Tag Archives: guest posts

Guest Post Just Like The Bronte Sisters

Every Woman Has the Same Story

By Laurel Osterkamp

Okay, so you recently had a baby and you’re having trouble getting your groove back. Your kind husband (who is also your doctor) rents a summer house with this huge nursery, but the nursery isn’t for the baby; it’s for you. You’re to stay in the nursery, day in and day out, and because you need “rest” you’re not to read, write, workout, care for your baby, or do anything at all interesting. Your one diversion is to stare at the nursery’s ugly yellow wallpaper, until you begin to believe there’s a woman trapped behind it. And then, your purpose is to free that woman, but what you don’t realize is that you’re really trying to free yourself.

It could happen, right?

I’m of course referring to the famous short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Maybe you once read it in a high school lit class? In my latest novel, Just Like the Brontë Sisters, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is briefly mentioned, when one of my main characters, Jo Beth, is stir-crazy and paranoid during her pregnancy bed-rest. I also just had my high school AP Lit students read “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and write an essay on it. AND I just finished The Widow’s House, by Carol Goodman, who uses The Yellow Wallpaper as inspiration for her entire novel.

So, the story has been on my mind.

And here’s my conclusion: While the author, Charlotte Perkins-Gillman, never achieved brilliant-author-status like Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, or Daphne Du Maurier, she did accomplish something big. She created an “everywoman.” We hear about “everyman” in literature: that universal male character we can all relate to, because his struggle is our struggle. Well, I’m not the first to believe that a man’s struggle is different than a woman’s, and the reason Perkin’s-Gillman never gave her main character a name is because she is everywoman.

Now, I’m not saying we’re all destined for insanity, or to be locked in a poorly decorated room by our controlling husbands. But I do believe that every woman’s story has a shared element. We’re looking to free that person inside us, the one who is trapped by society’s constraints, people’s expectations, or our own poor choices. Every woman’s story, on some level, is about empowerment and finding our voice. Because, as women, we are expected to make other people happy first, before satisfying our own yearnings.

All my books have been about women and empowerment. None of my characters are victims, and only a few are insane. And I should add, there is a lot of great fiction out now, with kick-ass female protagonists, truly empowered gals we’re rooting for from page one. BUT, at the very least, those kick-ass protagonists must struggle to hold onto that empowerment.

It’s not their fault. And it’ the reason “The Yellow Wallpaper” is still referenced today. We’re all looking to find that woman inside us, and to keep her from creeping away.

About the Book

Title: Just Like The Bronte Sisters

Author: Laurel Osterkamp

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Sisters Skylar and Jo Beth adore skiing and they virtually share the same soul. After an accident, Jo Beth flees to Brazil, leaving Skylar behind in Colorado to obsessively read the Brontë sisters. While abroad, Jo Beth meets Mitch and her life takes some unexpected turns, until tragedy leads free-spirited Mitch right into Skylar’s empty arms. With their Heathcliff/Catherine romance in full swing, Skylar wants to trust Mitch, but did he harm her sister? Loving Mitch could make Skylar lose everything. Just Like the Brontë Sisters is an unconventional romantic page-turner inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, full of magical realism, literary references, a ghost, and some healthy doses of suspense.

 

 

Author Bio

Laurel Osterkamp is a Kindle Scout/award-winning author of women’s fiction and suspense. Her “day job” is as at Columbia Heights High School, where she teaches creative writing, college writing, and AP Lit. She resides in Minneapolis with her husband, two chatty children, an overweight cat, a gecko, and a hissing cockroach (don’t ask). Her other loves include chocolate, jogging, and boots.

 

Links

Amazon

Facebook

Website

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Guest Post Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Guest Post: What does a writer know about teaching art?

On its surface, An Intention of Flowers (Book One in my Work of Art series) is a story about artists and art students and art teachers, about painters and sculptors, amateurs and professionals – none of which I know a single thing about!

And you may find yourself wondering: Why? Why write about artists? Isn’t the rule for writing, after all, to “write what you know”?

Indeed, it is. And I found myself wondering over my motivations as well, even as this story filled my mind with its twists and turns, details and mysteries. What could I, certainly no expert in the visual arts, understand about artists?

Well, as it turns out… There’s not as much a difference as you might think. All artists, be they visual artists or musicians or actors or film-makers – whatever you want to call them – all artists share a lot more in common than their mediums might suggest.

And nothing makes that commonality more clear than the current under-valuation all art is experiencing. Musicians can’t make a buck. Authors can’t sell books. Photographers find their work propagated on the Internet before they can earn anything from them. We find ourselves at a time in which art is certainly in crisis.

And then, one day as my wife and I were driving over the Sixth Street Viaduct in Los Angeles, I looked down into a parking lot to see a group of children painting the pavement. What if they decide to become artists, I wondered. What will art mean to them? How is the next generation of artists, be they painters or writers or singers, supposed to make their mark when the tide of commerce so easily sweeps them away?

These are questions I face every day as an independent author. I decided to strike out on my own after spending years trying to work within a publishing industry in disarray. While there are definitely strategies that can help you succeed in the business, reconciling that business with art is more difficult when there’s a business telling you what that art should be.

And so, the meaning of art has become far more important as the meaningfulness of art becomes diminished. Where are artists to go when galleries have to compete with Instagram and every live theater produces live-action versions of animated films? For an artist to stand out, they must truly stand up.

An Intention of Flowers is not just about students or teachers, artists or otherwise; it is about people of passion standing up in a world that believes them to be invisible and saying “I am here.” As far as that goes, I know at least a thing or two.

 

About the Book

Title: Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers

Author: Ken La Salle

Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction

Oily pavement.

Thick tempera paint.

A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.

A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.

And Andy Hollis steps in it.

As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.

He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.

Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.

But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?

And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.

Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.

An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.

 

Author Bio

Author and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.

 

Links

Twitter

Facebook

Youtube

Website

Amazon Page

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Guest Post Noble Magic

Guest Post

Finding my Editor

In 2007, my main character, Alex showed up with a plethora of stories. A year later, more stories developed and I finally broke out my old computer to write them down. It took me months to transfer everything into the computer and after I did, it left me with another problem. What was I going to do with it? I knew retirement was close at hand so I decided to publish and begin my journey as an author.

I scrubbed the stories and divided them into novels. By the end of 2008, I had rough drafts for the first three books in the first series, “The Seaward Isle Saga.” Although I’d read about getting an editor, I didn’t feel I needed one. I was literate. I’d been writing since I was little and had a bachelor’s degree and two masters.

At the end of 2010, I published my first book, “The Black Elf of Seaward Isle.” Unfortunately, it was only after publication when I noticed the errors and my awkward sentences. I made corrections and published it again. I decided to move on and work on the second book.

At about that time, I took a class and the instructor recommended getting an editor. After my experience with my first book, I looked one up on line and found one for a reasonable cost. I sent my manuscript in and a few weeks later, got a corrected manuscript back. The results weren’t bad—a few corrections here and there. I felt good about it and published my second book online.

While working on the print version, I happened to find a book called “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Brown and Dave King. I reviewed it on my blog and received a comment from the author, Renni Brown, who told me about her editing website. I checked it out and sent in a trial submission. I was impressed with the results and sent in my whole manuscript.

My manuscript came back with a lot of corrections and recommendations missed by the first editor. Some of these changes were painful and even included changing the title. But I also realized that this was exactly what my book needed. I’d found an editor who pulled no punches and told me what I needed to do to improve. I even had her edit my first book. This was in 2011 and I’ve been working with her ever since. My books have won several awards and I credit her editing for changing this newbie into an author.

About the Book

Title: Noble Magic: The Chronicles of Eledon Book Four

Author: Joni Parker

Genre: Fantasy

Lady Alexin (Alex) battles a band of mortal wizards known as the Octagon, discovers the mysteries of the five legendary diamond eggs, and finally comes into her true powers gifted to her by her conquests and the gifts of her Titan ancestors. Tasked with the seemingly impossible, Alex must find a way to restore the entry points to Seaward Isle or see its inhabitants face certain destruction as the grid holding Eledon together threatens to fall apart.

 

Author Bio

Joni currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, but she was born in Chicago, lived in Japan, graduated high school in Phoenix, and got married in New Jersey. Not only was she married to a career Navy sailor, but she also completed 22 years of active duty service herself. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, an MBA, and a Master of Military Arts and Sciences (MMAS) from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.  After her husband passed away, she returned to the work in the Department of Homeland Security until she discovered her love of writing. She retired again and has written two series, “The Seaward Isle Saga,” a three-book series, and “The Chronicles of Eledon” with “Spell Breaker,” “The Blue Witch,” “Gossamer,” and “Noble Magic.”

 

 

 

Links

Twitter

Facebook

Google Plus

Amazon: Amazon

1 Comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Guest Post The Imaginarium of the Innocent

Guest Post by H.A. Betancourt

¡Buen día a todos ustedes!

 

I am H.A. Betancourt and I’m happy to be hosting this guest post! I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about my new book, “The Imaginarium of the Innocent”. This book was born back when I was in film school as a 1 minute short film. The concept was very vague, about a boy who dreamt of fantasy creatures and places and then woke up strapped to a wheelchair. It was a very interesting concept that I started developing through four years to transform. Eventually, after so long, I wrote a novel that now you can read, which is a great pride and joy.

 

The book follows Toby, who is a boy from Belgium during in World War II. After a night of devastation, he is lost in a wheelchair and taken to an orphanage in London. It is thanks to the power of innocence and imagination that he finds himself travelling back and forth between a fantasy world and Earth, where he learns different lessons and will have to find himself again through adventures and hardships.

 

This book contains a lot of lessons and heartwarming moments that I hope resonate with you and the child within. Each chapter is accompanied with an illustration and a poem, so it’s a full package of emotions that I hope will find a place in your heart.

 

The process of creating this book was one full of challenges, even before the publishing process. It all started with the creation of the illustrations and the writing of the manuscript. I’m very happy to finally unveil to you this book, and I hope you find a lot of spirit in it!

 

Thank you,

H.A. Betancourt

About the Book

Title: The Imaginarium of the Innocent

Author: H.A. Betancourt

Genre: Fantasy

While young Wendy and her brothers were taken to Neverland by Peter Pan, Alice fell through a rabbit hole and the Pevensie siblings crossed over to Narnia, another boy was taken to another fantastic place: his own heart.

Great losses crumble the worlds of even the steadiest individuals. In The Imaginarium of the Innocent, ten-year-old Tobias Young’s sense of home is torn from him in one night of wartime devastation in Belgium. Instead of security, love and peace, Toby now faces deep despair and cold numbness. In the aftermath of the destruction of his soul, he is crippled and orphaned in London.Not only does Toby struggle to accept his handicap, he battles the will to be happy. With the help of a magical soaring eagle, Eoloswing, Toby enters the endangered Imaginarium as the Nightingale—a young man destined to save his newfound friends from the evil of the Hopeslayer. As Toby searches for answers and happiness—with his new roommate and his sister—in both the orphanage and the gorgeous and captivating floating island of dreams, he must learn to address his own heart and remember to retain his own Spark of Elan.

 

 

Author Bio

H.A Betancourt is a Miami-based author. He started writing when he was 13 years old, eventually starting to write his own stories at the age of sixteen. He has a passion for storytelling and studied film production, screenwriting and creative writing. “The Imaginarium of the Innocent” marks his first big release in English language. Born and raised in México, he is proud of his heritage but has a dream to see more of the world.

 

 

 

Links

Publisher

Facebook

Amazon

 

Soundtracks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbNoGMF13xs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rDMR1v716U

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Guest Post Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity

About the Book

Title: Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity

Author: LeNae Goolsby

Genre: Nonfiction (Body, Mind & Spirit)

Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity provides an experiential journey where mental and emotional vibrations rise and conscious awareness expands. Personal power is reclaimed and peace restored with each chapter and each sweet serenity tip.

 

Author Bio

LeNae Goolsby is the Founder/Owner of www.LeNaeGoolsby.com, the host of Empowered Living with LeNae which is syndicated on 50 global networks, as well as the Practice Administrator/Director of New Business Development for www.YourInfiniteHealth.com

In addition to running these successful ventures, LeNae is a wife, mother, artist, writer, oracle of the pragmatic persuasion, calm cultivator and energy healer.

LeNae received her certificate from the Duke University Integrative Medicine Center Leadership Development Program in February 2017, and her law degree from Tulane University Law School in 2010. And somewhere between Tulane and Duke she completed her universal law-centric coaching studies and honed her intuitive abilities.

LeNae is also an expert and writer for www.YourTango.com. She is the author of Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity, and is on the cusp of releasing “Empowered Medicine – Harnessing the Infinite Laws of the Universe for Optimized Health,” which she co-wrote with her husband. She is also working on her next book, Seven Sundays to Money Manifesting Mastery.

 

 

Links

Website: www.LeNaeGoolsby.com

Where to Purchase: https://books.pronoun.com/seven-sundays-to-sweet-inner-serenity/

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Guest Post Killers, Traitors & Runaways

Guest Post: Editing

When I wrote Outcasts of the Worlds a couple years ago, it was a very informative experience into the Wonderful World of Editing. Or, if you prefer, a self-inflicted Hell!

 

Talking about my editing process is almost tantamount to talking about my writing process. Almost any given day, if I’m writing, I start out by editing.

 

When I sit down, I seldom crack into a new scene right off the back. I first open whatever I did yesterday, and generally load up whatever music I was playing as well (I’m a big fan of video game soundtracks, as they provide good atmosphere while generally remaining tonally consistent).

 

It’s a this point that I reread what I’d written the day before, and doing so helps in two ways. The first being, it helps me get back in the mood before writing something new.

 

The second, and this is the important one: I’m going in with fresh eyes. I find when I’m writing, I tend to overlook the minutea of the things needing to be fixed. Sometimes this is little errors. Sometimes this is sentances, or paragraphs.

 

But the main rule is I don’t move forward until I’m content with what I’m leaving behind.

 

If every the story gets stuck, I’ll fall back much further than just the previous scene. I might roll back to the start of the chapter, the previous chapter, or even the whole book, depending on how far along I am.

 

This approach has resulted deleting whole scenes, and sometimes a chapter’s worth of work. I regret nothing.

 

Of course, this is the front half. My biggest concern once I finish a book (I’ve done two now!) is trimming the word count as much as I can, especially since I already write Very Long Stuffs. I’ll take brevity where I can get it.

 

The editing process, especially in working with my actual editor, has made me approach everything with an economy of words in mind. I.E., if I can, cut down to seven where I first used twelve, fifteen where I used eighteen. Ten to nine. Trim where I can.

 

The funny thing is, this process bled back into the second book when finding a character’s voice. Shea is a new character, appearing a third or so of the way in. With this interest in trimming words in mind, and having a few characters who are already a bit flowery, I decided to go the opposite with Shea.

 

Everything she says is parred down, as much as possible, while striving to retain the original meaning. So, for example, a line in chapter seven probably started something like:

 

“That’s a daft plan. You know that, right?”

 

And ended up like:

 

“Daft plan. Know that, right?”

 

The final word count for Outcasts was approx. 140,500. Give or take. One of my main goals with, Killers, Traitors, & Runaways, my second book, was to get a lower word count in.

 

And I succeeded, by nearly a thousand. As long as my works have been, I try to make everything that stays in count for something.

 

Or be funny. Funny is good too.

 

About the Book

Title: Killers, Traitors & Runaways (Outcasts of the World II)

Author: Lucas Aubrey Paynter

Genre: Cosmic Fantasy

As reality nears its final days, worlds fall to ruin. A benevolent god is shackled, and when freed, will create a new one … allowing only the pure of heart. A company of seven have united on a bloody quest to stop him, but have little hope of emerging victorious.

The outcasts are adrift—they have a mission but no means to fulfill it. Airia Rousow, the fallen goddess who set them on their path, is gone. Guardian Poe, her intended successor, believes deification will absolve him of his sins and his remorse alike. And Zella Renivar, daughter of the Living God, is still hunted by her father’s agents, drawing danger on them all.

Trapped in this storm, Flynn is able to find and open the ways between worlds, but cannot discern which path is the right one. Since losing the trust of his closest friend, the temptation to fall back on his former, deceitful ways grows with every crisis he faces.

These are heroes not of virtue, but of circumstance—and it will fall on Flynn to keep them all together.

 

 

Author Bio

Lucas Aubrey Paynter hails from the mythical land of Burbank, California, where there are most likely no other writers at all.

Back in 2014, he published Outcasts of the Worlds, and he’s now releasing its follow-up, Killers, Traitors, & Runaways.

A fan of gray-area storytelling and often a devil’s advocate, Lucas enjoys consuming stories from a variety of mediums, believing there’s no limit to what form a good narrative can take.

 

Links

Website: http://www.lucaspaynter.com/

Amazon

https://www.facebook.com/lucas.paynter
https://www.facebook.com/outcastsoftheworlds/
https://twitter.com/OutcastsWorlds

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Guest Post Monsterland

About the Book

Title: Monsterland

Author: Michael Okon

Genre: YA

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

The last couple years of high school have not been fun for Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire Village, be chased by actual werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

 

 

Author Bio

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

 

 

Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon (Kindle)

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts