Posted in Author Interviews

Say Hello to M.J. Stewart


Cover_Two Degrees From Zero

Meet M. J. Stewart author of Two Degrees From Zero which is action/adventure story for middle grade readers. She’s currently on a book tour and is awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly chosen commentor throughout the tour, so be sure to leave a message for her.

Here’s a blurb and excerpt from the book-


Thirteen-year-old Derek’s cool snowboard adventure does a dangerous rewind, because his Burton Hero board holds the key to an unsolved crime.

Two Degrees From Zero is a story that opens up the world of snowboarding and surviving hazardous winter conditions in Keystone, Colorado.

Derek, his mom, and teen friend Janae (The Clan) are invited on a snowboarding vacation by his mom’s new romance Thomas. A blizzard hits during a sleigh ride and dinner at an isolated yurt miles from Keystone. The Clan accepts an offer from two arrogant snowmobilers for a way home. But to The Clan’s dismay instead of going home, they are abandoned in a creepy backwoods cabin.

Derek and Janae sneak out of the old cabin and make a dangerous trek across a white wilderness to find help while the snowmobilers are on the loose. Just as the teens find temporary shelter in an old car, another blizzard rages all night, leaving them hopelessly stranded. And their adventure has only begun.

Derek and Janae must escape the frozen ravages of the blizzard. Derek’s determination to save The Clan while outwitting the thieves is unstoppable. And the thieves are just as determined to find Derek’s snowboard because of the valuable information hidden on the board.


“You know we’re missing an ultimate powder rush, because we have to ride in this goofy sleigh,” Derek said to Janae.

“Here you go,” Janae said. “Ruining this amazing experience because of your grumpiness.”

“Not grumpy on the slopes today,” Derek said. “Thomas spent lots of bucks on this trip, but I wish he’d stop acting like my dad, or really my Fake Dad.”

“Be nicer to your mom’s friend.”

“Easy for you to say,” Derek retorted. “Want to do the rails with me tomorrow?”

“Maybe. You were so full of yourself ripping through the pow,” Janae teased. “You’re a hucker, and you’ll try whatever trick you see another guy doing. You charge fast, fly through the air, and sometimes you even land upright.”

“I’m not a hucker. Wish I could lay down some cool tricks like the pros do,” Derek said.

“I saw you rolling down the windows a couple of times,” Janae said. “I’ll stick to the jumps.”

“Guess you’ll do anything to catch your balance. I like my cool Burton board I got at the rental shop. Except the left strap gave me trouble,” Derek complained.

“So that’s your excuse for not landing tricks,” Janae said.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

M.J. Stewart is a Colorado author and lives in Colorado Springs. Her love for the outdoors has provided many exciting adventures and include downhill skiing, biking, hiking, camping, and nature photography.

I’m on facebook at:

I’m on twitter at: @hike4ski buy link:

Posted in Author Interviews

Bill Benitez is in The Hot Seat

Today in the Hot Seat is author Bill Benitez who’s on a book tour promoting his non-fiction title, Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others. I’m about half way through reading it and I’ll be posting a review shortly.

Bill is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card for a commenter on each stop on his book tour, and a $50 Amazon gift card as the grand prize at the end of the tour. So if you have any questions for him be sure to post them.



Currently Reading….
Mostly I read books on writing, publishing, and business with a break for a mystery thriller in between. The most recent book I read was also the best. It was The Commonsense Entrepreneur by Joel D Canfield. The last novel I read was The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Barry.

Currently Watching…
I watch more TV than I would like because it takes me away from writing. I watch enough news to keep up with things but as little as possible. My favorite recent programs are Masterpiece Mysteries and Classics and Homeland. I also enjoyed Treme while it was on.

Guilty Pleasure…I love old movies with Doctor Zhivago, Casablanca, and Unforgiven among my favorites. I recently watched the Maltese Falcon. I love sleeping in on weekends and having breakfast in bed.

Best Advice You Ever Got… It involved two messages from individuals I respected very much:
1.Do every job as if your signature will appear on it in large letters that everyone can see.
2.Never send anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see as tomorrow’s headline.

A Country or Town You’d Like to Visit…
Two years ago I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Spain taking a tour that began in Lisbon, Portugal and ended two weeks later in Madrid, Spain. This year we visited Cuenca, Ecuador and loved it so much we plan to return to another area in Ecuador next year. After that I would love to visit Paris and leave from there on a river cruise through Europe.

Highly Recommend You Read This Title…
I’ve read lots of books on business success but I definitely recommend The Commonsense Entrepreneur by Joel D Canfield if you only have the time to read one business book. No matter your level of business expertise, you will gain from this book. For a book on life and love The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is my favorite. I have read it dozens of times and given it as a gift over the years. Always keep two or three copies on hand for gifts. Its beautiful language, tenderness and invaluable life lessons make it a must read. It was written in 1923 and is still a good seller.

Shameless Self Promoting….
My book Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others is based on the first hand experience of writing and publishing over a dozen books and a half dozen ebooks. After reading many books on self publishing offering dozens of options I was disappointed because I was looking for a proven and repeatable method to self publish. I developed a method that works consistently and can be duplicated by anyone using the information, illustrations, and instructions in Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others. The book is now available on Amazon and at bookstores and complete details may be found at .
Complete information on Positive Imaging, LLC, my publishing company is available at or by emailing me at


Frustration With Traditional Publishers Leads To Self Publishing

In 2007 my wife Barbara completed a wonderful children’s chapter book called Lottie’s Adventure and begin sending it to traditional publishers. Despite some great preliminary reviews, all she got was rejections and lack of response. This was quite frustrating for her and I wanted to help.

As an IT professional, I had read a lot about print on demand and made up my mind to learn all about it and then publish Lottie’s Adventure. It was a lengthy learning curve and I made lots of mistakes including the selection of a POD company that was more expensive than necessary. Nevertheless, we produced a high quality book and in spite of our lack of knowledge we sold quite a few copies of Lottie’s Adventure.

After this success I realized that self publishing had potential for some of my own writing and began developing effective, efficient, and lower cost methods to publish the books that I wrote. Since then I have written and published six books and a few ebooks of my own and established a publishing company that has published six books plus several ebooks for other writers.

After consistently producing and marketing quality books worldwide I decided to share these proven methods in a new book covering every step from idea through book creation to worldwide sales. That book is Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others.

Planning The Book – The Outline

The Plan

Step one for any book, after the basic idea appears, is to create a clear and concise
plan. Knowing why you are writing the book is important to developing a viable
plan. If you are writing simply for your own enjoyment and to share some
knowledge or an experience with anyone who may be interested, with little
concern for potential profit, then the first step should be creating an outline for
your book.

The Outline

You begin this outline by writing down all the major topics you wish to convey to
your readers. Put them all down without attempting to flesh them out or placing
them in particular order. At this early stage, spending too much time on
individual topics could cause you to lose focus of the main topics. After you have
listed them all, organize them in the best possible order so that each topic
logically follows the previous one.

Now is the time to flesh them out. Go back to each topic one at a time and add
whatever thoughts come to you. There is no certain length for this and don’t
worry about structure. You are still at the thought development stage to cover as
much as you can before actually beginning the writing. As you write down all
these thoughts, new topics and ideas will come to you. Don’t dismiss them; write
them down as they come to you even if they belong elsewhere. You can move
them later. The important thing at this stage is not to lose the thought. Read the
section on creating and using an outline to see the simplest way to take full
advantage of an outline to create your book.

Your Objective

If profit is the main objective of your writing, another method may be more
appropriate for you. Once you know the niche or topic of your book, find the
market for that particular niche. That is, determine whom will purchase your
book and where you can find these prospects. This is a critical step because if you are unable to locate readers interested in your topic, it may be that a niche doesn’t exist or is so small as to make reaching it difficult and unprofitable. Since your intent is to profit from writing your book, this is a good time to revisit your concept and perhaps alter it for better marketability or perhaps abandon the idea and look for a marketable niche.

Knowing Your Market

While this book doesn’t deal directly with marketing and promotion, the odds of a
book selling are increased considerably if you know your market and write your
book to fulfill their needs. This is not possible if you have no idea about those
interested in your book and how to reach them.

While it may seem that this knowledge is about marketing and not writing or self
publishing, it’s just the opposite. This knowledge will help you write the book so
it’s of real value to your potential buyers and to create a cover that conveys a
strong message indicating clearly that the information these book buyers want is
in the book. This will make your book marketable and contribute to increased
sales before you even publish.

The Final Format

In this early planning stage you must decide on the final format. Is it just going to
be available as an ebook? Kindle is really popular but it doesn’t work for some
books that require a much larger page. There is a larger Kindle available but it is
considerably more expensive then the standard model or the Kindle Fire which is
the one to which you should aim your ebook. There are other kinds of ebooks that
work perfectly well even with letter size books. Learn more about publishing for
the Kindle in chapter fourteen.

Is the book going to be available as a paperback? Are you going to come out with
both paperback and ebook at the same time? Making these decisions should be
part of your planning. All of these various formats and how to take full advantage
of them is covered in other chapters.

When I was going to publish my first book, which was a children’s book my
wife had written, I spent several hours at a large bookstore going through
similar books. I must have looked through at least fifty different children’s
books to find out if there was some standard formatting that I should use
for my first attempt at publishing a book. I learned something very
interesting that day. There were no two books formatted the same way.
There were some similarities but many more differences. The important
thing was to make the book look professionally published and there were
obviously many ways to do that.

There is an easier way for you to do the same thing using the web
site. Just go to the site and search for books in your niche. Most of the books will
have the look inside feature and you can take a look at the layout without going
to a bookstore. You can even print out pages for closer examination. There are
also some excellent books on the subject of book design. However, don’t believe
that you are stuck with one certain format as right or wrong. Strive to make your
book original and professional and there are as many ways to accomplish that as
there are publishers.

If you decide to read one or more books on book design or visit book design
blogs, remember that the information you are reading is of value but not carved
in granite. Your ideas also have value so use the information to learn the things
that look obviously wrong but remember to be creative while maintaining
professionalism. For an inexperienced self publisher it can be difficult to choose
the correct format for a book. That’s the reason studying the work of others is so
helpful, at least while publishing your first book

Posted in Author Interviews

Say Hello To Karen Dove Barr

MEDIA KIT Author Photo

MEDIA KIT skidawaycover

Today Karen Dove Barr is in the Hot Seat as part of her book tour to promote Wild Times On Skidaway Island. Be sure to leave a comment because Karen is giving away four $25 Walmart gift cards to four randomly picked people during the tour, and also a grand prize of an Apple iPad to one randomly selected person during the tour

Currently Reading….

I’m currently rereading Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchey. I’ve read it a dozen times but find it comforting and true to life. I’ve read many of Binchey’s other novels but I like this one best.

Currently Watching…
Currently I’m watching flocks of birds starting their southward migrations. Since I live on the Atlantic flyway, I get to enjoy all kinds of non-local birds, ducks, and geese pass through in spring and fall.

Guilty Pleasure…Texting at red lights. It’s been banned in my state but the lights are sooo long and I’d never get all my messages returned if I waited until I got back to my office where two or three clients will be waiting for me.

Best Advice You Ever Got… When I first started practicing law, the older lawyer teaching me said, “Never be afraid of anybody.” Of course I was terrified of the older, experienced male trial lawyers, which was just what they hoped. Since I had to succeed in my new career I hid my fear; pretended it didn’t exist.

A Country or Town You’d Like to Visit…I’ve never been to continental Europe. My planned visit to France was cancelled because of an international incident in the early 1990s. I hope to go someday.

Highly Recommend You Read This Title…
Stephen King’s On Writing. King can make any subject fascinating. This book is more an autobiography than an English textbook.

Shameless Self Promoting….
Wild Times on Skidaway Island strikes a chord with anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to know more about it. You should find a chuckle or two as well.

Wild Times on Skidaway Island


Wild Times on Skidaway Island, Georgia’s Historic Rain Forest, details life in a unique Audubon-designated, ecologically friendly refuge. There, golfers pitch balls around endangered great blue herons, mama raccoons march their babies across backyard decks where once Guale Indians trapped ancestors of the same raccoons, and residents dodge alligators and rescue snakes.

Even the vegetation is wild. Three hundred-year-old oaks dripping Spanish moss and poison ivy surmount an under-story of wax myrtle and holly. Carolina jasmine, Cherokee roses, and endangered orchids grow wild in the rain forest. The book examines choices residents make when stared down by a bald eagle, when a red-tailed hawk mistakes a golf ball for bird food, when wakened at midnight by deer munching hibiscus. Wild Times on Skidaway Island educates about the species that residents must adapt to on this historic island.


Thickly needled pine branches intertwined with grapevine and poison ivy shaded the maritime forest on the northwestern prong of Skidaway Island as runners trampled fallen needles, seeking firm footing on soft mud paths, like furtive moonshiners from Modena’s past.

Skidaway’s isolation by land but accessibility to knowledgeable navigators of the ever-changing marsh made it a perfect hideout for the manufacture of illegal whiskey even before January 16, 1919, when the Volstead Act transformed moonshining from a money-making side line into a get-rich-quick bonanza. Prohibition began in Savannah in 1908, but by then tax-free alcohol business on Skidaway Island was a long-standing tradition.

Savannah Morning News’ July 21, 1925 edition described Skidaway Island as “a veritable nest of moonshine stills.” The newspaper went on to say “agents swooped down on the salt water region Saturday and destroyed three stills in operation of a capacity of 210 gallons and another across the Island of 125 gallon capacity.”

I bet the revenuers didn’t get them all.

Posted in Author Interviews

Meet Author Christy Nicholas

Say hello to Christy Nicholas who’s in the Hot Seat today. She’s currently doing a book tour to promote her latest book titled Mythical Ireland.
Be sure to leave a comment because Christy is awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly selected reader-

MEDIA KIT Author Photo

MEDIA KIT Mythical Ireland by Christy Nicholas - 1600 - 300dpi

Currently Reading….
The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans-Wentz – in research for a guide to Mystical Scotland! The author travelled the countryside, getting fairy stories from the folk in the villages, all around 100 years ago.

Currently Watching
I mostly watch BBC shows, I’m a horrible anglophile. I’m catching up on back episodes of Masterchef UK, even though I can’t cook to save my life. My husband is a chef, though, so I don’t have to.

Guilty Pleasure…Travelling to Ireland, seriously! I’m addicted. I go even when I can’t really afford to do so.

Best Advice You Ever Got… Learn something every day. The day you stop learning is the day you start getting old. – my grandfather told me this once, and I have taken it to heart. I was in college for 14 years!

A Country or Town You’d Like to Visit…I’d love to explore Iceland – such stunning landscapes! I’ve always been fascinated by this tiny island. Even as a child, my favorite place name was Reykjavik, because of how fun it was to say.

Highly Recommend You Read This Title…If you are interested (as I am) in the UK and Ireland and it’s archeological history, I highly recommend Bryan Sykes book on the DNA genealogy of the islands, Saxons, Vikings and Celts.

Shameless Self Promoting….
Twitter: greendragon9

Christy Nicholas


Do you find yourself drawn to the magic of the Emerald Isle? Would you like to see places beyond the typical tourist traps? Come, join me on a journey through the mists of legend, into the hidden places of mystery. Immerse yourself in the legends and myths, the history that has made this island precious in the hearts and minds of millions. Along with the tales and history, there is practical information on planning your trip, budgeting your costs, and finding the best places to while away the magical hours of your holiday.


The Magical Facet The Fair Folk

Everyone has heard of fairies, of creatures with supernatural powers to curse, to bless, to find gold, or to cause mischief. Literature and art is full of them from Shakespeare to contemporary artists Amy Brown or Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. Western culture, especially in the US, is bred on Disney’s Tinker Bell, children’s books of flower fairies from Victorian artists, and grim tales of the darker side of these Fae folk.

In Ireland, fairies, known as the Sídhe (pronounced shee) or the Good Folk, originate from the Tuatha Dé Danann, the people who immigrated to the island before the Sons of Míl. Supposedly full of powers, the Tuatha Dé Danann could not bear to be near iron, and therefore their superior skills were for naught. Rather than leave the land they loved, they agreed to reside below the earth. For this reason, caves are said to be entrances into their underworld homes. Traces of this legend can be seen in the classic film, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, where Darby is led under a mountain to the Fairy King’s palace.
Ireland has countless portals, be they hills, hawthorn trees, caves, wells, or other sacred places.

A more Christianized origin of these creatures claim they are angels which fell to Earth before humans resided there. They live beneath the waves or gardens, and while some are evil, others can be helpful as long as they are treated with respect.

While many modern legends show the fairies to be sweet, kind, magical creatures, this is really a Victorian creation. The traditional views in Ireland and Scotland show the Sídhe to be mischievous to the point of cruelty a force to be reckoned with. They are not sought out by the wise. In fact, most of the herb and spell lore of an almost forgotten era is meant to instruct how to keep you from coming to the Folks’ attention.

Posted in Author Interviews

Meet Author Gregory Delaurentis

MEDIA KIT Cover of Darkness_Ebook

Today author Gregory Delaurentis is stopping by as part of his current book tour.

One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. You can also use the link below to enter-


A high profile murder of a Wall Street executive in Westchester pits three people against the criminal underbelly of Manhattan nightlife. The key players are two ex-cops turned private investigators—Kevin Whitehouse, whose sharpest tool is his keen analytical mind, and David Allerton, a former Special Forces operative—and Margaret Alexander, Kevin’s lover. In their search for a killer, they are forced to travel to the edge of sanity and morality, while stumbling onto their own confusing secrets as well. The Cover of Darkness is a gritty noir saga that untangles a web of deceit in the course of tracking down a brutal murderer.


David first opened the door to a closet on the left, searching it with the gun muzzle, before approaching the door at the end of the hall and kicking it open. An angry, naked man stood on the other side, his anger changing to fear in seconds once he beheld the gun pointing in his direction.

“Get back into bed,” David ordered.

The pale-bodied man responded as he staggered backward. The foot of the bed struck the back of his knees, sending him seated on the mattress. The woman on the bed had by this time covered herself with the sheets, and curled her legs up.

While Kevin stood nervously in the doorway, David searched the room and the closets, the muzzle of the shotgun again serving as a probe, but found no one.

“What the…?” Chase asked David.

After searching through the room, David tossed the shotgun to Kevin.

Suddenly, Chase went white-hot heat, crawling backward into the arms of his woman in sheer panic screaming, “What do you want?!”

“I want information,” David demanded, going to the foot of the bed, standing before them with Kevin directly behind him. “I want to know who whacked Osterman.”

“How am I to know?!” Chase shouted back. His hair was a wild tangle, his eyes wide as saucers with fright.

“Don’t yell at me,” David said calmly. “I want answers. I’m not interested in killing you.”

“You bust into my crib and start throwing guns around. You’re crazy, man, what do you think I’m thinking?”

“You were moving dope for Osterman,” David persisted, ignoring Chase’s remarks.

“Osterman! He jerked me.”

“With the Colombians.”

“Damn right.”

“And you didn’t like that.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“So, you had one of your soul brothers do him in.”

“Oh hell, no. My people don’t kill. We don’t mess with weapons like you do.”

“And the reason for that?”

“More jail time . . . What are you? A cop?”

“Don’t worry about what I am,” David growled back. “You are moving weight. I want to know what happened after Osterman jerked you.”

“He jerked me. That’s all.”

“That’s all? You didn’t go to the Colombians? Liar!”

“Yes, yes, I did that!” Chase corrected. “I went to the Colombians as soon as I knew he jerked me. I begged them to give me another chance. They said they would, if I replaced their one hundred kilos. One hundred kilos! How do I do that?”

“Put bullets into Osterman for revenge.”

“How is that going to get me my one hundred kilos?”

“Let me explain it to you, genius. The Colombians trust Osterman enough to give him a heavy shipment. You find it, whack him, and take his shipment back to the Colombians. Paid in full.”
Chase thought that over for a second or two. “But that’s not what happened.”

“Convince me otherwise.”

The word “Freeze!” were suddenly heard from the doorway. David frowned as he glanced over his shoulder to see a scruffy looking black male, armed with his own shotgun.

About The Author

Gregory Delaurentis spent his adult life roaming from job to job, working for Lockheed in California, various law firms in New York, and financial firms on Wall Street. Throughout this period of time, he was writing—unceasingly—finally producing a large body of work, albeit unrecognized and unpublished . . . until now. Cover of Darkness is the first in a series of upcoming books that include Edge of Darkness, Pale of Darkness and Cries of Darkness. These novels follow the lives of three individuals who do battle bringing criminals to justice, while they struggle to understand the complex relationships that exist among themselves. This intriguing trio has absorbed the attention of Mr. Delaurentis for the past year and a half, so much so he decided to self-publish their stories to bring them to a wider audience. [AUTHOR’S DISCLAIMER: These are works of fiction. Name, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.]



General links

Posted in Author Interviews

Getting Good Reviews On Amazon by Theo Rogers

Author portrait - Theo. Copic markers from sketch

Today Theo Rogers stops by This Writer’s Life as part of his book tour. We all hope for good reviews for our books and Theo has written a book about the topic. He’s also giving away a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly selected commenter from the entire tour so be sure to enter.

Theo has also kindly given me a copy of the book and I’ll be reviewing it here at This Writer’s Life  in the next week or so-

MEDIA KIT How To Get Good Reviews JPEG


How To Get Good Reviews On Amazon is a simple, no-nonsense guide that teaches exactly what it says it does. Based on both psychological science and thousands of hours of conversation with some of Amazon’s top reviewers, it takes you behind the scenes into the reviewing subculture that has grown up on Amazon’s website. It gives you a deep, insider’s knowledge of how the top reviewers think and operate. It not only shows you what to do: it takes you inside the reviewers’ heads so that you can see for yourself both how these techniques work and why they’re so effective.

Lessons include:

  • A simple, four-part formula for writing emails that get your work reviewed.
  • Three things never to say when communicating with reviewers!
  • How to pick reviewers who are more likely to give you a good review.
  • How to reduce the chance that a reviewer you contact will post a bad review – even if it turns out they don’t like your work!
  • How people get caught out when receiving reviews from friends and family.

This book teaches an honest, straightforward approach that works. It works because it’s not based gimmicks or tricks but on a real understanding of how Amazon reviewers operate: most of all on what they expect from authors and other sellers. If you want to know how to talk to Amazon reviewers in a way that will make them respect you as a professional and see you as the kind of seller they actually want to help, this is the book for you.



One of the most fundamental ideas in this booklet is that there’s a definite reviewing subculture that has grown up on Amazon’s website. Like any culture, it has its own particular values and mores: its own ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong. When we come to the issue of shill reviews, we collide headlong with the values of the reviewing culture. As you might expect, most reviewers see shills – and the sellers who use them – as very, very wrong.

Because this section is all about values, I think it’s important to stress that I’m writing here as your guide to Amazon’s reviewing subculture. I’m not writing as a missionary on its behalf.

Simply put, I believe that your journey through the Amazon Jungle will be smoother, easier, and more successful if along the way you’re respectful of the values of the natives who dwell there. For that reason, I’m going to lay out for you some of the more commonly held tenants: the basic beliefs that most of the natives would hold to. It’s not for me to tell you whether you should embrace these values to the core of your being and make them your own. I’m just telling you that as a matter of pure pragmatism, you are going to make trouble for yourself if you ignore them.



Theo Rogers combines years of coalface experience on Amazon’s website with formal training and qualifications in a range of business and social science disciplines. He’s spent literally thousands of hours talking with Amazon reviewers, getting inside their heads, and learning what makes them tick. He’s spent almost as many hours observing the carnage that so often takes place on Amazon’s forums. In the process he’s developed a deep insider’s knowledge of the reviewing subculture that’s grown up on Amazon’s website.

He’s also seen a lot of authors and other would-be sellers make the same mistakes in their dealings with that subculture – over and over again.

As a result of his experiences, Theo has come to believe that yes, there is a simple formula that works: a way of dealing with reviewers that’s honest, powerful, and extremely effective at winning reviewers over, getting them on your side, and making them actually want to help you.










Posted in Author Interviews

Meet Suspense Author Angela Smith

Today This Writer’s Life welcomes Angela Smith who’s stopped by as part of her current book tour for Burn On The Western Slope.

Be sure to leave a comment because Angela will be awarding one of three prizes: a car mirror hanger or key chain (a seashell as a tie-in to her book), an mp3 album by Pretty Little Blisters, a $10 Amazon gift card, to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour.


Cover_Burn on the Western Slope


On the ski slopes of Montana, deception turns deadly and seduction becomes more hypnotic than jewels.

Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels.  With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time.  When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life.

Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the tragic death of his partner, FBI Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain home.  That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door.  He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes comprised when his attraction to her heats up.  Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to love, including Reagan?


“I’m not sure I’m ready for that,” Reagan said, running her tongue over her lips as she rested her glass on the counter. “Skiing, that is,” she quickly added. He would never know she’d been thinking of kissing him, but she had to force herself to look away from his mouth. Nudging Naomi, she stood. “It’s time for me to go. I need to settle in. I haven’t even unpacked yet.” And she had no intention of doing so now, but it was a good excuse to leave. She wiped her hands on her jeans before extending her hand to his, praying hers weren’t clammy. “It was great to meet you.”

Garret grasped her proffered hand and nested his other on top, engulfing her hand. She burned. Everywhere. “Meet me on the slopes tomorrow?”

Reagan bit her lip and glanced at the floor. “Tomorrow? I don’t know. I might need a little more time to get used to this place.”

“We’ll start with sledding. You can’t not like sledding.”

She didn’t know, seeing as how she’d never done it, but cozying up to him at a hundred miles an hour would probably be amazing.

“I’m safe,” Garret said as he dropped his hand.

“You’re what?” she asked, meeting his eyes. Maybe he was a good guy in most people’s standards, but he made her heart beat too fast to be anything but dangerous.

“I’m harmless. Several people in town will vouch for me.”

“But I don’t know them either.”



During my senior year in high school, I was dubbed most likely to write a novel because I always had my nose stuck in a book.   I would hide my romance novels under my history book until my teacher called me out on it.  Writing has been my dream ever since my mother read Brer Rabbit to my sister and me so often that we were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read.  I love reading about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed my love of suspense. I believe love is a mystery that most people have trouble resolving.  While I don’t expect we’ll ever solve that mystery, I love to read and write about characters who work to solve their love’s mystery.  See more about me at my website or tweet me @angelaswriter

Publisher Website:

Posted in Author Interviews

Meet Authors Lynette Willows and Carley Bauer

MEDIA KIT CarleyMEDIA KIT LynetteMEDIA KIT No Gentleman Is He - Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows - 500

Lynette and Carley are currently on a book tour to promote their book No Gentleman Is He and have stopped by This Writer’s Life to take a turn in the Hot Seat.

And be sure to leave a comment because there will be two winners drawn at the end of the tour. Winner 1 will receive a pair of colonial era  earrings (U.S. only please due to shipping constraints); Winner 2 will receive a $100 Amazon GC.

Currently Reading….
Carley Bauer: Charlene Raddon’s Forever Mine.

Currently Watching…
Carley Bauer: Who watches daytime television?

Guilty Pleasure…
Carley Bauer: I’m a product whore. Hair products, skin products, bath products…And I’m not an apologist for it.

Best Advice You Ever Got…
Carley Bauer: I take this as a general question, not specifically about writing. Best advice was from my dad, passed on from his dad. Never allow anyone to blackmail you, emotionally, financially or otherwise. If you are hiding something, it’s better to confess and face the fall-out than to allow blackmail that never ceases.

A Country or Town You’d Like to Visit…
Carley Bauer: France is on the top of my list for countries to visit. The list of cities and towns is too long for this interview.

Highly Recommend You Read This Title…
Carley Bauer: Scarlett Valentine’s “Awakening”.

Shameless Self Promoting….
Carley Bauer: It was a hot summer day over a decade ago. I took a nice swim, and then browsed through MSN communities. Oh, how I miss those communities! There was an ad in one of my favorites for an interactive writing group. It immediately caught my eye and my interest. I’d always enjoyed writing. Why not give it a try? I applied. An amiable but no-nonsense Canadian lady talked to me. I was pretty sure this was an interview, though she never said as much. I was accepted. YaY! That amiable, no nonsense Canadian lady turned out to be the best thing that happened to me. She not only mentored me, but became my writing partner and now my co-author.

After what I refer to as our decade-long apprenticeship of writing together, learning from each other and challenging one another to greater heights, Lynette Willows and I decided it was time to write the book we had dreamed of. The book turned into a series, with the first being our current release “No Gentleman Is He”.

Set in 1775 Virginia, with the colonies on the brink of declaring independence from England, and war on its heels, our hero and heroine battle their growing feelings with as much ferocity as the Sons of Liberty battle the British. Caught in the cross fire of armed conflict, Cassandra Brooks and Colton Rolfe take the reader to Concord and Lexington on that infamous day the first shot was heard round the world. Passions ignite during a troubled time. While America fought for its freedom, would Cassandra and Colton surrender to their fiery desires?



Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows


Young, adventurous and widowed in a new land, Cassandra Courtney Brooks finds her dream of raising a superior breed of saddle horse slipping away with the death of her husband. Left with four horses, living in a tavern attic, and her scant savings depleting, she resolves to see her vision through to fruition by accepting the scandalous position of steward at Varina Farms.

Born in the image of his native ancestry, Colton Rolfe’s savage blood runs through his veins. Scorned by his father, Colt grew into a man of ill temperament whose only interest is the wild equine beasts on his plantation. His desire to breed his horses with the superior Thoroughbreds of the newly widowed Cassandra Brooks leads him to abandon societal rules. Colt’s growing resentment toward the Crown and his assistance to Sons of Liberty missions is complicated by the discovery that Cassandra’s father is a titled English nobleman.

Cassandra is soon forced to question the wisdom of her decision when she finds herself enamored with her employer. As fiery passion grows between them, Cassandra realizes her own spirit of independence, love of the land, and the savage man who is so much a part of it.

As the threat of war comes ever closer, wills are tested through gunfire, treachery, danger, and kidnapping. Does Colt dare trust Cassandra with Sons of Liberty secrets? More importantly, can he trust her with his heart? And will Colt ever trust Cassandra enough to love her as she longs to be loved?



Jackson looked around and spotted a length of rope hanging on the wall at the opposite end of the stables. He went over and snatched it up. “Got a rope,” he said, holding it up.

“Good,” Colton murmured as he removed his coat and flung it, and his shirt, over the stall door. He took the rope from Jackson and laid it aside, knelt by the mare’s hindquarters and moved her tail aside.

Jackson followed suit, removing his coat but only loosening his shirt around his neck and rolling up his sleeves. “You will frighten the girl if you stay half naked, Colt.”

“If she is that delicate, she should not have horses. Where is the wench, anyway?”

“She has only been gone two minutes. Give her time.”

Just then, Cassandra rushed in, a bucket of water in one hand, its contents sloshing down her skirts, soaking them. She clutched a pail of grease in the other. “I could not find a rope,” she huffed, out of breath.

“We found one,” Jackson assured her.

Cassandra looked in the stall as the men worked. To Colton’s amusement, the woman suddenly flushed when she noticed the state of his undress. Apparently disturbed by her own reaction, she busied herself getting the soap from her apron pocket, almost dropping it from her noticeably shaking hand.

Posted in Author Interviews

Say Hello to Bruce Hartman Author of The Rule of Dreaming

MEDIA KIT Author Photo

Say hello to Bruce Hartman who is stopping by as part of his current book tour to promote his latest book The Rules of Dreaming

Bruce will award a $50 Amazon or gift card (winner’s choice) to one randomly drawn commenter.

In The Hot Seat-

Currently Reading….

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace

Currently Watching…

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  (My fair city. Complete series on Netflix/Roku.)

Guilty Pleasure…

Mojitos. (Actually not very guilty about this.)

Best Advice You Ever Got…

This is from André Gide (not given to me personally!):

“Throw away my book: you must understand that it represents only one of a thousand attitudes.  You must find your own.  If someone else could have done something as well as you, don’t do it.  If someone else could have said something as well as you, don’t say it—or written something as well as you, don’t write it.   Grow fond only of that which you can find nowhere but in yourself, and create out of yourself, impatiently or patiently, ah! that most irreplaceable of beings.”

A Country or Town You’d Like to Visit…

Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Vienna, Budapest.  My wife and I plan to visit Prague as part of a projected Beer and Opera tour of Central Europe, from Berlin to Budapest.

Highly Recommend You Read This Title…

All That I Have, by Castle Freeman, Jr.

Shameless Self Promoting….

Here’s a little background on my new book, THE RULES OF DREAMING, which was published by Swallow Tail Press last month.  The book is in the mystery/suspense category.  It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats.

MEDIA KIT The Rules of Dreaming Front Final (2)

THE RULES OF DREAMING is the story of a young psychiatrist, a blackmailer, and some patients at the Palmer Institute, a private mental hospital in upstate New York.  The story begins when a schizophrenic patient with no musical training—21-year-old Hunter Morgan—sits down at the piano and plays a fiendishly difficult piece of classical music in front of his psychiatrist, Dr. Ned Hoffmann, and Nicole P., a beautiful graduate student who has checked herself into the Institute after a brief mental breakdown.  Nicole soon returns to her apartment, where she struggles to put her life back together, but in follow up visits she perceives Dr. Hoffmann’s life spinning out of control as he falls under the spell of three irresistible women.  Meanwhile a blackmailer named Dubin follows the trail of these events back to a tragedy that occurred seven years earlier: the apparent suicide of an opera singer named Maria Morgan—the mother of Hunter Morgan and his twin sister Antonia—on the eve of her debut at the Met.

Nicole becomes convinced that the opera Maria Morgan was rehearsing—Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann—is the key to all the weird events that have been happening at the Institute.  It seems to be taking over the lives of Maria Morgan’s two schizophrenic children, the doctors who treat them and everyone else who crosses their paths, until all are enmeshed in a world of deception and delusion, of madness and ultimately of evil and death.  Nicole discovers that she too has been assigned a role in the drama, and along with Dubin she sets out to solve the mystery of Maria Morgan’s death and its uncanny consequences.

The Tales of Hoffmann is a beautiful, fantastic work which is all about the shifting boundary between fantasy and reality.  If you haven’t seen it, I would strongly recommend that you watch the surrealistic film version that was made by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in the 1950s.  Powell and Pressburger were British directors who also made The Red Shoes and The Thief of Baghdad.  The DVD of The Tales of Hoffmann contains a fascinating commentary by Martin Scorsese, who was strongly influenced by the cinematography.  My interest in the film and the opera led to a study of E.T.A. Hoffmann, who is known in the English-speaking world almost entirely through derivative works (The Tales of Hoffmann, Tchaikowsky’s The Nutcracker, Robert Schumann’s “Kreisleriana,” Delibes’s Coppélia, Freud’s essay on “The Uncanny”) and the stream of influence that traces back to him (Schumann, Poe, Baudelaire, Dumas, Offenbach, Doestoevsky).  Unconsciously standing knee-deep in that stream of influence, I recalled an idea for a story I’d had years before (Hoffmannesque, without my knowing it) about a patient in a mental hospital flawlessly playing a difficult piece of piano music without the benefit of any musical training or experience.  THE RULES OF DREAMING took off from there.

You can read more on my blog,; on my Amazon author page:;  and on Goodreads at 

The book can be found at:


Kindle ebook:

Posted in Author Interviews

Say Hello To Author Irina Argo

MEDIA KIT BOOK COVER VampireElitecoversmall5.6

Today author Irina Argo is stopping by This Writer’s Life.

One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

MEDIA KIT Author IrinaArgo

MEDIA KIT Author Jo-An



Irina Argo



Can the ultimate choice be made if saving your race means destroying the one you love?

At the beginning of the twenty-first century of our era a millennia long war between two immortal races was coming to an end. The Vampire Elite, the strongest among vampires, forced the race of immortal beings, the Amiti to become their blood suppliers, called bloodstock, locking them in their underground cells and treating them like livestock. The surviving free Amiti make a final attempt to strike back. The Queen of Amiti is proclaimed a traitor and is executed. Her death signifies the rise of a new Queen, her young daughter Arianna who becomes the last hope of her dying race. Arianna totally embraces her mission and is ready to fight for her people to the last drop of her blood but encounters an unexpected challenge—the vampire King Tor. They both are captured into a trap of love where they had to make an ultimate choice; to kill the loved one or to let their races die.

Vampire Elite is the epic story of a bitter conflict between two peoples, and the effect of that conflict on everyone living in its grip. The characters are driven to love and betrayal, vengeance and sacrifice in a world without easy black-and-white answers.

Based on an ancient Egyptian legend, packed with action and intrigue, Vampire Elite will pull you into the entrancing world of immortals and open new portals into their hidden universe.



She loved tormenting him, making him tremble with anticipation, his breath hitching in his throat. She knew it turned him on, and she’d also discovered that his blood tasted even better than usual when he was aroused.

“Now go to the wall and spread your arms. Make it easy for me to punish you,” she commanded.

Oberon obeyed, leaning against the wall and placing his wrists into the metal cuffs embedded in the wall. Simone locked the cuffs and left him like that.

A moment later, she returned looking like Catwoman in a black latex bodysuit, her hair pulled into a high, thick ponytail. She’d accessorized with thick studded cuffs at her wrists, a braided whip at her waist and a dagger in her hand.

Walking slowly and deliberately toward Oberon, she sliced through all his clothing, removing it and his weaponry piece by piece. Dropping the dagger she tilted her head to appreciate the sight of him: completely naked, vulnerable, and helpless—and hard for her, of course. Good.

She showed him her fangs then lowered her mouth to his jugular and bit into the skin lightly, releasing only a few drops of blood. She lowered her head to his chest, tracing the muscles there with her tongue, and then, using her fangs as daggers, she pierced his skin in unexpected places: his chest, shoulders, biceps, abs, hips. The blood oozed from the cuts, and soon Oberon’s body was covered with crimson streaks that formed random, vivid patterns across the golden skin of his torso and legs.

“You look incredibly sexy,” Simone heard herself saying as she shifted into an altered state, seeing nothing but this tantalizing male body bleeding for her.



Irina Argo is a combined pen name for two authors, Irina Kardos and Jo-An Torres.


Irina’s world is dark. She works as a clinical psychologist in a Juvenile Correctional Facility dealing with the extremes of human behavior on a regular basis and takes care of her paralyzed husband who suffered a stroke several years ago. To bring light into her life she writes. Writing has always been her passion. She is originally from Russia where she was employed as a TV journalist.

Jo-An is a Leo, a lioness who has emerged to follow her dream, to someday write a book of her own. She owned a costume shop for 15 years and was able to satisfy and excel in her creative nature. She is an over-achiever and believes that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and ignore the nay-sayers.  Her philosophy is based on Shakespeare “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.” She currently resides in California with her 5 cats and 1 husband.