Thursday, June 30, 2016

Interview with Caroline Cairn, Author of Forever and One Week

What made you decide to be an author? When I realized that life was too short to be spent wondering if I should or shouldn’t try and do it. Better try and fail than not try at all and regret it.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? I love creating new worlds and characters. They are like new friends, and I travel with them, feel for them and follow them in their chaotic lives. It’s empowering and exciting. The time it takes to do it though, when you’re a busy (normal) person? Not so fun.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I have learnt to live for the day, and not look towards the future, so I’m less impatient at seeing results. Writing takes time to learn, it’s a craft. I’m also older (I hit the big 4-0 next year) so I understand people better, and f I do, my characters can only be more realistic.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? I’m a seat of the pants writer. Words don’t come of their own accord, but my plots do. I follow my characters and I learn and react with them. If the spontaneity keeps the storyline fresh and interesting for me, I can assume it will do the same for readers.

You’ve written 2 novels and are working on a third novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? If I had one, trust me, I would share it with the world. I write whenever I have time, and when I’m motivated. I know some authors swear by writing whether they feel like it or not, but if I do this, I write rubbish or boring stuff I have to delete the next day. When inspiration strikes, that’s when I write, for as long as I can.
More importantly, I don’t beat myself up about it. I’m a slow writer. So what? It’s not a race. I write because I enjoy it, not to be stressed out of my mind because of it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Again, I’m a pantser. If I had to organize everything first, it would kill my interest in writing the book. I like being kept on my toes, and sometimes, the storyline or a character develops differently than what I had intended at the beginning. I love it when that happens.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?
Inform yourself. Read writing blogs and books, scrutinize your favourite author’s style, and listen to impartial advice from beta readers and reviewers. There is a lot more to the writing craft than I first imagined and I’m still learning every day.

Tell me more about Forever and One Week
The Spirits of Saoradh, who carry the guilt of a crime they committed when they were alive, now spend their ghostly days in the Void, dark nothingness where time and space are distorted. Until they get bound to a human. As often as needed, that human can call them to the real world, ask them to grant a wish, then send them back to the Void. The Spirits also have to follow strict rules or be punished, unaware that they can earn their redemption through a selfless sacrifice.

Spirit Logan despises the obedience he has to show to his humans, and prefers the enjoyable solitude of the Void. For three years, he has managed to threaten them into severing their bond, thus having his memory wiped of their existence. Except his latest human, an emotionless woman with a secret past, isn’t scared of him. Worse, she doesn’t care about his ability to make wishes come true.

Tessa, a twenty-six-year-old nursery teacher in Fort William, Scotland, doesn’t expect a sullen ghost only she can see and touch to burst through her solid defences. Both dismayed and intrigued, she offers Logan a deal he can’t refuse: to live with her in the human world for one week, at the end of which she will agree to release him.
Slowly, Tessa braves through the safety of her detachment towards people to show Logan some kindness. But the more her feelings deepen, the more Logan increases his distance…

How about an excerpt from Forever and One Week?
“What do you want?”
The sharpness of his voice didn’t shock her as much as him turning up in her dining room. She presented the coffee tin to the Spirit lurking in the shadowed corner. She didn’t notice herself pressing on the metal until it created a dent.

“I would like a full one, please.”

If he could fill the can with the same beans he had used the last time he had granted her wish, she would cry in happiness. His coffee had tasted like smooth chocolate with a hint of bitter nuttiness. The fruity flavour of her usual brand had suddenly vanished to blandness.

“Are you asking for freaking coffee again? Are you serious?”

Her extended arm began to ache. “Please, and I need some painting supplies, too.”

He crossed his arms. She couldn’t watch the expression on his face as it was bathed in darkness, but his posture was relaxed. “I thought you didn’t need me.” The sarcasm was drenched in triumph.

She brought the empty tin to her chest. He hadn’t been cross at her for her lack of reaction yesterday. He had been cross because he had been unable to rebuff her. “I take it you won’t give me anything.” She threw the tin in the bin.

Feet spread out in front of her fridge, she opted for the last of the yoghurts, the lemon flavour one she hated. Why the supermarkets insisted on using this vile fruit in their value range, she had no idea. Paper lid removed, she tucked into her breakfast without enthusiasm, standing in the middle of the room.
“Are you kidding me?”

She carried on eating, bracing herself for what was to come.

“Hey—” He grunted with annoyance. “I don’t even know your name.”

“Tessa.” The slightly acidic and too-sweet yoghurt churned her stomach.

“Well, Tessa, you need to wish for it. I can’t get you anything until you use the proper word. Say it.”
She plunged her spoon in the foul creaminess. “What’s the point? You’re going to refuse me anyway.”

His arms unfolded as he levitated, crossed-legged, elbows wide. His fingertips drummed his thighs with increasing speed. “Try me.”

She didn’t bother replying. She knew his kind. People who had to have their way because they considered themselves so much smarter than others. Tessa dealt with them with casual indifference, because that meant they wouldn’t search for trouble. They would leave her alone.

But him?

He grated that part of her she had put to sleep a long time ago.

She didn’t like it.

Not one bit.

Yet it compelled her, like a chickenpox itch you know you shouldn’t scratch but can’t resist.

Once she had dropped the empty yoghurt pot in the bin, she proceeded to wash her spoon, aware of a glare cutting a hole at the back of her head. She wiped the cutlery dry with slow movements, blew on it then polished it. The sound of fingertips on denim was getting louder in her ears. So he was getting frustrated.

She couldn’t wait for his next move.

Water running from the tap, she rinsed her sponge, soaked it in a lavender-scented cleaning spray and wiped every nook and cranny, from the sink to the kitchen counter, with deliberate fussiness. She lifted her kettle and her toaster, pushed her plant to the left, then back to its place, and scrubbed those pesky corners. The cupboard doors were next, after a few more sprays of lavender.

If I started singing, would that be too much?

His hoarse breathing had turned into a low growl.

But she was too far gone to stop. So when her wrist got captured by a powerful hand, an unexpected thrill coursed through her.

“Say it,” he ordered. “Say how much you wish for coffee.”

His grip was painful. Implacable. It brought her back to reality, chased away that stupid excitement she never should have pursued. Logan was just like everyone else. No doubt he would resort to violence because she had taunted him. Because she hadn’t done as she was told.

So she shut herself down, and let him pull her to face him.

“Jesus Christ, not again.” He yanked his hand away from her.

Images of her mother flashed like a nightmare. She had to concentrate to keep her vision focused on him.

“How can you go from provoking me to this lifeless thing?”

She rubbed her wrist, where his print had marked her flesh. He could scream as much as he wanted and take out his anger on her. A calm resolution had flooded her senses. It shielded her soul. Nothing would hurt now. The soft glow of his eyes had intensified to blazing gold, a sheer contrast to his reddening face. His eyebrows were so low they could cast their own shadow over his cheeks. And his lips…

A painful twinge hit her in the throat.

His bottom lip was cut, the blood dried up as a crust. But it was his neck that had her stumbling back against her sink. It had two perfectly parallel, crimson crevices crossing from one side to the other. She was no expert, but these scars were fresh, and made by a razor-sharp blade. She could swear it.
His tirade halted abruptly.

He seemed to hesitate between retreating in the corner and standing his ground. That he chose the latter didn’t surprise her.
“That’s none of your business,” he replied to her silent question.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Twitter: @carolinecairn

Buy Links:

Amazon US:

Born in France, Caroline Cairn studied hotel management before spending a couple of years in England, Ireland and Belgium. In 2001, she and her husband settled close to the Loch Ness monster in the Highlands of Scotland, and soon, two children and about thirteen fish joined them.

Dramatic scenes are her favourite to work on, which is perhaps a reminiscence of those teenage years when every single one of her stories had to end in epic tragedy (Shakespeare had nothing on her). Thankfully, these days, she veers towards the happy-ever-after finale set in a glorious orange and red sunset.

Apart from writing, she loves digital fantasy art, loud rock music, and anything weird and new for her to discover.
Caroline Cairn, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Interview with Colleen Myers, Author of Can't Forget, Book Two of the Solum Series

Is it better to be safe or loved?

Four months have passed since the E’mani destroyed the Earth and scooped up the remains. Elizabeth “Beta” Camden was one of those taken. With the help of their enemies, the Fost, she escapes and confronts her prior captors successfully. Though she knows she should remain vigilant toward the E’mani, she follows her heart instead and falls in love with Marin, the sexy Fost warrior..

She should have trusted her first instinct.

This time the E’mani don’t come in force--they slip in silently. And any hope Beta had of a peaceful life is lost. She leaves in the dead of night to find the E’mani stronghold and end them once and for all. But love is a tricky bitch.  It takes a threat to Marin’s safety to make Beta realize, if she can’t forget her past, she won’t have a future.

Chapter One
The snowball hit the back of my head dead-on. Bam.

I stumbled forward from the force of the blow. The flakes created a halo of white powder around my head in the cool, crisp air then settled all over my face and neck.

What the…oh no he didn’t. A growl rose in my throat. I turned to confront my foe. I creased my eyebrows and I glared at him, mean-like.

With a smug expression on his face, Marin stared back, tossing another snowball between his hands.

“Elizabeth, you appeared distracted. I wanted to help.” His voice was smooth, deep like aged rum, and echoed in the unique way of his people, the Fost, almost like he was being dubbed. The sound got me every time causing me to shiver, or maybe it was the snow dripping down my back.

“That was helping?” My ass.

“Yes, you were about to walk into a tree,” he said dryly, dropping his ammunition.

I whipped around. Sure enough, a tree loomed in front of me. Dark-gray bark, feathery fronds interspersed with lethal spikes, blue moss climbing its trunk. Yep, that was a tree. Well for here anyway, not like on Earth.

I glanced back at Marin, who stood so trustingly under the boughs of another nearby tree laden with snow. A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. See, I could help too. He looked hot, literally and figuratively.

“Okay, thanks.”

With a thought, my power twisted deep inside, and I sent out a burst of air through the branches. They shuddered in response and unloaded their cold, wet contents on Marin’s head with nary a sound.

The snow dusted his brows, his cheeks, and obscured the single streak of dark green that coursed down the left side of his mahogany hair and framed his face. A single flake melted on his lips.

Our gazes met and held. His light brown eyes had a slit pupil that dilated then contracted as he focused on me. I used to find it…disconcerting, but it was just him, along with his long limbs, sharp features, and elaborate tattoos called jatua. All small differences but strange enough to have unsettled me in the past. Now it was so damn unfair how sexy I found him, alien race and all.

Marin raised an eyebrow and licked at his bottom lip, watching me watch him. My gaze followed the path of his tongue.

Heat spread through me as I imagined myself tasting those lips. I tucked a strand of red hair behind my ear. My breath slipped out in a sigh.

He smiled wide. “Lands, I love how you look at me.”

“Stop.” I blushed, twirling back and starting down the path we’d been walking before he ambushed me.

“How much farther?” I asked when he caught up and bumped into my side.

“We are close,” Marin replied. He was  so busy shaking the snow out of his hair, he didn’t see my smile.

“Are we there yet?”


Ha, so literal. “Are we there yet?”

His hands stopped and his brow crinkled. He looked so confused I had to laugh. Then I tripped flat on my face in my clunky snowshoes and it was Marin’s turn to snicker. He picked me up and settled me against him, my face tucked into his shoulder.

“You all right there?” His words whispered past my ear.

“I’m fine.” My voice came out a lot breathier than I intended. Damn it.

The corner of his lips curled up. He traced the side of my face. Tingles trailed along my skin. I put my fingers over his and stood on tiptoe in invitation. Marin obliged and brushed his mouth along mine. Our lips clung for the briefest of seconds before he shoved snow down the back of my coat.

I shrieked, dancing backward. Cold, cold, cold.

Marin bolted down the path, much more sure in his steps than I.

The jerk. He was lucky he got out of range, or I would have gotten payback.

I fiddled with my jacket to get the rest of the snow out, shuddering at the feeling of wet fabric sticking to my back.

God, I hated winter. The first snow, I marveled like everyone else. Oh, so pretty. The world sparkled underneath the coating of white. Then the freeze set in, the biting wind, the forced isolation. And did I mention the cold? Give me spring or summer any day.

We were traveling to the mines outside the city of Groos. The miners had reached a type of rock they’d never seen before. It was dense and coarse. They couldn’t blast through it, and their efforts were destabilizing the tunnels. They tried to dig around it, but so far they’d had no luck. Nobody knew how thick the vein was or how far it reached. They wanted me to try magical means to remove it. Fat lot of good that would do.

When I caught up to Marin, I gave him the evil eye.

Marin grinned. “What?”

I flipped him the bird.

He grabbed my middle finger, “What does that mean? You do it all the time.”


His brows wrinkled again. “Woman.”

“Man. And don’t talk to me. You put snow down my back.”

Marin laughed. “Sorry.”

“My ass, you are not the least bit sorry.”

“Wait, what does your bottom have to do with this?”

I blinked. Ha, I forgot sometimes that certain expressions didn’t translate. “Nothing.”

He growled and kissed my knuckle before dropping my hand. “I hate when you say that.”

“I know, thus, why I do it.” I grinned and stepped ahead of him with a wiggle in my step.

He swatted me on the ass as I passed. While I acted angry outside, inside I loved when he played. He only ever did it when no one could see him. He was Clan Chief after all, even though he was only five years older than me at twenty-five. The position left him little time for fun and his own sense of responsibility precluded it.

A few minutes later and we reached our destination. A box canyon opened up in front of us, filled with barren trees and snow. At the far end of the canyon, a cave entrance loomed, braced by wood. A single railroad track led out of the opening to the left and a snow-laden press stood to the side, up against the high stone walls.

Con waited outside the entrance, his red and green Mohawk vivid against the backdrop of white. His stout form and kind face emphasized his resemblance to a Santa, A badass one. No fluffy red suit for him.

Marin inclined his head, straight to business. “Show us this rock.”

With a flourish, Con gestured ahead, and we entered the mines with cautious steps. Just past the entrance, the light from the two suns outside faded and darkness fell. I slowed and Marin’s hand brushed my lower back.

“Let your eyes adjust for a moment,” Con muttered from behind us.

As I stood there, the walls started to glow. Streaks of aqua phosphorescence lit the pathway ahead.

“What is this?” I asked in wonder, moving in a circle.

“Theris, a weed. It grows in the caves. When you break its shell, it glows.” Con held out a small stick almost like an aloe branch that he snapped before our eyes, and a thin, clear liquid trickled out. “The glow lasts almost a week. We carry some on us at all times. Come, follow me.”

Con led the way down the cramped passageway. Gravel and ice crunched underfoot. The smell of dust filled the stale air. My breath steamed. Damn it. I shivered and rubbed my arms through the jacket. Marin ran his hand down my spine.

It took about five minutes of hiking to reach the antechamber. When we got there, Con stared at me with a hopeful expression.

“Okay, you want me to, you know.” I made woo-woo gestures at the wall.

“Yes,” Con replied.

Four months ago, I’d escaped from an E’mani spaceship and ended up here on Solum. The Fost, Marin’s people and the sworn enemies of the E’mani, took me in and hid me from their foes, but the E’mani didn’t give up easily. In one of their attempts to draw me out of hiding, they set bombs at these mines. Several people had been trapped inside. I’d used my magic to move the rock—how I got magic, I still don’t know—and created a new entrance. Now they wanted me to do it again. No pressure, right?

I reached out and touched the wall. The dark surface crumbled under my fingertips. All throughout the flaky stone, a silver metal streaked. Not dust or ore. This was metal, hard and thick. No wonder they couldn’t get through it.

With a deep breath, I closed my eyes. The power sprang eagerly to my summons. Heat spread outward from my core and my palm tingled where it touched the rock. The chill from being deep in the cave during winter faded.. A pulse vibrated in the air around me, pulling me deeper. I concentrated on that sound, letting it center me. My heartbeat synchronized to the sensation.
One. My skin grew tight. I let my breath rush out in a slow exhale.

Two. The stone warmed underneath my fingertips.

Three. The ground shook in response to the power rushing to my call. I kept my hands square on the wall.

Four. My hair stood on end, strength rushing through me, filling me until the force of the earth beneath my hand made me feel stretched like taffy. My mind screamed from the pressure and I squeezed my eyes shut. I needed to hold it as long as I could. My body shuddered until every pore sweat and my body strained from the contact, pushed to its limits and beyond. And then I shoved all the power out with my mind into the rock.

Please move. Please.

A beat.

Nothing happened.

“Anything, Beta?” Con asked right next to my ear.

I jumped.

“Nope,” I squeaked out, trying to bring my pulse under control, oddly empty.

“Keep trying,” Marin said and touched the rock to my left. Con did the same on my other side. We all focused this time, but unlike the time we freed the miners, there was no movement. The metal seemed inert. Its light gray color contrasted starkly with the dark-brown stone.

My shoulders slumped. “Nothing. I’m sorry.”

“And this means we cannot mine the ferok, doesn’t it?” Marin asked, rubbing his forehead.

“Correct, it covers the veins,” Con said.

My fists clenched. The Fost had found another metal--ferok. It was pliable and could be imbued with magic. With it, they could shatter the technological defenses of the E’mani. That was a good thing, but the metal kept us from it. And we had so little of the ferok to begin with. This was not happy news.

“Land’s sake, why can it never be easy?” Marin echoed my thoughts.

Marin slapped Con on the back. “We will search the library for more information. You continue to try to mine this rock. See what you can do.”

Con nodded in agreement as Marin gathered me up and we trudged out of the caves. Silence reigned for the next half hour.

“Stop worrying,” Marin said.

“I’m not worrying.”

“I can practically hear the thoughts racing through your head.”

“I am not worrying.” I enunciated slowly, my steps deliberate

“Yes, you are.”

“Well, fine, I can’t help it. I can’t stop thinking about the E’mani. Without the ferok, we only have our magic and we need more. And there’s this feeling of dread,” I splayed my hand across my chest, “right here, and it’s getting stronger. The E’mani are out there. I know it. I’m not sure why they haven’t attacked us yet, but they will. We need a weapon.”
The E’mani wouldn’t have forgotten about me or the Fost. I didn’t hold out hope that they’d forgotten about the men they’d lost in their attempts to recapture me either.

“The land protects us,” Marin replied.

A snort escaped me. “Magic vs. machine. That didn’t work out so well for you guys the last time.”
Marin tossed me a chiding look. “We survived, did we not? That is what matters. And we have lived as we are meant.”

God, his words made my teeth itch. “You can’t think the E’mani aren’t planning retaliation. They are not a forgiving race.”

I’d know having been their prisoner and all. And the more I thought about the E’mani, the more hatred stirred inside me. I loathed those pale freaks. They’d destroyed my world, in their never-ending quest to “make things better.” Then they brought me here. I didn’t remember much of my time with them, not yet. But I recalled enough to despise them. They were not kind masters.

White eyes stared at me through amber glass, E’mani eyes.

“Hello, Elizabeth,” Xade crooned. Light flashed off the razor sharp edge of the scalpel in his hands. “Time for more samples.”

Marin’s words snapped me out of my memories with a jolt. “We all know the E’mani are coming. But the winter has been harsh, more so than usual. And before they came after you, it had been ages since the last time we saw them. They left this world long ago to recoup their losses after the war. They left even while we were still fighting and maintain only a small presence out in Industry.”

My jaw set. “Good. Industry is where I need to go. I need to find one of their labs.”

Marin sighed. “We have talked about this, Elizabeth. First, you have no idea where to find a lab. And second, you have no idea what you need to do if you did find it.”

“I remember some of what they taught me. And being in the labs, where they kept me, will help me remember even more. I scared them, Marin. Me. When I confronted them—”

“It might not have been you. It might have been all the lightning you were throwing around, or the blade Zanth wielded,” he argued.

I grit my teeth until my jaw hurt. Damn him. Why wasn’t he listening? Tears blurred the path in front of me.

“It was me; I could tell. I know something that can hurt them, I can feel it. The E’mani were frightened enough of me that they came in force to capture or kill me and it has to do with the labs. I know there is something I’m meant to do, and soon. If not, something bad is going to happen.” Chills shivered down my spine. I heard the faint echo of screams—men’s and women’s—from long ago. They had a plan for us, just like they had for Earth. How could I stop it?



“If I asked you to, would you leave with me, today, and travel to Industry?”

Marin blinked. “Today? No, we need to plan these things, you know that, Elizabeth. To go now would be stupid.”

I stomped forward on the trail. “Of course it would be. How silly of me. You’re right.”

“Elizabeth, please.” Marin caught up and put his arm around my shoulder. “We will go to Industry soon. I promise.”

“Yeah, yeah, you keep saying that.” I let my head fall against his shoulder. Arguing with Marin never seemed to end how I wanted it to. No use being pissy about it now. And he was right, which was even worse. To go during winter would be foolish, but still…

A few minutes passed. The snow crackled beneath our feet. It was cold enough, I’d long since lost feeling in my toes.

The entrance to the city of Groos came into view. There was a large chiseled gate built into the natural arch that fronted the valley. They built the gatehouse into the valley walls itself and tunneled above the gate, giving the guards a clear sight line of anyone approaching.

Bas-relief scenes covered the arch’s surface blending with the rock face. One scene depicted a Fost couple embracing in a corner their arms wrapped around one another. In the other corner was a Coreck, a catlike creature that stood on two legs, with a long tongue. Yet another showed a battle. Men fought with swords and spaceships flew overhead. The pictures were so vivid, they seemed to flow across the rock, lifelike and real. My fingers itched to touch the stone. Every time I saw it, I was struck by how natural it appeared. It fit.

Unlike me.

Colleen Myers was raised in a large family in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she grew up on Harlequin teen romances and stories from her mother’s work as a paramedic. She was her high school salutatorian and attended Allegheny College on the Presidential Scholarship.

After college, Colleen spent a year in service in the Americorp giving back to the community at a local Pittsburgh Women Infants and Children Clinic (WICC) before attending Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine on a military scholarship.

Upon completing medical school, Colleen attended residency at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland during 9/11. She earned three meritous service awards from the military along with outstanding unit awards. After serving seven yearsof active duty, she promptly landed a position at the VA to provide fellow veterans with optimum medical care. Still an avid fan of romances into adulthood, her love of the genre inspired her to hone her craft as a writer, focusing on contemporary romance and science fiction. Her background in medicine and the military provide an inspiring layer of creative realism to her stories and characters. 
Her first book, Must Remember, the first of the Solum series, is being published by Champagne Press. The sequel, Can’t Forget is the recipient of the 2015 RWA New England Readers Award.
Colleen currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her son, and spends her spare time writing novels.

Facebook Author
Facebook personal
Google +
Linked in

Monday, June 27, 2016

Interview with Kory M. Shrum, Author of Worth Dying For

What made you decide to be an author? In college you can go to the advising office and say something like “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.” And as one might suspect from a university, they say “We have a test for that!” I took a test and it told me I should be an English major because basically all I cared about was reading and writing. I changed my major that day and the rest is history!

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?
I love making things up. Being a writer is a license to see how far my imagination can go and what I can dream up. Very few instances in the adult world allow for such freedom. My least favorite thing is the imposter syndrome that I live with day-to-day. That’s no fun.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?
Ha! How have they not prepared me is the better question…Life imitates art.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? I can’t say that it happens in the waking world so much, but it definitely happens in my dreams. At night, I’ll have very detailed and elaborate visuals (think: movie) play out with complete narratives and dialogue. And at the same time, I have running commentary like “Oh that would be an excellent line. And if I develop this part here, it will deepen the emotional impact when this happens later in the story.” What I find when I wake up and try to write the stories that play out in my dream is a sad fact—I’m a better dreamer than a writer.

You’ve written five Jesse Sullivan novels and are working on a 6th novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Do the writing first. The longer you wait the more likely the demands of the day and life will take away the time you set aside for writing—or you’ll simply get too tired and the movitation will waver. So write first thing in the morning.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? I’m a pantser. Heh. I just like to see what happens at least in the first draft. And then I go through and apply more stylized plots in the second and third drafts.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.—Neil Gaiman

Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? I have a Nine Inch Nails Pandora station that works really well. And “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine is a particular favorite

A supernatural suspense novel about a snarky anti-heroine and her motley crew trying to stop the unstoppable. The fifth novel in the popular Dying for a Living series, Worth Dying For picks up two months after the events of Dying Light.

The gang is in New York and much to Jesse’s surprise, they are all still alive. Jesse, Ally, Rachel, Gideon and Maisie have managed to stay off of Caldwell’s radar for months. But when your enemy can control minds and teleport, there isn’t a safe place in the world where you can hide. They have a plan for stopping his genocidal reign, but it will require a 2500-mile road trip to Cochise, Arizona, the abandoned military base where it all began.
 Amazon      Amazon UK       Amazon Canada
iBooks     Kobo    BN     Smashwords
 Shrum's writing is smart, imaginative, and insanely addictive! I have begun to think of her books as my Kory Krack. I beg of you to pick them up. You will NOT regret it! ~ Darynda Jones, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Charley Davidson series
This book and author are now among my favorites! Wow! I might be a little partial to this story because I love morbid comedy, urban fantasy, and a good mystery. I'm also a big fan of original ideas, since they're so rare anymore. But this one has it all! ~ Angela Roquet, author of the Lana Harvey Reapers Inc. series

Shrum is a master at blending a breezy narrative with genuine weight to story and characters. Hysterical, moving, and fascinating all at once. ~ John K. Addis, author of The Eaton
“So what’ll it be?” I ask her. “Water? Juice? I don’t think we actually have Gatorade, but I can walk down to the store.”
“Water’s fine.” Ally falls back against cushions and grins up at me. A light pink blush spreads over her cheeks. She finger-combs her hair. “My hair is so pretty. I love my hair.”
I snort. “I love your hair too.”
“What else about me is cute?” she asks.
“Everything.” I fluff the pillow for her and search the room for a blanket. I yank a red velvety throw off the back of a chair as Gideon slips out of the bedroom and passes me on his way to the mini fridge. He grabs one of the wrapped water glasses from the bar above.
“Grab us one too.” I have zero problems assigning tasks to other people. Sometimes I wonder if it was a mistake going into death-replacing. Sure, I was a great death replacement agent, and dying for other people is cool, but I’m really good at bossing people around.
It’s like a calling.
Gideon fills two water glasses with some fancy bottled water from the fridge and hands me a glass. I don’t dare remind him that Ally vowed not to drink this water yesterday. She ranted about the effect of plastic on the environment for ten whole minutes. I could’ve reminded her that the planet is about to explode anyway, but that meant Gideon would’ve won the argument and I’m Team Ally all the way.
I put the glass of water in her hand. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. “Here you go. Drink up.”
She waves her water around. “I just feel so good, you know?”
I smile. “I can tell.”
She runs a hand through her hair. “It’s a new year. A new beginning. And we have a great plan for kicking Caldwell’s butt.”
“We do.”
“And you’re so cute and you kissed me.”
With arched eyebrows, Gideon closes the bedroom door behind him. Thankfully, the sound of the television comes on, affording us some privacy.
I sink down onto the sofa beside her. “I’ll do it again if you want me too. I’ll kiss you a million times.”
She bites her lip and I’m about to lose it. I lean forward to kiss her but she starts talking again, so I hang there mid-smooch, lips puckered.
“Life is so good right now. No one is stabbing us, burying us alive, beating us up, or kidnapping the dog,” she goes on, her voice echoing inside her water glass. Her face pinches. “That means we are probably about to die.”
I press my lips together and sigh. “Don’t say that. You’ll jinx us.”
It’s difficult getting her to sit up, but I manage it. I want her to drink this water. I tilt the glass toward her lips, encouraging her.
“This is good,” she says and frowns at the water. “Is this tap water?”
“Because I’m not drinking that $15 water Gideon bought.”
“It’s tap,” I say again. “You’re just too drunk to taste it.”
Ally shrugs and finishes the glass. Then she hands me her empty glass.
“You want more?”
“No,” she grins. “I want something else.”
“We’ve got chips, but that’s about it. And Rachel can’t close a bag to save her life, so they’re probably stale.”
She shakes her head, grinning.
Then I realize what she’s saying.
“Oh.” I smile. “Okay.”
She crawls over the pillow between us and pulls herself into my lap. She straddles me, wrapping her arms around my neck. She kisses me once on the cheek, probably a missed target rather than a sweet gesture, and then manages to get my mouth the second time.
She pulls back. “God, is it you or is it really hot in here?”
“We’re still wearing our coats.”
She laughs and looks down at herself. “Oh. Right.”
I reach up behind her and pull her jacket off. “Better?”
She snuggles up to me. “You’re still hot.”
“Thanks for noticing.”
“Let me help you take your coat off.”
“Okay.” I let her attempt to pull off the jacket, but it’s not really going anywhere and she accidentally pulls my hair twice. So I help her get my jacket off and throw it over the arm of the sofa. One of the throw pillows falls to the floor with a poof.
Ally doesn’t stop there. She slips her hands under my shirt, giving me a curious look. “Is this okay?”
I try to find the voice to tell her it’s more than okay. She would have been naked an hour ago in the grubby bathroom of some bar if she wasn’t such a germaphobe.
She is so beautiful. Her eyes are bright, reflecting the lamplight. Her face is flushed from the alcohol, her smile lazy. Her eyes half-closed. My heart pounds in my chest, thudding against my ribs so hard it hurts.
“What’s wrong?” A frown creases her face and I think she can hear my heart throbbing. “Don’t you think I’m pretty?”
“Don’t be stupid.”
I reach up and pull her down into my arms. I kiss her, even more deeply than I did on the balcony. I slip my hand under her shirt and unsnap her bra with one twist of my fingers.
She gasps in my mouth and the sound of it makes my whole body shudder.
“Lay down,” I command.
She laughs, surprised, but her voice goes all deep and breathy. “Yes, sir.”
I climb on top of her, positioning myself between her legs. I kiss her neck and she squirms, bucking her hips up against mine.
“Do you love me?” she asks.
“More than anyone.”
“Are you sure?”
I cover her mouth with mine. “Please stop talking.” I pull back. “Unless you want me to stop.”
“No, no.” She grabs the front of my hoodie, twisting it up in her fists and pulls me down on top of her.

My Review Worth Dying For is the fifth book in Kory Shrum’s series, Dying for a Living, that I've had the pleasure of reading. In case you have not had the opportunity to pick up this series, I highly recommend you do and that you read them in order. The premise is that there are Necronites (don’t call them zombies!) who serve as death replacements for people who purchase their services. These living insurance policies work for the government which has a hidden past specializing in internment camps for the Necronites wherein “doctors” experimented on the Necronites to see just how well they could heal and revive.  
After a series of adventures and narrow escapes this story brings us back to the horror of these camps in a massive show down between our snarky protagonist Jesse and her allies (Gideon, Gloria, Maisie, Ally, and Nikki, and of course, the pug Winston) and Caldwell (her evil father) and his wicked wife, Georgia. Somewhere in between stands Rachel, Brinkley’s protégé and Jesse’s best friend—or is she? And then, there are the angels—Gabriel and Uriel—or are they aliens? One backs Jesse and the other backs Rachel in a mad rush to acquire each other’s super powers until there is only one, the Apex, who will either save or destroy the world.
No spoilers from me, just know that it is just as compelling as the first four in the series. It also left me panting for the sequel when I flipped the last pages in my Kindle and realized the book was over—but the saga wasn’t. I give this book five out of five firecrackers befitting the fireworks in the story.

Tour giveaway
1 grand prize: A prize pack of signed books 1-5 in Dying for a Living series as well as swag and treats. (US Only)
3 free audiobooks
1 ebook bundle of books 1-5 Dying for a Living books and $25 giftcard
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner Kim and her ferocious guard pug Josephine. She is very fond of naps and foods made of sugar, which is, as you can imagine, a deadly combination. But she tries to compensate for her extreme physical laziness with her overactive imagination. She's an active member of SFWA, HWA, and the Four Horsemen of the Bookocalypse, where she's known as Conquest. She's the author of five contemporary (and somewhat dark) fantasy novels in the Dying for a Living series: Dying for a Living, Dying by the Hour, Dying for Her: A Companion Novel, Dying Light, and Worth Dying For. Dying for a Living has over 190 5-star reviews and is a free ebook. When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. She's very likely to tempt you to an ominous tarot or palm reading--anything spooky-foo to pass the time until Guardians of the Galaxy or Sherlock return. She's not-so-secretly dying for the next season to begin.