Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Highly Recommended Epic Christian Fantasy: BENEATH THE FORSAKEN CITY by C. E. Laureano

Click the title below to find
Beneath the Forsaken City
by C. E. Laureano at Amazon
What it's about (from publisher NavPress):
A brotherhood scattered. A future denied. Who will stand against the darkness?
Conor and Aine have barely escaped Seare with their lives. Conor knows he must return to find the harp that could end the Red Druid's reign of terror, but in the midst of their escape, he and Aine are torn apart once more. Surrounded by despair and thrown into as much danger as they left behind, Conor and Aine must cling to the whispers of Comdiu's plans for them and the homeland that depends on their survival. But at what cost? Will they learn to depend on Comdiu completely? Or will they give up hope?
Why you should read it: Better known for her 2014 RITA-award winning contemporary romance Five Days in Skye, author C.E. (Carla) Laureano once again proves her exceptional range with the second installment in her Song of Seare series, giving authentic voice to medieval characters within a world that rings true to the spirit of Celtic fantasy.
Although Conor and Aine spend the bulk of this book apart, their love story stays in the forefront of their minds — as well as the reader's — while evil hunts them, threatening their happiness on every front. With a few gasp-worthy moments — including one in which you might just shake the book in your hands saying, "No, Conor! STAHP! No, no, no!" (I may have actually done that …) — this romantic fantasy reaches out, grabs you by the knuckles and pulls you right into the tale. Fantasy lit fans will definitely want to put this romantic, nail-biting page-turner on their TBR lists, but make sure you read book one first!
MORE: Check out my HEA rec of Oath of the Brotherhood (The Song of Seare, book 1)

(This review originally appeared at USA Today's Happy Ever After blog)

CONTENT: Edgier for Christian Fantasy due to violence
STORY: 5 magical STARS!
Come back on Friday, February 27 for episode 9 of The Author's Casting Call at EIR in which Carla Laureano plays Casting Director and dreams up the perfect cast for a movie version of this book!

Monday, February 23, 2015

CALL FOR QUESTIONS FROM READERS: ASK THE AUTHOR at EIR PUTS RACHEL HAUCK IN THE HOTSEAT!


Do you have some burning questions you've always wanted to ask prolific author Rachel Hauck? Here's your chance! Leave your questions in the comments below, and we'll gather them up and send them to Rachel for you.


To find How to To Catch a Prince
by Rachel Hauck
at Amazon
click HERE
Then, come back right here on Monday, March 2nd to find a new post with Rachel's answers to YOUR questions!


In the meantime, make sure you check out Rachel's latest novel (I loved it, btw! Watch for my review!) How to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding Series, book 3)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stalking Angela Caldwell: OUTSIDE THE AUTHOR'S STUDIO

Welcome to Outside the Author's Studio, where we stalk your favorite authors so you don't have to!

by Megan Besing, special for EIR

Welcome! I guess I should knock before we get started…We’re loitering outside the door until it opens visiting YA author Angela M. Caldwell today. She released her debut novel, The Last Order, in February—on her husband’s birthday.

(I know! How sweet.)


Hi, Angela. Here at EIR, we kind of—READ. I think it’s safe to say we’re always on the prowl for super-awesome stories. What have been the best books you’re read in the last 6-months?


Angela: I have trouble with favorites…But probably, Queen of the Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter and Hemlock Veils by Jennie Davenport.


Megan: I haven’t read those. (Megan looks down at her questions. She swallows.) Umm… you have trouble with favorites, you say? Okay…Are you a dog or cat person?

Angela: Cat and dog or a horse maybe…I love all the critters.

Megan: As a general rule, I enjoy food that isn’t…well, too healthy. If you have to choose between cake, ice-cream, or pie, which would be filling your tummy?

Angela: Cake!!!! Lots of Cake!!

Megan: While we’re on sweets, how do you eat an Oreo?

Angela: An Oreo? Definitely cream only.

Megan: I’m more of the milk dunker, and I need the outsides for that. ☺ We have cake and the Oreo cream. I also LOVE vacations. Let’s talk destination: beach, mountains, safari, or public library?

Angela: Beach!  

Megan: (Squeals.) Me too! Toes in sand, endless water…I could do without the sunburns though. Speaking of things we don’t like: biggest pet peeve?

Angela: I’m pretty easy to get along with. I don’t really have one I can’t think of, but I’m sure every pet peeve I have has to do with things being clean. I’m recovering from cleaning OCD. I write now instead. LOL.

Megan: Would you rather: cook, fold laundry, or clean the bathtub?

Angela: Cook.

Megan: It’s not the cooking part that gets me, but the cleaning up after the cooking. To help with chores, which do you run to: coffee, tea, or soda?

Angela: Water, Chia Tea, and Coke Zero in that order.

Megan: Favorite movie or TV show?

Angela: Why favorites? I have so many I love. UGH! I’m really into Reign right now and Downtown Abbey. The Maze Runner and Mockingjay, Part 1. See. I stink at favorites.

Megan: Okay, no more favorites…at least not in this question. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?

Angela: It depends on the year. This past year I did not shop.

Megan: I see. (Megan scribbles on her paper.) I’d like to think I can tell a lot about a person from that last question. Of course the data is all imaginary…Anyhoo, What item can’t you leave the house without…? Clothing of course is a given. ☺

Angela: Cell phone. I can’t get stranded without.

Megan: Yes, being stranded without a phone would be quite the bummer. Do you have any other artistic abilities besides writing?

Angela: Photography, painting, filmmaking, editing films, leather working, sculpture…

Megan: Wow, I’ll mark you down for a giant yep-yep for sure on that one. Let’s talk sports: play, watch, or yawn?

Angela: I like to play volleyball.

Megan: Yeah, me too! Especially when I was young…What is one thing you’d like to tell your younger self?

Angela: You need to start taking pictures now. And you really don’t need that college degree like everyone says you do.

Megan: Can you handle one last (Megan coughs *favorites* into her hand) question: flip-flops, boots, or tennis shoes?

Angela: Flip-flops.

Megan: I love them all, but flip-flops are handy for those beach trips! Thanks so much Angela for not ignoring me answering all my questions! I’ll let you get back to your writing, reading, and cake. :)

About The Last Order by Angela Caldwell:
Click the title below to find
The Last Order by Angela M Caldwell at Amazon
Lana Crewe is a strong, fiercely driven seventeen year old living in a village ruled by fear. With their king and queen both dead, strife and division have taken hold. Ruthlessly attacked by an Order called Talons, Lana’s father is fatally stabbed. Before he dies, he imparts upon Lana a directive to save the statue of Saint Peter, and tells her that the queen yet lives. Now it is up to Lana to unravel the mystery of Saint Peter and bring an end to all of the war by finding the queen.

A medieval tale of hope and mystery, The Last Order takes upper teenage angst and spins it on its head. You’ll be gripping this book as hard as it will be gripping you.

Angela M Caldwell is an author, photographer, and digital filmmaker. She studied video production and photography at Radford Univeristy then relocated to Los Angeles for an adventure. She lives with her husband and 4 kids, who are her biggest fans. They have one dog, and two cats. Perhaps one day they will have a farm. And her dream of having a horse will be realized. For more information visit http://www.angelamcaldwellwordpress.com
Connect with Angela on FacebookTwitter @AngelaMCaldwell, and Tumblr

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 8: Author Liz Tolsma Pics her Dream Cast for Movie Version of REMEMBER THE LILIES



In this episode of The Author's Casting Call, Casting Director (and author!) Liz Tolsma reveals which actors she would choose to cast in a movie version of her WWII-era inspirational romance, Remember the Lilies

by Liz Tolsma, special for EIR

Rand Sterling is a wealthy American who owns two nightclubs in Manila just before WWII. He’s a ladies’ man who always gets what he wants. Ryan Gosling would be perfect in the role. He has that certain sophisticated, almost-too-good-looking-for-your-own-good type of look.

Irene Reynolds is a young woman, abandoned by both of her parents, and raised in the Filipino jungle with her missionary aunt. She’s a gorgeous platinum blonde, and Rand often refers to her looks as reminding him of Jean Harlow. That made my casting choice for Irene very easy! Of course, Jean would have to tone down the sexy. Irene is young and innocent.

Meryl Streep is my choice to play the role of Irene’s blind aunt, Anita Markham. She is just how I pictured Anita as I wrote the book. Her face is kind and sweet, yet she’s beautiful.

Frank Covey is a creepy, slimy creature who brings nothing but grief to Rand and Irene. My first choice for the role would be Danny Devito. He has the dark hair and big bald spot required. He would need to spend some time in the make-up chair as Frank has a prominent scar on his cheek and a crooked nose. He’d also have to grow a mustache.

About Remember the Lilies:
(from Thomas Nelson Publishers)


Click on the title below to find
Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma at Amazon
Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.

Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends.But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.

When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.


New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are Forever, Snow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.

To keep up with Liz Tolsma, visit liztolsma.com, become a fan on Facebook (facebook.com/liztolsma) or follow her on Twitter (@liztolsma). Find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CBD.

Follow Serena Chase's Author's Casting Call at EIR board on Pinterest to see the actors featured in this episode and to find links to all previous episodes of The Author's Casting Call!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spotlight: Indie -- Author Stormy Smith: YOUR BOOK IS A BUSINESS.






by Stormy Smith, special for EIR



Your book is a business

The title “author” is misleading. “Author” implies that you simply write books. When you tell someone you want to be an author, they likely picture you locked away in a room with too many coffee cups, post-it notes everywhere and your glasses smudged. While all of those may be accurate, what they don’t often picture is a publicist, a speaker, a social media guru, an accountant, a graphic designer and a businessperson. As an author, you have now become all of these, and likely many more.

I started my journey as an author in July 2013, when the idea for Bound by Duty came to me. I’m the proverbial “Bull by the horns” kind of girl, so when my husband told me I should slow down and enjoy the ride of writing my first book, I looked at him like he was nuts.

Click on the title below to find NA paranormal
Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith at Amazon
When I sent Bound by Duty off to the professional editor I hired, so many people told me I should be so proud and that all of my hard work had paid off. They were sort of right. What they didn’t know was that the real work had only begun.

This is going to be the hard part to hear, but writing the book is the easy part.

Your mouth is open. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. I’m here to share, and to help.

Right now is a hard time to be an author, but it is an amazing time to be an author – if you are ready to work for it. There is a glut of content out there and you have to find a way to break through it all. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.

Here are my top tips on treating your book like a business and being seen.

  1. Remember that you are not simply an author,  you are an entrepreneur.

If you don’t tell the world over and over that you wrote a book, then no one is going to know they should read it. You have to learn the basics of marketing, you need to network in the industry and your community, and you need to be ready to invest in your passion. Consider this a start-up company and ask yourself what all needs done to guarantee your success. If you would do it for a brick and mortar business, you should do it for yourself.

  1. Be yourself. Always.

There is an amazing community of authors, readers and bloggers out there just waiting for you. They are eager for new stories to love and books to gush over. They want to talk about you and your story. GO FIND THEM. Follow authors you admire and see which blogs they are sharing reviews from. Follow bloggers on social media channels and engage with their posts in a meaningful way. Join groups and discussions. Offer to review content for other authors, or join a writing group and cross-promote each other. Say yes to Facebook events and Takeovers as you are starting out and establishing yourself. And, in all those fabulous marketing channels, say the things you really think. Use your conversational vocabulary, emojis, memes and whatever else fits with you being you.

Fans don’t follow you on social media so you can tell them over and over to buy your book. If they are there, it’s likely because they already have. They are there to get to know you!

  1. You have to spend money to make money.

It’s an old saying, but it is true. So. Very. True. I am part of a writing group (The Rebel Writers) and I also mentor a few writing groups called the Rebel Alliance. A constant stream of conversation we have is “How much money do you spend on marketing” and “How many books should you give away?” My answers are always that you should give away as many books as humanly possible (to the right people), and you should spend money that generates awareness.

In a business, they always talk about ROI (Return on Investment). When you invest in a marketing channel (like sale newsletter, blog tours, etc.) you want to have a pretty good idea of your ROI. For example, if you pay a service for a Book Blitz (lots of bloggers running a promo post for you in the same time span), then you want to see a marked increase in your sales and your rankings to know that it was worth it. Or, if you pay a sale newsletter for an ad during a 99 cent sale, then you want to ask them later what the click-through metrics (or sales metrics, if they have them) are so you know if you should use them again.

When it comes to giving away books, you give them to every blogger that will take them. It is your choice if you give a mobi or epub file, or if you decide to gift through Amazon, but give them away. It’s the same premise as advertising. You see the same McDonald’s commercial six times in one episode of NCIS between 5 and 6 p.m. because when you turn off the TV and look at your spouse, asking the dreaded “What should we have for dinner”, the first thing they want you to think is “McDonalds”. You want every blogger from here to Australia reading, reviewing and promoting your book on their social channels because when it is time for someone to pick their next book, you want them to think, “You know, I’ve seen that cover with the bright purple eyes every-freaking-where on my feed and everybody has great things to say about it. I’m buying Bound by Duty!”

There’s a lot more I could say, but those three are enough to get you started. Being an author isn’t a hobby and it isn’t a solitary venture. If you want to succeed, you have to put yourself out there beyond hitting the “publish” button. You have to want it, to never stop going after it, and show the world who you are. If you’re willing to invest that much of yourself, then you can do great things.

To learn more about me, or my books, visit www.stormysmith.com.


About Bound by Spells 
(book two in the Bound series)

Stormy's next book releases in March
Click Goodreads to add
BOUND BY SPELLS to your
"want to read" shelf!
Aidan Montgomery hadn’t been prepared for Amelia Bradbury to walk in and then out of his life. He also hadn’t expected to find the powerful magic hidden deep within him for the last nineteen years, but he’s embracing it — finding more control and more answers every day. Now, with the help of Amelia’s best friend, Bethany, Aidan is on a quest to understand his destiny and find Amelia.

Amelia decided to stand by her duty, which meant walking away from her first chance at love. Trapped in Cresthaven at the Queen’s mercy, she spends her days with Micah — an ally she still holds at arm’s length — struggling to manage her heartbreak while keeping her mind focused on the task at hand. As she continues to unlock the secrets of the Keeper power, Queen Julia’s true motives reveal themselves, forcing Amelia to decide, yet again, how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Will Aidan get to Amelia before it's too late, or will the very power that sustains them keep them apart?


STORMY SMITH is the author of the Amazon best-seller, Bound by Duty. She calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly that stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form.

Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn’t be stopped. When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.
Connect with Stormy on her website, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and also on Amazon

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