Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Feature: Astraea Press Collaboration of Author: This is the second to last one enjoy....

Check out the second to last installment of the Astraea Press collaborative short story. Kim Bowman and Kay Springsteen wrote this part as well as the ending...Enjoy.

By Kim Bowman and Kay Springsteen

Deuce adjusted his hold, catching her before she slid off the chair. Ellea could hear his voice, strained and anxious, but her mouth wouldn’t allow her to answer him. A freezing, aching sensation had settled in her brain and she couldn’t move her mind forward past the barrier or retreat out of the recesses of Deuce's memories. She was stuck.
Clearing her mind again, Ellea pushed, located the brick wall, pushed harder. It had no give to it at all. There must be a way to get to the other side—if not through it then around it, or perhaps over...
"You are trespassing. Leave this place." The voice boomed in her head like a clap of thunder.
Ellea jumped. A feeling not unlike static electricity crept along her arms making the hairs stand on end.
Deuce’s voice was now far away and she couldn’t make out his words.
Crackles of electricity worked at her arms again, snapping and popping sounds surrounded her. She leaned into the wall. A loud crack sounded and electrical bolts arced through her mind. Still she pushed.
"Go back!" ordered the thunderous voice.
"No," whispered Ellea.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Three very key figures of Astraea Press were in the areas that were affected by the tornadoes this season. Alice Bennett our marketing director, Elaina Lee our cover artist and Stephanie Taylor our editor and all around corner stone. With that in mind they are without power and suffering from those trials that come with an natural disaster or tragedy. While no one suffered any injuries or losses that we know of there will be a delay in releases as they pick up the pieces. Astraea's Blog and website are still functional and purchases can be made and life will continue on line. The only thing that will be delayed are the new releases. Please be patient and pray for everyone in this time of tribulation.



AP Marketing Liaison

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writer Wednesday: How to Create a Press Release

Please welcome to the AP blog Elaine Cantrell who is going to show us how to do a press release. I for one had no idea how to do this. Elaine take it away...

All big name authors hire publicists to produce press releases for them, but it’s easy to do one for yourself if you’re still waiting to become a household name.
Begin your release with these words: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.  Put them on the top left side of your paper.
Now you need a headline just like you’d see in a newspaper.  Make sure it fits your book.
Next give your location and date.  Ex. Pickens, South Carolina, April 26, 2011
Now you’re ready to tell your story.  Use more than one paragraph, but don’t make each paragraph too long.  Two or three paragraphs is probably enough even though there’s no set number.  If you have to continue the release on the next page, write ‘more’ at the bottom of the first page.
Next, include any background information about you.  You probably shouldn’t talk about your pets and children-just things that might be relevant to your writing.
Give your contact information.
End the release by doing this ###
Here’s one I wrote for A New Dream


Achieving Your Dreams
What happens to a man who achieves his lifelong dream and then loses it?

Pickens, South Carolina-April, 22, 2011  Award winning author Elaine Cantrell explores how the loss of a lifelong dream affects a pro-football player in her latest release A New Dream. 

Hometown boy Matt McCallum achieved his dream eighteen months when he signed a contract to play football for the Green Bay Packers.  At the end of his rookie year he kicked the winning field goal in the Super Bowl.

His dreams came crashing down one bright summer evening when a deer ran across the road in front of him and his fiancĂ©e, Stacey Thomas.  As a result of the ensuing accident, Matt’s right leg was amputated.

After a stint in rehab, he took a job managing a grocery store where he met Violet Emerson.
Violet worked in the bakery department, but her dreams carried her far beyond the doors of Chef’s Pantry. As soon as she could save the money, she planned to open a catering business. And she thought the new manager’s broad shoulders and blue eyes were simply divine.

Thrown together at work, Matt and Violet found a common dream for their lives, but a loose end from Matt’s past returned to jeopardize their future. Will love be enough to save their new dream before it turns into a nightmare?

A New Dream is available at 
ISBN:  9781936852123 
Price: 5.99

About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina.  She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators.  She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC authors.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love contest.  A New Dream is her seventh novel. 

You can visit Elaine at her web site:

Elaine Cantrell
PO Box 1516
Pickens, SC  29671

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Terrific Tuesday: New Release Through the Rabbit Hole

Lisa Kumar debuts here are Astraea Press with a book that is far from Alice and her Wonderland. This hole leads to a Fae realm as original as it gets. Please welcome Lisa and check out her release of Through The Rabbit Hole. 


Social worker Natalie Danvers never thought she would fall head first into her very own dimensional tear — straight into a fey lord’s lap. The handsome but infuriatingly vague Lorh insists she’s stuck in his land for three weeks and that only she can discover the reasons behind her appearance in TirAnn. Natalie’s convinced this is all nonsense until forgotten memories of Lorh and his siblings resurface and collide with reason. Just who and what is she to Lorh and his family?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Character Monday: Casting Characters and Visualization by Kim Bowman

I don’t know about other writers, but trying to describe what my characters look like is the hardest part of writing for me. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, although maybe that’s what this is. I know what I want to happen and how I want my characters to react and feel. The problem I sometimes have is translating the description of my hero and/or heroine on paper. Maybe that’s a form of writers block is. Just a lack of knowing the right words to use rather than a lack of words.
Anyways, I digress.
My problem was solved when I bought my husband the Hoyle Card Games. He LOVES Euchre, Hearts, etc. and I thought it would be great if he could sit with his Net book and play cards while I wrote to my heart’s content. Guess what? You get to design your own player! I thought I would have some fun so I started designing my husband’s avatar. When I finished I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had created the likeness of my hero. WHAM!  I just stared at the screen. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a description of what I saw: strong chin, wavy auburn hair, deep, soul-searching blue eyes. I suddenly saw what was in my mind’s eye.
I decided to try it with my heroine. I already knew she had emerald green eyes, but I couldn’t visualize how to turn a spirit guide into a human. I started moving face shapes around, trying different noses, lips, eyebrows. All of a sudden she was looking out at me.  Her beautiful, raven hair and emerald green eyes accentuated her oval face and sharp chin. Her eyes were beautiful but sad. She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Amazingly, if you look at the heroine and hero on my book cover, you see how spot on Elaina Lee got them. They were so close to the images I had in my head and the avatars I came up with (and, no she had no clue I had created these) it was uncanny. The only thing she had to go on was the general description I provided her with, yet she captured the essence of my characters perfectly.
So now, the Hoyle Card Game character creator is my new best friend when it comes to constructing characters in my stories. It has solved the whole brain freeze problem I had going on. A strange and unusual way to write, but it works for me!

 Images created in Hoyle Card Games © [2011] Encore Software, Inc.  All rights reserved. 

Wow Kim that's for sharing this amazing resource. Visualization is such an important aspect for me as a reader as well as and author. To check out Kim's book Wayward Soul or find out more about her click the title or here. 

How do you cast your characters or visualize characters in a book you are reading?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011


No not that kind of trailer. Dork. We are talking book trailers. It is a industry standard now if you have a book you need a trailer. Today we are going to feature some of the Astraea Press authors and their trailers. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Writing Dialogue by Jean Joachim

         Too much of anything is bad listen to how Jean breaks down how to handle the dialogue plight so many writers face.

                     Writing dialogue
Too much narration, that’s my crime.
“Show, don’t tell,” said the editor…all editors! Action, not exposition! I like to write dialogue to show instead of tell. But dialogue can be tricky. Do you write the way we speak or differently? I was writing the way I speak and the dialogue slowed down to a crawl. Help! I found a great article from Writer’s Digest called, “The Seven Tools of Dialogue” and it changed my writing completely, winning me three book contracts.
I use some of the tools directly and made up some of my own, based on the advice of the article and what works for me. The article talks about letting dialogue flow, just write, write it all down as fast as you can. Don’t edit as you go, get it on paper. Afterward, read it aloud or to yourself or both and then begin editing. I write dialogue that way, going with the flow.
I try to eliminate what I call “doorstops” to dialogue, phrases stopping dialogue in its tracks, slowing it down to the point of boredom. My two favorite doorstops are the words “yes” and “no”. I try never to use them. Dialogue without those words speeds up. Here’s an example of a conversation between the hero, Grey, from my latest WIP and the heroine, Carrie:
“So you want my opinion?” She asked, impressed he had read her work.
            “If you don’t mind. Can I pay for it with a nice dinner?” He asked, moving closer.
            “Why not?” She agreed, feeling warmth in her body growing as he neared.
            “How about Le Chien D’Or?” he asked, mentioning a chic French restaurant.
            While “yes” was the implied answer to the questions, the word never actually appeared and the dialogued moved quickly. Here it is with doorstops added:
“So you want my opinion?” She asked, impressed he had read her work.
            “Yes. If you don’t mind. Can I pay for it with a nice dinner?” He asked, moving closer.
            “Yes,” She agreed, feeling warmth in her body growing as he neared.
            “How about Le Chien D’Or?” he asked, mentioning a chic French restaurant.
Another example from the same WIP is this conversation between Grey, and his sister, Jenna:
“Are you still holding tight to your three criteria?”
            “I told you, those were not negotiable.”
            “So have you met anyone who fits any of those yet?”
            “A new woman I met this week meets the first one.”
            “Which one is that?”
            “She’s smart. Very smart.”
            “Good. Maybe she’ll be smart enough to figure out how to win you over.”
            Again, without Grey ever saying “yes” to any of his sister’s questions he gets the agreement across without a doorstop slowing down the dialogue. The point is to keep the conversation moving. Here’s what it would look like with doorstops added.
“Are you still holding tight to your three criteria?”
            “Yes. I told you, those were not negotiable.”
            “So have you met anyone who fits any of those yet?”
            “Yes. A new woman I met this week meets the first one.”
            “Which one is that?”
            “She’s smart. Very smart.”
            “Good. Maybe she’ll be smart enough to figure out how to win you over.”
It may not seem like a big difference but the doorstop brings the conversation to a halt, only to then be started up again. When a character absolutely must indicate “yes” or “no” I may have them nod or shake their head instead of speak. This technique brings in the fourth point in the article, use silence. This doesn’t mean you never use “yes” and “no”, use them judiciously, make them count.
Sidestepping wordiness by being brief, cutting out extraneous words combined with silence can be an effective way to communicate emotions and actions. It was used by Hemingway, a good enough endorsement for me. Here’s an example of dropping words from “Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights”:

“Want to hear one more from this lovely lady?” he asked.
The thunderous response kept Sunny onstage.
“Song Sung Blue?” he asked.
            “But that’s your song!” she protested.
“Do it with me. It will be our song,” he said.
The article talks about using confrontation in dialogue. I use confrontational dialogue instead of exposition or narrative in “Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights” to show the antagonism, anger and unhappiness in Sunny’s marriage that made her run away:
“It’s about time you called,” he said in a loud, angry voice.
“Brad, calm down.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down! You disappear into the night,
the police think I killed you, the newspapers have already tried and
convicted me…don’t tell me to calm down,” he yelled.
“Brad, if you don’t calm down, I’m hanging up the
phone…then I’m calling the newspapers and telling them you did
try to kill me and that’s why I ran away!” she countered.
“You wouldn’t dare!” he gasped.
“Try me, just try me,” she threatened in an angry tone, her
pulse racing her mouth dry.

Dialogue is an important part, a major part, of every book I write. I love the challenge of writing good dialogue, learning to drop words without losing the meaning, adding confrontation, using silence and keeping “doorstops” at bay. If I keep improving, perhaps I’ll become good enough at dialogue to write a play?

To find out more form Jean Joachim check her out here and come check out Astraea Press's website for new books every week.