Sunday, June 24, 2018

Two Questions with . . . Author Janet Walden

Thank you for inviting me to stop by as Part Three of the “Two Questions With…” blog hop.

2. What is the hardest part about writing?

Plotting. Bah. That way leads to lack of creativity and dull stories. Drudgery and boredom.

Oh, guys. Baby Writer me was so cute.
Hands up if you’re also a reformed pantser. 

Fifty percent of my writing issues disappeared when I learned to sit down and plot out a story. I always come up with characters first, usually completely by accident. They pretty much spring to life in my head, fully formed—then I’m left scrambling to find a plot to hang them on. 

My early stories always stalled out around the 70% mark. Right around the Black Moment. All because I had cobbled together plot as I went, and was often left not knowing what drove the characters into their crisis, or if I had the crisis, how to solve it. I got characters into trouble then had no clue how to get them out. I lost weeks and months to writing myself into corners.

Then came breaking down, figuring “What do I have to lose by trying?” and starting a new story outline from scratch on a legal pad. And it worked. I could see potential dead ends and lack of agency.

Gotta say, plotting an arc out on paper lets me brainstorm ideas ahead of time and helps keep the pacing tight. Since I try to stick to big picture outlines, it also leaves me plenty of room to innovate and change details without starting from scratch. 

 Thanks to my reformed ways, I can finish a story much more quickly now, and with less “Why did I ever think this was doable?” angst.

2. Who are you favorite writers at the moment, and what do you love about each?

So many. So, so many.

In romance, I’m on a huge contemporary romance kick with Sarina Bowen. I love, love, love her True North series, and Keepsake is my favorite so far. Sarina writes sexy—wow, does she have some intense heroes and heroines—but capitalizes on emotions to bring the heat. She builds tension into a delicious fire. She also makes unconventional heroes and consent sexy.

In SF/F/PNR, it’s Karen Marie Moning. I just caught up on her Fever series, devouring Feversong and High Voltage within days. Her long-term plotting just knocks me out. She lays out so many plot threads, then manages to connect them all organically. The level of detail and imagination just blow me away. Her descriptions of the Fae and Dublin are also lush and gorgeous. You can see and feel the deadly beauty and rain-wet cobbles.

Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn't read the fine print.  She has an unseemly obsession with dusty artifacts, great cars, and bad coffee.A founding member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance and The Million Words craft blog, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America member. She pens Urban Fantasy that escapes the neat confines of the city limits in favor of map-dot hillbilly towns, and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance. A #PitchWars alum, her first short story, Road Trip, is included in the Chasing the Light anthology.

Find Me At:


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Celebrate the Summer Solstice with New Adult Books!!

I’m celebrating the by taking over the New Adult Scavenger Hunt Facebook group. Stop by, help me celebrate—and enter to win books. The party is HERE!!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Two Questions with . . . author Ken Schrader

Thank you, Pat, for hosting me on your blog today as part of our “Two questions with...” series.
For those of you that don’t know, my name is Ken Schrader. I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, Weird Westerns (though, not necessarily in that order). 

And here are my Two Questions...

Question 1. What is the hardest part about writing?

Beginning. Hands down. I have the most trouble with beginning. Now, when I say “Beginning,” I don’t mean beginnings, as in the start of the story. I mean Beginning. Sitting down to write, making that commitment, shutting yourself away from family, friends, the dogs, TV, games, the internet, dishes, that bit of laundry you’ve got to—
Stop it.
Go write.
That’s the hardest part for me. I won’t say that the rest is easy. Writing is hard work, no matter how you go about it. But it’s also fun work. Once I get started, I can fall so deeply into it that I’ll lose time. And it doesn’t matter what part of the process I’m in. Drafting, editing, revising (yes, there’s a difference), or any other part of it.

Beginning, though, is a hurdle that I’ve got to jump every time. 

Question 2. What is your "Go-to" thing that you treat yourself to when you finish a first draft?

The thing I go for when I finish a draft is a grilled steak. Where I go depends on the time of year it is. If it’s not near freezing (or raining), I’ll happily bundle up and get the charcoal grill going. In the event that’s not a viable thing, then there are a couple of places around that I could go to.

Pizza from one of the local places is a good “Plan B”  


I am a science fiction and fantasy writer, a shameless Geek, a fan of the Oxford comma, and I make housing decisions based on the space available for bookshelves. I collect books, movies, and music.

I sing out loud when I think there's no one around, and try to get a blog post up once a week--One of which I have done consistently for the last few years.

I love music of all kinds, books, the big sky off my front porch, Star Wars, Firefly, Blind Guardian (to which, I write almost exclusively), Rugby, star gazing, jasmine tea, and the smell of rain on the air.

My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate. My favorite food is grilled steak, and I can suspend disbelief embarrassingly quickly.

I live in Michigan, am co-owned by several dogs (especially the Border Collie), and I ma one of the rare breed of folk that enjoys mowing the lawn. 

I am represented by Dorian Maffei of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. ( 

ually only on the weekends, and not for very long at that.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Giveaway e-ARC of PLAYING HER SECRET CRUSH by Casey Griffin


Today, I’m giving away an e-ARCs of PLAYING HER SECRET CRUSH by Casey Griffin. Leave a comment here for a chance to win (include your email).

 For a bonus chance Tweet about the giveaway and include @PatEsden and @CaseyGriffin in your Tweet. You can also RT my tweets. For another bonus chance, follow @CaseyGriffin on Twitter. Winner will be chosen randomly tonight at midnight Eastern Standard Time. 


All her life, Katie has been chosen last for everything: the last picked on the playground,
the last picked by her absent father, and definitely the last picked by boys—
even her secret crush, Alex, friend-zoned her. This senior year, Katie is determined to
come first.

But then Alex asks her to help him find a date?!

Alex has been living life in the fast lane, but he's ready to slow down—with a girlfriend.
The last person on earth he’d consider? The girl his brother developed serious
feelings for before he died: Katie. The only way Alex is going to get over Katie is
by falling for someone new. And who better to help him find his new crush than the
girl he can’t stop thinking about?

What can possibly go wrong?

Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving a 400 ton dump truck in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and photographer, books are her true passion, and she is currently busy writing every moment she can.

Author Links:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Two Questions with . . . author Anne Raven

Thank you, Pat, for hosting me on your blog today as part of our “Two questions with...” series. I’m Anne Raven, and I write romance, anything from suspense to paranormal.

Q. Why do you write?
I discovered my love of books very late, we’re talking early 20s—I know, it’s terrible, and you can all throw virtual tomatoes. I’ll wait.

Okay, that’s enough.

No, really. Please stop.


I spent my childhood outdoors, playing pretend and creating my own stories. I was a real water-baby and would splash in the pool for hours, imagining a world of mermaids and sea creatures. Somehow it never occurred to me that I could put those stories down onto paper. At least not until I found my love of books.

Once I did, it was only natural for me to switch from reading to writing. It happened in a very organic sort of way when an idea hit me on the head, and I just HAD to write it—even if it happened to be about 1am at the time. Of course, this presented a whole new learning curve—actually crafting the words. It took many manuscripts and a lot of words before I found my rhythm. I’m still learning, but writing has become an obsession.

I write because I love stories. I love characters. I love exploring their lives and figuring them out, discovering how they’d react in certain situations. Most of all, I write to purge the characters from my head that demand their stories to be told. I write because I’m essentially still that little girl in the pool, playing with imaginary characters in made-up worlds.

Q. What is the hardest part about writing?
There’s a lot of craft aspects that I think will always be challenging. Starting the first draft of a shiny new idea is daunting, but also thrilling. Often deciding where to begin and end can be tough. Revising can either be great fun or difficult if major re-writes are needed. I’m a pantster (which means I “fly by the seat of my pants”), so sometimes I write myself into a sticky situation I need to fix. Although, since my last manuscript, I’ve begun plotting as much as I can beforehand, and learning how to do that has been interesting, to say the least.

Each book also presents its own set of obstacles. Sometimes that can be the content or the research required for a particular plot or character. Sometimes they can be emotionally draining if you’re tackling a difficult subject. And for me, the absolute hardest part, is getting the emotions on the page.

This is something I struggle with in my day to day life—showing emotions—so I find it particularly difficult to express them in my writing. On top of that, it’s such a vital piece of the puzzle, especially in romance, that you really have to get it right so readers can relate to your characters and want to read about them. Nobody wants to read about cardboard cut-outs with the emotional range of a fish (no offense fishies!). That would be no fun. It’s something I’m constantly trying to get better at, and will likely continue far into the future.

Anne Raven was born and raised along the windy coast of South Africa, and can assure everyone there are no lions roaming the streets—unless you count the feral cat next door. When not reading or writing, you’ll find her being bossed around by her adorable niece, taking freshly baked goods from the oven, or drinking too much coffee. Her romantic suspense IN THE NAME OF THE MOTHER was showcased in Pitch Wars 2017. Anne is represented by Amanda Jain at BookEnds Literary Agency.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

New Adult Scavenger Hunt!

Hello Everyone! Hope you are excited as I am, because we have less than three weeks until the Summer 2018 New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins! Here are the Summer 2018 #NewASH teams:



The New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins at Noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, June 27th and runs through Sunday, July 1st. For more information, visit