Monday, July 19, 2021

Interview with Fantasy and Paranormal author Karen Tomlinson | We Talk Writing, Editing, Publishing, Marketing, Tips, Movies, Music and More!!


I had a blast talking to Karen on this interview!! We talked about so much stuff; writing, editing, self publishing, Fantasy, Paranormal, outlining, marketing, struggles as an author, music, shows, movies, and more!! I honestly can't even remember it all. What I do remember is having a blast doing it, AND Karen also gave some of the most tangible advice on the podcast for anyone wishing to go down the self-publishing/indie route. Lots of good advice and gems in here you DO NOT want to miss!! It's a long episode, but a great one!! It's impossible to pick favorites out of my interviews, but this one is up there for sure. <3 Check out ALL the places you can find Karen online below. There are a lot, so you can be sure to follow her somewhere!! LISTEN BELOW. :)  
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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Interview with Christina Herrara | Author of Kissing the Skater Boy

Amanda: Give us a quick introduction to you. Published books, what you write, etc.

Christina: My name is Christina Herrera and I write Young Adult Contemporary Romance as well as Clean Romance. My published include: Kissing Under the Fireworks (a clean adult romance novella), Kissing the Wrong Twin (a young adult standalone) and Kissing the Skater Boy (an enemies to lovers young adult standalone). 

Amanda: Favorite book you’ve published so far?

Christina: Kissing the Skater Boy. 

Amanda: Most fun character to write? Favorite character to write? (Because they can definitely be different. ;) ) Hardest to write?

Christina: I like writing about the characters I am writing about now, Jordan and Selena. The first book I ever wrote had some of the most difficult characters to write. I think because I was still new at writing books at the time. The first book I ever wrote is Kissing the Right Guy. It is not on Amazon yet, but hopefully will be soon. 

Amanda: Did you like to read as a child? Favorite book? Do you still have that book or reread it now?

Christina: I got into reading when I was ten years old. I read the Amazing Days of Abby Hayes and Sweet Valley Twins. I still have at least one book from each series. I look forward to my future children reading them one day. I also loved reading the Twilight series when I was in middle school. I still enjoy reading about Bella, Edward, and Jacob to this day. 

Amanda: Have you always been a writer/storyteller? How did you start?

Christina: I started making up romance stories when I was a little kid. My older sisters loved to come up with stories with me before bed and I liked creating the story myself sometimes, too. Although, I didn’t have the dream of becoming an author until I was nineteen years old and started writing my first book. I was able to finish that book within seven or eight months. 

Amanda: Do you write to music? If so, what kind? I love to hear about new music!

Christina: I like to make playlists for the books I’m writing. Although, I usually prefer to write in a quiet place. I enjoy listening to the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, and Ava Max. 

Amanda: I know for me, there have been some funny stories since I’ve been deep in the trenches of writing. Like a realization about a work in progress or characters (the funniest has to do with the song Mirrors by JT.) Do you have any funny stories that you’d like to share?

Christina: When I met my husband, I discovered he was an identical twin. It gave me the idea of writing a book where there could be identical twins and lots of switcheroos. I went to a party with my future husband. He didn’t know me very well at the time, but he introduced me to another girl at the party and said, “This is Christina. She’s planning on writing a book about me.” He was joking at the time. Little did I know that one day he would be my husband and that I would pen Kissing the Wrong Twin. 

Amanda: Do you have a typical process or any writing rituals? Anything you have to have with you while writing? (Besides computer, paper, typewriter, whichever…)

Christina: Some books I like to plot out entirely before writing, but the book I’m writing right now I am totally pantsing it and loving every second of it. I like having herbal tea or hot chocolate with me as I write. 

Amanda: Who is a character that has influenced you (not from your books)?

Christina: Isaac Robinson from my sister’s books (The first book is called Destiny and my sister’s name is Cindy Ray Hale).  Although I didn’t create this character, it was still a lot of fun to read his story. 

Amanda: Which of your characters would you least want to go on a road trip with? Why? Most want to?

Christina: The redhead, Shannon McKell, from Kissing the Wrong Twin would be a character I’d want to avoid. She’s one feisty mean girl, haha. I would want to be on the road trip with Brennan Lopez from Kissing the Wrong Twin ;) 

Amanda: Top three favorite books and authors right now. 

Christina: Stephenie Meyer, Cindy Ray Hale, and Kelly Oram. 

Amanda: Favorite writing craft book?

Christina: Romancing the Beat. 

This or that:

Strawberry vs. Chocolate

Poetry vs. Fiction, although I adore poetry! I love reading and writing poems. 

First draft vs. Editing! 

T. V. Show vs. Movie!

Book vs. Movie I’m going to have to say movie. Although, don’t get me wrong, I love a good read!

Hero vs. Villain

Villain vs. Anti-Hero

Witch vs. Vampire 

E-book vs. Physical Book

Tea vs. Coffee: Herbal tea. 

Amanda: Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now?

Christina: I am working on the prequel to Kissing the Wrong Twin. It’s about the identical twin boy’s sister, Selena. It’s called Kissing the Player. 

Amanda: Any last comments to share? :)

Christina: I absolutely love reading, writing, and editing. I am an intern at Entangled Publishing, a freelance editor, and a self-published writer. I wish more people knew about the wonderful world of independent publishing. I believe that most authors who publish their own work are indeed glad they did :) A lot of people think that you have to have a publisher to make money or feel accomplished, but I have read amazing self-published books and have read traditionally published books that could have been much better. In the end, it all comes down to the book and what the author’s goals are.

Christina Herrera has always loved romance. Even as a child she
would make up romantic plots with her older sisters as part of her
bedtime stories. As she grew up, she remained fascinated by
storytelling. When she was nineteen years old, she authored her first
book. Ever since then she knew what she wanted to do in life: read,
edit, and write down all of her romantic stories.

Instagram: @authorchristinaherrera

Twitter: @CHerrera122116


Check out Christina's accompanying interview over on my podcast, Writing Reality with Amanda Leigh!! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Book Review | Eternal (Tantalize #2) by Cynthia Leitich Smith



Title: Eternal (Tantalize #2)
Series: Tantalize Series
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Release Date: February 10th, 2009
Page Amount: 307 pages, Hardcover

GoodReads Blurb:

With diabolical wit, the author of Tantalize revisits a deliciously dark world where vampires vie with angels -- and girls just want to have fangs.

At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess's personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl's soul and plan the Master's fast-approaching Death Day gala. In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.


I read the first book in this series when I was in 10th grade, which was over ten years ago. I've e-mailed back and forth a bit with the author, which is amazing!! I remember the day she followed me on Twitter, and sent me a card when I published my first book!! Two of the most amazing things!!

Back to the book. I thought that I would pick up on the series when this book was available in audio. I do actually own the hardcover, but I've really into audiobooks lately. This book follows two completely different characters. Zachary and Miranda, and brings in the concept of guardian angels. The two characters have strong, distinctive voices. The humor was dark!! Which, I am not against at all haha. The world was elaborate and well thought out. I did like the first book a bit better. I am looking forward to the third book because the two main characters from book one are in that one. But if you ejoy vampire stories with a great deal of dark humor, then I would definitely give this a try, but I would definitely say to read book one (Tantalize)n first. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Re-Run: Happy Birthday Johnny Cade!!

 I posted this last year and will likely post this every year on Johnny Cade's birthday!

The Outsiders is one of my two favorite books. And Johnny Cade is one of my two favorite characters from this book. Today is Johnny Cade's birthday, A while ago I found a list on The Outsiders' website with most of the character's birthdays. So today I am doing sort of a tribute to him. 

Reasons To Love Johnny Cade:

#1: He is SOOO sweet!


#2: He cares so much about his friends!


#3: He saved those children from that burning building!


#4: He's open to poetry (Robert Frost - "Nothing Gold Can Stay") and literature (Margaret Mitchell - Gone With the Wind)!


#5: He will always stay gold!! 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Book Review | Blooming in the Dark by Jenniffer LeBlanc and Kirsten McNeill

Title: Blooming in the Dark
Authors: Jennifer LeBlanc, Kirsten McNeill
Release Date: March 31st, 2021
Page Amount: 170 pages, Kindle edition 

GoodReads Blurb:

In this collection of poetry, co-writers Jennifer LeBlanc and Kirsten McNeill explore what it means to thrive in the absence of light. There is beauty in the darkness. Open your heart and let in the night.


A very deep poetry collection. Serious and, deep, some sad. It covers some serious issues. I understand the bit at the beginning of the book to practice self care while reading. But there are several poems that have a theme of hope, where things are looking up. Giving the message to keep on going. A few favorites of mine are Blooming in the Dark, Colours, Mosaic Me, Sunflower, and Dark Passenger. I love poetry and enjoyed this collection. I recommend it if you also love poetry, or even if you aren&#039;t into it as of yet. I think this would be a good place to start.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Cover Reveal | Of Shadows and Crows (The Blood Assassins Book 1) by Aimee Shaye

 Title:  Of Shadows and Crows (The Blood Assassins Book 1)

Release Date:  September 18, 2021

Cover Design: Sentinel Designs [ or @SentinelDesigns (FB) or @SentinelDesigns2019 (IG)]

Flatlay: The Image Apothecary ( or @TheImageApothecary on FB and IG)

Available for Pre-Order!

Universal Link:

Bria Allen is not the ordinary vampire. In fact, she’s a Sister for the Assembly of Shadows, a coven of vampire assassins who hunt rogue vampires and leave the crows to feast on their dead bodies. To be a Sister is a birthright and to be an Elite assassin is a legacy, one that Bria has wanted since she was a child. Until one day, she discovers the truth. 

The Assembly of Shadows isn’t what it seems.

Sava Herstoj, High Priest of the Assembly of Shadows, is the real rogue vampire. He has been plaguing the minds of blood suckers for years, trying to create a super, destructive race of monsters. 

Bria must face her biggest fears: standing up to Sava Herstoj and bringing shame to her family or keeping her secrets to herself. No matter which one she chooses, everyone has something to lose. 

Find out what happens in Of Shadows and Crows (The Blood Assassin Book 1)

Free Gift With Purchase

EVERYONE who pre-orders between February 20 and September 17, 2021 will receive:

  • Signed Bookmarks of the Assembly’s Creed

  • Signed Character Cards (to be revealed on March 20)




Reader Group:




#OfShadowsandCrowsCoverReveal #UpperYAFantasy #ParanormalFantasy #OSACCoverReveal #AimeeShaye

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Book Review | Kissing Under the Fireworks by Christina Herrara



 Title: Kissing Under the Fireworks
Author: Christina Herrara
Release Date: November 4th 2019
Page Amount: 69 pages, Kindle edition

GoodReads Blurb:

She would like nothing more than for him to make the move from British Columbia to Tennessee.

But he has to decide if the chemistry they have will blossom into something that will last long enough for him to rationalize moving across the continent.

Will they allow distance to separate them, or let their hearts speak louder than their circumstances as they kiss under the New Year’s Eve fireworks?


This was a very cute and quick read. A good read if you want a quick, sweet, clean romance. I could picture things well through the writing, as well. If you want a feel good, short, clean romance, then give this a shot. I think... three and a half stars for this one. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Top Eight Books of 2020!!

Yes, I said top eight books of the year. I read fewer books than usual in 2020. Plus, a lot of them were Harry Potter books. Books that I have red multiple times and will surely read again. Those are books that would easily top just about anything else I read for me, so I don't count them, as I really don't think that would be fair. So, with that in mind, here are my Top Eight Books of 2020!! Click on any of the titles to be taken to their GoodReads page. Let me know if you've read any, if any are on your Top Reads list, or let me know YOUR Top Reads of 2020!!!!

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

2. The Other Girl by Trisha Wolfe

3. Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace

4. Pillow Thoughts II: Healing the Heart by Courtney Peppernell 

5. Paused to Prolific by K. Webster

6. Good Morning, Good Life by Amy Schmittauer Landino 

7. Magic and the Moon by C. Lee, L. Harbaugh, and S. Nease

8. The Crush by Sandra Brown

Let me know your Top Reads of 2020 below, and any books your looking forward to in 2021!! <3 :)