Blog

I’m so excited to welcome friend and author, Laura Heffernan, on the blog today. Her Reality Star series is out now. Hello, Laura!

SONY DSC

Author Name: Laura Heffernan

Title: Reality Star Series

Genre: Chicklit/Romantic comedy

Release Date: Out Now!

Publisher: Kensington/Lyrical Shine

How would you describe the Reality Star Series?

When Jen auditions for a reality show, she’s looking for a free adventure and hopefully a real shot at the cash prize. She couldn’t have imagined how her life would change.

What sparked the idea for this series?

A few years ago, my best friend went on The Glass House, a reality show that aired on ABC. People relied on viewer voting to stick around, so I spent a lot of time watching the show, talking about the show, and trying to get people to vote for her. Ultimately, I started thinking about how much is real vs. fabricated and what type of show I’d want to do. Then AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR was born.

Oooh, how fun the first book sprang from a real-life, reality-show experience. How long did it take for you to write the books? Did you do have to do any research?

I tend to write fast. For ANRS, most of the research was talking to Steph – which I did about a year before deciding to write the book. That book took about 6 weeks for a first draft, but I spent several months editing. SWEET REALITY and REALITY WEDDING were both done under contract. I had about 6 months to write a publishable draft of each. Much of SR is pulled from a cruise I took with my best friend many many years ago, so the only research I did was to run baking shows in the background while it was on. REALITY WEDDING is similar – I paged through some magazines to look at dresses and watched a lot of shows like Bridezillas and Rich Bride, Poor Bride. I love reality TV, so this wasn’t exactly a hardship.

Sounds like the best kind of research! For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?

Getting started is the hardest part, especially now that I have a new baby. It’s so easy to get distracted doing 100 other things. But once I get a chance to sit down and focus, I really enjoy it.

What do you love most about it?

I love being able to share my stories with the world. I love giving new characters a voice and exploring activities that you don’t see in books all that often (or you didn’t, when I started writing). I love creating intelligent female main characters and showing them going after the things they want in life.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read the Reality Star Series?

The reality show is largely a backdrop. The settings will enhance the experience if you enjoy it, but it’s possible to read and enjoy the series without being a reality TV fan.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer your younger writer self?

Write the book. Take the plunge. But know that the process takes a really long time, and try to be patient. (Yes, we’re not good at this, but try anyway.)

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

Right now, 99% of my time is taken up with my son, but when I get a free moment, I love board games. So much that the first book in my upcoming GAMER GIRLS series, SHE’S GOT GAME, is set at a board game competition.

A series on board game competitions sounds fascinating–can’t wait! So, here can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

www.lauraheffernan.com

www.facebook.com/lauraheffernanbooks

www.twitter.com/lh_writes

Thank you, Laura! The Reality Star series is available now.

AUTHOR BIO:

Laura Heffernan is the author of the Reality Star series (available now) and the upcoming Gamer Girls series (2019). When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, and new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her husband and two furry little beasts.

Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, board games and reality TV.

REALITY STAR SERIES

America’s Next Reality Star

SEEKING THE SMART ONE

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash, it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

Sweet Reality

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ

Jen Reid’s life after The Fishbowl has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

Reality Wedding

SAY I DO – OR ELSE

When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met, had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.

Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .


Huge welcome to Melissa Sercia this week. She’s the author of Blood and Magic, the first book in the Blood and Darkness series. Thank you for joining, us, Melissa!

Author Name: Melissa Sercia

Book Title: Blood and Magic (Blood and Darkness, Book 1)

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

Release Date: September 18, 2018

Publisher: City Owl Press

 

How would you describe this book?

A fast paced thrill ride blending Gothic settings, dark magic, and fierce female characters. If you like deep rooted mythology, Witches, and a fresh take on Urban Fantasy, then this is the book for you.

What sparked the idea for Blood and Magic?

One night I was enjoying a glass of wine outside on my porch, pondering life’s mysteries when I started to wonder, what if the supernatural world was real? What if there was this veil up and we just couldn’t see it? That question led to several hundred other questions and sparked the idea of this character, Gray, who was on this journey of revenge and redemption. Gray came to me like a dream. I knew her and what she wanted almost instantly. After that, the other characters came together beautifully. The story unfolded naturally from there.

How long did it take for you to write this first book? Did you do have to do any research?

I first conceptualized Blood and Magic about five years ago. I spent two years plotting, planning, researching, and building character sheets. I really wanted to have the world and back stories fully fleshed out before I started writing it. I researched everything from witchcraft, Greek mythology, vampirism, werewolves, and secret societies. After I had everything in place, I wrote the first draft in two months. Then it took about another two years or so to edit and revise.

What are some of the biggest influences on your writing?

My writing influences have always come from my favorite Urban Fantasy authors and films. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles was a huge inspiration for me wanting to be an author. I read Interview With a Vampire when I was sixteen and fell instantly in love with the whole Gothic genre of New Orleans, vampires, and witches. I’ve also been a huge fan of the Underworld movie franchise, and The Vampire Diaries TV show, which definitely influenced some of the humor I’ve tried to sprinkle through my books as well.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Blood and Magic?

Blood and Magic is very dark, very adult, and very fast paced. I wrote it in first person from the perspective of Gray, a four hundred year old Dhampir who is hell bent on revenge as she struggles with her own humanity. What makes Blood and Magic unique is powerful female characters, an origin story of their species that has its roots in Greek mythology, and a fresh take on supernatural creatures.

What’s next? Are you involved in/writing any new projects?

I have books 2, Flesh and Bone, and 3, Gods and Demons, coming out shortly. I am also working on a spinoff series that takes place after the events of book 3. It will be set in the same world, but with new leading characters. And of course, the main character will be female.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer your younger writer self?

If I could give advice to my teenage self, it would be this: Don’t give up. Write constantly. Read constantly. Believe in yourself.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

I have a website and profiles on most social media platforms. Links listed below.

https://www.melissasercia.com

https://www.instagram/melissaserciawrites

https://facebook.com/melissasercia11/

https://twitter.com/fluidghost/

Thank you, Melissa! Blood and Magic is out now.

AUTHOR BIO:

Melissa Sercia writes all things Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is the author of Blood and Magic, book 1 in the Blood and Darkness series. Melissa lives in California with her man and her cat. When she’s not building whimsical fantasy worlds and slaying demons, you can find her in the kitchen cooking with a glass of wine in her hand.

Blood and Magic

When Gray awakens from a three-year spell induced coma, she not only discovers her lover as the one responsible, but that he has joined with a dangerous organization known as the Consilium to help them create a new breed of hybrid demons. Humans and Witches are being taken against their will, and fear is growing throughout the covens.

Gray never had a choice. She was forced to become a monster, a Dhampir. Yet after four hundred years, she still yearns for her humanity, like a long-lost echo from another life. She cannot allow the Consilium to do this to anyone else. With a renewed lust for vengeance and a target on her back, Gray must use the one thing she swore she’d never use to stop them—blood magic.

Armed with a magical pirate ship, an immortal monk, and a flower plucked from the Underworld, Gray will stop at nothing to start a war. Yet in her quest to track down her enemies, Gray uncovers a dark family secret that threatens to destroy the last shred of humanity she has left.


Joan Livingston returns to the blog to talk about her second book in the Isabel Long Mystery Series,  Redneck’s Revenge. Welcome back, Joan!

Author Name: Joan Livingston

Book Title: Redneck’s Revenge 

Genre: Mystery

Release Date: September 26, 2018

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Please share with us what your latest book is about.

A man’ death — his daughter’s plea. Isabel Long has found her next case.

How did you come up with the idea for Redneck’s Revenge?

Redneck’s Revenge is the second in my Isabel Long mystery series. The first is Chasing the Case. When I decided to try my hand at writing a mystery, I knew three things: a woman would be an amateur sleuth; the setting would be the sticks of Western Massachusetts; and her first case would be related to her former career as a journalist.  

I wanted Isabel to be what the French call une femme d’un certain age. She’s been a widow for a year and has an adult romance in the middle of solving a case. Isabel also has an unusual ‘Watson” — her 92-year-old mother who came to live with her.

One of the characters from the first book, a woman who I would describe as being rough around the edges, turns her onto her next case. The woman’s cousin hires Isabel — for free mechanical service on her car — to find out how her father died. The story is that he was passed out drunk when his house caught on fire. She thinks he was murdered.

This case takes Isabel to a tough part of the country — think biker bars, junkyards, and some pretty hard men and women.

So how did I come up with the idea? Without sounding like a nut, I sat at my computer and the ideas just came to me.

How do you feel you’ve grown or changed as a writer from your first published title to your latest?

Having been a journalist for over 30 years, I had to learn how to write long, which was really hard for me at first. My chapters tend to be on the short side, but readers have told me they like that. I also refrain from long descriptions. I try to give the reader an idea without boring them with detail.

Then, there was learning to “show” not “tell.” The only time readers know what my characters are thinking is if I write in first person.

With each book, I learn something new whether it’s writing a mystery, a bilingual book for children, magical realism for middle-grade readers etc. That’s exciting.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Redneck’s Revenge?

I create great characters. They become very real to me and to my readers. (One of the reasons I am happy to have a series is that I get to keep writing about them.)

Funny, I wondered whether a book set in a rural area in the US would appeal to people who didn’t live there. I am so pleased when readers in Europe and Australia — and fellow authors — tell me how the story resonates with them.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer a writer who feels discouraged?

One thing I learned is that there is writing, and then there is the business of writing. I believe many writers are discouraged by the second part. I say if you love writing, keep doing it. I have had two agents — fired them both — and received countless rejections from publishers and agents. But I kept writing. I still have eight books that I haven’t published. Some day I will.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

Links for Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge

Social Media

Thank you, Joan! Redneck’s Revenge is out TOMORROW. Pre-order now!

AUTHOR BIO:

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.

ISABEL LONG’S SECOND CRIME MYSTERY: REDNECK’S REVENGE

Her next case. She’s in it for good.

Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over, but no surprise there since his sister turned out to be the killer. Then cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.

Encouraged by her Watson — her 92-year-old mother  — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.

The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.

Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.


This week we have picture book author, Alan Rubin, on the blog to discuss his humorous debut, Mr. Stomach Gets Upset. Welcome, Alan!

Author Name: Alan Rubin

Book Title: Mr. Stomach Gets Upset

Book Genre: Humor/Picture book

Release Date: Out now

Please share with us what your book is about.

I would describe Mr. Stomach Gets Upset as “the most brilliant and lucrative book ever written.”  That’s totally inaccurate, but that’s how I would describe it.

What sparked the idea for Mr. Stomach Gets Upset?

The title actually sparked the idea for the book, but I can’t say for certain what sparked the idea for the title.  All I can remember is that the title came to me in a dream, just after I had eaten a late-night snack of Hunan beef and castor oil.

How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?

Many years elapsed between the time I began working on the book and the time I completed it.  When I wrote the text I had no training or experience as an illustrator, so I spent years asking random artists if, in return for 15% of future profits, they would illustrate a book called “Mr. Stomach Gets Upset”.  They all said “no”.  And they did so without hesitation, as if to make a point.  So I decided to illustrate the book on my own, and I feel vindicated now that the book has been published.  After all, an artist who had agreed to my offer would already have earned $1.50 in royalties, and, based on sales projections, would be likely to have earned at least twice that much next year.  I don’t want to gloat, but I’ll bet they’re kicking themselves.

The research process was painstaking, largely because the book is written in rhyming verse.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find words that rhyme with “stomach”?

 If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Mr. Stomach Gets Upset?

I would tell everyone to read the title because it would take far less time than reading the rest of the book.

What’s next? Are you involved in/writing any new projects?

I have a plan to write a series of seven books, all set in Corpus Hollow, Mr. Stomach’s town.  The second book is already written though not yet illustrated—but progress on the books has been slow because I’ve been writing a full-length theatrical musical, also called Mr. Stomach Gets Upset, based on the characters from Corpus Hollow.  It’s very different from the book, and I think this is a good thing, because if you like the book you’ll probably like the musical, and if you don’t like the book, you’ll probably love the musical.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer your younger writer self?

I wouldn’t waste my time, because my younger writer self wouldn’t listen.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

Website: https://corpushollow.com

Buy the book (from Amazon) here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1492257842/

Watch Ol’ Sir Paine sing and dance here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXeBKYBHZ_0

The folks from Corpus Hollow have a “corpushollow” Facebook page, but they believe that Facebook is for old people, so they are currently learning to use Instagram.  Stay tuned…

Thank you, Alan! Mr. Stomach Gets Upset is out now.

AUTHOR BIO:

Alan Rubin is an activist and hard-working advocate for the rights of internal organs.

MR. STOMACH GETS UPSET

Mr. Stomach Gets Upset takes you inside the mysterious yet familiar town of Corpus Hollow:

Inside the town it’s very icky
Some places slick, some places sticky.
The roads are red and blue and green–
The strangest roads you’ve ever seen!

If you enter be courageous–
Things in town may be contagious.
Come on in, but be advised:
Prepare yourself to be surprised!


Previous Interviews:

September 4, 2018: Lizzie Chantree Q&A

August 28, 2018: Heidi Catherine Q&A

August 21, 2018: Jennifer Klepper Q&A

August 14, 2018: Megan Mayfair Q&A

August 7, 2018: Lissa Linden Q&A

July 31, 2018: Diane Freeman Q&A

July 24, 2018: Willa Ramsey Q&A

July 17, 2018: Rachel Dacus Q&A

July 10, 2018: Randee Green Q&A

July 3, 2018: Carolyn Walker Q&A

June 26, 2018: Joy Norstrom Q&A

June 19, 2018: Joan Livingston Q&A

June 5, 2018: Elizabeth LaBan Q&A

May 22, 2018: Dawn Ius Q&A

May 8, 2018: Alice Castle Q&A

April 24, 2018: Isabella May Q&A

April 14, 2018: Margarita Montimore Q&A

 

Newsletter signup

Sign up for Sarahlyn's latest news, events, and giveaways!

(Psst! Sarahlyn NEVER shares email addresses or other info with outside parties.)

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up!