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  1. Felicia Rogers is visiting my blog today to talk about her new book, Diamond Mine. Diamond Mine is the first book in her Wounded Soldiers series.

     

    DiamondMine_200x300

    A beautiful country marred by violence, slavery, and illegal diamonds…

     

    A writer and an ex-soldier caught in the middle…

     

    Hannah Baker is a frustrated writer, who needs to get away. Unfortunately, with limited funds and an editor breathing down her neck, she is stuck.  Then without warning an offer comes, one she can’t refuse.

     Rory Chance is an ex-British soldier seeking absolution. In a remote area of South Africa, he hides in a monastery until the needs of a friend call him back into the real world.

      

    Excerpt:

    Hannah sat on a chair, her legs curled underneath her. The long flowing skirt, which looked like something from the seventies, was bunched in a wad. Rory sat across from her. His attire wasn’t that much different. Tan bell-bottom pants and a light blue shirt with a large, open collar graced his muscular body. Smooth, tanned, well-defined skin could be seen through the open V. They both looked like something from Saturday Night Fever.

    Munching on a carrot stick, Hannah laid down a pair of fives. They’d played every card game they could think of and some she’d sworn Rory had made up. Boredom was their biggest enemy. No TV, no phone, no Internet, no books, just each other.

    “Explain this to me again. Why are we waiting here?”

    “Because I’ve sent word to Father Thomas. He’ll be here any moment.”

    “I don’t think he’s coming.”

    Rory arched a brow. “Well, of course, you don’t.”

    “Don’t mock me.” She leaned on the table, her head rested in her hands. “Look, we’ve been here for almost a week. If he was coming, wouldn’t he have been here by now.”

    “Maybe. But they don’t have the same system here as you have in America. News travels slower.”

    “Humph.”

    “Besides, why are you rushing things? Don’t you enjoy my company?”

    Hannah squirmed. If he only knew.

      

    ****

     

    Wonder what happens next! While we ponder that question, let’s move on and see what others have said about Diamond Mine.

     

    “Felicia Rogers' Diamond Mine is an impulsive, adventurous tale of friendship, loyalty and love. This exciting and fast-paced novel will leave you mooning over the characters and yearning for more. I loved every second!” –Chamera Sampson, author and reviewer

     

    “A great read! Real, likable, and relatable characters. I loved this story it was filled with drama, suspense, and love...but there were 2 things that stood out...the 1st was the way Felicia incorporated God into real life it really is more about the way you act not just what you say the 2nd was the bringing to light the real danger of human trafficking that goes on in this world still today that as Americans we are pretty blinded to.” –Danielle Williams, reader

    It sounds an exciting story, Felicia. :) 

    Buy Diamond Mine on Amazon: 

    Buy Diamond Mine on B&N

     

    About the author:

    authors photo

     

    Felicia Rogers is an author of six novels and three novellas. When she's not writing, Felicia volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, teaches at a local homeschooling group, hikes, and spends time with her family.

    Author Links:

    Website: 

    Facebook:

    Goodreads:

    Email: feliciarogersauthor@yahoo.com

     Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Felicia. :)

  2. I'm delighted to welcome fellow Astraea author, Heather Gray, to my blog today to tell us about her latest book, Just Dessert, and how she became a writer.

    Just Desserts

    Back Cover Blurb:

    Dessert…the perfect remedy when nothing in life seems to be going right.

    What do you do when you are the sole protector of four children, your brothers and sisters?  When each day is haunted by disappointment, disillusionment and desperation?  When you believe that everyone who ever loved you, including God, has abandoned you?

    You bake a pie, of course.

    What do you do when you find a woman whose heart is consumed by fear?  Who does not know how to trust?  Who scoffs at your faith and throws your kindness back in your face?

    You eat a pie, of course.

      

    Excerpt:

    Seventeen year old Mary Fitzgerald stepped up next to the deacon, a beautiful looking strawberry pie in her hands. Today was the day she started taking lasting steps to protect her family. Pa was passed out at home, having drunk so much there was no way he would be waking up to come to the festivities at the church today.

    She had been taking care of and protecting her younger brothers and sisters, the four of them, as far back as she could remember, but her pa was getting meaner and nastier with each passing year. Her brothers were getting angrier and more volatile, too. It was important to get them all out from under Pa's thumb before her brothers were ruined for life, sentenced to turn into men like their pa.

    Hoping to find a man willing to wed her and take her brothers and sisters in, too, Mary had entered herself in the dessert auction at a picnic hosted by the church. The auction was one of many events at the picnic, but it was the only one in which Mary was interested. Only eligible men were allowed to bid, and she hoped to use the auction to find a husband. How old, ugly or poor – Mary didn't care as long as he didn't beat or terrorize them. That was her highest hope, to find a man who did not cause her to cower, who did not break her bones, who would not harm her brothers and sisters. She had poured all her hopes for escape into making this pie to help her find a husband. Harboring no illusions about love, Mary didn't even really care if the man was kind; she only needed him not to be too terrible.

    As the diminutive deacon with thinning grey hair was about to begin the bidding, Mary glanced up. Fear grabbed hold of her heart and squeezed so tight she thought she might faint right there. Neither the sea of curious faces nor the beautiful blue Idaho sky drew her attention. Pa was coming, and he looked madder'n a hot, hungry bull. Mary couldn't move. Her breath came in short, shallow gasps as she tried to stay conscious. She was terrified of this man. They had been so certain Pa would stay passed out all day, that he wouldn't be able to discover their plan until it was too late. The kids had all dressed in their finest clothes and promised to be on their best behavior – no small feat for the boys – and now here came Pa, ruining their chance for escape.

    The deacon had not seen Mr. Fitzgerald yet and was taking a big breath in preparation to start the bidding. His mouth was still open, sucking in air, when the bellow came from the back of the crowd, "That's my young'un and ain't nobody biddin' on her pie! I ain't raisin' no harlot to get paid for her favors!"

     Great excerpt, Heather. Can't wait to read the book!

    Buy Links:

    Amazon

    Barnes & Noble

    Astraea Press

    Smashwords

    Kobo

     

    Author Bio

    Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

     I asked Heather to tell us a bit about herself

    How did you get started writing?

    I've known I wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old.  How quaint, right?  Fear always stopped me from pursuing it with any seriousness, though.  Besides, my life was very full.  (Well, not at age ten…but eventually I got married, had children, and earned myself a hectic life!)  Then something happened – a series of events, really.  I suffered a personal tragedy, a friend asked what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and someone suggested I write.  So I did.

    I was blissfully unaware that writing a novel or getting it published was supposed to be nigh unto impossible and fraught with self-doubt and rejection.  When that manuscript was finished and polished as much as my inexperienced self could polish it, I submitted it to a publisher, and it was accepted.  Almost exactly a year after that personal tragedy that prompted the writing, my book Mail Order Man was born.

    Here I am approaching the one-year anniversary of my first book's publication, and I'm awaiting the cover art on book number six.  Out of tragedy comes triumph?  Sure, if you want to put it that way.  You could just as easily say I hid from the world and buried myself in work as a coping mechanism.  Both would be true.  Nonetheless, I live in the magical land called Published, and I have little book-children that usually behave but sometimes rebel.  Some of them are popular and demand attention, while others tend to hide in the corner.  This is my life now, and while I'd give it all up to undo the tragedy that precipitated it, that's not an option.  So instead, I'll embrace it and be thankful each day that I have something to celebrate.

     Good for you, Heather and congratulations on getting six books published so quickly. Wow!

     Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    I can think of all kinds of bizarre facts.  For example, I am prone to getting dog hair stuck in my toes.  Yes.  IN my toes.  Tweezers required for removal.  But that's bizarre, not fun.

    So what's fun about me?  I love to laugh, and I can laugh at almost anything – even when it's not appropriate.  I wear the brightest socks I can find and wear them proudly even though they don't match anything else on my body.  I have a fish named Spot and a pink ceramic snail named Fifi.  I crazy-love my coffee.  I even named my cat Java.  Sadly, she won't fix coffee for me in the morning…

     I remember going through a phrase of wearing brightly coloured socks. Lime green were a big favourite!

    What’s your top writing tip for new writers?

    WRITE!  I know, I know.  How obvious, right?  New writers sometimes get so distracted with what they ought to be doing, what publishers want, what readers will think, etc., that they forget the most important thing.  If you want to be a writer, you must WRITE.  Put the fears aside.  Stick the insecurities on an obscure shelf in the very back of the pantry.  Bag the self-doubt up and take it to the nearest thrift store (or garbage bin).  Then write.  Your first draft may be utter drivel, but unless you write that first draft, you'll never get a chance to edit, polish, and improve upon it.  So get to it!  (As soon as you finish reading this entire post, that is.)  Get out there and write!!

     Author links

     Website

    Blog

    Facebook

    Twitter

    Goodreads

     

    Thanks for dropping by, Heather. :)

     

     

     

  3. I'm pleased to welcome Valerie Laws to my blog today, to talk about her new release, The Operator.

     

    OperatorCOVERsmaller

    Blurb:

    Now, this WILL hurt...’ In the second Erica Bruce and Will Bennett mystery, a sadistic orthopaedic surgeon is bizarrely killed. Soon it appears someone’s giving doctors a taste of their own medicine - murdering surgeons and mutilating the bodies to mimic the operations they perform. The media dub the killer ‘The Operator’. This action-packed thriller reunites Erica Bruce, small but fierce alternative health therapist and journalist, with tall, dark, athletic Detective Inspector Will Bennett, full-on sceptic. With its medical theme it is a shade darker than THE ROTTING SPOT, but with lots of witty Tyneside banter. The setting is the North East coast of England where the mighty, hostile North Sea tests Erica to the limit.

    Extract:

    Erica Bruce rang the doorbell again. She was expected. Surely he’d not have gone out. She shifted her feet, jogging up and down on her toes as she looked at the expensively landscaped and tended front garden, the well-clipped constrained conifers and the ornamental pond. Too clean for frogs or newts to live in, she noted with disapproval, but with a few polished-looking koi sluggishly rotating in it.

    Was Kingston never going to let her in? Perhaps some kind of alpha male power-play? Keep her standing out here, so she’d know her place. Perhaps he had forgotten their appointment. Though she’d emailed him a confirmation just last night, belting and bracing as usual. He must be in there.

    A man, on an operating table. His eyes were open, looking at the ceiling with an opaque stare. The thick thatch of black hair on the back of his head was glued to the examination table by a puddle of dark thick blood. Right between his eyes on the midline between them but centred on his brow, where the third eye is said to be, a shiny metal spike protruded like a big bright new six-inch nail. It was blunt-topped with no head, strong but slender, slightly aslant from the vertical. Another such spike stuck out centrally above each strongly-marked dark eyebrow. In the shallow bowl of each temple, another nail, at about 45 degrees to the horizontal, and another just above each ear, more or less parallel to the surface of the table. Seven symmetrically placed, clean and gleaming, like a crown of spikes, though there were none at the back. Small dribbles of blood had leaked out of the wounds and dried to streaks on the pale skin, trickling obedient to gravity...’

    This sounds an intriguing story, Valerie.

    Buy links:

    Kindle UK: THE OPERATOR

    Kindle US: THE OPERATOR & all Amazon platforms

    Paperback via www.valerielaws.com or from the publisher Red Squirrel Crime

     Valerie Pic

    Valerie is an award-winning crime and comedy novelist and a prize-winning poet, playwright and sci-art installation specialist with twelve books published; four of them are also available on Kindle including her two crime novels THE ROTTING SPOT (‘a darkly intriguing debut’ Val McDermid) and new release THE OPERATOR (‘gripping from the very first scene’ Ann Cleeves). She lives on the North East Coast of England, and is world-infamous for ‘Quantum Sheep’, spray-painting poetry onto live sheep to celebrate quantum theory. Her recent work has included Writer in Residence posts with pathologists, neuroscientists, human specimens and dissections. She performs her poetry and fiction worldwide, live and in the media.

    It sounds fascinating!

     I asked Valerie to tell us a bit about herself: 

    How did you get started writing?

    I’ve always written, from childhood. I started submitting work and getting published about twenty years ago (good grief! Is it that long?) and have been a full-time professional writer for about twelve years.

     Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    I’m Writer in Residence at a Pathology Museum and a Brain Institute and have worked as a writer with dead bodies, dissections, human specimens, and deep frozen human brains!

     What’s your top writing tip for new writers?

    Write something you feel needs to be said - a story that needs telling,  a poem which makes people see something in a new way. 

     

    Author Links:

    Website: http://www.valerielaws.com

    Facebook

    Twitter @ValerieLaws

     Pinterest  (for book location photos and more)

    Goodreads

     

     Thanks for dropping by, Valerie. :)

     

     

     

     

     

     

  4. A big hello to my Guest Author today, fellow Astraea romance author, Jennifer Rae Gravely. Jennifer's novel, Set to Love, is out now.

    Jennifers Book

    About 'Set to Love':

    The championship is her dearest desire, not love. Recently appointed girls’ volleyball coach at Keowee High School, Randi Sly spends the night with rival coach Blake Steele after getting sick from drinking too much wine. Rumors swirl as the two battle for the State crown.

    Buy Links

    Amazon

    Astraea Press

     

    I asked Jennifer to tell us a bit about herself:

    How did you get started writing?

    I’ve always loved words. As a child, I earned the nicknames motor-mouth and jabber jaws for my love of talking and telling stories. Later, as an avid reader, I wrote mainly to analyze. A triple major in history, politics, and English at Converse College, I viewed life in terms of paper topics! Still, I played with writing short stories and poetry. Then life took over—I became a wife, mother, teacher, and coach—and even though I continued to read, I rarely wrote anything creatively.

    About twelve years ago, some teacher friends and I were talking about books and decided to try to write our own. One friend found her groove with the challenge, and has had numerous novels published (Woot! Woot! Elaine Cantrell, fellow AP author). I spent years on two connected novels about the fictional Southern town of Keowee but didn’t have a nibble. (I’ve recently contracted the first of the novels to Front Porch Romance and Drown is scheduled to be released in the spring. Yippee!!!)

    However in 2012, at the encouragement of my talented friend, I tried once again to write a novel. This time I submitted the book based on the Persephone myth to her publisher Astraea Press, and to my surprise AP owner Stephanie Taylor liked it and offered a contract. I hugged my daughter, did a little dance, and then set about learning how to truly put together a book through the grueling editing process. Whew! *wipes brow

    Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    You’d probably be able to tell if you met me more than once, but I love to change my hair color, and I mean drastically. From blond to a deep red mahogany, and even to an orange creamcicle color—sigh—I found myself with one summer. Thus, my heroines tend to have the flavor of the season too. For instance, Persephone, from Knight of the Dead, has long, wavy deep red mahogany hair to match my color when I was writing the romantic suspense. I had light brown hair when I started writing about my volleyball coach Randi. For years when writing about Andie Drown I was a blonde. Guess what color I have today? Black. I know. Big change. Guess it’s time to start a new book. Ha, ha!

     

    Here's pics of Jennifer with blonde hair and with her new black hair. I think you look great with both colours, Jennifer!

     

    Jennifer blonde                           Jennifer

    What’s your top writing tip for new writers?

    Just write. Write and edit. Get someone that will point out your writing flaws as well as pump you up. My cheerleader has always been Elaine and you have to have a fan that believes in you. Writing is lonely. Seek out others and make connections. (Sorry. That’s more than one!)

     

    Great tips, Jennifer. :)

     

    A brief Author bio.

    Born in Ohio but raised in Pickens, SC, I graduated from Converse College with a triple major in history, politics, and English before earning my master’s degree in education. Returning to my high school alma mater to teach English and to coach volleyball, my teams won five state championships and seven upper state titles in eleven years. I live with my husband, daughter, seven beagles, and one cat. Set to Love is the second romance published by Astraea Press featuring the fictional Southern town of Keowee.

     

    Blog: http://jenniferraegravely.blogspot.com/

    Twitter: @JenniferRaeGrav

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferRaeGravely

    Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Rae-Gravely/e/B00C5W1GNG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

  5. One of the things many of my writing students seem to struggle with is keeping to the main character's viewpoint throughout the story. "But I want to tell the reader what the other characters are thinking/feeling," they complain whenever I point out that they've changed character viewpoint. Or - even worse - "I want to show how the mum/dad feels too."  A lot of new writers struggle with this so it's a subject I talked about in my new book Get Writing: Children's Fiction.

     

    getwritingfront

    I thought I'd share some of this advice with you, and ask if you have any further advice to add to it.

     

    1. Choose who is going to be your main character and tell their story. Only tell the reader what this character sees, hears, feels, thinks, knows or does.

    2. Don't tell the reader how a minor character thinks or feels or anything that happens out of the main character's line of vision such as another character pulling faces behind their back. If your main character can't see it happening then they don't know it's happening (unless another character tells them).

    3. If you want to tell the story through two characters' point of view then start a new scene or, preferably, a new chapter when you are switching characters. And keep to that character's viewpoint for the whole scene or chapter. Don't switch viewpoints half way. Similarly if you use multiple characters' viewpoints keep to one viewpoint per scene/chapter.

    4. If you get confused whether you are keeping to the character's viewpoint you might find Pamela Cleaver's example helpful. She referred to it as like the Gorgon sisters, who only had one eye and shared it among the three of them and advised that you told the story from the viewpoint of the character holding the eye.

     

    Do you use multiple characters' viewpoint in your stories? If so, do you have any tips to share?

     

     

    (This blog first appeared on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure )