Friday, September 21, 2018

Guest Post: FANTASY WORLDS by Taylor Hobbs, CLOAKED


Topic: Do you outline your fantasy world before you start writing or do you add elements as you write?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, and for the great question!

As a writer, I love the fantasy genre because I have both absolute freedom and total control over my imaginary world. When building the setting for Cloaked, I knew I wanted to include everything a reader expects from a historical fantasy romance novel: horses, knights, castles, kings, taverns, a studly hero with a dark past, and more. As the story developed, I also discovered the unexpected, like the opportunity to add an advanced weapon in the plot to heighten the stakes! So I did some basic outlining, but let the rest come naturally while I wrote.

With fantasy stories, I usually go with the flow because I am not constrained by actual historical events and can take the characters any direction that makes sense for the book. Obviously Croantis and Algonia are fictional countries, but the location and time period for Cloaked are loosely based on medieval Europe. If I had to compare them to real-life counterparts, the setting for Croantis was inspired by Spain and the setting for Algonia was inspired by France. I wanted my world to feel authentic, so I researched fighting styles and medieval weaponry because it was such a huge part of Fawkes' character and Charlotte’s growth.

While I am a 'pantser' with setting and world building, I am more of a 'plotter' when it comes to characters. This is where I focus the majority of my planning efforts before I start writing. I have to pick names I love for my main characters, because I will be reading/writing/talking to them for months. Once that is decided, I outline their inner struggle next and focus on each character's internal conflicts. Every character, even secondary characters, have their own story to tell. While their details may never make it into my book, little bios and backstories for my own reference are important to creating realistic dialogue and multidimensional interactions.

Ultimately, my goal is to create a world that readers love to get lost in. Some of that comes in the planning phase, and some of it develops organically along the way. I do what works for me in order to have fun writing the story.



BLURB:

As the Cloaked Shadow, Fawkes has made his career breaking into prisons for any contract with a large enough purse. He takes advantage of the kingdom's impending revolution by playing both sides of the conflict. Each rescue contract he fulfills turns a tidy profit until he angers the wrong duke.

Charlotte is a criminal-in-training who yearns to crack her mentor’s guarded façade, but is unprepared to confront the depths of his dark past. As her sense of right and wrong blurs, Charlotte discovers just how far she will go for the Cloaked Shadow and the sacrifices he requires.

Now hunted throughout the land, Fawkes must face long-buried secrets in order to survive, but they could destroy him. Charlotte risks everything, including her heart, to set Fawkes on the path to redemption.

Will Charlotte have the strength to pull Fawkes into the light, or will she follow him into the shadows?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Taylor Hobbs lives aboard a 38 ft sailboat named Story Time with her husband, baby girl, and dog. They are a military family and who love to travel, whether it is by sea or air. When she's not writing, Taylor enjoys doing yoga and planning her next adventure. You can keep up with their crazy life at cannonstocruising.com or follow on Twitter at @tayhobbit.

Cloaked is her debut novel and can be found at https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6046-cloaked.html





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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#Excerpt: THREE MAGES AND A MARGARITA by Annette Marie


Three Mages and a Margarita
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1)
Publication date: September 14th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.
It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I’d mesh with their “special” clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That’s the definition of fitting in, right?
I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they…offered me the job?
It turns out this place isn’t a bar. It’s aguild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I’m exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there’s a good reason no one else wants to work here.
So what’s a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise.

Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.

EXCERPT:
When I gazed vacantly at her, Clara visibly paled. “Tori, what’s your class?” “My class?” She pressed her hands to the bar top, eyes wide. “Your class, what is it?” “You mean at the community college? I’m taking—”
“No, your mythic class!” She shoved my card under my nose, even more frantic. “Why doesn’t your license have a mythic identification number? You’re registered, aren’t you?”
“Registered for what? Clara, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”
“Oh my god.” Panic flashed in her eyes. “I don’t believe it. You’re human.”
I blinked again. Squinted. Rubbed one ear like I might have misheard. “Beg your pardon?”
Clara dropped my ID on the bar and hid her face behind her hands. “Darius is going to kill me. Why didn’t I check your ID last night? I’m an idiot.”
“Clara,” I said, alarmed and confused in equal measure. “I swear it’s a real ID. I’m twenty-one, old enough to bartend, and—”
“That’s not the problem,” she moaned. “How did you even find out about this place? I never should have—but you were perfect. You weren’t scared of anyone—not even Aaron! I thought you were some badass mythic who wanted to bartend, but you—”
“Get over yourself, Aaron.” Kai’s angry voice rose over Clara’s. “We’re not doing this your way—not again. Your plans always end in fireballs and explosions.”
Fireballs? Explosions? I glanced at them as Aaron snapped, “What’s wrong with that?” “Tori.” Clara’s panicked tone drew my attention back to her as Kai and Aaron continued to argue. “Last
night, did you see anything?”
“Huh?”
“Did you see anything … unusual?”
“Did I see anything unusual?” I repeated blankly. “Like what?”
“Say that again,” Aaron shouted furiously, “and I’ll toast your pale ass to a healthy crisp!”
His hand shot into the air—and fire burst from his fingers. The red flames danced across his skin, sparks raining down on the table. Curling his hand into a fist, he cocked his arm back, aiming for Kai.
“Aaron!” Clara shrieked. “Put your fire away!” He froze in mid-motion, his fist still blazing. “Clara? What’s wrong?”
“Put it out!” she yelled, her voice high with panic. “Now!”
He flicked his fingers open and the flames vanished. “Jeez, don’t get your panties in a twist. I wasn’t actually going to roast him.”
“Just—just shut up for once in your life, Aaron!” Clara pressed her hands to her head like she was trying to squeeze her brain. “This is already bad enough.”
“What’s bad?” He pushed back from the table and strode over, Kai and Ezra on his heels. “What’s going on?”
I didn’t move, my eyes fixed on his hand—his hand that had been engulfed in flames. Did that count as unusual?
“I screwed up,” Clara groaned, covering her face again like she couldn’t stand to see me. “I didn’t check her ID yesterday.”
Aaron slid my driver’s license off the bar top and read it. “Victoria Dawson? Your name is Victoria?” I shook off my shock to scowl at his sniggering tone. Kai plucked the card out of Aaron’s hand. “There’s no MID number.” “Is it a fake ID?” Aaron asked with amusement. “Did you hire a rogue, Clara?”
“Worse,” Clara whispered. “She’s human.”
The three guys stared at me, and I stared back without the slightest idea what the hell anyone was talking about. But more important than the incomprehensible conversation was the fact Aaron’s hand had been on fire, and I couldn’t figure out how it could possibly have been a trick.
“No way,” Aaron finally said. “What’s your class, Tori?” I pointed at his hand. “Was that real fire?” “Oh, shit,” Kai muttered.


Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar.
When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.


GIVEAWAY!
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Interview with Khaled Talib, GUN KISS


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 
Gun Kiss is a fun and breezy novel that’s primarily set in southern California. The protagonist wears many hats. He’s also a former military guy. One day, he rescues a Hollywood movie star from an obsessed drug lord who then decides to exact revenge on both. The novel contains several themes that needs constant addressing.

I’m seriously thinking that the characters should come back in a series. I’ve been asked by some readers to do it. The question is, how do I approach it? I’ve never done a series. Hopefully, the right amount of chocolate will inspire my imagination.

Do you have a favorite character?
Goldie St. Helen, the movie star, is my favorite. In fact, I’ve even created a board on Pinterest with her name. The board features fashion, food, home and décor and travel. It represents the things she likes. The character was inspired by a real actress whose name shall remain a secret for now. 

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book.
Gun Kiss took me six months to complete. I wrote it nonstop, as if some crazy drug had been injected into my bloodstream. The idea came about when I was jogging one morning. Afterwards, I developed cramps in my legs. I couldn’t sleep that night and while applying some ointment, I watched an old movie with a famous actress. I felt compelled to write a story and create a character inspired by that actress.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I don’t believe in joining a critique group; it doesn’t work for me. I prefer to work with a developmental editor. I’ve already written three novels, all of which have been praised by notable authors. If they didn’t like what I wrote, they wouldn’t endorse my books. The relationship with an editor is more precious to me than the view of ten people at a meeting. As the saying goes, “Too many hands spoil the soup.”

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
A bit of this, a bit of that—it depends—is it raining or is it sunny? Sometimes, I need music to spruce up a scene in my mind. Other times, I rely on chocolate to boost my energy. I can write any time of the day, preferably without interruptions. I don’t force myself if I’m tired.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I go where my muse takes me. I tried the outlining process, but I can’t seem to do it. The other way is finer. Remember the conversation Alice had with the Cheshire cat? He said it doesn’t matter which road you take if you don’t know where you’re going. Still, she had a wild time. Go with the flow…but watch for potholes.   

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books, both  electronic and paperback, are available on all major stores, including Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Ibooks and Kobo.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I’ve made sacrifices by prioritizing my daily tasks. In fact, I enjoy the process. I get to learn new things. Why not? There’s always time if you know how to manage your day. I don’t consider it a chore; I get to learn new things.  

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I’ve learned to make the Muhalabiya, which is essentially a common milk dessert in the Middle East. So, there’s an inclination to spend more time in the kitchen. What shall I do next?

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Cats make less noise and they’re independent. But that doesn’t mean I dislike dogs. If I had to adopt one, it’ll be the cat because of situational convenience. I get nervous when I hear dogs barking all the time. However, if I lived in a castle, I’d probably keep a dog too. Who cares then if it makes noise? Nobody will hear it  for miles  Chocolate or vanilla would depend on my mood. I like both. And it’s most certainly coffee for me—all kinds. I tried going without coffee once for two weeks. It felt strange, as if the planet had no gravity. Tea would’ve to be with milk though some flavors are interesting on its own. But I find it hard to resist tea with biscuits. 


BLURB:

The United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

Ex-Delta Force Blake Deco receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana.

With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue.

What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.
Buy links:
The book will be on sale for only $0.99.
Amazon Kindle
Smashwords
Kobo
B&N
Ibooks/Apple

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. He has authored three thrillers since 2014.
The author's works have been praised by NY Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, NY Times bestselling author Ruth Harris, USA Today bestselling author Jon Land, NY Times bestselling author Keith Thomson, K.J. Howe, and Jon McGoran.
His debut thriller, Smokescreen, was listed as one of the six "boundary-breaking indies" in 2016 by the IndieReader. His second novel, Incognito, won the Silver Award for the AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest 2017. Gun Kiss is his third novel.
Khaled, who is also a member of the International Thriller Writers, resides in Singapore.
Author Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/khaled.talib/
Gun Kiss (YouTube) Book Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6uhYvbY7KQ

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better the chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 






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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#Excerpt: ROGUE DRAGON RISING by TJ Shaw


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Twenty-three year old, Amari Hawke, is thrust into the world of two-soul shifters when she is injured and kidnapped by trackers outside the veil, beyond the safety of her homeland. Unable to remember her past, she trusts no one and relies on instinct to survive. As her awakening approaches, the first time she will transition into her animal, she must evade rogue shifters trying to capture her.

Now free from the King’s Army, powerful dragon lord, Jaxon Blackthorn, seeks a peaceful life. Intent on building his lands into a viable plantation, away from war and bloodshed, he is reluctantly pulled back into the fight when he defends the mysterious shifter with no past against an unseen enemy.

As evil threatens to destroy the entire realm, can the battle-hardened warrior and coming-of-age noblewoman accept their differences to forge an alliance that will ultimately unite the shifter nations?

Excerpt:

Amari had never seen a dragon before…at least not from what she could remember. Muscle rolled beneath glistening scales. Front claws, consisting of sharp, black talons, shimmered like polished stone. Beautiful translucent wings rippled in the sunlight, tapering down to a powerful tail. Her body quivered over the breathtaking spectacle in front of her.

She skimmed her fingers over a large, amber eye, well away from the razor-sharp teeth. Aside from a slight twitch, the beast stilled at her touch. In a brazen move, she planted her palms on each side of its face. “You are way more magnificent than the lioness.”

The dragon growled, shooting vibrations up her arms. She snatched her hands off its face and backpedaled until she butted up against the rock. Her heart rabbited in her chest.

She had just touched a dragon.

She glanced sideways. If she ran, maybe she’d reach the trees before it could catch her…assuming it wouldn’t just torch her. As if reading her mind, the beast snarled.

“Please, don’t eat me.”

In a flash of light, the dragon shimmered and lost shape. To her surprise, Lord Blackthorn stepped from the brightness, and his hands slammed down on each side of her head, sandwiching her against the rock. Tension rolled off his shoulders, and fear crawled up her spine.

She almost preferred her chances with the dragon.

About the Author:
TJ Shaw is a multi award-winning author who writes from her heart by incorporating her dreams and experiences to create strong, passionate characters who must overcome personal flaws to survive against the challenges of traversing through magical realms, undiscovered planets, and apocalyptic catastrophes.

TJ is a member of Romance Writers of America and Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance Writers.

Website: https://tjshaw.com/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tjshawauthor/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TjShawAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/TJShaw
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tjshaw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TJShawAuthor

BOOK IS ON SALE $0.99 DURING TOUR ONLY

– Paperback and eBook

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Dragon-Rising-part-Outside-ebook/dp/B07FSKH3XX/
< Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rogue-dragon-rising-part-one-tj-shaw/1129183174
iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1417772232
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/TJ_Shaw_Rogue_Dragon_Rising_part_one?id=QLhmDwAAQBAJ
Kobo https://play.google.com/store/books/details/TJ_Shaw_Rogue_Dragon_Rising_part_one?id=QLhmDwAAQBAJ

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Interview with Mary Karlik, MAGIC HARVEST


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Magic Harvest is book 1 of the Fairy Trafficking Series. Here is the back cover blurb.

Young fae girls are disappearing.
Layla has never belonged to the fairy realm – at least, half of her hasn’t. She’s never known anyone with human blood, not even her father. When she was three, the dragon Fauth attacked the fairy festival, murdering her fae mum & stepfather. Frankly, some fairies think she should’ve been eaten too. 

As she grew, despite being called names like “fuman” for being a half-blood, she’s discovered that being half-human isn’t terrible. She may lack magic, but she is immune to iron sickness, and she can wield a sword with elven skill.  

Magic in the human world is disastrous.
Sixteen years later, when Layla’s half-sister is kidnapped and taken through a portal to the forbidden human realm, Layla rushes to the rescue. She’s older and stronger, and she’s not about to let her last living family member be taken from her without a fight. 

Only someone who belongs to both worlds can find the truth.
The portal spits her out in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, but neither her sister or the kidnapper are anywhere to be found. Stuck in a world she only knows from school books, Layla forges unlikely alliances to find her sister. As she becomes tangled in the dark world of fairy trafficking, magic harvesting, and murder, Layla will have to find the strength within if she is to survive and save her sister.

Do you have a favorite character?
Layla my heroine is my favorite character. She is tough but caring. I love her character growth in this book.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes. I queried, entered contest, attended pitch appointments—the whole nine yards. I snagged an agent on about my 3rd completed manuscript. Unfortunately, it was not a match made in heaven. She quit the business a year after I signed and I snagged a wonderful agent. We worked together extremely well but could not sell my Hickville High series. We got close and had a couple of bad offers. She suggested I go indie with those books and I did. I haven’t been agented since but I still have the upmost regard for my former agent.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I have self-published four YAs and I’m under a traditional contract for my fantasy series with a small press called Ink Monster.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Until recently I had a critique group. Of my original critique group of 6, only one other person besides me is still actively writing. But, we are still best friends. Now I critique with my son-in-law, who is a brilliant writer, on an as needed basis. Mostly, I need help plotting. He keeps me grounded and on track. If it doesn’t make sense, he’ll tell me.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I listen to music. I have a set list for every book. If I’m writing fantasy it’s Gaelic traditional music.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I have a vague idea of the beginning and ending. I will often complete a Hero’s Journey outline—ish but then when I write I let the book take me where it will. I do a lot of re-writes. But it’s what works for me.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Holy Cow, Yes! Even before I was with a traditional publisher I had it edited. I don’t believe anybody should edit their own work!

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Yes! I am learning Gaelic. I’m studying at Sabhal Mor Ostaig (part of the University of Highlands) on the Isle of Skye. I’m about to enter the 3rd level. I’m also taking an online course. Part of this is so I can delve deeper into my other passion of finding obscure Celtic folklore. I also love to snow ski and hike.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs. I don’t really eat sweets but I love hot chocolate. Coffee. Talk. Day.

What’s next for you?
I know this is my 11th question but I’ll answer it. Next is Magic Heist. The second book of the series due to come out in April. I love this series and I hope the readers do as well.

Les gach deagh-dhùrachd. (Best regards—in Gaelic)
Màiri (Mary)



Magic Harvest
Mary Karlik
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: September 18th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Young fae girls are disappearing.
Layla has never belonged to the fairy realm – at least, half of her hasn’t. She’s never known anyone with human blood, not even her father. When she was three, the dragon Fauth attacked the fairy festival, murdering her fae mum & stepfather. Frankly, some fairies think she should’ve been eaten too.
As she grew, despite being called names like “fuman” for being a half-blood, she’s discovered that being half-human isn’t terrible. She may lack magic, but she is immune to iron sickness, and she can wield a sword with elven skill.
Magic in the human world is disastrous.
Sixteen years later, when Layla’s half-sister is kidnapped and taken through a portal to the forbidden human realm, Layla rushes to the rescue. She’s older and stronger, and she’s not about to let her last living family member be taken from her without a fight.
Only someone who belongs to both worlds can find the truth.
The portal spits her out in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, but neither her sister or the kidnapper are anywhere to be found. Stuck in a world she only knows from school books, Layla forges unlikely alliances to find her sister. As she becomes tangled in the dark world of fairy trafficking, magic harvesting, and murder, Layla will have to find the strength within if she is to survive and save her sister.




Author Bio:
Mary Karlik has always been a dreamer. When she was a teen, she read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and then sat in every wardrobe in her Nanna’s home, trying to open the door to Narnia. She didn’t find it, but she did discover her voice as an author: one filled with her young adult self, and grounded in her roots as a Texan and her Scottish heritage, nourished by obscure Scottish folklore.
You can find her Texas roots in her YA contemporary romance Hickville series , which has been described as “100% solid storytelling,” and begins with Welcome to Hickville High, a “lovely story about growing up.”
She digs deep into her Scottish roots – there is magic there, she just knows it – for the forthcoming YA epic fantasy Fairy Trafficking series, beginning with Magic Harvest.
She makes her home in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of Northern New Mexico where she is a certified professional ski instructor, but she also loves visiting Scotland where she is currently studying Scottish Gaelic at the University of Highlands and Islands in Skye. Mary also earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, has a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University, and is a Registered Nurse.
Mary currently serves as the President of the Young Adult Chapter of Romance Writers of America and looks forward to raising a glass or two of gin and tonic with her fellow writers every year at RWA’s national convention.


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Saturday, September 15, 2018

#Review: HOW THE EARL ENTICES by Anna Harrington


  5 of 5 stars
 
I absolutely adored this book. It's a fast-paced, heart pounding thriller with a romance that sizzles along the way. Grace Alden and Ross Carlisle, Earl of Spalding, meet under the worst of circumstances, but they both need something from each other and agree to travel to London together. Ross needs to clear his name of treason and Grace needs to win back her son's inheritance.

Ms. Harrington has a flair for writing complicated characters who are so appealing that you can't help but fall in love with them. Ross is a loyal British citizen and he'll do everything he can to prove it. Grace is no wimpy heroine. She has a backbone of strength and has shown remarkable resilience during the last 10 years protecting her son. I loved the slow build up of their attraction as they learn more about each other. I could hardly turn the pages fast enough to see what happens. Definitely recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review and was not obligated to leave a review.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Interview with Christine Brae, EIGHT GOODBYES


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Thanks for having me!  My latest book is Eight Goodbyes, releasing on August 28. It is a standalone book about two very different people who meet in places around the world and fall in love.  Obviously, life and diverging priorities get in the way. People who have read advanced copies of the book said that they enjoyed getting lost in love in different locations. I think that our two main characters, Simon and Tessa, also feel the same way.

Do you have a favorite character?
I have quite a few, actually, some mine and some from other books I’ve read. But the latest book character I really loved has to be Simon from Eight Goodbyes. He wears his heart on his sleeve, which is different from most of the alpha males we read about. But he is also so introspective, I loved getting in his head as I was writing this book.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I thank my lucky stars all the time that I didn’t have to do that. After my second book was self-published, I was approached by a handful of agents. I’ve been with mine for four years. Her name is Italia Gandolfo and she is honest, kind and genuine. I think every author needs someone as transparent as she is.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I chose to go with the agent who is honest and open about the opportunities that are out there for a writer in my genre. I find myself so fortunate that my agent and I became fast friends rather quickly. This enabled me to place my trust in her and to go by the publisher that she felt was the best one for me.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
Two years ago, I signed with Vesuvian Media as well as Spark Publishing (Asia) to publish two books. Eight Goodbyes (latest release on August 28) is going to be my first book with them. Having a full time career outside of my writing life precludes me from having the time to query, promote and market my book. There are obviously creative downsides with traditionally publishing your book (where you lose creative ownership at times) but the marketing aspect of going with a publisher is really what I love about my decision. This publisher also gives me creative ownership of many things other publishers normally don’t. For instance, I asked to use my own cover creator and cover model for this book. I also asked that I use my own formatter, given that I love the style of my formatter and I’ve been using her for years.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
First, I will allow my muse to take me everywhere and anywhere. And then comes my editor, Jim Thomas, who will tell me where my gaps are in terms of arcs and context. I do map out an arc of events, just to make sure I don’t duplicate how I want the story to flow – but after that, I could have my eyes closed and I would still know what story to tell. Sometimes I think I’m crazy  because I hear the characters’ voices in my head telling me where they want to go.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
When I first self published my first series of books, I learned that it is such a lonely journey. I realized how many books were releasing every single day and how easy it was to get lost in the shuffle. I also realized that just because you think you’ve placed all your effort into writing a decent book, it will be for certain people and it won’t be for certain people. You won’t please everyone, and you certainly need to manage your expectations. My heart breaks every time I see a young author post about her disappointment about how his/her book has been received.

When you write for yourself, when you write because you have stories to tell – it all comes down to that and nothing else matters. Once, I shocked some interviewers when they asked me how my sales were doing – because I don’t even know how to go into the Kindle report things to look at my sales. I just don’t do it.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Get into the business for the right reasons. Own your words. Every single one. And keep writing.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I am so blessed to be able to participate as a Board member of some Not For Profit organizations whose platforms are truly amazing. I love being able to use my experience and influence to mentor young business minds and to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night? 
Dogs, chocolate, coffee, talk, night.

What’s next for you?
I get to do this again in 2019! I am currently in the editing process for my next book, The Year I Left. While I wrote Eight Goodbyes coming out of my previous book which was full of sadness and angst, this next book is an honest look at all the chances we wished we had to redo our lives and make amends.

I also have a senior in high school and I promised him I would spend all the time I can with him before he leaves me to go to college. I intend to be the best non stay at home mom with millions of things to do, ever.




Eight Goodbyes
Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance

One universe, nine planets, 204 countries, 809 islands and 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you.” –Unknown
When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.
Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.
Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined.
To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.


Author Bio:
Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.
Christine’s third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life, released in January 2016.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin Literary Management.

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