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Career Talk Tuesday with SJ Higgins!

career talk

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday again and today I have an awesome post from author SJ Higgins. I think it’s so awesome that an author can grow, learn, and never imagine the future they have in store simply because of the stories inside of them that will force themselves to be written! Read on to hear about SJ Higgins’ story.

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I didn’t major in writing, hell, I barely paid attention to my English teacher in high school. I thought- as you do at seventeen – I would never use what he taught in the ‘real world’.  I probably owe him an apology.

So when the storylines appeared in my mind, I ignored them or at best, put them down to fantasies in which I could lose myself during boring meetings.

It was when a particularly strong storyline popped into my head, during an episode of Supernatural no less, that I felt a compelling and powerful need to get it out on paper.

There was just one problem.

I couldn’t write.

Oh and the subject matter was a bit of a no go. I mean, a story about a girl who is in love with two brothers. I would be crucified. So I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and did my best to ignore the voices in my head.

Fast forward three years and I just couldn’t ignore the voices any longer. Add to the mix that I’d just finished S.C. Stephens ‘Thoughtless’ and I knew I had to get my story out there.

‘Thoughtless’ touched on the taboo topic of being in love with two people at once and as far as I could tell, no one hated S.C. for it. In fact, some people may have been able to relate.

Plucking up the guts I told a good friend Victoria King (who incidentally became my editor for ‘The Dark Side Of Chemistry’) of my idea for a novel and mentioned that I was going to look for someone to write it for me. Victoria strongly advised me to write it myself. Thinking she was mad and purely to prove my point, I wrote my first paragraph. That’s when I fell in love with writing and ‘The Dark Side Of Chemistry’ was born.

Should I have listened in my creative writing class? Absolutely. It would probably have made the process a lot easier and my time spent on Google a lot less. That being said I will definitely enroll in a creative writing class as soon as I can. This time I will pay attention. For now I’m just having a blast. My time spent in storyland with my characters is one of my favourite times of day – when I am not yelling at my laptop that is – and if one person enjoys my story, well then, I’ve done my job.

My name is S.J. Higgins, I live in South Africa with my hubby, two girls and my dogs Buzz and Rex. I work at an aviation company in the mornings and am lucky enough to have the afternoons to spend with my girls – and when I just can’t help myself, write a paragraph or two.

Social Media: Goodreads    Facebook    Pinterest

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Thank you so much for participating! I love hearing about the good times (and frustration!) that come once someone finds a place in writing for themselves. If you want to check out The Dark Side of Chemistry, click below:


And if you’d like to participate in Career Talk Tuesdays, email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail dot com.

The Disney Princess Book Tag

???!!!!!???? A book tag? Featuring two of my very favorite things? Books and Disney? Well, three, if you count princesses as a separate entity. Three favorite things!

No, I wasn’t tagged, but I just saw that Farzy over at Books Keep Me Sane did the tag and I just couldn’t resist trying it out myself because it seemed like too much fun!

snow white : name your favorite classic

Does this count as a classic? Maybe a modern one, and I had to read it in school so I’m counting it. I love books based during the WWII era and this one has it all: romance, intrigue, family drama, war, friendship. And an ending that I never saw coming that absolutely broke my heart. The movie is great as well!

cinderella : name a book that kept you reading past your bedtime

When I first got this book I hadn’t heard anything about it. I’m not even sure that anyone I knew had read it. Of course, now it’s a staple in anyone’s YA collection. I read this in two or three sittings and remember the last one the most because I had hundreds of pages left but just HAD to know what happened so I sat up until the end, waiting for that great conclusion.

aurora : name your favorite classic romance

This is another book that I needed to read for class that I ended up really liking. We had to pick out a novel for our end of the year research paper and I selected this. Expecting it to be dry and boring, I was really surprised by how much I liked the subtle wit and Jane Austen’s style of writing. While I’m no fanatic about Mr. Darcy, I would recommend this book to anyone.

ariel : name a book that’s about sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

The Darkest Minds is all about sacrifice. Ruby accidentally sacrifices her family when she first discovers her abilities, yes, but THIS ENDING THOUGH. If that isn’t sacrifice, I don’t know what is. All in the name of making the world a better place for all of the surviving young adults.

belle : name a book with a smart, independent female character

shadow and bone

jasmine : name a book whose character challenges the social conventions of their world

This is another one of my favorite book trilogies ever. They’re written so wonderfully, I can’t fangirl about them enough! Todd is the main character here and it would take pages to talk about all of the change he’s making in his world, literally flipping it all upside-down and for the better. I don’t want to spoil anything because these books are a roller coaster of twists but they’re fabulous.

pocahontas : name a book whose ending was a roller coaster of emotions

This ending was completely unexpected to me. Beautiful, and heartbreaking, and happy, and everything I wanted but not quite the best . . So, of course, it was perfect.

mulan : name a book featuring war or battles

The Thief series become surprisingly more political books as they progress and are some of my favorite novels of all time. They’re beautifully written and feature their own mythology that’s loosely influenced by Greek myth. Two countries, Attolia and Sounis, are at war, with Eddis in the middle dragged into the conflict, and another threat looming on the horizon. There are great amounts of action and battles in these books but also scenes purely showing the political motives behind it all, with such unique and awesome characters.

tiana : name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character

In a world where water is so scarce that people easily kill for it, Lynn and her mother have a pond to defend. Growing up, this is the only place and time that Lynn knows. She doesn’t remember how life used to be; she was too young then. She and her mother need to fight for what little they have, work for what they need, and that’s why I chose both of them for this. They made themselves into survivors.

rapunzel : name a book featuring an artist

Honestly, this book could fit into so many of these categories and I knew it had to go somewhere because it’s currently my favorite book, ever. What better place to use it than with my favorite princess? If anyone else is obsessed with Tangled (or Karou) let’s discuss!

Karou is a wonderful artist. Before her life gets kind of complicated, she’s going to a school for artists and has been honing her craft. I love how she shows both sets of her friends each world through her drawings. And it’s also kind of bittersweet, seeing how her artistry transforms and affects her life throughout the book.

merida : name a book with a mother-daughter relationship

Susannah Simon. One of the most badass ladies I read about in middle school, found out there were more books featuring in high school, and continue to admire as a role model (and be jealous of for her perfect love interest) in college. Meg Cabot has written some fantastic books but these will always be the best. Suze’s mom doesn’t play a major role in the books, apart from causing the two of them to move and kind of starting this whole thing rolling. But she’s always there for her daughter, even when she doesn’t quite know what’s going on with her. She wants her daughter safe and happy. What better relationship could you ask for?

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And that’s it! If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged! I’m also going to tag RaeAnne and Evie!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


I just reread Daughter of Smoke and Bone because soon (too soon, but also not soon enough?) I’m finally putting my foot down and finishing this trilogy. It’s bittersweet because these are my favorite books. Ever.

Originally posted on Caught Between the Pages:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1

author: Laini Taylor

pages [hardcover]: 417

memorable quote:
“It’s not like there’s a law against flying.”
“Yes there is.  The law of gravity.”  

favorite characters: zuzzana & akiva


Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the…

View original 320 more words

Career Talk Tuesday with Reese Hogan

career talk

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! Today I have another fabulous author here to talk about how they came to realize they wanted to get into writing. Please welcome the talented Reese Hogan!

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Hello! My name is Reese Hogan, and I’m excited to be joining Kayla on her blog today. Last year, I published my first novel, The Deadliest Echo, which is a science fiction thriller set in 1920’s Soviet Russia. Please visit my website at to read a sample or keep up with my future projects. I can also be found at or on Twitter @ReeseHogan1.

            For someone who’s been reading and writing since an early age, an English degree seems not only a logical choice, but almost a default one. Prior to entering college, I had completed my first three novels. My writing was nothing more than a hobby; in fact, it was my escape from the mind-shattering chemistry and biology classes I was taking for the pharmacy degree I was pursuing as a freshman. Over the next couple years, the science courses got harder, and fiction and poetry became even more of a refuge—both outside of the classroom and in, as I started searching out writing courses as a load-lightener for my eighteen-credit semesters. I wasn’t doing too well in pharmacy, but I excelled in the writing classes. Some professors brought up trying to publish. I wasn’t interested. I only wanted to write for the sake of writing. Anything else was too much work.

Switching my major from pharmacy to English was an obvious and logical step by the end of my second year. I also traded in my chiropractic therapist job for one at a bookstore. Coming into the reading and writing community from the medical field was like coming home after being in a foreign-speaking country for years. The conversations were stimulating, the jokes were witty, and the people were amazing. I connected with others faster than I ever had before.

It was after graduation that a former English professor—not one of my own, but a coworker—brought up publishing again. He was a writer as well, and someone I’d really grown to admire. For the first time, I really considered it. I’d tried my hand at journalism and editing, but found both unbearably dry—basically homework to get through so I could get back to my real writing. I wanted to write snappy dialogue, high-action scenes, and life-or-death situations that seemed impossible to escape. And I wanted to make myself part of a world of others who felt the same way. The world of authors.

If not for my habits of seeking refuge in my writing during my college years, I don’t think I would have ever found my way to the path I’m on today. I love writing as much as I always have, although I’ve come to wonder how I ever thought of it as easy. I guess that’s just part of gaining experience. It’s worth it. As someone who’s been reading and writing since an early age, becoming a published author wasn’t just a logical choice. It was a default one. It just took me a decade to realize it.

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Thank you so much Reese! I loved hearing about how you found your way to your writing career today! I also loved having the opportunity to read your novel, The Deadliest Echo — and, guys, this is seriously one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year. Check out my review right here!

Do you want to participate in Career Talk Tuesdays? Email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail dot com!

The Deadliest Echo by Reese Hogan

The Deadliest Echo

author : reese hogan

pages : [paperback] 242

favorite character : echo

summary :

The year is 1928, and American mercenary Echo Maebius is seized while fleeing Russia after the disappearance of Joseph Stalin. Just when things can’t get any worse, Echo’s doppelganger walks into the room, offering him a way out—but with a terrible catch. Now, broken, damaged, and alone, Echo must find out why his closest comrade Jez has disappeared from his life—and why the failure of their mission in Moscow is responsible.

Told in alternating chapters between Echo’s past and present, The Deadliest Echo is a science fiction thriller about assassination, alternate paths, and the dangers of being a foreigner in a country newly raised from revolution. It is a powerful tale about the thin line between loneliness and friendship, and the intricate web of secrets that forces Echo to confront the one truth he most wants to escape…

Unless he can finish the mission he never completed in Moscow, the whole world will pay the price for his failure.

review :

I’ve been trying to get into reading more books involving history lately so when I had the chance to read The Deadliest Echo I jumped on it. It’s an interesting combination of historical fiction with a dash of sci-fi, a whole lot of action, and complex characters.

Echo was most interesting to me because at first I’d assumed he’d be . . . not exactly boring, but there’s a certain stereotype that comes with mercenary characters. But Echo is younger than expected and although he is certainly clever and calculating, he’s also lonely. Wiling to do a lot to keep others from realizing this, of course, but when he finally gets himself a friend he’s willing to lose everything to keep that friend safe. And that’s something that I can understand, that makes him human.

Action is all over this book, literally from page one. Told with each chapter giving a piece of Echo’s timeline, before and after a major event happens for him, there’s something intense happening in each portion of his life that’ll have you wanted to learn about the past when you’re reading the future and wanting the future when you have the past. This book was so intense that, yes, one night after finishing a chapter, I actually dreamed that Russian assassins were coming after me. If that doesn’t say something about how entranced and entrenched you’ll be in The Deadliest Echo then I don’t know what would.

I feel like this is a novel that can appeal to people who read a plethora of different genres, especially if you’re wanting to get a peek into a different genre to see if you’d enjoy reading it as well. Sci-fi, historical, action, thriller, and even fans of spy novels will all find something unique, captivating, and thought-provoking in The Deadliest Echo.

5/5 stars