Wednesday, January 30, 2013

To Spoil or Not to Spoil : The Great Blurb Debate

I'm having a problem and I need your help. As I start to wrap up my newest novel Reckless Radiance I've been thinking about what the description might be. You know, that little paragraph on the back of the book that gets you intrigued and makes you want to buy it and devour it. The problem is with this being a paranormal romance I'm struggling with whether or not I should tell my readers what Russell is before they even delve into the book? 

There's a of chunk of the book where my main character Valerie is unaware of who or what the mysterious new guy in her life is so I wonder if I should keep it that way for the reader too...

So my question to you is, would you want to know from the time you crack open the book (or fire it up on your Kindle) that the mysterious hottie is a (insert supernatural being here)?

There's clearly way more to the story than just his initial secret but does it spoil it to know before you even begin reading?


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rebel Ink Press Best of 2012

I was recently given the honor of 'Best of 2012' by my publisher Rebel Ink Press. These other Rebels also got the title! Check them out....

Alex Jones: Author of LGBT romance, her Rebel debut Drown can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook, and ARe

Find Alex on Facebook Twitter and at

Lila Munro: Her work spans the genre of contemporary romance including BDSM, menage, sweet heat and a few military based titles. Her wealth of work can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook, and ARe

Find Lila on Facebook, Twitter and at

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: This Rebel also spans the genre with historical fiction and period pieces as well as time-traveling romances. Find her work on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook, and ARe

Find Lee Ann on Facebook, Twitter and at

BL Morticia : Usually incorporating a military aspect or the theme of heavy metal music, BL writes sexy reads with lots of heat. Her work can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook and ARe

Find BL on Facebook and at! where all of her pen names live.

Cassandre Dayne : Cassandre writes erotic romance in all types of subgenres including paranormal and contemporary. Find her work on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook and ARe.

Find Cassandre on Facebook, Twitter and at

BethAnn Buehler : BethAnn's Rebel Canyon series is still widely popular. You can find her work on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook and ARe

You can also find more about her at

JL Oiler : Author of paranormal erotic romance, JL's work can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook and ARe.

Find JL on Facebook, Twitter and at

And then there's me! I feel so blessed by the success of The Low Notes, the love I have felt from my readers and the acceptance I have felt from fellow authors. I'm so excited to be working on my new paranormal new adult romance, Reckless Radiance, and I can't wait to share it with you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten (err, five) Tuesday : TV Series Finales

All good things must come to an end, right? Well generally all good TV shows don't end so well. Last Friday my husband and I watched the two hour series finale of Fringe. We'd been watching the show since day one and it was one of our favorites. Though the last episode was good (great acting, the general idea of a wrap up and a few nods to the fans), it wasn't great. I realized there were only a handful of series finales that I truly felt completed by. 

Sadly, there are not ten shows that made their last episode work so here's my top five list in which I get a little creative with my choices.  


Not everyone was thrilled by this series finale because it didn't 'answer all our questions'. That part never bothered me. To me, the show was never about finding out what the smoke monster was or how Jacob got on the island. The show was about Jack's journey--it was about every single character's personal arc and in the end I was satisfied.

4. Saved by the Bell : Wedding in Las Vegas
Okay this is where I got a little creative. Here's what you have to understand, the last season of Saved By The Bell (original cast) sucked! They brought in stupid Tori and Kelly and Jessie weren't in half the episodes and the 'finale' (if you can call it that) was garbage. Then the best of the cast goes on to do The College Years and I would say Wedding in Las Vegas is essentially that show's finale so I'm considering it to be the definitive finale (especially since all the original cast shows up in the end). Oh, that and it's awesome.

3. Doctor Who (The End of Time Parts 1 & 2)
Technically the Brits call a season a 'series'. So this is a 'series' finale. But it's also the end of David Tennant's portrayal of The Doctor. Season 5 is a bit of a reboot with no mention of former companions and an attempt to introduce new viewers so I view this (Season 4's finale) as it's own series finale. Seriously, if you don't watch this show get on Netflix right now and catch up! (starting with 2004's season 1)

2. Sex and the City
LOVE this ending!! We all knew Big and Carrie were meant to be and we finally get those dreams paid off. Though I love the first SATC movie and consider it a nice wrap up to the entire story, this series finale would've kept me just as happy. Favorite moment : finally knowing Big is actually John.

1. Six Feet Under
This remains my favorite show of all time.  I was so nervous for the finale because generally they don't work but boy was I wrong. Complete satisfaction. The show always started with a death so when the show was ending and it showed all of the main characters deaths down the line I was blown away (and a hot freaking mess). It was the perfect ending and the beginning of my musical love of Sia.

I'd love to hear what finales you loved and felt satisfied with! Leave them in the comments section!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Troy Aaron Ratliff : The Author Interview

Once again, Twitter has helped me to meet a wonderful author and a friendly pal! I'm excited to share my interview with him with you today. He had a lot of interesting things to share about his work as an author and artist. Check it out...

What inspires you?

Inspiration comes in so many forms and avenues that to pinpoint it down to a certain singular thing is kind of impossible.  I find it in music, novels, movies, the world in general, other writers, news, deep, intellectual conversations, and what I feel is the most important: daydreaming.  That age old question of “What-if” is one of the most powerful tools for a writer.  And inspiration can come from so many other sources as well.  If I had to answer in the most simplified, bare-bones manner for me, it would have to be either music or other people’s work.  Both can trigger the interior avalanche and that avalanche might have been held back because I couldn’t work past one tiny little thing, one singular detail in something I’m working on. 

Mostly, as far as my writing is concerned, I write because it fulfills me and satisfies my artistic and creative side more than any other avenue.  It sounds cliché, I know, but I write because I have to.  I also think, for a part of me, it’s something I own that is wholly mine which is an inspiration in of itself.  Growing up, I had friends who could play the drums or rock a guitar or could sing, and I couldn’t do any of it.  But the one thing I had that a lot of them didn’t was that longevity and complete creative control.  If one of them in the band wanted to call it quits, the band was - nine times out of ten - over.  Me, twenty years later?  I’m still writing while the others have moved on from music. 

In short, the whole of creating and finding inspiration boils down to the mood I’m in and what I’m feeling antsy to create (drawing, writing, outlining, photography).  The creative process for me comes in waves, oscillating between writing and drawing.  I can be on a drawing and art streak for a month and then, suddenly, nothing.  Same goes for my writing too.  Fun fact about me: If I have a story cooking in the back of my head and I’m gearing up to write it, I’ll usually seek out some new music.  It doesn’t even have to be associative music either - meaning if I’m writing a story in the Midwest doesn’t mean I go looking for some acoustic Neil Young, or when I’m writing about the city I don’t need a shot of hip-hop but once I find that perfect song for the mood I’m writing in, I’ll know.  Usually by then, I’ll slip on the headphones, set the song on repeat, and listen to it 600 times.  I know it sounds insane, but the music can put me in the right headspace.  Sometimes a song may not be what I’m looking for at all and silence truly is golden.

You also are an artist and photographer! How does having multiple creative endeavors help your work as an author?

Original drawing by Troy Aaron Ratliff
It gives me a break from writing, which I feel is needed to create well-rounded, complete 
fiction.  I can’t speak for all writers, but when I step away from my work and come back to it with fresh eyes and new thoughts rambling around in my head, I can see where I shined and where I stumbled in my prose.  I say “new thoughts” meaning that what I had on my mind when I first wrote the words could have evolved in the time I toyed with my drawing or my photography.  I think this trinity of creativity fuels each other and when I push the limits of one and then return to another, I’m able to go at it full throttle.    

Photo by Troy Aaron Ratliff

Is there another genre you'd like to try writing? If so, what?

I’d like to try my hand at Literary Fiction if only to shake up that world a bit.  I know Lit. Fic. can be boring to a lot of people, and to tell you the truth, I can understand why.  The standard subjects in L.F. have become these long-winded tomes about coming to America, the stereotypical dysfunctional family, and anything else that if it isn’t on HBO as a miniseries can be the literary equivalent of Ambian.  I like to consider my own work “Literary Horror”, which I believe is very different from “Gothic Horror”.  But to write a straight Literary Fiction novel, no monsters or weirdness involved, I think that would be a challenge for me.  And if I did write one, I could always enter it into some grandiose book award!  Move over McCarthy, Roth, and Franzen!  Here comes Ratliff (don’t hold your breath on this one.).

What are you working on now?

Original drawing by Troy Aaron Ratliff
Actually, my first novel.  I can’t give too much away because I’ll be bombarding everyone with it when it’s ready, so I’m keeping it hush-hush right now.  I originally wanted to publish it around November but I hit a snag and it got delayed.  It’s not in development hell, though and I hope to have it out this year.  I do have other goals in mind for the rest of the year too.  One of my long-term goals that I’d love to accomplish, maybe not this year, but sometime very soon, is to have a coffee book of my art and my photography and my general thoughts on the world.  Of course, I’m planning to release another short story or a novella again in 2013, along with new photography and art.  I have plenty of things I’m always working on, with the novel being the primary focus.  I think the resolution every year is to grow and hone the skills I already have, which I think is a fantastic goal for everyone every year, no matter what you do.  Food for thought for those that don’t have any resolutions.  Just grow.

Do you have a ritual or a certain head-space you need to be in to write? Tell us about your process:

I think every writer has some kind of method and I’ve experimented with several different avenues of the writing process.  I may have an idea pop into my head and I set the keyboard on fire.  Other times, I let it linger in my mind because I may have the idea, but I’m shaky on how to execute it.  I’m shaky because if I do it, I want to do it right.  As a matter of fact, I’m working on a story I first thought of over a decade ago.  The idea and the bones of the story have rattled around in my mind for those ten years, but now it has matured in my memory banks, stewing in its juices, and I feel it’s ready to be born.

Recently, I’ve begun to see the formation of a solid process to my writing.  Life tends to get in the way more times than I would like it to, but that’s just how it works sometimes.  We would all like to be able to write and edit all day and watch our output quadruple.  But when it comes to the drafting, the writing, and the editing all coming together, my process has certainly expanded and developed into something I’m proud of. 

Here’s how I do it.  Generally, I’ll write and let loose my creative monster, just to see where the story takes me and how far.  Before long, I start to see the story as a whole coming together and I’ll have to plot out the narrative if I’m enjoying the ride and the characters.  After that, I’ll keep to a flexible outline (meaning if a better idea comes along, then I’ll use it, which could mean a change in the whole story) but I’ll still write until my fingers bleed.  After I’m finished, I’ll review it and read it out loud before sending it to some friends.  Then, I’ll leave it alone for a bit.  Again, the whole stewing-in-the-juices method.  When I come back to it with fresh eyes, I’ll go through two rounds of editing with my friend’s suggestions noted next to me.  After that, I’ll send it to one of my editors and wait.  I’ll take their suggestions to heart (yes, editors, I really do listen to you - and writers, you should listen to your editors!) and I’ll make the changes I deem necessary.  I go over it two more times and finally, by that point, I should feel happy enough to publish it.

Has there ever been a time you felt like giving up? What kept you going?

Photo by Troy Aaron Ratliff
Absolutely.  I recently asked a Facebook group if there was ever a book that made them want to give up, to stop writing completely because there was no chance of them ever being anywhere near as good.  As writers, we are in a blender of emotions when it comes to our output.  We could all find that writer who blows us out of the water.  To counter that, we might stumble upon a writer that we think is utter crap, while the writer in question has a legion of rabid fans who are foaming at the mouth and would scream the opposite.  I actually bring this up in my novella Just Past the Trees of this question of hanging up the pen and paper for good.  Coming upon an insurmountable case of writer’s block because of a lack of inspiration or we discover someone’s creativity that is the mountain to our molehill can be very, very tough on the ego and the artistic mind.  What keeps you going is up to you and what you make of it in the end.  For me, I’ve been writing for almost twenty years.  It’d be like cutting off a limb or losing a family member.  I’d feel so empty if words left my life and that’s really what keeps me going.  I can’t see myself without my writing.  I may drift away from it from time to time, and I feel that’s okay, but to leave it completely?  That’s a hard pill to swallow.

What is your current obsession (absolutely anything!)?

I went to Jamaica this past summer with my wife and I guess I had an awakening, kinda like Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion).  But, not so much a spiritual awaken like he had, but more of a musical one.  I haven’t been able to stop listening to Bob Marley and Wailers album Legend.  I think those three days on that island were my happiest of the year.  At one point, when I was on the sandy beach - and I felt like I was actually in a screensaver - I told my wife that I wanted to be buried there.  Obviously, there was a soundtrack playing the entire time that was none other than Bob Marley.  I had heard his music before, sure, but it didn’t strike me as deeply as it did when I was there.  Now, when I’m stuck in traffic or fighting the chill of the winter weather, I listen to him and I’m instantly happy with the world.  Maybe I’ll be drawing some inspiration for his island melodies and write a tropical story sometime soon…

Thank you so much for talking to me! Readers can find Troy Aaron on just about every social media outlet there is! Check him out at one or all of the following locations :

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday : New Year's Resolutions

It's a brand new year! It's a time for a fresh start and goals to energize us as we head into 2013. Generally I hate New Year's resolutions but this year I'm feeling kind of hopeful about the situation. Rule resolutions about food or weight (those ones never seem to work out so we should skip them altogether yeah?). So here top ten resolutions!

10. Spend more time with friends and family

Time tends to get away from me. I let life get in the way of making plans with the people I love the most. Making time for some of my favorite people shouldn't be too hard.

9. Find the balance

Hair styling and book writing don't really go together so well. Both jobs are creative and fun and I love them both but it can be hard to shift gears. I'm not sure how I'll do it but I'm going to find a way to find the balance between both of my jobs.

8. Spend more time with Sampson

My dearest puppy dog Sam gets lonely. Mom and Dad are so boring! All they do is sit at their dumb computers and use the scary vacuum cleaner. I promise to take my boy on more walks and give him waaaaaay more cuddles.

7. Journal more

In September 2012 I started keeping a journal again. I hadn't written in a journal consistently since probably junior high school. For the first few days I was doing awesome. Then I started to slack a bit. So for 2013 I'd love to be writing in my journal at least once a week if not much more!

6. Watch less TV

I've been known to say that TV is my boyfriend. He's there for me when I get home and he always knows just what to say. He makes me laugh, cry, teaches me how to cook and depending on what I'm watching he can also be quite sexy (I'm looking at you Damon Salvatore). But it's time I take a little break from this relationship. TV, it's not you--its me. I need to spend more time doing productive things. I'll always love you and we will still be friends....

5. Be a better Susie Homemaker

Between standing on my feet all day at the salon, wanting to pop open the laptop immediately and also being addicted to the TV, I like to forget about some important things like cooking and cleaning. Now, I'm not saying I want to turn into the June Cleaver of Indianapolis but I would like to keep on top of the housework a little more. Because of course, when the house is clean my mind is much more at ease anyway. It's a win-win.

4. Blog more

Though I enjoy blogging, sometimes it is a bit tedious. It's hard enough to discipline myself to sit down and do it but I also have to think about what I'm going to say! Sometimes all I have in me is a lazy top ten list ;)

3. Read more

Reading is one of those things I absolutely love to do but I always seem to forget about. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a slave to technology so sometimes when I could pick up a book (even if it's on my Kindle) I pick up my iPhone instead. 2013 will be about stepping away from the cell phone and curling up with my fictional boyfriends.

2. Publish book 2

Fingers crossed that Reckless Radiance will be submittable very soon! Having two titles under my belt will feel amazing. I just can't wait to give my readers something more--and something totally different from The Low Notes.

1. Write more!

In a few years I'd like for writing to be my only job and the only way I'll get there is by working harder than ever before.