Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Blog Hop and Giveaway

Welcome to this seven day summer blog hop giveaway hosted by I'm A Reader Not A Writer and BookHounds, where over 300 blogs have linked together so you can hop from one blog to another and enter as many or all the book related  giveaways! 

Today I will be giving away one paperback copy of my very own creation Veiled

To enter my giveaway simply:
(1) Follow my blog
(2) Leave me a comment
(3) "Like" me on Facebook!

About Veiled:
"I have always existed, not just me but all of us, the un-embodied spirits who wait to live.”

Tess is an unborn spirit, who is about to embark on a much awaited journey into mortality to a brand new planet called Earth. She is chosen by the Eternals for an important mission, and is put under a rigorous training by a half-human, half-lion Seraph. This training exposes Tess to some of her darkest fears and insecurities. These experiences force Tess to work on her gift as a discerner of thoughts and reader of auras—thus helping her become one of Heaven’s most powerful angels. But even angels falter, and deep inside her a gnawing fear is growing. Will she meet her soul mate in life? Will their love be strong enough to overcome the forgetting effects of the Veil? And, is she prepared to take on the responsibility of keeping the most dangerous renegade and leader of the Fallen Angels at bay during mortality?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meet Author Gordon A Kessler ~ Master Writing Instructor and Former U.S. Marines Parachutist!

Gordon A Kessler is a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing.  He is a Master Instructor for Johnson County Community College, National Academy of Railroad Sciences, and the BNSF Railway.  He has taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, English Composition for Hutchinson Junior College and has previously indie-published the thriller novels Jezebel and Dead Reckoning, and a book about the novel-writing craft, Novel Writing Made Simple.  He is a founder and former president of the Kansas Writers Association and tries to stay connected to writers and the writing industry by doing speaking engagements at writers conferences and for writers organizations, and has does his own "The Storyteller" seminar in Wichita, Lincoln (Nebraska), Kansas City, and other Midwestern cities based on his Novel Writing Made Simple book. His websites, and www.IndieWritersAlliance are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors.
Today Mr. Kessler is joining me in my paranormal domain, to talk about his latest novel Brainstorm and his journey as a writer. 
Mr. Kessler, it's an honor to have you on my blog today.  Let's go back a little to the beginning or your writing career.  When did you first start writing?
I found I had a knack for writing in my first college class—Eng Comp 1—right after getting out of the Marines. The instructor gave me straight A's on every paper and always read them to the class. I put the idea of writing away for about ten years after that. Then, during a rather low point in my life—both career-wise and personal—I started writing a comedy novel. I dropped it after I found out comedy novels weren't very popular unless your name was Jay Cronley (Funny Farm, Screw Balls). One day while sitting at the old electric typewriter, the family ferret came bounding around the corner, looking for trouble. Jezebel, I thought—ferret from Hell! My first novel, a thriller titled Jezebel (a large black Great Dane), was born.

I wrote the book in four months and had a royalty contract within the next year. Then, two and a half years later, the same week the publisher was to print 10,000 copies, they went bankrupt.

That really knocked the air out of my sails. From that point, I helped found the Kansas Writers Association and was their first president. I taught novel writing classes for a community college and conducted seminars while writing more thrillers. The only thing I love as much as writing is helping others hone their writing skills.

Do you have mentors? If so, who are they? What books have shaped your life?

My mentors, unfortunately, have passed over to the great unknown. Mike McQuay was an excellent sci-fi writer and writing coach. He taught me the rules and how to break them. He was the author of the novelized version of Escape from New York, and his big break-out novel (after thirty some published paperbacks) was based on a 750-word Arthur C. Clarke treatment. The hardcover Richter 10 came out on bookstore shelves a month after Mike died of a massive heart attack. He is missed terribly.

Leonard Bishop taught me how to entertain the reader without worry of the rules. He had the largest vocabulary of anyone I've ever met. A remarkable man, he wrote Dare to Be a Great Writer in a fashion after his own teaching. I truly miss him, too.

I honestly feel as though I've had the best mentors possible, and everyone who didn't know these two men, really missed out.

As far as novels that shaped my life; I can't say that there was any one book. I read a lot of Dean Koontz in my earlier, novel-writing days. I think his wordsmithing skills are incredible. I really enjoy the depth of Douglas Preston's thrillers, as well as James Patterson's Cross novels for mixing the protagonist's personal life into the story—and the first person/third person POV mix. And I like James Rollins for his really neat plots and action—I always learn something new about the world when I read one of his stories.

What is your advice to aspiring authors? How can the bridge the gap from querying to publishing?

It's tough in the traditional publishing world. I'm going to say, try it, and keep at it if that's what you want to do. That used to be my dream—get that big publishing contract and become a bestseller. Things are changing fast in the publishing world, however. EBook novel sales are outnumbering print sales and the big publishing houses are scrambling. Some big-name writers are defecting and going "indie". I'm going to suggest that any new, struggling writer write the very best story possible. Attend writing conferences and workshops. Read all you can about writing commercial fiction. Then, ensure that your story is well edited and get it out to a few agents and editors. If it doesn't work out, check into "indie" publishing. There are more pros than cons to self-publishing these days.

If you weren’t an author what would you be? What other hobbies do you have? How do you spend your time away from the keyboard?

Actually, my real J. O. B. is as an instructor of freight car sciences, believe it or not. Even though I've done many things, I can't imagine being anything other than a writer and a teacher—they are my passions. Hobbies? I tried some parachuting in the Marines—didn't enjoy it as a civilian. I like SCUBA, but I'm landlocked and don't get to the ocean much. I enjoy sailing, but sold my boat a few months back. I love snow skiing, but the closest good ski slope is ten hours away. I guess I'd better just write! I have a wonderful new diversion, however—she's a golden retriever pup named Jaz. She's one high-maintenance girlfriend!

What inspired you to write Brainstorm?

With Brainstorm, I've always been fascinated with the various covert projects the US Government and other countries have been involved in. They've done some pretty crazy, illegal and spooky stuff. At the same time, I'm interested in all the new, high tech nonlethal weapons that are being developed. Wild, near sci-fi sorts of things. Lastly, I wanted to write a love story—not a conventional romance, but a story about a woman who would fight impossible odds and go to the ends of the Earth to save her man. Voila: Brainstorm!

That is exactly what intrigued me about your book. I love this kind of sci-fi!
I had a blast writing Brainstorm. The research was incredibly revealing in a lot of ways—some real eye-opener sorts of things. Research is a big thing for me. I enjoy using it in my stories to add truth to them—make them seem real.

Thank you for hosting me on you blog. I'd enjoy answering any of your bloggers' questions.

It's been an honor hosting for today on your blog tour.  For those of you reading, make sure you leave a comment because at the end of his blog tour, Mr. Kessler is giving a random commenter the choice of a basic Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader or Nook!!!  You can follow him along on his tour and make more comments for more chances to win. 

About Brainstorm:
In Brainstorm, Gold Rush seems to be just another sleepy little Colorado community full of friendly, caring citizens, quaint cottages, and a sort of quiet peace, held gentlypicturesque mountains that surround it. However, something isn't right in Gold Rush, and early on a Monday morning Robert Weller awakens with a cautioning and insuppressible voice inside his head. He soon finds a secret behind every door, a motive with every glance, and a lie beneath every spoken word.

After meeting a strange but beautiful woman named Sunny who insists they were once lovers, people begin dropping dead around him and his world twists upside down as paramilitary teams hunt him, and his own wife and friends turn against him. Weller is thrown into the middle of a military mission to rescue thousands of the town's citizens from a plot to destroy the Free World.

Time is running out: Weller, Sunny and thousands of innocent citizens are facing nuclear devastation. Major “Jax” Jackson and a U.S. Air Force Para Rescue team are their only hope—but how can Jax and his PJs save them all, armed only with nonlethal weapons?

“ exciting and fast-paced as a thrill ride on a dive bomber, a maelstrom of action, violence, murder and mayhem, way too much fun to put down...based on an actual black CIA program known as ‘Project Stargate. Kessler...really knows his stuff. An outstanding novel.”— Douglas Preston, bestselling author of The Codex, Relic and Book of the Dead and many more.

"...a wild ride into the reality of human consciousness...a kickass adventure story that will have you thrumming through the pages well into the night...handled with stunning effect."— James Rollins, bestselling author of Black Order, Sandstorm and Map of Bones as well as many others.

Please stop by these sites, where you can connect with Mr. Kessler and purchase Brainstorm.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog Hop for a Day!

Today I will be over at my other blog CHICKS IN LIT. interviewing Author K.F. Ridley and her newest novel The Curse of Yama 
Make sure you stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win this exiting juvenile book!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Grapes of Wrath

I actually have a passion that I haven't talked about much, but that is definitely there.
 It's cooking!

But not just any type of cooking...I like to make things from scratch.
I am obsessed with food processing and what goes into turning one thing into something completely different.   I grind all my wheat, and make all the bread we consume. 
I make Greek Yogurt and all kinds of other wacky things that most people just buy at the store.

It all started in college when I saw a block of tofu.
I knew it came from soy, but how?
How did you turn a green soy bean into a perfectly white and square jelly block that tastes like nothing.
I ended up going to Culinary School and I loved learning the basics, but I knew that I was not cut out for the gastronomy industry. I like cooking at home for those who I love.
Luckily I married a guy who loves to garden and has transformed our back yard into a fruiting paradise.
For my hubby it's a hobby,
he starts his seed research and collecting in January,
gets it all ordered by February and starts the seedlings soon after.
For this I am grateful,
because it has allowed me to wander into my back yard and see what is ripe
and transform it into something else.
This last month we have been busy harvesting
 tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini, eggplant,
blackberries and grapes!

Lots and lots of them!
  One bucket of white and three 5 gal. buckets of red!

I always fantasized about what I would do with these many grapes, and this last week I had my chance of fining out! It took us one hour to clean two buckets.  Then a whole day of processing them into Grape Jelly!
We blended,
Then added pectin and lots and lots of sugar!  Let me tell you right now, no one has enough sugar in their home to make this much jelly!

Then we cooked it, maybe a little too much, we were not sure for how long to cook it. 
But then we figured that we would chance it and call it done.  So we ladled them into the containers, we ran out of containers, so we had to run out and get more before pressure cooking it. 
Needless to say, it was midnight when we got done, and the last thing I want right now is
Grape Jelly!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking Time 4 Mommy ~Mandie Stevens~ Unveils Promotional Books Tours.

"If you find yourself lacking purpose, remember what is really important in life."

Mandie Stevens is one of those amazing women who do it all and still manage to look like this! 
She's a busy mom, a home schooler, a blogger/reviewer, an on-line community founder and now she's adding an author promotional tool to her to-do list.

My name is Mandie Stevens and I am co-owner and founder of the Time 4 Mommy Community. I am also owner of and Promotional Book Tours. (A Work in Progress). All came out of complete selfishness.

The community sprang from my blog Taking Time for Mommy. which I’ve had in one form or another for the last five years. I started it because I left a career to stay home with my children and needed to stay in touch with the outside world. Now we have an entire community where moms can connect with each other with several groups including the writing and critiquing groups I’m involved with.

The book site and tour group came out of my love for reading and writing. I have a lot of marketing resources at my disposal and wanted to be able to help other authors like myself get their books noticed.

What is your goal or purpose in what you do in life?

My goal is to be the best mother and wife I can possibly be. If I wasn’t writing or blogging I can honestly say as long as I have them I’ll still be happy.

What are you working on right now?

My WIP is an urban Fantasy Novel called Grapple. I’m building Author Websites, scheduling Virtual Book Tours, and blogging.

How do you balance your home and family life and your work?

I home school my daughters (and yes before you ask they are socialized *wink* *wink*) We have a very strict schedule. Between school work and housework, I am on and off of the computer working. I have to remember what my priorities are and to make sure not to take too much on.
(Sounds like someone I know...)

What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose?

If you find yourself lacking purpose, remember what is really important in life.

Thanks Mandie for bravely subjecting yourself to my questioning!  For those who want to connect with others, please make sure you stop by TIME 4 MOMMY and check out all the different communities they have there.  There literally is something for everyone, including giveaways.  If you are an author and are interested in having a blog tour, please contact Mandie at .

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Elizabeth Muller's Darkspell

"Being steadfast and toiling through writing has given character to my writing. I have improved the craft on so many levels as well as a person altogether. Brilliance alone can’t possibly shine through without the quiet power of overcoming trails."

Ultra talented and extremely gifted, author Elizabeth Muller, is visiting my spiritual realm today! It is an honor to have her here, and to showcase her debut novel: Darkpell.
From a young age, Elizabeth has enjoyed acting, singing, illustrating and writing. Talents that she continues to nurture and develop.  Stay a while and get to know Elizabeth, whose enthusiasm for life is downright intoxicating.

I started writing way back in childhood. But before I could write, I drew stories with bubble conversations for entertainment. I role-played. I used my imagination A LOT. In 4th grade, I wrote poems, in 6th, many short stories. When I was in high school, I was way into poetry. When I was 17, I started my first novel that I finished 8 years later--by hand. During that time, I wrote other novels, too.

You're an avid blogger, when did you start your blog and why?
I actually started blogging a few years back. I wanted to try it out because I've heard it was a good thing to get into so when I become published, I'll have following. It was awkward and small at first. It was hard! I had no idea what to blog about. I joined another blog (Mormon Mommy Writers) later on. Then one day, about 2 am, after much praying; I was hit with so many ideas of blog topics I've never run out since.

You also have an illustrator blog, tell us about that part of your craft and your interest in acting.
As far as my drawing, I developed it when I was growing up--drawing stories when it rained. I'd rather draw than play barbies. It was fun! I drew in school all the way up to now. I've never stopped. I have a portfolio of my drawings from high school on. I've developed using graphite pencils quite well. It's the other medium that has me a bit intimidated, though I know I'm good at those too, I just need to gain my confidence!

As far as acting, because of my love of role-playing and my passion with life, I've always wanted to act. I've done a few skits and things here and there and loved it. I hope to develop this area of my life as well!

As for my singing, I was in choir in elementary and high school. I've always been in the ward choir. When I was in YW, I dreamed to be in the Tabernacle Choir, and when I moved to Utah, I thought, I'm halfway there! But now that I'm a mom, I feel that my place is here with my kids, though I have a hidden yearning to be in the Tabernacle still. Some day, I guess! ;)

You have some illustrations that go with your book, right? I seem to have picked that up along my stalking. 

There are a few that I drew a few years back—I wasn’t really trying for anything formal, just fun as you can tell!

The other thing I’ve done is use my son as the model of my cover. I had to make him about 5 years older to fit the main character look! I’ve taken some photos of my daughter as Winter for my upcoming book trailer. I’m quite excited to get going on that!

Ooh...really?  Can we see a preview?

Okay, how did you come up with the story for Darkspell?

If you venture into Gail Carson Levine’s Writing Magic, on page 4, there is a writing prompt. It is the 5th one down if you want to see how Darkspell was born! As I jotted the prompt down, I let my muse take full control. Since I love romance, the first thing I thought was how would it be if the second person was a girl? And what if the first one fell in love with her? What if there was something special about her that lured him to her that she didn’t know? My mind deepened so wide, I didn’t think on the 2 dimensional level of these questions, but I felt them stirring as people bursting to be born on paper.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me about 2 months from beginning to end, but add a few more months to that for editing.

What’s your genre?

Darkspell is Young adult Paranormal Romance, but I write in just about any genre that hits my muse, but I stick within YA for the most part.

About Darkspell:

Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary . . . until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.
As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.
Will love prove thicker than magic?
Darkspell, coming fall 2011!

What is your advice to talented women out there?

Believe in yourself, in what the Lord has blessed you with and don’t let the cynicism of others drown you. There’s a whole lot of writers out here that believe in you!
(Amen to that!)

Any last parting words?
Please join me in my celebration for Darkspell’s fall release all July long! A pre-book launch party if you will. Click here for details.

You can also find Elizabeth on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!  It's been an honor to have you on my blog Elizabeth.  You are a fireball!