Posts by Lauren

Divas Rec: 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 2 comments

Divas Rec: 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters

“33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters” is a must, in my opinion. Let me tell you: This is a list every author needs to print out and keep close when they write.  Covet it. Laminate it. Frame it. Knit it a cozy. I don’t care, just keep it forever. It’s a great resource while you’re developing your characters. When I’ve helped an author or two add more depth to their characterizations, I directed them to this list by Kristen Kieffer on the She’s Novel blog. Not only does she identify what your characters need, but how you can help them. She also created a worksheet that helps you keep track of all the 33 ways you can strengthen your characters. I puffy heart worksheets. All you have to do is sign up for her site (free) and download the PDF. Simple! Then you’re on your way to rounding out your book players. Check out “33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters” by Kristen Kieffer like now! You’re welcome! PS.  For some reason the download link to her worksheet said it was unavailable but the link that was sent to my email worked just...

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Diva Spotlight: Author Brittainy C. Cherry

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Diva Spotlight | 2 comments

Diva Spotlight: Author Brittainy C. Cherry

Hey, all! You may have noticed that I’ve been doing a lot of book reviews instead of writing articles lately. The main reason is that because I’m been so busy with edits and I’ve been reading some fabulous authors lately. Author Brittainy C. Cherry is my latest obsession. I just devoured her newest release The Air He Breathes (Elements #1). I was intrigued by her book, as you can see from the cover on the left. I love me some lumberjack-looking men. I totally ship the beard, not gonna lie. Slurp! So, cover—nailed it. Premise—nailed it—again. Check out the summary for yourself. I was warned about Tristan Cole. “Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel.” “He’s cold.” “He’s damaged.” It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me. We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays. Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe. Who can’t get behind a broken man book? Am I right? But it was something more than a broken man book. It was a story of rebuilding, hope, desire, family, and trust. Cherry weaved such a beautiful love story with a powerful arc and twist I didn’t see coming. (I won’t spoil that here.) The story is about Elizabeth or Liz and her daughter Emma who move back to their hometown after the death of Liz’s husband, Stephen, the year prior. The ghost of her former life as a wife still haunts her and Liz is still in mourning. Moving back to the house she shared with her husband was to serve as a way of healing and starting anew. Except she has a new neighbor that doesn’t want anything to do with Liz or her life. Tristan Cole has nothing to lose anymore. His life is over in his eyes. He lost his wife and child in a car accident and pretty much died along with them. Basically, he’s just existing. The town thinks he’s the outcast, a monster who cares for nothing. And they are right. When Liz first bumps into him—hits his dog—she finds he is everything rumors described him as. But like all the broken men in these types of book, Liz sees something in Tris that no one else does. Soon he becomes a mild obsession for Liz. She sees him, watches him, follows him. What any good stalker would do. LOL! As much as Tristan tries to push away Liz and Emma, he’s also attracted to them. He sees the family he’s been missing. The man he used to be starts to emerge and it scares and fuels him. Liz and Tris soon start a relationship to help rid each other of their demons. Except it doesn’t work out and friendship serves to be a better match for them. But what will it take for them to heal completely? Tanner, Liz’s husband’s best friend, is trying to lure Liz as best as he can. He’s safe and Emma loves him, but is he enough for Liz? Then there’s a twist! AHH! I won’t tell you more because the twists are soooo good! You have to read the book to find out. Cherry’s writing is wonderful, and I found that I did not deconstruct the story like an editor, but simply enjoyed the love affair between Liz and Tristan. Make sure you pick up this book right now! You wont’ be disappointed. About The Author Brittainy Cherry has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and a minor in creative writing. She loves to take part in writing screenplays, acting, and dancing—poorly of course. Coffee, chai tea, and wine are three things that she thinks every person should partake in! Brittainy lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin...

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Diva Spotlight: Shay Savage’s Newest Release Commodity.

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Diva Spotlight | 2 comments

Diva Spotlight: Shay Savage’s Newest Release Commodity.

I’m a big fan of dystopian books. Well, to put it more bluntly: I like dystopian romances. If you all haven’t figured it all by now, I’m a romance junkie. Not gonna lie. I’m dang proud of it. Anyhoo… Shay Savage’s wonderful mind came up with a spontaneous book (according to her author’s notes, this book wasn’t on her writing schedule this year) called Commodity.  I’m a huge fan of her work because not only does she write such raw, gritty characters, she is a master at writing from the male perspective. There is no fluff in her work and I really appreciate it in this genre. Her characters do not go where you think they will go or act in the way you’d expect. It’s refreshing, to say the least, that every book Savage writes is one that I know will be fresh and imagined so well. With all that being said, what is Commodity? Here’s the synopsis: A woman hunted by human traffickers. A hot and dangerous bodyguard. Utter destruction. The end of civilization. The beginning of a new form of currency. Women are now the highest COMMODITY. A little vague, I know. But intriguing enough. I’ll give you a better rundown. Commodity tells the story of two people perched on the brink of the end of the world as we know it. In one catastrophic event, all women, children, and most animals disappear off the face of the earth. The men left are instantly killed on the spot. The lucky ones who managed to be underground or in remote locations are the only ones to survive and build what they can out of the rubble left behind. With social disorder taking over humanity, the only thing of value left on a planet full of men are the few woman who managed to not be taken. As you can tell, they are now a commodity. I kinda like my synopsis better. Ha, Shay Savage! Commodity didn’t disappoint. I love reading this genre so much. I like to see what authors come up with in terms of character survival. Savage’s book Surviving Rain was also a survival book, and it was very well done. This book is also very well done. I loved how her lead characters, Hannah and Falk, battled to get food, water, form alliances and survived when, at times, it seemed like the best thing to do was give up. Hannah was an extremely strong and weak character at the same time. I know that sounds weird, but it she was a good balance between a female who didn’t give up and a woman who needed saving. Falk was the undying force behind her strong will. I loved seeing their push and pull and the love they shared. Falk reminded me of any man who loved so fiercely there wasn’t any limit what he would do to protect what love. You can pretty much guess what that would be. The romance was good, although I would have loved more plot in this story. I get the idea of the commodity thing, but it wasn’t a strong focus of the story. It was mostly Falk trying to get his lady when she was taken from him. We didn’t see too much “commodity” happening, per se. Not much about sex slaves or trading of women or whatever they were supposed to do. And the ending with Falk talking to a certain character (whom I won’t mention because it would be a totes spoiler) kinda made me roll my eyes. But, who cares. it was still a great book anyway! I would read Shay’s grocery list if she published it. Commodity is a wild ride that I couldn’t put down. I think Savage only wrote this as a standalone, but I urge her—URGE HER—to write more in this genre. She does such a great job and I would love to see more about this world. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Shay Savage lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her family and a variety of household pets. She is an accomplished public speaker...

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Diva Spotlight: Author Jay Crownover

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Diva Spotlight | 0 comments

Diva Spotlight: Author Jay Crownover

What was the last book series you fell in love with and felt gutted when it ended? Mine was the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover. I haven’t found a book series so well-written that delivered such real, gritty, and heartfelt romances in a long time. After reading Rule, the first book in the series, I knew I was in for the long haul. In the Marked Men series there are six main books detailing a different marked man: Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Rowdy, and Asa. Each man has their own strengths and weaknesses that are developed throughout each book with a female protagonist that is equally able to balance and challenge the male lead. I must say my favorite books in the series are Rome, Nash, and Rowdy. They seemed to show the most growth out of all the marked men, and I felt they sent a more powerful punch in ways of plot and development that stuck with me more than the other books. Asa from the last book, Asa, was hands down the sexiest of the bunch. The character Asa first appeared in the series in Jet, book two, where he was a side character and subplot. So to finally see his story come to fruition and played out against his female lead, Royal, was the icing on a perfectly baked hot male cake. I loved it all. Strong, tatted men, even stronger women to counter their masculinity, and a bold mixture of love and hate and attraction and strong sexual tension made these books hard to put down. Throw in some smart writing and eventful arcs, and you have a well-paced, pulled together book series. I would recommend these to anyone. Hell, even dudes will like them. Along with authors Shay Savage, J.R. Ward and J.M. Darhower, Jay Crownover really writes a solid male perspective. I find that difficult to really nail, too. So, kudos, Jay! And Lord help me, Crownover is continuing the Marked universe with Built, the first book in her new spinoff series The Saints of Denver. She’s picking up a subplot story about Sawyer and Zeb. DED! I was hoping Zeb would get a book in the Marked series but pleasantly surprised when I realized he’s kicking off the inaugural book in her new seriesone. Did I mention that I have listened to all of these book on audio? Well, I did and I think it made them even more amazing. Crownover is my go-to Audible selection anytime her books come out. Such great voice talents bring these characters to life and make them so personal for the listener. I have also started Crownover’s other series Welcome to the Point. It’s a completely different group of men unrelated to the Marked Men, but in the same universe… or Denver, to be exact. I have only listened to Better When He’s Bad and know it’s going to be another series I’m not going to be able to put down. That’s the best thing about finding an author you really love, anything they write is something you’re going to like. You can expect certain themes or elements to stay the same but each story is so unique and every character’s voice so different from the rest that it makes reading that particular author’s work engaging. It’s a great skill to develop such thoughtful worlds, and Jay Crownover is the master. About The Author Jay Crownover lives in Colorado. She loves tattoos and body modification and loves to incorporate what she sees into her writing. She loves to read, particularly any kind of great story that engages; and of course a pretty, tatted-up bad boy always makes it better. Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Web || Amazon...

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Diva Spotlight: Author Emma Scott

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Diva Spotlight, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Diva Spotlight: Author Emma Scott

I haven’t been reading like I usually do. Between the kids going back to school, soccer, softball, gymnastics, homework, editing, and my husband starting his own company I had little time for myself. So I’m going to go back in my archives and tell you about a book I fell in love with this year: Rush: New York City (City Lights #3) by Emma Scott. By the way, ROMANCE ALERT. (It’s all I read) I was scrolling through Facebook one day—okay, it’s an everyday occurrence—when I stumbled on a sale of Rush. Being the frugal lady I am, I snatched it up. The summary hooked me right away. It was a modern day take on Beauty and the Beast. A win/win in my book. But see for yourself what you think of the summary.   To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. –John Milton Charlotte Conroy, Juilliard-trained violinist, was on the cusp of greatness when tragedy swooped down on dark wings, crushing her hopes and breaking her heart. The music that used to sing in her soul has grown quiet, and she feels on the verge of setting down her violin for good. To pay the bills, she accepts a job as a personal assistant to a bitter, angry young man who’s been disabled by a horrific accident … Noah Lake was an extreme sport athlete, journalist and photographer. He roamed the world in search of his next adrenaline high, until a cliff-dive left him in a coma. He awakes to find his career gone, his dreams shattered to pieces, his world an endless blackness that will never lift. Charlotte begins to see that beneath Noah’s angry, brittle exterior is a young man in a pain. She is determined to show him that his life isn’t over, that he has so much to live for, never dreaming that she would become the only light in his darkness, or that he would help her find the music in hers. The life he knew is over. The life she wants is just out of reach. Together, they must face their fears and rediscover what it means to really live. Do you hear that? It’s my loins quivering with anticipation of unrequited love and lust. Just kidding—maybe. Emma Scott has it all here: strong female protag who is hell-bent on making it on her own. A broken male protag who wants to be left alone but yearns for more even as he is faced with his failure. And a burning romance between that is not only smart and well played, but mature and unshaken. I think Charlotte and Noah are a pair who won’t give up when it really seems like that’s all they have ever done. Scott’s writing is beautifully poetic as it is structured in a classic romance. It’s a standalone book which means that we aren’t left hanging at the end. Score! I really felt for the characters as well as wanted to shake them. That to me is an impression, if conveyed correctly, can carry the book with the reader for a long time. And I read this book a good four months ago. Sometimes I get my romances mixed up and can’t remember one from the other, but with Rush I had no trouble recalling the wonderful story between Charlotte and Noah. There are three books in the City Lights series and a novella coming out in October along with another full length novel in December. I plan on reading every one and you should, too. Make sure to let Emma and Write Diva know what you think of her books! City Lights Series  About The Author I write romances with flawed characters (not just the heroes, but flawed, real women too), in as real a setting as I can make, but with big smooshy, over-the-top HEAs. I believe in diversity, open-mindedness, and inclusion. I like sweetness mixed with steam, love conquering all, and above all, hope. I live and work in the Bay Area, California with my...

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