Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When We Collide by A.L. Jackson (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Reading Addiction Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes back A.L. Jackson, author of When We Collide!

Author Guest Post

10 Tips To Becoming A Better Writer

Hey all! I’m A. L. Jackson, author of Pulled and Take This Regret. I want to thank Jersey Girl Book Reviews for asking me to share with you today on my 10 Tips On Becoming a Better Writer.

I spent some time contemplating whether I wanted to focus on the overall picture and lifestyle of being a writer, or if I wanted to focus on craft. In the end I thought I’d give you a little of both.

So here it goes ~ A. L. Jackson’s 10 Tips to Becoming a Better Writer

1. Never give up. Yes, this is a general philosophy that can be applied to almost any passion, but one that is essential to being a writer. If you’ve chosen writing or becoming an author as your passion and aspiration, then expect that there will be a lot of discouragement that will come with it. There will be times when it feels as if it is just not worth it. But there will also be times, like when you hold your published book in your hands, when it feels like the most amazing thing in the world.

2. Outline. If you’re writing your first book, I strongly recommend that you begin with an outline. It’s essential to know where you’re beginning, the direction you’re heading, and your ultimate destination. Be sure that the plot makes sense and you can clearly see how you can take your reader on this journey. You’ll have plenty of space to allow your characters and plot to grow and develop as you write, but an outline will help you to stay on the right track. After that first book, you should be able to tell if you’re a stronger writer with or without an outline.

3. Continue to read. Read the classics, read the bestsellers, and read in your genre. Allow yourself to be inspired!

4. Find a critique partner you trust. I can’t emphasize this enough. A critique partner can help you see the holes in your plot and characterization issues that we, as writers, can’t see. Often these things are clear in our heads, but it may not come across that way to the reader. Plus it’s so encouraging to have another writer friend who we can toss ideas around with and support each other in our writing. On a side note: Be sure this critique partner’s interest is in helping you become a better writer and not in tearing you down.

5. Look for common themes, words, and phrases in your manuscript. Most authors have favorite words and phrases. Identify them and be sure you don’t overuse them.

6. Get rid of those adverbs! I recommend doing a search through all the adverbs in your manuscript. If you can replace an adverb with strong verbs and descriptions instead (which you almost always can), do it.

7. Show, don’t tell. Bet you haven’t heard that before :) Don’t tell us your character feels sad, but describe the scene unfolding that made brought on the sadness, the actions of the character in response to it, and give clear descriptions of what the character is experiencing and feeling. 

8. Approach editing with an open mind. Our first instinct as writers can be to be defensive of our work, but open your mind to suggestions given to you by your editor and/or critique partner. Editors are there to help make our books better, not tear them apart. If you disagree with a suggestion, take the time to discuss it with your editor and see if the two of you can work together to create a good solution.

9. Don’t let formatting or punctuation marks tell your story for you. Don’t overuse italics for emphasis or exclamation marks to show excitement. Let your story speak for itself.

10. Continue to write. The more you write, the better writer you’ll become. Plus, you love it, right? So sit back and enjoy what you do.

Thank you again to Jersey Girl Book Reviews. Wishing you all much luck in your writing endeavors!

About The Author

A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel.

A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

A.L. Jackson ~ When We Collide ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Copy Of When We Collide

Contest Dates: Nov 5 - 30

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review

When We Collide by A.L. Jackson
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Publication Date: November 2, 2012
Format: Paperback - 338 pages / Kindle - 520 KB / Nook - 331 KB
ISBN: 1938404270
ASIN: B009Z643NA
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: When We Collide

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Reading Addiction Blog Tours.

Book Description:

From the bestselling author of Pulled and Take This Regret comes a gripping new tale of loss and love.

William has spent six years running from his past and the last eight months trying to rid his mind of the dreams that increasingly haunt his nights. Trapped in a world of false ambitions and feigned affections, William knows he’s reached a breaking point and something’s going to give.

Maggie had lived her entire life without hope until one man showed her what it meant to be loved. He’d been her light in a lifetime of darkness. Six years ago, that darkness stole him away. Without him, she’s surrendered herself to an existence she doesn’t know how to escape.

When the family William left behind is struck by tragedy, he is called back to the one place he’s sworn to never return to again.

In a moment that will change his life forever, William comes face to face with the girl who, with one look, captured his heart. He is unable to ignore the buried desires and the hope for the future they’d once believed they’d have.

Now William is ready to fight to take back what had been stolen from him six years before. But he never imagined what that fight might cost him.

A.L. Jackson gives you an intimate look into the lives of a family bound by an unseen connection in this new contemporary romance.

Book Excerpt:

                                             Chapter One

Laughter floated over the vacant playground, an echo, a call. William pushed forward, drawn into the dusky haze. Wind whipped at his feet, stirred up the fallen leaves on the dead winter floor. Each step of his boots was leaden with a burden that simmered somewhere in the periphery of his understanding.

“Bet you can’t find me.” The innocent voice was distant as it fell upon William’s ears, filled with mirth at the game the child played.

Those words rushed as fear through William’s veins.

William’s footsteps pounded in his ears as he followed the trail of the soft voice that lingered on the wind, past the empty swings and sandbox and into the forest at the back of the lot. Among the knotty, sinewy trees, their boughs twisted and twined, William paused to listen. 

A branch snapped off to his right—another peal of laughter as the child dashed giggling from behind one tree to another more than a hundred yards away. 

“Wait,” William called, stretching his hand out in the child’s direction. Please. 

For a moment, the small boy peeked out from behind a large tree trunk and stared back at William with huge brown eyes.

William’s heart lurched with the boy’s face—a picture of himself—suddenly consumed with the need to protect and shelter.

The child giggled again, his feet too agile as he took off, his dark blond hair like a flare striking in the moonlight, before he disappeared deeper into the darkness.

Panting, William chased the boy, begging him to stop while he stumbled over exposed roots and overgrown earth that seemed almost alive as it worked to hold him back.

The child’s laughter drifted along the breeze, brushed across William’s face, beckoned him to a place he did not know.

William struggled to find him, to close the distance, but the gap only grew. The laughter shifted and faded. The boy’s sudden fear hit William like a knife to the chest. Somewhere in the deepest recesses, far beyond William’s reach, he heard the child scream.

I shot straight up in bed, gasping and disoriented. Faint slivers of silver light spiked through the room, stealing in through the slats of the window shutters. Gripping my head between my hands, I fought to right myself, to slow my thundering heart, and to stop the tremors rolling through my body.


I shook my head and roughed a hand over my face.

My gaze darted around the massive room. In the dim light, my eyes adjusted. I focused in on the nightstand next to my bed. My black leather wallet and heavy silver watch sat next to the clock that glowed four forty-seven. I glimpsed the entrance to the en suite bathroom off to my right and the short chest of drawers with the tall mirror across the far end of the room.

Everything familiar—everything I understood.

I released a weighty breath and drew in a cleansing one, my bare chest palpitating with one last tremor.

It was just a dream, I told myself as I ran a hand through my hair.

Just the same, fucked up nightmare that had been haunting me for months. Always the same, chasing myself as a boy through the darkened forest, waking when I screamed.

Glancing to the left, I looked to where Kristina slept soundly on her stomach, facing the opposite direction. The duvet was pulled up to just beneath her narrow waist, her blond hair cascading down her pillow and dipping onto the mattress. The pale skin of her arms and back seemed a severe contrast to the black sheets she lay on. Her body rose and fell with each even breath, unaffected and unaware of my distress.

It was hardly a surprise, not that I desired her comfort anyway.

We were little more than strangers sleeping in the same bed for the last six years. Marriage had never been mentioned. Neither of us pretended that was what this relationship was about.

I’d been in love once. It was that stupid kind of love that had kept me awake at night, wanting more. But she’d never really even been mine. I’d been young enough—foolish enough—to hope what we felt for each other could overcome her past, but not na├»ve enough to really believe it would ever work out. 

Knowing that didn’t mean losing her hadn’t torn me apart. Even if she didn’t choose me, I’d been desperate to save her from that path. But some things had been so deeply embedded in her that I doubted she’d really ever had a chance of breaking free of them. It was so ingrained she believed it was the only way to live.

I rolled onto my other side and squeezed my eyes shut as I attempted to force the memory of her face from my mind, but it was just as vivid as the day she’d forced me out of her life. 

She’d touched me deeper than anyone ever had—deeper than I’d believed anyone could.

Pressing my face into my pillow, I allowed a glimmer of her presence to invade. That innocent and sweet. How she’d look at me with those warm brown eyes. The way her timid, trusting hands felt as they lightly skimmed over my skin. Even the memory stole my breath.

Sometimes I wished I could erase the mark she’d left on me, that I could finally be free of this ache. Another part of me held onto it because it was the only thing she’d left me with. The only thing I had to prove that what we’d shared had been real.

I’d wanted everything with her, but most of all, I wanted her to be happy. Safe.

I rolled onto my back and stared at the shadows playing across the ceiling, before I glanced again at Kristina. How different I’d pictured my life. Instead of lying here virtually alone next to Kristina, I should have been wrapped up in her, her auburn hair tickling my chin as she stirred in her sleep and nuzzled her face in my chest. I should have awoken to the welcome in her eyes, to someone who cared about me as much as I cared about her.

I’d accepted a long time ago that life I wanted would never be, but the isolation of the night always seemed to bring it all back, and it’d only gotten worse since I started having the nightmares six months ago.

Sitting up, I rubbed the back of my neck and tried to chase away the tension that had gathered in the muscles there, to shake off the anxiety that clung like decay. Climbing from bed, I was careful not to disturb Kristina. I knew from experience I had no chance of falling back to sleep now. In the bathroom, I flipped on the light switch and squinted in the brightness, seeing the strain from the recurring dream evidenced on my face in the mirror.

Sighing, I turned the faucet full blast and splashed cold water on my face.

This was getting really old.

My Book Review:

When We Collide shares the story of Maggie, a woman trapped in a horrific and abusive relationship, and William, a man desperately in love with her.

William Marsch met Maggie Krieger six years ago when he came home from college for the summer. Maggie grew up in an abusive home where domestic violence was the norm. She meets William while working a summer job as a waitress, they develop a friendship that quickly blossoms into love. William is deeply in love with Maggie, he wants to save her from her terrible home life, but her low self esteem and a chain of horrible events prevent her from following her heart and going away with William. Brokenhearted, William leaves Maggie and his family behind in Mississippi and escapes to Los Angeles, California, swearing never to return to Mississippi.

Six years later, William and Maggie are living in different parts of the country and trying to have normal lives. They're not happy, both are living lives that they hate, but they try to do the best that they can. When tragedy strikes William's family, William returns to his hometown and his family after a six year self-imposed exile. He learns to deal with his family problems and face his past. But when he runs into Maggie, he realizes not only that his love for her is still as strong as ever, but that there is also something much more powerful tying them together. This time around, William decides to stay and fight for the woman that he had loved and lost, even if it puts him on a violent collision course with Maggie's abusive husband Troy.

When We Collide is a powerful, intense and emotional love story that is heart wrenching and will simply take your breath away. Once again, author A.L. Jackson weaves a beautiful tale that is so much more than your typical romance story. A.L. takes the reader on a beautifully moving and emotional journey where she thoughtfully brings awareness to sexual abuse and domestic violence, and teaches the reader a lesson to stand up for yourself and for those you love, no matter the cost. This is a story that is hauntingly inspirational, as it focuses upon family and relationships; with the emphasis on love, forgiveness, strength, healing and redemption.

The story is written in the first person narrative with alternating points of view from William and Maggie, that transitions between the present time with flashbacks to their past. Maggie and William draw the reader into their story from the beginning, and the reader relives their love story and how the unraveling of events lead them on a collision course that makes the reader hold their breath as they turn the pages. This emotionally charged and intense story will suck you in, captivate you, keep you sitting on the edge of the seat with your heart pounding, and leave you emotionally drained but smiling. The author has a way of drawing upon raw emotions and transporting the reader into the characters lives, you just can't help but get caught up in their trials and tribulations, feeling their joys and sorrows while hoping for a happy ending.

The author has created a cast of characters who are realistic and complex people, with flaws and insecurities that are easy for the reader to relate to. Maggie has lived a lifetime of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I felt her fear as the cycle of abuse overtakes her desire to break free from the violence and control of a violent abuser. I felt her pain and ached for her as she longed for a better life for her son. She is a true fighter and survivor. William is a hero, he is prince charming, he is that knight in shining armor that women dream of having in their lives. He's not perfect, he has his flaws, but to have a man protect and love you unconditionally is something that is simply wonderful. I loved William's family, they are loving, forgiving and supportive. I only have one thing to say about Troy, he is a despicable excuse of a man. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Jonathan, this little boy simply stole my heart.

I think this quote nicely sums up the story's message: "Because it shouldn't hurt to be touched." It is the powerful and absolute love that William and Maggie feel for each other that carries them through the struggles they endure to break the cycle of abuse that ultimately will bring them back together.

When We Collide is an emotionally charged and poignantly touching story that everyone should read. It is a story that will resonate with you for a long time.


No comments:

Post a Comment