Guns & Smoke, Writing

Guns & Smoke Blog Tour: All the Ups and Downs (Guest Post)

Please be sure to check out the original post here!

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for Guns & Smoke by Lauren Sevier and A. Smith. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a helpful guest post from the authors. There’s also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!–

Title:Guns & Smoke
Series:The Fool’s Adventure #1
Authors: Lauren Sevier & A. Smith
Publication Date: July 10th 2021
Print Length: 374 pages
Genre: Dystopian Western Romance
~In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.
Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.
Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.
Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.

Goodreads * Amazon * Apple Books *Barnes & Noble * Book Depository *Books-A-Million * Bookshop *Half Price Books *IndieBound * Kobo

BOOK TRAILER:
Watch the book trailer below or by clicking here!



EXCERPT:“I didn’t mean what I said earlier, about turning you over to Sixgun. I was just…” He struggled for the words.
“Hurt?” I offered, and he nodded. “I know. I have a talent for pushing people away.”
“I still shouldn’t have said it,” he muttered near my ear, his arm tightening around my shoulders to hold me closer.
“Do you really think I’m stupid?” I asked.
“No, I think you’re the smartest person I’ve ever met,” he said, with all the conviction with which he said everything else. I smiled against his shirt. “Did you really climb into my bed because you thought I was upset about the train?”
“No,” I croaked, hiding my face as best I could. “I don’t have nightmares when you hold me.”
“I don’t have nightmares when I hold you either,” he admitted.
So I let him. I let him hold me all night. We didn’t speak, we just leaned against each other until the sky began to lighten and the shadows of our pasts seemed to fade into the distance.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia.  Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!

LAUREN SEVIER’S LINKS: Website * Amazon * Facebook *Goodreads * Instagram * Twitter * YouTube
A. SMITH’S LINKS:
Website * Amazon * Goodreads *Instagram * TikTok * Twitter

GUEST POST:– Share writing advice to aspiring authors – what are three things you wish someone would have told you?

Abbie:
Read. Read read read. Read everything that you can get your hands on. Read every single book that you can think of, because you never know what you will learn from it. This doesn’t apply only to fiction, but also non-fiction. Find craft books! I’ve read more craft books in the last year than I ever have in my life and it has definitely made a difference in my work.

Remember to give yourself a little grace in everything. You are only one person, and this business can get incredibly overwhelming. Be sure you’re taking time for yourself, and that you allow yourself the chance to breathe. I get very overwhelmed at times, and I just have to remember that it’s okay if I need to take a step back.

Don’t write to the market. The market is always changing. Something you write right now may not be popular in a year or two by market standards. Write stories that you love, that you are passionate about, that set your soul on fireGuns & Smoke is a dystopian that we started when dystopian was super popular, but it’s the story and the characters that have kept us connected, and why we chose to publish it, regardless of what the market says is popular.-

Lauren:
I love this question! I think the first thing I would tell aspiring authors is that Imposter Syndrome is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Well, not really. See, the reason we get ‘imposter syndrome’ is because we care so much about getting our books exactly right. We get in our own heads about not being good enough, original enough, technically brilliant enough and start to feel like an ‘imposter’. *whispers* But I have a secret. Imposters don’t feel that way. They fake it. They don’t do the work or agonize over comma placement or plot points. So ‘imposter syndrome’ is only felt by people who are categorically not imposters. When I realized that I was able to finally finish my first solo book and gain so much confidence in myself that I pursued publication, and I’m not ever going back.

The second piece of advice I have is that comparison is the enemy of success. There are tons of stories that are similar thematically, in execution, or structurally, but what makes them special is the unique voice that story is told in.

Lastly, don’t ever lose the joy of it. If this is a business to you, I understand. But the minute something goes from being art to being a job, it’s really easy to lose the joy of creation and artistic expression. Make sure you take the time to slow down and enjoy the process. It’s beautiful and I hope you never forget that.

Writing

Guns & Smoke Blog Tour: Viviana MacKade (Interview)

Please be sure to check out the original post here!

I discovered this genre with Kat Ross, and I look forward to keeping reading in the genre with this book.

Guns & Smoke (The Fool’s Adventure Series Book 1) by by Lauren Sevier and A. Smith will release on July 1 in the Dystopian/Western Romance genre.https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_JO4coRlxtDjdy8&asin=B08RW6JNGG&tag=kpembed-20

In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.

Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him. 

Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime. Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.

“I didn’t mean what I said earlier, about turning you over to Sixgun. I was just…” He struggled for the words.

“Hurt?” I offered, and he nodded. “I know. I have a talent for pushing people away.”

“I still shouldn’t have said it,” he muttered near my ear, his arm tightening around my shoulders to hold me closer.

“Do you really think I’m stupid?” I asked.

“No, I think you’re the smartest person I’ve ever met,” he said, with all the conviction with which he said everything else. I smiled against his shirt. “Did you really climb into my bed because you thought I was upset about the train?”

“No,” I croaked, hiding my face as best I could. “I don’t have nightmares when you hold me.”

“I don’t have nightmares when I hold you either,” he admitted.

So I let him. I let him hold me all night. We didn’t speak, we just leaned against each other until the sky began to lighten and the shadows of our pasts seemed to fade into the distance.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!

What is the inspiration behind the characters?

As co-authors, we have specific characters that we each write.

Lauren: Bonnie is such an absolute joy to write. She’s wholly the product of her environment and through the years the more I discovered of her, the more we discovered about the world at large. As for inspiration, I think she comes from a place rooted in my experience as a woman. The frustration of feeling like I have to soften my words so that people will hear them. The irrational anger that I have for being constantly dismissed in professional settings. The way I feel as if I constantly need to prove myself simply because I occupy spaces in leadership roles being a woman. Bonnie doesn’t soften any of her unlikeable edges. She doesn’t flinch away from the hard topics. She takes what she wants and she doesn’t ask for permission. This makes her flawed in different ways than I am, which is always something interesting to write. But it’s also what I love the most about her character. That it’s her unflinching honesty and strength that makes Jesse fall in love with her. I love perpetuating the theme of strong, independent, sexually empowered women who don’t have to compromise who they are to find someone who will love them and not try to change them.  

Abbie: For Jesse, inspiration really comes from what I’d like to see in a male character. One of my concerns when it comes to the romance genre is problematic men. I get that dangerous men are sexy and interesting, but there’s also something really great about a strong, male character who isn’t afraid to show his feelings, who loves fiercely, and who believes in the ties that bind us–whether they’re familial or chosen bonds. When we started developing the world, I really liked Jesse’s perspective. Because he grew up in a pretty isolated place, he could see the post-Culling world through fresh eyes. This is a good way to help readers get acclimated to the world as well. Jesse is as much a part of me as I am. I first started developing him back in 2012, and he’s only grown more into the man I always hoped he would become. Jesse only continues to grow as time goes on, and he becomes the man that he needs to be by the end of Guns & Smoke.

Lauren Sevier:

Website: www.laurensevier.com

Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/laurensevier

Twitter: www.twitter.com/laurensevier

Instagram: www.instagram.com/laurensevier

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorlaurensevier

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19812178.Lauren_Sevier

Smith:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21041264.A_Smith

Website: https://abbielynnsmith.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbiewritesx

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abbiewritesx/

TikTok: https://t.co/30D6MREJxk?amp=1

Newsletter: https://abbielynnsmith.com/newsletter/

Writing

Guns & Smoke Blog Tour: Lisa Haselton (Interview)

Please be sure to check out the original post here!

Bios:
Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on Tiktok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!

Please tell us about your newest release.
Twenty years ago, the world went to hell. Government representatives were assassinated. Bombs dropped around the entire country. Millions died. Lawless chaos rose up. Those who remained in cities fell victim to gangs of madmen who seized control of the world, from trading to the agriculture industry to human trafficking for slave labor. Life became about surviving, and the American Dream evaporated. They called it the Culling.

Guns & Smoke is a story of the ones who were left behind.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run from murderous gang leader, Jones, and his henchman, Sixgun. She’s on her way out of Vegas when she spots an attractive man who definitely does not belong. With his chiseled jaw and too trusting eyes, Bonnie decides she has time for one last con.

Jesse grew up in the relative safety of the north, isolated from the rest of the world after his parents escaped the Culling. When a fire engulfed his home and took his parents, Jesse fled with his younger brother in search of an uncle they’d never met.

Their two paths collide, sending them on the adventure of a lifetime. Together, they may discover that life is about more than just surviving.

What inspired you to write this book?
Guns & Smoke began as a short story where the two main characters, Bonnie & Jesse, are forced to flee together to escape a murderous outlaw–after Bonnie robbed Jesse at gunpoint (of course). We both love the dystopian genre in general. We wanted to have some modern elements (specific weapons, etc.) that weren’t exclusive to the western genre.. Additionally, Abbie spent a lot of time growing up with her grandfather, who is a fan of old westerns, which heavily influenced the themes and plot of Guns & Smoke.

Excerpt from Guns & Smoke:
One small change in position and now each of my soft curves was pressed intimately against the tall, hard length of his unyielding body. His blue eyes blazed in the dim light of the alley, reading something on my face that urged him on. This was supposed to be my trap.

His hands were buried in my hair now, a thumb tracing over my cheek to land on my bottom lip. I knew what he wanted. Parting my mouth, I wrapped my lips around the pad of his thumb, my tongue flicking against it before sucking softly. A deep thunderous sound rumbled through his chest to shake me down to my bones. His hand in my hair slid to the back of my head, pulling my mouth closer to his. He wanted me to kiss him. He wanted this to be more than a transaction. He wanted me to want him back.

I brushed my nose against his, and he stilled. All other motion and sensation forgotten as his eyes landed on my mouth, inching closer to his. I drank in the taste of his breath, a faint echo of the taste of his lips from before. My head tilted to the side, and he brushed the hair away from my face to see me more clearly as I angled toward him. He swallowed down whatever desperate words were on the tip of his tongue, and I took his chin in my hand, mouths open and millimeters apart.

Click.

What’s the next writing project?
Together, we just finished the zero draft of Guns & Smoke’s sequel, Leather & Lace. We have three books planned for Bonnie & Jesse’s story after Guns & Smoke, and an entire host of novels and novellas exploring the world.

Lauren’s next project is the sequel to her debut novel, Songs of Autumn, which was released in November 2020. Abbie is currently working vigilantly on editing a fantasy romance novel she wrote during NaNoWriMo in 2020.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
Abbie: When writing a new book, my biggest challenge is working through the set up. I often have a strong start, then it tapers off until I hit the midpoint. Once I get to that midpoint, the story usually takes off and is really strong, but I find that I have to go back to the beginning of act two and really shape and structure things so that the story is coherent and well rounded from beginning to end. I also think I get impatient sometimes, and I really just want to see my main characters get together before I actually have to put in the work.

Lauren: Finding the time to write them. Between working full time in Cardiology, being a mother to an amazing (and exhausting) toddler, and working around my husband’s shifts as a first responder… it can be incredibly hard to carve out enough time to dedicate to writing, editing, publishing, etc. In a perfect world I’d be able to work on my books full-time, and that might be something that happens in the future, but for now I’m content putting out one or two high quality novels a year.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
Most of our writing involves fantasy or dystopian elements that we create, which doesn’t require extensive amounts of research. For Guns & Smoke, we had to do a lot of research on weapons and specific locations in the southwestern United States. For example, the characters take a train in Arizona. We spent time researching train lines that run across the southwest to find out which stops might get them closest to their destination. Pair that with knowledge we already had from our experiences growing up in the south (Lauren is actually a pretty good shot and rides horses) and it was a pretty seamless process.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
Abbie: I have a library in my house, with my desk in front of a window that overlooks my backyard. While I think I could write just about anywhere, I find that my muse tends to be more active at specific times of day: first thing in the morning, as the sun rises, or very late at night when the world is quiet.

Lauren: I have a writing room in my house. It has my large antique bookcase, a double desk, lots of storage, and of course doubles as a video recording studio for TikToks, Youtube videos, and livestreams. It’s a mess most of the time, because my creative process is literal chaos. I love it because it has a set of French doors that lead to the covered front porch and let in a ton of natural light. It’s really spacious and easy for both of us to set up when we have in person ‘work days’ where I can still be close to my family and occasionally we get visits from my little boy.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
Sarah J Maas is an author we both enjoy reading. She does a really wonderful job of building characters and worlds, and crafting unpredictable stories that take your breath away. Abbie enjoys devouring books by authors like Alexandra Bracken, Sara Raasch, Stephanie Garber, and Marie Lu. Lauren will read just about anything, from Jane Austen to Leigh Bardugo. She reads extensively in YA Fantasy and YA fiction in general as market research for her YA Fantasy series, but is really eclectic with her reading. From craft books to literary novels to self-help.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Guns & Smoke initially started back in 2012, when we really didn’t know what we were doing. Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time crafting these characters and building this world. It’s as much ingrained in us as the real world. We hope you love Bonnie, Jesse, and The Kid as much as we do.

Links:

Lauren:
Lauren’s website | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Abbie:
Abbie’s website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | Newsletter

Guns & Smoke, Writing

Guns & Smoke: LAUNCH PARTY!

We have such exciting news to share with everyone! We will be having a launch party for Guns & Smoke on release day, July 10, 2021! We have partnered with our local, independent bookstore Cavalier House Books, to host a launch event at Le Chien Brewery Company in Denham Springs, LA. If you are local to the Baton Rouge area, please go to the Facebook Event and RSVP to attend!

Party goers will be able to purchase copies of Guns & Smoke and have them signed during the event. There will also be food and drink available for purchase through Le Chien Brewery Company. It is so amazing that we’ve been able to bring together our independently published work alongside these two wonderful, small businesses!

If you cannot attend the event and would like a signed copy, Cavalier House Books is facilitating signed pre-order copies of Guns & Smoke! Please go to this link to order!

We cannot wait to share Guns & Smoke with the world! More information on it is below.

In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun dangers lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.

Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities he’d heard about his whole life. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.

Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
 

As always, Thanks!
Abbie

Writing

Guns & Smoke Blog Tour: Christine Young (Interview)

Please be sure to check out the original post here!

  1. How did you come up with ideas for your books?

-Guns & Smoke began almost as a joke. One night, we decided to write a short story and it exploded into an entire world. Our work is very character driven. Once we had the two main characters and began to explore further, we realized that there was so much more to the world than the simple short story. We intend on exploring many aspects of this world from many different viewpoints, including characters that you see in Guns & Smoke, but don’t necessarily see their perspective in this book.

2. What expertise did you bring to your writing?

-We think what makes co-authoring such a unique and fulfilling experience is that we both have strengths and weaknesses that we’re able to balance out when writing, editing, and marketing our work. Abbie, for example, is very good at very technical things such as: graphic design, website design, html, proofreading, and so much more. Meanwhile Lauren is a great Developmental Editor and is very in touch with how to connect story and audience through marketing campaigns, theme development, and demographic research. While Abbie tends to be more organized, Lauren is able to shake up the structure of things enough to keep them interesting and the creativity flowing. It’s a marriage of opposites that surprisingly works really well.  

3. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

-We’ve literally known each other since we were four years old. Part of why we think it’s so easy for us to work together is that we’ve been in each other’s lives since we could remember. We’re able to predict each other’s moods and basically read each other’s minds at this point. LOL! We didn’t start writing together until high school, when we dove into the world of Harry Potter fanfiction (Marauder’s Era, naturally). We learned pretty quickly how much we loved creating complex stories driven by sympathetic (or unsympathetic) characters. While Guns & Smoke was the first manuscript we completed together, back in 2012, we’ve written and will continue to write several series crossing genres and audiences in the years to come.

4. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

-We have a long list of novels and novellas planned in The Fool’s Adventure series together that fall under the Dystopian Western Romance genre. We have at least two more worlds in which we plan to have series, one Dark Fantasy Romance and another in a Paranormal Romance. Additionally, both of us have our solo works. Lauren published Songs of Autumn in November of 2020, which is the first novel in her YA Fantasy series, Songs. Abbie has not yet published any of her solo works, but is working in the Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance genres. 

5. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

-Abbie: There’s a character coming in Guns & Smoke’s sequel, Leather & Lace, that I absolutely adore named Savannah. She’s snarky and doesn’t take crap from anybody. She is fiercely loyal and when she loves, she loves hard. I’m excited for the world to get to meet her. 

-Lauren: *snort* Bonnie, of course. I love how strong she is. In fact, there are definitely times I wish I had half her bravado. She knows who she is, what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it. Those are qualities I admire so much about her. She doesn’t care if she’s liked, she doesn’t need to be liked. She just needs to be heard. She also has this tender, motherly, affectionate side that I feel reflected in myself. In short, she’s awesome, and I wish I could be just like her. Although, I don’t envy her tragic past. I could definitely do without that.   

6. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

-Originally Guns & Smoke was supposed to be a YA Dystopian novel and was written as such. Of course, it was originally written in 2012 at the height of the Hunger Games era. In fact, neither of us had ever even dabbled in Adult fiction at that point. It went through several iterations to get to this point. After a nearly four year hiatus (where the manuscript sat unfinished in a computer file gathering dust) Lauren wasn’t able to let the story go. She drafted a proposal, reviewed it from a Developmental Editing standpoint, detailed all the ways it needed to change, and sent it to Abbie praying that she would accept the suggestions and salvage the book. Spoiler Alert: Abbie thought all her suggestions were amazing. Exactly what was needed to take this story from gathering dust to being on shelves. The major change was the genre, going from YA Dystopian to Adult Dystopian/Western Romance. But once Lauren discovered the heart of the story, it was just a process of showing that heart on the page.

7. Do you outline your books or just start writing?

-We typically create a loose outline based on the three act structure! Abbie prefers to have a little more structure, so she tends to create a loose chapter by chapter outline, with the understanding that things can(and usually will) change along the way. We’ll have specific plot points that need to be addressed, but we usually leave enough room for discovery writing as well as changing major plot points as we see need. Lauren also loves throwing plot twists in randomly, just to keep things interesting 

8. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you’ve gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?

-Lauren: So, fun fact, I rode horses growing up. In fact, I had a horse named ‘Goldie’ for many years and even participated in a rodeo. As one of three girls, my father did all the typical ‘little boy’ things with us. Fishing, Camping, Hiking, Shooting. So a lot of the content of the book comes from personal experience. At least when it comes to the parts where they’re ‘roughing it’.

-Abbie: Really one of the only hobbies I have is reading and books! I definitely write my characters in order to experience things I never have.

9. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?

Yes, Guns & Smoke’s sequel, Leather & Lace, has already had its “zero” draft done. We anticipate releasing it in 2022. Lauren is in the process of releasing book number two in the Songs series. Abbie is currently working vigilantly on editing a fantasy romance novel she wrote during NaNoWriMo in 2020.

10. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

-The Black Moment in Guns & Smoke is when one of the main characters almost loses the other. They’ve spent all of this time together, braving the elements, escaping from murderous henchmen, and trying to battle their own trauma. When they’re finally at that point that they both realize they want to be with each other, one of them comes very close to being lost. We spent a lot of time developing this moment–as we call it the “cliff” moment. You’ll understand what we mean when you read it.

11. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to write a series.

-This is such a great question. Considering that when we started Guns & Smoke, it was supposed to be a short story, so we didn’t do a lot of building up front. As we’ve explored the characters and expanded the initial story, we realized that there was so much more we could do in this world. Initially, we saw The Fools Adventure series as a trilogy, with the first book establishing the world, the second establishing the enemies, and the third bringing the series to a close. Lauren is an amazing developmental editor, so she looked at the overall story arc and was able to determine that the series should actually be expanded into four books. Writing a series may seem daunting, but really, because we love this world so much, it’s easy. In fact, we keep coming up with ideas for other stories that we can tell in this world. Abbie loves writing series. She has a hard time limiting herself to stand alone stories because she falls in love with the characters and wants to explore them all fully. One of our strengths is being co-writers. So when one of us can’t figure something else out, we have someone to bounce ideas off of and usually those ideas spiral into other ideas. The possibilities truly are endless!

BLURB:

In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.

Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.

Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.

Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:

One small change in position and now each of my soft curves was pressed intimately against the tall, hard length of his unyielding body. His blue eyes blazed in the dim light of the alley, reading something on my face that urged him on. This was supposed to be my trap.

His hands were buried in my hair now, a thumb tracing over my cheek to land on my bottom lip. I knew what he wanted. Parting my mouth, I wrapped my lips around the pad of his thumb, my tongue flicking against it before sucking softly. A deep thunderous sound rumbled through his chest to shake me down to my bones. His hand in my hair slid to the back of my head, pulling my mouth closer to his. He wanted me to kiss him. He wanted this to be more than a transaction. He wanted me to want him back.

I brushed my nose against his, and he stilled. All other motion and sensation forgotten as his eyes landed on my mouth, inching closer to his. I drank in the taste of his breath, a faint echo of the taste of his lips from before. My head tilted to the side, and he brushed the hair away from my face to see me more clearly as I angled toward him. He swallowed down whatever desperate words were on the tip of his tongue, and I took his chin in my hand, mouths open and millimeters apart.

Click.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!

Lauren Sevier:

Website: http://www.laurensevier.com

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/c/laurensevier

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/laurensevier

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/laurensevier

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorlaurensevier

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19812178.Lauren_Sevier

Smith:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21041264.A_Smith

Website: https://abbielynnsmith.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbiewritesx

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abbiewritesx/

TikTok: https://t.co/30D6MREJxk?amp=1

Newsletter: https://abbielynnsmith.com/newsletter/

Writing

Guns & Smoke: BOOK TRAILER!

In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun dangers lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.

Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities he’d heard about his whole life. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.

Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.

Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.

Guns & Smoke releases in paperback and e-book platform wide on July 10, 2021! You can preorder by clicking here!

Thanks for reading,
Abbie

Writing

Guns & Smoke: Meet the Cast!

Twenty years ago, the world went to shit. Government representatives were assassinated. Bombs dropped around the entire country. Millions died. Lawless chaos rose up. Those who remained in cities fell victim to gangs of madmen who seized control of the world, from trading to the agriculture industry to human trafficking for slave labor. Life became about surviving, and the American Dream evaporated. They called it the Culling.

Guns & Smoke is a story of the ones who were left behind.

Bonnie

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run from her dark past. A fate worse than death chases her when she spots a handsome blue-eyed stranger on the streets of Vegas.

Jesse James

Jesse James knew only life on the farm in the sparse north. One night, flames destroy his world and he’s forced to flee with only the clothes on his back and his little brother, Harry. The last thing he expects when they come to Vegas is to be robbed by a beautiful stranger with hate (and desire) in her eyes.

Harry “The Kid” James

Don’t call him Harry. He goes by the “Kid” and he’ll set you straight. The Kid has seen more than he should at 10-years-old, but he’s the glue that keeps Bonnie and Jesse from murdering one another.

Will Ellis

Will Ellis knows exactly who he is, and he’s not ashamed to show himself. He grew up in tent city with Bonnie. His father is a murdering psychopath.

Sixgun Ellis

Sixgun Ellis is a certified psychopath, with a gun.
Guns & Smoke, Mental Health, Writing

Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

As spring comes upon us, that time has returned: what’s been up?

First and foremost, in February, Lauren and I revealed the cover for our upcoming novel, Guns & Smoke!

It was SUCH a joy to see everyone’s excitement for the cover reveal! We officially started our pre-order promotions. If you’re interested in finding out more, head over to my Guns & Smoke page for more information! We hope to have the paperback available for preorder soon. 🙂

Guns & Smoke was out for copyedits during the month of February. Being as this is my first time working with an editor, I was slightly nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Guns & Smoke has seen many iterations and been edited and drafted what feels like a hundred times by this point. When the edits arrived, I was almost afraid to look. But, then… it was mostly clean up! The majority of our editor’s notes were punctuation (which I’ve learned I’m terrible at), word repetitions, and suggestions on how to make sentences more succinct.

At the same time, our novel was out to beta readers. This was the first time we’d put the project in front of readers since changing the genre from YA to Adult, and straight dystopian, to dystopian-western-romance. I usually don’t get nervous when it comes to a small group of people reading my books. I didn’t really this time. It’s only as we get further into the process that my fears and imposter syndrome start creeping up on me. Anyway, the point to this is to talk about our wonderful beta readers and the feedback that they gave to us. While it wasn’t all good, I really felt like the suggestions that we were given made a lot of sense.

We had a marathon work day recently where we finished up copyedits and did rewrites. As always, those days are physically and mentally exhausting, but they are also a ton of fun. The only problem is sometimes we get off task. What do you expect though? We have fun together!

Now, let’s take a list at my to do list from last month, and I’ll let you know how I did.

  1. Finish A Shield of Stars Rewrites
  2. Read The Anatomy of Prose: 12 Steps to Sensational Sentences (DONE) and 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villians by Sacha Black
  3. Film videos for Lauren’s Authortube Channel
  4. Get marketing emails for indie bookstores sent
  5. Clean up edit of A Shield of Stars
  6. Film TikTok content
  7. Read A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
  8. Read A Vow So Bold & Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
  9. Read Lore by Alexandra Bracken
  10. Social Media/Blog Prep for Guns & Smoke marketing

While I didn’t finish everything on my list, I did accomplish a lot. A Shield of Stars has been a bit of a thorn in my side because it seems once I find my stride, I hit another roadblock. A lot of it has been because I’m really struggling with my health and mental health lately. That’s part of why I titled this post “Why You Gotta Be So Rude?” Because my brain tries to trick me, and it’s really, really rude.

The biggest thing I’m trying to do right now is remind myself that I’m not some super human that can do everything, and to give myself a little grace. I’m also trying to sort out therapy right now, because my therapist had to take a professional break. I need to get myself back into it so I can be sure I’m taking care of me come time for the launch of Guns & Smoke!

I’ve taken on the task of proofreading Guns & Smoke. I just finished my first pass via a printed copy, and now I have to upload everything into the final draft so we can make those changes. She’s thicc yall.

So what does the next month hold?

I’m so glad you asked! (Just…go with it, eh? :))

  1. Create a realistic timeline for A Shield of Stars to have queries ready to go by the end of the year.
  2. Start my rewrites/developmental edits for A Shield of Stars
  3. Genre research reading (I have several books in the docket, so I won’t list them)
  4. Film a bunch of promo videos and create a coherent schedule of promo graphics
  5. Finish proofreading Guns & Smoke
  6. Create a coherent plan for partnership w/indie bookstore
  7. Schedule book tour(s) for G&S launch
  8. Build ARC team for G&S
  9. More marketing work for G&S
  10. Get back in the gym!
  11. Remember to take a breath!
  12. Writer’s Retreat Weekend!

I am especially excited for the last item on that list! Guns & Smoke is only the first book in a series (and sequel series, prequels, various novellas, it goes on and on and on), and we already have a base outline for the sequel novel! While we aren’t sure exactly when we plan to publish it, I’m hopeful it’ll be sometime next year.

That being said, Lauren and I booked an AirBnB in the middle of nowhere about an hour or so away from home where we can lock ourselves up for three and a half days and try to pump out as much of a draft as we can. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Thanks for coming along on this crazy ride, my friends. It’s a pleasure.

Always,
Abbie

Writing

Sounds of Guns & Smoke

One thing that absolutely helps me get into the right writing mode is music. There are very few things in the world that can help inspire or set the mood better than music. That being said, I wanted to share my Spotify playlist with you all. This playlist includes a variety of music, from Taylor Swift to The Civil Wars to Billie Eilish to Hozier!

Sometimes, I get stuck on a single song and listen to it over and over and over again while I’m writing a specific scene. Once Guns & Smoke is published, I may come back and update this post with the songs and what scenes they go with.

My favorite one on the entire list is probably I Know Places by Taylor Swift. The vibe of that entire song really highlights one of my favorite scenes of Guns & Smoke and I’m dying to share that with everyone!

Are there any songs on this playlist that you haven’t heard before? Overall, there is a clear country theme, because the setting is very similar to the Old West! Let me know your favorite song on the list and I just might give you a teaser of the scene it inspired!

Thanks,
Abbie

Writing

Guns & Smoke: COVER REVEAL + PRE-ORDER!

I’ve been writing for nearly as long as I can remember. While the goal has always been to be a published author, what’s more important to me is writing worthwhile stories.

That being said, having your name on a book is FREAKING COOL. Without further ado, I present, the cover for my upcoming co-authored novel: Guns & Smoke!

ISN’T IT GORGEOUS?! One of the cool things about self publishing is that you get more say over your book cover than you would as a traditionally published author. In traditional publishing, your publisher owns the book and has final say. When Lauren and I first drafted this story (back when it was called A Fool’s Adventure), we imagined having a cover with one of the characters on the front, and while it would have been really cool, I have to say that I ADORE this cover! Our cover artist, the lovely Stefanie Saw of SeventhStar art, took our concept ideas and made it into something we are so proud of!

One of the things that I really love is that we can carry this theme forward into the rest of the books in the series! Guns & Smoke is a labor of love that has been many years in the making for Lauren and I, and we are so excited to be able to share this with you all!

Guns & Smoke releases platform wide on July 10, 2021! You can pre-order the e-book NOW by following the links below!

Thanks for reading,
Abbie