Hybrid Magic by Cristy L. Bowlin #giveaway

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Hybrid Magic by Cristy L. Bowlin ~ Genre: YA Fantasy

Two nations joined peacefully as one, but a band of assassins lurks in the shadows.

Magic isn’t uncommon in the Deravine Commonwealth, where people can be gifted with the faculties of combat, healing, transformation, or sight. Yet as a hybrid mage, Aaron Ztrong’s abilities aren’t so easily categorized. He managed to save his parents during a dangerous confrontation when he was only a young boy, and now a decade later most people in his life expect him to do remarkable things with his powers. Then there are those who fear what Aaron and others like him can do. When Aaron’s life is threatened by a group calling themselves the Defenders, he takes refuge with two other hybrid mages and the teacher who is training them to enhance their abilities. As the Defenders continue to hunt down hybrid mages, Aaron and his new companions must find a way to survive.

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Cristy L. Bowlin grew up in Ventura County, CA where she spent most of her free time ballet dancing and reading fantasy books. She got her BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in dance from the California Polytechnic State University. She then received her MA in English with a minor in gender and women’s studies from the University of Kentucky. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and cat in Southern California where she is a college English professor. Her debut YA fantasy novel The Temple Dancer’s Diary was published in July 2019, and her next book Hybrid Magic was just  published in the summer of 2021.

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I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Hybrid Magic by Cristy L. Bowlin.

Meet Author Cristy Bowlin

Cristy L. Bowlin grew up in Ventura County, CA where she spent most of her free time ballet dancing and reading fantasy books. She got her BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in dance from the California Polytechnic State University. She then received her MA in English with a minor in gender and women’s studies from the University of Kentucky. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and cat in Southern California where she is a college English professor. Her debut YA fantasy novel The Temple Dancer’s Diary was published in July 2019, and her next book Hybrid Magic was just  published in the summer of 2021.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads


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

I have always loved reading. I started reading Harry Potter in second grade and was instantly hooked. I would read any fantasy book I could get my hands on, and before long I was writing my own short stories in various notebooks that I had collected. When I went to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I majored in English with an emphasis on creative writing. While I was there, I realized that I also had a passion for teaching, so my creative writing took a backseat for a couple years while I got my Master’s degree in English at the University of Kentucky. Then once I returned to California and started teaching community college English classes, I started working on my first novel. It took me four years to write and edit The Temple Dancer’s Diary before it was ready for publication. After that I couldn’t get the characters out of my head and wanted to keep writing about the fantasy world I had crafted, which led to my spinoff series. After writing a standalone novel, I’m excited to be writing a trilogy starting with Hybrid Magic

What is something unique/quirky about you?

When I wasn’t reading or writing as a kid, I was dancing and singing. I was a quiet kid, but I loved performing on stage. It really brought me out of my shell and gave me more confidence. I started off with chorus and ballet classes. Then I eventually branched out to lots of other styles, including tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and musical theatre. I did ballet for twenty years and used it as one of my inspirations for The Temple Dancer’s Diary. Even though I started tap dancing a lot later, that actually became my favorite dance style. I performed tap solos competitively in high school, and I choreographed a couple tap dances in college. I still take tap classes with my best friend to this day, but currently we are doing them on Zoom!

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in Ventura County, California. I felt so lucky to live near the beach and spent much of my summers swimming or reading by the pool. I definitely am not good with cold weather. I lived in Kentucky for two years while I was in graduate school, and that was more than enough cold weather for me. I’m happy to visit, but I will forever be a Southern California girl.

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

If it was my last day, I would spend it with my family. It wouldn’t really matter what we were doing as long as I could be with them.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like to curl up on the couch with my husband to watch a movie or TV show together. Usually, our cat Percy will also join us for some cuddles. He’s a real snuggle bug, especially if we have a fuzzy blanket.

How to find time to write as a parent?

I’m still a new parent, so it’s definitely a learning curve! I am fortunate enough to have my parents living close by, so they can take care of my daughter when I need to get important work done, whether it’s related to teaching or writing. Otherwise, I try to write while my daughter naps or after she goes to bed at night. I’m a night owl anyways, and I usually get my best ideas late at night.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first truly considered myself a writer when I began sharing my writing with other people. Having critique partners is such an important part of the writing process. Over time it has gotten easier to take constructive criticism, and now I actually enjoy revising and editing my work to make it stronger.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I love The Hunger Games. The books are great, but I actually might like the movies even more. I rewatch them a couple times a year. I also love the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley.

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

I could imagine The Temple Dancer’s Diary being made into a movie. I think it would be neat to have a fantasy movie that contains dance performances.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

After I graduated from college, I took a trip to Europe with some friends. I started in England where I watched Macbeth at the Globe Theatre and went to a pub frequented by John Keats. Keats supposedly wrote “Ode to a Nightingale” there. Then I went to Greece and saw the Theatre of Dionysus. After that I traveled around Italy and France. In Italy, I got to see Dante Alighieri’s house.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

It’s always hard to pick favorite books, so I’ll share some of my favorite authors. For all of these authors, I’ve read several of their books. My top 10 are Tamora Pierce, Suzanne Collins, Julie Kagawa, Marissa Meyer, J. K. Rowling, Anna Godbersen, Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing short stories and poems in my journals ever since I was a kid, but I started working on full-length novels six years ago.

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

Some of my characters come to me as I write. I have a plan for when I want to introduce new characters and what general role they need to fit into, but I don’t have a firm grasp of what those characters will be like. When I wrote The Temple Dancer’s Diary, I wasn’t really sure who I wanted the main antagonist to be until I was about halfway through my first draft.

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

I didn’t do a whole lot of research before I started writing my first book since I incorporated some personal interests that I was already familiar with, but I did spend a lot of time on my worldbuilding. I referred back to several fantasy maps from my favorite stories that I had read to help me plan the physical setting. Then I considered how I wanted the magic system, politics, and religion of my world to be set up. I also created a timeline of key historical events and a list of important people, even though many of them would just be background characters mentioned in passing. Once I actually start writing, I do my research along the way. Most of my research for my first book was about architecture, medicine, and clothing that would be worn during the Regency Era. For my current book Hybrid Magic, I did some research into botany and various social dances, like the quadrille.

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

Fantasy is my favorite genre to both read and write, but I still enjoy reading a variety of genres. I read literary classics, science fiction, dystopian fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, and some romance. I’ll even read horror as long as it’s by Stephen King.

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

I usually prefer to write in silence. I find it easier to think and be creative when I’m in a quiet environment. Once I get to the editing stage, I will sometimes listen to instrumental music.

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

I only write one book at a time because it helps me keep track of all of the details and become fully immersed in the story. As for reading, I usually read three or four books at once. I don’t have trouble switching back and forth between other people’s storylines.

Pen or type writer or computer?

For the early brainstorming and outlining, I like writing with a pen in one of my journals. I have different journals stashed in various rooms around the house. The one I keep by my bed gets filled with the most notes because I usually come up with the most ideas at night, sometimes even while I’m falling asleep. Once I’m done outlining and actually start drafting a book, I will type it up on the computer.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

I always love strong, intelligent female characters who unabashedly pursue what they want. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books and Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness Series were two of my favorite characters when I was growing up. I considered them to be role models of the type of young woman I wanted to be.

Advice they would give new authors?

My main advice is something my own creative writing professor told me: write what you know. I remember feeling frustrated when he first said that. I was trying to write a supernatural thriller about a married woman who was estranged from her husband and had a missing daughter. I really wanted to tell that story, but I was in over my head at twenty years old with limited writing experience. I took another class with the same teacher the next semester and wrote a handful of short stories based on personal experiences. This allowed me to start honing my craft in an authentic way, and eventually with more life experience and more exposure to other people’s stories, I was able to branch out to many more topics.

What are they currently reading?

I’m finishing up the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco, and then I plan to read the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

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

I start with a rough handwritten outline. Usually I have more details in mind for the earlier chapters and leave the later chapters more open-ended so that I can let the story evolve as I write. Then I start drafting the chapters in order chronologically. My goal when drafting is to write about 5,000 words per week. Finally, the revision process takes the most time. I have several different people read my drafts, and I continuously make changes until the manuscript finally feels ready for copyediting.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think the most common trap is procrastination. Many people think of procrastination as putting something off by watching TV or going out with friends, but more often than not writers procrastinate by finding other ways to be productive. It could be cleaning your house, going to the gym, walking your dog, or running errands. Doing these types of things gets in the way of your ability to be creative and makes you feel like you never have time to write. If you want to be a writer, the best thing you can do is set aside a little bit of time to write every day, even if it is only ten minutes. It’s important to build a habit to make writing part of your everyday life.

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

I would tell my younger writing self not to be afraid to show other people my work. I should have realized earlier on that the people who really cared about me would be supportive and wanted to help me improve. I also could have benefited from more constructive criticism earlier on. It took me a long time to get over the knee-jerk reaction of feeling upset and defensive when I received writing critiques.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do believe in writer’s block. As a teacher, I see it happen all the time with my students. When I experience writer’s block myself, I try to follow the same advice I give to my students. I give myself a short break by doing some exercise or taking a shower, and then I come back to the computer. Even if I still feel blocked, I force myself to do some freewriting for ten to fifteen minutes. I know that it won’t be the best, but at least I will have something to work with at that point.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Hybrid Magic is the start of a trilogy, so you can expect to see the rest of the books coming out over the next couple years! After that, I might venture into a different genre. Fantasy is my favorite, but I would love to try writing some sci-fi or dystopian stories too.

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.

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

Hybrid Magic is a spinoff that takes place ten years after the storyline of my first standalone novel, The Temple Dancer’s Diary. Some characters with smaller roles in The Temple Dancer’s Diary are now getting their chance in the spotlight with a story of their own.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Hybrid Magic?

This book is told from three different character perspectives, so I’ll share a bit about each of them.

First, Aaron Ztrong is a fourteen-year-old hybrid mage who became famous when he was younger for defeating another powerful mage. His magic abilities include healing, transforming objects, and making things levitate and fly through the air. His parents see so much potential in him, but he would rather spend his time with his friends and enjoy relaxing hobbies like fishing. He is a prankster who will do anything to get out of his lessons until his life is threatened by a group known as the Defenders who hunt down hybrid mages.

Second, Elara Pratt is a sixteen-year-old hybrid mage who grew up in a small farming village with her three younger siblings. Her magic involves helping plants flourish and grow in any environment. She can even transform into a dryad-like creature herself. After leaving her family behind to learn more about her abilities, she moves to a forest haven that was established to train and protect hybrid mages from the ruthless Defenders. Elara is optimistic, caring, and always eager to make a new friend. But no one is allowed to mess with her garden or any of her plant babies!

Finally, Theo Darien is a seventeen-year-old hybrid mage who grew up idolizing his father, a celebrated constable. Theo dreamed of having combat magic like his dad so that he too could take down criminals. He was initially excited upon discovering his unique abilities to transform any object into a weapon. Then his older half brother joined the Defenders and attempted to kill him because of those abilities. After running away from home, Theo was taken in by a teacher who promised to train and protect him. Theo is quiet and studious, yet also racked with guilt over his final confrontation with his brother. Now he is determined not to hurt anyone with his magic and will only use his powers for good.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

After writing my first book from a single perspective in first-person diary entries, I enjoyed writing this book in third-person point of view with multiple different character perspectives.

Who designed your book covers?

My best friend Naomi Henry designed both of my book covers. She is an amazing artist, and I was overjoyed that she wanted to work with me.

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

There are some personality traits each of my characters have that I based off of real people, but for the most part they came from my imagination.

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

My characters do hijack the story from time to time! I always create an outline before I start writing with major plot points that I want to include in each chapter, so I try to stick to that outline pretty closely for the plot and pacing. The characters develop more organically though. I start out with a few key personality traits in mind for each character, and then I see how they interact with one another. Sometimes their interactions and dialogue will surprise me by taking my story in cool new directions.

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

My book would have an autumn candle to match the cover art. It would be a burnt orange color with a woodsy scent containing a mixture of apple, pumpkin spice, and cloves.

Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

I would love to get writing advice from Tamora Pierce. Her young adult fantasy books set in the Tortall Universe were my favorites growing up. The characters were nuanced, and the stories were so empowering for teenaged girls.

Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?’-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.

I wrote the whole first draft of Hybrid Magic while I was pregnant with my daughter. I like to think that she was my muse, sparking inspiration whenever I experienced writer’s block.


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


Pseudocide by A.K. Smith #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.

Pseudocide ~ Sometimes You Have to Die to Survive

by A.K. Smith ~ Genre: YA Twisty Suspense

This tense tale will keep readers on edge until its surprising finale. – Kirkus Reviews

“A gripping suspense novel with unexpected twists.”

“Teen fans of Gone Girl will enjoy this smart dark and unpredictable novel.”

“Natasha Preston and Karen M. McManus readers will enjoy.” ♥

SHE THOUGHT FAKING HER DEATH WAS THE ANSWER TO A NEW DESTINY
SHE WAS WRONG
. PLAYING DEAD ISN’T EASY

Sunday Foster had THE PLAN. Make it through the rest of high school, graduate and THE PLAN will begin. Only, fate chose a different path; one decision, one second changed everything,

THE PLAN is ruined. And then a new idea emerges.

What if you could escape your life? Change your name, where you live, and escape all the bad stuff that keeps happening.

Sunday decides in order to change her destiny she must fake her death and start a new life. Pseudocide not suicide. Sunday has secrets, but she’s not the only one. That’s when Sunday must decide how far she will go to hide the truth. Plans never work out quite the way you expect. 

Sometimes you have to DIE to survive.

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Full of wanderlust and a professional sunset watcher, A.K. Smith writes twisty suspense books that will keep you up late. Her debut novel, A Deep Thing was awarded the Readers Favorite Gold Medal. A freelance travel writer (under another name), she loves to experience the world, and discover new settings to feature in her latest novels and articles. If she’s not on the water or in the water, she is looking at the water. She spends her days working remotely online in either Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, or in the desert or forests of Arizona. Beautiful settings provide thousands of story ideas that she can’t wait to get down on paper. She is convinced, her best life is with a beach, a blanket, and a book.  Her big loves are her husband, family, friends, and kindness. Her goal is to step foot on every continent on Planet Earth (maybe even the moon) –she’s slowly getting there.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Would you like a chance to win an eBook copy of A Deep Thing and a $25 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


Ghosts of Guatemala by Collin Glavac #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.

Ghosts of Guatemala (John Carpenter Trilogy Book 1) by Collin Glavac

Genre: Spy Thriller

The CIA never left Latin America…

The CIA is facing catastrophic blackmail at the hands of an erratic Guatemalan drug lord: the infamous patrón of Antigua – Pablo Puentes. Desperate for a swift solution, the agency calls in their black operative fixer: John Carpenter.

John is a cold-blooded professional ready for the job. But the mission doesn’t have a simple fix. Pablo has a disastrous kill switch in place. 

John is still haunted by the mysterious death of his best friend who died on a far too similar mission, and now is uncertain about how much he can trust his handler or his sensual partner.

Back at the agency, tensions are running hot as the stench of corruption is growing to a boiling point. If things aren’t put to rights – and soon – the entire mission will go up in flames and take the CIA down with it.

Only John Carpenter can bring this drug lord to justice and get the answers he deserves.

Because this mission is personal…

If you like the relentless tension of Daniel Silva and the gritty reality of Lee Child then you’ll love this first book in the John Carpenter Trilogy!

Reader’s reviews:

“★★★★★ This is a tightly-knit story that keeps us wondering who is betraying whom.” – Vine Voice, Verified Amazon Reviewer.

“★★★★★ Forget James Bond, ignore the glamour and cool gadgets in Mission Impossible, chances are real spies are not going to be Kate Beckinsale dressed in skintight leather while she drives around in a Ferrari. In reality, spy agencies want to recruit people with a certain charm that can lure people in, but be physically unremarkable so that their victims can’t really remember anything unusual about them as they wander across the street.“ – Verified Amazon Reviewer.

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Collin Glavac is a Canadian born actor and writer who lives in Southern Ontario. He has written, directed, and acted in two original stage plays: In Real Life and LoveSpell. He completed his Dramatic and Liberal Arts B.A. and M.A at Brock University.

Operation Nicaragua is the second book in the John Carpenter trilogy. Ghosts of Guatemala, the first book in the trilogy is his debut novel. Vaulter’s Magic, the first book in a new series will be available soon. 

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Would you like a chance to win either a print or eBook copy of Ghosts of Guatemala or Operation Nicaragua or a $15 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Ghosts of Guatemala by Collin Glavac.

Meet Author A.K. Smith #giveaway

Full of wanderlust and a professional sunset watcher, A.K. Smith writes twisty suspense books that will keep you up late. Her debut novel, A Deep Thing was awarded the Readers Favorite Gold Medal. A freelance travel writer (under another name), she loves to experience the world, and discover new settings to feature in her latest novels and articles. If she’s not on the water or in the water, she is looking at the water. She spends her days working remotely online in either Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, or in the desert or forests of Arizona. Beautiful settings provide thousands of story ideas that she can’t wait to get down on paper. She is convinced, her best life is with a beach, a blanket, and a book.  Her big loves are her husband, family, friends, and kindness. Her goal is to step foot on every continent on Planet Earth (maybe even the moon) –she’s slowly getting there.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads


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

I’m a freelance travel writer and have written travel books, and travel articles for the last fifteen years. My favorite books to read are full of twisty suspense, and if they have a beach, an island, or an ocean in the setting, I’m in. I guess you write what you love to read, and both of my published books have settings by the ocean, intertwined with unique places to visit. My debut novel, A Deep Thing, was traditionally published by a small press less than five years ago. My new release, Pseudocide, is independently published by my publishing company, Books with Soul® Press. Books With Soul has published over 400 gift books, including children’s books, travel books and inspirational journals.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

 I work remotely from the beautiful Sea of Cortez in Mexico and the desert of Arizona. For my first book, A Deep Thing, I dove the beautiful cenotes of the Yucatan, so I could accurately write about them in my novel. My husband and I took 99 vacations in three years, and I wrote a book about how it is possible on a working budget.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in a small Western Pennsylvania town outside of Pittsburgh. Although, I have lived in over ten states and two countries.

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

Wow, that’s a tough question to answer, unless I could be like the main character in my book, Pseudocide and just fake my death and start all over again.

What are you passionate about these days?

Kindness, traveling, and sunsets. If I’m not on the water, in the water, or walking on the beach, I’m probably looking at the water. Now that traveling is back, I am passionate about my quest to step foot on every continent and explore this planet. I’m slowly getting there.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love to stream twisty series or movies especially if they have an island or beach in them. I think there should be more series and movies with boats, oceans and unique destinations. That goes for books as well.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Beach lover writer who loves kindness…whoops that’s six.

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

I can imagine my first novel, A Deep Thing, would make a great twisty adventure thriller, complete with islands, diving, and a college campus with a secret tunnel underneath. My second novel Pseudocide, I imagine as a young adult series, with gorgeous bay settings, thick green woods, and the shiny lights of Las Vegas.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

To me that is harder than stating my favorite movie. I love books that take me on a journey and surprise me.

I’m a fan of Karen M. McManus, One of is Lying and Lauren Oliver’s, Panic. I love books that put females in the center of every story.

The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood is right up there with The Help and I loved Janet Fitch’s book, White Oleander, and the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve read every Nicholas Sparks book and loved every minute of The Firm and A Time to Kill, by John Grisham

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Wool series by Hugh Howey and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens are some recent favorites. I also love Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Selections that focus on women authors and female protagonists.

What book do you think everyone should read?

Well, A Deep Thing or Pseudocide by A.K. Smith would be great to be on everyone’s list, if a writer doesn’t believe their book should be on everyone’s list, no one else will.

How long have you been writing?

I have journaled and created stories since I was a kid. But, in the last ten years, I made it a priority. Making it a priority and acting on it made it happen.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? I try to create character sketches of my main characters before I write, but as the story develops, some characters creep in and I have to include them.

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

I am a researcher. In fact, the more I research the more ideas flow. It’s gathering the research together that develops my story. I read books, watch movies, and google everything!

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, it is what I love to do, and I hope I can do it the rest of my life as a successful career.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

What I think, is there are so many great books out there, that is often difficult to get your book to stand out.But, if you can find enough fans, and you have a great story something good can happen.

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

Yes, I love to read, and I will read most fiction genres where I can learn something or go somewhere or that opens my mind to. My go to genre is twisty suspense– especially if it has a beach, an island, or an ocean as it’s setting. I also love magical realism and a twist of sci-fi. I love adventure stories with heart, that introduce me to somewhere new.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise?

I love the focus playlist on Spotify. However, sometimes I like to make a playlist for each book.

Why? My books playlist is something I share with my characters, my readers and they help set the mood or setting of the book. They also bring back great memories.

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

Oh, I have several going at a time and then pick one to focus and finish.

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

I read The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks for the first time when I was young, and it was such a great story, that I wished I would have written it. But, I also remember my first Dean Koontz novel, Whispers which made me so tense, that I wondered how I could make someone feel those emotions from words on paper.

Pen or type writer or computer?

Wow, Computer all the way, I can’t imagine pen, I wouldn’t be able to read my own handwriting.

A day in the life of the author?

Writing is a very solitary job. Mix it up, set a schedule to write then get up and move around and then stick to your writing schedule.

Advice they would give new authors?

 Don’t give up, keep writing

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

I have tried both outlining and writing with a general idea of plot. I think a rough outline works best for me, however outlines morph into their own path as I write. I believe every new writer should try out both methods, to see what works for them.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think giving up is a common trap. My advice is to go somewhere quiet, set a 30-minute alarm on your phone and just write. If it’s going well, do another 30 minutes, schedule this in every day and by the end of 6 months you will probably have a rough draft. A common mistake is thinking once you have the rough draft your novel is done. Oh, it’s only just begun, but at least you have something to work with. Don’t give up and don’t let others bring you down. Also, you must work with a good editor.

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

Wow, if I could time travel, I would tell my young self to start writing a book in high school. Would I listen? Hopefully. Imagine how many books I could have written if I only started when I was younger!

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

 If I could write fulltime, I could finish a novel in 3-6 months, but unfortunately life and other priorities get in the way. My two completed books have taken several years. My other suggestion, is to try to keep writing even when you are working on the finished rough draft, spend a little time on the next one, even if it’s just doing the research for an hour a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely does not exist in my mind, not having enough time to write is my only block.

What inspired you to write Pseudocide

There are numerous stories in history of men and women faking their death and starting over again. As technology progresses, and humans create more and more digital footprints, it will become difficult to accomplish this. We are tracked by our digital footprints.

Because of technology, and for the integrity of the story, my main character had to be young. Digital footprints of an adult are much harder to erase. The first few drafts were written before the pandemic, and as the pandemic of 2020 exploded, I tried to rewrite the manuscript and set it during pandemic times. It didn’t work. In the year of the pandemic, we are all more connected by technology than ever before, even children with online learning. So, the novel starts right before the pandemic.

As I googled ‘how to fake your death’, ‘gun violence” and ‘radical and domestic terrorism’ theories, I was concerned what my digital footprint must look like! My wish is to take my readers on a journey from Sunday’s point of view. I hope this book makes you feel. There are strong social issues such as bullying, racism, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and gun violence, which unfortunately are all too real in today’s world. For anyone who has experienced any of those issues, please know you are not alone. Talk to someone. There are resources in the back of the book to help anyone who needs to talk.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m working on a twisty suspense novel, set on a true to life island in the middle of the sea, with a medical school. I will be visiting that island for background and research.

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

The definition of Pseudocide is “faking one’s death”. Thoughts of writing Pseudocide began in 2015. I read an article about a man who faked his death, and then got caught. I reasoned, if I were ever going to fake my own death, I would never get caught. Why would one want to fake their death? Typically to start over, to escape something terrible.

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

I used interesting names I like; I always thought the name Sunday was a great name. Sometimes, I use friends or family members names (with their permission) and give that character a trait or two of that person and then mix it in with something completely off-the-wall.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

 I enjoyed creating the twists. I constantly asked myself, now what else can go wrong?

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

Sunday the protagonist is a good person in a bad situation. Regardless of what terrible circumstances life is throwing at her, she has a drive to succeed and change her destiny. Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people, but it’s what you do after, that counts.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

 My first book, A Deep Thing was easy. The setting is almost like a character. Cenotes are beautiful luminescent deep underground caves; plus, there’s a deeper message to this thriller. It really is–a deep thing.

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

A young Miley Cyrus type actress would be perfect.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Pseudocide deals with strong social issues teens and adults face every day. I think part of the solution of getting past these issues is understanding and knowing they are out there, not censoring them.

How did you come up with name of this book?

 I was fascinated with the word Pseudocide. I want readers to have to think about the word and what it means. Most people do not know what the definition is. I thought about calling the book, Playing Dead or You’re not really dead, are you? But I pictured the cover and just couldn’t change it.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

 I love the ending, but I can’t tell you why or I would be spoiling the conclusion.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be?

Oh, I would like to spend a day with Hudson. I printed out a picture of him from the internet that captured Hudson, he was sitting in front of me when I wrote his chapters.

 And what would you do during that day? Well, if you read the book, you would understand, I would like to go on “Hudson’s Ten Buck Tour” in Las Vegas.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? My imagination, mixed in with a little reality. I worked at an Alice Paul House Crisis Center in graduate school in Indiana, Pa. Unfortunately, I witnessed abuse and sad stories. But, I also witnessed strong teens and women that become survivors with a story to tell, and a strong ladder to climb. Teens, women, and any person that has been a victim of abuse need to know they are not alone. They are survivors, their story might just help someone else out.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? My characters definitely jumped off the page, right before my very eyes and there was a little bit of hijacking going on. One character who wasn’t supposed to be the good guy initially, talked me out of making him the bad guy.

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

I think teen social issues should be addressed at home and in school. Discussion of issues is healthy and helpful. If Sunday’s story makes the reader feel, or learn one small thing about understanding troublesome situations, then this is a must read. If the readers are surprised at the outcome, then perhaps they opened their mind to the what if’s.

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

Well, my character Sunday could answer that question in a heartbeat, as she has an extraordinary sense of smell. A mix of woods and sea with cinnamon and dryer sheets.

Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice?

Oh, I would go straight to the top and pick J.K. Rowling’s mind. What a fascinating mind to pick.

Would you like a chance to win an eBook of A Deep Thing and a $25 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a 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.


Book Burgling Blood Magic by Gretchen S.B. #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.

Book Burgling Blood-Magic (Jas Bond Book 3) by Gretchen S.B.

Genre: Urban Fantasy

The last thing I need, is the book everybody wants…

When a volume eight of Geysers Journals falls into my lap I’m left with a conundrum. Do I hold onto it and try to get the most money out of it I possibly can, shoring up my finances for at least a year? Or do I get rid of it as quickly as possible in an effort to avoid any more attempts on my life? To me, the choice is obvious. But what am I supposed to do when the buyer isn’t who they seem, and I end up getting stiffed? Then I get a frantic call about my dog. Cheat me out of a heck of a lot of money and I’ll angrily grumble but come after Bailey and you and I have a problem.

Some books bring a heck of a lot of trouble. See what’s in store in Book Burgling Blood-Magic.

Add to Goodreads * Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo

Gretchen spawned in the Puget Sound region. After some wandering she returned there and now lives with her husband and the daintiest Rottweiler on the planet. When not drowning herself in coffee, as is custom in the Greater Seattle Area, Gretchen can be found at her day job or sitting at her desk in the home office, flailing her arms as she dictates to her computer.


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Would you like a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or an eBook copy of Spectacle Stealing Supernatural (book 2)? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Book Burgling Blood – Magic by Gretchen S.B.

Illegal by K.J. Gillenwater #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.

Illegal by K.J. Gillenwater ~ Genre: Romantic Suspense

Alone, desperate, and beautiful. When bullets fly, she must rely on a handsome stranger or face death. Together, they will risk it all for love.

Her whole life was a lie…

After discovering she was brought to the United States illegally as a young child, Selena Hernandez decides to do the responsible thing and return to Mexico, her country of origin. Selena vows to become a legal immigrant.

When she asks for help with a visa at the US Embassy, she meets attractive Wyatt Demko, a helpful embassy employee. But they are surprised to discover shocking details about her past and connections to a notorious drug cartel.

Wyatt escaped a painful upbringing in a Wisconsin trailer park for a stable career with the State Department. A chance meeting with Selena reveals an instinctual desire to help. But falling for a beautiful girl with dangerous enemies on her trail complicates his meticulous plans.

Wyatt knows he can’t afford to trust Selena. Still, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe and win her heart before time runs out.

But Wyatt and Selena only have a few days to accomplish the impossible: hide from the brutal drug cartels and corrupt law enforcement to make a daring getaway that will take them from the streets of Mexico City to the sandy beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Goodreads * Books2Read * Amazon

K. J. Gillenwater has a B.A. in English and Spanish from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. She worked as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Navy, spending time at the National Security Agency doing secret things. After six years of service, she ended up as a technical writer in the software industry.

She has lived all over the U.S. and currently resides in Wyoming with her family where she runs her own business writing government proposals and squeezes in fiction writing when she can.

In the winter she likes to ski and snowshoe; in the summer she likes to garden with her husband, take walks with her dogs, and take trips into the Big Horn Mountains nearby. She has written multiple books, including several short story collections.

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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!

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Illegal by K.J. Gillenwater.

Anna Stewart ~ Author Interview

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to spicy romances for Harlequin and ARC Manor’s Caezik Romance. Her sweet Heartwarming books include the Butterfly Harbor series as well as the ongoing Blackwell continuity series. She is also the author of the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and contributes to the bestselling continuity series, the Coltons. Her second Butterfly Harbor romance, RECIPE FOR REDEMPTION, was optioned as a TV movie and aired as CHRISTMAS RECIPE FOR ROMANCE in 2019 on UpTV.

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out BRIDE ON THE RUN below!

(Click on the cover image to order your copy)

(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.)

BRIDE ON THE RUN

Finding true love…
In the unlikeliest places!

Sienna Fairchild never imagined she’d be a runaway bride. Or that she’d stow away on a worn-down boat belonging to handsome tour operator Monty Bettencourt. Monty’s used to navigating rough seas, but Sienna might overturn his whole life, and avoiding drama is tough in such close quarters! If Sienna’s sure she doesn’t know what she wants, then why does running away feel so much like coming home?


Follow her on Social Media here:


Meet Author K.J. Gillenwater

K. J. Gillenwater has a B.A. in English and Spanish from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. She worked as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Navy, spending time at the National Security Agency doing secret things. After six years of service, she ended up as a technical writer in the software industry.

She has lived all over the U.S. and currently resides in Wyoming with her family where she runs her own business writing government proposals and squeezes in fiction writing when she can.

In the winter she likes to ski and snowshoe; in the summer she likes to garden with her husband, take walks with her dogs, and take trips into the Big Horn Mountains nearby. She has written multiple books, including several short story collections.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads


What is something unique/quirky about you?

I am multi-lingual. I studied Spanish all through high school, made it one of my majors in college, I studied abroad in Mexico my sophomore year and then got a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. Then, I joined the Navy and went to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California where they taught me Russian.

Then, I got an assignment to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade in Maryland where I held a top-secret security clearance and did things of which I cannot speak!

It sounds more exciting than it actually was…as some of my fellow sailors ended up on submarines or on recon flights picking up signals and translating, while I was just sitting behind a desk in a room with no windows for three years. LOL.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for almost 20 years now. Since my children were very little. I’ve always wanted to be an author, but didn’t think I had a full-length book in me. When NaNoWriMo was barely anything, I read about it in the newspaper of all things, and I thought I’d give it a try. I had never written a full book, only short stories, and wanted to give it a go. I had no plot in mind, I just sat down at my computer and made myself write whatever I wanted to.

I ended up with almost 40,000 crappy words written that November, which turned into a book I finished. But it will stay on my hard drive never to see the light of day. Really, that’s the best place for it. Trust me!

From there, I followed my muse and eventually ended up with a publishing contract with Samhain Publishing for my paranormal suspense book, The Ninth Curse.

I took a break from writing for about eight years after a divorce to focus on my children as a single mother. But dove back into writing a few years ago with a passion and haven’t looked back since.

Describe your writing style.

I have been told my many an editor that I have ‘choppy’ style. I am not the kind of writer who writes long, gorgeous descriptive sentences. I think that is because I love writing action and suspense. And things happen quickly in those genres, so you don’t want to slow down the action with lots of words.

Editors will usually combine my sentences into one connected piece, which I typically accept. But this is how the story comes out of my head and onto paper, so it can feel a bit strange to smooth things out for the reader.

If I can keep a bit of the choppy, I will do it! LOL.

I also have a great fear of writing something ‘corny.’ Not sure how people decide if something is corny or not. I want realistic dialogue and realistic thinking and decision-making. Maybe I’m not successful to some readers, but I want them to know it is important to me to be as real as I can when I’m writing my scenes and characters.

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.

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

Oh, what author doesn’t fantasize about her book being picked up for film?

When I started writing Illegal I wanted it to be like a romance version of The Bourne Identity. Selena is a quick thinker who has some guts, and she takes this embassy worker on race across Mexico to get away from bad guys who come after her for a reason unknown to her. So a very similar feel to The Bourne Identity when Jason wakes up with no memory of who he is and must figure things out alone and on the run.

For the heroine, I’d love to see someone like Lindsay Morgan, Raven from The 100, play Selena. She can play tough, smart and sexy all at the same time. And for the hero? Well, in my mind he looked just like Jensen Ackles from the early days of Supernatural, but I suppose he’s getting too old to play Wyatt. Guess I’m showing my age with my casting! LOL. So, I guess Connor Jessup, Tyler in Locke & Key on Netflix, would be a better age match and has a similar look to me.

But seriously, I wouldn’t be picky. I’d be over the moon if Hollywood came knocking and wanted to take my book and film-ify it!

What is your favorite part of your book Illegal and why?

My favorite part of Illegal is when the two of them, Selena and Wyatt, become separated (I won’t give away how or why). That’s when the action and danger really picks up. I so much enjoy writing scenes with a lot of tension and drama. So once I build up the background of the story and introduce these characters, to put them in a horrible situation and just let ‘em go is so much fun for me as an author.

Also, at that point in the book, a lot of secrets are revealed and questions are answered. Everything comes together in a big explosive WOW ending…I want my readers to love that part as much as I do.

What inspired you to write your book Illegal?

A news story inspired me, plus my own background and experiences. I read a news story about a young man who had been deported to Mexico. He’d lived most of his life in the United States, but had been born in Mexico and had been brought to the U.S. illegally as a child. He was struggling to survive in a country that he had no memories of and in which he had few connections. I couldn’t even imagine being in his situation and thought about how I would handle such a shock.

In college, I was a Spanish major and had studied at La Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico for a semester. So I have an affinity for Mexico and did a lot of traveling by bus all over the country when I was there. I seem to be drawn to Mexico as a setting for my books…as I have another contemporary romance set in Acapulco. I imagined a story that would intertwine this immigration theme with some of the other problems Mexico currently suffers from…the drug trade, cartel wars, police corruption. It had all the elements of a really suspenseful story.

After I wrote most of the book, I wanted to find out more about our immigration laws, how that affects people here in the U.S. and what their options are to become legal citizens. I enlisted the help of a really lovely immigration attorney from southern California to ensure the details of my book were accurate to the laws we have now.

My hope is that readers will be entertained by my story of Selena and Wyatt, but also learn something in the process.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I currently am working on several projects at once, as my mind wants to jump to the next new thing. It’s fun to juggle projects, so I never get bored of a story. I can always write a scene in a book that my creative self wants to write and then write something else in another book as the muse directs me.

My main projects are:

  • The Genesis Machine. This is a work of serialized fiction that will be available in the new Kindle Vella app that will be coming online soon. I describe it as: ‘when NCIS meets the X-files.’ It’s a science fiction technothriller with some romance.
  • Aurora’s Winter. This is a sequel to my book Aurora’s Gold. It takes place in Nome, Alaska and features an underwater gold dredging heroine who falls in love with a damaged Navy veteran with a past. Its part adventure, part suspense, part romance and will be a trilogy of books when I’m done. This book should be out by the end of 2021 if all goes according to plan.
  • Revenge Honeymoon. This is a contemporary romance with a rom-com feel to it. A woman gets left at the altar and decides to take her maid-of-honor on the honeymoon cruise she’d booked for her and her fiancé. The cruise is for honeymooners only, so there are some misunderstandings and fun things that will happen as these two women come to grips with their love lives and their decisions. And, of course, we will have a cute romance!

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

I started out as a full-on pantster. I plotted nothing. I started with an idea for a book, an opening scene and knowing where I wanted to end things. The rest was up to me to figure out along the way. This resulted in a long, painful writing process, and I’d get stalled out…sometimes for months. I think it took me two years to write The Ninth Curse from beginning to end, including the edits.

Then, I went on a writers’ cruise several years ago, just as I was getting back into writing again. The speaker said this: if you are a pantster, you will eventually become a plotter.

I mulled that one over and wondered if my difficulties lay in the fact I didn’t at least come up with a simple plot ahead of time. Since that time, I have attempted to refine my process. I have written simple outlines of 1 to 3 pages to give me at least a path to follow. Sometimes I expand on that outline to get into the deeper elements of the story, which has seemed to help me with my writing.

I wrote Illegal in about seven months from beginning to end, so maybe this has helped! I used the process outlines in Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes for that one. And I recommend that book to anyone who might be struggling with the plotting or pacing of a romance.

But these days I am of the mindset that I write what I feel like writing. That is why I now juggle multiple books at once. I have ideas in my head that get me excited, where before I’d see them as distractions from completing the current project I was working on. I see these ideas as a ‘strike while the iron is hot’ opportunity. Whenever I come up with an idea or a scene, I write it. No matter if it’s out of order from the plot of if I’m in the middle of writing something else.

I want to encourage my creative side more by getting as much as possible down on paper while it’s in my head. I also have started to use a voice-to-text app on my phone and tablet when I don’t have time to type things up.

In fact, I’m writing a whole three-book series (at least I think it will be a three-book series) using voice-to-text 95% of the time. I want to stop limiting myself, slowing myself down and getting in the way of my creative brain. I am trying whatever I can to get down those ideas on paper as quickly as possible.

My goal for the next year is to finish five separate projects. I don’t know if I can do it, but I sure as hell want to try!

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


Such A Good Girl by Willow Rose #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.

Such a Good Girl (Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Book 9) by Willow Rose

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas faces a devious plan in bestselling author Willow Rose’s blood-rushing thriller of murder and revenge.

A girl falls from the penthouse floor of an apartment in Washington, D.C.

Media Mogul Richard Wanton owns the apartment and is seen standing on the balcony when the girl falls.

He is accused of killing her, but the FBI is struggling to find enough solid evidence to convict him.

They have a witness, someone who was in the apartment when it happened, but she doesn’t want to talk to them.

She’ll only speak to one person, ex-FBI profiler Eva Rae Thomas. The problem is, Eva Rae Thomas has no interest in talking to her.

As a matter of fact, she’d rather see this woman dead than have to face her.

But Eva Rae Thomas isn’t someone who can leave a case alone, especially not when she starts to ask questions and things aren’t adding up.

As she digs in deeper—with the entire world watching—she soon finds herself in too deep and realizes she can’t trust anyone’s motives.

But by then, it is too late, and the killer is already tracking her down.

Goodreads * Amazon

Willow Rose is a multi-million-copy best-selling Author and an Amazon ALL-star Author of more than 80 novels. 

Several of her books have reached the top 10 of ALL books on Amazon in the US, UK, and Canada. She has sold more than six million books all over the world. 

She writes Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Horror, Supernatural thrillers, and Fantasy. 

Willow’s books are fast-paced, nail-biting pageturners with twists you won’t see coming. That’s why her fans call her The Queen of Plot-Twists.

Willow lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing or reading, you will find her surfing and watching the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. 

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Would you like a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Such A Good Girl by Willow Rose.