Authors Tell All- Claudia Ross

Claudia 10 31 14Writing and wine drove out my demons in a way therapy never could.

Growing up, I read everything: Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou. In college, I read the classic authors: Pauline Hopkins, Harriet E Wilson, Nella Larson, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Leo Tolstoy and Charles Dickens. The fun stuff was the best stuff: Ann Rice, Sydney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Bebe Moore-Campbell, Terry McMillian. In recent years, I’ve read works by Dolen Perkins-Valdez and Ken Follett. I’m currently reading Cynthia Bond. However, once I left college, I found I read less, overwhelmed with the pressures of making it in the world of realty. I don’t like it here.

In an effort to sort things out, I decided to have cocktail when I came home after work each night.


OK, maybe I would have two.


By the time I reached my late 30’s, I had arrived at the edge, although no one realized it. As long as I showed up to work and fixed everyone’s problems, I was OK. But I wasn’t. At last, I found myself sitting at my dressing table. Staring into the mirror crying, I couldn’t make the same pointless journey around the mountain again.


I remembered a story.


It wasn’t much. Just a couple of lines I had scribbled down a few years before about a whorehouse in New Orleans during the 1920’s. I pulled a plastic bin out my closet and dug down to the bottom. I still had it. It was about two pages long, handwritten.


I needed to write.



I found some old stationary and begin writing. The story flowed like oil from the bottle of Elisha’s widow. I couldn’t stop. Before I knew it, I’d filled five tablets. I needed to type it all out, organize it, and figure out what I had. It took a few days, but I entered everything into MS Word, printed, and then read it.


Not bad.


Between 2005 and 2013, I wrote many books, primarily my series, Le Baton Chronicles. It turned out to be much more than the story about a Madame of whorehouse in New Orleans, but morphed into a supernatural, paranormal, supercell, epic series, spanning many centuries.


La Rose, Book I Le Baton Chronicles wasn’t the first book I published. The agents had rejected it. In any case, trying to sell my book spiked my anxiety (I’ll have another glass of wine please). I found release, peace and satisfaction in writing, not in courting agents and publishing houses. So, I continued to write, giving up on the idea of traditional publishing.


It’s kind of a funny story about how I came to write the first book I ever published.


I was talking to a co-worker who had young children. Although I never had any children, I pitched in and assisted my sister with raising my niece from 2002-2009. At that time, I went from watching 24 to becoming a Sponge Bob Square Pants expert and arm chair commentator.


All other kiddie shows aside, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reigned sovereign and supreme in our household. There was never a bad time to watch the DVD. We never grew tired of it. We watched the Wizard of Oz at least twice a day.


So, my co-worker and I were whining about having seen The Wizard of Oz 3,000 times each over the course of four years. I began to think. “Wouldn’t it have been funny if Dorothy had punched the Wicked Witch of the West in her throat when she tried to take her shoes?” My coworker said, “Yeah, that would’ve been some funny sh**.”


Intrigued by the concept of a sexy, street savvy Dorothy, I penned a short story about Dorothy as a speakeasy owner in 1920’s Harlem who drinks a hallucinogenic martini and wakes up in Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West threatens to kill her for her ruby stilettos. Being a speakeasy owner from Harlem, allow us say Dorothy doesn’t take the Witch’s threats lightly. Once finished, I sent the draft of the story to my co-worker who responded with the classic, “This is some funny sh**.” With the blessing, Dorothy Jones, A Jazz Age Trip Through Oz was born.

Dorothy Jones 08 06 15 v6


Once again, my life changed and I found myself revisiting my old vacation home, the brink of insanity. My job had changed; I was filled with anger and bitterness. Fear had captured my future, promising apocalyptic catastrophes unfolding in my family life back home. I’d lost all of my possession within a period of five years, the last being my car which I loved. I’d lost a love I never held. Holding on to these lost possessions and people who had left my life consumed my thoughts, daily. I found myself pulling on doorknobs of closed (and locked) doors, hoping for them to reopen. I couldn’t write. No matter how I tried, I could not do it. My rage and fear had taken my imagination hostage.


“God, I need for you to help me.”


And he did. I began to pray. I began let go of all of it. It took three years of heartache and soul searching, but finally I let go. I had a few moments of clarity where I could write during those years on the threshing floor. In 2013 I finished Dorothy, polished her up, and published her as a Kindle EBook on Dorothy is my risk taker and go getter. She tests the waters for me. After Dorothy, I published the first book of my series, La Rose Book I Le Baton Chronicles as a Kindle EBook later that year. I’ve published at least one book each year since 2013. I am currently working on La Rose, Le Jardin Book IV Le Baton Chronicles, due out late 2015 or early 2016.


I am happy to say, I’m about 89% free. I revisit the old hurts and losses from time to time, but I’m not trying to live with them. That time is gone. It’s dead. I can’t go back. However, if the door reopens, I’m happy to consider whatever may come through it.


In the past, writing appears to have been an outlet for my insanity. Yet looking back, I believe my focus on and the pursuit of goals other than writing has been the source of my heartache and despair.


Now I know


Writing is the vehicle to my imagination, where I live, where I belong, where I love.


Claudia Helena Ross

LaRose Book III 07 10 14 v2


Works by Claudia Helena Ross

La Rose Book I Le Baton Chronicles

La Rose Book II Le Baton Chronicles

La Rose Book III Le Baton Chronicles

Dorothy Jones A Jazz Age Trip Through Oz


Click here to read other authors journeys.

Authors Tell All- Nigel Edwards

MeInSanFranFlip50pcBorn a long time ago in a distant country, Nigel is Welsh but living in England with his wife plus the occasional child or pet (currently we have a pair of rabbits).
Nigel has been a spare-time writer since around 2005 (give or take a year), and has been published by Indie Press names NewCon Press (Ian Whates) and Greyheart Press (Tim Taylor).
For a living Nigel works as a software tester/manager in the IT industry, sometimes in London, sometimes elsewhere.
Nigel’s ambition is to become a world famous author and then retire to the romantic coastline of Cornwall. Until then, Nigel just puts up with having to be nice to employers and potential employers.



Where to begin?

Firstly, to state that I’m an author, that I’m neither rich nor famous and probably never will be – but I don’t think that those things are integral to the definition of a writer or author.  Hmm… maybe we need some differentiation, here.  So:

A writer is someone who strings letters together to make words, and words together to make sentences in such a way as to impart an idea, a concept, an opinion (note I avoid the word truth).  An author is someone who does exactly the same thing but whose work is read and responded to by people outside of the author’s nearest and dearest.  And a good author is one who actually takes the time to understand not only the subject of their work, but the mechanics of the art of writing.  In other words, they embrace and impart Quality (with a capital Kwuh).

Secondly, to state that I love writing.  Writing is absolutely the most important thing in my life – apart from: kids, wife, washing, ironing, vacuuming, sleeping, driving to work, being at work, driving from work, snatching a bite to eat, and maybe a wee nip at the end of the day.

Thirdly, to state that writing currently occupies the smallest part of my time (if you hadn’t already guessed).  In any one month I can expect to be scribbling for ten, maybe twelve hours at most because the business of earning a living and supporting those around me has to take precedence.  So writing is really little more than a pastime and yet… it’s so much more than just a hobby.


You see, without writing I doubt I’d remain sane enough to actually engage in all those activities with which life insists I must be involved.  Putting the metaphorical pen to paper (reality: pressing keys on the keypad of my laptop because my handwriting is so appalling) is my desperate escape from the moribund and mortal to the animated and enduring.

Fourthly, to state that to earn my living as an author is my dream. Everyone’s got to have a dream, something to strive for, a distant nirvana where success and happiness go hand-in-hand. Maybe when I retire…

But, I hasten to add, I’m not content to simply moan about my lot, to wallow in the flux of sullenness or languish in seas of irritation at the success of others, and complain about how unfair life is.  Oh no.  Limited though my free time is, I do as much as I can towards reaching my goal.  To date I’ve published several short stories, a rather quirky and experimental novel (a marmite experience: you either love it or hate it), and an adventure book for kids aged around 10 to 12.  All available through your neighbourhood South American river.


If I discount the writings of childhood, my first foray into book writing was when I was in my fifties (from which you may deduce that I no longer am).  I wrote a book called PRISM Exiles, intended as the first part of a trilogy, 200,000-plus words long, together with a separate appendix that was itself about 100,000 words long (I think, I’ve lost the drafts for that so I’m not sure).  I actually self-published PRISM though Lulu, convinced that what I’d written was blockbuster quality.  Needless to say, it wasn’t.

At around that time a colleague (Tim Taylor, more of him in a bit) at work told me he was a writer, too, and he introduced me to the Northampton Science Fiction Writers Group (NSFWG).  I signed up to attend workshop meetings every month for a princely £10.00 annual subscription fee and joining was the smartest thing I’ve ever done.  I met some great people with a variety of writing skills and experience, from newbies like me to giants like internationally acclaimed Ian Watson and Ian Whates.  I learned a huge amount about what authorship was all about.  Each month we (still) take turns to submit a short piece which the rest of the group critique.  Nothing and no one is spared and everything is examined under a microscope of forensic quality.  The first piece I submitted was the first chapter of PRISM – and shortly afterwards I pulled the book from Lulu with the firm intent that, one day, I would rewrite it the way it should have been written in the first place.

That’s still my intent, but I’ve no idea when I’ll get around to it.  Maybe when I retire…

My first real success was a shorty called The Tower, included in the anthology Shoes, Ships and Cadavers: Tales from North Londonshire (published by Ian Whates through NewCon Press).  The story was a simple one, about what might happen when you die, and was the second piece I submitted to the NSFWG.  This was followed by other shorts: Waif, The Cookie Tin, Ferryman, Badger’s Waddle, and others.  Waif (another experimental work, where I didn’t bother to give characters proper names) has been my most successful work to date, published by my good friend Tim Taylor (author of the amazingly successful Human Legion series) through Greyhart Press.

Most recently I’ve self-published The Scrapdragon, a fantasy adventure novel for youngsters aged 10 and up (though quite suitable for any age group, really), and I’m currently working on a Gothic-style book called Shun House, not suitable for kids, a follow-up to Waif that deals with adult themes such as murder and torture.  I still have a few chapters to go, (plus the dreaded read-through & re-write) before that gets released, possibly towards the end of this year, more likely next.

If I was asked for one piece of advice to give to anyone who is considering writing a book, it would have to be: go find and join a writer’s group.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re a natural (like I thought when I wrote PRISM) and that success must inevitably follow.  Find a group and learn your craft from people who’ve already trodden the path you’re contemplating.  I promise it will be well worth it.


Click here to read other authors journeys.


Authors Tell All- Massimo Marino

indexmmMassimo Marino is an author with Booktrope Publishing LCC and an Active Member of SFWA— the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America association—and member of the CODEX group—
He is the Author of multi-awarded Daimones Trilogy: Daimones, Once Humans, The Rise of the Phoenix: The Daimones Trilogy, Vol. 3 Currently writing “The Law” – a YA Urban SF novel.
He’s a scientist envisioning science fiction. He spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. In December 2013 he co-founded “SquaresonBlue”,, a consultant service company on Big Data and Analytics.


Astounding stories and lessons learned.


When I started writing I was too young to think of what I was doing and have moments of reflection on crafting a novel. My Dad received “Astounding Stories” and I wasn’t allowed to read the magazines but they did have astounding covers; I dreamed about them. Based on those covers, I created stories in my mind, then put them down on paper with a pencil in my little hands so that I could re-read and never forget them.

I didn’t think in those days about plot and action, character development, building my voice, what themes and belief systems I had to, or wanted to cover. The place and the setting came from those cover pictures, and I wasn’t concerned with temporal or structural issues.

Later on, I stopped when I started my studies in Physics at the University. Between that and playing quarterback for the team of Palermo, my home town, chasing girls until I found my future wife thirty-four years ago, put a halt to writing. So it is only when I resumed that forgotten love and got the writing fever again—or my Muse awoke and found me ready—that I started exploring and thinking of  these elements in my work.

Suspense is one thing that will keep readers reading; there’s a tension in the pages and it is not resolved: The writer has been busy building suspense. A common mistake I’ve seen with writers still learning the ropes is eagerness with resolving the tension, as if it was a good thing to provide the readers with the resolution on the same page, even; what a missed opportunity. Sure, the longer you wait, the higher the risk of disappointing your readers if the resolution is moot and weak. The readers would go “What! Is that all?”
So keep in mind that suspense is your key factor to have your book defined by readers as a “page-turner”: they want to discover what resolves the tension points in your novel. If everything is in one page, there is no need to turn anything 😉

You will notice something very interesting that you may use as one of your mantras while honing your storyline: Where there is revelation, there is suspense.

Revelations can fall into many categories, it can be part of the plot, a trait of your main character, an anodyne, thinly disguised detail that goes undetected by most readers, and creates “Ah ha” moments later in the story. Try thinking of all the possible revelations in your book. How do these fit into your plot outline? If you have many to share with your readers, how can they be distributed in the storyline? Try not to amass all your revelations together and too early in the book as you need to keep up with the expectations of your readers through some 80,000 words.

Characters are revealed through their actions, what they do and what they say. Drama shows people at their extremes. Your main character must be in the midst of the battle of his or her life, physical or emotional, or an ultimate test, a challenge or crisis of faith.

As they say, “If you want to find out what a person is made of, put that person under pressure.” You’ll also will find that a place or a thing can also function as “character” and be developed. A place, or an object can be charged with emotions and tension to rival with the better developed characters of all stories.

You don’t even need to describe your character physically as if you were—and you are, if you do that—telling people about a picture you have of the character. A character is not a pair of blue eyes, blonde hair, fair incarnation, slim or not, tall or short, attractive or repulsive, beautiful or ugly. These are the traits of a cardboard, not a character.

Build your character slowly, with their thoughts, their action, their unique way of interacting with the events in the story and with other characters. This gives them depth, not whether they’re tall and brunette, or short and blondie. You can even avoid telling physical characters and have the reader guess whether they are tall (she’s able to reach the upper shelve without help) or short, she needs to be on her tiptoes.

Don’t tell how they look, show who they are, and the readers will fill in the gaps. If you need a physical trait to be unique and well described (but only if it is *needed* and adds to the story) then introduce that trait *when* needed.

Everyone can describe the picture of a person and tell how s/he looks like, but that’s not character development and—frankly—doesn’t add anything to the reader’s image of who is that person.

Forget physical traits, get into the characters’ personality and they will develop naturally and readers will love or hate them, but never indifferent to their fates.

Development and character—and how both are framed by time and place, and their impact on your story is also a key feature of your storytelling. It is a key aspect of your narration: where it is situated at a particular place. When I  am deep in writing a new story,  I have places and situations and scenes that build up. I try to view them via a close up on something particular in the landscape, or via a long shot from a mountaintop or a helicopter or any other vantage point from above.  I survey the scenery, and I forbid my characters to venture there with me. I explore, trying to “feel” the place well before my characters are allowed in. Then I walk with them, and I hear their thoughts, and question “How do you feel, here?”, “What excites you?”, “What scares you?”, and “Would you go there?” Hearing them say “No” to the last question is usually a good sign that the place needs to be visited in the story 😉

The plot of your book  can be an attempt to illuminate a particular philosophical problem, belief, or snapshot of a world at a particular point in time. In the plot, the writer can and wants to explore underlying belief systems, whether conscious or unconscious. Artfully understanding and using the thematic elements in your novel will result in a work that can be deep and resonant versus flat and merely 50 shades commercial. Tempting? Instead, here you aim at writing with your heart, questioning your firm foundations of your persona, and forgetting about making more sales, while concentrating on how to better disrupt something inside the reader. If it bothers you to explore those things, it is a good sign they are good stuff to put the spotlight on in your story. But for this, you need to have the courage to write naked. You will aim at making your work even more resonant and expansive—a book that has the potential to be appreciated by many.

Voice. We’re in the habit of thinking, based on bland television and newspaper reporting, that a homogenized voice is the most objective and appropriate voice for conveying an unbiased story.  That may work well for presenting a certain type of general information to the public, but does not serve the richness and color and personal nature of authentic stories, stories that live and breath what life is really like and the gamut of human experience. For this last point, the only reflection I have to share is that your voice develops as an extension of you—the writer—as a character. When searched for consciously and purposefully it becomes affectation. Don’t fret on finding your voice, it will develop as part of who you are and if you write naked—again!
The true worth of a writer is not in his style and voice, but in the feelings and sensations that come alive in the readers.

Massimo Marino
Author of the “Daimones Trilogy” – Published Author with Booktrope Publishing
2012 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction
2013 Hall of Fame – Best in Science Fiction, Quality Reads UK Book Club
2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction Series
2014 Finalist – Science Fiction – Indie Excellence Awards L.A.
2014 Award Winner – Science Fiction Honorable Mention – Readers’ Favorite Annual Awards
Click here to read other authors journeys.

Authors Tell All- Delaney Diamond

Delaney Avatar without backgroundHello everyone! *waving* I’m happy to be here on Christina’s blog to “tell all.”


My first novel

My writing career so far as been more rewarding than I ever expected, and in November I’ll be celebrating five years as a published author. My journey started when Amira Press published my first novel, The Arrangement, an interracial romance about an African-American woman and a Brazilian man. Since then, I’ve received the rights back to the book and self-published it, but it was the first story in my Hot Latin Men series.


Published works

To date I have 18 published novels and short stories in the interracial romance and African-American romance subgenre, with four more slated for release this fall. Next year I intend to release at least three more novels.

For now, I write only contemporary romance, but I’ve been conducting research for a romantic suspense series that I’d like to kick off in the near future. And if I ever get the courage, I’ll tackle a historical romance or two.


Never wanted to be a writer

The thing that tends to surprise people is that I never wanted to be a writer. Although I read a lot and always have, had won a few writing contests in high school, I never aspired to be a writer. But because I was stressed at my previous job, I left and decided to try writing. I had no idea I even needed a creative outlet. More and more story ideas keep coming—more than I can keep up with. I haven’t looked back, and I firmly believe that leaving my job was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Romance Novels in Color project

As an avid reader, I like discovering new authors to love, particularly if they write about diverse peoples, so another passion of mine is promoting other authors on Romance Novels in Color. I work with some great volunteers and fellow authors, and our reviewers not only love to read but take great care in critiquing the books that we’re sent.

One regret

Overall, I’ve been very fortunate. I’m in a profession with some impressive people that I learn from every day by asking questions or observing what they do. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner! LOL.

Latest release and coming soonJust Friends_600X900

The last book I released was in March, titled Just Friends. It’s a friends-to-lovers story and the third book in my Johnson Family series. The next book I plan to release is the serial novel from my blog, an interracial romance titled Still in Love, about a divorced couple finding love again. In the fall, I’ll release The Rules, the fourth book in the Johnson Family series, and a box set of the Hot Latin Men series to celebrate my fifth anniversary!

Thanks so much for having me, Christina!




Romance Novels in Color:



Click here to read other authors journeys.

New Release, Cover Reveal and just HI!!!

Happy Monday book lovers!!! Today is an exciting day for me. My second single novella drops today and I’m both excited and nervous as to how it will be received. Because I Love Him, my first single novella which came out last month has being doing great since it’s release (Thank you ❤ ) and I’m hoping for the same for Love Her Right.

So, how about a little intro?

Love Her Right is a Black Man White Woman Interracial Romance, happy for now and maybe in the future too, kind of story. This is something very different from what I’m used to writing which are HEA (Happily Ever Afters). I’ve written sad stories (Candle Light Series) but still with a HEA (somewhat) and I thought it was time for a change. Hopefully this is a good change.

unnamedBlurb: Jolie Simmons has been dreaming about being Mrs. MacKenzie Masters since she was thirteen. She has been in love with the boy from across the street for years and already has their wedding and their happily ever after planned out. But those plans are derailed two days after her eighteenth birthday when his parents die and Mac leaves to join the air force. Five years later, he’s back to turn her life upside down again. Should she give him a chance, or will he abandon her and break her heart again?


On other exciting news, the third book of the Dukkha Fate Series, Tide Of Fate finally has a cover! Like always Dawne did a great job with it, I couldn’t be happier.

The Dukkha Fate Series is a Werewolf Shifter Interracial Romance series. The Beginning (free series preview on all sites) is the very first book I ever wrote. Ever!!! So this series is pretty close to my heart. I discovered my love of writing as I was hesitantly toying around with the idea of an Interracial paranormal romance.

Tide Of Fate is the bridge between the first two and the second two books in the series. So much happens in Rein’s of Fate and Fate’s New Dawn and it’s all because of the night Ash and Lee meet in Fate Reborn. That night changed Lee’s fate completely giving her a new path. In the intro of the books, I spoke of there being magic, it only comes up at the end of Tide Of Fate, all because of Ash.

The danger they face in the first two books is like kid’s play compare to what they will be facing in the last two. To say I’m excited to write them is an understatement. I’m uber excited and freaked about delivering these last two books as expected by fans.

Here is the cover…


Pretty cool right? Tide Of Fate will be released late September so stay tuned!!!

Click here to get your copy of  Love Her Right for your Kindle!!




Authors Tell All- Ann Swan

indexAnn Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantom Pilot, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house. Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She still lives in West Texas with her husband, Dude, one rescue dog, two rescue cats, and a part-time box turtle named Piggy.

Amazon Author page:





I’ve been a writer for most of my life. My first published piece was in my college literary magazine. It was a short story called In Search of Water. I believe it paid $50 for first place. I won several more contests like that and those gave me the courage to keep writing. I also joined every writing group I could find in my area of West Texas. The other writers were always very encouraging.

However, I never broke into the “big leagues” or got a real agent. I had a couple of agents who never did anything for me so I wasn’t successful in that area. But it was at one of my writer’s meetings that I met my first editor (this was many years after I won that first contest). She and a friend were starting their own publishing company and I was one of their first signed authors. This small press published my first book The Phantom Pilot, and its follow-up, the Phantom Student. Unfortunately, they didn’t last very long as a company, so when my rights were returned to me, I self-published those two books and one more in the series–The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge.

I also publish Romantic Suspense novels through 5 Prince Books, a small press I found (once again) through a writer’s group, this time on Facebook.

So the best advice I could give any writer is to never stop writing and always keep networking with other authors. You never know when someone will be the contact you’ve been waiting for.

Stevie-girl and the phantom pilot(1)

Book One: Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot

No matter who dares you, no matter what lures you, do not go in the spooky old house . . .

 When a small planes crashes behind Jase’s rural home, strange things begin to happen. But no one believes him. After all, there’s no such thing as a ghost, right? Then he sees his pretty, quiet schoolmate, Stevie-girl, about to enter the legendary haunted house, and he knows if anyone can help him solve the mystery, she’s the one.

Crybaby-Bridge-Amazon copy 2

Click here to read other authors journeys.

Authors Tell All- Railyn Stone

indexrs Writing since she could pick up a pen, Railyn Stone hails from the Tar Heel State and is a romantic at heart. She believes you can find romance in the simplest aspects of life and enjoys letting her imagination run wild. Trying new restaurants, listening to music, playing golf and writing stories about ordinary people are the hobbies she cherishes most.





Publication…it’s possible

I get asked a lot of questions when people find out that I’m a published author. It’s usually the same ones:

What’s your process?

  • How long does it take you to write a book?
  • How did you find your publisher?

Believe me, I don’t mind the questions at all; because it wasn’t too long ago that I was on the other side asking those same questions to published authors. If I have any advice to impart on anyone that desires to be published, 1) ask questions, 2) keep writing and 3) never accept no as the final answer.

Asking questions is the best thing you could ever do. I asked questions in a couple of ways. I joined online writing groups, took a few creative writing courses and I started following blogs of authors I liked. I read their blogs and a lot of the questions I had would be answered that way. However, if I didn’t find the answers there, many times the authors would have a contact area on their website and I would submit questions to them. One thing I’ve always been told, if you never ask, you’ll never know. So continue to ask questions constantly. Also, if you have a local bookstore, check out their events. Many times they will host opportunities for you to see authors that visit. Authors will do signings and many times they will read part of their book and then open up the opportunity for guest to ask questions. This is a great chance for you to get more answers and insights concerning writing and the publishing process.

Keep writing. Whether you have an idea for a book or not, try and get into the habit of writing daily. Even if it’s just a blog post or a rant that will never be published or no one will ever read. It’s like exercising. If you want to build up your muscles, you take the time to work out each day. If you want to build your vocabulary and build your writing abilities, you have to exercise your writing skills.

And finally, and I feel like this is the most important thing I could ever tell anyone. Never take no as the final answer. I can’t even begin to tell you how many rejection letters and emails I received before I received an offer. It is disheartening, it’s sad and it’s a horrible feeling when you are rejected. We all go through it at some time or another in our lives, but know that you are not alone and where one may not want your work, someone else may. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t take the rejections personally. I kept each of my rejections as badges of honor. Believe me, when I first received them, I didn’t want to read them. However, later I went back and read them again. And I noticed a running thread through them all. Each one would allude to the fact that my writing was great, but they just didn’t have a passion for the story. Honestly, that’s the kind of rejection you want because you want your publisher or your literary agent to be passionate about the story you want to tell. They will be your biggest supporters and will help you get your story to the world. They need to have a passion for it.

So, keep plugging away. Keep writing, keep reading and asking questions and don’t take no for an answer. There are various ways to get to publication and everyone has a different path to take.

Book links:

TheChristmasTreeGuy-1First Novel Published:

The Christmas Tree Guy, November 2014







Most Recent Publication:ASecretToKeep

A Secret to Keep, June 2015


Visit me at:



Twitter: @railynwrites



Amazon Author Page:

Click here to read other authors journeys.

Authors Tell All- Ashley Robbins

557657_425329077522134_91625117_nAshley’s favorite thing to write about is basically anything to do with myths, supernatural, paranormal…but upon occasion she’ll write about normal teenage life. It comes somewhat naturally to her considering she’s nineteen herself. If the vampires or other supernatural beings still haven’t claimed her, you’ll most likely find her with her computer, working on whatever story plots invaded her mind at that time. Like most teenagers, she’s still unsure of what all she wants to do with her life. Become a marine biologist, graphic designer, editor, fashion designer? Or maybe just stick to writing, we might find out one day. She hopes to one day travel the world, take her mom to swim with the dolphins, and let her sister finally visit Graceland. She currently lives in North Carolina with her mom, sister, and three crazy dogs who think they’re human.

You can find her on her website: HYPERLINK “, or on pretty much any other social media site as AshKat174.


Tell+All+IconEveryone thinks that authors are automatically born with love for books. With me, not so much. When I was a kid, I hated anything to do with reading. I think I wrote a story for class once, I was forced to, but, other than that? Forget about it.

I only really got into reading when I was bored—I was probably loudly complaining about this—and my sister threw a book at my head. I don’t know if she literally did…memory loss from a concussion? Ooh. Either way, I started reading Alison Noel’s Evermore, and, I became hooked. One day, I absolutely could not find what I wanted to read—does anyone else smell the beginning of a storyline?—so, I wrote it.

I became serious about my writing when I was fifteen, sixteen, somewhere around in there. I submitted to agents, rejection galore. To publishers. Ahaha, nope. Then there was the frustration and just wanting to give up. Everyone experiences it, you’re absolutely not alone there, if you’re a writer whose reading this.

I had a book up on Wattpad, I was frustrated about it not getting any/many reads and then, overnight, it exploded. I woke up to a thousand reads, and throughout the day it kept going up, I nearly cried. Yay, my work doesn’t completely suck. It got up to 2,136 reads and was #301 in Humor. I still have the screenshots on my phone, this is how I know the exact numbers. Those little things mean everything to me, they help when I start doubting myself.

I got fed up with waiting on people—publishers to accept/reject my story—so, at seventeen, I published my first book, that one that was slightly popular on Wattpad. I posted it everywhere…anyone else hear the crickets? That’s what it felt like. And then, I contacted a few blogs (Back Off My Books, Kitty Kats Crazy About Books) and these fine ladies gave me some advice which should always be appreciated, no matter how old you are. You can learn something new from someone every day.

I did promotions—everybody loves free books—gave away nearly a thousand books. Shocked the crap outta me, I actually still have that screenshot on my phone. I think this is when an awesome woman named Serena Pettus—author of the Wolfe Brothers, & Southern Pride series, check her out—left a review on amazon for it. I stalked her until I found a way to make contact and then, asked if she’d be interested in reading the second book in my series. She did and we haven’t stopped talking. She even—thankfully—edited the second one for me.

I look up to this woman because, like I said before, she is amazing. She’s given me loads of advice and she’s actually the one who gave me the courage—along with my mom and sister—to try publishers again. And, whadoya know, I’m now signed with Inkspell Publishing.

I’ll be the first one to tell you, being an author is hard. Like this lovely lady who owns this blog said, you’re committed to your book for life (probably not word for word), you constantly have to sale it. It’s a popularity contest, and it’s like you’re in a race, you fight the urge to elbow your opponent to knock them down. You even get jealous of their success, I have and still do occasionally.

Now, on Wattpad, only half of the first Princess book has over seven thousand reads. And the second one has over five thousand. That still amazes me.

Being an author isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but whenever you inform someone new of what you do, there’s always a sense of pride. It’s hard, but, it’s worth it. Never give up on your dreams.



Click here to read other authors journeys.

Authors Tell All- Tracy James Jones

IMG_9875 - Copy - Copy“Writing is a passion that has been a part of my whole life. Being an independent author allows me the opportunity to do it all my own way.”

Tracy James Jones was raised between Dallas and Waxahachie, Texas, and considers both cities as “home.” At Navarro College Jones majored in Journalism / minor in Mass Communication. Before college, Jones worked as an actor with the local Community Theater, and as an extra/stand-in for feature films. As a freelance writer/novelist, Jones has written several college introductory letters, other contract writing projects, newspaper articles, and three published novels. Literary portfolio also includes a screenplay adaptation of an original fiction novel, “Searching For Eden.” Recent release, “Secrets & Lies”-2011, is a multicultural romantic drama which is also being formatted for film.


Tell+All+IconGreetings, everyone. My name is Tracy James Jones and I am an independent author, blogger, and book reviewer from Dallas and Waxahachie, Texas.  My current portfolio includes four novels, two screenplay projects and a collection of short stories. It is my honor to share my journey into writing with you today.

For starters, as an only child, my first loves were music, movies, and books. Though I initially wanted to act and sing, reading was already an important part of my life. I actually got my first library card in the fifth grade and read every “Charlie Brown” and Dr. Seuss book I could get my hands on. By the time I was thirteen I anxiously started my first diary, which is basically something I still do to this day, and my love of writing continued right into high school, where I often wrote poetry about the pitfalls of being a misunderstood teenager of color. With the opportunity to hopefully write for my high school newspaper, I signed up for a journalism class, taught by one the most influential teachers I had ever met in my life. My dream of becoming a writer began the first day of her class. Though I never made it as a writer for the school paper, the dream of writing had already set in.

I was in college, majoring in journalism and mass communications, when I was offered my first writing project. It was the opportunity to write an article about the life story of a local boxer and his journey to success after having been hit by a car and partially paralyzed when he was kid. That story was published in the local newspaper and became the push I needed to get started writing my own short stories and novel ideas.

My first full-length novel was a three-hundred plus pages mess of an interracial romance. The story was there but the structure and editing were all wrong, so I put that work aside and went on with regular life until I had the time to read and learn more on how to do what I needed to do to make my writing work. Again, my local library came to the rescue with a whole section of books dedicated to writing. Thanks to all the books I read, and after a crazy spring-break trip to Las Vegas, I wasted no time diving into my next writing project.

“Searching For Eden,” which today would be described as a New Adult Male Adventure, is the story of a young guy who ran away from home in the middle of the night or he would have been dead by the light of day. That tagline set the pace of the whole story for the young central character, who grew into adulthood, basically running for his life from California, to Las Vegas, to the beaches of South Padre Island, Texas and his love, sex and life-threatening adventure with the people he met along the way. The outline for the story, based loosely on someone I met, became my very first published novel and screenplay. The first print edition led to a book signing tour to nineteen cities across Texas and Arizona, a high school speaking engagement, and an author appreciation event at my local library.

With the semi-success I had gained with my first published book, I made a connection with a national bookstore chain and had planned to continue the tour with them across the U.S. That dream was sidelined by real life situations and an unexpected illness that required open-heart surgery with a lengthy recovery period. During my recovery, I managed to write an outline for that first book to become a series, but ended up rewriting some of my early short stories and drafts for two other novel instead. Considering how much the world and the publishing/entertainment industry has changed since I first started to write, my last two novels are more focused on giving a platform and voice to the LGBT people of color who are rarely seen or heard and often misunderstood.

“Secrets & Lies,” one of the two releases, is a provocative, uncensored, character-driven, emotional journey into the private lives of four central characters in a small Texas town. At the heart of the story is a beautiful transgender woman of color who questions her personal worth as she fights to keep the life and love she has always wanted. Even the elements of true confessions get lost in translation as the details of who these people really are brings them together in a surprising, yet necessary finale that will change their lives forever…


In addition to my writing, I am also a reader for various novel award events that include The RONE` Awards (Romance Novel), The Rainbow Books Award (LGBT), and last year I read for the HuffPost50/AARP Memoir Awards.    Also, I would like to add that one of my short stories, “The Crush,” is featured on the Huffington Post and has since been requested by the International Baccalaureate Organization to use in their world-wide, middle-years education program for language and literature teacher support material. My extended social media networks include my blog, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter.

Searching For Eden Cover

In closing, I would like to sincerely thank all of your for your time spent getting to know me, as well as the Hostess, Christina OW, for inviting me to share my writing journey with you. Be Happy. Be You. Happy reading!

~ Accidental Activist & Indie Author

Tracy James Jones

Amazon’s Author Page






Click here to read other authors journeys.

Authors Tell All- Wende Dikec Dikec writes Young Adult, New Adult, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She has three books coming out in 2016, TIGER LILY (January 2016, Inkspell Publishing), STARR VALENTINE (March 2016, Inkspell Publishing), and TRAVELLER (2016, The Wild Rose Press, writing as Abigail Drake). After travelling the world and living abroad for many years, she now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons, a puppy named Capone, and a very well used espresso machine. and


Young Adult vs. New Adult

 I started my writing career in the safe and happy world of Young Adult fiction. It was easy for me because I knew the rules and was very familiar with the genre. I wrote several books, two of which will be published by Inkspell Publishing in 2016 (TIGER LILY in January and STARR VALENTINE in March).

When I first heard about the New Adult genre, I was intrigued. It was described to me as Young Adult with more sexual content and mature subject matter. Easy peasy. I could do that. Or so I thought.

I wrote a book called TRAVELLER about a twenty-one year old girl on a study abroad trip to England. She was a former Junior Miss Kentucky who won beauty pageants using martial arts as her talent, and ends up employing those skills to fight monsters. There is a love interest (a sexy gypsy mercenary warrior) and there is sexual content. I thought I’d written my first NA. Ding, dong – I was wrong.

After speaking with Katherine Ernst, a NA adult author and one of the founders of Jasper Ridge Press, I finally understood NA and realized exactly why my book was not NA. Once she explained it, it seemed so simple and clear. I had no idea why I hadn’t caught on before.

New Adult is the genre referring to books for 18-26 year olds (mostly women). There can be other interpretations of this genre, and it is ever changing, but this is my understanding of the concept. There have always been books for 18-26 year olds, and there have always been protagonists in this age group. They were just not called “New Adult.” They were referred to as paranormal, or contemporary, or women’s fiction, or chick lit, or whatever related to the actual story and the book.

New Adult is something different. Traditionally, college age women were not targeted as a market. Think about it and remember your college days. Did you really have a lot of time to read for pleasure? I didn’t. My brain was so full after my classes, I had no room for anything else. In the summer, it was a different story. I devoured books from the moment my last class what over until the next resumed in the fall, but during the year I did very little (if any) reading for my own enjoyment.

New Adult fills a niche for this age group that never existed before. The successful New Adult books are almost always contemporary romances about someone going through a transition – growing up, moving away from home, attending college or joining the military, and learning life lessons by making mistakes and poor choices.

As soon as Katherine explained it to me, I got it. I also realized why TRAVELLER, although I’d gotten lots of positive comments about it in various contests I’d entered, never really clicked as a New Adult book. One judge actually said, “I love this book and the writing, but it isn’t New Adult.” That really should have been my first hint, but I didn’t quite pick up on it until Katherine spelled it out for me clearly (and using small words).

I decided to market TRAVELLER as a paranormal romance, and within two weeks I had eight offers on it. I sold it to The Wild Rose Press and it’ll be published in 2016. I wish I’d listened to people earlier. I wish I’d studied the market a bit more and realized where my book actually fit. It would have saved me a great deal of time and energy in the long run. And I wish I’d read more in the genre before I assumed (rather arrogantly) that I could write it. Do your homework. Talk to people. Figure it out.

I’m happy to say I’m writing an actual New Adult book at the moment. LUCKY NUMBER FIVE is about a girl in college whose boyfriend suffers from severe depression and has issues with alcohol and drugs. She makes a lot of bad choices, learns some life lessons, and finds her way through a very dark time. It is New Adult, and this time I know I’ve got it right.

Click here to read other authors journeys.