Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Blog Tour - Review, Excerpt, Author Interview and Giveaway: Stepping Stones by Elizabeth Morgan


I am pleased to be part of the Stepping Stones Blog Tour, to showcase the re-release of Elizabeth Morgan's contemporary romance, Stepping Stones. Please check out the author interview, excerpt and enter the giveaway below and follow the tour!




Stepping Stones
(Sweet Contemporary Romance)
By Elizabeth Morgan

Blurb:

There's nothing like a wedding to bring the family together....

If not for her baby sister’s impending marriage, Margaret West would never return home. But after six long years, she finds herself a maid of honor who must answer to the people she left behind.

If her parents’ interrogation doesn’t drive her to drink, facing her foster brother, Adrian, just might. To make matters worse, her ex-fiancé is the vicar who will conduct her sister’s ceremony.

Everyone demands to know why she ran off. But the more time she spends at home, the more Margaret realizes even she doesn’t know the real reason.

Length: Novella (32,000/91 pages)| Content: Sweet Romance/Contemporary| Publisher: Bono Books


My Review:

Stepping StonesStepping Stones by Elizabeth Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This book is a very sweet contemporary romance. I loved it!

Margaret (Maggie to her family) West is a very lifelike character. She has her fears and doubts, just like anyone. I must admit that I found her a bit annoying at times. She has a tendency to be self-pitying, which just rubbed me the wrong way, considering she was the one that broke her family's hearts.

This is a fantastic contemporary romance with some likable characters. The story is told from Maggie's point of view, and is an emotional roller coaster ride full of angst, anger and sadness, but there is also a lot of love and forgiveness. Maggie's homecoming was not easy and, never having been in this situation myself, I still felt for all characters concerned. William, Maggie's ex-fiancé, is a really nice man. In my opinion, he didn't deserve to be left at the alter (not literally, but almost) by her in that way six years previously, but it's not until later do we find out why. However, humans are ruled by their emotions, and Maggie was definitely emotional at the time. Adrian, Maggie's foster brother, is a character I wanted to know more about. I know he's a great guy, but I would have liked both Maggie and Adrian have more interaction earlier in the book, and maybe some of the story in his point of view. Nevertheless, the story was more of a journey of self-discovery for Maggie, rather than an all out romance. The ending was nicely rounded off, as a romance novel should be, and left me with a happy feeling. All in all, this was an enjoyable read.

Elizabeth Morgan has written a wonderful contemporary romance. Her characters are lifelike and likable. I love her writing style, which was fast paced enough to keep me hooked from beginning to end, and the flow was wonderful. I have never read any of her books before, but I'm now looking forward to reading her paranormal romances when they are re-released in August.

As this book does not have any scenes of a sensual nature, this book can be read by young teens. Therefore, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary romances. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews

Buy Links:


Bono Books/Decadent Publishing: 
http://www.decadentpublishing.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=201&osCsid=6c1232251c1e45744bd0b3ee7262f414

                      


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Excerpt:

“When is Aidy getting here?” Jessica grabbed the large bowl of scrambled eggs and brought it closer to her plate.
“I think his flight is due in at three.” My mother placed a dish of bacon on the table and took a seat beside me. “He will be in time for the wedding rehearsal; don’t worry.”
 My stomach clenched. “Wedding rehearsal?” I coughed, trying to clear the chunk of toast lodged in my throat. “What wedding rehearsal?”
“Today at four. We’re running through the service.” Jess scooped egg onto her plate. “I told you.”
Nervous laughter bubbled in my throat and try as I may, I couldn’t stop shaking my head. “No.” I patted my chest. “No, you never mentioned a rehearsal.”
“Oh.” She placed the bowl back in the middle of the table. “I could have sworn I did.”
“Nope, you didn’t. Believe me, I would have remembered otherwise.” I grabbed my mug and knocked the coffee back before finishing my piece of toast.
“Well, it’s no big deal.” Edward took the bowl of eggs and helped himself. “Just a quick run-through.”
“Will everyone be there?” Forcing a smile on my face, I looked up at them both, hoping like hell my question would pass as innocent and genuine curiosity.
“Anyone who is involved in the wedding itself will be.”
Great. So that meant Jessica, Edward, the parents, and the bridesmaids, plus me. That left Adrian and…. “Will Vicar Taylor, be there?”
Oh God, did my voice just go higher?
“Yes, Margaret, William will be there. He is the one who is marrying Jessie and Edward, so he needs to be there.” My father skewered some bacon and tomatoes onto his fork.
Grimacing, I reached out and grabbed another piece of toast. “Just a question, Pa.” A stupid one, but a question nevertheless….
“It is normal for people to have wedding rehearsals, Margaret. Just because you—”
Jess picked up the coffeepot. “Does anyone want more coffee?”
I straightened, my focus fixed on Pa. “I’m aware of that.”
“Maggie?”
My father’s shoulders went rigid. He lifted his head and our gazes locked. I didn’t miss the way the muscle in the side of his neck ticked. Arguing with my father in front of Jessica and Edward was not an option, so I looked away.
“Please.” I held out my mug and Jess poured the dark liquid.
I could kick myself. A wedding rehearsal hadn’t even crossed my mind. Having to stand at the altar before William on the actual wedding day would be hard enough, but having to do it twice…my stomach churned.
“So, will Adrian come straight to the church?” Edward cut the awkward silence.
“Yes. He will get a taxi to the church, and then we will bring him and his luggage back here.” My mother held her mug out to Jess.
“Adrian is staying here? Tonight?” I added sugar to my coffee. “Won’t it be crowded? I thought—”
“No more crowded than it was in your childhood.” My father took a bite out of his toast.
More and more good news. Of course he would be staying here; it was his family home after all. I guess, it was stupid of me to hope that he would go to a B&B, but my parents wouldn’t have allowed it even if he did suggest it. I hadn’t seen him in six years, hadn’t spoken to him. And yet, in a couple of hours I would be locked in the same house as him.
~ * ~

Author Interview:


Thank you so much for having me over today, Lynn. It is a pleasure to be here. J

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I had always kept scrap books and kept quotes and segments of poems and stories I enjoyed, and as a young teenager I had a fan fiction site for one of my fave bands. So, the interest has always been there, but when I was eighteen I started writing scripts - mainly because I was studying musical theatre - and then after a while I started sending them to theatre groups, but I had no luck. A friend of mine suggested I try writing a book as I would probably enjoy it more, and the detail - background info etc - I was putting in scripts might not necessarily be seen. So, I was nineteen and a half when I decided to write a book

2. How long does it take you to write a book? 

This is actually a tricky question. It depends on the length of the story and how much time I have every day/week to concentrate on it.

Recently, it is taking longer because of events going on in my personal life, but going off past work I will say it has taken anything from a month to nine months to write a story.

3. What do you think makes a great story?

I think there are a few factors. Uniqueness or shall we say a story that stands out because it is outside of the "box." And imagination plays a great deal in to a truly unique story. A world and characters that are so well built and presented that they are crystal clear in the readers mind, but there is also room for the readers to expand their own imagination. So a healthy balance of details.

A story that can make you feel, one that has a message that you can understand, a point, a lesson, and characters you connected with on a deeper level.

Yes, fiction is escapism. It is a doorway between reality and fantasy, and one that we all need, but I think if you can read a story and come away thoughtful or happy, hopeful, whatever you may feel. I think that's the making to a great story; to make an impact on the reader; so they don't forget those characters or that world.

4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Well, at the moment I am celebrating the release of my sweet contemporary romance, Stepping Stones. It is a re-released book. Previously published, but the original publisher closed down. I feel that this version is much improved, and I am very happy to have been able to polish it up to such a standard.

I'm in the middle of edits for Book One in my Blood Series. The series is Urban Fantasy with a dose of paranormal and romance. I will shortly be formatting this book a long with its prequel and getting them both ready for re-release on August 25th. Yes, this was another set of books that were previously published by the closed down publisher, but yet again, I am super happy that I have had the opportunity to improve and extend both books. And I feel that these versions are better than the original.

Lastly, I am in the middle of a fantasy project. It is currently nameless, but it is very different to everything else I have written. After I finish, I intend to start Book Two in my Blood Series.

That seems somewhat busy, but believe me, there are periods of time when nothing much is going on so it is the simple case of cracking on with projects.

5. How do you balance family and writing?

My family are quite spread out around the UK. So, I don't get to see a lot of them as much as I do, but I will take a few days off at a time to go and visit them. Other family members live nearby and I tend to see them at least twice a week.

Otherwise, I just write at every opportunity I can get.

6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Mostly dreams, and on an odd occasion it could be due to a random conversation I'm having a silly thought that pops into my head.

In regards to my new release, Stepping Stones, I dreamt the details; the church, Maggie's sister's wedding, her awkwardness when finding out her ex was conducting the ceremony, her relationship with Adrian . .  . It was all there; I just had to link the chains and follow the events once I woke up and sat at the computer to write what I had seen.

7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book/s? 

That I was actually capable of writing and finishing a story. Ha. I think when you want to write and you start off you tend to question yourself a lot; your ability to write, your imagination, you question whether you will have enough juice to get to "the end."

And I did, which was nice to know. ;-P

8. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? 

I have written 8 books in the last three years. I've had the rights back for four of them for various reasons, and so have - and will be - self-publishing them all.

I enjoyed writing each book, and I love the characters and the stories, but Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One) has a special place in my heart because it was the first story I wrote. The version that has been published and will be on August 25th isn't the original version that I wrote in 2009, but it's the first story I wrote; it's my baby.

9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?

No, none of my characters are based on people I know, but when I get stuck for names I usually pinched the names off of people I know.

10. Do you have a favourite place you love to write?

Unfortunately no, my computer is currently in the corner or my bedroom, which I'm not overly happy about, but when I moved, well this house I'm in is a lot smaller and even though a lot of furniture etc. was given away a lot was still brought with me and it has taken a lot of room up. I had my own office in my old house, and I kinda miss that. I find that having that space makes a world of difference for concentration etc.

Clearly I need to move to a bigger house, or build myself an office lol

11. How hard is it to get published?

It all depends on which route you take. When I started submitting my work I did go down the road of sending manuscripts to agents, but I had no luck. Then I started looking at online publishers, but it still took a good year if not longer for someone to accept my manuscripts. All in all I think a handful of my books were rejected about 50+ times.

I have found that online publishers are willing to take more of a chance of stories/authors who write outside the stereotypical box. So anyone who mixes genres up, or takes a bit of a risk with their topics. The reason for this, or at least I believe this to be the case, is with epublishing you can afford to take a risk on out of the box stories, because you are producing a downloadable file, which you won't really lose a lot of money off. Whereas with the old fashion route; agents, publishers, paperback etc. there is a greater chance of money being lost, because you have spent money to create a book; the cover, the binding, printing so many copies, it's a much bigger risk.

So, I'd say it is fairly difficult to get published if you're going the normal route. You have a better chance going with epublishing, but then again, self-publishing is becoming popular, and in complete honesty it takes the difficulty away.

I don't mean in the sense of it is easy to self-publish; it isn't, especially if you do it correctly. It costs money; you hire an editor, cover artist, unless you are self-sufficient and are happy and confident to do your own edits and create your own cover, which a lot of people are.

Self-publishing has made it easy for people who want to write and who believe in their stories to put them out there without someone telling them there story is no good or won't sell, or doesn't fit in to what they are looking for. As a self-published author you are completely in charge of your work from the beginning right until the end, which is what is most appealing about being self-published. Your work is yours to do what you feel is right.

I myself have tried all routes. I have had work published with epublishers, and after three years feel that I have more knowledge than I did when I started, which is why I have even gone in to self-publishing.

No matter what you have to be persistent. Whatever route you feel you should go you should do it and believe in yourself and your work. Do what feels right for you.


12. What do your family and friends think about your books?

All my friends and family know that I am a writer and that I have had my work published. Some of them know what I write, some of them don't. None of them have actually read any of my books, though. Or at least, I'm unaware if they have.

I wouldn't ask, or push them to unless they really wanted to read any of my books, but they all think it's very cool that I am doing what I love.

13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love to read or watch films, I'm a big film addict. I have a weakness for The Sims, although it has been a long time since I played on it. Otherwise, I tend to be in the garden a lot. I find it very therapeutic to pull weeds, and plant seeds lol

14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they? 

You can learn a lot by reading. There is always room for improvement. Your voice and the way you write will change as you progress. You will always doubt yourself and your stories, we all do, but no matter what if you need to write and you love your ideas, just keep going with it. Readers will see your stories in a way you won't.

Write. Just keep writing. If you get stuck with a story take a break, if a week rolls by and you don't feel any clearer than go back and read through it all and try and push forward. Procrastination is an author's enemy as well as reality. Life can really dampen your creative flame, but it will never kill it, so don't panic when you go through periods of blankness. Your imagination won't disappear.

15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 

From the age of four to about eighteen I actually wanted to be an actress. I still find I have that want every now and again, especially when I see a TV programme, film, or play that I really love. I find myself sitting there and thinking, "wow, I'd love to be a part of that."

16. What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?

I wasn't a bigger readers as a child. Not in the sense that I was constantly reading, or even going through a couple of books a week. I know, that must seem so terrible with me being an author, but it wasn't until a friend of mine introduced me to Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thomas Series, and Ilona Andrews: Kate Daniels Series that I started to really enjoy reading, and read regularly. So clearly, I wasn't reading the right books when I was younger, because as soon as I read the first few books in both these series, well, I couldn't stop. Every book anyone mentioned to me I would buy and read.

I haven't got tons of authors on my bookshelf, but I do have a lot on my kindle lol but the authors who I tend to follow, and will basically buy anything they write are as follows:

Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, Lara Adrian, Meljean Brook, Marie Treanor, Gena Showalter, Jill Myles, Av a Gray, Moria Rogers, and Kit Rocha.

Meljean Brook's: The Iron Duke is definitely one of my fave books. I love the Iron Seas Series, I think the world building is amazing and I remember reading her post of how she built this world and I was blown away. They are just brilliant stories, action, adventure, romance, and an alternate steampunk history. Fabulous.

Since becoming a published author my world has been expanded and I have been introduced to many other fabulous authors and their work.

One particular author who I met two months after my debut novella, and whom I have become very good friends with over the last three years is Dianna Hardy.

The first book I ever read of hers - and it was way before we started speaking properly - was her short story, 'Til Death Do Us Part, her retelling of the Little Mermaid, got me hooked on her writing. She kept the story very close to the original; beautiful, tragic, heartfelt, and hopeful. On top of that, her voice held me captivated.

Dianna is a self-published author - and as I said and I know you may find me bias, but we have become good friends over the last three years - I have had the pleasure of reading all her books, and as a reader I love her stories, and as an author I admire her greatly.

And I have to say after beta reading her new release, The Spell of Summer (Book 1: Once Times Thrice) well, that book had me in tears, it's beautiful, raw, heartfelt, and so close to home. It's a fab story and will definitely be one that will stay with me.

17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?

Do: edit your manuscript a couple of times before submitting.
Do: send it to a critique partner, if you can. Ask a friend, or join a writer circle.
Do: listen to constructive criticism. It is given to help you.
Do: keep writing no matter what anyone says. If you love writing, if you enjoy it, never give it up.
Do: enjoy writing. If you get stressed, take a break. Writing, although frustrating at time, is to be enjoyed.
Do: have patience. It's hard, I know, but hang in there. Someone will love your book as much as you do and they will publish it.

Don't: submit your manuscript if you haven't edited it. It will go against you.
Don't: let rejections or constructive criticism get to you. If someone doesn't want your book, listen to their reason especially if it is CC. Look over your manuscript again, and then try somewhere else.
Don't: make any changed to your manuscript if you truly want to keep that scene, topic, or character in there.
Don't: get an ego. Yes, you have written a book. Yes, that book has been accepted and published, it is a big deal, but the work doesn't stop after that book has been published. Being an author is 30% writing, 70% promotion. The best promotion is to keep writing and publishing.
Don't: decide to write for money. This isn't a job for making a big income - or at least not straight away. This is a passion. This is a need to write, and a want to share your stories. Enjoy the process. Enjoy creating. In time you may get a good income, but it will take time.

Most importantly, always believe in yourself and your work. You can be anything you want to be. Do anything you want to do, and achieve anything if you put your mind to it. So believe.

18. What are you working on now?

I'm currently in the middle of editing the first book in my urban fantasy series, Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One.)

The novel - along with its prequel She-Wolf - were original published in 2011 and 2012, but after the publisher closed down and I received my edits back, I decided to self-publish the books and all that follow.

So, She-Wolf & Cranberry Blood will be re-released on August 25th. I will be starting book two in the series in the summer, after I finish my current WIP, which is a fantasy romance set in a magical world completely different to our own.

~ * ~

Thank you for having me over today and thank you to all of you for stopping by. If you would be interested in winning a copy of my new release, Stepping Stones or maybe a swag pack, then please do leave an entry on the rafflecopter at the end of the post. J

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Author Bio:

Elizabeth Morgan is a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal, erotic horror, f/f, and contemporary; all with a degree of romance, a dose of action and a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but you can be sure that no matter what the genre, Elizabeth always manages to give a unique and often humorous spin to her stories.

Like her tagline says; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”

And that she does, author of erotic ménage horror, Creak, paranormal erotic horror and UK, US & Australian Amazon best seller (Gay/Lesbian, Fiction, Lesbian), On the Rocks, and erotic romance, US, UK and Spanish Amazon bestseller (Erotica Short Story) Truth or Dare? She also has her hand in self-publishing.

Razel Dazzle, her modern adult retelling of the fairytale Rapunzel, was her first taste of publishing her own stories, and now she has the hang of it, it will definitely not be her last. Look out for more information on her upcoming releases at her website: www.e-morgan.com

Away from the computer, Elizabeth can be found in the garden trying hard not to kill her plants, dancing around her little cottage with the radio on while she cleans, watching movies or good television programmes – Dr Who? Atlantis? The Musketeers? Heck, yes! – Or curled up with her two cats reading a book.





1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for having me over today, Lynn. : D

    ReplyDelete