Guest Post by Jaye Robin Brown

Why Will’s Story?

Jaye Robin Brown

When you write a novel, your characters become a part of your extended family. They’re a little bit you, a little bit the people you know, a little bit of your imagination. So when I finished NO PLACE TO FALL, it was sad to say goodbye to Amber and Devon and Will and all of the others and let them travel out to the readers. Because that’s how it happens. When your book is published it’s no longer yours, it’s the readers, and sometimes what they react to is surprising.

In the case of NO PLACE TO FALL (spoiler alert) a number of readers had strong reactions to Will cheating on his girlfriend. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I mean, I knew Will. I knew his heart. I knew the history between he and Amber Rose. But you know what? It wasn’t on the page so the reader didn’t know.

This is how WILL’S STORY began to percolate. I wanted to give him his day in court, so to speak. I knew his heart was true. I knew he was a good guy underneath that mistake-making teenage boy.

The story follows some of the same time line as the novel so we can see things through Will’s eyes, but it would have been derivative if that’s all it had to offer. I wasn’t sure how I would add in new scenes while also staying true to the original book. But as the writing happened, the stories came forward. Will’s relationship with his own music, his sometimes fractious relationship with his father and how that came to be, and also more of his relationship with his brother Devon. And of course, the all important “what was he thinking!” when it came to the two Ambers.

I hope I redeemed him. Because to me, Will McKinney will always be a nice guy. I hope you think so, too.


JRoAbout Author and Guest Post Writer Jaye Robin Brown:  

Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina. She’s in awe of magic and beauty, and is a stalwart champion for the underdog, both human and other. When she’s not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches, or on her small farm hanging out with her dogs, cats, and horses.

No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown 

NPTF coverPublished December 9th 2014 by HarperTeen

Summary: Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Will’s Story: A No Place to Fall Novella by Jaye Robin Brown
Published April 5th 2016 by Epic Reads Impulse

Will's Story coverSummary: Will McKinney is a bad boy. At least, he used to be. After nearly getting arrested for some poor decisions involving prescription drugs, Will has been trying to turn over a new leaf. Well, it’s that or suffer the wrath of his father, the judge. Will’s starting to get his life in Sevenmile, North Carolina, in order. He’s applying to colleges. He’s dating the most popular girl at school. And he recently discovered a love of playing the banjo and performing in front of a crowd. But it’s that same love of music that draws him to Amber Vaughn, his younger teenage brother’s best friend. Now Will finds himself wondering if he just might really be a bad guy because even though he’s got a girlfriend, he can’t stop thinking about Amber.

Will’s Story is a companion novella to Jaye Robin Brown’s young adult debut, No Place to Fall, and perfect for fans of her novel and newcomers alike.

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(please note that one is specifically US ONLY and the other INTL ONLY)

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Reading to Help Writing: Visit Veronica McDonald’s Blog Today

Today, another writer, Veronica Mcdonald, said I inspired her, and she wrote a blog post about it.  You should totally go read it, because it’s awesome and insightful: Veronica McDonald’s Blog

The purpose of the post was to discuss the impact of rereading the first chapter of favorite novels before starting to draft a new novel.

It all started, because I sent this Tweet:

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Now, I’ll be honest. Even though I loved this idea, I wasn’t sure if I would actual go through with it, until Veronica MacDonald encouraged me:


Screenshot 2015-10-29 12.05.14

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Anyway, I think Veronica took this to a whole new level of awesome, by actually blogging about the experience, what she learned, and how it’s helping her. I was the lazy writer who just read the first chapters and kept all that to myself, so rush on over to her blog and check out her fantastic post:  Veronica McDonald’s Blog


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Guest Post & Giveaway: Summer Lane

Inspiration for Day Zero
I came up with the title for Day Zero shortly after I finished the third or fourth chapter of the book. The spot on the earth’s surface that is closest to where a detonation takes place is often called Ground Zero. It is, in fact, the aftermath of a disastrous event. The storyline of my novel certainly fit that description, so I called Elle’s story Day Zero, because society finds itself back at the drawing board after an electromagnetic pulse disables the technological infrastructure of the entire country.
I visited Santa Monica, Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles area when I was in high school. I was working as a writer in high school, although I had yet to publish a novel. I always thought Los Angeles would be a fascinating place to set a post-apocalyptic novel. With Day Zero I was able to do so. It’s fun to be able to build a fictional scenario around reality. It gives a story more depth and flavor. Using real landmarks and street names lends a sense of realism to a story that readers find fascinating and authors love integrating. Day Zero is one of the more fun stories that I’ve written, from an author’s perspective. A lot of research went into this novel, and that included visiting Santa Monica, West Hollywood and beyond to make sure Elle’s world was geographically and even historically accurate.
Writing Day Zero was a blast – I can’t wait for you to read it!  
 What is it like…?

So many people ask me what it’s like to be a career author. It’s not a common way to make a living. Many authors never become published, and even fewer are lucky enough to make a living doing it.
I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I was very young, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. How do you get published? How do you know when your novel is ready to be published? Will people love or hate your work? Will you be successful? Are you willing to sacrifice to achieve a good career in publishing? Becoming a writer required many years of research, trial and error and extremely difficult work and sacrifice. It is not something that happened overnight for me.
Being a writer is one of the most fulfilling and fun yet equally difficult and self-disciplining careers in the world. There are moments of pure brilliance and unrivaled imagination, and there are also moments of total frustration and last-minute panic. Writing has no set work hours. Usually I work far beyond a normal eight-hour workday. It is something that continues around the clock, all the time. A writer must always be writing; he must always work to better his craft.
So what is it like to be a writer? It’s fun. It’s rewarding. It’s a gift, to be honest. But it’s also challenging, incredibly competitive, and it takes a lot of hard work to achieve success. But it can be done, if you stick with it long enough!
Why Post-Apocalyptic Fiction?
Many people ask me how I got started writing post-apocalyptic and survivalist fiction. The answer is that it found me. I have always loved survival and adventure stories – the more exciting, the better. I began writing my first post-apocalyptic story in high school, but I didn’t consider publishing a survival story until well after I had graduated. It occurred to me that people might ask themselves the same question as me: What would happen if the electricity went out permanently? What would happen if there were no cars, no food and no water? What if we were invaded by a shadow army and forced to defend ourselves?
These are all food-for-thought questions, and I got to play around with a lot of possible survival scenarios and conspiracy theories while building my story worlds. The more I wrote post-apocalyptic books, the more fascinated I became with the ideas, and the more I had to continue to write. I love the complete vulnerability that characters have when you remove them from their element of comfort on an entirely new level. Electricity? Cars? Cellphones? Computers? Running water? Get rid of all of it. It really strips characters’ humanity down and challenges their moral compass. Who will survive? Who will die? Who will learn to love and who will fall into the trap of hatred?
I love post-apocalyptic fiction because everyone can identify with the premise of what if? Day Zero fits into that niche perfectly! 
Writing about Post-Apocalyptic Hollywood and Santa Monica
Writers of post-apocalyptic fiction have the interesting task of taking the world in which we live and transforming it into an entirely different reality. For Day Zero, I chose Hollywood and Santa Monica, California, as the primary setting for my novella. Why those two cities? For one, I’m very familiar with them. I’ve spent a lot of time in southern California, visiting the Walk of Fame and Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s always best to base fiction on the legs of reality, so I went with what I knew.

I also recall asking myself the question, What would happen if Hollywood became uninhabitable? It’s interesting to think about the city without the glitz and glamour, with only the threads of civilization hanging on. I researched and visited famous places like Wilshire Boulevard, the Santa Monica Pier and Millions of Milkshakes on Santa Monica Boulevard. I believe grounding a story in something that exists makes it relatable to the reader – and fun for the author! 

Day Zero by Summer Lane 

(The Zero Trilogy #1) 

Publication dateOctober 10th 2014

Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult


Elle is a survivor.

Since the collapse of modern society, she’s been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.
And then everything changes.

After she is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds is a group of bunker survivors, unlikely comrades, and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the dregs of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.

They are alone, but they are ready.

Day Zero begins today.

Day Zero is a novella, the first installment in The Zero Trilogy, a novella series complementing the international bestselling Collapse Series.

Purchase:   Amazon     B&N      Createspace
Summer Lane is the author of the international bestselling Collapse Series, which includes State of Emergency, State of Chaos, State of Rebellion and State of Pursuit. The fifth installment, State of Alliance, is releasing January 2015. Summer is also the author of The Zero Trilogy and an upcoming survivalist/science fantasy series coming in 2015. She owns WB Publishing, Writing Belle Magazine, and is an accomplished creative writing teacher and journalist.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, dates to the movies, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beach. 

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Guest Post By Tiana Warner: 3 Creativity-Boosting Tips for Writers


Tiana Warner was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups.

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3 Creativity-Boosting Tips for Writers

Have you ever sat up in the middle of the night to write down a sudden stroke of inspiration? Or made a quick voice memo to yourself? Maybe jotted down a plot twist idea while you’re supposed to be working or studying?
For a lot of writers, creativity comes in waves. This is great if those waves are thrashing around like stormy seas, but at some point a writer is bound to hit a flat spot. And not the kind of flat spot that’s great for water skiing. This is the kind that leaves you stuck in the middle of the lake wondering how the heck you’re ever going to get back to shore.
Here are three tips to keep those creativity waves coming.

1. Write first thing in the morning

Writing when you’re half asleep has some pretty cool effects. You’re still partially in dreamland when you first wake up in the morning, so you end up writing stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise think of. Besides, it genuinely sucks trying to sit down and be creative after you’ve had all the day’s energy leeched from you.
The wee hours of the morning are also interruption-free—and if your attention span is anywhere near as pathetic as mine, this is vital to getting anything done.

2. Go for the third thing you think of

This applies to the big picture (overall plot turns or the outcome of a big scene) just as much as it does to small, seemingly insignificant details (a prop in your character’s bedroom, or a snarky line of dialogue). The first thing you think of is too obvious, and probably a cliché. The second thing is ok, but come on, you can do better. The third? Now we’re getting somewhere.

3. Step back. You’re looking at it too closely.

Seriously bro, give that story some space! Some aspects of writing can really kill your creativity jam—like spending twenty minutes trying to come up with the perfect synonym for “stumbled”. If you find your creativity IV drip running dry, you need to step back a little. Look at your outline, story notes, logline, whatever. Remind yourself of the overall goal of your story, and the original purpose you set out to achieve. Even better: get inspired by reading some books by other authors.
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Summoning creativity is often just a matter of letting yourself go. Get crazy! Write down something totally weird. Don’t try and write perfectly—that comes later, in the editing stage. For now, embrace those waves of creativity.

What about you? What creativity-boosting tips can you share?

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Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner 
Publication date: September 18th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis: A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.
Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.
For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

Find out more or add this novel to your To Read list at: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon
(Click Amazon for link to novel)
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