Anita's Haven

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CROOKED INTERVIEW with GEOFF NELDER

The second guest in the CROOKED INTERVIEW series is the ever-surprising Geoff Nelder whose twist on the ‘crookedness’ of the interview/self-interview aspect is unique and unexpected. But only for those who don’t know this amazing SF and thriller author. His contribution to the product and creation of both the Twisted Tales and the Crooked Tales has been simply marvellous, as everyone at Readers Circle of Avenue Park knows. Here is a bit more on his ‘crooked’ tale and current writing projects, as penned by his extensive imagination.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – GEOFF NELDER

Geoff Nelder is a former teacher in rural England, thrown out with hearing problems, but lured into writing and into being a bad-ass editor.

http://geoffnelder.com

Amazon author pages 

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/geoffnelder

and tweets at @geoffnelder


CROOKED INTERVIEW

1. What is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it? 

Ubiquitous is set in the near future about—hey, what’s this? Get off you mad quack!

“Va via, Nelder, you’re a nothing, a scribe, piccolo, whereas I am, Doctor Antonio Menzies and I’m a main character in your crazed award-winning medical , ARIA TRILOGY. I usurp the author and will give you the answers because Nelder is too lazy and my responses are magnifico. This spazzatura story you dared inserta into your otherwise bene Crooked Tales is just a crazy crime of the near future. Idiot uomo has the mafia after his fingers. He uses the web, but idiota boy cannot escape quando internet is everywhere, si? Ubiquitous. He gets off, a bit clever. Someone must have told Nelder how to write it. It must have been inspired by me, his best ever character, no?

2. What do you like writing and/or reading best?  3. What else do you do in life apart from writing?

Nelder doesn’t like writing, or reading. He’s a what-do-you-say, a Cassanova, haha. He wishes. He chases women on his bicicletta but they’re all faster than him. Butterflies overtake him. When he’s tied down he reads science fiction and literary nonsense like China Miéville and Julian Barnes. He’d like to write like them. Ho ho.

4. What are you currently working on? 

Nelder? Work? When he falls off his bike… Nelder’s gone all historical fantasy in his latest novel. He holidayed in Malta, discovered my predecessors, Ottoman pirates, abducted the people of a whole island. Well, the spirits of those slaves are crying out for revenge, apparently. Hence XAGHRA’S REVENGE is finished and the world will have to suffer it this year – 2017.

5. Ask yourself any 5 questions you wish to be asked and answer them. 

I’ve no time for this. No, I’ll give you un po. One question you shouldn’t ask. Does Nelder do research?  Arrgh. Don’t mention research! He’s obsessed by getting stuff right. He has to name streets, towns and rivers in the right places. I blame it on him being a geography professore for 100 years. In ARIA he read every damn book on the brain, amnesia, Alzheimer’s, you name it. No don’t. He emailed an astronaut, Leroy Chaio, for data on the struts of the International Space Station and get this, Leroy replied while he was in orbit! For some unfathomable reason the astronaut wanted a signed copy of Nelder’s ARIA: Left Luggage – huh, you should’ve seen his cycling with legs a whirr to the ufficio postale.

Un altro question. Where does Geoff Nelder get his ideas from?

He steals his ideas from ME. No question. Nelder says he oxygenates his brain while on his long cycling tours but I’ve no doubt at all that he sneaks a peek at my prescription pad and little black book for his ideas. He’s always after my women.

Okay, you want more questions and risposte? 

Does he have a favourite place to write?

As an idiot researcher, Geoff Nelder likes to write his stories in their setting. If a scene is in Paris, that’s where you’ll find him, sat at an outside café table swimming in the language, atmosphere and booze. I encourage this, especially with his science fiction. Go to the Moon I tell him. Often.

What would Geoff Nelder’s reaction be if a character from one of his books came to life and turned up on his doorstep?

You’re kidding, right? I am here you know. 

Whoops, he’s coming back with a shotgun. I’m off.

GEOFF NELDER’S QUESTIONS for other Crooked Tales authors
Please, reply in the comments below. Other, non-‘crooked’, authors welcome, too.

Ask one of the other Crooked Tales authors a question.
I know it takes Senor idiot Nelder two years to research and two more wasted years to write his diabolico novels so Mark Fine or anyone else, how long does it take you to write a novel?

Well, thank you both, gentlemen of the pen and ideas! Looking forward to more of your work.

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CROOKED INTERVIEW with MARK FINE

The CROOKED TALES is another bountiful reader feast prepared for you by Readers Circle of Avenue Park and 15 extraordinary authors from around the globe. It contains 15 short stories on deception and revenge from all genres and walks of life, and is now available in kindle and paperback. It gives me a mixture of pride and humbleness to state that my story Beneath is also featured.

This spring I have an amazing treat for you as these superbusy authors have agreed to be my blog guests and do an interview. Crooked Tales inspiring my crookedness, I have also given them a task – in the second half of the interview they have to interview themselves:). 

To open this series of Crooked Interviews, here is MARK FINE, a man whose autobiography alone would make for a stunning movie. Thank you, Mr Fine!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Fine [Mark of the Hyena], a self-confessed, tone-deaf music executive, was born in South Africa, However, now Los Angeles is his home. There with his two sons—and Charlie, an affectionate neighbor’s dog—Mark wrote his historical fiction novel, The Zebra Affaire—the story of a mixed race couple and their struggle to survive under the racist regime’s oppressive 1970’s apartheid policies. Mark also takes a broader look at the travails of greater Africa; a topic that concerns him greatly. A charming aspect of Mark’s writing is how he looks to nature—Africa’s animals and wildlife—for inspiration and a solution to human shortcomings. In the process of telling the truth via the freedom fiction provides, a reviewer said, “Mark Fine has been brave like William Faulkner in his journey of truth telling – he has simply done it with a much different kind of Southern accent.”  For further info on Mark, check out these links— Website: finebooks.co Blog: Fine Ruminations~ or you’re welcome to connect on Facebook and Twitter: @MarkFine_author

THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE: An Apartheid Love Story  (Paperback)

THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE  (Kindle Edition) 

INTERVIEW

– What is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it?

MARK OF THE HYENA: ‘Fish out of water’ stories intrique me. The set up of an elite academic from New York City stranded in the Kalahari desert with a tribe of San Bushmen as his only means of survival was too tempting to ignore. In the telling we learn of hubris wrapped in first world arrogance, and simple grace in respecting nature’s lore. 

– What do you like writing and/or reading best? 

I now have so many stories within me to tell, I’ve shifted my focus to short stories. This permits me the time to write them, and affords busy readers the time to read them.

– What else do you do in life apart from writing?

I mentor aspiring talent in both the music world, especially songwriters, and print publishing. It is the joy of collaboration that finally motivates me.


– What are you currently working on?

An historical fiction/suspense novel based in sub-Sahara Africa. It is based on a true story, and has the tantalizing title, “THE CULTURED SPY”.

CROOKED INTERVIEW

Conversation with myself: The whys and wherefores that shaped author Mark Fine’s novel, “The Zebra Affaire”

Mark Fine: What was the genesis of Zebra Affaire? Was it a grueling process or did it write itself?

Myself: More complex, more a creative evolution. I originally wanted to write a biography about my father. But, despite his accomplishments, he remained a modest man. I began to sense that the notion of a biography would be awkward for him. So I scrapped the idea. However, a great deal of research I’d already completed about his life and times. Subliminally, my mind must have churned away at this problem, because one day—a true kismet moment—the idea of courageous love story between a white woman and black man in the land of apartheid manifested itself. Only then did The Zebra Affaire ‘write itself’.

Mark Fine: Did you find that, as the characters developed, they changed the trajectory of the story from the original vision of the book?

Myself: The arc of the story remained surprisingly consistent. Probably because I wrote the end of my novel first. Seems counterintuitive, but it made sense to have a final destination as a guidepost. Kind of like a closing argument in a legal trial, I instinctively focused on the book’s conclusion when I began. Of course, as characters assumed a life of their own, the ending was constantly revisited, and refined.

Speaking about characters, I enjoyed adding the animal world and their instinctive code-of-honor into the story. As allegories to the foibles of human behavior, the natural behavior of these creatures was rather instructive. I’m thrilled I found a place for Africa’s wildlife in the book. It makes the experience all the more authentic for the reader, and foreshadows the human narrative at the heart of the story in a fresh way.

Mark Fine:  Which of the characters, if any, did I shape from personal experiences?

Myself:  The patriarch, the DGF character, typifies the decent people that tried to make a difference within the discriminatory apartheid system. Despite onerous job restriction laws that prohibited people of color from any management position, the real DGF did in fact hire and mentor a black man as a senior executive for a public company—despite such a hiring being illegal.

Due to the real DGF’s mentorship and ‘civil disobedience’, Rupert Bopape became a legendary music producer and label chief. DGF’s philosophy was simple in a complicated color-shaped society: merit is the only sustainable litmus test, and surpasses all other things that divide, such as race, tribe, gender, and faith. 

In the context of the times, DGF was quietly brave. Now for a confession, my late father David Gabriel Fine inspired the DGF character. Fittingly, by weaving his memoire within the tapestry of my historical fiction story I was finally able to pay tribute to a wonderful man, and terrific dad.

Mark Fine:  Your Zebra Affaire story deals with many areas of history and diverse ethnic groups. How much of the final work was a result of inspiration or research?

Myself: The schism between the various races and tribes was my motivation to write the novel, as it remains a cautionary tale. I felt the world tends to adopt a simplistic ‘bumper-sticker’ view of what in reality is a more complicated state of affairs. Things are invariably seen in stark black and white, when in fact it’s anything but immutable. For example, in South Africa the white clans hated each other (English speakers versus the Afrikaners from Dutch heritage), as do the various native tribes (Zulu, Sotho, Venda, Xhosa and others). It’s ironic that South Africa’s motto was “Unity is Strength” when it was such an intensely balkanized society.

But the challenge as a writer was to humanize this constantly shifting tide of societal unrest, and so the context—shocking for that time and place—of an illicit interracial romance. As such, the arcana of South Africa’s convoluted legal code needed thorough research.

However, my main goal is to entertain the reader. It’s the thrilling fusion of romance and suspense set against a canvas that’s vividly authentic and powerfully provocative that makes The Zebra Affairestory worth writing, and reading. This is about the courageous love story of Elsa and Stanwell, the two of them on a collision course with the mighty racist regime, which is the compelling narrative that draws the reader through the book’s pages. If the reader becomes better informed in the process, well, that’s an added bonus.

Mark Fine: If you could return to post-apartheid South Africa and make sweeping changes, what would they be?

Myself: Out with the men! The women of Africa are saints. That image of a humble woman walking miles in the heat of day, barefoot, with a five gallon bucket of water balanced on her head—and with a baby wrapped in a blanket bound to her back, is for me the essence of selfless sacrifice. Unless there is another Nelson Mandela, these women should represent the true voice of Africa. Tireless and dedicated they may be, yet sadly they remain marginalized, underappreciated, due to gender discrimination and patriarchal tradition. I believe it is time for an authentic, nurturing, honest African woman to become the next president of South Africa! Maybe this will become the topic of my next book…

MARK FINE’S QUESTIONS for other Crooked Tales authors

Do you find a silver lining in a bad review? If so, please give an example.

What percentage of the research you do for a novel actually lands up on the printed page?

Do you have an author you admire? If so, why?

Could the Crooked Tales authors please reply to this kind gentleman in the comments below? Other authors also welcome:)

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The Border Lines by L.E. Fitzpatrick

This is indeed a treat – being able to introduce you to a great author and be part of her Blog Tour – so meet Border Lines by L.E. Fitzpatrick! All the info is provided here about her new release. I hope you find her writing as intriguing as I do. I was fascinated by the intro to the series, her short story Safe Haven, and am currently readint The Running Game, the first novel in the series. The Border Lines will definitely follow.

Synopsis

When the perfect job comes up, Charlie doesn’t think twice about taking it. This is the break he’s been looking for and nobody, not even the rest of his team, can persuade him otherwise.

The job means working for an old enemy and crossing the border into London. Both are risky, but Charlie has no idea how high the stakes really are. The team will have to confront their past, each other and a killer who is closer than they realize. But can they all make it out of the city alive?

“We all remember that kid in Piccadilly. That determined look he had on his face as he willed all those people to him. Just using his mind, he pulled them close then blew them all to pieces. It could be anyone. Your neighbour, your friend, your lover. Remain vigilant. Reachers are everywhere.”

Border Lines is the second book in L.E. Fitzpatrick’s Reachers series.

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9C0VCJ/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N9C0VCJ/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N9C0VCJ/ 

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N9C0VCJ/ 

Start with Book One, The Running Game

Rachel’s father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes, and always be ready to run.

On the surface, Rachel is just an ordinary doctor, but she has a secret. Rachel is a Reacher, wanted by the government and the criminal underworld for her telekinetic powers.

Charlie and his brother John have a reputation for doing the impossible. But after losing his family, Charlie is a broken mess and John is barely keeping him afloat. In desperation, they take a job from a ruthless crime lord, only to discover the girl they are hunting is a Reacher… one of their own kind.

With the help of dangerous and dubious allies, can Rachel turn the game around and save herself?

MY REVIEW FOR THE RUNNING GAME: (by Anita Kovacevic)

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GIGM1X8/ 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GIGM1X8/ 

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01GIGM1X8/ 

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01GIGM1X8/

Giveaway

Prizes: 1 x $10 Amazon Gift Card, 1 x signed paperback, The Running Game, 3 x ebook copy, The Running Game

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d3e3d66a100/ 

About the author

L E Fitzpatrick was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, but now lives in West Wales, with her family plus lots of dogs and cats. She manages an office, volunteers as a room steward for the National Trust and also supports independent authors as a proofreader and beta reader. She obviously has no spare time because of this, but if she did it would probably be invested in walking in the countryside and enjoying the peace and quiet.

L E Fitzpatrick published her first series Dark Waters in 2011 and is currently working on her Reacher series.

Interview

1. What’s your latest project?

I’ve been working on the Reacher series for a few years. The latest released instalment is Border Lines, which is book 2 in the series. I’ve got book 3 in draft and due to go off to editing soon. And all being well I’ll be working on book 4 in the forthcoming weeks. So basically my project is my Reacher series and it probably will be for a little while yet.

2. What is your favourite character among the ones you created?

I get asked this a lot and the answer is always the same: Roxy. Although he’s not the lead, he’s a great character to write, especially when things get dark. He adds a little bit of comedy relief, but there are many layers to his personality and each book uncovers something special about him. Whereas in The Running Game he was full of bravado and confidence, in Border Lines he’s much more vulnerable and repentant.

3. What has been the most difficult thing for you to write so far?

The most difficult thing to write is always blog posts. I have a blog and, as you will see from my last entry, I just don’t use it. I can sit and write for hours and hours when it’s a novel or a short story, but I am totally useless and creating anything snappy and interesting to read online.

4. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading?

I would hope that, as I work as an editor and proofreader as well, I cope very well with the whole finishing process. In truth I quite enjoy it. Marketing is another story. I rely heavily on a great company called Eyes on Books, who I’ve worked with throughout the Reacher series. I’m just not marketing minded. And criticism, well I have a know it all 8 year old who is smarter than me, so I’m subjected to a lot of criticism on a daily basis. You learn to grow a thick skin. And my key is to consider all criticism, if I agree with points raised then I’ve learned something, if I don’t, then I can disregard the feedback and it doesn’t get to me.

5. What are your writing plans for the future?

The Reacher series is my main focus at the moment, but I’m also hoping to do more with my Dark Waters fantasy stories. Ideally one day I’d like to write a kids’ book for my son, but with my current schedule he probably won’t get it until his twenties.

6. What makes you happiest in the writing process?

Each stage of writing has its own merits. I think when I’m undertaken a stage, be it first draft, fourth draft, editorial, it’s all pretty awful and I want to throw in the towel. But when I look back there are two drafts I really love; the first is second draft when I’ve got most of the story together and I can work on imagery and content, the other is the editorial stage, just because I love going through the text line by line (as you have probably guessed I don’t get out much).

7. What do people usually say about your writing?

The one thing everyone feeds back to me is my characters. I’m a character writer and if the characters don’t work the book falls apart. Particular in the Reacher series readers have favourites of the main four characters, which always amuses me. I hear a lot of “I’m a John fan” or “I’m more of a Charlie girl.” I love getting feedback like this and hearing what readers want for the future. Unfortunately the series is almost entirely planned out, so in many cases I know the readers won’t get what they want – but they’ll be surprised and hopefully delighted anyway.

8. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts?

There is a part of me that likes to think I’m incredibly arty. I’m not. I can’t sing, dance, play, draw. The only thing I can do is graphics on a computer, which I have cobbled together for book promotions. Probably if I wasn’t writing books I’d be decorating them instead.

9. What was your favourite book when you were younger or a child? Why?

My all time favourite book as a kid was Pride and Prejudice. I read it in school. Then read it. And read it. And re-read it. And have several copies in case one goes missing. And why do I love it? Well as a teenager I was really taken with Elizabeth Bennet, who despite being of the weaker sex, was strong and determined and very witty. The connection between her and Darcy was electric and clever. I always felt they were on an equal playing field, because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be interested in each other.

10. Do you have any special promos, charity releases, appearances or book releases you’d like to tell us about?

I’ve got a few appearances this year. I’ll be attending the author signing event in Manchester in mid August. There’s Darker Side of Fiction event in Peterborough in October. Then in 2018 I’ll be heading off to the Titanic centre in Belfast for an amazing book event. Hopefully I’ll manage some events in Wales and hey, if anyone wants to invite me further afield I’m always happy to oblige.

Social Links

Website: http://l-e-fitzpatrick.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lefitzpatrickbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/L_E_Fitzpatrick

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/L_E_Fitzpatrick 

Excerpt
However long it took the greeting was always the same. Border watch stopped each car, surveying it with suspicion before checking the passes of the passengers. Babies to pensioners were inspected, their ID’s scanned and, if the border patrol took offence, they’d even strip search travellers in the street.

Rachel rapped her knuckles on the passenger seat as the car ahead of them started to move forward. This was closer than she had ever dared go to the border. There were stories about guards having scanners that picked up Reachers, even if that was a lie it still left her fake ID and the boot full of weapons to worry about. The urge to use her powers was overwhelming, but Charlie insisted they get through legitimately – well as legitimately as fake ID’s and a car full of weapons would allow.

She glanced at John as he drove forward. He was focused, but unconcerned with the task at hand. The brothers were used to crossing the border. They’d seen what it was like on the other side. She hadn’t even seen through the gates. The world she was used to was the one they were parked in – dirty, decaying, depressing. What could be hiding behind that concrete wall? How good was it on the other side?

It was their turn. Rachel followed John and Charlie’s lead, placing their hands on the dashboard and the front seat. Three border police circled their car. One ducked down to see underneath and, satisfied, they gestured that John slowly open the window.

“Passes,” the man ordered, shuffling his rifle back onto his shoulder.

Rachel handed the three fake passes to John, her heart racing. John handed them to one watchman to process, while another began his interrogation.

“Is this your first visit to London?”

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Meet Paul White

You may remember the other day when I had the pleasure of introducing you to a new book, Life in the War Zone, by Paul White. Well, lucky for me and you, Paul managed to take some time out of his busy schedule and do an interview. Enjoy yourselves meeting Mr White, in the print!

INTERVIEW TIME 

1. Who are you in a nutshell?

Answer 1: I am Just a simple man, with ten-thousand stories inside his head I need to share with you.

2. What’s your latest project?

Answer 2: Creating ‘Life in the War Zone’. I wanted to share the emotions and inner thoughts, the fears and dreams of those caught between warring factions. The resilience and fortitude of ordinary people is actually most extraordinary. 

3. What was the most difficult thing for you to write so far? 

Answer 3: I have a part written work, (working title ‘Lucky’), consigned to the back burner. It follows a man through his entire life, but I wrote myself into a messy wilderness! I need to re-write the whole story and make changes. Now I cannot seem to find the time to resurrect Lucky!

4. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading?

Answer 4:  I have never worried about critics, each to their own view. 

I work endlessly at promoting my work and experiment with alternative ways to get my books seen. So far, the best has been when working in conjunction with other authors. 

As for editing and proofing, they are an evil necessity and most authors nightmare! We are creative folk, not engineers or technical geeks, we want to move on, get the next story out of our heads and into a book. Always best to use a professional editor. Stops you pulling your hair out! 

5. What are your writing plans for the future?

Answer 5: I have two books underway, one is a ‘slasher’ type novel called ‘Floyd’ about an escaped psychopath on a revenge spree. 

The other is completely different; it is titled ‘On the Highway of Irreverent Rumination and Delusion‘, it is based on my old blog series of the same name. Simply it is a record of my musings, all the random and weird ideas, concepts, thoughts and insights running through my mind when behind the wheel of my car. Fun, insightful and somewhat disturbing!


6. Which books/authors do you admire and why?

Answer 6: This is an easy question. The problem is I could write an entire thesis about this! 

To spare you that, I will simply say Norman MacLeod for his amazing book ‘Do not go Gentle’ and Crena Rohan (Deirdre Cash), for ‘Down by the Dockside’. 

Both books touched my soul as a young teenager and have stayed with me, hauntingly (but in a nice way), ever since. 

I think that is what a great book is supposed to do.

For humour (satire and sarcasm), I would recommend everybody reads at least one of Saki’s books. (Hector Hugh Munro/H.H. Monro). 

The Unbearable Bassington, or the Bodly head collection would be a good place to start.

7. What makes you happiest in the writing process?

Answer 7: Getting lost, totally and utterly lost in the nether world of my own stories. 

You see, the only way I can write fiction is to go there, to become, to be my characters, to live each moment, each scene as if it is real.

8. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts?

Answer 8: Yes. Before I wrote, well before I wrote professionally I was a Chef, I had my own restaurants. That is an amazingly creative craft.

Now, when I am not writing I create digital art, I design book covers and I book fold. I also ‘potter about’ in the shed making ‘stuff’ from scrap metal  wood!

9. What was your favourite book when you were younger or a child? Why?

Answer 9: I could not possibly give an answer to this. I was an avid reader from about seven or eight. By that age I was reading Dickens and W Somerset Maugham, books like ‘the moon & Sixpence’.

I think the first book I read was The Butterfly Revolution by William Butler. My sister, several years older than I, left it laying on the coffee table. I picked it up one night and read it with the aid of a touch under the bed covers. I read it in one go. It was light, sunrise when I finished. 

10. Do you have any special promos, charity releases, appearances or book releases you’d like to tell us about? 

Answer 10: I must and I mean I must tell you about ‘Looking into the Abyss’. This is the first anthology I attempted to create.

I was full of trepidation venturing into realms unknown. But soon I had the support and backing of ten other authors and an editor. That was followed by the another offer to create the cover….and why, because each and every one of those amazing people wanted to help save the Rhinoceros from the evil of the poachers.

They, like me do not want to see these wonderful beasts hunted to extinction. So the book, Looking into the Abyss was created to help raise funds to for the protection of the Rhino.

Will you join us and buy a copy to help, please?

By all means, please give this book a chance. It offers a variety of short stories and an opportunity to do good. Thank you, Paul, for this unique opportunity to know more about you and your work. 

More about Life in the War Zone and the links to all Paul’s work can be found in this post.

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Meet Karen J. Mossman

Don’t you just love having guests over? It is wonderful to be able to introduce you to another author whose books might just tickle your fancy – Karen J. Mossman.

BIO

I come from a family of journalists, but am the only one to have gone into fiction. My first book was published in 2014 and this year I hope to write the sequel to that.

I live in Anglesey, a small island off the North Wales coast with my husband and elderly Yorkshire terrier. We have two children who were born on the same day two years apart and ironically 2lbs different in weight. At the time we lived at house number 22. It’s a pity they didn’t have the lottery back then! Although I always considered myself blessed and lucky with them and I now have two grandchildren.

Links:

Website – Magic of Stories https://magicofstories.net

Bookstore – https://magicofstories.selz.com/editor?url=/

Blog –  Karen’s Book Buzz – know your next book  – https://karensbookbuzz.wordpress.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Kazzmoss

INTERVIEW TIME

Why do you write?

Because when I write I can do anything and be anyone. I can also go anyway I like – and I can even get away with murder!

What’s your latest project?

When I first began writing, I really didn’t know what I was doing and published 3 themed short story collections. As I met other authors and learned more about my craft, I realized these books needed rewriting and reformatting and I got them great new covers. For the last 6 months, I’ve been doing this. The Missing and Heroes are out, and I am just doing the final checks on Behind the Music. I was pleased to be able to add a brand new story to include with this one. 

What is your favourite character among the ones you created?

Tommy who is the boyfriend of Kerry in The Secret. He’s everything I would love in a man and he adores Kerry and just wants to look out for her, especially when he realizes she is in trouble.

What was the most difficult thing for you to write so far?

Some of the scenes from The Secret. I don’t want to give anything away, but some were harrowing and my only experience was my imagination.

What are your writing plans for the future?

I have my next two books planned out. Joanna’s Destiny is the sequel to Joanna’s Journey followed by a completely different book set in medieval times. 

What makes you happiest in the writing process?

Writing early in the morning without interruptions and realizing my muse is fully awake and my fingers and just keep on tapping on the keyboard with a life of their own. Then like magic, a story has appears – I love it when that happens.

If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts?

I’ve always loved cross-stitching and now I have two grandchildren I have started knitting and have just learning to crochet. So far I have made a knitted teddy and am crocheted blanket. Now I’m starting on a bobble hat.

What was your favourite book when you were younger or a child? Why?

It has to be Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. I remember turning the page at Chapter 1 and feeling so exciting to start a new adventure.

Thank you for your time, Karen. A brief reminder to readers – if you like what you read, do leave a review at the purchase site and/or a book club. It helps authors a lot.

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Meet Ted Tayler

It has been a pleasure to read and review the first book in the thriller series of The Phoenix by Ted Tayler. Non-stop action, spies, plots, terrorism and the precarious balance of justice are masterfully tackled by this author and have grown into a five-book series (for now;) – see a sneaknpeek into no.6 below). I am very grateful Ted Tayler has taken the time to be my guest for an interview.

Mini Bio – TED TAYLER
“I grew up with reading and writing all around me. My mother loved books and I had 2 aunts who taught English. There was no escape. I put it on hold after school because of my music and work. I wrote my book of memories from my life in bands in 2008. It was eventually published in 2011. At the end of 2012, I wondered if I could write fiction! Those are the when’s. I’m beginning to wonder why!

I think of myself as a storyteller; I hope with each successive book I get better at it. What I’ve been told is the reader feels as if we’re sat across the table from one another over a drink, and I’m just chatting with them.” 

Website http://www.tedtayler.co.uk

Interview Time

1. Why do you write? 

I enjoy communicating with people. If it’s verbal, face to face, then that’s fine and I enjoy that too; however, I can reach more people with the written word and long after I’m gone the books I’ve managed to get finished will be available, somewhere for anyone who wishes to read them.

2. What’s your latest project?

The sixth book in The Phoenix Series, ‘A New Dawn’. I’ve introduced several new characters, and expanded the reach of the stories; this one is designed to be the springboard for books seven to twelve. Although the style is transitional, I hope there’s still enough excitement for my readers.

3. What is your favourite character among the ones you created? 

The Phoenix (Colin Bailey) has been the best thing to happen to me in the last decade. He’s a stone-cold killer; so why do I like him so much? He’s a joy to write about that’s why! Perhaps I’m uncovering a character trait I’ve masked all my life but villains are far more fun to write about than a dashing handsome hero. 

4. Which books/authors do you admire and why? 

I’m a crime fiction anorak I’m afraid. As a young man, I read all sorts of things, but over the years I’ve ‘homed’ in on thrillers, murder mysteries etcetera; if I’m not reading, I’m watching a TV series or a film about it. I still marvel at the ingenious methods people use to kill their victims. 

5. What was your favourite book when you were younger or a child? Why?

“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. He wrote entertaining stories, with great characters. Yet behind each story there was perceptive social comment that laid bare the troubling side of Victorian England.

6. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts? 

I love all kinds of music. As a former singer in bands during the 60’s and early 70’s I travelled across the UK. Since then I have been a DJ, a promoter, and a manager. Whatever job I was doing, my main hobby was always music related. I still write a review most weeks on gigs at a local venue. My last stage performance was in November 2012. I was keen to carry on, but one month later I started writing ‘The Final Straw’, my first novel. Colin Bailey was born, and I was hooked on writing about him. Now I don’t have time for any other hobbies! 

7. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading?

A writer must accept criticism. You can’t please everyone. If it’s informed criticism, then it’s useful. You can use it to improve your writing. The reviews I hate are those that offer nothing helpful. My mother used to say ‘if you can’t find something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything’.

Nobody told me in December 2012 writing was only 10% of the process! I’ve used dozens of book promotion techniques. For three and a half years I got nowhere. In June 2016, I switched to two or three popular sites, and downloads suddenly rocketed. I’m planning to promote The Phoenix Series in 2017, rather than individual titles, and I’m hoping to increase my marketing budget.

The editing process is my major drawback. I use the free Grammarly app to correct issues with my grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Using Pro-Writing Aid helps to reduce other problems, but I’m aware my titles aren’t as slick as they could be if I sent them to a professional editor.

There’s the rub. If I pay for an editor, I can’t afford promotions. I’m retired, on a limited income, and I commit as much as I can afford to supporting my writing. 

8. What has been the most difficult thing for you to write so far?

The blog post after a young woman I had known for twenty-five years died of breast cancer at forty-five. You can find it on my website under ‘Time for Reflection’. 

9. If you could sit down for a chat with any famous author or character, who would it be and what would you talk about?

John Arlott, the writer, poet, cricket commentator, and wine connoisseur, who died in 1991. We would sit in the Members Stand at Lords on the first morning of a Test Match against Australia, talking cricket and enjoying a bottle of his favourite red wine. 

10. What do people usually say about your writing? 

Forgive me if I select a few of the more complimentary things! They say I create dynamic characters, and intricate plots; and using current issues of political and economic concern gives my stories an intensely realistic feel. A reviewer said my ability to weave recent events into a tale of good versus evil was unsurpassed. There’s no shortage of material for my next six books to complete the series. Every TV bulletin or newspaper headline is a potential story line. Evil is all around us. 


Extract from ‘A New Dawn’

“Even if our armed forces, security services, and judiciary were overhauled and refocussed, things wouldn’t change. That would only happen if our leaders were prepared to accept significant levels of collateral damage. Change is painful; unpalatable decisions are not taken. When that happens; evil smiles, and continues to flourish.”

“Then we must show them the way forward; guide their hand. Our actions must highlight the benefits of change. We must never shrink from taking the difficult decisions.”

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Meet B. J. Tiernan

The author of Standing on a Whale, the wonderfully positive lady named Beverly Tiernan, author B. J. Tiernan has a new book coming out! It is an epic story of a woman trying to live life through love in the midst of political, social and emotional trauma. Meet the author – B. J. Tiernan.

About the Author 

B. J. Tiernan graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Florida in 1972 and has been following her passion for teaching ever since. She is a retired sixth grade World History teacher who has led various seminars, workshops, courses, and classes on writing for adults. She writes contemporary fiction to create a dialogue that gets her readers to ponder and question aspects of life, including living and dying and the merging of our dark and light sides. B. J. Tiernan dedicates her writing to all of her students who are hungry to tell their own stories through the written word.

Interview Time

1. Who are you in a nutshell? 

I am the female version of Yoda.

2. Why do you write? 

To free myself.

3. What’s your latest project? 

Canadian author, Wolf Schimanski, and I have teamed up as partners and formed an alliance called TierWolf Creations. Wolf and I have very different writing styles and when they collide it is magical. We look forward to producing some exciting books for our readers in the near future.

4. What was the most difficult thing for you to write so far? 

About the pain in my past, specifically my painful relationship with my parents.

5. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading? 

I embrace constructive criticism because the editors are usually right. I love to criticize and proofread my own work, too. Proofreading and editing are essential to putting out good work.

6. What are your writing plans for the future? 

To keep writing.

7. Which books/authors do you admire and why? 

I love books that enlarge me. If I do not walk away a better person for having read a book, I feel disappointed. Three samples of good books for me are Zorba the Greek, Report to Grecco, and The Great Gatsby. 

8. What makes you happiest in the writing process? 

The freedom I feel when I am in my writing space. I can write for hours and not miss food, water, or bathroom. I am simply lost in the moment. Pure inspiration.

9. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts? 

I can’t think of one art or craft I would enjoy as much as I enjoy writing.

10. If you could sit down for a chat with any famous author or character, who would it be and what would you talk about? 

Nikos Kazantzakis. I would ask him to talk to me about his beloved Greece.

Get Yield here: http://amzn.to/2gdtX14

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Meet Elizabeth H. Newton

Absolutely thrilled to be interviewing one of my favourite authors, whose villains from Riddle and Twisted Tales haunt me to this very day (in a good, book-fan way;). If you love mystery or romance, she packs it all together neatly, and her anthology contributions are gems among short stories. Her latest, Carved Wooden Heart, toys with romance and erotica, and is pure joy for fans of both genres. Her social engagement is worldwide and she is not just an author, photographer and blogger, but an amazing human force to be reckoned with.

BIO

Elizabeth Horton-Newton was born and raised in New York City. She began writing when she was a child. In elementary school she wrote an essay about her dream job—she wanted to be an author. After attending Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY and East Tennessee State University, she worked in the social work field for thirteen years. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband, author Neil Newton, and a collection of rescued dogs and cats. Her first book View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale was published in October 2014; a love story that revolves around the assassination of President John Kennedy and the ensuing conspiracy theories. This was followed in June 2015 with the release of Riddle, a romantic thriller about a Native American convicted of killing his high school girlfriend. Elizabeth’s third novel, Carved Wooden Heart is an erotic romance following one woman’s journey through love, loss, and resolution, was released in the fall of 2016. In addition she has written short stories for several anthologies.
INTERVIEW

1. Who are you in a nutshell? 

I’m a writer and photographer who loves to travel and try new things. A mother of four, grandmother of five and a third, great grandmother of one, and a wife.

2. Why do you write? 

Mostly I write because I have so many stories in my head if I don’t put them on paper they haunt me. It gets pretty crowded in my head.

3. What’s your latest project? 

I’m rewriting a book I’ve been working on for a couple of years and beginning a joint project with my husband which we expect to turn into a series.

4. What is your favourite character among the ones you created? 

That’s a tough one. I tend to fall in love with all my male protagonists. Right now I’d have to say Jesse Wolf Carver from “Carved Wooden Heart”.

5. What was the most difficult thing for you to write so far? 

The sexy parts of “Carved Wooden Heart” were a big challenge for me. I felt as though they needed to be in the book to truly capture the passion between the characters but I had to really free myself from my own inhibitions to write those parts.

6. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading? 

I value criticism because it helps me understand what my readers want and are hoping to find in my books, You can’t please everyone but if I get several comments that are similar I can tell where I went wrong in connecting. I enjoy promotional activities. That’s probably based on my first college experiences. I HATE editing and proof reading! When I finish a book and I have to go back and read it through it drives me crazy.

7. What are your writing plans for the future? 

I don’t actually make plans for writing. When I have a story that I feel good about I start to write it. I’ll continue to write and blog but what comes next? I’m as much in the dark as my readers. 

8. Which books/authors do you admire and why?

 The book I most admire is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. She captured the American story in such a simple yet complex story. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read, I have re-read it multiple times. I love Stephen King for his ability to take the same simple towns and people and weave stories that are so unexpectedly horrifying he can make me gasp. 

9. What makes you happiest in the writing process? 

Two things; I am happy when I re-read my stories and find myself enjoying them. That lets me know I’ve written something pretty darned good. Of course positive and genuinely enthusiastic feedback from readers also makes me happy. It’s nice to know I’ve given someone pleasure with something I’ve done.

10. What do people usually say about your writing? 

I get the most positive reactions on my characters and how they are developed. Most readers find the characters are so realistic they relate to them and even become attached to them. That’s delightful. 

11. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts? 

I’ve done some sketching and painting, I also dabble in photography. Something will catch my eye and I want to hold that vision so taking a good picture will take me back to the moment.

12. What was your favourite book when you were younger or a child? Why? 

My father gave my two books when I was about seven years old; The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and a Complete Collection of the Works of Edgar Allan Poe. I read and re-read those books many times. I loved the complexity of Conan Doyle’s stories and the amazing simplicity of Poe’s. Poe’s writing was so lyrical but the point was always right there. On the other hand Conan Doyle created complex stories that made me think. 

13. If you could sit down for a chat with any famous author or character, who would it be and what would you talk about? 

I’d have to choose two, one character and one author. I’d love to sit down with Sherlock Holmes and learn how he developed such incredible powers of observation. He was the first true behavioral analyst. Then I like to have a sit down, tell all with Stephen King. Prolific but not always popular he has a wonderful mind. I don’t think he always writes to please his readers. I think he sometimes writes to keep from getting sick of the same story haunting him. 

14. Pick one of your books and explain it to us as if it were a movie, listing the cast and crew if you wish. 

Ah. View From the Sixth Floor should be a movie. Starring Gary Oldman as Bill/Lee and Meryl Streep as Olivia this is a story of discovery; self discovery and the discovery of truth. When we first meet the main characters they are both hiding. Bill is hiding from the world because he has been accused of a heinous crime that changed the course of history. Olivia is also hiding from the world as well as herself; a widow who suddenly finds she has lost the identity of the quiet southern wife and mother. She craves something new and exciting in her life as much as she is frightened by the prospect.  As the couple journey cross country they learn more about one another. Freed from the small town they live in they find strength and courage within themselves. But they are not the only characters who experience this. Olivia’s best friend Judy also changes as do Olivia’s son Jesse and paralegal Shelli. The story says when we are able to step outside our comfort zone we may find strengths we didn’t know we had. Of course there is also the truth of history and the assassination of President John Kennedy that will be exposed.

15. Do you have any special promos, charity releases, appearances or book releases you’d like to tell us about? 

“Carved Wooden Heart “will be free on Amazon Kindle the second week in December. Thank you! This is a sexy and sweet story of a young woman and her journey to maturity. I love this character and her passion and courage. It would make a great holiday gift for a reader but it is definitely for adult readers. By the beginning of January 2017 my husband Neil Douglas Newton and I will be doing a giveaway of a book of our short stories, some available in other anthologies and some new stories. This collection will be a freebie for followers of our works who sign up for our mailing list. There are already some, shall we say interesting, short stories going into this anthology. 

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts and works with your readers. 

Links:

Author Website: elizabethhorton-newtonauthor.com

Blog: Between the Beats http://elizabethnnewton.com/

Twitter: @redqueenliz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Horton-Newton/368956446609506

View: https://www.facebook.com/LeeOswaldView

Riddle: https://www.facebook.com/Riddlenovel

Carved Wooden Heart: https://www.facebook.com/CarvedWoodenHeart/?fref=ts

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authornewliz

Stumble Upon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/newliz0201/likes

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/elizabeth-newton/8/105/766

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHBFtuhuqUw (View From the Sixth Floor)

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi78rbM_Tlg (Riddle)

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j84W0dqkM58 (Carved Wooden Heart)

Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Horton-Newton/e/B00NSET8JY/

Amazon Books: 

http://www.amazon.com/View-Sixth-Floor-Oswald-Tale-ebook/dp/B0196XBMA8/

http://www.amazon.com/Riddle-Elizabeth-Horton-Newton-ebook/dp/B0100NPW1S/

https://www.amazon.com/Carved-Wooden-Heart-Elizabeth-Horton-Newton-ebook/dp/B01LYSIAKE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

CreateSpace: 

https://www.createspace.com/5010415 (View)

https://www.createspace.com/5439226 (Riddle)

https://www.createspace.com/6466537 (Carved)

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Meet A. L. Mengel

Introducing the amazing and prolific author, inventor and all around creative genius – A. L. Mengel. Quite an honour, Mr Mengel!

BIOGRAPHY:

 

In 2013, A.L. Mengel changed the face of Horror Fiction when his novel “Ashes” was published by Parchman’s Press. To date, “Ashes” is his most widely read novel, available worldwide in all formats, including a deluxe hard-cover edition.

In the subsequent years, Mengel has released several more novels on paperback and e-readers, as well as short stories. His writing has been exclusively published through Parchman’s Press. “Ashes” gave birth to “The Tales of Tartarus” series, which includes “The Blood Decanter”, which was under Jury consideration for a Bram Stoker Award in 2015. In the same year, he also became an Active Member of the Horror Writer’s Association (HWA).

A.L. Mengel is also the creator of #Writestorm, a writing methodology and time management system designed to help busy authors get their novels written. A book was released in 2015 under the same name, which was his #1 seller of that year. The #Writestorm methodology has been adopted by authors worldwide on several continents through several Facebook groups, one in particular, The #Awethors. Writers meet and hold timed “group writing sessions” and adhere to the rules outlined in Mengel’s methodology presented in the #Writestorm book.

In 2016, Mengel delved into Science Fiction with his novel “The Wandering Star”, which holds position as his highest pre-ordered book to date. More recently, his epic novel “War Angel” released worldwide in Fall of 2016.

Besides writing fiction, A.L. Mengel also publishes a blog called “Do Dogs See in Black and White?”. In addition, he is the creator of the #PaintTheWorld initiative in early 2016, called “Inspired Creativity Through Color”. Another drive to assist creative minded individuals, #PaintTheWorld is most often featured on the A.L. Mengel Facebook page, where a photo of the author in costume that selects a single dominant color, is posted along with an inspiring quote or question.

Since the A.L. Mengel page was created, Mengel has had several hashtags attached to his page, the dominant one being #TheWritingStudio. He calls those who like the page “Beloved Friends” of The Writing Studio. His published books also feature a forward addressing the Beloved Friends directly. The motto of The Writing Studio is “Sharing music, writing, inspiration, art and trending topics.”

In addition to the creation of “The Writing Studio”, A.L. Mengel also created another hashtag and a series of regular posts called #MusicfromTheWritingStudio, where he shares inspiring music paired with quotes, or sentiments, or what was playing at the time.

WEBSITEwww.almengel.com

 

INTERVIEW TIME

1.       Who are you in a nutshell?

I am A.L. Mengel. I arrived on the Supernatural and Horror Fiction scene in 2013 with my novel “Ashes.” My style blends realism with fiction. In my series “The Tales of Tartarus”, I created the characters Antoine and Darius, who readers seem to most identify with. The entire series seems to be a Journey towards redemption – particularly for Antoine.

2.      Why do you write?

I took a Creative Writing class in High School when I first discovered a love for storytelling. But I didn’t develop that until years later, after writing my first novel and taking another Creative Writing course. The novel I had written was to become “Ashes”, but back in those days, I carried the printed manuscript around with me in a binder. I didn’t know at the time that the novel desperately needed a rewrite. And in that second Creative Writing class, I learned the writing principle of “Show versus Tell”. I’ve since developed that concept in my writing over the years, and now, have great difficulty reading a novel where the author isn’t well versed on that principle. It makes it hard to visualize a story when the Show versus Tell principle is not applied. When I learned that, I transformed from a writer into a storyteller.

3.    What’s your latest project?

My novel “War Angel” released last month from Parchman’s Press. It has since been well-received and I am really happy with everything about the book – I loved writing the story, I love the interior formatting, the cover, everything about it. I took about two months off for some needed creative refueling and now I am back in #TheWritingStudio working on a new novel. I’ve also moved away from the angels, demons and the paranormal for the time being and have reinvented myself as an author. On November 4, 2016, I released an entire new brand identity via my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/authoralmengel). Readers and followers who have come to enjoy the A.L. Mengel style of storytelling now are being led on a new journey. And for myself, I am discovering the new journey as well, right along with the readers. That’s why, on my page, I let readers know that “we are entering uncharted territory”. But that’s all part of the branding of A.L. Mengel as an author, and the reinvention to something new and completely different, yet still somehow familiar.

4.      So are you leaving the supernatural and horror genre for good?


I would never say never, but I am certainly moving away from it for a while. “War Angel” really felt like a stopping point for me. Or at least a pausing point. I think the readers will agree once they have read the entire series. Still, I already miss the characters. So never say never.

5.       What is your favourite character among the ones you created?

From the heroes, It has to be Antoine from “The Tales of Tartarus” series. He has been a part of my life for over a decade now. He’s evolved so much throughout the series. Completely transformed. I think he grew, not only in depth but in maturity as the books progressed. I really miss him. I’m definitely feeling a little empty-nest syndrome with the characters from “The Tales of Tartarus”. Also, the character Jeremiah from “The Wandering Star” really grew on me unexpectedly. In terms of villains, The Hooded Man from “The Blood Decanter” wins as my favorite hands-down. I love how his origin developed over two books and hit a crescendo in “The Blood Decanter”. He has a very rich – yet morbid – history.

6. What was the most difficult thing for you to write so far?

“The Wandering Star” was my Science Fiction debut, and one of the most challenging books I ever wrote, as I was writing outside of my comfort zone. I was doing research that I had yet to perform; I was writing text using words that I had never written before. I had to change my thinking process. There has to be an element of realism in Science Fiction. Readers expect a plausible story. Horror gives more storytelling freedom. Science Fiction has to be believable. And that requires substantial research. The book has an interesting history. Once “The Blood Decanter” went to print in September 2015, I wanted to challenge myself and write outside the horror/supernatural genre. I didn’t want my writing to get “canned” and “boxed in”. So I set out to write a short story, science fiction, initially as a writing exercise. I didn’t even know at the time if I was going to publish it or not. So I did some research, and when I sat down to write the story, it grew unexpectedly. As I was writing, the story was telling me it was much bigger than a short. And so a few more weeks went by and I started telling people that I was writing a science fiction novella and that I was thinking about publishing it because I thought it was getting good. And then another few more weeks went by, and I realized that I was working on a novel. And so I contacted my designer and started discussing cover art, and it became a real project. A timeline was arranged and the novel was added to the official publishing docket. “The Wandering Star” turned out to be my most anticipated debut, and my highest pre-ordered novel to date.

7. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading?

I’ve learned to take negative feedback professionally, thank them, and move on. I always appreciate feedback, positive or negative, because someone took the time to post a review. That’s like gold for an Indie Author. Even negative reviews are gold. They’re not as shiny but they’re genuine. Still, I’m not going to rush back to the editing room if a single reader leaves a scathing review of “Ashes”. An author quickly realizes that they’re not going to please every reader, every critic. There are always going to be people out there who are not going to like someone’s art. But for that one person, there are *always* another ten that will love it. So an author should just move on from a bad review. I’ve heard of authors out there who try to please every reader, only want 5 star reviews, and then wind up spinning their wheels. As a reader myself, when I see a novel from an author that I haven’t heard about, with a relatively modest amount of all 5-star reviews, I take it with a grain of salt. I would find it much more credible to find an unknown author with a modest amount of mixed reviews.

I am always looking for ways to connect with my followers, on both Twitter and Facebook, first and foremost. It’s part of my branding. On my Facebook page, I created a sub-brand called “The Writing Studio”, and that is the nickname for my page for several years now. It’s even become a hash-tag. The followers are now called “Beloved Friends of The Writing Studio”, and I include a personal note to them at the start of each of my novels. “The Writing Studio” has a motto – “Sharing writing, music, art, inspiration and trending topics”. First and foremost, I look for ways to connect with the followers to turn them into readers. I make the A.L. Mengel page a place to get news, to be inspired, and to be creative, no matter what the creative passion may be. When I do promote, I tie in a specific purpose, such as a book release or review. I do have an advertising budget with both Facebook and Twitter, so posts are boosted to followers and the general public. I rarely, if ever, post in Facebook groups, with the exception of one, “The Awethors”, which I have a lot of friends in and like to show some of my stuff to. For the most part, posting repeatedly in Facebook groups just comes across as annoying, spammy and amateurish, and proves to be a waste of time.

All A.L. Mengel novels go through several rounds of editing and proof-reading through several editors and beta readers. “The Wandering Star” was also subjected to an additional round of Technical editing due to the subject matter. A Science Editor was recruited specifically for that purpose. The first round of editing is called “Structure” where the draft is pieced together like a puzzle and turned into a flowing story. This can take up to several months, and I perform this stage myself, as I believe the storyteller is the only one who can really tell the story. Once it’s as polished as it can be, it is sent out to a continuity editor, who reads and submits edits. After that, grammar, syntax and spelling are checked and corrected before the physical proofing stage begins with the printer. “Uncorrected proof copies” are then sent for binding review, with one or two set aside for beta readers and a final proofreading run-through. The final corrections are submitted and the book goes to print.               

8. What are your writing plans for the future?

I am going to explore my Science Fiction series “The Vega Chronicles” for the time being. When my editor read “The Wandering Star”, she immediately told me: “I hope you are working on the sequel.”  I am really liking where this series has been taking me, and the readers so far have been enjoying the story. So I have to see where this goes. And I really like Jeremiah. And Counselor Abagail. And Eli De Jesus, and some of the other characters from “The Wandering Star”. On the other hand, I have another series that will branch off from “The Tales of Tartarus”, so earlier when I said “never say never” when you asked if I was leaving horror, I was thinking about this other series I have in development. I have a novel in development that’s in the horror genre that may be written in 2017 and release in late 2017 – unless I stay with Sci-Fi for a longer period. But most likely this novel will be my eventual return to horror.

9.   Which books/authors do you admire and why?

I grew up reading the greats of horror – Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker. I also like Grisham and Robin Cook. But I have really been liking the work of some of my peers. I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for D.M. Cain and Rocky Rochford since I met them back in Spring 2015. They were the two first authors to embrace “#Writestorm”, which is a writing methodology I developed in 2014 and published a book in 2015 of  the same name. They both embraced the concept and helped arrange #Writestorm sessions, where group chats were held, with authors writing together, across continents, to achieve high word counts. They are both very talented authors in their own rights and I admire them both. In addition, I think C.L. Schneider’s fantasy series looks amazing. She has brilliant covers and really seems to know what she is doing – attending book shows, etc. She is a true professional. I also have been reading Jeremy Croston’s “City of Chaos” and the “Ghostly Writes Anthology” by Plaisted Publishing House operated by Claire Plaisted. I think we as Independent Authors are all very hard workers with a hill to climb with each and every book release. We don’t have the massive advertising budgets that the big guys have. But we still find ways to reach our readers and find success. I have found so much passion with other Indie Authors. So much creativity. The world is definitely a better place with our art.

 10. What makes you happiest in the writing process?

There are two parts that I really love. Starting the book. And finishing the book. Those two points in the creative process are most definitely natural highs. But then there are also the scenes in the middle of the book that catch you off guard. When you pants your way through the story or the scene and write something that impacts you so much that you stop and can’t believe what just happened. I remember after writing a particular scene in “War Angel”, I immediately called my editor, almost on the verge of tears, and told her, “I can’t believe that just happened.” And I have come to learn, those little surprises, those little emotional waterfalls along the way are what make the stories have so much impact before the exhilarating feeling of typing “The End”. And I really love that.

11. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts?

I was a percussionist in the past, so I could definitely see a return to music. And music inspires my art all the time. In early 2016, I created a hashtag called #PaintTheWorld, which has helped form an added identity of #TheWritingStudio. I really want to inspire others. When someone becomes a Beloved Friend of The Writing Studio, it’s not only to read my books. Or to read about topics that are trending. It’s about being inspired. #PaintTheWorld has a motto. It’s “Inspired Creativity Through Color”. Which color inspires you? For me, most often, it’s blue. I just seem to have a real connection with that color. It gets my creative juices flowing. And for #PaintTheWorld, I really adopted it as my way of life. It’s become part of my identity. For this creative concept is not only about writing, or music, or art…but it’s whichever vocation you’re passionate about. An accountant can “Paint the world” by developing creative financial solutions. A server can “Paint the world” by providing excellent and friendly service. #PaintTheWorld is really about discovering and developing one’s passion.

12.  Do you have any special promos, charity releases, appearances or book releases you’d like to tell us about?

With #NaNoWriMo going on, I have #Writestorm on a promotional discount until the end of the month. Also, “War Angel” released worldwide in October 2016.

LINKS:

FROM THE TALES OF TARTARUS

Ashes (2013) – https://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Complete-Novel-Tales-Tartarus/dp/0989377326

The Quest for Immortality (2014) – https://www.amazon.com/Quest-Immortality-Tales-Tartarus-ebook/dp/B00O95YERM

The Blood Decanter (2015) – https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Decanter-Tales-Tartarus-ebook/dp/B010W1ZYUM

War Angel (2016) – https://www.amazon.com/War-Angel-Tales-Tartarus-Mengel/dp/0996326928

FROM THE VEGA CHRONICLES

The Wandering Star (2016) – https://www.amazon.com/Wandering-Star-Vega-Chronicles/dp/0996326936

OTHER WORKS

#Writestorm (2015) – https://www.amazon.com/Writestorm-Create-Novel-Conception-Publication-ebook/dp/B0139V15T6

Curtains and Fan Blades (2013) – https://www.amazon.com/Curtains-Fan-Blades-L-Mengel-ebook/dp/B00GWFIF9U

The Other Side of the Door (2015) – https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Door-L-Mengel-ebook/dp/B00Z5GA7SO

A.L. MENGEL 

Author

www.almengel.com 

Take the Journey in The Writing Studio atwww.facebook.com/authoralmengel

Join his Twitter discussion, Follow on Amazon, Goodreads and Google+ 

A.L. Mengel’s novels are available on Kindle, Nook and in Print worldwide.

 

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Meet Lily Luchesi

It is my pleasure today to interview one of the rising young authors. Vampire fans will love it. Meet Lily Luchesi!

Bio:

Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.

Her debut novel, Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, Miranda’s Rights, was released on January 8th, 2016. Book three, Life Sentence, was released on August 2nd, 2016 by Vamptasy Publishing, and book four, Right To Silence, was also just accepted by the publisher and will be released January 17th, 2017.

She has a short stories featured in the anthologies Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words, Death Love Lust, and Lurking In The Shadows.


Links:

http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi

http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

Interview:

1. Who are you in a nutshell? 

I’m a writer, a vampire lover, insomniac who loves rock music, black clothes, the CW, and anime.

2. Why do you write? 

I am the author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, which follows a mortal detective as he discovers the “Underworld of Chicago”: vampires, witches, demons, and much more. He teams up with the FBI’s secret Paranormal Investigative Division and its leader, Angelica Cross, to stop various unearthly threats.

I am also the writer of various short stories, both horror and erotica.

3. What’s your latest project? 

My latest project is Life Sentence, the third book in the PDSeries, which picks up right when its predecessor (Miranda’s Rights) ends, with Angelica needing to adjust to a new kind of life and the demonic witch Fiona Guilfoyle is hunting her down, threatening a Wiccan takeover over all mortals and creatures alike.

4. What is your favourite character among the ones you created? 

Angelica, for sure. I love her because when I created her, I had no idea who she was aside from her parentage and species. As the series has gone on, I am discovering new things about her. She is a constant surprise.

5. What was the most difficult thing for you to write so far? 

In book four, Right To Silence (coming January 17th, 2017), one of my characters is a kidnap/torture victim, and I had to write a flashback scene that triggers an anxiety attack. As a sufferer of PTSD, that scene was very hard to write and I had to stop multiple times.

6. How do you deal with criticism, promotional activities, editing/proofreading? 

I don’t mind criticism as long as it’s constructive. If it’s trolling, then I block and move on. I promote at least two hours every few days on Facebook groups and pages, plus I utilize author takeovers, newsletters, and email blast sites to promote my books. My publisher (Vamptasy) has an editor whom I have worked with on the majority of my books, Elizabeth Anne Lance. I love working with her and my other editor, Catherine Stovall. Both are amazing ladies and really enhance my work.

7. What are your writing plans for the future? 

I will have my fourth book out, as mentioned above, in January, and the fifth sometime this summer. I also have a paranormal femdom erotic short with my publisher, to see if she wants to publish it, and various shorts releasing soon, including the Gems Of Gratitude anthology, which is releasing on November 14th.

8. Which books/authors do you admire and why? 

I really love Stephen King because he is so much more than a horror writer. He writes about people, the characters are so real you fall right into their stories. As a reader, I respect him so much, and as a writer, his book On Writing really gave me some great advice and perspective.

9. What makes you happiest in the writing process? 

When I manage to surprise myself. With the fifth PDS book, I wrote a twist that had me sitting at my laptop in shock. Those moments where it’s as if I’m not the one writing, those are what I live for.

10. What do people usually say about your writing? 

I have been so blessed with reviewers loving my books. I think what I get the most frequently is how much they love Angelica because she’s not a typical female lead in any genre. While she looks like the typical vampire assassin you see in every other paranormal book out there, she doesn’t act like one, and when readers see that and compliment me on it, it makes my whole day!

11. If you didn’t write, would you try any other arts or crafts? 

I am actually already trying my hand at graphic design, but otherwise no. I’d probably be a psychologist.

12. What was your favourite book when you were younger or a child? Why? 

I had a few, but my top two were Darren Shan’s Trials of Death and Ellen Schreiber’s Royal Blood. I still love both authors today.

13. If you could sit down for a chat with any famous author or character, who would it be and what would you talk about? 

Stephen King. I’d talk with him about so much, from dogs to monsters to baseball. Honestly, to have a conversation with him would make me die happy!

14. Pick one of your books and explain it to us as if it were a movie, listing the cast and crew if you wish. 

(Using Stake-Out, the first Paranormal Detectives book)

Set in the windy, dark city of Chicago, we follow protagonist Danny Mancini (played by Louis Ferreira) into the night as he hunts a murder suspect in the volatile South Side one day in rainy June. Instead of a psychopath, he spots a dark-haired, fanged individual (played by Richard Armitage) who is savagely tearing out the throat of a young woman in a dirty, smelly alleyway. When his bullets do nothing to stop the monster, Danny faints, only to come to and have his world torn apart.

Two years later, he is met by the beautiful Angelica Cross (played by Hayley Atwell), who takes him under her wing and into a world of blood, darkness, and reincarnation.

15. Do you have any special promos, charity releases, appearances or book releases you’d like to tell us about?

Yes, as mentioned I am in the Gems of Gratitude anthology, which will be releasing on November 14th, and you can pre-order it now wherever books are sold. And then enter a great giveaway with your purchase code on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/events/1349241698441884/

Sneak Peek:

Take a peek inside of my latest release, Life Sentence!
His sharp fangs barely nipped her neck, just getting a taste so as not to alarm her. Definitely not a real bite by any means.

She dug her nails into his back, tearing the fabric of his leather vest. Vampire bites could be an intoxicating sexual high if used properly, and even she was not immune to the effect, because of her human blood. It was that human blood that made what was supposed to be a simple execution turn into a bloody brawl. Theo had obviously tasted the humanity in her bloodstream and he wrenched himself away from her, her blood staining his chin and falling in tiny rivulets down her neck.

“You’re a fxxxing halfling?” he practically spat. “I didn’t even know your kind really existed. Why did you tell me you were a real vamp?”

“I am a real vampire,” she said, wiping her blood off her neck.

“No, you’re a freak of nature. Your kind should never have existed,” he said. “What do you say I change that?” He lunged for her, but she dodged out of the way, and his hand crashed into the brick wall, cracking the brick. He went after her again, and this time his nails cut into her face, but she immediately healed.

She pulled a blade from her oversized bag and took a swing with it, cutting into his muscular shoulder. The holy water made the wound fester and burn as Theo cried out in pain.

“You psycho, what are you carrying weapons around for?” he asked stupidly. 

Angelica rolled her eyes. “For deviants like you.” She held the knife in an offensive position and knew she needed to declare herself. Dropping the accent she said, “Detective Angelica Cross, Paranormal Investigative Division. I’m real, Theo, and I’ll easily cut your throat unless you stand down now. Let me take you in for questioning and no one will get hurt.” An utter lie, of course, but she needed information from him before she killed him.

“This is the great Cross?” Theo started to laugh maniacally. “A half breed brat who doesn’t look a day older than twenty?”

“I’m one-ninety-eight, thank you,” she replied, taking her gun swiftly in her other hand and shooting at him.

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