Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Inspiration and Research Behind "Paulyanna: International Rent Boy", A Guest Post & Giveaway by author Paul Douglas Lovell

Paulyanna: International Rent Boy

by Paul Douglas Lovell

Publisher: Self Published

Formats Available In: Digital

Released: September 2013

 Paulyanna: International Rent-Boy is an honest and frank portrayal of a working-class male prostitute’s life.

Many factors contribute in delivering the main character onto the streets. Some very typical such as early abandonment, poverty, lack of education and sexual abuse. But Paul does not dwell too much on the past and refuses to allow these events to mar his ambition.

At eighteen a lost train ticket leaves him stranded in the city after a job interview. He uses his questionable wits to make a quick decision that steers him down a rather dodgy path.

Without added glamour or grit, Paul shares the raw accounts of his life as a rent-boy in the 90s, from London to Los Angeles. It may not have been pretty, and there was risk and danger as well as fun and thrills, but Paul had the audacity to succeed in his quest to obtain happiness, security and wealth.

This is not an erotic tale. It is an ordinary account of day-to-day life as viewed from a unique perspective. A peek into what really goes on behind the glassy-eyed smile of a male street worker. Read about his life in this optimistic and fascinating roadbook adventure.

Buy it Here: Amazon UK

A post about inspiration and research…
by Paul Douglas Lovell

It was my unconventional lifestyle that inspired this particular story. A true one that includes my desires and preparations to become a writer.

As it is autobiographical, the only real research required was detail clarification on some of the sightseeing commentary I give when, say, strolling along the Champs-Élysées. I do tend to throw in historical facts about the places I’ve visited, nothing too bookish, just light-hearted banter, a bit like a chatty London cabbie.

Trivia told to me over an alcoholic beverage most probably. I am gullible so often take most things that make sense on face value. However, before passing these facts on to readers, I needed to double check. For instance were prisoners destined to hang on the Tyburn Tree really held in the cellar of the pub where I lived? Had an unsolved murder from my childhood continued to remain unsolved? I also logged on to Google Maps and took a virtual stroll along Santa Monica Boulevard. No substitute for the real thing but it’s excellent to refresh and even provoke hidden memories.

There was no research made about prostitution as I’m commenting on personal experiences. My memory serves me well on this account. Besides, I glibly claim it’s in the blood. I can quite honestly say if I were around in Victorian times, I would have been a telegraph boy. Assuming I made it to London. I make no apologises or excuses and feel no shame about my acceptance of this lifestyle: I simply am.

I am not attempting to appear dramatic but I collected most of the elements I required to construct a decent story in my childhood. All I needed was a happy ending and how fortunate I was that my own misfortunate existence came with one.

I triumphed over adversity. I left wearing rags and returned in robes. I bungled through life with the carefree philosophy of a stoner. Karma and kismet led the way. I practically goaded destiny to slap me back and when it did, I hardly flinched.

I see the similarities in my life and the stereotypical pattern of abuse, leading to dysfunction, drugs and prostitution. I survived, armed with denial and a rose-tinted view of life. Eventually I thrived and even kept intact a core belief that most people are good.

The only thing I can say I actively did to achieve was treat everyone who crossed my path with respect. In general, that is, I don’t take shit. You will witness many examples of me losing my cool and realise soon enough I am no saint. WHEN you read Paulyanna, I do have one request to make. As I am selling my books one copy at a time, if you enjoy it then please spread the word. Thanks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Paul Douglas Lovell:

A Black Country Lad who now lives in the Black Boy Land or Schwarzbubenland as it is called in Switzerland. Life started off badly and after spending a big part of it on the margins of society working as a rent-boy (gay male prostitute) I eventually found my husband (civil partner) in 2000 and a new chapter in my life began.

Years on and we are still very happily married, or at least I am. He kept every single one of his promises and didn’t tire or change his attitude towards me. Never once have I felt cold, hungry or scared.

I now live in a detached property with a large garden in a small hamlet of 895 residence. Set in the foothills of the Jura mountains. I am surrounded on all sides by hilly forests, a small stream runs through it’s centre. It really is a proper piece of paradise. When I’m feeling extra spiritual it is easy to imagine. We are nestled in the palms of an almighty giant. God if you like. Whom, despite all I had done saw fit to watch over me and guide me to a life worth living. I have a beautiful black cat called Darcy and also a Gordon Setter girl-dog name Asherah. We live an idyllic existence.

I now enjoy the small pleasures in life, gone are the pressures of Big City Life nowadays, I can see sky out of my windows. I experience every season. In the Spring and Summer, whilst out walking in the woods we often make a fire to cook a jumbo sausage. My dog likes sausage walks. Autumn is spend harvesting our homegrown and raking up leaves. I spend a lot of my time gardening. Chopping and stacking wood for the log burner that heats our home throughout the Winter season. I’m a Glippy a glamourous hippy. We are extremely green and energy efficient, I’m a recycling master.

I wear what I call my doggy clothes mostly, saving my glad rags for when visiting the city. I like to pretend I’m living in the olden days and going to town is a really big event. So that is the new improved me. I must admit I do still enjoy cannabis but now, I drink red wine also.

“I always had a dream to become a writer and although not quite there yet am doing
everything I can to make it a reality.”

Connect with the Author: Facebook

Monday, October 28, 2013

Let's Check in on Some Old Friends...

Buy it on Kindle for $4.99!
Sometimes I wonder what happens to my favorite characters after I've typed "The End". When that happens, sometimes they pop into my head for a quick visit. Here's Jayden and Serenya from Book Two of the Tallenmere Series, "Serenya's Song". 

Me: Hey guys, it's been a while. So, Jayden, um...why is there a bandage across your nose?

Jayden: Funny story. Serenya was bent over at the waist, brushing her lovely raven-black hair, to add bubbles or something.

Serenya: Body.

Jayden: Yes, body. Anyway, I couldn't resist. All I wanted was to wrap my arms around her and kiss that delicate skin on the nape of her neck. Of course, just as I got close, she springs up, throws her head back and WHAM! Right into my nose.

Serenya: I heard the crack. Terrible.

Jayden: Yes, blood everywhere, and I'm holding my nose and flailing about when the twins come running to see what all the ruckus is. They start crying-

Serenya: Actually, the girls were laughing. You were crying.

Jayden: Whatever. It did hurt, you know.

Serenya: I'm so sorry, darling. I had no idea you were behind me.

Me: So, lesson learned?

Jayden: Obviously. Love hurts!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Think You Can't Write A Book? Think Again...

If you've always wanted to write a book, don't let anything hold you back! Here's proof positive that you can do it. Watch this interview with my friend Leona Pence, who defied the odds and made her dream come true!!

Read more here: Woman Defies Condition to Author First Book - CIProud

By the way, her book is available now on:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Writing Process: A Guest Post & Giveaway by Dina Rae

The Writing Process by Dina Rae

Hi Mysti,  Thanks for having me.  

So you want me to write about the writing process-hmmmmm.  After four novels, I still find it difficult to explain.  Only another writer would understand and all others would deem me insane.  For me, it begins with something true, newsworthy, and has some kind of conspiratorial element to it.  

InBad Juju, I used a combination of my students to create Henry, the teen with Asperger's who gets possessed after a Haitian missionary trip. As a special education teacher, children with Asperger's (a high level of Autism) are perhaps the most interesting of the students I have encountered.  Their lack of social skills makes me wonder if they are incapable of learning empathy.  Could they be the altruistic ones, the nonconformists?  Is it possible they are immune to the pressure of blending in with society while the rest of us are lulled into acting normal?  Food for thought.  Henry may not buy into human interaction, however, he is still susceptible to demonic possession.

My fascination with Voodoo enters the story.  The rituals, spirits (loas), tribes, songs, and so much more mentioned in Bad Juju are all authentic, found in many sources.  The only thing missing is a firsthand account of actually being in Haiti and experiencing the Voodoo houngans, bokors, and priestesses.  

As far as style goes, to me writing is recording the movie that is going on inside of my head.  If I don't like the scene, I can rewind and start over.  I find it easiest to write in third person limited, but one day want to experience the closeness of getting inside a character's head and attempt to write first person.  I like to write short, catchy chapters and bounce from character to character.  

Marketing has been the biggest challenge throughout the publication process.  Funds are very limited and competition is very high.  Only a handful of writers make a living, and even fewer can make it big.  I write for many reasons, first and foremost because I can.  It's an addiction.  I love to read and dissect plots.  Once I found out that I could write a novel, I became hooked.  Again, thanks for having me.

Bad Juju

by Dina Rae

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Self Published

Formats Available In: Digital

Release Date: September, 2012

Two teens turn to a Voodoo bokor to right a wrong. Their curiosity with the dark arts backfires into obsession.

Lucien Nazaire flees his Haitian homeland and settles in a Wisconsin trailer park filled with elderly tenants. He hires sixteen year old Jake for odd household jobs. The boy proves to be the perfect candidate to pass on his Voodoo legacy.

Jake LaRue lives in foster care with his abusive uncle. The Voodoo gives him a sense of power within an otherwise helpless situation. Despite his loner status, he instantly connects with Henry, his only friend in high school. 

Henry Novak has Asperger’s Syndrome. He fixates on historical events, most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Like Jake, he becomes passionate about the dark side of Voodoo. They learn how to cast spells on those they hate and lust.

Months after the Haitian earthquake, Henry convinces his family to volunteer for the island's reconstruction. Their mission turns into a nightmare when he mysteriously walks off of the campsite and returns in a catatonic state.

Bad Juju is a balance of horror, romance, and literary fiction intended for adults and mature teens. The plot uses research involving the Voodoo religion.

About Dina Rae:

Dina Rae is a new author that is here to stay. As a teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her research on the Yezidi religion and love of art inspired her story telling for Halo of the Damned. Halo of the Nephilim and Halo of the Madonna are new to the angel series.

Her second novel, The Last Degree, is a fictionalized account of the Freemason’s role in the New World Order. Dina's grandfather was the Most Worshipful of his lodge. The subject has always held a personal interest.

Bad Juju, is about an old Haitian bokor who mentors two teens in the dark arts. A unique blend of horror, romance, and literary fiction meant for adults and mature teens.
Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is an avid reader, tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on conspiracy theories. She has appeared in several literary blogs, newspapers, e-zines, and radio shows as a guest.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Winners of the "What's Your Food Story?" Contest are...

My apologies for such a delay, but my blind judge (my hubby, who's not actually blind, but swamped with work) has finally chosen the winners of September's "What's Your Food Story?" contest! And they are:

What do these lovely folks get in return for their yummy story-telling? Here's the prize list:

1st Place
A Video Production by Yours Truly and My Blind Judge of the winning recipe!
Wilton Indulgence 14" Pizza Pan
"It Looks Like I Fussed, But Didn't" (e-Cookbook) by Sherry Wille
"The Winemaker" (a fictional novel) by Charmaine Pauls
$10 Gift Certificate to Wal-Mart or Kroger Stores

2nd Place
Wilton Indulgence Three-Tier Cooling Racks
"It Looks Like I Fussed, But Didn't" (e-Cookbook) by Sherry Wille
"The Winemaker" (a fictional novel) by Charmaine Pauls
$10 Gift Certificate to Wal-Mart or Kroger Stores

3rd Place
Potato Peeler/Scrubber (Donated by Leila Smith)
"It Looks Like I Fussed, But Didn't" (e-Cookbook) by Sherry Wille
"The Winemaker" (a fictional novel) by Charmaine Pauls
$10 Gift Certificate to Wal-Mart or Kroger Stores

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Books & Merchandise Needed for 50,000TH Hit Giveaway!

I'm about 4000 hits away from 50,000. I celebrated my 5,000th, 10,000th, and 20,000th hit with huge giveaways. So, what the heck? Let's do it again! Please see this link to see what my 20,000th hit event was like: 


Authors donate a certain number and format of their books. Readers comment and win on a first come, first serve basis. I keep up with each one as its taken and cross a line through the entry when a title is gone. I send each author the winner(s) email addy to send their prize. 

I'll separate by genre, along with title, book cover, and how many are available. Then, I'll link it to the blog/website/store where they can go to read a description. 

Authors, here's what I need from you for EACH BOOK you want to donate:

  • Your BOOK TITLE(S) and/or any MERCHANDISE (bookmarks, mugs, t-shirts, etc.)
  • BOOK COVER(S) in JPG format
  • GENRE your book(s) best fits into: 

    1. Anthologies
    2. Sci-Fi/Fantasy
    3.  Thriller/Horror/Mystery
    4. Romance
    5. Erotic Romance
    6. Children's/Teen/YA
    7. Inspirational/Religious
    8. Short Stories
    9. Non-Fiction 

  • One LINK where readers can find the blurb (e.g. Amazon, B&N, your website, etc)
  • HOW MANY copies (and/or items) you are giving away. 
  • The FORMAT you're giving (print, PDF, ePub, Mobi, etc)
  • If you are willing to ship any physical prizes OUTSIDE the US/Canada, please say so!
  • Please put 50,000 Hit Giveaway in the subject line and send an e-mail to with all the information requested above if you want to participate. 

***DO NOT send me your book files 

or merchandise. I'll send all winners to you.*** 

AGAIN, Please put 50,000 Hit Giveaway in the subject line and send an e-mail to with all the information requested above if you want to participate. Do not send me your information via Facebook, Twitter, or any other method, or it's likely to get misplaced. 

Thank you in advance!!!

The 50,000th hit will be here very soon, but I'll give you a deadline. I'll stop taking donations on November 29 and will launch the event on December 2. Feel free to contact me with any questions. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Spotlight & Giveaway: Killer on the Road by Charles O'Keefe

 Killer On The Road

Series: The Newfoundland Vampire

Author: Charles O’Keefe

Genre: Horror / Paranormal / Romance / Vampire

Formats Available In: All eBook formats and Print

Release Date: January, 2011

 Joseph O’Reily is still adjusting to the lifestyle and the dangers that come with being a new vampire. He and Cassandra recently fought to the death with Cassandra’s estranged husband John Snow, and now Joseph has experienced his first ménage a trios, as only a vampire can. As if all of this was not complicated enough, he and Cassandra have been tasked with hunting down and killing a rogue vampire, Donald Rathmore.

Another of John Snow’s creations, Donald is an evil misogynistic killer in his own right. Donald has no interest in avenging his creator’s death, but killing Cassandra is at the top of his list.

While Donald continues his murderous spree, Joseph and Cassandra always seem to be one step behind him. The chase is further complicated as they encounter other vampires and learn more about the mysterious nature of the Vampire Council and the coming war between good and evil.

Joseph is only now beginning to trust Cassandra, and this trust will be shaken when he discovers she has even more secrets than he imagined. Her idea of justice and morality is at complete odds with his own. Despite all his powers and growing skill, Joseph is tested physically as a vampire and emotionally by Cassandra. This time the answers and challenges may be too much for the young vampire to handle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Charles O’Keefe:

Charles O’Keefe lives in the beautiful province of Newfoundland, Canada, with his wife and two feline ‘children,’ Jude and Esther. He works as an I.T. support guy and enjoys many hobbies and activities that include writing, reading, watching fantasy/science-fiction movies and television shows, gaming, poker, walking, acting, martial arts and of course fantasizing about vampires.

He currently has two novels out, books 1 and 2 of "The Newfoundland Vampire" series.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's Your Food Story #5: Food = Happiness by Tara Fox Hall

Welcome to the What's Your Food Story contest! Here is story #4 of our five entries. Enjoy!

 If you'd like to submit your own food story/recipe, see all the details here: DEADLINE: CLOSED

Winners and prizes TBA soon!


First off, my family is BIG on food. The equation above is one I grew up with, with all kinds of homemade special treats at the holidays and birthdays. I’ve got a lot of stories involving food, from an aunt that would always “forget” to include one ingredient when she passed on favorite recipes to others—so the resulting dish would not surpass her own creations—to my own many mishaps in the kitchen over the years.
            You might think I was born to bake, that with a family so into food I would have been cooking when my age was in the single digits. Not so. My learning to cook was a long process that didn’t begin until I was in college.
            It was bio lab, and to explain a concept of chemical reaction, we had to bake a loaf of bread ourselves and bring it in. I’d never baked or cooked anything at that point in my life, not counting the plaster ornament mix I had tried to make once that hardened in the bowl as I was mixing and trapped two wooden spoons permanently. So my A average was in trouble, to put it mildly. And since I cared very much about excelling in my classes, I got my mom to help me. The result was I had the best bread in the class. But I felt a
little bad about that, as I’d technically cheated by having her help me. I wanted to really be able to make bread that looked and tasted that good on my own. So little by little, I began baking cookies and breads from mixes, then eventually from scratch.
            To be clear, I wasn’t cooking at this point yet (I got ridiculed for years by a friend that loved to remind me about the time I had called him asking him how to cook bacon—“Um, you put it in the pan, Tara, and turn on the stove”). But after excelling at baking—and gaining a husband who loved home cooking—I learned to cook various soups (tomato remains the Hall house favorite), other breads (I make pumpkin bread or apple-raisin bread for a neighbor almost every other week now), entrees (meatloaf  and chili-sans-beans are fall favorites), and all kinds of desserts, several of which I’m famous for locally.
            You’ll see a lot of cooking in the Promise Me Series I write. Most anything Sar is making is something I’ve done at one time or another. So if you read about anything that sounds mouthwatering in one of my stories, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you. And I promise I won’t leave any ingredients out!

Recipe for Tara’s Infamous chocolate chip cookies (the same ones that Sar makes in multiple books):
5 and 3/4 cups flour (get this EXACT – the success of the cookies depends on this)
1 and ½ cups granulated white sugar
1 and ½ cups brown sugar
4 sticks of butter (no margarine)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
One large bag choc chips or 2 small bags – you need 24oz
4 eggs
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F  Melt butter in saucepan on stove, and pour over sugars and vanilla—do NOT cut in or scorch butter. Beat well. Mix in eggs. Beat well until no lumps. Mix flour, and baking soda, then add to wet mixture. Beat well until no lumps. Then add in choc chips.
*Refrigerate if it’s a very hot day for one hour. You’ll want one tablespoon to be able to make an 1” sticky ball without being goopy when you set it down on the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

Roll into 1” balls and put in a 3-2-3-etc pattern on cookie sheet, leaving space for cookies to spread. Cook for 10 min at 375 deg. until just golden. Cook another 2-5 minutes if you like your cookies crispy. Remove via spatula onto a wire tray or papertowel-lined counter. Let cool before storing. Can be frozen very well for microwaving when needed in a chocolate emergency!

Modifications: Substituting in all white sugar for the brown sugar will give you a lighter cookie, substituting in a partial cup of honey for white sugar will give the cookies a honey taste, and this can also be done with maple sugar also. Any kind of chip can be used (lemony chocolate is nice), or a mix of chips to make a peanut butter/chocolate or a caramel/chocolate mix. You can also spread these thickly in a 8 x 10 pan to make a kind of bar cookie, if you like. Variations on chip shape and size are fun, just remember to use enough chips!

 Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What's Your Food Story #4: Grammy's Soup by Rebecca Barray

Welcome to the What's Your Food Story contest! Here is story #4 of our five entries. Enjoy!

 If you'd like to submit your own food story/recipe, see all the details here: DEADLINE: CLOSED

Winners and prizes TBA soon!

#4 Grammy's Soup

Rebecca Barray

The sun began to set, sinking just below the trees. Lying on my bed and looking out the window was all I could bear to do. I saw him in everything; he was everywhere. When I closed my eyes, his lopsided smile lit up his eyes. When I went outside, the sun was the warmth of his hand in mine. I blinked and a tear slid down my cheek, brushing the exact spot of the last kiss he gave me. My stomach knotted and I remembered that I hadn’t eaten. I wondered why I should bother.
“Don’t come in here trying to infect everyone with your melancholy, Jo Lynn. I’ve had about enough.” Grammy scolded me without even looking up from the large pot on the stove.
"But I loved him, Grammy. I’ll never love anyone else the way I loved him, as long as I live. He was the one. You just don’t understand.” I plopped down at the table, sighing heavily. I couldn’t go any farther.
“Oh, I reckon I understand well enough,” she smiled. “You just need some a’ Grammy’s tomato soup. It’ll cure what ails ya.” She sat a bowl down on the table, right in front of me.
“Grammy… there is no cure. I feel like I’m gonna die,” I groaned.
“Jo, take your soup out on the porch. It’s a little chilly, so put on your sweater first.” I started to complain, but she cut me off. “Just go. I have a feeling that a little fresh air is just what you need.”
I was almost halfway through my soup when I saw him. His dark hair fell just into his eyes and he would shake his head in the cutest way to get it back out. He pulled his sweatshirt off, his hair sticking up all over, and carried another box into the house across the street. I picked up my bowl and went back inside.
“Grammy, I’m gonna go take a shower.” A smile crept across my face as I passed her.

“See? I knew a little a’ Grammy’s soup would make you feel better…”


Rebecca Barray is a mommy, writer, reader, photographer, and perpetual student. She spends most of her time chasing toddlers, but her precious free time is spent writing, photographing, and learning as much as she can about anything. She has three energetic children, a fun-loving husband, a messy cat, a lazy dog, and some very resilient fish. 

You can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Becca's Blog.

A Review of Doppelganger by Jenny Twist

DoppelgangerDoppelganger by Jenny Twist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this short story by Jenny Twist quite a while back when it first appeared in the anthology "Bedtime Shadows". It still sticks with me to this day because of the vivid speculative plot that I've come to love from this author.

Beginning with a suicide attempt, Christine's less than ideal life suddenly turns a 180 when she wakes up in a huge house, in a strange bed, and finds clothes on the floor belonging to a "large, sweaty man". From the first few pages, you're left wanting to know how this story will progress and exactly what Christine has stepped into.

It's definitely one of those stories that make you ponder what might have been in your own life. Plus, I shall forever be cautious with Corcorde Red wine, thanks to Ms. Twist!

Grab a copy and see what I mean...

View all my reviews

Monday, October 7, 2013

Web Trolls Anonymous?

Saw this article today and found it VERY telling about why cyber-bullying persists, not only on book sites like Goodreads, but all across the web. Could the feeling of spreading anonymous venom really be that addicting? on and tell me what you think.

Anonymous alcoholics? Study finds web trolls get a feeling of abandon similar to drunks.

Month-Long FB Hallow's Party!!!

Ok, so I'm a little late posting this, but I'm part of a month-long Halloween party event on Facebook.

I'm joining authors Tara Fox Hall, Jeff Dawson, Jodie Pierce, Tori L Ridgewood, Nancy Penick, John T. Steiner, and Mark Knight for a month of spooky, book-loving fun. We'll be giving away all kinds of goodies, so be sure to join the event for a chance to win some great prizes!

Here's the linky:

I'll be doing my thing Monday and Tuesday night, Oct. 7 & 8.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Managing Writer's Block: A Guest Post & Giveaway by Chrystalla Thoma


by  Chrystalla Thoma

 New Adult Romance 

Available In: All Digital Formats

A terrible mistake haunts college student Olivia Spencer. To escape the past, she travels to the Mediterranean island of Crete, hoping for the courage to start anew.

By the sea, she meets sexy and enigmatic Kai. But there’s more to Kai than meets the eye — and nobody wants to talk about it. The locals shun him, accusing him of magic. Kai, apparently, belongs to the sea, no matter how crazy that sounds.

Kai isn’t free to be with her or live his own life, and this is how he will stay, unless Olivia can break his curse and save him — in doing so atoning for those she failed in the past.

Contains mature content. Ages 17+

Managing Writer's Block
Chystalla Thoma

I used to get blocked while writing, a lot. Didn’t know my ailment had a name until I joined a writers’ group about six years ago. Writer's Block. Sounds serious, maybe fatal.
It means you’re stuck in the writing of your story and can’t figure out how to go on, even if you’ve already written half the book, or even two-thirds. It’s annoying, frustrating, and sometimes very depressing.

I haven’t had Writer's Block in the past few years. And that’s because I figured out what Writer's Block really is.

It’s not a disease. It’s not the onset of Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t mean your creativity as a writer has dried up, that you’ll never get more good ideas for stories, that you can’t write anymore.

Trust me, because I thought all that and more. For years.

What Writer's block means is that you simply don't know what happens next in your story. It’s not a brain cramp: it’s a lack of concrete direction. It’s like driving down a road in the general direction of Alaska and half-way through you realize you don’t have a map and there are no sign posts.

Now what does that mean for you as a writer?

If you get Writer's block as soon as you start a story, it probably means you're not sure what the story is about. Write a brief outline, like a summary, of what will happen - by scene if you can. It could be only key-words (“Sue and John fight over dirty dishes. John leaves.”) Then sit down and write your story.

If Writer's block happens to you half-way through a story, again sit down and think of your outline, and each character’s goal. What do they want? How do their desires conflict? What do you want the outcome to be? How will you get that outcome? Take notes, make the outline as above, and then take it scene by scene, sit down and write it out.

Well, that’s my theory and that’s my cure. It sure works for me. :)
About Chrystalla Thoma:

Chrystalla is Greek Cypriot (hence the strange name) and likes writing about bratty, angsty boys and spunky girls in fantasy and science-fiction worlds. She writes mainly for a young adult public but not only (heed the warnings!) 

She's currently preparing a non-fiction book about dragons, because the truth must out, and is juggling two series ("Elei's Chronicles" and "Boreal and John Grey").

Growing Pains: A Guest Post & Giveaway by author Karyn Pearson

***The FIRST 10 commenters get a FREE digital bookmark from Karyn! So, be sure to comment below!***

Growing Pains: Ardentia’s Journey
A Guest Post by Karyn Pearson

At the beginning of Spark, we don’t know a whole lot about Ardentia. We get some basics, we get what other people think they know about her, but it isn’t until later on in the story that we finally get to see who she really is. When we first meet her, Ardentia is a demon hunter in her hometown. She is hated and feared by everyone around her because of the demonic spirit living inside her body. The townspeople brand her a witch and treat her like a pariah. From this, we gather that our main protagonist has not had an easy upbringing.

Naturally, because of the treatment she’s endured over the years, Ardentia is bitter and angry with the citizens of her hometown. But despite that, she still cares for these people. No matter how angry she is about how she’s been shunned and all-but cast out by the townspeople, she still believes in the importance of preserving human life and doing the right thing. Over time, she manages to let go of this anger, or at the very least suppress it. She throws herself into her quest to restore her mother’s honor by hunting down the Saligia and forgets everything else.

Despite her drive and eagerness to take on the Seven Deadly Sins, readers could say that Ardentia’s personality at this point is still a little flat, as the goal she’s working toward isn’t even for her own benefit. Restoring her mother’s honor is the only thing that matters to her and she has no reasons of her own, no personal goals to keep her fighting and work toward achieving. This of course, becomes a problem for our heroine. Fighting for her mother’s sake has been all she’s ever known, all she’s ever wanted to do. The idea of fighting for her own sake is a foreign concept to her. She struggles with this and has to search for her own reason to carry on living in this post-apocalyptic world.

Ardentia’s journey throughout the course of Spark is one of self-discovery. Her journey spans across the entire trilogy, and we, the readers, get to learn more about Ardentia as she learns more about herself. She’s tested in every possible way, she gets defeated, broken, and disheartened. She’s betrayed, she loses hope and so much more. But she also discovers the small joys in life and people she’s not willing to lose. These experiences shape her, change her, and she becomes so much more than the naïve young woman she once was and finds something she thought she never had in her: strength.


 The Hellfire Series

by Karyn Pearson

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy

Formats Available In: Digital

Release Date: June 23, 2013

For centuries, the powers of Heaven and Hell have been at war, locked in a perpetual stalemate. Fifty years ago, the war spilled out on Earth and the last modern age of man ended. Humanity now finds itself at the brink of annihilation, barely surviving in small pockets of civilization scattered across the globe. But even in the direst of circumstances, the human spirit lives on.

Now, in this post-apocalypse, humanity has but one choice: resist or die. In order to combat the forces of Hell, man has learned to fight, training from their youth to hunt the demons that threaten their very existence.

Twenty-five years ago, a demon hunter dared rise against an ancient demon family, the Saligia—the Seven Deadly Sins—and was cursed for her defiance. The curse appeared in the guise of an innocent: the huntress’s own daughter, Ardentia, who had been born with a demon soul attached to her own.

In the present day, Ardentia, now grown, seeks to free her mother from her curse by hunting down the demons responsible. But the road ahead will be difficult now that the demon within her has awakened. Trusting him is dangerous, especially when he can turn on her at a moment’s notice. Others have warned her that succumbing to the demon will be her own downfall.

Now Ardentia must decide what she’s willing to lose: her mother’s freedom or herself.


The demon snapped his fingers and the daemonis igni behind Ardentia grew blindingly bright and white-hot, the flames reaching over forty feet high and surging straight toward her. She froze with fear, knowing that in a few seconds she was about to die, burned alive in the fires of Hell.
“Ardentia!” Noxius was shouting. “Run! Run now!”
She was too scared to move. She could not even muster up the strength to take that first step. Somehow, even if she did run away, she knew that the flames or Gula would end up devouring her anyway.
Distantly, she could hear the voices of her comrades, yelling for her to run, to find higher ground, but still, she could not move.
Noxius snarled with irritation, muttering a stream of curses in lingua daemon.
“Idiot girl!” he hissed at her. “I’ve no other choice. I simply cannot allow us both to die here.”
And then an indescribable force slammed against the inside of Ardentia’s skull. She saw bright lights pop in front of her eyes, nearly blinded with pain, and dropped to her knees in a daze. Dimly, she could feel Noxius seizing control; his power coursed through her, flooding her with an unimaginable strength and power that she was incapable of using. Her hand started to reach for the reliquary dangling from her belt, only to feel an invisible hand within her snatching it away.
“What are you doing?” she asked weakly.
“You’ll thank me in a moment,” Noxius answered her.
Ardentia’s eyes fell shut and she thought she could hear the sound of wings being spread then close around her. If she leant to the side ever so slightly, she swore she could feel the leathery velvet of the wing brush against her cheek.
An intense heat passed over her; she realized that it was probably the demonic fire, having reached her at last. She inhaled sharply, preparing to scream as she burned in the hellish pyre, only to find that she did not need to. There was only heat but no flames. She was not burned.

About Karyn Pearson:

Karyn Pearson is a post-grad university student with a B.A. in Anthropology, currently living in California with her two dogs. Over the years, she has created many worlds, characters, and series, which naturally makes her head a very crowded place to be.

When she’s not writing, she can be found curled up with a book, playing video games, doing research for her books on the web, or attempting to not burn the house down with another kitchen experiment, a hobby otherwise known as cooking.