Sunday, November 29, 2015


I am thrilled to be be hosting a very special guest blogger today, Denise Covey, my partner in crime, I mean my WEP partner, my friend, and fellow writer. She hails from down under and while the US is headed into the months of winter, she's dealing with the hot, hot temperatures of the Queensland. But today she here to talk about sin.

Welcome, Denise, now take it away!



a great believer in how-to-write books. Are you? You should be. Writing is a craft that is never perfected—we grow as writers each time we craft a story, and hopefully, if we continue to hone our skills, we become pretty savvy storytellers.

to my love of writing contemporary romance, I dabble in the paranormal from time to time. What is paranormal romance some of you may ask? Put simply, it is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction.
Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror. My first paranormal novella, Under the Tuscan Moon, was conjured by adding these elements to the cauldron and stirring in a heavy dose of the Gothic.

With the help of paranormal romance author, Stephanie Draven, I’ve compiled a list of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF WRITING PARANORMAL ROMANCE and nailed it to the iron-studded door I step through each time I sit down with my vampires, werewolves, angels and demons. Many of these 'sins' relate to most genres.

SLOTH: Info Dumps.

Nothing turns a reader off faster than a book that starts off with a long narrative explaining the building of your marvellous world. Okay, start your book this way, it helps you get into your story, then you need to delete most of it. Info dumps are lazy writing. They’re bad form. But they're so easy to do! Don't I know it. That's why we need critique partners! Let the details of your world come to light slowly, building layer upon layer, let the reader immerse themselves in the experience. Writers of paranormal romance could learn a lot from the best written fantasy novels.

LUST: Fetishism of the Supernatural.

Paranormal romance writers share a trait with science fiction writers. They like to fetishize the supernatural elements. For the paranormal writer it might be going overboard on the ins and outs of werewolves, demons and/or vampires, while the science fiction writer might be a little too much in love with buttons, gadgets and that neat new world they built. These elements aren’t all that interesting in themselves. Not everyone is turned on by long descriptions of fangs, silky silver-grey coats and a superior sense of smell or hearing. It’s not actually characterization. Obsessing on the blood-sucking aspect of vampirism or vampire lore may appeal to some who share this fetish, but it isn’t storytelling. There has to be more to hold your story together than a collection of neato cool superpowers.

GLUTTONY: Big Chunks of Boring Dialogue Meant to Convey Realism.

Okay, we all know writing teachers tell budding young authors to listen to real dialogue and use it as a model for what their characters say. Well-oh-well. This doesn’t get you far. In real life, people’s conversations are boooriiing.

Why would you want to bore your reader? Paranormal romance characters live extraordinary lives. They never talk about car trouble or going to Cold Rock Ice Creamery unless it has some bearing on the plot, conveys something crucial about their character, or is a delightful little detail sparingly sprinkled into the mix. Real life conversations can drag on for hours. Fictional conversations need to be tight and lean with a dash of sparkle!

Never overindulge or your readers may get up and leave the banquet.

GREED: Too Many Speculative Elements.

The best paranormal romance takes the world as we know it, or the past as we imagine it could have been, and twists one or two crucial elements, following the repercussions from those changes like ripples on a pond. The worst paranormal romance turns itself into a carnival for every strange and unexplained myth, magic, and phenomenon in the cosmos. Elves and vampires, mining together on Xcelsior 54 with space aliens who are ruled by the Wicked Witch of the West in a kingdom called Oz … Yay! Focus, people! In a world where everything is possible, something has to be truly at stake. The television series “Lost”, for example, started out with an intriguing premise, but piled so many new paranormal elements on top of each other that the whole thing collapsed under its own weight, bleeding viewers and disappointing fans.

WRATH: Violence Overload.

Most paranormal romance follows the trend of urban fantasy to put existential concerns at the forefront. It’s the fate of the whole world, country, city, species, brotherhood, or pack at stake. Give us blood…more blood. Does it have to be? Hmm. How about a good secret baby vampire romance? Or a simple mistaken identity story between witches? Or a marriage of convenience between werewolves?

(Well, I’ve seen one between a werewolf and a vampire recently…very cool). At the very least, let’s write about universal interpersonal conflicts that focus on a developing relationship at the center of the book, rather than danger and violence. I’ve crafted Under the Tuscan Moon around two characters and their relationship and how it has been twisted due to paranormal elements, and there is definitely violence. But at heart I've written a love story.

PRIDE: A Glossary of Terms.

Look, if you want to put a glossary of terms at the back of the book for curious readers to look up terms as they arise, go for it. That’ll thrill some! But putting it at the front of your story signals that you think you’re just too special to weave your special language into the book. It says that artful exposition is something paeans must use, but not you. I received some good advice from a critique partner who said, "Denise, don’t make your readers look words/terms up. I hate that! Let them figure it out in context. And no brackets! Throughout your story to explain. You have to make terms clear to the reader in your own brilliant way." Brilliant advice and I believe it made my story more enjoyable.

ENVY: Mary Sue Characters.

We all want to be six-foot bombshells who can kick butt in high heels, smite evildoers, and capture the heart of the sexiest angel ever to fall from heaven. But such heroines can’t be all wish fulfillment, quick-witted, never afraid, never at a loss for a words, and always right. It’s held as a given in paranormal romance circles that your hero can be a bastard but your heroine can’t be a bad girl. Really? How could a reader love her if she’s not perfect? (((grimace))) Put some dents in her armour and let the hero call her on her bullshit once in a while.

So in my novella, I wanted to explore how vampires might view humans, whether they envied them or hated them, or a bit of both.

 Extract from Chapter Two:

 "Vampires were considered cold, stiff, unfeeling by humans, but Vipunin could never sever his ties with his human existence. He should have shed his past like a snake sheds skin. Instead, his past was a bag of stones he carried on his back, a burden which grew heavier with time. Every year for one hundred years he had returned for the harvest celebrations at his family’s castello, torturing himself with his great loss. It gave his purposeless life some measure of meaning. Yet it was his curse to watch the cyclic turns of birth and death and not be part of them.

What did he have instead?

He had eternal youth.

He had eternal life…that was no life.

He had eternal hell."

Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to talk about writing, Yolanda! You’re a doll. Readers, I hope you enjoyed my take on writing paranormal romance. If you don’t write in this genre, I hope you found something here that is useful for your writing project. And if you’d grab a copy of my book, I won't come to haunt you!

It's truly my pleasure, Denise. I loved your novella, and I can't wait to read of the next exploits of Vipunin and Chuchulain.

Under the Tuscan Moon

A paranormal romance

Book One – Cassia

Within the velvety Tuscan sky, a harvest moon glows
like liquid amber. Mysterious shadows seep noxiously through the unsuspecting
forest, preying on the vulnerable, whose blinded gaze mocks their senses.
A man.
A woman.
Forever locked in a sensual embrace.
A werewolf howls…
A cloak swishes…
Alabaster flesh waits to be torn.
Timing is everything in the Danse
On this night the nectar of revenge is at its sweetest.
Just ask Vipunin…
“Who is Vipunin?” you ask.
A tormented soul, longing to recapture the life stolen from him a century
ago. His wait is finally over. His love, Ciassia, has returned and she will be
by his side for eternity…
Or so he thinks…


"Book One, Ciassia…the
first in a collection of exquisitely-written Gothic paranormal romances.
the passion...the longing...the desire…

Welcome all to this
intriguing tale. I had the great pleasure of reading this amazing story. The
lush details and mystery captivates the reader. If you love beautiful writing
and intrigue, you will truly enjoy this story." 

"What’s not to like about two Vampires whose voyeuristic bent lends great sense of time and place, whilst their intended victims unknowingly engage in sensual embraces? Eternal life in the dark world is forever the moment of transition from light to darkness, an ageless and inescapable fact of a Vampire’s existence, in which the past is often a haunting and taunting memory. Such is Vipunin’s fate when the present transcends time and presents a dilemma in which he discovers even a Vampire can be struck with a conscience of right over wrong, and all despite dire need to quench his bloodlust. But will his Vampire companion, Cuchulain, challenge Vipunin in the face of outright betrayal? This is a tense, engrossing, and chilling read. Enjoy!"

Denise Covey hails
from that land Down Under, where she publishes flash fiction, short stories and travelogues in Australian magazines. When not writing, she teaches English Lit to her rapt senior students who think it’s way cool to have a writer as a teacher.
Under the Tuscan Moon is her first, but not last, paranormal romance. Denise has decided it’s way cool to live in a world of vampires, angels, demons and werewolves.

Join Denise on blogger, on Word Press, on  facebook, twitter, pinterest, wattpad.

What do you say readers, any writing sins not listed that you want to share? Have you read Denise's novella Under the Tuscan Moon? Have you tried your hand at writing romance?

Friday, November 27, 2015


Announcing a new spy thriller!


Eliana Havelock is a female with no past, whose determination to bring down a Karachi arms dealer catches the attention of the British Secret Intelligence Service.

MI-6 is currently fractured due to political upheaval with many of its covert programs dissolved or disbanded. When Eliana presents the opportunity to divert an international arms disaster, the head of MI-6 partners her with one of it’s best and brightest, the enigmatic, Connor Blackwell.
But in a world of secrets and hidden agendas, who can Eliana trust?
And what, or who, is Eliana really after?

Jane D Everly was born in Nottingham, England where she developed a depthless love of fiction. While aspiring to be a romance novelist, she discovered an edge to her work that was quite unexpected. It appeared that her love of action and adventure stories would forever prevent her from writing the stories of sappy romantic entanglements she believed she had always been meant to write. Instead, heavily influenced by the rise of geek culture, she began to write stories filled with kick-ass heroines and villains with delusions of attaining world domination.

Jane relocated to Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2013 to pursue her writing career. She now lives in a beautiful downtown Vancouver apartment with her cat, Mr Bojangles, and an entire world of espionage and intrigue poised at her fingertips.

Jane is represented by Mark Gottlieb at the Trident Media Group.


It's a day for free

is also FREE

just in time for Black Friday until the 30th!

Monday, November 23, 2015


I am thrilled to have Guilie Castillo Oriard here 

today to discuss:






The landscape of the book business is nothing like it was even a decade ago. We have so many options now, as authors. So much freedom.
And with freedom comes risk.
The DIY route has advantages far beyond 100% royalties (hard to beat): no gatekeepers, no Victorian tastes or mainstream genre guidelines, total control over your manuscript, book cover, artwork, font size, formatting, marketing, distribution—everything. On the other hand, total control also means it’s totally on you: your dime, your time. You’re a one-wo/man marketing strategist publicist accountant legal professional customer service distributor show. And you need to write the next book.
Besides, it’s impossible to edit oneself beyond a certain point. Feedback from critique partners, beta readers, even independent editors is only useful if the author takes it. Even if s/he does, nothing says professional like the slasher red pen of an third party who’s emotionally and financially invested in a book’s success. A publisher, in other words.
But traditional publishing is hardly an improvement. Big-house editors are invested in their salaries, not your manuscript. At a Big Four house, any new(ish) author is a minnow. You’re expected to stay invisible—i.e., out of the way. And contracts are tricky. Advances and royalties have plummeted. Add the fracas of even getting in, and—really, what’s not to dislike?
Independent presses come with their own problems. They might go out of business, they might be scams (especially those “subsidy” ones), they lack the reach of the bigger houses, they’re understaffed. But their advantages might just make up for all that:

   No agents, no gatekeepers. Response times are way faster.
   Budgets might be limited, but they’re investing in you. That makes you a priority.
   A small staff means you’re expected to become involved: you’ll be consulted on everything from cover design to publicity.
   Perhaps best of all, their editors—often authors themselves and in love with the craft—may have the highest standards in the industry. That manuscript is going to shine. While big houses might skimp on anything above a spellcheck, smaller presses are more willing to work with an author/manuscript they feel has potential.

Seems to me independent publishing houses are today what big ones like Simon & Schuster were back in Hemingway’s day. They’re mentors and partners to authors, they’re fans of innovative voices, and of narratives that push boundaries. And they’re in it not for money but for quality. For literature.
For me, that seals the deal.

Have you worked with small presses? What has your experience been like? What do you feel are the greatest advantages or disadvantages to indie publishing? Which route will you go for your next publishing venture?

Yolanda, thank you so much for having me over today. It’s a privilege and a pleasure, and I’m very much looking to your and your audience’s feedback.

Thank you Guilie, great points! The world of writing, publishing, and marketing is exactly as you described - A World of Opportunities & Pitfalls. I hope you discover only the opportunities!


A Novel in 13 Stories

Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

The author, Guilie Castillo Oriard, is a Mexican export herself; she transferred to Curaçao “for six months” — and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies, such as Pure Slush’s 2014 A Year In Stories and gorge. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.

The book was released in paperback this past August via the platform, and has received enthusiastic feedback:

“The combination of money and sex always creates an irresistible dynamic. Add more than a few dogs to the mix, and Guilie Castillo Oriard has created a tale as beguiling as the seductive ambiance of Curaçao itself.” ~ Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

“Curaçao is lovingly rendered, past and present, as a character itself — post-colonial, starkly beautiful, and captivating. You cannot read this book without checking airfares to Curaçao.” ~ John Wentworth Chapin, author of Alexandrite and founder of 52|250 A Year of Flash

“A richly enchanting story of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Caribbean.” ~ Silvia Villalobos, author of Stranger or Friend

Read more feedback at the publisher’s website, or read a full-length review by Lynne Hinkey at the Internet Review of Books.

Available as paperback and Kindle, ePub
iBook, Nook, and Kobo e-formats.
Come join us. Come meet Curaçao.
But come as Luis Villalobos should have come to the island:
prepared for a drastic readjustment of the things you value most.


A Mexican writer and dog rescuer who moved to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book. Find Guilie on Facebook and Twitter, at Quiet Laughter where she blogs about life and writing, and at Life in Dogs where she blogs about life and… well, dogs.

Available as paperback and Kindle, ePub, iBook, Nook, and Kobo e-formats.


H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G !

Friday, November 20, 2015


A flash fiction challenge of 100 words or less

The photo prompt copyright C.E. Ayr.


He met her in a bookstore. Laci liked science fiction. He preferred horror. Tonight they'd celebrate their first anniversary. She'd tell him she was pregnant. He'd tell her of the job offer that would rescue them from poverty.

Dinner at their favorite Paris Café with so many things to celebrate, Jacques felt as though they had the world at their feet.

An hour before their rendezvous, terrorists attacked.

Two days later, they walked in silence down the sidewalk on the Boulevard Voltaire.

He held her close. She wiped away tears. The sound of angels weeping still echoed through the streets.

100 words
Yolanda Renee © 2015

For you Susan, because everyone deserves a happy ending.

Vive la France!

Follow the Frog to more stories and add you own!



Wander with us onto a magical island ship, uncover an amazing secret, and solve a very fishy mystery. Discover a World War II codebreaker, captivating garden, time machine, undercover agents, bug master, plus more. And meet a special boy who was kissed by an angel.

This book will hit the shelves on December 13, 2015 - 
Just in time for the Holiday's.

- Read more about The Boy Kissed by an Angel on Robyn'S Blog!

Monday, November 16, 2015


I'm thrilled to have Mark Koopmans' here today.
He's the author of Revival: The Donald Braswell Story - How a Tenor Lost his Voice, but Found his Calling.
If you've been following his tour, you know it's all about writing a memoir. 
Today he's sharing another important tip. 
Take it away Mark.

“What not to ask when writing someone's memoir.”

That’s the question posed by Yolanda, who’s ever so kind in letting me pitch my tent on her blog as I continue the Tour for REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell story.

The most important lesson I learnt—the hard way—was the writer and the subject clearly need to define the time period of the memoir—as opposed to the lifetime story that is normally a biography.

Donald has such a wonderful, inspiring journey that I initially thought the reader would “need” to know about his early years.

However, Donald’s main story revolves around the period that starts before he attends Juilliard until a little after his appearances on America’s Got Talent.

Eventually, I Freddy Krueger-ed  10,000 words, and months of hard work editing became a nightmare on my street…

But, once the cuts were made, the story flowed much better and I relaxed… and the rest is history…

So, define the time period of the memoir, and then build up a professional relationship with the subject who needs to understand several interviews and many, many follow ups (via email, or in person) will be needed before the first draft is complete.

Donald was great in granting me unparalleled access to his folks, folders and fond memory banks, but I’m sure I drove him a little batty with my random questions that came up while I finished early drafts, and the editing process really began.

Oh, and don’t not ask the difficult question(s)—and do learn how to politely prod. Sometimes the best information/memories Donald provided came as he answered one “simple” question that opened up another door to his inspirational story.

Do you have any tips on memoir writing?

Thanks again Yolanda. I really appreciate you letting me stop on by!
Tomorrow, I’ll be tearing it up at Dianne Salerni’s blog.

(Dianne wants more specifics about the challenges of writing memoir when it’s time to edit…)

Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch.
Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others.
Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?

·        Pen-L Publishing
·        Amazon
·        B&

Mark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night.
Find his blog at
Donald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries.
Braswell has reentered the world of music by singing in concerts starting with the Symphony of the Hills in Kerrville, Texas in June 2009. He performs a variety of musical genres ranging from pure classical repertoire to soul to mainstream pop. He engages people of many cultures by singing in various languages outside of English, including Spanish, Italian, Neapolitan, French and Russian. His concerts are generally multilingual, and he has performed pieces that are themselves in more than one language. Some of these include: Mario Frangoulis bilingual version of “Nights in White Satin” (Italian title “Notte di luce”), originally by The Moody Blues; “The Prayer”; and Andrea Bocelli’s “Vivere” (English title “Dare to Live”). His other non-English repertoire includes Aqustin Lara’s “Rosa” (Spanish), Mario Frangoulis’s “Vincerò, perderò” (Italian) and the Neapolitan standard “O sole mio”.
Some of his many compositions can be heard on his recent album We Fall and We Rise Again.
Donald is a testament to the powers of the human spirit in difficult times and he inspires all who come to know him.
Find him at

• REVIVAL, prior to publication, won the award for “Outstanding Memoir” at the 2013 Southern California Writers Conference.
• Braswell finished in the top 5 of America’s Got Talent, Season 3 (2008). Watch his inspiring first NBC audition here.

Rafflecopter tasks, such as sharing the giveaway, will earn readers entries in a random drawing.
·        GRAND PRIZE (2 winners): Donald Braswell to sing (Happy Birthday/Anniversary) via Skype or phone call. (A unique gift idea!)
·        1ST PLACE PRIZE: Signed Donald Braswell CD/REVIVAL book combo
·        2nd, 3rd and 4th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of REVIVAL (by Donald and Mark)
·        5th, 6th and 7th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of Donald Braswell CDs

·        8th, 9th, and 10th PLACE PRIZES: Signed Donald Braswell 8x10 picture

a Rafflecopter giveaway

·        Love #AmericasGotTalent? Check out this memoir from a Season 3 finalist! #amreading #inspiration