Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Ted Galdi and Giveaway of Elixir

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week Im thrilled to introduce readers to:

~Author of Elixir~

I Don’t Know What It Is, but I Like It: The Art of Genre Blending
by Ted Galdi- 2014

Have you ever been inside a cool restaurant or hotel and were immediately grabbed by the scenery? Likely, you were somewhere that blended different design styles; this sort of “wow” reaction typically only comes from scenery that is (1) different and (2) beautiful. That’s not to say traditional design can’t be great – for instance, a beach hotel in the Caribbean with top-notch tropical furniture, bars, art, etc may be awesome, but it’s not likely to produce the “wow” reaction that a place like The Wynn/Encore Resort in Las Vegas does, which combines multiple design techniques in a totally original way.

Movie Poster (CC) Miramax
The same is true with books. Though books that squarely fit in one genre can be great – and even pack shock value – it’s tough for them to be considered truly unique; over time, most of the ones that are attempting to be “different” at very best are considered more-extreme versions of predecessors in their categories. Greatness and uniqueness, though they often overlap, are two very separate things. The only way a single-genre book – even if it’s great – can carve out its own distinct place is if the underlying message in it is a total departure from everything before it, ie The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

Books with effective radical messages are few and far between, and often have just as much to do with the political/social climate of the time they were published as the writing itself. Genre blending on the other hand is much more accessible, as it relies strictly on what exists on the page, and not the events in the world. If done naturally without drawing attention to itself, it has the ability to create a whole new category, which by effect only has one book in it; now that’s unique.

There are of course other ways for single-genre books to stand out, for instance, an author telling a story from a very interesting perspective, switching from first person to third person and jumping through time. However, things like format and perspective, though powerful tools, are lenses that stories are told through, while genre sits at the heart of the story itself.

So, how does genre blending work? Usually a story holds true to a main genre while weaving in elements from one to many others. For illustrative purposes I’m going to use an example that’s not a book, but rather, a movie – Pulp Fiction, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Principally it’s a crime film, however, it successfully incorporates pieces from all of these genres and potentially even more (depending on definitions): Western, romantic suspense, buddy, religious, and slapstick comedy.

Pulp Fiction meshes these components in an apparently effortless way, without drawing any attention to the “seams.” The result is something that is not only different, but works fluidly as a whole. This brings me to my final point: different for the sake of being different is typically a terrible strategy, whether in hotel design, books, or movies. A cell phone that weighs 100 lbs may be different, but I guarantee nobody will trade in their iPhone for it. “Different” only works if it’s part of a bigger vision. As mentioned earlier, uniqueness and greatness are separate things; for them to overlap, genres should be blended in a way that works underneath the story, silently making it better without creating any distractions. That’s where the “wow” comes from.

Ted Galdi is a twenty-nine-year-old author living in Los Angeles. Elixir is his first book. Prior to writing it, he co-founded the software company

 Ted is a graduate of Duke University. Contact him at


Today I have one Paperback copy of Elixir to giveaway. US residents only. Please fill in the form for your chance to win.

Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. 

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. 

Thanks for being on the spotlight Ted! To learn more about this author check out:


Friday, September 5, 2014

CFBA~September Book Spotlight

This week, the

is introducing

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)



Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller.

Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.


He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore.

When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Driftwood Tides, go HERE.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Hilary Boyd and Giveaway of Tangled Lives

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week we are taking a small break from the Indie author and highlighting sophmore authors. Today Im thrilled to introduce readers to:

~Author of Thursdays in the Park~

Hi Hilary, welcome to the blog. Please tell us about yourself?

FreeImages-Juliaf (CC)
I had my first novel published at 62, after twenty years of trying. Thursdays In The Park, the first one, became a bestseller because, I think, it had a heroine of 60 who falls in love. Most books don’t deal with older people and romance… although now they’re starting to.

I love writing, just love it. I look forward to having nothing else to do at all – not pay the gas bill or cook dinner – except sit down and write.

I think I’m learning to write on the job. I’m not sure how I wrote my first novel, I had a lucky break and it just worked. And now I’m having to learn how to do it again. People think writers are born, they’re not. They practice and practice!

My husband says I’m a nightmare when I’m on a roll with a book, because I’m completely shut in my own world which no one can share. I’m sure he’s exaggerating.

What inspired you to write Tangled Lives?

I wrote Tangled Lives because I had a friend who gave up a baby aged eighteen, back in the sixties. She hadn't told her children, or anyone else except her husband and one friend – she only told me by mistake - and she went through life not knowing where he was or if she’d ever see him again, just waiting, waiting for her life with her other family to explode.

Her story haunted me. I thought it was heartbreaking to give up a baby, I couldn't imagine what agony it must have been. And I wanted to write about that, and, more generally, about what it means to be a mother.

If you could pick a song that encapsulated your book, what would it be and why?

‘Love Hurts’ by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. It’s actually about romantic love, but love is love, and the pain is extraordinary when the love object isn’t available. My heroine, Annie, suffers very much from the love she has for her lost son. Anyway, it’s a beautiful version and always makes me cry when I hear it.

What authors have inspired your work, or what authors would you recommend?

Anita Shreve. She writes so well, her books are honest and have heart, that moment that takes you to the point of real feeling. All her books are great, but Fortune’s Rocks, if you haven’t read it, is a treat.

And Ford Maddox Ford’s The Good Soldier, published almost exactly 100 years ago, but just a brilliant read about relationships and a failing marriage. Good stuff!

What do you want readers to walk away with after reading your book?

I want them to have believed 100% in my characters and gone with them on their emotional journey. I want them to laugh and cry, and I want them to be gripped by whatever dilemma the characters are facing and wonder what they themselves would do in similar circumstances.

Can you share any future writing plans with us?

I’m on Book 5 right now. Sort of half way through and hoping it’s going in the right direction. A Most Desirable Marriage,Book 4, is out this October in the UK, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the readers like it. I still can’t believe this is my day job!

Hilary Boyd is the best-selling author of Thursdays in the Park. She grew up in London. Educated at Roedean, an all-girls boarding school in Sussex, she went on to become a nurse and marriage counselor. In her 30s, she went back to school to earn a degree in English Literature from London University. A former health journalist, she has published six nonfiction books on health-related subjects, such as step-parenting, depression, and pregnancy. She has been writing novels in her spare time for 20 years.

Tangled Lives is her second novel. Boyd is working on her third novel, Straight To The Heart, about a middle-aged nurse who falls in love with a mountaineer. Boyd is married to film director and producer Don Boyd. She has three daughters and lives in London.


Today I have one eBook copy of Hilary Boyd's Tangled Lives to giveaway! Everyone is welcome to enter. Please just fill in the copter. 

Annie Delancey is happily married, in her early 50s, with three grown children. But Annie guards a secret. At age nineteen she had a baby boy and gave him up for adoption. She still thinks of him every day.

One day she receives a letter from Kent Social Services; her son Daniel wants to make contact. A part of her is overjoyed--she longs to meet him. But another part fears what this revelation will do to her family, none of whom know about her past. When Daniel is introduced to Annie's family, a few small tears in the family fabric suddenly gape wide, and the impact of is greater than she could have ever imagined.

Thanks for being on the spotlight today Hilary! To find out more about this author visit: 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight with Frances Housden and Giveaway of Chieftain by Command

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week we are taking a small break from the Indie author and highlighting Rita Award Nominee authors. Im thrilled to introduce readers to:
~Author of The Cheiftain Series~

Why I Do Not Write With an Outline
by Frances Housden for Tinasbookreviews -2014

I always know where I want the plot to begin and have some idea where and how I want to finish, but for me the rest is an adventure and the excitement lies in the unknown.

Usually, I have the title of the book in my head, for me this is important and helps to fix the direction I want the book to take. My RITA nominated book The Chieftain’s Curse began with a dream of a Highlander, although the only way I could tell he was a Scot was from the way he wore his hair and his accent as he happened to be naked—I did say this was a dream. He was shaking his fists and yelling ‘Will this bloody curse never end!’

Needless to say I had to discover who he was and the nature of the curse he was yelling about? For me, this is the start of the adventure, the parts written in your head that become the hero and heroine’s backstories, bringing opportunities for motivations, goals and conflict as well as settings, timeline as well as research. Then I’m ready to put words on the page and in this way Euan and Morag were born. I must also confess to liking prologues as a way of setting the story up and this was in Morag’s POV and the first few important lines: -

Year of our Lord 1069

The Abbot was forever telling Morag that disobedient daughters would go to hell. He forgot to tell her that hell lay only a few miles from her father’s hall, and here she was in the middle of it, with dire feeling of dread twisting in her belly.

 Stay or run?

In these few lines we have a glimpse of the heroine’s character. As for the date—shortly after the Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror’s invasion of England—that is when the research begins. If possible, I like to use actual historic events to help shape my plot, using the events as the backdrop for conflict, a Scottish hero and a heroine from the Northumbrian side of the borders in this instance. These parts are the nuts and bolts, the excitement comes from characters who pop up and refuse to be ignored, like Nhaimeth who is dwarf and not to be confused by the one in GOT, as this book was written long before the series appeared on TV. However he has proved to be an important character in the trilogy, almost like a voice over, or the person who moves the story forward in a Shakespearian play.

Quite a few of these characters are now in my September release ‘Chieftain by Command’ and both the hero, Gavyn, and heroine, Kathryn, had smaller parts in the first book. In ‘Chieftain by Command’ I discovered it was vitally important for Kathryn to make Gavyn fall in love with her, as that was the only way for a woman to gain power. Gavyn on the other hand only became Chieftain of her clan by command of the King, a job Kathryn felt she was perfectly capable of doing; everything after that just evolved with some of the motivation deriving from the plot of the first book as my characters developed further.

Then there are the lads, Nhaimeth, Rob and Jamie from book #1 of the trilogy whose stories are like the backbone of the plot. I found it wonderful to watch their characters grow and change as they became older, and I keep discovering new reasons for their reactions to the hero and heroine as well as the new characters introduced in this book. I had the opportunity to watch young Rob fall in love for the first time, and see Jamie being seduced by an older woman. None of these things were planned. As for the hero and heroine, well they had two years apart straight after their wedding when Gavyn left behind a virgin bride with a warning that when he returned, she had better be as he left her—intact. I love these complications and discovering ways to solve them.

I also love the spontaneity of action and reaction, but it has to be logical—magical mayhap—but still logical. In November my novella The Chieftain’s Feud will be released. This is Jamie’s story it’s few years further on in time and I’ve had to solve conflicts wrought by his seduction by the villainess in the previous book. Even as I write I’m almost ready to begin editing ‘Chieftain in the Making’, Rob’s story and the final novel of the trilogy. Will that be the end—I don’t think so, as I already have titles for another trilogy floating around the back of my mind—connected with but not about Chieftains. I’m calling this next one my Wicked trilogy—it has a good ring to it—and who knows where it will take me or my characters, as at this moment I haven’t a clue, all I have are titles.

Frances Housden has two sons and four grandchildren and loves to travel. She’s a member of Romances Writers of New Zealand, Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America.

Through these associations she has made a multitude of good friends and indulged in her love of travel by attending conferences in other countries.
Today I have one Ebook copy of Frances Housden's Chieftain by Command for giveaway. Everyone is welocome to enter. Please fill in the copter to enter." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.
Thanks for being on the spotlight today Frances. To learn more about this author visit:


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