Book Review: License to Date by Susan Hatler

Book Review: License to Date by Susan Hatler

Title: License to Date

Author: Susan Hatler

Purchasing link:

About the book:

After discovering her fiancĂ© cheated on her, Kaitlin is focused on two things: remodeling her new home and avoiding men at all costs. But her friends insist she get back in the driver’s seat and date again. They strike a hard bargain and agree to paint her house if she goes on five dates. 

Anxious to get the paint job started, Kaitlin schedules five dates in five days, but her plan falls to pieces when a sexy bartender at her venue-of-choice makes her swoon. Even though he observes each of the dates from afar, she can’t help but want him to come a little closer. 

The last person she should fall for is a mysterious bartender with a sinful smile, but Paul makes her want to take risks again. Will the charming man with electric blue eyes break her heart or will he prove to her that a license to date is what makes life worth the drive?

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Sit Down and Write

Sit Down and Write, guest post by G. Lloyd Helm

Dorothy Parker was once asked, what do you say someone who wants to write. She said "Oh I discourage them and I urge you to do the same," so I feel obliged to do just that. If you feel that you want to write, run away quickly because if you catch the sickness you will never be free again. On the other hand if you already have said sickness which I assume you have since you are reading a blog about writing, there is nothing in the world that can discourage you. That being the case sit down at your desk, writing table, computer, or whatever your chosen literary weapon and get at it. Don't talk about it just sit down and write.

Above all, if you are going to write for publication don't be discouraged. You will get rejects by the ream. I personally kept my first thousand rejects, then I have decorated a thousand more trash piles around the world with thousands more. You must toughen up and remember that that reject is of the work not of you personally. That is hard to remember when someone tells you your baby isn't pretty enough to get published in their anthology, magazine or as a novel. Writers succeed by being too damn dumb to quit. And who knows, you might get lucky. Submit everywhere, even to places that seem dumb. Some small publication from Toolieville Montana might just have more power than you know. You are after publication. Money would be nice, but publication is the most important. You gotta get your name out there, but don't be afraid to aim high too. Again what have you got to lose? What are they gonna do reject you? Then you can say "I was rejected by_______" fill in the blank.

There are resources out there to help you too. A major one for me has been They send out a news letter once a week with a list of open paying markets of Anthologies and book publishers. I have had a good deal of success submitting to the publishers Duotrope has listed. There are other resources as well. Writer's Digest is still a good mag with good articles and markets. I find their markets a little stale compared with Duotrope and a couple of others but they always have interesting and useful articles.

I hesitate to add this one but I feel I must. Find yourself a critique group and join it. A good critique group can help you take a mutt of a manuscript and curry it into a show dog. But this also requires your having to refer back to the reject advice. The critiques aren't about you. They are about your work, and if they are about you, leave that group immediately. No need to have your heart cut out once a week or once a month if you aren't making any strides in the writing department. But being a part of a critique group will certainly bring you closer to other writers, which is a good thing though writers are a pretty strange bunch. The old saw about writing being a lonely profession isn't wrong, but it helps to have friends who know what you are talking about when you say, "That transition is kicking my____."

I'll end by repeating Dorothy Parker's advice. Run away, but if you can't sit down and go to work.


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Why You Should Make That Rejection Letter the Focal Point of Your Home

Why You Should Make That Rejection Letter the Focal Point of Your Home

I pinned my 1st rejection letter to my kitchen wall because it gave me something in common with all my fave writers!” – J.K. Rowling via Twitter (March 25, 2016).

What do literary geniuses, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, and Agatha Christie all have in common? Surprisingly enough, each of them have written books that were rejected by multiple publishers. As hard to believe as that may be, it’s entirely true!

Contrary to popular belief, rejection more than anything is a learning opportunity. Of course, no one welcomes rejection. In fact, they avoid it at all costs. But everyone gets rejected at one point in their life, or another, and instead of dwelling on the pain of being told “no”, they can use that rejection as a motivator – the greatest motivator in their life!

On March 25, 2016, J.K. Rowling took to twitter to share two rejection letters she received on her crime novel, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, written under the alias of Robert Galbraith. While Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series has sold more than 400 million copies to date, Rowling admits to having self-doubt. “I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen” she explains. Despite these fears, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” was eventually published by Sphere Books, an imprint of Little, Brown & Company, and the rest is history.

Rowling didn’t allow the fear of going unpublished stop her from trying time and time again, which is an example many dreamers can learn from. Yes, rejection bruises a person’s ego and, more often than not, forces them to go back to the drawing board, but sometimes that’s the best thing a person can do. Going back to the drawing board means making improvements both personally, and in one’s work, and making those improvements brings the motivation to pursue that passion even further.

Remember, rejection isn’t a death sentence, but merely a stepping stone which brings you closer to finally hearing that “yes” you’ve been waiting for. Though it might sound crazy to hang a negative note about your life’s work up on a wall, it can serve as a reminder to persevere…and when you achieve your success, it will be a reminder of all that you’ve overcome.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th –
The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.
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Interview with Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross

Interview with Tamara Thorne  & Alistair Cross

I have a special joint interview for you today with both Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross.

What genre do you write and why?
Tamara: I’ve always been put in the horror genre by publishers and it’s a true fit when I write about vampires or other traditional horror tropes. Honestly, I don’t really think about genre - I simply write what I love. No matter what, my work inevitably has a spooky feel to it since that’s what winds my watch.

Alistair: I’ve never thought about genre when I sit down to write, but some kind of dark fiction is what it usually ends up being. Sometimes it’s supernatural, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it has some romance, sometimes not. I don’t know why I write what I write - I just write what feels natural.

Tell us about your latest book.
Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. It concerns a young expectant couple, Claire and Jason Holbrook, who’ve fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes leaving impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is. When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for - answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
Our wonderful publicist sets us up with guest blogs, interviews, radio interviews, and all manner of other opportunities. We do everything we can to bring our books into the public eye.

What formats is the book available in?
The book will be available in e-format and paper.

Who are your favourite authors?
Alistair: Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, John Saul, V.C. Andrews - there are a lot of them.

Tamara: Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Nelson DeMille, among many others.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Write what you love, not what you think will sell, write every day, and don’t give in to nonsense like writer’s block. Just write. And don’t take advice from other writers unless they’re where you hope to be someday.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Alistair: “A good writer is basically a good story teller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind” by Isaac Bashevis Singer. This quote resonates with me because it addresses two important points. One is that while a writer can learn the technicalities of “good” writing, the work falls pretty flat without an inherent talent for storytelling; proper use of language is important, but it doesn’t necessarily make for the kind of reading people can’t put down. And as for those who write to redeem mankind, well … when I pick up a book, I don’t want to hear about the author’s sense of self-importance. I want to get lost in a fascinating new world and meet intriguing new people.

Tamara: “Get the facts first, then distort them as much as you please.” Mark Twain.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to create the kinds of worlds we want to live in and meet the kinds of people we’d like to know. Torturing and killing our enemies keeps us mellow.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
You can find us at our websites, AlistairCross and TamaraThorne and at our mutual blog, Thorne&Cross. We also have a radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! You can find the link on our websites.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Tamara: That’s a toughie, but in the end, Mother - Priscilla Martin - wins out as the most fun to write. The character I like the most is probably Father Andy. He stands up to Mother’s torments like a champ. And he’s not a pedophile!

Alistair: I agree with Tamara. Priscilla Martin steals the show as far as I’m concerned. I also had a lot of fun with Phyllis Stine, a neighbor of Priscilla’s who exhibits all the unfavorable characteristics that make me squirm a little. I’m also oddly fond of Daphene and Delphine Dean (or, the “Shining Twins” as they’re known around the cul-de-sac,) the whey-faced sisters with the strange eyes and sticky hands.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
Mother has a little bit of everything: a secretive plot that reveals itself gradually for the mystery lovers, plenty of neighborhood hijinks for those who like black comedy, a charismatic power couple for romance readers, plenty of shocks and starts for the thrill-seekers, and the impending kiss of death for horror lovers. And there just might be a ghost.
How long did it take you to write your book?
We had it on the backburner for a year or more but active brainstorming began a month before the writing. Once writing began, it was completed in about four months, including editing
Who designed the cover?
We have a wonderful cover artist named Mike Rivera, who takes our visions, waves his magic wand, and makes them fantastic!
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Mother began as a quick hard-hitting thriller that evolved and spread into a lot of unexpected territories, and we ended up learning a lot about various psychological disturbances such as narcissism, sociopathy, pathological lying, and obsessive hoarding.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
For the time being, Amazon.
What are you doing to market the book?
Guest blogs, interviews, radio, etc.  Also, we’re hiring a sky-writer, and Alistair’s moonlighting as an exotic dancer and has had “MOTHER” emblazoned in rhinestones on his thong. Tamara will be stampeding mad cows painted with snapdragons through major cities across North America.
Who inspires you?
Tamara: Alistair inspires me to get to work and keep at it, and so much more. Writing together is inspiring in itself because our level of compatibility is beyond anything I would ever have thought possible. It’s all about synchronicity. The “in the zone” feelings I have when I’m writing alone are hours I live for, but when Alistair and I are in the zone together, there’s nothing better. We somehow do this Vulcan mind meld thing that we don’t understand - we simply accept it and love it.

Alistair: Tamara Thorne, my collaborator, is a genuine inspiration to me. I have been reading her since the 90s, and she is one of the reasons I wanted to be a writer. To be able to write with her is a dream come true - and I mean that. Otherwise, I’m inspired by anyone who has the honesty to identify their calling and the grit to validate their purpose by taking the necessary actions.
How do you research your books?
We have the luxury of having a psychologist on hand who’s been in the field for many decades and this came in very handy for Mother. We also have close contact with law enforcement, doctors of many stripes, multiple scientists, and a mortician. He’s weird but we love him. (And of course, we have the Internet and books. Lots of books.)
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
We have several. First there is our ongoing serial gothic, The Ravencrest Saga. The first book, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is now available as a complete novel. It’s available on Amazon in e-format and will soon be in paper as well. The new book is called The Witches of Ravencrest. The first installment, Grave Expectations, is available now on Amazon. We are both working on solos that will be out this year. Our new collaboration is the sequel to Tamara’s Candle Bay. It sends her vampires and several of Alistair’s Crimson Corset vamps on a journey to Eternity, California for a big “family” reunion. We’re having a blast.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
Tamara has been traditionally published since 1991, and Alistair has also gone traditional. There are pros and cons to both indie and traditional. Without indie publishing, we couldn’t do our Ravencrest books as serial novels so we learned the ins and outs of doing our own conversions and we’re very happy about that because it gives us both freedom and control of everything from pub dates to cover images. If we find a typo, we can go in and fix it at any time - that’s pretty cool.

The bad aspect is how much dreck is out there for readers to muck through to find books both written and produced in a professional manner. Always - always! - hit the “Look Inside” feature to hopefully avoid this problem.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Early on, books inspired us - and more specifically - our mothers, who read to us from infancy on. Later on - in early elementary school, Tamara was inspired by Ray Bradbury and considers him her mentor. She also read and reread every book the library had on how to write. Alistair was inspired to write when - in the third grade - his assigned Halloween story was read aloud and ridiculed by his teacher. Then and there, he decided to keep writing.  
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
They support us by understanding that this is our business. They take us as seriously as we take ourselves and they rarely point and laugh.
What are you currently reading?
Candle Bay. We’re reading it aloud each morning because we’ve just begun work on the sequel. For pleasure, Tamara is reading Paul Tremblay’s A Headful of Ghosts. Alistair is currently reading - and loving - Harvest Home by Thomas Tyron.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Tamara: Ray Bradbury. From Dandelion Wine to Martian Chronicles and everything in between, he has been a force in my life since early childhood. His prose is poetry, his locales are characters and everything he writes has a spooky tone that I adore. Additionally, Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House was a huge influence. I first read it in sixth grade and it set my course, veering away from sci-fi into more ghostly tales. Tolkien, H. Rider Haggard, Tom Tyron, Richard Matheson - all were influences. So was MAD Magazine.

Alistair: I discovered the books - and movies - of Stephen King when I was eight and this played heavily into shaping me. I also discovered Bram Stoker’s Dracula around this time and was influenced by this. I also read a lot of Agatha Christie, V.C. Andrews, John Saul, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ira Levin.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Tamara: Petting cats, reading, hiking in the mountains and deserts, looking for ghost stories in those places and others, and binge-watching Netflix.

Alistair: It’s ridiculous how long it has taken me to answer this question. What do I do when I’m not writing? Read. Think about writing. Pet the cats.

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Book Showcase: Burning Bridger by Traci McDonald

Book Showcase: Burning Bridger by Traci McDonald

Title: Burning Bridger

Author: Traci McDonald

Purchasing link:

Book description:

Burning Bridger is a romantic thriller about 23-year-old party girl Lily Pinion, who survives being raped only to watch her best friend die, she swears off men to retreat to the Island of Maui. Unfortunately, Maui doesn’t mean safety. Lily’s escape into isolation and alcohol leave her at the mercy of a strange man who appears from the jungle-like landscape of the island, armed and seeking her life. 

Ex-army ranger and bouncer Bridger Jacoby finds himself reluctantly in the wrong place at the right time to rescue her. Lily’s twisted life collides with Bridger’s scarred service in Iraq forcing them to both run from and rely on each other. Even if they manage to let go of the past, it won’t save them from the unknown stranger stalking them down the Road to Hana.

Author bio:

Traci McDonald has been blind for eighteen years and began writing full-time after recovering from a kidney transplant in 2009. She credits modern technology and good training with enabling her to enjoy all facets of being a mother, music lover, reader, history enthusiast and author.

Follow Traci McDonald on her blog Writing Blind ( or Twitter @Tracimcauthor

Traci McDonald’s novels are available at Amazon, B&N and all major bookstores.

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Interview with Traci McDonald

Interview with Traci McDonald

What genre do you write and why? 
Hidden behind my super-practical, rational, detail-oriented personality is a princess who still dreams of being rescued by a prince. In contemporary Romantic/Suspense, I get to fight my own dragons, kick a little butt, and still end up with the man of my dreams in the end.

Tell us about your latest book. 
Lily Pinion has never given her heart to anyone…except her best friend. After a brutal rape, a tragic accident and her tyrannical father’s threats send her into hiding in Maui, Bridger Jacoby rescues her one night in a bar. Searching for solace in alcohol and sun-drenched beaches, Lily discovers the island camouflages the identity of a stranger who is trying to kill her. Bridger, an ex-army ranger and body guard unwillingly becomes the only person Lily can count on to save her life. Their middle-of-the-night escape down The Road to Hana brings them closer to the truth about  each other while the murderous stalker closes in. Lily must face her past, her daemons and her feelings for Bridger before it kills them both.

What formats is the book available in? 
Burning Bridger is available in digital format through amazon, Barnes and Noble, I-books and other e-book formats.

Who are your favourite authors? 
Great Romance and thrilling suspense are often found in different books and authors. I love the romance and stories of Melanie Jacobson, Suzann Brockman and Pippa DE Costa. For Suspense you can’t beat David Baldacci, John Grisham, and Brad Thor. I’m always interested in great romance that goes from disaster and tragedy to love and hope. I love and hate books which make me cheer while cursing: heroes who lose their way, heroines too stubborn for their own good and healing through heartache.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers? 
A blank page is God’s way of telling you how hard it is to be God.” Sidney Sheldon

What's the best thing about being a writer? 
A complete world lives inside my mind. At first, it’s a simple place. There are a few people, a landscape, and a horizon. More people join in, emotions and dialogue, friends, family and beautiful scenery come along and before I know it, I’ve fallen in-love all over again. Reality isn’t nearly as pretty, fun or romantic as fiction. It’s my favourite part of being a writer. The hours I get to spend in a beautiful place with everyone and everything I love. When it’s too impractical and non-sensical, I can just put it away.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? 
Anyone can come join me at tracimcauthor on twitter or facebook.,,, or e-mail me at

Who is you favourite character in your book and why? 
There is only one man Lily trusts. He is her best friend, her adopted older brother, and the one person she believes is always looking out for her. When she no longer has Moises to count on, it is his words, memories and voice that she uses to open her heart to Bridger. I believe it is the influence we have on others when we’re not actually with them that does the most good. Moises was such a great character to write that I wanted to write a story about him. He is by far my favorite character.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book? 
Bridger and Lily’s story is about two people with little in common on the surface. As you get to know both of them, you’ll fall in love with her passion and strength, his quiet patience and the core of who they truly are which makes them different and brings them together. It’s a story about love, conflict, tragedy, break-downs, falling apart and staying together. When the world is stalking you and there’s nowhere to turn, having someone to trust changes heartache to hope. A good story should make you believe that love conquers all. Bridger and Lily have more to overcome than most people…and if they can do it. So can you!

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it. 
This work in progress has been a WIP for many years. I don’t know if its ready yet, so I’d love some feedback on what interests you, what sounds too trite or predictable and what you’d like to see happen. Remember, it’s still a WIP-In a small southern town, Danielle Lyndon runs her families bookstore, protects a centuries old collection of rare books and can’t leave. When a burglar breaks in to steal from her priceless family legacy, Danielle finds herself running from armed strangers, practically killed in a car chase and captured by the silver-blue eyes of Aaron Donnell, her burglar’s older brother. He only wants to find his missing, possibly kidnapped sister. She is certain he is a threat to her books, her safety and even her life. A midnight disagreement turns to trust as Aaron reveals his hidden abilities to Danielle. The silver in his eyes enables him to bind people and objects with his mind, walk through fire and escape mortal limitations. In their search for Aaron’s baby sister, the two discover other missing teens, a ring of human traffickers and the answer to Danielle’s complete abandonment by her mother. To rescue his sister, Danielle and ultimately the human race, Aaron will face off with the ancient bearer of black magic. Between Aaron and Danielle the curses, spells and hexes can be used to bind innocents to life and destroy the grip of death. However, the high price of freedom for others may cost Aaron and Danielle everything they’ve been fighting for. 

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