Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The 100 word challenge - A NaNo alternative for the rest of us

If you're a writer, then you're probably familiar with NaNo, or National Novel writing month.  A couple (or maybe more) times a year, there is an event that encourages writers to commit to writing a whole novel in a month.  There’s even a website that you can sign up on and share your daily word count with others. 

I signed up for one of their websites once, but I've never gotten into the whole NaNo thing.  One thing I have a problem with about the whole thing is that they encourage quantity over quality.  They encourage you to spew out a whole book in a month. 

That’s just not my style, not my thing.  If it’s yours, and it works for you, all well and good.  But what about those writers who are like me, who it doesn’t work for?  Or what if you are a non-writer and would like to start, or improve?  What do you do?

Well, I recently discovered the solution for all the rest of us who are not NaNo people.  And here it is --

The 100 words a day for 100 days challenge.

I discovered it through a post of a facebook friend of mine. 
So basically, you commit to writing 100 words a day for 100 days. 

I like this much better than NaNo, as it will help you to develop a daily habit of writing.  With NaNo, you run the risk of burning yourself out on writing.  This is better. 

And this is something a non-writer can join in and do too.  It works for a great range of age groups as well. 

You'll find different rules posted different places.  Here’s mine:
  1. Pick a start date.
  2. Decide on how and where you are going to record and share your progress.
  3. Get an idea of what you're going to write on the first day.
Isn't that simple?  And you’ll find out that 100 words is very easy to write.  The best way to count your words is in a Microsoft Word file.  Under ‘Review’ in the ‘Proofing’ menu, there is a word count button.  I also noticed that on wattpad (www.wattpad.com), when you create a new work, that also gives you a word count as well.

So give it a try, venture forth and write.  

I’m sharing my progress via a note on my writer’s page on facebook.  I also have a word file that I'm using as my challenge journal.  

Here’s the link to my note if you want to follow my progress:


Happy writing!
--jd--

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book spotlight -- Allegories of the Tarot

Allegories of the Tarot Badass Marketing Blog Tour

Get the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology on Amazon and Smashwords. Add the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

About the book

Allegories of the Tarot Once upon a time, there was an editor with a fascination for the Tarot. She was struck one day by a crazy idea. "Hey," she said. "What if twenty-two writers each wrote a story about the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and were fashioned into an anthology?" The idea would not leave her alone. And thus, the Allegories of the Tarot was born. Crowdfunded by a campaign on Indiegogo with the help and support of an amazing group of writers, twenty-two stories were crafted around the mysteries of the Tarot. The group includes a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Pulp Ark nominee, a former Bigfoot researcher, a journalist, an award-winning YA author, and a Rhysling Award winner. Professional writers, new talent, and a range of genres boggling the mind: Horror, Speculative Fiction, Bizarro Fiction, Erotica, Mystery, Humor, Paranormal, Epic Fantasy, Literary, Romance, and Historical Fantasy. What has emerged is an outstanding collection of fiction, unique and mysterious. Stories that will make you cry, make you laugh, and make you think. Stories that make you feel the touch of the Universe. Dare to step through the portal to shadowy realms and emotional journeys.

Rave reviews are in!

"Allegories of the Tarot Anthology is a magical book. Magic that will keep you turning the pages. There are muses, demons,  psychics, evil, and more! I shivered, I laughed and I even cried. Magic, I tell you. Magic." -Julie Affleck (Amazon review) "Reviewing an anthology is slightly more difficult than discussing a book or comic because the tone varies from author to author. However, Allegories somehow flowed together as a well-matched whole. The project ended up feeling like several beads strung together to form a beautiful necklace that were more amazing for being paired together." -Jodi Scaife (Amazon review) "All twenty-two stories in this volume are, in a word, superb. I found myself scouring the Internet as I read it; every story made me want to go find more work by its author. The ultimate compliment I can give Allegories is to say that when I finished it, I thought how I envy those who haven’t read it yet." -Lisa Millraney (Amazon review)

Get the book!

Allegories of the Tarot is available in e-book and paperback format on Amazon, and in multiple e-book formats on Smashwords. Don't forget to add Allegories of the Tarot to your to-read shelf on Goodreads. Connect with the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology on its websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Author profile - Georgina Hannan

Join me as we learn more about author Georgina Hannan

1 - When did you first start writing?

At school when I was 14.

2 - Do you read much? 

If yes, have you always loved reading? Yes I read every day on the way to work. I’ve liked reading since I was 12 and finally found the books I enjoyed.

3 -  Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

Favourite authors, there are so many: Lauren Kate, Karen Mahoney, Lavinia Urban, Ellie Williams, Katie Mayo-Jackson, Nancy Holder and many more. Favourite book is probably The Carver by Jenny Jones.

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

Lauren Kate, Karen Mahoney and all the point horror stories I read at 12.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a tv show?

Hmmm, I’ve never thought of that before. Probably not as I tend to relate in some way to most fictional characters.

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

I am working on the final book in the Cursed Trilogy called Absolution. It brings everything together but probably won’t end exactly how you think.

7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines? 

No it either happens or it doesn’t. I find I can’t force it otherwise I write rubbish.

8 - Where do you do your writing?

Anywhere, mostly at a desk or on my bed.

9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

I write out the story idea and plan character bios and try and plan a little of the chapter layouts but mostly I just start writing.

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing no matter what. Write because you enjoy it not because you want to just be a best seller. Also, don’t stop reading, it’s a great way to keep learning.

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

I’m a day person, I don’t like mornings and the best part of evenings is going to bed.

12 - Do you have any pets?

Yes, got 2 cats, Milly and Molly.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

Facebook!

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

I am definitely mild, I prefer the lead up and the hint.

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

More than one, Horror, Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult.

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

Published with fast-print.net for paperback and self-published through Amazon & Smashwords for e-book.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

It would be nice to let someone else handle everything, however I like having full control.

18 - What about marketing?  How do you approach that area?

I do all my own marketing, I use Vistaprint for postcards, flyers, magnets etc and I use Facebook, Twitter and blog, along with word of mouth and Amazon reviews.

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

I use my family, my sister, my niece and my cousin’s daughter.

20 - What’s your favorite food?

Chicken Risotto

21 - What’s your favorite color?

Lime Green

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

Not one in particular no, I use all the groups I’m part of on Facebook.

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

Autumn

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

Most recent is Obsession, its book 2 in the trilogy.
The blurb is:
After a strange and exciting holiday, Daisy is looking forward to the new start University life will bring.

A life changing assignment makes her question the fine line between Obsession and Madness.

Can she tell the difference?
Can you?

You can buy it from: fast-print.net/bookshop, Amazon, Smashwords, Waterstones

25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

I am a pretty good speller and hate bad grammar which helps a lot. Also, I have a good imagination but am good at putting myself in that situation to make the characters feelings real.

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books –


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Soul of Asimina cover release!



Her parents were heroes of the realm, and when Sabina de Nespa found herself in a position to thwart grave evil, she had never been more determined to do what is right, or more terrified.

Cover by Once Upon a Time Covers

Coming this winter!

Soul of Asimina is the third book in the Land of Kaldalangra series, written by Kristi Strong.



Sabina de Nespa was content living in the shadow of her heroic parents, traveling the realm and aiding the less fortunate. As the child of royalty, she kept her intentions pure and her heart guarded, always aware that the crown may one day rest upon her brow.

When two strangers fall into her world, life as she knows it spirals out of control, and shakes her to the core. One brings with him an enemy that destroyed entire cultures in his old world, and the second is filled with hidden intentions and dangerous secrets.

It has been two years since the reign of the tyrannical King Verikhan has ended, and the realm of Kaldalangra flourishes.
When a decade old evil threatens to destroy the peace of Kaldalangra, it is up to Sabina to take the step into her parents’ footsteps, or let everything for which they worked crumble into dust.







Rhea Aralia lived an uneventful life in Virginia, until the fateful night of her kidnapping. Taken to a strange realm of destruction, despair, and mysterious people with dark secrets, the young woman must learn a new way of life to survive.

With the help of her new companions, Rhea discovers the courage to defy the tyrant King Verikhan and his heir, the cleverness to deceive the court, and the power within herself to transform this world of darkness into one of beauty and hope.

Will Rhea triumph over those who seek her destruction, or will she be forever lost in the darkness known as Kaldalangra?











Nyssa has taken her place as Queen of the realm, with her secret love, Sebast, now openly at her side. She rules with a fair hand, striving for justice and prosperity for all of her people.

Rowan and Rhea travel the realm, spreading peace and healing wherever they go. In Kylassame, they have formed a strong bond with friends and spread deep roots in the community.

The people of Kaldalangra are joyful, and life in their

world is better than ever before.

But a string of tragedies has the ability to bring Rhea to her knees, and with her, the entire realm. While Rowan struggles to recover the village of Kylassame from a devastating crime, Rhea’s faith in her own strength weakens, with dire consequences.


Re-enter the world of Kaldalangra, and join the adventure as Rhea and Rowan endeavor to continue upon their chosen destiny.



~ * ~ * ~


About the Author
 Fixing broken computers, wrangling a very spirited little toddler, and creating a world with a tyrant king, are all parts of the average day for Kristi Strong. While she has called Virginia her home for two decades, her head has rested in two countries, three states, and under far too many roofs to count. She was more than happy to give up her nomadic lifestyle and settle down with her husband, daughter, and their small zoo (consisting of a dog, cat, and chinchilla).                                                                                               Attending James Madison University gave Kristi the rare opportunity to work as part of an archaeological team on a variety of dig sites in Virginia. She now uses her extensive studies in human cultures (aka, Anthropology degree), to create her own world in her fantasy novels, beginning with her debut novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka, continuing with her second novel, Heart of Kylassame, as well as her upcoming novel Soul of Asimina.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Author profile - Matthew Pizzolato

Join me for an author profile with Matthew Pizzolato --

1 - When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was twelve years old.  It was an attempt at a novel that I never finished, mostly because at the time I didn't know what I was doing.  I began experimenting with short stories and honed my craft from there. 

2 - Do you read much?  If yes, have you always loved reading?

As long as I'm breathing, I'm reading something.  My love of reading is what sparked my love of writing.  I've been reading constantly ever since I first learned how. 

3 -  Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

My favorite author is Louis L'Amour and my favorite book is one that he wrote, Flint.  Although I enjoy everything that he wrote, that one's my favorite because I can see myself as the title character, Jim Flint. A lot of my outlook on life and the principles that I live by are outlined in that book, as well as one of the goals that I have.

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

Louis L'Amour is my biggest influence, but I've also read a lot of Elmore Leonard, Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkein.  Of course, I read as many Westerns as I can find and have read all of the great Western writers, and I try to keep up with as many of the current Western writers that I can.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a tv show?

My favorite character would be William Tell Sackett, one of L'Amour's characters who appears in several of his books.  Tell is a loner, much like I am, and I've always identified well with him. 

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

Right now I'm working what will be at least a novella, if not a full length novel, featuring the series characters that I write. One is a Texas Ranger named Jud Nelson, the other is an antiheroic outlaw that goes by the name of Wesley Quaid and the other is an assassin who calls herself Sabrina. 

A new villain, Clay McBayne, was introduced into the storyline in my latest book. Although Quaid and Nelson often find themselves on opposite sides of the law, they may have to join forces in order to overcome the evil forces that they align themselves against.
        
7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines? 

There's nothing in particular other than applying my posterior to my chair and my fingers to a keyboard. I try to eliminate all outside distractions so that I'm not temped to procrastinate, something at which all writers are quite skilled.

8 - Where do you do your writing?

I have an office dedicated to nothing but my writing. One wall is entirely book shelves and I have a desk for my computer.  The only luxury that I allow myself is a stereo because sometimes I like to listen to Marty Robbins or Chris Ledoux while I write. 
        
9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

I do use character bios that list just basic details about each character and include a journal entry from the character's point of view.  I don't do outlines because I find they take the fun out of writing. Part of the reason that I write is to see what happens next. Where's the fun in exploring a story if you already know what is going to happen?  For longer works, I'll write a basic plot summary so that I'll have a sort of a road map and I have the conclusion in mind so that I have a goal to write towards, but I never iron out too many details. 

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

Persevere. Never quit and never give up, no matter what anyone tells you.  Writing is a skill that is best learned by doing two things, reading and writing.  The more you write, the better your work will be.  Always keep learning.  I think it was Hemmingway who said that we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

I'm an evening person. I do most of my writing in the evenings and sometimes late into the night, until 1 or 2 am, when the words are really flowing.

12 - Do you have any pets?

I have red heeler named Bo.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

Civil war reenacting.  It's a way of stepping back in time and disconnecting not only from writing, but from the problems of everyday life.  It's how I recharge the writing batteries, so to speak.

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

I don't write them.  I leave them for the white space in between scenes.  Sex is an integral part of the human experience and essential in most stories, and I don't leave any doubt that my characters experience it. However, I feel that detailed sex scenes are for erotica and I don't write in that genre. 

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

I write primarily Westerns but I have written Horror and Science Fiction. Personally, I think that any kind of story can be told as a Western, and told better as one, in my opinion.

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

Although some of my short stories have been accepted in different magazines, my three books are self-published.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

I've looked into agents in the past, but since I am self-published, I don't feel that there is any need to acquire one currently.  However, I like to keep my options open.

18 - What about marketing?  How do you approach that area?

My approach to marketing is use social media to provide content that readers of my genre would be interested in, history about the Old West or pictures of Old West figures such as Buffalo Bill or Jesse James, or even screen shots from some of the great Western movies.  Sometimes, I'll buy advertisements, but for the most part I let book sales take care of themselves.  Nothing is more annoying that someone who constantly blasts, "Buy my book!" over and over on social media, so I try not to do that and just post book links occasionally.  

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

I have a few that I use. Most of them are friends or other writers that I know. Some that I know personally and some that I have met online. 

20 - What’s your favorite food?

Oreos and milk. Does that count?

21 - What’s your favorite color?

Gray.

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

One of my favorite websites is a list of Old West slang terms: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-slang.html
I like to sprinkle slang terms into my writing to give it an authentic feel.  For example, this morning for breakfast, I had some cackleberries and overland trout along with some sinkers and bee sweetening. I washed it all down with some brown gargle.

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

My favorite time of year is the fall and winter. Where I live in the South, it's extremely hot during the summers and I enjoy the cool weather as well as the fall colors.  I like hunting and fishing and cooler temperatures make them more enjoyable.

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

My most recent book is a Western short story collection featuring the series characters that I write called Two of a Kind.  Some of the stories detail their early interactions with each other, but the last four stories in collection lead directly up to the novella that I'm currently working on titled No Remorse. 

25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

My dialog. I've been told that it sometimes has a sharp wit about it, and I suppose that comes from the sarcastic streak that I have. 

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books –




Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Spotlight - P.J. Stone Gates Trilogy by D.T.Dyllin

  

Book one of the P.J. Stone Gates Trilogy
New Adult Paranormal Romance  
299 pages  
by D.T. Dyllin
For P.J. Stone, being a “Seer” who has never seen anything is less than fun. And P.J. isn’t known for her patience. To make matters worse, she must choose a suitable mate to continue the Seer bloodline. Duty always comes before her heart…at least that’s what her parents taught her. When she finds herself wanting someone who is considered off-limits, P.J. is forced to question everything she believes. As if navigating her love life isn’t complicated enough, P.J. finally receives a vision—of a threat to her world that only she can perceive. But no one will believe a fledgling Seer’s warnings. With nowhere else to turn, she may decide to trust a stranger with her life, her world, and maybe even her heart.
Book two of the P.J. Stone Gates Trilogy
New Adult Paranormal Romance
241 pages
P.J. Stone is a Seer who saw too little, too late. In the past, her biggest worries were boys and school—but war has a way of changing things. Now, the alien Riders are trying to overrun the world. As the last of their kind, P.J. and her friends must find a way to save humanity before there’s nothing left to save. After choosing a mate, P.J. hoped she'd have time to enjoy her love life. But with everything changing so quickly and major secrets revealed, who knows what the future will bring?
 



Book three of the P.J. Stone Gates Trilogy
New Adult Paranormal Romance  

by D.T. Dyllin
Bryn is gone. Jenna isn’t…herself, and the world has been taken over by the alien Riders. The only constant in P.J.’s life is Khol. But even he might not be able to help her pick up the shattered pieces of her life.
P.J. finally gets the answers to all of her questions, but will she be able to handle the truth? And will she be strong enough to face her own destiny when the time comes?

 


About the Author
Cynical-Optimist. Chocolate-holic. Sarcasm Addict. Paranormal Believer. Self-Imposed Insomniac. Sci-Fi Geek. Animal Lover. Writer…are just a few words to describe D.T. Dyllin. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two very spoiled GSDs.
 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Author profile with C. Michael Powers

Join me in welcoming Christopher Powers (Chris), otherwise known as author C. Michael Powers, who has dropped by to answer my questions today.

1 - When did you first start writing?

I started writing at about the age of 16. I'd just learned to type and found myself bored out of my mind, hanging out in my grandfather's house in Oklahoma. With Grandpa snoring away on the couch, I started snooping around the house until I found an old typewriter covered up in a bedroom corner. I uncovered that thing, sat down to play with it a little, and never stopped. I wrote several chapters of my first novel that day.

2 - Do you read much?  If yes, have you always loved reading?

I love to read. Especially at bedtime. It's hard for me to fall asleep without reading a book. I've always loved reading, which made it very difficult when I first moved here, to Panama, my wife's country. Books in English are hard to come by and I refused to buy a Kindle, just because I love having a book in my hand. Something about the smell of the book and the feel of the pages as you turn them just can't be replaced by an electronic device.

I eventually gave up and bought a Kindle and I'm so glad I did. I still can't figure out what being 38% finished with a book means. I miss being able to just look at the actual book and see how close I am to being finished. When I read Game of Thrones, I had no idea how big the actual book was. So reading it on the Kindle, I just kept thinking, "My God I must be a slow reader. How am I only at 40% finished?" Later I saw it in a store and laughed. No wonder. That thing is monstrous...but outstanding.

3 -  Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

Wow, this is a tough one. I seem to like a different author  in each genre.

Horror: Stephen King and Bentley Little
Action: Stephen Hunter
Fantasy: George R.R. Martin

My favorite books would have to be Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter, A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, The Stand by Stephen King, House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker, Desert Places by Blake Crouch, and Without Remorse by Tom Clancy.

I've recently been on a Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath kick. I love the way those guys just do their own thing. Some of their characters are just sick and twisted.

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

I've been influenced by a few writers. Stephen King is like the Godfather to me. He stays so true to who he is. George R.R. Martin has taught me so much about character development. Every character he writes is just so damned cool. And if you don't mention Dr. Seuss as an influential writer, chances are, your books are lacking in imagination. Dr. Seuss was the king of imagination. I can't read Fox in Socks to my kids without cracking up.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a tv show?

I think my favorite fictional character would have to be The Joker. He's just such a diabolical maniac. He's awesome. And Tyrion Lannister from the Song of Ice and Fire books. Oh, sorry, and I have to add Bob Lee Swagger from Stephen Hunter's books. That's a bad ass dude.

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

I'm finishing up Mirror Images Book 2: Sons of Man, which I'm really excited about. It's full of action, more colorful characters (some of the great ones from book 1 too). I have a few other dark urban fantasy style novels that I'm working on too. Circus of Purgatory, about a circus owner who has been blessed with the power to turn souls banished to purgatory into an army against evil. It's going to have some bad ass characters. I can't wait!

7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines? 

I usually put on a movie scores mix, grab a cup of coffee, and just get to it. In reality, it's quite boring. I work full time and have 4 kids, so it usually consists of frequent interruptions in the evening (or forcing myself to stay awake once the kids have fallen asleep). At some point, I'd like to move to one of the mountain towns here in Panama, find a back bedroom that faces the woods or mountains, and turn it into a writing studio. It will happen...someday.

8 - Where do you do your writing?

At my living room computer, right in the thick of things. The same place my kids do their homework.

9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

I've tried a little bit of everything. With my Mirror Images series, I first wrote the story as a set of screenplays, with no outline or anything. Now that I'm turning the story into a novel series, the screenplays are great outlines. Honestly though, because all of the info is there already, it gets a little bit boring. I think I like writing on the fly. I love when I get to a part of the story I want to add something to. Then, I just set the screenplay down, and punch out a chapter or two.

With the two new novels I'm working on, I've done kind of a short, sloppy outline. I've jotted down key points I want to make sure I hit, but then just do the rest as I work. I'm a horrible verbal storyteller. My wife loves to randomly ask me to tell her a story or say something beautiful to her. My mind doesn't work that way. I just freeze up. When my fingers touch a keyboard, it all just comes to life. Most of the time I have no idea how my book will end. It just happens when I get there.

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Don't worry about the rejection letters or even the grammatical errors. Most people, who have great stories, say they don't write because they don't know how to write. They didn't do so well in English class. Do you have any idea how many established writers make grammatical errors? Thank God for editors. Just put your story down on paper. If nothing else happens with it, at least you can self publish it on Amazon and Createspace. With Createspace you can have a physical, paperback book put together for only the cost of buying the book yourself. I think I paid $10 for mine. And now my book is sitting on my shelf. It feels great receiving that book in the mail.

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

I force myself to be a morning person (for work and the kids) but naturally I'm a night owl. When I was in the military (security forces) I always worked the night shift. Something about darkness helps me write. I can relax and just sink into it. During the day I feel like I have too many other things I should be doing instead.

12 - Do you have any pets?

I don't, but I want to. I grew up with dogs and I'd love to have a dog. Maybe when I move to that mountain home I'll get a dog. I feel like a dog should have a place to run around and exercise. Here in Panama City, that's just not realistic.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

I'm a huge movie buff. Usually I'm either hanging out with my kids, watching movies with them that they shouldn't be watching (we love horror movies) or we're playing Playstation.

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

In the Mirror Images books, so far, I've been somewhere in the mild (or just barely beyond) range. The first sex scene I wrote in one of my newer novels was a bit much. I've had to re-read it a few times and I'm still not sure if it's pushing the boundaries. Don't get me wrong, most of the erotica stories out there are much wilder, but for a non-erotica book, I think it's pretty wild.

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

I've started out my novel writing with what I'm calling Kick Ass Urban Fantasy. It's kind of dark fantasy, set in urban environments, minus the vampires and werewolves. I have tons of cool creatures and characters, but not the sappy romance. I'm getting a kick out of this genre. I do write in other genres though. I've written horror, redneck action, romantic comedies, and even musical screenplays. I have ideas for about 50 more books, in all different genres.

The question I have now is, do I write in different genres under the same name, or use different pen names for different genres, so I don't upset readers?

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

I'm with a small publishing house called GMTA, Great Minds Think Aloud.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

Ha, I tried. I still have a stack of rejection letters somewhere. I don't know, to me this is a Catch-22 because agents want an established, published author. Yet, the reason you need an agent is to get established or published. And I've found that most (I'm sure not all) agents seem to be very full of themselves.

Right around the time that Facebook was just starting to catch on and social media was kind of a new thing, I read online about an agent making his way from NY to LA and how he was looking for new authors to represent. He wasn't some mega-famous agent.

So, I thought, "Hmm, I wonder if anyone has tried to reach out to him through social media." I punched his name into Facebook, saw his photo, and sent him a message. His response? One sentence. "Don't ever approach an agent this way." What a dick. I know there are right and wrong ways of going about landing an agent or a publisher, but when the traditional ways don't work, sometimes you have to take chances. Apparently this guy was above my level. At that point I decided to self publish. And eventually published with GMTA.

18 - What about marketing?  How do you approach that area?

My kryptonite. I honestly suck at marketing. I want to be better at it, I truly do. I have a website at www.cmichaelpowers.com and I use Facebook and Twitter, but other than that, I don't do a lot of marketing. I'm working on the second installment to my Mirror Images series. I feel like once I finish that book, I'll be more inspired to work on marketing.

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

GMTA, my publisher, uses beta readers. I don't have any that I use personally.

20 - What’s your favorite food?

I love Mexican food. Chicken enchiladas are my favorite. And coming from an Italian family, when I cook, it's usually Italian. I make a pretty good baked ziti. Chicken parm too, mmm. Is it lunch time yet?

21 - What’s your favorite color?

Blue. Royal Blue is my favorite.

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

Lately, I've been reading author J.A. Konrath's blog "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing" at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/. He's really down to earth and gives a lot of great tips. He's even allowing writers to write stories based on their own characters, mixed with his, and share the profits. He's basically franchising his characters. It's a cool idea.

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

Fall. Sadly, there really isn't a fall here in Panama. I moved here from Columbus, Ohio, and fall there was simply breathtaking. I miss that. My favorite holiday is Halloween.

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

When an average Joe's reflection in the mirror switches places with him, he finds himself trapped in a strange mirror world, battling his way back to the other side so that he can stop his reflection from destroying the life he knows. “Have you ever wondered why so many people in prison claim to be innocent? It’s ‘cause most of ‘em are,” Dozier whispered. On the other side of the mirror, lies a horrific world where each of us has an image, our violent replica, capable of fulfilling our darkest desires, and only released into our world when we’re unable to follow through with an evil deed. Gabe Cutter, an average paper pusher, has his life ripped out from under him when his image switches places with him, hell bent on destroying the life Gabe knows, and killing his cheating fiance’. Now, stuck on the other side of the mirror, Gabe must join together with a band of stranded survivors and find a way to get back to his world before his image destroys it. Along the way he battles his way through maniacs, monsters, and ultimately his own heart, as he realizes that the woman he’s been trying to save...wasn’t worth the price of admission. ***BE ADVISED. THIS BOOK CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE, STRONG VIOLENCE, AND SOME SEXUAL CONTENT. DON'T SAY I DIDN'T TELL YOU SO***

You can buy Mirror Images Book 1: The Darkness of Man at Amazon for Kindle and paperback at: 


25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

Creativity is my strongest gift, but can also be a real pain. Oftentimes I have so many ideas that I can't focus on one of them. Some writers can write one book and that's it. I know I don't have that problem. My biggest challenge is just mastering grammar. I'm okay, but again, thank God for my editor.

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books --

Sure, my book is available at: 

My author website is: www.cmichaelpowers.com





My profile at GMTA, where you can also find other great writers, and maybe even submit your book to GMTA is at: http://www.gmtapublishing.com/authors4.html

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Author profile with Graham C. Jones

Join me for a profile with author Graham C. Jones

1 - When did you first start writing?

In the early 80’s when I realised I was an alcoholic. I spent many months putting some thoughts, whatever I could remember, from my time with the bikers in Buckingham, onto paper. I was extremely proud of my 63,000 words of twaddle which meant absolutely nothing to anyone other than me. But it did start my interests wandering on another path. If I could produce that, what else could I do if I put my mind to it?

2 - Do you read much?  If yes, have you always loved reading?

No. Some of course, but not a great deal. Whatever writing style I have developed, has come from me. It does go to show that you don’t need to be a huge reader to be able to write. If it within you, let it out. I also have a substantial DVD collection, as I can watch these over and over and see them in a slightly different light each time. Because of this, I have an interest in writing scripts. Seven have been penned so far but remain in the drawer.

3 -  Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

My favourite author is Colin Dexter who created the Inspector Morse novels. I was lucky enough to meet him at an evening he gave in Buckingham some years ago. Characters are strong, the story draws you in with suspicion, mystery and twists.
H.E. Bates Darling Buds Of May – I find it so easy to be sucked into the soft, gentle romance of life on their farm

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

As previously mentioned, Colin Dexter with clever educated wit and short chapters. Every story is subject to Morse and his individual manner and intelligent deductions.
J. K. Rowling has a simplicity about her writing which endears the reader to her characters and a fantasy backdrop so interesting, it is impossible to ignore.
H.E. Bates, again with strong yet loveable characters the reader can associate with. A family life which many would wish they could have, but by reading The Darling Buds Chronicles, they can.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a tv show?

Without a doubt it would be Pop Larkin from H. E. Bates, Darling Buds Of May. A huge family man who loves having them and other people around him to perform to. A bit of a rascal, looking out for number one, trying to get the best deal and a profit from it. A man who could sell igloos to the Eskimo’s, as they say. Once a friend, a friend for life. He thinks the world of his farm and works very hard on it. Encourages all the children to join in and do their bit. And at a time when a good many had not a lot, Pop pulled a Rolls Royce out of the hat. ‘Perfic’. My kind of guy.

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

Yes. Half romance and half gangster story called Violin Strings and Piano Chords. A dubious Casino owner’s niece has run off with one of his barmen. That is not so much of a problem as the stock pile of cash that went missing from his safe the same night. Putting two and two together, he assumes the barman has kidnapped the girl and stole the money. Is there anywhere they can run without being found?

7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines? 

I normally have to read through at least the last chapter of what I am working on, in order to put myself back into characters, era and plot. Doing this helps to make the story flow a little smoother and much less segmented.

8 - Where do you do your writing?

Once the outline has been formulated, I write at the computer. I used to write everything by hand, in rough first and then again in my neatest. However, if I made a mistake, it couldn’t just be tipexed or a line through it, I would have to rewrite the entire page. What a glutton for punishment. However, It is nice to sit out in the sun to develop stories though.

9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

What works for me is when an idea comes to you, is to jot everything down even if it doesn’t make sense at the time, or double up – write it down, it may never come again. If it does, it is likely to be different. Keep going back to it to see if it can be enhanced. Each section I want to add I call, a one liner. Once a lot of these one liners have been strung together, it forms a story. It may not be the story I want, so I jiggle them about, add some more in, take some out until I have something I am happy to work with. Then, I work on the characters which have presented themselves to give them body and depth. They will also develop themselves as the story moves forward. I find this is a task that cannot be practiced enough. So yes, I formulate an outline to my writing.

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write, write and write some more. Almost everyone starts by writing about what they know, themselves. If it comes naturally, then that is very fortunate. If not, a lot of effort need be applied if it is to become complete. Never give in or take rejection slips as gospel. They are only some people’s opinions. Also, never lose your self belief. Only you can do it.

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

Writing is a very solitary process and can be done anytime. If I can’t sleep, I write. Equally, I am up early in the mornings with our dogs, so some can be done then.

12 - Do you have any pets?

Yes, two Labrador bitches. One yellow (well almost white) call Phoebe and a slightly younger chocolate one called, Briar. Whatever has happened to me during the past six years or so, their unconditional loyalty and closeness has proved invaluable.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

Walking my dogs. Clears the mind, is inspirational and I get a little exercise.

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

I have been fortunate to have been able to avoid these so far but I would rather keep to romance than sex.

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

More than one. I think it is good to be able to stretch the abilities that already exist. The Shadowed Tricorn is an historic feature set in the 1700’s. Runes Of The Wiccan Rede touches on the periphery of Witchcraft set in the 1990’s.
Robbery 4 All is as it sounds, a clumsy humorous attempt at multi robbery, the last big one of the 20th century.
I have a duology of short stories based around older people which are up to date, as is Violins Strings And Piano Chords.

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

I am self published on Amazon eBooks at the moment and depending on the interest shown there, will decide if paper books are produced.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

I have attempted a number of times in the past, when trying for traditional publishing, but it seemed to me unless you are presenting them with either something that can easily be placed, or what they are looking for, you don’t stand much of a chance. I do not doubt that if you can capture one, they would be worth having if the cost is worth it.

18 - What about marketing?  How do you approach that area?

That is an area I am not too good at, I have to confess. I do have a Facebook page which is under development, besides that, selling myself is something I need to learn in this industry.

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

I had never heard of the phrase until recently. I do, however, give them to several independent readers for their opinion. I will take their views and constructive criticism and amend where necessary before publishing.

20 - What’s your favorite food?

Chicken, sticky toffee pudding, chicken, banoffee pie, chicken, steak and kidney pudding - but not all at the same time.

21 - What’s your favorite color?

That has to be green because of the hundreds of different shades there are. I enjoy watercolour painting and that is something which fascinates me when trying to create a country vista. Springtime is a great opportunity for this.

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

This one, so far. http://mikewellsblog.blogspot.com is well worth checking out. As is www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/for-writers

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

Autumn is wonderful for the colours and leaf kicking. Winter is great for walking in the crisp fresh air. Spring is encouraging with so much new life being born, animal and plant life. And summer is warm and the sunshine makes everything look so much better. That said, I do like being warm in summer.

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

I published three e books with Amazon kindle on the 18 August 2013. Robbery 4 All focuses on small time crooks who have the opportunity of robbing a bank inflicted upon them. They have no idea what they are doing and the more people who become involved, the more complicated it becomes. These problems multiply with the help of the gang leader’s father, who was a sixties villain but wants to help out now too. The inspector in charge of the case is near retirement and is looking forward to building his house extension. In effect, he has retired already.
The Shadowed Tricorn follows the misfortunes of a young Milton Keynes photographer after a minor car crash. He is convinced that he somehow went back in time to the 1700’s and had a wild adventure with a famous Highwayman of that period. Broken down into all the things he dislikes, in order to just survive, so many events happened to him – or did they? Was it that he just banged his head on the steering wheel and it was all a dream?
Runes Of The Wiccan Reede is a story surrounding a family, with two young teenage girls, who move into a remote cottage once owned by a locate estate. These adventurous youths unwittingly release an evil spirit which causes havoc on the neighboring area. Their mother and aunt have a secret, one which leads the girls into witchcraft and mysticism.

25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

I find a creative mind is an invaluable asset. The ability to listen and observe helps to provide characters and plots. Providing detail gives the story a life of its own and makes characters more realistic.  Most of all, the desire to want to write. While that is with you, use it.

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books –

Amazon Kindle eBooks:

Robbery 4 All 

The Shadowed Tricorn

Runes of the Wiccan Rede

grahamcjones.com is my own web address where I can be contacted at the moment with any question regarding my writing.

Graham C Jones will be my face book page very soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Notice regarding author profile posts

Hello! 

Please note - 


I had gotten started doing author profiles, but I over-committed myself; and lacked the time to post them in a timely manner. 


I will still post the ones that had been scheduled, and will do others, but just at a much slower pace. 


Now I'm thinking that will be one a week, beginning this week, and starting with the next scheduled post.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Author profile with Kristy Centeno

 Today author Kristy Centeno drops by to answer my questions:


1 - When did you first start writing?


I’ve written stories since I was very young, but it wasn’t until two years ago when I decided to take things to the next level.

2 - Do you read much?  If yes, have you always loved reading?

Before I decided to become a writer I used to read all the time. I love to read. Lately however, I haven’t had much time to sit and read since what little spare time I have goes to my writing.

3 - Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

I don’t have one favorite author. I think there are too many great authors to just pick one, and if I were to name them all it would probably take me a while : )

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

I believe that every author I have come to admire over the years influenced me one way or another. It’s hard not to feel swayed to do what you love the most when you realized that many of the same authors you admire were in the same frame of mind as you were at some point.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a TV show?

I can’t say that I have.

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Secrets of the Moon, which picks up immediately where the first book ends. I can’t say much about it, but

7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines?

~<>~

8 - Where do you do your writing?

Most of my writing takes place in the small office space I have just beyond the dining area of my house. Though small, it’s comfortable enough for me to work in.

9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

I do not outline my plots. I usually start out with a concept and then work up the story from there. Once I have the concept figured out I have a pretty good idea where I want the plot to go. I do, however, write a short, detailed bio for my characters so that I know where or when I want them to pop up in the story.

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

~<>~

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

I’m definitely a night owl. Morning just doesn’t agree with me at all.

12 - Do you have any pets?

Yes. I have six colorful parakeets.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

When I need a break I enjoy sitting down with the kids and watching a movie. Being with my kids, spending time with them really helps melt some of the stress of writer’s block away too.

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

For me, it depends on the story. I do write erotic romance, but I believe not every story has to have a sex scene. As much as I enjoy a steamy sex scene, I prefer a little variation in what I read. Because of this belief, I decided to follow my instincts and leave the sex scenes up to how the plot progresses.

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

More than one. I write Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Horror, and Erotic Romance. I do want to venture into other genres in the future, but for now I stick to what I’ve written so far.

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

Publishing house.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

To be honest, I did submit to a few agents but either I never heard back from them or got rejected. However, even though I got rejected a few times, if I were offered the opportunity to work with a literary agent I would. I don’t hold any grudges : )

18 - What about marketing? How do you approach that area?

Because I’ve had such great experiences with blog tours, I try to book as many as I can. Blog tours are a great way to market my work because of the response from the public. Plus I enjoy sharing aspects of my writing journey to those whose interest is sparked.

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

I have only one beta reader, who also happens to be a close friend. However, my publishers have beta readers of their own.

20 - What’s your favorite food?

Pasta.

21 - What’s your favorite color?

Blue.

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

Authors Helping Authors (http://authorshelpingauthors.wordpress.com/) is a great website to go to for advice regarding publishing, writing, and what not to do.

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

Definitely the end of the year. With the holidays I get to meet up with family members I normally don’t get to see during the year.

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

Secrets of the Moon is about a young teenage girl looking to pick up the pieces of her life after a horrible accident that nearly costs her her life and that of her best friends. However, things become a lot more complicated when a stranger walks into her life. Soon she discovers that no only is he hiding something, but that his secret can kill.

The book is available through the publishers website, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles.

25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

~<>~

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books –








Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Author profile - with - Hugh Howey

Join me in welcoming Hugh Howey, author of the Silo book series to The Book News Journal author profile.  

1 - When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was 12, but it took me twenty years before I started completing anything. I finished my first manuscript in 2009 at the age of 34. And I’ve been grinding out stories ever since.

2 - Do you read much?  If yes, have you always loved reading?

Avidly. And yeah, I’ve loved reading since I learned with picture books.

3 -  Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

I don’t know that I have a favorite author. I read such a wide variety of works. But five of my favorite novels are all from Neal Stephenson, so he has to be right up there. My favorite book right now might be LEXICON by Max Barry.

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

Recently, it’s been other self-published authors who have influenced me the most. Annie Bellet convinced me to start producing audiobooks, which has been a huge boost for me. Matthew Mather has been a good friend and a source of sound advice. Jason Gurley has been an inspiration. The authors who have blazed trails for me and become my friends are the ones who influence me the most.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a tv show?

Han Solo from Star Wars, without question. When I worked as a yacht captain, I felt like I was Han. I was forever having to bang on things to get them working, and I felt like a decent-hearted pirate at sea. A ruffian.

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

I’m working on a piece of fan fiction set in the world of Kurt Vonnegut. It’s the first thing I’ve written about being at the World Trade Center on 9/11. It’s been very difficult to write, but also cathartic.

7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines? 

Not really. I read the paper, eat a bowl of cereal, and force myself to sit and write. I don’t think you can wait for inspiration. You have to write until you become inspired.

8 - Where do you do your writing?

At home, either at my desk or on the sofa. I write on a laptop, which means I can write anywhere. My dog is usually nearby.

9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

I spend a lot of time thinking about my story and my characters, and then I just start writing. I might make some notes in another document, but not a heavy outline, just ideas about key scenes or conversations.

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. It’s all about practice, which means sitting down and doing the actual writing. In order to get in the habit of finishing a work and revising it to publication, try writing shorter pieces. Don’t start off and try to finish a marathon. Begin with a few 5Ks.

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

I do my writing in the morning and my business stuff at night. I think better in the morning.

12 - Do you have any pets?

Oh yeah, my dog is my constant companion. I would be a mess without her.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

A hike on the beach with my dog. This is where I unwind. I also enjoy meals with my wife, whether we go out somewhere or order a pizza in.

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

I’ve been mild thus far. I hope to step it up.

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

I’m all over the place. I write horror, fiction, science fiction, young adult, and post-apocalyptic. I also write in varying lengths, from short stories to novels. I enjoy it all.

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

Both. I self-publish first, but publishers have picked up several of my books afterward. This is how I prefer it. I go straight to the reader. If a publisher wants to get involved afterward, that’s awesome. Meanwhile, the books are spreading like wildfire, and readers aren’t having to wait.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

If you can find a good one, they are awesome to have. They really can expand your reach. I’m incredibly lucky to be with Kristin Nelson, who I think is one of the smartest people working in publishing today.

18 - What about marketing?  How do you approach that area?

I don’t like marketing. What I do is interact with my existing readers. I just make myself available to them. Readers learn about good books through other readers, not directly from authors. This is the way it should be. Besides, I’ve never been comfortable asking anyone to read my stuff.

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

I do. I send out manuscripts to half a dozen readers and take their feedback into account before I publish. This is an invaluable resource. I’m very lucky in that I have dozens of people begging to participate in exchange for getting an early look at my work and a say in the creation process.

20 - What’s your favorite food?

Pepperoni pizza.

21 - What’s your favorite color?

Green.

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

Absolutely. That would be the Writers’ CafĂ© at KBoards.

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

Fall. I like the coming of cooler weather.

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

My most recent release was DUST, which is the third and final chapter in the series that began with WOOL. It’s available online at most distributors. A few brave independent bookstores might be carrying it.

25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

Dedication. The ability to get up every single day, year after year, and spend hours writing is the most important skill a writer can possess. Reading as much as possible is a close second to this ability. Because if you can’t put the hours into the writing, nothing else matters.

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books –

My website: www.hughhowey.com