Friday, August 30, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Adrian J. Smith


I'm very excited to have Adrian J. Smith on my blog today, a very engaging woman and author.   She currently has two exciting series she is working on, and if you read below, you're going to find something revealed here first!!!!  Here's an introduction ...

Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.

Adrian, tell us what made you decide to try to become a published author?  How did you get started?

I have always wanted to be published, since I first started writing when I was twelve years old. I think I just thought it would be really cool to see my name in print. The more I wrote, the more I just wanted to share my stories with other people who would love the same type of stories. That’s still what it’s about to me. I was asked one time whether or not it would make a difference if I was published, and I have to honestly say the answer is no. It wouldn’t matter. I would still be writing and sharing my stories to the best of my abilities.

As for starting in the publishing world, that happened by sheer luck and amazing people. I met someone on twitter, and poof, had a publisher less than a year later! Go figure.

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

I have a Muppet phobia, and I was once stuck on a bus with forty-four kids for six hours while they watched the new Muppet movie. Nightmares for weeks.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your first book was out there in the world for everyone to see?

Yes, why I do remember what it was like. I suppose you want me to describe it and that’s hard to do. I believe I was utterly speechless for about twenty minutes when I first heard from my publisher about her wanting to publish my book, which is the strongest memory I have. I remember coming home and reading the email and going, “Um…um…um…” I couldn’t even tell my mom; I had to forward the email to her, which she didn’t get. So hours later when she was walking home from work, I called her and told her.

And Oh. My. God. The woman starts going up to strangers on the street and telling them that her daughter was going to be published while I was still on the phone with her! Talk about insanity, but that was the best part. That is the part I always want to remember—the feeling of utter joy and pride from my mom.

Once the book came out, which I now realize was the actual question, there wasn’t so much joy or feeling. It just an overwhelming feeling of success and relief. No more work to do on it! I should also mention that I had the flu when it came out, so I wasn’t really feeling or thinking much!

First I want to ask you about James Matthews.  Tell us about her and her trilogy, without spoilers of course!

Without spoilers? Can’t I just say what happens in every single book so that no one has to read it? Umm…James Matthews is a firefighter who has started to become a bit disillusioned with the job. It’s not what she expected or wanted it to be. Instead of going to fires, she mostly goes to medical calls. However, James has been to one house fire where she saved a two-year-old girl, Lily. Two years later (where we come into the story), James keeps having recurring nightmares about Lily and the fire.

I should probably mention that James is a woman at this point just to make that completely clear. It is not just a typo. James also has a super-secret lover who probably has more secrets than James does. Now, I’m not going to mention this super-secret lover’s name, because I do want that to be an experience when you read it.

The first in the series follows James through her nightmares and her struggling relationship. Of course a few more things happen, but that would mean spoilers, so I’ll just shush now. The second book, Dying Embers (which will be out this December), is actually a prequel to Forever Burn. I have to say, it is very interesting to write the prequel after the sequel. Dying Embers focuses on the start of James’ relationship with her super-secret lover and how all that went down. It’s quite amusing and funny in certain places, but I’m a bit biased. 

[Aaron's note:  Over there --> you can see for the first time the cover for Dying Embers!!!!]

The third novel in the trilogy is called Ashes Fall and takes places eleven years after Forever Burn. I’ve just completed writing that one and am in the editing process. Ashes Fall focuses on James and her furthering relationship with Lily and said super-secret lover. I’m sure that if you read the first book, you’ll be wondering how this happens, so you’ll just have to read this one too. Lily is struggling throughout this book with everything that has happened in her past, as is James. So the third book is far darker than the first time, and the tension is ramped up.

I’m fairly sure that I put James through so much that if she were real she might punch me, or hand me over to her super-secret lover’s ex-fiancĂ©. (Yeah, wrap your mind around that one, I dare you.)

You also have a series working that you’ve just started called the Spirit of Grace.  Give us a taste of what this series is about.

This series was so much fun to write. It follows Sheriff’s Deputy Grace Halling for a few months (least the first book in the series). This is a mix between a crime novel and a COPS episode. We only see Grace and follow her; however, we do run into so many other people.

In the first novel, Grace thinks everything is great and fine until she runs into Police Chaplain Amya Stone. Then her world is thrown a bit off-balance. Not only is hopelessly and helplessly attracted to Amya, but her best friend and mentor, Daniel Mason Brady, is retiring. Throughout the first novel, Grace’s personal life starts to get bumpy and her work life is just downright scary.

Officers are being targeted solely for the fact that they put on their uniform and step out of their homes to protect the city. People start to die and chaos starts to reign down.
Throughout all of this, Grace keeps running into a particular teenager that she can’t stop from helping. Peter is a nineteen-year-old drunk who just loves to spew Bible verses and really hard questions that Grace can’t even conceive of answering.

Each chapter is designed for a day in the life of Deputy Halling, with some small interceding chapters on Grace’s personal life. Grace is strong and stubborn as a Sheriff’s Deputy, but when it comes to her personal life, she has no idea where to step without losing her footing. She makes quite a contradiction that I quickly fell in love with.

I also completely fell in love with Peter.

If there is one character you would really like people to meet, who would it be?

This is such a hard question because I have a lot, though many die (NOT a spoiler, I swears it!). Only one? Yeesh. I’m going to have to say Peter from For by Grace. Mostly because he reminds me of me in one sense, and in another someone that I would be best friends with. It’s a tossup between him and Addison from the James Matthew’s series. Addison stole my heart and hasn’t given it back yet.

The tagline on your website says “A Torch in the Wind”.  I’m wondering if this phrase has some sort of special meaning to you?

The meaning is symbolic. There is always a light somewhere, and something is always threatening to put it out. However, if the light is strong enough, tenacious, willing, and brave enough, it will always prevail. Yet, it must also come to an end and die out. I don’t expect writing to always be this close to my heart. I do have a career that I’m working toward which is my number one passion.

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

Those are secret! I always have ideas bouncing around in there, to the point where often times it’s way too much to deal with. I’ve recently started a new serial (not series, but a serial) that involves witches, vampires and all sorts of fun creatures. I’m about a quarter of the way through the first book in that one.

Likewise, I have spoken with my co-writer, and we were talking about writing a new book this fall. Writing goes so much faster with two people, but the editing of said writing goes so much slower. We already have one that we’re working on editing, and I’m hoping that we’re done with that by October but that might be wishful thinking.

In November, I’ll be writing the sequel to For by Grace and the second in the Spirit of Grace series. And I’m sure I’ll find other little projects here and there to write on. I’m not very good at staying still or taking breaks.

So yes, plenty of ideas, always working!

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

Surprised me? My senior project in high school was on the publishing industry and the different kinds of publishing, so I wasn’t ever shocked by anything in regards to that.

I would probably have to say is the authority people give me solely for the fact that I have a book out. It’s like suddenly I became a real writer, not just one that piddles around in the dark of night with a computer. People want my advice, they want to hear how I did it, they want to replicate that—and I’m sitting here going, get your own story! Mine’s not all that cool!

What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?

Everything! I run a writing group each week, I have blogging (though I don’t do that every day), I’m a full-time student working on my Master’s degree, I’m a part-time worker at a church, I’m a freelance copy-editor, I watch TV (currently in the middle of a West Wing and Star Trek: Enterprise rewatch), I read books, I crochet, I have two kitties that I love to play with (Rusty the Wonder Kitten and Seeley), and I have friends. I do actually hang out with friends! I have a bar that I haunt more days a week than I would care to admit.

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

  1. What is your favorite word?  Fuck. Can I say that? Definitely my favorite word. It can go in the beginning, middle or end of any other word and still make sense!
  2. What is your least favorite word? Suddenly
  3. What turns you on? I’m not sure how to answer this so... a smart mind and quick wit.
  4. What turns you off? Lying and creepiness.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? Why can’t this be smell? I have a great one for smell. I actually love the sound of silence. It’s very calming to me.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Thunder. I hate it. It scares the crap out of me.
  7. What is your favorite curse word? I believe I already answered that! Ha!
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Attempt? President of the Universe
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything that involves a fast-food chain.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  Seeing as how I don’t believe God has a mouth since I don’t like to anthropomorphize God that would be hard to do. I think I just want to feel overwhelming love, comfort and peace.
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?  What drive or motivates you to keep bettering yourself and to keep working toward your goals, and how do you keep on track with all of that?
Adrian, 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?

Why yes I can! And I’m a twitter addict!

Twitter: @AdrianAJSmith
Facebook: www.facebook.com/adrianjsmithbooks

To buy the pretties! You can go here



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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, August 23, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Keira Michelle Telford


Today our guest on the blog is Keira Michelle Telford.  A prolific writer, her Silver series won a 2013 Eric Hoffer award for Excellence in Independent Publishing.  She has a lot more in store, so let's go chat with Keira!  First, a brief introduction ...

Keira Michelle Telford is the award winning author of a series of post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction books, The SILVER Series, featuring the character Ella ‘Silver’ Cross, and now also The Prisonworld Trilogy – a dystopian lesbian romance. She’s a British ex-pat, now living in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and 9 guinea pigs. Fun fact: Her pet guinea pigs (all adopted from animal rescue shelters) were the inspiration for the monsters in The SILVER Series, the first one of which, SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain), was released in November 2011.

Keira, tell us what made you decide to try to become a published author?  How did you get started?

I got fed up of things languishing on my hard-drive. Following the death of my father (who was only 62), I got a sense of my own mortality. My father was an artist (he worked for Royal Worcester, and did primarily still life painting on porcelain), but never really accomplished anything with the talent he had. He became a self-employed painter in the mid-1980s, but had difficulty putting his work out into the world. He had Asperger’s syndrome, too, so I think that probably made it difficult for him to market himself in the way that you really need to when you’re self-employed. (Something I also struggle with). He died in 2010, and I published in 2011. I didn’t want to drop off this Earth without leaving anything behind, and I keep a note he once wrote me pinned to my desk: Alas, it is the fate of most of us to touch the world lightly and leave no prints. See if you can grab it a bit harder.

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

I have Asperger’s syndrome (a mild form of autism). Generally speaking, this means I’m socially awkward (I don’t function well in large groups of people), I have a slight OCD problem, I don’t particularly like talking on the phone (I generally won’t answer, unless I absolutely have to, or I know you very well), and … well, there’s many more oddball things besides. But I wouldn’t change my brain for a new one. I like my brain. I read somewhere that people with Asperger’s tend to be really good at writing science fiction novels (no joke, I really did read that somewhere!), and since I write science fiction, I kind of think my brain is perfect.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your first book was accepted for publication?

I’m an indie, and set up my own imprint (Venatic Press), so I guess I sort of accepted my own book for publication … ! Instead, I’ll answer this question with regard to the first piece of writing I ever sold, which was a script, when I was 16 – and it felt pretty awesome. Someone who wasn’t my mother acknowledged that I was good at something, and actually paid me cold, hard cash for an idea that came out of my head. It set me off on a good footing, since it gave me faith that I do have something good to offer the world.

First I want to ask you about the Silver Series.  Give us some background on this series, without spoilers of course!

The Silver Series is comprised of The Amaranthe Chronicles and The Outlier Trilogy (which also stands alone). All books have the same protagonist, Ella ‘Silver’ Cross, who’s a tough-as-nails Hunter brought up to kill Chimera (genetic mutants that spread throughout the world after the apocalypse). The Amaranthe Chronicles focuses on her life from birth to present day (which is the year 2349), in her hometown of Amaranthe. The Outlier Trilogy continues on in the present day timeline, but takes place outside of Amaranthe.

You also have a trilogy working called the Prisonworld Trilogy, right?

Yup :) The Prisonworld Trilogy is a lesbian romance set in dystopian, neo-Victorian London, England, where homosexuality has been outlawed. Also, The Prisonworld Trilogy takes place in the same universe as The Silver Series, but on a different continent. The two are completely separate and distinct (so you don’t need to read one to understand the other), but there are some character crossovers from The Prisonworld Trilogy into The Silver Series, starting with SILVER: Lex Talionis, which is due to be released in late September.

If there is one character you would really like people to meet, who would it be?

I think Silver (from The Silver Series) would be the most interesting character for people to meet. She’d be a good friend to have, because she’s fiercely loyal and would defend you (with her tongue, or with her gun) to the bitter end. Personally, though, I would really like to meet Lina (from The Prisonworld Trilogy). She’s the beautiful Madam of a whorehouse, and if she were real, I’d hold her in my arms and never let go. I’d want her all to myself.

You have the Silver Legacy in the works, and completing the Prisonworld Trilogy of course.  Any other ideas bouncing around in your head?

Sometimes I wish there weren’t! I often have too many things in there, and focusing on just one project becomes difficult. I just recently fully plotted out a book that I won’t be able to actually sit down and write until the end of 2014! And I just came up with an idea for a paranormal romance series of novellas … more details to come soon!

Graphic from "The Prisonworld Trilogy"
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?

That it never ends. I always thought there’d be some sense of relief after publishing a book, but it just doesn’t work like that. As soon as the book goes on sale (even before), the marketing begins. Not only that, but at any given moment, my brain is already planning the next three or four other projects I need to work on. It’s absolutely never ending, and I always feel like I’m playing catch-up with myself.

What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?

Having 9 guinea pigs keeps me pretty busy, (honestly, they’re demanding little creatures), but I don’t really have the time for much else. I write for about 12 hours every day, and if I don’t get to write as much as I want, I get anxious. I’m happiest when I’m writing and, quite frankly, having to stop in order to sleep and eat is a terrible inconvenience.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word? Nevermore.
  2. What is your least favorite word? Shush.
  3. What turns you on? Kelli Williams.
  4. What turns you off? Prejudice.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? A wheeking guinea pig.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? My alarm clock.
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Cunt.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Mortician.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Bee keeper.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Oh, shit. How did you get up here?”
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? “What’s the point of it all?”

"The Prisonworld Trilogy"
Chimera artwork for "The Silver Series"
Keira, 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?

I don’t use it much, but I have Twitter: @mylostanddamned
I also have my website: www.keiramichelle.com
And websites for my books: www.ellacross.com and www.carmenwild.com
And my Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/keiramichelletelford
Or the Silver Series Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thesilverseries
My Goodreads author page: www.goodreads.com/keiramichelle

All of my books are available on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/keiramichelle


Keira Michelle Telford


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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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday (on Monday) - Melissa Mayberry


Yes, I know it is not really Friday, but I am playing a bit of catch up and really wanted to make sure that our guest Melissa Mayberry got a chance to shine in a post all her own.  So here she is!!!!!

Melissa Mayberry believes in living a full life. As a wife, mother of four, full time nurse, and grad student, a story presented itself to her in such a way that she had to become a writer as well.  Learning and growing through her work, Mellifica: Devastating First Love is the first of two books chronicling a sordid love affair with a tragic, yet ironic ending. 

Melissa, tell us what made you decide to try to become a published author?  How did you get started?

When I was in high school, I had a few poems published. Then I went through some hard times and didn’t develop my writing and didn’t publish anything for twenty years. The story of Mellifica is based on true events and has an ironic ending. When that came to life, I got to work and polished off my old skills. I had no choice, Mellifica had to be written. Thankfully, I got the bug and continue to write.

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

If you read my book, there isn’t much left to surprise anyone! Readers get to know “Mel” pretty well, and that character is my younger self. I learned a lot from trial by fire, so I’m not as reckless as I was then. Now, I’m a momma, nurse and crazy about urban gardening.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your first book was finally “out there”?

Oh, sure! I think I actually took on an OCD personality. My computer, phone and Ipad all were set to go straight to Amazon to look up my book stats. Now, I’m a bit obsessive about the stats and more about the next book.

So let’s talk about your book, “Mellifica: Devastating First Love”.  This is to be the first of a series.  Talk a bit about the inspiration for this story.

As I said before, this book is based on true events. My first love had an eccentric personality and we went through quite a few ordeals for being so young. Our breakup was bizarre and unordinary and the events that followed in the next several years became even stranger. The story chronicles my growth into a strong woman, and hopefully inspires other girls in the same way.



I couldn’t help but notice that the name of your heroine is Melissa.  How much of you is in this character?

Oh, all of me. “Mel” in the book is a strange mixture of who I was in the nineties, with a part of who I am today. If you read carefully, you will see the character evolve into someone with more confidence and that makes better decisions for herself. Then, she resorts back to her old ways and makes poor choices again. This flip-flop is something I think everyone goes through in life, until they make a strong commitment to change.

Was there anything especially challenging for you writing about a sixteen year old?

Yes. In this world sex is a very difficult topic in young adult novels. Even though teenagers often engage, society often wants to close their eyes and pretend it’s not happening. In order to show what a devastating relationship this was, it was necessary to give a certain amount of detail in the sexual situations. I often found myself closing my eyes while writing these scenes. 

Obviously, you plan to continue the Mellifica series.  Do you have anything else coming up in your “work in progress” folder, or even just bouncing around in your head?

I’ve got so many ideas and so little time! I started a series about a mysterious new woman in town. While she is there, many miracles occur. Most people, including her love interest, believe she is an angel.
Another work in progress is a more personal story addressing teenage pregnancy and the how it affects a relationship between mother and son.

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

I’d have to say that people are more down to earth than I expected. Once upon a time, I thought publishers and other authors would be very starchy or business-like. I’ve made friends that I didn’t expect and to my surprise, they’re all regular people!

Tell us about some of the cool things you are doing on your blog.

I’m working on building a group of reviewers called “Whatever Works Book Club.” We will review books that are not standard and decide if the new approach works. As an example, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, is an unorthodox approach to a novel. I think “It Works.” 

What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?

This week? Work! Usually I have work, children, school and a little urban farm in the backyard. I’m also trying to master the art of meditation, because with so much going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

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

  1. What is your favorite word? Baby-or any variation. I love new life!
  2. What is your least favorite word? Just. It makes for a lot of deleting.
  3. What turns you on? Well written novels!
  4. What turns you off? Poorly written novels that make the best sellers list.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The ocean
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Whining!
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Really? I can put that here?? Fuckburgers.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Pilot
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Actress
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Yo, Baby! What’s up?
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? I can’t think of any, but I do love being asked who I based my characters on. It’s such a lovely secret!

Melissa, 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?

SOCIAL MEDIAL LINKS TO CONNECT WITH YOU:
Facebook: Melissa Mayberry / Mellifica


PRODUCT LINKS TO BUY BOOKS:

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

The party fell quiet while we waited. A blue Dodge Caravan stopped at the edge of the beach. Oh yeah, Chad said he’d come. Even though the van was a brand new 1992 model, my cousin looked like a dork driving a minivan. “It’s okay. It’s my cousin, but keep the liquor in your bag, Shanna.”
“Aww, is Chad some kind of nark?” she asked.
I nodded. “Most likely.”
Chad stepped out, but to my surprise the passenger door opened too. Why would he bring a date to my birthday party? Asshole. It’d be better without him here, and definitely better without one of those girls he hung out with.
A stranger stepped out of the van, and his eyes fell right to mine. From a distance, he didn’t appear to be the geeky type of friend Chad always made. He wore a loose black tank top with Khaki shorts. His clothes seemed pretty normal, especially compared to Chad’s; my cousin wore a Henley tucked into his cargo shorts. The strange guy stared, and I couldn’t turn away.
 He came over with Chad, king of the geeks. Where did he get the confidence to stare at me? They walked closer, and even though the beach was dim, his onyx eyes struck me intensely. My chest tightened, and my heart raced. As if this guy gave him confidence, Chad walked a little straighter than usual.
“Hello, Melissa. Happy birthday,” Chad said.
I nodded, glanced at Chad for a second and then back to his guest.
“Oh, this is Arien, my best friend.” Chad gestured toward his tall, muscular friend. “And this is Melissa, my cousin.”
Arien nodded. “Hey.”
When did Chad get a best friend? I would have seen him before.  Something wasn’t right about this guy or his sudden appearance.
Sandy wrapped both arms around me and leaned closer to my ear. “Want to go for a walk?”
Sandy’s voice startled me. This suspicious stranger had my brain working overtime.  “Um, I do, but Chad just got here. I can’t be rude.” I turned to the new arrivals. “Food and drinks are on the table. Get a plate and come back to join us.”
            Why haven’t I met this guy? They returned from the table. Both had soda, but neither was eating. Chad turned toward the river where some people still played. “Who’s here?”
            I didn’t pay attention to Chad.
“Melissa, I asked you a question,” Chad said louder.
“Hmm?”
Everyone turned to me as I dropped my stare from Arien. A flame went through my body, and I wanted to run to the river’s edge. Arien smirked. He had been staring back, as if he had a chance with me. Huge ego—he must be Chad’s best friend.
I had to play the situation off as mere curiosity, so I squared my shoulders and cleared my throat. “So, Arien, if you and Chad are best friends, why haven’t we met?”
He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. “I guess we just missed each other.”  The warm gaze in his eyes made me think his words carried a double meaning. His wavy blond hair caught the sea breeze, and the firelight danced across his face.
I leaned against Sandy to ensure we all understood this stranger didn’t have a chance with me.


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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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Movie Weekend

This was a nice long weekend for me – spent some time with the family and offline for a change.  Of course, it rained for a good bit of the time which typically means one thing for us: Movie time!  This weekend, outside of going to Busch Gardens (and continuing to live the Griffon Curse – every time I go to ride the thing, it’s broken) – we watched five movies that were new to me, at least, and I thought I would share my thoughts on each of them.

1. Friday night – “Milk” – This movie was the biopic of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to a major public office.  Sean Penn gave a powerful performance as the title character, and the film also starred Josh Brolin and James Franco.  I enjoyed the power of this movie and its message of tolerance (as many movies of this type engender), although as with many biographical films, it had its slow moments.  We watched this with our 13-year-old daughter who had perhaps the most poignant observation of all.  “If I had been raised with people who hate like the people in this movie, would I hate too?” she asked rhetorically at one point.  Would she indeed?  I’m glad she asked that question rather than feeling the other way.  I would give this movie an 8 (out of 10).





2.   Saturday afternoon – “Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief” – Yes, I know, where was I when this first came out?  In all honesty, we planned to see the second movie this weekend with the kids and I wanted to see the original first, especially since I have not read the books.  (My oldest daughter has read them all.)  It seemed to have all the elements that would make a good movie – the wonder of someone discovering they are more than what they think they are; a world hidden underneath our own; Greek mythology which is usually fun to play with; and a cast that included Pierce Brosnan (the centaur Chiron), Kevin McKidd (Poseidon), Sean Bean (Zeus), and Uma Thurman (Medusa).  So, why didn’t this movie work all the way for me?  It seemed too thin.  There just wasn’t a lot of depth to the story for me.  And it also felt like it was trying too hard to be the next Harry Potter. Now, in honesty, my daughter said that the movie took a lot of detours from the book, so maybe that’s where it went wrong.  It was exciting of course, but I just wanted there to be more within the story.  I would give it a 6.

3.  Saturday afternoon – “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” – So we had just seen the first movie, and off to the theater we went to see the second.  I was still positive, after all, the first one was at least good enough to make a sequel, and sometimes the second movie is the one that hits a home run (see Star Trek and X-Men, for example).  But once again, it disappointed, for the same reasons as the first.  To top it off, this one was missing the best parts of the first, which were the gods (in my opinion).  Pierce Brosnan’s character was recast, and the only gods that showed up were the admittedly always-brilliant Stanley Tucci as Dionysus and Nathan Fillion as Hermes.  Best line?  Tucci’s Dionysus when lamenting Zeus’ eternal curse that turned all of his wine into water as soon as he poured it: “You know Christians have a guy who can do this trick in reverse.  Now THERE’S a god for you.”  Unfortunately, that line was dropped in the first ten minutes.  Anyway, I’m just not sure I’m going to enjoy this franchise, and I REALLY want to.  Movie #2 gets a 5.

4.  Saturday night – Once the kids went to bed, we rented “Olympus Has Fallen”, one of the two White House terrorist attack movies released this year.  It features Gerard Butler doing something he does very well – kicking the bad guy’s ass.  This movie ran the “Die Hard” playbook almost page by page, even down to the banter between the head bad guy and the lone good guy over the radio, and you know what?  “Die Hard” was a pretty fun movie, and so was this.  No, there wasn’t much in the plot that wasn’t completely contrived, but who cares?  Aaron Eckhart gave a good performance as the widowed President, and Morgan Freeman does his usual masterful job as the Speaker of the House thrust into the number one position when the White House goes down.  This one I would recommend for an easy night when you don’t want to think very much (so it fit our Saturday perfectly).  Give this one a 7.



5.  Sunday afternoon – “The Last Exorcism Part II” – I was looking forward to this, as one of the only people in the family who enjoys scary movies (although middle daughter has started to get into them).  The first installment I thought was very good.  As it turned out, we brought it over to a friend’s house to watch with two other couples.  Unfortunately, the filmmakers could not recapture what they had with the first movie.  It sort of reminded me of the two “Blair Witch Project” movies.  In both cases, the first movie was done in a documentary, hand-held camera style, where you really felt like the characters who were experiencing what was going on and seeing it through their eyes.  And in both cases, the second movies were absolutely nothing like that.  My wife said it best – “It just felt like nothing happened in that movie.”  Agreed.  Maybe they were so focused on setting up a third, they forgot they needed to tell a story here with the second … instead it felt like a lull in the middle of a movie that lasted for two hours.  I can only give this a 3, and be hopeful the makers will right the ship if they decide to do another.


So that was part of my weekend off – outside of Tae Kwon Do and soccer practice.  What were you guys up to?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - SPECIAL EDITION - The Realmwalker Prophecy


Today, we have an open date.  But it happens to coincide with some big news for us!  So we are actually going to take this opportunity to give you a special treat at the end of it ...

This week, Patricia and I got the news that our manuscript, The Realmwalker Prophecy: Heart of the Mermaid, has been accepted for publication by XoXo Publishing.  This will be our first stand-alone work, and the first book of The Realmwalker Prophecy series.

This novel follows the story of Rudy MacTavish, an ex-pirate serving under letter of marque in the Royal Navy of the 18th century, and Trish, a mermaid and daughter of her people's king.  They meet when she is sent on a mission to retrieve a certain object from Rudy's ship before the "humans" realize what they have. That meeting sends them on a roller-coaster of a romantic adventure where they must overcome his obligation, her betrothal, her father's prejudice, the continued presence of the pirate captain Remus Stryder, and a treacherous journey to a lost land.

So what will the series be about?  I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but Rudy and Trish's role go far beyond just their own lives.  At least, their lives in this particular world.  There are forces at work in the background of which they are completely unaware.  That's all I'm going to say about it ... for now.

What I will give you is a brief excerpt from Heart of the Mermaid.  Stay tuned for more news about this, and our other related effort we are working on, Tales of the Realms (tentative title), which will be a collection of short stories and poems that fit into the series and stand on their own.  These stories will also give you glimpses into other worlds which we want to explore as the series progresses.  Thank you for your support!

* * *



Commodore Shaw gave Rudy a wan smile as he came down to their boat, which they had finished loading with the supplies Trish had provided. “So, can we be going now, Mr. MacTavish?”
Rudy nodded as he helped to push the boat off the sand and climbed in. The doctor looked him over. “Everything alright, Captain?” Jonathan emphasized the last word, reminding everyone of his impromptu promotion. “Because we are going to need every ship possible to take on the Colossus.”
Rudy turned to the Commodore as he clasped Trish’s chain around his neck. “Sir, the Colossus is not to be taken lightly. That ship is a predator, plain and simple. It dwarfs even the Haven in size and arms. It pounded us into oblivion, and took our best shots without even taking on water. We will definitely need the entire fleet to even have a chance.”
The grizzled old sea dog turned to Rudy, smirking. “That’s why we will have the entire fleet with us. We’ll get you a crew and some proper clothes and boots from the Haven, then you will head over to your ship and follow us out. What is the name of your ship, Captain?”
He looked at the schooner, having no idea what the name of the ship really was. But he knew what he wanted to call it, something that would make sure that Trish would always be with him, at least in spirit.

“It’s the Heart o’ the Mermaid.”

* * *

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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, August 9, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Valerie Douglas


Yay, today we have the wonderful Valerie Douglas here to share with us!  Valerie please introduce yourself ...

I’ve written 20+ novels of bunch of genres, I’m happily married and companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper.

Valerie, tell us what made you decide to try to become a published author?  How did you get started? 

I always wanted to be an author, a published author was just a perk *grins* 

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

I’m one of a set of identical twins.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your first book was finally “out there”? 

A mix of absolute joy and dismay. My editor and I didn’t always see eye to eye. *laughing* We had some epic…discussions.

Your latest work is the horror novel “Shades”.  Tell us a bit about this book and how it came to be. 

I had this recurring nightmare that forms one of the scenes and the boss in the book was based on a real person.

You’ve written in several different genres.  Is there one that you find more challenging than others? 

Horror. I’d sworn I’d never write it…and then I decided to write that story about the nightmare!






If you could actually physically meet any of your characters, who would it be and why? 

Elon, Colath, Jareth and Jalila, from The Coming Storm because they’d be interesting to hang around a fire with, and that world would be fascinating.

What do you have coming up in your “work in progress” folder? 

Sequels to Blood Bound, Nike’s Wings, The Coming Storm, Song of the Fairy Queen and Heart of the Gods. The last three would be fun.

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

How much marketing you have to do.

What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy? 

Read, read, and read some more – I finally have time to read. Surf the ‘net (I love research) Play with my cats and dogs.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word?  Onomatopoeia 
  2. What is your least favorite word?  No
  3. What turns you on?  *laughing* You have read my V. J. Devereaux books, right? I love someone who takes their time.
  4. What turns you off?  Disrespect
  5. What sound or noise do you love?  The sound of rain, or a train horn
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?  Anything really loud
  7. What is your favorite curse word?  Fuck
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Hey, it took me long enough to get here!
  9. What profession would you not like to do?  Hotel housekeeper – speaking from experience. You wouldn’t believe what people will do. 
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  I told you to slow down!
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?  Would you be interested in making a movie about your book? Oh, hell yeah! (I already did the traditional publishing thing.)


Valerie, 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?

Amazon



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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, August 2, 2013

Finding Fiction Friday - Kat Yares


Today on Finding Fiction Friday, I am very pleased to present the wonderful Kat Yares - writer of horror and thrillers among other genre!  Please join me in welcoming the mistress of the mind game ... first a brief biographical introduction ...

Kat Yares has been writing fiction her entire adult life.  She is an author, screenwriter, indie movie maker and amateur photographer.  Her short fiction has appeared in numerous print publications and online.  She was first accepted into the Horror Writers Association in 2001 and remains a member today.  Her fiction is primarily in the horror/thriller genres.  Unlike many, she writes horror not to gross out or startle her readers, but to make them think.  Most of her stories are mind games and deal with man’s (or woman’s) inhumanity to man (or woman). 

So, Kat, what made you decide to try to become a published author?  How did you get started?

I’ve written fiction since I was a child.  It was a way I could lie and get away with it.  I wrote my first novel when I was eleven, and although it is now lost to the ages, I still love to write.  A short story I wrote in high school was published in the school paper, seeing my name in print made me want to earn my living with words.  My first paying gig though was to a confession magazine, I was able to stay home with my children by writing those morality tales.

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

Although I was raised in the south, I do not like most Southern foods, i.e., greens, cornbread and catfish, to name a few.

Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your book was finally “out there”?

It was wonderful.  Although I had sold many short stories before my collection was released, it was really nice to know more people were reading my words and enjoying them.

Tell us a bit about your book “Beneath the Tor” and the follow-up, “The XIII”.

Beneath the Tor is a retelling of the New Testament story from the point of view of Mary Magdalene.  I’ve been told that it is reminiscent of Mists of Avalon as a fantasy set primarily in the Middle East (although it begins and ends in Avalon).

The XIII picks up the story 2000 years later with the descendants of the characters in Beneath the Tor.  It is more of a thriller, Illuminati style, and proves the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You have an upcoming release about a serial killer.  Give us some insight into this story (I know, no spoilers!)

I do have a story in the works - The new story is called Dark Fantasies: The Profiler and I hope to make it a series over time.

Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?  What draws you to wrote about him or her?

My favorite character that I’ve written so far would be Macie Jones in Vengeance Is Mine.  I love strong women characters and Macie is exactly that - rising above and becoming much more than her environment wants to allow.

What do you have coming up next after your very next release?

Well…I currently have four books in progress.  So, it totally depends on which gets done first.  And that depends on many factors.  I’ve already mentioned Dark Fantasies, but there is also Lily of the Cotton (a Depression Era coming of age story), The Asylum (supernatural horror) and Party Lines (contemporary fiction).  As you can see, I’m all over the place, genre wise.

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

How wonderfully supportive Indie authors are of each other.  It seems we are (for the most part) more than willing to help each other succeed.

What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?

I read a lot and write reviews for Hellnotes.com.  Plus, when time and money allow, my husband and I make short movies and as an amateur photographer, I’m still attempting to capture a perfect picture of a hummingbird. 

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

  1. What is your favorite word?  Moist
  2. What is your least favorite word?  Stupid
  3. What turns you on?  Honesty
  4. What turns you off?  Lies
  5. What sound or noise do you love?  Silence
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?  A slamming door
  7. What is your favorite curse word?  Any of them, in the proper context
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  None,  writer suits me fine
  9. What profession would you not like to do?  Anything to do with snakes
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  Howdy!
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you?   Why have you chosen to live so far in the backwoods, away from normal civilization?

Kat, 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?

Links:
Webpage (blog):  www.katyares.com




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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