Category Archives: Books

Author S. M. Hope Talks Writing, Inspiration, and the Creative Process Behind Tainted Jewel

Greetings, readers. Author S. M. Hope stopped by The Indie Spot to share her thoughts on writing and the creative process involved in getting a book to market.

What inspired you to start writing?

Writing started as a hobby, I never expected a published book at the end. However, the more I wrote, the more passionate I became about what I was creating. I didn’t want to be the only one in the world to know what Kate was going through. I asked a few friends and my mum for their views on my book, and it was from their encouragement that I looked into possibly publishing it.

What did you like to read when you were a youngster?

The one that sticks out the most to me was, when I was very young the teacher used to sit us down on the mat and read to us. The book was the very famous James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I can still feel the excitement I felt when she would read it to us. She would stop at a place where you really wanted to find out more and I couldn’t wait for the next day so I could find out.

What is the greatest challenge you faced in writing Tainted Jewel?

The sex scenes. I don’t know why they bother me so much. I think it’s a worry knowing your friends and family will be reading your book and you’ve written a scene which does make you feel a little embarrassed. Beem and I have recently shared tweets on this subject. I was writing one particular scene about a sixteen year old boy losing his virginity. The word vagina came up, and I feel it sounds out of place. But I’m struggling with choice of word with which to replace it, as I don’t want the scene to sound too vulgar.

How much research do you do before writing the book?

I didn’t really need to do too much research at the time of writing. It was only little things like, at what stage does a baby hit a certain milestone. When is it illegal to have an abortion? Also, can you open the mouth of a dead body? Things like that. I’d hate the police to come knocking at my door asking for a look at my internet history and them seeing those kinds of things. I think I’d be in a lot of trouble.

What motivated you to write the book Tainted Jewel?

Nothing motivated me more than seeing the pages come together and a complete work of fiction materialised in front of me. Blank pages turned into a story that other people can read and be lost in.

Once written, there are many, many rewards. Not least when a stranger took the time out of her day to email and thank me for writing the book as she hasn’t been able to put it down. It gave her days of enjoyment.

I’ve been completely overwhelmed at the support and kind words I’ve had from readers and also other authors.

Tell us more about Tainted Jewel.

I had an idea that I thought would make a fantastic book, so I put pen to paper – or rather finger to laptop – and that’s how it all started.

Originally, the book was called Diamond In The Rough. However, as the story became complete and I started on the book cover design, I changed the title to the shorter, more catchy Tainted Jewel.

Tainted Jewel is told through the eyes of Katie Reilly, who, at the start of the book, is ten years old.  Kate suffers from OCD, and the book shows how this affects her outlook on life and situations in general as we read about her growing up.

The story begins when she is introduced to two brothers, Lawrence and Mike Taylor, and from that day, Kate is obsessed with Mike. At first, she sees him as a father figure. However, as she gets older, her feelings progress into love.

She doesn’t realise until it’s too late exactly who Mike Taylor is. He’s the sidekick of Mr Simpson, the most feared man in Bridgeborough.

How did you choose to write in this particular genre?

Because of the ideas I had in my mind about how the book would play out and eventually end, I knew it was never going to be a fairy tale. So, Crime Drama was the only genre it could fit into. I really love the genre and everyone has such wonderful stories to tell.

Who are some of the authors that inspired you? Favorites?

I was told a couple of times that I write very similar to Kimberley Chambers. I hadn’t read any of her books, so I decided to buy a couple. I read Billie Jo in a couple of days, and whilst I was reading it, I could see exactly where people were coming from. I’ve since done research on Kimberley, and she still writes with pen and paper, never using a laptop (that amazes me, it must take her forever). I love the story she tells on her website. At the age of 36, she was asked by a friend if she wanted to start working in her salon, which meant going back to basics, sweeping the floor. Her answer was, ‘No, I’m thinking of writing a book’, and hey presto look at her now. If that doesn’t inspire writers to prove that if you have a good enough story it can be done, then I don’t know what will inspire you.

How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis? Do you assign daily word counts for yourself?

I don’t dedicate a certain amount of time each day, it’s just when I get time. I could be at work and an idea would pop into my head. I type it out as quickly as I can and email it to myself. Then, when I get home, I work on it making it a much better drawn out scene. I do have a chart which I keep track on my word count, as I won’t stop a draft until I have over 90,000 words. As soon as I put the word count in it tells what percentage I have left to write. Then, when I hit 0% left to write, I take out some scenes and put new ones in.

What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

Please, don’t stop. Keep going. You will get there in the end if you want it bad enough. Write for yourself and fall in love with your characters (even the evil ones). Let them become part of your family, and your ideas will soon come flooding to you. This should hopefully stamp out any writers blocks. But most of all enjoy the ride and what will be will be.

Tainted Jewel

Blurb: 

It was love that dragged Kate Reilly into the criminal underworld. Once in, it was somewhere she couldn’t easily leave; even if she had wanted to….

Growing up, Kate liked the attention she received from Mike Taylor, the worst of the Taylor brothers, in her mother’s humble opinion.
As a young girl, Kate was always happy to use her ‘magic skills’ at unpicking locks to help Mike and his friends out when they had carelessly locked themselves out of their homes – or even their safes.
As she matured, it finally dawned on Kate that maybe Mike wasn’t the gentleman she had first thought. However by this point, she was hopelessly, obsessively in love with him. What’s more, she was so involved in the criminal lifestyles of Mike and his cohorts that she felt there was no escaping…. And she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to try.

That is, until the night of her eighteenth birthday. Then her whole world was turned on its head, everything changed that night……. Forever.

Get it at AMAZON

S. M. Hope on TWITTER

 

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A Few Words With June the Prune!

I am thrilled to welcome #RRBC Spotlight Author Gracie Bradford’s June the Prune to The Indie Spot. June is the main character from Gracie’s book June the Prune & Lady Bird: Cancer Stinks. So, without further delay, take it away, June…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SMART STRATEGIES FOR SMART CHARACTERS

Interviewer: You have an interesting name. Do you know why you were named June?

June: My mother and her sisters were born in June. I was born in June. My mother probably could not think of another name.

Interviewer: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

June: Yes, I have one brother, Alex. I must take care of him because our Mom isn’t always available. I am younger than Alex. He should be taking care of me as my big brother. But, he is a little slow. I do what needs to be done around the house to keep the peace.

Interviewer: What is the story behind calling yourself “The Prune?”

June: When we returned from Europe, I lost so much weight until I looked like a dried-up prune with sagging skin. It helps me to be able to laugh at myself. G-Mom taught me to look at the bright side of life. So, when I write my friends, I sign my name – June the Prune to create humor. I don’t want my friends having pity on me.

Interviewer: Who is G-Mom?

June: She is my grandmother. She thinks she is still young, so she won’t allow us to call her granny or grandma. She said saying grandma makes her feel old. She is young in spirit.

Interviewer: What went through your mind when the doctor first told you that you had brain cancer?

June: “That I would lose my hair and be bald.”

Interviewer: Were you afraid?

June: Not at first because I knew my grandmother would protect me if she could. But, when they put me in isolation for long periods of time, I was scared and lonely. They would make G-Mom dress in these funny outfits to pierce her head inside the room to say hello to me. They would not allow anyone inside the room except the folks who took care of me.

Interviewer Who is Lady Bird?

June: She is my dog. I have had her since she was a puppy. We do and go everywhere together. When I am with her, I am not afraid.

Interviewer: How do you feel about not being able to see Lady Bird for such a long time?

June: I do see her in my mind. She is always present with me.

Interviewer: You talk about “power codes” in the book. How do you use these codes? Other than you, who else knows the codes? How are they working for you?

June: Smiling. You must read the book to find out.

Expect to see the 3rd book of the Lady Bird series late 2018 addressing Autism.

You can pick up a copy of Gracie’s current books at:

http://amzn.to/2gfLCEJ

Like and follow this author through the social media platforms below:

Blog: www.free1592.wordpress.com

Website: www.authorgraciebradford.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorgraciebradford/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/graciebradford5/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamxordinary

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gracie.bradford.58

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/authorgraciebradford/

Introducing A Bright New Writing Talent

Greetings, readers! Today, I would like to share with you a talented new voice in the writing world. Please give a warm welcome to Ellie Collins…

Introducing….

Introducing a bright and fresh new face in the publishing world – an author with a creative and unique voice and viewpoint!

Ellie Collins, 11, is preparing to publish her debut book, Daisy, Bold & Beautiful, the first in a series of middle grade books.
Who is Ellie?
First and foremost, she’s a gymnast, on both a girls gymnastics team…
…and a trampoline and tumbling team.

She plays piano…
And she studies hard in the sixth grade.
And when she’s not doing any of that, she’s playing video games or hanging with her friends. She always finds time for reading, though, and she’s a huge fan of Greek mythology. It was that genre that inspired her upcoming book. Until it hits the shelves (tentatively scheduled for April 1st, 2018), she’ll be by to share a bit of Greek myth trivia with you each week. Just like this:

Join us next week for another exciting Greek Mythology Minute with Ellie. She’ll have her book description ready to share for the first time, too! Have a wonderful week, everyone!
UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE 
Hi everyone! Here’s this week’s edition of Greek Mythology Minute! As promised, I’m including the description for Daisy, Bold & Beautiful. Please tell me what you think and let me know if there’s anything I can do to make it better. Thanks! Have a great week and I’ll see you back here for next week’s EXCITING episode of Greek Mythology Minute! Oh, and you can also see that update (and others) on my brand new Facebook author page. Check it out!  🙂

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful ~

It’s April Fool’s Day. D.J. stumbles her way through her first day at her new school, convinced she’ll be picked on for being the biggest fool of all when she can’t find her classes.

Luckily, an awesome group of three girls adopt her as their new bestie. D.J. can’t believe her good fortune – except for one little detail. She has nothing in common with her fast friends.

How do you tell a group of extreme, hard-core gamers that you’re a…gardener? Do you risk losing your new friends by admitting to who you really are and what you really like to do? Wouldn’t it be safer to just try to learn to love video games?

D.J. is gifted with some words of wisdom from the best gardener of all – Persephone, the Goddess of Spring. Will she take Persephone’s advice? And what assistance does D.J. have to offer the goddess?

Introducing Vashti Quiroz-Vega: #RRBC Spotlight Author

We’re getting 2018 started on an exciting note. Today, I have the privilege of sharing my blog with a highly-touted up-and-coming indie author. Introducing Vashti Quiroz-Vega. . .

VASHTI

Fall From Desire

By Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

For my transgressions, I was cast out of Heaven and exiled to planet Earth.

My fall was brutal as my six large white wings caught fire entering the Earth’s atmosphere. I cringed and screamed as the flames consumed feathers and flesh. I looped and spiraled in the air, all the while stirring and reaching toward the flames, but there was no relief from the oppressive pain or the stench of roasted flesh. The fire was quenched when only the burnt bones of my wings remained. I wailed writhing in the air as the blackened bony frames were yanked from my skeleton by a powerful force. This is what the male angels I led astray with my insatiable carnal appetite experienced as they fell from grace. I deserve worse for corrupting so many.

I splashed into a swamp.

The only light source was the brilliance of a full moon.

The swamp was dominated by woody plants and teeming with animal life. The water pushed down on me from all sides. I floundered and flailed my arms and legs, which made me sink faster. I sank further and further into the swamp and away from the light of the moon. Soon, I was shrouded in darkness. My lungs burned for air. In horror, I screamed and warm, murky water filled my lungs. I shook and convulsed as alligators, snakes and all manner of swamp creatures witnessed the water take me away.

I opened my eyes. I was floating over the water. I survived? I was not sure how long I was unconscious, only that it was a different night—for the moon was no longer full. I trembled in fear and remained still, allowing the current to carry me wherever it may. As I came near the bank of the swamp, I took hold of a cypress’s knee, clambered to my feet and waded out of the water. I teetered and faltered, inexperienced in walking without wings. I am no longer an angel. The realization pierced my heart. What am I now? I broke the rules of celibacy in Heaven and tempted so many to do the same with my female ways. My lustful desires and sexual appetite were my ruin. Now I am alone, never to feel the pleasure of a caress.

 

My wide eyes flickered in every direction, trying to find a way out of the desolate and wild place. The potent, musky smell of decomposing vegetation and animal matter wafted into my nose, making me grimace with revulsion. There were no such smells in Heaven. Oh, how far I have gone from Heaven’s joyful fragrances!

I staggered in circles, my feet sinking into the spongy, wet ground. The humidity was so dense in this habitat that wetness covered everything. A film of moisture glazed my naked body. Water soaked my long, ginger hair and pulled my curls flat. I heard the hooting of an owl. I turned toward a nearby tree and there it was, lurking in the shadows. Its large glowing eyes stared at me. Snakes slithered around my feet. Alligators remained immersed as they peered at me with their strange eyes peeking over the surface of the water. Where am I? There are only wetlands as far as I can see. How am I to survive here? I was not sure I wanted to live––not here. My body trembled, and desperate tears meandered over my cheeks and mingled with the moisture on my face. No one can hear me cry. I walked for miles. There were many sunrises and many moonrises, yet I remained alone in a world of swamps.

Swarms of mosquitos tormented me with their stinging and their buzzing in my ears. I had to deter countless attacks from snakes and alligators. I was covered in welts, bumps, scratches, bites and bruises from such attacks. My body itched, ached and throbbed. I deserve no less for sating my erotic desires without a second thought for the countless archangels, seraphim and cherubim I debauched with my impious, enticing and lustful ways.

I continued to wander the soggy swampland and began to feel an unfamiliar burning sensation in my middle. My strength was depleting, and I dragged my feet and panted. Feeling faint, I collapsed. I lay on the water-saturated ground and looked up at the heavens. What is happening to me? What have I become? I lay frozen for hours, feeling so alone, waving off a plethora of insects trying to invade my body. I would rather draw my last breath than spend the rest of my days alone in this sodden nightmare.

 

“What are you?” A masculine voice asked.

I jolted upright in a seated position and stared at a magnificent creature. “I––I do not know what I am. I have only knowledge of what I used to be.”

“Very well, then what were you?” He squinted his eyes and his eyebrows came together as he stared.

“I was once called Rachiel––when I was an angel in Heaven.”

He looked at me sideways. “You do not look like an angel to me.”

“Have you ever seen an angel?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I have, and angels have wings.”

“I, too, had wings. Large white wings—six of them.” My voice quavered. “They were torn from me as I fell through the skies.”

He scrutinized me for a while with his piercing violet-blue eyes. “I believe you. I am not sure why, but I do. Perhaps something in your verdant eyes tells me you do not know how to lie.” His wide smile was stunning and dripping with a silent threat. “My name is Mendrion.” He was tall. His hair long, thick, the color of nightfall. Lengthy, heavy eyelashes framed his violet-blue eyes. His skin was like an ivory mist. He looked like divine pleasure. Enough, Rachiel! This is why you were cast out of Heaven! I shuddered and exited my own head.

I gawked at his muscular body while he stared at my face and came closer. He searched for some of my hair that was not soiled, grabbed some and sniffed. He proceeded to nuzzle his nose against my neck, my shoulder, the top of my breasts. I closed my eyes and shivered with both fear and pleasure. He breathed me in, taking in my essence. He looked up. I opened my eyes, and he stared into them. Then he walked around me, slowly, as he evaluated every inch of my bare body. He parted the long hair that fell down my back and saw the jagged stubs from where my wings used to stem. He passed his hands over them with a gentle touch, and then I felt him bring his face closer to smell the stumps. He came around to face me again.

“Are you in pain?” He did not look concerned but more curious.

“Since I have arrived on this planet, I have felt only pain, fear and sorrow.” I looked toward the ground.

“I can rid you of these malignancies.”

“How?”

“You need only say yes.”

I gazed at him. What am I to do? I am in much pain and I grow weaker with the passing of time. I shall not survive much longer without help. I bit my lip. I was unable to think with clarity.

“You do not trust me and I understand, for I have given you no reason to trust in me.” His voice was soothing.

“You are an elegant creature, but I do not know your mind.”

He grinned and lifted his muscular chest. He swaggered toward me and extended his arm. He passed his hand through my hair and caressed my face. Desire for him grew quickly inside me like a vine strangling all other emotions. Every fiber of my being was ignited. My chest heaved in rhythm with my shallow panting. It is happening again. I am overwhelmed with lustful desires.

“You, too, are beautiful to look upon,” he said. “But if you wish to rid yourself of pain and fear you must become what I am.”

“What are you?”

“I am vampire.”

I recoiled and gasped. In Heaven, I had heard stories of such creatures from the Observers––angels whose task was to observe the beings on Earth. Vampires are the spawn of Dracúl, the infamous son of Lilith and Satan. I flinched.

“You know of my kind?” He came closer.

“I do.” My lips quivered.

“You need not fear me. I mean you no harm. I only seek what you seek.”

“What do you think I desire?”

“Companionship.” He extended his hand. “Come with me and never be alone again.”

I stared at his welcoming hand for a while.

“I shall offer this only once.” His piercing eyes were fixed on me. I reached my trembling hand to meet his and he pulled me toward him.

He held me tightly and pressed his full moist lips against mine. After the kiss I became lightheaded. Through eyes half opened, I watched as he opened his mouth exposing large canine teeth growing into fangs. I gasped, but before I could move, he sank his fangs into the flesh at the base of my neck. A combination of his saliva and my blood streamed down my neck. I cocked my head back and moaned, my eyes rolling back in their sockets. Both pleasure and pain moved through me. My body tensed. My entire being was at peak response. As he drew my blood greedily, I felt my body meld into his. A delightful pressure began to build inside me. I gasped and groaned with pleasure. The pressure continued to build until I thought I would explode. My body went into spasms of incredible delight, and my mind was flooded with a variety of pleasurable sensations. Then I felt a wave of dizziness, my body slackened, and darkness began to close in on me.

Upon opening my eyes, I saw the world differently. The colors of cypress trees became more vivid, and plants were verdant jewels. I almost felt the fragrances of nature. The alligators’ bellows and the hissing of snakes became mellifluous. I lay on the ground, and Mendrion sat next to me. He smiled, and I returned his smile. He kissed me on the lips, neck, shoulders and breasts. His hands caressed my body, and his touch was heavenly. As a vampire, my body was made for pleasure. I sensed so much more and every nerve ending in my body was excited. Every touch sent waves of pleasure throughout my body. I need not food, nor water—I may well live on his touch alone. I was in ecstasy, but then he stopped. He got to his feet.

“No, do not stop. I implore you.” I gazed into his eyes feeling affection for him and wholly devoted. “I love your hands and lips on my body.”

He extended his hand like he had done before. “Take my hand, Rachiel.” I beamed when he mentioned my name. “I shall allow you to keep your original name, for it pleases me. Now go and join the others.” I tilted my head and stared at him through narrowed eyes for his words filled me with confusion.

He pointed to the swamp.

I turned my face and gasped. My eyes opened wide with disbelief. There were other fallen angels like me in the swamp. They were all converted into vampires—no doubt in the same way as I was. There was not a happy face among them.

“Go on!” Mendrion pointed to the swamp. “Take your place among them. You are now a swamp vampire. You shall feed on the blood of alligators, snakes, beavers, frogs and other swamp creatures.”

“I shall not!” I stared at him with wide eyes and clenched my jaw while holding back tears. “You deceived me.”

“I told you only the truth. You no longer feel pain, am I right?” He waited for my response wearing a wry grin. “If you do not feed on the blood of these swamp creatures, you shall die a slow and agonizing death, and when you die the animals shall eat you.”

“I shall go away!” I turned my head this way and that, my eyes flickering in every direction.

“You have nowhere to go. You belong to me now and there is no escape, for your blood calls out to me and I shall find you wherever you go. Besides, you can no longer live without my touch.” He was right—losing his caressing is what I feared most. “Join the others now, or you shall never feel the gratification of my touch.”

Upon hearing his final words my face slackened. I shuffled through the bog and entered the dark, gloomy water. I stood amongst the others, merely another beauty in the murky swamp. The others glared at me––another to whom they must share him with. We were all doomed to the same punishment. Our bodies made for pleasure and overwhelmed with desire, condemned to long for ephemeral moments with our master.

AUTHOR BIO:

 

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of fantasy, horror, and suspense/thriller. When she isn’t creating extraordinary worlds or fleshing out powerful characters, she enjoys reading, traveling, kayaking, photography, and seeking adventures. She lives in Florida with her husband and fur baby, a Pomeranian named Scribbles (who’s also her writing buddy).

 

Twitter – @VashtiQV

Facebook – http://on.fb.me/1g0da7d

Website – http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com

 

 

BOOK INFO:

 FALL

In The Fall of Lilith, Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts an irresistible new take on heaven and hell that boldly lays bare the passionate, conflicted natures of God’s first creations: the resplendent celestial beings known as angels. 

 

If you think you know their story, think again.

 

Endowed with every gift of mind, body, and spirit, the angels reside in a paradise bounded by divine laws, chief of which are obedience to God, and celibacy. In all other things, the angels possess free will, that they may add in their own unique ways to God’s unfolding plan.

 

Lilith, most exquisite of angels, finds the rules arbitrary and stifling. She yearns to follow no plan but her own: a plan that leads to the throne now occupied by God himself. With clever words and forbidden caresses, Lilith sows discontent among the angels. Soon the virus of rebellion has spread to the greatest of them all: Lucifer.

 

Now, as angel is pitted against angel, old loyalties are betrayed and friendships broken. Lust, envy, pride, and ambition arise to shake the foundations of heaven . . . and beyond. For what begins as a war in paradise invades God’s newest creation, a planet known as Earth. It is there, in the garden called Eden, that Lilith, Lucifer, and the other rebel angels will seek a final desperate victory—or a venomous revenge.

 

“[A] compelling narrative that . . . strays far from traditional biblical text . . . A well-written, descriptive, and dark creation story.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

 

THE FALL OF LILITH

Sharing Slivers of Life on the #RRBC Holiday Train Book Trailer Block Party!

With the 2017 RRBC Holiday Train Book Trailer Block Party in full swing, today is one of my stops. All you have to do is follow the link to the video, leave a comment on YouTube, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy Slivers of Life and a $10 iTunes gift card.

And don’t forget to follow the tour each day for great trailers and more chances to win fantastic prizes. Just click HERE to follow the tour!

To see the video on YouTube, click HERE!

Jazz Baby Rides the #RRBC Holiday Train to the Block Party!

Greetings to everybody stopping by. Today is one of my stops on the 2017 RRBC Holiday Train Book Trailer Block Party. Just follow the link to the video, post a comment on YouTube, and you’ll be in the running to win a signed paperback copy of Jazz Baby and a $10 iTunes gift card.

And don’t forget to follow the tour each day for great trailers and more chances to win fantastic prizes. Just click HERE to follow the tour!

To see the video on YouTube, Click HERE!

The 2017 #RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party Is Here!

It’s that time of the year again! Time for the 2017 RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party. This 31-day event is a win-win for all involved. These trailers are designed to bring attention to amazing books from some of the best indie authors in the world.

Each stop on this incredible tour offers YOU the opportunity to win fabulous prizes just for visiting and leaving a comment.

It’s really quite simple. Just click HERE and follow the links to each day’s tour participant, view the trailer, and tell the author what you think. You could win free books or gift cards or other great prizes!

Don’t let the train pull out of the station without you. Those prizes are awarded at the end of each day throughout December.

The 2017 RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party is all about supporting indie authors. So, show your support each day!