September 17, 2019

#TirgearrTuesday

Join paranormal skeptic Marisa Clements in A Vampire's Tale as a chance encounter with vampire Corgan Halton inspires a writing project that surpasses her wildest dreams.

Visit Marisa and Corgan again in A Wizard's Choice as their friend wizard apprentice Kurtis Warde faces some important decisions.

Meet the complex heroes in The Magicals Series.


The Magicals Series


September 13, 2019

The Downside of Unpopularity

Never have I ever... been popular. And I (for the most part) really don't care. I have a fulfilling life, surrounded by people I love. Except that life seems to be one big popularity contest.

How do we elect our politicians? How do we select our employees (if not by merit)? How do we pick the restaurants where we eat and the stores where we shop? Why do we buy certain brands or products? A New York Times Bestseller sells more copies than a book published by an indie author. A person with a huge social following will get more views, likes, shares, and comments.

The truth is...popularity is important to success. And, on a day like today, when I feel sick (I have a cold) and all my other physical symptoms are consequently exasperated, it's very difficult to stay positive.




This is not a new feeling... Maybe I was already coming down with a cold when I wrote that tweet. I hate to be the writer who moans and groans about low readership, threatening to quit writing forever. I'm not going to stop writing, but half of being a writer feels like despairing under the heavy umbrella of self-doubt.

I saw a tweet, the other day, asking to dismiss the belief that you need to be damaged to be a good artist. But the truth is, we are all damaged in our own way. We carry our flaws, our mistakes, our heartaches, our tragedies. It is what we do with this baggage that counts.

I am the sum total of everything that has ever happened to me. If I had a time machine, there are definitely moments in my life I'd like to do-over. But, if we've learned anything from time travel fiction, it's that even a small, insignificant change can cause drastic ripples in the future.

So, here's my ween... I'm sick. My throat hurts. My head hurts. I'm dizzy. No one is reading / buying my work. What am I even doing here? And, here's my counter-ween... I'm alive. I have a unique story to tell. And tell it, I will. Maybe tomorrow when I feel a little better.


September 10, 2019

#TirgearrTuesday

5 stars for A Wizard's Choice:

"I loved how animated some of the characters were and the fast pace story. The author draws you into a magical world of wizards. Every chapter deepens the plot of the story and helps you stay hooked until the end." -- Ash.L.Sctt, Amazon



September 6, 2019

Behind the Scenes of Duet at Midnight

This summer, I had the pleasure of entering the Chapters: Interactive Stories TapTale story competition. You can read Duet at Midnight on the app or online.

Duet at Midnight


Drew Parker is headed to college with his girlfriend until he meets his twin sisters. Will he save his old life or find a new dream?

Reverse Cinderella story in a contemporary setting where the older brother falls for a pop princess.

Read for free on the Chapters: Interactive Stories app. Download the app on your mobile device through the Apple App Store or Google Play.





The Contest


The contest ran from July 1 to August 15. The rules were straightforward. You needed a book cover, title, and blurb to start posting. 20-50 chapters. One point-of-view. Young adult romance. And...the story had to be marked "END" by August 15. No problem, right?

Well... It was a greater challenge than I had anticipated. It's good to challenge ourselves sometimes.

The Cover

I wanted a great-looking cover. I wanted a real eye-catcher, something different from everyone else. A reader—I know because I am one—judges a book by its cover. I tried to make one. I knew exactly what I wanted. But I'm not a graphic designer, and I couldn't figure out how to achieve the look I was going for without looking like total amateur hour. I looked at pre-made covers and didn't see the right one. I finally bit the bullet. If I was in the contest, then I was all in. I contacted Evernight Designs, the company who designed my book covers for A Vampire's Tale and A Wizard's Choice, and ordered a custom book cover. It was worth every penny. Just looking at it makes me happy.

The Title

In order to complete the book cover, I needed a title. After I wrote a rough outline of the story I planned, I thought of Duet at Midnight. Midnight to play off the Cinderella theme. Duet because I knew the love interest was a singer.

The Story

Even though I have published two other TapTales (Heart's Storm and FlyBoy), I had never written a story directly on the app. Thankfully, there was a tutorial. I usually don't title my books or share my work-in-progresses before I'm ready to submit to publishers. This was a first for me. I wrote my chapters, checked my work, typed into the app, checked my work, published the chapter, and checked my work...as I wrote the story. It was kind of like driving in the dark. I knew my final destination, but I couldn't exactly see where I was going or how I was going to get there.

I needed to plan and outline. Extensively.

I jotted down character info, plot lines, possible loose ends, and even a publishing schedule so I could ensure I finished on time. I included my sheets here... I know they are incredibly hard to read because I wrote mostly in pencil... But it can give you a fair idea of my process. A little look behind the scenes, if you will.


 
 
 

I can honestly say I gave this story my all. Despite all the firsts—title, blurb, and book cover before a completed story; publishing on the app as I wrote—I was incredibly pleased with how my story ended. It literally all came together at the end.

The Support

I'd like to thank my family for their time and patience this summer. Writing this story took a bit more time than I'd anticipated. I promised my kids, if I win, I'll share the prize money.

If you read Duet at Midnight on the app, you can "heart" it and leave comments. You can also show your support with a "star." Every user can give out 10 star tickets per week until September 15.


The final judgement will be released on September 20. Writing a complete book (at least 20 chapters) in 6 weeks is a feat. It felt a little like NaNoWriMo all over again. So, completing equals winning...even though there will be actual winners announced. Fingers crossed for Duet at Midnight.




August 30, 2019

One Question for Author Ellie Gray

This week, Maya's Musings features Ellie Gray and her book Beauty and the Recluse.

Question: What is your favourite time to write, and why?

Answer: I tend to write on a weekend, during the day. I work full time in the public sector and it is a demanding job, particularly emotionally, and I find that I don’t tend to have the energy or drive to write on an evening. However, I do manage to switch off from the day job on a weekend and really enjoy writing – I lose myself completely in the story and the characters and it really helps to relax me. There is no better feeling then having had a really good day writing, when all your characters behave, and the words flow.

Beauty and the Recluse


Following the recent death of her father, and in need of both a job and somewhere to live, Kiya takes a housekeeping job on the spur of the moment.  She soon finds herself living in a beautiful but neglected mansion, working for a strange and reclusive man. 

St. John is a man scarred by the past, both physically and emotionally, and is determined to live out his life alone.  They are two very different people, drawn to each other almost against their will, but can Kiya convince St. John that he is not the monster he believes himself to be? 

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August 23, 2019

One Question for Author Margie Church

Welcome to Maya's Musings, Margie. The summer series continues with our one question author interviews...

Question: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?


Answer: I feel I really have to do both.   My rule of thumb is to write what I love and know that it might not be a blockbuster if it's not a hot genre. If I'm writing strictly for the market, I still have to love the genre to write a compelling story. I wrote gay romances and BDSM for several years. I really enjoyed that and I love those books. So did my readers. But tastes change, and so has the market. There are some writers who have created series after series of characters they love, in genres that sell well and feed readers who can't wait for more. That notion is always in my sights...like most authors, I'd love to quit my day job!


The Poet's Wife


Lily Holliway's life is shattered when her husband, Gabe, is killed in Afghanistan. A new job and dear friends aren't enough to ease her yearnings for the love she clings to. 
Gabe feels her grief so strongly that his spirit cannot leave the confines of this world. He can't rest in peace until he's sure Lily is going to be okay. In desperation, he reaches out to her using his special gift.
Finding the mysterious haiku makes Lily question her grip on reality. When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes?
Lily must trust the only man she's ever loved to help her begin again.

Find my books here!

August 16, 2019

One Question for Author Elaine Dodge

Welcome back, Elaine. Elaine visited Maya's Musings in May for a book spotlight. She joins us today as part of our One Question Author Interviews series.

Question: What are two of your favorite book covers of all time? (Not your own.)

Answer:

It’s an intriguing question. After all, while we do theoretically judge a book by its cover, it’s the story we remember. There are some authors whose books I enjoy so much, I really don’t care what the cover is. Most of my favourite books in my bookcases are so old and worn out, many don’t have covers anymore! So there was no scanning them for you. So, online I went!

I realised, while looking for covers of books I love, that it’s clear I prefer the more illustrated cover. Unless it was a favourite TV series of mine and the main actors are on the cover, I’d rather imagine them than have them dictated to me by the cover designers – who, 9 times out of 10, have never read the book! I did find an intriguing cover for Gone With the Wind I’d never seen before but I must say I love it.

August 9, 2019

One Question for Author Angelique Migliore

Our one question author interview series continues with my guest Angelique Migliore. Welcome, Angelique.


Question: What comes first, the plot or characters?

Answer:

Honestly, it depends upon the genre I'm writing. When I write Romance, it's the characters because they are character-driven stories.

But when I write Fantasy or Science Fiction, usually the plot and the world come to me first. 


One Night in Portland


Bridges traverse worlds
Army Captain and surgeon, Finn O’Grady, returns from a field training exercise exhausted and defeated; two soldiers were injured in an accident and one didn’t make it home. 
Quilt artist, Lee-Lee Song, storms out of a date with yet another good Asian boy her parents have set up only to run smack into Finn. 
Their worlds—which could not be further apart—collide on a street corner in downtown Portland, and neither is in a hurry to return to their own realities. Finn craves the distraction of Lee-Lee's creative and colorful world. Lee-Lee wants a man who is one hundred eighty degrees away from her parents’ choices. 
As Lee-Lee and Finn venture together across the many bridges of Portland and share their favorite places around the city, they grow more attracted and closer. 
Will this special day together force Lee-Lee and Finn back into their own worlds, or will they build one more bridge in Portland—one to each other?
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August 2, 2019

One Question for Author Kathleen Rowland


Welcome to another segment of Maya's Musings One Question Author Interviews. Today's guest is Kathleen Rowland.


Question: How do you come up with names for your characters?

Answer: The name needs to fit the persona. For my hero in Bittersweet Alliance, I saw the perfect name for this alpha male driving through a commercial shipyard on a vacation in Boston. Danker Donahue was a hyphenated company name representing two last names of owners. My hero’s first name could have been a last name in his family. My heroine in Bittersweet Alliance is named Jolene, but her last name is Hawaiian. Lyrics from the song, Jolene, sung by Ray LaMontagne, represents the mood in this reunion story. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen your face… still don’t mean what love means… held you in my arms one time, lost you just the same.”



Bittersweet Alliance


Will a snap decision change their lives forever?

Bizarre kidnappings stun the Big Island of Hawaii, pulling Danker Donahue back into the game and forcing him to partner with Jolene Kualoha, the woman who left him seven years ago when his DNA showed up in paternity lawsuit. The prejudice-motivated hate crimes are the wildest anyone has ever seen. Victims are being poisoned then released once the ransoms are paid, many losing their lives.

In the shadow of Jolene's success as a helicopter pilot, a troubled woman develops a fixation on Jolene and imitates her appearance. Matters turn dark when the copycat is shot dead. Was Jolene the target? Threats mount when she barely survives an accident after her brake cables are severed.

When these crimes threaten her sanity, Jolene is forced to trust the one person she thought she’d lost forever, Danker. Instantly, sparks fly between them, and as much as she wants to rekindle their relationship, she must protect her heart.

An old enemy, Seamus McGinn, breaks out of a maximum-security prison and invites Danker to a meet-up. Surprisingly, the kidnapper joins forces with McGinn along with his sick fans. McGinn trumpets his ‘murders by ice pick’, and it’s up to Danker to stop him. The whole island is on edge with a live feed from the maniac’s website.

In a stolen moment, Jolene shows him hope, and he makes a snap decision that will change their lives forever. Will he make it back to show her?

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July 26, 2019

One Question for Author W.F. Ranew

A warm welcome to W.F. Ranew, our next guest of the Maya's Musings Summer Series of 2019—One Question Author Interviews.

Question: What is your favorite childhood book?

Answer: Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain always has been my favorite book. There are several reasons. Ranking first is the fact my father read the book to me at bedtime over many nights when I was in first grade.

Also, Twain captured the American saga so well at a time when the country teemed with opportunity and adventure. The writer's humor also entertained me as a child and does so even now. Finally, Twain was a newspaper reporter, and his writings inspired me—along with my editor father—to go into journalism and become a writer.


Rich and Gone


Wealthy businessman Woody Cunningham has it all. But he wants more. He bilks $300 million from family and friends, and stashes the cash offshore. PI Red Farlow is hired to find the man and the money. Is Cunningham dead, or merely rich and gone?

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July 19, 2019

One Question for Author Mary T. Bradford

Welcome, Mary T. Bradford, to Maya's Musings and my special summer series of author interviews.

Question: What is the first book that made you cry? 

Answer: I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was sitting inside a window curled up on an old shabby sofa in my bedsit. The Last Snows of Spring is the book that had me sobbing so much, my then boyfriend was worried I had received bad news from home, when he called over to visit. I was nineteen years old and the book was a real page turner. I have long forgotten the authors name but it was made into a film and of course I went to see that too. It really broke my heart. The story is of a young boy, Luca who is neglected by his widower father. The father likes to party and goes through many girlfriends but when he settles with one, she and Luca become friends but only for it to turn sour. Then when the father tries to make it up to his son with a skiing holiday, disaster strikes. Luca has leukemia. My boyfriend of then became my husband and we are married 36 years in September of this year. he too can recall the day he found me crying my heart out. Since that book the only other one that I cried buckets reading was The Green Mile. 

Don't Call Me Mum


Raised by a cold stepmother, Lacey Taylor’s life was turned upside down by the stroke of a pen, putting her on a path to find her birth mother, Cora Maguire. Having found her, life is not as sweet as she hoped for. Cora is not the maternal type, for her, career is paramount to all else, even to her only child, Lacey. Their relationship, is at best strained. Lacey battles for her mother’s affection but when her life-path takes an unplanned twist, Cora is furious.

Lacey’s half-siblings, the Taylors want to help, but they have their own demons that threaten to rip the family apart. The price Lacey pays for happiness is high, how high surprises everyone. Don’t Call Me Mum, a drama that explores the ups and downs of life and what can make some families break in the face of heartache, it can strengthen others.

July 12, 2019

One Question for Author Garth Pettersen

Our next guest is Garth Pettersen. Welcome, Garth, to the Maya's Musings Summer Series of 2019—One Question Author Interviews. You can learn a lot about a person by asking the right questions. Or, in this case, the right question. :)

Question: Which is your favorite season to write in, and why?

Answer: My favourite season to write in is winter. My wife and I have a hobby farm where we board horses raise chickens, and in spring and summer the workload increases. In winter I don't have the urge to charge outside and get things done. Good writing time.



The Dane Law


Had the hermit not found him under the fallen oak bough, soaked by the rain, he would never have regained consciousness. When he awakens days later, his memories come half-formed and out of order. He pictures a lovely woman he cares for deeply, and a bowman he loathes and wishes to kill. Recurring in his thoughts is the name of a place he must get to before something dire happens--Fiergen, a place the hermit has never heard of. 

            Such is the plight of Harald, second son of King Cnute, returning to England from captivity in Eire, as he sets out to find the fair-haired woman who owns his heart. Do his foes follow close behind? Or do they lie in wait on the road to Fiergen?

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July 5, 2019

One Question for Author Abbey MacMunn

A warm welcome to our next guest of the Maya's Musings Summer Series of 2019—One Question Author Interviews. Hello, Abbey, and welcome back.

Question: "If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?"

Answer: I absolutely could not give up tea. It's terribly British of me, I know, but I drink gallons of the stuff. When I was pregnant with my first daughter I went off tea and spent the next nine months trying to find an alternative drink - nothing came close! 


Violet Souls


While searching for clues to her past, single mother Bree Mills discovers a subculture of aliens with supernatural abilities living on Earth. And she’s one of them. Finding herself hurled into a world of possibilities, it’s made more alluring by Quinn Taylor, the violet-eyed Evoxian from her childhood dreams.

Quinn knows his destiny is entwined with Bree’s. He’s fraught with frustration and desire, but before he can confess his love, he must wait for her to sense the Akui, a mysterious force tied with ancient Evoxian law.


At a Cotswolds country manor, passions awaken and ignite a love more magical than the once-Utopian planet, Evox. Then Fate delivers a cruel and heart-breaking blow when Bree is kidnapped by a malicious alien who wants her and her power. Will Quinn be there for Bree when she’s faced with protecting her half-human daughter… whatever the cost?


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June 28, 2019

One Question for Author Jonathan Dunne

Thanks for checking out the Maya's Musings Summer Series of 2019—One Question Author Interviews. Over the next two months, you'll meet some fantastic authors and read about their latest releases.

A warm welcome to Jonathan Dunne, a first-time guest.


Question: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists or C) Epic settings?

Answer: Mind Blowing Plot Twist is my favourite. If you take the time to be creative and really come up with innovative ideas, it can really deliver an uppercut the readers will not see coming. It leaves an indelible memory and as writer, that should be your goal.


The Black Hand


In the aftermath of Ireland’s most deadly gang war, Dublin’s ruling family has scattered to the wind. Into the void steps a criminal genius known only as The Black Hand. His organisation’s powerful grip is ruthless, bloody and barbaric. With Europe’s biggest crime in play, The Devil needs a distraction. And The Black Hand needs Jacob Boylan to return to Irish shores. He will stop at nothing to provoke Dublin’s most lethal criminal out of hiding. But has the wily genius misstepped? As all eyes are on Jacob, the Dublin exile carefully plans a gangland wipeout, for he is nobody’s pawn.

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June 21, 2019

Summer is Coming

How many years did we wait to hear, "Winter is coming." And, yet, the final season of Game of Thrones was met with a lot of discord. I have my own mixed feelings about the ending. <<No spoilers>> I respect the writers for the hard choices they made. It's not the ending I would've written, but I have my own books for that.

With "The End" in mind, I see many endings in my near future. The end of spring. The end of the school year. But I also see the beginnings that happen after the end. Summer follows spring. School will return in the fall. Lots of stuff going on in-between the beginning and the end.

Thanks for being here, accompanying me on my journey of writing and life, the ups and downs, the downs and ups, for letting me show you who I am.

This summer, you can get to know some special guests. I have ten authors participating in my summer series—One Question Author Interviews—with Mary T. Bradford, Margie Church, Elaine Dodge, Jonathan Dunne, Ellie Gray, Abbey MacMunn, Angelique Migliore, Garth Petterson, Frank Ranew, and Kathleen Rowland.

I hope to spend the summer working on some writing projects...while fitting in plenty of beach days too!

Hope you enjoy the series, your summer, and your life journey—wherever it takes you. A story takes you on a journey. And really truly great stories never end.


June 18, 2019

#TirgearrTuesday

It's Tuesday again...and that means #TirgearrTuesday is happening. Check out your favorite Tirgearr titles on social media using the hashtag #TirgearrTuesday and get reading!

This week, I am featuring The Magicals Series.

A Vampire's Tale, Book #1
A Wizard's Choice, Book #2

Who are The Magicals?


In my books, The Magicals are any being, created or born, with paranormal aspects. Vampires and wizards were introduced in Book #1. I added fairies to the mix in Book #2.

As vampires, wizards, and fairies already exist in folk and pop culture, I took the liberty to form and present my own versions. In particular, there are many, often conflicting, thoughts on vampires. Before writing, I did a lot of research. I included the characteristics that I felt were the most consistent with my definition of a vampire and expanded on the customs and rituals of their society.

After all, good fiction must be believable...or at least plausible. What do you think?





Buy Links:

A Vampire's Tale: The Magicals Series, #1
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Smashwords
Apple
Kobo
Nook

A Wizard's Choice: The Magicals Series, #2
Kindle US
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Kindle AU

June 14, 2019

A Blurb About Blurbs

Love writing? Ask any author and, I hope, the answer is "yes." Love writing blurbs? Not so much.

The blurb is one of the most important promotional tools at your disposal. The potential reader is drawn to your attractive, professionally designed book cover, but the blurb will tip the scales on whether they buy/borrow your book.

Why is writing a blurb so challenging? It's difficult finding the right balance between piquing the reader's interest and not spoiling the story. A blurb that contains spoilers is like a move trailer that shows all the best parts. You use the blurb to give readers a decent idea about your story, but just enough for them to want to keep reading. The quality of writing also gives the reader a good idea about the caliber of the rest of the book.

***

Last week, my husband got a message from his oldest niece. She and her husband were driving across the country and had a chance to meet up with us. We decided to meet at a mutually convenient location. My, life can be a whirlwind. Luckily, we have a lot of experience with rolling with it. Within a couple of days, we had booked an airbnb (one that allowed pets so we could bring our little dog with us), packed our suitcases, and hit the highway. The kids had a PA day on Friday so we had a three-day weekend ahead of us. I didn't bother bringing my laptop.

Believe it or not, this story is related to blurb writing. And...it's the reason I didn't write a blog post last Friday...

***

My publisher sent me an email last Friday morning about the blurb for my soon-to-be-released paranormal romance A Wizard's Choice (available for pre-order now). She wanted me to include more about the romance aspect of the story than I had in the original blurb I sent her.

I used the 'notes' app on my phone to revise my blurb, and I emailed it back. After a couple back-and-forths, I finally 'confessed' that I was out of town. And, in the interest of doing the best job, we agreed I'd take another stab at it when I got home.

Authors, do you have any crazy blurb-writing stories? Readers, do you buy a book based on a clever blurb?


The original:

The wizards of The Circle are guardians of the supernatural world. They serve as protectors and defenders for both magicals and humans.
Wizard apprentice Kurtis Warde is a quiet guy, a bit angry at the world. He doesn’t want to become a full-fledged wizard, but he feels obligated to his grandfather who raised him. Making The Choice, whether to become a wizard or not, doesn’t feel like a choice at all.
There is unrest in the magical world. The more Kurtis learns, the more questions he has. Who were the ancient beings The Anunnaki? What caused the long-time feud between wizards and fairies? What lies in his past that is so key to the future?
If Kurtis knew the whole story, it might make his decision easier. Or not. Will he become a wizard, pursue his crush sexy vampiress Dee, or link with a sweet fairy to re-unite the wizards and fairies?
What will Kurtis choose?

The remake:

The wizards of The Circle are guardians of the supernatural world. They serve as protectors and defenders for both magicals and humans.

Wizard apprentice Kurtis Warde doesn’t want to become a full-fledged wizard, but he feels obligated to his grandfather who raised him. Making The Choice, whether to become a wizard or not, doesn’t feel like a choice at all.

Leaving The Circle would give Kurtis the freedom to follow his dreams and, perhaps, pursue his crush, the sexy vampiress Dee.

But there is unrest in the magical world. Kurtis uncovers his connection to the ancient beings The Anunnakiand the long-time feud between wizards and fairies. Something in Kurtis’ past is the key to a peaceful future.

Will he accept his duty or follow his dreams? What will Kurtis choose?


The winner:

 Dreams or duty?
            Wizard apprentice Kurtis Warde doesn’t want to become a full-fledged wizard, but he feels obligated to his grandfather who raised him. Making The Choice, whether or not to become a wizard and join The Circle, doesn’t feel like a choice at all. Leaving The Circle would give Kurtis the freedom to follow his own dreams, and to pursue vampiress, Dee, who has always intrigued him. He knows there’s more to Dee than the icy being she portrays, but will she give him a chance to know the real her?

            There is unrest in the magical world. Fairies, a magical being thought to be long extinct, still exist. And the long-time feud between wizards and fairies threatens everyone Kurtis cares about, including his life coach, Alina, who has quickly become a close friend. And perhaps more. He discovers his connection to the ancient beings The Annunaki, the ancestors of wizards and fairies, may be key to the future. The more he uncovers, the more questions he has.

Will Kurtis choose to follow his heart or risk sacrificing his own happiness for peace in the magical world?

Pre-order on Amazon
Release date July 17, 2019
Read on Kindle Unlimited