Indie Spotlight on Paranormal Mystery Author Elle Klass

Elle’s new series, Evan’s Girls kicks off with the book, Scarlett. The book will release in November 2017 but is available for pre-order at Amazon. This is a story that will make you shudder in fear, cry from sadness and shout for in anger. Scarlett is told in 3 parts and Elle is offering Part I for free via Instafreebie, so get over there and download it today.

Book blurb: When my parents died I became a child no one wanted. Scooted from one foster home to another, facing evils no child should. A foster father who used abuse to control those around him, unloved children who took their insecurities out on others. I was ridiculed and bullied, but none of that was worse than who I was. The part of me that feared even itself.

When my biological half-sister and wealthy husband opened their home to me I thought the terrors of my past were over. That was the farthest thing from the truth. The tortures I faced forced me to accept and take control of the sixth sense that lived inside me from before birth. My biological parentage gave me a gift or a curse. The thing that made me more than an average girl.

Under duress, I was impregnated and gave birth to the most vicious serial killer of all time. He is remembered only with shudders of fear. It is my mission to end his life using the tools stored in my DNA.

Writing a Spin-off Series

When I first wrote Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy it was meant to be a stand-alone. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I realized I needed to further explore and the Ruthless Storm Trilogy was born. The trilogy centers on a specific event that happened. In the first book Eilida witnesses something at her neighbor’s house that scares the pants off her. She runs from the scene. It’s storming and the ground is muddy and slippery causing her to fall and plummet down the mountain, hitting her head on a large boulder. She wakes up in the hospital and doesn’t remember anything. The paranormal connection comes in here and through it she remembers, everything, including what she witnessed. This story became a paranormal fiction award-winning novel.

Each volume is a different characters story therefore, each volume is unique. Volume 2 is more a crime thriller with a paranormal twist including a serial killer and his deranged motives. It’s also a prequel and ends during the event witnessed in Volume 1. Volume 3 is a romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. It picks up a year after the event and ties all the characters and their actions the day of the event together into the twisted shocking truth.

For me that was the end but not for readers. They came at me with questions about the girls the serial killer leaves being physically unharmed. I gave it a lot of thought. There’s no way these girls had picture perfect lives. The series is a thriller so pursuing their lives one can’t expect rainbows and chocolate. There are eight girl’s, one whose story has already been told so that left seven. If it wasn’t for a persistent nagging enigmatic character that is first introduced in Volume 2 it would have stayed at 7 but her story needed to be told. I can’t ignore my readers or my characters so I explored her story and learned so much more about her and the trilogy in general.

When writing a spin-off or a series I recommend a character chart to keep everyone straight, maybe also a skeleton map. Some people are meticulous planners and all those notes will come in handy. I also suggest reading the previous book before writing the next. In a spin-off read them all first. I’m a panster so did none of the above. I don’t suggest doing it this way but when I’m writing a scene or a character from a previous book I open the word doc and “find” what I’m searching for. Another benefit I have s an editor that’s edited all my work.

Promoting is spin-off series is time to promote the first series. Build up hype and be sure to include information about each series in the books. When people enjoy a story, including myself, they don’t want it to end so give them more!

BIO: Elle Klass is the author of mystery, suspense, and contemporary fiction. Her works include As Snow Falls, The Ruthless Storm Trilogy, Zombie Girl, the Bloodseeker series and the Baby Girl series. Her work Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy is a Reader’s Favorite Fiction-Paranormal Finalist in the 2015 Awards. She loves traveling, especially the Caribbean, and beaches. She is a night-owl where her imagination feeds off shadows, and creaks in the attic. If you’d like to learn more about this prolific author you can visit her website.

 

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Indie Spotlight on YA Author Piper Templeton

Rain Clouds and Waterfalls, is a coming-of-age novel told in linked short stories, with each story/chapter named for a Beatles song, that sets the theme of the chapter.  NOW AVAILABLE as an audio book as well.  You can get Rain Clouds and Waterfalls at Amazon and Audible.

The Beatles – Timeless Icons Who Influence Pop Culture Across Multiple Generations

The Beatles continue to influence pop culture as their music inspires and delights multiple generations.   I’ve been a witness to this phenomenon as I’ve seen three generations of families soaking up the unadulterated joy experienced at Paul McCartney concerts.  Their songs are part of our broad pop culture, and they also serve a more intimate purpose to many individuals:  The songs deliver comfort, wisdom, poignancy, and lots of smiles at the memories they invoke.

Their songs are embedded in our collective conscious and plant themselves into ordinary, everyday facets of our lives.  I pass a street sign every evening on my commute home from work named Blue Jay Way.  I often see salads on menus named Strawberry Fields. I have a container of popcorn sitting on my desk right now that I ordered from a Youth Group fundraiser.  The name of the popcorn?  Sergeant Salt & Pepper.

The Beatles have been a recurring presence in movies, whether through dialog, one of their songs playing, or actual footage. As a very recent example, in Twin Peaks:  The Return that recently aired, one character starts telling his work buddy about a dream.  After he recaps his dream, he starts telling the other that he woke up, and then he recites the middle part of “A Day in The Life”  “Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, found my way downstairs…”  The characters give each other a knowing grin.  In Boyhood, there’s a great scene where the dad makes his son a composite of Beatle solo songs that he calls “The Black Album” and walks his son through the rhyme and reason of it all.

Beatles songs play in the background of many films.  One of my favorite examples is the unforgettable parade scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.   Who can forget Ferris dancing away on a float to “Twist and Shout”?  In a somber example, the use of John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the end of The Killing Fields seared our memories and hit the perfect emotional note.

 

How could Forrest Gump guide us through the 1960s and 1970s without bumping into a Beatle?  I love the scene of the old Dick Cavett footage in which Forrest is superimposed over Yoko One, and he finds himself seated next to none other than John Lennon.  Through Q&A with the host, he then inadvertently inspires the lyrics to “Imagine.”  It’s priceless!

You can check out a detailed, lengthy montage of Beatles references in film from the SgtPepperChannel on You Tube.

On a more personal, intimate level, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’ve found that many of their songs function as a Greek chorus to my life.  “Take a sad song and make it better” from “Hey Judge” automatically plays in my head when I’m going through a difficult time.  One day I was driving to work after experiencing a crushing loss.  Weeks had passed since the ordeal, but when alone, I could not get past the crying part of the grief.  I would think about the loss, and the tears would surface.  One morning as the tears started filling my eyes, “All Things Must Pass” came on the radio, as if in direct response to my personal grief.  It helped put matters in perspective and offered me a handle on my grief.

When I think I’ve got my day and week all planned out, and chaos instead ensues, I hear John Lennon’s lyric from “Beautiful Boy” floating through my head:  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”   When life deals blows that seem to come crushing down on me, I hear my Greek chorus again:  “Bang, bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer came down upon her head.”

The Beatles’ music has always been playing along either in the foreground or deep in the background as I journeyed through life.

BIO: Piper Templeton lives and works in the New Orleans area. A Liberal Arts graduate from the University of New Orleans, she loves writing fiction that mines beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary people’s lives. She combines her love of children and books by tutoring second graders in reading.

Other passions include animals, music, nature, long walks, and good laughs.

She developed a love for writing fiction in childhood and forayed into self-publishing in 2014 with her Beatles-inspired novel, Rain Clouds and Waterfalls. If you’d like to know more about Piper you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Spotlight, YA Author TE Carter

Bruno Guenard / BIOSPHOTO

I STOP SOMEWHERE (releasing 2/27/18) available for pre-order in the US and UK

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.

Telling contemporary stories that focus on crime

As a reader, one of my favorite genres is crime fiction and mystery. I’m a huge fan of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, but also of traditional mysteries like those by Agatha Christie. This extends a bit into my personal life as well, as I’ve always been drawn to dark stories and crime shows on television.

When I started writing, I knew I wanted to write something that I would like to read, but for some reason, I found that writing mystery, crime fiction, and horror – despite being some of my favorite genres – didn’t come naturally to me. Instead, I began delving into contemporary fiction, which I also love. As I started writing, though, I also noticed that my reading preferences found a weird way of looping themselves into the contemporary stories I was telling. In a way, I was creating a mashup of genres I loved and telling contemporary stories that focused on crime.

My debut YA novel, I STOP SOMEWHERE is a contemporary novel at its heart. It’s about the world we live in and the things that happen to young women unfortunately. It’s also a story of a crime, but told in a different way. Instead of being about the crime itself, it’s about the reverberating effects of a crime on the people who experienced it. Ellie, the protagonist, is viciously assaulted and the story mainly focuses on her, but it also shows how this attack reaches her father, the detectives investigating the crime, other victims of the same perpetrators (as well as other victims of sexual assault not necessarily connected to the same parties), and even the reporter assigned to cover this case.

From I STOP SOMEWHERE, I continued writing in this mashup genre that one of my critique partners called a form of introspective crime fiction. My second title, releasing in 2019, is also about a crime, but it’s about a girl whose brother commits a heinous act and how his actions affect her. We frequently see stories in the news and we have a morbid fascination with dark crimes, but on the periphery of that, there’s an entire group of people affected on a daily basis by these things – well beyond the criminals and the victims themselves. In this novel, the story follows her coming of age in a world where anyone who gets a hint of her brother’s actions tries to define who she is because of him. It’s about the assumptions we make about people, as well as how we play a role in each other’s experiences.

This has grown to be an area where I enjoy writing. I like considering how actions echo and how people you forget in the storm of a murder trial, for example, live each day with that hovering over them. It’s not necessarily the same focus on the inner workings of a criminal’s mind or on the criminal procedures to track a murderer, but instead, it’s on the realistic and contemporary effects of crime on regular people. I like the label of introspective crime fiction, because crime drama is often more of a public spectacle. We don’t necessarily take the time to consider the inner conflicts and emotional turmoil it may have in real life, partly because crime fiction and mystery are still forms of escapism. I have enjoyed taking a realistic lens to these news stories and considering the questions we usually don’t ask. I think it’s given me a chance to mesh the genres I love with my own writing style and to create something new. I hope readers agree!

TE Carter was born in New England and has pretty much lived in New England her entire life (minus a few years in high school). She still lives in New England with her husband and their two cats. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found reading classic literature, playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions. If you’d like to know more about TE you can visit her website follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

INDIE SPOTLIGHT – YA AUTHOR MELODY DELGADO: PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF

Today we welcome Melody Delgado, an accomplished YA author whose new book, Royally Entitled (link below), has just come out and looks like great summer read. Melody discusses the value of persistence and perseverance in your writing/publishing goals. Take it away, Melody.

Many writers grow up wanting to be authors. While being an author wasn’t something I first considered, I did want to be work the arts. And I did just that. I was a vocalist for many years as well as a music educator and loved being able to work in a creative field.

In order to stay certified as a music teacher, I had to continue taking college level courses. After enrolling and sitting through music courses on topics I already knew backwards and forwards because I was teaching them, it became clear I needed to take courses that would be of interest. Courses where I could actually learn new information. I enrolled in a writing course, wrote a short story, had it published in a magazine and I was hooked on writing ever since.

As most writers know, however, writing a short story and writing a book are two entirely different animals. While several of my other stories were published in anthologies or magazines and I was also lucky enough have two picture books published, again, writing and publishing a longer work is a different kind of battle. Not necessarily harder, but different.

It took me years to write my first novel. It’s a humorous novel for young readers called OOPS-A-DAISY and it is coming to print, audio and digital platforms on September 5th. (I actually got interested in children’s stories while reading with my own children.) Even though OOPS-A-DAISY is only about 40,000 words or 160 pages long, it still was a bear to write because of having to  make sure my writing would still be readable by children in third or fourth grade.

Once my middle-grade novel was completed, I set out to write a novel for teens. I’d always been interested in European history and loved medieval stories featuring knights and princes. Since I didn’t want to be bound by actual historical events I created my own country, the nation of Brevalia. My protagonist had to be someone many people could relate to, so I made her a farmer’s daughter. That’s how ROYALLY ENTITLED came to be. It was released in May of this year and is available on all digital platforms.

What does all of this have to do with perseverance? Well, I started writing novels when my daughter was a toddler. She is now in college. I didn’t land my agent until 2016 and did not sign a contract for a novel until 2017. By the end of this year, I will not only have released two novels, but will be working on sequels of each novel, because my agent got me a contract for a three-book series for both The Brides of Brevalia, with ROYALLY ENTITLED as book one, and The De La Cruz diaries, with OOPS-A-DAISY as book one. Sounds like a lot, and it is. (Especially typing wise!) But none of this would have happened if I’d given up or allowed myself to become discouraged.

Many of us, writers and readers alike, will go through tough times or have to travel on long journeys in order to reach our goals. But if we give up, we won’t get to see where the journey may take us. Both of my main characters had to deal with adversity. Both Anika Pembrie, only 17, and Daisy De La Cruz, only 12, had to become fighters in order to beat the odds and strive for their goals. I won’t ruin the stories by telling you if they reached them or not. But I will tell you that both of them persevered and gave it their best shot. And in the end, that’s all that any of us can do.

Melody Delgado has been a published writer since 2000.  Her short stories have appeared in national magazines such as AIM (America’s Intercultural Magazine), VISTA, and CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE LATINO SOUL.

 She has published two picture books. TEN ROARING DINOSAURS was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and DO YOU KNOW HOW I GOT MY NAME? was recently published by Little Debbie/McKee Foods.

Her inspirational, historical romance for women and teens, ROYALLY ENTITLED, was released digitally by Clean Reads in May, 2017. It is the first in a three-book series called The Brides of Brevalia. A humorous children’s novel, OOPS-A-DAISY, is coming to print on September 5th of this year and is also the first in a children’s series, The De La Cruz Diaries. It will also be published by Clean Reads.

 

Indie Spotlight – Tara L. Ames – How much heat do you like in your romance?

Today, please welcome romance writer, Tara L. Ames. Her new book The Risk Taker looks like a real steamy page turner and you can find the link to it at the bottom of this post. Tara is talking about the different types of and the level of ‘heat’ in romances, today. Take it away, Tara…

Romance is a billion-dollar industry and still leads the market in sales compared to all other genres. Readers want to escape for a while and be swept away to that wonderful world of fiction, whether it’s a sweet love story or an erotic adventure. That’s the beauty of books, there is something out there for everyone. And that includes varying degrees of heat in a romance novel.

Heat Scale 1-5

0-2 Clean Romance

If writing a sweet, clean romance, the hero and heroine may not kiss until the very end of the book, when all their troubles have been resolved and they discover they can’t live without one another. The TV series and movies aired on the Hallmark Channel is a perfect example of this genre. My favorite series is When Calls the Heart.

3+ Steamy Romance

While some readers prefer their hero and heroine to only hold hands or kiss each other lightly on the lips, other want the heat turned up a few notches between their two main characters—such as with mine in The Risk Taker, Book 1 in the Alpha Aviators Series. Top Gun Navy Aviator LT Commander Michael Merrick wanted Commercial Artists Samantha Jackson to be a distraction, not the main attraction, morning, noon and night. I can assure you they are doing a lot more than just light hand holding and spooning—but not to the point where it involves other couples or whips and chains or colorful dialogue, which leads me the next two degrees-whew!! These will really sizzle you.

4 -5 Erotica vs Erotic Romance

Erotica romance actually has a plot, three dimensional characters, who have problems to overcome or resolve. Their love scenes, however, may involve colorful dialogue, sex toys, more than one partner: Vampire/Werewolf/Shifter (V/W/S), M/M/F, F/F/M—the initials go on, but you get the jest of it. Many books include BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) scenes. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James is a perfect example of this genre.

Erotic Romance has two or more characters and the whole story may be nothing but getting it on. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail here.

Most importantly, as a writer, if you state you write sweet and clean or erotica romance then your book better be at that expected heat level, or you’ll really upset your readers. Thank you for having me. Feel free to check out my website at https://www.taralames.com. The Risk Taker, the first release in the Alpha Aviators Series, is on sale at the following retail sites: iTunes  Amazon  KOBO  Nook  Google Play Newsletter 

Have anything you’re dying to know about romances? Feel free to ask Tara your questions in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

False Witness 2.0 – Free this Weekend

 

 

false witness full banner

When a publisher accepted my murder mystery, False Witness, several years ago for publication, I was thrilled. So thrilled in fact, I let her publish it as is, without a thought to editing, cover design or marketability.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about both the business and creative side of publishing. And between you and me, I cringe a little that I was in such a hurry to throw the book up. And I always hated the cover – even though the photograph used for it was one I took myself. A lot of shouldas, wouldas, and couldas.

So when my publisher told me that she was moving on and the rights to my book were reverting back to me, I was excited at the prospect of revising and editing the book. And making it the book it should’ve been. I believe that the edits and revisions have made False Witness a better, deeper, and more cohesive story – and hopefully a better read.

And to celebrate its new life, I am offering False Witness for free for the next three days. (Oct 2, 3 & 4). If you previously purchased False Witness, Amazon should automatically send the new edition to your Kindle, so don’t be surprised if it just magically appears. However, if it doesn’t magically appear on your Kindle or you haven’t read it and might be curious enough to give it a try, then please be my guest and grab yourself a free copy here.

And…we now return to our regular programming…

Annie

Why Waitresses Make Good Detectives

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When I was contemplating writing a series, I looked to my own personal experience to see if there was something unique that I could use to create an interesting character. Though I’ve worked in many fields, the industry where I had an abundance of experience was food service. My very first job was working in a doughnut shop before school. And I quickly learned the joy of working for tips.

For several years after that and whenever I was in a pinch for fast money, I waited tables. Diners, greasy spoons, family restaurants, or dinner houses – it didn’t matter what kind of house, as long as it was popular and had a lot of regulars.

Contrary to popular opinion and stereotypical characterization, waitresses are not airheads. Somebody who isn’t sharp, can’t think on their feet or control ten things at once will get eaten alive in the food biz. In fact, some of the sharpest people I ever knew waited tables. So think again if you believe that woman serving you your food isn’t as smart as you, makes as much (or more) money than you and has a dead-end life. Because chances are you’d be wrong.

A good detective is:

  • Observant
  • Critical thinker/Sharp mind
  • Independent
  • Flexible/able to adapt to changing situations
  • Understands human nature, can read body language and other cues
  • Can intuit what others think/want
  • Curious/Nosy
  • Good with details
  • Can talk a good game
  • Organized
  • Knows how to bend the rules when necessary

Any good waitress has the same skills

  1. A waitress who can’t observe won’t make it. She has to have eyes in the back of her head, be able to sense that toddler zooming around the corner while she’s carrying a pot of hot coffee or full tray – and do it all with a smile and grace.
  2. A waitress who can’t think critically will never be able to juggle orders, customers, special requests – know what table is turning or how to sweet talk the cooks she’s working with. She’ll fall apart and walk out.
  3. All waitresses are independent. In their minds, their stations are their own little franchises and they keep their own going concerns humming. They also know if they do it right, they’ll be validated with good tips. Instead of begging some cubicle king for a 50 cent raise after slaving away for two years.
  4. Waitresses have to be adaptable, they have to be able to think on their feet. It’s how they’re wired. You can go from one coffee drinker in your station to an entire football team in ten seconds. They have to remember who is sitting where and who is drinking what and which person had that special order. This is not a job for sissies.
  5. To work in the food biz you have to like and understand people. You have to be able to read the cues, intuit what they need before they ask. You won’t have to ask a good waitress for crackers for your baby because she’ll bring them and the high chair when she brings the menus.
  6. If you work with and around people all day then you have to have a sense of curiosity. Know how to make small talk. Show interest. With regular customers you better remember their favorite meals and drinks and just how they like their stake. Chance are you’ll know their kids’ names, when they’re graduating from high school and their anniversary or birthday.
  7. Since food service is practically nothing but details, you won’t survive as a waitress if you can’t keep the details straight. Ditto with organization. How could you ever feed 30 people at once if you aren’t organized?
  8. A good waitress also knows when and how much she can bend the rules. And she’ll do fine if she does it in order to give better service to her customer.

So you see, waitresses and detectives have a lot in common. They’re sharp, quick-witted, adaptable multi-taskers who can see a bullshitter coming from two blocks away but can still handle them with finesse and a smile.

How about you? What do you think of waitresses? Have you ever waited tables? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Would you make a good detective? Tell your tales in the comments.

Coffee and Crime new release