I Got My T-Shirt!!!!!

Remember my post last week about receiving the book review of A Heart Not Easily Broken by The Masquerade Crew? If not, read the post: I Got Reviewed by the Masquerade Crew and Survived!!! So imagine my surprise when I logged on to Twitter this morning and found this tweet:  

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And if that wasn’t enough to make me smile through sleepy eyes, this tweet followed:

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And what a great post it is! Check it out!

The Leap of Faith of Book Reviews

So, if your looking for a honest review (and I’m not saying that we never receive any from readers because believe me, I have, both good and bad!), be sure to check them out! Their review policy is listed on their site so read it carefully and know what your signing up for! Like I said in my previous blog, I’m glad I did and will happily do it again! 

Happy Reading! 

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog! 

MJ

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#8Sunday- Jaded- Yasmine’s Philosophy on Love, Sex,and Relationships

A woman’s outlook on love and relationships is often influenced by what she sees around her, be it  from parents, family, or outside influences. Most importantly, the decisions a woman makes  comes from their own dating experiences.  Yasmine’s past has been tainted by a wide variety of factors. So much so, she has a philosophy she chooses to live by:

Excerpt:

My philosophy on love and relationships is simple: sex isn’t love, but it’s nice while you’re waiting.

Well, that’s what I used to think before the man that I fell in love with trampled all over my heart.

And raped my best friend.

Love will never happen for me. No man will ever understand me. The real me.

Not my parents, not my brother, not even my best friends.

My life, my experiences – both good and bad – are what define the real me.

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Get to know Yasmine Phillips in A Heart Not Easily Broken! BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

For more #8Sunday Samples, check out these other authors! Weekend Writing Warriors

#WritingTips- Use Your Microsoft Word Doc Tools to Make Writing Easier!

When my Muse wakes me up in the middle of the night, or I have an epiphany of a new scene to add more life to my manuscript, the first thing I do is search for any means of recording my thoughts. Paper and pen, notes on my iPhone, voice recordings if I’m driving, or sometimes I just grab my laptop, open up a blank word doc, and let my fingers fly over the keys. Then I file it away until I’m ready to work on it again.

I am a plotter with a hint of panster. I take my time when I write, letting my stories marinate as I decide what trials to put my characters through. I spend even more time discovering who they are. When my research is complete, my outlines written, and I’m ready to add dialogue, the last thing I want to do after spending hours bringing my story to life, is have to go back and reformat the entire manuscript before editing it.

Let’s face it, authors, the mere thought of the words edits, editing, or editor are daunting, especially if you are new to writing!

I remember those days! But, have no fear! Since then, I have learned when you put in the work, the editing process can run so smooth, it’s nearly as fun as watching your story come to life from the blank page!

Okay, okay, stop laughing!  Let’s keep it positive people! 🙂 I’m about to share a tip that will have you grinning from ear to ear! (If you had no idea about it, that is!)

Did you know there are tools built into Microsoft Word that can cut down the amount of editing you or your editor need to do if used while you write?

I learned this while working on my first manuscript, (A Heart Not Easily Broken), and my dear friend and fellow author enlightened me to these amazing settings. I can’t lie; I am NOT a tech savvy person. What I’ve learned to do with my laptop, be it building my webpage, (the one you’re visiting now), or surfing the web, all of this has been because of being pointed in the right direction by people who discovered these shortcuts and shared them with me, or by taking the time to keep hitting buttons and trying over and over again until I figured it out. In other words, HOURS of frustration mixed with patience, coffee, and chocolate!

Now it’s my turn to reciprocate!  If any of this is new to you, I hope you find this information useful, and that it makes writing easier!

***NOTE: The following directions and screen shots are based on Microsoft Word 2010. Similar functions can be found for 2007, though they will not be as detailed. For more advice, I suggest searching Google or YouTube for instructional videos on how to use your editing/proofing features.***

Unknown tricks to Word 2007 and 2010 to avoid unnecessary editing issues (AKA – Quick Access Tool Bar). Let’s face it, we all didn’t sit down to read the manual…

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Screen shot of the steps below. Daunting, but well worth the work!

Use of this function will allow you to set up Word to point out common editing issues as you type, allowing you to rethink your sentence before you continue, or make it easier to find some of the editing issues that make your writing passive. To customize this feature, follow these steps:

  • Open up a blank Word Document
  • Select the REVIEW tab at the top of your screen; Right Click and select CUSTOMIZE
  • Select PROOFING. (Here you can choose what kind of typing issues you want Word to ignore or point out to you).
  • Look lower in the box marked: WHEN CORRECTING SPELLING AND GRAMMAR IN WORD
  • Select WRITING STYLE, then click on the drop box, choose GRAMMAR & STYLE, then click SETTINGS. (From here you can have Word point out EVERYTHING!!! From punctuation issues, misused words, fragment and run-on sentences, to the use of cliches phrases, and so much more. Using this feature to help point out issues you need to correct before submitting your manuscript to an editor will make the editor quickly fall in love with you!)
  • Be sure to select OK before exiting to save your settings.

***By the way, once these settings are saved, they stay that way  for every document you create, until you go in and reset them.***

I touched on this a few posts ago when sharing tips for writing query letters, but again, putting this simple step into practice BEFORE you write one word will make the rest of  your writing experience pleasant.

The Universal Settings for your Manuscript (or Prepping you MS for Query Letters and you Editor)

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Your screen should look like this when selecting your font type and size.

Set your Font:

  • Open a blank document.
  • Select the HOME tab.
  • Choose TIMES NEW ROMAN Font with a 12 Point  size.
  • Save and exit

***Check these settings for each new document created! They do not always stay the same!***

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This is the easiest fix!

To Set Page Borders/Margins:

  • Select the PAGE LAYOUT tab.
  • Choose MARGINS.
  • Set to NORMAL. (1 inch border on both sides and top and bottom)

***This usually the normal setting, but it never hurts to make sure it’s set correctly. Technology is funny, and can revert back to the original settings  without warning!***

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Set your page to automatic indent and line and paragraph spacing.

  • From the HOME tab, select PARAGRAPH.
  • In the INDENTION box, choose HANGING.
  • In the SPACING box, choose DOUBLE, and change the  AFTER PT to ZERO (O)
  • Check the box below to avoid  spaces between paragraphs
  • Select OK to save changes.

***Again, check this feature with the start of any new document. The default settings are not the same as what you need when writing. Any new document created will not have your new settings.***

 Other Advice:

Here are a few more things you can do to make your writing cleaner:

  • Make sure you have clean chapter breaks. In other words, when Chapter 1 ends halfway down the page, Chapter 2 should start on a fresh page. The final page of Chapter 1 should not have the first part of Chapter 2 .
  • Italicize words meant to stand out for emphasis, do not highlight or underline.
  •  When inserting a scene break in a chapter, use ### or *** to show the break in time, or the start of a new scene and/or location. Which ever one you use, stay consistent throughout the MS, do not flip-flop.
  • If you have already written you MS and have not used these settings, there’s no need to type it over again! Simply go to page one, hold down the CTRL + A buttons; it will highlight the entire manuscript, from page 1 to 1000+. Follow the steps to set PAGE MARGINS and FONT while highlighted, and it will fix all of your work. Be sure to scroll through in order to separate your chapter headings on fresh pages, or else, some of them may find their way into the previous chapter. Don’t forget to save and back it all up when you’re done!

I know, I know, if you are technically challenged, the whole idea of learning how to properly format your work is daunting. But believe me; editors appreciate working with authors who take the time to learn how to use their writing programs. It cuts down on the amount of tedious stuff they need to do to get your work up to par, and allows them more time to focus on the real work, the mind-numbing technical side. And who knows, less work may end up saving you money!

Happy Writing!

MJ

 

#8Sunday- A Heart Not Easily Broken- Changes

Events in Ebony Campbell’s life have lead to drastic changes in her daily activities. No matter how much she tries to hide it, those close to her know something is up. Sometimes a  secret isn’t as hidden as you think…

Excerpt: 

Brian was right, Ebony had changed. Her hard work and dedication to her job were nothing new. But once he left, she started working harder than usual.

She ate, slept, worked, and talked to him when she could. But when it came to Kaitlin and me…

I could understand why she avoided us. After all, we were spending time with our boyfriends while she waited by the phone. And the three months without sex thing…damn.

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BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

For more Sunday Samples, check out these other authors! Weekend Writing Warriors

Guest Post: J.E.Thomas – Reasons for Hatred

When life gives you every reason to hate, can you still love in spite of? This is a story based on true events. It captures the honest, gripping tale of the life of a young girl who overcame insurmountable hardships, which would have driven most into a mental institution. Everything she considered valuable was stolen from her.

Her adult reunion with her best childhood friend reopens the tragedies as she divulges every painful moment as if it were yesterday. The spotlight then zooms in on Hadassah as she authentically and passionately shares her story about the sexual abuse, murder and death that occurred in her life during her adolescence.

Readers will identify with the feelings of revenge and the strong wish for the death of her perpetrator as the details pull you in. Plagued with the ravages of victimization and threats to her life, she stumbles through a myriad of emotions accompanied by the hatred she harbors in her heart for many years. As if physical and sexual abuse is not enough, she suffers from the death of a special loved one at the hands of her perpetrator.

Hadassah, the main character in the story, now believes she has reasons for hatred and her one desire is to see her perpetrator dead. Many cannot find the courage to give voice to their true thoughts of hate; but she does. This story provides an intriguing character study that shares on so many levels what many girls, and women in general, have faced but are unwilling to admit. That is the “hushed” abuse they’ve encountered, yet are still afraid to talk about. Hadassah graphically describes the egregious acts that devastated her life.

Her intentions to murder were changed through an epiphany, which led to an unexpected, unplanned encounter with the miracle of forgiveness. The hunger for revenge and the pain of her past were eventually let go. Through love she discovers her true self and that love comes from her journey with forgiveness. The strength of this story is in its details. It will make you smile, make you cry and may even make you angry. This story of triumph against the odds will definitely capture you.

“Reasons For Hatred” is a story about an ordinary person faced with extraordinary trauma and how she came to forgive and learned to embrace wholeness.

The reason this book was written is because many have been trampled on; they still live with un-forgiveness in their hearts because they have valid reasons for holding a grudge.
I believe my book will be a source of hope and inspiration to those who have suffered pain due to the conduct of others.
It is my prayer and desire that the reader who may be hurting and stuck in un-forgiveness will be able to begin to take steps toward their internal freedom; realizing their is a greater purpose in their pain.

     www.hadassahinspires.com     www.outskirtspress.com/reasons      hadassah@hadassahinspires.com

ReasonsBookCover

About The Book

This a story based on true events. It’s about two best friends who were separated during their childhood. The spotlight then zooms in on Hadassah; during their adult reunion, she divulges the painful moments of the sexual abuse, murder and death that occurred in her life during her adolescence. It is a story about an ordinary person faced with extraordinary trauma and how she came to forgive and learned to embrace wholeness.

 

 

 

Paperback     E-Book       Barnes&Noble

Link  to purchase book on my website:

http://www.hadassahinspires.com/Reasons-For-Hatred.html

  Email       Author Website 

 

 

J.E. Thomas Head shot

About The Author

Bio Hadassah Thomas Martin is a high-spirited woman of faith who was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She trained with Precept Ministries and became a certified trainer in “How to study the Bible”. She is also an active member of the Fellowship of International Christian Word Of Faith Ministries (FICWFM).  She is the founder of “Keep It Real Ministries” which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to conduct local bible studies which teach people how to continuously live in the reality of God’s Word; regardless of their experience.

Being an “at risk youth” herself, Hadassah has overcome insurmountable obstacles. She is a bright light to women who have suffered abuse and a vital assistant in producing overcomers.
She has a passion for people and teaches youth, men and woman how to fight to win!
As a true worshipper and Intercessor, she boldly believes that NOTHING is too hard for God!
In spite of the multiple challenges we face, she believes the greatness which is inside us all, can be extracted, developed and targeted to reach its designed purpose.
Her Focus: to express qualities that bring inspiration to others. Her motto is “We Always Triumph!”
Her inspiring influence, and her down to earth, “Keep It Real” style are certain to leave an indelible impression.

Interview with Raine Delight!

Today I welcome  author Raine Delight. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to her via Facebook and the fact that she writes for two different types of Romance  is very interesting!  Grab that cup of coffee and take a moment to meet her!

Red Hot Magic Cover

Welcome, Raine!


What inspired you to write?

Actually it was reading one too many books that had too stupid to live heroines and heroes who made me want to scream. An author friend dared me to write something better and after a few tries I got my first book, Sticky Magic, as well as my first series set up.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write Paranormal Contemporary, either M/F or M/M, depending on the how my characters want to go. I love paranormal, contemporary stories and felt right at home with them.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I work from home so I have a bit of a flexible schedule. I normally write during the day when kids are at school and sometimes after they are in bed depending on if the story really gets its grip in me.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I like having green tea and skittles nearby if I need a break and I need music for background noise. Sometimes the music even makes it into the story. J

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I am a pantser all the way. I tried an outline once…my muse laughed his fool head off and proceeded to take the story in a completely other direction. Let’s just say outlines and myself are not good bedfellows. J

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

It all depends…sometimes I draw from experiences in a bakery I used to work at like I did in my latest story, Moonlight Masquerade found in the On Valentine’s Day Anthology or other jobs but otherwise it is all make believe.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Write every day or whenever you can. Read whatever genre you want to read. Talk to other authors, let yourself learn as you write your books and eventually things do stick in your head when you write. J

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

RD: I am published through Secret Cravings. I have six books there right now and plan to send in three more to them this year and I also am involved in two anthologies a bunch of us got together and self-published. Both anthologies I am in, Hot Summer Fun & On Valentine’s Day were both best sellers at All Romance Ebookstore and on Amazon Kindle. I also have another story I am getting ready to self-publish called Second Chance at Love on my own.

What are your current projects?

I am promoting my story Moonlight Masquerade, now out in the On Valentine’s Day Anthology then I am getting into my next Devon Falls story, Mistletoe & Magic (Paranormal M/M) and I am eager to get to my space pirates finished and sent out for submission.

Author/Reader Loop    Email     Secret Cravings Publishing    Haunting Magic book Trailer

Red Hot Magic Book Trailer    A Summer Night Fling Book Trailer    Sticky Magic book trailer

Facebook      Website     Raine’s Blog

Valentine Anthology Cover

Mysterious roses keep popping up on Skylar Everclear’s doorstep. No idea what is going, a little disturbed by this secret admirer, he tries to forget it all since he just got rid of the latest line of loser boyfriends and just wants to do his job at the local bakery. But when he meets his new neighbor, Marc Douglas, he finds himself drawn to the quiet young man even as he tries to not let his libido take over. But on Valentine’s Day, a mysterious rose again pops up with a note to meet his admirer that night. Will Skylar take a chance that this time, love is right there waiting for him?

Excerpt:

Skylar opened his door and groaned. Another damn rose was lying on his doormat. It ticked him off that he had no idea who was doing this but every freaking night this week he either came home to a rose on his porch or opened the door to it. It was enough to feel creeped out now. He looked around, seeing no one, shut the door with a soft click and leaned against the door in despair. It has been three months since he threw out his lover, Saul, after catching him fucking some other guy after one of the numerous block parties the neighborhood held in the summer and autumn months and frankly he didn’t know what to do anymore. All he did was work, sleep and work some more. He always seemed to pick those guys who are bound to break his heart.

“I must have ‘Loser’ tattooed on my forehead the last few years.” Skylar muttered to himself.  “Why can’t I find a nice guy for once? One who won’t lie, cheat or steal and break my heart by telling me I wasn’t good enough for them.” Sighing, Skylar grabbed his backpack, keys and cell phone as he hurried to get ready for work. As a baker in the local bakery, his day started earlier than many others. With Valentine’s around the corner, he was working longer than normal hours. He was in the bakery at 4 am and not coming home till almost five at night. It made for long hellish days but he enjoyed what he did. Plus he enjoyed seeing the people enjoy his desserts and hey, the paycheck after days like this made a nice chunk of change in his bank account. His mind on what items he needed to get done for the next few days, he opened then shut his door, locked it and made sure to pick up the rose before he stepped all over it, crushing the fragile blooms. As he turned and walked to his car, he wondered who his mysterious admirer was.

Skylar’s day got off to a good start at work as he hummed a long with a local radio station playing 80’s rock bands while he rolled out dough for cookies, breads and made delicate fruit pastries. He was finally able to take a quick break around noon when the front sales person, Marlene, poked her head in the doorway saying they needed more pastry hearts. Seemed everyone was buying those desserts for their significant other, or ordering the smaller ones for class or office parties. He sighed as the fleeting dream of getting off his feet for ten minutes went on by as he got to work making more goodies. By the time five o’clock hit, Skylar was exhausted but pleased. They sold out of many of the Valentine themed items and the specialty breads were also almost gone. He made a note on the dry-erase board what needed to be replaced tomorrow and clocked out, waving to the front sales people as he went through the door to the parking lot.

Shivering as he hurried to his car, Skylar fumbled with his keys before unlocking the door and sliding into the seat. Turning the heat up on high, he waited a bit before putting his car in drive to go home. All he wanted to do was grab a shower, order a pizza and veg in front of the television. He was so exhausted it wasn’t funny. Watching couples come into the bakery or men buying items for their partners/girlfriends was a downer to be sure. He never liked Valentine’s Day to begin with. He felt it was a holiday that Hallmark cards liked so they could guilt people into buying cheesy cards and florist could raise the prices of roses so high it was mind boggling. He never had a nice Valentine’s Day where a lover surprised him with dinner or gave him something romantic or funny or sweet. He was always alone on Valentine’s day and he tried to make sure he didn’t have to deal with people who were so sugary sweet they made his teeth ache. Finally feeling the car heat up, he drove off determined to not think of hearts, flowers and all the things associated to Valentine’s Day. It was for couples, people in love and not for him.

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Let’s Talk About It!: Women as Entrepreneurs

With today’s economy, jobs are scarce. No matter what the news reports as the number jobs available, you and I know it’s different when you walk outside your door. You can’t help but think, ‘Really? Where’s that at?’ Over the past few years, I have heard and seen countless numbers of friends who have lost their jobs due to company downsizing, budget cuts, and various other reasons. They have had to fight for unemployment and take jobs with major pay cuts in order to make ends meet. Or worse, if they still have a job, the amount of hours worked is cut drastically, reducing the amount of their take-home pay.

Let’s be real: having skills outside of just having a degree is what it takes to make it today.

Being able to make a living performing services no one thinks about and owning your own business while doing so is how many people are finding a way to pay their bills. Skills such as auto mechanics, auto glass technicians, artists, musicians, landscapers, maintenance, you name it, there’s probably a very talented and traditionally unemployed person who has the skill, could not find work with a big company anymore, and decided to open their own business.

Entrepreneurship is nothing new. Women have been entrepreneurs in jobs you may not have thought of: beauticians, cosmetologist, seamstresses, daycare providers, caterers, party planners, beauty consultants (Mary Kay, Avon), the list goes one.

And, in the case of Yasmine Phillips, Fashion Consultant.

Yasmine comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her parents have owned a Bed and Breakfast Hotel for several years. They put her through college to get her Business Degree in the hope of having her take over the business when they retire. For the past three years, she’s been in charge of the second Phillips’ Family Inn, and has been responsible for training her brother, Brandon, to manage the third location that will be opening soon. She’s good at her job and loves working for her family.

But, hotel management is not what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Like most of use, she aspires to do more than follow in her families footsteps. She has goals of owning her own business and helping women dress to look their best, no matter what the occasion. She gives back to her community by participating in the Dress for Success program for underprivileged woman looking to enter the job market, as well as private consultations for clients of the hotel where she works.

When Yasmine approaches her family with the idea of starting her own business, the results are not what she expects. Their lack of support leads her to having to rely on herself to see her dream to fruition. The choices she makes introduce the possibility of a future she’d given up on.

Jaded, Book Two of the Butterfly Memoirs, Available March 2013 from 5 Prince Publishing

 Autumn landscape

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

 When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

Get caught up before the next book comes!

Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs, A Heart Not Easily Broken! 

BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

Book Review: When Noonday Ends by Carmen DeSousa

When Noonday Ends coverFor all of you Carmen DeSousa fans who have read Land of the Noonday Sun, you’ve already meet and fallen in love with one of the supporting characters, Tom Turner, the best friend of Chad Wilkinson. As you know, Tom was not left in a happy place.  Per fan request , Carmen wrote another novel, just for him, and the fans!

In Land of the Noonday Sun, readers we meet several secondary characters that leave you guessing as to ‘whodunit’.  The writing is so masterful that it’s hard to decide who’s the real bad guy. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, some plot twist pops up sending you in another direction, or the character you thought was the bad guy ends up being saving the day. In this case, that was Tom (okay, that was a mini spoiler, but believe me, there’s enough unmentioned characters to keep you guessing!). Saving the day left him with a broken heart and alone. Not to mention a memory that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Which brings us to When Noonday Ends, the second book in the Nantahala Series.

Tom Turner is an attorney just out of law school and in the process of getting his feet wet. He doesn’t have a long list of winning major cases under his belt, and quite frankly, would rather be doing something else than be an attorney. But as most of us have done in our lives, we follow the dreams our parents set before us and  look longingly at the job or dream that would make us happy. For Tom, it’s getting back to nature and doing the one thing he did as a college student in the summer: be a white water rafting guide at his best friend, Chad’s business, or better yet, hike the Appalachian Trail. Anything to get away from the memory that haunts him.

Who knew the opportunity to escape his life and find love with come with representing a beautiful woman who’s charged with attempted murder?

Weird, huh?

Once again, Carmen has written a story filled with colorful characters mixed with a beautiful back drop marred only by murder, mystery, longing, desperate decisions, and family secrets. If you love suspense, romance, and happy endings a character has to work for, pick up a copy today. You’ll be glad you did!

My rating: *****

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Heat Level: ***(Just enough to get the heart racing and stir your imagination!)

Violence: PG

*** SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t read Land of the Noonday Sun, you may want to stop here, buy it, then come back. You have been warned! *insert evil laugh here… 🙂 ***

Prologue

Sitting at the rear of the courtroom, Tom Turner’s mind wandered. One person after another approached the judge, claiming their innocence. He hated doing this, but the law firm where he worked required all new attorneys to accept hardship cases. To get your feet wet, they’d said.

Like his father before him, he’d chosen a career as an attorney. And for once in his life, his parents were actually proud of him.

Still, most attorneys spent their days off golfing. He couldn’t stand golf, but he’d give anything to be kayaking right now. Often he thought of changing careers, as his best friend Chad had done. He had thrown away four years of medical school to manage an outdoor store he’d inherited from his parents. Tom had always thought that it had been a stupid decision, but now he wondered. His best friend was married to a beautiful woman, had a son, and could kayak every day if he wanted.

What Tom really wanted was to take a few months off from life and hike the Appalachian Trail. After the year he’d had, he needed some time away from life—all life. But then, his parents would be disappointed, and he’d miss his niece, Samantha. His sister had been one of the wildest women he’d ever known. But since she’d had Sam, she’d finally settled down and was trying to be a good mother. Being a single mother wasn’t easy, and Michelle needed him. If only to give her at least one night a week to unwind.

Tom threw his head back and closed his eyes. Just the smell of the courthouse was grating on him today. The oil they’d used on the old wooden floors was giving him a migraine.

“No contest, Your Honor.” A soft country voice roused him from his brooding.

Tom forced his eyes to focus on the woman standing in front of the judge. It couldn’t be. The smooth blond hair, that beautiful country voice. Brandy? He shook his head to clear it. Brandy was dead; he’d shot her more than a year ago.

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Yep, you read that right, he killed someone!!! To find out what happened, read Land of the Noonday Sun. If you’d rather get straight to Tom,  buy When Noonday Ends.  But I tell you, both stories go hand in hand. Happy reading!!!

Now available in print and eBook formats:

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Amazon UK

3 Books

***For more information about When Noonday Ends, Land of the Noonday Sun, and other books bestselling books by Carmen DeSousa, visit her blog!***

New Release by Carmen DeSousa!

While Carmen does not write “Christian” books, she does share her characters’ Christian beliefs. Her characters are real people who come with real flaws; no perfect people allowed.

 She characterizes her stories as modern-day fairytales, as they are overflowing with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

Her first two novels, She Belongs to Me and Land of the Noonday Sun, have reached bestseller status right alongside Nicholas Sparks, J.D. Robb, and other great authors. Her third novel, Entangled Dreams, is now available.

All of her novels are standalones; however, she does link each of her stories with a little surprise. If you read out of order, you’ll never notice. But if you read in order, it’s fun.

Carmen loves talking about all things books, so please connect with her via one of the links below.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Interview with Denise Moncrief!

Today I welcome another talented author with 5 Prince Publishing, Denise Moncrief, as she shares a bit about herself, her writing process, and wonderful advice for aspiring authors!

Denise Moncrief author pic

 Welcome, Denise!

What inspired you to write?

I began devouring every book I could get my hands on in high school. I’ve been a prolific reader ever since. All of that reading has fed my imagination. For years my daydreaming made me feel somewhat guilty. I had no problem imagining myself in other places, with other people, doing other things. One day I got the idea of channeling all my daydreaming into a manuscript. That was nine, maybe ten years ago, and since then I’ve been writing practically non-stop with only a few short sabbaticals due to a recalcitrant muse refusing to cooperate and give me a fresh spurt of inspiration.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I started writing romance, but I found an element of suspense slipped into the plot line every single time no matter how I manipulated my characters and their actions, so the suspense genre grabbed my imagination and wouldn’t let me go. I love suspense and that’s what I write.

I bend and blend genres. My stories are usually suspense and _________. My daughter tells me I can’t write anything without including at least one dead body in the story line. Well, I don’t know, maybe that’s true. Aside from traditional suspense plot lines, I find there’s an element of suspense in any conflict, a moment when the breath catches. I strive to portray that one thing in any situation that will affect the heart rate, tug at emotions, and make the reader anxiously turn the page to read what happens next.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I have a part time accounting position, so my weekday mornings are spent crunching numbers, but once I get home I divide my time between taking care of my family and pursuing my career as a writer and editor. My evenings are split between writing, editing, and marketing. Lately, it’s been difficult to squeeze working on my current work in process between editing and promotion deadlines, but thankfully, the new manuscript is within 5,000 words of being complete. I’ve never been a scheduled writer, writing for a certain amount of time at the same time every day. Now, that I’ve also been hired as an editor, I’ve had to schedule chunks of time to get alone and write for several hours at a time. If I don’t do that, the editing and marketing pursuits will swallow all my free time. So it’s definitely become a balancing act.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Hum…A writing quirk? Am I quirky? I’m not sure about that. Well, I don’t write in my polka dot pajamas, sip herbal tea, or listen to any particular style of music. I don’t have to have the house quiet either. I put on a pot of coffee and slip into my most comfortable jeans and a t-shirt. I might write on my bed or at my desk or on the sofa in the living room. Perhaps my biggest quirk is that I don’t do rough drafts. I’m probably obsessive compulsive or a raving perfectionist or something. I edit as I go because I can’t stand the thought of overlooking something that needs a tweak. I’ll write a few chapters and then edit. Write a few more and reread from the beginning, editing as I go. I find this gives me a greater sense of continuity and helps me fine-tune my plot and my characterization.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I imagine the opening scene of the story and decide how the story will end. Between the beginning and the ending, I am a certified pantser. I let the plot evolve as it goes along, letting my characters and their developing personalities decide what to say and how to react in any given situation, as long as they get to the end of the story right where I want them to go.

Are your stories based on experiences of someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

No, I can’t think of any instance where I’ve based a plotline on my own experiences or the experiences of anyone I know personally. However, the underlying theme of all my stories is forgiveness and reconciliation. I heard someone say one time that unforgiveness is the poison one drinks with the hopes of injuring someone else. I believe this to be very true. I’ve experienced personally how destructive unforgiveness can be, not only to the offender, but to the offended.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I remember well my first rejection. I submitted a series of four stories to a publisher. He very kindly suggested I should continue to hone my skills by perhaps going to a writer’s workshop. It was an excellent piece of advice, because I did as he advised and realized how much I didn’t know about the craft of writing. That was years ago. An author should never believe he or she has learned all there is to know about the art and craft of writing.

Commonly accepted style evolves and changes over the years. Be aware of trends. The trends readers preferred ten years ago might not be what keeps a reader’s interest today. For instance, a common trend is to use as few he said/she said type dialogue tags as possible, replacing the tag with action beats.

When you finish writing your baby, after pouring all your heart and soul into plot and characterization, put the manuscript aside for a few days and then come back to it. Read it aloud with the critical ear of a reader, not the emotionally attached heart of a writer. The exercise often reveals glitches in the flow of the narrative.

There is an abundance of information and guidance available to aspiring writers on how to hone writing skills. Not all suggestions work for every writer. Research editing and writing. Read blogs and books on the subject of writing. Build relationships with other writers. A writer should test different approaches and find out what works best for her. For instance, I’ve read more than once that a writer should write straight through a rough draft, then go back and edit. This approach clearly doesn’t work for me.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I have been published or have been contracted by three wonderful indie publishers, Still Moments Publishing, 5 Prince Publishing, and Crooked Cat Publishing.

What are your current projects?

My last single tile release was Deceptions of the Heart, a full-length paranormal romance suspense novel from Still Moments Publishing. Crisis of Identity is romance suspense with a humorous bite, scheduled for release this week from 5 Prince Publishing. My current work in process is paranormal romance suspense set in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with the working title The Memory Catcher.

My full library at Still Moments Publishing, including Deceptions of the Heart, can be purchased at http://www.stillmomentspublishing.com/p/ebook-store.html, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, Create Space, or Smashwords. My new release, Crisis of Identity, when it becomes available this week, can be purchased at http://www.5princebooks.com/buy.htm and Amazon.

CrisisOfIdentity

Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.

Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

 Buy your copy today!!!

Author Bio:

Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

Connect with Denise on the following links:

Twitter   Facebook    Google+    Goodreads    Blog/Website   Amazon   Email   SmashWords

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Thanks to Carol Fragale of 4 Broad Minds for tagging me for this honor! I have had the privilege and sharing blogs with her and several other talented Women’s Fiction authors on Goodreads.  So…let’s play!

Ten Questions About My Latest  WIP:

Autumn landscape1. What is the working title of your book? Jaded, Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs (Currently in the hands of my editor.) Release date is March 7, 2013.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from? The story line is based on a secondary character in my first novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Yasmine Phillips, who is the best friend of the heroine, Ebony Campbell. Though the  novel focuses on Ebony, there are a few chapters where the reader is introduced to Yasmine to show where she is in her life. She’s ambitious, a hard worker, and full of self-confidence, especially when it comes to her relationships with men. She’s all about friends-with-benefit. During the course of the story, she winds up engaged to her main hook up. Everything seems to be working out until Ebony drops a bomb on her happy moment and she discovers her new fiance is not the man she thought he was. Jaded picks up two months later when we find Yasmine still reeling from the heart break of her engagement. Shes decided to give up on relationships of any kind and focus on finding herself.  She’s been working on a business  to start her own small business. Entrepreneurship is nothing new. She’s grown up watching her parents build and maintain their own business, a Bed and Breakfast chain of hotels, since she was in high school. Upon graduating collage, the chain expanded opening a second location. She’s managed the hotel for the past three years. During the course of the novel, Yasmine finds herself in a relationship that has her struggling to decide whether she is ready to open her heart up and give love another chance.

3. What is the genre of this book? Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, Interracial Romance

4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters of the movie rendition? Oh, that’s easy! My male lead would be Columbus Short! He is exactly how I pictured Zachariah Givens while writing. For Yasmine, it would be a mix between Zoe Saldana or Megan Good.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? After heart break leaves Yasmine devastated, she must decide if fighting for love is worth the risk of  losing the woman she’s become.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher? I am Indie published through 5 Prince Publishing.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I outlined the novel first, but from there it took 29 days to write my rough draft, complete with errors and no edits…about 85,000 words.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I would have to say the first novel in the series, A Heart Not Easily Broken. I have worked hard to develop my own style of storytelling, so I can’t think of anyone to compare it to.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? My stories are based on themes and ‘what if’ scenarios. Jaded deals with several themes: women as entrepreneurs, reaching your goals without the support of family, opening yourself up to love after heartbreak, friends-with-benefits relationships, dealing with sick family members, and knowing when to trust yourself to follow your heart.

10. What else about your book might pique the readers interest? If you’ve read A Heart Not Easily Broken and got to know Yasmine, the truth she learns at the novels end will have you wanting to know what happens to her. As I said before, one moment she’s in her happy place, then without warning her outlook on love will never be the same. You will want to know if and how Yasmine Phillips finds her Happily Ever After.

Whew! That wasn’t too bad!

The three authors I’d like to tag to introduce their Next Big Thing are: Nia Forrester, Candace Shaw, and Sharon C. Cooper!  Enjoy!

MJ