Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tremendous Thursday: A New Release: Maya's Vacation

We are getting back on it. Please celebrate with us as we welcome Becca Gomez Farrell. She's has created a fun and original work with Maya's Vacation. Keep scrolling down to find out more about her and Maya's Vacation.


Twenty-year-old Maya knew as she watched Dean walk away from her front door distraught at her silence and her father's threats, that she would never love anyone with the intensity that she loved him. He was her painter, her artist, her soulmate and being apart from him hurt too much. She tucked those feelings away, determined to enjoy the safe and secure life her parents approved of: business school and a marriage to Chuck, a successful real estate agent.
Thirty years later, Chuck has cheated on and divorced her. But when he comes back, begging for reconciliation, Maya takes a vacation to think it over. Her love of art, food, and wine combine at this retreat in the woods, and she prepares for a week of making new friends, tasting exquisite wines, and learning to paint again. What she hasn't prepared for is the familiar voice she hears the first morning at camp...a voice that makes her skin tingle and brings back memories of who she was before Chuck. Has Maya buried her passion too deep to find love with Dean again?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Seduced by Ebooks: A Love Affair

Being seduced by e-books
I have  always been excited by e-books and their possibilities.  I remember reading in high school about new technology (CDs) that would allow the complete works of Shakespeare to be put on one disk.  I thought this was fantastic.  I would no longer need shelves and shelves for my books.  I could keep them all on these tiny discs.
But reading on a computer screen wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Then the first e-readers came out. Better, but they were really expensive.  I never got to try one. 
Since then e-reader technology has advanced and become affordable and the practicality of e-books is becoming more apparent. When they first came out, I was fascinated by the idea that I wouldn’t have to decide which books to take on vacation and worry about what to do should I finish all of them.  With an e-book reader, I could take a thousand books. Problem solved. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Terrific Tuesday: New Release : Sucker For A Hotrod by Joselyn Vaughn

Please welcome Joselyn Vaughn to the Astraea Press house. We are delighted with having her on board and want to spotlight her on her release day with her novel Sucker For a Hotrod. Here's the blurb and and an interview with Joselyn.


Bryce Halloway only dates a woman once. No exceptions.
It gives him the reputation of a heart-breaker, but he can handle that as long as it keeps his mother, Dinah, from trying to marry him off. Judi Montgomery and her tempting ponytail finagle their way around official dates with car problems and driving lessons. She worms her way into his heart and entices him to want more from his life.
When health issues causes his father to retire, Bryce inherits the family-owned tractor repair shop. Can Judi’s love and encouragement give him the courage to break tradition and pursue his dreams of owning a custom hot rod shop?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Character Monday & A New Release : A Double Feature

Here at Astraea Press we have had several amazing and unexpected events. We are behind yet ahead. How is that possible? I'm not really sure you'd have to ask Steph Taylor the cornerstone of our outfit. Anyways with that being said we are catching up on some releases while also promoting our new one. Without further ado please welcome Elaine Cantrell and her character Violet Emerson from A New Dream. 

After an auto accident destroys his pro-football career, Matt McCallum struggles to find a new dream for his life, but nothing engages him the way football did. After a stint in rehab, he takes a job managing a grocery store where he meets Violet Emerson.
Violet works in the bakery department, but her dreams carry her far beyond the doors of Chef’s Pantry. As soon as she can save the money, she plans to open a catering business. And she thinks the new manager’s broad shoulders and blue eyes are simply divine.
Thrown together at work, Matt and Violet find a common dream for their lives, but a loose end from Matt’s past returns to jeopardize their future. Will love be enough to save their new dream before it turns into a nightmare?

Friday, March 25, 2011

We Have Pie On Our Face...Interview with Steph Smith...Author of Lizzie and the Rebel

We at Astraea Press are a little behind and therefore have a little pie on our face. We suffered from technical difficulty last week and were not able to upload this post about our newest (as of last week) Lizzie and the Rebel. Please accept our apologies and welcome Stephy Smith to the house.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Submitting to Astraea Press...First Hand Experience

Now I don't know what others thought about their submissions process but I expected it to be something like what I had experienced with the query process. A wicked witch like woman saying something like " Hehehe...I'll get your manuscript and all your hopes and dreams too and rip them to shreds depending on my caffeine intake at the time of reading."
That is so far from how it happened. Here is the summary of the process of my submission for Familial Witch and what I found out was happening on the other end.

  • Astraea Press was a new sweets publisher that was up and coming that I found through social media. After watching them for a few weeks I decided to submit my short story Familial Witch. 
  • Checked out the submissions requirements. I added 10,000K to it since they want 10-15k for short stories. 
  • Polished it up. Reread the submissions requirements. Followed them!
  • Then sent her in and prayed they would love it. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

After You Purchase E-Books From Astraea Press

So you are surfing the web and you found the wonderful, amazing, fabulous (ok I'll stop now) Astraea Press website.  You've been shopping around, picked out your books, and paid. Now what? Well that's what we are going to address today.

  • The email address that you used to fill out your order form will be the address the e-book will come too or if you used PayPal it will be the PayPal email you used.
  •  Two emails will come. The first will be a receipt of your purchase.
  • The second email will be a list of links for the book you bought. It will look something like this...

  • The next step is to decide what kind of file format you want. This will depend on your E-book reader device, such as Kindle, Nook, Ipad etc. I'm not going to get into all that today but here's a link that will explain the different e-book file types that you can reference
  • Last but not least make sure you make a backup copy of your email and save your receipt. It helps if you have any problems in the future and have to contact us. 

So dear readers have you ever had any problems with e-book file formats? Have any questions? Leave them in the comments below and I will try to answer them.


Monday, March 7, 2011

sale, Sale, SALE !!

Terrific Tuesday will soon be here. This week we are taking a break from new releases and giving you three, that's right, THREE previous releases for 50% off! Get your favorite (or all three) today!

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 goodjoke. 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.

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.  

Lucien Lemione, the clan leader of the feared and revered Eternals, is faced with the ultimate betrayal. His second in command for two centuries has not only created the most grievous of offenses but also commissioned the creation of liquid silver. When poisoned by this toxin, an immortal suffers a fate much worse than death, frozen in an internal prison. After being wounded when found spying, he hides deep within the eerie woods that encircle the Triad Mountains. Desperate and in pain, he prays to an offended mother goddess for help. Her answer: a woman, but not just any woman. A witch.

After losing her entire coven at the hands of the Eternals, Aisleen is the last of her kind. She retreats from the world to Trinity Forest where she is giving the opportunity of a lifetime, or perhaps a test of principles. It’s there she discovers the man she heals is the Eternal that wiped out her people. Although she is bound as a healer, she could be creative in her revenge. Aisleen knows who and what Lucien is…but does not speak of it. There can be no future with Lucien for she can only be with a mortal man. Even if she wanted to be with him, can she forgive the man that caused the genocide of her people?

Lucien must act quickly for the survival of his clan is at stake. However, Aisleen’s ethereal beauty and emerald eyes keep pushing those thoughts far from his mind. Determined to find out what secret she hides, he prolongs his time with her. When his people need him most what will he choose…duty, desire, or will he make his own fate?

You can choose love but you can’t choose destiny.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's a Touch-Know? Find out in this new steampunk called Into the Ether by Vanessa Barger


As a Touch-Know, Genevieve has never been required to steal more than a few paltry coins.  But when a powerful stranger requires their help, her family of street-wise thieves sends her to get the most important thing they’ve ever decided to liberate.  It was supposed to be a simple overnight job.  Instead, Genevieve is required to appear attached to her mark, the curator of the British Museum.  For Genevieve it becomes more than an act, and her problems are far more significant than the possibility of her lies being discovered.
When her family betrays her, she must make an important choice – turn to the man who has destroyed everything she holds dear, or strike out on her own.

Wow we are so excited to have yet another truly original work by a talented author release here at Astraea Press. No lets here are little big about Vanessa. 

Author Bio

I am a Young Adult author who teaches high schoolers all about technology education (and yearbook!) in rural Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay. I am the owner slave to one cat, Molly, who looks a little like a cow when she gets a haircut, and write in my free time. I am actively involved in the YA Fiction Fanatics critique group, which is dedicated to helping its members produce the best MG and YA novels they can write. This past summer I finally bit the bullet and also joined the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). I’ve currently finished five manuscripts, and I’m working on several more. I have my second YA Steampunk, Into the Ether, coming soon from Astraea Press. I also love long walks on the beach discussing Shakespeare while sipping large fruity drinks with little umbrellas.

 Wow Vanessa you lost me at high schoolers (eek!) then got me back with fruity drinks. LOL joke.

Author Interview
A random fact about your story.
Terry’s red hair is based on a picture of my brother when he was about 7 and dressed as a hobo for Halloween. (you know. When he was little and cute.)

A random fact about you as an author. 
Hmmm…  I haven’t told anyone at work about my publishing, with the exception of about two people. I was afraid I might jinx it or something. And someday, when I hit the bestseller list, my brother owes me a case of my favorite, very expensive wine. And I will not forget it!

Favorite line in the story (can be funny, romantic, etc).  
Fireworks lit at my lips and burst in my heart.

How did you get the idea for your book? 
I have always wanted to visit the British Museum, and I think the coolest thing in the world would be if I got trapped there overnight. I also browse museums and wonder what sorts of things the artifacts have seen and what they’d say if I could talk to them.

What are you currently working on?
I just finished a YA paranormal horror-ish book. I’m editing and getting ready to submit it, while I outline a new sci-fi YA romance.

Is this your first published book? 
Actually, no. I have one other book published under another name. But YA is my first love!
Vanilla or Chocolate
Chocolate. Unless we’re talking ice cream. Then its French vanilla.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. A teacher. An artist. Zookeeper. I got a few of those right!

What was the scariest moment of your life?
 My grandfather went in for open heart surgery, and after sitting in the waiting room for hours, my brother and I finally went for lunch. And then Dad came to get us and told us we needed to come back. Then they took us to that little room that never means good news and told us they couldn’t restart his heart.

How do you develop your plots and characters?
I’m not a big outliner, so I have a basic idea of what I want to happen and where I will end up, and then I write. The characters just seem to develop their own personality as we go along, though often they have a little of me or people I know in them.

Do you listen to music while writing?
 Absolutely. Unless I’m having a hard time concentrating, there’s always music on. And I have playlists specific for each thing I’m working on.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?
Panster. If I plot, REALLY plot, I get done and think, “Well, that’s done. I’m bored.” I also feel too confined. Like if I deviate from the outline the world will end or something.

Tell us about your current release.
Into the Ether is about Genevieve Bond, a girl who has no memory of her past and can read the history of an object. She lives with a band of street kids who are thieves. And…well.. here’s the blurb:
As a Touch-Know, Genevieve has never been required to steal more than a few paltry coins. But when a powerful stranger requires their help, her family of street-wise thieves sends her to get the most important thing they've ever decided to liberate. It was supposed to be a simple overnight job. Instead, Genevieve is required to appear attached to her mark, the curator of the British Museum. For Genevieve it becomes more than an act, and her problems are far more significant than the possibility of her lies being discovered.
When her family betrays her, she must make an important choice – turn to the man who has destroyed everything she holds dear, or strike out on her own.

Tell us the "story" of your book and how it came to be.
I don’t really know anymore. I wrote a piece of it, and it sort of came out from there. And I had been looking at information about the British Museum online, and was thinking about what it would be like to be there when the Elgin Marbles and things had just arrived, and when going to see things like that was much more popular. 

Do you have a writing routine?
Not really. I feel most inspired during thunderstorms or cloudy weather (I don’t get it either) and if I’m settling into a long stretch, I turn on the music and get out the tea cups and tea pot and tea tray and take it all to my “art room” (ie – junk room)

What inspires you?
Everything. My students, I have crazy dreams and they often end up as the basis for a story idea. Photos, trips, scenery, stories others tell me… its weird what will inspire a story.

What are you working on right now?
A spaghetti western style YA scifi romance. I’m still world building (and trying to get into the habit of using a “story bible.”)

 Favorite Muppet?
It’s a tie between Pepe the Prawn and Rizzo

Favorite movie and why?
Oh geez – there are so many…. I love Joshua for the message, I love the Mummy movies because they’re just fun, LOTR makes me happy, There’s a lot, and it changes all the time! (movies are my secret downfall. I’ve already had to buy two shelves this year to hold them, and I’m almost full. Again.)

What are your goals for this year?
Write at least three more YA novels, and finish the sequel to my adult novel. Get more published, maybe find an agent… you know… small stuff. lol

Thanks Vanessa for sharing. You can check out more about Vanessa herself at the links below

And her book Into the Ether can be purchase here....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kay Springsteen....Training our Vocabulary

Stay, That! Roll Over, Smiled!
Training Our Vocabulary
by Kay Springsteen

I used to train terriers for agility performance. I love the discipline a dog demonstrates when running the agility course. One day, I decided to run one of my moms and her six untrained puppies with her. Thus began the fun. The mom knew what to do. Each puppy, however, wanted to explore in a different direction. The lesson for this first time working together was simple. Learn to walk as a group in the direction their leader (AKA me) wanted them to go. An hour later, most of the puppies were ready for a nap but we HAD managed to walk as a group a couple of times around the perimeter of my 2.25 acres.

Words are like puppies; untrained babies with minds of their own, who more often than not move independently through our manuscripts, and yet somehow at the end of the piece, we've managed to guide them into a readable, enjoyable story. But what about that training along the way? Consider our puppies. We have the top of the class, active, expressive, visions of discipline. These puppies go where we want them to go and perform in perfect precision. They look good doing it and they make the rest of the group look good. A true delight to the reading eye. We'll call these Stomp, Snatch, Gape, Grip, and Perch. Then we have the puppies who often don't quite live up to our expectations but sometimes they fit in the right place. We'll name these Walk, Take, Look, Hold, and Sit. Then we have those bad puppies. There are a few in every group. Let's call them Real, That, Turn, Was, and Very. And there is almost always one who feels he is the star of the show. This might be a terrific pup, guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. We'll refer to this one as Star, but he usually has a different name, like Veer or Pivot However, because this little Star is so great, we tend to let him take center stage and he shows up a lot, taking over the show and preventing some of the other good puppies from showing how magnificent they can be.

As authors, the words we choose and the way we put them together is our voice. The best words, when overused, can become the ugliest words. And when commonly overused words are tossed into the puppy training arena, a great story can become no more than a good one, and a good story can sour into mediocre. It's not enough to know synonyms exist for various words we tend to use too much. We have to learn to think with an expanded vocabulary so it becomes second nature to use it in our writing. We also need to learn to shelve our high-use words every once in a while, even our Stars. I often get caught up writing the story to the point where I just write and stop worrying what words I'm using to get the tale down. If the thoughts are coming too quickly to consider various choices of words, I let it happen then go back later and look for word echoes and the undisciplined use of such words as "that," or "very," as well as words ending in -ly or -ing, and so forth. I have also learned to keep a list of my most overused words and as I notice others, I add them to that list. When I'm finished with my manuscript, the first thing I do in the editing process is search for my most overused words.

If you think of your manuscript as the yard where the puppies are learning, and of you, the author, as the puppy trainer, consider the basic commands for dog training. Sit, stay, roll over, lay down, fetch.

Sit:  Okay to leave in the story.
Stay:  Better if kept out.
Roll over:  Insert a synonym.
Lay down:  Put the word in timeout (a little use is okay).
Fetch: Think of a completely new (or new to you) way to make this statement.

Eliminating overuse of words is a three-step project. My process goes a bit like this:
I.  Make myself aware
            A.  Look for word echoes (especially new ones) during editing process, add words to overused list.
            B.  Watch for other authors' most used words as I conduct market research (read).
2.  Expand vocabulary
            A.  Look for intriguing/new words in books/articles I read.
            B.  Try to think and speak with new/replacement words.
3.  Stop playing favorites.
            A.  Try to think with expanded vocabulary as I type.
            B.  Both on daily edits and on the full manuscript edit, do a word search for my known favorites.

It should be noted that not EVERY instance of your most used words should be eliminated. The trick is to cut down on usage, not eliminate it. If you take the overused words out altogether, you will only find yourself limited into a new favorite word or expression.

Thanks for stopping by Kay and sharing all these amazing ideas for getting our vocab refined and trained. For more info on Kay and her books just check out the links below. 




Purchases of Heartsight made through the Astraea Press website between March 1 and June 1 will generate a $1 donation to the USO for the Wounded Warrior Program.

Heartsight will be available through the following:

Astrea Press                           

Barnes & Noble                      



All Romance eBooks            

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Terrific Tuesdays...Welcome Kay Springsteen and her Heartsight

Heartsight by Kay Springsteen

On a secluded beach in North Carolina, three lonely people find hope in each other.

Trish Evers is an artist and single mother, who has inherited her grandmother's Bed and Breakfast in a North Carolina coastal town. Though she must sell the house, she decides to bring her daughter to the beach for one last summer vacation in her childhood town.

Bella is a six-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. Rejected by her father, Trish, is the only parent she's ever known. Bella likes to explore the beach and has a tendency to wander off. One day, Bella goes exploring on her own, and Trish finds her in the company of an intriguing stranger.

Dan Conway is a U.S. Marine, who had been born into a family of Marines. Now blind as a result of combat injuries and unable to "suit up," he feels he no longer has a purpose in life. He's come home to the beach, where he spends his days in solitude. Dan must learn to believe in himself and to love life again, which he begins to do through his interactions with Bella and Trish. When a hurricane strikes, and Bella wanders off again, her only hope for rescue is Dan.

Working within the confines of his blindness, he must overcome his fear of failure and recall his training in order to search for the little girl and bring her to safety.


Author bio:
Kay Springsteen grew up in Michigan but transplanted to the south about 10 years ago and now resides in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her five small dogs. Two of her four children live nearby, a married son who has a daughter of his own, and one of her twins. The other twin lives just outside of USMC Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Her oldest daughter still resides in Michigan. When she's not writing, she is transcribing and editing medical reports. Besides being an avid reader, hobbies include photography, gardening, hiking and camping, and of course spending time with her terrific G-baby. She is a firm believer in happily ever after endings and believes there is one out there for everyone; it just may not be exactly what you expect or think you want.

A random fact about your story.  The bedtime story Dan tells Bella is one I made up years ago to tell my own children one fretful night.

A random fact about you as an author. I am a camera geek and when I go shooting, I carry no less than five cameras and lenses.
Favorite line in the story (can be funny, romantic, etc).  "God, if you're there, this would be the time for a miracle."

How did you get the idea for your book? A combination of animated movie from the 1990s, a blind supporting character in a current favorite TV show, and the inspiring stories of wounded warriors who desire to stay in military service made me realize I wanted a blind war hero. Everything else fell into place and I drew on many of my own life's experiences in the writing. .

What are you currently working on? A story between two artists who meet on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Of course, there are histories and complications.

Is this your first published book? Heartsight is my first published novel.
Vanilla or Chocolate - A little of each. I always order a twist when I go to DQ.
 As a child what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher and I even got as far as student teaching but then realized I was not cut out for it...then I had five kids lol.
 What was the scariest moment of your life? When my kids and nephew were in an inflatable raft heading out to the middle of Lake Huron in 65-degree water (trust me, that's chilly) and no one was there but me who could save them. I got into water up to my chest and had a hard time breathing because I have asthma. The raft was still over 100 feet away and still traveling with the offshore wind, and I said out loud, "Oh, God, I need help." I MEANT it casually, as people all to frequently use the phrase, "Oh, God." But then I was at the raft without realizing how I got there. I no longer felt the cold of the lake water, and was able to tow them in. The cold only hit after they were all safe.  
How do you develop your plots and characters? There is no one way. I find an inspiration - can be from music, a news story, something I see on the street, a dream...and I let the idea form and stew for a while before I do anything with it. Then as the various pieces begin to fall into place, I start research.
Do you listen to music while writing? I make soundtracks for my stories, including a main theme, and themes for various scenes and characters.
Plotter or Pantser? Why? Plotter but not in the way you would imagine. I always have a beginning and an end. In the planning process, I figure out some of the stops along the way but then sometimes when writing what seemed like a gem of an idea turns to glass and the plot twists and bends in a different direction. I do a rough outline before I start and I know where my characters are going, pretty much how they will get there. I do extensive characterization and really get to know each character before I start writing.
Do you have a writing routine? I write anywhere, anytime, often in my head while doing other things.
 What inspires you? Everything has the potential to inspire me.
 Tell us something about yourself that your readers might not expect. I have 2000 songs on my MP3 player ranging from classical to new age, to classic rock to new rock, to pop, to stuff from the 1940s, to country, and even a little Rap. Sometimes, when I have a question about what to do next, I ask the MP3 gods by setting the player to random and hitting "next." You will have to guess whether I listen to the answer and follow the advice of an electronic device set on random or not.
 Favorite Muppet? Gonzo.
 Favorite movie and why? Too many to name. I am a movie junkie.
 What are your goals for this year? To finish two more full length novels, one I'm in the middle of and one that's just an idea on the drawing board, and to rework a third.




Purchases made through the Astraea Press website between March 1 and June 1 will generate a $1 donation to the USO for the Wounded Warrior Program.

Will be available through the following:

Astrea Press                           

Barnes & Noble                      



All Romance eBooks