Category Archives: Guest Post

The Holiday Tradition Book Lovers Have Been Waiting For by Alison Ingleby #Christmas #ebooks #holidays

Special Guest Post by Alison Ingleby

From Christmas jumpers to putting out cookies and milk for Santa, we all have Christmas traditions that have been passed down through the generations. But my favorite tradition of all is Iceland’s “Yule book flood”, or Jólabókaflóð.

(If you just spat out your coffee, here’s how you actually pronounce it.)

Originating in World War II when imports to the country were restricted, Iceland’s bookish tradition involves exchanging books on Christmas eve and then spending the rest of the evening reading.

Could there be a more perfect holiday tradition?

In fact, Iceland could well lay claim to being the most book-loving nation on earth. A study found it to be the world’s third most literate nation (behind Finland and Norway – perhaps the cold dark winters have something to do with Scandinavian countries dominating the top five spots) and more than one in ten Icelanders will publish a book.

It’s certainly a country to inspire writers, with its vast ice caps, black volcanic beaches, bubbling mud pits, and a wealth of Norse mythology. Iceland has a long history of storytelling, stretching back to the famous Icelandic sagas; tales of Icelandic families whose ancestors migrated to Iceland from other northern European countries. Before the days of print or even handwritten books, these stories were passed down orally and many have been lost to time.

Whether historic sagas are your cup of tea or you prefer a lighter read, the tradition of giving books at Christmas is one any book lover can embrace. Not only can you share your favorite books with others, you’ll also receive plenty of new books to see you through the dark January days.

Here are a few ideas to start your own family holiday tradition:

  • Personal recommendation – buy the books which have given you the most enjoyment over the past year and match them to your loved ones’ tastes.
  • A blind date with a book – wrap your chosen books in brown paper, write a clue as to the genre or style of book on the outside and let people pick their own read.
  • Bookstore gift card – Not sure what book to buy for your fussy Aunt Mildred? A gift card for a local bookstore means she gets to pick exactly what she wants.
  • Gift an eBook – if you’re doing your Christmas shopping with just a few hours to go, it’s never too late to gift an eBook. If you live in the U.S., you can gift a specific eBook on Amazon and Nook, or you can buy a general gift card which can be redeemed against books of a recipient’s choice.
And in the spirit of gifting, I’ve got a free bookish gift for you this week. The Cursed Lands authors are giving away a special bonus pack of 15 eBooks to everyone who pre-orders the boxed set on iTunes, Nook or Kobo for 99c.

Even if you don’t have an e-reader, the Nook app can be downloaded on any smartphone, tablet or computer.

Once you’ve pre-ordered, head to the Cursed Lands website to get your free gift.

Happy holidays!

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Guest Post ~ A Dream of Love and Antiques by Helena Fairfax

Hi Everyone! Please welcome Helena Fairfax, author of The Antique Love!
Helena Fairfax photo Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now and that’s just as well, because nowadays she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, right next door to windswept Brontë country. She has an affectionate, if half-crazed, rescue dog and together they tramp the moors every day—one of them wishing she were Emily Brontë, the other vainly chasing pheasants. When she’s not out on the moors you’ll find Helena either creating romantic heroes and heroines of her own or else with her nose firmly buried in a book, enjoying someone else’s stories. Her patient husband and her brilliant children support her in her daydreams and are the loves of her life.

A Dream of Love and Antiques

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

It’s a question writers are often asked, and one I usually find really difficult to answer. Ideas can descend at the unlikeliest times. Whilst waiting in a traffic jam, or pegging out washing.

I do remember how I got the idea for The Antique Love. I was feeling quite ill with a flu-like virus. So ill, I was too tired to read (now that’s really ill, for me!) And so I was lying on my settee, flicking through the TV channels with a temperature, when I came across a programme all about antiques. Two dealers were in an old vintage car, travelling round English country villages, rummaging in antique shops for treasures.

The Antique Love 333x500The antique shops and their owners were fabulous, like something out of a story book. My heat-filled brain began to think how brilliant it would be to own one of these shops: a cornucopia of marvellous treasures, from porcelain dolls, to painted fans, to delicate china ornaments. The shops began to take on a totally romantic lustre in my mind, and gradually I dreamed up my heroine, Penny Rosas. I created an antique shop for her which she owned, in a street in London. My flu-like delirium induced a dreamlike state, and I envisaged Penny as also a dreamer – an imaginative heroine, who sees the beauty and life in these antiques, and who believes in romance.

So my heroine came first in my mind – but what about a hero? Every heroine needs her counterpart – someone who balances her in temperament. Spirited Lizzie Bennett has her dour Mr Darcy; gentle Jane Eyre has her brusque Mr Rochester. Who would be the foil to Penny, my romantic dreamer? Gradually another figure emerged in my mind. He was tall, broad-shouldered, good-looking, and at first sight everything a romantic hero should be.

But appearances are deceptive, as Penny finds out. In character, my hero is anything but a romantic. Kurt Bold works in the logical world of finance, where everything is ordered and controlled. In Kurt’s words, romance is for dreamers.

How will two such opposing characters ever come together? Well, I gave them a glimmer of hope in the romance of Kurt Bold’s setting. Although he works in London, in the City, he is originally from Wyoming. The crowded streets of London are a far cry from the wide open spaces Kurt is used to, and so I gave him a house on the edge of Richmond Park. Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London, and is virtually unchanged in hundreds of years.  It was established as a Royal Park by Charles I in 1625.  Charles came to Richmond to escape the plague in the city, and loved the hunting there so much, he decided to turn the place into his own park, and walled it in with eight foot stone walls.

And that’s how I worked through my ideas for The Antique Love. Of course, my ideas didn’t all fall together quite as easily as I’ve described here (I wish!) Someone once said writing involves 10% inspiration (my Eureka moment with the antique shop) and 90% perspiration – constantly writing down and revising ideas until I had the whole story straight in my mind.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday I was lying down with a fever, and I can’t believe my book is finally published. It’s like a sort of magic!
If you’d like to find out a little more about The Antique Love, here is the blurb:

One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…

The Antique Love is available from MuseItUp Publishing,
Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
and all major e-tailers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my short introduction. You can find out more about me and my books at http://www.helenafairfax.com
on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082986.Helena_Fairfax
on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfax, or on Twitter @helenafairfax
Please do get in touch – I love to meet new people!

Thanks so much for having me today, Kim. I’ve really enjoyed talking about Penny and Kurt. Thank you for welcoming me to your blog!

Guest Post ~ Author Kimberley Patterson and The Three Month Plan

Hi everyone! Please welcome Kimberley Patterson – author of The Three Month Plan!

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I am often asked if there are any similarities with characters or events in my books to my real life. In other words, did I come up with the inspiration for characters or stories from actual life experiences? And, do I have any common themes that run in my books?

The completely honest answer is – sometimes.

I think that any writer creates stories based on some experiences in their life. The nice thing about fiction though, is that you can elaborate on those particular instances or individuals and have the outcome be however you want it to be. I often feel that writing is therapeutic, and I strongly believe that whether it is for fun, or for a career that it’s worth doing.

In my first novel, Red Rock, I was seventeen when I started writing the book. At that time, I was heavily involved with horses, and found the inspiration very quickly for the story line. Several situations in the book were based on my actual life experiences. In looking back all of these years later, it’s funny to note that even the female lead’s physical description matched my own as a teenager.

In my second novel, The Three Month Plan, the story didn’t come to me as easily as it had in Red Rock. It was tough to get started. I decided to incorporate areas of my personal life into the manuscript to make the story more realistic. As a reader, its always fun to learn how the book and characters are tied to the author personally. Although my writing had evolved, I wanted to stay true to the actual style of how I write. Part of that was developing characters who were realistic and could be identified with. The main female lead, Kelly, is attractive, but shy, self-confident, and tired of failed relationships. Jake Carter is her polar opposite. I think the majority of dating age females have all met a Jake at some point in their lives. Through those encounters we learn a lot about ourselves – good and bad. And, yes, some of the scenes throughout the book were based on my past dating experiences.

As for common themes, both of my female leads struggle with their self image. They have never thought of themselves as beautiful, but once they transform through the story they become beautiful in their own right. I have a strong belief that we are all unique and beautiful, and sometimes we just have to experience certain trials to become stronger and realize this ourselves. In the case of Red Rock, a lot of my readers didn’t initially identify with the main character, Rachel, and felt that she was too mean and immature throughout the book. I contemplated changing her character after the initial reviews came in, but I didn’t. I felt it was essential that readers saw her evolve throughout the book – from a self-absorbed, immature girl to a strong, and capable woman. There is nothing sexier than a strong, independent woman who stands up for herself. And once we realize this, we can each have our own happy ending in real life.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from The Three Month Plan –

“The only hands I wanted around her waist were mine. And tonight, when she came over to my place and we were finally alone, I would do just that. Turn her towards me, guide my hands gently to her waist, look her in the eyes and tell her the words I never thought I would ever say to anyone. That I love her.”

Synopsis of The Three Month Plan

Kelly Callahan had everything going for her. Everything that is, except for a relationship. It wasn’t for the lack of trying, it just seemed like she was a magnet for all the wrong ones. But all of that was about to change the minute she laid eyes on Jake.
On a dare from her close friend, Michelle, Kelly accepts a challenge to date and become Jake’s girlfriend within three months. The consequence of losing is global humiliation, and she refuses to lose.

Enlisting the help of her childhood friend and confidant, Brian, Kelly manages to catch Jakes attention. She also unknowingly hooks Brian who tries to sabotage the plan. Kelly finds herself with a dilemma; take the final step with Jake and win the plan or follow her heart and reveal her feelings for Brian.

About Kimberley

IMG_0381Horses were one of my first loves, and writing soon followed. As a child, I spent hours writing poems, and short stories (about horses). My parents realized that I was horse-obsessed and decided to buy me one after taking riding lessons for two years. I think they hoped that all of the hard work, and hours spent mucking stalls would help me give up this expensive hobby. They were wrong. Writing is still a passion of mine, although now I primarily write fiction. My first novel, Red Rock, was published in 2010, and big surprise, there are horses in it. My second novel, The Three Month Plan was released August 2013.
Other Loves: My family, yoga, skincare and makeup, sushi, and raising money for pediatric cancer. I have two rescue dogs and would have more if there weren’t zoning restrictions. I’m always trying something new, as I tend to get bored very easily. Thankfully, my love of driving around with the gas light on fuels some excitement. I love novels with happy endings, and am a hopeful romantic. My latest obsession is browsing Netflix, and I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in under 30 seconds. Do I feel a wager coming on?

To read more about Kimberley or to purchase her books please visit the following links:

http://kimberleypatterson.wordpress.com

http://kimberleyskincare.wordpress.com

http://www.thethreemonthplan.com

http://www.kimberleypatterson.com

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.facebook.com/Kpattersonofficial

Book Spotlight ~ The Pool Boy’s Beatitude by DJ Swykert

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Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he meets Sarah his universe further expands. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool boy quest toward bliss.

Excerpt

I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.
And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

Where to Buy

The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased direct at:

http://rebelepublishers.com/
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.magicmasterminds.com

Author Bio

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: http://www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.

Penny Estelle ~ Author of The Wickware Sagas (Middle Grade)

I have a special treat for everyone! Today I’m spotlighting Penny Estelle, author of The Wickware Sagas! If you are looking for a fantastic middle grade series for your kids, make sure you check these books out!

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Good morning Kim and thanks a million for letting me barge in on your blog!

I would like to tell all your readers about my series for the middle grade kids. It’s called The Wickware Sagas. In a nutshell, Miss Wickware, the 7/8 grade history teacher at Langdon Middle School, has her students draw a name or event from a box. Then those students are to do an oral report on their subject. Somehow, some way, a few of these students have ended up back in time meeting their subjects face to face!

It’s the kids of the twenty-first century, going nose to nose, with historical heroes from years of long ago. There is humor, adventure, a little education, and of course, lots of sarcasm. I love a kid with some sarcasm!!!

Book 1 of the Wickware Sagas, Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, has Billy headed back to the 14 Century! Who the heck is William Tell?

Billy+Coopers+Awesome+Nightmare+

http://goo.gl/QwMMv – MuseItUp
http://goo.gl/HnfGa Amazon
http://goo.gl/5cEAB Barnes & Noble

Book 2, Ride of a Lifetime, has bully Jim Abernathy, landing in the 18 Century, meeting the female version of Paul Revere. He learns just how brave a young girl can be.

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http://goo.gl/HfaMX MuseItUp
http://goo.gl/iqtkS Amazon
http://goo.gl/GJQ9f Barnes & Noble

Book 3, Flash to the Past, (which will be out soon) has the snooty, seventh grader, Kristy Sawyer and the nerdy, Larry Peables, headed back to the 18 century. They end up in the middle of a war!

Flash to the Past 200x300

Coming Soon!

MuseItUp Publishing has made a fabulous author page for me with the three books on it. There will be a total of 5 books by summer’s end. It’s an awesome page they have made for me. Please stop by and check it out!
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=146&Itemid=82

You can find out more about my other kids/adult stories, or myself, at:
http://www.pennystales.com
http://www.pennyestelle.blogspot.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5820078.Penny_Estelle

Book Talk Tuesdays: Meet M.K. Chester

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What to Write?

Surrender

When Kim asked me to guest blog, I wasn’t sure what to write about. It’s been a couple weeks, and I’m still not sure. Kim and I have known each other in the virtual world long enough to be real-life friends, so she’d know if I was giving her a bunch of BS. And then (again) I thought, “I’m not sure what to write about.”

And that’s what I’m writing about. That foggy, gray place in a writer’s mind where ideas are just not quite developed—yet. They’re large enough to tug at your sleeve and ask for a little attention. Persistent enough to be able to lose yourself in some research. But the nucleus of the tale remains elusive. It’s not unpleasant, because you can enjoy the feeling of sorting through ideas. The hard work has not yet begun.

I spend a lot of time there. From a practical standpoint, there are no new stories. There are old themes and memes and characters reborn in different places and times—but there are no new stories. We all know this and yet…this drive to create something new that is not new.

How does one get through the fog and grasp The Thing we really want to write about? For me, it’s a process, and I’ve learned not to rush though, lest I lose that feeling. I scout around for settings, both general and specific. What time frame best fits this slippery idea, and what does that look like? I poke around for representations of my elusive characters, so they might become more real. Again, this usually has more to do with what emotions do the images evoke—do they match the tone in my mind?

Sometimes there’s historical research to be done, and sometimes there’s other worlds to create from nothing. And at some mystical point, something becomes clear. Goals. Motivation. Conflict—yes, I use Deb Dixon’s formula, why do you ask? But it’s some thing enigmatic, something different for each story, that tells you when it’s ready. The idea has percolated long enough and it’s time to get to work. For me, that magic has to be strong enough to recall throughout the entire process, or else I lose interest, so the ground work, the research, is important to take me back to when this full-blown story was just a little, nagging thought in the back on my mind.

authorbio

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M.K. Chester is an award-winning, multi-published romance author who loves complex characters, off-beat eras, and of course, happy endings.  When not writing, Marty works as a college administrator and history professor at a local creative college. She spends weekends cheering at her son’s basketball games, and the rest of her ‘free’ time corralling two beastly Scottish Terriers, Stewie and Angus. She is published with Carina Press and The Wild Rose Press, and you can find her at these virtual locations:

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