Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Monster Mash Countdown: Ann Swann's "Sutter Creek," Suspense-Filled Fiction



As Halloween approaches I'm participating in Loving the Book's Monster Mash Countdown, a collection of intriguing, mysterious, and scary reads. And a raffle! Watch this space!



Stutter Creek (book one) is a romance, brilliantly hidden within a suspense-filled tale of a psychotic serial killer with a chip on his shoulder. It is also a classic tale of young love lost, and a life of regrettable what-ifs.


About the Author

Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of
Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantoms series, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house.

Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She lives in Texas with her husband, Dude, a rescue cat named Oscar, and a part-time box turtle named Piggy.

When she’s not writing, Ann is reading. Her to-be-read list has grown so large it has taken on a life of its own. She calls it Herman.

Connect with Ann Swann


Q&A with the Author

When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

I began writing short stories in my teens. I kept them in a spiral notebook under my bed. I couldn't keep my sister out of my diary so I felt I had to hide everything!

Are you currently working on a project, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

I am currently finishing up a romantic suspense and a YA novel. Both are contemporary and both have elements of suspense and romance.

What is your favorite writing snack?

My favorite writing snack is anything chocolate with diet vanilla Coke. They balance each other out, right? Calorie-wise, I mean...

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? Why? What food would you serve?

If I could have dinner with any of my characters I think it would be with Big John in Stutter Creek or Reece in The Remains in the Pond because they are both hunks ... wait, so is Quinn in All For Love. Shoot. Any of those. And we'd have jalapeño poppers and margaritas. Yum!

Do you ever get Writers Block and how do you work through it?

Writer's block? Nah. If I get stuck on a story, I just close it and go to another story. I always have several going at once. Always. And pretty soon the sticky story will work itself out. If it doesn't, it wasn't a good story.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I do learn something with each book. I usually learn something about myself and what I would or would not do in a given situation. Sometimes it's hard to make my characters do things that go against my normal beliefs!

How do you relax, or what do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

To relax I love to walk our local walking trails around town as well as going to our local drive-in movie and catching up on live music at the auditorium. Going to see Bob Dylan soon. Just saw Melissa Etheridge last week. So good!

What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

My largest unfulfilled dream is to see every historical tourist spot in the United States. I'm working on it ... slowly.

What do you fear most?

My greatest fear is becoming incapacitated and becoming a burden to my family.

What was your favorite Halloween Costume?

My favorite Halloween costume? The first year we my hubs and I were married, my mom (a very talented seamstress) helped me create a witch's costume for myself and a sexy vampire costume for my new husband. They were so good, we won a contest at the local dance hall. And may I just add, this was about twenty years before Bella and Edward. LOL

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Monster Mash Countdown: "Before," A Young Adult Romance by Catina Haverlock and Angela Larkin


As Halloween approaches I'm participating in Loving the Book's Monster Mash Countdown, a collection of intriguing, mysterious, and scary reads. And a raffle! Watch this space!

Day Eight belongs to Catina Haverlock and Angela Larkin and their Young Adult romance novel Before.


True love doesn't always mean a happy ending. Presley and Landon finally have a chance at a real relationship when they travel back in time, but their leap backward to two months before his accident has altered reality: Landon has no memory of Presley.

Hurt and lonely, Presley is still determined to save his life, even as Landon's death-date looms. He's alive for now, but nothing is like it was . . . Before.

About the Authors

Catina Haverlock worked her way through college as a TV reporter and a dating game show host. She's a sucker for Young Adult romance stories (both real and make-believe). She has a panache for match-making and loves that many of her "set-ups" have resulted in marriages. After spending most of her adult life in Las Vegas, Catina traded in tumbleweeds for earthquakes and now lives with her husband and four children near San Diego, California. If she's not home, chances are you can find her at the beach, Disneyland, or In-N-Out Burger.

Angela Larkin writes clean teen romance and is a big fan of kissing (in life and in books). She's been a gold miner, a pool cleaner, a mannequin dresser, and a teacher. She's lived a true romance: meeting her husband in a case of mistaken identity. They recently moved with their four children from the sparkling city of Las Vegas to the shade of the North Carolina Pines. Chances are, she's reading past bedtime.

Q&A with the Authors

a) Angela’s Answers  b) Catina’s Answers 

When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

a) I've always enjoyed writing in school, but I started writing short stories and bookish things on my own after high school. It was my way of dealing with a huge unrequited crush! Reading the Grapes of Wrath was a formative moment for me as a writer. It was the first book that powerfully showed me how incredible writing can be.

b) I've loved writing stories my whole life but developed a passion for it in college when I started writing for our university's newspaper and TV station. One morning, the idea for Beyond (the prequel to Before) came to me and I knew I had to morph my journalism skills into that of an author, because the story had to be told!

Are you currently working on a project, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

a) Right now I'm querying a romance set in rural NV. It's like The Breakfast Club meets Holes. I'm currently working on a romance about a British Prep School boy forced to accompany his father on a business assignment to a tiny Tennessee mountain town. There he meets a girl struggling to support her family. Though total opposites, they have a lot to learn from each other . . . and of course they fall in love!

b) I am currently working on a middle-grade adventure. Because I have a request for the full manuscript, I can't say much!

What is your favorite writing snack?

a) Trader Joe's dips and hummus.

b) I love to eat flavored popcorn while I write. I can feel like I'm indulging without doing too much damage!

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? Why? What food would you serve?

a) I'd have dinner with Reese from the Beyond series because I like the funny boys. We'd eat microwave convenience store burritos and Dr. Pepper - his favorite:)

b) I'd have to have dinner with Reese and Landon together. I love their brotherly cousin dynamic and their senses of humor. I'm also a little star struck by their awesome skiing skills and ravishing good looks. Ha! They have huge appetites so I'd probably grill piles and piles of rib-eye and serve it with a yummy pasta salad and dessert.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

a) I learned I can do harder things than I thought I could. And that all skills can be improved upon with practice, no matter who you are.

b) I've learned to write what's in your heart. Write, write, write and do not edit as you go. Save the editing for after your entire first draft is complete. I've also learned that my writing improves so much when I hit it every day. Big breaks aren't awesome when it comes to writing skills.

How do you relax, or what do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

a) I eat brownies in bed and watch Netflix shows about food, decorating, or kissing.

b) I love going to the movies. We are an opening night kind of family. I also love to read as much as I can. At any given time, I'm reading a book for book club, one in the genre I'm writing, one for my kids, and one off my personal list.

What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

a) I'd love to get my MFA in creative writing. Currently, I'm researching schools and hyperventilating about taking the math portion of the GRE.

b) Ooohhhh - that's a tough one - but I'd have to say seeing my work on the big screen. That would be incredible.

What do you fear most?

a) Betrayal.

b) Spiders. Being bitten by a brown recluse in the night.

What was your favorite Halloween Costume?

a) Without my mom's permission, I bought a Harem Girl costume when I was nine. As an adult, I see the folly in this, but at the time I LOVED the purple veil and the gold sequins belt and headband. And it even came with brass finger cymbals!

b) My favorite Halloween costume wasn't really for me - it was one I created for my son. He was Wolverine. We grew his hair out for four months, found an awesome leather jacket at the thrift store and bought him his first pair of jeans. Ha ha! We nailed it and everywhere we went, people wanted a picture.

Connect with the Authors


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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page



Saturday, October 20, 2018

Monster Mash Countdown: Christina Enquist and "The Immundus," Dystopian Young Adult Fiction



As Halloween approaches I'm participating in Loving the Book's Monster Mash Countdown, a collection of intriguing, mysterious, and scary reads. And a raffle! Watch this space!

Day Six belongs to Christina Enquist and The Immundus

Would you sacrifice your humanity to save mankind?

IT’S THE YEAR 2828, and Domus is the last remaining country. Divided into twelve walled cities known as genuses, Domus spans what’s known as the purist lands — lands unaffected by the genetic modifications that killed all other species of mammals. But outside the walls of each genus the Immundus threaten the welfare of those within. From a young age, all citizens of Domus are trained for combat against these intruders.

At sixteen, Nia Luna knows little of the Immundus, except for the citywide alarms that ring any time an Immundus nears the genus walls. What she does know is that her own species is dying—their numbers dwindling as a mysterious disease called allagine kills many before their eleventh birthday. The same disease that ravaged her family when it took her sister.

When Nia is recruited into Genesis, a research company pioneering the path to a cure, she knows that her dream to find a cure for allagine is finally within her grasp. But within weeks of starting at Genesis, Nia witnesses something she shouldn’t have — something that changes everything. As she sets down a dangerous path that uncovers national secrets, Nia will have to decide not only what kind of person she wants to be but also how far she’s willing to go to save humanity.

Purchase The Immundus


About the Author

I grew up in Salinas, California, the same hometown of John Steinbeck, one of America’s greatest writers. I loved to read (and still do) and frequented the John Steinbeck Library as a child. I discovered at an early age that I also enjoyed writing. In sixth grade, my teacher, Mr. Graham gave the class an assignment to write a story for a contest. The contest required that we create our book binding as well, which we did with cardboard, glue, and wallpaper. My book was called “Mully Mully” about a creature who lived in an underwater lake city. I was sad when I didn’t win, but I cherished my book so I kept it all these years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to put other stories, roaming around in my mind, down on paper again, or actually, in my case, into a computer.

I took a non-traditional route to writing, considering I have a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Aside from writing, I work full-time as a Training & Development Coordinator at Kaweah Delta, a teaching hospital, and some semesters I also teach at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, where I currently live. When I’m not at my full-time and part-time job, I enjoy writing, reading, watching TV, and spending time with my husband and pets (cat-Smokey, dog-Princess).

The Immundus is my debut novel.

Connect with Christina Enquist


Q&A with Christina Enquist

When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

I started writing in elementary school. The first book I wrote was in 6th for an assignment/contest. It was a story about Mully Mully who lived at the bottom of a lake in an underwater city. There wasn't a specific person that influenced me, but there were several stories that captured my heart, such as The Veldt, Mrs. Frisby and the the rats of Nimh, Watership Down, and others.

Are you currently working on a project, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

I am working on two books right now. One of the books is The Liberatus, which is book 2 of The Immundus where Nia experiences the world outside of the world she is accustomed to and introduced to more of the culture of the other species in the story. The Liberatus is YA Science Fiction. I am also working on Macie and the Magi, a middle grade fantasy about Macie, an amputee who lives with her grandfather since the accident that took her leg killed her father and put her mom in a coma. When she learns that she is The Restorer who is destined to return magic, she goes on a journey to bring magic back, hoping she can use it to save her mom.

What is your favorite writing snack? 

Chocolate :)

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? 

Sage Why? Because he is a unicorn who is disguised as a horse, but he can also transform into a human. What food would you serve? I'm vegetarian, as is Sage, so I would serve vegetable dishes. My favorite dish is Zoodle Bake, so I think I would serve that.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned to improve my writing through the beta reader and editing process.

How do you relax, or what do you enjoy doing when you are not writing? 

Well, I do have many other projects I'm juggling. Aside from my various writing projects, I have a short film in post production. I plan on adding an additional scene or two. I am currently serving as an assistant to two directors on a play, and performing in the play Escanaba in da Moonlight.

What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

I would like to open an independent bookstore in the city I currently live. I am conducting research right now to determine its viability.

What do you fear most? 

Failure

What was your favorite Halloween Costume? 

My Pocahontas costume. I had it hand made when I was in my 20's. I don't have it any longer, but it was awesome.

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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page.




Friday, October 19, 2018

Monster Mash Countdown: Ann Swann's Ghost Story "Stevie-Girl and the Phantom Student"



As Halloween approaches I'm participating in Loving the Book's Monster Mash Countdown, a collection of intriguing, mysterious, and scary reads. And a raffle! Watch this space!

Day Five introduces Ann Swann and her ghost story Stevie-Girl and the Phantom Student.

Stevie asks Jase to help her find out why the ghost of a girl keeps appearing in her mirror. They think it has something to do with the new student at their school, a boy who has Tourette syndrome. Both the boy and the phantom seem to need some kind of help. All is revealed when the new kid falls prey to the school bullies.

Will Stevie and Jase be too late, or will a tragic moment in their school's history be repeated on Halloween night?

Purchase Stevie-Girl and the Phantom Student


About the Author

Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantoms series, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house.

Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She lives in Texas with her husband, Dude, a rescue cat named Oscar, and a part-time box turtle named Piggy.

When she’s not writing, Ann is reading. Her to-be-read list has grown so large it has taken on a life of its own. She calls it Herman.

Connect with Ann Swann






Q&A With the Author

When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

I’ve been writing since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. My mom, dad, and Aunt Alma bought books for me on every birthday and Christmas. They fostered my love of reading, which in turn fostered my interest in writing. I wanted to be like my author-icons.

What is your favorite writing snack?

When I’m writing, I have to have my Diet Vanilla Coke and something crunchy – trail mix or any kind of nuts. If the nuts have a chocolate coating, so much the better!

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? Why? What food would you serve?

I would love to have dinner with Stevie & Jase. I would serve Stevie’s Inside Out Chocolate Cake and ask them to tell me their best ghost stories!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

When I first wrote about Jase and Stevie, I thought it would be limited to a short story (which is how it began), but it won a couple of awards and an editor asked if could expand it, so I did. And it’s still going…I love this pair!

How do you relax, or what do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Reading, movies, playing with grandkids, going to the beach (which is a million miles from here) and walking on my favorite trail while listening to one of my many playlists or audio books.

What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

My unfulfilled dream is to write the story of my parents’ lives. I’m working on it bit by bit.

What do you fear most?

My greatest fear is for some harm to befall one of my loved ones.

What advice would you give someone who wants to write a book some day?

Just start writing. Write the most important parts first. Don’t worry about making it pretty, just get it down while it’s fresh. You can always revise later.

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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Monster Mash Countdown: Contemporary Women's Fiction with Elsa Winckler and "Where the River Bends"





As Halloween approaches I'm participating in Loving the Book's Monster Mash Countdown, a collection of intriguing, mysterious, and scary reads. And a raffle! Watch this space!

Day Three Belongs to South African author Elsa Winckler and Where the River Bends.


Kalinda Evans works for the Anglo-Boer war foundation in Canada. She's sent to South Africa to make sure everyone who lost their lives in the war will be remembered. On her drive to the guest farm in Kimberley, South Africa, Kalinda picks up a female hitchhiker and is startled when just moments later, the woman vanishes. Kalinda would be convinced she was dreaming…except there’s still a white lace handkerchief on the passenger seat.

Extreme sports enthusiast and computer game designer Zack Carter is always after the next big challenge. He’s far too busy for romance and adheres to a three-date rule, until he meets his parents’ latest guest. When she relays the story of her mysterious experience, Zack’s family shares the local ghost story. Kalinda and Zack work together to solve the puzzle of the ghost and how it all ties in with the war and the work Kalinda is doing.

As their attraction grows, Zack realizes he no longer feels the need to prove anything to himself. He only needs to prove to Kalinda that he’s more than a good time."

Purchase Where the River Bends


About the Author

I have been reading love stories for as long as I can remember and when I ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during my Honours studies, I was hooked for life.

I married my college boyfriend and soul mate and after 43 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 3 beautiful grandchildren, he still makes me weak in the knees. We are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty's Bay, South Africa with the ocean a block away and a beautiful mountain right behind us. And although life so far has not always been an easy ride, it has always been an exiting and interesting one!

I like the heroines in my stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong. And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous! My stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Connect with Elsa Winckler


Q&A with the Author

When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

I started writing in 2008 when I entered an Afrikaans romance writing competition. I was fortunate enough to win and the prize was that my story was published. I’ve always loved reading romance novels and once I’ve told one story, I couldn’t stop!

Are you currently working on a project, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

I’m currently working on another Afrikaans story, but Tule Publishing will be releasing a series of three stories about three brothers and the women they fall in love with in 2019!

What is your favorite writing snack?

Tea and rusks.

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? Why? What food would you serve?

I’d love to join Zack and Kalinda for dinner to see first hand the undeniable spark between the two of them! I’d cook them a ‘waterblommetjie' stew. ‘Waterblommetjies’ literally means water flowers, something you find in dams around the countryside this time of year. The taste reminds one of green beans but it has a very unique taste. It was traditionally cooked with ‘suring’ a sour-tasting plant but you can also use use lemons with it and lots of black pepper.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

You have to deal with past hurts so that you can move forward. Both Zach and Kalinda have issues from their pasts they have to deal with and while they are trying to solve Suzie’s past, they also manage to find a way to deal with their own.

How do you relax, or what do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

I knit and I crochet - my hands have to stay busy! I also enjoy to cook for the people I love. But when I really have time to relax, I read. Escaping between the pages of a book has been my way of escaping from reality ever since I was a little girl.

What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

I married my soul mate, we have three children and have also been blessed with three little grandsons, so most of my dreams have been fulfilled. But if someone wants to use any of the stories I’ve written to write a screen play, I’d be thrilled to bits!

What do you fear most?

I don’t think I’d like to encounter a real-life ghost!

What was your favorite Halloween Costume?

We don’t really celebrate Halloween in South Africa but I’d love a Superwoman outfit!

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Jane Mullins, author of "Finding the Light in Dementia, a Guide for Families, Friends and Caregivers"



By Jane Mullins Ph.D., from Cardiff, U.K.

I am a nurse who has worked with people who have dementia for over 25 years. This has included nursing in a care home where I have helped support people during their transition from home. This has included finding out about their life stories and getting to know them, working together in understanding their past, identifying their present needs and future wishes. 

I have also cared for people who have dementia in hospital and seen the impact that an admission can have on the person and their dementia. Here, I recognised the importance of involving families and keeping familiar meaningful objects with them when in unfamiliar places. 

My role as a nurse in memory clinics included supporting people and caring for them during their diagnosis of dementia. This involved offering them and their families one to one counselling, practical advice and support. It also gave me the opportunity to understand the real concerns and issues that people who have dementia and their families experience. 

As well as my practice experience, my Ph.D. A Suitcase of Memories, involved creating a multisensory reminiscence approach to counselling and provided therapeutic support to people living with dementia and their partners.

By listening to and observing people who have dementia and their loved ones, I have learnt so much about how it can affect them and have uncovered common features that may help. For example, many caregivers would be upset when struggling to communicate with their loved ones and not understand why they may behave differently over time.

By drawing from their experiences and up to date research, I set out to write a monthly column for a local newsletter, Mumbles Times, and a national newspaper, Mature Times. I wrote every month about different aspects of how dementia can affect people and considered ways that would help them, based on my knowledge and up to date research. I gained much positive feedback as the months went by and a number of readers suggested I put the columns together into a book – Hence, Finding the Light in Dementia, a Guide for Families, Friends and Caregivers was born.

I feel that Finding the Light in Dementia is authentic and reflects my approach to caregiving as it also includes the experiences of the many people I have listened to with their stories interspersed throughout. Finding the Light helps all affected by dementia by giving confidence to care. It contributes to breaking down the stigma of the dementia by explaining how a person experiences the condition and shows that by adopting positive approaches to care and the environment, the negative effects of the condition can be reduced considerably.

About the Author

Dr. Jane M. Mullins is a dementia nurse consultant who has devoted over 25 years to the study and practice of dementia care. Through listening to and supporting people and their families during their diagnosis in memory clinics, caring for them in hospital and in care homes, she has helped throughout all of the stages of their condition.

Jane has uncovered certain common features that may help caregivers and the people they care for find better ways of coping. Her practice experience is backed up by expert knowledge gained from attending conferences, continuing education, lecturing and keeping up to date with research, as well as studying for her Ph.D. which explores multisensory ways of communicating and connecting.

Connect with Jane Mullin


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