Friday, August 18, 2017

#bookreview and #characterinterview on Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books! read and provided an honest review of A Vampire's Tale as part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour.

"A Vampire's Tale initially reminded me of An Interview with a Vampire as the premise was similar... as the story starts it is plain to see that this is a completely different story. This book was well written... It is a different take on the vampire / virgin story, so I would recommend it for anyone wanting something that differs from the norm."

The best laid plans…

Marisa Clements was never satisfied writing the ‘gossip column’ in the local paper and she quit her job to follow her dream of writing fiction. Floundering in an unforgiving industry, she wrote about vampires, a popular subject she considered fascinating but as real as unicorns, to pay the rent.

Corgan was tired of human misconceptions about vampires and ‘living’ as a vampire. He planned to tell Marisa his story and end his existence. It was no coincidence Corgan selected Marisa to write his story. With the ability to see the future, he knew she would be a major part of it. He knew if they met, she would help him die, but in doing so, she’d be doomed to the same fate. Once they met, their futures would be irrevocably intertwined.

Corgan began to care for Marisa and finally revealed the truth to her. He admitted his quest to atone for his past sins had put her in grave danger from a nest of revenge seeking vampires. Corgan must claim her for her own protection. But claiming her is not enough, he must ask for help from his wizard friends and his maker in order to destroy his enemy or Marisa will never be safe.

For the full review see  Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

I also provided a character interview with Kurtis - a dutiful grandson and apprentice wizard in his grandfather’s circle.

What are you keeping a secret?

Following in my grandfather’s footsteps to become a wizard is my destiny, but I don’t want to live this life. It’s not my choice, yet I don’t want to disappoint my grandfather like my father did. So, I continue my work as an apprentice and say nothing.

What are you lying to yourself about? To others?

<<snort>> Lies? I’m living a complete lie. I love Waldor - my grandfather – I do. He raised me. My father took off – I don’t exactly remember when – I might have been three. One morning I woke up – I heard a noise – it was my father standing by the front door, but I only remember a hazy shadow holding a large duffel bag. I stood at the top of the stairs. He waved at me. I waved back. He left and I never saw him again. Waldor tells me my father loves me. I find that hard to believe. If he actually loved me, he wouldn’t have abandoned me. Like my mother. She died, though, shortly after I was born so she didn’t voluntarily leave me. Like everyone I have ever cared about. Except Waldor. And even he keeps the truth from me. Why my father left. If he knows where he went. Anything but “your father loves you” or “your father would be so proud of you.” The truth is I’m an orphan and I’m old enough to handle the truth.

Is there anyone in your life that you are attracted to?

Yup. It doesn’t matter though. Wizards lead a solitary life. And, as an apprentice, I’m forbidden from even speaking to, or in the presence of, women.

What scares you about this person?

Everything. She’s everything I’m not. Vibrant. Dynamic. Witty. Lethal. Undead. And she treats me with nothing but distain. She goes out of her way to taunt me. Like a cat would toy with a mouse. And I can’t say anything to her. I stand there stoically while she circles around me, predatorily, examining me closely to see if she can make me talk. And smirks when I don’t. I am so tense, I remain that way, muscles fused and catatonic, until I no longer smell her bittersweet perfume lingering in the air. She scares me, if she knew how I felt, she would have the ultimate power to hurt me. Even not being together hurts me.

When you walk into a room what do you notice first? Second?

I scan the room, check for hostiles, and take note of all exits. I never walk into a room without an exit strategy. The Circle has many enemies. Our alliance with Corgan, and other vampires, makes us unpopular. Most circles distrust vampires.

What are your goals in life?

Goals? I’ve never had any goals beyond following in Waldor’s footsteps, becoming a wizard and joining The Circle. My life path was pre-determined the moment my father’s departure broke Waldor’s heart. I want to make my grandfather, and The Circle, proud and compensate for my father’s betrayal. So, my goals in life are not really for me, but to please others, namely Waldor.

What are you most afraid of?

I’m afraid to hope. There is futility in dreaming of what cannot be. I must accept facts. Love is not in the cards for me. I am to become a wizard. I must release dreams of a life other than The Circle. Yet I’m afraid to live that life, filled with unknowns. The Circle is all I’ve known. Sometimes the familiar is a better, less risky, alternative.

What do you like best about yourself?

I’m a good guy. I contribute to The Circle, I’ve been a quick learner. My apprenticeship will soon be over and I’ll be given a choice of accepting my place or leaving The Circle. There is no choice, I will do the right thing and assume my role.

What do you like least about yourself?

The very things I admire about myself, I also dislike. How can I so easily sentence myself to a solitary life as a wizard? The Circle, best described as a group of old men, is no substitute for love. How can I deny myself the opportunity to tell Dee how I feel about her? Why can’t I tell Waldor that I want to leave? I accept my fate as if avoiding disappointment is more important than finding happiness. I am essentially alone, an orphan in this world, and I long for connection, companionship, and I’m a coward, too frightened to try.

If you could change anything about your life what would it be?

I would arm myself with courage.

Have a candid conversation with Waldor. In an ideal world, he’d understand my desire to leave The Circle. During his transitional period, his “coming of age,” he went out into the world and sowed his oats, you might say, before he made his choice. My father, too, experienced life outside The Circle, but, when it came time to make his choice, he did not chose to become a wizard.

My wish to leave is independent of my feelings for Dee. I don’t feel like this is where I belong. I can concoct a potion or cast incantations, but mechanical ability is not a strong enough reason to select a vocation. I want to heed my calling – whatever it is – and become who I am meant to be.

If I could change anything in my life, I would become courageous, fearless, sure.

Friday, August 11, 2017

#authorinterview on The Kronicles of Korthlundia

Enjoy another author interview, also part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour, originally posted on The Kronicles of Korthlundia: A Window into Fantasy, and take another glimpse into my life.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Married with two young sons, I spend most of my time focused on family. We have a lot of fun together, reading, watching superhero movies, playing board games and Lego, and taking nature hikes. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, going to rock concerts and live theatre. I wish I was a better cook, but I enjoy baking. I also enjoy my morning coffee… and my afternoon coffee… and a sweet or two or three.

Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals?

I am a total pantser. Every other facet of my life is so organized and scheduled, as much as a family with young children can be. I write sporadically. I don’t plot. When a story idea pops into my head, the characters emerge as well and I follow their lead. In the past I have tried to outline, but it felt forced and stalled my creativity so I ended up abandoning the idea.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?

A Vampire’s Tale is a full-length paranormal romance novel. The heroine Marisa Clements is a struggling author. She writes genre fiction – paranormal romance novels about vampires – to pay her bills. But she doesn’t believe in vampires. The hero Corgan Halton is an ancient vampire with a finite mission. He wants to tell the world his story and then end his unnatural existence. He sees Marisa playing an important role in his future and selects her to author his tale. Corgan’s presence places Marisa in danger from his enemies cascading them into a journey filled with danger, venomous vampires, and a wizard or two.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I find the most difficulty in revising my work. At the editing stage, my editor recommended I omit several scenes involving insignificant, secondary characters. I took her advice, but deleting these scenes resulted in revisions in a number of other scenes which referenced those characters. Any revision is difficult because you are invested in your work. Rewriting, essentially, a portion of A Vampire’s Tale was very time-consuming and emotionally draining for me. I was very pleased with the end result which was a definite improvement to the previous version.

What is your favorite writing tip or quote?

I enjoy reading the #writetip posts on Twitter. As writers, we are adept observers of life. There is much wisdom and insight to be found in simple observations like the one below.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

Friday, August 4, 2017

#authorinterview on Two Ends of the Pen

I really enjoy giving author interviews. So much of my writing is, intentionally or not, personal and reflective of my own life and experiences so I think that if readers find me interesting, then they may also enjoy my books. In fact, a friend told me a few months ago that she could actually hear my voice when she read A Vampire's Tale.

This author interview was originally posted as part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour on Two Ends of the Pen.

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

A Vampire’s Tale is a standalone, paranormal romance novel. My heroine, Marisa Clements, is a paranormal skeptic who writes vampire stories. She doesn’t believe in vampires… until she meets one. The vampire in question is my hero, Corgan Halton, whose supernatural talents range from clairvoyance to telekinesis. His ability to see the future, and Marisa’s role in it, lead him to seeking her out in order to accomplish his goal. He wants to tell his story and end his unnatural existence. Involving Marisa, though, puts her in a danger so grave that he alone cannot protect her. He enlists help from his maker and their wizard friends to keep Marisa safe.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Yes, absolutely, I have published two books using traditional publishers. As a novice author, I never considered self-publishing. The support and guidance of a publishing house appealed to me.

For my first book, Dream Hunter, I researched which publishers were accepting unsolicited queries and their submission requirements. Then I sent query letters to the ones I deemed a good fit. My third query letter resulted in a contract offer.

For A Vampire’s Tale, my second book, I initially followed the same process of researching and sending query letters. Social media offered me alternative routes to gain access to publishers. I participated in pitch parties on Facebook and Twitter. A June 2016 #PitMad tweet caught the attention of Tirgearr Publishing. They “favorited” my tweet, meaning they were interested in my work.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?

The book covers for both my books were created by publisher’s designers. I had significant input into both, though, by providing the designer with a comprehensive amount of details about the book and its characters. I also noted covers I liked, ideas I had, and specific things I didn’t want included. The designer took this information and created the cover art. Then the publisher provided draft book covers for my comment.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

In 2010, I “met” an online group of budding authors. The group’s name is UCW (Up and Coming Writers) and we connect via a private Facebook group and email. Many members live in the UK and they have real meet-ups as well. We are an eclectic bunch, writing in a number of genres, and many of us have published work. I think belonging to a writing group, UCW is more than a critique group, is great for support. We’ve all been there – rejection letters, horrible reviews, editing headaches – so whatever we need – encouragement for our life or our craft – a friend is just a post/email away. And we also critique/promote each other’s work. Their feedback is invaluable and has definitely helped improve my work.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

I would be the first to confess I don’t write using an outline. Although, I do keep some semi-unorganized notes to keep me on track. Details like eye color and characteristics, and spelling and formatting choices need to be consistent throughout. I guess you could say I follow my muse, but leave bread crumbs along the way so I can make it home safely.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

I rely on my writing group and their eagle eyes to spot any glaring errors before I send out query requests. We use the track-changes function in Word to suggest changes and make comments. As avid readers and experienced authors, we have a unique perspective to share with each other.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

My first book Dream Hunter is also sold on Just Ink Press’ website and Barnes & Noble.

My second book A Vampire’s Tale is also available through Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

Finally, my business degree is coming in handy! <<laughs>> Marketing and promotion are two different, but related, processes. Marketing covers price, product, place, and promotion. Promotion, part of marketing, covers the modes of communication used to create awareness and provide information about the product.

My author website is my platform and includes information about me, my books, and current events.

I track my promotional activities, including review requests, social media interactions, and promotion requests, in a spreadsheet. As a new author, obtaining reviews is especially important. I have sent out nearly 300 review requests for A Vampire’s Tale, resulting in 3 completed reviews and over 30 pending reviews (as of mid-March). I target book reviewers and bloggers interested in paranormal romance and send personalized review requests. Blogging is a great way to promote new content, I also visit other blogs for book spotlights, author interviews and guest posts. An organized Facebook or Twitter party or a virtual book tour is an effective way to release a new title. I have a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions running from March 22 to May 10 visiting several amazing blogs, including this one. Regular posts and interactions on social media, especially promoting other authors and new, relevant content, is another great tool. There are many companies which offer promotional services, but I research my options, for best value and potential results, before I make a purchase. Whatever your approach, be consistent and mindful.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

Reading… <<goofy grin>> With the advent of the ebook, I can bring, literally, hundreds of books with me at all times on my phone. I still read a print book, there’s nothing like the feel or smell of a book in your hands, but ebooks are so convenient… and light to travel with. I also enjoy music – going to rock concerts and musical theatre. I love to sing and I play the piano, although not often. Other passions include Disney, coffee, and eating but not cooking. My husband, the absolute love of my life, is the cook in our house and, thankfully, his meals are a crowd-pleaser for our particular children.

What’s next for you?

Dynamic dedication to completing my next novel… perhaps a sequel to A Vampire’s Tale… and living life to the fullest with my husband and two young sons!