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Posts Tagged ‘Pump Up Your Book’

J.W. BACCARO

J.W. Baccaro is the author of Prophecy of the Guardian, The Coming of the Light and Blood Dreams. Always a lover of creativity, from works of literature to writing music with his electric guitar; even baking and cooking. When not working on his next story or lost in a good book, J.W. enjoys kicking back with a couple of tasty craft beers and binging on Kaiju movies, 80’s action flicks, Japanese animation and slasher films (particularly the one involving a hockey mask). Heck, he even enjoys a good romantic comedy. Feel free to email him at jwbaccaro@yahoo.com. He lives in upstate NY with his wife Melissa, his son Alexander, his German Shepherd and his three cats.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Probably more of a born creator. I love creating stories, writing my own music with my electric guitar, and I even love cooking and baking. I created my own style of ice cream pies that everyone seems to love. One of my favourite foods is also a creation of mine, spaghetti squash lasagna. It’s loaded with my own blend of spices, a good quality tomato sauce, freshly shredded mozzarella, pepperoni and ricotta cheese! Don’t knock it until you try it! 😊

What was your inspiration for Prophecy of the Guardian?

The inspiration comes from…well see…creative writing has always been a love of mine. I never had much interest in sports or automobiles. Sure, I know a little bit, but I couldn’t tell you the names of famous quarterbacks or talk for hours about rebuilding an engine block. Creativity has always been my thing in both literature and music. Inspired by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (to name a few), I too decided I wanted to create my own vivid world within the imagination…and on paper of course.

PROPHECY OF THE GUARDIAN

I didn’t look around at what genre was most popular in hopes to make a quick buck. I just wanted to write a story that I personally would love to read. A story with not only tons of action and warrior battles, but also filled with heavy emotion. A world where you feel like you’ve made friends with the characters and are a bit sad when the book comes to an end. You miss them!

I’ve always loved classic Good versus Evil tales. True they are a dime a dozen, filled with similar tropes and sometimes a bit cliché. You know, light versus darkness, one chosen character to rid the world of this monstrous evil, magical items, etc. etc. However, just when you think you’ve read something like this before, as soon as you’re enveloped into the story, you see how the tale carries its own uniqueness. Of course, there will be similarities, I can find that in just about every bestselling epic fantasy/sci-fi I read, but each story carries its own flair.

I love when a villain or even a hero begins to question their path, wondering if the task they are trying to accomplish is the right thing to do. Perhaps the Light has a point? Perhaps the Darkness has a point, and looking a little deeper, maybe, just maybe the Light (or whom we call our heroes), isn’t so perfect after all. Besides, all of us know the world is far beyond mere black and white. So, I took all my thoughts, likes and influences and molded them together and out came my book Prophecy of the Guardian: Book One, Guardian Trilogy.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Nearly a decade. So much changed within the story as time went on…

What do you feel is one of the most exciting parts of your book?

The battles, the suspense of what will happen next? And even the emotional parts, death scenes, slight romantic scenes and transformation of one’s self.

What other genres have you thought about writing? What genres would you personally never consider writing?

Urban fantasy. I also currently write dark erotica and paranormal thrillers. I’d never right a western cowboy novel, just like (no offense here) I’d never write country music with my guitar. It’s the epitimy of boring, in my opinion. But that’s what is beautifull about all us creators, so much to choose from.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love the character floating around in my head, me knowing they’re there, and most of them friends. Don’t fret, it’s not like I talk to them as imaginary friends, ha! But it’s nice having your own created world. Especially when another individua loves your world and characters.

What’s next for you?

A dark erotica/dark fantasy tale titled Tree of Damnation. This story takes place half a century after my Guardian trilogy ends with Piercing the Darkness.

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Title: SCENE OF THE CRIME (Book 2 of Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery Series)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Mystery Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Chapter 1

NOTHING CAPTURED HIS ATTENTION. IT wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking for anything specific or that he didn’t care about anything, but everything became like white noise. Looking down, he spotted a couple squashed beer cans, which had resulted from the constant compression of car tires repeatedly running over them. Now they lay in the gutter unnoticed—as discarded litter. Out of boredom, he kicked the aluminum pancakes with his worn out running shoes. The compressed disks clattered a ways before landing back in a different part of the same gutter, just as his life.

Roger Case was in one of those moods where everything seemed futile. It was a time when his temperament plummeted; he entertained the spirit of defeat, which was becoming more common these days. His concentration slipped farther into the dwindling mindset of drugs and crime to the point of mania. Rationalizing his motives, he preferred to enact self-medication.

He needed something strong to take away his thoughts of negativity. The repetitive movements of his hands and arms worsened. He wanted anything that would take away his fears, his depression, and his unrelenting obsession for the next quick fix. Roger knew that even when he felt the most empowering high that there was a high price to pay—and it was predictable and inevitable—the hard, downward crash.

Roger hadn’t always been teetering on that slippery slope, dangling over the life of crime; in fact, he still remembered when things were normal and even mundane. He grew up in a typical middle class family with his mom and dad, along with his older brother and sister. Reflecting on those memories now, he would trade just about anything to have those times back.

Now he waited with anticipation for his contact. It was going to make everything better—at least for a while. He convinced himself that just a little bit of crystal meth would help him get back on track—to see things clearly again. It wasn’t as if he was a full-blown addict, he just needed something to help motivate and push him in the right direction.

He heard a hollow scraping noise and stopped to listen. Standing quietly, still straining to hear, but that sound never repeated. He looked around. Curious. The sound seemed to resonate in his head instead of around the street. Upon further inspection, he realized it came from inside the cement structure.

The old water treatment plant had been decommissioned by the county some time ago, now outdated, and was nothing more than an eyesore gathering the grime and deteriorating aspects of time gone by. Something loomed in Roger’s vision and waited in darkness—he strained his eyes looking into the long structure that seemed to lead to nowhere.

Maybe his connection made a change of plans and the meeting place was at the cement sinew, and out of sight from any onlookers, or cops happening by on their route. It was possible. At this point in Roger’s life, anything was possible.

Roger contemplated his options for a moment and then decided to check it out. He turned toward the water treatment plant and headed inside. The first thing he noticed was the temperature difference—cold and damp compared to the warmer street areas.

He slowed his pace, unsure if he should call out or announce his presence. Fidgeting nonstop with his hands, pressing his fingers tighter and then releasing them, Roger moved farther into the tunnel.

A shuffling sound came from the other end.

“Hello?” he finally said, his voice weak and tinny which made him unconsciously twitch.

A muffled dragging sound was the responded answer. It resonated from the back-left area.

“Hey, I don’t have time for this… you either want the money or not.” He tried to sound tough but his nerves were frayed. It wasn’t something he was used to feeling. In fact, Roger couldn’t remember the last time he felt scared, frustrated, angry or anxious.

The damp cement tunnel seemed to pull him closer to the heart of it—into the bowels of no return. Instead of turning around and leaving, Roger slowly moved deeper into the cavern. It was as if someone or something else had control over his body. His insatiable curiosity had put him in troubling situations throughout his life. It contributed to him getting into deep trouble with a growing rap sheet to prove it.

Most memories had a calming effect on Roger, which had initiated his fidgeting to cease and his hesitation to subside. He didn’t understand many people’s fears and phobias, most things were just benign and didn’t amount to anything remotely scary or debilitating.

There it was again—a dragging sound followed by what he thought were hushed whispers.

Kids.

He would smack a kid if they jumped out at him or gave him any crap. Most likely, they were tagging gang symbols and looking to get into trouble.

There was the distinct sound of two people whispering to each other.

Roger tried to sharpen his vision but the darkness played tricks on him with weird shadow figure apparitions. He blinked his eyes quickly trying to concentrate on the area and where the kids were hiding; his eyes began to water from the extreme effort. Wiping away the aggravated tears, Roger felt his surroundings close in tightly around him as his perception changed. The darkness seemed to give a strange rippled effect.

The voices became louder. There was nothing sinister about the voices, but they were speaking faster with more of an urgent tone.

“Hey, you little maggots, I know you’re here,” stated Roger.

He stopped and stood still.

The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOG

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I’m not sure I would say I am a born writer as much as I have always felt called to write. It’s important to me to make sure of my God-given talents. Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed.

What was your inspiration for Amos Faces His Bully?

Like my first book, Little Shepherd, this story places fictional characters in a Biblical setting. My first inspiration was to continue with the format of my first book—make it a series of unrelated, yet similar, stories. There are others planned.

My primary reason for writing Amos Faces His Bully, however, is very personal. I was bullied as a child; teased from the day I entered elementary until the day I graduated high school. Yet, with all the awareness of bullying and the anti-bullying programs that exist in our cities and towns today, bullying still exists. As I’ve worked hard to prevent my own child from being bullied, I wanted her to know God could provide her—and other victims of bullying—with peace and strength.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Faith often plays a role in my books. Whether it be a young shepherd boy who must trust that God will keep his sheep safe while he visits the newborn King, or a bullied child seeking courage to deal with his tormenters, reaching out in faith has many rewards. A Christmas Kindness, while not faith-based, has themes in it that some might consider Christian values. Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and A Christmas Kindness show young people as problem solvers.

How long did it take you to complete this picture book?

The first draft of Amos Faces His Bully took a few days…but that’s the easy part. It’s the editing process that takes a while. You’re not only looking for typographical or grammar errors. You’re looking to trim away the unnecessary words. You’re clarifying your meaning. You’re seeking out repetitive words or phrases. Even after a book is published, it’s not uncommon to wish you had done something differently.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Um…no. Total panster who waits until there is a fair amount of time to sit down uninterrupted to write. Usually that means once a month at writing group, but I’ll take what I can get.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing a book about a youngster being bullied when you were bullied and friendless for most of your childhood tends to bring up bad memories. Thankfully, as many of us discover, the years after high school bring with them a level of maturity the bullies—and you—didn’t have in school.

What do you love most about being an author?

It’s amazing to be able to go to Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com or other online retailers and find my books there. Have to admit that is a special feeling.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self-publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

All my books are published by independent publishers. After the manuscripts were accepted, the process—while not exactly short—was fairly painless. I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful people at both publishing houses. That’s why I keep going back with each new book.

Where can we find you on the web?

My friends say I am all over the Internet. Having worked in online book promotion and using social media for my current job means they probably aren’t too far off. I am out there a lot. The best places to find me are:

Website: http://ccmalandrinos.com

Blog: https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cheryl-C-Malandrinos-170542359697682

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ccmalandrinos

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4341623.Cheryl_C_Malandrinos

 

About the Book:

Title: AMOS FACES HIS BULLY
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 20
Genre: Christian children’s picture book

 

BOOK BLURB:

Amos is targeted by the town bully because he is so small. When word reaches Amos of his friend David’s battle with Goliath, he thinks back to what David told him about putting his faith in God’s protection. Perhaps the same God can help Amos face his bully too.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Guardian Angel | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Indiebound.org

 

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Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to Manchester, UK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Would you call yourself a born writer?

No, I wouldn’t at all. I’d say I was a fairly imaginative kid that was exposed to lots of fun stories when he was young, and all I ever wanted to do from then was the same thing.

What was your inspiration for A WANTED MAN?

All sorts of things, in truth! Eighties action movies, fatherhood, the futility of war, disillusionment with government, crime stories, my home city of Manchester, mob movies. It started as a terrible action movie screenplay when I was 16, and I went back to it when I was 30 and thought ‘hey, I can do something with this finally!’.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

The ordinary smashing up against the fantastic. The real versus the outlandish. Normal splashed with amazing. Anything that surprises and satisfies in equal measure. Aside from that, I find myself writing about fatherhood a lot, but with two young kids and a third imminent, I suppose being a dad is never far from my daily thoughts!

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Well, after I picked it back up as a screenplay out of the drawer, and started a first draft, it was 6-7 weeks. Then after that a further three years of rewrites, so that draft 46 is the one you have in your hands.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I try to be as strict with myself as I can, but I love the fact that being a writer lets be spend a lot of time with my kids, and they always come first. But usually, I’ll be up early doors with the sprogs, they’ll go off to school, then it’s coffee and writing the rest of the day, breaking for lunch, the gym and errands. Family time again 5 until 7pm, then if we’ve got a quiet evening planned, I’m straight back at it until my eyes fuzz.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The patience I suppose. I’m fit to burst with my next book, and the next and the next, so that when I kept having to rewrite (and then because it’s actually a book and it takes a fair bit of time to read) it felt like it took longer and longer to get there. But now I’m so glad it did, because the book is literally the best I could make it, thanks to all the time it took me to get it here.

What do you love most about being an author?

The ability to create everyday, and the joy and freedom that comes with that. That and the fact that it lets me spend a lot of time with my family, which is a complete blessing I know how lucky I am to have.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self-published originally, until I hooked up with my agent, then we went hunting a publisher. Then it was a question of taking the best offer. I’d have got nowhere if I didn’t self-publish though, and would recommend it to anyone who is struggling to find an audience like I was. I loved that process, and I really enjoyed the thrill of self-publishing – people look down on it, but I know it was how I got started. I’ll always be grateful to it.

Where can we find you on the web?

All over!

https://www.facebook.com/robertparkerauthor/

https://twitter.com/RobertRParker45

www.robertparkerauthor.com

https://www.instagram.com/robertparkerauthor/

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Piers PlattPiers Platt is the New York Times bestselling author of “Combat and Other Shenanigans,” a memoir of his year-long deployment to Iraq as a tank and scout platoon leader. Piers grew up in Boston, but spent most of his childhood in various boarding schools, including getting trained as a classical singer at a choir school for boys. He joined the Army in 2002, and spent four years on active duty.

When he’s not writing or spending time with his lovely wife and daughter, Piers works as a strategy consultant in New York city.

His latest book is the sci fi/thriller, Rath’s Deception.

For More Information

About the Book:

Rath's DeceptionOn the cut-throat streets of Tarkis, orphaned teens like Rath end up jailed … or dead. So when the shadowy Janus Group offers Rath a chance to earn riches beyond his wildest dreams, he seizes it. But the Janus Group is as ruthless as the elite assassins it controls. Rath will have to survive their grueling, off-world training, and fulfill all fifty kills in his contract before a single cent comes his way. And ending so many lives comes with a price Rath can’t anticipate. It’ll certainly cost him what’s left of his innocence. It may well cost him his life.

For More Information

  • Rath’s Deception is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Rath's Deception teaser 1

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes and no. I would say I’ve always loved to read and write. But saying I was “born” to be a writer doesn’t give enough credit to my parents, who taught me to love reading, and my teachers, who first introduced me to creative writing and then pushed me to be better at it.

What was your inspiration for Rath’s Deception?

It’s based on a short story called Last Pursuit [available for free wherever ebooks are sold, here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Pursuit-Piers-Platt-ebook/dp/B00JFXTW84/] that I wrote some time ago – Last Pursuit is the same concept / setting, it just focuses on a single mission for one assassin. Readers really enjoyed the story, but many said they wished it was longer…so I expanded it into a full book…and then a trilogy!

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I think each of my books has a different theme. But now you’ve got me thinking – are their common themes across my work?? Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that! In Rath’s Deception, the main themes are the challenge of living up to expectations, living with yourself after making bad decisions, and ultimately triumphing over adversity. But it’s mainly a thriller – less about themes and more about a gripping, action-packed ride.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I wrote Book 1 in about 8 months. Books 2 and 3 I finished in about 4 months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Yes, I am. I believe that discipline is one of the things that separate successful people from dreamers. I’m a dreamer, too! But I have concrete goals and a detailed plan to reach those dreams. I have a day job, too – so writing for me means getting up early to knock out some marketing tasks at home, then I write during the two hours each day I spend on the train getting to/from work. Honestly, it makes the time pass a lot faster than watching a show, so I don’t mind at all.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Balance! Aside from Rath, the protagonist, I have three secondary characters who each get their own chapters. I wanted to flesh them out (they play key roles in the later books), but not take too much away from Rath’s arc.

What do you love most about being an author?

Hearing from my readers! I love talking with fans who’ve found my books and enjoyed them. That’s what makes it worthwhile, for me.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I published it myself. I’m absolutely happy with that decision – it gives me much more flexibility and control over the entire process.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website: www.piersplatt.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Piers-Platts-Books-260070717516391/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/piersplatt

Thanks again for having me!

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P. Christina Greenaway

Christina Greenaway grew up in Cornwall, England in a small fishing village. One of her favorite pastimes as a child was to write a story, stuff it in a bottle, toss it into the sea, and imagine all her characters – pirates, kings, and others – come to life. Her life twisted and turned, however, in so many ways that she never ventured into writing until now, many years later. Her novels include themes generated from her life experiences including: trust, the fantasy parent, empowerment, work and travel and spiritual power.

Christina has worked at BBC radio in England, a NYC high-powered ad agency, as assistant to the president of a perfume company in France, as a partner for a frog farm in Costa Rica, and numerous other venues. She has traversed the globe.

She is the author of Written in Ruberah, published by Girl by the Sea Publishing, and Dream Chaser: Awakening, published by Girl by the Sea. You can visit Christina at www.christinagreenaway.com or her blog at http://christinagreenaway.wordpress.com.

 

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

Yes. I loved to write stories when I was a young child. I was never so happy as when I sat on the cliffs, stared into the sea and dreamed up tales of lost lands and princesses waiting to be rescued from one monster or another. I’ve written in fits and starts throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I came to that crossroad—that moment when you realize forever no longer lights up your future, that I settled into writing seriously. Should I have done it earlier? No. I’ve explored the world, met a wide range of people, tried my hand at different careers, loved and lost and loved again and again.  These experiences form the well from which I draw my characters and stories. 

What was your inspiration for Written in Ruberah

I wanted to set a story in Cornwall, UK, where I was born and raised. I felt the lush countryside, the moors, and the rugged coast would feed my imagination. They did. Lovers came to mind—lovers who must time travel to the ancient past to heal a rift that prevents them from being together.  I needed an immortal—a guide who would help them. I turned to an old Cornish legend that fascinated me as a child: the legend of the beautiful nymph Tamara and the giant brothers Tavy and Tawridge. Tamara’s father forbids her to meet the giants. Tamara disobeys him. Her father catches her with the giants and punishes her by turning her into a river of tears. Tamara forms the River Tamar. As a child, I travelled back and forth to boarding school by train crossing the River Tamar. I imagined Tamara as a water spirit who helped people.

Written in Ruberah is the first book in my Age of Jeweled Intelligence series about people who lived in the Time of Ruberah who made sacred promises to one day make amends for the disaster that brought about the end of that land. They tossed those promises into the River of Life. Many of those souls are alive on the planet today. As their promises come due they float into the River Tamar. Tamara, the luminous spirit of the river, guides those who come to fulfill them.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?Written in Ruberah  Cover

In my first novel, Dream Chaser:Awakening, I explore forgiveness. Sara Jensen opens her own ad agency with a goal to become a woman of capital before she turns forty. Sara lands the dream client Ross, head of a Hollywood studio. Love ensues. Love that draws Ross close to an early death. Love that asks Sara to risk her own to save his. Love that begs forgiveness. 

Written in Ruberah explores what lies in the chasm that sometimes keeps lovers apart. American lovers Miriam and Mitch travel to Cornwall for a romantic getaway. Miriam feels hard-wired to be in a committed relationship with Mitch, but she can’t realize that love due to a debt she carries from ancient Ruberah. 

How long did it take you to complete the novel? 

Five years.  It took many drafts to weave together the history of ancient Ruberah, the story of Tamara, and the present day dilemma between Miriam and Mitch. The second book in the series is moving along at a much faster pace.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am disciplined. I give thanks to my years in boarding school for that. I write every morning for about three hours, and I edit in the afternoons. While doing other things like yoga, hiking, going to the grocery store, I listen to the dream of the story whispering in my head.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Keeping the characters grounded in their worldly aspirations while whisking them into the astral spheres of the jewel kingdoms or the Black Heart, Dark Master’s seat of power beneath the ocean.   

What do you love most about being an author?

The addage is, write what you know about. I write what I want to know more about. I treat writing as an act of trust. I come to the page and work with the story until that something greater than me kicks in. I write for the joy discovery.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.christinagreenaway.com

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Today KD Pryor is stopping off here at The Dark Phantom during her The Portal’s Choice Book Blast! Be sure to fill out the rafflecopter form below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

About the Book:

The Portal's Choice

Journal, just in case . . .

I didn’t ask to meet ghosts. Shoot, I was fine without them in my life. Uncle Craig and Hannah were nasty to me, but at least I knew how to handle living pains in the butt. Now I have to figure out how to open and close a portal between the human and spirit worlds. And I have to find and return a bunch of angry ghosts through the gateway and lock them on their side. I don’t know why the portal chose me to do this, a fifteen-year-old kid with no ghost busting experience. But it did. And if I want a ghost-free night’s sleep anytime soon, I’d better figure out how to get the job done. Because I’ve about had it with murderous ghouls and their unpleasant agendas. “Signed Tallis Challinor”

After the death of her parents, Tallis Challinor and her brother Wyatt must move to the Midwest to live with their dead mother’s sister and her family. When Aunt Sandra dies three-and-a-half years later, Tallis and Wyatt find themselves moving yet again, this time to New Hampshire to live with their father’s sister, Aunt Gabbie, and her husband Noreis. Gabbie is young, pretty and fun. Tallis remembers being a little girl and playing with her Aunt at the family home in California, before her parents died. So Tallis is excited to re-locate and reconnect with Gabbie. But what should have been a happy reunion is plagued with problems when Noreis opens a portal between the spirit and human worlds located in the basement of the house.

Tallis is a practical kid. She doesn’t believe that ghosts exist. But she can’t deny what she sees with her own eyes and the two ghosts Tallis meets at Thanksgiving in the basement of her aunt’s house are definitely not figments of her imagination, although she wishes they were. Tallis is unwittingly drawn into the portal’s energy when one of the ghosts fixates on her and forces her to assist in the release of three particularly nasty spirits. As a final blow, the portal chooses Tallis as a temporary gatekeeper and she finds herself charged with the duty of returning the very ghouls she’s set free, plus a few of their buddies, back to the spirit realm.

As Tallis learns the secrets of the portal and begins to understand her newly acquired power, she formulates a plan to return the ghosts. Along the way, she receives help from many new friends who fill in the details about the identity of the escaped spirits, providing a possible motive for the outrageous actions of the escaped ghosts. Tallis must learn to trust herself and others as she taps into her inner courage to get the job done and save her town from the angry restless dead set.

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Book Excerpt:

April 29th, 2:30 in the morning

One week to go.

I feel it, the nearness of the spirits. The fact thateverything is aligning to some sort of conclusion. I hopeI’m ready. I hope I have the power to finish this thing. And, I hope that Gregory Millard calls soon.

The shrill ring of the phone pierced the late night silence ofthe house, startling me out of an exhausted sleep. My body jerkedto semi-awareness and I reached for it, knocking it to the floor inmy confusion. I reached down, patted the floor, and finally foundthe phone as it rang for the third time.

“Yeah?” I mumbled.

“Hello, can you hear me?” shouted a voice I didn’t recognize.

I was groggy with sleep and confused as to my exact location.The voice continued hollering at me, but I had trouble focusingon it as my sluggish brain worked to figure out why I wasn’t inmy bed. Finally, I remembered that I’d fallen asleep on the sofain the front room. Satisfied that I could place my body in space, Idirected my mind to the person who was calling. A glance at theclock on the wall said it was 2:00. In the morning.

“Who is this?” I asked, stretching my neck until I felt a loud,satisfying crack.

“My name is …” a male voice started, then abruptly stopped.The connection appeared to be lost.

“Hey, are you there?” I hollered back into the phone, assumingthat if the caller had to yell to be heard, he needed me to yell backat him.

“Tallis, what’s going on down there?” my aunt, Gabbie, calledto me. She hurried down the creaky, wooden staircase.

“Phone call,” I mumbled when she appeared in the doorway.“But I think the connection’s broken. It wasn’t too good to startwith.”

Gabbie moved to my side and looked down at me. Theflickering fire in the wood stove illuminated the paleness of herskin and amplified the heavy shadows under her eyes. She lookedawful, much older than her twenty-seven years.

“Do you think?” she began, and then swallowed. “Is it him?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know.”

The voice burst through the static. “Gregory Millard.” He wasgone again.

About the Author:

KD PryorKD Pryor started life in Missouri, where she read lots of books, even sneaking them into baseball games to the irritation of her father. Kelley graduated with a degree in International and Comparative Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After college and marriage to a great guy, she decided to pursue a law degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Her oldest son was born soon after law school, followed three years later by her daughter and a move to Kentucky. One more son, a move to Ohio and four years later, her family jumped on the opportunity to move to India. They lived in Bangalore, now Bengaluru, for four wonderfully chaotic years, traveling all over Asia, Australia and Europe.

Now, settled in New Hampshire with her family and herd of cats (only three), she can often be found in her office, working on the next installment of “The Gatekeepers of Em’pyrean” series, reading one of a dozen books she has started, and dreaming of her future travel destinations.

“The Portal’s Choice”, book one in “The Gatekeeper’s of Em’pyrean” series featuring Tallis Challinor, was released on May 6, 2013.

“The Forgotten Gate”, book two in the series, is scheduled for release in 2014.

Visit her website at www.kdpryor.com.

Connect & Socialize with KD!

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Lindsey and Lindsey Headshot OFFICIAL!!!

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

LP: I’d definitely call myself a born writer, but that doesn’t mean I’m great at it. I just know that I yearn for it and it makes me happy, so I know I’m meant to do it some way, shape, or form.

LF: I’d call myself a born imaginer, not a born writer. I kept diaries and journals growing up, but I was never very good about writing consistently. But, I’ve always had extremely vivid and outlandish dreams, and I’ve always been an avid reader of fantastical fiction. It wasn’t until about four years ago that I started writing my imaginings down. After that, I couldn’t stop. It just feels right.

What was your inspiration for After The Ending?

LF: I’m not really sure. LP and I were driving home from a book conference–this was while we still worked at Copperfield’s Books together–and we started talking about a story idea. I’d been thinking about writing something entirely epistolary that chronicled an adult woman’s post-apocalyptic experience. During the two-hour drive we toyed with the premise, tossing ideas back and forth, and by the time we arrived at LP’s house, we had characters, a rough backstory, and a very general outline.

LP: An interesting fact about this project is that we actually started this as a blog. It was still about two friends who survived the apocalypse, but their story was solely conveyed through emails. As we wrote, we realized the characters and their stories were too one-dimensional. We wanted to give ourselves the space to explore our characters, to show the audience who they were outside of their quirky and oftentimes melodramatic emails. We wanted more, and it turned into the nearly 500 page book with first person narrative and a few straggling emails.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

LF: Hmmm…for The Ending series, we really tried to focus on the idea that the apocalypse doesn’t have to be entirely about death and sadness. That’s not to say that those things aren’t present in After The Ending–I think Dani and Zoe have emotional and mental breakdowns nearly every other chapter–but we really wanted to highlight the undeniable power of hope, love, and friendship. For Dani and Zoe, a life without those things would have been only a half-life.

LP: In After The Ending we explored humanity in general. What would happen if the world ended? How would regular people react? Who would survive? Realistically, I can’t see Zoe and Dani picking up shotguns and blowing Crazies to smithereens without a second thought or without some sort of transformation along the way. They are young (mid-twenties), and there’s an emotional process behind learning how to survive. That’s one theme we focused on. After the Ending cover art

How long did it take you to complete the novel? 

LF: From conception to publication, I think it took about a year and a half, which is pretty good considering the massive indie publishing learning curve. Book two, Into The Fire, will have a shorter turn-around time, about a year. Speed definitely comes with confidence and know-how, but we’d never rush the process for the sake of publishing faster. Writing the rough manuscript really only takes us a few months. It’s the revising and editing that eats up most of the time, and those things can’t be rushed if we want to put out a good quality story.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

LP: Disciplined? When I have time to write, yes. Aside from writing, I work part time and also write for the local historical society. That being said, I rarely have days I can just sit and dedicate to my chapters or other writing projects. However, in a perfect world where I have the entire day to be inspired and conjure up the next hurdle poor Zoe has to overcome, I would: wake up, read a little from whatever book I can’t put down to get my gears turning, sit down to write for a few hours, breaking for some exercise, food and ice tea, move outside to work in the sunshine and to be serenaded by the sound of the waterfall in my backyard before it’s time to meander back inside to make dinner and spend time with my man. Until I have the space and opportunity to work that way, I write down all my ideas and observations in notebooks to access later on when I’m in the mood or have the time to sit down and write.

LF: I’ve been lucky enough to work on writing full-time (thanks to my wonderful husband!), so I would say my typical writing day–which is pretty much everyday–looks like this: I wake up and make tea, check email, book sales, and reviews, read or watch a show for about an hour while I wait for my brain to catch up with the fact that it’s awake, and then I start writing. I usually write a chapter from start to finish (generally between 3,000 and 5,000 words), then get off my butt and work in the garden or go for a walk or a bike ride while I listen to an audio book, make dinner, still listening to the audio book, then have a glass of wine while I do something relaxing. Sprinkle a generous amount of hanging out with my crazy cats, and your looking at my typical day.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

LP: Remembering I have my own writing style and to stay true to it. I think keeping a unique voice gets tricky when two writers are working so closely together, especially after hours of editing each other’s chapters. It’s only going to get more difficult as all of our characters become more integrated and LF’s characters are in my chapters and mine are in hers. Sometimes the lines get blurred and I really want to be conscious and prevent that.

LF: Learning which feedback to incorporate into revisions and which to throw out. One thing I really battle with in my writing is remembering what the “Average Joe/Jane” knows and what might be unfamiliar to them. For example, when setting a scene, I have to remind myself that just because I can see it in my head doesn’t mean readers can see it. During revisions I have to read, visualizing only what the written words tell me, and then add a hefty amount of description to flesh out the setting and characters.

What do you love most about being an author?

LP: I definitely think that developing characters and writing a storyline that so many people love and appreciate as much as we do is truly the most gratifying feeling. It validates all that we’ve worked so hard for, and it’s truly an indescribable feeling.

LF: When I hear from a reader or read a review that mentions an emotional connection to the world and characters we’ve created, it puts an uncontainable smile on my face. Knowing that my words have made someone laugh, cry, or stay up late to find out what happens, is one of the greatest feeling in the whole world.

Where can we find you on the web?

We can be found on facebook (www.facebook.com/AfterTheEnding), Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/book/show/16075905-after-the-ending), and twitter (@TheEndingSeries).

Website:www.TheEndingSeries.com

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ImageKim Antieau has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s SF, The Clinton Street Quarterly, The Journal of Mythic Arts, EarthFirst!, Alternet, Sage Woman, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She was the founder, editor, and publisher of Daughters of Nyx: A Magazine of Goddess Stories, Mythmaking, and Fairy Tales. Her work has twice been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and has appeared in many Best of the Year anthologies. Critics have admired her “literary fearlessness” and her vivid language and imagination. She has had nine novels published. Her first novel, The Jigsaw Woman, is a modern classic of feminist literature. Kim lives in thePacific Northwest with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.

Her latest book is Her Frozen Wild.

Learn more about Kim and her writing at www.kimantieau.com.

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About Her Frozen Wild

Scientists in the Altai inSiberiauncover the 2,500 year old frozen mummy of a tattooed priestess or shaman. This mummy has the same mtDNA (mitochondrialDNA) as American archaeologist Ursula Smith whose mother disappeared inSiberia30 years earlier. Ursula travels from theU.S.toSiberiato unravel the mystery of the “lady” and meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who graciously invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers he has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. A shaman takes Ursula to one of the sacred timeless caves where Ursula’s mother supposedly disappeared. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she must unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei—even if it costs her her life.

Interview

Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I live in a small town inWashingtonStatein the beautiful Columbia River Gorge with my husband, writer Mario Milosevic. I grew up inMichigan, and Mario and I met atMichiganStateUniversitywhen we both attended a six-week writing workshop there one summer. We’ve lived out West for nearly thirty years and consider it our home now. We like to get out into the woods as much as we can and hike. Once a year we go toArizonaon a writing retreat. That helps us survive all the rain!

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

I’ve been a writer for almost as long as I can remember. When I was in first grade, I won an art prize for something I had drawn. I got a lot of praise for that. It was very exciting for a six-year-old, but I remember thinking that I probably couldn’t make a living as an artist so I should become a writer instead. To this day I have no idea where a six-year-old would come up with something like that! And I now know from experience that making a living as a writer isn’t any easier than it is for an artist.

ImageDo you have another job besides writing?

Yes, I’m also a librarian. I was a branch manager, which meant I ran a public library. Now I’m a selector. This means I get to buy books for a living. For a long time I selected all the adult fiction for our library district. Now I select all the young adult books and graphic novels, for all ages.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

I was book crazy. I read everything and anything. We had lots of history books in the house, and I gobbled those up. We also got mail order books where there’d be two books in one. They were so cool because you’d read one and flip it over and there’d be another cover and another book. I loved the classics: Jungle Book, Wizard of Oz, Swiss Family Robinson, Gulliver’s Travels, Little Women. I read Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Jules Verne. I also read any horse book I could find. I loved anything that was strange and wonderful, but I didn’t really discover science fiction until I was in college. I’m not sure why. Maybe my library segregated the science fiction so I never saw it. In any case, I was eclectic in my tastes. I read pretty much anything my parents brought into the house or anything I could get from the library. I liked adventure stories. I loved the Black Stallion series and the Narnia series.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

I read a National Geographic magazine article about the discovery of a mummy in Siberia. They called her the “ice maiden.” She was tattooed, and she was buried with a conical hat and other items that made archaeologists believe she was a priestess or shaman. As soon as I read the article, I knew I would have to write about her. That’s when Her Frozen Wild was born. In my book, archaeologists uncover a frozen tattooed female mummy in the Altai inSiberia, too. But when they take a DNA sample and put it in the worldwide DNA database, they discover her DNA matches almost perfectly with Ursula Smith’s DNA, aPortland archaeologist who is peripherally involved in the project. Nobody can explain how this could have happened since Ursula is inPortland and has never been toSiberia, and the mummy has been encased in ice for 2,500 years. Despite being terrified of flying, Ursula travels toSiberia to unravel the mystery of the “lady.” She meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers Sergei has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. Ursula can’t imagine she is destined for anything, but she goes with Sergei and a shaman to one of the sacred timeless caves where her mother supposedly vanished thirty years earlier. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she has to unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei.

Did your book require a lot of research?

Yes! I probably did more research for this novel than I ever have. I generally enjoy research. I’m a librarian and a writer, so research comes naturally to me. But I had to learn a lot about a lot of topics for Her Frozen Wild. Archaeology is an avocation of mine, but I’m not an archaeologist. I hung out with an archaeologist for a while and interviewed her. Of course I learned everything I could about the Siberian ice mummies, and I kept in touch with an archaeologist who had traveled to the Altai and researched the mummies. I learned as much as I could about the Scythians, who lived in that part of the world. Some scholars have theorized that the Scythians were the source of the stories of the Amazons. I learned all about bear mythology, too. In fact, my husband and I spent some time with a modern-day Siberian shaman and became part of the Bear Clan. I also learned everything I could about cave art, tattooing, shape-shifting legends, alchemy, and Russian flora and fauna.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

Some of the best advice I ever got about writing was from writer Algis Budrys. He said we should ignore reviews. “You’re never as bad as they say,” he said, “and you’re never as good as they say.” I do try to ignore reviews. Fortunately, most professional reviewers have been kind to my work. It does hurt when you find something that seems harsh and cruel from a reader on some website. I try to remember that it’s just one person’s opinion.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

I seem to write a lot about finding home. I didn’t realize this for years. Writers are often oblivious to their own themes! Then I discovered that I had ended three of my novels with the word “home.” I tried to figure out what that meant, but I’m still not! I have been trying to find a place to call home all of my adult life, a place where I feel valued, where people live in harmony and kindness with one another and the environment. I do know most of my books are about how we as humans live together on this Earth.

Do you have any unusual writing quirks?

I can’t start writing a novel until I have a title. I don’t like this particular quirk! I usually come up with a title fairly quickly, but there have been times when I just couldn’t get one I liked. If I can’t get a title, I can’t start the book. This is very frustrating. I am trying to get over this little quirk.

What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?

I’m afraid I’m wary of critique groups. I was fortunate enough to go to college where I took many writing classes. This was a great foundation because I learned a lot about technique. Teachers were able to tell me what was working and what wasn’t necessarily working. The downside to that was that my writing teachers didn’t like or understand anything genre. Once I wrote a science fiction story, and my writing professor wrote in the margins that he didn’t know what to say about it. “If you must write this sort of thing, I suppose it’s all right,” he wrote. I was astonished! So I do think it’s good to have people read what you’re writing, especially when you’re first starting out. But writing groups can be harmful. As writers, we need to develop our own voices. We can’t develop Joan Didion’s voice or Stephen King’s voice; we need our own. I’m not sure you can develop your own voice when a whole chorus of people are telling you what they think you’re doing wrong. People in these groups often start writing for the group in a way that will get approval. The work coming from a particular critique groups starts sounding alike. I have been a part of some writing groups that were helpful. These were the ones where we met as peers not to critique one another but to share our work, if we wanted, and to talk about our process and how we were doing living the writing life.

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A former journalist, Kellyann’s interest in Middle Eastern myth and legend stems from her stint as a Managing Editor of Publications for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. She is a published author of several genie romance novellas. One book, Angels & Genies, was included in a collection for which Charlaine Harris wrote the foreword. Kellyann lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three children, and a jaunty terrier named Djin-Djin.

Her latest book is The Genie Ignites.

Visit her website at www.kfzuzulo.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Boroughs Publishing Group | Official Tour Page

Interview:               

Do you have another job besides writing?

I work as a freelance editor when I’m not writing…or promoting a new book (which can turn into a fulltime job.) You could say I’m a language matchmaker: I enjoy putting wandering commas in their place, reuniting split infinitives and, basically, grooming sentences so they make a beautiful story.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

The Genie Ignites, like most books I write, started with an outline. I had a general idea of the story in my head; I knew the beginning and the end. Then I work through chapter by chapter with a glimpse of what I want to happen. Of course, once I dive into the story, the characters frequently have ideas of their own of what they want to happen. I’m flexible.

Did your book require a lot of research?

The Genie Ignites required a lot of research. I wanted to be accurate about the Middle Eastern world where genies are an accepted part of lore, both in the past and in today’s world. I’d read a lot about the legends of the jinn, how they started and how they’re perceived today. I also subscribe to some archaeological magazines, which provide great insight into how the ancient world looked and how the people lived when Zubis first fell in love with the priestess Lina. Then I drew that forward into a modern world, which is where my own experience came in.

What was your goal when writing this book?

I wanted to create a story where a reader could imagine genies and humans living side-by-side. Genies are a very real part of the mythology in many parts of the world. They’re thought to be similar to humans but with abilities we can only imagine. There are even rules about the extent of interaction between the two races. What if a genie and a human tried to make their own way together, in spite of the obstacles? That’s what this story is about.

Who is your target audience?

My audience will be anyone who loves a good story that combines romance, suspense and humor. A tale that travels to exotic locations and dips into unique customs and styles. But, especially, fans of paranormal romance will really love this book.

Describe your working environment.

My office has a lot of windows, bud-green walls, and a tabletop fountain. The sound of gurgling water transports me to the midspace between reality and imagination where a writer lives. I have a small Bose stereo to play my iPod, which is loaded with Middle Eastern music, Enya, Loreena McKennitt, and a bunch of jazz. There’s a collection of clay oil lamps from theMiddle Eastdisplayed on my desk. I’m waiting for the day when a mist begins to seethe from one of the spouts. I won’t run from the room…promise.

Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?

I write non-stop, and I mean non-stop, until the book is finished. Up at 5 a.m.for a few hours, take care of the kids and my husband in between, then back to work. When the muse has me by the hand, they are very understanding. Each morning when I check back in with the story, I do a cursory read-through of the previous scene and I’ll make grammatical changes. But the heavy edits wait until that first draft is finished. This is a piece of advice I once got in a writers workshop: Get it out. Then, fix it up.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Find your voice. That is, be who you are as a writer, not who you think you should be. Finding your voice can take years, but it’ll be worth it. 

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

My website is www.kfzuzulo.com with a blog at www.kfzuzulo.com/blog. Readers can also find me on twitter and Facebook at KFZuzulo.

 

 

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