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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! Spotlight Author Victoria Sawyer

Hey everyone! Transcending Dreams here with an exclusive interview with the author of Angst, Victoria Sawyer.angst


[Transcending Dreams] In your bio on goodreads, you’re very open about your anxiety and depression. How has that changed who you are as a writer, or hasn’t it?

[Victoria] Prior to writing Angst I was always a very secretive person about my anxiety.  Only those closest to me knew the truth or the depth of my condition and in order to hide it I had used alcohol as a crutch for many many years in social settings.  Writing Angst was a start, but the real exposure didn’t come until I decided I wanted to actually self-publish it. 

 One of the first people to really read it for me who didn’t know anything about my panic attacks and anxiety was my friend Kerri who edited the book for me.  During the process she didn’t say much to me about what she thought of the subject matter, but after she told me that I had opened her eyes about panic attacks.  Her thought had always been, have one get over it, no big deal. She didn’t know that people like me were out there suffering from this every day.  So I was pleased with that outcome and of course with publishing I decided to be very open about it online. 

 In my personal life, I have opened up a bit more, but there are still people who don’t know, both in my family and in other relationships, like work.  I find it’s very difficult to have a quick conversation about how it feels to suffer from anxiety and often there isn’t time for a longer conversation.  It takes a lot of explaining for someone without panic attacks to understand what’s happening with someone like me.  My goal is that my novel will do the talking for me and more and more people will hopefully learn what it’s like to suffer from a mental illness and the long talk won’t be necessary because people will come to the table with an open mind.


[TD] Here’s the dreaded question all writer’s get asked: what’s your writing process?

[Victoria] I like to call my process “organic,” in that I go with the flow.  I write what I know, I allow the story to grow and change until I feel like I have the story line set.  Angst was not always the way it is now, it took time to learn her voice, and for me to learn more about plotting, pace etc.  I thought with writing a second book I’d plan more, but I find I still need to just jump in write what I know and the plotting will come together.


[TD] What did it feel like to finally see your published work?

[Victoria] It’s incredible.  I never thought I’d really write an entire book, never mind publish it.  It was always a dream but since I’m pretty pessimistic, I never really thought I’d get here.  It took some pushing from the right friends but here I am.  And I really hope that I can help someone, either to understand what it’s like to suffer from a persistent mental issue or to know that you aren’t alone in feeling the way you do.


[TD] Do you have any more books in the works?

[Victoria] I do, I have 3 books I’m working on at the moment.  I’m still having a hard time narrowing it down to one, but I do know I need to because I’ll never get anywhere with 3 books in the works.  One of them is the second installment to Angst and one that I knew I wanted to write prior to publishing but I didn’t know all the details of the story.  I’m still working through that now.  The other two stories are different and do not deal with mental health.


[TD] Who are your favorite authors?

[Victoria] I have a lot of favorite authors.  I’m really quite interested in history, so I read a lot of historical fiction which is of course quite different from the kind of stories that I’m telling.  History fascinates me, but I’m not sure I could actually write a historical novel myself.  A few favorites that come to mind:  Sara Donati, Robert McCammon, Wilbur Smith.  My current favorite YA authors are Belinda Williams, Laurie Halse Anderson, Colleen Hoover.  I also have a soft spot for Karina Halle. 


[TD] Who inspired you to write? Who or what keeps you writing?

[Victoria] I think feeling alone in my mental state is what pushed me to writing in the first place, plus I’m a very expressive person by nature.  I like to call myself an “emotional spewer” which means that I can’t keep it in, I have to share.  Heaven help those around me like my husband/parents and friends. But this definitely lends itself to writing.  Plus I’m emotional in general and I like writing about the emotional moments in life.  I also think that writing can be addictive.  I just plain enjoy using words to tell a story.


[TD] What words of wisdom would you give to aspiring writers?

[Victoria] Don’t stop!  No matter what happens, don’t stop.  Everyone has an opinion, everyone’s a critic but you can’t please everyone, you need to write for you, write as if no one will ever read it. That’s not to say that editing and criticism aren’t good, they are, but there is a time and place.  I think if I had taken all the criticism to heart, I would have stopped or I would have tried to change my voice, my writing style so many times that I would never have felt confident about it.  Don’t be afraid to do you. 


[TD] Do you have any regrets about the story you shared in Angst?

[Victoria] Do I have doubts?  I do, of course.  Every now and then I think of all the scandal, swear words, hurt, depression and anxiety that I’ve poured into my novel and I think, oh my god, I did that, I released that into the world, I need to pull it all back.  But most of the time, I don’t really care. Yes, I broke the rules with a flagrant disregard, I did something that some people will probably hate, I wrote a book that isn’t mainstream and I told my story in a way that might make people insane or anxious or depressed, but I did it my way and I told the truth.  At the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me is that I was honest and I told the story in the best way I can.  And I hope people can at least recognize that even if they don’t like it. 

For more info on Victoria, check out my webpage. You can buy her book, Angst, on amazon.

Freebies and Cheapies!

Check out these free and cheap ebooks for kindle! I know I swiped a bunch of the freebies. There’s a lot of books that sound great!

REVIEW – In the Nick of Time

Nick of Time

In the Nick of Time, by Sylvie Fox

Well, I have to admit this book was a bit more emotional than I was expecting. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to finish it, to be honest. I’ll try not to give too much away as I explain.

Holly is sure of one thing – she wants commitment. She was marriage, a baby, a house, the whole shebang. Then Nick waltzes into her life and everything goes out the window. They are drawn to each other immediately. At least, until Holly gets pregnant. Nick, only 26, isn’t sure he’s ready to be a father, but Holly is overjoyed. It’s everything she’s ever wanted, but will Nick come around before he loses everything?

The story starts off fairly slow. There’s a lot of sexy scenes to keep you going but I did find myself wondering where we were headed. Then Holly gets pregnant. That’s when things got emotional for me. Ms. Fox does such a good job connecting you to Holly that for someone like me, who was abandoned when she was pregnant… Let’s just say I had very deep sympathies for Holly, and at one point last night I was so upset at Nick and identified so deeply with Holly that I was sure I was not going to be able to finish the book. It was just too upsetting. BUT! I will say this – I am so happy I did finish it. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil the end.

Overall I’m going to give this book 4 Zs. It was really well written, the characters were real. I love the small details that really made Holly’s and Nick’s families come to life. There were a lot of cliches used, but I think that as Ms. Fox develops her writing style, she’ll become more comfortable with her voice and those will disappear. Great book! I’m adding Sylvie Fox to my list to read more of!

Calling all Blogger/Reviewers, Indie Authors, and Booklovers!

I want you


Like to review books and post them to your blog? Do you write books and want some free publicity? Are you a booklover who wants to share a website?  I am setting up a website for Indie authors, reviewers, bloggers, etc. and I want to link to YOU! Email me at and I will get it set up for you! I hope to go live within 24 hours, so please, don’t wait!

REVIEW – Addictions of a Sex Demon


Addictions of a Sex Demon, by Jaye Shields

The third book in the Sex Demons trilogy was absolutely amazing. 5 Zs easily. Not only was it a great climax for all three books, as a stand alone, it was a great story too.

Sephina, Zahra’s sister, a slowly recovering addict, finds herself a new addiction – Axel, a dragon demon known as a quetzalem. As they find themselves spiraling down into love’s embrace, they also find themselves kidnapped by dragon hunters. No spoilers here, but I will say the end was spectacular.

Not only were the characters compelling, as usual, but the story was suspenseful, surprising, and just plain wonderful. Again, I find myself jealous of the love the Shields’ characters find with one another.

There are only a couple questions I would liked to have cleared up in a “series epilogue” of sorts. First, Reza is Zahra’s brother… isn’t that going to make for some awkward Christmas dinners considering he stole Lennox’s wife, even if it was for the better? Second, Sephina’s addiction was never FULLY cleared up. It says in the epilogue that she had been clean a month, but she had been clean a month before that and relapsed. I wanted more closure with that.

Other than that, GREAT trilogoy. I wish Shields would go back and rewrite them into full novels! I highly recommend them and give the series 5 Zs. Jaye Shields should be proud of the work she’s completed. If you haven’t read it, get it! The new cover was just released!



Check out my other reviews for part one and part two.

REVIEW! Claiming of a Sex Demon!

Claiming of a Sex Demon

Claiming of a Sex Demon, by Jaye Shields

This is book two in Jaye Shields’ sex demon trilogy. It’s sort of a prequel to Confessions, in that it tells the story of Lennox’s wife, Emmerie, and Reza, who is Zahra’s brother, and how they fell in love, which leads to Lennox hunting down Zahra and torturing her for revenge. (If you’re confused, check out my review for Confessions of a Sex Demon here.)

Confessions was a really steamy story, but Claiming was really touching. I found myself really moved by the love Emmerie and Reza found together. Jealous, to be honest. My failed marriage aside, Shields does a great job writing. Her style is, again, easy to read, descriptive, and very hot. The characters, especially Emmerie, are endearing and compelling.

I’m giving book two 5 Zs. Though I think she should reverse the order of Confessions and Claiming, mostly because it makes Claiming really predictable, it was still enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to book 3, Addictions of a Sex Demon.

REVIEW – Dragon Heat



Dragon Heat, by Ella J. Phoenix

Wow! Talk about hot! And I’m not just talking about the dragon fire!
Zoricah, demigoddess, leader of the dracos, is on a mission to stop the maniac who is abducting and killing women of all kinds – draco and vampires alike. In her efforts, she tracks down Tardieh, king of the vampires, to enlist his help. Two hundred years ago, she saved his life, and she’s banking on that debt, but dracos and vampires are sworn enemies, and he harbors suspicions that Zoricah is the one behind his father’s murder.
Miscommunications aside, they unite to save draco Drew’s twin sister. When they find her, Deirdre is pregnant with some hybrid being that is slowly killing her, just as the other women were before they died from the monster inside of them.
The two join forces with their small groups of elite fighters and track down the man responsible. At least, they think they do. The tension between the two groups is believable and suspenseful. It adds a dynamic that really enhances the story.
This book was fantastic. The romance was steamy, the story was gripping, and the whole thing was bursting at the seams with creativity. I have to admit, I was worried when I saw there was a short glossary at the beginning of the story. But Ms. Phoenix is wonderful at inserting short explanations in with the made-up words so I never once had to look back at the glossary. And her lore is amazing. She has created a world where I would definitely like to live!! 
There are surprises at every turn in this book, and it will keep you wanting more. Including the cliff-hanger epilogue!
I’m giving this book 5 Zs. I’m certain you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Easter Weekend GIVEAWAY! Win One of THREE $5 Amazon Gift Cards!


We want to know who you like reading! Leave a comment with your favorite Indie author, or answer in rafflecopter, for a chance to win! THREE lucky entrants will win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Easter Weekend Giveaway

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REVIEW – Fade to Black

Fade to Black by Molly Kate Gray

Rory Johnston (a.k.a. Kennedy O’Donovan) is an undercover agent going into a university to find out who’s dealing the ecstasy that’s been killing students, including her twin sister. Her partners, Christian O’Donovan and Zachary Rowlins, the lead detectives on the case in the narcotics unit, aren’t too happy to have her there. Christian is pissed because she’s his half-sister, and Zach is upset… well, I won’t reveal too much.

As Rory gets deeper into the university, into the party scene, and into the theater department, she gets deeper into trouble. While the mystery is a little shaky, the romance between Rory and Zach is fiery hot.

Rory, who is only 22, is one of those wish-I-could-be-her characters, in a totally good way. She is an undercover agent (though not a full cop), a genius, and a brilliant actress, but she has enough flaws to keep her balanced – including claustrophobia and a fear of water. Zachary, while totally hot, sexy, and smart, has his flaws as well, rounding him out to make him believable. Overall, the characters in this book are great, though I wish the antagonists had a little more motivation. Or, that it was developed more.

The plot was a little slow. There was so much great character development, though, that it keeps you turning pages. A little adjustment to the mystery, throw in some minor catastrophes, and Ms. Gray’s got a real winner for sure. One thing I think Ms. Gray did really well -and it’s not an easy thing to do well either – is switching the point of view to different characters to give different points of view. I was never confused about whose eyes we were looking through.

As a romance, I give this book 5 Zs, and as a mystery, 4 Zs, for a total of 4.5 Zs. Definitely worth reading. I am definitely recommending this book to my friends when it comes out!

REVIEW – The Morning Star

The Morning Star, by Tania Penn

This was a great book. I’m giving it 5 Zs. It’s somewhere between fabulous and OMG! If you like books along the lines of Beautiful Creatures, Matched, Twilight (to an extent), etc., you will love this book. The author has come up with a great story involving Lucifer and his daughters without making it tacky, which, in my opinion, is difficult to do. The characters are believable and likable, the setting adds to the story, and the plot is definitely a page turner.
Meet Lucifer, who prefers to be called Luc, and his daughters, Dawn and Venus. Dawn is the daughter of Luc’s unrequited love, Archangel Michaela, who he has imprisoned. Michaela is in love with Archangel Ramiel, who is desperately trying to free her from her confines. In his efforts, he sends in his son, Gabriel, to manipulate Dawn, who is said to be the only one beside Luc who can free Michaela. Gabriel and Dawn fall for each other, and fall hard. Ensue chaos.
There are so many small details and descriptions that make this story come to life. You’ll definitely be laughing out loud at parts. I even teared up toward the end.
When this is published, it’s definitely going to rise to stardom in the Young Adult Paranormal Fiction genre. There was some brief, mild sexual content so it is not suitable for teens but is appropriate for young adults (18+).
All-in-all, great book. I look forward to reading the second one!
Mandee Marlane Rohn


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