Friday, January 25, 2013

Author Spotlight

Kim Smith

Kim Smith is a long time member of Authors by Design and writes in a variety of genres including her bestselling mystery series featuring Shannon Wallace available at Red Rose Publishing. She has several short romances there as well. Her YA time travel can be found on Amazon and is called A Mirror in Time. To learn more about Kim Smith visit her at her blog Writing Space where she always has something informative and fun for writers and readers alike.

Avenging Angel (A Shannon Wallace Mystery) Book One:  Shannon Wallace is having a bad hair week. She’s been ditched by her job, dumped by her boyfriend, and implicated in his murder. When she finds out her very private video collection is missing from the crime scene, it is all out war to find the disks before the cops do. The problem is, the killer has them. And he’s watched them. Now Shannon’s at the top of his most wanted list.

Buried Angel: Shannon Wallace Mysteries: Book Two:
When Shannon and Dwayne are hired to videotape mysterious goings-on in the local cemetery in South Lake, Mississippi, they find more than just old tombstones, including a "plot" that has nothing to do with the dead!

Crooked Angel: Shannon Wallace Mysteries: Book Three:
Shannon and Dwayne have to track down a missing teacher when she is the leading person of interest in the murder of a local man. But this time, their cop buddy, Sal Ramirez, is too busy to bail them out of trouble, and the way it looks, school may be out for them all.

A Mirror in Time:
What would you do if you discovered ... A Mirror in Time? Leading lady-Carly Jean (CJ) Simms thinks she'd like to live in the era of her school play, Buttermilk Hill. It takes place during the War Between the States and she thinks being a lady of the manor would be very cool. She hopes to pull off the performance of a lifetime and win the drama award. The only thing keeping her from it is her mother who needs her at home to take care of her baby brother and aging grandfather. Leading man-Josh Jamison has problems of his own. He wants to join the army but has found no support from his father. Josh doesn't understand what the big deal is. When his best friend tries to convince him that he's making a mistake, he turns a deaf ear. Paired with CJ in the school play, he thinks his luck is finally turning. Maybe his performance as a soldier in the play will win the drama award and a little respect from everyone. CJ and Josh pin all their hopes on that prestigious drama award. If they could just find some way to insure their success...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Author Spotlight

Terry W. Ervin II

Terry Ervin is the author of the First Civilization’s Legacy series and a variety of short fiction. By day, Terry is an English teacher who enjoys writing Fantasy and Science Fiction. He is an editor for MindFlights, a guest columnist for Fiction Factor and is the author of over two dozen short stories and articles. 
Flank Hawk is his debut novel. When Terry isn’t writing or enjoying time with his wife and daughters, he can be found in his basement raising turtles. To contact Terry, or to learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at

FLANK HAWK: What happens when fire-breathing dragons battle Stukas for aerial supremacy over a battlefield? Can an earth wizard’s magic defeat a panzer? Krish, a farmhand turned mercenary, witnesses this and much more as he confronts the Necromancer King’s new war machines resurrected from before the First Civilization's fall. Worse yet, a wounded prince tasks Krish to find the fabled Colonel of the West and barter the royal family’s malevolent Blood Sword for a weapon to thwart the Necromancer King’s victory.

Flank Hawk is set in the distant future where magic exists and brutish ogres are more than a child’s nightmare.

BLOOD SWORD: The Necromancer King has been defeated and his surviving forces are in retreat. But a new threat marches against the Kingdom of Keesee, promising destruction.

Scouting along the western frontier, Flank Hawk and Grand Wizard Seelain discover an army massing, the army of Fendra Jolain, Goddess of Healing. Weakened and battle weary, Keesee and her allies cannot withstand Fendra Jolain’s powerful army of men and beasts arrayed against them.

One hope of survival remains: Retrieve the Blood Sword from the immortal Colonel of the West and bring its sinister strength to the battlefield.

To accomplish this end, Flank Hawk accompanies Grand Wizard Seelain as she leads a mission across land and sea. Together they find new allies while confronting new foes, learning that the war ravaging Keesee is part of a larger struggle whose roots stretch back to the First Civilization’s Fall.

If the Blood Sword can be obtained, it must be done quickly. Every day means more death for the defenders of Keesee. Every day is one day closer to utter defeat. Even if Flank Hawk can deliver the Blood Sword to King Tobias’s hand in time, will the malevolent blade’s magic be enough?

To learn more about Terry Ervin and his work visit the links below.

Terry W. Ervin II official website
Up Around the Corner
Gryphonwood Press

Friday, January 4, 2013

Being a writer was a lonely life.

 These days it doesn't have to be.

Being a writer can be a lonely road to walk, even when you have family and friends cheering you on. There’s always that voice in the back of your mind asking, “Is this good enough? Did I miss something? Will they like it?”

You might have family and close friends reading your work, people with the best intentions in mind, but the people close to you are more concerned with not hurting your feelings than giving you honest feedback. In the end you’re not sure if the praise was honest or an attempt to spare your feelings.

How many times have we seen people walk up on stage to sing because their family and friends “love” their singing, just to be humiliated by unforgiving judges? Were they all victims of a prank, or were some of them victims of people who loved them and didn’t wish to hurt their feelings? It’s hard for someone who cares for you to tell you, “This needs work, a lot of work” regarding something you’re so passionate about. Will they ever come clean and admit to you that their praises might’ve been exaggerated?

Writing is a lot like singing, in the sense that you might have a natural talent for it, but it’s still a skill you need to hone and keep practicing until you find your voice. To do that, especially if you’re a new writer, you’ll need constrictive criticism from objective people. This is where critique groups come in.

A critique group is people who understand the struggles an author has to go through, but most of all they understand that your feelings must come second place to honing you writing skills. A good writing critique group will praise your strong points but will not sugarcoat your failings. That doesn’t mean you will be condemned by a judge, or that they’re out to hurt your feelings, but to be a writer you need a thick skin and an openness to constrictive criticism.

I was a teenager when I started writing, with no clue what writing a novel really meant. With English being my second language—and it’s a language I only started learning in my late teens—I was in way over my head. When I tried sharing stories I wrote on-line I was attacked by people about my grammar and punctuation. I put myself in the public eye before I was ready and opened myself to the sharks, whose only goal is to make themselves feel better by making you feel worthless.

I was just about ready to give up on my dream when by chance I came across a forum for writers. With some uncertainty, given the treatment I’ve had up to that point, I decided to sign up. I made my first post of introduction, and a couple of hours later I knew I had finally found a place where I could feel safe about my writing and at the same time learn how to become a better writer.

In that forum I met other writers who quickly became my friends and mentors. Shortly after we formed our writing critique group and over time, I realized that my writing was indeed improving. Not only because I received criticism about my writing but because I also read the work of others with a critical eye. I still have a lot to learn, both about grammar and punctuation, but I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be.

And a good critique group need not stop there. We supported each other during all the phases of writing, up to getting published and then promoting.

However finding a good critique group can have its own challenges. Take your time, get to know other writers, set down rules/guidelines and be honest with your group. These people might become your friends but you have to always keep in mind why you created the group in the first place.

To learn more about what a critique group needs to be functional and successful, read this very informative article by Terry W. Ervin II: Five Areas to Consider before Joining a Writing Critique Group.

Terry also has his own blog Up Around the Corner where he often gives great advice about writing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Authors By Design is wishing you all a Happy New Year!

May 2013 be a year of happiness, success, and love for everyone.