cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgHello and welcome to Author Wednesday. Today the wonderfully talented Stacy Juba joins me to talk about her new release, Fooling Around with Cinderella, a sweet chick-lit romance. Fooling Around With Cinderella 600x900



Welcome, Stacy. I’m excited to hear about your new romance, which looks like the perfect book to relax with over the holidays. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.

A few years ago, my family and I were at a fairy tale theme park. We had just gone to visit Cinderella. I think Cinderella was on my brain as a couple weeks earlier, we had all gone on a princess lunch cruise. Anyway, I stopped short in the middle of the theme park and my husband stared at me. He said, “You have an idea for a book, don’t you?” He recognized that gleam in my eye. This idea had popped into my head about a reluctant theme park Cinderella. Details were coming so fast that I was scribbling on napkins at the hotel in the middle of the night. And Fooling Around with Cinderella was born!

That’s a great story. My family has come to recognize that look in my eyes as well. Do you have certain themes that appear in all of your books?

All of my books have the theme of characters at a crossroads – characters who are at a fork in the road in their lives. They can either continue on the same safe, but unfulfilling, path, or take a risk and venture in a new direction.

Fooling Around with Cinderella is the first book in a series you’re creating. What made you decide to write a series? 

I have chosen to write the Storybook Valley series, a series of chick lit novels set at an amusement park, as I love visiting theme parks. It’s as if the real world fades away and you’re in some alternate vacation reality. I wanted to share that experience with my readers, providing them a place where they can take a mental vacation and revisit familiar characters from time to time.

Who’s your favorite character from your books?

I love Jaine in Fooling Around with Cinderella. Like Cinderella, Jaine has a couple annoying sisters, and she is often taken advantage of. She is nurturing and tends to take care of others, usually putting herself last. But she is also determined, ambitious, and sassy. I love how she evolves in the book and how she learns to find more balance in her life – and love.

Since you’ve set the book in an amusement park, I assumed setting is very important to the plot. Tell me about the importance of setting.

Setting is important in all of my books, but I have had a great deal of fun developing my latest setting, the Storybook Valley theme park. I went to several theme parks, read books and blogs by former princesses and theme park employees, watched employee recruitment videos and read employee manuals all geared toward theme parks, created my own rides and attractions, and brainstormed what kinds of quirky characters might choose to work at a theme park. In this series, the people who work at Storybook Valley have real life problems, but there is always a happy ending.

Wow! I’m very impressed. You’ve created an entire world for this series. What’s your one sentence pitch for your book?

What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes?

The title (and cover) are very catchy. How did you choose the title?

I chose the title, Fooling Around with Cinderella, because of the double meaning of “fooling around.” Dylan Callahan, the young general manager of the theme park, has been dealing with a string of incompetent Cinderellas and is tired of fooling around with this job position. Since it is a romantic comedy, “fooling around” has a double meaning as he will become romantically involved with his latest Cinderella, Jaine.

Perfect. I love it when the title can mean several things. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?  

This one took me a few years, but the other books in the series should be written much quicker now that I have developed the setting and secondary characters. Launching a series means making a great deal of big decisions so I spent lots of time on the first book, making sure I got it right.

I would imagine creating the whole theme park concept took quite a bit of time. I’m sure the rest of the series will go quickly now that the characters have a place to live. Is the book traditionally or self-published?

It is self-published. I’ve had lots of success with my other self-published books and just wanted to get this series out to readers without holding it up for a couple years, as the submission process to traditional publishers can take a long time, and then if gets accepted, it can take another year before the book is published.

That’s so true. Wise choice. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?

That they love it and can’t wait for the next one!

Who  is the antagonist in your book? 

The antagonist is named Gabrielle, the beautiful, intelligent and conniving director of support staff. She is also an old high school rival of Jaine’s and Dylan’s ex, so she has an ax to grind with both of them.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

The last scene. That’s when the double meaning of the title comes full circle!

Stacy, thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing your new book. It sounds delightful.

Butch Adams

About Stacy:  Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) Stacy helps writers to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty.

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Amazon Author Central


SERIES: To Be or Not To Be (and when to stop being…)

Guest post by Jade Kerrion

If Amazon (the company) were a river and all the books in its vast online repository were drops of water, you wouldn’t be able to skim a pebble across its surface without hitting a book that is a part of a series.

Series are popular–they work in movies, on TV, and in books–and for good reason. No one ever likes saying goodbye to the people they’ve fallen in love with. We like to see our heroes and heroines overcome adversity, and then do it again, and again.

Novel series come in at least three different flavors.

1. Standalone books within a series with a rotating focus on various protagonists. Each novel within the series focuses on, and resolves, one major storyline, but the protagonist (usually a side character in one of the other novels) will claim the spotlight for one book within the series instead of all of them. Romance novels tend to lean this way (after all, happily ever after usually happens only once per couple.) Nora Roberts has written many trilogies of families and friends, with each book focusing on a particular person finding his or her happy ending. Sherrilyn Kenyon does this with her (apparently unending) Dark Hunter series as well.

2. Standalone books within a series focus on one or two key protagonists. Each novel within the series tackles one major problem and resolves the problem by the end of the book. Many detective and mystery novels adopt this flavor. As a teenager, I enjoyed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. These days, I read P.L. Blair’s Portals series that features human detective, Kat Morales, and her elven partner, Tevis.

3. Non-standalone books within a series focus on one or two key protagonists, and story is typically best enjoyed in order from the first novel to the last. Fantasy and science fiction novels, with their sweeping storylines and their tendency to put entire worlds and civilizations at risk of extinction (hey, high stakes, right?) tend to lean in this direction. Each book should resolve a major crisis, but some threads are clearly left trailing as feeders into the next book. Some of my favorite authors fall into this category, including David Eddings who wrote the Belgariad and Mallorean series, and Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman.

Just about all of my favorite authors are series writers. In hindsight, it’s no surprise that I would, as an author, lean toward writing a series. My Double Helix series is a series of four novels. When I finished writing the fourth book, I finally tackled the issue I’d been avoiding since November 2010, when I first started writing Double Helix series.

When do you stop?

Sometimes, the answer is easy: “when you save the world.”

But what if the answer isn’t as obvious? What if the world careens from crisis to crisis (sounds like our world, doesn’t it?) What if the world always needs saving?

I wrote the Double Helix series as a blend between a type 3 series (non-standalone) and a type 2 series (standalone.) The fourth book, Perfection Challenged, was actually the transition book between a non-standalone and standalone series. In theory, I could have gone on forever, coming up with yet another crisis for Danyael Sabre, the alpha empath, to handle. Challenges would always abound in a society transformed by the Genetic Revolution. Danyael would likely encounter most of them, but did he have to be the protagonist?

Let’s segue briefly into another series—Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series. Occasionally a storyline or plot transcends each book and unifies the series. In Kushiel’s Legacy, it is the rocky path to love and happiness between the heroine, Phedre, and her protector, Joscelin. That storyline is the single thread that runs through the series, and for the series to end, the thread needs to be neatly knotted by the final book.

My readers love Danyael. It was hard to make the decision to move him to the sidelines, yet in practice, I knew that Danyael’s story was done, and for one primary reason. His story had come a full circle. He dealt with different challenges and antagonists over each of the four books, but the storyline that unified the series—his apparently unrequited love for the assassin Zara Itani—reached its conclusion in the fourth book. It was my gift to Danyael, the ending he deserved.

“But,” dismayed readers howl, “you haven’t yet done this, or that, or another. You haven’t finished telling all the stories…”

I’ve moved the spotlight off Danyael, but that doesn’t mean he won’t appear in a smaller role in another novel. Spin-offs are popular among series writers. Some side characters in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series show up as focal characters in her Dream Hunter series.

And so it will be for my Double Helix series. I’ve already written a young adult spin-off. I have others planned, including a standalone series of romantic thrillers featuring mercenaries from Zara’s agency, a novel about Xin, the Machiavellian clone of Fu Hao, a 1,200 BC general, priestess, and queen (busy woman indeed…), and a novel about Galahad, the genetically engineered perfect human being. Inevitably though, those novels and series will someday end.

Quoting one of my favorite characters, Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series: “It always ends. That’s what gives it value.”

“The best of the four books…the perfect ending to an amazing series.”

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to the multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, is finally here. Grab your copy today.

If you’ve never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep reading for a special offer on the six-time award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed.

perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him.

Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad?

In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.

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“Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men.”

Recipient of six literary awards, including First place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner, Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

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