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Welcome Award Winning Author CJ Warrant!

CJWarrant_MirrorImage_eCover_1400

 

Hi CJ! It’s delightful to have you here!  Thank you for spending some time with us today. 🙂

What got you into writing? As far back as I can remember I loved making up stories, but particularly poems. I had an awesome 8th grade English teacher who had encouraged me to write more seriously. But life has a way of shifting directions and I didn’t fully immerse myself into writing until later—after a career, marriage and three kids. However, bottom line, I have to give my husband full credit. He gave me the push to pursue my passion in writing.

What are your genres, and what led you to choose them? I write dark romantic thriller and paranormal suspense. What leads me in that direction of those genres is my voice. And I love to read stories that make my heart race and at the same time can’t seem to put the book down. Both romance and thrillers do that for me.

What would you like to tell us about your books and stories? How can we find them? I love writing dark romance. To reach into those moments and feel despair, hatred, and rage with love mixed in between. Like my first book, Forgetting Jane, which is a paranormal thriller, where a woman was brutally beaten, buried and left for dead. She claws herself out of the ground to live. The desperation to survive. Or in the eyes of a killer in my new romantic thriller, Mirror Image, where you see the disturbing reality of a killer and the reasoning why she murders men. In that single act affects so many lives, especially her twin sister. All my books start out dark, like you’re huddled in a tunnel. But by the end, you’re standing in the sunshine, happy.

You can find my books on Amazon and Solstice Publishing.

Did you find writing a challenge at first? Do you still, or not? I don’t find writing a       challenge. I can whip up a story easily, but what I do find challenging is edits. I loathe the process. Yet, it’s necessary to make sure you hand your editor a good story. 😉

How would you classify yourself—as an organized writer, or an intuitive one, or a mix of both? Why? I’m a pantser through and through. However, over the last few years I do organize my characters, their history and arc. Who they are? What they do for a living? Etc. I have to know who I’m writing about to make the story flow. Without them, there’s no story.

Has there been anything about getting published that surprised you? Or anything about the process? I have author friends who basically told me what I’m about to venture into. But it’s still a learning curve. Writing the story is just one part of the publishing journey. That’s the easy part. Selling and Marketing is what is hard. However, with every book I write, sell and market, I’m learning more and more.

Do you have anything you would like to share with aspiring writers? The biggest and best advice I received is to keep writing and don’t give up. You’ll get there. And once you do, you’ll never look back.

Please enclose a list of your books and stories carried by Solstice, their links, and how folks can connect with you via social media.

Forgetting Jane myBook.to/ForgettingJane

Mirror Image (link forthcoming)

www.cjwarrant.com

www.cjwarrant.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/cjwarrantauthor

www.twitter.com/cjwarrant

www.pinterest.com/cjwarrant

www.instagram.com/cjwarrant

goodreads.com/cjwarrant

 

Thanks for having me on your blog. It’s a great pleasure being here.

READERS: If you sign up for my newsletter and comment on it, I’ll add your name in a drawing in November for a  free signed copy of Mirror Image.

And here’s the cover for Forgetting Jane. 🙂

Forgetting Jane-002-2

Thank you for sharing with us, CJ! Happy Sales!

 

 

 

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My Editor, My Frenemy??

Hi all. I’d like to take a minute here and discuss something which is near and dear to my wordy little heart: editors.

Laying this on the line now–I am both an author and an editor, but this doesn’t mean I edit my own stuff. I wouldn’t want to. I think, for the vast majority of authors, it’s a recipe for disaster.

There is a substantial difference between writing clean copy and having edited copy. As an author, I try to write clean, tight copy that tells a story well. I am also aware of several things which could happen as part of the writing and self-reviewing process. The first of these is simply not seeing mistakes. Maybe a word has been used five times in the last two paragraphs. Maybe my brain wrote in a word that doesn’t even exist in the copy, but I know it’s there,  by gum! Maybe the continuity that I feel in my head on the story doesn’t hold outside my perceptions. These are just a few reasons to have an editor.

Let’s get one thing straight. Your editor is on your side. They want your material to be the best it can be. An editor may do things you disagree with, or mark your manuscript from here to the skies. This does not mean they hate you. It means they are asking you to look critically at your work. They may want to know the reasons for some of your choices. They may find themselves having to ask you some uncomfortable questions regarding the work. They want to know your reasons for doing certain things. “I just felt like it”  is not a reason, by the way–your choices have to make sense.  Your editor wants to know where you are coming from, and work in sync with you. Your work is about your voice, not theirs.

For your part, you have to trust their viewpoint. Editors function using “split brain” reading–they read for issues with the writing, but they also read as part of your prospective reading audience. And audiences aren’t stupid.

Remember that you and your editor may be feeling each other out a little bit at first. This is only normal if you’ve never worked together before. As your partnership develops, you’ll ideally find yourself with a helpmate who has pushed you in all the right directions. Your job is not to OK everything they say, but to think about it, and make wise decisions regarding the story. THAT is how you make an editor happy.

Happy writing!


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BARNES & NOBLE…UPCOMING BOOK SIGNING EVENT!

Exciting news! Barnes & Noble is now carrying a number of Solstice print titles, including my two (THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER UNEXPECTED TALES, and ENCOUNTERS TALES RECOUNTED AND REBORN). What your local B&N outlet has on the shelf will vary, but you can find them in the bookstore’s online catalog. And as always, they are available through amazon.com.

In other news, I will be taking part in a Solstice authors book signing event at the Barnes & Noble store in Federal Way, Washington on Oct. 22nd.  We are all Pacific Northwest authors, most hailing from Washington (I’m representing Portland!). Here’s the line-up:

KateMarie Collins – Fantasy

David P. Fisher – Westerns

Cyn Ley – Paranormal Short Stories

Mel Massey – Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Raegyn Perry – Paranormal Romance

Eddie Edwards – Scifi/Speculative Fiction

It promises to be a fun event! Many thanks to Kate for arranging it. 🙂

Watch this blog for more details as they come in!

 

 


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Another Great Review for The Ossuary Playground!

THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND received this glowing review on Sunday!

From my Amazon.com page:

5.0 out of 5 stars

Come play with the Ossuary
By Wanda L. Pease on September 10, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow! I don’t normally care for short stories but I was bowled over by these. They are crafted like jewels. The language is polished and flows effortlessly across the pages sweeping you along through a series of bright mind pictures to satisfying conclusions. A girl ghost of a war past; a mature ghost named Gerald who is slightly crochety, but forgiving enough to those who are polite; a house high on the face of a hill where a spirit grieves; a battle to confuse. All are clear as gems, but flow like water.
Highly Recommended!

The Ossuary-001


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Meet Award Winning Author Marie Lavender!

 

Marie Facebook cover1

 

Today bestselling author Marie Lavender is taking some time away from her busy writing schedule to share some thoughts with us. Marie is a multi-genre author of numerous bestsellers and the winner of a wide variety of writing contests.

Thank you for joining us!

 

WHAT DREW YOU INTO WRITING?

I’ve been writing fiction since I was nine years old. I guess you could say the muse never shut up! I always loved reading books, and immersing myself in my own fictional worlds just seemed natural.

WHY MULTI-GENRE? WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF THAT, AND WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE GENRE WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING?

A couple years ago, I switched gears and wrote a children’s book. After that, I realized I needed to take a hard look at my published books and my works in progress. It wasn’t difficult to notice a big trend was happening. I was all over the place with my creative avenues! And I began to accept that I really didn’t like to be boxed in either. The challenge that most multi-genre authors face, I think, is that a lot of publishers won’t take that kind of writer seriously. I guess they’re scared of those who are bit different from the norm! I’m just lucky that my publisher, Solstice Publishing, has no issues with writers who try out different genres.

Do I have a favorite genre? Well…yeah. You could say that I lean towards romance at times, but I don’t mind experimenting either. Heck, I even wrote a horror story recently! Weird, right?

WHAT KIND OF WRITER ARE YOU—ORGANIZED OR INTUITIVE?

I assume you mean, am I pantster or a plotter? I’m actually a hybrid, so I dabble in both worlds. Surprise! I let the muse guide me as far as possible, without limits, and then when I start to falter, I create an outline to bring myself some stability. This helps me get focused and guides me to complete the book faster.

DO YOU SET TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY FOR WRITING, OR JUST WRITE WHEN THE MUSE TAKES YOU?

For the most part, I write randomly, but when I am really focused on a project, I try to work a little on the book each day, even if it’s just researching or editing.

DO YOU SOMETIMES ENCOUNTER WRITER’S BLOCK? HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH IT?

Yeah, it happens now and then. Mostly, I have to walk away from the problem for a while. I need distance to see the project in a new way.

DOES ANYTHING SURPRISE OR CHALLENGE YOU ABOUT THE PROCESS OF GETTING PUBLISHED?

I think being an indie author is a crazy battle. Sure, you have the reigns for the most part, but there are all of these elements that you, as the author, are responsible for. It’s a lot of work! And if you’re a hybrid author – dabbling in self-publishing and traditional – then there is more pressure involved.

DO YOU THINK IT’S GETTING EASIER TO MARKET BOOKS? WHAT WAS THAT LIKE WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED? DO YOU FIND IT CHALLENGING TO MARKET YOURSELF AS AN AUTHOR? WHAT VENUES DO YOU FIND BEST?

It seems like it’s getting more difficult. Authors have to constantly change their marketing approach, and it can be a juggling act, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. When I first started out, in some ways it was easier to get the word out. Now? I think there are so many methods to spread the word about your books that it’s easy to get lost in the chaos. Plus, I can’t say I’m all that great with newer technology as it comes out. Maybe I’m too old school. LOL!

Right now, I’m finding that Google+, Facebook and Twitter are the most effective tools for marketing. It doesn’t hurt to have a major web presence either, and a monthly newsletter.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL OUR READERS ABOUT ENTERING WRITING CONTESTS? HOW DOES ONE FIND INFORMATION ON THEM?

Believe it or not, I stumbled into most of the ones for which I earned achievements. But I think the best way is to simply look them up online. Though I believe you can find a pretty legit list on Poets & Writers. The key is to have your antennae up just in case you come across one while you’re surfing. My next piece of advice would be to stay wary of the contests that require an investment. Sure, there are fairly authentic ones that do ask for a small entry fee. However, just as many exist that could be scams, so definitely do your due diligence beforehand.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL ASPIRING WRITERS?

Be patient with the process, but don’t be afraid to try something new either. You never know where the journey will take you!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AUTHOR-AT-WORK STORY? PLEASE SHARE.

Actually, I do! The one I can think of right now off the top of my head brings home the fact that inspiration can come from anywhere. As writers, we are inspired by the outside world, by the people we meet, our own experiences, and sometimes the mysterious muse transmits ideas.

A follower and loyal reader commented on one of my Facebook posts about two years ago. It was a joke concerning how she couldn’t attract a good man. To make a long story short, her hilarious comment gave me the idea for my current work in progress, a romantic comedy. Later, I told her how helpful she was, that she moved me to write a farfetched tale about a miracle drug. She loved the idea! I won’t go into the details just now; you’ll have to wait to find out. It was just a seed at the time, but I’ll always be grateful to her for the inspiration! We just can’t predict when or where we’ll find our next book idea.

WHAT ARE YOUR MOST RECENT BOOKS?

My latest book release is a modern romantic drama collection titled Directions of the Heart. It released on July 25th. And before that, Upon Your Love, a historical romance/family saga, was released, as well as a new adult romance story called The Missing Piece.

PLEASE LIST YOUR BOOKS, WHERE WE CAN FIND THEM, SOCIAL MEDIA, BLOGS, ETC. (I’m including my bio and links)

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Links:

​http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

​​http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

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Thank you so much, Marie! We wish you continued success!

 

 


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THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER UNEXPECTED TALES – tantalizing teasers for all new stories by bestselling author Cyn Ley

All tales are built from bones: old, new, remembered, forgotten. Four stories of lives, present and past. Four stories of lives, walking the edge between this world and the ones beyond.

“Remains” – The Civil War has long since come and gone on a lonely and forgotten battlefield. What of those who linger there?

“Calling You Out” – Many a historic house has its ghosts, and the Miller mansion is no exception. For one of them, all he yearns to hear is his own name.

“Stilts” – A house up in Portland’s West Hills bears a terrible stain and a terrifying manifestation to those who live therein. What will bring peace and solace to them all?

“The Ossuary Playground” – It remains to children to recall the past, as only children can.

PRAISE FOR THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER UNEXPECTED TALES:

“Delightful, creative stories!”

“The first two stories were superb. They are well written, with a lovely cadence. The characters are vibrant and real, and you care about them. I love the author’s unique take on life after death. The third is good, and the fourth is playful. I am not a fan of horror/ghost stories in general, but I highly recommend this book!”

THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER UNEXPECTED TALES is available in print and Kindle editions from amazon.com.


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ENCOUNTERS: TALES RECOUNTED AND REBORN – Story Teasers to Whet Your Reading Appetite!

From bestselling author Cyn Ley…

These are the best of the published tales from 2014  – 2016, some as they were originally published, some expanded and reimagined. Ranging from social satire to the paranormal, from fight to flight to friendship, these stories touch base on the encounters of the human experience.

“Benefits” – A new home development is all about location. And what you dig up.

“Food Chain” – Wildlife documentarians Owen and Nate are in search of a new challenge. But sometimes the largest challenges turn out to be very small.

“The Logo Men” – What if the Seven Deadly Sins walked into a bar, and nobody noticed?

“Rinse, Repeat” – All the days are the same now. All because of one date.

“Perfect” – Sometimes life is as transformative, and as simple, as a holiday gingerbread cookie.

“The Tin Foil Hat Society” – It’s time for the millennial alien visitation! What could possibly go wrong?

…and other tales of wonder and terror.

 

PRAISE FOR “ENCOUNTERS”

“Magical, charming, and original”

“Thought-provoking and soul-searching”

“A satisfying and interesting reading experience”

“I thoroughly enjoyed ENCOUNTERS! Somehow, things rarely go were one thinks they are headed.”

Available in print and Kindle editions on amazon.com