Category Archives: Author Interview

Breathing life and a new twist into a well-known fairy tale with @ShonnaSlayton

OOOooooo! Retellings!  I know it’s a fad, but I’ve read some really good ones. I love seeing old fairy tales in new settings. Today we’re welcoming Shonna Slayton to talk about her brand new retelling: Spindle

Hi guys!

I’ve been a fan of fairy-tale retellings since reading Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. And lately, there seems to be an explosion of retellings. It’s been wonderful to see!

I know right? They are so much fun to read! What did you do with yours to make it different?

My particular twist on a fairy tale involves taking a fairy tale object (the dress and shoes in Cinderella; the spindle from Sleeping Beauty) and moving it into another time and place.

What do you mean?

I think of the fairly-tale objects like family heirlooms that get passed down from one generation to the next—for good or for bad. And my characters are somehow descended from or connected to the original fairy tale.

Ooooo that’s a neat idea. But your book doesn’t take place where the original stories are from, right?

I tend to have immigrants in my stories as the fairy-tale objects start out in Europe, but I have to get them to America somehow. An immigrant on the move makes that happen. Also, I’m an immigrant myself so I suppose that’s a subtle bit of my own experience slipping into the tale.

That’s a great way to add a neat twist!

Yup. With this basic set-up, I’ve already changed the trajectory of the narrative. The story is no longer in a fairy-tale land, the characters reside in a real-world historical setting, and they are descendants instead of the actual fairy-tale characters. Well, except fairies. We all know they transcend time.

After that, it’s a matter of fleshing out the new story. It’s also fun to drop hints and parallels to the original fairy tale for readers to catch. That way you get a mix of the known and the unknown. A fresh read that feels right.

Awesomeness! I can’t wait to read Spindle later on in the year. I’m really looking forward to this one. [She slips SPINDLE into her “To be reviewed” page]

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for letting me hang out!

SHONNA SLAYTON writes historical fairy tales for Entangled TEEN including Cinderella’s Dress and Cinderella’s Shoes, set in the 1940s, and now Spindle, a Sleeping Beauty inspired tale set in the late 1800s.

She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.

The best way to keep in touch is by signing up for her monthly newsletter. She sends out behind-the-scenes info you can’t read anywhere else. Sign up is on the sidebar of her website Shonna Slayton

About Spindle

In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

GoodreadsAmazon Buy Link:  Barnes & Noble Buy Link: iBooks Buy Link: Kobo Buy Link: Entangled Publishing:

Giveaway Information:

• One (1) winner will receive signed copies of Cinderella’s Dress and Cinderella’s Shoes (US and Canada)

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

What the heck is crowdfunding, and how can authors use it to fund their books?


I’ve heard of it, but I never really “got it.” I mean, asking for people for money BEFORE you write your book? Is that just plain weird, or is it revolutionary?

Today I asked author/publisher Danielle Ackley-McPhail to stop by and explain all this insanity.

Danielle has successfully crowdfunded several books. Let’s see how this stuff works.

Here’s Danielle!
Swish thin
Not everyone gets crowdfunding. A lot of people do it, for various reasons, but the general public doesn’t have a concept of what goes into such a campaign or what motivates one.

Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon, to name a few, are all platforms where individuals can learn about projects that meet their interests. Based on how well the creator has done their job, those individuals then decide if the project is one they want to support.

A lot of work goes in to a successful campaigns, from designing them, to explaining what they are about, to organizing the rewards backers can expect for their pledge and as bonuses when the goal is exceeded, and above all, promoting them. It is a long, exhaustive process that begins with an idea and is not done until all commitments have been met.

eSpec BooksFor me, I use crowdfunding to finance my efforts as a publisher. I have run seven successful campaigns as both myself and eSpec Books and am soon to wrap up an eighth. I have chosen crowdfunding as a part of my business model because I have been in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an employee and as an author. Over those years I have seen most of the pitfalls independent publishers get themselves into. Hundreds of Dollars MoneyThe primary one being that they tend to overextend themselves. They start with a certain amount of capital (or credit) and race to see how many books they can get out (one of them, with hope, a runaway hit) before those funds are gone. For a while they do okay, but a few bad book choices or slow selling months, perhaps paired with heavy returns, and suddenly the publisher finds he doesn’t have the money he needs to sustain the rapid growth and pay the authors.
I don’t want to be that publisher. For this reason I steadfastly refused for the longest time even considering to be a publisher.
Then crowdfunding happened.
All of a sudden I saw a way to make books possible. See, for a publisher (or an independent author), crowdfunding is basically a way to pre-sell a book. It is also a way to build an audience and increase visibility. Some use it as a way to fund their creative efforts, but I would recommend against this. There are too many complications in promising something that does not exist yet, after all…life does have a habit of getting in the way when you least expect it.

By using crowdfunding as a part of the eSpec Books business model I ensure my projects are in the black from the get-go, instead of needing to earn back their production costs before making a profit. I also ensure I have the funding to pay professionals to do any of the work I am not capable of doing myself. Lastly, by Size of a Dollar Areserving half of the money received in a separate royalty account, I ensure I have the money set aside to pay the authors what they are due. Our growth is slow, but steady, and the foundation we are building is solid. For most of our campaigns there has been little left over once everything is paid for, but everything we bring in after that is profit.

In addition to this, with each successful and completed project we grow our built-in audience as well as our credibility as a publisher.
Book Left1The key is to go into the venture with realistic goals. To know what you can and cannot do, and be prepared to work your butt off to make it happen. This is important. Most publishing crowdfunding campaigns do not succeed. This is because individuals go into it thinking they are going to collect free money. That people are just goBook Left1ing to hand it to them. They go into it thinking only of what they want to achieve, instead of what will make it worth a backer’s support.
Backers don’t care what you want. They want to know what’s in it for them. That is where your focus should be, making sure the backers feel they are getting good value for their support.
Yes, it takes a lot of work, but if you want to make dreams happen, it’s more than worth the effort.

Want to see a live crowdfunding project?

Check out the info and the link below. Interesting stuff.

eSpec Books is currently funding two novels by bestselling authors Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet, The Lost Stars, and The Pillars of Reality series) and Brenda Cooper (co-author of Building Harlequin’s Moon with Larry Niven, and author of The Wings of Creation series).  The two books are very different coming-of-age stories.
Jack Campbell’s The Sister Paradox is an urban fantasy turned epic adventure, where a teen boy crosses dimensions to fight dragons and basilisks and other manner of magical creatures beside the sword-wielding younger sister he never had.
Brenda Cooper’s POST is a post-apocalyptic journey novel, where a girl name Sage leaves the safety of the botanical garden she grew up in to discover the world outside and with hope, help rebuild it.
To learn more or to support their efforts, visit

Hello out there!cropped-cropped-website-1-1-logo.jpgcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play

Catch up with me on social media!

Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture
Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture

A Writer’s Muse: My Favorite Place to Write with Cindy Pon

j-eatonMy absolute favorite place to write is the local boba shop. I’ve been writing my novels here since at least 2011.

I love it because they have nice long hours, and they serve both delicious food as well as drinks. Everything I need as a writer if I’m looking for a long writing binge.

(An author must be fed and have her milk teas and coffees!)

It doesn’t hurt that the cafe is often filled with #cuteasianboys to help inspire me in my writing!😀

I’ve been coming for so long that the owner knows my name. You really cannot beat that.

Looks yummy. I think I need to find a boba shop of my own!

Can I hear some COVER LOVE???!!!

Here’s what Cindy’s new novel SACRIFICE is all about:

Sacrifice, the sequel to Serpentine, plunges Skybright into the terrifying underworld where demons are bred and whisks her up to the magnificent Mountain of Heavenly Peace where the gods dwell.

Stone is stripped of his immortal status and told to close hell’s breach, which mysteriously remains open, threatening mortals.

Zhen Ni, Skybright’s former mistress and friend, has been wed to the strange and brutish Master Bei, and finds herself trapped in an opulent but empty manor. When she discovers half-eaten corpses beneath the estate, she realizes that Master Bei is not all that he seems.

As Skybright works to free Zhen Ni with the aid of Kai Sen and Stone, they begin to understand that what is at risk is more far-reaching then they could ever have fathomed.

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks  | Goodreads

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, released in September 2015 (Month9Books). Sacrifice, the sequel is due out in September 2016. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei will release in summer 2017 (Simon Pulse). She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads • Tumblr


Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Serpentine and Sacrifice by Cindy Pon (INT)

Enter here! Rafflecopter!  


Hello out there!cropped-cropped-website-1-1-logo.jpgcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play

Catch up with me on social media!

Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture
Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture

What the heck is Steampunk, anyway? With @LeighStatham

Steampunk is the marriage of old world manners and customs with fanciful steam powered technology and scientific advancements, or sometimes magic. My books lean heavily to the science side of things. You can take a true story, like Marguerite’s, and spice it up with all kinds of fun contraptions and plot twists. It really adds a lot of creative freedom to the author.

Marguerite’s world is very unique. Most steampunk on the market these days is either old west, or set in Victorian London. Marguerite is a wealthy girl from 17th century France chasing pirates around the world in aerships during the Golden Age of Piracy. I was able to play with time, technology and relationships while still showcasing some of the amazing truths of the age. In short, it was a blast to write! I can’t wait to see more diverse steampunk stories. Punk isn’t just for London anymore, folks.

About The Perilous Journey Of The Much Too Spontaneous Girl

Lady Marguerite Vadnay and her trusty automaton, Outil, have settled into life in New France rather well. Marguerite is top of the class at flight school and her future as an aerpilot is nearly secure. She has everything she wants— except a commission on the pirate hunting dirigible The Renegade. Using every card in her aristocratic arsenal, Marguerite wiggles her way onto the finest warship France has to offer. But as usual, Marguerite’s plans endanger the lives of those she holds dear— only this time no one else is going to save them. As Marguerite and Outil set off on a rescue mission they may not return from, she finally realizes it’s time to reorder her cogs.

This steampunk adventure is littered with facts from The Golden Age of Piracy and follows (not too closely) some of the lives and adventures of the brave men and women who sailed the seas as privateers, pirates and soldiers.

Available at all these great bookish places:

Goodreads  |  Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


About Leigh Statham

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

 Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: Contest ends October 7, 2016

  • One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
  • Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of books 1 and 2 in the Perilous Journey of the Not So Innocuous Girl series by Leigh Statham (INT)



Hello out there!cropped-cropped-website-1-1-logo.jpgcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play

Catch up with me on social media!

Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture
Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture



Feeling the Pressure! AKA: Writing your second novel, after your first won so many awards @JGoochHummer

Woohoo! Today we’re welcoming Jennifer Gooch Hummer to chat about sending her second book into the world, after her first book, GIRL UNMOORED won TWELVE awards!  No pressure or anything! (List of awards is below)

So tell us about it Jennifer. What is GIRL UNMOORED about?

Hi Jennifer! Thank you for having me on your blog.

My first novel, GIRL UNMOORED, is a Young Adult book about a girl named Apron whose outcast life changes when she befriends two young men, both unbeknownst to her, have AIDS. The story takes place in 1985 when the fear of AIDS was rampant.

Clearly this is a much different genre than middle-grade fantasy! So even though I would love to repeat the amazing awards that I was lucky enough to win for GIRL UNMOORED, I can’t even begin to compare my debut to OPERATION TENLEY.

An editor once explained to me they look for two kinds of books: award-winning or commercially successful. My goal for THE FAIR CITY FILES series is to be commercially successful. I hope that does not sound too shallow. I certainly strived to write the best book possible, but it’s the story world in this book that I hope intrigues the most.

Besides, as every writer knows, each story is its own eco-system, completely separate from one another. I wasn’t sure I could love a character more than Apron Bramhall, but Tenley Tylwyth and Holden Wonderbolt have stolen my heart.

I’m writing Book II now and let’s just say… adventurous weather awaits!

Sounds awesome! So what’s Operation Tenley about?

Tenley Tylwyth is an Elemental Teen born with the power to produce weather. Cool? Not really. Elementals who can create weather make Mother Nature angry. It’s time she got rid of them. Only one thing is standing in her way—Fair Ones. These ancestors of fairies keep kids like Tenley safe, but when rookie Fair One, Pennie, fails to do so, she’s forced to travel to Earth—a place where no Fair One wants to go. Now, Pennie has forty-eight hours to convince Tenley to give up her power. It won’t be so easy. Tenley’s got a way with wind. And after falling deep into Mother Nature’s gardens, where trees grow upside down and insects attack on command, a little wind might be just what Tenley needs to survive. Even if it kills her.

Sounds great! Thanks for stopping by Jennifer!

Find out more about Operation Tenley at your favorite bookish places!

Goodreads  | Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Or enter the Rafflecopter [HERE] for the chance to win a copy!

About the author:

Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter for her debut novel, Girl Unmoored, which has been optioned for film. Her middle grade fantasy series, Operation Tenley; Book 1 of The Fair City Files, is forthcoming September 2016. Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and major film studios. Jennifer lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three daughters.

GIRL UNMOORED has been awarded:
Maine Literary Awards, YA Fiction 2013
Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards 2012, YA Fiction Adult Themes.
Reader Views Kids Award Winner, Best Teen/YA Book of the Year, 2012
Reader Views Winner, Best Teen/YA Fiction 2012
Foreword Book of The Year Finalist, YA Fiction 2012
Indie Excellence Awards 2012, Winner Cross-Genre Fiction
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2012, Winner YA Fiction
USA Book Awards, Finalist Best New Book 2012
USA Book Awards, Finalist Best Cross-over Fiction, 2012
Paris Book Festival Awards 2012, Winner YA Fiction
San Francisco Book Festival Awards 2012, Winner Teenage Fiction.
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2012, Finalist Chick Lit Fiction
International Book Awards 2012, Finalist Best New Book
International Book Awards 2012, Finalist YA Fiction
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2012, Best Cover Art

Please visit her at:
And her book blog at:


Evil Guest Post: Take a picture of your desk (without cleaning it) and explain. With @BethBowland

Yes, I am this evil.

Funny thing is, she did it! But I think she cleaned it up first. That’s cheating…

office pic - jennifer eaton

Welcome to my workspace. Oh, how I wish I was all neat and organized, but I’m not! Let’s see where to start.

Well, first off my hubby decided to invade my work space, hence the two monitors and keyboards. My dog Manny claims any seat you get up from and declares it now belongs to him.

Puppy! We love puppies!

And it does belong to him. You just missed the memo!

I have a corkboard behind the monitor that’s hard to see but that’s where I keep all my inspirational quotes and affirmations.

I make mock book covers of my works-in-progress. I also have pictures up of my first books. I love maps! In Polaris, Aaron has a large map over his desk too. Top shelf, a modem, photos of my daughter and husband, a big stuffed teddy bear, a Shofar (biblical instrument), and loads of books everywhere!

I love my workspace, it cozy and comfortable. Now, excuse me, I must go reclaim my chair!

If she thinks this is neat an organized, my desk would make her faint) Ha!

About Polaris:

Bixie, Montana, is in the middle of nowhere, not connected to any place, and not used as a pass through to get anywhere. But one snowy evening, a lone visitor walking down an old country road changes 13-year-old Aaron Martin’s life forever. Aaron thinks he’s being a Good Samaritan by inviting the nearly-frozen visitor into his home, but he’s unwittingly initiated The Game. A group of Elders, known as the Council of the Legend, come together from time to time to enjoy a rousing event they playfully call “The Game.” Now, Aaron’s town is the playing board and he and his fellow townspeople are the players. The rules are simple. Win. Because if Aaron loses, he won’t just lose his family . . . he’ll lose his very identity.

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About the Author:

Beth Bowland, a native Ohioan, has always enjoyed reading and creating stories of her own. As a child she devoured every book she could get her hands on and spent numerous hours at the library each week. She loves writing stories for tweens and young teens and her characters are often described as quirky and fun, but always relatable. When she’s not writing, she loves watching HGTV. She has one daughter and resides in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Phillip.

 Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: Contest ends September 2, 2016

One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Polaris by Beth Bowland (INT)

Enter Rafflecopter giveaway Here!

Are there any real differences between fiction and nonfiction?

Today we have a guest spot from Eli Celata about fiction and nonfiction. Eli  is currently attending Binghamton University as a  doctoral student.

To some, it may seem as if there  is a cavernous abyss between nonfiction and fiction. The truth is simpler. Both require dedication. Long hours are spent seeking the perfect word or citation for  a fact. As a PhD student, I’ve pulled all nighters for peer-reviewed articles  just as much as fiction contracts. Time and effort aside, there are two main  areas where they differ beyond the obvious: phrasing and publishing.

Phrasing is a delicate business.

For fiction, I’d refer you to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Each character’s sections have varying tempos and lengths to  their sentences. Word choice is generally less academic in fiction though some  literary fiction pushes the bounds at times. Nonfiction attempts continuous  flow. Pacing doesn’t change between scenes but is meant to guide the reader  from one conclusion to the next without leaving them harried. This is  especially important in nonfiction as books aren’t as likely to dramatically shift your career as the articles surrounding.

Shakespeare guyManuscripts (fiction and  nonfiction) go through much the same process. Nonfiction is more likely to be  presented pre-completion; however, just like fiction, a platform is necessary  for any agent or publisher to take such a proposal seriously. The real  difference comes in literary magazines versus academic journals. Peer-review is  stressed in academia. This means, instead of a professional editor, the  nonfiction article goes to professionals in the field. Your writing isn’t all  that’s under scrutiny. Everything moves outwards: How will your article alter  the field? Does it contribute to an existing problem? Does it create a new  problem? What are its broader impacts? All these questions and more precede  everything else. If any of the answers are troubling, an otherwise perfect  article will be rejected.

It can be summed to this: In  fiction, if you change the craft, you’re brilliant. In nonfiction, it’s simply another day at the office.

  Eli Celata

HighSummonsAbout High Summons:

Jon  Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he’s  ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the
world of demon hunters. He just didn’t really expect a bleach blond bookstore
clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon’s only hope.

When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd  couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but  between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag  Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he’s  becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s  hooked.


To Purchase High  Summons:

Amazon  Kobe   Smashwords  iTunes

For more on the  author:

Twitter Facebook Website Goodreads



How to write with a baby on your lap with @anconway

Today I’m welcoming best-selling author Nicole Conway with a tricky question.

Nicole: Rumor has it that you wrote all of Traitor with a brand new baby in your lap. How’d you do that?

swish swivel squiggle

Wattpad has saved my life. Okay, too dramatic?

Basically, after my son was born, trying to find someone to entertain him long enough for me to get anything done became a job in and of itself. Productivity came to screeching and traumatic halt. And for someone like me, who has always used writing as a means of dealing with anxiety and depression, suddenly not getting to vent that nervous energy made me reach a dark place. My husband deployed when our son was only a few months old and I was left alone to be mommy 24-7 in a place where I had no family available to help. It was extremely difficult, especially when already dealing with those raging postpartum hormones. But someone suggested that I try writing on Wattpad. I could do it from my phone and just copy and paste it to a word document whenever I got the opportunity.

Eureka! It works brilliantly! I’ve already written an entire romance novella that way and am beginning the first volume of the second dragonrider series through Wattpad, as well.


Click here to find out more about Nicole’s mythical world. You can find all the book at the links down below. Thanks for coming to hang today, Nicole!

Buy Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About the author

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. TRAITOR is the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads

A Debut Novelist’s Journey to Self-Publish “The Hereafter” by Jessica Bucher

I try to be open to all sorts of publishing options. Today I invited Jessica Bucher to the author’s den to discuss her journey to becoming self-published.

And here we go!

Jessica, this is your debut novel. Describe your journey to publication and what made you decide on self-publishing.

Wow. What a journey! First of all, I have NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, to thank for finally getting me to write this novel, and many more. After writing and revising this novel for three years, I decided to query the manuscript to agents. It was a long process with many revisions and rejection letters. At the end of the day, I realized that I may have let my impatience and excitement get the better of me, and I sent out the project before it was ready. It was a learning experience.

Finally, after two years of trying, I received an offer for publishing! By that point, I had watched many of my friends venture into self-publishing. So, I was at a crossroads: sign over rights and commission to a publishing company or fly solo. It was the proudest moment of my career to tell the publisher that I was going to pass on the offer and publish the book myself.

I knew that self-publishing was no small feat, and I was not going to disillusion myself with thinking that it would be easy. There were more mistakes and learning curves ahead, and more still I’m sure. I’m proud of this project, and I know that this was the path right for this book. I love spreading the word about this book and sharing my story of how we got to this point.

Thanks for letting me share that here!

Thanks for coming, Jessica. Here’s a little about Jessica’s debut novel.


Nin has no recollection of her death.

The things she does remember, like her cruel boyfriend, troubled father, and absent mother, she’d like to forget.

Dylan doesn’t need to remember his death to know that he deserved it. Who needs memories when you have the scars?

Sparks ignite when the two, very different, strangers meet. Together they spend one endless summer exploring their new world. Suddenly, their after-lives hold more possibility and promise than their tragic teenage lives ever did.

But no dream lasts forever, and all too soon, harmful memories from their pasts emerge and threaten to tear them apart. Given the chance to change their fates, Nin and Dylan must decide– life or love.

Weaving through past and present and alternating perspectives, The Hereafter is an emotional journey about young love and second chances.

Purchase Links: Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About the Author!

Jessica is a young adult author pursuing publishing. She is married to an Army pilot and they live together in Germany with their two boys. In her free time, Jessica runs a local writing group, teaches yoga, travels and speaks poor German. Her first novel is The Hereafter.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway Information: Contest ends June 10, 2016

Three (3) winners will receive a digital copy of The Hereafter by Jessica Bucher (INT) CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Five Ways to Keep Your Characters Feeling Real in a Fantasy Setting

First of all, I wanted to thank Jennifer for having me on her blog today to talk about how to keep your characters feeling real in a fantasy setting.

Even though my series, The Watcher Saga, is about angels and fallen angels, can honestly say I didn’t specifically approach this series as a fantasy. I had a story in my head that I had to get out.

As I wrote, however, I discovered that it can be challenging to make mythical or supernatural characters feel real to people, especially when they don’t live in the same world we do. Here are a few of the things I learned to do to keep it real.

1.      Do a Character Questionnaire

The first thing I do with characters in a fantasy setting is ask questions of the character, the same as I would for any story. I start with a name, and where they live, but there are so many great resources for character questionnaires out there. Here’s one of them:

2.      Consider Special Qualities or Abilities

As I ask questions of my characters, I take into account what kind of species the character is and what special qualities they would have. For instance, if you’re working with angels, or fallen ones, there are certain traits they all have. They have wings and can fly. They are also immortal and may serve a higher being (or not. In some cases, they may do the opposite). How would that affect their world view? If they are immortal, were they born? How would it feel to live for thousands of years? How would flying affect their view of traffic? That sort of thing.

3.      Incorporate Your World Building

All characters exist within a setting of some sort. As you ask questions about your character, you start to get ideas of how their direct surroundings have affected them.

If they have been to war, it would have an impact on them. If they are of the Fey, they would have a culture, a history.

Perhaps they live in a woodland setting. Perhaps another dimension. All these things come into play when I’m creating a character. Even if they do not have a place in the story.

4.      Include Social Setting

Once I have a character in a world, I consider who the characters friends are. They have friends, family, a social hierarchy, or social order of some kind, that they exist within. Do they have natural enemies? Do they act differently with some people than they do with others? Who do they care about the most? That relationship can be used to fuel their motivation.

5.      Give Them Flaws and Challenges

In order for a character to seem real, they need emotions, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. In a fantasy world, these weaknesses can be almost anything. What would challenge them? In The Watcher Saga, the angels have a risk of being infected with sin. Michael was once infected with lust and is recovering. He’s recovered from a terrible past but it still affects him. He’s also half-human, so he’s subject to human emotions more than his angelic colleagues. So he reacts to things more like a person would, which isn’t always ideal.

In fantasy fiction, as in any type of fiction, it’s the challenges the character must face that makes them compelling and relatable. In any case, the fantasy element should add to the story and not replace character development. The more flawed a character is, the more real they seem. Their flaws make them relatable. If the reader relates to the characters and the characters grow and evolve as the story progresses, then they will feel real to the reader.

Thank you Lisa! Check out Lisa’s books below, and a giveaway too. Woohoo!

Purchase Links:

BAM | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Giveaway! Contest ends June 10, 2016


About the Author!

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

Lisa is also a technical writer, a meditation teacher with the Training in Power Academy, and the leader of the Young Writer’s Club, a local writing group for teens in her home town. A self-proclaimed coffee lover, she can usually be found writing in a local café. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains to counteract the side effects of drinking too much caffeine!

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

More about Lisa can be found on her web site: or blog:

 Website | Twitter | Facebook |Pinterest | Goodreads