Book Series Blast: the Flawed Series

A Short Story Companion to the Flawed Series

Today is the release for Constricted, a brand new short story related to Becca J. Campbell’s Flawed series. This story coincides with the events in Empath (Flawed #1), and takes place in Logan’s point of view. You’ll need to read Empath first to thoroughly enjoy this story.

If you haven’t already, download a free copy of Empath (links below). Read on to find out more about Constricted.

Constricted (A Flawed Short Story)

Constricted_CVR_SMLLogan’s secret has been exposed. When Jade—a beautiful student at the college where he teaches—discovered the truth, he spilled the whole repulsive story. Jade’s empathetic kindness flooded him with emotions he didn’t know he had and isn’t sure he wants to deal with.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to leave and let Jade be a whisper in his past. He can exit now and regain his anonymity, or he can risk everything to stay and face her again.

It’s not an easy choice, and when he’s about to decide, a woman from his past shows up, making his decision even more difficult.

What really happened when Logan disappeared during Empath? Find out in this short story companion piece to Flawed #1.

Get your copy now:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

iBooks | Kobo

Get Empath for Free

Empath eBook cover WEBSupernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Empath is now FREE on most sales channels.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

More About Becca J. Campbell

IMG_9824 BW smallBecca J. Campbell writes New Adult (twenty-somethings) fiction that varies from Urban Fantasy to Thriller to Science Fiction. Her stories typically blend a taste of the fantastical with real-world settings and add a dash of romance for good measure.

She’s always looking for a great speculative fiction read, and she holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity.

Becca is also the co-creator of JuNoWriMo.com, where you can join a vibrant community and write a novel during June.

To join Becca’s writing journey and be notified when her next book is released, sign up for her author newsletter.

Connect Online:

Author Blog | Amazon | Goodreads
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google +

 

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Book Series Blast: The Vargr Clan

I reviewed the first book in this series here, and with the third and final book in the trilogy newly released, a book series blast was in order!

Clicking on each book will take you to its amazon page:

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The following is an excerpt from the first book, The Wolf You Feed:

The fire roared in the center of the clearing, taking the chill out of the December air. Fur boots kept out the snow, while woolen blankets draped across knees ensured shivers were kept at bay. Tore joked with his friends as they shared sodas and wild tales. They fell silent, their eyes flicking to someone behind him. Tore turned. A tall elegant girl smiled at him. His friends forgotten, he found himself staring.

She asked if she could sit. Embarrassed and tongue tied, he shifted along the log to make room for her. Eavesdropping, he heard her friend call her Annike and he locked the information into his heart.

Almost immediately, Tore found himself captivated by her mouth. When her lips pursed in thought, he wondered what it would be like to kiss them. When she smiled, they curled up at the corners, creating pretty dimples in both her cheeks. As Annike ran her pink tongue across her bottom lip, he fantasized about their taste. When she caught her top one with her teeth, his breath caught in his throat.

They found themselves cocooned on the log, their friends having migrated to the barbecue pit. The soft glow of the fire lit up her face. Tore popped the cap on a soda, “You thirsty?”

She reached for the bottle, her fingers touching his. Moments later he blushed, realizing he still held it and was staring at her. Muttering an apology, he looked away. She laughed, placed the glass between her lips before offering it back. Tore put his own to the bottle, his heart skipping at the thought of her mouth having touched the same place.

“You’re Tore aren’t you?” It surprised him that she knew his name. “Annike.” She stretched out her hand. A tingle of excitement raced through him as skin slid across skin. “This is the first time I’ve been to one of these.” She waved her free hand at the partygoers. “I’m only halfway through my transition,” she explained.

Tore continued to hold her hand. “Thought I hadn’t seen you here before, I’ve just about finished mine. I turn eighteen this month.” He cursed himself. Was that all he could think of to say? Any minute now, she’d walk away and find someone more interesting to talk to. Think, Tore. Say something cool. “You…um…want to go for a walk?” Oh great, now why would you ask her that?

“Sure, I’d love to.” She stood folding the blanket that had been across her lap.

Oh, she does! Tore jumped to his feet slopping the soda, splashing her pant legs with fizzy orangeade. “Oh, I’m sorry…” He knelt down and used the sleeve of his sweater to wipe her legs. She was giggling. He blushed as he noticed the wet orange stains on the cream wool.

Damn, he sure was making a great impression.

“You ready?” She nodded towards the trees.

“Sure.”

She led the way through the crowds of other youths. Tore put his hand to the small of her back, not wanting to lose contact for a second.

As they walked through the woods, she slid her hand into his. “I saw you hunt yesterday.”

She did?

Her hand felt warm and soft in his and he squeezed it tighter.

“I was by the out crop. Watched your wolf come across the fields. You’re fast.”

 “It was my first solo hunt. That doe almost got away from me.” Why did he say that? He should have shrugged it off, said he’d caught loads. Now she’d think he was a loser.

“It did? That must have felt good bringing her down, then. Haven’t tried it yet. I don’t have a clue how to read my instincts.”

“I could take you out. We could try something small together. I’ll talk you through it. Erik did that with me a few times before I went solo.”

“Would you? I’d like that.” She was breathless when she spoke. He wondered if she meant it, but her eyes were sincere. A burst of electricity shot through him, she meant it.

They stopped by the river and lent against a boulder to keep out of the wind. Her golden hair shone in the moonlight. Tore was again tongue-tied but she rescued him with a question about his studies. They chatted as they skimmed pebbles across the water’s surface.

“You’re not how I imagined,” she looked sideways, giving him another of her dimpled smiles.

“How long have you been thinking about me then?”

Now she blushed. She skipped another stone, “The others talk, tell stories.”

“They do? What do they say?”

“That you’re cocky. Have lots of human girlfriends. Stuff like that.”

For some reason, he hated that she’d heard that. “It’s just an act…I’m not like that… just talk, with the guys.”

“I’m glad it’s not true.” That whispered breathiness had crept back into her voice. Stone-skimming forgotten, he found himself gazing into her eyes. As she returned his stare, their hands reached out and connected. As their fingers laced, a fluttering in his stomach caused his heart to play copy-cat. He leaned forwards, stopping inches from her mouth.

Annike pulled her hand away and brushed the snow from her clothes. She started to walk down the path and Tore hurried after her.

Did he do something wrong?

“We should get back. Nea will wonder where I went. I didn’t tell her I was going.”

“Nea?”

“My friend from earlier. We look out for one another, she’ll worry.”

Tore walked her back to the campfire, wishing time would slow down, so he could have her to himself for longer. All too soon, they were back in the crowds. She surprised him by sitting down beside him instead of finding her friend. Tore pushed his luck further as he sat closer and pulled a blanket over their laps.

Hours later, the crowds thinned. Annike watched them disperse. “I’d better head back too, I suppose.”

They stood, the silence awkward for a moment. Tore wondered if he should ask to see her again. Before he plucked up courage, she stood on tiptoe and pulled him by his sweater to her. Did he dare chance a kiss? Her honey scent filled his senses as she whispered in his ear.

“Tore, Son of Isak, one day you’re going to be my mate.”

Annike didn’t wait for an answer. She turned and left.

A stupid grin appeared on Tore’s face. He watched her curvaceous hips sway back and forth, hypnotizing him as she walked away. With those words, she laid her claim. And with that smile, he accepted his fate.”

 

Author BIO

Angela   Stevens

Angela Stevens is the author of contemporary adult romance novel Lemon Drops and Love and the newly released Urban Fantasy Trilogy, The Vargr Clan. Her first children’s fantasy book, Mariquita will be out in the spring.

Angela is British born and moved to Virginia, USA nine years ago. Always a keen traveler, she has enjoyed spending time living outside of her native country. She is an ex-teacher and the mother of two children. When empty nest syndrome threatened, Angela turned to writing novels to fill her growing free time. Her hobby has now grown into a fully-fledged obsession and she works on her books full time.

Loving both contemporary romance and urban fantasy genres, Angela flip-flops between the two. If you ask which is her favorite, she is always undecided. For now her genres remain separate, but maybe in the not too distant future they may combine. She is currently trying to find the time to draw up plans for a steamy fantasy romance series, so watch this space.

When Angela is not writing you can find her indulging in her other passion, ice hockey. She discovered her love of this sport when she first moved to America. Now a rabid Washington Capitals fan, Angela can often be found ‘Rocking The Red’ at the Verizon center supporting her beloved team.

You can find more about Angela and her works by visiting her website.

Indie Book Review: South of Reality by A I Alexen

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Review:

I really like reading books and stories that have animals as the protagonists, and as Animal Farm showed us, ‘animals’ does not equal ‘for kids’. Having said that, South of Reality can easily be enjoyed by kids, but at the same time I found a lot of fun in it too.

The story is written at about upper middle/high-school level and up (enough to challenge the younger folk while ensuring the adults aren’t patronised). Set on a family farm, the animal dynamics are thrown when a charming tomcat arrives with nefarious purposes. The tale is woven in a pleasantly cosy fashion with a curious mystery to start and a heart-warming banding together of the animal kingdom to finish, and I love it when I realise the reference a book cover is making!

This is a great holiday read (and I conveniently read it over the Easter weekend!) that I can recommend to anyone wondering what our fuzzy friends get up to when we’re not looking…

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Amazon buy link.

Smashwords buy link.

South of Reality, by A I Alexen

Book Length: 145 pages

Animal Adventure (Young and Young-at-heart Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

A cat burglar, two upstanding dogs, & a malicious rooster join forces on a mission of mercy!

When guard dogs Arky and Peyson investigate a mysterious and shady new feline arrival, they could never have foreseen what lay ahead – midnight chases in the forest, employment among humans, deals with a malicious rooster, and much more, bringing them closer and closer to breaking the all-important animal code!

#Indie #BookReview: The Wolf You Feed by Angela Stevens

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Review:

Epic family drama with werewolves. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will!

By epic, I’m referring to the great swathes of time the story covers: about sixteen years by my reckoning. During this time we see Tore defy his clan for the sake of love, rescue a friend and tries to build a new life, only to have tragedy dog his steps.  The family dynamics are compelling and play out like a classic drama: power struggles, heirs, pride, usurpers and revenge are the names of this game.

The title is a reference to a famous Native American proverb that is really the mantra of the story, which makes me think of it as like a fairy-tale retelling in a way.  You can read a condensed version of the proverb in the blurb below.

I enjoyed The Wolf You Feed a lot, more than I expected since it’s such a unique mix of genres. Because of the epic nature of the story there were moments where I tuned out a little (I’m sorry, I can’t help it! It just happens…) but I can definitely recommend this to other readers.

Recommended for lovers of family dramas, or those wanting to read a different kind of urban fantasy.

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Author Goodreads Page.

Author Website.

Amazon buy link.

The Wolf You Feed, by Angela Stevens

Book Length: 251 pages

Paranormal Family Drama (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Tore Vargr finds his world turned upside down when he is forced to choose between the love of his life and the life he loves. He chooses Annike, disrespects his brother, Erik, and sets off a chain of events that shape his life in a way he could never have imagined.

Outlawed from his clan, Tore embraces his new responsibilities of father and protector as he carves out a new life in a human world. But a jealous brother has a long memory and Erik is nothing if not patient when it comes to exacting revenge. When Tore’s past catches up with his present, he has to learn to pull from an inner strength.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us all.
One is evil: it is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, jealousy, resentment, lies.
The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, truth.
The wolf that wins?
The one you feed.

– Cherokee proverb

Spanning two generations The Wolf You Feed is the first book in a heartbreaking trilogy set in the shape shifting worlds of werewolves and skin walkers.

Indie Book Review: Rangers by Chloe Gardner

Review:

Being a long time Supernatural fan, as I read Rangers I immediately recognised the inspiration behind the story. This isn’t just a fanfic though – the lore and characters are their own, and I had a lot of fun reading the paranormal adventures the twins and their tag-along got up to.

I did find the writing a little clunky, but the imagination was there, and I’ll take imagination over fluid writing any day. Having said that, I felt I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to, but I was still able to enjoy the ride. So many monsters, so much magic, so much action! I am interested in seeing where the series goes…

Recommended for fans of Supernatural. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Like my review? Like it on Amazon too!

Author Site.

Amazon buy link.

Rangers, by Chloe Gardner

Sam and Sam #1

Book Length: 414 pages

Paranormal Adventure (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Sam and Jason have been at this a long time, and they’re some of the best out there. Gremlins, goblins, ghosts of all kind, vampires, even the yeti that time in Cleveland, they go where they’re needed and they kill what needs killed. It’s that simple. And it’s a pretty good life, really.

Then there’s the girl. Samantha. She’s feisty and difficult and she knows next to nothing about what they do, but she’s pretty handy with a hatchet and seems to just keep tagging along with them, city after city, witch after ghost after spirit, despite Jason’s best efforts to ditch her along the way. If he’d had any idea just how complicated she was about to make their lives, he probably would have left her in Georgia.

It’s too bad, really. Sam appears to be in love with her.

Character Interview with @SusanLattwein ‘s Lily from the Arafura Series

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My first ever character interview is with Lily, the boisterous and excitable sister of protagonist Kat Howard from Arafura.

Thanks for joining me Lily. Now, I’ve gotten to know your sister quite well these past few months, and she is obviously passionately in love with Adam. What’s your attitude to wuv, twue wuv? Are you going to search for it, or wait for it to fall in your lap?

True love? No such thing, babe! My sister, Kat, thinks there is, even love at first sight (I guess Adam is a catch but he’s not as hot as Ben). Knights in shining armour on their trusty steeds don’t exist, just ordinary (some less than ordinary) dudes trying to navigate their boats like the rest of us. Let’s face it, we all have issues. I do love Ben, (you have me worried now that I’m not demonstrative enough in public…). I guess he’s the one, but after watching my dad come out of the closet, well, that kind of threw me, made me careful, you know? I might have to talk to Susan, address that in the third book of the series….

Any previous boyfriends we should know about? Has anyone come close to being ‘the one’?

 I did date a Captain in the army for a couple of years before Ben. He was Hollywood handsome, flew planes, drove a sports car, but he was emotionally distant, reminded me of a tantalising chocolate with a rock hard caramel filling—not worth the effort or the calories. That’s where I learnt it’s not all about looks, and I’m not proud the way I ended it. Looking back, I was a bit of a bitch and have had the odd nightmare apologising to him.  

 ‘The one?’ Ben ticks a lot of boxes. Is there such a thing as ‘the one’, except in fiction?

 Okay, I know you and Ben are together, but your relationship reminds me of the ‘comfortable’ relationship Kat had with her (now) ex. Sorry Ben! Look, clearly you guys have a good, solid relationship but… ROMANCE, y’know?

 You guys seem a little more like really good friends with benefits.

 You can tell me to back off any time. And, I know, here I am, saying romance isn’t my thing either, but I’d rather not be in a relationship at all. Wow, okay, hope I haven’t ticked you off too bad.

 You’re a straight talker like me, Marigold. I like that.

 There’s a lot going on behind the scenes you don’t know about.

 Arafura is Kat’s story, I get that. Secretly, I think it’s ended up that way because Susan has the hots for Adam. She goes for the charming, rugged , playful, damaged types. For authors, types like Ben are boring. The worst that’s ever happened to Ben was getting tomato on his school lunches.

 As for Ben and my relationship – here’s the real deal. You remember the night Kat turned up at my bungalow on the dot of midnight with Adam? Well, Ben was  pressed up behind me at the front door, his hands discretely hidden under my sarong, exploring, doing things that happen in erotic fiction, not romantic suspense. Forget friends with benefits, that man has an imagination with benefits! I couldn’t talk, so of course the whole scene had to be rewritten.

 No there’s nothing wrong with Ben and my sex life, Kat is the prude, or should I say was? I’ve just got to get over my commitment phobia—you’ve made me realise that’s where I might be a little like Lucas? Oh, God no….

Hm, interesting! But  let’s go to another topic now. What was it like growing up in Darwin? Besides stinking hot.

Darwin is so hot and tropical, it’s cool. Temperatures mostly fluctuate between 30-32 degrees Celsius year round.

Kat and I are both only children, so when she came to live with us after her parents died, my best friend moved in and became my sister. Kat was real quiet when she first came, and it took her months to relax. My parents had an open house,  visitors all the time, a great pool, that’s part of the reason Dad wanted to start his  boutique resort. He loves socialising.

We went to school in bare feet, with Jess Mauboy’s cousin actually. There was a huge mixture of cultures in friends at school, no one cared back then where you were from. I liked that. In all honesty though, some kids had scary home lives.

 Darwin was and still can be red neck, but we weren’t in that orbit, thank goodness. You find your own level anywhere, I guess.

 Was trying to rescue your sister as fun as you made it out to be?

I was freaking terrified, Marigold. But with Ben, Dad and Robert there I felt nothing could go too wrong. Call me naive, but Mel’s chilli spray is ace, I keep some in my handbag all the time now.

Yes, rescuing Kat and Adam was dangerous that night, but remember I was waiting in Dad’s boat, not being shot at in the dinghy. I was on a high, and seeing Kat safe and in one piece was a huge relief.

Got any career aspirations? Big dreams?

I’m studying Tourism and Hospitality through Charles Darwin Uni, don’t think Susan mentioned that (it’s all about Kat and Adam, Adam and Kat…not that I mind, I know my place as a secondary character) 

Big dreams? What a scary question. Have kids, with Ben? Maintain a happy, healthy family, a fulfilling relationship with my partner?

I’ve inherited my father’s head for business so may buy him out one day.

Kat wants to help Indigenous kids with their literacy—I’d like to be involved in that although I don’t have a teaching degree (I think teachers, oh and police, are under-valued and underpaid).

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 And the most important question, are you going to get a dog? C’mon…

No way, do you know how often Biscuit is at our place? That sooky mutt has issues the way he sucks up to Ben and Adam. I give him treats and he doesn’t love me half as much as he should.

Kat and my friend, you know Sophie? Her Jack Russell is having puppies, so don’t tempt me…

Thanks for answering my questions, Lily! You’ve revealed a lot, and I’m curious to find out what happens in your future (and I appreciate you didn’t mind me crossing a line there with your personal life). Here’s to more Arafura adventures!

Indie Book Review: Nine Lives of Adam Blake by Ryan Gladney

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Review:

This is a different sort of time-travel book, one where the main character, upon his death, gets transported back in his own lifetime to his twelve-year old self. Adam Blake gets to go through his life again and again, making new discoveries and pursuits in order to be the best he could be, thinking that that would be the path to end his (quite literal) life cycle. But then, what is the ‘best’ we can be?

I was hooked by the mystery presented in this book. Every life he lived was very different, mostly from the choices he made, but then the plot thickens when there are changes in the world that cannot be contributed to Adam and his actions. He explores all possible causes for this by pursuing spiritual, religious and scientific theories. I really connected with Adam’s story. He was an understandably flawed person in his first life (which I always like, since none of us are perfect), and all the characters made up a tangible, interesting world.

This is a shorter sort of book, and I loved it. I fell right into the ripping yarn, and ate up all the contemplations on life, how it works, and what we choose to do with it. A great story wrapped in some very interesting ideas. Looking forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

Highly recommended, especially for people who like genre-defying books.

I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ryan Gladney has also given me permission to post his email and invite readers to email him if they would like the same arrangement (he provides a free ecopy of his book, and all you have to do it review it honestly once you’ve read it)! Email him at gladney.ryan <at> gmail.com

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Author Goodreads Page.

Author Blog.

Amazon buy link.

The Nine Lives of Adam Blake, by Ryan Gladney

Book Length: 218 pages / ~40k words

Sci-fi/Time-travelly with Romance (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Adam Blake knows what fate awaits him after death. He has died before, and will die again, and always it’s the same. For Adam, there is no heaven, no hell, no reincarnation, or cold, final sleep. When he dies, his life flashes before his eyes; it rushes backward—nothing skipped or overlooked—until it stops, suddenly, at age twelve, one week after he had mysteriously disappeared in the woods behind his childhood home. Then, he wakes up. Adam is cursed—or blessed—to relive the same life again and again, from this moment onward, regardless of how he lives, who he becomes, or what ultimately causes next his demise. He is free to right past wrongs, avoid past mistakes, pursue any interest and chase any dream. But the longer Adam lives, the less anything matters but answers. He must know: Why is he stuck in this loop? What is its cause? How will it end? And what awaits him on the other side of death when it finally does?

Self-Publishing Data: Free Promotion Results

For the past ten days I put my book up for free on as many retailers as I could in celebration of my new cover designed by Emma Wakeling:

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I really wanted to see if I could shift 100 copies, and thanks to everyone who helped publicise it, 120 copies were picked up!

What’s interesting about these results is when I compare them to Charlotte Cyprus’ results. Charlotte Cyprus is also a self-published author, but she is enrolled in KDP Select, and it definitely seems (just by comparing our two sets of data) that KDP Select does help new authors promote books. Having shifted 5x the number of copies as me, that data doesn’t lie!

Of course, her book could just be appealing to more people than mine. Our books have more differences than similarities, I think.

The other downside to being non-exclusive to Amazon is that Amazon doesn’t allow free ebooks on its site UNLESS you’re KDP Select, and then you have five days every month or something where you can elect to put your book up for free. So no free sales via Amazon for me.

Having said that, I’m still content to not be Amazon-exclusive. It’s just what I feel more comfortable about. I’m a little attached to Smashwords, because it is a bit of a ‘free-for-all’ environment, and I know if I want to push some boundaries with my stories, there will always be someone else on there who has gone further than me. That reassures me, in a weird sort of way.

I also like the reporting Smashwords does, and how it gathers data from the other major retailers under their premium service plan:

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The only downside is that Kobo doesn’t report it’s free book sales to smashwords, but I also have an account with Kobo so I can check those numbers (I only sold 5 books through Kobo).

I was surprised about Barnes and Noble. Being Australian, I was only vaguely aware of it, but I guess there are quite a few people out there with Nooks.

So I learnt some things with this experiment. As always, I am willing to provide a free ecopy of my book in exchange for an honest review. For now though, the price is going back up, and then some. Comparing the length of my book to other books of my length, my book was very cheap, but it wasn’t garnering any sales. Maybe $0.99 gave the impression a 75k word book wasn’t going to be any good? Regardless, I have decided to increase the price to be on par with other similar books, so The Black Swan Inheritance is now $2.99 at all major retailers…

Although with some retailers the price change is taking a while to kick in. Barnes and Noble, for instance, is still selling my book for free. Give it a day. *shrug*

At least now with the price increase I have other options when I decide to next put my book on sale. I can do half-price, drop it to 99cents, or go for free again.

As a footnote, a few other people have added my book to their TBR on goodreads, and I now have 10 ratings and 7 reviews on the site! Amazon has 7 reviews up (with some reviewers different to the goodreads’ reviewers), and 1 review on Barnes and Noble 🙂 All up, 10 different people have written reviews on my book across the different sites (and some blogs!)!

Sequel status: 67k words out of approx 80k. Downhill run!

So that’s been my experience of my first sale. I think I’ve waffled enough now.

MdD

 

Interview with the Author: Mae Wood

Risking Ruin Cover

For my first ever ”Interview with the Author” segment, I have chick-lit and contemporary romance author Mae Wood with me to answer questions on her debut novel, Risking Ruin (which I reviewed here), as well as her writing process, and her upcoming sequel, Surviving Bitsy.

When writing Risking Ruin, how much do you draw from your own life?

Clarification: I am NOT asking about the sex scenes. That’s your business 😉

I am an employment lawyer like Marisa, so I hear about all sorts of workplace craziness.  Many of the allegations of workplace harassment in the story are drawn from events I’ve read about in court papers.  Marisa and I have the same job, but our lives differ greatly from there.  I’m married and a mother.  I’ve never been as career-focused as Marisa is, but I know plenty of women who are.  I don’t draw from my life per se, but I do draw from stories of my career-minded friends who are in their 30s and struggling through (or have struggled through) awful dating situations.  Trust me, that woman at the head of the boardroom table closing a billion dollar deal or speaking in front of thousands at a MacWord-style conference still has self-doubt.  I know.  I’m her “ordinary” friend and I get the emotional phone calls.

When is your moment to write?

I like to write in about 2 to 3 hour long blocks, but I’m fine with interruption.  Typically, this means I write during my child’s bath time and her nightly viewing of Peppa Pig and while she’s up and down for hour or so after I put her to bed, demanding water, more blankets, less nightlight, etc.  (Every parent knows what I’m talking about.)   That said, by the time I sit down to write, I know where I’m going.  I’ve muddled through the next steps in my head while driving home and preparing dinner.

Where are you up to with the sequel?

Tentatively titled “Surviving Bitsy,” the sequel picks up where “Risking Ruin” left off.   Marisa and Trip are in the plane on the way to St. George.  Let’s just say that Trip’s unilateral decision to “solve” the problem in their relationship is not well-taken by Marisa at first.    I’ve written about the first 20%, including Marisa getting to meet Trip’s mom Bitsy and John returning to the story.  Marisa’s firm has hired him to babysit her and make sure her relationship with Trip doesn’t mean that the firm loses Branco’s lucrative business.

You’ll note that “Risking Ruin” did not end with an “I love you” or an exchange of rings.  For me the most interesting bit in any relationship is getting from “Let’s date exclusively” to “Can I live without you?”  “Surviving Bitsy” follows Marisa as she navigates being Trip’s proper girlfriend and them trying to blend their lives together.   As for the title, Bitsy is Trip’s mom.  But this isn’t a Monster-In-Law type story.  Quite the opposite.  I can’t wait to get it wrapped up and released late summer!

Do you intend to keep the chick-lit / contemporary romance balancing act for the sequel? Is it difficult?

I love Chick-Lit. Bridget Jones’ Diary spoke to me in my 20s and I’ve never looked back.  What I love about Chick-Lit is what I find missing in a lot of contemporary romances — personal growth by the heroine in the face of a real-to-her-life challenge in the form of a career change, money problems, or just her beliefs. Classically, think Pride and Prejudice.  Many Chick-Lit stories are love stories at base, but I view them as Chick-Lit because of the tone.  I love humor.  I love puns.  I love to verbally spar.  I also crave honesty.   For me, it’s not love unless your cheeks hurt after a date because you’ve been smiling and laughing so much.   I do intend to keep the same light and honest tone the for the sequel.

Do you let your family read your work? What if they asked?

My husband detests “Risking Ruin”!  He doesn’t understand the genres of Chick-Lit or romance at all.  He’s read though the first sex scene and then just couldn’t tolerate it any longer.  I don’t take offense.  I’d rather go on a 10 mile hike in the middle of summer than read the five volume biography of Lyndon Johnson he currently has his nose in. Our tastes in pleasure reading differ and that’s fine with me.  Nonetheless, he’s my biggest cheerleader in this project and extremely proud of me.

My family has no clue I’ve written a novel.  However, my two closest friends I consider family read my work as a serial.  When I get a few chapters pulled together, they gobble them up and then tell me what they like, don’t like, and want more of.  It’s partially their fault there is sex in Risking Ruin.  So blame them if you think it’s too much!

As for them asking to read my book, my sister would roll her eyes.  My mother would be super supportive and probably really like it. And no one wants their father reading sex scenes they’ve written!  (Okay, probably someone wouldn’t mind, but I’m from the U.S. South where daddies and daughters pretend sex doesn’t exist.)

Which supporting character in Risking Ruin have you enjoyed writing the most?

I love writing Erica!  She’s a blend of several of my friends and my grandmother.  I’ve been toying with a story about Erica.   I’d love to know if readers would like more Erica.

What do you do to pick yourself up in moments of doubt? 

I ask my best friends, my cheerleaders.  “Too much?”  “More?”  They’ve told me harsher things in life than “that scene is boring” or “no one else will find that funny” or “more sex.”   It’s that level of trust and honesty that permits me to keep going.

Thank you Mae Wood for letting me interview you and answering my questions!

Have more questions for Mae Wood? Check out her Goodreads page and ask away!

You can also find Mae Wood at her blog here.

Risking Ruin is 99c/ 99p for February and free with Kindle Unlimited!

FREE EBOOK! The Black Swan Inheritance is ON SALE!

To celebrate the new cover of The Black Swan Inheritance the ebook is available for FREE on Smashwords until 6 Feb! That means you can get a epub, mobi or pdf copy by clicking here!

The Black Swan Inheritance Final CoverThe new cover design is by Emma Wakeling of Emma’s Artbox and DeviantArt!

Through the Smashwords Premium Status function, other retailers should have this option soon (Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc). Stay tuned!