Thursday, July 31, 2014

Law and Order:Crime and Chaos (Always Cambridge book 4) by HK Carlton

Can you believe there's only one more day to wait for AFTERLIFE, book 5 in the Always Cambridge series? I know after reading LAW AND ORDER:CRIME AND CHAOS, I cannot wait to find out what happens next to Holly. In anticipation of Afterlife, today HK and I are discussing Law and Order:Crime and Chaos, and this time she's turned to tables to ask me some questions, too. You can read my review HERE.  (Click the titles for links to posts on the rest of the series: Always Cambridge, Running, Misfortune of Birth)

MW: Wow! This book was jam packed with action, and sex, and heartbreak. Between reunions with those from Holly's past, to that heart stopping scene in the warehouse, and the heart breaking scenes with all her men, I sped through this read in one night. Although there are several unanswered questions, I'll go with this one: will we ever learn who Holly's real father was?

HK: Thank you so much, Mary. One night? Really? [Um, yeah. I have a bit of a reading addiction. 
:-) When I really like a book, I can't put it down.] 

And yes, in the end you will find out who Holly’s biological father is. [Yay! I know who I want it to be, but I'm prepared to be disappointed, as I get a feeling nothing about Holly's life is going to end up as a true happy-ever-after, but more as true to life.]

MW: I started catching this in Running, and had to ask if it was intentional. (I do it in my books, so I'm thinking you might be doing the same.) You always mention the title of the book being read, as well as the next book in the series (and I'd have to go back and see, but I think you might sneak in all the titles, at least in some of the later ones :-) ) Is this intentional?

HK: This actually wasn’t intentional. Always Cambridge in its original state, was a stand alone novel. In the first draft, the years that Holly was missing, were just kind of glossed over. I gave a bit of a summary of what she’d been up to and how she met Alex but didn’t really get into the details. But once I’d finished, or so I thought, I was curious to know the particulars, so I had to go back and fill that part in, for my own peace of mind. (because honestly, it just wouldn’t leave me alone) And I found it made for a good story. So, other than Always Cambridge, I didn’t have titles for the next five books. Book Two, Running, was a last minute switch before I sent it to the EIC. The working title for it was, Always Cambridge : The Alex Years.
(another little side note, once I’d filled in the missing six years, or the Alex years, I found there was even more story to be told) LOL. (The Afterlife.) [I really can't wait for next week and this book!]

The rest of the titles came out of what I’d written into the manuscript. On edits, certain phrases caught my attention as potential possibilities.

Misfortune of Birth, came out of a line written in the m/s. I believe it was phrased ‘accident of birth’, I just tweaked it.[IIRC, in Running, you used accident of birth, but you also used misfortune of birth, too. I remember reading the phrase, and being like oh! she's setting up the next book right here. How cool!] Before that the working title was simply ‘Holly and Victor’. Usually when I start a new story without a title, I just name it the characters names until I come up with something more permanent. [That is a cool way to title a WIP.]

Law and Order Crime and Chaos, just seemed appropriate for the trials and the violence that goes on in Book Four. At first I was thinking just ‘Law and Order’ but we all know the TV show, so I thought it needed more. And this book has so much going on in it with the trials, but also the violence, that’s where the crime and chaos came into play. [Oh, yeah. This book had so much going on. I just had to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next!]

Book Five – Afterlife came from the term used by the Witness Protection Program. [I had no idea that's what they called it until this series.]

And for Book Six the conclusion, Always Holly just seemed appropriate to round out the Always Cambridge Saga. :-) Full circle. [I'm so hoping she gets a happy-ever-after with at least one of her men :-)]

OK, time to turn the tables.

HK: I’d love to know what you thought of Randy and Alex’s relationship. The way they enjoy antagonizing each other, but underneath there is mutual respect and fondness, that goes beyond Holly. I really enjoyed writing their part of the story. And it was also kind of funny to see how each man handled Victor. Maybe even a little commiseration going on there. I think Alex and Randy form a real friendship, as they never really saw themselves as rivals for Holly’s affections per say, not the way Randy and Victor do. As much as the guys’ interaction with Holly is integral to the story, the relationships between her men, with each other, is quite a fascinating aspect, as well, and really fun to write.

MW: I loved seeing the way all the guys interacted with each other. 

Alex, while he loves Holly, knows he can never have her and has accepted that. It gives him a unique perspective for both Randy and Victor. He doesn't see the appeal in Victor, but he never questions Holly about it. He would definitely rather see her with Randy, not just because Randy loves her, but because he knows Randy will do whatever he has to to keep her safe. 

On the flip side, Randy has always hated Victor, and will never like him. Although, if he learned that's who put him back in touch with Holly, I think he might briefly reconsider. But Victor has always been a threat to Holly and Randy can't let that go, no matter how good Victor's intentions might be now. Alex isn't a threat. Sure, Randy knows he and Holly had a fling, but he did tell her to go and live her life. Alex is safe, and in another setting, I could certainly see them being best buds, and hanging out together.

Then there's Victor. He sees Alex as an inconvenience, mostly because of the disruption to his life from what Holly has put in motion. And he sees Randy as the only one of the three of them who can keep Holly safe. Victor really does love Holly. Enough to walk away, to put her in touch with Randy, to deny her that last time knowing how he'd feel if he were Randy. He's giving her up because he knows it's the best thing for her safety, and yet neither Alex or Randy seem to see this from him. To be fair, they don't know about many of the incidents, or his internal thoughts, but they've fit him into this hole because of who they think he is, and I think sometimes they miss the little clues that he isn't as bad as they think, and that, if things had gone a little differently at that exchange in the mall with Holly, he and she might be working with the Feds together.

So, that's how I think the men in her life see each other. It's a complicated relationship for all of them, to be sure!

Thank you for having us back, Mary and I’m thrilled that you are loving the series.

You are so welcome! And how could I not love this series? It full of twists and turns, and action, and love, and amazing writing. If you haven't started it yet, I recommend it. And if you have started it, are you counting down the minutes to tomorrow and AFTERLIFE? I know I am!

The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge.

Always Cambridge Book Four Law and Order : Crime and Chaos

The wheels of justice might turn slowly, but destiny's punishment can be swift and merciless.

In the next highly charged installment of the Always Cambridge Family Saga Series, all the men in Holly’s life come together in one common goal—to keep the woman they love alive.

Special Agent Alex Orton of the FBI prepares Holly for the rigorous court proceedings to come, where she will testify not only against her own family, but also against the Mayhue crime family, including Victor’s volatile and sinister older brother, Lorenzo.

However, in the midst of all the personal turmoil, Holly’s first love and former bodyguard, Randy Phillips, emerges from the chaos. He vows to not only stand by her through the trials, but accompany her into Witness Protection and her afterlife, if in fact they make it that far, as both the Mayhue and Cambridge crime families swear retribution.

But in a twist of law and fate, Lorenzo Mayhue is unexpectedly released from prison and lures Holly to the Mayhue Excavating warehouses under the guise of Victor.

Five people enter the storehouse, but only three walk out.

Follow the saga from the beginning… Always Cambridge

Always Cambridge


Misfortune of Birth

Law and Order Crime and Chaos

Coming August 1st Always Cambridge Book 5 – Afterlife

( If you haven’t seen the cover yet, click HERE )

About the Author:
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and it’s varied sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.

Pick a Genre Already : Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How Authors Write: Sheri Chapman

Today I'm welcoming author Sheri Chapman to the blog. Welcome, Sheri. Tell us, what do you write?

To date, I love writing both young adult and adult historical romance. In YA, I love to weave in a supernatural aspect in the realistic world. [Two of my favorite things to read!]

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
In my short story, Eyes With No Soul, I used first person. Other works that I’ve done (but are not yet published) are both third and first person. For example, I’m working on editing (before submitting) an adult historical romance written in third (omniscient), and I also have a novel YA werewolf that I used first person (I plan on reworking this before submission). [Oh, I love me some werewolves :-)]

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I get inspired by an idea. I sit down and just start writing. It flows from me. Sometimes I come to a spot and I’m not sure where to go from there, so I might put it aside and think on it for a while. Some stories I’ve started I never go back to. Others, I take much further. My very first attempt at writing a book was 400,000 words! No, I never submitted it, and I don’t think I ever will. However, I was very inspired! LOL! [Wow! That's a lot of words!!]

Do you draft quickly or are you more detailed in your draft?
What I tend to do is write. If an idea comes to me when I am “in the flow”, I will hurry and type it at the bottom of the document I’m working on so that I don’t forget. That way I can remember a great idea to work toward, but if something else better pops up, I can change the direction. My draft, in essence, is my works-in-progress. [Hm. That's a really cool sounding process.]

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I do both. I research an idea so that I feel somewhat knowledgeable on the topic, but I’ve come to realize I know a lot about nothing! LOL! It is constant research. I buy books and use the internet. [I don't know what I'd do without the internet.]

Do you outline?
Most of the time, I don’t really outline. If I outline, it’s more to help me remember what I’ve already written. I may be one of a kind, but when I get in the flow, I don’t always remember everything I’ve written. An outline helps keep my characters and events from getting mixed up for future writings. I may take notes. If I have a great idea, I’ll work it into the outline. [I have to say, I've never heard of anyone outlining this way before, but if it works, I think it's great!]

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
I basically name everything up front. I may take notes at the bottom of my works-in-progress. Other times, I take notes on an outline (if I do one) in a separate document. I find this helps with longer stories.

Do you work with Critique Partners or Beta's (completed works)? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
The more feedback I can get the better. I use my network of family, friends, and students. I use fellow authors. My go-tos are my thirteen year old daughter, who is an avid reader, and my mother. I worry about them and their concern for my feelings – I want honest constructive feedback. Emily (my daughter), and my mom get to read as soon as I write. I sometimes also share with close friends. When I finish, I have friends, colleagues, and students who are willing read undertake the project just to see if they are interested in it, have comments, etc.

On Watt Pad, you can post your work as you write for feedback/votes to see if people are interested in your work. [I've glanced at WattPad, but never read anything there or submitted there.]

Sheri with her daughters
What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
Here are some things I use:

*Being a teacher of writing and reading helps me. (I work with students who have normal intelligence but struggle with reading and writing). The Six plus One Traits of Writing has helped me improve while I work with them.

* I have a network of teachers who are technologically savvy. All I have to do is send out a question – or sometimes they find a site and share – and someone will know a site somewhere to connect you to. Our librarian is awesome! She is always providing new sites to check out for teachers.

*Watt Pad is a great site for aspiring writers to share their work. People vote and comment on your work. This way you know if you have something to work with. If no one votes, it’s not a hit.

*I’m a book addict. I purchase all kinds of books. When I research, I buy books on the topic. I also use search engines on the internet to provide me with sites. Reading others’ works for enjoyment (and also to analyze what their hook is like, how they use word choice, etc.) is also beneficial! [Such a great point. If you like what you're reading, take a minute to see why and how you can apply this to your own writing.]

*MuseItUp is a premier site! Being an author does have its quirks! Many authors blog about helpful hints and provide other useful information. I love it! [Yes, the authors at MuseItUp have tons of wonderful information to share!]

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
1. I think the biggest piece of advice I’d give myself is to never give up. Trying to get someone to look at your work is like heading to Hollywood hoping to hit it big. Publishers get submissions like picnics get ants and flies. Submissions are a dime a dozen. Hang in there and don’t give up! I think I’d been looking for nine or ten years (but my work needed revamping) before I stumbled onto Muse – and they so graciously took a chance on me! <3 br="">
2. I think I’d also tell myself to be open to changing my introductions. The hook needs to be in the first page or two. I tended to give too much back ground information first. I need to hook first, and gradually give background data – not overwhelm at the beginning. [Oh, this is so true. Although, there've been a few slow starts I've stuck with longer and was grateful I had when I got to the end.]

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share?

Eyes with No Soul released on July 18. I have a few other works I’m currently in the editing process (on my own) before submitting. I hope to have more releases soon!

Back Cover:

Laurie is a high school student who has been blessed with a touch of precognition her entire life. When she bumps into a stranger at the mall, her psychic door is thrown wide open, unlocking it for eternity! The action triggers a bloody murder scene to explode in her mind, numbing her ability to think… Unfortunately for Laurie, he notices her peculiar reaction and begins stalking her…she’s his perfect victim. With no “proof” for the police, Laurie and her friends must try to survive. In a race of life and death, only one can win!

About the Author:
Sheri Chapman is a fun-loving person with a warm soul. She is just a girl-at-heart who is passionate about life! She surrounds herself with many family members and friends. She has four beautiful daughters of her own, and three step-daughters and a step-son.

Her Pomeranians are also considered her furry “Dog-hters.” Sheri is a Pom-addict and adopted and raised so many in her home, she decided to make it a business venture; she raises/sells adorable puppies. Sheri also has miniature goats on her 3.7 acres.

As a profession, Sheri has taught in Missouri Public Schools since 1990. Her true aspiration, however, has always been to be a published author. In five to six years, she plans to retire from teaching and take up writing (and Pom-raising) full-time. She cannot wait for the time to pass by! Her only regret will be that her children will all have flown the home (graduated).

Sheri around the web:

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your process with us, Sheri!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Holly on Her Men

Happy Monday!!!

It's been a busy weekend here. I'm knee deep in revisions, but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. (Yay!)

Last week we had quite the discussion going here (and on FB) about Alex vs Randy vs Victor. So, in honor of the men in Holly's life, here are her words about them.

Be sure to stop back Thursday for our talk on LAW AND ORDER:CRIME AND CHAOS.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Misfortune of Birth (Always Cambridge, Book 3) by HK Carlton

Misfortune of Birth is the third book in the Always Cambridge saga by HK Carlton. You can find my review HERE. I've been exchanging questions about the series with HK as I've read each installment. Click the title to read posts on Always Cambridge and Running

MW: As I said in my review, here's the Victor I was expecting to see in RUNNING. So swoony! And so easy to see why Holly fell for him. So, why did you wait to bring this side of him out?

HK:It’s just a part of the evolution and progression of the story. I see this instalment as the coming of age part of the saga for both Holly and Victor.

Also in Running, the story is being told in Agent Alex Orton’s point of view, so you’re only getting impressions of what he believes is developing between the two disgustingly good-looking mob offspring. So, I couldn’t bring Victor out full force until Misfortune of Birth, and we were back in Holly’s point of view. This way the reader experiences the full and potent impact of how overwhelming he is, through Holly’s eyes.[Boy is he overwhelming!]  And also in MOB, we get to hop into Victor’s hot little head for the first time. And I can tell you, I enjoy it in there.[Me too!] :-) But from his perspective, you realize the depth with which he feels.

We did see just a little hint of this side of Victor, in the first book, in the scene at the mall. He pours his heart out to Holly, but then just as quickly, reverts back to the cocky yet loveable guy that he is. And Holly, at eighteen, could not have handled Victor Mayhue. [Oh, I loved this scene. It's what made me wonder about Victor in the beginning.]

Excerpt from Always Cambridge #1

There was still one thing I wanted to know before I left him. Something I’d sensed in him earlier.

“Do you ever…” I started to speak what was in my mind, and then stopped. What was I doing?

“Do I ever what? Go ahead and ask. This may be your one and only opportunity,” he all but whispered as he held my hand and my gaze, my complete and total attention and awareness.

I swallowed. “Do you ever hate it?” I didn’t have to explain. He knew exactly what I was asking.

Something softened in his dark eyes, the cocky assuredness fell away, and if it was possible, he was even better looking. Softer. Was this the real Victor Mayhue?

He expelled a short breath, on a derisive laugh. “Do I ever hate that I have no privacy, that I’m followed everywhere I go? That menial tasks other people perform on a daily basis, have to be strategically planned?” He threw a stray glance to his bodyguard before settling back on me. “Do I detest that my life is already plotted out for me, leaving me no choice in anything? Do I hate that I can’t lead a normal life, do what my buddies take for granted? Or wish that I was never born into this? Do I dislike that people have preconceived notions of me just because my last name is Mayhue? Do I abhor that things go on around me that I have no control over? That innocent people die,” he swallowed hard and gently caressed my hand with his thumb, still pressed to his chest. “Or get hurt for no good reason.” I thought he was talking about me. “Do I regret that that person will never know how incredibly sorry I am that it ever happened.”

His voice softened and his brown eyes took on a darkened sheen as he spoke, his full lips tight with some emotion I couldn’t name. Was that an apology? Did he have some misguided sense of guilt for what happened at the food bank?

“Do I loathe that it will always be this way, that there is nothing I can do to change it or stop it? Do I curse the thought that if I’m ever stupid enough to have kids that they will also never know a life without violence, that they will be fated to endure the same life as you and I?” He could be reading my mind. He was describing everything I felt. “Do I detest that people are afraid of me before they even know me, or on the other hand that they are attracted to me only because of the danger.” The corner of his mouth quirked up then in the cutest way. “Okay, scratch that last one, I kinda dig it.” His smile was captivating as he tried to act like he had not just poured his heart out. And mine as well. As if it didn’t affect him just as deeply as it did me. “No, I never hate it. It doesn’t bother me in the least,” he said sardonically. He held my stare as he tried to make light of it. “I make sure to enjoy the benefits of it. It helps make up for what I’m missing.” As if he knew the sadness in me he added, “Maybe you should do the same. Ya can’t change it, so why fight it, why not take full and complete advantage.”

“Hmm,” I answered as if I might be contemplating his advice and he’d given me a lot to think about. “Can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” I asked sadly.


I sighed heavily. It was not for me.

HK: I wanted Victor to come off as a loveable jerk. Arrogant, but so handsome and charming at the same time that his confidence is endearing instead of a turn off. 

We’ve all met a guy like Victor. You know the one, he’s incredibly good-looking and he knows it. Arrogant, confident, cool. If you could just sit there and admire him, all would be fine, but then he opens his mouth and ruins the entire façade.

He’s just on the side of being a total and complete jerk and then he does or says something so incredibly sweet, that you have no choice but to forgive all his other faults. You just can’t help but love him. And through the three books to this point, Victor’s true character rounds out.

Randy refers to Victor as, the ego with feet. It’s fitting.

In Always Cambridge Victor is enjoying the life afforded him by his father (the head of the Mayhue crime family). Cars, trips, yachts, houses, women. He can pretty much do as he pleases, with no consequence. He takes full and total advantage. What guy wouldn’t?

In Running, we see a more mature man, who is just trying to live a good life. Doing his best to run a legitimate business and distance himself from the ‘family’. He’s attempting to have a decent relationship and bring up his son the best he can, under the circumstances he’s been dealt. [I have to say, when I learned he was going to be a dad, I questioned him pursuing Holly. But you handled it beautifully.]

I hoped to build-up the struggle, that Holly and Victor go through, trying to resist this irresistible force between them, from each of their perspectives. Holly is in such a precarious situation, but at the same time, Victor’s relationship is unravelling and the reality of what he’s just brought a child in to, finally hits him full force. Not to mention, the realization of what Holly has done to him. But in the mean time, he’s falling for her. Hard. And she him.

And after all their resistance, when they finally give in to it, it’s explosive. And worth the wait. ( I hope ) [Oh, yeah. Totally worth the wait!]

I also didn’t want Victor to out and out cheat on Julie. [Exactly! That was my thought. He couldn't be good enough for Holly if he did that.] I don’t think Victor’s character would have had the same impact, if he’d just seduced Holly. It would have seemed like part of the ‘entitlement’, if he had. This way, I think we fall for him just a little more, [Mm-hm. Swoon!] because he could have used that sensual power he has over most women and Holly would have surrendered, if he’d poured it on, but he didn’t. More than once he backed off.

Besides Victor doesn’t cheat.

Here’s his quote and some straightforward if not honest conceit…

“I told you before, I don’t cheat, so I don’t tolerate it from whomever I’m with. I always felt if I was strong enough to remain monogamous, with all the things that are offered up to me on a daily basis, then she should be able to extend me the same courtesy.” 

HK: Ahhh, classic Victor! [So true!!!]

But for all his cocky arrogance, Victor just wants what every one else does, to live a happy, safe, healthy and productive life, and raise a good kid. Surprisingly, he’s kind of an old-fashioned guy. And in the end, you see what stand up man he genuinely is. And through his sacrifice, we are left with no doubt, that he truly loves Holly.

MW: I can totally see myself flip-flopping on the men in Holly's life. While I like Alex, I don't see him as a good match for her. Victor and she have an amazing connection, and I'm so proud of him for not only letting her go, but putting her in touch with someone from her past (see- no real spoilers, just a tease!!), but I'm still not sure he's the best guy for her. And then there's Randy. They haven't seen each other in six years, he was her first crush, and he's nine years her senior. Is he really the right guy? Each of these men would give their life for Holly, so how do you choose?

HK: Each man is right for Holly, depending on her circumstance at the time. Each one fulfills a purpose in her life when she needs him the most. When she needs protection, it’s Randy. When she needs to act, Alex is her best man. But Victor makes her feel. Every emotion possible, all at once. He’s her rush. And she is the same for him.

Each man would give his life for her. But Holly would do the same, for each of them. In fact, she fully expects to give her life for the cause, at some point. And she’s okay with that.

Phew, Mary, you ask some tough questions! Thank you for having us back!

I guess we’re down to Team Randy vs Team Victor. [Yes! I am so torn between these two!!]

It was this way for me, as well, during the writing.

Cheers! :-)

The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge. 

Misfortune of Birth – Book Three in the Always Cambridge Series

When constantly surrounded by violence, corruption and immorality, how do you keep from becoming the very thing that you abhor?

Holly Cambridge barely recognizes herself anymore. Pretending to be another person is beginning to wear thin. Disguised as Randi Yates, she entangles herself into the perilous life of the irresistible Victor Mayhue. But day by day, she falls more desperately and impossibly in love with her natural enemy. Together they explore a highly sexual, dark and dangerous relationship. The lines between right and wrong and good and evil, begin to blur. And while attempting to shield and protect Victor from the Feds and even his own family, Holly loses sight of her original goal.

Victor understands her more than anyone she’s ever met. Essentially they have lived the same life. He is her other half. But once he discovers who she really is and what she’s done, there will be no going back. Victor Mayhue is not a second chance kind of guy.

And in the end, one of them will be forced to face their true nature.

Follow the saga from the beginning… Always Cambridge

Always Cambridge


Misfortune of Birth

About the Author:
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and it’s varied sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stop the Presses!!!

Photo by Knowtex
That's what I said to Tammy at BookFish Books last week. Well, not exactly, but close enough. See, Faery Marked was supposed to release this week. That's right. Was. And here's why it's not.

Going through the last few rounds of edits, I kept hating the story. At first I thought it was just because I'd been working with it so much that I'd lost perspective. I kept tweaking things, and rewording them, and still the story felt off. Then, while reading it on my Kindle Paperwhite (something I do after I've done edits to see how they flow) I realized the problem. I had plot holes that needed to be fixed.

So, I asked Tammy for an extension, and she graciously gave it to me.

Faery Marked will be releasing, but not this week. :-) I apologize for the delay, but I want to give you a book worthy of your precious reading time, and at the moment, this is not it. But it will be. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

I'll post an update on the progress as soon as I have one.

cover by Anita at

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Running (Always Cambridge book 2) by HK Carlton

Today I welcome back HK Carlton as we discuss Running, book two in the Always Cambridge series. You can read my review here. If you missed our first discussion about the series (and the release dates for all six books) check out this post.

MW: Why did you choose to narrate from Alex's POV rather than alternate between him and Holly?

HK: In the first book, Always Cambridge, I portrayed Holly as the adolescent girl she was with a somewhat scattered, uncertain, not always rational thought process, sometimes verging on the obsessive side, especially when it came to her beloved bodyguard, Randy Phillips. But in Running, I wanted to show that she was maturing, and I didn’t want to be in her head for that development. I found when writing from Holly’s point of view, I tended to go that obsessive route whether it was about the men in her life or her absolute need to find justice. I became a bit fanatical about Holly’s men, too. (And I think that comes across) :-) [I can see why you'd be a bit fanatical about them. Talk about smexy!]

I attempted to write this part of the story from both points of view but I found flipping back and forth between Alex’s and Holly’s POV, I wasn’t perfecting Holly’s growth. It was still coming off as unsure, and I needed Holly’s determination to find justice and her need to protect Randy, to be predominant and absolute. I couldn’t seem to do it, in her head. But I could prove it through Alex’s observations of her. [I loved his observations of her. It gave me a lot of insight to her character.] On the other hand, I also didn’t wish for Holly to mature over night. I hope the reader still on occasion stops and thinks, Oh, Holly, what are you doing? Don’t do that! [Oh, I had those moments for sure!] But I still think readers will see a growth and change in Holly that they may not have anticipated from the first book. [I did see her grow, and in a different way than I anticipated from the first book. well done!] So, once I started telling Holly’s story from Alex’s analytical profiler type mind, it started to come together. And I like how it turned out. [Me too :-)]

I also hoped to capture Alex’s resolve to keep things professional between the two of them. To show how this strict self-controlled Federal Agent struggled to keep Holly in that “Cambridge” box he’d placed her in before he’d even met her. The mob princess that he could never think of as anything more than a criminal by association, a woman to distrust.  [And I just love how that worked out for him!]

When she first walks into his office, he sees her as nothing more than a stepping-stone for career advancement. But he soon realizes there is much more to the shy, wounded, determined young girl. One of my favourite scenes from Running is the passage where Holly and Alex profile each other. [That was a great scene!] It really sets up their adversarial relationship but also establishes the mutual respect growing between them. That moment when Alex realizes that Holly is intelligent, is dynamic (at least I hope it is). [Oh, it's dynamic. It certainly sets the tone for many things that follow.] She challenges him and not many people can do that. And from that point on, it’s a losing battle for him. We also see an Alex evolution. She changes him, too. [Just like in all good relationships-you each change a little.]

In addition, I found choosing to write from Alex’s point of view helped keep Holly’s thoughts up for interpretation. I want the reader to make up their own mind about Holly and her agenda. (Though, I will share, while writing it, at this point in the WIP, I wasn’t even positive of Holly’s agenda.) [I will say, I wonder about her agenda a lot. I know it's all about keeping Randy safe, but there are times I feel she's playing both ends against the middle and going to get burned badly by it.]

I also think this is what makes the entire Always Cambridge Series unique and different—the narration of events coming from so many different characters points of view throughout the saga. I hope it gives it and the characters some extra depth. [I do enjoy getting to see the story from so many different points of view. It really gives a well-rounded picture of what's going on.]

MW: While Holly worked with Alex, I got the sense that she is playing her own game, and is only helping Alex so far as it furthers her end along. Will we see more of this in the next instalment?

Holly and Alex’s working relationship is like a chess match. But the choices Holly makes are not always calculated, especially early on in Running. Often she allows her emotions to dictate her decisions. She doesn’t set out to manipulate. But while Alex is ruled by rules, Holly plays by her own set. And the more she comes into her own, the easier it is for her to justify or excuse her own actions, especially once she has tested and established, Alex’s boundaries. [Oh, I totally saw that Holly plays by her own rules :-)]

MW: I have to confess, I never saw Randy's secret coming. Great job!!! Now that Holly knows that, will we see a change in her plans, or is she set on a course she can't break free from.

Thank you! What a great compliment. I hope you’ll experience quite a few of those, I-didn’t-see-that-coming moments throughout the series. I know I did. [Oh, I had a few more-especially in Misfortune of Birth]

As for altering her course, you’ll have to wait and see, but keep in mind; Randy’s safety is paramount to Holly.

MW: Last time, I said I liked Holly with Randy, but wanted to see how things played out with Victor. Having seen more of him, as well as her relationship with Alex, I have to say, I'm starting to be more firmly planted in Team Randy. So, I'm wondering, will he be making an appearance in Misfortune of Birth? If not, when will we see him again?

Randy Phillips does make a very brief appearance in Misfortune of Birth. But MOB—LOL see what I did there? :D [LOL! I never realized that until now! Nicely done!!!] — is all about Holly trying to resist the irresistible Victor Mayhue (whether readers think he’s good for Holly or not (but I almost guarantee you will have a soft spot for Victor, by the end of Misfortune) [Oh, you made sure I had a soft spot for him! And, without giving away too much for our talk about MOB, I'll just say, I might be rethinking my team.]

Thank you so much for having my Cambridge gang back, Mary!

MW: You are so welcome! Thanks for answering all my questions about this amazing series. I can't wait to share our exchange on Misfortune of Birth. I'm also excited to read Law and Order: Crime and Chaos so I'm all caught up for the release of Afterlife on August 1st.

Running Book Two in the Always Cambridge Series
The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years, into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge.
No matter how far or fast you run, you'll never escape the past.

It’s been three years since anyone has seen or heard from Holly Cambridge. But when she surfaces, she doesn't return home to the loving arms of her family. Instead, she heads straight to the FBI offering information that will destroy the Cambridge crime family.

Special Agent Alex Orton sees Holly Cambridge as nothing more than the next commendation standing between him and the ultimate promotion. What he doesn't bargain for is the shy, damaged, but feisty little woman that convinces his superiors to let her infiltrate a rival family, with Alex heading up the mission.

Holly and Alex clash at every turn, but Alex is intrigued by Holly’s sharp mind and boundless courage and must constantly fight his burgeoning feelings for his lovely informant. Alex is a strict disciplinarian of the rules and can’t reconcile the girl who can’t play by them.

As Holly carries out the sting and insinuates herself into the enemy’s camp, she develops a close and common bond with the middle Mayhue son, the exotically good looking and charismatic Victor. The very man who could end her life, if he were to discover her secret.

Hands tied, Alex must stand back, for the good of the team, and watch the tragedy play out.

Author Note: This series is a true saga in the sense that each new installment begins exactly where the last ended. The books should be read in sequence.

About the Author:
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and it’s varied sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Cover Reveal: SOULLESS by Crystal Collier

Today I'm guest posting over at the MuseItYoung & MuseItYA blog. Stop by and visit. I'd love to hear your thoughts on fairy tales!!

And now my special guest, Crystal Collier, has an amazing cover reveal for us. Take it away Crystal!!!!

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Authors Write- Sara-Jayne Townsend

Today I'm welcoming fellow MuseItUp author Sara-Jayne Townsend to the blog to share a bit about her writing process. Welcome, Sara-Jayne!

Please tell us a bit about what you write.I write crime and horror. Normally someone dies a horrible death. [LOL! I love this description.]

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
It depends on what the story is calling for. My amateur sleuth series is a single 1st person POV from my main character, because I want people to be able to follow the character as she solves the mystery. If I decide I need more than one viewpoint character in a novel, I will write it in third person. My horror novels are written this way, since generally I want the reader to have more information than is available to each character. [I've found that my stories tend to dictate the POV as well. These sound like excellent choices for your work.]

How do you get started with a book-is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
It varies from story to story. Most stories start with a ‘what if?’ idea. What if this were to happen? Then I need to decide who it will happen to, and how, and what will happen next. 

Though for DEATH SCENE, since it was the first book in a series about an amateur sleuth, I had a different approach. I wanted to write a series about an amateur sleuth, so I started with the character and then had to think about what kind of mysteries she should solve. I have other books in the series planned, but many of them are no more than a premise. For instance, I know I’d like to take Shara to New York, and reunite her with Madison, the backing singer she meets in the second book DEAD COOL. And I’ve got an idea of why she’ll be in New York. But as for the mystery she’ll solve when she’s there? That I’ve still got to come up with. [Don't you love it when your muse teases you that way?]

Do you draft quickly, or are you more detailed in your draft? I’ve done an outline by the time I start writing the first draft so yes, I suppose I do. And my first drafts are generally quite short – usually no more than 60,000 words and often less. I can usually get the first draft done in less than 12 months, if I am disciplined about my writing sessions. [Wow! My first drafts tend to be about 30-40,000 words, and I end up adding in a lot of detail to hit the 60-70,000 word mark I end up at.]

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
Both. I’ll do the research I think I need to do to be able to begin writing before I start. But generally I’ll be halfway through a chapter and I’ll suddenly realise I need to know some small thing that’s crucial to the plot. The Internet is really good for this, because I can do the research without having to leave the computer. [I don't know what I'd do without the internet. And heaven help anyone who has to look through my searches!]

Do you outline? How?
Yes. I’ve learned the hard way that I have to plot meticulously – I have too many half-finished manuscripts that were abandoned because I didn’t know what happened next.

Now I will work out a three-page plot outline, and from there I break that down into a chapter-by-chapter summary. Only then do I start writing the first draft. Actually writing the story may take me off in slightly different directions sometimes, or things happen that aren’t in the outline, but with my outline it means that every time I sit down to write, I know what’s going to happen next. [I wish I could learn how to do this. The closest I've come is a novel I'm working on where I titled the chapters so I knew what happened in each one. It wrote pretty quick because of that.]

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
I leave comments for myself. For me, the most important thing is to get to the end of the first draft. Everything else can be fixed in rewrites. So I’ll leave notes for myself in the outline: NOT HAPPY WITH THIS CHAPTER. LOOK AT AGAIN. Or if I’m really stuck I’ll do a page break and skip to the end of a chapter, writing at the end something like, “HERE SHE HAS TO FIND THE VITAL CLUE THAT WILL IDENTIFY THE MURDERER. FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS’. I always hope that by the time I come around to that section again on the second draft, the answer will have presented itself. And generally it does. [Notes are a great idea. And yes, everything can be fixed in edits.]

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I belong to a writing group, and for a full novel beta reading I will generally ask them for volunteers to read the manuscript through. I don’t let anyone read it until at least the second draft – sometimes beyond. I would rather get beta readers at a stage when I think I’ve addressed the major plot holes but I know the manuscript still needs work, since they are likely to tear it to pieces and I will need to do a lot of re-writing. [Those second eyes can make all the difference, can't they?]

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best? is an extremely helpful website. The forums are populated by writers of every kind, from all over the world, from beginners to pros. It’s a very supportive community and it’s full of helpful advice. [Great resource!]

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
Writers on the whole do not become rich and famous, and most of them still need the day job or another source of income. I spent a lot of time when I was young dreaming about the day I could quit the day job and write full time. I’m 44 and I earn nowhere near enough money from the writing for that to be a reality. It might never be a reality. But instead of sitting around dreaming about it I’ve had to become more disciplined, to fit the writing in around the day job. It’s hardly a glamorous life, but this is the way it has to be. [As a writer with a full time job and family, I totally understand and agree with this.]

What do you have out now, or coming out?
The first two books in my mystery series about amateur sleuth and contemporary actress Shara Summers are releasing from MuseItUp this year. The first book, DEATH SCENE, will be out in a few weeks, with the second, DEAD COOL, following in Autumn.

Here is the blurb for DEATH SCENE:

Poking around in family closets produces skeletons…

British-born, Toronto-based, actress Shara Summers turns amateur sleuth when her sister is stricken with a mysterious illness. Summoned back to England to be with her family during a time of crisis, Shara discovers doctors are at a loss as to what's causing Astrid’s debilitating sickness.

After her aunt is found dead at the bottom of the stairs the death is deemed an accident. Shara suspects otherwise. Her investigation unearths shocking family secrets and a chilling realization that could have far-reaching and tragic consequences that affect not only her own future, but Astrid’s as well.

DEATH SCENE is coming very soon from MuseItUp Publishing

This sounds like a great read! Thanks for dropping by, and best of luck with this new series, Sara-Jayne.

Monday, July 7, 2014

THIS IS SARAH by Ally Malinenko

As an editor at BookFish Books, I've had the wonderful privilege of working with Ally Malinenko as she took her novella about loss and grief and turned it into a full length novel. For those of you who love stories with a roller-coaster ride of emotions, this is one book you don't want to miss out on. 

THIS IS SARAH is now available at Amazon and will soon be available at other retailers.

Now, for a look at the medical journal of Colin, the main character of THIS IS SARAH.

Medication Journal

Patient: Colin Leventhal Age: 17

City/State: Windsor, Colorado

Sex: Male

Medication: Fluvoxamine 100 mg

INTRO: (In this space please detail your current medication regimen as well as recent medical history)
This is like the fifth time I’ve started this stupid thing. Just for the record, the only reason I’m doing this is because my mother begged me.

I feel like shit. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I have a constant headache. I feel like I’m underwater all of the time. I try to eat, but it’s like something just grabs my throat right at that moment and absolutely no food is going down there. The other day at dinner, I chewed that steak my father made till it turned grey and then I spit it in the garbage.

Problem is, I have to eat to take these stupid pills you’re making me take which, just for the record, aren’t making me feel any better.

Yeah. See above about me feeling like shit.

Pretty much every day.

Detail? Okay. I don’t sleep. When I do, I dream about Sarah. When I wake up I forget for just a second that she’s gone, that she was taken, and for just a minute my life is what it used to be and then it all comes crashing down again. Then I want to hit something until my hand breaks just to make it stop.

Ask my mother how many things I’ve broken. Go ahead. Ask her.


X Nausea
X Vomiting
X Dizziness
X Difficulty sleeping/Insomnia
X Palpitations
X Nervousness
X Dry Mouth
X Tachycardia (Increased heart rate)
X Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
X Headaches
X Irritability
X Nightmares
X Confusion
X Hyperactivity
X Difficulty Concentrating
X Psychosis
X Suicidal Thoughts
X Sexual Dysfunction

Well, I did pretty good on the list. All I got to look forward to is not being able to get it up, going insane and killing myself.

Thanks Doc.

DO NOT WRITE BELOW THIS LINE ______________________________________________________
PHYSICIAN’S NOTES: Patient is suffering from acute PTSD as well as OCD and depressive disorder after the disappearance and probable death of this girlfriend Sarah Evans. Possible signs of mania and aggressive behavior. MSE indicates hostile/guarded/possibly repressed rapport. Stereotypy includes repetitive clenching of jaw and fist. Mood is angry/anxious and affect varies from blunted to heightened suggesting manic-depressive swings. Thought process is steady but content hinges on obsession over missing girlfriend and possible delusions regarding her future return. Minor psychotic tendencies. During sessions patient has reference thought broadcasting and somatic passivity.

Suggested increase in Fluvoxamine dosage of 50 mg pending results of cognition test.

Back Cover Copy:

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin's world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back?

As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire remains determined to keep going, even if it kills her.

THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye.

About The Author:
Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press) and the children's fantasy Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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