A to Z Blogging Challenge Reflections

As you are probably aware already, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge again. This year I opted to highlight women writers. Although again, I didn’t get much traffic from other participants, I felt content that I completed the challenge (missing just a few letters) and that I visited a good number of other sites. I also was able to promote women writers and discover some great books in the process. (Look for reviews later this year highlighting some of the books I discovered!)

Many of these women are indie authors, so I was pleased to help with their book promotion. It’s not easy out there in the publishing world. If you are thinking about self-publishing, I invite you to join me for the PEI Writers’ Guild – Self-Publishing 101 course on May 19th and find out the nitty gritty. You can find out more information here.

So in case you missed it, here’s the complete list of women writers featured in the 2021 Virtual Book Tour. 

Carmen Amato 

Gail Baugniet 

Christina Lynn Lambert 

Daryl Devoré

C.E. Flores

Sarah Flores

Robin Rainbow Gate 

Kimberly H. Smith 

Judy King 

Kate Larkindale 

Leigh Ann Thelmadatter 

Mima 

Erma Note

Nicole Salgado 

Cassie Pearse 

Monique Alvarez 

Laura Roberts 

Sahara Roberts 

Beverly Wood 

Lynda Lock 

Janett Zizumbo 

Any thoughts on topics for next year’s A to Z Challenge?

April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Sahara Roberts

About the Author

Sahara Roberts caught the writing bug early in life. She enjoys writing Dark Romance and Romantic Suspense. Her days are filled with international trade issues (the legal kind) and her evenings writing steamy romance.

She is currently working on Blood Ties, a Dark Mafia Romance series, along with the first spinoff, Rise of Faust, set in South America.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys socializing on Facebook and Instagram or watching The Blacklist, Pure, and My Hero Academia.

Sahara lives in South Texas with her beloved husband and their three furry overlords. She enjoys cooking, baking, and cake decorating, but she would certainly prefer to have someone else do the dishes.

A Dark Mafia Romance Blood Ties Series

Stealing Iris

Dante meets the lovely Iris Gloria during a chance stop at her family’s market. He also comes face to face with Conrado Villa, who’s been trying to work his way into Dante’s network. 

Conrado’s smart enough to catch Dante’s interest in Iris and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

Despite knowing Conrado’s out of his league when it comes to working with criminal elites, Dante decides to bring him onboard.

Dante’s taken by Iris, but he knows something’s wrong and Iris isn’t talking. Is she working with Conrado to pull one over on him? Or is there more to this than meets the eye?

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April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Laura Roberts

About the Author

Laura Roberts writes contemporary romance and short women’s fiction, with steamier stories under the pen name Laure L’Amour. She currently lives in Sacramento, California with her artist husband and their literary kitty, Percy. When she’s not writing, she can be found editing manuscripts for indie authors, transcribing reality TV (her day job), watching rom-coms, testing chocolate recipes, or searching for more typewriters to add to her collection (a Royal Quiet DeLuxe, an Olympia SM9, and a Hermes 3000, frequently featured in her Instagram posts @LauraRobertsRomance). You can find out more about Laura and her work at her website, Buttontapper.com.

Sacramento Love

A short series of love notes to the city of Sacramento, Sacramento Love features 26 fictional meet-cute romances—each sparked somewhere within California’s state capital. Follow along as our cast of local characters meet one another in diners, dive bars, coffee shops, restaurants, parks, and at some of Sacramento’s most beloved landmarks from the American River Parkway to the mysterious Ziggurat.

A sweet (and occasionally spicy) fictional companion to author Laura Roberts’ forthcoming travel guidebook, Sacramento From A to Z, each of the Sacramento Love stories embrace the spirit of the city while travel and other activities in the real world are on hold. Lift your spirits with the joy of meeting someone new, a little romance, and a lot of Sacramento Love!

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April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Erma Note

About the Author

Author Erma Note is originally from the suburbs of Chicago. After moving to Mexico to volunteer with an orphanage, she ended up meeting her husband and becoming a permanent resident in Mexico. They are raising three children in Mexico City, and they love visiting the myriad of museums, archaeological sites, markets, churches, and other beautiful, historical places Mexico has to offer. Erma felt compelled to share her love for the beautiful capital city of Mexico in her children’s book “Travels with Grace.”

Travels With Grace

Grace is a bicultural, bilingual girl living in Mexico City who loves to travel and learn new things. She is excited because her cousin, Connor, is coming to visit from the United States. Grace and her mom put together a plan to teach Connor about this city in Mexico: its language, food, culture, and important places. What new things will they do and see? A portion of the proceeds of this book will be donated to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage.

Is the title of your book significant?

“The main character’s name is Grace, but there is another meaning behind the title. It’s also about traveling gracefully… Being a gracious traveler, to me, means having respect for the local people, their traditions, their language, and their values. In addition, one of the most important things about traveling to a new country, in my opinion, is really getting to know the people and places that are the heartbeat of that country. I love having conversations with local people and learning from them, whether that is an artisan in Santa María del Río talking to me about her woven textiles, or a Yucatecan cigar vendor telling me his story as we share a soda in the sunny downtown square. Learning to speak Spanish has opened a lot of doors for me, and that is one part of traveling gracefully…being able to communicate with the local people whose guest I am,” said Erma.

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April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Mima

About the Author

Canadian author Mima (aka Michelle M. Arsenault) is known for complicated and diverse characters, her dark style, and for never shying away from controversial topics. She writes for people who enjoy being a little bit shocked focusing on the counter-culture. A writer with a social conscience, Mima often touches on homelessness, indigenous issues, racism, and other issues.

The Hernandez Series

A former Mexican narco transitions into Canadian life with family, politics, and business while holding tight to his ruthless, criminal ways. Meet Jorge Hernandez.

Starting with We’re All Animals we follow naive Chase Jacobs from small-town Alberta to the big city, where he unknowingly is employed by a group of sinister characters. The truth slowly starts to reveal itself in Always be a Wolf but a horrific tragedy rocks Chase’s world and he quickly discovers that his new family will do anything for him. Anything.

Jorge Hernandez takes over as the protagonist in the third installment of the series, The Devil is Smooth Like Honey. The beloved character is bold, blood-thirsty and always gets what he wants because he sees no boundaries. Nothing and no one stands in his way. 

In A Devil Named Hernandez  Jorge is muscling in on the Canadian legalized pot industry but is distracted by enemies that crop up to threaten someone he loves. Do they really want to dance with the devil?

The collusion, corruption, and murder continue right through to And the Devil Will Laugh where he successfully takes over the pot industry despite a few obstacles that get in his way…but isn’t there always some collateral damage?

In The Devil May Lie,  Jorge Hernandez is groomed for Canadian politics with hopes of saving one of the major political parties after a public uproar. Will the Canadian political landscape ever be the same again? 

In The Devil and his Legacy, Jorge Hernandez starts to questions his own legacy after one of his foot soldiers is murdered. He opts for a simple life but will the simple life opt for him?

In She Was His Angel, Jorge uses his political influence to cripple his nemesis Big Pharma while simultaneously backing the incriminating docuseries Eat the Rich Before the Rich Eat You. Jorge might win the battle but can he win the war?

When a cop has the nerve to show up at his door and harass Jorge in We’re All Criminals, his fury quickly ignites. While Jorge wants to exhibit his power and publicly taunt the police, his family fears that this time, he may have pushed too far. 

Subplots, conspiracy theories, and a cast of characters that will jump off the pages. 

Loyalty above all. There are no exceptions.

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April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Kimberly H. Smith

About the Author

Kimberly H. Smith is an imaginative writer born and raised in south Louisiana. The former aspiring actress with a B.A. in Theatre never expected her minor in Mass Communications to be the passion that she would embrace. She stays busy with her blog, Being A Wordsmith, and penning freelance articles and reviews. “I survived chickenpox, Catholic school, cancer, and childbirth.”

Her debut novel, Acting On Her Behalf, is a suspenseful tale of murder, love, and secrets. She currently lives in the Kansas City area where she enjoys belly laughs with her husband and her teenage son.

Acting On Her Behalf

Colby Crenshaw, a beautiful TV and film actress, is arrested on live television for killing her longtime best friend, Sharon Darcy. Sharon had lots of secrets that are revealed as Colby finds herself in jail awaiting trial. Malcolm Morrow, a high profile Beverly Hills attorney, comes to Colby’s aid to defend her against the devastating charges. They are immediately attracted to each other despite the unusual circumstances. Malcolm becomes more determined than ever to exonerate Colby when her highly publicized arrest has friends and family turning against her. Colby is tested as her world crumbles around her. Malcolm may be Colby’s only chance at regaining her life and her freedom while acting on her behalf.

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April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Daryl Devoré

About the Author

Two writers in one. Daryl Devoré writes hot romances with sexy heroes and strong heroines and sweet romances with little to no heat. She has several published books available on Amazon in ebook or print, and available at other book retailers via Books2Read.

Daryl (@daryldevore) lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and 2 cats. Daryl loves to take long walks on her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth, and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter, and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.

What do dragons, knights, and romance have in common? Grab a copy of multi-published author Daryl Devore’s medieval fantasy romance!

The Last Dragon

A sorcerer craving dominance merged with a dragon, the power overwhelmed him causing him to split into three dragons. Demora ruled thought, but was lost in time. Yidithe offered protection, shining like the light of the sun. Ayrradex craved chaos, revelling in destroying souls. 

Many knights died, attempting to slay the devil beast. One knight, Prince Hawkyns, did not fear death. He’d lost everything. Away on a mission when Ayrradex attacked his father’s kingdom, Penrythe, Hawkyns returned to find his noble father – feeble and defeated. His wise mother – crazed. His beautiful wife and unborn child – dead. Only a pile of ashes remained for him to bury. He knelt before his King and vowed to slay the devil-beast or be slain. 

Derry was born with powers that terrified her parents. They delivered her to a nunnery to be raised in secret. Jathe, a wise sorceress, discovered the young girl and trained her to one day use the secret hidden in her soul.

Legends spoken around campfires hinted the sole way to destroy Ayrradex was when the hearts of a knight and a golden dragon became one. But after a vicious battle with Ayrradex, the golden dragon was thought to be dead. 

Can Prince Hawkyns’s bravery and Derry’s powers end the reign of the devil-beast’s terror?

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Common Traps for Aspiring Authors

There are sooooo many traps; it’s like a minefield out there. I am only going to briefly discuss a couple.

#1 – Agents will reject a book if you____(fill in the blank)

Choices

  • Used a prologue
  • Used an epilogue
  • Used a prologue and an epilogue
  • Used the word “as”
  • Used adverbs
  • There’s a typo in manuscript
  • Used too many dialogue tags
  • Didn’t use dialogue tags
  • Book is too long
  • Book is too short

If I felt so inclined I could ask my writer friends and probably come up with 10 more reasons, but those 10 were the first that popped into my head.

I have actually asked an agent, “Is it true that any book that has a prologue is automatically rejected?” I think she is still laughing.

No, none of my 10 reasons are true. But people will tell you not to do it. Why? Because they saw it on Twitter/online/in a writers group not to do it. So therefore it becomes the truth.

Write your book. Accept there are going to be rejections, but know that the rejection was NOT because you had the word “as” in your story. 

Possible real reasons – Your book didn’t match with that agent. The genre of your story – that agent is swamped with it. The story didn’t pull in the agent.

#2 – Learn the rules of writing.

This topic I could write a 1,000-page tome on. So instead, I will limit myself to 100 words.

Experienced authors pontificate – New writers should first learn the rules of writing. When I was a new author, I’d respond – What are the rules of writing? Response – crickets.

What I’ve learned – there is NO secret book of the rules of writing. I repeat – there is NO secret book of writing rules. It is not locked in some secret vault in Switzerland. It does not exist.

Someone might publish a book about it, but that is her/his opinion. Not THE actual rules.

What does this all mean? Write your book. Stop worrying about what everybody else says. Just write your book.

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April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Christina Lynn Lambert

About the Author

A few years ago, I read my first romance novel and I was hooked, so much so that I decided to give the idea of writing a story a chance. Love, courage, hope, and second chances are a few of my favorite themes. My stories include a fair amount of sarcasm, suspense, steam, and violence. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time outside and finding ways to avoid cooking. I live in beautiful Virginia with my husband, two daughters, and a sweet, hairy monster of a dog. 

Tiger’s Last Chance (Stranger Creatures book 3)

Tiger’s Last Chance (Stranger Creatures book 3) is Sean and Nikki’s story. The books in my Stranger Creatures series take place in the fictional town of Great Oaks, Virginia. Great Oaks is a wild, wonderful place full of some strange but amazing people- shapeshifters, psy, and more. Each book in this steamy, suspenseful, paranormal romance series features a different couple on their journey to happily-ever-after. 

A little about the story

While working a case, Sean Whitman is tortured for information, drugged, and bitten against his will by a shape shifter. The fallout ruins his career. Needing a fresh start, he leaves town and opens a private investigation business. Learning to live life sober isn’t easy, but he makes it to the two-year mark.

When Detective Nikki Jackson with the Great Oaks, Virginia Police Department calls him to ask for his help as a consultant on a case, he’s captivated by her sweet, slightly Southern voice. In person, she’s unlike any other woman he’s encountered, and nearly impossible to resist. But could the sexy detective ever want a man like him?

After Nikki’s last dating disaster, the mountain lion shifter has sworn off men. Then she meets Sean, and with every second she spends around the tall, dark-eyed man, her resolve crumbles. Despite the undeniable attraction between them, Sean seems determined to push her away.

An investigation into missing refugees leads Nikki to the discovery of a radical political group’s horrifying plot for dominance. Traitors are embedded within the very organizations meant to keep shifters safe. As the list of people she can trust dwindles, she calls on Sean to help her unravel a web of deceit.

As Nikki and Sean fight for survival, his fear of losing her could become a reality. Will he get one last chance to show her he loves her?

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What I’m Working On Now

Book 4 of the Stranger Creatures series is in progress! I’ve been working on Luke and Jordan’s story.
After surviving a battle with cancer, Jordan decides life should be about taking chances. She’s never met another person with psy abilities before, until Luke. Though she’s still nowhere as bold as she wishes she could be, she has an idea that would allow her to spend more time with him.

Luke agrees to Jordan’s plan to spend the holidays together and even though he wants something more permanent than their holiday arrangement, he vows to keep that thought to himself. Would Jordan still want him if she knew his past?

Can they stop an elusive research company from experimenting on vulnerable people or will Luke and Jordan’s time together be over too soon?