Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spotlight Feature on Sarah M. Ross!!

Let’s give a super warm welcome to our guest reviewer today, Katy Austin, from Book Dream Land!  Katy is so awesome and we thank her so much for helping us during this event!! Please, make sure you leave her a comment and show some love for both her and Sarah M. Ross!!  You can find her on Facebook & Her Blog!

Review of Echo of an Earth Angel

I got this book to review for a blog stop and boy was I excited to finally dig my eyeballs into this book! First off, Congrats Sarah! This book is beyond smashing! It had me hooked from page one, all the way til the end, when it left me begging for more (evil eyes for such a cliffhanger)!
Sarah’s take on angels was very refreshing and I really enjoyed it!   I also really love this set of characters! Their sense of humor was very funny! Tessa is the main character who has a near death experience and is saved by a handsome angel named David. He saves her by healing her injuries but does so much that he turns her into a healer! You get to follow Tessa on the path of accepting her parent’s death, meeting this mysterious David, finding out that she’s now a Healer Angel, and trying to save David from Nico and his punishments (a little tidbit, but that’s not all there is either!)!!

Oh and let’s not forget about David! He is definitely my new book crush!! I fully enjoyed reading about the love slowly growing between him and Tessa throughout the book. Another great character is her best-friend/roommate Morgan, who is thrown into the mix when she gets kidnapped by an ugly angel who thinks that she is his wife reincarnated.  Tessa and David must save her before something bad happens. It was an up and down roller-coaster and I was willing myself to read faster so I could find out what twist was next! I really think this is going to be a promising series! All in all I found this a wonderful, easy read with lots of twists and I am dying for the next book!

Review of Awaken

Being a fan of Sarah's writing already, I was ready and willing to jump into this book. I was not let down, that's for sure! I was sucked straight into this book! This was such a breath of fresh air, with a new twist on paranormal, which was amazing! Warning!! Once you start, you won’t be stopping anytime soon! I was up until 1 am, finishing this book!!!! One of those page turners you lose time with, and when I hit the end, I thought my nook had broken! With a cliffhanger that will have you racing to buy book two, Avenge, you won’t be disappointed.

Again, Sarah has built a cast of characters that are well written and relate-able. I really like each and every one of them for different reasons.  It has tons of emotion and action all through the book, and twists you'd never expect!
Lucy is the main character who gets killed and wakes up, not in heaven or hell, but in a realm that exists between, and has been picked to be part of the Patronus. You follow her on her roller-coaster ride of finding her place there, figuring out her connection with hottie Max, and training to save her 11 year old sister’s soul from the vampires who want to get rid of Lucy for her power!

I think my favorite character might have been Cassie, Lucy’s roommate, and the only female Patronus for 50 years until Lucy came along! She had a lot of spunk and cracked me up on more than one page! Again, I will say I love how she spreads out the back stories of each character, and everything throughout the book ,in such a manner that you couldn't wait to keep reading and find out where else it connected to! Overall, great story line, great characters that always kept you on your toes, and will have you flipping pages! On to book 2...

Are you ready for Avenge!?!?
 Six months ago, Lucy Donovan thought that being killed by a drunk driver was the worst thing that could happen to her.

She was wrong.

Now, the person she loves most has been ripped away from her, soul held hostage, and Lucy has vowed to stop at nothing to get it back.

Part of a new team with enhanced powers, Lucy and her friends begin a quest to avenge the souls that have been stolen. Enemies of the Patronus have united, however, and a spy from within the Patronus realm is feeding the enemy their every move.

When a mission goes horribly wrong, Lucy’s soul becomes compromised. It will take a strength she didn’t know was within her to escape the darkness, return to the light and avenge the soul she loves.

Author Interview with Sarah M. Ross!!

Can you tell us an interesting fact about you, your writing, or anything at all?  Or, is there anything in particular you want the readers to know about you?

Oh, geez, I don’t know. I’m not that interesting. Honest. I have a crazy mind that makes up crazy stories. And I get paid to do it (which still blows my mind BTW). I guess the most interesting fact about me is that I was once on Judge Joe Brown (as a Plaintiff—it’s a long story!)

When did you first know that writing was what you wanted to do as a career?
I’ve always written stories, but never thought I could make a career out of it. That was a pipe dream. Still is. I started taking my writing more seriously just after college, dabbling at writing mysteries but they never worked out. I didn’t think I could ever make a career out of this until after Awaken was published.

When you are working on a book, do you plan ahead, or do you let the story flow as you write?
It depends. For Awaken, I let the story flow after just having the general concepts. For Echo of an Earth Angel and Avenge, I had the whole story mapped out. I’m currently working on a few other projects, which aren’t mapped out either, just basic concepts that I’m letting flow through me in whichever direction they’d like to head.
Is there a special place in your home that you work at?
I have an office, but I don’t always just write in there. I sometimes work on the couch using the laptop, or even at Starbucks. I get restless if I stay in one spot for too long.

Are any of your characters in your books based on people that you know in real life?
As a matter of fact, yes. Lots of them. Most significantly would be my baby sister Jessica. I’ve also thrown in a few others as minor characters or background characters. (For example, Mr. Leonard in Avenge is my friend Matt from college. And the story about him asking to help fold panties? Yeah, that’s really how I met him! We were at the college laundromat and he asked to help fold my panties. We’ve been good friends ever since!)

Do you have an interesting writing quirk? Maybe something that you have to do while writing, or something that you have to do before you start writing?
I have to have silence while I write, which I know is different than a lot of other writers. I can’t hear the TV, or listen to music. As a matter of fact, I’d prefer if my hubby weren’t even home. Also, I must have coffee to write. No matter what time it is (3 AM or 3 PM)

What is your opinion on Indie publishing versus mainstream publishing?

There is still a stigma attached to self publishing (though I have no idea why). Many of the chain brick and mortar stores won’t even let me come in to do a book signing. The “Big Six” are hunting down successful self-pubbed authors, because they know we have a product that sells rather than a “what if”.  I think that self-publishing has changed the entire industry, and in my case for the better. So many more options are available to authors (and readers) now, that the “gatekeepers” are becoming obsolete.

I don’t think that we will lose paper books. But I think that with the young generation growing up with so much technology from birth, paper books will be many people’s collectables rather than what they go to first.

I hope in ten years the mindset of people changes, and they realize that indie authors are every bit as good (if not better) than those who have traditionally published.

Do you hear from your fans a lot? If so, what are some of the best & worst things that you have heard?
I LOVE hearing from my fans—LOVE it. It makes my day, and I am often known to do happy dances around the house (no, seriously). Just someone writing to tell me they enjoyed my book is a high I never want to come down from. The best thing I love to hear is that people missed sleep and stayed up late to read my book. That to me is the highest form of flattery.
The worst thing I’ve ever heard is that people thought my book was stupid or it sucks. I get it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but some of the harsh criticism stings to hear.
What does your family think of your writing?

They love it. My mom constantly hounds me to write faster so she can see what happens next. Of course, Jessica wants to be in every book (sorry Jess, you won’t be) and my brother is jealous he hasn’t been in a book yet.

How has being published changed your life, if any way?
Publishing has changed my life in every way possible. I now work as a full time writer. I get to stay home, and make up stories for a living. I don’t see how it could ever get better than this. When I was teaching, I loved it. I loved the kids, but came home mentally exhausted every day to the point where I just couldn’t do anything else. Writing can be stressful, but my life is 180 degrees different than when I was teaching 8th grade English.

What are you currently working on?  We would love to know what is coming next from you.
I have a few things I’m working on. First, I’m working on the sequel to Echo of an Earth Angel. I also have 2 YA/NA contemporary projects that I’ve started. And I have a secret project that I’ll be announcing on my FB page soon!! (I know, I’m a terrible tease!)

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Write! Write every day. Even if it’s crap. And find a support system of other writers along the way. They have been my most valuable asset.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Edits! Edits are always the hardest part for me. I always read back through and berate myself for writing so many adverbs, or having a whole scene in passive voice.

What hardships have you encountered while writing your books?
I think the hardest part about writing is publishing and marketing. To me, writing is the easy part. Getting my name out there is what has been the most challenging and my greatest struggle.
What books (or authors) have influenced you the most during your career?
As far as books, I have to credit Charlaine Harris and the Sookie books. They were the first paranormal books I read (even before Twilight) and they hooked me on the whole genre. I had the honor of meeting Ms. Harris and telling her so a few months ago and she blew me away with how amazingly real and sweet she is. I just <3 her!!
Jessica Park and Amanda Hawking have inspired me that dreams really do come true, and not to give up hope.
As far as others who have influenced me, I have to give credit to these amazing authors. Without their friendship, support, and help—I would not be here today.
Nichole Chase, Elizabeth Sharp, Liz Reinhardt, Tawdra Kandle, Abbi Glines, Rebecca Donovan, Colleen Hoover, Ella James, Liz Schulte, MG Ainsworth, Tiffany King, Stephanie Nelson, CG Powell, Heather Self, Shelly Crane, CA Kunz, Belinda Boring, Wenona Hulsey, Julie Titus, Olivia Hardin, and the up-in-coming author (and one of my best friends) Margaux Murray
If you haven’t read these ladies’ books, you really need to!! They are all incredible.

Fun Questions:
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Sea Salt Caramel
Favorite color: Pink
Favorite animal:  kittens
Favorite season of the year: Summer!
Favorite Author: All the ones listed above
Favorite drink: Coffee for hot, Pepsi for cold, and Amaretto Sours for alcoholic
Favorite food: Italian – especially gnocchi with pink sauce
Favorite Halloween Candy: Reece’s and Snickers 

Author Bio:

I started my obsession with reading at an early age, getting in trouble for sneaking BabySitter Club and Nancy Drew books into math class in elementary school. I would read any fiction book I could get my hands on. I knew it was an addiction when instead of grounding me from TV or music, my mom would take away my books as punishment (The Horror!). My love of all things paranormal was inspired by my good friend Laurie, who convinced me that books with vampires, witches, and all things shifter were amazing. After a little reluctance, I gave it a shot with the Sookie Stackhouse books, realized she was right, and the rest was history.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with my degree in English, and taught 8th graders to love reading as much as I do for several years. I will always be a proud member of the Steelers Nation, but I couldn’t take the cold and moved my frozen tush to Florida where I now live with my family and two cats. You will find me now with my trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand! 

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