Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Songs and Writing

I am sitting at the Murray Grove Retreat Center in Lanoka Harbor, NJ. For those who have NOOOO idea where that is or what it is CLICK HERE ..but come back. I am listening to the music of  Mthakathi. That is the Zulu name of this New Jersey AWESOME singer/songwriter.

He sings in English and Zulu and his songs are stories.

I associate songs to my life and the life of my characters. It is how I became so connected to the Jersey music scene. Mthakathi's music is rooted in the blues of the South African blues.

What music do you listen to? Are there songs that, as a reader or a writer, are there songs that remind you of your favorite characters?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Broken Pearl by Dawn Brower Pearl Harbor Paranomal and Release Party

The Story Behind Broken Pearl
Broken Pearl came about because I wanted to write a novel for my niece, Alison. She was in a car accident two years ago, and she struggled to not only survive, but thrive. It was something she dealt with every day. Her life was never the same. It bothered her that she couldn’t do a lot of the things she used to do, and yet she kept moving forward. So I got this idea to write a story about struggle and what happened when you came on the other side of it.
In my story, Rebecca realizes that she has a gift that could destroy her if she lets it. She has to find a way to control it and use it to help others. Her life is thrown deeper into chaos when war breaks out, and she loses some of the people she loves. It’s a difficult time for her, and she almost gives into the dark energy. World War II is the backdrop of Broken Pearl. It was a time of both despair and triumph. It seemed like a good era to display all of the emotions I wanted to explore.
Ultimately this story is about survival and learning to lean on the people around you. That’s the underlying message I want everyone to take from this book. I would like to think Ali would have enjoyed the story. Sadly, she passed away in a fire in January and will never get a chance to read it. I still want that message out for everyone to enjoy. Don’t give up, even when it seems like the only option you have. The people who care about you are there for a reason. Lean on them and find your own support beam—sometimes strength comes from the strangest places. If we are lucky, enough we have our own guardian angels looking out for us. I like to think Alison is the one leading them all around. Her bravery, perseverance, and ability to go beyond everyone expectations was awe inspiring.
DB_BrokenPearl_HiRes
Broken Pearl
By: Dawn Brower
Release Date: April 16, 2015
Short Blurb:
The death and destruction of war can destroy even the strongest among us. Will the loss and pain be too much for Rebecca to withstand?
Long Blurb:
The year is 1941 and paradise is a way of life in Hawaii. For Rebecca O'Shea things couldn’t be more perfect. She has her dream career as a naval nurse, and is in love with the man of her dreams—it seems she has it all. An empathic gift she's had all her life starts to grow, showering her with emotions and premonitions that suggest a great darkness is near. Just when she thinks she cannot take anymore her guardian, Joel, arrives to help her. Rebecca's life is thrown into chaos when war hits Hawaii's shore. As the Japanese bomb her home, her gift explodes within her. Loss and pain become her new way of life. She abandons all hope and shuts down her empathic abilities. With bodies littering the hospitals and seas, her calling as a nurse is put to good use, but her heart remains unreachable. Can she find her way out of the blackness and accept her true fate? Or will the prevailing death and destruction of war consume her?  
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About Dawn
dawnbrowerDawn Brower holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, a Master of Arts in Education, and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Literature, History, and Sociology. She works as a substitute teacher and enjoys the flexibility it gives her to concentrate on her other endeavors. Growing up she was the only girl out of six children. She is a single mother of two teenage boys; there is never a dull moment in her life. Reading books is her favorite hobby. There is nothing like a nice glass of wine and a good book to relax with at the end of the day. There are always stories inside her head; she just never thought she could make them come to life. That creativity has finally found an outlet.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Her Hearts Surrender by Allison Merritt... Vikings, Love and War... Release Day

Allison Merritt stopped by to chat about how she chose her characters' names in the just released Her Heart's Surrender. Links to purchase your eBook copy can be found at Three Worlds Press

First a little about Her Heart's Surrender
Taken from her village as a child, Ealasaid has lived under the iron rule of a Viking king for far too long. The only good to come out of her life is her son. As long as the king lives, their freedom and hope for the future seems dismal. Despite her contempt for the king and his bloodline, she's drawn to Hella Ingvasson, the man who kidnapped her, and the plight he faces when the king dies.
His father's final demand is that Hella must wed if he's to claim the throne. What better revenge than to marry the thrall his father hated most? Despite her fears Hella will become like his father, Ealasaid agrees to marry for her son’s sake, but she quickly learns her husband’s battle scarred body provides more pleasure than nightmares.

Word comes that her brothers also survived the raid and have assembled an army. They march toward a Norse settlement with the intention of revenge. Unless she can reach her brothers and convince them not to slaughter the man and people she's come to love, Hella may become another bloody stain on history's tapestry.

So Allison, share with our readers and current and future fans some background about what naming Viking characters.

Allison Merritt: I often pick names with meanings when I bring characters to life. Or when they choose me to make them real, however you want to look at that. Mostly I write historical romance set in the 19th century or later, so a lot of careful thought went into naming the characters in Her Heart's Surrender. Here's a bit about them and the characters. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Behindthename.com is an author's best friend.

Ealasaid – It's a Scottish-Gaelic form of Elizabeth (betcha didn't see that coming). A strong name for a strong heroine. When I start researching names, I almost called her Keavy, but I stumbled over this one and it fit her to a T. Keavy ended up being the name of Ealasaid's eldest sister.

Hella – Generally a girl's name (and I had a beta reader point that out). I wanted to call him Halle, but I thought that sounded way girlier. It means “flat stone”. Hard body, you betcha, but there's nothing flat about this hero.

Eoghann – I laughed so hard in Leap Year when Amy Adams' character called the guy at the bar E-o-gan. Um, it's “Owen” in case you're Hookt on Fonix like me. Eoghan is the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages in Irish lore. Yeah, he's a Saxon in the book and his heroic deeds might be a little questionable, but our Eoghann is willing to stand up for his sister when she needs back-up. They were the closest of the Kentigern siblings.

Ingvar – Old Norse meaning “warrior”. He's called many things in the book and he's also known as the White Raven, because as we all know, ravens as scavengers. He had to be fancy and rare, so his banner sigil is white—and very much to be feared.


Erik – Is there a Viking family that hasn't had a Viking named Erik? Well, maybe. Erik is Hella's adopted brother and potential heir to Ingvar's throne.

Birgir – Ealasaid's son is called after his Norse relatives, although she considered giving him a Saxon name. Birgir is from Birger, meaning “help, save, rescue”. Perfect, because he was literally the only thing that saved her during her time as a thrall.

Ulrika – The given name of two Swedish queens. She may be another Viking thrall, but she's also Ealasaid best friend and confidant. She was there when Birgir was born and is like a grandmother figure to him.

Diarmaid – It's consider to mean “without jealousy”, but the more you come to know Ealasaid's eldest brother, the more you realize Diarmaid's got a lot of jealousy and some poorly suppressed rage going on. You can never have too many bad guys in a story and he fits the bill pretty well. Okay, maybe you can have too many bad guys, but there were just the right amount in Her Heart's Surrender.


These are some of the major players in the book. I hope you enjoyed this little look at their names and personalities.
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About the author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
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