Meet D.C. and Michael McGannon, Monster Guys and Friends

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Meet D.C. and Michael McGannon, Monster Guys and Friends
First a note from D.C.

We began this journey together, as father and son, with the goal of writing a story that DCMcGannonbwphotoheadshots1-300x300spoke to friendship, overcoming obstacles (and the ultimate evils in our world), and of the power of working together to face the biggest challenges in our lives. Yes, it’s full of monsters, peril, and steeped in exciting mythology and folklore, but it centers around the powerful bonds formed between an unlikely group of friends as they face a unique set of challenges. We wanted to write a story that we would be proud to read aloud to our then newborn son/baby brother (who now, years later, has read them through twice more). It has turned into the adventure of a lifetime as we are meeting people from all over the world who are falling in love with Charlie Sullivan, Darcy Witherington, Nash Stormstepper, and the twins Lisa & Liev Vadinknov – along with a wild, often humorous, and mysterious cast of humans and monsters alike.

WitchMoonCoverCharlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: Witch Moon is the next adventure in the series, which takes us across the ocean to the Old Country, then on to Book 3: Council of the Hunters, where the group’s character and loyalty face the ultimate tests when they meet a surprising and spooky new cast of characters. The Dragon Gate (Book 4) will be released soon, and there will be a total of 6 books in the series!

There is also a table-top card game that has been developed based on the books. We have tested the game with several groups nationwide and it is currently in production. Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters is a labor of love, and one that we’re proud of. We’ve put so much into the series and developing new games, art, and stories based on the characters, and we hope to touch as many lives as we can with these adventurous stories. We will also be launching a podcast this month dedicated to the characters and worlds found in the books, and we are most excited about that venture.
Ultimately, we will stop at nothing to connect with readers and fans and consider it a privilege to do so. We travel to a lot of conventions supporting the books, and in doing so we also have the opportunity to address some very important issues to us as authors: bullying and child literacy. Our goal is to give back to the communities we visit, through schools, libraries, and special events and help foster reading appreciation among children and teens. We also teach and train teachers, parents, and any group of adults influencing young adults on effective ways of addressing the pervasive problem of bullying in our society. Our young adult books address the theme of bullying through story, and it’s a difficult issue to address, but we hope to bring some redeeming value to it all by the end of the sixth book. We truly believe that, together, we can make a difference with this problem, but it’s going to take an ongoing commitment to asking and answering the hard questions.
Again, it’s a privilege to be able to write these stories and we appreciate our readers and those who purchase our books.
Thanks for having us as guests on your blog. You are a dear friend and we appreciate everything you do! I can’t wait for the day some big wig in Hollywood makes movies of both our series and then we can walk the red carpet together with thousands of readers, young and old alike, and have a huge week-long Monster Hunters and Secret Watchers party! What do you say?
What could I say? Of course – I’m in!!!
For a limited time YOU can get your copy of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters part one, The Varcolac’s Diary on Amazon

Welcome to my interview with novelists, C. Michael McGannon and D.C. McGannon, co-authors of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters (YA); KAOS Obsidere: The Nightmare Has Begun (Adult, Horror) an interconnected short story horror collection.

Okay guys, What is your favorite junk food vice?
Michael: Oh, that’s a hard one. What are we calling junk food? (Chocolate can be good for 16091606you, right!?) Probably have to go with cheeseburgers. Any time I go to a new place to eat, I have to test out their cheeseburger. If they have a good burger, then I’m happy.

Any movies that you really want to see?
D.C.: I am really looking forward to Crimson Peak out this October. I’m really due for something gothic, dark, and spooky, and I love Guillermo del Torro! Also, the Peanuts movie! Yay!!

Do you have a favorite book or film?
Michael: Yes! Multiple! I’ll just throw two at you. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is my favorite fun, gritty, and imaginative novel ever. Of all time. But I would be amiss not to mention Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, which quite literally kept me up at night and had me chomping at the bit to finish Alek and Deryn’s story.

What’s on your reading list right now?
D.C.: Three books actually. Survive the Night by Danielle Vega; I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter; and the Three Investigators series by Alfred Hitchcock. We were gifted with a whole set of the Three Investigators recently after doing a library event, and our whole family is so excited to have these gems!

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first?
Michael: Oh dear. Comic books and graphic novels section. There are so many lovely, twisted stories in there!

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
D.C.: Drinking coffee, hiking, or a night of board games with the family. Is there anything else really? Hehe.

What do you do when you are not writing?
Michael: Usually scribbling notes for another project (in the most disorganized way I can manage), doodling up some weird chimerical beasts, or spending time with my family and my friends.

What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write?
D.C.: I have to listen to instrumental music. I can’t have any words singing in my headphones or I get distracted. So, if I’m writing young adult, it’s high energy dance music. If it’s horror, it’s usually really epic movie soundtracks, or very ethereal, moody music.

KAOS1CoverFrontWhat was the hardest part of writing your book?
Michael: Every book has its own challenge. Strictly speaking about our newest title, KAOS Obsidere, getting into the mindset of the characters and letting that loose in the writing. For instance, I had to learn the process of how you would turn human skin into a canvas, and then I had to put myself in the shoes of someone carrying out that process. It’s a small piece in the final draft, but it was enough to make me shudder as I got into that dude’s head.

Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
D.C.: In Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, it’s Charlie. Lisa would be a close second. Because they’re both leaders in an unassuming way. Quietly courageous, yet willing to do what it takes for their friends. Charlie is a quiet storm and Lisa is an intelligent girl, who is bold and loyal. I love those attributes about each of them.

The next two questions are for Michael:
What else do you have in the pipeline?
Without dropping titles, there are a few projects that we are working on alongside the Charlie Sullivan series and the KAOS stories. The one I’m looking forward to the most has been on the backburner since we started writing Charlie Sullivan and is something that I would consider a blend of gothic horror, steampunk, and dark fantasy.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?
The Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series is definitely young adult dark fantasy. KAOS Obsidere is the first dark fiction/horror title to be released under Dark Waters Press, our new imprint, and I would consider some of the stories within to be weird fiction.

Back to you D.C.:

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, yes! Stick together and work together, and CounciloftheHuntersCoverlearn to overcome differences. If we can do this, the world will be a stronger and healthier place to live! No bullying!
For KAOS, I think, even though it’s horror, it’s about looking at the world differently. Realizing there are very ugly things going on around us, but there is also hope. There is love. And we need to hold on to those things. It’s a brutal set of stories to be sure, but if you make it through and read the author notes, you’ll really be able to hear our hearts through the stories.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For the Charlie Sullivan series, it is a constant challenge to stay true to our target audience. It’s real easy to try to write for everybody. That’s not successful writing. We constantly have to remind ourselves that we are writing for “this” person and stay on target. I think that makes a stronger story.
For KAOS, it was an emotional and spiritual drain. So much of the stories are a very spiritual and emotional experience and I had to come up for air quite a bit while writing those. They are important stories though, so I had to get through them and then take a break from writing and ease back into it.

C.Michael McGannon, authorMichael, tell us about your approach to the writing craft:
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Pretty early on, between fourth and fifth grade. I’ve always told stories. As a kid, I was constantly drawing characters and monsters, and each one had a backstory, a mission, a personality… I wanted to turn them into movies. But around that gradeschool time, I realized that I enjoyed telling the story on my own, introverted as I was. Writing words on a page sounded a lot easier than trying to become a director.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hahaha, my obsession with chaos and order. In my creative cycle, I usually am trying to drive myself a little crazy, and that involves destroying my room, playing the absolute weirdest music I can manage to find at that moment, or creating fun and cryptic mindmaps for brainstorming. Then I try to exist in that state until the writing is finished. Afterward, I clean the heck out of the apocalyptic wasteland that is my room.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All the time. I try to never allow it to stop me, though. Even if what I write in the midst of that block is utter bullcrap, I’m still writing, getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper. Later on, I go back and scrap what I had written before and do it again, better, or if it’s usable then I can just refine what’s already there. Work through the struggle!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
If writing is truly what you want your career to be…don’t ever stop. Writing is not for everyone. This is not easy, it isn’t always fun (although most of the time it’s a crazy blast!), and just like any other career there will be days when you feel like a failure and want to throw in the towel. Don’t give up. Write with everything you have. Getting that story into a person’s hands is worth it, every time.

How about you D.C., what are your thoughts on the writing craft?
Did you have any teachers in school that encouraged you to write? What was their advice?
My fourth grade teacher encouraged me to write, but I don’t remember any specific advice beyond just do it. I mean, what are you going to tell a fourth grade boy. Haha!
My high school theatre teacher and chorus teacher were perhaps the most influential people in my academic life. Dani Dilks and Doc (Brian) Lanier. Those two will never know the impact they’ve had on me, though I’ll try to repay that. Both of them were rocks of encouragement for me, especially through some difficult storms in high school, and were always pushing me to dig deep creatively and live that out. Not just on stage, but in life. I appreciate their resolve and patience more than words can describe.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My children. And the opportunity that I had to write my first book with my oldest son. It’s been such a privilege as a father to get to do this!
Why do you write?
Because I love it, and I believe the art of the story is perhaps the most important gift to the human race. Sometimes, I feel we’ve lost the ability to share our stories, caught up with all the negativity in the world. But there’s so much good too, so I have hope. One day I hope it becomes a norm again that families and friends sit around the campfire or the evening dinner table and share their hearts, their stories, with each other.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?
I love you and thank you! Your words, meeting you, your reviews, your tears and laughter about these stories, are what keep my fires burning. It’s a privilege to write and I thank you for being that person who picks up one of our books and takes the time to read it. You are a hero!

Thanks Monster Guys! You’re the best!

Links for D.C.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
www.facebook.com/DCMcGannon
www.twitter.com/DCMcGannon
www.DCMcGannon.com
www.WyvernsPeak.com
www.DarkWatersPress.com
www.Goodreads.com/DCMcGannon

Author Interview of Robin Woods

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RobinWoods2014Welcome to my interview with novelist, Robin Woods, author of The Watcher Series.

Hello, Robin,

I’m glad you’re here! First some fun trivia – give me some juicy details…!

What’s on your reading list right now?
I just finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I loved it. I’m not ready to move onto another book yet. The world is still lingering in my head.

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
Spending time with my kids, seeing movies, listening to music, and crafting—there isn’t enough time in the day for all of the things I like to do!

What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?
Upbeat, passionate, motivated, down-to-earth, and organized.

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first?
Young & New Adult Section

Do you have a job other than being an author? If so, what is it?
I teach 11th grade English (American Literature), 12th grade English (British Literature), and am an adjunct college professor.

Please tell me about your novels.
The Watcher Series follows the journey of Aleria Hayes who is initially an average high The Unintended (Book 1)school student, but is quickly pulled into the world of the Watchers. The Unintended begins in her world, but by the second novel, she is away from everything familiar. The series becomes darker, sexier, and more action packed with each novel. I am a lover of unexpected twists and am not afraid to kill my darlings to raise the stakes. I have a strong mythology built into the series and weave Greek and Celtic mythology into my vampire lore.

What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write?
I am almost always listening to music. I have playlists for different types of scenes that I write. If I am writing an action scene, I tend to listen to dub step or electronica. Whereas, if I am writing something with raw emotional elements, I tend to listen to something instrumental.

What else do you have in the pipeline?
I am finishing up a few extras and shorts that go along with my series. I will be releasing them in an eBook entitled, Light & Shadow: The Watcher Series Extras. In addition to the eBook, I’m starting to work with a Hollywood producer to create a few novellas to be turned into scripts. We will see!

The Fallen CoverWhat genre do you consider your book(s)?
The series starts in Young Adult and technically ends in upper Young Adult/New Adult. They would be categorized as Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (though the story is more focused on her journey than the romance itself).

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I am a full-time plus English teacher and a wife/mother. I tend to write late at night and for a few hours on Saturday mornings while the kids are watching cartoons. I am very disciplined, and even if I only have a few minutes, I can produce something.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
1. Write everyday (even if it is only a paragraph).
2. Read, read, and read. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. Know what is happening in your genre and feed your soul.
3. Guard your writing time.
4. Be consistent.
5. Spend a little time on social media each day. Build a supportive community. Be generous.
6. Have your work professionally edited–by more than one editor (content and line-by-line editors).

What are your tips and tricks for other independent authors to get the word out about their books?
Build a platform branding yourself and not your books. You never know when you may write something in another genre. Spend a little time on social media each day. Blogging is also recommended, even if it only a couple of times per month. If you would like additional tips and some free resources there are more on my website—I try to give back to the community.

What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans?
Establish relationships with bloggers and other writers. Think of other writers as community and not competition.

What has been the biggest compliment given to you as an author?
A couple of college students told me that they are switching to English majors after reading my books and want to become writers. I don’t think there is a higher compliment.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?

My pacing is faster and my descriptions more streamlined. I have also refined my end of chapter hooks.

Are you a plotter, a planner, or do you prefer to dive right in?
I have a general outline, just five to ten bullet points with the main story arc. Then I write a few key scenes—the game changers. Afterwards, I go through and connect the dots from beginning to end.

Why do you write?RobinWoods
I have a story inside me and it needs to get out.

Big hugs, Robin and thanks so much for being here!

Links
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Official Site: http://RobinWoodsFiction.com/
Facebook
Twitter
Good Reads
Get her books here: Amazon USA
Tumblr
Pinterest
Google+

What Cheryllyn Dyess is up to now!

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Welcome back to the one and only Cheryllyn Dyess! Share with us… What’s new?
Cheryllynn DyessWhat is your favorite place to eat? Why? Right now it’s Chik-fil-a because I can eat almost anything on their menu and not have to worry about my food allergies. Being allergic to anything you enjoy eating is non-stop torture.
What is your favorite junk food vice? Cheetos, especially the jalapeno cheddar..yuuummmmyyyy
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do? Oh this is easy, Fishing! I love to fish, it could be my love for the outdoors and water that makes it so desirable but I do enjoy it.
Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it? I have a day job of sorts, I sell Avon. I actually started selling to fund my publishing budget and now do it to help fund the budget needs of the household. Its flexible and that I love, not that I get more writing time because I have found that selling Avon can keep you (well, me ) very busy. People love it. One day it will be nice to be able to write only for a job, but until then Avon is what I am doing.Kyluna Dyess
What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you? I usually don’t get weird or strange things asked but the one time I did I had to think twice before answering, a reader had asked if I were to put them in a book would their character be good or bad. I literally just stared at them as if they were talking in Greek to me; I was trying to find the best answer. When I did reply I told them they would die off early for sure! They didn’t ask me anything else.  🙂  Awesome answer. I get caught flat-footed too sometimes!
What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? Fantasy, Sci-Fi (but these are a given I would think) I enjoy paranormal with some thriller and suspense, a touch of romance but not too much. To me that is the perfect recipe for a great book.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? I believe my toughest critic to accept was the criticism on my main character. I was told the character was cold and unreachable. This was hard for me to accept because she is supposed to be that way in the beginning but as you read on in the series she really opens up and becomes more personal with the reader. My biggest compliment came from a review where they referred to my writing as having a poetic flow to it; that made me smile inside and out. I did not let either remark change how I wrote the next novel. I have a style of writing that is my own and although I try to better myself in grammar and structure if I were to change my style, well then it would not be mine anymore.
ResolutionWhat has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite? As with many authors the creation of the story and bringing it to life is the best part. I enjoy making new worlds; new people, plants and animals. Least favorite, OH this is easy…marketing! This is where the work really comes in to play and it is an all the time job.
When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other? I usually hit the laptop only, but in the recent months I have tried to the pen to paper method for a new novel. I must say it has a different feel to it when you write and scribble out words and put new ones in. Only rough part is reading what you wrote to get into the computer later. Shhh, don’t tell but I have the worst writing ever. Ha! I don’t believe it!
Why do you write? I write because I feel I have no choice. I have written for over 30 years and it seems like it just comes to me naturally to put words to paper and create. I feel free spiritually when I am writing, now I just share it with the world.
Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason? The dedication in Kyluna is to my Aunt Debbie. She always seems to be a strong woman who keeps her faith. She gives kind words of advice and always has shown me unconditional love. She is one of the few women in my life that has always been a wonderful example of how a mother, aunt, daughter should be to those around her. She reminds me of my grandmother (her mom).
Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it? Jein’s Journey was my way of putting this world’s troubles of acceptance into a new world that others could easily relate to without it being too close to home. In many ways the characters and underlying lessons are those we deal with daily. I was bullied a lot growing up – kids at school and at home (not many people know this about me). I really felt that no matter what I did growing up, it was never good enough for people to accept me as I am until I met my best friend that is. She loved me for who I was at any given moment of the day. My inspiration is really my own story with a twist.Calastan_CherylynnDyess_EcoverFinal
What else do you have in the pipeline? I am currently working on two different novels, A Witch’s Dream World and The Diamond Diaries. I anticipate them to be ready to share with the world in 2015.

And there you have it friends, a glimpse into the magical world of my author buddy, Cheryllynn Dyess!
You can find Cheryllyn @
http://amazon.com/author/cheryllynndyess
www.facebook.com/cdyesswrites
http://twitter.com/@cdyesswrites
http://cdyesswrites.blogspot.com
https://www.goodreads.com/cheryllynn_dyess

Author Interview with Danica Cornell of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network

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Author Interview with Danica Cornell of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network

Danica CornellThe Fantasy/Science Fiction Network (FSFN) is a collection of authors who write in the genre. They promote member authors and try to provide a connection between readers, authors, and their books.

1. What is your favorite place to eat? Why?

Thanks to my daughter, my current restaurant craze is Chipotle. It’s all her fault, I swear! LOL! Actually, this is a GOOD thing, especially since the food is not only delicious, but nutritious and reasonably priced.

2. What is your favorite junk food vice?
Hmm. Depending on the day, it’s a toss-up between movie theatre buttered popcorn or chocolate. On a particularly naughty nutritional day, I might have both at once!

3. What’s on your reading list right now?
The Power of Six by Nicholas C. Rossis. It’s a book consisting of six science fiction short stories. As a sci-fi writer myself, this is right up my alley!

4. We all have our little things when it comes to reading that bug us. What makes you DARK STAR I The Assassinscranky when you read a novel?
I can’t stand it when the first several chapters of a novel feel disjointed. I’ve read a couple of books that suffered from this very problem, and truthfully, it was hard to continue all the way through.

5. What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?
Socially-conscious; divergent-thinking; truth-seeking; caring; loyal; insightful; and inquisitive.

6. What does a typical day look like for you? On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
I write in some capacity six days per week – sometimes seven. Due to the long morning walks I take with my dog, Hugo, my work days usually begin at 9:00 a.m. Without these, I’d be settled in a good hour earlier, but I’ve learned that by spending quality time with him first thing (and tiring him out), he’s better behaved. This allows me to focus more on my craft, and less on his antics. LOL! I try to wrap my days up by 6:00 p.m., but due to the numerous hats I wear as both a writer and nanotechnology start-up owner, this isn’t always possible.

 

On the weekends, in between the normal things we all have to tend to, I enjoy gardening, swimming, hiking, experimenting with new recipes, going to the movies,
and going out to eat. I’m usually found hanging out with my family or friends. Of course, my dog is close by, whenever possible.

7. What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?

I’d say my favourite part has been both the writing itself and all the wonderful new friends I’ve made. My least favourite part is all the time spent on learning the behind-the-scenes technical aspects of setting up websites, etc.

8. Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?

My novel, which will be released this year, is entitled DARK STAR I: The Assassins. It’s the first in my science fiction/fantasy series and takes place in the year 2045, when a cruel twist of fate puts the fate of humanity in the hands of one woman. Dubbed the Department of Defense’s “Dame of Death,” Dr. Rachel Cohen is a beautiful nanotechnology engineer who seems to have it all – fame, smarts, and access to a billion dollar fortune. That is until her world is unexpectedly turned upside down. Without warning, Rachel finds herself grappling with the murders of those closest to her while being hunted by an impossible-to-detect enemy. Now a fugitive, she must rely on a man with a sordid past to help her save humankind from extinction. There’s just one problem. The only way to do this is to embrace the darkness within her – something Rachel has spent her entire life fighting against.

My inspiration for this story came from three different sources: My studies of Judaism; my work in nanotechnology business development; and my background in psychology.

To be clear, I am not Jewish. I simply studied about the Jewish religion and culture several years ago, which is how I came up with DARK STAR’s protagonist, Dr. Rachel Cohen. My work in nanotechnology dovetails perfectly with science fiction, and my BA in Psychology is immensely helpful in creating and developing my characters. Actually, character development is a big thing with me.

9. Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
My book is dedicated to my husband and daughter because frankly, after all the hours I’ve spent writing and editing, (as opposed to doing things with them), it’s the very least I could do! LOL!

10. Why do you write?

Mainly because I want to entertain readers. But the truth is that I also hope to open a dialogue about the directions technology and society are taking as we head deeper into the 21st century.

Links

Danica’s Website: http://www.danicacornell.com
Danica’s Blog: http://danica-cornell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

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The Fantasy/Science Fiction Network (FSFN) is a collection of authors, bloggers, and reviewers who are passionate about finding and creating quality fantasy/ sci-fi books which are also teen safe (G, PG or PG-13 rated).   The FSF Network believes it is possible to create fantastic works of fantasy and science fiction without resorting to graphic violence, explicitly harsh language , or sex.

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/FSFNet

FSFN website:  http://fsfnet.com/