Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Hiatus

Hey there! Journey Reader is going on hiatus until January. Thank you to all of the authors were contributed this year.

Happy Holidays! Everyone have fun and be careful and keep reading.

- LR

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interview: Robert Bennett, author of Blind Traveler's Blues

Author Bio: “Robert Bennett, a former social worker turned writer, lives in the house he grew up in with his mother, one of his two brothers, two dogs that don’t get along, and a turtle. His lifelong focus has been a concern for the needs of society’s disenfranchised. His articles span a wide range of topics from sports to technology and from politics to social justice. His fiction is grounded in real world events and technologies as well as his own philosophical concerns. "It is the act of truly living and believing in yourself that is important, not the manner in which that action is undertaken." Mr. Bennett has spoken to groups of physical therapy students, church members and senior citizens, and has appeared on several radio programs. Contact Mr. Bennett through his website at www.enablingwords.com”

What inspires your stories?

My previous career was as a social worker involved in the care of men with mental challenges. Then I started my writing career as a journalist focusing on disability issues. I switched to fiction after writing an article about a device to help blind people navigate their world. So, you could say, as I’ve often told people, that I still consider myself a social worker dealing with issues of disability, but these days I do my work through the written word and through what most people would consider fiction.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

I write mysteries with a sci-fi kicker. My protagonist’s disability (blindness), in my mind at least, tends to make the whole world a mystery in need of exploration. And, I’ve always been interested in technology so the sci-fi aspect of my stories fits that need.

What are your work habits like?

Work habits?? I’m supposed to have habits??? No one told me that! Seriously though, I’m not the kind of writer who says I need to write every day or that I need to write a certain number of words every day. I guess I’m sloppy in that regard. But what I do is write when I get a strong idea, or when one of my characters speaks to me and says he or she wants to do something. My stories are set in locales that I’ve visited. So, when I get the itch to travel I make sure to take copious notes and try to figure a way to fit the place into something my protagonist would want to do.

What do you consider your best work?

I don’t judge my own work for its good/bad value. I let my readers do that for me. I feel too close to the work to be a good judge and it feels arrogant to say this or that is my best. However, my readers have told me, in no uncertain terms, that my current book, Blind Traveler’s Blues, is my best thus far.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I’d have to answer yes and no. I start with a general idea of what I want to write about. Then I start doing research to flesh out my idea and to see if it would make for a good, viable story. But, I don’t outline and I don’t have a firm understanding of how the story is going to end, or even develop. I let my characters tell me where they want the story to go.

What experience do you want for your readers?

Simply put, I write about the experiences of a wide range of people with disabilities. After all, we all have a disability of one sort or another. Some, like the need for glasses, are more socially accepted than others. In my nonfiction pieces I’ve written about what it is like to be someone with a disability: the devices they use, the opportunities they are given, and the challenges they face. In my fiction I continue that trend while focusing on the world of the blind. I’d like my readers to experience all of these things.


Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

As both a social worker and a writer I’ve learned the importance of observation. I’ve learned to study people: their traits and habits. I don’t believe in the concept of fiction. Instead I believe everything comes from a part of the author’s experience. With that in mind it should come as no surprise that I’ve “borrowed” from the world around me. Just as I set my stories in the places I’ve visited, I also incorporate ideas, traits and habits from the people I encounter into my work. I believe all authors do to one degree or another.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

I work out of my home so I’m constantly listening to the two dogs and two other people who I live with, At the same time I’m bombarded by ideas by the characters I create. As I’ve said before, my stories are character driven in the sense that I let them tell me where they want to go and how they want the story to proceed. So, if for some reason they don’t choose to talk to me, than I am stuck not writing. Finally if, as in my next story, I want to try to experiment with a new setting or character, I am forced to rely on research material. Sometimes that is hard to find.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve started to research material for the next story in my Blind Traveler Mystery series.



Blind Traveler's Blues is available at

Smashwords

OmniLit

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Barnes and Noble


Thank you for stopping by, Robert! - LR

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Excerpt: Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo

Excerpt from Chapter Five of Hazardous Choices by Joseph M. Rinaldo

Coach Rotteli kept the meeting flowing. “Any other coaches want the floor?”

“Thanks, Coach.” Karl Vaughn stood. “Remember to watch the tapes you have of last year’s games, and keep pushing yourselves to get stronger. Once in a while, remind yourselves how bad last season sucked, and let that motivate you to work harder.” He paused for effect, and then continued, “I’m already looking forward to having a great next season!”

“The only thing I want to add to that,” boomed Coach Pearl again, “is that you can’t win a championship in the summer, but you can lose it. You lose it by not doing the things you know you should. Yeah, it’s summer, you’re outta school, but don’t slack off. You came here to play football and WIN games!”

Troy stood up, and with mock enthusiasm, said, “OK, Coach, which great coach you read about said that?”

“All of them!” Coach Pearl snapped back.

“One last thing, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for going to the “End the R-Word” rally last night. Seeing everyone there in uniform standing together sent a great message that as a group and as individuals you will not put up with people making fun and degrading the mentally retarded. I really appreciate that, and Eric does, too.” Looking at them like a proud father he added, “That means a lot to me, and it shows what tremendous character all of you have.”

“Thanks, Coach.” “Glad to be there.” Players shouted from around the room.

“Coach,” Troy said from his position standing along the wall. “I glad to make you proud, but I was there for Eric. I think of him every time I hear that word.”

“Damn straight!” “That’s right!” “Preach on, Brother T-dog.”

“Get out of here, and go study. Good luck, everyone!” Coach Rotteli said with his eyes welling up.

Troy and Darnell walked out together both wearing their lettermen jackets. “What’s your plan for the summer, D?”

“Back to my mom’s place in Chicago,” Darnell mumbled in a low voice, aching with depression as they drifted off from the crowd moving down the hall.

“Does that mean rejoining the gang?” Troy stopped walking and stared Darnell in the eyes to emphasize his seriousness.
Darnell responded with a soft, hesitant, “Yeah, if I don’t go back to the gang, they might take it out on my mama.”

“Oh, my God! I knew it was dangerous, but that…” Troy’s words drifted off as he reflected on what Darnell must be going through. “I, uh, I’ve been thinking that we might have a place for you at my parents’ house; if I can swing it, would you be interested?” To lighten the mood, Troy quickly added, “That means living in Owensboro, which sucks, but you already know how bad that sucks.”

“Man, that’s really nice of you. I would say yes, but my mom is all by herself, and I feel guilty leaving her alone any more than I have to. And like I’m sayin’, since they know where she is, she’d probably pay if I dis’ed the gang. Thanks, though.”

Darnell gave a slight smile to show his appreciation.

“So how could you come play ball down here if leaving them means dis’ing the gang?”

“I told them I have a chance to make the pros. They bought it, cuz everybody wants to believe a guy from their neighborhood can make it, so here I am.”

“My offer about living with us stays open, D. I’ll even drive up there to pick you up. Make up some crazy-ass story about a tryout with the Tennessee Titans if you have to.” Troy looked Darnell in the eye to reinforce his sincerity. “I’ll drive you to the bus station tomorrow afternoon, okay?”

“Yeah, that’d be good. To the bus station, I mean. I like you too good to ever let you come into my neighborhood.” Darnell’s depression churned his stomach as the realization of returning to gang life hit him. Regardless of Troy felt about Owensboro, Darnell would stay forever if he could. For Darnell the safety of Owensboro meant more than any of his classmates could understand.

----------------

Hazardous Choices is available at

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview: Chris Wind author of Satellites Out of Orbit

Welcome, Chris!

What inspires your stories?

For the “Epistles” section of the book -- which is a collection written by Eve, Cain’s wife, Noah’s wife, Delilah, the Queen of Sheba, Mary, and others as if they were feminist – the starting point was taking Paradise Lost in my Milton course way back when I was getting my B.A. in Literature. It seemed so clear that Eve was being infantilized, subordinated, etc etc.

And for the “Soliloquies” section, it was, of course, Shakespeare – oddly enough not the 2nd year course I had to take in university, but teaching Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew in high school. It just got so hard to defend Shakespeare as the wise, old bard when he seemingly endorsed such awful sexism – Portia treated as bait, prize, Kate clearly abused, and so on.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

In the case of Satellites Out of Orbit I chose the genre to fit. That is, the Soliloquies are written as soliloquies in Shakespearean language; the Epistles are written as epistles; the Fairy Tales (another section in the book) are sometimes written a little like fairy tales (“Greystrands” for example, and “Thumb”), and sometimes more like direct critical commentaries (“Cinderella” for example, which is actually written by her sister); the Myths are poems (revealing the myths inside the myths – for example, when I thought about it, it makes a lot of sense for Galatea to just up and leave, and Penelope doesn’t exactly wait, and so on); the Letters are letters -- letters that might have been written by Lady Godiva, Milton’s daughter, Rubens’ model, Mozart’s mother, Freud’s wife, Plato’s students, and others – assuming a feminist consciousness.

I’ve been ‘accused’ of not picking and sticking with a genre – an accusation obviously from someone who likes to pigeonhole in conventional slots. The prose pieces are hybrid – half essay, half story. There are footnotes and references. And that’s because there are asides (hence, footnotes) and I did a lot of research for this book, so I list my references. I also list the original sources I used – which myths I started with, which version of The Bible I was using, and so on. And for the Letters, well, they’re heavily based in fact. For example, much of what Mrs. Mozart says in her letter is absolutely true: Nannerl did in fact teach her little brother, Wolfgang, to play, and the two of them gave concerts together at first (only later, did Mr. Mozart say Nannerl should stay home…); the tour schedule; the painting; and so on. Same for the letter by Lady Godiva, the one by Freud’s wife… Satellites took three years to write partly because I just kept getting so immersed in the research!

What are your work habits like?

I write for a couple hours, then go for long walks, during which my brain either works on the problems I had and often solve them or it goes on holiday.

What do you consider your best work?

Well, I do like Satellites very much, but I think I like dreaming of kaleidoscopes a bit more.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

Well, since Satellites isn’t a novel, the question doesn’t really apply. But I definitely put a lot of planning into it, did a lot of research, as I mentioned, thought a great deal about the characters and what they might think and say if they had a chance.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I want them to be intrigued. I want them to stop and think about it, to say ‘ah – ‘ and rethink everything they thought they knew about The Bible, Shakespeare, myths, fairy tales – women in the canon, women in our society!

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

As I’ve suggested, the Letters section features real women; their situations are real and anchored in history, but not what I have them say – that’s fiction. I specifically chose women who had not said anything (or at least women for whom nothing written has survived), so that I could speculate in this manner; that’s why, for example, I had Freud’s wife write to his mistress, Lou Salome – Salome has written, has spoken for herself, so I didn’t want to mess with that.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Remembering to consider it done when it’s clear and coherent. Remembering to put the art in. Remembering to savor the words as well as the ideas.

What are you currently working on?

A novel tentatively titled August, a lengthy introspection trying to answer ‘How did I get here – from there?’





Satellites Out of Orbit will be available December 31 in print and as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online bookstores. A free sample is available at Smashwords.







Thank you for stopping by, Chris! - LR

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Excerpt: The Fool's Journey by Mary Chase

Prologue

Almost too late, Rosa Ruiz saw the host of angels gathered at the bottom of the stairs. They were weeping in a bright, feathered mass, inconsolable, their burnished locks tumbling forward on the steps.

In other times, Rosa might have thought it strange to see so many together. In other times, she might have stopped to listen to their whisperings, or even worked up the courage to try touching one of them.

The times were different now. For good or ill the world had called out to angels through book, video, and even Twitter. Now they were here. Some days there were so many it was hard to walk around. She shook her head and crossed herself quickly.
It was bad luck to step on an angel.

Rosa picked up her basket of dust rags and brushes and squeezed past them on her way up the stairs. They didn't even look up. She climbed to the top of the steps and was reaching into her bag for her large ring of keys when she spotted the feather.

She had never known an angel to let a feather drop.

Slowly she stooped to pick it up, then held it to the light. The feather was translucent, like opals edged with gold, fine as a saint's halo in a holy picture. For a moment, the colors danced in flame, then shriveled to brown in her hand until it seemed nothing more than a dry seed husk from a maple tree.

Rosa shrugged and let the wind carry it away. Maybe, she thought, it would find its way back to its angel.

As she let herself into the apartment, she glanced over her shoulder. The angels were still at the bottom of the stairs, crying harder than before.


The Fool's Journey is available at

Amazon


Barnes and Noble


Smashwords

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interview: Jass Richards, author of The Road Trip Dialogues

Today we welcome Jass Richards.

What inspires your stories?

The world as it is and my life as I’d like it to be.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

Humor – but with lots of serious stuff to think about. Sort of like Monty Python and all the best stand-ups.

What are your work habits like?

Meatloaf (“Paradise by the Dashboard Light” for The Road Trip Dialogues; “Los Angeloser” for the sequel, The Blasphemy Tour), tea (lots of tea), laptop, couch.

What do you consider your best work?

Hm. I really like the first couple chapters in This Will Not Look Good on My Resume (the one about working at the mental health home and the one about working at the detention center) and the last chapter (the one about being a dog walker), and I really like several scenes from The Road Trip Dialogues (mostly the ones where Rev and Dylan get stoned). And I laughed out loud at the fish ‘n’ chips scene in the novel I’m currently working on.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

Oh geez I am so bad at plot. Why does something have to happen? They talk! That’s what happens. Isn’t that enough? It’s really interesting, and really funny…I loved “My Dinner with Andre”…

What experience do you want for your readers?

Lots of laughing, lots of thinking.
Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life? Yes. (‘nuff said)
What are your most significant challenges when you write? Thinking of stuff for my characters to do. Besides talk. And think. And get stoned. (Not necessarily in that order.)

What are you currently working on?

The sequel to The Road Trip Dialogues – The Blasphemy Tour. I don’t want to give it away, but people who read the former will know what the latter is about.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

No. (no advice; it’s not that I have advice but don’t want to share it)




The Road Trip Dialogues is available at

Amazon


Barnes and Noble


Smashwords




Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Fiction Freebies

Here are some freebies for the holiday weekend.

The Monstrous Hunt, by Tara Young

Description from Smashwords: “When Oliver finds himself bored at a Renaissance fair, he sees the woman of his dreams. Refusing to let her slip away without a fight, he impulsively follows her to York. Unfortunately, he witnesses a series of strange murders and his simple efforts to meet a girl are turned into the worst of nightmares.”

On Smashwords

----

Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know, by Hamilton Wright Mabie

On Amazon

----

Dubliners, by James Joyce

Description from Wikipedia: "Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century."

On Project Gutenberg

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Interview with Kergan Edwards-Stout, author of Songs for the New Depression

Author Bio: “KERGAN EDWARDS-STOUT is an award-winning director, author and screenwriter, and was honored as one of the Human Rights Campaign‘s 2011 Fathers of the Year. Songs for the New Depression marks his debut novel, with shorter works appearing in such journals and magazines as American Short Fiction and SexVibe. Kergan lives in Orange, California, with his partner and their two sons. He is currently at work on a forthcoming memoir, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide, and blogs regularly at www.kerganedwards-stout.com.”

What inspires your stories?

It really varies, but they usually have a personal connection, in some manner. Over 12 years ago, out of the blue, a line popped into my head: “James Baldwin once wrote that Americans lack a sense of doom, yet here I stand.” At the time, I didn’t know where that line came from, who was speaking it, or what it would become, but that line stuck with me, eventually becoming the first line of my debut novel, Songs for the New Depression.

I’d read Giovanni’s Room many years ago, and that concept, that Americans lack a sense of doom, really resonated. Except, for me, having lost a partner and many others to AIDS, I feel as if I’ve known doom all too well. But who could have foreseen that just reading his book would, years later, inspire my own?

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

So much of what I see and write is framed by my life experiences, and as I’m a gay man, that is a key element of much of what I write. However, after my next book, which is a memoir, I’m writing a novel based on a screenplay I penned, which is very much for children. It mixes the quest elements of Harry Potter with the quirky holiday theme from the movie A Christmas Story, and takes its readers on a fantastical journey. Definitely a different audience!

What are your work habits like?

It took me over 12 years to write this first book, which happened in fits and starts. I have two kids, as well as a full-time job, and it is really hard—at the end of a long day—to fit everything in. But I finally decided that if I was to finish the book, I’d have to sacrifice in order to do it. So I started getting up each morning at 5AM to go to the gym, which then gave me more time later in the morning for writing, and I also started saying “no” to my kids—which is very hard to do—but I made it clear to them that when Daddy is working, he needs to focus.
In a normal week, I try to write 1-2 hours a day, but if I have extra time, I put it towards writing. And if I take time off from work, I use that to write as well. I’m a good binge writer.

What do you consider your best work?

Definitely this novel, Songs for the New Depression. I think it is because, while a work of fiction, I connect so personally to the story. It follows a man dying of AIDS in 1995, before the HIV cocktail. He knows he’s made mistakes in his life, pushed people away, and wants to make amends, but doesn’t know how. We then see him in his 20’s, living that 1980’s life, wrapped in ego. And then we follow him in high school, coming into his own, and learn about the event which altered everything and informed his future choices.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I usually have a sense of where the story needs to go, but I let it get there organically. I prefer to do my main writing longhand, as I think it helps me tap into my subconscious. Writing on the computer, I often find myself spending more time editing than actually writing.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I hope that this novel moves people emotionally. We need to honor those lost to AIDS, as well as to wake up to our greater role in life, which is to care for others and treat all respectfully, both people and planet. I hope that readers will feel moved enough to act for the greater good. And, if nothing else, I hope it provokes an emotional response in them, whether gay or straight, that internally they connect with the character’s journey, as we are really all the same.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

Yes, the main character, Gabriel, is loosely inspired by my partner, Shane, who died in 95 as well. They share a certain sensibility and character traits, but the story itself is entirely fictional.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Simply finding the time! With two kids and a job, that leaves little time for much else! I’m hoping this novel puts me on a different path, where I get to use my writing skills more.

What are you currently working on?

This memoir, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide, is based on an experience I had which made me question everything, including my own sanity. Let’s put it this way--if that part of my life were a t.v. movie, it would be on Lifetime, and I’d be the naïve wife who discovers she is married to a serial killer! (laughs) Well, not quite, but it was pretty dramatic!

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

Do your homework and learn everything you can. While I first tried going the traditional route, sending the manuscript to agents and publishers, I finally decided to do it myself. My book is literary fiction, and as there is currently a glut on the market, publishers weren’t interested. Not knowing any better, I almost went the Lulu route, as many of my friends had done, which—for me and my ultimate goals—would have been a mistake. Instead, I formed my own publishing company and am releasing the book through that. Having it come through a company gives it more cache than the other route, and by cutting out the middleman, the royalties are much better. For anyone considering this option, check out Aaron Shepard’s book “POD for Profit.”

Also, pay attention to what is going on inside of you and listen to your own unique voice. While just about anyone can “write”, I think a good writer uses their individual point of view, bringing that to their work, and it makes all the difference in the world.



Songs for the New Depression is available at

Amazon

and

Barnes and Noble





Thanks for stopping by, Kergan! - LR

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview: Jay Rankin, author of Under the Neon Sky


Today we welcome Jay Rankin, author of Under the Neon Sky.

Was there a specific event or person in particular who made you really want to write Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story or did the idea just build in your mind over time?

Both. The biggest event that really prompted me to write was the night Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield and the ear biting incident. That night was so insane with so much madness swirling in and around the hotel, it had to told. But there were many other experiences such as the training by the hotel to prepare us for the grand opening, the effect Las Vegas had on the guests, relationships between people in this kind of environment. The whole sub-culture from my vantage point as an employee I felt needed to be told.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I would hope that a reader will be taken to a place I lived and experienced in such a way, the book will be difficult to put down. I also would hope after reading my story, many will have a completely different perspective on Las Vegas.

What were the most significant challenges you faced when putting your memories down on paper?

I had to learn how to write. My memories were clear, colorful, intense and detailed. The challenge was finding my voice to tell the story. The editing also helped me a great deal. I learned that having a story could be in parts which if placed correctly, could have a much bigger impact. I saw that each time I re-wrote something, it got better and brighter, and more detailed and finally well written. I wanted my words to jump off the pages. I wanted the reader to smell and hear and see what I was experiencing.

Did writing Under the Neon Sky help to exorcise any inner demons or help you to move past what you experienced in Vegas?

Yes and no. I don’t believe in holding things inside of you, it only sit and festers, there’s no closure. There were times when I sat at my computer and cried because of the surge of memories and the emotions that came with it. While writing, I experienced anger, hurt, laughter, loss, humility and regret. The writing helped sooth my demons, but I think time has helped me more than anything.

Did you get any reactions you didn’t expect when your book was released?
Most of the reactions have been very good, well beyond my expectations. I think I received two bad reviews which surprised me. All in all, throwing my story out to the world has been a wonderful experience.

If you had to rewrite the book, would you change any part of it?

I always come up with memories I had forgotten about which I would have included but I think the core of what I wanted to say was said.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working with my Hollywood agent on a pilot based on my book. I am also working on a Vegas doorman part 2.

Do you have any writing advice for someone who might consider writing a memoir?
Write then re-write. Always have a notepad with you. Always place a notepad next to your bed, a tape recorder in your car. Realize that each new day, you are a little different with new things to say. Find support, you’ll need it. This could be a friend, wife, husband, editor. Read books similar to your category. You will be amazed how much this will open you up to writing your story and finding your voice. Condition your brain to put in the time. Be determined, this is a very tough business. Oh yea, write and re-write. You can do this.

-------
Under The Neon Sky is a gripping, true story about a Las Vegas Doorman who worked the graveyard shift at one of the major hotels on the Strip. The sights, smells, and page popping characters are unforgettable as we take a journey that will tramsform how we used to envision the city that never sleeps. We watch as this doorman begins to emotionally break and wonder if he will become broken seeing his friends, his wife, hotel guests, and himself cross too many boundries in this riveting, page turning story.





The book is available at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

The next few stops on Jay’s blog tour are here:

November 25th – http://tbfreviews.net/

November 29th – http://nurtureyourbooks.com/website/

November 30th – http://everydayadventure11.blogspot.com/

The entire tour schedule is HERE

Jay Rankin can also be found on On Twitter and his Website

Thank you for interviewing, Jay. The book sounds very interesting! - LR

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Trailer Tuesday!

Here we are with another round of book trailers.

I really like the exploding letters effect in this one.







This next one is pretty short, but dramatic. The artwork is cool.







and one more...







Stay tuned this week for

Wednesday: Interview with Jay Rankin, author of Under the Neon Sky

Thursday: Interview with Kergan Edwards-Stout, author of Songs for the New Depression

Friday: Fiction Freebies!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview: Michael Hebler, author of Hunt for the Chupacabra

Author Bio: “Michael Hebler has resided in Southern California all of his life and worked as an international publicist for feature films before becoming a published author. “

What inspires your stories?

I've published two books so far, a picture book 'The Night After Christmas' and a free short story, 'Hunt for the Chupacabra'. For the picture book, the story was already written before I thought about turning it into a book. When I was in college, I was a theatre major and we did an annual children's Christmas variety show. One year, I was asked to write a poem called 'The Night After Christmas' because I had already written a few successful one-act plays. The idea was to read Clement C. Moore's 'The Night Before Christmas' at the beginning of the show and close it with an original piece called, 'The Night After Christmas'. Once we started performing in front of audiences, parents would come up to me and ask how they could get a copy of my poem, which inspired the picture book. As for 'Hunt for the Chupacabra', I have been working on a story for years and years, originally a screenplay called 'el Chupacabra' which did very well in competition. I'm originally from the film industry and worked as an international film publicist until recently. After the success of 'The Night After Christmas', I decided to adapt my own screenplay into a novel now called, 'Night of the Chupacabra'. I wrote 'Hunt for the Chupacabra' as an independent prologue to 'Night of the Chupacabra' and the rest of the Chupacabra Series, of which I currently have 5 novels planned. I'm looking forward to Book 1's release sometime in Spring 2012.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

Although the children's picture book was kind of a fluke, I really enjoyed working on that project so I have come up with a couple of other picture book ideas including a story which teaches children the origins of Halloween and how some of our customs have come to be what they are today; however, I consider fantasy fiction my primary genre, mostly because of five Chupacabra Series novels and other novels I have planned to write in the near future.

What are your work habits like?

I love this question because I have no work habits. I write when I'm inspired and when I'm not inspired, I work on marketing and publicity, which is extremely important for authors to do whether you're self-published or working with a publishing house. Coming from a film publicity background, I realize the importance of publicity. I find that I have a nice balance between the creative part of my work and the more mechanical part.

What do you consider your best work?

Oye! This is like asking which child I love more. I would have to go with my upcoming novel 'Night of the Chupacabra', which is just being finalized in editing, although I recently completed the first draft of Book 2 in my Chupacabra Series, 'Curse of the Chupacabra', which has been read by two people thus far and they both agree it's even better than the first. But until Book 2 is the final and complete draft, I'm sticking with Book 1.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

An interesting question, especially for me since my novels were both adaptations from another format of my original work. Going back to when I first wrote the screenplay versions, I plotted them out in advance. Of the five books I have planned, only the first two were ever screenplays, so with Book 3, I'm currently plotting that storyline and will actually write it as a screenplay first. I really liked adapting from the scripts because it acted as a very comprehensive outline. I think I might stick with style for all my writing, plus if Hollywood ever wants to do a movie adaptation, I'll be ready.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I write what I want to read. My first "adult" books were Stephen King. It was what my avid reader mother had most of on the shelf at the time. This was back in the early '80's, so it was (in my opinion) his better work (Pet Cemetery, Misery, Carrie, Salems' Lot) That was a great experience for me and led me to read more books and other authors. I just want my readers to have a great time reading and not want to put the book down. There are some minor themes to my stories, but I mostly just write to entertain.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

LOL! No way! Thus far, the Chupacabra Series is about "lost love", which, even in my 40's, I have not really experienced in my real life and the characters are not mirror images of anybody I know either. If anything, they were probably influenced by other fictional characters from all the other books I've read, movies I've watched, characters I've performed.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Not being distracted. I run a blog called 'My Little Obsessions' about all things I love from movies to food to anything! I even refer to my blog as 'what distractions life has to offer' because I seem to have trouble focusing sometimes, which I believe is a great gift to have when writing because if I can't focus on what I'm writing as I'm writing, then I know it's not entertaining enough and I take a couple of steps back and rework my story until it keeps my own attention.

What are you currently working on?

I have a couple of projects on my plate right now. As stated previously, I'm developing Book 3 in the Chupacabra Series, 'Legend of the Chupacabra', finalizing Book 1 and getting ready to rework Book 2. I'm also finalizing the Halloween poem for my next picture book and am starting to think about the adaptation of another screenplay, not related to the Chupacabra Series.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

One big piece of advice I received when writing scripts was to always remember that there is a fine line between your imagination and what your audience wants to read; meaning, keep the story yours but be open minded to constructive criticism and advice from others. There have been many times when someone has suggested an alternative plot point and I thought about their suggestion, even if I did not agree right away. The suggestion is usually made because they see more than what is written. Now mostly, I did not take their advice; however, their advice would sometimes inspire another idea that was even better than theirs and what I had originally written. You never know where the better idea can come from. Just don't keep too tight of a grip on your work, let it breathe a little.


Hunt for the Chupacabra is available on

Amazon

and

Smashwords





An audio version Hunt for the Chupacabra is available free for listening on the author's website.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview: John Zunski, author of Cemetery Street

Author Bio: “John was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia. In 2003, he sailed across the country in a U-haul and settled in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. He is the Author of four novels. Cemetery Street is his first. His second, Shangri-la Trailer Park will be published in the fall of 2011. Dirty Bum for President - the story of a unique candidate and Nightwatching - a ghost story, will be published in 2012. He is currently working on Cemetery Street's sequel, Montana Rural. “

What inspires your stories?

Once upon a time I owned a Dekhockey rink, then I was a firefighter for six years, now I own a small town bar; that being said, I’ve been blessed with incredible voyeuristic opportunities. I’ve encountered interesting characters over the years, it would be a wasted opportunity if I didn’t translate some of those characteristics onto the page. Great characters give good stories; it’s my job to add variables and make the stories memorable.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

I dabble in many genres. Why? I would be doing a disservice limiting myself to one genre. Cemetery Street is a coming of age tragedy/tearjerker –Shangri-La Trailer Park is a dark comedy. I also have a political satire and a ghost story in the pipeline. A writer friend calls my tendencies schizophrenic – simply because I don’t linger within one genre. A common link through my work is that the settings are contemporary. That could change in the future, but my ‘schizophrenia’ would have to deepen.

What are your work habits like?

I prefer writing in the wee hours. I usually take an evening nap, wake up around two AM and write at least two hours before turning in. Living in the mountains of Montana, the calm of the night resonates with me – during the summer, when the windows are open, I find inspiration in the sound of the creek or on occasion, the sounds of wildlife - especially coyotes and wolves. During the winter, the full moon on snow is super inspiring. If I’m lucky, I’ll catch the shadow of the muse lurking within the night.

What do you consider your best work?

That’s a hard question, it’s like asking a parent what child is their favorite. Cemetery Street is emotional – which I love. Any book that elicits emotion is a winner with me. Shangri-La Trailer Park is gritty, it really looks at the dark side of life with a humorous, if not offensive eye. Nightwatching – my ghost story – packs a wallop, it has more twists and turns than a mountain road. My current work – Montana Rural – has some intense moments that have left members of my writer’s group cursing the characters for their actions. That being said, can I take a powder on the question and give you an answer in twenty years?

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I’ve set out to do both. Cemetery Street was plotted, as is its forthcoming sequel Montana Rural. Shangri-La Trailer Park, Nightwatching and Dirty Bum for President piloted themselves.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I want them to have an emotional experience. I hope readers relate to my characters and have lingering images of them. My job is complete when long after a reader finishes reading one of my books the characters resonates in their memories like old friends.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

That goes without saying! Most characters and settings are, but I always will add extra elements. I’ve been asked if Cemetery Street is autobiographical – other than the settings, it is not. I believe you have to add realistic settings – they’re the canvass on which the painting of the story rests. It would be an injustice to craft a beautiful picture on a paper bag. It cheapens the art.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Getting started. Once I silence the prattle in my mind and fall into my chair, magic happens.

What are you currently working on?

Montana Rural – it’s a story of a dysfunctional rural fire district in Montana.
Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?
Be tenacious and never, ever, give up! Actively seek insight and criticism, and when someone criticizes you or your work, use their words as fuel to fire your creative engines. Stay true to the passion that initially inspired you to write.




Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

iTunes





Thank you, John! The book looks great. - LR

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Fiction Freebies

Snowdrop and Other Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm

On Project Gutenberg

------------------
Rescue Me by Sydney Allan

Description from Amazon: “Sydney Allan is a best selling author of over 40 published novels, as well as an historical costume-aholic, animal lover, and amateur interior designer-slash-DIY'er (one of her most treasured possessions is her Dewalt cordless drill). When she isn't penning her next romance novel, caring for her menagerie of pets, children, grandchildren (and husband), whipping up a 16th century blackworked smock, or demolishing a room in her house, she also writes erotic romance under the name Tawny Taylor and urban fantasy novels under the name Tami Dane.”

On Amazon

-------------------------
SteampunX - Episode One: Funk and Puck by Benjamin Jacobson

Description from Smashwords: “It’s 1875 on the Columbian calendar. Anowarakowa, the New World, has been at peace for a century. Deep in the woods of the Ten Hundred Nations, the man called Thunder creates miracles from wire, wood and stone. When twin teenagers discover the mangled body of Thunder’s cervine automaton, a plot is uncovered that could lead to the end of the hundred year peace.”

On Smashwords

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interview: Holly Barbo, author of The Sage Seed Chronicles: The Unraveling

Author Bio: "Holly Barbo’s world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. When she is not writing she is happily working beside her husband of thirty-six years building custom furniture.

She has currently completed four books in The Sage Seed Chronicles series. The first one (The Unraveling) has just come out as an ebook. A paper edition will be formatted before December and can be purchased from the publisher: Red Willow Press."

What inspires your stories?

I live in a very beautiful spot in Washington State. The scenery’s incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife. This is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic. I’m drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly. Perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. They are mostly in non urban settings and usually have some kind of wildlife. I also like to escape when I read so I create the discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

I’m an eclectic reader. Anne McCaffrey’s science fiction, Patricia McKillip’s fantasy are mixed with several murder, suspense and mystery authors. So when I write I tend to blur the edges of some genres by mixing element together. Because I like to be transported to another place when I read, I tend to write in the science fiction and fantasy area. Creating my own world is both complex and very satisfying. Usually I tell people that I don’t have monsters in my stories as people can be monstrous enough. Perhaps I should qualify that statement by saying that I do stretch my wildlife just a bit beyond what we know here.

What are your work habits like?

Like many authors I have a day job. The interesting thing is that I am self employed. It’s a creative life. There are times when I am doing something that doesn’t require my whole brain. Then I am usually mentally working on my plot. I can have my laptop in the shop with me and take moments to write while some project is drying. In the evening I write while the plot flows out of my finger tips. I, pretty much, hit the ground running and go full tilt all day until around nine at night. Then I fold.

What do you consider your best work?

Hmm. Best? I’m not sure if I am qualified to answer that as I am too close to my work, but I can tell you that my favorite books in the series are: “The Unraveling” and it’s sequel “The Reweaving” because of the characters. I’m very fond of Erin and her companions. Erin started as a frightened girl and developed into a strong young woman who confidently faced down her fears and earned the respect of others. Her companions are multi faceted and I delighted in their depth. I particularly like Tempo.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

A little of both. Wait a minute. Let me check the definition of terms. If you mean by “plot out”, do I write a synopsis and follow it in my writing? I didn’t know that was what I was “suppose” to do until I was querying for an agent earlier this year. A good percentage of “The Unraveling” happened outside of myself. It literally flowed out of my fingertips. I finally managed to take back the reins by the end of the book. The subsequent books were more under my control and I wrote as the story developed but had a plot line in my head as a structure.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I would like them to be sucked into the story, experiencing this unique world and holding their breath as Erin’s life is imperiled. I want them to be captivated by each of her companions and to care about the planetary danger that “the seeker’s” actions have set up. I want it to be a page turner.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

Yes. There are bits and pieces of my life in the book. The “Wise Woman”, Ree, is loosely based on my Grandmother Chérie as is her home, the cabin on the bend on the river. Washington State has a diverse topography from semi arid to temperate rainforest. The planet Ose’s land mass has many of those same elements. I once had a pet skunk. I know the idiosyncrasies of the little animals and Tempo was based on that knowledge. The rest are blends of personalities or snatches of experiences from my past.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

When the story is happening I am challenged to type fast enough. I know that sounds funny but I type with two or three fingers. I have written these books while working doing something else. I haven’t ever had uninterrupted time to write. I’ve adapted by using the time away from the keyboard to “brew” the story.

What are you currently working on?

I left a “loose thread” in the Sage Seed series and I have been stewing on that fifth book but I have been working on a new book “The Sun Stone”. It is unrelated to these stories.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

I can only speak from my perspective. I’m not an expert by a long stretch. My advice? Write with passion about something you are really interested in. Go with the flow. Write from a stream of consciousness as you are composing the story. You can always go back and smooth it, filling in or deleting as you work. Don’t let that job get away from you but rework what you have written one chapter at a time. Develop your complexities down through the sub plots and back story and liberally sprinkle in the imagery gems that enrich the picture. Keep writing.

The Sage Seed Chronicles, The Unraveling

Erin’s parents have been murdered. Breaking through her grief is the awareness of unusual abilities that she has never had before. She can now communicate with animals! What grips her attention, though, is the malevolent energy she can sense seeking her to kill her also! As she frantically eludes the killer she concentrates on the deadly questions she has to solve: Who murdered her parents, why and why are they trying to kill her too. So focused is she that the quakes and storms don’t at first elicit any more than a “Oh Scrum!” Erin doesn’t realize until much later that the quakes are related to the deaths and things are getting worse as more murders occur! The fabric of her world is literally unraveling!

Erin is a young woman who faces the danger she is in, on her own terms. She cuts off her hair and hides herself, in plain sight, as a scruffy boy, taking a job on the guild caravan as it winds through the realm. Her wild companions, a falcon, a skunk and an owl are indispensable on her quest, as is Lor, the glow stone guild member. He is also one of the few, like Erin, who carry the sage seed and has secret unique talents.


Available at

Apple iBook store

Smashwords

Amazon

Barnes & Noble




The website for the series is HERE and you can find Holly on Twitter - @sageseedseries

The sequel, The Reweaving, is coming soon.

Thank you for interviewing, Holly! - LR

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview: Karen Mueller Bryson, author of The Adventures of Puggie Liddell, Tesla Time, Book 1

Author Bio: Karen Mueller Bryson is a published novelist, optioned screenwriter and produced playwright. Her latest book, The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell, published by Zeta Comics, is a fast-paced and action-packed time-travel adventure for young adults. Karen is also the creator of Short on Time books, a series of fast-paced and fun books that readers can finish in one sitting.

What inspires your stories?

I am inspired by classic literature, such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I am also inspired by the world around me and by the stories I hear in everyday life. My latest book, The Incredible Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell, which is about siblings, who travel back in time, was inspired by the relationship my brother and I had growing up and also by my love of history. I wanted to provide an opportunity for young people to learn about historical figures and events in a fun way. The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell is a fast-paced and action-packed novel that readers (so far) seem to love!

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

My fiction books nearly always have a comedic element to them. I tend to write things I most enjoy reading! I like books that are fast-paced and fun. I enjoy reading “chick-lit” and books for tweens/teens and those are the books I tend to write. The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell will be a series and I also began writing a series of fast-paced and fun novels for adult readers on-the-go called Short on Time books. The first in the series a romantic road-trip comedy called, Twyla’s Last Trip, set to be released later this month.

What are your work habits like?

I have a full-time job as a university faculty member, so that is my first priority. The majority of my free time is spent writing and promoting my books. I try to write every day but I don’t always succeed. I generally do “marathon” writing sessions on the weekends. It is not unusual for me to spend eight hours on a Saturday or Sunday writing.

What do you consider your best work?

I think The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell is the work I am most passionate about. I spent a lot of time doing research for the book, so that it would be as historically accurate as possible. I loved every minute of the research process! I also adore Puggie, the main character of the book, who is based on my brother. Puggie is a “wise-cracking whiz kid.” Even though I made Puggie up, he is much smarter and funnier that I am!

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

All of my recent stories began as screenplays, which I novelized. I love this method of work. I am also a screenwriter and I love writing in that medium. I write the story as a screenplay first and the screenplay then serves as an outline for the novel. Novelizing screenplays is a lot of fun. The process is quite similar to coloring a picture in a coloring book.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I want my readers to have fun! Our society is so fast-paced and serious. I want to write books that readers can enjoy in the little free time they have. I want readers to smile or chuckle to themselves when they read my books.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

Yes! There’s a saying that writers should “write what they know.” I think writers should “write who they are.” I think the most successful work is produced when writers write from their passion and from who they are as individuals. Writers should be courageous and not be afraid the expose themselves in their work. I think authenticity can produce amazing work.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

I have too many ideas and too little time to develop all of them. I could use a clone. Or maybe more hours in the day!

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on Puggie’s next Incredibly Awesome Adventure. I’m also working on several more Short on Time books including another romantic comedy, One Last Class, and a book for teen girls called, Retro Geeks. I also have a few screenplays in the works.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

Read as much as you can! Most great writers are also avid readers.
Keep writing. You will not be good at anything unless you practice (a lot!).
Don’t let anyone ever discourage you. Keep your dreams alive!


The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell, Tesla Time, Book 1 is available on Amazon.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Trailer Tuesday!

Oh my gosh, these are SO COOL! Maggie Stiefvater does her own stop motion animation trailers for her books.






















Tune in the rest of the week for:

Tuesday: Interview with Karen Mueller Bryson, author of The Adventures of Puggie Liddell

Wednesday: Interview with Holly Barbo, author of The Sage Seed Chronicles

Friday: The return of Fiction Freebies!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview: Barbara Gaskell Denvil, author of Fair Weather

Author bio: “BARBARA GASKELL DENVIL, the author of FAIR WEATHER (available on all e.books and Amazon’s Kindle store etc..) has been a writer all her life.

Born in Gloucestershire, England, she soon moved to London and starting as a literary critic for BOOKS & BOOKMEN , quickly built up a career publishing numerous short stories and articles.
She then spent many hot and colourful years sailing the Mediterranean on a yacht and living in various different countries throughout the region.

When her partner died, she moved to rural Australia where she still lives amongst the parrots and wallabies, writing full time before contemplating an eventual return to England.
Her first finished novel, FAIR WEATHER, is a fantasy set in England in the 1200s. Her love of medieval history subsequently led her to write historical and crime novels set in the late 1400s and early Tudor period.

FAIR WEATHER has been published to considerable success purely on the electronic system – soon to be followed by her second book – SATIN CINNABAR. No fantasy this time, the story is an adventure set against accurate historical fact, but including all the mystery and romance for which she is well known.”

What inspires your stories?

I’m inspired by life. The hard thing is to stop the inspiration getting in the way of the writing.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

My two literary loves are historical adventure and fantasy. My first novel combines them both, being set in 1204, but it’s a fantasy – whereas my next two books are straightforward historical mystery/crime/romance set in England in the latter half of the 15th century. These will be SATIN CINNABAR – due out in about a month – and SUMERFORD’S AUTUMN due out next year.

What are your work habits like?

I’m retired and live in semi-rural isolation, so I’m able to write most of the day, most of the week. I squash in housework only when the words temporarily dry up.

What do you consider your best work?

I have a particular fondness for my first finished novel, FAIR WEATHER (recently published) – part history, part fantasy. But apart from that my best work seems to be whatever I’m writing at the moment.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I start with a very rough idea of the plot and main characters and a whole load of fairly undisciplined inspiration. Then I just rush in. Once I have the title and the first paragraph (imperative beginnings) then I’m flying. After finishing, I rewrite endlessly.

What experience do you want for your readers?

Entertainment. I’d love to move people - it’s probably all an extended desire for simple, enjoyable communication. I insist on absolute historical accuracy in my work but I’m not arrogant enough to want to educate anyone – or make people think. They’re free to think anyway they want – but I’d love to bring a little extra happiness into the world.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

I include real historical characters sometimes, but basically my work is fiction and I don’t consciously base my characters on friends, or include situations that have happened. Of course all writing includes a muddles up version of the author’s experiences one way or another.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Probably back ache from slumping over the computer.

What are you currently working on?

THE WENDING – the sequel to FAIR WEATHER. So many people have asked me to write it, so I am delighted to do so.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

I don’t think I’m qualified to advise others yet – when I’m making my second million maybe. Or perhaps I should say – Don’t listen to anyone’s advice. There aren’t any rules. Just do what you love.

Fair Weather is available on Amazon Kindle


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Interview: DB Moon, Author of Summerland

Author Bio: “My name is Desi (D.B.) Moon. I have been a freelance (content) writer for four years, but a fiction writer since I could hold a pencil. My first story written at the age of seven was a historical piece ala Little House on the Prairie. My parents deemed it morbid, which set a precedent for pushing the envelope.

I reside in beautiful Boulder, Colorado with my writer/game designer husband, two incredibly energetic children who keep me on my toes, three very entitled cats and one hopelessly neurotic, but none the less lovable Beagler.

Humorous romantic comedy that skirts the cliff of sexual expression, but never takes the plunge, a bit of sweet, a touch of steam and a lot of laughter pretty much sums up my writing “style”. My contemporary romances are not “sweet” but they aren’t “dirty” either.
When not corralling or arguing with the voices in my head (ie. my characters) I work as a dog trainer, am a vet tech student, am an all around coffee snob, I love to bake decadent desserts and have recently discovered the allure of kickboxing.”

What inspires your stories?

Every story I have written has had it's own "trigger" for inspiration. In my debut novel SUMMERLAND, published by Noble Romance, it was standing in line at the grocery store, scanning the tabloid headlines. A character popped into my head (Characters almost always come first) telling me about how hard it is to have a normal private life while living in the Hollywood "aquarium" always being stalked and photographed.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

Romance seems to be at the core of every single one of my stories. The beauty of the romance genre is there are so many off shoots (contemporary, suspense, mystery, historical, paranormal etc..) I can experiment and still remain true to the genre.

What are your work habits like?

I treat my writing like any other job by maintaining a schedule. My mornings usually start around 5 a.m. I write until my four year old gets up, and then continue while the lil one is in preschool. Evenings and weekends I make a solid effort to stay off the computer completely.

What do you consider your best work?

That's like asking who my favorite child is, impossible to answer. Every one of my manuscripts are unique in their own way.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly? When inspiration strikes, I usually have a semi-solid beginning and ending. Everything else unfolds organically as the characters tell me what's going on in their world.

What experience do you want for your readers?

The best reads for me are the ones I get so engrossed in I forget where I am at. I would love for my readers to experience that. As long as they feel satisfied that their time had not been wasted, then I have done my job.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

In SUMMERLAND, it is my addiction to Project Runway that forced me to make my main character a fashion designer.

In my newest work, Accidental Intent, my main character is a dog trainer. I draw from my own experiences as a dog trainer and use shelter dogs that I have worked with as characters in the story. I also set it in Colorado so I had a base for streets and places.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Time management. I get distracted so easily, that I have to make sure certain things are in place before I sit down to write. For example, I can not be connected to the internet. Something as simple as seeing a new email or a comment on Facebook will deter me for an hour.

What are you currently working on?

I have signed a contract with Rebel Ink Press to include one of my romantic shorts- "My Humiliating Valentine"- in Love Bites a V-Day Anthology and I have just started on my first round of edits on Accidental Intent, a romatic murder mystery.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

Do not compromise your voice to please the masses. Stay true to who you are as a writer, and you will always find pleasure in what you accomplish.

-----------------------------------------------

Summerland can be found at

Amazon

Noble Romance

Also be sure to check out The author's blog

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Trailer Tuesday

Just one trailer today, but look! It's accompanied by words! - LR






OUTER DARKNESS is an award-winning supernatural suspense thriller that takes place in the Westlake Village area of Southern California in the weeks leading up to Halloween. The events that take place in this quiet, upscale suburban town would shock its residents to the core, if they knew the unseemly details of what was going on just behind their backs.

It is a chilling tale of unseen supernatural warfare, compounded by the very real and undeserved physical threat inflicted upon an everyday family by a vicious satanic crime cult. Jim DiMario and his family accidentally step hip-deep into trouble by running afoul of the Temple of Anubis – will they be able to get out alive?

Black Bed Sheet Books, publisher of exemplary fiction and non-fiction in the horror and urban fantasy genres has acquired publication rights and released supernatural suspense author Bart Brevik's debut novel, OUTER DARKNESS

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview: Denise Tompkins, author of Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1





Welcome, Denise Tomkins, author of Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1.

Author Bio: "Denise Tompkins lives in the heart of the South where the neighbors still know your name, all food forms are considered fry-able and bugs die only to be reincarnated in aggressive, blood-craving triplicate. Thrilled to finally live somewhere that can boast 3 ½ seasons (winter’s only noticeable because the trees are naked), her favorite season is definitely fall. It’s the time of year when the gardens are just about to pass into winter’s brief silence, and the leaves are out to prove that nature is the most brilliant artist of all.

Clearly, due to the enormous size of her picture, you can tell Denise isn’t as technologically savvyas she’d like to be. (Seriously. She’s not vain. She just couldn’t figure out how to shrink the picture any smaller.)

Denise is married to the love of her life. Both she and her husband are owned by two dogs and three opinionated parrots who keep her in stitches — literally and figuratively. One bird hates broccoli, one scared the pizza man to death upon delivery, and one bird loves to call out and invite stranger to “Come on in!” The birds thoroughly enjoy scolding the dogs. One dog, the mutt, has turned a deaf ear. The Bullmastiff, however, probably needs emotionally reconstructive therapy.

A life-long voracious reader, Denise has three favorite authors. Why three? Because favorite authors are like chips: a person can’t have just one. Her little house was so overrun with books last year that her darling husband bought her an e-reader out of self-preservation. He was (legitimately) afraid she might begin throwing out pots and pans to make room for more books, and he didn’t want to starve.

Along with reading, Denise loves travel, is obsessed with the British Isles, practices photography, enjoys cooking and looks forward to Christmas as an excuse to bake.

Her debut novel, Legacy, is the first book in The Niteclif Evolutions and will be available in both e-book and print from Samhain Publishing."


What inspires your stories?

The short answer is that the characters I dream up inspire the stories that end up ultimately surrounding them.

The longer answer has to be this. Someone once asked me how many stories I’d be able to write in a given series, and I answered, “So long as I have people to kill, crimes to commit and love to nurture? I can write forever.” I have to believe that these are the elements that fascinate me about story telling—the violence of mankind and the ability of people to go through the worst thing imaginable and still find the capacity to love.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

I am all about urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Even better is urban fantasy with strong elements of paranormal romance—my favorite hybrid genre ever!
Urban fantasy thrills me because it doesn’t have to stick to the trope, or formula, of the romance genre. I find I tend to get a bit bored with romance unless there are special skills involved, someone turns furry, someone used to be alive, etc. But urban fantasy allows the stakes to be higher. Save the world and get the girl? That’s absolutely my speed. I like the action, adventure, extreme conditions and world building challenges that surround the characters of urban fantasy.

What are your work habits like?

I’m a horrible boss. I don’t let myself have true vacations, but rather expect myself to write something fresh every day. I don’t care if it’s only a paragraph, but I must produce something new daily or else I get a little cranky. And if I’m eyeball deep in a project, I tend to get a little manic about pushing myself to do just one more paragraph, page or chapter every day. But you know what? It doesn’t make me crazy because I absolutely love what I do. I feel so incredibly lucky that you’ll never, ever hear me complain.

What do you consider your best work?

Oh, tough question! Each project has a special place for a specific reason, but the novel I just finished—Raising Cain—is the first in a new series. I absolutely love my hero and the world I’ve built in that book. But then the third book of the Niteclif Evolutions, Vengeance, has the most amazing explanation for the birth of mythology. It’s a toss-up between those two.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I definitely write on the fly. I’m what’s known as a “pantser,” or someone who writes by the seat of their pants. I’m a complete and total creative spirit who works best without any fetters or binders. I love being able to sit down and see where the story will take me. It’s not always the easiest way to write, particularly if I have to write a synopsis first, but it’s the most fun for me.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I long for my readers to fall in love with my characters, to go into each story with an open mind and a willingness to follow the vein of the story. I want them to become invested in the characters’ collective well-being. And above all, I want them to find escape between the pages of the worlds I create.

Of course, if I leave them craving the next book in the series, I have to consider I’ve (ultimately) done my job as a writer.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

I’m not sure any author can truly save that their characters and/or settings aren’t based on real life to some extent. We tend to write what we know, even if it’s a world we’ve created. We know it intimately. We use those things that influenced us as kids to build bullies and fantasy worlds. We draw on our experience with new love and heartbreak to craft the emotions necessary in a dawning relationship or one that’s in the twilight of its days. So yes, my characters traits and settings must draw on what I know, but I never, ever set out to craft a person or place after an absolute. I like my creative license too much!

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

My most significant challenge has to be finding balance between my own project(s) and serving as a productive critique partner for my three writing partners. Because I tend to become obsessed with a project until I see it through to the first draft’s completion, it is incredibly difficult for me to set my project aside and switch gears to critique the project of a friend writing epic fantasy, or another writing contemporary romance. So finding balance and getting out of my own head is tough.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently finishing up edits on the Niteclif Evolutions book two, Wrath, as well as finishing the rough draft of book three in the same series. I love seeing Maddy’s story evolve as she figures out just who she is in this new life of hers.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

The best advice I can give aspiring authors is this: you have to want it more than the people around you if you’re going to make it. It seems like everyone and their buddy is writing a book. Many will never finish their project when they figure out just how much labor is involved in the creation of even a rough draft. And of those who get that far, many will often quit, shelving the project, because critiques are hard to hear and revisions even harder to do. Push yourself, and never settle for “good enough,” because it never is. Believe in yourself, have faith in your dream, and want it more than anyone else.


The Niteclif Evolutions: Legacy by Denise Tompkins

Looking back on the wish she made on Midsummer’s Eve, Maddy Niteclif should have been more specific. She only wanted to escape the shadowy nightmares that plagued her nights, not to be thrust into a completely altered reality.

If a strangely familiar, sexy dragon-shifter named Bahlin, who causes a never-to-be-mentioned-again fainting spell, isn’t enough to make her question her sanity, his insistence she’s the Niteclif ought to do the job. Prophesied super-sleuth of the supernatural world—a world that desperately needs her help—isn’t a job she’s remotely qualified for no matter what her family tree says.

Catapulted into a very different London ruled by dark mythology, mystery and murder, Maddy makes a few startling discoveries. Paranormal creatures exist. Getting shot really sucks. And her body responds remarkably well to dragon magic—in more ways than simple wound healing.

But in this kill-or-be-killed world, reality bites. And Maddy must choose to go back to what she knows…or stay and fight for the man she knows she can’t live without.

Warning: This book contains a shape-shifting dragon with a Scottish accent, modern and archaic weapons, global inter-species politics that make democracy seem mild, some very steamy sex underground, a severed head, murder, and…oh yeah…a woman caught in the middle of it all.

Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1 is available at

Amazon

and

Barnes and Noble





Here are the next Few Stops on Denise’s Blog Tour

10/28 - Le’ Grande Codex

10/31 - Everyone Loves a SiNner

11/1 - Flutey Words

All Stops on the Tour can be found HERE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spotlight: Deborah Brodie, author of In His Love

Author Bio:

"Deborah Brodie has released two nationally published works that are available at major bookstores nationwide, through the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting any online source such as barnesandnoble.com, or amazon.com, etc…

She was born and raised in the suburbs of Bergen County, New Jersey. Deborah is a graduate from Faith Theological Seminary and Christian College in Tampa, Florida. She has been enjoying the diversities of the different coasts of Florida since the late eighties, and currently resides along the Emerald Coast with her husband. Together they form Jeffery Patrick Photography; and they specialize in weddings, engagements, boudoir, and family beach portraits.
Deborah has pursued her passion for romance by becoming a full charge professional wedding officiant."

Favorite Authors: Lisa Unger, Kate Mosse, Tess Gerritsen, Don Miguel Ruiz

Favorite movies and/or TV shows: Burn Notice

Hobbies: Photography, Cooking, Reading, Shopping

Genre of Choice for Writing: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery

Independent or Traditionally published? Traditionally Published through Tate Publishing.

Current Work in Progress: Sequel to "In His Love."

Title and Synopsis of most recently released work: The literary works of Florida author Deborah Brodie include her latest, “In His Love,” a captivating Christian romance novel. This book explores the journey of a young woman pursuing her calling, her dream, and the love of her life. Along the way Sarah learns that she must contend with religion, surrender her fear, in order to pursue love. As you follow Sarah’s journey through religion and fear, you are left with the question, Will she ever be able to fully believe In His Love?

“Her story has drama, intrigue, romance, and humor, and Deborah Brodie hopes to share it with the world.”
Northwest Florida Daily News

“Local author brings emotions to new book.”
The Walton Sun


Available at:

Amazon

Tate Publishing

The Author's Blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Trailer Tuesday

I am present! I discontinued Monday Contents posts because, well, they’re boring and not really worth a visit to the blog. Don’t you think?

Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards Stout





----
The Turn of the Karmic Wheel by Monica M. Brinkman





----
Memoirs from an Asylum by Kenneth Weene





Tomorrow we have an interview with Deborah Brodie, author of In His Love. Thursday is an interview with Denise Tompkins, author of Legacy, The Niteclif Evolutions Book 1. WOO!

- LR

Friday, October 21, 2011

Interview: Brian Moreland, author of Dead Winter

Welcome, Brian Moreland.

What inspires your stories?

I would say historical events that are strange and unexplained. My first novel, SHADOWS IN THE MIST, a supernatural thriller set during World War II, was based on the Nazis’ real practice of the occult. It is widely documented that Heinrich Himmler formed an occult group called the Black Order and practiced strange rituals at the Wewelsburg Castle in Westphalia, Germany. They also had scientists go on expeditions to prove they were descendents of an Arian race. All that is strange on its own. What’s mysterious is that we’ll never know everything that went on inside the castle that was nicknamed “Nazi Camelot,” because Himmler had it blown up just before the Allied Forces reached it. I found all these historical facts fascinating and built a fictional thriller around it.

My latest novel, DEAD OF WINTER, is also a historical novel, only this time set at a fur-trading fort in Ontario, Canada during 1870. During my research, I came across some unexplained stories that the Ojibwa tribes all around the Great Lakes region, including Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and Minnesota, feared a supernatural creature that lives in the woods and stalks people every winter. They migrated every year because of this superstition. As I researched this legendary evil spirit, I came upon a story about an isolated fort that went crazy and everyone turned cannibal. In the late 1700s, a Jesuit priest who visited this fort documented the case in his journal, describing the deranged colonists as possessed by the devil. This is all factual and documented by the Catholic Church. I also did extensive research on the history of frontier life in Canada in the 1800s. During the long winter months out in the wilderness, cannibalism became a way of survival for isolated villages that ran out of food. And sometimes soldiers would arrive at a fort to find that everyone was dead except one man, who survived by eating the others.

From all these historical findings, I came up with a mystery that involves an isolated fort that is being stalked by a predator that’s spreading a disease that turns its victims into cannibals. An Ojibwa tribe fears a supernatural beast. Inspector Tom Hatcher, a detective from Montreal, believes the bodies showing up are the work of a serial killer like the infamous Cannery Cannibal he put behind bars two years ago. But soon Inspector Hatcher realizes he’s dealing with more than just a single killer as a strange outbreak spreads across the fort, turning people, and even the livestock, into flesh-hungry cannibals. Tom’s only hope to battle this evil plague is to join forces with an exorcist from Quebec, Father Xavier, who has a vendetta against the Devil.


What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

I’m most drawn to supernatural horror, because I find those stories thrilling. They tend to combine mystery, adventure, and suspense with other-worldly creatures. I also enjoy a good love story—and lusty sex scenes—woven into the horror plot, as well. It keeps the heart-rate thumping.

What are your work habits like?

I’d like to say I write every day, but truth is writing is still a part-time job for me and I have obligations to work on client projects that can take my focus off writing for days and sometimes weeks. I’m also pretty compulsive, so everything I do, I do in bursts of productivity. For instance, if I get inspired to write and I have the time to work it into my schedule, I’ll write for eight to ten hours straight and all weekend long, only taking breaks for meals and sleep. If I’m in between client projects, I might write around the clock for a week or two and churn out a couple hundred pages. It’s hard for me to write for just an hour or two a day. It takes me awhile to get in “the zone,” and when I finally sync up with my muse and the ideas are flowing, I don’t want to stop until I type it all out. My best writing happens early in the morning before dawn. I’ll get out of bed and go straight to the computer. Before my eyes are fully open, I’m typing, and the stuff that flows out of my stream of consciousness in the early hours I rarely have to edit. I’m working toward one day being a full-time novelist where I can have a more structured, daily schedule. Until then, I’ve got to work writing in with all my other activities.

What do you consider your best work?

Definitely my new novel DEAD OF WINTER. It’s my pride and joy. I spent two years researching and writing this book and was meticulous about making it the best book I could put out. I went through countless re-writes and read it out loud to a group of writers whose opinions I trust. I’ve also continually study the craft of storytelling so that each book gets better than the last. In DEAD OF WINTER, I love the characters, the setting, the supernatural elements, and I love Tom Hatcher’s story—a true hero’s journey. I hope my fans and readers love it too.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I definitely do my best writing on the fly. I might jot down some notes and a rough outline, but generally it all changes once I get into the writing process. I’m always discovering new details about the characters as I journey along with them. I don’t always know how the book is going to end. Sometimes I steer the story, but mostly I allow my characters to completely take over and see where they take the story. There are often plot twists that completely surprise me. After I’ve written a 100 pages or more and I’ve gotten to know my characters, I’ll write a chapter by chapter outline so I can have a bird’s-eye view of the story and keep on track of where it’s going. The best stuff, though, comes from writing without an outline and catching fire from the sky.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I want them to feel exhilarated, like they are on a non-stop thrill ride, where there are unexpected surprises at every turn. I want them to feel like they are there in the scene, inside the body of my character. I want to evoke the reader’s emotions and make them feel. If the lovers in my story are feeling lust, I want the reader to feel lust too. Or dread or elation or a deep connection with my characters. Ultimately, I want readers to enjoy a really good story, feeling satisfied by the end of book and also hungry to read my next book.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

Yes, heroes and heroines tend to be yearning for something—love, happiness, peace of mind, freedom from their demons. For instance, in SHADOWS IN THE MIST, Lt. Jack Chambers, who has lost most of his platoon in the bloody Hürtgen Forest battle, yearns to get his last survivors—“the Lucky Seven”—out of the war alive. Chambers also wants to get back to London to his sweetheart, a British Red Cross nurse, but he’s trapped behind enemy lines and something sinister is killing off his men.

In my short story “Chasing the Dragon,” Nick Meyers searches the most shadowy parts of Hong Kong for a girlfriend who mysteriously vanished. He yearns to be with her again and refuses to believe that she could be dead. At times I’ve felt these deep yearnings. Or their inner struggles might match the inner struggles I’m going through during that period of my life. My heroes tend to have some of my traits, at least their philosophies and how they handle conflict, how they figure their way out of a mess. My female characters, who are love interests to my heroes, always have the physical traits that I’m attracted to. Often they are a collage of women I’ve dated.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

Staying focused when I haven’t yet gotten into the zone of creative writing. Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get where I can write freely. If I sit at the computer and no ideas are coming on how to start a scene, my mind starts wandering and looking for other things to do. Suddenly taking out the trash or organizing my closet sounds like a fun project. Or I’ll just piddle around checking emails and surfing the net until my muse finally shows up for work. Once she does and the ideas start rolling in faster than I can type them, I can write happily for days on end. Then my challenge is making myself stop to eat and sleep and step out into the sunshine. Like I said earlier, I can be very compulsive, and when the writing is really fun, hours pass like minutes.

What are you currently working on?

So many things related to publishing. Now, with two books out and a third on the way, I’m very busy these days. I’m constantly promoting my brand of horror to spread awareness about my books. I interact on multiple social media sites directly with fans, readers, and other writers. I do radio interviews, guest blogs, and write on my posts for my own two blogs: Dark Lucidity (http://www.BrianMoreland.blog) and Coaching for Writers (http://www.CoachingforWriters.blogspot.com). In addition to promoting, I have a mission to keep releasing new fiction each year. I’m currently working on some short stories, a novella about a ghost detective, and I’m over 300 pages into my third horror novel, currently titled THE DEVIL’S WOODS, which has some wicked monsters in it. Stay tuned for this book some time in 2012.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

Yes, define whether writing is a hobby or a profession, because they are two very different mindsets. If writing is a hobby, just have fun with it. Write when you feel like it and if nothing flows, go out and do something else you enjoy. Let it be that quiet place you express yourself. Your secret escape. Writing as a hobby can be a wonderful outlet for creativity, expressing pent-up emotions, solving problems, and self-discovery. It’s very cathartic.

If you are writing to be a published author, then fully commit to it. It’s not a hobby, it’s your profession. It’s what you do. Write daily if you can—I’m still working on this one— even if your muse didn’t show up for work. Make writing a daily, or at least weekly, habit. If nothing flows, organize your chapters or promote yourself as an author on the web. Make the business of being a writer a high priority in your schedule, because it’s easy to let life get in the way. Every successful author I know has two common traits: persistence and tenacity. They believe in their writing and they don’t give up until they see their writing is in print. No matter what roadblocks you face on your journey as a writer, you can move past them. Ever day is a new day to write and accomplish your goals. Just commit fully to being a writer and stay persistent.

Author Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. He loves hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and dancing. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://brianmoreland.com/ or on Twitter @BrianMoreland.

Brian’s Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com/Coaching for Writers blog: http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com/




Dead of Winter is available on Amazon

and

Barnes and Noble