Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Hannah Fielding, author of Burning Embers

Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Hannah Fielding is a novelist, a dreamer, a traveller, a mother, a wife and an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: she writes full time, splitting her time between her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

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Balancing being an author with everyday life

It’s a classic dilemma for any writer: how do you effectively move between the world of fantasy and the world of realism? How do you juggle dreaming up characters with shopping for, preparing and eating tonight’s dinner? How do you manage to both plan several chapters today and play hostess to some of your husband’s colleagues?

In ‘writer mode’, you are highly creative and imaginative, quite detached from the world around and liable to do daft things like dreamily put ten sugars in your tea and absent-mindedly call your best friend by your protagonist’s name. In ‘real world’  mode you need to be connected to the people and things around you; out of the clouds; focused and engaged.

Ultimately, you’ve two choices:

  • Allow the two worlds to collide: Accept that during the course of writing your novel, you’ll be a little distracted. Ask your family members to make allowances.
  • Strictly segment the worlds: Treat your writing like a professional occupation – set aside dedicated writing time in which you lock yourself away and fully immerse yourself in the activity; then, when the time is up, step away from the writing and be fully present in the real world.

The latter is most certainly my approach, and the one I would recommend. When you separate the activities, you focus best when you are writing, and when you’re not writing, you give your creative mind some time off to recharge and process ideas – and you manage your non-writing life effectively.

The following tips can really help in balancing being an author with everyday life:

  • Plan before you write. Allow yourself a period of time in which you’re lost in ideas, then be disciplined and shape the ideas into a plan from which you then try not to deviate. The result is fewer ‘head in the cloud’ moments when you’re writing.
  • Set a routine. A routine is, I’ve found, ideal for being an efficient and prolific writer. I work out a schedule for the writing, and then break the book down into chunks (usually chapters) for which I set targets. When I know I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve, I can go back to my daily life without ruminating over the book.
  • Make a conscious choice to switch off your writing part. When you’re not writing, don’t write – in your mind. You need time away from the writing. Just as with any activity, you perform better with regular breaks. So make sure you really are taking time out, and not sitting at the dinner table with your family daydreaming about characters!

Any creative pursuit can be hard to manage alongside daily life; but with some planning and self-discipline, you can have the best of both worlds.


1giveawayBurning EmbersBurning Embers
By: Hannah Fielding
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Published: April 20, 2012
Genre: Romance

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Coral Sinclair is a beautiful but naïve twenty-five-year-old photographer who has just lost her father. She’s leaving the life she’s known and traveling to Kenya to take ownership of her inheritance – the plantation that was her childhood home – Mpingo. On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral’s childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father’s death.

Circumstance confirms Coral’s worst suspicions, but when Rafe’s life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fiancé, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa. Is Rafe just toying with a young woman’s affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral’s inheritance? Or does Rafe’s troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine?



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Excerpt & Guest Post: Dangerous Proposition by Jessica Lauryn

Dangerous Proposition

By: Jessica Lauryn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Published: June 25, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense


When Julia Dyson learns her father has been abducted, she believes his hidden profession may be to blame. But when she discovers a man’s name in her dad’s caller history, a man suspected of shady business activity and also her teenage crush, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She confronts her father’s presumed abductor, resulting in an unforgettable kiss.

In the course of one disastrous evening, diamond smuggling kingpin Colin Westwood learns that his best recruit is missing in action, and that the man has been keeping a secret for years—he has a twenty-six-year-old daughter. Determined to protect his identity, Colin vows to find the young woman, and keep her silent at any cost. Later intrigued to learn that she is actually the attractive woman he kissed, he makes Julia an offer. Come to New York City with him to search for her missing father…as his mistress.

Keeping Julia firmly within the groove of his arm, Colin stepped inside the hotel room and flicked on the light switch. After shutting the door, he double-bolted it behind them.

Short of a pale complexion, Julia didn’t appear to be injured. At least, it didn’t look as though she had any bruises. But he knew he wouldn’t feel better until he saw this for himself. Though it was completely unethical, he had half a mind to give her a physical. And if he actually believed he could perform one on her and control himself, he would do just that.

He led a trembling Julia to the bed. Looking into her tearful eyes, he knelt beside her, cupping her cheek. It killed him seeing her like this, killed him even more knowing that he was completely to blame.

Speaking as gently as he could manage, he said, “You’re safe now. It’s all right, sweetheart. You’re safe. I’m right here—no one’s coming after us. No one’s going to hurt you ever again.”

Julia nodded, but she said nothing, causing him to have a horrifying realization. Maybe something had happened between her and Dylan Rossler in that room. She’d been dressed when he found her, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t put her clothes back on afterward, or that Rossler had bothered to remove them at all.

Feeling as though he were on the brink of an explosion, Colin said, “Did that guy—I mean—Dylan Rossler didn’t…you and he didn’t—”

“Of course not! Holy crap, Westwood. What kind of girl do you think I am?”

“One who clearly has a death wish,” Colin muttered under his breath.

“Me?” Julia exclaimed. “I went over there to save your ass. Not the other way around.”

“Which you were obviously doing a phenomenal job with while you were locked inside that bedroom.”

Her chin squared. “You may have been the one to kick the door down, but I would have gotten out of that room with or without your help.”

“If you really believe that, Julia, then you really are naïve. Do you realize what Dylan Rossler would have done if I hadn’t gotten there when I did? Allow me to clue you in, since you’re obviously not aware. Because it’s the same thing every other red-blooded bastard at that party wanted to do to you!”

“You mean”—she bit her lip—“that he—”

“Was planning on having sex with you? Of course, Julia. Of course those guys thought you were sexy, of course Dylan Rossler wanted to have sex with you! I’m not blind. I can see what’s right in front of me. Any man at that party who didn’t want you was either gay or in a drunken coma!”

Her blue eyes narrowed, and Colin bit his tongue. He hadn’t intended to say all that out loud. Hadn’t intended to say any of it, in fact. But he was glad it had happened because he was done holding back.

There was something between him and Julia. A need that ran deep and had been building since that night in his bed. Sometimes it seemed as if it had been longer, particularly at moments such as this when he wanted nothing more than to toss her onto the bed, rip off that damned cocktail dress she was wearing, and sample every last inch of her skin.

He’d wanted to keep his desires to himself, wanted to keep things simple between them. The complications they were risking were great, and God knew he hated the idea that he might be taking advantage of Julia when her father was missing. But right now, he couldn’t seem to think about those things. And after everything they’d been through tonight, he was no longer sure that holding back was going to be possible.

“Does ‘every other red-blooded bastard’ include you?” Julia asked, blinking her blue eyes furiously.

Colin took a staggered breath. Narrowing his gaze, he approached her with two hastened steps. “If you didn’t want me to behave like a red-blooded bastard, Julia,” he whispered, “then, you shouldn’t have worn this dress.”

A great book can do wonders for the soul. It’s there for you when you need a friend, or a distraction. It can serve as an escape, or a fantasy in which to indulge. Books comfort us, and they take us to places and times we’d otherwise never know. There’s only one thing I love more than a great book. That is, a great series.

When I was an adolescent, I loved reading Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High. Twin sisters Jessica and Elizabeth served as the perfect contrast to one another. One is introverted, smart, and studious, while the other is the life of the party. At the age of 12, I had no idea why I was so drawn to the duo, other than the obvious fact that I wanted to be living the life of a teenage girl myself. But looking back, I realize the draw actually stemmed from something much deeper than that.

Series writing can take on a life of its own. In a romance series, the author creates her very own world. She starts with a setting: a time, a place in which her characters will exist in. Then, she gets to work building. Hero and heroine’s story is told in book 1. And in book 2, a new couple typically takes center stage. I think the most exciting part of doing this, for me, the author, is figuring out how I will connect the characters from one book to the next. They don’t necessarily need to know one another, but I’ve found it can be a lot more fun when they do. Writing a series is very different from writing a stand-along book because you have a lot more time and space to play around with. You (the reader) get to see how a family, a group of friends, maybe even an entire town affects the lives of the people around them, possibly for years to come.

My debut series, The Pinnacles of Power, was never supposed to be a series. While I was writing what eventually became my second release, Dangerous Proposal, I was creating what I intended to be the one and only book of its kind. I was, as writers do, spending hours inside the characters’ heads, trying to get to know them. Something I wasn’t expecting struck me while I was doing this. That was, there were several characters in the story besides my hero and heroine who had a story to tell. I already had a setting I loved (several settings, actually), and I had characters who had the potential to become couples, lovers, and soul-mates. They were screaming for me to tell their stories, and so I began doing just that. Barely realizing what I was doing, a series was soon born.

Reading book 1 in a series may not feel much different than reading a stand-alone novel. Doing so, you’ll discover a plot, characters, conflict, and, as is the way with romance novels, a happily ever after. The real fun (at least, for me) comes in book 2, when you already know something about the authors’ world. In books 3 and 4, you know even more, and you’re likely to recognize the main characters as well. You may feel as though you sort-of know them as people, and the setting and time have become all-too familiar to you. This is when your imagination can really take over, because you can completely immerse yourself in the author’s fantasy world—the greatest thing a reader can experience!

I love books. But given the choice, I prefer that they be part of a series. The imagination is one of the greatest things in existence. And I find it easier to put that machine to use when there is a world of stories and characters crafted and bound for my reading enjoyment!


 An author of Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Jessica Lauryn is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is already seducing the heroine from that first point of contact.

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Excerpt & Guest Post: A Matter of Temperance by Ichabod Temperance

A Matter of Temperance

By: Ichabod Temperance
Published: April 17, 2013
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Steampunk

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In a past that never was…

The year is 1869. Earth experiences the close pass of a comet never before seen. In its wake, many of Terra’s inhabitants find themselves changed. Among men, prodigies rise in unprecedented numbers, while many ordinary adults suddenly find themselves possessed of preternatural genius. Likewise, non-hominid animals become self-aware and intelligent.

Fast forward to 1875. A young “comet prodigy” from humble beginnings, Ichabod Temperance, has become the world’s foremost inventor. He travels to England to deliver his latest brilliant invention to a famous explorer, until Fate intervenes. Meanwhile, a lovely young Bluestocking, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, survives an experimental accident only to find herself imbued with a power she can neither understand nor control, while dark forces and malevolent creatures pursue her, leaving a gruesome wake of death.

Yet, worse is to come. The naïve young inventor and the lovely intellectual find themselves fighting not only to save their own lives, but to prevent the destruction of all life on Earth.

Something heavy enters an upstairs hallway. Something big. I put on my “Beauties”. A rapid, and terribly stout tapping quickly reveals our antagonist.

I nearly falter at the sight. Bigger than a grand piano, is our uninvited guest. Putting a few of his legs on the upstairs rail, the grotesque aberration looks down upon us. Clusters of eyes, much like bunches of grapes, spin with dizzy thoughts of consumption. Many pairs of slathering mandibles work and click in fevered expectation. Despite the creature’s bloated weight, it leaps to the ceiling of the grand entrance hall, runs across the wide expanse, and drops upon us.
The Accidental Author

With many years of martial arts training, and participation in Professional Wrestling, I finagled my way into doing a bit of stunt work on an Independent film. “Engines of Destiny” is a no budget epic being brought together by painstaking effort and love. The charming cast introduced me to the concept of “Steampunk”. In my mind, that means to go back in time to reinvent Science Fiction in your own manner. I was directed to a website that encourages one to develop a S/P character. I read a blog entry adventure and was inspired to do one myself. I have never had an urge to write before. But a story poured out of me, and I discovered a talent I would never have dreamed of, had been lying dormant. I thought I wanted to write a Steampunk, Paranormal Adventure. About halfway through, I realized that I wanted it to be humorous. I also realized that I did not like having violence. Especially violence to animals. I also found that I liked animals having a positive role, and for my protagonist, me, to show a kind side to my persona.

This novel came about by accident. After the blog, I put it together as a novel and published it on Amazon. I have since written a loosely related sequel. It is far less violent, not that there is much, if any, in the first, and much more funny. I delve more deeply into the way I like to play with the POV. A good little doggie is also one of the main protagonists.

The author is really just a silly little fellow living in Irondale, Alabama with his furry pack family and the lovely, gracious, kind and patient Miss Persephone Plumtartt.

Guest Post with A.K. Mills, Author of The Parts I Remember

The Parts I Remember
By: A.K. Mills
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: March 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult

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Act first. Think never. Remember nothing.

Welcome to Kelly Rockport’s existence at Haysville University, where responsibility is just an elective. After all, fake IDs, alter egos, and one-night stands are all part of the college experience, right? So what if she blacks out from time to time? Memory is overrated.

When freshman year lasts about as long as a one-night stand and is quickly followed by the Year of the Blackout, Kelly projects junior year to be nothing shy of amazing. But as shots, beer, cocaine and men mesh together in an intoxicating haze, Kelly’s reckless ways get her into serious trouble. The only problem is, she can’t remember what happened.

As she hovers along the edge of consciousness, Kelly forces herself to think past her pain to piece together the shards of her life. This is her story, told in her words: The Parts I Remember.

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Guest Post with Ava Zavora, author of Rosethorn

In my childhood, I used to ride water buffaloes and wade in swamps. When I discovered books, I would go adventuring with Anne of Green Gables, the Pevensies, Bilbo Baggins, or Alanna of Trebond. I incurred my mother’s displeasure for reading too many romance novels, so I learned to hide them and read underneath covers with a flashlight late at night. Nowadays, I travel and write dark fairy tales and romantic novels about adventurous women. And I still stay up too late reading, even though I don’t get in trouble for it anymore.



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Guest Post: Libby Mercer, author of The Karmic Connection

Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper, and for a while she dabbled in design. Libby has been a writer for as long as she can remember. She penned her first book at age seven – a picture book entitled BIG and small. Countless numbers of stories later, her first book, Fashioning a Romance, was published in May 2012, followed by Unmasking Maya and The Karmic Connection. Libby lives in San Francisco.

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Guest Post: Hugh Centerville author of Lottie Barrett Lives (Again)

Lottie Barrett Lives (Again)
By: Hugh Centerville
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Aug. 1, 2012
Genre: Paranormal

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It’s Halloween night, 1966. 13 year old Lottie has been dead a 100 years and the kids go up to the graveyard with the book of spells Charlene Pendergrass swiped from Miss Robespierre. The kids are going to have some fun scaring themselves, bringing Lottie back, but it turns out Miss Robespierre isn’t the faker everyone says she is and there’s nothing fake about her book either and now there’s a ghost-girl walking the streets of Hope Mountain and what to do with her?
Maybe nothing.
Lottie’s no zombie ax-murderer. She’s just a peculiar kid who wants to be a teenager, something she missed the first time. What else she wants is Bobby Clyde, cutest boy in the freshman class and how can Bobby resist? Lottie is cute and sweet and funny, or are those things illusory, a witch’s spell on Bobby? And what’s Bobby going to do when it’s time for Lottie to go back up onto the hill? Bobby is determined to go with her. Lottie doesn’t think he should go but she doesn’t think she could live (or die,) without him. Only Bobby’s mom and big sister can save him and before they can save him, they have to convince themselves it really is true, and there isn’t much time.

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Guest Post: Paloma Beck author of The Seven Sin Sisters series

Lustful Cravings
(The Seven Sin Sisters, #1)
By: Paloma Beck
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
Published: Aug 6, 2012
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance

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Seven sisters are entwined in a legacy bigger than anyone ever expected. One by one, they will find their mates from the immortal Valendite breeds and secure their place in history. Each sister embodies one of the seven deadly sins only to be cast aside once claimed. But claiming comes at the price of separation, causing a weakening of their combined powers, which none want to happen… until Layla, holding the sin of lust within her body, locks eyes with Madden. Madden is one of the strongest of the Valendite Breed, a group of near-immortal men originating from the Italian Wars in the 1500s. Today, the Valendite Breed serve as the Terrorist Elimination Unit (TEU), an invisible arm of the CIA. Their only weakness is their need for a mate to carry on the Breed. So now that Madden has found Layla, he will never let her go. With forces mounting up against the Breed, Madden and Layla will need to rely on all of their powers combined to get them to their Pronouncement.

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Guest Post: Aviva Orr author of The Mist of Bronte Moor

The Mist on Bronte Moor
By: Aviva Orr
Publisher: WiDO Publishing
Published: Jan. 8, 2013
Genre: YA

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When fifteen-year-old Heather Jane Bell is diagnosed with alopecia and her hair starts falling out in clumps, she wants nothing more than to escape her home in London and disappear off the face of the earth.

Heather gets her wish when her concerned parents send her to stay with a great-aunt in West Yorkshire. But shortly after she arrives, Heather becomes lost on the moors and is swept through the mist back to the year 1833. There she encounters fifteen-year-old Emily Brontë and is given refuge in the Brontë Parsonage.

Unaware of her host family’s genius and future fame, Heather struggles to cope with alopecia amongst strangers in a world foreign to her. While Heather finds comfort and strength in her growing friendship with Emily and in the embrace of the close-knit Brontë family, her emotions are stretched to the limit when she falls for Emily’s brilliant but troubled brother, Branwell.

Will Heather return to the comforts and conveniences of the twenty-first century? Or will she choose love and remain in the harsh world of nineteenth-century Haworth?

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Guest Post: Laury Falter, author of Fallen

(Guardian Trilogy, #1)
Published: April 1, 2009
Genre: YA

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Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.


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