Author Interviews, Blog, Book Reviews, Writing

Author Interview with Teresa Tysinger

Today is a very important day for indie author Teresa Tysinger. Book Two in her Laurel Cove series released today, Someday Familiar. It is a stand-a-alone novel but deals with the quaint little town of Laurel Cove in North Carolina that readers were first introduced to in Someplace Familiar. She was more than kind enough to allow me to interview her as a way to promote her new book. There is also a giveaway! So stay tuned for that at the end of this interview.

Question 1: What made you want to be a writer?

I fell in love with books as a young reader. Very early on, I enjoyed getting lost in far off places in different times and meeting new people. I earned two degrees in English and went into a career in communications and marketing. But, I always wanted to try my hand at fiction. One day in 2014, a friend encouraged me to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) and by the end of it I had written the first draft of my first novel. It definitely awakened something in me and now I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing stories.

Question 2: What made you decide to set your novel in Autumn?

Suddenly Forever is the second stand-alone book in my Laurel Cove Romance Series. When I decided to write a series set in the mountains of North Carolina, an area with four distinct seasons, I knew I’d want to set each book within a different season. This book deals with themes of loss and searching for hope. In the fall, nature seems to begin to give up life. Leaves fall, flowers wither, some animals hibernate as winter approaches. It can feel melancholy. But, there’s an unmistakable beauty to it, too. And, of course, we know that even though there’s the winter to endure, spring is coming with hope of new life. There’s a line in the book that expresses this best: “The land didn’t have to worry about what change would bring. It knew. It trusted.” And so, autumn seemed like the perfect setting for this story. I also ADORE everything about fall: pumpkins, spiced cider, crackling fires, sweaters, crisp air. LOVE!

(Side note from author of this blog): I love Fall too and all the things she listed! Man do I wish I could hop on a plane and visit North Carolina in the Fall especially since my aunt and uncle live there.

Question 3: Do you have any tips for would be writers?

I don’t consider myself an expert by any means. But, I’d give the following few tips that I’ve found useful as I’m learning. First, read as much as you can and take note of things you like about stories that really strike you. Follow other authors on social media and learn from them; a lot will share about their process, what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. The third thing I’d say is to JUST WRITE. Don’t get too hung up on perfect grammar, planning out every plot point before you start, or trying to figure out what readers want. Just write what is on your heart and enjoy the experience. A good editor can help you fix the rest! Oh, that does make me think of one more piece of advice. As you get to know other authors, reach out to those you really connect with, especially within your genre, and see if they’re interested in becoming a critique partner. Having someone to swap chapters with for feedback is invaluable!

Question 4: Do you have any advice regarding publishing?

As an independently published author, there’s been a lot to learn about the many steps of the process. There are many resources out there on all the topics and steps to getting published, but the biggest piece of advice I’d have for other indie authors is to invest in a good editor. There’s nothing more valuable than having a professional set of eyes on your manuscript! It will help your published book be more polished and ready to shine!

Question 5: Was there any research involved in writing your novel? If so what kind?

Admittedly, I’m not a big researcher and usually Google facts I need as I need them. However, I did reach out to a few established and traditionally published author friends when writing some of Cora’s scenes (the heroine in Suddenly Forever). She’s a best-selling author and I wanted to get some details right during conversations she has with her agent. Same thing with some details about Luke’s (the hero) career as a photojournalist. I will say, though, I’m doing more research than usual for an upcoming novella because it will take place in a town I’m not familiar with.

Question 6: What do you want readers to take away from reading your novel?

Suddenly Forever deals with themes of grief and loss, as well as searching for new love and hope. I pray that readers, whether they’ve experienced great loss or not, will be reminded of God’s faithfulness to comfort us and offer a real hope that can transform our grief. God will not leave us and we’re never alone.

Thank you so much, Teresa, for coming on here and answering my questions. I had a lot of fun and look forward to reading your new book. Now for the giveaway. Teresa is giving away some really cool stuff. Here’s the information.

Enter to win a GIVEAWAY celebrating Suddenly Forever’s release!
One winner will receive a fall bundle including:

  1. Leather Leaf Bookmark
  2. Cozy Book Sleeve
  3. Handmade Wood Leaf Earrings
  4. “Enough” Engraved River Rock
  5. Blanket Scarf
  6. Signed Copy of the 1st Laurel Cove Romance Series book, Someplace Familiar

Enter HERE. The winner will be announced on Friday, October 9 during Teresa’s Book Launch Bonfire celebration on Facebook. Learn more about that fun event on her Facebook page Here. 

Blog, Book Reviews

The Last Atlantean Book Review

The-Last-Atlantean-Web-MediumAbout a month ago, I stumbled across author Emily Hayse’s Instagram profile and saw that she was in the process of finishing writing and editing her latest novel The Last Atlantean. Seeing that it was about Atlantis a place I have always been fascinated by since watching the Disney Atlantis movies, I knew I wanted to read it. So I reached out to her and long story short she accepted me onto her street team and I received a free ARC copy of her book in return for my review.

About the Last Atlantean:

“Watch, ye sons of the sea, your doom is at hand. With soundless storm rises the fate of Atlantis.”

As a lighthouse keeper’s daughter, Hattie has always been able to handle anything the Atlantic throws at her. But when a stranger washes ashore in a storm, she finds herself unraveling a mystery that will change her life.

Caught up in a high-stakes game of intrigue and hidden loyalties, Hattie watches legends take shape before her eyes. But as kings and pawns prepare for a showdown that will determine the fate of an ancient world, she wonders whether she has thrown in her lot with the hero or the villain.

My Review:

I have been so intrigued with this story since the first page. Emily has a wonderful way with words and excellent skills of weaving a captivating story. Her characters are so life like. The book is told from the POV of the heroine Hattie Scrow who is 19 years old and lives with her dad in a coastal town in Maine. Which is another reason I fell in love with the story. I was born in Massachusetts and often visited Maine during the summer months when I lived there. This book has so many great qualities. It has romance, mystery, adventure, suspense, and a bit of fantasy. Now, I must confess, I have not quite finished the book due to some unforeseen personal things come up. However, I can say that what I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to finishing it. If you are interested in all these things, don’t hesitate to buy it. You can find it at the following online places down below.

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble

Amazon Paperback
Emily’s Author Bio:

Author Bio

EMILY HAYSE is a lover of log cabins, strong coffee, and the smell of old books. Her writing is fueled by good characters and a lifelong passion for storytelling. When she is not busy turning words into worlds, she can often be found baking, singing, or caring for one of the many dogs and horses in her life. She lives with her family in Michigan.
Website/Social Media handles:

    Instagram: @songsofheroes

    Twitter: @theherosinger


    Facebook: /theherosinger



The Writer’s Desk

Hell Everyone,

How are you all doing? I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy amongst this craziness that has befallen our world. I didn’t work this Saturday which was nice. I was able to sleep in and then do some much needed cleaning and decorating of my desk. You can find my newly cleaned desk down below.


As you can see I have everything I need. I have my research books. Or at least some of them. The rest are on my bookshelf. I have my Pearl Harbor magazines which are all kept in the black magazine holder. I have my Hawaii travel guides and my favorite Hawaiian Bath and Body scents: Oahu Coconut Sunset and Waikiki Beach Coconut. For inspiration, I have added photos of Hawaii and Pearl Harbor as well as a beach saying and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes to motivate me to write.

What does your work space look like?

Blog, Operation Aloha, Writing

Operation Aloha Writing Update

Writing UpdateIt has been a few months since I’ve updated this blog and discussed where I am with my writing. Part of the reason for this is because I have some ups and downs with writing. Some days I make good progress and other days not so much. But hey, that comes with the territory of being a writer, right? The key is not to force the writing to come. Otherwise it wont work and you’ll fall more and more into the pits of writer’s block.

Anyway, I thought I’d pop on here and tell my fellow followers that I am happy to announce I have finished Act 1 of Operation Aloha. Which means my heroine, Evie, gets to head to the gorgeous island of Oahu! Add a heading

I’m so jealous of her right now! I really wish I could hop on a plane right this minute and head to this paradise island where I can sink my feet in the warm sand of their beaches and explore their history. It would sure beat the weather I’m experiencing right now. Not that I am complaining or anything. It has been pretty decent the past couple of days. A bit windy here and there but thankfully none of that horrendous white stuff. It actually rained today which made me so happy!

Anyway, I’m getting carried away about the weather, back to the update. So now that Act 1 is done, I can focus on Act 2 which will take place in Hawaii. I’m so excited to finally be at this point in time in the story. Because not only will I get to talk about Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial but I will also get to bring to the forefront the romance and mystery. Which is so exciting!

I am nervous though because I myself have never been to Hawaii or to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. And I really want to describe these places accurately. I have seen plenty of documentaries and talked with people who worked at the memorial which has been super helpful.

I haven’t started yet on Chapter 7 aka Act 2 yet because I’m waiting for inspiration and the right words to strike.  Hopefully soon though.

Blog, Operation Aloha, Writing

Operation Aloha Writing Update of 2020

OPeration AlohaIt has been exactly 19 days since my last writing update so I thought I would pop on and do the very first one of 2020. First off, though, if you are new to my blog, I’d just like to say welcome and to thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by here. I hope you enjoy what you see and come again.

Writing lately, it seems, has been hit and miss. Some days are better than others. I’m currently working on Chapter 5 of my project affectionately nicknamed “Operation Aloha.” As with all my other chapters, this one is structured with two POV’s: my hero and my heroine. Right now I have been working on my heroine’s which has been going slowly. Partly because I had to figure out how to transition smoothly between scenes. However, I think I have finally figured out and hopefully, readers won’t find it boring.

I have to admit, despite its difficulties, Chapter 5 has been fun to write. It has been interesting writing about Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas with Thanksgiving and Christmas having already come and gone.

Anyway, current word count is 2,312. I’m looking forward to working on it some more today. Hopefully, finish my heroine’s POV and move on to my hero’s. Things are happening and we are getting very close to finishing Act 1.

Blog, Operation Aloha, Writing

The Final Operation Aloha Writing Update of 2019

OPeration AlohaIt occurred to me as I sat down to write this little blog post that this little peak into the progress of my current WIP which I have affectionately nicknamed “Operation Aloha” would be the last update of 2019.


I can’t believe 2019 is almost over. This year has gone by so fast.

Anyway, we must charge on with a stiff upper lip as the Brits would say. Onto the update.

The day before Christmas Eve, writing inspiration just overcame me. I don’t know what it was. If it was the magic of Christmas or I was finally in the mood to write. Whatever it was, I was able to finish Chapter 4.

The neat thing about Chapter 4 is that it is different from its original version with the small exception of one particular scene that had to take place. I kept that scene. But everything else was different. And I love this new version so much more than the original! I feel like this version flows better than the earlier one. There is some mystery and a bit of heartbreak in it as well. Hopefully, readers will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Now onto Chapter 5.  I have a few ideas for it–ones that are entirely different from its original form. It’s just trying to figure out the best way that is being difficult at the moment.

The one wonderful thing though is the more progress I make the closer I get to the actual part of the novel that takes place in Hawaii. Which I am super excited about! And it will certainly make the writing process easier. Juggling two different time zones can be quite challenging.

Well, dear readers, I hope you all had a splendid Christmas and a Happy New Year. Until next time and next year.


Blog, Operation Aloha, Writing

Operation Aloha Writing Update

OPeration AlohaIt has been a while since I have done a writing update. For the most part, I thought my writing was going well. I mean was slow going but it was still happening. But then I realized that my chapters weren’t working. I discovered, through the help of friend who is also an author that the first chapter needs to include three key ingredients. Otherwise the book will fall flat. These three elements are as follows:

  1. Conflict
  2. Action
  3. Motivation

I may have had some forms of these three things in my original chapter but it was not enough to capture the reader’s attention and keep them wanting to read my story. So what did I do? I decided to go back and rewrite Chapter 1.

That’s rewind for a moment. Most of the books I read (if not all) contain two POV’s: the hero’s and the heroine’s. I love these type of stories and it is a no brainer that I would want to write one. After all, how does that famous writing saying go? Write what we know.

For the new rewrite of Chapter 1, I already knew what I wanted to happen in my heroine’s Point of View so that did not take long. The only issue I had with it was figuring out if I needed to continue or end it the way I did. As for my hero’s POV that was a bit tricky. His is usually rather picky. And is one of the reasons why I decided to go back and rewrite. I hadn’t fully figured out his story.

Obviously when writing a romance, you need to have a plot line that involves them intersecting somehow. I already know what it is going to be but I wasn’t sure if this plot line was enough to keep readers invested. So then I decided to toy around with a different idea which I am hoping readers will enjoy and keep them hooked. Because I have enjoyed writing and I really do love how this new chapter 1 came out.

On a different note, I can’t believe it is already November. I feel like October just started. Oh well. My favorite month has come and gone. Now it is time to focus on the holidays coming up. Yes, I have already started watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music. And no, I am not ashamed of having started earlier than I usually do.

Around this time, I always have this burning desire to write a novel set during Christmas. My current WIP is set in December and will have some elements of Christmas such as cutting down a Christmas tree and decorating it. But the main focus of it does not surround the holiday.  This year is no different. I really and I mean REALLY want to write a Christmas story.

The only problem is do I make book 2 a Christmas novel or do I wait another year and focus on the Autumn themed novel that I have always wanted to write as well?

Anyway, I think that is enough of my writing thoughts. I hope your writing is going well especially if you are participating in NanoWrimo this year.



Blog, How to Write a Novel, Writing

Writing a Novel Part 3: Characters

Gabby's How to Write Blog SeriesGood evening friends or morning depending on what part of the world you come from. I apologize for the gap between my last post and this one. Life has been rather crazy recently with work, a doctor’s appointment, and driving people around (we were down a vehicle). Anyway, let’s delve right into this week’s topic: Characters.

By now, you have come up with the genre you what your book to be and the setting but a story is not a story without its characters.

The cast of your story can be broken down into two categories: Main Characters and Secondary Characters. What do I mean by main characters and secondary characters? I’m glad you asked. The main character, also known as the protagonist, is the one who is the lead actor i.e. the one the book is about. For example, the main character in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is Frodo because he is the one who has to take the Ring to Mount Doom to destroy it. Another example can be found in Agatha Christie’s Poirot series. Poirot is the main character because he is the one who is solving mysteries.

Another important main character is the antagonist. Not all stories have protagonists. If you are planning on writing a mystery, the antagonist is the killer. An example of a protagonist is Sauron in the Lord of the Rings.

Secondary characters, on the other hand, are people that compliment the main characters. For example, Captain Hastings in the Poirot series is a secondary character.

Now, you can have more than one main protagonist especially if the story you wish to write is a romance. To use my current WIP as an example, I have two main characters: my hero and my heroine. They both tell the story.

For this week’s homework, I want you to come up with a list of both main and secondary characters and if you like come up with their names too. One of the best ways to figure out who you want your main character to be is to figure out who you want to tell the story. Which leads into next week’s topic of Point of View. So let me know in the comments below who you have decided to be your protagonist.

Writing a Novel

Writing a Novel Part 2

Blog, How to Write a Novel, Writing

Writing a Novel Part 2: Setting + Bonus

Gabby's How to Write Blog Series (1)Welcome back friends to another week of Writing a Novel. If you are new here to this blog series or blog, welcome. I am glad you could make it and I hope you enjoy your time here. I will link the previous blog post down below in case you missed it. I hope you guys have been enjoying these posts as much as I have enjoyed helping others to understand the writing craft. Who is excited for this week’s topic? I know I am. So let’s get started.

Oh one more thing. As the title suggests, I have added a little something extra at the end of the post. So be sure to keep a lookout for it.

Okay, so you have already taken the first couple of steps. Though not addressed in my previous post, I consider the very first step to writing a novel is taking the initiative to say “I want to write a novel.” The second step which you have hopefully already completed is to figure out what genre your novel is going to be. Now it is time for the next step: Creating a Setting.

There are two steps to figuring out your Setting. Step 1: Where in the world do you want your story to take  place? And Step 2: What time period do you want it to be?

Add a headingWe live in a vast and beautiful world with so many options in which you can choose from for your characters to live in and interact in. You also have the option of creating a fictional town or city for your characters.  On the left, I have included a small collage of a few of my favorite places that I love learning about or have visited. Unfortunately, out of the four pictured here, I have only been to one: Boston, my home state’s capital. But despite not having visited the other three places, I have not let this stop me from setting my stories in far away places that intrigue me and inspire me. For example, I have written a couple of stories (never published or finished) that have taken place in Egypt. I also have an incomplete manuscript that takes place in England. Additionally, my current WIP’s setting is Hawaii as well as Massachusetts.

However, I do want to caution you with setting your novel’s story in a place that you have never been to can be challenging. I know it is something I have struggled with a lot over the years. But don’t let that stop you. Just be aware that it can be challenging. One way to make it less challenging is to come up with your own fictional town. For example, I created a fictional town in England in my unfinished manuscript that I hope to one day return to.

Step 2: 

Now that you have figured out what country, state, town or city in which you want your story to take place it is time to figure out what century you want it to be set in. Do you want it to be a modern story i.e. 21st century so you can use items such as TV, cell phone, laptop, planes and cars? Or do you want it to be a Victorian novel where women were not allowed to have careers and there were no TV’s or cell phones?

Depending on which period you would like to set your novel in, you will be required to conduct research. If it is going to be a Victorian era novel or even a WWII novel, you will have to done a ton more research than say for a contemporary novel.

Alright, now for the little bonus, I mentioned. I think giving your Work In Progress novel a codename is a great way to stay focus and to make it fun. My WIP’s Codename is Operation Aloha.


Come up with three to four places you want your story to be set in and list them 1-4, four being your top choice. Then I would like you to do the same for time periods. Finally, let me know down below what your top place and top time period is. And stay tuned for next week’s topic: Characters.

Last Week’s Post:

Writing a Novel Part 1: Genre


Blog, How to Write a Novel, Writing

Writing a Novel Part 1: Genre

Gabby's How to Write Blog SeriesA good friend of mine has been wanting to write a novel for some time now but is unsure on how exactly to go about writing one. Through text messages, she asked me how I go about writing a novel. Instead of going into it via text because it could become a very long conversation, I decided I would do a blog series. Today’s post will be on how to begin.

The very first step in writing a novel is to figure out what genre you want your novel to be. There are many different ones to choose from. Do you want it to be science fiction? Or perhaps a contemporary novel? Or maybe even a contemporary romance or just plain romance? Or what about YA? Or historical fiction?

It is best to know ahead of time what genre category you want your novel to fall into because some will require more research than others. For example, science fiction and historical fiction require more research than say a romance novel.

Join me next Tuesday for the next post in the series: Setting. Let me know in the comments down below what genre you want your novel to be.