July 24, 2014

Author Interview ~ Ashley Townsend

I love a great author interview and I really enjoyed this one!
I hope you will help me welcome Ashley Townsend, to My Book Chatter today :)




Can you tell us a little bit about yourself that we won’t find in your bio?

The thing in my bio about clowns is 100% true: They’re terrifying, and I don’t understand the point of their huge feet and freakish noses. *shivers* Anyway, I’m very sarcastic, creative, and am always on the lookout for my next obsession in book form. I am also a tad OCD, so writing for me is like a sweet release; it’s an area of my life that is consistently creative chaos and pure enjoyment. If I had the chance to travel back in time, like Sarah does in “Chasing Shadows,” I would in a heartbeat! I love all things old-fashioned and have a collection of feather quill pens that I actually use to write letters—along with my wax seal—and my favorite accessory is my pocket watch. And I have every intent of moving to Ireland someday and living in a cottage set on a huge piece of land with my Bernese Mountain Dog (still deciding between Sherlock and Shadow for names), where I’ll write for the remainder of my days. Dreamy, right?

What do you do in your spare time or when you are not writing?

Music is a huge part of my life, though I wish I were far more adept at playing. My sisters and I have gone to seven concerts in the past few months, and each one is a new experience, music and otherwise (people watching is hilarious at music fests!). I also love Movie and Game Night, reading everything I can get my hands on, being creative, drinking coffee by the gallon, baking, and whatever that takes me outdoors.

When did you first start writing?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but it was when I turned eight that I decided it was the only thing I wanted to do with my life—next to being a time-traveling ninja, of course. I started sharing my stories with my family when my little sister was diagnosed with leukemia. The fantasy tales I wrote for her became my way of showing her that regular people always triumph over their circumstances, even when the odds seem stacked against them. Being a writer was always something that I wanted to do, but when I realized how it could impact others, I knew it was something I had to do. I write to entertain readers with fantasy tales about life, love, loss, and overcoming. If a story doesn’t resonate with the reader or teach them something, then it’s no good!

Where do you get your ideas?

*sighs* Such an innocent question. ;-) I really get inspired from anything! Sometimes I'll go to the beach or somewhere outdoors, and my mind will wander and started thinking up ways to describe the scenery. Other instances, I can't help but wonder how my characters might react to a situation, and then I just start mentally doodling a scene from there. I get ideas from movies and books and life and my own interests; if there's something I haven't done or an adventure I wish I could experience, then I write about it! And there are some days where the writing takes on a mind of its own, and I just sit back, sip a lemonade, and enjoy the ride.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Who, me? ~_^ I think every author suffers at one point or another when the hideous creative-impediment that is writer’s block rears its ugly head. If you check out my blog, there are more than my fair share of writer’s block rants, copious Pinterest procrastination days, and some days where I became so antsy that I had to put a little time into other stories to take a break. No matter what anyone says, it’s not easy-peezy to get over “the block.” It takes time and perseverance, and there is no foolproof plan to beating it—you have to know what works best for you! Usually my worst blocks come from either taking too much time off from writing or pushing myself too hard. When I get stuck, I can work backwards from the end to that scene to see if it actually fits, or I’ll take a break and go somewhere quiet to clear my head. Generally, the story follows me there with a new perspective in tow. It isn’t worth hating your work, which will happen if you force it. And always have snacks and coffee at the ready!

Can you tell us about your challenges (if any) in getting your first book published?

Being an unknown in a creative universe where everybody thinks they have a best seller is, in essence, rough. Publishers would rather deal with seasoned authors because they have a following and experience in promoting. I wrote "Rising Shadows" from 16-18, and being a teen seeking out a publisher was a little discouraging. Everywhere I looked, NO ONE was accepting unsolicited work, and I couldn't afford an agent. I almost gave up when I couldn't find a single one who let me get a foot in the door. But my mom, who encouraged me the whole way and was the first to read "Rising Shadows" in its infancy, got me the Literary Marketplace from the library (it is enormous, so it was slow-going) and they had a website listed where you upload a portion of your manuscript, and then agents and publishers contact YOU. Getting so many responses in the first week meant the world to me, and that was how I published my first novel in ebook format with Kirkdale Press. But I knew I had to hold my book someday, and so for "Chasing Shadows" I sought out physical publishers accepting unsolicited work, and you wouldn't believe how many are out there. I submitted to many, many publishers and got a ton of feedback, but Ink Smith was the right choice for me. I've never felt so at home!

Is anything in your book based on a real life experience or is it purely all imagination?

I WISH I could say I'm a time-traveler who has met Robin Hood in hot blacksmith form, but alas. *sighs* Sarah definitely gets her sarcasm, clumsiness, loyalty, and taste for adventure from me (and also her taste in men), but the rest of the story is mostly from my imagination. I've always been drawn to the legend of Robin Hood and was obsessed with the stories and movies as a kid, and then I got into BBC's Robin Hood series with Jonas Armstrong as I was working on my first novel, which definitely influenced it. But as far as real life experience, my stories are more what I would want my life to be, if I lived in a fantasy world—time traveling, avenging, traipsing through the forest, going to masked balls in the medieval era. It's purely magical!

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

... That's a bit like asking a parent which child is their favorite. I'll only talk about a couple, though, for your sanity. ^_~ The first time Sarah and Damien Lisandro meet was so fun to write, partly because the scene is so intriguing and intense, but also because Damien is cheeky and adorable and kind and incredibly vulnerable. I just want to love on him!
Next is any scene between Will and Sarah. . . No, really, any scene. But especially when he's pouring his heart out to her and letting his walls down. Specifically, there's this moment when they're on the run after witnessing a corpse burning in the forest, and Sarah falls through a frozen lake. When Will fishes her out, there is this perfect, unabashed moment between them where every wall that he put up comes down, and it's so beautiful. I was crying through the entire scene as I wrote it!
Lastly is one of the final scenes where the two men duke it out. I've always wanted to write a swashbuckling scene in the snow, and when I got the chance, I was literally shaking in excitement and nervousness as I penned it. Everything came together so perfectly, and this scene specifically is such a test of their character. And it doesn't hurt that there are knives and arrows flying in the heat of a chase!

What project are you working on now?


I have about 14 stories plotted out and ready to go, but there are two that I’m dying to finish. I’m really into the fairytale remakes right now, and I have a story set up that I want to do with Peter Pan in mind—think Neverland meets Pirates of the Caribbean. And the other is about a Roman centurion and a Germanic woman set in ancient times, where she gets sent off to war against the Romans and ends up being taken captive, though she’s really the one who captivates the centurion in the end.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?


Always stay true to who you are as a writer and do NOT give up! I can't stress this enough. It's been a four-year-long (and I mean long) process from getting picked up to releasing my first two books, and that's not even including the thousands of hours spent typing away and creating. I'm going to embarrass myself by admitting that I queried over a hundred agents and publishers, and only a handful were seriously interested in the end. When I got discouraged, I would just keep writing and came up with little sayings to keep myself going: "When in doubt, don't pout!" If a scene is killing you and you're wondering if you're writing anything worthwhile, take a break to relax, repair, and reassess. I had an incredibly rough week after "Rising Shadows" came out, feeling like I would never make a difference, and then I received the sweetest email from a fan. Sarah told me that reading something from an author not much older than herself encouraged her to believe in her dreams and to keep pushing on with her goals. We've been in touch ever since. Even when you feel worthless and like your writing won't mean anything to anyone else, just remember that you may never know whom you're impacting.
The other mantra for myself was: "Don't lose hope, promote!" Sounds silly, but you won't get your book out there by sitting on your rump writing. That's the first step, and then it's talking about your work, meeting people, online promotions, blog interviews (*wink wink*), and any sort of creative thing you can think of to get it out there.
If you're looking to submit, check out My Perfect Pitch. It's amazing!
http://myperfectpitch.com/book-publishers-accepting-submissions-by-category/
And also www.christianmanuscriptsubmissions.com

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I’m super spazzy and quirky, so brace yourselves! But if you’re brave enough, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest (check out my inspiration board for the series!), my website, become a fan on Goodreads, and also check out my author page on www.Ink-Smith.com And don’t be afraid to shoot me an email. I love hearing from you guys and sharing my story! Thanks so much for reading, and keep being inspired to do what you love. ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

Thanks so much for being here Ashley, it has been a blast getting to know you :)




Cover yet to be finalized

Chasing Shadows

Expected publication: September 2014 by Ink Smith Publishing


Would you choose to entwine your fate with a hero of the past, even if it meant altering the future?

The murder of an ancient king spurs Sarah Matthews to travel back in time, putting her life in jeopardy as she races against the clock to solve a thousand-year-old mystery and pick up the pieces of her star-crossed romance. Her return to Serimone reveals that the kingdom is in upheaval under the new regime, and unable to right the empire alone, Sarah seeks out the help of Will, the town’s blacksmith and secret vigilante. But her hopes of rekindling their fairytale romance are dashed when a discovery about his past severs their fragile relationship. Confused and alone, Sarah throws herself into her mission at the castle, though the fearsome solitude of the stonework prison causes her to seek out an unlikely ally.

Damien Lisandro is a dashing Spaniard who brightens her dull world with his kindness and disarming charm. But as Sarah draws closer to him and to the faceless killer in their midst, she realizes that the severed threads of time and the mystery surrounding Serimone Castle are unraveling rapidly, weaving new tapestries of devastation. When a counterfeit Shadow tragically claims the life of someone Sarah cares for, and with Damien running from a dark past and secrets of his own, she wonders whom she can trust. Knowing the murders are connected, Sarah scrambles to uncover the identity of the imposter on her own. But as more lives are lost in her personal crusade, she questions how far she is willing to go to bring the guilty party to justice. Sarah is forced into harm’s way countless times as she races to solve the puzzle before it is too late and Serimone becomes nothing more than a faded memory of the past. . . And before Sarah herself becomes a permanent fixture in history.





Ashley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She also has an unexplainable aversion to clowns and describes outlines as a “proverbial noose.” Her first book “Rising Shadows” is available on ebook formats.
Follow her quirkiness on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest and ashley-townsend.com.
Or email her at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

Spotlight On... ~ The Windy City Romance Series by Barbara Lohr


The Windy City Romance series charts the romantic adventures of young women in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. Vanessa, Amy and McKenna have been close friends since high school. Now they find love in unexpected places. Whether they're on a romantic romp through Italy or working in a mission clinic in Guatemala, the Windy City girls discover that love awaits them, although Alex, Mallory and Logan present some challenges.






Her Favorite Mistake
by Barbara Lohr
Windy City Romance #1
Publication Date: October 2, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Purchase from: AmazonNookKoboiBooks


Add to Goodreads.

Synopsis

Sometimes you make a mistake. Sometimes he’s hard to forget.

Four years ago she’d called herself Vivien Leigh. When Vanessa appears on Eye of the Tiger, a popular reality TV show, she isn’t prepared to see her Vegas Hunky Hottie again. She desperately needs the Chicago Internet mogul’s help, but he’s the last man she wants back in her life.

Oh, Alex recognizes her all right. The long-legged brunette had slipped out before dawn. More than a little ticked off, he becomes Vanessa’s mentor to help her ramp up Randall’s Whipped Cream Cakes. Revenge can be sweet.

No way in hell does he want to be her favorite mistake. But he wasn’t counting on her toddler stealing his heart. She wasn’t prepared for his skill with sand castles and cinnamon toast.

Can they create family out of past misatkes?

Subtle, sexy love scenes. “Her Favorite Mistake” is part of the Windy City Romances series.




Her Favorite Honeymoon
by Barbara Lohr
Windy City Romance #2
Publication Date: December 18, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Purchase from: AmazonNookKoboiBooks


Add to Goodreads.

SynopsisRight trip, wrong man. Hard to keep your head on straight in Italy. Even harder to keep your heart.

A romantic romp through sunny Italy. Her Favorite Honeymoon. Right trip, wrong man. The wedding might be off, but the honeymoon? No way will Amy forfeit a week in Tuscany. Travel Chums pairs her up with Mallory. But Amy expects a woman, and the man from Savannah doesn’t expect her surprise. From Rapallo to Venice, can they keep their pact for a platonic tour? So many temptations. So little time. They finds lots of excuses to break the rules because there are lots of surprises along the way.

Fresh pesto in La Cinque Terra, peach bellinis in Venice—hard to put it behind. Outrageous fun and tempting decisions for the Windy City girl taking .... her favorite honeymoon.


Her Favorite Hot Doc
by Barbara Lohr
Windy City Romance #3
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Purchase from: AmazonNookKoboiBooks


Add to Goodreads.

Synopsis

One feisty midwife. One Hot Doc with a secret. One mission trip to Guatemala where there’s no place to hide.

McKenna Kirkpatrick presents a challenge for the head of her department when she joins Montclair Specialty Hospital. Ranked a Chicago Hot Doc, Logan Castle has a reason for supporting established protocols while McKenna pushes the envelope. She also likes to push his buttons. Thrown together on a department revamp, Hot Doc soon discovers that McKenna generates her own heat.

Has he ever met a woman this outrageous? Has she ever been this drawn to a colleague’s bedside manner? They may have grown up on opposite sides of the L tracks on Chicago’s West Side, but Logan’s like the chocolates hidden in McKenna’s desk, so very hard to resist. When her Hot Doc joins Midwives in Action for a summer mission trip to Guatemala, McKenna wonders if working together in the remote highlands of Central America will resolve their differences... or end the romance for the Windy City girl. Her Favorite Hot Doc is the third book in the Windy City Romance series.
About Barbara Lohr
 
Barbara Lohr writes contemporary romance, adult as well as New Adult, often with a humorous twist. Her early career included teaching writing and lit, while writing theater and book reviews for the local newspaper. When her career broadened to advertising and marketing, her love of literature and writing remained. Eventually, national magazines published more than two hundred of her short stories. Today she concentrates on novels and novellas with feisty women who take on hunky heroes and life’s issues. Barbara lives in the Midwest with her husband and their cat, who insists he was Heathcliff in another life. In addition to travel, her interests include outwitting the deer that insist on sharing her beloved garden. Her Windy City Romances series present Vanessa, Amy and McKenna and the men who are a match for these three high school friends.

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Cover Reveal ~ Casi Indispensable by Ariel Jeanne

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Title: Casi Indispensable
Author: Ariel Jeanne
Series: CAUM #1
Release Date: August 2014.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
Synopsis
They say that everything can change in the blink of an eye. In just a second. A moment. With a “boom”. You don´t have time to react and you can´t do anything about it.
It is true.
I know that. I live with that truth since the second I took my first breath.
I accepted it. Embraced it.
Or maybe not. Maybe I´m just fooling myself and living with it every single day.
For years‚ my routine life was my sanctuary‚ until another second‚ moment happened. A moment that made my heart beat stupidly and I became a stupid girl. A moment that was becoming more and more my almost indispensable.
But in life‚ nothing is that easy. My moment was taken away from me and replaced with another one. One‚ that shattered all my life… and laid bare… everything.

Excerpt
(Unedited and subject to change or removal before publication)

His full‚ soft lips on my right cheek‚ his stubble tickling it. His hot breath so close to my ear is making my mouth involuntarily to open‚ and gasp for air.
My heart is thundering painfully inside my chest‚ threatening to burst out. My chest is heaving uncontrollably‚ my mind dazed‚ my eyes rolling in their sockets‚ and my breath catches in the back of my throat with his scent that is everywhere around me and I inhale it each time.
His hands running back and forth along my bare thighs‚ leaving scorching fire on their way. With my legs around his waist‚ he brings his lower body impossibly closer into me. I can now feel him through his pants. Hot and thick‚ throbbing. And because of that contact‚ I hear him growl and hiss throaty and I suck in a breath‚ sharply.
His touch is doing ridiculously unexplainable things to me. Things‚ I can´t fight against.
I don´t have the strength to push him away with my hands firmly on his hard pecks because I am too caught in the moment‚ and because I simply don´t want to push him away. Don´t want to…
 
About the Author
To become an author is something that never crossed my mind. It even wasn't my dream. But‚ I guess it was written somewhere. So… here I am‚ giving the life to the characters and their stories on the paper. Now‚ they can finally have their stories written and outside my head.  

Connect with Ariel Jeanne
 

July 22, 2014

Book Blitz ~ Rise Up 2



“We all know how fragile life is, especially when faced with a life threatening illness.” ~Nic, Flirty and Dirty Book Blog.

Fiction introduced us. Reality binds us together.

Stephanie Thomas—co-founder of The Indie Bookshelf—has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Stephanie isn’t only a blogger; she’s a loving wife, and mother to three young boys.

In the independent author community, we have an extraordinary network of fellow authors, and readers. A special group of people who bridge this gap—helping authors connect with readers—is book bloggers. These men and women dedicate hours upon hours to reading and reviewing our works, and spreading the word to help us reach new readers.

Now, one of these women needs our help.

100% of the proceeds of the Rise Up anthology (volumes one and two) will go directly to Stephanie and her family to help them on this unexpected leg of their journey together.

Inside the pages of this collection, you’ll find amazing works of fiction. But please remember the reality, and help support Stephanie and her family.

Included in Volume Two of this collection are the following novels:

* 1. Always There - Carol Ann Albright-Eastman
* 2. Republic - Charles Sheehan-Miles
* 3. Seeds of Hate - Melissa Perea
* 4. In The Fields - Willow Aster
* 5. Bar Crawl - Andrea Randall
* 6. Totaled - Stacey Grice
* 7. Running from Forever - Ashley Wilcox
* 8. Crossing Paths - Melanie Stinnet
* 9. Going Home - Rhonda Dennis
* 10. Never Goodbye -  Kerri Williams
* 11. Without Boundaries - CJ Azevedo
* 12. Binds - Rebecca Espinoza
* 13. The Forgotten Ones - Laura Howard

Purchase Links


Author Social Media Links














July 21, 2014

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway ~ My First, My Last by Lacey Silks

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.Fate has kept them apart for twenty years.
Their roads hadn't crossed and the stars didn't align until now...

Matured, more experienced, pierced, tattooed and hot as hell, Adrian steps back into Mia's life to reclaim his first love.

And the moment she sees him she can't even remember her own name.

Adrian Reed had always remained in Mia's heart. After all, he was her first boyfriend and the man she'd lost her virginity to, but that was twenty years ago. His sudden appearance at a bar, on a girls night out, has Mia acting like the fifteen year old girl she was when they parted.

But life now is not as simple as it was twenty years ago. With two kids, a hopeful ex-husband and new insecurities, Mia finds opening up to a new relationship more challenging.

Will she give her first love another chance, or will she push him away, this time for good?
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Sign up for Lacey’s newsletter to receive an email of when the novel is released.
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To celebrate the release of My First, My Last, join me at the Facebook party on July 21st from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (EST). We’ll have games, trivia and loads of fun – with of course awesome prizes by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Authors!
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The week that was... and a giveaway!

So its been commented on that I haven't posted anything personal in recent months. And there has been a reason for that - I've only had doom and gloomy stuff going on in my world and who really wants to read about somebody elses woes - so we'll just avoid the personal stuff for now!

I've been trying to catch up on my reading pile and like everyone, mine is overflowing and threatening to consume me. I also tend to read the newer books first and longingly and guiltily sigh over the ones I keep skipping.

This week I read Mrs D is Going Without by Lotta Dann, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A really honest and insightful look at the usually unseen alcoholic, an everyday mum - look for the upcoming review!

I read four other books this past week, and although I didn't write any reviews to post on the blog, I did leave some brief thoughts on them at Goodreads, which you can check out here if you want...
 

 I was recently approached about reviewing for Simon & Schuster and I'm over the moon to now be receiving books from them - total buzz! My first couple of books arrived this week; The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss and Being Jade by Kate Belle.


I started reading Being Jade over the weekend and so far, I'm enjoying it a whole lot :)
Sign-ups opened this week for a Review Tour I'm hosting. Simon by V.A. Dold, is a paranormal romance and if you would like to join the tour and review it, we'd love to have you on board. Sign up link here.


Alternatively, you can check out all of the tours currently available to join with Book Chatter Promotions here.

And that's about all there is to report at the moment...

except to say GIVEAWAY TIME!!!
That's right, in celebration of my long awaited return to a more personalized blog post I have a small giveaway to share with you all! I asked my amazingly talented Miss 12 to make these gorgeous metal bookmarks and two winners will win one each (the 1st winner will get the bookmark of their choice and the 2nd will get the other)
 

So to enter, just leave me a comment
- and be sure to leave your email address -
a comment about absolutely anything! Say hi, ask a question, leave a link to your own blog (I'll pop over and say hi!), anything at all!

Giveaway will end this time next week :)
(Sunday evening NZ time)

(open internationally!)




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