It’s Raymond Bolton!

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Raymond BoltonWelcome to my interview with novelist, Raymond Bolton, author of The Ydron Saga.
Hello, Raymond,
Lauren- I’m glad you’re here! First some fun trivia! What is your favorite place to eat?
Raymond- When the weather’s right, I prefer an outdoor table at Manzana’s in Lake Oswego, Oregon. They have an almost unimpeded view of the lake, fine food, including fresh, river caught local salmon and steel head trout when they’re running, reasonable prices and a bar stocked with my favourite scotches and bourbons, not to mention King Estate Pinot Gris.
Lauren- I will have to try Manzana’s! Any movies that you really want to see?
Raymond-I’m dying to see the Martian. I read the book and if they adhere to the premise, without much deviation, it could be a riveting watch.
Lauren- Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
Raymond- Once upon a time, I used to enjoy soaring. I just found there is a glider port within 45 minutes of my house. Once we’ve finished settling in—we’ve been in our new digs for just over a year and I think another six moths should just about do it—I’m going to mosey on over and see what it will take to renew my license.
Lauren- What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
Raymond- (1) Well-crafted, compact prose that flows, (2) a story line that picks up and moves from the outset, (3) an unusual concept
Lauren- What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?
Raymond- Driven, organized, humorous, sincere, loving… not necessarily in that order.
Lauren- Now could you answer some general questions about your current writing projects (WIP).
Raymond- I am currently working hard to complete the first draft of Foretellers, the third volume of The Ydron Saga, the second of Awakening’s prequel trilogy. It is set in the land of Ydron, 250 years prior to the time the time the story of Awakening unfolds, a time referred to as The Great Conflict, a period when all the lands are at war. The warlord, Obah Sitheh, Regilius’ (Awakening’s protagonist) earliest known predecessor, is struggling against overwhelming odds to keep his people free from the tyrant, Hath Kael, when a small group of individuals with super cognitive abilities come to his assistance, begging the question “will they be enough to turn the tables in his favor?”
I expect to release it during the first quarter of 2016.
Lauren- What else do you have in the pipeline? Foretellers Bolton
Raymond- Aside from Telekine, which will wrap up the saga, I have sown the seed of an unrelated work, a YA urban fantasy I’m calling Folder, the story of a young man who can alter both present and future events, albeit with unpredictable and therefore dangerous results.
Lauren- What genre do you consider your book(s)?
Raymond- They are what I call sci-fi/fantasy genre benders because they tread the line between each of them.
Lauren- Tell us about your approach to the writing craft. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Raymond- I have a full-time day job as a hair stylist. Because I’m self-employed, I can alter my schedule to suit my needs. However, since my clients require a certain degree of predictability and I prefer to write in the morning, I often have to cut my writing short. As you can imagine, this can be frustrating when a particular chapter wants to pick up and run.
Lauren- Oh my gosh, I feel you on that one. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Raymond- Without a doubt, I pick Dan Simmons, author of the Hyperion series.
Lauren- Do you write an outline before every book you write?
No I don’t. There are two breeds of writer: plotters and pantsers. Plotters outline their plots before they put down a word. Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants. Two notable pantsers are Douglas Preston and Stephen King.
Lauren- “Pantser,” Some times I write by the seat of my pants too. What is your favorite motivational phrase or positive saying?
Raymond- I follow the Ashanti proverb: Act as if you cannot fail.
Links
Learn more here: http://www.raymondbolton.com/
Like him here: https://www.facebook.com/RaymondBoltonAuthor
Follow him here: https://twitter.com/RaymondBolton
Buy his books here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7690905.Raymond_Bolton
http://www.amazon.com/Raymond-Bolton/e/B00HMY0B6U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1443984119&sr=1-2-ent

Lauren and Raymond

Please meet PJ Webb, author!

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Welcome to my interview with novelist, PJ Webb, author of the Prince of the Blood Series and the Cliff House Series.

Hello, PJ, I’m glad you’re here! PJ Webb

Hi, Lauren, thanks for having me. 

First some fun trivia – give me some juicy details…!

Do you have a favorite book or film?

Yes my very favorite film is Somewhere in Time. In fact, my husband and I named our boat Somewhere in Time.

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?

I love boating. When you’re out on the water anything to do with everyday life just seems to fade away.

What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?

Fiery, compassionate, stubborn, quirky, diligent. My husband would also say annoying. My answer to him is that that’s my true purpose in life, to annoy him.

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

PRINCE OF THE BLOOD TransformationMy first novel and the one that started my writing career is Prince of the Blood – Transformation, so it will always be very dear to me not only because it’s my first, but because of events in my life that led me to write it. It was born out of a desire not to stay up all night worrying about events that were unfolding in my life that were beyond my control. You see, my husband and I were about to lose everything we owned, including what was a very lucrative business, because of the recession and in spite of our tremendous effort to save it. So, I began to write a story about a character who lost everything and managed to cope with that loss and reinvent himself in the process. Not only did I spend my nights doing something constructive, but the story I was telling and the strength of my main character, Sebastian, actually helped to heal the enormous depression I felt.

Way to turn things around!  I’m proud of you!  Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?

My first novel and every novel in the Prince of the Blood Series is dedicated to my Sebastian, my awesome husband, Scott. The only thing we had managed to save before leaving New York was our 36’ cabin cruiser, Somewhere In Time. Our intention had been to drive it to Florida, where my husband’s brother lives, but we broke down and ended up in New Bern, NC. We spent fifteen months living on board and met so many wonderful and caring people that we decided to stay. My husband started a new business and we’ve moved off the boat into our new home. He, by some source of great strength, was able to reinvent himself and move on, and I am still involved in helping him and continue to write.

What else do you have in the pipeline?

Thanks for asking, Lauren, the first book in my new paranormal fiction series, Cliff House, should be released before the end of August and is named Lora Lee.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

Oh, yes! All of them, in fact I take on their personalities as I’m writing them and whisper read each ones dialogue.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I suppose Anne Rice. The first book I ever read of hers was “The Interview with the Vampire”. I was mesmerized by her writing style and still am.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I feel the most important thing I can possibly tell them is to make sure they have a PRINCE OF THE BLOOD   Evolutionperfect job of editing before they put their work out there. You can have the most original story ever and if it’s not well edited, you won’t have anything except bad reviews.

What is the most frustrating thing you have had to deal with as a writer? Most exciting?

The most frustrating thing I would have to say is not having enough time to write and the most exciting is to read a good review from someone who escaped into my fantasy world and was entertained.

Thank you so much for the interview, Lauren. I really appreciate it. 

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

TWITTER @PletchaPJWebb

FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/PJ.Webb.author

FACEBOOK AUTHORS PAGE https://www.facebook.com/PJ.Webb.auth.pg?ref=hl

GOOGLE + http://bit.ly/1EAbwmd

My Work:

PART ONE – PRINCE OF THE BLOOD – TRANSFORMATION

Imagine fate putting you in all the right places at all the right times. Love, success, even stardom have been given to you and you embrace them with passion, but the path of your destiny has many twists and turns. Sebastian Blood had just such a life until it was stolen by his most jealous and ardent admirer. He then found himself thrust into a dark underworld where he was forced to suffer unspeakable horror. Will the one who cursed him for eternity destroy his immortal life, as well? The Prince of the Blood Vampire Chronicles is a work of historical fiction and a paranormal fantasy crisscrossing centuries.

Available at AMAZON http://amzn.to/1Ksb0Ml and has 9 FIVE STAR REVIEWS, as well as a FIVE STAR RATING by READER’S FAVORITE https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/prince-of-the-blood …

PART TWO- PRINCE OF THE BLOOD – EVOLUTION

As Sebastian Blood, he lived a life of fame and wealth—an open book to his adoring fans and with the love of his mortal life by his side.

As Sebastian Du Sang, his life is one of infamy and revulsion—a figure cloaked in mystery and with only one constant—the love of his immortal life.

One reality for another as luck would have it. The devastating blow of fate. And, what will he do with this new and horrific beginning? He will rise above it

NEW RELEASE Available at AMAZON http://amzn.to/1COtfsE 

 

Interview with Author Tamara Ferguson

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02author pic 3-best-2-8-228 largerIf I could, Lauren, I’d like to tell you about my new story Two Hearts Surrendered, which is featured in the Magical Weddings Anthology – due to be released on June 16.
The first thing that popped into my head when I was asked if I’d like to contribute a story was this: why not try writing something a little different from what I’m accustomed to? Military stories are very popular these days. But with some of the terrible things happening in the world today, what I wanted was to get into the head of my character, who was returning home as a wounded warrior. Luke Bryant had struggles to begin with – he was abused as a child. It’s my heroine’s ability to believe in their love and to stand by his side, even though my hero is effectively attempting to shut Kelly Callahan out of his life – that eventually leads them to an enchanting happily-ever-after.
Here’s our blurb for the anthology:MagicalWeddings3D (1)
From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.
Our headliner is Leigh Michaels, a national bestselling author who’s written over 100 novels. Leigh’s story is a lovely historical romance – Her Wedding Wager – about a heroine whose future is dependent on a bet. Aileen Harkwood has been coordinating this project, and her contribution is The Last Wedding At Drayhome – an enchanting story about a witch and warlock – and a love too long denied. Eve Devon’s captivating love story, The Dress, spans time – through a dress weaved with magic, while USA Today bestselling author Raine English has written Second Chance Bride, a charming story about a bride who just might’ve chosen the wrong groom – as communicated by a telepathic rescue dog!
The other highly talented, USA Today, best-selling, and award-winning authors featuring stories are: Lynda Haviland, Jody A. Kessler, Jane Lark, Bess McBride, L.L. Muir, Jennifer Gilby Roberts, Jan Romes, Heather Thurmeier, Elsa Winckler, and Sarah Wynde.

I can’t tell you how I excited I am to be part of this group!
Having gotten to know you, I’d say you’ve earned your spot! Congratulations, Tamara!!!

Right now, Magical Weddings is available for pre-order at only 99c. It’s already reached bestseller status at Amazon – at #3 for Hot New Releases, and #14 for anthologies!

Magical Weddings is available at:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1F79wCB
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magical-weddings-leigh-michaels/1122015285?ean=2940151303484
iBooks: http://apple.co/1F7a2Ao
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1F79Y3Q
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1F7a8rY

twoheartssurendered2 (1)Now let me share with you what I learned about Tamara Ferguson.
Favorite book or film?
Random Harvest (with Greer Garson & Ronald Coleman)

Why?
Besides the fact that I’ve loved old movies my entire life, with the suspense and romance, this one has it all. There’s a twisted plot; the couple fall in love and Coleman can’t remember his past. Coleman’s in an accident and develops amnesia again – this time remembering his former life and returning to it. But eventually – of course! – the couple find love with each other again.

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
That’s a no-brainer – gardening. But I’ve been so busy, my yard is looking like a jungle these days!

What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?
I think romance suspense will always be my favorite to write. Even my new adult romances involve a mystery – the stories just seem too simple otherwise. I’ve always loved reading romance and suspense too. But what’s funny is, I have to be in a certain mood to read a different genre. When I was young, I loved light and funny. But these days, it kind of bores me, and I need to read something deeper and more intense.

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 use both! I write up my outline in a college ruled notebook, and add to it – by detailing my chapters with one or two lines as I move along through the story. It’s the only way I can stay on track, cause I tend to wander off into different directions, as I consider what’s next ( and with whom ) in the next novel of each series. I prefer writing with the computer, of course. But I always carry a small notebook – ideas seem to pop up in my mind at the strangest times.

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?
No doubt about it, I’m a much better writer! I’ve become more articulate with practice. My sentence structure used to twist up quite a bit and I had to do a lot of heavy-duty proofing. But now the right words and new ideas for the next novel are spinning through my mind even when I’m not actually writing.

What draws you to this genre?
I was never as enthused with contemporary romance as I was with historical when I began reading it. I finally figured out that, to me, it just wasn’t as romantic! So, I guess, I decided that I wanted to write contemporary romance because I wanted to make my stories more romantic than the authors I was reading – and more like what I would want to read myself!

Are you a plotter / planner or do you prefer to dive right in?
I do a little of both – I begin with a simple outline and plot. Usually I have the story in my mind already, and begin by writing my epilogue, and setting a scene from the past. Many times conflictions in the past are what greatly affect my characters’ future, as well as challenging their ability to make a commitment and fall in love! Rather than expose too much information about my characters at the beginning, I like to reveal bits and pieces moving forward. And I do like to trick the reader a little – my favorite characters to develop are those who appear to be unlikable on the outside, but actually have redeeming qualities on the inside. Maybe because they were abused or molested . . . usually there’s a reason for their attitude or behavior? I guess because I search for the best in people, I want my reader to be able to find it as well.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
On the surface, my writing appears simplistic – but I write a complicated story! I put a lot of depth into my characters’ backgrounds, and my heroes and heroines, in particular, never have it easy. Through the story, there are challenges aplenty to overcome before they can finally reach their happily-ever-after. I’ll never write a story without an HEA! I want my reader to finish my story feeling positive (and maybe even with a smile on their face.)

Why do you write?
I’m one of those crazy people who just decided to write. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. But even back when I was a teenager, once I finished reading a book, I remember thinking about how I would change the story to make it better! And, most particularly, the mysteries—I seemed to always be able to pick out the villain.
And I’m a full-time caregiver to a severely autistic and mentally impaired son who has Type I Diabetes. Once he graduated from school and I discovered his vocational programming wasn’t going through because of Illinois’ budget cuts, I was somewhat overwhelmed when I realized my life would probably never be my own again. (There’s a twenty year waiting period for placement into an institution equipped to handle his type of problems.) And now there’s the potential for an even worse problem – our new governor is trying to cut out programs and funding for my son and others like him! At the back of my mind, I’ve been hoping to become a successful writer so that I’d have another source of income to fall back on since I can’t work away from home now.
Plus writing occupies my mind. It keeps me from considering the what if’s. No matter how difficult my circumstances are, there is always someone out there who has it much worse. And here I am, now, beginning to experience moderate success as a writer.

What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why?
Music has always been a big inspiration in my life. I sang in a choir from the time I was nine as a first soprano, was a madrigal in high school( we won a first in our state) and even sang through my freshman year in college. And I have a little secret – my Tales of the Dragonfly stories?- they were ALL created with the inspiration of particular songs (Foreigner, Journey, Maroon 5, Jefferson Starship + MORE!)

What else do you have in the pipeline?
I’m inventing my next Kissed by Fate Story – That Unexpected Kiss – while I’ve been working on my next installment of Romantic Suspense – Tales of the Dragonfly Book III: Emergence. This is the story of Lucy Callahan, the eighteen-year old girl who was kidnapped and assaulted in Book I: In Tandem. The members of the human trafficking ring who were responsible for capturing her have remained at-large. It’s nearly a year later, and Lucy’s still having troubles recovering from her ordeal when she realizes she’s being stalked by the man who raped her. Her inner strength shines through when she assists the FBI and confronts her rapist – while falling in love with the former FBI agent who’s acting as her bodyguard. Lucy lives and works in Gabe Giordano’s home, as his seven-year old daughter’s nanny, while attending the college where Gabe is a professor.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Blog: https://tammysdragonfly.wordpress.com/
Websites:http://www.TalesOfTheDragonflyTheBook.com
http://www.KissedByFate.com
Twitter @Tammysdragonfly https://twitter.com/Tammysdragonfly                          Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tamara-Ferguson/579374595502809
https://www.facebook.com/KissedByFate?ref=hl

Google+: https://plus.google.com/108952992124602192038/posts?hl=en
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/tamara-ferguson/94/a05/946
Email:Tammysdragonfly@gmail.com

Interview with Novelist Effrosyni Moschoud

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Welcome to my interview with novelist Effrosyni Moschoudi, author of The Lady of the Pier trilogy.
The first part, The Ebb, is only 99c on Amazon US at the moment and until May 31st. This is an ABNA Q-Finalist, a sweet romance with a paranormal twist that will enthuse romantic souls out there. Hurry and download a copy while the offer lasts!

frosso pic1Hello, Effrosyni,
I’m glad you’re here! First some fun trivia – give me some juicy details…! What is your favorite junk food vice?
A – Greek souvlaki of course, preferably chicken with pita bread – yum!

Q- Do you have a favorite book or film?
A – I have many favorites so I’ll choose one at random from each:
Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Film: Dead Poets Society by Peter Weir

Q – Any movies that you really want to see?
A – That’s easy. The next one starring Robert Pattinson. He is the only actor that I will watch in any movie, no matter what it is, as I am such a huge fan. He has done two really bad movies in my opinion, both by Cronenberg, but some gems too, like Bel Ami and Remember Me. Luckily the next one out is bound to be wonderful: Queen of the Desert with co-stars Nicole Kidman and James Franco. Can’t wait!

Q – What’s on your reading list right now?
A – A bunch of awesome reads by indie authors, most of them co-members of the writer’s group eNovel Authors at Work. I also have a couple of non-indie books lined up, like the latest from Kate Morton and Victoria Hislop.

20150321_100358Q – Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
A – Swim and sunbathe. I love the sea. Even in the winter, I need to feel near it, so whenever I have time, I’ll walk along the shore or in our local marina.

 

Q – Now for some general questions about your current writing. Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
lady of the pier, ebb no strap 533x800A – The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb is dedicated to my grandparents and I wrote the book as a tribute to them. Although the plot is a work of fiction, it is peppered with autobiographical elements. Like my character Sofia, I used to spend my summers in Corfu with my grandparents. I was an overprotected daughter and yearned for freedom, just like her. I have a myriad of blissful memories from my summers in Corfu. My readers tell me the descriptions are so vivid it feels like you’re there too. It pleases me immensely to hear that.

Q – What else do you have in the pipeline?
A – I am currently working on the sequels of The Lady of the Pier trilogy. The Flow (book 2) is in the last edits stage and will be published this summer. I am nearly done writing The Storm (book 3) as well and this will be published later this year. Once The Storm is written, I’ll start working on a chick lit story and a children’s story too. Last, I’ll be translating The Necklace of Goddess Athena into Greek as to try and sell it in this country, also to allow my family members to read it; my teenage nieces especially, who keep asking!

Q – Tell us a little bit about your approach to the writing craft.  What books have most influenced your life? NECKLACE OF ATHENA533x800
A – Books of esoteric philosophy and self-help. I have been working with myself for the past thirty years, trying to shape my thinking and my character in a way I choose as to find peace and happiness. The greatest achievement for man, I believe, is to master one’s mind, i.e. to learn to control your own thinking. So many people are victimized by the chatterbox of negativity inside their heads. I used mind control methods and meditation to get rid of it and my life has improved dramatically ever since. I’ve also learned to forgive through these practices and to practice gratitude every day. To name the three books that have helped me live a happy life the most, I’ll mention The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder and Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping.

Q –  What are your tips and tricks for other independent authors to get the word out about their books?
A – Reviews don’t sell books, and neither do posts on Twitter and Facebook. From what I have seen, two things only can grant you sales: 1) writing more books: The more you have out there, the more you’re getting heard 2) Doing promotion and advertising. No matter how long you spend on social media and writing blog posts, that won’t get you anywhere. Actually, if I had to choose one, I’d say putting more books out there is #1. After a while, the books almost sell themselves, especially when the Phoenix Effect kicks in, i.e. when your fans start buying your older books because they loved your latest.

Q – Why do you write?
A – Why does the fish swim? Why does the bird fly? A writer can’t help writing any more than these creatures can help doing these things. I think a true writer is born and not made. They pick up a pen as soon as they learn the alphabet and start writing, just like that. They don’t choose it, and they don’t need a reason to write.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
http://www.effrosyniwrites.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/effrosyni
http://www.twitter.com/frostiemoss
https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi
https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi
http://www.pinterest.com/efrosinimoschou/

A Big Warm Welcome to Laurie Bell!

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A big warm welcome to the one and only… Laurie Bell!

Laurie 3“I’m a writer, blogger and all round creative nut.
I muse and ramble and write whatever I feel like… Visit my blog www.solothefirst.wordpress.com, head on over to Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell or visit me on Twitter @LaurienotLori

I love a good prompt, love an interactive audience and love to write serials, novels and anything in between. I’m a huge movie/television buff and I think Joss Whedon is a genius!”

What is your favorite place to eat? Why?

Anywhere that is out and someone has cooked for me! I am an awful cook. It is my aim in life to not have to cook for myself!

I’m still waiting. Therefore my favorite place to eat out is a little restaurant about ten minutes from my house. A little Italian place that I love. They have the most amazing deserts!! Ahem and meals, the main meals are terrific too. Did I mention the deserts?

What is your favorite junk food vice?

Aha, chocolate and coffee. Honestly, I am not picky, any type of chocolate I will eat it. But I do prefer Australian Cadbury (I make the distinction because I have lived overseas and there IS a difference.) And I have a real weakness for Easter eggs. Yeah my fridge is usually full of eggs a good month before Easter and at least a month afterwards!

What does a typical day look like for you? On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?

Typical day? Work unfortunately but one must pay the bills. At every opportunity I can be found writing in a little notepad or parked in front of the TV catching up on all the shows I missed during the week. It’s all research of course! In fact the best advice I ever read was an interview with Joss Whedon who actually said that. Everything you watch, read, do, experience can be considered research. (I’m paraphrasing of course.) As for a weekend? Well typically either out with the boyfriend or in front of the TV. If I’m not catching up with friends and their babies, I am out at a café by myself. If I am out by myself I can usually be found with a notebook writing away on my next story.

Favorite book or film? Why?

Well, these are two very different questions.

Favorite Movie is tricky – because there are so many, though at the moment it would be The Avengers – Joss Whedon. Seriously, my writing hero, you might have guessed that huh?

Book? Well, I guess my favorite would be Cyclops by Clive Cussler. I think I have read it several times. It just stays with me. Great tension in the action scenes… even more in the waiting for the action scenes. Dirk Pitt Bathtub – is all I’m saying.

What’s on your reading list right now?

Soooo much, I’m not sure I’ll get to it all. Book four of the Secret Watcher series! Haha but also several new books by friends who are authors (or soon will be) some amazing work coming out…. Keep an eye on Helen Valentina, and Linh Nguyen-Ng.

Oooo and I recently read a book called Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith… Very fun – I’m looking forward to book two.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

If I can get lost in it. I think that’s probably the most important thing and if I can hear the character’s voices in my head. If I can continue the dialogue in my head after I’ve finished a book then I know it’s a great book!

Who is your favorite author?

I have a few – a lot of friends of course. I would change the question slightly and say my favourite writer is Joss Whedon (I’m sure I’ve mentioned that) Ha ha. I have a whole room of bookshelves at home. And you can find every style of book within. I guess the authors I am most sure of buying when I see a new release would be Clive Cussler and Janet Evanovich.

What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?

Creative, fun, nuts, professional, weird, Introvert, Extrovert. (You would think those last two can’t go together but I think they do. I am a very loud, chatty person in public and can make people laugh but I also love my alone time and can sit at home in front of my tv for days on end too.)

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first? Why?

Scifi/Fantasy. But I can and will spend hours walking around a bookstore. I cover every area from young adult to kids, picture books to new releases, adult to romance. I spend two hours a day on the train. It gives me a lot of reading time. If I’m not writing on the train I am reading. I love books.

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?

Still working. Am yet to publish though I do have two books at the editor right now. Keep an EYE out for White Fire and Blood Fever by ME.

I work as a PA (personal assistant) to an IT manager in an insurance company. Funnily enough I also volunteer at my local theatre, and often work as assistant to the director… I seem to assist a lot!

What do you do when you are not writing?

Reading, reading and more reading, a lot of TV and movies too… As Joss Whedon says, everything is research! And I’m very lazy, so yeah, TV mostly! haha, oooh and eating out, I’ve mentioned that before right?

Are you a plotter / planner or do you prefer to dive right in?

Ooooh, both actually. I roughly jot out chapters on sticky notes and then going off two or three points just start writing.

What am I working on?

Well I have two books I am working on at the moment. Two different series of Science Fiction/Action. Very Female James Bond meets Star Wars with a very Guardians of the Galaxy feel. One is a YA the other is a little darker and older.

Which is your favorite character in your book and why?

Mate, He is an android canine and the partner to my heroine. He is just my favourite character! I love his “Voice” and his loyalty.

Interview with the one and only ROBERT SHAW!

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Robert Shaw Interview!

A big warm welcome to Robert Shaw!Robert Shaw

First some fun trivia – give me some juicy details…!  What is your favorite place to eat?  Why?  I’m currently stuck in Australia and have no favorite eatery here. But in Los Angeles it’s hands down a Mexican (El Indio) restaurant called Gilbert’s which is in on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. Best Huevos Rancheros in the world!

What is your favorite junk food vice?  The McDonald’s Angus Deluxe in L.A. – in Australia the Quarter Pounder.

         What does a typical day look like for you? On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?  Well, I hate to harp on about being stuck in Australia but right now that’s my lot and I really have no social life here. I live at my little sister’s house in the outer regions of a seaside town, it’s miles from anywhere even remotely interesting! I have no car of my own so most days I’m stuck at the house. Luckily I have my writing to keep me busy. When I was in L.A., on Saturday mornings I would meet friends for breakfast at a greasy spoon diner called Teddy’s Café and talk about writing and movies and such. On Sunday’s I would always meet my oldest friend in Los Angeles for breakfast at the aforementioned Gilbert’s and talk about everything. I really miss those mornings. After breakfast on either day I would go off and run my errands, do chores and then of course sit down and do the ever important writing.   

Girlfriend Trouble Favorite book or film?   Why?  It’s hard to pick a single favorite book or movie – there are so many that I love. But if I had to choose a book I would say – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It’s written in a wonderfully modernistic style and is an adventure/mystery as well as a great social commentary of the times it’s set in, almost like a window to the past. And it features a strong and capable heroine who goes through great difficulties and comes out the winner. This is my favorite sort of female lead character – the kind I always try to create in my own novels. I can’t pin down a favorite movie. I have many favorites ranging from the serious like Amistad to the ridiculous like Dude Where’s My Car – I know, crazy right? But that is an extremely funny and surprisingly clever move.  

Any movies that you really want to see?  Nothing upcoming.  I’ve lost interest in new movies, they’re almost always disappointing and I no longer get excited about going out to see them like I did in my younger years. It’s tough to get me to commit to going to a new movie these days. I prefer to watch films on DVD that I’ve already seen and know are good.  

  What’s on your reading list right now?  I don’t have a list per se. Books in Australia are ridiculously expensive, sometimes thirty bucks for a paperback you wouldn’t pay ten bucks for in L.A. I tend to search for used books in thrift stores and grab whatever catches my fancy. Currently I’m reading Fire on Dark Water by Wendy Perriman, Comanche Moon by McMurtry, Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake, the latest in the Deathlands series by James Axler and I plan to start the second Secret Watchers book as soon as I’ve got all those out of the way. I’d like to focus on that one by itself.   

We all have our little things when it comes to reading that bug us.  What makes you cranky The Scarewhen you read a novel?  Not having peace and quiet and time to read uninterrupted. But if you mean in the actual book itself there’s not really anything stylistically that bothers me with the exception of one book I recently tried to read and couldn’t stand – it was called The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl. I found it to be pretentious, confusing and not exceptionally well-written as the blurbs led me to believe. I took a look at Pearl’s bio and saw that he was an Ivy League boy and I believe that’s the only reason he’s published by a big publisher. It’s very rare that I read someone else’s book and think my own are just as good or better (I usually doubt my own writing a great deal) but in Pearl’s case I felt my books were just as deserving of a “big house” publishing deal as his and it really bugged me that I remain undiscovered.  

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?  Watch DVDs of movies I love or old TV shows I loved as a teen. I’m a pretty boring guy.   

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?  Obviously the genre has to strike my fancy first, and after that it has to have a main character whom I really like from the get go and whom I come to care about and want to see win and survive. Now that I’m older it’s harder for me to find books that grab me. When I was younger I loved fantasy, sword & sorcery, horror and sci-fi but nowadays I can’t really stand that stuff. I love to find a really great YA book (Secret Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Holes, Runaway, Anne of Green Gables, Secret Watchers), great historical fiction (The Devil’s Company, any Dickens or Wilkie Collins, The Gallows Thief) westerns (Deadwood, Gone to Texas, St. Agnes’ Stand, The Missing), action/adventure (Deathlands series), thrillers (Runaway Jury, Black Dahlia, Robert Parker’s Jesse Stone series). I don’t think Grisham’s style is great but his stories do tend to grab me.    

Who are your favorite authors?  Well, I guess Dickens and Wilkie Collins, Charlotte Bronte, L.M. Montgomery, Steinbeck, Robert McCammon, Robert Parker and Rebecca Skloot. There are quite a few but I can’t think of them all right now.  

What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?  I know you mean good and positive words, right? That’s always hard for me as I’m usually self-deprecating, but I guess I’m compassionate, loyal, reliable, trustworthy, witty, charming and shy (in certain circumstances) – heck, actually I can think of quite a few more than 7. What a surprise for me!   

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first? Why?  Are there any booktores left? I haven’t been to one in almost 2 years (stuck in the sticks in Australia, remember?). When I was a teen it was the sci-fi and fantasy section.  But as I grew older I’d usually go to the general fiction section at Barnes & Noble and scour the shelves for whatever grabbed my fancy.  

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 wish I’d quit my job because I made enough money from writing! But no, I was laid off from my job at DreamWorks Studios due to “austerity measures” imposed by the investors because a bunch of the movies released while I was there didn’t do well (War Horse, I Am Number Four, the remake of Fright Night, Cowboys & Aliens, Real Steel to name a few). And when “Austerity Measures” are imposed by investors it usually means getting rid of the folks who are paid peanuts (like I was) and keep throwing ridiculous sums of money to the people writing the bad scripts and making the films that tank. But I guess that’s the game the studios are in – spit-balling and hoping something sticks and does well. While I was at DreamWorks they were developing The Hunger Games with Nina Jacobson, but Spielberg decided he didn’t want to make a movie in which kids kill each other – so they went with I Am Number Four, which they hoped would be the next big franchise. If they’d kept The Hunger Games I’d still be there. I don’t currently have a job in Australia. I only recently got permission to work and so far all my experience in the film and TV industry doesn’t seem to have qualified me to do anything in this country. I’m really quite concerned. And quite broke.  

What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?  I haven’t been asked anything at all by any readers. Judging from my book sales figures and dearth of reviews, I don’t think I have many readers. Or if I do not many of them write reviews. I don’t blame them. I’m not big on writing reviews either – and I hate synopsising anything! I guess the most annoying question (or conversation) I get into – not with readers but with those folks who “want to be writers” – is when they learn that I’m a writer (always from someone else) and they have a “great idea for a book” and they want me to write it. Whenever I run into this problem I tell them I think their idea is great and that they should write a sixty-page treatment and send it to me so I can do the novel. At that point their eyes glaze over and they run for the bar.

Links  Where can people learn more about you and your work? 

My blog: http://wwwuselyssesblogspot.blogspot.com.au/

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/shawrobert

On Twitter: http://Twitter.com/OzBritUS

General Questions About Your Approach to the Writing Craft  What are your tips and tricks for other independent authors to get the word out about their books?  Gosh, I really don’t know. I don’t even know how to get the word out about my own books. I go on Twitter but it doesn’t net much in the way of sales. I do sell the odd copy now and then so I suppose Twitter is doing something – but I think that when I get invited to do interviews like this, and people read it, that might actually lead to more interest in my books than the Tweets with quotes or links. I guess the one piece of advice I will give anyone is don’t pay someone to promote your books. Don’t fall for the old “we can sell your book if you pay us two grand” line. It’s always b.s. – if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

 What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?  So far I’ve written teen horror, YA romantic comedy and a sci-fi western – each being an adaptation of scripts I wrote. I guess my favorite of them is the teen horror. I can do that again. I’m not keen to do another YA romance or western. I do love vampire stories but there are so many out there that it seems pointless to do one. I have a great idea for a vampire story though so I will get round to it eventually.

 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?  The Kirkus review for The Scare probably had the toughest criticism – something about a tedious torrent of overwriting – but I agree with it. The Scare is overwritten, but it’s darned good overwriting even if I do say so myself. The Kirkus reviewer was even-handed though and also gave The Scare some great compliments. But I think the biggest compliments have come from my oldest friend – he’s a lawyer and I thought he’d be the most critical – but he loves my writing and says that I deserve to be published. I was blown away. It’s great to hear that. None of it changed how I wrote though – my style is my style and I don’t want to try and tailor it in any particular way. I just hope it improves on its own the more I write.

 What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?  I’m not joking or being facetious when I say this, but my favorite and least favorite parts of being an author are the same thing: the writing. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. I think I put it like this in another interview: sometimes it flows and sometimes it blows. There are times when I am so confident and inspired by what I’m writing that I think I can’t possibly fail. And yet there are times when I am overwhelmed with self-doubt and feel I cannot go on. I simply have no idea what to write next or how to write it. Thank God those moments pass and I do go on. It also helps to know that guys like Steinbeck had those same doubts. Stephen King does too – he says to ignore them and keep going. So I do.

 What is the most frustrating thing you have had to deal with as a writer? Most exciting?  In the creative sense it’s all in the answer above. In the business sense it’s when I’ve found someone who says they can get my book published and I’ve wasted time and money on them only to find out that they are no better connected than me. They can’t do anything for me. My experience in the film business has taught me that if I can get someone on the phone, that person cannot help me. The one’s who can really help? You can’t get them on the phone. Not getting a fair crack at a deal simply because you don’t know the right person, or do know them but not well enough for them to bother helping, is very frustrating. I’ve seen people get deals because they went to the same Ivy League school with the right person. It sounds like sour grapes but I’m just citing what I’ve seen happen. And yeah, it burns me. The most exciting things have been when I had Robert Carradine interested in making Girlfriend Trouble into a movie. I had Irene Ng – the star of Nickelodeon’s Mystery Files of Shelby Woo attached to play the female lead and Keith Coogan from Adventures in Babysitting for the male lead. Nothing ever came of it but it was exciting at the time.

  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’ve done it both ways. I’ve got reams and reams of handwritten pages for all three books I’ve written. There are times when I find that the writing, my creativity and inspiration just flow more easily when I’ve got a pen and am scribbling away on paper. It’s a great feeling. But currently, now that I’m done with my new book and taking a break from it so it’s fresh when I hit revisions, I’m doing a “quickie” adaptation of an old script I wrote back in the early 80s – I’m doing it straight into my laptop and it’s going well for what it is, which will be a short novella really.

 What do you do when you are not writing?  Read, watch movies, wish I was rich & successful.

 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?  I started writing seriously in my late teens – screenplays at first. I’ve been writing for years now and I definitely see improvement – but there’s always room for more. I also see a change in the characters I write. When I was younger I was a sucker for female characters who needed rescuing – you know the old, clichéd and sexist trick, the girl trips over and the guy has to go back and pick her up. I can’t stand that sort of nonsense now. I love strong, capable female leads that do not need to be saved by a dude – who in fact save the dude. They put up as good of a fight as anyone. In my latest book, Emeline Bransford is a perfect example of this sort of very capable woman. She goes through Hell – but she also sends her enemies there.

 For our writer friends:  What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans?  Write in different genres. I know having a dystopian or paranormal romance series like Twilight is all the rage right now but there are tons of them out there. Trying to get noticed with one would feel to me like I was a drop of fresh water trying to survive in the ocean.

Along the same lines, what advice do you have for writers about the writing process and their development as writers?  It’s a boring, uninteresting and unglamorous piece of advice but it’s true: write as much as you can, keep writing, and keep reading all kinds of different books. So much nonsense has been said about how to write but there is no mystical magic bullet that makes it easy. The bottom line is you have to sit on your bottom, isolated and alone, and crank out words on a blank screen (or piece of paper). And it is not easy. I’ve known people who wanted to be screenwriters so they bought one of those expensive screenwriting programs thinking it would make the writing easy. I say save your money – the only thing those programs write for you is FADE IN: – the rest of it is a whole bunch of blank pages that you – the writer – still have to fill. No program will do it for you.

 What advice would you give to a younger you? How has reading influenced you? The most important thing I’d tell my younger self is don’t waste time writing scripts. Start writing novels. There was no such thing as the Internet or Amazon or CreateSpace or Lulu when I started writing. But if I’d started writing novels back then I’d now have an entire library of books written that I could self-publish on Amazon. As it is I’ve got my work cut out for me adapting the tons of screenplays I’ve written. Reading helps me form different approaches with regards to my prose, and it definitely inspires. Every time you’re reading you are absorbing lessons on writing. Reading is an essential tool for a writer.

Are you a plotter / planner or do you prefer to dive right in?  I prefer diving right in. I do use notes and beat sheets and research once I’m writing but for me the best thing is to just start writing and see what comes out. If it flows I keep going. If it blows I stop and start mapping things out, plotting and planning and making notes about all the possibilities of which direction the story can go in. But the fact is no matter what planning you do, the story will usually go off in its own direction and you just wind up following it and leaving a trail of words.

 Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?  Not a clue. I did a free Kindle promo for The Scare a year or so ago and got almost three thousand downloads. I thought the reviews would come flooding in after that. But nope. I’ve only got fourteen reviews. I think there’s a world full of people who love free books but either don’t like to write reviews or don’t actually bother reading the books. They just grab a freebie. I think the best way to get reviews is write the best novel you can, hope people read it and like it and spread the word for you. Good word of mouth is the single biggest factor I believe. Unfortunately I don’t believe there’s any way to make it happen or manipulate it in your favor when you’re an unknown indie with no big publisher backing you. And even then there’s no guarantee. Bill Goldman once said of movies and their success or failure: No one knows anything. I believe the same goes for books. No one knows what will capture the reading public’s hearts.

 Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?  My new book is dedicated to my dear old mom. She read the screenplay over and over again and always told me she loved it and “couldn’t bloody put it down.” She has Alzheimer’s disease now and is in a nursing home – she no longer knows who I am and she’ll never be able to read the book – she can’t even read anymore. I couldn’t possibly have dedicated it to anyone else.

What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why?  Nothing. I like total silence and nothing to disturb me.

 Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?  Ms. Rose was my English teacher in high school. She’d give us creative writing assignments and I’d always still be writing my short story by the time the bell went. She never hesitated to encourage me and told me I would one day be a writer. She was a good sport too. She once wrote a word on the chalkboard and I pointed out that she’d spelled it wrong. She checked it, gave me a big grin of thanks and corrected herself. Ms. Rose was great and I’ll never forget her.

 Please tell me about your novel.  Who or what was your inspiration behind it?  My new book is called Thunder Rising and was inspired by a few things: Ron Howard’s movie The Missing (based on Thomas Eidson’s novel) , the character of Ellen Ripley in Aliens and an old episode of Lost in Space entitled One of Our Dogs is Missing. Cate Blanchette played Maggie Gilkeson in The Missing – anyone who’s seen the movie knows that Maggie was a tough, unrelenting heroine who refused to let her daughter be kidnapped by Comancheros and sold into sexual slavery across the Mexican border – she went after the kidnappers and fought to get her child back. There is no stronger character than a mother fighting to save her child. And we all know how tough and courageous Ellen Ripley is. In Thunder Rising, Emeline Bransford is a woman like Maggie and Ripley – she kills anyone and everyone who gets in her way of rescuing her daughters. And when they’re on the run, Emeline crosses paths with worse things she has to fight. During my research of the Old West I found a real woman named Emeline Bransford. I can’t recall where I read about her or what she did but I liked the name.

 Which is your favorite character in your book and why?  In The Scare my favorites are Ethan and Shay. In Girlfriend Trouble it’s Lian. In Thunder Rising it is of course Emeline.

What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? Why?  Thomas Eidson – he wrote two very strong female leads in The Missing and in St. Agnes’ Stand. Both great books in my opinion.

Dream big… Your book has been purchased to be turned into a movie script and you have been asked to list the people you would most like to play each role.  Who do you choose?  For Emeline I’d pick Connie Nielsen – she’s the right age right now (48) and she embodies my vision of Emeline Bransford. For Emeline’s daughters and Dancing Bird I’d probably cast total unknowns. I’d have Eric Schweig play Ten Bears and Jay Tavare as Lone Eagle. I haven’t given any thought to who I’d want to play the remaining characters but I’d lean toward unknowns or low-key character actors.

What else do you have in the pipeline?  Next I plan to do a novelization of a story treatment I wrote that was passed on when I pitched it to DreamWorks while I was working there. It’s a romantic comedy/superhero story with a weird twist. After that I’d like to do the other two books in the Three Adventures Thrillogy. The Scare was number one – I have the scripts written for the other two and just need to adapt them into novels. Then people keep telling me I’ve got to write my memoir of my adventures in the movie business. I’ve worked with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins, Elliott Kastner and so many more that if I don’t write about it all soon I might forget it.

Nobody Loves a Bigfoot Like a Bigfoot Babe (Book 1) by Simon Okill

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Nobody Loves a Bigfoot Like a Bigfoot Babe bk 1The book is well-written, the story funny and the characters likable.  Truth and fiction are seamlessly blended together in this goofy tale.  I could visualize the small town where it all takes place and I could feel the frustration and pain of the local sheriff as she deals with the cockamamie citizenry.   To solve the latest Bigfoot abduction, the sheriff must question the man who dresses up as a Bigfoot and the man who swears he was abducted by aliens along with the rest of the township.  Matters only get worse when her lost love shows up to investigate the Bigfoot sightings for the FBI and she can’t decide if she should work with him or punch him.