Friday, December 28, 2018

20 Questions with Historical Fiction Author Alison Littman @alimcshpiel

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Alison Littman lives in San Francisco where she’s a writer by day and standup comedian by night. A former journalist in New Mexico, she covered politics and education while also contributing articles on John F. Kennedy and The Beatles to various specialty magazines. Her feature stories focus on listening to rock 'n' roll behind the Iron Curtain and Cold War politics. Radio Underground is her first novel.

1.      Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
a.       Night! And then as I fall asleep, I think of ways to improve what I had just written and usually have to snap open my computer again and jot down some notes. This is how I became an insomniac.
2.      Do you outline or are you a pantster?
a.       Pantser all the way.
3.      Which comes first – plot or character?
a.       The plot usually comes to me first, however, it’s the characters that usually end up shaping, shifting and often destroying the plot.
4.      Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?
a.       I prefer either. If I’m feeling stuck, I’ll put on some ‘90s pop music. If I feel like I’m in the groove and ready to write, I usually like silence.
5.      Favorite TV show?
a.       Friends or Handmaid’s Tale.
6.      Favorite type of music?
a.       Variations of rock, jazz and pop, I suppose. Amy Winehouse, Fleetwood Mac, and, man do I love Broadway musicals.
7.      Favorite craft besides writing?
a.       Stand up comedy
8.      Do you play a musical instrument?
a.       No
9.       Single or married?
a.       Single lady
10.  Children or no?
a.       No children
11.  Pets?
a.       No pets! My mom has a beagle named Carmela – we Facetime a lot and I love her so, but she lives in a different part of the state. It’s very hard.
12.  Favorite place to write?
a.       Plain old boring desk in the living room.
13.  Favorite restaurant?
a.       Mandalay – a Burmese restaurant in San Francisco.
14.  Do you work outside the home?
a.       Not really…
15.  What was the name of the last movie you saw?
a.       The Incredible Jessica James
16.  Favorite outdoor activity?
a.       Biking!
17.  Pet peeve?
a.       When people bite into frozen popsicles. WHY?!
18.  Your goal in life?
a.       To be an author – same goal since I was six years old.
19.  Your most exciting moment?
a.       Getting the cover of my book back – seeing it depicted on paper was that moment where I was like, “I think this is real.”
20.  The love of your life?
a.       My family.

About the Book:

Author: Alison Littman
Publisher: Last Syllable Books
Pages: 354
Genre: Historical Fiction

After years of suffering under the communist regime in Cold War Hungary, Eszter Turján—fanatical underground journalist—would sacrifice anything, and anyone, to see the government fall. When she manipulates news broadcasts on Radio Free Europe, she ignites a vicious revolution, commits a calamitous murder, and is dragged away screaming to a secret underground prison.

Her daughter Dora, then a teenager, cowers in her bedroom as the secret police arrest her mother. Haunted and hurt, Dora vows to work against everything Eszter believes in. But, it’s not that simple.

After nine years, Dora meets a strapping young fan of Radio Free Europe and is unwittingly drawn back into Eszter’s circle. She finds her mother, driven mad by years of torture, is headed for death.

On the brink of losing Eszter again, Dora must decide if she should risk her life to save the mother who discarded her—or leave it to fate.

“A propulsive read and a timely reminder that maintaining our humanity requires courage as much as love.”- Kim van Alkemade, New York Times best-selling author of Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl

“Littman’s debut novel is a delectable blend of history and heartstrings, sure to please the palates of literature lovers everywhere.”- Selene Castrovilla, award-winning author of Melt and Luna Rising

5 out of 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite

Radio Underground reads like a movie…A revolutionary tale written with style.”- Readers’ Favorite


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Monday, December 17, 2018

20 Questions with Paranormal Historical Fantasy Thriller Author Andra Watkins @andrawatkins

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Andra Watkins is a New York Times best selling author. She is author of five books: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis (Word Hermit Press LLC, 2014), Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace (Word Hermit Press LLC, 2015; NY Times best seller, week of 18 October 2015); Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time (Word Hermit Press LLC, 2015); Hard to Die (Word Hermit Press LLC, 2016); and her latest, I Am Number 13 (Word Hermit Press LLC, 2018.)

Watkins is a popular motivational speaker and has been booked throughout the United States and internationally in Ecuador and the United Kingdom. She has appeared at Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books and on the faculty of the acclaimed Pike’s Peak Writers Conference. She was also selected as writer-in-residence at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris, Wales; the Trelex Residency in Trelex, Switzerland; and Buinho Creative Hub in Messejana, Portugal. She lives with her husband in Charleston, South Carolina.

Website Address:

  1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer? 
Afternoon and evening. 
2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?
3. Which comes first – plot or character?
4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?
5. Favorite TV show? 
Don’t have a tv.
6. Favorite type of music?
Christmas music.
7. Favorite craft besides writing?
8. Do you play a musical instrument? 
9. Single or married?
10. Children or no?
11. Pets?
Do the birds on my outdoor bird feeder count? 
12. Favorite place to write?
In bed.
13. Favorite restaurant?
Nico Seafood + Oysters in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina 
14. Do you work outside the home?
I’m a full-time author and speaker. When I’m not writing, I’m speaking all over the globe. 
15. What was the name of the last movie you saw? 
The Old Man and the Gun
16. Favorite outdoor activity? 
17. Pet peeve?
My negative spirals. 
18. Your goal in life? 
To change lives through my writing and speaking.
19. Your most exciting moment?
The day my husband said hello to me. 
20. The love of your life?
My husband is my soul. I cannot imagine living without him.
About the Book:

Title: I AM NUMBER 13
Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 275
Genre: Paranormal Historical Fantasy Thriller Speculative Fiction

When Emmaline Cagney's father dies on her graduation day, she foregoes college and heads to Honduras to volunteer with Nicaraguan refugees. It's 1986. The Sandinista-Contra war rages in the jungles all around her. But when General James Wilkinson reenters her life during a hurricane, can she trust him? Or should she flee?

Because of his unsolved death, Wilkinson is stuck in an in-between world called Nowhere, a place he's always used for his evil designs. Will he stick to his mission to help the Contras? Or will he ditch his mission to finally possess Emmaline?

As they fight to keep refugees safe and American involvement with the Contras secret from Congress, Em and Wilkinson careen toward a showdown that outstrips space and time, a place where nothing she knew about herself is true. And Em must confront the one person she never wanted to see again: her craven mother. Will Emmaline outwit the two people who peddled her childhood innocence before she runs out of time?

I Am Number 13 is the third book in the Nowhere Series, a speculative blend of riveting suspense, forgotten history, and a dash of paranormal fiction. If you like edge-of-your-seat action, compelling characters, and white-knuckle emotion, you'll love the latest installment in Andra Watkins' page-turning series.
"Teeming with creativity, Andra writes with grit, wit and lots of heart. She is an earnest, humble storyteller." Jenny Sanford, former First Lady of South Carolina and NYT best selling author of Staying True
"One of the most imaginative series I've ever read!" Jen Mann, NYT Best Selling Author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
"Edge of your seat to the very end!" Jay Snook, The Good Men Project


Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace

All books can also be purchased direct from Ingram Lightning Source via the Word Hermit Press shop! Paperback and e-book format.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Marie Drake's You Can't Force Love Book Excerpt Tour - Excerpt #14

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Author: Marie Drake  
Publisher: RedBird Books
Pages: 286  
Genre: Realistic Fiction

“A battered butterfly, he’d build Kimberly up, nurture her strength and watch her return to flight. He repressed the visions dancing in the back of his mind; her naked body brandished red flags and spurred him to stampede. Bulls and butterflies did not mix.”

Jordan Fry’s obsession is born in “You Can’t Force Love” by Marie Drake, Book I in the Locked Hearts Series.

From different towns and social backgrounds, Jordan Fry and Kimberly Orvine experience life-altering abuse, lose a parent and land in the same foster home. Angry, and self-deprecating, fiery redheaded Kimberly is deadset on lousy behavior and suffering the consequences, punishing herself for former sins. Scared by his inner darkness, pyromaniac Jordan has vowed to change for the better. He focuses on Kimberly as the key to his success, but she intends to make him break his promises. Unaware of Jordan’s atrocious actions in the past, she’s dangerously close to unleashing the evil he struggles to contain during their epic battle of wills. Can they both survive?



Book Excerpt #14 -

Jordan scanned the channels, stopped at a wrestling match, and his mother shook her head; he pressed the channel button, paused on Danger Bay, and held the remote until his mother nodded her approval. He settled in next to her, and she rested her eyes. The show neared its end, and Jordan awaited the next event of the family’s adventure. Paul entered the room, pushed Jordan aside and sat next to Debbie; he brushed his hand over her cheek, and she opened her eyes.

“Lovebirds, dinner’s ready. Tom’s working late again; I’ll enjoy the company,” Noreen said. She turned on her heel, and Debbie followed her.

Paul held a chair for Debbie, and Jordan moved to the next chair, but Paul forced him to continue to the opposite side. Noreen carried in a pot roast. “You didn’t have to go to the trouble,” Debbie said.

“No trouble at all.” Noreen waved her hand in the air.

“Smells great,” Paul added.

Jordan reached for a biscuit; Noreen frowned, he dropped it on his plate and cast his eyes downward. “Paul, would you like to say grace?” she asked.

“Lord, we offer thanks for this meal, for good friends like Noreen, and I’m especially grateful for Debbie and the child we’re expecting; Amen.”

Jordan mumbled Amen and returned his attention to his biscuit; he slathered it in butter and smothered it with gravy. “Have some carrots and meat,” his mother said. She passed him the dishes, and he obligingly added a serving of meat and vegetables to his plate.


Follow rest of tour here!

Award-winning author, Marie Drake lives in a small town near Lake Ontario with her husband, four sons, and three rescue pups. With many years of experience in the Foster Care community and advocating for other victims and survivors, she specializes in realistic and psychological fiction depicting the lives of abuse sufferers; their obstacles, their triumphs, and their downfalls.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Interview with Richard Hacker, Author of Die Book: Book One of the Alchimeia @Richard_Hacker #Interview

6:21 AM 0 Comments

I don’t want to move, but I’m not in control. Up and over the mud wall of a trench, the weight of a pack straining my back, the rifle heavy in my hands. A man to my left flies backward as if jerked by a cable, his cry muffled by explosions, his chest ripped open, organs spilling into the muck. I, we, plod forward through mud. A rhythmic takka-takka-takka, tat, tat, tat in the distance and more explosions vibrating through my feet.”
–From Die Back: Book One of the Alchimeia by Richard Hacker
Richard Hacker is a longtime resident of Austin, Texas who now writes and lives in Seattle. His writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. In addition to his writing, he provides editing services to other writers and is the editor of an online science fiction and fantasy journal, Del Sol Review. His three published humorous crime novels ride the sometimes thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. DIE BACK, his first fantasy thriller novel, has been published by Del Sol Press.

Book Description:

In 272 AD Egypt, an enemy thwarts an attempt by League Inkers, Thomas Shaw and Nikki Babineaux, to obtain the Alchįmeia, a document holding alchemical secrets. Sensing his impending death, Thomas secures Nikki’s promise to keep his son, Addison, from the League, an organization defending the time continuum. After his father’s death, Addison inherits a mysterious pen, accidentally inking himself into the consciousness of a man who dies on a muddy WWI battlefield in France. Hoping to make sense of his experience, he confides in Nikki, his best friend and unknown to Addison, an Inker. Keeping her promise to Thomas, she discounts Addison’s experience.

Fixated on the pen, Addison inks into a B-17 bombardier in 1943. The pilot, whose consciousness has been taken over by someone calling himself Kairos, gloats over killing Addison’s father and boasts of plans to destroy the League. As Kairos attempts to wrest Addison’s consciousness, Nikki shocks Addison out of the Inking. She confesses her knowledge of  the League. When Kairos threatens to steal aviation technology, she she sends Addison and his partner, Jules, to an Army test of the Wright Flyer in 1908. Believing they have succeeded, they return to find the continuum shifted and Nikki knowing nothing about the League.

Inking back to his father’s mission in Alexandria, Addison and Jules hope to get his help in returning the time continuum to its original state. Instead, Addison’s father gives him the Alchįmeia to hide in a crypt at the Great Lighthouse on Phalos. On their return to the present a Kairos agent murders Jules, her consciousness Inked into the past. Addison follows the clues, Inking into Pizarro in 16th century Peru. He finds Jules in the child bride of the Inca emperor. His plan to find the technology and save Jules without destroying the Inca civilization is thwarted by a fleet of Inca airships. Captured, he is taken to Machu Picchu. With Jules help, they find the stolen schematics, but are confronted by Kairos. He stabs Addison, forcing Addison’s consciousness back to the present and traps Jules in the 16th Century. Addison returns to another altered world. Nikki no longer exists, the world is at war with the Inca, and Manhattan lay in ruins.

Addison Inks his father, learning the origins of the League. Thomas urges Addison to uncover their enemy with the help of his colleague, Maya. Putting suspicion on another inker,  Cameron, she insists he must be killing Inkers and acquiring Pens. In a final attempt to stop him, they entrap Cameron, only for Addison to discover Maya is Kairos, his enemy.  She kills Cameron, also wounding Addison.  He chases Maya, who intimates that she holds his mother’s, Rebecca’s, consciousness. Confused he delays, giving her time to scrawl a name with her pen before shooting her dead.
Inked away when Maya died, Kairos finds himself, not in his intended host, Hitler, but in a German infantry soldier POW in the Ardenne during the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. Hoping to repair the shift in the time continuum, Addison brings the League Pens together with the fate of the world and everyone he loves at stake. He awakens to a dissimilar world, but Jules and Nikki exist. And with life there is always hope.


Welcome, Richard!  Your new fantasy/thriller series sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
Richard: This might sound odd, but Dieback started with a fountain pen. I was holding a fountain pen one day and my mind wandered to the power of words. Human beings have been naming things since the beginnings of language. It’s how we find our place in the world and in some cases I think, gives us a sense of control. Or at least the illusion of control. So, what would happen if a character had a pen filled with alchemical ink that when he wrote the name and a date for someone living in the past, his consciousness would be transported into that person? What would he do with that astounding capability? And as with most technology, what if someone decided to use the alchemy to acquire power and control time itself? How would the protagonist fend off this attack on the time continuum and reality as he knows it? And then I put the fountain pen down, pulled at the laptop, and started writing.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters?
Richard: The protagonist, Addison Shaw, is a complicated guy. He has a deep guilt and sense of responsibility for the death of girl friend when he rolled their car on a mountain road in a snowstorm. He carries the scars of that night, emotionally and physically with a damaged knee requiring him to use a cane to walk. He went from school athlete to disabled loner. As the story progresses he will face even greater challenges and will have to find a way to heal himself enough to move forward. He’s also a bit of a smart ass, a little compulsive, more shy than he’d like you to think, and willing to act even when he’s terrified.
His parter and off and on girlfriend, Jules McCullough, is a strong and courageous woman, full of life. When Addison first meets Jules, her presence intimidates. Her ebony hair swept tightly back from her face, exploding into a Mohawk of red-tipped spikes. She had piercings in her eye brows, a silver nose ring, and white bone spiraling through her ear lobes contrasting against mocha skin. A tattoo ran the length of her right arm, a twisting vine of green leaves and yellow, orange, and pink flowers, disappearing into the short sleeve of a black Ramones tee shirt. She wore a khaki utility kilt with a silver studded belt slipped over her hips and black combat boots. She looked like a woman from another time and place—a fierce female Maasai warrior from the Tanzanian Serengeti. They will live…and die, many times over to protect the time continuum.
Cuthbert Grimwalde, a 15th century scryer and mystic befriends Tobias Faryndon, the founder of the League and the perfecter of its alchemy. But Grimwalde’s dark heart soon turns against Faryndon as the scryer realizes he can use the alchemy to not only change the past or the future, but to control and master the world for all time. By the time Grimwalde encounters Addison, he has sojourned across a thousands of years and has taken the name, Kairos. He considers himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Master of the Space Time Continuum.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Richard: Several points come to mind, but I think readers will have a difficult time putting the book down during the Inca encounter. Ethan Inks into the consciousness of the 16th century conquestador, Pizarro, in a desperate attempt to save his partner, Jules. Attacked in the present, she inks into Cuxirmay, the child bride of the Incan Emperor Atahaulpa. Addison struggles to maintain control of Pizarro and the passions and violence of both Pizarro and Atahualpa. If he succeeds, both Jules and Addison live to fight another day and the time continuum remains stable. If he fails, Jules will be trapped in 16th century Peru, the outcome of Pizarro’s encounter with the Inca is altered, and the future will change in a thousand unknown ways. And I think the outcome will surprise you.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Richard: Both. I always proof and edit my work, but at some point, I’ve been standing in the forest for so long, all the trees look the same! It’s remarkable how I can read something a hundred times and in my mind, I’ve corrected the typo, but on the page, the typo remains. So I always have others comb through the manuscript. They’ll point out typos and grammar issues, as well as continuity issues, and make suggestions. And then I make decisions based on their feedback.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Richard: Absolutely. These days, most people are shopping for the next read online, which means they’re looking at a thumbnail image of the book. The cover needs to be something that catches the eye and then draws the reader in for a closer look. The title, which gives you pause, is easy to see in thumbnail. The image of a young man floating upward captures the idea of both the inking—when he uses the pen to enter the mind of someone in the past—and the dieback—when he dies to re-enter his own body. I think the publisher did a great job taking that image and then designing the front, spine, and back. Hope you think so too.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Richard: Well, like a lot of kids I wanted to be many things. The first time I saw Louis Armstrong on the Ed Sullivan Show (okay, I just dated myself!) I wanted to be a jazz musician. When I was in the third-grade I started writing short stories which I read to the class for show and tell. Why I did that, I’m not so sure. My squirrel skeleton in a shoebox had been a hit, but I think having the class respond to my stories got me hooked on writing. And then in high school I gravitated towards medicine. As an adult, I dabble in jazz, I know how to rip open a bandaid wrapper, and I write novels.
Do your novels carry a message?
Richard: When life looks hopeless, when everything seems to be turned upside, the people who make a difference are not super heroes, but people like you and me, who persevere in spite of the odds.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Richard: Thanks so much for providing this opportunity to share my work with your readers. I hope they enjoy reading Dieback as much as I enjoyed writing it. For fun, go check out the trailer for the book. And I’d love to hear from you. Visit my website, and drop me a line.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The 99c Book Craze by Hope Waters @hopewatersbooks #writing #books

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 The 99c Book Craze

By Hope Waters

The 99c book craze. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t love a good deal. Here in the US, (possibly Canada too?) we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday and it’s one of my favorite times of the year, because it’s shopping time and the deals you can score are amazing. Of course, there are some not-so-great deals but I tend to focus on the positive.

My husband bought three gaming systems one year, way back when. He’s from overseas and there’s nothing like this where he comes from. Between being hung over from Thanksgiving (he stuck his head in a glass turkey and we got a picture of that and used it in our fiancé visa process) and the 4am wake-up call to head to the mall, he got the real experience, including fighting off an elderly lady who tried to steal the gaming console he had raced through the store to grab. I still chuckle about that.

These days, we shop online and spend more time with the family. I always cook dinner the night before Thanksgiving, always something from scratch and usually Asian fusion. Last year was from scratch teriyaki chicken. This year it’s Korean BBQ and I don’t like to toot my own horn but the test run on the meal went swimmingly. After we clean up from Thanksgiving, it’s time to sleep because at midnight, the sales start and I have my list and I’m checking it twice and gonna find something for me.

Like 99c books! I drive my husband crazy with all the book purchases over that weekend, because then they clog up my store feed with recommendations that are not on my Christmas shopping list. Of course, there is also after Christmas, so my reading purchases take me long into the next year.

Now, all I have to do is organize all these books. That will always be a work in progress. Thanks so much to Blogging Authors for having me by!

About the Author

Hope Waters has been writing romance for over thirty years, traveling the globe but finally finding true love and now lives in Florida with her family.


Website Address:

About the Book:

Zoey Blake is having a perfect holiday season. Finals are over and it's time to head home for Christmas, but when she wins the Hartbreakers True Love contest to join them on their tour, she has a chance to follow her favorite band for twelve days -- and twelve steamy nights.

Mackenzie has been a player since and joining Hartbreakers has only edged up his game, that is until he meets Zoey. She's turned his world upside down and only she can make it right. Now all he has to do is convince her to stay with him forever. For a guy like Mack, that shouldn't be too hard but it's gonna take all he has and twelve days to win her true love.



Book Blast! The Magical Christmas Do Over by Linda West @morningmayan #holidaybooks #Christmas

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Author: Linda West
Publisher: Morningmayan Publishing
Pages: 320
Genre: Holiday


Three women, thrown together by fate, get a second chance to go back in time and change their lives forever.



    It was a cold December eve, some say the coldest in decades, and a blizzard warning was in effect. It was the Friday before Christmas and most of the other workers of Kennedy and Crane had already left for the Christmas holiday weekend.

      Samantha looked at the clock and groaned inwardly. It was after 8 o’clock and her boss was in an extra foul mood even for her.
    “Shouldn’t you be getting home to put on that awesome Chanel dress you bought for the big night?” She asked.

     Macy spun around enraged, and Samantha sunk back.
     Macy’s dark brows knit together and her brown eyes looked nearly black with the size of her pupils. She ran her hands through her short dark hair and then stared at Samantha with disbelief on her face.

     “I got a text from Todd an hour ago. He’s gone off to LA with some friends for Christmas!”
Samantha’s mouth fell open. “What, why?” She stopped herself. “I’m sure he has a good reason Macy.”
     Macy snorted. “Yeah, good reasons usually don’t come in a text. I’m losing him Sam.”

     Macy plopped down in her chair and stared out the large picture window of her sleek office, and tapped her long manicured nails on her desk like a woodpecker.
     “Says he’ll call me when he gets back…in a month.”
     Samantha’s groaned inwardly. Poor Macy, it looked like she was getting the ultimate big let down. Broken up with at Christmas. No engagement celebration after all.

    “Here’s a piece of mail you didn’t get.” Sam offered up happily as she placed it on Macy’s desk.

    “Send it back.” Macy said dully without turning.

     Samantha continued hopefully. “It’s not the annual Christmas invite from your mother Macy, that one is always in a red envelope. I always send that back. This is something different.”
    Samantha looked at the pretty Tiffany blue colored envelope.
     “It’s addressed to you personally, not the company.”
    Macy cocked her head to the side intrigued.
    Sam rushed on eager to bring some sort of happiness to her boss. “Maybe it’s a love letter from Todd with two tickets to Paris for when he gets back?”
    Macy let out a big huff and gazed out the window at the oncoming storm. They both knew that wasn’t the case. Todd’s last minute text was just a breakup in disguise.
     But if not Todd then who? Macy really didn’t have any close friends that would send her a Christmas card. Anyone that did know her at all, knew she abhorred Christmas. Too much money being spent in the name of sentimentality and tricky marketers as her father always said.

     Macy waved her hand without looking back at Samantha as if she were a servant.
     “Read it.”
     Samantha scanned the letter, then suddenly, caught her breath and brought her hand to her heart.
     Something in Samantha’s tone made Macy spin her chair around.
      “Its from a friend of your mothers, a Ms. Carol Landers.”
      “You have got to be kidding me!” Macy threw her hands up in the air.
Now my mother is having her friends beg me to come home and visit her? How utterly selfish!”
      She shook her head in disbelief. “What is it with my mother? She ruins my life and then she stalks me! Can’t she see no matter how many times she begs me to come home for Christmas - I’m not going to Kissing Bridge to see her?”
      Samantha swallowed uncomfortably and croaked out, “I’m so sorry Macy. But this letter says that your mother passed away yesterday, and you’re the only relative left to claim her body.”
      She looked up sadly and met Macy’s stunned eyes.
     “You have to go home to Kissing Bridge.”


Linda West is an Amazon best seller and author of the best selling series ‘Christmas Kisses and Cookies.’ She writes books that feature food and fun and includes her own recipes from her quaint beach café in Malibu.



Friday, December 7, 2018

Wattpad, Inkitt, Critiquecircle and Unbound - Navigating Writing Websites for the Uninitiated by Mark H. Jackson @markjackson873 #writing

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Wattpad, Inkitt, Critiquecircle and Unbound –
Navigating Writing Websites for the Uninitiated

There are number of outlets for publishing your work on the internet and some are better than others. Over the years I have used four platforms to have my work both critiqued and read –,,, Authonomy (now deceased) and finally published by

The biggest of the sites and perhaps the most famous is Wattpad. Boasting an audience of 45 million and over 300 million uploaded books Wattpad felt like the place to start if I were to build a following for my work. I uploaded my novel, The Atlantis Deception (then known as Atlantis Reborn) chapter by chapter over the course of two or three months and set up residence on the club forums, offering advice and help in return for some small promotion of the novel. It was a tough introduction into social media but one I needed and the experience has held me in good stead for what was to come. I still remember feeling so proud when the novel hit 100 reads!

As with most things in life, you get out what you put in. I (perhaps misguidedly) joined Wattpad after hearing if a novel does well, there is a good chance of it being picked up by a publisher. Although the chances of being plucked from obscurity to achieve international acclaim is unlikely, even if your work does moderately well, Wattpad notoriety is at least something tangible to include in submission letters (should the traditional publication route be your goal). On that point, I should make you aware that if you choose to post a novel online, it will lose its first publication rights. This is looked upon unfavourably by many of the big publishing houses. Ironically the same publishers that insist you prove your work can attract an audience – Catch 22!

After realising this last point a little too late, I decided to use The Atlantis Deception as an advert for my second novel and treated Wattpad for what it is – a platform to build an audience.

There are two distinct groups on the site; the writers and the readers and a huge number of readers reside in the under 18 category, which is great if you write in the YA genre. However, given the size of Wattpad’s subscription pool, there are millions outside of this group, certainly enough for any author to find readers, whatever their genre.

As I see it, the job of any aspiring writer is to promote his or her work until it becomes both visible and viable. Wattpad is a great introduction to the world of publication and in a contained and safe(ish) arena. If you are successful on Wattpad (promoting, reviewing, blogging, tweeting, joining in with forum debates etc.), the skills you develop will furnish you with the confidence to apply them within the big bad world of paid publishing. In fact, if you do well enough, Wattpad itself will often give their author’s something back for all their hard work. From my point of view, I was promoted as a featured author and my book even appeared at San-Diego Comi-con a couple of years ago, associated with the TV series ‘The Dig’. The site is also constantly running various writing competitions throughout the year which again can only look good on a CV if you are lucky enough to win one.

The second of the sites I posted on was Inkitt, which is essentially Wattpad on a smaller scale. The biggest difference being their readership analytics. They claim that if you can attract a significant number of readers to your novel, they will offer you a publishing deal. This possibility initially drew me in, but after a few months the standard and genre of books winning prizes did not inspire me with a huge amount of confidence and eventually I removed my work from the site. I have since been told their publishing terms require a 15-year association with their label which seems excessive, especially if the book doesn’t sell. The terms may have changed since so I may be doing Inkitt a disservice. On a positive note, the reviews I received from the site were amazing and in some cases very detailed. It may be worth signing up just to interact with their community! is a website I would recommend to anyone involved in writing and interested in improving their craft. The site is free (although there is a paid version) and revolves around reciprocal critiquing. For every chapter you read and review you will receive a credit. Credits can them be cashed in by submitting your own work for an open critique by their community. You need a thick skin as some of the critics can be very tough, some of it warranted but sometimes not. It does hurt, especially at first, but it is all part of the learning process. My advice would be to try not to be precious about anything you post. Take on board any advice you agree with and dismiss what you don’t. That said, if a few people pick up on the same point, it might be wise to take some notice!

My final port of call is the crowdfunding publisher, They are a relatively new publishing house and one that has recently taken me under their wing. They may be young, but already they can count established names such as Kate Mosse, Terry Jones, Tony Hawks, Andy Hamilton and Katy Brand amongst their clientele.

All crowdfunded monies go directly into supporting the associated book. It covers editing, proofing, cover design, typesetting and eventually marketing. The Unbound community has pledged over £3 million to a variety of projects, ranging from an anthology on race and identity in contemporary Britain to my own novel, The Atlantis Deception.

Over one hundred thousand people from every corner of the globe have supported an Unbound project and helped make that idea a reality. To date, over two hundred books have been published in this manner and many have been bestsellers and received critical acclaim (included being long listed for the Man Booker Prize). I am proud to have been given the opportunity to bolster that number with my own work.

If you haven’t heard of Unbound, I would suggest visiting their website. In my opinion they represent the seed of change for the publishing industry, an industry that needs to wake it up and end its reliance on the so called super-authors such as King, Rowling and Brown.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to interact with my readers and potential readers. I am always available and willing to discuss my work or wider questions in general. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via the following mediums and thank you again for taking an interest in my work.

About the Author

Mark is a qualified solicitor who splits his time between protecting the rights of academics, writing thriller fiction and raising five mostly lovely children. He studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on the relationship of the Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilisation and religion. It was within this flame the plots for his future novels were born.

Mark’s writing career extends back over a decade and his diverse portfolio includes three novels, a number of short stories and even a six-part sitcom. Long listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, he is currently a featured author on the popular writing website, Wattpad, with over 6,000 followers from all around the world and well over one million reads of his first novel. Aside from Wattpad, Mark is an active member on a number of other writing websites, spending his spare time offering editorial and structural advice to fellow authors. Up to now Mark has considered writing as a creative outlet for the myriad of characters and ideas roaming about his head. The time has come to tease them out of hiding and breathe a little life into their lungs.

His latest book is the adventure/thriller The Atlantis Deception.

About the Book:

Author: Mark H. Jackson
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Pages: 288
Genre: Adventure/Thriller

A German property developer, Hans Hoffmann, revels in the belief he has discovered the key to unleashing the weapon responsible for sinking Atlantis. Hoffmann requests the help of Cambridge archaeologist, Dr John Hunter to validate his mysterious find. Hunter's acceptance leads the maverick academic on a journey from the headquarters of a clandestine organisation in England, to a lost city in the heart of the Brazilian Rainforest, and climaxes inside a chamber hidden deep beneath Egyptian Heliopolis. Pioneering theory is spliced by epic battles, daring escapes, and elaborate schemes aimed at unravelling a secret history hidden from humanity for the past twelve thousand years.

Atlantis is a very visual word. A word evoking mystery, forgotten realms, underwater palaces… the list goes on. I find this Plato inspired concept of Atlantis fascinating and read anything and everything I can lay my hands on. The theories are diverse and range from the feasible to the outlandish, but certain concepts keep reoccurring. The Atlantis Deception takes the ideas of accepted and alternative theory, weaving them together to create a believable universe where our past still dictates our future.

The novel follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional Cambridge academic, Dr John Hunter. The focus is not on Atlantis itself, but rather on what happened to its people it the wake of the loss of their homeland. The Atlantis Deception is a classic action adventure tale with heroes, villains, shadowy organisations and self-serving plots, each underpinned by progressive archaeological theory. The novel is written with the aim of both exciting and making readers think in equal measure. Although imagined, many of the conclusions the characters reach are cutting edge and described in such a way so as to blur the line between fact and fiction.


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