Impulse Buy Book of the Week: PIRATE NEMESIS by Carysa Locke

cv-piratenemesis-fKillers. Thieves. Pirates. Family.

Mercy Kincaid is a fugitive from her own family. Her dangerous telepathic gifts make her a target. So is anyone she gets close to. When her best friend is captured and tortured, Mercy’s only hope is to reunite with the family that tried to murder her as a child. She trusts few among her blood relatives, but finds herself intrigued by an enigmatic and dangerous killer.

Reaper has spent a lifetime watching his people die. He’s vowed to kill anyone who jeopardizes their survival. Mercy’s gifts are the biggest threat they’ve faced in eleven years, since a biological weapon nearly annihilated the pirate colonies. But Reaper realizes her talents can either destroy them, or save them. He must decide if he’s fallen victim to her power, or if he can truly trust the beautiful woman and her compelling abilities. If he makes the wrong choice, everyone dies.

PIRATE NEMESIS is the first book in an ongoing science fiction romance series. If you like compelling world-building, fantastic characters, and sizzling romance, then you’ll love Carysa Locke’s new twist on an old genre.

Amazon Exclusive

author-photoCarysa Locke is the pseudonym for writing team Carysa Locke and MaLea Holt, two best friends who have been creating imaginary worlds together for more than twenty years. Carysa is a high
school English teacher, and MaLea helps support families with special needs children. You might say, they work as super heroes in their day jobs!

Their obsession with pirates and adventure goes back
many years, when they started another hobby together – costuming. They regularly attend Ren-faires and Pirate Festivals. They currently reside in the Pacific Northwest with their families, where they still routinely roleplay and costume together, when they aren’t too busy working on the next novel.

Facebook | Twitter: @carysalocke | Amazon Author Page 

Write Opening Chapters That Get Read #LianaEdits

On Twitter I’m making general editing notes under the hashtag #LianaEdits so I can point out errors I see repeated over multiple books (sometimes even in published books – yikes!) One of the most common problems I see are opening chapters that don’t get the story started. Opening chapters cannot be a vignette or a happy idyllic life where nothing is happening. No matter how small the need, every character must have a desire, and the opening chapters need to show us the main characters needs.

The needs of the character should establish the stakes of the book (what’s at risk) and each plot twist should raise the stakes.

Here’s a quick primer on how to plot the opening chapters and raise the stakes so the reader wants to finish your book…

  • A point of view character who needs something
  • An antagonist
  • A call to action

This can be as simple as “Little Suzy wants a cookie but the teacher won’t let her out of class. Then, at lunch, Suzy’s friend suggests they run home to get cookies while everyone is at recess.”

Page 1: The character must have a need.
End of chapter 1: The first antagonist prevents the hero from fulfilling their need.
End of chapter 2: A call to action is issued that gives the hero a chance to fulfill their first want.
End of chapter 3: PLOT TWIST! Something changes and the hero’s need changes.

Suzy wants a cookie but there’s none in her lunch.
The teacher won’t let Suzy call home to have the cookie she left on the counter delivered.
Suzy’s friend suggests they sneak out the school gate and run home to get the cookies.
While the girls sneak out, the school is attacked by aliens and Suzy is the only one who saw!

Original stakes: Lunch with no cookies!
After the plot twist: Classmates might be lunch!

#Decoherence Blog Tour


How To Write Time Travel – Unbound Worlds – a fun article on how to write travel and steal time machines
Once Upon a Time – Jack Heckel – a fairy tale twist on your favorite series

And then we have the infamous #Decoherence Drinking Game. Grab some water (or any other beverage) and take a sip every time I mention JRR Tolkien!
Sept 12 – Book Girl Knitting
Sept 15 – Torie James
15 SeptBooks on Fire
16 SeptWriting Dreams
16 SeptRomance Reviews Today
16 Sept – Romancing the Book (with gift card giveaway) and their review of DECOHERENCE
17 Sept –
Stormy Nights
18 Sept –
Shelli Rosewarne
18 Sept –
Cynthia Bloggs
20 Sept –
Romancing the Book
23 Sept –
Girl With Pen
03 Oct  –
Literary Misfit
13 Oct   –
Patricia Stoltey
14 Oct   –
Celtic Lady
17 Oct   –
Night Owl Reviews


Find Balance (a repost from 2009)

When someone says the word ‘balance’ we tend to think of checkbooks or standing on one foot. It doesn’t conjure up an immediate image of writing, probably because writers usually say “pace” or “plot element” and the word balance doesn’t enter into the equation. I want to change that today and look at the two types of balance you need to make your writing work.

Balancing Your Book
How often have you read a book where the pacing seemed to drag half-way through? Or maybe you finished a book and wished the author had invested a little more time in settling the characters emotions, building the world, or addressing the overall theme. These are books that lack balance.

Very few books are perfectly balanced. A book that addresses every need of the reader and appeals in a near-universal way is the very rare. But most books get the balance just about right, they might lean a little to one side or the other – creating genre fiction – or they might address several topics and go mainstream (yes, I can think of exceptions too, every rule has exceptions- we’re saving that for another post). The imbalance works but ONLY IF THE AUTHOR PLANNED IT.

Write your first draft carefree. Indulge in the every creative whim. Bask in the heady freedom of imperfection. And then sit down and decide what you, manipulative and sneaky person that you are, want the reader to feel. Pick and choose the themes and emotions of the book the same way you could complimentary colors of a room. Balance times of intense action with places to read.

As a general rule, any constant emotion maintained throughout the whole book is bad.

If the MC has only one emotion the whole time, the reader stops reacting to it, they stop empathizing. You have to strike a balance between moments of fierce action and quieter times of contemplation. Even an exceptionally serious book should have a few light-hearted moments, times of laughter that add light to the book and thus accentuate the darkness of the text.

Balance your book by planning.

Balancing Yourself
I can see the looks, what does a balanced author have to do with writing?


An unbalanced author can’t create a balanced piece of writing. Call it the holistic approach to writing if you like, but your work in progress is not a static thing existing in isolation. A manuscript is a living document, it grows, matures, changes… and it can only have a full life if you, the author, have a full life.

Life experience is what you use to create your masterpiece.

Good health is what allows you to write.

Free time to create is what binds the experience to the bind and let’s you rearrange the universe for your own pleasure.

Yes, I hear you. “Very metaphysical, I’m sure,” you say. “But what does that mean in real life?”

It means there are three aspects of reality you need to balance to be the best writer possible:

1- You need to experience things. Travel, try new foods, read books outside your genre, talk to new people. Whether you experience something yourself or you experience something vicariously by reading or listening to a story, or even just taking time to daydream you are broaden the pool of ideas you can pull from for a story.

2- You have to take care of yourself. Dead writers do not get manuscripts finished! To many people push their health to the last thing on their chore list. You’ll see a sick person in the office or washing dishes at home and they’ll work ’til they drop. Why on Earth would you do this to yourself??? You won’t be any good to anyone or for any cause dead. Get eight hours of sleep, eat a balanced diet, work out a few times a week, and keep yourself from keeling over dead.

3- Make time for writing, but don’t sacrifice the other two elements for this time. I promise you, there is something in your day you really don’t need. And that sacrificial 30 minutes is not breakfast for bedtime. You need to experience things, but you don’t need to watch the CNN replay for three hours. You need to take care of yourself, but three hours a day in the gym is a bit much. Keep some scrap paper and a pen handy for scribbling down ideas, and make time every day to write.

This might mean you spend an hour Monday night’s writing, but only fifteen minutes on Tuesday because Tuesday is rock climbing night. That is OK. Some nights you might finish a chapter, other nights you might only scribble down an idea or two and make a loose outline. As long as those ideas are pinned down where you can find them later, it doesn’t matter. Give yourself time and permission to write.

Rock photo courtesy of

My Readers Really Are The Best

Back in June I released the first chapter of EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE in an intro anthology from the SFR Brigade titled PORTALS:Volume 4 (we’re up to 7 now I think). I didn’t really think much of it until this week while I was in a post-book shambles. I went to the SFR Brigade with my woes (what now? what next? how shall I go on?) and along with the usual encouragement author Carysa Locke sent me this…

I have a story for you, Liana Brooks! Yesterday, I had a new 5 star review post to one of my books. The reader said she tried to stop reading and go to sleep, ad literally could not put the book down and stayed up until 4:30am reading. 

After I hugged her words to my heart and basked in the warmth of a reader loving my book, I clicked on her name to see what else she had reviewed - I do this fairly often, because sometimes if someone is enjoying my books, *I* might enjoy reading other things they've liked. I noticed she also reviewed Portals: vol 4, which you and I are both in. She mentions you specifically as THE author that brought her to Portals, and talks about the high quality of the first chapters. She is apparently a huge fan of your books, Portals brought her to mine, and now (hopefully) she will be one of my readers, too! 

My thought on it is this: CLEARLY you have some awesome readers out there who love your writing. She said in one of her reviews that your new book was next up for her, and she sounded SO excited to read it! I bet she will post a review very soon. :)

portals-volume-4First: Hooray! I have a reader who leaves reviews! Reviews are the magic pixie dust of publishing.
Second: Hooray! The PORTALS books are working and readers are finding new authors to love.
Third: Hooray! Someone stayed up late reading a book! That’s awesome!

Stories like this are what authors love to share. I love knowing that one of my readers found another series of books they adore. I love knowing that my friend has a new reader for her series (Carysa is the pen name for an awesome writing duo & you should read their books).I love knowing that I have a loyal fan who had read all my books and is waiting for more.

Because, at the end of the day, knowing there’s a reader waiting is what pushes me to do more. If I were writing for myself, I wouldn’t be as good an author as I am. If I were writing only for myself, I wouldn’t ever try to improve.

Thank you, Readers, for being readers. Thank you for taking a chance and picking up my books. Thank you for leaving reviews. Thank you for being there so all of us writing a book have someone to write for.

– Liana

There Is No Muse. Sit Down And Write.

Fury Revision

I’ll be honest, I’ll believe in fairies before I will in muses.

I may have had a muse, back when I was in fourth grade or so, and then I locked it down in the dungeon chained to a wall and let it die. It’s skeleton is right next to the last earthly remains of my Inner Editor.

You don’t need a muse to write.

If you’re waiting for some chick in a Roman toga to come and beat a story idea into your head you’d better spend your time filling out applications for McDonalds because it isn’t going to happen.

Waiting for inspiration to hit your brain isn’t going to do anything but eat your time.

“My muse isn’t talking to me,” a friend told me the other day when I asked why she hadn’t written in awhile. The only thing that kept me from slapping sense into her was the Atlantic ocean between us.

“What have you been doing about writing?” I asked, very, very skeptical.

She’d done nothing, as it turned out. She’d watched some movies, had lunch with friends, gone to work, and read a few books, but she hadn’t once put her butt in the chair, opened her manuscript up, and started typing.


The best writers I know are the ones who write every day, in sickness or health, in poverty’s vale, between juggling kids, work, and full class loads they write. And the ones who put in the time are the ones who reap the benefits.

So don’t wait for the muse to hit you.

Don’t wait for perfection.

Get out there, get your hands dirty, and go to work.

Yes, it means sometimes you will delete entire scenes because you decide they don’t work. And it means long hours editing. And long months beating the manuscript into the perfect shape. But if you want to write, that’s the way it’s done.

There is no short cut.

Stop waiting for one.

Image courtesy or and copyright to Janna ProsvirinaSculpture by Antonio Canova, Cleveland Museum of Art

#Decoherence has arrived!


THE DAY BEFORE set the stage.

CONVERGENCE POINT showed us the possibilities.

In DECOHERENCE, it all falls apart.

The body of Jane Doe was discovered on the first page of THE DAY BEFORE. We’ve known her name all along. Now it’s time to find out which Sam Rose goes home, and which goes into the grave.


I’ve spent an hour trying to think of what to write here. What do you say when a trilogy comes to an end? How can I tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity to tell this story? How do you condense the seven years of encouragement, friendships, and loyalty that went into making this idea a reality? I don’t even know where to start.

Some of you have been loyal fans since before THE DAY BEFORE was published. You read EVEN VILLAINS FELL IN LOVE, or FEY LIGHTS, or SEVENTY. You were friends I met on Critique Circle, or Twitter. Others are new readers. Maybe you picked up the series during the sale on August. Maybe you’re visiting my blog for the first time because you heard about me somewhere. Whatever the case, I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for reading. Thank you for spending your hard earned money on my books.

I could not ask for better readers or fans. You are truly amazing. The stories you share with me, I treasure. The moments we share together across the internet or in bookstores – those times you tell me what you love about my books or any books – are amazing.

I hope you enjoy reading DECOHERENCE as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope it’s the ending you think the series deserves.


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Readers of Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and Wesely Chu’s TIME SALVAGER will love Liana Brooks’ DECOHERENCE–the thrilling, time-bending conclusion to the Time & Shadow series!

Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.

Shelve It On GoodReads


Take a Nap!

You know me, any excuse for a few minutes of peace and quiet is a good one.

Sleep researchers have been working for years to explain the benefits of napping.

Does this scenario sound familiar…

You’ve been at the computer for three hours straight. Between checking e-mail, balancing the checkbook, talking on Twitter, and writing you’re sore, you’re tired, and you need to run to pick up the kids in forty minutes.

Head pounding, back aching, limbs dead you stagger away from your writing session for a cup of coffee and a really bad afternoon.

Now, researchers say that if you turned the computer off ten minutes earlier and napped for 10-30 minutes, your afternoon would be much, much better.

When your energy levels dip at mid-day, listen to what your body is saying!

Harvard Business Review posted back in September 2010:

…naps are a powerful source of competitive advantage. The recent evidence is overwhelming: naps are not just physically restorative, but also improve perceptual skills, motor skills, reaction time and alertness.
I experienced the power of naps myself when I was writing my new book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.
I wrote at home, in the mornings, in three separate, highly focused 90 minute sessions. By the time I finished the last one, I was usually exhausted — physically, mentally and emotionally. I ate lunch and then took a 20 to 30 minute nap on a Barcalounger chair, which I bought just for that purpose.
When I awoke, I felt incredibly rejuvenated. Where I might otherwise have dragged myself through the afternoon, I was able to focus effectively on work other than writing until 7 pm or so, without feeling fatigued.

Finishing a book and taking naps… wait, isn’t that what you want to do?

Write efficiently, feel better, take a nap, and then put your bum in the chair and write!

Impulse Buy Book of the Week: EVIL BREWING by K.D. Kinchen

EB FinalThe only thing brewing, is evil…
Alexis Holton. Brewing Supervisor. Single, pretty, determined. A woman in a male dominated industry.
London. Seven women missing in nine months. A killer stalking the streets. A killer yearning for a challenge to stretch his skills.
Alexis is that challenge.
As she struggles to find her feet in the big smoke, each step she takes draws the killer closer to her.
Time is running out.
The killer is ready.
And Alexis is all alone in the capital.

$2.99 as an Amazon Exclusive
Amazon USA | Amazon UK


Kate014K.D. Kinchen was born and lives in Wales, UK. She spends her time writing, drinking tea, daydreaming and fending off the “helpful” paws of her rescue kitty who likes to have a say in her writing. When not at her keyboard, K.D. can be found horse riding, taking part in field archery, watching movies and hunting down Thai food of the veggie variety. She loves travel, fast cars, chocolate and a good glass of red, particularly after a writing milestone.
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Questions From The Email (Part ???)

Is the female Agent MacKenzie Sam and Mac’s daughter?Eonly 9780062407665 Cover


One clever reader noticed this line in CONVERGENCE POINT. Could Agent MacKenzie who befriends the swamp pirates be a future daughter belonging to Sam and Mac? That is one logical explanation. There are a few others (including the sad truth that MacKenzie is a fairly common surname). Luckily, you will find out in DECOHERENCE!

If you haven’t read CONVERGENCE POINT yet I suggest you get to it! You’re going to need all those clues to solve the mystery of DECOHERENCE.

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