Author Interviews, Fiction Blog

The 2016 2K Indie Book Tour: Z.N. Willett

Up next on the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour (co-hosted by author Kate Evans and me) is contemporary romance author, Z.N. Willett.

IMG_7242Z.N. Willett is the girl who has seen more than she has ever wanted; yet decided to add to that world by writing Hollywood romances. A northern girl, but a southerner at heart, loving anything and everything about love and romance. So much that once upon a time she had a career as a wedding and events coordinator. When Z.N. decided to do something she was passionate about, she added her love for travel to the mix. An avid shoeaholic, deep down she’s a sappy romantic who happens to believe that love can truly conquer all.

Here, she introduces her novel, The Trouble with being a Movie Star’s Wife:

How do you share the love of your life with the world?

Alexandria Moore’s fantasy became her reality when she married movie star Andrew Hughes.

As she and Andrew fight their way through the minefield of a celebrity marriage, will they finally reach their happily ever after or will the pressures of Hollywood tear them apart?

Prequels: The Trouble with Dating a Movie Star (Book One) and The Trouble with Marrying a Movie Star (Book Two)

Now, here’s our interview with Z.N.:

What was the inspiration behind your book?

I actually had many different inspirations from individual people and ideas, but ultimately it all came down to the overall fascination with celebrities.

Who is your favorite character?

Andrew, of course.  I love sexy, strong, men.

What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?

Celebrities are people who love, hurt and sometimes bleed for their craft; just like “normal” folks.

Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?

My readers are very diverse, which I love.  If you love your romance with spice and humor, you will enjoy this series.

What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?

1. Don’t quit!

2. Write for yourself.

3. Never stop appreciating your readers. If it’s three or thirty-three thousand.

IMG_6029Where can readers buy your book?

Amazon US:



Barnes & Noble:


Where can readers learn more about you? 



Twitter: @znwillett



Kate's Nonfiction for Writers, Writing & Publishing Articles

FREE Booklet: 100 Romance Writing Prompts

2 RomanceEDIT: This promotion has ended…BUT you can still pick up the booklet for $0.99 USD. To be the first to hear about future sales and booklets, sign up for my author newsletter.

Happy Wednesday! I’m excited to announce that I’ve published the second of my nonfiction booklets. Fittingly, the genre for February is Romance.

Today and tomorrow ONLY, you can grab your copy for FREE. After that, the regular price of $0.99 USD will return. But still, that’s cheaper than a box of leftover Valentine’s Day chocolate!

Read the full description below, then pick up your FREE copy on the Amazon of your choice. And don’t forget to add it to your shelves on Goodreads and tell your (aspiring) romance author friends (in fact, click HERE to Tweet them now!).

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Have you always wanted to write a great love story? This booklet contains 100 romance writing prompts to help you get started.

Do you have a novel burning inside you but feel trapped by writer’s block?
Are you an established romance author looking for a fresh new idea?

If you’re ready to stop staring at the blank page and start writing NOW, 100 Romance Writing Prompts is the booklet for you. There’s no fluff and no wasted words – just 100 fiction prompts to get you back to what you do best: writing.

100 Romance Writing Prompts is packed with character- and story-focused prompts to jumpstart your fiction writing. The prompts have been carefully designed to address each stage of a romance story: meeting, conflict, and happily ever after.

Inside, you’ll find prompts in the following romance subgenres:

1. Contemporary
2. Historical
3. Inspirational
4. Military & Western
5. New & Young Adult
6. Paranormal
7. Science Fiction & Fantasy
8. Suspense
9. Time Travel
10. Erotic

Each section contains 10 thought-provoking prompts. Practice them in order, or dive right into to what inspires you most. You’ve already wasted enough energy on writer’s block. It’s time to get started on your next great romance piece.

Fall in love with writing again. Get your FREE copy of 100 Romance Writing Prompts today.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Book Review: Ariel by Fia Essen

arielAriel by Fia Essen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel without the expectation of a review. However, I have chosen to review the novel, because of how much I enjoyed it.

In Ariel by Fia Essen, the reader meets the title character well and truly at rock bottom. Three years after an abrupt break up, employment termination, and building up a pile of credit card debt, Ariel still finds herself trapped in a web of lies (not to mention apathy). However, as the novel progresses, Ariel is able to begin rebuilding her life, with the help of her friends and the mysterious Muse Agency, who are known in the expat community for helping down-and-out individuals turn their lives around and even become wildly successful in their fields.

The best way to describe Ariel is a “feel good” novel. Despite the rut that Ariel is in, she remains an engaging and funny narrator, and the reader is easily charmed by her. While at times I found her monologues a bit repetitive, they were still entertaining, and I actually began to accept them as a quirk of the character rather than just narration. Likewise, Essen has given Ariel realistic flaws – she often is blind to the truth around her, judges herself and others too harshly, and has a habit for lying. Watching Ariel recognize these traits in herself and grow out of them is an incredibly satisfying experience.

Moreover, the other characters in the novel are very well-written and have plenty of complexity. Their relationships with Ariel are believable and elicit emotional reactions within the reader. It is easy to envision these characters existing in their own worlds, and several of them would make for interesting protagonists in their own right. Perhaps the only character that I would have liked to have learned more about is “her Colin” (the love interest). Yes, he is handsome and charming and clearly a wonderful human being. However, I did feel like he lacked depth in comparison with the other characters.

Setting sets Ariel apart from other “chick lit” novels. The novel is set in Singapore, and perhaps it is my American background, but I have not read many novels set in Asia, so the new surrounding was a welcome change. Similarly, the fact that Ariel and her family are expatriates ads another interesting (and educational) component for the reader. Seeing how her experience as an expat and world traveler affected Ariel’s perspective was one of my favorite aspects of the novel.

Overall, Ariel has everything you want in a “chick lit” novel. There’s a spunky female protagonist with a great growth arc, funny and lovable sidekicks, a bit of adventure (in the recollections of Ariel’s travels and her unique lifestyle), and of course, a satisfying (and tasteful) romance.

On a personal note, as I finished Ariel, I couldn’t help but think that this is the most fun I’ve had with a novel in a long time. Perhaps it’s that I, too, feel a bit stuck in a rut right now (though, luckily nothing so dramatic!), or perhaps it’s that Ariel exhibits a similar theme to my own novel (rock bottom female protagonist coming into her own and finding potential for love along the way), just in an entirely different genre. Either way, I’m very pleased that I read Ariel when I did, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, fun and charming read.

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arielIf you are interested in reading Ariel and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it through my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Indie Book Review: 1001 Islands by K.T. Munson

Print1001 Islands by K.T. Munson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

1001 Islands by K.T. Munson is a fantasy adventure novel that takes place in a sea-focused world with, you guessed it, 1,001 islands. The story follows several characters (everyone from a kidnapped princess to Elementals and witches to swashbuckling pirates), whose lives converge as rebellion rises within the world. With a full cast of characters, sword-fighting adventure, and two strong romantic subplots, 1001 Islands has everything readers of traditional fantasy crave.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story. The reader is thrown into the world without much explanation of “the rules” of the land, or who the characters are. There are several characters and plot lines to follow, and while they are each enjoyable and important, there is a bit of a whiplash sensation as the reader is tossed from one to the next. That being said, when they begin to link up, the story truly shines. The characters’ story lines are woven together nicely, each fitting next to the others like adjoining pieces in a puzzle, and highlighting the overarching themes of individualism, freedom, and revolutionary spirit.

As to the characters themselves, they were complex and well-crafted. Munson has written well-rounded, flawed individuals — from their back stories to their present actions. The female characters, most notably Emilia and Princess Roxana, are strong and independent-minded, yet still show deep love and compassion, which is particularly important to me as a reader. (The same can be said of the minor female characters as well.) Likewise, the male characters, specifically The Silence and Caliel, strike the perfect balance between brave hero/love interest figure and the person who needs saving. In short, the characters are extremely well-written, and to me, are what made the novel such a fun read.

While the majority of 1001 Islands kept me captivated (and even smiling) as I read, there were a few moments that sucked me out of the story. Some of this had to do with editing more than story telling, as there were a few errors and other writing issues throughout. However, I daresay, as an author, I am pickier about this than the average reader.

As for the actual story, the only thing that felt out of place was an intimate love scene between two of the characters. Personally, I have no problem reading erotic content (and this scene was perfectly well-written and logical within the plot), but it did take me by surprise, given the rest of the novel politely skirted around opportunities to directly show “adult” content. But truly, it wasn’t a big deal, and I only mention this because I know some readers are uncomfortable with graphic sexual content. To give a better picture, I believe my thoughts were: OH, we’re doing that? Okay, cool.

Last, I felt like the ending was too abrupt. Munson does say in a note that there is a possibility of a sequel, but I still wish more time would have been taken to bring 1001 Islands to a more complete close. As it stands, I think the novel needs the sequel to truly satisfy the lingering questions in the reader’s mind.

Overall, 1001 Islands is an incredibly fun story. It beautifully blends the lines between fantasy, adventure and romance — seamlessly incorporating the hallmarks of all three genres. With a cast of complex, well-written characters and a tightly-woven plot to boot, 1001 Islands is sure to delight readers of good, old fashion fantasy tales.

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PrintIf you are interested in reading 1001 Islands and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it through my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Indie Book Review: No Quarter by Helen Jones

no quarterNo Quarter (The Ambeth Chronicles #2) by Helen Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

No Quarter (The Ambeth Chronicles #2) by Helen Jones is the sequel to Oak and Mist (The Ambeth Chronicles #1), which I reviewed in this post. In effort to prevent spoilers (for both No Quarter and Oak and Mist), I’ve intentionally kept this review a bit vague and focused more on my experience as a reader than the novel itself.

No Quarter continues Alma’s journey in Ambeth and her quest to recover the lost Regalia. The story picks up literally where Oak and Mist left off — on the same evening and at the celebration where the reader left the characters. I found this an interesting choice, but having read Oak and Mist recently, I was able to get right back into the world. I do wonder if this would be jarring for those that read Oak and Mist when it first came out.

Most of the action of No Quarter revolves around Alma’s romantic and other relationships, with the search for the Regalia relegated to the background. While I appreciate a good romance story and love triangle as much as anyone, I admit this disappointed me a little. Don’t get me wrong — the story is still plenty entertaining and the novel provides a lot of great character building — but I would have preferred more about the quest for the Regalia and the “fantasy” elements of this young adult fantasy romance.

However, the end of No Quarter changes the tone of the novel entirely. Again, to avoid spoilers, I cannot be specific. What I will say is this: as a reader, I was simultaneously surprised, saddened, and excited by the twist at the end. It sets up a lot for the next book, and I cannot wait to see how the quest for the Regalia plays out given these changes. As an author, I applaud Jones for the bold (and probably difficult) choice she made with the end of the book.

Once again, Jones proves herself to be an excellent storyteller. No Quarter is a (mostly) light read, and it is delightfully easy to be captivated by the world of Ambeth and the emotions of the characters. Jones expresses several themes through her characters (young love, growing up and finding one’s self, loss, etc.) and gives the reader the opportunity to explore and think on how those experiences have changed the characters (and perhaps the reader, herself).

Overall, No Quarter is a light, fun read with a rather surprising twist at the end. It definitely leans more toward the romance side than the fantasy, but I have a feeling that this will be welcome for most readers. The ending, while shocking, sets up several exciting possibilities for the third book in the series and will likely leave the reader anxious for another trip to Ambeth.

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no quarterIf you are interested in reading No Quarter and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it through my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.