Just the word ‘marketing’ sends nervous shivers down the backs of many authors. It’s something you know you need to do – something really quite vital to your book’s success – but chances are you’re putting it off. You might be procrastinating because you have no idea where to start, because you don’t think of…
Lifesong by Julia Blake
Lifesong is a mixture of fantasy and science fiction, carrying with it an ecological message and a gentle love story.
It’s a beautiful story about a young woman who has an amazing ability to seek out the lifesong of others. This leads her to a wonderfully happy time in her life but it isn’t long before she finds that, after crossing the universe, she is trapped on our world. But what kind of a world is it that has no lifesong, and that seems determined on its own destruction?
Julia Blake’s thought-provoking and heart-warming story is perfect as a novella. The story is concise and fast flowing. It has a lyrical quality to it and is beautifully written.
I highly recommended Lifesong.
It’s a story you will want to read more than once.
I recently interviewed Queensland author, Ellen Read about writing, self-publishing, and what it’s like to undertake research for historical fiction… NLK: How did you first begin writing fiction? ER: I began with reading books. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading and living in a story. As a child I made up fictional […]
I am delighted to welcome Diana Anderson-Tyler to my blog.
Today we’re discussing her book Armor For Orchids.
ER You recently published a new women’s contemporary novel, Armor for Orchids. It follows the life of three young women in a small town. Please tell us something about the book?
DAT Armor for Orchids is a faith-based story told from four perspectives. At the heart of the story is a spunky, sage-like old woman named Poppy McAdams who takes the young women (her “Orchids”) under her wing to teach them invaluable life lessons. Each of the Orchids is in the midst of a tremendously trying time and learns that their chances of overcoming and winning life’s battles are infinitely greater when fought with spiritual weapons.
ER What inspired you to write Amor For Orchids?
DAT I’ve written a bit about my personal struggles in my nonfiction books but felt a strong desire to explore them through fiction. Each of the Orchids in the novel were inspired by pieces of my past, such as Marissa’s struggle with depression, Charlotte’s disillusionment, and Elise’s grief over her father’s sudden death.
ER Was it important to you that the story should carry a message of hope, inspiration and life-changing belief?
DAT I wanted the story to do more than entertain. I wanted women to feel like they were Poppy’s Orchids, too, and that they also could be strengthened by her insight and inspired by her story. It’s my hope that readers will walk away feeling uplifted and optimistic about their futures.
ER Do you have a favourite character in this book? Why?
DAT This is so tough! I think I would have to go with Poppy, though. She’s got a heart of gold but she’s no meek little church mouse. She’s strong in the ways that truly matter. It was very fun to write Poppy too, as she’s the one with whom I have the least in common, so it was quite a challenge to capture her voice and make her seem real… I hope I succeeded!
ER You’ve written other books. Do you prefer YA or do you equally like writing in other genres? What are they?
DAT I’ve written nonfiction books, but I definitely love writing fiction most! As far as fiction genres go, I’ve only written in YA Fantasy and Christian Women’s Contemporary, and must say I enjoy them equally! I love switching back and forth between the two as it prevents me from feeling burned out, and each one presents unique challenges to me that help me grow as a storyteller.
ER Where do you get your ideas?
Various places. My own life, as with Armor for Orchids, as well as simply playing the “What-If Game” with myself in which I explore intriguing premises and keep asking questions until I land on a plot and/or characters that hold my attention for longer than an afternoon.
Word to the wise: always carry a notebook or electronic device with you for recording sudden bursts of inspiration!
ER When did you first start writing?
DAT I started writing when I was four or five, pretty much as soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon! I have bins full of my early attempts at storytelling. They’re so fun to look back on and try to make sense of!
ER What are you working on now?
DAT I’m working on editing my YA Fantasy trilogy, The Petros Chronicles. The first book, Age of the Ashers, will be out later this year. I also recently started the first draft of book 2 in the Armor for Orchids series.
ER Who are you favourite authors?
DAT I have so many, but here are a few: Steven Pressfield (both his fiction and non-fiction works are incredible), Margaret George, Fannie Flagg, Barbara Kingsolver, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
ER Do you have any advice for new writers? Are there any pitfalls they should look out for?
DAT I’ve said this in other interviews, but I can’t emphasize it enough: Never give up!
This career path is not for the faint of heart. Like a freshman college class, it will try to “weed you out.” The strong will survive if they persevere and keep showing up every day to do the work, despite how they feel. (Discipline is stronger than motivation.)
Expect to be tried and tested. Expect to fail and be frustrated. Expect to be rejected by agents, criticized by readers, and questioned by friends. But always remember your “why” for writing and hold that close to your heart. Doing so will ensure you don’t let the bad times conquer you.
ER What do you do when you’re not writing?
DAT I love to read, play board games, spend time outdoors, and lift weights!
Thank you for joining me today, Diana. It’s been such a pleasure. I wish you great success for this and your future books.
Diana has been writing all her life, starting with her own versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics when she was four. She’s always been fascinated with Greek mythology and comic book superheroes, all of which inspire her fantasy novels. She’s also a gym rat who loves to pretend she’s Wonder Woman while lifting heavy weights and swinging from rings and pull-up bars. She co-owns CrossFit 925 in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Ben.
Diana currently writes entertainment and media-related articles for movieguide.org and contributes regularly to charismamag.com. When she isn’t writing or working out, she can be found playing Scrabble with her husband, watching Marvel and Pixar movies, and pinning recipes on Pinterest that she never gets around to cooking.
You can find Diana on her websites dianaandersontyler.com and dianadeadlifts.com, as well as on facebook.com/dianafit4faith, Twitter @dandersontyler, and on Instagram @dianaandersontyler and @authordianatyler.
ER Congratulations, Krysten on the publication of your new YA contemporary romance, Dating the It Guy. Please tell us a little about it.
KLH Thanks! The book is about a high school girl named Emme who winds up dating the son of a well-known senator. She goes through a lot of self-doubt as she watches his perfect ex-girlfriend trying to get him back and not feeling good enough for his new crowd. It’s a book about love, family, and learning to be yourself.
ER What inspired you to write this story? What was your first idea?
KLH I was watching a biography of John F. Kennedy Jr. and wondering what it’d be like to date someone like that back when he was in high school. I started thinking about all the pressures you’d face being in that world. I started reading a ton of books and info on both JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Brendon and Emme aren’t based on John and Carolyn, but their love story did inspire me.
ER I would guess Emme would feel out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world. How does she adapt?
KLH Emme begins to feel out of place and often feels invisible by other girls who try to talk to Brendon when she’s standing right there! There’s a scene where she’s invited to a party at the senator’s home and you see her trying to navigate these very unfamiliar waters. She feels out of place at the party and the finds out Senator Agretti appreciates how she helps out a caterer at the event when everyone else there ignored the girl. We also see how Brendon appreciates what makes her different from his world and how he likes her for those things like her being authentic and real.
ER When Brendon’s picture perfect ex, Lauren, gets into his father, Senator Agretti’s old school, does Emme feel threatened? Does she doubt Brendon and think this has all been planned?
KLH Emme constantly feels threatened by Lauren especially since Lauren pounces and asks Brendon to homecoming the second he and Emme split up. So when Emme gets the news about Lauren getting into the college Brendon planned to attend (like his dad), her heart sinks. If she were to look deeper into what Brendon had shared with her about the future, she’d see what his future plans were.
ER Emme’s last boyfriend cheated on her. It must have left her with trust issues. Does this colour all of Emme’s way of thinking?
KLH Emme is dealing with a lot of mistrust and hurt after her last boyfriend’s betrayal. Her ex, Jon, had been talking to his ex while he was dating Emme and it has left her self-esteem damaged. She’s constantly worrying about being cheated on again with Brendon. Her friends also see how this has impacted her and they try to offer their support.
ER You deal with other issues as well, such as the illness of Emme’s grandparents. How does Emme deal with something like dementia?
KLH Emme is very close to her grandparents and when her grandma gets sick, they become aware of things changing with her grandpa, too. Her grandpa moves in with them and Emme helps care for him. It’s hard for her to watch him become so vulnerable, but she really steps up to be protective of him and help him in this new phase of his life.
ER This is a YA contemporary romance. The story deals with intricate relationships and very real characters. Do you think all age groups will enjoy your story?
KLH I’ve gotten some great feedback from both teens and adults and I love that people enjoy the story for different reasons. Some see themselves in Emme and realize some of her insecurity issues are things they see in themselves. I had a male beta reader who told me he got swept up in the story and he enjoyed seeing Emme’s side of things with her relationship with both Darren and Brendon. Some see themselves in Brendon and how he often has to sacrifice what he wants to do for his family. So I think it’s a story that all age groups can find something in.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Krysten. It’s been an absolute chatting with you. All the best with the book. It sounds fabulous to me.
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she’s addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She’s also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.
Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.
Praise for Dating the It Guy:
“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” –Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author
“Hager’s authentic characters will resonate with readers of all ages as they are immersed in the story – complete with teen drama and angst, but also the relationships which make it all worthwhile.” — Leslie L. McKee, book reviewer, Edits and Reviews by Leslie
Amazon paperback: http://a.co/hBydoYm
and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC
Head over to Instagram to win some fabulous prizes.
Follow the Hop to meet new authors and get a chance to win a prize!
Today I’m giving away one signed paperback of my historical murder mystery The Dragon Sleeps, including a matching bookmark and one eBook of my novella Love The Gift.
Once you’re on Instagram, please read the instructions below carefully so you’re not disqualified!!!
1. Follow me on Instagram
2. Like this post on Instagram
3. Comment below on Instagram: Happy Spring!
4. Go to my website. Once there, please click on the link to join my Newsletter.
A winner will be chosen at random.
This Hop is open from 20 March – 21 March
I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting event. Hop over to Instagram to win some fabulous prizes and meet the authors. A wonderful way to celebrate Spring or Autumn if you’re in the southern hemisphere, as I am.
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS! 🎉 Starting this Sunday (because we are spanning the world via Australia, UK, and the US) The IG Author Hop will go live. 🎉 It will run all day Monday, all day Tuesday, and then winners will be chosen on Wednesday. 🎉
WAIT THERE ARE WINNERS!?!? 😄 Yes! You will have 18 chances – you heard correct – 18 chances to win giveways from the list of authors below for ebooks, signed paperbacks, book swag, and more. 💕 Here’s is how you “hop”: starting on Sunday, hop on IG and pick an author from the list below. (There will be a fresh post from all the authors particpating on Sunday) in order to qualify to enter, you will: “Like” that post, “Follow” that author, “Comment” Happy Spring and “Click” on their bio link if they have something they want you to check out. 📚 You can hop around to all 18 authors, each are running different giveways!! Exciting stuff from some of your favorite authors and new ones too!! SEE YOU SUNDAY!! 🎉