Monday, March 30, 2015

The Thrill of World War II - Spy Author A.L. Sowards

There's something about World War II. What that something is, I couldn't say, but there's definitely an element of the 1940s that seems romantic. I mean, we've got shows like Agent Carter and movies like Captain America: The First Avenger that reflect the times, much of which seemed to be Victory Gardens, curled hair and handsome young soldiers. But there's the darker side of that, because hey, it was a world war. Author A.L. Soward sees both sides of the coin, as a writer of historical spy thrillers set during the Second World War. Check out her perspective on the subject. 

How did you get started writing WWII Spy Thrillers?
I grew up reading books by Jack Higgins and Alistair MacLean. Both of their works include WWII Thrillers. In one of my high school English classes we were assigned a creative project, so I wrote a short story based on MacLean’s style. Later I rewrote the story and turned it into the first chapter of my first novel.

How much research do you have to do to write about something that is technically "historical" fiction?
Good question. I tend to lose track of how much research I do. I think to write good historical fiction, an author has to be at least slightly obsessed with the time period. I spend a big chunk of my reading time on nonfiction related to whatever I’m writing.

How long does it typically take you to write one novel?
My first book took longer, but since then it’s been about one a year. I still have young kids at home. Once they’re in school all day, I hope I’ll be able to produce books more frequently.

What is your favorite part about the 1940s era?
WWII was so big and involved so many people and so many countries that there are always new things to learn and new story ideas to find. I think it’s a good setting for novels because there’s an underlying feel of good vs. evil and the stakes were high. The level of technology is fun too—there were airplanes, radios, and cool spy gadgets, but computers weren’t really around yet. It’s far enough back that most readers weren’t alive, but most know someone who was. Plus, it’s well-document, and that makes research easier.

If you could offer advice to an aspiring historical fiction writer, what would it be?

Do your research, because you only have to mess up on one thing and you’ll lose your reader’s trust. You don’t have to know everything about a given time period to write about it, you just need to know about everything that makes it into your book.

About the Author 
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. Then I came to Utah to attend school and ended up staying. Books have always been an important part of my life. I remember writing self-illustrated storybooks at my grandparent’s house when I was in elementary school (none of those made it to publication for many good reasons) and attending my first writer’s conference when I was in third grade.
Another big part of my early life was swimming. I swam for the Big Bend Manta Rays, the Moses Lake Manta Rays, Moses Lake High School, and Brigham Young University. In addition to swimming, I studied Political Science and English at BYU.
Now I’m a busy mom with three young children. I still love to read and I also love to write. I’m usually reading a couple books at once and working on multiple writing projects too. Other than that, my life is pretty ordinary. I’m grateful for that. I’ll let the characters in my books have all the adventures.
I find great joy in being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can read more about my religious beliefs at
To connect with A.L. Soward and check out her books, stop by her Official Website

Thursday, March 26, 2015


You may have noticed that I like post-apocalyptic fiction. But I'm not the only one. Jordan Page, our featured author today, is a fan, too. He wrote the post-apocalyptic novel Wormwood, which just released in March 2015. He has also wrote other books in different genres, such as horror and dark satirical literature. Today, though, we're focusing on Wormwood. Why? Well, because it's new and because I love post-apocalyptic fiction. Enjoy the Question and Answer with Jordan below, accompanied by my review of his novel! 

Tell us about Wormwood. 
Wormwood is a post-apocalyptic story in which I've taken bits and pieces from other post-apocalyptic stories that I've loved (not so much plot, but rather environment) and made them my own. It's also a post-apocalyptic story that I've always wanted to read, but nobody would ever write it, so I had to take matters into my own hands. 

Originally Chapter One was a short story for a creative writing class with a cliffhanger; my professor had high remarks, saying it reminded her of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" with Western elements. Sometime after, I realized I could take the short story and turn into chapter one of a book. As for specific inspirations for Wormwood, I would have to say Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" really inspired me to write a brutal (and brutally honest) post-apocalyptic novel.

What is your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is the creation of the characters and the plot, and also knowing that nobody else in the world could create the novel in progress. Plus, on occasion, the story writes itself, and I'm just as surprised by the outcome of events than my potential reader.

Why do you think post-apocalyptic fiction is so popular with readers? 
Post-apocalyptic fiction is so popular because of a few reasons. Firstly, anything and everything can almost destroy the planet, so writers have a lot of premises to work with, and likewise readers have many options - zombies, viruses, climate change, floods, robots, asteroids, war. And secondly, I think people feel unappreciated in "real" life. They feel like other people don't see their true potential. And in a post-apocalyptic world, the kid voted Most Popular in your high school yearbook might not survive; but the dorky, hard-to-like kid who keeps to himself might be the best survivor in a post-apocalyptic world. 

Glenn and Daryl from The Walking Dead are perfect examples of people being irrelevant in the "Real World," and then important in a post-apocalyptic setting (and I might add that Glenn was able to find a wife way out of his league, too); with all that being said, while post-apocalyptic fiction is gruesome and cruel and oftentimes so honest that it's sick (like in Cormac McCarthy's The Road), it's also fantasy because it's a second chance for a lot of people.

How long did it take you to write Wormwood? 
It's taken me roughly 7 years to finish. I started writing the first draft of wormwood in 2008. I had a 180,000 word draft finished by 2009. However, I started reading a lot more books and I realized a few things: that a lot of my writing wasn't good enough, and that the story was too rushed. So I revised it, and it ended up being 270,000 words (keeping the exact same story, but letting the scenarios play out organically, without rushing anything for the sake of getting to the end). Ever since, I've been revising between other novels I've written. After it's eighth revision, I realized that I the first part of the novel was polished enough to release as an ebook. 

Imagine that the apocalypse hits: what is your real-life reaction? 
I would say, no matter what kind of post-apocalyptic scenario there is, that holing up in a mall would be a good place to survive. Especially if you have a group of good people with you (that won't turn into cannibals at the drop of a dime), and if it has a good book store. But I wouldn't handle the end of the world very well, because without the internet or book publishers, I'd have to give up on the idea of writing for a living.

Summer's Review of Wormwood

Wormwood: Part 1 conjured up images in my mind of what the aftermath of an apocalypse might look like in the wild west. I've never read anything quite like it - and I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction over the years.  

Our hero, Quinton, lives in a little dusty town called Bill Town, founded by a guy named Bill and run by the same. Whatever disease wiped out most of mankind has mutated some of the animals, poisoned the water sources and made planet Earth a bit of a drag to live on. But Quinton has been working on a secret project...something that will change everything....something that could be dangerous. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll leave it at that. 

Jordan's writing style is uniquely descriptive and lends readers a profound sense of desolation in the midst of the apocalyptic wasteland that is the book's setting. There is an array of colorful characters and interesting backdrops. The book is almost written in a high literary style, with wordy flourishes and lengthy internal musings from Quinton. It makes the apocalypse more interesting, and exciting. Little details like Pokemon cards and bottles of Root Beer are beheld by the survivors like prized artifacts from another civilization - which, in fact, they are. Overall, a satisfying post-apocalyptic read that Jordan should be proud of! 

Get it on Kindle
Show your support for a new author and leave a review, too!

About the Author 
I always knew I wanted to be a storyteller, I just never really knew it would be writing novels until I discovered that filmmaking was way too expensive to interpret stories in my head on the big screen. I still do make films (I write, produce, and act); you can find them at, and in the next few months you'll be able to watch my biggest project ever: "Resident Evil: Red Falls" (a non-profit fan film, so don't forget to subscribe).

Currently I've got two short stories on Amazon; they're both satirical, politically cynical horror stories--one is a take of the zombie genre (LeanRx: Results May Vary), the other is a twist on the demon genre (Lucifer's Tongue). Please check them out. They're only $0.99.
(Author Synopsis from GoodReads)

Monday, March 23, 2015


The best thing about the 2015 Spring Author Program is that I get to meet tons of new writers and make lots of new friends! Chris Weigand is someone that I met once before, but she is returning for the Spring Author Program, and I'm so glad that she's here. Chris writes fantasy, featuring castles, feuds and fiery dragons. Her novels, Palace of the Twelve PillarsPalace of the Three Crosses and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons are adventurous peeks into her imagination. 

Hi, Chris! You're one of the few Christian Fiction authors I've featured on Writing Belle, and I'm curious - how is writing Christian Fiction different than writing straight-up Fiction? What's the differences and similarities?
That is a hard question to answer, because for me the writing and the Christianity are part of who I am. So when I am writing the faith is just part and parcel of what comes out.
As for differences and similarities: Similarities there is always a message in the story, a change for the characters, choices that need to be made all the things that make a good story. I think were the difference comes in is instead of coming from a world view the stories come from a faith view. I don’t preach, but there is always  a sense of God (or some counterpart) and what is right and wrong and the consequences of the choices the characters make. The characters like any young adult struggle with life, they haven’t reached sainthood. They are just like the young people that are reading the books.
I strive to show young people an alternate path for their lives and let them know that the world’s way is not the only way.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. I hope I have answered your questions.

How did you start writing?
I wrote a lot when I was a kid. In middle school I remember taking a creative writing class and submitting an patriotic essay for a contest. It didn’t win. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and was part of a group of teens that had a column in a local newspaper.
After high school I took an unintentional hiatus from writing. I got married and started a family. After my husband finished his undergrad, I went back to school, but not for writing, and got my Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. I worked in the industry for a few short years  until I got pregnant with my fourth child.
After she was born and I was no longer working outside the home, I took up writing again.

What inspires you? How many books have you published so far?
First and foremost God, second is my family and then life.
I have five published books. The Palace of the Twelve Pillars trilogy which includes: Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. An excerpt from Sanctuary of Nine Dragons entitled Aaron’s Revenge and a Bible study entitled Women of the Bible: A Study.

Where can people connect with you online?
Twitter: @CAWeigand

If you could offer advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?
Don’t give up. If it is your passion then don’t let anyone tell you you can’t or to stop. Read, Write, Read some more and Write some more.  And one that I can’t take credit for but totally applies: Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. (or pen in hand.) (B.I.C.H.O.K)

Thanks for visiting with us today!

Synopsis for Book One:
The Peace Summit was in shambles, the prince kidnapped.
When the rival king realizes he kidnapped the wrong prince, hostilities escalate. Loyalties to each other and country are tested for the twin princes of Crato, Joachim and Brandan.
Joachim, captive of King Waldrom, faces deception and betrayal as he struggles to find his way home. Brandan, at home with a father focused on rescuing Joachim, wrestles with his own demons as he searches for his place in the world and the favor of his father.
Torn from the safety and peace of their childhood, they are thrust into a world where bonds of family, brotherhood and roles as heirs to Crato are tested. Through war, spiritual journeys, death and marriage, will they choose the path of good or evil? Who can be trusted, as the world they know slips into a whirlpool of chaos?
For more information about the rest of the trilogy, visit Chris's Official Website
About the Author
Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington. She has three published YA Christian Fantasy novels; Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. She also has a woman’s Bible study Women of the Bible: A Study published. Through her writing she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.
She is currently working on a series of fantasy books in which her dragons travel through the history of Christianity to protect and spread the Word of God and His children. The first draft of three of the books are finished, a fourth one is started with plans for a few more, although she is not sure which periods. She has also just started doing freelance writing and development for a new video game.
When she’s not writing she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, and helping children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing. 

Friday, March 20, 2015


Title: Day One 
Author: Summer Lane 
Series: The Zero Trilogy #2 
Get it on: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The apocalypse took everything from Elle: her family, her world and now...her friends. After escaping the ravaged streets of Los Angeles, Elle finds herself stranded alone in California when her friends are kidnapped by a new and dangerous enemy. Determined to rescue them from a horrible fate, Elle begins her trek across the unforgiving desert, into the mountains, and into Slaver Territory. 

All is not what it seems. Death lurks around every corner. Enemies are everywhere. 

With the help of a new and brave companion, Elle fights against all odds, clinging to hope and life. 
Day Zero is behind her. Day One is before her. 
The end of the world is just beginning. 

A Young Adult Apocalyptic Survival Story - ties into the international bestselling Collapse Series.

Add it to your shelf on GoodReads! 

I want to say THANK YOU for making The Zero Trilogy such an amazing success, and for allowing me to share Elle's story with the world. I am so excited about Day One, and I hope that you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! 

Enter below my signature for your chance to win an exclusive autographed poster of Day One or a $10 Amazon Gift Card! 

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cannibal Island - A Talk with Cornell Deville

Paranormal - it's kind of a huge genre in the publishing world. From vampires and werewolves to mystical powers and ancient curses, there will always be a fascination with such things that are conjured in the imagination. Cornell Deville is the author of six Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, and he's here today to tell us a little about why readers are fascinated with magic - and why he writes. 

How many books have you written?
I have written six MG/YA novels so far. I have a sequel to one of them that is about half finished.

Why do you write?
I write because I love to tell the type of stories that I always enjoyed reading as a kid.

Why do you think readers are so interested in paranormal? 
I think readers are interested in the paranormal because it's the "great unknown." We don't know what's going to happen when we leave this earth, and we want to hope that there is something beyond this realm.

What is your current Work in Progress?
My current WIP is a sequel to Cannibal Island and the second installment in the time-travel series involving the Golden Disk.

What is your favorite writing snack? 
Probably potato chips, although they are a bit messy. I also enjoy cashews and, of course, anything chocolate.

How can readers connect with you online? 
Email is the easiest.

About the Author 
Cornell DeVille considers himself an Imagination Director. A member of the Baby Boomer generation, DeVille was influenced by the state-of-the-art technology of the fifties—television—and the great storytellers of the day, including Hollywood icons like Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling. Rather than spending his summer days outside playing baseball, Deville preferred the world he could find within the covers of a good book. At an early age, he fell in love with the works of Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H.G. Wells. 

Those nostalgic memories remained with him throughout the years and continue to influence his writing today. A lover of adventure, mystery, and fantasy, DeVille’s writing leads the reader on a journey that allows them to escape the real world and venture into a special realm where anything can happen. His current adventures include Lost in the Bayou, The Golden Disk, Star Wishes, The Treasure of Morro Bay, Scary Night Music, and Skullhaven.

DeVille grew up in the Kansas City area, where he lives today with his wife Rosie, their bichon-poodle Hannah, and a Himalayan Persian cat named Billy. You can find him on Twitter as cornelldeville1 and on Facebook as Author Cornell DeVille.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Numbers Game - YA Dystopian by Rebecca Rode

Book & Author Details:

Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode 
Publication date: March 16th 2015 
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult


Treena can’t wait for Rating Day. Her high score will mean a life of luxury, showing the world that she’s a valuable member of society, not a pathetic waste of space. It won’t hurt her chances with her top-Rated boyfriend, either. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life—and boyfriend—back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone seems to want her dead. And then there’s the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. They must band together if they are to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within Treena’s heart.

GoodReads |  Purchase: Amazon

Q&A w/ Rebecca Rode

Q: Will you tell us about Numbers Game?

A: Absolutely! In the New Order Republic of America, 16-year-olds are given a Rating, a number that encompasses what they’re worth to society. It determines their career, living conditions, and potential partners. This is the story of Treena, who gets a different Rating than the one she earned. She decides to fight for what is rightfully hers, determined to get her boyfriend back in the process.

Meanwhile, she meets Vance, a mysterious prisoner-turned-soldier who has his own agenda. When someone tries to kill Treena—twice—they uncover a dark conspiracy that risks much more than Treena’s Rating.

Q: Great. You probably get this question a lot, but the concept is so unique that I have to ask—where did you get the idea for Numbers Game?

A: I love this question! My husband sent me to the bank to finalize the loan on the truck he was buying. I looked at my credit score and thought how strange it was that one number was supposed to incorporate everything about me—my purchase history, how reliable I’d been, whether they could trust me to make payments, that sort of thing. And then I thought how strange it was, that we as citizens are so trusting of the accuracy of that little number, and how important it is in our lives. It spiraled from there—what is someone was manipulating the numbers? What if the number included appearance and intelligence rather than just financial history? It didn’t take long for the plot to unfold in my mind.

Q: What type of reader would like this book?

A: I tell people that it’s like a thriller version of The Scarlet Letter, but set in the future. With bombs. And kissing. Dystopian fans who like Divergent, Hunger Games, and Matched would love it.

Q: Who is your favorite character and why?

A: At first, Tali was my favorite. She knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t put up with anything. But now that the book is done, I think Vance has overtaken her as my favorite. The way he sees the world and struggles to survive while torn between two worlds really resonates with me.

Q: What was your favorite part of the writing process? What was the hardest?

A: I really enjoyed taking an idea and running with it. Once I had the world solidified in my head, it was fun to explore all the different aspects of it—political, social, financial, emotional, etc. I wrote myself into a dozen corners because I was just having too much fun.

The hardest part? Probably the time it took to finish it. When I began writing Numbers Game in 2012, I was also juggling a journalism career and three kids, and then my nonfiction book was accepted for publication, so that took all my remaining hours. When my fourth child was born, everything came to a screeching halt for a while. It wasn’t until Numbers Game won first place in a statewide writing contest in that I decided to buckle down and get serious with it.

Q: Why did you decide to make it a series instead of a stand-alone book?

A: You know how some authors say that their characters grab hold of the story and steer it in a different direction without their permission? That’s kind of what happened here. It just couldn’t end with this book. There was so much more that needed to be explored. Besides, Treena had a little more growing to do, and I think you’ll love the person that she becomes.

Q: Thanks for joining us. Where can we find out more?

A: Visit my website at or sign up for my monthly newsletter at I give away free stuff sometimes, if you’re into that type of thing. But remember, Numbers Game is only discounted on Amazon for a few days, so you may want to snatch it up quick.

REBECCA RODE is an award-winning author, journalist, and mother of four. She is the author of the YA dystopian novel, NUMBERS GAME, and the inspirational book, HOW TO HAVE PEACE WHEN YOU'RE FALLING TO PIECES. She also writes for Deseret News,, FamilyShare, and Provo Daily Herald. However, her true love is writing for teenagers. She enjoys traveling, reading, and martial arts, and she has a ridiculous addiction  to chocolate-banana shakes. Visit her at

Author Links: