Introducing the DaCostas

If you’ve been keeping up with my novel series Family Portrait, then by now you probably love or hate the characters.

The Banovic and the DeCosta children start to come into their own. They are not innocent like other NA book characters – Rachel Paelin

Either way you are familiar with them. I recently featured my fantasy cast for The Banovics, now here’s a look at the inspiration behind dysfunctional family number 2, The DaCostas.


The most deviously fun character I’ve written so far is Savannah (Savi) DaCosta. Savi is the momster of singing sensation Leighann and step-momster to L’Wren. Savi is the devil in stilettos. Throughout the series she has terrorized, blackmailed and almost shot some of the characters, just wait till you see what she does in Book 4 (releasing in November).

Readers have called for her head so to speak, and they are excited to see her demise. Can you blame them?

Savi….hmmm…Let me sum this up in a few short sentences. She is a selfish, conniving, insatiable, scum of the Earth woman, who doesn’t deserve the beautiful daughters she has and takes full advantage of! She thinks only of herself and is crazy as hell to boot. I thought at one point in the book, her act may change…but oh no…no no no. – Jovon Tucker.

I have to say I don’t know where Savi comes from in my mind, but I love writing her because she does things that I wouldn’t dream of doing. I love her and fear her at the same time.

Unlike some of the cast members of the Banovic family, Savi’s character was written first and casted recently. I chose Christina Moore for as Savi.

Savi DaCosta

Christina played Naomi Clarke’s mom in 90210. I like that she has a fun, youthful side and I think she would make a great cougar/mother from hell. Oh did I mention that Savi is having an affair with Kevin Banovic, who is young enough to be her son?

Leighann, the song bird.

Leighann is sweet, kind and just a beautiful person on the inside.

I’m only 8% into Changes and I love Leighann already – Jovon Tucker

The character I liked the most in this book was Leighann. I loved how she didn’t like her life as a Hollywood star and stood up to her mom to tell her what she really wanted. Leighann was just really innocent and wanted to live a normal life. – Maureen B

It’s easy to see why people have gravitated towards Leighann. Despite the fact that her mother completely takes advantage of her and growing up in the spotlight, Leighann has managed to hold on to her integrity.

In the very first draft of the series, Leighann was the dominant character and Adriana was the submissive. I felt it was predictable to write it that way because of the environment they grew up in, so I flipped the switch, I am so glad I did.

Old Leighann DaCosta

Aimee Teegarden

I had originally pictured Aimee Teagarden as Leighann, then Danielle Bradbury came along and I was like “Oh My God! She is freaking Leighann!” What do you think?

Danielle Bradbery as Leighann DaCosta

Danielle Bradbery

If Danielle were to ever play Leighann in real life, she could sing! YAY!

L’Wren, the other DaCosta

I’d pictured L’Wren as a blond originally and thought about Brittany Snow. But I wanted someone slightly in contrast to Leighann. They are step-sisters so it didn’t matter if they didn’t look too much alike. I ended up with Laura Breckenridge.

Brittany Snow Old L'Wren DaCosta

Brittany Snow

L'Wren DaCosta

Laura Breckenridge

I love the girl next door look that Laura brought to the cast. I first saw her in the CW series Related. She doesn’t have the flashy Hollywood look or typical “LA” look. I needed her to have that quality for her to catch the eye of Kevin Banovic.

Stefan DaCosta

Even though Stefan is mentioned in books 1 and 2, he doesn’t put in an appearance till in book 4 (releasing in November).

When I saw Jeffrey Pierce in The Tomorrow People on the CW (I’m still pissed that they cancelled a perfectly good show), I knew he’d make a good Stefan. So glad Stefan is in book 4, I can’t wait to get readers reaction to him.

Stefan DaCosta


There you have it, the DaCostas. If  you haven’t read the series yet, click here to find out where you can get the first book for FREE!

Sign up to the newsletter for specials, sneak peeks and teasers (you’ll get those once every 2-3 months).


S.M. McEachern Presents Worlds Collide

I’d like to welcome S.M. McEachern, author of the Sunset Rising series.

S.M. McEachern, author2014 has been a big year for your writing career. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Yes, it has been big a year for me. For one thing, I published the second book of the Sunset Rising series, entitled Worlds Collide, last March. I was happily surprised when it rocketed up the Amazon ranking chart and maintained a spot in the top ten Amazon action and adventure romance bestseller list for months. That in turn attracted new hybrid-publisher Vook to ask me about acquiring the Sunset Rising series. After a few phone calls, many emails, and a lot of deliberation, I signed with Vook. I’m very happy I did.

I’m also working on the third book of my series, tentatively titled New World Order, which I plan to release in January 2015.

In the past, you’ve blogged about enjoying being an indie author, but you signed with Vook?

I have to admit, I do like having control over my books. When I want to do a promotion, or put the books on sale, or give the books away if I want to, I don’t have to ask permission from a publisher. I can just do it. So yes, when Vook first approached me I was hesitant to sign with them. However, Vook is a different kind of publisher; they are a “hybrid publisher.” They provide an enhanced publishing platform with ongoing marketing support via proprietary software that tracks ebook sales so authors can make better and more informed marketing decisions, and authors retain all copyrights and control over their books.

I officially joined them in July and I have received so much more than they promised. Vook is a dynamic, enthusiastic team of individuals that have partnered with me to bring my series to readers through all ebook retailers at affordable prices. Good for authors and good for readers! And as a company, they’re growing and constantly investing in themselves and their authors. For instance, they recently acquired their first publishing imprint, Byliner. I’m really excited to be a part of Vook, because I truly believe they are the future of publishing.

Your third book of the Sunset Rising series, tentatively titled New World Order, will be released in January?

That’s the plan. I’m madly writing everyday and no longer take weekends off! Not that I mind. Writing a book is like reading a good book; I don’t want to put it down. And this third book has a LOT going on. It’s definitely the most action-packed of the series, with minor characters from the first two books sharing Sunny’s spotlight.

You do a lot of world-building in the series. What’s your process for creating a post apocalyptic world?

In a nutshell, research and imagination. I love research because not only does it give me a good, solid foundation to begin my stories, but it also ignites my imagination.  It’s kind of like taking what is and projecting what can or could be. So I read a lot of non-fiction articles and I also reach out to experts, most of whom have been really happy to help me. Dr. Bergren of the National Institute of Nanotechnology and Chris Kratt of the Wild Kratts have been two super helpful resources. I’ll be doing an interview with Chris this weekend, talking about what a post apocalyptic creature world might look like, and will have it up on my blog by September 18th if you’re interested in checking it out.

Is your third book the last one of the Sunset Rising series?

The series was named for the heroine, Sunset O’Donnell (Sunny), and the first three books are told from her point of view (spoiler alert: there’s another person sharing the story in book 3!). But as I said above, I’ve gone to great lengths to create a new world. I can definitely see more books told from other characters points of view as they reinvent their civilization and explore a post nuclear earth. And with recruiters, scorchlanders, and northerners out there, who knows what they’ll find… Continue reading

Misbehavior By Kathryn Kelly

MisbehavorMisbehavior (Death Dwellers MC # 3) by Kathryn Kelly

Matthew “Val” Taylor, the Road Captain in the club, was introduced to sex at an early age. Saved from the streets by the club’s Enforcer and President years ago, Val now lives for women and the open road. Until the night the only woman he’s ever loved is almost killed. Val determines to change his ways and be the man Zoann Donovan should have and the father their son deserves.

Zoann has loved Val for a long time. Violence and bitter betrayal forces her to ignore her feelings and distance herself not only from the sexy RC, but her beloved brother, too. Until she discovers the truth. Can Zoann ever be forgiven for all the pain she’s caused? Will Val overcome his own demons and have a future with her and their son? Who will survive in an MC filled with lust and revenge, love and hate?

Warning: This is a tale of rape, murders, deception, heartache, lies, and infidelity. The road to redemption is a tumultuous struggle where only the strong survive and justice is served…Outlaw-style.

Purchase Misbehavior (Death Dwellers MC, Book 3) on Amazon | All Romance Novels | Smashwords | Kobo

Sound track


 About the Author

Kathryn Kelly is living her dream and writing books. Everyone who follows Kat on Facebook is well aware of her relationship with her mother. For those of you who are unaware, the following will offer you a taste. To live in peace, Kat acknowledges she is a mom, but prefers to keep her personal life private. In spite of her momma.

Kat has always been an avid reader and still devours books in her spare time. She also enjoys football, socializing, music, eating, and jokes. In her head, she’s the ultimate biker babe. In reality, she’s an ordinary girl-next-door and a native New Orleanian.

Connect with Kathryn:  Website |  Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google Plus

The Giveaway

Win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card.

Misbehavior banner

Plain Talk Book Marketing


The Best of Jonathan’s Corner by CJS Hayward

Best of Jonathan's CornerTitle: The Best of Jonathan’s Corner by CJS Hayward

Genre: Creative non-fiction / many genres / religion and spirituality / Eastern Orthodox

The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, newly expanded ​ after getting five star reviews​, is a collection of varied works of Eastern Orthodox mystical theology. It spans many topics and many different genres of writing, but it keeps coming back to the biggest questions of all. It is inexhaustible: the works are independent, and you can read a few, many, or all of them to suit your taste. Fans of CS Lewis and GK Chesterton will love it.

Excerpt: From “The Angelic Letters”

My dearly beloved son Eukairos;

I am writing to you concerning the inestimable responsibility and priceless charge who has been entrusted to you. You have been appointed guardian angel to one Mark.

Who is Mark, whose patron is St. Mark of Ephesus? A man. What then is man? Microcosm and mediator, the midpoint of Creation, and the fulcrum for its sanctification. Created in the image of God; created to be prophet, priest, and king. It is toxic for man to know too much of his beauty at once, but it is also toxic for man to know too much of his sin at once. For he is mired in sin and passion, and in prayer and deed offer what help you can for the snares all about him. Keep a watchful eye out for his physical situation, urge great persistence in the liturgical and the sacramental life of the Church that he gives such godly participation, and watch for his ascesis with every eye you have. Rightly, when we understand what injures a man, nothing can injure the man who does not injure himself: but it is treacherously easy for a man to injure himself. Do watch over him and offer what help you can.

With Eternal Light and Love,
Your Fellow-Servant and Angel Continue reading

Now Is Our Time – When Divorce Gets Ugly

Author Jo KresselThe whole idea for Now is Our Time came after a friend told me a story. It was a real-life tale about a divorce which became ugly and acrimonious because, let’s face it, not all marriages can end amicably. Not all couples can ‘consciously uncouple’ like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. In this instance a British guy had married a New Zealand girl. They’d had three children and lived in the UK. Ten years later they split up. The New Zealand girl wanted to go back home and take the children with her. The English guy battled to prevent that from happening. He didn’t want his children spirited to what is literally the other side of the world. So began an ugly custody battle.

Now is Our Time explores the gritty reality of love, marriage, divorce, children, when it works and when it doesn’t work. And yes, there is a custody battle at the heart of it. Here the relationship is transatlantic, between British Claire and American Jonah Kennedy. As I was writing it Gwyenth and Chris split up. Before I wrote it Madonna and Guy Ritchie split up. There must be hundreds of other less high-profile couples like them.

Whilst the adults might find it easy to move on, what about the children? That is also explored in Now is Our Time, when multi person POV’s allow the reader to get into several of the different characters’ heads. San Diego and London are not exactly round the corner from each other. It’s a long way for Mom or Dad to go visit for the weekend.

Everyone will have a different opinion on what the final outcome should have been for the New Zealand girl and the English guy – I’m not at liberty to divulge, but in the end a court and Judge did come to a decision. Everyone will have an opinion on what the final outcome should be for Claire and Jonah. Their case also ends up in court, but I’m not going to give any spoilers! If you do read the book, however, I would love to hear your thoughts on how Claire and Jonah’s story does finally end…………… Continue reading

Lisa Amowitz Presents … Vision

Vision by Lisa AmowitzVision by Lisa Amowitz
Release Date: 09/09/14 by Spencer Hill Press


The light is darker than you think… 

High school student Bobby Pendell already has his hands full—he works almost every night to support his disabled-vet father and gifted little brother. Then he meets the beautiful new girl in town, who just happens to be his boss’s daughter. Bobby has rules about that kind of thing. Nothing matters more than keeping his job.

When Bobby starts to get blinding migraines that come with scary, violent hallucinations, his livelihood is on the line. Soon, he must face the stunning possibility that the visions of murder are actually real. With his world going dark, Bobby is set on the trail of the serial killer terrorizing his small town. With everyone else convinced he’s the prime suspect, Bobby realizes that he, or the girl he loves, might be killer’s next victim.

Add Vision to your Goodreads shelf.

Purchase Vision on Amazon | B&N | Kobo | The Book Depository Continue reading

How to Move From Friendship to Relationship

Ever get stuck in the dreaded “friend zone” to the point of no return? Today’s guest post is by award winning YA and adult contemporary author Karen Rock. Karen shows you how to get unstuck so pay attention.

Author Karen RockHere’s the playbook for pulling off the romantic equivalent of a Hail Mary pass- turning your best friend into your boyfriend. Some say it can’t be done. Some say you’ll crash and burn. I say, if handled right, you have nothing to lose… not even the friendship. Here are some strategies to break out of the Friend Zone:

  1. Shake things up. Catch him off guard with a compliment. You always think them, so why not say one? He needs to know that you see him as more than a friend.
  2. Stop bringing up the past. It will only reinforce you as a friend. Instead focus on the future and make plans. It will show him you want to spend together.
  3. Change the subject whenever he wants to talk about girl trouble. You aren’t his sounding board or his advice column. He needs to see you as girlfriend material.
  4. Do things meant only for two. Having other friends around makes it super awkward to break out of the routine and get romantic.
  5. And not in some creepy, stalker way. But in a casual, ‘oops how did that happen?’ kind of way. Grab his hand during a scary movie, fly a kite and hold onto the reel together or fishing for that matter, dunk each other in the pool or anything else that will get you two in physical contact. The more that happens, that more comfortable you’ll feel when the hand grab turns into a hand hold.
  6. Romantic gestures. Bake his favorite cupcakes and put hearts on them when he’s down, bring him chicken soup when he has a cold, send him a ‘Thinking of You’ card when he least expects it, bring him a thermos of hot cocoa during a cold sports game. Men are all about action.
  7. A lot. This is something you already do as friends so it should be easy. And this part of your relationship should never change. But if you bring a lot of friend drama to him, it might be time to dial it down and focus on having fun as a couple.
  8. Get word to him through a friend. You can always deny, deny, deny, later. But in case he likes you- SCORE! Sure it’s juvenile, it’s high school, it’s whatever… but some of us aren’t good with the direct approach and it will give him time to think before feeling pressured into giving an answer. Another plus- he’ll see that your mutual friends support the status change- are even working to make it happen!
  9. Write a note. Nothing long. Nothing over-the-top. Go for the three S’s- short, sweet and sincere.
  10. And if all else fails- hit the EJECT button on your expectations. But don’t ditch your friendship. You want him in your life even though it’s time to move on to greener pastures.

Continue reading