Monday, January 26, 2015

Author Interview - Rachael Brownell

Happy, happy Monday, everyone! Today I have another unofficial utopYA Con 2015 author interview for you. This time, we're meeting author Rachael Brownell. I think you'll love this little lady! She's got a lot going on, and has a ton of cool information for you. If you're new to the blog and wondering what utopYA Con is, click here to find out and get your tickets at the early-bird price! You only have a couple weeks left. Don't be the sad girl (or guy) left out in the cold! Okay, I'll shut up and get to the interview now. Grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

Jo: Hiya, Rachael! Welcome to the blog. So good to have you here! Any friend of Casey L. Bond is a friend of mine. I hope you’re ready for all the junk I managed to dig up. Got your fingers ready and your nerves steeled? *grin*

Rachael: Thanks so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here!

Jo: You say that now... *wags eyebrows* So, I know you’re an author who writes for the love of the craft and the readers. Tell me, at what point did you decide not to go with the traditional publisher that picked up the first two books in the Holding On series? Do you look back and wish you had?

Rachael: Actually I have never looked back since leaving my publisher. There was so much that I didn’t agree with and had no control over that I will never go back unless I have more control.

Jo: I hear that from a lot of authors. Excitement that fades to black after just a few weeks or months. I may go digging around on that topic. *grin* Okay, I have to ask you if you still have a snip of something you wrote in high school. Would you share it with us? If not, tell me what writing did for you (on a personal level) back then.

Rachael: Writing was my outlet back then. I would love to share a snippet of that with everyone but the only thing left I’ve already shared. Holding On is the product of the one very long, not so great, book that I wrote when I was 17. I put my heart and soul into that book to make it what it is today.

Jo: I understand. I lost most of my early writings, too. So, what made you decide to change your book covers for the Holding On series? How many options did you go through?

Rachael: I wasn’t considering changing the cover, really. I liked the covers that I had but I was browsing Marisa’s website after looking at one of her posts and fell in love with a pre-made set that she had. It just felt right. I knew the second I saw them that I wanted them to represent the series. The rest is history.

Jo: Well, they certainly are beautiful. During my stalking research, I found another author with your name. Are you ever confused with that Rachael Brownell? Has it ever made for a super awkward situation?

Rachael: Ummm... yeah. About her. Let me just say for the record that I don’t know her, I’m not related to her and no, I didn’t write a book about getting sober. When I realized that someone else was already published under my real name, spelled the same and everything, I contemplated using a pen name but decided against it.

Jo: I can't imagine the comments. *face/palm* Time for rapid fire questions! Yellow or blue?

Rachael: blue

Jo: Niiiiice! Over the roll or under the roll (this is referring to the way the toilet paper comes off the roll on the holder)?

Rachael: under

Jo: B.J. Sheldon, did you hear that? *giggles* Fantasy or fact?

Rachael: fantasy

Jo: Great answer! Not that I expected anything less. Now I get to ask a cool question! *grin* Since the theme of utopYA Con 2015 is time travel, I’m going bananas with these little inserts. In the future, how many books do you think you’ll have published total, and what kind of impact do you see your stories having on the world?

Rachael: I hope to have at least 3 more out this year. The rest is yet to be determined. I try not to look too far into the future, I don’t want to let myself or anyone else down. As far as an impact on readers, if I am able to make one person love one of my books, one of my characters, or just one cover, it will all be worth it.

Jo: Well, one baby step at a time! *grin* I know you’re embroiled in a super-secret project with author Casey L. Bond—and it’s super-duper secret—but would you share a tiny tidbit (like a genre) with my readers? What made you two decide to write together?

Rachael: We’ve been talking about writing something together for a while. We’ve only shared a few fun facts with our street teams so I’ll share those with all of you as well…
  1. It's a serial series.
  2. It's dark, twisted and unlike anything we've ever written as individuals.
  3. It's very unique--in a good way!
  4. Here's the tag line of book one: HE'S NEVER LOST A GAME...

Jo: Eep! Sounds like it'll be amazing. I can't wait to read it! Do you see your writing career as something you’d like to eventually do full time, or do you think you’ll always be an off-time keybanger? Why/why not?

Rachael: I would love to do this all day every day but I also have a passion for my day job that will probably always keep me from giving it up.

Jo: Isn't it nice to love what you do? A huge thumbs-up for you, lady! Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had? Any little secrets hiding in your repertoire you’d like to share? *grin*

Rachael: If I gave away all my secrets there would be no mystery :)

Jo: True! Thought I had you for a second there. LOL! *wiggles brows* Sadly, that’s all the time I have for today. Thanks so much for being an awesome guest, Rachael! I’m looking forward to meeting you at utopYA in June!

Now, it’s time to tell you all about the featured book of the week!

Title: Holding On
Author: Rachael Brownell
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Length (print): 235 Pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle FREE  ~  Kobo FREE  ~  iBooks FREE  ~  B&N FREE

For five years Becca has been struggling to hide her feelings for her best friend, Brad. Now she finally has a chance to move on. She’s in a new city, she’s attending a new school, and she’s met the first guy besides Brad who’s held her attention in a long time. Not only is Ethan attractive, he’s an amazing tennis player, and he might just be Becca’s match on and off the courts.

Brad has loved Becca for as long as he can remember. Now that Becca’s family has moved two thousand miles away, Brad may finally be ready to lay his heart on the line and do whatever it takes to hold on to Becca.

But is Brad too late? Or will Ethan’s secret drive Becca back into Brad’s arms? Torn between her love for Brad and the promise of something new and exciting with Ethan, Becca has an almost impossible choice to make, the choice between letting go or holding on.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give this lovely lady a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews (plus some)?

FacebookAuthor Rachael Brownell
Twitter: @HoldingOn2013
Goodreads: Rachael Brownell
Website: Author Rachael Brownell
Amazon Author Page: Rachael Brownell on Amazon

Rachael has honored us with a giveaway! Get your clickin' fingers goin!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions, pop them into the comments below. Rachael will be around to answer and/or respond!

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Paisley Reader, Lauren Miller, and Denise Grover Swank - utopYA Con 2015

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! This week, over on The Paisley Reader, there's a huge opportunity for you. I'll give you a snippet of Maria's (she's the blog owner) post and give you a link so you can go check it out. Without further ado...

From The Paisley Reader:

Now back to this fantastic opportunity.

Each of these amazing authors, in addition to their keynote addresses, will be answering 10 questions in a blog post interview on utopYA’s webpage.

Guess what? Eight of these questions in each interview will come from you! That’s right, EIGHT! This is your opportunity to ask your burning questions of these authors.

This week, I am accepting questions for Denise Grover Swank and Lauren Miller. That means you have sixteen...

Yeah, you're dying to know more, huh? Well, get on over to this post and check it out!

Week one was an interview I did with Marissa Meyer. If you didn't catch that, you should certainly do so. It can be found at this link.

If you missed the post from A Book Vacation where Shana had the awesomesauce that's Heather Hildenbrand bring you a guest post, be sure and pay the post a visit here.

Next week, Ashley (Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous) will give you the chance to ask Kim Holden a question or two.

How exciting is this?

What are you waiting for? Get over to Maria's blog and get those questions rolling!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review - Moonlight

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I have another book review for you from my 12 Days of Review Requests event. Lots of great books were pitched, around twenty were chosen for review. If you haven't joined the 2015 Review Team, do that here. Just grab the image from the page, create a blog post on your blog saying you're joining us, come on back and add your link to the linky thing at the bottom of the page. If you wanna check out the reviews, you can do that here. So far, the team has reviewed twenty-three books! Not bad for only being twenty-two days into January. Indies are totally winning! So, before I get to the book for today, I'm gonna share my TBR from the event (as usual). Grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and let's go!

The Release Club 1 - Misty Provencher - REVIEW HERE
Dry Stories - Kate Baggot - REVIEW HERE
Moonlight - David Rose - REVIEW BELOW

Bound by Duty - Stormy Smith - Amazon Kindle $2.99
Shadows on Snow (A Flipped Fairy Tale) - Starla Hutchon - Amazon Kindle $2.99
From the Wreckage - Michelle G. Miller - Amazon Kindle FREE
8 Weeks - Bethany Lopez - Amazon Kindle $3.99
The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge - Christine Nolfi - Amazon Kindle $0.99
Facade: A Vampire Love Story - R. M. Webb - Amazon Kindle $0.99
Siren - Jennifer Melzer - Amazon Kindle $3.99
Queen of Someday - Sherry Ficklin - Amazon Kindle $5.99
Fragile Creatures - Kristina Circelli - Amazon Kindle $2.99
At One's Beast - Rachel Barnard - Amazon Kindle $2.99
Unseen - Stephanie Erickson - Amazon Kindle $2.99
The Heart Thief - S. Lee Benedict - Amazon Kindle $4.99
Refuge - Violet Haze - Amazon Kindle $0.99
Kindling Flames-Gathering Tinder - Julie Wetzel - Amazon Kindle FREE
Kinetic: Book One of the Kinetic Trilogy - C. M. Zimmer - Amazon Kindle $2.99
Destiny Finds Her - Miranda Lynn - Amazon Kindle $2.99
To Get Me to You - Kait Nolan - Amazon Kindle $2.99
The Lady of Souls - Jenn Gott - Amazon Kindle $4.99
Sticks and Stones - Shawn McGuire - Amazon Kindle $0.99
Good Luck With That Thing You're Doing: One Woman's Adventures in Dating, Plumbing and Other Full Contact Sports - Karen Yankosky - Amazon Kindle $2.99
Desprite Measures-The Caledonian Sprite - Deborah Jay - Amazon Kindle $2.99
The Last Guardian Rises - Rebecca Trogner - Amazon Kindle $0.99 

Now, some information on the book up for review:

Title: Moonlight
Author: David Rose
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Length (print): About 57 pages
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $1.69

Moonlight is a fantasy romance set in modern Japan. Two young teenagers, Tadao and Yuzuki, pledge their love in the face of imminent separation. Can they honour their promise to meet again as adults? Can they overcome an impossible challenge to achieve happiness together? The story includes elements of tragedy and magic, and Yuzuki's little cat, Miss Moonbeam, holds the key.

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. I think the cover of this book is a perfect target for the audience it's intended for and the genre in which it's written. It feels very anime-ish (great for the setting of Japan), and the content is right in line. I'd like to see the author's name a little larger, but that's a minor nitpick.***

I grabbed a sample of this book when the author pitched it to me for review and was totally frustrated when I got to the last page and there was no more story. That's always the way I get hooked on a read, and Rose did a great job of setting the stage for a heart-wrenching story to unfold. I had to have the rest of the tale! Off to Amazon I went to one-click. But let's get to what matters.

From a Reader's Perspective:
Because I'm not familiar with Japanese nomenclature, it was a bit difficult to follow the story in the beginning with the changing of names (it coincided with the changing of relationships in the children's heads). Once I got used to that, it was a much easier story to get into the groove with. And did I ever get into the groove. There were tissue needing moments, moments that make you move to the edge of your chair and cross your fingers, and moments where I hoped it wouldn't end the way I thought it might. To tell you any more would be to ruin the story. Character development was well done for such a short read, and I became completely invested in the outcome. There wasn't much in the way of scene/world building, but I appreciated that Rose left so much of it to my imagination and focused on what was important (the relationship building). This left me adoring the cat as much as I did the children. Plot and pacing were excellent, and I read the book in a couple of hours.

From an Editor's Perspective:
It needs a proofreader's touch to clean up punctuation here and there (dialogue tags vs action tags were the worst of it), but otherwise I didn't highlight much.

1 Star for making me cry
1 Star for character building
1 Star for letting me identify and bond with the characters (even the dang cat)
1 Star for plot and pacing
.75 Star for editing
-.25 Star for punctuation usage
Overall, 4.75 out of 5 stars! I round up, so this book gets 5 starry stars. Recommended if you enjoy a romance built over time where the characters go through more than just doe-eyed love star strikes.

What do you think? Do you like short stories? What's the best one you've read?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Indie-Visible PubHub Launches


Hey writers!

Did you know you can visit Indie-Visible's PubHub to build your own publishing team?

Indie-Visible is giving extra focus to the PubHub side of things and want to give a big shout out to our AWESOME TEAM OF FREELANCERS.

Indie authors can use this list of highly recommended professionals to "Build Their Publishing Team" and gain assistance in all phases of the publishing process. Propel your next book to the heights of success with expert content editing, copy editing, proofreading, cover art, formatting, interior design, and marketing. PubHub has it ALL! In addition to building your team, PubHub also provides ongoing Expert Articles with tips and advice on all phases of publishing, including the business side of being an author. Indie-Visible's goal is provide a one-stop, interactive site for all indie authors seeking assistance, encouragement, and a team to root for them.  

New to Indie-Visible? Check out the Soft Launch Post for a nice overview of what they do. If you haven't yet familiarized yourself with them, I encourage you to head on over to their site, get to know The Literacy League Crew, and subscribe to the two Hubs for tons of fun and informative posts.

If you've been following their posts, THANK YOU!

If you haven't yet subscribed to BookHub or PubHub, you can subscribe on any of their posts, or sign up here.

 Giveaway Alert!

As an added BONUS, if you subscribe to either or both Hubs, you will be automatically entered to WIN a fantastic prize package giveaway from the PubHub that will fulfill any author's dreams! This package will include a day blitz package from Red Coat PR, website design by Starling Magic, book cover art from MaeIDesign, branding from Whit&Ware, and more!

Next Tuesday, there will be an official Giveaway Post with all the pertinent details coming soon. It is something you will not want to miss.

So, what are you waiting for? Go check out Indie-Visible and join me in bringing LITERARY JUSTICE TO ALL!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Featured Author - Casey Peeler - Publication Spotlight

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'd like to bring you some great information about my featured author, Casey Peeler. If you missed the interview with this awesome utopYA attendee, you can check it out here. In order to do more for my featured authors, I've come up with a plan to showcase their books on the weeks between interviews. So, you can look forward to that. Get ready to find more new books to read! Ready? Here we go!

First, I'll always list the featured book.

Title: Southern Perfection
Author: Casey Peeler
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Length (print): 221 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $3.99  ~  Barnes and Noble Nook $3.99  ~  iBooks $3.99  ~  Google Play $3.99


Life is full of choices: good, bad, and ones you can’t control.

Raegan strives to be perfect in every way. Varsity cheerleader, honor student, and proud granddaughter of Dover Lowery. By day, Raegan is an over-achieving high school student, but at three o’clock, her real work begins.

What happens when appearances are not what they seem? Will Raegan be able to hold on to her life as she knows it, or will she be left all alone? All of these questions are answered with one night, one song, one story, and one boy.

Title: No Turning Back
Author: Casey Peeler
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Length (print): 337 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle FREE 


After getting involved with Dylan, the bad boy of the Dixon High Swim team, Charley decides to stay close to home for college. It’s just safer that way. Later, she realizes it’s a mistake, just like dating Dylan. She decides to put the past behind her and leave the small hick town of Grassy Pond. There is only one problem; she makes this decision three weeks before the fall semester begins.

Charley packs up her Honda and heads to Southern College. On the morning she’s about to leave, Cash walks back into her life. He has been her best friend since they were four and is the only one who knows the REAL Charley. She leaves her farm in Grassy Pond with all kinds of “what if” questions.

Charley decides to live her college career to the fullest. She finds a great group of friends, joins the swim team, and meets a guy named Joe. He’s got eyes that make ya wanna melt!

At college, she encounters a new problem. Charley has been away from home for only forty-eight hours before she breaks the two promises she made to herself. Will she be able to overcome her past? Find new love? What will happen with Cash now that he is back in her life? Will she find what she is wanting in Jackalope Joe? How will her first semester of college end? Joe, Cash, or alone?

Title: Finding Charlie
Author: Casey Peeler
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Length (print): 264 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99


One bottle of Jack and the words “I’m sorry” are all it takes for Charley’s world to turn upside down… again. Charley has a decision to make. Does she sink or swim?

After Dylan reminds Charley that he always has the upper hand, she decides it’s time break free. But how? She uses her past, present, and what she hopes to be her future to find her freedom.

With the help of Cash Money and the Kluft Girls, she devises a plan to take down Dylan. Will she succeed, or will she find that she will never escape his hold? Once this plan is put in place, who will be by her side when it comes to an end? And will this plan include Jackalope Joe?

Title: Loving Charlie
Author: Casey Peeler
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Length (print): 251 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $3.99


When Charley decides to make Dylan famous, she never thought about the repercussions that might occur, and how it would affect everyone around her.

Now that she has followed through with the plan, she is unsure of what the future holds. She has to decide what is more important in life: living her dream, speaking the truth, or keeping quiet.

Charley’s life comes full circle when her freshman year comes to an end. Will Dylan be in her past and Cash in her future? Or will Dylan continue to be an eerie constant in her life?

Title: Our Song
Author: Casey Peeler
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Length (print): 53 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $3.99


Belle Montgomery is a small town Carolina girl. She leaves her simple life, family, and friends behind to open for the one and only country music mega star, Jake Bryant. With a break in their tour, sparks are bound to fly when Jake visits the small Podunk town of Lattimore. That is until Belle's long-time friend Chase McSwain makes his feelings known. Will sparks fly between Belle and Jake, or will Chase extinguish them before they start?

There you have them! I do hope you enjoy this little book buffet!

Don't forget to give Casey a follow!

 Website: Author Casey Peeler
Amazon: Casey Peeler's Author Page
Facebook: Casey Peeler Author
Twitter: @AuthorCasey
Tumblr: Casey Peeler Author
Pinterest: Author Casey
Goodreads: Casey Peeler
YouTube: Author Casey Peeler's YouTube Channel
Tsu: Casey Peeler
Wattpad: Author Casey
Google +: Casey Peeler Author

What do you think of this feature for Mondays?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, January 16, 2015

A Book Vacation and Heather Hildenbrand - utopYA Con 2015

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I’m bringing you a snippet of the official utopYA Con post from Shana over at A Book Vacation. She has a guest post from the amazing Heather Hildenbrand you don’t wanna miss. Let’s get going!

Hello fabulous readers! This month for my official UtopYA post, I have a treat for you!
Heather Hildenbrand, author of Imitation, book one in the Clone Chronicles Series–an amazing series that Jerry Bruckheimer and Alloy have optioned for NBC–stopped by the blog to reminisce about her  experiences at UtopYA!

So, without further ado, I give you Heather:

I am what UtopYA refers to as a veteran. I was there at ground zero: year one.

And also at year two. And three. I’m what I call a repeat offender.

UtopYAcon for me is kind of like six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Except, without any Footloose dancing. And with a different type of celebrity. Okay, wait. There was that one time with the dancing. But we don’t talk about that. #staysinthevault

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve made so many connections as a result of attending UtopYA, beginning with year one and every year after, that when Shana asked me to write this post...

If you want to read more of Heather's post, you should check it out here.

Were you aware of Heather’s awesomeness? What did you think of that post?

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Preparing to Co-Author

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I have a little writing tip for you about writing with someone else (or many people). I hope you’re all ready to dive into the awesome. Grab those pens and notebooks and let’s get going!

Recently, I published a book titled Fractured Glass (get a copy here). This is co-writing at its finest. Nearly every reviewer has commented about how seamless the writing is from one author to the next, how well the story flows, and how amazing the character development was (see the lovely image Casey L. Bond made from some of our reviews).

Why do you think that is?

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know I put out a call for collaboration in an anthology around December of 2013. What I was looking to do was upset the common thought surrounding the definition(s) of an anthology: 1.) a book or other collection of selected writings by various authors, usually in the same literary form, of the same period, or on the same subject. 2.) a collection of selected writings by one author.

Usually, an anthology is a collection of short stories. I wanted a collection of novellas. Once I got with the other ladies involved, we went a little bananas. I’m not sure who it was, but someone shouted out, “What if we used the same characters and drove them through five different genres, or five different stories, in one novel?” I was floored. It was unlike anything that had been done before. Yes! But how to do that? Well, we needed a world that would support changing genres. That’s how the fractal universe was decided upon. It gave us freedom while setting certain boundaries or rules for what the characters could do. Once we had that down, we came up with our main characters, Harley and Sloan Glass. Then, we had our title.

We decided to give ourselves a month to think about those characters and the world they’d live in, and (after copious note taking) we high-fived one another and split.

Cut to a month later. We met online via Google Drive with the free PDF on character development (get it here) open to edit. Here’s where the magic really began to happen. Via the chat feature, we threw ideas left and right, filled out the PDF, and the first person in line was ready to kick us off. A month after that, and we had our first 20k word (approximate) section by the one and only Tia Silverthorne Bach. Of course, she left some room for expansion and revisions.

She uploaded her section and shared it, we set a date and time where we’d get together and discuss the story, plot, characters, and flow, and we got to reading.

Once everyone had read the first part, we met with a new document open that listed the following:
  • What we liked.
  • What we didn’t like.
  • What we’d like to see changed.
  • What can't be changed no matter what.
  • Suggestions, tips, and thoughts for section two.
Editing of that document went crazy. Once again, the flow of ideas was incredible. I felt very at ease with everyone, and creativity had no bounds in our meetings (neither did critique—this is one tough-skinned group of women). Every section after the first was treated the same way. It helped us see our strengths, weaknesses, and holes.

But what held us central and firm was excellent preparation. We discussed our characters to death and knew the journey they’d embark upon before the first word was written.

One thing we didn’t do was go back and add any kind of foreshadowing for upcoming sections. Everything you read was off the cuff and based on what the folks before had done. It kept the surprises real and twisty, while keeping the characters the same from page to page.

During editing, all we had to work on was consistency of speech of the characters and where the worlds were connected. Writing styles were left intact, and each author had their unique voice preserved. Choosing co-authors was the most grueling, and enjoyable, thing I did. I adore these women!

Shout out!
Tia Silverthorne Bach
Casey L. Bond
Kelly Risser
N. L. Greene

Those are their Twitter pages. Go give them a follow!

So, if you’re thinking of co-writing a novel, remember that excellent planning and communication (liking the other people involved doesn’t hurt at ALL) are the cornerstones of success.

Next Tuesday I’ll go into how co-editing in Google Drive works. I think you’ll be shocked.

Grab a copy of Fractured Glass on Amazon here. See what the buzz is about!

Thinking of co-writing a novel? Do these tips help? Tell me about your project!

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!