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

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.

Write For You First – Guest Post by Scarlett Van Dijk

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Write For You First25122011024

Writing is a love of mine. It has brought me up when I’ve been down, it has made my dreams a reality, and given me an outlet for my emotions. My writing is an extension of me, just as a sword is to a swordsman, a hammer is to a blacksmith, a wand is to a wizard. I write to create. I write to live. I write for me.

It saddens me when I notice aspiring authors asking whether their story ideas match the current market. Did you not want become an author for the love of writing? I’m sure no one believes they will write a novel and instantly be earning millions. There is no get-rich-quick scheme. Are you going to put aside that marvellous plot you have been spinning for weeks during your daydreams merely because it is not the next ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Pride and Prejudice’? You want to write that story, the one that has been turning your mind into a playground, so write it!

Ever wondered how different genres were invented? Fantasy and Sci-fi? Horror? Paranormal? Steampunk and Post-apocalyptic? It was likely because an author wrote some different, something that was not applicable to the current ‘market’, and it caught on. I’m not saying that your story will create history in literature or that others stories will use yours as a genre template. Just write what you want to write and write it as if it is the best thing your imagination has created yet.

When I write I care not for whether others will buy or even read what I publish. The best feeling I get from writing is knowing that I have created something beautiful, a monument to the human imagination. I have slaved away outlining, typing a manuscript, editing, designing the cover, marketing, and… waiting. In the end, I have written a novel, something that is truly mine. A child of my mind. A vision made reality. I am proud because it is all mine and I have sacrificed nothing by writing exactly what I wanted unbiased by others opinions.

So, my message to all aspiring authors is to write the story that you want to write. Put aside all those distracting thoughts about whether your book will be accepted by an agent, whether it will sell, whether it will be read. You want to be an author for a reason; I’m guessing you love to write stories. Then just write.

Scarlett Van Dijk

Want to know more?  Meet Scarlett!

Scarlett Van Dijk is an Australian author of young adult fantasy novels. Her debut novel, Sky Stone, is expected to be published this year.

 

Scarlett began writing novels at the age of fifteen when she discovered how writing can make dreams come to life. Writing was an emotional release for her during high school and continued to be during university when she began writing the sequel to Sky Stone, Guardian Core.

 

She is currently undertaking her final year at university, studying Medical Imaging, and hopes to be a fully qualified radiographer at the end of this year. In her spare time, when she isn’t writing, she likes to train in martial arts or connect with other authors online.

 

To connect with Scarlett please visit her website: http://scarlettvandijk.weebly.com/

 

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Twitter: @ScarlyRose

 

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Guest Blog by Cheryllyn Dyess – Self-publishing Company VS Self-Publishing (totally yourself)

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Self-publishing Company VS Self-Publishing (totally yourself)

                 Author Cheryllynn DyessAbout a year ago I started out with a book – as many authors do! Well, what does an author do from there…ok, so I have this book now how to get it out into the world to share. I had never written a book, much less try to market it. What do I need to do? Who do I talk to? How long does it take? How much money is involved? Will it be successful (of course that definition is determined by each individual)? Does it need more work?  Nerves will unravel quickly. My best answers are NETWORK and ASK everyone.  Social media is our friend when we use it wisely!!! Personally, I use Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Amazon, and LinkedIn.

                 Here is my journey…. First, let me say this is frightening, so many things to consider that almost immediately you feel your stomach knot. I started out by researching several self-publishing companies. Wow, there are hundreds and hundreds – consider pricing; packages;  budget;  what you want done as far as hard cover, soft cover, e-book; copyrights; marketing considerations and the list can go on forever. So after about a month of researching and not feeling secure enough to do this without the help of professionals I chose my publishing company.  I felt confident my choice was good. Their package offered what I was looking for and within my budget.  I got the copyright to the book and all rights even if I canceled my contract with them. I was paid quarterly with a detailed report. Their company reviews were good, as well.

                I signed a contract for three years with the company and began my journey. They were attentive, professional, and timely. They did a great job with putting my book into a look I was pleased with and quickly getting it into the market. But with all the money spent and the very minimal marketing done I was not making enough from the sales to cover my costs. Whoa!!! My budget was spent and very little money was coming in… Time to re-evaluate.  So I did!!!

                Recently (as in the last two months), I canceled the contract with the company and maintained all rights to my work. Okay great…now what. Well, I chose to give a facelift to my work – I wanted more! If I was going to go solo it was going to shine with my creativity and passion. So I started looking around at other authors covers and started asking for advice or direction on where to get a great cover done that would not break the bank. Networking has proven to be my best friend in this stage of the journey.  Use every social media you are a part of and ask all those whose work and material you like – that way you are getting advice in a direction you already like. I can say with great joy that I found an amazing woman on Facebook through a mutual author friend who is currently creating my new cover for Calastan (originally called Jein’s Journey Calastan).  I purchased two photos from Shutterstock.com, sent them to her, and now she is doing her magic to create the vision I described to her.

                Calastan is being edited to help correct errors I missed previously, added some extras in the book and at the end, and the cover of course will draw you in and the words will not let you go! I will be re-publishing Calastan soon on Amazon through CreateASpace – this go round my expenses are minimal and the profit will be seen quickly (I just know it)! This is only part of my journey I still have so much further to go ~ thank you for joining along. I hope my experience and advice can help someone out there…Happy Writing!!! Oh, my last piece of advice…NEVER GIVE UP!!!

 Come visit me at the following links – I would love to have you there

Facebook – www.facebook.com/jeinsjourney

Twitter – http://twitter.com/JeinsJourney 

Blog – http://jeinsjourney.blogspot.com

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6648124.Cheryllynn_Dyess

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Cheryllynn-Dyess/e/B00AXM8VE2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryllynn-dyess/40/778/726