Tag Archives: author tips

Interview with Author Sea Gudinski

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

     I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a means of expression, storytelling has always far surpassed any other creative outlet I’ve encountered and has allowed me to explore both myself and the world around me. I first became enamored with the idea of being an writer at ten years old and began seriously pursuing my career as an author at that time. During the intervening years I have considerably refined my craft, dedicating my focus to historical fiction and examination of the human condition—the forces that make us who and what we are, those tenants of experience that are perennial, and the merits and follies that shape our species’ journey toward self-actualization.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

     Both of my parents lived through the 1960s, and I grew up listening to both the music and the stories of the era. My father was a musician as well as a soldier in the Vietnam War and his accounts of the decade and the counterculture always deeply fascinated me as a child. While researching for an earlier novel set in the same period, I read a book called The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. In addition to defining the genre we now called ‘new journalism’ Wolfe’s work recounted the escapades of Ken Kesey, a major figure in the counterculture of the 1960s. I was completely captivated by the book, both stylistically and comprehensively—and read it twice before I realized that the author had not actually been present for any of the events he recorded. The level of immersion that Wolfe provided to readers in his work inspired me to write a novel in which I could transport readers back into time and present to them an objective examination of the era with both the wisdom of hindsight and the intensity of firsthand experience.


3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

     My intent behind 1969 was to recapture the spirit of that time half a century ago and preserve for history a record of the message, meaning, and legacy of the era, as well as to provide an entertaining, accurate, and objective perspective of the decade that could be enjoyed by those who lived through it as well as those who learned about it in school.     

     To a great degree, the passion and intensity with which I researched and wrote 1969 was due to the fact that I felt that there was something extremely important to be learned from that era of human history—something deep and instinctive that eludes most academic accounts and can quite possibly be swallowed by the gaping maw of time. The spiritual values that were embraced by so many during that time prompted a resurgence of raw humanity that was unprecedented in our recent history and so greatly impacted those who experienced it and the future they thus created that it is criminal to let its influence be lost. I wanted to capture and convey that to readers so that they have the opportunity to be enriched by those values and experiences that have sharped our world today in a more personal and firsthand way.
     Most importantly, I wanted all readers to be able to take something away from the story that stays with them long after they’ve closed the covers. Books have shaped my perspective immensely, and some of the most influential pearls of knowledge in my life have been conveyed to me through literature. Whether it’s simply a fact about the time that they hadn’t known before, or a quote they find inspirational, I’d be greatly humbled if everyone who reads it can say that they learned something from it—either about the time or about themselves.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I have always loved history—and as the old cliché says, truth is certainly stranger than fiction, so there is no shortage of inspiration. Many times when I tell people that I write historical fiction, I am greeted with an interesting reaction. “Boy, that’s a lot of work, why don’t you leave the historical bit to the biographers and textbook writers and just write pure fiction,” is a response that I receive quite often. However, I continue to pursue this genre because I believe there is a great deal of value inherent in it. As every history teacher always urges at the beginning of the school year, history is extremely important. Our time and every single one us living in it are the latest products of millions of years of history. Each new day is carved under the shadow of yesterday in the light of our hope for tomorrow. Our environment, society, and culture are forged and shaped by memories, some more recent than others. I feel that by understanding the struggles and triumphs that defined the lifetimes of our predecessors, we can understand more about ourselves and in turn better our own lives and the lives of future generations.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I really enjoyed thinking about and answering this question. As is the case with most authors, when I develop characters, their backstories are fully fleshed out—even more so than is delved into within the context of the storyline. In this way they become real. It makes their actions, their dialogue, and their expressions far more consistent. Therefore, there really isn’t really anything that I would need to ask one of my characters in terms of their past that I am not already abreast of as the author. However, because 1969 does not have a definite ‘ending’ per sae, I would be quite interested in sitting down with my narrator, Rhiannon, after the novel ends and discovering what happens. I always ask readers their take on how they think the story develops following the final page, but in all honesty, even as the author, I do not know myself. And as several years have passed since I’ve concluded writing 1969, I wonder how Rhiannon’s life decisions would have stacked up against mine and how the profundity and self-discovery that she underwent as a youth transformed her life as she continued on her journey to adulthood and beyond.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook has been by far the most instrumental in gaining traction and exposure. Due to the fact that my novel is set in the recent past and delves into Woodstock and other defining events as well as the music of the late 1960s, I was able to introduce my work to a number of groups of likeminded individuals dedicated to sharing and discussing this era. I feel it is the most accessible social media site, especially for the older generations who are the target audience for my work, and offers the most opportunities for advertising and networking.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

There are two pieces of advice that I would offer an aspiring author. The first would be never give up. The process of publication is extremely daunting. There are likely more scams and frauds aimed at authors than there are in just about any other field—so be cautious, be attentive. Do not let the excitement of future success detract from your vigilance. Secondly, stick to it. There are many disappointments in publication, and if you are looking to become an indie or self-published author, you must realize that writing the book is the easiest part of the process. During and after publication, not only will you be an author, you’ll be your own publisher, agent, marketing team, receptionist, accountant, etc. Your hobby WILL quickly become work—it will constantly lead you out of your comfort zone and at times it will be frustrating and exhausting. If you do not have the time or the energy to dedicate to marketing your work after it is published, do not self publish; instead, pursue traditional publication—it may take longer and result in more rejection, but you will not be saddled with all the procedural work that goes on behind the scenes in the life of an author. Self-publishing is a fantastic alternative that allows you a great deal of creative freedom, but it is not the best option for everyone, so choose your method wisely!


8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Due to the fact that I have been writing prolifically for over a decade but only became a published author last year, I have an imposing backlog of work that will keep me busy for several years to come. I recently created my own publishing imprint, Art Of Telling Publications, and in due time will be releasing a second edition of 1969 as well as all five of my previously written novels. More immediately, I have a book of poetry and short prose, A Collection of Words that will be published in the fall of 2020 and a new historical fiction novel that is in the works!

For updates on new releases, deals, and giveaways follow me on social media!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeaGud/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/seagudinski
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sea_gudinski/


Interview with Author Liz Butcher: September 16th, 2020

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve loved writing ever since I was a little girl, but it wasn’t until my late twenties that the desire to put pen to paper again became strong enough to focus on it.


What inspired you to write your book?

The concept of déjà vu has always fascinated me, especially in relation to old places and buildings. That’s how the original concept formed—a place you feel in your bones know, yet you’ve never been there. It grew darker from there!

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Curisoity killed the cat? Ha ha! Probably that things aren’t always as they seem, and that life—and time—aren’t black and white concepts.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve held a fascination with all things paranormal since I was a little girl, so it comes naturally as an adult to write about other worldly things. 

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would sit down with Mena. She’s such a complex character that you don’t really get to see a lot of beyond Camille’s perception of her. I would ask her if she had any regrets, or, given what she now knows about the Manor and her family line, would she do everything exactly the same?

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Hmm, I don’t know that one has really garnered more readers than the other. Though twitter is certainly a great platform for connecting with the writing community as a whole. 

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t waste time perfecting your draft. It’s okay to write rubbish the first time around, just get the story down. That’s why we edit! Obtain as much constructive feedback as you can, but also trust your instincts. Most importantly, do it for the love of it!


What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m working on switching to writing as a full-time job which is so exciting. I’m in the process of querying my next book, working on a serial and have three other novels in the plotting stages. I’m keeping busy!

About the Author

Liz Butcher resides in Australia, with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She’s a self-confessed nerd with a BA in psychology and an insatiable fascination for learning. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Liz enjoys road trips, astronomy, music and knitting.


Author Interview with Andrew (A.G.) Rivett

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I think rather, writing got into me. At school I found writing a good way of expressing my imagination, while reading showed me how to do it. My father was always one for good speech. He taught physics, but he told his pupils that all they knew about physics was worthless if they couldn’t express it in English.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Two huge literary influences on me as I was growing up were JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. Of course they have a lot in common, not least that they worked together at Oxford. And also they have this: an imagination to create other worlds – many other worlds in Lewis’ case, and worlds where some sort of passage between is, rarely, possible.

Placing my own new world in a Celtic setting I blame on the last holiday my first wife, Janice, and I had together, on the west coast of Ireland, maybe twenty years ago. The untamed landscape and rugged coast; the self-contained, straightforward nature of the people; the transient weather. I had several chapters written – later to be torn up – long before I moved to the croft on Scoraig.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

If nothing else, I hope people will gain a glimpse that the prevailing materialist world-view is very limited: that there is so much more to life. Organised religion has done us no service in this regard, with a quite undue emphasis on rigid dogma and rules: dogmas that are too often taken too literally, causing many intelligent people to reject spirituality en bloc.

I don’t apologise at all for the spirituality in Seaborne. Not only is it appropriate that such a people would have a highly developed spiritual sense, but also this is so much what I want to express.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Mostly, laziness. A fantasy genre means that you can invent your own world, and needn’t be too tied down by research. The only catch is that if you want your world to be believable, you find you then have to research what a parallel culture in our own world would look like, and make your world something like that. I take my guidance from Jill Paton-Walsh’s Knowledge of Angels, set on an island ‘somewhat like Mallorca, but not Mallorca.’


So I had to do a fair amount of research into what life was like in the eleventh century on the Western Isles, and I have Cathy Dagg, a former neighbour and archaeologist, to thank for much of that. Among many other points, she picked out that houses on the Western Isles in the eleventh century didn’t have the chimneys that I had alluded to. Of course I could just say, for instance, that in my world they do; but every time you say that before someone who knows otherwise, you lose some credibility and distance yourself further from our world, the one that you want to speak to.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I thought a lot about this question: which character? There are many candidates. Eventually I settled on my hero, John (or Dhion). I think I’d like to ask him, maybe a few years after the book ends, ‘Do you think you made the right choice? Or have you thrown away a life that you could have returned to and lived it with a deeper wisdom, long, comfortable and secure. Have you thrown that away for (as Conchis in John Fowles’ The Magus puts it) ‘the satisfaction of a passing sexual attraction’?

The John whom we first meet, running away from his failures, could not have answered that question, and felt he didn’t have a choice. But as the story progresses he grows in depth: he becomes Dhion. 

I think he would answer that this is no passing sexual attraction. He is not choosing Shinane instead of Helen: in the end he is choosing the self he has come to be with Shinane, and with that a world that seems more real than the one he left behind, in which he had felt driven by the demands of his work to betray everything else, and everyone else, of value in his life. It is a choice between two world views. I think of Archbishop Thomas A’Becket in TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. His first three tempters offer him material advantage in various ways, but he knew, as Dhion knows now, that there is more, so much more, than mere materialism.

Will Dhion regret his choice when he lies dying? I think he might, for more than a moment. But, as Shinane says of herself, who knows what he will think in the future. The point is to live most authentically, now. I think of Robert Jordan in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls as he lies dying, casualty of the Spanish Civil War. And yet, with Maria, for a fleeting few hours, he had known something that Pilar, the wise older woman of the novel, says most people never experience. Who is to say that wasn’t worth it.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

For six months or so, while Seaborne was coming up to launch and after, I kept a Facebook page going, and this was helpful in building up an audience for a book-launch tour. But I’m not someone who engages with social media, or enjoys it, and I’ve totally ignored my Facebook page for a few months now. There always seems to be something I’d much rather be doing, out in the field with my hands – or getting on with my next novel.

However, my wife, Gillian Paschkes-Bell, and I do have it in mind to set up a website to include the books we write or edit, with an added blog content about what we’ve been reading or thinking. Probably next year, when we’ve finished the self-build we’re currently working on. Perhaps then I can re-awaken my Facebook page and link it in with that.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Study English grammar, syntax and punctuation, and cultivate a deep enjoyment of the sound of language. It’s only when you thoroughly understand the rules of good writing that you can begin to break them, appreciating the cost of doing so.

Study people – their appearance, mannerisms, ways of talking, unconscious leaks of feeling in facial or bodily expression.

Play with ideas – the ‘what if?’ sort of ideas. What if the world was flat? If the Russian Revolution had never happened? If the Civil War had been won by the South? If there really are fairies at the bottom of your garden? Or what would it be like to be an unmarried mother in the Puritan colonies back in the seventeenth century? A fisherman in the westernmost parts of the British Isles of the eleventh century?

And read. See how the experts do it. Read anything but trash.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I think I’m clear about what the future doesn’t hold for me: fame, wealth, best-sellers, Booker Prizes. I write because I love writing and I love the worlds I can create with my writing, and I’m grateful that enough people have appreciated what I’ve written, first to publish it and then to purchase the book and read it – and say they found the readingworthwhile and make complimentary comments about it after.

I want to complete the trilogy of which Seaborne is the first book, and I have a first draft completed of Book II; but I alsohave lots of other things I want to do. I’m an inveterate fixer – I can’t stand anything that doesn’t work without taking it to pieces and putting it together again. Between us, Gillian and I have built our house – with a lot of help from people who actually knew what they were doing – and there are still many things both inside and outside the house that need finishing. And a whole eco-system that needs encouraging out there on the field where we have the privilege to live.

Finally, I am myself a project that needs finishing – and probably won’t be finished in this lifetime. I have a lot of flaws, and side-shoots that need to be pruned away, and branches that must be encouraged and brought to fruition. When all’s said and done, that’s the most important project for each of us – and the most exciting.


About the Author

Andrew (A.G.) Rivett was born in London. He has lived in England, Nigeria, Scotland (where The Seaborne was drafted) and now in Wales.

The inspiration for The Seaborne, his debut novel, came twenty years ago on holiday in Ireland, at which time he wrote some opening chapters, relics of which remain in the published book. The Seaborne, the first book of the planned Island trilogy, was published in November 2019.

Interview with Author J. Scott Coatsworth

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My mom got me into reading sci fi and fantasy in elementary, and by the end of third grade I’d read the Lord of the Rings cover to cover. I remember my teacher saying I read at the twelfth grade level LOL…

I always wanted to do what those authors did – painting whole worlds that other people could escape into. Pern, Trantor, Majipoor… so many pretty worlds to visit. Only there were no gay characters – no one like me. Well, there were those green dragon riders…

So I decided to write sci fi and fantasy that included a real diversity of characters.


What inspired you to write your book?

I wrote my first novel just out of high school, and it will NEVER see the light of day. LOL… But my second one did get sent out to ten big NYC publishers. It was a fantasy/sci fi hybrid story about a world called Forever, and it was roundly rejected. I kinda stopped writing for a couple decades. When I finally ventured back into the waters, I picked up the story, and decided to tell the origin tale of Forever. And so “The Stark Divide” was born.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The main theme that runs through book one is redemption. This is especially true for Ana’s journey from ship’s doctor to villain to almost godlike status. But the book is also about hope – that somehow we will find a way to go on, even if everything seems lost. That’s a recurring theme in a lot of my work.

What drew you into this particular genre?

My mom’s sci fi shelf. She was a member of the Science Fiction book club, and new sci fi and fantasy books arrived at our home with an alarming regularity. She has these big shelves in what we called the spare bedroom, and they were double-stacked with her books. After I finished Lord of the Rings, I devoured Pern and then the Foundation, and just about everything else she had. I was hooked.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Oooh. I’d ask Jackson what he found out about the Divine. He was the first religious character I included in one of my books, and he was less so than his wife Glory. But he was also the first to make the leap to seeing the Divine in the bio minds that ran the Dressler and eventually all of Forever. I’m a bit of an agnostic myself, but I remain open to the possibility of something greater than us, and this was my way of exploring that possibility.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook. I’m on Twitter and Instagram, but I’ve never been able to reach the numbers of folks in the way I can with the site. That said, we have a bit of a love-hate relationship. I don’t like a number of their company policies, and have been in Facebook jail a fair number of times. But at the moment it’s the best way to reach people in the way that I need to grow my readership.

I also like Prolific Works, specifically for growing my email list.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Stick with it. I wish I had never stopped. At World Con in 2018, I attended a panel with an author who started when I did but never stopped, and who now has an amazing career as a sci fi/fantasy author. It was a wake-up moment, but despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to build a time machine yet. So I have to make the best of where I am now.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

So many things. I am currently shopping my novel Dropnauts to a bunch of agents with an eye to finally snagging one of those NYC publishers. It’s set in the same universe as The Stark Divide, and tells the tale of what happened back on Earth after the Crash.

I’m also writing a new novel tentatively titled “Twin Moons Rising.” It’s set in the same universe as “The Last Run” and is another fantasy/sci fi hybrid. My short story “Tharassan Rain” (out on sub to a number of spec fic mags) is also set on this world.

And I’m subbing a bunch of other shorts as well.

Once I finish this book, I’ll probably return to Liminal Sky (The Stark Divide’s universe) and start telling the “middle” stories – the ones between the Ariadne Cycle (The Stark Divide, The Rising Tide and The Shoreless Sea) and the Oberon Cycle (Skythane, Lander, and Ithani).

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!


About the Author

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Ushered into fantasy and sci-fi at the tender age of nine by his mother, he devoured her library of Asimovs, Clarkes, and McCaffreys. But as he grew up, he wondered where the gay people were in speculative fiction.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would write them himself.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently–he sees relationships between things that others miss, and often gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He transforms traditional sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He also runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband, Mark, sites that bring LGBTIQA communities together to celebrate fiction that reflects queer life and love.

Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Website/Blog: www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Dreamspinner Page: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_1189

QueeRomance Ink Author Page: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

Interview with Author Rita Pomade

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I think I’ve been writing since the day I learned how letters combined for words. I had quite a collection of poetry before I graduated high school. Later, in order to support myself as a single parent, I took contract work with Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia editing down articles for their year book. They sent me galleys enabling me to be home with my children. Years later, while living in Mexico I was hired by Mexico This Month, an English language monthly tourist magazine, to do interviews. From then on, I continued freelancing to supplement my income as an English Second Language teacher.


What inspired you to write your book?

I met my second husband in Mexico. We talked about a sea voyage together. The idea of writing about it was part of my motivation for setting sail with him. Life at sea was harder and more precarious than I could have anticipated, and I didn’t have the mental space to do it. Some thirty years later he asked me if I’d sail with him again—this time from Tunisia to Tahiti. I told him I’d think about it, and wrote a childhood friend in Belgium about his offer. She mailed me all the letters I had written her during those years. Reading the letters triggered insights I didn’t have back then. I wanted to share my unique story and all I had learned from it. Had I written Seeker at the time, it would have not gained from the expansion that hindsight brought.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

On one level Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is an adventure story filled with pirates, monsoons and raging seas. But it’s also a story of love, betrayal and forgiveness. I dealt with challenges and survival on many levels, healed wounds and found my voice. I hope readers can relate to my insights and find their own strengths through reading my journey.

What drew you to this particular genre? 

In the sixth grade I had written the class poem for graduation, but it was given to another child to read as though it was her poem. I seethed at the injustice, and thought about other unfair situations I had seen. At that moment I decided I wanted write about them, so the world would know and put things right. I remember thinking I didn’t have enough life experiences to make a difference, and knew I’d have to grow up and experience as much of life as I could. I actually did that, and writing and sharing insights about what I have learned through life experience lends itself to memoir writing. 

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I met many people at sea who had interesting stories—interesting pasts. Some traumatic or life changing experience caused them to drop out of society. One such character was Johnny. We first met Johnny in the Philippines and met up with him again in Cypress. He had been in Hitler youth, but was never deprogrammed after the war though many others were. At one point, he told us his father had denounced and stolen the property of a Jewish friend.  His mother had a nervous breakdown over the event and never fully recuperated. He carried the burden of parents’ story, felt at home nowhere and drank too much. I’d like to ask him why he refused to be deprogrammed, preferring to carry guilt and needing to share this part of his family story with others. The writer in me always wants to know the interior conflicts that define character and motivate behavior.

What social media has been most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m a bit of a luddite, and don’t use much social media though I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Seeker: A Sea Odyssey has received good reviews and was shortlisted by the Quebec Writers’ Federation as the best first book for 2019. I’m hoping word of mouth, combined with readings and interviews will bring readers to the memoir.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers or just starting authors out there?

 Don’t give up. Rejection is part of the process. If you aren’t receiving rejections, you aren’t sending out your work. But don’t send indiscriminately. Research and know what each publisher or publication is asking for so that you pinpoint your market.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books on the horizon?

 I’m working on a childhood memoir tentatively titled Genesis. It covers the period of my life from embryo to eleven years old. Research in the field of epigenetics is lending credence to the idea that trauma passes down through the genes. We come into the world innocent, but we carry family history from earlier generations. It’s a fascinating discovery, and I’d like to show how it relates to my childhood and how I believe it shaped my early development. 

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million. You can also add this to your Goodreads reading list.


About the Author Rita Pomade

Rita Pomade— teacher, poet, memoirist—lived six years aboard a small yacht that took her from Taiwan to the Suez to Mallorca, dropping anchor in 22 countries. She and her husband navigated through raging monsoons, encountered real-life pirates, and experienced cultures that profoundly changed them. Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, published by Guernica Editions under the Miroland label tells her story. 

Rita Pomade, a native New Yorker, first settled in Mexico before immigrating to Quebec. During her time in Mexico, she taught English, wrote articles and book reviews for Mexconnect, an ezine devoted to Mexican culture, and had a Dear Rita monthly column on handwriting analysis in the Chapala Review. In Montreal she taught English as a Second Language at Concordia University and McGill University until her retirement. She is a two-time Moondance International Film Festival award winner, once for a film script and again for a short story deemed film worthy. Her work is represented in the Monologues Bank, a storehouse of monologues for actors in need of material for auditions, in several anthologies, and in literary reviews. Her travel biography, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, was shortlisted for the 2019 Concordia University First Book Award. .


— Blog Tour Dates

June 29th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

July 2nd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog
Visit Fiona’s blog and you can read a guest post by the author about how she could have enriched her journey at sea.

July 5th @ CK Sorens’ Blog
Visit Carrie’s blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade’s memoir Seeker.

July 6th @ Create Write Now
Visit Mari L. McCarthy’s blog where you can read author Rita Pomade’s guest post about what she learned about herself through writing.

July 7th @ The Faerie Review
Make sure you visit Lily’s blog and read a guest post by the author about cooking on a shoestring at sea.

July 8th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 10th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 11th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 12th @ It’s Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the ten best traits you need for living aboard a yacht.

July 13th @ The New England Book Critic
Join Vickie as she reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 14th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 15th @ Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa’s blog today where she interviews author Rita Pomade about her book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 16th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony’s blog where he reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 17th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog and read author Rita Pomade’s guest post discussing sailing myths.

July 18th @ Author Anthon Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his interview with author Rita Pomade.

July 20th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog again and you can read author Rita Pomade’s guest post featuring her advice on writing a memoir.

July 21st @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Visit Jill’s blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how her handwriting analysis skills made her a better writer.

July 22nd @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog today and you can checkout her spotlight of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 23rd @ Choices
Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the benefits of spending time abroad.

July 24th @ Books, Beans and Botany
Visit Ashley’s blog today where she reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.

July 24th @ Tiggy’s Books
Visit Tiggy’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. She’ll also be chatting a bit with the author!

July 26th @ CK Sorens Blog
Visit Carrie’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how she jumpstart her writing process.

July 27th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Visit Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker.

July 28th @ Lady Unemployed
Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade talking about stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.

July 31st @ Wild Hearted
Visit Ashley’s blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about why she jumped at the chance to go to sea.

Pestilence (Second Son Chronicles Volume 3) by Pamela Taylor

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Alfred, also known as the Second Son, must challenge all he has ever known to fulfill his father’s dream of keeping his kingdom safe from his power-mad brother in author Pamela Taylor’s novel “Pestilence”, the third volume of the Second Son Chronicles. 


The Synopsis

At the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred – the eponymous second son – must discover the special destiny foreseen for him by his grandfather. Now, the unthinkable has happened: Alfred’s brother is king. And it isn’t long before everyone’s worst fears are realized. Traditional allegiances are shattered under a style of rule unknown since the grand bargain that formed the kingdom was struck over two hundred years ago. These will be the most dangerous years of Alfred’s life, forcing him to re-examine his duty to personal honor and to the kingdom, while the threats posed by his brother constantly remind him of his father’s final words of advice. What choices will he have to make to try to protect the things he holds most dear?

The Review

As a fan of ancient history, especially the age of the Vikings and the Angelo-Saxon days of early Europe, it was a treat to see a setting in a similar fashion take center stage in this amazing read. Although I have not read the previous two entries in the series, the book does an excellent job of creating a story and atmosphere that holds strong on its own, although for character reference it is probably a good idea to read the first two books. 

The author beautifully captured the tone and feel of a classic tale of ancient kingdoms and knights, warring kings, and politically driven family dramas. Although a fictional setting, the influence of history is evident in every page of this book and creates a unique flow of the story as the characters grow and evolve throughout this story.

The Verdict

A must-read novel, author Pamela Taylor has a smith hit with Pestilence, the third book in her Second Son Chronicles. Evenly paced and entertaining, the novel does a great job of leaving readers on the edge of their seats and sets up a cliffhanger ending that should take readers deep into the future of the series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Pestilence is available to purchase as a print copy and as an e-book at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your GoodReads reading list too!


About the Author

Pamela Taylor brings her love of history to the art of storytelling in the Second Son Chronicles. An avid reader of historical fact and fiction, she finds the past offers rich sources for character, ambiance, and plot that allow readers to escape into a world totally unlike their daily lives. She shares her home with two Corgis who frequently reminder her that a dog walk is the best way to find inspiration for that next chapter.

You can follow her online at:

Author Website: https://pamela-taylor.com

Series Website: https://www.SecondSonChronicles.com

Twitter: @PJTAuthor

Instagram: PJTAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSecondSonChronicles

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/51487326


Blog Tour Dates

June 22nd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us as we celebrate the launch of Pamela Taylor’s blog tour for her book Pestilence. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win the first three books in her series “The Second Son Chronicles.”


June 23rd @ Lisa Haselton’s Review and Interviews

Stop by Lisa’s blog today where she interviews author Pamela Taylor about her book Pestilence.


June 24th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Visit Rebecca’s blog today and you can read Pamela Taylor’s guest post discussing the allegory (themes) embedded in the narrative of Pestilence specifically and the Chronicles generally.


June 25th @ A.J. Sefton’s Blog

Visit A.J. Sefton’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


June 26th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about getting historical details accurate.


June 27th @ Storeybook Reviews

Join Leslie today as she shares Pamela Taylor’s guest post about her life with corgis.


June 28th @ Reading is My Remedy

Visit Chelsie’s blog today and you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


June 29th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and you can read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about the authors and books that inspired the creation of the Chronicles.


June 30th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Visit Veronica’s blog today and you can read a guest post by Pamela Taylor about the trap of linguistic anachronism – getting the language and word usage right for historical narratives.


July 1st @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Visit Rebecca’s blog again and you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 2nd @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 3rd @ What is that Book About?

Visit Michelle’s blog today and you can check out a spotlight of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 5th @ The New England Book Critic

Visit Vickie’s blog today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 6th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 7th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Join Fiona Ingram today when she shares Pamela Taylor’s guest post about data encryption in ancient times.


July 8th @ Bev A. Baird

Visit Bev’s blog today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 9th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Sreevarsha’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 10th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Mason Canyon’s blog today and you can read a guest post by Pamela Taylor about deriving details for your setting from historical maps.


July 11th @ Books & Plants

Visit Ashley’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 11th @ A Darn Good Read

Join Yvonne as she reviews Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 14th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 15th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog and read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about period-appropriate names for characters.


July 17th @ Books & Plants

Visit Ashley’s blog and read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about ways to do historical research.


July 18th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog today where you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence. Plus you can read an interview with the author!


July 20th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 24th @ Medievalists

Stop by Medievalists where you can check out a spotlight of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


July 25th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Stop by Linda’s blog today and read her extensive interview with author Pamela Taylor about her book Pestilence.


July 25th @ Reading in the Wildwood

Join Megan today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.


Author Interview with Lorin Morgan-Richards

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I grew up in a place called Beebetown, Ohio, at the corner of four counties. When I was a kid, it had a lot of old buildings from the 1800s. I lived in an old converted schoolhouse with a well for water. The old blacksmith shop was across the street and used by the neighbor as a barn. Fields and horses were nearby, and a little creek to sail wood boats along was down a hill with a giant pear tree. My parents had plenty of animals to care for, and I would spend many hours drawing them into my stories. Though I struggled with dyslexia, it did not prevent me from being creative. So doodling in class was familiar, but with the help of a tutor and plenty of reading, I eventually gravitated towards highly imaginative works by Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Edward Lear, and others.


2. What inspired you to write your book?

The Goodbye Family and The Great Mountain, is the second novel in the Great Mountain series, about eccentric undertakers living in the Old Weird West. It follows Me’ ma and the Great Mountain that focuses on an Indigenous child named Me’ma who uses her traditional knowledge to battle a tyrant of the land. Shockwaves of this conflict are felt in the community of Nicklesworth, where the goodbyes have their business. 

Back in 2009, my wife Valerie and I visited parts of the United Kingdom and later Paris. We always have had a morbid curiosity and interest in the Victorian era, spirit, and funerary customs. After all, my wife and I met at a Gothic club in 1996. So we visited as much of these places as we could, and I took to writing down ideas and a diary of our trip. On the streets of Paris, I began doodling the Goodbye family and their traits.    

3. What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The readers will find it full of laughs, adventure, and quirkiness that all together makes the Goodbye family so oddly unique. I will let the readers find their messages and takeaways from the book. I will say, though, that an underlying theme of my series is that you can fulfill your goals in life by being yourself and taking that first step outside the norm. 

4. What drew you into this particular genre?

If the genre is Weird West, Gothic, Western, or Dark Humor, I suppose a lifetime of interest in it did the trick. However, I don’t think anyone of these quite describes what it is by itself. It’s dark, humorous, weird, and western. At one time, I thought Down West was a good moniker until people started calling it a Gothic Western, but then that sounds maybe too serious for the series? I’m not sure what to call it, but I guess a Western Gothic may be plausible. Now, what was the question? Oh yes, as a child, I wanted to be like Robert Conrad from the series The Wild Wild West and sought out every book I could on the subject of Native Americans and the Old West. I sometimes would wear a wool poncho to school and even made a Cowboy movie about the OK Corral in my early teens. I guess it all solidified for me with family trips visiting the Native American reservations, historic parks, Mexican American areas, and ghost towns in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. I lived in New York City for a time but knew I had to be out west. My wife and I moved across the country, visiting many more of the same on our way, and landed in Los Angeles where I worked at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian/the Autry Museum of the American West while receiving a bachelors in Anthropology. Then after, I started a Native American film series with some friends. I now live across from the CBS Lot where they filmed many TV Westerns including, you guessed it, The Wild Wild West.


5. If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

What an interesting question. In my novels, there is one character that has appeared throughout, Frank Thorne, and we slowly understand his complexities. He will be unraveling more in my third novel, for better or worse. However, if I had a chance to ask him anything, I think I’d pass for fear of being shot.    

6. What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Unfortunately, social media comes and goes. So you have to be on the tip of just about everything to some degree. All platforms should go back to one site. For me, it is lorinrichards.com. Facebook has been around the longest for me, so I have invested more time in it than others. But around the corner will be something new, and like any company/brand, I’ll need to put on my glasses and look into it (all while sighing, of course).

7. What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Just be yourself, don’t waste time, work routinely on your craft, explore new avenues, and find your niche. Once you find it, don’t take yourself too seriously and be open to accepting everyone as a potential reader.

8. What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

As mentioned, I am writing my next novel called Hollis Sorrow and the Great Mountain. It continues the story of Hollis Sorrow and Madeline Sage, whom readers that are familiar with the first book know their adventure to find Hollis’ old pals during the war is still ongoing. The story will take them into the sky world for answers. For fans of The Goodbye Family, I work daily on telling their stories through my comic series that appears on my social media and Tapas, a comic syndicate. Also, I am gradually putting together an animated series about their lives. I partnered with The Heathen Apostles for the series theme song.   

Please visit lorinrichards.com if you’d like to learn more about my stories.


About the Author

Lorin Morgan-Richards is an author and illustrator, known mostly for his YA fiction. A fan favorite is his daily comic series The Goodbye Family about a family of eccentric undertakers living in the Old Weird West with their daughter Orphie who oversees the town of Nicklesworth as their sheriff. Richards writing career started in 2009, with his latest novel The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain (2020) being his thirteenth release. In addition to writing and illustrating, Richards colorizes Old West and Victorian-era photography.

The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain follows the lives of Weird West undertakers Otis, Pyridine, and their daughter Orphie. Pyridine is a witch and matriarch mortician, Otis is a brainless but bold hearse driver, and Orphie is appointed grave digger for her strength of twenty men. Through bumbling, Otis discovers his neighbors are turning into zombies, a mystery that is directly affecting their burial business. In their backyard cemetery, they travel to the underworld for answers and uncover a plot to surface the evil entities that would otherwise burn in the Lake of Fire, have risen again through oil pumps that are bottled up as a tonic medicine for the ground above. The tonic goes fast, and the host takes over the body when the body perishes. Can the Goodbyes hilarious gaffes and revelations plug up the works? 

Some important links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorin_Morgan-Richards

https://www.lorinrichards.com (Official page)

https://www.facebook.com/lorinmorganrichards (Facebook)

https://www.instagram.com/lorin_morgan_richards/ (Instagram)

https://twitter.com/LMorganRichards (Twitter)

Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody Book & Software Review

I received a free copy of this book and software in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In a first here on my site, I have the unique opportunity to share my review of not only a book on writing that is considered to be a must-read for many aspiring writers and screenwriters, but to test out the amazing writing software that many use in their modern projects. Here are my thoughts on Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. 


The Synopsis

SAVE THE CAT!® by Blake Snyder is a popular screenwriting book series and storytelling methodology used by screenwriters, directors, and studio execs across Hollywood. Now, for the first time ever, bestselling author and writing teacher, Jessica Brody, takes the beloved Save the Cat! plotting principals and applies them to the craft of novel writing in this exciting new “workshop style” guide, featuring over 20 full beat sheets from popular novels throughout time.

Whether you’re writing your first novel or your seventeenth, Save the Cat! breaks down plot in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method so you can write stories that resonate! This book can help you with any of the following:

Outlining a new novel

Revising an existing novel

Breaking out of the dreaded “writer’s block”

Fixing a “broken” novel

Reviewing a completed novel

Fleshing out/test driving a new idea to see if it “has legs”

Implementing feedback from agents and/or editors

Helping give constructive feedback to other writers

But above all else, SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL will help you better understand the fundamentals and mechanics of plot, character transformation, and what makes a story work! 

The Review

What really spoke to me about the book was as a novelist it was great to see how the process of storytelling from a more modern lens looked and felt. Applying the pattern that was discovered and applied to successful novels and screenplays to our own works was unique, and showcased the things that worked and the things that didn’t.

On top of that, the author takes readers through the important steps of developing and nurturing a story, from identifying the “hero” of the story to the genres being explored, the pitch that you’ll want to sell the story to readers, and the beats that can be touched upon throughout the narrative. The novel is thorough, detailed, and does an amazing job of not necessarily declaring one writing style over another to be “superior”, but instead guiding the writer in the process of discovering their own voice while still following a pattern of success.

As for the software itself, the ability to utilize the program for screenplays, television shows, and novels was a treat, and could even divide the novel into larger series overall. I decided to utilize my novel “The Legend of Electric Fusion”, a book I wrote years ago I am in the process of rewriting and utilized it for this software. 

The technology allowed me to start breaking down my characters more fully. Not only getting into more detailed descriptions of the characters, but their overall motivations and goals moving forward. This helped me to see a more clear path for the narrative to take moving forward. It is a truly organized, structured, and detailed path for those who follow the plotter style of writing than anything else. 

The Verdict

A must-read book and fantastic software that writers and readers alike will fall in love with. Motivating and inspiring, the book helps foster creativity and bring stories more fully to life than ever before. It is a great step in helping to hone the writer’s craft and give readers a chance to see into the complex process of developing an engaging novel. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About Save the Cat!®

Save the Cat! provides writers the resources they need to develop their screenplays and novels based on a series of best-selling books, primarily written by Blake Snyder (1957- 2009). Blake’s method is based on 10 distinctive genres and his 15 story beats (the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet). Our books, workshops, story structure software, apps, and story coaching teach you everything you need to unlock the fundamentals and mechanics of plot and character transformation.

Find out more about Save the Cat! by visiting their webpage at www.savethecat.com.

About the Save the Cat Structure Software

Save the Cat! Story Structure Software is adapted from the Save the Cat! methodology to help screenwriters and novelists unlock the fundamentals of plot and character transformation. The Story Structure Software is a virtual writer board with digital index cards to help map out your story against the 15 beats or plot points to your story. The software enables writers to track emotional shifts of characters from scene to scene, develop profiles and edit and version your story with ease.

You can purchase a subscription to the Save the Cat! Structure Software at Save the Cat’s website.

About Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

An Amazon #1 best seller with over 500 reviews, it’s the first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

In this revolutionary novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! series, novelist Jessica Brody demystifies each beat, making it simple to learn the complexities of storytelling. The best-seller also reveals the ten universal story genres to help you drill down into what makes your type of story work. Featuring sample “beat sheets” for hits from the likes of J. K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, and Stephen King, this practical guide also includes real-world advice on pitching your novel, plus the quirky, original insights (like the eponymous tip to “Save the Cat”) that make this series unique. By the end of this book, your own imaginative beats will combine to create a story that thrills readers from start to finish.

Print Length: 320 Pages

Genre: Writing References

Publisher: Ten Speed Press/Random House Publishing LLC


ISBN-10: 0399579745


Save the Cat! Writes the Novel
 is available as a print and e-book at 
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

About the Author, Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody worked for MGM Studios as manager of acquisitions and business development before becoming an internationally best-selling author of more than fifteen novels for adults and teens including The Geography of Lost Things, The Chaos of Standing Still, A Week of Mondays, and Better You Than Me. She travels the country teaching Save the Cat! workshops to novelists.


Blog Tour Dates

April 27th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Visit the Muffin today and you can read an interview with the Save the Cat team as well as enter to win a copy of the book Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and a one-year subscription to their software Save the Cat! Structure Software.


April 28th @ Pro Writing Aid

Make sure you visit Michelle’s post over at Pro Writing Aid and read her review of the save the Cat Structure Sofware.


April 29th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Make sure you visit Karen Brown Tyson’s blog today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


April 30th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Visit Karen’s blog again and you can read a guest post about the impact of Save the Cat! on creative culture.


May 1st @ Sunflowers & Bluebirds

Visit Jess’ blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 2nd @ Jessica Samuel’s Blog

Make sure you visit Jessica’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 3rd @ Help me Naomi

Visit Naomi’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Structure Software. Just in time for CampNaNoWriMo!


May 4th @ Her First Mile

Visit Alyshia’s blog today and make sure you read her review of Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 5th @ Halfway to It

Visit Jeanna’s blog (and Instagram!) today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.



May 6th @ Editor 911

Make sure you visit Margo’s blog today and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 7th @ Brooke’s Reviews and Sweeps

Visit Brooke’s site today and make sure you read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 7th @ Sandy Kirby Quandt

Stop by Sandy’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 8th @ Quill and Books

Stop by Katheryn’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 9th @ Choices Blog

Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read a fantastic Save the Cat! guest post about how to choose the best idea to write.


May 10th @ Margay Leah Justice Blog

Visit Margay’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software and Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 11th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Beverley’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 12th @ Reading Whale

Visit Caitlin’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 13th @ Mint Miller Writes

Visit Mint Miller’s blog today and you can read a review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

May 14th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today and you can read his review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 15th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat Structure Software.


May 16th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and make sure you stop by Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 17th @ Leslie L. McKee’s blog

Visit Leslie’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software and the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 18th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 19th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again and you can read a guest post about how software can help organize and plot your story.


May 20th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog and you can read his review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 21st @ L. M. Harley’s Blog

Visit Laura’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 22nd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and you can read her insights into the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 23rd @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 24th @ Tyrean Martinson’s Blog

Visit Tyrean’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 25th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog and you can read his interview with the Save the Cat! team.


May 27th @ Amanda Zieba’s Blog

Visit Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 28th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog today and you can read a guest post by the Save the Cat team about writing genres vs. audience genres. Don’t miss it!


May 28th @ Shayla Raquel

Make sure you stop by Shayla’s blog and read her review of the book Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.


May 29th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Mason’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


May 30th @ Make Me a Success

Make sure you stop by Kirsten’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.


This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf Blog Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman dealing with a pregnancy and her career as a police officer has her world turned upside-down when the unsolved murder of her best friend finds new evidence, and leads her into a whirlpool of suspects who are far closer to her than she could have imagined, in author Heather Gudenkauf’s “This Is How I Lied.” 


The Synopsis

With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.

Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve. 

The Review

A truly gripping thriller that takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride, author Heather Gudenkauf’s “This Is How I Lied” begins as a personal story of a young woman seeking justice for her long lost best friend, and takes a dramatic turn that puts every character in the spotlight. 

The brilliant use of flashbacks through the eyes of the victim to the modern-day investigation and the secrets that fuel all of the characters make this such an engaging narrative. Just when readers have a bead on who the killer is, the author drops a new piece of the puzzle that turns the investigation on its head. The author does a marvelous job of portraying the narrative in a very cinematic way, allowing readers to envision the events of the story playing out perfectly. 

The Verdict

A must-read thriller and mystery, “This Is How I Lied” by Heather Gudenkauf is a fantastic narrative that deserves to be read. Evenly paced, thought-provoking, and shocking in its delivery, this is a one of a kind read that fans of the mystery and thriller genres will not be able to get enough of, especially in the final shocking moments of the book’s end. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. 

Buy Links: 


Barnes & Noble




Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @hgudenkauf

Instagram: @heathergudenkauf

Facebook: @HeatherGudenkaufAuthor


Author Q&A

1. What is your writing process like? 

I approach each of my novels with the goal of being a plotter – someone who explicitly organizes and outlines her books – but it never quite works out that way for me. I make notes and outline the plot but ultimately the characters take over and do what they want to anyway. My process is messy and meandering. Thankfully, I have a brilliant editor who is able to see through the weeds and pull out the best parts of my plots and keep me on the right path. This is How I Lied completely evolved from my initial intentions. The characters changed, the plot shifted and the final ending poked its head up near the end of revisions and I couldn’t be happier with the results. 

2. Which came first: the characters or plot line?

For me, the two go hand in hand. The basic plot line comes first, and close behind comes the characters. It doesn’t matter how suspenseful of a plot I develop, if the right characters aren’t there to mold the story and carry it forward, it won’t work. Before I begin writing, I attempt to give my characters rich backstories. Often many of these details don’t make into the novel, but by fully developing their personalities and biographies, it helps keep me in tune with them as I write. Knowing the characters’ likes and dislikes, their foibles and strengths helps me to honestly and accurately determine their motivations and the decisions they make as they move through the novel. 

3. How do you come up with your plots?

I’m a news junkie! I’ll scan newspapers and websites and a story will catch my eye. It can be the smallest detail or a broader theme but if the idea sticks with me and keeps harassing me to write about it, I know I’m on the right track. For my novel Little Mercies, it was an article about a social worker who ended up on the other side of the justice system because of alleged negligence with her caseload. From this I created an entirely new story about a social worker who was fighting for her own child. In This is How I Lied, I was intrigued by news stories that dealt with the use of familial DNA to solve cold cases and it became a key detail in the novel’s resolution.

4. Do you use music to help set a mood/tone for your books? 

I do listen to music as I write. It varies based on the story and what I think the characters might listen to. By curating these playsets, it helps me get into their mindset. As I worked on Maggie’s sections in This is How I Lied I listened to a lot of Avett Brothers and Lumineers. For Nola, I listened to classical music and hard rock – she’s an interesting mix. As for Eve, since she was sixteen years old and living in the 90s, I listened to plenty of Nirvana and Beck. 

5. Where did the idea for this story come from? 

Before I started writing This is How I Lied, I read I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, about the author’s investigation of The Golden State Killer who, for decades, terrorized northern California. This book both terrified and fascinated me and I became intrigued by how modern technology was being used to close old cold cases. For my project, I thought it would be interesting to explore how this might play out in a small town where the perpetrator thought the truth behind the crime would never be discovered. 

As I was writing the novel, I learned about the developments in a 40-year-old cold case not far from where I live where familial DNA was used to ultimately convict the killer. Amazing!

6. Do you find inspiration for your novels in your personal life? 

I often get asked what my childhood must have been like because of the twisty thrillers I write. Thankfully, I can say that I had a blissfully uneventful childhood with parents and siblings that loved and supported me. For me, the inspiration from my own life comes in the settings of my novels – the Mississippi River, farmland, the woods and bluffs – all found in Iowa. In This is How I Lied, the town of Grotto is loosely based on a nearby town until I moved to this part of Iowa, I never realized that we had cave systems.  Visitors to the state park, can literally step back thousands of years. The limestone caves and bluffs are beautiful, haunting and have something for everyone. You can take a casual stroll through some of the caves and have to army crawl through some of the others. Old clothes and a flashlight are a must! The caves made the perfect backdrop for a thriller and I was excited to include them in This is How I Lied.

7. What is the one personality trait that you like your main characters to have and why? 

In looking back at all my main characters, though they are all different ages and come from different walks of life, I think the trait that they all seem to have in common is perseverance. I’ve had characters battle human evil and demons of their own creation but it doesn’t matter what traumatic events they have been through or the challenges they will face, they manage to make it through. Changed for sure, but intact and hopeful for the future.

8. Why do you love Maggie and why should readers root for her? 

I do love Maggie! As a police detective, Maggie has dedicated her adult life to helping others and is a loving daughter, sister and wife and is expecting her first child. This doesn’t mean that Maggie is perfect. Like all of my protagonists, Maggie is complicated and flawed and has made some big mistakes, but ultimately she is doing the best that she can.

9. What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

As a former elementary school teacher, I had absolutely no insights into the publishing world beyond what I saw on television and in movies – which portrayed it as a dog-eat-dog world. I have to admit, as a new author, I was very intimidated. But to my delight –  and relief – the people I’ve encountered along the way– my agent, editors, publishing teams, fellow authors, booksellers and readers – all have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and kind.

10. What is coming up next for you? 

I just finished the first draft of my next novel, a locked-room mystery about a reclusive writer working on a true crime book when a snow storm leaves her trapped inside her remote home, setting off a series of events that lead to a stunning revelation. It was so much fun to write!

11. Has quarantine been better or worse for your writing? 

It’s been such a scary, unsettling time but I’ve found writing a nice distraction and a great comfort during this extended time at home. I’ve been able to turn off the news and get lost in my manuscript or other writing projects. It’s a lot like reading – a much needed escape from the real world.

12. What was your last 5 star read? 

Julia Heaberlin has a new book coming out this August called We Are All the Same in the Dark and it has surged to the top as one of my favorite reads of the year. It has everything I love in a great thriller: a beautifully written small town mystery, with multilayered, unforgettable characters and a twisty plot. It was absolutely mesmerizing.


This Is How I Lied Book Excerpt

Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe

Monday, June 15, 2020

As I slide out of my unmarked police car my swollen belly briefly gets wedged against the steering wheel. Sucking in my gut does little good but I manage to move the seat back and squeeze past the wheel. I swing my legs out the open door and glance furtively around the parking lot behind the Grotto Police Department to see if anyone is watching.

Almost eight months pregnant with a girl and not at my most graceful. I’m not crazy about the idea of one of my fellow officers seeing me try to pry myself out of this tin can. The coast appears to be clear so I begin the little ritual of rocking back and forth trying to build up enough momentum to launch myself out of the driver’s seat.

Once upright, I pause to catch my breath. The morning dew is already sending up steam from the weeds growing out of the cracked concrete. Sweating, I slowly make my way to the rear entrance of the Old Gray Lady, the nickname for the building we’re housed in. Built in the early 1900s, the first floor consists of the lobby, the finger printing and intake center, a community room, interview rooms and the jail. The second floor, which once held the old jail is home to the squad room and offices. The dank, dark basement holds a temperamental boiler and the department archives.

The Grotto Police Department has sixteen sworn officers that includes the chief, two lieutenants, a K-9 patrol officer, nine patrol officers, a school resource officer and two detectives. I’m detective number two.

I grew up in Grotto, a small river town of about ten thousand that sits among a circuitous cave system known as Grotto Caves State Park, the most extensive in Iowa. Besides being a favorite destination spot for families, hikers and spelunkers, Grotto is known for its high number of family owned farms – a dying breed. My husband Shaun and I are part of that breed – we own an apple orchard and tree farm.

 “Pretty soon we’re going to have to roll you in,” an irritatingly familiar voice calls out from behind me.

I don’t bother turning around. “Francis, that wasn’t funny the first fifty times you said it and it still isn’t,” I say as I scan my key card to let us in.

Behind me, Pete Francis, rookie officer and all-around caveman grabs the door handle and in a rare show of chivalry opens it so I can step through. “You know I’m just joking,” Francis says giving me the grin that all the young ladies in Grotto seem to find irresistible but just gives me another reason to roll my eyes.

“With the wrong person, those kinds of jokes will land you in sensitivity training,” I remind him.

“Yeah, but you’re not the wrong person, right?” he says seriously, “You’re cool with it?”

I wave to Peg behind the reception desk and stop at the elevator and punch the number two button. The police department only has two levels but I’m in no mood to climb up even one flight of stairs today. “Do I look like I’m okay with it?” I ask him.

Francis scans me up and down. He takes in my brown hair pulled back in a low bun, wayward curls springing out from all directions, my eyes red from lack of sleep, my untucked shirt, the fabric stretched tight against my round stomach, my sturdy shoes that I think are tied, but I can’t know for sure because I can’t see over my boulder-sized belly.

“Sorry,” he says appropriately contrite and wisely decides to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator with me.

“You’re forgiven,” I call after him.  As I step on the elevator to head up to my desk, I check my watch. My appointment with the chief is at eight and though he didn’t tell me what the exact reason is for this meeting I think I can make a pretty good guess.

It can’t be dictated as to when I have to go on light duty, seven months into my pregnancy, but it’s probably time. I’m guessing that Chief Digby wants to talk with me about when I want to begin desk duty or take my maternity leave. I get it.

It’s time I start to take it easy. I’ve either been the daughter of a cop or a cop my entire life but I’m more than ready to set it aside for a while and give my attention, twenty-four-seven to the little being inhabiting my uterus.

Shaun and I have been trying for a baby for a long, long time. And thousands of dollars and dozens of procedures later, when we finally found out we were pregnant, Shaun started calling her peanut because the only thing I could eat for the first nine weeks without throwing up was peanut butter sandwiches. The name stuck.

This baby is what we want more than anything in the world but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a little bit scared. I’m used to toting around a sidearm not an infant.

 The elevator door opens to a dark paneled hallway lined with ten by sixteen framed photos of all the men who served as police chief of Grotto over the years. I pass by eleven photos before I reach the portrait of my father. Henry William Kennedy, 1995 – 2019, the plaque reads.

While the other chiefs stare out from behind the glass with serious expressions, my dad smiles showing his straight, white teeth. He was so proud when he was named chief of police. We were all proud, except maybe my older brother, Colin. God knows what Colin thought of it. As a teenager he was pretty self-absorbed, but I guess I was too, especially after my best friend died. I went off the rails for a while but here I am now. A Grotto PD detective, following in my dad’s footsteps. I think he’s proud of me too. At least when he remembers.

Last time I brought my dad back here to visit, we walked down this long corridor and paused at his photo. For a minute I thought he might make a joke, say something like, Hey, who’s that good looking guy? But he didn’t say anything. Finding the right words is hard for him now. Occasionally, his frustration bubbles over and he yells and sometimes even throws things which is hard to watch. My father has always been a very gentle man.

The next portrait in line is our current police chief, Les Digby. No smile on his tough guy mug. He was hired a month ago, taking over for Dexter Stroope who acted as the interim chief after my dad retired. Les is about ten years older than I am, recently widowed with two teenage sons. He previously worked for the Ransom Sheriff’s Office and I’m trying to decide if I like him. Jury’s still out.

Excerpted from This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf, Copyright © 2020 by Heather Gudenkauf 

Published by Park Row Books