Like a carnivorous flower, vampires are physically attractive to their prey. The 4th chapter of
is now available.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

A blooming Darlingtonia
Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.


MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Howdy!"


Have you ever heard of the NaNoWriMo? It's an annual novel writing project that brings together writers from all over the world. Look! It begins on November 1st!

Basically, on November 1, you begin writing a novel. It can be a new fanfiction, or an original project; it doesn't matter. But what matters is that your goal is to write at least 50,000-word by midnight, local time, on November 30th.


Do you need some encouragement?

The fandom and Project Team Beta want to help you!

Various authors and sites have come together to host a WC every day in November. That’s hours of scheduled writing time just for you to keep you on track with your goal!
What is a WC? A group of authors who meet in a specific location to discuss their writing and, most importantly, write for a set amount of time. 

Here's the schedule:

Do you need a little bit of incentive? What about a giveaway?

Every Fandom NaNo WC you participate in counts as an entry into the Scrivener Giveaway. Two winners will be chosen on December 1, 2012. 

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.



We've recently talked about Alexandra Allred's novel, Damaged Goods.

MyReadingLounge is very happy to say "Welcome!" to this great author for today's stop of the Blog Tour. 

Today we're meeting a special person: Damaged Goods' main character, Joanna Lucas. She has an amazing story to tell, and I bet she'll reveal something about her author...

Hi Joanna! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers who may not be familiar with your story?

I still can't believe people are listening to our story.  It's all so surreal. I never meant for this to become such a big deal.  Or, at least, I never imagined being a part of something so big. I am just an everyday woman who tried to start a life over after leaving my unfaithful and abusive husband. But I guess I should back up.  For a proper introduction, my name is Joanna Lucas.  I moved from the Hamptons after a very public, very messy divorce and hoped to renovate an old farm house and establish myself in a quiet, sleepy town.  Boy, was I ever wrong!

What do you do for a living?
Today, I am so proud to say I am living a dream as a sculptor and I run an animal sanctuary. I never fully believed in my own talent as an artist until I moved to Marcus and met my amazing friends.  Before my move to Texas, I was always told I was wasting my time, that I wasn't any good and I believed it. Who would have believed a crazy protest, an outrageous act of rebellion could have set me on course to live a dream? I still can't believe it. As for the animal sanctuary, I laugh almost every time I think about it.  Me! I, along with my friends, run a non-profit organization that rescues, feeds and houses exotic animals that were abused and/or thrown away by careless and thoughtless people. It is an honor to do this.  It's a tribute to someone we love.  Again, it's crazy.  It is a crazy life I live.
Where do you live?
I live in Marcus, Texas.
In one of the first chapters of Damaged Goods it's said that you're reading a book. I bet you like reading. Which books are you taking with you in Texas?

This is such a fun question.  You know, I was a bit of a book snob before my adventure began.  I have always loved biographies, history and historical fiction. When I moved to Marcus, I did have several boxes full of books that included The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo, Weird Sisters by Elanor Brown and books by one of my favorite author, Erik Larson.  But today, you would never believe what books I have on my nightstand. Raising Emus: The Proud Bird that Lays the Emerald Egg by Carrol Ridlen, Real Stories of Big Cat Rescues: Tales from the Exotic Feline Rescue Center by Melanie Bowlin, A Wolf and His Man by Elizabeth Parr and We Bought A Zoo by Benjamin Mee. Oh, how my life has changed!

Your new home in Texas represents the new life you're beginning. Are you going there alone? Do you have a family?

When I moved to Marcus, I truly thought I was all alone.  I come from a very dysfunctional family, riddled with addictions and, well, denial.  This is difficult to discuss but I knew at a very early age that the only way I would survive was if I escaped.  I guess that was how I wound up with my ex-husband.  At the time, he seemed like the solution.  Well, his money seemed like the solution.  I had been so poor, I thought that money would solve my problems. All I managed to do was move from one dysfunctional family to another.  When I moved to Marcus, I thought I was done with people.  I didn't trust anyone.  I didn't want to trust anyone because it places you in a very vulnerable position. But now I have a family.  And I never knew that family could be like this.  We have a trust, a kind of bond that I cannot describe.  I love my sisters.  I love my husband.  And, yes, I consider my animals to be very much a part of the family.

What about your friends? What role does friendship have in your life?
They found me.  I was lost.  I was so lost and didn't even know it.  But these insane, crazy, nutty women just swooped into my life and changed my world.  The didn't just find me, they discovered me.  Until they came into my life I didn't know who I was.  Now I do and I owe them everything.

What do you consider are your strengths?
My strength is my home.  Shady Land. I know that might sound a bit odd but my home is our base for ... for everything.  We, the group of us, built our home despite the fire, big industry and naysayers.  We built this home in honor of lives lost and for the animals and for us, the survivors.  It is where we all come to love and laugh, celebrate and pay tribute.

If I say "love," do you think about someone -- or something -- in particular?

This makes me smile.  Thank you for asking this because it gives me pause to think about love.  When I came to Marcus, I honestly thought I would know know real love, be it in a sexual relationship or a friendship.  A family?  I just didn't think it existed for me.  So when I hear the word "love" I see the faces of the family I have today.  My girls.  Roberto.  My animals.

Would you tell us something we don't know about your writer -- Alexandra Allred?
She craves a Shady Land of her own.  The daughter of an Military Intelligence Officer, she moved all her life.  Every time she met a friend and felt settled in her new home, new orders came in and the family was packing again.  She dreams of having a home - a safe and healthy home - filled with friends and family (and animals) where she can finally settle down.


Thank you, Joanna, and thank you, Alex Allred!

Here's a gem for our readers!

Meet the real Suzette Lee, Sue Pope, with Alex Allred

Who's the author of Damaged Goods
Alexandra Powe Allred graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in History, saying, "As everyone knows, once you get a degree in history, all you can really do is teach or write. I'm just doing what I can!" As the daughter of a (now retired) U.S. Diplomat, Allred traveled all over the United States and around the world. Her writing career began before graduation with several pieces on bi-lingual education with national education publications.

But the real stories began while living as a youth in Moscow, Russia. Under a communist regime, imagination and the ability to create stories was the very best way to beat boredom (and the freezing cold!). As her career was taking off, Allred embraced her second passion -- sports. She trained for and made the U.S. women's bobsled team in 1994, becoming the first U.S. National Champion. She was named Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee and garnered much worldwide attention as she was also 4 1/2 months pregnant at the time! Her training regimen was (and is) used by the United States and International Olympic Committees for pregnant athletes. Following her retirement from the sport in 1998, Allred returned to the literary world with The Quiet Storm.

While living in the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, she was able to talk to Olympic and National athletes from all disciplines and share with sports enthusiasts. From there, her career was launched. She did adventure freelance writing for Sports Illustrated, Muscle & Fitness for Her, and Volvo magazines. She held a sports column, worked as an editor for NOW magazines outside Dallas, Texas and began working as a Clean Air advocate, often testifying before the EPA.

Today, she writes (mostly) fiction, teaches kinesiology classes for Navarro Community College while enjoying her family and animals in Texas.

Thanks to TWCS Publishing House for providing the ARC and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour.


I'd like to share with you my impressions about an article by Kristen Lamb:

The author stresses a lot the importance to write every day. On this, I absolutely agree. A new National Novel Writing Month is beginning in a few days (there will be more about this on MyReadingLounge), and it can provide a great incentive to keep writing.

Among the many tips Kristen Lamb offers to improve your writing, I particularly liked this one: "Understand We Are Capable of More than We Believe". I would have never imagined that I would write stories in a foreign language, that I would write not only one-shots, but even complete novels, and that I would find the support of such a great community of readers and fellow writers. Instead...

Maybe reading Kristen Lamb's article, you'll think "I'd never do this." Never say never!

Is there something you think you'd never accomplish in your writing? Tell me.

Ad Maiora is a latin motto meaning: "to greater things"

If you read 5 Ways to Get Out of the Comfort Zone and Become a Stronger Writer, would you tell me your impressions?

I'd like to thank Lissa Bryan who recommended this article on Facebook.

All the best,

- Raum


A man alone, on a bridge, in one of the darkest nights of his life. Why is he so special for the vampire who notices him? The third chapter of
is ready for you.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

Peger Road Bridge, Fairbanks (Alaska)

Chena River in Winter, Fairbanks (Alaska)

Carnelian and Ice has now its blinkie:

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.
- Raum

A trophy wife who has had enough. A too complacent community, blind to the fact that its health statistic are really below average. A cement plant from hell. The usual amounts of greedy industrialists and cynical politicians and here you are: the scene is set for Damaged Goods, the amazing novel by Alexandra Allred.
Meet Joanna Lucas. She's lost herself marrying a rich man who wants her just to be pretty and say nothing. She's tolerated his name-calling and infidelity, but she finally wakes up.
Those words cut her like a knife. She knew he meant it. She knew he looked at her in this manner, and she had no one to blame but herself.
The straw that breaks the camel’s back arrives while they're in the car, on her way to a wedding ceremony. Her obnoxious husband demands she “holds up” her monthly flow, because he's on the phone and won’t pull over. Which, for a guy whose family’s fortune is based on tampons, is rather funny. Joanna’s public retaliation isn’t funny, at least for him, and an already dead marriage ends. Her divorce settlement is a beautiful, dilapidated mansion in Marcus, Texas and the money to restore it. Joanna has no chance of ever bumping into anyone from her previous life in Texas, and so she catches the opportunity to relocate there. She hopes to find herself anew and start finally to do what she always wanted to do: sculpt.
Her first days in her new location are exciting; people are curious about the Yankee who has landed among them, but not unfriendly. She is shown around, finds Mexican workers who maybe have not all the green papers they should have (one among them, Roberto, is devastatingly handsome), but nobody cares – they work hard, everybody makes use of them and so will she.
But there is something rotten in Denmark, or, better, in Marcus. The cement plant, which provides income for most of the community, has always been a health hazard, and now that it has been bought by a Swiss company - very happy not to have to submit to the strict environmental regulations existing in Switzerland - the situation is sure to worsen. Too many people die of cancer in Marcus; too many children are stillborn or born with birth defects, and too many suffer from asthma. With the plant seeking permission to burn tires, and plans to open a quarry near the school, what will happen?
It doesn't take long before Joanna realizes that she's gotten another bad deal from her husband. Her lawyer suggests she gets out, but it's too late: she has become invested in the community and is ready to fight. Joanna is determined to defend her new life, her new friends, and the right to live in a clean environment.
By all accounts, she should lose, because the opposition - local politicians and all the people with a vested interest in the status quo - are powerful and ruthless. But she's not alone. She has made friends with a bunch of very peculiar women: a lady who manages a big felinessanctuary and has lost a leg because of a loose tiger; a stripper turned Mormon; a bar owner, and a few outspoken other ones. They are the white witches of Marcus; outrageous and fearless, they offer Joanna the strength she needs. The epic battle will have the reader cheering and despairing until the surprising end.
Many reasons make this novel extraordinary. First of all, the subject matter touches on serious issues which should concern us all. Then, you'll be amazed by the writing style. Alexandra Allred captures her readers' attention with the wonderful pace of her story. Damaged Goods is a page turner if ever there was one.
Camilla & Raum

The book is available! http://ph.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/books/detail/77
Don't miss the blog tour! There will be a stop on this blog on October 27.


Hey there! 

I hope you're having a good weekend. 

This is the big news I found as I woke up. Enjoy it!

Lissa Bryan's Novels: Presenting... The End of All Things: And, here it is folks: The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan
After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the f... 

Congrats, Lissa! 

The cover is gorgeous, and I'm so looking forward the chance to read this new novel! 

For those who are following my own writing, a new chapter of Carnelian and Ice is due to be posted tomorrow. See you in Alaska?

Now I'm going to have my breakfast with a lattè and bread+Nutella. 

What about you? What are you having for your breakfast-brunch-lunch-dinner today? ;-) 

Have a great day! 

- Raum


Imagine a winter night in Alaska. A young woman is getting ready for a date;  she can't feel the cold, because she isn't human anymore...the second chapter of
is now available.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

Thanks for your comments and your support! Reviewers get a poem.

- Raum


Lissa Bryan and the main character of Ghostwriter, the amazing Sara, came to visit MyReadingLounge on October 12. Among the lovely readers who left a comment and shared the link to the post on a social network of their choice, one is getting a free e-book copy of Ghostwriter.

Are you ready, Erin (drtyler)?

Thank you to everyone who left a comment!

- Raum


It's going to be a special day for the talented writers who won an Emerging Swan Award

Are you among them? The winners have been announced:

I'd like to send my special congrats to my friends

  • Dolly Reader, whose oneshot The Birthday won as "Best Edward and Bella"
I had the honor to make the banner for jmolly's story:

I wish you a great Sunday; for those who are following my newest story: the second chapter of Carnelian and Ice is due to be posted tomorrow.

All the best,

- Raum


Welcome to the "Ghostwriter" Blog Tour
Lissa Bryan's first novel, "Ghostwriter", has been reviewed on this blog. MyReadingLounge is very happy to say "Welcome!" to this amazing author for today's stop of the Blog Tour. 
There's a giveaway, too!

Today we're meeting a special person: "Ghostwriter"'s main character, Sara Howell. Are you ready to find out what she'll disclose about her story...and about her author?


-- Hi Sara. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers who may not be familiar with your story?

I'm Sara Howell. I'm 24 and a journalist. At least, I was until I was laid off because of budget cutbacks at the paper. Now I'm ghostwriting the autobiography of Senator Lucy Bridges.

-- Is your current assignment your dream job? If not, what else would you like to do?

I'll be honest: it's not the best job I've ever had. It's extremely difficult because Lucy didn't give me much information to work with, besides a stack of speeches on her political views. But a job is a job, and I should be grateful that I have one. Many people don't these days.

What I would love is to be an investigative reporter. When I was young, I used to dream of working at U.S. News and World Report, going around the world to interview leaders and track down the facts about events of the day. It now looks like that will never happen but I think I could be happy working as a ghostwriter ... If I could just finish this book! 
Sara working at her laptop
-- Where do you live?

I had an amazing stroke of luck recently. I met Ginny Fortner, a real estate agent, who offered to let me rent her family's house on a private island along the Outer Banks. It's the most beautiful place I've ever visited, and even better, I discovered that it used to be the home of my favorite author, Seth Fortner. It's kind of awe-inspiring to think I'm walking the same beaches he used to walk.

-- A private island? It sounds amazing. Which books are you taking with you over there?

Seth Fortner's books, of course. I'm very proud of my collection of those. Other than that, money has been sort of tight for me lately, so before I left for the island, I filled up my Kindle with free e-book classics like War and Peace and Great Expectations. I've never had the chance to read some of them, so I see it as an opportunity, not a deprivation. Others, like Wuthering Heights are favorites, so it will be like a visit with an old friend.

-- So, you love reading. Could you tell us more about this passion?

When I was a little girl, my mother once accused me of prefering fantasy to reality. Maybe she was right. In books, I can expect mysteries to be solved, lovers to have a happily-ever-after, and justice to be served, which real life sometimes sadly lacks. One of the happiest moments of my life was when I arrived at college and saw the size of the campus library and I knew I could read as many of those books as I wanted. Sadly, I didn't have much time for reading between my job and studying, but walking into a library always lifts my spirits and brings back that lovely memory.

-- An island, and your books. Are you going alone? Do you have a family? Who would you like to go with...and who would you like to leave behind?

My mom is my only family and I was never really the sociable type. Since I broke up with my boyfriend, Richard, I've discovered how much I like being single. Being alone with the wind and waves has made me happier than I ever could have imagined. As long as I have my books, I could never be lonely.
Sara walking on the beach. Who's the man with her?

-- What do you consider are your strengths?

I'm persistent. That's what got me through college when my mother refused to help me out financially. I think it's a good quality for a reporter to have, because I always want to get to the bottom of the mystery, to figure out why things happened as they did or people's motivations for their actions.

I'm also a person who tries to see the bright side, and I don't need much in the way of material things to be happy. Growing up, my mother worked hard to support us, but we never had much money, and I was on a very tight budget in college, so I'm used to it. But don't they always say that the best things in life are free? I'm beginning to believe it.

-- You mentioned that you broke up with your boyfriend. What role does love have in your life?

I'm starting to think that I'm never going to have a romance like I've read about in my books, but I think maybe I can be content with what I have. I'm not sure if I ever really wanted to have kids, or whether I was just trying to follow what society says a girl of my age should want. I've found that I'm happier in the solitude of the island than I was when I was with Richard.

-- Imagine you can go back in time. Where and when would you go?

I would love to be able to go back to the days when Seth Fortner lived here, even if it was just to catch a glimpse of him while he was working. It would be so interesting to learn what his writing process was like. Can you imagine what it would be like to read one of his first drafts and see how the novel evolved?

-- So, you'd like to meet your favorite writer. But you spent a lot of time with your own writer, Lissa Bryan. Tell us a something we don't know about her.

She listens to Nine Inch Nails and White Zombie while writing romance.
Thank you, Sara, and thank you, Lissa Bryan! Don't miss a visit to Lissa's blog!
Thanks to TWCS Publishing House for providing the ARC and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour.

So, are you going to read this book? You can already order it; but, if you feel lucky, why don't you enter the giveaway? The winner will get an e-book copy of 'Ghostwriter'.
Leave a comment below and share the link to this stop of the blogtour on a social network of your choice (Twitter, Facebook...). Please do it before October 15, because on the next day, the winner will be chosen (randomly!). You can send me an email with your email address, where the copy of 'Ghostwriter' will be sent.



I promised you all a new story, and now it's finally available! The first chapter of
has been posted.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

Here's the story banner:

and here's an excerpt from the 1st chapter.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

Thanks for your comments and your support!

- Raum


Welcome to the MORE Blog Tour
T.M. Franklin's first novel, MORE, has been reviewed on this blog. MyReadingLounge is very happy to say "Welcome!" to this amazing author for today's stop of the MORE Blog Tour.

The tour is running until October 6th. Tomorrow on MichBookReviews there will be an author interview with Word Associations; then, on Oct 5th, on SamsAwesomeness: Author Interview. 
On Oct 6th, 12:00p.m. PDT: Project Team Beta Guest Post: "Making the Jump from Fan Fiction to Original Fiction." On the same day, 2:00p.m. PDT: Project Team Beta Live Chat and Announcement of Top Three Entries in the Sign Me PTB Logo Contest. (Enter now to win!) Prize is a signed paperback of MORE. RSVP for the Live Chat HERE by October 5th.

Today T.M. Franklin is sharing with us a writing lesson for MyReadingLounge's Writing Lab. Let's talk about:

Creating a Page-Turner
Tips for Building Suspense in Writing
by T.M. Franklin

You know the feeling. You’re reading a book, and the hero is creeping down a dark hallway. There’s something around the corner – you just know it – but will he figure it out before it’s too late? It’s three in the morning, but you can’t put the book down until you find out. Your heart pounds as you turn the page, and you hold your breath, your eyes racing down the page to find out what happens next.

It’s a great feeling, and it’s one most writers love to create.

Creating suspense in writing can be a challenge, but it’s not an insurmountable one. And I’m not just talking about writing a “suspense novel.” Suspense can be a useful tool, no matter what your genre. Will they overcome the obstacles and fall in love? Will he get the ransom in time to save his kidnapped father? Will she escape the house before the crazed killer finds her? Romance, adventure, thriller…suspense can be used in all of them.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, but there are some tips I follow to try and build suspense when I write. Maybe some of them can help you as well!

Beginning at the Beginning

Building tension is like building anything else, in that you need to start with a strong base. Hook the reader right from the beginning of the story. You want them asking questions: What’s happening? Who’s the mysterious figure? Why is he after her? Why is she fighting him? Get them interested in finding the answers and reveal them bit by bit. I tried to do this with the beginning of MORE.

He was close.

Ava pressed back against the tree trunk, trying to hold her breath but only able to manage it for a moment or two before her lungs gave out, air sawing out and in again desperately against her will. Rough bark rubbed the skin of her palms where she gripped the tree, scraped her cheek as she turned her head to try and catch a glimpse of him.

Darkness mocked her.

Nothing to see. No one to help.

-MORE, Ch. 1

I hoped this would spark the reader’s interest – having them wondering who “he” was and why Ava was hiding from him.

There’s a balance to be struck here, though. While you withhold some information to keep the reader interested, sometimes you can give them an advantage and let them see more than the characters. Use foreshadowing and premonitions to give the reader a hint of what’s to come. It’s nice to be surprised, but suspense can also come from knowing something is ahead and finding out how the character will handle it.

Remember, the reader doesn’t have to know everything. Don’t be afraid to misdirect. Throw in a mysterious character with unknown motivations – or maybe a character who all out lies. Characters don’t always have to tell the truth, and that’s true even in their own thoughts.

Vary the Pace

Suspense doesn’t always equal action. It’s important to have some down time for your characters to consider their next move. It also relaxes your reader a bit, so the next surprise is even more of a surprise. Time is a useful tool as well when it comes to building suspense. If your character is facing a deadline, it gives the plot a sense of urgency.

Use the Character’s Fear

Putting your character in danger is a great way to build tension, but remember that danger has to be real. If your character is immortal, a gun pointed at his head isn’t going to hurt him, so there’s no real suspense there. But what if that gun was turned on his half-human daughter, who could be killed? Now, you have some real fear and intensity. 

The character has to face challenges, but those challenges can’t be too easy to overcome, or the reader will lose interest. The odds need to seem insurmountable so the character is under some pressure.

Another option: The impossible choice. Will your character save the man she loves and risk letting the villain who killed her father escape? Will he keep a grasp on the key to the treasure, or let it fall so he can pull himself up over the ledge? You get the idea. You can also isolate the character; surround him by threats he has to battle alone. Tension can happen in the character’s thoughts as well as actions. And never forget the power of the near-miss. Remember holding your breath as Indiana Jones ran out of that cave with the giant boulder rolling after him? 

Run, Indy, RUN!!!
Sure, we knew he’d get away – he had star billing, after all – but that close call was just right to get your heart pumping.

The Big “Uns”

To sum up, think about the big “uns” – uncertainty, unpredictability, the unknown, the unexpected. Sprinkle liberally and you have a recipe for building suspense. Throw in a little unresolved sexual tension and you’re good to go!


Thank you, T.M. Franklin!

Don't forget to visit www.TMFranklin.com all week for a chance to win one of THREE prize packages. Each includes a Gimme MORE tote bag, pen, bookmark, and a signed copy of MORE. New chances to win every day, so don't miss out!

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