Monday, April 20, 2015

Jo Grafford Spotlights Spell For Sophia

I'm a big fan of Jo Grafford. The person. The historical romance author.
Her first novel, Breaking Ties (The Lost Colony Series, Book 1) debuted just as the television series, Sleeping Hollow intrigued me with an episode on the lost colony of Roanoke.

Today, I'm sending out a big thank you to Jo Grafford for her wonderful spotlight on me and my most recent book, 
Spell For Sophia (The Teen Wytche Saga, Book 4). Thank you Jo!

While you check out Jo's spotlight, I'll be reading her new novella, Viking for Hire.

To purchase or learn more about Spell For Sophia and the rest of the Teen Wytche Saga, just follow any of these links:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Viking For Hire - A Novella by Jo Grafford

Novellas and short stories are perfect reads for busy people. This one from my conference buddy, Jo Grafford, looks like fun! Magic, witches, and Vikings - how can we resist?

A novella by Jo Grafford
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-0692373798 (JO GRAFFORD)
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 59

Branwyn O’Tyre’s estranged brother summons her for a healing ritual. Fearing he actually plans to arrest her for witchcraft, she drinks a protection potion before he arrives.

Eirik, a Viking sea captain pretending slumber in the tavern corner, witnesses Branwyn’s magic and offers her safe passage from Exeter if she will reverse a curse that plagues him. Alas, every woman who touches him falls madly but falsely in love with him.

There’s only one hitch: If she fails, Branwyn’s heart will fall prey to the same madness...forever!

Buy Link:

“If you wish to indulge in games, at least choose one that gives me equal pleasure. By Thor, I’ve been long without a woman.”
VIKING FOR HIRE by Jo Grafford

Excerpt #1:
Two of the knights separated themselves from the group and rushed forward. Alas, the one on the left slipped on a puddle of ale and crashed into his comrade. Their helmets collided with a dull clanking sound that made Branwyn wince. Then they crumpled to the floor.
The Viking stranger emitted a muffled guffaw and appraised her carefully. “Methinks I can guess the nature of the potion now. Come, lass. ’Tis getting late. We’d best be on our way.” The rogue actually crooked an arm at her as if preparing for a stroll in the park.
Branwyn could only gape.
With a sigh of resignation, he reached down 
to clasp her hand and drew it through his arm. She gasped as a powerful awareness sizzled through her. ‘Twas sharp and immediate, stopping just sort of pain. Branwyn’s shocked gaze locked with the stranger’s. When the clarity of his blue gaze took on a slightly dazed sheen, she realized he felt it, too.
Lord help her, but she was instantly drawn to his scent — a mixture of smoke and salt and mystery — as well as his strength. The pulse of his heart, the hum of blood through his veins, the aura of power and danger surrounding him. The air around them fairly crackled with the potency of their contact as skin brushed over skin.
Alarmed, Branwyn tried to tug her hand free, but the stranger clamped his arm tighter to his side, imprisoning her. She nearly cried out from the sensations flooding her. Light. Heat. Joy.
“Pray forgive the liberties I take with ye, lass,” he muttered in her ear. His breath on her lobe brought her just shy of the point of collapsing. “I will explain as soon as we are clear of this arse.” He steered her towards the door.

Excerpt #2:
“Call yourself whatever you will, Branwyn. Your powers do not scare me. In truth, I sought you out a-purpose in the hopes you would heal me from the effects of a spell. ‘Twas cast on me by a most wretched sorceress.”
Fearing another trap, Branwyn stared at the ground. “Methinks you mistake me for another. I am naught but a lowly healer, cast off by an overzealous brother in a fit of religious fervor. Wh-why do you ask me such things, m’lord?”
“Very well,” Eirik snapped and dropped her wand back into the sack. “If you wish to indulge in games, at least choose one that gives me equal pleasure. By Thor, I’ve been long without a woman.” He closed the distance between them and hauled her into his lap.

Upcoming Review Tour:

About Jo:
Jo writes high stakes romance. Her favorite books contain layers of intrigue with alpha heroes and strong-minded heroines who are willing to risk it all for love.

From St. Louis, Missouri, Jo is a member of Romance Writers of America, From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter, and the Writers Group of Ansbach/Katterbach/Illesheim.

Jo in Social Media:
Twitter: @jografford

Friday, April 10, 2015

Before You Rush to Self-Publish…

Rants of a Writing Contest Judge

At writers conferences and chapter meetings I often hear novice writers express the same reasons for self-publishing:

1.     I’m afraid someone will steal my ideas if I submit my manuscript.

2.     I don’t want the hassle of submitting to editors and agents.

3.     Why share my profits with an agent and publishing house?

4.     I want full control over my work.

Some of these points reflect common misconceptions. The theft of a manuscript idea (as opposed to a screenplay) is far less of a threat these days than the unauthorized sale of published works on rogue websites. “Hassle of submitting ” may reflect fear of rejection, lack of understanding of where and how to submit, or an unwillingness to accept criticism. Sharing of profits and creative control raise valid points, but should be considered along with how a publishing house or agent can contribute to your success.

I frequently judge writing contests for published and unpublished authors. The latter give me an opportunity to offer constructive feedback. My goal is to help new writers hone their craft. Before I became a multi-published author of Young Adult romance novels (the Teen Wytche Saga) I entered several writing contests. As I applied the invaluable tips the judges offered, my entries advanced from Honorable Mention to First Place, and caught the attention of editors and agents.

Unfortunately, there are no comment forms for published author contests. It is assumed published authors are working at top form, and their books have benefitted from professional editing. With the emergence of debut self-published books, that isn’t always the case.

3 Edits to Make Before You Self-Publish

While judging contests for published authors, I have been dismayed to see solid story ideas undermined by poor writing and the lack of expert editing. Before you rush to self-publish, have a qualified critique partner or professional editor, check for the following:

1.     Remove all clichés. Clichés represent lazy, unoriginal writing and fail to reveal character or further the plot. Use them if you wish in your first draft, but flag them so can return when you know your characters better and can dig more deeply. (Bolted like a flash of lightning vs. dashed down the street, my hand pressed to my side to stem the I-need-to-work-out-more pain, as I pumped my stubby legs in a doomed effort to outrun old lady Mattie’s commando poodle.)

2.     Ferret out all adverbs. Are they needed, or are you using these -ly ending words to pump up weak verbs? (He asked impatiently vs. he snapped).

3.     Consider eliminating wordiness by replacing passive verbs and gerunds. (She was walking quickly vs. she strode.)

A top editor will scour your manuscript for these problem areas and more. Plotting. Head hopping. Passive voice. Continuity issues. So don’t rush. Solicit expert advice. Then craft the best product you can before you hit the publish button.

Copyright 2015 Ariella Moon

Friday, March 27, 2015

Krysten Lindsay Hager Explores Friendship and Frenemies

Landry Albright returns in Krysten Lindsay Hager's new Young Adult book,
Best Friends Forever? (Landry's True Colors Series).

Good friends have your back, but some go behind it.

Blurb:    Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

                  Landry gets her first boyfriend, but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition.

I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that's when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany.
My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a closeknit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the "ʺThree’s Company"ʺ hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, "ʺWish you were here,"ʺ but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.
“Ready for bed, hon?” Mom asked coming into my room.
“Yeah, just signing off.”
“Okay, sleep well.”
I got into bed and hoped I was reading into things, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.

Excerpt 2:
“Landry, it’s gotta be so awkward for you to be going to Vladi’s school next year,” Tori said. “I mean, what if you run into him during the tour?"
"It’s a huge place,ʺ Ashanti said. “People break up all the time. It’s not a big deal.ʺ
Tori raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Yeah, right,” and went back to her sandwich. Meanwhile my delicious homemade soup was no longer sitting well. It never occurred to me Vladi might be around during the first prefreshman tour. I would be mortified if I ran into him and he was with a girl. Or worse yet, running into him, and he was with Yasmin. Plus, I hadn’t told my mom about the breakup, so if she saw him, she’d probably go over to talk to him. I could already imagine it: “Landry, Vladi’s here! Hon? Why are you hiding behind the garbage can? Your boyfriend, Vladi, is here. Come say, ‘hello.’ Stop trying to run away. Why is everyone laughing and pointing at you and calling you a ‘loser dumpee?’ What does that mean?”
Well, maybe the world would end and I wouldn’t have to deal with high school or Vladi and my mother running into each other.
Sadly, the world did not end, and on Thursday, we all had to go to the high school for a freshman information night from 6 to 9 p.m.

Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series. Krysten writes about  friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in both True Colors and Best Friends…Forever?
Krysten is an Amazon international bestselling author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One):
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!"
From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't everything. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
Buy Links:
Amazon international:
Connect with Krysten: