Friday, September 28, 2018

Based on Principal by Marie Johnston (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT ADULT Title

I'm delighted to share with you a guest post by author Marie Johnston, who answers my question...

ELF: Which author(s) has/have been the most influential to you and how or why?

MJ:  This is going to sound like a sales pitch for JR Ward, but she’s my favorite author. Reading her work intimidated me away from writing, but husband kept insisting she had to start somewhere, too. That got me considering…maybe someday I’d write a book.

So, I started paying attention to what I liked about her books. The characters? Yes. The natural humor she infuses? Absolutely. That she made big words easy reading? I had to look a few up. She weaves emotion in from start to finish. Her writing immediately sucks me in until I’m reading a scene about a character choosing which ice cream to eat and I’m riveted. How in the world can I do that?

A lot of practice, and my editor still highlights sections asking why I’ve added such detail that I don’t bring up later. Writing’s a work in progress, literally.

When I first started writing and creating my brand, I gave blogging a try. And this is a little over the top, but I wrote out 20 things I learned about writing from JR Ward. I did this for a couple of authors, back before I knew what character arcs were, black moments, and subplots. I’d love to go back and identify the techniques I’d noticed, but couldn’t identify. But back to the JR Ward blog: I separated it into four different posts and gathered the courage to tag her on Twitter each time I post a set.

Y’all…she liked my tweet. Each time. I was even more ecstatic because one of my points was that she does her own social media. When she posts and tweets, it’s her. She liked my tweet. I didn’t care if she read the post. I would’ve died inside if I knew.

But she did. Because one of the last points I made was my observation of her social media presence. And she tweeted me, telling me that it was always her on her accounts, and that we’re equals in writing, this biz is hard, and she wished me luck.

I was sitting in the waiting room at my kid’s speech therapy, having a major fangirl moment. Squeeeee!!! She even sent a pic of her beloved dog.

I’ve never met her and I don’t know that I ever will, but she’s had a huge impact on my ambition and optimism, which in turn affects my longevity in this business. Whenever the words are a struggle and I need to fill the creative well, I read one of her books. When I’m editing, I can even tell when I read her work. The words come alive and I’m much less restricted in my scenes. This is when I believe the advice I often see others give: To be a good writer, read a lot. 



by Marie Johnston
 ADULT title

GENRE:   Contemporary Romance



By day, Natalia is the strict principal of a private school with a staid, troubled legacy. By night, she’s a lithe, agile assassin with a penchant for latex. Or at least her cosplay character is. The two identities don’t mingle until she meets a handsome comic book shop owner at the local comic con. Now there’s a guy she’d be willing to peel her mask off for.

Too bad he’s the father of one of her students.

Single father Chris has no time to date, thanks to his business, his daughter, and his ex’s meddling family. But how can he resist a comic lover in a business skirt? She’s his perfect woman. Or she would be, if she didn’t keep the professional and play parts of her life so separate. And he swore he’d never date a woman ashamed of him again.

Too bad she’s obsessed with what the wrong people think of her.

Together, they could be an unstoppable duo, but when Chris’s daughter acts out at school, Natalia will be put in an impossible position: break all her school’s rules, or pack away her cape forever.



The man she had twined herself around not two days ago at the comic con had just entered her office.

Chris was Mr. Halliwell? He was dressed nearly identically to when she’d met him. There was no denying he was the same person. 

She’d made out with a student’s parent?

Mortification swept through her. The one time she lowered her guard, and she committed professional suicide. She’d come here as the ballbuster to knock the place back into shape. If those who resisted her efforts found out she had a personal relationship with a student’s father, they would double down to undermine her efforts.

He smiled, that easy grin she’d dreamt about each night since the convention, but it was filled with tension. “Hello, Ms. Shaw.”

He didn’t recognize her.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Marie Johnston lives in the upper-Midwest with her husband, four kids, an old cat, and a young dog. After trading in her lab coat for a laptop, she’s writing down all the tales she’s been making up in her head for years. An avid reader of paranormal romance, these are the stories hanging out and waiting to be told, between the demands of work, home, and the endless chauffeuring that comes with children.

Author web links:



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  1. Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!

    1. I'm always happy to see you've visited, JR, and I'm delighted when you find a new book to read!

  2. Replies
    1. Always happy to share. Thanks so much for popping in, Victoria!

  3. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it Gwendolyn. Thanks for taking the time to read the post!

  4. I think it's awesome that you were inspired by her, I'm a huge fan too. This book sounds like one I'd enjoy.

    1. I'm behind on the series, Mary, but I have enjoyed the ones I've read! Thanks for visiting.