Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Guest Blog – Interview with Sean Taylor


At ConNooga this year, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sean Taylor. Lots of laughs sharing an intersection in the Dealer’s Room. A fellow writer and lover of all things genre. I look forward to the next con where we cross paths!

Today, he featured an interview with me on his blog, “Bad Girls, Good Guys, and Two-Fisted Action” – if you’d like to read the interview, click here, and make sure to check out Sean’s blog in the future. Great stuff!

Till next time,



Smelling Sheep and Jumping Sharks


Today, I was the guest blogger on I Smell Sheep, invited by Sharon Stogner to talk about whatever my heart desired. I discussed Shark Jumping and the inherent dangers of writing sequels. When you can make it better, go for it, but if you suddenly feel the need to create Scrappy Doo, perhaps it’s time to end that piece and start something fresh…

Here’s a link to my post at I Smell Sheep! Enjoy!

Happy writing everyone!



To Audio or Not To Audio


word whores book banner 1300x173 with full text 2

Today, I was the guest blogger on Word-Whores, invited by my friend, Linda Robertson to talk about my recent experience with launching an audiobook. I suspect I will have more to say on the subject in 6-12 months, as the audiobook for The Mussorgsky Riddle just launched 8 days ago, but I did have a few things to say. Also, check out Linda’s posts and the other authors there. Lots of good info to be had!

Here’s a link to my post at Word-Whores!

Happy writing everyone!


Guest Blog: The One, The Only – Gail Z. Martin

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

It’s Monday night/Tuesday morning and I’d like to welcome Gail Z. Martin to Checkered Ramblings. Gail is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer Series, The Fallen Kings Cycle, as well as the two new series pictured below. She is my guest blogger today, so Gail, take it away!


The Charleston of Deadly Curiosities

By Gail Z. Martin

Charleston, SC is an amazing city. Nestled on the harbor, packed with historic sites, haunted locations, beautiful architecture and awesome food, it’s a pretty darn fantastic vacation spot. It’s also a fantastic, under-utilized setting for urban fantasy, which is why my Deadly Curiosities series decided to take up residence.

Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. at 350 years old. It’s a seafaring city, and its history is full of cotton and commodities, rum runners, blockade runners, pirates and slave ships. Like New Orleans, Charleston is a fascinating contradiction. Proper, pious and beautiful on one level–especially for those who had high status and wealth–and supporting that luxury, another level steeped in the blood of the slaves and catering to the dark passions of those upstanding folks with brothels, taverns and speakeasies, dueling grounds and slave markets.

Ghosts, pirates and duels abound in Charleston’s legends. Head down there, and you can take tours that highlight Charleston’s bloodiest duels, juiciest scandals and scariest ghosts. Read up on the city’s history, and you’ll find out that the truth is even more amazing.

Stroll down King Street, Charleston’s main downtown retail street, and it’s easy to picture Trifles and Folly, the antique shop from my books, tucked in among the jewelry stores and clothing emporiums. Walk through the Charleston City Market and see the fresh produce, locally-made food and craft items and of course, the sweetgrass baskets, and you can easily picture Cassidy, my main character, stopping to talk with Mrs. Teller and her daughter Niella at their basket display.

Visit some of the city’s landmarks, like the Old Jail, the Customs House and Dueler’s Alley, and see if you can’t easily imagine the ghosts of Charleston’s past, even if you’re not psychic or have psychometric abilities. Stop in at the Charleston Museum and take a leisurely stroll through the city’s history, or visit the H.L. Hunley submarine museum then think about what’s on display and you’ll glimpse why Cassidy’s talent for reading the history of objects by touching them makes museum visits difficult–and sometimes dangerous. Take plenty of pictures, and don’t be surprised when lots of spirit orbs show up.

A trip to Charleston wouldn’t be complete without gracious houses, whether it’s Middleton or Magnolia Plantations, the country’s only tea plantation at Wadmalaw Island or the Rhett-Akin house downtown. Imagine Sorren, Cassidy’s vampire business partner, mingling with the planter aristocracy over the centuries during which he and Cassidy’s ancestors helped safeguard Charleston and the world. Spend some time on the Battery looking out over the harbor, glimpse Fort Sumter, and drive out to John’s Island to see the Angel Oak.

Stroll the streets and take in the beauty of the Charleston ‘single houses’ like the one Cassidy lives in, turned sideways to the street with a door onto the piazza and a walled garden. Meander through the beautiful old cemeteries near the historic churches, like the fascinating burying ground at St. Phillips, or out on the edge of town at Magnolia, Bethany and St. Lawrence Cemeteries out on Huguenin Avenue, a veritable necropolis of a street with about a dozen different cemeteries side by side. If you’ve read Deadly Curiosities (and when you read Vendetta, coming in December), you’ll quickly realize where the action takes place.

Make sure you reserve time for a horse-drawn carriage tour of the downtown and a walking tour after hours of the city’s most haunted places. Then if you’re hungry, rove Charleston’s fantastic selection of restaurants ranging from bars to white-linen tablecloth establishments and find out why the Holy City is foodie heaven.

I’ve fallen in love with the real Charleston, and with the setting where Cassidy Kincaide, Teag Logan and Sorren keep the world safe from supernatural bad nasties and magically malicious objects. That’s just one reason I’m looking forward to returning to Atomacon, Charleston’s sci-fi convention, and the opportunity to do more research about one of the most beautiful and haunted cities in America.

Watch for Vendetta, the second book in the Deadly Curiosities series to launch in late December, 2015!

The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe. For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit


Join Gail, Larry, and I at Atomacon, where we will be guests and doing panels / selling books / meeting folks. Not only will Gail be bringing the ghost stories of Charleston to life surrounded by the city itself, but her and Larry’s steampunk Pittsburgh will also be unleashed in the first of no doubt many Jake Desmet Adventures: look for Iron & Blood, coming soon!

I&B final cover

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series; The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.

Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.

Find them at, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on, at blog and, on Goodreads free excerpts, Wattpad

My “Freshly Booked” Interview on WON – Writers Online Network

Apologies. This blog post is still under construction.

Cover Reveal for The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma


The Rearranged Life is the debut novel of my agency mate and publisher mate, Annika Sharma. She, Ara, and I are all in Stacey Donaghy’s stable and are all published by Lisa Gus and Eugene Teplitsky at Curiosity Quills Press. So happy to continue to get the word out on good books by good people!


Title: The Rearranged Life

Author: Annika Sharma

Cover designer: Eugene Teplitsky

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Release day: May 15th

PREORDER e-Book TODAY! Print editions coming soon!


About The Rearranged Life:


Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she’s wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.

When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes. Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American. As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. To make matters worse, Nishanth, the son of newly reunited family friends is the perfect match for her in the eyes of her loved ones.

Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path. The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.


Exclusive Excerpt

There it is again. That electric charge. It’s as if the air between us has solidified into a molten mass, white-hot and pulling us together like magnets. My heart pounds so hard, I’m afraid it’ll break the stone we are sitting on. His eyes stare into mine, and I am engulfed by their vibrant green sheen. James crosses his legs and straightens his back from the way he was leaning. He’s closer to me now. I can see the shade of stubble on his chin and exactly where his jaw flexes. There’s a scar on his forehead near his eyebrow, and I wonder distractedly where he got it.

“You can really see the stars out tonight.” He tilts his head. I turn around, taken aback by the change of subject. The shadows of the mountains in the distance are huge waves of dark blue on the horizon. The green grass in the fields behind the pavilion appears teal in the night. There are no lights there, while the other side of the arboretum is lit by campus streetlights. The stars are brilliant, glittering specks against a dark background. Suddenly, one jets across the sky, trailing faint white light behind it. It travels so quickly, my eyes can hardly keep up.

“Hey!” James and I cry out, pointing to the shooting star. The second it disappears into the universe, I close my eyes.

“What’re you doing?” James whispers. I hold up a finger to make a wish, willing it to happen with all of my heart and soul. I wish this night would never end.

“I had to make my wish.” I whisper back. I’m not sure why, but after the fleeting glimpse of the meteor, it feels appropriate.

“What did you wish for?” He has shifted his weight again, his position mirroring mine perfectly.

“I can’t tell or it won’t come true. Did you wish for anything?”

He shakes his head, smiling.

“It’s not too late. You still have time. Give it a shot.”

He closes his eyes, and the vision of him with his eyes serenely closed, cross-legged on the stone floor inches away from me, is seared into my mind. He looks so peaceful, like a child. A wistful smile lingers on his lips—until his eyes flutter open, and his smile turns playful.

“Are you going to tell me what you wished for?” I repeat his question.

“It won’t come true.” He echoes my response.

We are inches from each other. Our faces tilt toward one another, our images reflecting in each other’s eyes.

“I really want to kiss you right now,” he whispers.

“I really want you to,” I reply, breathlessly.

He moves in closer, taking his time. The world has stopped. There are no passing cars, no breezes blowing through the trees, no ties binding us to anyone but each other. When his lips finally touch mine, it is as if a fire bursts to roaring, glorious life inside me—it is flaming, reaching for any way to free itself from my body. Though I’ve never done this before, I have no worries. I am a lost soul, and he is my lifeline.

“You taste like chocolate,” he whispers to me, grinning.

“Is that a racial reference?” I ask him, smiling.

He laughs softly, his forehead pressed against mine, his hand still grazing my cheek, fingers entwined in my hair. “I guess I got what I wished for.”

“You wasted a wish. I would have kissed you anyway.” I tell him, playfully.

“I didn’t want to take any chances,” he murmurs and kisses me again.

I am in heaven, and there is nowhere I would rather be.


About Annika:

Annika Sharma was born in India and moved to the United States (Pennsylvania!) when she was a baby. Annika was a daydreamer from day one, always coming up with stories and games of pretend that seemed real. She was a serious journal-writer from fifth grade to college and wrote dramatic scenes for stories often, inspired by soap operas she watched in summers off from school.

Eventually, when the time for college came around, Annika’s parents encouraged her to pursue journalism. Convinced she couldn’t make a living from writing, Annika disagreed. After five years, two degrees, two minors, working with children, being a dancer teacher, and creating a two-and-a-half page resume in college that had interests so all-over-the-place that even she couldn’t make sense of it, Annika finally decided her parents were right. Writing was where her heart was, all along.

In the month before graduate school, the idea Annika had in my mind for years finally poured out in the form of the novel, The Rearranged Life. Annika began editing in earnest after she finished her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, landing Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group as an agent. Three months later, she had a book deal with Curiosity Quills.

In her spare time, Annika loves spending time with her family and friends, often indulging in the three S’s: Starbucks, shopping and superhero movies. As a chocolate lover and general all-around vegetarian foodie, Annika also adores cooking.

Follow Annika here: Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // Goodreads // Website


Cover Reveal for Game of Love by Ara Grigorian

GOL Cover


I’m excited to reveal the cover for Game of Love, a new sports romance from friend, agency mate, and publisher mate, Ara Grigorian! Check out all the fun details about this sexy romance!!!


Title: Game of Love

Author: Ara Grigorian

Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance

Release Day: May 4TH


About Game of Love:

Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point.

Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.

Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love… at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily.

As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within… even lovers and even friends.

In the Game of Love, winner takes all.

Preorder today!!!

Exclusive Excerpt:


“We are made strong by the difficulties we face, not by those we evade.”

~Author Unknown

Gemma’s security flanked her, their grip tight on her arms. Bedric, her coach, rushed ahead, slamming open the hotel’s glass doors to the roar of the French paparazzi―a cacophony of questions, comments, and insults.

Gemma moderated her breathing, prepared for another three-second spurt of chaos.


“―What happened in your hotel room?”

They knew. Dozens of cameras from all directions chirped and flashed. She kept her eyes trained on her goal: the awaiting car.


“―Mademoiselle! Gemma! One smile.”

The paparazzi bore in from her right. Only a few more steps. A knee rammed into her thigh. That one would leave a mark. A bruise that the papers would dissect and analyze gratuitously.


“―Why were you hiding for four months? Were you going to quit tennis?”

Don’t react. Say nothing. Bedric forced the car door open, giving Gemma the opening she needed to squeeze in. He followed.


The door slammed behind them, and the sounds of commotion lowered to a gentle hush. Black tinted windows offered a veil of privacy. Bodies, camera lenses, and faces smashed against the glass. Only inches separated her from the paparazzi. There had been a time when she used to move to the center of the car, creating as much separation as possible. But now she knew better. Distance was a mere illusion of safety.

The locks engaged, and the car accelerated away.

She didn’t like surprises―particularly on game day―but in this case, her security lead’s demand to move her to another hotel had been spot- on. It was one thing for the paparazzi to gather outside. It was quite another when one found his way into her hotel suite… while she slept. The French paparazzi were setting a new standard.

“This is not good,” Bedric said in stoic English.

She eyed her superstitious coach, who was always concerned with deviations from routine. But the concern etched on his face wasn’t about superstition. He didn’t want a repeat performance of the Australian Open months earlier.

“You have not rested,” he continued, “and you have yet to get breakfast.”

“We’ll be fine. We are fine,” she said, nearly believing it herself. “As for breakfast, we’ll grab something at the new hotel.”

The car swerved as the driver made a temporary effort to lose their tail. Memories of another car chase months earlier inched its way into her throat.

“There will be people. You don’t need more distractions.”

“More distractions?” She had woken to the sound of an intruder in her suite, and now she was rushing from one hotel to another on the morning of her quarterfinal match. How much worse could it get? “We’ll be discreet. Run in, eat, and we’ll be off.”

The car’s tires screeched as the driver took another quick turn. It was happening again. Another chase just before a critical match. Only this time, the driver wasn’t drunk.

From her bag, Gemma removed a tennis ball and twirled it in her hand. One point at a time. She focused on the soft texture. Familiar. Calming. Poking out from inside her bag, the newspaper article from the day before mocked her. Inch-tall letters above her picture: The Great HypeFive Years and Still Waiting. She squeezed the tennis ball over and over again until her fingers went numb.

She dropped the ball back inside the bag, then closed her eyes, hoping to salvage some sleep. She crossed her arms and tried to control her shivering. No, she wasn’t cold. She just wanted five minutes alone with the bastard who had violated her space. Gemma almost wished the coward hadn’t bolted when she charged him, tennis racquet in hand.


About Ara Grigorian:

Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…

He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).

But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.

Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.

Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads



GOL teaser 2

Guest Blog Post from DIY MFA!


Today, I was the guest blogger on DIY MFA, a website that helps writers, aspiring and otherwise, to learn about various aspects of the writing business. Their manifesto states that their mission is to “show writers how to take take their education into their own hands.” My article for today’s post revolved around my experiences at three different writers conferences. If you have a moment, go check it out, as well as the wealth of information on their website. If you can ask the question, there’s a good chance it’s been answered somewhere along the way!

Here is a link to today’s blog!

Happy writing everyone!


The Qwillery – Guest Blog


Yesterday, my guest blog on “mountaintop experiences” in writing was on The Qwillery site. I have been invited to be a part of The Qwillery 2015 Debut Author Challenge, where their readers are challenged to read one debut author’s book per month for 2015. Go check out The Qwillery’s site and check out my little post over there if you like. Here is a link to my entry at The Qwillery.

Just a little motivational blog for all my fellow writers out there! Cheers!


Today’s Blog features Clay Gilbert, Author of Annah – Children of Evohe






Welcome to today’s guest blog, featuring author Clay Gilbert, in celebration of the release of his newest work, Annah – Children of Evohe


I know Clay from Facebook where we bonded over our mutual appreciation of the ouvre of The Alan Parsons Project, among other interests.

I certainly wish him well with the publication this new book. You can follow along on his blog tour per the list below.

Also – check out Clay’s website: Annah’s World – This is the official site for the Children of Evohe series, and has a character blog featuring Annah’s own commentary about her world and her people, designed to fill in narrative gaps before and between the volumes of the series.  It also contains information about the series, author, and publisher.


SYNOPSIS for Annah

Annah, a young female of a world on the Edge of the Sea of Stars named Evohe, feels there is no place for her among her people.  She is seen as strange both for her appearance, which is different than that thought to be normal for an eighteen-cycle old seed-maiden, and for her dreams, not of finding a mate and making a homeplace and a family with him, but of exploring the Sea of Stars that she looks up at every night and longs to see.  Her parents lie at rest in the Elder Grove deep in the woods near her homeground, and, since the passing of Lilliane, the elder who had been her guardian since she was fourteen cycles old, Annah has lived alone; the ‘girl who walks with no one.’

She remains alone until the night she sees a great fire streak from the starry sky above her parents’ homeground and, following its path, finds the wreckage of what she knows from the shared Memories of her people is a star-vessel of the sort her own people had once traveled in.  Inside the ruined craft, she finds a human male, badly injured and close to death.  Torn between the Memories that tell her the people of Earth were responsible for the near-extinction of her own world and the voice of Spirit that insists all life is the same, she nurses him back to health, finding in the human Gary Holder a mirror of her own search for belonging and desire for a larger purpose. Their growing connection, and the Evoetians’ sense of humans as enemies, sets in motion a chain of events that may either destroy Annah’s world a second time, or lead to a new future of understanding:  a new age of the Shapers.

Annah is the first novel in Clay Gilbert’s science-fiction series Children of Evohe, published by Rara Avis, an imprint of PDMI Publishing.  Annah is due for release on September 15, 2013, and is expected to be followed by Annah’s Exile in 2014 and Children of Evohe in 2015.


Clay Gilbert

Clay Gilbert lives and works in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he divides his time between writing, teaching English for Strayer University, and working across the electronic sea of the Internet as the Chief Editor for PDMI Publishing.  He believes, as Annah does, that it takes many notes to make up the Song of the World, and that the understanding of differences between people, nations and cultures holds perhaps the most important key to the future.   This book, he hopes, will help make a difference in that.  He shares his living and writing space with his cat, Bella, and his ball python, Andy.  He is currently at work on Annah’s Exile, Book Two of Children of Evohe, also coming soon from PDMI.


From Seeds to Starlight

A Virtual Blog Tour Celebrating the Release of “Annah: Children of Evohe Book One”, the new novel by Clay Gilbert

Oct 15-Nov 15, 2013


Oct 15 –Release Date: Annah’s World/ and

Oct. 16 Daven Anderson

Oct 17 Sirena Robinson

Oct 18 JD Brown

Oct. 19 Elizabeth Mueller/

Oct 20 Virginia Lori Jennings

Oct 22 Interview with Jo Linsdell-Feliciani.

Oct. 23 Cindy Koepp

Oct. 24 Dean Bonner

Oct. 26 Victoria’s Reading Alcove/Victoria Adams

Oct. 28 Darin Kennedy

Nov. 1 Seeds and Starlight on the Road: Book Signing and Reading at Dragon Quills Comic Books in Gadsden, Alabama

Nov 2 Aspie Catholic/Jason Thayer

Nov 10  Anya Martin

Nov. 13 Stacey Haggard Brewer and Bobbi St. Jean

Nov. 15  Live Twitter Interview Hosted by Virginia L. Jennings