Author Spotlights/Interviews

Evening Shadow-Sheila Kell

Evening Shadows Release Banner

Author: Sheila Kell

Title: Evening Shadows

Series: Agents of H I S, book 1

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Cover Designer: RMGraphX

 Available now! 

Amazon: US | UK | AU

Blurb

When deception leads to vengeance, it’s only your heart you can trust.

From Romantic Suspense BEST-SELLING and AWARD-WINNING Author • When his life depends on the woman who holds secrets, can he trust their love will be enough for her to seek the truth? In Sheila Kell’s thrilling novel of deception and second chances, two operatives embark on a dangerous journey that will test them as agents, friends, and lovers.

Time and distance hasn’t impacted Ken “Boss” Patrick’s love for Samantha “Sugar” Milton. When faced with the chance to move them from friends to lovers, forces out of his control make the stakes impossibly high. His mission to win her heart becomes a frantic task to save both of their lives.

To survive a new injury and being captured by their target, Ken must rely on the woman he loves but no longer trusts. With Sugar’s difficulty to separate truth from deception, Ken’s only chance is to convince the agent who holds his heart that the forces working against them are the true enemy.

EVENING SHADOWS is the first book in the Agents of H I S romantic suspense series. Agents of H I S is a spin-off series of the original award-winning H I S series. Just like in the H I S series, each Agents of H I S novel is a standalone novel.

BuyLinks

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2NZUn7b 

Amazon UK:  https://amzn.to/2XRBvfl 

Amazon AU:  https://amzn.to/30x2mKu

AuthorBio

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookbub | Newsletter

Sheila Kell writes about the romantic men who leave women’s hearts pounding with a happily ever after built on memorable, adrenaline-pumping stories. Or, (since her editor tries to cut down on her long-windedness) simply “Smokin’ Hot Romance & Intrigue.” Her debut novel, His Desire (HIS Series #1), launched as an Amazon #1 romantic suspense bestseller and Top 100 overall, later winning the Readers’ Favorite award for best romantic suspense novel.

As a Southern girl who has left behind her days with the United States Air Force and as a University Vice President, she can usually be found nestled in the Mississippi woods, where she lives with her cats and all the strays that magically find her front door. When she isn’t writing, you can find Sheila with her nose in a good book, dealing with the woodland critters who enjoy her back porch, or wishing she had a genie to do her bidding.

HTPromo_LOGO2

 

 

Advertisements
Blog

Rejection Thoughts

Rejection. It happens to us all. Sometimes, it’s by a stranger because not everyone is the man/woman of our dreams. More times than most (in my opinion), it’s someone you know. To me, that sucks the most.

I could tell you it gets better & to keep your chin up, but that’s bogus. Sometimes, you need to let yourself feel the rejection. Why, you might ask? Because otherwise we don’t grow. I’m mostly speaking of book submission rejection because there’s no way I’m touching the whole dating topic. At least not until I’ve had a glass of wine or two.

As a person who has two folders full of rejection emails, I’ve dealt with my fair share of the dreaded “thanks but no thanks” from publishers. Now, that’s one of the nicer ones. I won’t mention the ones that made me want to stab my desktop because of the rude comments (F ’em anyways).

Rejection never gets easier. At least, I don’t think it does. After five years, it hasn’t felt any bit better the more rejections I receive. I’m still holding out hope that I’ll finally snag that #1 spot on Amazon & the NY Times. It’s not happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.

Recently, I received a rejection email that sent me into a depression spiral. 2019 hasn’t been great publishing wise or personally for that matter, but I digress. The email basically said “your sales suck so we’re not publishing the last book in your series”. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but you get the picture. While, I’m a professional author, I’m also a person and I understand their decision was for their bottom line.

Maybe my pain was caused because they urged me to finish the book by a certain deadline then when I did as they instructed, they waited several months before telling me ‘no’. Maybe it was because my personal life affected the way I promoted my recent release and, therefore, sales were down for the book.

I’m not sure the exact perfect storm that occurred, but I do know it made me stop writing. As in, I had an October deadline but suddenly couldn’t write. The rejection stunted my words. Obviously, I’m partially to blame. The romance genre is very competitive. I haven’t picked up a pen since that email. I cried the entire day and throughout the week after reading it. I’ve only read it once, to be honest, because I’m working through the stages of grief and don’t want to backtrack.

In publishing, there are indie publishers, traditional publishers, and ones I like to say are a little of both. I’ve been published by indie and the combo publishers over the years. I’m not sure which is better/worse. What I can say is your sales have to be close to stellar. That’s very disconcerting from my standpoint because I’m a full-time employee and mother on top of managing two author careers. It’s an uphill struggle no matter which route you choose. (Just to clarify, I’m not looking for sympathy. Life’s tough, be tougher.)

For the first time since the most recent rejection, I actually feel like writing today. Accidentally left my notebook at home, so may have to wing it. My biggest problem with rejection–that I’m sure many of you also feel–is having faith in myself to keep going. I’m not a quitter. If I want something, I get it. The timeline isn’t always the best, but I work my ass off until it happens. One of these days, my name will be on the #1 lists (of paid books).

So, what do we do with rejection emails? (The answer is not shove them) We grow from them. Just like when you’re shut down after hitting on that hot guy/girl. You learn what you did or didn’t do and keep moving forward. I can’t explain how those three words help me more each day.

Keep Moving Forward. Even when no one believes in you. Even when your sales suck. Even when you get a shitty review. Even when your family/friends don’t support you. Even when you receive another rejection email. Even when you want to give up on writing because it’s so damn hard. Keep Moving Forward. We’ll get there, love…eventually.

~Tessa~

Author Spotlights/Interviews, Blog, Book News

Oceans Away Blog Tour

 
Author: Skye McNeil
Title: Oceans Away
Series: Atlas, book 2
Genre: Millionaire Romance
Release Date: July 13, 2019
Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art
 Add to TBR
 Available now! 
When the girl next door returns home as a millionaire to face the farmer who never lost hope, she’s caught between the man of her past and the man meant for her future.
Adopted as an infant, Ireland Leighton grew up in the heart of the Midwest. After inheriting millions from her biological parents, she is determined to help others any way she can. The only string is a business engagement with another millionaire. Ireland returns to Iowa years later to plan her brother’s tropical wedding. The festivities would be easier if her sexy ex-boyfriend stayed out of reach and her future wasn’t already planned.
Time suppressed his feelings for the girl next door, but Gideon Taggart isn’t about to let Ireland escape again. Farmer by day, veterinarian by choice, his second chance with his first love is far from easy. He soon discovers that no matter how much he loves Ireland, she’ll always choose her family over a future with him.
Oceans Away is book two in Skye McNeil’s stand-alone contemporary romance series, Atlas. Each book contains a millionaire to envy, snort-worthy comedy, and visits to many beautiful cities in the world. Yes, all of that, plus each novel ends with a fabulous HEA.


Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2H9jmOU 

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2JsQ4gI 

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2H9xlp0 

iBooks: https://apple.co/2ASXftM 

Nook: http://bit.ly/2TUNja3 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Syub4L

After they picked up the winch from the Taggart farm, the two returned to the plot of farmland. They didn’t exchange any words, a fact that perturbed Ireland more than she’d admit. He was never very talkative, but they could always keep a conversation going.
Guess some things do change.
“You’re sure about this?” he asked for the second time as they reached the stuck four-wheeler. The next set of events would be messy and wet. Doesn’t sound so bad with Gideon involved. She bit her tongue to deter any further thoughts down that rabbit hole.
Ireland snatched the hooded sweatshirt from the back seat and pulled it on. It smelled like Gideon, and she couldn’t help but inhale deeply, memories flooding her mind at the simple act.
Eventually the rain outside pulled her out of her Gideon stupor and she flipped the hood over her hair. “I may have millions in the bank, but rain won’t melt me.” When he didn’t budge, she added, “Move your ass, Taggart.”
“Okay, you asked for it.” He handed her the keys. “You hop on and I’ll hook it up to my truck.”
They rushed out of the cab’s safety. Mud instantly stuck to Ireland’s boots, but she trudged through until she reached the abandoned machine. Gideon made quick work of the winch and patted the hood.
“All right, when I give you the thumbs-up, floor it,” he hollered from the driver seat.
Ireland started the four-wheeler and waited for her cue. Ironically, she felt completely content, mud-caked and all. Whether it was with Gideon or simply being back in Iowa, she couldn’t pin it down to one thing. She’d stayed away too long. Especially when Gideon looks like a freaking lumberjack model. She tried to stop her line of thought before it got away from her. Fantasizing about him wouldn’t do her any good.
Gideon held up his thumb and she cranked her wrist backward. Mud splattered from the tires, slapping up and landing on her. She laughed at how horrible she must look.
The four-wheeler slowly wiggled free of the rut, a low groan emitting from the front end. Once it was on level ground, Gideon stopped and ran toward her.
“You good?”
Ireland wiped her hands on the front of the sweatshirt, though it didn’t help much since that was coated in mud too. “Hell yeah.” She grinned. “This reminds me of when we used to go mudding.”
Gideon pulled the ramps from the bed of the truck and lined them up on the ground. “Those were some good times.” She shivered at the steamy memories, and he paused as if he was also thinking of what they used to do after their adrenaline-pumped high. He coughed, then nodded to the newly rescued vehicle. “I’ll drive it up the ramp if you guide me.”
It didn’t take long to get the four-wheeler into the truck bed. Silently, they strapped it down and then jumped back into the truck. They worked well as a team. Something she’d taken for granted years ago.
“Thanks for your help.” He turned on the defroster and rubbed his hands together. “I like this look on you,” he said, surveying the muddy damage. “Less preppy millionaire heir, more country girl having a good time.”
Pushing back a bit of hair that strayed from her ponytail, Ireland eyed her clothes. “I look like I fell in a mud puddle and wrestled a pig.”
Gideon leaned over and wiped off a smudge on her face with his thumb. “I still say you’re beautiful.”
Ireland’s cheeks flushed and she laughed nervously. “Yeah, okay.”
“I’m serious, Ireland.” He tipped up her chin with his index finger. His starry blue eyes clashed with hers at the same time a clap of thunder resounded above them. “You are the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’ve never been outside the USA, Gideon. You can’t honestly think—”
Gideon’s lips covered hers, silencing the rest of her rambling. A million fireflies might as well have burned her stomach from the reaction her body demanded. The earthy scent of rain and dirt mingled together on his soft yet determined lips. Her eyes slid shut automatically, senses on high alert. She expected his beard to scratch her face, but it merely enhanced the possessive kiss.
Gideon drew back until a breath was the only thing between them. His heavy lids opened and his blue gaze glued her to the seat. “I don’t need to go anywhere to know how gorgeous you are.”
He traced her bottom lip with his thumb, and all Ireland wanted to do was dart her tongue out and taste him again. She was rapidly losing all self-control around him. If she had her way, they’d stay right there in the middle of the field and repeat that kiss until it stopped raining.
Atlas, book 1
Hearts Abroad

 

Skye McNeil began writing at the age of seventeen and has been lost in a love affair ever since. During the day, she moonlights as a paralegal at a law firm favouring criminal law.
Skye enjoys writing romantic comedies and cozy mysteries novels that leave readers wanting more and falling in love over and over. She writes contemporary and historical novels ranging from sweet and sassy to steamy and sultry.
Her constant writing companions are two cats and two dogs. When she’s not writing, Skye enjoys spending time with family, photography, volleyball, traveling, and curling up with a cup of coffee and reading.
Sign up for Skye’s newsletter HERE.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Submissions
Author Spotlights/Interviews, Blog

Oceans Away by Skye McNeil

 Add to TBR

 

Author: Skye McNeil

Title: Oceans Away

Series: Atlas, book 2

Genre: Millionaire Romance

Release Date: July 13, 2019

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art

 Available now! 

All links: books2read.com/oceans-away

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00018]

When the girl next door returns home as a millionaire to face the farmer who never lost hope, she’s caught between the man of her past and the man meant for her future.

Adopted as an infant, Ireland Leighton grew up in the heart of the Midwest. After inheriting millions from her biological parents, she is determined to help others any way she can. The only string is a business engagement with another millionaire. Ireland returns to Iowa years later to plan her brother’s tropical wedding. The festivities would be easier if her sexy ex-boyfriend stayed out of reach and her future wasn’t already planned.

Time suppressed his feelings for the girl next door, but Gideon Taggart isn’t about to let Ireland escape again. Farmer by day, veterinarian by choice, his second chance with his first love is far from easy. He soon discovers that no matter how much he loves Ireland, she’ll always choose her family over a future with him.

Oceans Away is book two in Skye McNeil’s stand-alone contemporary romance series, Atlas. Each book contains a millionaire to envy, snort-worthy comedy, and visits to many beautiful cities in the world. Yes, all of that, plus each novel ends with a fabulous HEA.

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LuAGTR 

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2H9jmOU 

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2JsQ4gI 

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2H9xlp0 

iBooks: https://apple.co/2ASXftM 

Nook: http://bit.ly/2TUNja3 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Syub4L

OA AN

 

Atlas, book 1

Hearts Abroad

Hearts Abroad

books2read.com/hearts-abroad

 

 

SkyeMcNeil

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Instagram

 

 

Sign up for Skye’s newsletter HERE.

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlights/Interviews, Book News

Credence Cover Reveal & Pre-order: Skye McNeil

If you didn’t already know, I write under two pen names. One Tessa Robertson, the other, Skye McNeil. Every now & again, I’ll share some Skye material that I think my readers will enjoy. Here’s the final installment to my Italian Mafia Romance set right in my hometown. Romantic Suspense lovers, this one is for you.

 Submissions

Title: Credence

Author: Skye McNeil

Series: The Mobster Files, book 3

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: November 23, 2019

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Cover Designer: BookSmith Design

Now available for preorder!

books2read.com/credence

Goodreads

Credence-Cover

Alliances are tested in the final installment in Cameron and Joci’s love story when mobsters and lawyers collide.

Cameron Shearer’s life as a police officer is put on hold when the Del Rossi mob demands restitution. One last job with the mob then he’s done for good. Too bad for him his ex-girlfriend—and sister of his mafia boss—isn’t on the same page. Thrown into a life of heists, arrests, and his past, Cameron must walk the line of good and evil.

When Cameron is forced back to his mobster ways, Joci must face a potential future without him. Juggling two law firms, a family, and the mob is harder than she could’ve prepared for. Just when she thinks life falls into place, something disrupts their future.

Will history repeat itself or will their love find credence?
Full Cover

Now available for preorder!

books2read.com/credence

 

* * * * *

The Mobster Files Series

Appointed by Fate

(book 1)

Print

books2read.com/fate

Goodreads

 

Exonerated with Love

(book 2)

Exonerated With Love Front Cover

books2read.com/exonerated

Goodreads

 

SkyeMcNeil

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Instagram

 

Skye McNeil began writing at the age of seventeen and has been lost in a love affair ever since. During the day, she moonlights as a paralegal at a law firm favouring criminal law.

Skye enjoys writing romantic comedies and cozy mysteries novels that leave readers wanting more and falling in love over and over. She writes contemporary and historical novels ranging from sweet and sassy to steamy and sultry.

Her constant writing companions are two cats and two dogs. When she’s not writing, Skye enjoys spending time with family, photography, volleyball, traveling, and curling up with a cup of coffee and reading.

Sign up for Skye’s newsletter HERE.

 

Author Spotlights/Interviews, Blog

Romance with a Twist-Sue Barnard

Happy Wednesday, lovelies! I have a very special author visiting my blog today. She is a fellow Crooked Cat and an incredible writer. Be sure to give her plenty of love around SM and the web.

Let’s find out more, shall we?

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

A lot of people probably have skeletons in their cupboards – but I wonder how many people know how it feels to BE one of those skeletons?  That was me, for more than forty years.

What made you want to become a writer?

It happened almost by accident, when I came across one of those lists of Things You Must Do Before You Die.  Most of them were fairly unappealing, but the one which leapt out was Write The Book You Want To Read.  I’ve always loved the story of Romeo & Juliet but found the ending frustrating, and the book I’ve always wanted to read is the alternative version of the tale: the one in which the young lovers don’t fall victim to a maddeningly-preventable catastrophe.

Why, I asked myself, should there not be such a book?  And the answer came straight back: Why not indeed?  And if it doesn’t exist, then go ahead and write it.

The eventual result was my debut novel The Ghostly Father, which is part-prequel, part-sequel to the original Romeo & Juliet story, told from the point of view of the Friar.  It was first published in 2014 by Crooked Cat Books.

What was the first book that made you cry?

I can’t remember crying over books as a child, but I read A Tale of Two Cities as an adult.  I shed quite a few tears over Sydney Carton.

Where did you get your inspiration for your latest book?

Finding Nina is a companion to my second novel, Nice Girls Don’t.  A loose end was unintentionally left dangling at the end of that book.  Thankfully it didn’t affect the outcome of that story, but I realised afterwards that it had left open the possibility of another one, concentrating on some of the characters who barely step out of the shadows in the original.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Oddly enough, I don’t have much difficulty with that.  The main characters of two of my books (The Ghostly Father and Heathcliff) are both male, and it was surprisingly easy to get into their heads.  I’ve no idea why!

Music or silence?

Both.  When I’m writing I need silence; I find music too distracting (because I’d want to listen to it, and that would disturb my writing concentration).  But music has helped me in other ways; I’ve had some wonderful ideas – including finding the answers to some of my biggest writing dilemmas – when I’ve been listening to music whilst away from my computer.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

There’s quite a lot of myself in some of my characters, and some of the episodes in my books are inspired by real events.  But I wouldn’t dare to base any of my characters on anyone else.  I’d have no friends left!

Thank you so much, Sue, for stopping by today. We wish you all the best for your upcoming release!

 

Finding Nina front cover.jpg

FINDING NINA is already available for pre-order. The book is officially released on 3 June 2019, when there will be an online launch party on Facebook, with guests, competitions and giveaways.  To add yourself to the guest list, click here then select “Going”.  See you there!

 

MORE ABOUT FINDING NINA:

1943: A broken-hearted teenager gives birth in secret. Her soldier sweetheart has disappeared, and she reluctantly gives up her daughter for adoption.

1960: A girl discovers a dark family secret, but it is swiftly brushed back under the carpet. Conventions must be adhered to.

1982: A young woman learns of the existence of a secret cousin. She yearns to find her long-lost relative, but is held back by legal constraints.  Life goes on.

2004: Everything changes…

 

Sue Barnard Author

MORE ABOUT SUE:

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet who was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium.  She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  She now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue’s own family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Finding Nina, which is her sixth novel, is not that book.

Don’t forget to follow her!

Blog   Facebook   G+   Twitter   Instagram   Amazon  Goodreads  RNA

 

ALSO BY SUE BARNARD: The Ghostly Father   Nice Girls Don’t   The Unkindest Cut of All   Never on Saturday   Heathcliff

TGF frontNGD front

Blog, Book News

Release day Catalyst at Night

Assassin
By Day
by
Tessa Robertson
Genre:
Thriller
 
What
would you do if the mystery to your mother’s death lay with your
employer?

Men listen

After
years of unanswered questions, Mishka Vald sets out to uncover the
skhodka’s involvement in her past. What she doesn’t expect is to
join forces with men who push her to become a double-agent and
confirm her future. While hunting down leads, the ruthless assassin
realizes a life in the shadows is the only way for her to protect
those she loves.

 

For
Mishka, forbidden love is worth the pain when it comes to Eddie
Harper, a military man turned cop. Her affection waivers when duty
comes first and she joins forces with an elite Russian soldier,
Alexei Petrovich. With a blackmailer threatening her school love, she
seeks refuge with a fellow assassin, Nickolas Volkov. And when pushed
too far, she’s ushered to a secure location…and straight into the
arms of mysterious handyman, Dylan Kain. As the pieces fall into
place, their mangled order reveals each man’s true intention. Whose
deceit can she accept and whose will obliterate her?

 

All
roads lead back to the woman she thought dead—her mother. Now, as
weddings are crashed and alliances tested, Mishka uncovers a deadly
game and the players involved. Her heart, once unable to budge, is
thrust into action, but which man can keep her soul intact?
**Only
.99 cents!!**
 
Murder
 
Catalyst
at Night
Book
2
 
The
skhodka isn’t done with their best assassin yet.

 

Too
bad for them, as a rivaling mob – the vory – holds Mishka Vald
captive. The real kicker? She’s trapped in her mother’s clutches
with the two men she loves, with no escape from the devious scheme
Alena Vald cooked up to destroy the skhodka.
After
spiriting across the globe with one man in tow, Mishka comes face to
face with her past. Piecing together the distorted memories would be
easy if someone hadn’t tampered with them.
Can
Mishka slip through the grips of warring Russian mobs for a chance at
a normal life? Find out in Catalyst at Night., the sequel to Assassin
by Day.
 
Bored
Tessa
Robertson has been landlocked in the heart of Iowa, USA for the
better portion of her life. She grew up on sci-fi and action movies,
but isn’t nearly a ninja…yet. Since childhood, writing stories and
reading have been a constant. Moonlighting in a law firm, she takes
on her favorite cases: criminal. Her stories push the limits of
standard characters and explore the thriller facets of romance and
action.
In her spare time, Tessa attempts to teach her Australian Shepherd and
Golden Retriever new tricks; spends copious time with family; catches
up on her favorite shows; and listens to country music.
 
 
Follow
the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway
 
 
 

 

Book News, Books

Catalyst at Night Cover Reveal

Happy 2019!catalyst banner 2

It will be a BIG year publishing wise for me. The 2nd part of Mishka’s story, Catalyst at Night, releases February 28, 2019.

Universal Pre-order link: Catalyst at Night

A big shout out to Crooked Cat for their brilliant artwork and to Cristina Hodgson for her stellar review!

Here’s the blurb:

Catalyst at Night

The skhodka isn’t done with their best assassin yet.

Too bad for them, as a rivaling mob – the vory – holds Mishka Vald captive. The real kicker? She’s trapped in her mother’s clutches with the two men she loves, with no escape from the devious scheme Alena Vald cooked up to destroy the skhodka.

After spiriting across the globe with one man in tow, Mishka comes face to face with her past. Piecing together the distorted memories would be easy if someone hadn’t tampered with them.

Can Mishka slip through the grips of warring Russian mobs for a chance at a normal life? Find out in Catalyst at Night, the sequel to Assassin by Day.

Blog

Score 1 for Hufflepuff

Autumn has graced Iowa yet again. Well, today at least. Tomorrow will probably be hot as hell. For now, I’ll sip on my hot coffee and dream about being on the beach.

Let’s see, what have I been up to? Ah, yes. I finished book 2 in Mishka’s series, submitted it to my pub, Crooked Cat, and received a contract. Time to throw a party: assassin style 😉

But seriously, I find it incredibly difficult to market and that’s a MAJOR part of publishing. I’m not an outgoing person, per se, until I’ve had a few drinks. Thus, making my marketing attempts juvenile compared to others. I do believe success also hinges on my confidence. Obviously, I wish I was as confident and badass as Mishka. That doesn’t happen overnight. At least, that’s what I hear. Still waiting on that to be disproved. I admire and envy the authors who have multitudes of followers, friends, and family members who constantly share the crap out of their work & sell a shit ton. To reiterate, I’m an introvert. Get in my face & I’ll probably give you a death glare as I back away slowly. I try, dear God I try, to step into my pseudonym and engage strangers in my books. I tend to sweat when nervous and then I ramble. A lot. And I second-guess myself and my work because who the f*ck doesn’t? (Am I rambling?)

Being an Indie writer/author means we do a lot of work on our own. Yes, we may have a publisher and small group of others who help us, but the majority is on us. We don’t have publicists, PAs, or agents to find events for us or open doors to radio stations and/or TV channels. Do we then give up? Hell no! Just because a door is closed in our face (and it happens a LOT) doesn’t mean there’s not a window to sneak through.

If you’re new to the Indie world, welcome, and prepare to work your ass off as you climb the mountains of the publishing realm. Most of the people here are friendly and encouraging, but this is real and no longer in your imagination. Having thick skin is a necessity. Every time you fall and get bloodied, get back up and build yourself stronger. When you can look back at the mistakes, brokenness, and defeat, learn from it…yeah, that’s when you’re doing well.

As someone who not only manages a full-time job, but also two (yes, 2) author pages and schedules, it wear you down. I sure as hell want a PA, but the perfectionist in me comes out and shuts that thought down (also the money aspect). I strive to be the best I can as a writer. Oh, and if you were wondering, Tessa Robertson & Skye McNeil are basically the same person. Different author names and genres, though. P.S. Tessa curses a hell of a lot more too…usually….

What does any of this have to do with Harry Potter? I’m going to show my nerd here. I’m a Hufflepuff. At least that’s what the online quizzes and comparing myself to the books say. Let’s go over the traits for a minute.

Hufflepuff is the most inclusive: valuing hard work, dedicationpatienceloyalty, high degree of friendliness and humility and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members. The emblematic animal is a badger.

Not to toot my own horn *toot toot*, but I’m almost every inch Hufflepuff. I do believe there’s some Gryffindor and Ravenclaw up there, but I’m hardworking, dedicated, patient, friendly, humble, fair, and loyal to those who earn it. Mess with me and I’ll become that mother-loving badger.

The same can be said in the Indie marketing world. We all belong to one of the four houses. How we introduce the world to our books/writing totally depends on our personalities and traits. I aim to be a little of each house, yes, even Slytherin. In order to make it, we have to step outside of our houses & face the dementors standing in our way of becoming the best author out there.

Comparing yourself to anyone else is pointless. We all write and market differently. The goal is to find your house & build each other up from there. A little encouragement goes a long ways. So, share that post, like that page, follow that website. You never know when it’ll make a difference in your own life.

All right, I think I geeked myself out enough for one day.  I’m off to eat tepid lo mein. ~Feed your inner nerd~

*Tessa*

Blog

Ode to Love

Deep Love

While chatting with a friend of mine, the subject of love came up. Don’t ask why, but it did. I pride myself with my art of the written word. The same cannot be said with verbalizing my thoughts. I blanked. Utterly and completely lost my brain. It was frustrating and awkward as hell for me. I mean, seriously, I write for (part of) a living. How could I not put a sentence together about how my first real boyfriend got into my brain? It’s simple, really. Love.

Those four letters send me into a bundle of knots. Why? Because I haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to the subject. But back to the original question: How did that guy get in my head/heart all those years ago? Of course, I went with the obvious things I could remember about my high school love. He was a musician who wrote me songs; he accepted me for me; he made me feel wanted; he had a rockin’…er…body (among other things); and when I met his eyes, I felt at home.

I’m happy to say my definition of love has expanded from what my 17yr old brain thought love was. I know you were worried there for a minute. Now, 11 years later, I can see exactly why I fell in love with him. But only after wallowing in how mute I become when the love subject arises, naturally. I’m a writer. I never proclaimed to be good at on the spot questions unless I’m acting at the theater but that’s a whole other blog post we’ll get to another day.

Love comes in different shapes, sizes, and depths. I’ve learned a lot since my first love experience. I posted a link on my Instagram this morning that perfectly describes how I love. I couldn’t come up with the words yesterday during my friendly conversation because… dur… I like to think over responses before I say them. Must be a writer/introvert thing about me. Anyway, I love deep. So deep that it hurts. As you can guess, a heartbreak with deep love is even worse. Sometimes, I hate how I love because I’ve had to learn to box that love away in fear of exposing the power once more. The sad reality is too many use and abuse the love.

I’ll try not to get too metaphorical here, but imagine a castle with a dragon. As per the fairy tale, I’m the queen (Yes, queen. I don’t need a man to rule) inside. In the beginning, the dragon is just a sprite and drawbridge is down. As time progresses and heartache intensifies, the dragon  grows larger and additional walls are built to protect the queen because each man she dares to love steals little pieces of her heart when they leave. It’s a fortress now with an enormous dragon and deadly moat.

So, to answer my friend’s question of how did that guy got my heart and head, I can honestly say it’s because I had rose-colored glasses when it came to what I thought love should be. Love isn’t a guy singing in your voicemail or even a kiss that makes your toes curl. They may be facets that show bits of love, but shallow acts aren’t love. For me, love is accepting someone (as screwed up as they may be) and continuously choosing them. Looks fade, love shouldn’t.

I’m a deep lover. I don’t want to fall in love because I’m afraid of what will happen if/when love fails. I do a lot of divorce law for my day job, but I’ve been jaded by this for a while. Still, I crave love. A deep love like I can offer. It’s the fear of losing that deep love and another chunk of my heart that keeps me from falling. The heart tattoo on my shoulder may look like a tribal thing, but it wasn’t meant to be one. It shows the divots of heartbreak. No matter how one might try to push the pieces back in place, it’s a tattoo just like it’s heartache. You can’t put it back together. You can only hope to find a love that will help fill in the cracks others made.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a guy out there who can befriend the dragon outside the kick-ass castle. Maybe, he’s patient and won’t give up when feelings are deflected. And maybe, I’ll realize that some guys are worth the pain. I don’t need a prince charming. I can write one of those any day. I’ll take a flawed man with a genuine heart.

Want to know about deep love? Check out this article.

https://thoughtcatalog.com/bianca-sparacino/2017/04/let-me-tell-you-about-people-who-love-deeply/

All right, so this is probably the most personal and open blog post I’ve written here. I’ll be sure to post something light next 😉

Enjoy your weekend.

*Tessa*