Category Archives: Authors

Little Known Facts – A Guest Post by Crystal Collier

Please welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some little known story world facts!

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In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

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Little Know Facts about the Maiden of Time Trilogy

When you meet someone, you look them up and down and decide on their approximate age, experience, and wisdom, right? But what if their physical exterior was deceiving?

This is one issue you face when dealing with immortals. Most of the Passionate (also called The Lost Ones) can’t die of old age. Their natural immunity is higher than most people. The purest of them only die by being killed, or some super stupid accident like falling over a 200 foot cliff.

For kicks and giggles, I thought I’d reveal a few of the characters and their ages. Ooh!

Alexia Dumont is the exact age she looks. Yay! Between 16 and 21 throughout the Maiden of Time series, but will she stay youthful forever, or gradually age? Only Grandfather Time knows the answer.

 

Bellezza looks 13. She hasn’t been thirteen for about 20 years. She is forever trapped between childhood and adulthood.

 

Miles was born the same day as Alexia. Although young, he acts MUCH older because of his gift to see through other people’s eyes. His future is uncertain as he was briefly grazed by the Soulless and robbed of the health and beauty most the Passionate enjoy.

 

John is Soulless and has been for a century, but before that, he was thirty-seven. Since the Soulless never die, he may be around for a long, long time.

 

Lester is the oldest of the Passionate in this series. How old? He would say “eternal.” (He doesn’t keep track.) Because of his experience, he is the voice of wisdom, although you’ll have to get past his rough manners.

 

Edward ages at about two thirds his actual years. When Alexia first sees him, he’s in his late 70’s.

 

Ethel is in the middle of her third century. She is one of the timeless beings who will haunt the earth for millennia to come, if something doesn’t happen to her.

 

Nelly is in her nineties. Pretty spry for her age, eh?

 

Mae is unlike most. She sucks life out of the world around her, and will always remain youthful. She is inching up on 600 years when Alexia first meets her.

 

Amos is well over 1,000. He’s also Soulless.

 

Lucian has been around for approximately 800 years. He is slow to judge and usually quiet. When he intervenes, it’s time to listen up.

 

Corona Deiliey is about 500 years old when Alexia first meets her. (If you know who she is, this is a rather astonishing fact.)

 

Regin has been putting people to sleep with his touch since 1100 AD. That makes him near 700 years old when we first meet him in the story world, but you’d never guess it from the immature way he acts.

 

Kiren keeps his age a secret. He loves his mysteries! But you can unfold them from reading the series. When Alexia asks his age after they begin secretly courting, he tells her he hasn’t felt so young at anything in a long time.

Age is a matter of mind in my opinion. You are as old as you act/feel. Of course, having genetics that keep you eternally young wouldn’t be too bad either, right?

If you’d never die of old age, how long would you want to live?

(All images used in this post were provided by Crystal Collier)

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices 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, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

https://www.crystal-collier.com/spinner/

Why Tarot? Top Three Reasons why Tarot Cards Rock – A Guest Post by Jenn Stark

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What the Cat Read is excited to have Jenn Stark with us today during her Wilde Card Release Week Celebration! Thanks to Barclay Publicity for letting us participate in this wonderful event, murr! If you would like to see all of the blog involved in the celebration, please click on the banner above. =^.^=

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Why Tarot? Top Three Reasons why Tarot Cards Rock

Cameron, hello! Thank you very much for hosting me today at What the Cat Read. I’m always up for discussing the Tarot, and what drew me to feature Tarot mythology and cards in my Immortal Vegas series. Because I could spin on (and on!) about this subject, I decided to break it down into a Top 3…

 

The Top Three Reasons Why Tarot Cards Rock

  1. A cohesive divination and meditation system

There are many tools you can use for divination—Runes, horoscope, tea leaves, the I Ching, dice or even the flip of a coin. But the Tarot card system gives you a complete set of messages and interpretations—twenty two Major Arcana cards and fifty six Minor Arcana cards. If you read both upright and reversed cards, that gives you fully 156 different card meanings, all within a single deck.

And that’s not all: depending on how cards are grouped together—say, if you have a reading with all cup cards or with every suit EXCEPT pentacles—the meanings can shift. Accordingly, interpreting the Tarot can be universal in some ways, and yet completely personal. For the practitioner who really wants to spend time with the cards, the result is a deep well of meanings that you can apply to your question, whether you’re seeking the answer to a question or if you’re using the cards for meditation.

For Sara, she’s lived with the cards her whole life—and she trusts them implicitly. As a result, the answers she gains from them are generally clear and accurate to help ensure her safety…or, more usually, her success in finding an artifact (or a person.)

  1. Consistent messaging, but endless variations on imagery

The majority of modern decks play on some form of the Rider-Waite imagery, based on a deck published in 1910 and now famous the world over. What this means is that, no matter what deck you pick up, chances are you’ll be able to identify and draw conclusions based on the images you see on the cards. This consistency of imagery makes the Tarot mythos very recognizable and powerful for both those new to the cards as well as seasoned practitioners.

That said, the creativity of card designers and illustrators is out of this world. Just check out the cards at Aeclectic Tarot or Queen of Tarot – both amazing sites – and you’ll see that there’s a Tarot deck out there for everyone. Heck, there’s even a LEGO Tarot deck. How much win is that?

Sara tends to rock it old school, so she uses Rider-Waite style cards, particularly the Radiant deck. (Which not coincidentally is a favorite of mine as well!) When I do readings for others, I’ve often used Ciro Marchetti’s Gilded deck as well. You can see all of Ciro’s newest deck, the Gilded Royale at my site, www.jennstark.com!

  1. A mythology rich with possibility

The cards are, in a word, beautiful—so evocative and meaningful that you could spend hours researching the symbology, colors and images represented and still not fully understand the full impact of each card. The longer you read Tarot, however, the more you can see the nuances in how the cards work with each other, which makes it a terrific tool for long-term study.

Naturally, then, I was thrilled to be able to feature the cards in the Immortal Vegas series in a couple of different ways—to guide Sara directly, as when she draws the Devil card immediately before being asked to go rescue the Devil from the Vatican in book 1-and also as an indirect aid, as when she must interpret the cards at the beginning of book 2 to escape a water-filled crypt. Different cards strike different emotional tones, from regretful to joyous to bitter to satisfied, so I could play with that as well. It’s a blast to work the cards in as Sara overcomes various obstacles, and I look forward to even more exploration of the cards as the series goes forward!

Thanks again, Cameron! That might have been a little more information on Tarot than you wanted, but I’ve had a blast talking about the cards today!

About the Book:

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Publisher: Elewyn Publishing

Date Released: November 17, 2015

Series: Immortal Vegas #2

All that glitters may not be gold.

When an antique gold show comes to Vegas, Tarot-reading magical artifacts hunter Sara Wilde’s job is simple: locate and liberate a set of relics rumored to give their bearers access to an ancient, incredible power. With whispers of a war on magic racing through the Connected community, every psychic, mystic, warlock, and witch descends on Sin City to claim the relics first. But no one wants these talismans more than Sara’s client: the insufferably arrogant, criminally sensual, absolutely untrustworthy Magician.

And what the Magician wants…

Sara’s heist takes a turn for the trickier as the smoky-eyed specter from her past, Detective Brody Rooks, is assigned to investigate a break-in at the gold show, forcing her to confront the one man in Vegas she can’t bluff. Even worse, just as she finally gets her hands on the goods, the game changes anew. The resulting chase leads her across the world to an ancient Egyptian temple filled with secrets, deception… and hints about her own abilities that could change everything. Desperate for answers, Sara is forced to turn to the one person she knows will lie, cheat, manipulate and steal to get whatever he craves. Only now, it seems, the Magician wants her.

Sometimes, when the deck is stacked against you… you’ve got to play the Wilde Card.

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About the Author:

JennStark

Jenn Stark is a Golden Heart award-winning author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She lives and writes in Ohio. . . and she writes a LOT.   In addition to her work in paranormal, she is also author Jennifer McGowan, whose Maids of Honor series of Young Adult Elizabethan spy romances are published by Simon & Schuster, and author Jennifer Chance, whose Rule Breakers series of New Adult contemporary romances are published by Random House/LoveSwept.

The world of her first paranormal romance, which was previously titled BLACK JACK, has now been reimagined as the setting ONE WILDE NIGHT, GETTING WILDE and WILDE CARD, all to be published in 2015, with BORN TO BE WILDE to follow in early 2016!

Connect with Jenn: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

Follow the tour from November 16th – 20th! One grand prize winner will receive a $25 gift card for Amazon (Open Internationally) and one grand prize winner will receive a ‘Dixie Quinn Approved “Girls Night Out” Gift Basket’ (Open to U.S. Residents Only). To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29151/

Guest Interview with Julia London, Author of The Scoundrel and the Debutante

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Today we are thrilled to have Julia London visiting with us as part of her The Soundrel and the Debutante Blog Tour hosted by the folks at Media Muscle/BookTrib. Be sure to stop by next Wednesday, May 13 for your chance to win a copy of this wonderful novel! =^.^=

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About the Book:

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Publisher: Harlequin Books

Date Released: April 28, 2015

Series: The Cabot Sisters #3

When a man on a mission takes on a beautiful but unlikely ally, seduction and adventure are inevitable…

The dust of the Cabot sisters’ shocking plans to rescue their family from certain ruin may have settled, but Prudence Cabot is left standing in the rubble of scandal. Now regarded as an unsuitable bride, she’s tainted among the ton. Yet this unwilling wallflower is ripe for her own adventure. And when an irresistibly sexy American stranger on a desperate mission enlists her help, she simply can’t deny the temptation.

The fate of Roan Matheson’s family depends on how quickly he can find his runaway sister and persuade her to return to her betrothed. Scouring the rustic English countryside with the sensually wicked Prudence at his side—and in his bed—he’s out of his element. But once Roan has a taste of the sizzling passion that can lead to forever, he must choose between his heart’s obligations and its forbidden desires.

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Other Books in the Series:

(Click on the covers for more details)

 

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Author Interview:

You’ve written over thirty historical romances and you’ve also published several contemporary romances. What is it like to switch back and forth from one type of romance to the other?

First, I don’t think of them as different subgenres although, technically, they are. I just think of them as another story. No matter what the setting, these books are about people and falling in love, and that is timeless. The inherent conflicts between men and women are timeless. So if a man is wearing pantaloons or jeans, when he falls in love, he feels the same way. From a technical standpoint, I like switching between time period settings—I think it keeps me fresh. The cadence of the language changes slightly, and sometimes I am so relieved I can just put people in a car and move them somewhere as opposed to readying a coach and a team of four and having to deal with a coachman and the butler just to get out the door. But those are minor details. Historical or contemporary, women’s fiction or whatever I am writing, it’s all about the story to me.

Do you think that being raised in rural West Texas had an effect on the type of romances you wanted to write?

I don’t think being raised on a ranch influenced the type of romance so much as it influenced the stimulation and stretch of my imagination. I was making up swashbuckling and romantic stories from a very early age. The world outside my house was my canvas, and there were canyons and gullies and miles and miles of wheat fields.   With my sisters and brother, I may have explored it all—my mother frequently kicked us out into fresh air. We would ride our bikes for miles, or go out into wheat stubble and stomp down rooms to form our mansion and playact. The sky was big, the land stretched forever, and I had siblings and animals as an audience to my tales.

About the Author:

Julia London

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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Guest Interview with Sarah Morgan, Author of First Time in Forever

What the Cat Read would like to thank the folks at Media Muscle/BookTrib for providing us with the opportunity to host Sarah Morgan on the blog! Be sure to come back later for our review of Morgan’s novel, First Time in Forever, and read an excerpt from the story. In the meantime, please welcome Sarah Morgan, everyone! =^.^=

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Publisher: Harlequin (HQN Books)

Date Released: February 24, 2015

Series: Puffin Island #1

Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways…

It’s been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of “just breathe” pep talks she’s given herself. And that’s before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…

Ryan knows all about secrets. And it’s clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won’t let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he’s going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else’s hands?

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Interview:

First Time in Forever is the opening book in your brand new Puffin Island series. What inspired you to write this series?

I knew from the start that I wanted the link between the characters and stories to be a strong friendship. I write romance, but I also love exploring the other relationships in my characters’ lives, including family and friends. I had finished my O’Neil Brothers series, which was set in the beautiful mountains of Vermont, and I wanted a completely different setting for my new series. I decided on an island, a coastal retreat where three friends could escape when life was hard. I want readers to dive in, breathe in the sea air, taste the fresh blueberries and the smooth chill of ice cream and take a beach holiday while they read.

What is the title in reference to?

The title was chosen by my publisher but it’s perfect for the story because for my heroine, Emily, it is a summer of firsts. Like many of us, she lives her life well within her comfort zone. She thinks she has control of everything but life has a way of shaking up that theory and overnight her life changes. Suddenly she’s forced to do all the things she has been avoiding and by pushing herself she discovers she is capable of more than she thought. For Emily, it really is ‘First Time in Forever’.

Can you tell us a little about best friends Emily, Brittany and Skylar?

I love these characters, and their friendship is a constant theme flowing through all three books. They met in college and formed an instant bond that has deepened over the years. Theirs is a deep, authentic friendship. They know each other, accept each other without judgment and they’re always there for one another. In a crisis, they’ll be on the phone – they may not always agree, but they always support. They encourage, laugh, listen and forgive. They share history, secrets, and they always want the best for each other.

All three girls are very different. Emily is the more cautious of the three. She’s guarded, but very loyal to her friends. After a difficult childhood, she protects herself emotionally by keeping tight control over her life. She lives well within her comfort zone, avoiding responsibility for anyone but herself. When she finds herself responsible for a child, everything changes for her.

Brittany is an archaeologist, a cross between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones (but nothing annoys her more than being asked if she owns a whip!). She is smart, adventurous and given to impulse. At the age of eighteen she married island bad boy, Zachary Flynn. It lasted all of ten days. Since then she has travelled the world and put that relationship behind her. Brittany’s story, Some Kind of Wonderful, will be out in September in the US, but readers who would like to meet her early can find her in Playing by the Greek’s Rules, a story I wrote for Harlequin Presents, which is out now.

Skylar is a jewelry designer, an artist with a dreamy streak and a wicked sense of humor. She’s a free spirit, a trait that causes conflict with her family who are continually hoping she will choose a more conventional career path. Skylar is romantic but she doesn’t dream of weddings, she dreams of love.

How do you decide which character to write about first?

I’d had Emily’s story in my head for a while, and she was my starting point for the whole series. What I didn’t have was the setting or the other characters. I started to think about what had happened to her (finding herself guardian to her half sister’s child when she’d made a life decision never to have children) and how she’d react. Even though it was never her choice to have Lizzy, she is a very responsible person so I knew she’d do anything and everything within her power to keep the child safe. I’d already decided that she would have close friends, so I decided the three women would have somewhere they always went in times of trouble. Castaway Cottage is owned by Brittany, and all three women treat it as a sanctuary. Once I had the friends and the island, all I had to do was build a warm, wonderful community who would gradually ease Emily out of her shell. And populate it with hot men of course!

What is the central theme of First Time in Forever?

The central theme is courage. We all have a tendency to avoid the things that scare us, and that is what Emily has done. Her whole life has been constructed to avoid her biggest fears and suddenly she is forced to meet them head on. She is determined to protect herself and not make herself vulnerable so taking that leap with Ryan is huge for her. She’s known loss, so now she chooses to keep people at a safe distance. In the end Emily faces her fears and triumphs. Love and making yourself vulnerable, requires courage.

What made you choose the Puffin as the island bird?

puffin-imageI spent a long time researching the various islands around Penobscot Bay, Maine. Although I prefer to have a fictitious setting, it’s important to me to make it as authentic as possible so I was focusing on the national park and the wildlife of the area. I discovered that although Puffins are not an endangered species, they are rare in Maine and there are projects to reintroduce them to the islands.

I first saw Puffins in the north of England and they are the most amazing sea birds. As I was researching, one of the facts that stayed with me was that although they spend most of their lives at sea, they usually return to breed on the same island where they were hatched. This fitted well with my idea that Puffin Island would be a sanctuary for the three friends. Emily, Brittany and Skylar each live busy independent lives but when they need a safe retreat, they return to the island. In the books, the Puffins actually live on Puffin Rock, which is a small rocky outcrop to the north of the island. They don’t like humans to get too close!

The names that you chose for the island and the cottage are so lovely – how do you come up with them?

Picking the setting for a new series is very important because I’m going to be spending so much time there myself during the writing process. It has to be somewhere that captures my imagination, and I need to fall in love with it myself before I create a word that hopefully the reader will love too. I knew I wanted to set the series in Maine, but I am lucky enough to have readers all around the world, so the place I chose had to work for them too. As part of my research, I was looking at seabirds in the area and decided that calling it Puffin Island would work for readers all over the globe.

The cottage is a sanctuary for all three women and I wanted the name to reflect that. It’s somewhere they can escape to when life is difficult, so ‘Castaway’ seemed like the perfect name. I wanted it to be secluded but also warm and welcoming and in the end I fell in love with the cottage. I’d move there tomorrow!

Were you involved in the cover design process?

I’m very lucky because the team in the art department at HQN do a wonderful job with my covers. My editor and I make sure they have as much information about characters and setting as possible, to help them design a cover that reflects the feel and tone of the story. My agent and I do see early concepts, and feedback our ideas too. I love the cover for First Time in Forever. It conveys that warm, summery, beach feeling that matches the tone of the book.

Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?

That’s a tough question. I enjoyed writing the beach picnic scene because it represents a real challenge for Emily, but also for Ryan who is equally out of his comfort zone. A woman with a child isn’t on his wish list and this is the scene where he realizes he isn’t as in control of his feelings as he’d like to be.

What first attracts Ryan to Emily and vice versa?

Ryan first meets Emily because he is asked by their friend Brittany to check on her. At first he is simply fulfilling a duty, but he senses that she has secrets and he’s intrigued. Ryan loves a mystery and, of course, he’s very attracted to her. Once he finds out more about her, he wants to help her. Ryan pushes her out of her comfort zone and with him she starts to do things she hasn’t done before. In helping her, he is forced to take a long hard look at his own life.

Emily has been playing it safe for most of her life, but now she is right out of her comfort zone, not only because of the responsibility for Lizzy, but also because of her feelings for Ryan. He makes no secret of the way he feels about her. He is strong, persuasive and insanely hot! The relationship is very sexually charged, and she isn’t used to that. She doesn’t know how to handle it. At first she resists but gradually he nudges her out of her shell and persuades her to open up to him. Also, he has experience in the area she feels most vulnerable – caring for a child. It’s through his dealings with Lizzy that she sees his true character.

Your character Emily has a terrible fear of the ocean. Why did you choose to include this in the book?

Overcoming fear is a theme of the book, and Emily’s fear of the ocean mirrors her fear of emotions. She is afraid of being swamped, of losing everything. She is torn because on the one hand Puffin Island is the perfect place to hide away, but it also means confronting her worst fears. When she visited the island with her friends she was able to stay indoors and inland and think only of herself, but now she has Lizzy, who wants to play in the sand and swim in the sea. She is forced out of her comfort zone and it’s difficult for her. I love challenging my characters and watching them grow, and that’s the case for Emily.

You have a strong connection to the ocean. What are your fondest seaside memories?

I love the ocean. I live close to London, so escaping to the sea is nothing more than a dream for most of the year. I have two sons and some of our happiest holidays have been spent by the beach. Every summer we hire a house near the ocean and like many families, we have our own routines and rituals that we often repeat each holiday. If we’re feeling energetic we brave the freezing waves to go body boarding and walk miles along the coast path. If we want a more leisurely day we explore the tide pools, delving beneath rocks and through fronds of seaweed to find hidden treasures. We build the most amazing sand sculptures and of course we eat! Beach picnics are always fun and sometimes we’ll take a fishing trip and cook what we catch. There’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly cooked fish eaten on the beach as the sun goes down. And no beach holiday would be complete without ice cream (my current favorite flavors are pistachio and vanilla). It’s no coincidence that ice cream plays a role in First Time in Forever. I had so much fun dreaming up Summer Scoop and the whole family (and my readers on facebook!) helped pick the flavors.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love spending time with family and friends. I’m a sociable person and people are the antidote to long hours spent in front of the computer. Having friends over is a favorite pastime, and I love cooking.

I also try to spend time outdoors whenever I can. Writing is a mostly sedentary, indoor job so when I’m not tied to a deadline I like to walk and ride my mountain bike (but only in the summer I confess).

When I want to flop, I read (of course!) and I’m addicted to various TV dramas (The Good Wife, Scandal, House of Cards, The Big Bang Theory are among my favorites).

Who would play Emily and Ryan in First Time in Forever, the movie?

Emily Blunt could be Emily, and Chris Pine would be Ryan.

Are you a seat of your pants writer or do you plan out the story idea beforehand?

I’m definitely seat of my pants, but I do have a rough idea of where I’m going before I start. I know the characters and the conflict, but the detail evolves as I write. I do find it helps to think hard about the ending right at the beginning of the process. If you know where your characters are going to end up and how they will change over the story, it forces you to think hard about what decisions they might make, and lessons they might learn, to affect that change.

What are you currently reading?

Sarah Addison Allen’s First Frost. I love her work. One of my favorite books is The Peach Keeper.

Are there any quirky rituals/habits you have during the writing process?

I use a lot of sticky notes and I don’t throw anything away until the book is finished. I make a playlist but I don’t usually write to it. Music is a wonderful way of evoking emotion, and finding exactly the right track can make a scene easier to write. It’s very personal. I’m not sure that a reader listening to a playlist would necessarily enjoy the music unless it was played in exactly the right place in the story, but it really helps the thinking process for me.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

This is such a difficult question because there are so many authors whose work I enjoy and I love discovering new authors. I read a lot. Among my top favorites would be Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Sarah Addison Allen.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Read

Write every day

Stay off the internet

When you’re stuck, keep going

Read more

Make your characters as human and real as possible

Join a writing organization such as Romance Writers of America

Put your work aside and don’t be afraid to revise. Revisions are part of writing.

Read it aloud for rhythm

Develop resilience.

Find at least one good writing friend.

Every time you’re knocked down, get up again.

READ!

What are you working on next?

I’m in the middle of the third book in the Puffin Island series, Skylar and Alec’s story, called Christmas Ever After. Sky is a really fun character to write and the tension with Alec is electric. It’s one of those stories where life keeps throwing boulders at the characters (a bit like real life!) and it’s interesting to see them fighting their way out. I love this couple. Their relationship borders on adversarial but they have off the scale chemistry and plenty of humor so it’s fun to write. And it’s a Holiday story, so there is all the extra frosty sparkle I always enjoy.

About the Author:

SarahMorganUSA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated four years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. She also won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their ‘Top Pick’ slot.

Sarah lives near London, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.

Readers can find out more about Sarah and her books from her website www.sarahmorgan.com. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Sparks Playlist – A Musical Guest Post by Ashley C. Harris

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Today we are thrilled, as always, to have the wonderful Ashley C. Harris join us for a musical guest post that is sure to make your whiskers curl with delight and your tail tapping in enjoyment. Our thanks go to both Ashley and Barclay Publicity for allowing us the opportunity to host today’s post during the Sparks Blog Tour! For all the blogs involved, and for a chance to be entered into the giveaway for this title, please click on the banner above, murr!

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SPARKS Playlist:

Linkin Park – A Place For My Head

Book scene: Randy sets flames to the dean’s office plus Spencer goes for a joy ride and “runs into” a small stranger …

This song pretty much just rocks not only for those scenes but for how a lot of the SHOCK ME characters feel stuck in their small town and all their circumstances. When I first wrote this series (I’m talking over ten years ago when I was a teen myself and dreamed of the idea behind the entire series) I listened to Linkin Park a lot, and whenever I hear this song, it takes me right back to my first writings and all the adventures of the characters. Even the lyrics in the song, ‘I want to be in the energy, not with the enemy. A place for my head … ‘ Do you hear those and get the SHOCK ME series connection? Wanting to be in the energy, as in electric energy, not with the enemy … and here I’ve surrounded Donna with enemies, ‘a place for my head.’ We find out in SPARKS what’s been taken from Donna’s head … some very important memories. So yea this song is always a great one when I want to get back into the series and it fits the above scenes perfectly.

Saliva – Rest In Pieces

Book scene: Donna and Ryan’s Christmas dinner and outside discussion …

This song is like the one I’ve described above, when I heard this song as a teen I imagined Donna and Ryan’s entire story from beginning to end. It just fits them because everything between them is broken and in pieces and Donna in the scene stated above, at that Christmas dinner when Ryan confronts her outside, very much wants their past, what they had, to ‘rest in pieces.’

Where her betrayed memories are most safe. She doesn’t want Ryan to do something that will make him seem good in her eyes, things would be to confusing that way. To survive and stay alive she needs to see things as they are, she is the Electrolite and he is a part of the team that tried, and is still trying, to destroy her. That has lied to her her entire life. This song also fits Ryan’s point of view also when you listen to the lyrics because he knows he can’t care for what he thinks is a normal human girl, and I believe he wants to ‘make this go away,’ make his feelings and need to protect her 24/7 go away. It’s not happening.

Fall Out Boys – Light em Up

Book Scene – Donna and Alexis sneak into the hotel where Xander is being held in the city. Music continues into the generator room where there is a massive blackout and it’s time for Donna to once again try to get through Randy.

Well who doesn’t love this song? It thrives on action, on lighting things up and setting them on fire. What song could not be more perfect in my mind when imagining Donna sneaking into a major hotel in a big city, to face off with Randy ‘in the dark’ and try to save someone that’s in an actual cage? The lyrics and rhythm are both equally perfect when it comes to me imagining this scene. Just look at the words: ‘Be careful making wishes in the dark. Can’t be sure when they’ve hit their mark. And besides in the mean, mean time I’m just dreaming of tearing you apart. I’m in the details with the devil. So now the world can never get me on my level. I just gotta get you off the cage. I’m a young lover’s rage. Gonna need a SPARK to ignite. My songs know what you did in the dark. So light ’em up!’

Linkin Park – What I’ve Done & New Divide

Book Scene: Donna verse Ryan on roof top, while at the same time Spencer and Rebecca race to find her, and prisoners of the compound get ready to escape.

Wow, so a lot happens in the above SPARKS scene, and it reflects how I like to write action, with a lot going on and more than one character and conflict on the line (And if you study movie action scenes you’ll see some of the best sequences have a cutting back and fourth between multiple battles, and multiple problems going on at once). If I could make a soundtrack to the above scene, it would be a new mix made from combining the above songs. Again Linkin Park is a great go to for me whenever I want to write or think about the SHOCK ME series and these songs just fit.

Maroon 5 – Through With You

Book Scene: Ryan ends things with Lynn.

‘Can you see me? Floating above your head as you lay in bed. Thinking about everything that you did not do. Cause saying I love you has nothing to do with meaning it.’ This song is just perfect for Ryan and Lynn and the point they’ve gotten to in SPARKS, they are perfect for each other and yet their status does not mean they really love each other one bit. The games Lynn has played with Ryan are coming to an end and she can’t handle this. Can we really blame her, she is written as a villain but really she is the girl whose boyfriend is dreaming about someone else. Who she feels she’ll never be good enough for so she tries to be. Are her and Donna so different? Maybe yes, maybe no. ‘Do you remember the way we used to melt? Do you remember how it felt when I touched you? Oh cause I remember very well. And how long has it been since someone you let in has given what I gave to you? And at night when you sleep do you dream I would be there? Just for a minute or two do you?’

The lyrics in this song just spells everything out perfectly.

Maroon 5 – Tangled

Ryan sees Donna and Cody together.

What a fun moment for Donna fans, for Ryan, the guy Donna sees as the one that rejected her, to see her with someone else. This was much deserved as Donna has had to see Ryan with Lynn for so long. This is another Maroon 5 perfect selection, everything for these characters is so ‘tangled’ and who will untangle their tale? Maybe their worst nightmare. (Yes I just gave you guys a spoiler ;-))

Maroon 5 – Not Coming Home

Book Scene: Donna watching ‘Mr. Silver Eyes’ in her house inside David’s room.

‘Go on misuse me and abuse me, I’ll come out stronger in the end. And does it make you sad to find yourself alone? And does it make you mad to find that I have grown? I’ll bet it hurts so bad to see the strength that I have shown. When you answer the door pick up the phone. You wont find me cause I’m not coming home.’ These lyrics bite, and you may think what do they have to do with a silver eyed stranger and possible enemy coming to Donna’s door and claiming he’s her brother? Well if you’ve read SPARKS you know Donna and this stranger have some kind of gray, traumatic past. And that’s where these lyrics and the beat of the song fits for me, ‘Go on misuse me and abuse me, I’ll come out stronger in the end.’ Donna has finally come out stronger, she has grown up, she does have strength, and as she watches this stranger in her house from outside her brothers windows, from her point of view, this fits. But maybe not from this silver eyed stranger, who could or could not be David Young …

Plus: From SHOCK ME

Florence & The Machine – Breath of Life

Book Scene: Donna verse Randy when trying to escape the power plant.

Every time I hear this song I see that entire scene in my head. It fits the scene from Donna’s point of view because first off, this song is sung by a woman with a killer voice. Florence & The Machine, it’s just fierce music that stirs the soul and when I wrote the scene where Donna has to face off against Randy a fiery foe and almost not come out alive … this song if it had been around when I first wrote this novel would have been a go to for me. Now when I hear it I see this part of SHOCK ME from the novel. It also brings together how she’d been bullied and beaten down, but is trying so hard to do the right thing. ‘Whose side am I on? Whose side am I? And the fever (Randy’s fire) began to spread, from my heart down to my legs. But the room is so quiet, oh! And although I wasn’t losing my mind. It was a chorus so sublime but the room is so quiet, oh! oh! Oh! I was looking for a breath of a life. A little touch of heavenly light. But all the choirs in my head sang (all the doubt and bullies in Donna’s head), No! Oh! oh! oh!’

About the Book:

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Date Released: September 30, 2014

Series: Shock Me #2

Donna Young might still be considered a high school nobody, and an invisible facet to her town, but that doesn’t change the fact that her life is in danger, thanks to her shocking powers. Living secretly amongst the enemy isn’t easy, especially when she used to love the most special of them all: Ryan Applegate.

Ryan’s facade of being the most attractive and richest athlete in town is growing thin. Making his father proud and enhancing his abilities is all he thinks about … that, and Donna Young. She is the childhood crush whom he has been ordered to leave alone. But if he does, then how can he figure out what is wrong with her? And why she looks at him now like he is a monster?

When a dangerous event occurs at the power plant, an new adventure sparks for everyone. Will Donna be able to unlock all the mysteries surrounding those she loves, while fighting to stay alive? Or will Ryan and his team stop her, dooming everything? Only one truth is certain … nobody is who they think they are.

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Other Books in the Series:

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SHOCK ME- Novel Cover Collide

About the Author:

Author Photo - Ashley HarrisAuthor and film director Ashley C. Harris resides in Florida. Ashley was first recognized for her edgy writing and unique film work when she wrote and directed the teenage film Lines. Lines was the first feature film in the world captured using only Mac Laptops..

In 2013 Ashley teamed up with Barclay Publicity to release the first title in a new young adult series Shock Me. Ashley then went on to release the first of a new NA series, One Night In Heated Snapshots, that quickly reached Amazon’s Best Selling top ten list for sports romances. It has remained a top ten bestseller ever since.

When she is not dreaming up new books and working on film sets, she loves to spend time with her friends and family. Keep a close watch for Ashley’s newest young adult books releases!

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