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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Q & A With Author Angelina Kerner

Hi, Angelina! Thanks for joining me and let's get started! What is your book NOT about?

It’s not about the most popular girl on campus. It’s not about a perfect girl. 

So, what is your book about?
It’s about a disabled girl going through an experimental treatment while being watched over by a young bodyguard. 

What is your favorite line from your book?

“[Darkness] is the only color I know,” I confessed. 

What celebrities would play your main characters if it were a movie?

David Gallagher as Leon.

Emma Watson as Chanel. 

Take me through a day in your life. 

I work from 8 am to 5:30 pm every day from home. In between, I feed my son and maybe read a little. After work, I take a walk with my son and, while he sleeps in his stroller, I write or read. After that, I make dinner and up to two days’ worth of other meals.  That way, I don’t have to cook as much every day and can spend more time with my son and family. I give him a bath around 9 or 10 pm, and all games stop cause he needs to know that it’s night and everybody sleeps at night. I drink lots of tea in between all of that. 

Show me a picture of your writing spot. 

If you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do?

My mother told me a great many things about her father. If I could spend a day, I would spend it with him. I named my son after her father. He died a year before I was born so I never got a chance to meet him. 

What is the weirdest thing you have had to research for writing purposes?

Nazca lines. People write some weird theories about them. 

I'll have to do some reading on that! What was your favorite book as a child, and what is your favorite book now?

When I was a child, I liked “The Three Little Pigs.” I could never understand why the pigs didn’t realize the wolf was hungry. They would have lived if they’d invited him to dinner. 

Now, it’s The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens. His writing was an inspiration for me to become an author. 

What books are you currently reading? 

1. Candlelight by P.S. Meraux
2. The Curious Tale of Gabrielle (Book 1) by Zachary Chopchinski 
3. Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman
4. Dead Wrong by Lee Dobbs
5. Floozies and Fallout by Ravenna Young

What is the strangest fact about you? 

When I grocery shop, I usually tend to dance next to my cart while I think up what I need to buy. People actually thanked me for brightening up their days. I usually just do the step work of salsa, waltz, or tango. 

What writers inspire you?

James Clemens, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Lloyd Alexander

Why do you write?

Because I’m a dreamer; a Pisces. I always have stories inside my mind so I decided to share them. 

I am a Pisces too! We are definitely the creative type. What are you working on right now?

Into the Flames is a work of new adult fantasy fiction. This is not the final cover design (that’s still in the works). It is a sister book to Deity’s Soulmate. In Deity’s Soulmate, the main character, Gardenia, connects with the Queen of the a break to get away from a certain dragon. The queen tells of her niece and heir apparent. This is the story of how that legacy is fulfilled-complete with romance, competition, and magick. 

How can readers learn more about you and your work?

By connecting with me at:

By following my blog, readers can find out what I’m reading and working on. I also have short stories on the blog and a subseries of entries on the challenges of being a mother and a writer at the same time!

Thanks for joining me and good luck with your new book!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Q & A With Author Aimee Brown

Hi, Aimee! It is so great to have you on here as an author! What is your book NOT about? 

Little Gray Dress is not about the good ole western days. There is no erotica element. There also isn’t a unicorn involved in any way, shape or form.

So, what is your book about? 

Little Gray Dress follows the main character, Emi Harrison, as she tries to manage her brother Evan’s wedding while facing her ex-fiance Jack for the first time in two years. Finding out that Jack is now engaged to her arch enemy doesn’t make things any easier.

What is your favorite line from your book? 

‘It pretty much fits like a glove. The latex kind.’

What celebrities would play your main characters if it were a movie? 

Ashley Benson would play Emi Harrison
Henry Cavill would play Jack Cabot
Josh Duhamel would play Liam Jaxson 

Take me through a day in your life. 

A day in my life. I find that I’m completely unable to sleep past 8 am anymore (sigh) so I generally am up and on my first cup of coffee by then. I feed the fish, put out the dogs and enjoy the silence.

I clean the house in the mornings then work on emails, blog posts or marketing stuff. I have lunch. I then work on some of my husband and my’s main business things. Sending emails, returning calls, filing, all that fun stuff. I homeschool my youngest child, who is 13 so we work on that in the afternoons. I then make dinner, clean again and start writing. Of course, being that I work from home and my kids are older this schedule changes daily it seems but generally it’s safe to assume that I do a lot of computer work, cleaning, yelling, writing, pet care, chauffeuring kids to and from work and activities, and more cleaning. I’m not too exciting.

Show me a picture of your writing spot.  

My writing spot is on the far side of my living/dining room and up against the window looking into my kitchen.

That is beautiful! I love your color-organized books. If you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do? 

Wow! I’d love to see my maternal Grandparents or paternal Grandfather again. They died while I was living far from Oregon so I hadn’t seen them in a couple years before they all suddenly passed.

What is the weirdest thing you have had to research for writing purposes? 

I recently did some research on professional speed rollerskaters, of the male variety. In particular, I was interested in the outfits they wear… I’ll let you simmer on that.

I just Googled that. Very...tight. What was your favorite book as a child, and what is your favorite book now? 

I honestly don’t remember one as a smaller child but as a teen, my favorite book was Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume. I didn’t own it, but I checked it out at the library every other month or so and just loved it.

What book are you currently reading?  

Sadly, right now I haven’t had time to open a book. I’ve been getting ready for Little Gray Dress’s release and working on my next title. But, my Kindle is just heaping full and anxiously awaiting me to open whatever seems to call out to me next.

What is the strangest fact about you? 

Hmmm… besides the very visible tattoo’s (which I don’t even find strange, but it seems others do) I was once arrested when I was 21 (& pregnant, I should probably sue them for distress lol). It was a huge misunderstanding, I didn’t pay a ticket on time (the ONLY ticket I’ve ever received) and instead of the judge suspending my license, which is what should have happened, he put a warrant out for my arrest and since I knew every police officer in town they thought it would be fabulously hilarious to come arrest me, cuff me, put me in the car like a criminal and book me. Until my husband could pay the whopping $60 that I owed, which he had paid by the time they booked me. But that didn’t stop them from doing my prints and handcuffing me to a bench in a cell. Needless to say, that officer and I weren’t friends much longer. Luckily that was my only 15 minutes of jail time. I learned so much while I was hanging out in the slammer alone… 😉

Wow! That's crazy! What writers inspire you? 

SO many!! Wow, Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Meg Cabot, Candace Bushnell and so many indie authors I know that I couldn’t even list them all for fear of missing someone.

Why do you write? 

I love it. I think writing is just a part of me. I fell in love with it in my mid-twenties and realized through a college professor that I was really pretty good at it. It’s taken me a long time to finally find the story that would become my debut novel but I’m glad now that it took this long and that Little Gray Dress is the one.

What are you working on right now? 

I’ll give you five clues.
1- It’s Romantic Comedy.
2- It’s set in Portland, Oregon.
3- It might include a character from Little Gray Dress.
4- A speedskater makes a few awkward appearances.
5- There is a 3-year-old girl named Sasha.

Sounds interesting! How can readers learn more about you and your work? 

I’m a social media addict. You can find me at any of the links below or at my website. I can’t wait to hear from you! Also, I have the cutest Giveaway for the tour opened worldwide. Included is a 'create' coffee cup, some dark & handsome K-cup pods, a cute Life is Short, Eat Cake wall art, some tiny macaroons, a Little Gray Dress bookmark & postcard!

Enter here:

Thank you for joining me and best of luck with your release!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Q & A With Author Camilla Isley

Hi Camilla. Welcome back for your second interview here! What is your book NOT about?

Murder. Tragedy. Evil witches. Dragons.

What is your book about?

Finding love. Learning to love again. Moving beyond stereotypes of how life should be. The love of a pet. Crazy funny situations. Starting over. A journey to learn what matters and what doesn’t. A bit of office romance. Friendship. Happily ever afters…

What is your favorite line from your book?

“Live and embarrass yourself the most you can.”

To put it into context it goes like this…

“…So what’s your plan for the weekend?”
I shrug. “Survive without embarrassing myself too much?”
“That sounds like an awful plan.”
“You have a better suggestion?”
“Live and embarrass yourself the most you can.”

What celebrities would play your main characters if it were a movie?

Blair: Emma Stone
Richard: Ashton Kutcher

I love Ashton! Take me through a day in your life.

It’s not that exciting… working at home means I basically walk down the stairs and am in the office. With my laptop in front of me I run through a cycle of networking, writing, editing… Then there are those amiable house chores to take care of and in the rare days I’m motivated enough, some writer-ass fighting exercising.

Show me a picture of your writing spot. 

So this is not my usual writing spot. We’re staying in a country house right now for the summer and I made the living room table my spot. I’m glad I don’t have to show you a pic of my writing nook at home, you’d cringe. It’s so messy. A disaster. I should probably clear it out, join the de-cluttering movement. The minimalism of this new, bare space is helping me focus.

I have met very few writers with organized writing space. I think it has to do with being a creative mind. If you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do?

My grandmother. I miss her so much and I would love to have just another day with her. We’d probably spend the day cooking. She’d teach me one of her recipes for handmade pasta and we’d spend the day in a simple way like that: making a meal and chatting. Like she used to do when she was young. When you couldn’t buy everything at a store. When there was no internet, no TV, no smartphones and people spent time talking and making things together.

What is the weirdest thing you have had to research for writing purposes?

Probably what use a pack of condoms would have in the wild (besides the obvious)… For my novel A Sudden Crush.

Too funny! What was your favorite book as a child, and what is your favorite book now?

I had phases. So in early childhood my favorite was The Night of Wishes by Michael Ende. Early teen, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Then I discovered Harry Potter… Dug into some classics, Jane Austen, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain… Now I’d say those plus most of Sophie Kinsella’s novels, Game of Thrones, the Throne of Glass series… Oh, I’m rambling… As you can see I can’t just pick one. I love too many books, authors, and genres to choose.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

Lately, I’ve been in a Fantasy mojo. I’ve found this new (for me, books have been published a while) series I like Raven’s Shadow by Anthony Ryan. I’m at the end of book 1 and will keep reading.

What is the strangest fact about you? 

Mmm, perhaps that I’m a Mechanical Engineer by training and I would’ve never thought I’d end up being a writer.

What writers inspire you?

In my genre, Romantic Comedy, the absolute queen for me is Sophie Kinsella. Her new book, My Not So Perfect Life, was one of my favorites this year. I also love Meg Cabot, with her Boy Series. Mhairi McFarlane is another favorite.

Why do you write?

I guess it all started with me having a story to tell… Since publishing my first book, it’s been amazing to see the positive responses from readers and it has kept me wanting to tell all the stories that swirl in my head. Books have always been a huge part of my life, I love to read… and a pretty common side-effect is getting this overly active imagination that makes your brain pulse with ideas and possible plots.

And you can write books pretty fast! It must come naturally. What are you working on right now?

The third book in my new adult series, Just Friends. The title is My Best Friend’s Boyfriend and it’s very early days… But as you can imagine from the title, I explore what happens when two best friends love the same guy. I always try to put a spin on stories so don’t expect any boyfriend-stealing scenarios. I will dig deep into the pain it is to see the man you love with another person, but also loving this other person so much you’d never wish for them to break up. My new adult novels have a bit more drama than the romcoms.

How can readers learn more about you and your work?

My newsletter is the best way, I write monthly updates on my works in progress and share news before any other outlet. And when readers sign up they receive a free eBook. Here’s the sign-up linkOr find out more info on my website. I also enjoy Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I share visual inspirations for my books on Pinterest… This is the board for I Have Never. And I’m on Goodreads, I always post news about upcoming books and share what I’m reading.

As always, it was great to have you! I’m sure you will have another book launch soon!

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's a Writer Thing -- Preparing for Pitch Wars


This is a guest post by Jessica Bayliss. 

As a former Pitch2Publication success story, I KNOW what it feels like to be short-listed. I KNOW how amazing it is to read the words: And the next mentee is (YOUR NAME HERE). I want you to have that too. So please, do everything you can to help yourself before the submission window begins. 

Make it impossible for us to not choose your submission. 

I also know all the negative thoughts that go through the authors’ minds during this process. P2P wasn’t the only competition I entered. I entered several over the years that I was not chosen for, so I know that feeling too. It’s scary to put yourself out there, but I firmly believe that we MUST put ourselves out there, and I also believe the stress is totally worth it. 

So, in the spirit of combating those negative thoughts now, I’ve listed out the ones that I had back in the day in the hopes that they will help you.

I won’t get chosen, so there’s no point in doing ___________ (insert phrase as applicable: writing a synopsis, reading through my manuscript one more time, writing a 35-word pitch, etc.)

Get your submission materials ready NOW. What do you need?: 
1) Query letter and 
2) First chapter (please see Brenda Drake’s blog for more guidelines on short chapters & prologues). 

You should also prepare: 
1) A 1-3 page synopsis and 
2) A 35-word short pitch. These are things a mentor may ask for to help with their decision. 

Yes, synopsis. I know. They’re evil and torture, but they’re the only way to get a feel for the full plot of your book without actually reading the whole book. And I’ll be honest with you, when I entered FicFest, I did not follow this advice. Why didn’t I have a synopsis ready? Because I didn’t think there was any chance in hell that I’d get chosen, and yet one of the mentors loved my submission and wanted to read my synopsis. Oops.


Don’t be like me. Get your materials ready now and you won’t have to frantically throw it together at 11:45PM on a Thursday while trying to scoop frozen cookie dough out of a container. (Don’t judge. I needed something to strengthen me.)

They’re just going to have me revise it anyway.

Please be sure your MS is ready. Yes, your whole manuscript. Listen, I know you’re busy. Believe me, I get it. You’ve got lots of obligations, and you may be saying: Why bother killing myself? I won’t get picked. I’ll just get the first few chapters ready to go and call it a day. 

My response to that, a strangled GAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! The mentors you submit to may want more chapters to help them decide. If your first chapter rocks, but the rest are super rough, they may determine that, though they love your concept, your book as a whole needs too much work to get it ready in time for the Agent Showcase. 

Not to mention, no one wants to get a request for the first 50 pages and come to realize they never wrote X, Y, or Z pivotal scene. (Clears throat.) That’s a surefire way to find yourself frantically writing away at 11:45PM on a Thursday trying to jam a spoon into a frozen container of cookie dough.

So do that work UP FRONT and make it easy for us to pick you. 

We want to pick YOU.

And yes, your mentor will ask you to revise it, but the better a MS is when we start working, the better we can make it by the end. Worst case scenario: your MS isn’t selected, but you have a newly-revised MS that will blow the agents away when you query.

I don’t need a frozen container of cookie dough because I’ll get all my materials totally set to go. BOO-ya!

Listen, cookie dough comes in handy for many life situations. I highly recommend everyone keep some. Just in case. (For example, it’s a great way to celebrate when you get that request for a synopsis.)

I don’t know who to pick as a prospective mentor. There are so many. I can’t do it. Eenie-meenie-miney-mo.

Do your research on the mentors. The number of writers who donate their time is astounding (it sort of makes my heart glow &  my eyes get all watery). While they’re all great, there will definitely be some who are better matched for you and your work than others. 

The Blog Hop starts on July 19th, which gives you two whole weeks to check out all the mentors’ bios, wish lists, and info on their approach to mentoring. Brenda and the other organizers of the competition have made it super easy for you to jump from blog-to-blog. At the bottom of each mentor’s Pitch Wars Bio post, we’ll include links to all the other mentors’ pages (for that age category). They’re numbered with our pictures so it will be easy for you to keep track.

Seriously, give your MS the BEST chance of getting chosen by really taking the time to visit each mentors’ blog. Not only that, but come and say hi on Twitter. We want to get to know you. That’s a huge part of the fun. You can join the #PimpMyBio Blog hop and tell us all about yourself. (Do it! It’s fun!) Also, check out the #pitchwars hashtag and look out for the live chats (July 17th through August 1st).

There’s no way THAT AMAZING MENTOR will want to work with ME. 

But we do! We do!

There are some seriously talented and successful writers in this mix. And, I can tell you from experience getting to know them over the last few months, they’re all wonderful, down-to-earth people. We’re just as excited and nervous as you are. 

Your submission will literally make our day. 

If I don’t get chosen, that means I’m not good enough. 

Not at all! Please don’t self-label. If your MS doesn’t get chosen, that means nothing about YOU. Maybe your MS wasn’t ready, but you—as a person and writer—are good enough. Even if you still have room to grow (and who doesn’t?) as long you keep working, practicing, and getting better, then you ARE good enough.

If I don’t get chosen, that means my MS isn’t good enough.

My agent recently did a Twitter Poll, asking the worst news a writer can get from their agent. I selected the option Being Told a MS is Truly Bad. But I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve changed my mind. 

No MS is truly bad. Why? Because a MS that’s not ready NOW can always be improved. Some writers go so far as to literally open a new doc or Scrivener file and rewrite the whole thing. (I’m not saying you should do that!) My point is, no MS is beyond hope if an author is committed to their concept and is willing to do the hard work to make it awesome.

So, maybe your MS isn’t ready YET, but it still may be “good enough” with more work. It may take longer than we have in this competition to get it ready for the agent showcase, though. Or, the mentor may just not be confident they understand what your MS needs to bring it to the next level.

Sometimes manuscripts aren’t chosen for other reasons. 

It may not be quite right for the mentors you sub’d to. You know, that whole subjectivity thing. Sometimes mentors pass on a submission because they happen to know something about trends in publishing at the moment, and they worry that concept might have a rough time in the Agent Showcase. Trends change all the time, though, so a book that might be a tough sell today can be an easy sell in 6 months. I’ve also seen cases where a mentor feels the book is ready now. Remember, this competition is about mentorship; if your MS can’t be improved upon, then go query.

Finally, the mentors you sub to may LOVE your book, but they may love another MS too, and at the end of the day, they can only pick one. (That said, it’s not unheard of for a mentor to be so undecided, they opt to take TWO mentees. I’m not saying it will happen, but you never know.)

If my MS isn’t chosen, there’s no point in keeping up on what’s going on with Pitch Wars.


Submitting to Pitch Wars isn’t just about a chance at nabbing a slot, it’s also about learning and building your community. Even if your MS isn’t selected, you still come away with something from being here.

Mentors will post on the #tenqueries hashtag, giving tips and suggestions based on the submissions they receive (anonymous, of course). 

I met a bunch of authors every time I entered a competition. I followed the mentors even when I wasn’t selected. Connecting with other writers is literally the thing that helped me progress. There are so many opportunities I wouldn’t have known about (calls for submissions, competitions, resources to become a better writer). Pitch Wars is also hosting a webinar series with tons of different topics on writing.

And, don’t forget, if you aren’t selected for Pitch Wars 2017, you can participate in PitMad, a Twitter pitch party, on September 7th.

So, your mission (if you choose to accept it):

1) Get those materials ready.
2) Create a kick-ass affirmation for this process. Need some help? Here’s one you can use: My MS has just as much chance of being selected as anyone else. I will approach this as if I know my MS will be chosen. Pitch Wars Mentors, here I come!
3) Come say hi on the #pitchwars hashtag, hang with us during the Live Chats, maybe join a webinar or two. And don’t forget the #PimpMyBio Blog Hop!
4) Buy some frozen cookie dough OR make some cookie dough and stick that bad boy in the freezer.
5) Eat said cookie dough.
6) Repeat Steps 4 & 5 as necessary.

Jessica Bayliss is an author of commercial fiction who loves nothing better than getting lost in a good story, whether in print or on film. When not busy with her latest fiction project, she can be found loving her friends and family—especially her husband, Eric—playing with one pesky Havanese, or trying to appease an ornery cockatiel, typically with a cup of coffee near at hand. 

Check out Jessica's other posts: