Monday, August 27, 2012

Author Cathy Tully

We're back, this time with romance author, Cathy Tully, a fellow Astraea Press author. She's here to share an excerpt of her book, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

Here's a little more about the book: 

Book Blurb

Jack DeVane is on the fast tract to becoming CEO of Cunningham Coffee and nothing will get in his way…until a little dog wanders into his condo and a beautiful dog walker wanders into his heart.

Caitlyn Stiles has one wish--to take over the family business. When she returns from college and this is no longer an option, she travels to Promise, Massachusetts to look after her ailing grandmother where she takes a job as a part-time dog walker.

Can one sweet, little dog teach Jack there’s more to life than work?
Teach Caitlyn to let go of her resentment?
And teach them both that ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE?

Doesn't it sound great? I know you want to know more, so Cathy gave us a little excerpt to whet our appetites. 


“Caitlyn, are you ready yet?” Her mother called from the bottom of the stairs.


“Hurry. All the best plants will be gone if we get there too late.”

She closed the closet door and gazed out her bedroom window.  It was a clear, warm day with a vivid blue sky. A vivid blue that reminded her of Jack’s eyes. She groaned and headed down into the kitchen where her mother waited.

With Easter only a week away, she’d promised her mother she’d go to the nursery and pick up some crocus, hyacinths and assorted flowers to brighten the front of the townhouse.

“So, are you ready to help me pick out some pretty yellow tulips?” Her mother wiped her hands on a kitchen towel.

“What did you say?”

“Yellow tulips. This year I’ve decided to fill the entire front of the house with yellow tulips.”

Caitlyn flinched. “But I thought we’d decorate the front of the house like last year when you first moved in. Use a mix of assorted pansies. What happened to that idea? You loved the effect. You even agreed it would be colorful and perky.”

Her mother shook her head. “No. I’ve changed my mind. This year I want to use bulbs, so they’ll come back again and again. Since I didn’t plant any last fall, we can buy potted tulips that’ll come back again year after year. And I’ve decided that yellow tulips should be the main accent color. Bright yellow. Vivid yellow. Beautiful yellow tulips.”

Caitlyn groaned. Tulips? The one flower; the only flower she hoped to dissuade her mother from using.

“What’s wrong with you? A beautiful bright yellow will serve as the perfect accent color for the house’s brick face and black shutters. I even bought a gorgeous yellow spring wreath for the door.”

Caitlyn put her head in her hands.

“I think yellow will look stunning. They’re going to make our house stand out from all the others on the block. I even saw something similar in a magazine, and I’m telling you, the effect was beautiful.”

“Okay mom. I get it. You want yellow.”

“Yes. Yellow tulips. You used to love yellow tulips. They were your favorite flower.”

“Were is the operative word, Mom. Were.”

“What happened to change your mind?”

Caitlyn couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Jack happened.”

“I don’t understand.”

“He ruined everything.”

“Nonsense. How can a man ruin your favorite flower?”

Caitlyn groaned. “It’s not bad enough he works for a company I detest, but then he shows up out of nowhere to get his mitts on dad’s recipe behind my back. To top it all off, he brings me yellow tulips.”


“I said Jack brought me yellow tulips.”

“No. Before that.”

“Dad’s recipe?’

No. Before that.”

“Jack works for Cunningham Coffee, Mom.” Caitlyn blew out an exasperated sigh.

“Oh honey, you’re thoroughly confused. About everything.” Her mother walked over to the table and sat next to her. She kept her voice low. “Tell me sweetie, did you insist Jack leave that morning he came to town, even though you love him, because you thought he still worked for that horrible company?”

Caitlyn nodded and bit her quivering bottom lip. “I can’t be with someone like that. Someone who works for people like that. What does that say about him?”

Her mother sat opposite her then reached across the kitchen table and squeezed both her hands. “Caitlyn, Jack doesn’t work for Cunningham Coffee anymore.” She handed Caitlyn a tissue.

She blotted her eyes. “No. He probably owns his own company now. He’s probably taking advantage of more people like they taught him to.”

“As a matter of fact he does operate his own company. Well, part of the company. He and I haven’t worked out all the details yet.”

Caitlyn stood and pushed her chair in, ignoring her mother’s comment. “If I know him, he’s closing every innocent, little store he can get his hands on.”

“You don’t know him at all do you?”

“What does that mean?” Caitlyn said.

“It means you better get ready to eat some crow!”


Follow Cathy on Facebook or visit her website at

Monday, August 20, 2012

Author Penelope King

 I'm so excited to have my friend Penelope King with us today. Penelope and I met when I was submitting my manuscript to agents a few years ago. We became beta readers for each other and have become friends through our writing. She is awesome, and her writing is AMAZING! I'm so glad I got to read her manuscripts because it's not something I would normally pick up.  Penelope has a way of making you fall in love with her characters and if I had to choose, I'd be Team Bones all the way! 

Here's a quick interview with Penelope:

 1. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
  2. Night owl or early bird? Total vampire
   3. Outline or fly by the seat of your pants? A little of both… I have some ideas then pretty much wing it.
 4. Traditional or self publish? Indie, baby!
  5. Hand write or type? Type. Even I can’t read my own chicken scratch
   6. Milky way or Snickers? Snickers
 7. Chinese food or Mexican? Oooh, depends on my mood but I have to go with Mexican.
 8. Wine or coffee? Both!!!
 9. Dogs or cats? Cats
10. Amazon or In-store purchases? Sadly, mostly Amazon. I am trying to buy more from small indie bookstores though. Problem is they aren’t open at 1am when I want to shop!
 11. Cook in or out to dinner? I love to cook, but I love to go out on occasion…so both J
  12. Starbucks or Tim Hortons? Starbucks
13. Twilight or Hunger Games? HARRY POTTER!!!!
 14. Introvert or Extrovert? Depends…but mostly an introvert.
  15. Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors
 16. Music or silence? Depends…they both have a time and purpose. For writing I need total silence, but for editing and brainstorming I need some tunes.
   17. Sedan or Minivan?  Sedan
  18. Endless edits and revisions or One time through...perfection? I edit about 3-5 times, but definitely not endless revisions and DEFINITELY not first time perfect.
  19. Camping or Hotel? Hotel all the way. Preferably one with fabulous room service and a spa J
 20. Organized or disorganized? Strangely enough I am compulsively organized. Doesn’t seem to help me get things done any faster, though J

Click to purchase, A Demon Made Me Do It., and Fire with Fire. 

Demon Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Liora Greyson has never been a "normal" girl. But the walls she's carefully constructed to keep people away crack wide open once she meets the sexy and mysterious Kieron Ambrose.The more she falls for him, the more worried she becomes. She can't let him know she transforms into demon named 'Lucky' at dusk...a demon with an entirely separate personality who spends her nights drinking, tormenting humans, slaying unsuspecting demons, and lusting after her gorgeous and unattainable incubus/hellhound BFF. But it turns out Kieron has a few dark secrets of his own. Secrets that will either save Liora...or completely destroy her.

Fighting your demons is one thing. Having one who fights back, messes with your guy, and leaves you with nasty hangovers is total hell. 

Fire with Fire Blurb:
It's been over two months since Lucky and Liora decided their fate outside the cave. Over two months since Kieron left to finish his mission. 

So why hasn't he returned?

Crushed and confused, Liora finds comfort with a mysterious stranger, a guy whose motives include more than just healing Liora's broken heart. Meanwhile, Lucky finds herself in the arms of an old friend...the one who has always laid claim to her true soul.

When the reason for Kieron's disappearance becomes known, loyalties will be tested, friends will be betrayed, loves will be lost, and hope will be found. Once and for all, Lucky and Liora will have to chose their destiny. And not everyone will survive their choice.

Witchy, Witchy Blurb:
When Calista McCoy moves from the slums of the Louisiana Bayou to an illustrious beach community in California, she knows her life is going to take a drastic turn. But once she arrives at the beautiful mansion by the sea, dark secrets are revealed...secrets that become even more complicated when she meets the gorgeous neighbor boy, Nicholas, and she feels an unexplainable--and undeniable--attraction. He's everything she's ever dreamed of. Literally.

     Her new life seems almost too good to be true. But as everyone knows, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. 

     ...And in Calista's case, it could be deadly.

Kiss the Crystal Sun Blurb:
With Nicholas gone and Justin fighting for his soul, Calista attempts to get back to a normal life. But when Ana reveals a shocking secret about the family's past, and Callie discovers the most important truths in her life are lies, she is faced with a devastating choice...One that will change everything.

Click to purchase Witchy, Witchy, and Kiss the Crystal Sun

You can find Penelope on Facebook: 

On Twitter:

And on Goodreads: 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bryan Johnson, author of Yield

Welcome back. Today we have with us, Bryan Johnson, Author of Yield, with a great post on sequels. Thanks for being with us, Bryan!

"To sequel or not to sequel..."
by guest writer Bryan K. Johnson

It seems like many writers these days are confronted with the same conundrum of continuance. Should I turn my story into a series? At face value, it's a simple enough question. The word "trilogy" can cause a million possibilities to fire inside the depths of our synaptic web, tracing down through dynamic characters and immersive worlds all painted in glorious verbal detail. There are certainly enough success stories of formerly unknown writers finding fame and fortune with a captivating book series: J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, Suzanne Collins and the Hunger Games. Audiences and critics alike enjoy multi-part story arcs, often bringing unparalleled success to their creators.

I have also set out down that same long and layered path, taken by many but finished by few. My debut novel, Yield, is book one of the chillingly intense, shockingly unforgettable, (enter your own superlative here) Armageddia trilogy. The only problem? It's not all written yet.

Marketing a series of ethereal ideas without the concrete parts already in hand is a very real challenge for new writers. How do we know if the first story is going to be well received? What if we haven't been lucky enough to find a publisher with the patience to see our series through? What if there is too long of a gap between releases and all of that hard fought momentum is lost?

The highly competitive book business can be an unforgiving place. Having even one novel pop on the charts as a new writer is hard enough, let alone trying to ride your own coattails years later when all of the intended companion pieces are finally done.

Being new to the industry, I've realized I really don't have a bulletproof answer to the sequel question—not one that applies to everyone. The answer, just like the stories themselves, depends largely on the motivations and commitment of their authors.

My advice, from that place somewhere between hope and disappointment in my gut, is this:

If you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will complete your series—even if book one is an abysmal failure, even if the critics hate it, even if everything else in your life crumbles away—if you are that passionate about your story and have a clear vision for what it can be, then I say do it. Commit to it, and don't give up on your idea even if Dante's inferno opens wide and threatens to swallow you whole. It might just take that kind of commitment and sacrifice to make it.

On the other hand, if you are just testing the waters and trying to get a foothold in the writing world any way you can, you might be better off having several weapons in your literary arsenal. A good writer is a good writer, regardless of the specific story. Having a few finished manuscripts in your hip pocket to show your versatility and style to a prospective agent or publisher may just get you that shot. There can be strength in playing the numbers. Not everyone will like a particular series concept. And if you put all of your eggs in that one basket, your writing career may get poached before you've even had a chance to hatch.

For a special sneak peek at my own sequel, go to: I've posted an exclusive excerpt on my blog there from book two of the Armageddia Series. Book one, YIELD, will be available August 14th in paperback and e-book formats.

Happy writing! (...and writing....... and writing..........................)

Bryan K. Johnson
Author of Yield: Book 1 of the Armageddia Series

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Search of Clarity--Steven Hutson

I have the privilege of highlighting Steve Hutston and his book In Search of Clarity.  I met Steve when I queried him with my own novel. You see, he’s my agent.

A little while ago, Steve asked if anyone would like to review his book. I volunteered. After all, he's read my book, so I should read his. And what better way to get to know a person than to read the things they've written. It was, however a  slightly scary thing to do. I mean, what if I don’t like it? It’s non-fiction, something I don’t usually prefer, but I'd give it a shot. He wants me to be honest in my review, so I will. Let me say that I was pleased to have read a thought provoking commentary on our approach to Christianity.

Hutson brings us along with his own spiritual journey as he asks the hard, often unasked questions regarding faith. Questions like, “Why do we do the things we do?”, “Where did our belief in X really come from?”, and “Are those beliefs scriptural beliefs or just a cultural tradition passed through the generations?” (My paraphrasing) Each step of the way, Huston challenges the reader to think through every decision related to their own faith, and he does so in a way that's easy to read, weaving in his own experiences to heighten reader interest.

 How many times do we approach our faith with blind eye, not knowing we can’t see? We accept what’s been done in the past and what we’ve been taught in our childhood without examining the reasons behind our actions or traditions. Using Biblical references, Hutson proves how important it is to seek the truth for ourselves. We’ve been given the greatest gift of truth in the Holy Scriptures, yet we often fail to use it to discover that truth or to question our faith.

I believe God wants us to question why we believe what we believe. In my opinion, He doesn’t desire followers who follow only because their parents did, or one who follow the motions without having a close relationship with him. He wants us to ask the hard questions. And He’s ready with the answers if only we’ll seek him.

So thanks to Hutson for this reminder.

Readers, I join Mr. Hutson and challenge you to go on your own search for clarity.

Steve’s book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and