Saturday, August 31, 2013

@OBBookTours - Character Interview – Gracie by Alicia Renee Kline

Character Interview – Gracie 
by Alicia Renee Kline
Gracie is well established as being one of the most fun characters to write for in Intoxicated.  In the role of Lauren’s best friend, she has a unique viewpoint on the action.  And she’s not afraid to express her opinions.
Q:  How did your friendship with Lauren begin?
A:  We met through work.  She was already at the bank when I got hired there as a teller.  Even though she was in the mortgage department, we bonded because we were the two youngest employees at the branch.  We started going out to lunch together, and the friendship just grew from there. 
Q:  Some would say that the two of you are exact opposites.  What do you think?
A:  I think we balance each other out well.  She’s ultra serious at times and I never try to be that deep.  It happens sometimes, but usually not on purpose.  She’s a little bit older than me, so she’s kind of taken the older sister role.  I can come to her for advice, especially on things that are career oriented.  I think she sort of lives through me at times, since she never really was the type to party during her college years.  Sometimes I think that she was born at about age twenty-five.
Q:  Were you supportive of her decision to accept the promotion and move to Fort Wayne?
A:  Yes, no question about it.  It’s what she’s always wanted.  She’ll be an awesome manager and it would be totally selfish on my part to be mad at her for leaving.  She’s the kind of friend I know I’ll have for the rest of my life.  We’ll spend a lot more time on the phone with one another now, and we can always email each other at work as long as the subject matter isn’t too inappropriate.  Who knows, maybe someday she’ll convince me to move up there with her.  It’s not like I have any ties to Indianapolis besides her dad.
Q:  You come across as a harsh critic of her boyfriend, Eric.  Why so negative?
A:  He has a few redeeming qualities, I’m sure, if Lauren’s still with him.  I haven’t found them yet.  He is an egomaniac, always about himself.  There’s nothing wrong with him being proud of his achievements, but Lauren’s just as good, if not better.  It just seems that he’s always on, you know?  I’d swear he sold used cars instead of insurance.
Q:  In your opinion, would Lauren be better off without him?
A:  In my opinion, the world would be better off without him.
Q:  So, in a perfect world, who would you pair her with?
A:  Anyone else!
Q:  How about her roommate’s brother, Matthew?  It seems she has a bit of a crush on him.
A:  Who wouldn’t?  If he didn’t already have designs on her, I would be interested. He would be a major upgrade as far as I’m concerned.
Q:  Wait a second – so she’s not just imagining things?  There really is something more than friendship going on between them?
A:  He’s actually discussed it with me a little bit.  Sure, he didn’t come out and say it, but I could tell.  It’s obvious that she’s the center of his universe.
Q:  And you’re okay with that, given his past?
A:  Everyone has a past.  He’s quite literally done his time and repented for his wrongdoings.  If Lauren’s willing to have an open mind about it, then who am I to judge?  To be honest, his past doesn’t bother me in the least.
Q:  If you could give your best friend a final piece of advice, what would you tell Lauren?
A:  Sometimes you are blind to the truth that is right in front of you.  See, unexpected deepness!

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Romance / Chick Lit 
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with Alicia Renee Kline on Twitter

Follow the Tour
7th September – Author Interview & Book Feature at Paws on Books
14th September – Guest Post at Creating Imaginations
17th September – Excerpt at Just My Opinion
21st September – Author Interview & Book Feature at UnBiased Reviews
28th September – Guest Post at Living Books
4th October – Book Feature at Tangled in Pages
17th October - Excerpt at Book Connoisseur
24th October – Author Interview & Book Feature at Farm Girl Book
31st October – Excerpt at Need To Stop Reading
7th November – Guest Post & Book Feature at Gentleman Reads

Friday, August 30, 2013

@OBBookTours - 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sunny Benson

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sunny Benson
  1. I’ve always loved science. As a kid I asked for a robot, a microscope, and a chemistry set for Christmas. I also requested a frog dissection kit, but never received it. I don’t think my mom thought I’d actually use it, which is funny, because as a little kid she dissected a dead mouse she found to ‘see what was inside’.
  2. I became a lacto-ovo-vegetarian thirteen years ago after seeing an episode of cops that featured the officers busting a cock fighting ring and finding live, injured chickens discarded in a covered trash can.
  3. I have three bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, and computer science and a master’s degree in IT.
  4. I was a high school science teacher before my current occupation as a computer scientist.
  5. There is an old family story regarding my name. One Sunday after church, my family went for brunch at Perkins, a huge treat for us since we didn’t often eat out very often. I was six years old, and my little sister Tracy was four. When the waiter took my order, I ordered my eggs sunny side up. So of course, applying kid logic, when it was her turn to order, Tracy asked for her eggs Tracy side up.
  6. When I donned my new fledged wings of adulthood, I procured a tattoo of a Sun, because of my name.
  7. I was born in Fargo and lived there for the first few weeks of my life, but actually grew up across the border in Fargo’s twin city Moorhead. Go Spuds!
  8. I attended Space Camp as a teenager and won the “Right Stuff” award.
  9. I’ve been an insomniac since I was a teenager. The only time in my adult life that I’ve slept well was during my pregnancy with my son.
  10. I have double jointed elbows. So do my mom, my two sisters, and at least one of my daughters.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Sunny Benson on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
6th September – Book Review at Paws on Books
13th September – Guest Post at Living Books
20th September – Book Review at Reading Away Life
27th September – Author Interview at Me, You & Books

Friday, August 23, 2013

@OBBookTours: 10 Things To Do Once You’ve Written a First Draft by DV Berkom

10 Things To Do Once You’ve Written a First Draft
by DV Berkom 
Publishing and selling your book can be one of the most rewarding events a person can experience. It can also be one of the main reasons for loss of hair, sanity and personal hygiene. Consider this: only ten percent of published (not just self-published) fiction authors in the U.S. make more than $10,000 per year. Of that ten percent, only about three percent earn enough to be considered making a living. Yes, that percentage appears to be changing slowly due to self-publishing, but it still takes a lot of work to get your name/book out there.
When you’ve written THE END, it’s only the beginning. First of all, take a deep breath and step back. Congratulations are in order—you’ve written a book! Pat yourself on the back and order champagne all ’round. Let the manuscript rest for a week, or a month. Get some distance before coming back to write the next draft. I’ll wait right here.
Done celebrating? Great. Now the REAL work begins. Here are my top ten things to consider once you’ve written the first draft of your novel:
1. Search for inconsistencies like changing your heroine’s hair color from one scene to the next without the benefit of Clairol, or having something happen on Sunday evening when it really should be Thursday morning;
2. Make sure your characters don’t all have names with the same first letter (e.g., Sam, Sandy, Selena and Stephen)—it confuses the reader (trust me, I know);
3. Check for grammatical errors, spelling errors, and overuse of the same words (apparently, one of my favorites is still. And apparently);
4. Check to make sure each scene and event flows realistically from one section to the next. Yes, this is fiction, and yes, you can make stuff up, but unless it’s a paranormal or SciFi or fantasy with different laws of physics than earth, it has to make sense and be within the realm of probability. For instance, if you wrote your heroine into a corner and you can’t get her out of the scene in one piece without her magically disappearing or conveniently finding a gun, then you’d better set up that superpower or plant that gun beforehand so the audience believes it could happen. Magical thinking aside, the old adage ‘fiction has to be more real than reality’ is a good rule to follow.
5. Read your manuscript out loud to yourself. Really. I guarantee you will find any sentence structure missteps, as well as rhythm and cadence problems this way. It’s great for catching clunky dialogue, as well.
6. Once you’ve checked your manuscript for the above and made the corrections, find at least three people other than your mother or best friend to read it through. Start with folks who enjoy reading the genre that you write. Ask these readers to make note of when/where the manuscript slows down, where/if it gets confusing, etc. Not that you can’t let your mother or your BFF read the book. It’s just that you’re looking for honest feedback and it’s rare that your family or good friends will give that to you. They don’t want to hurt your feelings.
7. When you’ve absorbed the first readers’ feedback and incorporated what you want of it into the manuscript, give it to three more people to read. These two sets of cold readers are what are known as beta readers, and they are invaluable. The more people who read your manuscript, the better, IMO. Each beta will give you diverse feedback, certainly. What you want to watch out for are similar comments from different readers. These are things you need to take a look at changing.
8. Incorporate whatever suggestions you agree with into the manuscript, and check again for spelling and grammatical errors, and flow. The next step is to send it out to be professionally edited. You’ll need to find someone for whom editing is either their profession or obsession. There are several good ones out there for hire, and sometimes you can find someone who will do a trade. This step is important. Like dear old Dad always said, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
9. More than likely you’ll get your manuscript back from your editor with a lot of corrections. Let’s hope you do. That’s what you’re paying them for. Make those corrections and go over it one more time.
10.Write the pitch, or what’s also known as the back cover blurb for your book, and then condense that down to a one-sentence log line. Many times this is one of the hardest things for a writer to do. How the heck do you condense an 80,000-word novel to one paragraph, much less one sentence? It’s helpful to use other people as a sounding board. Ask them if the pitch makes them want to read the book.
Your manuscript is finally ready to send out for submission or format for upload, whichever route you choose! The rest is easy, right?
Uh, not really.
But that’s a whole other post J
Buy Now @ Amazon & Barnes and Noble
Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with DV Berkom on Facebook &  Twitter

Follow the Tour
30th August – Excerpt at Kindle Nook Books
6th September – Author Interview at Reading Away Life
13th September – Book Feature at Lonely Heart
20th September – Guest Post at Books on the Open Range
27th September -  Excerpt at Paws on Books

Saturday, August 10, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - Tracy Sweeney - Living Backwards

Hi, My Name is Tracy and I Read (A Lot of) Fan Fiction
by Tracy Sweeney
Many years ago, before I had an adorable nephew who loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates and a gorgeous baby niece who I am going to just ruin, my sister and brother-in-law went to Mexico for a romantic getaway.   As soon as my sister landed back in the country, I got a frantic phone call from her.  No, she hadn’t lost her luggage and she didn’t need probiotics.  (Well, maybe she did.  That wasn’t why she called.)  She needed me to read a book.  About vampires.  Um, ok?  I hesitantly agreed to read it after I finished the rest of my grown-up-big-girl book for book club.  I wasn’t a big fan of young adult books so I was in no rush.
That was sadly the very last selection I read for my book club because once I picked up the story about vampires, everything changed and my life took a very, very strange turn.  It’s a turn that led me here, so it can’t be all that bad because you guys seem fun.
A lot of women share my story.  We tore through the first Twilight book, ran out immediately to get the second, almost died plowing through the third and for me, were lucky enough to finish the week the fourth installment was released.  I found myself reading all the time.  It was all-consuming.  And honestly, I needed my life back.  I decided that I would just power through the series until I was done and then some sense of order could be restored to my universe.  I couldn’t wait.
But finally, when I was done, I felt…empty.  Like, what now?  Was I really supposed to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo after that?  I mean, I was fairly certain there were no sparkle vampires in Dragon Tattoo.  So instead, I took to Google.  I found fansites—places where I read about the filming of the movie, places where readers discussed whether they were Team this or Team that, places where they discussed Rob Pattinson’s hair.  (Yes, that’s very newsworthy, ok.)  But even Rob’s hair didn’t really fill that void.  Until I found something else—a place for other stories.
I had never heard of fan fiction prior to stumbling upon the Twilight fandom.  I didn’t even initially understand the concept.  There was an entire online community dedicated to writing stories using the names of the book characters but in most of the cases, they weren’t vampires or werewolves.  They were human.  And there were no Rated-PG-Fade-to-Black scenes like the Isle Esme fiasco inBreaking Dawn.  These versions of Edward weren’t as, well…gentlemanly.
I read voraciously—secretly on my phone twenty-four hours a day.  I slept with my BlackBerry under my pillow.  It was my dirty little secret.  It made the long hours at home alone with a three-year-old and a newborn baby that much easier.  I was tired and lonely and it was honestly my salvation because I’d swoon and blush and sigh and not feel like a mommy machine for just a little while.
I was astounded by the degree of talent that I discovered in these communities—women (and a few men) who wrote under pennames and crafted beautifully written (and often, awesomely racy) stories.   I was inspired by these writers (and not just by the racy parts).  The plots were solid and the stories were captivating—some utterly gut-wrenching.   It was these women (and a few men) who got me to finally put the ideas in my head onto the page.  For this, I’ll always be grateful.  Because it doesn’t matter what or who you’re writing about.  Your little story, as silly as it may be in your head, might be the inspiration for someone you’ll never meet.  Someone like me.  So it doesn’t matter where you’re writing.  Just write.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Chick Lit
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Tracy Sweeney on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
17th August – Book Review & Book Feature at Laurie’s Thoughts
24th August – Book Review at Spiced Latte
31st August – Excerpt at Page Turning Books
7th September – Author Interview & Book Feature at Top Shelf Books
14th September – Guest Post at Books & More
17th September – Author Interview at Next Big Book Thing
21st September – Guest Post & Book Feature at UnBiased Reviews
28th September – Excerpt at Just My Opinion
4th October – Author Interview & Book Feature at My Life in Books
17th October - Guest Post at High Class Books
24th October – Excerpt at Reading the Dream Life
31st October – Author Interview at Living Books
7th November – Guest Post & Book Feature at Gentleman Reads

Saturday, August 3, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - Lindsey Pogue & Lindsay Fairleigh

Inside the Mind of the Author
by Lindsey Pogue & Lindsey Fairleigh
I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and delving into a world that’s so completely different from my own. Like most kids, I created books and wrote fantastical stories in my youth. I continued researching and writing about past cultures in my academia, along with developing new worlds in which made-up characters live and breathe into my adulthood. Despite my passion for writing, I’ve allowed myself to be detoured in the past, both by my unrealistic expectations and by unreachable standards that I’ve set for myself. It’s only now, after working on this project with Lindsey Fairleigh (LF), that I understand myself better as a writer and as an author. I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t, and I can go into book two of The Ending Series, Into The Fire, with more ease.
Co-authoring After The Ending has taught me how important it is to really identify how I work best as a writer so I can continue to be productive and creative to the best of my ability…and so I can keep what remaining sanity I have intact. My brain works very differently than LF’s, and because we work so closely together, it’s imperative that we appreciate how different our writing processes are, both for our separate story lines and POV’s and also when we’re working on combined chapters. That being said, looking back at book one, I notice two very important characteristics about myself and my writing style that I’m so grateful to finally understand.
First, I have come to terms with the fact that I’m not omniscient. I never have been, nor will I ever be. Obvious? Sure, but it’s also hard to remember when you’re the creator of something. By consciously acknowledging my lack of omniscience, I am giving myself permission to loosen the reins and let the characters write for themselves. While I am a planner in life, that is not the case in writing. No matter how many details and story arcs I devise in my head and outline on paper, things always change–characters have a way of commandeering the story, no matter what my intentions might be. That being said, if I don’t have my characters completely solidified in my mind before I start writing, that’s okay. I know some authors see the entire story in their mind, but I see bits and pieces, or what I call the “good stuff”. I’m learning how to accept the fact that I can get the “good stuff” down and fill in the holes as I go…especially since the story inevitably writes itself and generally unfolds into something more amazing than what I had planned in the first place.
Second, I’ve learned which type of writer I am–a “revisionist” so to speak. I have to remind myself there is no rule that says you can only revise four times, and if there is, I’m pretending it doesn’t exist. I need to revise A LOT. My inspiration to write comes in spurts. So, instead of getting frustrated with my brain for vomiting ideas incoherently and out of order, I’m learning to embrace the spewage—to get the ideas down to flesh out later. Nothing will ever be or even has to be perfect the first time around.  I learn about and discover my characters as I go, and I don’t have a plethora of interconnected details and ideas that just flow out of my mind and onto the page, resulting in an almost complete manuscript that just needs some tweaking. Instead, I write down the “good stuff” and build around it. I write a chapter, then walk away…come back to it…read and revise…walk away…and read and revise another five times before I even feel comfortable passing it on to LF. I think this is where she and I differ in our writing processes. She tends to have very fluid thoughts and ideas and gets them down eloquently, whereas my ideas are always jumbled in my head.
Going into this project, I pressured myself to have my characters ironed out in my mind—the details, the obstacles they’d face, the love triangles they’d get mixed up in—but this is one instance in my life where planning isn’t so helpful. In fact, it’s more of a hinderance to my creativity, and it’s a relief to know I’ve discovered how my mind works so, as we work on book two, I can allow myself the space to be inspired and creative with no restraint. When inspiration flows, when my thoughts and ideas meld together and the characters come to life, that’s when the best ideas make it onto the page. I love “the zone”.
So, now that we are finished with AE, I’m able to take a step back and appreciate what we’ve accomplished, but I’m also able to reflect on how we’ve gotten to where we are and how to have fun and grow as a writer. I’ve been able to recognize what the writing process looks like for me, allowing me to set realistic standards for myself and to be more productive, lose some of the added stress, and have some fun.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – R
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Lindsey Pogue on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
10th August – Author Interview at Dreaming Pages
17th August – Book Feature at Reading the Dream Life
18th August – Excerpt at Kindle Nook Book
31st August – Guest Post at My Reading Problem
7th September – Book Feature at Top ‘o Mornin’ To Ya
14th September – Excerpt at Book Sane
21st September – Author Interview at Page Turning Books
28th September – Guest Post at UnEnding TBR Pile