Meet The Author Monday – David L Heaney

Hello my Gentle Readers. I know our Meet The Author Monday has been a little thin lately, but I have a couple lined up for this week and next that I hope you will enjoy and check out what they have to offer. This week we will be talking with David L Heaney, a former pastor turned writer with his spiritual adventure, A Yorkie’s Tale: Lessons from a Life Well-Lived. Usual format applies with myself in BLUE and David in GREEN.fullsizeoutput_23e7
David, first off thanks for taking time to speak with us. Your book looks like a wonderful tale. Let’s start off with how you came to the world of literature and reading. 
I spent one year away at a Prep School in Peekskill, NY mostly because I had been doing poorly in school and was in and out of trouble. I hated that year. There was, however, one teacher who told me he thought I wrote well and would write better still, if I read more. He didn’t care what I read, just as long as I read. We had mandatory study hall after dinner so I read a lot of racy Harold Robbins books. I suppose that was when reading just became a part of each day.

A bit of a troublemaker, huh? Fascinating that you became a pastor then. After finishing with Harold Robbins, what genre did you explore? Who became your favorites?
I have always loved writers like John Updike, John Cheever, William Styron- I guess that’s literary realism. I also love biographies. More recently, I have been drawn to fantasy having recently completed a couple of Neil Gaiman books. I loved Phillip Pullman’s new book, Dust: La Belle Sauvage.

Gaiman is a favorite. So at some point you decided to not just read, but create your own stories. What inspired you to make that leap?
I was a parish minister for many years and was struck by the drama of people’s lives. I suppose this was because I was so often with people as they negotiated their way through critical developmental milestones. I also was obliged to write sermons for Sundays. I learned over time that stories were more powerful than traditional sermons. Stories also somehow help one make sense of experience. So, I learned that writing about things helped me better understand them.

From sermons to published author. Very interesting. Do you feel confined to one genre when you write or are you exploring several?
I dabble in in several genres. I surprised myself when I began A Yorkie’s Tale since I had never considered writing epic fantasy but enjoyed it quite a bit and am working on another fantasy story. I also enjoy writing personal essays.

Fantasy is my favorite genre so I’m always delighted to meet new fantasy authors. Can you tell us about your journey with “A Yorkie’s Tale”? How did it go from draft to available on Amazon?
A Yorkie’s Tale is my first book and most earnest attempt to publish in the traditional manner. It was a frustrating business to attempt to go the traditional route since I was a novice. Agents want to represent someone known. Publishers read manuscripts from agents. As the form letters stated-“We get X thousands of manuscripts every month…” so I understand it’s a very competitive business. I finally opted to self publish and am quite happy with how it all went. I found a wonderful illustrator who helped bring my characters to life and again, I’m quite pleased with how it all turned out. We’ll see about the next one.

When that next one is going to hit the shelves, would love to have you back to talk about it. When you aren’t writing, how do you like to spend your time? Is there a day job now that you have retired from being a pastor?
I have a small consulting firm with two UK-based partners. I worked internationally for a number of years in the area of public health and human services that were contracted out to private companies. My firm continues to represent companies interested in doing business with governments largely in Australia, the UK, and the US.
My wife, Lynda and I moved to Durham, NC with our 3 dogs from San Diego 4 years ago. She took a job at Duke Medicine and I work from home. Our five grown children and 3 grandchildren all still live in San Diego.

Sounds like you keep very busy. I’m glad you carved out the time to visit with me. You have a funny story about how you began your novel to share with us. Let’s hear all about it.
I lived for a year in London a couple of years ago. My flat was located on Poppins Court (yes, named for Mary Poppins). That’s where I started A Yorkie’s Tale. Our Yorkshire Terrier in San Diego started to get fat and we couldn’t figure out why. We later discovered he was eating the avocados that dropped from our neighbor’s tree. One lonely weekend afternoon at the Pub I started the story – the Yorkie in the backyard eating avocados.

And now that Yorkie is inspiring and helping people all over the world through your story. Wonderful. Thank you again David for visiting and please let us know when your next tale will be coming.

If you would like to follow David and learn more about him and his work, you can connect with him at the below links.

69555337_High Resolution Front Cover.7238367.jpg On Amazon

Website: http://somethingtosaydotblog.wordpress.com

Twitter: @dlheaney

Instagram: heaneydavid

 

And if any of you would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can contact me here.

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Book Review – Land of The Free by Michael Huard

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Land of The Free
(Mystical Slayers Book 1)
Michael W. Huard
3.5 Stars

Today, my Gentle Readers, I have a futuristic post apocalyptic story for you to check out. I enjoyed this book and recommend it, but with a few disclaimers.

Huard has built us a world where in the wake of widespread destruction and warfare, a corporation has arisen to take over all important aspects of our lives. The rich get richer and the poorer, well, maybe they live something akin to a life. To the average person, the American Dream is beyond dead. Enter the Q-Jin, the Mystical Slayers: a group of genetically, chemically, and in some cases cybernetically enhanced women with elite martial arts training across a spectrum of disciplines. Their mission is to return America to the great country it was and bring down Y-Wood Corporation.

Sounds exciting right? And it is. Huard delivers a diverse cast of women with their own unique styles and quirks, bonded by their sisterhood’s ideals and philosophy. The fight scenes are well described and, to my limited knowledge of such things, accurately portrayed. The one difficulty one may have with this cast is the hopping about from character to character is reminiscent of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, but not quite as long between jumps.

For me, the detractors center on two things. First is a constant repetition of the Q-Jin being the Mystical Slayers, being dedicated to bringing back America’s greatness. This seems to happen almost every time the focus shifts from one character to another. After the information drop in the opening chapters, it should be readily clear to all readers and not need repeating as often as it was. It seems like word count padding that pulls away from the driving action of the women’s battle against Y-Wood. Second are scenes that seem superfluous and don’t really drive the plot or provide a clear character development device. I don’t like to post spoilers, but suffice to say there were scenes that I don’t think would have been missed if they weren’t there.

Overall this was a delightful read with some really great fight scenes and a diverse cast of strong female characters. Don’t know if I would recommend it for kids, but late teens should be able to handle the violence and suggestive themes.

Find it on Amazon

Guest Post – Two Novellas from L.A. Frederick (SciFi)

The Forgetful Man And Second-In-Command Available Now

Hello all.

I’m delighted to announce my two sci-fi novellas, The Forgetful Man and Second-In-Command are available now, having launched in November and December respectively.

The stories are dark, with gruesome happenings throughout. They are from the sci-fi genre and in an urban setting, based in modern times in the fictional city of New Hampton. To give you an idea of the type of city you’re dealing with reviewers have referred to the city as reminding them of Gotham City or Sin City.

The mystery theme plays a big part in both novellas and in my overall series.

These novellas delve into the background of a few characters and add a little more information to the overall world itself.

Now, to the good stuff…

The Forgetful Man:

Do you ever feel like someone else? Like you could just focus and change into something new, something different.

New Hampton is full of mystery these days, and the man who is beginning to forget is the epitome of unusual within the cutthroat city. Will the urban jungle swallow him whole or will he remember the truth…

Second-In-Command:

 You have got to be a fighter to rise through the ranks of New Hampton’s criminal underworld.

You must be willing to do the necessary, especially when you have designs on a top spot within the most notorious gang in the city’s chequered history. Guy Hagan was not aware of what was required. He will learn and carve out a legacy that others will never forget.

It was not always that way for Guy but nice guys finish last, and he is not planning on finishing last.

Summary:

These stories are all set before the events of my debut novel The Rain: The Government Rain Mysteries and as such are set in the same world.

Think of the series like a jigsaw, you can read in any order. The story could be read the main novel, The Rain, first and then the prequels in any order. Alternatively, you could read the prequels and then the main book. Whichever way you choose to read you will achieve the same result, but within reason, it will be a unique trail of breadcrumbs for each reader.

The Government Rain Mysteries Series:

Prequel Novellas & Short Stories (Read in any order):

The Last Doctor- myBook.to/BGSBlogTheLastDoctor

The Lost Boy- http://subscribe.lafrederick.com/subscribe
The Forgetful Man- myBook.to/BGSBlogTheForgetfulMan
Second-In-Command- myBook.to/BGSSecondInCommand
Novels:

Book One- The Rain- myBook.to/BGSBlogTheRain
Book Two- (Currently writing)

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Guest Post – World Building 101 by Simon Lindley

World-Building 101 by Simon Lindley

 

The Realm, The Land, Middle Earth, Narnia – I presume you have spent some time visiting at least one of them. I know I have. And, if all goes well with the ‘travel brochures’, Drageverden will soon be another fantasy ‘tourist’ destination. However, I expect people will only visit if the place promises immersive adventure!

World-building in fantasy is as critical to a plot as character development. When done well, it can transport the reader so absolutely that they yearn for the place long after finishing the book.

I’ll share with you some of my challenges, and the process I go through in creating a land that I am confident is not only believable but tangible, tactile and immersive for my readers.

One of the difficulties I’ve struggled with at times is purple prose. As writers, we sometimes lean to the flowery – long, buttery descriptives – waxing poetic, sprinkled with a fine, magical dust, like morning dew settling on the vine and… oh, I beg your pardon!
I have learned to 1) be succinct, 2) alternate between long and short/slow and faster-paced sentences, and 3) avoid overuse of adverbs. Purple prose detracts a reader as much as a similar life scenario. We’ve all been in one of those awkward moments when someone has talked for well over twenty minutes about, say, fruit flies because, well, they’re a fruit-fly expert, and we nod, and nod, and nod and mm-hmm — until we nod off.

Another habit I picked up came from kindergarten: Show & Tell. I love to tell people things. He saw a dog. Maggie was angry. The bird was tired. The danger is that by doing so, a writer creates a barrier rather than an invitation. We must ‘walk’ as we write, immersed in the land and noting its effect upon our character/s. I must show, not tell.

Like all trips we take, we discover as we go. I make an effort to step from character interiority back into Drageverden regularly, to generate an interaction between the two. It is easy to blurt out all the details of a place, but that is not how we naturally absorb our surroundings, and it quickly becomes tedious. Our character must shake as she enters the darkness of the spider’s lair, snap her head back at the whisper over her shoulder, brace with teeth clenched as the dust cloud rises from the horde cresting the last knoll – and we must be there with them.

Tolkien carried his readers along – experiencing the ground under a hobbit’s foot, smelling the foul mead and men of the Prancing Pony, and anticipating the Brandywine narrowing near the ferry, still far too distant to escape the Nazgul. He rarely tells. What’s more important is that no matter who you talk to, Middle Earth is different for everyone. Why? Tolkien let the scenes play out as much by emotion as he did geography and although he painted a vivid picture of the land, he left our conviction of and immersion in Middle Earth to fill in the deeper details.

So I haven’t provided you much regarding DrageVerden. Oh, I could talk, believe me – ask anyone who knows me and you’ll soon discover I rarely shut up — but you must ‘walk’ alongside the giants crossing the Arvian Plains to understand the shock of it all, or spend a day with Ka the drakehawk to experience her love for the Swamps of Ierloquetze. Brochures never do a place justice. You have to book the holiday.

Okay, okay! I’ll give you a little foreshadowing prior to your trip: Drage is Danish for dragonVerden means land.

Happy Trails!

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Simon Lindley is an author, musician and intrepid explorer in the real world and along the rolling landscapes of his imagination. His book, Mannethorn’s Key, the first in the Key of Life Trilogy, will be released in print and ebook formats January 5, 2018 at fine retailers everywhere. It is also available for pre-order now.

Book Review- The Other Sound (Balancers Book 1) by N. C. Stow

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The Other Sound
(Balancers Book 1)
N. C. Stow

5 Stars

Stow has given us an imaginative world with a rich history to explore. Her characters are deep and run the gamut of what one should expect in a fantasy novel. There are unlikely heroes, friendships betrayed (or are they?), creatures of mythical and magical proportions, and a few old codgers you can’t help but laugh at. I enjoyed the wit and comedic elements sprinkled into the rampant action scenes.

Tebby awakes one night to a strange sound emanating from her father’s library. When she discovers a talking book, you know things are just going to get weirder. Soon she and her friend Aiden are separated in a strange other world. With her constant companion, the voice in her head she named Nasty Giggles, Tebby sets out to discover how to learn the “knowing” in order to “do the doing” of Balancing. Reality is in danger and Balancers are the only hope the two have.

Will Tebby and Aiden be reunited? Can they solve the mystery of Balancing in time to prevent catastrophe? Grab a copy of “The Other Sound (Balancers Book 1)” and find out today.

Grab your copy on Amazon

Guest Post – Calliope Jones and The Forests of Mist by Haylie Machado Hanson

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Hello, readers! I’d like to apologize in advance if this blog is incoherent. I’m bone-tired from being up all hours of the night feeding Girl Spawn, who coincidentally came early on launch week. Two October babies for me, what a lucky gal I am!

The biggest news I have (writing-wise, I happen to think Girl Spawn joining the world is pretty big news) is that Calliope Jones and The Forests of Mist launched on Amazon on October 21st!* I’m so excited for you guys to be able to download it and read it. I hope you love it. I know I do, but I’m biased. So please, download it, read it, review it! Beta feedback for this book is better than the first, and I tend to agree.

And with that, I’m off, since Girl Spawn forgot I just fed her, like, 15 minutes ago. My literary baby is far less demanding. And doesn’t keep me up all night. Well, I can’t promise my literary baby won’t keep you up all might until you finish it. In fact, I wish you many sleepless nights as you Dive into Callie’s exciting new adventure!

You can find Forsests of Mist here.

Meet The Author Monday – Wanda Luthman

‘My Gentle Readers, we are joined today by children’s author, Wanda Luthman. In the usual style, my comments/questions will be in BLUE and Wanda will be in GREEN.

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Thank you for joining us today, Wanda. I always like to ask my guests what brought them into the literary world. What were your early reading experiences like? Favorite books?
I love spiritual books, Sci fi books, and a fun rom com! I have always loved reading and writing. I wrote many books as a kid and in college, I studied literature. I always wanted to publish a book but never really knew what it would be until one morning a story came to me that I had to write down. That began my publishing career. I’ve never been happier!

I think that feeling of “having to” write is what separates real writers from those who casually say, “I want to write a book someday”. What genre gets you excited to read these days?
Spiritual books. I honestly can’t read enough about the journey inward and upward!

How would you describe your path from reading to writing?
I would say I was a writer before I was a real reader. I was painfully shy as a kid and writing was how I communicated. I enjoyed telling fantasy stories. What actually opened the door to me to write to publish was some kind support from a friend. She promised to help me. Since I didn’t know anything about publishing, her support gave me the feeling that together we would figure it out.

Sounds like a great friend. Hold onto her for sure. So your chosen genre is children’s books. Tell us about your journey to publication.
I tried to get professionally published. I even had a positive response but once I did a re-write, I never heard back from him.
So I pursued self-publishing and I’ve never looked back. I love being an indie author!

Being an Indie Author certainly has its perks. The full creative control is a great feeling. When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a High School Guidance Counselor. For hobbies, I enjoy cycling and baking!Ha! Good combo, right?
I am married 23 years now and my daughter is away at college.

Cycling and baking seem to be a good yin/yang combination. What would you say your goal as a writer is? What do you hope to accomplish with your creative work?
I hope to inspire youth through magical adventure stories to be the best they can be!

A wonderful goal to pursue, and right in line with your chosen career path. You are definitely a double whammy. Thank you again for stopping by Wanda.

If anyone would like to find out more about Wanda and her work, you can find her at the below links.

Website
Twitter
Instagram

If you would like to be a guest on Meet The Author Mondays, just Click Here to find all the details and submit your information.