Tuesday, July 27, 2021

❀Q&A on Book Covers with J.W. Baccaro Author of Prophecy of the Guardian @jwbaccaro @PumpUpYourBook #puyb #ProphecyoftheGuardian #bookcovers

J.W. Baccaro
 is the author of Prophecy of the Guardian, The Coming of the Light and Blood Dreams. Always a lover of creativity, from works of literature to writing music with his electric guitar; even baking and cooking. When not working on his next story or lost in a good book, J.W. enjoys kicking back with a couple of tasty craft beers and binging on Kaiju movies, 80’s action flicks, Japanese animation and slasher films (particularly the one involving a hockey mask). Heck, he even enjoys a good romantic comedy. Feel free to email him at jwbaccaro@yahoo.com. He lives in upstate NY with his wife Melissa, his son Alexander, his German Shepherd and his three cats.



Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

A Nasharin warrior by the name of Darshun Luthais and a group of companions go in search for the ancient elemental crystals. Objects of great power that became lost in the second age. The enemy is also searching for them, and if found they plan on using them for weapons of mass destruction against not

only the forces of Light, but the whole world.

The story begins with the obliteration of the Loreladian army. Invaded by the Cullach—a half man, half boar-like race—the Loreladian people had little time to prepare and found the numbers of the Cullach to be overwhelming. Only four survive the battle, two of them Nasharin warriors (members of a supposed accursed race but live in peace with the Loreladian people). One of the Nasharins, Mirabel Luthais swears to the fallen king that he will lead the Loreladian civilians into safer lands before the Cullach arrive to claim the city, where death would surely follow.

As this journey takes place Mirabel senses the presence of another Nasharin, something he had been sensing since the Cullach invasion, only now it becomes much stronger. He finds it strange because only a handful of Nasharins remain in existence and have lived in Loreladia for the last century. Still, he cannot deny this feeling, this…pull from another living Nasharin—one whose inner power feels extraordinary.

With the help of a fellow warrior (and a horde of beasts this warrior communicates with), Mirabel rescues this Nasharin from a Cullach sacrifice. The Nasharin is just a babe, not old enough to mutter a world. And yet…the power within the child frightens Mirabel. He is not frightened of the child per se, but of what the child means, and the times they could possibly be in, or heading toward, the Prophecy of the Guardian and the Second Great War…

And so begins this magical, heartful and at times brutal story of Darshun (the Guardian) and friends!

The inspiration comes from…well see…creative writing has always been a love of mine. I never had much interest in sports or automobiles. Sure, I know a little bit, but I couldn’t tell you the names of famous quarterbacks or talk for hours about rebuilding an engine block. Creativity has always been my thing in both literature and music. Inspired by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (to name a few), I too decided I wanted to create my own vivid world within the imagination…and on paper of course.

I didn’t look around at what genre was most popular in hopes to make a quick buck. I just wanted to write a story that I personally would love to read. A story with not only tons of action and warrior battles, but also filled with heavy emotion. A world where you feel like you’ve made friends with the characters and are a bit sad when the book comes to an end. You miss them!

I’ve always loved classic Good versus Evil tales. True they are a dime a dozen, filled with similar tropes and sometimes a bit cliché. You know, light versus darkness, one chosen character to rid the world of this monstrous evil, magical items, etc. etc. However, just when you think you’ve read something like this before, as soon as you’re enveloped into the story, you see how the tale carries its own uniqueness. Of course, there will be similarities, I can find that in just about every bestselling epic fantasy/sci-fi I read, but each story carries its own flair.

I love when a villain or even a hero begins to question their path, wondering if the task they are trying to accomplish is the right thing to do. Perhaps the Light has a point? Perhaps the Darkness has a point, and looking a little deeper, maybe, just maybe the Light (or whom we call our heroes), isn’t so perfect after all. Besides, all of us know the world is far beyond mere black and white. So, I took all my thoughts, likes and influences and molded them together and out came my book Prophecy of the Guardian: Book One, Guardian Trilogy.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?

Originally (before this revised edition), I went the traditional way. It was a learning experience I’ll tell you. I was thankful but displeased I had little say over the book covers. And I wanted the story to be a trilogy, but they made it into a five-book series. After three years I got the rights back and as time went on, I revised this story. I listened to the positive feed back and even the constructive criticism I received in past reviews. And so…Prophecy of the Guardian is once again on the market, better than ever with a character and creature list and a map of my world.

I’ll never go traditional again unless it is by a major publisher. 

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?

The title arrived much later. I had no idea what I was going to call it. At one point I was going with Guiding the Blue Flame but quickly realized…um, no, that will not work. Ha! So, thinking it over, the main meat of the tale, Prophecy of the Guardian felt best, plus sounds very fantasy oriented, even if the words “Guardian” and “Prophecy” are overused. Together I feel it just works.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?

I love the new cover. Originally it was supposed to be a small group of companions seated around a golden sphere. But then I went simpler. I love the 4 crystals drawn to look like they’re in motion and circling a golden sword (very important weapon in the story), you see the glaring eyes of an adversary peering down, and what looks like a pit of destruction perhaps indicating the world is heading toward that, destruction. I really love it!

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

His name is Rosen Simeonov. I found him on DeviantArt. I posted a question, seeking an artist for a book cover. Thankfully, he came to my rescue. I love his work!

How was your experience working with the designer?

Quite pleasant. Very respectful and fulfilling.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

So far, everyone loves the covers. I brought them into my place of work to see people’s reactions. It was nice hearing all the different opinions. But all the covers were a hit!

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

I’ve had a few different people do covers for me before. However, they just didn’t hit that sweet spot I was looking for. I’d say, this is YOUR book, YOUR baby! It’s going to be with you for a long time, just like when you choose a new car and are stubborn about it’s color (like my wife was. She was ready to walk out unless the dealer found her a blue Honda Fit!) So, make sure your cover rocks your heart! You know the book best! And DeviantArt is a great place to search for artists.

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

It’s a roller coaster. As you begin to climb the tracks/read the pages, it is heading toward a peak. Once you reach that peak, you’re off for a fantastic, emotional and suspenseful ride. I promise you! 😊


Monday, July 26, 2021

❀New YA/Historical Alert❀: 'Black Rocks and Rainbows' by Susan C. Riford


High on a cliff in Hawaii in 1807, an irrepressibly curious native boy dives into the sea and swims to an American merchant ship anchored offshore, embarking on an extraordinary adventure that will change history…

By Susan C. Riford

Author: Susan C. Riford
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: YA / Historical


The journey of a lifetime told in the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS begins with a ship: “An enormous canoe, with great white wings like a magnificent bird.” This is the merchant schooner Triumph from New England, anchored offshore by what is now known as the Big Island of Hawaii, and in 1807, the sight of it captivates a young Hawaiian boy’s imagination and spirit of adventure. Fifteen-year-old Hiapo Opukahaia, orphaned as the result of a war between two rival island chiefs, has been contemplating his future. He dives into the sea and swims to the ship, where he is invited to stay for dinner. When the captain asks if he would like to go to America, he nods Yes.

The audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS, an historical novel for young adults, edited and narrated by actress Suzanne Ford, was written by her late mother, Susan C. Riford.  The audiobook chronicles the gripping story of Hiapo – renamed “Henry” by his fellow crewmen – whose literal and figurative journey leads to the greatest adventure of all: a hunger for knowledge which ultimately changes Hawaii forever. The title refers to the lava rocks and beautiful rainbows of the Big Island, the vision of which Henry carries with him for the rest of his life.

Working as a cabin boy, Henry does encounter true-life adventures – pirates, storms – during the ship’s year-long voyage, via the Seal Islands and China, back to its home port of New Haven, Connecticut. He also learns to read and write English, unlocking his quest for further knowledge; upon arriving in New Haven, Henry realizes he desperately wants to keep learning, but has no idea how.

Weeping one day on the steps of Yale College, he is found by a kind student, a relative of the school’s president. Taken under the president’s wing, Henry becames a scholar. He wants to translate written works from English into Hawaiian, but at the time, there is no such written Hawaiian language. So he begins to apply the principles in an American spelling book – devised by Noah Webster, of dictionary fame – to the sounds of his native tongue. In doing so, he creates the alphabet-spelling-grammar system that is the basis for the Hawaiian written language in use to this day.

Sadly, Henry dies of typhus fever in 1818 at the age of 26. He is buried in Cornwall, Connecticut, until 1993, when he makes one final journey: a group of Hawaiian residents has successfully crusaded for the return of his remains to the Big Island for permanent burial. Hiapo Opukahaia has come home.

Suzanne Ford was inspired to create the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS originally written by her late mother, Susan Riford, a prolific author of children’s books and plays and founder of what is now known as the Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, New York. Her mother became fascinated with Henry’s story when she moved to Maui. “The novel was her final work before she died,” Ford says. “I took on the unfinished manuscript, wrote the last chapter, had a few copies printed and recorded the audiobook. The story is such a fascinating and compelling adventure, fun to listen to for anyone, but especially for young adults.”

Ford is working on an updated, illustrated book version of BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS. “It’s noteworthy that there has never been a full-length historical novel about Opukahaia, who is such a major figure in Hawaiian history and whose story carries a timeless message about the importance of education,” she observes. “Especially in this era of the dawning of deeper recognition of indigenous peoples and their heritage, this as yet unfamiliar but universal coming-of-age story is resonant and relevant to youth of any culture.”


“This adventure story is riveting from start to finish and the action keeps coming. The ending, though sad because it’s a true story, was very uplifting and inspiring. A very satisfying audiobook experience.”


Listen to a sample of the audiobook here:


And here:


Suzanne Ford is an actress and writer working in film, television, and theatre. She has performed in more than 100 stage productions in New York and Los Angeles, on tour and in regional theatres around the country. Her many film credits include the Duplass Brothers’ recent hit Manson Family VacationYou, Me and Dupree and The Apparition, and she has appeared on such television shows as Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal MindsIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Friends. She has been an advertising copywriter, has written a biography of Mel Gibson, screenplays, and cookbooks, and has ghostwritten memoirs. She and her husband live in the Hollywood Hills.


Sponsored By:

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

❀New Regency Romance Series Alert❀: 'Lord Blackwood's Valentine Ball' & 'The Lady's Revenge' by Arabella Sheraton


Two beautiful stories of eternal love and redemption…

By Arabella Sheraton

Author: Arabella Sheraton
Publisher: Bublish
Pages: 90 (novella)
Genre: Regency Romance


In this romantic traditional Regency novella, Patience Cherwell is resigned to a life of spinsterhood. Therefore, when her young friend, the lovely Lorna Hartley, comes to stay for a London season, she decides the eligible, charming Lord Blackwood is the perfect match for Lorna. Granted, Lord Blackwood, at forty, is much older than the vivacious 20-year-old Lorna, but Patience is determined to help her young friend make a good match. So why isn’t she happy when his lordship and Lorna seem to like each other’s company? The problem is that Patience is already madly in love with his lordship! An unexpected invitation arrives for Lorna and Patience to attend Lord Blackwood’s Valentine Ball. This is the perfect moment for him to propose to Lorna. Mysteriously, a corsage arrives from an anonymous admirer. Who is it for? And what will be the outcome for the wearer at Lord Blackwood’s Valentine Ball? Patience and Lord Blackwood’s enchanting story continues in The Lady’s Revenge.


“Set in the era of grace and chivalry, Lord Blackwood’s Valentine Ball by Arabella Sheraton is the heart-warming novella prequel to the more adventurous novel, The Lady’s Revenge. Written with similar charm and panache of Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice, this enchanting story captivates the reader and draws them into the vibrant life of Patience Cherwell. Patience’s loving and noble spirit is evident from the onset of the story; instantly capturing the reader. Despite the results that could lead to a lifetime of loveless solitude, Patience’s sacrifice of self for the love of a friend is gut-wrenching, yet profoundly noteworthy. This is a beautiful story of eternal love and redemption, and I highly recommend it to hopeless romantics.” – Amazon Reviewer 5 stars

Charles Edward Jasper, Lord Blackwood, was, in her opinion, the handsomest man she had ever met, possibly, the handsomest man in London. The first time he shook her hand had sent a shocking tingle radiating right through her body and caused her to blush so fierily that she was sure he must have noticed. He had held her hand for a few moments as he spoke to her, his touch producing such an alarming effect that her knees trembled as if they had turned to water. Patience had felt breathless and thought she might have gasped her greeting. He did not appear to have observed her awkwardness because by then he had turned to welcome Lorna and her ever-giggling friend, Miss Sophie Sutcliffe. Had he even really noticed her that first time? Perhaps the only reason he tried to engage her in social chat on subsequent occasions was out of politeness to her as Lorna’s hostess during her London sojourn.


Title: THE LADY’S REVENGE (Book 2)
Author: Arabella Sheraton
Publisher: Bublish
Pages: 186
Genre: Regency Romance


This engaging traditional Regency romance is the sequel to Lord Blackwood’s Valentine Ball. Miss Letitia DeVere decides that revenge is a dish best eaten cold when she returns to London after a two-year absence to find her former admirer Lord Charles Blackwood on the verge of proposing to Miss Patience Cherwell. Lord Blackwood’s Valentine Ball proved to be the turning point in his fledgling romance with Patience. Letitia is not the kind of woman who gives up easily, as Patience and Charles soon find out. She stops at nothing to achieve her aims. However, Letitia has a dark past, with secrets that threaten to return and destroy her newfound social success. When Charles proves less malleable than in the past, Letitia resorts to subterfuge, seduction, blackmail, and even violence to force him to propose. Will he see through her tricks and remain true to Patience, or will Letitia’s seductive wiles lure him back?


“The timing is one of the most wonderful things in this read, especially because of the various means of subterfuge and blackmail which are at play. Author Arabella Sheraton has a knack for timing her comedy and her suspense in just the right balance to keep that rompy pace going, just like authentic Regency novels should do. I can’t recommend this two-partner enough, or indeed the author herself and her other super-fun works. Readers with a modern mindset or a lack of historical knowledge might not fully ‘get’ the style, but if you’re someone that does, then you’re going to truly fall in love and want to keep stepping back into this world time and again, so give them a try!” – Amazon Reviewer 5 stars


Arabella Sheraton grew up reading her mom’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels, the queen of modern-day Regency romance, and of course, Jane Austen’s iconic Regency novels. Although Arabella’s literary background was in publishing and editing, she had never written a fiction book. Her first novel started out in response to her mom’s complaint that she had nothing new to read. That first Regency novel was The Dangerous Duke! Since then, Arabella has penned six more authentic Regency novels and a romance self-help guide to finding the right partner, with useful quotes by none other than Jane Austen. Arabella has branched out with a mash-up of genre in her latest work in progress. A murder-mystery, time travel, Regency romance coming soon!



Sponsored By:

Friday, July 16, 2021

❀Q&A on Book Covers with Monique Roy Author of Laurel's Marvelous Kingdom ❀ @MonWriter1 @PumpUpYourBook #puyb #LaurelsMarvelousKingdom #bookcovers

Monique Roy’s passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur, and children’s book Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her first historical novel.

Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and Monique likes to explore the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.

Monique resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a freelance writer.



Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom:

When the wicked witch of the land snatches up Princess Astrid, her sister, Princess Laurel, realizes it will take more than her plant-growing superpowers to rescue her. With the

help of a handsome prince, Laurel rides deep into the dark forest in search of the witch’s den.

To her horror, Laurel discovers that Astrid is jealous of her superpowers, and has teamed up with the witch to weaken Laurel’s powers. Now, Laurel must convince Astrid to abandon her evil ways and return to goodness — before the witch and Astrid shed harm onto the kingdom.

This fairy tale story will enliven the imagination of children with a little witchy fun in between. The story teaches children about what makes us unique, appreciating your special characteristics, and doing what you love.

What inspired me to write it?

The idea for Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom came from the desire to write an enticing, emotional, and comedic kid’s story using old-style fairy tale principles – princesses, a handsome prince, a beautiful castle setting, and some witchy craziness. I also wanted to teach the children who read my book an important lesson. In this case, the lesson being that everyone is unique and to respect the uniqueness of others.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?

I am a self-published author, and I used a self-publishing company to assist me with the publishing process. Once you find a good, supportive company, then publishing the story is an easy process. 

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?

The title was edited a little over the course of writing the book. It seems that as the story becomes more clear, your title gets edited to best support the book idea.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?

My great illustrator, Lauren Curtis, helped me with my cover idea. It takes elements and main characters from the story and blends them together.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

My illustrator, Lauren Curtis, was my cover designer. I found her through researching freelance illustrators. She did an amazing job!

How was your experience working with the designer?

Lauren was a smart and supportive partner in this effort. It took a year to do the illustrations as we worked slowly to get it right. We worked closely on the ideas and then Lauren would create beautiful illustrations.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

So far, readers have liked the cover.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

Take the time to do research and talk to cover designers on the phone to ensure they understand the story and thought process. Find someone who you will work effectively with, as well as someone who is creative and can support your illustration needs. Also, be open about budget and timeline on book.

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

You can learn more about my books at www.monique-roy.com.