Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Interview with Maria Savva

Happy Halloween, everyone. I hope those of you in the eastern part of the US are keeping safe in the storm. Let's think happy (and spooky) thoughts with an interview with author Maria Savva, whose book HAUNTED is Halloween appropriate. :)

Happy Halloween, Maria! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Thanks for inviting me here :) Happy Halloween to you! I'm a lawyer from England. Not currently practising law. I currently work in admin at a legal advice centre. I have an obsession with the written word, whether it's reading or writing. I have written 5 novels and have three collections of short stories with another on the way.

How long have you been writing?

I caught the writing bug back in my teens when I wrote short stories for school assignments. It was something I really enjoyed. I went for quite a long time where I didn't write as I was studying at university and then law school. In my mid twenties, I found myself out of work with nothing to do, and picked up a writers' magazine at the local newsagent. They had competitions for the best short stories, so I started entering those and this helped me revisit the creative writing I'd loved so much at school. I then had an idea to write a novel. I'd always joked, ever since I was a child, that I would write a bestselling novel one day, so I thought I'd give it a go. That's when Coincidences was born. That was 1997. Since then I have been writing novels or short stories continually, fitting it around my day job.

Tell us about HAUNTED! What’s the story about?

It's a psychological thriller. The story deals with the effects of crime on the mind and on the criminal's life in general. We tend to see a lot of books that seem to almost glamourise crime, in a sense. There are lots of books about murders and other such heinous crimes, but the author doesn't tend to go further than actually showing the crime itself -- shock value-- and maybe the investigation that ensues. I wanted to go beyond the actual crime and explore the after effects from the criminal's perspective. In Haunted, I am very much delving into the mind of the perpetrator. Lots of stories look at how the crime affects the victim, but not many deal with how it can change the criminal's life. I wanted to explore that side of it. After all, not all criminals are cold blooded.

Sounds great! How did the idea of the story come to you?

It has its roots in a news story that had an effect on me, about 8 years ago about a random murder. I started to write a different novel inspired by that event at the time, but due to work commitments didn't get far with that. I still have the first few chapters in a drawer at home somewhere, so maybe I will work on that one when I get time. Haunted started off as being based on that news story, but initially I wanted to write the book about 3 separate crimes that took place and maybe have them link together in some way. The original title was '3 Crimes'. But when I started writing Nigel's story (he's the protagonist in Haunted) something took over and he wanted his own book (characters do that... they can be quite demanding!). The writing of Haunted was also triggered by a couple of road rage incidents I witnessed. The anger that I saw from the drivers who had been involved in those made me start to think about how we can change when we're behind the wheel of a car. Some people seem to become more aggressive. I once saw a case in court about a decent law-abiding family man who attacked someone because of road rage. I've always been interested in the psychology of crime i.e. why do people commit crimes, how does it affect the victim, and how does it affect the criminal. Haunted is about all of this, but is also intended to be a warning about how anger can result in loss.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

For my last two books -- The Dream, and the second edition of my first novel, Coincidences -- and all my short stories, I self edited. Editing is something you can learn to do alone if you take time to study the rules of grammar. But I find it very time consuming, and I would never edit something on my own without then sending it to beta readers, because it's so much harder to spot editorial issues in your own writing than it is in other people's writing. For Haunted, I decided to use a professional editor, Susan Helene Gottfried (she's also an author of rock fiction, including Trevor's Song). Susan's help was invaluable for this project, because I just didn't have time to edit on my own. If I do edit alone it takes me months because I have to read the manuscript over at least 10 times to spot all the issues that Susan spotted in just one read through. So, I am eternally grateful to her and would definitely recommend her services to other writers. After I am happy with the edited version of my books, I always send out advance reader copies to a few beta readers. I am very lucky to be part of the BestsellerBound.com community of indie writers, so when I send my books to beta readers, I send them to members of that group who are also talented writers. Their input is always great. Fellow writers are the best beta readers you can have!

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I always have an idea about what my novel or story will be about, but the writing process for me is very much a creative endeavour. I get my inspiration as I go along, and often what I had envisaged happening in the story becomes something completely different as the direction is changed by an unplanned event that occurs in the story that might be inspired by something one of the characters says or does. I am very much open to inspiration from the world around me. For example, something someone says to me may alter the way something happens in one of my stories or novels.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Remembering what I've written from one chapter to the next. When I go back over the first draft, I always find problems, for example I've given my character green eyes in chapter 2 and then suddenly in chapter 10, her brown eyes are weeping... stuff like that. I don't pay enough attention to my writing and tend to get carried away with the story forgetting the detail. All that gets fixed in the editing process, which is another hard part of writing!

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I'm happy with a pen and paper or just a keyboard & computer. Nothing else is needed.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Reading people's minds...

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Probably everything I Googled for the research for Haunted was weird and could be used as evidence in a court of law. For example, I Googled for 'hand gun', and I Googled for 'body found near cliff' or 'police searching for body near cliff', and other things to do with murders...

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: ghouls, attic, and trepidation.

Even ghouls would approach that attic with trepidation; there was something far scarier lurking within those shadowy walls.

Awesome! Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... reading

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

A BIG shout out to all at BestsellerBound.com, they are the reason I am still sane (I can hear people laughing at that... my sanity is questionable at times LOL). But seriously, they are such a fabulous support network. I don't think I would have continued on my writing journey over the last couple of years without those lovely writers. Darcia Helle, Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick. Michael Radcliffe, Stacy Juba, Calum McDonald, Jason McIntyre, Susan Helene Gottfried, Jaleta Clegg, Sharon Cathcart... I could go on, there are so many wonderful writers there and every one of the regular members has added something to my writing journey, so I thank them all. We've learnt so much from each other over the last couple of years and I'm sure we'll still be going strong for years to come.

I'd also like to thank some wonderful supportive writers I've recently met on twitter: Susan Buchanan, Terry Tyler, Dionne Lister, Doreen Cox... again there are probably some I have missed from this list. So this is a big shout out to all the people I regularly interact with on Twitter. Your daily tweets and retweets mean a lot to me.

Then there are those writers who have practically been there from the start of my self-publishing journey and somehow they are still there for me. I have the utmost respect for them: Catherine Rose, Julie Elizabeth Powell, Stuart Ross McCallum, Quentin Bufogle, Lisette Brodey. A big thanks to all of you for being an inspiration and for putting up with me.

Thanks are also due to Deena Schoenfeldt and Mark Rice. Both Deena and Mark have been very supportive to me since I met them, and I recently appeared on their podcast. Thanks to both of you for helping to get the word out about my writing. BIG thanks especially to Deena for all the Tweets about my work.

Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to thank each and every person who has ever read my books, and those who have written a positive review about any of my books. A few special mentions that spring to mind are Sheri Wilkinson, Jennifer Lane, Jen Knox, and Brittany -- a reader from Goodreads.com. Getting a good review, for a writer, is like winning the lottery, every time. Thank you all so much. It makes me feel happy to know that my books have entertained you.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

My official website is the best place to browse around and find out about me and my books. There are links on the home page to all my social networking sites where you can connect with me. There are excerpts and descriptions of my books. You can also find the purchase links there. My Goodreads blog is also attached to my website, and you can keep up with all my latest news there. http://www.mariasavva.com/

Monday, 29 October 2012

Interview with Ronald Fischman


Today we're chatting with author Ronald Fischman about his novel, 3 Through History.

Welcome, Ronald. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was a technology writer in my first act, but I gave that up to try my voice at opera. I secured a day job as a cantor and got credentials in that, but at the same time as my full-time congregation lost money and didn't renew my contract, I got a major sinus infection. I became a teacher, a divorcee, a poet, and now a novelist.

How long have you been writing?

I didn't feel that I could do creative writing while I was married, because my wife fancied herself the writer, although she only wrote for work. After the separation, I started writing poetry. So I've been writing seriously for about five years.

Tell us about 3 Through History. What's the story about?

3 Through History starts in the aftermath of a short love triangle that resolves with Rafi, the much better man, losing, but remaining closely bonded with both Dimitri and Frida. Rafi turns into the glue holding the victors together, even while hoping that he is making himself a clear, viable alternative should the storms of new love separate the couple.  That premise might make an interesting novella, but the three characters have compelling back stories.

Dimitri, a child conceived in the Soviet Union and born in Philadelphia, can get whatever he wants for the asking: women, music gigs, students, even careersTo escape the pressures of his immigrant parents, he take the first plane out of high school to Israel for an accompanist gig.

Rafi, a child of the Kibbutz, is a talented conductor with a commanding voice, so he is chosen to conduct the rehearsals for The Dybbuk, where he befriends Dimitri. Tired of being thought of as a freier,  a “free lunch,” Rafi yo-yos between Israel and the US. Ever the idealist, Rafi finds that the fall of the Soviet Union crushes something in his spirit.

Frida, a stunner who grew up in the shadow of the Volcan la Malinche in Puebla, Mexico, is the girl who has it all - including the hole created when her mother abandoned her when she was eight. Precocious, she finishes two undergraduate degrees and creates her own theater company while getting pregnant, married, divorced, and with a baby to care for 24/7. A turn of luck, and her business acumen, sends her on a meteoric rise through the Mexican business world. But the hole in her soul remains unfilled. She cannot drink enough beer to fill it.

Ruined, Frida heads off to the US under a student visa. If she cannot find what she is looking for, she will drink herself to death out of view of her son. She posts an online personal, to which both Dimitri and Rafi respond. Who gets the girl? Whose job is it to help Anna fill the hole that abandonment left in her life?

9/11 takes center stage in the story when Dimitri's brother-in-law is trapped in the subway just short of the stricken towers. A thoracic surgeon and soon-to-be-dad, Arnie makes plans to go to Afghanistan and set up field hospitals. Dimitri moves in to his brother-in-law's and sister's mansion, and is treated to many reports from the front.

What I tried to do with this novel is to tell the history of the world I know since I was old enough to be aware of it. If I did a good job, readers will finish the book informed, entertained, and engaged.

What inspired you to write this story?

I lived through this love triangle; sadly for me, my role was that of the Rafi character. Of course, the characters are fictionalized,  but Frida is modeled after an exceptional, but troubled, Mexican empresariaand I speak the languages that Rafi speaks (although I was never in Israel and Rafi was born there). The inspiration for Dimitri's character is furthest away  from my creation, but I know a lot about Soviet immigrants, so I used that knowledge to explore that culture in depth.

Do you have a critique group, beta readers, or do you self edit?

I have a critique group, but it meets monthly, so I self-edit a lot. I have some help from my Facebook colleagues. Shout-out to Tara Birch and Aad de Gids, who have been steady editors for me.

Are you a planner or a panster?

Pantser, mostly. It's not all “seat-of-the-pants” work, though. I sat down after writing the love triangle and the first chapter or two for each character and wrote out character arcs for each, especially in order to create a deep friendship between Dimitri and Rafi that would survive the love triangle.

What's the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part for me is writing something awful for a character I really like. When Frida hits her absolute bottom, a point that I don't believe that I would have survived, it took me three days to do anything during my writing time beside answering email.

What do you absolutely need to have nearby when writing?

Tragically, I lost one dear cat to a traffic accident. The other has taken to curling at my feet while I write.  That's why I write barefoot, so Serena can curl against my skin.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

If I had a super power, it would be character morphing. I'd like to see what it is to be a Dimitri (or famously in the men's advice world, a David DeAngelo, Vin DiCarlo, or Bobby Bradshaw).  It would be nice to be smooth enough that a woman who would really think I'm amazing would get to know me. It would be profitable to know how to just “be” a salesman for my day job, so I could fund my writing life.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Floccinaucinihilipilification.” It's the longest non-chemical word in English. It means, “To render worthless by decree.” My son says that what my ex did to me was “floccinaucinihilipiliVILIfication.”

Quick writing test! Use these words in a sentence: stethoscope, caterpillar, and hangover.

Will wriggled frantically in the pediatric emergency room at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Like all juveniles, he could not sit still, but this room was sanitary white, with no toys that Will could crawl on, play with, or exchange germs with. Not to mention that he came to the ER with a puking head-banging, whining five-year-old. Jenny, nicknamed “Curious Georgie” by her mom, couldn't do a thing to avoid the natural draw of the forbidden, and this trait landed her here.

At the Crawfords' house, the boys and girls of Jenny's kindergarten class were due for a party tomorrow, a Sunday. Yesterday, Ms Crawford noticed a small cluster of black ants on Jenny's right sock, uniform white under black oxfords.  None on the left. Hmmm. She stepped in something.

“I was in the tomatoes, and I stepped on something.”

“What was it, honey?”

“It looked like a squash hill.”

Yep. Anthill. Break out the beer. The Crawfords were out of Bud Ice. But twenty kids were on their way, and a few million ants were crawling in wait. Ms. Crawford poured some of an Ommegang raspberry limbic, leaving sixteen of twenty ounces in the bottle for her to consume later. Adding a little Borax, Ms. Crawford erased the vision of a swarm of ants in the homes of each of the guests at the party. In the meantime, Jenny got to set out the trap.

Will was crawling on a tomato vine when Jenny came back with the Ommegang. Stretching on his back few legs, Will reached for a cherry tomato vine just as Jenny's silky, golden hair tousled in a strong gust. The hair slid under the hair-thin lags. And Will was lifted up into the air and into a different world. Quickly, the little caterpillar calculated the options. He could try something no caterpillar had the legs to do, and jump off. He could wait for the next object that the little girl brushed against, and get off there. Finally, he chose to bury himself in Jenny's flowing locks, hoping that she would visit the garden again before Will became too hungry.
Instead, here they were in a sterile room, and Will was on a sick little girl. How could Jenny know that the Ommegang, that tasted so berry-sweet, with bubbles exploding with flavor on her youthful tongue, would cause her head to spin, and then her temples to pound?

The Crawfords were called into the inner offices. The nurse started examining her. It came time to read Jenny's blood pressure. The stethoscope brushed across Jenny's hair, and swept Will along with it.

“Jenny, did you eat or drink anything strange yesterday?” the nurse asked.

“Well, no, … maybe,” Jenny stammered.

“What's 'maybe,' honey?” Ms. Crawford probed.

“You left me a bottle of juice. It tasted funny, but I liked it.”

“A bottle of juice? What did it taste like, doll?” asked Mom.

“It was bubbly, and sweet, and tasted like berries,, and…”

“Oh!” Ms. Crawford exclaimed. “I was wondering where that went - I thought that I drank that and forgot. 
It was a special kind of adult drink called Lambic. It has alcohol in it.”

“Oh, “ Jenny responded blankly.

“Nurse Joy, could she have a, a HANGOVER?”

“I think we have a diagnosis. Jenny, just drink lots and lots of water, and you can take some Tylenol.”

Will wriggled with all his might on the stethoscope. Out of the corner of her eye, Nurse Joy caught the motion.

“How did this get here?” Nurse Joy was about to turn Will into ooze when Jenny rescued him.

“He must have come on me, when I was playing in the garden. Can I take him back, Mom? He didn't do anything. “

Jenny reached her finger out to Will. Knowing that there wasn't a leaf in sight in this office, Will accepted the offer. “You must be homesick,” Jenny told the little caterpillar.

“And hungry,” thought Will.

That's one long ass sentence! ;) Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

prospecting for my sales job, or farming in my urban farm. I have six kinds of tomatoes - hence the story above.

Here's the part where you thank the people supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I'm early in the process of getting my book out there. Shout-out to Nina Amir, who is still waiting for me to hire her for professional marketing, but who has been super-generous with her time. I mentioned my writers' groups, and to Livia Ellis, who did my first ever author interview. And to Patricia Macias, who is the driving force in the cross-promotion group “Spreading the Love.”

And finally, where can we find you and your book online?
You can buy it now as an ebook at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/239509. You can read it a chapter at a time at my author page, http://www.facebook.com/RonFIschman, or on my blog, http://3throughhistory.blogspot.com. Hurry, though, because if I get a publisher, I'll have to take the book down from these sites.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Interview with Bryony Allen


Happy Monday, everyone! Has everyone got that fall feeling? That Halloween feeling? Well, I've got an interview that fits right in. Today we're talking with author Bryony Allen about her novel, THE ASSEMBLY ROOM.

Bryony Allen was born in Enfield (UK) in 1968, but spent her formative years in the North East. She returned to the South of the country to study for a degree in English and Drama followed by teacher training in Cambridge. Now settled in Suffolk with her husband and four children her hobbies include reading, writing and supporting her local football team, Ipswich Town.

Welcome to We Do Write, Bryony. How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was a child. I won a competition for essay writing when I was 10ish, and I have written on and off ever since. However, I only got into writing novels about 6 years ago following a traumatic Ofsted experience at school that I needed to exorcise.


Tell us about THE ASSEMBLY ROOM. What’s the story about?

Witches! Not the glamorous, ‘Twilight’-style witches, who are beautiful and have wild adventures with other fantasy figures. Instead these are the so-called witches from the mediaeval times – ordinary women and men who were accused of witchcraft, then tried, all under the guise of cleansing an evil society already corrupted by war. This book shows some of the torture endured by these witches through the eyes of a modern teenage girl who just happens to be related to a witch-finder. There’s a good pinch of real life and teen romance in there too.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

The inspiration came from a building that is in the village where my Mum lives. It is right on the main road and is really creepy. It is called ‘The Assembly Room’ and is in a state of near dereliction. It looks like it should be haunted, and I just felt as though there was a story lurking in the darkness waiting to be told. I can’t actually remember why I got interested in the witch angle. It may have been a trip to a museum in Bury St Edmunds where there is a display on witchcraft, including the remains of a cat that had been bricked up alive behind a wall. That used to be a superstition for keeping witches out of houses in the 1600s.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

Only my husband and children! I do my own editing, though I have used sites such as ‘YouWriteOn’ and ‘Goodreads’ in the past to get independent feedback. Sites like that are brilliant.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I start off with some sort of plan, but it often falls off into the pants league. Once my characters start to develop lives of their own, I often change my mind about what is going to happen to them.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Apart from finding the time – which is the biggest battle of them all – it must be getting the subsequent feedback. There is nothing more demoralising than pouring your innermost everythings into a story only for someone to slate it.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Something to eat or drink! Sometimes I like to have music playing, but I find that the mood of the music influences my writing. Ballads will make it more soppy, and rock music makes it pacier.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

The power of foresight! You know that old thing about, ‘If only I’d known earlier…’
If I can’t have that, then how about the power to freeze time – temporarily, at least – just so I can fit more writing around work and being a Mum.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Probably a search for props for a school play – blow up guitars and stuff like that.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: snakes,
point, and concurrently.



In their synchronised swimming practice, the snakes unsuccessfully attempted to point their tails in the air concurrently.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

Reading.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you.
Let's hear your shout outs.



Thanks to my publishers, Pneuma Springs, my husband for all his tech work and promotion, my kids for being there, Mr Mowles from Hitcham for letting me write about his incredibly spooky building and all my amazing readers who make it all worthwhile.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

On my website: www.bryonyallen.co.uk.
The book is available on Amazon, from my publishers Pneuma Springs, Kobo, Waterstones online, The Book Depository, Tesco e-books and many many more.
You can also find me teaching at a middle school in Stowmarket, Suffolk, England!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Interview with R Kyle Hannah

Happy Weekend,everyone! Today we're chatting with the author of TIME ASSASSINS.

Welcome to We Do Write! Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Kyle Hannah, I am married, with two kids and I have been in the Army for almost 27 years.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing short stories in high school. I was bored in most of myclasses and this seemed a much better way to occupy my time than getting in trouble and being sent to the office.

Tell us about TIME ASSASSINS. What's the story about?

A future Assassin's Guild has developed time travel and they send their agents back to "tweak" history. In TIME ASSASSINS, you'll visit the Magna Carta, Hitler's Conference Room, JFK's trip to Dallas, and even Lincoln's visit to FOrd's Theater. Rick Brewer is a banished Apprentice who is stranded in time and using his knowledge to upset the timeline. Plus, you'll see a current day mission that changes the world. And at the center of it all, a young Apprentice just starting his career.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I came up with the idea after talking with some high schools and 20 somethings--I discovered there is a distinct lack of knowledge when it comes to history. I wanted to come up with a fun way to accidentally learn something...enter TIME ASSASSINS.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

Actually, I did both. After I wrote it, I did two edits on it myself. I had a few friends read it, then hired an editor. That editor turned it over to Dark Dragon Publishing who picked it up. After that, another three rounds of editing...

Are you a planner or a pantser?

Well, I start off planning it...but once the writing starts, it usually takes on a life of its own. The general premise will remain the same, but the details always change.

What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding the time and the motivation. I have ideas-I have six or seven completed storylines-but I have to be in the mood to write. I cannot just force myself...when I do, I end up just deleting it.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Music. I cannot stand a quiet room; it puts me to sleep. So, a little Journey or other 80s music and I'm just foot tapping while I'm typing. Maybe it's a rhythm thing...

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Telepathy. Being able to move objects with my mind...that's like using the force. That's just cool.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

hmmm. Probably some of the history research I've done for not only TIME ASSASSINS, but also ATLANTIS FALLING, one of my other projects. Dragons, ancient Japan, Bermuda Triangle, and Papal history....all in the same day.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: obligatory, oblivion, and obstacles.

It was obligatory, to avoid oblivion, to overcome the obstacles, so said the drill instructor.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

Playing a computer game.

Here's the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Oh, so many. First, my wife and kids for putting up with me. Second, Gene Rowley for not only being a beta reader but also doing the cover for TIME ASSASSINS. Third, my editor, Karen. She really put me through the ringer, but it was worth it! And finally, the fans. After my first novel, TO AID AND PROTECT, I was pretty much ordered to write another book. Maybe that's the motivation I'm waiting on to get really working on the next one. Thank you to everyone who has read my books...I really hope you enjoy them!

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

TO AID AND PROTECT is available at all the usual places: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes.

TIME ASSASSINS will also be available at those locations and at darkdragonpublishing.com

Thank you for the opportunity to get my name out there. TIME ASSASSINS will be released in late October and I hope that the readers like it as much as I do. I love to get feedback, so please let me know what you think...and you can follow my further exploits at:

www.rkylehannah.com
www.facebook.com/rkylehannahwriter
www.rkylehannah.blogspot.com
Twitter @rkhannah

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Interview with Jayce Grayson

Today we're talking with author Jayce Grayson about his novel, XIANNE.

Welcome to We Do Write, Jayce. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Aw, I'm just a regular joe. I grew up in rural areas of the south and midwest, and loved to read for as long as I can remember. But during the summer of my 15th year, something happened...I don't know...but suddenly I became an insatiable reader. I set a goal to read at least 100 books a year, and I actually met that goal for six straight years. It was a great help to be surrounded by loved ones who also loved to read. I know that many of my beliefs and attitudes were shaped during that time. I know for a fact that it was the concepts that I encountered in books that alerted me to the injustice of racial prejudice. I felt enlightened in a time and place where such was an accepted behavior--and I learned the power of the pen for conveying ideas.... Now I'm over 50, a celibate widower for more than a decade, with two grown children, and two growing cats.

How long have you been writing?

Well, I wrote some poetry as a small child, but my first short story was written for a class project in high school that would be a major part of our final grade in this particular class. The instructor gave us certain criteria which had to be incorporated into it, but it was up to each student to do so as he or she saw fit. It was my first lesson in how the characters can take a story over. Most of my classmates produced 10 or 20 pages of text, but I couldn't seem to find a stopping place! I kept asking my teacher for more time, and she granted it--with the stipulation that she would have to count points off my grade for being overdue. And, boy, was I overdue! I turned my 94-page story in four weeks late. My grade was 99 out of 100--1 point off for tardiness.... I still take pride in that to this day.

More short stories followed. Then I wrote an entire novel with my best friend when we were just 20 years old. Nothing was published, though, and "life" sort directed me away from writing for many years. Then, in 2007, I began writing XIANNE....

Tell us about XIANNE. What's the story about?

Well, first and foremost, XIANNE is my personal tribute to my favorite author, Robert A. Heinlein. The good thing, however, is that readers do not have to be aware of him nor his writings to enjoy the book. I know this to be a fact because almost none of my reviewers have remarked on that facet of the novel at all. And that's good because I had hoped to be able to make it an unobtrusive "bonus" for other Heinlein fans like myself.

Secondly, XIANNE is a speculative look at where our ever-changing society is taking us, especially in regards to how acceptable Pornography is becoming in the mainstream. What will our culture be like in 300 years? Think of the social taboos of 300 years ago, but how we view those ideas today--In the future, it will be the same with the lines we've drawn in the present--in fact, many of those lines are being erased even as this interview is being conducted! What was shocking behavior three centuries ago, is laughably accepted--even encouraged--today. Do not think that the same won't be true of our taboos, three centuries from now--and, more likely, much sooner....

And yet, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction... Amid the sexual glut of the 24th century, there arises a "new orientation"... Not Straight, not Bi, Not Gay...but NAY.... "Nay", from the entry of N/A--"not applicable"--on the "Ask/Tell" or sexual orientation question. People with no sexual preference...in the face of ubiquitous sexuality.... And yet, products themselves of that society. This will be demonstrated in microcosm aboard the interplanetary freighter/luxury yacht XIANNE, where we will see how such diverse personalities interact.


How did the idea of the story come to you?

I've always felt that our society is greatly influenced by what I call "The Porn Culture". Something that begins in the "world" of pornography, eventually makes it way into the mainstream, then becomes completely acceptable and even encouraged. You may at first think I'm referring to specific kinds of sex acts--and certainly it is true in that case as well--but think of something much more benign...something like "personal grooming habits", for instance. Nearly everyone--particularly women--uses some method to remove pubic hair now. It is perfectly socially acceptable and even encouraged. But it is a practice that began in the Porn Industry, so that we could more easily "see what was going on down there"! We watch, we imitate. At first, it is a secret fetishistic practice...then a common household grooming tip. I just decided to write a story in which we acknowledge the Porn Culture's influence--and what the repercussions might be upon certain individuals.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

Self-edit.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I plan--but without pants.

LOL. What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing. I mean it--ideas come, I'm inspired, but it just seems like a horrible grind, getting the words actually put down.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Coffee.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Mind Control. Other people's minds--mine has already gone over the cliff.

That's my choice too! ;) What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

"Super Hot Androgynous Guys". Though, that isn't all that weird, I guess...to me, at least....

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: rifle, tangerine, and pollen.

She lay back, allowing him to watch the rivulet of tangerine juice as it traversed the valley between her breasts, dodged the indentation of her navel, at last arriving like liquid pollen upon the petals of her bare womanhood--and he, a loaded rifle!

Youch, that's not exactly PG13, is it? Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably...

Reading.

Here's the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

There are far too many to start showing that kind of favoritism--none of them will mind, however, if I single out my daughter and my son...as well as the enduring and ever-inspiring memory of their mother....

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

I have a new author page on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com./pages/Jayce-Grayson-Author/315536508543088?ref=stream and My novel can be found, among many other places, on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xianne-Comedy-Cultures-Jayce-Grayson/dp/0741464721/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326862134&sr=1-1

Guest Post + Read Along Excerpt + Giveaway: OWLET by Emma Michaels

Writing the Dancing Dream
Guest Post by Emma Michaels

The dancing dream was actually a scene I did not plan. I normally write out a general plot line so that I don’t forget where I am going with a story because I have the memory span of a goldfish if I don’t make notes but with this scene I was as swept off my feet as Iris was. I was sitting down to write and knew the next scene but as soon as I started I realized, I was breaking away from my previous plans. I am not saying I don’t do this often to the point where have to rewriter entire plot maps (often) but it was unusual because it didn’t stray, it simply added to my original thoughts. As though the scene had been missing and decided to present itself at the perfect moment.

Outside of my writing I have a tendency to be unromantic (I am told) which luckily my fiancé makes up for by being very romantic and sentimental. So as I wrote this scene it surprised us both. I don’t think either of us really thought I had it in me to write something so deeply romantically personal to the character. Normally I try to stick with a very naturally kind of romance. I am not a fan of people being swept off their feet or insta-love matches but the scene came out very naturally and suddenly, Iris was dreaming about the boy she had met and knew so little about. It wasn’t about kissing, it wasn’t about sexual desires, it was about a connection she didn’t know she could have and somehow had managed to find.

Writing the scene was like writing a song. I know many authors set word goals for themselves but I tend not to because I will either fall short or far exceed on varying days depending on my inspiration. In the case of the dancing dream it all came out at once, the majority of that chapter was written within moments of that inspiration and I have to say, it is probably one of the scenes I am the most proud of. I proved to myself that I was capable of more than I had thought and was able to adhere to my dislike for insta-love and the swept off her feet romance and stick with something deeper, something richer.

I hope that you like the scene I created!

Owlet Summary

Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

Owlet Excerpt

***

As Iris stood in the open doorway she felt every emotion from amazement to awe to confusion. The feather necklace—an object that had been in her father’s possession all along—had actually opened the door of her dreams. Iris turned the feather key and the door unlocked. She closed her eyes and used the new door handle. “Finally. Thank you...thank you.”

Warm air rushed out at her. There was no magical moment; no flash of light or a sudden epiphany like she had always imagined there would be, but Iris did feel a change occur inside her soul. She hadn’t been able to believe it was real but now, with it all in front of her eyes—with the door open and her standing in the hallway, Iris could feel it changing her, making her see a future that she had never even let herself hope for.

The first thing she noticed while feeling the walls next to her and tracing her fingers over their textured surface, was the window seat across the room. Large bay windows had seating below them that looked almost like short bookshelves with thick red pads on top. She closed the door, leaving it unlocked for Diana, and decided to start there. Only the shelves didn’t seem to have any books on them other than a tattered copy of The Secret Garden and a few scattered atlases. She started to walk away from them and then noticed a hallway to her left.

Follow your heart.

When she walked towards it, Iris realized that the lights in the house weren’t on. The large windows had managed to illuminate the living room just enough so that she hadn’t noticed. But as she moved forward, Iris could just make out the staircase waiting for her arrival.

Hurry! Go! Run up them. He is here.

***

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Get OWLET for:
Kindle
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iBookstore
Smashwords

Emma Michaels' Bio:

Emma Michaels is the author of the ‘A Sense of Truth’ and ‘Society of Feathers’ series. Her goal with her latest YA novel 'Owlet' is to give others what she did not have growing up; a strong female protagonist with asthma. While her previous aspiration was to be a lady knight she realized that not being able to run more than a few feet might become a hindrance so turned to writing instead. Her day jobs include being a cover artist, marketing consultant and silk screen designer.

As the founder of The Writers Voice blog (http://OurBooksOurVoice.Blogspot.com) she loves to connect authors and readers. As a book blogger turned author, she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until she moved at eighteen to Washington State. Suddenly, the world was a new place filled with tall green trees that reached further for the sky with every moment, making her want to do the same. Ever since, she has tried to make her life something new and different from what it was before, pursuing her future career, setting high goals and reaching for them. With the support of her fiancé, Chihuahua, and her amazing blog followers and fellow bloggers, she wants to prove to the world that anything is possible and help inspire fellow literary lovers to reach for their dreams.

Read-along tour stops



Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Interview with Elodie Parkes

Today we're talking with author Elodie Parkes about her novel, THE HOROSCOPE WRITER.

Welcome to We Do Write, Elodie. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Canterbury, United Kingdom. It’s famous for the Cathedral, Chaucer, and there is a UNESCO world heritage site, which includes the ancient ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church. There is also a ruined castle. It’s a pretty place too and the coast nearby is great. I work in an antiques shop and writes. I have two dogs (Celt and Chaucer) that keep me fit with their need for walks. I writes romance, contemporary and always erotic with a twist of mystery, paranormal, and suspense now and then. I like to make the story unusual in some way, by a quirk in the tale.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was seventeen. I never did anything like submitting to publishers etc. until I was about twenty-five and then queried to no avail. I started writing again seriously a couple of years ago because I had so many stories in my head. I have published three erotic romance books to date and I am working on another book right now. They are available on Amazon kindle. I love eBooks myself, and it’s rare now for me to buy a paperback or hardback. I read heaps myself from across all types of genres.

Tell us about THE HOROSCOPE WRITER. What's the story about?

‘The Horoscope Writer’ is about a man, Dominic, who is a writer and has lots of different writing jobs for magazines amongst which is that of horoscope writing. He is a lonely soul, living in the country on a funny country lane where a few artisan’s workshops are. Fortunately he has a friend there too, Jeremy, who has a workshop, design studio there on the lane.

Dominic is lonely. His last relationship broke up a couple of years prior to the opening of the story and he really wants love. There is a workshop to let on the lane and Cassie comes along to rent it. Dominic is instantly attracted to her when he sees her in Jeremy’s office and she finds Dominic irresistible.

There is a mild paranormal streak running through what is an erotic romance because Dominic has been influenced by his great uncle who was also a horoscope writer. This is a love story, erotic and enticing.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

My latest release ‘The Horoscope Writer’ was inspired by signs along a country road when I was out driving one day in another county. The main characters just started to flow into my head and by the time I had driven home, which was a three hour journey through the countryside, I had the book and characters completely ready.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I don’t have a critique group any more. I used to years ago but now I self-edit. I leave the story for about two weeks after it is finished then go back, read and re-write I leave it another two weeks and then read it again and edit. Another week later, I re-edit and use a few software packages on it to do mechanical edits. Then another few days later, I read it again. It sounds like a long process and it is but it has to be done and even then authors miss things.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I just write. I always know what I want the story to do and what it is.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

It’s not the writing actually; it’s the marketing. It’s finding the audience, trying to make the book visible to readers.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I can’t think of anything actually (smiles)

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I’d like to be able to heal just by touch.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: anticipation, trampoline, and mother-in-law.

My mother-in-law bought the kids a trampoline for Christmas and they’re waiting for the delivery with anticipation. 

(laughs, I don’t have a mother in law or kids but what else to say in a sentence with trampoline in it--- took a second to write and it’s very boring huh?)

No, not at all. I'm sure it end in disaster anyway, which is exciting. ;) Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

selling antiques.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs. 

For all the other authors who have hosted me on their blogs, for people who are following me on twitter, and a huge yell for my readers. Thank you all.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

Find me online:

http://www.facebook.com/ElodieParkes

https://twitter.com/ElodieParkes

http://elodieparkes.blogspot.co.uk/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/100127

http://www.facebook.com/elodie.parkes.1


Find my books:

http://www.amazon.com/Millie-Reinvented-ebook/dp/B008H5IF7U

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Millie-Reinvented-ebook/dp/B008H5IF7U

http://www.amazon.com/Two-of-Them-ebook/dp/B008RBJXOI

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-of-Them-ebook/dp/B008RBJXOI

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094JIIVQ

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Horoscope-Writer-ebook/dp/B0094JIIVQ

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Interview with Catherine Wolffe - Plus Giveaway

Today we're chatting with author Catherine Wolffe. Have a seat and enjoy the interview, then be sure to leave a comment. Two commenters will each win an ebook of THE LADY IN THE MIST.

Welcome to We Do Write, Catherine. Tell us a bit about yourself.


I live in the south with my incredibly supportive husband and my loving sons and their families (including two beautiful grandchildren). I enjoy writing western romances that have a bit of a twist on the traditional themes. In my books, you may find Indian women with a determined disposition, cowboys who have gentle hearts, or those who hold on to a sense of honor or their dreams. I love to imagine new destinations for these traditional men and women of history, and explore where it’ll lead me.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing about seven years ago.  With the ending of my job, I took a good look in the mirror and asked myself “When are you going to stop talking and start doing?”  Writing is a great release for me.  While the process can frustrate the control freak in me, it’s also very therapeutic.
Tell us about COMANCHE HAVEN, THE LADY IN THE MIST, and A DANCE IN TIME. What are the stories about?

Comanche Haven is my first novel.  You’re taught to write about what you love.  I love the old west and cowboys.  Give me a western or a John Wayne movie and I’m happy.  Besides that, growing up on a farm and having married a cowboy, my first novel couldn’t be about anything else.  The book took five years to finish.  I’ve jokingly labeled it my writing course project.  The blurb from the book I think explains it best.  
From the moment Celia, the emerald-eyed, Comanche half-breed, gets off the stage in Tyler, Texas, Seth Loflin realizes he is on a collision course with the past. She was his first love and now the Shooter Creek's ranch boss can't allow her to succumb to the danger that stalks her. Someone wants to kidnap her and sell her as a slave, but now that she's in his protective arms, he intends to keep her safe.
Celia can't run back to the safety of her former life in South Carolina. And if she stays at Shooter Creek with Seth, she'll be putting the man she has always loved and his ranch in danger of harboring a Comanche. But Seth refuses to leave her side, and his vow to protect her gives Celia the hope and courage she needs. Now she'll fight for her new life with Seth...or die trying.


A Dance in Time is a novella series involving time travel, visits from dead people, clues to the mystery of a mysterious necklace and the reason two people so totally different are attracted to each other – it couldn’t be anything but love.  We’ll follow J.T. Leighton, an ex-marine turned private investigator as he helps a raven-haired dancer discover what her deceased parents are trying to tell her about the family heirloom necklace.


The Lady in the Mist, The Western Werewolf Legend is my latest work.  The novel is set in 1863 Civil War Pennsylvania.  The young widow, Sonja Brooks struggles to come to grips with the fact she’s a werewolf and falling in love with the enemy.  Tyler Loflin is a Rebel soldier dying of his wounds when Sonja finds him.  Saving his life changes hers in more ways than one.  I’ll be continuing the story of their journey in self-discovery and self-preservation with “Waking Up Dead” due out in the spring of 2013.


Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?  

I’m extremely lucky to share the editing process with a wonderful editor, Wendy Ely.

Are you a planner or a pantser?



I’m a pantser of the first water!  (insert laughter here)  I wing most of my scenes with only a skeletal structure to go by.  Usually, I know how I want the story to end and work up a character profile for the hero and heroine before launching myself off into the deep end of the pool.  (more laughter)  ‘Wandering in the weeds’ is a pastime of mine however I’m getting better at staying on track.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?  

Editing still gives me fits.  I love writing the first draft and wish I could stop there.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?


Coffee – pots of the stuff!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?


Endless energy.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?  
Lately, it has to be how to edit my Wordpress blog.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: foggy, aptitude, and zebra.
Without the aptitude for recognizing the zebra in the foggy mist, the big game hunter would’ve gone home empty handed.


Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...


Editing or playing with my grandson.


Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
My first shout out goes to Ally Thomas.  She’s the rock I lean on when things are difficult, she also the very talented author of ‘The Vampire from Hell’ Series.  Then my editor, Wendy Ely.  Our relationship had evolved into friendship, which is much more precious to me.  She also has a new release out entitled Jesse’s Brother.  Both ladies deserve my utmost appreciation, not only for putting up with me but being such good friends.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?  


I’ve listed my publisher, Smashwords as well as Amazon and Goodreads to name a few.  Contact me anytime to chat.  I love to hear from readers!


www.catherinewolffe.com
www.shootercreek.wordpress.com  Catherine’s Blog
http://twitter.com/catherinewolffe/
Catherine Wolffe @ Pintrest
https://www.facebook.com/AwardWinningAuthorCatherineWolffe
award-winning author catherine wolffe
amazon.com/author/catherinewolffe
Author page at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Western-Werewolf-Legend-ebook/dp/B009L93KVM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1349346492&sr=8-2&keywords=catherine+wolffe+the+lady+in+the+mist
The Lady in the Mist – The complete book
http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Mist-Werewolfs-Tale-ebook/dp/B008KFPB7Y/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346203246&sr=1-8&keywords=the+lady+in+the+mist
The Lady in the Mist – the free sample
https://www.smashwords.comhttps://www.facebook.com/AwardWinningAuthorCatherineWolffe
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/181516
A Lady in the Mist
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/110948
Comanche Haven