Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: Lauren Klever

Tonight I would like to introduce to you a very talented young adult fiction author, Lauren Klever.  I have gotten to know Lauren and she is the one who referred me to Lady Amber.  Thank you so much Lauren for your participation!  Enjoy the interview everyone!

Author Profile 4

BIO

I’m Lauren Klever, a Pacific Northwest author, who loves to include local places in my young adult fiction.  I’ve always loved reading but writing professionally is new for me.  Why did I change career paths?  Sometimes you just need the right motivation, so I dusted off my pens, pencils, and trusty computer and went to work.  I decided the best way to change my life was to manipulate someone else’s!  Hello Owen Ryer!  I’m drawn to all things ‘action-adventure’ in film and literature.  Notice I didn’t say ‘real life’?  No bungee jumping, cliff diving or parkour for me.  I’d likely kill myself because I’m a klutz of epic proportion.  Skydiving? Nope!  I’d be the one to fall out of the plane without a parachute, so I created a character who is braver, tougher and more graceful than I am.

Visions:  The Secret Watchers (Book One) was my debut novel about young Owen who discovered he had a special talent for seeing the darker side of life.  I sat down with my boys and brainstormed based on some of our favorite characters from literature.  We wanted something otherworldly blended with current times and we like good friends and strong mentors.  Now, I hope, a star is born!  I’ve never been bitten by the writing bug with such vengeance and completed the book in only six weeks!  Ten weeks later book two was complete and I’m now at work on books three through five.  It’s never too late to share your stories!  If you want to write – go for it!

Title: Whispers:  The Secret Watchers (book 2)
Author:  Lauren Klever

Genre: Young adult action/adventure and suspense
Website:  http://thesecretwatchers.com

Blog:  http://thesecretwatchers.com

Social Media connections: 

Contact me:  laurenwrites@thesecretwatchers.com

Like me:  Author Lauren Klever on Facebook

Friend me and become a fan on Goodreads.com

Follow me on Twitter @LaurenKlever

Follow me on Pinterest

Add me to your circles Google+

Find me on Linkedin

Find me on MySpace

Find me on Tumblr

Find me on Stumble Upon!

And now on Your Book Authors

Release Date:  February 7, 2013
Where to buy:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IBookStore

SonyReader

And 7 other retailers – please see my ‘printable book list’ or ‘shop’ page on my website.  http://thesecretwatchers.com/?page_id=563

If you would like a paperback – They are $10 plus $4 for shipping and handling in the U.S.  Please email laurenwrites@thesecretwatchers for details.
Reviews:  There are some on Amazon and you can also find them on Goodreads.   http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17214485-whispers

Other Work:  Visions: The Secret Watchers (book1) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13583266-visions

Whispers-Cover VisionsCover

Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.

He reached for my shirt but I punched straight up through his chin, knocking his head back and his arm to the side.  He shook his head and growled at me.  I quickly followed the shot to his chin with a kick to his side.  I had him at the edge of the dock so I kicked again trying to send him over.  No luck.  He absorbed the kick, grabbing my leg and dropping me to the dock.  I rolled as he tried to stomp my head and then flipped to my feet once more. He advanced again.  I leaned to the side to avoid his fist, grabbing it with both hands and twisting as I dropped to my knee to flip him over.

He landed with a thud that shook the dock.  Before he could recover, I kicked him in the side of the head hoping to knock him unconscious.  I didn’t even check my work.  I ran to Lucie who was pulling herself into a sitting position.

“Lucie!  Are you alright?”  I could already see blisters forming on her chest where he had touched her.  “Let’s get you out of here,” I said, not even giving her a chance to respond.  I pulled her to her feet.  I turned and put an arm around her and took a step forward only to have a blur of movement knock Lucie right out of my arm and off the dock with a tremendous splash.

I looked for a split second, in stunned silence, at the empty dock – at my empty arms.  A flood of silence filled the emptiness.  I turned, knowing I would have to dive into the water after Lucie.  I heard a roar in my head filling the silence – Stupid – How could I have been so stupid?

“No!” burst from my lips without me even realizing I was speaking.  I knew, with a sickening sense of despair, that she wouldn’t make it.  I ripped off my flannel shirt and t-shirt.  I kicked off my shoes, stripped off my socks, watch and cargo pants.  I ran at the end of the dock and just had time to snatch a quick breath before I jumped out past where Lucie had fallen so as not to hurt her.  I hit the surface and passed through, down into the freezing, dark gray-green water.

Mini Interview:

1      When did you first start writing?

I’ve always been a writer but writing with plans for actual publishing began in September of 2011.

2      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

By the time I was in high school I had decided to pursue biomedical engineering.  I wanted to be the person who worked on valves for hearts and joints for fingers, but then reality hit in college – and I realized that I just didn’t have what it took.  I couldn’t bring myself to do surgery on bunnies so I readjusted my sights.  I decided I would teach others about science so that they could do the job I couldn’t do.  That is how I fell into science teaching for middle and high school age students.  While volunteering when my own boys went to grade school, I found I had a passion for that age group and added another degree and an elementary endorsement so that I could work with younger kids.  NOW, I reach out to kids in a whole other way.  My books may be pretend but the message is real… be the best you, you can be!

3      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up?

I am currently finishing The Secret Watchers series that I started.  It is fiction but feels like it could be real life much as the Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight and Alex Rider books portrayed.  My main character has a special ability that helps and drives him to fight evil but he lives in the real world and has real problems like any teenager could have.  When Owen’s story comes to an end, I have a dystopian idea, a children’s book and a fantasy that includes castles, swords and magical creatures that I am looking forward to.

4      Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?

My inspiration for the Secret Watchers came out of pure frustration with my current career path.  I had time on my hands and nothing to do.  Maybe I’m a little attention deficit but I have to keep busy!  Several movies and books all came to me around the same time and something just clicked.  I had a story that I wanted to tell.  Owen is inspired by my own boys and students as well as The Karate Kid, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Alex Rider, Jacob Black, Nathan Price and a little Jason Bourne.  Is my passion for action/ adventure showing?

5      What has your publishing experience been like? 

When I started this adventure I knew nothing about publishing.  I talked to an attorney friend who directed me to a published author so that she could share her experiences and he also sent me to an attorney friend of his who specializes in the arts and represents some local authors.  I also did tons of research.  I decided that I would invest in myself and take the self-publishing route over sending out dozens if not hundreds of query letters.  For me it was all about choice.  I wanted to try this first.  I have been offered a publishing contract but I haven’t found just the right fit yet, so I remain my own boss and writing, editing, promotion and publicity team.  Who knows what the future holds?    

 

6      Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair? 

I nearly always listen to music but my life is so hectic that I don’t have a place I regularly write.  I do take a journal everywhere I go so that I can jot down a thought or continue a scene.  Ideas really can come from anywhere.  I make good use of my crazy hectic life! 

7      How do you come up with character names and place names in your books? 

I named Owen by looking up names on the internet with their meanings until I found a meaning and name combination I loved.  Owen means young warrior in Welsh and can mean prince in American.  My son named White Eagle and Lucie and Sarah was named by the person she is modelled after.  Along that same line, I frequently look at pictures of actors or of places for inspiration for character and setting.  When I can, I love to visit the locations that my scenes take place in.  When I talk about the middle and high schools in The Secret Watchers… I’ve been there as a parent and as a substitute teacher.  The pawnshop I mention is a real place but the back room is not.  Earl White Eagle is a mash-up of two dear friends, one of whom actually works at the pawnshop while the other teaches karate.  Many of my characters are based on people I know and they all gave me their permission to include their personalities in my work.

 

8      In your most recent work, who is your favourite character and why? 

It is so hard to pick just one.  I love my team of characters and feel like they are my friends and family but then many of them are based at least in part on people I know.  If I had to pick one, it would be Owen.  He changes so much from regular kid to one who is infused with a special ability and the knowledge of the man whose watch he found in the pawnshop.  As the series progresses Owen is becoming the hero he is meant to be while keeping his feet on the ground.

 

9      Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it? 

Not everyone will love your work.  It’s okay.  You have to have courage to be an author and put a piece of yourself out there for everyone to judge.  Apply the advice you can use and let the rest go.  Even a bad review can have a pearl or two of wisdom.  Just remember who you wrote the book for.  Yeah, I’d love to sell enough books to do this full time but when I started this I was writing for me, my family and friends so does anyone else’s opinion really matter?

 

10   How did you/do you market your work? 

I reach out almost every day in some way.  I talk to people and tell them what I do.  I carry bookmarks and business cards everywhere.  I connect with people on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and Instagram.  I’m still learning some of them.  Less than a year and half ago I was only on Facebook.  I also use my connections to get invitations to book signings, author appearances and literacy nights at my local schools.  That is not to say that all I talk about is SELL, Sell, sell… I’m pretty low key and give what people seem like they are ready to hear.  I love working with students and doing writer’s workshops.  They are my target audience and it is a great place to meet and interact with them.  In addition I’m part of several social media groups in a variety of places and I skim their feeds and watch for articles on all aspects of what I do, not just marketing.  My best advice…  Be patient.  Reach out and be friendly and helpful.   

 

11   Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time? 

Elated is probably the best word to describe how I felt when the eBook version came out.  Holding a print copy in my hands was even better but I have loved each step of this process and I celebrate every little milestone.  Holding a print copy of your book is almost as good as holding your baby in your arms for the first time.  Having my boys still wins on the ‘best things’ I’ve ever done front!

12   Favourite authors?  

D.C. and Michael McGannon, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan, Anthony Horowitz, Veronica Roth, Kristin Cashore, Janet Evanovich, Victoria Laurie,  Cassandra Clare, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Stephanie Meyer, Sue Grafton, J.A. Jance, Cleo Coyle and Kate Collins are a few of my top favorites.

 

13   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”? 

I think everyone has a bit of this now and then or at least we lack a little motivation.  What works for me is hashing out ideas with my friends and family, going for a walk, dancing to some music, enjoying nature, writing something else, reading or watching a movie.  Sometimes I think our minds just need a break.  Bottom line, I don’t think you can write about life unless you live it!

 

14   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? 

If you can dream it, you can make it happen!  Get writing first and then start working on all the other parts.  You can do this – just go at your own pace.  There are also lots of folks out there to help you, so start reaching out.  If you would have told me a year ago that my Facebook fan page would have over 1,500 fans, that I’d have over 2,100 Tweeps and that I have over 1,200 friends on Goodreads I would have laughed.  We are all a work in progress.  Just keep being the best you, you can be.  Do you see a repeating theme here?  Yep!  Believe in yourself!

 

15   Are you working on anything new?  If so, can you tell me about it?

I’m continuing the Secret Watchers series.  Book three is done and is going through the editing process.  I’m writing books four and five in the series at the same time so that I can tie it up in a neat bow at the end.  The dystopia idea was completely new and came to me recently in a dream.  The other stories I’m thinking about publishing are in various stages of completion.  I started writing the fantasy story idea when I was at Oregon State in the 90s and we were playing Dungeons and Dragons on the weekends.  The children’s story idea began as a class project at Portland State University when I was taking some teaching credits.  Remember… ideas can come from anywhere!    

Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: Lavinia Urban

FOR SOME ODD REASON THIS DID NOT POST LAST NIGHT. I APOLOGIZE, SO I’M POSTING IT TODAY. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES I GUESS? It still isn’t posting to twitter, so here goes another try.

Tonight I am interviewing Lavinia Urban.  She was one of the first people who took a personal interest in me and interviewed me about my work.  So, tonight, I’m giving the spotlight to her.  Thank you so much Lavinia for interviewing me and thank you for being a part of this blog tour!  Enjoy the interview everyone!

pic of meBIO

Lavinia grew up in a small town in Cheshire, England, before moving to Scotland in 2000.

She now lives just outside Edinburgh with her husband Ian and their two daughters Erin and Kasey-ray.

Lavinia has been writing since an early age, something that both her children have inherited. She started with writing poetry, one of which was turned into lyrics for a song. By the age of 14, Lavinia had written seven books in an unpublished series.

After moving to Scotland she stopped writing for a while, it was only after writing a short story for her eldest daughters school about anti bullying and how you should stay in school and learn, that Lavinia felt the yearning to write again; this was also helped by her eldest daughters thirst for literature when she asked her mother to write her another story. This was how this book series came about.

      eRINFireG_Book1Cover copy         

Title: Erin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning  & Betrayal
Author: Lavinia Urban

Genre: YA Fantasy

Blog: http://laviniaurban.blogspot.co.uk/

Social Media connections:

https://www.facebook.com/ErinTheFireGoddess

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lavinia-Urban/155524154584975

Release Date: Book 3, Erin the Fire Goddess: Torment, will hopefully be released in April
Where to buy:  Amazon, smashwords, barnes & noble, kobo, and many more
Reviews:

Review for Erin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning

http://www.amazon.com/review/R11RPA0MTUO2EI/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0085L3SDC&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

eRINFireG_Book2Cover copy

Review for Erin the Fire Goddess: Betrayal:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R25EP4GS6SCX3H/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B009WWIXWY&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

 

 

urban verse coverOther Work: Urban Verse

Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.

Here is a unedited sneak peek at Erin the Fire Goddess: Torment:

 

For the first week, after that awful incident, I stayed at the cottage and cried. Just when I thought I was all cried out and my body couldn’t take any more fresh tears ripped through me, leaving me feeling drained; both emotionally and physically.

The feeling of helplessness ripped through me as I would drift in and out of consciousness. Everything swirled around me in a blur. Only one thing I was sure of……………….the rain. It beat down heavily, not letting up in the slightest. It seemed to echo my sorrow. However, I knew the cause of the rain and this brought fresh waves of sadness, humiliation and anger. How dare he be sad!

Towards the end of the week was when the fire inside me began to grow. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It started in my heart; the flames building with every pulsating beat. Then slowly it spread, causing me both pain and anguish. I would scream in horror as the feeling of being cooked from the inside out took hold of me.

My parents looked on helplessly, unsure of what was happening or how to stop it. Dr Hammersmith arrived and concern was etched on his face as he watched me squirm in unprecedented torture.

“Help me” I begged of him one day as he sat beside my bed “Please. Help me” The fire was burning my throat, making it difficult for me to talk.

Often I would catch glimpses of my body as I tried to see any of the flames, but my skin remained untainted. To an outsider I just looked like someone with a slight fever. Oh how I wished that was true.

“Here. Take this” Dr Hammersmith told me one morning as he burst into the cottage carrying a bottle of orange liquid.

Not waiting for a response he lifted me up and placed the bottle to my lips as he urged me to drink.

The liquid was thick and slimy and at first I was repulsed and tried to break away “You must drink” He urged as he tilted the bottle to my lips once more. I relented and drank deeply, finishing the whole bottle.

At first nothing happened as my panic stricken eyes stared at Dr Hammersmith. But just as I was about to ask him what it was he had given me and why it wasn’t working, when something strange started to happen.

“Oh” I gasped as the feeling of ice coursed through my veins, slowly dispersing the fire within and making it recede back to where it had come from as it slowly shrank and retracted back to my heart; where it faded with a fizzle and a hiss. Like the sound when someone throws water over a fire. “Wow” I leaned my head back down on my pillow and closed my eyes.

Everywhere and everyone went quiet as everything seemed to wait with bated breath to see if the drink had worked and what were the effects. The only sound that could be heard was the sound of the rain that was lashing at the windows.

“That’s it!” My mum, Kate, seethed. “I’ve had enough!” Anger ripped through her as she stood riveted to the floor near the doorway. “We have to make him stop” Her eyes closed, her head tilted up and her arms outstretched, with palms facing up, just as tiny sparks started to leave her fingertips. My dad, John, quickly followed suit. His eyes closed as his head tilted up. He then grabbed my mums hand as I watched in awe just as thunder and lightning ripped through the skies, just outside the cottage, making me jump. I had never seen them do this before and it was truly breath-taking.

No sooner had it started then my mums mobile phone started to ring. Silently, Dr Hammersmith stood up and retrieved the phone from the night stand.

“Hello Kelly” I could hear the panic in Kelly’s voice as she spoke, in what sounded like, at supersonic speed. “Alright dear. Yes, yes. It will stop” He nodded before saying goodbye and replacing the phone back down. “Time to stop” His voice soothed as he looked at my parents. “The rain will cease”

I watched as my parents eyes slowly opened and their arms fell to their sides. They gave each other a triumphant smile just as someone knocked on the front door.

“Can I come in?” I heard Scott call as he opened the door

 

Mini Interview:

1      When did you first start writing?

I was about 11 or 12. By 14 I had written 7 books and hundreds of poems.

2      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

At first yes but I was a young girl and I had no idea how to get into the publishing world. I sent of my work to numerous publishers only to receive them back with a little note telling me that they do not accept unsolicited documents. So I decided I would train to be a lawyer instead lol

3      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? 

My main book series is YA fantasy genre. But I also writing, what I plan to be, a thriller. However time will tell, as I have had school children asking if I can make it a YA fiction book lol. I just don’t want to be stuck in that genre.

4      Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?

My eldest daughter Erin inspired me to write my current series. She was getting bullied and I wanted to show her that she could rise above it and believe in herself

5      What has your publishing experience been like? 

After I wrote the first book in my ETFG series I tried to go through a publisher. However after 5 rejections I was on the Harper Collins author website and someone told me how to self publish. It is the best thing I have done. The only downside is marketing, promoting etc. I am awful at it.

6      Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

No I do not have a routine, but when it is late and everyone is in bed I tend to stick the music channels on.

7      How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

The main character and her sister are named after my two daughters. All the other names I either tend to grab from thin air, or I name them after my readers 😉

As for place names, I remember when I was doing an author talk at my childrens school and I asked if they recognized any of the place names. It was the teacher who put her hand up and asked if they are named after street names in the next village over

 

8      In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why?

I would say my main character, Erin. She is a young girl who is bullied for how she looks. She finds strength from inside her to overcome the bullying and the surprise when she discovers she has special powers.

I am the writer but it does not stop me from rooting for Erin. I often have conversations with myself and say ‘Oh I hope Erin will be okay’ etc. But I already know what’s coming lol

 

9      Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it?

I have a wild imagination lol.

I remember showing one of my best friends my first published book and her reaction was ‘When the heck did you become so talented?’ That certainly made me laugh

 

10   How did you/do you market your work?

I struggle to market. I am in the UK and I am getting a good fan base here. I give author talks etc. But in other countries it is a slow progress, but I hope I will eventually get there

 

11   Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

Oh My God. It was truly amazing. I remember bouncing around the school playground, when I went to pick up my youngest, and telling everyone I saw. It is such an amazing feeling. And when you get that first sale…… wow.

I am still waiting my first royalty cheque though lol

12   Favorite authors? 

Oh there are so many. I love Stephen King, Danielle Steel and Isla Dewar.

I also love a lot of true life stories about bad childhood experiences.

Then there are my  author friends. I love Alexia Purdy and Kristie Haigwood, they are both such talented ladies.

 

13   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

 I have honestly never had writer’s block. I never write from A to Z. I write what is in my head, then when that runs dry I will leave that alone and work on a different part of the book, then go back and fill in the gaps. I tend to write the middle, beginning, end, then fill in the gaps.

 

14   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

 Never ever write from A to Z. Write what you feel. Have fun with it. If you are not enjoying writing then why are you doing it?

 

15   Are you working on anything new?  If so, can you tell me about it?  I am currently writing the third book in my ETFG series, called ‘Torment’, plus a bonus book for it called ‘The Diary of Elizabeth Tait’ and also a zombie book. But with the zombie book there is a lot of research going into that so I do not know when that will be complete.

Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: Valerie Gilbert

Tonight’s featured author is Valerie Gilbert, writer of Raving Violet. It falls under the non-fictional humor genre. I want to thank her for her participating and sharing with us a little about herself and her work.

Enjoy the read everyone!

Title:                RAVING VIOLET      
Author:          VALERIE GILBERT  

Genre:            NON-FICTION HUMOR
Blog:               http://ravingvioletvalerie.blogspot.com

Social Media connections:

 https://www.facebook.com/RavingViolet?fref=ts

 https://twitter.com/valeriebgilbert

Release Date: January 17, 2013
Where to buy:Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Black Opal Books, SmashWords, KOBO, AllRomance.com
Reviews: 

http://www.blackopalbooks.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=259

newBio: Having told funny stories her whole life, Valerie started putting them on stage as solo shows, stand up comedy, in storytelling competitions and gigs, and finally (saving her breath) committed them to the written page A native New Yorker and Harvard graduate, Raving Violet is Valerie Gilbert’s literary debut. 

 

Chapter Three: STACKING THE DECK

     Someone gave me a craptacular tarot deck.  While the artwork wasn’t bad and it came in a pretty, diaphanous purple bag it was impossible to decipher.  I don’t read tarot well on a good day.  I have to look up each and every card, and the flimsy pamphlet that came with my Aquarian deck is basic, to say the least.  But I like the idea of tarot cards.  They are mysterious and depending on which version you have, quite beautiful.

This gift deck had new suits.  Made up suits.  Instead of the standard Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles, it had Shells (what the f’?) Gems, Roses, and Wings.  I ask you.  Tarot is inscrutable enough without me having to translate cups into wings and swords into roses.  But the deck was pretty enough that I kept it lying around, and I started using a card or two as bookmarks, at which they excelled.  There was no need to interpret the card now.  We both knew what it meant once it was lodged firmly in a tome.  Sit!  Stay!  Keep that book in line!  It wasn’t telling me what was what anymore, I was telling it.   The dynamics of our relationship had started to change.

I pull a single card from this sketchy deck (and several other decks of cards I have) to start the day for a simple, New York minute reading.  I don’t have the patience or skills for a full spread.  I have Celtic cards, angel cards, Archangel Michael cards, animal cards.  Usually a single card will suffice, I will say, “tell me what I need to know today” et voila, a revealing message ensues.

Right before I allowed an acquaintance to stay with me for a few days I woke up with Lindsey Buckingham’s song “Trouble” in my head.  This didn’t bode well although I love the song, so I decided to look up the lyrics.  It’s a love song.  The guy’s in trouble because he’s falling in love.  I sighed relief, although I wasn’t looking to fall in love with my friend.  But then I pulled an animal card, Coyote, the trickster, which implies the potential for manipulation or trouble.  Turned out the title of the song and the card was right, or rather my intuition, which they both reflected, was right. The four-day visit ended explosively.  I patted my intuition on its back and sighed more relief that the guest was gone.   I felt empowered that the signs I received were accurate. ©2012

 

Mini Interview:

1      When did you first start writing?

About 15 years ago a girl I knew from college asked me to co-write a feature length screenplay with her.  I was wary as I knew nothing about screenwriting except two 5 page sample scripts I’d written for a film theory class in college.  Frankly, I wasn’t even familiar with computers.   But she asked me because I’m funny, and I had great material to contribute to her concept.  Once I started working there was no stopping me.  I realized I WAS a writer.  I’m a natural.  I have a way with words.  Why wouldn’t I, a quick-witted, verbal actress from New York City?  The problem is shutting me up!

2      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

 

An actress!  I always wanted to be an actress.  I love to dance.  I can sing, too, but never pushed that angle.  I love great films.  I love great theatre.  And I grew up in New York City, so I was exposed to a lot of it.  I adore being on a film or tv set, or onstage.  It feels like home to me.  But that career never gelled, and at a certain point, the “hobby” of your dreams just doesn’t have the same ring to it, nor does it pay the bills.  I am expressing myself happily now with writing and I don’t have to worry about hair and makeup (as much).

Lights of Technology3      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? 

I’m straight up non-fiction.  I don’t read fiction, although I did as a kid, by necessity.  I find real life fascinating enough.  That being said, my interest is in metaphysics, and those stories often read like science fiction anyway.  My mind is constantly expanding.  And so is my heart.  That’s the work that moves me.  The stuff that connects the dots, from head to heart, and from person to person.

4      Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?

Walking out of my apartment in the morning.  Just living my life.  I am a humor magnet, and I can see and hear the humor in almost anything.  Unless I’m crying, and sometimes, even then.   I have the ability to pull things together and create meaning out of them.  A story has to have a punchline, like a good joke.  There has to be a beginning, middle and end.  And I want my readers to be left with a lesson or an awareness at the end, because, at the end of the day, I need that in my life for myself.  Not everything gets tied up neatly with a ribbon, but if you are philosophical and wise, you can pull back, or up, enough to get some perspective.  That’s what meditation is for.  Journaling.  Talking to a friend.  Getting smart with yourself.  Studying the mysteries.  I crave meaning.  I create it.  My stories reflect that.

5      What has your publishing experience been like? 

It was out of a dream, or rather, out of my chapter, “The Law of Bananas”, which is a play on the law of attraction.   I know from my own experience that when you prioritize happiness, joy, passion and enthusiasm, that miracles happen.  The mechanics of this involve deleting the bad stuff (as much as possible) and moving toward people, places and activities that make you feel good.  We have this choice every day.  If you don’t believe it’s possible to be happy, and fulfilled, you’ll never consider my theory and try it for yourself.

As I systematically said NO to what I could no longer stomach, even though I was petrified of many things (like poverty and starvation), I knew I couldn’t go back to what I hated.  So I stayed the course.  I was true to myself.  And I started writing.  People encouraged me on and off to do a blog since I’d done solo shows, stand up comedy, and storytelling gigs.  I didn’t want to write a blog.  I didn’t want to read anyone else’s, why would they want to read mine?  I find many blogs to be self-indulgent.

However, one day it all clicked.  The moment was right and I started a blog, and was immediately a new person.  I beamed with pride in my work.  I had a tangible, public product, this “thing” on the internet.  By my third piece I was confident enough to send it to a famous astrologer, Bridgett Walther, whose website I check daily.  She’s a VERY fun writer with a wicked sense of humor.  I sent her my piece, “Stacking the Deck” (excerpted in this interview) which is about being true to yourself and charting your own course.  When I checked her daily report for me after writing the piece, it exactly mirrored what I’d just written.  So I added that fact to my piece, and sent it to her with no idea what could come of it.  A few days later she wrote that she LOVED IT and asked if she could she publish it on her website?  Uh, the answer was “yes”. From there, we became friends, and she, a published author, pointed me in the direction of the publisher who accepted me in short order.  Bridgett was my fairy godmother, and I dedicated Raving Violet to her.

I believe I was meant to be a writer, though it was never my dream nor my goal, as much as I love books.  The pieces fell into place easily and effortlessly when the time was right.  Was I rejected many times before from writing contests?  Did I work 14 years on and off on that screenplay with no sale?  Yup.  Did that stop me from writing?  Nope.

6      Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

 

No routine.  I sit at my laptop at my desk in the same chair.   A certain amount of inspiration, and determination is required.  I’ll know when a story needs to come up and out when I feel an urgency, almost like being ready to deliver a baby, or some other product out of my body.  Clear the decks!  Get me to that computer.

7      How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

 

Since my work is non-fiction, I only change names here and there to protect the guilty.  I’m great with chapter headings and book titles.  They jump into my head.  Like I said, I’ve got a good ear, and eye, for writing.  Things just “pop”.  That’s when you know you’re “in the flow”, connected to your own source of creativity.  We all have one.  Getting connected is the trick.  The key to that is getting right with yourself.  I write about that in Raving Violet.

 

8      In your most recent work, who is your favourite character and why?

Ultimately, I’m my main character because everything is from my standpoint.  I love me a lot.  So, I’m my unabashed favorite.  Happily so.

 

9      Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it?

 

That dreams come true.  And writing a book wasn’t even my dream!  But it was my destiny, and I don’t mean that in a pompous way.  Listen, I wanted to be an actress.  That didn’t work out, though I’ve done lots of theatre over the decades and it is a part of who I am.  But you can’t escape your fate.  I was warned decades ago in a channeled reading  “and someday you will write”.  Uh huh.  Right.  Who cared?  I didn’t.  It was never a goal.  But I do believe I have a wonderful message to share with those who will be drawn to my words.  I survived the early death of both of my parents.  I had a short lived marriage early on that, for the most part, I’d rather forget.  However, it kickstarted my life, and I do mean KICKED, after being suicidally depressed after the deaths of my parents.

I was depressed for a very long time.  I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.  I didn’t turn to pills, doctors, drugs or alcohol.  I figured shit out.  I sought out spiritual teachings and teachers.  I took classes.  I was a “seeker”.  I still am.  The thing is, I’m a “finder” now, and I find that I am my own best teacher.  I teach that too.  I really believe we must all come back to ourselves in a loving, warm, accepting way that enables us to own ourselves, our sovereignty, and our journeys.  And happily.  It is possible.  Not just because I did it.  But because it is the essence and birth right of all humans.    Again, if you don’t believe this, you’ll never give it a test run.  I’m a believer.   I proved it to myself.   And this does not mean that you have to be happy all the time.  It means you could be, if you wanted to.   Just ask The Laughing Buddha.  Nice to know that being happier more of the time, at least, is an option.

Add that I’m funny, a smartass, you get your heartbreak and brilliant insight all with a laugh, you can’t go wrong with me.  I love my style. It’s a potpourri of poignancy, realism, magic and majesty.  I enjoy myself.  I encourage you to enjoy yourselves, too.

 

10   How did you/do you market your work?

 

Doin’ it right now, baby!  I’m not a fan of the “go for broke” school of  “do it all”. You can’t do it all.  You’d lose your mind.  I don’t text.  Heck, I haven’t had TV for 4 years, and am proud of that, and happier for it.  We all have ADHD now because of all the tweeting, tooting and twatting around.  It’s ridiculous.  We’re nervous wrecks!  I believe my book will find it’s target audience, men and women around the world, organically.  That being said, any opportunity I have to promote myself and the book, I do.  I’m very spontaneous, and very intuitive, something I talk about in Raving Violet, and how to become more so yourself.  I’ll get an email and it will inspire me to write someone, or the sender.  Could be a bookshop, a website, or a reviewer. I am a magnet now for good things since I am in a happy place.  That’s the law of attraction. It’s really worth playing with.  Get in line with yourself, and see what happens.  Life can flow easily, effortlessly, and organically.  Why suffer when you can have fun?  It really does have to do with our choices, attitudinally and behaviorally.  We are the power in our lives.  Many people don’t get that.  Yet.

 

11   Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

I have to say, it felt absolutely natural, no butterflies in the stomach.  Pleased?  You betcha.  But it was as if it had always been there.  Energetically, metaphysically, I would say that it has always been there, my destiny awaiting me.  It’s always existed.  I just had to catch up with it.  And write it.  When things are right they’re a good fit.  They feel relaxed.  I like COMFORT and ease, those are the new mottos in my life and I encourage others to try them.   I’m going to try them on in my next relationship.  I’m done with angst, longing, pain and suffering.  Been there, done that.  Seeya!

12   Favorite authors? 

Lynn Andrews, Patricia Cori, Florinda Donner, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Marciniak, Neal Donald Walsch, Michael Roads, J.R.R Tolkien, Fred Rochlin, Norton Juster, Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Seuss.

 

13   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

 

Nah. I only write when I have something to say.  Sometimes I’ll push myself to finish a piece, or start one, but if things really aren’t flowing I don’t get my knickers in a twist.  I’ll put something down.  Even if it seems stupid or terrible, I know it’s just a starting point.  For instance, my last blog piece was all over the place.  I was ranting about some personal stuff, then threw in some philosophical stuff, then a review of magazine articles in addition to a theatre review.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with a mish mosh.  I write stream of consciousness.  But at the end of the day, there has to be a thread.  When I was ready to get down to brass tacks I deleted a good 1/3 to 1/2 of the piece.  It just didn’t belong there.  I needed to rant at the time, so I did.  But there was no reason for anyone else to read what I wrote.  You need to have discernment.  A critical eye.  And you need to “let go”. Anything deleted can be recreated.  If you were brilliant once, you’ll be brilliant again.  You are the gift.  Not your words.  The brilliance is you.  Trust that.

 

14   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

 

“Write” is too an obvious an answer.  I say “live”.  Live your life.  Have adventures.  Dream about them.  Take action.  Take daring action. Do new stuff.  Challenge yourself.  Push your own buttons and face your fears, the greatest gifts live there (short of sticking your head in a lion’s mouth). Pursue your dreams and live them.  You can always manifest on some level.  Just because you’re not yet published doesn’t stop you from writing, does it?  A perfect example.  You don’t need permission from anyone to live your life.  Live it.  Feel it.  How can you possibly understand characters or story if you haven’t lived? The writing will come.   The opportunities will come when the time is right.  And no, you don’t get to pick when.

15   Are you working on anything new?  If so, can you tell me about it?

 

I’m writing all the time. All I have to do is live and I have a story, whether or not I leave my apartment.  Life happens, right?  Life is a story.  When you’re as fun and quirky and adventuresome as I am, the stories write themselves and I add my insight, humor, and unique spin. My second book, MEMORIES, DREAMS AND DEFLECTIONS: My Odyssey Through Emotional Indigestion, has been written and Black Opal will publish it later this year.  So I’m in the process of writing my third book, which may be RAVING VIOLET II, or some other brilliant title that catches my fancy.  Thanks to my host and interviewer, Tracee!  Blessings to all.  ©2013

Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: Jeffrey Getzin

Tonight we welcome Jeffrey Getzin, a fantasy author.  Thank you Jeffrey for sharing your experiences with us.  Enjoy the interview everyone!

JeffMuayThaiiTitle: Shara and the Haunted Village
Author:  Jeffrey Getzin

Genre: Fantasy

 

 

 

 

Website: http://www.jeffreygetzin.com/

Social Media connections:
FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeffrey-Getzin/127322360649271 (author page)

https://www.facebook.com/SharaAndTheHauntedVillage (Shara and the Haunted Village)

 

GOOGLE+
https://plus.google.com/b/107462058414643327439/107462058414643327439 (author page)

https://plus.google.com/b/106742355528059710210/106742355528059710210 (Shara and the Haunted Village)

Release Date: Sep 21, 2012
Where to buy: Amazon.com
Reviews:

“Jeff’s writing … is excellent—a tight, quick-moving story with strong characters and a very personal touch that makes this fantasy story read—very much—like an excellent Leiber story, with more modern and complex sensibilities. I wholeheartedly recommend this story.”

— Ryk E. Spoor, author of Phoenix Rising

 

“Easily devoured in an afternoon yet somehow as satisfying as a seven-course meal … a veritable feast of charm, reminiscent of an Irish ghost story with a dash of high fantasy thrown in. The characters are strong and deftly written, and most importantly fun … I enjoyed this romp into fantasy immensely and eagerly await the next tale these two [characters] decide to take part in.”

— K. R. Schulteis, author of Calling

 

“The narrative structure was … pure and handled with confidence. It was immediately apparent that Jeffrey Getzin is a writer with skills. He knows what he’s doing. Even better, the ultimate twists of the tale were deeply imaginative and clever. He made me think and feel, both. The voice held true, as well, without wobbling. All in all, an absolutely delightful read.”

— Josephine Carr, author of My Very Own Murder

 

Other Work: Prince of Bryanae (http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Bryanae-Jeffrey-Getzin/dp/1451525753), A Lesson for the Cyclops (coming soon)

Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.

Shara couldn’t take her eyes off the slain men. Sure, they had been going to mur­der her, but there was some­thing sad in the way their bodies lay sprawled in the dirt, their open wounds gaping.

“We should do something about the bodies,” she suggested.

The two of them were sitting cross-legged on the ground, facing each other. D’Arbignal offered her a waterskin, which she accepted. She took a drink, and her stomach growled—an all-too-familiar feeling for her of late.

“Like have a parade?” D’Arbignal said with an impish smile.

She frowned. She enjoyed D’Arbignal’s sense of humor, but it didn’t seem to stop within the boundaries of good taste.

“Throw a party?” he said. “Compose an epic poem?”

She sighed and handed the waterskin back to him. “I meant maybe we should bury them.”

“By all means, milady,” D’Arbignal said. “Do you have a shovel on you? No? Mayhap a pickaxe? A mattock, perchance?”

At last, he picked up on the sadness in her eyes, and his tone softened.

“I appreciate the sentiment,” he said, his expression becoming thoughtful, “but really, there’s no practical way to dig graves.”

She felt moisture in her eyes and was surprised to find herself crying, but for the life of her, she didn’t know why.

“Couldn’t we cover them with rocks or something?”

He leaned forward and wiped away one of her tears with a gentle touch. He shook his head solemnly. “It would take hours of back-breaking labor to accumulate enough rocks to cover just one of them. It’d be days before we’d covered them all.”

“But…” She fumbled for something to say, for some way to make it work out. “But we can’t just leave them there for the birds and the flies.”

“What birds?” D’Arbignal said, his eyebrows arched. “What flies?”

“What?”

“Do you see any birds or flies?” he said, making a sweeping gesture with his arm to encompass the entire village, the forest, the clearing, and the sky above.

She searched the skies, unnerved. Nothing. And he was right about the flies, too: there were none swarming around the slain bandits. Back in Cerendahl, it wasn’t uncommon for the body of a starved commoner to be left stinking by the side of the road for days until someone finally got around to disposing of it. When it got hot enough, entire carpets of flies would cover the body. And then the birds … best not to think about the birds.

She looked back at D’Arbignal, feeling a dread that gnawed at her from within.

“Do you see any living thing other than ourselves?” D’Arbignal added.

She cast her gaze about with increasing desperation. No birds, no insects, no grass … why, even the trees were dead and leafless. Neither was there any sound: no chirping nor rustling. There wasn’t even a breeze. It was if the world had died while she had lain unconscious.

“There’s nothing,” D’Arbignal said, and at last, she picked up a nervous undercurrent to his voice. “Everything’s dead.”

She knew he was right. Then she saw something that should have eased her mind, yet only increased her apprehension.

“If everything’s dead,” she said, pointing down the road into town, “then why is there smoke coming from that chimney?”

 

Mini Interview:

1      When did you first start writing?

 

I started writing at a very early age. I remember writing a poem in grade school that started:

 

Tires, pliers, hubcaps, and spokes,

And liquids that stop radiator smoke

 

and ended:

 

All these parts help make a car,

So you don’t have to stay where you are.

 

Ah yes, it was apparent even at that early age that I would grow up to be the individual I am now: one with no ability to write poetry whatsoever!

 

(Actually, I’m quite proud of the following poem I wrote recently:

 

You may beat him down with baseball bats,

With gunfire, fists, and knives(-es),

You may break his back upon your knee,

But still, like bats, the Dark Knight Rises.

 

Does his obsessive nature disturb you?

Why do you seek his doom?

‘Cause he’s better-equipped than you,

and has a car that goes zoom.

 

Just like phoenixes and sourdough,

With the intensity of Death’s scythe(-es),

Just like hopes springing high,

Still the Dark Knight Rises.)

 

2      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

 

It never really occurred to me that I should “be a writer”. I have always written throughout my life: in high school, college, graduate school, and beyond. I just found myself writing.

 

I had never really considered it as something from which I could earn a living. Early on, I knew I’d be doing something with computers: perhaps teaching computers, or perhaps programming them. Whereas writing was always a difficult, involved journey for me, computers came easily.

 

Would I be a professional writer if I could generate sufficient revenue from it? Hmmm. It’s hard to say. I think I would prefer to do what the great mystery author author Steve Hamilton has, which is to work both as a novelist and as an employee of a corporation.

 

3      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? 

 

It’s odd, you know. Technically, I write Fantasy novels, but I really don’t read much Fantasy. I read Mystery, Horror, Humor, and Suspense, so consequently, while my books are all technically “Fantasy”, they tend to have elements of Mystery, Horror, Humor, and/or Suspense in them.
I definitely do not engage in the genre clichés. There are no prophecies describing a young hero who will grow up to defeat a Big Evil. There are no vampires. The physics of my world are realistic (save for the possibility of magic). I strive to make the characters seem recognizable to the reader, even if they do belong to different worlds.

 

But yes, I do mix it up a fair bit.

 

For instance, my first novel Prince of Bryanae is very dark and violent, with long character- and story-arcs, intricate plot twists, and heavy themes such as redemption and predestination.

 

My second book, Shara and the Haunted Village, is a much lighter book. There is much more humor in it, and it’s a bit of a fairy tale.

 

My upcoming book, A Lesson for the Cyclops, is again completely different. It’s a sad love story about a tragic woman who thinks herself beyond hope … but is shown that maybe there’s more to herself than she realized.

 

After that is The Return of the King, which is a comparatively light-hearted adventure about what happens when the king of a small country has vanished and then a man shows up looking very much like a younger version of the missing king.

 

These books are all loosely related in that they all take place in the same world, and events in one affect what happens in the others. There’s definitely a story-arc in my books.

 

4      Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?

 

I draw my inspiration from many sources. I often borrow bits and pieces of real life and use them to form the kernel of an event, character, or plot twist.

 

Other than that, my stories tend to evolve in one of two ways: either I have an interesting character for whom I have to provide a plot, or I have a plot for which I must add a character.

 

The idea for this particular story, A Lesson for the Cyclops, came to me as many do, when I’m falling asleep. A character named D’Arbignal appears in some of my stories, and in one book, he mentions that he once belonged to a circus called the Venucha Players. Well, as I was drifting off to sleep, it occurred to me that the story of this young rogue joining that circus might be very entertaining.

 

However, I couldn’t just write a story called “D’Arbignal Joins the Circus”. D’Arbignal is witty, charming, and flamboyant, and I’ve learned through trial and error that he makes a terrible main character. He’s entertaining in limited doses, but he can’t be the main character.

 

So I started thinking of about who might be at the circus when he arrives, and how his arrival might affect those people.

 

I like to deal in character contrasts, so I was thinking what would be the opposite of a D’Arbignal? I’ve gotten into the practice of using women as my viewpoint characters, so I tried to think of a woman who would be so far removed from the type of life D’Arbignal lived that the difference would be worth exploring.

 

That’s how I came upon the character of Maria, the Cyclops. She’s a tragic character: horribly disfigured, she earns a very meager living as a freak in the circus’s freak show.  She’s the lowest of the low at this circus; even the men who do untrained manual labor look down at her.

 

So what would happen, I asked myself, if this dashing, handsome rogue showed up injured at the circus and poor Maria falls in love with him?

 

Once I asked myself that question, the rest of the story wrote itself.

 

 

5      What has your publishing experience been like? 

 

Like most self-published authors, I tried going the traditional publishing route, but I found it too be too tough a barrier to penetrate.  The publishing industry seems to be in turmoil, and is rapidly tightening on just a few names and niche genres. While new ideas and authors do get published, it’s difficult, and there are way too many talented authors out there competing for those limited spots.

 

Therefore, I tried self-publishing. While it’s quite a bit of work, I find it very rewarding. I like being able to control every aspect of my book: everything from finding a good editor, to commissioning a cover painting, to doing the actual setting of type (I love ligatures; I hate bad page breaks).

 

The result has been a mixed bag.

 

On the one hand, it’s been a complete financial disaster. I’ve yet to even break even on my books, let alone turn a profit.

 

On the other hand, I’ve managed to reach so many wonderful readers who have found that my stories resonate with them. I don’t merely want to amuse my readers; I want to generate emotional reactions, to touch them in meaningful ways.

 

And here, I’ve been so wonderfully successful that it makes it all worthwhile to me. A friend of mine (to whom Cyclops is dedicated) was such a fan of my work that he read “Prince of Bryanae” three times even though he was dying of brain cancer. Can you think of a greater compliment than that? Dan knew the clock was ticking and yet he chose to spend those precious hours reading my book. I can’t help but be humbled every time I think of it.

 

Likewise, I’ve heard from survivors of child abuse or spouses of soldiers with PTSD who have told me how accurately I’ve portrayed these horrible situations, and how moved they are by how my characters deal with them.

 

I still keep hoping that as more of my books get out there (readers seem to prefer book series to one-offs), I might start to see some profit. However, even if I never so much as break even, just knowing that there are readers out there who love what I write makes it all worthwhile to me.

 

6      Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

 

I do most of my work in bed! Seriously!

 

Most of my ideas come when I’m lying in bed, drifting off to sleep. I like to play around with characters and various scenarios, seeing how well they fit. It’s like going to a clothing store and trying out outfits to see which ones are god-awful and which ones click.

 

So I play with ideas and characters until I feel I have enough for the basis of a story. Then I start to write.
And I write in bed, too. I sit in bed cross-legged as I am now, typing on my laptop as I am now, and the words just flow from me.

 

If this makes it sound easy, I assure you it is not, because while that last step, the writing, may be easy, the first step is incredibly time-consuming. It may take weeks, months, or even years for me to think of a worthy story to tell. I’ve been prolific as of late, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, it’s agonizingly slow, grinding work coming up with stories.

 

Then there is finding the time and energy to write. I work at Google in NYC. My commute is long. I have family commitments. I practice mixed martial arts. Free time is a precious commodity, and free time when I’m not exhausted and burned out is as rare as an altruistic politician.  So once I start to write, it just pours forth, but it’s so very hard starting …

 

7      How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

 

In general, I think about the character and where he or she is from. What is the culture like there? What do the languages sound like? Those help shape the names.

 

Other than that, it’s just trial and error. I write down a name and see how it looks and sounds. Sometimes, if I find one I like, I may tweak it a bit anyway. For instance, the owner of the circus in Cyclops was originally named Marcos but I changed his name to Marco because it just flowed better.

8      In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why?

 

Ooh, it would have to be Maria, the Cyclops! She’s such a great character. Life has whacked her around something fierce to the point where she has very little spirit or self-esteem left … but her strength is not gone. It’s just that it’s faded to a mere glowing ember, and it’s so moving to see how she grows when someone fans the fire.

 

At first, she comes across as a nobody. Everybody’s treated her like one for so long that she’s accepted it as who she is. But she’s not a nobody. She’s brave, compassionate, and intelligent. She’s hidden these traits so long that she barely remembers them, and she’s as surprised as anybody when they resurface!

9      Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it?

 

A challenge I have with D’Arbignal at times is that he’s so handsome and so talented and so witty, he runs the risk of turning into a Mary Sue. It’s always a balancing act: I need to let him be all those wonderful things and yet still show that he’s imperfect, since let’s face it: we may claim to love perfect people, but in our hearts, what we love are the imperfect ones.

 

In “Shara and the Haunted” village I showed how foolhardy D’Arbignal can be. He’s extremely good at getting himself into bad situations, and while he’s good at getting money, he’s not very good at holding onto it. He also has a dark, self-destructive streak that pops up from time to time.

 

In “Cyclops”, the risk of him being Prince Charming was dire. He’s so handsome and Maria is so scarred, it would be too easy for him to just ride in on a white horse and make everything happily-ever-after. But while he’s very bright, he can be a bit obtuse at times. He often charges into a situation before he’s fully taken its measure, resulting in awkward moments and bruised feelings.

 

In addition, I found a way to use his amazing abilities as a disadvantage. I mean, if you’re someone as talented as he is, how can you possibly access the riskiness of an action? After all, if you’re still alive, it means that every time you dove headfirst into a life-or-death situation, you won! Therefore, I realized that one great flaw for D’Arbignal would be overconfidence. He does spectacularly stupid things at times because he just can’t recognize when some things are beyond his abilities.

 

10   How did you/do you market your work?

 

Still working on that one!

 

Seriously, you don’t want marketing advice from me. My books sell very poorly, and this is despite wonderful reviews, endorsements from genre giants, and terrific covers by artist Carol Phillips.

11   Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

 

You want the sad, honest truth? I’m a perfectionist with my writing, and I’m never satisfied. The first time I saw my published book, I was able to enjoy it, of course, but I kept thinking of all the things I could have done better.  (Ooh, and I hate it when I find a typo in one of my published books! LOL)

 

12   Favorite authors? 

 

That’s easy. R. A. Salvatore and Steve Hamilton.

 

Mr. Salvatore is of course the reigning champ of the fantasy industry, but more than that, he’s such a smart, knowledgeable, and kind man. I’ve learned so much from him.

 

Steve Hamilton is perhaps the greatest living “writer writer” that I’ve read. By that, I mean his prose is just so damn good that I find myself instantly immersed in his books. No warm-up period, or am I going to like this? experience. I literally am hooked by every book he’s written before the end of the first sentence. Wow.

 

13   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

 

Absolutely. All writers have, I think. What I’ve done is allow it to happen and not to panic.

 

Hey, I’m a full-time software developer with a wonderful girlfriend and fantastic hobbies.  I have other things to keep me occupied if I don’t have a story to tell at the moment.

 

Every night, I toy with the characters and stories in my head. Eventually, something will pop out ready to write. It might only take a few weeks as has been the case recently, but one time it took nearly a decade. I’m not going to panic. The nice thing about self-publishing is that you don’t have an agent screaming at you for your next book. I write my books when they’re ready to be written. Not to go all Orson Welles on you, but I will write no book before its time! 😀

14   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

 

The hardest thing for me to learn was that pretty much every first draft is a piece of garbage and that’s ok. If I could teach any one thing to an aspiring writer, it would be to teach him how to be a brutal self-critic, to revise his or her writing without mercy.

Writing is an iterative process. When we first start writing, we think we just dash off a bunch of words and we’re done. Oh, if only that were so.

 

No, your first draft is garbage. So’s mine. And as he showed us in his great book On Writing, so is Steven King’s. Everybody’s first draft is garbage. The treasure comes during the editing. Look at it like a sculpture. You take a first pass, and you’ve chiseled away enough stone so that what remains looks sorta like George Washington, but only kinda sorta. That’s when the real work begins, where instead of chipping away huge chunks of stone, now you have to chip delicately away tiny bits to refine the sculpture to make it more in line with your vision.

15   Are you working on anything new?  If so, can you tell me about it?

 

I have a number of works in the pipeline. As I mentioned above, “A Lesson for the Cyclops” is on deck. It’s written, it’s edited, and it’s formatted for print. Now I’m waiting on the cover. It should be very soon.

 

After that, I have (the somewhat ironically titled) “Return of the King”, in which the missing King of Bryanae returns to his kingdom and Strange Things Happen.

 

Next, I have a piece I’ve started that I hope will lay some foundation work for some subsequent books, while being a scary and fun story in its own right. This piece has not yet been titled, nor do I know yet how long it will be.

 

After that, I have my very first (and unpublished) novel waiting for a significant rewrite. It’s funny: it’s the book that introduced my world and many of its major players, yet I’ve never published it. When I wrote it, my skills as a writer left something to be desired. However, this book ties a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated characters and events together. I hope to get this book worthy of publishing, because if I can do that, my readers are going to experience chills when things just keep going click!

 

Finally, I’m toying around with an end to the series. I have some ideas. I have some characters. I have some pieces of plot. However, it hasn’t completely gelled yet, so I think about it at night as always, waiting for the book-worthy story to emerge…

Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: Brenda Franklin

Tonight’s featured author is Brenda Franklin.  She enjoys writing fantasy and paranormal romance. Thank you so much Brenda for sharing a little about yourself and your work with us.  Enjoy the read everyone!

brenda2Bio:

Brenda Franklin was born and raised in Louisiana where she lives with her loving family and two cats. She’s been writing since she was little starting with her first horror story in Elementary school, but wasn’t serious about becoming a writer until middle school.

Now married, and living out in the country, she spends most of her time writing Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. But when she’s not writing she can be found drawing, painting, reading a good crime novel or enjoying long walks in a cemetery.

A Steady Pulse orginal      Barely Beating 3

flatlineTitle: Flat Line (Pulse Trilogy book three)

Author: Brenda Franklin

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blog:

In my World of Reading and Writing: http://beefranklin.blogspot.com/

Social Media connections:

My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/brenda.franklin.5811

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrendaFranklin

Twitter account: https://twitter.com/BeeFranklin613

Release date:

May 1st

Where to Buy:

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Brenda-Franklin/e/B009TAXHI4

Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/111454

Pulse Trilogy:

A Steady Pulse (Book One)

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Steady-Pulse-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0099U5U02/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/111454

Barely Beating (Book Two)

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Barely-Beating-Pulse-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AA2F9UE/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/158741

Free Short ghost stories on Smashwords:

Drowning with Problems: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/248010

Lady with Blue Lips: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/248010

This is a conversational piece between Virgil and Garrison in BARELY BEATING (book 2 of Pulse Trilogy).

“How is Elizabeth doing?” Garrison asked leading Virgil in to the kitchen.

“She is endearing the pain better than I thought, but…”His eyes shifted anxiously. He wanted to do more to help ease her, but there was nothing he could do. It was a frustrating feeling to be so useless.

“That’s only natural. Every human turned is different.  But she seems to be doing well.” Garrisons said.

Virgil filled up a glass of water and sat it on the counter. Pinching the bridge of his nose he refocused.

“The first one is always the most difficult, but your body will adjust. It wasn’t so easy for me when I turned my first either.” Garrison assured him.

“But I thought when you turned William—”

“I am much older than you give me credit for Virgil. William was not my first. Even if he was my tolerance levels are much higher than yours by leaps and bounds. Turning is a painful process at times, but you can grow and learn to coop with it like I did.”

“I just hope she will be okay. No matter what I have to go through I wish I could do more for her.”

“You have done a lot more than you already know.” Garrison comforted giving Virgil a light touch on his shoulder before heading off. “Don’t forget to drink something yourself.”

“Garrison?” Virgil hesitated. “Your first turning how was it?”

Garrison paused. “The first person I turned didn’t survive.” Garrison spoke solemnly. He continued down the hall and disappeared into his room.

1)      When did you first start writing?

I wrote my first horror story when I was in Elementary. I began writing fantasy in Junior High (all of which I still have and want to rewrite). Then I wrote the first Pulse book one summer between school grades. I found it and read it back in 2010. It needed a redo. I threw out the old and rewrote the whole thing ending up with the one we now see today as A Steady Pulse.

2)      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

When I was a little girl I first wanted to me a mother, then a singer, and then by middle school I was set on being a writer.

3)      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up?

I love writing Paranormal Romance, but that’s not the only genre I want to work in. I have projects I’d like to have completed within the year, one of which is a Middle Grade book, another is a Dark Young adult, and a fantasy based one that I’ll probably polish over the course of the next year, but will probably be considered for publishing in 2014. For the moment, at least, PNR is my favorite to write. I wonder if it has anything to do with the number of PNR books I’ve been reading this past year.

4)      Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?

My inspiration has come from not only my love for reading PNR books, but this story specifically started with a woman who could feel other people’s “pulses”. Though I did a lot of cutting back on what to give her ability wise, I started with this question, “what if you could feel someone before they entered a room?” Than the question became, “what if they felt different?” Add vampires into the mix and it made for a good recipe.

5)      What has your publishing experience been like?

Very rocky. I guess I should clarify that the start was very rocky. I didn’t prepare myself ahead of time; build up any kind of supporters. I just dove in without so much as a compass. All I knew was how to correctly lay out my books for Smashwords and Amazon. It was pretty easy to follow a guide and submit my books, but that was it. It’s easy to publish, but the real work is getting people to want to buy what you have written. Thankfully there are many groups out there who can give you great advice, help you with any question (no matter how silly), and many other things.

6)      Do you have a certain routine you do for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

Okay, I get up with Shawn in the morning around four and tell him good bye for work. I’ll than grab a cup of coffee, Dr. Pepper, or Cinnamon Apple Spiced Tea and a snack before returning to my bedroom where my small desk is set up in the corner for me to work. I always tie up my hair and find my glasses, before turning on my music. I have several premade playlists. When my character needs a little pick me up or is struggling internally I have been listening to Mumford and Sons. Or for a fight scene I play Linkin Park. After enjoying my music for a few minutes it’s time to start writing.

7)      How do you come up with character names and place names in your book?

I have worked on pieces of my family genealogy and every time I find a name that is interesting I write it down. I have a whole list of names and ideas on what they were like which helps to build my characters. So in a sense, the majority of the characters are named after someone from my family line. Now when it comes to locations I have used real places at times. What doesn’t sound better than, Iron Spring, Ashland, Small road, ect.

8)      In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why?

In my most recent work Lucas would have to be my favorite character thus far. He isn’t the leading character to Flat Line, but who doesn’t like a bad boy on a motorcycle? He has a bit of an attitude issue which can keep up with Bethany Jean, Elizabeth’s best friend. He’s a good counterpart for her and isn’t as easy to jump in feet first to save Elizabeth as Bethany is, but for her he’s willing–though very frustrated–to do what it takes to keep her from getting killed. I could go on about him! I really love working on him.

9)      Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?

The overall thing I learned while writing my book was, sometimes research is necessary. Don’t write a scene that makes absolutely no sense. Haha it’s the little things. What motorcycle is he driving? What is the correct pronunciation of that in French? Where are the cops? What’s his past? What War did he fight in and where was he stationed?

10)   How did/do you market your work?

Get connected with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, ect… Join groups, set up release dates, plan out a monthly schedule to keep up with all the things that are going on with not only yourself but other people. Stay as connected as you can with your audience as you begin to build yourself up.

11)   Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

Fear! I suddenly realized that people would be reading my book. The first day I couldn’t get over my fear of someone hating my work, but after that first day (and my loving husband keeping me calm as best he could) I was excited. I was more than excited. I was beaming with pride that I had something published.

12)   Favorite authors?

Lynsay Sands with her (vampire) Argeneau Series, Sherrilyn Kenyon with the Dark-Hunter series, and Diana Nixon with her Love Lines Series

13)   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

Oh yeah! I’ve sat in front of my computer and read the same paragraph over and over trying to force the next sentence, but nothing comes out.

What I have found is that when the situation occurs it’s best to either take a nice, long, hot bath or go on a long walk. I like the second one. Get yourself out of the house and get the blood pumping! Sunlight does the body good. We have a cemetery not too far from the house that my husband and I walk to. And if all else fails, it’s a sign to open a good book and set aside the writing for the day. J

14)   What piece of advice would you give to a new author?

Top things you can do is:

1.) Edit your story to perfection and then let someone else look at it (editor)

2.) A good cover goes a long way (Ashley Wied has done all three of my books for the Pulse Trilogy)

3.) Get social (Join Facebook and Twitter and be a part of the writing community)

4.) Advertise (you’re work isn’t going to sell itself when you first come out of the gate).

15)   Are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell me about it?

I am working on another book called “Guardian, A Fated Pairing” which will be coming out around the end of March.

Info:

Vampires are on the brink of disappearing.  After years of searching for the cure to turn humans into their kind, one vampire believes he has done it. But in creating the cure he has started a bloody hunt. A race among animals, vampires and Wolves, to find the cure and either destroy it or use it.

It is up to Alice Chambers to keep her sister safe as they try to out run one of the strongest vampires in search of what they are hiding, but is what she protects worth the life of the one man she is destined to be with? And can he get over the fact that she is everything he hates long enough to realize she’s just what he needs? Or will the sacrifice in the end be too great for either of them?

Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: K.R. Morrison

To start off the month of May, K.R. Morrison’s interview is tonight’s feature. She writes in the mysterious world of the paranormal filled with suspense, horror, and inspiration.  Seems she and I have very similar interests. So, thank you K.R. for participating and everyone enjoy the interview!

Title: “Be Not Afraid”
Author: K R Morrison

Genre: Paranormal suspense/horror/inspirational

Blog:  kathyree.wordpress.com

Social Media connections:

 bio pic for fest

Facebook author:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-R-Morrison/316522281747349

 

Facebook book reviews:  https://www.facebook.com/KittyMuseBookReviews

 

Facebook editing page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Every-Crooked-Nanny-Editing/587888887903846#!/pages/Every-Crooked-Nanny-Editing/587888887903846

Release Date: April 2011
Where to buy: 

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Not-Afraid-R-Morrison/dp/1462852211/ref=la_B009RBRJ0C_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355461018&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/be-not-afraid-k-r-morrison/1100084495?ean=9781462852222

http://www.powells.com/biblio/61-9781462852215-1
Reviews: see above

Other Work: Two books will soon be published by Mountains Springs House Publishing.  One will be a prequel to “Be Not Afraid (also being re-published by MSH), entitled “UnHoly Trinity”.  The second is a sequel, and it is called “Resurgence:  The Rise of Judas”.

Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.

Lydia spun around, still on her knees.  Vlad was halfway up the aisle of the church, slowly and deliberately making his way to where she was.

She scrambled up and ran towards the altar, diving under it as Vlad got to the bottom of the steps leading up to where she cowered.  But he did not venture any further; instead he paced back and forth in front of them, staring at Lydia as if she was an animal in a cage.  Finally, he spoke.

“I can understand how you would be able to get out of my house, had you been in any shape to move.  I did leave the door open.  But how did you get the strength—and how did you get here?”

Lydia kept silent, not knowing if he could still read her mind.  Somehow, she felt that he should not know about the beings–who she now knew were angels–that had transported her here (wherever “here” was),  and that they were even now hovering above them.

He glanced toward the floor in front of the tabernacle.

“And you brought the child as well.”  Then he glared back at Lydia.  “Did you really think that hiding in a church would do you any good?  I tell you, your pathetic devotion to this—whatever it is—is useless.”

It was apparent to Lydia that Vlad could come no further than where he was in front of the altar.  She was protected in this area.  It was sacred ground, and the demons that had such free rein over the earth still could not approach it.  God was worshiped here, and the Body and Blood of Jesus was miraculously present on this very altar at every Mass.  No wonder Vlad could not come up and take hold of her!

Empowered by this realization, Lydia came out and stood up in front of the altar.  She looked him in the eye.  And she felt—nothing.  No weakness, no loss of consciousness, no being drawn into his thrall.  He no longer had control over her!

Book cover (2)Vlad, in turn, noticed that Lydia’s skin was as smooth and clear as on the first day he saw her.  Being who he was, there was no room in his mind for the idea of divine intervention as the reason for this miracle.  He believed himself to be more powerful than any other force in the universe, or beyond.  Such are the allures and lies of the ways of evil.

Instead, he said, “Well, you do heal quickly.  Good.  You were running out of fresh areas for me to feed on.

“Now—I thirst.  Come down from there.”

He smirked as an idea came to him.  “Actually, this is an ideal place to get, shall we say, reacquainted.  At the feet of your plaster Savior!”

Lydia stood her ground.

 

Mini Interview:

1      When did you first start writing?

I didn’t write to be published until “Be Not Afraid” took hold of my mind and wouldn’t let go.  Before that, it was the annual Christmas letter, and that was about it.

2      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I wanted to be a lot of different things, but math always seemed to be a part of what I wanted to do, and math and I do not get along.  Words have always been my strong point.
There was a time when I wanted to be a veterinarian—couldn’t bear chemistry classes, though.  Psychologist—until I realized I’d have to deal with people a lot more than I was comfortable with.  Missionary, English major, administrative assistant—nothing ever really worked out.  Wife and mother?  Never thought that would be a choice, but here I am, married 27 years, with a 23-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter.

3      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? 

What I’ve done so far was not my choice per se.  I don’t think I have a favorite genre to work in—most of what is circulating in the whirlpool between my ears is a mix of genres and age levels.

4      Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?

This question is always difficult.  It brings back feelings and memories that I have tried to stay away from, but I know it’s an inevitable question.

“Be Not Afraid” (an ironic title, by the way, because some people have told me they cannot finish reading it) was spawned by a nightmare I had.  In it, I was attacked by a vampire.  And it was one of those dreams that one experiences completely, with all of the senses.  And it was not pleasant, I can assure you.  When I woke up, the dream continued circulating in my mind, constantly, with each cycle putting in more detail and more storyline.  Inevitably, I had to write it down, and when I did, it finally left me alone.

5      What has your publishing experience been like? 

I originally had the book published by Xlibris, a print-on-demand company.  They fulfilled their part of the bargain, after I paid them a lot of money, then I was on my own.  Now it will be re-published by Mountain Springs House Publishing, and I hope I have much better luck   with them.

6      Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

When I wrote my first book, I merely sat on the living room couch and wrote for hours at a time.  But then we gave the couch to our son, who needed furniture for his duplex.  The second/third book (it was one manuscript until it got too big), was written in the dining room, and the one I am working on right now doesn’t have a particular place yet.  I am only five pages into it.  I really don’t have a routine, although if I have to write something particularly horrific, I’ll have a couple of beers first.  Numbs the brain—I am not comfortable with writing that stuff.  But I have to get through that part to get to where the good guys win.

7      How do you come up with characters’ names and place names in your books?

With the more common characters, I try to find names that do not belong to anyone I know, or are so common that no one would think the character was fashioned after himself/herself.  There are definitely names in the book that are real, and the characters attached to those names are, in fact, those people.  Place names—didn’t really have any in the first book per se.

8      In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why?

That would be Toby, a two-year-old who is a mystery in more ways than one.  His father disappears, his mother is close-mouthed about who the dad is, and Toby shows powers and talents far greater than his age.  He will figure primarily in the fourth book, “Enoch’s Return”.

9      Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it?

I think I have solidified and clarified to myself what was just a vague awareness before, and it is the message of the book:  God created all, and wants all to return to Him.  Therefore, He makes Himself known to all through any way He can.  But it is up to us to turn to Him—He does not impose His will on us.

10   How did you/do you market your work?

Social networking, such as Facebook, Goodreads, Wattpad, and others.  I spend a lot of time on the computer, blogging and participating in events.  I think I spend 20 hours a week on the computer, hoping something will happen to propel my work to the heights.  Don’t we all…

11   Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

I remember it well.  The box came, I took it into the dining room, and set it on the table.  When I opened it and saw the books for the first time, it took my breath away.  I was LEGITIMATE!!   I was PUBLISHED!  My words were on paper, just like Thoreau and Hemingway!!  It was almost like the first time I saw my children after they were born.  But without all the hospital stuff…

12   Favorite authors? 

Oh, where do I start?  I have a constant list of books I want from Tamara Myer, Jasper Fforde, Rita Mae Brown, Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Winspear, and so many others.  My library is so full of books to be read that I think I will have to carry them with me into the afterlife to finish them.

13   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

Not  really.  Usually the chapter wants to get written so badly that it practically jumps out of the pen before I can put it to paper.  I am trying to get going on the fourth book, but it isn’t writer’s block that stops me (I have it half-written in my head already).  It’s the lack of time.

14   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Do not lose patience.  Check all avenues, seek advice, do not go with the first publishing outfit that you see.  E-pubbing your books is a great idea, but you don’t get anything for public author signings.  Make sure your offering is crisply and perfectly edited.  You want the audience to love your book as much as you do, so make sure it is understandable and not awkward.

15   Are you working on anything new?  If so, can you tell me about it?

The fourth book in the series “Pride’s Damnation” is called “Enoch’s Return”.  In Genesis, it is     said that “Enoch walked with the Lord and was seen no more”.  That leads one to believe  that, like Elijah, Enoch was taken away to fulfill his role in another time.  This book works off that idea, and involves the demons and saints from the previous three books.

Spring Fever Blog Tour featured Author: David Estes

Hi everyone!  Well, the month of April is ending, but that doesn’t mean the blog tour is over.  Another entire month lay ahead filled with authors and interviews.  To end this month, David Estes is the author for this evening.  Enjoy the read everyone and thank you David for joining the blog tour!

Title: Fire Country (The Country Saga, #1), Ice Country (The Country Saga, #2)
Author: David Estes

Genre: YA dystopian
Website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com

Blog: Same as website

Social Media connections:

David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70863-david-estes-fans-and-ya-book-lovers-unite

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Estes/130852990343920

My blog: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidestes100

Release Date: Fire Country- February 2nd, Ice Country- April 4th
Where to buy:  Links to buy Fire Country:

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Country-The-Saga-ebook/dp/B00B7VTXFO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359662347&sr=1-1&keywords=fire+country+estes

Barnes & Noble Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-country-david-estes/1114268064?ean=2940015975475

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/280371

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Country-Volume-David-Estes/dp/1482055988

Author Photo
Reviews: Early reviews can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17250818-ice-country

Other Work:

The Dwellers Saga:

Book One—The Moon Dwellers

Book Two—The Star Dwellers

Book Three—The Sun Dwellers

Book Four—The Earth Dwellers (coming September 2013!)

The Country Saga (A Dwellers sister series):

Book One—Fire Country

Book Two—Ice Country

Book Three—Water and Storm Country (Coming June 7th, 2013!)

The Evolution Trilogy:

Book One—Angel Evolution

Book Two—Demon Evolution

Book Three—Archangel Evolution

Children’s Books by David Estes

The Nikki Powergloves Adventures:

Nikki Powergloves—A Hero Is Born

Nikki Powergloves and the Power Council

Nikki Powergloves and the Power Trappers

Nikki Powergloves and the Great Adventure

Nikki Powergloves vs. the Power Outlaws (Coming in 2013!)

Fire Country by David Estes ebooksm 

Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.

Excerpt from Fire Country

When I’m sixteen and reach the midpoint of my life, I’ll have my first child. Not ’cause I want to, or ’cause I made a silly decision with a strapping young boy after sneaking a few sips of my father’s fire juice, but ’cause I must. It’s the Law of my people, the Heaters; a Law that’s kept us alive and thriving for many years. A Law I fear.

I learned all about the ways of the world when I turned seven: the bleeding time, what I would hafta do with a man when I turned sixteen, and how the baby—my baby—would grow inside me for nine full moons. Even though it all seemed like a hundred years distant at the time, I cried for two days. Now that it’s less’n a year away, I’m too scared to cry.

Veeva told me all ’bout the pain. She’s seventeen, and her baby’s five full moons old and “uglier’n one of the hairy ol’ warts on the Medicine Man’s feet.” Or at least that’s how she describes Polk. Me, I think he’s sorta cute, in a scrunched up, fat-cheeked kind of way. Well, anyway, she said to me, “Siena, you never felt pain so burnin’ fierce. I screamed and screamed…and then screamed some more. And then this ugly tug of a baby comes out all red-faced and oozy. And now I’m stuck with it.” I didn’t remind her Polk’s a him not an it.

I already knew about her screaming. Everyone in the village knew about Veeva’s screaming. She sounded like a three ton tug stuck in a bog hole. Veeva’s always cursing, too, throwing around words like burnin’ and searin’ and blaze—words that’d draw my father’s hand across my face like lightning if I ever let them slip out of my mouth like they’re nothing more’n common language.

In any case, everything she tells me about turning sixteen just makes me wish I didn’t hafta get older, could stay fifteen for the next seventeen or so years, until the Fire takes me.

It’s not fair, really, that boys get to wait until they’re eighteen ’fore their names get put in the Call. I’d kill for an extra two years of no baby.

 

Mini Interview:

1      When did you first start writing?

First off, thanks for having me!

Ahh, I have fond memories of when it all began. I started seriously writing in September 2010.  Before then, like so many others out there, I’ve LOVED reading my entire life, more than any other activity. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to write my own books, but I always managed to come up with an excuse—either I’m too busy, too lazy, or I just don’t have good enough ideas—to not do it. Perhaps it was a fear of failure, I’m not really sure. But for whatever reason, I drifted along, reading, but not really writing.

Then I met my wife, Adele, a sweet and beautiful Australian, who encouraged me to put my dreams first. So, while I had a few weeks off before a new desk job in September 2010, I started writing a book using the first idea that came into my head, one about angels and demons that evolved from humans. Six weeks later, Angel Evolution was born!

I’d officially caught the writing bug, and so I kept writing, averaging 2,000 words a day, and slowly moving up to 3,000 words. I finished my first children’s book, Nikki Powergloves, 4 weeks later. Then I wrote Demon Evolution in another 6 weeks and followed it up with a middle grade book called I am Touch, which I have yet to publish. Finally, 10 months after starting Angel Evolution, I completed Archangel Evolution. So I had 5 books written in 10 months, but hadn’t published any of them!

So I just went for it! The rest has been a whirlwind adventure in which I’ve written 14 books in less than two and a half years, 12 of which are now published. On the back of The Moon Dwellers, I became a fulltime author in June of 2012, making what started out as a dream become a reality!

2      Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I always had dreams of being a writer but I never really took them that seriously. I never really wanted to do anything else. Now that my dreams have come true, I slap myself (literally, I sometimes raise my hand and bring is across my cheeks rather hard) for not taking a risk sooner. So many years lost when I could have been creating novels! Oh well, such is life.

3      What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? 

Primarily YA dystopian, although I’ve dabbled in YA paranormal (one trilogy) and children’s superhero (one four book series). But since five of my books are YA dystopian, with two more to come in the next few months, I’ll focus there.

In short, I’m OBSESSED with dystopian novels at the moment. You have to write what you enjoy reading and what you can connect with, and for me that’s definitely dystopian. The genre has so much versatility and can be combined with many other genres too, although I haven’t really played around with that much (yet). I also LOVE how real dystopian books can feel, almost like it’s something that could really happen, if you just really think about it.

There’s also a real sense of good versus evil in dystopian books, which usually involves some form of an oppressive government. Bad things happen. People get hurt. But those dedicated to the cause fight on, almost like it’s their destiny.

Finally, dystopians have so much room for world building, which really excites me. Imagine if you could take pretty much a blank slate to the earth and start over. What would you build? What would you create? That’s dystopian. In The Moon Dwellers I decided to build my society underground, deep below the surface of the earth. With Fire Country, I took things back aboveground, but in the middle of a changed world where the sun is hotter than hell, the sky is red and the clouds yellow, and the air full of toxic fumes. Yeah, not the best place to live. And yet….humanity struggles on.

Ice Country by David Estes ebooksm

4      Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

 

Because most of my life revolves around writing and books, I’ll give you an idea of an average day for me. I sleep in (yeah, not a morning person) first. Get up around 9am, have breakfast with my wife. Then I start writing, putting in at least two hours in the morning (2,000+ words). Have lunch with my wife and then we try to do something fun together, like if we’re near a beach (which we usually are), we go to the beach, go swimming, read books together, etc. I’ll put in another hour or two of writing in the afternoon, too, to bring my word count to between 3 and 4 thousand, or the occasional 5,000+ word day. We have dinner and spend the evening either at home watching movies, watching our favorite TV shows, or hanging out with friends, or going to watch live music.

Throughout the day and into the evening I do all the other stuff that comes with being a writer, like interviews, blog appearances, answering reader mail, doing blog posts, and publishing my books.

I always read before bed, too, usually 50+ pages of whatever book I’ve currently got my nose in. That’s it! That’s a day in the life. Day in and day out I put in 3-4 hours a day, which is the commitment required to publish a book every 2-3 months. It’s a lot of work, but the flexible lifestyle and creativity of it makes it all worthwhile. And, of course, all the support from my readers, who are absolutely incredible, the best people in the world, and my dearest friends!

5      How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

 

Honestly, I wish I had something interesting to say here, but I don’t really. Most of my character name’s just pop into my head and I know right away that they’re right. I never use name databases or anything like that. I don’t use a lot of place names, but when I do, they pretty much just appear in thin air and hover around long enough so that I can reach out and grab them, try them out on my tongue, on my keyboard.

6      In your most recent work, who is your favourite character and why?

In Fire Country, my favorite character is the main character, Siena, mostly because she spoke the loudest to me. It was incredible how she just started talking to me one day and then she wouldn’t shut up. She’s someone who speaks to you loud and clear, like no one else you’ve ever met before, and she basically just wrote herself, which is a rare and awesome thing. Her language is colorful and interesting and very, very, real, because like I said, she tells me each and every thing she wants to say! Yes, even now that the book is finished, she still talks to me ALL the time.

7      Did you learn anything from writing your book?  What was it?

 

Writing is hard! I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I could write a book!” after reading a book by one of their favorite authors. It seems easy when you’re reading it, easy to identify the flaws, where it could have been better. I was definitely one of those people! But since I started writing 3 years and 13 books ago, I’ve learned that writing is extremely difficult and an ongoing learning process that requires years and years of hard work and dedication. There is no easy success to be gained in this industry. Once I recognized that, I was able to focus on improving, on taking constructive feedback, and on moving forward with my craft. Only then did success truly start to come.

8      How did you/do you market your work?

 

I wrote blog post a while back that has become quite popular amongst Indies, called My Dos and Don’ts for Attracting New Readers. Here’s a link for those who might be interested: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-dos-and-donts-for-attracting-new.html

To boil it down to a few things:

  1. I’ve become part of the ever growing book community, particularly on Goodreads. I’ve made friends, talked about the books I love to read, helped people when they needed it. I love talking to other readers, much more than anything else. I don’t expect anyone to read my books, but many people do simply because I care about them and treat them with respect. And if they like them, they read more. I don’t overpromote because people just get turned off by it.
  2. I giveaway LOTS of free books. This is a great time to be an Indie. Publishing is easy. And giving away books is even easier because of ebooks. If someone doesn’t know who I am, why would they take a risk and buy my book? But if I give it to them for free, they might just give it a read. And if they do, they might just like it, and then I’ve got a reader for life, and likely a friend too (even if they don’t enjoy my books, I’ll likely become their friend too J
  3. I’m active online, but I DON’T only talk about my books. When I post on Facebook, I post about other things. What I’m doing, funny pictures, not just endless crap about buying my books.
  4. Appreciating my readers! I know that most people don’t have an endless budget to spend on books, so I value each and every person who spends even a small portion of it to buy one of my books. I thank as many of them as I can, personally if possible, and try to host lots of giveaways to show my appreciation.

Those are just a few of what I feel to be the most important aspects of attracting readers to my books, but I do lots more!

9      Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

Giddiness. My wife and I were together when the proof arrived. Ebooks are cool, but nothing beats a paperback. We danced around a bit and then went out to celebrate. I still love when I do book signings and see all my books lined up together. Pure joy in seeing all that hard work pay off.

10   Favourite authors? 

 

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is my all time favorite series! I read it a dozen times growing up. But in terms of current stuff, I love The Knife of Never Letting Go (and the rest of the Chaos Walking series) by Patrick Ness, UnWind and UnWholly by Neal Shusterman, and Divergent by Veronica Roth.

 

11   Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

 

To be honest, I find the writing part quite easy.  I have a nutty imagination that works overtime, so I don’t really get writer’s block or anything like that.  My wife always says how she’s amazed how I can just sit down and start writing.  I read the last paragraph or page that I wrote, and just get going.  I don’t worry too much about getting every word perfect, that’s what rewriting and editing is for; rather I focus on moving the plot along, feeling the emotions of the characters, and enjoying the ride.  Occasionally, I will just have a little trouble getting started at the beginning of a writing session, but it’s usually because I’m not in the right state of mind.  To fix it all I need to do it listen to a song I like or read a book I’m enjoying.  That’s it!

 

12   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

I’m going to cheat because I have way too much to say on this topic. I get a ton of messages from other Indies out there asking for advice and I think it boils down to just a few key things.

1) Write awesome books and always work to perfect your craft. No matter how good you think you are, you can always get better and there’s always someone who’s better than you, so listen to feedback, take on constructive feedback, and strive to make each book your best one yet.

2) Become part of the reading/writing community. Don’t do this to sell people your books! Do this because you love books and writing and want to talk to other likeminded people. People will respect you more as a peer than some omniscient writer who thinks they deserve attention just because they write books.

3) Don’t over promote! This is absolutely crucial, because there are so many Indies out there all shouting for people to read their books. So if you shout, too, you’ll just fade into the noise with the rest of them. Less is more. This goes hand in hand with number 2 above. Be a reader first, be helpful in the book community by recommending the books that you love, and never, ever recommend your own book! If your books are good, people will read them because they respect you as a person, and then they’ll tell all their friends to read them too.

4) Give away LOTS of free books. I know how hard this is, because I’ve been there. You work so hard to write a book and then you should give them away for free? Well, yeah, you have to because no one knows how you are or how good a writer you are. Focus on building a fan base over a LONG period of time. There are very few Amanda Hocking’s or Stephenie Meyer’s out there who will find almost instant success. Give your books away in exchange for reviews and over time, the readers will come. Be patient and never give up.

13   Are you working on anything new?  If so, can you tell me about it?

Always! If there’s one thing that’s certain for me, it’s that I’m always in the middle of a new project while trying to publish my old projects. Well, given I’ve just published the sequel to Fire Country, I’m working on the third book in the series, Water & Storm Country. The first draft is complete and with beta readers, so I’m just waiting in anticipation for their feedback. To keep my occupied while I wait, I’ve begun work on the 4th book in the Dwellers Saga, which will consequently double as the 4th book in The Country Saga. Because the two sagas are sister series, they’ll come crashing together in the 7th and final book in the combined series, titled The Earth Dwellers or Glass Country. Confused? So am I!

After that, I’ve got plenty of ideas for my next series, but one in particular stands out, however, I can’t be too forthcoming with information at this time. Just know it has an awesome title and will combine more than one genre within YA.