Meet The Author Monday – Joel Crofoot

Today my Gentle Readers I have a paranormal romance author (aspiring fantasy) for you to meet, Joel Crofoot. Joel has some interesting background that brought him to writing that I think you’ll enjoy. As usual, my comments/questions will be in BLUE and Joel will be in GREEN.

Joel, thanks for sitting down with us today to talk about your work. Are you an avid reader?
In graduate school I had to do a lot of mandatory reading, so when the work settled down and I found time for fiction again it became a great way to escape for me.

Books tend to do just that, provide a great escape from the mundane. What are your favorite escape genres?
I like fantasy and romance, especially the two combined. I love paranormal romance.

Fantasy is definitely my top favorite. I like a little romance, but only if it adds to a broader plot or character arc. What made you decide to switch from just reading books to writing your own?
I had a lot unique experiences going from fighting a war to becoming a therapist so I had some life lessons that I wanted to share with others. That is why all of my books include characters on their journey toward self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, etc.

War and therapy, sounds like some good character building experience. Do you have plans for one genre (or since I spoiled it a little in your introduction), more than one genre?
I’m sticking to paranormal romance until my series ends, but I would like to switch to fantasy at some point.

Paranormal romance series to fantasy, pretty easy leap to make I would think. How did you get started writing? What were your first steps and where has it taken you?
I started writing around my third year of graduate school, probably as a way to relieve stress, and I self-published my first book in 2016. It was a rocky road but I’ve been writing ever since. I recently won 2nd place in the Reviewers Choice Awards from the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Racking up an award already in just a couple years. Very impressive. Do you have any hobbies or other activities to go along with your writing career?
I think my day job and studying for licensure to become a psychologist consume almost all of my time now, but I also like running and painting.

Good luck with the licensure. Balancing a day job with writing can be challenging. Did you have anything else you would like to share before we wrap up and get my readers some links to your work?
While my stories are short, raunchy, novels about angels and demons, I consider them to be more like erotic parables because they all have great moral lessons along the way. In the end and in my blog I note some of the psychological issues I address in the books.

I also didn’t make up any of the names of the angels or demons, those came from traditionally biblical angels or the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Interesting choice of characters. I want to thank you again for stopping by, Joel. If anyone would like to get their hands on more information (and Joel’s books of course), you can find him at the below links.

Blog: https://joelcrofootblog.wordpress.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoelCrofoot/

Twitter: @JoelWCrofoot

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If you are an author and would like to be featured on Meet the Author Monday, please fill out the form so we can meet you.

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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.