Friday, March 27, 2015

Interview with Tania Johansson, RIDDLE OF FATE

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Khaya doesn’t know she was meant to die when she was five years old. She doesn’t know her boyfriend is not all he seems. And until now, she didn’t know she had a second ability, but when it manifests, it throws everything into chaos. A first ability means you are gifted. A second ability, they say, means you are headed for madness.

She realises the Company is willing to kill her before her mind breaks and, worse still, angels are trying to kill her too.

Riddle of Fate is a stand alone novel.

Do you have a favorite character?
You are asking me here to choose between my children. I love them all and if you ask me again tomorrow, the answer might be different, but if I had to pick today, I would say Derrin. He is tortured by his past and driven to prevent history from repeating itself. Even if that means being cast into damnation.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
My ideal writing time is sitting in my local Costa with a massive coffee, wafer biscuits and my headphones on. I listen to music on Spotify, which is great as I can choose the right mood of music for the scene I’m working on.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
This to me is a sliding scale. I’ve sat firmly on the discovery writing end of it with my first novel, Book of Remembrance, and right over to the outline end of the spectrum with my second novel, Of Folly and Fear. I did a chapter by chapter outline for OFaF. This, however, felt like an icy hand of death on my reserve of imagination. Since then, I have moved along the scale, trying to find where I’m comfortable.

Now, I’ll write down some general ideas to work out how the magic system and the world functions and who will be my main characters. I also like to have a good idea of where I am starting and where I want to end, but keep the middle fairly vague with only a few ideas jotted down for where we are heading.

Sometimes, I will press pause on my writing and go back to planning, mapping out the next three or four scenes (not too much detail) and then carry on writing.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely. My editor, Janet Philip, has a low-key public profile, but she is fantastic. The books wouldn’t be what they are without her. 

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I guess that writing and finishing the book is only the very start of the journey. There is so much else involved with it and I am still learning about these other bits every day. I am not great at keeping up my public profile and I guess this is where my learning curve is still pretty steep.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am on Twitter (@TaniaJohansson), facebook ( and I have a website ( where I have a blog and a section where I review books I’ve read (read, gush over books I loved).

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do. And ultimately, writing the next book usually (if not always) wins. I find marketing really challenging and time consuming. I much prefer to lose myself in the next story!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It won’t be easy. BUT, if you love writing, it is worth every bit of effort, frustration and sacrifice.

What’s next for you?
Writing, some more writing, um, writing and then some more writing! I have a completed manuscript, Tainted Ink. I am looking for an agent for it, but in the mean time, I have started writing my next book.

Thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog today and taking part in Riddle of Fate’s blog tour!

Book & Author details:
Riddle of Fate by Tania Johansson
Publication date: May 29th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Khaya’s life, a life the Order say was never meant to be, is thrown into turmoil when she discovers she has a second ability. The Company who employs people like her – with rare and special abilities – insists that having more than one inevitably leads down a dark spiral into madness. So they are watching and waiting, ready to terminate her at the first sign of trouble.
Now, on the run from the Company’s agents while trying to prove her sanity, Khaya realises they are not the only ones she should fear. Angels are working towards her demise as well.
The question that haunts her is this: What did she do that was terrible enough to elicit the wrath of angels? And can she trust the mysterious Derrin, or is he the cause of all her tribulations?


I grew up in a small town called Ficksburg in South Africa and moved with my family to England aged fifteen.

I then completed my schooling through a correspondence course from South Africa. This challenging time taught me a lot of self-discipline and determination. Qualities that have been invaluable while writing my first novel.

In 2004 I started studying optometry at Aston University in Birmingham, UK and currently I live and work as an optician in Kent.

In 2008, I married my wonderful husband, Tor. He has been such an amazing support and wealth of internet wizardry from when I started writing through to designing a cover for Book of Remembrance, to publishing my book on amazon as well as setting up this website. I cannot thank him enough.

Reading has always been one of my passions. I have fond memories of trawling through the library aged five (yes I was a geek from a young age!). More recently, I found myself wondering about the process writers must go through to complete a novel. I started thinking about how they would go about planning out a story and keeping track of all the various aspects of it. Finally, I decided to try my theories out. I have not looked back since!

I started writing Book of Remembrance end of May 2011 and finished it in December 2011. Since then, I have self-published it as an e-book on amazon. I have also started writing the follow up novel, which is untitled at the moment.

Author links:

Excerpt: PLUGGED by Jill Cooper

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Lara Crane is stuck in her mind, in an indefinite stream of timelines where her life is perfect, just the way she wants it to be. But it's not real. It's all made up to give those who want to use time travel for their own personal ambitions. To give time to finish their experiments and turn Lara into a deadly time travel assassin. 

If Lara wants to survive and to stop them, she needs to risk her own mind and soul to get out of a prison so perfect it completes the one dream Lara has always had.   Family.  
Preorder on Amazon for $2.99!  
Read book 1 - 15 Minutes




Enjoy an excerpt:

I step down from the stand and smile at my family, ignoring the penetrating glare from the defense’s table. I ignore the eyes that follow me. I only take Donovan’s hand and we step outside of the court room.
Taking a deep breath I lean against the wall, but a small, satisfied smile dances across my face. Donovan caresses my arms and kisses my forehead. “You did it. I’m so proud of you.”
“So am I. I just want to put everything behind us. You know? All of us.”
“We’ll get there,” he says softly and caresses my chin. Such a small movement and it makes my heart skip a beat. “How about I take you out of here now for some ice cream?”
“Yum.” I grin and take his hand. We start down the hall toward the elevator. Donovan pushes the down button and we wait. He plays with my hair and I rest my head against his shoulder. 
The elevator dings.
We wait for the doors to swoosh open. A darkened figure wearing a ski mask is inside. His arm is held out straight and trains a gun on me.
“Lara!” Donovan screams and pushes me out of the way as the gun goes off.
I drop to the ground, my shoulder taking the bulk of the shock. With a grimace I sit up and the dark figure races down the hall away from us.
“Donovan!” I screech. My eyes fall to his crumpled body on the tile beside the elevator. His skin has already gone pasty and there is blood on his button shirt. I press my hand to his stomach and he cringes.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. This isn’t supposed to happen.
“Just a … flesh wound.” Donovan whispers with a grin, but his eyes are lidded and what color is left in his face fades fast.
My teeth grit. “You hold on. I’ll get an ambulance on the phone. You’re going to be fine, you hear me? Just hold on?”
People swarm into the hall, charging to see what’s going on. My hands tremble as I search for my phone, but I can’t find it. Then I remember I left it on my bedroom dresser that morning.
Damn it. Of all the days to forget my phone.
My jaw tenses. My skin burns with rage. “Rex!” I scream. The pounding in my head, the one I’ve spent so much time wishing would go away, returns.
And then the fantasy of my life, the fleeting happiness, disappears. It disintegrates around me one pixel at a time until there is nothing there but me.
In the darkness it all fades.
I blink my eyes and real life breathes and sways in front of me.
I’m in a cage.



About the Author:

I could write this in the third person. I could tell you what I like, where I was born, and what my favorite things are.

But instead, I'll say I don't want to write like everyone else. I don't want to craft stories you've read a thousand times before. I want my novels to be a cinematic experience, blending themes, genres, and situations unlike any you've ever read.

I want to break the rules. I want you to break out in a cold sweat as you read my books out of fear, love, and excitement. I want my books to be an experience. When you finish, I want you to feel something. Good or bad.

If you do, then I'll have succeeded. If not, I'll keep trying.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Literary Addicts | Goodreads | Tsu  


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guest Post by Lana Grayson, EXILED

Biker…Romance? How can a motorcycle club story be a romance?

I get that question all the time.

I won’t lie. Exiled is a pretty grim book, and my first novel, Warlord, was no walk in the park either. The dark and gritty life of a motorcycle MC isn’t normally the setting for romance. Instead of rolling Scottish highlands or the sleek penthouses of New York City, MC Romance gives us oil-stained garages, cheap motels, and lots of time spent on the road.
The lifestyle is a hard one full of blood, muscle, and betrayal, and I think that’s why I love it so much. The stories focus on an aspect of life outside our normal society but beyond what we like to imagine with billionaire and royalty romances. The MC isn’t just a character trait for the hero—it’s a way of life, a setting, and a living, breathing representation of his strength and toughness.
Bikers are the definition of alpha. They’re powerful enough to live outside the normal conventions of the law and morals, but they still uphold a rigorous code of honor that binds them to their brothers and cause. In terms of romance and escapism, you can’t go wrong with the sexy, brooding hero facing the open road and all the bloodshed and mayhem that comes from tracking his enemies and serving the brotherhood he loves. Throw in a heroine with a secret or some past nightmares, and that dedication to the MC can mirror in his protection and love of her. It’s a perfect combination.
But I do get a couple weird looks when I describe when I write, even from my own family. Bikers and Motorcycle Clubs have a well-known reputation for being dangerous and frightening. But that element of risk is the perfect setting for a beautiful romance. Amid the violence and revenge, aggression and pride, the passion between the heroine and the toughened, grizzled warrior is brought to life. The danger intrigues us, the suspense entertains us, and the romance…well, these men aren’t afraid to use their strength and skills to take their women.
MC Romance is just a fun genre to experience—all the danger without messing your hair up with a helmet. It’s one of my favorite to write, especially as it blends action, suspense, and all the passion of dark romance with a unique setting. If you haven’t tried one, know they aren’t for the faint of heart, but for pure pulse-pounding excitement and super sexy romance, you won’t find a better read out there.

Book & Author Details:
Exiled by Lana Grayson
(Anathema #2)
Publication date: March 19th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

The only thing more sacred than the Anathema MC is the vengeance of a wronged man…


Exiled from the Anathema MC, Brew Darnell escaped the bullet only to face the unforgiving solitude of the road. With no future before him, Brew battles his past and vows to protect the one he loves the only way he can—by hunting the man who destroyed his family, devastated the Anathema MC, and betrayed every promise he ever made.


Trapped in an abusive relationship with a sadistic biker, Martini Wright learned to manipulate, controlling her boyfriend’s temper with a wink and a smile until she’s traded as collateral to a rival MC. Her captor, Brew, has never trafficked a woman before, and Martini intends to exploit his guilty secrets to escape. Caught in the middle of a gang war, Brew and Martini fight a dangerous attraction—a second chance to heal from the mistakes of their past if they can confess the terrible truth.


Brew failed his family before, but Martini can still be saved. With redemption delivered at the edge of a blade, Brew must choose who to rescue—the one he already lost…or the love he never deserved.


Lana Grayson was born to write romance. Her favorite genres range from the dark and twisty to the lighthearted and sentimental—as long as the characters are memorable, the story is fun, and the romance is steamy. Lana lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, and, when she isn’t bundled in her writing chair, she’s most likely cheering on the Steelers or searching for the ‘Burgh’s best Italian restaurants.

Author links:

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#Excerpt: AFTER LIFE OR BUST by June Mayes


“Sure, I’ll ask them to make an appointment for you, and Bob’s your uncle. All I need is your name.“ I smiled and was surprised that my canines were down and in full view. Either there was a threat here I was less than aware of or I was a little hungry. Hmm yup, no bleeding patients yet today. I would need to go in search of an unwary patient or two.

“Cuthbert.” The gargoyle brought me back to what I was doing with that simple pronouncement. “But I don’t have an Uncle Bob.”

“Forget Bob. Your name is Cuthbert?” I repeated, stunned.

“Yes,” he continued to smile at me. Well, it was more a tiny upturn of one side of his lips, which could have been a grimace or gas come to think of it. No, I was going with smile. He did genuinely look a little happier, which was a good sign. I did have to look down and try to school my expression into a calm understanding doctor face before I looked back up at him.

“A gargoyle named Cuthbert.”

“Correct.” Okay, now I know he was smiling. There was a dimple in one cheek and everything. Course it came and went so fast you would have needed vampire vision to see the dimple. But hey, that’s why I was the vampire doctor.

“OK,” I said calmly before leaving the room, closing the door behind me. Godzilla came up as if to discuss something, and I just shook my head at her. Cuthbert the gargoyle. Great.


Lizzie is making the best of her life, er afterlife. She's working hard being a doctor to all things supernatural and for the most part has managed to behave. With her daytime watcher in tow and a very enticing Master Vampire turning up the heat of their romance, things couldn’t be better.

Of course things could get worse and do. Being killed again was not part of Lizzie’s agenda and having to navigate the politics of all things that go bump in the night is just icing on the afterlife cake. But Lizzie has plans. She's going to make her death worth living and she is going to drag everyone else along kicking and screaming.

Buy Link:

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
June Mayes is a Cape Cod born and bred writer who lived in London for 10 years before returning home. She’s a hopeless romantic with a passion for writing all sorts of genre. Her days are spent juggling family life, walking the dog, writing and reading books, more books and even more books!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#Excerpt: EMP by Wilson Hart


The days had turned warmer and the rains had come to a stop. The fields were planted with the food that would allow us to survive, and everyone anxiously awaited the first harvest of lettuce and beans. Anything other than radish and turnip soup seasoned with a little green onion and boiled squirrel.

I walked past one of the fields and waved at the boys. Two of them carried rifles and several others had sharp spades. Those with the rifles were scanning the edges of the field making sure no rabbits came in to eat the precious crops. Those with spades walked along each row, making sure no moles or other burrowing varmint was making itself at home.

The boys waved back and went back to their vigilant sentry work.

I shook my head as I thought about what Lexi would say if she had seen this. She was afraid of guns. She never grew up around them and did not like them. I didn’t care one way or another. To me, they were just another tool. One I grew up with, but found no particular joy in using. It was like a hammer. Lexi was afraid of them and didn’t want one in the house, so I acquiesced to her demand.

But now they were needful things. The right tool for the right job. At night, the dogs were set free in the field and the snares were set along the edges. But in the daytime, a stray rabbit taken with a .22 meant not only saving our crops, but more meat in our stew.


In a flash of searing light, the world changed. A massive solar flare has crippled the modern world and brought chaos and destruction. David Hartsman is stuck in the remote farm town of his youth on what was expected to be a short visit to check on his ailing parents. While his wife and his daughter are hundreds of miles away at home in Chicago, David must face the dangers associated with his own survival and the pressures of not being with his family. In a worldwide catastrophe, every struggle is personal.

Buy EMP at

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Wilson Harp is a writer based out of the American Midwest. As a military brat, he traveled and met people from many cultures and backgrounds. Exposure to so many different views has led him to an appreciation of an eclectic collection of music, film and literature.

His sense of wonder at stories and folklore started young and continues to this day, often affecting the themes and ideas in his writing. In his works you will find the old fashioned ideas of virtue and honor as the lifeline that pulls many of his characters through the situations they often find themselves.

@WilsonHarp on Twitter

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview with Maisey Yates, PART TIME COWBOY

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 
Part Time Cowboy is about a former bad girl returning to her home town. The hero is a deputy sheriff and he…well, he arrested her once during her wild teen years. Now she has a B&B on his ranch and the two are forced to deal with each other, and their unwelcome attraction. While the book centers on Eli and Sadie, the entire Garrett family gets a bit of screen time. This is a series, and it follows each of the Garret siblings and the town of Copper Ridge.

Do you have a favorite character? 
I have a soft spot for Connor, who you’ll meet in this book, and also in his own book Brokedown Cowboy, coming May 25th.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel? 
I sent my first book straight to the Harlequin slush pile, no agent.  All in all waiting to be read (a long time since it was an unrequested submission) and three rounds of revisions it took 20 months to sell that first book.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher? 
I love the enthusiasm of my editor at HQN. I’m so happy to working on this series with her. She gets my voice and my characters. It’s been a fantastic experience.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing? 
I have a few people who read while I write. Other authors who help me figure out when I’m missing something, or if I haven’t hit a certain emotionally note hard enough. The ability to discuss my book at length with people who understand my process has been so helpful in my books being more fully formed in that initial draft than they would be otherwise.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence? 
 I have three kids, so I listen to music. It’s much less distracting than screaming! J

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you? I
 don’t do official outlines, but I definitely have an idea of the shape of the book. I land somewhere between a plotter and a panster. I’m always willing to let the book take an unexpected turn, but before starting I like an idea of the basic structure of the story, and of the characters.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

Besides writing, do you have any other passions? 
I’ve dabbled in a lot of things, and writing is the only one that stuck. But I do a bit with music and I have done a lot of painting and drawing. Right now binge watching Supernatural on Netflix is my passion though.

What’s next for you? 
More cowboys and more billionaires. I’m continuing to write for Harlequin Presents and currently working on another novella in the Copper Ridge series.

Book & Author details:
Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates
(Copper Ridge #1)
Published by: Harlequin
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

A one-time bad girl comes home to small-town Oregon in the first in a sexy, heartfelt new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates…
Sadie Miller isn’t expecting any welcome-home parades on her return to Copper Ridge. Least of all from part-time rancher, full-time lawman Eli Garrett. The straight-laced, impossibly hot deputy sheriff glares at her like she’s the same teenage hoodlum who fled town ten years ago. But running from her demons has brought Sadie full circle, ready to make a commitment at last. Not to a man, but to a B and B. On Garrett land. Okay, so her plan has a tiny flaw…
Eli works too hard to let a blonde ball of trouble mess up his town. But keeping an eye on Sadie makes it tough to keep his hands off her. And if she’s so wrong for him, why does being with her feel so right?


USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Author links:


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Interview with Judith Works, CITY OF ILLUSIONS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
City of Illusions is a story of a wife who longs for a change – Laura’s marriage has grown stale, she is childless, and her career is going nowhere. She is nearing 30 and life is passing quickly. Determined to find a more interesting life, she talks her husband into moving to Rome, Italy where she has found a one-year job. He decides he will take up painting while she works. They expect to find la dolce vita waiting for them but Rome has different plans – life suddenly becomes complicated as it swings from dull to dramatic as their paths diverge. The novel is stand-alone although some readers have suggested I continue the Laura’s story.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I considered attempting to find an agent, but because of the long process involved and the uncertain results I submitted to a small press, Booktrope, who accepted the manuscript for publication. They are what is called a team publisher with the book manager, editor, proofreader, cover designer and publicist all sharing in costs and profits. So far it is working well.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Booktrope has a large selection of cover designers who contract with them. I contacted Greg Simanson who had excellent recommendations and whose covers I liked. I gave him some concepts to work with – I wanted a cover similar in style to the cover for my memoir about living in Rome, Coins in the Fountain, but with emphasis on the title of the book, City of Illusions. He came up with several concepts and I tried them out on friends. After about 4 tries we settled on the current cover which has received good reviews.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I do most of my writing in my office. I have the local classical music station on as a background. My office is filled with inspiration – mementos of Italy in the form of posters, photos, and a large collection of books about Rome and Italy.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I did a basic outline of the story, particularly the beginning and end. Then I let the characters take over to find their own paths. And when their paths diverged I let them deal with the results of their decisions.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I hired two different editors during the writing process. After the first one made a number of comments I did a big re-write and then hired a different editor to have a fresh look.  

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I arranged a book launch at our local bookstore, appearances at writing groups, and book clubs. I have also had interviews for local papers, and my blog tour will be launching in March. I am on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and have a website. My blog ( is devoted to travel stories from my journeys around the world.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do find it difficult. All advice is to be on social media but it is time consuming. As a consequence the draft of my next book is gathering dust. I plan to get back to it as soon as the blog tour is over. (And my home needs dusting!)

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
All writing is hard work whether it is eventually published by one of the big five or by Create Space.
My memoir was self-published. Self-publishing in many ways is the same as professional publishing because you must have a good cover, and editing and proofreading are essential along with correct formatting. Therefore it is not cost free unless you are especially gifted. Self-publishing does have one advantage if it is an e-book: you can correct any errors you might find and upload again. And I think it is useful as a first step if you aspire to eventually securing an agent because you will learn a lot about the business as you go through the steps to getting your book out there.  

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I travel when I am not writing or volunteering for literary and arts organizations and writing. So many places to go, so little time! Last year my husband and I traveled in North America; this year we will be going abroad again to Italy and other locations. I will be seeking locations to place my characters in as the plot moves along. A good excuse to jump on a plane!

A yearning for change puts Laura on the road to Rome but her marital problems, muted in cool Seattle, become magnified in the glare of the Roman sun. Will she find happiness in the Eternal City or are her dreams only an illusion?

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome. The ten years of happy and sometimes fraught experiences are the subject of her memoir, Coins in the Fountain. She continues to travel, having visited over 100 countries in between many journeys to Italy where she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to Rome. Judith and her husband now live near Seattle where she is working on her second novel.

Twitter:  @judithworks

Judith has a BS in Psychology, M Public Administration, JD from Lewis & Clark School of Law.  She has spent most of her career in Human Resources administration.  Judith is a member of Northwest Women Writers, past President of Edmonds Friends of the Library, board member for Edmonds Center of the Arts, vice-president EPIC Group Writers, and a member of PNWA and Willamette Writers.

Links to purchase City of Illusions:

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