Monday, January 26, 2015

Daniel Harvell,Wishing Will, #giveaway

AUTHOR: Daniel Harvell
BOOK TITLE: Wishing Will
GENRE: Children’s fiction
PUBLISHER: Self-published

NOTE:  If you would like to be considered for a copy of Wishing Will, please leave your name and contact information in your comment.  One winner will be chosen by Mr. Harvell at random.

Please tell us about yourself.
I was born in Florida, raised in Georgia, went back to Florida for college (Florida State University), took off for Wisconsin for a few years before settling down in Austin, Texas almost a decade ago.

In my spare time, I love to travel, cook (mostly just bake cookies!), exercise, watch Netflix, listen to Robyn, read (of course) and spend time with friends.

When and why did you begin writing?
I loved books as a kid. I would read anything given to me. One night in fourth grade, I had an extremely vivid dream that I wanted to share with my friends. So I decided to write it down and pass it around to my classmates. It was a big hit, and I fell in love with the idea of being a storyteller. I started writing novel-length books in college, and once I’d completed my second one, I started trying to get them out there.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. There are times when I’m not sure what a character’s going to say or how to move the plot forward, but I just type something out. Maybe it’s just a placeholder sentence, but I don’t let it slow me down for long.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
Like many writers, I had the idea for my book, and I just had to get it out. One of the biggest “ah ha” moments I had was that there’s something extremely rewarding in just having your story become “real” on the computer screen and then on printed paper. We don’t, however, just do it for the reward (whatever that may be) – we often do it because we have an undeniable need to write.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
I did a lot of research as to my publishing options before deciding on self-publishing. From everything I’ve read, most publishers leave the marketing work to their authors anyway, so there’s no advantage in that arena. As an Indie author, I get to retain all of my rights and a much higher royalty percentage. Of course, as an indie author, ALL of the work falls on you. Sure, you can hire it out, but that gets expensive quickly. If you don’t know marketing, PR, social media, etc., it could be overwhelming. I’m a marketing professional, and even I had to spend days researching all of the ins and outs of book marketing when I launched my first novel in 2013. You have to be dedicated to the process and understand this is a major time commitment.

What is your marketing plan?
I’m a marketer by day, so I’ve utilized a lot of marketing initiatives with the promotion of the book, including: social media, contests, press releases, blogging on my website, guest blogging, recruiting reviewers, and so much more. Recently, on a whim, I decided to reach out to the middle school principals in my area and offer to donate a copy of the book and make classroom visits to talk about being a writer. I was a little surprised by how many were so interested. I’ve dropped off dozens of books and have classroom/library visits on my calendar!

What do you plan for the future?
I have sequels for both my The Survivors series and Wishing Will series that are plotted and ready to be written. Beyond actual writing, I’d love to sell the TV/film rights and see one or both of my properties take shape on the big or small screen.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
WISHING WILL is the contemporary fantasy story of a middle schooler named Will who isn’t happy with who he is, so he makes a wish for a new life. Very unexpectedly, a magical wishing corporation known as the Sky Castle Network and Enterprises (a.k.a. the SCENE) shows up and agrees to grant him his ultimate wish … but he has to work for his reward. Becoming a super-powered agent for the organization, Will teams up with a celestial wish agent with delusions of Hollywood stardom, a shape-changing half-Genie, a narcoleptic Dreamweaver and a stick-in-the-mud wish lawyer. Together, they grant the wishes of Will’s classmates and family members, helping the same people who pick on Will every day. As if these challenges weren't enough, there's a mystery surrounding his peculiar grandmother and a malevolent force bent on enslaving humanity. Will might have to fight not only for his wish but also for the entire world!

What influences your writing?
Back in 2000/2001, I’d been told to read the Harry Potter books, but I laughed it off as children’s fiction. Then I saw the first movie. I went back and read the first three books (which put the movie to shame, of course) and understood what all of the fuss was about. I cared about fictional characters – there’s no better measure of success for a writer. I immediately had a fervent desire to write a magical children’s novel too, but without the traditional form of magic.

Is this your first published children’s work? What other types of writing have you done?
This is my first children’s novel, and it’s such a different animal than my first book. My first novel is a young adult contemporary fantasy novel, The Survivors. The story involves seven strangers miraculously surviving an airplane crash and developing paranormal abilities as a result. These are not superheroes, however – this is a look at what I think would happen if real, ordinary people developed superhuman abilities … and it’s not always pretty.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing is a discipline. Finding the time to write is challenging, but the actual writing comes completely naturally. I love creating characters and dialogue – they’re not always winners (that’s what editing is for), but getting it down on paper is extremely rewarding.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?
I’m a firm believer in outlining. That’s not to say that I won’t change or add a plot point mid-stream, but I really think a story is stronger if a writer knows all of the basic facts going into it. I think foreshadowing is an essential element in novels, and you can’t have it without a proper outline (or working backwards, but that’s a messy and time-consuming process).

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I really like to travel. A few of my favorite cities include Miami (specifically South Beach), Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle. I like the touristy things, but I always try to find a local to show me his or her city so I can experience it as they do. If I could get more than just a couple of days, I’d love to get back to Hawaii soon!

What books have most influenced your life?
The Harry Potter series inspired me to get back to writing when I was ready to give it up. Rowling crafted such an amazingly detailed world with Harry Potter – it took me back to the reasons I fell in love with being a storyteller at ten years old. Additionally, Fahrenheit 451 is a masterpiece. I love Ray Bradbury (my second favorite author) and how he speaks to societal issues under the guise of an exciting science fiction read.

Wishing Will Synopsis:

Outcast middle schooler Will Cricket wants a new look, popular friends, cool parents and enough coordination to dribble a basketball - but he never actively pursues any of it. Instead, Will makes wishes.

When the magical wishing corporation known as the Sky Castle Network and Enterprises (a.k.a. the SCENE) agrees to grant him his ultimate wish to be someone different, he must work for his reward. Becoming a super-powered agent for the organization, Will teams up with a celestial wish agent with delusions of Hollywood stardom, a shape-changing half-Genie, a narcoleptic Dreamweaver and a stick-in-the-mud wish lawyer.

Together, they grant the wishes of Will’s classmates and family members, helping the same people who pick on Will every day. As if these challenges weren't enough, there's a mystery surrounding his peculiar grandmother and a malevolent force bent on enslaving humanity. Will might have to fight not only for his wish but also for the entire world!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Paula Rose, Revenge

AUTHOR: Pamela Rose
PUBLISHER: Anaiah Press 

Please tell us your latest news.

My romantic suspense title Revenge released December 2014!

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I am a nightly writer, and this arrangement works well since most of this life happens during the day. 

When and why did you begin writing? 

First, I was a reader but my own stories always seemed to float inside my head.  It wasn’t until during a longer period of convalesce did I actually get serious about my writing.

What inspired you to write your first book?

An old picture featuring conveyer belts and one worker assisting another.  The theme of assistance stuck and became the story sketch for Revenge.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?

I’m a reader and an amateur photographer.

What was the toughest criticism given to you?
My writing wasn’t ready yet, but this was correct.  It wasn’t.
What was the biggest compliment?
I have great dialogue skills!
Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
Sure, I went back and rewrote and wrote something else and rewrote some more and realized the more I write the better my writing became.

What are your current projects?

A sequel to Revenge, a mystery, and a different romantic suspense title . . . not in that exact order. 

What genre do you write in and why?

Romantic Suspense, Suspense, and Mystery because these are the types of books I love the most.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.  

In Revenge, as a job coach, it’s up to Olivia Foster to ensure her clients work in a safe environment, understand their positions, and serve their employer’s mission. The death of her brother drives her career choice, and she loves her job. It remains her only focus until one of her autistic clients goes missing. Then Olivia’s employer ends her position and adds her to the suspect list, but she makes plans to bring the missing young man home. Meanwhile, Detective Lt. Phillip Landon is deep into second-guessing his career choice, but his well-honed instincts see major flaws inside this missing person’s case. Surprising contacts, mysterious happenings, and threats can turn deadly. Can he keep Olivia safe, protect his heart, remove the job coach from someone’s target list, and adopt a faith he never knew all while adjusting to the new lives of his old family?

Buy Link:

Do you outline before you write?
Most of the time, no.
If not, what’s your initial process?
It’s messy.  I start with a story sketch and work from there.
What comes first: the plot or characters?
That depends.  For Revenge, I saw the promise of the plot, but in other stories, I know the character and am left to squirm on the plot. 

Which characters were the hardest to develop and why?

Detective Lt. Phillip Landon was supposed to be an Alpha Male, but he just wasn’t turning out that way.  Meanwhile, Olivia Foster was supposed to be a damsel in distress, but she decided she liked taking the lead.   

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?

Read multiple genres, write what you most enjoy, and keep writing.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Courtney Rice Gager, Tess in Boots

Author: Courtney Rice Gager
Title: Tess in Boots
Publisher: Anaiah Press

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm thirty. Let's just get that out there, because maybe if I say it enough times it will finally feel real. I am married to a man who is truly too fantastic to put into words. I am a mom to an amazing little girl who's two, and by the time this interview goes live, I'll hopefully have another awesome little someone (expected to arrive in January 2015). I picture this new baby sleeping really well and never crying. And while we're fantasizing, I also picture myself losing the baby weight in about a week and celebrating with a vacation in Maui where I will sit with my toes in the sand while refreshing my iPad to track my chart-topping Amazon rankings. Wait - what was the question again? Oh, yeah. I live in Southern New Jersey, which is nothing like reality television would lead you to believe. I'm a Christian, coffee-lover, awkward-wedding-dancer, and crust-first-pizza-eater. I tend to joke around a lot; so much so that when I was in labor with my daughter, they sent me home from the hospital because I was "too happy" to be in real labor (#HappyPeopleProblems). I am from a small town in Virginia that is not so small anymore, and I graduated from Virginia Tech. My husband, who probably knows me better than anyone, would describe me as "endearingly clumsy" - which is just a nice way of saying it's only a matter of time before I trip up the stairs or back the car into something... again. I like to keep things interesting.

When and why did you begin writing?
Just today I was cleaning out a bunch of junk in the attic, and I came across some old comic strips I wrote in middle school. Not for an assignment or anything - but for fun. This was before Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a thing, so I like to think I was a bit ahead of my time. These comic strips are a perfect example of the fact that for my whole life, I've felt an itch to write. I can look back on certain moments in my life and recognize them as defining ones, sure, but for the most part, writing is simply who I am and who I've always been. The reality of being a writer is that it's not very exciting or glamorous at all. There's a lot of sitting alone in utter silence with your computer. When I really think about it, it's kind of weird that I love it so much, but I do. I can't stop telling stories or arranging words, even if it's just in my mind. So I guess the short answer to the question is: I started writing before I can remember, and I did it because it felt like breathing.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I had just finished school, and I had this realization that I wouldn't be turning in any more creative writing assignments. If I was going to write, it was time to set a real-life goal and work toward it. So I set a goal to write five hundred words a day until I was finished with the book. Some days I met that goal, some days I exceeded it, and some days I failed miserably. But the goal was there, and I didn't abandon it. I was more concerned with the process of actually writing a book than I was with the finished product - which was a good thing, because my first book was not a masterpiece. I like sharing that story though, because it's important to start somewhere. I've talked to quite a few people who want to write but are afraid to get started because they're afraid to fail. For me, it was freeing to let that fear of failure go and realize that sometimes, failure is a prerequisite to growth.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I stay home to care for my young kids, so the majority of my time goes to them. I adore being a mom, but I'm not one of those super-organized moms with color-coded labels on the pantry shelves. I wouldn't say my writing time is organized at all. I mostly write during stolen moments in the early morning hours or during nap time. On a typical day, I'll set my alarm for around four in the morning so I can get two or three hours of writing in. Then, I'll write during afternoon nap time, which is usually from about one until three. That's a typical day, but of course, moms of little kids rarely have typical days. So it varies depending on what we have going on (or how much peanut butter I need to scrape out of my hair). It's virtually impossible for me to write at night, because my brainpower decreases by seventy percent after eight o'clock. (True fact.)

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
Oh, yeah. When I get writer's block, I let myself off the hook. If the words aren’t rattling their cages begging to be let out, I know it’s best to step away from the computer. I have a bit of a chaotic personality, so being overly structured and forcing myself to push through writer’s block doesn’t work for me. What does work is focusing on something else. So if I’m experiencing writer’s block, I’ll decide to… oh, I don’t know… clean out the pantry. Just when I’m starting to get into a groove on that task, I’ll find my mind wandering back to my writing. Soon, I can’t let another minute pass without getting back to my story. So I’ll abandon the pantry and fire up my laptop. It’s great for my creative process… it’s not so great for home organization. This method won’t work for everyone, but for me, I prefer to be distracted by my writing, as opposed to being distracted from my writing.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
I found my publisher, Anaiah Press, as a result of a Twitter pitch party. I had been querying my manuscript, Tess in Boots, for about four months when I entered the #AdPit contest on February 5, 2014. Kara Leigh Miller (who was a stranger at the time but is now my beloved editor who I rave about every chance I get) saw the pitch and requested my query and first ten pages. Anaiah Press was already on my list of publishers to query, so I happily sent the partial. Kara responded later that day with a request for the full manuscript. On February 28th, I received notification from Kara that Anaiah Press was offering me a contract for publication and I did the cabbage patch in my kitchen to celebrate. Twitter is such an important tool for writers. Did you hear that, writers? I can't stress enough how important it is to be on Twitter! (And I love the irony of the fact that some of the most verbose people on the planet communicate with one another in spurts of 140 characters. How great is that?)

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
I adore hearing from my readers! I also love connecting with other writers. The easiest way to find me is to head to my blog: From there, you can follow me on Twitter, find my Facebook fan page, and get links to my books. Please say hi – you’ll make my day!

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
I’m currently promoting Tess in Boots, which was released on December 2, 2014. My main character, Tess, is a planner, but lately her life isn't going as planned. So she makes a new plan to disappear. She ends up leaving her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina, where she meets the insanely-dreamy Thatcher. As Tess gets comfortable on the vineyard, she finds herself falling for Thatcher, and falling in love with the simple life in a small Southern town. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. But things aren't what they seem. There's a secret on the vineyard. When the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan she's ever made.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?
Yes and no. If by outlining you mean scribbling notes on napkins or old receipts, then yes, I outline. But if you're talking about an organized chart that I could hand in to my eleventh-grade English teacher... then I'm not your girl. One thing I can't live without during my initial writing process is a calendar. I love having an empty calendar on hand, so I can write out plot points as if I were scheduling my dentist appointments or something. Using a calendar to plot my story helps me to get a feel for the way things are paced. It's messy and a bit haphazard at times, but that suits my writing style well.

What comes first: the plot or characters?
This question has me so stumped. It reminds me of the age-old nature verse nurture debate, only in literary form. I honestly can't answer it in one word, but I can say that my plot and my characters grow together as my stories progress, and especially during the editing process. The plot shapes the characters, and the characters shape the plot. I can't separate the two elements in my mind enough to determine which precedes which. I'll also say there are times when I'm writing and a character does something that surprises me. This happened a few times while writing Tess in Boots. It's almost like, as the writer, I have something planned and I think everything is going to go precisely according to my plan. But as I write the character, I realize in the moment that the character I've created would do or say something else entirely. Those are the coolest moments, when one of my characters takes over and develops a mind of their own. So I guess maybe I can answer the question. The characters come first, because they often end up driving the plot. But then again, the plot builds the characters and gets me walking around in their shoes so I have time to get to know them. Nope... I can't answer the question, after all. Do I sound crazy? I probably am. Writers are weird.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?
Scribbling ideas on a napkin, several months of writing, several months of querying, a break from querying for another round of edits, and back to querying (more details on that below). Once I was contracted: more editing than I thought possible! It was a lot of work, but it was so worth it. Did I mention how much I love my editor?

How long does it take to write a book, and what is your process?
When I was a kid, there was this commercial on for Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pops. The big question was, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?" And the answer was, "The world may never know." It's hard to fit the process of writing a book into a neat little package within a defined timeframe. It completely depends on the book, external everyday-life factors, and a number of different variables. I started writing Tess in Boots in March of 2013, and I spent about two to four hours a day actually writing. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the story. So much of my writing happens when I'm not writing at all. If I feel constantly compelled to think about a story, I write at an accelerated pace when it's to time sit down and get the words on the page. That was the case with Tess in Boots, and the process went much faster than other projects I've worked on. I began querying the book in September of 2013.
I had a lot of interest, a lot of requests for my full manuscript, and a lot of rejection. I took every bit of professional feedback very seriously, and in December of 2013, I took a month off from querying to revise my manuscript based on the feedback I received. I am so grateful for every agent and editor who read my manuscript, rejected it, and gave me specific feedback as to why they rejected it. They helped make the story what it is today. I queried Anaiah Press with the revised (stronger than ever!) manuscript in February of 2014 and it resulted in my first official publishing contract. This whole process happened in slightly less than one year. From there, it took about ten months for the book to be published.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
Quirky, imaginative, optimistic, scatterbrained, well-meaning, early-riser, unpunctual. (Yep, unpunctual is a real word! And I realize it completely conflicts with the word early-riser. But I don't wake up so I can be early - I wake up so I can write. That makes me late a lot.)

Describe your writing space.
My writing space has evolved over the years, but most recently I've been writing in a big comfortable leather armchair in the corner of my children's playroom. The chair is catty-cornered between a window and a floor lamp. Since I often write very early in the morning, I usually have the lamp turned on to my right, and a cup of coffee on the windowsill to my left. To get to this chair, I have to step over (and sometimes on) a lot of toys. (Why are kids' toys so spiky, by the way?) But that chair is my sanctuary. I'm at total peace there, regardless of the mess on the playroom floor.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Scott Springer, Bound by Blood

Title: Bound by Blood
Author: Scott Springer
Publisher: Anaiah Press

What genre do you write in and why?

I write Inspirational Romantic Suspense. Since this is a three-part genre, there are three reasons why. Romance is great escapism. I love to lose myself in the characters as they fall for each other. I’ve been in new love three times in my life, and the feeling is pure exhilaration. I read and write romance to recall that excited nervousness. Speaking of nerves, I also like suspense for the tingling fear factor, at least in fiction. In real life I prefer to stand on solid ground. To those characters in horror stories that descend the stairs into the dark basement—that’s not me. I’d run the other way. Lastly, inspirational means the character has a faith element, and this affects her decisions. Maintaining belief while facing the dark is an internal conflict that adds depth to the story.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

BOUND BY BLOOD is Julia and Rick’s story. As a teenager she got involved in drugs and ran away from home. Now at twenty-two she has her life back in order and has found the Lord; but her good life is threatened when her brother returns, strung out on meth and willing to use her guilt to involve her with his crazy drug deal. Meanwhile, Rick Mercado is surprised by the real feelings he has for Julia. As she slips into the world of street crime his protective instincts sink him as well.

Which characters were the hardest to develop and why?

Julia was difficult to develop because she makes her own problems and came off initially as too stupid to live. After the first draft I trunked the work because she seemed unredeemable. Why was she allowing herself to be drug into danger like this? In my mind I knew the answers and they were genuine, but on the page she came off as unsympathetic. Fortunately I stayed true to my belief in the story and Anaiah Press did see the promise. Through multiple revisions with their editors I have managed to make her psychology known and understandable. Suspense is easy if a character is acting on primal instinct. Even I in real life would descend those stairs into the dark basement if I were doing so to save my child. To Julia, her need is just as strong, but also more complex.

How did you decide how your characters should look?

This is what I like to do about my characters. I Google images until I find someone I like, and then I use those as inspiration. Rick in my mind looks like a young Lou Diamond Phillips. Julia I altered a little after the cover art came out. Isn’t that girl on the cover beautiful? And those eyes. Awesome!

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?  Why or why not?

Yes they do. I consider myself a method writer. When I’m transcribing a scene I’m totally emerged in it, so much so that I sometimes quip: Writing is easy, just close your eyes and describe what you see. Actually though, it should be describe what you feel. I’m not comfortable with cruelty. I don’t read or write torture. Just won’t go there in my mind. As far as sex scenes, well, I live in a small town. If I wanted to do them I would have to move to New York City, and that’s not happening!

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?

BOUND BY BLOOD, my debut, was released by Anaiah Press this September!

Bound By Blood by Scott Springer
Romance, Anaiah Press


Julia has accepted the Lord and is busy returning her life to order. She is not ready for love, especially when the new site foreman at work stirs up forgotten feelings. She knows a playboy when she sees one, but to Rick Mercado the attraction between them is surprisingly real. Other girls no longer interest him, and if she wants to play hard to get that's fine with him. Let the games begin!

What he doesn't realize is that her dangerous secret is not a game.

Julia's brother has returned from the street, strung out and in trouble with rival gangs. Loyalty to her brother draws Julia deeper into a world of drug deals and thugs. Rick doesn't understand why Julia won't simply go to the cops, especially once the bullets start flying. As Julia slips further into a world of violence, Rick realizes how easily his heart can be broken. His brain says to run, but his heart isn't listening. It may already be too late.

BOUND BY BLOOD. Love and suspense, heartfelt moments and guns a blazing.

What a killer combination!

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Book Links:

Buy Links:

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Author Bio:

Scott Springer spent his youth playing pretend and dreaming of being a writer. As an adult he worked as a carpenter before becoming a software developer. Having produced much, his two children remain his proudest accomplishment. His wife led him to the Lord, and he’s glad that she did.