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Welcome to my place in the blogosphere!
feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Nicky Wells Rock and Roll Promo Christmas Party and Review

Nicky’s Rock and Roll Xmas Promo Party!

20th December 2014!

Fairy Tale in New York by Nicky Wells

New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.

Fairy Tale in New York is now available in Kindle and paperback editions from all Amazon domains, including: |

I've just read this story and enjoyed every moment of it!  It's a delightful short novel envoking the true spirit of Christmas. Although I hadn't read the first book - 'Spirits of Christmas' I soon felt as if I knew the main characters and empathised with them as they faced a bleak first Christmas together, thousands of miles away from their families in the UK and without even the prospect of a roof over their heads - and all because they gave up their plane seats to someone in need.  As the story develops we meet other warm hearted characters and although their first Christmas together may not have worked out exactly as they imagined, Jude and Carrie and little Maya find no shortage of love and Christmas magic during their unplanned Christmas in New York. 

Fairy Tale in New York is a delightful, quick read, ideal for reading over the Christmas period, and I now have to treat myself to the first book 'Spirits Of Christmas' to find out how the original fairytale started.

Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol
At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction.

Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.

Amazon UK :

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from AmazoniTunes and many other places.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Guest post on 'Women In Fiction' by Christian Brown, Author of Feast Of Fates

Please welcome Christian Brown to the Flightdeck, and enjoy an excerpt from his debut novel 'Feast Of Fates'. Christian has written a fascinating guestpost on 'Women In Fantasy', which you will find after the excerpt, and you can watch the brilliant trailer at the end of the post!

Feast of Fates
Four Feasts Till Darkness 
Book One
Christian A. Brown

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Date of Publication: September 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1495907586
Number of pages: 540

Word Count: 212K

Book Description:

"Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.”

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her--visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.

Available at Amazon and Createspace

Feast of Fates, Excerpt

Menos was darker than usual: its clouds as black as the shadow of fear that haunted Mouse. The city
felt more menacing to her. She saw shadows in every corner, noticed the glint of every ruffian’s blade or slave’s chain as though they were all intended for her. The warning of Alastair played inside her skull on a loop of nightmare theater.

            A hand over her mouth startles her awake, and she twists for the dagger in her pillowcase until she recognizes the shadowy apparition atop her, who hisses at her to calm.

            “Alastair?” she gasps.

            The hand unclenches and the willowy shadow retreats to more of its own; she can only see the scruff of his red beard in the dark.
            “Get up, Mouse. Get dressed.”
            Her mentor sounds annoyed or confused; she is each, but finds her garments quickly enough anyway.

            “I don’t like good-byes, so let’s not call this that,” Alastair says with a sigh. “But it will be a parting, nonetheless. You need to go low. Lower than you’ve ever been before. A new name won’t be enough. You’ll need a new face. I don’t know how or who, but the sacred contract of our order has been broken. Your safety has been bought.”
            Mouse knows the who and how, and as she glances up from her boot-lacing to explain to her mentor her predicament, she sees that he is gone. Just empty shadows, echoing words, and the sound of her heartbeat drowning out all the rest.

            She expected the dead man and his icy master to emerge from the dim nooks and doorways of the buildings she passed at any instant. With a hand on her knives and a fury to her step, she swept down the sidewalk; no carriages for her today, as they were essentially cages on wheels—too easy to trap oneself in. With its sooty storefronts and their wrought-iron windows, its black streetlamps that rose about her like the bars of a prison, Menos was constricting itself around her, and she had to get out.
            You’ve survived worse than the nekromancer, she coached herself, though she wasn’t certain that was true. She hurried through the grimness of Menos, dodging pale faces and quickening her step with every sand. By the time she arrived at the fleshcrafter’s studio, she was sweating and stuck to her cloak. She looked down the desolate sidewalk and up the long sad face of the tall tower with its many broken or boarded-over windows. When she was sure she wasn’t being pursued by the phantoms that her paranoia had conjured, she pulled back a rusted door that did not cry out as it should have, given its appearance, but slid along well-formed grooves through the dust. She raced through the door and hauled it closed.

            It was dark and flickering with half-dead lights in the garbage-strewn hallway in which she stood. Mouse picked through the trash with her feet, tensing as she passed every dark alcove in the abandoned complex. Hives, these places were called, and used to house enormous numbers of lowborn folk under a single roof. In Menos, even the shabbiest roof was a desirable commodity, so the building’s ghostly vacancy meant that it likely was condemned by disease at one point. Soon the stairwell she sought appeared, and she tiptoed down it, careful not to slip on the stairs, which were slick with organic grunge.

            Couldn’t have picked a nicer studio, she cursed. I’ll be lucky if this fleshcrafter leaves me with half a lip to drink with. Lamentably, speed and discretion were her two goals in choosing where to have her face remodeled. Such stipulations cut the more promising fleshcrafters off the list and left her with the dregs. She hadn’t put much thought into what she would have done, or even if she would end up hideously disfigured. Monstrous disfigurement could even work in her favor, as she bore an uncanny resemblance to that crow-eviscerated woman whom she suspected was the object of the nekromancer’s dark desire. I’ll take ugly over dead. Over whatever he has in mind for me.


Women In Fantasy
Just a second, everyone put away the pitchforks and stop brandishing those Gertrude Stein books at me as if they can compel the misogynistic demon from my flesh. This isn’t a diatribe on feminism in literature–I wouldn’t dare to touch such a heavy subject without an array of facts at my disposal. As a fantasy writer, I don’t really deal in facts, as much as possibilities. What I would like to discuss is the portrayal of women in fantasy, what I like, and what I don’t like, what I think needs changing. I’d like to keep this dialog as uncontroversial as possible, and focus on how these characters are written, more than diving into the societal influences that make writers craft women in this manner. That’s psychology, and I’m not a psychologist. Okay, moving on, I’ll start with the stuff I can’t stand–expect hyperbole and potential cussing.

Women who are powerless. To me, nothing is more irritating than watching a female lead take a backseat to the action. I understand that characters need time to “grow” into their heroism, however, the foundations for that backbone should have been laid prior to that mettle being tested in a life-or-death situation. Otherwise, my suspension of disbelief is being tested. Even if a heroine is in a situation from which she cannot escape, she should always be thinking of escape, and not complacent with her miserable existence. At least that spark of free-will can be convincing impetus for a future act of daring. In the event that your heroine ends up chained in a basement, and awaiting the most wretched fate imaginable, she should be testing her chains, wondering who she can pounce on when they enter her cell, or looking for a rat bone to pick her irons. Whatever. She should be doing something, or sure that she will somehow live. That fire for life is what keeps me, as a reader hooked. When characters give up, so do I.

Women who are overly negative. As a man who writes some pretty snappy ladies, this can be a delicate act to balance. Cynicism is fine, particularly if that character has endured hardships. But when all she does is harp, or whine, or question her strength, that character becomes as unpleasant as the people in real life who do that. You know that friend that you have who calls you up to complain about her weight/ marriage/ job? Negative Nancy the sorceress, can have the same tone and repellence.  Negativity can serve a purpose, and a hero should always suffer moments of doubt. But the strongest people do so silently, or among their closest allies, and never often or vocally (unless they are giving a rousing speech against their injustice). Finding a balance with humor, can help to offset a character with a naturally acerbic demeanor. At least it gives the reader something else to focus on.

Women who need to be constantly saved (usually by an all-powerful figure). Similar to the first point, although I believe it deserves its own mention. Getting saved once by your beau, assuming our heroine has exhausted all of her resourcefulness, and is really, truly, screwed, is fine. Sometimes, despite everything, we just cannot extricate ourselves from a mess. We need help. Alright. Help arrives. Then, she trips and falls down a well in another ten pages. Shortly after calling for help and being rescued, she decides to go for a walk in the Forest of Ultimate Evil. Probably a bad idea, given the name, but this girl (I've demoted her from womanhood for her naiveté), doesn’t have the good sense God gave a toothpick. Don’t worry, here comes Damien Glorylocks–knight, and secret royal blood of a long forgotten dynasty–to save Clueless. From now on, we’ll just refer to my sample heroine by that name, as it tends to sum up a lot of decisions that writers place in the minds of their female leads.

Stupidity. Coming off that last point. How stupid can one character be? Okay, we all make dumb decisions. In fact, its necessary for characters to do one or two things in error, and thereafter grow from that experience. The key here is grow. Grow. As in, not do that stupid thing, or comparable act of stupidity again. If you’re on the 3rd arc of your trilogy and your character is still figuring out the fundamentals of how to control her dragon-blood, faery-magic, or whatever, then you have a problem. Similarly, if you’re deep into your story and Clueless still can’t figure out why the Dark Elves want her dead so badly, then you probably haven’t done a good enough job as a writer giving the reader–and potentially Clueless–information. Readers like to be in the know, and if your character is being kept in the dark, often treating your audience the same risks aliening them. So if these scenarios are occurring in your books, then your character (and audience) is not learning, they are not growing. And if you’ve watched one season of Honey Boo Boo, you’ve watched them all.

The only thrill in that entertainment is in watching the mediocrity unfold. We do not want our stories to be banal, we want them to be inspiring, and teaching of greatness. Mediocrity is for the real world, it has no place in fantasy.

Things I like. Here, we have a shorter list, as most of these things are self-explanatory.
Normal characters. By this I mean, they have no supreme, miracle, magic. No great hidden power. These women are just tough as nails, and have learned how to kick life in the balls. Almost universally, readers like these sorts of characters. Sure, later on in the story-line, that character may struggle to hang with their mystical friends, and as end-of-the-world events unfold, it takes a deft narrative hand to weave them through those troubles unscathed. Still, the value of a normal character in an otherwise epic fantasy cannot be understated, for they create a bridge between our world and the fantasy.

Women who make their own choices. Decisiveness. I love this trait in characters. As a storyteller, characters who do not waver with indecision, move the story forward at a steady pace. Otherwise, you can end up wasting pages on internal dialog, which can make a character seem weak, which then threatens to lose the reader.

Women who fight. I’m not saying that every heroine has to be a martial expert, but even a princess can have lessons in fencing, and if you make the heroine a blacksmith’s daughter, she would surely know how to swing a blade. Again, this cycles back to women being helpless, which I personally hate to read.

Witty, curious women. Witty, is not the same as bitchy–another fine line that can be crossed. And curiosity may have killed the cat, but it shouldn’t kill the heroine. A sense for questioning order, a rebellious spirit, and someone who can take the slings-and-arrows of life with the occasional laugh, all make for engaging characters.

I hope that my ramblings have been thought, and not anger, provoking. Do keep in mind that the above represents only my opinions, and there are as many ways to write characters as there are writers in the world. These are just my pet-peeves, and the pitfalls that I try to avoid.

Christian A. Brown has written
creatively since the age of six. After
spending most of his career in the health
and fitness industry, Brown quit his job
to care for his mother when she was
diagnosed with non-Hodgkins
lymphoma in 2010.
Having dabbled with the novel that
would eventually become Feast of Fates
for over a decade, Brown was finally
able to finish the project. His mother,
who was able to read a beginning
version of the novel before she passed
away, has since imbued the story with
deeper sentiments of loss, love, and
meaning. He is proud to now share the
finished product with the world.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

This makes it all worth while ...

Writing can be a lonely business. We writers write because we love creating characters and stories, and because we want to share those stories with readers, who will hopefully fall in love with our characters like we did.  Most writers make very little money from their books, and are just thrilled to know that their work is giving pleasure to readers , most of whom they will never know.

Once in a while a reader takes the time to  let us know that they've enjoyed our book and that is absolutely what makes all the hard work, writing into the wee small hours, the revising, editing, and the long wait for publication, worth while! I received the most wonderful feedback from one such reader, who I met at the Festival of Romance in Leighton Buzzard in September. She said some really lovely things about the 'book of my heart' , my first published novel, STARQUEST.  I won't reproduce everything she said here, as it does contain some 'spoilers' if you've never read it, but here's just a small quote from her lovely message.

"I have just this minute finished! And what can I say? It was truly amazing!  I truly enjoyed it and can not wait to read more books by you "

'Thank you SO much, Becca, you don't know how much that means to me, and I really appreciate you taking the trouble to let me know.  Readers - if you enjoy a book and can spare a moment to let the author know, or even write a short review it will be truly appreciated and the encouragement it gives is beyond price!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Interview with Christy Effinger

I'm thrilled to have fellow wild Rose Press Author Christy Effinger on the Flight Deck today.  

Author Bio:

Christy Effinger’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various print and online publications. She lives near Indianapolis. Her website is

Make yourself at home Christy, and help yourself to something cool and sparkling from the replicating unit. Now first of all, tell us all about your new release:

Christy: Say Nothing of What You See is my first published book, a paranormal new adult novel from The Wild Rose Press. I wrote this book several years ago while my husband was taking night classes for his MBA. Writing this book got me into the habit of working at a consistent pace. 

HL:  That's a great habit to acquire. When did you first start writing?

Christy: At age seven I wrote and illustrated my first story, about a little old woman and her pet pig. That was when I knew I wanted to be an author, since my floating stick figures seemed to indicate I’d never be an artist.  

 HL:  LOL, So what have you learned about writing since you were published that surprised you the most?
Christy:  Publishing is a slow process. Although I wrote Say Nothing several years ago, it took me a long time to research and query publishers. After I signed my contract, there were revisions and final edits to make. I’ve learned to write and edit faster, but also to be patient with publishers and realistic in my expectations.   

 HL:  Yes,I can certainly relate to that.  It seemed to take for ever before my first book was published! Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

Christy: I’m fortunate to have a supportive husband who knows that I need time and space to write. My writer friends are the people who understand the highs and lows of this crazy, unpredictable career. I’ve learned so much from veteran writers. The most recent piece of advice was this: when your book is published, you have to let it go. You can no longer protect your story once it’s out in the world.  

HL: That is so very true, Christy. Is there any advice, as a new writer, that you were either given, or wish you had been given?

 Christy: Write faster. That’s what I would tell myself if I could go back in time. Life is complicated. Things get in the way, and they always will. Work hard, work fast.

HL:  That's great advice.  Finally, just for fun, if you were an animal, which one do you think you would be, and why?

Christy: A koala, because right now I always seem to have my baby daughter clinging to me.
Sometimes I have to type with one hand. If you see a typo in this interview, that’s probably why.

HL: Aw. how cute!  Thank you so much for taking time to be with us today Christy.  Before you catch the shuttle back to Earth, let's find out a bit more about your book.


When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper

loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.

Chloe plans to train as a medium but it's Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.

Then one winter's day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother's dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil's deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost...betrayal.

“You are absolutely stunning, Mira.”

I stole another glance in the mirror. The material was a rich, shimmery gold that fell from my shoulders in folds of liquid light. It looked like something a Greek goddess might wear. Oh, how I wished the girls from Amberville High School could see me in this dress!

“When you came here,” said Dr. Simon, “I had a vision of you like this. I looked at the girl before me, but I saw the woman you are now.”

“Thank you,” I murmured, gesturing toward the piles of clothes on my bed. “You’ve been so generous. I know you’ve spent a good deal of money on me—”

“Money means nothing,” he interrupted abruptly. “I have more than I could ever spend, more than I know what to do with. Don’t consider the cost.”

His tone was brusque, and I wondered if I had offended him.

But the next moment Dr. Simon smiled. “I think of you as my charity case. You were like a doll thrown out in the garbage. I simply rescued you from the trash, cleaned you up, and dressed you in something decent. But the beauty was present all along.” He touched my cheek. “Here.” Then he touched my forehead. “Here.” Then he touched my chest. “And here.”

I knew he was referring to my heart, but even so, his hand on my chest made my face warm with discomfort.

“You blush so easily,” he laughed. “You’ll never be able hide anything, Mira, with such a transparent face.”

“That’s all right,” I said, taking a small step back. “I don’t have anything to hide.”

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press:


Author Links:


Monday, 1 December 2014

Slip -Book Blitz and Giveaway

slip banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Slip (Slip #1) and Grip (Slip #2) by David Estes. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 1 till 5 December, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

Slip coverSlip (Slip #1)
By David Estes

Genre: Dystopia
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 1 December, 2014

Someone must die before another can be born...

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

You can find Slip on Goodreads

You can buy Slip here:
- Amazon

Grip coverGrip (Slip #2)
By David Estes

Genre: Dystopia
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 1 December, 2014

In a tumultuous world of population control, one illegal child has slipped through the cracks. Now, as a teenager, Benson Kelly has escaped certain deaths at the hands of the Department of Population Control, only to find himself the symbol of a rebellion, something he never intended.

While trying to survive one day at a time, Benson seeks to unravel the tangled knot of secrets left behind when his father died, the key to which has something to do with his mother, Janice Kelly, recently escaped from the insane asylum.

As the rebel group known as the Lifers continue to use brute force to send a message to the government, Benson's twin, Harrison Kelly, seeks to exploit a loophole that could be the key to freedom for his brother. All that's required is a simple act of murder.

Meanwhile, Population Control's attack dog, a sadistic cyborg known as The Destroyer, closes in on Benson and his family. His directive: Kill them all.

Faith, family and love will be pushed to the limits in the GRIPping sequel to Slip.

You can find Grip on Goodreads

You can buy Grip here:
- Amazon

Author Photo - David EstesAbout the Author:
Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

Join 2,400+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes' official fan group at:

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

You can find and contact David here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Slip. These are the prizes you can win:
- Winners choice of book to the value of $15.00 U.S. from The Book Depository
- A signed copy of SLIP plus bonus swag- U.S. entrants only
- A signed copy of BREW plus bonus swag- U.S. entrants only
- 3 ebook packs with three David Estes ebooks of your choice
- 4 signed packs of bookmarks

You can enter the blitz wide giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 27 November 2014

An Interview with Echo Shea author of 'Light A Candle For The Beast'

It's a real pleasure to be able to welcome Echo Shea to the Flight Deck once more. Congratulations on your new release, Echo. What a stunning cover! Help yourself to something sparkling while you ponder on this question, if you would - Tell us, what is your personal definition of success?

Echo: Writing a good story. To know that I wrote the best story I could at the time, edited, revised and gave my best. If I know in my heart I did that, then I feel successful.

HL   When did you start writing?

Answer: When I was eight, I learned that writing felt special to me. It wasn't until I was twelve that I knew I wanted to be an author and I haven't looked back since.

HL   What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Echo: Answer: For the most part my characters lead the plot. Their actions affect what comes next in the story.

HL: We're kindred spirits!  My stories are always character led too, In fact they sometimes narrate the plot to me! LOL   Is there any advice, as a new writer, that you were either given, or wish you had been given?

Echo : I've read a lot of books and blogs but only one stands out to me at the moment. My favorite advice didn't even apply to writing. It was a magazine doing an intereview with an actress, and I don't remember the question, but I remember her answer: "I don't want to be a great actress, I want to be a good one."

I don't write with hopes for movie deals or because I'm convinced it'll be on the bestseller list. I do it because I love writing and it makes me feel myself. It gives me something that nothing else could, and to share it with a reader and have them enjoy it--this makes me happy, this is what I aspire to, this is what I love. I don't have to be a great writer, I just want very badly to always be a good one.
It's the best advice, because when you can admit you love writing this much, it sets you free--free to do the work you need to make your craft better, free to be rejected or accepted because at the end of the day you get to go back to doing the only thing that feels worth doing, the thing you most love. Only others and fate can say you're a great writer, but your persistence and hardwork? That makes you a good one.

HL Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

Echo:  I have a wonderful writers' group that cheers me on when I do well and commiserates when I have set backs, and I get the chance to do so in turn and that makes me feel good. I also have a wonderful family and beta readers/crit partners that make me better than I could ever be alone. My beta readers/crit partners are second to none--I respect their writing and their notes and consider myself lucky to have them in my life.

HL: What is your latest release and what was your favourite part of writing this book/series?

ECHO: My two most recent releases are a short story released by Spooktacular Seductions called If This Be Madness" which came out October 31st, and a stand alone short story called Light a Candle for the Beast which was released yesterday, November 26th. An earlier release though is free and is  called Manor of Sweet Souls: Gladys Celebrates. My favorite part about this? I fell in love with the character. I had so much fun and loved writing it so much that I didn't want to let it go. And to be honest I haven't. With any luck, you'll be seeing a lot more of Gladys. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

Oh, I love her already!  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog today, and I wish you much success with this, and all your books!

Light a Candle for the Beast by Echo Shea

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Keywords: Romance, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Fairy Tale, Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: November 26, 2014

If you’ve ever been caught in a riptide, pulled down into the water, then you know me. Or, more accurately, what I’m like when I’m angry.

Delia was beautiful, smart, and kind. He wasn’t. He said he loved her, but he didn’t know what love was. He was manipulative and cruel—more than a thief. A beast.

All she wanted was a rose… 

These are the words on my sister’s grave. Her sadness, her obsession, forever a reminder I didn’t--couldn’t save her.

I’m not vindictive or cruel. I’m simply as the river--my memory is winding and my reach is long. I watched him steal her beauty, her essence. Watched him become a beast. He thought he'd get away with it, thought he'd go free.

I lay a rose upon my sister's grave.

Light a candle for the beast.

Roane Publishing
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About Echo Shea
Echo Shea is an Urban Fantasy writer. Known for fast-paced and sometimes chilling prose, she hunkers down at her desk with characters that not only enchant, but excite her. There’s something so freeing about writing beyond what seems possible.

Who says there’s not something more hiding in these Maryland woods?

Book Blitz & tour-wide giveaway: ecopy of Light a Candle for the Beast and a $10 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing's marketing department.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

An Amish Christmas Quilt - Blog tour and Review


An Amish Christmas Quilt
by Charlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand



A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant

Seth Brenneman didn’t expect his holiday would include rescuing pregnant young Mary Kaffman and her two children…or having unexpected feelings for the still-grieving widow. But when they must play the leads in an impromptu live Nativity pageant to help his Amish community, will their roles reveal their hearts—and work a miracle for a lifetime?

A Perfect Amish Christmas

Anna and Felty Helmuth’s grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico. But Anna is quite sure he’d rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing—falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she’s having a party. There’s just one complication—Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas—and true love-will change her mind, and her future …


A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant

“Are we ready? I think our Nativity’s going to be a huge success, with such a heavenly little angel and a regal king,” Rebecca said as she grinned at each of the kids. “And how’s our main attraction?”

Emmanuel, cradled in Mary’s arms, wiggled when Rebecca smiled down at him.

“He’s been fed and changed, so he’s ready,” Mary replied. She smiled at the little parade walking up the Hooleys’ lane. “And here come our shepherds and the other wise men and angels. Everybody looks really gut, Rebecca. We couldn’t have done this without your help.”

As Rebecca murmured something in reply, Mary lost track of it. A tall, broad-shouldered man in a flowing brick-red tunic was striding up the lane toward her, and while she couldn’t see his eyes, she sensed Seth was looking right at her . . . just as she was gazing at him. Thank you for this night, Lord, as we celebrate the birth of Your son and the beginning of our new life in Willow Ridge, Mary prayed quickly. Help me be your faithful handmaiden, as the Virgin Mary was so long ago.

“Let’s hope this works the way I envisioned it,” Rebecca said as other folks began to gather from around town.

Mary turned just in time to see a star-shaped balloon rise into the air, on a long ribbon tied to the light post—and when Rebecca turned on the second lantern, which was aimed skyward, the star glowed and sparkled. Miriam, Ben, Bishop Tom, and the Zook family all let out a delighted oh!

“Folks will be able to see that from quite a ways off!” Tom said. His face shone with boyish wonder as he gazed raptly at the shimmering star above them.


Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and the
Forever After in Apple Lake series, set in two Amish communities in beautiful Wisconsin. She has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth, the two scheming Amish grandparents who try to help their grandchildren find suitable mates in Huckleberry Hill. Who would ever suspect two elderly Amish folks of mischief?

Jennifer has a degree in mathematics, which comes in handy when one of her six children needs help with algebra. After twenty-five years of being a chauffeur, cook, maid, and nurse, she embarked on a writing career. Jennifer is a member of Romance Writers of America and is represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and two adorable grandsons, whom she spoils rotten.

You can find out more about Jennifer and her books by going to her website: or visiting her Facebook page: Jennifer Beckstrand Fans.
Twitter: @JenniferBeckst1

Kelly Long

Kelly Long was born and raised in North Central Pennsylvania. There was an Amish hitching post at the small grocery store in her town. She loves to write Amish romance and is the author of novel, Sarah's Garden, the novella Amish Christmas Expanded Edition with some other great Amish authors, Amish Love with Beth Wiseman and Kathy Fuller, and Lilly's Wedding Quilt--the sequel to Sarah's Garden. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.



Charlotte Hubbard

Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while I was still a school librarian—I sold my first story to True Story magazine. This launched me into writing about seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and I’ve been a slave to my overactive imagination ever since. My stories invariably take on a life of their own, different from the way I’ve proposed them: I love it when unforeseen characters and plot twists come along, because they keep me guessing right along with my readers!

I love touring historic homes, trying new recipes, crocheting, and playing with my border collie Ramona—although it’s humbling, having a dog smarter than I am! I’m an ordained Presbyterian deacon, and I devote a lot of time to singing in my church choir and to practicing/performing with our percussion ensemble. I’m celebrating more than thirty-five years with my husband, who—bless him—has never once suggested I get a real job!

Buy Links:

Kensington Books:
The Book Depository:

Barnes & Noble:





Kensington Books:




The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.


I had a wonderful holiday in Pennsylvania and Ohio last year, and stayed in Amish country. I was fascinated by the glimpses of Amish life I saw, harking back to earlier, gentler times, with a voluntary lack of modern tools technology and convenience,  and their dedication to God. These three stories reflect these ideals and also subtly bring across the true message of Christmas.

I thought each of the three stories in turn was my 'favourite' but in truth, by the time I'd finished the book I realised the three were so different, although linked together by the common theme of a 'Christmas Quilt' that it was quite impossible for me to choose between them. They each bring something special and delightful to the theme,each quilt serving its own unique purpose in the plot, and each story is a lovely illustration of the true meaning of Christmas.

The first story, 'A Willow Ridge Pageant',by Charlotte Hubbard, is rich in symbolism and the story begins with the main character, Mary, a young, pregnant widow, nearing the final stages of labour and stranded in a buggy in the snow with her two stepchildren.The relationship between Mary and her stepchildren is really touching, as are the feelings Seth has for Mary and her new baby, whose arrival into the world he helps bring about,and a gentle romance between  Mary, and Seth the carpenter gradually develops throughout the tale. The climax, featuring a Christmas pageant of the Nativity story, brings about a reconciliation, and hope for a new future.

'A Christmas On Ice Mountain' by Kelly Long has a haunting 'Romeo and Juliet' quality. Two former best friends, John  and Luke, have turned into lifelong rivals, and not spoken for years, although none of their family or friends  really know what their quarrel was about. However, their children, Laurel and Matthew fall in love despite their fathers' enmity, and conduct their romance in secret, desperate to marry, but unsure how to gain permission to do so. The matter is resolved in a way neither of them could have anticipated, and there is a final twist when the reason for the two men's quarrel is discovered and they realise that twenty five years of bitterness could have been avoided. Christmas is a time for forgiveness and healing.

The third story ' A Perfect Christmas' by Jennifer Beckstrand, features  grandparents Anna and Felty Helmuths. Anna is determined to bring her grandson, Gideon and Dottie Schrock togther in what she sees to be the perfect match. However, all Dottie cares about is organising the perfect Christmas for her mother, who is recuperating from cancer. She carefully plans for the Christmas celebrations and organises a party, to which Gideon is not invited. When all her carefully laid plans go awry, Dottie comes to realise that a perfect Christmas is not about perfectly folded napkins, beautifully iced cream horns, or even the lovely Christmas quilt for her mother that she has been so painstakingly working on, but is about the Christchild, family - and love;

This anthology of three delightful and heartwarming stories is perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit and reminding us of the Holy First Christmas, and would make an ideal Christmas gift.

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