Jera’s Jamboree : Neverland Blog Tours ~ Author Interview Stephanie Keyes

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JJ is delighted to be interviewing Stephanie Keyes.

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Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.

Still a resident of the ‘Burgh, Steph is now Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible rockstar of a husband. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), as well as a featured author for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle e-magazine.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.

Website: http://www.stephaniekeyes.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Keye…
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/StephanieKeyes

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Hi Steph,

Did you travel to any places or undergo any new experiences while you were writing The Fallen Stars?

I packed my entire family (my mother included) into a rented minivan and drove sixteen hours to Bar Harbor, Maine for research. Now, keep in mind, I’d already been there ten years ago, but I wanted a refresher. So I went everywhere in the area. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, had breakfast at Jordan’s (which I call Jacob’s in the book), hiked through the woods by Jordan Pond. I even went on the spooky Compass Harbor Trail and climbed the steps to the remains of the Old Farm estate—the inspiration for the Compass Harbor chapter in this book. It was a great trip and really helped me get into the Maine frame of mind for the book.

Do you have a most creative time of day?

Yes. Early morning. I’m usually up and writing by 5am. I have the house to myself and I can be as grumpy as I like. This usually requires copious amounts of coffee, but it works.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Oh, God. I am a serial plotter. I probably need help. I can’t write anything valuable without an outline! Of course, once I have an outline, I’m happy to throw it out the window in order to follow where my story needs to go.

Which authors have influenced your writing?

OR Melling, JK Rowling, Cate Tiernan

What are you reading now? Opinion?

Mist Walker by Saundra Mitchell. I am inly about ten pages in, but loving it so far.

Being a writer can be lonely.  Do you have a support network?

Yes, it can! My husband is my number one supporter. He reads everything, listens patiently as I bounce ideas around, and makes me banana and Nutella crepes. I am also a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and participate in a critique group. That Monday night writer’s group is a big part of what motivates me every week. Those guys and gals are the best.

Does your book tackle a social barrier?  How have you incorporated it into the story?

It’s not contemporary, however, there are several underlying themes throughout the series. I think the most important is that, no matter who you are and where you come from, no one else defines you. YOU define you. I believe in that message wholeheartedly. That’s something that applies whether you’re in a fictional world of Faeries or deciding whether you’re ready to have sex for the first time. We all make our own destiny.

Do you make use of local resources for promoting your book?

Absolutely. I’ve appeared at local bookstores and many of the libraries in the Pittsburgh area. This fall, I’ll be presenting at the Three Rivers Romance Writers retreat and at the Peters Township Library, as part of the PA Speak Up For Libraries! program. Details are on http://www.stephaniekeyes.com

What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?

Finding my way back to writing. This is, without a doubt, the hardest job I’ve ever had. Keep in mind that I came from a decade in the corporate world with 60+ hour workweeks. That being said, this is also the most rewarding job. I’ve not only found myself in the hundreds of pages I’ve written, but I’ve discovered friends I’ll never forget. The best part is I get to share them with the world. 🙂

Finally Steph, what tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

Embrace critique. Be hungry for feedback. It will only make you better. Hunt down a good critique group and become an active participant. You’ll be a better writer for it.

Thank you for sharing Steph.

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

17293205When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.

Suddenly, Kellen is stuck in the middle of another prophecy that foresees him turning away from Calienta and embracing the dark. He’ll be forced to take sides in a struggle to claim his birthright, while discovering secrets about his father’s past. Meanwhile, his passion for Cali grows stronger, even as the prophecy threatens to tear them apart.

In the end, will Kellen and Cali survive the fates? When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

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Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author Celia Kennedy ~ How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Celia Kennedy today

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Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on an American military base. Her parents’ penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window, sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at sunny blue skies, she began to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between time, the most fascinating to her.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Design, and pretty much every other subject matter. Like her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a degree, not anywhere as important.

Mark Twain said, “Write what you know.” When combining this concept with her unusual life experiences (working at a nuclear submarine base when Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling extensively while quite broke, or falling in love with her boyfriend’s close friend) thinking of what to write about isn’t challenging; there just needs to be more hours in the day.

Celia published Charlottes Restrained in December of 2012 and Venus Rising in August of 2013. Look for Kathleen’s Undressed, a companion novel to Charlottes Restrained, to be published in 2014.

Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.

website – www.celiakennedy.weebly.com

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6965584.Celia_Kennedy

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/KennedyCelia

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How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

Late in the summer of 2008 my husband and I were watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton was interviewing Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man fascinated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. The obvious problem: how to contact Clint Eastwood? Next obvious problem: if we could call him on the phone, what would compel him to want to have dinner with complete strangers? Sidestepping these crucial issues, it didn’t take long for the plan to evolve. It also didn’t take long to realize that it would be preferable to go to his house for dinner. After all, he lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and likely had a better cook than me.

At the same time, I spent the first week my kids were back in school perfecting my domestic goddess-ness and realized I was as good at it as I wanted to get. There was something else I wanted to do more – write. I fired up my laptop and started writing. I didn’t have a strategy, hadn’t jotted down an outline or done any research. I also had zero contacts and resources. All I had was plain old-fashion gumption. Honest to Betsy, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t write a book.

It was also completely obvious to me to borrow from reality and write a book about encountering a long admired celebrity. Mirroring real life, there would have to be plenty of twists and turns. However, in the fantasy world, we can make incredible things happen. I needed people, loads of interesting and entertaining people who could make such a feat happen!

Let’s face it, we want it all. We want romance. We want to be a part of a group of friends who grew up and grow old together. We want to travel. We want to eat good food and drink great wine. We want to wear fabulous clothes! So, how to get it all in one book?

Charlotte, her BFF’s, a celebrity, and a handsome Irishman!

I like to think of myself as mostly normal, so I feel comfortable representing all women, when I say that we know we’ve found a real friend when we don’t worry about the state of our house when they stop by. We are really good friends if we’ll change our clothes in front of each other. We know we are Besties if when we really mess up, the other person may be really angry, but needs our own special brand of crazy in order to feel like life is do-able. Oh! And the most important factor: laughter. All of us want someone we can belly laugh with.

Charlotte, Hillary, Tiziana, Kathleen and Marian are such a village. These five women have history, have bled for each other, talked each other in and out of bad and good situations. Let each other be real. Fortunately for us these vivacious women are scattered around the globe, giving us the opportunity to travel to exciting places, where they meet up, drink up, and get into a little trouble.

We also have Des Bannerman, the King of Romantic Comedies in Charlotte’s Restrained. Des Bannerman is my vision of a mega star. A decade into his career he is riding the wave of major-motion picture success. He’s the go to man for chick flicks. Des Bannerman started out with a really big dream, but has become a little jaded by all the glitz and glory, and lives a life surrounded by people he trusts, but doesn’t really get to meet new people, because how does he meet them and who can he trust?

Pivotal to the story, is Liam Molloy, the Irishman who steals Charlotte’s heart. Liam has many things going for him; he’s gorgeous (of course), he’s the source of envy (providing many opportunities for the ladies to banter about men and “love”), and he has a great sense of humor. To be honest, I borrowed from reality again, the banter between Charlotte and Liam is much like mine and my husbands.

What makes a compelling story?

Beneath it all, I believe that we thrive when we know we are a part of a village. No one person can give us everything we need, BUT when we have a village we have everything! Friends, lovers, pets, children, frenemies, co-workers, all provide us with opportunities to grow and love. The most successful tales take place in the village concept.

To make the village happen in Charlotte’s Restrained, we are blessed with the opportunity to travel to London, Rome, New York, Dublin, and Saint Tropez. Amongst the many benefits of all this travel is that we get to see and feel the tempo of life in different parts of the world – we eat and drink foods that may be new and unique, we walk down streets ladened with history and float on oceans that are azure blue.

Me!

I love getting to know authors, most of those that I’ve reached out have been amazingly accessible and supportive. You can learn as much about me as you can stomach at www.celiakennedy.weebly.com or on Twitter (@KennedyCelia), Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author). On my website there are links to my blog WomanReinventsSelf. That’s where you read the good, the bad and the ugly!

If you look for me on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/celiakennedy) you will find boards that I have created for Charlotte’s Restrained, Venus Rising, and my current work-in-progress, Kathleen’s Undressed (a sequel to Charlotte’s Restrained).

It’s great where an idea/inspiration can take the imagination Celia 🙂

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

Charlotte’s Restrained is going on tour!

Charlottes Restrained Tour Banner

Date Tour Host
4th August Tome Tender
5th August Chicklit Club Connect
6th August Books are my life
7th August Brook Cottage Books
12th August Tracy Riva Books and Reviews
13th August allthingsbookie

Giveaway on tour is a signed copy of Charlotte’s Restrained plus Amazon GC.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We hope you’ll check out the posts and enter the giveaway!

Jera’s Jamboree : New Author Project ~ Hit Lit Pro Launch Tour

JJ is delighted to be taking part

Meet Rachel Brimble

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If you enjoy reading a whole range of romance sub-genres,
then meet

Rachel

 

An author with a range of novels and novellas

from romantic suspense through to wonderful Victorian romance stories

 

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Hit Lit Pro is proud to be supporting and promoting ten fabulous authors whose novels are creating quite a stir! Throughout the next year we will be bringing you all the latest information and news about their books.

What does Rachel write about? Rachel has written a range of novels and novellas across the romance sub-genres, but is currently writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for US publisher, eKensington.

Me & Max - May 2014“I started writing with a view to publication back in 2005 when my youngest daughter started school full-time. I had always wanted to be a writer and as I had the opportunity to be a stay at home mum, this was a ‘now or never’ moment.

I started writing short stories and when I had some success in magazines and online, I started on my lifelong dream of being a published novelist.

The Wild Rose Press published my first novel, Searching For Sophie, in 2007. After that, I had at least one novel or novella published each year by various small presses. In 2010, I pitched a romantic suspense novel to a Mira editor at the RNA conference. She asked for the full manuscript, which was ultimately rejected. However, she said I have a strong global voice and should stick with the US market.

I took her advice and secured a US agent in 2011 and to date I have had five books contracted with Harlequin Superromance and four with eKensington. To say I am happy with my career so far is the understatement of the year. smiley

When I’m not working (which is hardly ever!), I like to read across the genres with a particular passion for novels and biographies on the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties. Second to reading, I love to knit and take long walks through the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and villages with my husband of sixteen years, our two teenage daughters and beloved ten-year-old black Lab, Max.

Many readers and aspiring writers ask published novelists where they get their ideas from. For me, ideas come from TV, (whether news items or programmes), my own life and issues I feel passionate about. I almost always have a message I want to put across in my stories. My readers have told me that trust is a recurring theme in my books.

For my second Harlequin novel, A Man Like Him, I used my real-life and terrifying experience of being caught up in the 2010 French floods when my family and I were rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof. The opening three chapters are an almost hour-by-hour account of what happened over those awful twelve hours.

As for my other novels, they are a blend of my imagination, my dreams and wishes and an outlet for my feelings and passions. I can happily say there is a part of me in all my characters, male or female, primary or secondary. It is very hard for a writer to create a character that has nothing of themselves in their make up…or maybe that’s just me!

I hope I continue to be offered contracts and can do what I love for the rest of my life—for me, writing is a compulsion and necessity. If I don’t write for more than a couple of days, I turn into a monster…just ask my long-suffering husband and kids!”

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Find out even more about Rachel

and her unforgettable characters:

 

Website: http://www.rachelbrimble.com/
Blog: http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/rachelbrimbleauthor?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelBrimble

And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all

Rachel’s latest news:

Twitter @HitLitPro Facebook: HitLitPro

 

We’ll be posting about:HitLitPro sml
* How to become a no. 1 fan and we’ll put YOU in the spotlight
* Competitions to win free ecopies of some great books
* How to join in and send us your reviews to air on our new FB page
* ‘Ask the author’ will allow you to discover more about the stories you will read and love

and MUCH more to come! If you can’t wait and want to get involved in supporting our fabulous authors, then email Suzanne Carlisle at hitlitpro@gmail.com.

 

We’ll be sending out Tweets and posts to keep you up to date and make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Jera’s Jamboree : Promo blitz interview ~ Tanya J Peterson

JJ is delighted to be taking part in Brook Cottage Books promo blitz today with an interview.

Tanya Peterson

Tanya J. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, Master of Science in counseling, and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. She has been a teacher and a counselor in various settings, including a traditional high school and an alternative school for homeless and runaway adolescents, and she has volunteered her services in both schools and communities. Peterson is an active volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and she is a regular columnist for the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog on HealthyPlace.com.

She draws on her education, experience, and personal background with bipolar 1 disorder and anxiety to write stories about the psychological aspect of the human condition, specifically mental illness and the impact it has on human beings. Her goal is to change the way the world thinks about mental illness and the people who live with it.

Peterson believes that fiction is a powerful vehicle for teaching fact. Further, she knows that people empathize with characters in novels, and commonly they transfer their empathy to real-life human beings. To that end, she has published Leave of AbsenceMy Life in a Nutshell, and the YA novel Losing Elizabeth.  Additionally, she has published Challenge!, a short story about a person who finds the confidence to overcome criticism and achieve a goal, and a book review of Linley and Joseph’s Positive Therapy: A Meta-Theory for Positive Psychological Practice that appeared in Counseling Today, the national publication of the American Counseling Association.

Peterson has also been interviewed on numerous radio shows, given presentations on mental illness and book readings nationwide, spoken on mental illness at the 2013 national conference of the Mothers of Incarcerated Sons Society, Inc., and has been quoted in various articles about mental health and mental illness.

http://www.tanyajpeterson.com

Twitter @tanyajpeterson1

Author Facebook Page

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Hi Tanya, welcome to JJ

Please summarise My Life in a Nutshell : A Novel in 20 words or less.

Summarizing things isn’t my strong suit! I’ll give it a shot, though: a novel about a man and a girl coping with anxiety and instability. Ta-da! Thirteen words that don’t do it justice.

What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?

Tens of millions of people worldwide live with anxiety disorders, and I wanted to show the world what that’s like. (I’ll elaborate on this below.)

Did you do any research for your book?  What resources did you use? 

Research? Definitely! I must admit that I’m a bit of a nerd. When I was in high school, college, and even graduate school, I loved receiving the course syllabi because I couldn’t wait to see what papers I’d get to write, then I would begin research as quickly as I could. (Okay everyone, please don’t stop reading this now. I promise that my novels aren’t dry research papers!)

In all seriousness, I did indeed do research. I do for all of my novels. I want to portray mental illness accurately, so I do things to make sure I do. I’m a nationally certified counselor (US) so I do have a background in things like anxiety. I myself have experienced significant anxiety, so that helped. I write an anxiety column for HealthyPlace.com, and I drew on the research I do for that. Also, I talked to people who experience anxiety. This way, I was able to draw on scientific/factual research, personal experience, and the experience of other real people in order to create Brian, a fictitious character who is indeed realistic. Also, with my background as a teacher and a school counselor plus being a mother, I know kids and their developmental stages, how they’re affected by life’s problems, etc. So Abigail, the little girl in the story, was also born out of research and reality.

What inspired you to write? 

Many things came together to motivate me to write what I do. I write because I want to increase understanding about what mental illness is like and, especially, to increase empathy for those who live with it. I want to humanize mental illness. (The term mental illness is very broad. My novels are more specific. My previous novel, Leave of Absence, is about a woman with schizophrenia and a man who has PTSD and depression. This new novel, My Life in a Nutshell, is about debilitating anxiety disorders).

I write what I do so I can (hopefully) help reduce the stigma and the stereotypes associated with mental illness. Stigma is definitely a social barrier; it’s a prejudice that really works against people. I know this because as a certified counselor, I saw people who were misunderstood and were suffering because of it. I also know this because I’ve faced these prejudices myself. I live with mental illness. I have bipolar 1 disorder and experience various anxieties.

I write novels instead of non-fiction because they’re fun, I always fall deeply in love with my characters, and characters are people so real-world people can connect with them. I definitely want to increase empathy and understanding, but I want to do through storytelling rather than merely informing or preaching. People deserve that!

How do your characters come into existence?  Do they have a bio?

It’s strange. My characters always feel as though they’ve been with me, an integral part of me, forever. It’s as though they’re all there, even future ones, waiting for a chance to be heard. (My novels aren’t autobiographical, so it’s not like they’re my memories. They’re definitely characters in their own right.) I first think of the story I want to tell, the message I’m relaying, then I envision how to tell it and who is going to experience it. Then they’re instantly there, and we’re intimately connected. Throughout the entire process, I “feel” them rather than “think” them. I “think” the facts and the research and some aspects of the plot, but I “feel” the characters and much of their experiences.

What is your WIP?

I’m currently working on a novel about dissociative identity disorder and how it impacts people’s lives – and how it messes with them in often painful ways, but it does not make them unable to love or to be loved.

Do you have a book trailer?  What do you think book trailers achieve?

I do!


I think that book trailers are neat. They offer readers a way to take a quick peek into a book in a unique way. Sure, there are written descriptions and reviews, which are always going to be the most powerful ways for readers to see if they want to read a novel, but trailers could be an initial way of drawing attention. I once had someone, who was considering a trailer, ask if I thought that trailers paid for themselves through increased sales. I don’t think they should be thought of that way. I think they’re one piece of this huge puzzle. On their own, each little piece doesn’t do much, but together, they create a unified “picture” of who an author is and what his/her books are like that help readers decide what they want to read.

Who is your targetted audience? Have you written for other genres or plan to in the future?

My work is geared for adults. Teens could read my novels because they’re pretty clean, but neither of my novels is in the YA genre. I write primarily for those interested in psychology, mental health/illness, and the like. Writers do need to have a specific target audience, and I do. However, I write stories that are entertaining rather than heavy-handed and preachy and are human interest stories and will thus appeal to readers who just want to read about people and their general struggles and triumphs.

I really love my genre and feel passionate about my characters and what they go through, so I don’t foresee myself switching genres any time soon. It’s said that people should never say never, so I won’t! But I have no active plans to mix it up.

What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?

I have two best parts (yes, I’m one of “those” people who couldn’t handle true/false tests in school because I saw little nuances in the choices and could never pick just one). The first best part is the writing itself. I absolutely love writing novels (even more than I love writing my various articles and the HealthyPlace column). It’s the one activity where I can lose myself and experience flow. My thoughts stop racing, or rather, they continue to race, but they’re focused on one thing: the story. It’s a wonderful feeling.

My second best thing is the reaction from, and interaction with, readers. I’ve had people contact me or write in reviews that they have friends or relatives who live with mental illness and that my novels help them understand them better (for real!). I’ve had people say that my characters (in Leave of Absence because My Life in a Nutshell is just barely out) stayed with them for a very long time or are even still with them. Leave of Absence, because it addresses an important social issue, has been nominated to be the 2016 “common read” for all incoming freshmen at a university here in the US. I won’t know for quite a while if I’ve been chosen, but the very idea that I’ve been nominated for this is an amazing feeling. To me, this is special not because it fuels my ego but because it means that my novels are starting to do what I wanted them to do: open eyes and hearts to people living with mental health issues as well as to family and friends of such people.

Thank you for being in my hot seat today Tanya.

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

Blank white book w/pathMy Life in a Nutshell: A Novel is the story of one man’s struggles with debilitating anxiety. Brian Cunningham has isolated himself to such a degree that his human contact is barely more than an hour a day. While lonely, he feels powerless to change his life. Unexpectedly, his safe little world is invaded by one Abigail Harris, a seven-year-old girl who, for the last five years, has bounced from foster home to foster home. She has come to live with an aunt and uncle she has never known. Unsure if she can trust her new environment, she turns to Brian. Neither one quite knows how to live in the world. Can they possibly help each other?

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |

Jera’s Jamboree : Sinfully Summer ~ Aimee Duffy Blog Tour + Giveaway

JJ is delighted to be taking part in a CandleLit Tours Promotion.

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Here to put a little sizzling sunshine in your life is the Sinfully Summer Tour!

The smash-hit contemporary romance novel by Aimée Duffy has just been released in paperback so take a look at the details to find out why fans are loving it! There will be reviews and guest posts along the way, plus the chance to win a personalised signed copy of the book.

Sinfully Summer – Aimée Duffy18001746-2

What they say:

A Summer Bonkbuster perfect for fans of Jackie Collins, Tilly Bagshawe, Jilly Cooper and Victoria Fox!

SUN, SEA AND SEX

FLINGS & FLIRTATIONS

Notorious heiress Alexa Green has certainly been enjoying her most recent girls-holiday in Marbella. Just as we thought, she’s been knocking back the cocktails and showing off her fabulous bikini body on the beach…

SECRETS & SCANDALS

But rumour has it she’s also been spotted sneaking out of Enrique Castillo’s penthouse in the early hours of this morning – in nothing but her underwear! Our question is, doesn’t this fiercely private billionaire know what he’s letting himself in for?
He’s got the millions… and she knows how to spend them! So lie back on your sun lounger and get comfortable, because this summer fling is going to be a sizzler!
Click Here To Buy The Paperback

Want the book instantly? CLICK HERE to download the eBook via Amazon UK or CLICK HERE to download the eBook via Amazon US.

 

***Excerpt***

Alexa took stock of her surroundings. With her heart galloping faster than a race horse, she noted that she wasn’t in an entrance hall as she’d originally expected. Nope. She’d walked straight into the Castillo penthouse. The thump of metal signalled the doors closing. She held her breath.

The slap of shoes hitting the cold, granite floor had dread knotting her stomach. Mr Castillo hadn’t left. Alexa struggled to breathe evenly. If he was here, calling the elevator back up would make enough noise to alert him to her presence. But that couldn’t be the only way out.

If she was right, no one would rely solely on one escape route in a hotel this grand, not with the risk of fires and electrical failure. Safety officers wouldn’t allow it. There must be a stairwell leading out, she just had to find it and slip away unnoticed.

The sound of the footsteps drifted away, followed by the click of a door closing. Adrenaline roared through her veins. This was her only chance. Pushing away from the wall, she rounded the lift, desperately seeking an escape. She barely noticed the plush furnishings, soft-looking leather sofas and floor to ceiling window which showcased the most spectacular view she’d ever seen. Instead she focused on the walls surrounding the elevator.

‘Are you lost?’

The heavily accented voice froze her to the spot. She darted a glance toward the sound. Dark brows furrowed over the richest coloured eyes she’d seen. His gaze swept over the length of her body, then up, lingering on her rear for a beat too long. Her skin tingled under his scrutiny.

Turning her whole body to face him, she slapped a hand on her hip. ‘Had a good enough look?’

His lips quirked in a sexy, lopsided grin. The jitters were back and Alexa swore the temperature in the room shot up ten degrees. Her gaze dropped to his broad shoulders, covered in a thin white t-shirt, then down to a well filled chest. She could see a dark pattern beneath the t-shirt. She longed to find out what kind of tattoo he had. Usually, tats didn’t do it for her. But on that body…

‘I could ask you the same thing.’

She snapped her attention back to his face. He stepped toward her, his jaw set, his eyes dancing with humour and something darker…something that made her blood heat and her mouth water.

Alexa raised her arm, palm out. ‘Hold it there, Mr. Any closer and I’ll scream.’

He paused by the sofa. Propping his hip against the cream leather, he folded his arms across his chest, causing the muscles to bulge. The moisture drained from her mouth and flooded in her belly.

‘No one’s here to hear you.’ He cocked a brow. ‘You seem to be forgetting where you are and,’ his gaze dipped down to her breasts causing the nipples to peak against the lacy fabric ‘how underdressed.’

Alexa thought this moment would have topped the blush scale. She planted her other hand on her hip and glared at him, unwilling to show any weakness. ‘I’m just leaving.’

She turned and strode back to the lift, keeping her back straight and trying not to wiggle her hips too much. The predatory sheen in his eyes made her body more jittery than the idea of sprinting around the lower floor in her underwear. She reached out to hit the button, but a large hand circled her wrist before she made it.

Alexa squeaked and darted back a step. He was so close, and his chest was right in her face. She could see the dark outline of the tattoo beneath the thin cotton. The outline of a burning sun, she thought, or something that looked like a sun. Her hands itched to lift the material and see for herself.

‘I’m up here.’

She snapped her gaze back up to his smirking face and took another step back. His lips kicked up at the corners and his eyes darkened. She swallowed against the urge to step closer, to feel his hard body pressed against hers. But she realised she was in little more than her bra and knickers in a stranger’s home. Unease skittered down her spine.

Alexa squared her shoulders, trying to quash the fear turning her heated blood into cold sludge. ‘I’m leaving now.’

‘After you explain what you’re doing in my home in your undergarments.’

Undergarments?’ Alexa pressed her lips together to keep a giggle at bay. ‘Seriously?’

images-257Author Bio:

Aimée writes steamy, contemporary romance for the 21st century woman who enjoys the 21st century alpha male. She’s addicted to reading, shopping and can’t go a day without music. When she’s not writing you can find her traipsing up the Ochils (weather permitting of course) or procrastinating on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Aimée
Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

 

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Enter the giveaway and you could land yourself a personalised signed copy of Sinfully Summer, the book readers have dubbed “Sexy”, “Fun” and a “Must Read!”

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CandleLit Author Services and Aimée Duffy reserve the right to amend the giveaway details at any time and without prior notice. No responsibility is taken in the event of prize non-delivery.

Good Luck!

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Jera’s Jamboree : Book tour Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G Bennett ~ Interview + Giveaway

JJ is excited to be taking part in the Exodus 2022 blog tour

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Kenneth G. Bennett is the author of the young adult novels, THE GAIA WARS and BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, and the new sci-fi thriller, EXODUS 2022. A wilderness enthusiast who loves backpacking, skiing and kayaking, Ken enjoys mysteries, science fiction, action adventure stories and, most especially, novels that explore the relationship between humans and the wild. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son and two hyperactive Australian Shepherds.

THE GAIA WARS series was optioned for film by Identity Films, LA in 2012, and both GAIA and BATTLE have been featured as Top 100 Bestsellers in Teen Literature and Fiction on Amazon. Kirkus Reviews called THE GAIA WARS “A solid first entry of a promising, imaginative new young-adult fantasy series featuring a well-crafted character.”

Website: www.kennethgbennettbooks.com

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5131305.Kenneth_G_Bennett

Facebook: Kenneth G. Bennett, Author

Twitter: @kennethgbennett

EXODUS 2022Title: EXODUS 2022

Author: Kenneth G. Bennett

Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller (pre-apocalypse)

Audience: NA/Adult

Release date: May 20th, 2014

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

 

Summary:

Joe Stanton is in agony. Out of his mind over the death of his young daughter. Or so it seems.
Unable to contain his grief, Joe loses control in public, screaming his daughter’s name and causing a huge scene at a hotel on San Juan Island in Washington State. Thing is, Joe Stanton doesn’t have a daughter. Never did. And when the authorities arrive they blame the 28-year-old’s outburst on drugs.
What they don’t yet know is that others up and down the Pacific coast—from the Bering Sea to the Puget Sound—are suffering identical, always fatal mental breakdowns.
With the help of his girlfriend—the woman he loves and dreams of marrying—Joe struggles to unravel the meaning of the hallucination destroying his mind. As the couple begins to perceive its significance—and Joe’s role in a looming global calamity—they must also outwit a billionaire weapons contractor bent on exploiting Joe’s newfound understanding of the cosmos, and outlast the time bomb ticking in Joe’s brain.

Read an excerpt

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Buy links:

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Hello and thank you for having me and my newest book, EXODUS 2022 featured at your blog.

 Hi Kenneth,

Please summarise Exodus 2022 in 20 words or less.  

A young man suffering from severe hallucinations comes to realize that the vision destroying his mind contains clues to a looming global calamity.

What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?  

I’d been reading about ecological catastrophe and then stumbled on some articles about animal intelligence and the surprising cognitive abilities of non-human species. The two topics came together to form the underlying concept of the book.

Did you do any research for your book?  What resources did you use?  

EXODUS 2022 has passages concerning Orca Whales, sonar, the FBI, the U.S. Navy, ROVs (remotely operated vehicles). I did a lot of reading on all of those topics and also interviewed experts in the different areas.

What inspired you to write?  

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and writing them down, since I was a young child.

Do you have a favourite place  you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity? 

Being in the wilderness inspires me. In Western Washington State, where I live, there are three spectacular national parks within 100 miles of my home. I visit those places a lot, to backpack, hike and ski. And think.

Who designed your book cover? 

Artist Kathleen Grebe http://www.kathleengrebe.com/ designed the cover for EXODUS 2022. We talked about the themes in the book and then she went away and worked and came back with ten fantastic cover options. It was difficult to choose but I love the one we settled on.

How do your characters come into existence?  Do they have a bio?  

My characters all begin flat and un-featured and develop as I develop the story. No bios.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?  

I don’t like outlining or plotting. I like to start with a killer concept, a “big idea” and develop the story organically from there.

What are you working on now?  

A book called THE HEALER, about a man who discovers later in life that he possesses a unique healing ability that could change the world.

Which authors have influenced your writing?  

Stephen King, Lee Child, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, George Luis Borges, Carlos Ruiz Zafron, Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, Louis L’Amour

Do you have a favourite book? Why?  What is it about that book?  

The Hobbit. That book transported me to another realm when I was ten years old and it does the same for me now, as an adult.

Do you think movie adaptations do books justice?  Do you have a favourite?  

Speaking of the Hobbit—it’s by far my least favorite film adaptation. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies but it seems to me that the producers/director sold out when they got to the Hobbit. The Hobbit movies are a travesty.   On another note—I thought The Lovely Bones was a great book AND a great movie (another film directed by Peter Jackson, coincidentally)

What are you reading now? Opinion?  

I’m almost finished with THE TWELVE; Justin Cronin’s sequel to THE PASSAGE. Both novels are fabulous.

Have you done any creative writing/writing courses that you would recommend to others? 

If you live in the Seattle area the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference held every summer (late July, early August) is phenomenal.

Who is your target audience? 

Adults interested in thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries.

What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?  

Read Stephen King’s ON WRITING and Elmore Leonard’s TEN RULES OF WRITING. Read as many great novels as you can. Read all the time. Once you start work on a book, don’t stop.

Thanks Kenneth.  The Hobbit (book) did the same for me.  My OH fell asleep during the first Hobbit movie …

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15 signed paperbacks

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Jera’s Jamboree : Checking Inn – Emily Harper Blog Tour and #Giveaway!

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Welcome to the Checking Inn Blog Tour!

After storming up the Amazon charts with the brilliantly funny White Lies, Emily Harper has now released her second rom-com novel Checking Inn. Find out all the details, read reviews, guest posts and enter the tour giveaway as the book visits a selection of fantastic blogs . . .

What they say:

‘Kate Foster runs the Summerside Inn (and her life) by well-organized checklists.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00025]Make sure the caterers don’t serve devil’s food cake to the Christian Women’s Alliance– check.

Tell my mother that having a séance to get rid of any unwanted spirits in the kitchen during dinnertime is not okay- check.

Send a friendly reminder to all staff that the pens are colour coded for everyone’s enjoyment, and therefore it is not a good idea to put them all in one jar in order to “spice things up” as was anonymously suggested– check.

But, when an acclaimed hotel critic dies at the Inn, just before she’s about to publish a scathing review that would ruin the business, Kate’s life and checklists are thrown into disarray. And it doesn’t help matters that the detective assigned to the case is messy, unorganized, and too charming for his own good. Now Kate has to prove her innocence and save her Inn, or else the only thing that she’ll be organizing is the prison’s next bake sale.’

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The 2nd guest post of the tour featuring Checking Inn’s ‘relaxed’ protagonist Kate:

Relaxing is great, I have no idea why I didn’t do it ages ago. I try to drink my eight glasses of water before I leave the house in the morning so I can start the day off toxin–free. This morning I went for a yoga class at the Summerside Retirement Home and Mrs. Phelps even asked me to be her assistant! Apparently there were a few notes left in the new suggestion box that I installed at the front of the classroom that said I am so good at showing everyone ways to improve their less-than-perfect technique, that I might as well run the class. I was truly touched.

I went out for lunch with my mom today and had a huge slice of chocolate cake before my hamburger. The only problem is since I usually don’t have room after my main meal for dessert, lately I have just been eating cake for lunch. Sadly, the cake mixed with all the water sloshing around in my body has proved to be a deadly combination. My body is just going to take a little time to adjust. It obviously doesn’t know that we are in relaxation mode yet.

Afterwards Mom and I went back to the Inn to get set up for our afternoon activities. Mom had arranged a nice afternoon of lawn bowling. Everything was going fine until people actually started to play and we realised that the grass hadn’t been cut in a week. Which is entirely Becky’s fault. Becky is the teenage daughter of my mom’s neighbour and our new housekeeper in training. The Inn’s policy is very clear that the staff are not allowed to date each other, but Becky really wanted to date the boy that cuts the Inn’s lawn and told me “I was trying to stop her from experiencing great love”. I was tired of hearing her complain last week so I decided to lift that one rule as my spontaneous act of the day. Well, they got into a huge fight about five seconds after they started dating and now he is on strike until she agrees not to stalk him.

Anyways, we decided to change the afternoon activity to charades. Very spontaneous of me, I know.

Read Emily’s follow-on, and final, guest post over on The Love Of A Good Book on 18th February!

emily-harper-head-shotAuthor Bio:

Emily Harper has a passion for writing humorous romance stories where the heroine is not your typical damsel in distress. Throughout her novels you will find love, laughter, and the unexpected!

Originally from England, she currently lives in Canada with her wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, mischievous son, and a very naughty dog.

Emily is also the author of the funny and charming novel White Lies, which has proven to be a huge hit with fans. The book will even be appearing on The Marilyn Denis Show as a giveaway next month! For more information on the book please visit Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

Ways to stalk follow Emily

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***GIVEAWAY***

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Emily Harper has generously donated some amazing prizes for 3 lucky winners! Take a look at what is up for grabs with easy entry via the below Rafflecopter:

1st prize: Kate spade clutch, nail polish and signed copy of Checking Inn

2nd prize: signed copy of Checking Inn

3rd prize: ebook of Checking Inn

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This is an international giveaway. Three winners will be drawn through the above Rafflecopter widget and prizes will be awarded in the order they are selected. BestChickLit and Emily Harper reserve the right to amend or cancel the giveaway at any point without prior notification to entrants.

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Jera’s Jamboree : The Couple on The Green – Avie Bennett Blog Tour!

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Welcome to the The Couple on the Green Blog Tour!

Come and take the emotional journey that is The Couple on The Green and find out about the book readers are raving about.

product_thumbnail.php_What they say:

‘The course of true love never did run smooth, but is holding onto true love worth a lifetime of pain? Isobel and James are the couple everyone wants to be; wildly in love, compatible in every way and caught up in the sexually adventurous haze of young love, but just as they accept this life as theirs forever it is torn away from them. Theirs is the tale of an all-encompassing love-of-a-lifetime and the excruciating pain that so often accompanies it. This is the story of the love we all search for, but few can hold onto. James and Isobel get a second chance, but is it ever possible to get a happy ending?’

Click Here To Buy This Book – UK

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A message from author, Avie Bennett:

Hello everyone!

Firstly I’d like to thank Jera’s Jamboree for hosting me today. I’d also like to thank you for giving up time in your busy day for reading this blog post.

The Couple on The Green is a very emotional journey through two people’s lives; the ups and downs of love and loss, the exploration of fate and destiny and how unclear the big picture can become in darker times. As those who have already read The Couple on The Green will know, I’m a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve author. In life, I’ve found that it is often an affliction rather than a bonus – except when it comes to writing a book. I think if you’re quite an emotional person, it helps in writing a story that connects and that ticks the boxes for readers of this genre.

Somewhat controversially, I have included several sex scenes in the book – circa 2,000 words or so out of the 72,000 to give you an idea. Why? Because I wanted to try and create a blend of the romantic and emotional storylines of writers like Nicholas Sparks and Louise Douglas, but the spark and sexiness of writers like Sylvia Day and EL James. Personally, I think sex is a very healthy and normal part of life and isn’t mutually exclusive to romance; in fact it plays an enormously important part in the strongest of emotional bonds. Somehow, I feel we’ve lost the way a bit when books must be either sex-mad and morality free OR romantic, emotional and sex-free. I think there is a way, as in life, of combining both. I’ve had some fab reviews from women who have been looking for this sort of thing, but also reviews that said these don’t necessarily work so well together. My hope is that you will give me a chance at combining the two and read the book for yourself.

Thank you so much for your time,

Avie xxx

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‘This is really an excellent debut, perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks and lovely romantic (even heart-breaking) stories.’

– Marina, This Chick Reads

IMG_1396_C_fb-1024x687Author Bio:

Avie Bennett started writing at the age of fourteen and never really stopped. She’s had her work published in magazines, journals and newspapers but says she ‘never really thought’ to write a novel. That is, until recently when a burning desire bound her to do so.

Avie lives with her husband and children in Hampshire, England. When not writing, she can be found enjoying other creative pursuits such as art, music and photography.

Author Links

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Jera’s Jamboree : Feature Post Rhoda Baxter

I’m delighted to be welcoming Rhoda Baxter to Jera’s Jamboree today.

Rhoda B new photo

Rhoda Baxter started off in the South of England and pinged around the world a bit until she ended up in the North of England, where the cakes are better. Along the way she collected one husband, two kids, a bit (ahem) of extra weight and a DPhil in molecular biology. She has a day job working in intellectual property and writes contemporary romantic comedies in whatever spare time she can grab. Her first novel Patently in Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon award 2012. Her third novel will be published by Choc Lit in 2014.

She can be found wittering on about science, comedy and cake on her website www.rhodabaxter.com,  Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rhoda.baxter.5), Google+  or on Twitter (@rhodabaxter).

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Hi Shaz, thanks for inviting me to post on your blog. Hello Shaz’s readers <waves>.

Someone asked me what inspired me to write Having a Ball. It’s a funny thing, to think about the tiny little thing (or collection of things) that sparked off a whole novel. I gave the question some thought and realised that it was an iterative process. A journey, if you like, that picked up bits and pieces from here and there as it formed.

It started with Stevie. She was a secondary character in Patently in Love. Once I’d finished writing PIL, I realised that Stevie’s voice was still in my head. She was such a fun character. Besides, she and her brother Marsh were so close it seemed cruel to have a book for one and not the other.

Next, I needed a setting. I chose to write about a house in North Oxford that was similar to 11 NG – a special place that I lived in for a few years. I have blogged about it on my site before http://rhodabaxter.com/2013/01/11/a-house-in-norham-gardens/. I loved the house so much that I described it rather too much at the start. I’ve removed a lot of my self-indulgent waffle in the editing, but the house remains a character in itself. Huge, rambling and very much loved.

Stevie didn’t have a job at the start of the book, so she could have done anything. Anything.  All that choice is crippling (I’m terrible at making choices. I have to use my hands as blinkers when I’m at the ice cream counter, so that I can only see two. I don’t know why I bother. I always choose chocolate in the end. ..Er, where was I? Oh yes. Stevie’s job).

The real house at 11 NG is often involved with charity and community, so in the end I decided to have Stevie arrange a charity ball. The charity I chose is a real one – Project Peds, part of the World Children’s Initiative http://www.worldchildrensinitiative.org/ . The project was started by a group of American doctors who visited the Matara children’s hospital in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami and realised that while there was aid coming in to build new hospitals, there were no funds to buy equipment. I think their work is amazing. They were the obvious choice to use. Besides, it gave me an excuse to talk about Sri Lankan food. I had to make a few of the snacks – for research purposes, of course.

The story itself arose from the characters and the way they annoy… I mean, interact with… each other. There’s brooding, sullen Tom, who thinks he’s let his parents down and is working himself to death to make up for it; cheeky, immature Stevie, who’s career is a side-effect of her desire to prove her brother wrong; super bright and super speedy Evelyn; pompous Lady Beryl, who isn’t so much a lady as a snob and other random people who dance, chomp or shout their way around the edges.

Having a Ball is meant to be part of a series, so I’m hoping to write another book involving email and ice cream. It gives me a chance to catch up with the characters from the other two books, which is always nice and I get to do some intensive research to figure out the new heroine’s favourite ice cream…

Sounds like you will have to do that research Rhoda 🙂

RB book cover 1500 x 2250px (2)Publisher: Uncial Press (14 Mar 2013)

When the going gets tough, the tough throw a party.

Stevie has always relied on her brother to bail her out of trouble. Now she needs to prove to him that she can be independent and mature. When she takes a job organizing a charity ball for some slightly barmy retired academics, she’s not expecting to fall in love with the rambling old house, the even more rambling family that lives there and Tom, the boss’s son. If she can make the ball a success she could show the world, and herself, that she’s her own woman. She doesn’t need anyone else. Nope. Not anyone. Not at all.

Having a Ball is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours.

Date

Tour Host

22nd January This Chick Reads
23rd January Total Book Geek
28th January Not Suitable For Work
29th January M’s Bookshelf
30th January A Novel Review

The tour giveaway is 2 x ecopies of Patently in Love and is open Internationally.

You will be able to enter on tour host posts.

We hope you’ll join in the fun!

Jera’s Jamboree : Extraordinary Retribution – Erec Stebbins Blog Tour Guest Post plus #giveaway

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Welcome to the Extraordinary Retribution tour!

Find out all the information on Erec Stebbins’ new political thriller that readers are calling ‘dark’ and ‘engrossing’, plus enter the tour giveaway for the chance to win yourself a signed copy of this chilling novel.

Unknown-315What they say:

‘Sometimes evil is not born of madness, but madness of evil.

A rogue CIA agent partners with the brother of a slain colleague to uncover a conspiracy deep in the intelligence community. But a shadow follows them: a killer bent on a revenge so terrible, it is only matched by the crimes committed against him. In the end, no one escapes unscathed, no beliefs will go unchallenged, and no wrong will escape the terrible, final, and extraordinary retribution.’

Click Here To Buy This Book – UK

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Writing Visually

Guest Post by Erec Stebbins

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One of the most common reactions to my thrillers is that the events, particularly action scenes, played before the readers’ minds like a film. Several readers have commented that this made them see how easily the novels could be adapted to the big screen.

I find this interesting because it reflects my writing experience very well. When I write, I do strongly “see” the events unfolding. For action sequences especially, my mind considers the movements, their consequences, and it is almost as if I am watching those events – in real life or on the screen – and taking notes.

This also tends to lead me to choose striking contrasts in my visuals, even to the point of character appearance. For example, in my recently released thriller, Extraordinary Retribution, I developed protagonists that were in sharp contrast in many respects: a dark Mexican priest teaming with a blond CIA heroine, an antagonist who dramatically changed his appearance like a chameleon, or the juxtaposition of a starless evening with the blinding fireball of an explosion.

What is perhaps less obvious is that this strong visual component to my writing efforts extend far beyond the action sequences of the thriller genre. For example, in my science fiction “Daughter of Time” series (Reader and the soon-to-come sequel, Writer), there are creatures and events that do not exist (or so we assume!), that I have never seen, some of which are nearly impossible to imagine could likely be. Yet when I write the words for the story and describe these elements, I also “see” them. For my heroine, Ambra Dawn, she is informed physically by my love of visual contrast: pale white skin, flaming orange hair, and a deformed skull from a brain growth that gives her extraordinary powers. The travel through the multidimensional doorways called the Orbs – well, that is far more abstract, and might relate to music!

The strong stimulation of the visual regions of my brain in artistic arenas outside of the graphics arts completes itself even in music. When I listen to or play music, the notes prod neurons in my visual cortex, causing abstract images to form in my imagination. Complicated pieces like Bach fugues or progressive rock can lead to intricate and three-dimensional “paintings” playing out dynamically as I close my eyes. As an adolescent (and yes, completely drug free!), I used to turn out the lights in my basement and listen to music in the dark to optimize this experience.

As a biological scientist, I am fascinated by this profound synesthesia. The mixing of the senses to me is part of the rather broad spectrum of brain function that characterizes the amazing diversity in human beings. Tied to this in my mind is the presence of multiple identities in all of us that are usually poorly recognized by the “I” sense that dominates our self-awareness. But neuroscience has revealed startling individuality in different portions of the brain.

This last aspect is something I think that also informs artist creation. It is only through the ability to become others, to see the world through another personality, that we can ever hope to write (or act, or paint) such characters.

We are mosaic creatures from the reductionism of the genome – where the remnants of microbes have scattered their genes and body parts, synergizing with us over billions of years – to the adaptive and dynamic structures of the brain. And as in the case of evolution where genomic mosaicity was critical to the creation of new and amazing forms of life, mental mosaicity is critical to the creation of new and amazing forms of art.

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Author Bio
:

Erec Stebbins is a biomedical researcher who writes political and international thrillers, science fiction, narrated storybooks, and more.

Website |  Goodreads

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