Book Tour for Her Outback Driver by Giulia Skye

Her Outback Driver
by Giulia Skye
Genre: Contemporary Romance
*** 2021 Romance Writers of America Vivian Award Finalist ***
Escape with this heart-warming, feel-good romance. A Romance Writers of America, Vivian Contest Finalist!
Perfect for fans of Jennifer Probst, Shannon Stacey and Jill Shavlis.
When former Olympic champion, Michael Adams—now Canada’s hottest reality TV star—insults his fake showbiz wife on social media, he jumps on the first flight to Australia to escape the ensuing scandal. Desperate to experience ordinary life again—if only for a few weeks—he becomes “Adam”; just another tourist exploring the dusty Outback trails in a beat up truck. But with a reward out for his safe return and his fame’s nasty habit of catching up with him when he least expects, Adam needs a better disguise… and he’s just found one.
Tired of lies and liars, British Backpacker Evie Blake is taking a year out of her busy London life, looking for adventure to heal her broken heart. So when the hot Canadian she meets at the campground offers to drive her through Western Australia’s wild Kimberley region, she grabs the chance, unaware he has the world out looking for him. He’s just a down-on-his-luck traveler, right?
But when hot days turn into even hotter nights, how long does Adam have before Evie discovers who he really is?
★★★★★ REVIEWS
A heart-warming romance, with the heat turned up!”Splashes into Books, Book Blogger
A thoroughly unique and sexy debut.”Sincerely Book Angels, Book Blogger
An excellent debut novel… I loved it!”NICOLA CORNICK, International Best Selling Author
Hot and steamy, just like the Australian landscape.”Chick Lit Central, Book Blogger
A strong debut by a confident new author. This is no flowery, fairy tale romance, but a lusty, immediate physical attraction that grows into something emotional and mature.”A Little Book Problem, Book Blogger
Hot, escapist and infused with tension… I loved it!”JULIA WILD, Award winning author of Illusions
A sizzling romance from a sparkling new talent.”LYNNE SHELBY, Author of There She Goes
The perfect amount of steam to make it my kind of story.”Lisa Loves Literature, Book Blogger
Giulia Skye really captures the beauty and remoteness of the Australian Outback.”Chapter & Cake, Book Blogger
Italian-born Giulia Skye writes page-turning romances with a lot of heart and sizzle. She describes her books as pure feel-good escapism! She lives in England with her Man and their two gorgeous sons, loves gardening and hates waste of any kind.
Her Outback Driver is her first novel and to celebrate being a Vivian® Contest Finalist, she is inviting readers to download her book for FREE by joining her mailing list.
Please go to https://www.subscribepage.com/giuliaskye to claim your free copy today!
Follow the blitz HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$75 Amazon giftcard OR Paypal

Book Tour and Giveaway for Adrenaline by B.L. Scott

Adrenaline
Laurel Glen Series Book 1
by B.L. Scott
Genre: Romantic Suspense
A successful woman wary of charming men. A man full of regret for a massive error in judgement. Their fiery relationship that almost wasn’t. A novel of international intrigue, last chances, and trust.
Lindsey Kelly loves two things—fast cars and her counter-terrorism business. She’s a self-made Beltway Bandit who rewards herself for her successes by racing her “baby,” a Ferrari F430 Spider, at Laurel Glen. When the car malfunctions during a practice lap, she meets a new track mechanic, Gavin Blake. Lindsey initially finds his looks compelling, but his judgmental and know-it-all attitude remind her of everything life with her ex-husband taught her to avoid.
For his part, Gavin isn’t interested in rich women who think they own the world. Or so he tells himself. In his previous life as a high-powered attorney, someone like Lindsey could have been his, but now, simplicity is what he craves. He hopes an uncomplicated life as an auto mechanic with little responsibility will help him avoid another colossal error in judgment.
The lives of these two self-avowed loners keep colliding, however, and a steamy on-again/off-again connection develops. They are eventually pulled into a vortex of danger when a terrorist organization attempts a takeover of Lindsey’s company. Working with the CIA, Lindsey becomes bait to draw out the leader of this radical group. Faced with personal jeopardy, Gavin and Lindsey discover a love and trust that is necessary for their very existence.
B. L. Scott is new to the literary scene. For the last thirty years she has been involved with a security training facility and weekend road racing venue located near Washington, DC. The company conducts counter-terrorist schools Monday through Friday and hosts sportscar and motorcycle racing on the weekends.
Her work with both racers and government clients like the CIA, SEALs, and FBI was exciting, and she hopes to express this excitement in her series based at a similar facility, fictionally christened Laurel Glen. Adrenaline is the first of this series.
Though she misses the exhilaration of facing the challenges of a multifaceted business, she’s delighted to have the time to follow her passion–writing stories that excite and touch the heart.
She lives in the Virginia countryside with her aged yellow lab, Abby.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$10 Amazon

Book Tour and Guest Post for Two Kinds of Us by Sarah Sutton

Two Kinds of Us
Love in Fenton County Book 5
by Sarah Sutton
Genre: YA Romance
DIAMONDS MEET ROCK ‘N ROLL AND SECRETS MEET THEIR END.
In a life of diamond bracelets and country clubs, I’m the perfect daughter. I get all the right grades, volunteer at all the right organizations, apply to all the right colleges.
And I hate every second of it. At the rate my life is playing out, under the strict rule of my parents, politicians and housewives will be my future.
Until I meet Harry.
Harry’s a singer in a rock band with a voice so beautiful that I actually feel hypnotized. Doesn’t hurt that he’s hot either, and with the kind, flirty personality to match, it’s the perfect trifecta. And even better, he sees the me I want to be. He sees me as the girl who can break free of the life she’s trapped in, who can control her own future.
The only problem? He knows me as Stella, my fun, carefree alter ego—so drastically different from Destelle, the girl who is trapped in the life her parents rule.
But as we get closer, I realize Harry’s keeping a secret of his own, something related to the dark past that he’s trying to move on from, and when I find out, everything we’ve built could come crashing down.
This is the fifth book in the Love in Fenton County Series, but can be read as a standalone. Check out this Opposites Attract + Hidden Identities Romance today!

GUEST POST

Playlist for TWO KINDS OF US

I always love making playlists for my books! It’s such a fun way to celebrate and incorporate my love for mysic. Do you recognize any of these songs? Because these totally fit TWO KINDS OF US! 

  1. “Daphne Blue” by The Band CAMINO
  2. “Robbers” by The 1975
  3. “Who’s That Boy” by Demi Lovato 
  4. “As I am” by Justin Bieber
  5. “Beautiful People” by Ed Sheeran
  6. “POV” by Ariana Grande
  7. “Into You” by Ariana Grande
  8. “Domino” by Jessie J
  9. “Time of Our Life” by Big Time Rush
  10. “The Way I Am” by Charlie Puth
Sarah Sutton is the author of YA Contemporary Romance books from a tiny town in Michigan. These standalone novels can be read in any order and are sure to leave you swooning. She’s always loved the idea of falling in love; capturing the fall through words and heart-melting kisses is one of her passions! Meet-cutes? She’ll take all of them! Accidental touches? She lives for them! First kisses? Yes, please!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$25 Amazon

Book Tour and Giveaway for Beautifully Broken by Kira Adams

Beautifully Broken
The Infinite Love Series, Book 4
by Kira Adams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Jacqueline
I’m messed up. I could say it was a result of my childhood, but honestly I blame myself. The medicine made me feel numb; the blood made me feel high. He wasn’t supposed to be mine, but although he was scared in the beginning, he didn’t run from my demons. He found beauty in my flaws, beauty in the cracks that barely held me together.
Lee
I had it good—various girls of the week, my dream job, stability—and even then, I knew deep down something was missing. Madalynne opened a door for me; Jacqueline lit the flame. She wasn’t perfect—far from it—but underneath the pain and the scars, I saw her. Sometimes the ones worth fighting for don’t know their worth. Sometimes being broken is beautiful.
Beautifully Broken is the fourth book in the Infinite Love series.
**Only .99 cents!!**
***Don’t miss the other books in the series! ***
Learning to Live
The Infinite Love Series Book 1
Life After
The Infinite Love Series Book 2
My Forever
The Infinite Love Series Book 3
Krista Pakseresht has always been a dreamer, from the first time she opened her eyes, and creating worlds through words is one thing she is truly talented at. She specializes in young adult/new adult romance, horror, action, fantasy, and non-fiction under the pen name Kira Adams. She is the author of the Infinite Love series, the Foundation series, the Darkness Falls series, A Date with the Devil, The Life I Never Asked For, Never Trust a Bad Boy and Ultimate Game Changer.
Want to stay up to date with all the new releases, cover reveals, never-before-seen excerpts, and more? Sign up for the Kira Adams newsletter here.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$10 Amazon

Blog Tour and Guest Post for Gutter Girl by Rush and Blount

Gutter Girl Blog Tour
Gutter Girl

Star football player Jace Rovers has a secret. And not just any secret—a shocking secret… He writes romance. The kind with swords. And dresses. And kissing.

Nobody knows. Not the other kids at Twin River High. Not his overbearing parents. And certainly not the millions of fans who’ve read his book on the writing platform Scribbles. And that’s the way he plans to keep it.

Except suddenly one of the other football players grabs his notebook in jest and starts reading a kissing scene out loud…and Jace knows he’s busted.

But then McKenna Storm, resident goth girl who avoids the spotlight like a virus, snatches up the notebook and tells everyone she’s the author. And lucky for Jace, she later agrees to continue the ruse…for a price.

Heck, he’d give her anything not to reveal his secret. But when they start to fall for each other, he knows he’ll have to keep the biggest secret of all—his darkest character is based on her…

Gutter Girl by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount
Publication Date: May 10, 2021
Publisher: Entangled Teen

If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing

From Kelly: If I knew then what I know now about writing… What a great topic to cover! Okay, so there are a ton of things that I’d tell past Kelly (LOL!), but the following are some of the most important that come to mind: 1) Read as many books as possible! Reading helps expand your vocabulary, mind, and just about everything else you need in order to be a successful storyteller!2) Learn as much as you can about your craft! Read books on writing, go to workshops, watch YouTube videos created by successful authors. There is a lot you can do that won’t cost you a dime! Also, check out blogs by agents, editors, and other people in the industry!3) Find a critique partner or group that can help you elevate your writing. 4) Learn how to process and handle rejection. The writing world is full of it and if you need to be ready for it. But also, just know that rejection, even though it is incredibly personal, is something we can learn from and move on from! A ton of authors don’t “make it big” with their first novel. 5) Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Prepare for the long run and don’t give up!

Hope this helps some aspiring authors! If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out online! I’m @KellyAnneBlount on IG, TikTok, FB, Twitter, Wattpad, etc. 

Kelly Anne xoxo 

From Lynn:  I definitely learned about the writing world on the fly. I’ll never forget some of the first feedback I got from a critique partner: “Do you know what POV (point of view) is?” And I was like, “Huh?” So something I’d tell past Lynn is: learn the craft more before you send your manuscript out to agents and editors!  

Along that same line, I wish I would have gotten a mentor right away. You know, to walk this journey with me, sharing his/her experience with me. It would have helped me avoid some not so great decisions I’d made during this journey.

About the author

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Lynn Rush, is a full-time writer, wife, and trail runner living in the Sonoran Desert, despite her fear of rattle snakes. Known as #TheRunningWriter, Lynn can’t resist posting epic sunrise pictures while running in the desert with her trail sisters, even if she has to occasionally hop a scorpion.

When she’s not running or writing, she’s watching movies that fuel her everlasting love of superheroes, vampires, and all things Supernatural. The books she reads usually carry the same theme, but this former college athlete loves reading sweet sports romances as well. She’s madly in love with her Ironman husband of 20+ years who is the inspiration for what true love is. You can find her on social media as @LynnRushWrites 

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Lynn’s Legion
KELLY ANNE BLOUNT is a USA Today bestselling author of young adult novels. When she’s not writing, she’s probably lost in a book, watching Twilight, snuggling her five furry rescues, or having an adventure with her handsome husband and their darling daughter. After living in a palace in Scotland, across from the Caribbean Sea, and in the snowy land of Wisconsin, Kelly and her family reside in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. Kelly loves connecting with readers on social media! Stop by and say, “Hi!” or ask a question. You can find her everywhere @KellyAnneBlount.

Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57751604-gutter-girl

Purchase Links:

Amazon
Amazon Au
Amazon UK
Amazon Ca
Barnes and Noble
Apple Books
Kobo

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!
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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.
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