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 – Claire Buss

This week on Meet the Author Monday, we have Claire Buss, whose dystopian debut, “The Gaia Effect” was launched in December of 2016. As usual, we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Claire will be in GREEN.

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Thanks for stopping in to chat with me today, Claire. Congratulations on your first novel. I wish you all the best with it. I understand you are a voracious reader. When did that love affair start for you?
I can’t remember not ever being a reader. It’s not something anyone in my family really does but I think being an only child until my late teens meant that I found adventure and friends in books. I devoured all the usual childhood classics especially things like the Famous Five, Secret Seven, Swallows & Amazons. I tore through the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and with my library card clutched in hand began to explore the sci fi and fantasy section of my library starting off with writers like Greg Bear & Piers Anthony. I had read classics like Dickens, Thackery & Shakespeare before I started secondary school and my English Lit teacher used to let me read my own books within the open set book as he knew that a) I’d already read it and b) I could answer intelligently about it. I still read as much as I possibly can, I’m a member of a real life and online bookclub as well as being a very healthy Goodreads member. I review everything I’ve read and I’m shooting for a goal of 100 books this year. So far I’ve clocked 12. I’m currently reading From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming, Lock In by John Scalzi, Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie, Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, Burmese Days by George Orwell, Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe and LOTR by Tolkein with my little boy at bedtime. I love reading new stories, experiencing twists, happy moments, loss, meeting new characters, gasping out loud at events and I even like it when a book makes me cry my eyes out. You could say they are a passion of mine.

Very eclectic To Be Read pile there. What genre excites you the most?
Favourite genre to read is Sci Fi & Fantasy especially as that has such a huge umbrella and is spilling over into contemporary fiction which is fantastic. I also quite like a historical novel from time to time but I will read anything.

A kindred spirit. When I saw the description of your debut novel I had a feeling we had a lot in common. What brought you across the line from avid reader to writer?
I wrote a lot as a child, even ripping off LOTR as I’m sure many fantasy writers have. Then life got in the way and I stopped. In 2014 I walked past my library and noticed a poster about a writing workshop they were holding, I tried to get a place but it was full. Then about a week later I got an email saying I had a place at a second, overspill event due to the popularity of the course. One of the things the library was using the course for was to promote a writing competition called Pen to Print. I entered in 2015 and came second with my novel The Gaia Effect and part of the prize was to have your book published by New Generation Publishing. That happened in December 2016 and now I am currently editing a second book. Writing makes me happy and frustrates me and scares me but I love it.

I think you are right, fantasy authors all owe so much to Tolkein. He was a master of world creation. What an amazing way to get started with that workshop turning into a publishing contract. Dystopian is a popular sub-genre right now, is this something you are sticking with? Do you see yourself branching out?
Not yet – my first book is dystopian, post apocalyptic and sort of sci-fi ish but only because it’s set 200 yrs in the future with some advanced technologies. My second book, The Rose Thief, is humourous fantasy. I have also started working on a book about my book club and a short story collection called Tales from Suburbia. I’m currently flexing my creative muscles and dabbling at will.

So, we know you got your start with the contest at your local library, but tell us about your journey and where you are headed.
My novel The Gaia Effect is self published via New Generation Publishing. The Rose Thief will probably be e-booked using KDP I expect although I will go through the literary agent hoopla because you never know right? I did have some very positive no thank-yous for TGE. I blog regularly and have done for about five years and I’ve just started branching out into playwriting – just short ten minute plays atm but I am working on a one-act play currently.

Quite the repertoire of talents you are cultivating. When you aren’t pursuing your many projects, what do you do?
I am a stay-at-home mum looking after my hubby who is a policeman, our little boy (3.5) and step-kids at the weekend. My hobbies include reading, baking, occasionally running when the baking gets too much, watching sci fi/fantasy TV shows & movies, and crosstitching.

Sounds like you have enough to keep you busy even without writing. I do want to take a moment to ask you to pass along my thanks to your husband for his service as a police officer. I am a big supporter of those who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. I know you had another story you wanted to share with my readers, so I will let you get to it.
I got really scared when my first 10-min play got recorded and added to YouTube because I based the characters on people I knew. I suddenly thought what if they notice, come after me and lynch me??? Then I realised that I am the only person who knows who my characters are based on and provided I don’t do a like-for-like comparison no-one will ever be the wiser. So now I get to kill off anyone I don’t like – brilliant! But seriously, as a writer I can only base my stories around things I either know about or can imagine and that will always be based on and affected by the people in my life and their adventures so I’ll never be stuck for an idea.

That is one of the greatest perks of being a writer, getting to exact revenge on anyone through fiction. Probably safer and easier than any of the alternatives. Thank you again for stopping by Claire. If anyone wants to get more information on Claire and her varied projects, which I highly recommend, you can find her at the following links.

Website
Facebook
Twitter @grasshopper2407
Goodreads

And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.

Meet The Author Monday – Tracee de Hahn

Today on Meet The Author Monday, we have Tracee de Hahn, who launched the first of her Agnes Luthi Mysteries books, Swiss Vendetta,  on February 7th, 2017. As usual, we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Tracee will be in GREEN.
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Thanks for stopping by Tracee. I hope your book launch is going well. I understand your love affair with reading has an interesting start.
My mother taught me to read at a very early age (probably because I rolled off a changing table and she started the flash cards to counter the imagined brain damage!). I truly can’t remember not being able to read…. from the time I was in pre-school I had my nose in a book.

Watch for ink on the nose that way. What genre usually pulls you in?
Mystery first (expand it to suspense….). Then historical fiction. Third would probably be some of the classics (Jane Austin, Tolstoy)

Mother got you reading, but I understand it was your father who inspired you to write?
My father had the idea for a screen play and since I loved to read he asked me about it. We taught ourselves and moved on to write a few thrillers together. I was practicing architecture and my father is a physician so we had to learn together. It was a lot of fun. I kept writing and shifted to mystery – as my first love!

I suppose it is pretty easy to guess your chosen genre to write then, isn’t it?
Mysteries!

I had guessed that would be your answer. Ho was your journey from idea to publishing that first mystery?
I had a friend read a manuscript and insist I had to submit it. I realized she wouldn’t let it go, so I went to the Alkongian Writers Conference in NY – the pitch fest. That was a wonderful in to the world of writers and publishing. I met my agent there (Paula Munier of Talcott Notch) and very quickly I signed with St Martins/Minotaur for a two book deal. I’ve found that conferences are an amazing way to meet fellow writers and also learn about the profession.

Congratulations again on the signing. That’s amazing. Aside from writing, tell my readers a little bit about your personal life? Do you have a day job, and what other hobbies do you pursue?
Writing is my day job right now (lucky me!). I have too many hobbies – painting (portraits are my favorite but that doesn’t mean I’m any good. Dogs are better than people in terms of results….), travel (Europe and India right now), cooking (I’m a follow the recipes person mainly! My husband is the truly creative cook).
My husband is Swiss, and living there for several years is the inspiration for my book. Lastly we have two Jack Russell Terriers, and one Flemish Giant Rabbit (that came with the house)!

Painting and writing, quite the creative. Suppose you had to leave something for your husband to be the experimental one with, huh? It’s been a pleasure getting to know you Tracee and I wish you continued success with your books. Maybe stop back by when book two is ready for publication and we can update everyone.

For those looking for more information or to follow up on Tracee’s work, you can find her at the following links.

Website
Twitter: @LuthiMysteries
Instagram
Pinterest

 

And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.

Meet The Author Monday – Kevin McAllion

Today on Meet The Author Monday, we have Kevin McAllion, a Scotsman whose first novel, Moristoun, was released in March of 2016. As usual, we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Kevin will be in GREEN.

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Thanks for stopping by today, Kevin. I always like to get started hearing what brought an author into the literary world as a reader first, as that is how many of us got our start.
I was obsessed by football as a kid and only read magazines such as 90 minutes and Four-Four-Two but I started off in fiction with a selection of Woody Allen short stories and was hooked. The first writer I really loved was Roddy Doyle and I rattled through his Barrytown trilogy in a matter of weeks. The most famous of these books is The Commitments but my favourite was The Snapper as the main character was Jimmy Senior and he always had the funniest lines. Since then, I’ve been reading more stuff from foreign writers, thanks to my brother who introduced me to the likes of Gunter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Milan Kundera. The great thing about these authors is that you learn about other countries and cultures as well as immersing yourself in a great story.

That’s one of the greatest things about the digital age is being able to “travel” to these other lands so much easier. What genre sparks your interest the most?
I really enjoy books that marry a fascinating story with politics, especially those that shine a light on oppressive regimes. My favourite is The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge which captures the horror and paranoia of the Soviet Union during Stalin’s great purge. The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa also gives great insight into a despot from South America, as does the brilliant Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Great books should always make you question the world we live in and these ones, while painful to read in parts, do just that.

I think you have certainly given us all some books to think about adding to our To-Read piles. From prolific reader to writer, what spawned this jump for you?
The turning point for me was buying a book from a charity shop that was a compilation of work from contemporary Scottish writers. As I read through each story, I thought: ‘If they can do it, why not me?’ It made me realise that you could write about Scottish issues and people and still make it entertaining. There was also a part of me that secretly thought: ‘I could do better than that’ as I read some of the stories and that gave me the extra push I needed.

A little healthy competitive streak never hurts for motivation. Do you consider yourself a writer of a specific genre? Or do you dabble in several?
I try to write in a comedic style, mainly just to amuse myself first and foremost. I’ve only written one book so far and if I don’t follow it up with another I’ll be forever pigeon-holed as a writer of black comedies.

They say laughter is the best medicine, even if it is dark humor. Share with my readers a little about your journey as a writer and publishing your first novel.
I’ve worked as a sports journalist since I was 19, when I started writing football match reports while studying at university. Since then, I’ve worked for a number of newspapers in Scotland. I currently work as a production journalist, editing, designing and reading pages. After dabbling with several attempted novels and bits of poetry, I came up with the idea for Moristoun in 2012. It took me nine months to finish the first draft, motivated by the desire to get it finished before my daughter was born, then another year to edit the manuscript. I contacted a few agents to see if they would be interested in it but one of them actually turned out to be a publisher, Austin Macauley. They liked the first three chapters, asked me to send the full manuscript then offered me a deal after reading that.
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A dream come true then to find a publisher to pick you up. From the picture it’s clear you have a little one in the house. They can be a handful. When you aren’t working on that second comedic book, what passions do you enjoy?
I work full time as a journalist and have a daughter who is four years old so free time is very much of the premium. Despite losing most of my pace, I still run about every week masquerading as a footballer and occasional embarrass myself on a tennis court. Music and reading are my other passions, something I can thankfully enjoy in tandem.

Sounds like you have a busy schedule to keep, Kevin. I understand that you have another project that you work on that is a bit entertaining. Tell me about it.
I run the world’s only spoof online monkey park, rhesuspark.com. What started off as a made-up newsletter and pamphlet for a desktop publishing exercise in 1999 has now spawned into a monster of a website that continues to grow arms and legs. My made-up nonsense often convinces gullible people on Twitter that there is actually a dysfunctional monkey park operating in the heart of leafy Shropshire. If you fancy making the acquaintance of Rhesus Park CEO David Alsatian you can follow him on Twitter @rhesuspark

A fake Monkey Park. Sounds worth a look. I want to thank you again for stopping by and chatting with me. Good luck with your projects and don’t let those monkeys drive you bananas.

If anyone would like to check out Kevin’s projects and keep up to date with his monkey business, you can find him at the below links.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter @Moristoun

And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.

Meet The Author Mondays – K. C. Blackbyrn

This week on Meet the Author Monday, we have self published Fantasy author, K. C. Blackbyrn, who released her first book, “Stirring Power“, late last year with the paperback going live early this year. As usual, we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and KC will be in GREEN.

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KC, thank you for stopping by to visit with us today. Exciting times for you with the launch of your first book. What brought you to the literary world?
I was dedicated to the outdoors as a child, but then my mother sat me down and gave me a book to read. It was a fantasy book (I believe, as I was too young to remember properly). Ever since then, I read so much that I had glasses by age nine and the local library felt like my personal lounge. I’ve been reading libraries ever since (until I became a writer, that is).

Reading libraries huh? Never seems to be enough time for reading in my opinion. What’s your favorite genre?
Fantasy with a little romance mixed in has always been the genre that gets my brain gears going. Lately though, I bounce between fact, romance, and fantasy.

Fantasy is my favorite as well. I don’t mind a little mushy stuff. Haha. Is there a specific event that brought you across from reading the stories of others to writing your own?
I had been an avid reader for a few years at this point. I fell into a slump where I couldn’t find any books that interested me right away. I began to search the library lists and my search keywords became more and more elaborate until finally I decided I would write down on a word document what I really wanted to see in a story. That became a story itself.

That’s a good way to get started. Stirring Power is clearly a fantasy novel. Is this your passion or are their other works stirring around in your head?
I consider myself a fantasy novelist right at this moment because at this moment I’m devoting 100% of myself to fantasy stories. However, in the future there are some novels I would like to write that are in the romance and the thriller genres.

With your first book launched, what can you tell us about your journey to the world of being a published author?
I’m still a fledgling author so I believe my journey thus far is similar to most beginning self-publishers. Once my story was finished I tried to teach myself to market my book to agents. Having failed a few times I did some research and realized that self-publishing would allow for more freedom and so decided that was the path I wanted instead.

Self publishing does seem to be the wave of the future. The big publishing houses don’t seem to want anything but the same old big names. What interests do you have outside of reading and writing?
When not writing, I have a passion for martial arts. I currently practice Kung Fu, but have a previous black belt in Karate. Other than that, I have many “smaller” hobbies like crochet and taking walks, but my day job takes up a lot of my time so I usually have to put those smaller activities aside.

It’s always good to have a balance. I have heard that martial arts teach a lot about self discipline and perseverance, both traits handy for an author. Did you have anything funny you wanted to share with my readers before you go?
Something you might not know about me is that I have a horrible sense of direction. I’ve lived in the Seattle city for five years and I still need to look up directions to get where I’m going.

Thankfully in this digital age we have a map and gps system readily available on about any modern phone. Good luck with your book launch. It looks like one I will have to add to my ever growing To Be Read pile.

For anyone looking to find out more about KC and keep tabs on her progress with Book 2 in her series, you can locate her at the following links.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter

And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.

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.

Meet the Author Monday – Zara Altair

Today on Meet the Author Monday we have Zara Altair here to tell us a little about herself and her books. As usual we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and our guest author will be GREEN.

I always like to start off with exploring out my guest authors entered the literary world. Is there a specific person or even that made you a reader?
Wow, Andrew, I’ve been reading since I could read at about the age of five. In our family, reading aloud was a daily tradition, so I could get more stories when I could read myself. Kipling was an early favorite. I loved the way he talked to you, O Best Beloved, as though he were telling the story just to you. Winnie the Pooh, Just So Stories, The Wind in the Willows, both Alice books, Albert Payson Terhune because I loved dogs. Those were early stories. When I was eight we moved to a small town with a local library. The limit was eight books out at any one time. Every Friday after school it was eight books out, eight books in.
Our family had an Encylopedia Britannica which also included a set of books about children in other lands. I read and reread those books.

What genre excites you the most these days?
I’m a reader omnivore. I like political thrillers, crime, mystery, history, the classics and read in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Four languages, that’s impressive. When did you decide that you didn’t want to just read stories, but make up your own?
When I was 5, yep, same time I was reading, I met an author of children’s books, Phyllis Ayer Sowers. (https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3APhyllis%20Ayer%20Sowers) We visited her several times. Her books were stories about kids who lived in other lands. She was charming and gracious and did not talk down to me. That was the moment! In some form or another, I’ve been writing ever since. As a child I wrote stories that were set in foreign lands. As an adult I wrote science fiction.
I had years of short story rejections. When I look back at those stories now, I understand why.
I am a published poet with uncountable readings. I taught poetry to children and adults through the Poets-In-The-Schools program.
The stories I have out are short historical mysteries as part of an ongoing series.

That’s incredible that you were able to teach, a highly underrated profession. So what are you working on at the moment?
For the present, I am writing mysteries. They are fun to write. My longer work in progress is set in the same time period, early 6th Century Italy under the Ostrogoths, but is a thriller more than a mystery.
I started writing the mysteries, with the same protagonist, for fun while I work on the novel.

So a children’s author was a big catalyst for your desire to write. Where did your journey go from there?
Ah, the journey. That childhood dream was crushed by my father, who heavily criticized everything I wrote. Yeah, not fun. It took me a long time to recover from that “not good enough” feeling.
At one point I had an agent for a children’s book about a child who had a new sibling that come home from the hospital. There was a tussle with several publishers over including “umbilical cord” in the book. They felt it was too big for pre-schoolers to understand. My feeling was, Nonsense, every child knows Tyrannosaurus Rex. It didn’t get published. I still feel the same way. 🙂
I had ideas for more books, but was told that the agency would not represent me without an author platform and a marketing program in place. This was before the internet, the cost of PR managers and book tours seemed astronomical at the time.
More recently, I had a futuristic fantasy rejected several times.
Then I discovered the world of self-publishing! The world was wide open. I decided to share my short stories with no intention of making money. I have a tiny trickle of royalties each month.
The algorithms, and readers, like a minimum of three books. I’m working on the third story now.
Andrew, you are so right: it is a journey. Writing stories is just part of being an author. There’s setting up a website, writing articles/blogs, participating in social media, growing the fan base. And finding and working with a cover designer and editors…and writing more stories.
I have two editors, one content editor who catches those places where the story has a glitch like pacing and character development, and a copy editor who looks at sentence structure, wording, and the tiny elements of syntax. Each in their own way makes my stories better.

That’s great that you didn’t let rejection, either familiar or professional, get you down. The world of self-publishing is great for us “little guys” to get our stories out there. When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?
I live near Portland, Oregon among the tall trees by the side of a creek. It’s a peaceful environment, very conducive to writing time.
I work (day job) as a content writer focused on semantic writing for the web. I also have one current ghostwriting book project, a thriller. So when I’m not writing, I’m writing.
I consult with a select few writers on the writing process and their writing journey.
I’m a voracious reader. And I listen to audiobooks.
I love being outdoors and go on frequent trail walks.
My two grown children are two of my best friends. My son lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter (my granddaughter). My daughter lives with her husband in Hampshire County, England.

Clearly its difficult to keep your fingers off the keys or a pen out of your hands. I want to thank you for stopping by and introducing yourself Zara. Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom for my readers?
Thank you, Andrew, for the invitation to chat with you and your readers.
Someone asked me recently where I get my inspiration. Stories come to me and say, Tell me. It doesn’t stop until the story is told.
The idea for the Argolicus Mysteries came from a conversation with my daughter. She was telling me why I should go to Ravenna, Italy. As she chatted along, she said, “And he led his people across the frozen Danube and eventually came to Italy.” In my mind I wondered, what was it like to live then.
I did go to Ravenna and met with professors at Universitá di Bologna, Ravenna, who were amazed that some crazy woman from the West Coast of the United States wanted to write about Ravenna at the time of King Theodoric. I came home with 36 kilos of books which they generously gave me.
Fortunately, my daughter who had gone to school twice in Italy prepared me for Italian professors, you must prove your point before they answer a question. When I pointed to a mosaic of a ship and asked a professor if that was what ships looked like in 514 A.D. he answered: No, no, no. Then for forty minutes he rummaged around in his bookshelves showing me images of ships. For each one, I would answer something like: No, those were Visigoths in Spain and that was a few years later. I had a reason for why each illustration he showed me wasn’t right. At the end of 40 minutes, once again I held up the drawing of the ship and asked, So, in 514 the ships would look like this. He answered, Yes, yes, yes.
Research about the period is challenging because when the Emperor Justinian retook Italy, he had a major campaign to eliminate all evidence of the Ostrogoths.
Argolicus was a real person at the time of Theodoric’s reign in Italy. He is mentioned nine times in Cassiodorus’ Variae (iii 11, iii 12, iii 29, iii 30, iii 33, iv 22, iv 25, iv 29, iv 42) as praefectus urbis of Rome. His childhood and ongoing friendship with Cassiodorus come from my imagination as well as his retirement in the very southern tip of Italy, the setting for the mystery series.
His call to Ravenna and appointment as comitiacus officium in Felix Ravenna: A Mosaic also originated in an idea.
The mysteries are set far away from the capital in southern Italy in 512 A.D. Felix Ravenna: A Mosaic is set two years later in Ravenna during the year 514 A.D.
Your readers can find me on Amazon and just about anywhere ebooks are sold.
The Peach Widow cover2.jpgused-virgin-cover

I hope they will take the opportunity to look up your works. For those looking for Zara’s stories, here are the links you can use.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter
You Tube
Google+
Amazon Author Page

And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.

MTAM- A.M. Rycroft 


For our first official Meet The Author Monday, my Gentle Readers, I have A.M. Rycroft, whose book “Into The Darkness” I recently reviewed. That book earned Rycroft a spot in the Horror Writers Association. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and she will be GREEN.

I always like to hear what introduced a writer to the literary world. Is there a specific person or event from your life that made you a reader?
My mother was a big reader, like her mother before her, so she was always buying me books and letting me pick out books as a child. So, I think it mostly comes from her.

What are you favorite genre(s) to read?
Typically, the same ones I write, so fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. I also delve into thrillers and some literary fiction from time to time.

Was there any particular person that inspired you to write?
I can’t say what got me going as a writer, other than reading a lot, but I started writing when I was little. I left it for art after high school, but when art school didn’t work out, I went back to writing. That’s worked out much better.
When you pick up that pen or tap those keys, what usually comes out?
Dark fantasy, mostly, with horror as my second love.

Let’s hear about your journey as a writer. How many works have you published, and what are your plans for the near future?
I have two books published in my dark fantasy series now. I decided to indie publish the first one last year and the second this year, because I like the control factor of indie publishing, as well as I wanted to get into publishing other people’s works. Right now, I’m wrapping up the first drafts to books 3 and 4 in the Cathell series and working towards publishing an anthology of other authors’works. They should all be on the shelves in early and mid 2017, which I’m very excited about.

I look forward to those new releases. I still need to get to the second Cathell book. Guess I have some catching up to do. When you are not writing, what consumes your time?
I do a little blogging, spend time with my spouse, and spend time at the gym. I’m a pretty big gym rat.

Healthy body helps the mind I think. Thanks for popping by A.M. And do keep us posted on those new releases. I’m sure my readers will enjoy the series as much as I did the first one.

If you want to find out more from this author you can find her at the following links.

Facebook

Twitter: @amrycroftwriter

Instagram: @mightyquillbooks

– Website: www.writinginadarkroom.com and www.mightyquillbooks.com

Amazon

Goodreads
And remember, if you are an author who wants to be featured on my Meet The Author Monday series, you can find more information by Clicking Here