgot. My mother bequeathed her ring to my mated one. She gave it to me to hold onto until the time we met.”

“What? No. We might be mated, but we’re not doing anything about it, right?”

“Right.” He lifted the necklace free of his head. “But I still made a promise.”

“No, really.” I shoved against his chest. “Stop. Put that back on. Promises like that can be broken.”

“Not this one. My mother wanted the woman I was mated with to know her in some way. This ring was her gift to you. I’m only the keeper, passing it along.”

I backed up until my shoulders knocked the hay bales. “I said stop.”

“Her wishes were precise.” He crowded me from the front, making it impossible to get away, and then slipped the necklace over my head. “This was what my mother wanted. It feels good to see to her last request. Don’t deny me that.”

Nothing could have shocked me more. Off balance, I rocked onto my heels, gripping the band of gold, his mother’s precious gift from the past. “This is crazy.”

“I’ll know you have it. That’s all that matters.” Guy’s brow pulled down as he clasped my hand. “We really should end things now, before our soul-bond deepens further.”

“You mean release each other?”

“Exactly. I’m the last enchanter in my line, and even though I’m only nineteen, Donaldo has already requested I find a warrior woman and continue it. I have to ensure the ability to enchant doesn’t die away with me.”

Damn, this was all happening so fast. “Shouldn’t we take some time before we decide on such a step?”

“My destiny is not with you, Silvie. It’s elsewhere.”

“For eighteen years I’ve dreamed of being mated.”

“We can’t move on until we release each other.”

The heaviness in my chest expanded. Geez, what a predicament. This was the right thing to do, even though it felt totally wrong.

“Don’t think too much about it.” He caught my face between his hands. “Just start. Speak the words I need to hear.”

“You’re this certain?”

“Yes. I’m sorry.” His voice scraped on the last word, as if he fought his emotions.

I could do this. I was strong, and surely didn’t need a warrior for a mate. I’d already seen how hard it was for Faith and Hope, and now, the future difficulties they faced. That wasn’t for me.

“Give me a second.” I wet my suddenly dry lips then forced them open.

Joanne Wadsworth (2)AUTHOR BIO: 

JOANNE WADSWORTH

Where Romance Meets Fantasy and Adventure…

Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, contemporary, and historical Highlander.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com

GIVEAWAY ALERT:

1 enchanter giveaway 2

Win a NZ Paua Shell Kiwi Pendant Earring Set (INT.) This was made by a local jeweler, so Joanne could offer a fabulous piece of Kiwiana in her giveaway. Just leave a comment to go into the draw which will run throughout the month of May.

 

Book Tour: Melissa Eskue Ousley and Sign of the Throne

Today, I’m pleased to be participating in the Buy the Book book tour for SIGN OF THE THRONE by Melissa Eskue Ousley. I was immediately attracted by the blurb and have already purchased a copy for my kindle. I invite you to learn more about this intriguing YA story and its author as I interview Melissa, then be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom!

Tour-Banner-Sign-of-the-Throne

Welcome, Melissa. I’m delight to have you here today! Let’s start with a plotter vs. panster question.  I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?

I’m more of a pantser. I start with a basic concept (often a “what if” question), and I adapt the story as I learn more about my characters. It’s much more important to me to be true to what the story wants than to adhere to a plot. If the ending is different from what I thought it would be, I’m okay with that. I rework things that start to feel contrived. I’m a suspense writer, so I’m delighted by the surprises I uncover in a story. Sometimes characters I initially thought were important get killed off, and minor characters have a greater role than I thought they would have. That’s okay as long as the story works. I can’t give you a percentage, but I can say that Sign of the Throne developed into a book that is vastly different from the initial ideas that inspired the story (and different from how the manuscript looked in the first draft).

I write much the way myself and, like you, love the surprises that often pop up during the process. What would you say attracts you the most to your genre?

I love the young adult genre because there is often heroic optimism—although the characters face perilous situations, they have a zeal for life. It’s like that line in David Bowie’s song, Heroes: “the guns shot above our heads, and we kissed as though nothing could fall.” Even faced with death, the characters press on because at least the person or cause they are fighting for will live on. I suppose some people might see this as a theme that is overused, but I don’t necessarily think a cliché is a bad thing. Look at Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. A “chosen one” faces overwhelming odds to defeat evil and injustice.  Sure we’ve seen these stories before, but brilliant writers like J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins work magic in generating something new, and I love getting lost in the worlds they’ve created. I also love fantasy because anything can happen. I read a book to escape reality. I want to be transported.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the “chosen one” trope. It started for me with Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings. That was also the same time I fell in love with the fantasy genre.

My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with character names. What is yours and how do you go about it?

This is fun for me as well. I have a baby name book with interesting and unusual names from all over the world that I use sometimes to get ideas for character names. I also use it to check the meanings of names—it’s fun to discover a name with a symbolic meaning that fits a character well. I also double check to make sure the name doesn’t have a meaning that sends a different message than I intend. This is not to say all my characters have names with a hidden meaning, but some of them definitely do. Tynan Tierney, for example, means dark lord.

Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?

Dialogue. I’ll find myself thinking about the characters, and the conversations just start to flow. I jot down the dialogue and build the story around it. Description takes more focus for me—I have to concentrate, trying to capture what the characters see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.

How did you choose your setting?

I’ve traveled to a number of places—Europe, Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States—and some of my experiences inspired places in Cai Terenmare. When I was in Puerto Rico, for example, I had the opportunity to kayak through a mangrove forest into a blue lagoon with bioluminescent algae that sparkled when the water rippled. That inspired the second portal in Caislucis. I live in Oregon and I’m surrounded by old growth forests. These were the inspiration for the forests of Cai Terenmare. I used to live near the Arizona Inn in Tucson, so the Newcastle Beach Inn and its surrounding community are partly inspired by my old neighborhood, and by the Spanish Colonial architecture of the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, California. Near my apartment in Tucson was a large house, hidden by a tall fence and lots of trees. It was very mysterious and off limits, and became the inspiration for the abandoned mansion in the book.

I love how well travelled you are, and how you’ve used those experiences for inspiration in your novel. Please share the first three sentences of your book. 

The woman in the hooded cloak fled down the cavernous passage, a small bundle clutched in her arms. The shouts and armored footsteps of the soldiers reverberated with deafening echoes off the stone walls; there was precious little time left. Looking behind her, she could see menacing shadows growing larger by the second, and then the harsh glare of torches and the glint of cold, deadly weapons.

A beginning that definitely drops your reader in the action! Now share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love.

It was going to climb the hood slowly, toying with them before crushing in the windshield and eating them all alive.

Oh, wow. I can’t wait to see what that’s about!  

Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. If you have pets, tell us about them and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space.

I do have a little writing partner. Gryphon is a two-year-old Kelpie. A kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic mythology believed to haunt the lochs and rivers of Scotland and Ireland. Kelpies are also Australian sheep dogs known for their intelligence and herding abilities. They sometimes walk on the backs of sheep. My Kelpie is very good at following commands, eating toilet paper, stealing socks, and herding my ten-year-old twin boys. She would probably walk on their backs if we’d let her. She’s a great beach and hiking dog, and she loves catching balls and Frisbees. She’s very protective of her family, unless it’s dark and it’s time to go out to do her business before bedtime. Then she refuses to go outside without me, and once we’re outside, she stares into the dark forest behind our house like there is something out there. The staring thing is rather disconcerting, because I’m fairly certain she knows something I don’t. I keep waiting for the night I see Sasquatch step out of the shadows.

The staring would rattle me too. Although it sounds like Gryphon, as protective as she is, would take on Sasquatch without any qualms. 🙂 Now for a short lightning round:

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother:
Cage diving with Great White sharks.

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite musical group or singer: The Wallflowers. Always.

Casual or dressy: Both—I love pairing a dress with something edgy like a moto jacket or boots.

Mountains or beach: Beach

Um…I like all of your answers except for the first, LOL. You can most definitely keep the cage diving *shudder*

It was great to have you here today, Melissa, and I wish you much success with SIGN OF THE THRONE. I’m looking forward to reading it!

You can find Melissa at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook 
Goodreads

Author-Picture-Melissa-Eskue-OusleyAuthor Bio
Melissa Eskue Ousley lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found hiking, swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.

Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping road kill off a molten desert highway, to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona. Her interests in psychology, culture, and mythology have influenced her writing of The Solas Beir Trilogy.

????????????????????Book Blurb

Dreams do come true…and so do nightmares.

Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.

Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.

As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.

View the Book Trailer

Purchase SIGN OF THE THRONE from Amazon

GIVEAWAY ALERT!
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Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Joanne Wadsworth

A beam of light shines out from an open bookHello and welcome to another Wizard with Words.  Today, I’m welcoming Joanne Wadsworth to my blog. Joanne is a sister author at Lyrical Press and, has just released her debut novel, PROTECTOR, a young adult, fantasy romance. Joanne and I became new authors with Lyrical about the same time, and it’s been a delight to get to know her. Her book promises to be an engaging read, the beginning of her MAGIO-EARTH SERIES. I hope you’ll welcome Joanne as she tells us a bit about herself and her particular style of writing.

I’m so happy to have you here, Joanne. To start, how about sharing what first prompted you to begin writing?

Joanne: Thanks for the lovely intro, Mae. I’ve been so excited about dropping by your blog to visit. Mine’s an unusual story. In 2009 I was waiting in the car for my son to finish preschool. I’d turned up way too early, and with time on my hands, I picked up a pad and pen and began writing. I couldn’t stop. In fact, I’d say I was addicted right from that first moment. After I got home, I swapped the pad and pen for my laptop, and away I went. I studied the craft of writing in every way I could. I wrote eight hours a day, seven days a week. I was completely hooked.

Wow, what an amazing way to discover writing! And your dedication to embracing the craft was remarkable. I’ll say you’re hooked, LOL. I’d love to hear more about PROTECTOR. Can you tell us about the plot and your characters?

Joanne: Absolutely. Protector is in fact that first book I constructed the storyline for outside my son’s preschool. It holds a very special place in my heart, and now being my debut, I’m sure it always will. Now for the plot–

ProtectorMy heroine, Faith, is a young eighteen-year-old woman completing High School in New Zealand. She’s a regular girl and ready to experience life, only the last thing she expects is to meet a man from another world, a prince who finds her on Earth through their soul-bound bond. Davio comes from Magio, a planet where the people have strength skills, and Faith soon becomes caught between two worlds. To further complicate issues, she comes into the skill of forethought and soon discovers her unknown father is from this other world.

Lovely! I like that you’re blending elements of YA with fantasy and romance. How long did it take to finish your manuscript from initial draft to submission-ready?

Joanne: I rewrote Protector in 2011, and it took five months to complete. At the end, I was so excited–I was completely ready to head out there and submit.

I’m always curious how authors who have a planned series develop their novels. When you wrote PROTECTOR did you know it was going to be the first book of several, or did the series develop as you wrote? And, tagging onto that question, do you find it difficult maintaining plot threads and characters over multiple books?

Joanne: I definitely plotted. With this series I sat for days in the beginning constructing it, building a large cast of heroes and heroines, and a scourge of villains. I plotted several books and laid out what went where. Book two in the series has just been contracted with a release date of 4th November 2013, and this month I’ve begun writing book three of which my editor already has the synopsis outline. There’ll be several books in the series, and each one is already half written in my head, but the other half comes as I write. In many ways my characters drive their story, and at times I have no control over where they lead me. They’re young, and they have a mind of their own. I just go with it. 🙂

I can definitely relate to that! In your novel, you introduce readers to the planet Magio. I love the idea of world-building a completely different reality. Is there any element of Magio that you wished existed on Earth?

Joanne: I love that once Magiolings reach eighteen, they no longer physically age, and they live easily to around one-hundred and twenty. I’m grinning right now at the thought of never getting wrinkles or gray hair, of always having the boundless energy of youth.

I’d love to bottle that, LOL! I’m curious how you chose the names for your characters, especially those who live on Magio.

Joanne: I’ve never been asked this question before–how cool. To give the characters from Magio an other-worldly name, I found the best way, was to take an Earth name and swap or remove letters. I played around with them until I had something that was unusual, yet still pronounceable. For example in the second book, I took the name Elizabeth, and made it into Elizara.

How clever!  I love when creativity strikes with unique ideas like that. Do you have a favorite time of day to write, when you’re more productive or more creative than others?

Joanne: I start first thing in the morning at 8.30 once the kids have gone to school. I have four kiddies, and they’re aged 14, 12, 10 and 8, so once there’s no noise, oh boy, I’m like a bullet heading to my office.

I bet! 🙂 What is the current title you’re reading on your Kindle/Nook or in print?

Joanne: I love my Kindle and now only buy ebooks for the ease of carrying so many around in one easy to store place. Would you believe I’m currently reading six books? Usually it’s about four, and I’m not sure if this is normal, but since I can read two to three books in a week, I usually have a number on the go at any one time. Does anyone else do this? Please, tell me I’m not alone. 🙂 Anyway, I’m currently reading Fantasy Mountain by Piper Denna, Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon, By the Sword written by Alison Stuart, Hard Core by Jennifer Lowery, The Devil of Kilmartin by Laurin Wittig, and Trouble Won’t Wait by Autumn Piper. It’s a wide spectrum of stories, from contemporary to paranormal to historical.

That’s amazing! I’m an avid reader but I’ve never been able to read more than one book at a time — unless I’m balancing a novel with a book on writing craft. Then I might have two going at once. It sounds like you’ve got some wonderful selections. I’m a Kindle addict too 🙂 Speaking of books, I know you already have another contracted with Lyrical Press. Can you share some details about that?

Joanne: I’d love to. Warrior is book two in the Magio-Earth series. It’s the story of Hope and Silas, and is set both within the Outback of Australia, and Magio. I love combining both worlds.  They come from opposing nations, but are mated, their soul-bound bond causing havoc as Silas is drawn to aid Hope in her endeavor to discover her unknown mother’s lost heritage. Theirs is a journal which takes them deep into foreign lands. It’s fast-paced and exciting for the Young Adult.

Awesome! Okay, now some quick stuff for the fun of it!

Favorite number: 7
Favorite color: Now, don’t laugh, but it’s seriously the color of diamonds. Those sparkly little gems can’t be outdone by anything else.
Favorite food: Watermelon, but soft-serve ice-cream is a close second.
Dressy or casual: Casual.
Dawn or dusk: Dawn.
Cake or pie: Cake.
Book you would like to see made into a movie: Nalini Singh’s, Angels’ Blood.
Five books you enjoying reading over and over again: You know, I only ever read a book once, unless I count the kids bedtime stories, of which they are all the classics, like Peter Pan. I love Peter Pan. Okay, now I wonder if this is why I love the fantasy genre?

That was fun! I especially liked your answer about the color of diamonds 🙂 Joanne, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with PROTECTOR. I’ve already snatched it up from Amazon, and I’m sure many others will too!

Joanne: Thanks, Mae. You are a fabulous host. 🙂

Joanne Wadsworth (2)Author Bio:
Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, and thrilling romantic suspense.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com

Look for Joanne at the following haunts:
Website and Blog / Twitter / Facebook Fan Page / Goodreads.

PROTECTOR Blurb:

To love and protect…across worlds.

Eighteen-year-old Faith Stryker is prepared to leap out into the unknown world beyond her home shores of New Zealand to experience life. Only she never expected to encounter Magio, a planet with two warring countries, where its people reach adulthood at eighteen by coming into their strength and prophetic abilities. Only after Faith discovers she’s a Halfling–thanks to her warrior father she’s never met–does her own skill of forethought develop.

Peacio’s Prince Davio Loveria is sent to the young Faith Stryker by his grandfather, but not all goes as planned. Davio discovers Faith isn’t just a Halfling, she’s also his soul-bound mate–an intense relationship he cannot, nor will not, give up.

With two wars now waging…one of land and the other of the heart…can the young lovers find their place in the world?

PROTECTOR Excerpt:

Davio leaned over me, all six foot four of him, his warm honey-brown hair falling forward to curl snugly around his neck, and I longed for him, just as I had during my first sighting of him in the classroom.

“What’s happening is the bond, my mate. It will become difficult for me to keep my distance both physically and emotionally unless I leave and end this now.”

My heart hitched. “You want to leave?” I swayed closer on impulse. “Is that how this bond works? We find each other and then you leave?” God preserve his people if it did.

“No, it is not. Those mated are bonded for life if we allow the link to grow. Except that would be the most unwise choice for us to take. You are, quite clearly, neither from my country nor from my world, and as such will have no allegiance to me or my people. I have no wish to join with one who does not wish to join with me in all ways. With that being the case, I will find another when the time is right. As should you,” he added solemnly.

I frowned. Hold on–did he just say he would be joining with another woman?

I bit my tongue. That was good? I should leave it at that, right?

Jeez, what was wrong with me for questioning that choice?

“I’m sorry. We just met, and you’re right. Go find your, your–” Strangely, I struggled to get the words out and finally gave up. “Well, have yourself a nice long life, and all that.” I patted his chest roughly.

That was more like me.

The clock ticked and time slowed.

He didn’t move.

“Look at me.” He tipped up my chin, directly staring at me. “This would never work.”

“I understand. It’s been pretty awful meeting you too.” I leaned back, only to feel the pressure of his hand move around my waist to the small of my back, preventing me.

I moved to grip his arm. “Okay, you were going.”

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