Friday, January 31, 2014

The Most COMMONLY asked Questions about The Collapse Series

For any author, an interesting part of selling books is that there are always certain questions that readers frequently ask. Chief among them are when is the next book coming out? and how are you going to keep Chris and Cassidy's relationship alive in a war zone? Well...we authors like to keep things a little mysterious, but there are some questions that simply must be answered! Here are the most commonly asked questions about The Collapse Series, and my answers. 

When is book four coming out? 

State of Rebellion just released on January 24th, and I'm counting on a tentative Spring 2014 release for the next installment. I'm currently penning the tale as we speak (or write, as the case may be...), and let me tell you: Cassidy is in the zone. And that's all I can say about that. 

Would an EMP really take out every piece of technology? 
It depends on the severity of the technological attack. An EMP can be caused by a solar flare (I'm not kidding, you can google this, folks!) or a nuclear blast that detonates in the atmosphere. Both have the same effect. Cell phones would be gone. TVs and satellite signals would go poof. Cars with electronic starters or digital watches would fizzle. There are some cars that would work, and some things that would be protected from an EMP. There might even be pockets of the country that the EMP didn't effect - but the end result would be the same: Disaster.

Chris Young has long hair when Cassidy meets him. He was in the military, so is this realistic?
Yes, absolutely! Navy SEALs (which is what Chris is) are sent to countries where they must perform very secret, very dangerous missions. They often grow beards and long hair to blend in with the physical appearances of the men in the region that they are infiltrating, and oftentimes these areas are countries in the Middle East. Have you seen Lone Survivor recently? Beards and long hair galore! It's very realistic. In fact, for a SEAL, it is expected. 

Chris wasn't wearing a motorcycle helmet when he met Cassidy, and he said he had just been in an accident. Why? Doesn't he follow the law? 
Chris wasn't on his motorcycle or anywhere near it when he met Cassidy. He was trying to find a mode of transportation. If your bike had been totaled in a crash, an EMP had just hit and you were stuck in the middle of the mountains...would you walk around with a helmet on? I thought not. 

Who is Omega? 
Omega is still quite mysterious. We know that they are invading the United States, we know that China is involved, but besides that, much of Omega's forces are so diverse that Cassidy and Chris are having a hard time pinpointing the source of the threat! Don't worry. More will be revealed in book four. I promise.  

What's in store for Book Four? 
Here's the thing: I'm a writer, and I can't give away what's coming next. Yes, I know there was a cliffhanger at the end of State of Rebellion (no spoilers, please!), and you're wondering how Cassidy is going to deal with all of this. Don't worry. I know what the game plan is, and there will be major developments in the Omega area, as well as the Chris and Cassidy relationship area. *winks* 

Have any questions for me about the series? Send me an email:
Or hop on Twitter and tweet me about it! I'm @SummerEllenLane. Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How To: Give Your Characters PERSONALITY

Last week I was teaching some younger students of mine how to infuse their written characters with personality. I do this with an exercise called personification, which is the writing drill of giving human characteristics to inanimate objects. In some cases, this is not a drill at all. Look at animated movies such as The Brave Little Toaster - every object in that movie is infused with human characteristics although they are only toasters, vacuum cleaners, lamps and radios. 
The exercise got me to thinking: how do we transfer viable, realistic human emotions into our characters as professional writers? What makes our main players real? 
The answer, of course, is to give your characters a realistic setting, a unique voice and a clear motivation. Here are a few things I do when I'm creating a character: 

  • What's their backstory? If you want your characters to be real, you should know where they come from, and where they are going. How old are they? Where did they grow up? What were their parents like? What shaped their personalities? This is not information that you need to dump on your readers - it's information for yourself as a writer. If you know the story behind your character, you will be able to write about them authentically. You'll know why they react to certain situations in certain ways. It will make sense to you, and when you sprinkle in hints of their backstory into your novel, it makes the character that much more believable. 
  • Give them a voice. If you're a writer, you may have noticed how characters tend to develop a very unique, very demanding voice of their own. Their thoughts are no longer your thoughts - they are theirs. What you need to do is retain your own writing voice while letting your characters talk. You are the narrator, they are the actors. Let them act. Let them be who they want to be. 
  • Give them motivation. Something that I frequently stress to my writing students is that every character must have a motivation for a story to be strong. They must want something deeply, and that desire will be the driving force throughout all of their adventures. Whether they're after a treasure chest or inner peace doesn't matter. What matters is that they have motivation to accomplish their goals - and oftentimes this motivation comes from their past, which brings you around to developing a strong backstory. 
  • Give them a "marker." When I come up with new characters, I like to give them something I call "markers." These are one or two identifiable traits or physical attributes that make them easy to remember. For example, one of the newest characters in my series, Manny, is constantly wearing a weathered, almost comical flight cap. It's something that readers will identify with the character - and that is a part of his personality, as well. Sometimes this marker can be a physical trait, such as a scar on their cheek or an eyepatch. With my main protagonist, Cassidy Hart, her marker is her wild, curly red hair. Chris Young's marker is his ponytail - and in the first book, it was a cobra tattoo that wound across his bicep, too. You get my point. Give them one or two quirks that make them interesting and personable. 
  • Give them hardships. If you really want to see your characters grow, give them an impossible situation. True personality often shows under stress and pressure, and that is how you can find out what your characters are really like. How do they react? How would you react? How would they, based on their backstory, handle a certain situation? 
The important thing to remember is to keep your characters as realistic as possible. We are humans, therefore we like to identify with human characters, which are always flawed. No one is perfect, and that is why giving your character a flaw or weakness is a must. Simply ask yourself the question: 
Does this sound real? 
And if the answers is kind of or no, then it's time for a revision. Just saying! 
* wink *

Friday, January 24, 2014


It's here! State of Rebellion is now officially released into the world. This is the third book in my bestselling series, and I am SO incredibly thankful and blessed to have had such tremendous success with the books so far. Today, so many awesome websites, reviewers and bloggers are taking part in the release day fun. Hop around from place to place, read the posts, and enter the giveaway. Eight post-apocalyptic books are up for grabs, and the giveaway is international. 

Tour Stops:

Book Synopsis: 
Everything has changed. 
After a devastating ambush that left the militia group Freedom Fighters struggling to survive, Cassidy Hart has been lucky to escape with her life. Along with her Commander and former Navy SEAL Chris Young, she's made a shocking discovery concerning the whereabouts of her father. The militias have moved further into the mountains. And the secret that is kept there will come with a price. 

But when the National Guard arrives, Cassidy is faced with a choice that will force her to decide between her friends and her family. Omega is getting stronger. The fight for freedom looms on the horizon. 
It's all or nothing. 
And Cassidy has no intention of giving up

Enter to win these awesome post-apocalyptic books donated by some stellar authors!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

State of Rebellion Official Trailer!

Here it is! The official trailer for State of Rebellion, releasing THIS FRIDAY! 
Cupcakes for everyone! 

(Be sure to add State of Rebellion to your To-Read-List on GoodReads!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings: Cover Reveal

Title: A Grimm Legacy 
Publisher: Patchwork Press 
Series: Book 1 of the Grimm Tales 
Cover Design: Erica Crouch 
Release: October 2013 (This is a redesigned cover!)
GoodReads | B&N | Kindle 


Enchanted castles and charming princes thought to exist only in stories come to life in this classically twisted fairy tale that combines the timeless quality of generations old folktales with the challenges of the modern world.
The woods of Elorium appear ordinary to Andi Grace, until birds start talking and elves answer doors. Along with three others, Andi has been whisked out of her world and finds herself the reluctant guest of the perplexing millionaire, Mr. Jackson—a stranger willing to help get them home, but who’s keeping secrets of his own.
Discovering unexpected family connections to this fairy tale land, the group must rely on each other as they dodge evil fairies and battle giants, intent on keeping them in Elorium. Faced with characters short on whimsy and bent towards treachery, Andi, Quinn, Fredrick and Dylan are forced into fairy tale roles to find the way home. But in Elorium, happily ever after is never guaranteed.

Janna is a Colorado based YA author who loves a good fairy tale. She’s married to her own real life Prince Charming, and will usually admit to being mom of three, including her incorrigible middle child, Benny. Besides wrangling her kids she can be found doing some therapeutic baking, dreaming of the ocean, and of course, curling up with a good book.
Twitter: @jannajennings80

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ORENDA - YA Fantasy by Ruth Silver

Title: Orenda
Author: Ruth Silver
Expected Publication: Spring 2014
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Cover Design: Erica Crouch
A sword wielding girl, an eternal suit and an alternate universe.
 Lil has a gift, one she never thought possible as she finds herself awake after a strange dream with the tell-tale sign that what she dreamt was in fact real.  The dreamscape, was more than just a premonition it happened.  She’d been momentarily tossed into another dimension.  Where most would consider her crazy, not her best friend Bray.
In another reality, one similar and yet slightly different Willow has been kidnapped by the sorceress turned demon, Eilith.  Rawlie, Willow’s friend and companion crosses to our universe for help and brings Lil into his world.  Filled with frightening creatures and magical elements, Lil demands to go home, until she discovers Bray has been taken by Eilith as well.  Unable to watch her best friend die, she joins forces with Rawlie, Jamie and the others to hunt down Eilith and rescue those they care about.
Add to GoodReads.

About the Author
Ruth Silver attended Northern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication in the spring of 2005.  While in college, she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004.  Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.  Her love of writing led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia.  Silver enjoys reading, photography, traveling and most of all writing.  She loves dystopian and fantasy young adult stories.  Her debut novel published by Lazy Day Publishing and Patchwork Press, ABERRANT, was released April 2013.  The second novel in the series, MOIRAI, continues the saga. ISAURA, is the final installment in the ABERRANT trilogy. Ruth has been actively writing since she was a teenager.  Her current writing projects include a YA science-fiction fantasy series, ORENDA, and a YA/NA paranormal series, DEAD GIRL WALKING. Both novels are due for release in 2014. She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Beautiful Justice Trilogy - Talking with Author Dawn Dyson

Welcome to 2014. To start off the New Year, Dawn Dyson, the author of the Beautiful Justice Trilogy, is visiting with us. Dawn writes edgy Christian fiction, and although that genre is not one I usually read, I've found myself intrigued with the premise of her novels. They tackle themes that range from romance to substance abuse. It's dramatic. It's touching. And it's got a good dose of moral fiber to hold it together. Who knows? It might end up being your next favorite read of 2014!

The Beautiful Justice Trilogy, All Rights Reserved to Dawn Dyson
Hello, Dawn! Please introduce yourself. 
My name is Dawn Dyson and I write Christian Fiction with a bit of an edge. My background is in Special Education with emphasis in Behavioral Disorders and I wanted to write fiction that could offer spiritual visualization for a better life. I write to elevate the soul to taste life as God would have us live it.

You're known for writing the Beautiful Justice Trilogy. What's the storyline there?

This trilogy follows an unlikely family through their God-ordained journey to help the world and save souls during their time here by the use of their unique gifts. It's both challenging and uplifting to read. I believe these characters find their way into the reader's heart and almost become real.

The tagline on your website is "Fiction that leads to Truth." Can you explain? 
My ultimate goal is to write for God because I firmly believe He grants each of us with a gift that we are destined to use for His glory. Everything I write is prayed over and I study the Word of God throughout my fictional, creative process. I want to provide people with inspirational role models in my characters because, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." The human spirit is built to overcome and I hope many people are finding this series to be a stepping stone on their journey "up".

I came across another one of your novels, Mercy Sky. What's that about? 

Mercy Sky is the first novel I wrote, mostly to prove to myself I could actually weave a story. It's historical fiction around the time of the Civil War and is based on true events. It's unedited because, as I said, I wrote it mostly for myself, but many people like it anyway!

What inspires you to write? What's the driving force behind your creativity? 
The Holy Spirit is inspiration. In fact the word "inspiration" means to be in the Spirit. The Spirit or Soul of God, seems to channel enjoyably through creative elements in this world such as writing, art, music, architecture, and so on, as through any job we do to help others or brighten our world. It's a God-wink when we find what we are passionate about and let Him take the reins of the thing. Once that happens the ride is never boring. He is the SOURCE of LIFE. It truly doesn't get any better than that!

Who inspires you to write? What other authors do you admire? 
I like Joyce Meyer's books and her television program, Enjoying Everyday Life. I'm currently studying Matthew Henry's writings. As far as fiction, I like the classics and have found similarities in style to George MacDonald.

Do you have a certain writing routine that you follow? How do you produce pages and word counts? 
Actually, my main focus is Bible study, so that comes first. And I sometimes take up to three years between writing projects just to grow as a person and to prevent burn out. Writers need to give themselves the breathing room and permission to live life, not just always write about life. Living is real research.

What is your advice to aspiring authors and young writers? 
Know God because He knows everything about you. He did before you were born. He will bring you to yourself and make plain and clear your path, as to what you should contribute to this world during your stay. And not just in writing but in every other area as well.

Thank you so much for your time, Dawn!! Have a wonderful week!
 Thank you for the interview and God Bless! Dawn Dyson

About Dawn Dyson 

Dawn Dyson lives with her husband on a farm in Nebraska and has degrees in both Animal Science and Education. She currently serves as the farm's office manager, but writing is her primary passion. She describes her writing as a God-given gift and strives to incorporate Christian themes
throughout each of her works. She encourages others to find their passion in life, link it with God's and then share it with the world.

                   Connect with Dawn on her Website.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! All about State of Rebellion!

Coming VERY soon!
It's a brand new year. I can barely wrap my head around the idea that it's been ONE year since I released State of Emergency (Collapse Series #1). 52 weeks (and two books) later, we've spent a solid year on multiple Amazon bestseller lists, including Action Adventure, Teen Action Adventure, Dystopian Romance, and more. I even snagged a spot on the top 100 Action/Adventure authors on Amazon with writers like Tom Clancy and Dan Brown. The more I sit around and think about it, the more I realize what an amazing year 2013 was. And there is so much more in store for 2014! Here's what's coming up for me in the next 365 days. 

  • State of Rebellion release. On January 24th, 2014, the third installment in my national bestselling Collapse Series will be released to the world! I'm SO excited, and you can sign up to take part in the release day fun right here
  • Writing Belle expands. My books have been enormously successful, and as a result, I'll be expanding my horizons considerably along with the launch of State of Rebellion. You will soon find out what it is! 
  • State of ______? Yes. 2014 will pave the way for a fourth installment of The Collapse Series. No details on exactly when yet - let's release book 3 first! *wink* 
  • New Projects. The Collapse Series is so unique in its setting and story. The possibilities are endless when it comes to expanding Cassidy Hart's world. Exciting new things will be popping up throughout the year. Hang tight. 
Meanwhile, the countdown to State of Rebellion continues. Only 22 more days. Want an ARC to review on  your website? Send me an email via the Contact Me tab.