Book Tour for The Man Before You by Shalana Battles Giveaway and Author Guest Post

The Man Before You
Grand Mesa Men Prequel
by Shalana Battles
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Time may not actually heal all wounds, but love just might.
Eloise’s husband was dead and she wished she were too. She quit going to work, refused to answer her phone or her front door, and shut out the people who cared about her. She felt imprisoned by her tainted memories, but couldn’t escape her own home or recliner, because she had to focus on breathing.
Six days after she buried her husband, Jack pounded on Eloise’s door. Jack, a man she hadn’t seen or spoken to in over a decade. Jack, the only man including her husband, who Eloise felt truly knew her.
Jack’s life hadn’t been without its fair share of loss. Breaking contact after Eloise’s marriage had seemed the best thing for them, but regret tortured Jack when Eloise swung open her door and he saw the shell of the woman he once loved.
Eloise pushed Jack away ten years ago and never expected him to come back into her life. She hated herself for wanting Jack to stay, but she couldn’t help but remember the love they once shared and the life that they could’ve had—or the life they could have now.
The longer Jack stayed, the more he realized Eloise blamed herself for not being there when her husband died. Jack wanted a second chance, but Eloise didn’t think she deserved one. Eloise wanted to find herself, but wasn’t sure she could while dealing with grief, Jack’s deployments, PTSD, and a universe that seemed determined to keep them apart.
A Second Chance Standalone Romance

 AUTHOR GUEST POST

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author? 


I’m Shalana Battles. I write romance, but I mix it up with magic and the paranormal. I struggled for a long time with this idea that as a writer I had to choose one genre and stick with it. I saw a lot of videos and posts talking about sticking to one genre. However, I had stories in my head that crossed genres and I didn’t want to publish under multiple names. The way I fixed this problem was to add a clover to my books that are contemporary romance. My first novel, Soul Jumper, is a paranormal romance and it doesn’t have the clover. The Man Before You, a contemporary romance, does. My next book, Encampment is fantasy/romance and won’t have the clover. I wanted a way to clue readers into what they were getting into without changing my name. So far, it’s worked well for me. I’m excited to see what happens as I continue to publish. 

 

I’ve always been a writer. I have stories dating all the way back to four year old me. I’ve always known that I wanted to tell stories. I studied journalism and cultural anthropology in college largely because their foundations are in storytelling. After I had my son, I took the plunge and started my lifestyle blog, battlingthechaos.com. After that, I started working seriously on my first book, Soul Jumper, and I’ve spent every bit of the last three years focused on making being an author my career. I’ve always known what I wanted to do, I just spent a long time not sure how to get there. I’m still learning every day, but I love the journey I’m on and can’t wait to see where it leads. 

 

What are some of your pet peeves? 

 

I hate when people don’t push in their chairs. I’m also very big on being polite. It’s super annoying to me when people don’t say please/thank you. I’ve been told I say those things too much, haha, but I think it’s important to let others know that I appreciate them! 

 

Where were you born/grew up at? 

I was born in Globe, Arizona, and I grew up in Morenci, Arizona. Something pretty cool about Morenci is that it’s one of the last truly company owned towns in existence. Morenci is a copper mining town (technically a camp) and everything – houses, land, etc. – is all owned by Freeport McMoRan (FMI). I grew up a lot differently than most, because to live in Morenci you have to work for FMI. I never saw class differences growing up, because all of my peers had parents working for the same company as my dad, making roughly the same money. Everyone I knew had similar or the same clothes, toys, and cars. 

 

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, I’d spend my last day making sure my son had the absolute best day. I’d want his last memories of me to be fun. I’d tell him repeatedly how wonderful he is and how much I love him. We’d spend the whole day doing all the things he loves.

 

What are you passionate about these days? 

I’m passionate about writing, but that’s a given. With my writing, I have a passion for giving back. I knew from the start that I wanted to use my books to help others. When I published Soul Jumper, I donated $1 of every paperback sold in October (Domestic Violence Awareness month) to The Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation. When I published The Man Before You, I started a Patreon that I will use for all future books. Currently, my Patreon is benefiting Base Camp 40 and the Jaim’ee Rodriguez scholarship fund. I was raised by a mom who would give the shirt off her back to help someone else, and I love that my books can help do a little good in the world. Being able to grow my donation projects is a huge motivating factor on my publishing journey.  

 

I’m also very passionate about animals/animal rights. I have three dogs, goats, a mini horse, two rabbits, a red ear slider turtle, and chickens. Giving rescues or pets being rehomed a loving home is super important to me. I think it’s imperative that we are educating people on animals as well as the importance of hunting and land conservation. In The Man Before You, Eloise opens her own animal sanctuary and I’d love that to be me one day.

 

Prior to Covid, I was a full-time high school English teacher. My passion for education has changed over the years, but the love of learning has always remained. I’ve been on multiple committees to better our education system and I don’t see myself ever completely leaving that world. In my mind, there are so many things that we could be doing better, and fighting for our kids and their education is a fight worth fighting. 

 

What do you do to unwind and relax? 

When I want to unwind, I binge shows like Bones, Criminal Minds, Castle, and 911. I love being able to sit down and watch a show for hours on end and give my brain a break. I enjoy reading and photography as well.  

 

How to find time to write as a parent?

I have a three year old son who is extremely busy. In the mornings while he eats breakfast, I write. Occasionally, he still naps (like now, haha) and I can sit down and work. It’s funny too, because I get a ton of writing done if I’m working outside my home, like when I was teaching full time or when I substitute teach. I get the majority of my writing done at home when my son is asleep or entertaining himself. A couple of days ago, he spent a good amount of time playing with Playdoh and I was able to write for a while while he played.   

 

I think writers who are parents need to be okay with the fact that their schedule is going to look a lot different than a writer who doesn’t have kids or a partner. You have to find a schedule that works for you and if it’s weird hours, then it’s weird hours. Writing when you can is also important. You may only get five to ten minutes randomly throughout the day, but those minutes and words will add up. Just because you can’t sit down and write for six hours straight doesn’t mean you can’t finish a book. Also, kids do get on a schedule. Sometimes parents put them on that schedule and sometimes (like with my son) it happens organically, but regardless it will happen. Once it does, work your writing into that routine. I know my son will let me drink coffee and write while he eats breakfast. I know he’ll want to go outside and I often take my laptop out while he plays with his trucks in our backyard. I’ve written sitting in our bathroom as he plays in the tub. The time is there, I promise. You just have to see those moments in your day and capitalize on them. 

 

What can we expect from you in the future? 

I have a schedule of books for the next three years! One of those projects is a spinoff of The Man Before You that I’m making into a series. I’m calling it The Grand Mesa Men and it will focus on Jesse’s sons (who you meet in The Man Before You) finding love. 

 

My next book, Encampment, is set to come out in May 2021. I also plan to release the first book in the Grand Mesa series in July 2021 and hope to publish the sequel to Soul Jumper in October 2021. 

 

Who designed your book covers? 

Designed with Grace and I adore her! Her covers are incredible.

 

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? 

Yes! I learned a ton, but the most important thing I learned was not to rush the process. With my first book, Soul Jumper, I spent nine months editing. When I finished The Man Before You I didn’t want it to take another nine months or more to see it published. I got impatient. I set a deadline on The Man Before You that drove me and my editor a bit crazy. Also, on Amazon if you miss your posting deadline, you are not allowed to set up a book for pre-order for TWO YEARS! AH! Long story short, with the time difference, I missed the deadline and was super panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to allow readers to pre-order for the next two years. I called Amazon and they were really helpful and lifted the ban for me, thank goodness, but I never should have set myself up for failure like that in the first place. I am currently working on my next book, Encampment, that comes out in May and I left myself two weeks between my editor returning it and it having to be uploaded to Amazon. For The Man Before You I gave myself less than two days. Crazy, I know. 

 

I will never push myself like that again. It wasn’t fair to my editor and it wasn’t fair to my book. It is so easy to just want to publish the next one, but being in a rush means risking publishing a book that isn’t ready. It means a higher possibility of mistakes, typos, plot holes, and losing privileges such as offering pre-orders. I am blessed with an amazing editor, who made sure The Man Before You was publish-ready, but the stress of that wasn’t worth it. Clearly, I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but I don’t recommend that route. The planning process that goes into publishing a book will never be ignored by me again. 

 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?   

 

All of my characters are based on real people, but some more so than others. Sometimes I’ll have a character that is heavily based on one person and other times I’ll have a character that is pieces of multiple people. I’m of the frame of mind that everything comes from somewhere, so even if writers don’t always know who their character inspiration is, there is one out there somewhere. I usually recognize when I’m basing a character on a specific person and will sometimes have to change things so that the character isn’t too much like the actual person. Other times, I will make up a lot about a character from my imagination, but will still reference a real person when I’m writing reactions and emotions. 

 

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

 

My characters always hijack the story. I look at writing differently than a lot of people I know. When I write, I obviously use my imagination, but I picture the stories I’m writing as alternate lives. If things had worked out a different way, if we lived in a different type of world, if I had said yes/no to a specific person from my past…there’s infinite possibilities if you start to think about every big choice you’ve ever made. You really can live a million lives in one lifetime. I truly believe that. The Mark Batterson quote, “You’re only one defining decision away from a totally different life,” sums up my writing style. I use my writing to explore those alternatives. In life, we don’t always get a say and my characters are no different. Things happen to them and they react to those things, usually in a way that surprises me. I almost never feel fully in control of my stories, because I envision them as universes playing out and they always do that in their own way.  

 

The Man Before You deals with a lot of emotional topics, but it all comes down to who we are as people after we lose someone that matters to us. Every person deals with that differently, but we’re all the same in the sense that it changes us. When a person reads The Man Before You, or any of my books, I hope that they find comfort in the unknown, in the tragic, and can live in the silver lining that we’re all desperate to find. 

 

What did you edit out of this book?

The major edits I made on The Man Before You dealt with shifts in the point of view. Originally, the book jumped between the main characters, Jack and Eloise, without indicating a transition. Beta readers noticed, but didn’t say it should be changed. All of my Beta readers said that once they realized what was happening, they were okay with it. However, my editor definitely thought it should be changed to avoid confusion. I also had moments where I included the point of views of side characters, like Nickie, Eloise’s best friend. Those are gone in the final version. I hated making some of those changes, because I felt that those points of views allowed readers to see another side of Eloise, and know her through the eyes of her best friend. But, I agree that the book flows much better now and leaves way less room for confusion. It’s also not common practice to include the point of view of a side character or characters. I’ve seen it done, and even done well, but it’s not something readers see much of. In this instance, I decided to go the route that was expected and common practice. 

 

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? 

Characters 100% come to me as I write. When I started The Man Before You, Jesse and his sons weren’t even a thought. It wasn’t until I got to that point in the book, that Jesse evolved and developed. I write a lot like people go through life. We don’t meet all our people right at the beginning. Things happen, things change, people move in and out of our lives and it works the same for my characters. Eloise found herself in a situation where she needed help and that led to her meeting Jesse and his sons. Writing this makes me realize how very little I plan out a story before diving in, haha. 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I don’t research before beginning a book, but I do a ton of research as I write. For The Man Before You, I talked to two people in depth about their experiences in the military. I also questioned multiple others about their experiences. I spoke to wives who are married to people in the military as well. When I’m writing and I get to a spot where I know I don’t have the experience or knowledge to write the scene, I seek that out. 

 

For my first book, Soul Jumper, I had to research parallel universes. I didn’t get theoretical in the book, but I wanted to have an understanding of the concept to a point that I could write it in a realistic way. This research didn’t happen until I was doing my first round of edits.  

 

For my next book, Encampment, I had about half of the book written before I started researching the history of witches. I found out a lot of information and went back and changed my story where I needed to in order to make it more accurate. I also spent hours and hours researching how to write horror and I did this for one scene. The book itself isn’t horror, but there’s a scene that is bloody and scary and as a romance writer I had no idea how to do that. So, after well over six hours of researching horror writing, I wrote my two page scene.   

 

My biggest thing is getting the words on the page. I can do a lot with 30 or 40 thousand words, but I can’t do anything with a blank page. I tend to write until I hit a wall and then I go back and research and pick it apart.   

 

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? 

When I write, I listen to a single song on repeat. I see that song as the theme song for the book. With Soul Jumper it was Lead Me Back by San Holo and for The Man Before You it was Dive by Ed Sheeran. I get a ton of inspiration when I hear the same song over and over. I use the song to tell the story. Songs tell stories on their own, but when I can picture the actions of my characters to the music it helps me tremendously in moving my writing forward. 

 

The Man Before also has a playlist. It’s on my YouTube channel. 

 

Advice they would give new authors? 

 

My biggest piece of advice is to trust yourself. Writing is very subjective and as a beginner it is easy to think you have to make every change that is recommended to you. Definitely take advice from your Beta readers and your editor and listen to readers’ opinions, because most of the time they make the story better. That isn’t the same thing as never saying no. Make the changes you want to make. Remind yourself why you’re telling the story and stay true to your vision for that story. The flip side of that is, don’t only say no. You have to find balance and find people that want to help you grow and succeed. Criticism doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. You have to be open minded to the suggestions of others, but you don’t have to live by those suggestions. I realize this is a lot easier said than done. For me, it helps to read feedback and let it sit with me for a day or two before I decide what I’m going to do. Sometimes I write the changes, read them, and then decide which version I like better. 

 

With The Man Before You, one of the hardest changes to swallow was making the main character, Jack’s best friend, Chase, undeployable. After a mission, Chase starts suffering symptoms of PTSD. He goes to Jack for help and shortly after they’re redeployed. In the original version, Chase was with Jack and I wanted them together so, so badly. However, it was pointed out to me, multiple times, that Chase wouldn’t be deployed after seeking help for PTSD. I had to rewrite huge chunks of my story and also develop another character enough that they could be the one with Jack on that deployment. It was rough. I had this pictured so perfectly in my head. It was important to me that those two be together on that deployment. However, accuracy was more important. Showing Chase choose to get help was more important. This was a super hard change to swallow, but when I gave in and tried it my book got better. 

 

I’ve also been blessed to find a couple of people who will read things and give me feedback. Find two or three people that can read your stuff and give you honest feedback. Having someone read your drafts and only tell you how amazing you are isn’t going to help you grow as a writer.  

 

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?

 

I never outline a book first. I know some people are cringing at that, but I honestly believe that writers can get so caught up in the process that they never get past the planning stage. I see so many writers in the writing community online that have been planning and outlining for literal years. You can think and think and think and plan, but that isn’t getting words on the page. I am 100% a dive right in writer. I just write what’s in my head to start a story and almost always I’m not starting at the beginning, but when I get all of it on the page then I have a true starting point. You don’t have to have a perfectly planned out story to write a book. I think too often aspiring writers are so afraid of failing, either not finishing the book, or it being bad, that they don’t ever start the book.  

 

I am usually about halfway done with a book, word count wise, before I go through and roughly outline. When I say rough, I mean super rough. I read what’s there and say okay I need a chapter before this and x, y, z needs to happen to get us here. So, I’ll add a blank page and write down a couple bullet points. Once I’m at the end, I write down what else needs to happen in order to reach the resolution.  

 

Another thing I do way later is even out the number of pages in each of my chapters. I learned this while writing Soul Jumper. I’d have one chapter that was 5 pages long and another that was 18 pages long. Now, when I’m close to finishing a draft I’ll go through and count my pages. I end up with a range so that each chapter is between 10-14 pages or whatever that count ends up being. While I do this, I make notes in my notebook about what each chapter still needs, what I need to research, or I make a check mark indicating that the chapter is done. It’s basically a t-chart with the chapter number on one side, and the page count and notes on the other side. 

 

I definitely believe that there is such a thing as too much planning. Each person should write in a way that works for them. However, if your goal is to finish and publish a book then don’t fall into the trap of spending months making notes about your main character’s favorite color and how they take their coffee. Those are fun things that you can play with later. Focus on the things that will move your story forward and on finishing your draft. 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

 

To start sharing my writing sooner! I spent years not sharing my writing and that isn’t the way to get better. I see young kids now posting their stuff all over the internet and I think that’s amazing. There are so many platforms now to post stories on and they don’t have to be stories that you plan to publish either. Just get your stuff out there, let people read it and get their feedback. 

 

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

 

This is a fun one, because I actually struggle more writing characters from the same sex. In Soul Jumper, my main character is male and in The Man Before You readers get both perspectives. There are times when I have no clue how a male would react to something, and in that case, I ask. I ask friends, or my husband, or one of my brothers. I have made a lot of phone calls to males in my life saying, here’s the scenario, now what would you do? This makes it easy on me, because I have multiple men telling me how to handle the situation. It takes some of the pressure off. 

 

In general, I just tend to gravitate toward writing male characters. The Grand Mesa Men series is going to be told from the point of views of each of Jesse’s sons. I may include the female main character as well, but I’m still deciding on that. I can’t really explain why, but males are just easier for me to write. 

 

When I’m writing females, I think I tend to overthink it because I know that not all women are going to react to something the same way I will. The way I feel about something doesn’t speak for all females. For some reason that makes me struggle so much more, because I want to attack it from as many angles as possible. It sounds silly, but I question myself way more when writing same sex characters.  

 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do to an extent. I know from experience that there are times when I have to step away from a scene because I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do next. Where I’m probably different is I don’t step away from the whole story. I will write a note at that spot in bold that tells me what I need there and then I move on. I skip over that part and keep writing. Eventually, the scene comes to me and I can go back and fill it in. The difficult part here is that sometimes that scene affects things after it and I’ll have to make changes to pieces that I wrote when I skipped that part. It’s worth it to me to make a few small changes, instead of just stopping completely for hours or days until my brain can process that section. So, yes, I think writer’s block is real, but no I don’t think it has to halt the entire draft.    
  

Shalana Battles is a YA/Adult writer who tells stories about love…sometimes with witches and ghosts. Her debut novel, SOUL JUMPER released October, 6, 2020. Be the first to hear about upcoming projects and book updates by signing up for her newsletter below!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
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Book Blog Tour and Guest Post for The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes by Liese Sherwood-Fabre

The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes: Essays on Victorian England
Box Set Volumes 1 & 2
by Liese Sherwood-Fabre
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are full of everyday Victorian activities and events that send the twenty-first-century reader to consult their reference books. Few, for example, are intimately acquainted with the responsibilities of a country squire, the importance of gentlemen’s clubs, or the intricacies of the Victorian monetary system.
These forty-eight short essays, gathered together from the first two volumes of “The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes” series, explore various aspects of life mentioned in the original stories. Readers gain modern-day insight into the nineteenth-century world. Untangle the complexities of inheritance, the Victorian wedding, and the treatment of brain fever. Discover the pleasures of the circus, the Turkish bath, and beekeeping. Such examinations bring deeper meaning and color to the adventures of the world’s most famous consulting detective.
**Only .99 cents!!**
The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes: Essays on Victorian England
Volume Three
What do “slop shops,” “scissorizing,” “agony aunts,” and “foolscap” have in common?
These and other Victorian references appear throughout the original Sherlock Holmes tales. What was part of everyday existence to the Victorian has the modern day reader running to references books to discover its significance. These twenty-four short essays explore various aspects of life mentioned in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes tales, providing modern-day insight into the nineteenth century world. Topics include:
*Violins
*Electric vs. Gas Lighting
*Scrapbooking
*Agony Columns
*The Agra Fort
*Cardboard
*Sound Recordings
*Telephones
*Jellyfish
*Rugby
*Brandy
*The Opera
*The Crown Jewels
*Yellow Fever
*Snakes
*Italian Political Organizations
*Banks
*Diabetes
*Pocket Watches
*Writing Paper
*Coroners
*Pawnshops
*Clothing
*Calling Cards
This collection also includes a bonus essay—”Evil Women: The Villainesses of the Canon,” originally published in the Baker Street Journal.
Be prepared to be enlightened and entertained!”
– Carole Nelson Douglas, Bestselling Author
**Only $1.99!!**

How I Write

 

Most writers will tell you they are either a “plotter” or a “pantser.” That is, some writers will develop extensive outlines before they begin writing. They know exactly where the story is going and how the characters will move through the plot—from beginning to end. I’ve even read of some who, given this approach, will be able to identify specific areas that need to be researched and complete that as well before writing the first draft.

 

I admire and envy such writers because I’m a complete pantser—someone writes by the seat of her pants. I have no idea where I’m going until I get there, letting the characters lead me through the journey. I do know the end in a vague way. A mystery will have a solution. A romance, its happy ending. The world is saved in a thriller. I tend to write linearly—I start at the beginning and keep going. When I get stuck, I consider what possible plot complications—the more perilous, the better. This requires me to stop at times to research something I never knew I needed to know about until then. At this point, I have to be disciplined because it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole chasing after fun and interesting facts that might or might not be related to what I’m writing.

 

In the end, I have a hot mess (plot holes, too much/too little description, a plot thread that goes nowhere) that I have to organize into a coherent story—that’s where outlining and other techniques come in handy. But for me, the unexpected directions are just part of the joy of writing.

 

To see the results of some of Dr. Sherwood-Fabre’s research, check out her series of essays on “The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes.” Volume Three has just been released, and the first two are now available in eBook as a box set.

Liese Sherwood-Fabre has won awards for her thrillers, romance, and literary short stories, and NYT bestselling author Steve Berry describes her writing as “gimmick-free, old-fashioned storytelling.”
In the second grade, she knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years. She draws upon these experiences to endow her characters with deep conflicts and emotions.
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Book Blog Tour and Guest Post for Dragonfly Dance by Becca Maxton

Dragonfly Dance
Mercy Mountain Series Book 1
by Becca Maxton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Some things are worth the wait…
Ben Mannis never got to be young, wild, and free. Both his parents died when he was 20, leaving him a ranch to run and younger siblings to raise. Now 42, life—and love—seems to have passed him by. Not that he’s complaining, the town is his family and he’s been too busy to fret a missing love-life. When he’s asked by the newspaper editor to show the Gazette’s owner around the local area for a few days, Ben is happy to oblige. Little does he know everything he’s missed out on is arriving wrapped in one sophisticated leggy, blonde package.
Catherine Kendall wants to live her creative dream and not the dictated life her father has assigned. As the only child, she’s been groomed to run the family publishing empire. Trouble is, she hates the news business, hates the city, and longs to live near mountains and indulge in becoming a sculptor. So, while the town thinks she’s come to inspect the Gazette, she’s really there on a frustrated dare her father tossed out—prove herself an artist or return to Kendall Publishing and never speak of her silly ambitions again. The mountains are just what she needed to spark her passion. Turns out, so is the handsome rancher acting as tour guide.
Can two late-bloomers turn a sexy fling into true love, or has their time passed them by?
GUEST POST

What book do you think everyone should read?

For romance, Outlander.  Non-romance, Crime and Punishment.

 

How long have you been writing?

My writing has evolved.  When I was very young, I wrote these odd-ball “books” (loose term) about different kinds of cats.  I did a lot of research and felt serious about it.  I’m not sure I can explain today what this was all about! By the way, I do not have any cats.

 

Later, I tried writing essays about life.  I’m an optimistic person, but for some reason my essays came out too serious or worse, preachy.  Who wants to read that?

 

I didn’t read a romance book until well into adult-hood. I was hooked, devoured hundreds in record time and read all heat levels (you know, for research). To this day, there are some where I still can’t figure out the acrobatics involved. But I digress. It was late 2012 when I started writing romance.

 

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

They all show up in quick succession and are all talking.  I hear their conversations first. Soon after I begin to see them.

 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

Geography — even though the locations are fictionalized.  Weather. Trees. Flowers. Whatever jobs my characters have. Time period, if not current day.  Funny little things too – like how long is an ambulance ride from point A to point B?  What songs were on the radio that year?  For Dragonfly Dance, I researched sculptures and the bronzing process – even though most of this detail didn’t make it in the book.

 

Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely!  I do have a long-time career in the non-writing world too. But creating worlds, characters, stories is what I am passionate about.

 

What do you think about the current publishing market?

I am very appreciative that it is possible to share my writing with readers.

 

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

Romance. Romance. Romance.

 

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

Silence.  I lose myself in it and have no sense of time.  Sometimes I’ll look at the clock and – blink — it’s suddenly 3 hours later.

 

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

I have limited time, so I stay focused by working on one at a time.

 

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

My favorite character is Hepzibah – from the children’s book Horrible Hepzibah by Edna Mitchell Preston.  That’s probably not what you expected to hear. She’s deliciously mean to her nemesis, whose name is Beautiful Vanilla. Not all girls are sugar and spice.

 

A day in the life of the author?

 I have a demanding technical job so a typical day starts early. After work, I sometimes row. On weekday evenings I focus on writerly tasks like promotion, creating graphics, social media or outlining.  I write on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s pretty much work, row, write, eat, sleep, repeat.  That’s not a martyr thing. I’ve become a minimalist with my time. There is only so much we can accomplish, so I prioritize what means the most.

 

Advice they would give new authors?

Listen to your intuition. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with everyone else’s advice and opinions.  Trust yourself and your goals.

 

What are they currently reading?

 I recently read The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams and loved it.

 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Emotional stress, such as managing a family member’s serious illness, unemployment or other financial struggles. It’s very hard to drum up creativity when exhausted and/or worried.

 

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

I’d say a little of both. I’m writing stories and characters I want to share, but hopefully in a way that is universal and appealing.

 

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I researched writing male characters and took writing classes on the topic. I try to remember that men don’t ask a lot of questions, they make statements. I have a male beta reader, among others, who keeps me honest (and chuckling) with comments like: “Wait, what about his blue balls?” and “He should say f**k more.”

 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

 Not especially, but we all have slumps where we are uninspired. Slumps affect everything, including writing.

 

Becca Maxton is a contemporary romance author. She writes sensuous (dare say, steamy) and encouraging stories about rocky road detours leading to resilience and romance. Her characters are brave women and men facing challenges together and finding love.
Becca is a member of Romance Writers of America, Colorado Romance Writers and the best critique group of writer friends ever. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and son.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
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Book Tour and Guest Post for Stuck with You by Christina Mandelski

Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47566283-stuck-with-you

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Link to Tour Schedule:

Giveaway Details:

  • One (1) winner will win a signed copy of all 3 books in the First Kiss Hypothesis series by Christina Mandelski

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link to Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e772/?

Stuck with You by Christina Mandelski

Publication Date: September 2, 2019

Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush

When Caleb Gray heads to the Texas coast to mentally prepare for a future he isn’t sure he wants, the last person he expects to see is Catie Dixon. Yeah, their mothers have been planning their wedding since they were born, but he and Catie are most definitely not friends. He can’t see her as anything but the annoying kid who followed him everywhere. Except, it’s really bothering him that everyone is staring at her in that bikini…

Catie got over her crush on Caleb ages ago. So why can’t she see past his ripped body or how unsettled he seems? She’s got her own problems, though. Her future has been set for years and now she’s dreaming of pulling the plug. A week at their families’ beach house is just what she needs to pull herself together, and she has no intention of letting Caleb back into her heart…which would be a whole lot easier if he’d put on a shirt.

But a forced week of togetherness full of beach parties, waterslide mishaps, bonfires, and roller coasters sparks more than an understanding. What do you do when the person standing in the way of your future is the one person you grew up hating…but now don’t?

Guest Post

Dear Reader (a note to your readers)

Dear Reader,

Thanks for stopping by! If you’re like me, you love a good love story and I think that’s what I’ve created in my latest YA novel, Stuck With You. Caleb and Catie were raised together. Their family co-owns a business as well as a beach house and their parents still joke about them getting married someday. Unfortunately, they could care less about each other and they don’t think the joke is funny.

With Caleb graduating from high school and Catie starting her senior year, they both have many changes ahead and neither of them are ready. To that end, Caleb goes to the beach house for a week of rest and relaxation. What he doesn’t realize is that Catie is already there, unbeknownst to her parents, with a few friends, to hang out, maybe meet some guys and chill.

Of course, there’s nothing chilly about what happens next. Despite their best efforts to avoid each other, their orbits can’t help but collide, and those collisions produce some heat!

I loved writing this book, set on the Gulf coast of Texas (and near my real life home of Houston). I loved hanging out with Catie and Caleb as they alternately fight then give in to their attraction and as they figure out their futures—together and apart. I hope you enjoy their story!

Thanks for having me on the blog!

About the author

Christina Mandelski was born in South Florida, where her love of reading was cultivated in a house full of books. Stories like The Little House series, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Secret Garden, filled her imagination and fueled her dreams to be a writer. That dream came true when her first young adult novel, THE SWEETEST THING, was published in 2011, and she’s beyond thrilled about her upcoming series for Entangled Crush. Chris lives in Houston with one handsome husband, two beautiful daughters, and two freakshow cats. She has a fondness for the beach, her family and friends, and she still loves to read (especially curled up with a good cup of coffee!) She also enjoys shopping, traveling and eating, especially cake. Always cake. When she’s not doing these things, you can find her holed in a cozy spot with her laptop, writing. Visit her at www.christinamandelski.com.

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Blog Tour and Author Guest Post for Changeling of Fenlen Forest by Katherine Magyarody

CoFFTour

Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43697803-the-changeling-of-fenlen-forest   

Purchase Links:

BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | TBD 

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-changeling-of-fenlen-forest-by-katherine-magyarody/   

Giveaway Details:

Two (2) winners will receive a physical copy of Changeling of Fenlen Forest by Katherine Magyarody (INT) a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link to Giveaway:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e763/?

Magyarody_Katherine_Book Cover
Elizabeth thinks she knows the gloomy Fenlen Forest. But when her treasured unicorn fawn, Sida, goes missing, Elizabeth tracks her into a strange land where the people think Elizabeth is a changeling, a malignant being who too closely resembles a missing girl.

If Elizabeth can find her fawn and uncover the fate of her lost double, can she stop the fear from turning into hate? To solve the deepening mystery, Elizabeth befriends a handsome, skeptical young shepherd whose stories hint at a dark secret lurking at the forest’s edge, and follows a herd of wild unicorns with the ability to unlock the past.

GUEST POST BY THE AUTHOR

Cover Love (Why you love the cover)

A spooky forest and a charging unicorn? The cover of The Changeling of Fenlen Forest is pretty awesome. But my two favourite things about the cover are a little unusual.

First, I love the texture of the cover paper. It’s matte rather than shiny, and the feel is almost velvety…like a unicorn. 

Second, I love the back cover. There is a subtle three-layered border which takes inspiration from the weaving that the girls and women master within the book. 

The importance of weaving as a livelihood and as a cultural craft in The Changeling of Fenlen Forest was inspired by my own cultural background. I inherited a lot of Transylvanian-Hungarian textiles from one of my great-grandmothers and as a kid I learned how to embroider using different complicated stitches. When I got older, I learned more about how weaving bound female communities together. Weaving didn’t just support local economies – the cloth produced was also used to announce different things about a person’s stage of life and their place within a certain village or region. My main character, Elizabeth, has grown up running wild with her unicorns, but as she grows older she learns to respect the work other women do with their hands, even if she’s not very good at it herself!

So, when the editor at Great Plains asked if I had any ideas or suggestions for the cover, I took picture of some of the heirloom textiles. I am thrilled that this little detail made it in!

Also, have you seen that unicorn?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Magyarody 2019 Author Photo smaller.png

Katherine Magyarody grew up in Toronto, Ontario. During graduate school, she researched the history of adolescence, taught children’s literature, and wrote fiction on the sly. Her debut short story, “Goldhawk,” is anthologized in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2017. She currently lives in Connecticut, where she blogs about interesting and weird unicorns at https://offbeatunicorn.com/about-offbeat-unicorn/

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