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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Beyond the Book: Why I Write

My writing career began around age four or five.  I told my dad that I wanted to write a story about Woody Woodpecker, one of my favorite cartoon characters.  He took a piece of notebook paper and hand wrote the story in pencil.  It must have been a work of art; he laughed hysterically as he wrote it.  Daddy kept that story until the day he died.  After his death my stepmother cleaned out a cedar chest where he kept his treasures, and she found the story and gave it to me.  I can even remember the day I dictated it to him!  Trust me; that memory is an unexpected treasure from the past that warmed my heart for days afterward.
I wrote nothing from that long ago day until the year 2002.  At that time my son inspired me to try my hand at writing when he wrote a novel himself.  That first effort is still in a folder on my computer, but I submitted my second book to a small press called Oak Tree Press.  Oak Tree sponsors a yearly contest whose prize is publication of your novel.  To my great and utter surprise, I won, and my book A New Leaf was published in 2004.
Since that time I’ve written six more books.  I could have finished more, but I have a full time job as a teacher.  Why do I do it?  It isn’t for the money; very few authors ever get rich off their writing. It isn’t for fame and recognition because I’m not on the New York Times bestseller list.  No, I write because I can’t help myself.
My characters reveal themselves to me and demand that I tell their story for them.  They get under my skin and nag me until I seat myself at my computer and let them express themselves.  I’m totally consumed by their problems and triumphs, and until I give them resolution I can’t get them off my mind.  I’ve even been known to take my computer on vacation so I won’t lose an entire day of writing.  Often, after a book is finished I have a hard time letting my characters go.  I’ve written one trilogy because of that letting go problem.  I couldn’t let the Lovinggood family go after I finished their book.  
Writing gives me a sense of satisfaction and allows me to express my creativity in a way that I’ve never felt before.  I don’t cook anymore and my house needs dusting, but I can’t bring myself to care. I’m having too much fun.

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina.  She holds 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 Writer’s of America.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Books. She is a retired social studies teacher.

King, Duke & Prince

Write Now Literary is pleased to be coordinating a blog tour for Sheryl Grace, author of King, Duke & Prince. Book a tour here. Genre: Contemporary Fiction Publication Date: July 1, 2018 About The Book
Ten years ago, James Miller walked out of prison vowing to leave the past behind. That past included his sons and their mothers and though he told himself that he would return, he never did. Now, he has a new name, a new family, a new career and a best-selling memoir. Meanwhile, the sons he left behind navigated their way to manhood while dealing with the questionable choices of their mothers. King relies on his looks, charm, and sexual prowess as he methodically plans to find the next successful woman to support his lifestyle. Simply because he works only when he feels like it. When he finds the one, it is not business as usual. But will he reexamine his trifling ways when it nearly causes him to lose those he loves the most? Darius has a penchant for pursuing the wrong women. However, his mind for business manages to keep him afloat despite his challenges to keep his emotions intact. Working for a stepfather he despises only builds resentment between he and his mother. What happens when the worlds of the two men collide unexpectedly, causing all to question their love and loyalty to one another? Prince is awkward and highly intelligent. His hard-working mother is thrilled beyond measure upon receiving the news that her son has been given the opportunity of a lifetime. But Prince’s world is shattered by someone he and his mother trusted dearly. The secret is killing him. What will happen when the secret is exposed? The sons do not know they are brothers but when find out, they are determined to make James pay the price for leaving them behind. Three Brothers, Three Mothers, One Father and whole lot of drama! “Charge it to the game cause everybody’s trying to score” Purchase autographed copies from author’s website

 About The Author
Sheryl Grace is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Louisiana native currently residing in North Texas. Her debut novel "He Calls Her Blue" has received positive reviews. Sheryl is also the co-host of the award-winning internet radio show, The Authors Lounge. Connect Socially Website | Facebook Excerpt from Chapter 6
“Hi, I just came over to introduce myself. My name is King” He said as he held out his tone and muscular arm in her direction to shake her hand. Still under his allure, she did manage to reach out her hand to shake his and stated “Nice to meet you, I’m Lauren” she stated. “Thank you again for the drink” she said politely while looking intensely at his eyes. “You are welcomed, Beautiful” He said with a deep voice that resounded in her soul and made her tingle inside although she tried all she could not to show it. He followed up with the sexiest smile she had ever seen. This is one tall glass of chocolate milk better yet Kahlua, she thought.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Fortress

The Fortress
by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey


GENRE  WWII Historical



The war has not made much of difference in Alix’s life. Her father has seen to it that she grows up unaware, unworried, but safe in her tiny village under the cliffs of the Vercors. All around her he has built a fortress whose walls are impregnable—until the 27th of April, 1944. That day he makes a stupid mistake up on the cliff, and the walls of the Fortress start crashing down. Reality breaks into Alix’s life with unrelenting violence, unforeseen possibilities. From now on, every decision she makes will mean life or death.


Six weeks before D-Days, a thousand kilometers from the beaches of Normandy.

There are no generals in the French Vercors, just a handful of men and women against the Nazi war machine. They come from Bretagne, Paris, and Slovenia, and the villages up on the cliff. They are the Fortress.



When she looked up, the cart had rounded the curve, and the way ahead was wide open. In a minute they would leave the cliff Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey 14 behind. She stopped the horses and turned around, expecting to see her father on top of the log pile. “Papa?” she called. There was no response. Her eyes darted from one place to another. On the wall against the blue sky, behind the cart, down the road, as far as it went along the rock face. “Papa?” she called again. He was there a second ago…right there, he was standing right there…. “Papa,” she cried. “Where are you?” Then she saw Mikko, two paws on the wall, sniffing. And her hands started to shake. “Papa,” she said, but no sound came out. “Papa, come back.” 

Author Interview:

1.Did you always want to be an author? 
In some very obscure recess of my consciousness, yes? I never brought it to the surface, for a ton of—obviously invalid—reasons, the main one being, writing in a foreign language is rather daunting. I didn’t think I could pull it. With college, children, and job pressures, I didn’t have the time to even consider it. And I think I did not—could not—still do not—consider myself to be a writer. I see myself as a multifaceted person, like all of us, who happen to write as one of the things a person can do. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher. I am Christian, I am a woman—but not a feminist. In fact, I am nothing that ends in ist, unless it’s individualist. My day job is teaching a wonderful bunch of non-verbal high-schoolers, a real challenge for someone who lives to share ideas. The positive side is that I won’t get in trouble with my school district for jumping on my soap box and voicing politically incorrect ideas. I like to work, it provides a wealth of details and ideas I can adapt to my stories, particularly the MS I’m working on now. Needless to say, I am happy with the release of my first book, and I hope it is read and appreciated by many. My message to my readers is, consider taking up an artistic activity as one of the things you do. Painting, music, writing, you don’t need to be a master to become one by creating a master piece. 

2.Tell us about the publication of your first book. 
My Fortress world already existed. I grew in the Vercors mountains, near a village called Malleval which was destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. My uncles were accused of betraying the resistants encamped there, and while kids my age worried about the future, I wondered about what had really happened, and how my family was involved. Were they Nazis, did they cause their own neighbors to be murdered? I had been building that world for so many years in fact, that when I felt ready, the characters just appeared, some jumping out of history books, others out of my childhood, and quite a few out of some recess of my mind where I didn’t know they were hiding. The inspiration came from an intense longing for that past, my past, the grandfather I never met, the father who still guides my decisions, the brother I never got to see all grown up.
The eight months it took to compose the first draft were almost hypnotic. The result was not good, but I didn’t know it, thank God, or I would have never submitted it. It was picked up by John W. Ware, a New York agent whose patient expertise is the professional touch behind my sometimes too emotional rhetoric—and the French turn of phrase. He did bug me about commas, though, and said that my tendency to lend human traits to things was odd. The best compliment was when he told me he fell in love with the female protagonist, Alix. 

3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in? 
Väinö Linna,Under the Northern star, a trilogy. It’s a story of hard work, loyalty, forgiveness, and amazing courage during the ferocious civil war in Finland. Read it. Akseli Koskela will show you what a real man looks like.

4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst? 
Again, I really don’t identify as an “author”, perhaps because the idea is stressing to me. The marketing, promotional efforts, the speaking in public, all of that bores and intimidates me. I wouldn’t mind writing full-time, if I could afford it, but it would imply projecting myself as more confident, maybe even more arrogant, than I am. 
I like to write, period. The writing process has made me a little wiser, certainly more thoughtful. It has taught me to look at people, events, in a more open-minded manner, and forced me to acknowledge latent conflicts, if not resolve them. 

5.What are you working on now?
I am working on the contemporary tale of a young school teacher who is entrapped in a scheme to cast her as a terrorist. There are strong political and religious themes, as well as a romantic element. I guess you could call it a tale of modern resistance. I am a school teacher, and expressing political opinion in school is forbidden—really forbidden. Besides, the likes of me are pretty much underground. We recognize each other like Christians in Rome, with a glance and a rolling of the eyes. So being able to write the ins and outs of oppression in the public-school world, coupled with a the building of a fake terror plot by a branch of the federal government no one in their right mind should trust, was a bit of a catharsis for me. You will love it or hate it, depending on your allegiances, and who cares? It’s not meant to be commercial.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey was born in the French Alps, moved to the United States twenty-five years later, and currently lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband, two daughters, and Mikko.




Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors: Rest Thy Head

Welcome to Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors, your chance to sample the work of a talented group of authors. When you finish here you can find more excerpts at:

Today we're starting excerpts from Rest Thy Head. I'll give you a blurb and then I'll do the excerpt. 

Buy Link:  

Running away from a fiancé who betrayed her, Peyton O’Malley finds employment at a beautiful mountain inn called Rest Thy Head. She didn’t expect to live in the haunted room or to fall for the inn’s owner, a fire-scarred, war veteran who uses the inn to hide away from the world. She didn’t expect her sister to show up at Rest Thy Head either, much less her formidable mother.

Last Week:

Now, thanks to the aid of a friendly ghost, Peyton has a shot at true love, and so does her sister Ashley, provided the guys cooperate of course! 


Eleanor glanced at her watch. “It’s three, and we have to meet Ashley at three thirty; we’d better get going.”

Peyton picked up her purse, which sat beside an antique trunk her mother used as a coffee table. It had belonged to some famous Civil War general, a fact her mother repeated over and over to anyone who visited them. Eleanor hadn’t come right out and said so, but she had given Drew’s parents the impression her family was related to the famous general. Peyton sighed. “Mother, I really want Ashley to be in the wedding. Be nice to her.”

“I admire your loyalty to your sister, but frankly, I think it’s in poor taste to let her be a bridesmaid.”

“I wanted her to be the maid of honor, but thanks to you she refused when I asked her,” Peyton complained with a scowl.

This Week:

A pained expression came to rest on her mother’s face. “I’m so tired of having to explain things to a daughter who should understand but refuses to do so. The Roberts would not appreciate someone like Ashley serving as your maid of honor. Be grateful you have Roberta to fall back on.”

“Roberta is Drew’s sister, not mine,” Peyton cried. “I don’t even like her.”

“She’ll grow on you. Now, we’d better hurry.”

Peyton ran to put the tablecloth on the dining room table with her other wedding gifts. Pausing for a moment, she stroked the table’s smooth, gleaming surface.

Saturday Sample: Rest Thy Head

Welcome to Saturday Sample. Today we're looking at excerpts from Rest Thy Head, which is one of my all time favorites. Rest Thy Head is only .99 at 

Last Week:
Chapter 1

Eleanor glanced at her watch. “It’s three, and we have to meet Ashley at three thirty; we’d better get going.”

Peyton picked up her purse, which sat beside an antique trunk her mother used as a coffee table. It had belonged to some famous Civil War general, a fact her mother repeated over and over to anyone who visited them. Eleanor hadn’t come right out and said so, but she had given Drew’s parents the impression her family was related to the famous general. Peyton sighed. “Mother, I really want Ashley to be in the wedding. Be nice to her.”

“I admire your loyalty to your sister, but frankly, I think it’s in poor taste to let her be a bridesmaid.”

“I wanted her to be the maid of honor, but thanks to you she refused when I asked her,” Peyton complained with a scowl.

This week:

A pained expression came to rest on her mother’s face. “I’m so tired of having to explain things to a daughter who should understand but refuses to do so. The Roberts would not appreciate someone like Ashley serving as your maid of honor. Be grateful you have Roberta to fall back on.”

“Roberta is Drew’s sister, not mine,” Peyton cried. “I don’t even like her.”

“She’ll grow on you. Now, we’d better hurry.”

Peyton ran to put the tablecloth on the dining room table with her other wedding gifts. Pausing for a moment, she stroked the table’s smooth, gleaming surface.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Clock Flower

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Mackenzie Yarborough, one of the three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—finds herself facing a terrifying death of an ancient evil dragon while in China working on a secret research project and trying to discover the truth of her birth parents.

Read an Excerpt:

Dara knew that once she started researching the ancient writing systems and language of Shandong Province, there was no way she was going to waste her time attending her required undergraduate classes when she could be working on her research. Therefore, with Dr. Chu’s permission and using the syllabi she received on the first day of classes, she simply completed all of the course work in advance and turned it in. Most of the professors only wanted a report anyway. “Now with that out of the way, I can turn my full attention to the Longshan period dating 2500-1900 BC and researching the early writing, language, and human sacrifice at the Shang Dynasty capital of Anyang,” she told Mackenzie, Jennifer, and Carolina during another one of their nightly visits by phone.

“I am so impressed, Dara,” said Carolina. “Not surprised that you could do it, but still impressed.”

Jennifer and Mackenzie agreed.

Dara had something else to tell them. “I was going to wait to talk to you about this once I had all of the details worked out, but since Mackenzie might be going to China over our winter break to visit the Yellow Sea Laboratories, I’d better go ahead and let you know what I am thinking.” Then she told them about Dr. Wu inviting her to the small village of Dawenkou in the Shandong Province over the winter break in order to meet the rest of the archeology team and see the dig site and their research facilities. “I was hoping the four of us could go together—check it out. Dr. Wu said you are more than welcome.” She hesitated, and when no one said anything, “Mackenzie, Dr. Wu said that the Yellow Sea Laboratories is also in the Shandong Province and near Dawenkou where the dig site is.”

“That’s right—Ling told me it is in the town of Puli.”

Carolina interrupted, “Did you say Puli?”

“Yeah, have you heard of it?” Mackenzie asked. “I don’t think it is a very big town—Ling calls it a village. It is located on the Yellow Sea, and it is near Qufu where Confucius lived. That is where her family and ancestors are from although she was born in Hawaii. And other than what I am doing at MIT, that is also where the research on the Clock Flower Project is being conducted.”

“Talk about coincidence,” Jennifer mumbled. “Well, I’m in,” but she couldn’t say anything else. The pounding in her chest, the painful heaviness of the rock, and the brilliance of the bright yellow and red took her breath. As the pain eased, she once again heard the delicate tones of the banhu—a little more distinct this time—a few more notes—another measure to be added to the symphony.

Carolina’s heart started to race, and it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of her lungs. Taking little breaths, she managed to say, “That goes for me, too.” Putting her hand on her chest and taking a deep breath, willing her heart to stop pounding, “I’ve never been to China, and this is too good of an opportunity to miss. Maybe they will let us tour the research lab, Mackenzie. And it will be great fun to see an actual working archeology site, Dara.”

But those weren’t the reasons she wanted to go; she knew when it concerned the FIGs, there was no such thing as coincidence. Larry had told her that he believed Mackenzie’s mother was from Puli and that is where she returned after giving birth. Something was happening which she didn’t understand. She had heard her mother’s warning, and she knew she needed to go to China. She needed to be with her girls. And she needed to protect Mackenzie.

About the Author:
Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books where she is involved in acquisitions and day-to-day operations and oversees book production.

Ms. Casey's two middle-grade/young adult novels, Leilani Zan and Grandma Jock and Christabelle (James C. Winston Publishing Co., Trade Division) were both nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award. Shyla's Initiative (Crossquarter Publishing Group), a contemporary adult novel (occult romance/mystery), received a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and also an award of special literary recognition by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. The Coach's Wife (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a novel for adults (contemporary/mystery), was semi-finalist for the 2005 Dana Award for Outstanding Novel and listed on the Publisher’s Best Seller List. The House of Kane (ArcheBooks Publishing), released in 2007, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination. Another contemporary novel for adults, Just Like Family, was released at Christmas 2009 when it received “Special Recognition from the 7-Eleven Corporation,” and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary novel written for adults, received a 2013 Independent Publishers Book Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction.

The Cadence of Gypsies, a novel written for young/new adults, was released in 2011 and was reviewed by the Smithsonian Institute for its List of Most Notable Books. In 2012, The Cadence of Gypsies was expanded into a four-book mystery series called THE FIG MYSTERIES: The Wish Rider (2016), The Clock Flower (2018), and The Nightjar’s Promise (to be released in 2019).

Ms. Casey also writes book-length nonfiction for adults. Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly was released in 2016 and has been optioned for a major movie. In 2018 her book Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave was released and it has been signed for a major movie.

Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey's essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation). Other award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences around the country including the SCBWI Regional Conference, the Harriett Austin Writers Conference in Athens, SIBA (Southeastern Independent Book Sellers Association), Florida Writers Association, and the University of Auburn, Montgomery.

In 2018, Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and Benton, a hound mix who adopted her.


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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Aries' Red Sky

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James Young will be awarding a 5x7 print of concept artwork from the Vergassy Universe to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Confederation of Man believes all Humanity should be under Terra’s rule.

The Spartan Republic has spent seven centuries preparing to resist Earth’s tyranny.

The stars will burn as these two mindsets come into brutal conflict in Aries’ Red Sky, the newest novel by award-winning author James Young.

Read an Excerpt:

Despite his best efforts, Agenor Acheros’ was unable to completely dodge his opponent’s whirling axe kick. Rather than a clean, visage altering hit, however, the blow thudded into the Spartan lieutenant’s thick chest.

Ow, he thought with a grunt, the woman’s combat boot sliding off the right side of his dark green gi. Agenor did not give his sparring partner time to regain her balance, allowing his dodge to the left to flow into a crouch. Even as Lieutenant Abigail Schweizer realized her vulnerability, Agenors braced himself on his left arm. This was followed by a left leg sweep that knocked his diminutive opponent onto her back. Continuing the motion with a speed and agility no man his size should possess, Agenor completed an almost complete rotation on his straining left arm. Schweizer was just trying to regain her bearings when Agenor’s feet came back around and caught her steel-toes-first in the back. The blow elicited sharp cries and gasps from onlookers as the woman flung forward several feet.

Let’s finish this, Agenor thought, coming to his knees then springing to his feet and striding towards the stunned Schweizer. He felt a calmness descend upon him, blue eyes narrowing as he carefully stalked towards his opponent.

She might be faking. Either way, she will yield.

“Enough!” Captain Mordechai Butler barked, stopping Agenor in his tracks The tall, thin officer stood just outside the “Square of Enlightenment,” Alpha Company’s nickname for their designated sparring area. Agenor stopped to look at him, face quizzical.

“The Square has spoken,” Butler continued, signalling the end of the fight. Unlike the two lieutenants, Butler wore the standard Spartan Marine camouflage uniform. Inside of the Basile’s dark grey compartments, the clothing’s adaptive threads had adopted a mottled, random pattern of grey, white, black, and silver lozenge shapes.

“The Square tells all,” the roughly sixty Marines scattered in the open bay chanted with varying degrees of solemnity.

About the Author:
James Young is a Missouri native who escaped small town life by attending the United States Military Academy. After being set free from the Hudson River Valley, Mr. Young spent the next six years of his life in the Army repaying his education the proverbial “nickel at a time.” Along the way he collected a loving, patient, beautiful spouse…and various animals that did not fit that description. Leaving the Republic’s employ, he returned to the Midwest to pursue his doctorate—a process which took twice the time planned but is finally concluded. Having now concluded two of the prerequisites to be a super villain, Dr. Young spends his time waiting for the inevitable origin story, winning writing awards (2016 United States Naval Institute Cyber Essay Contest Winner, among others), and writing an alternate history (Usurper’s War) and military space opera (Vergassy Chronicles) series. His latest book is Aries Red Sky, the first in a new Vergassy Universe trilogy.

James Young’s Blog:
James Young’s Amazon Author Page:

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The Secret Lives of Royals

The Secret Lives of Royals
by Shalini Dua 


GENRE: New Adult, YA, Fantasy



Olivia can’t take it anymore. She’s had enough of the big city and it’s lack of fulfilling her dreams. Then, just when she’s about to give up and move home, out of the blue, she is offered her dream job. Olivia is suspicious but that could just be the New York in her. She decides not to pull at threads. Despite her best efforts to remain blissfully oblivious, the secret to her life upgrade is soon uncovered when she finds herself invited to be part of a secret society.

Olivia learns that there is a thin curtain separating our world from theirs. Just beneath the surface, an entirely different one exists. One that is controlled by those of Royal lineage. The chosen ones, the Royals, hold the fate of the world in their hands. Will Olivia be able to bear the weight of the crown?

Confessions of a Shopaholic meets The Adjustment Bureau, this contemporary fairytale is both relatable and aspirational. Taking a look at the current balance of media and power with a healthy dose of humor, fashion, food and wanderlust.



“It’s on Thursday. We’ll meet there at 8PM. A car will come to get you.” He pauses, gives me a once over and says, “The girls in the closet can help you with an outfit.” I’m caught off guard and I just stare at Connor, coolly heading off in the opposite direction as if he hasn’t just casually knocked my fashion sense, my self-confidence and basically who I have been up until this very moment.

“Thursday morning when I step out of the glass elevator at Le Salon, what can only be described as a glam squad descends upon me. When I ask where they came from, I’m informed that Connor has sent them because as they delicately put it, 

“I need help.”

The first blonde eyes me warily as if I’m a 1,000 page report on her desk that she is about to dig into. 

“You are not, uh,” she looks at the others apparently searching for tact, “meeting a certain standard, uh, in terms of brand image.”

I feel like a reality TV star, a “before” to be clear. Though, I would die if anyone from Le Salon knew my thoughts were this basic. The crew sees me, moves their heads up and down to examine me in unison as if operated by the same spine, and exchanges a look that says, “We’ve got our work cut out for us.” To be honest, I’m finding them more than a little judge-y. I wouldn’t say I’m a hot mess. Although it’s true I could get my nails done a tad more often, but I live by the rule of two out of three, which is that if you can hit two of these three things every day, you are doing pretty well: hair, make-up and outfit. Admittedly, I don’t always hit two, but I had been doing okay since starting at Le Salon. I had repeatedly accomplished all three and was very proud of myself, so I’m not sure what these critical bitches are rolling their eyes about.

They introduce themselves.

“Hi, I’m Sophia.” She extends a hand, Starbucks cup in the other. Sophia has dark hair and olive skin; she’s dressed in skinny black leather pants, a chic purple blouse, black pumps and aged silver jewelry. Very edgy style, but she actually seems semi-nice when compared with the other two.

“Kaley,” barely glances in my direction as she sips from her Starbucks cup. Dressed in ripped dark blue jeans and a black blazer, she seems more than a tad intimidating and clearly doesn’t have time for me.

“Trista,” with a slight nod of the head, ad for Starbucks pose, black dress and black pumps, appears to be a bit of an airhead though apparently a wiz with a make-up brush.

Sophia hands me a coffee, which I think is quite a nice gesture despite their apparent personalities. 

I feel a set of hands on me as they collectively drag me into an entirely too brightly lit room somewhere left of the large closet that houses all of the fashion we use for various shoots. They push me into the tall black chair used for making-up the subjects of said photo sessions. And that is how I find myself in every woman’s nightmare, staring back at my early morning reflection, pre-coffee, in a mirror lit by at least thirty 100-watt light bulbs, which is when I stop protesting. Seriously, maybe models are not overpaid. I cannot imagine doing this for a living. I immediately develop a new respect for the gazelle-like creatures that float through this place on a daily basis and who, until today, I have been envy-judging with Mads after work in an effort to preserve the last shred of my self-esteem, which has been unceremoniously murdered by Sophia, Kaley and Trista early this morning. RIP self-esteem. You will be missed. I sip my coffee and ingest the singular source of warmth in this room.

Author Interview:

1.Did you always want to be an author?

I actually didn’t want to be a writer. I was more interested in visual mediums as I come from a long line
of artists. My Dad is great at sketching and painting so, naturally, I thought I’d inherited the talent. When I tried my hand at painting, it turned out that particular skill had skipped a generation. I’ve always
written so I started to develop that muscle as a creative outlet and once I started I couldn’t stop pouring
out the ideas rattling around in my head.

2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.

The Secret Lives of Royals is self-published. It is my first book and I’m really proud of it but at the same time, much like an indie movie, production values will vary with a small budget and hopefully the story more than makes up for that. 

Self-publishing is like running a small business. From the investment to wearing many hats, you are
responsible for everything so it’s quite a lot of work. Beyond writing, there is so much to think about.

A good friend of mine, Lauren Connor, is a very talented packaging designer. She created the cover for
me. We’ve been friends since we were six so she knows me pretty well. Lauren read an early galley of
the book, went away and came back with six concepts. I picked my favorite and she sent me different
iterations that I fed back on. It was a very collaborative and fun process.

I had a small launch party for the book with family and friends which was a lot of fun and so nice to feel that love and support for something that I had worked so hard on. I also got a mention in Buzzfeed which I was super excited about.

3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?

It’s a New Adult/YA crossover. I love Sophie Kinsella, John Green and Cindi Madsen.

4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?

The best part is getting the chance to tell your story. It’s an amazing feeling to have the words come together just right and have that completed work.

Writing is hard! It takes a lot of focus and concentration and is often un- or under-paid. But it’s worth it!

5.What are you working on now?

I am working on a follow up to this novel. In the follow-up Olivia gets deeper into this world and it’s almost like she was born and bred for royalty, but this type of life comes with responsibilities that she may not be ready for. 

I’m also working on an entirely different novel about a haunted circus. I’m working on a script for a tv series and I’m working on a poetry collection.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

An international upbringing and a love of stories laid the foundation for wanderlust. Shalini aspires to spend her time country-hopping and consuming pop-culture, comedy and good food but the reality is often frantically downing coffee, meeting deadlines at exactly the last second and working her unglamorous corporate job to fund all of the other pursuits.

The Secret Lives of Royals is Shalini’s debut novel. Her other work includes published poetry and scripts only she has read.











Shalina will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Title: Continuum
Series: The South Beach Connection Trilogy Book 3
Author: A.R. Hadley 
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction
Release Date: July 25, 2018
Annie promised Cal she would wait for him. He was her home, her safety — the person she felt she always knew.
And he felt the same.
Still … they go their separate ways. Their passionate summer has come to a close.
Cal returns to California while Annie heads to Seattle. But they can’t stay away from each other long. And soon, their lives become one.
Except … there's one more test they must face. Or maybe there will be many.
After all, life is made up of waves, endless cycles — series of ups and downs, pulling hearts, souls, and minds toward the horizon, then the shore.
Every push, every change, each risk — brings Cal and Annie closer to acceptance. Closer to uncovering truth. 
Two people who never believed in forever — now have a reason to trust fate.
***Continuum is the third book in The South Beach Connection Trilogy***

A.R. Hadley writes imperfectly perfect sentences by the light of her iPhone.
She loves her husband.
Her children.
And Cary Grant.
She annoys those darling little children by quoting lines from Back to the Future, but despite her knowledge of eighties and nineties pop culture, she was actually meant to live alongside the Lost Generation after the Great War and write a mediocre novel while drinking absinthe with Hemingway. Instead, find her sipping sweet tea with extra lemons on her porch as she weaves fictional tales of love and angst amid reality.