Meet The Author Monday – Bracha Goetz

Today my Gentle Readers, we have Bracha Goetz, a children’s picture book author. In our usual style here we will put my questions/comments in BLUE, with Bracha’s responses in GREEN.

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Thanks for stopping by today, Bracha. I must say you are my first children’s book author. It’s not a genre I normally read myself, but as my daughter grows up I am sure I will have to become familiar with the genre so I have something to read to her. What brought you into the literary world?
I loved picture books as a child – and they are still my favorite books to read!

Picture books, huh. Well, I think you covered my usual next question of what genre excites you the most.
Picture books – the less words, the better! 🙂

So, what made you want to cross the line from reading to publishing your own?
When I won the Junior McCalls’ contest for McCall’s Magazine as a 12-year-old, and my poem appeared in the magazine, I understood that people all over could hopefully benefit from my writing.

Wow, winning awards and published at 12 years old? Impressive. Do you still write a lot of poetry or do you dabble in other genres now?
I write articles for magazines or for websites online on important issues when I feel “somebody’s got to do it” but I much prefer to write picture books.

So, we’ve established that picture books are your bread and butter. Tell us a little about your work in that arena.
I’m the author of 33 picture books that help children’s souls shine, with a whole bunch more under contract. I love making deep spiritual concepts clear to children in a delightfully simple way.

For years, I only had books for Jewish children accepted for publication, but now my books for the general public are just beginning to get published too.

33 picture books published? That’s quite the pedigree. It’s wonderful that you tackle such a potentially hot topic such as spirituality for an audience so young. When you aren’t trying to enliven children’s lives with your work, how do you spend your time?
I’m the mother of six children who are all now parents, and my husband and I are enjoying our many grandchildren. I coordinate a Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Baltimore, Maryland, and I love practicing yoga every wonderful day.

I’m not your typical Harvard grad ’cause chapter books are a bit much for me. I like expressing big ideas in little words.

Sounds like you keep a full plate, congratulations on your growing family and I hope you continue to bring light to children’s lives. If anyone would like to find more information on Bracha’s body of work, and connect with her, you can do so at the links below.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can get more information by Clicking Here.

Meet The Author Monday – Melissa Carrigee

Today my Gentle Readers, we have Melissa Carrigee, an editor and creative director for a small publishing company, who has her own debut book coming out this year. In our usual style here we will put my questions/comments in BLUE, with Melissa’s responses in GREEN.

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Melissa, thank you for stopping by to chat with us today. Let’s get the ball rolling with an easy one. How did you get your start as a reader?
I started off as an avid reader when I was young. The teenage years I was too busy with boys to be bothered with books. In my twenties I picked up Glory Lane by Alan Dean Foster and that was it. I knew my passion was books and reading.

Sounds like one I will have to check out when I get some free time. What genre, or genres, do you enjoy the most?
I love horror and thrillers but I read anything. I love children’s stories and have a huge collection.

Variety is the spice of life they say. What brought you to the other side of the page? From reading the stories of others to writing your own?
I think when I read Glory Lane I started becoming a writer. I had always written when I was young, poems and short stories as a way to deal with my crazy emotions but after I read Glory Lane I started putting all the components together and outlining bigger stories. That is when I became a writer.

Do have plans to stick with the genre your debut is in? Or do you have plans to expand your repertoire?
No. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into any one genre.

Varied reading and writing tastes, how exciting. I hope you will keep us informed of new releases as they become available. How did you get your start in the literary world?
I worked as a literary agent for almost two years trying to expand my knowledge of the business. I got to know a lot of people in the business. I started to attend conferences. I was then offered a job at an upcoming new, independent publisher over their children’s book line. I accepted that job and now I am involved in all aspects of getting a book published. Some people might think it would make it easier for me as a writer but it actually has made it tougher.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I work as the editor and creative director of a small publisher. I have one boy in the Air Force and another in junior high school. I also have a bulldog who keeps me busy.

Very exciting. I have a son in junior high as well. Busy time transitioning from elementary to a more grown up regimen of homework and studying. You had something else about your debut to tell us, correct?
My book is out for pre-sale right now but won’t be officially released until August 2017.

I wrote I Dream of Dragons when I was in college getting a graphic design degree. It was for an illustration class. I remember hating the illustrating part but I absolutely loved writing the story and the outcome. I wrote the story for my son, who is now in the Air Force.

Please thank your son for his service. And thank you again for stopping by to talk with me today. Keep us posted on your upcoming work. If anyone would like to find out more about Melissa’s book and even pre-order it, you can find her at the below links.

Website

Facebook Page

GoodReads

Pinterest

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can get more information by Clicking Here.

Meet The Author Monday – Angel M.B. Chadwick

This week on Meet The Author Monday, we have Angel M.B. Chadwick, a crime writer with two books currently on Amazon. I will pose my questions in BLUE while Angel’s responses will be in GREEN.

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Thank you for stopping by today, Angel. Let’s dive into how you got started in the literary world.
I started reading when I was four. I loved to absorb words and worlds which is still true today.

There is nothing like getting lost in world created in a book. What genre do you enjoy the most?
I love most genres, but mysteries are what I love the most.

Somewhere along the line you decided to cross over into writing your own worlds to get absorbed in. Tell us about that moment.
My seventh grade English teacher encouraged me to keep writing when she saw my potential during an English assignment when I wrote a short story.

That was a fortuitous moment. You had a great teacher. Do you concentrate on one genre or several?
No, I always mix several genres. I love lots of variety and diversity in my works, without it I get bored very quickly and very easily that also included in the books I read.

Nothing wrong with a little variety in the written word. How did you get started being a published author?
I’ve been an author/writer for 26 years. I was trad published in my teens and twenties. I was offered a publishing contract when I was fifteen years old by a major publisher and turned it down. I’ve always been indie/self-published and I think that’s why I never got along with the traditionally published world. One rejection if you can call it that by a publisher was “You have a unique insight into mankind.” But unfortunately they weren’t able to market that. So I took it as a compliment and decided to market my “Unique insight into mankind” for myself as an indie.

Good for you. Sometimes I don’t think the traditional publishing houses have any idea how silly it is to put all your eggs on one big name author. There are so many stories in the world to be told. When not writing, what do you enjoy? Do you have any family?
I don’t have any hobbies. I do ghostwriting and editing services, come up with business ideas for disabled/needy families. I have a ten year old son.

Sounds like you keep yourself busy. I know my son keeps me on my toes. Thank you again for stopping by. If anyone would like to check out Angel’s work, you can do so through the following links.

Facebook Page
GoodReads Author Page
GoodReads Author Blog
Amazon Author Page

AMBChadwickBook

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find the submission form HERE.

Meet The Author Monday – Briana Michaels

This week’s featured author is Briana Michaels, author of the Paranormal Romance series, “Sins of the Sidhe”. Per our usual routine here, we will put her responses in GREEN while I will be BLUE.

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Briana, thank you for stopping by to visit with us today. Paranormal Romance isn’t necessarily something I read often, but it looks to be a thriving genre. Let’s begin with what brought you to the literary world?
I read a lot as a child, but when I went to college there was no time for reading something that wasn’t on a syllabus, so I sort of gave up on books for fun. Then, when Harry Potter came out, I gave it a try and couldn’t put it down. It sparked a new reading frenzy in me and I read anything and everything after that. So thanks, J.K. Rowling, for bringing back my passion for reading. 

I think we all can thank her for bringing in a whole generation of readers. I know my kid loves the books. So we have fantasy covered, but what genre really excites you?
It’s a toss between Paranormal Romance and Historical Romance. I love the darkness that is captured in paranormal reads. Give me danger, big fangs, big swords, and big… well… *ahem* you know, plots and stuff. It’s my true escape from reality.

I love historicals because when it’s done right, you can almost believe it really happened that way. Yes, Jamie Fraser is real. Right? RIGHT?
No matter what I read, it’s all about the romance for me. I can read about falling down the rabbit hole, casting a spell, meeting Benedict Arnold, or having dinner with Sir William Wallace, but there better be some steaminess in there somewhere. 

Romance is certainly not dead for you then. So from reading everything you could get your hands on, you went to writing your own. What prompted that shift?
There must have been a story brewing in me for quite a while although I had no intentions of ever becoming a writer. I love to be in everyone else’s worlds, and that was always good enough for me. 
At the time I was a mom, a preschool art teacher, and a wife. That kept me running all day and night. I’d gone from having a dream job and owning my own business, to being a wife and mother who stayed home (also a dream job), to getting out and teaching art classes with a friend of mine, which was a ton of fun… but something was missing for me. I didn’t know what it was, but something was out of whack. 
One night, on my way home from having dinner with my husband, I looked at him and said, “I’m going to write a book. I have so much in me that needs to get out.” I sat down the next morning in front of my laptop and started typing. Two weeks later, my first novel was complete. And now writing has become my new dream job. 

Two weeks huh? That is an impressive turnaround. I think I know what genre you settled into, but let’s hear you talk about it.
I’m all about the Paranormal Romance. I can’t imagine writing anything else. I love the dark side, it’s home to me. Throw in some danger, steamy scenes, and a kilt, and I’m a very happy woman.

A kilt huh? Well, so two weeks to write the first book, but how did it go from your laptop to the shelves of Amazon?
I’m self-published. As an Indie, it’s hard to get your name out there, to get people to notice you. You just sort of sprouted from the ground and you’re not in the sunshine yet like the big guys. But that’s okay. It all takes time: writing, editing, marketing, overall success. 
Writing my first book was the easy part. Hitting that publish button was terrifying. Getting that first bad review was nauseating. But then it just sort of smooths out. You get into a groove. Your skin gets a little thicker. You start to learn the dos and don’ts. You finally come to a point where you know what your goals are – and they are all within reach.
The more I write, the hotter I burn. The hotter I burn, the more ideas I have. As ideas grow, so does your talent. It’s a beautiful thing, really – the evolution of a writer.
Once someone in the publishing biz asked me, “How many books are in your series?” I replied, “I’m on my fifth one now.” She cooly said, “That’s a large series for someone who’s never even written a stand-alone book before.” My reply? “Well, I’ve just gotten started. I have six more ready to go after I’m finished writing the one I’m on now.”
By the way, this was a totally friendly, wonderful phone call. I didn’t take offense to what she was saying. She hadn’t meant it as an insult, I think I’d just surprised her. I knew jumping into a huge series might be a risky adventure and I didn’t care. I wanted it. Wanted it bad, baby. Very little in this world scares me more than regret. I knew I wanted to write a series and that’s just what I did. I went with my gut and couldn’t be happier with my decision.
The conversation with that lovely agent sealed my fate in so many ways and I am eternally grateful for that phone call. She was awesome, helpful, and memorable. 
Lesson learned: You do you.

Definitely sound advice for anyone considering putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys. So outside of writing steamy novels, what else drives your life?
Writing is an obsession. It’s hard to walk away from it, even to take a shower. However, when life calls, I have to answer, which means prying my boney fingers off the keyboard and joining civilization.
My husband and I love to garden, make a lot of things (like soap, wine, art), and we live on the side of a mountain that requires attention and hard work. If I’m not blissfully banging away on the keyboard, then I’m baking cakes, entertaining friends, chopping wood, plucking weeds, feeding chickens, canning food, sipping wine, catching crayfish, running kids to sports and dance, or doing laundry. Not necessarily in that order.

Busy woman. I hope you don’t leave your readers too long on that fifth book. Now, you have a funny story to share, so let’s hear it.
A book club had just read SHATTER (book 1 in my Sins of the Sidhe series) and invited me as their guest author to speak about the book. Walking into the kitchen and making introductions here’s how the convo went with one of the readers:

Her: “Oh, you’re the writer?” Disappointment was evident. 

Me: “Yup. I’m your girl.” *displays cheesy smile*

Her: “I just thought you’d look different.”

Me: “Well my picture is on the back of your book.”

Her: “I know, I just thought it wasn’t right.”
I still have no idea how to respond to that, but it makes me laugh every time I think about it. Should I have had horns? *Hmmm, makes mental note for next book club invite.*

Who knows what she was hoping for. Thank you again for stopping by Briana and I wish you success with all those books in your series. Maybe I will have to step outside my genre and pick up that first one myself.

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If anyone wants to find out more about Briana or keep tabs on her work, You can find her at the links below.
Website
Facebook Page
Twitter: @SinsoftheSidhe

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find the submission form HERE.

Meet The Author Monday – MJL Evans

This week’s featured author is MJL Evans.  As usual we will have my comments/questions in BLUE with MJL in GREEN.
megan bio

Thank you for stopping by MJL. Let’s jump right in and talk about your first forays into the literary world.
I was read to growing up and I listened to audiobooks, so I believe this encouraged to be an avid reader from a young age.

What genre excites you the most? Any other favorites? 
I really enjoy horror, fantasy, literary fiction, and erotica, Basically if it sounds interesting to me, I’ll read it.

Sounds pretty eclectic. What made you decide to start writing your own stories?
I’ve been writing stories from a very young age, they were my favourite homework assignments. I was inspired by what I read. Books like Alice in Wonderland, Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, and Little Women, they all fed my imagination.

Wonderful choices. Do you consider yourself a writer of a specific genre, or do you dabble in several?
Not really, I like dabbling. I mix genres in my stories. For example, No Quarter: Dominium is a mixture of historical fiction, romance, adventure, suspense and humour. LIfe isn’t just one genre, so my stories develop into whatever seems most natural.

Characters do tend to take on a life of their own sometimes. How did your publishing journey play out?
I became an Indie Author starting in 2013. At the time I hadn’t written in many years, it was always something I wanted to revisit. What pushed me back into writing was a routine surgery that went wrong and I almost bled to death (sounds melodramatic, I know!). But what it did was made me reevaluate what was important to me and I’ve been writing like hell ever since! 

Well, that is exciting. I’m glad you recovered to bring your stories to life. Do you have any other interests you’d like to share?
I am also a visual artist who dabbles in acrylics, oils and watercolours. Also, I read a lot and cater to my two senior cats, who spend a lot of their time trying to push their way onto my keyboard!

Cats and keyboards, a pretty common foil to getting any writing done. Now you’re situation is a bit different than my previous featured authors, as you have a partner. Can you tell us about that?
I like writing my own stories, however, I’ve found that having a co-author is a great way to challenge my story ideas. We don’t always agree and sometimes I want to throw a thesaurus at his head, but it keeps the story-line fresh and ultimately makes the story better.

Great perspective MJL. I’m glad you stopped by and chatted with us today. If anyone would like to find more information, or buy one of MJL’s books, you can find her at all the links below.

Website
Facebook

Twitter @noquarterseries
Twitter @artistmjlevans
Instagram mjlevans

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And for any authors looking to be our featured author of the week, you can get details and sign up HERE.

Meet The Author Monday – Chloe Hammond

This week, my Gentle Readers, we have Chloe Hammond, author “Darkly Dreaming: Vicious and Quirky Vampire Literature for Grown-Ups (The Darkly Vampire Trilogy Book 1)” As usual we will put  my questions/comments in BLUE and Chloe will be GREEN.


First off, Thank you for stopping by Chloe. I always like to hear what brought an author into the literary world. Is there a specific person that turned you onto reading?
I grew up without a T.V, so books were my best for of entertainment. Despite having a T.V now, reading is still my favourite pastime. Ok, I admit it, I’m addicted!

As far as addictions go, reading is a pretty safe one I guess. What genre or genres are you addicted to?
I love literary fiction, and I read it from all eras and countries.

Literary fiction huh? What made you cross the line from reader to writer?
I always planned to write- life just got in the way. Then I found myself losing my joie de vivre, and I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I needed to completely change my life, and I needed to be open about my diagnosis. Usually very self-sufficient, I refused to give the depression the isolation it craves. I feared judgement, but instead discovered gentle compassion and support. I finally made time to write again. Writing soothes and grounds me; exhilarates and stimulates me.

Writing can be very cathartic. I am glad that you found your center through writing. So tell us about your published works.
I’ve only published the one book so far, and I’m busily beavering away at book 2 of that trilogy, but even just with the one book I’ve managed to straddle several genres. Darkly Dreaming seems to appeal most to readers who don’t usually read vampire novels and I’ve taken to describing it as vampire literature, as dark fantasy doesn’t begin to sum up the depth of exploration into my characters.

Finding your niche is definitely a good goal. How did you go from finding your center to published author? 
A couple of years ago I started developing quite acute anxiety symptoms, and part of that was experiencing some vicious nightmares and I also suffered insomnia. Now, I could either crumble, and let them take over my life, or I could take the incredibly vivid scenes I was dreaming, and all the extra time I gained from the insomnia, and write the book I’ve wanted to write since I was seven.
Which is what I did. I soon realised that the dreams could fit together into a story I cared about. And as I hit my stride the story took over, and the writing soothed the anxiety.

Dreams often give us some of our best stories. When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
I have just felt well enough to get back to working full time with homeless teenagers again after a year and a half of only an occasional shift while working full time at a wholesalers. I am also a wife, dog bed, and cat slave which also consumes a lot of my time, although I can combine those roles with my passion for a good T.V series like Game Of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Mr Robot.

Sounds like you have a full schedule. Did you have anything else you would like to share with my readers?
I just want readers to understand how important reviews are for authors. As well as the assistance they offer to encourage other readers to take a risk on an unknown writer, and the way every 25 reviews prompts Amazon to increase their promotions of the writer, reviews offer another vital role. I know I am not alone as a writer in having ‘dark nights of the soul’ when we completely doubt our own abilities. When these fears haunt me, what I do is scroll back through my reviews, to reassure myself that people have enjoyed what I’ve done. You may have written your review a year or more ago, and you may only have given a star rating and a sentence or so about how the book made you feel, or what you liked best. I promise you, if you’ve reviewed my book I have read that review a lot more than once. So thank you.

Wonderful sentiments. I agree that reviews are critical. Thank you again for stopping by. For all of you looking to find more information on Chloe, here is a list of websites where you can find her and her book.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter @Chloehammond111
Goodreads
Facebook – Book Page
Tumblr
Linkedin
Google Plus

Small independent online bookstore Mineeye for non-Kindle users:
http://www.mineeye.co.uk/shop/fiction/darkly-dreaming/

If you are an author and want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find more information by Clicking Here.

Meet The Author Monday – Tony J. Forder

This week we feature Tony J. Forder, author of crime thrillers, “Bad to the Bone” and “Degrees of Darkness”  Per our usual scheme around here. We will put Tony’s comments in GREEN while my questions will be in BLUE.

 

So Tony, tell us who you got your start in the literary world. What initially gave you that itch that only reading can scratch?
Whilst still at Primary school when my parents went to a parent-teacher evening, my teacher showed my parents the book I had in my desk. It was Thunderball, by Ian Fleming. I probably understood very little, but clearly I was an avid reader even then. Alan Garner’s book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, was the first book to spark my imagination enough for me to remember reading it. It was also one of the first books I bought my daughter. I’d also add A Christmas Carol as a book that influenced me.

Can’t argue with Fleming and Dickens. Great choices. I will have to check out Garner myself though. I have been reading more indies than traditional authors lately. What genre excites you the most? Having more than one is ok.
Crime thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, excite me. The thrill of the chase, the journey into evil minds, the trail of breadcrumb clues. I include espionage within the thriller genre. Thomas Harris and Michael Connelly are my favourite writers, though I also admire John Lecarre.

More great names. Most of my “crime thriller” comes via television, but I am sure the books are much more thrilling. When did you decide to cross that line and write your own stories?
I was still very young, but the magical world so finely linked with the normal world as portrayed in The Weirdstone of Brisingaman intrigued me enough to give it a go myself. All of my early writing stayed within the fantasy/dark fantasy vein, and then when Stephen King, James Herbert and Peter Straub entered my life, it was natural for my writing to expand to include horror.

King is one of my all time favorites. Do you consider yourself a writer of a specific genre? Or do you dabble in several?
I would mash myself up into a crime, psychological, mystery, suspense, espionage, thriller genre.

You have an interesting story as part of your publishing journey, why don’t you tell us how you got started.
As a child and teenager I wrote short stories all the time. Much later I decided to submit a story into a competition, and won it. It was judged by someone from Pan Books, and as part of my prize the story was published in Dark Voices 2 (the new Pan Book of Horror series).

I later had another story published by Pan, in Dark Voices 4, and a third in FEAR magazine.

After that I concentrated on novels. The first was a dark fantasy/horror blend which, whilst not awful, was not very good, either. But I was in a period where my reading habit were moving away from that genre and into the one I enjoy now, so it was natuarl for my writing to go that way as well.

Degrees of Darkness and Bad to the Bone were written, and then edited by someone I found on-line. Both came close to gaining either/or an agent and publisher, but not close enough.

Commitments to a new job plus a debilitating illness meant I stopped writing as much, little more than scraps of ideas or character sketches, etc. Then being made redundant seemed to re-open a door way for my imagination and inspiration, and suddenly I wanted to write again.

I established an on-line presence, made my books available on-line through Amazon, and am now well into another book.

Very exciting. What do you like to do in your spare time, aside from the day job?
I am now a part-time ICT consultant to education, and part-time writer. When not working, writing or reading I love music. I play guitar, and still practice quite a lot, and I listen to music as much as I can.

I’m a fan of both football and rugby union, and follow Chelsea FC and England.

I am married, with one daughter – who became my muse for Degrees, something we joke means I ought to be sending her to therapy for.

Perhaps she will write about her author father one day and you two can share the therapy bills. I know you have one last thing to share with my readers, a bit of inspiration I believe.
I attended a book signing for Dark Voices 2. I was surrounded by authors whose names were familiar to me. Early on I turned to Brian Lumley (the Necroscope series among others) and confessed that I felt out of place with all these proper writers. He said something I have never forgotten – that the moment you pluck a story from your imagination and set it to paper, you are a proper writer.

Quite inspiring, and so very true. Thank you for stopping by Tony and I wish you success with that next book. Anyone looking to find out more or catch up on what Tony is up to, can track him down at the below links.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter @TonyJForder

 

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find the submission form HERE.