Author Interviews, Blog, Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog

Author Interview: Davene Le Grange, Sci-Fi Fantasy/ Poetry

Hi, I am Davene Le Grange, a Sci-fi Fantasy Author and Poet. I am currently working on a multi-genre 1,200 poems project. The first book in my twelve-book poetry series (inspired by cyberpunk and steampunk) includes almost every punk genre.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      My poem “Once Upon A Butterfly” was published in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I wrote to publish novels. My husband and the film “Arrival” directed by Denis Villeneuve inspired me to start writing. I wrote “Éatheria: Logbook 1” and the overview for a series of seven dark sci-fi fantasy books, which I hope to complete and publish after some more world-building, rewriting, and editing. 

Marketing

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:      I typically reach out to friends and family first (recently via my newsletter) to request spreading the word, I will then go onto social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to promote my works (as well as the works of my fellow authors involved in anthologies), and also update my author website.

How do you promote your content?

Author:      I did, following the recommendations of fellow authors on social media, try promotional sites, but quickly learnt that there is a lot of controversy on which sites are scams, cons, and that even the generally accepted sites are also sometimes called into question. I am grateful to have come across ALLi which investigates which sites to watch out for, because experience has taught me that even if you think you’re doing everything correct and doing your utmost to adhere to Amazon’s terms, reviews can still be called into question.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      I have learnt that reviews don’t accurately portray the quality of a book. If what I’ve seen fellow authors share online to be true then a high number of reviews or five-star ratings can stem from large online writer groups, some authors having the ability to spend more on marketing, or sadly when readers are attacked by authors for leaving an honest rating that is below three stars. I myself would rather not rate or even read a book if I feel the quality falls below 3 stars. Follower counters also don’t equate to sales, and I don’t believe that reviews equate to actual success. True success will always be the genuine friends and connections a person makes, and there are no short cuts in the forming of strong bonds between an author and their fellow authors and readers.

About Your Work

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:     As a versatile person, I am still working on my author brand, but overall, I root for diversity, and would like to leave a lasting message of love, peace, and hope. I’m still discovering who I am as a person, and again rarely confine myself to any one particular label as I don’t like to limit myself. I am full of ideas all the time, my biggest challenge is keeping focused, but as I am still experimenting with finding my true passion project, I’m just enjoying living and discovering.

How many works have you published?

Author:      I have had five works published so far.  I have three short stories in three different anthologies: Broadcast 2220 in Arc City Stories (Todd Cinani as Lead Writer), The Spherical Realms and Penumbra and Luster in The Theater of Nok-Mondu, and The Undercover Goth in Neon Digital Darkness (James L. Graetz as Lead Writer). I also have my poem Once Upon A Butterfly published in Away With Words: Inspirations from Europe (Edited by Claire Tupholme), and have a self-published poetry book The Cyber Punk: Ready-2-Play?

Name some common elements in your writing: villains, magic, red-herring twists, the unfortunate ensign, mysterious phenomena, asyndeton, sentence fragments etc.

Author:      Other than my focus on colorful imagery and diverse world-building, a common element I have noticed in my writing is a main character that questions if their actions are truly good. I personally find it very important to constantly question if I’m on the correct path and to challenge myself to see a situation from other perspectives.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      Cautionary tales for what people build as well as inspiration to build a better world for future generations. My stories are by nature experimental, and I’m happy if they inspire at least one person to push forward with a new idea to create something good and beautiful for our world to enjoy.

Do you recommend any programs, courses, or websites?

Author:      I would love to give recommendations but again what works for one author might not for another, and with the current climate I’d simply suggest adhering to the terms, rules, and laws as best you can but realize that you’re going to make mistakes and have disagreements. Do the best you can, learn as much as you can, and spread kindness rather than judgment. Not every author you meet has the knowledge and access to the same education as you do. If you see someone struggling offer advice and a helping hand or walk away rather than threaten, resort to group mobs, and cancelling people. Not everyone thinks, feels, and believes the same, and if free speech is to truly be free then our levels of patience, tolerance, and understanding need to reflect our acceptance of another’s right to speak freely. There are boundaries and limits of course, but that’s what the mute and block buttons are for. Opinion and fact are not the same, and people are complex and dynamic. Compassion is essential in the writing field.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      Most of my ideas stem from thoughts and inspirations I had since I was a kid, and I simply attach new experiences and concepts to them. For this reason, I don’t struggle as much with writer’s block as much as I do with organizing my thoughts and ideas coherently. I typically write an overview to keep organized, and then write without editing until I have a first draft. Next, I edit over and over again until my work is the best quality I can produce. If I’m still willing to re-read and edit my work for the fifth, hundredth, or umpteenth time, then I know it’s a good enough story to publish because I’m still interested in reading the same story. My quickest turn around for a first draft is a week for 30 poems and a month for a 100K word novel, but a polished draft can take a month or years depending on the story.

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      My toughest struggle continues to be discerning between good and bad advice for fellow authors, especially newbie and indie authors. It is a struggle to sift between what a writer needs to do, should do, and should never do. Even giving advice as an author can be tough because what works for me might not work for someone else. Writing much like life involves a constant learning process. If I may share one tip it is to be kind to yourself and others. As perfect as you want everything, and as much as you want everything to go as you envision, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. If you can make it through the writing process, through every obstacle and challenge, and if you can handle criticism with maturity and grace then you will grow stronger as a writer and as a person. No matter what, you and your story are worth being heard.

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      Absolutely. I have experienced thrilling moments that made me love every day, and I have had moments that made me want to quit writing and never read another book again in my life. I have experienced the same extreme emotions while writing as well where every emotion pours out of me on every page. Therapeutic as that can be, I do suggest allowing time to go through each emotion. Allow yourself as a budding writer to process every step of the writing to marketing process.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      Even though there are times I wish certain things had taken a different route I don’t know that I would change anything because I’ve learnt so much. I believe you meet who you meet and you go through what you do for a reason, and it can all work to help one improve and grow as a person. No route will ever be perfect, and no decision made (good or bad) will ever be without consequence. Nothing can change the past, but working on improving the present, hopefully will mean a better tomorrow.

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:      I believe one of the biggest myths is that you can write and publish a book and make tons of money from it. Most authors barely cover the costs invested in publishing, especially as an Indie. Also, another myth is that popular authors are the best authors around. Some of the (depending on your definition of success) most successful and greatest authors (as people and writers) are the yet-to-be-discovered gems. I recommend taking a chance on authors with intriguing book covers, good blurbs, and interesting sample reads rather than focusing on book reviews, popularity, and ratings.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      I will listen to Heavy Metal when writing a battle scene, Alternative Rock and mostly Evanescence when writing a sad emotional scene. Synth or Melancholic Post-Rock for city landscape world-building, and Starset, Svrcina, and Sleeping At Last if my world-building involves distant planets and galaxies. Music, especially during the editing process, transports me to the correct mindset I need to fully immerse in the moment and emotions I hope to capture.

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      I started writing in 2016 after suffering severe nerve damage. The most comfortable place for me to write at that time was sitting on a bed, which I do not recommend for posture or the neck.  Thank God, I made a full recovery last year, and now write at the dining table or on the couch when our (my husband and my) adopted rescue pup Ava sleeps curled up between my legs. Once a dog falls asleep it’s an unspoken rule that moving is out of the question. I’m able to write a lot until Ava wakes up. I don’t mind that she interrupts my writing, watching her heal and grow is worth every second, and she fills our home with so much love. I wouldn’t trade my precious time with my husband and her, not even for a writer’s award or movie deal. For me true success is the love and joy shared with others, and there’s no greater blessing from God than the love and support of my Hubs and our pup. Everything else is an extra added bonus.

Author Interviews, Blog, Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog

Author Interview: Jonkohrr, Fantasy/ Science Fiction

Hi. I’m G Jonathan Hall (Jonkohrr) and I write in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres. There are only two works I can talk about for the time being. First, there’s The Enigma of the V, which is an epic fantasy adventure that’s been published on Webnovel; and then there’s also It’s a Brave New World, a Sci-Fi thriller that’s still a work in progress. You can read it in its early stages at Wattpad or Inkitt.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      The official answer is March, 2020. I started because I needed something to do in order to maintain my sanity during the lockdowns (whether or not this was successful is debatable). But unofficially, I started writing fan-fiction comics ever since I was a kid. I even made a 16-issue series of Dragon Ball Z, creating both the art and writing the story. The thing is that I’ve always had a creative side. The Enigma of the V has been the greatest expression of that so far.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:      I finished the main story for The Enigma of the V in two years. There is a secret ending still in the works, but the official ending was completed at the end of April 2022.

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:      The Enigma of the V was published with Webnovel under an exclusive contract. Due to the way the site/app works, it is a “web novel”, meaning that new chapters were made available to the public as frequently as I was able to write them.

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

Author:      So far I have published The Enigma of the V, my fantasy novel on Webnovel. I’m in the process of publishing It’s a Brave New World on Wattpad and Inkitt.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits? Author:      Occasionally, very few kind people would leave critiques and feedback for me on the Webnovel review section. The editing I’ve done it all myself, and with each re-read I find other things that need to be corrected. I’m hoping to receive a lot more feedback in the near future.

What would you do if a pigeon told you that you had to save the world?
Read More on WebNovel

Marketing

Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

Author:      The main platform I’m active on is Twitter (@jonkohrr). This is where I make announcements about the progress of my works and try to spread the word about what I’m working on. I also have a Facebook page (The Enigma of the V) and an Instagram (@jonkohrr1983), but I’m definitely more active on Twitter since I get the most engagement from there.

How do you promote your content?

Author:      Mainly Twitter. I made a blog to share some additional information about The Enigma of the V primarily, but still haven’t seen any engagement there. I’ll try to revive the blog, though… especially now that I have a new work in progress that is so different from the previous one. I even have a Patreon and a Ko-fi account that I made for whenever the fans arrive. On those two platforms I mainly have some artwork that I created for the main characters of The Enigma of the V.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      For me, success would be to have my stories known. Writing the storylines, characters and worlds of The Enigma of the V particularly has been an endeavor that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I want other people to be fond of that world and those characters. If I’m able to achieve this, then I will have succeeded. And of course, I wouldn’t mind having my story receive an anime adaptation. A guy can dream…

About Your Work

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      I’ve always wanted my first story (The Enigma of the V) to be made into an anime series. That has not changed… It remains my dream to this day. I say anime, but what I really mean is that I want it to be an animated series. It doesn’t necessarily have to be made by a Japanese studio (although I would definitely love that!).

Do you have other supporting services like a podcast, blog, webinars, courses, video channel?

Author:      As I mentioned before, I have a blog (https://gpanbrasil.wixsite.com/website). I also have a Youtube channel where I mostly repost promo shorts from my Tiktok (Jonkohrr).

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      A safe place to ponder and meditate. Hopefully also incite excitement over the worlds and characters I’ve created.

What has been your favorite part of the writing and querying or publishing process?

Author:      My favorite thing about writing so far has been enjoying the power conferred unto me by creation. To create an entire universe with its own set of rules, liveliness and characters with their own hopes and dreams… what is that if not the power of God?

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      For The Enigma of the V I first decided that I would divide the story in five parts/volumes. Then I created an outline for the chapters I envisioned to have in each part, both naming them and writing a short summary of where the story was supposed to go in that chapter. Many times this ended up changing by the time I arrived at the chapter to actually write it, but it provided me with a guide so I would always know where the story was going. Depending on how the creative juices were flowing, it would take me either a few hours or a few days to complete an outline for one part/volume; and well, the entire thing took me two years to complete (not considering the super-secret part VI that’s actually still in the works… the true ending to the story).

With my new work in progress (It’s a Brave New World) I’ve gone full-fledged pantser. I’m discovering the story as I go. It’s actually pretty exciting!

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:      I have a presence on all these sites, but I’m most active on Twitter. The reason for that is that I’ve found a mostly welcoming writing community there. Even though it’s not a lot, I do get some engagement there, so it makes posting things somewhat worthwhile.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      Seeing as though I don’t really have much to compare with, I would guess that I’m a slow writer. I’ve had a lot of time available for writing; otherwise I wouldn’t even have finished the main story for The Enigma of the V.

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      I’ve had to deal with some personal issues, among which figures my overall health. There was a point at which I was unable to focus on writing because of it.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      The change I would make is publishing with Webnovel. It really didn’t turn out the way I expected, and it greatly limited what I’m able to do with my story. It was a hasty and generally uninformed decision that I made which I’m sad to say that I now regret.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:      My motivation comes from my stories and characters themselves. They are the ones that keep me going. When I’m writing, I see everything play out. I’m there in that universe both as creator and spectator. Their goals are also my goals. I just have to see the story to the end.

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:      I was hoping for them to read my first story The Enigma of the V. I don’t think they did… though I’ve received their support in other ways.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      There was a time when I used to play an MMORPG called Perfect World. I had made a playlist for when I would play back then. That playlist was full of OST’s from video games and series that I liked. I keep adding to it to this day, so it’s grown to be pretty massive. I don’t always listen to this playlist, but when I do, it ends up adding one more layer of concentration and immersion in the story that I’m writing at the moment.

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:      I’ve learned that there’s a piece of me in all of the character’s I’ve created. Writing has helped me process some of the deepest darkest issues that have haunted my soul.

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      I don’t eat or drink anything while writing. At least I’ve never done it yet.

How can readers follow you and learn more about your books?

Author:      Ok. First of all, follow my Twitter (@jonkohrr). Secondly, my blog which I promise to show some love to again. Hopefully, there will be others that do so as well (https://gpanbrasil.wixsite.com/website). I’m also on Patreon and Ko-fi as jonkohrr, and on Instagram as @jonkohrr1983.

My first novel, which is in the fantasy genre and is called The Enigma of the V, can be found here:

WebNovel: The Enigma of the V

Twitter: @jonkohrr
Instagram: @jonkohrr1983
Blog: https://gpanbrasil.wixsite.com/website
Wattpad/Inkitt: Jonkohrr
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jonkohrr

Author Interviews, Blog, Steamy Romance Blog

Author Interview: Paul A. DeStefano, Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance/ Dark Fantasy

I’m Paul DeStefano, and I write Dark Fantasy. Riftsiders: Unlawful Possession is the first book of the Riftsiders Series and release 4/18/22.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but professional fantasy writing started in 2004. That was when I was picked up by the gaming company Fantastique Forges after they read some of my work online. It started as a hobby and spread over the decades to become career.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:      My first books were things I wrote in high school and for college courses. That’s ancient history I can no longer recall. For Riftsiders, the process was about two months.

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:      I wrote it in about two months in 2020, and it his the shelves in 2022.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      Traditional through small press. I really don’t want to get involved in the nuts and bolts of things like format, ISBN and sourcing editors. I’ll happily pay a chunk of my royalties to get the right people lined up for me so I can spend time writing and editing.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:      It’s me. I’m the target audience.

What is your publishing process?

Author:      I spend some time outlining, then writing, then drop it to my agent. She edits and kicks back. I grumble and reply. She then starts sending it out to publishers, and there’s another editing round there.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      I have a few hundred people in my fan groups I can appeal to for feedback. Edits come from my agent.

Marketing

Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

Author:      I have a few hundred newsletter subscribers, a few hundred followers on Facebook (Paul D’s Tainted Dragon Inn) and I’m a very minor celebrity in the tabletop gaming world.

What is your launch plan for your works?

Author:      I do a few ads on Amazon and Facebook, my newsletter and social media. I’m big into live appearances, doing seminars and talks, which has been on pandemic hold since 2/2020, but I’ve started booking again.

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:      Haven’t seen any yet…

How do you promote your content?

Author:      Again, I’m big into doing talks at conventions. Nothing beats face to face with fans.

What do you think is the most critical marketing component or tactic for becoming successful?

Author:      Listen. Don’t assume what you have is gold or what you’re doing is the best way. Always be willing to accept criticism, from prose to marketing.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      I got a text this morning. My book released at midnight last night. Someone read half the book overnight. That’s pretty solid success to me.

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic?

Author:      I do a bunch of horror shorts, several will be in anthologies this year. I have a screenplay I’m trying to get noticed. But the concentration is really novels.

What genres and subgenres do you write in?

Author:      Contemporary fantasy and horror. Traditional sword and sorcery fantasy as well. I ghostwrite science fiction, and may do some under my own name in the future.

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:      Tainted Dragon Inn, Inc. is my actual corporate name. Literally, the concept of a tavern to go to and swap friendly stories. It was created when I took up ghostwriting due to the amount of fantasy I was working on for gaming companies. I want a comforting place to tell discomforting tales.

How many works have you published?

Author:      My first novel in my own name just came out. If you include things like trade articles, ghostwritten works and online pieces… hundreds.

Can you tell us a bit about your most recent publication?

Author:      I decided it was time to do novels for me, not just as a hired gun. Riftsiders was born. Scary, silly, sexy. I had this concept of possession being a common social issue, and using it as a way to explore racism and bigotry against sexual orientation, neurodivergent and other classifications that are literally ‘demonized’ in today’s society.

Name some common elements in your writing: villains, magic, red-herring twists, the unfortunate ensign, mysterious phenomena, asyndeton, sentence fragments etc.

Author:      My work takes place in an uncanny valley right next to reality. Something is usually dark and twisted. Everything is laced with strange humor. I’m fascinated with the nature of personality and how people are not always what they appear. This is very on the surface in Riftsiders, where the demons can be seen as other aspects of a character’s self.

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      Make people think and smile. Always the same.

Do you have other supporting services like a podcast, blog, webinars, courses, video channel?

Author:      I had a fantasy podcast a few years back that I’ve dropped, but who knows what’s to come.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      A smile and a new idea of the world around them.

What part of the author process are you working on or studying most now?

Author:      Marekting… The not authoring part.

What has been your favorite part of the writing and querying or publishing process?

Author:      I hate the nuts and bolts of it, which is why I got an agent. I just hand stuff over and she does the heavy lifting. I just write the stuff.

Do you recommend any programs, courses, or websites?

Author:      Sure, anything I teach is awesome. Otherwise, everything is so hit or miss out there. I strongly suggest every writer get some form of editorial software like ProWritingAid. It’s amazing the things you can learn from that. Yeah, it’s incredibly wrong sometimes, but it opens your eyes.

Which authors write similar books to yours? How did you find them?

Author:      Harlan Ellison and Clive Barker each have these ‘reality next door’ feels that I try for. I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide whether or not I get there.

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      I’m a huge dark fantasy fan. There’s just so much out there. I love seeing what other people have explored, and that often opens new ideas up for me.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I plot like freaking crazy. For an 80K word book, I can easily have 15-20K of background and outline that no one ever gets to see but me. If I spend 12 weeks writing a manuscript, 4 weeks is plotting.

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:      Probably Facebook.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      When I’m writing, I set hard deadlines. This is a holdover from ghostwriting and assignment work. Usually 2500 words a day.

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      Everyone saying you can’t get an agent. It wasn’t hard and I was just scared going in.

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      New writers love to say “Writing has no rules”. This is incredibly wrong. If you want to get accepted, put in magazines, anthologies and find agents and publishers to support you, you have to follow very precise rules. Sure, you can write free verse poetry and say no one understands you when you get rejected. But most rejections are because you didn’t follow rules, either the submission process or linguistically. If you’re getting form rejection after form rejection – something’s wrong with the submission. Step back. Make it “right” and try again. Do not become so attached to your art that you can no longer see it.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      Accept criticism.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      I’d probably take the step to novelist sooner.

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      I love promoting me. I get out there all the time.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:      If I don’t, I don’t get to eat. Starvation is strong motivation.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:      Writing.

What literary/writer-based term did you not know when you started that has become important and relevant to you?

Author:      ISBN. And I do whatever I can to not deal with it.

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:      Having always written, it never really came as a surprise to anyone.

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:      That they’re introverts.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      Every project gets its own playlist. This is actually a very important part of outlining to me.

Is there a fun word or group of terms you like to put into your writing?

Author:      Klaxon. I also like hiding obscure messages in names.

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      My home office. Next to a window looking down to the street and with hot tea. Always.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      Brain Movies.

What is your favorite literary trope?

Author:      Miscommunication when two people hear the identical thing and interpret it differently.

How do you try to “break the mold” and be unique?

Author:      Horror and humor are not separate genres when I write.

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:      I have to slow down.

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      Lapsang Souchong. It’s a smoked tea. It smells like burning rope. 3-6 mugs a day.

Do you have a writing companion?

Author:      I have four cats. They often insert themselves between me and the keyboard.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Author:      Everyone can teach you something.

Author Website: PaulADeStefano.com
Facebook: Paul D’s Tainted Dragon Inn.
Twitter: @TDIPaulD
Instagram: TaintedDragonInn
Book Sales Pages: https://amzn.to/3EncU42

Author Interviews, Blog, Sweet Romance Blog

Author Interview: Roger Stark, Historical Romance/ Biography/ Creative Non-fiction

Roger Stark

Historical Romance, WW2, Biography, Creative Non-fiction, 

Author of: They Called Him Marvin  

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:  Several years ago while working as an Addiction Counselor I wrote two how-to books on recovery. I ended up self publishing them and have had a modest amount of success with the first, “The Waterfall Concept”  has some success. That process gave me a functioning knowledge of the process but I really had no plans or desires to write another book, on any subject.

And then I became friends with Marv Sherman.

Marv and Judy (Marv’s wife) had invited my wife, Sue and I to dinner, it was a sort of thank you dinner for some assistance I gave them when they went on a temporary work assignment (Marv is a veterinarian) to Alaska. Marv and I engaged in a rather emotional conversation about his father that he had never met. His father, Dean, was a B29 Airplane Commander during WW2, shot down over Nagoya Japan, captured and ……..(you will have to read the story to learn the rest.)

Marv’s knowledge of his father was staggeringly incomplete and he openly wept as he told me the story. He had avoided learning about what had happened to his father to avoid the pain the knowledge would bring to him. I felt a compassion for my friend overcame me and I committed to helping him learn of his Dad. That turned into a request to write the story and It was on.  

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:  It took 8 years to write and publish TCHM. Much of that time was divided between research and re-writes. I knew little of the war and was shocked to learn the fates of B29 airman shot down over Japan, to say nothing of my shock at learning how the B29 were used against the Japanese people. During the Viet Nam War I was aware of vigorous condemnations of the use of napalm against the Viet Namese people. Turns out there was a good reason, they newly experience the horrors of fire bombing. Especially the fire bombing of urban areas without military targets. 

Marv had his parent’s letters from the war. Connie had kept everyone of Dean’s letters she received. The only letters from Connie he had were returned to her as undeliverable after he went MIA. Marv could not bring himself to even read the letters, he had attempted to transcribe them but that proved to be an emotional quagmire for him and he did not finish.  

What is your publishing process?

Author:  My process was certainly non-traditional. When I wrote “The Waterfall Concept” about 15 years ago I was a complete publishing novice. After finishing my manuscript I sent it to a few publishers for consideration, waiting for six months to hear back from them, I always got a similar reply, “Great manuscript, unfortunately, we are not interested.”

In my frustration, started to consider how to self publish. That is when I stumbled across Gorham Printing located just a few miles from me in Centraila, Wa. They specialize in helping self publishers, usually printing in small lots. I had to find my own editor and obtain an ISBN number, but they managed the formatting and printing process for me. I really cannot say enough good things about these people. They are incredible!

With several hundred copies of my book, I literally took off in the family car in search of a distributor. That trip did not go well. After lots of miles and lots of “No’s” I gave up and started for home. There was one more potential stop that I had written off because of all the other responses I had received. But a few miles north of Salt Lake City, I engaged in a rather lengthy sales conversation with the owner of Brigham Distributing. I could tell as the conversation wore on that the owner was weighing this opportunity in his mind, with it’s very low chance of much profitability. He startled me when he jumped up and said, “Sure we will distribute your book, do you have any copies with you?”

I could not unload the car fast enough, afraid he might change his mind. Brigham took care of creating the ebook, getting the Amazon listing, and getting bookstores know the book was available.

With all that in mind when I was finishing the “They Called Him Marvin” manuscript, I never considered anything but self publishing. I knew what hoops I had to jump through and it all seemed easier the third time through. 

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:     The secret sauce for me were the writing groups at the Writer’s Attic in Portland Or. Great comrades as we each worked on our individual projects, reading and critiquing each other’s work, we all grew as writers. Many of the key elements of TCHM were developed in the those groups sitting around the tables giving feedback to each other

Normally I don’t respond well to criticisms of my writing (a serious pride issue on my part) but somehow in those groups, my defenses dropped and I could hear what others were saying. Perhaps that speaks to the trust we developed in each other, it was a rather remarkable experience, making these new friends and growing to love them. We could, after all, see right into their hearts by reading their writings.

Marketing

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:   Reviews. They are quite the writers’s challenge when launching a work.  I thought I was being very aggressive about getting pre publication reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Being not very well connected in the writing world, I did not have a bevy of fellow writers to trade reviews with. I bought a few initially, used Netgalley, and some other like sources, gaining a few reviews but not in the quantity that I had hoped for. I turned to family (who cares that their last name is the same as mine) then friends, then in a desperation move, acquaintances, using a very loose definition of the word. A few friends talked their friends into helping out and by the publication date we had enough to launch.  

How do you promote your content?

Author: If you have any suggestions, I am all ears. This is where I made my biggest mistake in judgment.  I felt pretty good about marketing and promoting of my Addiction Recovery books . Well, what I learned back then, really didn’t apply to a book about a WW2 love story with a tragic ending. Suffice it to say I am still working on this part of my project. 

I did make a rather expensive mistake on Amazon advertising. In my inexperience I made a several thousand dollar blunder that netted me nothing, I still swear a little bit when I think about it.

I do like Book Tours obviously and feel they are well worth the money. Reduced price promotions of the ebook have raised awareness also. We have a constant Facebook presence and ad campaigns, Amazon ads are on the back burner for now. They have a place in my marketing plan, I am just not sure I know where that is yet. 

About Your Work

What do you want your readers to get out of your works? 

Author:      To remember and honor those that have given so much in our behalf. In TCHM Dean gave his all in service to his country, but it didn’t stop there, his wife and son went on giving the rest of their lives, deprived of a relationship with him. 

Marvin was a half orphan and struggled to figure out life. Some of his teenage exploits are both humorous and terrifying at the same time. He quit high school and in a moment of clarity realized that he needed some discipline that a place, like say the Army, might bring into his life. He was absolutely right about the Army and after his service he went onto college to become a licensed veterinarian. 

Do you recommend any programs, courses, or websites?

Author:   My experience is that there are local writer’s groups all over this country and if there isn’t one in your area the internet can bring one to you. For me writing was the main thing that helped me improve my skills. I wrote for a recovery magazine for several years, my editor towards the end of that work made the comment, “Your writing skills have really improved.” That was news to me! I thought I was just writing like I always did, my own eyes could not see the improvements. That shows the importance of another pair of eyes looking at your work. You don’t need to believe everything you hear, as we say in recovery, “just take what you like and leave the rest.”

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:    I am a rewriter! I long ago lost count of the chapter ones for TCHM. My brain can just see a better way to phrase a passage when I look at a written presentation of it. Ann Lamott in an article on writing gave us all permission to write a shitty first draft. (Her word not mine) That advice has served me very well, when I stopped trying to write the perfect sentence the first time through, the quality and quantity of my writing increased dramatically.

After I was about one half way through my manuscript, Marv came to me with a family history Connie had penned that had been lost to the family. The facts she revealed did not agree with the creative non fiction account I had conjured up. Which meant I wasn’t half way through my manuscript at all.

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:  SELF DOUBT. I will say no more on the subject.  

Fun Stuff 

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:   There were three things I  listened to as I wrote. (I am listening to one of them now as I write this.) Disturbed’s version of “Sounds of Silence,” The theme to “The Last of the Mohicans” and Boston’s “Third Stage” album. All were on continuous tape and played at a very high volume.    

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:    I am not sure of the food or snack but I know such breaks involved Dr Pepper!  

Author Interviews, Blog, Sweet Romance Blog

Author Interview: Angela D Shelton, Christian/Young Adult

I’m currently writing under my true name, Angela D. Shelton in the Christian Fiction, Young Adult genres. In March, I published Collapse: The Death of Friendship with Two Oaks Publishing, LLC. The second book in the series, Collapse: The Death of Honor should be out by June.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      My grandmother was a writer who used her craft to help pay my aunt’s way through college. Though she died before I was able to have conversations with her about her writing, I’ve always wanted to follow in her footsteps. In my freshman year of college, I took a creative writing class as an elective and the professor tried to convince me to change my major to writing. At that time, I figured there was no money in writing for most people, so stayed on my track to becoming an accountant. Two years ago I decided it was time to try my hand at creating stories for the page, and I’ve found that I absolutely love it.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:      My first book took about six months to write. Unfortunately, it was a learning experience. The result was so awful that my own sister didn’t even finish reading it. Fortunately, I found the American Christian Writers Association and Word Weavers who provided mentoring opportunities through critique groups. There are some amazing writers out there and those I’ve worked the closest with have indicated my work is pretty good now, so I’m excited to share my work with others. Even my sister read my first published book and loved it. She’s waiting impatiently for the second book to be published. Even my sisters don’t get to see it until then.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I am an independently published author. As an accountant, I understand the financial side of the business and could see very little benefit to traditional publishing other than the vanity aspects of it. I see that it will take a bit more time for my work to be recognized as an indie, but I’m patient.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:      My critique group pointed me in the right direction. Because my protagonist is a young adult, it makes sense for me to sell to that audience; however, a number of my critique partners have indicated that adults would enjoy my book just as much as the younger set.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      Since I’m just starting out, I see success in every positive review that I obtain. Unfortunately, many more people tell me how much they enjoyed my book than those who take the time to write a review for me. I do encourage them to write, but folks are busy.

About Your Work

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      As a Christian, my goal is to share the joy I experience on a daily basis. So many people struggle in their lives, it’s hard to watch sometimes. If I can bring a positive message that helps even one person, it’s worth it. I don’t like heavy-handed preaching though. For the most part, Americans are aware of Christianity, and many have walked away from it for various reasons. Rarely do they walk away from it because of God. Usually, it’s over other Christians and how they’ve been treated. I get that. I’ve been there and “bought the t-shirt” as they say. But we were put on this earth to encourage each other and that’s my goal.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I’m a combination of pantsing and plotting. Using the Save the Cat method, I put together my basic outline of the story. But once I’m writing, I often find myself writing my way out of my outline and have to go back and re-outline because I prefer the direction the new story is going.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      Nothing. Seriously, it drives me nuts when someone is talking when I’m writing. I live out on a farm, which is where I draw a lot of my inspiration from. So my favorite sounds are birds, chickens, cows, and sometimes my dogs who love to complain. Two huskies, Ricky and Lucy, usually sit nearby when I’m writing, and if I take too long without paying attention to them, they “talk” to me about it. If dogs could cuss, I’d swear they were at me some days.

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      It all depends on the day and time. I like to sit at the kitchen island, in the early mornings at my desk, or if I’m on vacation, in the hotel room at the desk with the window open to the beach. Nature inspires me, so my favorite spots include the sounds of animals or the ocean. It’s almost always enhanced with a hot cup of chai latte though. That’s the one constant.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      I can’t share the title yet, because I’m reading for a fellow author who hasn’t yet published it. It’s a really good read though, so watch my website for my review that will be out soon.

Author Interviews, Blog, Children's Book Blog

Author Interview: Lindsay Payne, Children’s/Fiction/Non-fiction

Lindsay Payne is the author of Children’s picture books and chapter books, non-fiction, and fiction which is her favorite to write.

Red Shoes & Wine is published, 99 Red Balloons is in the editing phase and will hopefully be available on Amazon end of February 2022, and she will commence writing The Red Butterfly in February 2022. Her most recent publication is Granny Clampet’s Cupcakes.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:     I wrote my first book in 2006 – Bags of Trouble for Valeskia Maleskia – about a beautiful fish trapped in a plastic bag in the ocean. I realized there was a message and moral I wanted to write about and so began the journey of writing children’s books – each with a moral, intertwined between the pages.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:      It took me three weeks to write Bags of Trouble

Has your publishing timeframe improved at all since your first publication?

Author:      Yes definitely.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I’m an indie author, purely because it was very difficult to find a literary agent who was willing to give me a chance. I spent years trying to go the traditional route and it was only around five years ago, I found the indie route and it’s been a fabulous ride.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:    I’m still working on that! My children’s books generally sell through word of mouth and through mums scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. 

What is your publishing process?

Author:   I publish through KDP on Amazon.

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

Author:      I currently publish on Amazon only, but market on Facebook, Instagram and have just started the Tik Tok journey.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      I ask close friends if they will read my first draft for me and provide honest, unbiased feedback. I met my editor through a Facebook group last year and he’s now become a good friend and my editor which I’m truly grateful for.

Marketing

Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

Author:      I use Facebook mainly and have three pages I bounce between, my personal page, my children’s book page and my adult book page. I’m not as active on Instagram, as I am still learning the ropes and have just started using Tik Tok.

What is your launch plan for your works?

Author:   I don’t have a solid plan. What I currently do is publish on Amazon and then will write a blurb about that particular book with the cover image. Once the book is available on Amazon, I then post the links on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok.  

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:     Once my second last edit is back, I will then post on FB that I’m looking for new beta readers. When sending the book to them, I ask that once they’ve finished reading it, would they be happy to write a review.

How do you promote your content?

Author:      Usually a blurb on Facebook or Instagram. I’ve tried FB Ads, but I haven’t been too successful with that. I think it’s all to do with target market and I’m still working my way around research on how to be more precise.

What do you think is the most critical marketing component or tactic for becoming successful?

Author:      I think “soft marketing” is definitely the best approach. One also has to be very mindful of how to self-promote – something I truly battle with.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:  When an author is being mentioned among other authors, then you know that your name is getting out there. Not only are we our own worst critics, but our fellow authors can be too, so if you are being discussed among fellow colleagues for all the right reasons, then you generally should be “good to go!”   

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic?

Author:      Moral based children’s books – which have stemmed from my swimming coaching career since the age of twenty. More recently, I’ve dived into thriller-based novels and at this stage of my life, this is where I’m happiest writing.

What genres and subgenres do you write in?

Author:     Children’s picture and chapter books, non-fiction and fiction.

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:   My children’s book illustrator, has found her own style with creating the images for all my children’s books and this branding seems to be working well. She has a very keen eye for detail and is very perceptive to the precise images I’m trying to portray.  I had been searching for an illustrator for quite a while, because I literally can’t draw to save my life, and within a few days Meg had produced the image for “When A Stranger Says Hello” a little book for children about stranger danger.


Sally has a wonderful life and special friends. Her best friend is Tessa who lives next door. They have been friends with each other since they first met at nursery school five years ago. Now they are in primary school in the third grade.

The besties love school and seeing each other every day. Both girls are very good readers and often come first and second in the class for their beautiful essays. Their stories are filled with adventure and excitement and Sally in particular, thrives on adventure.

The one thing Sally struggles with is swimming. She is not a very strong swimmer and feels embarrassed about this, until one day she has no choice but to swim.

Follow Sally on her lifesaving, life changing adventure.


How many works have you published?

Author:      I’ve written thirty-one children’s books, two non-fiction books and have just completed the second book in a trilogy series.

Can you tell us a bit about your most recent publication?

Author:      Granny Clampet’s Cupcakes was inspired by an aunt who lives in the UK. She’s a lady everyone loves and a grandmother to eight children. She’s led a very interesting, incredible life and is someone you can have a jolly good chat with. She can talk to anyone, no matter your background or age and so, with this in mind, the idea came to me one day where I thought about how we can’t be good at everything, but as long as we are a good person.

Granny Clampet lives in a cottage on the outskirts of a lovely village called Wiltshire. She has a wonderful life playing golf once a week, bridge twice a week, Scottish dancing every weekend and attending book club once a month.

She’s a terrible baker and this is all tested one day when she’s asked to bake something for the local Wiltshire Community Fundraiser. A whole lot of chaos arises in her kitchen, which creates a chain of remarkable events.

Name some common elements in your writing: villains, magic, red-herring twists, the unfortunate ensign, mysterious phenomena, asyndeton, sentence fragments etc.

Author:      I always try to introduce some sort of villain element into every book I write, taking every opportunity I can, to add in red-herrings and twists and turns, especially in my thriller books.

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      I’ve always had a love of writing and seeing words formulate into a sentence and then into a paragraph and a page. My love for writing and the bug that bit, has not changed. I had no goal in mind five years ago when I first self-published, I just wanted to write and that has not changed.

Do you have other supporting services like a podcast, blog, webinars, courses, video channel?

Author:   I have a website, a Facebook page for my children’s books and adult books, an Instagram page and have just started on the Tik Tok journey.   As far as finding the support, I certainly have on all the services you mention, which have been the greatest help.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:    I aspire to move people when they read my books, to have some emotional attachment to all the stories and characters. 

What part of the author process are you working on or studying most now?

Author:      Marketing is not my strong point, as I really struggle to self-promote, preferring the softer marketing version. So currently, I’m reading up on all sorts of techniques and tricks required to market.

What has been your favorite part of the writing and querying or publishing process?

Author:    I still get an absolute thrill with the start of any book. I love forming the characters, sprinkling them with idiosyncancies that will help connect the reader to the character. I thoroughly enjoy the research that goes into my thriller novels, because this process ignites the beginning of the storyline, plots and subplots and I still get a kick, every single time with the publishing process — as my manuscript is being uploaded, the sense of achievement is a buzz.

Do you recommend any programs, courses, or websites?

Author:      I would highly recommend Mark Dawson’s – Ad’s for Authors and Joanne Penn – The Creative Penn – both on You Tube. There is an endless supply of information, tips from experienced authors.

Which authors write similar books to yours? How did you find them?

Author:      I read my first James Patterson book, Kiss the Girls, when I was twenty-two and then soon afterwards, discovered Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell, while browsing in a book store one day. My thrillers are inspired by the writing style of these two authors.

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      Yes, I’ve always written in the genre I read, which has definitely made it easier when creating stories. I love reading crime fiction, immersing myself in the story for days.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I stick to a good ole word doc. My budget was very limited when I started on the indie writing path and so I couldn’t afford any specialized app that could help with the process. I’ve become so used to a word document, that I still use it today.

Regarding writing children’s books, I fall back on life lessons that I’ve learnt along the way through various people I’ve met. A moral will form in my mind and then I begin to work out how I can tell the story through a child’s eyes and remain on their level. It usually takes me a week to create and finish a very rough first draft.

With the non-fiction books I’ve written, the first one took me three days to write and a month to proofread and edit. It was easy enough to do, because it was a personal story. The second non-fiction book I wrote, took about two months to complete.

My first thriller in the “Red” series, Red Shoes & Wine – The Sex Traffickers, took me exactly two months to write and two months to edit. I’ve just completed my second book in the “Red” series, 99 Red Balloons – The Organ Traffickers, took me just under three months to complete and is currently in the editing phase. My third book in the “Red” trilogy series, The Red Butterfly – The Drug Traffickers, is yet to be written. I hope to start writing this one in mid Feb 2022 and plan to take my time nurturing it and filling in all the scenarios of crime situations that I’ve been storing away for years.

I use a separate word doc for plotting, sub plot formation and chapters. It’s a fast-track technique that I use to keep referring back to interchanging characters as well as keeping an eye on specific details that need to be remembered and are crucial to the unfolding chain of events.

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:     I’ve joined three major groups on Facebook, which has been paramount in learning as much as I can from fellow author’s and entrepreneurs. They are three very dynamic groups and all unique in what they offer. I’ve started to push myself out of my comfort zone and am networking in a more proactive way.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

  

Author:   Regarding my thriller novels, I’m a sprint-write, high on the writing drug maniac!! I sleep, eat, breathe my characters and the moment a new sub-plot is forming on the tail end of the one in front, I become manic. This demon writing possessed form that overcomes me, is probably not the most therapeutic enhancing but I thrive on the adrenalin!   

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:    Overcoming my deep fears of self-doubt regarding my writing. Once I jumped that hurdle, it’s made life a whole lot easier.   

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      I think I can speak on behalf of most authors when I say, that writing is deeply personal. It’s a very fine balance between not taking anything too personally if someone is giving sound advice and feedback and letting the hard knocks wash over you. Follow your heart and instincts when it comes to your words and storyline. No-one else will have a story like yours, so write with confidence and it will show in the end product. Try to always remain humble, for we never stop learning and growing. 

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      Just take the leap of faith. I always advise that even writing that first word, will then lead into a sentence, into a paragraph and into a book, you just have to start somewhere.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      I actually wouldn’t change one thing, because all the challenges have helped to shape my writing, ensuring I strive for a higher standard of quality and excellence.

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      I think initially I fell into the gun-shy promoter category, but am now slowly turning the corner into a driven and self-advocating author. I’ve had to push through that barrier of self-doubt and blaze forwards.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:    The storyline of all my books keeps me motivated. As I finish one story, I’m already thinking of the next one. My fingers are never far from the keyboard, so I’m very grateful that I can remain motivated.  I also try and swim at least four times a week which helps my mind to remain healthy and focused and a lot of plots come to me when I’m blowing bubbles.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:     This is one of the writing hurdles that so far, I’ve been very lucky not to battle with! There are too many thoughts racing through my mind at any one time. It’s a very busy place in there! LOL!

What literary/writer-based term did you not know when you started that has become important and relevant to you?

Author:      Up until September 2021, I had absolutely no idea what formatting really meant. I would just write away happily, completely clueless that I was creating all these unnecessary tabs and gaps in my document. I learnt the hard way and had to redo a two-hundred-page book which took me nearly a month to complete. It was tedious, pain staking work, so I’ve learnt so much from that mistake and I’m never doing that again!

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:    The reactions have been a mixed bag. Some very helpful hints and tips have come through from family and friends and some not so helpful hints and tips have come through from family and friends.

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:     I think one assumption that is a myth is that authors wile away their days languishing in comfy chairs and writing when they feel like it, the rest of the time taking leisurely naps! Or taking trips to the coast or woodlands so that they can glean inspiration from these locations! There’s nothing further from the truth.  Most authors I know, are getting by on the sniff of an oil rag and so they need to rely on their imagination to whisk a reader off to an exotic place, all created from a single idea from their mind.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      Usually the generator powering away in the background! LOL! Living in Zambia the power cuts we have at the moment are immense. If the power is on, I prefer a quiet space in which to write.

Is there a fun word or group of terms you like to put into your writing?

Author:      Because I was born and brought up in Zimbabwe, I have a heap of phrases and sayings that are often in my conversations and I have to be so mindful of this when I’m writing a book in American English. Some of the words I use often are, “Eish” (Wow), “Hobos” (Heaps), “Brekky” (Breakfast), “Muti” (Medicine), “Chisa” (Hot), “Shamwari” (Friend), “Mampara” (Naughty), “Chingwa” (Bread), “Arvie” (Afternoon).

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      I have the cutest, tiniest office with no windows. It’s my sanctuary and the place I feel safest and where all my writing and scrawling’s are created. The climate in Zambia can be scorching in summer and so, instead of finding another room in which to write, I just move the fan closer to me and continue writing away. I have such a connection to this space and feel emotionally at peace here.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:    The Store, by James Patterson.   

How do you try to “break the mold” and be unique?

Author:      That’s a tough one. I think we all just need to be confident in our writing ability and that in itself will set you apart – my theory that no-one else will have the same story or book as you is important to remember, so that you don’t become overwhelmed by self-doubt.

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:   I’m determined, focused and motivated when it comes to writing and I’ve learnt to dig deep and follow my instincts with certain techniques and writing styles.  

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      Coffee and anything crunchy – the crunchy snacks certainly seem to help with forming  sub-plots!

Do you have a writing companion?

Author:   I have two cats, Toby & Cosmo, and two dogs, Shilo and Nala. They all seem to take it in turns to sit with me, although my pointer Shilo, is always by my side when I write. She brings me such comfort and a relaxed aura.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Author:  Take one second at a time and then one minute. Don’t do tomorrow, before you’ve completed today and live in the moment!   

How can readers follow you and learn more about your books?

You can find me on Facebook @ Lindsay Payne Children’s Books & L. D. Payne Books, and my handle on Instagram and Tik Tok is @lindsaypaynebooks. My website is: https://www.lindsaypaynebooks.com

Look forward to connecting with you all!

You can also find Lindsay Payne on Amazon.

Author Interviews, Blog

Author Interview: Joshua Loveday, Literary, Contemporary, & Poetry

My name’s Joshua Loveday. I write literary and upmarket contemporary novels and short stories, as well as the occasional poem. I’m in the beta-reading stage of a character-driven upmarket contemporary novel in which an alcoholic wife must choose between finding sobriety and dealing with her husband’s Alzheimer’s or continuing to drink and miss out on reconnecting with him before he no longer recognizes her. I’m also querying a plot-driven literary novel that explores the personal narratives we tell ourselves, how heroes are not what they seem and how there are no true villains. My short story THE BEACH was a finalist for the 42nd Flash Fiction Contest by New Millennium Writings, and my story IN THIS LIFE appeared in Grit Magazine.

When did you start writing and why?

Author:     The first chapter book I ever read was TRUMPET OF THE SWAN by E.B. White. I think I was eight or nine. It fascinated me how I lost myself in a world that existed only in my mind. I used to imagine stories all the time, but to discover that I could write them down for others to enjoy motivated me. I’ve been writing ever since.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:      My first novel took about four years. It was short and crappy. One of my college professors had told me the first book you wrote was only practice. After you finish, put it on a shelf in your closet and write a good one. He was right. I’ve written five novels now, each one easier and better than the last.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      My first critique comes from my spouse, usually in bed at the end of the day as I read aloud what I wrote that day. My local writers’ group–and if you don’t have one, find one or start one–gives great feedback. Then I send the completed book out to beta readers and critique partners. Twitter is a great way to find other writers willing to help you hone your craft. There are certain websites I use, as well: CritiqueMatch and BetaReader. The more feedback you receive, the better the finished product.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      If I can make the reader laugh and cry, I feel I’ve done my job. I love seeing the emotions I wrote into my work manifest themselves in the reader.    

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      I love reading literary and contemporary novels with elegant and flowing prose that leave me breathless. A writer who doesn’t read isn’t much of a writer. Reading is essential to becoming a better writer. It’s how you learn the craft. That being said, I do indulge in a good sci-fi or fantasy novel on occasion.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I used to be a pantser, then I discovered the Snowflake Method, and after trying it out, I was hooked. I’m a firm plotter now, laying out everything in the story before writing the actual prose. If you google it, you’ll find a link explaining what it is. I’m not going to lie. It’s hard work. It takes a good three weeks of intensive plotting and character development, but when you’re ready to put words on paper, you’ve already done the work, and all you need to do is write the scenes. I’ve found I can write better novels in less time by using this method.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      I write in the morning, usually until my spouse drags me away for lunch. I usually become so absorbed with my work that I forget to eat, then wonder why it’s dark out and I’m light-headed and dizzy.

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      Writers must have a thick skin and unwavering determination and belief in themselves and their work. They find this out when they get their first critiques and feel attacked or grow defensive. But after some self-reflection, they realize that no matter how harsh the critique, the advice is invaluable, and they learn to welcome it. It is the same with querying agents or submitting stories or poems to magazines for publication. You will get rejected.  A lot. Usually with a form email. Then one day you’ll receive an email that is personalized. It’s still a rejection, but you garnered some attention. Then you’ll receive an email asking to look at your work or accepting it for publication, and you’ll forget all about those countless rejections. I look forward to rejections now. It means I’m putting my work out there. When I submit a story or query an agent, I simply assume it will be rejected and line up the next submission, so that when the rejection arrives, I can send it right back out somewhere else.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      I have one very big and essential piece of advice: FINISH YOUR BOOK. So many new writers get caught up in editing their work over and over in a self-defeating cycle. Stop editing and write till the end. If you never finish your book, you’ll never write more than one.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      When I was young, I had this skewed romantic notion that writers were somehow different or disturbed, that other people didn’t understand them, that they were somehow gifted. That’s crap. Talent is common, but writing takes hard work. You must sit down every day and write. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would make the commitment to write every day. Plus, I used to drink a lot of alcohol. It’s hard to write when you’re drunk or at the bar or hungover. When I quit drinking, my writing became prolific and improved exponentially. You have to ask yourself, how bad do you want it? How important is writing to you? What are you willing to give up to sit down for hours every day and write?

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      Coffee, coffee, coffee.

You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can also visit and subscribe to my blog at Joshua Loveday

Author Interviews, Blog, Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog

Author Interview: B.B. Reed, Fantasy/Mystery

I am B.B. Reed, a fantasy/mystery author, and my most recent publication was DEMON EYE, book 1 of the Blood Witch Saga. Book 2 is currently in editing and forecasted for release in mid-2021!

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      I started writing fantasy in middle school after getting immersed in early online fantasy games, though why I did so is harder to answer. Part of it is due to good world building in media like Warcraft or reading The Last Apprentice—those worlds give you so many building blocks to craft stories from! The other part, I reckon, is this was about the time in my life when my older brother wasn’t as large a role in my life. He’d gone off to college and traveled abroad. It was my first time being alone and having nobody around that I could bounce my thoughts off of. So, I started throwing my musings and ideas down on paper, either as drawn art or a mess of words in a notebook.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:     It took me six years to complete DEMON EYE. Now that I’ve crossed the finish line, I’m kinda kicking myself wondering what took me so long. Honest, though, I had to spend that time teaching myself how to properly write in a novel format, how to make a plot work, how to craft a living world, how to make characters have impacts and techniques on when to raise the stakes.

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:      Seven years in total.

(If applicable) Has your publishing timeframe improved at all since your first publication?

Author:      My publishing timeframe has improved SIGNIFICANTLY! Book 2 has taken about a year or two to already be in editing and polishing stage.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I’m an indie author because I have a story that needs to be told. It’s not one that most traditional publishing houses would want or are looking for. Besides, I did most of the work an agent or copyeditor would have done anyway.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:      I am still working on that, I think. I know the Dungeons & Dragons crowd would appreciate the fantasy world of Moira, and then the LGBTQ community would appreciate the inclusion of gay characters on the stage. The themes of witchcraft and feminism would draw the wiccan crowd on top of that. It feels like I cast a wide net with this material.

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

Author:      Amazon Kindle is my publishing platform due to convenience and some sentimental tie to the name. My career in IT has benefitted greatly from Amazon’s tech certifications.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      I ask, and I ask, and I ask. Anyone, literally, who would put down the time and effort to consume my novels. So far, my primary source of feedback and editing is a dear friend of mine in the UK who coaches me in some of the classics like Dune and Jules Verne.

DEMON EYE is my debut novel, setting the stage for a series of fantasy novels following the adventures of the main character, Halena Maris. She’s a wandering witch in the kingdom of Arram, helping peasant folk too afraid to confront the entities of the night. Halena makes what coin she can to support her nomadic life and her pursuit of knowledge, until she has a chance at the biggest payout yet as a noblewoman contracts her for an investigation. She’s caught between the world of nobles and black magic as she struggles to keep up with a conspiracy against the throne, or risks her demonic secret being revealed.

Marketing

Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

Author:      My current marketing platform is through Twitter and Amazon KDP exclusively.

What is your launch plan for your works?

Author:      Launch means I turn Twitter and my online Discord communities on blast with my work. I almost feel bad for the massive signal boosting, but it must be done!

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:      I mostly do grass roots solicitation for reviews. Signed copies, free physical copies, whatever makes a potential reader’s eyes light up. I make sure to inform them how their input for reviews not only helps me become a better author, but also makes the gremlins behind Amazon’s algorithms circulate my work. Otherwise, I post reminders on the regular on Twitter about the importance of reviews for us indie authors.

How do you promote your content?

Author:      I post snippets and one-liners from my book, as well as sharing pieces of non-spoiler artwork I’ve bought over the years that feature my characters from The Blood Witch Saga. On top of that, I divide and conquer. These promotions go through Twitter, Facebook, and my discord communities.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      You’ve succeeded as an author when you hold your book in your hand and feel yourself compelled to start reading it just as your audience would. Every time I do that, I fall in love with my work all over again.

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic?

Author:      I have begun an Epic Fantasy series with DEMON EYE, and on the side, I do short stories as well. My content usually features dark themes, like the dangers of the esoteric unknown behind magic, or I’ll scrape myself against the grit of war stories to prod at the man vs. man challenges in that theater. I write about these things because I feel like I’ve had a brush with components of those themes. Death, reflecting on your own mortality, what is the quality of a life lived? All the window dressing of fantasy or sci-fi war scenarios helps to frame these themes in more digestible ways.

What genres and subgenres do you write in?

Author:      I write fiction that straddles across Sci-FI, Fantasy, Horror, and mystery

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:      My brand is definitely Fantasy—especially darker fantasy since I write about witchcraft and magic. However, I hope the message I put out is that despite having an affinity for dark and gothic themes, there is love and acceptance in that. I didn’t so much decide on this as it more just… happened!

How many works have you published?

Author:      One with my second in the works! Goodness, it sounds like I’m talking about kids.

Name some common elements in your writing: villains, magic, red-herring twists, the unfortunate ensign, mysterious phenomena, asyndeton, sentence fragments etc.

Author:      Magick is a huge factor in the Blood Witch series, as well as keeping the reader on their toes as the plot unfolds. I’m also a proponent of maintaining villains that believe they’re on the right side of events.

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      My first goal was to complete a manuscript draft! But seriously, my goal was to bring a unique and compelling story to the table that someone could reasonably digest. I see no reason in delivering a story that requires a codex to decode heavy exposition. That goal has remained true, I think, and I wish to continue delivering stories that people will enjoy.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      I want readers to pull out Halena’s internal struggle, to feel and empathize with her. Some of the challenges she endures are ones many of us face, whether it’s struggling with mental illness or our neuroses that make us quiver. I want them to see that despite all these factors, having friends and loved ones to turn to is not a show of weakness, but how you must weather those internal storms.

What has been your favorite part of the writing and querying or publishing process?

Author:      My favorite part of the writing process has to be the content generation part of it when making your first draft. You reach those pieces you’ve just been waiting to put down on paper, it’s like riding the lightning! In recent time, however, I have come to love the process of editing too.

Which authors write similar books to yours? How did you find them?

Author:      Kim Wedlock writes magic-focused fantasy like I do and you can find everything you need to know about her work at her Twitter handle (@KimWedlock) or look her up on Amazon!

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      In the past, I read a lot of fantasy novels, but in recent time I have pulled away mostly because I’m overly familiar with the genre. Reading detective novels by the likes of Jim Butcher or folk tales by Neil Gaiman have been really invigorating. I’m a firm believer that you have to consume media on the regular to generate new media of your own.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I’m a plotter—or an architect—when it comes to my process. I need a rough idea of where I’m going or else I risk writing myself into a corner. I jot down notes for beats and highlights, as well as a few details I don’t want to forget. However, my timeline isn’t very reliable because I outline my stories from high-level end-to-end plot to begin, then outline as I go by story acts. There’s a method to this madness, I swear!

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:      Twitter has been a decent means of networking with other artists and writers, however, I feel it is not a good means of circulating that media amongst ourselves. The company has also made it abundantly clear it has no interest in supporting the creative demographic. Otherwise, I’ve met other creatives through gaming communities through Discord and network there.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      I sprint when I’m writing a scene I have clear in my head and I just NEED IT to be done. I just can’t wait to see how it turns out! Then, once that rush is done, it’s back to milder and slow-paced writing as I try to figure out how to link all these high notes together in a good way.

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      Imposter syndrome has been the hardest hurdle in my road to authorship. Querying made me feel like nobody wanted my vision, but I remained stubborn to keep on the path. My characters and their story were worth it.

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      It’s shown me just how true the old phrase, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time,” is in real life. Everything is possible if you remain disciplined and persistent. However, I will say that the querying process has left less-than-stellar sentiments with me. So, for you budding writers out there, please take inventory of your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, or it’s making you hate the work you love, listen to those feelings.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      Take Neil Gaiman’s writing advice and start writing. You can always edit it later.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      I wouldn’t have wasted a year on the publishing industry’s niche standards and requirements.

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      I’m definitely a self-advocating author and I’m driven to finish my work to release to everyone for consumption. I will admit I procrastinate in my marketing because I’ve found it to be utterly draining to maintain.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:      I make or commission art of my characters from the main cast of the Blood Witch Saga. Seeing them in such a tangible form and the interpretations varied between artists is so fulfilling and it drives me to keep writing their stories.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:      I don’t force the block and I set aside time to consume new media, as well as make an effort to express myself through my visual art.

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:      My heart skipped when my mother told me she couldn’t put my book down, then I was blown away when my church-going cousin bombarded me with all these questions about my world. There was a piece of me that thought they were being nice in supporting me up until that feedback came. Then I knew that I had something worth it.

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:      Many tend to think writing is a lonely profession, and while it does require a degree of loneliness to accomplish the great task of crafting the novel, it could not be accomplished without community. People to exchange ideas with, friends and family to reassure you through the hardships, and the criticisms of how to improve yourself. There is no self-made man behind that book, there is him and the hands he held before touching the paper.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      I listen to film and game orchestra scores. You have no idea how well the 1989 Batman score can set the mood for a scene!

Is there a fun word or group of terms you like to put into your writing?

Author:      Esoteric, yawning, sable, haunt

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      In “The Before-times,” I used to sit in a local coffee shop or Denny’s with breakfast and spend a few hours banging away at my laptop. Nowadays, I gotta get that writing machine going at my own dining table.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      I’m reading Around the World in 80 Days right now!

How do you try to “break the mold” and be unique?

Author:      I break the mould by putting fantasy and mystery together, as well as featuring black magic as a force of good rather than being inherently evil.

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:      The overlap between my visual artistic pursuits and my literary pursuits came together to make this possible for me.

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      LaCroix and Chex Mix

Do you have a writing companion?

Author:      My own black cat named Patty!

My primary haunt is via Twitter:  @WonderBran31

Follow me on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/B-B-Reed/e/B08BPDV3LZ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

And you can see a portfolio of my other hobbies at https://bbreedart.squarespace.com/

Blog

Reblog: Interview with The Writers Life eMagazine

I had a great time and am grateful for being included in their ezine!

You can find the original interview here:

https://thewriterslife.blogspot.com/2019/12/stellar-fusion-author-q-with-el-strife.html

Today’s guest is scifi fantasy author E.L. Strife. Her new book is Stellar Fusion (Infinite )Spark Book 1 and she is on a virtual book tour this month with Pump Up Your Book! We’re very glad to have her here today to talk about her book, writing and what surprised her about getting her book published.

 

Welcome to The Writer’s Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I appreciate you having me today!

Stellar Fusion, my first novel, is a blend of science fiction and fantasy with militaristic and agricultural elements. I have fond memories of watching Star Trek with my father and spending time on my mother’s family farm. I combined those experiences with my military and adoption background into this futuristic story of Earth with, of course, a magical twist.

Stellar Fusion originally started as a dream-journal entry in the summer of 2012. I’d just been married, and my husband was sick with a mysterious, chronic illness. We had no money. It was just nice to have something that felt powerful when our lives seemed like a constant struggle to make ends meet. I started writing because I didn’t want to lose that spark of hope.

It took about two years to develop the story into a full manuscript. It was my first time tackling the idea of writing a book. I had a full-time job, so I wrote in the evenings and on the weekends.

In the three years that followed, I studied writing craft and revised my book before sending it off to a freelance editor for professional feedback. It might as well have come back on red paper! But I learned a lot and built on my knowledge with local classes and seminars. Now the Infinite Spark series has three books with a fourth in progress!

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published Stellar Fusion for the first time in 2017. Back then, I was an easily-embarrassed and shy writer. Self-publishing was a way for me to experience the entire process while studying the market from a safe distance. I have since fine-tuned my writing, publication, and marketing strategies, but I am glad for the bumps and bruises along the way. I love learning new things, and self-publishing comes with a hefty workload.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was terrified the first time I hit publish. Then nothing happened. I had mixed feelings of fear that I’d screwed something up during the publication process and disappointment that my work wasn’t interesting enough to entice readers to buy. I didn’t know how critical having a marketing platform and street team was to the launch of a book.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

The cover image, in my mind, is the most important piece in advertising a book. It displays the genre of the story when it’s not always readily listed, particularly online. If you want to catch the attention of readers of a specific genre, you want to ensure the cover reflects the trends of that genre. A great cover will hint at the main predicament or plot as well as create tension before readers even start the book.

The packaging of a book needs to represent what’s inside. It’s frustrating when the main character featured on the front doesn’t look like the character described in the book. It makes me wonder who I’m looking at. Even more, the quality of the cover images and arrangement is critical. I won’t talk about titles. But if your images are pixellated, not blended well, or the arrangement isn’t balanced, then the cover won’t catch the readers’ eyes. It needs to grab their attention to make them stop. If they don’t stop, then your title, blurb, and content won’t matter.

Just remember, the cover is a symbol of your book. If it’s shoddy work, readers will expect the same inside. Conversely, don’t have an expensive cover then skimp on edits. Do your hard work justice with great packaging.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I chose a heck of a book to start with. Stellar Fusion features multiple alien cultures and languages, a villainous galactic empire, planetary invasions, an organization of soldiers with hard-and-fast rules, a dying Earth, and a main character who can’t remember the first fifteen years of her life. I had to manage all of that while learning about editing, formatting, cover design, publication, and marketing. It was far more difficult than I anticipated.

I have noticed certain genres are easier to write than others. A lot of it depends on the complexity of the story. But, in general, I find writing romance and women’s fiction far easier than science fiction and fantasy. It’s mostly due to the technical detail and explanations of things that must occur in the latter genres. I’ve written a romance in a month, whereas a science fiction novel might take four to six.

Tips for other writers (from my experience):

Twitter is a great place to connect with other writers, whether through critique swaps, writing prompts, querying events, or the general community.

Join a writers’ organization where you can take online classes or go to interactive sessions and network with others. The more you can educate yourself on the processes of writing and publishing, the better. And having a friend who understands the stress of the process is important. We all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes.

Build a website before you publish your books. You can link social media accounts and email subscriptions to one place and begin to build your launch team/street team. This way, you can share your big news with tons of followers on publication day and start with a bang!

Give away Advanced Review Copies of your book, so when you publish, you can get a few ratings posted early-on. This will encourage more people to buy when they visit your book’s page.

But I think the most important thing is to get comfortable with critiques and critical feedback from authors and editors. Don’t let the suggestions or edits get under your skin. Fix what needs fixing and move forward. It’s not worth getting upset over. You’re going to need that energy for plenty of other tasks.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I just completed and published Shadows of the Son, the third book in the Infinite Spark series. Redshift, book four, is under construction and will publish sometime in 2020. A Promise in Ash, a stand-alone romantic suspense novel, is keeping me busy with final edits. Wildfire, book two of the holiday romance series Embers on Ice, is next in line.

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

I didn’t want to write it.

I swore off creative writing and dream-journaling after a few bad experiences as a child. My entire life, I’ve been a lucid dreamer. I didn’t want to write my dream down. But I’ve never felt such a compulsion to do anything in my life. I pushed aside my fears to hang on to that spark of hope.

I find dreams intriguing, and you’ll see that it’s a large focus in the series. The characters often experience different stages of consciousness and even dip into a separate realm I named Ether.

As I caved and studied more of the writing craft, I began to control the dream-child better, hone it into a story instead of a compilation of nocturnal delusions. The process took time, but I finished it and moved on to book two, Requiem, and now, Shadows of the Son.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

Stellar Fusion carries two main messages:

First, we all have common vulnerabilities: pain (physical/mental/emotional) and mortality. When we remember these, no matter who we are or what we believe, we can always find common ground.

Second, family does not have to be defined by blood. It can be built with trust and time together.

The messages in Stellar Fusion are channeled through members of the Universal Protectors. They are orphans from the Three Hundred Year War on Earth. They serve and protect the remaining people of Earth regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation, age, capability, species, or zone of residence. They judge only based on actions that threaten our common vulnerabilities.

 

Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences as a writer and a self-published author. I hope you’ll check out my books! I’m always happy to network with anyone interested, even if you only have a question about the process. If you subscribe to my email list, you’ll always get free access to my new releases before they publish! (I only email about the free stuff. I’m swamped with messages too.) You can find me at elstrife.com and primarily on Twitter @ ElysiaLStrife.

Best wishes!

-Elysia-

Meet the Author

Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.

“I like to question everything, figure out how things work, and do tasks myself. Experiencing new things is fun but also helps with writing raw and genuine stories. And I’m always trying to push my comfort zones.”

Strife likes the rumble of her project car’s 350-ci V8. She enjoys the rush of snowboarding and riding ATVs on the dunes. But nothing brings her more solace than camping in the mountains where the stars are their brightest.

Strife enjoys connecting with readers and welcomes all feedback and questions.

website & Social Links

Website  → www.elstrife.com

Twitter  → http://twitter.com/ElysiaLStrife

Facebook  http://www.facebook.comauthorelstrife

Blog, Book Reviews

Review: Rise and Run by R. J. Plant

38521544Rise and Run by R.J. Plant

Delightfully engaging and humorous, packed with action… Plant describes the post-apocalyptic world in such vivid detail, you’ll feel like you’re the third consciousness.

Rise and Run follows Felix and Conor on their journey to uncovering their past as they struggle within themselves for dominance while simultaneously fighting for their lives. The heart of GDI, Government Directive International, is set on utilizing them as a biological weapon ─ unwilling, snarky, and a bit of a head-case delinquents.

The characters all have their own, very distinct, attitudes and accents, bringing forth comedic conversations, tension, and spell-binding questions. Everything around them, in every scene, is described in potent depth from the toxic air to the bloody carcasses and broken buildings. Plant is a master of subtly, especially in writing the flickers of emotion even the most hardened soldiers can’t repress.

A fluid and easy read, Rise and Run is all about the challenge of putting the puzzle together and tracking plot twists that never seem to end. The voices of the main characters are genuine and unfiltered. Plant combines the feel of a movie with a first-person shooter role playing game. It’s live action, split-second decisions, and spares no blood.

The main character’s witty perspective, Felix/Conor says everything that we feel as a reader in a rather dry, ironic manner that makes the harsh, thrilling reality that much more entertaining.

Rise and Run is a definite must-read for anyone who’s a fan of post-apocalyptic, thrillers, and hard science fiction. If you’ve got a crass sense of humor you’re going to like this very much.

 

 

(Spoilers beyond this point)

My personal reflection:

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the vast amount of description and humor. Plant does a fantastic job of creating realistic settings and characters. The plot winds and twists and you never really know what’s going to happen next. This is one of the only books I’ve ever been able to read at a comfortable pace and not feel the desire to skip any parts.

There are a few moments where I got lost in the dialogue as to who was saying what, but nothing that tipped the scale. The only other trouble I had was at the very end. The perspective switches again like it did in the beginning and we watch the main character from a third party, someone I don’t feel connected to as a reader. I had hoped to see the main character healed/healing and maybe a moment of tenderness with another character, but the resolution isn’t definitive. It must be inferred from the other characters on the last pages.

In a way this is fitting with Plant’s style, the ever-elusive clarity on the character’s true situation (not the perceived one).  And, in its own way, this ending shows more to the story than we would not have understood otherwise. So all in all: in the words of a character from the United Irish Republic, year 2042, I call it a fecking good book!