<![CDATA[shannaswenson.com - My Blog]]>Mon, 11 Nov 2019 08:18:56 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Review for Saddler's Sacrifice by Nicole Rodrigues]]>Mon, 11 Nov 2019 13:00:00 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-saddlers-sacrifice-by-nicole-rodrigues
5 selfless stars for Saddler's Sacrifice

This book...Oh this book!

Just when I think I’ve read my favorite Nicole Rodrigues novel, I see that I haven’t.

This book hurts like no other before it; it hits your heart in its most sensitive parts and breaks it in a million pieces before putting it all back together again.

I fell in love with Valentina Saddler and Declan O’Sullivan in Saddler’s Start. Their young love was a whirlwind of emotions, their story is one of heartache, regret and deep loss...but there are two sides to every story and theirs is unlike anything you’ve read before, trust me when I tell you.

Declan is such a stud, Val is so strong, and Faith was just precious. The twists and turns in this book are sure to knock you for a loop.

I loved the rawness of this book and the hope. This one deals with regret and time lost, for it’s such a precious gift given to us and how we use it so important. It also deals with second chances, forgiveness, and moving on from our pasts--the things we can’t change. I loved catching up with all the Saddlers and the message here that shone so brightly.

Let Nicole sweep you away once more in yet another wonderful novel in her new series.

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series

Shanna enjoys good books that thrill, chill and warm her heart...and rip it right out only to put it all back together again, like this one did :-) 

<![CDATA[Review for Deadly Receptions by Veronica Cline Barton]]>Sat, 09 Nov 2019 15:59:40 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-deadly-receptions-by-veronica-cline-barton
5 dazzling stars for Deadly Receptions

Deadly Receptions
was full of paparazzi, premieres, and even a proposal. The wedding pavilion opened and the season began at Cherrywood Hall, aka Castlewood Manor, and as promised, drama, deception and debuts ensued. I mean, who knew a veil with a sordid past could cause so many problems? LOL!

Book three didn’t disappoint in this funny, action-packed, and light-hearted mystery series of Veronica Cline Barton’s. I laughed, cried, and gasped (out loud) as twists, turns…and trains took me to various destinations- England, NYC, Vail, Malibu, and even Iceland (swoon)!

Gemma’s feistiness and sense of humor never fail to tickle me and I just love her and Kyle together. Some revelations that I can’t say and meeting her father had me surprised, but as always, Veronica’s characters are super lovable and, despite his flaws, I enjoyed getting to know Dr. David Phillips.

Jillian, aka Ma-Ma, Aunt Margaret, and Evan are always fun to catch up with and the drama in this one was high, at every turn, and kept me on my toes.

This book truly had it all and I absolutely loved it. I even told V that this one was my favorite thus far. She told me to “just wait”, I know what that means! :-D

Get on board and grab this series up for murder, mystery, and so much more. I’m excited to return to Castlewood Manor for Mistletoe and Mayhem…I mean who doesn’t wanna spend Christmas in a gorgeous English estate with Gemma, Kyle and crew? I know I do!

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series 

Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills, and warms her heart...and takes her on exotic destinations (where murderers lurk) like in this book ;-) 

<![CDATA[Review for Jericho by Joshua Grant]]>Mon, 28 Oct 2019 21:42:32 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-jericho-by-joshua-grant
I just love how Joshua Grant writes horror. And of course he didn't disappoint in this one...

The Organization strikes again in the second installment of its namesake.

Jericho reaches into your deepest nightmares and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This story follows Angela Way, her brother Alex, Coby Warren and his father, Jack as they are all drawn into the folds of literal Hell on earth in Shadow Pines, where a sinister evil far more menacing than they ever imagined lies, for, once again, the Organization has its claws embedded deep into innocent lives.

Upon first entry, Shadow Pines appears to be a literal ghost town, born out of horror games, Silent Hill and Resident Evil, and the movie, The Thing, but the clandestine carnage soon comes to light as Ange, Alex, Coby and Jack, make their way into the heart of it all.

All arrows seem to be pointing them in one direction and they follow, unaware of the dark enigmas that will be revealed to them.

This one was a real page-turning, edge of your seat thriller that I found hard to put down!

As you know, I don’t do spoilers, and I won’t with this one, but if you enjoy things that go bump and conspiracies, and that things aren't exactly what they seem, then jump into this second book in Josh’s horror series and be sure to leave a light on once you do ;-)

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series 

Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills, and warms her heart... and creeps her out, like this one did! ;-) 

<![CDATA[The Writer's Block- Interview with fellow indie author, Nicol Nightingale]]>Fri, 11 Oct 2019 21:51:48 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/the-writers-block-interview-with-fellow-indie-author-nicol-nightingale
I met Nicol Nightingale on Twitter. She actually messaged me about my book, Abundance, and I was thrilled to see that she, too, was a self-published author AND that her books were post-apocalyptic pandemic thrillers (Score bonus points in my book) because as you know, I love anything zombie/post-apocalyptic/horror--especially this time of year!!! And her book sounded so much like a fictional Richard Preston novel that I was on it like flies to a cow patty (pun intended!) I literally downloaded it to my new KU account (which, if you are a reader and DON’T have this, you are missing out btw) and started reading within minutes. I was immediately drawn in. Barely 35% into the book, I messaged her and knew I needed more details on what inspired her to write this awesome novel. 

Here’s what she had to say: 

Me:   Hi Nicol, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?

I devoured books as a child and secretly harbored a desire to write my own. What I lacked was confidence.  

At 20, I attempted to write my first book during downtime at my job. When I lost my job, the novel was left on some cloud server, forgotten. After having my second child at 32, I needed to find a way to stay home with my baby and make some money. While researching ways to make money at home, I found out that I could self-publish novels on Amazon. Suddenly, the insurmountable task of getting published was only a few clicks away, so I started writing about the one other thing I loved, science. I was terrified at first about people reading my novels, but I am really happy that I finally found the confidence to show the world the stories I have floating around inside my head. 

Me:   And I’m so glad you did too! Because look what I would have missed out on if you hadn’t!!!! :-) I do understand how hard it is letting your baby fly in that big sky! That was what was holding me back too! Glad I finally toughened my spine up… 
So, what inspired you to write Black Tears?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Organismic Biology (Minor: Chemistry) and an associate’s degree in Biotechnology (Minor: Chemistry). What I found out during the several research projects I participated in was that I hate the monotony of the scientific method and I don’t have the stomach for looking at guts in real life. One of my favorite subjects in college was microbiology and I loved to watch tv shows and movies about epidemics. Once I decided to write, I knew I was going to write about wiping out most of the population with a virus. The only thing I knew when I started writing was that the book would start out at a cabin with some friends. From there, it has taken on a life of its own. 

Me: Funny how those things happen, right? LOL! 
Now, how many books will be in the HAVI virus series?

So far, I am planning on three, but the ending of book 3 will be controversial. I may end up writing another depending on the feedback I get from beta readers about book 3.
Me:  Got ya! I understand how those trilogies turn into more ;-) 
Which character in your collection is your favorite? Why?

Paige. I based her career choice and feeling about science around me, but everything else about her is unique to her. I tend to be shy and a people-pleaser in real life, so I made her outgoing and not afraid to do the right thing even when it will piss people off. She stands firm to her moral beliefs and that is my favorite thing about her. The world around her is descending into violent, selfish chaos and she fights against it to restore order and justice. 
Me:   Love it! She was amazing!! Now, did anyone in real life inspire your characters? 

Besides Paige, none of my characters in Book 1&2 are inspired by real life. One of the characters in book 3 is inspired by the TV show, Preacher. I’m adding a character based on the personality of Cassidy (the Irish, drug-addicted vampire). He is going to be a little bit of comic relief. 

Me:   Nice! I look forward to reading more about them. What are you working on now?

Currently, I have five novel ideas with working titles that I am working on, including HAVI book 3. One is a multiple POV romantic thriller called Homicidal Instinct. One POV is a killer ex-boyfriend who spies on her new relationship and plans their murder. Tell Me No Lies is a novel about two people with opposite special abilities. One can see the truth when people lie and the other can make anyone believe any lie. The Goddess Among us is about a Goddess that is bored of being a Goddess and decides to try life as a human with no memory that she is a Goddess. The last one is called Almost an Angel and it is the first book in a YA series about a Nephilim (product of angel and human).

Me:   How cool! All those sound intriguing!!!! Tell us a little about your writing process? 

I think my writing process in a work in progress. When I wrote the first book, I just sat down and the story flowed out of me without much planning. I researched as needed. The second book was a little more difficult. I had to develop a note system to keep track of everything. The third book is by far the most difficult. I had no choice but to start outlining and create a OneNote to keep track of everything going on. Rebuilding the world, planning a war, and revealing the plans of secret organization is not an easy task. 

Me:   Yes, I think you develop your own way as you go and what works for one doesn’t work for all! But whatever gets the job done, right?! :-D 
What drew you to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre?

It is my favorite genre to watch and read. Normal day to day life is so boring to me. Five days at work. Two days off… until you die. It all seems so pointless. Sometimes I think there must be something wrong with me because I get almost giddy at the mention of something that could wipe out the human race. Part of me wants to live in an post-apocalyptic world, but the rational part of my brain knows that it would not be as fun as I think it would be. I guess I just want life to mean more than getting the newest iphone and an apocalypse always does that.
Me:   LOL! That’s probably why fiction was even invented so that we got an escape from the “rat race” as I like to call it! So, who are your favorite authors/books?

Jane Austin, Sherlock Holmes, Dean Koontz, Jude Deveraux, Janet Evanovich, DJ Molles (The Remaining Series), and Bobby Adair (Slow Burn series).

Me:   Awesome! I read a bit of everything myself too. Now, what do you personally love about writing?

Everything but editing. One of my favorite parts about reading is getting to spend time in another world. Writing allows me to spend even more time in other worlds and make money doing it. 

Me:  Ha, ha, yes! I love writing and reading and yes, editing is the BANE of my existence LOL! So, what are you looking forward before years’ end?

I am hoping to have HAVI Book 3 and one other book released or at least in beta reading stage. 

Me: Well, I wish you all the best and I look forward to continuing your series...and the other WIPs. Thanks so much for being my guest tonight!! 
Nicol’s BIO 
I have always loved to read. I've spent half of my life inside the fictional worlds of one book or another. What I loved most about reading was that it takes you to another place, where you can have adventures and experiences that real life sometimes makes impossible. Whenever I would finish a series, it was like I lost friends in real life.

I pursued a bachelor's degree in organismic biology with a minor in chemistry and a associate's degree in biotechnology. Everything was in place to become a scientist. After I graduated though, I felt lost. Six years of college education and I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Apocalyptic and dystopian novels were my favorite thing to read, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to read next either.

So, one day, I decided to simply write one instead. As soon as I started typing on the keyboard, I couldn't stop. Every day from the moment I got up in the morning, until late into the night, I would write. I realized that writing was even more fun than reading. Hours passed like minutes. The feeling of discontent and lack of purpose went away. I know this is what I meant to do. I'm just sad that it took me so long to find the courage to do it.
I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Find me on social media to find out about upcoming novels.


Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series

Where swoony cowboys await to take your breath away...and fellow indie authors, like Nicol, are always supported ;-) 

<![CDATA[Review for Black Tears: HAVI Virus Book 1 by Nicol Nightingale]]>Wed, 25 Sep 2019 01:42:10 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-black-tears-havi-virus-book-1-by-nicol-nightingale
5 Pandemic Stars

This book was so refreshing, new and different!
It was The Last of Us meets Outbreak

This post apocalyptic novel follows young adult, Paige Anderson, a scientist who goes on a spar-of-the-moment summer vacation with her friends when a deadly and incredibly fast-moving pandemic breaks out worldwide practically overnight. 

What starts out as a fun reunion of old friends, soon becomes a fight for her life as she tries to survive--attempting to avoid both the HAVI flu virus and the chaos of the world as they once knew it left in its wake--alongside romantic interest, swoony Navy S.E.A.L. Keith Reynolds. 

I loved everything about this book. It was entertaining, heart-wrenching, funny, and down-right heart-pounding. I loved the connection between Paige and Keith, the friendship between Sarah and Paige, and the world building and character building in general. Ms. Nightingale did a fabulous job covering all the bases and describing both the virus and the state of the world in the days following the outbreak. 

It was realistic and well-written, and left me in both awe and intrigue. 

If you’re looking for a page turner of viral proportions, grab this book today and get lost on the pages of Black Tears. You’ll soon see what I mean!

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series 

Shanna loves a good book that thrills, chills, and warms her heart...and ones about intriguing viruses too ;-) 


Book Reviews
The Writer's Block Indie Author Interviews

<![CDATA[Review for Saddler's Secret by Nicole Rodrigues]]>Fri, 20 Sep 2019 01:36:37 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-saddlers-secret-by-nicole-rodrigues
5 Top Secret Stars for Saddler's Secret

OMG! Ladies (and Gents) prepare yourselves for your next amazing romance series by the swoon-queen Nicole Rodrigues. She’s got another set of dynamic characters guaranteed to have you falling in love.

Genevieve Langston has just lost her best friend… Now, she’s heading back home to Arizona on a flight with a three-year old child that isn’t hers by blood and she trying so very hard to keep it together.

Enter MJ who instantly becomes her knight in shining armor on the plane ride from NY. He calms Mackenzie so easily, comforts Gen, and recommends her for a job in Arizona not far from where she’s going to be living. It’s as if all the cards have aligned in just the right way. He’s the perfect guardian angel that Gen needs in her time of sorrow.

As the months pass, Genevieve flourishes at Saddle Enterprises alongside co-owner and sister, Rochelle Saddler, of the head honcho himself, Machlin Saddler, whom Gen originally admired from afar as an absolute genius entrepreneur. But upon meeting Mac, he’s nothing but an arrogant chauvinistic womanizer, one Gen wants nothing to do with following her embarrassing confrontation with him.

With new intern Adam starting at her company and feeling an instant connect, Gen must fight off Machlin’s persistent advances, all the while balancing the life of a new mom, befriending the comical Rochelle, trying to keep her mother from drowning in her own sorrow and maintain her sanity. But now she’s working side by side with Machlin and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid his intriguing gaze.

This book was so well-written; it’s hilarious, emotional, sexy, swoony and totally unexpected. You’ll love Gen’s feistiness--she reminds me of my female character Jordan a lot--and you can completely relate to her and her plight, and Mac is a man you’ll love to hate and grow to love for he’s not quite what he seems. The whole Saddler family was introduced in this book and each of them is uniquely lovable in their own way. Rochelle is a total hoot and I can’t wait to read her story.

Nicole leaves you feeling gooey, surprised, and shows you that things aren’t always what they appear to be in this wonderful start to a series that I’m super excited about. And you should be too.

Saddler has a big secret… Don’t you wanna know what it is? ;-)

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series 

Shanna loves a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart...and ones with cocky assholes like Machlin Saddler ;-)


Book Reviews
The Writer's Block Indie Author Interviews

<![CDATA[The Writer's Block- Interview with fellow indie author, Ivy McAdams]]>Thu, 29 Aug 2019 21:01:21 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/the-writers-block-interview-with-fellow-indie-author-ivy-mcadams
I grew up watching westerns with my father. Man, did he love a good western...and a good book too, as far as that goes. Ivy posted her blurb for Kidnapped by an Outlaw on The Writing Gals Facebook page to get some feedback and as soon as I read over it, I knew I had I would be checking her series out when it was ready. Upon grabbing this adventurous historical romance novel just a week after its release, I simply had to ask her what inspired her to write it. 
Here’s what she had to say: 
Me:   Hi Ivy, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?

Hey Shanna! I’m currently roasting in the heat of Florida, so there’s that. I live about ten miles from the Gulf of Mexico, but I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t give two craps about the beach. For shame. :) I love the mountains and wide-open spaces instead, which show up a good deal in my books.
I’m a wife and a mom, the most important parts of me other than being a writer. Of course, those parts make my writing take ten times longer! :) I’ve always wanted to write books though. My mother told me I wrote my first book in preschool when I was five. When she came to pick me up, I was finishing it and asked her how to spell “illustrator.” Strange kid, teehee.
I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with writing since, I suppose. Dreams crushed by reality, life gets in the way, have to get a real job. All that. But now my dreams are here to stay, and I’m quite happy about that.

Me:   LOL! Nice. What inspired you to write Kidnapped by an Outlaw?

I write in many different genres, but I’ve always loved to read romance, so I wanted to make the plunge into that area. There’s something rugged and very appealing about cowboys to me, so I knew I wanted to hit that first (pun intended, perhaps). I have a lot of stories plotted for this little made-up town in Wyoming, but the thought of opening things up with the bad boys sounded like a lot of fun, and so Kidnapped by an Outlaw led the way.

Me: Haha, I understand the obsession with cowboys (wink wink) Now, how many books will be in the series?

Total? I’m not sure yet. I have lots of plans! There are four books written right now, and I have immediate plans for three more. There are tentative plans for some past that, so as long as readers still enjoy it, I’ll keep visiting Emerald Falls.
Me:  That’s awesome. An open-ended series, I love that! Which character in your collection is your favorite? Why?

Oh, man. Which of my children are my favorite? That’s cruel. :) I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to pick I’d say Clay. He’s the hero from the first book, Kidnapped by an Outlaw. He is just yummy. He’s definitely an outlaw and a little broody, but he’s also very sweet and protective of the heroine. Plus, you should see him in my head...
Me:   Ah, yes, I loved Clay. He was the perfect albeit sweet alpha outlaw. So, did anyone in real life inspire your characters? 

I tend to pull character traits and backstories from all over, but I almost never model a character after someone I know on a large scale. I do grab photos of celebrities that make me swoon for my heroes though.

Me:  I understand. I do the same. Now, have you ever been to Wyoming? Are the places in your book real or made up?  

I have! I love it there. The air is fresh, the views are spectacular, and the weather is wonderful. So different from Florida. 
Some of the areas in my books, like the Absaroka mountain range and the city of Sheridan, are real and mentioned to give the general area of northern Wyoming, but the town of Emerald Falls is fictional (as are two other places only mentioned so far, St. Aspen and Hollard). 
Me:   I love that!! Wyoming and Montana are on my bucket list. So, what are you working on now?

I’m doing the last bits of editing on a prequel for the series. Then I’m going to pick up a new project for a bit, get my feet wet and see how I like it, before I continue on with Emerald Falls Book Four. I’m excited about both!
Me:   Very cool! Tell us a little about your writing process? 

I like to plot, and I like to determine what my cover is going to look like. That means I spend time figuring out who my characters are and what they want, as well as digging up photos that capture them for me. It’s helpful to look at a photo (or even a completed cover) to help me get back into a couple’s flow. I write fast and edit slowly, which is irksome but necessary.
Me:   Nice. My cover is actually the last thing I do, so that’s interesting that you do yours first. What drew you to the historical romance genre?

I like “simpler time” stories. Things are so fast paced these days. It stresses me out sometimes. It’s nice to go back to a time when living life was a little slower. It may have been more dangerous, but hey, tomato tomahto, right? I like the restrictions it puts on my characters too. There are more rules about relationships and marriage, and someone can’t just pick up a cell phone and make problems all better. Hello, conflict!

Me:   Haha, yes and I agree. Would have loved to live during a “simpler” yet tougher time. Who are your favorite authors/books?

This is always so hard for me… I’m so spread across the genres. Let’s try this: Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Kelley Armstrong and her Otherworld series, Jean M. Auel, Nicholas Evans, Kristen Ashley, Nora Roberts, Ruby Dixon, Craig Johnson, Sara Gruen.
Me:   Nice :-) What do you personally love about writing?

It’s like reading a book, letting yourself get lost in another world. Living the life of another person in another land. You suddenly have skills or problems you never had before, and you have to figure out how to overcome them. Writing is grasping that excitement of reading and taking it to the next level. Not only do I get to explore new worlds and characters, but I get to make the decisions. Building a story from the inside out is a blast.
Me:  Yes. Writing is the best! What are you looking forward to before the end of 2019?

Having my cowboy books come out in paperback in September. I can’t wait to have them on my shelf! And to have a second series growing in a new fun romance category. I’m so looking forward to getting those books out. Onward and upward, 2019!
Me:  Thank you so much for “being here” tonight, Ivy. Best of luck to you and your Emerald Falls Series. I know lovers of historical romance and cowboys will enjoy your series for sure. I certainly did! 
Ivy McAdams wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up.

She may reside on the beaches of Florida, but her heart lives in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. She grew up dreaming of horses, playing cowboys and indians on her grandfather's farm, and curling up on the couch with him to watch westerns. Cowboys have been her heroes ever since.

Ivy loves the warm feelings and happily ever afters of a romance novel and has married her passions together to bring you historical western romance stories.

When not writing, she's taking care of two beautiful girls and teaching them to adore books as much as she did growing up. She can't wait until they're big enough to dress in cowboy hats and ride horses with her.

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series

Shanna enjoys reading about cowboys, historical or otherwise ;-) and supports her fellow indies, like Ivy McAdams 


Book Reviews
The Writer's Block Indie Author Interviews

<![CDATA[The Writer's Block- Interview with fellow indie author, Nicole Scarano]]>Thu, 22 Aug 2019 22:15:49 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/the-writers-block-interview-with-fellow-indie-author-nicole-scarano
I had the pleasure of meeting the highly talented Nicole Scarano on Twitter. I'd added her book to my Goodreads TBR stack long before it was recommended to me by my fellow indie author, J.D. Park. As soon as I saw that it was about Greek mythology, I jumped on that baby like a desert dweller to a bucket of water. With each page I read, I knew I was in the midst of a fascinating tale, and Ms. Scarano didn't disappoint. After reading it, I knew I had to ask her what inspired her to write it. Here's what she had to say:  

Me:   Hi Nicole. Thanks so much for being my guest tonight. I’m honored to have you here on my blog. Tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?

    Hi! Thank you for having me here. I am an indie author of Pomegranate which is a fantasy twist on the Hades and Persephone myth. My day job is video editing. I am a hard core dog mom and love rescued pitbulls. I adopted China five years ago, and her adorably sweet personality made me fall so in love with the breed.
    In high school, my dream was to move to L.A. and become a script writer and film director. I loved film and television (still do) and wanted to be a part of the movie magic. I wrote my first full length script in high school and my second in college. By the time I graduated with a degree in film, I had discovered while I loved all aspects of filmmaking, my true love was storytelling. Every movie or show starts with story. Without writers, we have no entertainment.  

Me:   Amen to that. I wanted to do movie makeup as I kid and would still love to do anything involving film. So, I gotta ask- What inspired you to write Pomegranate? Where did you get the idea to turn Hades into a woman? 

    I started Pomegranate as a script in college, but the story dates even further back. It has been over ten years since I first came up with the idea to write a reinvention of the Greek myths centering on Hades as a woman, but to be honest I cannot remember where exactly the idea started or what made me think of it. I have always loved the gods of death, though. Anubis, Hel, Hades. I love anti-heroes, villains, and darkness. Hades was always a god hated for his rule of the Underworld, but according to legend he was the more straightforward god. Unlike Zeus he didn’t often meddle in human affairs, seduce multiple women, or lie. He tended to do what he said he would, and I loved the idea that this man history hated was probably one of the more honorable god. I wanted to write a script with Hades as the MC, but I love female protagonists, so I’m sure that had something to do with the gender change.

Me: That is so super cool! I love it!! And I, too, have always been fascinated by the Egyptian and Greek gods too. (If I ever have another dog, it’s gonna be a Doberman named Anubis) Now,  I bet you had to do a great deal of research on this novel before writing it. Did you plot everything out or did you just let the pages take you away and see where it was going to go?

    Yes and no. Of course I had to research each myth and know what the originals told and work them into the plot, but the great thing about re-inventing myths is that you only have to know the basics before you write your own version. When Pomegranate first started, it was right after college, and it began as a script. I did not outline and by the time Hades meets Keres (for those of you who have read this you know how soon into the book it is) I felt the idea was good, but it was going in a direction I did not like. I deleted everything, wrote an outline, and then turned it into a book. I outline everything to this day, even shorts.

Me:  Good point. How long did it take you to write this book? 

    About six years. I started it after college and wrote a lot at first, but I got a full-time job, adopted China, and eventually started dating someone seriously. I kept finding less and less time to work, and Pomegranate got abandoned. It always seemed like an impossible dream. Then two-and-a-half years ago, I went through a rough patch and felt I was floundering in life. I got a tattoo of a line of dialogue I wrote; partially because I love it and partially because in essence it is about facing the impossible and fighting anyway. I picked Pomegranate back up and have not stopped writing since.

Me:  I understand one hundred percent. Abundance was written well over fifteen years ago, and my own personal struggles helped give me the courage to publish. So, which character in your book is your favorite-- Besides Kerberos ;-) LOL? Why?

    Hades. I adore her. She is so much a part of me. Sometimes when I write I feel Nicole is gone and only Hades exists. She is so badass and loving. To me she is the best part of the book. I love Alkaios cause I mean, how can you not? I also love Keres and Charon. Keres is the friend we all want, and Charon is this surrogate father to Hades, guiding her through her new godhood.

Me:   I love it and love all those characters too. Now, did anyone in real life inspire your characters? Hades? Alkaios? 

    Hades definitely is inspired by me. I did not write her as a biography or even do this on purpose, she just evolved that way. She is partially who I am, and who I want to be. Kerberos is inspired by China, my rescued pitbull. People dislike the breed or fear them, and these dogs are often mistreated. China came to me so shut down and anxious. She does not trust easily, but once you bond (and she is so sweet and bonds with almost everyone) she is loyal and full of love. Kerberos and Hades have a similar relationship. He is feared and hated and doesn’t trust easily, but with Hades, he is a big bed-hog puppy… with three heads, a leathery hide, and razor spikes

Me:   I love it. Dogs are the best. What are you working on now?

    The sequel to Pomegranate. It is so close to being done and should hit sometime later this year. I also have a YA Dystopian in the works as well as a romance novella.

Me:   Awesome! What drew you to the fantasy genre?

    I have a weird relationship with genres. I never set out to write any certain genre. I just come up with a story and then go ‘I guess this is what it is’. Most of my stuff stays in the fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian/apocalyptic genre, but I tend to genre blend. I love doing this. Pomegranate is Fantasy Historical Fiction, and my next series will be a sci-fi fantasy.

Me:   Ha ha, you sound like me, I never set out to write a specific genre either, but it is what it is, right? So, who are your favorite authors/books?

    Thunderhead (sequel to Scythe) by Neal Shusterman
    Red Rising by Pierce Brown
    Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
    The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Me:   Hmm, I’ll have to check those out! What do you personally love about writing?

    The ability to live lives that are impossible, exciting, and beautiful. I love so much about writing and reading, but I think one of the most magical parts of a book is its ability to transport us into these adventures. Real life often is composed of endless days that consist of waking up, going to the office, coming home to errands, cleaning, cooking to go to bed and repeat. Writing and books open up worlds to you; adventures and romance. I love living through their stories. I also love a good plot. There is something about a plot so well crafted that I cannot guess the ending. An interesting soulful story sticks with you, and I want to give my version of those stories to the world.

Me:  Amen to that!! What are you looking forward to before year’s end?

       Pitchfork finally being published! This sequel is two years in the making. I have written shorts for contest and a novella all to hone my skill, and this new book really shows my growth as an author. I cannot wait.

Me: That makes two of us, Nicole. I am super excited to read book 2. You have a true talent. Thanks so much for ‘hanging out with me’, I wish you all the best :-)
Nicole Scarano is an avid Audible listener, book reader, and TV lover and therefore loves the art of storytelling.  She is the author of "Pomegranate" which follows Hades rise from mortal woman to god of the underworld.  By day she is a video editor and dog walker, and in her spare time she is working on two novels, a novella, and any other short story that comes to mind while her rescued pitbull, China, keeps her company.

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series

Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart...and supporting her fellow indies, like Nicole Scarano ;-) 


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<![CDATA[Review for Kidnapped by an Outlaw by Ivy McAdams]]>Mon, 12 Aug 2019 21:05:54 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-kidnapped-by-an-outlaw-by-ivy-mcadams
5 outstanding stars for Kidnapped by an Outlaw 

Ivy McAdams is a new to me author and this debut novel set the pace for a fun series that I look forward to getting lost in. 

As a fellow cowboy and adventure lover, the blurb to this book grabbed me right away. It’d been a hot minute since I’d read a historical romance novel and this one just sounded too fun to miss out on. 

Sadie Turner is riding the train on her way back home with her father, who has just stepped out for air, when the unthinkable happens. Train robbers are headed her way down the aisle. Two of them to be exact, and one with the bluest eyes she’s ever seen. (What girl ain’t a sucker for some sexy baby blues, am I right?) Next thing Sadie knows, Papa has a gun to his head and she’s being taken outside to jump from a moving train.

What follows is an adventure into the wild west as Sadie is taken into an outlaw gang’s camp as a prisoner, her soon to be marriage to a well-off rancher’s son now on the line, and a ransom note is being sent to her last remaining family back in Emerald Falls. Not to mention the budding love interest from one of the outlaws who’s taken her captive. After all, Clay Pearson is handsome, broad-shouldered, and gives Sadie butterflies each time he looks at her. 

These two were a match made in Heaven as Sadie soon realizes that life might just be more exciting on the other side of the train tracks than she ever imagined it could be.

I loved watching these two lovers find themselves while falling for one another- Sadie’s strength and perseverance and Clay’s kindness and protectiveness towards her. He was so swoony!

If you love a good historic outlaw love story with excitement then grab this one up. You won’t be disappointed. I’m excited to head back to Emerald Falls for book 2 in the series, Ginny’s story, Seduced by a Wrangler

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series

Shanna loves a good book that thrills, chills, and warms her heart...and has her jumping off moving trains onto horse's backs with a good-looking outlaw too ;-) 


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<![CDATA[Review for Reckless by Evelyn Montgomery]]>Thu, 08 Aug 2019 01:38:07 GMThttp://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-for-reckless-by-evelyn-montgomery
Edgy, spicy, sexy- that’s what Reckless is…

Take a trip to the Big Easy in this endearing, raw and steamiest of the three reads in the Kismet series. Evelyn Montgomery has taken the Kismet series to a new level in this one, folks. New Orleans is H-O-T.

This book follows Rex Roberts and Gwen Coppola whom we were introduced to in books 1 and 2. 

Gwen is the best friend of Evelyn Monroe (now Stewart) and the spunky redhead with a tragic past that haunts her and a secret that has kept her from true love for over a decade now. 

Rex Roberts is Noah Stewart’s best friend, and well, Eve’s too for that matter, and he’s surreptitiously loved Gwen since they were teenagers. But he too has a big secret he has yet to get to share with her, a secret that has eaten him up every day since Gwen’s twin sister’s death.  

These two lovers reconnect at the airport bar on their way home from Eve and Noah’s wedding. And we all know what bottled up feelings and a little booze will do (wink wink) and Rex and Gwen see this as kismet and choose not to let the opportunity pass them by.

However, Gwen wakes the next morning and decides not to be made a fool of… after all, how could she allow Rex to get back into her bed once again and so close to her heart? So, she bails before he has a chance to hurt her once more.  

Rex somehow has run Gwen off, she eludes him and has for so many years. Why is it that he can’t seem to get things right and tell her how he really feels? How do they keep screwing things up? 

Enter New Orleans, Gwen is there on business and coincidentally Rex (and his newest club) just happens to be her next client. Is this for real? 

Gwen and Rex collide in this spicy romance novel. Two stubborn souls who were meant to be together, souls that fate just keeps throwing itself at hoping they will finally work their shit out and get together, but these two are as hard-headed as the foundations of the French Quarter and it’s gonna take a lot to convince the other of their true intentions. 

I loved getting to reconnect with Noah and Eve and see how happy they were. I also loved the descriptions of New Orleans and the angst building in this book, and the ending was perfect. I laughed, I cried and I was yelling at Gwen and Rex a good bit, but after all love is complicated and these two have never come clean with each other…until now. The truth hurts and a tragic past is not always an easy pill to swallow. 

So, if you’re looking for a good summer read that’s as spicy as cajun crawfish étouffée then grab this one and eat it up! 

Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series

Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills, and warms her heart...and one that takes her to the Big Easy like this one did. 


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