Author Friends: Jody Kaye

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I was a pantster. My last 2 (and next) releases all center around one specific event, so I’ve had to become plotter to make sure that a large group of characters are doing the right things at the right time.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Nope. Sometimes I need to monotony of chores to think through things. If that doesn’t work I attack from a different angle; interviewing characters to see what they think would happen, writing a scene from when a character was growing up that affected them, pretending to be a fly on the wall while characters are discussing one another’s flaws, etc… Many times the content winds up being reusable, not only in the current story, but spurring ideas for others or blog posts and bonus scenes.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.
It’s Lover Enshrined by the Warden. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but my copy is fraught with errors and it reminds me that even the greats are human.

Describe your perfect writing space:
Lots of sunshine! My office windows look out on greenspace and I love taking my iPad & keyboard out to the back porch and listening to the birds while writing.
Do you write your title first or story first?
Story. The titles generally wind up being whatever I’ve saved the draft document as. That’s why (so far) they’re all a single word or name.
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

Bringing the tabby back to my apartment was close to the stupidest decision that I’ve made. The cat had snuggled into me in the alley, seeking affection. The camaraderie pulled at my lonely heartstrings, already taught and ready to break. Happily making itself at home, the ungrateful feline darted into a cave-like space of my bookcase, taking its claws to my dog-eared copy of Harry Potter. It shredded the dust jacket and stretched, knocking everything else down. When I tried to rearrange my mementos, the ungrateful houseguest sat itself on the open pages of my favorite book…and they started glowing.

Jody’s husband asked what she’d been doing all day. After five years she finally confessed, “When no one is around, I write.”

Okay, It was more like trying to get out of saying a thing. Jody’s a writer. You want it pretty. Let’s compromise.

“Just finish one,” he said, challenging her to complete a story and share it. Little did he know that those words of encouragement meant they’d return from a family vacation with a wild and defiant set of quintuplets stumbling their way into adulthood. Wasn’t raising their three sons enough?

A native of nowhere, Jody settled in New England for 17 years before agreeing to uproot her brood of boys and move to North Carolina. She spends most of her time reading, writing, and hoping that her ravenous children haven’t managed to eat all the ingredients before she cooks dinner.


Author Friends: Skye McNeil

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m a bit of both. Initially, I like to plot the story, but I don’t always follow the plot as I write.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Yes, I do believe Writer’s Block is real and it happens to us all! One of the best ways I get through Block is to watch sappy romance movies. Generally, it’s the ones on Hallmark Channel that motivate me to get back into action because they drive me insane. I also like to read other genres and new authors to help get out of my own head.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.
I don’t think I have just one book I go back to. My bookshelves at home are filled with books from my high school days and I tend to steer towards them when I’ve had a bad day. I really don’t know why since they’re not genres I read anymore.
Describe your perfect writing space:
I prefer to write somewhere comfortable with quiet music in the background. Generally, it’s country that I write to because if it’s another genre, I tend to sing along too much.
Do you write your title first or story first?
I’ve done both over the years. Usually, the title comes to me after I’ve written down my initial idea. I like to weave the title into my book if possible, so it has to be an easy one. 
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone: 
“I’ll be there to sign soon.”
That was the last message he sent me before the car accident. Now, he’s comatose in the hospital and I’m sitting by his bed. Moisture trickles down my face, but they’re angry tears. He was on his way to the lawyer’s office to sign the divorce papers. I never wanted the divorce, but I didn’t get a say. He was moving on with his life. College sweethearts don’t last. At least, that’s what his new girlfriend made him believe. She’s nowhere to be found either. It’s ironic. I’m the one he doesn’t want, but I’m here listening to the beeping sound of his breathing monitors. I should’ve just signed the damn papers two months ago and none of this would’ve ever happened. Instead, I held onto the hope that Brak would change his mind and want me again. I stare at his muscularly freckled arms and shake my head. But he didn’t.
“Holland, you really should go home,” the nurse says, walking in.
I push his auburn hair off his forehead. “That’s the problem. He is my home.”

A strong hand grips my wrist before I can yank it away. Heart monitors whir out of control and I gasp at the amber eyes staring at me.

“What happened?” Brak asks. His eyes dip to my hand and concern flashes on his face. “And why aren’t you wearing your ring?”
Holy mother of God. I swing my gaze to the nurse’s gaping mouth. “What do you remember?”
Brak licks his lips, maintaining his vice-like grip. “I fell while we were rock climbing.” He glances to the nurse then back to me. “Right?”
Well, this day just got more interesting.

No one stays dead long when you’re in the mafia.

#NEW #SALE Skye McNeil

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Can second chances really exist for a bad boy mobster and the only woman to ever steal his heart?

There’s a hit out on Cameron Shearer’s life, his mafia ties dragging him down the path of darkness once more. After a harrowing meeting, he discovers no one ever stays dead when you’re in the mafia. Determined not to lose the only woman he’s loved, Cameron turns to the Del Rossi mob for one last favor. Unfortunately for him, the ending may not be as happy as he once hoped.

Joci Dorous has it all. She’s happy, engaged, and just started her own law firm with her best friend. Everything appears perfect, until she discovers a suspicious trail of money in her business accounts and her once dutiful fiancé suddenly turns as shady as his mob boss. When strangers clash amid mobs, Joci is left to decipher who her heart truly belongs to.

>>> Start Joci and Cameron’s story in Appointed by Fate (#1), while it’s only 99c.<<<
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Author Bio:

Skye McNeil began writing at the age of seventeen and has been lost in a love affair ever since. During the day, she moonlights as a paralegal at a law firm favoring criminal law.

Skye enjoys writing romantic suspense and contemporary romance that leaves readers craving more. Her contemporary and historical novels range from sweet and sassy to steamy and sultry.

Her constant writing companions are two cats and two dogs. When she’s not writing, Skye enjoys spending time with family, photography, volleyball, traveling, and curling up with a cup of coffee and reading.

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Once Upon an Indie.

Indie, Hybrid, Traditional.

Sounds more like different types of cars, not authors.

After I finished writing my first full novel, Ivy (a paranormal romance) in 2013, I had no idea what to do next. Submit it to agents? Try to publish it myself? Look for one of the many small publishing companies out there? It was overwhelming.

REALLY overwhelming.

I’d heard a lot of nightmare stories from indie authors about how they’d been royally screwed over by editors, cover artists, publishers, agents.  On the flipside, I’d also heard amazing stories about brilliant companies to work with.

It was hard to know what the right route for me was.

Traditional publishing ended up not being for me. It didn’t feel right. I was already so far outside of my comfort zone with trying to get publishing, I decided not to make it harder on myself.

And to me, that’s the most important part of the journey.

Find what works for you.

It’s your writing path–no one else’s.

As a general rule, I don’t believe in giving author advice. Advice on writing is always best taking with a grain of salt because everyone has their opinions.

And those opinions will quite frequently conflict with another author’s advice.

There are two things I think every indie/hybrid author should know: 1. professional covers are essential. 2. research your editor before hiring them.

I’ve heard so many nightmare stories about authors getting taken by disreputable editors when a little bit of research could’ve saved them a lot of hassle and money. Ask around. Talk to other authors whose work is well edited.

When I started looking around for an editor, I looked at a couple different companies before discovering someone I already knew had started an editing company–Hot Tree Editing. They were brilliant. Worked with me…and were understanding when I didn’t always get things and had questions. (Fun #actuallyautistic fact: I struggle with instructions A LOT.)

It was a no-brainer for me to submit After the Scrum when Becky decided to start Hot Tree Publishing to them. I trusted Hot Tree. And…dealing with everything as an indie was so stressful. Traditional publishing didn’t feel like my path, but the more hybrid route fit me perfectly, mostly because of the incredible women who support me and my writing.

I suppose this long rambling post is mostly to say–write your own way and publish in a way that works for you.

And avoid comparing your path to others.

What about you?

Are you an indie, hybrid, or traditionally published author?


How do you tell the truth of a story when it’s unbelievable?

Have you ever had a near-death experience that you survived in a way you can’t fully explain?

I’ve had a three. My hubby and I got to talking about those moments where something just…stops you. And you don’t know why, but seconds later you realise how close you came to being seriously injured.

The one I want to share with you today happened when I was about three or four. We lived in a two storey house in Corby. My bedroom happened to be upstairs. Our staircase was narrow and went straight from one floor to the next without a landing.

(That bit is significant lol.)

It’s one of those crystal clear memories from childhood that I remember like it happened yesterday.

I’d run up the stairs to my room. I stopped at the top, but my little feet ended up being only halfway on the step. My body tilted, and I literally fell straight back.

Somehow, in all of this, I managed to fall without hitting a step, the wall, or the railing. It’s almost as though I floated to the bottom. I distinctly remember teetering on my toes, falling, and landing on the carpet at the bottom of the steps.

I didn’t even have a bruise.

I’ve no idea how I didn’t bash some part of my body against the stairs or wall.

Have you ever had an experience like that? Where you’ve no idea how you didn’t get seriously injured or worse?


And you are? Another Character Sketch.

Continuing with my character sketches for my upcoming release, One Last Heist, I thought I’d feature Toshi this week. My visual inspiration from him was actor Ian Anthony Dale. I love Toshi. He was such a fun character to play with–in many ways, he’s the person who keeps his husband, Mack, from tumbling over the edge of the cliff.

So, here’s a bit about him.

Name: Toshiro Ueda-Easton

What is he afraid of?

Losing any member of his family, whether it’s Mack, his mother, or his twin sister, Charlie.

What motivates him?

Toshi is highly motivated to ensure both his mother and sister are taken care of. He knows Charlie can take care of herself, but he’s always felt a responsiblity to both of them.

What does he like to do?

Of all his random hobbies, Toshi is gifted with languages. He speaks many, many languages. He goes out of his way to find new ones to pick up.

Where has he been?

All over the world. His cover for travel is that he’s a travel writer. It easily explains why he’s in certain locations during a heist, and provides the perfect alibi for him.

How much self-control and self-discipline does he have?

Massive amounts.


Toshiro needs all that self-control because Mack doesn’t have much if any. Neither does anyone else in their crew aside from maybe Charlie. They all tend to be a bit impulsive.


Author Friends: MV Ellis

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I’m what I’d describe as a recovering panster. Catching London was produced totally by the seat of my pants – sometimes there were no pants at all, if I’m totally honest! Since then, in the interests of bringing more beautiful words to more readers, more often, I’m on the way to pantsing recovery. For my second book, I plotted, but I can’t truthfully say I stuck to the plot all the time, as this definitely wasn’t the case. Maybe I’ll be more diligent with number three…who knows?

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

I’ve never personally suffered from Writer’s Block, thankfully, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it exists. I believe it’s very real for those who suffer from it – though hopefully I’ll never join their ranks. However, on occasion, I’ll find myself a little ‘stuck.’ This might mean I’ve written myself into a corner (that’s where those plans come in handy, if you have them!), or I’ve just run out of energy and/or inspiration for that day, or writing session. For these moments, I’ve found it best to give myself a break in some shape or form. This might be simply moving on to a different scene, chapter, or even project, and returning later with ‘fresh’ eyes. Other times it’s best to change things up completely, and do something entirely different. I might chose another creative pursuit to keep the juices flowing – maybe I’ll watch TV, listen to music, or even read a book. Other times it’s best to switch off completely – hang out with my family, go to the beach, meet a friend for coffee, or even take a nap (this last one almost never happens!). One of the most interesting, but also frustrating things about being a writer is that no two days are ever the same, so the options for how things might pan out are endless…

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.

Unusually, I’m not really one for re-reading books, or re-watching movies. If I read something, it tends to be something I’ve never encountered before.

Describe your perfect writing space:

I currently write at the end of our 3m long kitchen table. This is not a description of my perfect writing space. I have a home office which can currently best be described as a junk room (and that’s being polite). I have minimalist leanings, so I would love a large airy white space with minimal but pretty furniture, and maybe a few stunning black and white photos for inspiration, but not much else. That, or a beach in the Maldives. One can dream…

Do you write your title first or story first?

I write the story first generally, and then the title tends to fall from the narrative, but there are no hard and fast rules.

And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

Text (excerpt from Catching London): My hair is piled up in a messy bun. Okay, so there’s a fair bit of side boob action happening, but my For Love and Lemons triangle bra is taking care of it pretty well.
Flash Fiction
That doesn’t stop him from looking at me like he’s a starving wolf, and I’m a lamb to the slaughter. It’s a pretty accurate description of what’s going on between us right now. We’re a foregone conclusion. I don’t know when we switched from being an ‘if’ to a ‘when,’ but somewhere along the way it happened, and now we’re on like Donkey Kong. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon…
He stalks closer, sweeping another admiring glance over me. His desire blazes in his eyes like the fire of a thousand suns, and is as palpable as if it were a third person in the room between us. Every instinct is telling me to run, to get the hell out of there as fast as my legs will carry me. Despite knowing we have instincts for a very good reason, my brain has decided to pick today to override those instincts and follow my heart, rather than my gut. Actually, I’m not following anything. I’m not moving at all, in fact. I’m rooted to the spot, as solidly as an ancient oak in an undiscovered forest.
Lamb to the slaughter.
Be still my bleating heart.


MV ELLIS knows what it’s like to fall head over heels in love with a badass musician. She followed her heart halfway around the world to be with one. She moved from London to Sydney after a steamy holiday romance with a sexy bass player in sultry Brazil.

Twelve years, two children and a dog later, and she’s still smitten. All this with a guy she sat next to on a bus for 36 hours! She has toured internationally as a ‘WAG’, and her experiences inspire her writing.

Ellis’ love of romance began when she was 11 years old, after a summer spent secretly reading her auntie’s books. She’s been a sucker for an alpha hero and strong heroine ever since.

An avid reader, Ellis always knew that she’d write a book of her own one day. She was right about that. Following a career spanning advertising, marketing, and social media, she finally wrote Catching London in 2017.






Who Are You? A Character Sketch for One Last Heist.

I thought it might be fun to do character sketches of some of the people in my upcoming release, One Last Heist. Up first is Mack, who’s visual inspiration is featured in the cover (the lovely Stuart Reardon.) So, here we go.

Full Name: Gregor Tempest McKay Ueda-Easton

He was named for several family heroes–all unsavoury pirate figures from the 1800s.


Several. All pirate-related–an old ship, antique compass/map.

Best Friend?

Outside of his husband Toshiro? Jude is definitely his closest friend.

What is he afraid of?

Losing his sight.

He has an inherited degenerative disease which has slowly been stealing his vision and will eventually cause him to be at least legally blind if not fully so. He’s terrified of being unable to do what he loves most–planning and complete grand heists.

What motivates him?

The thrilling of successfully stealing. Mack particularly enjoys being able to return war plunder to their original owners (or their families.) It makes him feel like Robin Hood.

He also strives to honour the pirate legacy that goes back for generations in his family.

What does he like to do?

Short answer: His husband.

Long answer: His husband up against a wall, across a bed, over a couch, etc.

You get the idea.

Where has he been?

All over the world.

What does he lie to himself about?

That his sight isn’t being to deteriorate.

What would you like to know about Mack?