Jason Baird, Author Highlight

It’s been a few weeks; but I think this one is well worth the wait.  I hope you enjoy Jason’s thought-provoking interview as much as I did.

  1. What genres do you enjoy writing?

I write fantasy novels and short stories.  I haven’t attempted to branch out into other genres yet.  The thing I like most about fantasy is that there are very few limits on the writer’s creativity.  If I want to make a character out of a sentient blob of undead goo that understands English, I can do so.  (And I did!)

  1. Tell us about your latest book:

The Darkest Depths is the second novel in my ongoing Rufino Factor series.  My protagonist was betrayed and left for dead at the end of my first book, Leap of Faith, and now finds himself enslaved by the dark magic of an unstable necromancer.  At its core, this is a story of someone hitting rock bottom and then finding the courage to recover from it.

  1. What inspired the story? Where did you get that first bit of “ah ha” inspiration.”

The inspiration for this story came from when I hit rock bottom myself seven years ago.  I dramatized Rufino’s version somewhat, but what he feels is essentially what I felt.

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

Rufino Endicott is a vampire who stands three feet tall.  When I first dreamt him up almost fifteen years ago, the initial idea was that it would be fun to have a vampire who couldn’t reach anyone’s neck in order to bite it, but over time he’s become much more to me than simply a gag reel.  His vampirism symbolizes more than one thing in my mind, from the battle against depression to the importance of judging a person for who (s)he is instead of what (s)he is.  By putting a very moral person into the body of an undead monster, I hope to challenge the reader to think beyond stereotypes and prejudices.

  1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

The title character, Rufino.  No offense to Kiralyn Frostwhisper, who is my other main character and who is virtually identical to me in terms of political alignment, but Rufino is just a ton of fun to write.  I go to sleep at night dreaming up new ways to get him into trouble.

  1. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

I can’t answer that question directly without giving away what’s going to happen later in the series, but I will say that I hate it when evil pretends to be good.  That is the kind of evil that scares me the most, which is why the arch-villain of this series fits that description.

  1. How much research did you have to do for this book? Any travel involved?

Since catacombs are featured heavily in The Darkest Depths, I did a lot of research about the Parisian catacombs for ideas about size, layout, and proper terminology.  Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to visit them in person.

  1. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

As its title suggests, The Darkest Depths is a very dark tale, but it wouldn’t be a Rufino story if it didn’t have a few laughs and ridiculous moments.  Injecting humour without taking away from the seriousness of the story was a very fine line to walk.

  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That we’re capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.  When we hit rock-bottom, recovery feels impossible, but the only thing that can actually make it impossible is if we give up.

  1. Which writers inspire you?

E.B. White is the one author whose name always comes to mind first.  His stories were unconventional yet compelling, which is what I hope to achieve with my own.

John Grisham is another.  I enjoy books that explore the legal system and attempt to poke holes in it.  What is progress if not finding fault with the status quo?

  1. What does your writing process look like?

I typically write most of my new content in the afternoons and then edit in the evenings when I’m winding down for sleep.  At the end of each chapter, I’ll go through everything a few times in an effort to make some of the boring language more entertaining.

  1. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I’m a distractible guy, so when I have access to my internet and my games, I won’t get much done.  When I want to get a lot of writing done, I’ll get into my car and drive to a nice, quiet spot where there’s absolutely nothing I can do except write.  It’s weird, but it works for me.

  1. What are you working on at the minute?

I’m working on the third novel of The Rufino Factor, tentatively entitled Into The Fire.  It is complete, but it needs to be updated with what I’ve learned about storytelling and sentence structure over these past two years, and I expect the update to take a few months.

  1. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

For my two main characters, I went out of my way to select names that I hadn’t seen before.  A few of my supporting characters bear the names of people I know in real life; the rest of my character’s names are just randomly chosen.

  1. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Though I haven’t attempted it yet, I expect that writing a story from the perspective of the opposite sex will be a challenge.  I’m considering writing a short story from Kiralyn’s perspective just so I won’t be a total fish out of water when it comes time to write her novel.

  1. When did you decide to become a writer?

I was sitting in a homeless shelter in 2010 with nothing else to do but to express myself in the only way I knew how.  The snowball’s been rolling downhill ever since.

  1. Why do you write?

I write because it’s the only form of self-expression with which I’m completely comfortable and confident.  Friends and family sometimes tell me that when they read my stories, it’s like they’re meeting me for the first time.

  1. Where do your ideas come from?

Some are just highly dramatized versions of my own experiences.  Some are real-world issues that I want to address in my own way.  Others are simply whatever makes me laugh.

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

I’m very serious about outlines.  I’ve already done basic outlines for my next twelve novels, and I don’t expect them to change much as I reach them.

  1. What is the hardest thing about writing?

Editing.  Writing’s fun—even the narrative can be fun if you do it right.  Editing, however, is gonna make me blind by the time I’m fifty.  Is it a comma or a period with a bit of dirt on the screen?  Ugghh.

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stay in school.  Yeesh.  I’m a courier with a 140 IQ.  Drop out and end up like me.

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

Alex Zanardi, a race car driver who lost his legs in a crash yet continues to race and compete.  I admire his unwillingness to quit no matter what.

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

“A Time to Kill” by John Grisham.  I intend for my books to be thought-provoking, and that’s one of the most thought-provoking novels I can think of.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

No matter how hard you try, you’ll never make everyone happy.  Write for yourself.  Someone’s gonna like it.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

In that homeless shelter I mentioned earlier, I learned that everyone has a story and it’s not often what you think.  One was a former CEO who couldn’t handle the stress.  One was an ex-cop.  Several were ordinary guys who got laid off and couldn’t find a new job because they were too old.  Though I wouldn’t recommend the experience of living in a shelter, it did teach me not to be so judgmental of others. Most of the time, we don’t know half of what’s really going on.

  1. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I’m active on Twitter @joshua_rem and I also have a sadly neglected website: www.joshuarem.com.  I really should update it with the new novel coming out.

  1. Tell the readers something about yourself that has nothing to do with writing.

I support a number of charities including the Canadian Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.  For recreation, I go to the go-kart track or participate in online racing.  You’d never guess it from my black Prius, but I’ve always enjoyed speed.

  1. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Rejection letters don’t mean your work sucks, they just mean your work isn’t a good fit with the publisher in question.  I was rejected about twenty times before I hit my first “yes”, and such tales are common amongst authors.  Never give up.

Author Highlight: K. A. Meng

Do you like romance?  Do you like paranormal?  How about both!

Hello, thank you for having me on your blog. I want to introduce you to my newest book in the world of Superior Species: Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen. There is a surprise later.

Amazon link: http://getBook.at/SuperiorSpecies2

Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen Blurb:

Ivory Ames has learned the truth about Los Roshano, New Mexico and the university she attends there, but it isn’t what she expected. Monsters exist. They’ve been running the town in secret to fill their ranks. She vows to keep her friends and herself safe from their evil clutches.

As soon as Ivory makes her pledge, her best friend is missing. The race to find Karen Bakke is on before she is killed or worse.

      

Book Trailer:

https://youtu.be/miDzdFjFmfA

I made you a promise. As part of Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen release, you can obtain a FREE ebook copy of Superior Species Book 1 on Friday, May 12, 2017: http://getBook.at/SuperiorSpecies

Superior Species:

Ivory Ames has caught the attention of four gorgeous guys. At Los Roshano University this isn’t normal, even when all the upperclassmen have perfect physiques, flawless complexions, and hypnotic looks. That’s not even the weirdest part. The town has a strict sunset curfew because of wild animals attacking.

To keep her friends and herself safe, Ivory must figure out the truth behind the town’s mysteries before it’s too late. 

Meet the Author:

K. A. Meng lives in North Dakota, in the same town she grew up. Her love for the paranormal started at a young age when she saw her first ghost.

Today, she spends her time writing paranormal romance, fantasy, and everything in-between. When life drags her away from it, she hangs out with her son and friends, goes to movies, watches TV, plays board games, walks her dogs, and reads books. She is actively involved in two writing groups and wishes to some day visit Disney World.

Find K.A. Meng:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012856366750&fref=ts

Facebook Like Page: https://www.facebook.com/KAMengAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KAMengAuthor

Blog: https://www.kamengauthor.com/blog

Website: https://www.kamengauthor.com/

Author Spotlight

Debbie De Louise was so gracious as to spotlight me on your website.  Please see what else she’s up to

http://wp.me/p6m4z7-14f

 

My First Live Podcast – Speculative Fiction Cantina

I finished my first live podcast with S. Evan Townsend of Speculative Fiction Cantina.   I really, really had a wonderful time.  The time went by so quickly.  So quickly, that I didn’t have time to be nervous.  In fact, I was very relaxed.  I hope you would give the interview a listen.

 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writestream/2016/12/16/the-speculative-fiction-cantina-with-natalie-silk-and-brian-pigg

Or the short link: http://ow.ly/k5g3306NqxW

 

If you’re an author, perhaps you would like to be one of his guests.

S. Evan Townsend

 

evan@sevantownsend.com

sevantownsend.com

facebook.com/SEvanTownsend

twitter.com/SEvanTownsend

http://www.writestreamradio.com/

 

An Interview with Jack Strandburg, Author

 

Hi all,  Let me introduce you to Jack Strandburg.  If you need a break from the daily, pick up one of Jack’s books.

  1. What genres do you enjoy writing?

Although my first published novel was a Western Humor, I prefer mystery and suspense, with some paranormal.

  1. Tell us about your latest book:

My latest book is a novella titled The Monogram Killer, a mystery/ paranormal.

  1. What inspired the story? Where did you get that first bit of “ah ha” inspiration.”

The inspiration came while on the treadmill listening to “Hollywood Nights” by Bob Seeger. The first two lines of the song are, “She stood there bright as the sun on that California coast

He was a Midwestern boy on his own.” My initial idea was for a man to travel to another place to meet a woman, and brainstorming led me on

various paths to write the story.

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

The main character is the antagonist whose behavior is guided by one of his ancestors, a noted serial killer, who leads him through vivid dreams to follow in his footsteps.

  1. How much research did you have to do for this book? Any travel involved?

I needed to research for the character’s ancestor, who was a real person, but I watched a documentary a few years ago, and was very interested in the history.

  1. What does your writing process look like?

I’m extremely detailed and use a combination of writing software with my own Word and Excel templates developed over a number of years. My background is in IT and I’m always “tinkering” to streamline my process.

Outlining for me is an absolute must, because I’ve experimented with free writing techniques and usually stall at some point. I need to have a blueprint to feel comfortable.

  1. What are you working on at the minute?

I recently signed a contract with Solstice Publishing for A Head in the Game, my first mystery novel, and am awaiting an editor. In the meantime, I also edit for Solstice, and am working on a short story titled A Matter of Honor.

  1. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

I spend time with naming my characters, and also keep track of first and last names to ensure I don’t have too many starting with “J” or “S,” for example. The more significant the character to the story, the more time I spend. I keep a spreadsheet with first and last names I use to name my characters.

  1. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Love scenes are the hardest to write, so I usually limit the word count. I

love writing actions scenes.

  1. When did you decide to become a writer?

I wanted to write since my teenage years, but only since 1990 did I decide I wanted to be published.

  1. Why do you write?

God created people with gifts, talents, and dreams to use those talents. Writing is mine.

  1. Where do your ideas come from?

Web sites, reading, writing, newspapers, TV shows, movies, driving, literally everywhere. For me, it’s simply a matter of looking at a character, setting, or situation and asking, “What if?”

  1. What is the hardest thing about writing?

There are two roadblocks. The first is, since I’m so focused on outlining and answering all the questions, issues, and brainstorming to have the story all laid out nice and neat, I tend to procrastinate before writing actual draft. The second is letting it to and submitting, although as time passes, I’m realizing I don’t have to be as perfect as I think.

  1. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Jack Strandburg

Jack Strandburg was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio.  He is a degreed professional with a background in Accounting and Information Technology and recently retired after more than 33 years working for a Fortune 500 company.  He has been writing since his teenage years.

He self-published an inspirational titled An Appointment With God: One Ordinary Man’s Journey to Faith Through Prayer, by Trafford Publishing.

His first published novel by Solstice Publishin

g is Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid, a parody of the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

His third work, a novella titled The Monogram Killer, published by Solstice Publishing, was released in May, 2016.

He is currently working on a short story titled A Matter of Honor, revising his first mystery novel, A Head in the Game, writing journals for an upcoming inspirational non-fiction book; and completed 70% of a first draft for a second mystery novel titled War Zone.

He is an editor and proofreader for Solstice Publishing.

Jack currently lives with his wife and two grown children, in Sugar Land, Texas. He has three grandchildren.

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The best place is my website – https://jstrandburg.wordpress.com/.

  Social Media:

            https://jstrandburg.wordpress.com/ (Author website)

https://jackstr952.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

            https://www.facebook.com/jack.strandburg (Facebook)

            https://www.linkedin.com/in/jack-strandburg-0465a313 (LinkedIn)

            http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CM9P9L2 (Amazon Author Page)

  Links to buy: Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid:

http://solsticepublishing.com/hustle-henry-and-the-cue-ball-kid/

http://www.amazon.com/Hustle-Henry-Cue-Ball-Jack-Strandburg-ebook/dp/B00BJ83O5K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461339661&sr=8-1&keywords=hustle+henry+and+the+cue-ball+kid

  Links to buy: The Monogram Killer:

https://www.amazon.com/Monogram-Killer-Jack-Strandburg-ebook/dp/B01G2B7IIC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471791612&sr=8-1&keywords=the+monogram+killer#nav-subnav

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-monogram-killer/

 

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Steve Bederman – Author Highlight and (yes, free) Free Book!

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FREE BOOK!

Connections by Steve Bederman FREE October 1st – 5th
https://www.amazon.com/Connections-Mitch-Jaco…/…/ref=sr_1_5…
Even when he’s hidden away trouble inevitably finds Mitch Jacobs. In his life he has known incredible highs and demoralizing lows; those from his personal failings so evident in his life and while building his company. In spite of this, starting with a simple idea, he has grown Symbiotic Technologies to a position as a world leader.
He believes that what he has gained versus what, and who, has been lost has been a poor trade.
Mitch has become reclusive, living deep in the Colorado mountain backwoods with his wife who was the former President of Colombia. Since he handed over the company to his employees there has finally been relative peace and safety.
In this, CONNECTIONS, the fourth book of the series, the reader travels from Colorado, to Quebec, Colombia, and to Washington DC; The White House. His beautiful wife, Pilar Reyes Cruz, finally goes home to the land where she once was elected as the first female president of this machismo country. She is still recognized throughout the world for the salvation of her troubled people and, as many believe, the future of all of Latin America.
There is no running from lust, and love, and business, and negotiation. Terrorism can show its ugly face at any moment and in many forms. Seemingly disparate events are all connected. Whether Pilar regains her purpose and Mitch refocuses on running one of the most passionate and inventive technology corporations in the world, are but two of the many questions left to answer. The US President, the King of England, the President of Colombia, and the world’s back alley power brokers all converge into Mitch Jacob’s continuum of CONNECTIONS.

https://www.amazon.com/Connections-Mitch-Jacobs-Steve-Bederman-ebook/dp/B00S8WPXRW/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475072284&sr=1-5&keywords=steve+bederman

KC Sprayberry’s Paradox Lost – Author Highlight

How cool can this be?

Paradox Lost: The Ultimate Paradox

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Welcome to book two of this series that is much like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

If you had the chance to read Paradox Lost: Their Path, you came to know DJ, Matt, and Elisa, and discover the path destiny has laid out for them. In Paradox Lost: The Ultimate Paradox, these triplets each have to make their way through a series of obstacles and prepare for a showdown with Rogues.

This new story brings out new information about the Sullivans and the destiny none of them was aware would be theirs to claim, along with several big surprises.

Paradox Lost: The Ultimate Paradox releases January 15, 2016!

Pre-order now!

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01AATE9UW

The past changed the future …

                                    . . . the future must salvage the past.

Falsely accused of murdering his father, DJ faces a terrible penalty. That’s the least of his worries—Uncle Toby and his army of Rogues are bent on tearing history apart, and DJ and his allies have to stop them any way they can. But only a True Neutral can save their world, and The First, his family’s ancestor, is long dead. His brother Matt was killed by Toby’s actions, and his sister Elisa is fighting her own demons.

The past created by their uncle needs to be uncreated into what it was meant to be. And these three teenagers, triplets and direct descendants of The First, must learn to ally with each other to correct the errors made real in the past.

And the Gateways reveal themselves as something no one ever suspected….

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About the Author:

Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines.

Book Trailer:

Social Media Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Blog: http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Website: www.kcsprayberry.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KcSprayberry/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

Manic Readers:

http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

AUTHORSdB:

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

 

Author Highlight: Marie Lavender

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Hi All,  I’m hosting one of my fellow writers.  I have to say, she is one of my favorites to host because . . . well, because you just have to read on to find out why . . .

Let’s begin with the interview:

What genres do you enjoy writing?

I am a multi-genre author, so I have written in a lot of different genres. I guess the one I favor more often than not is romance of any kind.

Tell us about your latest book:

My latest book, Blue Vision, which is closest to release, is a sci-fi romance. The novel is set in Montana in the dead of winter. The main character, Brooke, encounters some bizarre events and comes across a stranger in the middle of the forest one night. She has to figure out if it’s real or just her imagination.

What inspired the story? Where did you get that first bit of “ah ha” inspiration.”

I guess it was all those science fiction movies I watched growing up! LOL. That didn’t hurt. The scene in which Brooke finds Colin just came to me one day. After I decided to focus on that work-in-progress, the rest of the story just fell naturally into place.

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

Brooke is a capable, independent woman. She believes she doesn’t need a man in her life. She gets along just fine on her own. She’s athletic and has a fascination for fencing.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Wow! I can’t decide. I guess I admire Brooke a lot because she is a very strong person. But I also can relate to her because her tangled past has shaped her into who she has become.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Oh! I don’t want to give anything away…I should probably leave that question alone.

How much research did you have to do for this book? Any travel involved?

No travel, but I did quite a bit of research related to winters in Montana and how long it would take to hike certain distances in the area. I modeled the lodge after several winter lodges all over Montana. It took me awhile to decide exactly where Blue Vision should be set. And as for Endhivar, I just wrote about the planet the way I pictured it.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Believe it or not, it was breaking into a different genre. Writing science fiction was rather new for me. I did a lot of research about science fiction romance and writing sci-fi stories. In the end, I just went with my gut and used my imagination.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Fear can be a great motivational tool to find what you’re meant to do.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ll just name a few off the top of my head: J.R. Ward, Chloe Neill, Linda Lee Williams, Mika Jolie, and Nora Roberts. I love a writer who is not afraid to tell it like it is or take a risk in writing. Hell, even Kurt Vonnegut was an inspiration to me for years.

What does your writing process look like?

Random scenes come to me in any order. I write as much as I can, and then I start plotting and filling in the blanks with more writing and research.

Do  you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I usually need peace and quiet, though I’ve been known to occasionally listen to certain types of music on low volume while writing.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m finishing up a romantic drama collection titled Directions of the Heart. And in between that, I have been working on the second book in the Blood at First Sight Series, which is called Blood Instincts. That’s a paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

How  important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

I believe names are pretty significant. If I can’t come up with a name for a character right away, I’ll start with he/she and pick the name later. You need the right one. Sometimes I choose them based on how well I like them, or I use the website Behind the Name when I want to find out the origins of a name. This also helps for choosing ethnic names. I have a future series titled the Witches of Moonhaven Series, and I chose all of the main characters’ names based on each meaning.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Sometimes an action scene is harder for me to write because I have to picture it clearly in my mind first and then describe it. It needs to make sense.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I honestly think it chose me. It just seems like one day, around the age of nine, I somehow knew this is what I wanted for a career. I was always creating stories in my head.

Why do you write?

I write to tell a character’s story, to show his or her journey and how that character changes by the end. I write for my readers. Mostly, I write because I can’t see myself doing anything else but this; being immersed in storytelling is probably the greatest sense of freedom I’ve ever experienced.

Where do your ideas come from?

Sometimes I’m inspired by something someone said, whether it was a family member, a friend or a random stranger while I was out at a restaurant or in a store. At other times current events inspire me. My ideas often come from the mass of impressions and experiences stored in my head, jumbled up and then spat back out on the page in a completely new form.

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

Both. I am a hybrid, so I use both methods.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Research can be pretty hard sometimes. In the mass of confusion that is the internet, the search engines are no longer intuitive and it’s getting crazy difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for these days. Unless things start to improve, I may have to go back to old school methods and do some more traveling as well. LOL.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Have more patience. The road to publishing is long and it’s hardly easy. Also, getting published is only a small part of being an author. Authors now must take on many different roles or risk getting lost in the chaos that is this industry.

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

Hmm…tough question! To stick with our sci-fi theme, I wonder what inspired Aldous Huxley to write Brave New World. What a fascinating tale.

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

I truly don’t want to have taken credit for someone else’s work, just my own.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Besides patience? Probably persistence and perseverance. Be persistent, but obviously not annoying enough to make enemies. And persevere despite the obstacles you run into. Don’t be afraid to try new things, new ways of marketing or try what has worked successfully for other people. Keep what works for you and toss the rest.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel quite right, it usually isn’t. Trust yourself and trust your characters. They won’t steer you wrong either.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Readers can find more about me and my books on my website at https://marielavender.com/, or subscribe to my three blogs, Writing in the Modern Age, Marie Lavender’s Books! and the I Love Romance Blog. I also have an author newsletter, which provides updates about book releases and such. I am on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well.

Here are more ways of contacting Ms. Lavender:

Author Links

Tell the readers something about yourself that has nothing to do with writing.

I love beauty of any kind – flowers, lovely vistas, art, the list just goes on. I’m a big fan of beautiful things. And I love animals!

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

These are two great tools when you’re looking for a literary agent or a publisher: Query Tracker and Preditors & Editors. Query Tracker will help you organize your queries and look up agencies and publishing companies. And P&E is sort of like the Consumer Reports of the publishing industry. You can check on the reputations of these agencies or publishers to make sure they’re legitimate. Also, P&E has additional options, such as a list of writing contests, writing conventions or festivals, editing options and other great writer’s resources.

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More about Blue Vision

Brooke Sanders just wants to get away from her life for awhile. A remote cabin in Montana fits the bill. She doesn’t expect to encounter a mysterious stranger with unusual blue eyes, or events that cannot be explained…

Colin Fielding is on a mission – scout a planet and return home to Endhivar. Simple really. What he doesn’t anticipate is that fate has a pretty twisted sense of humor. Suddenly, this human calls to him, every part of him, like the call of a true mate, and he can’t deny the connection as he gets closer to her.

Little do they know, someone is out to do them harm, as well as the world Brooke holds so dear. Can they stop what’s coming before it’s too late? Or will the universe lose a perfect gem?

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And she is never one to sit idle . . .

Author Bio

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors. Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

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Author Highlight: Rachael Tamayo, Chase Me

Hi All, Rachael Tamayo, a down to earth woman, has graciously allowed me to blog about her:

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What genres do you enjoy writing? 

Romance, I’m currently working on a romantic suspense. I can see myself writing Young adult in the future as well.

Tell us about your latest book: 

Chase Me. Its book 1 in a 3 book series called Friend-Zone.  I enjoyed writing it very much and intertwining all the characters in all three books. Creating a whole world that spans across a series, I loved it and was almost sad when I got book three drafted. You get attached to your stories and sad when they are over.

What inspired the story? Where did you get that first bit of “ah ha” inspiration.” 

Funny enough, the first book I wrote, as I wrote, it dawned on me that Adrienne and Clint should have their own book, telling the story of how they fell in love. I never sat down intending to write a series, but it just flowed out of me.

This series has spawned 2 more book ideas for characters mentioned in these books.

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

Adrienne Lawrence, she’s a 21 year old about to graduate college, working like a dog managing her Father’s restaurant, and dealing with an unpleasant relationship with her family. Her friends fill the void for her, so she’s not quite as shattered as she might be if she were dealing with things on her own.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Clint Montomery. He is Adrienne’s best friend and love interest, and he was a blast to write. He’s a teacher, sexy, funny, down to earth, and just cocky enough to make someone look twice.

What does your writing process look like?

I draft, from start to finish. I present chapters to my critique group as I go, getting feedback for revisions. Once it’s drafted, I go back to page one and revise from the beginning.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

No, I can write anywhere, anytime.  If I get a good scene in my head I have to get it down on paper to get it out, to clear my head for my next idea.

What are you working on at the minute?

The working title is The Edge of Emily Bronte. Emily is being stalked by a millionaire that thinks they are madly in love. Things go from bad to worse, but thank God she has cute cop Isaiah Penrose to keep her company and help her when she’s starting to wonder just who the crazy one is here.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

I struggle with sex scenes. I have a religious upbringing and while I realize sex has a place in romance, I can’t make myself write anything graphic. I prefer to keep things sensual, leave something to the imagination while still steamy enough to keep you reading.

When did you decide to become a writer? 

I was born a writer I think. I’ve done it since grade school. It never was a decision, just what I am.

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

I stink at outlines. I prefer to let the idea carry me away.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Wondering if you are any good. You just don’t know until you bite the bullet and let strangers look at your work.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?   

Don’t stop, ever. Write, always. It’s just what you are, and nothing can change that. Keep trying, revising, and don’t give up.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? 

My website www.RachaelTamayowrites.com  You can find links to my social media here too.

My twitter

My Facebook Fan Page

My website

Author Highlight: Alex Pilalis, (Island Legends) The Awakening of James Island

Hi All, I love fantasy and Alex’s latest offering is worth the look-see:

Book Title:

Island Legends: The Awakening of James Island

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Amazon link:

getBook.at/IslandLegends (geolocked to the Amazon site of the country it’s clicked on)

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/IslandLegends/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Island_Legends

Genre:

Fantasy Adventure

Logline:

Trying to unlock his hidden past, one man must learn to trust a strange young alien in order to prevent a galaxy-wide threat

Blurb:

After awakening two years earlier as a fully grown man, James Island has managed to make a life for himself in the city he found himself in. Until the day a lost young alien named Evan Goodheart appears, claiming to be on a mission sent by the gods, who have named James as his aid.

Despite trepidation, James finds an affinity with the lost and bewildered Evan and takes it upon himself to help him find his way; all while attempting to maintain some order in the life he’s made and his construction work responsibilities. Throughout the course of the day James will come to realize the extent of Evan’s claims of their fates being entwined, as the truth of his unknown past is revealed to him.

Island Legends is set in a galaxy reeling from devastating wars, filled with countless alien species, a rich history of powerful magical forces and the interventions of many gods and dangerous spirits and demons constantly at war.

Details:

Island Legends: The Awakening of James Island is the first book of an epic fantasy adventure series. Set in a galaxy filled with aliens and different planets, it is part science fiction, but more strongly geared towards high fantasy. I like to describe it, in a very broad sense, as a cross between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I wanted to create worlds with different aliens and cultures, and also have my characters running around swinging swords and throwing magic, which I feel gives it a fairly unique tone. It is a serial book series, where each book tells the next part of a long journey. A bit like if the Lord of the Rings books were split up into ten or so parts instead of three big books.

Along with the fantasy genre tropes of magic and high adventure, it is also a story of self-discovery, particularly for James, and seeks to delve deep into the human psyche to ask such questions as ‘what does it truly mean to know who we are?’ and ‘how important are our past memories for shaping who our present selves are?’ I like to think of it as a character study, inspired by the varied and flawed characters forced to survive together on the television series Lost, or the daily lives of the intricate characters in Mad Men.

The novel was published by Solstice Publishing on January 15th 2016 (timed perfectly with my second niece’s first birthday!), and is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

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Author Bio:

After completing an Art Foundation course and a BA in Digital Arts, Alex Pilalis pursued his interest of animation with an MSc in Computer Animation and an online course with Animation Mentor. He is currently an animator on children’s television shows.