Hidden Inspiration

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.”
~ Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as an author is what inspired me to write The Rite of Wands. I have always found that question interesting because when you think about it, inspiration is different for everyone. It may be a memory, a character from a book, song lyrics, a political speech, a TV series, or even an actor’s performance. Pure imagination is in all of us—we only need to discover it, and sometimes storytelling helps.

template-4-12172901503297868-large.pngInspiration can come to us in any shape or form; you never know what or who may inspire you. That was the case for me in 2014 when I got the opportunity to attend Wizard World Chicago and meet English actor Matt Smith, who is known for playing the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who, and most recently Prince Philip on Netflix’s The Crown. I had originally gone there because I really wanted to meet a Doctor, and honestly felt it was going to be one in a lifetime, never thought it would be possible to meet him again being in America. If only I had known then that I was about to discover the main piece of inspiration in order to finish my book!

A few months later, I was sitting at my desk in my writing office, trying to compose something, but nothing would come to me. I was staring at a blank page for what seemed like eternity. I was close to tears. Not because I was sad, but because I was so frustrated with myself! I thought I had what was called a dead book, and my dream of becoming an author was coming to an end. I wasn’t a writer like I thought. In that moment of desperation, I literally shouted at my computer, “WHO are you? Show yourself!” And then inspiration hit.

I envisioned out of a dark alley in Glendalow, Matt Smith, dressed in medieval warlock attire, carrying an ebony wooden wand in his hand that contained a bloodstone crystal at the shaft. There was also a scar on his face from some type of chemical accident.

I felt like I was having my own “regeneration.” I was being fed all the information I had been missing all at once. I could now hear the character, see the character, and I got a huge grasp on this character’s dominant personality, especially after the first thing I could hear this character say to me was, “My name is Mierta, and that is NOT how it happened.”

In that moment, I gained my confidence back, realizing my dream of becoming a writer could still happen. If you’re a struggling writer, don’t give up! Keep at it. Find what inspires you. You never know what or who that may be!

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Book Spotlight: Trace + Olivia series

 

Series: Trace + Olivia
Author: Micalea Smeltzer

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: September 22, 2017

Finding Olivia

 

How far would you go to find yourself? 

That’s the question that’s been haunting Olivia Owens for years. All Olivia has ever wanted to do is live and make mistakes, but her preacher father has made that impossible. She believes that her years at college will beher ticket into the real world and her chance to be wild and spontaneous.

But she’s never been able to do it on her own.

At the start of her sophomore year, she only has four things crossed off her Live List, but that’s all about to change thanks to a chance encounter with Trace Wentworth. She’s about to learn that there’s more to this reformed bad boy than just his looks and panty dropping smile.

Trace can’t explain what it is that draws him to Olivia. All he knows is that he wants to get to know the girl with the sad smile but sparkle in her eyes.

When she tells him about her list, he knows that this is his chance to get to know Olivia Owens. Trace is determined to show Olivia that she can do all the things she’s ever wanted to do. So, he begins to help her cross things off her list, even the more outlandish requests.

What happens along the way is more than what Olivia or Trace ever expected.

Love, laughs, and a list.

That’s the name of the game when you’re Finding Olivia.

 

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Chasing Olivia

How far would you go to reignite the spark you once had?

Two years later, Trace and Olivia are as much in love as they’ve always been. But the spark they once had for life is waning and Trace is determined that they find it again. His solution? A road trip. But he doesn’t tell Olivia the real reason they’re heading north.

Olivia is happy to go on a road trip and have more adventures with Trace. Besides, she needs a distraction from the soap opera her life has become. With college over, this is the perfect opportunity to chase down the carefree girl she once was.

But life isn’t a fairytale and you can only escape reality for so long.

Love, laughs, and a hidden agenda.

That’s the name of the game when you’re Chasing Olivia.

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Tempting Rowan

I’m drowning in the numbness. It’s pulling me under and I can’t see the surface. It’s easier to pretend I can’t feel. And the longer you pretend, the easier it is to believe. But he wants to save me. Only he can’t. I have to save myself…and I don’t know if I want to. 

Rowan Sinclair’s life has been anything but easy. With an alcoholic mother and a sleazy stepfather, it’s been her responsibility to raise her younger siblings. At twenty-one she’s chained to a life she doesn’t want, but sees no other alternative. After all, what would happen to her brother and sister if she were to leave?

Trenton Wentworth sees the pain behind Rowan’s eyes. He wants nothing more than to make it disappear. To hold her. To love her. Except Rowan keeps everyone at a safe distance. But if there’s anyone that can break down the walls she’s built around herself, it’s Trent. So she avoids him at all costs. But Trent isn’t one to be easily evaded. He’s stubborn and determined. He’ll save this girl even if it costs him everything.

Love, lies, and deception.

That’s the name of the game when you’re Tempting Rowan.

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Saving Tatum
Even tough girls need saving.

Jude Brooks is bad news. He’s the kind of guy that leaves behind a string of broken hearts and Tatum O’ Connor is not about to be one of those girls, despite all of Jude’s advances. They have a past, and Tatum’s determined to make sure they don’t have a future. Unfortunately for her, “no” isn’t a word in Jude’s vocabulary. The more she backs away, the more he pushes. But what if he pushes too far?

Tatum’s hiding a pain that no one sees and holding on to a hurt that may never heal. Letting Jude into her heart could shatter her completely—and what if she opens up to Jude and he can’t handle her baggage?

Love is never easy—especially when the person you’re falling for is the person you blame for the worst event in your life.

Love, heartache, and despair.

That’s the name of the game when you’re Saving Tatum.

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Author Bio
Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know. My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life. Crazy is the word that best sums up my life, but it’s the good kind of crazy and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Author Links

 

 

Author Interview: C.K. Brooke

Today, I’m fortunate to present C.K. Brooke, author of the Jordinia series with 48fourteen Publishing, and the American Pirate Romances with Limitless.

Hi, C.K., thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Thanks for having me! I loved meeting you at Rust City Book Con in Detroit this summer.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

CKBrookeAuthorHeadshotI originally grew up in Maryland, but have spent the last ten years of my adult life in the Midwest. Washington, Michigan is my current home, but I can’t lie, my heart is still in my other former home of Toledo, Ohio!

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

A good story, in my opinion, isn’t one-note. It strikes lots of chords. I love stories that incorporate not just adventure and intrigue, or a mystery that keeps me turning the pages, but heart, humor, romance, interesting characters, and good pacing between it all!

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

The-Duchess-Quest-Kindle-and-PrintMy debut novel, The Duchess Quest, was born of my fascination with Anastasia Romanov – the last Grand Duchess of Russia – and adventure romance stories like The Princess Bride. I thought, what if we could combine a lost duchess myth like Anastasia’s story with an adventure-quest between three men who couldn’t stand each other? I combined these ideas (and a few more) to create my first published novel.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

As a stay-at-home mom of a young child, I used to get all my writing done while he was napping or in bed for the night. Now, I try to write while he’s at school, or when my husband gets home from work to take over the parenting for a little while!

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I outline EVERYTHING! I leave nothing to chance or unaccounted for. I am extremely anal and detail-oriented about it; I have to have at least 20 pages of outline before beginning a new story, if not a notebook full drawings and notes. Other writers think I’m crazy, but I swear, it works like a charm to stave off writer’s block – or writing oneself into a corner.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

Duchess3_Final_500x750My latest release was The Duchess’s Descendants via 48fourteen Publishing in June 2017. It’s the third full-length novel in my Jordinia series, and is an upper-YA romantic fantasy adventure like its predecessors. My next release will be out on 26 September 2017 and is a clean adult romance, Commanding His Heart, the second installment of my American Pirate Romance series with Limitless Publishing.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Creating my first book was full of surprises. 164 rejection letters were VERY surprising. Having the tenacity to try a 165th time and receive my first offer letter from a publisher was an even bigger – and much more welcome – surprise. 😊

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
I’m currently working on the final book in the Jordinia series, The Emperor’s Daughters! Here’s an exclusive excerpt, just for you:

Gathering her nerve, Benedicta made up her mind, broke apart from the prime minister, and followed him. “Mr. Petigya?”

He didn’t turn.

“Mr. Petigya?” she repeated firmly.

He stopped.

There. That wasn’t so hard. Benedicta softened her tone. “I was wondering what I might do to help.”

At last, he turned to look at her—really look—and Benedicta felt her cheeks burn under his scrutiny, even beneath the cool shade of her parasol. When he spoke, his words were as flat as the Bainherd Plains.

“You can watch.”

Benedicta scrunched her brow. “But, there must be some mistake. I didn’t take the locomotive all the way down here just to sit and watch your crew work. I came here to be of service. Like you asked me.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “Like I asked you?”

“Why, yes. You came to Pierma, recruiting volunteers, and I…” She faltered, already feeling foolish in her prim clothing, under her lacy shade. Abruptly, she lowered the parasol and snapped it shut. The sun blared in her face, but at least she could look him in the eye now.

“Want to help, princess?” He sounded irritated. “Give out water.”

Her mouth hung agape as he stalked off again. “Isn’t there something I can build?” she asked after him.

“Nothing that won’t soil those fancy gloves of yours.”

She looked down at her hands and hastily yanked off her gloves. Stuffing them into her skirt pocket, she bounded after him.

“Water’s over there.” He bobbed his chin impatiently, indicating a few barrels resting under a cluster of palm trees. Drinking gourds and empty coconut shells littered the ground, some crawling with flies, all looking used and unwashed.

Benedicta frowned. “But—”

“That is helping.” He flashed her a sudden smile, yet it was obviously forced, for her sake. “Working men need hydration, no?”

Benedicta stared at him. He didn’t look away.

So, it would be like this, would it?

Stromberg was right. When Raul Petigya had asked for volunteers, he didn’t mean her. Why would it matter to this Heppestonian man who Benedicta was? Regardless of whatever Prime Minister’s Uxo believed, Halai had no real need for a Jordinian duchess. It needed able-bodied workers who could pull their weight. And what did Benedicta appear to be, other than a delicate young woman? It would always chalk down to her appearance, would it?

Not if Benedicta had anything to say about it.

She straightened to her full height, although she had nothing on the man in front of her. “Mr. Petigya, I may not seem strong or powerful, but I assure you, I can be.”

Though he remained stoic, a flit of curiosity darted in his eye.

“And anyway, you were the one who said there wasn’t a thing I could not learn,” she reminded him.

She thought he might smile, was almost sure she saw the beginnings of one. Alas, he offered no change in expression, only facing her off in the sand, waiting for her to finish.

Benedicta narrowed her eyes, all pretenses dropped. “Now, I’m going to rinse out those filthy gourds you call drinking cups, and give water to your crew. Excuse me.” She turned on her heel, heading for the barrels.

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

Expect the final Jordinia book, as well as an all-new upper-YA urban fantasy (with romance) in 2018!

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best money I’ve ever spent as a writer has been registration to every book convention I’ve attended, as well as my RWA (Romance Writers of America) membership. The friends I’ve made and professionals I’ve networked with have been a priceless font of support, friendship, and resources.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

If you’re reading this interview, I’d love to hear from you! There’s a contact form on my website, www.CKBrooke.com, and my email address is on there as well. You can find my books on Goodreads, Amazon, my website, and my publishers’ websites. Check out all my social media links below.

And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter at CKBrooke.com/VIPClub for freebies and fun!

GIVEAWAY

Subscribe

Free eBook of The Last Empress: A Jordinia Prequel Novella at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MHXFRH

About the Author
C.K. Brooke is an Amazon bestselling, award-winning indie author of over a dozen romantic fantasy novels and novellas. Her books have been published by 48fourteen and Limitless Publishing, as well as self-published. Her debut novel, The Duchess Quest, was selected by Shelf Unbound Magazine as a Top 100 Notable Indie Book of 2015 and received five stars from Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards Contest. In 2017, her YA novel, Secrets of Artemis, received the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award. More of her publications have been nominated in the 2017 RONE Awards and Global EBook Awards. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and son. Visit CKBrooke.com and subscribe for a free eBook!

Links
Website: www.CKBrooke.com
Newsletter: http://ckbrooke.com/vipclub
Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/ckbrooke
Facebook: https://facebook.com/ck.brooke
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorckbrooke
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/+ckbrooke
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ckbrooke

Books by C.K. Brooke

JORDINIA SERIES
The Duchess Quest (48fourteen, 2014 and 2017)
The Duchess Inheritance (48fourteen, 2015)
The Duchess’s Descendants (48fourteen, 2017)
The Last Empress: A Jordinia Prequel Novella (2017)

WORLD OF JORDINIA NOVELS
The Red Pearl (48fourteen, 2015)
The Wrong Prince (48fourteen, 2016)

AMERICAN PIRATE ROMANCES
Capturing the Captain (Limitless, 2016)
Commanding His Heart (Limitless, TBR September 2017)

TEEN GODDESS
Secrets of Artemis (2015)

NOVELLAS & OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Fool Moon (2015)
Heiress Heist (2016)
The Golden Dove (2016)
Deepwood: A Haunting (2017)
Elphame Realms E-Zine #1 (Elphame Press, 2017)
Elphame Realms E-Zine #2: Something Witchy This Way Comes (Elphame Press, TBR October 2017)

ALSO AVAILABLE

albumsmall

The Duchess Quest: The Album
Audio CD

Enjoy a musical soundtrack to the story! Includes over 30 minutes of 14 original songs written, performed and produced by the author.

Full Audio CD on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Duchess-Quest-Album-C-K-Brooke/dp/B01KWB2CHK/

Listen on YouTube to 7 FREE tracks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLupAA1FZu8AVce1WI34p0LKnnt6EIWH4X&v=HRWQ-Bpme9

Announcing Fall 2017 YASH Teams!

For all of you who love finding new reads, I have just the thing for you. The YA Scavenger Hunt is coming. If you’ve never heard of it, the hunt runs twice a year in the spring and in the fall. During the hunt we showcase new and upcoming YA releases, give out tons of prizes, and release special bonus material. Sound interesting?

This spring we will have one hundred forty authors split into seven teams of twenty. Each team is assigned a color. The blog hop begins Oct 3rd and runs through Sunday, Oct 8th. It’s easy to play. All you have to do is either start on my blog or head directly over to the YASH website. There you’ll find a list of all the authors participating as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you’re hunting for and to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered.

Are you ready to see all the books featured this season? Here they are!

Gold-Team-Fall-2017

Green-Team-YASH-Fall-2017

pink-fall-2017

Red-Team-YASH-Fall-2017

YASH-Blue-Fall-2017

Purple-Team-fall-2017

Orange-Team-YASH-Fall-2017

Which books look the most interesting to you?

This was originally posted on the YASH website.

Book Review: Twins (The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles) by Kim Iverson Headlee #FridayFeature

510BRseRmbLGenre: Epic Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Pendragon Cove Press
Release Date: July 17, 2017
Pages: 70

My Review:

Twins by Kim Iverson Headless is a stand-alone novella, inspired by her The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles series. It is an exciting new take on the destruction of Camelot like readers have never read before.

The story revolves around Arthur and Gwenevere’s identical twin daughters, Gwenhwyfar and Gwenhwyfac, and their individual journeys after their mother’s sudden passing. One twin is trained in the sword while the other in castle runnings.

When their father, Arthur, High King, announces his first born,  Gwenhwyfar, to be betrothed to Medraut—the man whom Gwenhwyfach secretly loves, the twins plot to switch places. Only things don’t go as planned.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but found some of the name of characters hard to understand. There is a guide towards the back of the book, which for the ebook, would be more appropriate at the front. By the time I discovered it, I had no interest in looking at any of it. The storyline was intriguing, but I felt it could have been better if it had been expanded into a full fledged novel. I felt some of the characters lacked character development as a result of the book only being 70 pages.

If you like stories about Arthur and the history of Camelot, this is one you will want to check out.


Purchase the Book:

Amazon ✯ Amazon Int’l ✯ B&N (paperback) ✯ Goodreads

About the Author:

71BetRLPQVL._SY200_Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the midtwentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight, first edition, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian legends for nigh on half a century.

Social Media Links:

AmazonFaceBookTwitterGoodreadsWebsitePinterestAbout MeNewsletterBlogAuthorgraphGoogle+LinkedinTriberrYouTubeBookBub

Author Interview: Gina Dewink #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Gina Dewink author of Time in My Pocket.

Hi Gina, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

ginadewinktimeinmypocketI was born and raised in Minnesota’s heartland, except for a slight detour to Wisconsin for a few years. Think corn fields, hotdish and lakeside cabins. 

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

That’s a terrific–and subjective–question. To me, a good story is something that centers around fascinating characters.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

The first book I completed was in high school, and my inspiration was just the urge to write. I completed two complete novels after that, but I never attempted to do anything with them. Time in My Pocket is technically my fourth novel. I’m not sure why I knew it was different from the others, but I knew right away. I have always been intrigued with time travel. After being a stay-at-home-mom for a year, I was craving time with my creative side again. I was inspired to write this book after I couldn’t find any stories combining my love of old Hollywood with the sarcastic “mom blog” tone I love to read.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Oh, there’s no doubt my plate is full! My littles are now 4- and 2-years-old. I’m a part-time stay-at-home-mom with them. I also work part-time as a Communications Manager at an international nonprofit. In addition, I am an active freelance writer for several local magazines and online mediums. Every moment is a chance to compose sentences and scenes in my head. When I’m really working out a scene, I make ridiculous absent-minded mistakes like shampooing my hair twice or driving right past a turn!

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Ha, maybe that my passion extends to the keyboard. When I was writing the last few chapters of Time in My Pocket, I typed with such gusto that I hammered out 14,000 words in one day, and BROKE our laptop’s spacebar! (And that wasn’t the first time that’s happened…)

Mackenzie: Ha! I can relate to that. I broke the P key on my laptop. I took it into Apple to get it repaired, and alas, broke it again the next day.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

PocketebookcoverMy debut novel is Time in My Pocket. It is a sci fi time travel adventure that published on September 1, 2017.

The tagline says it all: She woke up in 1947…in someone else’s body.

When a sarcastic mother of two is offered the chance to go back in time through an antique locket’s mirror, she is told she must look past herself. But when she does, she escapes the confines of her (imagined) domestic prison and comes face-to-face with the reality of life in the 1940’s – glamour, communism, smallpox and all. Now she must find a way to return to life before falling through the mirror. Humor, history and sci fi coalesce in this breakout novel, TIME IN MY POCKET.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I learned so many surprising and wonderful things about the 1940s! But one thing that will stick with me forever is that, if rumors are to be believed, Alfred Hitchcock did not have a belly button. Yes, that’s correct – no navel. Apparently, he had several stomach surgeries and it was removed during one of them.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure! I feel this little blurb gives a taste of what it would be like being a millennial trapped in the 1940s. Everything would seem so foreign!

She unclipped her nylon stocking and rolled it to her knee. I couldn’t look away. Not just because of my disbelief, but also because her legs were unreal. Like didn’t physically look real. From the land of photoshopped celebrities, I was almost disheartened to see that it indeed was physically possible to have legs that looked that good.

“Great gams, eh?” Sis said to my opened-mouth gape.

“Unreal…”

“This is just her lamplight gig. She’s a professional roller skater.”

I whipped around to face her. “That can’t be real.”

Her laugh was full of glee. “Sure it is. She’s hired to do a choreographed skate around tennis courts, parking lots, lobbies – she’s big in the party scene. Unique, graceful entertainment, wouldn’t you say?”

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

I’m still actively freelancing for several mediums, but as for another novel – I hope to write another. But we’ll take it one book at a time for now.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Another terrific question. I hired a cover designer and an interior designer. I would say I am happy with the money I spent on both. They made the book beautiful and real. I feel better having people buy a book they enjoy having on their bookshelf.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

I’m active on my Facebook author page (https://www.facebook.com/ginadewinkauthor/), as well as on my website (https://ginadewink.com). You can also catch me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Thanks for having me!

Gina