Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Feature and a Giveaway!: Justice for Emily, Sandy Wolters

Today we have the pleasure of featuring the novel “Justice for Emily” by Sandy Wolters!
Sandy is hosting an ebook giveaway at through Friday July 1st. Hop on over and get a copy if you enjoy the excerpt below.
To get us started, Sandy has provided us a little insight into the excerpt:
“In this scene, Patrick has just met Rachael and they're having lunch.  He learns quickly that she has more than just the standard cop's intuition.”

He was trying to decide the best way to approach her about taking a sneak peek at what there was of Emily’s file when he noticed that she was looking at him but had a strange, far away look in her eyes. It was as if she were some place else. Her hands were clinched into fists and her breathing was erratic. Her eyes were glazed over and her mouth was slightly parted. She looked as though she were in some kind of trance.

Concerned, he reached out to touch her and got shocked. It was as if he had just touched a high voltage wire. What the hell was going on here?

All of the sudden she came around. She quickly looked behind their table to see how many people were there and then turned to look out the window at the front parking lot.

She said, "Call for backup. Call now. A lime green, old beat up car is going to pull up out front. The driver is going to stay in the car and the passenger is going to come in and rob the restaurant. Call for backup!"

He stared at her. "Are you feeling all right?"

"Dammit! There they are. Don’t worry I’ll take care of this. Don’t let the perp see you. He’ll run if he sees your uniform and I won’t be able to help him."

He looked out the window and sure enough, the car she described had just pulled up and the young, pimple-faced passenger was getting out with a small caliber gun in his hand.

Stunned, while he watched she pulled a Sig Sauer out of her boot, pushed the woman behind the cash register to the ground and waited for the gunman to come in.

As soon as he approached her, he held the gun up and yelled, "Give me all of your money or I’ll blow your fucking head off!"

She smiled raised her gun and said, "Throw your gun down, sweet pea, and you’ll live to see your mama for supper tonight. You’re under arrest."Startled, he threw his gun and made a noise any little girl would have been proud of while Patrick came up behind him and cuffed him.

He yelled, "It wasn’t loaded. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I just needed the money."

Rachael looked at the perpetrator and said, "Does Kyle have any weapons in the vehicle with him?"

The shrieking boy looked at her and said, "How do you know my brother?"

In an agitated tone, she said, "Answer me. Are there any more weapons in the car?"

"No, he’s afraid. Please don’t hurt him. He’s my little brother."

Patrick looked at her and shouted, "What the hell is going on here?"

She said, "I’m going to get Kyle. Do you have more cuffs?"

"Bullshit. You are not going out there. You could be hurt. What the hell is going on here?"

"I’ll explain later, Patrick, but right now I have to get Kyle out of that car. You can’t go because you’re in uniform and he’ll run and possibly injure innocent people."

At that moment, she flung her Phoenix PD cap down on the counter and with her hands, hurriedly brushed back the most magnificent strawberry blond hair he had ever seen. How did this situation get so out of control so fast?

She started to leave, turned and said, "I’m going to get in the passenger side of the vehicle. When you see me throw the keys out the window, come and get him."

She put her gun in her pants at her back, walked out of the restaurant and straight for the open passenger door of the lime green car. She pulled the gun, got in beside Kyle, smiled and said, "This is a hold up. Give me your keys."

In a panic Kyle said, "No! No! No! You don’t understand. My brother is inside holding the restaurant up. We need the car to get away in. Please, if you take my car my brother is going to be really pissed."

She said seriously, "Wow, it really sucks to be robbed, doesn’t it?"

He looked at her with some hope and said, "Can I keep the car?"

She furrowed her brows as if in deep thought and said, "Okay. You can keep the car but you’re under arrest for participating in an armed robbery. Give me the keys."

A big thank you to Sandy for stopping by to visit us!
Visit Sandy’s website to sample the first two chapters!
Here’s an interview featuring Sandy on The Lit Chick Show.  Look for her special on July 20th!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Author Interview, Jess Mountifield, With Proud Humility

Today we’re privileged to have a visit from Jess Mountifield!
Rebecca: Since your novel is a romance, what is your definition of love?
Jess: My definition of love is the choices we make when we decide to put someone else above ourselves. It's often more in the little things we do, like taking out the trash because we know our partners hate doing that themselves or sending that card to a friend we've not seen in ages to let them know we still think about them occasionally. But also it's in how well we stay patient with people around us, how much we are willing to try and teach them a better way when they mess up and how we ignore our feelings and do what's right.
Rebecca: What inspired you to pick the setting for the novel?
Jess: My setting was mostly chosen for me by the plot. I knew the book was going to be set on a ship a lot and would need a looser social structure than England allowed in the early 1800's. The Caribbean was still in turmoil from rebellions, wars and conquests over natives so a lot of the rigorous social etiquette was thrown out the window. My heroine would not have been able to do all the things she did had she grown up in England.
Rebecca: Is the story in any way a reflection of something that took place in yours or someone who is close to yours personal life?
Jess: Not really. I try to steer clear of my plots being too based on the people around me. Occasionally characters might have elements of the people around me but I try to keep my ideas as original as possible. With that being said I think we all draw on the things around us to some degree subconsciously.
Rebecca: I agree, yet at the same time there are instances where those in an author’s personal life might read too much of their selves into characters. Has that ever happened to you?
Jess: Not yet, but I imagine it will at some point. I think some people find it fairly natural to wish they were the hero or heroine in a novel so they project themselves onto what they are reading. The more characters and stories I write about the greater chance someone in my life will feel like it goes one step further and they might have inspired the character. I think I'd discourage that if I knew about it, however.
Rebecca: In your description we find the sentence "No price is too dear to Marie, who gambles everything on a marriage of convenience to a ship's captain she knows she can’t trust, but who may be one ally she needs." A lot can be implied from that sentence. We could either see the heroine fall in love with the man she used to get her goal accomplished, or perhaps see her fall in love with someone else and have to get away from the untrustworthy man to be with the other person. Are either of those correct?
Jess: Yes one of those is correct but to say which would spoil the plot a little. Needless to say the book does have a happy ending.
Rebecca: What is your feeling on the romance requirement of “happily ever after”? What if the heroine’s happily ever after is meant to come later in life with someone else and there are still strong romantic elements to the plot?
Jess: I have always felt that a book should try to end happily, if it can help it. Readers tend to read for escapism from their own lives and I have no desire to make them feel depressed when their own lives may be bad enough. I also feel that 'happily ever after' is often what we make it to be. I try where possible to show that in my books. Sometimes it's the commitment we have to making a relationship work. I think it ties in a little with my view of what love is. So to a degree I view it as a good ending for a book but my 'happy ever afters' aren't always likely to be conventional.
Rebecca: Who created your cover art?
Jess: The cover art was actually created for me by my own uncle-in-law with a little bit of prompting by me in terms of direction to go in. I've been somewhat blessed by the abilities in my husband's family. His uncle is an amazing web master and designer and his aunt also helped me with a lot of my historical research as well as editing as she used to be an editor for a magazine.
Rebecca: You’ve answered one of my “standard” questions within that answer. I usually ask the author what steps they’ve taken to ensure their work is on the same standard as writing coming from a traditional publishing house. You are very fortunate to have a former magazine editor in the family. How smooth was the feedback process considering a relative provided the feedback?
Jess: It actually went really well. I've never had too much trouble being told something needs changing in my work. I recognize Indie authors need to do everything they can to bring their work up to a similar standard to more traditionally published work. My Aunt-in-law was very good at presenting the changes needed in a non-threatening way as well.
Rebecca: How do you feel the cover art represents the heart of your novel?
Jess: I wanted it to convey that the book combines many different elements, from romance to action and adventure and of course plenty of swashbuckle so the still life kind of design was pretty much a must in my mind and hopefully it shows the combination of those elements, which I'd like to think I've combined well in the book itself.
Rebecca: What is one question that you've never been asked as an author or about your book that you would love to answer for us?
Jess: I've never been asked how my books villain knew about Marie's treasure in the first place. I have to admit I expected to be asked that one. The answer is definitely kept for the sequel though.
Rebecca: A teaser for the sequel! For those that become fans of this novel, when can we expect the sequel?
Jess: Not this year, unfortunately. I deliberately decided that I wouldn't write a sequel until I had a good idea for one, no matter how much fans asked for one. I have recently begun forming an idea but it's still just an idea and not one I'm going to have time to get written, edited and published before the end of the year. I'd be very disappointed with myself if I didn't have it out next year, however.
Rebecca: Thank you for stopping by Jess!
Jess: Thanks Rebecca.
Rebecca: You're very welcome!!
Jess’ novel “With Proud Humility”on by following this link:
You can visit Jess' site by following this link:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Author Interview, J.R. Tomlin, Freedom's Sword

Today we have an interview with J.R. Tomlin, author of the Scottish historic novel “Freedom’s Sword”.
Rebecca: What steps did you take to ensure that your book is on the same level as those readers can acquire through mainstream publishers?
J.R.: I worked with an experienced story editor who made some important suggestions. We did two story edits. I do think I initially made an error. The editor I worked with was not a copyeditor. On my next novel, I did a specific copyedit because these are different skills and areas of expertise. I am very happy with the story edit she did, but because of this some typos slipped through, not a great many but more than I was comfortable with. Several reviews mentioned typos. Because of that, someone did a copyedit for me, and what is now for sale is the re-edited version. And that, of course, is one of the advantages of being an independent writer. I do have the ability to change or correct something, even after publication.
Rebecca: Are there any underlying life lessons you hope that your readers will gather from reading your novel?
J.R.: Probably, although I think different readers might have different ones. The main character has to make decisions, difficult ones, about his loyalty to his family and to his country, and at times his love of his family and of his nation conflicted. These are somewhat different ones that we may have to make today, but many people are faced with sacrifice for something they're loyal to whether their nation or something else. At what point is the sacrifice too much? How do we balance those conflicting loyalties? I'm not sure I would have had the courage to make the decision that Andrew de Moray made. The novel doesn't necessarily give answers to those questions, except how he answered them and what those answers cost him.
Rebecca:  A few of your reviews praise you for your descriptions of Scotland and a reviewer even quotes your devotion to researching in preparation for the novel. Can you tell us more about your research process? How long did it take and what was the experience like for you as an author?
J.R.: You know, that's a difficult question to answer because I didn't go into researching it without a lot of knowledge, so my process involved reading over a life-time. I also studied medieval history at university. One of the most important sources on the Scottish side of the Scottish War of Independence is the epic poem The Brus by John Barbour which was written in about 1370. It happens my grandmother read me that poem when I was ten years old, so you see this is a story that is part of my background. But I didn't want my novel to be based only on legend, and I read most of the important works on that war. I wrote with a stack of references by my computer, especially Barron's work, The Scottish War of Independence, which is one of the few that deals extensively with Andrew de Moray who was until recently something of a forgotten hero.
Rebecca:  Did you use any movies or youtube clips for inspiration or to aid in the creation of the battle scenes?
J.R.: No. Medieval warfare and fighting techniques are misrepresented in almost all movies. I think movies is where people get the mistaken belief that most medieval battles didn't involve many people while in fact they often involved massive armies. It was, until CGI techniques at least, too expensive to have the numbers of people who actually took part in battles such as the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Rebecca: When you add to that the fact that the Scots used a technique called the schiltron that was unusual even in the middle ages, movies are not at all helpful. What was helpful was working with medieval reinactors. Although they can't reproduce the huge battles, they do have the weapons medieval armies used, and I have practiced with every medieval weapon used in the novel. I was also able to observe some Scottish reinactors who formed a schiltron, which helped in describing it. A schiltron is a formation of pikes which can be either a square or circle to form a sort of hedgehog effect, by the way. It was a deadly formation against knights but had obvious weakness against archers. I also used some texts on warfare such as the classic, Art of War.
Rebecca: Your cover art is beautiful, it looks like a painting of a battle scene. Who created it?
J.R.: The original art is a 19th century etching which my cover designer, J. T. Lindroos, used to make the cover. I must admit, I fell in love with the cover. He also designed the cover for A Kingdom Cost, and I hope he can do the cover of the novel I'm working on now.
Rebecca: What is one question you've never been asked but would like to be asked as a writer or about your book?
J.R.: Do you feel that the fact that your novel is priced at 99 cents undervalues your work?
I worry about that. I have had readers tell me they assume 99 cent novels aren't any good.
I price Freedom's Sword at price because I don't think you can expect readers to pay the same for an unknown indie writer what they do for well-established historical writers such as Sharon Kay Penman, yet in reviews my work has been compared favorably to hers. I am willing to take that risk to gain readers who I believe will be willing to pay slightly more for my other novels. However, I also like the idea of novels being affordable. As a reader, I love the fact that I can afford many more novels now than I could before we authors could take our work directly to readers.
Rebecca: Thank you so much for stopping by!
J.R.: Thanks so much for the opportunity to answer your questions.

Book description from James A. Anderson, author of Deadline, says: "...a stirring and highly readable novel..."

Before William Wallace... before Robert the Bruce... there was another Scottish hero...

In 1296, newly knighted by the King of the Scots, Andrew de Moray fights to defend his country against the forces of the ruthless invader, King Edward Longshanks of England. After a bloody defeat in battle, he is dragged in chains to an English dungeon.

Soon the young knight escapes. He returns to find Scotland under the heel of a conqueror and his betrothed sheltering in the hills of the Black Isle.

Seizing his own castle, he raises the banner of Scottish freedom. Now he must lead the north of Scotland to rebellion in hope of defeating the English army sent to crush them.
Freedom's Sword can be purchaesd at by following the link below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: Mystery at Ocean Drive by Janet Hurst-Nicholson

Our first review comes to us courtesy of Mis_T of  Bookaholics Book Club. She has reviewed the young adult novel "Mystery at Ocean Drive" by Janet Hurst-Nicholson.

Description "When 17 yr old Jason Hunter sets out to discover the identity of the mystery girl at Ocean Drive he and his friends find themselves caught up in a risky intrigue.

Jason is delivering newspapers on his motorbike when a Mercedes sweeps out of a driveway in front of him. He loses control of his scrambler and almost ends up under the car’s wheels. An attractive teenage girl leaps out to ask if he is hurt, but before Jason can reply the girl is bundled back into the Mercedes and driven off.

Jason’s instincts warn him that the girl is in trouble.

The following day he sees her in an upstairs window, but when he asks to speak to her he is told that there is no young girl living there. Why?

Jason is not about to give up and he enlists the help of his friends, Mark and David. Together they make a daring attempt to learn the girl’s identity, but just as it seems to be working, things go horribly wrong...
Has Jason’s intriguing mystery now put all three boys in danger?"

Mis_T's review: "This is a great mystery book for young boys! Although I'm a grown woman and I enjoyed it to lol. It's a short, fast paced book that will keep you guessing right the way through. the action starts up right away and doesn't give to the very end. The lead character is a great role model for young boys, he's clever and persistent and also has a pair of great friends willing to help him whenever he needs it.
I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable, well written read. It has a very interesting story that I'll be saving for my son when he's older... and my daughters!"

She gave it 4 stars on her site. I asked her to also rate it using my scale for Indie Day in the Sun as well.

On a scale of 1-5 she rated the book as follows:
Originality of Concept 5
Quality of Writing 4
World Building 4
Character Development 4
Likely to recommend to another reader 5

22/25 not bad at all!

If this review has sparked your interest, feel free to visit the Amazon site for Mystery at Ocean Drive to download the sample or purchase the ebook!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Author Interview: Nick Lombardi, Mandate 33

Rebecca: What was your inspiration for this particular book?
Nick: I stumbled upon a university course called “Studies in Propaganda” after the course’s professor called in to a radio show I was producing at the time. And for the subsequent 10 weeks, the things I learned completely changed my view on the world forever, to the point where I can no longer take anything at face value and question everything. I feel I’m wiser for it, but sometimes it’s a difficult way to live. Take my word for it: ignorance really is bliss.
Among the many things covered in this course were the innerworkings of the banking system, the Federal Reserve, white-collar political crime and population control. This wasn’t tinfoil hat stuff; this was the real deal. I decided it was my responsibility to try and share some of these teachings with others without being too preachy about it, so I incorporated a lot of the ideas into Mandate 33. The whole concept of population control is merely one of many that I wanted to spread the word about. Granted it became the central theme of the book, but I touched on a lot of issues, if even for a sentence or two. I wanted my readers to have the same enriching experience I had when I took that course. I want an audience that questions everything; the “sheeple” species (sheep people) needs desperately to die out.
Rebecca: By “sheeple” are you are referring to people in real life who just live their life by being blindly lead by others?
Nick: Yes, that about sums it up. I don't remember who originally coined that term, but it wasn`t me...I just like it.
Rebecca: Are there any characters in your book that you have envisioned as a famous character or actor’s personality when you were writing them?
Nick: For the Salinda Harding character, I very much envisioned the actress Linda Hunt. I’m sure Miss Hunt does not possess the same personality traits as my character, but if Mandate 33 were ever a movie, there is no one else I could ever picture to play the role. She’s so spunky and feisty, but I bet she could also be a little devilish too.
Rebecca: So this is a petite character as depicted in the book, or just in your mind?
Nick: Both. Never trust the short people, for they are always unassuming and often have something to prove (see Napoleon).
Rebecca: A reader walks down the aisle of an imaginary book store and is about to pass up on reading the blurb on the book. What is the one thing that sets your book apart from the other hundreds of books on that aisle? 
Nick: I don’t know. That’s kind of subjective. Different things appeal to different people, so I couldn’t tell you what might catch one person’s eye over another. But this whole idea of a book “standing out” is the main reason I believe a book’s first sentence is the most important one. I am a big proponent of trying to create a very powerful first sentence. If the reader isn’t interested in getting past that part, then the rest of the book’s contents doesn’t matter.
Rebecca: What is the first sentence of your book?
Nick: The screams were loudest at night, when the soldiers came out.
Rebecca: That’s a bit creepy, but it gets my attention so it does its job. What efforts have you made to guarantee the quality of your book on the same level a reader might expect of a traditionally published book?
Nick: I tend to trim all the fat, leave adjectives to a minimum and keep sentences short. I come from the school of Hemingway as opposed to the school of pre-Victorian literature. I like to keep the pace in my stories moving. Also, I am an editor/proofreader by trade, so I’d like to think manuscript errors are kept to a minimum.
Rebecca: Did you have beta readers as well?
Nick: My literary agent did line edits to the manuscript to further give it that overall professional polish.
Rebecca: Who is your literary agent?
Nick: His name is Peter Taylor and he's based out of Toronto.
[Side note: Peter Taylor is an Independent Literary Agent]
Rebecca: You’re walking by a book club meeting that cannot agree on their next book. They decide to stop a random stranger (you) and ask for a book recommendation. Describe your book for us as if you are not the author.
Nick: I read a book called Mandate 33 and it truly frightened me. It frightened me because none of the ideas in it were over-the-top. For instance, there wasn’t anything like telescreens where Big Brother can watch you in your home. While Orwell was being symbolic, in a literal sense that just isn’t possible; in Mandate 33, everything is possible. Nothing was exaggerated for futuristic sci-fi effect.
Rebecca: (Pretend I’m a person in the book club) You’ve never thought of the government putting those miniature cameras in your home while you’re at work to spy on you? Or linking in and activating a reverse signal in the box from the cable company-who knows what’s in those things! 
Nick: Ha, ha, well I'm sure Orwell didn't think of any of that, as the idea of such technology was likely absurd in 1948. And even if those things were possible today, I would omit those ideas from my book because they would give the book a farcical sci-fi effect and read like a Ray Bradbury story, and fewer readers would take the book seriously.
Rebecca: Are there any hidden life lessons or underlying themes you hope the reader picks up while enjoying your work?
Nick: The central theme of the book is population control, but what many people don’t realize is that the practice of “population control” goes far deeper than the obvious clich├ęs of wars, holocausts and the Big Bad Fascist Government (an obligatory staple in all dystopian literature). Population control is practiced on us every single day without our knowing. Debt is population control. The perpetuation of junk food is population control. Products laced with carcinogens are forms of population control too. By far debt is the biggest killer. Debt is the one thing that keeps the masses in line and forces us to do things we may not believe in, like go off to war and fight, or take on a job we know is doing harm to ourselves and/or the planet. Debt keeps us steeped in dead-end jobs to make ends meet, which disables us from having the time or energy to educate ourselves in what’s going on in the world. 
The aforementioned are the ruses of the rich. The more people are conscious of these ruses, the more difficult it will be for the elite to implement them. That is the lesson I’d like people to learn.
Rebecca: So you want people to learn to become more aware of what they allow to have control over the potential of their lives?
Nick: Awareness is just about the only weapon we have. Otherwise we'd probably already be living in a dystopia.
Rebecca: Do you have a website/book trailer for your book?
Nick: No.
Rebecca: What made you decide to not create a website or trailer for your book as a marketing aide?
Nick: How would those things be marketing aides? If people are visiting this hypothetical website, that means there is already an awareness about the book. Awareness is all I really need, and my Amazon account profile offers a synopsis, bio and anything else people would want to know about me.
Rebecca: Who designed your cover art?
Nick: Linda Houle, from Cover of Your Dreams.
Rebecca: What aspect of your book do you feel your cover art relates to?
Nick: I like the look of the “fist pamphlet” on the cover. The mottled colors make it look chaotic and sickly, kind of like the Joker’s makeup in The Dark Knight. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not a “power fist” on the front cover. The fist is actually the Corpopolis national logo. If you don’t read the book, it would be easy to assume otherwise.
Rebecca: If you believe that people will think it to be something it’s not, why did you still use it?
Nick: The Corpopolis logo (the fist) is supposed to represent a weakened and imprisoned populace at the hands of their government. So I thought it would somewhat ironic if readers saw the fist on the cover and thought it was supposed to empower them when in fact it does quite the opposite...which is basically the function of propaganda.
Rebecca: What is the one question no one has ever asked you during an interview that you would like to be asked?
Nick: Question- Do you really honestly believe all the ridiculous conspiracy crap in your book would ever really happen? Answer- It is happening.
Rebecca: Do you believe in the notion that if you believe in something strongly enough, it will come true?
Nick: Nope. Belief will get you nothing; only with action will anything come into fruition. Remember, the root word of belief is belie.
A big thank you to Nick for being the first author to stop by! You can find his novel “Mandate 33” at by following the link below the book image.
Description: In the fictitious country of Corpopolis, under the rule of a dictator, a new law is passed. The law says that only citizens carrying government-issued parenting licenses are legally allowed to bear children. Any child in the custody of adults without a parenting license will be eliminated. This law comes to be known as Mandate 33.

The law is passed, they say, to protect children from unfit parents. But certain citizens soon begin to ask questions: is the country's praised and beloved fascist government practicing population control…or extinction?

Buy on

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why I started this site.

Readers have so many hesitations when they’re asked to test the waters of Indie authors. They’ve heard horror stories from other readers as to what they might find themselves immersed in once they take the plunge. There are a few readers who are the exception. They have taken a flying leap into the depths of our writing and found themselves eager to take another plunge into the seemingly endless wealth of talented writers. Unfortunately, there are those that have cannonballed into the shallow end of Indie writing and run away to never return for fear of suffering another headache. Sadly, I can’t say that I blame them.
The ability of Indie authors to write books on the same level as those put out by traditional publishers has always been questionable. There are many Indie authors who have proper writing credentials, whether they are the result of years put in at a University or natural raw talent developed over the years through stolen moments at a keyboard. Indie authors have been kept in the dark far too long.
Just when we build the courage to step forward, the overzealous egos of a few writers that have come before us have casted a dark cloud of bad impressions that sent us back into the shadows of the traditionally published writer.  I’m tired of being in their shadow, and I want the rest of us to emerge as well. We dedicate hours of our lives that we will never gain back to create these worlds, these people and creatures that exist in them and share their stories with anyone willing to spend a few hours in return to explore them-and that deserves recognition. We deserve our moment to step in the sunlight where others can take notice.
Sometimes the sunlight is warm and welcoming. Other times the sunlight is harsh and unbearable. Before you are bold enough to step into the light for others to see, be sure you’ve checked yourself in the mirror.