Thursday, May 31, 2018

Book Spotlight:Tomorrow Always Lies by Doug Solter with A Kindle Paperweight Giveaway!!!

What if you met the perfect boy, but discovered he was an android? When Nadia first met him, Robert was an awkward boy with striking green eyes, hardly someone on the FBI's most wanted list. But when Robert reveals his secret, Nadia and the Gems are thrown into a cross-country chase dodging FBI agents, Russian mercenaries, and a Polynesian giant named Kawiki. Who are the Gems? A talented group of teen girl spies who know how to take care of themselves.

I am so looking forward to reading this book! Doug has also prepared a guest post for The Aspiring Author Blog on writing young adult fiction! Stay tuned in June for these upcoming posts! For now, make sure to enter the giveaway!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book Review of High Wired On by David Russell

Electrical impulses of a fractured mind.

*I was given a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review*

This is a story that is unique and mind-bending. It is essentially the thoughts of Billy, who does not seem to be all quite there. Billy is a deep thinker and is placed in a hospital. It is here he begins to hear voices talking to him, telling him he is chosen for something special and that they need him to help keep the world in order by overseeing all the wires connecting everyone.

This novella is very thought-provoking. It has a nice rhythm to it and I found myself getting lost trying to keep up and understand everything Billy is experiencing. The voices Billy hears seem evil and that they have an agenda they want to use Billy for. As the reader I want Billy to fight them but instead, he goes along with what they want.

Those that enjoy a deep cerebral read will enjoy this novella. This is a well-written story with plenty to keep the reader moving forward.

 Born 1940. Resident in UK. Writer of poetry, criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Poetry Collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998). Several poems published in Forward Press anthologies, and in International Times. Editor of Poetry Express Newsletter. Speculative fiction works High Wired On and Rock Bottom. Romance publications Self's Blossom, Explorations, Further Explorations, Therapy Rapture and Darlene. I am also a guitarist/singer-songwriter. My main CD albums are Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate; I have several tracks on YouTube.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Welcome Joy D. Fanning Our New Science Fiction Contributor!

Joy D. Fanning is the originator of The Aspiring Author Blog. Since 2009 she has been reviewing books, interviewing authors and growing as an aspiring author herself. Now equipped with a degree in English, she embarks on a mission to help other aspiring authors reach their goals of completing their science fiction and fantasy novels as a Creativity Coach. When not coaching she is busy typing away on her science fiction series and short stories. 

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

I never thought about writing my own stories until I was 24 years old. I loved reading but being dyslexic I never thought about writing. An idea for a novel came to me while I was driving to work one day. I wrote it down once I got to work and my brain just wouldn’t let it go. Two months later I had a whole novel written. I enjoyed the process of weaving a story together so much I knew it was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life.

What draws you to your particular genre? 

Where to start!? Science fiction has always fascinated me. I am drawn to it because of all the elements it combines; drama, action, romance, philosophy, mystery, etc. A science fiction story can take on any form. Personally, I enjoy science fiction that explores moral issues and different ways of looking at reality. 

What can readers of The Aspiring Author Blog expect to gain from your posts?

I want to dive into what makes for great science fiction. Why are the classics classic? What are the main themes explored in this genre? What is the future of science fiction? What are the elements needed to make a great sci-fi story? These are all examples of questions I plan to explore in my upcoming posts. 

What's one tip you have for aspiring authors in your genre?

Sky's the limit! Really let your mind go far with your ideas. Sci-fi explores the unknown so you can really go wild! 

You can read Joy's science fiction posts on the first Friday of every month!

Connect with Joy:

Do you enjoy science fiction? What draws you to it as writer/reader? 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Welcome Alexa McGinnis Our New Fantasy Contributor!

Alexa McGinnis has had a vast imagination all her life and enjoyed immersing herself in the fictional worlds of the books she read. She finally began writing in middle school when she was chosen to be a part of a musical collaborative group that would write their own music, vocals, and instruments. As time passed she steered away from writing and more on her academics, until one night she had a dream she couldn’t shake.
Quickly she wrote it down only to realize she had written her first draft of her first book with very little effort!
Once again life got in the way and she put the pen back down. It wasn’t until ten years later that she picked her craft back up to complete.
Alexa writes a mixture of urban fantasy, YA, and action, though she does enjoy dabbling in the other genres now and then. Her novel Kaneji: A Curious World Unknown is set to be released spring of 2019 with a trail of short stories released before then.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

I still toy with the idea of becoming a writer! It baffles me to know that I have not only written a book but had it edited by professionals and getting it prepped for publishing!

What draws you to your particular genre?

I love magic! I grew up watching charmed and reading harry potter. To me, it's like releasing your true self and not being tied down by what reality says we can do.

What can readers of The Aspiring Author Blog expect to gain from your posts?

That's a good question because on any given day one of my many personalities might be reading its face. One day I might be inspirational, the next I might be silly and goofy, you just never really know what you're gonna get with me.

What's one tip you have for aspiring authors in your genre?

Finish the book! Don't worry about the marketing, publishing, covers, editors, or betas, until you finish the book, the first draft I mean. You will only stress yourself out more, trust me.

Alexa's posts on Fantasy on the first Tuesday of every month.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Welcome S. A. Battaglia our new Thriller contributor!

S.A. Battaglia is an author based in Texas. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County, California. As a musician in his early 20’s, he and his bandmates traveled the U.S. coast to coast in a 15 passenger van, taking in the rich diversity along the way. In his late 20’s, he got married and relocated to Texas in pursuit of career and educational opportunities. After many hardships and setbacks, his launch as a professional fiction author is underway.

Follow along for progress updates on his debut novel: Lost Earth.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

I see it as something I've always been. I wrote and illustrated (poorly) my first short story in first grade. In middle school, I discovered the desire to express my feelings in the form of love letters. To spice those up, I began to write poetry. After my first heartbreak, poetry became lyrics to songs I poured out on stage.

Writing is in me. My persistent love for story is what birthed the calling to create my own. I tried to contain writing as a hobby, but it had to be more. It could not be contained and bled into every facet of my life. Apart from family, writing is my life. I will do everything it takes to do it, to do it well, and to do it unto the benefit of my family.

 What draws you to your particular genre?

Whether it be books, music, food, or film, my tastes are incredibly diverse. I can appreciate quality work of any genre. 

I never considered genre when approaching writing. It wasn't until I began to produce stories that I noticed a pattern: I love to shock, move, inspire, and excite. I also love to speculate. This has manifested as sci-fi, thriller, and drama thus far. I want to take you on a ride, an adventure of the heart and mind.

 What can readers of The Aspiring Author Blog expect to gain from your posts?

My aim is to provide something meaningful and true—true in the sense that the information and tips in my posts will be what I've found helpful through my own research and experience. I have nothing to hide. I'll hold nothing back. Any insights I use for my own benefit will be shared freely in hopes to benefit others. Let's journey together.

What's one tip you have for aspiring authors in your genre?

Let every word be a conduit to the next. Everything must drive the story forward, even when you're unsure of the destination. The excitement of discovery along the way is the pay off for both you and your readers.

Read S. A. Battaglia's posts on writing thrillers every fourth Monday of the month!

Connect with S. A. Battaglia:

Help us welcome S. A. Battaglia! Do you write thrillers? What insights are you looking forward to gaining? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Welcome W. E. DeVore Our New Mystery Contributor!

W.E. DeVore is a musician, producer, and audio engineer. In her career as a musician and sometimes rock star babysitter, she has been fortunate to know some of the most entertaining and unique individuals that seem to only grow from the Louisiana soil. She’s also experienced some things that a nice Jewish girl from Montana probably shouldn’t know about - but it does make excellent fodder for a little fiction. DeVore has lived in Southeast Louisiana for the last two decades and currently lives in Baton Rouge, although her heart will always be in New Orleans - sweaty, dirty, crime-ridden, music-filled wonderland that it is.

The first three books of the Clementine Toledano Mysteries are available now (That Old Devil Sin, Devil Take Me Down, and Chasing Those Devil Bones). The fourth installment of Q’s misadventures, The Devil’s Luck, is due out Summer 2018.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

When I was in first grade, I decided I wanted to be a writer and live in a lighthouse. But then, my brother did the most unkind thing and bought me Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy for my ninth birthday and I was a goner for rock and roll. After spending my entire adult life either working for rockstars or struggling to be one myself, I hung up my Doc Martins, but still needed an outlet for my creativity. As it turns out, crafting a good book isn’t that much different from crafting a good lyric: you tell a story, you make someone else feel something, you try not to be cliché, you use words as the rhythmic pacing for the story you're telling.

What draws you to your particular genre?

Mystery fiction explores human motivation in a direct way. Why we, as a species, do the dark things that we do, but also, why, we as a species, try to stop bad things from happening. That sense of control that we all seek. That search for power. Examining the flaws and strengths that make us who we are. Also, I just love a good puzzle. There’s something so satisfying about being stumped until the last possible moment.

What can readers of The Aspiring Author Blog expect to gain from your posts?

Genre fiction, in general, is often downplayed as “beach reading”. It’s just for “fun” and not “real literature”. And I think there is a place for those kind of books. But I also think there is a place within those books to bend the genre and do more with it. So, I’ll be exploring the rules and where to break them. Also, character development and breathing life into the pages of whatever you’re writing.

What's one tip you have for aspiring authors in your genre?

Write the books that you want to read.

W. E. DeVore posts go up on the second Monday of each month.

Connect with W. E. DeVore:

Help us welcome W. E. DeVore! Do you enjoy mystery as well?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Welcome Alice Cotton Our New Children's Lit Contributor!

About a month ago I posted about adding contributors to the blog. It's such an honor to have these amazing writers join me in bringing more content to this blog. This week there will be a spotlight on each new contributor. Each of them brings something unique to the table and I'm so excited to have them! Help me give a nice big welcome to Alice Cotton today who will head up posts on children's lit. 

-Joy D. Fanning 

Alice Cotton is a professional musician, author and artist who has been playing music and creating stories for children since the age of 8 when she bravely put her head under her father’s grand piano. With ears next to the piano strings, she listened to all its incredible sounds. Then before bed each night she would tell fantasy stories to her brother and sister. Thankfully the piano top stayed up and her stories were well received by her siblings and friends. Since then, (no surprise) a lifetime of music and storytelling unfolded. Hence, her books include The Case of the Flying Note, Adventure On A Blue Moon, Musical Tales and the Adventures of Hoody Hoody (a young girl) and Budhiem (her magical cat). In addition, Alice has been a lifelong reader of children’s literature and believes that “We are really all here to have a good time!”

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

When I was really young. You see, my mom was a writer, and to be like her, I started to write poems and stories. As a teen, young adult I became a working musician and wrote songs. Now I am back to writing stories in the form of musical fantasy books for young people. You can see my books at

What draws you to your particular genre? 

I used to entertain my younger sister and brother by telling them with fantasy stories I made up.  Now all of us write and my sister is my editor and my brother is my publisher. They are both well trained in these areas of the literary arts.

What can readers of The Aspiring Author Blog expect to gain from your posts?

1. Get ideas on where and how to come up with story ideas for children.
2. Learn the ins and outs of publishing and writing for children.
3. Enjoy the places I have discovered and use for my storybook ideas.

 What's one tip you have for aspiring authors in your genre?

Two tips:
1. Be the kid you once were. Remember what it was like, what you loved, what scared you and what you learned. Grab these ideas and write your stories. 
2. Many new writers believe they can edit their own books to save money, but in reality, they miss a lot. I’ve read a lot of manuscripts and have come to believe that a good editor is essential. Editors save authors from writing incomplete story descriptions, proofreading errors and discrepancies, unfinished ideas, wordiness and from writing things that don't make sense. I always think my manuscripts are perfect, when, in reality, I miss a lot. My editor helps me create stories that are professional and ones I can be proud of.

Alice will be posting on the third Wednesday of every month! Her first post will go up on June 20th! 

Please help us welcome Alice! Do you write Children's lit? What types of posts are you looking forward too? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Release Day Celebration of Stanley & Hazel by Jo Schaffer w/ $25 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY!!

Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Stanley & Hazel by Jo Schaffer
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


A great depression has gripped the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante in waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.

When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.

But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.

As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.
Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Month9Books

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.
She's a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.
Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.
Jo is a mom of 3 strapping sons living in the beautiful mountains of Utah with a neurotic cat named Hero.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Review: The Darkest Side of the Moon by Tayler Macneill

Charlie is just an ordinary girl, or is she? Living in the city with her best friends where mysterious murders keep happening and people keep disappearing without a trace. People are oblivious to what is happening, even the police are left clueless. The city believes it’s a serial killer but others believe it’s terrorism. No one actually knows just how widespread it is, it’s everyone’s worst nightmare. How would you feel if life as you knew it faded away or it turned out it was just a lie? The world has their eyes open, yet no one sees the truth. Not Charlie, her eyes are wide open and she sees it all!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

The Darkest Side of the Moon takes you on quite the adventure! There are several plot twists that keep pulling you along and eager to see how things will develop. I really enjoyed the creative plotline and the pace of the novel. I loved how Charlie stayed true to herself and didn't hide the fact she was seeing things. Jack is wonderful as well as he keeps an open mind and is always eager to find the truth. 

Readers who enjoy urban fantasy or science fiction should add this book to their to-be-read pile! 

Amazon   Goodreads

I am what they call a hybrid writer and new to the business. I have always enjoyed writing but never gave it any serious thought untill 2016 when I started writing “The Darkest Side of the Moon.” Before that I mainly wrote poetry which has been published through The American Poet Society and is in their library. I have also written lyrics for a few of paramounts musicians which is up for grabs in their country catalogue. Currently I am working on a manuscript for a psychological Horror which will be published by summer. I am also working on a few other manuscripts on the side, including the sequel to The Darkest Side of the Moon which will be out on April 30th.

Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: Get Out Of My Dreams by Allan J. Lewis

Alice and John Timberlake lead a quiet life in the suburbs of California. John is a prison officer at the California State Prison, and Alice assists the Agony Aunt columnist, with big dreams of becoming a reporter. One morning they awaken to their lives turned upside down—John is on the couch with no recollection of how he got there, the front door lock is unbolted, and the alarm is disarmed. Alice’s underwear is neatly folded on top of her slippers––she knows she went to bed wearing them. Fearing they may have been victimized in their own home, they contact the authorities. John and Alice discover they have been the latest victims of “The Magic Man,” a rogue hypnotist that gets into people’s dreams, makes them do his bidding, and has them reveal their darkest secrets. The FBI considers him a threat to the country. Some departments within the Halls of Justice want him eliminated; others think his talents could help solve crimes. They ask John and Alice’s help to bring the Magic Man to heel. None of them realize that their intended target is manipulating them. Everyone has secrets, and the Magic Man knows them all. When a steamy fantasy shared between Alice and the Magic Man unveils a unique connection between them, it changes the rules of his game. All Alice and John had ever wanted was for the Magic Man to get out of their dreams––but now, they can never go back to the life they had before… Get Out of My Dreams is the captivating first novel of Allan J. Lewis.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started this book but holy cow! The conflict starts early and the plunge into the action captured me instantly. This book has adult themes, think cable high drama detective show. The dark themes explored in this novel deepen the story and help you empathize with Alice and Joe.

I loved the dialog in this book. It reads like actual conversations and makes you feel like you're sitting at the table with Alice and Joe helping them figure out what to tell the FBI over the morning cup of coffee.

Allen does a superb job building the world of his novel. I found myself wanting more as a reader and drawn to see if Joe's secret would come out to hurt him. I give Get Out of My Dreams five stars! If you are a fan of crime mystery or enjoy a nicely woven plot then you will thoroughly enjoy this book!

                                                        Amazon            Goodreads 

Allan J Lewis was born in South Wales UK, a son of a coal miner, in August 1939, just before the outbreak of World War 2.
He started work underground for the National Coal Board on his fifteenth birthday. He married in March 1961 and has two children, a daughter and a son, and two grandchildren.
Deep down he always wanted to be a writer but he felt thwarted by his lack of education. He would write a few pages and give up, frustrated by spelling and grammar. (This was before the days of personal computers.) As a young man he didn’t have much time to read or write. He was working two shifts on the coalface, and when his daughter came along he got himself another job as a part-time fireman.
By the time he was in his late forties and his two children had married, he found time to start reading again. He enjoyed the adventure novels of Wilbur Smith and the works of James Patterson and Lee Child. He loves a good crime thriller.
The pleasure he found in reading rekindled his desire to write.
He would create stories in his head, but did not put pen to paper in earnest until he retired. Allan has written two books a Mystery/Thriller and an Erotic/Romance.

Connect with Allen! Website     Twitter     Facebook     Pinterest