Friday, September 19, 2014

Author Interview—Rebecca Belliston

Today, author Rebecca Belliston is here to talk about her latest novel, Citizens of Logan Pond: LIFE. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions and share what she does to overcome writer's block.

Here's a little about Rebecca and her NA novel Life.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Lund Belliston is the author of the romantic suspense novel, Sadie, and it's sequel, Augustina. Rebecca also composes piano and vocal music. When she's not writing fiction, music, or chasing her five kids, she can be found cuddled up with a good book. She and her family live in Michigan.

Find her online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Book blurb: Citizens of Logan Pond: LIFE

Her home. Her parents. Her freedom. Gone.
His dreams. His sister. Himself. Lost.
Two people.
One future.

The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her siblings alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: growing crops to feed thirty-six people, and keeping Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman, happy. Carrie’s life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up. A man with the ambition to help them survive. A man determined to hate her.

When a government raid nearly wipes out their clan, Greg realizes the true reason behind their safety. Patrolman Simmons has fallen for Carrie. Greg takes it upon himself to give the socially-awkward patrolman what he wants. Only Carrie doesn’t like Greg throwing her in Simmon's path, especially when Greg’s brusque exterior melts, and she catches a glimpse of the real man underneath. Carrie is forced to choose: follow her heart or save her clan.

Life won’t let her choose both.


Now on to the interview! Welcome, Rebecca!

Thanks for having me! I’m excited to be here and share a little about my new book.

Tell us a little about Life. Is it a stand alone book or part of a series?

This is the first book in a trilogy about a little band of neighbors in a small Midwest town who pull together after a global financial disaster wipes out their money, jobs, transportation, food supply, and basic way of living. At the heart of the story is quiet, unassuming Carrie Ashworth (23) who struggles to raise her siblings after her parents’ deaths. Without meaning to, she’s caught between two men: one with the power to destroy her clan, and the other with the power to crush her will to survive.

The series is entitled Citizens of Logan Pond, and the books are subtitled Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit.

*Oh wow, I love the premise of this series! -K.S.

What inspired you to write the series Citizens of Logan Pond?

Six years ago, I got stuck on a single question. “What if the end of civilization as we know it doesn’t come from some huge war or catastrophe? What if it comes from the absence of one small thing: the dollar?” This question wouldn’t leave me alone and has grown into this series.

I also wanted to explore what kinds of things would survive if everything is taken away from a person. Namely family, friendships, and love.

*What a great 'what if' question! And those can lead to some stellar novels! -K.S.

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

Definitely! I want readers to remember that the human spirit is strong and amazing. That love goes on, regardless of circumstances. That people can be good, in spite of what life throws at them. As a race, we are natural-born survivors. I want my readers to believe in people and themselves.

*Love this message! -K.S.

When writing a novel, do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what do you do to overcome it?

Yes. More often than I like. A few things have helped me push through it.

1) Walk away and let the scene stew in my mind for a while. Sometimes months.

2) Jump ahead and write what comes next in the story. This works really well. Usually after I figure out what happens later in the story, the earlier parts come more easily. I can go back and fix the scene that has me stumped.

3) Stop and dissect what I’m trying to write. The best advice I heard is that when the writing is coming slow, it’s probably not good writing. This is because when the story is awesome, amazing, and engaging, we can’t wait to get it onto paper. We can’t type fast enough. So if the story isn’t coming, the key is to figure out why. Easier said than done, right?

*I tend to jump ahead too! It does help, doesn't it? -K.S.

If you had a book club, what would they be reading, and why?

Hmmm. I have so many favorite books. I’m not sure I’m intelligent enough for many book clubs, though. They often read really deep, or profound books. Personally, I love reading sweet YA romances, so I’d have to have friends in the book club who also enjoy those. My favorite series I’ve read lately is “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer, or “The False Prince” by Jennifer Nielsen. Both are well written and fun reads, so I’d start with them.

*Oooh, sweet YA romances are the best. Good choice! -K.S.

And now for some FUN questions! :)

If I came to your home and looked in your fridge, what would I find?

A mess. Sorry, but it’s true. I’m getting to it eventually, I really am. Just not until after I get this book release out of the way.

Oh, you meant food? Milk. Cheese. Fruit. You know, the basics. Hopefully enough to keep my kids out of my hair. ☺

*Lol. Too funny! -K.S.

What is your favorite quote?

Non-writing quote: Men are that they might have joy.
Writing quote: Good books aren’t written. They’re rewritten.

*Love both of these quotes! -K.S.

If given a chance, what would you like to be for a day?

Do I have to pick one thing, because it’s really hard to choose? You didn’t specify, so here are a few: A sky diver, a film-score composer, a world traveler, and a NYT bestselling author. All at the same time. ☺

*Haha! Yes, all at the same time. Although with your plethora of talents, it might be possible... ;) -K.S.

What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Social settings. I’m not exactly shy, but I’m not a big-group kind of person. I tend to sit on the edge of the crowd and find one or two people to talk to.

*I'm not a big group person either! I prefer small groups or one-on-one. ;) -K.S.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer? Fall? Winter? Spring?

Summer: beach with the family and a good book
Fall: park with the family and a good book
Winter: couch with the family, blanket, and a good book
Spring: starting my flower garden

*I get the feeling you like books... :) -K.S.

Thank you, Rebecca! It was great having you on Unicorn Bell today!

Thanks for having me, and thanks for the fun questions!

You can follow Rebecca on her Blog Tour. And be sure to sign up for the Giveaway and a chance to win a signed copy of Life AND a $25 Amazon gift card! Sounds awesome, right?

And now for the Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Elevator Pitch & Teaser Interview with Elizabeth Briggs

So, I'm headed to the SCBWI Carolinas Conference in TWO days!! Very excited and feeling a little nervous. 

Why nervous, you ask? 

Because of this darn elevator pitch that I need to have ready in case someone asks me what I'm working on. Thankfully, I have the BEST critique partner in the WORLD, and she helped me iron out the wrinkles, but I wanted to test it out on you guys. If it makes you want to read the book, then my work here is done. If it doesn't, then I guess it's back to the drawing board!

Here's what we came up with: (BTW, this is a Young Adult dystopian with romantic elements)

Long Pitch:

Eighteen-year-old Sienna Preston becomes involved in a deadly game of cat and mouse when her most recent liar-for-hire assignment—to steal an important computer chip from a genetic matchmaking facility—goes awry. Forced to flee her life as a Drifter she seeks protection from the young leader of the infamous terrorist organization, the Radicals.

Short pitch:

When an assignment to steal an important computer chip from the genetic matchmaking and modification facility goes awry, eighteen-year-old liar-for-hire Sienna Preston is forced to flee her life as a Drifter and seek protection from the young leader of the terrorist organization, the Radicals.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

**Updated Pitch: (Decided to change it a bit...what do you think? Better? Worse? Too long?)

In a society where the Government tries to force people to Conform, eighteen-year-old Sienna Preston clings to the one thing she knows she's good at—the art of lying. But when her liar-for-hire assignment to steal an important computer chip from the genetic matchmaking and modification facility goes awry, she's forced to abandon her free-spirit lifestyle and seek refuge in the underground Radical Compound.

**Most Recent Updated Pitch:

Eighteen-year-old Sienna Preston is a liar for hire.

But when her covert exchange is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a Government official hell-bent on taking her down. She now has two choices—kill the father of the genetically modified boy she’s falling for, or be sent to Solitary Seclusion for the rest of her life.


Also, 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! 

And now, here's a teaser interview with New Adult author Elizabeth Briggs.


Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

Author bio:

Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.

Even though you have an agent, you decided to self-publish MORE THAN MUSIC. What influenced that decision?

When I wrote MORE THAN MUSIC I’d already been on submission for years with my YA books and was pretty burnt out by it all. I decided MORE THAN MUSIC would be a perfect book to self-publish since New Adult generally does better in ebooks than print anyway. Also, the book has a lot of pop culture references in it and I wanted it to come out now instead of two years from now or more. I knew that by self-publishing I would have control over the content, the release date, the price, the cover, the interior format, and so forth – and I’d keep all the rights and the profits, too! Giving up all of that for a traditional deal didn’t seem worth it for this particular book.

*Sounds like a smart decision, especially considering the circumstances. -K.S.

What inspired you to write MORE THAN MUSIC?

I went to high school for a short time with Adam Levine and the other guys in Maroon 5, back when they were called Kara’s Flowers. They played at our school dances and I sat behind them in class and was completely in love with them. Of course, they had no idea I existed! Many years later I saw Adam Levine on The Voice, and had the idea of a geeky girl joining an up-and-coming rock band at her school and going on a show like The Voice, and MORE THAN MUSIC grew from that.

*Wow, such a cool inspiration and fun story! I wish I knew Adam Levine in high school... -K.S.

If you had to wear a T-shirt with one word on it for the rest of your life, which word would you choose? Why?

“Rawr!” This word just works for so many different situations.

*Lol. Great word! :) -K.S.

To read the rest of Elizabeth's interview, please head on over to Unicorn Bell. Thanks!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Teaser Interview with Cortney Pearson

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, Cortney Pearson. You may remember her recent cover reveal on my blog...

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

 To buy the book:
   B & N

You recently decided to self-­publish your YA horror novel, Phobic. What influenced that decision?
I had just finished a two­-year­-long bout of querying. I had TONS of interest and then rejections that for the most part weren’t based on anything actually wrong with the story, just that agents “couldn’t connect” or it wasn’t “the right fit.” It was really discouraging because I knew my story was just as good as what was being published!

I kept hearing about people having huge success self-­publishing. And then I met an author at LDS Storymakers who shared her story and she asked a question that rocked my world:

“What can traditional publishing do for you that you can’t do for yourself?”

I decided to find out. And there were so many factors! I wouldn’t have to wait on other people’s opinions—I could publish a story I loved and have it out for others to enjoy! I could design my own cover, have it listed for as long as I like, in short, I’d have control, which, after waiting on others for so long, was especially appealing.

*Way to take control, Cortney! That is an appealing aspect of self-publishing. -K.S.

If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
I know most people probably say this, but I’d love to be in a Harry Potter novel. I want a wand! To learn spells and apparate. I WANT TO GO TO HOGWARTS.

*That would be fun! -K.S.

What specific thing have you done that impressed yourself?
I’ve been pretty impressed with my mad painting skills lately. Not like, artwork painting, but just painting our house, lol. I’ve also gotten pretty good with a caulking gun.

Haha! I think there are some things around my house that could use a good caulking... :) -K.S.

To read more of Cortney's interview and find out what grosses her out, please visit Unicorn Bell. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Release/Interview with Chrys Fey

Today, I have author Chrys Fey here celebrating the release of her novella, 30 Seconds! She was kind enough to stop in and answer a few questions. So, without further ado, let's get to the interview...

• What inspired you to write your novella, 30 Seconds?

In a dream, I was spinning on a swivel chair to pounding rock music with my eyes closed when hands halted the fast rotation and lips touched mine. I opened my eyes to see a hot officer in full uniform. Before I woke up he said, “I shouldn’t have done that.” In the morning, I started to think about writing a story where a woman falls in love with a cop even though she knows she shouldn’t. That’s when I created Dani Hart and Blake Herro.

*Hot officer? Yummy. This novella sounds right up my alley! -K.S.

• How are you the same or different from your main character, Dani Hart?

Dani and I both live and breathe rock music. We are also afraid of being in car accidents, and have at least one tattoo. After that the similarities stop. Dani is a fast runner with perfect form whereas I look like Pinocchio running from a pack of dogs. She is a redhead and a doctor. I have blonde hair and only pretended to be a doctor when I was a child.

*Haha! Pinocchio. That's funny! -K.S.

• What books or authors have most influenced your writing?

As a child, the book “Are you my Mother?” by P.D. Eastman influenced me a lot. This book still influences me and has been mentioned in a few of my books. As a young woman, Nora Robert made a huge impact on my writing. She essentially became my mentor through her printed words.

*I also LOVE "Are you my Mother?" And Nora Roberts is such a talented writer! -K.S.

• Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I won second place two years in a row in my elementary school’s science fair, but in high school I struggled with science.

• What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When someone puts a dirty plate in the sink without rinsing it off first. I hate scrubbing off bits of food and dried-on sauces. Ick!      

 *That is gross! -K.S.

• Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at.

1. Writing, of course. I’ve been writing with the intent of publication since I was twelve, so I like to think I’m pretty good at it.

2. Being an auntie to my two nephews. I was a nanny to both of them when they were babies/toddlers. I love them so much, and would protect them at all costs.

• Name two things you consider yourself to be very bad at.

1. Singing. I know I don’t have a singing voice, which is sad since I love music so much and even write song lyrics.

2. Walking in high heels. I’m tall, and I have a rod in my back from corrective spine surgery for scoliosis, so when you put the two of those things together you have a very awkward woman in heels.

• If you had a time machine, where would you go?

17th century England to see pirates for a story I am planning on writing.

*Ooooh, that would be cool. And inspirational. -K.S.

• What’s your motto in life?

Everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t know what that reason is at the time.

*Love that motto! Good one. -K.S.

Blurb: When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

Book Links:


Bio: Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

Author Links:




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG September—SCBWI Awesomeness

The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for the Insecure Writers Support Group (also known as the IWSG). If you are interested in joining this awesome group where we post our insecurities, triumphs, fears, and failures, as well as offer encouragement to fellow writers, you can sign up HERE. Created by the amazing Alex Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a wonderful group to be a part of.

I recently signed up for the SCBWI Carolinas Conference: To Tell a Tale which will be held in Charlotte in a couple weeks. And I'm so excited! Ever since I decided to switch genres and tackle Young Adult, I've been looking for the right conference for me. And wouldn't you know it...there's one close to home!

Since I registered, I've had tons of thoughts going through my head as well as a running list of things I need to do to get ready for the conference. Here's what I think I need to do before the conference... (All of you conference experts out there, let me know if I'm on the right track!)

  • Make business cards with contact info to hand out to other writers at the conference.
  • Have my elevator pitch ready in case someone asks me what I'm working on.
  • Work on my query so when the conference is over, I can submit to the agents who attend. 
  • Make sure I have appropriate business casual clothes to wear (hmm, I might need to go shopping for this one...)
  • Have my first page polished and in appropriate format for the First Pages/First Impressions submission.
  • Be ready to learn, immerse myself in writing, and meet other writers. (Sounds fun, right?!)

Can you think of anything else?