INTERVIEW WITH DIANA ANDERSON-TYLER – Armor For Orchids

I am delighted to welcome Diana Anderson-Tyler to my blog.

Today we’re discussing her book Armor For Orchids.

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Diana is an author from Texas, USA.

Welcome Diana…

 

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.

 

 

 

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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.

INTERVIEW WITH KRYSTEN LINDSAY HAGAR – Dating the It Guy

 

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I am delighted to welcome Krysten Lindsay Hagar to my blog today to discuss her new book Dating the It Guy

 

Welcome Krysten…

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.

 

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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

Purchase:

Amazon paperback:  http://a.co/hBydoYm

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2n2hHmB

Barnes
and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC

itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dating-the-it-guy/id1208876011?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dating-the-it-guy

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Dating+the+It+Guy

 

Follow Krysten

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/krystenlindsay/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClIQCsRcKc97-25oXvabZ8A

 

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INTERVIEW WITH NADIA L KING

I am delighted to welcome Nadia L King to my blog today.

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Nadia is an author from Perth, Australia. Today we’re discussing her foray into the world of bullying.

 

Welcome Nadia

ER  Your debut book, Jenna’s Truth, has been very successful. What was your inspiration for it?

NLK    About this time last year, I came across a video on Youtube which literally broke my heart. It was a video posted by a fifteen-year-old girl sharing her story of being bullied. The girl was Amanda Todd and her life ended in suicide. I couldn’t not respond to the death of this bright and lively girl. I had to do something and so I tried to make sense of this tragedy by writing a story which of course, was the birth of Jenna’s Truth.

ER   Bullying is something that is age-old. Do you think it’s worse now with Internet and social media?

NLK   I believe that cyberbullying is far more insidious than traditional bullying. Not only does it allow perpetrators a degree of anonymity but it also provides them with a far broader audience. Cyberbullies have the ability to ceaselessly torment their victims at any time of day or night. It is difficult to escape from cyberbullies. Amanda Todd moved house a number of times and the cyberbully tracked her down each time. Thankfully, here in Australia we have tough anti-cyberbullying legislation and we even have The Office of The Children’s eSafety Commissioner. https://esafety.gov.au/cyberbullyingcomplaint

ER  Has Jenna’s Truth taken you to places you never imagined going, both emotionally and physically into places such as schools?

NLK   Jenna’s Truth seems to have taken on a life of its own. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about stories having lives of their own in Big Magic and it certainly rings true for Jenna’s Truth. The story is being taught in a number of schools in a couple of countries and it looks as if it will soon be adapted for the stage. It will be more than thrilling to watch Jenna’s Truth on stage. I’m quite flabbergasted when I think how far this short (only 6,000 word) story has gone. It has also meant that I have had to overcome my fear of public speaking.

ER  What aspirations do you have for Jenna’s Truth?

NLK   Ultimately, I want to see Jenna’s Truth be included in the curriculum in my home State of Western Australia. I am keen for dialogue to occur in the classroom and for teens to know there is always a way out. I can’t bear to think there are kids out there who aren’t having this conversation; that there are kids out there who are suiciding because they have been cyber-bullied.

ER  Is there anything you’d like to say to anyone who finds themselves a victim of bullying?

NLK   Don’t let them win. You are precious and special and we need you in the world. You are not alone and somebody wants to help you. Please call the Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

ER   What are you working on now?

NLK   I’m really excited to be starting a brand new project. My first full-length novel (I’ll try to get past 6,000 words this time :)), I’m still in the research phase but I plan to write a YA novel where the main protagonist is a 16-year-old male struggling with his sexuality. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

 

Thank you so much for joining me today, Nadia. I wish you continuing success with Jenna’s Truth and good luck with your new work.

 

Australian author, Nadia L King, was born in Dublin, Ireland. She has a background in journalism and media relations, and has written for magazines in Europe, Australia, and the US. She reads voraciously and enthusiastically, and inhales books the same way her Labrador inhales her dog biscuits. Nadia is an overexcited person who adores words, loves writing short stories and keeps a blog at nadialking.wordpress.com. Her writing has been described as “raw, real and heart-wrenching.” Her first book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia.

 

Connect with Nadia:

https://nadialking.wordpress.com

https://www.instagram.com/nadialking/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNadiaLKing/

https://twitter.com/NLKingauthor

https://www.aulexic.com.au/product/jennas-truth/

 

You can buy Jenna’s Truth https://www.aulexic.com.au/product/jennas-truth/

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Meet The Author: Abigail Shepherd

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Abigail Shepherd is the 29-year-old author of teen historical fiction novel Victoria’s Victorian Victory. Her other work has most recently been published by The Flash Fiction Press, and Mystery Weekly, and she has a regency romance series, Ask Me No Secrets, on channillo.com. She’s hoping her upcoming novel will encourage teenage girls to think about their futures, set goals for themselves, and insist on being treated with the respect they deserve. Her hobbies include fishing, napping, and drinking exceptionally good wine. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @abiwriting and blogs at bewritingblog.wordpress.com

I first met Abigail Shepherd approximately one year ago on Instagram, which has a thriving book community of authors and readers. During that time we have become friends.

It has been a pleasure to watch Abigail gain confidence and begin to shine. Now she has just released her new book Victoria’s Victorian Victory, a Young Adult historical novel set in the Victorian era.

I’m so  pleased to welcome Abigail Shepherd to my blog as a guest author. Abigail has written the article below, which looks at fashion in the Victorian times.

Welcome Abigail!

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The Victorian era lasted 64 years and saw almost as many changes in fashion as from the equivalent time today. The difference being, for most of that period, clothes were not purchased ready-made on the high street. Victorian women either paid a dressmaker if they could afford it, or made their own clothes. This meant many changes in fashion tended to involve things that could be added or altered on an existing dress. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a woman’s silhouette received so much attention.

At the start of the era, women wore a crinoline (a stiffly hooped petticoat) under their skirts to make them wider. For the next decade or so these steadily increased in size, until they became a subject for jokes and cartoons like this one:

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During 1860’s the crinolette came into fashion. This is what the female characters in my book would have worn, though probably only to church in most cases. The crinolette was narrower at the front and sides, with all the extra fabric being gathered at the back. Therefore, a modern look could be achieved by simply replacing your crinoline with a crinolette, with no need to buy a new dress.
 Eventually, the crinolette evolved into the bustle, with extra material bunched at the back and the rest of the shape being extremely slim. A bustle shape could be homemade if necessary, with one maid reportedly making hers by tying on a number of dusters under her skirt! The bustle meant a decrease in popularity of the previously essential shawl, which was difficult to drape properly over it. This could be why at this period we see the bare shoulders give way to high collars, and the enormous puffed sleeves that Anne of Green Gables so longed for. The girls in my novel are yet to discover these joys, but no doubt when they see them they will be thrown into just such incomprehensible raptures. I wonder what they would make of our fashions today?
 In the late 1850’s a new type of dye was manufactured, using coal tar, and bright colours became the order of the day. Magenta, emerald, crimson and puce were all popular choices. We would certainly find them rather garish now! But, who knows? Maybe we will all be wearing them again at some point in the future. I can’t see the crinoline, crinolette or bustle making a comeback anytime soon, however I think a strong case could be made for corsets, although not of course with the tight lacing the Victorians were famed for.
If one thing came over to me in my research into what my characters would be wearing, it’s that girls as a whole weren’t far different to what they are now. They wanted to look nice, which they equated with being fashionable. And whether that meant skirts so wide they could barely get through a door, or restricting their breathing by tightly laced corsets, the majority of them would go ahead and do just that. I’ll leave you to decide what the modern day equivalents might be!

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Link to sign up for my newsletter: https://bewritingblog.wordpress.com/contact/ All subscribers in January get a free prequel short story. 
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Abigail, thank you so much for that wonderful snapshot of Victorian fashion. When we think on it, I’m certain Victorian young women would have been as excited by the latest crinoline or bustle that young women are today of the latest fads.
I’m so pleased you stopped by. I wish you every success with Victoria’s Victorian Victory.

ISLE OF WINDS by James Fahy

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Isle of Winds by English author James Fahy

(Book One of The Changeling Series.)

The girl raced through the forest, tumbling through deep drifts of autumn leaves. Moonlight washed down from the starry sky, illuminating her darting figure.

In appearance she was eleven years old. A hunted creature. To judge from her odd clothing of ragged pants, a dirty t-shirt, and a large overcoat patched together from various animal skins, she seemed a homeless orphan. A helpless, young waif.

This, she was not.

From these opening lines, I was hooked.

James Fahy creates a very believable but mysterious world and I enjoyed my journey into Netherworlde with Karya, Robin and the endearing Woad. Each character is so well-formed and I adored them all, from Henry to Mr Strife.

I loved that in this ancient land of Netherworlde, James Fahy has given a nod to archetypal symbolism, such as the Oracle, and a literary nod to Midsummer Night’s Dream with King Oberon and Queen Tatiana.

The story is so well-written, with a tight page-turning plot. I would recommend this book to everyone. At times, I had to stop and remember that the characters are young. It made no difference. This read is for all ages.

A 5 Star read!

REVIEW of Disappointment by Nadia King

Disappointment

In this short story, Nadia King’s writing quickly brings to life the small, narrow and disappointed existence that is her character Miriam’s life. Miriam’s mother doesn’t really want her. Her conception was a disappointment to her mother, as was her birth. Miriam only recently found out who her father was.

She’s not the most popular girl in school, but she hopes the good-looking Damien will notice her. Miriam is sensitive and, despite her life and living conditions, which she just happens to have dealt to her, she really only wants to be accepted and liked. The story highlights the rejection by peers that so many young people experience.

I like to think that when Miriam crushes the cigarette packet under her heel, it is symbolic that she will aim for something better than her life of disappointment.

DISAPPOINTMENT is published by

http://writeoutpublishing.com/