Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This Spells Trouble by Olivia Hardin Cover Reveal

This Spells Trouble (2)It took some work, but Lynlee Lincoln has finally found balance between her life as a witch and her relationship with Beck Hale. A human boyfriend with two kids wasn’t something she ever planned, but their new arrangement lets her have her cake and eat it, too. Just when she’s getting comfortable, puzzling visions of impending danger at home begin to haunt her dreams. And if personal issues aren’t troubling enough, Lynlee and the entire organization of Neutralizers go on alert when a phantom creature begins staging magical episodes on live television. If they can’t put a stop to the sensational events, all hell will break loose in the human world. Can Lynlee keep both her new family and the world safe without getting swallowed up in the process?

PREORDER NOW!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-dj6Nn4TH0]
And be sure you're caught up on all the other stories before this one drops!
Trolling for Trouble- Olivia Hardin (2)FREE! Magical and undead creatures can get into plenty of sticky situations. Lynlee Lincoln loves her job as a neutralizer, but she needs a break from the supernatural chaos after an ultra-busy Halloween night. Coming home, she's ready to collapse into her bed and forget the day... until she discovers two children scavenging through her refrigerator. One look at the pair and she feels a tug on her heartstrings, then she learns their father is the man she spent years trying to forget. When Beck pleads with her to help save his daughter, Lynlee gets thrust into a heap of trouble.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00020]Lynlee Lincoln isn’t just a witch, she’s also a Neutralizer. Her job is a juggling act to keep magical and undead clients out of trouble. But getting back together with her old flame throws one more ball into the mix and romance with a guy who has two kids can get complicated. When her old mentor asks her to investigate the goings-on of a dark witch, things turn messy. The witch is stalking supernatural creatures to collect ingredients for a potion that Lynlee can’t seem to figure out. To keep those closest to her from becoming the next victims, she may have to confront the demons within herself.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords Trouble with Holidays (3)And get the prequel to the series in A Christmas Yet to Come Anthlogy: Falling for a human who doesn’t believe in magic was the last thing Lynlee Lincoln needed. Beck Hale was a young architect and she was a Neutralizer-in-training—they were drawn together, but worlds apart. When Beck’s apartment gets flooded, she invites him to her home for Christmas. Lynlee tries to ignore the pull of the mistletoe, but after all, ‘tis the season. Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords   olivia hardin pic b&w.jpgAbout the Author: When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

Connect with Olivia and Get information about releases, contests, news and more here:

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Haunted location

Okay this one also comes from my travels. This past spring I was in Savannah and Charleston, two of my favorite cities. While in Savannah I took the ghost tour for about the fourth time only this time I heard a new story. An exceptionally creepy story. It is about a house, 432 Abercorn. Basically, they told us about a strange and somewhat horrific history of this house.

How much is true, I don't know. But here is the story because it is fun.

-Benjamin Wilson: 1868 house was completed for Wilson (there is debate on whether he was a cotton merchant or some sort of military. Wilson moved in with wife and youngest child, who was 9 years old. Wife died of yellow fever and Wilson didn’t know how to handle a child. He decided to keep her inside where she was safe. One day he came home from work and caught her playing in the square with other children. He was furious, dragging her back by the ear while she was kicking and screaming. Inside the neighbors heard her yelling and crying. Several women went up to the door and knocked. Wilson told them in no uncertain terms his child was none of their business.
The next day they say the girl tied to a chair next to the window where she could see the park but not go. This went on for days. Until one day Wilson came home and the neighbors heard loud yelling and furniture being overturned. They thought maybe the child escaped. They started toward the house and he sticks his head out of the second floor window and tells them if they come any closer he will make them regret it. A few minutes later he jumps from the window with a noose around his neck and kills himself. The neighbors go inside and find the girl still tied to the chair, dead from dehydration.

1870- A cotton plantation own and his family move into the house. No one really talks about what happened there. He had three girls: 10,12, and 15. One night he attends a party with his wife. They come home to find the 10 year old beaten to death in the park, the 12 year old decapitated in the doorway, and the 15 year old hanging from a noose from the second story window.

1960’s- Family comes home to find three of four daughters killed (with their organs removed) and laid out in a triangle on the parlor room floor.  The fourth child is found hiding in a bedroom curled in a fetal position and struck mute.

1973- Purchased by Omi G. Walden for 75,000. Still owns to this day. Has never lived in or rented the house in any way. According to property records main three floors are uninhabitable, but top floor is. Owner claims to be doing renovations herself but neighbors say no renovations have ever been done.
Legend is (according to tour) her mother and sister were raped and murdered in the house and she came home to find them which is why she bought the house and set up a trust to care for it so no one else could be killed by the house.

-Dave the tour guide (date uncertain)- Took a group on a walking tour. Two women wanted to go up the steps and peek through the mail slot. He let them and when they looked through the screamed and ran away, but one tripped and broke her leg. They both swear they saw an angry old man running toward them.

-Women have reported feeling sick or getting headaches when walking in front of the house or near it. Many pictures claim to have caught paranormal phenomena outside of the house or faces in the window/plaster on the wall.


-Claims that 34 women have been brutally killed in the house. 

-Liz

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Five Supernatural Creatures You Haven't Heard Of

Okay so my title is reaching. I don't know what you have or have not heard of, but that's okay. I am still going to give you a list of some of the more usual ones that are tempting to use in a story.

1. Clurichaun: This awesome creature is kin to the leprechaun only they are more curmudgeonly and they guard wine cellars. This is my kind of supernatural creature.

2. Leshi: This supernatural baddie will do the unthinkable. He will take you to his cave and tickle you to death. That's right, friends, we have the tickle monster all the way from Slavic mythology.

3. Lady Midday: Now this one is a weird one. She will question workers at noon on hot days, asking them very difficult questions. If they do not get them right she chops off their head. I believe this was how employee evaluations got started.

4. Dullahan: This is a headless horseman, but not quite the one Washington Irving imagined. This one carries it's own head under one arm and a human spine in the other hand to use it as a whip for, you guessed it, his horse. But that isn't the end of the grotesque details. The head also always have a smile and the eyes move around in it. All I can say if they should have reached further on the headless horseman.

5. Bakhtak: I like this one because I have lots of nightmares. This heavy little dude climbs on you while you sleep and makes you have bad dreams while also causing sleep paralysis.

Okay, that's my list!

Liz

Monday, October 6, 2014

Costumes, Family Friendly Halloween Movies, and Behind the Book: The Ninth Floor

So yeah, the 31 Days of Halloween are still going on; however, weekends are dicey. I'm probably not going to write a blog post on Saturday or Sunday. However, that is okay. It just means that Mondays will be all the cooler because they will consist of three days of goodness. Let's do this!

Day 4: Costumes
Someone miscounted (it was me) and this was a throw back Thursday post (on a Saturday) with my old Halloween costumes pictures. :-)

The Evil Queen

My favorite kind of costume, random crap

Maleficent 

The year I was a member of Josie and Pussy Cats

Not a costume but I carve pumpkins with my friends every year

Okay, so this isn't actually makeup, but it is still fun!

Day 5: The Top Five Family Friendly Halloween Movies according to me

Yay, a list. I love lists. Stop judging me. 
1. Hocus Pocus (like there was even a doubt)
2. Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetljuice)
3, The Addams Family (I will never get tired of this movie)
4. Ghostbusters (Who you gonna call?)
5. Casper (maybe it's my age, but I love this movie and I always will)

Day 6: Behind the book

I was smack dab in the middle of writing my fantasy/romance series (The Guardian Trilogy and Easy Bake Coven) and my mystery series (the Ella Reynolds series) when I went on a spa trip to Arkansas, but it was there I was inspired to write a new book: The Ninth Floor. 



Now whenever I go on a trip I always take the ghost tours and generally trip to range for allegedly haunted accommodations. It adds a nice layer of ghostliness to any trip. Anyway I was on the ghost tour which was fairly typical as far as ghost tours go, that is until they told us a story that caught my imagination. 

I have no idea about the validity of the story, but none of that really matters when you write fiction. The guide mentioned, pointing up a high to the tall hospital building looming over the small town, that there was one floor of the hospital that had been shut down due to an unusual death rate on the floor. Only it wasn't a patient death rate, it was the employees too. He claimed that the people who worked there weren't allowed to talk about it. or even mention any ghostly experiences they might have inside the facility. 

Obviously that leads to questions like if people weren't allowed to talk about it, how did he know. But alas, I didn't care. That idea that one floor of a building where life hangs in the balance day in and day out could be host to something dark and malicious set my mind soaring and from that prompt the Ninth Floor was born.  

Whew! All caught up. See you tomorrow for the top five supernatural creatures you haven't heard of. :-D

-Liz



Friday, October 3, 2014

True Haunts: Missouri State Penitentiary

This picture is from the first time I went for a regular tour. I didn't take any pictures when I went on the ghost tour. 

Halloween is upon us. It is my favorite time of year. Growing up I always loved everything and anything scary. Naturally, I became a writer. I like to incorporate a little ghostly presence in most of my mystery novels because the unknown element is one that is frightening to me.

One of the questions I am asked the most is do I believe in ghosts. I normally tell people I am an open minded skeptic. What I mean by that is I don’t necessarily believe, but I am willing to accept there are a lot of things in this world I cannot explain. However, when I travel I try to stay in haunted locations and there is nothing I love more than a good ghost tour. In fact, the Ninth Floor was inspired by one particular ghost tour I went on. But that isn’t the story I am going to tell you today.

Recently I went on a ghost tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary, once known as the bloodiest 47 acres. It is infamous for the inmates it held, the violence contained within its walls, and the more recently for the ghostly sightings. Syfy’s Ghost Hunter, Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventurers, and I am sure many more have all done investigations of this former penitentiary to the same result—it’s haunted.


The tour started at 9:00 p.m. I arrived with my friend and the tour started. At first it seemed there were too many people to really get the full effect of the creepy, deserted prison at night atmosphere. I had been on the history tour before and the ghost tour was just as good. Both times I have been there the group was guided by a former prison guard who actually worked within the walls. The stories they shared of what it was like inside are riveting.

I didn’t see or hear anything noteworthy in the first half of the tour. It wasn’t until we headed to the oldest building and were taken down to “the hole”. We were directed to enter one of the cells. The first cell I went into was too crowded so I moved to the next. It wasn’t crowded, only one other person, but it also didn’t feel creepy and that was what I was looking for. I went down the narrow hallway to the other row of cell door and entered the first one. Immediately it felt different than the others. I didn’t let that bother me—that was what I paid for.

The tour guide flipped off the lights so we could experience solitary confinement. Immediately the room felt massive, though I knew it was compact. It was disorienting so the first noise I heard I dismissed as an overactive imagination. It was something like a growl that came from my right hand side behind me. I shook off any fear and continued to allow the experience to build. Next I heard what sounded like a yowl. The best and most accurate way I can describe it is it sounded like a person pretending to be an angry cat. It was quite loud and real sounding. It happened two times and the tour guide asked who made that noise. No one answered. He repeated the question and still no one confessed.

He turned the lights back on and we all came out. He asked us again and this is where things get weird. The first cell I went in, the most crowded one, didn’t hear anything. The cell next to me that only had two people in it, also didn’t hear anything. It turned out only three of us heard the sound at all: the tour guide, the man in the cell facing me, and me.  It sounded to me like it came from my left hand side, but while the two women in the cell to my left were frightened they didn’t hear anything.

I can’t say whether or not it was a ghost, but I will say it was one of the strangest experiences I have ever had. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Days of Halloween Day Two: Apple Pie Recipe

The recipe I am going to share with you is so simple I actually considered not sharing it at all.


However, apple pie is my very favorite fall treat and I have been making them like crazy.
You see, I only like apple pies in the fall. I hate with the fiery passion of a thousand dragons guarding their treasure bought apple pies and apple pie filling. They are disgusting and taste nothing like apples. Also contributing to this hatred of them is the fact that I have no tolerance for cinnamon. I don’t like the taste or the smell of it (nutmeg too). Apples are delicious just as they are when they are fresh. Stop messing with them world!

Okay back on point. This is how to make an awesome apple pie.

Step one: Buy the freshest baking apples (tart is better) that you can find. I like to go to local pick your own orchards because growing up we had apple trees and we always picked our own apples. You want the apples to be tart enough that they will blend nicely with the sugar you are going to add, but you don’t want them to be so tart you can’t enjoy them.

Step two: Either make or buy your crust. Obviously making it almost always tastes better. However, in the real world most of us don’t have the time to do it. So do whatever you want.

Step three: Peel, core and slice your apples directly into the pie pan on top of the bottom lay of crust. Do this until you have a mounding pile of apples.

Step four: Sprinkle the apples with a half of a cup of sugar, a fourth cup of flour,about two to three tablespoons of butter placed around the pie, and cinnamon to taste. Cover with the top part of your crust and stab it a few times with a fork then bake until golden brown. About 1 hour.



Step five: Enjoy

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Horror Movies To Watch This Month

Halloween is at the end of the month! Yay!

It’s my favorite time of year. The weather is FINALLY cooling, the leaves are changing, horror movies are coming out in droves, and pumpkin flavored everything are the shelves. So this year I am going to do a special blog tribute to fall and Halloween with the 31 Days of Halloween.
I have challenged myself to post every single day this month. The posts will range from movies to book to real life ghost stories to haunted locations and even some Halloween history. It should be fun. Plus I will have two new releases this month too. All in all October will be awesome.

So let’s get started.

Day 1: 31 movies to watch before Halloween (I will do a more family friendly one later):
1. Shaun of the Dead- It is important to ease yourself into the season, not to completely max out your limit for the gruesome in the first week. I recommend this delightful British dark comedy spoofing Dawn of the Dead. Here we meet Shaun a delightfully clueless man trying to get his family and friends to the safety of a local bar when there is a zombie... I mean life challenged, outbreak.

2. Rocky Horror Picture Show- Ok, so this isn't scary other than in how awesome it is. It is an October must see because the quirky, over the top nature will leave you completely enamored or you will hate it. This movie shows best with an audience so I would suggest if you see that it is playing somewhere locally definitely attend. It will be a movie going experience unlike any other.

3. Evil Dead/Army of Darkness- Another cult classic. I am less obsessed with these one than some of the others. The graphics are horrible in Evil Dead (let me just say Claymation is used), but when I watched it as a kid it creeped me out enough I had to turn it off, which was a rare occurrence. It is definitely over the top, sassy, and has the right ingredients for a fine movie. Mainly, it made this list because a true horror movie watcher should see both of these at some point.

4. American Psycho- Join the delectable Christian Bale in this story through the eyes of a maniac. It is an extremely dark comedy, finding its humor in the absurdness of the main character and his increasing unabashed desire to kill. This movie is a slightly tamed version of the novel, but still walks a fine line between hilarious and horrific.

5. Poltergeist- I have eased you into the Halloween spirit with some of the lighter and funnier flicks of this genre. Now it is time to introduce the movie that has made generations of children afraid of clowns, closets, and staticy televisions, maybe you are one of them. This movie still delivers a punch and will gear you up for what is to come. 

6. The Exorcism of Emily Rose- This is the best exorcism movie that has been made since the Exorcist. It is intelligent, creepy and does not go for to much. Laura Linney leads the cast with her own charm. Watch the tale and trial that surrounds Emily Rose a college student who died while being exorcised by a local priest. Decide for yourself if possession is based in fact or fiction.

7. Dead Calm- This Australian classic has a very young Nicole Kidman trapped on a yacht in the middle of no where with a very psychotic Billy Zane. The movie is a suspense filled cruise that will make you never want to help a stranger.

8. Children of the Corn- Taking children and a cornfield then producing it into a movie that will make you sleep with the lights on, may not be an easy task, but one that was deftly done. This movie leaves you scanning any passing cornfields from little zealots planning the demise of all adults.

9. Occulus- This movie is sort of like the Inception of horror movies. It is strange and twisty and kind of awesome. Plus it has Lucas from Empire Records and Amy Pond from Dr. Who.

10. The Identity- A story that would make Alfred Hitchcock jealous that he hadn't thought of it first. A well thought out movie that can be figured out if you are paying attention, but remains enjoyable and eerie.

11. Silver Bullet- An energetic werewolf movie. The movie isn't light on the jokes or the brutality. It may not be the best movie you have ever seen but it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

12. The Collector/The Collection- I actually watched the second movie in this series before I saw the first. I hadn’t even heard of the first one and didn’t know I was going to see part two or I probably wouldn’t have let my friend talk me into it. I had super low expectations going into this movie that I knew nothing about. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the result. It is a fast-paced action horror movie with creepiness in spades, edge of your seat, and imaginative horror. Start with either movie, but both are worth watching.  

13. When a Strange Calls- Few things are more frightening then someone being in the house with you. I am not sure if the movie or the urban legend came first but this movie will make you check the locks.

14. Saw- What would you do to save your life? This movie poses many uncomfortable questions with gruesome answers. It is a little bloodier, but it is the sort of movie that makes you think.

15. Friday the 13th- It is important not to hit a mid-month slump in your build up to Halloween. So Friday the 13th is a natural choice. The first movie in the saga is the best and the last one to have even a hint of realism. It also has the best final scare of any movie ever made.

16. Helter Skelter- The original 1976 TV movie to this day makes chills travel down my spine. This horrific true crime tale shows us that real monsters do exist.

17. 28 Days Later- This is a strong movie in the zombie grouping. It has good actors, an interesting story, and doesn't go too far. It uses visual stimulus or lack there of to set a tone of terror.

18. Amityville Horror- Based on the book of the true crime/tale of the former residents this movie tells the story of a house that is bursting with evil intent. It seeks blood by torturing and eventually possession members of the house hold. Whether or not you by the story it is creepy especially since an entire family was killed in the house by one of their sons.

19. Nightmare on Elm St. - One two Freddy coming for you. If you die in your sleep do you die in real life? According to this movie (Johnny Depp's first role) you do. Watch as the children of Elm Street are attacked in their sleep by an unavoidable enemy.

20. Session 9- I group of construction workers are working on a, abandoned mental hospital. Their stories weave in and out leaving you guessing on whom or what is hunting them.

21. Scream- This movie can be most appreciated after watching several horror movies. The writers of this movie obviously had a strong liking for the genre and make numerous references. It mixes humor with cheap thrills perfectly. It is a classic example of what a horror movie should be.

22. Psycho- Having one of the most copied and chilling scenes in all of film this movie and changed the way we all view road side motels and showers. It is creepy and engaging. A true classic on any list.

23. Silence of the Lambs- Sir Anthony Hopkins at his best... and most creepy. He delivers a performance that makes you forget you are watching the lovable Welshman. It is a game of psychological torment and murder best served with some fava beans and a nice Chianti
.
24. The Exorcist- One of the most visually disturbing films ever made. It leads you down the path of demons, possession, and the Catholic Church in a movie that will leave you feeling like you might want to attend your church a little more often. Exceptional graphics for the time in which it was created. 

25 The Shining- Jack Nicholson is phenomenal in this subtle Stanley Kubrick film. You watch Jack lose his grip on reality and plummet into a very dark place where there is no hope of return. The horror he inflicts on his family is the stuff nightmares are made of.  

26. The Believers- No is the time to start with the classic themes in Halloween. The first theme is witchcraft/voodoo. Martin Sheen stars in this journey into the realm of voodoo and the occult. There are some horribly creepy scenes that will stick with you (the one with the spiders, that's all I am saying). Follow this movie through the twists and turns for a horrifying ride.

27. The Orphanage- This is a beautifully yet eerily done Spanish movie (do not let the subtitles scare you after ten minutes you don't even notice them.) The Orphanage is one of the absolute best horror/suspense movies I have seen in the past 5 years. It is creepy without being over the top or gruesome. It is poignant and touching while keeping you on the edge of your seat. This ghostly tale will satisfy our second theme of paranormal and will leave you wanting more.  

28. Pet Semetery- My third theme is that of Frankenstein. You may have noticed Pet Semetery is not a Frankenstein movie; however I am choosing this mostly because I am not all that fond of any of the Frankenstein movies that have been made. This Steven King classic enjoys many of the same themes: man against nature, father against son, the dangers of going against the will of God. Basically it is reminds us of our place in the universe.

29. American Werewolf in London- Nothing says Halloween like getting a like wolfie. Another great werewolf movie that molds thrills, guilt, pain, and blood into a symphony of Halloween is this classic An American Werewolf in London. Down to the incredibly bizarre dreams this movie remains one of the most classic wolfie movies of all time.

30. The Conjuring- This is a surprising creepy and well done possession movie. In the recent string of possession movies trying to capture the magic of the Exorcist this one come the cloest to being legitimately creepy.

31. Halloween- the original masterpiece is all that is needed to secure your evening fright fest. Even if you are hosting a Halloween Party play it in the background for the music alone is enough to make you spine tingle with anticipation. The body count is relatively low and the thrills are high in this ultimate classic Halloween movie.


The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis

Due to popular demand, the first five novellas in the Little Flame Series are available as a box set for just $2.99 on Amazon for a limited time.

 Available on Amazon

Buy it at Amazon

Fiamette Jurato is on a mission, but she finds herself distracted by a sexy, charismatic DJ named Maximillian. From the moment she lays eyes on him, she's falling down a fast-paced, intoxicating rabbit hole that will either lead to her demise or a revelation. 
Either way, she's enjoying the ride. 

But there's a price to be paid for having too much fun ... or being too happy.

Life may have been lonely for this renegade healer before joining the Maximillian dubstep tour, but it was a hell of a lot simpler. And less dangerous.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Last One by Tawdra Kandle Release Day

TLOReleaseDayBanner  

The anticipated spin-off series of THE POSSE is finally here!

Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone's life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan's looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects.

Sam Reynolds doesn't need excitement, and he doesn't want romance. Fun is out of the question. He's been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life.

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won't be easy. Sam's tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle.

Nobody ever said love was simple.

"As an almost strictly paranormal romance reader, it takes a certain type of author to convince me to dive into straight romance. Tawdra Kandle is one of the few authors I will make an exception for. Her writing style is so easy and relaxing that I have to really keep an eye on the time or I’ll stay up all night to finish one of her books." Carrie Williams, Goodreads Reviewer "Wow. Talk about romance with an edge. From the beginning the characters were so real that I was completely invested in them. The sexual tension woven into the story added so much value to the relationships. I will be reading this book many times just so I can spend more time with Meghan and Sam." Cheryl Garrett, Goodreads Reviewer "I'm in love with this book!!" Leah Fennick, Goodreads Reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Smashwords

 

Watch the trailer here!

  Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love TK03scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair. Follow Tawdra on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram Visit her Website and subscribe to her Newsletter for special content and giveaways!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pretty in Pink: Blane vs. Duckie

I remember the first time I watched Pretty in Pink. Like most girls of a certain age, I loved it. Maybe because it was a glimpse into the quickly approaching high school experience. Or maybe it was because something about the movie always seemed hopeful. Perhaps though, I loved it simply because John Hughes knew his audience. It was too long ago to tell.

However, I watched Pretty in Pink again today for the umpteenth time, but the experience was different today than I remember it being before. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a great movie, but the difference between then and now is me.

Back when I first watched the movie, I was certain than Andie and Blane (“His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name! ”) belonged together. And *spoiler alert* the movie gave me my ending. He sees her at the dance (in an ugly dress. I know I was supposed to be awe of it, but it’s ugly and boxy and honestly I expected more) and comes over. Ending with the feeling that they will defy all odds and live happily ever after, uniting the “richies” with the other side of the track. It was everything you want high school to be. You want to make it to the end and see that the cliques never really mattered. You want to think that if two people like each other their friends’ opinions won’t sway that. You want to be as cool and confident as Andie.

After I saw the movie, I, of course, bought the book (after all I love reading). I liked the book as much as the movie right up until I got to the ending where she didn’t choose Blane. She chose the goofy, lovable, nerdy, and not at all exciting (because there was no boundary crossing) Duckie. I believe this was the first time I ever threw a book across the room. How dare they ruin my happily ever after? Originally, the movie also had the ending where she stays with Duckie, but the screen test was bad. The audience wanted her with Blane as much as I did.  

Flash forward to adult Liz watching Pretty in Pink.

Andie is an idiot for choosing Blane. If he was so weak that his douchy (yet James Spader is an awesome bad guy) friend can convince him to stop talking to her, then she doesn’t need him. She had things going for her. She was strong and confident. She figured out that the bullshit in high school doesn’t matter WHILE she was still in high school. That is awesome. She had a scholarship, she was smart, and she was going to be fine with or without a guy who obviously had poor taste in friends.
As far as happily ever after goes, in what world would the two of them actually end up happily ever after? How many people in high school actually make it to happily ever after? Hell, how many adults get there?  I am sure his parents have him in some ivy league school and Andie is going to design school. They aren’t staying together. They probably aren’t going to make it to graduation.

Whereas Duckie, on the other hand, loves her. He is willing to make a fool out of himself just to make her smile, he is willing to fight for her even when she has no idea he is doing it, and he was willing to wait for hours outside of a club he couldn’t even get into just so he could ride home with her. He respects her. Duckie is a diamond in the rough. No matter what happened in her life, Duckie would be the one person she could always count on. Under no stretch of the imagination should she have ever ended up with Blane at the end of the movie.

And on that note, “I’m off like a dirty shirt.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bigger Things Interview with my editor Ev Bishop

Hello all,

Today I have a very special guest on my blog. She has been my primary editor right from the very start. We met on Twitter and our styles just clicked. I am so excited that she has a new book out. I read it this week and Bigger Things is a really great book. So if you are looking for a new contemporary book to try out, please check this one out!


Best friends since childhood, Jen, Chelsea and Kyra know everything about each other. Or think they do.

Jen should be celebrating her whopping 121-pound weight loss. Instead she feels like she’s betrayed fat girls everywhere. Will anyone love her for who she is inside, fat or thin? More importantly, will she?

Chelsea appears to have it all—a husband, a family, a beautiful home—but plaguing memories threaten to destroy everything. In her desperation to maintain control, will she succumb to a compulsion that costs her life?

Kyra is sick of the superficial persona she’s worn for so long. It’s exhausting to pretend to be an airhead while running a successful business. But if she sheds her life-of-the-party fa├žade, will she ever find the boyfriend she thinks she needs?

When a nervous breakdown leaves one of them fighting to survive, all their secrets are laid bare. To stay friends, they need to battle personal dragons, confront the past, and embrace change. But can they break free from the roles they’ve played so long? Or must they leave one another behind in order to move forward? 



BIGGER THINGS by Ev Bishop is available in digital formats at:
You can also read it through Scribd
Now for the interview!! 

Interview with Bat Country (Thanks so much, Liz! J)

Q: I read that you shopped Bigger Things, but it was rejected because publishers didn’t believe there was a market for it. What was it about this story that made you want to fight to tell it?

A: It was actually agents that I shopped Bigger Things around to. I sent it out and sent it out. And sent it out. I had quite a few requests for full manuscripts from "big" agents. It was horrible. Almost without exception they all said really, really, really positive things—then went on to say they didn't know where it would go on the shelf, how it would be marketed, or who it would sell to. Initially I found it very disheartening that they would say such lovely, complimentary things about the story, only to decline to represent it. Now I realize, as you so often do with hindsight, that things worked out the way they should. Bigger Things is a wonderful fit for indie publishing. And why did I hold onto the dream of sharing it? Well, the main character Jen wouldn’t let me forget her—kept whispering in my ear—and I really believe that the themes and issues the story explores are important. J 

Q: Tell us about the three friends in Bigger Things.

A: Hmmm, what to say, what to say? The three friends in Bigger Things—Jen, Chelsea, and Kyra—feel absolutely real to me, as real as any of my life and blood friends (and yes, I’m aware of what that suggests about me—but I’m safe crazy, I promise!), so it actually feels a bit weird to “talk about them,” per se.
The book blurb shared with this interview provides a small glimpse into each of them, but other than that, I’ll let readers form their own opinions about what they’re like, what their motivations are, etc. I suspect most women will relate to them in some ways—both good and bad. And I do hope people, even if they disagree with them sometimes, understand where they’re coming from, root for them, and like them because as I said, I care about each of them a lot. They’re close to my heart.

Q: You wrote a very sweet Christmas short story that I read last year. Can you tell us about any other work you might have out?

A: Aw, thanks for the kind words! You’re referring to The Present, a novella penned by my warmer, mushier alter ego Toni Sheridan—the pen name I use for Inspirational romance works. And funny that you brought it up.  A sister story (literally) called Drummer Boy is coming out this November, again through Pelican Book Group’s White Rose imprint, featuring Candy’s sister Jane.  
Despite the fun of having a pseudonym, I do most of my work, regardless of genre or form, under my own name (Ev Bishop). I’m a long time columnist with The Terrace Standard newspaper, have a fair amount of non-fiction articles and essays published in a myriad of publications, and am excited by my growing list of published short stories—yay!  



Writing

Q: Do you plot or write the story as it comes to you?

A: I’m definitely what some writers refer to as a “pantser”—meaning I write by the seat of my pants, following whatever threads happen to appear, not that I pants unsuspecting people! I happily tear along without plotting or outlining—or do so until some dreaded midway point where I slam into a wall and become convinced I’ll never finish the story. I’ve learned that at that painful place, a bit of outlining—like one line jot notes—to plan to the end of the story helps me find my way again, and to my continual surprise and delight, the story resolves itself.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of writing?

A: I love it all. And I hate it all. Just kidding! (Sort of.)
My feelings, as my initial response suggests, about writing are all over the place. A famous quote, though I can’t recall who said it, speaks to this for me: “Everyone wants to have written. Nobody wants to write.” I don’t quite agree with it fully because I love falling into a story and being thrown this way and that in a world that I’m creating and somehow in charge of, but that’s a complete mystery and is totally beyond my control at the same time. I delight in—and need—the process of trying to articulate what I feel, what moves me, what angers me, what baffles me, what incites love and passion in me in whatever form, creative non-fiction, story, or poem, that those words want to come. What I don’t like—dread, in fact—is the incredibly nasty things inner voices throw at me, especially at the beginning of a writing session or new project (once I get into the zone, the sheer joy and rush of story and/or thoughts tend to shut them up). That’s why the quote resonates with me. I love writing, but often that joy comes after I’ve actually gotten myself to do the writing. Does that make sense?  

Q: Did you have any fears about publishing this on your own? What were they?

A: I have constant fears and worries—about everything. Just ask my poor husband! But at the same time, I’m fearless and go for whatever I want. Is that a confusing, contradictory answer? If yes, welcome to my head! For example:
I am afraid people will read my books and not get them, not relate to them at all.
BUT . . .  
I don’t really care because I care about my stories. I get them (sort of!). I relate to them. Also, if even just one person reads something I’ve written and thinks, “Ah, that’s like me. . . .” and for one minute feels  connected to and understood, like they have company on the road of life—all the work is worth it to me.
I’m afraid people will think less of me, depending on the subjects I tackle and how I tackle them.
YET . . .
I don’t care if people think less of me. I care that I do the best I can, at the time and place I am at the moment, and that I’m honest and share things as I really see them and feel them.
I’m afraid I’ve made—or will make in the future—some terrible financial decision and bankrupt us.
EXCEPT . . .
I’m a very hard worker and I’ve never met a job that I’m “too good” for. I’ll always be able to find something to pay the bills—and if I can’t, there’s social assistance—and I don’t want the reason I write to ever be about the money anyway. J
I’m afraid I’ll fail.
EXCEPT AGAIN . . .
I don’t know what that even means. The only true failure, to my mind, is not to try. Try = success. So whoohoo, I’m a success! (Er . . . now I feel weird and self-conscious for yelling that!)
I’m afraid I’m not good enough. That I suck.
(Er . . . speaking of those mean voices again.) But again, what does that even mean? Some attacks are not worthy of a response!
I’m afraid. . . .
But I won’t let any of that inner-icky nonsense stifle me. Both my parents died young and it has been a massive wake up call for me to do things I feel passionately about now, to not put off pursuing passions or things I feel I need to do until some far off, random point in time because sometimes that future day never comes. I don’t mean to be depressing—but seize the day. It’s the only one you know you have.
I’m afraid. . . .
But argh, you get the point already!
I could continue on and on with “I’m afraid” lines and my rebuttals, but there’s no more need. I think we all have two (or more!) sides: the brave, conquering adventurer side and the bar-the-windows, turn out the lights, and quake in our shoes and hope the scary opportunity passes us by side. The older I get, the more I want to bolster the brave side of myself. And I hope you relate even a little bit to the voices in my head or is my face red! J



Editing

Q: What is your favorite genre to edit?

A: I have very few preferences. Reading and writing-wise, I love stories in all their weird, twisty varieties. The only thing that has surprised me genre-wise is my growing appreciation for romance. In the past I never would’ve said anything against it, just would’ve described it as “not really my thing.” Lately, however, I’ve changed my tune. I love a good romance now, in a variety of heat levels—as a reader and a writer. J J I can’t believe how fun—and how varied—the genre is.

Q: Tell us how your background in editing helped or hindered your writing.

It helps when it comes time to edit my own work because I’m able to close the door to my writer self better now and can be quite ruthless with things I know need cut or changed.
It can hinder my writing because it’s always easier to spot what needs fixed in someone else’s work than it is to see what needs fixed in your own. Sometimes I imagine clients reading my stories, thinking of comments and “fixes” I’ve made or suggested on their manuscripts, and shaking their heads—talk about intimidating!—but like I’ve learned to close the door to writer-me when I’m editing, I’m getting better at politely (ha ha) asking my inner editor to leave me alone while I’m writing. It works pretty well.

Q: Why did you become an editor?

A: Well, for one, it’s my dream job. I used to always joke that if I could be paid to read I’d be a one hundred percent happy woman. So here I am, one hundred percent happy.  
But personal pleasure aside, I believe that fiction is critically important to the emotional growth, health, and well-being of people. Stories help us deal with the challenges and trials we encounter in our “real” lives, give us tools and coping strategies to survive hard times—and provide laughter and escape and adventure—things all humans need. Experiencing life through the lenses of “others” builds empathy and understanding, and hopefully helps us become kinder, more sympathetic, less selfish people as we identify with individuals who are different from ourselves and feel what it’s like to be them. How does that relate to why I chose to become an editor? Well, if I can help one person bring one story out into the world that helps or enriches one person’s life I am very privileged.



Random

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: Oh, come on. . . .  You might as well ask me to choose a favourite child! I can’t pick because one favourite does not exist. Here are just a few books I adore (and I already feel guilty for all I’ve left out!):
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline. (This is one of those books that I read and then almost hated the author, lol, because I was jealous I hadn’t written this story myself! It’s TOTALLY AWESOME, MAN. 80s lingo used intentionally!)
OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon (and then the rest of the series): I know . . . me and the rest of the world, hey?
THE MEASURE OF A MAN by J. J. Lee:  Okay, this actually may be a favourite-favourite but I read it just after I lost my dad so it could just be that it personally spoke so much to me.)
BAG OF BONES by Stephen King.
BLOOD MEMORY by Greg Iles: Tough subject matter—brutal, in fact—but amazing, amazing read.
MERE CHRISTIANITY by C.S. Lewis: I love his other titles too. I credit this book as a being a big part of why I became a Christian, actually.
THE COWBOY’S E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Cora Seton: Pure fun!
PLAGUE by C.C. Humphreys.

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: Well, quotes are a lot like books in that I don’t play favourites. J That said, different words speak to me more or less deeply at various times. One quote with special resonance and motivating power for me right now comes from Mark Twain—and how I stumbled upon it is an interesting story.
A few months ago I was in a hard place, grieving the loss of my dad and feeling discouraged and down about a few things. I decided to try morning pages for a while to get to the root of what was bugging me. I opened my neglected, practically cobweb encrusted journal, and found my last entry, written by my hand—but consisting of words I swear I hadn’t seen before, words that were exactly the message I needed to hear and spurred some long dreamed of, scary actions on my behalf (like quitting my day job to write and edit full-time, like publishing Bigger Things). And what was the magical quote that now lives on the wall by my monitor, with the words “To Ev” above it and the signature “From Mark Twain” below it? Just this:  
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 
I don’t know who all’s reading this interview, but if you’re on the fence about some big life change, I hope Mark Twain’s words somehow encourage and cheer you on. Say no to fear. It’s all in your head.
And if you are so kind as to read Bigger Things, I so hope you enjoy it. I’d love to hear from you if you do—and I covet any and all honest reviews, too.


Thanks so much for inviting me to do this interview, Liz. I loved the questions. Very fun!


Ev Bishop: Ev Bishop is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard, and her other non-fiction has been published across North America. Her true love, however, is fiction, and she writes in a myriad of genres.
 Some short story publications include: “The Picture Book,” Every Day Fiction Magazine, “Riddles,” 100 Stories for Queensland, “On the Wall,” Every Day Fiction Magazine, “My Mom is a Freak,” Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls, “HVS,” “Red Bird,” and “Wishful,” (available through Ether Books).
Her novel Bigger Things (Winding Path Books 2014) will be followed shortly by another standalone novel, What is Seen, then Wedding Bands (Book 1 in a romance series called River’s Sigh Bed & Breakfast). She also writes romance under the pen name Toni Sheridan (The Present, Pelican Book Group, 2012, and Drummer Boy, Pelican Book Group, forthcoming).  
            Visit Ev online at www.evbishop.com, join her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter (@Ev_Bishop). She’d love to connect with you!


 
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