Anita's Haven

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The Writer’s Gift 4U from Wolf Schimanski

The Writer’s Gift is a little present that keeps on giving – my blog feature gift to the authors you should know about, and their gift to you as their (potential) readers. Find out more about some wonderful authors you may not yet have heard about, and enjoy a free sneak peek and riddles for their latest book or even a work in progress. Feel free to leave a comment and share the posts during the upcoming holiday season.


Here to start off this pre-holiday series is thriller author Wolfgang Wolf Schimanski.

Author: Wolf Schimanski

Genre(s): Action/Thriller/Romance/Mystery

Booksite links: https://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Schimanski/e/B0094JVA8O

Social network links:
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorWolfSchimanski

twitter: @wolfschim

Chat with the author:

1. What is your favourite winter holiday story you have read and like to go back to, and why?

I just read Robert B. Parker’s Silent Night written by his literary agent Helen Brann because Robert passed away in 2010. Helen did an amazing job and kept Robert’s spirit so much alive.

2. Which winter holiday character, custom or decoration would you like to be and why?

Scrooge, I am not at all like that but it sure would be a wild ride seeing the things he was shown.

3. What is your absolutely the most favorite thing to do during the winter holidays?

To go to Key West. My days of skating, skiing and snowmobiling are long over. Been there, done that.,

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world during the winter holiday season, where would you go and why?

See 3, Why? Because its the greatest place on earth. When Hurricanes are not barreling down on it of course. I am going back to Margate, Florida in early December to spend a bit of working time with my writing partner and her wonderful family.

5. What would you like to ask your readers?

To read all of my ‘Meter’ trilogy so they can really get a full concept of what it’s really all about and to support all of us ‘Indie’ authors as we really do what we do for them….

Sneak peek & riddles for METER OF REDEMPTION

I have asked the authors to take these 4 little steps for you;), readers, about their latest book or work un progress.

step 1: give us a riddle about a character, place or key word in your book

What does the Monster ‘Mikhail’ call adversaries or anyone other than himself?

step 2: give us the cover and link for the book (if wip, pls share your link where we can follow your progress)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1974608093


step 3: give us the short blurb for the story

This completes the ‘Meter’ trilogy, the story of four friends who get entangled with an evil, intrigue, and adventure they never bargained for. The story is based in Toronto, Canada and wraps up the battle with the diabolic Richard Rasmussin, a vicious underworld figure who will stop at nothing to amass wealth and power. Mikhail, the Ninja adversary from the first two books aligns himself with our heroine Angel as they slowly pick apart Rchard’s empire one piece at a time until the final confrontation occurs. Will Angel and Mikhail and their friends survive? Yours to discover…..

step 4: sneak peek, pls

Anyone can click on the book link and take a look inside. And actually that feature is called a ‘Sneak Peek’, but…;) okay I have added an excerpt paragraph from Chapter 22…

The only thing that was left to do was dispose of the reason for them being there in the first place, Herr Eberhart Klingebiel, himself. The dog, even more strangely, stood beside Angel and allowed her to scratch its huge neck while Mikhail calmly walked into the bedroom. Klingebiel was obviously in his deepest sleep, judging by the chainsaw snoring and grunting coming from him. The Assassin put one huge paw around the slumbering sleaze ball’s neck and squeezed the life right out of him in seconds flat.

Your holiday wishes for your readers, besides world peace, of course:)

I wish you all a peaceful and safe time with your families. Christmas is not about presents or commercialism. It’s about love and friendship and comfort and joy and the birth of a very special baby. Cheers!

Wolf Schimanski

Thank you very much, Wolf, for starting off this series of Writer’s Gifts and taking the time to share your thoughts and work with us.
Readers, if you enjoy fast-paced, no-fluff cliffhanger thrillers, drop by Wolf’s site and read all about how he measures justice in his 
Meter series!

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Who is SHE? – Deb McEwan

Today I have another wonderful guest – award-winning author Deb McEwan. She opens up about a number of things in this no-questions interview where I ask authors to write down what some key words mean to them. Thank you, Deb, for taking the time to do this.

Dreams – I’ve had vivid dreams for most of my life. There’s nothing worse than somebody telling you they had a weird/bad/whatever dream the night before then going into every single detail. For this reason I won’t bore you with my dream stories, suffice to say that I’ve been woken up for shouting at or hitting my husband due to something that’s going on in my head while sleeping. I often nod off again and return to the exact part of the dream where I woke up – like an episode in a series. My husband is very happy that I now write novels. I don’t dream like I used to and wish I’d known years ago that writing was the creative outlet I needed to stop the weird or frightening dreams.

I only want to know about your dreams if they are uber original or unusual. Any takers?

Stress – The good or the bad? Let’s take the good first. Anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and it’s not only physical like abseiling or a tough session with my personal trainer for example. (Though it’s a while since I’ve done any abseiling). Giving a presentation to a room full of people or the final minutes before a job interview are the situations that normally cause my good stress. I usually enjoy the buzz after the event!

Like most people, I don’t thrive on bad stress generally caused by having unrealistic deadlines thrust upon me, the thought of having to do housework or having to attend health and safety lectures. I might have mistaken the latter for boredom and don’t have to attend health and safety lectures these days. This sounds flippant I know and there are plenty more triggers that cause bad stress. I’m a bit more serious about this under the Journey heading.

Release – Sport or walking generally does it for me. Any tension melts away following a good workout. The ideas floating around in my head always take shape during a long walk and it’s my way of either escaping from real life, or working through any problems.

Support – You sometimes expect support from family members but can’t beat the support of your good friends who choose to be there for you. As far as writing is concerned, the Indie Author Community are a marvellous bunch, who help each other without expecting anything in return.

Model – the first image that springs to mind are the waif-like serious looking females who strut up and down the catwalk. Images of these ladies have been blamed for many eating disorders in young girls who aspire to be super skinny. I read something the other day that models in France now have to have a healthy BMI before being employed in the industry. Don’t know if this is true but I hope it is. Should the model industry reflect all different shapes and sizes like the real world? You tell me?

Journey – When I was younger I discovered I had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the Huntington’s Disease gene. There are so many awful illnesses and diseases but I believe the worst is the one that may affect you, your family or any others you love. The relief of discovering that I didn’t have the gene was tempered by the guilt when I found out that other family members did. Up until that point I’d always thought I wasn’t good enough to do many things, including writing. Discovering that I wasn’t going to die from Huntington’s was a major turning point; I felt like I’d been given another shot and now embrace life to the full.

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Issue
– Writing. My characters talk to me all the time and the urge to get their words onto the computer is simply irresistible.

Relevance – According to Wikipedia: “Relevance is the concept of one topic being connected to another topic in a way that makes it useful to consider the second topic when considering the first. The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields, including cognitive sciences, logic, and library and information science.”

So there you have it.

Some believe there’s a reason for everything and that everyone is connected. Maybe this makes it easier to understand seemingly random events? Nobody knows for certain. Isn’t the majority of science best guess?

Joy – Loads spring to mind.

Spending time with the people I love is top of the list.

The sun is shining and birds are chirping away to the background music. I’m chilling with the people I love (husband, family, friends) in the pool and a glass of something is waiting in the fridge, for when I/we dry off.

Then there’s the random stuff like hearing children giggling, reading a fab book, or having a good old belly laugh.

Haven – Don’t know why, but I’ve always loved being around water. Walking in the rain, cwtched up at home reading while it’s raining outside, listening to the sea, taking a long shower, sitting under a tin roof listening to the rain. I think you’ve got my drift.

Deb’s writing news

I write in various genres. It all started with songs, followed by a book for children. The first, ‘Reindeer Dreams’, is a quirky rhyming Christmas story featuring Barry the reindeer and his family. My books for grown-ups started with the Aliens series. The Afterlife trilogy came next with a few ‘Jason the Penguin’ books in between.

The first book in my ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ series (free on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook) is set in 1970s Britain, with others to follow through the decades.

I’m currently working on a story about netball players, due out in the autumn.

Details of my books and some of my songs (co-written with musicians and I’m not singing thankfully) are on my website. https://debmcewansbooksandblogs.com

One was written for my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary – but that’s another story…

Thank you so much for sharing! Happy writing!

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Who is SHE? – Elizabeth Horton Newton

One of my favourite indie authors, a lady with an incredibly big heart and a curious knack for psychological horror and mystery, is the fabulously supportive Eluzabeth Horton Newton. She is here today to do a no-questions interview and share some of her writing news with her fans. I asked no questions; she just got some words to prompt whatever it did, be it about herself, the world or writing.

Elizabeth Horton Newton

Who me?

Dreams – I’ve always felt my dreams are somewhat precognitive. I will dream about people or places and sooner or later, somewhere down the road, I will see the place or meet the person. At first I thought I would simply have forgotten a prior incident. However, I have come to accept I have some sort of little old fortune teller living in my head. Often I will use things I dream in the stories I write, with a bit of elaboration of course.

Stress – My husband insists stress is bad for me. I disagree. I work best when I am stressed or on a time limit. I love the challenge of pushing myself harder.

Release – It’s rather embarrassing but I have always found release to be a sexual word. It brings to mind orgasms. Perhaps that’s why I did such a good job with the steamy love scenes in my book, “Carved Wooden Heart”.

Support – Bra. That’s it. You reach my age and that’s what you need.

Model – A model is something you put together a piece at a time; for instance a model of a ship. My father used to make models when I was a little girl and we would often work on them together. We did ships and movie monsters. Now you see why my stories can be somewhat gruesome.

Issue – Social issues; homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse, so many social issues that need to be addressed. I’m involved with a few social issues in my state and wish I could devote more time to working with groups.

Journey – Life is a journey; an exhilarating journey with twists and turns down winding paths. I love looking back on my life and I love hearing about the life journeys of others. We all have a lot more in common than we realize. We may come from different parts of the world but there are still things that are remarkably similar.

Relevance – This word has a legal connotation for me. What is the relevance of your information to the substance of this case? How does what you know apply to this crime? Perhaps I watch too much “Law and Order”. 

Joy – Joy is such an understatement for the unbridled ecstasy of being on the deck of a ship at sea. The ocean stretches out in all directions, meeting the sky on the horizon. It makes me conscious of how small we all are on this planet we call home. We came from the sea, crawling out as small, insignificant creatures and have developed into what we are now. We are now able to sail on the seas. It all makes my heart swell with joy.

Haven – A haven is special, secret place, safe from all outside bothers. It’s a spot where I can go to let my imagination run free.  Everyone needs and should have a haven. We all need to disconnect sometime.

I am currently working on two books; “Stolen” has been almost finished for over a year but I keep getting involved in other projects. It’s a story about a young girl who finds out she was kidnapped as a small child and raised by a Gypsy couple. As more of her story is revealed, she learns she was supposed to be in the Witness Protection Program but was “lost”. There’s romance, mystery, and action in this book. It comes complete with Gypsies, drug cartels, incompetent federal agents, and, of course, a twist at the end. The other book I’m working on is tentatively called “Murder on the Highway of Tears”. It is based on a factual place and real life events. There is a stretch of highway in northern British Columbia where a significant number of indigenous girls and women have either been murdered or disappeared. The government is just beginning to take notice. It has largely been overlooked because natives in that part of the world are viewed as unimportant. My story revolves around a native police chief who is investigating recent murders of native girls. A writer and a photographer from a travel magazine are in the area doing a story on adventure travel. They get caught up in the occurrences. As with some of my earlier works the story addresses the social issues surrounding the illegal adoption of and removal of native babies from their biological families. I’m anticipating having both books completed and available by the end of 2017.

I have a short science fiction story titled, “From Where I Come” coming out in an anthology at the end of May. The collection is called “Gems of Freedom” and all the stories revolve around female soldiers or freedom fighters. It’s the third in a series from a group called The Sisterhood. I have another short story, a detective noir, in a soon to be released collection called, “Cons, Dames, and G-Men”. My story is called “Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and is full of the flavor of 1940’s film noir.

Author Website: http://www.elizabethhorton-newtonauthor.com/

Author Blog: “Between the Beats” https://elizabethnnewton.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKzySYm8jUCDYL1lPYA03PA

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

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9060216.Elizabeth_Horton_Newton

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethhortonnewtonauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/redqueenliz

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

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ElizabethNewtonauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lizzibegood/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redqueenliz/

Tumblr: http://authornewliz.tumblr.com/

Thank you, Elizabeth. Always great to have you over and looking forward to your new thrillers!

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Who is SHE? – Claire Plaisted

Claire Plaisted, a New Zealand force of nature in the form of a mother, author, editor, publisher and book promoter, has agreed to take some time to do my no-question interview and say what my key words mean to her…

CLAIRE PLAISTED

DREAMS

What are dreams? Where do they come from and what do they mean? In the literal sense, I have no idea. Dream Therapy isn’t something I’ve touched in my life so far.

Going back to my childhood my dream was to marry, though not a red head…Oops.  After 25 years of marriage to my darling redhead, I found it was the best thing I ever did.  Of course, as your grow and change your dreams for your future change as well.  By the time I was at High School I wanted to be a computer tech. Computers were just starting to emerge to the public and at schools.  I loved them.  Uploading from a tape recorder, drawing houses with a set of numbers in a certain sequence.  It was cool.  Then came the disappointment.  I wasn’t allowed to take computer studies because it was just a fad… Another oops.  Never mind I plodded onwards.  Never really getting the career I wanted. It seems reality was going to wipe away my dreams.

Growing up we used to receive gifts from New Zealand. The country and culture intrigued me. I had a new dream. I wanted to have a holiday there. I got that dream in 1989 and for once, I never looked back. You see I fell in love and ended up living in New Zealand. I love this country, the culture, my family. It is an amazing place to be, though a tad expensive these days.

All I dream for now are grandchildren.  Going to be waiting a long time for them, so meanwhile I enjoy my friends’ photos of grandchildren on social media.

STRESS

Stress to me is a negative word which I try to remove from my life as much as possible.  Like a lot of people, I have depression.  Most of the time I’m lucky and it doesn’t rule my life, however there have been times then I have literally disappeared into a fog and taken several weeks to shift the stress away from me so I can recover.  With every negative which touches me, I try and find the positive within. I also suffer anxiety in various situations. To be totally honest my crashes generally arrive if or when several negative things happen at once.  The rest of the time I deal.  

RELEASE

Release a breath of satisfaction of surviving another day surrounded by those I love and those who love me.

SUPPORT

Support is something you give and can receive in life.  I am one of those people who likes to give support, to help people find the positives, to teach and show them what is possible.  I support my family with love as I do with my friends. I must admit I am not good as asking or taking support when I need.  I tend to think I am self-sufficient, when I know I’m not. I block it away and keep moving forward.

I love to see people grow and change. One lady in particular who I admire is Patty Fletcher.  She has changed so much in the last two years, growing and taking back her positive attitude. Building on what she knows and learning new things to better herself. Enjoying her life more and helping others where she can.  Her strength is amazing.

Support is also what I do with my marketing magazine, helping Indie Authors get their books out there.  I have no idea how widely shared the magazine is. I think it does need more support to make it grow.  The thought of how many I email it to who don’t open it at all…is to a degree sad.  I am hoping to find a way to gather more support and keep the light burning. I am amazed the magazine has been running for over a year. 

MODEL

With the world model usually comes those stick thin women who walk down the runway.  Well with me it was models of a different kind. Airfix Kits, be them figurines of kings and queens, ships, animals and aeroplanes. They brought us hours of JOY and family time.

ISSUE

Children or magazine.  They are different, though both have a life of their own.  I have three out of four beautiful children.  All grown up now, though my son is in his final year at high school.  All still live at home though perhaps not for much longer.  You see it is travel time, though I’ll cover that as part of JOURNEY.

Magazine – I issue a free marketing magazine out every month for Indie Authors and those who support them.  It helps to widen everyone’s social media presence.  It covers all genres and is family friendly. With ‘The Indie Publishing News’ magazine doing so well I have recently started one up for Erotic Indie Authors.  The first issue goes out this month.

JOURNEY

My journey in life not just in writing and business.  Life has a way of making you realise every moment is different and for a reason.  Your life is your journey to learn what you need to know, perhaps what you missed in a different life.  We are all born to a body, though our souls continue until they have learnt what they need to go to the next level.  We all live for a reason—it is finding the reason that is your journey.  Are you there yet?

Personally, I have no idea.  I had a wonderful childhood even though I didn’t have many friends.  I journeyed through been bullied from age 7 – 18.  How it affected me, how it affects different people—is what you need to learn to move forward.  Some don’t, which is very sad, though I believe when your journey is over, then it is over. 

I have had many different types of journeys in this life giving me a wide range of information, ideas and learning which I can share. These experiences have made me who I am today. Though I’d probably not like anyone seeing deep inside me. That stone wall won’t be toppling any time soon and when it does god help me.  

I have had several journeys with my children – from perfections to disabilities.  What a learning curve that was and still is today. As a mother I am over protective, which is probably why my children still live at home.  Four journeys through birth, several journeys though death and the best journey of all is with LOVE.  My husband is amazing. He is my world. Our journey in marriage and family has had many ups and downs, though we stay strong and committed to each other, looking forward to travelling and retirement.  Our next journey starts later this year or perhaps next year.  We shall see.

RELEVANCE

I suppose there is a lot of relevance in my life these days.  In the past walking in my ancestors’ footsteps became my family history research.  These days my writing of books moved my journey towards publishing and helping others.  Life interconnects in many different ways.

JOY

Joy is my marriage, the birth of my children and one day (hopefully) the birth of grandchildren.  Joy is family, respecting, helping, learning, teaching and so much more.  It is positive energy which I love to share. Joy is a hug and a smile. It is an acknowledgement of so much the human race is missing.  I wish JOY was the thing which made the most profit in this world and then perhaps we could be at peace with each other.

HAVEN 

My Haven is my sanctuary of peace and love of the positive life I try and lead.

Claire’s news

The latest book by me is Princess of the Earth.  It is an old story which I have republished after reworking it and making a new book cover and teasers.

It is about a young girl called Zoe who have her own journey of discovery with myths and legends which she only thought were stories.  With Fairies, Nymphs, Old Father Time, Gaia on the good side and Cronus, Trolls and Ogres on the bad side it is a battle to see who wins the day.


Links for Claire

www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com

www.claireplaisted.wordpress.com

www.billionaireromances.wordpress.com

www.twitter.com/rotosis1

www.facebook.com/groups/indiepublishingnews

www.facebook.com/groups/ghostlywritesanthology

www.facebook.com/girlieadventures

www.facebook.com/garrettinvestigationbureau

www.facebook.com/billionaireromances

Dear Claire, thank you so much for sharing this side of you with the readers! Happy journey!

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Who is SHE? – Phoenix Rainez

Author Phoenix Rainez  a true romantic at heart, has also generously agreed to do my non-question interview and to explain what my key words remind her of. Meet Phoenix form a different perspective…

PHOENIX RAINEZ

DREAMS – there is one special dream I have, that I wish would come true and that is to find that perfect hideaway and spend endless time filling pages, with the stories that are crowding my head. A place where there is no concept of time, where days just filter into one long writing scene with no disruptions except for the necessary body functions.

STRESS –  A word that pushes so many buttons… I think my typical stressful times is when I have a deadline to meet or a course I need to work through and pass for my day job. As a full time, live-in-carer for the elderly, I have regular courses to update and pass to get that valuable certificate that qualifies me to continue in this field of work.

Do I find writing stressful you may ask? Only when I hit a stumbling block, a blank page staring at me and not knowing what to write or how to carry on from the next chapter. Let’s not forget the editing process and rewriting repeatedly till not only your editor is satisfied but you are too.

Definition of a writer’s stress – blood, sweat, tears, chewed finger nails, endless cups of coffee, chocolate fixes, sleepless nights and puffy eyes are but a few of the signs of a writer’s stressful times.

RELEASE – As I’m going through writer’s stress now, my release would have to be reading other writers books and wondering how they found it so easy to write and publish such an amazing story. Sometimes I will escape into a world of writing poems, my full proof escape from staring at a blank page I cannot fill with words.

SUPPORT – My husband is very supportive of my writing and will always give me the time and space I need to write, never complaining when I’d be up all night writing and sleeping late in the morning.

Friends and family have been very complimentary, supporting my writing and buying my books. I’d be rather disappointed if they didn’t (winking). Here I must mention my friends Terry and Paul, who first put me in touch with Wattpad, an online writing community, where you share your stories, one chapter at a time and get instant feedback. This is where I started and gained the support and confidence to publish my first novel SECOND CHANCES on Amazon, after securing a place in the top 25 semi-finalists in the Harlequin/Wattpad (SYTYCW) contest. Without the Wattpad readers support and encouragement I doubt I would have had the confidence to publish my first novel.

MODEL –  I think the person I look up to would have to be Nikki Kelly, author of the Styclar Saga Series, who I met and became friends with on Wattpad. Book 1 of her series was such a hit on Wattpad, she landed a traditional publishing deal with an international publisher and went on to America to promote her book. She gave up her day job to live her dream and write full time. I have all three of her hardback books on my bookshelf and looking forward to the day I can meet her for coffee in London, to get her books signed.

ISSUE – I would have to say my biggest issue with writing is time. Keeping up with social media is very time consuming but necessary to stay in touch with your readers. In between this is your family’s needs and socialising with friends. It is a fact that writers often become hermits and seldom realise they have not surfaced to see there are other people around wanting their attention.

Let’s not forget the trillion times you re-write and edit your story, a serious time stealer when all you really want to do is continue writing the stories filling your head-space.

JOURNEY – Writing has been an incredible journey for me. I have found a voice in my head that has been buried for years and it’s exciting to know that I have so many stories still to write.  Writing my way down this exciting road I have been very fortunate to meet so many talented writers, whose books I buy and continually add to my “to read list”.  

Writers are such a unique group of people whose friendship albeit online, is a journey in itself. Their continual support, advice and confidence boosting chats all help towards encouraging each other to keep writing. 

Reading books opens up a whole world of endless possibilities. You may travel through time, journey into a world of fantasy or magic and swoon over a romance that brings you to tears and even hide under the covers as you creep through the pages of a horror story. Let’s not forget the science fiction and paranormal worlds that have you gasping at the unimaginable.

RELEVANCE –  it’s not easy to be a parent. You learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Depending on your childhood, you may take pages out of your parent’s book and follow in their footsteps or you may choose to follow your own path, but whatever you do, will depend on what your learnt growing up and will make an impact on you as a parent and how you bring up your own children.

The same applies to writing. I learn from reading other writers books and joining writer’s online groups. I think it’s important for my writing to be a member of these groups, to learn from those more experienced and join in discussions, talking about any problems you may be experiencing and possibly helping with promotions or beta reading. I have found the most important and relevant part of being a writer is reading as many books as possible. This is where I am learning how to be a better writer, from the words of others.

JOY – my happiest moments are spent with my family. I am blessed with two beautiful daughters and four wonderful grandchildren. Celebrating special occasions with them are memories I treasure and photograph at every opportunity. One of the most incredible moments in my life as a parent was witnessing the birth of my first grandchild. I was thrilled and apprehensive when my eldest daughter asked me to be her birth partner, along-side her husband. Watching your child in pain is not the easiest of things to do but when my granddaughter’s head crowned the emotions were unbelievable. Of course, I cried. I had never witnessed anything so amazingly beautiful. I must’ve done something right as she asked me to be her birth partner when her son was born too.

As a writer, the most exciting moment is holding my paperback copy of the first novel I’d published. To see your words in print is overwhelming.

HAVEN – ANITA’s BLOG is a part of her charming personality and character. She is always willing to help support other authors and this shows in her blog post when she features other writers and give them the opportunity to show case themselves and their books through her delightful interviews.

I have no new releases at this time but hoping to publish my children’s illustrated story book, The Magic Chicken, at the end of this year. It is presently in the hands of the illustrator and I have recently seen the sketches and quite excited to see it all come together in colour. I do hope to be able to publish my new poetry book, Whispered Love, at the end of this year too and fingers crossed I may have my fantasy romance, The Colour of Love, ready for publication early in 2018. Editing and rewriting for this fantasy romance has been nightmarish for me and not sure if I will ever venture this route again. I have the greatest admiration and sympathy for my beta reader who has pain stakingly been guiding me through the rewrites and putting up with my endless ranting and bad tempered moments. I will be forever grateful for his patience, without which I know I would never see this book in print.

Covers for these books are still being worked on. 

Thank you so much, Phoenix. Happy writing!

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Who is SHE? – B. J. Tiernan

Another amazing lady joining me for the ladies’ interviews in May is author Beverly J. Tiernan, a retired History teacher who never rests, author of the philosophical thriller Standing on a Whale and a beautiful histfic romantic life story Yield. Here is her take on my non-question based interview, and some of her exciting news at the end.

B. J. TIERNAN

What do these words mean to you, Beverly?

1. DREAMS 

When I see the word DREAMS, a little childhood chant comes to mind that has changed my life forever. The message hidden in this little gem is profound. ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT is the chant and here are the nuggets of wisdom it offers:

ROW, ROW, ROW means do what you do – go to work, clean the house, raise your children, write a book, etc. YOUR BOAT Don’t row somebody else’s boat, ROW YOUR OWN BOAT and leave everyone else alone. How do you row your boat? GENTLY, always with love and kindness. Where do you go? DOWN THE STREAM not up the stream against life, but flowing down the stream with life – trust and let go. With what attitude do you do these things? MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY Why? Because LIFE IS BUT A DREAM…This is the philosophy I live by.

 2. STRESS 

I choose not to participate. I know what and who causes stress in me and I set up loving boundaries to keep those people and situations at bay. No drama, No trauma. That’s the motto I live by.

3. RELEASE 

Ah, my favorite word in the English Language. It took me a long time to get it, now I have got it. To release – to let go of – toxic thoughts, toxic people, toxic relationships, toxic food, toxic beliefs, toxic judgements. As soon as we learn how to let go and RELEASE, life gets a whole lot easier.

4. SUPPORT 

Support is a funny thing. For me personally, I support those who support me. If I support those who do nothing to help me, then I become an enabler. When I die, I intend to leave my hard-earned money to those who have been loyal and supportive to me throughout my lifetime, not to those who have done nothing to support me or help me along my way. Buy hey, that is me doing my thing in my own boat. Please, don’t judge me. Stay in your own boat and I won’t judge you either. P.S. I do not feel this way about giving to the poor. Those who are helpless to help themselves are the exception.

5. MODEL 

When I see this word, I think of role MODEL. Role models are everywhere. People, animals, nature, our bodies. Some of my best teachers are not people, but situations and inanimate objects. There are sermons in stones if one will but listen.

6. ISSUE 

There is no ISSUE. I observe people and situations and learn from my observations. I take my good from where it comes and leave behind what is not in harmony with me.

7. JOURNEY 

We each have come here on a sojourn, a journey. We have the right to fulfill that journey with no interference and judgment from others. Once we learn to free ourselves from the good opinion of others, stay in our own boats, and leave others alone in theirs, the JOURNEY is on.

8. RELEVANCE 

Everything is relevant to something. Our task is to figure out what is relevant to us and to our own lives. Then we must decide what to do with it. As long as we move in love, I think we move in the right direction.

9. JOY 

JOY is a choice. It is a state one can live in every day. For me, JOY comes from living in a state of gratitude. Giving thanks EARLY, LATE, AND OFTEN for all that I have. That’s what keeps me in JOY.

10. HAVEN  

My HAVEN is my writing space. When I am writing, I am in a space like no other. Time matters not, Food matters not. Problems matter not. I am in a cocoon of inspiration that takes me away, kind of like a Calgon Bath. 

And here is the bit of news from Beverly…

CURRENT PROJECT:

Wolf Schimanski and I have formed a writing partnership called TierWolf Creations. We are currently working on our debut novel. We have dubbed the genre as Metaphysical Thriller, but there are lots of surprises in this story, some that surprise even us. Wolf is the gold and I am the alchemist. Two authors who met along the way and have been given the chance to create something special together.  

Yield – blurb

Marley Cover has lived in Lake Wales, Florida, since she was five.

While the country heads into the Vietnam War, a small town anxiety overtakes her, as she desperately searches for the man of her dreams.

Marley focuses on her career as a physical therapist and meets her first patient, Peter Rensen, son of a local ranch owner, who doesn’t wait long to propose marriage. Peter adores her and he’s a good man, but sparks are not flying for Marley. Longing for a family of her own, she eventually relents and says “I do.” She has every reason to say yes and only one to say no.

She meets that reason on her wedding day. His name is Warren, and he’s just come back to town. From the first touch of his hand, Marley is infatuated, but her decision has already been made.

The accompanying anxiety of the war looms on, as Marley struggles with the intimate impact of the burgeoning uncertainties of these troubled times.

Torn between love and loyalty, Marley faces some of the toughest decisions of her life.

SHORT LINK DIRECT TO YIELD ON AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2gdtX14

Thank you, Beverly! Happy writing!

2 Comments »

Who is SHE? – Lisa Veldkamp

During May I will be doing several interviews with female authors in a series entitled ‘Who is SHE?’ It will not be a feminist rant, nor do I plan to nag about women’s oppression – in fact, I am planning a similar series with some male authors, too. But ladies first. It has been such a pleasure to meet so many creative talents and fighters in the writing world that I wish everyone could appreciate these ladies’ relentless pursuit of their dreams, whilst balancing the life of the ‘ordinary’ miracles such as family and jobs.

Seeing as my guests are all quite creative, I do not want to limit them with typical questions but try something different. My guests will be asked to say what certain words mean to them, and they will not limit their replies to books, but also write about themselves, the world today, even family and friends, to sort of give us the feel of them as people and artists as well.

At the end of each ‘interview’, the readers will be surpised by the latest news from my author guests – their new release announcements, sneak peeks and even glimpses into their work in progress.

My first guest is author LISA VELDKAMP and today of all days is the release of her new novel The Empath. All the best with the book, Lisa, and thank you so much for sparing some time to drop by. Here is what Lisa had to say about her challenge words…

DREAMS

Funny you should start with this one. For it was a dream that made me write The Fire Trilogy. It was after I saw Placebo in concert. They were headlining Pinkpop in 2009 and while they we’re playing ‘Come Undone’, I was taken to another world. The world of Catherine and Tristan. When I was home again, I dreamed the entire outline of the trilogy in two nights in a row. It literally picked up again where it ended the following night. One of the weirdest things that ever happened to me. I took it as a sign from the universe and decided to start writing.

STRESS

I’m certainly no stranger to stress. I used to have a very stressful job and eventually decided to turn my life around. It was scary, both financially and emotionally, but it was the best decision I ever made. My life is so much healthier now and I’m grateful I had the chance to be able to this this. Is my life stress-free? No, I don’t think that’s possible, not for someone like me. However, I know how to deal with stress now and I recognize the signs, so I can act accordingly. Playing my harp is really soothing. It helps me to unwind.

RELEASE

Well, on this particular day, release means the release of the second installment of The Fire Trilogy. My book, The Empath, is available in stores today. Very exciting. Tonight I will do a book signing in my local bookstore, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that, release -for me – is mostly about letting go of control. I still find that….. challenging. I’m kind of a control freak. 

SUPPORT

First thing that comes to mind are my family, partner and friends. I have a great inner circle I can always count on. I feel really blessed in that way. Very fortunate to still have both my parents, who are my great example of a happy marriage. 

Support also comes from my favourite coffeehouse, Barista Café. I do my writing there and they’ve supported me and my writing from the beginning. Love those people!

MODEL

I have many people who inspire me and I consider a model/role-model. While I was growing up, I always saw the shows of Youp van ‘t Hek. He’s a stand-up comedian from Holland. I still go to every new show, by the way. He always makes me think about life and the universe. Yes, he’s funny, but most of all, he’s critical and sheds a painful light on what’s wrong with our society. He makes me cry, he makes me laugh, he makes me think. Yes, he’s been a real model to me.

ISSUE

Haha, when I hear the word issue, I think about my work as an editor for our Dutch harp magazine. We’re always busy with the latest issue. Do we have enough interviews, sheet-music, reviews and what not? We have a great team, though. I love to be a part of this process. And it takes my mind off my own writing.

JOURNEY

This great journey called life, I suppose. People tend to focus on a destination so often, they forget to live in the now. Living in the moment has become more important to me over the years. To really enjoy the now and be content with the present. You can’t change the past (unless you have a time-turner) and though it’s good to plan ahead, you can’t control the future either. So why not focus on the here and now? 

RELEVANCE

This is a tough one for me. I do not really concern myself with my own relevance. I’ll always be relevant to myself and those who care about me. Like they are relevant to me. Politicians are always concerned with their relevance. If they seize to be relevant, they might be out of a job. Which is why I could never be in politics. Relevance shouldn’t be about societies’ rules or pressure. To me, it’s a more personal word.

JOY

So many things bring me joy. Spending time with loved ones, music (especially Placebo and playing my harp), writing, riding horses, nature, healing. But also very mundane things like watching movies or tv series bring me great joy.

HAVEN

Well, besides the name of your blog, haven means my home. My safe haven. The place where I can always be myself, feel protected and loved. I love spending time at our own place. I’m a big believer in putting as much love in your house as you possibly can. It will give it back to you, really. Trust me on this one. It will work and your home will be the better for it.

And to finish this unusual ‘interview’, here is a wonderful piece of news from Lisa – her completely new release THE EMPATH – out now!

The Empath is the second installment of The Fire Trilogy and is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bol.com or you local bookstore. 

UK link 

US link 

Bol.com link 

Blurb

Battersea Park Station. Home of the company. The kind we all need, but nobody likes to talk about. Tristan Visconti works for the company and his clearance level has just been upgraded. Why? Simple, because he and his team have exactly one week to save our planet from impending doom.

When Tristan arrives in London, he needs to convince his client, Catherine van Dyk, of her own powers to help save our world. Problem is, Tristan believes he is on a suicide mission and so does his team. His former lover, Eve, is behaving out of character and then there is Alan, Catherine’s ex. Like Tristan, Alan’s an empath, but he’s also a master of death and the company can’t locate his whereabouts.

As Tristan, Catherine, Alan and Eve take center stage, the company is fulfilling its own agenda. Question is, are they working to save the world or to help destroy it?

Booktrailer The Empath

Lisa Veldkamp

www.the-elemental.co.uk 

www.facebook.com/theelemental

www.twitter.com/Lisa_Elemental 

Thank you, Lisa! Have a phenomenal release!

2 Comments »

CROOKED INTERVIEW with Joseph Mark Brewer

This is an author who will draw you into his exotic world of the Shig Sato mysteries with ease and elegance. It gives me great joy to have Joseph Mark Brewer over as my guest today, chatting about his short story Nothing But The Truth in Crooked Tales, as well as his other books.
 

Author’s bio

From an early age, Joseph Mark Brewer loved travel and learning about the world. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a journalist and spent the next four years on sea duty, serving on ships that would allow him to visit more than 40 cities around the world. His three years based in Japan and subsequent time working as a journalist in Tokyo forms the foundation of an interest in that country that continues today.

You can get a copy of Tokyo Summer at http://amzn.to/2oiVYXd

You can find Joe’s other work on his Amazon author page at: http://amzn.to/2aDZEvh


Interview


What is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it?

1. My Crooked Tales story is a sort of morality tale: neglected kids, broken homes, and witnesses keeping to themselves, for whatever reason.

What do you like writing and/or reading best? 

2. I like reading best. Reading is the well from which my writing emerges. 

What else do you do in life apart from writing?

3. I work in the news business, and am a historian by nature/inclination. I spend as much time reading history and biography as I do literature, or mysteries, or even writing my own stories.

What are you currently working on?

4. These days I am writing the next three books in the Shig Sato series, and shaping the outline of another trilogy quite different from Shig.  

Crooked Interview – My 5 questions for myself:


What interests do you have besides writing and history? 

I developed an interest in the world and travel at an early age, and was fortunate enough to indulge in that before finishing my university education. I don’t travel as much as I’d like these days, but hope to resume that interest someday soon.

Why did you set your Shig Sato mysteries in Japan?

 I had no notion or interest in Japan until I was stationed there while serving in the U.S. Navy. But I grew to like the country’s art, literature, and music. And living in a culture so different from my own, I found similarities all humans share. I think this gave me confidence to write, and to write about people no matter their background or situation. All human emotion is the same.

How did you come to write a mystery series?

 Again, I surprised myself, in that when I took stock of what I like to read, and what type of story I wanted to write to convey some of my feelings about Japan and its culture, I found that a mystery series suited my purpose. I’ve always been a Sherlock Holmes fan, love Agatha Christy, and am drawn to noir and thriller books and films. I found it intriguiing to create that world to say what I wanted.

You worked as a journalist in the Navy. Did that influence your writing? 

 I think it helped me decide that that I could earning a living in the news business and learn how to write. I have worked for newspapers for almost 30 years. It’s a great way to learn how to write and edit. 

How is writing a mystery novel the same or different from writing for news media? 

It’s similar in that facts matter, and that a certain logical sequence has to be followed. Answering who, what, when, where, why is a good starting point. The main difference is in length. The challenge in writing a 60,000 word mystery is sustaining the narrative and holding the reader’s interest. Very few news stories, or longer pieces in magazines, are book- length. Learning how to do that was quite an adjustment. 

The blurb for Tokyo Summer:

It was classified as an overdose. Or was it?


Setsuko Usami, the wife of a top Bank of Japan economist, is found dead in her bathroom. The police report points to an accidental drug overdose. Government officials want to keep the death under wraps to avoid scandal. But when the toxicology report arrives, it points to murder.


Despite his independent streak and reputation for turning down promotions, the bureaucrats in government and at the Tokyo Police headquarters know there’s only one man for the job: Inspector Shig Sato. He re-opens the case and follows the clues. What he discovers is more shocking than any official can imagine.


Will Sato bend to the will of his superiors and keep the case quiet, or will Sato go the distance to catch a killer?

Because someone just might get away with murder.



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.

— I had one reviewer complain about the mistakes and errors and such, and I went back and had to sheepishly admit to myself that I had missed a lot of small things in the final edit. Let that be a lesson: Even an editor needs an editor.

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

— Not much, but the Shig Sato series will eventually be 12 volumes. A lot of what I’m researching now, facts and answers to questions I have, and reviewing things I’d forgotten, will eventually make it into the series.

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

— Patrick O’Brian, the author of the “Master and Commander”  Aubrey/Maturin series. What he created — the British Royal Navy during the time of the Napoleonic Wars — and the characters, settings, adventures, plot twists, naval engagement, world travel, history, natural science; it’s simply a masterpiece. I found myself rereading the series five times, and realized about the third time through that what I was doing was learning how to write a series from him. I regard that series as the how-to for anyone who wants to write a series, regardless of genre.  

Question for authors from Joe Brewer:


Who is your favorite story or character or author  from literature – any genre-  Why?

Does that story/character/author help you in your writing process?


1 Comment »

Meet D. M. Cain

If you have not yet met author D. M. Cain, now is the time because this amazing young writer is making her way into the book world worldwide big time. It is my pleasure to have her over as an interview guest, and grateful to her for providing you with a sneak peek of her newest release.

Brief bio

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for Creativia Publishing. The Light and Shadow Chronicles series features a range of books which can be read in any order. The series instalments to date include A Chronicle of Chaos and The Shield of Soren. D.M. Cain is currently working on the next novel in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series, The Sins of Silas, as well as two complementary novellas entitled Genesis of Light and Origin of Shadow.

Cain has released one stand-alone novel: The Phoenix Project, a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. The Phoenix Project was the winner of the 2016 Kindle Book Review Best Sci-Fi novel Award.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal. 

Author site and links

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor&nbsp;

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84&nbsp;

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/dmcain

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH&nbsp;

Website: http://www.dmcain84.com&nbsp;

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts&nbsp;

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DMCain&nbsp;


Sneak peek from The Shield of Soren

 The Shield of Soren excerpt

With a loud clang of metal slamming into metal, the final bolt was undone. Reign slowly pulled the door open, and Vincent found his breath catching in his throat. 

High-pitched whimpering came from the tiny bundle of rags cowering at the back of the cage. Her long silver hair parted for a moment and Vincent could see her wide, silver eyes, terrified and innocent. Vincent’s skin prickled with discomfort. He hoped that Reign had a damned good reason for capturing a small child like this. 

Beside the glass cage were two oil lamps, both resting unlit. Reign reached up and took one down. Then, in a single savage moment, he slammed the lamp onto the floor of her cage. The girl screamed in terror and covered her head with her hands, but he hadn’t been aiming for her. 

The shattered glass gave way to a stream of oil that spread out in a pool across the floor. This seemed to scare the girl even more, and she began to cry quietly, sobbing into her clenched hands. 

Reign looked back at Vincent. Excitement flashed in his eyes as he drew a match from a box in his pocket. A small flare of light, a flicker of sulphur and a small flame danced on top of the match. With another laugh, Reign tossed the match into the glass cage.

Vincent gasped as the oil ignited in a rush of intense heat. The entire floor of the cage burst into flames. Vincent tried to rush forwards to save the girl from a fiery death, but the heat was too intense. A hand tapped incessantly at his shoulder, and he tried to brush it away, but Reign grabbed hold of his hand.

“Look! Look!” Reign shouted excitedly, pointing at the cage. 

When his eyes fell upon the cage, Vincent froze to the spot, his eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “But…how?”

The girl, who Vincent had assumed would be burning in agony, was somehow floating above the flames, hovering at the top of her cage. From her back sprouted two enormous wings of the purest white feathers Vincent had ever seen. The two beautiful white fans could only just fit within the confines of the cage, and as she beat them to stay afloat they fanned the flames beneath her. 

It wasn’t just her wings that dazzled Vincent with their purity. Her whole body had adopted an ethereal, almost ghostly, silver aura, her hair shimmering with radiance. She didn’t seem too frightened any more, but there was a definite hint of sadness in her gentle eyes. 

Vincent studied her carefully, struggling to catch his breath, which he hadn’t realised he had been holding. “What is she?” he managed to croak. 

Reign grinned and draped an arm across Vincent’s shoulder. “She, my friend, is an angel.”

Interview time

1. Why do you write? 

I love to get away from the stresses of being a teacher, author, wife and mother by delving into my own worlds and losing myself in my characters. It is so cathartic for me, even when I’m exhausted from a hard day’s work, and nothing relaxes me more than writing. 

Also, my stories and my characters are always so loud inside my head. They shout for my attention and I have no choice but to write down what they say. I can’t bear the idea of my stories disappearing into nothingness when I die, without me having written them down somewhere. Of course I would love to see them as bestsellers on the shelves of Waterstones, but really the most important thing for me is just that the ideas are written down somewhere. 

2. What’s your latest project? 

The Shield of Soren was just released last month. This novel is an epic fantasy in the sword and sorcery category. It is the next in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series after A Chronicle of Chaos although they do not run chronologically so can be read in any order. 

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

I particularly love a character from The Shield of Soren and A Chronicle of Chaos called the Bavelize. An evil, mysterious villain, it is so good to write about! The character is dark and twisted  and is so much fun to write, both because of the domineering evil it exudes, and the fact it is created entirely from smoke so is constantly shifting and writhing. I’m also very attached to a new character in my current work in progress named Silas – but you haven’t met him yet 😉

4. What are your writing plans for the future? 

I plan to continue the Light and Shadow Chronicles and I have two complementary novellas coming soon. The next two full length novels are in progress too (though they may be halted for a while by my new little one who is due in July!) I plan to continue writing for the rest of my life – it’s in my blood and in my soul. I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. 

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

My favourite author is C.L. Schneider who wrote The Crown of Stones Trilogy. She sets the bar incredibly high in terms of plot, tension, high quality writing and incredible characters. I can’t even begin to measure myself against her level of writing but that is what I am always trying to aim for. I also truly admire JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith. She is an excellent writer who never gave up despite all the rejections she suffered and her writing is always truly gripping. 

6. What makes you happiest in the writing process? 

Spending time with my characters. Writing them is a joy when there are no other pressures – no deadlines or tricky plot holes to dig myself out of. Just plain writing is wonderful. It gets to the point where I spend so much time with a character that they seem to come to life and I think of them almost as real people (does that make me sound crazy??)

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

As a teenager, I always loved The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I think it’s the one book I’ve read that has literally everything I’ve ever wanted in a story. It is devilishly witty and funny, but at the same time dark and foreboding. It is the most quotable story I’ve ever read, but hits quite a powerful nerve by the end too. Wilde was an incredible writer. 

8. How do you deal with editing/proofreading? 

My books undergo an extensive editing and proofing process. After I have written the first draft, I read and edit the book myself at least three times before it goes to the official editor. This is for me to pick up on any character inconsistencies or timeline issues. 

It then goes on to my fabulous editor, Pam Elise Harris, who completely guts it for me, fixing not just grammatical errors but also suggesting plot changes, sentence restructuring etc. She does three passes over the book, sending it back to me every time to make changes. 

When Pam is finished with it, it goes to Sophie Thomas, my very thorough proofreader who finds any remaining inconsistencies or errors.  Finally, it goes through yet another proofreader with my publisher, Creativia. 

This whole process can take up to a year, just for editing. 

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

I’ve chosen A Chronicle of Chaos in The Light and Shadow Chronicles series. 

Chaos and Anathema – two souls inexplicably drawn to one another. They make come from entirely different worlds, but when thrown together they will cause an epic conflict that could tear the world in two. When the forces of Heaven and Hell collide, where will their loyalties lie?

Starring:

Bob Morley as Chaos Lennox

Lucas Till as the demon Anathema

Katheryn Winnick as Callista Nienna

Santiago Cabrera as Raven Lennox

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

I am soon appearing at a local ladies club to deliver a talk which will focus on women’s achievements in the community. My latest book The Shield of Soren is on e-tour at the moment in various places. And I have Instafreebie promos happening all the time. 


Thank you, D. M. Happy writing!

2 Comments »

CROOKED INTERVIEW with ERIC J. GATES

Hope you are ready for another thrilling CROOKED INTERVIEW. Mystery and spies are right up his alley, and he is no stranger to writing phenomenal short stories. Eric J. Gates rocks thrillers for life, and it is my pleasure to be his host as he chats about his books and Crooked Tales by Readers Circle of Avenue Park.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric J. Gates has had a curious life filled with the stuff of thriller novels. Writing Operating Systems for Supercomputers, cracking cryptographic codes under extreme pressure using only paper and pen and teaching cyber warfare to spies are just a few of the moments he’s willing to recall. He is an ex-International Consultant who has travelled extensively worldwide, speaks several languages, and has had articles and papers published in technical magazines in six different countries, as well as radio and TV spots. His specialty, Information Technology Security, has brought him into contact with the Military and Intelligence communities on numerous occasions.

He is also an expert martial artist, holding 14 black belt degrees in distinct disciplines. He has taught his skills to Police and Military personnel, as well as to the public.

He now writes thriller novels, drawing on his experiences with the confidential and secret worlds that surround us.

Links:

Website   Blog    Twitter

Amazon Author page links:  UK    US

the CULL – Bloodline  (FREE)               Outsourced    

INTERVIEW

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

‘Death of a Sparrowman’ is a spy story set in the present day but decidedly low-tech. My work has brought me into contact with several Intelligence organizations over the years and there is an internal ‘battle’ of sorts raging in all of them. There are basically two camps: one feels that intelligence obtained using high-tech means (SIGINT – signals intelligence – which composes satellites, cracking electronic cryptography, analyzing Internet traffic etc) provides the intelligence needed to feed government decisions. The other insists there is still a place for the man on the ground (HUMINT – human intelligence). I focused the tale on a man who had been a courier of critical information for his long career and who was planning to retire soon. By telling the story, I could also paint a picture of the changes in the intelligence world from its rather naïve past to the tech-obsessed present. All of this is told from the point of view of this ageing spy who is about as far removed from the ‘classic’ James Bond figure as you can get.

2. What do you like writing and/or reading best? 

I love writing thriller novels with ‘a touch of strange’ as one of my readers once put it. By ‘strange’ I believe they were referring to the elements of the unknown, even paranormal, that I weave into my stories. These are often the product of deep research into lesser known mythology (such as the Cintamani Stone from Tibetan mythology that I used in ‘Outsourced’ and ‘Primed’) or the answer to questions of the ‘what if?’ variety (What if vampires were based upon real history? Was the starting point for ‘the CULL’ series). 
My reading tastes run to thrillers, sci-fi, crime and mystery, and non-fiction (especially science-related) although if a book appeals to me, and it is outside these genre, that’s not an obstacle. 

3. What else do you do in life apart from writing?

I’m a martial art practitioner. Having been trained in over 25 different arts, I try to keep up my ‘particular set of skills’ whenever I can, which is not that easy as the fighting ability I have is all in combat arts, not sport. To relax I cook! By now I can heat water without burning it and have gained a certain reputation for my ‘Boeuf en Croute’ – once even had a lawyer offering to represent me for free if I made them that dish a few times a year! And, of course, I’m an avid reader!  

4. What are you currently working on?

Currently the words tapped out on my keyboard (if you’ve ever seen my handwriting, you’ll understand why I always use a computer) belong to the fifth and last book in my ‘the CULL’ series. This series takes an original and fresh look at vampire lore and has proven to be a firm favourite with readers judging by the number of emails I receive asking for more.

CROOKED INTERVIEW

Time for Eric to interview himself – he chooses the questions and answers them. (Yes, I am crooked sometimes.)

1. Where were you born?
I’m a Brit in origin, though now living in Spain, and hail from the Wirral peninsular (turn left at Hobbiton).
2. Do you use real people and your own experience in your novels?

Very much so. Real people appear in my novels in two ways: either they are winners of the competition I run on my website where the prize is a character named after them, or they are individuals who I have crossed paths with in my prior life and who are heavily disguised (to protect the guilty). As for experiences, well, let’s just say I’ve had an unusual and interesting life…

3.What do you think is the biggest problem an aspiring author faces?

Without a doubt, it is themselves. Once they put so much effort into penning that first book, faced with the uphill struggle to acquire a readership, many give in to despair and exasperation. Yes, this is a hard profession (definitely not a pastime) and requires the three P’s to survive: Patience, Perseverance, and Positiveness. Hang in there for the long haul and meanwhile, write another book!

4. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Again, an easy one. Like most scribblers, I am always trying to improve my writing. A few years back I discovered a wonderful piece of software that I use for self-editing, and which has helped me improve my own skillset as an author in the process. No, I’m not talking about just a spell-checker. To explain why and how I use this, a while back I wrote an article which can be found on my website here: http://www.ericjgates.com/TipsTricksSelfie.html

5. Did you ever edit out something from a novel you wrote?

Yes. I didn’t include in the book what I did when I received the object used by fictional author Nic Stiles in ‘Outsourced’. But that’s another story…

ERIC’S QUESTION FOR ‘CROOKED’ AUTHORS


Ask one or more of the other Crooked Tales authors a question or more. I would kindly ask them to reply in the blog comments below. Other authors also welcome.

ERIC: As nobody has asked so far, I direct this question to Anita:

What’s the one thing you would give up permanently if doing so made you better at writing?

Not an easy one, right. If any of the other Crooked Tales Authors want to have a go at that one too, well…

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