Friday, July 25, 2014

Teaser Interview with Ilima Todd

This is my week to host on Unicorn Bell, the writing and critique blog I'm honored to co-host with several other AMAZING writers and authors. I interviewed several authors this week and I've decided to give you a teaser interview to entice you to want to head over to UB to check out the full. Hope you stop by! 

For today, I have an interview with Young Adult author, Ilima Todd.

Author Bio:

Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children.
Book blurb:

Imagine a future without family...

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn't like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they'll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?


I absolutely love the premise for Remake. Can you tell us what inspired the novel?

My family means a lot to me, and I wanted to write a book about the importance of families and the role they play in our lives. So I basically imagined what the world would be like without them. Nine’s story is about courage and choice and what it means to be free, but at its core it’s really about family.

As a mother of four children, when do you find the time to write?

Good question. It’s an ongoing battle. I homeschool two of my children, so my time is severely lacking. I *try* to write during the day, but to be honest I get most of my writing in late at night when everyone is asleep. Diet coke is my friend.

What has been the most surprising thing about publishing your book?

The publishing industry is sloooow. Very slow. Writers must be extremely patient people. Either that or completely bullheaded. One nice surprise, though, is how supportive the writing community is. Writers are always willing to help each other out and lend support where needed, no matter where you are in the publishing journey.

If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be? (And no, you can’t ask for more wishes)

Ha. That I could eat all I want and not gain a pound. That I could write a book and get it right that first draft. And that I could become invisible at will…can you say running around naked without a care? Lol.

To read more of Ilima's interview, please visit the Unicorn Bell website. Thanks! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Teaser Interview with Liesl Shurtliff

This is my week to host on Unicorn Bell, the writing and critique blog I'm honored to co-host with several other AMAZING writers and authors. I interviewed several authors this week and I've decided to give you a teaser interview to entice you to want to head over to UB to check out the full. Hope you stop by! 

For today, I have an interview with middle-grade author, Liesl Shurtliff.

About the Author:  

Liesl Shurtliff was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the mountains for her playground. Just like Rump, Liesl was shy about her name, growing up. Not only did it rhyme with weasel, she could never find it on any of those personalized key chains in gift shops. But over the years she’s grown to love having an unusual name—and today she wouldn’t change it for the world!

Before she became a writer, Liesl graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in music, dance, and theater. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and three young children, where she still dreams of the mountains.

In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke.
Rump has never known his full name—his mother died before she could tell him. So all his life he’s been teased for his half-a-name. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. For Rump discovers he can spin straw into gold. Magical gold.

His best friend Red warns him that magic is dangerous—and she’s right! That gold is worth its weight in trouble. And with each thread he spins, Rump weaves himself deeper into a curse.

There’s only one way to break the spell: Rump must go on a quest to find his true name, along the way defending himself against pixies, trolls, poison apples, and one beautiful but vile-mannered queen. The odds aren’t great for a small boy in a land full of fairytale bullies, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—Rump just might triumph in the end.


My boys loved Rump. What was your inspiration for the book?

Yay! I’m so glad they loved it.

Fairytales and names were my primary inspirations for Rump. I was actually brainstorming another fairytale idea when I thought it would be cool to create a world where a name determines your destiny. I instantly thought of Rumpelstiltskin, since his name is key to the tale, but it’s also very mysterious. We know almost nothing about Rumpelstiltskin, and even though he ultimately rescues the miller’s daughter, he is the villain because he wanted her baby. So I suppose my biggest inspiration was my desire to do justice to Rumpelstiltskin. Things really took off when I decided to call him Rump.

Do you outline or “fly by the seat of your pants”?

I do a little of both. I do a fair amount of pre-writing, which I think is quite different from outlining. I develop a few main characters, sketch their strengths, weaknesses, and their motivations that will influence the forward movement of the story. I spend some time developing the fantasy world, topography, creatures, and the rules of magic. Fleshing out some of these details helps me begin.

As far as plot goes, I usually have a vague idea of beginning, middle, and end, but most of it I can’t plan or even know until I’m there in the moment, so I just have to go off into the wild and discover a lot along the way. It can be a little unnerving, but as E.L. Doctorow said, “You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

What bit of advice can you give to aspiring authors?

Craft is key. There’s simply no substitute for a solid story and great writing and the bulk of your time is best spent on honing your craft. At the same time, there’s a business side to all this that can’t be ignored, and sometimes the difference between failure and success isn’t about talent, but simply industry knowledge. If publishing and selling your work to an audience is your goal, spend some time researching the industry. It’s a very quirky business with lots of different paths, none of them necessarily better than any other. Do your homework. Learn the pros and cons of all your options. Decide what’s best for you and then go for it! There’s a place for your story in the world.

What is something you have that is of sentimental value?

Wow, this almost stumped me. I am not very sentimental and I’m the opposite of a hoarder. I throw stuff out that I should probably keep, but I do have a set of china and a full tea set that belonged to my great-grandmother. My mother used it on special occasions and I only use it on Thanksgiving and Christmas. If a single dish broke, I’d be very upset.

To read more of my interview with Liesl, please visit the Unicorn Bell website. Thanks! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Teaser Interview with Juliana Haygert

This is my week to host on Unicorn Bell, the writing and critique blog I'm honored to co-host with several other AMAZING writers and authors. I interviewed several authors this week and I've decided to give you a teaser interview to entice you to want to head over to UB to check out the full. Hope you stop by! 

For today, I have an interview with New Adult author, Juliana Haygert.

About the Author:
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

All Beatriz “Bia” Fernandes wants is to prove herself—to her family and friends—though it’s hard to prove anything with an overbearing father and three famous polo-playing older brothers. After her acceptance into college results in a heated family argument, the Brazilian girl leaves everything behind to find her own American dream.
College life away from home is perfect until the people she believes to be her friends turn on her. With lies and rumors threatening to suffocate her, Bia turns to her only freedom. Riding. But one thing gets in the way of her escape. Garrett Blackwell and his bad cowboy attitude. Working at the ranch is his obligation, bugging Bia is his newfound hobby. His thick skin and easy grin don’t hide what Bia already knows—this misunderstood and lonely cowboy fights his own demons. Brushing horses’ coats and mucking out stalls shouldn’t be this sexy, and it isn’t long before he becomes a part of her distraction.
However, escaping won’t solve her problems, and it’s up to Bia to break down the fences around her and prove her strength—not to her family and friends, but to herself … and for Garrett. Because standing on her own doesn’t have to mean standing alone.
** Companion novel of Breaking the Reins. Can be read out of order.**

You are the author of several New Adult novels. How do you receive inspiration for your novels?
From everywhere. My problem is actually having too many ideas and not having time to write them all! Music and movies are big sources of ideas.
But it really comes from anywhere. For example:
For my fantasy trilogy, the idea came from a sentence my husband said, about gods not being immortals.
For The Breaking Series, was several things—mainly Britney Spears’ music video for her song Radar, and Facundo Pieres (a famous polo player) and his family.
For Playing Pretend, the idea came from having my heroine meet the love of her life during spring break.

List five adjectives to describe yourself.
Happy, friendly, caring, irritated, impatient.

What is the most unique place you’ve ever visited?
I can’t think of any unique place, but I can think of a unique experience in a great place.
When I was 12 and 13 years old, I spent my summers in Rio de Janeiro, with friends my age (no adults), taking dance classes from 8am to 8pm, 6 days a week, with the Municipal Ballet (the best dance company in Brazil). It sounds tiring, and it certainly was, but I loved dance so much (still do), it was perfect.

To read more of Juliana's interview, please visit Unicorn Bell.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cover Reveal—Soulless

I am so excited to be a part of Crystal's cover reveal for Soulless, the second book in her Maiden of Time trilogy. And without further ado...

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and "friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Guest Post—Kyra Lennon (Sidelined)

Today I have author Kyra Lennon here with a guest post about her latest New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Sidelined. Here's Kyra to tell us more...

Hey everyone, and thank you to Kristin for having me over!

This excerpt from Sidelined comes at the height of Bree's frustration with her life, and especially with her husband. What she doesn't realise is, things are about to get a lot worse for her!


“Hey, Bree.”
She looked at me with the kind of Bambi eyes that would have men rushing to her side but to me, they were just… eyes.
“Bree, please can you hear me out?”
“Nothing you can say will change anything.”
“Please. Bree, I need someone to listen. Is that so much to ask?”
In true Taylor style she’d managed to utter the sentence that struck a painful chord with me. What harm would be done if I let her speak?
“You have two minutes,” I told her.
“Thank you.” Her shoulders sagged with relief. “I’ve been the worst friend ever. The worst person ever but I only ever wanted to fit in with you. You and your friends were always so cool and respected and I was an outsider.”
“You weren’t an outsider, Taylor. We included you. I included you.”
 “I wanted to be like you,” she insisted. “You’re beautiful and you always have amazing clothes, and a gorgeous house and… I just went about it wrong.”
“There isn’t even a word to describe how awful you were.”
She nodded. “I know. But before I lost my mind, we were friends. And we had the best times. I’ve never had a friend like you before. I want another chance. That’s why I…” she paused, her cheeks colouring.
“Why you what?”
She sighed. “The day I saw all of you outside Freya’s apartment… I followed you.” I opened my mouth to speak but she rushed on. “I wasn’t stalking you or anything. I just hoped I could find a second to talk to you face to face. Everyone was there, and I freaked out, and… Bree, don’t you even miss me a little bit?”
I missed her before. Right after it all happened. Even after she hurt me by using my past to taunt me. I got over it. I got over the way she treated me, and no. I didn’t miss her anymore. Not really.
“I’m giving you three seconds to get off my property.”
I started at the sound of Jude’s voice. Ha. Perhaps Taylor had hypnotised me. I hadn’t heard the gate open, but Jude strode towards us with annoyance written over his face.
“Yeah, I don’t care.” Jude cut her off. “Get out of here, and leave my wife alone.”
Jude nudged past her and gently moved me out of the way before slamming the door in her face.
“Jesus, Bree. I thought you were finished with her.”
A look of impatience was on his face again, like I was a bad kid and he was my parent.
“I didn’t invite her.”
“You were talking to her.”
“Yeah. Because the only way she’ll leave me alone is if I listen to what she has to say.”
Jude shook his head. “You’re too soft on her. She doesn’t deserve to have you as a friend. You need to stay away from her.”
He was telling me who I could talk to now? Even though I’d already told him I’d made my decision?
My frustration from the last few weeks bubbled up inside me again, more furious than before.
“Aren’t you even going to ask about my day? Remember? I worked today. My first day, and all you can do is tell me I can’t talk to Taylor?”
“You said you didn’t want to talk to her.”
“I don’t care about Taylor!” I shouted. “Today I actually did something I care about but that doesn’t matter to you, does it? What were you thinking? I’d go, get it out of my system, and that would be it? That I’d be scared by a day of work?”
“You didn’t give me a chance to ask.”
“Because you were too busy telling me what I can’t do!”
Jude shook his head and started towards the stairs. “I’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down. I’m going for a shower.”
“Stop ignoring me!” I yelled at his retreating back. “You just told Taylor to stay away from ‘your wife,’ well you know what? That’s not all I am!”
Jude turned back to me. “What’s with you? You’ve been jumping down my throat the last few weeks over nothing.”
“You think the things I want are nothing? That’s great. Really great.”
“Come on, I never said that. All I asked was that you make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons.”
“What does that even mean? Isn’t not wanting to be stuck in this house a good enough reason? You get to leave! You go to work, and you-”
“You’re not stuck here. You’re free to come and go when you want.”
I wanted him to yell. I wanted him to stop being so reasonable and yell at me but he wouldn’t. He never raised his voice. He’d never needed to because we’d never argued. We used to joke maybe there was something wrong with us because we never fought over anything. We fit together in every way, and if anything bothered either of us, we talked it through.
Why was me wanting a job the first bump in our usually smooth road? When I asked him why, he kept saying the same thing over and over. I want you to be sure. Like I’d be signing my life away if I committed to a couple of classes.
He’d sucked the happy right out of my day with his lack of interest and his telling me what to do. I had to get away.


Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cover Reveal—Phobic

Today, I am so excited to have Cortney Pearson here revealing her cover for her new novel, Phobic and also revealing her inspiration for the novel. Take it away, Cortney!

Series: The Forbidden Doors #1
Genre: YA Horror
Release date: September 2014

Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she's gradually falling for, but even he doesn't believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.

Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.


Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates books for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town. | | FACEBOOK

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As writers we are constantly gathering inspiration (whether we know it or not). An overheard conversation, watching people interact, teenagers laughing together, hearing others tell stories. I believe we subconsciously refer to our life experiences as we write and create stories. We have to. In order to generate realistic emotion and detail that readers can relate to, we have to have some kind of jumping-off-point to base them on. I'd like to share just a few things that sparked ideas for me as I created the world of PHOBIC, a world which is based on the ethereal aspect of seemingly ordinary places.

Inspiration #1
My great aunt lived alone in this fantastic old house built by her father, my great-great grandfather. And it felt like stepping back through time every time I walked through the door. BUT. Right off from her back door--the entrance we always used--was a staircase. It wasn't long. It wasn't even hidden like those in my story. But this staircase led to Aunt Vay's basement with its concrete floor and old cast iron stove and that pair of metal roller skates that always sat alone on a shelf. I hated going in that basement, especially by myself.

Looking back at these pictures now I wonder why I'd been so scared, but as a kid that basement was terrifying!

The basement in PHOBIC plays a huge part in the mystery of the house Piper lives in. It's a place she's been forbidden from entering, but this time she's determined to find out why.

Inspiration #2
Another instance happened at Aunt Vay's when my mom, sister, and I had pulled in late at night to sleep after traveling from California to Utah all day long. We were tired. It was cold and windy outside. And my mom couldn't find her key to the back door. We tried that knob several times and then as I went to reach for the knob again, the door opened. All on its own. OPENED. My mom, sister, and I all exchanged looks and when I checked the knob (on the now open door), it was still locked. True story! So it prompted the opening and this scene in PHOBIC:

My best friend Todd’s red pickup appears at the curb, spewing exhaust like the truck has a cigarette up its backside. I jerk up. My pulse kicks at the sight of him. That’s been happening a lot more lately, my insides flaring up and doing some sort of spastic dance whenever I catch sight of his alluring smile and dark curls.
Leaving the second Pop-Tart on the table, I stuff my phone in my pocket and snatch up my backpack and clarinet case. I dart past the round, velvet-topped table in the wide hallway to the front door.
I reach for the knob. It won’t turn.
Heart pounding, I try again. One way, then the other. Chick. Chick. The lock mechanism is vertical. The door isn’t locked.
“Not now,” I say under my breath. “Please not now.”
The hairs at my nape skulk up one by one until they all stand on end. My wrist flicks, and the obstinate knob makes the same chick chick sounds. The eerie feeling spreads down the length of my arm, making the knob cold under my touch. What is going on? I’m used to my house doing strange things, but why won’t it let me out?

Inspiration #3
The Winchester Mansion in California has also been intriguing to me, especially the staircase that leads to the ceiling. This whole house is completely creepy, but especially this:

Piper's house also has a hidden staircase similar to this one. Her discovery of it knocks her sense of reality way off course, and she begins seeing flashbacks of the original residents of house. Which leads to...

Inspiration #4
I LOVE romances, along with Victorian/Regency-era stories. So my final inspiration for the story--particularly the flashbacks that Piper has to the past--is:

Downton Abbey (I know it takes place after the two eras above-mentioned. But still, inspiration.) It was after watching the first few episodes that my two star-crossed servants in love sprang into my head.

There were many other sources of inspiration as well, but these are the main ones. What about for you? What inspires you when you write?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Since today is the first Wednesday of the month, it is tradition that I post as a member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, otherwise known as the IWSG. Created by the Ninja Captain himself—the amazing Alex Cavanaugh—the IWSG is a haven for writers, and offers encouragement and support for all of us insecure writers out there. You can sign up HERE.

For today's post, I've been contemplating for days what I wanted to share. I have been a very insecure writer lately. Still in the querying mode, I've had a few rejections trickle in. Each one does chip away at my confidence (a little) and I begin to wonder if I'm good enough.

Those of you who are regular visitors to my blog may remember me mentioning that I was recently asked to write a story for a youth Girl's Camp. A story that portrays the meaning of deep beauty—a beauty not defined by how you look, but who you are on the inside.

I wrote the story, but was hesitant to send it to the Camp Director. I was worried. What if she hated it? What if it was nothing like she pictured? What if...what if...what if...

I finally sent it to her, confident I had done the best I could. I got an email reply soon after. She LOVED it! We talked on the phone and she told me all the things she loved about it. She had sent it to her husband immediately afterwards, and he also thought it portrayed the message perfectly. My confidence soared.

The reason I'm sharing this is because just when I was feeling despair at the rejections, I had a glimpse of what I like to call "a tender mercy." That tender mercy gave me the motivation I need to persevere. I think when we do feel insecure, we need to seek out those tender mercies, the ones that will validate and uplift us.

I don't know if my first novel will ever get published, but you know what? That's okay. There's always another novel begging to be written.