Friday, April 26, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Torie James


Today I am very excited to bring you someone whose writing I've greatly enjoyed and now finally the rest of you do too.  Please join me and welcoming author and poet Torie James to Finding Fiction Friday ... first a brief self-introduction ...

Torie is the "other" voice of me, Teri McGlade (nee Schuffert), brought to life before she was even ten years old but given a voice in her teen years. I've always loved reading since I could hold a book (just ask my mother!) and writing is just a natural extent of that for me. One of my favorite quotes is "If you haven't read a book yet about something you want, then WRITE it". Welcome to my world...Wonderland has nothing on the stories dancing through THIS head.



Torie, how did you get started writing? 

Funny as it seems, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing in some form or another. As a child, I had such a fantasy world in my head already and it was a natural extension to simply put it all down on paper. And if conventional paper wasn’t to be found, I can assure you napkins, toilet paper, flyers, advertisements and *cough cough* the inside of some books even knew the feel of my pen or pencil. However, I have to say I was 17 years old before I considered the notion, in earnest, to undertake writing in a more serious manner. No shame in admitting a lot of seniors in my high school got GREAT marks in Creative Writing during fall semester. And if they ever read this, they know who they are. A few of you still owe me $5. Just saying.

You are an avid role player and have been for some time, taking characters that have been started and giving them a depth and personality beyond what we’ve seen from them before.  What from that experience are you able to translate into writing for publication?

Role play intensified an already smoldering desire to have a voice that people heard, possibly identify with. I like taking characters that seem one dimensional and unlikable and telling “their” story as I feel and see it. I’ve always said that some of the most brilliant writers are anguished souls who have walked through hell itself in their personal lives, only to come out on the other side with soulful transformation. EVERYONE has layers. Good, bad…..all about point of view. And rooting around in role playing, taking on the guise of another being, honed my skills, I think. Twenty years ago, anything I wrote was raw and unfinished.  For me, I had to live life first, experience some things and through role playing, I was able to try those experiences out to see how well people, how well readers, could identify with “me.” Writing for publication, this time around, has been easy, fluid. Sometimes painful and terrifying. Which makes it real. I was lacking reality before in my characters, I see that now.

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

I am surprised, and pleased, to see so many authors and publishers, both on line and standard print, trying to help one another out these days. I’ve been in the publishing industry myself for several years, copy editor and moving up to assistant editor at my last job, and I can say in all honesty, it was far more cutthroat in an office environment. Oneupmanship ran rampant. But I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing people, fellow writers, artists, editors, in the last year, who want to share the largesse of their experience and bounty with others. I am proud to count myself among that number.


So you’ve got your first publication, in the poetry book “Whispers in the Dark”, a collaboration with a pair of other authors, Stacy Moran and Ashley Nemer (who was our first guest in this series as it turns out).  Tell us about how this book came to be and what it’s like becoming published for the first time.

Ashley(and Stacy are more than just fellow writers, they are my friends, too. So it just happened to be that shortly after Blood Purple (Ashley’s premiere novel) was released that she asked me if I’d be interested in perhaps doing a poetry book with Stacy and herself. I was thrilled and honored and we set about right away to compile some of our works. What surprised me was that we are three distinctly different personalities, with different life experiences and yet our poetry collaboration has a cohesive feeling to it.  Being published the first time? It’s a dream come true. However, I am kept firmly in line and not letting it go to my head. I still have to do laundry and take out the trash like everyone else.  I just look for lurking paparazzi now. I kid!

What’s the biggest difference to you between writing poetry and writing a narrative?

I used to think there was a world of difference between the two, honestly. I loved to spout off how, when writing poetry, you were baring you soul, your darkest thoughts, the essence of all you were. Having hit my forties, I realize that was just a childish perspective. Writing narrative verse can be just as enlightening, even more so since in a narrative, you’re afforded more of a opportunity to reveal the complex, and adversely simple, layers we all possess. Outside of not having to use precise punctuation or grammar in poetry (Thank you, T.S. Eliot), they are more alike than different.

I understand you are working on a novel.  Tell us a little about that story, and do you have a working title?

I am! I just finished it a month or so ago and am still polishing it up with edits. My beta’s are on standby and harass me daily. It’s called “Timeless Night”, a contemporary paranormal romance with a dash of magic and some of our fangy friends. Except in the world I’ve created, actual vampires are little more than cast offs from the Walking Dead. What my protagonist and his crew are remains to be actually, fully revealed. Yes, they have fangs. No, they don’t sparkle. Yes, they drink blood. But with a twist that I won’t let onto just yet. I’ve planned several more books to follow this one, each one drawing the reader a bit deeper into the mythos. What I can say is that involves Welsh mythology, Excalibur, Merlyn, Camelot and assorted surprises. This isn’t your mother’s Round Table. The first book spotlights Alexander Lakeland, a thousand year old warrior, once known as Lancelot. Yes, THAT Lancelot. He’s been the guardian of an ancient prophecy, all alone in this last crusade. Until he meets Sabrina Foxworth, a sassy, vulgar modern day woman who bears the mark of Merlyn. Only one other being bore that same symbol in the same spot…his dead wife, Vivianne. Or as history remembers her, The Lady of the Lake, in Arthurian legend. Not everything was a myth….

Do you have any other upcoming works or even just ideas bouncing around in your head? 

I do! The New Camelot series (which Timeless Night is the first of), then I have another idea for a second series of books about some key figures in history who weren’t what they seemed. I also have plans for a several short stories I’m working on AND a book about The Tudor Dynasty, which I’m obsessed with.

What is your push, or your “muse”, that makes it a need for you to write? 

Some people need to breathe. I need to write. It’s a serious living, breathing thing to me. I write something, every day, without fail. Whether its notes for a book, jotting down ideas, research or role play, I make sure to leave something behind. It’s as simple as this: I can’t NOT write. It’s a physical and mental need with spiritual comfort.

What does your family think of your writing career so far?

They are ALL so supportive! My sister, Wendy, is my cheerleader and Mom, Bonita, is the coach. Every day she asks if I’ve finished my edits. It’s a wonderful feeling to have that filial backing. Although, with or without it, I’d still be writing. It’s just nice I can have discussions with my mum, an avid romance reader, shooting things by her.

  1. What is your favorite word? {Egregious. Don’t judge.}
  2. What is your least favorite word? {Later.}
  3. What turns you on? {Books.}
  4. What turns you off? {Mayonnaise}
  5. What sound or noise do you love? {The sound of rain.}
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? {The bark of dachshund at 2am.}
  7. What is your favorite curse word? {Fuck. And thank you. I’ve been holding it in since the beginning of this interview.}
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? {Jedi. Or Sith.}
  9. What profession would you not like to do? {Anything that involves Port-a-Potty}
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? {Shit. We’re just letting anybody in these days, huh?}
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? {Teri, if I dump Kate, will you be my Princess? And by the way, my answer to William would be “maybe”.}


Torie, 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?

Aaron, thank YOU for having me, it was such an honor! I can be found my own author Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TorieNJames

I also can be followed on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/Writergurl216.

And this just in: My new website that’s still being fine tuned: http://torienjames.webs.com/

And if anyone is interested in Whispers in the Dark, here’s the link on Amazon!


(And a note from me, Aaron, look for Timeless Night coming soon ...)


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Patricia and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

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

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two 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, April 19, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Kennedy Streath


This week on "Finding Fiction Friday" I'm very pleased to present a first for me ... our first Young Adult author is here on the blog to talk about his work and experiences.  So please join me in welcoming Kennedy Streath to our little abode here on the internet ...


Bio:

Kennedy Streath writes with gritty realism, exploring that intersect where the paranormal and the suspension of disbelief take a back seat to the power of the spirit and the raw edges of conflicted souls. He moves to the backbeat that’s a heartbeat, blending action, suspense and intensely sensual romance.

Kennedy lives in the country with horses to ground that spectre of disquiet that haunts us all and holds to a belief in the promise of the young and young at heart.

Kennedy, how did you get started writing, and what did it feel like when you learned that your first story had been accepted for publication?

My day job always included a lot of writing, technical writing to be exact (and if you think that’s not terribly creative, you should try it sometime, you might be surprised). But before writing, I was a reader (books, cereal boxes, ads on the el, graffiti), then came basketball and puberty. Cue large gap for growing and self-actualization. It wasn’t until the advent of email as a serious form of communication that I rediscovered the Muse-of-storytelling, typing little homilies to entertain co-workers or friends or family (my boss was on the To: list and enjoyed the stories also, so big whew). That was followed by the inevitable: oh, you should be a writer… Strangely enough, the corollary: and we will buy whatever you write was never part of that compact (fellow authors are nodding their heads in agreement).

I prefer writing ‘short’, a condition inherited from my tech writing roots with just the facts, ma’am as the order of the day. However, once I understood ‘channeling’ and allowing those voices in my head free rein, well… short became long and a novel was born.

That said, my very first acceptance was a contemporary romance of the romcom variety with a conditional woohoo attached: bump the heat from behind closed doors to melt linoleum. [Did you know there’s a thesaurus for erotic words?]

All I can say is … this writing gig ain’t for the faint of heart.

What’s your favorite writing environment?  At a desk, on the couch with your feet up, music or not, etc.?

The living room. Why? It’s close to the refrigerator, in front of the 42” flat screen/DVR/stereo. Basically, he did it in a Barcalounger with a laptop and a wireless mouse. Accessorize with an iPod and sound deadening earphones, a beverage and a long attention span.

Writing’s hard. There’s no need for the body to suffer.

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

In the beginning there were the Big Six and we had gatekeepers and the gatekeepers were wise and savvy about the market and editors were treated like rock gods and authors made squat but had bragging rights.
In the beginning an author who published could crow, “I am a published author,” and s/he had street cred, a cache, respect, and an honored place amongst the literati [some might say ‘when pigs fly’ but that’s only one opinion among many]. 

That was then, this is now: writing as craft now takes a secondary, even a tertiary place to promoting and marketing and branding and fan-building. Not that old time authors didn’t do their fair share in terms of signings or library appearances, newspaper articles, perhaps appearances on college campuses, but today the bulk of your time is spent in those activities trying to outshout a din of voices clamoring for the 19% of the population who actually read a book (the average number of books, depending on the survey, appears to be about two a year).

In truth, the biggest surprise is that the odds of hitting it big in a literary sense are about the same as hitting the Powerball lottery (maybe less).

‘They’ say: continue writing, write a good book…

My question is: if I write a good book but no one knows about it … is it still a good book?

So you’ve got your first publication, the book “Roman”, the first book in the “Saints and Sinners” series.  Tell us about this book and what it was like writing a Young Adult paranormal book.

Roman (Saints and Sinners) is foremost a book about belief and the consequences we face when choices are thrust upon us at times when we are least able to understand or handle them.

In a dying town, two teens marked by the townspeople as broken struggle with the burden of lies masquerading as truth. Not even a man of faith is strong enough to hold back the coming darkness.

Fresh out of three years in juvie, the only friend Roman has is Father Marcus. The priest convinced the court to remand the troubled teen to Benedict Nowak's supervision. Roman has to keep his head down and his nose clean. Not easy for a teen with anger management issues and a secret that could lay waste to an intricate web of deceit and lies.

Roman has three strikes against him. His Hispanic heritage makes him a target for racism and hate crimes. It's rumored his brothers have ties to the Trinitarios and the Bloods, running drugs and guns down the lucrative northeast corridor. The third strike is a well-kept secret, locked away in the bowels of a bureaucracy unwilling to confront a threat that will challenge even the bravest men of faith.

And only Roman and Father Marcus think they know why the boy was set free...

***

At age five TJ had a choice. She chose wrong. For eleven years she has been the whipping post for a woman with ice in her veins and a single-minded devotion to her career. Her older brother, Anton, was the next best thing to a parent until he chose service to country and left her to the shrinks and a jailer masquerading as a housekeeper.

At age sixteen, TJ had another choice. She chose to pull the plug, unwilling to watch the mother she hated suffer any longer. On the day they buried the ice queen, TJ's father and Anton took her home to Montville to rejoin the family that had discarded her like so much trash.

From her life on the tony Main Line in Philadelphia to the sere wastes of Montville in the center of coal country, TJ's journey will be more than just a culture shock.

Before Anton leaves to rejoin his squad in the Stans, he warns her off the strange young man who lives atop her father's garage. She's more than happy to oblige, except events force her to re-evaluate how she looks at the arrogant and intriguing Roman Rincon.

For older young adults and adults, this story will take you through a dark and perilous journey of the mind and heart. It will take you to the place where more than faith will be tested when it comes time to choose.

What character, other than the main ones, are you most excited for readers to meet in “Roman”?

TJ’s mother (the dead one) is one of my favorite characters because her daughter’s experiences and memories of growing up dysfunctional and emotionally abused by her inform not just the teen’s character but also drive much of the plot. Eleanore made choices that reverberate and resonate with Benedict (TJ’s father), the priest and even Anton, TJ’s brother.

Her character was also a challenge to write because much of who and what she is/was has been filtered through TJ’s perceptions. We learn more about actual events through Benedict (her dad), but his perceptions are also skewed and tinged with anger, confusion and emotional conflict.

The next book in your series is tentatively titled “Anton”.  Will characters from the first book appear in the second?

All of the characters from Roman recur in ‘Anton’, but with the focus more on TJ’s brother and the consequences of aligning himself with Father Marcus as a warrior against the powers of evil threatening to destroy his world. As with TJ, Anton’s belief’s will be sorely tested, as will his relationship with Marsha, the battle-scarred woman who is his center and moral compass.

TJ’s friend from school, Manny, will also take on a pivotal role as he vies for more than simple friendship with TJ.

And of course, there is Roman, as enigmatic as ever.

What do you feel is the biggest thing to keep in mind when writing for Young Adults, other than the obvious ones like keeping explicit sex to a minimum?  What’s key to reaching that target audience?

Teenagers, young adults, have exactly the same concerns, the same fears, misgivings, cravings, emotions, and conflicts as adults. In today’s world they have a level of cognition and experiences I couldn’t conceive of at that age. The YA ‘genre’ should never ‘dumb down’ a topic or a storyline just because the reader is a teen. YAs love strong, conflicted characters who are like them, who face the same problems they do (bullying, coming to terms with their sexuality, with who/what they want to be, with parental and societal expectations). And more than a ‘happy ending’, what they need is a measure of hope and an acknowledgement that it’s alright to make mistakes, that learning from those mistakes and moving forward is the best course of action. It might be messy, it might not fit in the box, but if it’s ‘real’ it will resonate with them.

Do you have any other upcoming works or even just ideas bouncing around in your head?

I sublet apartment space in my head to quite a cast of characters, all with stories and all demanding face time.
I have two books on deck, aside from Anton (Saints and Sinners). One is a M/M SciFi titled The Captain’s Consort and the other is a Highland romance titled The Laird’s Ward.

I like writing in the paranormal and dark urban fantasy genres because the rules do not require happy endings, the characters have quite a lot of room for growth, the conflicts come hard, fast and unrelenting, and there’s emphasis on action-adventure with a side of mystery and suspense.

What does your family think of your writing career so far?

My son is my biggest supporter and he is the one I rely on to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to continuity and suspension of disbelief. He is my go-to beta reader, my first pass editor, and most trusted critic.

The rest of the family? “That’s nice, dear.”

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  (Yes, this set goes to eleven.)  Here they go!

  1. What is your favorite word? Write
  2. What is your least favorite word? Don’t
  3. What turns you on? Well-toned bodies.
  4. What turns you off? Vacuous giggles
  5. What sound or noise do you love? My horse chuffing in my ear
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Brake retarders
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Rancher
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Walmart greeter
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “You got it wrong about the molting, you know that, don’t you?” [If you read the book, this will make sense.]
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? “Is Rowan gay?”
Kennedy Streath, 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?


Twitter:           https://twitter.com/KennedyStreath
Website:          http://saints-and-sinners.weebly.com/

Smashwords   http://bit.ly/VSVvri
Kindle US       http://amzn.to/T8YFml
OmniLit          http://bit.ly/TTOPpZ
B&N Nook     http://bit.ly/13bWWS9
Amazon           http://amzn.to/WhrLB0



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Patricia and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

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

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two 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, April 12, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Erin O'Quinn


For today's edition of "Finding Fiction Friday", I'm very pleased to introduce the Celtic author goddess, Erin O'Quinn.  I hope you enjoy learning about her like I have over the past few weeks.  First, a brief bio ...


Erin O’Quinn is my pen name, chosen to reflect my deep interest in the culture, language, folklore and environment of Ireland—especially the √Čire of St. Patrick, ca. 433 AD. I earned a BA (English) and MA (Comp. Lit.) from the Univ. of So. California. From there, I became first a teacher and then a newspaper promotion/marketing wiz.  Tiring of the life of academe, I found myself selling Volvos and Saabs to the military in the woods in Germany (tagging after my new USAF husband), and later even a pallet-hauler and gardening guru, among other interesting vocations. We live in the drought-parched Hill Country of central Texas with four cats and two Mac computers. And we’re happy!

Erin, how did you get started writing, and what did it feel like when you learned that your first story had been accepted for publication?

I started by writing on the walls.

Let me back up here and say that I was reared in a cabin in the woods, literally, 50 miles from a small town in Nevada. Our walls were no more than layers of cardboard put up for insulation . . . a veritable endless blackboard for a fairly bright young girl with a pen, pencil, crayons and an imagination. 

But I digress. I began to write seriously only about three years ago, despite a strong university education. Having been away from computers for ten years, I had no clue about e-books. So I sent three or four MSS to literally hundreds of lit agents. Of course, I was met by a stone wall. When one of those MSS was finally accepted (by an e-publisher), I remember being stunned into mute astonishment for a few days.  What iced the cake is that I had finally wrapped all three of my MSS into a trilogy. And the publisher, Siren Bookstrand, accepted all three!

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

I already mentioned that I came to the world of writing after being totally removed from computers for ten years. I found a marvelous entity out there I never dreamed of—a webscape that encompasses the entire known universe, as far as we earthlings know, in the form of e-publishing. I wrote a dedication in my book Fire & Silk to my long-deceased parents, noting that the book was a permanent headstone, a tribute that would live forever because it was virtual and could never really disappear.

We will never again have to suffer book burnings! Even people in countries like China can learn more than their societies allow, as long as they can jerry-rig a cellphone. No matter the content or the worthiness, every e-book or other electronic communication is here forever. For good or not.

Other factors have surprised and annoyed me. Like the growth of certain companies that seem to seek the role of Big Brother to both independent writers and published authors. Like the phenomenon of “spamming” that forces me to purge my mailbox of literally thousands of emails every week. But one thing that both astonishes me and pleases me is the blog sites—like this very one of yours—that serve as communication tools for that same universe. All of us can become instantly published and say whatever we want to say, by  virtue of our blogs. That is both rewarding and frightening . . . a whole ‘nother subject.

Irish and Celtic history obviously has a very special place in your heart and your writing.  Tell us a little about that.

You open a can of worms. My darling husband, a voracious reader of fantasy, looked up one day from his book and mused that he’d never run across St. Patrick in fantasy literature. After doing a little poking around, I learned that no romance writers had entered that realm either. Were they afraid people might think they were blaspheming? Or perhaps proselytizing?

Let me cut to the chase. I ended up writing four fantasy historicals with Bil under our real names, all about a teen heroine who started in Britannia and then made her way to Ireland at a time when the Roman legions were deserting the country, leaving it open to barbarian invasions. Then I began to stretch my heroine’s life into the realm of romance.

Not only did Caylith grow up—a lot—but she made some very interesting friends and enemies too. Those other characters made it into other books, even two M/M novels. Even though right now I’m writing about more modern times, I have most definitely not quenched my thirst for those rowdy times in fifth-century Ireland. Druids, cattle barons, Saxon mercenaries . . .  The list goes on. Quite a fertile ground for an author.

As the Supreme Court considers the question of same-sex marriage, public opinion seems to be swinging in favor of legally allowing it.  A major author recently released a book in their very popular series featuring a male-male lead couple.  You yourself have written several male-male romances.  Do you think we are seeing some sort of sea change in literature, art, and society?

I don’t know, Aaron, but by God I hope so. Your blog is neither a soapbox nor a pulpit, so I’ll temper my comments to say just this:  Love crosses all boundaries of race, of religious belief, and of gender. We as an American society are slowly rising from ignorance to tolerance. The artistic part of our lives—and here I include the art of writing—has overcome the ignorance and is already beginning to stretch those boundaries. Good on us. May we stretch it ever farther, until (as a reviewer recently said of one of my books), “love concurs all.” [sic]

What do you find challenging about writing these types of romances?

Obviously, as a woman, it’s a challenge to get into the head of a man. Um, both figuratively and literally. But the more I do  it, I swear, the more I seem somehow to share the thoughts and sensations of my opposite sex. Perhaps, as Jung and others have claimed, all men have an anima (female spirit), and all women have an animus (male spirit), opposite sides of their nature that are inborn and always seek release.

Your latest work was "The Chase", which along with "Noble, Nevada" has a more contemporary setting than the others you’ve written about old Ireland.  What speaks to you about this new setting and these characters?

I was raised on the side of the highest peak in Nevada, almost at the tree line. When we finally moved to town, it was to a tiny burg fifty miles from that mountain, nestled in a canyon in the high desert. The pundits say, “Write what you know.” And so that is what I did (or tried to do) with those two books.

I share the small-town ethos. I understand the people. The rugged environment courses through my veins. And so I hope I’ve been able to share even a little of that perspective with readers. The characters just “happen “ to be homoerotic pairs. I could have written about male/female relationships too. In fact, there is a novel that my muse keeps trying to kick-start in my brain . . .  about the father of one of my characters and his finding of a new life and a new love years after the death of his wife. When that novel is born, it will be even more of a nostalgic look back at my origins, because the father has lived a complex life even if he’s “just” a simple rancher.

Michael decided that love bites
were definitely how Simon should
 dress. Love bites and a jock strap.
- Release date May 5th, 2013
Do you have any other upcoming works or even just ideas bouncing around in your head?

Oh, yes. I’ll preface my answer by saying that I have a new novel “out there,” ready to be published May 5th by Amber Quill Press, called Heart to Hart . . . about the shenanigans of two private investigators in a fantasy Ireland city in the 1920s. I’m so taken with my characters—a horny, roustabout Irishman and a fastidious, surly man whose flat-mate has been murdered—that I started the sequel as soon as I wrote “The End.” Like the first one, it’s a comedy-romance-mystery whose setting is the cusp of the steampunk era, just when gaslight was being supplanted by electricity, and horses by motor cars. Great fun!

What does your family think of your writing career so far?

My family will never read these words, nor any of my books. Some are from sturdy Mormon stock, and others just shun the genres I write in. No matter. I love ‘em all, and I’m kind of glad that I don’t have to cover my arse or be ashamed of what I write to people who may have a tendency to judge me. Or not.

Because I know you from some of the circles and groups you are in, I know how important it is to you to provide help and advice to other authors.  Was there a certain mentor or mentors that you had getting started?  What drives this particular fire in you?

No writing mentor, Aaron. At least not one who taught me how to write complete sentences.  *winks*

But I was a teacher for years—a college teacher of literature, composition and rhetoric, and a poetry maven who gave workshops to seniors and others. So the part of me that longs to teach and help others is very strong. I have to laugh now, because when I wrote my trilogy of ancient Ireland romances, I found myself “teaching” readers how to say a lot of things in  Gaelic . . . including some pretty rude and crude “talk dirty in the bedroom” kinds of expressions. I even included a glossary with my books, which of course the publisher (after laughing her ass off) refused to add.

Is there any single piece of advice you would give someone who is thinking about getting into writing for publication?

If we assume this person is already an accomplished writer, the problem is not the writing, but the publication and the winning of a readership. So the advice I’d give is: DO NOT DO IT THE WAY I DID. Learn about the publishing world, especially the electronic one. And then do your homework further by learning how to promote what you’ve written.

I wish I’d known about the e-book world before I spent hundreds of hours sending fruitless queries/synopses/blurbs to countless lit agents. And looking back, I wish I’d started my own blog site right away.  

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  (Yes, this set goes to eleven.)  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word? fuck
  2. What is your least favorite word? can’t
  3. What turns you on? intelligence
  4. What turns you off? bigotry
  5. What sound or noise do you love? classical music
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? canned laughter
  7. What is your favorite curse word? fuck
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? poet
  9. What profession would you not like to do? plumber
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “I’ve been expecting you.”
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?  What happens when you take your characters to bed with you?
Erin O’Quinn, 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?

Erin’s Blogs:  Gaelic Spirit  The Man in Romance  
Erin’s Historical Romances: SirenBookstrand
Including The Iron Warrior (MM) series
Erin’s Contemporary MM Romances:
FB  Erotica Writers & Readers group founder. You’re invited to apply.



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Patricia and I can also be followed here:    Facebook              Twitter

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Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two 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, April 5, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - A. L. Kessler


Welcome to this weeks installment of Finding Fiction Friday!  Today I am very pleased to talk with another of my "Evernight Vol. 2" compatriots, A. L. Kessler.  Please join me as we take a walk through her writing experiences ...


Amy, how did you get started writing, and what did it feel like when you learned that your first story had been accepted for publication?

            I started writing fan fiction in middle school and then started crafting original stories in high school. My mom passed away the summer before my Freshman year of high school. I found writing a great way to escape from the crazy my life became and it grew from there. I tried through out my attempt at college to get published. My greatest accomplishment during that time was a full manuscript request, but that didn’t amount to much. When I learned that Keeper had been accepted into Evernight Vol. 2 I was ecstatic. I had to reread the e-mail a few times to make sure I understood it correctly. The I proceeded to rush to the bedroom and attack my husband (to wake him up) so I could share the good news. I couldn’t stop grinning I was so happy.

What’s your favorite writing environment?  At a desk, on the couch with your feet up, music or not, etc.?

            My favorite has to be down stairs with the dual screen monitors. I prefer music when I write, but silence when I edit. There has to be some type of drink, warm or cold. I’m a coffee addict so any type of coffee will do. During the winter I love to kick back and write in front of the fireplace. If I can get out of the house to write, I like to go down to the Starbucks by my house. It’s small, quiet, and the staff is fantastic. There’s nothing like writing with my headphones on and people watching there. Uninterrupted writing is something that is rare at home.

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

            The community has taken me by storm. The amount of support that other authors show is amazing. I never expected to be surrounded by such support. Almost everyone is willing to help out where they can.

Your first publication was the story “Keeper” in the “Evernight Vol. 2” anthology.  I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, so I will just ask what your inspiration was for this story?

            Dreams have always fascinated me and I always wonder what it would be like for someone to be trapped there and why. Kheelan developed from that point. A friend of mine, who is a huge book nerd, inspired Aubrey. As for the world and the plot the idea and mythology of the Fae world is amazing and I wanted to try my hand at creating a story in it.

Last month your novel “Midnight Symphony” was released.  Tell us a little about this novel.

            Midnight Symphony was a novel I shoved away in a drawer for a while. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. I pulled it out and looked it over and decided that I could do something with it. My inspiration came from a puzzle image and from there I combined two story ideas that I had. Cora and Darius have a great chemistry even if they are from different walks of life. Cora is a gypsy witch and Darius is a demon. Together they have to stop a war. Here’s the official blurb, because quite frankly I don’t know what else to say.

        The legend of the Gypsy Lady had been passed down for centuries, and now it is Cora's turn to dance in the square. Giving people hope and taunting the Demon King is what she lives for, until she catches the attention of Darius, prince of the demons. Hidden behind her mask, she keeps her identity from him until she is captured by the king. With her magic on the verge of waking and the village on the brink of war can Cora tame Darius' heart before it's too late? Darius became obsessed with the Gypsy Lady the first time he had seen her dance and play in the market place. The night he kissed her became his undoing. When his father captures the woman people believed to be a spirit, Darius takes the chance to observe her. His obsession with her grows into something more, he knows that together they can stop the war and set things right, but can he accept it?

You decided to self-publish “Midnight Symphony”.  What led you to that decision?  How was it different for you?

            After Keeper had been published I had a few people in my inbox asking me if I had written anything else or when my next release was. After talking to my husband and a couple close friends I decided to ‘ride the wave’ and not keep my few fans waiting. I had and still have a team of people who were willing to help with the beta reading, the editing, and the cover.
            What was different for me? All I have to compare it to is Evernight Vol. 2. I sent in the story, it came back with edits, and then I sent it back with corrections. Once it was sent I waited. The contract came in, I signed it (after reading it of course) and then waited for the release day. When it came out I advertised for it and made sure to keep up on the reviews. For Midnight Symphony I kept in contact with the beta readers doing the feedback and the edits. I had to find a cover artist (because I have no talent in that area) and had to do the research on how to get it into the readers’ hands. When it was out I generated hype for it, ran contests, and I’m still doing promotion stuff for it like sending out review request to blogs. It’s a lot more work than Keeper was. But honestly I’m glad I went this direction.

Do you have any other upcoming works or even just ideas bouncing around in your head?

            There are always ideas bouncing around in my head. I’m never short on them. I have another short story released in Penny Dread Vol. 3, Of Souls and Steam. That is a Steampunk story. The first novel in my Dark War Chronicles will be out in June, In the Light of the Moon. I’m currently participating in a free-read blog of Twisted Fairy Tales. I’m always working on something, there is just too much in my head to not be.

What does your family think of your writing career so far?

            My husband thinks it’s fantastic. He always tells me “When you hit it big we’re going to do…” He’s been with me since I sent my first query letter. One sister is encouraging, but won’t read because “Reading sex my sister wrote is just weird”. Though my other sister thinks it’s awesome and is always encouraging me and asking me how things are going. When Keeper was published my father asked me if he would get a copy of the article I wrote and my step-mom nicely explained to him that I wrote romance.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  (Yes, this set goes to eleven.)  Here they go!

  1. What is your favorite word? Oy.
  2. What is your least favorite word? Cunt
  3. What turns you on? Hair pulling
  4. What turns you off? Cockiness 
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of my baby girl giggling.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? You know those clacker magnets that make that buzz noise? That.
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Shit or Fuck. 
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I have my dream profession - I’m a stay at home mom and an author; however, I’d like to try ASL interpretation.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything that deals with dying people or animals. I just couldn’t take it. 
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Congrats, you didn’t screw up like people thought.”
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? Did you ever think you’d get this far?


Amy, 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?

To Follow:
Website/blog: www.amylkessler.com
Twitter: @A_L_Kessler

Where to buy:

Midnight Symphony:

Paperback:


E-book:



Penny Dread Vol 3:

Paperback:


Ebook:

Evernight Vol 2:



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Follow Patricia and I here:    Facebook              Twitter

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Evernight Volume 1:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe

Evernight Volume 2:   Amazon       XoXo          ARe


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Caffeine Free? Sometimes I Surprise Myself ...




So this is kind of a new thing for me ... but I can honestly say that I have been caffeine-free now for almost one full month!

How did it start?  By accident.  We ran out of soda one Sunday, and never went out.  You see, I despise the taste of coffee, so I typically got my caffeine fix from diet sodas (mostly either Coke Zero or Diet Mountain Dew).

That Sunday I was miserable, and my wife challenged me.  "You still think you are not addicted?" she asked.  So I took the gauntlet that was thrown.

Monday was one hundred times worse than Sunday.  I went to work and suffered through some horrible headaches.  I was exhausted, and my whole body hurt.

Tuesday everything changed.  It was the most awake I had felt in a long time.

That was the great contradiction.  I didn't realize how tired I felt drinking caffeine all the time until I didn't drink it any more.

I'm not going to tell you that caffeine is necessarily bad, or that it doesn't help certain people.  But I CAN tell you that since I stopped drinking all that soda, I've felt MUCH better.  I don't know the science behind it, but it worked for me.

Just know this - if you are a caffeine "junkie", and you decide to quite, the first two or three days will be absolute hell.  You can't say I didn't warn you!  I'm not one for public service announcements, but I just wanted to pass along my recent experience on this.

So what about you?  What are your thoughts about caffeine?


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Follow Patricia and I here:    Facebook              Twitter

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

Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two 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