Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Guest Post: Diane Ryan @DianeRyanRK

Today I'm pleased to welcome Diane Ryan to the blog!

How exciting this is, being invited to guest blog! Thank you, DelSheree, for the opportunity. I’m thrilled that you’ve given me the chance to talk about my debut novel, and rescue dogs, and how the novel and rescue dogs are connected.

In 2004, I moved from rural Georgia to Southwest Virginia, packing a trunk full of old manuscripts from as far back as the early nineties. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, but the literary landscape was quite different back then. The Big Six still dominated, Amazon wouldn’t introduce Kindle for three more years, and self-publishing was still considered vanity press. I always felt I would have a novel in print some day; I just couldn’t see a clear path to it at that time.

What I found in Southwest Virginia caused all my priorities to shift. How could I think about personal issues or writing a book when my new county of residence (population less than 45,000) killed more animals in one year than Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach combined? I formed a small rescue organization, applied for and received 501c3 nonprofit status, and bought property to house a large number of animals. I felt sure the community would support this effort.

I was wrong.

Attitudes toward rescue are hostile in Appalachia. Animal welfare ideals step on too many toes. Between backyard breeders, a dearth of local low cost spay/neuter options, and a local government that wants no attention called to their problems, a small, home-based rescue can forget finding the support it needs to operate. Especially a rescue with a Director who doesn’t hesitate to push community buttons over issues like dogs on chains, dogs locked in hot cars, sterilization, and vaccines.

Earlier this year, after my rescue received no donations for more than a month, I faced a bleak evening without a scrap to feed thirty hungry dogs. It was a turning point for me. I realized I’d have to be more resourceful. Time to drag out those dusty old manuscripts and maybe sell a few books here and there. I picked the manuscript I felt was closest to being publication-ready, called on some old friends from my workshopping days, and after some grueling, late night revision marathons, sent out a handful of advance review copies to a select group of people.

Critical reception to the novel “Talking To Luke,” surpassed all my expectations. An Amazon Vine Voice reviewer rated it “five stars,” called it “groundbreaking,” and used words like “polished,” and “high impact.” One of my favorite indie authors posted a picture of himself on Facebook while he was reading the Kindle version and said, “It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I read A LOT.”

What do you do with this kind of feedback? I’ll tell you what you do—you get serious in a hurry and start figuring out ways to increase discoverability on a much larger scale! Even so, looking back over the last few weeks, I think I did as much as I could on a nonexistent budget. Formulas exist for meteoric book launches, but for an unknown author with a debut novel and no major publishing house behind it, perhaps the best one can hope for is a slow, steady climb in sales as more people discover the book.

I don’t regret being an indie author. It truly is by choice. At one time, I did have agent interest in the manuscript for “Talking To Luke.” It’s possible that had I sent any query letters this year, I might have additional interest. Who knows. I just couldn’t stomach the process. Print On Demand is no longer considered vanity press, and both CreateSpace and KDP offer quality products and service. Would I ever consider traditional publishing? Sure I would—but it isn’t the brass ring for me, and I just don’t have time to chase it right now. Too many Appalachian dogs need help.

For at least the entire year of 2016, one hundred percent of proceeds from this novel will go toward Appalachian animal rescue. This will fund transport of animals from oversaturated, high kill regions like Southwest Virginia to no-kill areas of New England (like the entire state of New Hampshire.) I also hope we can fund some “save in place” rescue efforts, which would provide funding for owners to keep their pets when they otherwise might have to surrender them to a shelter. This might involve sterilization and other vetting, the building of fences and buying of dog houses, and paying pet deposits for rental property so that people can take their animals with them when they move.

“Talking To Luke” is the first book in a series, but it can also stand alone. I’m told it’s considered “paranormal romance,” but I’m uncomfortable with that label. Is it paranormal? You bet it is! Is it a romance? Well—it’s a relationship story…and there’s a whole lot of sizzle. The sequel will involve the same character ensemble, but will be more of a paranormal thriller. Is there such a genre? I never set out to write crossover fiction or flip any tropes. These things just happened as the story unfolded organically.

Nothing else I’ve ever written has contained even the slightest hint of paranormal. Even this novel has themes that are more realistic than fantastical—with a couple of glaring exceptions. I can’t guarantee I’ll write anything else in the genre once this series is finished, but then again, I might!

Grab a copy of "Talking to Luke" HERE


Diane Ryan is a pseudonym for a very real person living and writing in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She is married with two grown children and more pets than good sense dictates. Her heartfelt passion is saving animals. In the past, she has rescued horses and wildlife, but currently focuses on dogs imperiled by cultural indifference toward animals in Appalachian communities. She is the Executive Director of a 501c3 rescue that regularly transports unwanted dogs from areas of shelter overcrowding to regions of high demand, where No Kill methods are firmly established. Her organization is a member of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and a Best Friends Network Partner.

Twitter: @DianeRyanRK

Saturday, June 25, 2016

EXCERPT: Dead Man Lying by Scott Bury #LeiCrimeKW @ScottTheWriter


The Dead Man Lying blog tour

#LeiCrimeKW — new titles in June!

Josh Fong looked at her through narrowed eyes for a moment, then unzipped his jacket and pulled out a satchel. He reached inside and pulled out the biggest revolver Vanessa had ever seen. Her heart pounded. There was no time to reach her trusty Walther before he could turn that massive weapon toward her. But he put it carefully on the kitchen table. It was an antique weapon — that was clear from the curved shaped of the wooden grip and the fancy engraving on the cylinder.

Where other revolvers had an ejector rod under the barrel was a tube, bigger around than the barrel itself. And there was a strange external rod on a clip alongside the barrel. The bottom of the grip had an eye, as if it were meant to be hung on a nail. “Where did you find this?” she asked.

“In the tool shed under Kaholo Iolani’s apartment,” he answered. Lei came into the kitchen then.

“Josh Fong,” she said. “I could arrest you for interfering with an investigation.”

“I wish you hadn’t touched this, Josh,” Vanessa said. “But if it’s Kaholo’s gun, he may have every right to own it.”

Lei came to the table like the revolver was pulling her. Her eyes were locked on the weapon. “Wow. That is one old gun.”

“I know. Josh found it in Kaholo’s tool shed. I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Lei pulled on latex gloves and picked up the gun.

“This is very unusual. It has two barrels, one under the other.” She held it so Vanessa could get a closer look.

“The hammer is strange, too. It has a little tab in the middle,” Vanessa said. “It’s not loaded — you can see into the chambers from the front. And it’s been recently cleaned. I’ll get this to the lab. Maybe someone there can identify this gun.”

“It looks to me like it’s from the Civil War days,” someone said.

Lei and Vanessa turned to see Officer Corinne O’Flynn behind them, looking at the gun. “The cylinder is round, without those indentations between the chambers? They’re called ‘flutes.’ But older guns didn’t have those. And see, it’s made to be front-loaded.” O’Flynn pointed at the open chambers, facing forward in the gun. “This was made before bullet cartridges. You had to pour powder into the chamber and hold it in place with wadding. Look — it has nine chambers. Probably because it took so long to load, you wanted to have as many shots as possible on the battlefield. It must weigh a ton.”

Lei and Vanessa just looked at the uniformed woman. With her slender face, large, earnest eyes and bobbed chestnut hair, she looked more like a schoolteacher than a cop. Yet here she was, holding forth on an obscure, antique gun.

About Dead Man Lying

She knows when you’re lying …FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm is back on Maui to catch a killer. With lush rain forests, black sand beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle, Maui offers the perfect retirement location for once-famous country singer Steven Sangster … until he ends up dead. As the killer, or killers, strike again and again, Detective Lei Texeira and FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm must untangle the lies spun by the singer’s associates, friends, family — and the singer himself before the music dies. Find it on Amazon.

About Amazon Kindle Worlds

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Lei Crime Kindle World is based on the Lei Crime series, created by bestselling author Toby Neal.

About the author

Scott Bury can’t stay in one genre, although the Lei Crime Kindle World holds a special allure. He’s written Scott lives in Ottawa, Canada, with two pesky cats, two mighty sons and a loving wife who has a very high tolerance level. Find Scott online at

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bad Timing by Nicky Peacock @NickyP_author

Welcome back to Kicky Peacock! She's visiting the blog today to talk about her newest book, BAD TIMING, the second book in the Battle of the Undead Series!

Guest Post by Nicky Peacock

Hang on…for a second.

When you’re starting out as a writer, the biggest hurdle is finishing your first book, the next is getting it published; and then you’re good, right? Well, no not exactly. You then have to produce more books and the second one can be just as daunting as the first, maybe even more so.

It took me a year to finish Bad Timing (ironic title anyone?) It’s the second of my Battle of the Undead series with Evernight Teen and came out December 2015. I must admit though, a lot went wrong that year for me; life events out of my control grabbed my fragile writer’s soul and choked the creativity and will right out of it. I always knew that I wanted the series to be a trilogy with a prequel and had a pretty decent plan laid out for the main plot, but I found myself doubting what I was doing and felt like I’d be letting down the readers and the characters if I wasn’t 100% behind by words. These books are told from the perspective of the main character Britannia who is a bad ass heroine with a dry wit and serious case of crappy luck. Now, I had the crappy luck in spades, but at the time I certainly wasn’t feeling very bad ass or particularly funny.

So I decided to write the prequel instead and leave Bad Timing on the back burner. This is why both books come out within a month of one another. My prequel Traitors’ Gate sheds a little more light on the major plot of Battle of the Undead and is told from a new character’s perspective, Lucinda. It can be read at any point of the series and is a free read through Evernight Teen. Changing books helped. Once finished, I felt invigorated to tell Britannia’s story and I completed Bad Timing within just a few weeks.

I still have fears though, as I’m sure every author does. Bad Blood (first in the series) had great
reviews and although the reviews for Bad Timing are currently coming in just as good, I know there will be readers out there that don’t like the way I write, what I’ve done with the characters and the general feel of the book. I like to pack my stories with action. I want the reader to feel like they are watching a blockbuster movie in their mind. Some writers like to take things slower, but for me, it’s all about the action that leads the reader through the plot. Bad Timing is a book of two halves. I wanted to set it up so the ultimate enemy to our blue haired heroine is time itself, something that even the most skilled warrior and strategist can’t rally against. As a writer, I took a risk with this. Not every reader will like it, but I’m hoping that most will at least appreciate that it gives a different dimension to the middle book of the series.

In the meantime I’ve started a second series with Evernight Teen, The Twisted and The Brave. Yet another nervous breakdown waiting to happen, as this one slightly veers away from my usual full-on paranormal genre and heads more into dark thriller territory. If I thought that bringing out a second book was nail biting, I’m dreading April when the first book of this series, Lost in Wonderland is released!

More About the Book!

Bad Timing – Battle of the Undead #2 by Nicky Peacock.
“You know now that monsters are real. Whether they have recently risen to reach for your flesh, or have chosen now to step from the shadows; you are surrounded by them. You also know that I am one too, but I’m all you’ve got and time is running out…” 

There’s no rest for the wicked, especially in a zombie apocalypse. Britannia has used every vampire skill at her disposal to keep those she cares for safe, but with old enemies and unseen adversaries moving against her, she will have to push herself to both her physical and ethical limits to survive. Britannia is changing, but will it be for the better? 

 14+ due to violence and adult situations

Please note this is the second book in a series that should be read in order.

About the Author:
Nicky is an English author living in the UK. When she’s not writing her YA and adult urban fantasy and horror fiction, she is running a writers’ group and helping local schools with creative writing working shops to encourage the next generation of budding authors. 

Some random Nicky facts:
She loves chocolate and hates fleece.
She loves dogs and hates monkeys (they look too human)
She always has one day a week where she doesn’t have her phone on or touches the internet.
Organising is her ‘thing’ and she hates being late for anything.
Her favourite colour changes depending on her mood.
She tends to write in UK spelling (you may have already noticed that!)
She can’t live without TV but could easily live without social media.
Her favourite food is a roast dinner, but she won’t eat lamb.
She’s weirded out by having to write in the third person – so I’m stopping now!