Advice for Aspiring Authors (Guest Post & Giveaway)

Today I am pleased to host author Kimberly Daniels, who is sharing some of her best advice for aspiring authors. Be sure to read to the end for information about her book, SAVED BY YOU, and find out how to enter her giveaway to win an Amazon/B&N gift card!

Kimberly Daniels Tells Aspiring Authors…

Diving into that world of writing and (gasp!) committing to becoming an actual published author can be both exciting and utterly frightening. The idea that your words, your very own stories will be out for anyone to see and experience is a scary thought. The good reviews and those pesky one and two-star reviews can really wreak havoc on your psyche. My advice to aspiring authors is to silence all that noise. Stay true to your words, your stories. No matter what agents, publishers, and reviewers say, remember that those stories are your very own masterpieces. Most importantly, write simply because you love it.

Check out the book

Saved by You

by Kimberly Daniels

Genre: Contemporary Romance


Cole Stevens thought he was finally given a second chance in life. With the woman he always loved now by his side, an adopted son who felt like his own since the day he met him, and a baby on the way, Cole could finally see his forever. And then his past showed up on his doorstep, threatening to take it all away.


Now forced to relive painful memories and bring dark secrets to light, Cole begins a downward spiral that leads him back to the place he spent years trying to escape. As the pain of his past collides with the present, he finds himself lost again, fighting for his family’s future. How can he find the way back in time for his forever to be saved?

Read an Excerpt

I let go of him and he falters back. Dusty wraps his arms around me to pull me back and Camryn is begging me to stop. Her voice registers, sinking through the fury that just consumed me, and my head snaps up realizing where I am. Camryn’s hands are over her mouth and I can see her fighting back tears. And that’s when I see him, my little superhero, crying and shaking at Camryn’s side. My sweet little boy, my Gavin—how could I let myself get to this point?

I reach out to him and he shudders back, sinking into Camryn even more. At that moment, my heart shatters, seeing that my son, the one I vowed to protect, is afraid of the menace I just became. My gaze travels to Camryn and I see the pain in her eyes, which I am sure I put there. “Take him home, away from me.”

She reaches her hand and grasps my wrist, pulling me with her. “Come home with us.”

I pull my hand away and begin to back away from them. “Take him home without me. Right now, he’s afraid…of me.” I can’t bear to stay here and look at what I did to Gav and Camryn, to see that the old Cole has never really left. I rush off the beach, away from my family, the ones I disappointed again with my thoughtless actions. I try to grasp the realization that I’m no longer the superhero Gavin once thought I was. Today, I became the villain.

Kimberly Daniels is Awarding a $10 Amazon/B&N Gift Card to one lucky winner. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Meet Kimberly Daniels

Kimberly Daniels is a middle school English Teacher who took the advice of her students to pursue her writing hobby as a career. When she’s not at her laptop dreaming up new happily-ever-afters, she can be found glued to the TV or Kindle consumed with a new show or book addiction. She lives with her husband and two daughters in in the suburbs of Philadelphia, spending weekends at basketball games, softball fields, and dance recitals.


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Guest Post from Jo McNally – The Challenges of Writing a Holiday Themed Novel

Today I’m hosting romance author Jo McNally, who’s going to tell us a bit about the challenges she faced when writing STEALING KISSES IN THE SNOW. Be sure to check out info on her book AND giveaway below!


Stealing Kisses in the Snow was my first holiday romance, and it was exciting to tackle a new sub-genre. There were a couple of unique challenges that kept pushing back at me as I wrote–the predefined end date, and getting the emotions to go deeper than snowflakes and Christmas lights.

I usually write from a start date and let the romantic relationship play out organically in my books. But a holiday romance generally ends on the holiday. In an early draft, Piper and Logan were being so cautious that when I went back and tracked the days, it was December and they were still just flirting around. I realized I couldn’t let them just meander through their relationship because tick-tock, Christmas was coming! I charted out the weeks from the start of the story in October up to Christmas Day (the final scene in the book) and moved things around so the timeline felt natural but still hit the target.

My other challenge was writing a fun holiday romance with laughs and snowstorms and joy, but also with intense emotions. Piper is a widowed mom of two, and she’s promised them a “perfect” Christmas. Her plans don’t include the rugged oil rig worker who just cruised into town on a Harley to help his grandmother run the Victorian inn where Piper works. She’s had love once in her life, and lost him when he was killed in action. She’s not sure she deserves a second chance at love, and she’s convinced it wouldn’t be fair to her kids. So her reasons for resisting her feelings for Logan are complex. She has frank discussions with Logan, her children, and her former in-laws about her late husband and his importance to all of them. Logan has to navigate that reality and responsibility as he’s falling for the cute little mom in the ruffled apron. That story of a family coming apart, then coming together again, was important to tell, but at the same time, this is a funny, sexy story that ends on a not-so-perfect, but very special, Christmas Day.


Stealing Kisses in the Snow

by Jo McNally

GENRE:   Contemporary Romance

Maybe “perfect” is over-rated…

Between juggling two kids, two jobs, and a fixer-upper house, single mom Piper Montgomery is so busy she can hardly see straight.  But when rugged biker Logan Taggert strolls into the B&B where she’s working, she can’t help but stare.  He has bad boy written all over him. She’s promised her kids a “perfect Christmas” this year, and bad boys aren’t part of the plan. But how can she resist?

Once his grandmother is back on her feet, Logan can leave her Victorian B&B get back on the road.  It’s where he belongs after all, even if his grandmother’s matchmaking book club biddies try to convince him otherwise.  But there’s something about beautiful, spitfire Piper that makes him wonder if kids and commitment might be just what he needs after all.

As Christmas draws ever closer, so do Piper and Logan.  Could these two opposites find all they want this Christmas is each other?

Read an Excerpt

“Okay, Lily. If you see that giant again, bring him to me so I can tell him to stop hanging around here. It’s bad for business.”

Lily giggled and dashed out of the kitchen before Piper could tell her they were leaving soon. She put away the rest of the dishes and tossed the dishrag into the bin to be washed. She was mopping up the last corner of the floor when she heard the kitchen door open again. Good—Lily hadn’t wandered far.

“I’m glad you’re back, sweetie. I’m almost done, so—”

“Momma! I found the giant! Isn’t he hoomongus?”

Piper turned and froze, clutching the mop handle tightly. Lily was standing in the doorway, holding hands with a stranger. Well over six feet tall, with straggly, wet hair hanging to his shoulders and a scruffy beard, the man was clothed entirely in black leather, including leather chaps on his long legs. He had the deepest-set eyes Piper had ever seen, shadowed under heavy, dark brows. With his size and overall menacing appearance, it was no wonder Lily thought he was a giant.

And he was holding her daughter’s tiny hand.

Piper bristled, her exhaustion gone in a flash. She’d gladly battle actual monsters to save her children, and big or not (and he was big), this was just a man. A man who was about to regret touching her little girl. She brandished the mop handle in front of her like a sword as she went toward him. “You let her go right this minute! And get out of here! I’m calling the police…” She fumbled to get her phone out of her back pocket while still aiming the mop at him. Her voice was fast approaching a scream. “You get the hell away from my daughter!”

Jo McNally will be awarding one print copy of SLOW DANCING AT SUNRISE by Jo McNally and 1 print copy of STEALING KISSES IN THE SNOW by Jo McNally, shipping limited to North American (US and Canada) only to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to enter the contest!

Meet Jo McNally

Jo McNally lives in coastal North Carolina with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she’s not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed…), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to great music. If the weather is absolutely perfect, she’ll occasionally join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.


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To Tweet or Not to Tweet – Guest Post from Author Madelyn Hill

Today I’m pleased to host fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Madelyn Hill, who will share some of her tips of the trade when it comes to marketing through Twitter.

Don’t forget to check out info on her latest release, Heather in the Mist, at the bottom of today’s post!

I’ve been on Twitter for quite a while, however I’ve just started embracing the social networking tool as a way to connection, share and learn.

My goal for the rest of the year was to increase my followers in a big way. So, I did some research and learned you have to tweet—a lot—to engage and increase followers. Also you do not want to constantly push your books, you need to share your interests and offer something of value to followers. And finally followers like images and quotes. I found some tools to help me achieve my goal.

Some of my rules of practice:

  1. Always thank followers with a Tweet including their Twitter Handle
  2. Favorite or ReTweet tweets from authors promoting their books, reviews, or sales
  3. Follow those who follow me
  4. Look at the Moments (new to Twitter) and retweet or reply to a tweet of Moments that interest me
  5. Interact with Trending tweets (left hand side of Twitter page) Many times there are author friendly trends such as #WritersWednesday #MondayMotivation etc
  6. Follow celebrities, but don’t expect them to follow you back or interact, however, this may happen! I’ve had some great interactions with celebrities and brand I love to use.

CoPromote is cross promotion source for engaging with others and having them re-tweet your boosted tweets. I use the free service and do not feel I need the paid service. I boost a tweet and others who have a shared interest re-tweet my tweet, thus increasing tweet impressions (number of followers who will see your tweet). I can gain more re-tweets by tweet others post. I get to select and determine what I will share.

RSS Feed is a way to have a direct feed from blogs. Real Simple Syndication (RSS) allows for me to have the feed automatically sent to an aggregation site. In this case Twitter via Twibble (see below). I use RSS feed for writing sites and cooking sites. The sites I like are Romance University, Helping Writers Become Authors, Positive Writer, Pioneer Woman, and Extra Virgin Cooking Blog. This way content is sent directly to my twitter feed and I do not have to search out the content I want to read. Also, I love cooking so the information is feed to my Twitter feed as well.

Twibble allows for me to copy an RSS feed and arrange the blog post to be automatically sent to my Twitter feed. I pick the day and times I want the post sent and the rest is history.  I use the free Twibble and haven’t found the need for the paid service.

I have been doing this for the last 2 weeks and here are the results:

  1. Tweets have increased by 81.8%
  2. Tweet Impressions increased by 215.1%
  3. Profile visits increased by 243.8%
  4. Mentions increased by 550%
  5. Followers increased by 344

I will continue to watch the stats of my efforts and will keep you posted. To follow me on twitter, my handle is @AuthorMaddyHill

Check out Heather in The MIst by Madelyn Hill

Forced to wed to save her clan, Lady Rogan Cameron agrees to wed without love. heatherinthemist (200)
What her father doesn’t know is Lady Rogan has plans of her own—plans to keep her from a loveless marriage. Can she save the clan before she has to say “I do?”

Ian Albright abolished all ties to Scotland after his family betrayed him and he is now nursing a wounded ego due to an unfaithful fiancée. He pledges never to return to his home until the fateful day he accepts an invitation to his dear cousin’s wedding. The minute he sees his cousin’s betrothed, his heart is captured. If only she didn’t belong to another . . .

Lady Rogan and Ian have known each other since they were young and bent on vexing each other. Now, the only thing they find vexing is the fact Rogan is betrothed to another. Together they fight their growing attraction while investigating the forces bedeviling the clan. Yet at every turn their foe appears and wreaks havoc. When tragedy strikes, their hopes are dashed again.

Can Lady Rogan and Ian’s love win when fate seems determined to keep them apart?

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about Madelyn Hill

Madelyn Promo-PhotoMadelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

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It’s World Teacher’s Day!

World Teacher Day

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Historical Context – Guest Post from Author Kenneth Hart

Kenneth Hart is the author of the Ron Tuck series. The first book in the series, Reinforcements, will be re-released on September 18th. Today he will be sharing his thoughts on researching and writing in an historical context.

When I write in an historical context, I always try to be accurate with detail. It helps to create a picture for the reader and even though you may not use many of the researched details in your stories, I think that it also helps to put you, the writer, into the proper frame of mind.

If you were alive during the time that you are writing about, you may use memory to help you, but I have found that is not the most reliable source of information. As the cliché says, your memory plays tricks on you. Sometimes they are delightful tricks, but if you are writing about the election of John Kennedy and have a Beatles song playing in the background, you’ve blown it.

I have found the internet an incredibly valuable source for research. I recall writing a story that was based on my father’s life. It was called The Good Life. My dad was involved in the juke box business. He spent a lot of time in luncheonettes and candy stores. When I wrote about him, I looked at the dates of the releases of various songs that were popular and matched them to the years about which I was writing. I think that listening to some of those songs really helped me with the mood of that story.

More recently, I wrote a story called Dates and Cigarettes. It was set in the early part of the 20th century. For it, I researched fashion and automobiles. I looked at pictures of what Newark, New Jersey looked like at the time. It was very illuminating to learn that there were many dirt roads in the city back then. I never used a dirt road in the story but the image in my mind was a valuable one. It gave things a certain context.

For example, I learned that cars did not have heaters for the longest time. And so, it was natural for the back seats to have blankets. That was something that I did use.

For big historical events, like the assassination of John Kennedy, I found a website that showed almost all of the original footage that CBS aired in the three long days that followed that tragedy. My character is injured and unable to walk and so he cannot help but spend all of his time in front of the TV. Having that original footage provided me with images to which he would respond. I did a similar thing later in that book with the Watergate Tapes. Having the original footage was incredibly valuable and provided a verisimilitude for the feelings that my characters expressed about what they were thinking at the time.

More difficult and yet even more rewarding is researching the ways that people spoke in different eras. In some ways there seemed to be a lack of intimacy in the language of certain time periods. An example would be that people would say that they were feeling “blue” to describe what we call depression. Or they would say that they had “the blues” the way that we might say that we were feeling “down.” I guess that David Bowe also used it in his song Space Oddity when he sang, “Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.”

I had never really liked the expression of saying one had the blues until I connected it to the musical genre. I’m not sure that connection is accurate but it allowed my mind to appreciate the use of the phrase.

Another aspect of creating historical context that I love to use is sports, particularly baseball, football and boxing. It is hard to remember the power that boxing used to have on the American people until you realize how many boxing gyms existed in a city like Newark.

One of my characters is a fighter named Walter Pierce. In one scene, I have him meet with Jack Dempsey and Dempsey tells him, “When you are fighting every couple of weeks, like what you have to, you need to toughen up your skin.” Walter asks how he does that. Dempsey responds, “I soak my hands and face in brine, every day.” Dorothy saw a fierce look in his dark eyes. It was a look of savage cruelty. It was dark and yet frighteningly casual. That kind of detail, I think, creates interest in the character and helps to create the portrait of the era. It rounds things out with the small, very human, details.

In my mind James Michener was the very best at it. It saddens me that he is not more widely read today. In his day, it was necessary to spend countless hours in libraries, or later on, have his staff do that.

There is something overwhelming and yet magical about doing library research. I used to go with my mom, who was searching for her father using microfiche of old newspapers. We scrolled through countless articles in the newspaper and I learned the strange ways that people wrote back in the 1930’s. I got a chance to document some of that in a story called Misguided Directions.

James Joyce wrote that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” And yet contradictory to that, we have the proverb that those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. In my mind, I attributed that quote to George Orwell and yet perhaps it was really George Santayana. Memory does play tricks and the truth of history is, I think, somewhere between those two points of view.

The Ron Tuck Series
Reinforcements (Book 1)Reinforcements11-219x300

A coming of age novel spiced with the rock of the late 60′s and early 70′s, Reinforcments is a story of friendship, education, protest, a country divided over the Vietnam War, sexual exploration, mind expansion, cultural mores, and the foundation upon which those conflicts occurred.

Available on ebook and paperback

Amazon US
Amazon UK
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Visit Kenneth Hart online