Book Blast: Joni, Underway


We are so excited to feature this Brand new book from Best Selling Author Kelly Oram and her talented husband Jonathan Harrow!

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a
fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her
family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too
much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful.

Jonathan Harrow left a career in Hollywood to

pursue his dream of writing novels. He has an author crush on Charlotte Bronte,
and a real crush on his author wife, YA bestseller Kelly Oram.

They live in Phoenix with their four kids and
their cat, Mr. Darcy.

Connect with Kelly
Connect with Jonathan
Nineteen year old Joni is loving life as an adult—living on her own, dealing with grown-up things like jobs, hook-ups, and doing her own laundry. Best of all: after finishing her first year at ASU, she will never again be called a freshman.
But when her brother is suddenly killed in a car accident, Joni’s adult life is turned upside down. Struggling to cope with loss, guilt, and anger—not to mention the meddling of friends and family trying to “fix” her—Joni is relieved to be presented with an escape in the form of a sailing trip her brother had been planning for months before he died.
With her first step onto the sailing vessel Lady Marguerite, Joni plunges into an adventure that will mark the beginning of her real adult life—a journey across the ominous dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean with a small, eccentric crew, and the young Captain Reid, whose gorgeous looks are only outmatched by his talent for care and kindness. Unfolding through the ups and downs of life at sea is an unforgettable story reminding us that love will always be a work-in-progress and coming of age never gets old.
Purchace your copy here:



Character Casting

Hey, Jonathan here. One of the benefits of working together with Kelly on Joni, Underway was that we needed to establish a definite look for the main characters BEFORE any writing could start. When working alone, you can have a visual in your mind without worrying about how to make sure that others see the character the same way you do. When writing with a partner, however, there needs to be a certain level of agreement about what a character or location looks like. The simple solution to that? Casting! So we actually had most of these casting choices set before we even began writing. If Joni, Underway were made into a movie today, this would be our dream cast for the crew of sailing vessel Lady Marguerite


JONI MONDAY – Brit Robertson


This was the easiest choice to make. In our minds, Brit IS Joni, and we wrote the character with Brit in mind. Her personality is the perfect fit, as she is down to earth and smart, but can be fun and quirky at the same time. Most importantly, she’s great at portraying quiet strength in the face of overwhelming odds. As for her look, she can be a stunner, but usually goes for the “girl next door” look, which is Joni all the way.


CAPTAIN REID – Jamie Dornan


This was a harder choice—not because of Jamie’s look, which is perfect for Reid—but because Jamie has mostly been seen in more brooding, dark roles, not to mention the fact that now everybody instantly associates his name with 50 Shades of Grey, so it can be hard to shake that off. In the end, he won the role for us because 1. He’s gorgeous, obviously, but in a way that seems European, if that makes any sense. As a bonus, he could totally pull off Reid’s “golden boy” look, with honey hair and brown eyes. 2. He’s got a natural accent, so again, easy to buy into the “hot foreigner” aspect. 3. Despite always playing darker roles, Jamie seems to be a great guy in real life, married with a kid. He’s a dad! We’d love to see Jamie finally play something light and fun, like Reid’s easy-going-beach-bum-with-a-heart-of-gold.


MURRAY AND GORDON – Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon

Walter and Murray

I know, this is cheating! Unfortunately, both of these actors have passed away, so we couldn’t really get them, but this is a DREAM cast, remember. Just watch “Grumpy Old Men” and you’ll have an easy time imagining Murray and Gordon. Murray is Walter Matthau, of course—the grumpier, more opinionated of the two. Matthau was great at playing a guy who was jaded and crabby, but in the quieter moments could really be a big softy. Perfect for Murray. And hey, if we really had to cast LIVING actors, we’d love to see Bill Murray play Murray!



JIM AND YVONNE – Bryan Cranston and Viola Davis

jim yvonne

Viola Davis is another no-brainer. Beautiful (maybe a bit young for Yvonne) and authoritative and strong—easy to picture her being TOO strong, which is something that becomes an issue for Yvonne in the story. Cranston, of course, has proven that he is a master at playing the unassuming “normal guy” with deeper issues just waiting to surface. And we know he can do funny, so these two together would make the perfect mix of strong and tender.

STAR – Hayley Kiyoko

Another one that is not quite the right age anymore (Hayley is 24 now), but if we could go back in time and snatch her from “Lemonade Mouth”, we’d have our Star, the quiet anime artist and video game geek with parental issues.

Aug 23
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Song Appreciation: A Hole in the Bucket by Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte – A Hole in the Bucket

There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza
There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole

Go fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Go fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it

With what shall I fix it? Dear Liza, dear Liza
With what shall I fix it? Dear Liza, with what?

With a straw dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
With a straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, with a straw

But the straw is too long, dear Liza, dear Liza
The straw is too long, dear Liza, too long

Cut it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Oh, cut it, dear Henry, dear Henry, cut it

With what shall I cut it? Dear Liza, dear Liza
With what shall I cut it? Dear Liza, with what?

With an axe, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
With an axe, dear Henry, dear Henry, with an axe

The axe is too dull, dear Liza, dear Liza
The axe is too dull, dear Liza, too dull

Sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Well, sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, hone it

On what shall I sharpen it? Dear Liza, dear Liza
On what shall I hone it? Dear Liza, on what?

On a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
On a stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, on a stone

But the stone is too dry, dear Liza, dear Liza
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, too dry

Well, wet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Well, wet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, wet it

With what shall I wet it? Dear Liza, dear Liza
With what shall I wet it? Dear Liza, with what?

Try water, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Try water, dear Henry, dear Henry, use water

In what shall I fetch it? Dear Liza, dear Liza
In what shall I fetch it? Dear Liza, in what?

In a bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
In a bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, in a bucket

There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza
There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole


Tuesday Teaser

#TeaserTuesday #MMRomance #PolyRomance #FREE on #KindleUnlimited

The Cellist, by Elaine White

One Performance Can Change Everything


After six years, cellist Roman returns home with boyfriend Ben, in search of more than just international fame. There’s one complication he didn’t count on. His high school crush, the straight, untouchable, Jaxton is there when he arrives.

One performance at local club Crimson 8, stirs emotions that were better left forgotten.

With prior warning that the club is a gay man’s fantasy come true, where anything and everything can happen, Jaxton is dragged along with a group of his friends, to see Roman play.

What happens next, will change the course of all their lives forever.


The Cellist (8)

Coming Soon! – The School of Second Chances

The School of Second Chances is book 1 in a new trilogy, by Elaine White. Evander’s School of Enchanted Personage follows the lives of a group of young students, who are invited to attend a boarding school, where they will learn to hone and control their magical gifts.



When a group of mishaps are drawn together as the most prestigious magical school in Scotland, vampires meet banshees, witches meet wolves and things begin happening that haven’t happened for an age.

For these eight children, turning sixteen has never seemed so terrifying.

To learn how to hone their skills, they will discover more secrets lurking behind the shadows of their mythical lives than they ever realised existed.

How they survive the school is one thing…

How they survive each other is quite another…





*This extract is unedited and subject to change, before publication*

The silence was only broken when Evander stood from the top table of teachers and waited for the room to quieten down.

Thank you all for coming this morning. I realise that some of you are used to a long lie on Sundays,” he smiled at the newest table of students. “To begin, I would like to remind our resident dragon that fire breathing is not permitted within school halls. Hovering above students and scaring them with a burst of fire is hardly appropriate for an eighteen year old. This will be your last warning before we resort to more extreme measures. Please be warned,”

A group of older students found it difficult to hide their laughter as the guilty party stood from their table, took a bow for his audience and saluted Evander, as if they were friends.

Lane couldn’t get over the casual atmosphere and how their headmaster only smiled in amusement. As if to broadcast that he was the one being talked about, the red haired, six foot tall boy gave a stretch that flared out previously hidden wings. Their span was at least eight feet of dark grey, almost leather like material. He could only laugh at the look of absolute envy on Estelle’s face.

As it is the first assembly for our new students, let me welcome you to the school,” Evander began again, gracing them with a warm smile. “I ask that all other years behave appropriately in their presence and make a good impression on them. The students of my school should always be well behaved,” he reminded them.

Today is your day to explore and gain a feeling of familiarity with the grounds. Tomorrow you will begin classes and I ask that you pay grave attention to each and every one. They will become very important when it comes to how you fit in within the school,” he continued seriously, though a small smile continued to play at his lips.

Payson glanced across at Diantha, who was so busy examining her nails that she didn’t seem to be paying their headmaster any attention whatsoever. He figured it was easier to give up hope for her than waste time praying for something that was never going to happen.

Our next assembly is a special one. Instead of congregating in the morning, we will meet for the evening meal in celebration of a special event. Evander’s School for Enchanted Personage will officially be one hundred years old,” Hirum announced, much to everyone’s delight. “You may spend the day as you wish, but the evening will be spent within this hall, celebrating. And I ask you all to attend; there will be some rather intriguing entertainment…we will be having a fancy dress ball,”

With the words, there was a room wide cheer. The older students whispered about the fancy dress they would be expected to wear, for the ball. It trickled from one table to the other, until someone leaned over and passed the news to Sheldon.

A smile spread across his face when he heard and he waited for a short moment as Evander finished his speech and invited them all to eat breakfast.

There were two large jugs of milk on the table, two packets of cereal and two plates, one with scones and the other with croissants, all ready with a variety of spreads to choose from.

Sheldon waited until they had settled and finished arguing over who was reaching for what, before sharing the news with them. “The fancy dress is that we dress up as the stereotype of what we are. So vampires dress as vampires, witches dress as witches,” he grinned, apparently already plotting how he was going to dress up.

Harry Potter immediately slid into Payson’s mind; he was just having trouble deciding which character he might choose to be.

So…fangs, capes…” Payson approved, wondering which vampire from the movies or TV shows he was going to choose. He didn’t want to be covered in glitter and go as Twilight; it would be too difficult to get rid of afterwards, but he didn’t want to go full hog and do the old Nosferatu look either.

Angel,” Riley leaned across and whispered to him.

Payson frowned, confused about why he wanted him to dress up as an angel when he was a vampire. But as they sat together, passing items to each other like they had done it for years, with the perfect synchronicity and no fussing of familiarity between them, he managed to explain quietly.

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her boyfriend Angel was a vampire. I can get you pictures online if you want? We’re allowed to use the computers in the library for class research,” he explained, quietly.

Is he worth dressing up as? He’s not covered in glitter?” he asked nervously, hoping to avoid embarrassment at the ball. But he liked the way Riley smiled and laughed at his words, looking around as if to check that no one could hear him. Then he surprised him even more.

No. He’s very cool and gorgeous. He’s kind of my favourite vampire,” he claimed, innocently.

Author Legalese

Legal Issues

As authors, whether Traditional, Indie or Self-Published, it’s our responsibility to know what we’re doing and to abide by the laws and legal rules of our chosen profession. In this post, I’ll be addressing some of the commonly mis-interpreted or confusing issue that we will face during our careers.

Most of this should be common sense, but I’m sad to say that I’ve seen plenty of smart, famous authors, illegally using photographers or celebrities images in their promo work. This is illegal and can get you sued, if the photographer/celebrity finds out. And they will.

Trust me, it’s not worth the risk. Once you have to face something like that, your reputation can be ruined. It may seen harmless, but it’s really not and it only takes one mistake to cause chaos.

Before we get started, you might want to read this document or save it. It’s Permissions Guidelines for Authors, by John Wiley & Sons, which is a global publishing company.



Music is one of those dangerous and tricky tools that can get you into a lot of trouble, and it won’t always be your fault. Sites like Animoto supply music for all different genres, for a monthly subscription. This can be invaluable when making a super amazing book trailer. However, when some artists get famous, they remove their work from Animoto and that’s where you an face problems. When you upload to YouTube, they’re so smart that they’ll warn you if there’s a legal issue with your music. YouTube and Animoto have a great relationship and can warn you about this, so always take notice of any warnings they give you.

When you make a book trailer with Music Maker, however, you don’t get those warnings and you have to be responsible for what you’re doing and what music you’re using. There are a bunch of sites that you can buy music from, for a subscription, or you can download from for free, as long as you credit the artist and song in your video. Which, should be good practice.

No matter where you get your music, free or not, it’s common courtesy to credit the artist and song.



Videos are basically the same as music. There are a lot of sites where you can get moving clips or just images for free or at a cost, for your book trailer. Be careful, remain vigilant and read all the legal rules of the website, before you use anything. Then, simply add a ‘Credits’ page at the end, so you can credit the website/artist or designer.

Simple. :)



There are different rules for Quoting a book/author/poet and they can get a bit tricky, so I’m going to get some help here.

5 Top Legal Issues for Authors and Self-Publishers

“The discussion for copyright of text and music lyrics is similar to that of images and graphics, but they are not exactly parallel. With a graphic or image, you’re likely using the entire work, whereas with text or music lyrics you’re only using a portion. It is much more clear that using an entire text or reproducing the full music lyrics would violate copyright, the question now becomes how much can be used so that you’re not.

Traditional publishers may have guidelines, but they’re also willing to defend them if challenged. For self-published authors, being sued for using “too much” of a work may not be a risk worth taking.

Of course, there is still the ability to ask for a license before using the work if you are concerned with the legalities of using copyrighted material. There is, also, Fair Use. However, as was mentioned with regard to images and graphics, it’s not a clearly defined exception.

Unlike the discussion above, though, with text or music lyrics you’re likely only using a portion of the work so there is a stronger argument with regard to the quantity of the work used. Nonetheless, Fair Use goes beyond just a “word count” and you must be able to establish that your use does not interfere with the owner’s rights.”

When Do You Need To Secure Permissions

“You do not need permission to include song titles, movie titles, TV show titles—any kind of title—in your work. You can also include the names of places, things, events, and people in your work without asking permission. These are facts.

Because songs and poems are so short, it’s dangerous to use even 1 line without asking for permission, even if you think the use could be considered fair. However, it’s fine to use song titles, poem titles, artist names, band names, movie titles, etc.

The law does not offer any percentage or word count here that we can go by. That’s because if the portion quoted is considered the most valuable part of the work, you may be violating fair use. That said, most publishers’ guidelines for authors offer a rule of thumb; at the publisher I worked at, that guideline was 200-300 words from a book-length work in a teaching/educational context.”



This is a really sticky one, because I see authors illegally using images for promo posters and covers, on a daily basis. I’ve seen a self-published book with a famous actor on the front cover, selling on Amazon. They rendered it on the computer, as though that would disguise the actor, but it didn’t. Some add wings, hats, glasses, some form of disguise. Others blatantly use a celebrity in promo posts.

So what are the rules? Well, if yo’re doing a character casting, yes, you can use an actor/actresses image. Label the actor/actress and state which character in your book that you’d want them to play. That’s allowed.

Using a celebrities face or easily identifiable tattoo/logo/feature on a cover or promo poster is NOT legal. You can be sued.

The same goes for using photographer’s work. Unless you have their express permission to use the picture or they supply free downloads on a site like DeviantArt, you can’t use the image. In the case that you do have permission or a free LEGAL download, then you should always credit the photographer on the promo poster or in the credits of the book cover.

And here’s a last one that might help: Legal Issues in Self-Publishing: What Authors Need to Know



Free & Paid

(Please check individual sites and conditions, for payment options. Most are free, but often have paid features.)

Photo Editors

Pixteller – supplies images and fonts. You cannot use your own fonts, but there are clipart images you can add. The site also saves your posters as Private or Public, as to your preference. You can also go back to your poster and change it, if you notice a mistake or change your mind. You don’t have to pay anything.

Pixlr – Also free, this one gives you more options than Pixteller. You can add layers, create 3D images and do a whole host of things that I haven’t learned to do yet. You can check out their blog, for all the great ways you can use this site.

Ribbet – You can register for this site, which used to allow you a free account. They’ve now made it that you have to pay for an upgrade to get all the fancy extras. However, the free version is great on its own and it allows you to use your own fonts. As an author, I collect free fonts so that each project is unique. (You can get some awesome fonts here at 1001 Fonts and Hongkiat.)

PicMonkey – This is my preferred site. My publisher has the ‘premier’ account, which is awesome, but you can also get some amazing features on the free account. You can use their fonts or your own and your own layers. You can also use all of their extras and effects.


Photo Sites

Stock Vault                 Little Visuals                 Pixabay                 Split Shire

Morguefile                 Life of Pix                 Gratisography                Beachfront B-Roll

Free Video Footage                Stock Footage For Free                Give Me Free Art

PD Photo                Open Photo                Photos8                Free Images                Public Domain Pictures



Lino Rise                 Dano Songs                 Dig.CC Mixter                 Free SFX

Free Sound                 Sounds Crate                 Free Video Footage

Production Crate                 Incompetech                 Partners in Rhyme



Footage Crate                Ignite Motion                Video Blocks

iStock                 Fotolia                 Shutterstock                 BigStock

Movie Tools

Meet Lance Steel

Meet the MC in Sophie Slade’s amazing paranormal romance novel ‘Touched by a Vampire’. You can read my review here.


Lance Steel

“My thoughts go immediately to Lance: his touch, his dark, chiseled good looks, his bright green eyes.” ~ Leila
 Physical Description:

I walked out of the examining room and noticed a dark shadow, a tall man standing at the end of the

hallway. It was hard to tell, but he was extremely attractive with dark, wavy hair that just touched his

collar, brilliant, green eyes, and a regal air—a true Renaissance man.

His black Armani suit with a pristine, white shirt open at the color and no tie was evidence that he was a hospital benefactor, a businessman.


Hair: Black

Eyes: Green

Status: Vampire

Occupation: Casino owner

Interests: gambling, power, sex, reading, luxury, adventure

Nationality: British

Current Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada

Love Interest: Dr Leila Reynolds

Talents/Skills: speed, extraordinary vision, sexual prowess

Style: Old Fashioned Elegance

Greatest Flaw: Temper, Need for Vengeance

Best Quality: Loyalty, Kindness