Thursday, October 13, 2016


Author Shelby Londyn-Heath

 No one ever talks about the hazards of working. Yeah, I know, we live in a “work hard and get ahead culture.” There’s truth in the cliché of following one’s goals with determination and sweat to be successful. But what about the clerks at night working in convenience stores, the ones who are robbed at gunpoint while they struggle to earn their seven or eight dollars an hours? What about security guards who walk around dark, vacant parking lots at night, looking for intruders and wannabe thieves lurking outside shopping centers? What about the eight-hundred people working in America who are wounded or killed on their jobs every year?

You think this doesn’t happen? Let me inform you it does. Why?  There are many reasons why. . . jealous co-workers, anxious associates going through divorces, stress of financial melt-downs, addictions, and people working next to you who are psychologically unstable. There is rarely a warning, no sign of danger, and no manager cautioning and protecting you, because, you got it─most managers are untrained to do so.

The Twiligh Tsunami
My book THE TWILIGHT TSUNAMI pits a Child Protective Social Services worker against a system that disables him every day. Grey, the main character, investigates child abuse reports: children who have been beaten, sold, molested, and are at risk for suicide. His job is an important one and he helps many children escape abuse. But what does such a system do to the workers? How do they survive the constant assault of battered children and violent families? How do they deal with parents who lose their newborns because of drugs, how do they deal with the sight of children burned, children with broken bones and their baby teeth knocked out?

Photo by Graur Lonut
Grey holds it together for many years until a new worker comes in. She is meticulous and hard-working. But she is also think-skinned and paranoid. She envisions herself to be the savior of a system that is shredding the psyches of its workers. Many of the social workers are coping by imbibing prescription drugs and alcohol. They are exhausted, burned out, and yet they arrive at work every day armed for battle, another day to put themselves at risk of being harmed by irate and dangerous parents.

When she, the dagger queen, the savior, enters meetings in the Child Protective Services, tension fills the air and ugly dramas ensue. She finds ways to drag down everyone around her. After all, they are already weak from their work traumas and drugs. She, a great strategy designer, customizes plans to destroy other workers, to undermine and manipulate her way to the top, by creating their downfalls.

She almost gets there but something happens to her. Something unexpected. She makes a mistake and miscalculates a worker she thinks she has destroyed. He retreats, and then rises to meet her in a new way. She accidentally exposes her “Achilles heel.” One of them must be destroyed or transformed. What happens to the other as they wrestle the truth of who they are and what must endure?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How a Picture Inspired a Historical Romance Novel

Author Cheryl R Lane

My latest book, Wellington Belle, is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.  On the cover of this historical romance novel, I used an inn in Charlottesville, Virginia, that my husband and I stayed in this past spring.  It's called 200 South Street Inn.  It's a beautiful four-story house built in the 1800s with a nice wraparound porch with places to relax, inviting rooms, and in close proximity to the downtown historic “mall" in Charlottesville.  Every afternoon, they serve wine and cheese, and for breakfast each morning, they serve a wide variety of breads, cereals, fruit, and drinks.  We truly enjoyed our stay.  A big white dogwood was in bloom out front in one corner, and I took a picture of it with my phone's camera at an angle where I could see how the porch wraps around with the dogwood in the center.  This turned out really nice, and after some special effects, to enhance the colors, I realized I had a good book cover in progress.  

I contacted the inn to ask for permission to use my photo, and the manager enthusiastically said yes and that she would show the book off for me if I gave them a copy.  I was thrilled!  Having a big beautiful house like this on my book cover fit my story perfectly, as it is about a woman who moves into a boarding house.  

Therefore I was very pleased to be able to use it.  I took them a copy of this book this past weekend, and they were so excited to receive it.  They immediately put it on display.  So if you're looking for a great place to stay in the Charlottesville area, this inn is a charming place to stay, and look for my book when you check in.  Tell them I sent you.

You can follow me as Cheryl R. Lane on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and YouTube, as well as on my website

Friday, October 7, 2016

Writing about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a Romance Novel

Author Sarah Robinson

My most recent release, NOT A HERO, is a story that’s been a long time coming. I originally started it years ago, even though it was only a few chapters, but then put it aside as other projects took priority. The characters have still been itching away in the back of my mind, begging for their story to be told, and when I finally saw a tiny, tiny break in my calendar, I decided to go for it! In three weeks, I finished writing the majority of the entire novel and spent the next month editing, then the next marketing and preparing it for release. To say I was swamped, would be an understatement! Now that NOT A HERO is live, it’s been such a relief seeing all that hard work pay off, and I’m already working excitedly on my next project! 

Not A Hero by Sarah Robinson
NOT A HERO is a story of a returning Marine from Afghanistan adjusting to civilian life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With a Master’s Degree in psychology and some personal experiences with the disorder, this was definitely an area close to my heart that I have always wanted to write about. I’m hopeful that I was able to tell Miles’s story accurately and kindly, as well as giving him a sweet romance with his father’s nurse. This story is steamy and sweet at the same time, and I think I added more sexy scenes than any of my previous novels!

My next release is only a short two months away, BECOMING A LEGEND is a bad boy mixed martial arts fighter romance that is part of the bestselling KAVANAGH LEGENDS series. I’m unbelievably excited about this series because these alpha male Irish brothers are hilarious, sexy, loyal, and definitely one of a kind. In fact, the next book in that series coming out in the spring is what I’m working on now!


From the bestselling author of the Kavanagh Legends MMA series, Sarah Robinson's Not A Hero is an emotional standalone military romance where love battles trauma, and there can only be one victor. 
Former Marine, Miles Kydd, is trying to readjust to civilian life after ending his career and returning to his small home town when he learned his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Once the town hero and star quarterback, Miles no longer feels like the man he was, or who he's expected to be--possibly because his demons have followed him home from Afghanistan.

Meeting Zoe Brooke, his father's live-in nurse, gives Miles the slightest glimmer of hope that he can still find happiness despite the dark secrets he holds inside. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and together they are explosive--in more ways than one.

A helper at her core, Zoe is more than willing to care for Miles's heart, but not at the expense of her own, and she's not afraid to tell him that. She knows what having a painful past is like, and she wants to help him with his, if he'll let her.

Things get complicated fast when Miles realizes burying his secrets isn't actually the same as healing from them and if he wants the girl, he's going to have to tell her the truth--the one thing he can't do.

This book is suggested for 18+ years of age, contains graphic content, sensitive subject matters, and sexually explicit material. 


Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Master’s Degrees in criminal psychology. She is newly married to a local police officer, Justin, who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Mosaic is our story.

Mosaic isn’t just a story about child abuse and its aftermath.
It is a story of our shared human experience.  Pain, sorrow, adversity, in whatever form they’ve affected us.  It is also, above all, a story of triumph, redemption, and healing.
Personally, writing this novel had been cathartic. It had crystallised for me just how far I’ve come.
I know pain. 
I know sadness. 
I know grief. 
Not that I knew them. I know them, present tense.
Mosaic by Angelin Sydney
When I was younger, there had been times when it felt as though I was born with pain as my twin. 
Somehow, as I matured I found courage along the way to keep going. I’ve learned to count my blessings and to overcome the adversities that have come my way.
I’d like to make it clear, however, that my life story did not include child rape which was one of the main themes of this book. What they included, however, were emotional abandonment, surviving breast cancer, divorce, the death of a child, bankruptcy, and post-traumatic stress.
All of my life experiences, both negatives and positives, have served to prepare me to write this story.
I didn’t simply want to touh the subject of child abuse from a law enforcement or an emotional perspective. I wanted to see both elements in my story.
The basis of this narrative is the fact that within every adult who had been subjected to abuse, in any form, there will always be a child crying. Not necessarily someone defeated, but crying, nevertheless.
I started on this journey focused on writing with sensitivity and care.
An early Amazon reviewer wrote in her review, “The underlying message of the story is one of hope and triumph – an obviously powerful one as well as a theme that has truly been done justice by the excellent writing style that is used to express and portray it. It is easy to incorporate these sort of themes into most books, but executing it in the manner that author Angelin Sydney is a whole other level, a much more difficult task.”
Judging from that, I have succeeded to a degree. My dream following the publication of this book remains to be that it be taken up by every school counsellor, every teacher, every student, every book club all over the world for the message it conveys.
I do not advocate revenge killing, a key element in this book. I hope readers would not focus on this. Rather that they would focus on its positive message. That is, you and I, we are not defined by what went wrong in our lives.  We are only defined by who we want to be.
The success of this book will not be measured by number of books sold, nor by the number of pages read on Kindle Unimited, nor by the number of downloads.  It will be measured by the number of lives it touches.
We are all characters in each other’s story. We are all part of a mosaic we call life. 

Follow Angeline on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A view of the American Middle Class

I began writing Trailer Dogs after one of the worst years of my entire married life. It was cathartic, in that it allowed me (uncensored) to express grief and disappointments in the only way I knew how – by satirizing myself and the calamities that had almost destroyed me.
   In 2013, the government shutdown sent our previously thriving business into a tailspin, taking years of hard work, and our life savings, along with it. Two of our three much-loved dogs died within a month of each other. My best friend, only in her mid-fifties, passed away after a long, painful illness. If that weren’t enough, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer that October. His surgery was scheduled – wait for it - on Christmas Eve.
My reaction to the above events was less than heroic. I became a total psychological wreck. My normally over-the-top sense of humor vanished overnight. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate on anything except how miserable my life had become. My problems, my heartbreaks, my financial losses were front and center, and nobody else’s mattered.
   Then one day, while mindlessly scanning a dog rescue website, I happened upon “Sully.” Sully was a sorry looking little stray. He was emaciated, with a dull, patchy coat and an underbite that resulted in a permanent goofy half-grin. He’d been attacked and seriously injured by a larger dog. Two enormous ears stood up at the sides of his head, and a few scraggly hairs sprang from the top knot in between.
Trailer Dogs by Ellen Garrison
Long story short, we adopted Sully. Caring for him and rehabilitating him helped me to rehabilitate myself. I slowly regained my sense of humor, my interest in life, and most importantly, the ability to care about something other than myself. Instead of bemoaning past losses, I began to focus again on the future - a future that was going to be totally different than my husband and I had ever envisioned. It was a terrifying, yet strangely liberating prospect.

We were about to become Trailer Dogs.

   Trailer Dogs isn’t for everybody. If you’re a right-wing conservative or a religious fanatic, stop reading now. If you’re sensitive to swearing, you’re a politician, or if you’re Canadian, take to heart the following Advance Criticisms for the book:
   Where shall I start? It’s filled with reprehensibly foul language, vulgarity, racial slurs, sexism, ageism, blasphemy, bestiality, gluttony, body-shaming, perversions, violence, pornographic imagery. The list is endless. That said, I really enjoyed it. ---Governor Martin O’Malley
   Trailer Dogs contains off-colour jokes. Indeed, it is blasphemous. It is a veritable sewer, filled with marginally false information about Canadians. There were a few decent parts about corn holing, but not enough detail to sustain my interest. ---Canadian Senator Ted Cruz

   On the other hand, if you don’t mind profane venting about the current state of affairs in America, or if you sometimes usually much prefer the company of your dog or cat to humans, then pardner, Trailer Dogs is the fucking book for you! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How to Sell a Sequel

Author Peter Darley

First I’ll say – I am not a book marketing guru. However, through trial and error, I finallly figured it out. To sell a sequel, you need to have at least two books on offer. (Obviously.) Here’s how it’s done.
I’ve never earned a penny from my flagship novel – Hold On! – Season 1. . . by design. Hold On! was the marketing tool – for the series.

At the time I wrote Hold On!, the TV shows Prison Break and 24 were at their peak of popularity. I didn’t rip those shows off in Hold On! I simply borrowed ‘the tempo’. The vast majority of chapters (which I refer to as ‘episodes’) end on cliffhangers. This is the secret to creating a page-turner; a trick I also learned from Dan Brown. Readers tend to put a book down at the end of a chapter. It’s a writer’s mission to make sure they lose sleep. The readers must find out ‘what happens next’. That’s where cliffhangers come in.

You’re an unknown author. Create a series and end the first book on a killer cliffhanger – then give it away to the world. This part is agonizing, and you’re not going to get in with Bookbub.

But neither do you need them. If you can gather $1,000, you can hit #1 on Amazon’s free listings, which is better than Bookbub can do for you. I’m constantly updating my promo blog site list. Between each promotion, many of them disappear.

At #1 on the free listings (which validates your #1 bestseller status) – here’s the reality. Only 40% of those who downloaded it will even read it, but that’s 40% of around 60,000 downloaders. (24,000 actual readers.) A percentage of those 24,000 will be readers who will ONLY download free books, so they’re not the target either. Realistically, you’re looking at 3% of those 24,000 to buy your sequel. (720 at $2.99 a pop – $2,150.) You’ve more than doubled your investment.

But you need a sequel to pull this off, and this is the crucial trick. You need to have the sequel on sale before you give away Book One. At the end of Book One, put the link to the sequel at the end of the epilogue on the very same page.

This is a bane. When you write a book in Word, you have no idea what it’s going to look like on Kindle. You won’t know where the final sentence falls. You must upload your finalized manuscript to Kindle to see where on the page your final line falls. If it falls at the bottom of the page, you MUST add or remove text in order to leave room for ‘To be continued in . . .’ followed by the sequel’s ‘Buy’ link. If you add text, you take the final line of the story to the next page. If you remove text to make room, you might be compromising your vision.

If the link to your sequel appears on the page AFTER the epilogue, they’re not going to go looking. It has to be on the final page of the epilogue.
Everything about this is an ordeal. But it CAN be done.

Peter Darley (Author of the Hold On! Trilogy and Hold On! – Tomorrow.)

True Offence? Or Mind Control?

Author Peter Darley
What is it about a certain four letter word that gets people so hot under the collar? I’m sure most of us have had occasion to be in a room when grandma is sitting among us. A movie comes on the TV containing a scene of gratuitous violence. The antagonist is stabbing the victim to death, blood flying everywhere, bellowing something to the tune of “You fucking bastard!” Grandma gasps in horror and says, “Why do they have to use ‘that language’?” The gratuitous, homicidal violence isn’t even mentioned. A virtually meaningless combination of four letters – four alphabetical symbols that serve the purpose of expressing an exclamation mark – is the first cause of such horrified excitation.

But why is this? Out of scores of reviews for Hold On!, I have only been hit by this phenomenon twice (to date.) The use of profanity in it is, by no means, excessive, and is only used occasionally in dialogue for the purpose of contextual realism. If I’d had enraged characters or psychopathic killers bellowing ‘good gosh’, ‘golly’, ‘darn’, or ‘blinkey, blonkey, blimey’, I would’ve been laughed out of the writing game. It’s a no-win situation. Hold On! contains scenes of extreme homicidal violence, torture, and skull-crushing vengeance. I find it extraordinary how all of that goes unnoticed by certain people, in deference to the use of a mere word. Ironically, this very issue is directly addressed in chapter 33. It still doesn’t seem to be giving certain people a moment of thoughtful pause.

Hold On! by Peter Darley
It’s four letters. F.U.C.K. They contain no mystical properties whatsoever. They literally define the word ‘nothing’. If any of these people were to be asked why they felt so offended by it, the answer would, invariably be, “That’s how I was raised.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t constitute an opinion. There were many views my parents tried to drill into me, the ‘F’ word being a big one (as in – ‘we’ll cut you out of our will’ big.) However, if they couldn’t back those views up with any reasoning other than ‘because we said so’, I would simply disregard it with the contempt it deserved.

An opinion is a viewpoint at which one has arrived through personal experience, observation, and logical reasoning. Thinking what we are told to think is the very antithesis of that. All it shows is that critical thinking has, for that person, been minimal – at best! It is this very same shortcoming within the human condition that enables acts of terrorism.

Go! by Peter Darley
For my part, I am not going to compromise on this issue. I refuse to pander to the absurd, in order to gratify the bizarre sensibilities of those whose critical faculties have been so deeply impaired. I invite all to join me in a chorus of personal free expression, and it goes like this – “FUCK IT!” J