Monday, April 28, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Mercedes Yardley

Mercedes M. Yardley wears stilettos, red lipstick, and poisonous flowers in her hair. She likes to do a little bit of everything, and writes dark fantasy, horror, nonfiction, and poetry. Mercedes minored in Creative Writing and worked as a contributing editor for Shock Totem Magazine.  She is the author of the short story collection Beautiful Sorrows, the novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love and her debut novel Nameless: The Darkness Comes, which is the first book in THE BONE ANGEL TRILOGY.  She often speaks at conferences and teaches workshops on several subjects, including personal branding and how to write a novel in stolen moments. Mercedes lives and works in Sin City, and you can reach her at  

How to find Mercedes:

Don't forget to check out the rest of the interview with my fellow hosts:

Part 1 @ Terri
Part 2 @ Teresa
Part 3 @ Emily
Part 4 @ Sandra
Part 5 @ Vicki

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Do you have a specific writing style?

MMY: I have two very distinct styles, yes. One is very ephemeral and lyrical. It’s quite feminine. The other has more smart aleck swagger and is written in first person. It took me a long while to recognize that I coming out with two different voices, but what can I say? I’m a Pisces. It’s all about duality.

BRoP:  How do you deal with writer’s block?

MMY: I just took a workshop from Orson Scott Card and he said something interesting. He said that writer’s block is your subconscious telling you the scene you’re about to write is fundamentally wrong in some way, and it’s refusing to let you destroy your story. I thought about that, and about the times I’ve really been blocked, and his observations held true for me. I’d never thought of it that way before.

Writer’s block tells me that I need to fill my creative well. Step back from my project and spend more time in other creative pursuits. It means I need to watch movies and listen to music and play outside. I need to make crafts and bake cookies and do things that make me happy. People underestimate the difficulty of creating art. We think it’s easy. It’s a joy, and it’s supposed to be a joy, but it’s also difficult and can take a physical and mental toll. It’s necessary to take a breath and enjoy other creative forms.

BRoP: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

MMY: I don’t use any set formula. I know a lot of authors who use the 66 point character sheet to help develop character. That’s too rigid for me. I need fluidity. I need the freedom to change as the characters change. I’m a discovery writer. I sit down at the computer and see what happens. It’s a lovely surprise, this amazing journey. I grow close enough to my characters that I know what they would and wouldn’t do, what feels authentic and what doesn’t. By being true to my characters, plot is easy to figure out because I know how they would react to certain situations. It’s organic.

BRoP:  Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

MMY: I have the best writer’s group in the world! We call ourselves the Illiterati, and I’m sure they’re tired of being mentioned all of the time, but I simply adore them. They’re my beta readers. They know every story I’ve written. They know where I shine and where I struggle as a writer. I know the same about them. They won’t let me turn in anything subpar. We attend writer’s conferences together. We plan birthdays together. They make my work better, and that’s why I use them.

BRoP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

MMY: I’ve never tried to write a mystery, but I’d love to. That seems particularly difficult for a pantser like me to do. Everything would need to be plotted out so carefully. It’s daunting, but I plan to do it someday. I dearly love a challenge!

Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day.

Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’

After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together...even until the end.

Nameless is in print and in ebook

Book Links:

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Addiction to Nature

Most people know that I am drawn to Nature. 

This is so true!

However, I haven't really voiced my thoughts on it before. No, it's been a private hobby of discovering the truth from what we eat to sustainable ways of creating electricity.

So I've created a web site for this very reason. It's called The Natural Magic.

Yeah, I'll never be able to get away from magic. LOL Then again, I don't need to. It's fine. I love getting a bit magical dragon now and then as well. That's is why this blog will be up and running no matter what.

I also wouldn't want to take any of you away from my author buddies that show up every week.

So head over to The Natural Magic and sign up for the e-mailing list. That way you wont miss any of that and you'll still have all the book/dragon/author love here.

Let me show you some Hartworks hobbit love, and yes there's a e-book waiting to be sold. If you click on the link Hartworks will give me a bit of the profit. See everyone wins.

To check out the beautiful book of pictures at the end. Click Here!

QR Hop Link

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Michelle Pickett

I'm a wife, mother, author, reader, although not always in that order. I write young adult urban fantasies, science/fiction, paranormal, and young adult and new adult contemporary romances. Reading was one of my earliest passions, writing soon followed. I began writing seriously during college where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. Why I chose a career that frowns on creativity remains a mystery.

Red Bull or Monster Khaos are my coffee of choice. I’m addicted to Reese’s peanut butter cups and peanut butter M&Ms and eat way too many while I write (I’m currently trying to kick this habit). I have an abnormal obsession with hoodies and can’t write without one. I hate to cook, but love to watch cooking shows. I’m a hopeful romantic; I love a swoon-worthy ending that will give me butterflies for days. And books that keep me thinking of them long after I’ve finished the last page.

I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now live in a sleepy suburb of Houston, Texas with my extremely supportive, not to mention gorgeous husband, three school-aged kids, a 125 pound “lap dog,” and a very snooty cat.

Don't forget to stop by the other hosts of the Blog Ring of Power so you can get the full interview!
Part 3 Welcome to the Realm

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

MP: I really don’t know. They just come to me. I don’t know if I see or read something that creates a spark that grows into an idea that smacks me in the head days later…I just don’t know. I wish I had some really great answer to this question like a dream or a physic reading or something like that, but I don’t.

BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block?

MP: I used to bounce a tennis ball off the wall near my desk, but we recently had our house painted so I had to find another way. :) I’ve been walking away lately. Just putting everything away and either writing in my journal or reading. Sometimes it takes a day or two, but it usually helps. I find if I dwell on it too much I tend to make the situation worse. So I try to occupy my mind with something else.

BRoP: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

MP: No, I’m a complete “Pantser.” I write and the characters develop themselves. The only thing I have in my mind when I sit down to write is a vague idea of what the storyline is, how it will start, and where it will end. I keep notes as I write and the story starts to develop itself. I also keep notes of the characters as they introduce themselves to me.

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

MP: I’ve just started using them. I didn’t use them in the past because I was so new to the writing community I didn’t know what they were. Now I understand their importance in the writing process and I find them invaluable! And I’m very lucky to have found a group of wonderful beta readers.

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

MP: I don’t do a whole lot of research. Most of my “worlds” are in my head. They are completely my creations so there isn’t much to research. But there was some medical type research to do for PODs, not a lot. “The Infected” required some research (I’m not divulging what type as it hasn’t been released yet). “Milayna” had a small amount about the types of angels different religions believe in, but, again, I used my own “world” for most of that book.

BRoP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

MP: Yup, love scenes. I hate them. I don’t like writing them At. All. I’m not sure why. It’s not embarrassment. I’m not embarrassed by sex. I think it’s trying to find new ways to present the material without it becoming redundant. I mean, how many ways can you describe a kiss? Also, I write for young adults so I have to be in tune with the fact that sex is an issue in their age group, but I also have to be responsible in how far I take the scenes. So there are a lot of factors that go into a love/sex scene—or maybe I’m putting more pressure on it than needs to be there. I’m not sure. Whatever the case, I really hate writing love/sex scenes. Really.


From the bestselling author of PODs comes an unforgettable tale of action, intrigue, and following your heart in the midst of betrayal.

It's hard being good all the time. Everyone needs to be bad once in a while. But for seventeen-year-old Milayna, being good isn't a choice. It's a job requirement. And it's a job she can't quit. Born a demi-angel, Milayna steps in when danger and demons threaten the people around her, but being half angel isn't all halos and happiness. Azazel, Hell's demon, wants Milayna's power, and he'll do anything to get it. But he only has until her eighteenth birthday, after which she becomes untouchable.

With the help of other demi-angels, Milayna thwarts the trouble Azazel sends her way. Fighting with her is Chay. He's a demi-angel who's sinfully gorgeous, and Milayna falls hard. But is Chay her true love...or her nemesis in disguise?

Because when she learns of a traitor in her group, there's no one she can trust...not even the one she loves.

Buy Links for Milayna:

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Alys Cohen

I'm excited to show off Alys Cohen in all her author glory today. Her newest novel Sacred Honor, came out yesterday!

So let's get down to business so you guys can get to know her better and hopefully become as excited as I am. As always, don't forget to click on the links to the other parts of the interview.

Part 1: Yup, the dance party starts here!
Part 2: Head over to Sandra's blog
Part 3: It's Vicki's turn to show off Alys' work
Part 4: Terri is rocking the books
Part 5: T. W. is never missed for some time to show off an author

Alys started writing as a young child. From picture books to novellas to fan fiction on a then-state-of-the-art IBM, if it involved writing, Alys wanted to do it. Always an avid reader, early literature favorites include Nancy Drew stories and the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe.

At the age of 12, Alys began participating in poetry readings. At 17, she penned her first full-length book, an inspirational non-fiction on living life with a severe illness. No publication attempt has been made with it.

For several years, Alys wrote short stories and poetry, eventually becoming involved with a part of the San Francisco poetry slam scene.

In 2011, a new story began to take form in Alys's head. By September 2012, the iron was too hot to not strike. So she went to the living room, fired up her laptop, and within 30 days, had finished her first fiction novel's first draft. She had finished the second in the trilogy by the end of the year.

A native of California, Alys currently calls Vancouver, Washington, home.

Section #1: About You
BRoP: How long have you been writing?

Alys: Oh my.  This is tricky.  I dictated stories to my parents before I could write.  Some of them were really scary stories too, especially from the mind of a child.  I was about three when I started doing that, and about seven when I started writing stories down myself and even illustrating them.  Giant spiders, abductions, and a good smattering of princesses, sometimes with the spiders!  I was sixteen when I wrote my first full-length book on life with a severe illness that will never entirely go away.  But before that, I also wrote poetry, and still do on occasion. 

BRoP: When and why did you begin writing?

Alys: My imagination has always been very overactive, and I’ve always loved elaborating on thoughts.  My teachers often started setting maximum lengths to reports because I was that kid who’d take a two-page minimum and write for sixteen pages in tiny writing, two lines of print for year line of paper.

However I started Sacred Blood, my first published work, in response to the increase in popularity of abuse-as-romance in books.  Since I’m a firm believer in trying to do better the work of someone you do not admire, I put fingers to keyboard and started writing.

BRoP: Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

Alys: As I said, I’ve been coming up with stories since toddlerhood.  So I’ll go with my first full-length book.  I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness when I was 12 and have been dead twice.  Surviving meant losing some pretty important organs.  At that time, there weren’t books for people like me, and the internet wasn’t around for personal use yet.  Though my book was never picked up for publication, I had hopes for it, that it might help encourage other young people who feel alone while battling illnesses. 

BRoP: When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

Alys: To me, a professional is someone who is turning a profit on what they do.  Since I am not yet at that point, I do not consider myself a professional.  Right now I’m one of the mass of authors with dreams of attaining the level of professional writer.

BRoP: What books have most influenced your life?

Alys: Angela’s Ashes got me through some of the hardest times in my life.  In fact, that book is to thank for me being alive.  Frank McCourt’s childhood struggles and his ultimate rise out of poverty gave me the encouragement to not give up through homelessness and hunger.  One cold day in 2005, I was making plans to go to the Golden Gate Bridge, which was near where I was sleeping, until I came by my copy and started reading.  After that, I couldn’t do it.

Not exactly a light and fluffy answer, but it’s the truthful one.

BRoP: What genre do you write?

Alys: Oh goodness.  Let’s see.  Sacred Blood and its next two are supernatural, but not really romance.  There’s a formula for romance, and this doesn’t follow it.  Action, adventure, encouraging.  However I have some dystopian works in the pipelines as well.

BRoP: What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

Alys: I enjoy supernatural because of the doors it opens.  Part of why I write is to escape from the real world.  Supernatural lets me keep a foot in this world while also opening up the ability to do more than possible in real life.  I also identify with beings who usually need to avoid the light.  I hate sunlight because of how easily I burn (welcome to the world of a pale-complexioned redhead), and so prefer to be awake at night.

Romance has always been enjoyable, but not the stereotypical bodice-rippers.  My guilty pleasure is erotica.  However I’m shy when it comes to sharing. 

BRoP:  If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Alys: I have two ideal careers.  One is to act.  See last question regarding why I love supernatural.  I used to do a bit of it, and found it to be a great way to try on a new life for a while.  Some people want to vacation to foreign locations and exotic locales.  I want to vacation in someone else’s shoes.

The other is to be a fashion designer.  I own a small business doing just this, and am very fortunate to have clients around the world. 

Sacred Blood

Abused and frightened, Juliette St. Claire has never

known love or kindness in her eighteen years.
Meeting Tristan LaRocque changes that,
infuriating her cruel boyfriend, Nathaniel Jensen.
But Tristan is powerless to help Juliette when merely trying
could result in her death.

As threats to her life intensify,
Juliette uncovers the mystical secrets
they have both kept from her,
and she must make some tough choices
about the men she thought she knew.

Fiercely passionate and profoundly riveting,
Sacred Blood is an outstanding story
that will leave you rethinking
love, friendship, and everything you hold dear.

Where to find the book:


 Sacred Honor

Never could Juliette St. Claire have guessed that her future would involve the hard work, glitz, and glamour, of an indie-film actress-turned-Hollywood starlet. Challenges presented by a new relationship with a co-star force her to abandon her comfort zone professionally and personally.

As her twenty-first birthday quickly approaches, an unexpected invitation from an old love quickly propels her back into the danger she thought she'd never again experience. Juliette quickly learns she must choose: her own happiness, or her family's safety.

Intensely captivating and seductively romantic, Sacred Honor is the empowering continuance of Sacred Blood that will keep you on the edge of your seat challenging perceptions of sacrifice.

Where to find the book:

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Kelly Hashway

Welcome back to another Monday. Grab a cup of coffee and sit back. Today we have Kelly Hashway. Don't forget to check out the other parts of the Blog Ring of Power Interview: About You : The Writing Life : The Creative Process : About Your Currant workWords of Wisdom

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

 Author Contact Information

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

KH: I get ideas from all over the place—dreams, conversations, research, mythology, strange-looking objects. You name it, and I’ll find a story there.

BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block? 

KH: Whenever I get stuck in a WIP, I jump to a different scene. I find writing the climax or the ending helps because it gets me excited and it keeps me writing. Then I can usually go back and pick up where I was previously, but the writer’s block is gone. 

BRoP: Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

KH: I’m a plotter who likes to evolve into a partial pantser. I always plan my stories from start to finish. I’ll write over twenty pages of planning, but then once I begin drafting, I let my characters take the lead. If they stray from my planning, I’m totally fine with it because it’s their story to tell. That’s where the pantsing part comes in, and I love it. 

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not? 

KH: I use both. I have my trusted betas who read my work in the early stages and aren’t afraid to tell me where I can do better. Then I polish and polish before sending the manuscript to my CPs. They help me fine-tune my writing, and I love them for it. 

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do? 

KH: It really depends on the book. I like to do my research upfront so once I start drafting I can just run with it, but some books require me to go back to research more as I write. I’m a big fan of Google. I’ve Googled the strangest things while researching for my paranormal novels. I’ve had to look up walk-in refrigerators in morgues and even ways to lock a person in a room from the inside. If the authorities ever check my search history, I might have a lot of explaining to do. ;)

Having fallen at the hands of Hades, Jodi's enduring torture like she never imagined. Worse, she has to watch her Ophi friends suffer along with her—the punishment doled out by the very people she'd sentenced to life in Tartarus. Hell. This is one reunion Jodi hoped would never happen, but now she must find a way to free them all.

Except the underworld is nearly impossible to escape.

Jodi's one chance may rest in raising the human soul she killed when she drank Medusa's blood.

But splitting her human soul from her Ophi soul means living a double life: One as an Ophi experiencing unspeakable torture and the other as the human she could have been if she never came into her powers. With her two worlds colliding, Jodi will have to make the toughest decision she's faced yet.

Buy/Book Links

Face of Death is in both print and e-book format

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cover Reveal for T.E. Ridener's Book: Chartreuse

Title: Chartreuse
Author: T.E. Ridener
Publication Date: April 25, 2014

     Kasen Reed was a lonely guy with hardly any friends. Sheltered by his domineering, cynical mother, he never gained much of a social status and he’s never known true affection. At the age of 19, he finally moves out to start his own life and he has no idea where he’s going from here. Rowan Kelly moved to the tiny town of Chartreuse, Alabama in hopes of starting anew. After a messy breakup that lingers over his head, and his heart, he believes he’s finally found the perfect place to open his clinic and do what he loves best; helping animals. Despite how picture perfect the quaint little town seems, the 26 year old feels like something is missing….. Two lonesome hearts will have a chance encounter in a town that doesn’t seem to be ready for the acceptance of love equality, but will it stop them from being together?

About the Author:
T.E. Ridener resides in the small community of Gray, Kentucky with her equally eccentric yet amazingly interesting family. Miss Ridener has written a handful of novels as well as various short stories during her career as a writer. When she is not writing, she enjoys listening to nearly every genre of music, watching movies, and spending time with her niece and nephew. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been The Blood Betrayal Series, with characters she dreamed up while she was still a teenager. She believes that the Blood Betrayal Series will go far one day, despite the overrating of vampires in the past few years. According to her, vampires will -never- go out of style even if their fashion choices do!

Social Links:

Facebook / Amazon Author Page GoodreadsTwitter / Author Website