Friday, December 27, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Krystal Shannan


It's the final Finding Fiction Friday of 2013!  And today I'm very excited to have paranormal and contemporary romance author Krystal Shannan here with us ...

Romance author, Krystal Shannan, lives in Texas and is married to the love-of-her-life. They have a spunky young daughter who believes in fairies and keeps them both on their toes. Krystal professes to loving shoes, but avoids wearing them at all costs. She enjoys reading romance in all genres, but especially paranormal. Her favorite book is ACHERON by Sherrilyn Kenyon. But really, if it has a ‘Happily Ever After’, she’s on board!

Krystal, please tell us about your journey in writing.  What made you decide to try to be published?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! My journey in writing began as a child. I have always been a storyteller and till this day I have notebooks of stories I wrote as an elementary student all the way through middle and high school. I finished my first full length novel while I was in college, but decided it was just for practice and locked it away in a vault for my eyes only, lol. After I graduated, I got married and writing took a short hiatus as I adjusted to being a responsible adult with a full-time job. In 2012 the writing bug (which never really stopped biting) came forth again and I sold my first novella to a small e-press. A twist of fate gave me my rights back before it could be published and I self published it instead of trying to sell again. That was my ‘Ah Ha’ moment. I haven’t looked back since and now have 8 books in my catalog. Two sold to small press, and 6 self-published.    

Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

I was homeschooled J Never set a foot in a public school or any type of classroom until I started college. Then I go and become an elementary public school teacher… Go figure. LOL.

I want to touch on all of your books and series if I can.  Your first release was “Open House”, the first novella in the “Pool of Souls” series.  Tell us a bit about that series, and what it was like for you when you first hit that virtual “publish” button.

The series is based around two Greek gods, Aphrodite and Ares. Aphrodite is the ultimate matchmaker, connected on a physical level with each and every human soul. Her very existence is to match the immortal souls of humans to their soul mates, no matter how many reincarnations it takes.

Hitting that publish button was nerve wracking for sure. I knew the concept was pretty good. I’d sold it once already. So I was pretty confident that I had a good idea and my writing was up to par. Interestingly enough, though both Pool of Souls books get fabulous reviews, they sell very few copies per month. I think the ‘gods and goddesses’ readers market is tough to break into. I’ve seen a slight rise in sales from adding other books to my catalog, but nothing truly significant.

“Finding Hope”, the second book of the series, was not only your first full-length novel, but also your first paperback publication.  How was that experience different for you?

The biggest difference for me was being able to hold the book in my hand. It was ‘real’ on a different level than just the ebook. I have copies on my shelf next to my desk and it’s tangible proof of my effort.











In between, you hooked up with Decadent Publishing for “A Very Russian Christmas” and later with “Just Right”, a pair of more contemporary, non-paranormal stories.  Was there a big difference for you, first, in writing without the paranormal aspect, and second, in working with a publisher versus self-publishing?

It was very different. I struggle to write stories where characters don’t pop up with supernatural capabilities. Those two stories were just sort of happened…I’m not sure where they came from. I loved both AVRC and JR, and absolutely enjoyed working with Decadent’s editors and staff. They were friendly and helpful and I learned a TON, which helped me on my next self-published projects. I would definitely write for them again, but I would
not want to limit myself to publishing with small presses. I like the freedom and control I have with self-publishing more.

The “Vegas Mates” series came next.  This is your shifter series.  What drew you to write about shifters?

I read shifter books constantly and love that paranormal world. The animalistic instincts mixed with magick. It was a natural world for my mind to create and thrive in.








Your most recent release, earlier this month, was “Trevor”, another more contemporary romance novella and by all appearances the first of a new series.  Tell us a bit about this story.

Trevor is one of four siblings. Caiden, Harvey, and Lizzy will all be getting their story soon. Like most of my stories, the character, Trevor, just popped into my head one day and started stomping around until I agreed to write it all down. As a reader, I like reading about an entire family, so it was natural for me to build a series feel for the four siblings. Caiden told me his story last week and his book will be next. Harvey and Lizzy are still holding out on me, but they will come soon. Caiden will make sure of it J

It was a stretch for me to create outside a paranormal world, but I truly believe in stretching my boundaries as an artist. Also from a business standpoint, I don’t want my readers to be surprised when I hop genres. I do believe that 70% of my writing will continue to be paranormal, but I like having the option of switching it up and I want my fans to expect that from me.

What do you have coming up next?  Contemporary, paranormal, or a little bit of both?

Like I said above, I will finish the MacLaughlin novellas quickly. The next Vegas Mates book is on the docket and the start of new paranormal series set in a small town in Texas. I’m super excited about it. There will be dragons, vampires, and a slew of other paranormal creatures that you might have never even heard about! Me and mythology are besties.

What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?

How friendly authors and bloggers are. It’s a world I’d never ventured into before and I LOVE it. I wish I’d gotten into blogging years ago, maybe I would have published sooner, too.

Now, somehow, you find time to write despite also being a school teacher.  How do you keep that balance?

I don’t sleep much…no, seriously. I probably get on average about 5 hours of sleep a night. I drink copious amounts of caffeine and keep on truck’n. My husband is a rock star and entertains our munchkin on the weekends for several multi hour sessions so I can work in the quiet of my office without the ‘momma look at this, momma I need, momma, momma, momma!’ LOL. I get a lot of writing on the weekends and I’m lucky to be a music teacher and I have NO take home work. So no grading papers for hours like my poor friends when they get home. So I get a lot of work done in the evenings after my daughter is in bed. I try never to disappear into the office on weeknights until the little one is safely snoring and won’t miss me.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word? Seriously!
  2. What is your least favorite word? Why…
  3. What turns you on? A beautifully sculpted male torso J
  4. What turns you off? Hairy bodies. I’m a smooth skin kinda gal.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? My daughter laughing.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Snoring!
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Shit.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Counselor.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything pertaining to the medical field.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “It’s so good to have you here!”
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? Can’t think of one…

Krystal, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?

Thank you so much for having me!!!

Krystal Shannan
Putting Magick in Romance one Soul Mate at a Time.
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Patricia, Dawn, and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies.  You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories!  Here's where you can find them:

Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe





















Finding Fiction Friday will be going on a bit of a hiatus as my writing partners and I need to focus on getting on our novels edited and submitted.  But, we plan to be back this Spring with more new writers and artists for you to get to know.  In the meantime, stay tuned here for news as our own dream nears fruition.  Cheers, and Happy New Year!!!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - A. J. Brown


It's the penultimate Finding Fiction Friday of 2013, and today we bring you a new writer to the scene!  A. J. Brown is putting the finishing touches on her first novel, but she has taken time out of her schedule to be here with us and tell us about it.  First a bit about her, from her ...

Hi. My name is AJ Brown and I’m a new writer. I started writing when I was a little kid but it wasn’t till I had kids of my own I took it seriously. Unspoken Dream is my debut book and although it is not out yet I believe it has potential. As far as my bio there’s not much to tell yet. I am a stay at home mother of five wonderful children and I share a five acre lot with my husband where we take care of our horses and dogs. If I’m not writing I’m working around our ranch or riding my paint mare Peanut.

AJ, please tell us about your journey in writing.  What made you decide to try to be published?
                                                                                          
I would have to say the person who inspired me to get Unspoken Dream published was my daughter. She has been reading over my shoulder since I started to write Unspoken Dream and I figured if she liked it maybe other people would too.

Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

When I was little I thought I was going to be a singer…LOL..good thing that didn’t happen.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when you learned your book “Unspoken Dream” was out there in the world?  Tell us about that book and the experience.

Although it’s back in editing when it first got out there I felt a feeling of accomplishment. At first it felt surreal, like I was the one with the “Unspoken Dream” coming true. Because in all honesty it has always been a dream of mine to be a writer. And not just any writer but a published writer.

What do you have coming up next?

I’m writing a Saga. It’s going to be called “The McGregor Saga”. It’s about an old fashioned family that runs a horse ranch. The story line is based on the four brother’s: Jason, Jesse, James, and Jude and how they find their true loves.

If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and why?

Samantha Sharp. The main character of “Unspoken Dream”. The reason why I would want people to meet her is because she’s a fighter. She has to be, with the challenges she faces everyday with her son who has Asperger’s. She shows parents that having a child with special needs isn’t a bad thing. But a blessing because they have their own way of thinking.

How did you approach writing a character with Asperger's?

My son Rhett has that type of autism.  My character Jaime came from inspiration from him.

It sounds to me like there is a bit of you in Samantha's character as well.

I actually wrote Samantha's feelings about raising a son with Autism from experience. It's a ride I'd never trade in the world.  Although the love story is completely fictional the bond and love between mother and son is very real.

What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?

Well although I am only on book one of “The McGregor Saga”, ideas come to mind for all the stories. Like Jesse and who he finds to love and his choice to either follow his heart or do what his friends tell him to do. But right now I’m trying to focus on Jason and Haley’s story. In “A Cowboy’s Duty”. Where a cowboy has to figure what is more important love or duty.

What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?

The whole experience and how sweet everyone is. Authors, Editors, Publishers…It’s like we are big family that help each other out. It’s really a nice feeling to know that if I get a block in my head I could go to a fellow author and they’d help me out.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word? Love
  2. What is your least favorite word? dumb
  3. What turns you on? Seeing people being nice to a stranger
  4. What turns you off? Seeing some kid making fun of another kid just because they are different.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of wind chimes and the birds in the spring.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Nails scraping on a black board.
  7. What is your favorite curse word? I really don’t have one.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? An activist for kids with autism.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? I don’t know, never really thought about it.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? I’m proud of what you did down there.
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? How did you turn a diagnosis of your son’s autism into a positive thing?

AJ, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, so when it is ready we can purchase your work?



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Patricia, Dawn, and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

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Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies.  You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories!  Here's where you can find them:

Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe


Friday, December 13, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Hunter Jones


My goodness, the holidays are fast approaching!!  Thank you for taking time out of this busy season to come visit with this week's guest, author Hunter Jones.  Hunter is in the midst of a collaborative romance series - but I'll let her tell you all about that.  First, a brief self-introduction ... 

The art form I create when writing is much more interesting than anything you will ever know or learn about me. However, since you ask, I have lived in Tennessee and Georgia my entire life, except for one “lost summer” spent in Los Angeles. I was always a complex kid. My first published stories were for a local underground rock publication in Nashville. Since then, I have published articles on music, fashion, art, travel and history.

Hunter, please tell us about your journey in writing.  What made you decide to try to be published?

Oh, I’ve always written something, as far back as I can remember. Most of my published works have been articles on bands or music events, an occasional travel or art column for a newspaper or magazine—that type of writing. Then, a year and a half ago, I ruptured my Achilles tendon. In a split second my entire life changed. The injury led to two painful surgeries. I was bedridden until six months ago. During that process, I decided to try self-publishing. The writing gave me a creative outlet, it still does. The title of my blog, Exile on Peachtree Street, came from a conversation with a friend who asked me what it was like to be a recluse in Midtown Atlanta.

I was fortunate enough to meet Dean Walker of ExpatsPost.com via social media networking. He and MZ, the organizers of Expats Post, have given me a music/entertainment blog which has enabled me to meet, virtually, some of the top rising stars of music and theatre.

My debut novella was written during this phase. It was going to be a short story, became a 40,000 word novel, which I slashed to a 16,000 word novella two days before it was published. So, there you have it. I became a self-published indie writer to keep from being bored and depressed.

Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

I can read upside down.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when you learned your first book “Fables of the Reconstruction” was out there in the world?  Tell us about that book and the experience.

Well, Fables was not what I expected my first book to be, that’s for sure! It was initially written as a short story for an anthology. My concept was rejected, which was okay because The Story wanted to be told at that point. So the research began for the rest of the book.

I love the entire book process—how the characters “find” you, the creative aspect is my favorite. I hate edits, but they have to be done, don’t they? Choosing a cover is also great fun. That’s my visual guide for the entire story—whatever book it is. When Fables launched, I had no idea what to expect. It was all very surreal. When people bought it, I was absolutely amazed that in such a golden age of publishing, people actually wanted to read something I created. I’m so thankful for that—as thankful then as I am now.

Your latest release is “September Ends”, can you tell us a bit about it?

October 2013 sees the launch of a novel collaboration, SEPTEMBER ENDS, a contemporary romance with erotic and supernatural elements bound by poetry. This novel is written in collaboration with an anonymous English poet. It reveals the intricate web of passion and desire which entangles Liz Snow, Pete Hendrix and Jack O. Savage. The story is told through Liz Snow’s diary, Jack O. Savage’s poetry, and from letters sent across the Atlantic. Traveling throughout the lushness of a summertime in Tennessee and Georgia, September Ends journeys into the elegance of London’s West End and is finally settled in the countryside of Cornwall, England, a decade later. September Ends is a story of sin, redemption and salvation through love because love happens when we least expect it.

“September Ends” is your first foray into publishing a book for print.  How was that experience?

Thank you for asking. The paperback journey is much more detailed than I ever expected.

What do you have coming up next?

In January or February, the anonymous poet and I will reconnect to start working on the next September Story, Book 2 in the September Ends saga. In the meantime, I am attempting to write a Happily Ever After short story, which is a real stretch for me. Maybe I’ll publish something bizarre and Fablesque.  

If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and why?

Pierre von Minzle is just crazy and I love him! Jack O. Savage is such a beautiful character, too. The Fairy Godmother in my Happily Ever After is really unexpected, so stay tuned.



What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?

Are you sure you want me to answer this?

What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?

The one thing you cannot overlook is the outpouring of support from other writers, authors, cover designers, editors, and bloggers. It is the most amazing part of this journey.

It’s obvious from your blog that you are a huge music fan.  Do you have some favorites to listen to while you are writing?

Great question Aaron. All the wires get crossed when I listen to music when writing. The listening has to come before or after the writing process.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word?  Love
  2. What is your least favorite word?  Hate
  3. What turns you on? Music, good food, great red wine, Spain. Tall men with dark hair.  
  4. What turns you off? Negativity
  5. What sound or noise do you love? Chimes, running water, Tennessee rain, acoustic guitar.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of a Life Force helicopter.
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Hmmm. I’m not really into colorful language so generally a well-emphasized damn or hell gets the needed reaction.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? One that makes money!
  9. What profession would you not like to do? I could never be a nurse. They have to have a special place in Heaven. 
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? The party has already started...
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?  Will you take $5 million for the screen rights?

Hunter, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?



September Ends:



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Patricia, Dawn, and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies.  You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories!  Here's where you can find them:

Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Friday, December 6, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Rachel M Sparks


Today, I am very pleased to have author Rachel Sparks on the blog for Finding Fiction Friday! Rachel has written several romance books and her latest book "Love Makes You Whole" is due out this month.  First, a little about Rachel ...

Rachel Sparks grew up in South Carolina. With a degree in Early Childhood education and one in social work, she brings those skills to the table to write stories involving strong female characters, current social issues, a sprinkling of romance and powerful storylines. She has 8 published novels.

On the 2007 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll "Factor Of Love" ranked 14 out of 201 romance novels.

Rachel has appeared on WGGS-TV 16 Dove Broadcasting in November of 2006, February 2009 and March 2010.

Also, in March 2008, Rachel appeared on Your Carolina WSPA-TV 7.

Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

I have a tattoo of Ben Cartwright on my right leg

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when you learned your first book was out there in the world?  What was it and what was it about?

My first book was "Innocent Hearts Of Courage". It was so thrilling when it came in the mail. But then every book I publish I get nervous and excited about it.

Innocent Hearts Of Courage: While investigating a homicide two detectives stumble across a drug ring. But when they discover who the supplier is and who they are using as dealers and runners...they must take on a huge corporation...a corporation that supposed to help but is killing instead. Along the way they must deal with the past and hurts in order to find peace and love...will they heal and find love or will they be destroyed like the system...

Tell us a bit about your latest book?  What’s it about, and what inspired it?

"Love Heals The Broken" was published last year. 

What would it take to break a man ... Benjamin Durham is proud of his three sons, Aaron, Ethan, and Tim; his daughter-in-law Ruby, and his twin grandsons Charles and Christopher. Things are going great on his 250,000 acre ranch and his family. Then tragedy strikes one after another. Can Ben’s faith and trust in God see him through? Or will the fires of hell be too much for one man.

What inspired me was that a friend and a relative was going through some tough situation so I decided to take it, twist and make a fiction novel out of it. I hoped it would help people.




What do you have coming up next?

The sequel to "Love Heals The Broken" called "Love Makes You Whole".

If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and why? 

Ben Durham because it shows that no matter how tough or even financially well off you are that the fires of Hell can still bring you down but if put your faith and trust in God and family you can come through

What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?

I have sketches and ideas for 4 more books…

According to your bio, you’ve appeared on a television show or two?  How was that experience?

Every time I appear, I am nervous just as the first time. But once it starts and I’m talking about my books, I’m fine.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word? Faith
  2. What is your least favorite word? failure
  3. What turns you on? Nice people and true friends
  4. What turns you off? People that take advantage of you in order to get what they want.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? Snow falling and birds chirping
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? People arguing
  7. What is your favorite curse word? I don’t cuss
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Can’t think of one…
  9. What profession would you not like to do?  ????
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Well done good and faithful servant
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? Can’t think of one…

Rachel, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?



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Patricia, Dawn, and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies.  You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories!  Here's where you can find them:

Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Friday, November 29, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Stephen King


Today on Finding Fiction Friday, I am very pleased to welcome Stephen King!  Well, not that one, as he would be the first to tell you.  Stephen H. King is a writer and dean, and making a name for himself with his "Return of the Gods" series.  I hope you enjoy this visit!

A Mississippi native, TOSK (Stephen H. King) was moved in high school entirely against his will from the small town of Corinth to a city he ended up loving in southern California. A series of mostly unexplainable decisions led him through a strange sequence of events beginning at the United States Military Academy, where he double-majored in physics and electrical engineering, followed by a fairly short career as an Infantry officer and then an electronics technician, a product engineer, a carpenter's helper, and an elementary school janitor, before ending up on the faculty of a small college in Anchorage, Alaska.

During those years, he learned that reading science fiction and fantasy allowed him to escape the strangeness into the more understandable worlds crafted by Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and many other great writers. As time went on he began to mold his own worlds, and thus his novels were born.


Stephen now lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, and two white Chihuahuas that seem to enjoy morphing from therapuppies into miniature dragons at the sound of food being opened.

Stephen, please tell us about your journey in writing.  What made you decide to try to be published?

I’ve secretly enjoyed writing for a long time – since my composition course at West Point, I think, where I experienced my first real success at it.  I’ll never forget receiving that essay back, in fact.  We didn’t all have typewriters or computers back then, so everything was handwritten, and I looked down at the scribbled paper and was shocked by the A at the top.  “You – you – you thought it was good?” I remember asking, and I also remember the thrill I got when the professor nodded.

That said, I majored in engineering because, well, you know, I didn’t want to have to ask anybody if they wanted fries with their burger, and that’s what all the humanities majors have to look forward to, or so I’d been told.  Later it was a master’s degree in business, and then I started a Ph.D.  It was during the Ph.D. period that I realized that I was writing an awful lot anyway and figured I oughtta write something fun in my free time.

The dissertation experience isn’t quite as fundamentally frantic of a time as many think.  It’s more an extreme of the old “hurry up and wait” routine.  You rush out a chapter, send it to committee, and then wait for responses.  Once you receive those, after a wait that can be two weeks or more, you work as hard as you can to integrate those “suggestions” into your work as quickly as possible, and then send the results away for another waiting period.

My first two novels were written while waiting on committee.

We know what your bio says.  Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

Like many creative writers, I found myself gravitating toward a day-job career in teaching.  Unlike many creative writers, I had a mother who threatened to disinherit me if I ever became a teacher.  I did it anyway, but because I was a college teacher who made enough money to buy groceries and pay rent at the same time, it was okay with her.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when you learned the first novel in your “Return of the Gods” series was out there in the world?

Absolutely.  It’s an incredible feeling.  I had the cover on my cell phone, and everybody at work started complaining after a while because I’d break off in the middle of college-related discussions and ask if they’d seen my new book cover yet.  It really is that exciting.  And, um, occupationally hazardous, if you’re not careful.

Tell us a bit about “Return of the Gods”.  What’s it about, and what inspired it?

The novel, and the series, is, like so many other writers’ first works, sort of a quasi-autobiography.  It’s fantasy, of course, but I kinda wrote myself, personality-wise, into the main male character and, similarly, my wife into the protagonist.  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if I wrote anybody into the role of antagonist.

The first book is about Crystal, a college dean’s wife who survives a cataclysm (hence the name of the novel) through the powers of her husband, who exposes himself at that time as the God of War.  While Crystal comes to deal with the lie she’s been living, her husband’s ex-wife, the Goddess of Love, steps in and wants her old hubby back.

The remaining two books of the series, Ascension and Deception, take the story farther, introducing an entire pantheon of deities based loosely on the Greco-Roman model but also incorporating Norse and, in the third book, some of the Eastern gods.

What do you have coming up next?

My new series is the Dragon Queen saga.  In the first book a young girl reunites with her long-lost father and discovers that it is her destiny to be the queen of the elves.  It’s completed, and I’m deciding which publishing path to take with it while I write the second book, in which the future queen of the elves must undertake a dream quest in order to be completely accepted into elf society.

If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be?

Gosh, that’s a tough one.  I think you really have to consider a character interesting and either very likeable, or very unlikeable, to write hundreds of thousands of words about their exploits.  In my first series, I think the God of War is probably the least interesting character, which was interesting to me because I started out considering him to be the protagonist.  His wife, Crystal, soon became the actual, obvious, protagonist, and she’s at the top of my list for people to meet.  Believe it or not, though, Aphrodite’s development over the series makes her a fascinating character as well.

That said, my current protagonist, Alyssa, is really, really cool.  She’s half smartass, half Mississippi girl, and all sass.  It’s not really surprising that the daughter of the king of the elves would be feisty, but as I’ve written the words out, she’s developed a personality that has blossomed so much that it has surprised even me.  I can’t wait till those books come out so you can meet her.

What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?

That’s part of the problem; I have too many ideas bouncing around to even really describe in detail, much less to make into books.  I have a sci fi work that was my first failed NaNo project; I’ve fixed what is effectively the first quarter of the story, and now I need to finish it.  As are most sci fi books, it’s a bit of a love story featuring a girl, a guy, and a bug.  I’m also working on a more serious novel about life in the country, with bacon.

What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?

It didn’t solve my problems.  In fact, it made more.  When the publisher sent me the acceptance note, I rejoiced.  I started envisioning all of my student loans paid off and my family living in a great big home where I had my own room that could be entirely devoted to writing.  Little did I know that a major dispute over artwork would cause me to follow my own self-publishing path just a few months later.

You are also the dean of a university.  Do you still get to work with students much? How has that whole life experience been for you?

Every day, but I have to point out that for most college students, if the dean knows your name, you’re in trouble.  At the very small campuses where I worked in both Biloxi and Richmond, there wasn’t a lot of structure built up between the students and me, and so I worked with students frequently.  The bigger campus where I work now has more levels of education administration between us, so I spend more time there working with faculty, program directors, and associate deans.

That said, if it weren’t for the students, my job wouldn’t be nearly as awesome.

I worried that I was leaving teaching behind when I became a dean 8 years ago, but it’s turned out that I’m still a frequent teacher.  Now, though, I spend most of my time teaching faculty and other education administrators.

I have to ask, is it a good thing to share a name with that “other” Stephen King?

Absolutely!  And, absolutely not!  It’s mixed.  My name makes for an immediate talking point with people.  I always start my speeches to new students with “not the one who writes those books.”  They chuckle, the ice is broken, and I can then go on with telling them that they need to keep their butts in class.  Some jokes get kind of old, but to be honest, it’s good to have a way to initiate a smile at the beginning of every meeting.

I don’t know if it’s helped my books, though, and I’m okay with that.  Initially I introduced myself to the writing world under a pseudonym, but a few agents said, “Meh, why don’t you just use your name?”  It was easier that way, not having to re-create an identity with all my friends who already knew me as Stephen.  I used my middle initial, thinking that any of that “other” Stephen King’s fans would know his middle initial is E while mine is H.  Then I got a couple of reviews – 3 stars out of 5 – that said, in effect, “it’s a good book but he’s not Stephen King.”  Apparently, then, I was wrong in that thinking.

I tried going by my acronym: TOSK (The Other Stephen King).  But once again, nobody knew me as that; everybody who knew me, knew me as Stephen H. King.  So I shrugged, redid all my covers, and went back to just using my name.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!

  1. What is your favorite word? – Tough question.  I have so many favorites, and when none of those will do I’m known for making one up.  Authorpreneur, for example, is one I melded into being.  My favorite real word, though, is probably onomatopoeia.  It’s got a cool meaning – a word that sounds like what it means, which is both practical and awesome – and it’s both fun to say and to spell.  I know it makes me a bit of a word nerd, but I love the four-vowel sing-song combo at the end.
  2. What is your least favorite word?  Very.  It’s very repetitive in my early first drafts.  It took me way too long to build up a good resistance to its use.  
  3. What turns you on?  An educated inquisitiveness and the desire to use it.
  4. What turns you off? Someone who knows what he/she knows regardless of any evidence to the contrary.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The early morning sounds of the deep woods.  That, and/or a coffee pot gurgling to life.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? The early morning sounds of a busy city.
  7. What is your favorite curse word?  Crap.  I know, it’s not really a curse word according to everybody, but that “walking the edge” feeling is why I love it so much.  
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Historian / history teacher.  I know, I was a good business and technology teacher, but history fascinates the crap (see?) out of me, and so many history teachers and books bludgeon the crap out of their students, resulting in too many people hating the topic.  If we just taught history from a socioeconomic point of view and forgot all the crappy dates, it would be so much better.  Oh, that, or chef.  I love cooking; it’s like real-life magic and makes people feel good.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Just about anything boring and repetitive.  My first real job after I left the Army was warehouse supervisor, and though I appreciate and applaud the efforts of the folks who worked for me in that job, I couldn’t do what they did.  I mean, yeah, I could show somebody how to look at the order and pick two of this product or three of this other one, but if I had to do it for eight hours a day, five days a week, I would probably go insane.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  “C’mon in, man, the ale is flowing freely, and you never have to worry about your liver again.”
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?  “How’d you earn your first million bucks?” would be a nice start, but I’m not to that point yet.  

Stephen, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?

Absolutely!  My author web site is located at http://www.theotherstephenking.com/, and on it you can always find news, links to my works, a link to my blog (http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com), and also my daughter’s beautiful artwork, some of which graces a few covers of mine.

On Facebook, you can find me at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorStephenHKing, and my Twitter account is @skingcharter.  Not that, um, I Tweet very much; I really don’t.  I used to be in an author’s collective where we all Tweeted each other’s stuff several times a week, and I found that pretty annoying.



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Patricia, Dawn, and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

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Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies.  You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories!  Here's where you can find them:

Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe



Friday, November 22, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Firebrand Publishing COO Amy Cancryn


After a one-week break, Finding Fiction Friday is returning with a rare treat.  Instead of a new author, today we are pleased to welcome the COO of Firebrand Publishing, Amy Cancryn!  Firebrand presents a little bit different business model than either traditional publishing or vanity publishing.  Whether you are an author or a reader, I hope you will enjoy getting to know Amy and her vision.  First, a brief bio ...

Amy Cancryn is a little introverted, but fun (when she decides to loosen up a bit.) She fell in love with reading in elementary school and continued to devour books whether she worked for a toy store, retail clothing store, International Banking Company, sold cars or cosmetics.
Amy has a seven year old daughter who is going on sixteen, and an almost two year old son who thinks he's mini Thor. Amy lives with her wonderful husband Gregory, who has to put up with Amy constantly forgetting their wedding anniversary. (He forgets too.)
Amy works with her husband (and no, neither of them have tried to kill the other...yet) in a suburb outside of Atlanta, where they currently live.
Her first children's book, Hope Learns To Jump Rope, releases November 2013.
Amy, how did you get started in the publishing business?

Three years ago I finished my third novel and wanted to get it published. I had no idea where to start.
I started doing research by googling every idea or question that came to me. I started to familiarize myself with the steps needed to get published.
To get published I had to find a literary agent, they would have to sell my novel and I would then wait to get published.
All the research led me to the conclusion it would take me between 5 - 10 years of querying, writing, etc, before I would possibly get published. The first-time authors who do get published right away are few.
I also researched self-publishing and decided that was the right path for me.
It was a ton of work, but I was able to publish my first book in 2011. It came out well, and my book sold well.
Self-publishing is a lot of work.
I published a few more books for close friends and realized I could help authors publish their books.
I felt authors should be able to experience the benefit and opportunity that self-publishing offers whether they want to put in the time to learn and do it themselves.
So a group of us created Firebrand Publishing, the “publishing house” for indie authors.
We are their production house.
Authors come to use and we produce their book to their specification.
Hassle free self publishing.
What genres does Firebrand Publishing work with?

Firebrand Publishing publishes all genre's.
Thriller, Romance, Action, Horror, New Adult, Young Adult, Kid Lit, Children's picture books, Christian, everything.
We have not been presented with a story or genre we will not publish. However, there are a few caveats, Firebrand Publishing will not publish. Books that glorify rape, incest, bestiality and or hate type books and stories.
Tell us a bit about the philosophy behind Firebrand.  What makes it special, to you?

"Ebooks for dough, Print for show."
Ebooks are the future. With ebooks, self publishers can compete alongside the biggest names in publishing and gain success.
The profits from publishing will come from ebooks.
All of our packages start with ebooks. Ebooks are the default.
With ebooks and professional publishing of books, we feel our authors will recoup the investment made publishing their books, within 3-6 months, many times sooner.
Ebooks are forever, like diamonds :)  So our authors continue to earn profits and royalties long after they have made back the investment from one of our packages.
Professional book publishing, 100% royalties. We feel authors deserve to have their work published, and published to the highest standard. So much so, that we maintain a 100% money back guarantee.
We work until our authors are thrilled with each phase of the book production process.
If they aren't happy we will make as many revisions as necessary. Our authors have the final say.
At Firebrand Publishing, we feel, if you pay to publish your book, you should receive all profits from the sale of your book.
It's a simple concept, but everyone wants a piece of your royalties. Not us.
We don't understand the concept of accepting payment to publish a book AND taking 30-45% of royalties. We feel that's a bad deal for authors.
So,
100% royalties, Professional book publishing with a 100% money back if you are not happy with your book.
If you could tell prospective authors one thing to NOT do, what would it be?

Don't give up. Keep going. You will get there. Never ever ever give up your dream of writing or publishing your book.
People want to read it, people will love it. You are good enough and it matters what you write.
Do you have any big news you’d like to share about Firebrand Publishing?  Any big stuff happening in the next few weeks or months?

At Firebrand Publishing, we are in the process of publishing 8 books in the next 2 months. We are over the moon ( cliche? :) )
We are very excited to present the work of our authors to the world.
The first is a children's picture book, Hope Learns to Jump Rope, by me, Amy Cancryn, which releases November 26, 2013.
The next is a cute story about a little boy and a lamp (Larry the Lamp) by Andy Fox.
A memoir about a woman who was abandoned by her mother at an early age and how she has learned to cope called, Finding Anna.
We have a Thriller/Horror story about a young twenty-something girl who takes a drug at a party and is never ever the same again called Dream Slave.
An erotica called Spark (3 book series). I'll leave the description of that one out. This seems like a family blog :) Let’s just say, it’s very hot and exciting.
A New adult story about a journalism student that gets too close to the wrong people.
A follow up to Hope Learns to Jump Rope.
And a beginner chapter book about two families that go on vacation to Paris and the mayhem that ensues.
...how many is that (counts fingers. I write, not that good at math)
I think that's all of them.
Plus we speak to prospective authors daily.
Are there any recent developments in the publishing industry that have either surprised or inspired you?

I am surprised at the speed of change in the industry. What worked 6 months ago, may not work now. For instance amazon kdp select, when it first came to be, many authors were successful, now the kdp program is so saturated, success with it is a hit or miss.
I am surprised about the merging in publishing. I am surprised that Penguin bought author solutions.
I am surprised that self publishing has gained such prominence in the last few years.
I love the fact that self published authors are finally earning a good living off the creativity of their work. We want to help more authors reach that level.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!

  1. What is your favorite word? Success
  2. What is your least favorite word? Can't
  3. What turns you on? Porn. Clean version "Hard work and perseverance"
  4. What turns you off? Laziness"
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The laughter of my husband and kids
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Screeching
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Engineer, OBGYN, Dancer in a dance troupe, Movie producer, Beyonce
  9. What profession would you not like to do? A port-o-potty worker. The person who cleans out the port-o-potties. I have a phobia of public restrooms.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? "Oh, you look like you've lost weight. Have you been working out?" while Frank Sinatra croons  "I did it my way"
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? Can you hold this 10 million dollars for me?

Amy, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow Firebrand Publishing?

Follow us on TwitterFacebookwww.firebrandpublishing.com or call us 888-338-2767.
Thank you for having me, this has been fun. If your readers have any questions, I'll be here all day to answer them.

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Patricia, Dawn, and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies.  You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories!  Here's where you can find them:

Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe