Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: The Battle of the Brains (The Misadventures of Maggie Moore Book 2)

Synopsis: Maggie Moore is leaving small-town south Georgia behind to embrace adulthood on her own in big-city Atlanta. Finding inspiration in the unique people she’s met covering obscure sporting events, Maggie decides it’s time to fill her life with adventure – just as soon as she figures out how to cut ties with good ol’ Murphy, and his pesky laws, once and for all.
Naturally, the universe has different plans.
Before she even sets out to cover her next big story, Maggie is bombarded with old wounds and new insecurities, forcing her to choose between the reality in front of her and the promise of a dream just out of reach.
Channeling the hard-fought lessons of her Dad, Maggie struggles against the seemingly insurmountable force that is her troublesome partner, learning the hard way that things are never as easy as you think they’ll be.

Author: Michelle Graves
Publication: April 25, 2016
Buy Link(s): Amazon; Barnes and Noble

**Disclaimer** - I received a beta copy of The Battle of the Brains for review purposes. I was not paid for this review.

Author Michelle Graves does it again... she has a great talent for mixing emotions in this Misadventures of Maggie Moore Series. The Battle of the Brains picks up right where Maggie left of in the previous book. So I'd recommend reading the books in order though each adventure is completely different. 

We get to know more of Maggie and John and their climactic relationship. In The Battle of the Brains, we see both Maggie and John grow together and apart. Michelle does a great job in keeping the lightness of story going while still getting to the emotional root of both characters. I have to say that Maggie herself is a major player in this fact. She's spunky and compassionate; she's intelligent and a go getter. Yet, she's vulnerable. Throughout her vulnerability, we see Maggie pick herself up and keep going because she has a goal in life. We get to see and learn these things of Maggie through her hilarious inner monologues. Maggie is completely relatable and I really enjoy that in a story. 

And John... what can I say about John? He's got this knight in tarnishes armor thing going on. He's protective of Maggie yet holds her at length all the while dealing and navigating his own personal emotional demons. He goads Maggie thus making her compassion and go getter attitude come out even stronger. He definitely pushes her to be stronger. 

One of the things I really enjoyed throughout this story was the many times I chuckled out loud, and it happened when I least expected. I love that! I think those little nuggets of laughter are so important in a story. It's that little twist where you expect one thing to happen but something completely different happens. This series is definitely a great read for when you are needing a story that's not heavy in emotion yet has some good substance to it.

Do I recommend The Battle of the Brains? You bet I do! A great series that is fun, light and gives us some insight to a woman trying to find her way in the word through her wonderful and enlightening misadventures. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Inside the Writer's Mind with Angela Biera

Another great installment of Inside the Writer's Mind with Angela Biera. She's the author of Haywire and Highwire, of the Haywire Series; and the author of A Second Chance.
If you'd like to catch up with her and learn of latest book news, follow her on:
You can also purchase her book on Amazon:

Same DiNamics Books: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world?
Angela Biera: I fell in love with Colleen Hoover when she first published as an Indie author. I read her story and thought you know what I have been wanting to write let’s do this. So I went and borrowed my parents’ laptop and started on my very first novel.

SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
AB: Colleen Hoover has without a doubt been my inspiration.

SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told?
AB: When I begin a novel I start on chapter 1 and just let the ideas and the story flow. I can’t outline or brainstorm before. For me that just messes with the natural flow of the story from my head to paper.

SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing?
AB: Normally about 4 to 6 months.

SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it?
AB: As an author I like to make you fall in love with my characters. I want you to forget you are reading a book and I want to feel like this is your best friend. I write contemporary romance novels that are packed with an emotional roller coaster. I like to make my readers feel all of the feels when they read my novels.

SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
AB: The main character in my first novel has many things that are from me. I honestly didn’t realize I was doing that until after my mother and best friend read it. Then I went back and was like you know what she is a lot like me.

SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
AB: This is a very hard business to be in. If you are trying to do it for the money then don’t do it. If you are doing it for the love of writing then you should go for it. Being an author is not a get rich industry. It takes so much time, energy and heart. You have to be in it for the love.

SDB: Is there anything else that you'd like to share?
AB: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Indie authors rely on word of mouth and reviews as their oxygen. So thank you for this.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inside the Writer's Mind with Anne Evans

I love reading the authors responses to Inside the Writer's Mind. This week, we have Anne Evans, author of Plum Pudding Bride. I love that cover!

Want to stay up to date on Anne's books? You can follow her on her social media sites:

You can purchase her book(s): 

Same DiNamics Books: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world? 
Anne Evans: Ever since my mom taught me how to read, I’ve devoured every story I could get my hands on. By the time I became a teenager, that voracious love of reading turned into a desire to put my own stories into words.

SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
AE: Rosemary Sutcliff, an English author of dark historical fiction for children, inspired my love of the ancient world in general and the Roman Empire in particular. While I dabble in all eras, Ancient Rome remains my favorite time period to write (or read) about.

SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told? 
AE: My view of outlines and stories is similar to Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet’s view of poetry and love. 
``And so ended his affection,'' said Elizabeth impatiently. ``. . . I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!''
``I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love,'' said Darcy.
``Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Every thing nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.''
 I love outlines, but only once I’ve gotten a good idea of the raw emotions behind the story and what drives my characters. Otherwise, an outline can quickly quench my writing muse.

SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing? 
AE: The longer I write, the faster I’m able to crank out a novel. My record so far is 2 ½ months for a 100,000 word novel, while pregnant and throwing up no less. As for how long to get published, I currently have multiple novels languishing on my hard drive waiting for a publisher.

SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it? 
AE: Next month, I’m coming out with four books set in Ancient Rome, the Love & Warfare series. It follows the story of a Roman family, the Paterculis through two generations, almost three decades, and four love stories. The stories are set during the reign of Emperor Domitian and Emperor Trajan. Look for the first two books, For Life or Untiland When Gambling . . . to come out this May.

SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
AE: I am strongly against basing characters off myself. In the end though, I usually end up accidentally giving each protagonist at least a touch of myself. After all, you can’t write a truly empathetic character, unless you empathize with him or her yourself.

SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 
AE: First, make sure you actually want to travel this long, underpaid, and rejection-laden road. Second, make sure you’re writing in a genre that sells well. Publishers (and readers)likely won’t take a risk on a non-standard story for a new author. Third, start building your author platform, blog, and social media sites now.

SDB: Is there anything else that you'd like to share? 
AE: A speaker at a writers’ conference told me once, “If there’s any way possible you can stop writing, stop. An author’s life is unenviable at best.
I’ve tried multiple times since I was a teenager to stop writing. I never succeeded. I have stories in my blood and that’s why, no matter how many rejection letters I get, I keep writing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Inside the Writer's Mind with J.K. Harrison

J.K. Harrison is our next author being interviewed in Inside the Writer's Mind. Here's a little bit about her:
Storyteller, unconventional pastor's wife, and mother of two fierce girls.Born in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, but currently living aquasi-nomadic lifestyle roaming about Alabama.Outside of telling stories, J.K. Harrison is passionate about her family, rescue pets, and riding her horse.She has a particularly soft spot for Arabian horses and pit bulls.
You can find J.K. Harrison via her social media sites:

Save the Date!!
Of Fire and Steel will be released on 
August 16, 2016!

Same DiNamics Books: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world?
J.K. Harrison: For as long as I’ve loved reading stories, I think I’ve wanted to share some of mine. I wanted to move others the same way my favorite stories moved me. I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was five or six for a school project. It was a thrilling tale about a white cat named Snowy who got lost and had to find her way home. I never stopped telling stories after that. Most of them never make it out of my head, but there have been a few where I’ve thought ‘someone else might like this.’ Then it is probably all a matter of having supportive alpha readers who see the quality of the story through all the awful, novice mistakes. As soon as one person says they like your story—or better yet, they pester you to read more—you get a huge confidence boost and, at least for a little while, you feel like your story might really be all you hoped.

SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
JKH: I have noticed that nothing influences me as much now that I’m an adult as things did when I was a child. I remember my mother reading the Little House books to me at bedtime and thinking about how Laura Ingalls grew up to write about her life, and wondering if I should do that. Then I remember reading The Outsiders in seventh grade and finding out S. E. Hinton was only a few years older than me when she wrote that. I think that was the moment the idea of being an author really hit home for me. It was something I could do at any time, not something I needed to wait for. I think everything a writer reads influences them on some level, but those are what stand out.

SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told? 
JKH: I am an unabashed pantser. I write by the seat of my pants and I love it. I think it goes back to telling those stories in my head—I love the discovery of that first draft. My method is not very tidy and it probably isn’t the fastest way to get a story on paper, but I enjoy the process and I’m not sure what the point is if not to enjoy the story along the way.

SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing? 
JKH: This is a funny question in my case. My first book, Of Fire and Steel, Book One of The Forging Legends, is coming out later this year. I wrote the first draft seven years ago. It took me two or three months to write the first draft. And then I didn’t know what to do. Going into it completely ignorant, I thought writing the story would be the hardest part, but that is actually the easiest. I got so overwhelmed with all the information about the querying process that I quickly gave up on that and kept writing the series and various other stories that would come to mind. Last year, whether you want to call it fate or serendipity, I caught the interest of a small press with an excerpt I shared in a writing group. It was an exciting, anxious time, and the process of me doing my research on the company and the industry, finding an intellectual property lawyer to help me negotiate the contract, and then actually negotiating took a few months. After going through editing and getting the cover art done (which the publisher has given me the freedom to find an artist and design the cover to my own tastes), the whole process will have taken about a year.

SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it? 
JKH: I have always enjoyed reading fantasy, but too often major female characters are relegated to roles of healers or sorceresses or anything else that is not the sword-toting character in the story. So I wrote a story where Kat, my main character, is a sword-wielding, brawling member of an elite warrior class. 
Of Fire and Steel is the story of a heroine as she grapples with entering adulthood to discover some things do not yield to the edge of a sword.

 SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
JKH: I’m sure there is more of me slipped in than I am aware, but consciously, there is not much—at least not in my main character. I have a secondary character with a particularly antagonistic personality who I am starting to think has a bit more of me in him than the others because he is so fun and natural to write.  

SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 
JKH: I don’t think I can say anything that isn’t cliché, but sometimes things are cliché for a reason. The most important thing really is to keep writing—and I don’t mean perfecting the same opening scene for months on end, but to keep getting more of the story out. You can always fix something later as long as it’s there, but it has to be there first. From my own experiences, I would say it’s helpful to start easing yourself into the publishing world before you’re ready to actually publish. Get familiar with the various outlets, processes, and terms, and work on setting realistic expectations.

SDB: Is there anything else that you'd like to share? 
Here is an excerpt of the book, Of Fire and Steel
            My body screamed; everything hurt. I hadn’t slept in days. Or eaten.
I gritted my teeth against the pain and leaned forward to look into the pool before me. The windowless room had enough lamplight for me to see that my reflection was nearly beyond recognition. Bruises always showed starkly against my skin, but the myriad of purple and blue still surprised me.
I reached up to gingerly examine my right eye. The skin was strained and shiny with swelling, and there was blood crusted into the lashes and brow. I recognized the deep throb beneath it and probed my broken cheek carefully. I grinned and it hurt. Dried blood cracked over my lip and a tangy trickle spread across my tongue.
Gritting my teeth again, I forced my body into action once more, climbing into the water. Salts and herbs bit into cuts and gashes as the water lapped against my legs. I steeled myself as I lowered into the pool, cursing the relentlessness of the water swallowing up wounds over my back and ribs, my arms and knuckles. For a moment my body felt aflame, but as I eased a breath out and pulled another into my lungs the pain became bearable. I ignored the protest of broken ribs and continued to breathe.
Tendrils of restlessness crept through my chest despite my steady breathing. Even sheer exhaustion could not quell the anxiety. I was waiting for the results of my Mek-tel trials. Seventeen was the earliest anyone could attempt to become a member of the elite El-ketta, an Eshtu warrior. I’d done little but prepare for my seventeenth birthday for the last four years. I ought to be able to wait another hour or two for the results—at least feign patience.
I swallowed back a sour taste and grimaced at the way it made my jaw ache. Waiting for anything always seemed excruciating. Now, I worried it would drive me mad.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Inside the Writer's Mind with William Alexander

William Alexander was born on Nantucket Island in 1974 and grew up with a love of history, folklore and theater. He began acting at a young age and it segwayed into a natural love of writing. His first book, Denied Innocence, was penned when he was 19 years old and was finally published ten years later. Before that, his book Haunted Nantucket Island was released to public acclaim when it was realized that a new set of true ghost stories was available; something that Nantucket Island had not seen in twelve years. With a love of fiction and horror, Alexander later penned the book Twenty which he describes as a similar book to the short story compilations published by Stephen King. That was followed by the murder mystery, Ghosts Don’t Die, which was inspired by his time spent performing ghost tours in Gettysburg. He is presently working on his seventh book, Nantucket Slay-Ride which is an autobiographical account of the hurdles he had endured at the hands of the town government of Nantucket Island and the money that they seemed to crave over the rights of the common man. It is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2016. Will lives in New Hampshire with his wife and stepson.

Want to learn more about William, his books and where you can purchase them? Follow him via these social media sites:

Same DiNamics Books: Thank you for your interest in doing an interview with me. I’d like this interview to be laid back. Let’s pretend we’re just getting together and having a chat over our favorite brew, be it coffee, tea, water or booze. 
William Alexander: Beer, definitely beer. PBR or Budweiser will work for me.

SDB: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world? 
WA: I have many stories and those tales often come in weird and wild ways. At one time, I wanted to be an actor and tell other people’s tales, but I found that acting was extremely competitive and usually you had to know someone in order to be able to even get a bit part in a play or movie. I ended up eventually writing what I would perform in the form of ghost tours in the Town of Nantucket and eventually penned a book of true ghost stories called Haunted Nantucket Island as a supplement to that tour. As time passed, I realized that my ideas for fiction were equally important to me and I had written plenty of it and had ideas for new works. In most cases, I had always liked seeing people get what was coming for them, both good and bad. I eventually wrote sci-fi and horror stories and hoped that this genre would get my point across that nobody is any better than anyone else. I had spent the better part of my life seeing those that would hurt others prosper while those that tried to help were chastised and thrown to the wolves. With the release of my book, Twenty, I felt I was putting right  what needed to be. Just before that book though, I had penned a biography of a person nobody would have really known about called Denied Innocence which explained how an innocent person could be railroaded with the right backing. In that case, Bryan Wing was thrown to the wolves, with Twenty, the correct outcome could come to pass. Following Twenty, I wrote the book Ghosts Don’t Die, which is a murder mystery that was based in reality. Having done ghost tours, I eventually found my way to Gettysburg where I met people that were both reputable and despicable in the ghost tour industry there. I managed to put together a story where the most despicable tour guide in town, who was based on a real person as were all of the characters, was murdered. Over the course of that story, I showed how people could be fleeced and lead astray by a charismatic and deceptive tour guide who eventually gets rightfully murdered.  In every way I can think of, I like to see justice brought to those who need to have it exacted upon them. Justice is a major part of the outcome of most of my stories, paranormally based or not.

SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
WA: Obviously, Stephen King has become someone that has made me have a love of horror or thriller stories. In many ways, I wish that he would read some of my works because I would love the opportunity to give him a slight bit of entertainment in payment for the entertainment he has given me over the years. If one reads the humor I might write, I am a huge fan of David Sedaris and wish I could come to a situation similar to his writing.

SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told? 
WA: I tend to have a writing style where I write what comes to mind in whatever way I can and then piece it together like a puzzle or like a quilt where I sew it together with whatever might make sense and what words might bind the story together. One of the best ways I have found to put my thoughts onto paper is to just write and then break it up into the places I feel they will fit. If someone were to read an early project, it would make very little sense to them, but as the project coalesces and comes together, it makes far more sense. Right now, my newest story takes place over four years and multiple parts must come together to make sense. Even I have trouble with it at times, but so far it has become so much more than a story that flows like a river. It’s much more like a strip mine where things eventually come to fruition through hard work and putting the pieces together.

SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing? 
WA: It depends on the story. The last book I wrote took me about two years. The one before that was multiple years to write the short stories. My first published book was almost two years. My first written book took twenty years to get it published. Right now though, the book I am working on had the story start in 2007 and I hope to thave the written word out this year. I began writing it almost two years ago. As it is looking right now, the average answer to this question would be somewhere around two years.

SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it? 
WA: There are six with seven on the way. So here’s the breakdown:

Haunted Nantucket Island is a group of true ghost stories that I managed to interview people for over the course of two years. If you are a fan of ghost stories, this is the book for you.

Denied Innocence is a true story about an outcast boy that believed he found love through a married woman at the cost of his college education. After believing she was the one for him, she used him to make her husband interested in her again and eventually destroyed the teen’s life. This is a true tale that people should read if they ever felt left out or left behind, or for that matter have a teen going into a college that may have hidden policies that might be detrimental to their child while being instrumental to those willing to take advantage of unfair policies to suit their own twisted purposes.

The Half-Share Man is a perfect book for those interested in history, even if it is an untold history from the colonial era. Focusing on Peter Folger, grandfather to Benjamin Franklin, it shows the hardships of the past while showing the rewards of being indispensible to the new colony.

Terror By Gaslight is a compilation book written by twenty different authors, of which I am one. My tale, Unworthy Replacement, is about why Jack the Ripper stopped killing, especially after coming to America.

Twenty is a group of eleven short paranormal suspense thriller stories all bound together by a cursed twenty dollar bill, but also shown from tale to tale to be occurring relatively at the same time. Stories overlap, sometimes confusingly until you hit the story they come from and it all makes sense. With characters that get what they deserve, it is something that gives a form of justice in a strange and outrageous world with a Stephen King-like flavor.

Ghosts Don’t Die is a murder mystery where an extremely horrible person is murdered and FBI agent on vacation, Proctor Ridgeway, is coerced into solving the crime. Amid threats from the victim’s followers, townspeople encouraging him to drop the case, incompetent law enforcement and his own personal beliefs in regard to the murder, he still must bring the killer to justice. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, or just a good mystery, this is the book for you.

Then finally there is Nantucket Slay-Ride, my book due out later this year. This is an autobiographical piece about the four years I spent performing ghost tours in New Orleans and on Nantucket Island. It shows the prejudices involved in a wealthy northern town that stopped at nothing to shut down a business run by someone who’s only crime was telling ghost stories and being a little different. Over the course of four years, the issues got larger and the accusations got more intense and grandiose. This book shows that money talks and those backed by the global theatrical community have little to offer to a town concerned more with finances and those with money exacting their prejudicial whims than admitting what is right and perhaps even fun. Whether one believes in ghosts or not, the blatant corruption shown in the book should outrage you and make you wonder what you might be backing when you go on vacation.

SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
WA: Depending on the story, it ranges. Obviously with the book, Nantucket Slay-Ride, it is about me since it is autobiographical. But with Twenty, I will say that many of the characters share my disgust with how America has accepted being dumbed down and some have even shown their unhappiness with the current socio-economic system we are all living under. There is even a character in Ghosts Don’t Die who is quite literally me. It is based on me and the character has the exact same reactions to troubles and triumphs that I might have.

SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 
WA: Writing is a great way to get out your frustrations, fantasies and excitements, but it is not always the most forgiving of ways to make a living. Over the course of 20 years of writing, it has been incredibly difficult to get published what with rejection letters coming in far more plentiful than acceptances. My only advice is that if you have the drive and the desire to get your stories told, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have the ability you know that you do. If you are rejected over and over, try again until you have someone’s eye and your story is out there. Nothing is more disappointing than the feel of a decapitated soul.  Never let that happen to you. Keep trying even when it seems hopeless.

SDB: Is there anything else that you'd like to share? 
WA: If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you. It is a hard world when you have nobody watching your back, so I ask that everyone looks out for each other… and likes my Facebook page.