Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guest Post + Giveaway: Debra Anastasia and Crushed Seraphim

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to author Debra Anastasia who's taking over the blog a bit today to talk about her paranormal romance novel Crushed Seraphim. Thanks so much for taking the time to be here Debra!

Hi Guys! Jenny was kind enough to allow me to be a guest on her incredible blog. I decided to dare you to try something. I’m daring you to write.

To Hell with writing what you know.

If I had a nickel for every time I read that advice I would at least be able to buy an ice cream. Mmmm Ice cream. I would pick coffee and chocolate on a cone.

But this isn’t about ice cream, this is about words. Your words.

I say write what scares you to anyone that shows interest in telling a story. I’m not talking horror book stuff, though that can be your focus if you feel drawn to it. Write what flows. You might not know jack and a banana about mob bosses or angels or aliens or mid-century Ireland. But that story might be lying right under your fingertips, waiting to be told.

Not everyone is a writer, and that’s okay. I’m a reader first. Sometimes you see authors say, “Write the book you want to read.” Well, I’ve been reading for my whole damn life and I’ve never found a lack of amazing stuff on my library shelves. Ask the librarian for a good read and her eyes will sparkle. She’ll drag you off to a nondescript cover that holds a story that rocks your world. And I tried writing the book I wanted to read -- it fell flat.

I finally sat down and told myself, “No one has to see, you can always delete the word document.” And then when I wrote from that place? I had something I could work with.

So today’s post is for the people who lived a million lives in their head as a child. Did you grab bowls from the kitchen as a kid so you could turn them into pools for Barbie Dolls? Did the whole neighborhood become a lively town when you got on your bike?

My question for you is: Did you ever consider writing?

Since my book was released, I’ve found myself in conversations with readers and they would eventually get around to the story they knew lived inside them. As grown ups, responsibility really beats the ever-living piss out of imagination. That kid who was wearing a bonnet toting a toy gun to a tree house totally curled into a ball. She’s used to being ignored. Bills, laundry, making dinner numb our mind her pleas to explore again.

Now is the perfect time in the world to write. Your writing implement is right in front of you. If you have a computer, you can try, if you’d like. Doesn’t that feel like wings? A blank document can be anything.

You might surprise yourself. I wrote in third person before I even knew it had a name, a category. It flowed, so I let it have its head.

That’s the first step.

The second is alarming. What happens if you like what you wrote? What happens if you love it? There’s an answer for that too. The internet. There are giant blobs of places you can reveal your writing with out claiming it like an explorer in a new world. Readers can be found in amazing places. You might have a local forums that has a spot for a blog or pick your favorite interactive website and see if they have an off topic section. Starting a blog is free! Want more? Try a site that focuses on writing fiction.

Luckily for me I’m not a thinker. Maybe if I had some common sense I would have shied away from writing, but I’m just a happy cocker spaniel, rarely thinking through the mechanics of a process. But if you are a bit more foresighted, you might wonder, “Well I suck at grammar, and writing a whole book is such an endless seeming process.”

I say, “ppfffttt.” to those concerns. Because on that wonderful internet there are amazing people that will give you a helping hand. They will pre-read for you, help, suggest stuff. They will be kind about it and knowledgeable.

As for writing a book --well anything big starts small. Like elephants and whales, well those suckers are huge at the beginning. God bless those large mommas. But your idea? Your passion? That’s what has to be big. The words will inflate to accommodate them.

So maybe you’re reading this post for a reason today. Maybe I’m daring you to give writing a chance. You can put so much stuff in a story. Your emotions have a place in a book. If you come home screamingly mad from work, lucky you, paint that anger on a screen. It’s tremendously freeing. Are you looking at your kids and feeling such swelling pride you want to just hug them and hug them? Well, do that first, but then you can commemorate that emotion by giving your characters another layer of depth.

For me, I’m writing about angels and mobsters and killers and saviors. I rarely run into those types on the soccer field or at girl scouts. And having people know what goes on inside my head? That scared me. When someone sits down and says that the story was a good way to pass time? That feels amazing.

I’m writing the sequel to my debut novel, Crushed Seraphim at the moment. It’s a story about a foul-mouthed angel tasked with saving the world.

My short story, Shackled is included in the Summer Lovin’ Heat Wave, one of two charity compilations that my fantastic publisher produced. All the proceeds will go to Save the Tata’s. (The other anthology is YA themed called Summer Lovin’ Summer Breeze.)

This November my novel, Poughkeepsie, is being released as well. A simple smile, set on repeat, coming from a pretty train commuter has a deep effect on the homeless man sitting in the shade. When she dares to step between Blake and a bunch of bullies at the train station, her bravery and his kindness flames a love that neither can deny.

So tell me, have you ever thought of it? Have you ever flirted with a blank Word document? You might want to try it if you haven’t.

A thank you to Jenny for use of her Internet real estate!

You're very welcome! I'm one of those people who fears grammar. I'm piss poor at it. I admit it. So that "ppfffft" applies specifically to me ;-) For more information on Debra and Crushed Seraphim, you can find her here:

Watch the Trailer


Debra has generously offered up a digital copy of Crushed Seraphim to give away on the blog today! To enter, please just leave a comment answering some of Debra's questions above along with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. Since this is a digital copy, this giveaway is international and will run through midnight EST on Friday, August 5th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!


How does a foul-mouthed angel end up as the last hope for all of Heaven and Earth?

When Seraph Emma is maimed and tossed from Heaven by a rogue angel who's taken charge, she fears she'll never be allowed to return. Tasked with the impossible job of showing the self-loathing (and not even human!) Jason his worth, Emma is sure she's doomed to fail.

Meanwhile, having wormed his way into Heaven, the corrupt Everett has trapped God in Hell and has designs on unleashing evil everywhere. Fortunately, if there's one thing Emma can't do (in addition to minding her language), it's give up. Determined to save Jason and get back to Heaven-even if it means going to Hell-Emma's plan is simple yet impossible: trick the Devil to save God.

What she doesn't count on is the devotion and, well, humanity she finds in Jason; the spirit, hidden compassion, and raw sex appeal within the Devil; and the vulnerability of her own heart. With the help of two unlikely allies, she'll wage the battle for Heaven. But will Emma be sidetracked by a new sort of heaven along the way?

What's truly more dangerous? Falling from Heaven, or falling in love?


  1. hi Debra!

    i like the way you describe writing as flirting with a Word document. i've done my share i guess of being intimate with it especially at work but i prefer Notepad at the moment. i'm not really a writer (yet! i hope! i don't know! lol!) but i do use Notepad a lot for my reviews. thanks for being gracious with the giveaway! c",)

    hi Jenny!
    thanks for hosting!

  2. I'm constantly flirting with a blank Word document. Unfortunately, they never seem to make it past a few pages. I feel like I should work on fixing that, though.

    onabookbender [at] gmail

  3. It's an interesting thought, flirting with a Word document. I've started writing a novel for myself. Sometimes it feels like I can't get things down fast enough and other times I'm picking it to death. Flirting might actually work better. =)


  4. I have tried numerous times to flirt with word document and just a notebook too. I have started a concept for a book and wrote a whole chapter but then got writers block. Im not sure how to begin it or go on with it. So I walked away for a while, but now it has been a long while. I hope that I will want to try and write again soon. Great interview.

  5. "write what scares you"

    Such awesome advice! Very uplifting and encouraging guest post.

    Whoever wins this giveaway is lucky because then they get to spend time with delicious as sin, Jack!

  6. What an inspiring guest post. I'd try flirting with a Word document but would need a good idea and a lot of time. Procrastination seems to be my best friend.

  7. Great guest post with awesome writing advice. And thanks for the wonderful giveaway.


  8. awesome post....

    LOL- oh Ive tried to have fun with my word document, Ive wrote some pretty hysterical stuff, nothing I would ever want to publish but I have had fun doing it...;)

  9. @abibliophile The best thing about being a writer is that you get to just claim that title the second you want it with your heart. I love that you are thinking about it. Thanks for stopping by today!

    @Amanda You never know when that flirt will turn into a love affair. I'm totally rooting for you.

    @Valerie It sounds like you have the writing bug and I wish you all the luck in keeping up with your imagination!

    @Laura When I get stuck I will write the scene that I am dying to get to. Even if it is out of order. Sometimes writing a pivotal part of your plot jump starts your brain and reminds you where you want to go. Sometimes I don't even use that exact scene when I finally get to it, but it serves a purpose. Best of luck to you!

    @Missie You know Jack has a crush on you. He's even working on blowing smoke into the letter M Thanks for dropping by!

    @A Canadian Girl Me and procrastination know each other well. Too well. The honeymoon is over and we are totally farting around each other now. If you get that good idea, I hope yo're able to make the time for it!

    @Nic I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for visiting Jenny's fantastic blog.

    @Tina I'm glad you had fun doing it. Sometimes the worst stuff comes out too. I love looking back on some of my weirder work. Giggles are good for the soul.

  10. Found you accidently thru Twitter. I love your writing style and sense of humor,it's so real. Will definitely give your books a read. I've been working on my own stories for years, I just love imagining them and writing them, hopefully I'll get one finished one day. Loved your advice about writing what you know, completely agree but I had trouble with that for years. Writing, like reading, is a way to escape so why focus on what you're trying to escape? Plus with the internet it's so easy to gain knowledge and perspective on absolutely anything! Thanks for the kick in the butt!

  11. I've tried it on numerous occasions, but never make it pass 2-3 pages. I have 3-4 saved word documents with the start of the first few pages of my so-called novel. So at this point, I'll leave it to the pros.


  12. Wow. I have just been inspired. Honestly, I don't know that I have the courage to write down what is inside my head. I am a thinker and I get very critical of myself. I admire you for having the courage to write what you want and having your book out there. I will definitely give your book a try!! =)

  13. I've probably got 10-12 word docs started, some are only a paragraph long some are 30 pages, with different scenes from my mind written down. One day I might make a novel out of it, but I doubt I'll ever be a writer.


  14. Very inspiring post. I always say that I'm not a writer and never will be but have never really seriously got down and tried writing.

  15. I'm one of those people who have write perfectly in order to keep going. I know it doesn't make sense since who can write an awesome first draft, but I think Deborah hit the nail on first having the passion to write. Once that passion is instilled, you can let your creativity (no matter how bizarre) flow. Great advice!

  16. Wow, I love how passionate this post was! Very inspiring. :) I was a big writer as a child, but as I grew older my creativity kind of fizzled. If a story ever comes to me, I'll be sure to act on it, though! :)

  17. awesome awesom, bb, you are full of good stuff. thanks for sharing so much.

  18. I'm enjoying reading this myself. As Missie said, there's the delicious Jack. Yum.

  19. I do suck at grammar!<--there's probably something grammatically incorrect with that sentence.

    I read Debra's Poughkeepsie when it was fanfiction! I'm looking forward to seeing and reading it as a published novel!

  20. Love this post. I almost (and I mean ALMOST) feel like I could write! However, I don't think I could write my way out of a paper bag (I keep stabbing the paper, but it doesn't work!). Having said that I tell people that they can paint if they wanted. No straight lines needed (that's what rulers are for!). lol

    So, if you are daring me to write, I dare you to paint. It's only fair. ;D

    btw, grammar... shmammar! ;)

  21. My kindle would gladly welcome Crushed Seraphim with open arms. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jcross719 at yahoo dot com

  22. Don't enter me!! I already have a copy!! I just wanted to say that I LOVE Debra! She's so snarky and awesome!!! :)

  23. @shel13x I love a nice twitter accident! I think you are so right about wanting to escape, that is a great point. I hope your words come together for you someday, but until then I would be honored to have you as a reader.

    @Tasha Hey, you tried! Sometimes things aren't our favorite flavor. I went cliff diving once. I would rather never have that kind of wedgie again.

    @Bailey I am very lucky to not be burdened with over-thinking. Mostly I have white noise and beach sounds unless I see something sparkly. Then I usually lay on my back and bat at the sparkly thing like an old, under enthused cat. You never know! You might get hit with the perfect plot someday!

    @Jenny I hope the mood catches you someday, if you have the desire.

    @Rebs Me and doubt are sucky friends. Even when it would be healthy to have some. Like when I tried yoga. Just a small pause might have done my sore back a world of good.

    @Rummanah I think you need to be a writer just because you have the most awesome name in the world! Thanks for dropping by!

    @Anna my sweet love, seeing you here is like accidentally finding an M&M in the couch crack when you are on your period! Just heaven sent!

    @Ruby Jack was telling me about you. Be careful, I think he has a crush. Next thing you know he'll be pouring you a glass of wine.

    @Jacinda Aww. My Pough readers are my heart. I was working on the trailer and the cover today and I thought my head might pop off from excitement. Thanks you for being here, let's just hug it out and I'll try not to pinch your butt.

    @Melissa I painted my fingernails. Does that count? Actually I cheated and used those Sally Hanson stickers which are rocking my world right now. I love that you dropped by!

    @Jess Crushed Seraphim would skip like a school girl with extra lunch money into your Kindle.

    @Ashley Oh my gosh, stop it! You are so freaking cute. With the adorable cartoons on your blog, the pleasing pink color. Your hilarious twitter. That's it I'm getting The Bookish Brunette button tattooed on my boobs. That's right. One will be bookish, the other with be Brunette.

  24. Awesome post!! Thank you for sharing all this info with us!

  25. I think falling in love in more dangerous. It hurts bad if it goes wrong. Thanks for the giveaway!

    bwithbite (at) gmail (dot) com

  26. Thanks for the giveaway and advise. I have never flirted with a blank word document before, I will have to try it. Please enter me in contest.

  27. Hi Debra! Thanks so much for this post! I am a chronic writing quitter. I write about a chapter and then decide it totally sucks and give up :-( I know I'm not an awful writer - I was always complimented on my academic writing. Plus I write fanfiction and have won a few little awards for it - so I don't actually suck. But I always think my original writing is awful. I need to find a way to turn off my inner filter. Any suggestions?

    alisoncanread at gmail dot com

  28. Unfortunately, since I'm an accountant, I flirt with Excel files rather than with Word. I can honestly say that, much as I love to read, I have no desire to write. However, I'm an awesome editor.

    jen at delux dot com

  29. Great post! I have flirted with many a word document but so far I have not met the One. :)


  30. I've never flirted with one. I really just don't have those creative juices at all.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  31. When I was younger I used to write stories, but not as an adult. I don't know what happened to the writer's urge - it turned into a reading obsession I guess!
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  32. I've thought about writing, but can't get past a scene or two in my head. So, I realize to actually flesh the snippets out into a book would be lots of work that I wouldn't enjoy, so reading other people's labor is fine with me.

  33. I've got this one waiting in the wings! Can't wait to check it out.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Wow - very inspirational, and not one fart in the entire post. ;) LOL Love your writing and can't wait for Poughkeepsie to come out!

  36. I've basically purged most angel books from my reading repertoire, but honestly, after reading that post, I want to read this one. Not because it talked about the book, but because I love EVERYTHING Debra said. "Write what scares you." I absolutely love it. It makes me want to go sit down and be expressive. It makes me feel like I could do it. If a post can make me feel that way, then the book most be amazing.

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  37. Oh, sorry, enter me for the giveaway!


  38. Oh, yeah. I've flirted with a blank word document, then I courted it, it got some words, they grew and now I'm married to it and it's had babies.

    Thanks for the chance to win the book. tahlia.newland(at)

  39. Wow! What terrific advice. This is definitely a great post for writers - aspiring and published - to read!

    Thanks for the giveaway :)


  40. YAY! A shout-out to the editors! Thanks for the love, Debra! Yes, we can save you creative geniuses from your own grammatical weaknesses, you still get all the credit, and your awesome story rocks even more when we're done. It's win-win! Don't ever let your fear of writing mechanics keep you from sharing your story with the world! That's what we editors live for.

  41. @Christy Thanks for dropping by!

    @Savannah Falling in love takes everything you have, doesn't it?

    @Victoria Your word doc is waiting!

    @Alison You could time yourself! Turn it into a race, promising to fix any mistakes later.

    @Jen I bet you are an awesome editor.

    @Lieder Good luck finding the One.

    @Vivien I love your picture. ;)

    @Julie You never know when the write topic will hit you!

    @acm05 Thanks for dropping by!

    @Logan Waiting in the wings! hehe love that. Jack is waiting for you.

    @Alyssa Thanks so much

    @Janet I save the farts for you. Poughkeepsie can't wait either! I heart you hard.

    @Jen I'll tell you what, once I freed myself of worrying what people might think, I had a ball writing. And when all is said and done? My readers really know who I am. So I say dewwwittt. Write if it tempts you!

    @Tahlia I saw your blog. You totally had babies with your word doc! Love your cover and your title I followed you on Twitter and totally wish you the best of luck!

    @Julia Thanks you so much for dropping by Supernatural Snark!

    @Katherine! My sweet editor. Aww. I love that you came here. My words love your eyes. Between you and Jessica, you make me make sense. ((hugs))

  42. While I have always been a reader - for as far back as I can remember - I have never wanted to be a writer. I loved literature classes for the reading, but dreaded having to write anything about them - however, I have 2 daughters who have both shown some interest in writing- so who knows!?

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  43. Wow, what a timely post for me. I'm reading it after the contest, but I just started a new attempt at the same story yesterday. And for the first time I feel like it's working. I always hear or read "write what you know" and think what about these authors that write about vampires and werewolves. Do they actually know vampires?? Great guest post!


  44. @Kristi Being a reader is an excellent talent. My daughter is showing interest in drawing comics. So interesting to see where they find their bliss.

    @Heather! I'm so very happy for you. When it clicks it feels amazing. And seriously, very few of us can meet a werewolf so our imaginations have to become what we know. Good luck on your story!