Thursday, June 25, 2015

Paranormal Research by Jessica Freeburg, Author of Living in Shadows

I am so excited to welcome Jessica Freeburg to the blog today. She is a fellow Clean Reads author, and her debut novel, Living in Shadows is a great read.
I should know since I was one of the editors :)
This book kept me turning the pages long into the night. I had to constantly remind myself to edit because I kept getting lost in Vivian's story.
If you love the paranormal, I highly recommend picking up Living in Shadows.
Jessica not only writes about the paranormal, she investigates it too! I love checking out haunted sites in America and abroad. It provides great inspiration for writing.

Paranormal Research
(How it Inspires Me as an Author)
Jessica Freeburg

I began performing paranormal investigations about 3 years ago after signing with my literary agent. She encouraged me to create a name for myself and connect with my potential audience even before my manuscript was sold. Since the novel she was representing was a paranormal piece, and because I’ve always loved those reality ghost hunting shows on T.V., I decided I should visit haunted locations and blog about it. That idea eventually led to me forming my group, Ghost Stories, Inc. We are a group of creative professionals who go to historic and often reportedly haunted locations for creative inspiration.
As a group, we’ve been to a variety of places, including locations in California associated with the Charles Manson murder spree. One of my favorite group outings was our hike through the wilderness to find Spahn Ranch. It’s not marked, and the buildings have since burned down, so it was a struggle to find it, but once we did, it was very emotional. Just being in the place where Charles Manson sent his followers out and instructed them to “do something witchy,” caused our giggly group of explorers to become silent. Our mood just shifted. It was incredibly surreal. We also performed an investigation at the home of David Oman, which is located near the entrance of the estate where Sharon Tate and her friends were murdered by the Manson Family. His home has been featured on a variety of “ghost” shows on T.V. Walking up the road leading to the house in the dark, we realized, this is the path the murders walked that night. It was heart wrenching to think about what their intent was as they walked up that same road.
Some people think visiting places like that is morbid, and I suppose it can be. But for us it’s not a celebration of death or murder, it’s not even really about looking for ghosts or proof of the paranormal. It’s about connecting with the past in a way that might allow it to inspire creative works that can invoke thought. We don’t focus on the ugly part of death, but on the beauty of life and that unknown ever-after.
There’s a quote attributed to George Santayan that I love. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That inspires me, especially as a children’s author. I want to make reading fun, so I love creating a good story that keeps the reader turning the page, and I like to use the voices from the past to inspire my work…to bring those voices alive for the next generation of readers. Sometimes I can do that through a work of fiction like the SHADOWS SERIES, and other times, it’s through nonfiction, like with my next book about the Holocaust which is part of a series called TANGLED HISTORY that is due out in the fall of 2016.
Writing LIVING IN SHADOWS for me was a journey through my own questions about spiritual energy. Throughout my life, I’ve seen things that I couldn’t understand, things that I can only classify as paranormal. Through my personal faith, I’ve come to a place of accepting these things as a sign that we live on beyond this lifetime. Some people think ghost stories are scary, but I think they’re cool because it only confirms to me that we live on. And when we do have what seems to be an interaction with a spirit during one of our investigations, I am humbled and feel honored that they would choose to interact with us.
I feel so lucky that I get to make money as a writer. And I love that I can blend my passion for history and the paranormal into my work. As strange as it may sound, ghost hunting has made me a better author, a more thoughtful human and it has allowed me to connect with my readers on a much more personal level than I could otherwise, and that is a huge blessing.

Living in Shadows
The Shadow Series, Book One

Jessica Freeburg

YA Paranormal
Clean Reads
June 16, 2015

Vivian is able to see things other people can’t.  Things like shadows that move without a maker and hover over people, feeding their depression and fueling their self-destruction.  She also sees kind spirits, guiding and guarding their loved ones against the shadows.
When Vivian’s mother and brother die in an accident, the only option is to reunite with her estranged father at his new home in another state.  Unfortunately, there are shadows in the house, and Vivian tries to avoid them during this time of heartache and anger.  Her brother’s spirit warns about an especially strong shadow at the top of the stairs, one inhabiting the bedroom of a girl who disappeared fifteen months ago.
Once the spirit of the missing girl reaches out to Vivian, she learns the girl was murdered in that bedroom while staring into the eyes of a trusted person possessed by the shadows.  The girl’s spirit is restless, her undiscovered body lies buried in a shallow grave, not far from Vivian’s home.
With her brother’s assistance, Vivian searches for answers in hope the girl’s spirit can move on.  But the shadows are intent on protecting the killer’s identity.  They stalk Vivian.  Her life depends on releasing her own pain and anger, because the shadows won’t stop until she stops searching…or until death finds her too.


Vivian’s feet planted on the second step from the landing, causing her father to stop abruptly to avoid crashing into her back.
Rebecca was still walking toward the room. “I’ve always thought this pink room would be perfect for a girl.”
“Stay away from the door, Vivian. This shadow is evil. You can’t let it know you can see it!” Thane disappeared before the dark spirit could see him speaking to Vivian.
“Where’s your bedroom?” Vivian pretended not to know as she turned toward her father.
“It’s just at the end of the hallway,” he replied pointing away from the room where Rebecca was standing in the open doorway. She’d already flipped the light on. Pale pink wallpaper dotted with tiny white and fuchsia flowers burst into view behind her.
A shadowy figure darted across the dimly lit room like a large, black dog rushing to examine an unfamiliar house guest, pausing just inches from Rebecca. It was at least a foot taller than her, even as it stood in front of her hunched over awkwardly, partially hidden from Vivian’s view by the bedroom wall flanking the doorway in which her stepmother stood. Its head cocked sharply to one side as it seethed like an angry cat.
Vivian wanted to scream for Rebecca to get out of that room. Instead, she took a deep breath and said calmly, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to have a room closer to yours.”
Rebecca and her father exchanged looks. Vivian held her breath, while the vaporous shadow figure reached a jagged, bone-thin finger toward Rebecca’s face and gently stroked her cheek, its bulk still partly obscured by the wall that separated the room from the hallway. Rebecca shifted her gaze to Vivian, unaware of the touch.
Most people never knew the spirits were present. They didn’t hear them, they didn’t feel them, and they didn’t see them like Vivian did. Sometimes Vivian wished she was one of those people. Life would be so much simpler.
“Of course.” Rebecca flipped the light off as she stepped out of the doorway. The vapor sucked itself sharply back into the shadows of the room. An unearthly shriek pierced Vivian’s ears as Rebecca pulled the door shut behind her.
“We just thought you might like a bit more privacy, but there’s a room right next to ours.” Rebecca smiled at James as she walked past the stairs where Vivian’s body had rooted itself.
Vivian closed her eyes against the high-pitched screeching, as if not seeing would somehow stop her hearing, as well.

About the Author

Jessica Freeburg has always been inquisitive and loves the challenges of all that life, and the afterlife, has to offer. Her fascination with history and the paranormal fuels many of her creative works. She embraces the fringe and relishes in the examination of what others may take for granted. As the founder of Ghost Stories, Inc., Jessica has performed paranormal investigations at a variety of reportedly haunted locations. LIVING IN SHADOWS: BOOK ONE OF THE SHADOWS SERIES is her debut novel. Her second book, a middle grade nonfiction about the Holocaust will be released in the fall of 2016. She is a news correspondent for the wildly popular paranormal radio show DARKNESS RADIO. She also serves on the editorial staff of FATE Magazine and is the Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for the state of Minnesota. In addition to writing books, she enjoys working in screenwriting and documentary production. She lives in Lakeville, MN with her husband and three children.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @jessicafreeburg
Author Website:
Ghost Stories, Inc. Website:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What Happened to Mr. Nice Guy?

Bad Boys. We love to hate them and hate to love them.

They're everywhere in fiction, from the vampire with stalker tendencies to the motorcycle gang leader, the powerful werewolf, to the billionaire playboy. We read about these aggressive males and their questionable behavior and then swoon when the leading lady finally bags them. They change their ways out of adoration for the only woman they could ever love.


This is wrong on so many levels-- I could write a dissertation on it.

Okay, I admit, there are times when reading about a bad boy makes me swoon. I'm human and I'm female. But so many times the bad behavior that is supposed to be romantic is downright creepy. Sneaking into the leading lady's room to watch her sleep? Not romantic. Stalking her to make sure she doesn't get into any trouble? Also not romantic. I could go on but you get the picture.

We wonder as a society why so many girls and women fall for lousy men and return time after time to an abusive relationship. Whenever we present creepy stalker behavior as romantic, we are adding to the problem. Sure people change over time, but to build a relationship expecting a leopard to change its spots... not the smartest thing to do. I think we've all had that relationship where we fell for what could have been instead of what was. It's normal human nature, and it usually yields disastrous results.

Why can't an alpha male just be nice?

I like to write about powerful men who are nice and good at heart. Perhaps that isn't as exciting as a brooding, possessive jerk, but "I happen to like nice men". Remember that quote from The Empire Strikes Back? Han Solo is the epitome of the type of man I'm talking about. He may be a smuggler and claim to be out for number one, but anyone can see it's mostly an act. He wears the image of a bad boy over a heart of gold interior. This guy can make you swoon, yet you can still take him home to meet the parents.

Am I asking too much? No, I don't think so.

My male leads are emotional, can be petulant at times, they make mistakes, and they admit to them (even though it's hard). They get jealous-- as readers will see in the second Orion Circle book coming this summer. My guys have a tendency to mouth off when they're upset or confused, but they learn and grow from these instances. They may desire to protect the female lead, but will never stifle her. They are supportive and secure in themselves (most of the time anyway).

You will never see them bully anyone but the bad guys-- perhaps they take a bit too much pleasure in that, but who can blame them? Sometimes they tease and flirt outrageously, but they don't lie... much (they are human after all). My guys are kind to children and animals. Don't let this fool you, for they are by no means saints. They are just decent people trying to do what they think is right.

So tell me. What do you like to see in a male lead? Do you like brooding alpha males? How do you feel about the stalkerish tendencies portrayed as romantic?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Choose a Publisher by Ruth Silver, Author of Forget Me Knot


Are you a writer? If so, Ruth Silver, author of the Royal Reaper series, has some great advice about finding a publisher.

How to Choose a Publisher
by Ruth Silver

If you’re writing and preparing to publish your first novel, you may start researching publishers. How do you know which ones are reputable? There are websites like Authors Beware that will give up to date information on complaints from authors. For example is a publisher isn’t paying royalties or acting in some illegal or unethical manner. Always research the publisher before signing a contract. It’s best to do some research before even wasting your time submitting a manuscript to them.

What else can you do?

If you want to know how their sales are, take a look on Amazon. Search the publisher and their titles. What are they charging for their novels? Is it a reasonable price? If they’re too low, the authors aren’t likely to make any money. Too high and they’re not likely to get as many sales. There’s a sweet spot, at this point it’s between $2.99 - $4.99. With the Amazon market constantly changing and the eBook market always fresh with new novels, this could and likely will change. Look at the sales stats. Do the publisher’s books have a lot of sales? Or are they only selling books when it’s on a promotion (ie – Bookbub?).

Another point to consider is how the publisher chooses to market its authors. Do they invest in conferences for their authors? Does the publisher attend tradeshows or conventions to sell books? Even if a publisher is strictly an eBook publisher or touting themselves as one, they still need to be visible in the market.

If you have a few publishers in mind, ask an author that publishes with them if they’re happy with the marketing that the publisher does. Ask the author if they will be publishing with that same publisher in the future. If they’re not, ask them if they can disclose why.

As an author, you should never have to pay to have your book published. Decent publishers will be able to pay you an advance on your novel, even if it’s minimal, at least it proves they’re willing to invest in you and your writing. You don’t want to be with a publisher that will publish anything and everything without reading through a manuscript.

Also consider the editing process. How much say do you get? Do you want more of an input or would you prefer to let them edit and you just see the final copy before it gets released? If you want total input and are a control freak, it’s not a bad thing but consider self-publishing where you don’t have to relinquish any control. Some editors won’t do more than correct punctuation and grammar. Others may help further shape the novel if it’s not ready for publication. It depends on the publisher and their process. Be choosy.

Forget Me Knot
Royal Reaper 2

Ruth Silver

Publisher: Booktrope
Published: June 23, 2015

Don’t mess with death.
When Wynter explores his newly developed dark angel powers, regret soon fills his heart and mind. Saving a soul isn’t what he imagined it to be, and it puts the grim reaper he loves in grave danger. Obligated to take the throne as Queen, Mara must face the truth and unravel secrets she may not be ready to accept. The second book in the Royal Reaper saga takes you on a paranormal fantasy adventure into a world of grim reapers, dark angels, and undead trucidators.

Also available on Barnes & Noble and iBooks


Death crept into the castle. Mara could feel its darkness pressing her down. As she walked to her father's bedchamber, the thought of marrying a man she did not love weighed heavily on her. All the invitations had been sent out months ago. Just as her life was beginning to almost feel normal, her father, King Philip, had fallen ill along with the court of Casmerelda and much of the kingdom. The second wave of the plague violently spread, leaving a trail of death and burning corpses for the living to clean up.

Her father had been bedridden for three days. His fever spiked and his skin glistened. He grew delirious, falling in and out of consciousness. As much as she despised him for what he’d done to her sister’s boyfriend, he was still her father. She didn’t want to be left alone.

“You must marry Astin at once.”

Mara cringed. “I can’t.” Her lips hidden as she wore a piece of ivory cloth against her nose and mouth, the slightest bit of protection from the disease that had taken over the kingdom. 
“I don’t love him. Please don’t do this to me.”

“Don’t be selfish.” The words struggled to reach his lips. He coughed and heaved, his chest rising and falling quickly as his pulse raced. “I’ll be with your mother soon…”

“You’ll be dead.”

Taking in several deep breaths, he opened his mouth, his words coming out as a whisper. 

“You will be reigning queen. Mara, you must act the part. Marry Astin and forge an alliance with the country of Morro, for the sake of Casmerelda. Your people need you.”

“I need you,” Mara said, gripping her father’s hand. She frowned, studying the tips of his fingers, a blackened hue lacing his skin.

“You shouldn’t touch me.” He tried to pull away, unsuccessfully. Her grip remained tight, but more significantly, he’d grown weak from the disease ravaging his body.

“I haven’t been infected, and I’ve been at your bedside every night.” Mara ordered the servants to bring more water and rags. It had done little good to break his fever or alleviate the discomfort he must have been experiencing, but it was all she could think of to help.

“Marry Astin.” His words were rough slipping past his lips. He wheezed, trying to speak, but Mara rested a hand upon his chest.

“Don’t.” She didn’t want to have this conversation again.

“For the sake of the kingdom,” he said, pleading with her.

Mara refused to answer. Marrying Astin wasn’t what she wanted. “I have no desire to be queen so young. You will pull through, do you hear me?”

He’d fallen into a deep slumber, unable to answer her.

Ruth SilverAbout the Author

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. She also writes The Federal Agent Chronicles and Palace Secrets, both of which are adult romance under the name Ravyn Rayne for Blushing Books. Her interests include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.

Follow Ruth here: Blog-

Looking for a steamier read? Check her out here: Blog-

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Dreaming $250 Cash Giveaway

Summer is here, and today I am swimming with sea turtles in Grand Cayman.
Want to see pictures?
I'll be posting to Instagram when I can connect to wifi.
Tomorrow it's off to Stingray City!

Summer Dreaming Cash

Summer Dreaming $250 Cash Giveaway June 21st to July 15th

An Amazing Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!!! We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash to help you do something you have been dreaming of this summer.


Giveaway Details $250 Paypal Cash Ends 7/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.    

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