Win-a-Book Wednesday: Little Nani’s audiobook


The Funny Adventures of Little Nani on audiobook

NaniAudioCoverThe beloved, interactive children’s book The Funny Adventures of Little Nani, by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa, is now available in audiobook format, and you could win one of five free copies—if you can follow directions.

  1. Follow Cinta Garcia de la Rosa on Twitter as CintaNani78.
  2. Send her a tweet saying why you should win the audiobook.
  3. Retweet the pinned post on Cinta’s Twitter profile.
  4. Leav a comment below (on the site) telling us you’ve done all those things.

Cinta will choose five winners from the commenters.

Good luck!

About the book

Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people. However, when she helps people the results can be a bit unexpected. Why is that? Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. With her magic wand, she will try to cast different spells to help her friends, but she won’t be successful all the time.

Follow Little Nani in her funny adventures and meet her extraordinary friends. Funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies… Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters!

Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? Listen to the stories and discover what happens next!

About the author

CintaBlogCinta Garcia de la Rosa has loved the written word since she was five years old and reads at least one hundred books every year. She has a B.A. in English with minors in Literature, Art, and Creative Writing from Oxford. She is an award-winning author who spends her time in the United States and Spain with her amazing husband. Along with writing, her career encompasses beta-reading, editing, proofreading, and translating Spanish/English. Cinta has published children’s books and contemporary amazonshort stories under her real name, and she also publishes horror stories under the pen name Rosa Storm.

In 2014, the Funny Adventures of Little Nani was a gold medal winner in the Children’s category of the International Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

Cinta can be found:

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Tsu   |   Blog   |   Blog   |    Blog

Website   |   Pinterest   |   Tumblr   |   LinkedIn




Wordless Wednesday: The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands


TBC Kindle cover

How far would you go to help a close friend? Is there a place where you might draw the line and simply have to say no?

Eight women. Four decades of friendship. One unimaginable request.

Where can you find a story about friendship, laughter and the good things in life that also touches on alcoholism, infidelity, porn addiction, illness and grief? For many women, it’s often within their own circle of friends. Whether your BFFs are in their twenties or are seniors, everyone has a story.

The Bridge Club reminds us of the complexities of women’s friendships through an entertaining and often moving tale of eight women whose lives intersect once a month initially to play the game of bridge. What began as one night turns into four decades that span the segments of a woman’s journey from youthful optimism to embracing the challenges and opportunities presented in life’s later years.

Based loosely on the author’s own bridge club, the story weaves the reader through a maze of life’s inevitable scenarios.

About the author

Patricia SandsPatricia Sands lives in Toronto Canada most of the time, Florida some of the time, and the south of France whenever possible. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. She is the author of the award-winning novel, The Bridge Club and her most recent release, The Promise of Provence. The latter is an Amazon best-seller that was also featured on the Movers & Shakers Digital list.  Thanks to reader demand, a sequel to The Promise of Provence in in the works!

Visit Patricia’s

And follow her on Twitter @patricia_sands


Building Character(s)


Handsome-Man-ReadingReaders tell me all the time how much they like many of my characters. They say that they feel like people they could know and have as friends. I’m a firm believer in Ray Bradbury’s sage advice to give readers someone to root for—I think that is what makes reading exciting. As Sol Stein always said about reading manuscripts submitted to him for possible publication, “I want to fall in love.” To me that is all you need to remember when setting out on a writing, and thus reading, adventure. I want to fall in love with my characters so much that I want to follow them to see where they are going and to cheer them on along the way.

Lately I’ve read, or started to read, an awful lot of books that feature characters I have a hard time getting interested in. Either they are one dimensional and boring or they are just not the sort of people I want to spend the hours it takes to read a book with. I’m trying to figure out why that is. Are there more authors writing about boring people? Or am I just getting pickier. Last night I started thinking about great characters from books I loved; characters that linger long after the book is over.

Probably the first was Jo March. I don’t remember how old I was when I first read Little Women and it is still one of my favorite books but, more than the actual story, it was Jo that I loved maybe because I identified with her in so many ways. Well, she wanted to be a writer. And sh came from a big family that she loved very much. But more than anything, it was her vulnerability and willingness to go that extra step. I still remember vividly the scene in which she cut off her hair and sold it rather than ask mean old Aunt March for the money so her mother could go take care of her father who had been wounded in the Civil War.

Shortly after that I read Jane Eyre for the first of many times and, again, I loved the story but I also loved Jane. Unlike Jo March she had no family except her horrid aunt and cousins. But Jane was persistent and she had a sense of self-worth that, young as I was, I recognized.

In high school I fell madly in love with Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. He was everything I thought a man should be: mature, dignified, intelligent, good, plus he was also a crack shot with a rifle. I loved the scene where the town sheriff (Heck Tate, I swear, I didn’t know I remembered that until now) asked Atticus to take the shot needed to kill a rabid dog and the utter astonishment of Atticus’s children when he did it.

Some years back, when I read A.S. Byatt’s Possession, I became quite enthralled by Maud Bailey, the beautiful but quirky professor of feminist literature. Maude fascinated me because she was brilliant but also somewhat wounded by a relationship that she could not quite put behind her. In Kiana Davenport’s Shark Dialogues I loved both Pono, the magnificent matriarch of a large Polynesian family. I loved her fearlessness and her endless love for Duke Kaloha, who was quite memorable as well.

It’s hard to say what it is that makes one character more captivating than another. I have read all of Alice Hoffman’s books and loved them but, of all her characters (and they are wonderful characters) the one that lingers in memory is Julian Cash from Turtle Moon. Why? I’m not sure—he is an interesting mix of strength and emotion, a homely man with a scarred face, who loves his dogs but does not think himself lovable.

A few years back when Donna Tartt’s The Secret History was published it seemed like every woman I know was in love with Henry Winter, myself included. I found this quite fascinating because Henry was such an odd character. He was an intellectual snob, aloof and removed from most company and yet generous and kind with his friends. He saved Richard’s life yet had no compunctions about taking the life of someone else.

I think about these characters—and more—when I am writing because they have qualities that I want to develop in the characters I create. I think the most interesting thing about creating characters is understanding their motivation, they need a personal psychology. That is always at the core of great characters. From Jean-Benoit Aubéry to Harry Potter and from Lady Brett Ashley to Scout Finch, these are people I can think about, love and root for, and keep as friends for a lifetime.

Thanks for reading.


How do Authors Come Up With Character Names, by Frederick Lee Brooke–Part1


Do the names of characters have any meaning? With some authors like David Foster Wallace, character names like Rick Vigorous often seem to hint at an inside joke. I spoke to some of the authors at BestsellingReads to find out how they come up with their characters’ names.


9-DistrictsDouglas Dorow writes, “In The Ninth District, Jack Miller came from the name of my friend’s son. I liked the way it sounded. The second character was named by the winner of an auction at my kids’ school. The winner won a kindle preloaded with lots of books and got to name a character in my book. He wanted me to use his best friend’s name for his birthday–he’s a thriller reader, so, Ross Fruen was born.”



Martha Bourke, who wrote the Jaguar Sun series, writes, “The name Maya comes from the Mexican tradition of naming girls Maya to honor their heritage. The villain of the series, Victrixa Mata, has an interesting meaning to her name as well. In Spanish, ‘Mata’ means ‘s/he kills.’ So, directly translated, her name in English is ‘Victrixa Kills.’”


Finding Emma-Final 2013

Finding Emma is the bestselling thriller by Steena Holmes – “My daughters all helped me name the girls in the book. They each got to pick the name and help me while I wrote the story. My other main character – Jack – is based upon my father and grandfather. Their last name is Jack. One of Jack’s friends in the book is named Dougie (after my father).”



Have you ever read Arcadia’s Gift, by Jesi Lea Ryan? Jesi Lea explained the character’s name in this way: “I met a woman through work several years ago named Arcadia, Cady for short. I thought that was the most beautiful name. I always thought if I had a daughter I could use it. Once I decided not to have children, I figured I’d use the name for the main character in my YA novel, Arcadia’s Gift. It fits her very well because she is a normal girl (Cady) but she has a secret, powerful side to her (Arcadia).”


BrokenFernsLow“Leilani Rosario Matsumoto Texeira, my main character, has each name for a purpose,” writes Toby Neal, bestselling author of Hawaiian mysteries such as Blood Orchids. “Each name represents one of her ethnicities: Leilani is for her Hawaiian heritage and shortens to easy-to-remember Lei; Rosario is her aunt’s name and reflects her Portuguese heritage; Matsumoto is her mother’s Japanese family name and Texeira, while a tad problematic to pronounce and spell, is a name you see a lot in Hawaii and not many other places. It’s Portuguese in origin. Names are very important in Hawaii and many of them tell a story in themselves.”


Diane Capri is the bestselling author of Due Justice, and writes, “Wilhelmina Carson is named in tribute to my first woman-DueJustice_DianeCapri_smalllawyer mentor, Wilhelmina Boersma. The real Wilhelmina was a remarkable woman and quite a pioneer. She went to law school after WWII and worked for 20 years as a secretary in a large Detroit law firm where I first began practicing. Later, she became a partner in the firm and was always, always behaving as she believed a lady would–even as she represented many members of the teamsters union! Wilhelmina was in her late 60s by the time I became a lawyer, and she was a quiet force to be reckoned with. She didn’t seek the limelight, but neither did she shrink from being noticed. She wore a mink hat to lunch at a club where she was a member, even though she was not allowed to enter through the front door because she was a woman. Amazing role model for a rather timid young lawyer like me! So I gave my Wilhelmina Carson some of the real Wilhelmina’s courage, coupled with her grace under pressure, and hoped to be like her myself when I grew up.”


ThePromise-of-ProvenceShaded“The name of the main character in The Promise of Provence, Katherine Price, is a combination of the names of two strong women in my life,” explains bestselling author Patricia Sands. “However, Katherine’s mother in the story, Elisabeth, is named after and modeled upon my late mother-in-law (to whom the book is dedicated). The first part of the story Elisabeth relates to Katherine is a true accounting of what happened to my mother-in-law and her family during WW2 in her village in Hungary, and the carpet they speak of hangs in my son’s home today. She was an important influence in our lives.”



Christine Nolfi, bestselling author of Treasure Me, writes, “There’s no set pattern for naming characters. Some, like Birdie in Treasure Me, arrive fully formed. Others start with an archetype employed to aid in fleshing out the character’s traits. For Blossom in Second Chance Grill, I wanted a name that conveyed “life” despite the struggle against death she must face. Wish, from Treasure Me, is another play on opposites. I think of her as a nefarious criminal who destroys the wishes held dear by others, a sort of death wish in human form.”


Thinking of all your favorite books, do you have a favorite character name? Do you think the author attached any special meaning to the name?

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fredbrookeThe third book in Frederick Lee Brooke’s Annie Ogden mystery series is due out in Summer 2013. The series began with Doing Max Vinyl, currently #1 on the Goodreads list Best Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Novel of 2011” then followed up with another hit, Zombie Candy. He lives in Switzerland, where the chocolate is good, but the glaciers are melting. Like Frederick Lee Brooke on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.


Aha Moments with Noprah Spinfree—Shannon Mayer Exposed!


Hi, This is Noprah Spinfree guest posting here at BestSellingReads.  When the BSR management invited me to participate, I said, O, Yes!  I plan to stop by whenever my busy schedule allows.  As you all know, I love great books and juicy gossip.  Today, I’m on the couch with author Shannon Mayer.  I have three words for Shannon’s work – fa – bu – lous. 

Priceless FINALNoprah:  What does your main character whisper to you that is starting to scare you?  

 Shannon:  Actually, I have a bad ass character from one series trying to help me write a sweet romance. It’s freaking me out . . .

 Noprah:  Who broke your heart at the end of a novel? 

 Shannon:  That damn cat in Mocking Jay. I didn’t cry until he howled for Prim.

 Noprah:  Why did you have to go to the principal’s office?

Shannon: Ohh, that would be fighting. As in fist fighting. Mind you it only happened once . . .

 Noprah:  What subject in school kicked your butt?

Shannon: Advanced Chemistry. It was like the teacher was speaking Chinese. And I don’t speak Chinese.

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ShannonMayerShannon Mayer is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Priceless which has sold over 20,000 copies in its first two months. On her down time, she hangs out on the farm coming up with ideas for her next books, herds old people to the local cribbage club, and in general makes a nuisance of herself.

Connect with Shannon on Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  or of course on her Blog



How I Develop Characters for a Series, by CR Hiatt


FIREWORKS_-_FINAL_-_LOW_RESAs a writer of screenplays and novels, I am often asked what I think is the key to writing a good fiction series. To me, the answer is simple: character development.

In 2009, a producer contacted me after reading one of my screenplays. This producer had an idea, and he was looking for a writer to help him develop it into a treatment and screenplay. During our initial discussion, he shared the idea with me and gave me the nicknames of his characters. At that point in time, that was all he had. His idea stemmed from former feature films that he loved, and the nicknames he came up with  mirrored adult fictional characters depicted on film. The difference was, he wanted his characters to be teenagers. His ultimate goal with the project was to find a writer that could help him develop those teenage characters and create various plots for a recurring series.

Obviously, there was nothing unique about his idea given the above information, and copying characters already in existence would be an infringement, even if they were going to be younger version. I could not use the nicknames of the characters he gave me and emulate the personalities and attributes of the fictional characters he named them after. Aside from infringing on someone else’s creation, they would not be unique. So my job as a writer was to develop authentic characters with their own personalities, names, and back story that would set them apart from the characters he wanted to emulate.

So, how did I go about it? I will use James Bond as a hypothetical example. We all know Bond … James Bond. Some of us have read the books, but the majority of us have seen the heroic scenes 007 plays out on the big screen. In the James Bond movies, we have come to expect unique and eccentric villains, fallen in love with the sweet Moneypenny, watched Bond defy M, waited patiently while Q demonstrated his latest gadget, and anticipated the sexy, and sometimes lethal, co-stars.

The first time I became acquainted with James Bond was when Sean Connery starred in Goldfinger.  I was hooked from the get go and immediately went in search of more. With each film, I was riveted to the screen and watched 007 as he charmed the clothes off the women, whipped out one-liners and showed a total lack of fear. I loved the action, not to mention the cool cars and exotic locations. Some of you may have enjoyed the films as pure entertainment and left it at that, but maybe you were like me and wanted to know more. As a writer, I was curious to know what Bond was like as a kid, teen, and young adult.

How did he become the perfect action hero?

When Ian Fleming turned James Bond into the action icon that he is today, he knew everything there was to know about his past. The sub-characters and villains, as well. We writers refer to that as our backstory, and that is the key for me in character development. When I start a series, I want to know as much as I can about every character. I start that process by asking myself various questions:

CR Hiatt

CR Hiatt

Who were his/her parents?

What was their heritage?

What type of work did they do?

What challenges did his/her parents face that would have an impact on my character?

Did either one of them serve in the military, the government?

Where was my character born?

What name was he/she born with? Sometimes, a name can be a critical piece of backstory.

Does the character have a nickname that he/she earned in the early years of growing up? If so, what were the reasons behind the name?

What traits did his/her parents have that might have been passed onto him?

Were there any unusual events that occurred in his/her parent’s life that could have an impact on him, and his persona?

There are so many more: color of hair, eyes, body type, what kind of clothing he/she wears, distinguishing marks, tattoos, or any other defining attributes. Ultimately, I just keep asking questions until I know so much about my character that I could tell you what he/she is thinking, or how they would react with anything that comes his/her way. Once you know the backstory, it is so much easier to keep creating the world he/she lives in today, tomorrow, and beyond. Using all of the information above, it was so much easier to create the world of McSwain & Beck. I knew everything there was to know about their past, in order to keep creating their future.

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CR Hiatt is a writer of screenplays and action-adventure/mystery-thriller novels. Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 and Fireworks on the 4th, the first two books in the YA mystery-thriller series featuring McSwain & Beck, are available now. CR is currently working on the third in the series, Lethal Hostages, an adult action-adventure romance, I Am Not a Spy, and a full-length novel of the short story featured in this post, “In His Boots.”

Connect with CR Hiatt on her blog website twitter facebook