Massive Charity Auction for Writers & Readers

Hey, gang! Just want to quickly share news about the epic charity auction we're running over at NA Alley. There are some unbelievable items up for grabs. And the cause couldn't be better.

Hope you'll take a minute to check it out (and hope you score something awesome!). Also, please share if you get the chance. Every little bit can help this awesome young woman.


A One of a Kind Charity Auction for Writers & Readers

NA Alley is pleased to announce our first industry-wide goodwill campaign. We have partnered with an all-star list of donors and the Join Queena project to host a one of a kind charity auction for Queena--an inspiring young woman, whose life was touched by tragedy.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to watch this video and familiarize yourself with this beautiful person, her struggles, and her triumphs

Then, for five days only (April 27 - May 1st), stop by and bid on some epic items and bundles. Including:

  • Critiques from literary agents Sara Megibow & Cassie Hanjian 
  • Author education courses and consultations from Authors Training Authors, Stand up-Stand Out-Rake It In, Plot Whisperer, and more!
  • Top rated publishing and writing software from Save The Cat, Scrivener, & Vellum.
  • Design & promotional services from Lola’s Blog Tours, Colbert Creative Forward Authority, BookGraphics, and StoryFinds.
  • Editorial consultations & services from respected industry pros
  • Autographed books from bestselling authors
  • A VIP pass to UtopYA reader/writer conference
  • And much, much more!
Follow the event on Facebook and join us there for a wrap-up party full of fun and giveaways, Friday, May 1st.

For all the event details, check out

On behalf of Queena, her family, our donors, and NA Alley, we thank you for your contributions. Happy bidding! 


A one of a kind charity auction for readers & writers via @NAAlleyBlog #QuestForQueena

Bid now on critiques from fab lit agents @saramegibow & @cjhanjian #CharityAuction #amwriting #pubtip

Cover Reveal - Nick Wilford's A Change of Mind & Other Stories

Hey, gang! Popping in to say "hello again" and share a cover for an upcoming release from our good blogging friend and author, Nick Wilford.

Congrats, Nick! Wishing you all the success.

Hope the rest of you are doing great and writing lots,


A Change of Mind and Other Stories

Author: Nick Wilford

Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction

Cover Design: Rebekah Romani

Release Date: May 25th 2015

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog or on Goodreads or Twitter.

Fantasy Fans Gather Round!


Hey, gang! I'm back to share some great news. My author pal, D.A. Botta, has just released the fourth book in his Elyzian Chronicles saga, Hexametyr. DA has a great sense of humor and takes his craft seriously, so I have no reservations recommending this one to folks. :)

To celebrate the launch, I'm helping spread the word about the entire series, beginning with book #1, Hysterata. Here's the skinny:

Emily Hobbs is off to Salem State College when a chance encounter with a fortuneteller changes everything. Emily is transported to the realm of Elyzia and learns that she is, in fact, one of the most powerful witches in existence.

Madame Lavache, the strict headmistress of Cedalion Covenstead, has her sights set on Emily. In her desperate cling to power, Lavache attempts to protect her tyranny by invoking sinister forces, including bloodthirsty pirates and The Devil himself, to rid Elyzia of the rebellious witch.

Along with her companions – an old hermit, a small coven of witches, and their totems – Emily sets out on a collision course with destiny.

Just as the tarot foretold.

A powerful witch
A simple tarot read
And all hell breaks loose

The Elyzian Chronicles 

Hysteriata - Book 1
Sinfluence - Book 2
Sycamortem - Book 3
Hexametyr - Book 4

You can enter for a chance to win the entire series below! Here's a little more about D.A. -

D A Botta has written four New Adult Fantasy novels, The Elyzian Chronicles, and has also published a collection of poems There in Them Blues. D A is currently working on a New Adult Mystery series, Seriously Confidant, projected for debut in the fall of 2015. D A is a Fantasy Representative for NA Alley and frequents #NALitChat on Twitter. When not writing, D A plays guitar and dabbles in graphic design. D A lives with his family in Massachusetts.

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Quick Update & Thank You

Hello, gang. I've been VERY quiet here on the blog the last several weeks as I've worked through some things in my personal life--many of you know about it if you're connected with me elsewhere.

Anyway, I haven't jumped the blogging ship completely, I'm just try to manage things as best I can.

I cannot say how much your words of support and encouragement have meant during these rough stretches. I also want to say thank you to everyone stopping by for the Blitz and the excellent Soak-a-Bloke, Realms Faire fun.

Y'all have definitely added a spark to my week! :)

I'll be back to blogging real soon,


Author Interview - L.G. Kelso, FIERCE

Hey, gang! I'm coming to you with a rare weekend post to share an interview I did recently with author L.G. Kelso. L.G. is a good friend and a talented author, plus FIERCE is a truly unique book that features a tough as nails heroine. So I know you'll love her and it!

5 Questions With Author L.G. Kelso

EJ - Your novel, FIERCE, is about a woman chasing her dream of being an MMA fighter. It's a struggle for her both inside and outside of the ring. Any similarities between her journey and your journey to become a published author? (I know I've had my ass kicked in this business more than once. :)

LG - What a great question. I hadn't really thought of it, but I think you could say yes. Tori faces a lot of doubt and negativity from external sources, and I think that is something every writer faces, no matter what stage of the publication process. Both areas get a lot of criticism, and certain MMA groups are more respected than others (similar to the various kind of publishing and stigmas still attached to them). 

If I had to give one, solid answer it would be this: Tori had to fight to become who she is and she struggles with that identity. Publishing her story was a fight in some ways, because she isn't what the market "is" and doesn't fit the market mold. I think while Tori worked to accept who she is, I had to work to accept what I wanted for the book and strive to get it. Tori tries to fit in and it's rough, in both the MMA world and the "regular" world (as she calls it), and that's because of her history and her experiences, and that same characterization did add to the struggle of publication.

EJ - FIERCE uses a confrontational sport to take on some very real and complex social issues. (Notably, the struggles of women who wish to feel empowered and be respected for their actions--not necessarily categorized by their gender first.) As a writer, what were some the challenges in bringing that to the page? Anything you'd approach differently next time around?

LG - Confrontational sport. I like that term. It's very accurate, and women aren't normally associated with "confrontation". Actually putting those struggles and issues on the page wasn't an issue. The challenge was making sure that both the highs and the lows were there, that readers would see these very real problems but also see the very real beauty of it. For being one of the most popular sports in the US right now, MMA is often misunderstood. Does it have problems? Oh, yes. So do many other male-dominated sports. But there is also lots of beauty in it, and I didn't want people to judge it solely based off the problems, but I also didn't want to sugar coat it. I did in some ways as far as language is concerned, but I didn't want to sugar-coat the issues.

EJ - You box in real life. You get five minutes in the ring to take out your frustrations on any one part of the writing/publishing process What is it? Why?

LG - Can I pick two? I just can't pick one. What would I chose:

1) The stigma associated with the various forms of publishing. I hate this stigma of traditional verses indie. I hate the misconception that indie authors are forced to go indie and don't have choices. I know most of us do, and even those that feel like it is their only choice, well, that doesn't mean their work shouldn't be seen! If anything, this publishing journey has taught me how different our tastes are and that there is little reason to judge another work when it comes to things that are subjective, because it may not work for me but it may be the best thing ever for you. The stigma goes even deeper than just the indie vs. traditional. I've seen it with digital only imprints and so on. It needs to stop.

2) Marketing. I'm not a good self-pimper (yes, I said that, just go with it). I really enjoy certain aspects of marketing-like making teasers. Time suck of my life, people. Love making teasers. And I did a program on gender-stereotypes that was really enjoyable and could fall into the marketing side of things. Overall, though, I hate being like "BUY MY BOOK!" Also, I would prefer to be writing instead of pimping, so you know...

EJ - FIERCE is technically New Adult fiction (though it could definitely fit in upper YA, because it's not erotic or overly sexy). You encountered some interesting resistance creating the main character, Tori. What do you think a writer's role is in reshaping social and reader perceptions/expectations? Can we really walk a line between authenticity--or progressiveness--and mass appeal? Or do you have to sacrifice some of one for the other? 

LG - Yes, it is technically NA (college-aged kids with NA themes) but I do feel it fits into upper YA as well. Tori is not the mold, and that was one reason that I decided the publishing route I did, because changing Tori drastically enough to fit the mold would have meant not only changing the story on a huge scale, but also would lose the ave authenticity. Tori grew up in the fighting world, and that really did create her persona. 

I do think we can walk that line. I think we do have a duty to help reshape reader expectations. If we as writers don't give readers that diversity, then how will anyone know if anyone wants to read it or not? If that's not even an option, or a very limited one, of course it's not going to have mass market appeal just because of the fact it's not greatly available. 

I do think that if you want to fit into the mold of what is currently a big deal in the mass market, then sometimes authenticity does have to be sacrificed. I, for one, can't do that. Honesty is something that is important to my writing. I'm not saying that every big name book and author out there sacrificed any authenticity, but I do think some of them have had to. The only way to change that is for writers to not being willing to do that, and that's a whole different discussion since we're talking about peoples paychecks here.

In short, I do think we can walk that line and I think walking that line is going to be the way we can, even if gradually, help grow and diversify reader expectations.

EJ - Last question, and our favorite! Where can we find FIERCE and more information on your writing endeavors?

All about FIERCE--

New Adult Contemporary Sports Romance 

Tori's MMA career was taking off ... until she beat the wrong man. Her training partner, nursing a bruised ego, snapped—shattering her trust and confidence.

Three years later, Tori’s keeping her fists to herself as she struggles to put herself through college. But when a group of gangbangers hassle her at work, old habits kick in and her fists fly. Max Estrada, a frequent diner customer, steps in and gets them out of hot water, but Tori is still fired... days before tuition is due.

With no other option, she’s forced to take a desk job at her old pounding grounds, where her demons still haunt the cage and the temptation to go glove-to-glove with familiar pro-fighter, Max Estrada, is too much. The sexy Colombian draws her back into the world of MMA and revives her dreams of becoming a professional face-puncher—until Will, her old partner and current Middleweight Champion, struts back into the gym. The secret they share is an unexpected liability to his career, and he's determined to keep her silent.

With her life on the ropes, Tori will have to face the past for a shot at winning back her future, or carry the weight of a loss even greater than before.

Praise for FIERCE

"A unique twist on the fighter trope-- FIERCE is a compelling, original read with my favorite kind of heroine (a kick-ass one)."

- New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Carmack

"If you're looking for a strong heroine who stands out in the New Adult contemporary world, L.G. Kelso's Fierce is the book for you. Why I loved it: A complex heroine dealing with inner and external obstacles; a romance that isn't the character's main goal (though it is hot!); powerful voice and an authentic journey into the MMA world."

-Diana Gallagher, author of What Happens in Water (Fall 2015, Spencer Hill Press)

Fierce Links: | Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | SmashWords | Pinterest | GoodReads | Website

About the Author

L.G. Kelso is a fantasy and contemporary novelist. Having grown up watching Xena and Hercules with her grandmother, she inherited her passion for all things magic, paranormal and mythological. She also has a probably unhealthy obsession with martial arts, and as a boxer she strives to give readers an authentic view of MMA in her contemporary sports novels. | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | NA Alley| GoodReads | Pinterest | Amazon