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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Interview with Katherine P. Stillerman!!

I'm super excited to have Katherine P. Stillerman here to day! Read on for our interview and to find out more about her book In the Fullness of Time: One Woman's Story of Growth and Empowerment


Holly: Hi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself? :)

Katherine: I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grow up, after thirty fruitful years as a public school educator in North Carolina, when I retired to take up writing as a second career. When I’m not writing, I’m reading or relaxing with my husband Bill in our empty but cozy nest in Winston-Salem, or spending time with one of our nine delightful grandchildren, who keep me young and on my toes. I volunteer weekly at an agency that provides community members in crisis with food, medication, and assistance with rent and utilities. I love the Wake Forest Deacons and the Carolina Panthers and am still in mourning over the end of Downton Abbey.


Holly: Do you write an outline before starting a book or just write?

Katherine: I’m somewhere between a “pantser” and a “planner” when it comes to my writing process. I mostly let the characters lead me through the story, but when I get an idea of where they are going, I do some outlining of scenes. Last year I participated in National Novel Writing Month (Na-No-Wri-Mo), in which I took on the challenge of writing 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30.

I knew it would be impossible to meet that goal without doing some organizing up front. So, I spent the month of October generating my story idea, sketching the characters, and roughly outlining the scenes. That worked really well and I’ll probably do it again this year. When I’m writing to a deadline, I don’t have much choice but to do some type of outlining. When time doesn’t matter, which was the case with my first novel, I have the luxury of letting the characters lead me. The latter approach probably makes for more unique and effective characterization; the former ensures a tighter plot and story line, as well as a method for accelerating the pace of the writing.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

Katherine: Definitely the characters. The main character in Hattie’s Place and its sequel In the Fullness of Time, is loosely based on my grandmother, who graduated from Greenville Female College in South Carolina in 1906, got a teaching job in a neighboring community, and ended up marrying the man in whose home she was boarding, after his wife tragically died and left four young sons behind.

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Katherine: Yes, it’s the 50,000-word draft I finished during Na-No-Wri-Mo. The working title is Mountain Brook Memories: 1961-1963. It’s about a preacher's kid whose family moves to Birmingham, Alabama, into the affluent and highly segregated neighborhood of Mountain Brook. The main character, Harriet Elizabeth Oechsner, the granddaughter of the protagonist in my first two novels, is faced with the challenge of being an outsider and of finding her place in a society steeped in tradition and staunchly resistant to change. The story is played out against the backdrop of the Cold War and the American Civil Rights movement. My goal is to publish the novel at the end of the year or early in 2018.

This book would be the third in the series of the Hattie novels, only it skips a generation. Ultimately, I envision filling in the gap with one or maybe two more novels, taking Hattie through the Great Depression and World II, and then following her into her later life, in the 1970’s when she develops into a quirky and impulsive older adult, who learns to drive at 76, and is plagued with the onset of dementia.

Holly: Can you tell us about your challenges of getting your first book published?

Katherine: I decided early on to go the route of independent publishing and when I discovered Amazon’s CreateSpace.com, I never considered anything else. I’m sure there are plenty of other excellent e-publishers, but this method has worked for me for numerous reasons that include: complete control over my manuscript, a range of affordable services from editing to cover design to interior design to formatting for Kindle, no upfront costs, 75% royalty, and professional end product.

My first book, Retirement: A Journey not a Destination, is a personal memoir that I intended to publish only for myself and a small circle of family and friends. CreateSpace.Com provided the instructions and tools that enabled me to do everything on my own and to publish the book for under $100.

When I began writing fiction with the idea of marketing to a larger audience, I turned to CreateSpace.com to design a professional cover, to ensure that the interior was formatted correctly, and to format the text for Kindle. I was pleased with the outcome and felt the additional expense was well justified.

Holly: I know authors get asked this a lot but do you have any advice that you would give to aspiring writers?

Katherine: Yes. If you truly aspire to be an author, then write consistently and read everything you can get your hands on. Consistent could mean daily or periodically, in large chunks of time—whatever works for the individual, but the key is to write a lot.

Holly: What about marketing your books?

Katherine: That’s the real challenge for me as an author, and I must admit that it’s been a trial and error process and the part I least enjoy. But I’m learning that all of the components of the writing process are critical: composing, editing, revising, publishing, and marketing. I’m also beginning to realize that the marketing phase of the cycle is the part that separates people who are content to be writers from people who want to be authors as well. I’m so much more comfortable being a writer and tend to want to prolong the composing and editing phases.

Marketing takes me out of my comfort zone and thrusts me into the land of the neophyte, who is basically learning by doing. So far, I’ve tried the following strategies:
Created a website http://www.FortheLoveofWriting.net, where my books are featured and I post regularly about various topics of interest to writers and readers
Become active on social media—Twitter and Facebook
Created an author dashboard (free) on Goodreads.com and OnlineBookClub.org
Created a small marketing budget and purchased the following:
Professional reviews from SelfPublishingReview.com and OnlineBookClub.org.
Promotional packages from Wordslinger.com and SelfPublishingReview.com
Ads on Goodreads.com and Amazon
Mailed printed copies of In the Fullness of Time to local libraries, friends, and key readers.
Bookmarks from UPrinting.com for promoting the book.
Accepted an engagement for April 24 to share my writing experiences with “The Brotherhood of the Biscuit,” a church group that meets for fellowship at St. John’s Baptist Church in Charlotte.
It’s too soon to report on the success of the paid strategies, since In the Fullness of Time has been published less than three weeks and some are still in process. However, I am committed to full transparency in this learning-by-doing journey, and I’ll be posting all of the results—the good, the bad, and the ugly—on my website.

Random Quickies



Holly: Coke or Pepsi?

Katherine: I Love 8 oz. Cokes in glass bottles, plain Hershey Bars, dogs, 

Holly: Favorite Color? 

Katherine: Blue

Holly: Favorite Book? 

Katherine: Water for Elephants

Holly: Favorite Movie? 

Katherine: Four Weddings and a Funeral. 

Holly: Paperback or eReader? 

Katherine: I’ve been using an e-reader for about five years because I can store all my books and have them at my fingertips. Besides, my bookshelves are completely full and there’s no more room.

Holly: Thank you so much for being here with us Katherine and letting us know a little about you! Below you will find more information about Katherine and her book  In the Fullness of Time: One Woman's Story of Growth and Empowerment.



Title: In the Fullness of Time: One Woman's Story of Growth and Empowerment
Author: Katherine P. Stillerman
Pages: 226
Purchase: Amazon

In this sequel to Hattie’s Place, the year is 1913. Hattie Robinson is married to the widowed Charles Barton and has left her teaching position at Calhoun School to raise Charles’s sons and manage the Barton estate. Now she must reconcile her role as mother and wife with her work for woman’s suffrage, a cause that ignited her passion when attending the Woman’s Suffrage Procession in Washington, on the eve of Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration. 

As a young bride, twenty-three years her husband’s junior, Hattie struggles for acceptance in the community and Barton family. And then, Will Kendrick, her first love, appears, causing old feelings to resurface. When Julia Martin, the widow of Charles’s best friend Percy, reaches out to Charles for legal advice in settling her husband’s estate, Hattie discovers clues casting doubt on Charles’s fidelity, and begins to question her marriage. 

As Hattie throws herself into her work to gain the vote for women, South Carolina’s reactionary politicians Ben Tillman and “Cotton Ed” Smith thwart suffrage efforts in the state at every turn. Even the progressive president Wilson drags his feet, invoking states rights as the only pathway to an amendment. Equally discouraging is the anti-suffragist sentiment among those of Hattie’s own gender. 

When Hattie’s sister-in-law Alice learns to drive and purchases a 1916 Saxon touring car, Hattie agrees to go on a road trip to join the peaceful protests in Washington on the eve of President Wilson’s second inauguration. Alice also invites Julia Martin to go along, and to Hattie’s chagrin, Julia is sitting in the passenger seat when the two arrive from Columbia to pick her up. The journey brings new insight and fresh perspective, enabling Hattie to resolve misunderstandings with Charles and convincing her to continue her work for suffrage, with her husband’s blessings. 

But the road Hattie has chosen becomes even more fraught with disappointing setbacks and delays. In 1917, the US declares war on Germany and the president mobilizes the country in the fight for freedom in Europe, ignoring the oppression of the rights of women at home. Public opinion shifts, casting the women’s movement as unpatriotic and subversive. 

Hattie does her part for the war and agonizes when Charles Jr. and the boys from Calhoun are drafted and sent to the front. She continues to support the suffrage cause, but must cancel a second road trip due to gas rationing. 

When the war ends, she travels with Alice and Julia and Charles Jr.’s fiancée Pauline, to Washington to join the peaceful protests at the White House, organized by Alice Paul and the Woman’s Party. The women become inspired to drive on to New York to join the demonstration against president Wilson, who is speaking at the New York Opera House on the eve of his return to the Paris peace negotiations. The peaceful demonstration turns violent when the police and soldiers, who have flooded the ports on their return from war, begin shoving the suffragists and breaking and burning their banners. 

Amidst the uproar, Pauline becomes convinced that she has spotted Charles Jr. in the crowd and is determined to go and look for him. Hattie persuades her that they must first go to police headquarters to find Alice and Julia, who have been arrested and detained there. 

The Susan B. Anthony Amendment finally passes the Senate in 1919. But Hattie and the South Carolina suffragists endure their greatest disappointment yet when the South Carolina legislature refuses to ratify the amendment by an overwhelming majority. They must now depend on the men of other states to ensure their enfranchisement.


Katherine P. Stillerman is a retired educator who turned to writing as a second career. She is author of Retirement: A Journey not a Destination, published in 2013, and Hattie’s Place, published in 2015. 

Stillerman graduated Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, with a BA in history. She also earned an MA in intermediate education from Campbell University in Buies’ Creek, North Carolina and an EdD in educational leadership from UNC-Greensboro. 

Stillerman has made her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the last thirty-two years. She and her husband Bill have four grown sons and nine grandchildren. 

For more information about In the Fullness of Time, please visit www.http//fortheloveofwriting.net or contact Katherine P. Stillerman at kstillerman@triad.rr.com.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Bearly in Control (Shifters Undercover #1) by Milly Taiden

Title: Bearly in Control
Series: Shifters Undercover #1
Author: Milly Taiden
Genre: Paranormal, romance, erotica, 
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Purchase: Amazon 
Book Description: 
For vet and animal whisperer Charli Avers, talking to bears is all in a day’s work. But when she finds a man—a very sexy, veryalpha man—where a bear ought to be, the wild comes close to home. Charli is drawn to this mysterious stranger. She wants to help him piece together the past he can’t remember—even if that means shedding her human misgivings and embracing her more carnal desires.
After shifting from bear to man, Barry believes he’s finally found his mate. Now he just needs to find himself. He doesn’t know much about the animal within him, but his human heart aches for Charli. She ignites his instincts to protect her from all danger—including their electric attraction.
The stakes climb as Charli investigates the mystery behind Barry’s memory loss and how it may relate to strange sightings and thefts in this little corner of Oregon. Without answers, she may lose Barry—and herself—to the wild side forever.

First off, where has author Milly Taiden been my whole life!? My to be read pile, of course, but when I seen that her novel Bearly in Control was only $1.99 there was no way I could pass it up. I purchased it and started right away.

Bearly in Control is a wonderful blend of mystery, humor and steamy sex that left me wanting more!

In it we meet vet and animal whisperer Charli Avers and a shifter with no memory of who he is. He is quickly dubbed “Barry” and off the mystery goes! Who is he? How does he not remember anything, especially being able to shift into a huge bear?!  One thing he does know is that he wants Charli and from the smell of her she the attraction is mutual.

While they are trying to figure out Barry’s past we learn that Charli is part of a special unit there to help police the shifters and run interference between them and the human population.

I loved the other members of the team. It was constant humor between them and I cannot wait for their books. We kind of have two mysteries going on as they work on their first case as a unit but it is quickly obvious that Barry and their current case have something to do with each other.

Author Milly Taiden is hilarious! The constant back and forth between Devin and “Sinatra”, the corny but wonderful back and forth between Barry and Charli, it was all wonderful and seamless.

We are left with a lot of questions and only some of our mystery solved but a good ending that leave you wanting the next book. I cannot wait to get my hands on her upcoming novel in the Shifters Undercover series, Fur Fox's Sake coming out April 25th!

5 Moons!
In the second novel from bestselling author Milly Taiden’s Shifters Undercover series, two shifters must work together to unravel a gripping mystery while fighting their fierce passion…Marika Paters has an energy coursing through her that others can’t explain. Maybe it’s the curious fox that lies within that gives Marika joy in her work as a geneticist for the only forensic laboratory for animals. But while her research unravels mysteries—like startling new data that threatens to dismantle everything science knows about shifters—Marika has always felt incomplete, just another lonely shifter looking for her mate.
Following a family tragedy, Fellowship Agent Devin Sonder believes he will never find love. But the panther inside knows his mate is out there somewhere—and he can’t give up. When the bodies of a senator and a mysterious dead wolf lead Devin to kind, playful Marika, he feels a powerful, magnetic attraction…even though their personalities clash.
With more dead wolves found, Marika makes a revolutionary discovery about the origin of the beasts. Together with Devin, she races to find out who could be creating shifters—and why. But can the fierce alpha panther and the fiery, driven fox put their carnal desire aside to hunt down the mastermind before more shifters die?
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Blitz & Giveaway: Digging in the Stars by Katherine Blakeney


Digging in the Stars 
Katherine Blakeney 
Published by: Blaze Publishing 
Publication date: March 28th 2017 
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.

Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.

Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.



“Please remain seated as we begin our descent into Thror. Welcome, and enjoy your stay.”
The time for action was at hand, and she still didn’t feel ready. The flight felt much shorter than she’d expected.
The girls exchanged bewildered looks across the aisles. Stunned silence. They couldn’t have missed that final announcement. Avoiding Professor P’s gaze, Carter still felt the look of shock the professor shot across the cabin. Once, Carter had seen herself arriving on Thror as a great explorer. Instead, she would be remembered as a half-baked deceiver and kidnapper. The Throrians would have called her a scent-changer.
* * *
Carter had been so close to her goal. She saw that crack with her own eyes, a portal into a lost ancient world, chambers filed with carvings, images that had never been recorded or reproduced. The greatest discovery of this or any other century, waiting less than twenty feet away. Waiting for her. And Conrad had been there first. The moment she thought it, she felt guilty. She was allowing herself to get carried away by archaeological fervor, mentally competing with Conrad, when he might have paid a terrible price for his discovery.


I am an author and independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a BFA in Stop Motion Animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). My thesis focuses on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi adventure called Digging in the Stars, is forthcoming with Blaze Publishing on March 28, 2017.

Raised by an Egyptologist mother, I grew up among museums and excavation sites, where I developed an unhealthy fascination with ancient art and mythology. I divide my time between bringing 12”-tall people to life in my studio in Edinburgh, excavating ancient tombs in the Egyptian desert, and researching Gothic literary monsters in silent film. I have worked for more than 10 years as photographer and videographer for the South Asasif Conservation Project, an archaeological expedition in Egypt and I have published numerous articles on film and archaeology.

I write, direct, design, and animate short films and commissioned projects in my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and have been employed as an animator, screenwriter, modelmaker and art director for studios in Edinburgh, South Korea and Qatar. I have produced commissioned projects for IdeasTap in London, the Arts Trust Scotland and the British Library. My shorts have won competitions and screened at various international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2015, my short film The Burglar With the Yellow Hand was nominated for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research in Film Award.

You can find out more about all aspects of my work on my website, http://yorwickcastle.com
My new blog http://KatherineBlakeneyStardigger.blogspot.com is all about Digging in the Stars and my references and inspirations as a writer.








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Monday, March 27, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Stuff of Legend by Greta Van Der Rol

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They say opposites attract -if they can manage to stay alive

Book Cover
THE STUFF OF LEGEND 
GRETA VAN DER ROL 
Series: Ptorix Empire # 5 
Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Space Opera 
Publisher: Pronoun 
Publication Date: January 25, 2017
When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.
Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he’s on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it’s said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.
Also available for review on NetGalley. Click here.


Other Books by the Author

Don't miss the other books in the Ptorix Empire series by Greta van der Rol.
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The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy
Series: Ptorix Empire # 1
Inter-species war looms. In a race against time, ex-admiral Saahren must convince Allysha to set aside her conflicted emotions about him to help him prevent the coming conflagration. And perhaps while he’s doing that, he’ll win back the only woman he’s ever loved.
Available FREE just about everywhere.
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Contest runs from March 27 - 29, 2017.
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Hi, I’m Greta van der Rol. I'm a writer, photographer, animal lover, and space nut. Most of my books are space opera with a dollop of romance - but I've written two paranormal novels featuring weretigers, and one historical fiction.
I live with my husband not far from the beach in Queensland, Australia. When I’m not writing I take photographs of nature and animals, and now and then I do some cooking.
Connect with Greta van der Rol on social media:

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Release Blitz & Giveaway: THE MORTAL FALLS by Anna Durand

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From Award-Winning, Bestselling Author
Anna Durand
A spunky girl. A sexy sylph.
The fate of two worlds rests in their hands.
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THE MORTAL FALLS 
Author: ANNA DURAND
Series: Undercover Elementals, Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Jacobsville Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2017
A pragmatic human thrown into a world of magic...
Lindsey Porter fled from her traumatic past, determined to lay low, but now someone has framed her for murder. The quest for answers leads her into a parallel realm where magic reigns, and with a hostile sheriff and a shapeshifting assassin on her trail, she must place her life in the hands of a seductive, supernatural man who tempts her like no one else.
An immortal sylph enslaved by magic...
Nevan is trapped by a desperate bargain struck a century earlier, yet the beautiful, spirited Lindsey has enticed him to abandon his magically enforced duty. As forbidden passion flares between them, they'll risk everything to uncover the truth and find what they both need the most—redemption.
When two worlds collide...
The fates of the elemental and mortal realms depend on the star-crossed lovers. As dark secrets from their pasts threaten to shatter the fragile trust between Lindsey and Nevan, a shocking revelation holds the power to deliver salvation or destruction.

Purchase Links

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Giveaway Graphic
Contest runs from March 24 - 26, 2017.
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Anna Durand is an award-winning, bestselling author of sizzling romances, including the Hot Scots series. She loves writing about spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Making use of her master's in library science, she owns a cataloging services company that caters to indie authors and publishers. In her free time, you'll find her binge-listening to audiobooks, playing with puppies, or crafting jewelry

Official website: https://annadurand.com/
Connect with Anna Durand on social media:
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