Q & A — Fiona Skye

q & a

Please welcome Fiona Skye to the blog this week!

*****

fiona-skye-author-photo-300x300What are you working on at the minute?

Currently, I’m working on three different projects. The first is the second book in my Revelations Trilogy; it’s called Silver Shackles. The second project is thriller/murder mystery that I’m hoping to publish under another name. The third project is an epic fantasy, inspired by—believe it or not—the video game Skyrim.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My main character for the Revelations Trilogy is named Riley O’Rourke. She’s a TV talk show host who also happens to be a werejaguar. She and a couple of vampire friends broke through the veil of secrecy that hid the Preternatural population—you know, the things that go bump in the night—from the rest of humanity, by staging a live, nationally-broadcasted press conference during which they revealed themselves as vampires and were-creatures.

I think Riley’s an interesting character. She’s not a wall-flower, nor is she weak. She can take care of herself, tends to be a little head-strong and stubborn, and has been blessed (cursed?) with a very healthy ego. When she gets involved with the Dark Court Fae, she learns quickly that she’s not the top of the food chain after all, and has to deal with the fall out of this knowledge. Readers get to see her entire world fall apart and then they get to see how she picks up the pieces and puts everything back together.

What genre are your books?

The Revelations Trilogy is urban fantasy. I like this genre because I like to play with perceptions and the big question of What If? What if your next-door neighbor or your boss or the bike messenger who just cut you off in traffic is a werewolf or a vampire or even a magic user? I like to explore the idea that underneath the thin veneer of civilization, there might exist an entirely separate world that until now, has only been scary stories.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I love The Princess Bride. It’s a magical movie that underscores the power of a really good book. Plus, there’s sword fights and magic and a death game with the world’s smartest man!

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Like a lot of authors, I’ve given this extensive thought. Riley would be played by Maggie Q, the star of the TV show Nikita. David Lo, who is Riley’s love interest and a federal law agent, would be played by Daniel Henney, who was in the first Wolverine movie. Baron Fonterra, who helps Riley out quite a bit, would be played by Sam Elliot—BEFORE he shaved off his mustache! And Orla Brown, who is a witch and sort of a grandmotherly figure for Riley, would be played by Dame Judi Dench.61OM5NGMi7L

How much research do you do?

I do pretty extensive research. I’m kind of a stickler for detail and even if a subject doesn’t take up more than a single sentence in my book, I spend a lot of time making sure I know what I’m talking about. I have tons of books on faerie creatures, Irish and Scottish folklore, geography of the U.S., vampire lore, magic, and links on body language, the history of the O’Rourke family in Ireland, and jaguar behavior. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine has promised to take me to a gun range so that I can fire the same sort of gun that David carries.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I definitely write full time. After my kids leave for school in the morning, I spend about three hours writing or researching, then I eat lunch and walk my dog. Then I write or read for another two hours, until my kids and husband get home and it’s time for dinner and homework. I find that I write best during the morning hours. My energy level tends to be the highest at this time and I seem to be able to focus better during this time, too.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

I’m extremely lucky to know not one, but two amazing artists who were kind enough to design both the print cover and ebook cover for Faerie Tales in exchange for publicity. Angelique Charo (http://charolique.deviantart.com/) did the print cover, and Deanne Smith (http://goldenthrush.deviantart.com/) did the ebook cover. The design concept is supposed to represent the dual nature of Riley—her human face and her Jaguar face.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not yet, but I’m trying to convince my husband—who is a great writer!–to collaborate with me on the epic fantasy I mentioned earlier. I’m intrigued by the technical process of two writers working on one manuscript. Do they each take a chapter and write it? Does one partner work on settings/exposition and the other on dialogue? Do they edit together or separately?

Where do the your ideas come from?

The Idea Faerie? LOL! I don’t know honestly. I’m inspired by other writers, video games, songs, TV shows and movies… Basically, anything and everything I see/hear/taste is fodder for a story.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

It’s been my experience that writer’s block is either a form of procrastination or a deep fear. Either way, the best way through it is just to get your butt in the seat, fingers on the keyboard and write. Don’t worry if it’s crap; don’t worry if it’ll be well-received. Just write it. Once it’s written, it can be edited and polished and perfected. But it can’t be edited if it’s not written!

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I read quite a lot. My favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, and Diana Gabaldon. I voraciously consume everything they publish. I’m also partial to Bernard Cornwell, Glen Cook, Dean Koontz, and Craig Johnson.

*****

You can follow Fiona in any one of these places!

Website: http://fiona-skye.com/
Blog: 
http://fiona-skye.com/blog/
Facebook: 
http://www.facebook.com/fionaskyewriter
Twitter: 
http://www.twitter.com/fionaskyewriter
Amazon Author Page: 
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CKY01EE
Book Links: 
http://fiona-skye.com/books-2/
Goodreads
: http://www.goodreads.com/fiona_skye
G+: http://plus.google.com/+FionaSkye/

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Q & A — Aedan Byrnes

q & a

This ones done a little different than my other posts but I loved the way it was done so much that I couldnt pick it apart in any way! Please welcome Aedan to the blog this week!

*****

Good Morrow to ya Allison.

Thank you so much for having me visit!

I feel like I’ve answered a great many questions over and over again recently, but you’ve given me new angles on some of the tried and true favorites, so let’s begin with “Why do you write?” I write because it eases me, plain and simple. Some people go to the show, some park in front of the tele, others escape into a book…I escape into my head and allow it to carry me away. The act of putting pen to page is cathartic on multiple levels. It assuages my creative drive as well as the need to be doing something, not sitting idly by. The idea that I can weave together the images in my head and put them into something that is digestible to others is a great high, and a great satisfaction, so it fulfills many needs all at the same time. 

I write part time as I work elsewhere for my livelihood right now. Perhaps one day that will change, but for now it is part time. I have no rhyme or reason to how or when I write; it is usually when I find my mind set. I have told myself the story so many times over before it finds the paper, that when the mental revision is done, I write. I do not find that I need to set word or page count goals either, often the opposite is true in that I have to stop and remember where I left off.

I write everything out longhand and transcribe later. I find the feel of the pen across the page is its own meditation of sorts. The typewriter or keyboard is not the same. For all of the above, I don’t feel like I have writer’s block or encounter it often. If I do, it is because I need to revise or add to the story something that I did not have set in my mind. Writer’s block, if I get it, seems to be a by-product of editing calls from the publisher, moreover than my creation of the tale.

The next group of answers started with your question about my thoughts on writing a series… I think writing a series is easier in some ways and more difficult in others. Through the Oracle’s Mist is the first book of The Vengelys (Venn-jell-is) Series. The series is a long tale about a band of warriors from Amaranth, their family, their relationships, their setbacks and the perseverance of spirit over trial. Through the Oracle’s Mist kicks the series off with the tale of Tynan and Cyrenna. It is a story of choices, and chances. It introduces us to the main cast, at least the majority of it, while engaging the reader to make some personal assessments without realizing perhaps that they are. Oracle is a tale about the value of people and the price we are willing to pay to have the things or people in our lives that mean the most.

Warrior’s Watchtower is the second book in the series, due out later this year and will be followed by Kingdom’s Fall in 2015. official coverWatchtower picks up from a spot in Oracle to tell the other side of the tale that isn’t shown in the first book, as well as lays the groundwork for the series beyond book three.  I can’t give away too much without giving it all away, so let’s just hope I am as successful at detailing it out for the readers as I have been in ferreting it out in my mind. I’ve grown quite fond and attached to this group of renegades.

You asked about proofreading/editing and stewing the tale which are all great questions, let’s see if I can make my process make sense. I do a lot of refining of the story long before it hits paper anywhere for anyone else to see. I am constantly editing in my mind; words, phrases, plot choices, story flow…all of it. Once I have that pretty well under hand, and I have kicked the work over to paper, I read the story, and then I read it again, often making minor changes as I go. Once I’m satisfied with it, I transcribe it to computer and send it off to a few Beta-readers for feedback. Some of them will kick back editing notes, some say ‘love’ or ‘loathe’, some say nothing besides, “looks good to me” and some ask questions about pieces that I think I’ve connected since I know the story in my head, but maybe didn’t get across to the reader. All of which are good returns.

Once those come back, I go through them one by one and address changes that I feel need to be made based on the feedback. Some go in, and some don’t. At the end of the day it is my story that I’m telling and some things don’t feel right to me. After those have all be fielded I send the copies back out again for a re-read and see what comes back…there is often far less that comes back at this stage. If anything does, I repeat the process, if not, I shelve the story.  Oracle sat for five months before I picked it back up.

When I pick the story up again, I need it to be fresh. I need it to engage my mind to read what is written, not see the story the way I know it in my head. Thus, it is a concerted effort reading at this point to take in each word as I read it and not allow myself to supplement them with the story I know. For me, there are usually two passes at this point a couple weeks apart. A first pass, edits, and a second pass reading. I will do a third pass if I had major changes, but if not, once these edits are keyed in, I’m done.

At the end of this stage, the complete manuscript goes to my publisher and the editor that I have there. I can’t speak to the process there, but I can tell you what I think happens from my side of the messages. Once it is there, they do a complete read through, start to stop. If there are major hiccups to the tale, I think I would hear straightaway and have to rework right off. As it has been, what happens next is they begin a page by page, line by line dissemination of the story for the formatting, word choices, confusions, punctuation, clarifications, and a myriad of other things. I get back a ‘to do’ list of things to consider. If it is a punctuation issue or technical, I get a statement about what was changed. If it is a word choice or clarification, I get a suggestion and have to make decisions about what should be there. I have the right to keep what I wrote, take what they have suggested, or change it altogether.

Once the line by line passes have been made and the edits have been completed, I believe they do another complete read to get a feel for the continuity of the tale. Pending any further edits to make, the story then gets formatted in font and we figure out how many pages we need to use so the cover can be made to fit the story. While editing is happening, the cover images are being chosen and the graphics department has kicked into play. The size of the finished product comes together when the formatting is done and the cover size gets finalized.

Covers for me are intensely personal. I have a friend who is a whiz with images and I am fortunate to be able to say…’this is the vision I have’ and they will start throwing images back at me to try to fit my vision. As they do, I can refine in my head what I want to see. The cover for Oracle was a bit nerve-wracking because I didn’t understand the process of the font selections, and we went through A LOT of them trying to find the right look for the cover. I knew the image I wanted very early on. The poor folks in graphics likely wanted to throttle me as I was a bit manic to have it all come together ‘just right’ and I could not settle on the fonts. I sent them an idea of what I wanted, and as luck would have it, we had no notion of what the font was to recreate it at the higher resolution needed for the cover…so it was a long process.  BUT, what we did do that was absolutely awesome, was we chose fonts for the series, so every cover will have the same lettering style for the title, the series title and the author name. The challenges of the first one took care of them all the way through. Those graphics folks are so smart!That, and my contact with the publisher is amazing at the communication thing which made it easy.  They were open to hear what I have to say about how I want my book to look and that is a huge thing. I am most fortunate!

I think covers are a piece of the buying decision in that they are the attention grabber. A cover, for me does not sell the book, but instead it is the vehicle that causes me to pick it up and read the synopsis. The same is true of video trailers. We are such a busy society, that anything that can grab you out of your routine, make you stop and consider is a positive thing. It is also the perk of social media to the promotion phase of publishing because a cover can be posted with a synopsis or a short video trailer link and it can be that simple to interrupt someone in something they are already doing and engage them to want to know more. This, to me, is how books sell…it is a visual stimulus that engages our brain to want more information.

I have two trailers.  I have sent you both links and hope you will share them. One was made for me as a gift from a fan. “Blown away” does not begin to express the overwhelming that happened when I saw it for the first time. I am so grateful to Drake Valley Press for understanding my want to keep that original fan made trailer up even after the official trailer was made. The official trailer was modeled on the fan made one and I think both are amazing. I am not a technology abled person, so I am completely stunned by the creations. I am curious to your thoughts after viewing them…did they grab you? Did they engage you to want to know the story? Share your review with me.

Speaking of reviews, let’s talk about them. You asked about my thoughts on good/bad reviews. I, like every author out there, love to get good reviews. I also love to see the bad reviews, IF they are communicative to the reasons why. I am always trying to grow in my craft, a good review that illustrates what a reader likes is valuable…so is a negative review if it can give me the reasons why the story didn’t work for them. Does this mean I will change my writing style or process? Probably not, but it could mean that I will be more aware of my personal quirks and how they affect some readers. I have said openly on my Facebook walls and I think on goodreads too that anyone who cannot give a story of mine at least 3 of 5 stars, I want to hear from them personally. I want the feedback. I want the insight into what threw them and their thoughts on what they wanted to see.

Now, lest this comes across wrong, allow me the qualifier…if someone just doesn’t enjoy the story, which happens…or didn’t like the ending (knowing that it is a series and needs to be left open for the next story), I don’t expect to be hammered with a 1 star or 2 star review.  I think that it is possible to apply what my mother called the ‘sandwich’ method to a review….the story was interesting, the ending didn’t work for me, but the writing overall was good…for example. To me, reviews are not about bashing that the story didn’t go the way you wanted it to…they are a feedback mechanism to the writer to tell them what worked and didn’t but also to comment the merits of their storytelling, not to tantrum. It is further a place to tell others about a tale.  While we tell our good friends the sordid details of near everything, reviews are a way to communicate the merits and shortfalls to complete strangers who may or may not see the same things you do. A review is an avenue to connect, and for me, when explained so I can understand and maybe grow from them, the overall mark is less important than what is said.  I still want to hear from readers if the story as a whole falls short and find out what I can do as a writer to make my stories better for them…that won’t change.

How do I relax you ask….I just shut down. I am a firm believer in unplugging everything and sitting outside. I could climb, float, camp, hike, or do nothing at all and be completely relaxed from the writing world. As said elsewhere, I’m not technology savvy, so the idea of escaping from it is my bliss.  A book can be relaxing too…or if I need to escape the world around me, I write.

Last up of the questions is the one about advice for aspiring writers, and the answer is a reprint from an interview I did over a year ago.  I believed it then and believe it still.  I hope it strikes a chord. BEGIN. Whatever you do or don’t do after that, Begin. There is no ‘THE END’ without ‘In the beginning’. I’ve talked to many folks who are trying to start and the question is always “How?” The answer is, keep it simple. Pick an image and describe it, take a word and make a conversation, choose a voice and write a monologue. Can’t come up with it? Try picking a character you love and write a story for them that hasn’t been told. I am not advocating plagiarism here… I am saying tell the side you have never seen. Choose a villain you love to hate and tell the love story that you’ve never heard. Choose the good guy from the television show and write about his wild and rowdy night on the town. Write something that you would never see for this character as it is completely against their nature as you know them. Once you can do this then start coming up with your own characters and the stories that go with them, but don’t kill yourself and burn out before you get started trying to take on the 300 or 500 page novel from scratch with nothing else under your belt.

The 50 Shades of Grey series that came out by EL James started as fan fiction for Stephanie Meyer and her Twilight saga. Does it seem like it’s the Vampires and Werewolves Meyer wrote? I have no idea, I haven’t read them, but what I’m saying is that the idea developed by piggy-backing on something else that was out there, it was a place to jump off from. We all need to find the end of the pier and jump into the deep end somewhere. Just take a few laps in the kiddie pool first. And that goes for every aspect of writing.  Guest blog, find a peer group and start seeing editing as a part of the picture, try anthologies if you aren’t ready to solo…whatever it is get out there and start.

Writing isn’t re-inventing the wheel. It’s finding new ways to tell the same stories we’ve been reading all along. There aren’t a thousand new genres that come out every year….there are a thousand books though that do and they fall into the established genres. And this is the next big step… Once you can honestly put a string of words together to complete a thought, once you can take a mental image of a character and breathe life into them, you have to decide what they are going to do and this will determine the genre you write in. Maybe there will be more than one, but probably best to start with just one. And there is nothing wrong with starting small. It’s like writing essays….in middle school they were a page, in high school we went from 3 to 5 to 10 pages and in college we went from 15 – to hundreds for thesis work. Allow yourself the time to grow. I would say to you, remember you have to crawl before you walk before you run. My favorite prompt for anything writing (as well as in life) is, “And then what?”

Whatever path you take, remember that you have to start. Dreaming is that voice inside telling you that there is something there but it can’t do it without you. There’s magic in dreaming and stories too. No matter how good the dream though you still have to get up and take up the pen to tell the tale or it is only ever a dream. You have to take the step toward finding an audience. You have to take the step toward gaining the contract. Take the step.

There’s a song out that is more an analogy for life, but the key line is an absolutely perfect observation statement for this….Natasha Beddingfield says, “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.” I say, “You are the only one who can change that.”  Begin.

I hope this answers some of the questions you gave me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what I have said. Stay in touch! To connect with me you can find me at:

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AedanByrnes

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/aedan.byrnes.7?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/#!/AedanByrnes

Q & A — Ana Rubio

q & a

Please welcome Ana to the blog today. She is a non-fictional writer, and I think a first for the blog but I think you will find her quite interesting!

*****

anaWhat were you like at school?

I was a good student. I always tried to overcome my grades.

Were you good at English?

Yes, I’ve always loved English.

Well, you know, I’m Spaniard and I live in Spain. When I studied, English was not taught at schools. But my father taught English to my brother and me at home when we were only children (at 8 and 9). Then, English started to be taught at schools when I was 12.  At that time, I had a nice English level and I was really the queen of the class, lol!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Of course, becoming a well-known writer, to connect with the public. And why not?, to become a Best Selling Author.

Which writers inspire you?

Non-fiction authors: Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur

Fiction authors: Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer

So, what have you written?

Non-fiction books:

Los Nazis y el Mal. La destrucción del ser humano. (The Nazis and the Evil. The annihilation of the human-being.)

La banalidad del Mal. La contraimagen de Dios en la lógica nazi. (The banality of Evil. The manipulated image of God on tb3he Nazi logic).

La Biblia ilustrada y comentada. (The Bible with pictures and commentaries). –sold out-

Articles:

Racial Hygiene and the Third Reich.

Expérience, subjectivité et mémoire chez les SS. (Background, subjectivity and memory in the SS state)

Le visage outragé. Violance radicale et biopolitique au service du nazisme. (The eradication of the person. Radical violence et biopolicy in the Nazism).

La caractéristique de la violènce du Troisième Reich. (The violence in the Third Reich).

Soumission de la masse dans le III Reich. (Mass submission in the Third Reich).

Luces en la sombra. (Candles in the darkness).

Crimen e impunidad. El anillo de Giges. (Crime and impunity. Giges’ Ring).

Universalización y sincretismo en publicidad. (Globalization and syncretism in publicity). –not available-

Contra el racismo: asociacionismo y educación. (Against racism: association and education) –not available-

b1Blog:

Nazism and Holocaust http://nazismoyholocausto.blogspot.com.es (The main goal of this blog is to think about the darkest time of our history until now: the Holocaust, the Nazi cruelty against the Humanity).

Where can we buy or see them? 

Casa del Libro: Los Nazis y el Mal (€14)

Amazon: Los Nazis y el Mal (€14)

BlaBook.com: La banalidad del Mal (Free)

Anachronia Review: Racial Hygiene and the Third Reich (€15)

CEEOL Anachronia: La caractéristique de la violence du Troisième Reich (€3.5)

CEEOL Anachronia: Expérience, subjectivité et mémoire chez les SS (€2.5)

CEEOL Anachronia: Le visage outragé. Violance radical et biopolitique au service du nazisme (€2.5)

BlaBook.com: Soumission de la masse dans le III Reich (Free)

BlaBook.com: Luces en la sombra (Free)

BlaBook.com: Crimen e impunidad. El anillo de Giges (Free)

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Well, as I’ve written non-fiction books or articles, I can’t talk about a character. But, I can talk about the Nazi man, the main “character” of my work. This is a manufactured man, an automaton (“a zombie”) who can’t make any decision by himself. Anyway,b2 this individual is guilty and responsible of the evil that he or she’s provoked.

What are you working on at the minute?

A non-fiction book.

What’s it about?

This time the focus of my next book will be on the victims of the Holocaust, not on the perpetrators.

What genre are your books?

Non-fiction. But after that book about the victims of the Holocaust, I’ll start a Thriller.

What draws you to this genre?

When I worked in my Thesis about the Nazism, I realised that the Nazis did not only want to eliminate “their enemy”; their main goal was to annihilate the human being. The human being means everyone who could think by themselves, everyone who didn’t agree with the Nazis –ideology or facts, everyone who was free in every sense of the life, everyone who was not healthy according to the Nazi “movement”. Nazism defined itself as a movement, not as a Party.

The focus of my research was on how Nazism worked and how Nazis were able to do what they did.

My research really hit me hard. You know, it’s hard to learn how the human being ends up with their own humanity and their main goal is the lust for power. To get it, according the Nazi movement, the annihilation of the other is required at all.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Bearing in mind that it’s not a fiction book, but it could be, maybe, Angelina Jolie would be a good choice because of her personality. Moreover, her father was the main star in The Odessa File. It could be a challenge for her and an honour for me!

How much research do you do?

Whatever I need to. I mean, I want to assure me not to write contradictions or urban legends, basically.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not a novel, but a book about the Bible. We wrote about the meaning of some biblical passages at the same time that we showed the society of each period of time, -a socio-political analysis and some polemic subjects were dealt with.

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?

Well, you see, I didn’t think about sales. I simply thought it was a great opportunity to spread the Bible message with a current language for everybody.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to tell stories. When I was a child, I made up stories about whatever. People told me something that had happened and I said: “ O.k., and what if…” I just made up a story.

But, writing… Maybe, at the high school. I wrote a journalist report about the Persian Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and the Ayatollah Khomeini, an Iranian religious and political leader, who made Iran the world’s first Islamic republic.

*****

You can follow Ana in any one of these fine places on the internet!

Blog: http://nazismoyholocausto.blogspot.com.es
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ana-Rubio-Serrano/471481726304326
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/24_arubio
Lnkedin:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ana-rubio-serrano/36/660/1/en
Book Links:
http://www.blabook.com; http://nazismoyholocausto.blogspot.com.es; http://www.ceeol.com
Goodreads
: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17490690-ana-rubio-serrano

Q & A — Gerald W. Darnell

q & a

 

Please welcome the author of the Carson Reno Mystery Series—Gerald Darnell!

*****

Dad17So, what have you written?

13 books in the Carson Reno Mystery Series, 2 non-fiction books and 1 book in a new series with character ‘Jack Sloan’ – titled ‘Concrete Jungle’.  Also, numerous short stories over the years and many articles for several outdoor magazines.

Where can we buy or see them? (* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included) Most everywhere.  I also have an online bookstore for most bookshttp://www.lulu.com/spotlight/geralddarnelland all are sold on Amazon and can also be ordered direct through my website. http://www.geraldwdarnell.com

What are you working on at the minute?

Two books, another Carson Reno Mystery Series book and a sequel to ‘Concrete Jungle’.

What genre are your books?

Mystery.

How much research do you do? 

All my books use real locations, but in a different time.  I do location research, and some character identification.  However, most of my books are fiction – so time and place are the only real things about the stories.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Collected notes for 20 years to write my first book – ‘Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time To Go’.  Retired, and decided one day that ifconcretejungle812 it was going to happen, it needed to happen – so I wrote it – a non-fiction book.  Then, after publication, I was encouraged to do a story about a fiction character from the early 1960’s and Carson Reno was born.

Do you write full-time or part-time? 

Part-time

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? 

Computer.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?  

Occasionally from an outline, but mostly where the idea takes me.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Being away from the book for several days.  That requires going back and reading what has been written up to that point.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? 

Absolutely, I think we all do.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

Written by author Gerald W. Darnell, the Carson Reno Mystery Series currently contains 13 adventures.  The main character, Carson Reno, is a private detective with an office located in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.  The setting is the early 1960’s, and while the many adventures take Carson around the country, most of the stories are centered in West Tennessee and the Southern United States.

Carson is a tough, hard drinking and womanizing private detective – but the author blends humor and character involvement to make the stories an easy read for all ages.  Many of the characters continue through each book, but it isn’t necessary to enjoy them in any particular order; each is standalone in story and content.  Real geography is mixed with real time events, reflecting the dangerous and turbulent times of our country in the 1960’s.  Books are lightly illustrated with real pictures (when available), and they are all rated PG-13 – minimizing language and graphic violence.

Most books are offered in both hard and soft cover, and e-books of all adventures are available in Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook formats.  Five books have already been created as audio books – these can be found on Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes.  Additional books are currently in audio production.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll Carson Reno Mystery Series books can be purchased on Amazon.com, Lulu.com, Authorsden.com, selected bookstores/gift shops and through the author’s websites –

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Never read ebooks.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? 

I have proofreaders edit and read all my books.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? 

Absolutely

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? 

I have done both.  Self-publishing has the advantage of allowing the author to do things his way – not being controlled by a publisher who might have differing ideas.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?  

Unfortunately it is necessary – everybody does it.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

All my books have trailers, which I produce.  They are a definite PLUS.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
Concrete Jungle http://youtu.be/r11-UyCJANs

Reelfoot http://youtu.be/COcjr8Vjgpw

 

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?  

Yes, and it is necessary.

What is your favourite quote?

Quote from Carson Reno Mystery Series.  “Life is Cheap – Make Sure You Buy Enough”

What is your favourite film and why?

The Big Sleep  (and if you have to ask why, then you’ve never seen the movie)

*****

You can find Gerald in any one of these fine places on the internet!

Website:http://www.geraldwdarnell.comhttp://www.carsonrenomysteryseries.com

http://carsonreno.wix.com/carson

Blog:
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/CarsonRenosMysterySeries
Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/darnellgerald


Lnkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/geralddarnell/
Pinterest:
Amazon Author Page:
https://www.amazon.com/author/geralddarnell


Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Gerald+Darnell

Book Links: http://carsonreno.wix.com/reelfoot
Goodreads
:https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/9617472?shelf=written

 

Q & A — Merilyn Dignum

q & a

Please welcome Merilyn to the blog today! She is here to promote her new book coming out next week! Stay tuned to the blog for all the release info!

*****

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Mia has the ability to use her emotions on people which is tied to her genetics.

What are you working on at the minute?

Currently I’m editing book 2 in the Ties That Bond series called Deception.

What genre are your books?

I write in the Sci-Fi / Fantasy genres. Although to me, it’s urban Sci-Fi / Fantasy because the setting is the world around me, the here and now. I don’t create worlds on a different planet or in a fantasy realm. It seems that no matter what story I start a Sci-Fi or Fantasy element always ends up appearing and changing everything I thought I knew the story would be. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because I became hooked on fantasy when I was about five and it has always remained my first love. When I was about six, I think, I discovered Sci-Fi which became my second love.

What draws you to this genre?

I think I’m drawn to these genres by my overactive imagination. With both Sci-Fi and Fantasy I found amazing worlds I could escape to where the seemingly impossible becomes possible.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Like so many, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a kid I had dreams of becoming a professional writer but being an introvert, back then I wasn’t brave enough to ‘put myself out there’, so I buried the writer and got on with life. Looking back now I think maybe the Universe was telling me it just wasn’t the right time for me.

A few years ago when I reached a fork in the road of life I thought, it’s now or maybe never and really, what did I have to lose?

Why do you write?

I write because, these days, I have characters running around in my head that won’t leave me alone. They’re like annoying little kids that want their story told and if I try to ignore them they throw tantrums. I know that sounds weird but it’s the best way I have of describing it.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

As I said, I reached a fork in the road of life, and was presented with the opportunity to concentrate on writing and really give it all my attention. Whether it was the Universe, or something, finally saying now is the right time, who knows, but I’m grateful to have the chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I’ve been writing full-time for about 5 years now and have a few manuscripts collecting dust in the cupboard which at some point I will pull out and do complete re-writes of I’m sure, once I’m finished with my current projects.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I generally start the day with walking my dog and then spend a short time on emails, Facebook, networking, etc.

When I’m in the early phases of a book I tend write when the ideas are there and when I’m not feeling that pull I go back to the emails, Facebook, networking, read, watch TV, see friends and do the boring stuff that needs to be done like cleaning. I have to admit that this is a time when I can get easily distracted but it seems to be what works for me.

Once the book is taking shape I spend more and more time on it than anything else. When the first draft is complete I can easily spend all day editing and that will include the weekends. The closer the book gets to completion the more focussed I am to the point where I hate being interrupted and pretty much nothing can distract me.

Where do your ideas come from?

I really have no idea where the ideas come from. Generally the main character will pop into my head. It might be their look, attitude, some dialogue or a mix and things generally progress from there. For example, when Mia from Ties That Bond showed up all I knew was that she was a 17 year old with plenty of attitude, a shady past and unique abilities. Then one by one the supporting characters showed up to fill in the story.

It’s the same with another project that is waiting for me to start. The main character appeared first and then bits of her story followed.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I prefer to let the characters take me along for the ride with their story. It flows better. I did try with book 2 of Ties That Bond – Deception, to follow a very brief outline but the characters just didn’t want to go where I was trying to take them. I know it sounds weird because in reality everything is happening in my head, and it’s probably only something another writer will understand, but you can’t make a character do something they don’t want to. Book 2 doesn’t have the middle or ending that I had planned. It took a completely different direction, which really is part of the fun of the writing process.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I know I have evolved creatively by looking back at past manuscripts. I have learnt so much since writing them and because of them. Their basic ideas I think are still good but the writing needs a lot of work which I hope to get to at some stage.

I’d love to see those stories out there but definitely not in their current form.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, for me it’s character block. As I said before if I want a character to do something they don’t want to do I can’t make them and I end up staring at a blank page. Once I let go and let them lead, it’s all good.

Deception has taken a lot longer to write than Ties That Bond did because I spent a lot of time trying to write a story that just wouldn’t flow. I finished it in a couple of weeks once I gave up and just followed the characters.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

Initially Ties That Bond was a standalone book, just a chunk of time from the characters’ lives giving insight into who they are and watching them grow into better people, hopefully, through situations beyond their control.

It was one of my betas who wanted to know if there was going to be another book because she thought there had to be, that got me thinking about the possibility.

So Mia’s story will cover 3 books.

It’s the story of a young girl that develops abilities at a young age but has no idea what they are or why she’s different. She was abandoned and placed in the foster system at 5 and spent years being passed around from family to family. At 12 she defends herself, accidently, with her abilities and goes on the run from the system.

We meet Mia when she is 17, living off the grid and working with a small group of men who, for their own reasons,are no longer a part of society.All their lives are turned upside down when people come looking for Mia.

In the second book events lead Mia to the parallel universe her parents came from.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I love reading a series but writing one is a little nerve racking. To me each book has to be as good, if not better,than the one preceding it and, of course, the characters have to develop more along the way. And even if each book is a contained chunk of their lives there will be threads running through them that have to be dealt with.

This is when the little devil pops up and sits on your shoulder and starts whispering crap in your ear – “it’s not as good you know”, “nobody’s going to like it”, “the readers that loved book 1 are going to hate this and you”, “they’re going to feel so let down,” and so it goes on.

You don’t get that with a standalone book. Sure there are still negative little comments floating around in your head and it will be compared to anything else you have written but with all new characters and a whole new setting to me it’s not as nerve racking.

Is everyone going to like everything you write? Absolutely not but new characters and a new setting aren’t going to be compared so intensely as ones in a series are from book to book.

Or maybe I’m just listening to my own little demon too much.

*****

You can follow Merilyn on anyone of these places on the internet.

Facebook:http://on.fb.me/18Pnegx
Twitter:http://bit.ly/ZpYyaQ
Amazon Author: http://amzn.to/119uNZE
Smashwords:http://bit.ly/1eyeexO
Book Links:  Amazon – http://amzn.to/10JRN5r
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/18H1GTf
Goodreads:http://bit.ly/155vjKN

Q & A — C. M. Wright

q & a

C.M Wright is releasing a special Valentines Day Horror Collection (Yes we will have a special release day post!) So I thought we should warm up and get to know Ms. Wright ahead of time! So please give her a warm welcome!

*****

me and zombieVPWhat were you like at school? 

Excellent student/grades. Until the end of my junior year. Then everything went to hell.

Were you good at English?

I was very good at English!

What are your ambitions for your writing career? 

I just want to tell my stories. Yes, money is a part of it, as  it’s needed to be able to take care of my family. But I really just want to share the craziness that is in my mind.

Which writers inspire you? 

Ugh! This question…too many! I always feel bad when I feel the list is too long and omit so many. lol But here’s some of them; Stephen King (Of course!), VC Andrews, Eric Asher, Dovey Mayali Cralk (She’s new and her enthusiasm is contagious. I guess you could call me her vampire…I feed off of her!), ML Stephens, N Kuhn, Kristin Secorsky, Jack Hamlyn, William Bebb, Joshua cover (1)Guess…..and on and on.

So, what have you written?

I’ve written a five-book (and counting) series, Zombie Overload Series. The first is a novelette, Dying To Live. The rest are full-length novels; Fighting To Live, Learning To Live, Determined To Live, and Will To Live.  

I’ve started my second zombie series, Zombie 101, and the first chapter can be found in the collection I wrote along with several other authors, Zombie Addiction – Multi-Author Short Story Collection.

Where can we buy or see them?

All of the books can be found and purchased on my website https://www.zombieoverload.com/buy-booksebooks-here.html

or amazon www.amazon.com/author/cmwright

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? 

cover4Canada, the main character in the Zombie Overload series, is a slightly overweight, in her 30’s, housewife and homeschooling mom of two boys. She’s married to Will and is an expert as sarcasm and humor. Her self-confidence isn’t all that great, but her strength comes through when she needs it most.

What are you working on at the minute? 

A short story for my collection, again with other authors, that I will be releasing on Valentine’s Day 2014.

What’s it about? (*if relevant) It’s a collection of stories with two things in common in each story…Valentine’s Day and horror!

What genre are your books?

Horror

What draws you to this genre? 

I guess maybe I’m a little off in the head? Good question! I’ll ask my shrink next time I go.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? 

My TV Show, The Walking Dead, went on season break and pissed me off. I have severe insomnia, so I would lie awake all night cover3thinking and planning what I would do if the zombie apocalypse were to really happen. I’d wake the hubby up constantly asking if he thought this would work, or that, or to just tell him some great idea I had. He finally got pissed at me, told me to go write the shit down, and then he’d read it in the morning. Turned into a short story that he and my son both loved, so I took a chance and published it on Amazon. Turns out, there are twisted people who like my twisted mind! 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? 

I actually laughed for real at this one. Good lord! I tried setting up my stories beforehand. I really did. My CHARACTERS are in charge. They just tell me what to write. 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? 

I thought I knew everything about writing and editing. WOW! Not hardly. So I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also learned to open up and not worry what certain readers, my family, might think. If I can’t tell the story the way it should be, then what’s the point?

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding the time and promoting myself

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? 

Getting it done. Seriously.

cover (2)What is the easiest thing about writing? 

Once I can get started, it just flows. I feel like I’m in a trance or something. Nothing else registers, and I don’t even remember what I’ve written.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

At first, just a couple weeks to put out a full-length novel. Now, it’s much harder and takes so much longer.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? 

Yes. And that’s a very bad couple words!

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I know what works, at time, for me. Listening to music, going for a drive alone and listening to music. Basically, mine is music.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series. 

I love writing series! It’s so hard to end and say goodbye to characters when you feel they have so much more to tell.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors. 

Yes. Besides the authors I mentioned above, I also like to read Karina Halle, JD Robb, Danielle Steel, too many to list. A new author (to me!) that I’m currently reading and have totally fallen in love with is Rene Folsom.  cover2

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Ebooks now, for the convenience.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? 

No. Once it’s done, I edit so I can publish the dang thing and move on. 

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. 

My friend, Trisha Wilko, is the cover model and her photos actually came long before my books did. I asked her if I could use them and she was excited when she said, “Yes! Yes! OMG, yes!”

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? 

Advantages are that YOU are in control. You make the decisions. The disadvantages is that YOU are responsible for getting your books out there. That can be difficult. 

How do you market your books? 

Word of mouth, branded items that I sell on my website, Facebook events (mine and others), street team…anything I can do, I do it.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? 

Throw that baby out there any way you can. Take advantage of ALL venues, whether its interviews, Facebook events, other pages, street teams, whatever. They won’t know if you don’t tell them. 

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? 

Good reviews are the cherry on top for the author. Bad reviews hurt OMG so bad…but, they also teach you. The “good” bad reviews anyway. You can usually tell when it’s just someone out with a vendetta against you or your work, be it another author or someone how to help another author. 

What’s your views on social media for marketing? 

I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I’m at as far as popularity or how well my name as become. There are still so many I need to corrupt…I mean reach! But without Facebook, Twitter, etc I would be totally unknown and I doubt there would have been a second book published.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? 

Keep your private personal life and drama separate from your business. Just like any job. Communicate with your fans, THEY are/will be what makes you successful, as long as you have the talent in the first place. Some just don’t have the story-telling talent, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t very good as something else. 

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell? 

Not enough attention, or the author has alienated the readers from gross behavior on social media. All it takes to turn people off is one big rant that makes you seem foolish and insults the very people you need in your corner. 

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s? 

I do. It was made by J E Haldeman and here’s the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3-dsYqT950&feature=youtu.be

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

Yes! I give away ebooks all the time. Though I wouldn’t (or as much) if it were a single book. But giving away the first in a series can hook a reader into buying the rest of the series…hopefully! It’s also giving something away to people who may never have heard about it. When people hear the word “FREE” they turn into savages! (I do too!)

What is your favourite movie and why? 

Night Of The Living Dead. Because…zombies!

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Everything really WILL be ok. All these experiences, both bad and good, will mold you into the person you always hoped to be.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? 

Norman Reedus – Daryl, The Walking Dead, hot, sexy…ya know! Or Troy Polamalu…love him!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Gone With The Wind – cuz the ending freaking sucked and I would have changed it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

You have the power and the tools to publish your own work. Terrifying? Yes! But what is even more terrifying, to me, is that a masterpiece is in your possession, and you let fear keep you from sharing it with the world. You will go to your grave still hiding something great, never having been brave enough to let the light shine on it. Never hearing how magnificent your work is. I would rather die knowing I did what I had always wanted to do, than regret that I never even tried…even if everyone thought I sucked.

Where do you see publishing going in the future? 

Much more Indies than traditionally published authors, if there isn’t already.

*****

BONUS GIVEAWAY!!

If you email Ms Wright at zombieoverload@live.com with the subject line “Allison Cosgrove Free eBook” she will send you the first two books in her Zombie Overload series! (It is a double edition and super cool. I’ve already gotten mine!)

*****

You can keep up with our Zombie Girl at any one of these fine places on the internet!

Website: www.zombieoverload.com
Blog: https://www.zombieoverload.com/blog.html
Facebook: www.facebook.com/writercmwright
Twitter: @CMWzombie
Lnkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/cmwzombie/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cmwright/
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/cmwright
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CMWzombie

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/WriterCMWright

Book Links: 

Dying To Live 

Fighting To Live 

Learning To Live 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Live-Zombie-Overload-Wright-ebook/dp/B00ARO6C6K/ref=la_B00A02TX3S_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388529152&sr=1-3

Determined To Live 

Will To Live 

Zombie Addiction – Multi-Author Short Story Collection 

Q & A — Sarah Daltry

q & a

 

 

Please give a warm welcome to Sarah my guest this Friday for Q & A!

*****

button.2What were you like at school?

I’m a total nerd. I love learning and I love school. I have a BA in English and writing and two Master’s degrees. I’ve studied literature, writing, art history, and mythology extensively, as well as gathered a bunch of information over the years on history, sociology, psychology, etc. I love information. I could never know enough.

So, what have you written?

My most recent novel, Backward Compatible, just came out. It’s a YA gamer geek romantic comedy, in the vein of Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. It was named #1 of 2013 from several blogs. I’ve also written Bitter Fruits, the first in an NA urban fantasy series based on Biblical mythology, and the Flowering series, a contemporary New Adult steamy coming of age romance series. There are three books in that series so far – Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, and Star of Bethlehem.

What are you working on at the minute?

I am in the middle of many things. A YA fantasy called Primordial Dust, Blue Rose in the Flowering series, Immortal Star in the Eden’s Falltrilogy, and another contemporary novel with Pete Clark, my cowriter on Backward Compatible. I am also finishing up edits and revisions (as well as tweaking the last few sections) of a novella based on TS Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It’s a stream of consciousness modern reimagining of the poem in today’s society. It should be out soon.reviews (1)

What genre are your books?

They are all over the place. Flowering is contemporary romance, Eden’s Fallis a mix of urban fantasy and romance, Backward Compatible is YA comedy, and I’m writing things that range from horror to romance to fantasy. I don’t feel like genre is as important to me because plot is secondary to character. I love characters and the ways in which they interact. That’s what I focus on in writing.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Backward Compatible was co-written with Pete Clark. We are currently working on something else together, and several people have requested more of the characters from Backward Compatible. I don’t know if there is another story with them yet, but we shall see. I am also working on a sexy NA fantasy romance with Scarlett Dawn right now as well.

ebookcover_amazonWhy do you write?

This is a little personal, I suppose, but I always loved reading. As I said, I was a nerd and that meant I had few friends. I moved when I was younger and I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. All of this led me to retreat into stories because I didn’t seem to fit in during my school years. There were a lot of times I didn’t want to keep going, but those stories gave me a reason to stay alive. I want to write stories that do that for someone else. I know it sounds arrogant, but I hope that someone finds joy and escape in my stories, even though I don’t write escapism at all.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I read a ton, although I tend to stick to classics and YA. I love Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger, the Brontes, etc. I also really like Alice Sebold, Courtney Summers, Jo Knowles, Maureen Johnson, Libba Bray, Patrick Ness, Laini Taylor, Cassandra Clare, etc. I don’t have a favorite genre really. I love realistic fiction because it breaks my heart, but I also love fantasy and horror and sci-fi and humor. I just love to read. I love stories in any form – books, movies, video games, and so on.song

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

For convenience, ebooks, but I will still buy the physical copies of my favorites. I like having my favorite books in book form. I read ebooks faster and I’m trying to cut down on clutter so I like ebooks, since my library bookshelves are all overflowing.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

The cover of Backward Compatible is an homage to old school gaming and I think anyone who knows games will recognize the book for what it is immediately. It was designed by Shoutlines Design.

1 (1)Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?

There is a trailer, as well as the “Gamer Nerd’s Love Song” in video. Here are the links:

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-0qwqxUYTw

Love Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dce-MfzrfXE

How do you relax?

I play a lot of video games. 🙂

What is your favourite film and why?

It changes all the time. Some of my favorites are Atonement, Equilibrium, Moulin Rouge, Cabin in the Woods, American Beauty, Life if Beautiful Silver Linings Playbook, The Way, Way Back, Knocked Up, Casablanca, Homeward Bound, and Shakespeare in Love. As you can see, I am not particular to genre. All of these are well-written, well-acted, and impacted me somehow. Either because they were really funny, really insightful, or really emotional.

*****

You can keep up with Sarah with any one of these fine social media outlets!

Website/Blog:http://sarahdaltry.com
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/SarahDaltryAuthor
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/SarahDaltry
Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Daltry/e/B00BVV0F5W/ref=pd_sim_kstore_bl_2
Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/sarahdaltry
Book Links: 
http://www.amazon.com/Backward-Compatible-Geek-Love-Story-ebook/dp/B00H6WHM0G/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&qid=1386597036&sr=1-8