The Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Series

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No Way Home

A Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Book 1

by Christy Cooper-Burnett

Genre: Time Travel, SciFi, Historical Fantasy

2020 California Author Project Winner – Adult Fiction

2020 PenCraft Award Winner – Science Fiction

“An action-packed time-travel adventure that will leave you thirsting for the sequel.” Sublime Book Review

“A brilliant and thought-provoking book that readers who love tales of time travel will find fascinating.” Authors Reading

Christine Stewart is a regular woman just doing her job when she gets stranded in history. When she gets up for the day, her plan is simple: go to work, travel back in time to the year 1867 in Oklahoma to deport a cyber-criminal, then head back to her time in 2070 Los Angeles and get ready to go on vacation with her son, Michael.

Then the system goes down and she-and dozens of other transporters around the world-are stranded in the past with minimal training and no supplies.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any more dangerous, she is cast further back in time and thousands of miles away.

As her goals shift from simply getting home to something much more dire to all of humanity, Christine must step outside of herself, work as part of a team, and ultimately make the choice between what it easy and what is right. Even if it costs her everything-including her one chance of ever getting home.

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Finding Home

A Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Book 2

An exiled prisoner. A desperate woman. A time travel agent willing to break the rules.

Malcolm Aldred is starting over in 1868, Oklahoma. There’s just one problem—he’s an exiled prisoner from 2070.

In 2071, Los Angeles, housewife Hannah Cole is desperate to escape her abusive husband, and begs Cyber Criminal Enforcement Agent Christine Stewart to send her somewhere, anywhere, in history. When Christine agrees to send Hannah to 1868, neither woman has any idea the events that sets in motion.

Malcolm and Hannah adapt to pioneer life in an untamed world full of danger and unimaginable hardships, but falling for each other was never part of the plan. When a deadly hunter tracks Hannah to 1868, fate intervenes and catapults her back to Colonial America, threatening to destroy their future before it ever begins.

Can Christine save Hannah in time or will they both be lost to history forever?

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Escaping Home

A Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Book 3

United States, 2072

With the country under the threat of war, a group of time-traveling government agents devise a risky plan to keep their families safe. But transporting hundreds of years to the past and blending in may prove much more dangerous than they expected.

Cyber Criminal Enforcement Agent Christine Stewart has been to the past before and thinks she knows what to expect. She couldn’t be more wrong.

Life in the eighteenth century is anything but ideal, especially when they learn a rogue agent with plans to strike it rich follows them back in time. Armed with a modern-day weapon, the agent may disrupt the timeline in the most disastrous way and alter history as they know it.

Now they’re refugees in their own homeland, and how they proceed will determine their fate. Will they crash and burn in their race to stop the defector before it’s too late?

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Christy Cooper-Burnett is an award-winning author based in California with a degree in Administration of Justice. After retiring early from the new home construction industry, she now divides her time between northern and southern California.

She has one grown son who inspired her to write her award-winning debut novel, No Way Home. She began her writing career later in life, but once she started she couldn’t stop. Her work focuses on creating relatable stories and characters that transcend genres and encourage readers to imagine what they would do if thrown into the unique, imaginative situations her protagonists end up in.

Christy’s debut novel, No Way Home, was the recipient of the 2020 California Author Project award in the Adult Fiction category, the 2020 PenCraft Award in the Science Fiction category, a 2021 Literary Titan Gold Medal Award and a finalist position in the 2021 International Book Awards, Science Fiction category. Her second novel, Finding Home released June 17, 2021, and early praise has already garnered several five-star reviews and her second Literary Titan Gold Medal Award. The third book in the Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure series, Escaping Home, is an Indies Today recommended read and is set to launch on November 18, 2021.

You can learn more about Christy, subscribe to her mailing list for news and book deals or contact

her at www.christycooperburnett.com.

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell us something about yourself and how you became an author?

I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. My mother and grandmother were avid readers, and my grandmother was also an editor. Despite my lifelong love of books, I didn’t consider writing until I was in my late 50’s. I had a dream about a woman trapped in the past and in my dream, I was typing the story on my grandmother’s old typewriter. The dream stayed with me into the following day, and I mentioned it to my son. He thought it sounded like a great story and suggested I write a book based on the plot. I had never considered writing, but with his encouragement I started to put together an outline. I wrote on my lunch hours at work, and on weekends. When I had a story put together, I knew I should have a professional editor give it a once over. My friends were eager to read it, and I wanted to have the best version of it to give them. The editor I used was a former acquisitions editor for a publisher and told me it ticked all the boxes, and in her previous position she would have picked up my story. She encouraged me to send it out to small presses who accepted unsolicited manuscripts. No one was more surprised than me when I received four offers for the book. I eventually signed with a small publisher in Texas, Black Rose Writing. I have since published two more books in the series with them and just signed a contract for the first book in a new series, due out next September.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I signed my first contract with Black Rose Writing. It was a surreal moment for me, and one that will stay with me forever. It was the best feeling in the world to know that my book was entertaining enough for a publisher to take a chance on with an unknown author.

Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?

Since my books are part of a trilogy with the same characters, all of them! After three books with these characters, I feel I know them so well, I can imagine all of them translating to the screen.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in No Way Home, Finding Home and Escaping Home?

The protagonist, Christine Stewart was the most crucial for me. She is a regular, forty-something woman just doing her job when extraordinary circumstances turn her world upside down. She is somewhat anti-social by nature, so having to make connections to stay alive goes against every cell in her being. But she knows in order to get home and see her son again, she will do whatever it takes. By the end of No Way Home, she has evolved. It remains a daily struggle for her, but she tries to make a change for the better. She found a best friend for the first time since she was a young girl and learns to put someone else first. Christine has a need to try to save everyone, but in the final installment of the series, Escaping Home, she comes full circle and gets her happy ending. Just not in a way she ever expected.

What can we expect form you in the future?

I’ve just signed a contract for a new book which will be out next September. It is another time travel series, packed with adventure and action. Without giving away too much, here is a little teaser.

They always say, “Be careful what you wish for.”

I wish I had been careful.

I could’ve easily sold my time travel technology for billons and walked away. Instead, I chose to take the elite on vacations deep into the past, to a time and place of their choice.

But when a big-time motion picture company hired me, I sold my soul.

What was supposed to be a few days in the nineteenth century with two of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities goes horribly awry. Now America’s hottest starlet is dead, and Jack the Ripper is on the loose in modern-day America.

And it’s all my fault.

I was foolish enough to let the most ruthless serial killer in history slip out of the past. Am I smart enough to send him packing?

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Wo would that be and why?

Actually, Tom McCaffrey, the best-selling author of The Claire Trilogy (The Wise Ass, An Alien Appeal, Kissing My Ass Goodbye) is a dear friend of mine. I have access to his brain and pick it often. Not only is he a very talented writer, but he is one of the funniest people I know, and an all-around good guy. Every writer needs a “Tom”.


Meet Author Jeffrey James Higgins

Jeffrey James Higgins is a former reporter and retired supervisory special agent who writes thriller novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, and essays. He has wrestled a suicide bomber, fought the Taliban in combat, and chased terrorists across five continents. During his career, he made the first narco-terrorism arrest, convicted the world’s most prolific heroin trafficker, and arrested an Iranian operative trying to acquire surface-to-air missiles. Jeffrey received both the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Heroism and the DEA Award of Valor.

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An Interview with the Author

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I’ve wanted to be an author since my parents read me bedtime stories. I worked as a journalist to pay the bills, then entered law enforcement and stopped writing during my 25 years as a police officer and special agent. When I returned to writing a few years ago, I felt like I was coming home. I’ve always been a writer, even when I wasn’t writing.

Who is your hero and why?

My wife, Cynthia Farahat Higgins, is my hero. She grew up in Cairo, Egypt and wanted to be a sculptor, but the government prevented her from going to art school. Instead of accepting being a victim of a patriarchal, socialist, Islamist society, she decided to understand the minds of Islamists.

Cynthia spent the two decades studying Islamic jurisprudence and became a founding member of Egypt’s first secular, pro-western political party. She fought for the rights of women, minorities, and all individuals. The government, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood targeted her, but she stayed true to her values and never backed down. She spent more than a decade under surveillance and received death threats daily. She sought asylum in the US only after Islamists murdered her friend and targeted her for assassination.

My wife has continued to write and expose radical Islamic terror groups. Her efforts had saved countless lives, and she has helped transform Egyptian society. The woman who once had her name officially banned from print now regularly appears in the most widely circulated newspaper in the Middle East. Cynthia’s courage and morality are a shining star for all to follow. Her nonfiction book, The Secret Apparatus, exposes the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Post Hill Press will publish it in 2022.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

I think all my novels would make wonderful movies. I say that because I’m a visual author. Stories play like movies in my imagination when I write. Readers often tell me my books would make great movies. Some writers get offended by that comment because novels and cinema are different mediums, but I take it as a compliment because it means the book came alive in the reader’s mind.

Furious: Sailing into Terror would probably make the best movie. It was a quarterfinalist in Screencraft’s Most Cinematic Book Competition. Best Thrillers selected it as an Editor’s Pick, and Reader’s Favorites gave it a Gold Medal. Furious would be the least expensive to film because 90% of the story takes place on a 62-foot Beneteau Oceanis Yacht. I’ve been studying scriptwriting, and I hope to have the screenplay written soon. I plan to adapt my other work into scripts too. Unseen: Evil Lurks Among Us would also translate well on the big screen.

What inspired you to write this book?

A year before Covid-19, I thought about ways someone could flee a populated area during a pandemic and decided escaping on a yacht would work. Then I wondered what would happen if someone on the boat was dangerous. That led me to write a closed-environment thriller. I wanted to create a fast-paced novel that readers would not want to put down. Furious is pure romanticism. The protagonist, Dagny, must use her mind to find ways to survive. It’s about using reason, being courageous, and never giving up.

How did you come up with the title of the book?

The title, Furious, has multiple meanings and implications, which the reader will understand when they read the story. No spoilers!

Who designed your book covers?

Black Rose Writing published my first two novels, Furious and Unseen. Their design and production manager, David King, does a great job creating the covers, and I know Reagan Rothe and the other BRW staff also give input. There’s a real art to designing a cover. Reader polls show that cover design is one of the most important factors in selling a book. The cover must be interesting, convey the genre and mood, and entice the read to open the book. I think it’s usually a mistake for authors to design their own covers. I would not ask a designer to write an important scene for me, so why should I dictate their art?

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I become a better writer with every book. I think that’s an important lesson for new authors. Malcolm Gladwell posited that 10,000 hours of study in any field is necessary to become an expert. I think there’s a literary equivalent for that. I’ve written over 600,000 words in novels and probably a couple hundred thousand more in short stories and narrative nonfiction. The more you write, the better you become, and if it’s focused writing, you learn from your mistakes. I read books on craft, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, participate in a critique group, and rely on beta readers. If you listen to criticism and learn the craft, you will get better. A corollary to that is finishing your novel. Completing plot and character arcs are tremendous learning experiences. It’s one thing to have a good idea and start a book, and another to structure your idea properly, flesh out characters, and make it all work together. The best thing I’ve learned is to finish what you start.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

My agent recently submitted two books to publishers. Blood and Powder is a nonfiction account of my journey from the World Trade Center on 9/11 to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. Battling bureaucrats and terrorists, a special agent pushes DEA into war and makes the first narco-terrorism arrest—forever changing how terrorists are prosecuted. It’s Blackhawk Down meets The Good Soldiers. My agent also submitted Shaking, a small-town murder mystery. Battling bipolar disorder, Emily Miller lands her dream job as a reporter and returns to her New England hometown, but when her brother becomes a suspect in a gruesome murder, she must identify the killer to save her family, her job, and her life. It’s Sharp Objects meets The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. I hope both books will find a home and be published in 2022.

What did you edit out of this book?

Because most of Furious takes place on a boat, I wanted to write scenes in other locations to provide readers with background information and give them a change of scenery. I wrote a dozen flashback scenes about pivotal moments in Dagny’s history, but a literary agent told me they took her out of the moment. I was afraid if I used too many flashbacks or made them too long, I would reduce the tension. I cut most of them out and shortened the ones I kept to a paragraph or two. Keeping brief flashbacks gives the reader background they need and does not hurt the pace.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


Meet Author Leslie Wolfe #AuthorInterview

Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. Since then, she has written many more, continuing to break down barriers of traditional thrillers. Her style of fast-paced suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology, has made Leslie one of the most read authors in the genre and she has created an array of unforgettable, brilliant and strong women heroes along the way.

A recently released standalone and an addictive, heart-stopping psychological thriller, The Girl You Killed will appeal to fans of The Undoing, The Silent Patient, or Little Fires Everywhere. Reminiscent of the television drama Criminal Minds, her series of books featuring the fierce and relentless FBI Agent Tess Winnett would be of great interest to readers of James Patterson, Melinda Leigh, and David Baldacci crime thrillers. Fans of Kendra Elliot and Robert Dugoni suspenseful mysteries would love the Las Vegas Crime series, featuring the tension-filled relationship between Baxter and Holt. Finally, her Alex Hoffmann series of political and espionage action adventure will enthrall readers of Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, and Lee Child.

Leslie has received much acclaim for her work, including inquiries from Hollywood, and her books offer something that is different and tangible, with readers becoming invested in not only the main characters and plot but also with the ruthless minds of the killers she creates.

A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at LeslieWolfe.com/books.

Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you. Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels.

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Q&A with Leslie Wolfe

When the body of a teenage girl is found under the water curtains of the Blackwater River Falls, Detective Kay Sharp is called to the scene. Surrounded by snowy peaks and a forest alive with the colors of fall, the victim floats in the water, a hand-carved locket around her neck.

The locket seems strangely familiar. Digging into cold cases, Kay discovers that three-year-old Rose Harrelson was wearing it when she vanished fourteen years ago. In the middle of the night, the little girl’s bedroom—with Mickey Mouse on the wall and a hanging baby mobile—was suddenly empty. The unsolved case still haunts the town.

But the teenager they have found has been dead for only a few hours. If the girl in the river is Rose, where has she been, and who has been hiding her all this time? If she is someone else, why is she wearing the locket, and what happened to the missing child from all those years ago?

Kay knows she must solve the kidnapping in order to untangle the mystery of the dead body. As she unearths a web of lies and deceit spun for decades, the close-knit community will never be the same. And Kay will find herself facing a truly terrifying killer…

Beneath Blackwater River  shines a light on the staggering implications of parental abuse and its life-long consequences in the lives of the abused. Sometimes, the abused turns into the abuser and such the cycle of abuse continues. In many known cases of serial homicide in the United States, the killer’s early life was one of appalling abuse endured at the hands of a parent or immediate family member.

  • What would readers remember after they finish reading the book?

They will remember that many times, appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes, refusing to dig deeper under the ornate masks worn by predators in our midst could lead to lives being threatened and lost. I also hope readers will regard parental abuse with a renewed interest, given its long-term, potentially deadly consequences. As my readers have grown accustomed to, the parental abuse in my book isn’t physical. It’s entirely psychological, but even if the scars aren’t visible to the naked eye it doesn’t mean they’re not there.

  • Your writing style is fast, filled with dialogue, almost at the expense of descriptives and narratives. Why is that?

This is how human beings interact, especially when under pressure or stress. We stop paying attention to our surroundings, and focus on the task at hand. People interact with one another, talk to one another, and have feelings for one another and for everything we do. That’s what I’m focused on, rather than specifying each article of clothing someone wears, or the color of the flower vase in an office somewhere. This technique isn’t necessarily good or bad; just somewhat different from mainstream.

  •  What’s the biggest compliment you received from a fan?

It’s when readers tell me they stay up all night to finish the book, because they couldn’t put it down. That’s music to my ears J Like any other artist and entertainer, I thrive knowing that I deliver that escape into the fictional world in a grasping, gritty, and memorable way.

  • You mentioned science, technology, psychology. How do you keep it real?

I do extensive amounts of research for my work, and I’m fascinated by what I have the opportunity to learn. Additionally, sections of my books go through a process of validation at the hands of several fantastic partners who are law enforcement officers, attorneys, scientists, doctors in medicine. In Dawn Girl, for example, there are sections that speak about using certain plant extracts and animal venoms to achieve certain goals. Despite the extensive research, my hands were shaking a little as I wrote them, metaphorically speaking, and I was relieved when my research “passed scientific review.”

  • Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Apart from social media and email interactions, I’m a veritable recluse. Email is the best and quickest way to reach me, and I was fortunate to build true friendships with readers over email. The majority of my readers ask me when’s the next book coming out, not when I’m getting out of the house, so I get the hint and keep on writing.

  • Is this book a first in a series and going to be continued?

This book is the second in the Kay Sharp Series, a story centered on a certain family and its layered dysfunction. There are two other books published in the series. So far, this series has been very well received by the readers, and my fans have been adamant: they want more. Therefore, in the future there will be more books to enjoy in the Kay Sharp Series.

Until then, the Tess Winnett Series features FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett in a series of eight (so far) gripping crime thrillers you won’t be able to put down. The first title in that series is Dawn Girl, but all books can be read as standalones.

Baxter & Holt is a three-book series featuring two Las Vegas detectives who trust each other with their lives, only not with their deepest, darkest secrets. Start this engrossing series with Las Vegas Girl.

Alex Hoffmann is an action-adventure series featuring a young and smart heroine and her team of private investigators. They follow their cases wherever those might take them, even if that means behind enemy lines, in five engrossing thrillers that will remind you of James Bond and Jack Reacher. The book that will get you started on this adventure is Executive.


Meet Shakuita Johnson, author of Wicked Crimson

Shakuita Johnson is a 34-year-old Psychology major. When she isn’t going to school or working, she is doing what she loves most. Writing. She started writing in middle school. She would write poetry in her room or the middle of the night. Then she was introduced to short stories in a creative writing course her senior year. Her love for paranormal and supernatural started with R.L. Stine Goosebumps books and TV shows, Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, and Christopher Pike books. She is an avid reader with over 100 books on her bookshelf and 1000 plus on her iPad. She also loved to watch Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with her mom.

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I have always enjoyed writing. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school, but I didn’t start writing my first book until the end of 2011 and published it Dec. 2013! I served 8 years in the United States Air Force. After that I moved to Boston to work on my Master’s in Public Admin. I’m currently back in my hometown. I’m a Scorpio. I enjoy music and the arts. I’m the oldest of brothers. I have 3 biological and 2 stepbrothers. I have 11 nieces and nephews and currently child-free.

Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!

When I was working in the military a chain-link fence almost fell on top of me. It was like something out of Final Destination. I moved out of the way just in time. No one else was around and it probably would have been a while before someone found me and I don’t even remember if I had my phone on me or not.

What are you passionate about these days?

These days I’m passionate about crafting. I make journals and notebooks because I’m obsessed with also buying them. I thought if I could make them myself it would lessen my spending but that was a lie. I still buy notebooks and the raw materials to make journals and I believe I’ve spent even more money on it.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m super into anime and I decided to do something along those lines with paranormal. So, I decided to write a book about a fox yokai or Kitsune as they are referred as in Japan.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

I decided to use Japanese names since the setting is Japan-like and there are some really beautiful names and their meanings can vary depending on what characters are used when writing them.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have so many projects but I def will be finishing my first series that started with the first book I wrote. I have other series/trilogies I have started and some I need to start. I have some erotic shorts I need to finish, and I plan to possibly do a shared world if I can get the interest.

Who designed your book covers?

My book covers are mostly designed by Daria Brennan of https://beegraphica.com. Its been great seeing her grow in her craft from the first book cover she’s done for me til the most recent ones she’s designed. I have also used L.M. Adams, and three other cover designers.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

It’s def something different from the norm. I try to stay away from what’s considered mainstream and write something outside the box. It seems lately everything follows the same formula, and I don’t like to read things that read like every other book. I like diversity and stories that push the envelope. I like to think that I write stories like that. I write what I would want to read. There is nothing wrong with reading the same sort of stories but I like writing off beat things and I write for those who are of the same mind.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

This is hard but I’d say:

Anne Rice

R.L. Stine

V.C. Andrews

Christopher Pike

Shelly Laurenston

Kresley Cole

Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

Patricia Briggs

L.M. Adams

Kim Harrison

There are many more I read but I find myself rereading these authors and I’ve def read Queen of the Damned dozens of times.

What book do you think everyone should read?

A Child Called It. It really highlights some of the things children suffer at the hands of those who are supposed to love them and how lacking our resources still are when it comes to the safety and welfare of children that are really in danger.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since at least high school that I can remember. I took a creative writing class where I also wrote my first short stories but before that it was mostly poetry, and I journaled a lot.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

Yes, my favorite is paranormal followed by fantasy

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading manga and light novels. There are so many I don’t know how I keep up. But the last book I read was The Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston. Some of the manga I’m reading are:

Tokyo Revengers

The Time I Reincarnated As A Slime

My Hero Academia

Unromantic

Ring

Counterattack of Pregnancy

My Weird Roommate

Equipoise


Meet Author Jordan Tate

An Interview With the Author…

  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Losing my Father in 2019. I still can’t overcome this and I have realized I keep writing about him, in my books, in my scripts. He’s everywhere. A part of me died when I lost my Father. This part will never come back.
  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name? Jordan Tate, I can’t remember any other name but this one. This is definitely me.
  • Where do you call home? My mind for sure, I’m a writer. My mind is like to key to going anywhere and to escape anything…New York is my favorite place in the world. The place where you feel safe is the place you call home.
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m also a screenwriter, a translator, a script doctor. I proofread other people’s work as well and write some articles. I have done some voice overs too. I like what I’m doing and I believe I’m good at it. I’m good at anything I like to do.
  • What is your family like? I’m an only child. My family has always been my parents.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like? As I said I’m an only child, so my childhood has been very protected, at least the very first years. I was living in a small house with my parents and my grandparents when I was about 2. Then I began to see the dark side of life when I was a teenager, probably developed my rebel and dark side too at this time.
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Workout, reading, watching films and taking care of my pets. I’m a huge animal love, I also like learning something new everyday. Hence, the reading.
  • What is your greatest dream? Have an animal foundation.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? Someone who isn’t afraid of anything. What is stopping me is probably over-thinking, but as you know I’m a writer (smiles)
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? Of course I do, every woman does…
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? I first became aware I wanted to be an artist when I was about 6. My Father shown me the video tape of John Guilermin’s King Kong, you know the 1976 version with Jessica Lange, and this film had a huge impact on me. My Father was a huge cinema lover, so thanks to him showing me this film, I began developing stories in my head, stories that I wanted to see. Also, when I discovered the dark side of life of people in my teenager life, writing and telling stories became a way to escape what people describe as true life.
  • What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not? My first dream was to be an actress but mainly to be an artist. I believe being a writer is very close to being an actress in terms of becoming someone else and living several lives, but as a writer I have more freedom, I’m controlling what I create, I’m the head of it.
  • Who is your role model? Those who have the courage to change what needs to be changed, those who revolt when things are revolting and don’t look the other way.
  • What is your greatest fear? Losing those I love.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? Paperbacks, but I must say I love them all. What I prefer is a good book that allows me to forget about the real world around me.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it? Sure. The picture of Dorian Gray. Dracula.
  • What is your opinion of novellas? I love short stories, they go straight to the point.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Can happen to me, but I never judge a book on its cover.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? Rosemary’s baby. I also love the exorcist.
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Horror. Supernatural.
  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Merian Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Ruth Rose because they created King Kong, the film that started it all for me. I will probably add Marilyn Monroe, because she’s iconic, and I’m sure we would get along pretty well.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? BLACK MASS it’s a story within a story, a horror anthology. A quest, and a revenge.
  • Is the above book part of a series? No.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? Seeking cemetery and dark images and a gate representing the gate to Hell. A mysterious one.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? Sometimes. Mostly film soundtracks especially when it comes to writing horror books.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? It just appeared in my head.
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? Yes, I do have several on My YouTube channel you can see Black mass trailer here:
  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? She’s a female journalist named Verity, seeking to interview a mysterious rock star named Lachlan Alden. She eventually gets her way, even though he never does interviews. As the story unfolds, we find out what was her real motive in the first place. We fully discover her.
  • What is your character’s greatest strengths? She’s determinate.
  • And what are his/her greatest weaknesses? Her past, her sadness. But that’s also what drives her to accomplish what she will accomplish.
  • What are some of his/her favorite foods? Never thought of that. She’s from New York as most of my leading characters so I guess she might be a cheesecake lover like myself.
  • What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has? I believe Verity is very aware of the qualities she has.
  • Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? I believe they will like her a lot, because in the end she gets what she wants and anyone can relate to what she wants.
  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book?

I was actually watching a show revolving around supernatural, which is a theme I love, and they were talking about the ghosts in Pere Lachaise. I wasn’t planning to write a new book at this moment, then I became fascinated with the subject and said I’m gonna write a book about this place and it will be titled “Black mass”, I had a precise vision of it.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? Very visual as I’m also a screenwriter…And I happen to be both depends on my mood. One of my readers recently compared my short stories to the picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The magic skin by Balzac… I don’t know, you’ll be the judge.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? Not particularly. I just don’t disclose the plot of my next book too early.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? Indie author.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? Independence, doing what I want whenever I want it. I’m a self-directed at heart.
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Don’t wait for inspiration to come, write everyday after all you can’t edit a blank page, inspiration will come as you write. The muse will finally appear.
  • What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? Don’t give up! If you want to write, write, that’s the most incredible feeling in the world…Creating out of nothing, a blank page, making words, people, stories, lives. If you are a writer, you’ll only feel really alive when you’re writing.
  • Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

https://jordantatescreen.weebly.com/

https://www.instagram.com/jordantatescreenwriter/

https://www.facebook.com/jtatewriting

https://www.facebook.com/jordantatewrites


Without A World by Kristen Illarmo #giveaway

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Without a World (Kirasu Rising Book 1) by Kristen Illarmo

Genre: YA Science Fiction

A dying planet. A mythical new world.

Miranda struggles through each day in the Trash Lands, scraping for food and water, wishing she could blend into the sea of ash. The best part of her day is working a meaningless job in a place where people pretend she doesn’t exist.

Dismayed to learn her mother was right, Earth will get sucked into a black hole, Miranda must trust in skills she never knew she had to get to a place she refused to believe existed.

But when they learn the black hole is no natural phenomenon, Miranda can’t turn her back on the suffering of Earth, and saving it could cost more than she ever knew.

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Kristen Illarmo is a young adult, science fiction author driven to write stories with strong female characters in the backdrop of crumbling societies. She proudly calls New Orleans home, a fact that may only change if the perfect beach town reveals itself.

When she’s not toiling to improve efficiency in local government in her day job, she’s writing about dark possible futures and thinking about the importance of the choices we make. The prequel to Without A World, Behind the Red Door, is available now at kristenillarmo.com.

Join her monthly newsletter to grab the prequel to Without A World for free, get author updates, and access other free books from emerging authors at kristenillarmo.com.

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Would you like a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

How to find time to write as a parent?

I started writing Without A World in 2017 when my son was four, and my daughter was seven. I finished it in the summer of 2021, there were breaks and even other books written, but it certainly wasn’t fast.

It has gotten easier as they have gotten older, but it’s still hard since I also have a full-time job. I knew there was no way I could follow Stephen King’s advice and complete a first draft in three months, so I gave myself permission to work at a much slower pace. However, the other side of that coin is that I produce better work when I write consistently. That means I have to push myself to find snatches of time throughout the week to write.

I can’t write every day, and I make a point not to beat myself up about that, but I need to write at least 4 days a week to complete a competent draft. I have ambitions to be one of those people who wakes up at 5 am and writes for an hour or more before work. But waking up early makes me so cranky that I have never made it past the ambition. Instead, I aim to put the kids to bed by 8:30 and start writing right away.

Rather than watching the clock, I stick to the goal of writing a 1,500-word scene. I might not be able to bang out that many words before my brain turns to mush and my eyes start closing on their own, but I can usually get close, and even a start of a scene is better than nothing. Writing with kids and a full-time job is no picnic, but the small starts are what will keep you going.

Have 15 minutes? Start the scene. I also always leave a few lines about what should come next, so I don’t have to start with a blank page when I next pick it up. 


Fateful Justice by Sara Vinduska #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Fateful Justice Box Set: Books 1-3 by Sara Vinduska

Genre: Romantic Suspense

This box set contains the first three books in the romantic suspense series, Fateful Justice.

Reflections

It wasn’t the first time Lash Brogan had aimed a gun at another man and pulled the trigger. It wasn’t the first time he’d watched a man fall to the ground bleeding. As an actor, he’d done just that countless times. But this time it was not a scene from one of his movies. This time it was for real.

When Lash Brogan, an Irish immigrant and one of America’s most popular movie stars, is kidnapped and held hostage in the mountains of Colorado, it will take all of his strength and determination as well as help from a beautiful stranger to help him escape.

Justine McBride is a reclusive physical therapist trying to escape the painful memories of her family’s death. After helping Lash recover, she falls hard for him without considering the ramifications of such a public relationship.

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Redemption

After barely surviving the death of the woman he was going to marry, Irish actor Lash Brogan has accepted his first leading role in two years.

But someone doesn’t want the movie to be made. The set is plagued by accidents and deaths. The arrival of an FBI agent with a past connection to Lash, and the appearance of an intriguing woman he would like to get to know better, further tilts his world.

Lash refuses to run from the danger or the painful reminders of his past. He will stay and see the movie through to the end. No matter what the cost to him.

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Retribution

As a former Navy SEAL and bodyguard to one of the world’s top Hollywood actors, John Hoyt thought joining the FBI was a logical next step. He never imagined his first case would nearly cost him his life and put him face to face with the one woman he was willing to die for.

Angelina Nobles has spent her career in the FBI living up to the legend of her father. Now, on her most highly publicized case, she’s partnered with a man who infuriates and intrigues her like no other has done before.

Can the two put aside their differences long enough to stay alive and solve a complicated case involving a corrupt politician, arson, murder and drugs? And find love in the process?

Danger and intrigue make a powerful aphrodisiac in Retribution.

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Originally from Kansas, Sara Vinduska is a romantic suspense author and aspiring farmer in Wyoming. Her other passions include yoga, soap making, good red wine, and K-State football.

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Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you! 

My husband and I got married in a wine cellar in France.

What can we expect from you in the future? 

I’m currently working on the fifth book in the Fateful Justice series and hope to have it done by the end of the year! I am also finishing a romance story for the new Kindle Vella launch titled His Protector about a widowed president and the beautiful Secret Service agent protecting him.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during the day? 

It would be Lash Brogan for sure! Though books in the series feature different couples, Lash is the heart and soul of the series and has a cameo in each book. I guess you could say, he’s basically my muse!

We would go horseback riding on his ranch in Jackson Hole, then break out the whiskey for some day drinking. Mostly, I’d just listen to him talk in his sexy Irish brogue.

If your book had a candle, what would the scent be? 

Whiskey, sex, and gunpowder. : )

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? 

Maybe it’s because I’m a total pantser, but I always have several books going at a time! I find that if I get stuck on one book, switching to another helps unlock the creativity. And since I’m writing a series, they all tie together.


Meet Larion Wills, author of Deadly Precious

Larion Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of Larriane Wills. From the present, to the past in historical westerns, to far in the future with science fiction, she holds up to her tag given to her by one of her publishers of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories’, although not all of them are in print, yet. Born in Oklahoma but raised in Arizona she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. In a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with a collection of unique contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, all with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought you didn’t care for. Under her other pen of Larriane she writes science fiction and fantasy. At her website, http://www.larriane.com , you can keep abreast of releases under both pen names, keep up with new releases through various publishers.

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I have always been a storyteller, to myself, from the time I was a child. I talked the stories out making my mother think I was conversing with an invisible friend. I started putting the stories on paper at about 21, really terrible writing, btw. I keep it just to look at once in a while and see how much better I’ve gotten. I did not, until about 15 years ago get serious about pursuing publishing. I had played around with the idea a couple of times but never followed through. It was easy to discourage me. One of the first ones I tried was one of those sucker you in for editing and having no intention of ever publishing for you. I didn’t learn about those until later. My problem then was cost. I told him my ego didn’t match my finances to take advantage of his offer. His response was it was after all it was only commercial, not literature. Spiteful or what?

It was years before I tried again after the kids—all grown and no longer one of my excuses–and my husband who had shared time with my writing for years, all insisted I do something. By then I had a computer so could no longer use I’m a lousy typist as an excuse. I no longer worked outside of the home. Another excuse shot down. I discovered everything is done online, so the cost of printing and postage for hard copies, etc, although minor, wasn’t a good excuse anymore, either. The only reason that held me back was plain old fear of rejection. My skin had gotten a little thicker through the years, enough I thought I could take it.

My first efforts, hard copies to agents, made me doubt that. I’d read, you see, that publishers didn’t want anyone who didn’t have an agent, and agents didn’t want anyone who hadn’t already been published. Another of my don’t bother you’ll never be accepted excuses. One agent, bless her heart, edited three pages for me. I took one glancing look at all those red marks, tossed to pages away, and told my husband I was too old to learn all of that. Highschool English didn’t cover it. The pages laid there for three days, waiting for me to get brave again. The first thing I noticed was the reoccurring symbols. I was doing the same things over and over. I took the first one, looked up what it was for and what I needed to do to change it and went through the entire manuscript. I made corrections for that one, then the second, then the third until I had everyone of those red marks cleared. That manuscript was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to and I’ve had only rejection since then and only because of a content conflict. My first publisher gave me the tag of Two names, one author, thousands of stories. I got off track for several years doing editing for others, not giving myself enough time to work on my own. I’m back. I’ve missed it, and Deadly Precious is just the beginning.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I’ve been told I have a strange sense of humor. Would that count?

What’s strange about your humor?

I think things are funny that no one else seems to. I think it’s because I think of the results of what I see or hear, and that’s what I laugh at. The one person who out and out told me I had a strange sense of humor was telling me how sad it was that her boyfriend had flown in from Mexico and the airlines had lost his suitcase—full of marijuana. I told her he couldn’t very well go file a claim to have it found and laughed. See, this is one of those if you have to explain, it isn’t funny, at least not to others. What I pictured was him dumb enough to go in and fill out a claim, listing a suitcase full of illegal drugs as the contents and what would happen to him. Funny to me, but it wasn’t to her. She was offended that I wasn’t sympathetic to his financial loss. Sometimes, life just bites you on the butt. *Lol.

Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!

How not to celebrate the first contract attached.

What are some of your pet peeves?

My hair, (see attached) my hearing and why people insist on talking to you when you tell them you can’t understand them, people that insist on driving the speed limit in a no passing zone when I’m in a hurry, people that cut in line, rude people, people that are mean to animals, etc

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in Oklahoma and the family moved to Arizona when I was three. I still live in Arizona, although as a family we did try Oregon and Montana. Loved both states, but we followed the work and the last go round, settled here to stay. We live in the high desert, almost at a mile high, in a rural area with a 15-minute drive to the nearest store and post office.

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

Probably not any different than today. I mean, how much can you do in a day.

What kind of world ruler would you be?

Horrible. I’m too much of a soft touch.

Do you have a favorite movie?

You may find this odd, but my favorites, currently, are the Star Wars and Marvels. When I watch a movie or read a book, I want a happy ever after ending. There’s all the heartache and violence I want on the news. I like some humor mixed in, no matter how serious, and I don’t want it so complicated if someone interrupts me—I won’t even tell you his name but he’s a master at it—and a miss a few minutes, I’ve lost what’s going on. During this paragraph he’s interrupted me twice. *lol.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

Deadly Precious, of course, with Daisy Ridley as Letitia. I don’t know about Drew. There are so many good looking tall, dark, and handsome actors, but she has that childlike quality of Letitia.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I like humming birds, but I doubt they have anything to do with my writing although I do flutter around a lot.

How long have you been writing?

I started putting stories on paper at when I was about 21. They went into a drawer until the drawers wouldn’t hold more. Then into a closet. I into digging some of those out to freshen and publish and at the same time, write more. Deadly Precious in a new one. Before that, Die, Sweet Di was one I wrote several years ago. Bringing those up to date is what I mean by freshening. Some were written before cell phones. I can’t have my readers wondering why the hero wasn’t called for help when the car broke down in the forest, or at least mention they don’t have a signal. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that. *lol

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

 I usually start with one or two characters then add as I need for the growing story.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I research before, during, and after, especially for historicals. I make sure they aren’t shooting a gun that hasn’t been invented yet or wearing a style that is not right for the time I have them in. Like freshening some of those manuscripts in the closet, what I wrote even ten years ago has to be updated or a date stated so the reader knows clearly what time period it’s in.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

It’s tough to get any kind of special recognition with so many ebook publishers flooding the market and–not to make enemies–with many of them of such poor quality. No writer can depend on just good writing to get the attention. You have to promo, and I’ll be blunt and honest when I say it is not one of my favorite things to do. That’s my second get back on track objective, doing it anyway to let people know what I have to offer.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

I used to be an avid reader. Friday was my shopping day and included the purchase or 4 or 5 books. I say used to be. Anymore, I shop when I can’t avoid the trip any longer. As to what I read, I read the same way I write, in a variety of genres. I spend the weekend reading and started my Monday off working again. The last few years my reading has been limited to what I’ve edited for others. However, this year I’ve cut back on editing for others devoted more time to myself and my own work. That’s why I’m here today. Reading for pleasure again is on my to do list.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

Again, I have to chuckle. I have an extreme hearing loss, not deaf, but there’s not that much I hear anymore. either. My husband runs the tv and most of the time, I don’t hear it at all. When I watch, I read captions. I have a hearing assist device I have to plug into my ear to hear him clearly enough when he speaks to me to know what he’s saying which makes the tv too loud, and I take the plug out as soon as he’s finished. Noise, which I’m not used to hearing anymore, is annoying, because it’s only partial. I can hear the dog bark, though, and the smoke alarm go off. Without the hearing assist, speech is just noise. So is music. Even with the device it’s difficult to have a conversation and takes a lot of repeating for me to get it all. Since my loss isn’t symmetric, hearing aids don’t work well for me at all.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

Only one at a time, and it gets my full attention.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

For the money, Lord of the Rings. Loved the movies.

Pen or type writer or computer?

I really prefer pen and paper but for convenience’s sake I am working on doing it on the computer. Once I have something in a hard copy, it takes me nearly as long to type into the computer as it did to write it. Doing it once would save a lot of time, but the words don’t flow from my brain to the keyboard as smoothly as they do through my arm for some reason.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

If you mean one of my books, I have so many. I think Sarah from It’s Still Tomorrow. She makes me laugh, but she’s tough when you cross her. I can remember what inspired that one, too. *hehe

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

 I really think becoming an author, meaning write down the stories running through your head, isn’t really a choice. You do it whether you intend to publish or not. If you’re giving author the definition of a published writer, then that is a choice. I pursued publishing both because my family and friends kept urging me to do so and because I wanted to share my stories. It’s right for me.

Do you have any advice to offer for new authors?

I’m going to steal a line. Just do it. I procrastinated for years over tackling publishing. Once I admitted to myself it was based on simple fear of rejection, rejections telling me I was no good at writing, and I decided I could take it, it didn’t take much to get my foot in the door. I owed a lot to one agent who took the time to edit three pages of the manuscript I sent to her in hopes of finding someone to do the work of submitting for me. Those corrections provided me with the information I needed, showed me what I was doing wrong, and the first submit afterward, to a publisher, was my first acceptance. Don’t give up because of setbacks. The only way you will ever succeed is to keep trying and accept that there will be disappointments along the way. When you hold that first book in your hands, you’ll feel like it was all worth it.

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

No, chapters, no outline. Sometimes I start in the middle, sometimes the end, and sometimes even the beginning. It all depends on what that first instead of or what if hits me and takes me from there. I work either way, back to the front to get my characters where I started or foreward to get them where I want to go. Works for me even if it sounds scattered to others.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Talking too much. *lol. I say that as an editor. New authors have tendency to want to tell everything, making a sentence 4 or 5 lines long with tmi. I have a hard time convincing some that one or two descriptions of a room are more than enough for a reader to picture in their minds, and it’s never is going to be what the writer sees anyway. Learn the difference between telling and showing and understand pov. Study the suggestions and corrections so you don’t keep making the same mistakes. Most important, self-edit. It is not an editor’s job to rewrite or correct what you’re too lazy to do yourself.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Someone disrupting my train of thought. My family all know what it means when I hold one finger up. Wait a minute until I finish this sentence. Okay, sometimes it’s a paragraph, but they wait. Bless them for their patience.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I hope what they want is what I deliver. I’m not fond of formulas, and I don’t think any of mine fit nicely into any one category, but they’re interesting, not boring, and when I’m on, you don’t guess the ending.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t wait so long to get brave.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders?

It’s no secret men don’t think the way women do. I have to base my characters on what I see around me and watch in movies and tv, and read, analysis it, and go from there.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Generally speaking, a couple of weeks for the first draft. I edit and revise after that until I feel it’s clean enough to submit, a process that probably takes a couple of months because it does me good to take a few days away from it off and on before I go at it again. Longer than many other authors, I know, but part of my working process is seeking perfection even though I know it’s impossible. One other little tidbit here, ebooks have a bad rep for being poor quality. I’d like to build that up by starting with better work and not depending on hurry up editing. What’s saddens me is the growing poor quality that’s coming from the big publishers now. I’ve seen work that would never have made it through any of the independent companies I edit for and I’m not talking about the story. One time half a paragraph was missing and then repeated. No excuse for that. A simple proofread would have caught it.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Not block, exactly. I’m more a mood person. If I’m not in the mood, nothing flows. If I am, nothing else interferes or if anything does, I get cranky. I read Stephen Kings’ how to write book. I couldn’t write the way he does, on a nine to five schedule. I go to bed with the story the last thing on my mind and wake up to the first thing on my mind. There’s no shutting my head off because of what time the clock says. If I’m in the mood, it flows, but on the other hand, if something else is nagging at me, there’s no sense wasting my time sitting at the computer.

Do you get inspiration to write each different story?

Oh, yes, from everything, everywhere.

What inspired you to write this book?

Her home was based on where I lived in Oregon. One of the characters was based on a thoughtless, arrogant group of prominent members of the town in Oregon and how cruel there were to a friend. They invited her to share a lunch with them and then tore her apart, telling her everything that was wrong with her when she had never down anything to harm any of them. They were like those ugly, teenage girls in high school. In Deadly Precious, Letitia was a victim of that town’s uglies and hearing them gossip in the café affected the relationship between her and Drew more than once. I’m not going to tell you if they were right or wrong though, and of course, the incident that started my tale had nothing to do with where I ended up.

What can we expect from you in the future?

More and more. Working on a three part, sweet romance now.

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

Not in this one.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Deadly Precious?

 The two main characters are Drew and Letitia. Drew is consumed with hatred and seeking revenge against his father, who claims Drew is a bastard resulting from his wife being unfaithful. She wasn’t. A severe reaction to a drug, administered by a doctor, causes him to hallucinate. He wandered into Letitia’s house, thought she someone else, someone he once loved, and he, in his mind, makes love to her. In reality, he stumbled, knocked her down, and stunned her too badly for her to fight him off. This is not described in the book, just referred to.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

I sort of answered this above in what inspired it, but that was the little kernel that started it. Why it went the direction it did afterward, I don’t know.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

Picked them out of thin air.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Getting back into writing after too long editing for others and not working my own stories.

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Hate drives Drew, but Letitia keeps interfering with that. She’s pregnant as a result of his attention—nicely put—and refuses to let him pay for it. That’s his conscious excuse for going back again and again, to force her to accept. To begin, Drew thinks she’s a personality blank, that she a bit slow minded, and despite a warning he gets from her ex-husband refuses to believe she’s a threat to him.

How did you come up with the title of the book?

He refuses to believe she’s a threat to him, but is there more under that bland personality driven by her desire for revenge or has she discovered how rich he is and wants more than he’s willing to give her?

Who designed your book covers?

Ashley Redbird Designs. She did a beautiful job. I love it. I need him to star in the movie with Daisey in answer to the question below.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Have to laugh with that question. I’ve had publishers tell me to stop. I still edit books I wrote years ago in my head.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Daisey Ridley for Letitia She is the lead character, and she has a child-like, naïve quality that nearly drives Drew crazy, thinking to begin with that she was simple minded for taking his attack on her so casually.

How did you come up with name of this book?

Title choosing is hard. I wanted to catch the reader’s attention, at the same time give an indication of what the story is about. If the title caught them and then they read the blurb, they know there are contradictions in Letitia—Precious—that could be deadly. That’s what I was aiming for, anyway.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

 Both, although some of the characteristics are amped for effect. In Deadly Precious a minor character is from a life experience, the gossiping neighbor. I used to live in a very small, farm village in Oregon. A friend had been invited to lunch with some of the elite. She was happy about it, feeling she’d been accepted. They spend the entire time telling her everything she did wrong, from talking to strangers to a friendship with me because I was ten years younger. I really dislike that kind of thing and made the examples in Deadly Precious as offensive as possible to pass on a don’t be like that message, I hoped.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Occasionally the story gets away from me and I have to backtrack. It hurts to discard what I’ve written but if it doesn’t fit where the story is going, it doesn’t fit.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

 I can’t do that. Reading Deadly Precious isn’t a must read. Nothing is going to fall apart or not work right. You aren’t going to miss something that will change your life. That isn’t what would sell it. You’re just going to enjoy it. It has to be a wanna read. If you’d like to read something that isn’t a formula, isn’t the same basic plots you’ve read over and over, is some what out of the box, then you want to read Deadly Precious. I want all those things when I read, and I write that way.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Oh, heavens yes. I still have a closet full and a dozen or so that have been lost. I started writing a long time ago. I’ve only been publishing for about 15 years now.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

Something spicy to remind you of Drew.

What did you edit out of this book?

Some violent scenes. They weren’t necessary to move the story or add to the plot.



Writer’s Block… Thoughts by Author Kristen Illarmo

QUESTION: Do You Believe in Writer’s Block?

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Writer’s block. The fear of staring at a blank page and the words just won’t come. I once abandoned an entire novel due to writer’s block. I put it aside for years, but I never stopped thinking about it and wondering what it could become. I was able to pick it back up when I realized I had been scared of where the book might be going instead of just writing each scene. I eventually finished a 90,000 word first draft for that book, and when I finish the Kirasu Rising series, I can’t wait to plow into drafts 2 through 1 million. Here are a few lessons I learned through that journey that may help you through your writer’s block. 

  1. Your first draft will be messy and rough, but your job is to get it written. 
  2. You may not be a pantser. 
  3. You don’t have to start with a blank page. 

Just get it written 

You’ve heard you need to buckle down and get the first draft written, but do you believe it? If you find yourself editing previous scenes before writing the next scene, you are likely stopping yourself from just getting it written (i.e., completing the first draft). If you stop yourself from writing a scene because you think it might not be the right scene for the finished product but don’t know what other scene is better, you are definitely stopping yourself from finishing the first draft (and this is what I did in spades). You have to put aside the notion that any human besides you will read this draft and write through the rough spots. The second draft is for working out the plot details and plugging the holes. The first draft is for laying out a complete (and likely messy) draft. Drafts 3 through 15 (or more) are for polishing and getting it perfect. 

You may not be a pantser

I thought I was a pantser, or discovery writer if you prefer, a writer who does not use an outline and lets the story grow on the page with no idea of what will happen at the end. It sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Twenty thousand words into Without A World, I had no more story, and I needed a new plan. Through much research into other people’s writing methods, I learned that I am a hybrid discovery and outline writer. Now I write an outline at the beginning of a new project that includes as much detail as I can, and I map out the overarching details for each scene, like who is it in it and the high-level gist of what happens. In this scene map, I pay special attention to the rise and fall of emotions, ensuring that the beginning of the scene has a different feeling for the main character than the end. Once I have the scene map and sketch of each act, I give myself permission to change it as much as I like or to ignore pieces as the real writing begins. Having that sketch of the entire story is essential to keep me moving along through that first draft. I don’t have to stick to the script, but the fact that I have an outline (or detailed sketch) helps take some pressure off. 

You don’t have to start with a blank page 

I write in Scrivener, and I start each scene as a new page (new text) as they recommend. That can result in staring at a blank screen, but I have a shortcut way to ensure that never happens because, for all the reasons listed above, I don’t like to start with a blank screen. When I finish a scene, I start the new text doc right away and add two or three sentences telling me what to write in the next scene. If the upcoming scene is tricky, I will also paste in the last sentence from my previous scene. I may get the upcoming scene idea from my scene map, or, if I’ve gone off-script, I’ll still write a few lines about what needs to come next. When I next sit down to write, I start from the document that includes these scene notes. If I still can’t get the scene started, I will write a few trash lines or stage directions (this would not be in a final novel, of course) to better let me visualize where the characters are and what is happening. 

I hope some of these ideas help you get past the blank page fear and into the messy first draft.

Until next time-

Kristen Illarmo (Kristenillarmo.com)

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


How Do You Name A Book?

As an author, coming up with the title of you book can be extremely easy or extremely hard. Its like naming a child, you don’t want to pick just any name. You want it to be the right name. When I asked Kristen Illarmo, author of Without A World, how she came up with the title, this is what she had to say:

QUESTION: How did you come up with the name of your book Without A World?

Without A World always had a name, just not that one

From the very beginning, Without A World had a name; it was called A Place Between. All of my drafts are labeled APB. That title made sense because Miranda, the main character, is caught between two worlds, and for a portion of the book, is suspended between them both. About a year ago, when I thought I had a final draft ready (I’ve done so much revision since then!), I finally decided to google the title to see if it was available.

Google it before you fall in love

A word on this. As far as I know, authors can use any title you’d like, even if it has already been used. This is not a wise approach, however, because if another work is using your name and it is well known (or they put money behind their SEO), then your book will not rank on the first page of google, and as my sister says, bodies are buried on Google’s second page.

In my case, a documentary from 2007 lands most of the first page spots, and there appeared to be no room. I could have fought for space, but it’s a crowded field. Instead, I decided to find a new title.

Just pick a new title… right

Well, that turned out to be quite a challenge. My sister and my editor dove in to help, and we created a shared document with no less than 100 possible titles. There were more titles if I count the ones that only made it to texts. I would pick a title, sit on it for a week, and then hate it. This happened over and over for weeks. I finally decided my top 5 and put together a poll to ask for opinions. I did not get many responses (maybe 15?), but the responses did point to a clear favorite. Readers liked Without A World. It works for me, and it still speaks to Miranda being between two worlds without a home. You can read more about the title search and see the runners up here [https://www.kristenillarmo.com/blog/and-the-winner-is]

My book Without A World doesn’t rank on the first page of google without my name included, but maybe it will one day. Perhaps I could have stuck with my original title for the same reasons, but these are the things we learn.

Until next time-

Kristen Illarmo (Kristenillarmo.com)

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.