Friday, December 15, 2017

Interview with Robert Giel, MACARASTOR


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
It is a story of revenge and how it changes the main character as he progresses on his quest to track down those responsible for his loss. It is not part of a series. When you read the novel, you'll understand why.

Do you have a favorite character?
I have two favorite characters, the two protagonists in my first novel. I conceived the plot and the characters of that one when I was twelve-years-old but I did't write it until I was much older. As a result, those characters grew up with me and I with them. They became old friends.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I've only been writing in earnest for about eight years. Most of that has been a learning curve. Since I write primarily traditional Western novels, I felt that the market for that genre was small and that traditional publishers would show little interest in my books. I chose self publishing as a way to get my books in front of the public quickly and at minimum cost.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book.
The idea for my latest novel woke me up at two in the morning. I had to start writing it then and there. When it was finished (a labor of love), I entered it in a contest given by a review magazine. It received a five-star review and was a finalist in the contest. I presented it to three traditional publishers and was offered a contract for publication about a month after submission.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
My daughter is a graphic designer so I engaged her to design the covers for my self published books. She read each book (she is also my initial editor) and we worked together to come up with covers that helped tell each story.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I recently joined a group of diverse writers who meet once a week and share our writing. Each person reads a passage he or she has written and the group reads along. Then the group critiques the passage. They have helped me immensely, in particular with point of view and becoming more concise.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I write in silence. That way, I can hear my characters talking, either within the story or to me.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I'm an outliner. I have to have a fully shaped story line and fully fleshed out characters with which to start writing. Having said that, there have been times when the spirit moved me to stray from an outline to more fully develop the story.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Edit. Edit. Edit. While, at some point, you have to call a halt to the editing process, every time I edit one of my works, I make changes. Ask others to read it and comment on it. Don't submit it until you feel confident it's the best it can be.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Since I'm retired, I write full time. However, recently, I discovered Cowboy Action Shooting and that has become my past time passion. It's like playing cowboys when I was a kid, only with real guns and real bullets. But don't worry, it's perfectly safe.

Author Bio:
Born in New York City and living now in New Jersey, I've lived in several areas of the Midwest but have never resided in any area that could be termed the West. However, I've absorbed so much of the West through books, movies and TV that I feel like I have been there. The colors, sounds and images stay vividly enough in my mind that I can believe I have experienced them.

I have loved the western genre since I was a kid. The grit and the determination of the people that carved a way of life out of the frontier have helped to shape the way I live my own life. Because of that era, I keep my word, I finish what I start and I'm a true friend. When I retired from the business world, I made up my mind to begin a writing career and never looked back.

The links to all my books can be found on my website, www.bobgiel.com

#Excerpt: ICE KINGDOM by Tiana Warner


Ice Kingdom
Tiana Warner
(Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #3)
Publication date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.

**Read the first book in the trilogy for FREE: download at http://bit.ly/siandmeela until Dec 25th!**

EXCERPT:
Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
“No!”
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.

Author Bio:
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer’s Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

#Excerpt: BEAUTY AND BEASTLY by Melanie Karsak


Beauty and Beastly: Steampunk Beauty and the Beast
Melanie Karsak
(Steampunk Fairy Tales)
Publication date: December 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, Steampunk

In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery.
When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn’t hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf.
But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.
Isabelle survives the storm only to be shipwrecked on a seemingly-deserted island. The magical place, dotted with standing stones, faerie mounds, and a crumbling castle, hints of an ancient past. Isabelle may be an unwilling guest, but her arrival marks a new beginning for the beastly residents of this forgotten land.
See how NY Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak puts a steampunk spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.

EXCERPT:
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
The sky overhead darkened, and in the distance, I heard the rumble of thunder.
Oh no. No, no, no.
I looked up at the sky. My head swam.
I needed to find shelter.
I turned to go back to the path, but when I did so, I didn’t see the path, nor the ring of mushrooms, nor anything else vaguely familiar.
Once more, the sky rumbled.
I felt the first of the raindrops on my head, but luckily, the thick leaves overhead sheltered me somewhat. As the storm rolled in, the forest grew dark.
I cast a glance around.
It didn’t matter which direction I went. Eventually I would find the shore once more.
Turning to head out, however, I spotted a bluish colored light in the distance. A house? A fire? A lantern? A…something.
“Hello?”
No reply.
Turning, I followed the bluish glow. I headed deeper into the forest, chasing after the light, but soon found its source. It was a mushroom. The glowing mushroom had been sitting on a rise. It had played a trick on my mind. Then I spotted another glowing fungus, then another, and another, all of which held an incandescent blue light. They grew in a straight line. Without a better recourse, and feeling half suspicious of the supernatural, I followed the glow of the blue mushrooms as the rain pattered overhead, the sky rumbling. I followed the blue lights deep into the ancient woods, aware that I was passing other sacred rings. I walked past a mound of earth, a barrow, the final resting place of some ancient person—and some said a passageway to the Otherworld—as I hurried deeper into the woods. Surely I would find the shoreline soon.
Lightning cracked overhead.
Then, on the horizon, I saw golden light. A fire? I squinted my eyes, trying to make out the shape through the trees, but my head ached miserably. Leaning heavily against my staff, I moved toward the golden colored light.
The forest thinned. The glowing mushrooms led me onward toward the glow of the yellow light in the distance. Praying to find someone—anyone—I followed along, well aware that my quick exertion had my stomach rolling. Black spots wriggled before my eyes. The line of mushrooms ended. To my shock, I’d blundered to the center of the island and found myself standing outside the gates of a castle.
I gazed up at the enormous structure. It towered over me, a black silhouette on the horizon. Light glowed through one of the windows in the upper floors. It was raining in earnest now. Not waiting a moment longer, I pushed the gate. It swung open with a creak.
It was pouring.
I leaned my walking staff against a metal bench in the perfectly manicured garden, then grabbing my skirts, I ran for the castle door. As I rushed, lightning flashed. It created an odd illusion on the bushes and flowers around me. For a moment, they all seemed to glimmer like metal under the bright light.
My temples pounded. My stomach rolled. I raced through the heavy rain to the castle door.
Hoping whoever was at home would forgive me for letting myself in, I pushed open the castle door and crept inside.
The place was eerily silent.
“Hello?” I called. “Is anyone here?”
Breathing deeply and quickly, I realized the moment I stopped that I was not well.
I cast a glance toward a roaring fireplace nearby. A chair was seated before the hearth, a glass of something dark sitting beside the seat. I heard a strange clicking sound.
“Hello?” I called again, but this time, my head began to spin. I put my hands on my hips, trying to catch my breath. I closed my eyes. Everything was twirling.
Footsteps approached.
“I-I’m sorry I let myself in but…” I began then opened my eyes.
Standing before me was a massive automaton, its silver eyes staring coldly at me.
A nauseous feeling swept over me, and my head swam. Black spots danced before my eyes.
“Pardon me. I think I’m about to—”
Faint.
But the word was lost.
And so was I.

Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, The Burnt Earth Series, The Celtic Blood Series and Steampunk Fairy Tales. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Interview with Mikel J Wilson, MURDER ON THE LAKE OF FIRE


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Murder on the Lake of Fire is Book 1 of the Mourning Dove Mysteries. The novel series features Emory Rome’s investigations into bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee.

At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. 

The mysterious death of a teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is soon followed by an apparent case of spontaneous human combustion. In a small town bursting with friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just beneath the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits him against artful private investigator Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome, smart and seductive, and he just might be the killer Rome is seeking.

Do you have a favorite character?
I would have to say my favorite character is Emory Rome from Murder on the Lake of Fire (Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1). He’s the one I’ve known the longest and with whom I most closely identify. He was the protagonist of the first book I ever wrote, which was an adventure story of a fifteen-year-old boy fighting for his life in the Smoky Mountains. Three years ago, I began wondering what he would be doing as an adult, and that was the impetus for writing this mystery series. I never published that first book, but I use it as backstory for my Mourning Dove Mysteries series.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I pitched my book to a publisher at a conference in San Diego, and she asked me to send it to her. After she read it, she offered me a contract with great terms. Most importantly to me, I maintain the rights to my books.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
Murder on the Lake of Fire is contracted with Acorn Publishing, and I plan to stick with them for future books in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series as long as they’ll have me.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I always create a playlist to match the tone of a new book, and I play it while writing. I write the first draft longhand in a spiral notebook because I find it helps me concentrate on the story without distraction. I typically write in my office, but I sometimes write outside when my creativity needs a spark. My favorite place to find that spark is above the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I have to outline my mystery novels to keep track of who knows what when and to plot out the movements of the killer.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Having a content and line editor review your manuscript is absolutely vital! I first sent this novel to a content editor, who did a fantastic job pointing out opportunities to strengthen my plot and helping me tighten my story to be the best it could be. I then sent it to a line editor to look for typos and any lingering mistakes, and I couldn’t believe how many he found. Not to be immodest, but I consider myself a great editor. Regardless, I miss mistakes in my own work because I’m reading what should be there instead of what actually is.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I believe I’m like most authors in that I want to spend every available moment writing, but I know books that aren’t marketed almost never find an audience. Marketing a book requires a huge time commitment, and most of that time, I’m wishing I could just be working on my next novel. Even in days I’ve devoted to marketing, I always set aside at least a couple of hours to write.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Besides the blog tour, we’re advertising on Goodreads, Facebook and other websites. We’ve also submitted the book to some magazines for review, and we have a pretty strong presence on social media.

What’s next for you?
I’ve finished the second book in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series, and that should be out in summer 2018. I’m now writing the third book.


Murder on the Lake of Fire
Mikel J. Wilson
(Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance

At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – to investigate an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. This mysterious case of a dead teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is just the beginning.
In a small town bursting with envious friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just below the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits Rome against artful private investigator, Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome and smart, seducing Rome and forcing him to confront childhood demons, but Woodard has secrets of his own. He might just be the killer Rome is seeking.




Author Bio:
Mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson received widespread critical praise for his debut novel, Sedona: The Lost Vortex, a science fiction book based on the Northern Arizona town’s legends of energy vortexes and dimensional travel. Wilson now draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee.

Murder on the Lake of Fire, the first novel in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series, will be available December 1, 2017.



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Interview with Justine Avery, THE ONE APART


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Other than the book’s description itself, The One Apart is more than a story—it’s an experience.  Expect a family saga, an adventure epic, lots of mystery and intrigue and eeriness.  Expect to delve in, “live” the story with the characters, to love or love to hate all the characters, and to laugh a little, cry a little, and definitely be drive to look over your shoulder to reassure yourself nothing’s there.  Expect to never be able to look at the world, life, and people around you the same way again.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
For me, it was an extremely easy decision and the only option.  I’ve been self-employed for over a dozen years now, and that complete freedom, creative control and decision-making ability, etc. is just not something you want to give up once you’ve tasted it.  I love how self-publishing allows my stories to remain my stories.  I involved the input of others, of course—I want my stories to be the best stories they’re meant to be—but in the end, I get to share my work with the world knowing I love the cover design, for instance, and no contract has forced a crap one on me!  The complaints and agony I’ve heard from contracted authors are astonishing; I’d never ever want to hand over my beloved stories in such a way.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I’m involved every step of the way.  Having a graphic design background myself—and being an avid reader/book admirer!—I usually get an idea for the cover while I’m writing the story.  I might draft one up, play around with design ideas and fonts, and then get outside input from other trusted creatives.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
The short answer is “no.”  The experience of forced group criticism in college creative writing wasn’t a positive one.  And I’ve since learned that a story is a very delicate thing until it’s actually finished, until the author feels they’ve done all they can with it.  If you talk about the story, its premise, your excitement or your struggles, you’re burning creative energy that could be fueling the next sentences; you’re losing some of the enthusiasm that compelled you to write that story to begin with.  I think story is hurt by outside criticism during its development.  The opinions of others are most useful when the story is “complete” in a good finished draft, and even then, readers need to be carefully chosen for their honesty, appreciation of and respect for story itself, and even their ability to recognize what you’re capable of as an author.  A story is like a child that deserves very careful nurturing. J

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I’m a minimalist when it comes to my writing environment: desk, comfy chair, tea, maybe a piece of chocolate, my laptop, a window with a view.  I try to keep out all distractions, so I can focus solely on the story and imagine myself there.  There aren’t even any cute desktop decorations or anything; those are on the “business desk.” I have to keep out all distracting noise too, so I wear noise-cancelling headphones and play a loop of beach sounds: crashing waves and the occasional seagull going by.  It’s the only thing I can write with: something without words or music that would pull me out of the story but sound that helps drown out outside noises.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I’m a proud pantser!  My process is very simple: start with a tiny story idea, the simpler and less-detailed, the better.  Then, I start writing the story from the beginning. I never know how my stories are going to end up—and for me, that's the whole fun of it. That's why I write! Every story's an adventure, a mystery, an experience waiting to unfold. That's the whole appeal for me. If I'm not having fun writing a story, I imagine no one else is going to enjoy reading it. No outlines exist for my stories. My stories aren't planned; they're dreamed. At most, I may get flooded with ideas for a story while writing it, then have to keep up by jotting them all down and maybe needing to put them in chronological order to refer to them later. But I've found I'm not happiest with even "fun ideas" in a little list to write into the story; that's when creative writing turns into academic writing, for me, with a pre-determined end goal, and all the fun is sucked out of it.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
The One Apart is exclusive to Amazon, for the moment.  All of my other published stories are cataloged at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Scribd, iBooks, etc. etc. etc.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
The same advice I’d give to any new author, writer, or any of us stuck in a rut: write, write, write.  Don’t allow yourself the distraction and hesitation of thinking about writing or reading about it; just write.  Write to gain your confidence, to find your voice, to get damn good, and push yourself to finally share something with the rest of the world.  And forget what others think of your work; if you really love writing for all the right reasons, you will be great at it and readers will recognize that.  BUT… if absolutely everyone says “eh…” about your stories, or only your mother and significant other “love it!” then take that as a bit of beautiful revelation: that you’re still holding yourself back, somehow for some reason.  And you need to dig deeper, into the place where you have no fear, or you’re courageous enough to write about what you fear.  And that’s the writing, the stories, that are pure gold.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Everything—anything!  I’m an explorer by nature, having grown up all over the world and still trying to take yet more of it in.  Traveling is one of my biggest passions, but that’s because I’m fascinated by everything, everyone, every culture, every perspective around me.  I love learning it all.

What’s next for you?
More fantastic stories!  My interests are all over the place, and I love following my curiosity wherever it takes me.  I’ve got a list of little story idea nuggets much longer than life will give me time to write stories for and in just about every genre.  I will most definitely write more fiction, short and long, and great nonfiction stories as well.  And I’ll be checking off more countries yet-to-be-visited around the world.



BLURB:

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he's lived before.

Tres is about to be born... with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he's too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better the chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/10/vbt-one-apart-by-justine-avery.html





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Monday, December 11, 2017

Interview with Darrel Sparkman, AFTER THE FALL


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My next published book will be available November 16, 2017. After the Fall is a post-apocalyptic novel set about twenty years after an event that spirals the United States back to a near-frontier footing. John Trent is a courier traveling between the few outposts left in the Ozarks. He’s tired of the constant fight for survival and ready to go sit on a mountain and watch the world go by when a few problems confront him. He finds women murdered in the forest. He meets Katherine, a woman taking supplies back to her town and realizes she may be the next victim. After the Fall is a story of survival, love, and betrayal in unexpected places.

It’s a stand-alone book.

Do you have a favorite character?
I have several. In my frontier westerns it would be Sean MacLeod from Spirit Trail. In contemporary westerns it would be Coble Bray from Hallowed Ground. In apocalyptic novels it would be Colt Blaine from Chrysalis.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
I think it’s just happened. I have an un-published short story that has been marked by readers as a western romance. While not exactly minor characters, I think the interaction between mother and daughter is going to push me to make it a full length novel.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
I queried several years before my first novel Osage Dawn was picked up by an audio book publisher, Books in Motion.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
That’s easy. They were the first to show interest and I went with it. Not sorry.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book.
I blame my wife. We were in a book store and I picked up a post-apocalyptic novel, took it home and read it. I remarked that I could write a better story and she said, “So, do it.” I’ve been trying ever since. She is always after me to write something contemporary, so Limestone County will be out in the third quarter of 2018.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I’m under contract with Oghma Creative Media for several sequels up through 2018. I’m looking at self-publishing short stories just to keep my name out there between novels.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
The first publishers I had gave me little, or no input on covers. With my current publisher, I have the yes/no/back to the drawing board input that I think an author needs. Of course, Oghma Creative puts out such super covers I rarely do anything but say, “Great.”

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. Once I start, I just let it go. I cannot listen to music while writing. If it’s good music I have to listen to it. Sometimes if I’m writing an emotional scene, I’ll listen to Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings before I start. Silence is golden.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I tried outlining a few times and it never worked for me. The characters always take over and go somewhere else. I wish I could outline and stay with it. It would take some time off the process because often I have to go back and read what I’ve done.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Time is always hard to come by. I have that glorious retirement plan of “work till you die”, so most of my writing is done in the winter and 10 to midnight during our busy season.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I’ll just repeat what Dusty Richards preaches. Write the book. Worry about all the other stuff later. When you finish, write another one. And my own advice, start early, get serious about it early, and keep at it.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Used to hunt, fish, and do other sports. Now it’s mainly work and writing. My wife and I run a garden center from March through June, and that keeps us busy.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?

Dogs, not cats. Pretty much anything sweet. Hate coffee. I’d rather text than talk, unless it’s face to face. I’m more a night person, but still get up early. I guess I’m not a sleep person.

What’s next for you?
I’ve got a few more books in me. Hopefully we can get to a place in life where we can actually retire.


Author bio and Links:
Darrel Sparkman resides in Southwest Missouri with his wife.  Their three children and eleven grandchildren live nearby.  His hobbies include gardening, golfing, and writing.  In the past, Darrel served four years in the United States Navy, including seven months in Viet Nam as a combat search & rescue helicopter crewman.  

He also served nineteen years as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, worked as a professional photographer, computer repair tech, and along with his wife Sue, owned and operated a commercial greenhouse and flower shop.  Darrel is currently retired and self-employed.  He finally has that job that wakes you up every day with a smile

After The Fall: http://amzn.to/2g9sBSA
OghmaCreative Media: http://bit.ly/2kFRnOW
Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2g7BBpP

Friday, December 8, 2017

Interview with Christina Bauer, CROWNED


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My latest book is CROWNED, aka the final book in my Beholder series. It’s the story of a strong medieval chick and her adventures—think GAME OF THRONES, only the heroine doesn’t die.

Do you have a favorite character?
That’s like choosing a favorite child! Heresy!

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
In my latest book, CROWNED, I had a scene where two massive orange monkeys literally dropped into the scene. They ended up being trickster gods who were critical to the story. Fun!

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I do marketing for my day job, so I didn’t see the need to pay a publisher to do that for me. Plus, I’m a control freak.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Since graphic design is part of my day job, I felt very comfortable sourcing artists and providing direction.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I never did the critique group thing, but I have spent a lot of time networking and finding the right writing support group. For me, this has a critical part of my success.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
That I enjoy this industry a TON!  I have since opening my own publishing company, Monster House Books, and love developing both stories and talent.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I am also a wife, mother and have a day job in high-tech marketing.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs. Chocolate. Coffee. Talk. Day.

What’s next for you?
Now that the Beholder series is done, I’m actively working three different series, all of which have releases in 2018: Angelbound (YA fantasy), Dimension Drift (YA fantasy/sci fi) ,and Fairy tales Of The Magicorum (YA urban fantasy). Lots of details to be seen at www.monsterhosuebooks.com!

Thanks for having me blog…I look foward to seeing you at my next book launch!


Crowned
Christina Bauer
(Beholder, #4)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Beauty. Romance. Power. It’s all in the eye of the BEHOLDER.
At last, Elea has found the love of her life. Unfortunately, the evil Tsar Viktor is about to unleash an army of twisted mages bent on killing everyone Elea cares about… including the man who’s stolen her heart.
So what’s a powerful witch to do? Why, organize a league of magical warriors, of course!
Elea recruits and trains a fighting force to take down the Tsar. That’s challenge enough, but on the eve of battle, Elea realizes that her true enemies may be far more powerful than even Viktor: The deities Oni and Yuri could be out to destroy her as well. With major battles brewing on two fronts, Elea’s not sure that she’ll win, but with true love to inspire her, she’s certainly ready to fight.


Author Bio:
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.


GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Pre-order .99: PERSUADED BY THE REFLECTIONS by Sean Sweeney


The day we've waited for is here--the day Persuaded By The Reflections: A Thriller, my 27th novel, is available for pre-order. Let the balloons and streamers fly!

But seriously...

I'm incredibly proud of how this book came out. Between David's striking cover--I've gotten plenty of comments of how it has drawn readers in--and the work my team and I have done to make this book tight, this might be my best work to date. (Well, until Scouring Agent comes out in February. But we're just arguing semantics here, aren't we?)

Now: I've been rather vague about what this book is about. That ends today.

The blurb:

Det. Ricky Madison is back in this pulse-quickening, gritty sequel!

Now suffering from PTSD following the events at the end of THE LONG CRIMSON LINE, Ricky returns to Worcester, Mass., the city where he was once a police detective; he’s undergoing therapy in both solo and group settings, and in his first session, he meets a young lady struggling to cope with her love life’s tribulations—she’s a cutter, and he offers her his ear whenever she needs it.

When elements of past crimes he had investigated creep back into the present, Ricky is brought back into the fold of Worcester Police to help link the crimes together—even though the one in charge of the investigation isn’t thrilled about his presence.

Together, the two comb through the facts and similarities of the respective cases until Ricky discovers the one responsible for everything.


Just screams bestseller, doesn't it?

So it's available now for pre-order, and I want you to pre-order this wonderful book as it's only 99 cents from now until Christmas Day (consider it my Christmas gift to you). Release Day is Dec. 26, so on that day, the price goes up to $2.99, its usual price. You're getting a steal and a half here!

Here's where you can pick up your copy:

Remember that those who have Kindle get the book at 8 p.m. on Christmas Night. So after the kids are asleep, you can fire up your Kindle, sync it up, and Persuaded By The Reflections: A Thriller will be at the top of your reading list!

Author Bio:

Sean Sweeney's love of reading began in 1988, when he was handed J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Hobbit, and was given a needed boost with John Grisham novels and the Star Wars Expanded Universe. His passion for writing began in 1993, as a sophomore in high school, when he began writing sports for his local newspaper. Born and raised in North Central Massachusetts in 1977, Sweeney has written for several newspapers and radio stations. When he is not writing, he enjoys the Boston Red Sox, the New England Revolution, Arsenal F.C., Gold Coast F.C., the New England Patriots, and playing with his and his wife's two horses and five cats.

Website: http://www.seansweeneyauthor.com