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SPECIAL HALLOWEEN EDITION!! Author Ariella Moon Shares With Us About the History of Halloween

Welcome to this very special edition of my blog – my first ever Halloween Edition! I am so pleased to have you share with us about the origins of this holiday and tell us more about your newest release! So, let me get out of the way and hand you the proverbial microphone.

The Celtic Origins of Halloween

by Ariella Moon

Centuries ago the Celtic people in Ireland, northern France, Scotland, and Wales celebrated Samhain. The Halloween traditions we enjoy today evolved from this pre-Christian festival.

The Celts

Samhain (SOW-in, SAH-win, or SAH-ween), celebrated on November 1, marked the end of summer and the beginning of the Celtic year. The veil between realms was thinnest, and the souls of those who had died during the past year traveled into the Otherworld. But the portal worked both ways. Ancestors and other spirits from the Otherworld, and fairies from fairy mounds and realms, could cross into the human world.

The Celts disguised themselves in animal skin costumes to a drive back the spirits. They left food offerings to appease the ghosts and fay. Bonfires were lit to deflect unwanted spirits and to light the way for departing souls.


In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued an edict directing missionaries to no longer directly try to obliterate native beliefs and customs. Instead, his followers were instructed to overlay Christian beliefs. Wells sacred to the goddess Brigid became wells dedicated to Saint Brigit. The festival for the goddess Oestra became Easter. Jesus’s birthday was switched to coincide with the winter solstice. The list goes on. Then in the 9th century A.D., the Church tried to subsume Samhain with All Saints Day/All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve incorporated the Celtic belief in high supernatural activity and the thinning of the veil between worlds. But the Church claimed the Celtic Otherworld was the Christian Hell, and demonized spirits, witches, the Celtic horned (antlered) god Cerrunous, and fairies as well as the Celtic priests, the druids. All Hallow’s Eve became Halloween.

The druids followed an oral tradition, so it is difficult to know when mumming began. Mummers, people disguised as the demonized folk, would perform antics and threaten more mischief (tricks). Villagers would appease them with food (treats). The first written record of mumming dates to December 1296. The midwinter tradition of mumming continues today in the British Isles.


In 1000 A.D. the Catholic Church designated November 2nd (Samhain) as All Soul’s Day. In England, the poor would visit the wealthy and promise to pray for the wealthy people’s deceased kin in exchange for soul cakes. Later, children would take up the task of souling for treats or coins.

Samhain Revival

21st Century witches and other pagans celebrate Samhain on October 31 or November 1st or 2nd. Samhain marks the Witches’ New Year. An altar is created to honor the souls of the Beloved Dead — humans and pets. The altar includes photos and mementos of those who died during the last year. Candles and Jack-o’-lanterns light the spirits’ path to the Otherworld. The names of the Beloved Dead are spoken out loud, releasing souls that have lingered, so they can move on.

Through these centuries old traditions of honoring the dead, helping spirits to the Otherworld, dressing up in costumes and begging door-to-door for treats, the Celtic origins of Halloween continue.

Copyright 2016 Ariella Moon

ariella-moon-author-photowebThanks so much, Ariella! I understand you have a four book saga out that relates to Halloween. Can you tell us a little about it?

The Teen Wytche Saga currently consists of four sweet teen paranormal romances. The first two books, Spell Check and Spell Struck, take place around or during Halloween.

In the Teen Wytche Saga, a shape-shifting spell book upends the life of each girl who possesses it. Passed among a group of disparate teens, the rebellious book morphs into a new system of magic as it aligns or opposes the girl entrusted to safeguard it. Fans of historical romances will especially enjoy the fourth book in the series, Spell For Sophia, in which teens tumble through time. Readers are plunged into the often frightening history of New Orleans.

Historical Romance and magic? What a neat mix! What was the inspiration for Spell for Sophia?

My daughter has been the inspiration for all of my Young Adult novels. As she grew from a six-year-old advanced reader in search of an age appropriate big book, to a young woman navigating the world on her own, she continues to be my inspiration. For our most recent birthdays, we took a mother/daughter trip to Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida. The magic and love of reading and writing did not fall far from the tree!

What fun! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In the sixth grade I won a national essay contest. The die was cast! But I also wanted to become a shaman, a dream that eventually came true. Most of my closest friends are witches or shamans, enabling me to infuse my books with real magic.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Way too long! It takes me a full year or more to write historical novels, and about nine months for my contemporary series.

Historical novels do require a bit of research, don’t they? Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?

I am finishing up The Viking Mist, the second novel in my Two Realms Trilogy. This sequel to The Beltane Escape, takes place in Fairy, medieval Scotland, and Viking times. Fenella, the young, kidnapped Thaness of Thorburn, returns, as does Talfryn, the half-Viking/half-fairy, and Edward, Fenella’s betrothed, and the son of her kidnapper.

Again, thanks so much, Ariella, for being on the blog today. Thank you for your insights and for your time.


Spell for Sophia

Sophia Perez-Hidalgo survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she out of stolen money, thenate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mre, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou. Breaux knows Sophia is trouble but hel travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she worth saving.

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More About Ariella

Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. The Teen Wytche Saga is a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances. Her Two Realms Trilogy is a Fairy and medieval Scotland fantasy adventure series. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.

Connect with Ariella and Her Books


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FEATURED GUEST: Author Emily A. Steward

Good day, readers! I am hosting fellow Clean Reads author Emily A. Steward today. And I am just as eager to hear from her about her release, her inspiration, and her writing process. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in:

emily-a-stewardWelcome to my blog, Emily. First, please tell us a little about your novel.

“Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure” is the first book in a planned trilogy. The series takes place in our world, and also in the world of Azure which is hidden in the clouds above. Penny discovers the land of Azure quite accidentally as she searches for her kidnapped classmates. It is a treacherous place filled with mechanical beasts, floating islands, and air pirates. The series will follow Penny and her friends as they explore Azure and look for a way to destroy the evil that threatens their family and friends.

Amazing! I admire those authors who can build a fictional world. I’m a historical fiction author…pretty much stick with known worlds. But I enjoy reading in the speculative fiction genre. What was the inspiration for Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure?

I got inspired to write about floating islands because I was on a boat at the time I was working on the outline, and I just love going from port to port and exploring different towns. I thought a word in the sky where you could do the same thing with an airship would be pretty amazing! However, I only sat down and wrote an outline when I was several chapters into the book. When I first started I had no idea where I wanted the story to go. Only that I wanted something magical to happen to the boy named Bobby Brown. Needless to say, I had to do a lot of revision. I even ended up changing my main character to a girl named Penelope Gilbert.

That does sound interesting! No wonder you were inspired. So, did you always want to be a writer?

As soon as I learned what a writer was, I wanted to be one, and before I learned about writing books, I wanted to be a story teller. As early as the age of three, I was making up tales about bunnies, witches and (nice) evil stepsisters. At bedtime, I would make up my own bedtime stories and tell them to my mom and brother until they fell asleep, then I’d keep telling the story to myself until I eventually drifted off too.

When was it that you first realized you wanted to be a writer?

I was in kindergarten when I learned that books had these people called authors, and I instantly knew I wanted to be one. My teacher was a great encouragement to me, and really helped me to believe I could do it.

I know as authors there many things about the writing/publishing process we enjoy and parts we don’t like as much. Is there a piece of the process you dread?

I don’t particularly enjoy edits, but I know they are so important. Especially to someone like me who writes first and figures out the details later. Other than that, I have a hard time waiting during the query process. Especially when, in spite of yourself, every request from and agent or publisher gets your hopes up so high, only to be dashed over and over. It is a great exercise in learning patience and determination for sure.

That is the truth! And I tend to not be a very patient person. So, that’s hard for me. I always like to ask (for my own benefit)…do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

I don’t know if I have any advice you don’t already know, but I will mention some things that have helped me. Don’t give in to writers block. Just keep moving forward even if it means you will have to revise like crazy. Moving forward is the key. Just let your characters lead you. And if those characters stray too far from what you intend, don’t be afraid to knock them back in line and take control again.

Interesting take…I like it! What are you currently reading?

I’m reading “Lucid” by L.E. Fred and “Hanging with my Peeps” by Kathy Higgs-Coulthard. Both are excellent so far and I would definitely recommend them!

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I wish I could listen to music when I write! Unfortunately it’s just too distracting for me. I do better with a little white noise like the sounds of a coffee shop. Though that can be distracting too when people have loud, amusing conversations.

I hear you there. I always wonder should I be frustrated or should I grab a pen and notepad and eavesdrop. Maybe good material for later 🙂

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I don’t really have a specific time. Just not morning because I am so not a morning person. As for where, I really like writing either outside, or at the library or local Starbucks. If I write at home, I just keep thinking about all the other things I need to get done around the house, or I end up playing referee between my two older girls. Apparently it is quite offensive and upsetting to my 5 year old when my 3 year old smirks and insists a pink bucket is actually the color boogiedooda.

I hear you about feeling dragged toward other things at home. Coffee shops are my favorite too. How long does it take you to write a book?

It’s difficult to say. My first book I worked on and off on for around 9 years. My second book went much quicker. I had the first few chapters written for a while, but once I decided to really get moving on it, I finished in 2-3 months.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

That’s quite a challenge. Well, Penny’s best friend Crane is a tall lanky guy who gets swept up in the adventure. He thinks Penny’s ability is awesome, but much to his own disappointment, he does not have any special abilities like the others kids involved.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I am currently working on book 2 in the Penelope Gilbert series. As usual I’ve jumped right in without a proper outline, so I’m excited to see where things go.

Thank you so much, Emily, for being on my blog today and answering my questions. Let’s dive in and get a peek at the book now…


Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure

When 13 year-old Penelope Gilbert accidentally transforms into a stapler during math class, she’s sure she’s going crazy. But she’s not imagining the men in black suits now patrolling the halls at school, nor is she imagining the new substitute teacher who orders the class to take a special new test. A test that requires blood. Hunted for her powers, and torn from the life she knows, Penny is swept up into a world in the clouds where magic meets machine and pirates rule the sky.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Come on!” she yelled to Haldor who was wriggling out from under the spider corpse. She ran to the spot where she saw the creature enter as Haldor hurried to catch up. She scrambled through the brush until she came to a stream. There she saw the spider. He was across the water under a large tree.

Above him were several objects swinging in the breeze. It took her a moment to realize that they were rotting bodies strung up by their necks. Their unseeing eyes stared eerily into the darkness. Upon closer inspection, she saw that there were at least thirty of them. She wretched silently as she tried to think of a way for Crane to not become one of them. The spider was already trying to wrap a strand of webbing around his neck.

A thought occurred to her. An outrageous, outlandish thought. I can do this, she assured herself. She tried to picture every last detail of her slain foe—every creepy crawling, hairy, shiny detail. Penny could feel the energy pulsing through her. Her hands were no longer her own. Her teeth had become fangs, and her eyes were the eyes of a killer.

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More About The Author

Emily Steward spent the better part of her childhood dressed as a ninja and trying to convince others to call her ‘Ace.’ When she wasn’t saving the world from evil samurai, she could usually be found in the branches of a tree reading a good book. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and dog Bentley. Though she seldom dresses as a ninja now, her adventurous spirit remains as does her love of tree climbing and reading good books.

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Series are all the rage these days. I even find myself swept up in a couple right now. But that’s neither here nor there. A series allows us to really get to know the characters, the place, or the situation well. We become more deeply involved. My guest today is here talking about the second book in her Everlasting Trilogy, The Decision. Let’s take a few moments and meet her.

myspotlightWelcome to my page! Thanks for stopping by. First, if you would, tell us a little about your novel.

“The Decision” is the 2nd book in The Everlasting Trilogy so it basically picks up where Everlasting left off. It is about a young girl, Sophia Bandell who falls in love with the boy of her dreams, Tate Forester, only to discover that he was killed in a car wreck 8 months prior and he is now a ghost. If she can forget about Tate he will always be around her to protect her. But if she stays in love with him and can’t quit thinking about him she will set him free to go on to heaven. She decides to set him free and moves on to (maybe) marry her old high school crush, Aaron Stuart. But Aaron is mean and tries to steal her money so she decides to move on and join the afterlife with Tate. I can’t mention any more without giving spoilers. Lol. You’ll just have to read it.

Intriguing…and what a unique story! What was the inspiration for The Decision?

It all started with “Everlasting”. My brother-in-law had passed away about 6 months before I began writing “Everlasting”. One night he came to me in a dream. He stood right beside my bed and I was able to ask him questions about what life after death was like. I asked him about 5 or 6 questions and his answers came back to me so real and lifelike that I felt he was really there. Thus, “Everlasting” was born. I knew I had to incorporate his answers into a book. Although it is a work of fiction, some of his answers from my dream are here and I think you’ll find “Everlasting” intriguing as well as “The Decision”.

Wow! What an experience! I know that inspiration comes from many different places, but I never imagined. Have you always written? Or when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I first realized I wanted to be a writer when my children were little (about 26 years ago). I loved to read to them and create children stories to tell them. I tried my hand at publishing childrens’ books later on when my kids got older but they never went anywhere. I love to write songs and poems too. I just started writing novels about 5 years ago. My first one was inspired by a young boy who was so abused by his family that they ended up killing him. This tore at my heart so I wrote a book about him, called “Chasing Butterflies”. It hasn’t been published yet but I’m hoping someday to get it there.

Best of luck with that. Sounds like you really dig deep for your stories! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Persistence I believe is my only suggestion to help you to become a better writer. Practice and reading also helps. But I believe in the old adage “keep trying and never give up.” You will be frustrated, terrified of people reading your work, full of self-doubt and thinking you’re not good enough and no one will want to read your books. But don’t give in and don’t give up. Every writer goes through this I think or they’re not human lol.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I like to try to write in the morning before the day gets too hectic. I have my own office at our car dealership business so I plink away at the computer keys in there. At times, it gets too busy and I don’t get a thing done, but I try to keep rolling on and write when I can.

I don’t want to be too sneaky here, but for the sake of my readers, I gotta ask…can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Sophia probably makes a lot of bad decisions in “The Decision”. But I feel I made her human and also feel that a lot of young people growing up struggle to do the right thing but their decision making is sometimes skewed when they are trying to figure “life” out. Sometimes I worry I might get criticized from my readers for Sophia taking the choice that she did, but in the end, they’ll see that it will all work out.

Thank you so much for being with us today. And thank you for your honest answers. We look forward to hearing more from you!

Thank you so much for having me here today, Sara! It was a blast!


The Decision

The Decision’s made. The choice is simple. Or is it?

The guests are invited. The cake is all set. In just a few short hours Sophia Bandell will be saying “I do” to a guy she isn’t sure she loves. But where does she go from here? She feels her life is headed in a downhill spiral. Her first and real true love, Tate Forester, is a ghost. But he’s the man she wants to be with…the one she can’t live without. Sophia is faced with the toughest decision of her life. Does she forget about Tate and marry the egotistical lawyer, Aaron Stuart? Or does she take the plunge and join Tate to be with him for eternity?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Sometime through the night, Tate’s kisses woke me. They landed on my cheek like a soft sigh. He began on my cheek and traveled down my neck, resting delicately on my shoulder. But each one felt like he was snuffing out a candle flame. I knew that this would be the last time I’d ever feel him again. He was telling me goodbye in the gentlest way he knew.

I held in my sobs but couldn’t stop the silent tears from sliding down my cheeks. They spilled to my neck and pooled there in the deep, hollowed indent above my clavicle. Tate kissed them away, and wiped a wet strand of hair from my face.

“Don’t cry. I was hoping I could slip away without waking you. I need to go. Aaron will be home soon.”

My throat ached. I grimaced and tried to swallow away the soreness, but it had its claws dug in too deep. There was no way to release it, to ease this massive tumor that kept growing inside of me each time it was time to say goodbye.

“This is the end, isn’t it? Your kisses told me everything you can’t say. So do your eyes.”

“It has to be. It’s time.”

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More About the Author

L.K. Kuhl is the author of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance Series, The Everlasting Trilogy. The Decision is book two of this trilogy. She has also penned Chasm, a Romantic Suspense novel. Chasm was released in May of 2016.

L.K. lives in Nebraska with her husband Gene of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg and Will, their furry dog kids. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.

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FEATURED GUEST POST: “Life Takes…” with Author Kadee Carder

It’s Friday again! Time to welcome another author to my blog! I am excited to introduce you to Kadee Carder who has some words for us, has agreed to answer some questions, and then we’ll learn more about her new release, Insurrection! So, without further ado, here’s the post:

Life Takes…

Life requires moxie. Yes? Spunk? Life takes a little fight, doesn’t it? A little fight to laugh at the chaos, a little fight not to yell, a little fight to get out of bed at 3:00 AM when the baby wakes, and a little fight every night to put away the latest novel and go to bed and start all over.

Life takes a lot of love, too. Love instigates a lot of the fight within me, as a mom. I began working on the Insurrection trilogy while earning my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, pregnant, working full-time as an office manager of a church. At that point in my life I began to understand the depths of what it takes to chase after dreams and shake up the stars. In the years since beginning this journey with Saylor, I’ve sat for hours hunkered over my laptop, chatted with hundreds of people, and even flown across the country to meet with publishers in order to make this adventure more than just a fun story I shared with my own girlfriends as we played in our backyards twenty years ago. When Saylor first appeared as a character to me, she was a boy, because when I played in my backyard, only boys had adventures. It’s time to change that, friends, because girls can rock a baseball bat, obstacle course, and beachside kiss just as good as the best of them.

We humans have to be stronger than we ever imagine, love ourselves in the process, and dig in when the ground seems to sink. We not only relish adventures, we create them.

And that’s the basis of Saylor’s story in my young adult science fiction trilogy, Insurrection.

Let’s get to know Kadee a little better…

kadeecarderWelcome, Kadee! And thanks for being a guest on my blog today. Could you tell us a little about your novel?

Saylor had been told she was a stain on the cloth of mankind. When she and her sister orphans Micah, Denise, and Patricia are apprehended upon the high seas, they find themselves imprisoned on a Caribbean island filled with strange noises, dazzling beaches, and a secret military base. Wavering between terror and ecstasy, Saylor develops her inner warrior while facing an enemy exposing her indispensable abilities. In order to rescue her sisters, impress the hunky Australian, and protect innocent lives on a global scale, she must master techniques of fighting an army created to destroy with a single, scorching touch – or die trying. 

They wanted a warrior. They got one.

Whoa. What a story! Sounds intriguing. What was the inspiration for Insurrection?

My parents encouraged me to try a myriad assortment of activities when I was younger. Softball stuck. I played the sport for over ten years, loving almost every minute. One last season where we didn’t win a game, that was harsh, but hey, I learned I loved the sport no matter what. In order to help me improve, my dad drilled a hole in a softball and strung it up on this horizontal branch on a large tree in our backyard. I’d spend hours slamming that softball up and around the branch, perfecting my swing. Being the overly-creative child I was, I’d invent all sorts of scenarios in which I’d have to hit something over and over and over….and just think, if a softball could fly on its own, and was ON FIRE, what would YOU do?! And the basic premise for Insurrection wiggled its way into my imagination. I presented the idea to my three friends, who’d play imaginary games with me at recess, and suddenly the four of us became fearless fighters, saving the world from flying fireballs. With my husband’s help, I’ve updated the idea to call them Oxinals, and they are autonomous, artificially-intelligent sentinels, which can kill any living creature with one single touch. We’d need some brave warriors to save us, yes?

Indeed. I love hearing all of the many places where authors get their inspiration. It truly comes from anywhere! I am always working to hone my craft. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

“That’s the way things come clear. All of a sudden. 
And then you realize how obvious they’ve been all along.” 
– Madeleine L’Engle

Mrs. L’Engle is my favorite author. She has a way of turning phrases, igniting pages, and inspiring my deepest breaths. Her writing packs a punch, if you will. What writing do you remember? Why do you remember it?

One way to make writing interesting is to move up a level from the basic sentence. Re-think ideas and make them personal to you. Avoid cliché and instead utilize your own word pictures. I teach composition classes on the university level. Sometimes my students ask how to make their writing more memorable, and I wanted to share with you how to question your writing.

Each sentence offers possibility or boredom.

Re-think cliché.

Here is an example of a way to make your writing interesting:

Example 1: Having my sister come for a visit was heaven on earth.

Example 2: I like when my sister visits.

Those sentences are okay and ho hum and whatnot. Sure, they convey a basic idea. How can they be more interesting, detailed, intrinsic, and thought-provoking?

Revised Example: My sister appeared on my doorstep, greeting me with a box of chocolate cupcakes and her cinnamon scent. Her hug crammed the room full of sunlight.

See how that helps you experience the sister?

Now, you would write this idea completely different from me. How would you get to your version of this revised sentence?

Start by re-thinking what is your ‘heaven on earth’? What makes you happy?

If you are inclined to write, “I liked doing that,” instead explore the why and what behind what you were doing. What does ‘heaven on earth’ feel like? Your ‘like’ is different than mine, and isn’t language the beautiful tool to explore how those compare?

If you can’t say (the boring noun), how can you show it?

If you can’t say, “happy,” how can you show it?

If you can’t say, “ran,” how can you show it?

If you can’t say, “boot,” how can you show it?

This is where imagery meets metaphor. This place is fun. This is one reason I love writing.

Example 2: Have a good day!

Revised Example 2: May your day be encouraging, brimming with chocolate, and lined with laughter!

Example 3: The baby cried, looking so sad. There were no words to capture his wail.

Revised Example 3: Shadows shimmied away from the wailing toddler, his bald head wrinkled, red with frustration and hunger. Tears dripped in large droplets down his scrunched up cheeks, pooling with sighs and hopelessness in the gnarled blankets by his feet. Paci had disappeared.

Give life to inanimate objects. If one object seems too difficult to explain, then illustrate objects or people’s reactions.

I hope you can pack these ideas up, put them in your wallet, and take out as often as you need. They could possibly be better than your debit card, in useful terms.

Warning: Be careful, as this, if taken to heart, will change your communications forever. People will suddenly pay attention because you wrote or said something interesting. Be memorable. Use those gifts to communicate your light and passion to others!

Thanks for such great information! I am currently working on Deep Point of View. A lot of this fits right in with that. I know as writers, we are always working on our craft, but also always looking to the next book. Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?

Volume 2 is in editing with Clean Reads and I’m putting the final touches on personally editing Volume 3. During November I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo and hope to finish a Christmas novella I’ve started!

That is quite a bit on your desk! Well, thanks again for being a featured guest. Let’s take a closer look at your new release!


Enjoy an excerpt from Insurrection:

“Don’t tell me what you don’t want to do. The Commander wouldn’t have put you in this company if he thought you couldn’t do it. This is the ECB. We don’t waste people. We win. We defeat.” Logan spat out the words. “I’d prefer you to have several more weeks of training, but we have to deal with what we got.” He let a devious smile filter across his lips. “Use that moxie, kid.”

Water dripped down his face, his blue eyes sparkling. Tense jaw, muscles rigid from neck to toe, I could almost see his skin rippling with adrenaline. A shiver fluttered down my spine.

A loud, thunderous boom—not thunder, but the same crashing, familiar boom of destruction—cracked nearby. We sought out the source of the sound, deep in the beast’s lair, disguised in ivy and wooded terrain.

“Be powerful,” he yelled over the ruckus, stepping closer and turning his face toward me. He scanned the area around us for unwanted observers, and then just inches from my face, he added, “Be strong. Be fearless. You are all those things. You’ve proven it before—now’s your time to shine.”

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Fight for family. Believe in yourself. Fulfill your purpose. Join Saylor on this exciting, harrowing adventure. See more at!

More about Kadee:

Deep in the heart of Central Texas, Kadee Carder resides with her husband and two daughters. Carder earned a BA in Public Relations at Howard Payne University and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. She teaches English courses on the university level and plans her schedule around coffee availability.

Writing and language have been her life-long pleasure, wordsmithery offering the ability to twist emotion in to sense and cosmos. When she’s not dancing around the living room with her daughters, she helps at church activities, creates encouraging blogs, and orders pizza like a boss.

Connect with Kadee:


Twitter: @kadeecbooks

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The General's Wife

Wrapping It Up: The Blog Tour Ends


And so, my friends, the blog tour for The General’s Wife has come to an end. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some relief in that. A blog tour is a great thing, don’t get me wrong. But it’s also a lot of work! There are some key reasons to do one:

The Visibility of the Book

This is probably the number one reason I do these tours. It puts my book in front of audiences that would not have otherwise seen it. Readers I don’t have ready access to. Readers who would enjoy my book. So it is a benefit to both of us that we are matched up through these other blogs. They find new material to read and I find an audience.

The Exposure in General

The book tour leads to a general exposure of my name and helps connect those that wish to be with my social media outlets. Then, its up to me to continue to provide valuable content (as they see it, not just valuable according to me). That’s no easy task, but I have a heart for helping the newbie writer and I just love to entertain in general.

It Allows People to Get to Know Me

Through the numerous guest posts I have written and interview questions I responded to, the readers get a chance to “look behind the curtain” if you will. They can peek into my world and get to know me a little. Or a lot. I tend to be an open book. This creates connection.

Some of these things will lead to sales…

These things, in the long run will often result in sales increases. I put this last because it is the least important for me. It is not my number one goal for doing a blog tour. My primary concern is to connect, to get my book some exposure so that readers can find and enjoy it.

What was that you said about WORK?

Yes, the tour is a lot of work. Some of it more fun than other parts of it. And other authors may enjoy the parts I find the least enjoyable more than I and struggle with my favorite parts.

Providing the material

A bit of this work is done on the front end. The interviews, the guest posts, pulling the excerpts, etc. So, that part of the heavy lifting, though intense, is completed, for the most part, before the tour begins (depending on who is running/coordinating/organizing your tour).

During the Tour

While the tour is in progress, it’s important to monitor the tour comments and respond to those who took the time to say something about your work. It’s also a good idea to retweet, tweet, post, and advertise about the blogs and posts yourself. Doing that takes only a few minutes, but it’s a few minutes here, a few there, all day long. But, it is totally worth it! Because in the end what you have is something to look back on and be proud of.

All in all, I loved this tour. And I appreciated Goddess Fish Promotions and everything they did to make it happen and run so smoothly. They made this as seamless for me as possible. The communication was thorough and delivered before I knew it was needed (i.e. I was informed of any challenges before I became aware of them).

I will absolutely use them again!

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Hey, all! I have been enjoying the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee and it has been fabulous! I have been privileged to host so many wonderful authors during this interim. Today is no exception! Author E.A. West has just released Covered with Clean Reads (the company that has published three of my books). I am eager to learn more about her new release, so let’s dive right in.

eawest_authorphoto_300Welcome, E.A. West. Can you tell us, first, what was the inspiration for Covered?

I’d thought about writing a motorcycle-riding hero for a while, but I couldn’t seem to find the right story for him. Then I saw a video about Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) and the way they’d helped an abused girl. That brought to mind a single question: What if a group of bikers protected an abused girl, but then she grew up and her abuser came back? “Covered” grew from there. While the motorcycle club in the story isn’t connected to B.A.C.A., it is definitely inspired by the great work of that organization.

That is interesting. I wasn’t aware of such a group. What a neat organization! Inspiration truly comes from many places. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

When I was a child, I never thought I would become an author. My interests leaned more toward working with animals in some capacity or becoming an artist. I was an avid reader as a kid, but dyslexia and learning disabilities made English class unbelievably difficult.   Thankfully, I managed to overcome those difficulties and started writing. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I took a creative writing class my freshman year of high school. As with most writing assignments up to that point, I didn’t particularly enjoy it at first. But then we had to write a brief biography for a fictional person. I had so much fun with that assignment, that I started creating characters and stories without having them assigned. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Sounds familiar! There are many parts of the process I know we all love, but there are certainly parts we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Writing the synopsis. Trying to condense thousands of words into a few hundred and still make it interesting is unbelievably difficult.

I hear you there! Writing a synopsis can be so challenging. If you’re anything like me, you are always reading for enjoyment and to hone your craft. What are you currently reading?

Right at the moment, I’m reading two books: “Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork and “The Relevance of Religion” by John Danforth.

I also love to listen to music when I write. I find it helps tremendously. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

My music tastes vary depending on my mood and what I’m writing at the time. I’ve listened to everything from classical to metal. Some days I write without music because it’s too distracting.

I can understand that. Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I usually write in the evenings. I’ve always been a night owl, so writing after dark works out perfectly for me. My favorite writing place is anywhere comfortable. When the weather is nice and warm, I enjoy sitting outside and writing longhand in a spiral notebook.

Wow! All my early writing was in longhand. But I am pretty much chained to my laptop now. I may try the longhand again. There something about the texture of paper…

Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?

I’m always working on several projects. The most exciting at the moment is “Redeeming Honor”, an inspirational romance novel currently in edits with Pelican Book Group. I can’t wait to share it with readers!

More about Covered

Lacey Daniels wants a normal life where she can go to dinner or the mall without constantly looking over her shoulder. Unfortunately, her abusive father is out of prison and more dangerous than ever. The Hawthorne Guardians, a local motorcycle club that protected her as a child, is her only hope for normalcy. Some of the faces have changed, but the credo is the same: protect the innocent. One Guardian, Ratchet, takes an interest in more than her safety. He wants her heart.

Despite her growing feelings for Ratchet, Lacey can’t escape the threat her father poses. With him free and seeking revenge, she will never be safe. Her only chance for a normal life — and maybe true love — lies with Ratchet, a man who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her father from hurting her again… even if it means risking his life to save her.

Enjoy an Excerpt

covered_500x750I desperately needed to rest, but stopping even a short time was dangerous. An approaching car didn’t give me a choice. I leaned against a utility pole at the corner, my entire body hurting, and stared at the collection of motorcycles parked outside a bar a little farther down the street. Men wearing black leather vests stood around talking to each other and the few women scattered throughout the group. None of them looked familiar, but I had to hope the patches on their vests did. I needed to find the Hawthorne Guardians. I couldn’t trust anyone else, not even my own mother. She’d become part of the problem.

Tears blurred my vision, but I blinked them away as I forced myself to walk toward the bikers. Crying was a luxury I couldn’t afford at the moment. One man turned his back toward me, and I spotted the familiar stylized HG with a sword in the middle I was searching for. Maybe he could tell me where to find Bear.

Before I reached him, he hopped on a motorcycle and rode away with two others. My heart sank, but I couldn’t give up. I had to find someone who could put me in contact with Bear. I continued on to the bar and hoped for the presence of more Hawthorne Guardians.

I staggered into the dimly lit bar and paused long enough to steady myself. Staying upright was a challenge when it felt as if a spear lanced my skull. Too many people packed the place, and not enough wore the familiar patch. In fact, I couldn’t spot a single Guardian in the crowd. My anxiety shot through the roof, but I shoved it aside. I could deal with it later, after I was safe. If I was ever safe again.

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More about the Author

E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

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FEATURED GUEST POST: A Story Roadmap (with author SM Ford)

I hope everyone is having a great week. I am pleased to welcome fellow author SM Ford onto my blog today. She happens to be another pantser. For those of you who are new to my blog, a “pantser” is someone who “writes by the seat of their pants” it is the opposite of a “plotter” or “outliner”. Well, today she is going to talk about what a Story Roadmap is and how it can assist you in your writing!

A Story Roadmap

road-1668916_1920I am not an outliner. If I outline a story with explicit detail, I find I have no interest in writing it.

So instead, I’m a pantser with a plan.

Here’s how it usually works for me.

  • I start with a character with a problem or in some situation.

Then in no certain order, the following happen:

  • Usually some kind of theme comes to mind.
  • I name my protagonist.
  • Next, I think about other people who would be in the main character’s life, whether in the background, or right up in the action. Whether antagonist(s) or supporting cast.
  • I decide where the main character lives.
  • I think more about the age, personality, habits of this person.
  • I may do some reading and research on their job or schooling or some other aspect of their situation.
  • Somewhere in there, I’m thinking about when and where the story starts.

Have I written anything down at this point? Usually, not much. The gender of the character and his or her problem. A few names, a few brief details—more reminders than anything lengthy. Character sketches don’t work that well for me.

I carry this character around with me for a while until I’ve got:

  • an idea of how the main story problem might be resolved.

I may not be clear on details, but knowing my character will win in some way is an important part of my plan. This and theme gives me a goal to head towards.

Then I start writing by introducing the character in some way and introducing some problem that may not be the main problem of the story. It’s similar to driving from Washington state through Missouri to Florida. You’re generally headed east and south, but there are a variety of routes to get there. Each time you choose a new road it affects how long the trip will take and what you’ll see along the way. In a book the personality, goals, desires, emotions of the main character direct much of the trip. Just like a flat tire or busted axle can change your trip, the problems, antagonist(s), other characters change the story.

This method means I learn about my characters as I write. I discover their voices. We may take side trips together that don’t end up staying in the story. But on the other hand, I’ve pulled scenes out that I thought weren’t important, then had to put them back in later.

Mainly, I’m working on how my character gets himself out of the situation. That keeps me moving forward to the end.

Will I revise once I reach the end? Of course. But so do outliners.


alone_500x750Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation because of this job.

Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the trouble that lies ahead?

Buy Links:

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About SM Ford

smfordSM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too.

When she was thirteen, she got hooked on Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense books, although she has been a reader as long as she can remember, and is an eclectic reader. Inspirational authors she enjoys include: Francine Rivers, Bodie Thoene, Dee Henderson, Jan Karon, and many more.

SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, but has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.

Connect with SM Ford and her books:




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FEATURED GUEST: Author Dana Provo

image3It is my pleasure to introduce to you fellow author Dana Provo! Welcome, Dana, I’m glad you could join us today. Could you tell us a little about your novel?

Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

Wow! Sounds like an interesting read! What was the inspiration for Bleeding Hearts?

I have always wanted to write a romance, but I wasn’t sure if I could do it, so I opted to write a suspense novel with a romantic element. I loved it. My inspiration for “Bleeding Hearts” came from when I moved into my new apartment. There was an officer that lived down the hall, and I used his wife to craft my main character. My friends don’t have anything to do with the actual story line, they were just inspiration. I loved coming up with the perfect couple and relationship only to tear it apart again. It was fun.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I didn’t always want to be a writer. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a brain surgeon! Then I wanted to be a professional horseback rider. There were so many things I wanted to be growing up.

I can certainly relate. I thought for sure I would be a doctor. But writing was always a part of who I was. And eventually that part of me got louder and louder. I know as authors we love a lot about the process, but I know there are parts we don’t love so much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

I dread the waiting process of trying to get a book published. You are always waiting for that rejection email and often times don’t have the inspiration to keep writing. The other thing I dread most is editing. I think every writer can agree with me on that.

Most definitely! You have my vote there. While I wait, I keep plugging away at that next novel and reading. What are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m trying to read The Jewel by Amy Ewing, but between my full time job and writing two novels, I’m not have much luck on it. When I manage to finish it, I will review it and let everyone know how I like it.

I’m always curious about the things that authors reveal (and don’t reveal) in the back cover copy. Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

“Bleeding Hearts” is about a woman falling in love with the wrong man. She finds herself in an abusive relationship and has a hard time finding herself throughout the novel. Although Cami seems irrational throughout the book, she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from Carson’s torment and can’t get a grip on her life. Some have said she’s crazy, but to me, she’s vulnerable. Cami is both loyal and trusting toward people. She can’t help it, it’s in her blood.

And, finally, do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

So I have two projects I’m working on right now. The continuation of “Bleeding Hearts”, called “Bleeding Alone” is in the works. This story follows a secondary character from the first book named Ruby Mae Lavender. She’s an art student at a university and she meets the famous serial killer, Carson but she doesn’t respond with animosity like everyone else has. She’s different from Cami; Ruby Mae is strong, outgoing, independent, and has an attitude the size of Texas. This is going to be another romantic suspense.

The other story I am working on is a YA suspense titled “Scarred”. Jules Martinez was in love at fifteen, but her love story turned into a nightmare when she found herself a victim of domestic abuse. To help with her fear and ending a bad relationship, she joins a mixed martial arts gym, training every day. Now at eighteen years old and ready to go to college, she still suffers from her abusive past. But it gets worse when Christopher comes back into her life again.

Thank you, Dana, for taking the time to answer my questions and giving us some insight into your novel and into you as an author!

Enjoy an Excerpt!

image1My arm trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms shake as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn’t move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.

We’re at a stalemate.

A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I’m another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.

Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.

“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it’s no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.

“Why are you doing this?” I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I’m wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.

“It’ll be over soon, sweetheart.” His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs.

More about the Author

Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to Adult Historical Romances. When she’s not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

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“Hope in Cripple Creek” Cover Reveal!!

cover revealIt is that time again, my friends! I have labored over another novel and am prepared to send it out into the world. This novel is slated to become available in ebook on October 20th. And I couldn’t be more excited!

The Cover. This was the first time I worked with this particular cover artist, Amanda. But what a talented artist she is! I was very much impressed with her ability to feel out the novel from the details provided for her and put them on a cover. I do love Cora Graphics, but I was not at all disappointed with Amanda’s skill. Her work definitely put a smile on my face 🙂

The Story. The blurb for “Hope in Cripple Creek” can be found here. This story follows the obstacles facing Katherine Matthews when she returns home to take an interim teaching position. But something very tragic happened here once, something that made her want to leave. And made an enemy among her peers. Will he still be among the townsfolk when she returns? Can her heart find peace and even love in the midst of loss?

The Collaboration. At each one of these cover reveals, I always at least mention my publisher. As well I should. Clean Reads is a wonderful company and its owner, Stephanie, is everything you could want. She is an author herself, so she truly knows what it’s like to walk in our shoes. But she knows and runs the other sides of the business so well. I feel blessed to be a part of the Clean Reads family. And I must thank my editors, who pulled more out of me this book than ever before.

Here it is…and so, I have rambled on about all these things. Now, I present to you the unveiling of this cover for the first time:

NOTE: If you are having issues with the video playing, “RELOAD” your screen and that should fix it.