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“Sex on Fire: Finding Embodied Intimacy After Trauma” Chosen for New Apple Book Award

Sex on FireWe are thrilled to announce that Sex on Fire: Finding Embodied Intimacy After Trauma by Leah RS Braun has been chosen as an “Official Selection” in the “Inspirational/Motivational/Self-Help” category of the New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing.

The New Apple Book Awards were established to honor the creative achievements of the unsung books fighting for their place within the digital publishing world.

Interview: Nancy Wood, author of Due Date

Interview with Nancy Wood, author of Due Date, conducted by author J Dark

How did you choose the subject for this story?

Originally, this story was not in the mystery genre at all. It was women’s fiction, and was a story about the relationship between a birth mother and the adoptive parents. However, it was clunky and slow and not so interesting! In a brainstorming session at a conference I attended around the time I was trying to figure out what to do with this uninspiring manuscript, someone suggested I turn it into a mystery.

I never thought I’d be able to write a mystery, what with clues and tension and plot twists, but I decided to give it a try. I am forever indebted to the woman at the conference for the idea and to the larger group for helping me develop the 250-word book blurb that same day. Once I chose the subject and genre, I started reading mysteries and thrillers. I got hooked, and to this day, mysteries and thrillers are my genre of choice.

In Due Date, the main character is in a very unusual situation for a protagonist. What prompted this choice for the character?

I found that making the protagonist a surrogate mom put her in a very precarious, vulnerable situation, which worked well to build tension in the story. She was also isolated, both physically and emotionally. The beginning of Due Date finds Shelby, the protagonist, moving from her brother’s home in Santa Cruz to a cottage on the intended parents’ estate in the Santa Cruz mountains. She has no car and is often alone.

A few months later in the story, she develops hypertension and is on bed rest. Shelby moved to the Santa Cruz area for the term of the surrogacy and has no friends. She’s estranged from her parents, and over the course of the book, becomes somewhat estranged from her brother. Her isolation causes her to make choices she might not have made otherwise.

What was the hardest section of Due Date to write? Why was it more difficult?

The hardest sections to write were the violent scenes, both emotionally and logistically. I have a hard time with my characters getting pummeled! It’s also challenging to figure the logistics of a fight, how to make all the actions taken by all the characters fit together in a seamless thread of action.

Occasionally, I found myself walking through the actions in my office: She’s running, in the dark, in clogs; how does her weight shift from one side of her body to the other? What’s she doing with her hands for balance? What happens when she makes contact with her enemy? And how does that feel when you’re pregnant with twins?!

Conversely, what was the easiest section to write and why?

The easiest and most fun sections for me to write are when my character is outside, wandering around in the beautiful place I call home, Santa Cruz county in California. I love the outdoors, and it’s such a joy to write descriptions of the Monterey Bay coastline and the redwood forest.

The way that the climax resolves in Due Date was intriguing. Was this a planned decision, or did the idea develop as you worked on the story?

This developed as I worked on the story. I’d been reading a lot of mysteries and thrillers by this point, and was really drawn in by the longer stories with twists. The ‘first’ ending would have been a great place to stop, but I decided to keep going and see where the story took me. Once I decided to continue, I had to edit the first part and plant in a few more clues.

When you work on developing a story, is there a process you use to help develop the idea? Or is it a lot of off-the cuff-writing, or a combination?

A combination. I have learned that I’m better off with a plot well in mind before I start. Now, after many years of rewrites, I’m better at plotting out a story to the chapter level. I also write extensive character sketches and back stories for each character, so I feel that I know how each character will act and react in a given situation. For me, it makes for a lot cleaner writing and a lot less editing.

Was there any special preparation or research you did to help develop the protagonist of Due Date?

I did a lot of reading on surrogacy and talked to a few surrogate moms. I read plenty of discussion boards, forums, and blogs, as well. I also researched fertility clinics, trying to figure out how that end of the arrangement works.

What advice would you share with other nascent authors as they work to create their own stories?

Keep going! And read anything and everything in your genre. Find something that catches your attention, and something that will catch the attention of readers, and just go with it. Writing and creating a story is so rewarding and seeing it take shape as the number of chapters increases is a thrill like no other.

New Book Release: “Due Date” by Nancy Wood

We are extremely pleased to announce the immediate availability of Due Date (A Shelby McDougall Mystery) by Nancy Wood.

Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all: a scam that risks her life … and the lives of her unborn twins.

Twenty-three-year-old Shelby McDougall is facing a mountain of student debt and a memory she’d just as soon forget. An ad in Rolling Stone for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she’s signed a contract, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.

But intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle have their own agenda — one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming, and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins.

As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family”.

Due Date is available in hardcover, trade paperback, and digital editions. Signed editions are also available.

New Book Release: “L’ultimo granello del mondo” (The Last Speck of the World) by Flavia Idà

We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Italian edition of The Last Speck of the World (L’ultimo granello del mondo) by Flavia Idà.

No name. No race. No nationality. The survivor of the perfect catastrophe struggles to preserve herself and her hope that she may be found — by humans.

“I am female, thirty-two, alone in the last speck of the world. My name, my race and my nationality are no longer important. I do not know why the plague has spared me. It has taken everything else. All the clocks and all the machines are dead. What keeps me breathing is the hope that I may not be the sole custodian of the planet.”

Senza nome. Senza razza. Senza nazionalità. La superstite della catastrofe perfetta lotta per preservare se stessa e la sua speranza di essere trovata — da esseri umani.

“Sono femmina, di trentadue anni, sola nell’ultimo granello del mondo. Il mio nome, la mia razza e la mia nazionalità non sono importanti. Non so perché la pestilenza mi abbia risparmiato. Mi ha tolto ogni persona ed ogni cosa. Tutte le macchine e tutti gli orologi sono morti. Ciò che continua a farmi respirare è la speranza che io non sia l’unico custode del pianeta.”

The Last Speck of the World (L’ultimo granello del mondo) is available now in digital editions. A printed edition will available soon. Signed editions are also available.

Call for Submissions: Corporate Catharsis

We’ve all been there: standing behind a desk or a counter for ridiculously long hours, letting the movie of our imagination roll behind our eyes. Maybe you open the supply room door and find another dimension; perhaps the photocopier reproduces cryptic messages from other realities. We’re certain that you can, far too easily, find inspiration from your workplace. Magic, mayhem, revenge — and, yes, perhaps even redemption — can all be found there.

Corporate Catharsis is the anthology we all need — one that can help us survive our corporate servitude with our hearts and souls intact.

Submission Details

Open for Submissions: February 1, 2019 through April 30, 2019
Expected Publication: November 2019
Story Length: 2,000 – 10,000 words
Payment: 0.02 per word + two (2) contributor copies

Submission Requirements

  • Please submit your complete story in standard manuscript form in digital format (DOCX, RTF, or ODT) to submissions (at) paperangelpress.com. (If you want bonus points, also attach a MOBI file; that will help our editorial team be able to read it faster.)
  • Please include “Corporate Catharsis Anthology” in the Subject line of your submission.
  • Include the following in your cover letter/email:
    • Title of your story
    • Your real name
    • Your physical mail address
    • Your preferred email address
    • Genre
    • Approximate word count

Submission Guidelines

  • Your story can be from whatever genre best fits its theme. However, we are not looking for erotica or stories that contain excessive gore or violence.
  • No simultaneous submissions, please. You may submit more than one story, but please send each one as a separate submission.
  • We will accept stories that have been previously published. If your story has been published before, please provide proof that you hold the current publishing rights for it when you submit your manuscript.
  • We highly recommend that you change any names based on real people in your story to protect the innocent — and to prevent possible further harassment by the guilty.

Check this page for the latest information about the Call for Submissions for this anthology.