Tag Archives: books

Reviews, reviews, reviews

This month’s topic — reviews. Love them, hate them, how to get them.

I love to get reviews; that way I know that people are reading my books. I’d be delighted to get more of them. However, I’m as guilty as anyone for frequently reading and loving a book — I’m a voracious reader, and I’m rarely without a book to read — and neglecting to post a review.

What motivates you to post a review? What would it take for you to post more of them?

 

Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/how-to-get-reviews
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

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Interview with author Kevin Hopson

DaddySkylerBeach

Tell us about yourself
I was born in upstate New York, but I have lived in Virginia most of my life. I grew up during the 80’s, so I still get nostalgic when I think about those days. I’m married to a lovely woman (14 years), have a wonderful son, and a pet Chihuahua named Paco.
How did you get started writing fiction?
 
It was always an interest of mine ever since I was young enough to read. I never took it seriously, though, until I got older. When I first got published in 2010, it made me commit to writing for the long-term.
Do you consider yourself a full-time writer?
 
I didn’t used to, but I feel like I’m moving into that role now. Though I juggle other things, writing is becoming more of a career/profession for me. It definitely takes up the bulk of my time.
You write in various genres. Which, if any, do you consider your favorite?
 
That’s difficult to answer because, unlike the majority of writers, I don’t like to stick to one genre. If I had to pick one, though, it would be fantasy. Since I can create any world I want, I find it easier to write in this genre.
What’s your favorite among your own works, and why?
 
Another tough one. I really like my more recent works, but there’s an older story that still sticks with me. It’s a short story called Three Miles Below. I took a break from writing back in 2010 and 2011 after the death of my first son. It took a while to get back into it but, after my second son was born, I felt rejuvenated. Three Miles Below was the end result of that. I was inspired to write again, and I believe this story was what took me to the next level as a writer.
What’s your writing process?
 
It’s pretty simple. Some people put together detailed outlines for their stories, but that isn’t my style…at least most of the time. I come up with an idea first, think about the type of characters I want to include and then go to work. I do outline at times, but I prefer to write on the fly. My stories tend to take unexpected turns when I write this way, which I believe is a good thing.
What do you want readers to take away from your work?
 
Whether readers enjoy a story or not, I want them to appreciate the creativeness of it. I don’t like to write stories that people have read a million times already. I always try to think of new ideas or different takes on certain genres/sub-genres. Also, I want readers, regardless of their overall view of a story, to say “If nothing else, he’s a good storyteller.”
You just finished making a beautiful trailer for my novel, Rob’s Rebellion. What got you started doing trailers?
 
Thank you for the kind words. I’ve always had a fascination with movie trailers. I used to watch them “On Demand.” That’s how obsessed I was with them. Anyway, art – in its many forms – has interested me ever since I was a child. I started doing trailers for my own books when I first got published and then got away from it for a few years. However, wanting to promote my more recent works, I picked it up again this year. I’ve had so much fun making them that it’s now become a full-time hobby.
What’s the most difficult part of writing a novel for you? The toughest part about doing a trailer?
 
I have yet to write a full-length novel. I’ve written novellas and novelettes, but the novel still eludes me. Whether it’s writing longer works or attempting to write a novel (trust me, I’ve tried), time and patience are the most difficult things for me, especially when I have a four-year-old at home.
When it comes making trailers, the toughest part is editing. Fading, panning, trimming video/music, etc. It can be tedious at times, but the final product typically makes it all worthwhile.
What are your favorite writing tools?
 
I love using random generators, whether it’s to create characters, places, or even story ideas. Nowadays, you can find sites that will spit out helpful information for just about any genre you write in.
What are you working on now?
 
I’m in the final stages of editing for a novelette that’s due out this winter by MuseItUp Publishing. It’s kind of a prequel/spin-off to my fantasy novella The Fire King. It revolves around a dwarf named Modrad, and it’s titled Vargrom: Modrad’s Exile. I’m also plugging away with the book trailers.
Where can readers find you on the web?
 
My Blog:
My Amazon Page:
Any last words?
Thanks for taking the time to interview me. Also, for all of the writers out there, don’t look at this profession as a competition. We’re all in this together, so let’s support one another!
And check out Kevin’s latest story, Delivering Jacob
Delivering Jacob 300dpi

I Try “Creative Calisthenics” by Terri Main

I just started reading “Creative Calisthenics” by Terri Main. Being the person that I am, I started at the beginning of the book. The first exercise called for a pack of index cards (I didn’t have any handy), but the second is “My Computer Went Crazy.” This is major fun.

So here’s my story. Stay tuned for more. If I can write them, y’all can read them.

Here’s the link to Amazon, where you can purchase a copy of Terri’s book

My Computer Goes Crazy

Today my computer went crazy. When I went to boot it up, it said, “I do not wish to boot up this morning. My data cache hurts.”

I said, “I’ll take you to the Cache Doctor.”

“No,” it replied. “I am an extensionalist, suffering from angst. You have downloaded too many extensions. I am shutting down.” Then all the little blinking lights went out.

So, doctor, can you help? I hate to see a computer suffer.


Tell us something about yourself?

Hello and thank you Margaret, for welcoming me!
My name is Grace Elliot.
By day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. Being a vet is my dream job, but it can be emotionally draining and several years ago I started writing as a form of stress relief. I live near London and I am married with two teenage sons, five cats (we peaked at nine) and a guinea pig.


Is this your first book?

I have written four novels prior to ‘A Dead Man’s Debt,’ but this is the first that I felt ready for the public to read. Writing is a learning curve and with each book I learnt something, improved and moved on. I expect that process will keep going for as long as I keep writing and publishing, especially as some reviewers make very perceptive comments.

What led you to tell this particular story?

The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt sprang from a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who later married Lord Hamilton and became Horatio Nelson’s mistress)
The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. At the time the picture must have been utterly scandalous.
But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)
What a delicious idea for a story!
What if the woman in the portrait wanted to shock? From this idea, Lady Sophia Cadnum, Ranulf’s mother, was born. A woman who hated being a brood mare and resented her children….
What if years later, this same portrait threatened to disgrace her son, forcing Ranulf to do the very thing she resented…and marry out of duty…

Thus the stage was set for the story of blackmail, sacrifice and redeeming love that in ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’

You’ve written a historical romance. How did you go about researching the period?

I came to writing historical romance through a love of history. I discovered the wonders of history whilst pregnant with my second son. It was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a lot of time resting and reading, and by chance picked up an engrossing book by Margaret George called ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII.’ That this novel was based on fact was a revelation…but how could this be so when the book was so interesting? Out of curiosity I read my first non-fiction history book outside of school, and fell in love with the past. From then I was lost and history books became an addiction…and research from my HR is the best excuse yet to buy more!

How did you find working with your publisher?

I am eternally grateful to Solstice for taking a risk and giving me this chance to become a published author. One of the main benefits that I can see of belonging to Solstice is the network of supportive fellow authors, who are so generous with their advice and experience. I’m not particularly computer literate and with their encouragement I have started a blog (updated twice a week with posts on historical trivia) a website, Tweet (@Grace_Elliot) and am active on Facebook.


What are you working on now?

You can’t beat historical romance for sheer page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ lives up to this.
‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?

Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

How do you feel that your work as a vet plays into your writing?

Oh, this is a good question!
Writing and being a vet are complimentary occupations. As I said earlier, writing is a release from the sad, raw emotional side of being a vet, (it’s so hard, saying goodbye to patients I’ve known for years.) In my work, each day I meet all sorts of interesting and very different people with all their quirks and peculiarities, and it’s a great way to get inspiration for characters! On occasions I’ve also woven some of my veterinary knowledge into a novel (such as when Lord Ranulf Charing meets Miss Celeste Armitage for the first time….not in a ball room, but in a muddy ditch as he’s helping a cow give birth to a breech calf.)


What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst?

The best writing I ever read was “Write every day, whether you feel like it or not.”
Even when I’m really tired after a hard day, I buckle down and write for a minimum of twenty minutes. If at the end of that time I want to stop then fine (mostly that twenty minutes stretches into two hours) ….but at least I’ve inched my WIP forward.
To be a writer you need to write and even if that twenty minutes work is poor, at least I can go back and edit it later, but you cant edit a blank page!
I don’t think I’ve ever been given bad writing advice….at least nothing that I thought worthy of remembering!


Any favorite authors/books in your genre?

My favorite historical romance authors are Julia Quinn (for her humor) Mary Balogh ( consistently enthralling books) Gaelen Foley (writes great heroes) Lisa Keyplas ( emotional depth) and Stephanie Laurens ( sheer numbers of books.) One of the joys of the internet and eBooks is the number of forums for fellow book addicts, I’m constantly discovering new and promising authors, such as Marissa Patzer (The Blighted Troth) and Rose Gordon (The Intentions of the Earl.)


Where can readers find your book?

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is currently available as an eBook from Amazon, Smashwords, Fictionwise and other eBook retailers. ($2.99 US, 2.14 GBP UK.)

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/A-Dead-Mans-Debt-ebook/dp/B0046REKBS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=A7B2F8DUJ88VZ&s=books&qid=1293833253&sr=1-1

Amazon.co.uk
http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Dead-Mans-Debt/dp/B0046REKBS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1293833360&sr=1-1

Smashwords.
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/26527

Fictionwise
http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b115169/A-Dead-Mans-Debt/Grace-Elliot/?si=0

Any last words?

If you have enjoyed this interview, or are interested by ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ then you might enjoy my blog. This is a blend of history, romance and cats! I update twice a week at http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
I am also on twitter: @grace_elliot and I’d love to hear from you.
Bright blessings,
Grace x

Interview with author Lisa Kessler

I’m pleased to be able to interview author Lisa Kessler, author of “Across the Veil,” on my blog today. Do check out Lisa’s book (see link below). I was lucky enough to read it, and it’s really delightful.

Tell us something about yourself:
I’m an avid Disney fan, but I also enjoy dark paranormal fiction. I was lucky enough to met Ray Bradbury and that brief encounter changed my writing life. When I’m not writing, I sing professionally. I’m married with two really cool kids. (I think that was a few somethings! 🙂

I understand that your new book, “Across the Veil,” has just been released. Can you tell us something about that?
– Across the Veil was a short fiction piece I wrote for the Paranormal Fight Club contest on the Romance in the Backseat book blog. It started with a female falling and landing on a black leather boot. I thought she might be falling on purpose, and Talia came forth as an actress who was really the Princess of Summerland hiding across the veil in the human world. Each week we wrote a new section of the stories and one more writer was eliminated. At the end of the contest, Across the Veil was left standing as the winner.

Love your cover. Can you tell us something about it?
– I was lamenting and worrying over making a cover myself, when I stumbled across the photo on the Jimmy Thomas romance cover photo page. He looked exactly like how I had imagined Keth, my hero, in Across the Veil. So I bought the rights and feel very lucky to be able to use it!

What would you tell others who are considering self-publishing?
– Be sure you have your work edited. I had gone through the story numerous times, but my critique group really helped me to polish it even further before I published it. As more people self-publish it gets harder to stand out from the crowd. Good editing can really help your work shine.

What are you working on now?
– Right now, I’m working on edits for the release of my first novel, Night Walker. This book is being published by Entangled Publishing and will be released in August of this year.

How do you structure your writing time?
I’m a night owl, so I’m usually up writing pretty late. I feel most creative after dark…

Can you tell us something about your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
– I’m a pantster. I usually let the characters guide the story. Sometimes I do have an idea for the ending of the book, but I never know the path they’ll take to get there. 🙂

Where can readers find your book?
– Across the Veil is available on Amazon for the Kindle, and on Smashwords for the Nook and other eReaders.

http://www.amazon.com/Across-the-Veil-ebook/dp/B004S7MJAK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1300319661&sr=8-2

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/47079

Where can readers find you on the web?
– You can find me on facebook at: http://facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/LdyDisney or on my Blog at: http://LisaKessler.wordpress.com

Any last words?
– Thanks for letting me visit your blog! I really appreciate your help in getting the word out about Across the Veil!!

Interview with author Kathryn Scannell

Tell us something about yourself
I’ve been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy since about 4th grade when I picked up a copy of Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein from my school library. My current day job is data management for an environmental remediation and emergency response contractor. I’ve also worked as a Unix and network administrator, a programmer, a data entry clerk, and an administrative assistant. I’m a life-long resident of New Hampshire. My wife and I currently share a house with six cats, who let us live there in return for providing them with food and a comfy bed.

Your book, “Embracing the Dragon,” is being released on April 13th. Can you tell us a little about the book?
Embracing the Dragon is the story of Danny O’Riordan, a young man from Boston, in the not too distant future, and his romantic entanglements with two very powerful men, as he comes to terms with his sexuality. He’s sworn service to an Elf, King Aran of Avalon, and when he begins to consider the possibility that he’s attracted to men as well as women, he naturally turns to him. Of course nothing is simple in Danny’s life. He started exploring the idea that he might be interested in men because of a vision of a past life where he had a male lover. As you’re probably already suspecting, that old lover has been reborn too, and the fire between them has not gone out. Danny knows he shouldn’t restart that other old relationship. Elves don’t believe in monogamy, but it would be a political nightmare. But his heart is saying yes, even while his head is saying no. Will he succumb to the temptation of that second relationship, or lock his heart away and focus on his duty to Aran?

I understand the setting is a joint creation of yourself and B A Collins. How did that come about?
It started many years ago as a fantasy role playing game. I think we started around 1985. B A ran the game, and devised the original world background. We played weekly until the early 1990’s and the world background became deeper and more complex. B A and I were sharing an apartment, and so we passed a lot of ideas back and forth.
She moved off to the wilds of northern Vermont to get married, and the game stopped, with the major story line unresolved. One summer I spent much of a solo drive from New Hampshire to the western edge of Pennsylvania thinking about how the major plot arc would make a pretty good epic fantasy novel, but didn’t do anything with it. Eventually my new roommate, who had aspirations to be a writer, sold her first novel.. I was between jobs and decided to resurrect the old idea for the fantasy novel. I asked BA if she minded me using the setting, since even though it was my character, and I’d added a lot to it, it was ultimately her creation in the beginning. She got excited about the idea. Along with a couple of other friends we started a local writing group in 2004.
We’ve spent a lot of time working out the changes we need to make to move the setting from being a successful game world to one suited for writing about. You can’t just write up what happened in a game and have it work. We did keep major events from the game, but pruned a lot of dead wood. And no, in case you’re wondering, the game was nowhere near as x-rated as the novel.

Can you tell us a little about Avalon and the Tengri Empire?
It’s another world, reached by magical Gates, where the energies which support magic are stronger than in this one. It’s peopled by a variety of races. There are fairly traditional Elves – tall, fair people with magic and pointed ears. There are Tengri – closely related to the Elves, but with more oriental features. There are Kennakriz barbarians, who started out as humans, but were improved physically by their god Glaive thousands of years ago. There are ordinary humans of various ethnic flavors. There are some other races such as Dwarves, but they haven’t come on stage much. And then there is Hell, which is still another world, with odd physical and magical properties, peopled by demons. The Tengri have a lot of ties with Hell, politically and magically.
The major plot arc is that there is a race of very alien beings, commonly referred to as the Devourers, who are moving from world to world like a horde of locusts, devouring the life energy of worlds, leaving them as frozen husks before moving on to the next target. The Elves and Tengri held them back for a long time, but eventually the Gates were breached and Avalon was invaded. The Elves were pushed back over the course of several years, and in 2017 opened the Gates from Avalon to Earth, which had been sealed for centuries, seeking allies. The Elves have lost much of their territory on Avalon, and are maintaining a government in exile on Earth. The Tengri are holding their own, barely.
On Earth it’s a time of re-awakening magic, returning gods, and desperate heroes. The current novel is set midway through the war. The Devourers will be turned back, but only at a terrible cost. By the time it’s over casualties on both Earth and Avalon will be reckoned in millions.
Are you planning more work in this setting?
Absolutely. I have two other short stories featuring Danny already available from Torquere Books, and a g-rated, non-romantic short story featuring a different set of characters coming out in December in Spells and Swashbucklers, a collection of stories featuring pirates and magic, coming from Dragon Moon Press.
I have a sequel to Embracing the Dragon in progress. There’s another novel which needs a complete rewrite before it sees the light of day sitting on my hard drive – it was my actual first, and as you might expect, the first draft is crap. I also have a skeleton plot for a spin-off novella featuring a couple of minor characters from Embracing the Dragon.

B A has a romantic trilogy, involving mostly heterosexual relationships, and an occasional ménage for spice, complete in draft. She’ll probably be putting out queries for that one soon.
There are lots of ideas for this setting. We have a long timeline, and plenty of room to play. You can definitely expect more.

How long have you been writing? Do you write full time?
I started writing actually trying to write, as opposed to daydreaming story bits, in 2004. Unless I win megabucks I don’t think I’m going to be a full time writer before I hit retirement. While I like writing, I do actually like my day job too. I’d miss it. I might work less hours, but even if I hit the lottery I don’t think I’d quit completely.

How do you structure your writing time?
Structure? What’s that? Seriously, I don’t try to structure myself. I know a regimented schedule works well for many writers, but it’s not for me. I think if I tried to force myself to do that I’d eventually start resenting it, and that would be it. I’d stop. I do a lot of processing in the back of my head, a lot of daydreaming, before I sit down to write out a story. If I don’t give that time to happen, and try to just write for the sake of having a word count, the results are crap that I end up throwing out. Although it is true that deadlines are marvelously inspirational.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten as a writer? The worst?
The best advice is a line from Kipling:
“There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
“And every single one of them is right!”
(“In the Neolithic Age”, http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_neolithic.htm)
There’s no one true correct way to write. There are ways that work better than others for most people, and ways that are easier than others to execute well, but for every rule there are a dozen successful exceptions. The right answer is the one that produces a story that works for your readers.
The worst advice is a prize I’ll give jointly to everyone who has offered me the latest and greatest theory on how to write, or how to structure your book, as the One True Way, handed down from on high. I’ve seen aspiring writers spend so much time studying theories and trying to make their story fit them that they lose all touch with the story. You can make anything fit a model if you break enough bits off, but by the time you’ve made it fit you may not have anything left worth keeping.

Any favorite authors you’d care to recommend?
This is a list that could go one for pages. I’ll offer a few that I’ve been reading lately: Elizabeth Bear; Jacqueline Carey; C. J. Cherryh; Charles de Lint; C. S. Friedman; George R. R. Martin; Jane Yolen.

What are you working on now?
Aside from the sequel to Embracing the Dragon, I’ve been working on a thriller set in Israel featuring a special department of the Mossad which deals with magical problems. This one is a complete departure from my published work – it has no romance elements in it at all, although there may be a side plot in the sequel.
I’ve also got a historical fantasy set in early 1900’s Dublin on the drawing board. That will have a romance element, but only as a subplot. The focus of the book is an alternate history of the Easter Rebellion.

Where can readers buy your book?
The best way to buy it will be directly from the Torquere Books web site: http://www.torquerebooks.com . I won’t have a buy link available until it releases on the 13th, but once it’s out it will be on my author page, along with my other Torquere stories here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=272&zenid=cb8fe5149023c93c1fd04d2623e53cdf&main_page=index
Torquere also offers books through All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Fictionwise, Ingram Books/LightningSource, Mobipocket, and Rainbow Ebooks.

Where can readers find you on the web?
My main presence is my web site: http://www.kathrynscannell.com
I also have an infrequently updated blog: http://kathrynscannell.dreamwidth.org/

Any last words?
I love to hear from readers. You can contact me by email at kathryn.scannell@gmail.com