Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seasons of Change Blog Tour and 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway


Talented indie author Mia Hoddell has just released a box set of her fabulous Seasons of Change novels. The Seasons of Change series includes four standalone novellas in the new adult/romance genre and includes Summer Demons, Winter Angel, Autumn Ghosts, and Spring Knight. On this stop of the Seasons of Change Blog Tour, Mia sits down for an interview to talk about her books and writing in general.


1.      Tell everyone a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests (outside of writing, of course)?

Outside of writing I enjoy reading (obviously) and reviewing books. I also design book covers, love graphic design, and photography. I used to play a lot of sport and have competed at regional levels, but I’ve had to cut back on those for now. I’d love to take up netball again, and I’m interested in learning martial arts.
2.       When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think I made the conscious decision, I just fell into it. I’ve always loved writing—for as long as I can remember—so I think it was a natural progression. Also, the development in technology and self-publishing made it an easier or more realistic goal to achieve so when I ended up writing my first novel (2009), it was the obvious path to follow.
3.      What is the hardest part about being a writer?
I think the marketing because there is so much out there nowadays. I also hate edits and formatting. When I’m reading my book through countless times after my editor’s sent it me back just to look for formatting errors, or any last minute typos, I find staying motivated is hard as I just want the book to be released by that point.
4.       For anyone who hasn’t read the Seasons of Change series, tell them a little about the books.
 Seasons of Change is a series of contemporary romance novellas that follow the seasons (Summer Demons, Winter Angel, Autumn Ghosts, Spring Knight). I aimed to write them as feel-good reads where characters change for the better, find themselves, and overcome fears. All of the novellas are standalone reads and follow different couples. However, they can be enjoyed as a series because characters overlap.
5.      How did you get the idea for this series?
Seasons of Change wasn’t meant to be a long series. In fact when I started Summer Demons I only had two books in mind (Summer Demons and Winter Angel) and they were going to be separate with no links. However, when I started writing Summer Demons, I enjoyed writing quick, light-hearted romances and I wanted to tell the story of other minor characters so it grew from there.
The original idea for Summer Demons/Winter Angel came from coming up with the titles. They were originally going to be paranormal novels, but then I had the idea to play on the word ‘demons’ by using inner demons and confronting fears. I had the similar thought with each book (e.g. Winter Angel’s theme is helping/saving someone), and as the series grew in my mind I realized they all had a theme of change or personal growth, which is where the series title came from.
6.       What authors have inspired you the most?
I have my favourites, but I’m not sure they inspired me. Generally I read for pleasure, but if I had to name one it would be Julia Golding, as without her books, I doubt I’d have started reading when I did and therefore wouldn’t have been able to develop my writing. I hated reading until I was 14, but I guess she inspired me to buy more books.
7.       Some people take a walk, others bang their heads against a wall. How do you handle writer’s block?
 I don’t believe in it and that seems to be working as I’ve never been stuck when writing a book. Of course there are always struggles when planning but I find that’s a natural part of the process when you’re piecing little ideas together.
 Things I find that help me when writing is having a detailed plan before I begin. I do deviate from it as the story evolves, but it helps to know where I’m heading, who the characters are, and any other necessary details. I also never stop writing at the end of a chapter. I always continue to at least 500 words into the next one as I find it maps my train of thought at the time and it’s easier to pick up the next day.
 8.      Of all the characters you’ve written, which one are you the most alike?
All of my characters have a little bit of me in them, but I think Kayleigh from Spring Knight is most similar to my personality. She faces a few problems with confidence and feels most comfortable when performing on stage, which is something I relate to.
9.       Tell readers about your upcoming projects.  What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on an urban fantasy thriller (is complete) and a NA romance for NaNoWriMo. I’m not going to reveal too much about them though because I like to be secretive about new works. However, I’m also thinking about Seasons of Change Volume 2. I know who the first story is going to be about, but I’m trying to figure out the rest of the books so I can hopefully write them next year.
10.  If any of the books in the Seasons of Change series were made into movies (I’m personally voting for Summer Demons), who do you envision playing the main characters?
This question always stumps me. I never create characters with an actor or actress in mind and therefore I can never find someone who looks like who I have in my head. Can I take the easy option and let the readers decide?
11.  Do you find that you base your characters on real life people, or are they entirely fictional?

My characters are mostly fictional and if I do base them on real people, it’s never just one. Generally I pick out things from a few people—normally small quirks, habits etc.—and shape them into one character. Of course, I may use experiences with real people to help me create them, but I’m never going to reveal who anyone is, if I have. It’s surprisingly a question I get asked a lot “am I in your book?” but I doubt anyone would be able to tell if a character was them because they grow into their own while writing.
12.  Do you have any writing essentials (i.e. music, silence, coffee)?
I can write just about anywhere because I write on my iPod, so I’d need that. I find music helps when it fits the tone of the book, but it isn’t necessary. Also, I do like to be somewhere with no clutter. I don’t know why, but I can’t focus if there’s a pile of stuff around me.
13.  What made you decide to write in the young adult/new adult genre?

It’s the age bracket I fall into so I write for people my own age. They are also the genres I read and enjoy most so it felt natural writing in them.
14.   What is one of the first things you remember writing? Do you still have it?
It was a poem about a giraffe named Jack. I think it was written as a task for school when I was six and everything had to rhyme with Jack. I’m pretty sure I still have it as well.
15.   Do you have any advice for those wanting to take the plunge and begin writing?
I’d say just go for it. The thing I hear most is that people don’t know how to get into writing, and the only answer I can give is to actually sit down and write. You can think and think about it, but the only way you’re going to move forward is to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard. I’d also say keep your expectations and goals realistic, and find what works for you. Writing is something you grow into and are constantly learning—I still am—and there’s a lot of details on what other authors do out there, but I think it’s best to find how you like to work and do that instead. It has to be enjoyable is the main thing.
16.   Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?

I have a lot. I’d say my top five are: Julia Golding/Joss Stirling with all of her books, Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant, Rachel Vincent for all of her books, J. Lynn – Wait For You Series, and J. A. Redmerski – The Edge of Never (which is one of the rare books that’s made me cry).
17.   If you could be any character in any book, who would you be and why?

Um … Valkyrie Cain from the Skulduggery Pleasant books because she’s amazing. She’s witty, strong, gets funny lines, has a reflection that does all of the boring stuff in her life, and above all she uses many types of magic and gets to solve magical mysteries.

Favorite color: Purple
Dogs or Cats: Cats all the time. Dogs scare me.
Favorite Food: That changes with the season. In the summer I like fruit, in the winter anything that is chocolate or cake.
Day or Night: I get more work done in the night because there are less distractions and it’s quiet. I prefer the day though, if it’s sunny.

Favorite Season: Summer, I need the sun.
Favorite Movie: Moulin Rouge

Laptop or Pen and Paper: Laptop. I tried writing a book by hand once … never happening again.

Seasons of Change Box Set
Books 1-4 + Exclusive Bonus Stories
by Mia Hoddell
Genre: YA Romance
Release date: November 27th 2014
You can now get all four Amazon best-selling novellas in the Seasons of Change series, plus two exclusive short stories, in one box set.

These feel-good contemporary romances follow the seasons as characters change for the better, find themselves, and overcome fears.
All of the novellas are standalone reads, but can be enjoyed as a series because characters overlap. This box set includes:

Summer Demons:
 Jenna Shaw jumped on a plane and flew to Portugal to try and forget her past. However, forced to deal with her memories due to an ill-timed joke, Jenna’s holiday is derailed by the charismatic Ethan Brooks. She sees him as an annoyance; he sees her as a challenge. And when all of his usual tricks only serve to push her away, Ethan has to work harder than ever if he wants to win over and help his mysterious girl.
Winter Angel: When Amy’s suggestion of a beach holiday is overruled in favour of skiing she couldn’t have predicted it might make her break the one, and only, rule she has: not to commit to a serious relationship again. The minute she sees Luke, she knows something’s wrong, and her desire to fix people means she wants to be the one to help him. However, she didn’t go on holiday to fall for someone, and whether or not she can move past her insecurities will depend on whether Luke can face his biggest fear.
Autumn Ghosts: Only one person knows what truly lies in Ellie Jeffords’ heart, and that’s herself. Hating the course she is studying, Ellie is failing and when a friend’s cousin, Justin, offers to tutor her, she jumps at the chance. However, as the pressure of exams starts to break Ellie, Justin wants her to confide in him. The only problem is that he can’t persuade her to talk without revealing his own dark secret, and forcing Ellie to choose between her parents’ dreams and her own will cost her something she loves.
Spring Knight: Kayleigh Barrow is most comfortable on stage where she can pretend she’s someone else, but when auditions for the latest production are opened up to the entire university, the lines between fantasy and reality start to blur. Thrown together with renowned player, Aiden Hanson, she can’t longer hide her feelings for him. However, he’s never had a serious relationship and Kayleigh refuses to be another conquest. When her acting starts to become real and she can no longer hide behind her character, Kayleigh must decide whether Aiden’s worth the risk, or if he will end up breaking her heart.
Plus 2 exclusive short stories:

Summer Revenge: Jenna promised she’d get Ethan back for his prank, and it’s time to cash in. Read about what happened after the couple left Portugal.
Season of Love: There’s beach fun, flirting, and mischief as all of the Seasons of Change couples take part in a beach competition.
Buy it now, save 20% and get more content than if purchased separately.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Interview with Author Robert Pruneda

On this stop of the Devil's Nightmare Halloween Blog Tour, celebrating the release of the second novel in the Devil's Nightmare series: Devil's Nightmare Premonitions (which I highly recommend to any fan of the horror genre), author Robert Pruneda sits down with me for an interview to discuss the series, his inspirations, and writing in general.

1.       Tell everyone a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests outside of writing?
I’m from south Texas and working towards living the dream of becoming a full-time novelist. That first step was making the decision to leave the traditional workforce. I spent the last few years working from home as a small business administrative support specialist. During that time I’ve also written two horror novels, Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions. When I’m not taking care of my administrative duties or working on my next novel, I’m either reading, watching TV, or hanging out with my gaming buddies playing online on the PlayStation 4.

2.       When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t start to seriously think of being an author until 2001 or 2002. This was after I lost my job and had difficulty finding work. I decided to tackle a pet project that had considered doing for a while. I had a lengthy time of unemployment and working part-time jobs here and there, so I figured with so much extra time on my hands I followed through and wrote the 488-page behemoth that is Pursuit of a Dream. I self-published my debut novel in 2004 through a vanity press (rookie mistake, I know). Having a printed copy of a novel I spent three years writing felt like a huge accomplishment. I started a short career in the newspaper industry shortly after publishing that novel.

3.       What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Marketing by far. Writing is the fun part. Finding readers is the hardest thing to do, especially for a new undiscovered author swimming in a sea of hundreds of thousands of other hatchlings hoping to find readers. It takes a lot of hard work, belief in yourself, patience, and perseverance. Some people think you can write a novel, hit the publish button, and then just sick back and collect the royalties. After writing three novels, one of which has been moderately successful on Amazon, I know that writing is just a small part of the publishing game. The rest has to do with running a business. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, learning from your mistakes (and boy I’ve made plenty), and building a platform. Social media is where I’ve connected with a good percentage of my readership. It is also where I have met other authors, both traditionally and independently published. Finding the right balance between marketing and can be a tricky thing. Finding the right balance between social media and marketing is the tricky part. I’ve discovered that you can get away with self-promotion if you spend more time being yourself and engaging you’re your followers on social media than only saying, “Buy my book.” Nobody likes a spammer.

4.       For anyone who hasn’t read the Devil’s Nightmare books, tell them a little bit about them.

Devil’s Nightmare is technically marketed in the horror genre, but it is more of cocktail of horror, thriller, suspense, and cop drama, with occult and supernatural elements mixed in. I wrote the first book from the perspective of Detective Aaron Sanders, while the sequel is in third person. Here are the blurbs for each book:

Devil’s Nightmare

Detective Aaron Sanders' abilities and fortitude are put to the test when he investigates a brutal double-homicide where a boy's parents are found mutilated inside their home. The boy is the only witness to the crime and his clothes are stained with his parents' blood. His clothes are also tainted with the blood of other victims from a separate and even more horrific crime scene at a nearby cemetery. All of the victims appear to have been killed in the same manner and the boy knows the true identity of the evil responsible for the multiple deaths, but he is unwilling to talk. No one would believe him. A threat on the boy's life and a disturbing nightmare causes Detective Sanders to question his beliefs and his own sanity. This investigation ultimately leads Sanders in a fight to save himself and the life of an orphaned boy from an unimaginable evil that is spawned from the curse of the devil's nightmare.

Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions

Sequel to the Amazon bestselling horror Devil's Nightmare, Robert Pruneda brings fans of the first novel another horrific thriller full of twists, chills, and a shocking conclusion. Two years have passed since Aaron Sanders retired from the Austin Police Department after what the media has called The Saint Hedwig Massacre. He moves his family out of the capital city to start a new life as a small town cop in Lost Maples, Texas, where the population count is updated more often than the murder rate. That bit of reputation is about to change when Aaron is once again caught in the middle of a mysterious investigation that has an eerie familiarity. This time, however, he is certain what is responsible for the violent deaths . . . Or is he?

Evil knows no boundaries, and it is up to Aaron to figure out how to protect the residents of his community, and his family, from becoming its next victims.

5.       Where did you get the idea for Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare Premonitions?

Devil’s Nightmare is very loosely based on an incident I experienced when I was a kid regarding playing (and getting obsessed) with a Ouija board by myself. As a child, I believed an evil spirit haunted me or it could have just been a figment of my imagination stemmed from a terrifying dream. I woke up from a nightmare one evening and felt something pressing down on my chest, which made it difficult for me to breath. I saw something hovering above me with a pair of sinister amber eyes. I tried to move, but this force kept me down. I lay there frozen in bed, starring at this demon. I was finally able to scream in terror. Moments later, my parents burst into my bedroom and turned on the light. The silhouette with the hideous eyes disappeared. I told my parents what I saw, and of course, they didn’t believe me; it was just a nightmare. Maybe it was. Maybe I imagined it all. Perhaps it wasn’t real. I know one thing that is undeniable . . . I’ve never felt more scared in my life.

And I’ve never touched a Ouija board ever since.

6.       What authors have inspired you the most?

Stephen King on the traditional side and Michael R. Hicks from the independent publishing side. Reading “The King of Horror’s” book  On Writing gave me the inspiration needed to write horror. Michael Hicks is a great example of an independently published author who worked tirelessly at pursuing his dream of writing for a living while working a full-time job. He now has written about a dozen best-selling novels and is living his dream. He is down to earth who does not let success get to his head. Over the past few years, he has also become a great friend (and mentor) who has given me sound advice that has saved me from a few major headaches.

7.       Have you always had an interest in the horror genre?  What other genres do you like to read and write?

Yes. Horror has always been my favorite genre, both in print and on film. I also enjoy reading fantasy, thrillers, and have recently started reading science fiction. I also enjoy reading Christian fiction, particularly novels written by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.

8.       Some people take a walk, others bang their heads against a wall. How do you handle writer’s block?

After banging my head against the wall, I typically step away from my current project and work on something else. I may also read a book in the same genre.

9.       How much alike are you and your protagonist, Aaron Sanders? Is his character based on anyone you knew/know?

Aaron isn’t based on anyone specific, but he does carry some of my traits (both good and bad) . . . and of course, he’s also a classic car enthusiast like me. I’ve actually been criticized for this, which I find amusing.

10.   What can we expect in the future for the Devil’s Nightmare series?

Without giving any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read one or both of the books, I can say that you should expect more surprises. I plan to continue the series where Book 2 left off and also plan on exploring the past in another book, which may end up as more of a spin off than an actual prequel. 

11.   If the Devil’s Nightmare books were made into movies, who do you envision playing the main characters?

This question also came up during the “The Next Thing Blog Hop” in 2012 while I was writing Devil’s Nightmare. Here is the cast I chose then:

Detective Aaron Sanders . . . Christian Slater

Cody Sumner . . . C.J. Adams

Chief David Hernandez . . . Nestor Serrano

Donald Luther . . . Robert David Hall

Maria Jimenez . . . Jennifer Lopez

Samantha Jimenez . . . Rhiannon Leigh Wryn

Detective Steven Riley . . . Drew Roy

Jackson Smith . . . Liam James

Robert Smith . . . Nicholas Lea

Dr. Jerome Hadley . . . Gary Oldman

Father Henry Marwick . . . Ben Kingsley

Joseph Michaels . . . Spencer List

Pamela Houston . . . Queen Latifa

12.   Do you find that you base your characters on real life people, or are they entirely fictional?

All the characters in Devil’s Nightmare are entirely fictional, but there are a few characters in my debut novel Pursuit of a Dream that were inspired by real people. There are also a few people that have inspired some ideas for a few future characters, but that’s only natural, right?

13.   Do you have any writing essentials (i.e. music, silence, coffee)?

Not really. I don’t have any writing rituals or anything that I absolutely must have or do in order to get the creative juices flowing, but I do find that coffee and music can help, but the music must not have lyrics. I can’t write to music with lyrics because my A.D.D. kicks in.

14.   What made you decide to write horror novels?

I decided to try writing horror after reading On Writing by Stephen King. I love to read and watch horror, so it only made sense for me to write in my favorite genre. I had a lot of fun writing the first two Devil’s Nightmare novels, so I think I have found my niche genre.

15.   What is one of the first things you remember writing? Do you still have it?

The very first thing I wrote (and drew) was a military sci-fi/horror comic called Katie vs. The Amoeba. It was one of those Godzilla style stories. Katie is a giant snake and The Amoeba is a giant monster that has the ability to regenerate. I was just a kid, so never mind the fact that an amoeba is a tiny microscopic organism. I still have the comic buried in a box somewhere. Hopefully, I’ll find it someday, so I can share it with my readers.

16.   Do you have any advice for those wanting to take the plunge and begin writing?

First you need to decide why you want to write. Are you considering this as a potential career or are you doing this as a hobby. Making this distinction is very important because if you are seriously considering writing as a profession, be prepared for a long and difficult road where you are required to make sacrifices. Most importantly, don’t give up, because it is very easy to get discouraged. Focus on your love of the craft instead of sales or whether or not people like your work and you’ll have a lot less headaches. It’s easier said than done, but you need to enjoy writing or else what’s the point, right? If your decision to write is revolved around making money, then you are writing for the wrong reason. Can you make money in this profession? Absolutely! However, I think the most important thing to focus on as a writer is improving your craft and enjoying the process. If you make money doing it, then that’s just an added bonus. 

17.   Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?

The list is long, but here is what I’ve come up with off the top of my head . . .

Favorite authors: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Steve Alten, Michael R. Hicks, Lorna Suzuki, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, C.S. Lewis, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman, and R.A. Salvatore are just a few.

Favorite books: Devil’s Nightmare (of course), It, Cell, Needful Things, Jurassic Park, Whispers, Prey, Disclosure, Meg, Extinct, Season of the Harvest, A Warrior’s Tale, The Oath, Thr3e, Left Behind, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the list could go on.

18.   If you could be any character in any book, who would you be and why?

I would have to say Jonas Taylor from Steve Alten’s Meg. Jonas Taylor is the lead character of this novel about a giant prehistoric shark (the megalodon) that is supposed to be extinct. Jonas Taylor is the only survivor during a top-secret dive in the Mariana Trench where Taylor discovers the giant relative of the great white shark. Nobody believes Jonas, of course. It was a very fun novel for me to read, since I have a fascination of sharks, especially the megalodon. So, living the life of Jonas Taylor would be exciting.

For Fun:

                Coke or Pepsi?
                Laptop or Pen and paper?
                The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones?
                Yes. To ask me to choose between the two is just plain evil.

                Day or Night?
                Night, because it’s when I write best.

                Outline or let it flow?
                Let it flow.

                Favorite color?
                Red, Black, and Blue (equally)

                Favorite food?
                Pizza. Duh!

                Cats or Dogs?


Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is author of the Amazon Kindle bestselling horror novel Devil's Nightmare and contemporary family motor sports drama Pursuit of a Dream (Victory Lane: The Chronicles). He lives in south Texas and has called the Lone Star State his home all of his life. Pruneda is also very active in social media and an avid gamer who can often be found fighting side-by-side with his friends on his favorite first-person shooter . . . but he prefers survival horror.

Connect with Robert Pruneda:

Official Website:
The Devil's Nightmare series is available at at the links provided below:

Devil's Nightmare                                                           Devil's Nightmare Premonitions