Laura Howard: February 2013



Title: Astarte's Wrath

Author: Trisha Wolfe

Genre: YA-Mature: sexual content, drinking, drugs, violence, death, and other mature content intended for readers 17 and older.

Cover design: Stephanie Mooney

Book summary:

Set against the backdrop of the Battle of Actium, in the city of Alexandria, Star struggles with her guardian duties as her feelings for the newly named pharaoh of Egypt grow deeper. Not only is Caesarian her duty, he's the son of Cleopatra, and he's human. All of which makes their love forbidden.

But when a conspiracy linked to Caesar creeps its way into Alexandria, Star must choose between helping her fellow Kythan free themselves of their servitude, and protecting her charge--the last pharaoh--while Egypt burns around her.

Publication: March


Six Questions with Claire Contreras

Can you believe it's Saturday again already? Hoping you're having a fantastic day. Around these parts we're celebrating my son's 8th birthday, which is the reason for my late post.

And without further ado, I present recently published author Claire Contreras for Six Question Saturday. She is the author of the romantic thriller There is No Light in Darkness.

What authors have influenced you the most? 

Everybody I read influences me in one way or another. I absolutely love Paullina Simmons, Colleen Hoover, and Katja Millay, to name a few. 

When did you decide you wanted to have your writing published?

I think when I was about 80% done with TiNLiD I thought "maybe I should publish this one." I've written stories in the past, but nothing that hadn't been told before. When I wrote this one I knew it was a story worth sharing.

What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?

I usually write and unless I'm very concerned about something, I won't send it to anybody until it's completely done. I send it to a small group of betas, review it, rewrite, send it to a professional editor, edit it, send it to other betas/reviewers. I'm paranoid when it comes to my writing (I think we all are), so it's hard for me to hear "I love it" and be okay with it.

What are the most important things you've done to market your books?

I think teaming up with fellow indie authors has helped a lot. The blog tour helped get it to a wide audience (or an audience-period). It's hard for me to market because I didn't write for sales, I wrote because this is what I love. I've kind of taken it as "if people recommend my book because they loved it and others read it, I'll be happy."

How long should an author work on building a presence online before publishing?

Haha refer to question above. I've seen authors start building a presence as early as 6 months before publishing and I think that helps them. I created my social media things a little less than a month before publishing, so I'm a horrible example. I had an author publish a couple of weeks after me and she sky rocketed in the sales charts. I think the way she marketed and the hype she built for her book is amazing and it opened my eyes to what could have happened had I organized myself that way. I just think ultimately I'm not built to push my writing like that though. I'll talk non-stop about yours and about books that I've read, but I cannot brag about my own. 

It's weird to me.

What lesson have you learned along the way that you would hope others could avoid?

Being too trusting with betas, whether they be your friends or not. I had my story shared before I published (without my consent) and that was not okay. So, be careful who you share your story with. You wouldn't let a complete stranger carry your newborn child, you should probably treat this similar. 

On the same note, sometimes you do need people that are not your friends or ones that you know will be 100% honest with you to look at your work. There's a fine line there, I guess what I'm saying is be careful.

Thanks, Claire. Now I want to hear from you! How do YOU find beta readers for your work?


The Truth About Letting Go by Leigh Talbot Moore

I'm excited to share the companion novel to The Truth About Faking by Leigh Talbert Moore (not a sequel; the books can be read out of order), The Truth About Letting Go takes readers back to Shadow Falls, or more specifically Shadow Creek, with Ashley Lockett as she learns about real friendship, love, and letting go.

Ashley wants to smash everything in her once-perfect life. Charlotte wants to walk in Ashley's seemingly charmed shoes. Colt wants to turn Smalltown USA on its ear--with Ashley at his side. Jordan wants to follow his heart... but Ashley is the one sacrifice he never expected to make. Up until now, Ashley Lockett has always followed the rules. She's always done the right thing, played it safe, and then her ideal life is shattered when her dad dies suddenly. Fueled by anger and grief, she vows to do everything opposite of how she lived before. She rejects safety, the rules, faith, and then she meets Jordan. Jordan has big dreams, he's had a crush on Ashley for years, he's a great kisser... but he's also safe. Enter Colt. He is not safe, and he's more than willing to help Ashley fulfill her vow. 

 Get it today on Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes * Kobo Add it on Goodreads


I feel Colt laugh, and he looks down into my face. That’s when he seems to realize what I’ve been acutely aware of for the last several minutes—our bodies are pressed together.

“It’s awesome, yeah?” he says. 

“Adrenaline rush.” 

“Yeah,” I breathe. 

“I guess.” 

I’m not sure if he’s going to kiss me until he does. His mouth covers mine, and energy mixes with the alcohol flooding my body. Our tongues slide together, and I grip his shirt so I don’t collapse.  Every single bit of this is wrong, and there’s no way I’m stopping it. It’s back, that good feeling. The sadness has been pushed out again, and in its place is this rush, this rush of adrenaline like Colt said.  He pulls back and smiles at me.

“We’re going to start dating. Now. You’re my partner in crime.” 

About the Author:
Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, a former journalist and editor, a chocoholic, a caffeine addict, a lover of YA and new adult romance (really any great love story), a beach bum, and occasionally she sleeps. -The Truth About Faking is her debut young adult romance (on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo) -Rouge is her first New Adult romantic suspense novel (on Amazon). Leigh loves hearing from readers; stop by and say hello! Blog * Facebook * Amazon Author page * Goodreads * Twitter * Tumblr


To Journal, or Not to Journal—Now, THAT is the Writer’s Dilemma

Happy Humpday! 

Today's guest blogger is Danielle Bannister, author of Pulled and it's sequel Pulled Back.

Every English class I have ever taken (Elementary through Master's) has either encouraged or required that each student keep a journal.  And for years, I have kept one, because I'm a good student that way. However, not once in all of those years of using a journal, have I enjoyed it.  

Still, I kept writing a journal every year because those teacher's kept insisting that it was the best way to clear away the cobwebs in my brain, so that when I actually DID sit down to write, I would be free to do so without my subconscious mucking things up.  

So, it has always been with great reluctance, that every year, I would begin one of these horrid things thinking this time I would find the 'journaling zen' that I had so often read about.  Alas, each journal fell by the wayside after a few short months.  The time had come to ask myself why?

The answer, was more logical than I could have hoped.  As a writer, I just couldn't see the point of journaling.  Perhaps it was because I knew I was writing something that no one would ever read (and why would I bother writing if no one was ever going to read it???)  Perhaps I found it boring rehash the monotonous diatribes of the day gone by.  Journaling, to me, felt like a colossal waste of time. (gasp!  I said it out loud!) (Goes and hides in a corner afraid someone will come and remove her coveted 'writer' cup for such a risque thing to say)


Wait!  Before you steal my cup...I have something else to say!!!!  

My opinion of journaling changed on, January 1, 2013, when I cracked open THIS baby.

 write in me

Not so fast, you say.  You've been lured into the new journal trap before.  It's wonderful bliss until you get so bored you want to stab your eyes out with the pen.  Good point.  But not only did I change the type of journal I normally buy (usually it's just a cheapo one 'cause I know I'll never finish it), but I also changed WHAT I write in it.  And that, as they say, has made all the difference.

Instead of regurgitating my day that I don't really want to recall, instead I'm putting my journaling time to good use.  I'm writing a novel in it!  (shut the front door!)  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I am HAND WRITTING a new adult novel inside those 300 lined pages.  When I finish with the journal, I will have finish my first draft of a new novel.  THAT is a writing exercise I can get behind!

So far in the few days I've had the journal, I've already gotten 6 chapters down!  Now instead of journaling being a chore, it's something that gets my creative juices flowing.  Therefore, if
journaling isn't working for you and your writing, either ditch it, WITHOUT GUILT, or, change the way you use your journal. (Tweet this) Maybe it isn't a novel.  Maybe it's a place to jot down story ideas.  Maybe you write one short story a day, just for writing practice, maybe you draw the scenes of locations in your book. Whatever.  It's yours to use however YOU need it to work (or not work).  Don't listen to others (even me) about what will be the best for you as a writer.  No one can answer that but you.

That said, I'll leave you the best advise I've ever gotten as an author:  “Write on!”  


                                   Pulled Back (Book Two)

I'd love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on Journaling? Or Free-writing in general?


Cover Reveal: Bitter Angel by Megan Hand

Title: Bitter Angel

Author: Megan Hand

Expected release date: April 1, 2013

Genre:  Thriller

Age Group: New Adult

Cover Designer: B Design  

Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours


Book Description:

Torn between two realities.
A choice that will mean life or death.
She won’t know anything… until she wakes up.

College sophomore, Lila Spencer lived Friday night twice. She doesn’t know how or why, just that she did. As if she split in half and went in two different directions.

Out clubbing with her friends, Heather and Nilah, the girls rock it out and party hard. What begins as an innocent night will lead to a deadly fight for their lives, and Lila might be their only chance for survival.

In bed with her boyfriend, Jay, Lila is safe and warm as she drifts to sleep in the arms of the man she loves. Until she is sucked into a horrifying nightmare of her friends’ deaths.

As the sunlight warms her face on Saturday morning, the two scenarios collide. But there can be only one outcome. Will she wake up in her warm bed with Jay by her side, devastated and grieving for her friends? Or was she there to save them?

The answer is just the beginning.

About the Author

At twelve, Megan decided to write a novel. A month later, she quit. A reading junkie by nature, she started writing again in her twenties as a way to get the voices out, because who wouldn't want to create a Real Living Person out of thin air? Megan also plays the piano and sings. She teaches little kids and takes pictures of pretty butterflies. She eats way too much chocolate, is sort of a mad scientist with her blender, and spends an unhealthy amount of time LOLing on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Ohio with her husband and very smiley son. Bitter Angel is her first published novel.



Six Questions with Julia Hughes

Happy Six Question Saturday, readers and writers! Today is special because it's my 11th wedding anniversary. Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?

Today I'm happy to invite back to Finding Bliss, Julia Hughes! Julia has offered to give away two paperback copies of her latest release The Griffin Cryer, make sure to check the Rafflecopter at the bottom.


Trust in Me by Bethany Lopez

Book 3 in Bethany Lopez's Friends & Lovers Trilogy, Trust in Me, is available early! 
You can find Trust in Me Here: Barnes & Noble 



Romancing the Otherworldly Valentine

Love New Adult but looking for something with a little bite? Here's an event geared toward the other side of NA. Whether your tastes range toward shifters or men from other dimensions, there's a New Adult title out there for you.

Cover Reveal: Drowning in You by Rebecca Berto

Title: Drowning in You

Author: Rebecca Berto

Expected release date: April 12, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult 

Cover Designer: Okay Creations; Jacqueline Barkla Photography 

Reveal organized by: AToMR Tours


Being a Full-Time Mom, Part-Time Writer

Today I'm the first stop on Priya Kanaparti's blog tour for her new release Dracian Legacy.

Make sure you stick around enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom!


My Self-Publishing Journey

When you come to Finding Bliss, you expect to see an article of some aspect of  writing or publishing, right? What if once a week I wrote a post about what's going on in my personal writing life? 

A big part of what I do here is invite writer friends to share their experiences so that both you and I can learn from their mistakes and successes. I don't really talk about what I'm doing, and it's time to get out of that habit.


Six Questions with Maggi Myers

Today's Six Question guest is Maggi Myers, author of The Final Piece. She's also a veteran of the Twilight fandom that I was a member of what seems like a lifetime ago.

Welcome to Six Questions Maggi!



This Valentines Day, we invite 

you to join us in thumbing our 

noses at Cupid, Love and the 

Whole Schmaltzy Holiday!!

Introducing …


AntiValentine Blog Hop

Hostesses: The Inklingettes

Theme: Love Run Amuk, 

Aground or Otherwise Off Course

Schedule: Friday, February 8 through Thursday, February 14

Word Count: 250 Words

Incentive: Community spirit, inky fun and awesome prizes:

All About ISBNs For Self-Publishing

Ripley Patton is the award-winning author of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.

Today she's bringing us a clear, concise comparison between getting your own ISBN and using one from a third-party.


Surviving Your First Draft

Welcome to my spot on the official Just Breathe Tour featuring
one of my favorite people on the planet, Kendall Grey!

Fasten your seatbelt and prepare to be amazed as you learn Kendall's tips on how to dig in and hammer out that beastly first draft!

My first experience with drafting a book was pure heaven. I had no inhibitions, no worries, no clue what I was doing. I didn’t get hung up or stressed about making the book perfect. I focused on getting the words out. When I finished, choirs of angels sang. Rainbows beamed from my head. Disco balls twirled.

Then other people read the book.

And hated it.

Apparently, the beautiful baby I created wasn’t nearly as beautiful as I thought. I locked myself in self-torture chamber of humiliation and shame. After a few weeks of self-loathing passed, I emerged from my hidey-hole, tail between my legs, and humbly sought advice from other writers who told me to pull up my big-girl panties and deal with it. Writers must accept things they don’t want to hear. Like, “Your baby is butt-ass ugly and needs a major facelift.”

Eventually, I grew enough courage to seek out a critique partner, who helped me tremendously. Over the course of thirteen rewrites (not revisions, REWRITES) spanning four years, the story improved. I self-published INHALE in May 2012.

But when it came time to draft the second book in the series, doubt paralyzed me. What if this baby was even uglier than the first? What if I had to rewrite the book thirteen times again? I didn’t think I’d survive another ripping. I considered quitting before I even started.

I scrounged more courage and drew on my experiences with writing the first draft of INHALE. Instead of worrying about writing a book that would please everyone else, I wrote the book for me. I wrote it as if no one else would ever see it. The change in focus gave me the freedom I needed to push the limits and let my imagination go crazy, just like I did the first time around.

And guess what? The second book was better. Yeah, it was still ugly and required a lot of make-up before it made its first public appearance, but this one needed less work. Reviews for the second book are better than the first, too. I must’ve done something right.

My advice for surviving a first draft is:

  • Write for yourself first. If you don’t enjoy your story, it’ll show, and readers won’t enjoy it either.
  • Practice patient persistence. The more you write, the better you write.
  • Accept the fact that when you’re done drafting, you’ll have a lot more work to do. Drafting is the easy part, so enjoy it while you can. Revising takes twice as much time and concentration. Don’t like revising? Tough.
  • Trust your critique partners—they have your back. Don’t fuss over little things like word choice and grammar in a first draft because your story is likely to change in the revision stage anyway. Crit partners will help you fix the big issues first. Worry about the details later.
  • Keep your blinders in place. Don’t get distracted by Ms. Prissy Pants Author’s glowing reviews, rankings, and sales. You’re not her. Focus on your work. She’s irrelevant.

Hard work pays off. You might not see the fruits of your labors right away, but if you keep at it, your writing will improve, and so will your chances of selling a lot of books down the road. :-)


a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway


Six Questions with Rebecca Berto

Happy Saturday, writers.Today I'd like to welcome Novel Girl Rebecca Berto back to Finding Bliss!

Rebecca is the author of novella Precise and is getting ready to release her first full-length novel Drowing in You.

What is your method of plotting out a new story?

I take time to gather my ideas for a story. From these ideas I brainstorm a whole heap of story problems and conflicts I can put in the way of the characters.

Secondly, I flesh out character bios.

Thirdly, I create a beat sheet/scene cards. In 1-3 sentences, I detail a summary of what will occur in each scene of every scene in the manuscript.

This means the story has a backbone and all other necessary structural bits.

However, I tend to deviate from what I plan with spontaneity and all (those characters are so stubborn), but for the most part, I stick to it and I spend minimal time writing and editing compared to with my first serious manuscript. *shudders at the thought*

What is your editing process?

After the first draft is complete, I put the manuscript aside for at least four weeks. That’s crucial to get out of the “author” headspace, forget what I wrote, what I meant to say, and such.

I come back to it, trying to think with the mindset of another person, i.e. a reader, and I do a structural edit. This means I look out for:

  • Unbelievable character actions and plot events
  • Unlikeable characters
  • Flat characters who aren’t broken down and built up to be even stronger by the end
  • Boring scenes
  • Scenes that don’t forward the plot
  • Paragraphs that are written really, really well but do nothing for the story (Kill Your Darlings)
  • And more!

I don’t worry about:

  • Typos unless I stumble on them
  • Awkward phrases
  • Word usage not fitting a type of character

Next, I copy edit, send to beta readers and incorporate their advice if I agree, more rounds of copy editing, finally proofing, and then I send to my copy editor.

Then I proof. Again.

When you published your first book, how did you spread the word?
I blogged about it for several weeks before publication, asked for reviews, planned a cover reveal with many bloggers (including your fine self), added it to Goodreads lists, had a Facebook launch party, held Rafflecopter giveaways to increase interest with entries that would increase my popularity on social media and for the book’s visibility on Goodreads, and much more that won’t come to mind at the moment.

What has worked the best for you as far as finding the right readers for your books?

My first book,
Precise, is a novella and is a cross between dark contemporary and literary fiction. As you can imagine, it’s not the most popular of types of books or genres, so I looked out for people who enjoyed other books with a similar plot, theme or feel to mine and hunted down those people. (I didn’t really. I like chatting to everyone and I am nice about it. ).

Also, I have been blogging since October 26, 2011 so I have many kind blog readers and friends I made through Novel Girl who were thrilled to be able to read, review and spread the word. << That, by far, worked best. Thank you all who helped!

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

In too many ways! Argh, seriously, I’m on the internet too much. We connect through my Facebook Profile and Page, Twitter, Novel Girl blog.

What is the one thing you’d change about your road to publication if you had a chance?

Oooh, well I’d give myself more time to promote and publicize my book; give readers more anticipation. I’d have organised a blog tour.

I don’t regret what I’ve done—just wish I had time to do more!

How do you find the right readers for your books?


COVER REVEAL: Awaken by Jaime Guerard

TITLE: Awaken

AUTHOR: Jaime Guerard

GENRE: YA Paranormal Romantic Thriller


AGE GROUP: 14 - 20+



Final Awaken Cover