Short Story Publication!

Escape Cover

During the down time until the first story (yes, I said story and not book – exciting things are in store!) in my series, The Books of Pendragon, is published, I decided to release a short story I wrote in a Creative Writing class in college. I’m very excited to share this with all of you. “Escape” isn’t like my usual writing since it deals with a much darker subject matter and doesn’t have my trademark happy ending.

However, I believe this story having a not so happily ever after ending is very important based on the topic it covers – abuse.

Many victims of abuse don’t speak up and don’t seek the help they so desperately need. It is my hope that by revealing how horribly things can go wrong by remaining silent, that my readers – those who are victims of abuse as well as the rest of my wonderful readers – will know the importance of seeking help immediately if they, or someone they know, are being abused – physically, mentally, psychologically, or emotionally.  So, please, PLEASE, seek help immediately if you or someone you know is suffering from any form of abuse.

You’re worth more than the abuse you suffer.

“Escape” deals with some very difficult subjects and has some graphic imagery and strong language, so please be advised before reading.

“Escape” is published exclusively on WattPad.

“Escape” is an eight part short story, which I am publishing one part at a time. Currently the first two parts are available. Make sure to check back daily for the remaining six parts!

I hope that all of you wonderful readers enjoy my newest publication and keep on fighting for your dreams,



Interview With New York Times Best Selling Author Ann Hood

Hood, Ann (c) Catherine Sebastian_300dpi.jpg

“Read everything. And write. Every day.” – Ann Hood


Who doesn’t want to live inside of their favorite book? New York Times Best Selling Author, Ann Hood, began writing for that very reason – the desire to live inside a book. From the moment Hood learned to read at the age of four, that desire has fueled her passion for writing.

Hood tries to write at least two hours a day, but a lot of that time is spent thinking. Hood says that once she “hits page 75-100 of a novel [she] can write all day.”

Hood was a mentor at a writing conference I attended several years ago, so I find it particularly fascinating how she got her start in the publishing world. While attending the Breadloaf Writers Conference, her teacher “gave the beginning of [her] novel to his agent, and a week later [she] had a book contract for it.” How cool is that? That is an inspiring example of how valuable writing conferences can be to an aspiring writer. Not only do they offer great advice and a fantastic way to network with other writers and individuals in the publishing world, but it could even provide the opportunity to land a publishing contract!


“I write novels about the things that keep me up at night.” – Ann Hood


Hood’s novels center around loss and finding paths through it, knitting and friendships, mother/daughter relationships, and broken hearts and betrayals. Her next novel is coming out on August 9, 2016 and is titled The Book That Matters Most. Hood is very excited for her newest book, stating how “it’s wonderful to put a new novel out in the world.”

For more on Ann Hood and her upcoming novels, you can visit her:



Twitter/Instagram: @annhood56

Guess Where I’m Going to be This Weekend

VA Beach Event

That’s right! In Virginia Beach with my wonderful friend, Sydney Scrogham! We’re going to be at the Barnes and Noble there for a book signing of her book that was released last August titled, Chase.

If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by and say hi! We’d both love to meet you! And if you purchase a copy of Chase and provide your email, she’ll even give you a free e-book copy of her upcoming book, Ariel: The First Guardian! Trust me, it’s worth the time to come to the event, if only for the e-copy of her new book. Wanna know how I know? Because I was an editor for Ariel! 

We’ll be there: Friday at 6-8pm and Saturday 4-6pm

Until then, I’ll be busily writing away! Maybe someday soon, you might just have the chance to come to a signing for the book I’m working on now! 😉

Hope to see you on Friday or Saturday!

Interview With Tamara Shoemaker

“Too much imagination trapped in a mind is bad for the soul.”

~ Tamara Shoemaker


Author, Tamara Shoemaker, first began writing as a “vent” for her “over-active imagination.” She reveals that she would put herself “to sleep every night spinning tales for anything near” her, whether it be her pillow or her favorite stuffed bunny.

Shoemaker’s writing process is dependent on “what point of metamorphosis [her] book is in at any given time.” Before beginning a project, she spends several weeks detailing her story world in a notebook. She will scribble anything and everything down that may be relevant to the world she is creating. This includes “political systems, inhabitants, love triangles, tragic histories, secrets, [and] traditions” among other things. This process helps Shoemaker’s central plot focus become clearer and more focused. Once she has completed the general notes, she will spend a few more days writing a chapter by chapter summary for the entire novel. Once all of this is done she is finally able to start the thing we’ve all been waiting for – writing.

Many writers have a base goal for the number of words they try and achieve in a given day or week, for Shoemaker it’s a thousand. This can seem daunting, and sometimes it is. Shoemaker admits that it’s frustrating sometimes because she believes she needs to have “perfect sentences and deep and vivid imagery.” Half the time all Shoemaker can think of is “clichéd phrases and overly simplified descriptions,” but guess what?




“I keep steam-rolling through it.” ~ Tamara Shoemaker


Once she finishes her first draft, while not being great – what draft (especially a first one) ever is? – she starts the edits. She goes through the draft to “polish and shine the story” and then she sends her manuscript to her editor who goes through and does developmental edits. Her editor will tear the story to shreds and then send it back to Shoemaker who will then make tons of changes to strengthen it and catch all of the flaws she missed initially, – trust me, a second set of eyes is AMAZING! – and then it goes right back to her editor for line edits.

*** Line edits go chapter by chapter – line by line through each chapter – to perfect it even more.***

After the line edits Shoemaker goes through her finished manuscript one final time to make sure that there are no more errors before sending it back to her editor who formats it. Then her editor will send her a “beautiful PDF” that Shoemaker will read again . . . and then . . .


Each book is read between five and six times “AFTER it’s polished and before it’s published.” You still want to be a writer? Good!

Publishing a book was something that Shoemaker always considered, but in the way that she considered being cast in a movie – “interesting, fun, but as likely as voluntarily entering outer space”. Did I mention she has a phobia of space? Well, she does.

Shoemaker wrote her first book while on her lunch breaks at a law firm she used to work at as a receptionist, but didn’t do much with it for another six years when she heard of a small press – Route 11 Publications – that was looking for manuscripts. She took a “deep breath”, dusted off her manuscript, and sent it in.


“When the publisher asked if they could offer me a contract, I experienced emotions and feelings I’ve only ever experienced after the birth of my children. It was incredible. A dream that had never had any basis in reality was coming true.” ~ Tamara Shoemaker


Shoemaker began her career with a set of mystery novels. Having read lots of mysteries, that was her “natural inclination to write” when she began, but she soon changed to YA (Young Adult) Fantasy. Her YA Fantasy novels came to be as her “love for unfettered imagination soared.” She no longer wished to be bound by this world’s rules, so she made her own rules.

Mark of Four, Shadows of Uprising, and the soon-to-be-released Guardian of the Vale take place in a post-apocalyptic world where Elementals (those who can wield one of the four elements—air, fire, earth, or water) co-exist with Natural Humans. One girl, however, can wield all four, and no one knows why. But all the powers in the world, both good and evil, wish to use her power to help their own causes, and Alayne has to decide which way she will go.

Kindle the Flame, Embrace the Fire, and Unleash the Inferno (to be released in early 2017) take a more traditional approach to fantasy, including in them creatures familiar to the trope: elves, dragons, pixies, sirens, and other creatures. This trilogy begins with the political intrigue of a stolen throne and kingdoms warring against each other, bringing the action to a cataclysmic, epic battle in Embrace the Fire.

While romance is a part of every book Shoemaker has written, she is now preparing to launch her first romance genre books in the next two years. She will continue to write fantasy, since it’s her true love, but she has always enjoyed historical romances, and an idea for “at least a set of three” came to her a few months ago. Currently, she is in the research phase for these.

Her biggest advice for anyone who aspires to be a published author?



“There are millions who compete on the market for sales, and if you look only at the numbers, it’s overwhelming and intimidating. But don’t give up. If you continue to write, continue to hone, continue to polish and increase your skill and your brand, eventually something will open up.” ~ Tamara Shoemaker


Shoemaker hopes to help others enjoy the tales she creates and to maybe one day be a New York Times bestseller. The best way to get there? Through the love, support, and encouragement from her family, friends, and fellow writers.

Looking for ways to connect with Shoemaker? Then check out her Twitter (@TamaraShoemaker), Facebook (follow her page at, or her website (

“I love connecting with my readers. Hearing someone say: ‘I just read fifty pages and couldn’t stop’ is some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever had the privilege to hear. I’m looking forward to meeting, either virtually or in person, many of you!” ~ Tamara Shoemaker

Ready to dive into her latest novel, Embrace the Fire?

TamaraShoemaker- Back Cover EtF

Wanted by King Sebastian, Kinna, the long-hidden daughter of the assassinated King Liam, flees for her life, determined to seek out her twin brother and free him from Sebastian’s dungeons. Meanwhile, the King holds Kinna’s adopted father as collateral to ensure she keeps her betrothal to a man she does not love.

Once cursed by King Sebastian to turn everything he touched to ash, Ayden suffers from new, searing pain that heats his flesh in a different way. Searching for answers, he digs into the histories of West Ashwynd’s Clans, and his discoveries lead him to the Amulet he’d thought had rid him of his curse. When he finds a rare Mirage Dragon, hope for vengeance upon Sebastian fills him again.

Captured and stripped of his power as Dragon-Master, Cedric resists using his Dragon-speak to advance Sebastian’s political aims. When he escapes the King’s clutches, he resolves to find his twin sister, Kinna. But the enemy has a long reach, and Cedric’s chains are unrelenting.

Ice and agony torment Sebastian, King of West Ashwynd. His fury rages unabated as he prepares for war. When treachery leeches into his ranks, he turns against everyone he trusts. Sebastian believes he cannot be outwitted, but…

Kingdoms rise and fall; wars transform nations—but who can survive the fires of Dragons?

Now available in print and e-book

Tamara Shoemaker Headshot

Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the first two books of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame and Embrace the Fire, as well as Mark of Four and Shadows of Uprising, the first two books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction.

Looking for Book Reviews?

Are you looking for a book review? Then please fill out the form on my contact page telling me about you and your book!

Please provide the synopsis and the link to your author page(s). If it looks like something I’d be interested in, I will shoot you an email for more information. Once I have agreed to review your book and we have figured out how to get me a copy, I will leave an honest review on Amazon. If you have any other platforms you’d like the review left on, we can discuss that too!

** I’m generally interested in fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi books (examples: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien), but am open to hearing from authors from other genres as well.

Interested in Being Interviewed?

Are you looking to be interviewed to help promote you and/or your writing? Then shoot me an email via the form found on my contact page and we can talk about how I can help you out!

I love talking to other writers and authors who are as passionate about writing as I am and who are interested in sharing their dreams with others. I’m big on getting and providing tips for writing and getting published as well as helping to promote fellow writers’ work(s) that I’m passionate about!

Please format your inquiries by typing in the comment section of the contact form:


Then tell me about who you are, what you write about, why you want an interview (promote an upcoming book, give writing tips, both, etc), and anything else you think is important for me to know.

** I will review all requests for interviews and get back to everyone as soon as I can. I plan on posting interviews to my blog on Mondays. I will post one interview per week as long as I have someone scheduled and interviewed. I hold the right to reject to interview and post said interview(s) to my site if I decide it does not fit the message I am trying to get across. My goal, as mentioned above, is to help promote other writers’ works as well as providing inspirational tips on writing and getting published.


Show, Don’t Tell

Every writer has heard at some point during their career the “show, don’t tell” rule. It can be kind of daunting at times, especially if you over think it.

Showing vs telling can be a key part in making a story good or making it great. However, you shouldn’t obsess over it so much that your story suffers. How? you may ask. Simple, if you obsess over making sure you provide such detailed and excellent descriptions for every little thing, then you won’t be worrying about if it really fits what’s going on. If you over describe things, then the picture you’ve painted for your reader(s) becomes so elaborate that they can’t have any creative liberties of their own. That may sound odd, but you want your reader(s) to make parts of your story their own, that’s how they become connected to your story and the characters within it. It also will make your story become dull and too wordy if everything is described in impeccable and drawn out detail. 

As stated on, there needs to be “a healthy balance between ‘good and bad’, the good being showing and the bad being telling. Everything doesn’t need to be shown, some things really should just be stated, and as the author, it is ultimately up to you to decide when it’s time to show and when it’s time to tell.

Just Write

Writing is a hard business for many reasons, one of the main ones being keeping those creative juices flowing and not getting discouraged when the wells of imagination dry up for a bit. It can also be hard to find the time to write during the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Let’s face it, if you aren’t lucky enough to be able to dedicate entire days to your craft and work from home solely on your writing, then finding the time can be a challenge.

You may not be able to just carve out five or eight hours out of your day to just sit down and write like you may want, but you can still write.

How many of you are J.K. Rowling fans? I, for one, am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. Her story is always sort of motivational to me since she wrote Harry Potter on napkins! So if you think you don’t have the time to write when some big inspirational piece falls into place for your story, the truth is you do. Take five minutes, grab a handful of napkins and just write. You heard it, just write. Don’t try and edit it or make it flow, just sit down and write. You can make it make sense later – that is, after all, what editing is for.

So, stop making excuses and just go out and do it! Just write!

As J.K. Rowling says, “anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

Sydney Scrogham’s “Ariel: The First Guardian”

How many of you remember when my friend, Sydney Scrogham, released her first book in The Guardians of Agalrae series, Chase, in August 2015?

Need a refresher? Okay, here it is!

Chase is an immersive fantasy for fans of Narnia, Middle Earth, and Thisby. Young horse lovers and romantics will be swept away on the backs of Alicorns into the mountains of Agalrae.

Chase Cover SS


Two worlds will collide under one reigning Promise.

He’s chosen to die.

She’s destined for Snix skin.

Financial strain from her mom’s lost job means Lauren has to sell her horse.  In a desperate attempt to keep her beloved animal, Lauren pursues an escaped genetic experiment worth a ten thousand dollar reward—a bright red horse.

With the red horse in sight, Lauren disappears into Agalrae and comes face-to-face with Chase, a man raised by Alicorns. Lauren wants to return home, but the Snix, Chase’s enemy since birth, has other plans. The Snix confronts Lauren with an ultimatum:  Kill Chase for ten times the red horse’s reward money, or sacrifice the lives of her mother and horse.

Forced to stay in Agalrae until she decides, Lauren wrestles with possible outcomes.  But she can’t hide the truth from Chase forever.

When destiny splits, which path do you follow?

Now available in print and ebook.

Now that you’re all caught up, who’s ready for book number two?! I know I am!

Ariel- The First Guardian Cover Photo

Where do I even begin? Book number two, more affectionately referred to as Ariel: The First Guardian, will have you feeling a full spectrum of emotions. No, really it will. There will be moments where you’re snorting from laughing so hard (yes, this did happen to me), as well as those moments where you feel so deeply for the characters and what happens to them that you’ll be pulling out a box of tissues. I know all of this since I was one of the editors for it. Knowing that . . . let me just tell you, it truly is quite well written and is a real page turner.

Ariel: The First Guardian is geared toward a slightly older audience than Scrogham’s first book, Chase, since it deals with overcoming sexual abuse. However, it is by no means a hard read. While dealing with the intense trauma of sexual abuse and overcoming something so awful, Scrogham also brings humor and shows her readers how powerful love can be.

Without further ado, let’s “gallop back into Agalrae” as Scrogham says.


Abuse survivor Ariel Harte doesn’t need anyone. Ever. But her companion animal is infected with a dark, magical force. Only an ancient purification ritual, the mind link, performed with another human can cure this infection.

Ariel must ask her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Tracey, for help.

But she’s racing time. She’s infected, too. All the walls will have to come down so Ariel can heal or she will lose herself to the darkness forever.

Ariel: The First Guardian is a story of true love that wins over time, the power of second chances, and redemption from abuse. This is a prequel to Chase in the Guardians of Agalrae series but can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

Read. Write. Don’t Stop

Well guys, it’s official. I’ve moved my site to its own domain. In light of this I’ll have my first blog post here be an #LRBHelpfultips repeat from a couple years ago. Does anyone remember when I was given some advice from my favorite author, New York Times Bestselling Author Diana Gabaldon?

If not, here you all go!

Read. Write. Don’t stop.

You all heard it. This is the most critical thing when it comes to improving your craft. And let’s face it we can always improve ourselves in everything we do, no matter how long we have been at it or if we are deemed “professionals”. There is always room for improvement.

So get to it guys! Go pick up your favorite book and disappear into a completely different world for a while, and when you come back . . . get right back into your writing! And never, ever, stop!

Happy dreaming and welcome to my site 2.0!