Thursday, 31 March 2016

Hostile (The After Light Saga, #4) by Cameo Renae




Sometimes all you need is hope . . . and Hellfire.

Title: HOSTILE (The After Light Saga, #4)
Author: Cameo Renae
Genre: YA Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: CHBB
Cover Design: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design Photography
Edited by: Victoria Schmitz - Crimson Tide Editorial
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR



Wanted. It’s something I’ve had to get used to since being placed on the government’s Most Wanted list. On the run, with my family and Finn by my side, we now have to evade not only the Arvies, but teams of soldiers sent to find and capture me.

Little do they know, I’m battling my own demons. After the receiving large doses of mind-enhancing serum, a monster has been unleashed inside my mind. It promises death and destruction; its power, greater than anything I could imagine. Now, I’m too dangerous, and the lives of my loved ones depend on my separation from the group. I must leave and face the hostile world alone.

My name is Abigail Park. I will do whatever it takes to save the ones I love.





The Author:

Voted 2013 Break Out Author by Young Adult & Teen Readers, and 2013 Book of the Year (Hidden Wings).

Cameo Renae was born in San Francisco, raised in Maui, Hawaii, and recently moved with her husband and children to Alaska.

She's a daydreamer and a caffeine and peppermint addict who loves to laugh, loves to read, and loves to escape reality. One of her greatest joys is creating fantasy worlds filled with adventure and romance and sharing it with others.

One day she hopes to find her own magic wardrobe and ride away on her magical unicorn. Until then...she'll keep writing!

HAPPY READING!

For updates on Cameo you can visit:


Other books in The After Light Saga


ARV-3 (Book #1)
Sanctum (Book #2)
Intransigent (Book #3)










Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Half Flashed by Patrick Elliott


Another journey into the weirdly wonderful imagination of Patrick Elliott.
Most of the stories in this book are fairly dark, although not as dark as the ones in Half Flashed. There is something about each story that keeps you reading and makes you wonder what the author can come up with next. Some stories are only a page or so long, while others cover several pages.
My favourites from this book were a couple of the longer stories: 'Songs of the Lost' and 'Flames of the Night' and the short story: 'Snow King, Gypsy Queen', along with 'Imaginary Friends', which has six linked shorts scattered through the book.
I won a signed copy of Half Flashed in a Facebook Giveaway - Thank you Patrick.






Synopsis

A group of short stories and novellas. Great for reading on public transportation if you are trying to save the planet. If you drive this will fill the downtime at work and escaping life at home.

The Author

Patrick has been writing for years while stuck in the corporate world focusing on customer service and management due to his love of helping people and touching their lives. After hearing multiple versions of "Why aren't you published yet?" along with threats of bodily, possibly physical harm from friends and family if forced to read one more novel before he was published he relented.

By being here you are part of the beginning of a new chapter in the author's life.

He lives in the Seattle area, where he is currently enjoying the rain when it is available.

Fair Play by Tracy A. Ward


She writes plays while her brother's best friend brings the drama in this spicy New Adult read Harlequin Junkie says is perfect for “anyone looking for a unique story line, some smouldering sex, and two people not necessary looking for their happily ever after, but they might find it anyway!”

Title: Fair Play
Author: Tracy A. Ward
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Publisher: Self-published
Format: eBook
ISBN: 9780997282702


Synopsis:

Who knew love could bring a playwright so much drama?

Writing three plays for a nationally acclaimed theater in Phair, Texas, was never supposed to put Ashlyn Carter’s inheritance at risk or make or break her future. And it certainly wasn’t supposed to force her into constant contact with the very guy she’s avoided since her teenage crush-gone-bad days.

Noah Blake. He's Ashlyn’s enemy, for good reason. As her older brother's best friend, he seems hell-bent on interfering with nearly every aspect of her life. So how then does he also seem to be her muse?

When Ashlyn reluctantly agrees to act out scenes with Noah from the play she’s writing in order to trigger her creativity, the spark of passion she’d felt for him as a teenager flares up again. But there’s more at stake than just her future as a playwright or the inheritance she never cared about in the first place. Finding out the theater she loves is in danger of closing puts everything she thought she knew and felt about Phair…and Noah...to the test. Will there be a standing ovation for Ashlyn Carter, playwright, or will the curtain drop and fade to black? Only by facing their biggest fears together will Ashlyn and Noah learn to trust in themselves and each other.


Pre-order:  Amazon | Kobo




Tracy is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize Winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of Fair Play, and five (5) Runner-up Winners a digital copy of Fair Play! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:



Excerpt:

Here’s the set-up. Lucas Marshall, owner of The Marshall Theater, has just given Ashlyn an ultimatum—work with Noah, her big brother’s best friend and Ashlyn’s sworn enemy, to overcome her writer’s block that’s appeared at a very inopportune time (threatening her inheritance, career, and the fate of the theater itself). Noah, too, has a stake in the game. The town of Phair was founded around The Marshall. If it fails, so too will his bar. Equally important, Noah has just discovered another threat—a theater critic set on revenge against Ashlyn for a past transgression. But if there’s one thing you can count on Noah Blake to do, it’s protect what he considers his, no matter the cost. In this scene, from Noah’s point of view, he appears at Ashlyn’s door, attempting to convince her that Lucas’s plan to overcome her writer’s block and save the theater is valid.

Excerpt from Fair Play:

The door opened. She stood, blinking at me. Then, without saying a word, she pulled ear buds from her ears and placed them, along with her iPod, on the table beside the door. Her arms dropped. “I don’t have time for this, Noah.”

Stepping through the threshold, I reached for her wrist and snapped on the cuffs, an abandoned favor from last week’s bachelorette party at the Double Shot.

Her blue eyes widened, then she forced a controlled facade. She raised our conjoined wrists. “So you’re into kink. But I don’t think that’s the way this is supposed to work. Obviously, you need pointers.” She scanned the small, spartan room, consisting of a loveseat, coffee table, and a fake ficus tree. “I might have a fifty-shades-of-something book you could borrow.”

With my cuffed hand, I reached behind me and closed the door, jerking Ashlyn’s body against mine in the process.

Mistake.

My cock instantly hardened. All I could think about was how she smelled, like moonlight and summer. How her white tank clung to her torso, contoured over bare breasts to the point where I swore I could just make out the vaguest tinge of rose-colored nipples. How she turned me on without even trying, like no one ever had.

As my cuffed hand found hers and I finagled her arm so that it bent comfortably behind her back, wispy strands of auburn hair, twisted into an awkward bun at the side of her neck, tickled my face. Her pulse beneath my fingertips jumped. I inhaled her sweet scent as my heart rate went into overdrive along with hers. A primitive ache with the need to fill her settled in my bones.

But a man did not touch his best friend’s little sister. Quinn had asked me years ago to look out for her, and as we’d pledged in our fraternity as freshman, a promise once made is never broken.

“The cuffs are to prove a point,” I said. In spite of the warning going off in my head, my lips grazed her temple when my opposite arm circled her waist.

Ashlyn rose on toes, bringing us hip-to-hip so my erection was closer to where God intended, like she was testing how well we’d fit. Her eyes darkened a shade and I could tell she knew exactly what she was doing. Having her against me like this was bending the rules. Bending, I reminded myself, wasn’t breaking. She also had that weird look—the one that told me she understood what I was thinking before I did.

It was also the look she got before she became the world’s biggest smartass.

“So,” she drawled out. “Not into kink. But it appears after all these years, I’ve been wrong about you. You’re not a eunuch, after all.”

“Not even close, sweetheart.” My free hand covered her ass. My fingertips found bare skin beneath the curve of her shorts, and despite her bravado, she twitched.

About time she figured out who was in charge.


About the Author:

After the birth of her children, Tracy had an epiphany: banking just wasn’t her thing. So she quit her corporate job, let her nanny go and became a not-so-desperate housewife by day, Sexy Women’s Fiction author by night. Her characters are every-day women, following their dreams, searching for that elusive happily ever after.







Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Bad Boy’s Gift by Sara Daniel


His gift is the only thing left from the love they shared…
and she plans to sell it.


Author: Sara Daniel
Series: The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 29, 2016

Synopsis:


Former bad boy, now famous artist, Zane DeMonde laughs off an engraved invitation to return to Regret Hollow, the same town that booted him out fifteen years ago. When he discovers the woman who once broke his heart is putting his professional reputation at risk by selling his old paintings, he’s no longer laughing. He’ll do anything to stop her, even return to town … even put his heart in jeopardy again.

High school art teacher Julianne Truman's last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old artwork Zane gifted her. Her heart breaks to remove the final traces of him from her life, but she needs to finally move on from the love she never got over.

Julianne’s life belongs to her students, and Zane’s only goal is to protect his art. But the moment they wrap their arms around each other, their old attraction flares to life hot enough to incinerate them and their best intentions.




Excerpt:


“Do all those things I confided in you years ago mean nothing to you?”

“Family’s important,” she whispered. She hadn’t imagined he’d see her actions as a betrayal of trust.

“I remember exactly how important family is to you.” Sarcasm crept into his voice. “A hell of a lot more important than me, definitely more important than this.” He hooked his arm around her shoulders and hauled her across the console, slamming his lips against hers.

Hard, angry demands from a man who no longer cared about pleasing her contrasted sharply with the memories of teenage sweetness and gentle tentativeness he’d once shown. He thrust his tongue between her lips, plundering her mouth. Instead of pushing him away and ordering him to stop, she leaned into him and tangled her tongue with his, meeting him stroke for stroke.

The hands gripping her shoulders relaxed, and the demanding thrusts of his tongue turned to languid strokes. She sifted her fingers through his soft black hair. Oh, how she’d missed being held in his arms, touching him, exploring him, and being one with him.

But they were hardly on their way to becoming one when he kissed her as a punishment.

She jerked away.

A car horn blared.

She straightened. Damn. She’d forgotten about Len, forgotten everything but Zane’s hands and mouth and sweet exploration.

Blinking out the windshield, she braced for the sight of Len laying on the horn of his pickup. Instead, he stood across the yard, wearing padded headphones and maneuvering a weed whip.

“If you’re looking for the honker, I believe you’re the culprit.” Zane nodded to her elbow resting on the steering wheel.

“Oh.” She yanked her arm back, settling into the passenger seat and pulling the seat belt strap. After three tries, she managed to lock the buckle into place. If Zane noticed her shaking hands, he didn’t mention it as he pulled away from the curb and left her house and his father behind.

If he’d kissed her to teach her a lesson, she’d learned one thing. She still wanted him, now more than ever.






About Sara Daniel:

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to steamy and everything in between. She grew up in a small town and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She has no regrets about turning her back on her accounting degree to write romance, but she deeply regrets her inability to keep track of her car keys.










More from The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow:



The Bad Boy’s Guilt – Releasing April 12, 2016
Available for pre-order from:

The Bad Boy’s Guarantee – Releasing April 26, 2016
Available for pre-order from:

The Bad Boy’s Goodness – Releasing May 10, 2016
Available for pre-order from:

For more information on The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow – visit Sara Daniel’s webpage .










Monday, 28 March 2016

Cin Wikkid by Mary Hughes


Like television's Once Upon a Time, CIN WIKKID is a fairy tale updated for the twenty-first century. A Cinderella’s rags-to-riches meets He’s the Boss—with Mary Hughes’s trademark sizzling sex and a dash of humor. Readers of BEAUTY TOUCHED THE BEAST by Skye Warren or DOUBLE DARE by Jodi Redford will fall in love with Cinderella and her prince in this contemporary romance by Mary Hughes.


Title: Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love
Author: Mary Hughes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 18, 2016
Publisher: 7th Octave Publishing
Length: 28,000 words
Format: Digital
Digital ISBN: 978-1-940958-07-1

Synopsis:


THE WRONGED DAUGHTER

Cinderella hungers to escape from under Widow Wikkid's grinding thumb. But to snare a plum job at Prince Industries, Cin desperately needs her degree, and she can't wrap her mind around tax accounting.
Then scarred but sexy Rafe Montoya ignites her imagination with his brilliant tutoring—and, as they work together in his cozy apartment, he sets her body on fire. So why is he pushing her to attend Gideon Prince's marriage-mart ball?

THE HANDSOME PRINCE

Rafe is really Gideon Prince, head of Prince Industries. He must name his bride by his April first birthday or suffer the loss of his family fortune. Rumors say he's still single because women love his money and looks, not him. Is he lonely or just another duplicitous tycoon?

THE GLASS SLIPPER TEST

Hopefuls flock to Prince's birthday ball, but only one will emerge triumphant. Only the woman who's kind, wise, and generous will win his heart. Is it Cin, or will her stepmother, as she always does, snatch the prize for her own daughters?
And on the night of the ball, when Cin discovers Rafe’s true identity, can she even accept his final test?

Warning: Rags-to-riches fairytale meets the texting generation. Stepsisters who are a blush-brush shy of a full makeup set, and a ball gown built like a tank. Contains material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.




Excerpt:

Rafe watched her over the rim of his coffee mug, cobalt eyes twinkling. He knew exactly how badly she’d needed that massage. Exactly how much she’d enjoyed it.

He’d known…even though she hadn’t.

Her heart beat faster. He knew things about her, important things, that even she hadn’t known.

Rafe wasn’t simply the nice boy-next-door tutor she’d thought of him as. He wasn’t well-meaning but bumbling…

He was dangerous.

A little thrill sang through her. She immediately squelched it. His observance would be wonderful if they became a couple. But it also meant that if she ever got on his bad side, he’d know exactly where to stab to hurt her the most.

Be brave, Cinderella.

Before any of that, if they were ever to have the possibility of a real relationship, she had to come clean about the mock-hearing. “Can I confess why I wanted to meet now?”

“Absolutely.”

Hesitantly, she told him. But as she explained, he didn’t seem to be hurt or angry or any of the things she thought he’d be.

Instead, he almost seemed to expect what she would say.

Somewhat confused, but with greater confidence, she ended with, “Is that something you can teach me?”

“Ye-es. Probably.” He frowned, thoughtfully. “How long do we have?”

“Until the beginning of April.”

“Then definitely yes. Though, it will take some pretty intense work one-on-one.” One black brow raised, a challenge. “Are you up for it?”

“I’m not afraid of hard work. Are you up for it?” Daringly, she raised both brows in return challenge.

The right corner of his mouth went up, on the scarred side, crinkling his skin and giving his grin a rakish, devil-may-care look. “Hours of intense work, one-on-one, with you? Oh, yeah. I’m up for it.”

The way he purred “up for it” implied things beyond study. Physical things. Cin’s stomach swooped and her heart pattered rapidly in response.

Then his eyes dropped to her mouth and heated.

Her whole body went boom.

She trembled, her heart pounding, her breath sawing in and out, on the cusp of bright truth. Her stepsiblings’ hatred had taught her to cover herself in bad makeup and baggy clothes and work, the contemporary version of sacks and ashes. But Rafe, looking at her like that…as if he not only was attracted to her but was on fire…God. She wanted to tear off her rags and shine.



Check out the other April Fools For Love books by Roxy Mews, S.L. Carpenter, Kayleigh Malcolm, and Jodi Redford on April Fools For Love !




Follow the tour and enter to win great prizes!

5 grand prize winners will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

5 runner-ups will receive an eBook of choice from Mary’s backlist!




Visit all the blogs participating in the tour for reviews, excerpts, guest posts and more chances to win!


03/28/2016

03/29/2016

03/30/2016

03/31/2016

04/01/2016

04/04/2016

04/05/2016

04/06/2016

04/07/2016

04/08/2016


Also look for reviews from:



About Mary Hughes:

As a girl, Mary Hughes spun romantic, happily-ever-after stories to get to sleep. A husband, family, two degrees and a blackbelt later, she's delighted to spin them for readers.

She's lived with love and loss, in bright times and dark, and learned we can all use a break from reality every now and then.
So join her for action, sparkling wit and red-hot love. Strong men. Stronger women.

Connect with Mary:



Sunday, 27 March 2016

Stone Guardians: Obsidian by Ellie Potts





This is a different take on the vampire mythos.

Title:Title: Stone Guardians: Obsidian
Author: Ellie Potts
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR




Long before man there were Stone Guardians, a race of immortal warriors who sat beside Goddess. Isobel is different, she is an illegal bound servant. Not human or Guardian, she is vampire. Last of her kind, kept hidden by her Guardian master Vilem of the Obsidian Clan. Youngest son to Ivy who is responsible for the uprising that tore the Stone Guardians into two factions. One who still worship the Goddess, and the other who defies her.

Isobel has seen a lot throughout her many years with Vilem. She has learned with great minds, taught by teachers who live in history books. But she is truly happy when she sings. Now she is the head singer of the local rock band À La Mode. Her band consist of her closest friends, who are fourth generation Guardians. As uninvited visitors show up and threaten Isobel’s life. She has to play the good little Guardian while her world unwinds.





Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Isobel gripped the microphone and let the rhythm of the music take over. On cue, her mouth opened and she began to sing; softly at first then louder as the drums and the bass guitar came in. She opened her eyes and heard the people nearest the stage gasp. It was the white contacts, but they weren’t part of her overall costume. The powdered oversized hairdo and  heavy make-up with pink accents plus the tight, hot pink, silk, brocade bodice, the matching short pannier  skirt with fringe and matching heels all fit her French rock band À La Mode’s look.
Their music was gothic rock with a touch of 70’s glam. As Isobel sang, she made love to the microphone. People left their shows excited and turned on, which added to the vibe of the crowd. She shut out the world and released all of her pain and agony when she sang. Toby played drums behind her, wearing his own oversized wig and a pair of tight pants. His body was powdered and adorned with piercings and tattoos.  On her left was Johnny who played guitar and on her right was Jenny, Johnny’s twin, who played bass. Both dressed in high French eighteenth century fashion with a modern twist.
When the set was done, Toby got up and went to Isobel, holding out his hand. She gave a slight curtsy, took his hand, and bounded off the stage followed by the twins. Their groupies oooed and aahed around them as they made their way to the bar.
“Madame,” Toby said, pulling out the barstool.
“Merci, mon cher,” she replied, sitting down.
“Isobel,” a man called, making her turn.  “Will you take a picture with me?”
She looked him over. He was dressed in the usual Goth attire; black and more black. “Why, yes,” she replied and got up from the stool.  He pulled her close, and she put on a fake smile as he snapped a selfie.
She kissed his cheeks then shooed him away. Other fans began asking her questions, mostly about the group’s eyes. The twins had burnt orange colored eyes, and Toby’s were sky blue. Eyes of their family line. When Isobel left the house she had to wear her silver contacts to cover her brown eyes. She smiled, she laughed, and she teased them sensually, as was her way.  Finally she sat at the bar. Toby removed the wig.
“The usual?” Roy the bartender asked.
They all nodded.
“You didn’t have to take that picture,” Jenny said.
“Oh, but did you see his ruffles?” she smiled and tried to hide her teeth as much as possible. She had used much of the energy she had, and she was hungry. “I’ll be back. I need to use the restroom.”
“I’ll go,” Jenny said.
“No, it’s okay. I need to call Vilem anyway.”
Roy set down a pitcher and four glasses. She managed to make it to the bathroom on legs that didn’t feel steady. Something was off. She flipped down the toilet seat and dug out the vials hiding in her bodice. She usually only needed one but pulled out both; tonight, she needed a double shot. She popped the cork, tilted the vial, and let the warm red liquid slide down her throat. The copper essence filled her senses.  
She finished the one then looked at the other vial. She popped the top and slammed it back as if taking a shot. Her energy returned quickly, but something was still wrong. She looked at the stall, not really thinking as she looked over the graffiti: Samantha was here, John’s a dick, and her favorite, I love bacon.
She flushed the toilet and went to the sinks. A trickle of blood had run down the side of her mouth. She licked at it quickly before anyone could see.
She threw the empty vials in the trash and washed her hands. She left the bathroom and made her way back to her friends. They were discussing their playlist for tomorrow.
“How is Vilem?” Toby asked as she took her seat.
“Being Vilem.”
“My father would flay me if I called him by his given name,” Johnny said.
“Vilem never seems to mind,” Jenny said.
Toby poured her a beer. She took her glass and guzzled the drink. “Always the lady,” Toby said. “You all right?”
“I’m fine.”
Roy came back with the bar phone. “Izzy, your father is on the phone.”
“You didn’t bring your phone?” Toby asked.
“I forgot,” she said and took the phone. “Father?” She listened quietly. “I forgot it. I know. Yes.”
“Well, what did your father want?” Jenny asked.
“You are the only girl I know who hates cell phones,” Johnny said.
“Vilem wants me home. He received word of relatives coming to visit.”
Toby choked on his beer. She looked at him as he cleaned himself with a napkin. She looked at the twins; their eyes were wide staring at her.
“What?” she finally asked.
“You do know that your relatives don’t believe in our way.”
She shook her head. “Vilem has told me very little of our relatives.”
“You need to have him tell you about them before we say anything more.” Jenny put her cup down, her hand shaking slightly.  She was scared. Izzy had known them for over one hundred years, and Jenny only shook when she was frightened.
“Why are you scared?”
Jenny shot her daggers. “I am not scared. I am a guardian.”
“Look, let us enjoy the night,” Toby said.
“Excuse me,” a man said, and they all turned to look at him. He was tall and lean and had muscles where they counted. He wore a tight pair of pants and a loose fitting shirt. “Toby, I am a huge fan. I want to buy you a drink.”
“I would love that. And what is your name?”
“Jorge,” he said, clearly nervous.
“Well, Jorge, sit here next to me and let us have that drink.” Toby spewed sexual mojo causing Isobel to roll her eyes and turn back to her drink.
“We may have another problem,” Johnny said, looking towards the door.
Izzy closed her eyes. She had sensed the darkness as it came in. Blood, sex, frustration, and anger; most of the dark guardians wore the scent as if it was their only skin. She sat straight up on her stool. She knew who had come in even before looking. He was heading straight for her. Aengus always walked with a purpose. He had an air about him, as if he owned everything and everyone in his path.  He wanted to own her. His shoulder length black hair made his skin luminous, which made his maroon eyes glow with evil darkness.   
He was closely followed by his cronies. All wore black, had ebony colored hair and wore white makeup.  They looked the part of traditional vampires, but they were far more sinister. All of them, except for one, were guardians, dark stone guardians at that. They lived only on human blood.
All stone guardians lived off of blood but the light guardians, who still lived by the Goddess, consumed only animal blood. Dark stone guardians defied the Goddess and drank human blood, since she valued them more than any other creature. Human blood had made them dangerous and a bit insane throughout the years, and with each generation, it seemed to get worse.
Aengus stopped in front of her. “I missed your band. I apologize.”
“Accepted, now please leave,” she said.
“It is moon. I am free and bound to court you. Will you accept my offer?” He leaned in. The darkness that clung to him always called to something deep inside her. Yet she could not stand the man.
“Again, I will pass. You might want to court one of your own kind.”
“But you are my kind,” he bent down, whispering against her ear. “I know you feel it. I have seen it in your eyes.  Be my bride.  I will show you such pleasures, and you will never look back.”
“No thank you,” she said.
“I am then calling you to circle,” he said, pulling away. “I have talked to the council. You are expected in an hour, since you did not accept my proposal.” He turned and left with his group.
Izzy stared after him. “Trouble,” she said, her French accent heavy as the others stared at her. What they did not know was that she was speaking to Vilem.
Fear bit into her. She had opened the tie to Vilem. Aengus has made a blood challenge.  In an hour, she whispered to him in her head. She looked around at her friends.
“It is okay to be frightened,” Jenny said.
“I would have wet myself,” Johnny said.
“Plead to the council,” Toby said, taking her hands. “He has no reason to call you into challenge. Plead to the council.”
“We should get going,” she said, still in shock. She could feel the feelings of others, anger and more fear.  She looked around the bar and listened to the beating hearts. The smell of blood in their veins called to her.  
Humans. They had no idea how easy they had it. She had been alive for over six hundred years. Tobias, from what she remembered, was two hundred years younger than her. The twins were going on four hundred years old. However, they weren’t the same. He was a fourth generation guardian, and she was an abomination, or rather, a vampire.



The Author:

Ellie Potts is a self-published multi-genre writer. She loves everything nerdy like dressing for pirate and renaissance faires, Steampunk, playing video games, planning to survive a zombie apocalypse, being a Whovian, Browncoat, Star Wars addict, and collector of arcane knowledge. She grew up in Merced County where most of her stories and books take place. She now lives in Tulare County with her husband, an attack Bugg, Darth Turtle, two spoiled goats, and a bunch of creepy chickens.














Saturday, 26 March 2016

An Interview with C.C. Hogan

Earlier this month I posted a Spotlight on Dirt by C.C. Hogan. Today C.C. has left the world of Dirt and joined me here for an interview.

Hi  C.C. and welcome to Just Books. I know you're busy so I'm just going to jump straight in with the questions!
Would you tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
Coffee, very strong, read the news, drink more coffee and just start. I do not believe in writer's block, but I do believe in a lazy writer. So, I get going quickly. Falling in love with your characters helps – you can't resist but to climb into the story with them.
Then it is lunch, more writing, dinner, writing and booze.




And how do you spend your free time, when you’re not writing?
I grow chillies. I also cook and write about cooking. And there is that composer thing, so my world is full of guitars, flutes, piano, and other things. I am also a terrible artist, so I have arty bits everywhere as well.



Have you always wanted to be a writer..? and was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?
Sort of yes and no and I probably don't really know. I have written poetry since I was a very small child (very badly) and in another life I am a composer, so writing is in me somewhere. I have had several attempts at writing novels over the years, all doomed to failure, even though I was writing professionally for corporate communications as part of my job.
Back in 2014, my situation changed and I had some free time on my hands. I took one of the abandoned projects, The Stink, and I sat down and finished it. 130,000 words and they were all mine! Suddenly, I knew I could do it. I think I might have even been afraid before then, scared that I could never finish a novel. Now that has gone, and I am writing my seventh book and loving every minute.



Who or what do you think has helped you become a better writer over time?
I am not sure am better yet. I have been digging through some of my old, old notes, and there are some really great ideas in there and some good writing too. However, the biggest difference between now and then is planning. I plan in the greatest detail now. I draw maps, make timelines, write essays on the characters (I avoid character templates like the plague – they produce robots, not people), I scribble notes about lands, and back stories. I have learned to really enjoy it and the trick for me is to keep waffling – er, a little like I am doing now.



What was the biggest challenge in creating your series?
By far the biggest challenge has been writing a High Fantasy which is missing some of the main elements. If you take two classics, Narnia and Lord of the Rings, then the resolution of the story is that a king/queen wins the day. In effect, this means that the hero is an autocrat running a feudal society.
In Dirt, I wanted the opposite to be true. This is a fight for freedom, a war against the oppressor, and the stars of the show are ordinary people. The hero of book one digs holes for a living. His friends are cheese makers and foresters, old sergeants, pie sellers and others that struggle at the bottom of the heap.
But I did not want this to be some dystopian saga where all the characters frown continuously if they are not bonking in a bed somewhere. I wanted my people to laugh and joke and make silly comments, and still be capable of grief and tears. Basically, I wanted them to be me and you, even if they have wings.
In a High Fantasy, that is a challenge. I hope I pulled it off.



Did you learn anything from writing your books?
I have learned all kinds of things. How to hitch a wagon, how fast a horse travels, how primitive villages manage to live, and how they sometimes don't. I have learned about bowmanship, about armies, and even about digging holes.
Most of all, I have learned a lot about how little our society has changed. Dirt might be set in a world which is stuck in a pre-medieval era, but it is remarkably like our own in so many ways. Enough that I have realised that in series two especially, there are some very unintentional parallels with things that are happening in our own world today, like the Syrian refugee crisis. We should be very careful of not being too arrogant about our world, or thinking that we're so much better now; we are closer to our distant ancestors than we think.



Did you write any of your personality traits into any of your characters?
Er, one big one. There is a lot of food and beer in the books and my characters love it all.
And why not?



From the many characters in your books who is your favourite and why?
Picking one is hard. In series one, my favourite is probably Mistry. She is very like a friend of mine when I was young. She is feisty and funny, but she is a bit screwed up inside as well and that trips her up. I suppose I like her because she is so stuffed with faults and is very, very real.
Dirt is multi-layered and there are some unexpected elements, like the odd poem. Without giving away too much, Mab-Onin, a dragon who chooses Mistry as his rider, once wrote a poem about her that was lost for many years. You can read it on A World Called Dirt.



...And how about your least favourite character?
Dirt is written, quite intentionally, from the point of view of the goodies. We only meet the baddies through the goodies. I wanted to do this because the story is a journey and we must travel with the main characters; if I had leapt back and forth, then we would not have been taking the journey with them. This makes it hard to pick a least favourite character. I suppose if I was to pick one, it would be the character Geezen. She does not play a huge role, at least not that we know, but she is important none the less. She is an overbearing, controlling woman who loves people because she must, rather than just because she does. In many ways she is quite selfish, but she does the right thing, even if she is irritating.
Difficult question that.



Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? and please tell us about your covers and how they came about.

There is no question that covers are important. People are magpies and like bright shiny things; advertisers have known that for years.

Self-published authors have a problem. They can either spend a lot of money on an artist (which they may never recoup) or they can buy stock photos (a lot of the romance lot do that) and risk that they might not be the only one using that image, or they can do it themselves. If, like me, they have zero budget, that is their only option.

I wanted a particular feel for the covers and that meant they would have to be drawn. I simply did not have the money, so I have done them myself. I am sure plenty of people will call me a fool and tell me they are crap. On the upside, I have had a lot of fun and at least they are 100% original. Also, I do think Fren-Eirol has a lot of charm! (She is on the cover of book one.)



Before you rush off back to Dirt, tell us where your dream holiday would be?
I want to travel to the Island of Hope and play with Be-Elin in the sea. If that doesn't work out, get me to a pub on the coast of Cornwall with hot pies and great beer and my guitar, and I will be as happy as anything.



...And finally which fictional character, book or film, would you like to meet?

When I was younger, I mean about ten years old, I would have done anything to meet Sophie Wenders from the book the Chrysalids by John Wyndham. I had a right little crush on her, but I also admired her bravery. She had six toes in a world that would have condemned her as a mutant.
As an adult I am not sure who I would like to meet. If I met Thomas Covenant in the books by Stephen R. Donaldson, I would probably punch him for being so miserable.

If I were to choose characters to invite to dinner, it would be Tom Bombadil with his beautiful wife, Goldberry. I would cook them pasta al funghi and would laugh with him all night.



Thank you for joining me C.C., it's been interesting!