- Clare Revell
- Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Friday, 28 October 2011
Today I welcome author EA West. First I hand over to her for a guest post. After that I have an interview with her and a review of her new novel The Key to Charlotte which releases today.
Keeping It Real
Maintaining realism in fiction can be a challenge. Readers want realistic characters that they can identify with, but if the characters are too real, it will turn readers off. How can a character be too real, you ask? Let me give you an example.
In The Key to Charlotte, the heroine is autistic. Now, my task as an author was to make her believably autistic without making readers wonder why on earth this young woman was the heroine in a romance. Autism is an interesting world with so many facets they could never be covered in one book, let alone one character. I had to pick and choose the ways autism affected Charlotte and make it believable, but I also had to find a balance between the autism of the character and the character herself.
Confused yet? You’re not alone. I had no idea how tricky it would be to write Charlotte and show the realities of life with autism without letting the autism overpower the story. I can never thank my wonderful editors enough for their guidance in this area and their patience in explaining why this scene needed to be reworked, where the romance needed to pop out a little more, and how to tone down the focus on autism while still allowing it to be a part of the story. After all of their hard work and the revisions they had me make, Charlotte is now a well-rounded, believable romance heroine who happens to be autistic.
One of my biggest challenges in making Charlotte real, but not too real, was writing the scenes from her point of view. I’ve learned over the years that not only do autistics perceive the world differently from everyone else, they also think differently. Trying to translate this unique way of thinking and viewing the world into narrative and internal dialogue that non-autistics can understand is a challenge. If I had made Charlotte completely realistic in this aspect, The Key to Charlotte would never have seen the light of day.
The most important thing to remember, especially in romance writing, is that while readers want believable characters and plots, they also want a little of that fairy tale feel. You know, the one that allows escape from reality and promises a satisfying happy ever after ending no matter how bad things get for the characters. To provide this, authors must pick and choose what to include and what to leave out. While we need enough information for the characters to be realistic and for readers to understand their quirks, occupations, or anything else that may be unfamiliar to the majority, it’s essential to remember that most people read fiction for fun and relaxation, not to learn the same amount they would in a non-fiction book.
So, if you think you’re including too much information or explaining in too much detail, you probably are. Try to keep it at a minimum. Include just enough to make the characters realistic and to keep readers from being confused. If you’re unsure whether you’ve included too much or not enough, get someone else to read the story for you. Make sure this is a person who will be brutally honest, if necessary. While hearing everything you write is perfect the way it is may feel good, it doesn’t get you published.
To celebrate the release of The Key to Charlotte, I’m giving a copy to two lucky commenters on this blog tour. The rules are simple. Between October 28 and November 6, leave a comment on any of my blog tour stops (including this post) with your name and email address letting me know you want to be entered into the drawing. You can find a complete list of the blog tour stops on my blog http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. I will draw two names at random from all of the entries and announce the winners on November 7 (winners will also be contacted by email). The two winners will each receive a free PDF of The Key to Charlotte. Good luck to you all!
E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.
Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I began writing in high school and haven’t stopped since. In addition to writing, I also love to knit and crochet, read, and spend time with my family. I live with my family and a small zoo of pets in Indiana. For some reason, some of my pets surprise people, such as the ribbon snake and the freshwater lobster.
Please tell us about your latest release.
The Key to Charlotte is an inspirational romance that tells the story of Charlotte Harris and Zakaria Rush. Charlotte is mute because of autism, but she longs to hold a conversation in her own voice. Zakaria is the new director of children’s ministries at Charlotte’s church, and he would love to help her dream of being able to speak come true. Can he help her find the key to unlocking her voice, or will his attempts lock away their chance of love forever?
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The Key to Charlotte is available from White Rose Publishing, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble. Although it is an ebook, people without ereaders can still read it on their computer.
What made you want to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved creating fictional people (and animals when I was young) and scenarios to place them in. When I discovered a love for writing in high school, I finally had a way to share those people and stories with others. Now, I can’t imagine not writing because it is such a big part of my life and who I am.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write from your heart. Trends in publishing come and go, so the story you’re longing to write may not be in a popular genre right now, but the trend will eventually come around to it again. The other reason to write from your heart is that the story will be better for it. If you’re only writing to please a specific audience and have no real emotional investment in the story itself, readers and editors will likely be able to tell. But if you’re writing a story because you love it and have a burning desire to get it down on paper that will be obvious to others who read it as well. The emotional investment of writing from your heart is always worth it, in my mind.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
You can learn more on my website http://eawest.mcphitty.com and my blog http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” my author page for periodic updates and thoughts from my writing life http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617. I’m also on Twitter http://twitter.com/eawest and ShoutLife http://www.shoutlife.com/eawest.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, Clare, for having me here today! It’s always a pleasure to spend time with my fellow White Rose Publishing authors. I would also like to thank your readers for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did!
We sure did. Thanks for stopping by.
The Key to Charlotte. Available here
Charlotte Harris can't speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn't stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams--to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.
Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children's Ministries at Charlotte's church, and he can't keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.
Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love.
Locked in her own world, Charlotte, who’s autism has rendered her mute, uses her phone to communicate with others. Working her first real job, she meets the new youth pastor, Zakaria (love the spelling), when he is playing his guitar as she cleans the church. At first distressed by this disruption to her routine, friendship soon blossoms between the two of them.
I’m not ashamed to admit I laughed and cried as I read this. This amazing, unputdownable book (I stayed up half the night reading it in one hit) packs a lot of emotion and story into its sixty-one pages. Tackling the subject of autism head on, Ms. West not only deals with Charlotte’s feelings, confusion and frustrations, but also how it affects those people around her while combining it with the growing love story between Charlotte and Zakaria,
I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Definitely scoring a 6/5, it’s one to curl up with as the nights draw in.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Review: Shadows: Book of Aleth, Part One by by Michael Duncan
This debut novel by Michael Duncan is a fantasy novel far surpassing anything I've ever read. I read a lot of Tolkien and Le Guin and this is right up there with them.
The characters spring to life off the page. Vivid descriptions pull you deep into the amazing world Rev. Duncan weaves on the pages. Sword fights, dwarves, elves, deamons and horras. A gripping tale of good and evil where you never know who the good guys are and when you think you know what’s happening, another twist takes you by surprise.
My only complaint is having to wait for book two.
If you only pick one fantasy novel to read this winter, it should be this one.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Monday, 17 October 2011
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Blurb for GOLD TRAP
I simply wanted to step out of my ordinary life and find the Divine Appointment God had planned for me. I’d read about Mary Kinglsey, and it occurred to me that if I truly wanted to share an historical biography with my students, hers was it. So (with much trepidation) I booked the cheapest tour I could find to visit the Dark Continent of Africa. Who knew I’d meet a psychic named Vidalia (after the onion?) — not that I should have been surprised (after all, Bremen Tours specialized in “Voodoo relics of the Dark Continent,” or so it was emblazoned on their carry-alls, one of which I owned). But life got really strange when I met a mad (or was he drunk?) professor, a dashing prince (or possibly, the villain), a village headman (the warrior king? Or the prince of thieves?) and a witchdoctor who was neither witch nor doctor, but rather the sinister embodiment of a charlatan who preyed on tourists...and let’s not forget the man who started the whole mess—an embezzler-turned-kidnapper…of me! And that’s not to mention floating down a river full of crocodiles, two boys who wanted to hold me for ransom, an earthquake, a cave-in, the leopard in my bed, and a pink hippopotamus. In the end, my Divine Appointment from God held mystery, excitement and a whole lot more. Enjoy my adventure, Dear Reader, because I did!
Bio for Lilly Maytree
Lilly Maytree has many homes. Sometimes she lives in her cabin in the woods in Alaska, sometimes in a sailboat on the ocean, and occasionally in a tent when she is exploring wilderness places. It has even been said that she time-travels, but that is probably just a rumor. You can get in touch with her through her web site at www.lillymaytree.com. It might take a few days if she is adventuring far away... but she always comes back sooner or later. She loves hearing from readers!
One of the novels from the new line of Christian Fiction from Harbourlight books (the other side of the established Romance publisher White Rose Publishing), Gold Trap is a thrilling story with true to life characters. When Megan Jennings sets off on a tour of Africa to follow in Mary Kingsley's footsteps, she doesn’t anticipate it quite like this. Nothing goes as planned and even her carefully laid out life rules all get tossed out the window. Worried she missed her 'divine appointment' she backtracks only to find the footsteps she must follow don't go the way she expected and lead her to an ending not only surprising but fast paced and vivid.
Her faith and that of travelling companion Tom Anderson are interwoven throughout the pages, along with a rich African setting which lingers in the mind long after the last page is turned.
You can pick up Gold Trap here or on Amazon.
Friday, 14 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Hi. My name is Cassie Hinton. That’s short for Cassandra, but I only ever get called that when my mother is annoyed with me. Then it’s my full name. I used to be a jockey, but stopped riding after an accident at the Grand National. I came off my horse and got trampled.
Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
After the accident, I came back to Headley Cross to live with my parents. I couldn’t look after myself at first and to be honest its nice having them around. Even if it does mean obeying the house rules and putting up with my older brother Danny.
What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
I collect stupid postcards. Ones that are completely black and labelled Southampton at night. Or black with eyes on, labelled The new forest at night. A red one which is Cheddar at sunset. A yellow one which is Bournemouth Beach and so on.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to reach your Happily-ever-after?
There was a very difficult church situation. I received hate mail through the internal church mail, which then escalated into a full blown police investigation. Jack broke things off around the same time and for a while I wondered if I was actually church material at all.
Tell us about your knight in shining armour. What makes him so special?
He’s just wonderful. He dotes on his daughter, would do anything for his congregation. He’s not just a minister, he’s a true Pastor in every sense of the word. If he doesn’t know the answer to why something’s happening, he won’t pussy foot around it and make something up. He’ll tell you outright that he doesn’t know. So I guess his honesty and compassion make his special. Oh and he loves me, despite the fact I only have the one leg.
The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?
We were kids. He was my brother’s friend and I had this massive, no make that MASSIVE crush on him. But he never asked me out. Either we were riding or Danny was there and then we went our separate ways and he married. But they say all good things come to them that wait…and I sure waited a long time for him.
And now some silly questions.
Pepsi or coke
tea or coffee
elephant or tiger
tiger. Love them
roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)
Roast—preferably chicken and made by Mum. With roast spuds, roast parsnips, swede, cauliflower, carrots and sprouts. No peas. Peas are nasty.
classical music or pop
Classical. Especially Beethoven
sunrise or sunset
walk or run
ride - yeah I chose the third option. ;-)
chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)
chocolate. And that really is a silly question.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
IT HAS BEGUN!!
Over the last year, there have been
clashing author in twenty-four CLASHES,
but only ONE can win the
YOU decide which!
In the process, we invite you to repeatedly enter to win
THREE GIFTS A WEEK,
including the GRAND PRIZE--
PROMO VIDEO CREATED BY COTT ASSISTANT EDITOR, MICHELLE MASSARO
Friday, 7 October 2011
Shadows: Book of Aleth, Part One
By: Michael Duncan
“If history is written by the victorious, what if the victors lied?”
A stolen text...When the Book of Aleth is stolen, Aaron, captain of the Royal Guard, is ordered by Emperor Therion to reclaim the ancient tome. The mission thrusts Aaron into a world he's never known--a world of elves and dwarves, races long thought extinct; a world where everything he has known and believed is a lie.
A secret past... Forced to challenge his long-held beliefs, Aaron and his companions, two soldiers of the Royal Guard and two men of the Dwarvish kingdom of Brekken-Dahl, set out on a quest to recover the Book. Aaron resolves to discover the truth, and rescue the empire he is sworn to protect.
About the Author:
Michael has spent over 20 years preaching and teaching God's Word. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Rev. Duncan entered into public ministry and has served in four churches. He now resides in Washington State with his wife and three children and serves as pastor. When Michael is not preaching or teaching God's word, he spends time writing. Shadows is his first novel. He is an apprentice-level alumnus of the Chris tian Writer's Guild. Michael is also a member of the Northwest Chris tian Writers Association and serves as a board member and a critique group facilitator. Given the opportunity, he also enjoys time on the golf course.
To Purchase a copy, go to: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/shadows-book-of-aleth-part-one. It is also available at multiple online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble as well asChristian Book Distributors (CBD) in both print and e-book formats (i.e. Kindle and Nook).
Rev. Michael Duncan , Pastor
Mountain View Baptist Church
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Wife by Wednesday – grabs you from the title and pulls you into a wonderful tale of an arranged marriage…well more of a business contract. Blake needs a wife to fulfil the terms of his father’s will and gain his inheritance. Sam agrees but neither of them expect keeping the contract to be as hard as it is.
In this story, Ms. Bybee has brought to life two engaging characters, a conniving villain and a series of obstacles which leave you turning the pages with eager anticipation to find out what happens next. The first non-historical one I have read, it’s no less engaging than her time travel books. If you love those, then this one is not to be missed.
You can pick up the book from here
You can pick up the book from here
How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?
How did I come up with the book? Hmmm, I think of Wife by Wednesday as a modern day Cinderella. I love entitled rich men who think they have the world on their string to realize that without a good woman, they don't have squat. I think this story evolved from my love of historical romance and wanting to set one of those themes in a modern day romance.
For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?
Rich, titled, and charming… And in need of a wife by Wednesday so he turns to Sam Elliot who isn’t the business man he expected. Instead, Blake is faced with Samantha Elliot, engaging and spunky with a voice men call 900 numbers to hear.
Owner of Alliance, her matchmaking firm, and not on the marital menu... That is until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. All she needs to do is keep her attraction to her husband to herself and avoid his bed. But Blake’s toe-curling kisses and charm prove too difficult to combat. Now she needs to protect her heart so she can walk away when their mercenary life together is over.
How did you decide on the setting?
Easy… I live in Southern California, land of the paparazzi and Hollywood romance drama… this story breathes that theme.
When will it be released?
October 5th 2011
Where were you born?
On Earth… In a hospital where my mother had to put out her cigarette to push. Yeah, that actually happened once upon a time.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I've not really wanted to live in another country, but I wouldn't mind visiting every place at least once.
What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?
I'm a die-hard crafter. I have a room dedicated to collection of crap that I make stuff out of. Scrapbooking, quilting, painting… I even knit.
What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
None, I can't listen to music I know the words to and write… it's distracting to me.
What are you most passionate about, other than writing?
What got you interested in writing?
I've always been a huge reader, so writing was a given. As soon as I had the time to dedicate to the craft, I did.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Never give up. If you love to write chances are you won't be able to stop once you start. So don't give up. Like anything, it takes time to learn your voice and develop your own style.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Whenever I get stuck between scenes it usually means I've gone off track somewhere and I've written myself into a corner I have no way out of. I will go back and re-read what I've written until if figure out where my characters started acting out of character. I'm not afraid to cut big chunks of my work if it isn't working.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Believable characters in unbelievable settings.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Both - I usually will think of a main character or two and an opening scene, then the story moves from there.
Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
I'm working on a couple of contemporaries and a forth book to my time travel series. I've had such a wonderful following for the MacCoinnich's that I can't leave the characters alone. I'm finishing up Simon's story now and hope to have it published next year.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
My original title for Wife by Wednesday was Ten Million Dollar Bride… but I wanted something snappier so I asked my facebook and blog friends for ideas. Out of the ideas suggested, I came up with Wife by Wednesday. I also plan of writing follow up books with similar titles such as, Married by Monday (2012) and so on…
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The day I wrote THE END on my first manuscript.
Describe your writing space.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing is easy, it’s the other stuff that's hard.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Mom, Wife… Chauffer…
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I moved to So. California to be an actress. *shocking I know*
What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any ;-) )
What genre would you like to explore that you haven’t tried to write in yet? Will you? What would you never see yourself writing?
I'm writing everything I really want to write at this time. Nothing is off the market for me to write… thought I probably won't write M/M Romance, I'll leave that to talented writers like Angel Martinez (plug, plug,) She's my critique partner and does an amazing job with her work. If I wrote m/m romance, it would be disastrous.
Do you really, really want a dog?
Have one, his name is Capone - As in Al Capone. Sweetest dog ever!
Do you hate how you look in pictures?
It's the only mug I will ever have, why hate?
Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?
Yeah, my spelling sucks. Spell check is my best friend.
What is your strangest habit?
You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
Oh, loaded question. And I've had some nasty ones… but even the ones that hurt the most moulded me into the person I am. So I wouldn't change much of anything.
What were you doing at midnight last night?
Attempting to sleep.
What’s a saying you use a lot?
Life is like a box of chocolates… No… not really. How about, life is short so live it!
Have you ever eaten a crayon?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Cat food when I was a kid. My mom told me I was growing a tail. Looked for the damn thing for two years. BTW, we didn't own a cat at the time. A sample box came in the mail.
What is your favourite animal?
I love ALL animals… well, I'm not fond of rattlesnakes. We get 5 or 6 of them a year where I live.
What do you want to know about the future?
Have you ever cried during a movie?
I hope so or all the moves must suck.
Do you sleep with the light on?
Only when I read Dean Koontz's Whispers.
What is your favourite pizza?
Everything without pineapple or lil' fish.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
Mornings are for Roosters… and I've given away all of mine.
If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go?
A different time.
If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be?
My sister, Andrea.