Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another NEW Release

Welcome to Thursday everyone and another featured post on one of our new releases!  Today get a sneak peek at Book One of J.F. Jenkins' The Dragons Saga: Legend of the Oceina Dragon.  Its available right now at Astraea Press.

Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord, and well, a dragon. Falling in love is hard enough, but falling in love with a girl that he's forced into marriage who hates his guts? That's even harder. Trying to make that marriage work in the middle of a great war: near impossible.

J.F.  Jenkins lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with her husband, son, and two cats. She graduated from Bethel University in 2006 with a degree in Media Communication with minors in both writing and film. When she is not busy writing, she spends her free time playing games, reading, and spending time with her family.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Terrific Tuesdays...

If it is Tuesday at Astraea Press it also means it's Release Day!

Today we're featuring Spartan Heart by Kristine Cheney.  Get a glimpse into the book here and then venture over to Astraea Press to buy your copy TODAY!

Sent away to college in America, Evangeline swore she would never return to England. Anger loses its value when tragedy forces her home to assume ownership of the family's beloved Greco-Roman museum.
Placing a foolish, drunken kiss on a Greek statue in the museum's basement, Evangeline unknowingly frees a Spartan prince from an evil oracle's curse. Suddenly, her lonely life is invaded by the rakish man with knowing emerald green eyes who never eats or sleeps, and seems to know her every thought and feeling.
Falling in love is dangerous, especially when it's with a man who has already been claimed by the bitter oracle, Demona. From the moment of her kiss, Evangeline is swept into Dorien's world of mystery, danger, and passion. The oracle's fury only mounts as they unravel Demona's darkest secrets, but not before Demona finds out about their unborn half-breed immortal twins. Demona uses her knowledge of the future to manipulate and destroy, but sometimes love has a will, and a heart, of its own.
Kristine   has   been   married   to   Brett,   her   high   school   sweetheart,   for   twenty-one   years.   She   is   the   mother   of   Taryn,   Brett,   and   Zackary,   and   is   a   proud   grandmother   to   Parker,   Ivy,   and   Evely’nn.   A   huge   Labrador   lover,   she   writes   with   her   beloved   Magnus   curled   under   her desk at her feet.  A lover of the ocean, water has always been her muse.   Her favorite place to escape is in Oceanside, California.   Talented   with a   tipped   bag   of   frosting,   cake   decorating   is   only   one of her many surprising talents.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Check out one of our NEW releases...

Astraea Press presents "Forever Gone," a suspense-filled period piece from Addison Kasey.  You can buy it now from our website at

Charleston, South Carolina

PI Sam Bentley didn’t like his newest client the moment he walked in the door, but Sam needs money so being picky isn’t really an option. The client wants to find his wife who’s been missing for two years. He can provide no other information, and Sam knows there’s something shifty about the guy, something he just can’t put his finger on.

Kate Masters has been hiding out from a Russian jewel thief for two years, already suspecting that the man killed her father. Keeping her company is her mother and a large bag of expensive diamonds.
Sam’s client wants his jewels, and when Sam finds Kate and her mother, he’s led the thief right to them. Now, he’s got to use every single trick in his PI handbook to save Kate and her mother’s life…as well as his own.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kim Bowman Wants You to WIN!

Astraea Press is pleased to introduce Kim Bowman.  Today Kim celebrates the release of her first book Wayward Soul with a scavenger hunt beginning TODAY on this very blog.  Check this blog at 9am EST time to find a comment from Kim which will tell you what blog to visit next.  (For more details, please see yesterday's post.)

When Zanna Seoul accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die. In the spirit world, one doesn’t mess with what’s written.
With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf. Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intrvenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made. Can Zanna succeed before the werewolf does?

A random fact about your story.  I wanted a weapon to use against the werewolf, but I didn’t want to use the clichĂ© silver bullet or anything else that was stereotypical. I did a lot research and discovered that fires extinguishers contain Aluminum Sulfate – liquid silver. I had my weapon. Most people have in their homes and it wouldn’t be even close to something you would think of using as a weapon against a supernatural being!  

The villain, Jakub Logan, was slated to be the hero. He was going to save Zanna from herself. I never intended for Owen to play much more than a secondary role. Owen was just supposed to create a conflict for my hero and heroine to have to work through. But Jakub had other ideas. He took on a life of his own and ended up being truly evil. And Owen wasn’t content to just sit on the sidelines.

A random fact about you as an author.  I always read the end of a book first. I start with the last page, then the last chapter, and then I go back to the beginning.

Favorite line in the story (can be funny, romantic, etc).   He wiped the tears from his eyes. “Spirit guide. That’s a good one. Are we going to chant and cast spells? Maybe dance naked in the moonlight? No wonder it cost so much to call the psychic hotline. You people really are in a different area code. The spirit side.” 

How did you get the idea for your book?   I knew I wanted to write a paranormal romance, but I wanted it to be original and unique to me. I’m a huge Sylvia Browne fan and she has a very special relationship with her spirit guide, so I thought why not use a spirit guide as the basis for my story. I added my own twist and Zanna did the rest.

What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the sequel to Wayward Soul. I’m really excited about this story. It has a twist you won’t believe!! (LOL – a little quirk of mine – I know how the book is going to end before I write it) I’m also working on a story that is about half written which is tentatively titled Phantom Heart. It’s about a heart transplant patient who…well, you’ll have to wait and see!

Is this your first published book? 
Yes and I hope it's the first of many!
Vanilla or Chocolate
Vanilla all the way.

What do you love most about Astraea Press?
The suppport. Stephanie, Jane, Alice, and Elaina are always there to answer questions and help you with whatever you need. Also, as an author it's important to be hands-on when it comes to the book you've spent months slaving over and Astraea Press is wonderful about respecting the things you want to stay true to.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hide and Seek! Astraea Style

To celebrate the launch of her new book Wayward Soul, Kim Bowman is holding a BLOG SCAVENGER HUNT February 15, 2011.
The contest will start at 9 a.m. EST at the Astraea Press blog Every half hour (9:30, 10, 10:30, and so forth) Kim will post a comment letting you know which blog to visit next. You will visit a total of 10 different blogs through the day. YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT ON EVERY BLOG IN ORDER TO WIN!
There will be a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winner!!
First Place will receive an ebook gift basket that will include a copy of my new release Wayward Soul as well as two other Astraea Press releases, Rebekah Purdy’s Seeking Shapeshifters and Bri Clark’s Familial Witch, the future Astraea Press release Spartan Heart by Kristine Cheney, Stephanie Taylor’s new release My One True Love, a hard copy of Sylvia Browne's book Contacting Your Spirit Guide, and a $20 ecoupon to use for future purchases at!!
Second Place will receive 3 future Astraea Press ebook releases (Sucker for a Hot Rod by Joselyn Vaughn, Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J. F. Jenkins, and Therese Gilardi's Matching Wits with Venus) , an ecopy of my book Wayward Soul, and a $10 ecoupon to use for future purchases at!!
Third Place will receive 3 future Astraea Press ebook releases (Vanessa Barger's Into the Ether, Elaine Cantrell's A New Dream, and Kay Springsteen's Heartsight) and an ecopy of my book Wayward Soul.
Fourth Place will receive an ecopy of my new release Wayward Soul.
Check out my Astraea Press Books offered in the contests
It's going to be a ton of fun! I hope to see all of you!
If you have any questions, post it below in the comment section and I’ll answer!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In all this Wintry Weather...We're Ready for Sunny Days with Jean C. Joachim

It's snowy and cold outside here in Alabama, but you can warm up with the new book, "Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights" from our featured author Jean C. Joachim.  Hop on over to Astraea Press to get yours today!

Caroline Davis White is a well-known artist and married to a wealthy, controlling man. She has everything money could buy except one thing: Love. Brad refuses to give her a divorce she so desperately wants.  With no money, family, or friends, she flees to the Catskill Mountains where she spent her summers as a young adult.

Mike Foster has achieved success and made more money than he could have thought possible, but it destroyed his marriage and cost him his son.  He is wary of every woman he meets, knowing his money may be more attractive than his good looks.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer, even when I was seven years old, though I was sure I would never be good enough. In high school, I had to write a book report on a book of short stories and couldn’t find one anywhere. So I made one up and wrote the report on my imaginary book, making up each story as I went along. Being the incredibly honest child I was, I felt enormously guilty and was terrified I was going to get caught in this huge lie. I lived my own personal purgatory for a week. Then I got the report back, I got a B-. It was then that I thought I might have the stuff to become a writer.

            What was the scariest moment of your life?
When I was 39 I had an emergency C-section with my first son because I had toxemia. I was too old to have toxemia, but I had it just the same. I was terrified my baby would die even though I was the one in intensive care after the operation. But he was okay and I was okay and in less than five days we were home celebrating our new arrival for Christmas. It was a close call.

            How do you develop your plots and characters?
My first books just came to me. I wrote “Now and Forever, a Love Story” because the characters landed in my head and refused to leave until I had written their entire story. I got the idea for “Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights”, my newest book, by thinking back on my life, looking around at where I was and saying “what if?” I love “what if”, it starts the creative mind working and inventing scenarios, sometimes outrageous ones, for life situations. There are no formulas for me when it comes to plot and characters. I let my mind take over and try to go with what is created there.

            Do you listen to music while writing?
For a person who can’t carry a tune, I find music is very influential in my writing. I don’t have one story where without a theme song. In my first book it was “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers in “Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights” it’s “Hello, Again,” by Neil Diamond. Music speaks so eloquently of romance and creates a mood. When I need to channel my characters and I’m having trouble, I put their theme song on and we connect right away.

            Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m both. As a story comes to me, I write it down. Then I create a loose outline of events and appearance of characters.  When I sit down to write, I let the characters tell me their story, I listen to them and write down what I see and hear in my head. The outline becomes only a guide. What the characters are saying and doing is more important. I know it sounds weird, but they do take form in my brain, come to life and take over the process.
I never know what’s going to happen when I sit down to write a story. In one book, my character was only supposed to wound the bad guy, but she “shot him until he stopped moving” and he was dead! I had not planned that, but it was the right action for the scene and the characters. I was a little shocked.

            Tell us about your current release.
My current book, “Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights” was a labor of love for me. The setting is familiar to me, similar to the summer community I’ve been visiting with my sons for 14 years. I love the characters. Sunny is a gutsy woman taking charge of her life even though she isn’t too confident about it. Mike, our hero, is a strong man, sweet and loving. My characters are not perfect, and I love their imperfections. It makes them seem real. I find a happy ending satisfying. If you want an unhappy ending, turn on the news!

Website:  and
Facebook:   Jean Cohen Joachim    and   Now and Forever, a Love Story, group site.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Featured Author: Nell Dixon

Astraea Press is happy to introduce Nell Dixon!  Nell lives across the pond but we are thrilled she found her way to a little company in Alabama.  She is the author of "Making Waves" and we are excited to say so far it has been making waves in sales.  Yea Nell!

Cassidy Jones needs a holiday and her friend's cottage in New Bay sounds perfect. The beach could heal the bruises from losing her job and her fiancé. Perfect for some time alone to gather her thoughts and heal her broken heart.

Josh Parker is also looking forward to a much needed break after eighteen months of non-stop work. His out-of-town friend offers her cottage, and Josh thinks it would be just right for some time to let his hair down and revive his social life with his old surf buddies.
One cottage, two unsuspecting occupants, a recipe for romance or disaster?
Tell us the "story" of your book and how it came to be.
Making Waves was inspired by my love of the sea. I live as far from the sea as it's possible to be in the UK but I love the seaside. Devon and Cornwall are so beautiful and in the summer when the small towns fill up with handsome young guys who are there for the surf, and the pretty bikini babes - it's very inspirational.

Do you have a writing routine?
I write on my free days from day job, at night, in the car, outside the school, outside dance class.

What inspires you?
All kinds of things, stuff I read - non fiction, newspapers, overheard conversations. I love to people watch.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm working on several things. A single title romantic comedy. A novella set on a vineyard and a Jane Austenesque inspired story that's just a fuzzy fragment.

Tell us something about yourself that your readers might not expect.
I have dyscalculia. I can't remember or retain numbers so I struggle with digital clocks, can't text and don't have card with a pin number.

Favorite Muppet?
Miss piggy - love a girl with attitude. Plus, she loves the frog and she's determined to get him.

Favorite movie and why?
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" The dancing, the singing and the romance.

What are your goals for this year?
To finish all the books I have started.

What do you love most about Astraea?
I love writing for a sweet romance press. It's great to be with people who love sensual romance.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Release Day! -- Featured Author, Felicia Rogers

Today marks the second week of releases for Astraea Press!  Today we are featuring Felicia Rogers, author of "The Perfect Rose."

Abandoned by his wife and left to raise a child alone, Caleb Reed falls short of the ideal work-from-home dad. He needs a woman to help him, in every sense of the word. At the suggestion of a friend, Caleb agrees to hire Ariel Lauren on a trial basis.

As an orphan, Ariel has more issues than just how to make it on her on. Yes, she needs the money that Caleb offers her, but more than anything she finds she desires his love. One calamity after another befalls her and jeopardizes her new job and her chance at having a family. But through it all, Caleb is by her side, his gruff exterior threatening to melt in the face of their shared attraction. Will they decide to continue life alone or will the magic of Valentine's Day bring them together?

Tell us the "story" of your book and how it came to be.
A friend of mine has a child with medical issues.  One day I had a thought, why not do a story about a single father who needed help with his child.  In the beginning my thoughts were to make the child have major medical concerns but in the end I decided to keep the issues simple.  A thus my story was born.
Do you have a writing routine?
I do most of my writing before eight a.m.  I hesitate to say I’m an ‘early bird’, mainly because my husband would argue with me vehemently.  But rather I do my best work in the quiet, darkness of the early morning hours fueled by coffee and a fresh perspective.  And it helps that my children are still in bed! 
What inspires you?
Everything!  Nothing proves that more than my first novella.  The Holiday Truce all started because I wanted a story with an outhouse!  My novel, The Key, was inspired by someone I know that wouldn’t date a hot guy because of the vehicle he drove.  So definitely nothing is to small, insignificant or mundane to get my creative juices flowing.
What are you working on right now?
Promoting is filling a lot of my time.  But I am squeezing in a few hours on a new Inspirational romance novel with a mysterious twist.
Tell us something about yourself that your readers might not expect.
I’m a homeschooling mom of three children.  I’m also a Sunday School teacher, a Drama Team leader, and a volunteer for Girl Scouts of America.
Favorite Muppet?
Miss Piggy!  She’s outrageous, funny, gutsy, and won’t take no for an answer.
Favorite movie and why?
Star Wars!  Specifically ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (the 6th movie in the series, sort of).  It has action, adventure, and of course, romance.
What are your goals for this year?
Goals for this year?  Hmm, interesting question.  I would love to publish a three part historical series that I’ve been working on.  But I think more than anything I want to see a novel with my name on the cover resting on a shelf in a bookstore.  When you hit a shelf at Wal-Mart you know you’ve hit the big time.  Boy, how times have changed!
What do you love most about Astraea?
Do I have to pick one thing?  If I do that poses a dilemma.  For there are many things I like about Astraea.  The people—owners, authors, and support personal—are wonderful!  Stephanie Taylor and her staff are friendly, quick with responses, and constantly in communication.  They are thorough and professional in all areas of the publishing business.  And I know there is not one that will disagree with the statement that Elaina Lee is clearly one of the best cover artists in the publishing world.  But in the end, I think the thing I love most is just being associated with such a family oriented company.  It means a lot to be associated with a publisher who is committed to a moral goal and isn’t afraid to tell everyone about that commitment.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Frank and Earnest

So let’s be frank.  Opening an e-publishing company is exciting! Knowing we are giving some undiscovered authors the opportunity to get their work out for the world to see is gratifying in so many respects.  But opening an e-publishing company is also terrifying.  But maybe not for the reasons you think.
Yes, there is money invested, and the time… (oh my goodness there is SO much time that goes into running a company) but money and time are not the whole reason a venture like this can be terrifying.  What makes it terrifying?  Steph and I are putting our reputations on the line.  What do you mean by that, Jane?  Just what I said.  Steph and I have worked hard to craft reputations with our families and friends, co-workers and even acquaintances.  As you know, reputations are hard to build and easy to lose. With that being said, when we put the Astraea Press logo on a book, it means we are giving it our stamp of approval.  We are saying “Hey world!  Read this!  We loved it and we hope you do to!”  And in giving our stamp of approval, it means we approve of what’s in the book.  Every.Single.Word.
Remember a few blog posts ago when Stephanie wrote about how Astraea Press was bringing sexy back but not in the way you think? This is what I am talking about. There are so many epublishers out there who will print anything.  Literally, anything.  We aren’t that type of publisher.  We are selective on what we choose to put Astraea’s logo on.  We are looking for romance novels which can tell the story of two people falling in love (or out of love and back in love) while they travel in time, working in paranormal worlds, live in the present day, 1800s America or the Roman Empire.  But we want these romance novels to be about the romance. Not the sex. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who actually enjoy reading a romance without seeing the characters hook up every other page.
I think some people believe if you want a clean romance you have to read inspirational fiction.  That is simply not so.  Astraea isn’t an “Inspirational Fiction” publisher.  We will publish those type works and be happy doing it.  But we ARE a publishing house with morals.  There are certain words, behaviors and actions we simply will not allow to be published.  Does this make us snobs? I don’t think so.  Does this make us conscious of what we are giving our stamp of approval to? Yes.  Remember, our reputations are on the line not just as good businesspeople but as people who have high moral convictions. Steph and I want to be confident when something goes out the door with Astraea’s logo on it, we can do so without a bit or remorse or guilt.
And you know what? We may lose potential authors over our stance.  And that’s okay.  But I challenge all of you out there to write a romance that doesn’t include pre-marital sex, or if it does, the negative consequences which can result.  Or write a character whose mouth doesn’t have to say curse words when he’s angry or frustrated.  There are plenty of ways to get your point across without including these type behaviors. Challenge yourself to find them!
I guarantee you there is a customer base who wants these type novels.  As my friend Trina said on my Facebook page recently.  “I have seen a great need for this (clean romance) based on my own love of reading and it’s getting harder and harder to find good stories that don’t leave you feeling ashamed.”
This is what we are looking for my friends:  The opportunity to offer books to the world that doesn’t leave us or you feeling ashamed for having read it.
Happy Writing!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kendall Evans in the House! :)

Today, we are giving everyone a shot to get to know Kendall Evans.  She is the author of "Anna's Shattered Faith" our first Inspirational Romance...which of course is available right now at Astraea Press.

The day Anna Hampton's husband, Zach, was killed was the day she lost her faith. Ranger Daniel Cochran represents everything she doesn't like. Not only is he a lawman, but he's a God-fearing man like Zach. His faith might work for him, but the only thing Anna saw it do was get her husband killed. The Ranger’s presence grows more and more welcome, especially when danger lurks around every corner, and Anna is caught in the middle.

Tell us how your book came into existence.
I’ve always loved Texas Rangers, and when I decided to write an inspirational romance, I knew it was going to be historical, too. So once I had the hero in mind, I just needed to build the plot, and I’d read an interview about a woman who’d lost her police officer husband in the line of duty. I started thinking about how a widow in the 1800s would respond if her husband had been a lawman and she found herself falling in love with another lawman. And I took it from there.

Tell us about your writing routine.
I don’t write until late in the evening, usually after eleven. I get in the bed with my laptop, and I just write until the words stop coming which is usually anywhere from 500 to 1,500 words.

What inspires you?
Everything. Anything. Nature. Music. People. My friends. I’m always amazed at this world God created. I’m inspired every day.

How do you get through writer's block?
This is probably not going to be something any writer wants to hear, but I’ve never had writer’s block. I guess that’s because I’m never at a loss for words when I’m talking. I can always think of something to say which translates onto the page.

Do you have any themes you write around? Not really, no.
What are you working on next? Shaken Faith, the sequel to Anna’s Shattered Faith.

Tell us one thing about you that your readers would never suspect.
I would love to move to New Zealand. It is my dream country, and one day, I hope to be blessed enough to own a home there…or at least rent one on vacation.

What do you love most about Astraea?
The direct communication. From day one, I’ve been in contact with the owner, and she always responds to my e-mails and/or my telephone calls. That’s important to me.

Be sure and follow Kendall at her Facebook page (kendallevans2010) and her own website for future updates on her writing!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today We Feature... Bri Clark!

Today we are pleased to feature Bri Clark, author of "The Familial Witch."  And her background? This girl has done a little bit of everything... Read on to learn more about Bri and her book, "The Familial Witch" which can be purchased directly from our website at Astraea Press
Bri Clark is a real example of redemption and renewal.  Growing penniless in the South, Bri learned street smarts while caring for her brother in a broken home.  She watched her mother work several jobs to care for their small family.  Once her brother could fend for himself, Bri moved on to a series of bad choices including leaving school and living on her own.   Rebelliousness was a strong understatement to describe those formative years.  As a teenager, her wakeup call came from a fight with brass knuckles and a judge that gave her a choice of shaping up or spending time in jail.  She took that opportunity and found a way to moved up from the streets.  She ended up co-owning an extremely successful construction business.  She lived the high life until the real estate crash when she lost everything.  She moved west and found herself living with her husband and 4 kids in a 900 spare foot apartment.  She now fills her time, writing, blogging, leading a group of frugal shoppers and sharing her southern culture.  Her unique background gives her writing a raw sensibility.  She understands what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles.   She often tells friends, “I can do poor.  I’m good at poor. It’s prosperity that I’m not used to.” Bri and her husband Chris live in Boise.  Bri is known as the Belle of Boise for her true southern accent, bold demeanor and hospitable nature. 

Tell us how your book came into existence. Familial Witch came about through a character building exercise for the novel The Awakening. They are two characters in it that were presumably background but whose story evolved into a prequel.

Tell us about your writing routine. I think and plot in the beginning. I always start with character building activities. I really work with my protagonist at first. Once you have your character details down then the rest just falls into place.

What inspires you? I am inspired by music, movie, other books, people, family and life in general.

How do you get through writer's block? I would not know I have never had writer's block.

Do you have any themes you write around? I write around love for the most part. For me it always starts out with a character.

What are you working on next? My next project is cleaning up and releasing my first novel with Astraea entitled Glazier.

Tell us one thing about you that your readers would never suspect. All the characters that are inspired by my husband or are like him I end up killing off. I joke that I subconsciously don't want to share him with anyone.

What do you love most about Astraea? That's gonna have to be Stephanie. She has been awesome to work with and I just love that she is a belle like me. I also love that Astraea is the real deal. It's not a one person show outsourcing other things. While that is ok too. I really enjoy working with each woman and knowing that she covers that area. It's professional and comforting.

Check out the trailer for The Familial Witch:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Author Interview: Rebekah Purdy

Today Astraea Press is pleased to announce the release of three new books! Please surf your way over to our website Astraea Press to download one (or all) that catch your eye.

To celebrate our new books, Astraea will be featuring each new author for the next few days with today's honoring Rebekah Purdy. Rebekah is the author of My Dad’s a Paranormal Investigator: Seeking Shapeshifters. Rebekah took the opportunity to share a few aspects of what inspires her and answers a few questions we posted.

From Rebekah:
My first YA book entitled: My Dad’s a Paranormal Investigator: Seeking Shapeshifters and I’m totally geeked about it. So much so, I find myself gazing at the cover far too much (LOL).

It was definitely fun to write, especially the scenes where my character is actually on investigations with her dad/friends. I’ll be the first to admit that it takes a lot of time to put a story together. From the character sketches to the settings/research, to the writing and editing. Then, of course, my favorite—the PLAYLISTS (you wouldn’t believe how long it takes to pick the perfect songs).

I know, I know. You’re asking what do playlists have to do with writing? And my answer is EVERYTHING! When I’m writing I like to create a certain mood, depending on the scene in the story. For example, if I’m writing a romantic first kiss scene, I want music that kind of puts it in that moment. It’s easier to focus and envision the details when I have the “mood” music playing. For instance, I LOVE Ray Lamontagne, Robert Pattinson (seriously, I’ve come across some acoustic music of his that’d melt your heart), and Taylor Swift for these types of songs. They also work well if there’s a break up or something sad happens. You know, the songs that make you want to bawl your head off.

Same for a fight or battle scene. I tend to listen to heavier music for this to help get to the “grit”. One of my favorite bands for this is Skillet (which happens to be a Christian Rock band). I mean, let’s face it, if I’m listening to something like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I’m probably not going to be in the same mind frame to connect with the characters’ emotions for that particular part of the story.

Since I spend a lot of time commuting for work, I have my car radio on a lot. There are times a song comes on and they fit my story perfectly. And I’ve got to pull over and write down the name and artist so I can add it to my playlist. There’s just something about music that helps to connect with my writing/characters/plotlines.

So each story gets a notebook for research/character info, they get a blurb, and they get a playlist! How about you? Do you use playlists for anything?

Make sure to check out my blurb below! And drop by my blog during February for your chance to win a copy of My Dad’s a Paranormal Investigator: Seeking Shapeshifters, as well as a gift card to Barnes & Noble! Blog:

Be sure to check out my book trailer: 

Sixteen year old Ima Berry (pronounced I’m a) leads anything but a normal life. For starters, the ridiculous name her eccentric dad gave her is always the opening for a good joke. Not to mention the fact he makes his living as a supernatural investigator, which has them moving around every few months. It’s hard to hang out with new friends when she spends all her time trying to prove the existence of Bigfoot, ghosts, fairies and any other number of paranormal creatures. Unfortunately, the cases always end in disaster. That is until now.

On a whim, Ima’s father decides to move them to Point Hope, Alaska. Here, he plans to investigate the possibility of shifters amongst the Inuit tribes. Ima isn’t thrilled with the move, until she meets an Inuit guy named Carsen. Not only is he hot, but he’s also a star basketball player, and he’s interested in her. Too bad his best friend, Talon, doesn’t like her and takes every opportunity he can to discourage the relationship. Ima has no idea what she’s done to make him mad, but there’s no denying the strange connection between them.

As things grow more serious with Carsen, Ima uncovers a secret about him and some of the residents of Point Hope. A secret that will force her to choose between her father’s already dwindling career and her new found love. And with the knowledge of this secret comes danger…a danger that could cost them their lives.

Tell us how your book came into existence: Actually my MC’s (main character’s) dad is loosely based on my husband. He used to take our kids and their friends out on Bigfoot hunts, ghost hunts etc. So I thought, hey, what if I had a character whose dad was a paranormal investigator, and what if they were on a reality show. Throw into the mix a little forbidden romance and wah-la! A story was born!

Tell us about your writing routine: Most of my writing time is done during my lunch breaks at work. And since I have a government job, I also use my government holidays to work on stories.

What inspires you? Music, pictures, being out in nature (like lakes/rivers/woods).

How do you get through writer's blockI force myself to write. For me it’s all about getting words down on paper. Even if that means only 50 words. My philosophy, any word count is better than no word count.

Do you have any themes you write around? I write a lot of Fantasy/Paranormal Romance stories, and one reoccurring theme tends to be the good vs evil. I blame it on my Star Wars obsession (LOL).

What are you working on next? It’s TOP SECRET (LOL). All I can tell you is that I’m ½ through writing it. It’s a YA Fantasy/Fairytale type story, with lots of humor. It has to do with happily-ever-afters, wishes, and well my MC inheriting a job that she might not be cut out to do!

Tell us one thing about you that your readers would never suspect: I can’t cook! LOL. My hubby does pretty much all the cooking in our house. Although, I do make a mean grill cheese and tuna casserole. But yeah, I’m so NOT Betty Crocker! You’re talking to the girl who broiled frozen pizza (maybe that’s why it burned). To make matters worse, I only eat white meat, which means we normally have two pans of any dishes made…

What do you love most about Astraea? Okay, it’s a tie between the awesome staff (you ladies are fabulous), and the focal point of Astraea Press filling the market with sweeter stories. Most of the YA books I read have edgier themes, so it’s nice to be able to see a publisher trying to fill in a gap for those teens who want something else.