Book Review and Interview with Author Ambrose Hall

Happy Wednesday everyone. This week I’m excited to do another author interview and book review.  This week I’m welcoming fellow author Ambrose Hall.  I’ve known Ambrose a few years back now and I’ve finally got him to come over for a quick chat.  So, let’s jump right in and not waste any time. 

Ambrose welcome.  I’m happy you could swing by and do this interview. Please give us a quick introduction to yourself.

I’m a writer based in the UK. I mostly write speculative fiction with queer characters.

That was quick.

Too, quick?

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Nah, it’s all good.  We have a lot to cover so let’s move into the good stuff.  Gods and Insects is the second book in your City of Ash Series.  It’s definitely a dark series but it’s also got a wit about it that I’m loving.  There are even hints of romance to it.  What made you pick this kind of series to write?

I’ve always loved vampires, but I’d never planned to write them, then a friend in one of my writing groups proposed a vampire writing challenge for Hallowe’en. I started with a short story, but it caught my imagination and I ended up with a short novella, told from five different points of view. I think vampires can be a great way to explore all sorts of facets of human nature. I started with the question: if you had eternity, what would get you through? The title of the first book, Love is the Cure, is somewhat ironic, as some of the characters end up on very dark paths believing that love is the thing that will get them through.

But you’re not a cynic about love. So, how did that work?

I wanted to explore all sorts of relationships, not all of them healthy. It’s a gothic story, so I wanted to show the heights and depths of emotion. And I’m a bit of a goth, so I can’t help falling to the dark side.

So, the idea of a dark vampire story fits you like a glove?

Ha, pretty much.

Asher, the main protagonist, has changed quite a bit from the first book in the series to this one.  Honestly, he wasn’t so likable in the first book. So, what can you tell us about his character growth between, Love is the Cure, and, Gods and Insects?

He’d led a very ordinary, sheltered existence in a comfortable middle class suburb and been good at sport. The only thing that had ever conflicted him was his sexuality and he’d kept that in the closet and pretended to himself it was just a phase. When he was faced with vampiric life, particularly the violence of his creator, Kerrick, it really traumatized him and he was completely overwhelmed.

He was a bit of a mess in the first book. Understandably so, given what happen to him.

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Yes, so by Gods and Insects, he’s trying to find his own way, but he’s lost and lonely and still following mortal patterns of behavior. When two more experienced vampires come along and offer him a home and protection, it seems like a good deal. The hardest thing for Asher is, even though he’s quite naive, he has a strong sense of right and wrong. In Gods and Insects, I wanted to explore what it would look like for someone like Asher to fall from grace. I also wanted to explore identity and how that’s shaped by our experiences, including the more traumatic ones.

Well he certainly was a new man by book two and I really liked how he grew between books.  I think it served him and the story well.

Thank you.

Now, I can see at least one more book in the series with how you ended this book (and thank you for giving it a proper ending and not having it end on a cliffhanger).  How many books are planned for this series?

It’s going to be a trilogy. The third book will be from Nico’s point of view. He’s a character who appears halfway through Gods and Insects. He’s trans and I wanted to tell a story with a trans main character, as I am. He’s also quite different from most of the other characters as he’s very much of the modern world, he’s much more in touch with his emotions than any of the others, and he has quite a different outlook. Unlike Kerrick and Asher, he’s also not a fighter.

Nico, was very different from all the other characters and I really like the contrast.  Honestly, he surprised, in a good way. It was this breath of fresh air and kind of highlighted everything that is ‘wrong’ with the other characters.  If that makes sense.  He’s also one of my favorite characters in this story.

He was, also, one of the favorite characters from the second book, from feedback I received, so he seemed like a good choice. The third book will follow his story, with the vampiric war continuing in the background and his growing relationship with Asher. All the books have looked at power dynamics, in and out of relationships, and the nature of power is going to be a big theme in this final story.

Without giving much away, I enjoyed the ending of this book.  You could have gone very dark, but you didn’t.  You kind of ended the book as I thought you would a middle ground was reached.  Was that your intention?  Not to have an overly dark ‘end of the world’ feel to the ending.

Gods and Insects is a tragedy for Asher, but in the sense that he embraces more of his vampiric nature. But he’s only at the start of that path. But there are still others in Asher’s life, particularly Kerrick and Nico, who have their own way of doing things. Nico is still very young and very human and he connected to the good in Asher. Kerrick is more violent, because he was raised in a violent time and had a traumatic start to life, but he’s also very caring and protective of Asher, as his child. Inevitably, there will be some conflict between those different paths. 

You and I both love vampire stories and we have a totally different take on vamps.  What made you pick the darker more sinister type of vampire?

I’m a bit of an irredeemable goth, really. I’ve always liked things dark. I grew up in a crumbling old Victorian mill town in the north of England, which may be partly to blame for my aesthetic tendencies. I wanted my vampires to be monsters – not mindless monsters, because that’s not the type of monsters vampires are, but still monstrous in some sense. I find the idea of human monsters fascinating. I suppose growing up as an outsider makes me more aware of the hypocrisy of mainstream society and the way that power is exploited. Violence and abuse of power are often not far from the surface, even in modern times. My own trauma tends to leak into my work. I often write quite dark, brutal dynamics between my characters and I like to push them to the edge. But I also want to honor the gothic tradition of exploring all the taboo things that lurk under the surface, so my vampires are dark but also sexually charged. I think the intersection between sex and horror is a challenging one and keeps readers on their toes. 

I know you have other stories in the works, however, I want to know about your City of Ash Series. When can we expect to see the next book?  Also, what else do you have in the works?  What can we look forward to seeing in the future?

My working title for the third book is Kill Your Kings. Hopefully that gives you a flavor of what it will be about. All the characters from the first two books will have some continuation of their story, though it will all be from Nico’s point of view, who is a seer from a very unusual bloodline. I’m writing it at the moment, so I hope to have it finished in the first half of next year.

And other works?

I’ve also been working on a 1920s horror story in the Lovecraftian tradition, which needs a final edit before I try to find a home for it.

I’ve recently been experimenting with sharing shorter fiction on Medium, so you can read some of my flash fiction on there. Click here.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community how important is it for you to represent our community in your work?  And as an author what is your responsibility to show all communities not just the LGBTQ+ community?

I tend to have LGBTQ+ characters in all my longer work. Like you, I want to write genre stories with LGBTQ+ character. Not just coming out stories, or romance, but also horror and science fiction and fantasy. I think being able to see ourselves in the stories around us is a really healing, self-affirming experience. For me, growing up in the 80s, there were a few indie films with gay characters, but in speculative fiction and film it was more often the bad guys who looked more like me. Being bi is often associated with evil and deviance in popular media, and obviously all villains are British. (Maybe that’s where I got my taste for black clothing from.) From quite a young age, I picked up the idea that I couldn’t be the hero in a story. Whilst I’m now always going to be cheering for the supervillains, I hope that younger generations get to grow up with a different message.

Nicely said. 

Thank you. Also, I’ve been working on my first romance, with a trans man as the main character. Trans representation is really important for me, and there’s not a huge variety of stories out there right now. I want to show that trans people don’t have to fit gender stereotypes, any more than anyone else, and have a little fun with a sex positive story. I’m playing around with Robin Hood folklore, which I loved as a child. Probably the last time I identified with a hero. I’m also experimenting with happiness and healthy relationships. Strange territory for me. The main character has a disability, so I guess I am conscious of wanting to include people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Although I’m also conscious that I’m not always the best qualified person to tell a particular story.

Well, I think your stories are amazing and I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten a sneak peek at both your 1920s story and your Robin Hood story.  I can’t wait to read them once they are finished.  Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I’ve had fun answering your questions.


About Ambrose Hall

Ambrose Hall is a speculative and literary fiction writer who currently lives in the South East of England. Ambrose originally comes from Bradford, in West Yorkshire, where he was infected with gothic decay and went mad on a moor. You can find his blog here  You can buy, Love is the Cure and Gods and Insects here


Review, Gods and Insects:

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Ambrose Hall, has written the second book in his, City of Ash Series. It’s a dark gritty vampire story, but these vamps aren’t your typical vampires they are dark and monstrous, but not mindless killing machines.  They have desires and dreams.  The second story follows Asher a newly turned vampire who is coming to grips with his new reality.  When we meat Asher in the first book, to describe him as a mess would be an understatement, but in book 2, Gods and Insects, he’s come into his own. Well, somewhat.  This story is about his growth and him finding his way.  I think it’s something that everyone can relate to.  Where do we fit in and we make a place for ourselves?

Even with the proper ending to Book 2, I’m looking forward to the next book so we can see how everything that has been set up in both books will play out.

Gods and Insects, is a dark novel with a bit of a goth feel to it.  It’s a great read and the characters are wonderful. Great care has been taken to give each character their own voice.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth checking out.

Interview with Writer Alex Schuler

Wow, here we are in mid-September, this year is just zooming by.  Today I’m happy to introduce you all to author Alex Shuler.

Welcome to my Scribbles page Alex.

Thank you for the invite.

Of course, I love having authors stop by.  Let’s jump in shall we.

Excellent.

When it comes to writing there are so many choices an author can make, the setting, the time period, what the characters do, the style of book. Keeping in that train of thought, what tense do you prefer to write in? Is there a reason behind your choice?

I like to write in third person past tense because I feel it’s the most neutral, but I try to choose the best tense for each story and I’ve written in first person a few times. A lot of my projects require second person present tense, so I’m pretty comfortable with that as well.

I like to write in first person and third person myself.

For more information about writing tense click here for a really helpful article.

Not only do authors need to figure out tense of their story, but now, with all the advances in self-publishing they have choices on how to get their stories out there.  What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being traditionally published or the other way around?

Self-publishing requires more investment on the part of the author. Money, sure, a lot of times although some self-published authors are really good at cutting down costs, but also the time to find editors, cover designers, formatters, etc. or to do all that themselves. Traditional publishers will take care of all that for you, and may even do some marketing. Being published traditionally can also give an author the reassurance that a professional in the industry thought their book has potential.

But self-publishers also don’t share their royalties, giving the potential to make more money for their effort even at lower prices, and they have more control over when their books are released. They can also take chances on books that there’s a niche market for, but that traditional publishers wouldn’t touch.

It really just depends on an author’s goals.

As we’ve talked about the nuts and bolts of writing let me ask you, cause I’m curious, how much research do you do for your stories?

Urgh. I don’t much like research. Except when I do, at which point I start neglecting my writing for it. So I try not to do too much research until it becomes necessary. It really varies by project.

(Laughs) I think that is a similar problem all authors share.

One more question about writing and the writing process for you.  Tell me what are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I like constructive reviews, both good and bad. I don’t want people to waste their time with my book if they aren’t the right audience for it, and I think reviews play a vital role in that process.

That’s a good way to look at it.  Well said.

Thank you.

Last question, and this is a fun one. Do you have other hobbies?

I’m trying to focus most of my time on writing and painting, but I also play the ocarina and enjoy studying different languages and learning about different cultures.

Sounds like you have a very full and creative plate.  Thank you so much for stopping by today and chatting with me.  I look forward to hearing/seeing more from you.


More about Alex Schuler

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Alex lives in Colorado in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She loves learning new things and meeting new people. These days she spends most of her time working on her writing and visual art, and spends the rest dreaming about and planning her big trip bicycling around the world. You can find her blabbering about her writing and visual art at here, travel (as Rebecca Jones) here, or follow her artist or travel twitter accounts here.

Book Review and Interview with Author F.E. Feeley, Jr.

This is something new.  I’m doing a two for one combo today.  I will be discussing ‘When Heaven Strikes’ with the author of the story F.E. Feeley, Jr. 

Please give us a quick introduction to yourself?

My name is F.E. Feeley Jr I’m the author of the Memoirs of the Human Wraiths Series, as well as the author of several short stories, Indigent, The Scarecrow, Between Us, My Final Blog featured in Gothika 5, and poet. 

‘When Heaven Strikes’ is your newest book. It’s not your typical romance piece (even one of the character’s mention how not all relationships are like a romance novel, which I loved by the way.). What made you pick this kind of romance to write about?

I like to write about things that scare me. I usually write about ghosts and spooky things. Yet, when confronted with the idea of writing a contemporary romance, I realized just how scary love really is. I mean, think about it, we go through our entire life with this narrative of who we are in our heads. Then we meet someone and for the first time in our lives, or the fifth time depending on how you handle the situation, we see ourselves through the lens of someone else. Then we realize how imperfect we really are.

That’s scary on a whole other level and learning to navigate all of it and strip away the things about you—that’s intimidating.

Ted, the main protagonist, has a lot of issues, but that didn’t get in the way of the story (you didn’t make him whiny and tragic) and he still ended up being likable.  Is he based on anyone in the real world?

I was inspired by an artist friend of mine for the work he does. Having zero knowledge of how an artist, or at least someone who draws and paints, actually goes about their craft I winged it. The rest I drew from my own experiences. They say write what you know. Well, I know Ted. I’ve been him. I know Anderson and Josiah and I know Jeff. I’ve been him, too. 

Going back to your artist friend, does he know he was, at least a little, the model for Ted?

Yes, I told him. I haven’t heard back however. I hope he likes it.

I’m sure he will.

Now, I thought the ending of the story was amazing.  You could have gone very dark, but you chose not to (which I’m happy about), was this always the plan from the start? 

Actually no. I was going to go extremely dark to represent the generational gap between Jeff and Gary and Ted and Anderson as figureheads of literature regarding gay men. Yet, when it came time to do it, I just couldn’t. One reviewer complained about Jeff and Gary’s Happy Ever After because of who he was as a person and what he’d done. First of all, I don’t believe in Happy Ever Afters. It’s a false thing we sell people in hopes of profiting off their desire for it.

I wanted this story to reflect life. Jeff and his wife were a twisted pair. The kids suffered because of it. They all did. Jeff, despite the way the story ended, has a long hard road ahead of him.

You aren’t kidding about Jeff and his wife, they are a mess.

But real.

Agreed, with regards to Jeff I was a little surprised with his ending. Do you have any intentions of doing a follow up novel with these characters to maybe explore what happens next?

I may if a story develops. It would mostly depend on the success of this book and if the readers want more.

The underlying tones of this story are abuse and religion, as I read this it felt very personal to me. Is this the case? Do you mind sharing a little about your motivation for writing about such a topic?

Yeah, it’s personal. People have stories. I don’t care who you are, you’ve got something inside of you that holds you hostage on occasion. It was Viola Davis who said, “There is one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. The graveyard.” She went on to say, “…exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of people who loved and lost, who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition…,”.

I have this desire to connect to people through my art mostly out of a deep need to be understood. You know, through all the literature and the lore of ghosts etc. there is one thing that is almost cliché about it all. Unfinished business. Something or someone that causes that spirit to linger. While I am in no way suicidal, there are things that I’ve known that I fear – would prevent me from moving on if I didn’t find a way to work it out.

Religion is supposed to be, and often is, a force for good in people’s lives. Unfortunately, like everything else, it can be manipulated and twisted into a terrible evil – the effects of which are incredibly long lasting. All this current talk about ‘evil Islam’ and ‘radicalization’ from the talking heads and the current administration in the White House – ought to take a closer look in their own neighborhoods. They ought to not worry about the brown skinned folks and take a good long hard look at the conversations we’re having today about race in this country. Find out its origins and find out WHY almost 150 years later – we’re still having this same stupid conversation about rights and equality. Here I’ll give you a clue, Bob Jones Sr. vs The United States. 

You paid a lot of attention to your secondary characters such as Anderson (although he felt more like a second main character to me) Eleanor, Josiah and James. Was that the goal from the start? To have strong well-rounded characters or is that just how it worked out?

I wanted people to experience Ted from multiple points of view. Ted was Anderson’s great love. Eleanor saw him as a gifted artist. To Jeff, Ted and his ‘lifestyle’ was a threat to the tenuous grasp he had on his own reality. Ted was a savior to Josiah. That initial knock on the door was the stone cast into the pond and the ripples that go outward displacing things for better and for worse.

What I loved about this book is that these character felt real to me. Even the setting helped to ground them. They were not the typical ‘perfect’ characters found in gay romance novels was that your goal to make a more ‘every person’ type of character?

There’s an old Rolling Stone song that goes, “You can’t always get what you want, you get what you need.”  I think a lot of the screwed up things that happen in life is when we actually get what we want and find out it isn’t even in the same zip code of what we need. Those things often clash and when they do – it can be a honey. Ted wanted to be left alone. Jeff wanted his life as it was. Yet, their need to experience a connection drove them. Josiah needed his father. He needed to figure out how to deal with the fallout. I think we find ways to simply deal with those parts of us that we’re not necessarily proud of. That is what drove me to write the characters the way I did. People are people and people can be a mess of contradictions.

Now that you’ve released ‘When Heaven Strikes’, what’s next?

That’s the million-dollar question. I have no clue. I have a Steampunk Phantom of the Opera story in limbo, I thought about a Christmas Novella, another ghost story. Who knows. Whichever one jumps up and shouts at me the loudest will be the one that gets my attention.

Personal I think a Steampunk Phantom of the Opera would be amazing. Just saying…no seriously do this.

As I understand it this book was self-published, how was the experience after being traditionally published, any advice or wisdom you can pass on?

This experience was a rough one. Without divulging too much background it was slotted to be published traditionally but at the last moment they decided that I should change some stuff to make it more palatable to the ‘romance reader’. Entire scenes. I said no. So, we withdrew from the agreement and I sought out editors and everyone else. 

My advice to those who want to self-publish who’ve traditionally gone the other way. Buckle up and show up. It’s work. It’s harder than you can imagine. Yet, I think there’s virtue in it. You’ll respect the process more. You’ll respect the work that goes into it, more. And perhaps that’ll keep you from posting your work for 99-cents. 

I’m guessing you’re not a fan of not underselling your work.  What do you think about how authors are willing to sell their work so cheaply and others who give it away? Do you think some of it fits in the realm of marketing and PR?

There is no window to another man’s conscience (or woman’s). I do think it’s a bad practice, however, and I think it hurts just about everyone inside of the writing world.

Think about it, 99-cents for months possibly years’ worth of work. The money put in to create the novel if you’re traditionally published. The inability of smaller presses to compete. The worst part is that then it stops being something that is done once in a while to boost a sale prior to a new release, it becomes expected. People complain over the cost of an eBook at $6.99. That’s a Starbucks coffee, something you’ll enjoy for an hour. A book last’s forever. I don’t see this as a consumer hurting the industry – I see it as other authors hurting their own. Sure - you’ll be an amazon best seller. Yay, you. However, you’ve killed some poor soul out there working just as hard as you are who maybe can’t afford to compete with that. 

Add in Kindle Unlimited (KU) where someone is paid $0.0046 cents per page read IF the book is read in its entirety? Come on. That’s a complete rip off. 

I saw people sharing a blog someone wrote about why she decided to leave KU. It was something a lot of people read and shared and are considering. However, I peeked in at other authors who shared it around and read some of the comments and found some surprising stuff.

First of all, I think a lot of people were shocked.  The Netflix binge mentality is diluted a little bit because of proximity of writers to their readers via social media. It’s hard to look forward to a favorite author’s new release when she/he has to give up and go back to their 9-5. I saw a lot of comments in that frame of mind.

Then I saw comments like, “Yeah, I know KU rips off authors but I wouldn’t be able to feed my reading binge if I didn’t have it.” 

There’s virtue in having to wait for something.

While it’s great authors have this advantage now to publish their own work – I think there needs to be an agreement reached between the writers and the readers saying, “We recognize this work as art and we value art so we’re not going to let you fall victim to the whole ‘starving artist’ cliché.”

As a gay man how important it is to see the full LGBTQ+ community represented in all forms of fiction and media? And as an author what is your responsibility to show this diverse community?

I think it’s important for people to tell their stories regardless of who they are. I think, however, that if a publishing company is in the business of producing a minority group’s stories they damn well better let those people speak their truth.  

Right now there is a monopoly on LGBTQ fiction in the m/m romance genre – and these stories are all being viewed through the lens of romance readers and that’s unfortunate. 

One of the motivations of writing this book the way I did was to show people a reality of modern gay life. There was no antagonistic split, no fallout argument, I met my husband on December first, we went out on a date three days later, and have been together for seven years this December. We broke up for six hours one day. That’s it. 

Together, we have weathered our life with dignity and with determination. 

When I see statements like, “that’s not how people really act” when it comes to these reviews – I can’t help by shake my head. 

That may not be how people in romance novels work- but romance novels aren’t supposed to be reality. I think too often those lines blur and people get confused. 

In your bio you mention you love to cook, what types of foods do you cook?

Yeah, I love to cook. I will cook just about anything. From stuff, I remember my parents making, to things I invented myself, to recipes from friends. I just discovered the joy of Rachel Ray as a matter of fact and so has my waistline.

I love cooking. It’s nourishing, it’s social, it’s sometimes sexy, but cooking and eating and talking over dinner always brings me back to earth. It’s really kind of funny. When someone asks me why I am such a stickler of race and racism – I tell them because I’m hungry. 

If I don’t like you – I won’t eat your food. I won’t break bread with you.

That’s why I think food can help resolve a lot of old anger and disputes.

I want to eat with you. I want to spend time with you. I can experience you through what you make. It’s intimate.

What is your favorite type of food?

Chinese will make me love you.

That being said, I’ll eat just about anything.

You mention you write poetry and I’ve read some on your blog. What is it about poetry (writing it) that you enjoy so much?

I think poetry is beautiful. It’s not something I’ve always enjoyed. As a matter of fact, it seems to be a dying art. I mean, sure, you have angst filled poetry written by teenagers and young adults, rhyming schemes you find on twitter, but real poetry. Real honest to goodness brilliance out there such as The Day is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Gorgeous. I am nowhere near that level of brilliance but writing it is an exercise to one-day writing something worth publishing. 

Do you have any final messages for readers?

Yes. In these times – art is incredibly important. Art reflects life. Support the arts whatever the medium. It saves us all.

For more about author F.E. Feely, Jr. check him out on his website here.


My review for When Heaven Strikes:

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Hearing about this novel from a friend of mine and after reading the blurb I knew I wanted to read When Heaven Strikes.  It did not disappoint.  What we got was a romance novel that didn’t have perfect characters.  These men felt like people I know and have seen around.  F.E. Feeley Jr. does an amazing job creating the perfect setting for these characters to inhabit.

The main character Ted, an artist, has some real life issues that affects how he sees the world without making him whinny or unlikable.  Anderson, a surgeon, despite appearing to have it all is alone and lives in an isolated world he’s created. So when they meet and come together you can see how they actually complement each other.

Given this is a romance the author could have taken the easy road and had them characters have some epic fight or misunderstand and then come back together by the end of the story, but Feeley decided to go in a different direction and to his credit it works amazing.

This is an amazing book with some heavy underlying tones which Feeley doesn’t mince words on.  Definitely worth the read. To bye 'When Heaven Strikes' click here.

Interview with Author CD Gallant-King

Is it August already?  Wow.  Where as the time gone? It’s time for another author interview and this week I welcome CD Gallant-King.

Welcome CD.

Glad to be here.

First, I have to say after going through your bio and checking out your website you are one of the most interesting people I’ve done an author interview for.

Um… thanks I think.

(Laughs) trust me, that’s a good thing.

If you say so. I’ll try not to be a spectacular letdown.

I love the quirky whit and the humor it’s a lot of fun.  Anyway, let’s get going shall we.

Sounds good.

First tell me, what are you currently working on?

I’ve got a few projects I’m working on, but off the top of my head I would say my Werebear vs. Landopus series. It’s a grotesque comic fantasy about terrible people doing horrible things trying to be heroic. 

So, it’s about politics?

(chuckles) No, but now that you mention it… (chuckles again).

Okay, so it’s not about politics, what is it about?

Each book features a group of “heroes” trying to destroy some hideous monster, but each time they only make things worse. It’s not for everyone and definitely recommended for mature audiences - not just because of the violence but because of the endless stream of dirty jokes and the casual discussion of the genitalia of various fantasy races.

And you’re sure it’s not about politics?

I’m sure.

All right enough of me trying to be funny, the series sounds interesting and I can see that it might not be for everyone. I’m curious what is the easiest thing about writing?

Coming up with an idea and sitting down to start a new story is the easiest thing in the world. That’s why I have literally hundreds of unfinished manuscripts on my computer. I have so many ideas, some good, some really, really terrible. Sometimes I write a few lines, sometimes a few pages and sometimes even a few chapters before I get bored and/or realize the idea isn’t as good as I thought it was.

I’ve been there before. I think that is something everyone can relate to in some form or another.

I think so. Still, sometimes I can reuse these ideas in other places, other times they just sit in The Closet collecting dust. I hope that one day I’ll be able to come back and finish all those crazy ideas. Or maybe someone will eventually write a computer program where I can just pump in my character sketches and plot outlines and it will spit out a finished novel.

Who knows?

Oh come on, you know it’s coming. The AI will need something to read after it takes over the world.

Probably, with collecting all these thoughts and ideas do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I usually write on the bus during my commute to work with my tiny old beat-up laptop balanced on my knees. Sometimes I write longhand, though.

Seriously? Longhand?

Yep. I actually wrote the first draft of Hell Comes to Hogtown completely longhand because I thought it would be easier to do on my commute. Except then I had to transcribe the manuscript, also on the bus, balancing both my laptop and my notebook on my lap. It was maddening, but at the same time helpful because I got to do a lot of editing and revising as I went between the first and second draft. In different circumstances I might do it again, but as long as I’m writing on the bus I think I will keep to putting the words directly into the computer.

Given you do your writing while you commute do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I just try to get as much as I can. If I can’t get a seat on the bus, or if I’m tired and I doze off, I don’t get a whole lot of words in. So I try to be flexible and work where and when I can. If I’m focused, I can get 1000-2000 words on a good day (including the commute both ways). But it’s not at all unusual for extenuating circumstances (like forgetting to charge my laptop) results in exactly 0 words written.

With everything you put into your books what are your thoughts on giving books away for free?

What do you hope to accomplish by giving the book away? If you want that person to read your book and now they can, well, then it worked. If you want that book to cure cancer or teach a dog to do backflips, you’ve probably failed.

(Unless the book is literally about curing cancer or teaching a dog to do backflips, of course).

If you mean, will giving books away help increase your sales, then I think it probably will help, at least in the long run.

I agree.

The absolute hardest part about marketing a book is just getting it into people’s hands. There are so many books out there (not to mention movies, TV shows, etc) vying for everyone’s attention, being heard through the noise is a monumental feat. Being heard loud and being convincing enough to actually get someone to pick up your book is another level harder. But if you’ve literally placed the book into a potential reader’s hands, then you have skipped all that. Sure, you’re out the cost of the book (that’s the cost of marketing), but if they like it they might buy another book, or write a positive review, or tell a friend about it. At the very least they might mention to someone about the nice author person who gave them the free book, and your name will pass into infamy. And sure, they may just chuck it in the garbage, but once again: price of marketing. How much money have you spent on ads that amounted to the same thing?

I think people forget that and need to factor free books as part of their marketing plan. Of course you don’t want to give all your books away for free.

The trick of course is giving the book to the right person who will actually read it and may enjoy it. Giving a book about back-flipping dogs to someone who is looking for paranormal Christian YA erotica, for example, may not be the best choice.

Paranormal Christian YA Erotica… that… well I’ve never heard of that.

It’s a thing. Google it. Just not when you’re at work.

That is all we have time for today.  I hope this wasn’t too painful a process?

Excruciating.

Excellent, then my work here is done.  Anyway, I’m glad you were able to stop by for a chat. 

Thanks for having me.

Of course, keep us posted on your books and feel free to stop by anytime for a chat.  I enjoyed having you here today.


More about CD Gallant-King

C.D. Gallant-King wrote his first story when he was five years old.  He had to make his baby-sitter look up how to spell "extra-terrestrial" in the dictionary. He now writes stories about un-heroic people doing generally hilarious things in horrifying worlds.

He's a loving husband and proud father of two wonderful little kids.  He was born and raised in Newfoundland and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario. There was also a ten-year period in between where he tried to make a go of a career in Theatre in Toronto, but that didn't work out so well.

C.D. has written eight novels you haven't read, because they're still locked in The Closet. The Closet is both a figurative and literal location - it is the space in his head where the stories are kept, but it's also an actual closet under the stairs in his basement where the stories are also kept. It's very meta.

He has published two novels you can read, Ten Thousand Days in 2015 and Hell Comes to Hogtown in 2016. He has an ongoing series of dark comic fantasy stories called Werebear vs. Landopus, which is available on Kindle Unlimited. His work also appears in Mystery and Horror’s supernatural humour anthology, Strangely Funny IV.

To reach out to CD find him at any of the below:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Goodreads

Find CD's books at any of the below:
Amazon
Kobo
Smashwords
B&N

Interview with Poet & Photographer Cendrine Marrouat

I’m very lucky this week to have Poet and Photographer Cendrine Marrouat (pronounced as “san-drEEn mar-wah”. The “t” at the end is optional) joining me on my Scribbles Page.  Cendrine has just released her tenth book “Life’s Little Things: The Quotes” an amazing book with inspirational quotes and beautiful photos (more about that later).   

Congratulations on the new book Cendrine and welcome to my Scribble Page.

Thank you for the feature. I am honored.

Of course.  I love having folks stop by, it’s honestly one of my favorite things. Shall we jump into the questions.

Absolutely.

Let’s start with the basics. Tell me about yourself.

Well, to start I’m originally from Toulouse, a beautiful city in southern France, I moved to Winnipeg, Canada, in 2003. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English-to-French translation.

In my career, I have done many things, including teaching, translation, photography, reviews, blogging, content curation, and journalism. I have released five collections of poetry, three photography books, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD. Finally, I am a dabbling playwright with two plays under my belt. I tried writing in other genres like short stories, but I am not very good… 

Really, with all you’ve done.  I find that hard to believe.

Thank you, but right now, my main focus is on nature photography, social media coaching, and French instruction. I work with older adults, and they are among the nicest people I have ever met.

You’ve definitely done a lot.  I love the fact that you work with older adults, that’s really impressive.

They are amazing and wonderful to instruct.

I bet. So, what got you interested in photography and writing poetry?

I always say that poetry and photography stalked me until the day I finally fell in love with them.

(Laughs) that an interesting way to put it.

I suppose it is, but it’s how I’ve felt.  So, I started writing poems all of a sudden in January 2005. However, it took quite a few people to persuade me that I was good enough to share my photos with the world, and even sell them. It was three years ago.

Really?  Well I’m glad they did.  The photos I’ve seen and the few poems I’ve read are fantastic.

Thanks.

I have no experience with publishing photos or poetry so what was the hardest thing about writing your current book and, more importantly what can we look forward to seeing in it?

Life’s Little Things: The Quotes is a book of quotes and images. Last year, I asked my blog’s visitors to help me select the photos. I would then write a saying for each of those choices.

It was a fun experiment, albeit challenging. But I loved every minute of it because I had to delve deep inside myself to find the words that would fit the photos. It just took me longer than expected to complete the project.

It’s like revealing your soul to the world.

Exactly, but I don't have any issues with that.

I suppose that's important for us writers.  Anyway, moving on, tell me, which famous person (living or dead) would you like to sit down with and have lunch with?  Why?

Khalil Gibran, for sure.

I’m sorry I don’t know that name.  Who is he?

The author of The Prophet and Jesus, the Son of Man he had an incredible way with words. He also was a feminist and a man with incredible artistic talent. I have goosebumps just writing about him.

I’ll have to check him out.

Definitely.

If I may, I’m curious did you come across any specific challenges when writing?  What would you do differently the next time?

I am an incredibly slow writer. So slow, actually that it’s not even funny. And my inspiration also comes in fits and spurts. So, I have learnt to go with the flow.

As far as my new book is concerned, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am not the type of person who regrets her decisions. That’s because I take them after careful planning and consideration.

Slow and steady wins the race right?

(Chuckles) I suppose. Something like that.
  
If you don’t mind me asking, what are your ambitions as a writer/artist?

I’ll tell you a little story. When my mom committed suicide in 2005…

Oh, my.  I’m so sorry.  I can’t imagine.

It wasn’t a surprise and we were expecting it. So, I decided to write a book on death. I wanted to help those who were left behind to grieve the passing of a loved one. Short Poetry for Those Who Fear Death, click here, was the result.

Months after the release, I received an email from a stranger. Before opening the book, she had contemplated killing herself. But then, she came across my book, read it, and underwent a complete transformation. Now, she saw life in a totally new light and wanted to enjoy it to the fullest!

Wow! Amazing.

It was. As a writer, this is one of my proudest moments. Knowing that my work helped someone is the greatest testimony of the healing power of art.

That is exactly why I do what I do. Whether I write poetry, take and share photos, or release a book, my goal is always the same: Open people’s minds to the beauty of the world around them. I don’t care how many copies or prints I sell, or even if I’ll ever be famous. 

I see too many people plagued with stress, depression, and negativity. They need to treat themselves better. So, I use my skills as an artist to try and change that status quo.

I have no words.

(After a short break I continue the interview, not because Cendrine needed the break, I did.)

Cendrine, what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? What's your next project?

I have just released book number ten. Marketing it is going to take time, energy and a lot of work. So, I’ll be busy for weeks and maybe months.

Isn’t that the truth.

With that said, I am always full of ideas. I love the Life’s Little Things series that I started last year. The third book may feature haiku, my favorite poetic form. The natural element that it must include makes it the perfect partner for my photography.

That sounds like fun.

It should be.  Well, I hope it is.

This brings me to my last question and I hope it’s a good one to end on. Your portfolio of photos is huge, what is your favorite thing to take pictures of?

(Chuckles) That is a good way to end.  Anything related to nature -- animals, flowers, forests, water, etc. I am passionate about the little things that make this planet such a beautiful place to inhabit. So, there is a lot of material available out there!

Excellent.  Thank you so much for joining me today.

It was an honor to be here.  Thank you for hosting me.

Of course.


More about Cendrine Marrouart:

Cendrine Marrouat is a photographer, social media blogger and trainer, French instructor, and author living in Canada. She is the founder of two blogs: Photography website and Social media website. In 2015, Cendrine was recognized a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant also made Fit Small Business' Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists.  You can also find Cendrine on Twitter here, Instagram here and YouTube here.

You can find her many works (poetry, social media, photography) here.


About Life’s Little Things: The Quotes

Quotes have been part of the human fabric for a very long time. No matter how old we are, we like to keep our favorites with us. We often have them safely tucked in our wallets or framed on the walls of our homes.

Quotes bring us a sense of comfort and keep us grounded. They force us to think and question our preconceived notions of our surroundings. But most importantly, they inspire us to become better people, especially when they are paired with photography that tells multi-layered stories. 

It is the idea behind Life’s Little Things: The Quotes. Cendrine Marrouat’s second book in her Life’s Little Things series pays homage to the world in a way that you may never have seen before. Each page is an invitation to reflect on the human condition and our never-ending connection to nature. 

Life’s Little Things: The Quotes will not just brighten your day. It will also open your mind to what is possible and what truly matters. In a world where negativity seems to be winning, the 25 high-quality photos and quotes in the book are intended as a balancing act. They will encourage you to reconnect with yourself, think more positively, slow down your physical pace, and find your inner rhythm. 

Life’s Little Things: The Quotes is a little book with a twist and a big heart. Don’t wait and pick up your copy today!

“A real treat for the senses.” – Janette Speyer, HotIceMedia.com

“Cendrine Marrouat’s play between imagery and prose is simple, sweet, succinct and good food for the mind and soul.” – Kelly Hungerford, CommunityWorks

“Cendrine Marrouat’s work is not just good but excellent. The pictures all tell a story, capture a moment in time and they speak to your emotions.” – Anthony Carranza, B2B News Network

Get Life's Little Things; The Quotes here.

Interview with Author Francisco Cordoba

This week I have the honor of welcoming Francisco Cordoba to my Scribbles page. I can’t wait to jump in so let’s get to it.

Welcome Francisco.

Thanks for having me.

Of course. I just hope I’m not to all over the place with my questions today.

I’m sure it’ll be fine.

You say that now, but we shall see soon enough.  Let’s start with a get to know you question.  Tell me, what are some of the day jobs you have held?

Let’s see if I can remember them all.  I’ve been an Accountant’s clerk, store clerk, telephone sales, dishwasher, zookeeper, care home worker, horse trainer, riding instructor, and English language instructor.

Wow.  That is an interesting mix.  How would you say these jobs have influenced your writing?

I think everything influences my writing because they were all life experience’s which put me in touch with different people and different situations.

I’ve heard that a lot from a variety of authors and I personal agree.  Everything we do is just another life experience to pull from.  That said, do you get a chance to do a lot of reading outside your genre, so you have difference experience’s to pull from?

Well, first, I don’t really have a genre. My series, The Horsemen of Golegã, doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. I really like books that are mixed-genre like that. However, I do read romance, erotica, science fiction, thriller, biography, suspense, mystery, literary and general fiction. I read everything, and I think that comes through in my writing.

Like your work history you have a very rich taste in reading.  That’s cool.

I like the variety.

I can see that.  Okay, so here is a tough question.

Oh man.

Are you ready?

Oh man.

Have you ever intentionally tried to make your readers cry?

(Chuckles) All the time. If I can make my reader cry, then I made my reader feel. I want my readers to feel. I want to leave them wrung out and gasping.

I agree.  I think writing is all about making the reader feel something and if they cry then I did my job.

Does that make us evil?

(Laughs) Probably.

Writing all these different scenes and trying to pull out emotion do you have a favorite scene or line you’ve written?

I think we all do.  Don’t you?

Yes, but I asked you first.

Fair enough, I do have many favorite scenes and lines. In Bosanquet: The Horsemen of Golegã, Book 1, the final intimate scene where the FMC loses her virginity is close to my heart. It was one of the first sex scenes I’d written, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about it.

The scene in Loving North: The Horsemen of Golegã, Book 3, where Candice and Bosanquet are preparing to go camping, is another favorite. It’s the first time Candice really takes charge of her man, so it heralds her growth as a person, and his as he allows someone else to the lead.

With your diverse taste is books, I’m curious. Who was your favorite author as a child? Do they influence your storytelling now?

I loved, and still do, Dr. Seuss, who in my mind was nothing less than brilliant. I could read The Sneetches and marvel at their stupidity and gullibility over and over again, and get totally lost in the ridiculous stubbornness of the North-going and South-going Zax. The pathos of the lonely pale green pants with nobody inside them made me long to befriend someone less fortunate, and the zany futility of the Tweetle Beetles still make me giggle like a kid.

I have no doubt that Dr. Seuss influences my writing now. Through him, and others, I learned to appreciate the rhythm and swing of language. His stories, simply and amusingly told, illustrate his astute observations about the human condition, and human foibles and inconsistencies, in ways even small children can understand.

And as they say, the child is father to the man.

And that, as they say, was my last question.

Really?

Yes, Sir.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  I look forward to hearing more from you and checking out your books.

Thanks.

More about Francisco Cordoba

A passionate romantic and obsessive equestrian, Francisco Cordoba has been writing for as long as he can remember. However, it’s only in the last few years, since completing his Master’s Degree in Linguistics, and suffering regular chastisement from his wife, that he has dared to fully unleash his muse. He loves writing about romance, relationships, adventures and sex.
 
Francisco lives a largely reclusive life tucked away in an old farmhouse, somewhere, with his wife, teenage son, four cats, two dogs, horse, ducks and chickens. He freely admits to loving them all, although he refuses to allow more than three bodies to occupy his bed at any one time. His six-book slightly erotic, paranormally romantic, mysteriously suspenseful, thrillingly adventurous, and possibly fictional debut series, The Horsemen of Golegã, will be self-published soon.

You can find Francisco at his website here, his Facebook page here, on Twitter here, or via email at contact@franciscocordoba.com

Interview with Author Jeanne Marcella

This week I’m thrilled to welcome a fellow Northern Californian Jeanne (pronounced like Barbara Eden’s old 70s TV show “I Dream of Jeannie.” Except there is no “I”) Marcella to my Scribbles page and introduce you all to her and her amazing writing.  I can’t wait to jump in so let’s get to it.

Welcome to my Scribbles Page Jeanne.

Thanks for having me.

You know people are not going to have to Google the TV Show reference right?

Probably, maybe you should include a link for them.

(Laughs) Nah, they’re a smart group they can figure it out. First things first, tell me about your writing.
  
Dark fantasy is my main genre to play in, with urban fantasy quickly gaining favor. I write about the human condition and its struggles, even if most of my characters are not human. To me, that’s not only great drama and character development, it’s the great foundation for action and tension.

I agree.  I love using non-human character to explore human nature.  It’s fun.

Sure is.  
 
So, how did you get started?  What drives you to sit at the keyboard and put word to paper?
 
Even before I learned to write, I was drawing.  And as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been telling stories and demanding to hear them.
 
The children’s author, Richard Scarry, really sent my imagination into overdrive when I was small. I was completely obsessed with his books back then, and I’m still thoroughly fascinated by his ability to tell stories within stories within stories. Another early influence that probably shaped my writing into the dramatic was watching soap operas back in the 80s with my grandmother.

Stop!  I have to know what soaps did you watch?

(Laughs.) Now that I think about it, my first exposure to soaps was with my mom. She watched “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”, and another one later simply called “Soap”.  Although I do recall both shows being really bizarre--I think “Soap” did a Rosemary’s baby scenario. It was confusing back then.
 
With my grandmother it was “Days of Our Lives” and “Another World.” I still remember the DooL opening…. “Like sands through the hourglass….these are the days of our lives!” It was all very dramatic.  

Okay, sorry didn’t mean to sidetrack I just had to know, please continue. 
 
No problem. Anyway, it’s the characters that live in my head that drive me to write. Their relationships and hardships, their agony. I can’t shut them up, even when I sleep.
 
While we’re talking about characters please give us some insight into your Main Character.  Who are they?  What is their life about?
 
Acanthus Breese is a twelve and a half year old boy, but this is definitely not a YA series. This is a gritty dark fantasy that lets the reader discover most of the plot as the main character does.

Oh, I like that.  I hate when you know everything at the start.
 
Yep, that’s why I did it this way.  So, Acanthus and his peers have been imprisoned and abandoned by the adults; they’ve raised themselves since they were five. Acanthus is the smallest boy in the Regrets grid and is often picked on. He draws, carves toy animals, and prays to the goddess to help him retain his sanity. He and the other boys endure while waiting for forgiveness, even though they aren’t exactly sure what they did wrong.

Wow, that is dark.  Should be a great read.

I hope so.  I hope readers enjoy it.
 
Let’s change topic a bit, if you don’t mind. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
 
Ambitions? Well, just to tell a good story and have people enjoy the characters as much as I do. 
 
I love it.  For me that is the best answer possible.

Ah, thanks.

I have to know, where do your ideas come from?
 
That’s a really loaded question. (chuckles). I consider myself a chaotic thinker.
 
My ideas come from everything and everywhere. I can’t turn it off. I see multiple and completely different stories within movies, TV shows, and even just looking out the window. My head is so crowded with ideas and input it’s often a trial to juggle them into submission. Again, it could be that Richard Scarry influence.
 
I think a lot of writers are the same.  I know I have similar issues.  I think it’s part of the creative process.  Or, a sign of madness.  Not sure which.

Could be both.

(Laughs) You may be on to something there. What is the hardest thing about writing your book?
 
The hardest thing about writing ‘The Phoenix Embryo’ was wading through all his trials that had piled up as I wrote, and ironing out the order they fell in. It was a very frustrating process that took about a decade. 
 
Wow.  That had to be tough, but you did it.  Congratulations.

Thank you.
 
Can you tell me, what are the challenges/benefits to being a self-published author?
 
Finding a readership and getting noticed is certainly a major hurdle, and I’m still floundering on that particular challenge. I’ve done my research, and know the avenue I need to go, it’s just taking that deep breath and navigating it. 
 
The benefits are the best. Complete creative control, and having it in the reader’s hands not long after the editors and formatters finish with it. 

I love the idea of complete creative control, but I get that has its challenges too?

It can, but it’s so much fun. I love it.

Awesome. Now back to the writing process. Did you come across any specific challenges when writing?  What did you do differently the next time?
 
There are a few. Realizing that I’ve written two, sometimes even three books as one. It’s happened a few times, and in more than one series/genre. 
 
Discovering that I wrote my ‘Infinity 8’ series backwards--starting in modern day when it needed to begin in the early 1900s.
 
Creating an outline and a synopsis has really saved me time, and a lot of headaches. I push the ideas as far out as they’ll go, and examine them in detail as that particular idea grows closer.  (Laughs) It’s less chaotic that way, and I get things done quicker. 
 
Organization and outlines are definitely the way to go.  I agree.
 
As a self-published author, I’m curious, where do you see publishing going in the future?
 
Ebook distribution is going to change somehow, of course. The question is just when. The tech industry doesn’t stand still. And with Amazon being such a powerhouse, the publishing industry may finally wake up and start competing. Perhaps the remaining Big 5--is it still the Big 5? Will ban together and open their own bookstores and online platform. That would be really neat.

Now that would be an interesting idea.  I think someone needs to compete with Amazon or they will end up controlling the industry.

Possibly. 
 
Sadly, I have one last question for you.

Only one more?

I’m afraid so.

Wow, that went fast.

It always goes fast. Maybe, we could do another interview at some point.

Anything is possible.

Okay, so final question, what do your fans mean to you?
 
Fans provide the mental energy that keep characters, and even a series alive. When they contact you to say how much they enjoy a book, it’s a treasure, and an honor.

Nicely put.

Well it’s true.

And on that finale note, I want to thank you for stopping by and agreeing to do this.  You were a joy to chat with.

Thank you.
 


More about Jeanne Marcella

Stories came to me from a very young age. And I loved books. I would stare at Richard Scarry’s art for hours. Days. And was mesmerized at the infinite mini universes and stories within stories presented.
 
The music I grew up with truly varied. A few examples: Mexican, Hawaiian, and big band. Classical and top 50s and 60s. In the mid-80s I encountered the new age genre: Ray Lynch’s Deep Breakfast. Stevie Nicks was my all time favorite for her unique fantasy-like allure.
 
Today I gravitate toward Apocalyptica, Adam Hurst, and E.S. Posthumus. I’m also into old black and white movies. People knew how to tell a complete story back then with only body language and a look.

I often muse why centaurs are categorized as non-people or stupid animals, instead of treated like the other sentient mythical beings of vampires, werewolves, and demons.

Conspiracy theories are my soap operas. Paranormal realms and ancient astronauts. Is the moon really hollow? Is Bigfoot from another dimension or merely a shy, near-extinct descendant of Giganthropithicus Blacki? All this drives the imagination and creativity. And it certainly opens up new realms to play in.

You can find Jeanne here and on Twitter here.  She also, has a Facebook Page here.
 


Click the image to shop for the book.

Click the image to shop for the book.

An Image from The Phoenix Embryo

An Image from The Phoenix Embryo

More about The Phoenix Embryo

Twelve-and-a-half-year-old Acanthus Breese and his yellow-robed peers have survived without an adult presence for seven years. They’ve scavenged. Endured madness, starvation, and murder after the adults imprisoned and abandoned them without a backward glance. They’ve clawed their way to civilization and questionable sanity at the guidance of one of their own.

Thirteen-year-old Edward Dasheel is a direct descendant of the goddess Staritti and the red phoenix god, Dasheel. Because of Edward’s love and leadership, Acanthus and the other boys know that despite their regretful crime of harming Staritti and driving her away, hope for redemption remains.

Acanthus knows Edward better than anyone; he knows Edward hides dark secrets about their exile, the adults, and specifically about him. So it is terrifying when suddenly the adults return, pushing themselves back into their lives. What do they want after all these years? And why?

Another Image from the Phoenix Embryo

Another Image from the Phoenix Embryo

Interview with Writer Amir Lane

This month I’ve been so blessed to be able to do two Author Interviews.  I’m excited to welcome Amir Lane to my Scribbles Page.  Let’s get started.

Amir I’m thrilled to have you here this month.  Thanks for stopping by.

Always a joy to chat with folks.

I have so many questions, but so little time.  So let’s jump right in.  I’m curious about how you model your characters, are they based on real life?

I really try not to. It’s impossible not to let parts of people I know into my characters because there are only so many traits in the world. There’ve been times when I’ve been talking about a character and realized, ‘Holy crap, this is so-and-so.’ (chuckles)

Sometimes I’ll put real people in passing, like if I need a background character for two lines.

I think we’ve all done that.

Probably.  The other thing I do is when I have a character from another country - ie, not Canada - I’ll pick usually a musician who’s voice I dig and I’ll listen to interviews until I get a handle on it. Like, I have Matt Tuck for my Welsh guy, Til Lindemann for German, Max Cavalera for Brazilian… Sometimes I hear something that totally works. Sometimes it’s, like, a cultural thing, or a generic sort of - Like Max Cavalera learning English from dictionary translations. It’s exactly how my parents learned English, but it totally works here too. Again, generally not deliberate but it happens.

We’re going to be all over the map today with questions.  I hope you don’t mind?

Nope. Not at all.

Great, I wanted to ask if you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

I'm honestly awful at marketing so I'm probably the last person who should be giving advice.

I don’t know you have some amazing cover art for your books and your Urban Fantasy Short is on Tall Tale TV, so you must be doing something right.

Thanks.

Okay, how about you tell me what you don’t like.

Well, as a reader, it really bothers me when authors leave me copy/pasted messages to buy their book, especially when it's for a genre I don't even like. I get that it's the fastest way to spread the word but honestly, it makes me hate the book on principle before I even know the title. People don't like being constantly advertised to, especially when everything is an advertisement. If you want to recommend me your book because you know that, based on the books I talk about, it lines up with what I like to read, then by all means, recommend it but don't make it too obvious that you're only interested in my wallet.

Well said.  I agree.

So, marketing isn’t your thing, but you must do some, so what part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

Marketing time is marketing time. I don't take from my writing time, which is probably why I'm lacking in that department. I do most of my marketing when I'm between projects, or parts of projects. For example, I'll give myself a week between when I finish a draft and start editing, and I'll take that time to market. It's a system.

Cool, so keeping on the whole marketing theme, what do you thing about good/bad reviews?

I think the important thing to remember is that everything is subjective. Not everybody is going to like your book. Like, with Shadow Maker, someone said that my main character wasn't relatable at all, whereas other people found that he totally was. So, all that meant was that this person isn't the person that character was meant to be relatable to.

Good point.

Any review should be taken with a grain of salt but there is a point where, if it's a lot of people who are saying the same thing, then maybe that's something to pay attention to. I don't know, I try not to read reviews or respond to anything about my books unless someone is talking to me directly.

That is great advice.

Sadly, this is my last question and I hope it’s an easy one.  Do you have any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

Do: Write.
Don't: Get distracted and watch that episode of Duck Dodgers where Dave Mustain saves Earth with the power of heavy metal and awesome hair.

(Laughs) That is probably the best advice ever. What a great way to end the interview.  That you so much for joining me today.

Always a pleasure


More about Amir Lane

Amir Lane (pronounced Ah-meer) is a supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario and the author of the Morrighan House Witches series that debuted in October 2016. The series opens with Shadow Maker, and follows physics major Dieter Lindemann as he's dragged down against his will into Necromancy and blood magic.

Engineer by trade, Amir spends most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, at a back table at their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.

When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour's dog is.

Amir loves to connect with readers online. They can be found in their Facebook group here, on their Facebook page here, and at their website here, and on Twitter here where you can find out more about their work.

Interview with Author JP Jackson

This week I’m very excited to welcome my buddy JP Jackson, to my Scribbles page and introduce you all to him and his amazing writing.  I was lucky to have him for an extended interview so I hope you enjoy.  Don't forget to like, share and leave a comment below.  There was a lot to cover in a short time so let’s boogie on down the road.

JP has his first book premiering next month (July 2017).  Congratulations JP and welcome.

Boogie?  Really?

My interview my silliness.

All right well thanks for the invite, I think.

To kick things off tell me about your writing, how did you get started?  

I’ve always been creative in some way. Whether it was drawing, painting, and even acting, I generally find that I have to be doing something, or have a project somewhere that allows me to unleash that creative energy.  

But, I’ve always had ‘write a book and get it published’ on my bucket list.

About three years ago, I finally said to myself – let’s do this. So I hauled out the laptop and started. It really was that simple. I just sat down and put words on the screen. Now, I didn’t say they were good words, but it was a start.

I’ve read some of your writing and I can tell everyone, they are in fact ‘good’ words.

Hey, thanks.

Of course, so you started writing three years ago, was getting the book finished what drove you?  What drives you what drives you to sit at the keyboard and put word to paper?

Once I start something I generally have to see it through. I say generally because my husband will tell you that I have so many projects all going on at once it’s impossible to believe that they all get completed.

Do they?

They don’t.

But, if something catches me…you know that feeling? It’s where your mind continually drifts back to thoughts about (in this case) the storyline, a plot problem, the way a character is dressed, and what he says…If my brain starts doing that, then I become obsessed and I will absolutely finish the project. And right now, that obsession for me is writing. I also am finding the writing process to be a ridiculous amount of fun. All of it – from writing my way through a plot problem – to creating new creatures and characters – to receiving edits and making the story even better. And let me just say, thank all the gods for editors.

Yes, editors are our friends.  

They really are, they see things we miss and would never see otherwise.

Very true, now changing gears a bit, which writers inspire you?

There’s quite a few. Stephen King, but his earlier works like Carrie, Christine, The Shining. Anne Rice – all of them, oh my goodness. Yes. I’ve also recently stumbled upon Patricia Briggs and I’ve read several of the Mercy Thompson books and quite enjoyed them. J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series, Charlaine Harris and the Sookie Stackhouse books, and many, many years ago Piers Anthony with the Xanth books and the Incarnations of Immortality. Who could forget the never ending Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan? Truly, the list is endless. I’m a voracious reader and have always been. I think my favorite horror story of all time was The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. I don’t think I slept the rest of that year.

(Chuckles) That is an impressive list.

I have read a little bit of everything, but if the book has horns, tails, wings, or magic, chances are I’m going to love it. If I’m a little scared while reading it, that’s a good thing too.

I’m currently looking though for that kind of an author who write LGBTQA+ stories. I’ve read so many excellent books lately by authors who identify in the queer spectrum, but I haven’t yet stumbled upon that one author that I know – regardless of what book or work I pick up of theirs, I’m just absolutely going to love it. So, I keep looking…

You have any suggestions?

Hey now, who’s interviewing who? Anyway a book my boss recommended that I recently read was ‘The Swarm’ by Frank Schatzing it’s freaky and well crafted.  And if you like Zombies (I’m personally mixed about them) but ‘World War Z’ by Max Brooks is excellent.  Otherwise, you and I have a similar list of books.

(Laughter).

Okay, this isn’t a book club. So, give us some insight into your Main Character.  Who are they?  What is their life about?

Dati Amon is my leading man. He’s totally dreamy.  Oh wait…yeah okay so, he’s also a demon from hell. What can I tell you about Dati? He’s pretty old – although he doesn’t look it, that’s because of his great genetic makeup. And when I say old, I mean like three hundred and forty-six years old.

So, about my dating age?  Kidding.

Um… sure. Dati only looks like maybe late thirties, early forties.

Dati is a specific kind of demon. He belongs to the D’Alae species – meaning he has wings, and a tail, but he has ways of hiding these things when he’s out and about. I think that’s what makes my demons a tad more interesting – they look just like any other human – but then, when the guise comes off, or they reveal their true selves, it’s terrifying.

Creepy, but I like the idea. Please continue.

Dati is also enslaved – all of the D’Alae are, and his master is particularly violent and one hell of a masochist. Dati’s job is to find human children who are the result of a demon-human mating, and then ensure that they are ‘turned’.  He hates his job. 

Dati’s master keeps him on a short leash. Because of that, he’s sometimes naïve, but Dati has been around a long time, and so he’s developed a certain amount of elegance and maturity. He’s smart, careful, thoughtful, yet has the propensity for incredible brutality.

And he loves to watch humans. In fact, he really has grown quite soft and kind. He likes humans. He’s quite jealous of them, and their freedom.

When Dati meets Alyx, he is instantly attracted to him (and honestly, Alyx is a redhead, who wouldn’t be instantly turned on by that?) and for the first time ever, Dati has feelings for a human. 

Now that sounds like a set up for a romance story, right? Yeah…I know, but Dati’s story is unfortunately filled with setbacks and turmoil, and as much as he’d like to get to know Alyx, he can’t, and despite a promise Dati has made to keep Alyx out of his hellish world, the exact opposite happens.

In fact, Dati’s actions of trying to keep Alyx out of his life end up setting off a chain of events that leads to the end of the world.

This is no romance novel. This is a story about the end of times.

That sounds really heavy.  It must be one hell (sorry I had to) of a ride?

I hope so.

Wow, so what drew you to write in this genre?

I see magic in everything. There are fairies in my garden, there is a monster in my closet and the boogeyman lives in the basement – and the bastard takes great delight in scaring the shit out of me on a regular basis.  I hate him.

But really, I’m drawn to the fantastical. I thrive best in worlds where magic is possible, but also potentially deadly. I need creatures with wings and horns, beasts that will help you, cuddle with you, or maybe even eat you.

Oddly enough, I want to be enchanted and then scared at the same time. It’s funny though, I can’t watch a horror movie. I keep trying, but then I don’t sleep for days.

Do you mind if we keep going?  Normally I wrap up about now, but this is good stuff.  So, I’d like to keep going.

Sure, I don’t mind.

Great. Where do your ideas come from?

My head. The shadows are long and very deep in there. It’s a creepy place, but beautiful too. There’s something fun about flirting with the darkness, straddling that line between light and dark. I’m quite comfortable there.

I find that music, certain TV shows, movies and pictures will spur my creative juices and make me want to write about mystical beings and terrible curses. I love mythology too. I think we’ve lost a lot of wonder and magic in our lives. Everything is cold and technical and can be explained by modern medicine and science.

To that I say – Bah Humbug.  Let there be a Santa Claus, a tooth fairy, dragons and trolls. I love them all.

I agree.  By the way I love dragons, so you know.  There ya go. Anyway, now for a serious question, what was the hardest thing about writing your book?

A couple of things.

The voice of each character and ensuring I stayed true to them when they were speaking. 

Stories are rich and detailed and they shift in their perception depending on which character’s eyes you’re watching the world unfold through. And so, in Daimonion, the majority of the story is seen through the eyes of Dati.  As I said above, he’s sophisticated, in his own way, and yet, somewhat naive. But part of the story is also told from Jenae’s perspective – she’s a soulless witch, she’s young, broken and a little off. She’s also a teenager. And part of the story is told through Alyx. Alyx is a young man, confident and sexy, mischievous and yet, always optimistic and positive. While writing the book and ensuring as each chapter came to life, the person who was telling the story kept true to their character – that was hard.

I also struggled with keeping all the ties and strings laced together in such a way that the story came to life in a realistic way. I wanted to make sure that events that happened, occurred naturally. I wanted relationships to be developed and be realistic.

It’s one thing to see a person and be instantly attracted to someone. I don’t believe that people look at someone and fall instantly in love. I think love blossoms after you get to know a person. You have to be able to resonate to who someone is, what they believe in before you invest in such an expensive emotion as ‘love’. Same thing for friendship, or trust. Does that make sense?

I think it does and you’re right ‘love’ is a very expensive emotion and I don’t think people are always willing to pay that cost.  Please, though, back to the story.

This story is fantastical, but even though there are demon, beasts, and magic, I wanted it to feel like it all could be real.

Excellent.  I want to shift gears again and talk about something a little lighter. So tell me JP, which famous person (living or dead) would you like to sit down with and lunch?  Why?

Hugh Jackman, because Wolverine. Straight up – he’s my total boy crush. But I’ve also always wanted to have lunch with Whoopi Goldberg. I think we’d laugh ourselves stupid, but she’d also have amazing words of wisdom to impart as well. But regardless of who I have lunch with, if anyone orders beets of any kind, served up in any way, I’m out.

Beets?

I hate beets. Always have. Like from the time I was a baby. Beets went in, and were immediately spit back out.

Note to self, no beets, got it.

It’s silly, and I know this. I’ve tried many times as an adult to eat them. I just can’t.

My belief is that in a former past life I was a victim in a beet famine. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

(Laughs)

Okay, so no beets.  Are there any other specific challenges you’ve come across when writing?  What did you do differently the next time?

This was my first book. I learned so many things. The way we write differs greatly from communications at work, to a technical manual, a love letter or a literary work. You can’t write in the same way for all of these. They have differences, and they have rules. I’m still learning the rules. 

You can’t describe your own eyes unless you’re looking in a mirror. Period. So stop doing it, and yet, I continue to do so. 

Sigh.

I repeat words often. Editing saves me every time from that mistake.

I have a thing for Tautology – saying the same thing but in a different way. That’s hard to stop, I even speak like that.  You know the expression…”Beat a dead horse?” Yeah. I’m like that.

Commas. I hate commas.

Editors are akin to gods and should be treated as such.

What would I do differently next time? Oh boy. Try and learn from my mistakes? I’m a slow learner though.

I think we all share some similar problems.  I know I’m guilty of a lot what you mention.  One last question and it should be easy.  How would you sum up your book in five words?

The Beginning of The End

What a way to end the interview.  JP, thank you so much for being here and indulging in all my questions and some of my silliness.

It was a lot of fun.


More about JP Jackson:

J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night however, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summoning’s in the basement. And apparently imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.

You can find JP here and on Twitter here.  He also has a Goodreads Page here.


More about Book One of the Apocalypse Daimonion (Pre Order here): 

Dati Amon wants to be free from his satyr master and he hates his job—hunting human children who display demon balefire. Every hunt has been successful, except one. A thwarted attempt ended up as a promise to spare the child of a white witch, an indiscretion Dati hopes Master never discovers.

But Master has devilish machinations of his own. He needs human-demon hybrids, the Daimonion, to raise the Dark Lord to the earthly realm. If Master succeeds, he will be immortal and far more powerful.

The child who was spared is now a man, and for the first time in three hundred years, Dati has a reason to escape Master’s chains. To do that, Dati makes some unlikely alliances with an untrained soulless witch, a self-destructive shape shifter, and a deceitful clairvoyant. However, deals with demons rarely go as planned, and the cost is always higher than the original bargain.

Interview with Writer Vince Rockston

Is it time for a new author interview already?  It seems like we just had JB here. This month I’m excited to welcome a British writer now living in Switzerland Vince Rockston to my Scribbles page.

Greetings Vince. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and my readers this month.

Thank you for having me.

To warm things up let’s start with what I hope is an easy question.  When you sit down to write do you aim for a set amount of words or pages?

No. (Chuckles) Funnily enough, I got much more writing done while I was employed full time than now when I’m retired. I think my metabolic rate slowed down considerably after the magic age of 65.

I guess that keeps it more relaxing and enjoyable?

You can say that.

Other then living in a beautiful part of the world I hope to visit some day, what inspires you to get out of bed each day?

I seldom have difficulty getting up. I have a morning routine – physical exercise, ablutions, listen to the news, breakfast, reading and meditating on daily Bible verses, reading my emails, making moves on my online games – before I start the day’s activities, which may or may not be working on my book.

That sounds like a great way to start the day.

I think so.

Lets bounce around, because I’m curious.  What’s your favorite movie and why?

I hardly ever watch movies.

Seriously?

I have great trouble assimilating fast-paced modern films and don’t want to titillate myself with sex scenes nor horrify myself with blood and gore. And – with a few exceptions, such as Narnia and Lord of the Rings – I’m not impressed by most fantasies.

There are a lot of bad movies out there, which is unfortunate.

Yes. However, one film I have watched several times and always enjoy is The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews – rather innocent fun and yet it touches on some deep issues, such as the purpose of a religious life, how much discipline is appropriate when bringing up children, and the moral pressures experienced by those who don’t wish to participate in war, as well as the age-old element of romance. 

I agree, that is an amazing movie.  I watched it all the time when I was younger.

Speaking of strong characters and amazing storytelling. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My WIP Aquila – Can Silvanus escape that god? relates the life of Silvanus, a disturbed young lad who thinks his only hope for happiness is to escape his bitter father by acquiring a boat and leaving his home island of Ilva (Elba) to explore the world. Riches, treachery and romance throw him off track, but his main distraction is an encounter with the old hermit Cerbonius, whose wisdom and ethos challenge him to the core.

Silvanus grapples with the recluse’s ancient texts, discusses fundamental life issues with him, watches how he deals with conflict and learns about natural phenomena. He falls in love with and eventually marries a childhood acquaintance, who also helps him sort out his guilty conscience. His mentor’s dying requests lead to an encounter that challenges Silvanus to the extreme.

That sounds very deep and interesting.

I think it is.

You seem to have a very Zen way about you, so I’m wondering, is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s certainly not a curse. It’s partly a gift and partly hard work and determination. And I think for those who feel the inclination, ability and courage to write it’s a unique opportunity to entertain, challenge or educate others by letting the fantasy and inspiration pour out onto a written page. 

Isn’t that always the hope?

I think so and maybe they can even earn a bit of money at it; probably not much.

That’s the icing on the cake I believe.  Well that is all the time I have today.  Thank you so much for hoping over to my Scribbles page. I really enjoyed our chit-chat.

Thank you for the invite.

Keep us posted on Aquila – Can Silvanus escape that god


More about Vince Rockston

Vince enjoys the beautiful countryside around the little Swiss village where he lives, retired, with his Finnish wife, sharing a house with one son, his Brazilian wife and their Chihuahua. When he has a chance, he loves to go hiking in the mountains. He blogs as Greyowl (bilingual) and his historical fiction book is developing at www.aquilaelba.info. AquilaElba is also on Facebook.

In order to earn a living, Vince started as a computer technician but soon advanced through a series of promotions to become a consultant for networking solutions. After 25 years in IT, a forced career change introduced him to the field of technical editing for a company developing encryption solutions. This turned out to match his character and skills very well, although it’s a long way from writing fiction.

Raising a family of three children, extended by a lively foster daughter and a dog; heavy involvement in a small evangelical church; and multiple business trips around the world – these filled most of Vince’s free time while he was working. Now that his children have flown the nest – though not gone very far – he is thrilled to be able to accompany his two grandchildren one afternoon per week and watch them develop, even though he gets exhausted.

The relative freedom of retirement has allowed Vince to take winter breaks with his wife to warmer climes, recently to Madeira and Tenerife. They enjoy the beautiful scenery, exotic plants and challenging hikes. The sparse historical information available about the indigenous people of the Canary Isles – Guanches – may inspire Vince to work on another historical novel. Who knows

Interview with Writer JB Reynolds

Welcome back to my continuing series of conversations with various authors. This month I’m pleased to welcome a New Zealand writer JB Reynolds to my Scribbles page.

JB welcome. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and my readers this month.

Pleased to be here.

Lets’ dive right in shall we. Once you write your work who do you get it ready? Do you proofread and edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I edited the first couple of stories, but wanted to engage the services of a professional editor with my forthcoming story Square Pegs. I think if you’re serious about indie-publishing it’s a necessary step. You’re just too close to your own work, and you miss things. My editor made some changes, nothing major, but numerous little things, and there were things in there that I would never have considered. I’ve rejected some of her suggestions but have gone with the majority of them. It’s made for a better story.

Having a dedicated editor, for an indie-author seems costly was it?

I thought her chargers were reasonable.  She charges per hour and it took her two and a half hours to edit my story.  I was impressed by how thorough she was.  It certainly made a difference to the quality of my story.

Good to know.

Something we as authors all get asked, so I have to ask it here, is where do your ideas come from?

(Chuckles) Who knows? Just from being alive, I guess. You live life, you meet people, you see things, you hear things, you read things. I think a lot. Much of that thinking is pretty shallow, but my brain is constantly working things over, and when the time is right, usually when I’m alone (which doesn’t happen all that often when you have three young children), an idea sometimes rises up out of the murk, like a swamp monster, and takes shape.

Swamp Monster, I’m going to have to remember that.

Considering you have a few books out there, what do your fans mean to you?

I don’t have so many fans as yet, but I think they’re a big deal. I really appreciate it when someone takes the time out of their day to make the commitment to subscribe to my mailing list, or follow me on Facebook, or add me as a favorite on something. They don’t have to do that, and when they do, it makes all the difference and I’m very thankful. I try to maintain a dialogue with them and show my appreciation. 

Speaking of keeping in touch with fans and building a fan base, did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

I haven’t done a press release or Goodreads book launch. I wanted to try doing some different things for the launch of Square Pegs. My editor suggested I change one of the character names so I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions for names and got a great response and a much improved character name from that. I’m going to do the same with the cover art—do 2 or 3 versions and ask which one people prefer. I want to try and engage my potential audience and try to create a bit of buzz in the lead up to its release.

That’s a really smart idea.  Anytime you can engage your audience is a smart move.

Last question, and this is a fun one.  Tell me what inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Just the thought that if I keep chipping away at this writing thing, little by little, I’ll get better, and there’s no reason why I can’t make it work for me, no reason why I can’t make some money from it.

Thank you JB for taking the time to stop by.  The time always goes so quickly

Thank you for the invite.

Let us know when your next book is released, would love to hear more about it.


More about JB Reynolds

JB Reynolds at home.

JB Reynolds at home.

J.B. Reynolds lives in rural Northland, New Zealand, where he raises children and chickens. He writes humorous short fiction, where tragedy meets comedy and character reigns supreme. His first short story was published while he was a university student, and in between that and a return to serious writing in 2016, he has worked as a graphic designer, landscaper, ski and snowboard technician, librarian, apple picker, and baker of muffins and teacakes.

Nowadays, when not writing, he’s a husband, father, and high school teacher (not necessarily in that order). He enjoys sailing, cycling, and playing music, really loud, when his wife and kids aren’t at home. He has a big garden, where he likes to get his fingernails dirty, and he loves to eat the things that grow in it.

He is currently working on his Crossing The Divide short story series. The stories in the series feature different characters and switch between locations in New Zealand and Australia, but they are all, in a way, coming of age stories and are linked through the theme of relationships. Find all of JB Reynolds books here and here. You can find JB Reynolds on Facebook and on his website.

Interview with Writer Trin Carl

As part of my continuing series of interviews with various writers, this month I welcome to Trin Carl to my Scribbles page.

Trin, let’s jump right into the nitty-gritty. When it comes to your writing do you work from an outline plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? 

I like to see where ideas take me.  I could write a paragraph and see something totally different come out of it, and then I just go with that train of thought vs. my original idea.  I could write pages alone on a new tangent idea that came to me.  My longest writing experience has been 7,000 words in a day.

7,000 Words in one day I bet that wasn’t easy.

No, it wasn’t an easy endeavor. I had to change settings a lot.  You see, I had been participating in Nanowrimo in 2013 and I was writing with a group of writers and we had jumped from Peace Coffee to Royal Grounds to Riverside Cafe (sort of like bar hopping)Each stop, I’d write for twenty minutes to writing prompts.  It was sorta like a marathon to me.

Speaking to your writing do you proofread and edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? 

I’ve only began allowing others to edit my work in the past three years.  Having others edit my work has flourished my interest in writing.  I think it was Hemingway who strongly believed in the importance of peer editing and that having writers in your corner will only help you.

I would agree with that.  The more we can help each the better writers we become.

You mentioned for your writing marathon you changing locations. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of writing in varied environments vs. writing in the same environment every day?

I always write in varied environments and make it a habit of never writing from home.

Really, never writing at home?

I feel home is a place you hang your hat but it’s also filled with distractions.  Right now, in fact, I’m writing from the comforts of work.  I am lucky in that I work in a place where I have time to write, and boy do I take advantage of this.  I wake up sometimes around 4am just to write at work.  Did I mention I’m allowed to sleep at work too? (Laughs to self)

That kind of support is great.  What about writing compliments you received can you list one for us?

One of the best writing comments I’ve gotten is from a reader who said, “I can tell you’ve been a writer for a long time just by reading your work.  You’ve got rhythm.”  One of my most popular poems is called Sippin’ on Some Sizzer just to give you an idea.  It’s the feedback you get from your readers that is pure motivation.  I thank all my fans every day for pushing me along.

Well said.  Fans are amazing.

Sadly, we’re to my last question. Do you have help from other writers in publishing your book?

I have yet to publish my novel.  It’s still in progress but I know a handful of writers from Minnesota who have had their books published on Amazon and in print form.  I meet with them once a week at Dunn Brothers Coffee shop.  They write in all forms of genres including Historical Fiction, Sci Fi/fantasy and literary.  One of my colleagues, Tim Mahoney, has published nine novels. Dead Messenger, a thriller novel based on a Minnesota, 1930’s Barker gang is my favorite.

Sometimes I get comments from the writers in the group like, “I don’t write YA but your work is very appealing.  It has a certain tone.”  Or, they say that my main character reminds them of the MC in Kent Krueger’s, “Ordinary Grace.”  Our group stays late into the night discussing while sippin’ down volumes of coffee.  We often have book signing parties that celebrate our work.

That all sounds great. I wish I had more time to spend with you today.  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to do this interview.

It was fun thanks for having me.

Keep us posted on your work I would love to spotlight you and your novel when you get it published.


More about Trin Carl:

Trin Carl writes YA and Literary fiction.  She enjoys contemporary dance and writing her blog 50schoolsn90days on Blogger.  From Minnesota, Trin enjoys the outdoors and all the seasons, especially the fall as it reminds her of her days teaching and attending school at Metropolitan State University.  She can be contacted on twitter @theglobaldig or on Goodreads.

Interview with Writer Randall Krzak

This is very exciting news that I can’t wait to share with you.  Starting with this post and going for the next several months I’m hosting various authors here on my blog.  These authors are from all over the world and are a cross culture of the wide world of genres.  It should be a lot of fun and I’m hoping you will enjoy it.

I plan on featuring one author per month.  So, lets get started.


Randall, let’s start with the typical question all writers get, what’s your ambition for your writing career?

I suppose like many authors, to try and be successful. Whether that will happen or not is outside of my control, so the best thing I can do is create realistic stories to share with others.

Creating realistic stories takes a lot of work. So, which writers inspire your story telling?

Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, Brad Thor, David L. Golemon, Robert Crais, Jack Du Brul, and Mark Greany, to name the major ones. I still read them, but now I’m paying attention to how they craft their stories and build their stories.

Those are some great writers, and I can see why you’ve picked them. Let’s focus on your writing.  Tell us about your debut novel, ‘The Kurdish Connection’.

‘The Kurdish Connection’, is the first in a four-book series. I took the first chapter of another book I was working on, cut it to 399 words, and submitted it to a monthly competition held by Wildsound Writing and Film Festival Review. My entry, called A Dangerous Occupation, was one of the winning entries in August 2016. It’s read by a professional actor at the following link.

Excellent.  Any other writings you have out there?

Another short story, Postal Man, was recently chosen for the January members’ writing and art section of The Fictional Café. Here’s the link.

You’ve been busy.  Are you working on anything else?  

I have three other novels underway. The first is ‘Dangerous Alliance’, the sequel to ‘The Kurdish Connection’. This one involves the North Koreans and Al-Shahbab, a Somali terrorist group. To counter the alliance is Bedlam Bravo who will try to stop the transfer of oil and weapons, as well as rescue a well-known hostage. The second ongoing book is called ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, and involves a cartel headed by a woman. She makes an unusual alliance with FARC, not realizing ISIS will soon be involved. Working against her are a CIA agent and an Army colonel. The third book, which will take some time to finish, is historical fiction. It begins in 1770 with a tenant farmer and his family. After crop failures, they receive a lifeline and head to America, arriving in time to be caught up with the Boston Tea Party and the beginnings of the Revolutionary War.

That is some amazing stuff you have planned.  Where do your ideas come from?

They come from a variety of places, paying attention to the news and even other writers. ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, mentioned above, is based on three sentences someone sent me to see what I could do with them. I have two other novels planned that are based on suggestions given to me but I need to complete the others before working on these.

With all these projects you have going, how do you keep them straight? Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?

I prefer to use an outline. I begin with a draft synopsis so I have an idea where I’m starting and where I want to go. The initial chapters are identified but things change as the stories unfold, which can change the number and order of my chapters.

Randall this has been a lot of fun. I look forward to hearing more about your upcoming novels. Thank you for taking the time to answers my questions and be my first author interview.


Writer Randall Krzak relaxing at home.

Writer Randall Krzak relaxing at home.

More about Randall Krzak:

Not wanting to spend his retirement at a golf club Randall, with the suggestion of a long time friend, decided the best way to stay out from under his wife, Sylvia’s feet was to put his writing skills to use.  Randall’s past careers had him working overseas in various countries giving him a rich world of experiences and places to pull from.  His debut thriller ‘The Kurdish Connection’ is now available on Amazon click here . To learn more about Randall check out his website here.