Challenges of Bringing a Story Idea to Life by author Shanta Everington


Challenges of bringing a story idea to life 

by Shanta Everington, author of XY

Character v plot

For me, a story always begins with a strong character in crisis. I am a character-driven writer, which means that I like to spend a lot of time ‘getting to know’ my characters, and then let them dictate the story, rather than plotting in advance. I find that this approach can help with the creation of complex characters – the story ‘belongs’ to them. But the downside is that the plot can sometimes go AWOL…!

Character-led writers can find it challenging to keep control of plot and pace, and we need to take extra care not to let the story veer off track or sag. Plot-driven writers face their own challenges – starting with plot before character can sometimes lead to half-baked characters being shoehorned into the story.

Neither approach is inherently better than the other but it is important to be aware of the particular challenges in order to address them. If I feel I am losing control of the story, I try to take things back to a basic story arc: introducing a character and setting, showing the character’s dilemma, building up to breaking point, and then following a journey to finding resolution, with several false starts.

I ask myself, ‘Does this scene advance the plot in any way?’ If the answer is no, it may end up on the cutting room floor!



Another challenge is authenticity. We’ve all heard of the saying ‘write what you know’. But writing would be rather boring if authors were restricted to their own experience. After all, imagination is an author’s best friend. ‘Write what you come to know’ means spending time on research and discovery.
My latest novel is young adult dystopian novel, XY. The story centres on fifteen-year-old Jesse, who lives in a world where babies are born neither male nor female, and Compulsory Gender Assignment is carried out at birth. Jesse faces a major decision and is terrified that the secret she is hiding will be found out.   Continue reading

Review & $25 Giveaway: Indigo Instinct by Jacinda Buchmann

We are happy to be a stop on the Indigo instinct blog tour! Keep reading for info about the book, watch the trailer, enter the $25 giveaway, read an excerpt and see my review!

Earlier this year, I reviewed Indigo Incite, the first installment of The Indigo Trilogy by Jacinda Buchmann.  It is about sixteen year old Tyler’s attempt to rescue his twin brother, Toby, from a covert government agency collecting people with extra-sensory powers. This agency is seeking out all “Indigo children” to use their powers for its own gain.  Along the way, Tyler befriends four other people with special powers, and they work together to find Toby before the agency finds them all.  As of today, Indigo Incite is .99 on Amazon.

The adventure continues in Book Two of the trilogy, Indigo Instinct.

Indigo Instinct for Kindle


They thought they were safe.

Identical twins, Tyler and Toby, escaped the clutches of a covert government agency determined to exploit their extrasensory powers. Before they regained their freedom, they acquired proof of the agency’s existence, proof that was guaranteed to secure immunity not only for themselves but for their friends as well.

They took more than they bargained for.

When the brothers learn that they have unfinished business with the agency, they find themselves reunited with Indigo Children, Liliana, Grace, Eddie, and Rebecka and once again on the run.

They must rely on their instincts.

While Grace and Eddie discover that love isn’t always easy, Sarah’s life is thrown into turmoil, and her guilty conscience leads to fear and distrust of her own heart.

Intuition doesn’t lie.

There are new players in the game and it isn’t easy to know who to trust.

Sometimes the right path isn’t always the easiest.

Is there a way to give the agency what they want and still retain their freedom? Find out in Indigo Instinct, Book Two of The Indigo Trilogy.

Book Trailer     Goodreads     Amazon


$25 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway and signed paperback of Indigo Incite

Click Here to Enter!


“What the hell was that all about?” Eddie hissed from close behind.

With her back to him, Grace continued to fill a pitcher with water at the drink station. Then she turned to him with an innocent grin. “What was what all about?”

“Did that guy give you his phone number?”

“What difference does it make? You’re here with your girlfriend. It would seem to me that you should be paying more attention to her and less attention to who I talk to. It’s really none of your business.”

For a moment, she imagined tossing the ice water over his head but didn’t think that would go over well once word got back to Aunt Mae, as it surely would, so instead, she set the pitcher on a nearby table and took a step away to resist the temptation.

“It is my business. You were the one who just informed me yesterday that trackers are after us again. Do you really think it’s safe to be flirting with strangers?” Continue reading

New Release: Witch Hunter Olivia by T.A. Kunz

WHO Updated CoverIn the town of Piedmont Pointe, where paranormal is the norm, a girl can easily get herself in over her head with a single wrong move. Unfortunately for Olivia Adams, she’s about to make several.

Starting over is never easy, but it seemed like the only option to Olivia. The decision to turn her back on the Guild of Witch Hunters, the very group she devoted her entire life to, was one of the hardest things she ever did. It meant leaving her family, her friends, and her old identity behind forever. Coming to terms with what caused her to abandon her duties in the first place was even harder.

While trying to lay low and stay off the Guild’s radar, Olivia finds herself thrust back into her old ways after unknowingly interrupting an assassination hit on a powerful witch. What follows is the last thing she ever thought she’d agree to do—protect the very thing she was groomed to hunt.

To complicate things even further, Olivia begins to develop feelings for a tattoo artist who also happens to be half warlock, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, she can’t resist her inescapable draw to him. Olivia’s forbidden relationship isn’t her only issue though, because once the mystery behind the assassination attempt starts to unravel, she’s forced to choose sides when the loyalties still tied to her past life are tested again.

So much for the idea of a fresh start.


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon AUS:






Author T.A. Kunz has always had a fondness for reading thrilling mysteries and action-packed urban fantasies. So, it was no surprise when T.A. decided to write stories that they’d fall into one of those two genres. T.A. lives in Central Florida with two fur babies and a mechanical engineer who also happens to be quite the culinary badass, which there are no complaints about. Being a self-diagnosed caffeine addict, many joke that T.A.’s addiction to Starbucks coffee will likely be their downfall later in life.


Website –

Email –

Twitter – @AuthorTAKunz

Review: The Renegades Series by Skye Jordan

I don’t usually review the steamy stuff, but I need to make you fans of contemporary romance aware of the Renegades by Skye Jordan.  In my opinion, this is a fresh take on the genre, blending romance with humor, action, memorable characters and unexpected moments into a really great love story.

Book One in the series is FREE, so download a copy and take the series out for a spin.  It’s a steal considering the awesome texting scene in the airport and the surprising, exciting ending.

Below is the info about the books & some quick thoughts on why I think these character driven stories are much better than your average romance:

RecklessBlurb for Book One: Reckless:

A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. Raised on the wrong side of the tracks, her years of polish and hard work are finally about to pay off. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker who makes her realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success, one touch is all it takes to threaten her carefully choreographed life.

Jax Chamberlin has been screwed over by gorgeous gold-diggers one too many times. Though he runs his own stunt company, all of America knows his Hollywood face even years after he’s given up acting. Finding a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping stone to success is virtually impossible, so when the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a chance at a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more. Lots more.

But Lexi’s got a major hang-up over his renegade lifestyle. And if she finds out his connections could catapult her to the top of her career, he’s afraid the fantasy woman he’s falling for might just end up like all the rest.


Jax Chamberlin is a stuntman and stunt coordinator, and I really enjoyed this profession depicted in the story.  In a genre full of  athletes, soldiers, firemen, bikers, tattoo artists, etc, this is a refreshing change from the norm.  Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy the athletes, soldiers, firemen, bikers, tattoo artists, etc.  But adrenaline junkies that do stunts for Hollywood blockbusters?! It’s awesome. Continue reading

Review: Summer at Paradise Ranch by R. Barri Flowers

summer at Paradise Ranch banner


Summer at Paradise Ranch is a Young Adult tale that takes place in majestic Hawaii.  Against her will, Lexi leaves Seattle to spend the summer with her estranged mother and new step-father.  She spends the summer making amends with her mom, exploring the island of Maui with new friends and enjoying the horses on her family’s ranch.  There is also a certain local boy who makes this Summer one to remember.  By the time she needs to return to the Mainland, she finds herself wanting to stay.

There are several characters in this book, and I enjoyed getting to know Lexi and her new friends.  It was fun looking in on the teen culture on Hawaii from Lexi’s point of view.  She immersed herself in the island life – surfing, hula dancing, beach parties.  The community bands together to search for some horses that disappear from her family’s ranch.   There are a few obstacles keeping the summer a perfect one, but each challenge is overcome, giving Lexi life lessons as she comes of age.

I think any teen or young adult will identify with Lexi and her struggles with her blended family, high school sweetheart and summer crush.

Summer at Paradise RanchSynopsis for SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH by R. Barri Flowers

Four months shy of turning sixteen, Lexi Montoya was still trying to come to terms with her parents’ divorce and her mom’s remarriage to a man she met online, relocating to Maui, Hawaii.

Choosing to remain with her dad in Seattle, Lexi had planned to spend her first summer since the divorce hanging out with her boyfriend, Matt, and best friend, Robin. But her dad had other plans, insisting she spend the summer visiting her mom and stepdad at his ranch called Paradise Ranch in Wailuku, in west Maui.

Lexi went there with an attitude. Then she meets a cute Hawaiian guy named Mitsuo, is thrown into a love triangle, become friends with a teen girl living on a ranch next door, April; rides her first horse– an Arabian mare named Poppy– learns to hula dance and surf, and finds herself embroiled in a dangerous rescue mission when Poppy and another horse named Casper go missing from her stepfather’s ranch.

By the time her tropical summer adventure comes to an end, Lexi hates to leave Maui and say goodbye to Mitsuo. But can she stay when Matt is waiting for her back at home to pick up where they left off? Or will he lose her to a summer romance?

SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH is a great coming of age adventure with young romance and mystery in paradise. Now in eBook, print, and audio.

 Watch the book trailer:



It was the last day of school before summer break and Lexi Montoya was leaning against her locker facing her boyfriend, Matt Holloway. Next to Lexi was her best friend, Robin Forrester, who was facing her boyfriend, Dirk Watson. Just four months shy of her sixteenth birthday, Lexi hated the thought that instead of spending summer vacation in Seattle, where she lived and had her friends to hang out with, she was being forced by her dad to go visit her mother in Hawaii.

The same mother who had abandoned her nearly a year ago, divorced her dad, and married a man she’d met on the Internet. In Lexi’s way of thinking, she was in no hurry to see her mother again—certainly not anytime soon. But her father had other ideas, believing it would be good for her to try to repair the relationship with her mother. Lexi suspected that he had an ulterior motive for sending her packing to Maui. Her dad had a new girlfriend, whom she believed he wanted to spend more time with—minus the presence of a teenage daughter to mess things up. Continue reading

Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Dont Look Back coverDon’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

April 15, 2014

YA Contemporary Mystery

Blurb (from author’s website)

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?


“Don’t Look Back” is a bit of a departure from Ms. Armentrout’s usual paranormal or contemporary YA, but it’s definitely a fun new way to enjoy her work.  She neatly lays out the mystery and the story moves along at the perfect rate.  She throws red herrings at the reader like a pro (think Agatha Christie), keeping the suspense alive to the last page.  The characters are fresh and enticing and the story is unpredictable, making it jolly good fun!  Happy reading!  – Courtney


New Release Giveaway: The Lost Love of a Soldier by Jane Lark

The Lost Love of a Soldier photo ThelostloveofaSoldier300dbi_zpsb47e47d2.jpeg Title: The Lost Love of a Soldier (Marlow Intrigues #4)

Author: Jane Lark

Genre: Historical Romance 18+ Regency Period

Publication Date: July 17, 2014

Publisher: HarperImpulse an imprint of HarperCollins

Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.


Young, naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a young army officer. Paul has such an easy enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow, vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love. Captain Paul Harding, finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on a battle torn field. His sanity clings to her; something beautiful to remind him that all in the world is not ugly. She’s someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…


This giveaway, includes an antique English necklace worth £150,

plus signed copies of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, The Passionate Love of a Rake & The Scandalous Love of a Duke

 a Rafflecopter giveaway



Paul whispered her name into the night as he heard the rustle of frost bound leaves on the ground. His breath rose in a mist into the cold winter air. He was on the Duke of Pembroke’s land. He’d not dared encourage her to take a horse, so he’d come close enough that she might walk from the house and find him.

He waited at the end of an avenue of yews, out of sight of the house, in a place she could easily see him. His horse whickered, sensing something, or someone. “Ellen?” he whispered again.

Still no answer. Continue reading

Techno Crazed by Sarah Makela

Techno Crazed Banner photo TechnoCrazedBannerBlinged_zpsa5d8980f.jpg
Techno Crazed Cover photo SarahMakela_TechnoCrazed_zps031411c4.jpg~Synopsis~

Private investigator Hannah Franklin’s life is turned upside down after being contacted by a former employee of MAX Home Security, the leader in security services. But they’re not just protecting people anymore. Hannah’s informant claims to have proof that MAX has ordered the assassination of politicians who stood against the corporation.

When her informant is killed and an attempt is made on her life, Hannah has no choice but to contact a freelance hacker. Her only hope now lies in the hands of a man she never expected to welcome back into her life.

Ian Bradley has lost his girlfriend and his job, as well as having acquired a very annoying gnome. Now his ex, Hannah, is in danger, and she needs his help. Ian vows to protect Hannah with every resource available to him — and as a technomage in a high-tech world, his resources are almost endless…



Amazon | Amazon UK


$5 Dollar Gift Card
2 Ebooks of Authors Backlist


Hannah rested her forehead against the cool, metal desk. She anxiously awaited the moment when she could dive into bed and close her eyes. Cheating spouse cases currently flooded her office. Most of the ones she’d worked were fueled by insecurity and simple misunderstandings that could’ve been resolved through conversation or therapy. Just two more reports to file, then she’d be able to call it.

Memories of her soft blankets and the comfort of her pillow relaxed her bunched shoulders. Her eyelids drooped, and she exhaled, ready to give into her exhaustion.

Ringing jarred her from the edge of sleep. She jerked upright and rubbed her eyes. Clearing her throat, she reached for the office telephone. She used an old landline since they were more secure than the wireless communication devices on the market, which ranged from implants in the ear to high-tech cell phones.

“Franklin Investigations, how may I help you?” she asked, stifling a yawn.

“Is this Hannah Franklin? I need to speak with Hannah.” The male’s deep voice radiated urgency, with panic underlying his tone. Continue reading

Free Book Alert: Run to You by Clara Kensie

Clara-Kensie-RUN-TO-YOU-FIRDo yourselves a favor and start this adventure with Part 1: Run to You for FREE

I liked this series very much.  Last year, I reviewed Parts 1-3 and I am so excited that Part 4 and Part 5 are now available! Part 6 releases next week!

This series is a “riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…”

Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can’t even tell him her real name. But Tristan won’t be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…

RUN TO YOU is Tessa and Tristan’s saga—two books about psychic gifts, secret lives and dangerous loves. Each book is told in three parts: a total of six shattering reads that will stay with you long after the last page.


Review: Promise Me Forever by Sarah Ashley Jones

Promise Me Forever is a follow-up novella to Promise Me This.

promise meJhett and Charlie’s relationship is thrust into the harsh reality of grief and loss. Pulled apart by forces beyond their control, Charlie must make a decision to push through her grief with or without Jhett. Charlie and Jhett make the choice to support one another. As they struggle to persevere through a dark season and overcome the life altering devastation of losing loved ones, they find invaluable strength in one another.   Taking a chance to believe in one another ultimately leads to Charlie and Jhett’s dreams coming true!

Promise Me Forever by Sarah Ashley Jones is an excellent beach read! Jhett and Charlie’s relationship starts out tumultuous and steamy, and evolves into an endearing romance.  I enjoyed following their sweet story from beginning to end.  – Jana



sarah ashley jonesSarah Ashley Jones was raised in San Diego, California, but currently wrangles her husband and three dogs in Clarksville, Tennessee. When she’s not writing she works in a pottery studio and comes home covered in paint on a daily basis. She has a slightly unhealthy obsession with cupcakes and chapstick. She is an eternal optimist and can often be found dancing and singing to music at any given time. It’s rare to see her not smiling or laughing, but if you do, just bring her a cupcake and it will cheer her up. Her huge imagination was always in overdrive as a child and now she is beyond excited to put it to good use as an adult. She plans to write as long as she has stories that need to be told.