Kolin Mofield, author in the making

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I like to set the mood for these interviews. So where are we? A coffee shop or a reading corner in an indie bookseller? And are you drinking coffee, tea, or some other concoction?

(I like the way you start it, set’s a tone).

We are enjoying NY style greasy pepperoni pizza for lunch at a small bookseller overlooking the Cumberland River. It’s a beautiful summer day with thunder off in the distance. (great, now I really want pizza)

At what point did you know you wanted to be an author?

I admire those people who state that they have always known they would be a writer/author and started writing beautiful prose in elementary school. My path has been far different. I was always a little different and knew that; not exactly a loner, but outside the norm. I would have imaginary stories develop at the oddest times, swimming in a pool I would find Aqua Man or alone at a social event/family event, I was slaying a dragon or finding a wild stallion meant for me, that only I could tame. I was often in my in my own little world, oblivious to my surroundings. I don’t know if it was an escape or just over-active imagination, but I didn’t realize it was the beginning of my “calling”. Fast-forward to the mid-1980s. I was divorced with two young boys, working two jobs and shopping in my parent’s pantry. I hated to be alone; I had not yet learned to like myself and those were the hardest times. My boys would have every other weekend with their father who I still refer to as Shit-Head and you can only clean the dingy apartment so many times. One of those weekends, I picked up a legal pad, you know, one of the 11 x 14 yellow pads and began writing. My first try was a historical romance entitled Whispering Cedars and filled ten legal pads and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What currently compels you to write?

Characters constantly stalking me wanting their story to be told. It is quite loud and busy in my head.

Tell us a little about what you write?

I have evolved into what I like to call thrilling mystery/suspense. Not quite a thriller, but more than suspense and mystery. Elements of romance dot the pages throughout their story, I mean, what is a story without love, it is part of the human contingent, if you ask me. Anyway, my primary character typically is an everyday person working an everyday job who is thrown into an extraordinary situation. Through their journey, we find out if they have what it takes deep within to survive. I, like the reader, never really know until the end of the story.

I began writing Historical Romance. My grandmother read every terrible manuscript I wrote (God, love her and rest her soul), said that my writing was very strong when I killed someone or the scene was dark, that I should look at murder mysteries. I have been working on them since that time. I believe she was correct and I have found my voice.

Authors are told to write what they know. How closely do you adhere to that philosophy? Tells us a bit about what you do know and how (if it does) does that leak into your work.

As to writing philosophies, I really don’t have any. Well, I take that back, I do believe that you should write the story of your heart, every time. Never, ever, write for the market. Now, there are those who have success that way and perhaps that is why I have yet to see a publisher’s contract. Shrug, who knows?

What I know for sure is that from my many, many professional positions, that experience leaks into storylines one way or another. My experience is so varied because by the time I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had changed jobs so many times, I learned several skill sets which worked quite well for the author in me.

The closest to contentment in my day job was as a police officer and worked with my small town as a reserve for four years. Had I found this earlier in my life, I would have been happier in my “day job” and worked as a cop full time. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

I did have ride alongs with Metro police and it was invigorating. Seeing the dark, nitty-gritty streets of Nashville certainly has its benefits with ideas, new storylines, etc. Moreover, being able to experience the brotherhood of cops is the most moving for me as an author. Being affiliated with them has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

What are you currently working on?

I refer to my novels by the heroine’s first name. Typically, their name shortened to a nickname that could be misconstrued as a man. I am not sure how this came to be; but it has become part of my brand, if you will.

Anyway, Jess is completed and I am editing her story. She meets up with three friends from high school to rekindle their relationship before their reunion. Jess finds one friend dead in her hotel suite and one by one, her friends are found dead and she is forced to escape into the Smoky Mountains and then to the city streets of DC to find the killer.

Jo is half-way done and set in Colorado where she returns to her first love’s ranch as a housekeeper. She must clear her name after being set up and implicated in the murder of the Pennsylvania governor.

Charlie is fleshed out; I do know that she is a Coroner’s Investigator and is working with the police on a string of drag queen murders.

Vic is the only female cop/detective in a good ‘ole boy southern town who discovers what is the first of many bodies left in the intricate cave system in Tennessee. She has been fun to work with in this scenario from my own small town experience to pull from; but also she has some compelling OCD issues that I didn’t know about until recently. This has been a challenge for me as her storyteller.

Scottie is a new character for me and we are getting to know each other right now. She kind of reminds of Rizzoli on Rizzoli and Isles drama.

What is your publishing dream?

I suppose the ultimate dream for me is to be walking somewhere like an airport or in a park and see someone reading my book. There is no greater compliment and that would be the time I knew I made it.

I’m fascinated with how different authors experience their characters. How do your characters come to you?

They yell at me, they appear from nowhere and want their story told. Jo, who I mentioned earlier, she yelled at me for years from the pew of a church for at least ten years until I finally began her story. She would turn and look back at me, raise her eyebrows and ask when was it her turn. They poke my imagination until I begin their story. It’s quite fun finding out what makes them tick.

I understand you are a big hockey fan. Do you play? Do you skate?

No, in hockey terms, I am a bender which means I don’t have strong ankles. I barely can skate and don’t play hockey, but love the game. My boys are the ones who drug me kicking and screaming away from little league baseball. However, after the first game, I have never looked back. It’s the best youth sport to watch; fast-paced, team oriented and competitive. Yes, I am a huge hockey fan and I am excited to say that as of this interview, my Nashville Predators have just won the Western Conference and are now waiting to see who they play in the Stanley Cup. This is so exciting for me, for our city and for the many youth hockey players who were told by others to “play a real sport.” As a goalie mom of two and one college hockey goalie in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is a stressful job as a parent as they are either the hero or the bum. Tough, tough job, but my boys handle it well. I love the sport, the family of hockey fans/players/families. In a way, it is similar to that of the cops. It’s a brotherhood and I tend to be drawn to those who are loyal and beyond reproach. (Unfortunately, the Preds did not win the Stanley Cup, but man, they came close.)

So tell me about your experience trying to get farm fresh eggs. (cause this is funny)

Laughing. Wow. One of my best friends had chickens and they had to go to a hockey tournament for a week. I told her I would feed her chickens and get the eggs. How hard could it be? Well, let me tell you, it’s not easy for someone who grew up in the suburbs. Thankfully, my better half grew up on a farm and although having a good laugh at my expense. Did you know that chickens growl? Well, they do and they peck when you try and get the eggs. The chickens sit on the eggs and you have to steal them and it’s painful. I had no idea. Then, you find a rogue rooster wild eyes, it’s quiet terrifying when it chases you into a car. Oh yes, the bird from hell. Spouse filmed it and I am glad, outside of comedic viewing, I used what happened and allowed Jo experienced it as well and with many more chickens, of course, that I did that day. It wasn’t pretty.

If someone were to look into your browser history today, what would they think of you?

They would be very concerned and probably contact the FBI. (grin)

Action movies or rom-com?

Action movies with strong plots. Good horror flicks.

Saturday morning cartoons or monster movies?

Neither; coffee and meditation.

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

As I have yet to be published, I have not yet really had questions asked. However, what I do get:

“I have a great story idea. We need to talk, you can write it and it will be a bestseller.”

or

“Where can I buy your book?”

“Well, I am not published yet, have been almost for years, but not yet.”

Insert pitiful look here

“Let me know if you need help with the sex scenes.”

Um, yea.

If someone asks me where I get my ideas from, I find that hard to answer. So many places, a news story, an investigative show, an article in a news paper. Many times, ideas just come to me as “what if…”. All I really know for sure is that my family is very thankful I have an outlet.

Here is my website:

They can find me at all the usual places, @Kolinmofield for Twitter; KolinMofield on Instagram and KolinMofield on Facebook.

Author Interview with Monica McCabe

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 Q: If we were having a real in-person conversation, where are we? Beach, bar, talk show, radio?

A: I’d have to combine two and say beach bar! We’d enjoy the warmth of the sun while sipping on a frozen daiquiri, listen to sea birds, and watch boats come and go in the harbor. Doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Q: Tell us about the Jewel intrigue series. Would you describe them as adventure with romantic element or romance with adventure?

A: Well, I’ve been accused of being plot heavy in the books. Like that’s a bad thing or something. *Snort* So I guess I’d have to go with adventure with romantic elements. I suppose there could be some truth to that statement though. I usually work through the plot first. The romance is second. Is that wrong of a romance writer to admit to?

 

Q: Of the three novels, which hero is your favorite?

A: Holy cow. That’s an impossible question. Each has elements that I’m drawn to, so I love them all. But…don’t tell anyone…I do have a favorite of my three books. It’s Phantom Pearl. Maybe because it’s the latest one, but it’s really more about the storyline – Yamashita’s Gold and a WWII mystery. I was fascinated by the research!

 

Q: Will there be more Jewel Intrigue books?

A: I hope so. My contract mentions an option for a fourth book, and I’m waiting on word from the publisher. If so, I have a secondary character in my first book…Jason Harvick. He had such a strong personality and kept trying to steal the scenes. Which shows, I guess, because I’ve had several demands to get busy writing his story.

 

Q: What else have you written?

A: I have a completed YA novel written in the same adventurous style. It’s set in the Amazon River basin in Brazil. But my first book ever was a historical. I love reading them, so naturally I thought it’s what I’d write. Nope. Turns out, it takes a special sort of voice and I honestly don’t have it. Critique partners kept asking me… Have you ever considered writing contemporary? I hadn’t. I eventually gave in though, and switched. That’s when I found my niche.

 

Q: What can we expect next?

A: I’ve got another adventure series in the planning stage. And I’m working on a mystery collaboration with my critique partner. And of course, book 4 in the Jewel Intrigue novels. Right now though, I’m trying to figure out this newsletter thing. Believe it or not, it’s more daunting to me than the prospect of writing another book!

 

Q: You are quite an adventurer, how much of your own exploits do you include in your writing?

A: Guilty. I’m constantly doing this. I think all writers draw inspiration from personal experience. You can’t help filtering book events through that lens and I believe it adds flavor to the writing. We can all look at the same thing and see it multiple ways. That’s a great thing!

 

Q: What has been the most harrowing experience you have encountered so far (facing down lions on safari? Seeing a real bear in the woods while hiking?)

A: I’m not sure. I’m an adventuress, but I do have limits. I don’t like heights, so climbing Mt. Everest isn’t in the cards. Neither is rock climbing. No way. But I’ve never shied away from exploring new places, learning to scuba dive, taking a hot-air balloon ride, or hiking the back country. I’ve been pretty close to Alaska’s brown bears while visiting Katmai National Park, but they weren’t interested in me, they had salmon on the brain. Haven’t yet been on a safari, but it’s on my short list. I can only hope to see lions!

 

Q: What has been the most exciting adventure you have been on?

A: Oh my word. That’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to go with climbing the ancient Mayan pyramid at Chichén Itzá, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. We flew from Cancun on a small 10 seater prop plane and landed on a grassy runway carved out of the jungle. It was fantastic. We spent all day exploring the ruins, and topped it off by climbing to the top of the pyramid. Let me tell you, the energy up there is freaky strange, but the view is spectacular. The climb down was steep though, and pretty frightening for someone who doesn’t like heights. There were no guard rails or safety features, nothing but ancient crumbling rock, steep stairs, and a sign that said climb at your own risk. We did. And it was completely worth it.

 

Q: Where do your characters come from?

A: I start with a loose idea, a type of character, then focus on plot. Once the story begins to form, personalities begin to take shape too. Take book one in my series, Diamond Legacy. I knew my heroine was going to be a dental zoologist. I got the idea from a newspaper article regarding the Nashville zoo. Seems they had an orangutan that needed a root canal and they had to get on a wait list to fly in a vet specialist. WOWZERS! That intrigued me and Miranda Parrish was born. She’d be tops in her field, travel extensively, and have to go to Botswana where she’d stumble into diamond smuggling. I knew the hero would be an undercover agent in the dark world of conflict diamonds and gunrunners, he’d also be driven by a personal vendetta. That’s the way all my books start – shadowy idea of a character, while the plot takes center stage. Eventually, that flips.

 

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: Reading is a luxury anymore. It’s a time thing. But I do have a 45 minute commute to the day job, then 45 back home. So audio books are a Godsend. Last one I listened to was a Steve Berry book. He’s a favorite because his books are a twist of historical mystery and contemporary thriller. Before that it was a Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg novel. They co-write the Fox and O’Hare series. A female FBI agent and a dashing con artist. The books are irresistible!

 

Q: Do your books have soundtracks that helped to create them? Or what do you listen to when you write?

A: No soundtrack. Music is too distracting. I need quiet in order to concentrate. What I do though, is create a wall of pictures. I print out character images, setting locales, anything and everything that has import in the book. I tape them into a collage on the wall by my computer. For Phantom Pearl I had images of Dallas and Riki, pictures of Australia and Singapore, the crashed WWII plane, the treasure, and locations of all major events. It really helps me visualize the story.

 

Q: Cake or pie?

A: Pie. Specifically…Key Lime Pie. Food of the Gods.

 

Q: What’s on your pizza?

A: Funny you should ask. One of my first jobs was a waitress at Pizza Hut. It was a lot of years ago, but one summer they came out with this incredible Taco Pizza. During the rollout we had to wear a sombrero and shout out Ole! whenever someone ordered it. Totally goofy, but the pizza was da bomb. Can’t find anything like it today…but the memory lives on. Sigh…

 

Q: If you win big on the lottery would you buy a ticket on a Virgin Galactic?

A: Umm…no. I love to fly. Like, for realz. Big planes, little planes, sea planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, even parasailing – I’ve done them all. Skirting the atmosphere on a space flight? I can’t begin to tell you how much that freaks me out. Same with parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane. Never, never, never. Not gonna happen, no matter how rich I become.
(edit: someone who understands why would you jump out of a good plane?)

 

3covers

Diamond Legacy:
Africa-where diamonds are the currency of the weapons trade, and trust is the only option between two strangers…

Emerald Fire:
History didn’t always get it right. Sometimes the past is changed by a
two-hundred-year old journal written by a man history declared insane…

Phantom Pearl:
Vendettas and government secrets make a bad combination…

These are available from

Amazon

Kobo

Nook


 

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.36.15 PMAdventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure, goofing off outdoors, or researching that next big trip.

Monica is currently working on the Jewel Intrigue Series for Kensington’s Lyrical Press.

You can find Monica McCabe at:

Monica McCabe – Author of the JEWEL INTRIGUE SERIES

https://www.facebook.com/authorMonicaMcCabe

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MonicaMcCabe

https://twitter.com/@monicamccabe/

Victoria Raschke, author interview

Victoria Raschke wrote her first short story at 10. Her mother said it was brilliant but pointed out she had written cereal” instead of serial.She still cant spell but did manage an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee and a Culinary Arts degree from Nashville State Community College. Extensive travels in Eastern Europe led to spending a year in Slovenia, where her daydreams and upcoming book are set. Victoria lives in Knoxville with her cats and human family who really appreciate that culinary arts degree.

Who by Water is out today, links below for acquiring a copy!

Cover

If I were interviewing you for TV, is this a late night comedy show or a daytime talk show? Are we gonna have a lip-sync battle, or dance badly and give stuff away?

I think a late night talk show, something in between couch chatting and dancing badly.

This is your first novel with Griffyn Ink, have you been published previously?

I haven’t published a novel previously. I’ve had a couple poems published (ages ago) and I write for a beer magazine as my side, side gig.

Tell us a bit about Who by Water. How many books are planned for the Voices of the Dead?

Who by Water is an urban fantasy novel that colors outside the lines of urban fantasy. It isn’t set in London or L.A. or New York. It’s set in the small Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and draws on Eastern European history but isn’t about vampires. The protagonist, Jo Wiley, is a fortysomething mom who refuses to act her age. Though there is a vein of romance, finding love isn’t Jo’s focus in life. It’s also in third person rather than first person, but the dialogue is still pretty snappy.

When I started thinking about the long arc of the series, I thought there were five books but when I finished WBW, I realized it was really better as a quartet. I’m about halfway through writing book two now.

When did you first get the urge to write?

In fifth grade, when my English teacher had us all write limericks and haiku. I’d kept a diary as soon as I could write sentences, but that was the first time I realized writing stuff other people would see was an option for me. It spurred a very bad mystery short story called “The Corporate Cleaners” about a janitor who discovers her murdered boss. I’m pretty sure it was a pastiche of Murder, She Wrote episodes or something like that.

Do you have a favorite author who inspired you to start writing?

There wasn’t an author who inspired that bad, fifth grade poetry, but there were several writers who inspired me to write more speculative fiction. I adore British sci-fi and fantasy writers: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Warren Ellis, and Jasper Fforde. I’ve also always read mysteries and have spent the last few years actively seeking out women writing speculative fiction and mysteries because that list of British authors I love was all dudes.

If you could sit down and interview any fictional character, who would it be and why?

It’s probably cliché, but I would love to have a cup of tea with Dr. John Watson. I’m fascinated by sidekicks and how much they shape and steer protagonists. I love all the permutations of Watson’s character over the years in books, films, and television. My current favorite Watson is Lucy Liu’s portrayal on Elementary.

If you could sit down and interview any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I am all about the sidekicks, so I would probably interview Jo’s best friend and business partner Vesna Kos. She’s a bit of a still pond in the first book but her character and story develop more in the second book. Of all the characters in the series, she’d closest to being like me and I’m overly interested in getting into and rooting around in my own brain.

You used to be an instructor for a college culinary department. Do you have any plans on incorporating that into your writing?

There’s definitely some of that in Who by Water. Jo, Vesna, and Gregor own a punk teahouse together and there are kitchen scenes plucked straight out of my past in the restaurant industry. Jo is obsessed with Indian food and winds up eating or cooking it at some point in both books to date.

As someone who knows how to make good foods, which makes you cringe more: blue foods or bright red foods?

Definitely blue food. There is no natural food that color – not even blueberries. They’re purple. My family laughs at me because I love M&Ms but I pick the blue ones out.

What’s higher up on your list of things-I-would-buy-when-I-start-making-all-the-money-from-my-books shoes or tattoos?

Definitely tattoos. I have one, a seagull for my mom and the women in my family. I already have ideas for ones for writing, Slovenia, and ginkgo trees. Don’t get me wrong, I love shoes but I’m practical about them.

The first time we met, you had recently returned from Slovenia, and you just returned a few weeks ago again. How many times have you visited Solvenia? Did visiting spark the idea for your novel, or did you first visit as research for your novel?

I studied at the University of Ljubljana in the early 1990s when Slovenia was a brand-spanking new country. I lived there for about 15 months during very formative years and always carried that time around with me. Life intervened in a big way and it took me about 20 years to go back. In the last four years I’ve been three times and am perpetually planning a way to go back again.

When I went back the first time, I thought I was going to write a memoir about that formative experience there. I did write it but it’s god awful and will probably live in a virtual drawer forever. I’ve joked with my son that he can publish it after I’m dead. When I went back the second time, I was touring Roman sites and had this vivid flash of a body on an ancient piece of mosaic floor. That sparked the novel.

Do you travel a lot? Any plans of joining the Traveler’s Century Club and visiting 100 countries?

I love to travel, as does my family, but I like to marinate in a place more than just going to say I’ve been there. A weekend or a whirlwind trip isn’t as interesting to me as the opportunity to spend weeks or months getting to know a place and absorb the rhythm. I feel like I could visit a place like London every year and still not really ever know London. I’ll probably never make it to 100 different countries just because I keep going back to the same places to try to figure them out. I’d also really like to improve my Slovenian which seems to only get better when I’m there as I’m too lazy to practice much at home.

 

Victoria Raschke headshot

I’ve included the opening chapter. It sets the scene and tone for the book and therefore has the setup built right in. 

Who By Water Final [Excerpt]
click to download the first two chapters

 


 

Victoria is totally cool, you need to follow her on ALL the social media outlets!

Blog: victoriaraschke.com or readvictoria.com

There’s also an easter egg blog that Jo “keeps” for the shop: www.jowiley.si if you think it makes sense to include that somewhere.

Preorder the paperback on Amazon

Preorder the Kindle ebook

Preorder the iBook version

Preorder the GooglePlay ebook

Autographed copies

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriaraschkeauthor/

twitter: https://twitter.com/vraschke

pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/vraschke/

Author Interview with Erica Henry

Erica has successfully self-published fiction under the name E.K. Henry, and adult coloring books as Erica Henry. Today she tells us about self-publishing both, and if socks and sandals are ever appropriate.

Tell us about your YA novel Freak.

freak by EK Henry

Freak is about a lower-class human named Juniper Rayne who lives in a world where vampires rule. No matter how hard she tries to fit in, she’s labeled a freak. When her dad signs the family up to take part in a reality television show, Juniper hopes that it’ll give her the edge she needs to shed her freak label. Unfortunately for Juniper, vampires aren’t that accepting. She decides to take control of her life and become a vampire hunter, instead of continuing to live in her own personal hell any longer. She will regain control or die trying.

Are you working on more YA novels? What can we expect to see from you next in fiction?

I actually don’t have any YA novels in the works right now, but that doesn’t mean that won’t change in the future. I took time off of YA because I contracted to write several romance novels under a secret pen name. Since those novels have been completed, I have written several middle-grade novels that are still trying to find a home. YA is where I got my start, and I am positive that I will find my way back to it.

You hit the adult coloring book market right as the trend took off. Do you follow market trends to be able to time participation, or did you hit the timing just right?

Adult coloring definitely has trends. I will say that I follow trends to a degree. For instance, I was actually one of the first to start putting out grayscale adult coloring books. I was seeing one book’s pages starting to pop-up in some of the Facebook groups I belong too and I fell in love. I decided right then that was going to become a big part of my coloring books. I started before it because a really popular type, and luckily others shared my love of grayscale coloring and it became a very popular trend.

You are quite creative, in that your published works include fiction and producing coloring books, what other create outlets do you pursue?

I also create art, and YouTube videos. My YouTube videos are normally art and coloring themed, but they are a big passion of mine. I love getting in front of the camera and teaching people from around the world because that is how I learned to create art. Some people find it interesting, but I never went to art school. I am completely self-taught and YouTube taught. I have spent so many hours experimenting with different techniques and mediums until I found what worked for me.

If you want to see some of my tutorials check out: www.youtube.com/ericahenrycolors and also my twitch channel that is still pretty new www.twitch.tv/ericahenrycolors.

Make sure to leave a comment because I love getting feedback.

What inspired you to start writing? What keeps you writing?

I have always written poems and short stories for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t seriously start writing until after my son was born. I was stuck in the house with a baby that had colic and a hernia, and I about when crazy. One day after having only a few hours of sleep and trying to function in my zombie state, I sat down at my computer and started typing, and I haven’t stopped since.

You’ve been involved in self-publishing for many years, how did you first decide on taking that route to publishing?

Freak was my third novel that I had written, but it was the first one that I felt was good enough to query agents with. When the rejections started rolling in, I was devastated. I started completely doubting myself and my talent. I was about ready to give up and I opened up an email from an agent that was not just the form rejections I had received. It was a rejection that was personalized and actually suggested I self-publish because the big six were not buying paranormal books anymore.

At first, I thought it was a crazy idea. Everyone else had rejected it, so it must not be good enough.

Well, six other emails came in from agents that pretty much said they loved the book but couldn’t sell it because publishers were moving from paranormal.

As each of the emails came in, my confidence was built back up little by little, and eventually, I decided to take the plunge and self-publish Freak.

What aspects of publishing YA and coloring books overlap?

This is a very interesting question. There are actually many aspects that have overlapped for me.

#1 – I had to become very familiar with formatting my document for the printer. For coloring books, there isn’t nearly as much formatting as there is for fiction, but my written portions had to be formatted.

#2 – Because I had self-published Freak, I had already researched print-on-demand companies that were available to use. This was a big timesaver for me. As soon as my first coloring book was complete, I knew that I would start off with publishing it through Createspace.

#3 – I was already used to creating websites, promotional activities, and advertising because I had previously published my fiction novel,

Have you learned something in one publishing field that you unexpectedly were able to carry over to the other?

Coloring books were a whole different beast when it came to preparing the files for print. The first time that I upload my coloring book, I had like 1,000,000,000,000,000 error messages. It was very frustrating and unexpected. I had to learn so much about preparing images for print because it was very differently than just printing words.

What’s probably the hardest part of being self-published?

The hardest part for me is time management. There are only so many hours in the day, and it is hard to decide what aspect of self-publishing I need to focus on. There are so many things that need to be done. There is creating the pages, editing the pages, creating books, coloring pictures from my books, connecting with colorists, making social media posts, and creating YouTube videos. There are certain parts that I enjoy more than others, but all have to be done.

What’s the most rewarding part of being published?

The most rewarding part for me is that I have complete control over what books I put out there. When I talk to colorists and they tell me what they want to see, I don’t have to get permission to create the book I just create it. It makes me so happy to have input from colorists and to be able to make something that is exactly what they want.

Your book gets picked up to be made into a movie, who is in your ideal cast?

Oh man. As long as Jennifer Lawrence played Juniper I could care less who else was picked. I am a huge fangirl of Jennifer Lawrence.

What’s your favorite color? What does that color mean to you?

Oh, I hate this question! There are sooooo many gorgeous colors out there that I can never pick. One day it will be a shade of purple, the next sky blue, and so on. But I will say that I tend to be drawn towards cool colors.

You’re at the movie theater, what are you going to see?

Anything scary or action packed. This girl is not that into Rom-Coms.

Do you load up with popcorn and candy?

I usually skip the candy but always go for popcorn with extra butter.

Are socks with sandals acceptable or not?

Socks are a must have. Unless I’m in flip flops, you will almost always see me in socks. Shoes on the other hand are very unacceptable.

Erica of Coffee and Coloring

You can find Erica online at:

www.coffeeandcoloring.com

www.facebook.com/coffeeandcoloring

www.facebook.com/artbyericah

www.youtube.com/ericahenrycolors

www.twitch.tv/ericahenrycolors 

Interview with author D.B. Sieders

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So, if we were sitting somewhere out with drinks having a conversation, are we at a bar or are we at a coffee shop? Just so we know the mood for the rest of this. And what would you be drinking?

Oh, we’re at a bar, a very specific bar in Nashville called Holland House. They have amaaaaaaazing cocktails. If I’m not having something seasonal, I’ll be drinking the Blood and Sand (Pig’s Nose Scotch, Chai Vermouth, Orange Juice, Cherry Heering) – I don’t know much about all of the fancy-schmancy spirits in the mix, but I do know it’s tasty and that I’ll be feeling no pain after one.

And I won’t be driving. Safety first, boys and girls.

What do you write? What have you written, and what’s the next thing we can expect from you?

I started with contemporary romance and have done a couple of contemporary romance microstories for anthologies, but I’m more at home in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre. My big projects include the Southern Elemental Guardians Paranormal Romance Series and a soon-to-be-published Urban Fantasy Series. I need to come up with a title for the series before my publisher shoots me, but I’m still brainstorming. Waking the Dead is the first book in that series and the first book I ever wrote. I thought I was going to sit down and write a short story back in 2008. Boy was I wrong! And I’m glad!

In the Southern Elemental Guardians, Bruce, hero of Firestorm, and resident smart-ass in the other books is my favorite. Where did he come from? As a character did he just fill a need, or did he stroll in open his arms wide and say he was the answer to all your problems–ok that last bit is totally how I picture it, but what really happened?

Bruce is one of those characters who appears out of nowhere, comes and goes as he damned well pleases, and steals every scene he’s in. He was part of a subplot in Book 1, and he just came to life as I stared at my computer screen thinking, “What the hell? Who are you and what are you doing in my scene, man?” I had no choice but to sit back, follow his lead, and let him add humor, heart, and a bit of whimsy to Book 1, and then Book 2, and Book 3 (his own – also figures big in Novella 2.5). He’s already weaseled his way into Book 4 and will probably just keep on popping up because that’s just how he rolls. He’ll tell you that he has the answers to all of your problems—and as an empath and purveyor of happiness and light, he probably does (the cheeky bastard)—but he won’t just tell you. He’s all about the journey, meaning you take the journey and he cheers you on/wheedles you/watches you fall/picks you up along the way.

Yeah, I love him. Don’t tell him, though. It’ll go to his big fat head.

I’ll include a little excerpt from Firestorm (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 3) at the end so your readers can get a sample of the Bruce experience.

Where do your ideas come from?

Hmm, on some level they come from my long-standing fascination with mythological creatures and tales of gods and goddesses of old. I rather like the older notions of divinities as flawed entities that represented all of the best and worst of humanity. I love what old myths can tell us about the people who once embraced them. That’s definitely where the supernatural stuff comes from, which is weird given my uber-rational/skeptical brain. Then again, I see them as metaphor and that’s how I use them. On a psychological level, it’s kind of a safe place to explore scary experiences and ideas. I do more of that in Waking the Dead. Of course, every character a writer conjures has to be some part of herself or himself. I can see that in my work for sure!

Not to sound crazy, but do your characters talk to you? Do they contribute to their stories or do control everything about them?

See above with Bruce. Most of the time they just appear. When I’m writing the first scene (total pantser here), I get am image of the character doing something while they’re thinking. I get to be a voyeur as they go about their business, and they’ll reveal something to me that’ll be important to their story. That’s how it usually works. If I already know a character from a previous book (side character or character who’s come back to help/hinder the protags of a subsequent book), it’s easier to dig in because I already know that character and have a good idea of the motivation and obstacles. With a new character, it’s wonderful and exciting to “meet them.” Take Vance Idol from SEG Book 1. He showed up sitting on stage in an empty venue, looking wounded and sexy (as rock stars do), as he played and sang with his whole heart and soul. It was beautiful, but there was no joy in it. All of that talent and he just…didn’t seem to care. It made me mad. And, by extension, it infuriated his heroine, a mermaid who couldn’t sing because of her deadly siren call and would give ANYTHING to have the freedom he had. That’s how it started with Book 1. Seems to be my process.

For your day job you are a heavy duty medical scientist, how do you mesh your worlds of science by day and author of magic and myth by night? Do you have any internal conflicts as a scientist when it comes to writing about the supernatural?

It’s a strange dichotomy, but I’m lucky that it doesn’t come with conflicts. A wise person once told me that today’s magic is tomorrow’s science (AJ Scudiere), so I figure there’s a logical explanation behind the mermaids, dryads, flying men, and Phoenix I write about even if I don’t yet understand it. I even have a few characters in Book 2 who are working to map genetic similarities and differences between shapeshifting merfolk, humans, and hybrids. Maybe they’ll tell me what they find out someday, and then I can tell you.

Have you been able to integrate your real world thesis work into your fictional world? Is that something you have thought about?

Oh, man, I TOTALLY did that in my first published work, Red Shoes for Lab Blues. Cancer researcher juggling biomedical research with a social life? Yeah, that one’s close to home. It was fun, but I’ll tell you, writing something that close to what I do was a challenge! My editor and betas had to help me cut out the mundane details of laboratory work that I included that, while interesting to me personally, were total pace killers. I may revisit the lab in a future story, but for now it’s more fun and easier to escape into fantastical worlds where I can make it up as I go along.

As an unapologetic feminist, how do you justify/defend being a romance author?

Women love sex, and feminists are no different. We love sex with men who are our equals and who view us as equals, so I *try* to write heroes who respect their heroines. Consent is a must, and often enough my heroes ask for it directly or make certain their ladies are on board with the program. They respect the heroine’s intelligence and work with them rather than trying to think or act for them. That’s sexy as hell. Plus, often enough, my heroines are the powerful paranormal creatures falling for mortal/hybrid men. I love that twist and I hope readers enjoy it as well.

When did you start knowing you wanted to be an author?

Around 2008, when I figured out my short story was going to be longer—like maybe 2-3 books!

Can you remember the first romance novel you read?

I don’t know if it was the first, but an early one that really sticks out for me is Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. It made a pretty big impression and I became enchanted with the romance genre after that.

Where you a big reader as a kid and teen? What do you like to read?

HUGE reader! I loved (and still love) Stephen King. Right now I read an eclectic mix of romance (all genres), mysteries and thrillers, and nonfiction related to my field and personal interests. I’m in the middle of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and HIGHLY recommend it. It’s a great (true) story that touches on cancer research, medical ethics, issues of class, race, politics, and the molecular genetic revolution that does and will continue to affect us all.

Tesla or Edison?

Tesla! He was robbed. Big time. Didn’t seem to have Edison’s PR skills, at least from what I’ve read. Plus, as a fan of The Oatmeal, I have a Tesla bias.

How much time do you get to focus on writing, actual writing? About how many manuscripts do you average in a year?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I don’t have a set schedule (advantage of being Indie/Small Press), but I try to write a little bit each day after 8:00 pm and whenever I can squeeze in more words throughout the day. If I have a deadline, I tend to do lots of sprints and exhaust myself. If not, I take my time. I actually had 2 ½ books written in SEG before I started publishing, along with 2 ½ novels from another series and a half-written Rom Com. This year, I wrote 2 novellas from scratch, finished one novel, revised and edited another, and am 1/3 finished with another SEG Book. I published 2 novels and 2 novellas this year, so 2016 has probably been my most productive year.

Do you work on multiple ideas at a time, or do you focus on one story until it’s finished?

I used to work on multiple projects, but now that I’m focused on new material in a single series, I work on one project at a time.

Names are hard, your characters have great names. Do your characters show up with their names, or is that sometimes a struggle for you?

I STRUGGLE with names! Seriously bad at them, and often enough my publishing partners talk me into being sensible and changing difficult to pronounce ancient mythological names with more conventional names.

What’s your not so secret party trick?

Does making Sangria and other wonderful boozy concoctions count as a party trick?

(me: I’m pretty sure it does.)

Any hobbies?

Adult coloring books (including Psychedelic Marbles), kitchen experiments, and backyard bug hunts with Kid 2.0.

Do you model any of your characters off of any favorite actors or characters?

I do, but after the fact. The character comes first, then an actor/actress with those physical attributes or charisma.

Which would you prefer to have your books to be picked up for a feature film with theatrical release and be true to the story, or a cable TV series where they veer wildly off your established plot?

Ugh, that’s tough. I’d love to see an adaptation and, let’s be real, the cash would be awesome. But given what HBO did with True Blood after Season 3, um, yeah, I’d rather have an adaptation stay as true to the plot as possible.

What’s the funniest thing you have ever read/ seen?

That’s so hard, because I know LOTS of funny people (present company included) and spend way too much time on Facebook. The funniest thing I’ve seen recently is Granny Potty Mouth. Check her out. Seriously. You’ll pee your pants laughing! I want her to adopt me.

Oh, and someone keeps sending me really awesome/funny short stories about strippers. Good stuff!

Bio:

DB Sieders

Award-winning author D.B. Sieders was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent her childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, and chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. She and her family loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire.

Those days of frog chasing sparked an interest in biology. She is a working scientist by day, but never lost her love of telling stories. Now, she’s a purveyor of unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them. Her heroes and heroines face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves.

D.B. Sieders lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, two children, three cats, and her very active imagination.

You can find her on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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Firestorm Excerpt

Can your brother fly?” he yelled over his shoulder, surprised and pleased that Sera had followed him rather than trying to escape or staying to sulk back at the clearing. He scanned the skies, reaching out with his senses, but he got nothing out of the ordinary.

No. We don’t fly. Too risky.”

Bruce snorted. “Right. Too risky to spread your own wings, but perfectly reasonable to strap yourself to a mortal and jump out of one of their flying machines.”

Uh-oh. Just got a little warmer.

The air vibrated around them with something akin to water on the verge of boiling. He turned to find Sera standing in the middle of the small clearing, stiff with tension, her brother’s urn in hand. Her eyes screwed shut and her lips pursed, she held her hands in tight fists at her side. Probably counting to ten. Maybe one thousand. He had that effect on most people and was self-actualized enough to admit it.

Oh well. She’d calm down. Eventually. Time was wasting.

It wasn’t the best plan, but it did have advantages,” she said, opening her eyes and staring him down with defiance.

Oh? Do tell.” Learning about this harebrained scheme might give him clues as to where and how it had gone wrong. “I doubt it was coincidence that a rogue hybrid interfered with your plans.”

Probably not,” she conceded, blowing out a breath and looking around. She bent and ran a gentle finger over one bit of scorched earth. Gods, the weight of her sadness nearly brought him to his knees, as did the reek of failure and regret. “Hawk masked his signature well. Almost as well as I can.”

Bruce shook off the vile taste of her negative emotions and tried to lighten the mood for both their sakes. “So you do have some skills. Concealing that level of power isn’t easy.”

She shrugged. “It’s what I’ve been doing since I was twelve. Brandt taught me as soon as my powers started to manifest. It’s probably why his trail’s gone cold. He’ll have gone into hiding.”

Who taught him to mask his power?”

Rising, she dusted bits of ash off the clothing she’d conjured, a tight, shimmering body suit of gold that accentuated subtle curves he hadn’t fully appreciated before. She wasn’t buxom, but her sleek, streamlined form would work well in flight and held a natural grace. The wings were gorgeous. Yeah, the ancient Phoenix race had been feared, but also held in awe and venerated. Bruce could see why.

He learned a bit from other elemental guardians, or so he told me,” she answered with some hesitance. “I think he disguised himself as a low-ranking Lampade hybrid and sought help with the basics. He didn’t like to talk about it. I think whoever helped him must have grown suspicious.”

So he could add Lampades to his list of elementals to investigate. A clue and more questions. So many questions. Where to begin?

Well, the beginning would probably be a good start. “Who and where are your parents? Why didn’t they train you? And how many others of your kind are there, anyway? As far as we knew, the Phoenix went extinct ages ago.”

She scanned the skies and scented the air. Good instincts, this one. He could train her in more than the basics given enough time. Whether that was a good idea or not remained to be seen.

We never knew our father or mother. Brandt rose from ash with little memory of a former life, assuming he had one. Whoever sired us left his urn, a book of instructions for hiding and surviving in the mortal world, and my ashes. I rose later.”

Why did your brother allow you to rise?” he asked. “Seems risky for a race as dangerous as you claim yours to be.”

Anger flared from her essence. Good. If he could get her to question the necessity of this death wish she harbored, maybe he could convince her to stop pursing it.

He needed me!”

Why?” he asked. Given the latest spike in temperature, he was probably pushing his luck. Still, pushing boundaries was one of the things he did best.

She threw her hands up in the air. “To help him, of course. He couldn’t scatter his own ashes after immolating.”

Defensive much? He wondered if she’d ever pondered the conundrum inherent in her logic. Only one way to find out. “If that’s true, who was supposed to scatter your ashes? Did he have a plan, or did he leave you to figure that one out on your own?”

I told Brandt I could manage. And I would have, too. I will,” she said, more to convince herself than him, he sensed. “I owed him that much. As you said, he let me rise, gave me a chance to live for a time. It was good for him, too, I think. He wasn’t alone anymore.”

And neither were you.

The sweetest tastes of love and devotion swept from her and he drank deeply, inhaling great gulps of the goodness that sustained him.

What are you doing?” She’d stepped closer, expression painted with curiosity and a smile of reminiscence on those full, enticing lips.

No use being coy. “Sylph, remember? We thrive on positivity and light. Keep thinking about your brother. It makes you taste much better and will keep you focused on finding him.”

Her eyes went wide and she took a step back. “Taste? You actually taste emotions? I thought it was more like an extra sense kind of thing. More…cerebral.”

Oh, wasn’t she just adorable when she blushed? Maybe he could deepen that enticing shade of rose flooding her cheeks. “Little sparrow, it’s more than just cerebral, I assure you. It’s soul-deep, visceral, and can be quite carnal, at least for me. I’m a bit of an anomaly. It’s a family trait.”

With the added bonus of a curse that heightened his sensitivities, but there was no need to bring that up and spoil the moment.

Ah, that’s the shade he was looking for. She bloomed crimson, his favorite color.

Then she frowned and his sweet treat disappeared.

So what happens when you get a taste of something less pleasant?”

Shit. He gave what he hoped was a casual wave of dismissal and said, “Meh. A little heartburn. No big deal.”

The look she gave him practically screamed “bullshit,” but fortunately something else caught her attention. “Look! Over there.”

Sera jogged past him and over to a cluster of shrubs. The rich flavors of exhilaration and triumph flowed from her as she lifted a brilliant crimson feather. “It’s his!” she cried. “He left a trail— that way!”

He shifted his gaze to the direction she pointed, but she was gone before he could blink. Running gave her a bit of momentum and her wings lifted her a few feet from the ground with each leaping bound as she ran down the trail. Bruce followed until they reached a small clearing.

The grass appeared undisturbed, as did the surrounding foliage. Still, Sera seemed to sense something. Blood ties or experience, perhaps. Best let her sort it out. She moved with more confidence and grace when focused, her intensity masking those horrid emotions that rumbled just beneath the surface. How fascinating she was, such a small, delicate form filled with such untapped power. What would it be like to taste her heat flesh to flesh? He might not survive the experience, but he’d die a happy Sylph.

She bent low to examine the ground. Oh, gods. She had a great ass, too.

He’d best stop ogling, though, before she caught him and sent a jolt of fire to his balls.

The wave of triumph that surged through her inspired a much more pleasant sensation in his balls and had his cock standing up to take notice, too. She unleashed a small flame, fortunately not in his direction, but into the center of the clearing. Orange and red flashed, then blue and white-hot flames emerged and flowed until the seared earth spelled symbols in black char. He didn’t recognize the symbols, but clearly Sera did.

He left me a message. ‘Save yourself and the book. I’ll find you.’”

She hesitated, confusion and mistrust emanating from her aura. Lots of symbols littered the ground. Too many for such a short message. “You may as well tell me the rest,” he said, and then added, “I gave you my solemn vow of protection, remember? Trust me, Serafina.”

She turned to face him, eyes narrowed and jaw clenched. “Can I trust you, Bruce?”

Uh-oh. “Why do you ask?”

Because the rest of Brandt’s message reads, ‘Don’t trust the Sylphs.’

Author Interview Savannah Kade

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Today, Savannah’s newest series Touch of Magick  is released. The entire series, so you don’t have to chomp on your fingernails waiting for the next book!

I was lucky enough to get her to answer some questions for us about her books, writing, and sock preference.

Your first contemporary romance series, the Wilder Books, follows the lives of each member of the band Wilder. In Touch of Magick what is the common thread that ties the three stories together?

The Touch of Magick series follows a family of witches — Tristan, Delilah, and . . . well, the youngest sister (Juliet) is deceased (more on that in book 1-WishCraft.) Delilah’s story is  first and the second book goes to Yasmin, one of the employees in the family’s magicks store. Tristan finally finds his place in book three.

Can you provide a Twitter-length description for each book?

WISHCRAFT – Delilah is heartbroken over her sister’s betrayal and her own broken marriage. She’s picking up men in bars and casting forget spells on them. But Brandon’s spell just won’t take and he keeps coming back.

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DREAMWALKER – Yasmin (tired of waiting on Tristan to notice her) casts a love spell (which she knows she shouldn’t do.) Messing with destiny leaves her with police protection in the form of one Luke Salzone, non-believer.

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LOVESPELLED – Megan is fleeing an abusive family situation. Her ‘gift’ is that she can hear what everyone around her thinks and feels. The bolt that Tristan feels when he touches her may not be enough to make up for all the ways he doesn’t understand her.

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Will we see more paranormal stories from you, or do you plan on focusing more on contemporary romance?

All my stories are contemporary–I’d even call these contemporary. Though they have a paranormal element, the stories are still based in real-life love. I do have plans for other series in the future with paranormal elements, though.

What’s the next series we can look forward to, and when should we look for it?

The Hollywood Nights series will release the first two books on May 4th, 2017. There’s already a link to those books on my website, so you can see blurbs and more. The remaining two books in that series will be out later in the year.

You write other genres under different names. Would you mind sharing?

I write dark, twisted suspense under the name A.J. Scudiere.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t even know. I know I wrote my first ‘book’ at age eight. It was 80 pages and I thought it was an adult romantic suspense novel. It wasn’t. I’d always told myself I’d be a published author by the time I was thirty. Then one day I realized thirty had passed by and I hadn’t even given it a shot. That very day, I made a plan to finish a novel and get it submitted.

What inspired you to start writing romance?

The same thing that inspires me to write anything. I have stories–almost like full-emotion movies–playing in my head. Some have been in there for more than a decade. Writing them releases them so I can move on to the next story. Some of those stories are suspense and some are love stories. So I had to write romance.

The Wilder Books released in June of this year, and now Touch of Magick is released 6 months later. Approximately how many books do you write in a year? And how far in advance do you write?

There is no average year! My first book took a year and a half to write. The second only two months. I thought I had this writing thing nailed and got pulled up short when the third book took almost three years to finish! This year, however, I will complete four full-length novels, beginning to end, edited and everything. So that’s a really good pace.

On your website you say you believe in characters with human flaws, how do you find your characters? Or do they find you?

It’s both. They find me and I also work to make sure the characters are fleshed out. I hate when characters do dumb things or out-of-character things because that’s where the author (or tv show writer) decided the plot should go. Some things just don’t fit. And real people are full of flaws and troubles and even things they don’t see. So there’s plenty to use to write a good, real story with. And I personally need more than just a ‘that’s nice, they’re together now’ ending. I love when I fall in love along with the characters and I try to give my readers that same experience.

As an author what’s been your biggest book-related thrill?

Honestly, there are a lot of them. I loved the feeling of awe when I held my first copy of my first book in my hands. Though I admit it’s not the same anymore, there is still a good sense of the world stopping when you get your new book. My day is made when people write to me and tell me how much they loved one of my books. Or when I see a new review. The first time someone stopped me and asked if I was ‘her’? That’s unreal!

I’m a big fan of the Wilder books. I totally want one of their albums. What band or combination of bands would you recommend listening to get the Wilder sound?

Oh! That’s so great! So, I taught myself to sing “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen like a singer–all the deep lungfuls of air, all the diaphragm movement. I wanted to know what TJ felt. I had songs in my head the whole time. I have pieces of “Jump” — the song TJ writes for Norah — in my heart. And later, after I wrote that book, I finally heard Keith Urban’s “Once In A Lifetime” which has that same vibe. I hear a male version of the Dixie Chicks when I’m thinking of Wilder and their sound. And some Rascal Flatts with all their harmonies. I hear sweet but southern sounds like Phillip Phillips’ “Home” and old INXS — so it’s definitely a mix!

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What’s your hidden party trick?

That for everything above–about me singing like a singer and writing songs–I have absolutely zero singing and musical talent! ha.

Coke or Pepsi?

Mexi coke. Hands down. Nothing else.

One last important question regarding socks. Why is it shoes and socks and not socks and shoes? On a more personal note is it sock-shoe, sock-shoe, or sock-sock, shoe-shoe?

Linguistically, it’s “shoes and socks” for the same reason it’s a “big, red wagon” and not a “red, big wagon.” For me, it’s sock-sock, shoe-shoe because I have no natural body heat, so those socks have to get on fast. The second foot cannot even hang out bare while the first gets a shoe!

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You can find Savannah’s book on Amazon here.

You can find her website here.

You can find her on Facebook here,

and Twitter here.

Bethany Adams- Author Interview

Blond girl dressed in dress walk in a magic forest

I’m excited to have Bethany Adams as a guest on my blog. Her latest release Sundrered, book two in the Return of the Elves series just came out a few weeks ago. Today her book Soulbound is released as an audiobook.
Its available from:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible  and Downpour

 

This is the intro blurb I would read from an index card if I were sitting at a desk on a televised talk show:
Ever since finding a copy of The Hero and the Crown in her elementary school library, Bethany has loved fantasy. After subjecting her friends to stories scrawled in notebooks during study breaks all through high school, she decided to pursue an English degree at Middle Tennessee State University. When not writing or wrangling her two small children, Bethany enjoys reading, photography, and video games.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I’m not sure there was ever really a decision. I started writing stories when I was a kid and never really stopped for wrong. I did consider other things when I was in college, but writing was always there. It took me until my thirties to get serious about a career in writing, though.

What’s your hidden party trick most people don’t know about?

Inappropriate jokes? I’m fairly quiet, and I keep my off-color sense of humor to myself until I really know people. So when I break out with a raunchy joke, it surprises the heck out of people.

What’s worse? Stepping in something wet after putting on clean dry socks or a noisy cricket outside your window when you need to sleep?

Noisy cricket. I can change socks, but don’t mess with my sleep!

Your books are fantasy-romance, which genre really pulled you into wanting to write the fantasy or the romance?

I’ve always had a deep love of both. I grew up reading Robin McKinley and Mercedes Lackey. Then as a teen, I started picking up romance novels, too. I’ve tried to just write one or the other, but I can’t seem to help it—they blend. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past a page or two without mixing the two.

Soulbound and Sundered are the first two in the Return of the Elves series. How many books do you have planned?

Heh. That’s a good question. I’m writing a short story (which might sneak itself into a novella) that happens just after Sundered. After that, Book 3 will tie up the story arc with the main villain. But I also have stories in mind for Lynia and Lial, Selia, Naomh and/or Caolte, and a new character popping up in Book 3. I guess we’ll have to see!

When can we expect to see the next one?

I’m hoping to release the maybe-novella in February. It’ll also have a couple of bonus short stories unrelated to The Return of the Elves. Book 3 is a little more tentative. I’d love to have it out in May, but it depends on how smoothly the writing process goes.

Can you give us a twitter-length over view of each book? 

Soulbound: Arlyn wanted to meet her elven father, not spark the plot to kill him.

Sundered: Poisoned energy is flooding into the realms of the fae, causing sickness, and Lyr must rush to find the source of the threat.

What has been the most euphoric experience in publishing your novels? 

It is absolutely when someone tells me they love my book. Hands down. That anyone would take the time out of their day just to message or email me about my book…it’s such an honor.

As a self-published author what has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome?

The learning curve. There’s a great deal that goes into publishing a book, although it sounds like it should be simple. Most people know that you need an editor and a cover. But then there’s formatting (for ebook and print, which aren’t the same), deciding how you want to publish, entering your information into a million publishing platforms, buying ISBNs, advertising… It all falls to the author. I’m still learning to juggle it all in a lot of ways.

How do your stories come to you?

It’s character first. Always. Scenes just pop into my head, and it’s usually the character in the middle of doing something intense. Of course, sometimes the meanies pop in and then leave before I can get a full story. That doesn’t usually happen, though.

Do your characters become more real the further you get into writing the stories?

I suppose so. For me, it’s like getting to know a real person. As more of their story comes clear, I learn more about them. I didn’t know why Lial, the healer in both books, is so cranky until the third draft of Soulbound. It’s a strange sensation having something from your own brain surprise you.

You’ve provided us with a sampling from Sundered, do you need to set up this scene?

Lyr’s life is pretty messed up at this point. He’s dealing with a great deal after his failures at the end of the first book, and now more problems are popping up. And now he has another surprise in store. :)

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Excerpt from Sundered:

Lyr strode down his favorite path through the woods, his footsteps guided more by habit than intent.

It was beyond foolish to take his daily walk with another assassin on the loose. At the least, he shouldn’t have ducked the bodyguards who trailed him every time he left the estate—the same three who’d been unable to detect or deflect the danger just hours before. But for the moment, Lyr didn’t care, a thought that crept in more every day. Maybe if he walked fast enough, he could outmaneuver his frustration and discontent.

His hands curled into fists at the helpless feeling that washed through him, the same sick emotion that had plagued him for nearly thirty years. He kept telling himself that it would pass. After five hundred and forty-nine years of life, he knew that all things shifted and changed, even among the slow-paced elves. Yet here he was, his father’s murder still unsolved, the person behind their recent troubles unknown, and his soulbonded forever lost to the world. Despite his training and his power, he could fix nothing.

And now he had to worry about the Neorans.

Lyr was halfway to the portal when the alarm set into the estate shielding resounded through his mind. Muscles tensing, he paused to examine the spell. Five people had come through the gate unauthorized, and not guided by someone connected to Braelyn. The guides who escorted travelers possessed medallions to let their charges through, so it had to be a true incursion.

He only wore his boot knife, but time was more of the essence than his safety. Clechtan, but he was a warrior in his prime. These were his lands, and he knew them better than any intruder could. He didn’t need bodyguards with him just to check the gate. It would only take a few moments to creep close, and the land guards shouldn’t be too far away.

Lyr brought his own personal shields to their highest state and darted off the trail. The forest here had minimal undergrowth, much of the excess cleared to prevent fire, so remaining undetected would take some caution. Still, he knew the best routes. He wove through the trees as he flung his senses wide, but he detected only the intruders and the guards perched in the trees surrounding the portal area. The Tayianeln were taking no chances after their previous failures and had rushed extra guards to the portal. Though they awaited his command, they would not be caught unprepared again.

Lyr slipped behind a log bench designed to look like a natural part of the forest. It was the largest and most distant of the three scattered around the clearing near the portal, perfect for crouching behind. Unsure if the interlopers would have the kind of magic capable of detecting him, he sent out several false energy signatures around the edges of the clearing. Finally satisfied, he looked up to examine the newcomers.

Four females and a male. An older elf in long robes stood closest to his hiding place, and the two females nearest her seemed to be servants of some kind. His gaze moved to the flame-haired male, and Lyr’s breath caught. Power swirled around the newcomer, but it was unlike anything Lyr had seen before. Not quite like Eradisel, but…

Ralan’s voice broke into his mind without warning or apology. “Do not attack, and stay wary of the male. He is not what he seems.”

Lyr’s eyes narrowed on the group. The elder’s white robes were richly embroidered. More elaborate than the others in her group. And although the male’s power was undeniable, none of them were armed beyond ceremonial knives. More diplomats? There was one more who could have been some type of guide. She stood apart from the others, and tension hitched her delicate shoulders so high he could see it from across the clearing.

The older one barked a single word Lyr didn’t recognize, and the slender woman pivoted, her long robes swirling around her ankles. The cloth was of good quality, but the robes were simpler than the elder’s and cinched by a leather belt. She took a step forward, and a pendant on a thin chain glinted between her breasts. Was the amulet mere decoration, or was it some kind of weapon?

Perhaps he’d been reckless to leave the estate without his sword after all. Lyr eased forward, his focus on the metallic glimmer. She shifted again, falling into shadow, and the source of the flash came clear. A large crystal encased in silver mesh. If this female was an assassin, he’d eat moss off the back of the bench.

Then she spoke, and his attention darted back to her face. Though she hadn’t noticed him, he fell into her light blue eyes. A shudder went through his whole body.

They had never met, but he knew her.

Lyr’s hands gripped the bark of the log bench until lichen crumbled beneath his fingers. It was not possible. Aimee had died four Earth years before, and his daughter had witnessed it. Arlyn wouldn’t have mistaken her own mother’s death. Besides, the woman before him had pale blond hair, so unlike the vibrant red Arlyn had inherited from her mother. He could see that they weren’t the same with his own eyes, yet he could feel the connection between their souls.

It matched the one he’d shared but never completed with Aimee. As much as this stranger’s energy differed, her spirit was the same.

This woman was his aenac—his soulbonded.

Impossible.

He had never heard of an elf finding another soulbonded after losing the first. Since the souls of bonded pairs connected, the death of one would take a bit of the person left behind, leaving a piece that could never reconnect. Still, his soul sang for the female across the clearing. No matter how much he tried to deny it.

Suddenly, he understood how Kai had panicked and given Arlyn the binding necklace on their first meeting. Lyr wanted to run forward and do the same before he lost yet another soulbonded, and it took all his willpower to resist. Even if the entire group was set to kill him, they were not walking back through the portal. Not until he’d spoken to her.

With a mental command to the Tayianeln hiding above him in the trees, Lyr prepared to reveal his presence. Feeling Kai’s approach, he established a quick connection between them. “Do not attack. Stand down and let me handle this. One of these women feels like Aimee.”

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

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Why Author’s Children Are Precocious

By guest blogger Jody Wallace

author jodywallace

I have been on a blog tour for PRODIGAL for the past week, and I’ve been interviewed, I’ve interviewed a pig, my cat has interviewed someone else, I’ve interviewed one of the characters from my book PRODIGAL, and now I’m going to interview my 10 year old daughter. She’s answering (most of) the questions as if it’s not me who’s interviewing her. I am not interviewing my 14 year old daughter, however, because she’s mean.

 

1) What do you think of your mom being an author?

Well, I really like it because she can help me to write my papers for school which sometimes I have trouble with. Grammar and stuff—I really don’t know much about grammar and typing.

2) What do you think about the genre your mom writes in? (Note: The genre is romance and the recent release is science fiction romance.)

At this age, I definitely wouldn’t read them, so I have no feelings toward it, because I haven’t really read any romance books. I’ve probably read SF books but no romance books. If there were ever romance in my books, it was way in the background.

3) Do you think the cats help your mom be a better writer? (Note: we have six cats since Grandma and her 4 cats moved in with us last year.)

Yes, because they’re adorable, furry and extremely annoying. Like Sam. Mom will be sitting there and he will come put his butt against her leg. Or in the middle of the night, he will come pop her shoulder out of place. Merri just comes into the room and is all meow meow meow meow meow. Sometimes Mom even asks me for a cat.

SamWallaceCat

4) Why do you think she wants you to get her a cat?

Since the cats are so adorable, furry and annoying, they give her inspiration. They’re cats. They’re just awesome.

5) What does she do with the cats when you give them to her?

She lets them sit there while she pets them and she just lets them be big, furry blogs. Sometimes I’m pretty sure they just run away, though. If she gets sad about that, then I’ll just chase down the cat again.

6) Does your mom still take good care of you while being an author?

Yes, she helps with school, she makes dinner almost every night…let’s see, what else does she do? She buys stuff for me and she makes sure I am healthy. And! She always loves me.

7) Do you want to read your mom’s books?

Not at this particular time, but maybe later in my life. They’re just too grown up to me right now.

8) Do you think she should write kid’s books that you could read? If so, about what?

I would say yes, but I already have too many books that I want to read right now. I would want her to write about magic, cats and more cats. Oh, and don’t forget rainbows.

9) Do you think your mom’s books are even any good? After all, you haven’t read them.

Mom, I’m not going to answer that. Jeez!

10) Any final words for the readers out there who have yet to try your mom’s books?

People should buy and read them more because my mommy doesn’t make a lot of money.

 

Prodigal is out now, you can get it on Amazon

Prodigal by Jody Wallace