Sunday, May 25, 2014

Guest Post: Moving the Imaginary Block by Alayna-Renee Vilmont

Moving The Imaginary Block
by
Alayna-Renee Vilmont
Image Source: Building the Great Pyramid

We’ve all been there.

You’ve gotten the idea that you’d like to write, and you’re completely excited about sharing your story with the world. You have all these thoughts and feelings that are captivating, and you must get them down on paper before they escape forever. At the first opportunity, you open your computer screen or your journal, and all that stares back is complete emptiness. Seriously, there’s just nothing. What happened to the inspiration? You no longer remember that transcendent idea you had in the shower or the brilliant phrase that popped into your head while cleaning out the cat’s litter box. Instead, you have feelings of inadequacy, failure, and wonder if spending time writing is the best use of your limited free time. After all, it is clear your muse has abandoned you, and that endless loop of Law And Order: Criminal Intent is not going to watch itself.

Image Source: WeWriteTogether.net
Does this sound familiar?

Most people call it writer’s block. Some talk about feeling uninspired, while others lament a lack of talent and creativity. In reality, most writers are hampered not by lazy work ethic, lack of the world’s best idea, or a desire to write. The fear of failure and criticism, even subconsciously, keeps many creative people from doing what they do best: creating.

We all have an inner critic. You’ve probably met it before. It’s that voice in your head that tells you nobody reads books anymore, so certainly nobody will read yours. It tells you that you’re not good enough, and that everything you want to say has already been said by someone better and smarter than you. It tells you that writing never made anyone any real money, and if you’re doing it for a living, you should get a real job. It reminds you of all those great works of literature you love, of the popular series of books that’s being made into a movie franchise, of all these wonderful things being created every day by not you. Suddenly, you find you have nothing to say. You feel irrelevant.

Image Source: HenryHarveyBooks.com
Your inner critic is kind of a mean and horrible person. It doesn’t like anything, and it is there to keep you from succeeding. It may lie, and say it is simply looking after you. It will say that the best way to never face criticism is to never do anything at all. It is your job to use whatever tools you have to fight your inner critic, and win.

Many writers have different strategies for conquering the inner critic. Julia Cameron, of The Artist’s Way fame, recommends writing three pages in your journal every morning. It can be three pages of lists, or disconnected thoughts, or your feelings on the last episode of Breaking Bad. The important thing is to just keep writing.

Marina Keegan, the late author of The Opposite Of Loneliness, writes that she believes in setting aside three hours each day to write. If the ideas do not happen that day, she resolves to still use that distraction-free time to think and to daydream. Eventually, she believes, the words will come.

Simone de Beauvoir, one of the most prolific female writers in history, could turn out thousands of pages of literature. When asked her secret, she confided that taking breaks from “work” to write letters to friends reminded her of who she was and why she loved writing. Anais Nin kept voluminous personal diaries, and is now better remembered for those than for her literary endeavours

Writing is writing, in any form. The myth of “writer’s block” is a lie, and it’s a bad one. It’s self-defeating. The job of a writer is to communicate. Contrary to what your inner critic has to say, the only failure you can really encounter as a writer is a failure to communicate. Failure is simply not putting the words on the paper. Failure is not letting your thoughts, your ideas, and your spirit shine through. Failure is being afraid, and letting fear dictate your path.

Failure is letting your worst critic defeat you before you even start. You may notice that he or she bears a striking resemblance to you, and disappears the moment that first word is committed to the page.

Go on. Take the chance. Write a word, any word. Write another.

Trust me, Law And Order: Criminal Intent will still be there later, faithfully waiting.

**************************************************

Alayna-Renee Vilmont is a freelance writer, blogger, performer, and modern-day Renaissance woman currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Her first book, “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse”, is a poetic anthology based around the many facets of human relationships and experiences. Alayna is also the voice behind Jaded Elegance: The Uninhibited Adventures Of A Chic Web Geek, which has been entertaining readers since 2000. She maintains an active presence on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and almost every other form of social media out there. Alayna has previously appeared on this site, winning last year’s flash fiction contest and contributing guest essays. She is also an avid devotee of Law And Order: Criminal Intent.  If you’d like to follow the adventures of this modern-day wayward muse, please stop by and visit at www.jadedelegance.net




Friday, May 23, 2014

Interview with Kate Lynd, author of Blackout


Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not writing? 

Shepherdsville, KY, I like going to the movies are watching television. Haunting bookstores and finding a good meal.

How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?

 I wanted to write a really dark and gritty continuing series that had a father/daughter, mentor/protégé dynamic and I love thrillers with vulnerable, bad ass women at their core.

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments? 

The beginning is the hardest because you’re putting your ear to the ground listening for that character’s voice to tell you the story. Best? When you’re in the zone and the rest of the world falls away and you’re experiencing the story as if it’s happening to you.

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block? 

Orange slices, the candy

Can you please share an excerpt?

From Blackout:
Find it HERE!
            The memories were more than I could take. I wretched and vomited in my mouth a little bit. I spit it out.
           “Did you hear that, James?”
            Like a thunderclap everything went still. The George of my small memory was the George standing outside of the box. I was sure of it.
            “You’re imagining things.”
            I tried to control my breathing. If they opened the box, I was as dead as if they left it closed. How to crawl out without either man noticing was what my oxygen-starved, fear-saturated brain now scrambled to do.
            “No, I heard that.”
            “You need to lay off the liquor and smoke. It makes you paranoid.”
            I was holding my breath. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. George was a monster and the man with him, James, didn’t seem to want to be bothered by his conscience. How was I going to survive being thrown into a raging river and weighted down to its bottom?
            “I heard something I tell ya.”
            “Let me smell your breath.” My heart hammered in my chest, and I broke out into a cold sweat. “You’re drunk. Get out of here. I’ll take care of this.”
            “I don’t like it.”
            “I don’t really give a fuck what you like, George. I got this. Now get the fuck out of here.”
            The second voice was becoming familiar. I gravitated toward it.
            “I’m going to get you out of this. I don’t know how or when. But I’m going to get you free. But you have to trust me.”

What’s your next/current writing project? 

  BLACK ICE: AN AURORA BLACK NOVEL

Here’s a totally random question for you: You’re one of the stars on a new reality show called Not Quite So Deserted Island, but you have to do something that sets you apart from the crowd. Do you: A) Streak through every shot naked, screaming that the British are coming,  B) Catch fish and eat them live, head first, during every tribal council meeting, or C)  Steal your competitor’s toiletry items and bury them in random places on the beach, but make it look like one of them did it instead.

A)     Streak naked through every shot, screaming the British are coming.


Thanks so much for stopping by! 

****

Kate Lynd/Amy McCorkle and is 3 time Amazon Bestselling,  award winning author, screenwriter, and  blogger.   2nd place finisher in the 2011 Preditors & Editors Reader’s Choice Poll for Best Romance Short Story for No Ordinary Love. She was a 2012 Top Ten Finisher Preditors & Editors for both GLADIATOR and Another Way to Die. Winner of the 2013 Fright Night Film Festival for Best Sci-Fi Screenplay Bounty Hunter.  She also writes as Amy McCorkle. Her books include Another Way to Die, a 2012 Moondance International Film Festival Semi-Finalist, 2013 Moondance International  Film Festival Semi-Finalist, Gemini’s War, GLADIATOR , Bounty Hunter, Set Fire to the Rain, ORACLE(the sequel to GLADIATOR),  and her memoir, Letters  to Daniel.


BUY LINKS FOR BLACKOUT: AN AURORA BLACK NOVEL


Wednesday, May 21, 2014



Since becoming an author, I've met some wonderful book reviewers. These reviewers take their job seriously. Whether they love a book or hate it, they know how to maintain a respectful and professional attitude and web presence. Please welcome our fourth book reviewer of the month (and my good "twin"), Misty from The Top Shelf:




From what corner of the world do you call home, and what do you do when you’re not reading and reviewing?

I’m from Columbus, Ohio!  When I’m not reading and reviewing, I’m gaming, playing around with photoshop or writing with my friends in an online wrestling federation.  It’s like a big rpg.

Tell us a little about your blog and what sorts of books you prefer to review there?

The Top Shelf will be four years old this November!  I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for that long.  I review books of all genres although I have a preference towards fiction.  I think that might be because I feel there’s a lack of interesting non-fiction out there.  That may change though.  Did you see that book about the guy who believes his dad is the Zodiac killer??!?!?!  I wanna read that!

Is there any genre you won’t read?

No closed mind to me just closes doors. 

How do you structure your reviews (ex: summary, positive, negative, conclusion)?

Sometimes I change it up.  Depends on how I feel about the review.  Sometimes it’s easier to summarize the book while talking about it and sometimes it’s easy to just say okay this is what the book is about and this was what I thought was awesome about it.

Find it HERE!
If you find the book you’ve read is just not your thing, how would you go about reviewing it (or not)?

This is a really hot subject.  I’ve had authors ask me not to review their book if I feel the book wasn’t four stars or better.  I don’t like that and I feel it’s kinda tacky.  For one the author is skewing their reviews which is something nobody wants and for two, if readers find out you’re discouraging negative reviews, there’s gonna be a bit of a sense of “Woah…well then!”  In some ways it’s like paying for reviews.   When I got that for the first time I was like okay I really need to think about this.  This author may not work with me if the book is “bad” and I tell the truth.  Should I be swayed by this?  The answer to that question is pretty simple.  No!  We are reviewers.  Our first priority is to our readers.  The audience who comes online every
day and goes to your blog while drinking their morning coffee.  They’re the reason I’m able to do this.  None of the people I work with would work with me if they didn’t think I had a followship.  It’s important to be true to that followship.

Now does that mean be a complete troll and destroy someone’s work?  No!  There’s a way to say you didn’t like a book and why you didn’t like it without coming off as a troll.  I actually had a review where I loved the book but it really could have been like three books and it felt like an outline.  The author had footnotes and a timeline of events at the beginning and I said in my review it felt like he was trying to cram too much into 131 pages.  I also offered to help him as a beta reader.  I never got an answer. 

Can you share the opening line/paragraph from one of your favorite review books? 

I recently read Everything to Lose by Andrew Gross and it has a really gripping prologue but I really like the beginning of the first chapter:

I read somewhere that every life is the story of a single mistake, and then what happens after.  Whether it’s brought into the light and opened up to.  Or left buried in the darkness of the soul where it all just multiples in consequences and festers into something worse. One wrong decision that can be taken back. Even the best of lives has one.

What’s coming up next on your review schedule?

My review schedule is insane right now.  I’m kinda working backwards while working forwards.  There was a lot of sickness in my family over the last two years and my father died in August.  So I have reviews that I’ve promised and I’ve read the books but have been unable to write them.  I also have things I scheduled months ago coming up.  I’m on The Soul of The Sun blog tour.  Genevieve Crownson is great.  I suggest everyone read her.  I’ve signed up for the blog tour for Brandeby Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki and that’s coming up sometime in June.  Patriot by AS Bond is also coming up in June I think.  I need to start using a calendar again! There’s always something going on!

Here’s a totally random question for you: Did you know that in Kentucky, there is a law stating that one may not dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale unless more than six are for sale at once? Find one dumb law from your state or city and share it with us. You can use this link: http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states

I had no idea!  Wow.  What about the other colors?  Did you know that conducting or participating in a duel is prohibited in Ohio?  I guess there must be some sort of exception for renaissance fairs because they’re tons of them there!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


No problem!  I always love taking over your blog.  At least I leave the furniture alone!

Well, you ARE the "good" twin :) 

****

The Top Shelf was created by Misty Rayburn on November of 2010 with the goal of introducing readers to books they may not have found otherwise.  We review all genres, even erotica and we also review audiobooks!  For the reader, we offer deals, freebies and neat events on our Facebook page and for authors, we have many resources to get your book out there.  We hold chats, Q and A sessions, contests and interviews as well as guest blogs and book blasts. For any questions. Please email me at misty @ meteorflower.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter!

Twitter: @topshelfebooks


Friday, May 16, 2014

OMFG No Wai!: How to shock your readers in style! by Dan Wright


OMFG No Wai!: How to shock your readers in style!

(Warning: This blog may contain some spoilers for various novels/films. Read at your own risk)




When writing a book, it is important to consider your readers. By that I mean how do you want them to react to a certain scene? Do you want them to be happy? Sad? Scared? It is important to connect with the emotions of your readers and bring a feeling from them during a scene.

However, for me personally, when I wrote my new Draconica novels, I liked to think “How can I piss off my readers?” XD

Now before you think that’s just me being cynical, let me clarify something. I love all my fans and readers, in fact some of my best friends are hardcore fans of my books. I appreciate all the support they give me. But secretly I LOVE doing things that shock them or make them angry. The reason? Shock value!

There’s a lot to be said for shock value in stories – but my opinion is that it if is done correctly, it can be a huge boon to your story. It can twist your story in a different direction, especially if your readers don’t see it coming. Remember the Red Wedding in A Song of Ice and Fire when Robb and Catelyn Stark were brutally murdered? Or even when Ned Stark was beheaded in the first book of the series? Or, for those who love their video games, Final Fantasy 7 when Aerith was murdered by Sepiroth. These are just some of the twists that audiences were not expecting – but in many ways made the story that much more interesting. After all, nothing is more painful than seeing characters killed off – and the subsequent agony from the audience.
 
Hell, even I’VE killed off some of my main characters in my stories in the past. And usually I let them stay dead – but if they DO come back, then they aren’t the same. Hell, when my next Draconica novel comes out, I’ve got a scene in it that I’m sure will make most of my readers hate me. I’ve actually almost lost a friendship because of it!

However, despite the pain it may cause, the audience WILL want to follow the story – hoping that this character will be avenged or (in some cases) they will come back to life somehow

But it’s not just character death that can shock a reader – having someone do something out of character can also be equally as alarming. Whether it’s having your goodie-two-shoes hero do something really nasty, or having your evil villain showing a merciful and gentle side, these twists can really add to character development and draw your readers deeper into their psychology. The Doctor from Doctor Who is a great example of this – he’s done some really nasty things in the past for “The Greater Good” and even been an asshole on a few occasions. But we still love him for that.

Some authors that I’ve spoken to (whether via Facebook, forums, etc) would probably tell you that you need to be careful with upsetting or angering your readers in case you lose them. This I don’t agree with. For me, the best authors are the ones who aren’t afraid to take risks, throw a curve ball into the mix, shock their readers. And personally I LOVE it when a story throws in a twist like that and shocks me. It makes me want to read on and find out where this goes! As for losing readers – I call BS to this. Did George R R Martin lose any readers after the Red Wedding? Did J.K. Rowling lose readers when she killed off Dumbledore? They may have lost a few, but the true fans stayed with them – and that’s what will happen with your readers. True fans and readers are like your closest friends – they may be angry with you for a while, but they will ALWAYS stand by you and support you. Not only that, but they will also spread word of mouth about how this book has such a shocking twist and possibly get you MORE fans!

Of course, there are rules to adding in shock value to a story. For one thing, DO NOT do it just for the sake of it – anything shocking must have a plot based reason. Ned Stark wasn’t just killed off just for the shock value, his death started the War of the Five Kings, so you need to make sure that your shocking scene has a point. Similarly, try not to make it so obvious what is going to happen. Nothing ruins a shock more than if the readers can see it coming a mile off. There’s nothing wrong with foreshadowing it, as long as it’s subtle. The best shocks come when the readers don’t expect it, when it’s thrown on them,

Pissing your readers off can sometimes be the best way to keep your readers attention. Harlan Ellison once called it a “noble endeavour” to shock people and I agree. So don’t be afraid to take risks with your novel. Kill off that main character that everyone loves, have your hero/heroine be a complete dick once in a while, or throw in a twist that totally changes the emphasis of the story. The TRUE fans will love you no matter what you do – and will respect you more for brave storytelling. Once they get past cursing you that is. XD

****


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan lives Canterbury, Kent, UK. A huge fan of both Fantasy and Manga, he has a style that combines both within his writing, which lets him tell stories that are both dramatic and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. He picked up a love of Fantasy stories after reading The Lord of the Rings, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and numerous Roald Dahl novels.

Dan also runs his own website, blog and a wiki page dedicated to the world of Draconica and also reviews books. He has also written a short comic book strip called Queller, which was published in an anthology for the comic Lighting Strike Presents... He is currently in the process of writing a script for a video game and has also been a judge for a book competition at his local school. When not writing, he plays guitar in a band called Rage of Silence. He likes all kinds of music – but has a taste for metal!

Authors who have inspired Dan are Douglas Adams, J.R.R Tolkien, Harlan Ellison, Alan Moore, Joss Whedon, H.P Lovecraft, George R.R Martin and Hiromu Arakawa.

Contact Dan via the following links:

WEBSITE & BLOG: www.pandragondan.co.uk
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright
TWITTER: @PandragonDan and @Draconicaseries
EMAIL: pandragonpublishing@gmail.com
WIKI PAGE: http://trappedondraconica.wikia.com

Also check out the TV Tropes pages of both Legacy of the Dragonkin and Trapped on Draconica by Brian Wilkerson!

TRAPPED ON DRACONICA:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TrappedOnDraconica
LEGACY OF THE DRAGONKIN:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reviewer #3: Veronica Jorden from First Page, Last Page



Since becoming an author, I've met some wonderful book reviewers. These reviewers take their job seriously. Whether they love a book or hate it, they know how to maintain a respectful and professional attitude and web presence. Please welcome our third book reviewer of the month, Veronica from First Page, Last Page:





From what corner of the world do you call home, and what do you do when you’re not reading and reviewing?

At the moment, my family and I have set up shop in northern Virginia. My husband is an active duty soldier in the US Army and we have two more years until it’s time to move again. When I’m not reading and reviewing, I try to stay busy. I work for a government contractor as an executive assistant, volunteer as the marketing director with the Military Spouse Business Association and the Red, White & Blue Pages. Just recently, I took on the task of building a brand new online community for Partners in Animal Rescue. I also run a little website for indie authors called First Page Last Page and am writing my first novel on JukePop Serials. When I’m not doing any of that, I’m hanging out with my kids, watching movies, cooking, and if I’m lucky, sleeping!

Tell us a little about your blog and what sorts of books you prefer to review there?

My site is set up a little differently. I have a blog that I use to feature authors and their books, but I also have book listings and like to post my reviews there. I also post on Amazon and GoodReads.

I focus solely on small-press and independently published books. Don’t get me wrong, big house publishers put out some excellent stories, but there is something very special and unique about the stories and voices you can find in the indie community. I like all genres, but I love adventure, fantasy, romance, and dystopian fiction. I really hate to limit myself to genre, especially since so many indie authors span the bridge between multiple genres. As a general rule of thumb, if the story is good and the characters are compelling, I can read and fall in love with a book no matter the genre.

Is there any genre you won’t read?
Find it HERE! 

That’s a tough question. I’m willing to give just about anything a go. There are things that I might not seek out on my own, but as long as the author’s intent is to tell a good story, then I’m game. However, if I start
reading and feel like there is an overabundance of graphic sex and gratuitous violence that are there just for shock value and don’t do anything to show me a character’s motivation or advance a storyline, I find I lose interest, or at the very least skip over those parts.

How do you structure your reviews (ex: summary, positive, negative, conclusion)?

For me, writing a review is a lot like writing a public fan letter to the author. I try to encourage and support authors as much as I can. I like to start with something I really liked about the book, or a short summary.
I read with an eagerness to like and empathize (or dislike and root against) the characters in a book.  I think sometimes reviewers can miss the forest for the trees and lose sight of a wonderful story if all of the mechanics aren’t perfect. Reading creates very visceral reactions for me, so that’s what I like to comment on.  If the mechanics disrupt my ability to understand a story, I will make a point to comment on that as well, but gently and only with the intent of suggesting ways for the author to improve.

If you find the book you’ve read is just not your thing, how would you go about reviewing it (or not)?

This happens occasionally, so if I happen to read something that leaves me feeling a little flat, I will try to point out the things that I did like, and frame any negative feedback in the form of how it made me feel. Reviewing is so subjective, and just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean others won’t. I would hate to write something that prevented someone else from discovering what could be their new favorite book.

Can you share the opening line/paragraph from one of your favorite book reviews? 

Review of The Favorite by Franklyn Thomas
It’s amazing how much a child can change you. It changes the way you see the world, the way you plan for the future, the way you feel about yourself. And it is hard to know what kind of parent you’ll be when your own parents are defined by alcohol and murder. But when Michael Dane’s long-time girlfriend reveals an unexpected pregnancy, he is forced to reevaluate his life. And when the time comes to shed the chains of a life of crime and drugs, he doesn’t hesitate.
What’s coming up next on your review schedule?

Next up on my list is a review of the book I read out loud on our last family road trip,  Blood Tithe by Glen Soucy.  And I am getting ready to dig into the Last Moon Rising series by Dale Ibitz, with reviews to follow as soon as I am done.

Here’s a totally random question for you: Of these three celebrities (Kanye West, Steve Buscemi, & Gary Busey), who would you rather

A) Be your Siamese twin – Steve Buscemi
B) Let puke into your airsickness bag, while you hold it, Gary Busey
C) Blindfold, spray with eau-de-lioness and shove into Jimmy the Lion’s cage, who hasn’t had a mate in a realllly long time?  - I guess that leaves Kanye, though I am not sure I would wish this on anyone!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

****

Veronica Jorden is a self-professed story lover. Mother of 3 and proud Army wife, she spends her days volunteering, reading writing, and dreaming about the day she can quit her day job. And baking cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes.

First Page, Last Page
www.firstpagelastpage.com
Feedback, Design, & Marketing for the Indie Writer

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Interview with Joyce Hertzoff, author of The Crimson Orb

Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not writing?

I was born in NYC and grew up there, but I've also lived in Ohio. In 2008, my husband and I retired to New Mexico.

Besides writing, I love to read and knit, and I also crochet. I watch too much TV. We're still exploring the southwest and take trips to various parts of this state and the nearby ones.

How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?

I've always loved reading fantasy (in addition to mysteries and science fiction), but for The Crimson Orb, I wanted to combine that with my passion for encouraging girls and women who won't be denied the same opportunities boys and men have.

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments?

I usually outline the first few chapters of my stories, but I'm definitely a pantser. I let my characters take me where they will. My favorite moments are those epiphanies when the perfect title or a wicked twist to a story comes to me. My least favorite are when I write myself into a corner, based on something my characters insisted I do, and I don't know how to get them or me out of it.

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block?

One thing I do is look out my office window at the nearby mountains and then describe the scene and think up a way to put my characters in it.

Can you please share an excerpt? 

This is from the beginning of The Crimson Orb:

Coming in June!
I sat on a carved wooden bench in my favorite corner in the vegetable garden, watching the boys at their morning sword practice with my father and wishing I was out there with them. My brother Blane, nineteen years old and blond like Father, was easily besting the Duke's son Kerr, as he usually did.

My favorite of the pure black cats inhabiting the Manor jumped up on my lap, licked a paw, then curled up and promptly fell asleep. It was that kind of warm summer day when, if I wasn't with the boys, I didn't want to do anything more than sit in the shade of the old apple tree, inhaling its sweet scent. Since I was ten I've dreamed of learning to feint and parry, thrust and slice like Blane, Kerr, and my other brother Donal. But I'm a girl and it wasn't seemly.

Girls of ten to twenty were relegated to the sewing room, where Jannet, the governess and seamstress, taught us the fine art of needlepoint. I couldn't sew a straight line to save myself, and I really wasn't interested in learning. Our only other lessons were in the kitchens. Cook, whose name was Bridey although no one ever called her anything but 'Cook', not even her husband, taught us to boil an egg and make soup from whatever was available. That wasn't so bad, because we could eat what we made and no one else was the wiser when it tasted awful.
What’s your next/current writing project? 

In addition to revising the sequel to The Crimson Orb and writing book 3, I'm working on one other fantasy series, a romantic mystery story, and three fanfictions.

Here’s a totally random question for you: You’ve been accepted into an exclusive school for assassins. You must choose one of three courses for your first semester: A) 10,000 Ways to Poison Your Dinner Guests B) The Lost Art of Falling Pianos and Anvils or C) Death by Snu Snu. (*See this clip: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/rq4n4f/futurama-big-lady-planet)

C. Definitely C! 


****


Joyce Hertzoff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the City University of New York, and spent forty-five years in the scientific information publishing business as a translator and indexer. For twenty years, she was a manager of other scientists and watched as the business evolved from the printing of paper journals to electronic processing and production.

After retiring in 2008 and moving to the southwest with her husband, she left scientific writing behind and turned her efforts to fiction. She participated in the National Novel Writing program for the first time that year and has continued with the program every year since. She is a member of Southwest Writers and Writers Village University.

 Her mini flash mystery, Natural Causes, appears in the anthology The Darwin Murders and a fantasy short story, Princess Petra, is included in the anthology The Way Back.

Look for The Crimson Orb, the first book in a new fantasy series, in June 2014.

Contact Joyce:


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Interview with Pamela Turner, author of Exterminating Angel

Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m originally from Wisconsin, from an area that was flattened by a glacier. When I moved to Kentucky, it was the first time I saw actual boulders. I’ve lived in Kentucky so long now, I consider it home.
When I’m not writing, I like to make book trailer videos, watch Inspector Lewis, photograph cemeteries and Victorian houses, and watch anime and read manga.

How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?

The idea for Exterminating Angel came about because I wanted to create an archangel who was essentially good and honorable, but managed to screw up his career in the worst way possible, by unwittingly unleashing a demon.

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments?

Starting the book has to be the most difficult process for me because I need to get the story down before I can go back and edit it. I usually do a lot of prep work before writing the first draft, including gathering pictures for an inspiration board, doing character sketches, outlines, etc. It’s a matter of trying to bring everything together into a cohesive whole. Then a few drafts, although I find the more writing experience I have, the better my drafts are, so they don’t require quite the amount of rewrites they would have otherwise. They’re not perfect, but I know what to avoid. J

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block?

A few shots of whiskey or brandy, and hoo boy, that writer’s block goes down the proverbial drain. Granted, so does the story… Oh, wait. Sorry ‘bout that. Actually, for me, having several different projects in the pipeline staves off writer’s block.

Grab a copy HERE!
Can you please share an excerpt?

From Exterminating Angel:

Michael clamped Zaphkiel’s shoulder. “If you don’t stop, I’ll report this to Ophaniel.”


Squeal to Ophaniel, the bastard who’d betrayed his lover to the Seraphim? He shook off Michael’s hold and spun the bloody knife in midair, tip aimed at Kurt’s heart.

“Dammit, Zaphkiel. You don’t want to do this.” Michael’s voice came to him distorted, as if through a cavern.

“Yes, I do.”

Kurt stared wide-eyed and scrabbled back, but invisible forces pinned him against the magic circle while the blade buried itself in his chest. A high-pitched hissing, like air leaking from a balloon, escaped his slack mouth. He pitched forward, a dead weight.

Blood drenched the circle, steaming and sizzling on the strange markings. A chill, accompanied by a malignant, sewer-like odor, rushed through the room, ruffling their clothes and hair.

Zaphkiel reeled, gagging, tears brimming in his eyes. Letters and symbols shifted and changed. The summoning should’ve stopped when he killed Kurt. “What’s happening?”

Michael raised his hand as if to strike him, stern face livid. “Goddammit, Zaphkiel! I told you not to kill him.” 

He stepped back, lowering his arm, and shook his head. “If you hadn’t, the ritual would’ve failed. 
Congratulations. You’ve unleashed Sorath.”

Heart sinking, Zaphkiel sagged against the wall. The bloodstains and writing dissolved until the floor showed no evidence of a magic circle.

What’s your next/current writing project?

I’m currently revising Hell on Earth, an Exterminating Angel spin off, plus The Judas Dilemma, and Serpent Fire (the second book in my Angels of Death series).

Here’s a totally random question for you: You’re window-shopping in a little hippie-chic town, and find the “Pet Shop of Terror”. You just have to go inside to check it out. Unfortunately, once a customer comes in, they can’t leave without buying a pet. Your choices are: A) Carnivorous flop-eared bunny--feed every 2 hours or they feed on you;  B) Teleporting tarantula--give him lots of compliments and keep his terrarium impeccably clean or you’ll wake up at 3am with him crying on your face; or C) Telepathic parrot--he can read your every thought and will blurt them out at the most inopportune times (i.e. when you’re in “the mood”, when your parents are over, when you’re on the phone, when the soccer mom you secretly hate stops by to ask you to donate to the “clean up our doggie doo” fund…)

Oh, the carnivorous bunny. If you’ve ever seen or watched Pet Shop of Horrors, “Daughter” serves as a warning to indulgent parents. And if you think rabbits are sweet and timid, read Watership Down. I owned a rabbit. It may not have been carnivorous, but it had teeth and sharp claws.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Thank you for having me. J

****

Pamela Turner drinks too much coffee, and wishes she could write perfect first drafts. Publications include the paranormal short novels Death Sword and Exterminating Angel, both from Kensington Publishing Corp.’s Lyrical Press imprint, and the paranormal historical mystery The Ripper’s Daughter (BlackWyrm Publishing). Her short, dark suspense story “Family Tradition” (MuseItUp Publishing) was a finalist in the EPIC 2014 EBook Awards, and Death Sword is a finalist in the Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards 2013. She’s a member of RWA, Sisters in Crime, EPIC, and a supporting member of HWA. Besides coffee, she likes cats, cemeteries, and old abandoned buildings. You can find her at http://pamelaturner.net


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Twitter @PamelaTurner




Monday, May 12, 2014

NEW RELEASE: Bait Shop Blues by Nancy Pirri

I'm so pleased to announce the release of a brand new book by Nancy Pirri (aka Nancy Schumacher). Not only is Nancy an author, but she is the editor-in-chief of Melange Books, a small press that's grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. I've known Nancy since she was an assistant editor in 2009, when I published my very first Tallenmere novelette ('Let There Be Love'). Back then, the press was called Midnight Showcase Fiction. Nancy took over the biz and has worked extra hard to make other authors' dreams come true while putting her own writing on hold. So, let's make her comeback special!! Enter the giveaway and share the news!
Release and Giveaway:
Prizes:
2-$15 Amazon Gift Cards
2-Ebook Copies of Bait Shop Blues
CLICK THE LINK TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Bait Shop Blues by Nancy Pirri
Finding love shouldn’t be so hard…
What does a successful businesswoman born and bred in Chicago want with half-ownership of a quaint bait shop in northern Minnesota, willed to her by her grandfather? And how will the reclusive half-owner of the shop convince the woman to sell out her half to him? For Cassandra Thompson, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike who's recently been dumped by her second fiancé in two years, it could mean a well-needed change in life. For Leif Halverson, a handsome man of Ojibwa extraction, and co-owner of the shop, it could mean disaster—like falling in love. Leif is far from happy about this city woman invading his territory so he challenges her to a wilderness survival contest where the winner takes all.
Buy Links:
 Excerpt:
“You know, I was surprised to hear Roy had a granddaughter. He’d told me often during the past fifteen years he had no family.” He raised his brow. “Makes me wonder why you suddenly appeared out of nowhere.”
Cassandra frowned. “The private investigator he’d hired had learned about the car accident that had taken my parents’ lives. After that he managed to track me down. Didn’t Grandpa tell you he’d been searching for us?”
“Yeah, he did.” He gave a short irritable laugh. “About two days before he died.”
“Oh! I’m sorry. You must have been surprised,” she murmured. She tried to imagine how she’d feel if someone had butted into her business, Pretty Woman Cosmetics. She’d be furious.
“Not just surprised, but stunned. Roy then told me he’d had a falling out with his only son years ago.”
“Unfortunately, that’s true. I was three years old at the time.”
“Roy was real torn up when he heard about your father’s death.”
She sighed. “I imagine he was, seeing as my grandfather and father hadn’t spoken to each other in years. He said it was the saddest day of his life, and he’d forever regret they hadn’t mended their fences. I wish I’d had the opportunity to see Grandfather before he passed away. I was so young when my parents took me away from here that I’ve no memories of him.”
As she peered out the window, the beauty of the vivid green treetops caught her interest, but then she shuddered at the grayish-colored water. After awhile she sank back in her seat and grimaced, identifying the pungent odors in the plane. Leather, gasoline and the distinct odor of fish blended together, yet each scent was distinct.
She was uncomfortably conscious of his maleness. Virile and confident, but without being macho and overbearing would aptly describe him—the little she knew of him. Yet, her awareness of him as a very attractive man was starting to bother her. He was just another handsome man. She’d dated plenty of good-looking guys and had learned her lesson well. She bit her lip thoughtfully, gauging her attraction to him and decided, in the end, she must be experiencing some sort of chemical imbalance.

 About the Author
   Nancy Schumacher is the owner-publisher of Melange Books, LLC, writing under the pseudonyms, Nancy Pirri and Natasha Perry. Nancy started writing eighteen years ago while raising four children. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is also one of the founders of the Minnesota RWA chapter, Northern Lights Writers (NLW).
Nancy's debut historical romance, THE MACAULAY BRIDE, set in late 19th century Scotland, was published in 2003. The debut book received several contest wins and received a TOP PICK award from Romantic Times Book Club publication in Oct. 2004. BAIT SHOP BLUES is her second full-length novel. She has written five full-length novels, and many stories included in anthologies with Melange Books, LLC.

Get in Touch With Nancy: