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Interview with Jaycee Jarvis

This week, I sat down with Jaycee Jarvis who writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop. Enjoy!

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list, 

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and three children. Our area has lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures so we do a fair amount of hiking and occasionally go camping. I’m not much of one for roughing it, so we don’t go camping as much as my kids would like. I’m just too attached to my modern amenities to go without indoor plumbing for long. I do love a good adventure though, and traveling to see new places. This past year has been hard with travel so limited. I’ve always been a big reader, but never more so than this year. Even when I can’t travel physically, I’m happy read a book and take a vacation of the mind.

What got you started in writing?

I’ve always been attracted to stories and story telling, but I didn’t really start writing until college. I took a few creative writing classes and really fell in love with the art.

What do you like to read?

I read all kinds of books, though fantasy romance is my first love. These days I also depend on the happy ending that romances deliver so I’ve been reading a lot of romance in all different genres. I prefer stories that take me away from the ordinary world so I gravitate to anything speculative and historical romances a lot.

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

My debut was Taxing Courtship, the first in the Hands of Destin series. It’s an opposites attract romance between a lady thief and a man too honorable for his own good. Quintin is the kind of sweet and honest guy that I find appealing and somewhat rare in romance. I liked exploring some role reversals with the woman as the more jaded one in the relationship. This series is also a long time coming. I toyed with some of the world building elements–like a system of three elements, rather than the more traditional four or five–for years before getting into the story itself. These days I try to do my world building more on the fly, though it is still fun to chase those “what if” questions.

How do you create your characters?

I’m a character first author, so I like to delve into my characters and figure out what makes them tick. I use archetypes as a starting point and then explore the challenges and struggles in their past that shaped them and what drives them now. I try to really dig into my characters to make them as unique and interesting as possible while still keeping their core personality and values intact. Only after I understand my characters as people do I start working on the plot and how best to push them to their limits.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

As a mom, I’ve written just about everywhere, from the waiting room at the dentist to the sidelines of a wide range of kids’ activities. I prefer coffee shops and other locations with a little noise and bustle, though these days I write mostly at home. I’m a pantser with a few plotting tendencies. I try to identify a few of the high lights and turning points in the story before I start to draft. I don’t draft in order, so it helps to have a few key scenes in mind before I start writing.

What are you working on as we speak?

I’m currently working on the first book in a new trilogy. It’s a totally new world with new characters, and I’m enjoying it a lot. The hero is a Robin Hood type, and a total hoot to write.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

The most important thing is to keep at it. Writing, especially fiction writing, is a long game where even “overnight successes” are usually years in the making. If you have the writing bug stick with it! I would also caution anyone just getting into this business to be focused on your own goals and your own success and milestone. It is easy to get trapped into the mentality of comparing yourself to other authors, when really everyone is on their own publishing journey and no two paths look alike. Other writers can be your inspiration, your mentors or your biggest cheerleaders as long as you see them as colleagues, not competition.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Website:   http://www.jayceejarvis.com/

Newsletter signup: https://www.subscribepage.com/blog_post

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jayceejarvis

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJayceeJarvis/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18092674.Jaycee_Jarvis

Other: (BookBub) https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jaycee-jarvis

Newest or upcoming release: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B091V3F751

Crowning Courtship

Hands of Destin Book 4

In a world of magic and intrigue, a runaway prince lures a jaded healer into a dangerous scheme, putting her life—and her heart—at risk. 

When his father’s funeral calls him home, Han-Advocate Terin is sure his mother will ensnare him in a disastrous marriage to further her own political ambitions. While the sweet-talking prince can usually charm his way out of anything, only another marriage can thwart his mother’s matrimonial plans. He needs a pretend wife, and fast.

Disillusioned Han-Healer Aurelia has had enough of too-charming, too-handsome men to last a lifetime. Still reeling from her divorce, she scorns every flirtatious advance by the attractive younger man, until a mutual friend convinces her to go along with his outrageous deception.

It’s a harrowing trip, filled with jealous courtiers and potential assassins—not to mention the seductive temptation of Terin’s sweet kisses. When his mother enlists a powerful accomplice, Terin and Aurelia turn to allies of their own, but their help won’t be enough if the pretend lovers can’t rely on each other.

Ultimately, Aurelia must choose between protecting her heart and trusting a charming rogue once more in this exciting conclusion to the Hands of Destin series.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Jaycee’s stories and don’t forget to check out her latest release, Crowning Courtship.

Happy reading!

Princess Avenger on Audiobooks.com!

Announcing today an ever expanding availability to download Princess Avenger in audio format!

Here’s the link…Audiobooks.com

And if you would like to purchase on another platform, please check out my recent post HERE for Audible, Kobo, Apple and more!

Romantic Fantasy Shelf Feature

This week, I was delighted to have the Queenmakers Saga feature on Romantic Fantasy Shelf. Here’s the link https://romanticfantasyshelf.com/blizzard-of-book-boyfriends-featured-author-bernadette-rowley-and-the-queenmakers-saga/?fbclid=IwAR0oeG-zJj5BMOWEsRYC5S-YWy27-hcT6rz9k4qKwOvkM8XZnxyVGvWJW54

Happy reading!

Bernadette x

Interview with Jamie Schlosser

This week, I sat down with Jamie Schlosser, author of new adult and contemporary romance as well as fantasy romance/romantic fantasy. Enjoy!

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list

I’m from Illinois. I live in a small town with my husband and two kids. It just so happens that my favorite hobby is also my career–writing. Even if I never wanted to publish, I’d probably still write just because I enjoy it. I’m an introvert and a homebody, so I don’t get out much. I know, I sound super boring! Ha.

What got you started in writing?

About five years ago a story came to me when I was in the shower. It was a story I wanted to read, so I searched for it. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t find a book about a trucker and a hitchhiker at the time, so I decided to write it for myself with no intention of publishing. Several months later, I thought maybe others would like to read it too, so I started looking into self-publishing. That one story idea turned into three, and it kind of snowballed from there. Now I’m getting ready to publish my thirteenth novel.

What do you like to read?

I love to read anything that’s romance. Romance has so many subgenres, it can always fit whatever I’m in the mood for. New adult, paranormal, taboo, fantasy, dark. Romance has it all!

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

Since I already mentioned my first book in question #2, I’ll talk about my most recent publishing adventures. Up until about a year and a half ago, I’d stuck to writing in new adult romance and contemporary romance. I didn’t think I had it in me to write romantic fantasy or paranormal. But then I got a story idea about a fae prince who was cursed by blindness and he accidentally ends up taking a portal to some woods in the human realm.

He meets a girl there and they become best friends. He’s not supposed to be with her because the only way he can break the curse is to find his fated mate… but of course they fall in love. I started writing this story for fun, but once I got going, I couldn’t stop. The Fae King’s Curse was finished in about 7-8 weeks, which is the fastest I’ve ever written an entire book before. Since then, I’ve written four books in that series and I’m loving every second of it.

Wow! I wish I could write that quickly! How do you create your characters?

My characters start out pretty one-dimensional. I usually have a good idea of what they look like and a few personality traits, but the character development doesn’t happen until I get to know the character better. (Because I’m a panster all the way.)

Where do you write?

I write in my bedroom. I have a sit-to-stand desk set up in the corner, and I need it quiet so I can concentrate. I never write in public.

What are you working on as we speak?

Right now I’m gearing up to release The Fae King’s Prize, then I might switch back to my new adult series, The Good Guys.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring writers would be to take it one day at a time. Write when you can. Even a few hundred words is better than none. Take breaks when you need to. Burnout is real. And if you get discouraged, remember why you started writing in the first place. Your “why” is what’s going to keep you motivated.


Here are all the places you can find me and my books

Website: www.jamieschlosser.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjamieschlosser/

Amazon: amazon.com/author/jamieschlosser

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jamie-schlosser

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jschlosserauthor/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cANmI9

Reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1738944743038479/

The Fae King’s Prize releases on April 8th. Good luck with the launch, Jamie!

Stay tuned for more interviews in the coming weeks!

Happy reading

Bernadette x

Scrolls and Screens Podcast

I had a fantastic time recently talking about Princess Avenger with Melissa Matos from Scrolls and Screens. We talked about the themes behind Princess Avenger, what writing has revealed to me and geeked out on Doctor Who.

To catch up with my interview, here’s the link … Princess Avenger – Scrolls and Screens Podcast

I hope you enjoy listening.

Bernadette x

Interview with Karen Tomlinson

This week, I sat down with Karen Tomlinson to delve into her writing and see if I could discover what makes her tick…

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m from England in the UK. I live smack in the centre, imaginatively it’s called the Midlands! I’m really lucky to live near one of our National Parks called the Peak District, which is beautiful: rolling hills, moors, woods, views, pretty old stone villages and large stately homes. 

I love to write but, as I work full time as a resuscitation trainer and clinical skills trainer for a large teaching hospital, that takes most of my free time. Before the pandemic took over the world, I loved to walk in the hills and mountain bike. I also like to keep fit. I’m a 3rd dan black belt in shotokan karate and still train at home, too. It’s kind of ingrained in me now! I also love to get my reading quota in! I love to read PNR and fantasy romance of any kind, and also enjoy contemporary billionaire/hot romance, too.

 What got you started in writing?

I’ve always loved to read but I struggled at school and didn’t believe I could be an author so I didn’t pursue that dream. Instead, I became a nurse. I actually tried my hand at writing years ago while I worked nights. Haha! It was on an old dot matrix word processor! That tells you how long ago that was. I decided to write seriously when my twins were about four years old and we started a story that we’d add to every night. My husband bought me an android tablet that I could carry with me and I started to write our story down. It blossomed from there into the Goddess and the Guardians series. Obviously, it’s a different beast than the story I put together with my baby girls, but that’s where and how my writing bug took a proper hold.

 What do you like to read?

Oh my goodness! Absolutely everything, but I adore books full of romance, or with a good romance subplot. Some of my favourite authors are: Sarah J Maas, Amelia Hutchins, Miranda Honfleur, and Laurelin Paige. There are many more but those are the ones I try and buy a book from as a treat when I’ve finished writing one of my own.

 Tell us about your first book, or favourite published work?

My first book was A Bond of Venom and Magic. It started as above but ended up as a 250 000 word manuscript. I looked into how long a story should be when I was still deciding whether to go indie or traditional publishing and decided that, yeah, it was way too long. With some serious editing it became the second book, too—A Bond of Blood and Fire.

ABOVAM had a gorgeous, illustrated cover but after taking advice I changed it to one for an older readership and it became what it is now. It’s about a half-human, half-fae girl who falls for an elite guard who is sworn to serve a cruel fae queen. There’s magic, dragons, sexy fae warriors with metallic wings, love, betrayal and huge battles. It was such an amazing experience to write that series.

 How do you create your characters?

Wow! That’s a good question! They pop into my head at a random moment, or something or someone triggers an idea about a character and what their life might be like, and I have to write it down. I write down any other random facts that seep into my head. I actually have most of my good ideas in that strange time between being awake and asleep. I’m always irritating my hubby by flicking the light on and jotting them down on my phone.

The other thing I do is write down anything that I think might make a good title and then characters seem to form in my brain and have to be written down to go with them too!

 Where do you write? Are you a plotter or pantser?

Ha! Well, The Goddess and the Guardians was all written pantser style! And everything fell into place. How I remembered all of those facts, and where I wanted the story to go was crazy really. I sort of hybrid plotted and winged it, for the Eight Kingdoms, Again, I knew where the characters needed to go and kind of knew how they needed to get there, so I guess it was planned in my head. For the Shadow Sentinels I did the same thing but wrote more ideas down. I’ve currently bought a number of craft books, so I’m trying something different for book 3 of the Shadow Sentinels series. I have plotted the whole book. The last time I tried this, it all went completely differently to my plan! I guess this time I’ve written the ideas down that are in my head about where the characters need to go, and they are in more detail. We’ll see how it goes.

I use google docs to write so that I can write anywhere, and on my phone too if I need to.

 What are you working on as we speak?

Well, my brain is such a mess at the moment! I am working on a number of different projects, which I don’t normally do. I am working on getting book 3 of the Shadow Sentinels written. I’ve done about 20 000 words at the moment. I have plotted out a completely new project which is going to be a contemporary billionaire romance, and I’ve plotted and am currently working on, character formation for a PNR book, co-written with Claire Marta. I’ve also got cover projects and planning in the works for my next fantasy series, which is dark fantasy romance, demons and an underworld, that kind of thing. I’m very excited about them all, and just need more hours in the day to write really!

 What would be your advice for aspiring authors?

Wow! A tough one. I’ve made so many mistakes and while some were avoidable, I really don’t think others are. I’ve leant from my mistakes (Lol! Mostly) I think the best advice to start is join 20booksto50K facebook group and read the advice there. Start your own mailing list and write a freebie before you do anything else. You need to build your support and readership before you release your first book. I didn’t understand what that meant and it’s been an uphill struggle since I released my first book in 2016 to find my readers and keep them. I release slowly as I work a day job too, and time is short for me. If you can build up books to release at regular intervals that will help too.

Gosh, there’s so much I’d like to say but I think it would get overwhelming so those three things:

*20booksto50K

*mailing list

*Faster release plan.

 Newest or upcoming release:

Shadow Sentinels #2 Ruin: mybook.to/shadowsentinelsruin Release date: 20th March 2021

 Social follows:

Bookbub follow link: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/karen-tomlinson

Amazon.com author page: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Tomlinson/e/B01JF9SIR8

mailing list: https://www.subscribepage.com/karentomlinson

Silver Guardians Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1531458143821861/

ARC group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/297426160981268/

twitter: @kytomlinson

blog: http://karentomlinson.com/news/ 

facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ktomlinson.author/

instagram: https://instagram.com/karentomlinsonauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15259538.Karen_Tomlinson

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/karentomlinsonauthor?fan_landing=true

TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZSpRL7VY

Interview with Astrid V.J.

It was a real pleasure to sit down with Astrid V.J this week. Read on for some enthralling revelations on her motivations and process.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list.

Where am I from? That’s a complicated question because people often do a double take. Recently, someone even said: “how can you be from x if you live in y?” Yeah, I know. Few people understand migration and how much it can affect a person. And in my case, there’s many generations of migration.

I grew up in South Africa. My father is Bavarian, my mother South African-Italian. I now live in Sweden, and people think I’m Swedish until I speak… with a very odd accent they can’t place.

I am married to a Mexican-Swede (yes, we’re a perfect match) and we have two children (I bet they’re going to be confused).

What got you started in writing?

When I was twelve, I read a book. It was non-fiction and way advanced for my age, but I got halfway. Then an idea struck. I put pen to paper. Literally. And I haven’t stopped since. I mould the world around me into fantastical places and miraculous adventures, drawing on History, Human Transformation, Archaeology and Social Anthropology to write Fantasy in a variety of sub-genres.

What do you like to read?

Why books of course 😉

I am an avid reader and audiobook listener. I love almost all genres and am always willing to give something new a try every once in a while. I love being surprised by new authors. That said, anyone following me on Goodreads will know my shelf tends heavily towards Fantasy and Steamy Romance.

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

I read Ella Enchanted when I was fifteen and it’s one of those books that was both wonderful and awful at the same time. I love Gail Carson Levine’s writing style and I LOVED how she gave Ella of Frell a decent romance with the prince before the ball. However, it was, yet again, another Cinderella story and after reading and watching as many versions as I had, it felt like a disappointment.

I remember complaining to my sister that there were sooooo many other awesome fairy tales out there, so why did everyone write Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White?

I picked my favourite German fairy tale, less well-known in English, and wove together my love of Ella Enchanted and Jane Austen’s works into what became The Siblings’ Tale, a two-part retelling of Brother and Sister.

How do you create your characters?

Each character has their own journey and creation process, and they come to me in different ways. Viola Alerion, the lead character in The Apprentice Storyteller, is very much inspired by my paternal grandmother who, when I was a child, appeared to me as a very hard and sometimes downright terrifying woman, but as I grew older and began to understand what she’d been through, I began to see a woman who was kind and gentle, but hid her amazing side behind a hard exterior. Another element of Viola came from my own journey implementing the the transformational principles I’d learned as a life coach in my own life, and the doubts and fears I encountered on the way.

Elisabeth, the main character from my debut two-part retelling, The Siblings’ Tale is very different. She just came to me, fully formed and I realised later, once I’d finished writing her that she was essentially the combination of everything I hated about myself and everything I aspire to be.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

I write anywhere I can. As a teenager, I wrote on paper with a proper fountain pen. I used to walk around school with a massive hard-cover folder under one arm and my fingers coated in ink. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more practical and use the notes function on my phone to jot down important points as they come to me, and then I write exclusively using the computer.

As for my style, it oscillates. Some stories start out more on the pantser side, others are planned and then take their own paths that I never expected. A lot of my planning goes into the character arc. What is the main character going to learn? How are they going to learn it? Who is going to teach them? From there, the rest of the story usually falls into place.

What are you working on as we speak?

The Wordmage’s Tales. This is a series of standalone novellas connected to my recent release, The Apprentice Storyteller. Each one engages with one of the key principles of human transformation, showing how that principle works in action. At the same time, this series will serve to expand on the worldbuilding that I’ve started for the Haldrian Empire in The Apprentice Storyteller. It offers some of the history of the different peoples who now form part of the empire.

At the same time, I have started my preparatory work for The Lion, the Lark and the Lady, my next fairytale retelling. At this stage, I’m thinking a lot about the character who’s been introduced in my latest book, Naiya’s Wish, and what her trajectory will be, while sticking to the original fairytale, The Singing Soaring Lark.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

Write what’s in your heart. Only you can write the stories that reside in your heart. No one else can. This is your purpose with writing. It doesn’t matter what others around you think. The first step in embracing your nature as a writer is to stay true to yourself and write what’s there. Everything else will fall into place around that as you take the next steps on your writing (and publishing) journey.

What has been the pinnacle of your writing career so far?

I’d say, there are two. The first, which I didn’t even believe possible, but I went through the motions of a submission anyway, was winning two International Literary Classics Awards for my debut novel, Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale in 2019. The book I hadn’t believed worth publishing for 13 years was acclaimed with a silver award for Young Adult Fantasy and a gold award in the Fairytales category.

The second came just last week. After more than a year of work together with a group of amazing Fantasy authors, we’ve all received the USA Today Bestselling Author tag, and I’m still reeling from this latest success. When I started my publishing journey just under two years ago, I could never have dreamed this would be possible.

All I can say to anyone else getting into this field, “just keep swimming”. Take each day as it comes and do what you can towards your dream of being an author. Slowly but surely, things fall into place, opportunities come your way, and successes manifest.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Website:   https://www.elisabethandedvard.com/

Newsletter signup: https://www.subscribepage.com/subscribeE+EWORLD

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Astrid-V-J/e/B07S8WGPTT

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Astrid-VJ-2119754304983111

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19215141.Astrid_V_J_

Street team sign up: https://forms.gle/RrpvzSLdfs3Ywh959

Other: I’ve started a fiverr account to support other authors as a beta reader, developmental editor and worldbuilding expert: https://www.fiverr.com/astridjohnsson

Newest or upcoming release: 

Upcoming, in quick succession over the next three months, four titles in The Wordmage’s Tales:

The Sewing Princess

(exclusive to my newsletter subscribers and street team)

The Artist and His Muse (on pre-order)

The Last Warrior (on pre-order)

The Companion’s Tale

Princess Avenger Audiobook – Now Available on Audible

I’m so exited to let you know that Amazon/Audible now have Princess Avenger available.

Here’s the link … Princess Avenger Audiobook on Audible

Other LINKS

Nook

Apple

Kobo/Walmart

Google Play

Chirp

Scribd

Binge Books

You can listen to a sample on all the above platforms.

Happy listening!

Bernadette x

Interview with Val Saintcrowe

This week I sat down with Val Saintcrowe for do a deep dive into her writing.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list,

I live near Shepherdstown, West Virginia in the U.S. with my son. I read a lot and I watch a lot of shows on the CW (a television network). No matter how old I get, I can’t seem to get enough of teen drama for some reason. And yes, I will be watching the Gossip Girl reboot, because it’s one of my guilty pleasures.

I write new adult romantic fantasy as Val Saintcrowe, and then I have a ridiculous amount of other pen names in which I write various other genres, including historical romance, urban fantasy, and thrillers.

What got you started in writing?

I’m one of those writers whose got the aw-so-cute anecdote about writing their first story when they were six (It was called “Joyce Spindle and the Purple Stone” and it was a sort of mashup of Trixie Belden and The Hobbit). I’ve basically always written, but I didn’t finish my first novel until after I graduated from college, and I didn’t start financially supporting myself with my writing until I was over thirty.

What do you like to read?

I love epic fantasy with a strong romantic component and with strong female characters. I’m a big fan of Kiersten White, Tricia Levenseller, Sabaa Tahir, and Holly Black to name a few writers. I also have a weird fascination with serial killers, so I’ll sometimes venture into really dark stuff or Gillian-Flynn-esque psychological thrillers.

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

The first book I published was called Breathless, and it was under a different pen name (you can find it under Jove Chambers now). It was a sort of YA thrillery romance thing, sort of in the vein of Twilight but a good bit darker, about a girl who’d been raised to kill a supposedly evil boy, but she ended up falling in love with him instead. And, well, she wasn’t totally sure that he wasn’t evil. That book and its sequels were eventually responsible for my being able to quit my day job and write full time, but the pen name eventually fizzled out and I moved on to other genres.

How do you create your characters?

I steal them from CW shows.

No, I’m not even lying. Guillame from The Clash and the Heat series is just called Jughead on the outline.

Seriously, I tend to nail down whatever it is a character wants, or what is driving them, and then everything else usually comes from that.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

Boringly, I write at a desk in my office. I need good ergonomics to crank out the words. *grin* I do write outlines, but I like to keep things loose enough that I can go off in different directions if the muse takes me there.

What are you working on as we speak?

I’m in the very early planning stages of a series that will be about a world in which a group of magical creatures (Elves? Fae? Werewolves? Haven’t decided yet) are enslaved to humans, and they lead a rebellion. There will be several couples on various sides of the uprising. I really like forbidden love or love across opposing factions, so I’m pretty excited about that.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

Love the work, because it’s a heartbreaking business, and if you don’t find joy in the creation, the rest of it will eat you alive. The only way you fail is to give up.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Website:   http://vjchambers.com

Newsletter signup: http://www.vjchambers.com/join-val-saintcrowes-email-list/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Val-Saintcrowe/e/B088NMXSSB

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/valstcrowe/

Newest or upcoming release:  The Sins of Falcons https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T8CC7NQ

My next interview will be with Karen Tomlinson on March 20th.

In the meantime, happy reading xx