Author Spotlight - Edward Padilla

K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

E.D.P - My name is Edward D Padilla. I am an internationally produced playwright – and a multiple literary award nominee for my debut novel Minor Deities. I currently live in Las Vegas, NV after moving from Long Beach, CA.

K.S. - Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

E.D.P - Writing quirks? Interesting. I write constantly. Always have a pad and pen handy. I’ve been known to flip paper placemats over to write ideas. Always write an idea down the moment you have it – if you wait – even just a few minutes while you grab a pen – you can forget it just as easily as you created the idea – I wrote the beginnings of a scene for Minor Deities on deposit slips in a bank while waiting in line.

I usually associate an object with my story and place it on my desk – for Minor Deities – I used a photo of a congressman holding up a bible which pinpointed my theme – it helped me focus. For my next book – Seagull’s Street – I have a pair of seagull salt and pepper shakers and a photo of a good friend I call Seagull – One theatre script I wrote (The Vampire, The Virgin & The Very Horny Night) – I kept a Legg’s Egg on my desk – with the pantyhose poking through the seams – I don’t think they sell those anymore – I find a focal object – as bizarre and unattached as it may be – helps me continue writing. I do not use one object for every story – I change them up to the theme or main focus.

K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

E.D.P - A writer? When I was six years old and my mother bought me my first typewriter. Yes, typewriter. A Sear’s Autotype – I loved it – I was writing short stories in third grade – (we’re talking really rudimentary stories) – I wrote my first one-act play in sixth grade – and it was performed by the class – I went to Catholic School – so it was very religious. I love words -

Minor Deities is actually based on a stage play I wrote entitled “Fags” – I created the main character and the obstacles to his goal – but there was so much more to the story than what I could fit in a two hour dialogue situation or in the confines of a stage. I started expanding the idea – my cast of six grew to a menagerie of characters and an explosive story.

K.S. - What genre do you write?

E.D.P - Gay Fiction and Theatre scripts.

K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

E.D.P - I cannot lie: Escape to Witch Mountain - I fell in love with that book (Alexander Key) – I loved how the words created a fantasy world which was real – Tony and Tia were my friends – I understood it was fiction - but it was interesting how these non-existent people came to life in my imagination through the written word. I had to do it.

My favorite authors are Michael Crichton, Mario Puzo, Lisa Scottoline, John Saul...the list is endless – I read at least two hours a day – you can’t appreciate your own writing unless you take in the work of others. I like to read “Low list” books for confidence. These are novels that are “bad” – no real form or character building – loose ends – I read a “bad” novel and it gives me the confidence to continue – In my opinion, if a publisher is willing to put this out (something I consider blah) – then I work hard to surpass their work – again – it’s almost a narcissism – It’s rather funny – people consider doctors to have a “God” complex – but the same attitude surrounds a writer. You create the world. You create the residents. You control the situation and outcome – you can’t do this without confidence – my favorite books exude this confidence by transporting me into the author’s imagination and making it real.

K.S. - What does your family think of your writing?

E.D.P - My family supports my writing. I receive numerous emails and letters asking about my work. Of course, before I was published, I constantly heard the “I know you enjoy your hobby, but what are you doing for a job?” – Now that I’m published, I’m getting story ideas (“You know your great-grandmother was the governess of youth and child welfare and she wasn’t allowed to vote”) -

K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

E.D.P - That nothing turns out the way you expect – When you begin to rewrite (and if you don’t rewrite – it’s a hobby – you must take it serious if you want it to become a career) – you learn that certain things don’t work. The obligatory cliché comes true – that one scene that was so perfect – the reason you bled the story – doesn’t work – and it almost slices your heart when you realize it needs a red-line – (Save it for another time – it may work elsewhere) – Characters you thought were trustworthy become tantamount to the antagonist’s goal – If you give your characters freedom – they surprise you more than the story – follow a character’s tangent – you may find a diamond mine -

K.S. - What inspired you to write your novel?

E.D.P - I read my share of gay fiction. It started becoming “Formula” – Guy A sees Guy B on page 1 – he must have him – Guy A meets Guy B on page 3 – they have sex. Page 4 they swear their undying love to each other – page 7 they break up and spend the rest of the novel coming out to everyone – fighting with their friends because they know they belong together – the biggest antagonist is always the parents – someone has to come out to their parents – by the last page – the entire world accepts them and they fall in bed a blissful happy couple...I decided to get rid of the parents – throw in a bomb or two – and make the story “bigger than life” -

K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?

E.D.P -

Back cover copy:

It starts out a perfect day until someone fires a gun at him, a trench-coated, slave-cap wearing menace starts stalking him, people begin terrorizing gay bars in his hometown, and the man he falls in love with is his best friend’s straight brother. What more could go wrong?

Within minutes of winning the conviction of Mark Valenti, don of Santos Muertos, Lawrence Michaels becomes a target of revenge. To escape death, Lawrence hesitantly joins his friends for a gay gala in Tyler. But Tyler isn’t as welcoming as he remembers. Numerous gay men vanish, the judge hates him, and his boss expects him to begin another trial prosecuting a gay murderer. As the truth unfolds, Lawrence understands the only hope for the gay community to thrive is for him to come out of the closet and become the one person he detests the most, his true self.

The First chapter beginning: “We’re at the Santos Muertos courthouse, where top District Attorney, Lawrence Michaels, has been shot.” The reporter held the microphone to his quivering lips. “The story is unfolding as we speak, but, once again, Lawrence Michaels, the D.A. who put Mark Valenti behind bars, has been shot.”

Lawrence lay sprawled out on the floor. His Boss, Ben Lansing, was on top of him, protecting him from any further danger. Candice sat with her ass cheeks on her heels, bits of ruined pantyhose flapping from her knee, her hair askew, her eyes moist.

K.S. - Where can we find your novel?

E.D.P - I’m on Amazon, B&N and elsewhere on the Net – but those are my publishing house’s overpriced versions – honestly - $28.95? Way too much – I have bootlegged them and offer a link to anyone who messages me on FaceBook – Minor Deities is available for Kindle, Sony Reader, and iPhone/iPad at reduced prices –

One word: I created the bootlegs because I have been beans and rice poor; sometimes I couldn’t afford the rice – and there was a novel I wanted to own – not just read – I utilize the library like nobody’s business – but I had to add a title to my collection – scrimping and saving until I could afford it – I hate that – I’m amazed at how corporate publishing is becoming greedy in hard economic times. I want to share my art, not sit atop a pile of blood pennies waving my scepter – So I created the bootlegs for possible readers – (And they’re selling like crazy – knock wood)

K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

E.D.P - You can find me on facebook. I write too much to keep up with a blog. And I don’t know how to do a fan site – although some of my readers have offered to do it – I’m too humble to allow such a thing. I just try to connect them with other readers of the book so they can discuss it – if they like. If anyone would like to create a fan site – I’m all for it – as long as I don’t have to do anything – I already answer every email and message I receive – so – I’m pretty busy -

K.S. - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

E.D.P - Study your craft – write constantly – edit with a sharp eye – listen to your heart – and – if and when you get a rejection letter – file it and reread/re-edit your work – and send it again –

I think the hardest part of writing a novel is leaving it alone. It’s advice in almost every book about writing. When you finish your first “words on paper” draft – and every draft after – put the work aside for a minimum of two weeks – then go back to it – the emotions have had time to heal and separate themselves from your piece – you’ll edit better – you’ll see mistakes that your emotional eye would miss but your critical eye spots with a hawk’s awareness – If it sounds dull and lifeless two weeks after you wrote it – it probably is – and you can spot it easier when your emotional connection has subdued itself. Don’t be afraid to destroy in order to create –

Also – One point of advice – and I press this – when writing – don’t set yourself up with time goals – “I’m going to write for three hours every day until I finish.” It’s amazing how a person can write for three hours and create one paragraph. Set a word goal for the day – I set mine at 2000 words per day – and write them. Sometimes it takes me an hour – sometimes six – I never allow myself to fall short of my goal by more than 100 words – and I never go over by more than 250 – stopping yourself helps free you from writer’s block.

Suggested reading: (I love these books – plain and straightforward on writing)

Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead – Maralys Wills
Writing the Breakout Novel – Donald Maass
Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke (Inspirational)
Minor Deities (Because I wrote it)

Beta Reading

Beta's are one of your first lines of defense before sending your manuscript out to be shopped.

They are a fresh set of eyes. A new perspective. A trial run. And, they might also catch a few mistakes too. =p

Don't rely on just one though. Not all Beta readers are alike. Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to technical reading. Some are better with flow and feel. Some are sticklers for the rules. Some are just good at responding (like laughing when they are supposed to. Think of them like the person screaming at the blond in a horror movie "don't go in there!! That's where the killer is hiding.")

It's best to gather a wide variety of reads before you move on to sending out your manuscript to an agent (or for those who self publish, sending off for final editing.).

A good Beta reader can really help you polish a manuscript. But, what makes a good Beta reader?

Well, an eye for detail is a good start. You want someone who can read with an active eye for problems.

I'm asked to beta read on occasion and I am happy to do it for my friends. Whenever I read I try to keep that active eye working.

In my opinion, and you can disagree, it's the way a Beta notifies you of problems that separates the good from the ok.

Notice I didn't say bad. I am not trying to be nice here. Sometimes blunt honesty is all you get. That's ok.

I'm not saying a reader that coddles you is ok either. You don't improve if you aren't told where the issues are in your writing.

What separates the good from the ok is the explanation.

To me, it's not enough to have a problem pointed out, I want to know why it was pointed out. Was it a rule I broke? Was it something that took you out of POV? Was it something that was out of character? Was it a grave mistake of some kind?

Pointing out errors is ok and will help you to improve but a Beta who will really dig in and give you a problem backed up with reasons is the best kind you can find.

I'm certainly not saying I am a great Beta, but I keep this in mind when I am asked to read.

So remember, lots of Beta's are great find as many as you can to help improve your work.

If you are asked to be one, remember to be a great one and back up all of your nits with good reasons.

Six Lies & One Truth ... Answers

Here are the answers to yesterdays truth and lies...

1. I speak French fluently - Nope... My father does and I wish I had learned from him. After 2 years of high school french (most of which has been forgotten) I can only speak enough to get myself into trouble. Someday though, I will learn it.

2. I have traveled the world - Only in my dreams. One day, I do plan to do this.

3. I own my own business - It's true. I am the owner of Rising Sign Books LLC.

4. I've gone skydiving and bungee jumping - Another bucket list item. Someday.

5. I have a creative arts degree, from UNLV, in film making. - This one actually belongs to my wonderful hubby. He went to school to make movies.

6. My favorite color is Fuchsia (because I just love saying that word). - Actually, I hate any form of pink. Though I like the word fuchsia, though not enough to make it a favorite.

7. I am O.C.D. about organization. Everything has a place and it should always be put in its place.

Let this picture show you how untrue this is.

That is my messy workspace. Note the piles of books, the layer of dust, the random soda cans and papers strewn about. I am quite the opposite of an OCD neat freak. LoL.

Creative Writing Blog Award

The rules are:

1. Thanks the person who gave you this award (thank you Embee!!)
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog
3. Link to the person who nominated you (see #1)
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself and at least one outrageous truth.
5. Nominate 7 creative writers who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate (see below).
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Here are my lies and truth...can you guess which is the truth?

1. I speak French fluently
2. I have traveled the world
3. I own my own business
4. I've gone skydiving and bungee jumping
5. I have a creative arts degree, from UNLV, in film making.
6. My favorite color is Fuchsia (because I just love saying that word).
7. I am O.C.D. about organization. Everything has a place and it should always be put in its place.

I'm passing this award on to:

1. Jessica - Booking It
2. Stina Lindenblatt - Seeing Creative
3. Karen Hooper - Eternal moonshine of a Daydreaming Mind
4. Kristen Torres-Toro - Write in the Way
5. L. T. Elliot - Dreams of Quill and Ink
6. Deb - Ranch Girl Ramblings
7. Theresa Milstein - Substitute Teacher's Saga

Winners Winners!

And the winners of the book giveaway are....




Kolina will be contacting you soon (via the email addresses you provided) to arrange shipping. Congratulations!

Stay tuned for more Author spotlights. Every Saturday!

Author Spotlight & Book Giveaway with Kolina Topel

K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

Kolina - My name is Kolina Topel. I am a fantasy/fiction writer and have just published my first book, Royal Blood. I am working on my second novel now which will be loosely based on, and dedicated, to a dear friend that was killed in the OIF/OEF war. I am a mother of two beautiful children, a 4 year old boy and a 7 year old girl. I am currently attending school for my nursing degree and have a strong passion for medicine.

K.S.- Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

Kolina - Many of the names in the book have hidden meanings. Alex, one of the main characters, shares my sons middle name. Christina’s step-sisters names are my actual step-sisters middle names, and Nebula’s name means “dark-mist” which ties into her gift. So each persons name in the book has some meaning tied into my life or is related to their powers.

K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

Kolina - I have been a writer for years, but most of my works were poetry. I had always wanted to write a full story but I both never had the time, and was terrified at how extensive the process was. It was Christmas of 2008 when I was inspired, after reading the Twilight Saga four times in a row, that I decided the ideas that were swimming around in my head were too strong to ignore. Three months later I had the bulk of the book down.

K.S. - What genre do you write?

Kolina - I have found that I’m much more attracted to the urban fantasy genre. I like a book that doesn’t have the “typical ending.” Most stories end with all of the good guys alive and each character finding their soul mate, but I think that changing that up makes a book sometimes more risqué and possibly more memorable.

K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career?

Kolina - My absolute largest inspiration is my children. I get to act like a kid every single day when I am with them and that makes slipping into my own world and books that much easier. The stresses of everyday life seem to be the true driving force behind my desire to write though. When life seems like it’s too much and I’ve had a long day I get to sit back and escape into a completely different reality.

K.S. - What does your family think of your writing?

Kolina - My family is very proud and supportive of my writing. It’s not much of a shock to them because they know that I have always had a passion for words and expressing myself through them.

K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

Kolina - The most surprising part for me with writing my book was how hard actually finishing it was. When I had the main part of the plot and the bulk of the book down the hardest part for me was filling the in last little holes and tying it all together. That could be the fear of submitting it before it’s done too, but I think all authors go through that! lol

K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?


When you discover that everything you thought you knew was a lie told by the people you trusted the most, how far do you go to find out the truth? When others will stop at nothing to keep you from what was born in your blood, do you fight for it? Christina is about to enter a world she never knew existed, and find out things about herself that she never thought possible. With Alex by her side she goes to Sangre Real to discover the truth about her past, present, and possibly her future. She is about to make the most difficult choice in her already complicated life. Walk away from the world she was born to lead, or answer the call that is ever present in her blood. But at what cost? Who will she lose? Who will betray her? Will Alex stand by her side when he discovers what she truly is? The answers may surprise you.

K.S. - Where can we find your novel?

Kolina - The book is online right now on most bookstores: Amazon (kindle version available), Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, etc.

K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

Kolina I have all of the above. My website is
Facebook fansite is
Myspace fanpage is where I blog and that site is
Last but not least is
Here you can preview the first chapters of both of my stories and read some of my old poetry.

Also I have a contest going on right now for my next book. Here is the link and what it is about.

K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

Kolina My advice would have to be never stop and never doubt yourself. When I finished my first book I was unsure about publishing the book because it was a short story, but the best advice I ever got was when you finish writing the story, it’s done, whether it is 20,000 words or 100,000. Your work is original and beautiful. So share it with the world. You never know whose life it may touch.

And now for the part you've all been waiting for!


Kolina has made available two free copies of her book Royal Blood!

All you have to do is leave a comment, indicating you want to enter, and your email address.

Only one entry per person.

Kolina will pick two lucky winners (at random) from the comment section.
If you do not wish to leave an email address, please make sure you are signed in to your blogger profile so we have some way to contact you.)

Winner will be announced no later than Monday February 22nd.

Good Luck!

Have Fun

I’m bogging from the road today. Road meaning I am on vacation. An impromptu one I might add. It struck me that I was focusing so hard on my book, I had become a bit of a hermit. I hadn’t seen many friends in a while and the time I did see them, was limited. Now, that is perfectly natural. Most of us writers do it. Writing is a solitary endeavor.


And there is always a, but.

You cannot forget to live too.

Now, I am not saying you need to jump in your car and go on a vacation, but you do need to get out on occasion. Go do something; bowling, hiking, play a sport, anything. Don’t forget to get out and have a life too alongside your writing.

So for the rest of the week the blog is on autopilot while I get out and have some fun.

Saturday will bring us a new Author Spotlight so don’t forget to stop by and meet (virtually) a new up and coming author.

Winner winner chicken dinner... er free book.

And the winner of the book give away is....


J. Conrad will be contacting you soon to arrange shipping. Congratulations!

Stay tuned for more Author spotlights. Every Saturday!

Author Spotlight & Book Giveaway with J. Conrad

K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

J.C.G. - Hi, Katie, and thanks for inviting me. My latest novel is Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings. A resident of Northville, Michigan, I’m also the author of January’s Paradigm, first published in 1998 by Minerva Press. I’m working on a new novel, Cobb’s Conscience, a murder mystery written around baseball legend Ty Cobb and the shooting death of his father by his mother. An all-male jury found her innocent of wrongful death, but the local townspeople always suspected otherwise. If that’s not a storyline worthy of speculation, I don’t know what is! My short fiction, non-fiction and sports writing can be found at a number of Web sites and in print publications. Just Google me.

K.S. - Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

J.C.G. - I don’t know that this qualifies as a quirk, but I find my muse in a good cigar. I think it has to do with routine. As you know, the craft of writing is all about routine, and so is the process of choosing the right cigar based on time of day, what I’m drinking (coffee, beer, scotch), unwrapping it, enjoying the fragrance of the tobacco, snipping the head and lighting the foot, letting the tendrils of smoke envelop me as I settle in for my writing session. Can I write without one? Sure, but it takes me longer to find my stride.

K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

J.C.G. - I was a late bloomer where writing is concerned. I’d done some stage acting in my youth, several murder mysteries where the audience interacts with the actors onstage to solve a murder. My then wife challenged me to write a script—this was when I was in my late 20s—and so I did. The Gig is Up was the result and first introduced the character Joe January to the world. Several years later, after my divorce, I asked a friend what she wanted for her birthday and she insisted that I write a short story. I took up the challenge and while writing the piece I began to envision a much longer text—novel length, and about a year later I commenced January’s Paradigm. To answer your question, January’s Paradigm was sparked by a broken heart. Much of the process was therapeutic; but I also wished to make a statement that men, too, can be hurt as a result of infidelity.

K.S. - What genre do you write?

J.C.G. - I try to stay clear of labels, preferring instead to think of my work as literary fiction. The January series—composed of January’s Paradigm and January’s Penitence—are alternate realities with a dose of science fiction and romance; while Backstop combines baseball and romance; neither, however, is romance in the traditional bodice-ripping sense. Cobb’s Conscience also has a baseball theme, but it’s a murder mystery spanning two centuries and chronicles a man’s efforts to connect with his dying father, a World War II veteran, while coming to terms with impending divorce after an adulterous affair.

K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

J.C.G. - What and who are two questions. A desire to connect with others, as well as being a naturally introspective type while being outspoken, inspires me to write. I was named for Joseph Conrad, my dad’s favorite novelist, and I admire Conrad’s work. But when I first started writing fiction, I endeavored to emulate Gene Wolfe, who is quite popular in the science fiction/fantasy genre.

K.S. - What does your family think of your writing?

J.C.G. - Sadly, both my parents are deceased and I have no children. My father knew that January’s Paradigm was going to print, but he was gone before I received my author’s copies. An ex-girlfriend was supportive of my work but also my worst critic. I recently met a woman online who is Dean of English and World Languages at a local community college who likes my work well enough to have suggested Backstop to her book club. I get mixed feedback from my writers group. I don’t write formula, so I’m often criticized for not following the rules of contemporary fiction; that is, to write at a sixth-grade level. I know writers are advised to write for an audience, but I write, first and foremost, to please myself and hope that my audience will find me. It may be the long way to success, but I find it ever so much more gratifying.

K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

J.C.G. - That I could finish a project of such scope. My father was not very nurturing and often criticized me for not finishing what I started. After I’d crossed the halfway point (about a year) with January’s Paradigm and it became evident that I was likely to finish it, I told him I was writing a novel, and he asked me why I was wasting my time with such an endeavor. I later had the satisfaction, after he’d read the second draft, of hearing him express his pride in my work.

K.S. - What inspired you to write your novel?

J.C.G. - I want to talk about Backstop in response to this question. After finishing the January series, I started to think about my next project. I was 43 when my father passed away (my mother passed away the year before), and losing one’s parents drives home one’s own mortality. We all know that everyone dies; we just don’t think it’ll ever happen to us. I’ve always loved baseball, and my dream to play major league baseball was never achieved, so after I turned 50, it seemed natural for me to write a novel with a baseball theme. In Backstop, I combine my love and knowledge of baseball with romance and the heartbreak of betrayal. Not your typical romance novel, Backstop can perhaps best be described as a literary Bull Durham, sure to appeal to purists of the game as well as those who enjoy a good love story.

K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?

J.C.G. -

From the back cover: You know Backstop. He plays for any team in any city in America with a major league ball club. You cheer him when he delivers, and boo him when he doesn’t. In what could be his last game after 14 years in the major leagues—the seventh game of the World Series—Backstop chronicles his rookie season, takes the reader to Chicago where he finds romance, and reveals the heartbreak he endured in the aftermath of an adulterous affair.

Rachael Perry, also a Michigan author, wrote of Backstop: “Baseball, like love, is a game of errors and regrets. Pop-outs, ground-outs, strike-outs. A bad swing, a bad throw, a bad hop. But what captivates us most is the possibility of the next at-bat, of the chance for a rally, of an unlikely clutch play that suddenly changes the stakes. This is where J. Conrad Guest meets us in Backstop: in this beautiful, hopeful place closest to our hearts, where we play for the love of the game, and we love with everything we have.”

K.S. - Where can we find your novel?

J.C.G. Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings is now available from Second Wind Publishing as well as Amazon, in both book and Kindle formats.

K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

J.C.G. - I have both a website and a blog. I also have a Facebook page and I Twitter. I invite all visitors to sign my guestbook and to leave comments on my work—I want to know that I’ve connected with you!

K.S. - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

J.C.G. - Never underestimate the power of editing and rewriting, or perseverance. Many writers stop after the first draft. I never stop rewriting and editing, right up until deadline. Sometimes a rejection letter can give input on a text’s weakness. Too many writers self-publish after a few rejection letters. Just about every notable author cites perseverance as part of the formula to publication. Anyone can self-publish on a credit card; but if your work is good, then it’s worth the effort of pursuing a publisher that doesn’t require you to invest your own money. There are no shortcuts to success.

And now for the part you've all been waiting for!


J. Conrad has been generous enough give away an autographed copy of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings. This is limited to U.S. residents only, due to the cost of postage. If you would like a chance to win the book, simply comment and leave your e-mail address. A winner will be selected and announced.

Good luck!

Nom de Plume

Lets talk about Pen names today.

They are quite useful in many cases. Like a mask, they help shield our real identity from the public. But why use one? As authors, don't we want notoriety?


Perhaps an author writes in multiple genre's and wants to keep each work separate. A pen name helps create this, sort of, separate brand.

Perhaps an author writes in a genre that they do not wish to have associated with their name. Erotica for instance. Some people may not want their real name attached to a risque genre like this. What would the ladies in the church group say if they knew Mary Jane was writing about sex? LoL. A pen name helps keep your social status safe.

Perhaps pretending to be a specific gender, will help books sell better. Maybe a male author wants to write romance and thinks a female name would sell better.

Perhaps the author's name just doesn't sound Author-ish. A pen name might be catchy which can translate to more book sales.

Perhaps it is just a simple case of anonymity. The author just doesn't want their real name out there.

Whatever the reason, pen names are quite useful masks that keep our real identities hidden.

Of course if you want to use a pen name, you really have to commit to it. To the public, once you have adopted a name, that is who you are.

Your name is your brand. People will associate your name, your genre, and your style as one entity.

Think about it. When you hear the name Steven King or J.K. Rowling, you know what to expect, right?

The same will apply to you.

Think about this if you are considering a pen name.

Author Interview Saturdays!

In the spirit of Independent publishing and grass-roots marketing, I want to help spread the word about other, newly published authors.

So, I am going to bring on a new feature for the blog. Along with the writing advice and the updates on my books, I am going to start reserving Saturdays to interview authors with newly released books.

Stay tuned for author interviews and book giveaways!

Take Advice with a grain of salt.

As a writer, you are going to hear advice from everyone. Almost all of it is well meaning, and much of it is good. However, it may not always apply to you or your current scene. Take everything with a grain of salt and really weigh out whether or not it is really applicable.

Case in point.

I'm writing a scene where my character has been blindfolded and tossed in a car.

A critiquer suggested my scene did not feel real enough because they didn't get enough description of the surroundings.

Well, if I had taken that advice at face value and rewrote the scene detailing the car, it's interior, as well as the desert landscape the car was driving through, I would have gone out of my POV.

The advice was well meaning and did help to remind me to use the other 4 senses, but would have been wrong to take at face value.

Remember with your POV, when following a character in 1st or 3rd limited, you can only be intimate with that character. If they can't see, your narrator shouldn't be seeing and describing things either.

Now, just because that advice wasn't applicable in this situation, doesn't mean I couldn't take something from it.

Remember we have 5 senses and need to use them all when writing.

Though this character I wrote was blindfolded and kidnapped, she could still sense other things. Wind buffeting against the car, bumping and thumping of the ride, the direction of voices all around her, the direction the car turns. All of this can still be described to the reader to help complete the scene.

So really look at advice you get from critiquers or anyone in general. See what you can take from it and if it really applies. Use it or not, that's your choice.

Getting closer to print!

I have been fairly quiet this last few weeks, getting Immortalis ready for its debut.

I'm proud to say I am one more step closer. My first proof arrived today. Its really starting to come together!

Just a few more tweaks here and there and this baby is ready to go out into the world!

I don't know if the picture captures it well enough, but I am on cloud 9 right now!!