Andrew Joyce Presents…

So, I was sitting around this morning wondering what to post for this week’s blog. Then the doorbell rings and when I open the door a gentleman with a book is standing there.

“Mind if I take over your blog today?” he asked.

I look at him skeptically. I mean, I don’t just let anybody waltz in and post whatever they please.

“What’s in it for me?” I shoo right back. 

He shrugged. “Well, you don’t have to write anything today. I have it all ready to go.”

Well, what else could I do? I had no counter offer. Not that morning. Maybe tomorrow I’ll think of something…

————-

Andrew Joyce My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Stephen has been kind enough to allow me a little space on his blog to promote my new book, MOLLY LEE. The story is a female-driven account of a young naive girl’s journey into an independent, strong woman and all the trouble she gets into along the way.

Now you may possibly be asking yourself, What is a guy doing writing in a woman’s voice? And that’s a good question. I can only say that I did not start out to write about Molly; she just came to me one day and asked that I tell her story.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status on Amazon twice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.

Molly-Lee-800 Cover reveal and Promotional (1)This is the description from MOLLY LEE:

Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

As I had wondered whatever became of Huck and Tom, I also wondered what Molly did when she found Huck gone.

I know this has been a long-winded set up, but I felt I had to tell the backstory. Now I can move on and tell you about Molly.

As stated earlier, Molly starts out as a naive young girl. Over time she develops into a strong, independent woman. The change is gradual. Her strengths come from the adversities she encounters along the road that is her life.

With each setback, Molly follows that first rule she set against self-pity and simply moves on to make the best of whatever life throws her way. From working as a whore to owning a saloon, from going to prison to running a ranch, Molly plays to win with the cards she’s dealt. But she always keeps her humanity. She will kill to defend herself, and she has no problem killing to protect the weak and preyed upon. However, when a band of Indians (for instance) have been run off their land and have nowhere else to go, Molly allows them to live on her ranch, and in time they become extended family.

This is from a review on Amazon:

A young female in nineteenth-century rural America would have needed courage, fortitude, and firm resolve to thrive in the best of circumstances. Molly Lee possesses all of these, along with an iron will and an inherent ability to read people accurately and respond accordingly.

I reckon that about sums up Molly.

I would like to say that I wrote MOLLY LEE in one sitting and everything in it is my pure genius. But that would be a lie. I have three editors (two women and one guy). They kept me honest with regard to Molly. When I made her a little too hard, they would point out that she had to be softer or show more emotion in a particular scene.

I set out to write a book where every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I wanted the reader to be forced to turn to the next chapter. And I pretty much accomplished that, but I also wrote a few chapters where Molly and my readers could catch their collective breath.

One last thing: Everything in MOLLY LEE is historically correct from the languages of the Indians to the descriptions of the way people dressed, spoke, and lived. I spend as much time on research as I do in writing my stories. Sometimes more.

It looks as though I’ve used up my allotted word count (self-imposed), so I reckon I’ll ride off into the sunset and rustle up a little vodka and cranberry juice (with extra lime).

It’s been a pleasure,

Andrew Joyce

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Around The Globe With C. Evenfall

WCMx-FrontCover-v06-Final-RF-25.Mar.15This morning, I pick this week’s featured author who gives me simple instructions. “Interview me while we’re enjoying a campfire.”

So, I set the controls for a place I haven’t visited in many years, Lake Keomah, a few miles from Oskaloosa, Iowa. I used to go out there on summer (and sometimes winter) nights, build a campfire, listen to an audio book, and enjoy being outside.

With Ms. Evenfall’s assistance, we’re soon sitting next to a crackling fire, adding wood chunks whenever we feel like it.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

My name is C. Evenfall and I am a collector of tales passed down for generations.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people would be surprised to know that I believe in ghosts!

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?

I loved books so much my entire life, I think that I always knew that I wanted to write.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

I would love to have dinner with Anne Rice! Her ability to humanize the vampire without making him the good guy was brilliant!

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

The engrossing suspense would pull you in so deeply that you would completely forget the severity the circumstance or your surroundings.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

I always start with a very rough synopsis.

When I know “what” will happen and in “what” order I begin work on my characters. Sometimes I will have several notebook pages about one character. Once the “people” have become real personalities to me, the story unfolds.

I do use the internet and other sources to research certain historical facts about my setting. Because I work full time running a small business, it is difficult for me to make a writing schedule, so I keep a notebook with me all the time. When I get ideas, I jot them down because I think about the story constantly. This helps me to maximize my productivity when I do sit down to write.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

I think that methods vary from writer to writer. I think the most important thing anyone can do is to write down every thought and never beat yourself up when the ideas are not flowing. We are more creative some days than others.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Some of my best ideas started out completely different than the finished project. . .my philosophy is never give up and never be afraid to rewrite your story!

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I am currently working on my next novel. It will be historical fiction with the paranormal suspense element and I hope to release it in the spring of 2016.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

I invite folks to find me on Twitter @CEvenfall2

And the following links:

Author’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CEvenfall

Author’s Blog: http://cevenfall.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.-Evenfall/e/B00MSV6YT0

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8508982.C_Evenfall

BAA Author’s Page: http://booksauthorsandartists.com/authors/c-evenfall/

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Around the Globe With Michael J. Bowler

Spinner Meme (1)Near the middle of August, the weather turns hot. So, I’m particularly thankful to this week’s featured author that he wants to have our interview while walking on some Colorado mountain trails. Cool air, scenery and green and rocks and maybe we’ll catch site of some wildlife…as long as it’s not a cougar. Or a bear. Or a wolf. Or a rattle snake. In fact, let’s not encounter any wildlife and just talk about his latest book. And don’t forget about the excerpt following the interview.

1.Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I am definitely not the most fascinating person in Los Angeles, but probably one of the weirdest and most straight up. In a city known for so much artificiality, mainly due to the entertainment business, I am the real deal. I don’t lie, I’m a passionate advocate for children and get personally involved with issues I see that demean kids, threaten them, or set out to corrupt them. I’m an activist for a better world. Unlike most adults who become jaded, I still see the world for what it can be and strive to make it so. Like Gandhi said, I strive to be the change I want to see. I’m a singularity in many of these ways, at least according to lots of people I’ve met along the way. I march to my own drumbeat and don’t let anyone sidetrack me from my goals.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I haven’t cut my hair since 1992. It’s not falling out, but also hasn’t grown much past my shoulders. It should be on the floor by now. LOL Weird.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as deep sea diver?

Growing up I wanted to be an astronaut, a teacher, and a writer. I always wrote stories and made up stories in my mind for as far back as I can remember. The astronaut dream died a painful death when I discovered the complex math skills that were needed, and the fact that, because I was born hard of hearing, I was ineligible even if I’d been a math whiz. So I became a teacher because I loved kids and wanted to pay forward what some great teachers had given to me. The writing always remained a dream and I’m finally fulfilling it.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

Mary Shelley. Frankenstein is such an amazing, spot on look at the dark side of human nature and is still so relevant to us today, that I’d love to sit down and ask how an eighteen year old was so wise before her time to have written something for the ages.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

My books have great characters, very real and human with qualities everyone can relate to, even while hung over. LOL The plots are complex and twisty, there’s action, humor, pathos, and unforgettable character interplay. My books are the perfect companions because a reader will feel every emotion possible within their pages.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

I usually get a story idea first, like a kind of hook that might be used to pitch a movie script. “King Arthur appears in Los Angeles and recruits cast-off children for his new Round Table of knights” would be an example. Or “what if there was a boy in a wheelchair who could heal everyone but himself?” I take the “hook” and think about what characters and situations are needed to tell the story effectively. My characters, and often events or life experiences, are always based on real people because that keeps me grounded in making my story and the people who inhabit it as genuine as possible. I can’t afford to travel, so if parts of my story are set in places I haven’t been, I use Google and the Internet to learn about them and see how they look so I can accurately describe them. I usually write full time when I’m drafting a novel, and then I revise obsessively. I’m almost OCD with my tinkering. I try not to read my work after publication because I always find things I want to change. LOL

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Decide how you want your story to end, or how you’d like whatever character you’re thinking of to end up. If you have an idea of the end game, getting there becomes much easier.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Because I have spent most of my adult life around children and teens, my philosophy is two-fold: live by example, and do what’s right, not what’s easy. By living these ideals, I feel I’m contributing to a better world down the line if kids do the same and pass it on.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I’m outlining two sequels to Spinner that will follow through on and conclude the overall story arc begun in the first book. I’m also working on a standalone installment of my other series and aiming it at the middle grade market.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

http://www.michaeljbowler.com

FB: michaeljbowlerauthor

Twitter: BradleyWallaceM

https://instagram.com/stuntshark/

Blog: sirlancesays.wordpress.com

tumblr:http://michaeljbowler.tumblr.com/

Pinterest:https://www.pinterest.com/michaelbowler/

Freado:http://www.freado.com/book/20977/spinner

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938109.Michael_J_Bowler

Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Michael-J.-Bowler/e/B0075ML4M4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?

SPINNER

Alex felt uneasy as he lay in his bed and listened to the wind outside. It had been an okay day at school – he’d only been called “Roller Boy” twice, which was almost a world record. After school, he’d kicked it at Roy’s house and they cranked some Hawthorne Heights tunes and chilled. Even Jane hadn’t bitched at him. So why can’t I sleep? He didn’t know the answer. His eyes returned to the dancing shadows that flitted across his floor from the window. His drapes were closed, but the wind whistled through the trees, and the shadows mesmerized him. The patterns of light and dark pulled on his eyelids, dragging him slowly under. A dream loomed at the edges of his consciousness. One of those dreams. Sleep overcame him, and the dream began….

Ms. Ashley trudged down a flight of stairs from her second floor apartment to street level, carrying several overflowing bags of trash. The traffic sounds were omnipresent, but otherwise the night was calm and clear.

A slight breeze ruffled her long brown hair as she slunk quickly to the rear of the complex. Rounding the building, she passed alongside a sloping hill of ivy-covered ground toward the row of trashcans in the far corner.

Looking chilled and unsettled, Ms. Ashley lifted one lid and struggled to get all her bags in without spilling anything.

A rustling noise startled her and she whipped her head around to the left.

The ivy-covered hill ascended upward into darkness, but there was no movement. Only a creepy silence.

She quickly tossed her bags into the can and dropped the lid back in place with a hollow clang.

Suddenly, a large cat dropped onto the top of the can from somewhere above. She uttered a startled cry and leaped back a few steps.

The cat meowed and she chuckled, extending one slightly trembling hand. The animal snuggled against it, wanting to be stroked. She ran her fingers through the fur around the cat’s neck and under its chin.

More rustling leaves drew her attention to the ivy.

The darkness in this corner was deep and penetrating, making the vines and leaves snaking their way up the slope barely visible. Another cat materialized from beneath the thick cover of ivy. Then another. And another.

In seconds, the hillside crackled and seethed with cats of all shapes and sizes. Their glowing eyes shone like eerie beacons in the night. The cat beneath Ms. Ashley’s fingers hissed and swiped its claws at her, raking the top of her hand and drawing copious amounts of blood.

Startled, she cried out and yanked her hand back, gazing in shock at the dark liquid gushing forth and spilling onto the concrete at her feet.

Terror etched her face.

She cautiously backed away.

The cats crouched on the hillside, poised and threatening.

The huge one she’d been petting wailed into the night, and then they were on her, leaping and clawing at her face and hair. Hundreds of cats streamed down the hillside and flung themselves at her while the big one sat and watched like a general commanding his troops.

Ms. Ashley screamed, but loud traffic sounds drowned out her cries. Flailing wildly, she turned and stumbled along the side of the building toward the street, desperately crying out for help.

Claws dug into her back and raked across her neck.

Teeth sunk into her arm.

She shrieked in agony as they yanked out chunks of her hair and raked at her legs, shredding her sweat pants and digging viciously into her soft flesh.

Blood spilled from everywhere on her body.

The street loomed just ahead. She tossed one cat off in a frantic attempt to save herself, only to have three more replace it. She clearly didn’t have much time before she’d topple beneath a tidal wave of claws and fur.

A large truck roared along Lincoln Boulevard as Ms. Ashley staggered toward the curb. The headlights were bright and blinding. The biggest cat now flew from the retaining wall at her face and gouged a chunk of flesh out of her cheek, exposing the bone. She wailed in agony.

Her knees buckled, but Ms. Ashley managed to stay on her feet while stumbling headlong into the street at a frantic pace.

Suddenly aware that the truck was almost on her, she clutched at the nearest light post in desperation. One bloodied hand caught the post and slowed her momentum as the cats ceased their brutal attack. She gesticulated frantically with her free hand, hoping to attract the attention of the driver. With her urgent gaze fixed on the truck, she didn’t see the figure in black leap from behind the retaining wall right at her.

Strong hands pressed hard into her back and propelled her forward.

The truck mowed her down in a splatter of blood and gore, flinging her broken body to the pavement and then crushing it beneath massive tires.

As the truck screeched to an ear-piercing halt near the corner, the figure in black melted into the darkness. Several cats sniffed the dead woman’s remains before they, too, disappeared into the shadows. The first cat was the last to depart, watching as the horrified driver jumped from the truck cab and pelted toward Ms. Ashley’s broken body.

The cat seemed to grin before vanishing into the night….

Alex screamed and bolted upright in bed, sweating profusely, his young face etched with horror, hair plastered to his sweat-sheened forehead. Heart thumping with urgent terror, he scanned his darkened room. The door leading outside was closed, but the ominous shadows still crept through the window. His desk was messy as usual, and the door to his bathroom stood ajar, but he’d left it that way. Everything looked like it had before he fell asleep.

Dropping onto his pillow, Alex fought to control his breathing and calm his pounding heart. A dream. That’s all it had been. He’d known one was coming, and he’d been right. God, he hated those dreams! Poor Ms. Ashley. He lay there, sweat making his t-shirt cling uncomfortably to his chest as his heart rate slowly drew down. Could this dream be like the one about his parents? He hadn’t had one like that in years. It seemed so real!

He lay in bed worrying about the morning, and what he’d find when he got to school, even though there was nothing he could do to change anything.

Gradually, he calmed down; the tree branches outside tapping against the house lulled him to sleep. The last image to assail him before he went under was that ugly-ass cat grinning at him before running off into the dark.

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Around the Globe with Annemarie Musawale

MI photos 008Hey, what’s this? A double dose of authors this morning. What could be better?

I’m off to Jamaica where the sand is warm and white, the sea is blue, and my interviewee is behind the bar, in a bikini, serving drinks. I’m not sure what she gave me, but it’s one of those with the little umbrella sticking out the top. It’s actually pretty good. She takes time to serve the few other customers, but the main focus is our little chat.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I’m a single mom of the most well behaved child I ever had the fortune to meet (sorry nieces and nephews) and I’m also the most eclectic broad minded human being who ever lived. I see people; in a ‘Jack Dawson’ type of way and I really pay attention when I interact. I know for a fact that this is a rare quality because I haven’t yet met anyone who equals me in this regard. I’m a little bonkers, but then, all the best people are, and I can live in my head so much its like a city of its own in there…full of stories.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

People would not be surprised to learn anything about me I don’t think because I’m an open book. What I’ve observed people being surprised at which I don’t know why it is; is how well I can cook. Maybe I look like a take out kinda girl (which I am – I don’t discriminate when it comes to good food) but I love to eat and so I love to cook.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as a professional mountain climber?

Well, you say that like it was a decision I took one day. It wasn’t. However being a mountain climber was never on the cards considering how terrified I am of heights. Writing is just something I’ve always done; the stories have always flowed. You’d do better to ask, why did you decide to publish? And the answer to that is that I wrote a story which I was so proud of; I wanted everyone to read it.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

I’d really love to have dinner with Diana Gabaldon because she’s so sassy and naughty yet nurturing and generous with her advice and knowledge. She’s also a scientist like me, she published her first book at around forty, like me…basically we have a lot in common…except she’s a bestselling author and I’m not. I’d also like to sit down with J.K Rowling. She’s so unafraid to speak her mind and the way she wove the whole Harry Potter thing together so seamlessly and brilliantly I just…bow down to her.

Thoughts From Mya5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

Well for one thing, it’d give you perspective on just how much worse things can get; they’d also hopefully make you laugh and cry and forget that you’re in a world of hurt.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

Well first I day dream and my characters begin to form themselves in my mind, take on character; by the time I put them down on paper, they have their own ideas on where they want to go and what they want to say. So I just sit back and let them do their thing. After that, I send them off to a beta who does the re-read and the correcting, makes suggestions on how to make it better. I might read through it again to just enjoy the story. Sometimes, something occurs to me to make the story better. Sometimes I think its just perfect the way it is. Then I put it up on site to be critiqued and then take the most commonly occurring suggestions for change and implement them. After that its up to the reader.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

My advice would be to start. Sit down in front of your computer or paper or recorder and begin to tell the story. Everything else will follow from that.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Life is Short; Do it Now.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I’m writing about three stories at a time at any one time. There is no way that I’m stopping. Expect a sequel.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

I’m on about.me (Annemarie Musawale), Facebook (Annemarie Musawale), twitter (@amusawale), Instagram (fictionistah), tumblr (coincidenceiscancelled), blogger.com (Child Of Destiny The Series), word press (Thoughts from Supernatural), hub pages and ezine articles.

I’m a prolific writer, eclectic in my tastes and I have opinions. Book wise my main modes of communication are my Author page on Facebook and my book diary on blogger.

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Around the Globe With K.m. Randall

KM Randall Author PhotoI’m off to Maui, baby! And what better author to share the beach, the sand, the sun, the breeze and a drink with, than K.M. Randal.

I could just relax on the beach chair for hours, but when my companion coughs, I remember that I have a job to do, so better get to it.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I’m author KM Randall, also known as Katrina, Trina, Mommy, and Sweetie in various circles. I’m a wife and mom of one energetic little boy and a spazzy goldendoodle. I feel frazzled most of the time bouncing between writing and freelance projects and epic castle battles with my four-year-old.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was once passionate about acting and pursued drama as my major my first year in college. I had an inspiring professor who’d had some luck in Hollywood back in the 70s, and his blunt lectures and impassioned speeches made me eventually realize that my own interests really were pointing me in a different direction: writing, of course.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?

Well, I don’t sing very well … so there’s that. I also have always loved reading and writing. I started off writing stories and poems when I was six years old. My love of writing just continued to grow through the years until it was inevitable that I would one day finally finish writing a full book. And yay me, I did!

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

I would love to sit down with Bill Bryson and talk about his adventures and observations on life (I’m sure he’s hilarious in person too), Alice Hoffman, Tanya Huff, Neil Gaiman, and Madeleine L’Engle, because they’re some of my favorite authors and to talk writing, fantasy, and magic would be an amazing dream come true. I would love to have a deep philosophical discussion with Annie Dillard about nature and God. As a kid, I was a humongous fan of Christopher Pike (Kevin Christopher McFadden) YA novels, and I’d like to sit down with him as well because I’m fairly certain he’s a fascinating man. And of course, I don’t think I need to say why I’d also quite enjoy sharing dinner with JK Rowling.

the_reapers_daughterebook25. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

They’ll whisk you away into another place where magic and mythology exist side-by-side the mundane. You’ll forget all about your layover and fall into a different world and reality.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

While I definitely have the majority of the plot figured out before beginning writing, the process is very organic for me. I could have thought one event was going to happen a certain way and then realize while I’m writing that my characters are taking me in a different direction. So the outline sometimes goes out the window and becomes something new. I do a lot of Googling if I need to find something, or for example, I bought a translation of the Book of the Dead while writing Reaper’s to reference since the book plays an element in the story. I write fantasy and paranormal, so I can make up most things or twist old themes. I usually write my books at night as I’m a busy mom and I’m also a freelance writer and editor. I’ve never rewritten a whole book, but I usually write it all the way through and then go back for a second draft, which is majorly intense editing and cutting and creating. The third time around it depends on how much I think still needs to be changed. Once my editor goes through it, then there’s a whole new round of changes to be made, so the editing is intense.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

I’d say just start writing. The only way you’ll get a story written is by the act of doing so, and then you’ll figure out your own process.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Anything is possible, in reality and in fiction.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I’m working on Shattered World, the second book in the Dreamer Saga trilogy. I’m also currently releasing the prequel to the Dreamer Saga on Wattpad, called Fairytale Lost. After that, back to The Reaper’s Daughter series with the second book, tentatively called Song of the Scythe. On the side, I’m also working on a standalone Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel I’m for the moment calling Sea Shifter.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

http://www.kmrandallauthor.com

@KM_Randall

https://www.facebook.com/authorKMRandall

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8125589.K_M_Randall

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Around The Globe With Larry Weiner

On this cool morning (but expecting hot temps later), I enter the transporter and zoom off to pick up this week’s author. Unfortunately, I forgot to stock the special pills for seasickness. The last time I was out on the ocean, was in ’88 off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. I did all right (at least I didn’t hang over the side throwing up) but I felt a little woozy.

So, I hope I’ll do okay as Mr. Weiner has chosen to do this interview on a sailing ship. Carved wood, hanging lamps, lead glass. We’re across a table illuminated by candles, maps and navigation tools strewn across the surface. (Which latter two items will help us determine our location). Behind him is his own private bathroom…

Uh, excuse me for just a minute, I may have to step outside for just a moment before we begin the interview…

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I’m just this guy who writes, who used to be an advertising art director and before that, a screenwriter who drove all over LA trying to sell scripts. I’ve lived on a moderately-sized island for 18 years which means you get to know pretty much everybody. I’m also that guy on Facebook who posts weird things and tries not to offend too many people. I’m recognized from FB as “that guy on Facebook.” Someday it’ll be that guy wrote that book.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

My deep belief in Satan. Kidding (mostly). I’d have to say that I’m thin skinned. I get hurt easily even though I come across as this boisterous loudmouth. An introvert when there’s no microphone around.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?

I WANTED TO BE A ROCK STAR! I play bass and drums and was in a number of bands that played around the LA area back in the 80’s. Turns out I couldn’t keep up with all the drug abuse. I started writing in junior high and was (and still am) a bookworm and internet worm (so many sites to read!). I got into advertising because of the way you could create these little worlds for a product or service. Even when I was in charge of the art, I always had headlines to pass off to my copywriting partners.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

Living or dead? Hunter S Thompson because crazy. Walt Whitman because of his joyous spirit. Kurt Vonnegut for his satirical bent on life. Carl Hiaasen because he called me by name during a skype chat session and I love his books – they come out like clockwork every year and I tear through them in one sitting.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

Let’s go with the airport layover because then you could go to the bar, order a whiskey and sit in a corner and read, which is how my books should be read. My books have velocity. The plots move quickly and the characters are reactive. My prose is fairly simple and there’s tons of dialogue, which is a quick read. A rum drink works too.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

Can I skip this question and talk about how much I want a Rickenbacker 4003 bass? No? Fine. Given that I write satire (or sometimes funny ironically) I tend to look at things that would be interesting to skewer. I’m a big fan of skewering. With the island trilogy, the plot was fairly simple – getting double-crossed by zombies, then vampires and finally aliens. As with all double-cross situations the protagonist has to get revenge or at least right the boat that got rocked. So plot was a big part of these three books.

As for all the rest: Characters are either a projection of who I wish I was or someone with a certain quality I admire – mix and pour. I do a lot of research, which I love, which many times leads to story lines and plot development. God bless Wikipedia. I have a 1k word per day min. It can happen any time of the day – but no less than 1k. I agree with Stephen King that the first draft should take a season – 3 months. I rewrite the previous day’s work and then it gets edited and then rewritten and then I drink whiskey.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

I was hoping you’d tell me. Often if I think I have the spark of an idea or a character in mind, I’ll write it out – a paragraph, a page, some dialogue and see if it has the tone I’m looking for. It’s like finding the right music for the mood.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

I subscribe to Walt Whitman: If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.”

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

I’m working on a novel that has no undead of any kind in it – yet. It’s about a small town and a 4th of July parade that goes horribly wrong and a journalist returning home to cover it and make peace with the many people he burned. There’s also an angry dentist, a guy with tranquilizer darts and a blow gun, and a dog named Russell Crowe. I’m still in the gestation period.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

Glad you asked:

www.larryweinerwrites.com

https://www.facebook.com/larrynweiner

@LarryNWeiner

https://www.pinterest.com/larrywnr2/larry-weiner-and-his-random-stuff/

https://instagram.com/larrynw/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7256424.Larry_Weiner

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Discussing The Devil’s Nightmare

This week, I vacate the coveted blogger’s chair to this week’s guest author…only because he owns a Corvette. Oh, right, he’s also written a scary novel, from which an excerpt follows. You can also check out my take on the book at http://www.braytonsbookbuzz.wordpress.com.

Hmm, if he’d allow me a spin around the block in his care, or maybe he’d let me cruise downtown…

Devil’s Nightmare: Behind the Scenes

Thank you for allowing me to take over your corner of cyberspace for a day, Stephen. My name is Robert “Sharky” Pruneda, author of the Devil’s Nightmare series, and one of many hooligans represented by Booktrope’s Forsaken horror imprint. On this stop of my blog tour, I’d like to give readers a special behind-the-scenes look of my supernatural occult horror novel. Afterwards, I’ll give you an opportunity to win some prizes. We’ll start with an incident that gave me the idea for the first book in the series.

Devil’s Nightmare very loosely based on actual events.English_ouija_board (Public Domain - WikiCommons)

I can’t remember my exact age, but when I was somewhere between ten and twelve years old, my sister introduced me to a parlor game that supposedly would allow us to speak with the dead. The game had a planchette and a board with alphabet and numbers painted on it, along with four complete words: Yes, No, Hello and Goodbye. I knew what a Ouija board was (and I had seen a movie about it), but I had never played with one before. It seemed like innocent fun . . . until I started using it by myself. Apparently, you’re not supposed to do that. Meh, I didn’t care. It was just a game, right?

I don’t have a story about ghosts throwing me across the room or demons possessing me. None of that happened, but aside from experiencing horrific nightmares and anxiety attacks, what really terrified me was an incident that happened at approximately 3 a.m. in my bedroom. I woke up feeling an intense amount of pressure against my chest, and I could not breathe. It was then that I noticed something hovering above me, just inches from my face. Fear paralyzed my body when a pair of demonic eyes appeared within the silhouette. I wanted to scream, but the pressure on my chest somehow left me completely mute. To this day, I have never been so terrified about anything in my life. Finally, my lungs filled with air and I let out a hysterical cry for my parents. The apparition disappeared as soon as Mom and Dad rushed into my bedroom and turned on the lights. I burned the Ouija board in the fireplace the next day and haven’t played with one since.

Devil's Nightmare (Cemetery-Eyes No Title)

Scientific explanation or demonic encounter?

That incident in my bedroom in Austin, Texas was probably nothing more than a common phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. I’ve also had it happen to me as an adult. Basically, you wake up and are unable to move, speak, or react. It’s almost like you’re somewhere between sleep and waking up. Your brain and body haven’t quite synched up together. The demon I saw was likely a hallucination from a waking dream.

While science can explain what happened to me that night, it didn’t make it any less frightening for me as a kid. But what if it was real? What if had broken some sacred spiritual rule and inadvertently summoned a demon? What if there was an ancient curse involved? While I only loosely based Devil’s Nightmare on my childhood experience with the Ouija board, it still gave me the heebie-jeebies when I thought about it while writing the 360-page novel.

The “Bat Mobile” in Devil’s Nightmare.

If you already follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you probably know that I love American muscle cars and own a 1981 Corvette, which my friends and I like to call “The Bat Mobile.” One little Easter egg in the novel refers to a near-death experience that happened to me while driving my Corvette. As I accelerated onto the highway during rush hour, my transmission broke. I had to quickly maneuver off the highway and onto the grass (it doesn’t have an emergency lane) in order to avoid an 18-wheeler slamming into the back of me. That experience gave me ideas for a couple of scenes in Devil’s Nightmare . . . but this is a horror novel, so of course I had to change things up a bit.

The Bat Mobile (and Batman)

A friend of mine sent me this edited pic of my Corvette as a joke.

Cameo Appearance in Devil’s Nightmare

At the beginning of Devil’s Nightmare, someone or something chases eleven-year-old Cody Sumner out of a cemetery. When he gets home, his mother and stepfather rush into the bedroom to find their son crying underneath his window. Tony Scoletti, Cody’s stepfather, is also a character in my debut novel Pursuit of a Dream¸ which I self-published in 2004. In that novel, he’s an unemployed alcoholic jerk who verbally and physically abuses his wife and stepson. I think you can probably figure out the fate of Tony Scoletti in a horror novel. Had he known that nearly ten years later he’d end up in a horror novel, he might have behaved. Too late.

If you’ve read Devil’s Nightmare and Pursuit of a Dream, I you might have caught the other subtle tie-in reference when Detective Sanders first questions Cody Sumner at the hospital. This is something I like to sneak in with my novels. Stephen King inspired me to include “Easter eggs” in my novels by his cameo appearances in movies based on his novels.

Devil’s Nightmare Giveaway

I hope you enjoyed my behind-the-scenes look at Devil’s Nightmare. I love chatting with readers, so please leave me a comment on this page or on social media. If you’d like a chance to win one of the prizes I’m giving away, including a signed copy of Devil’s Nightmare and other goodies, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest below. Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Devil's Nightmare (Forsaken eBook)

The Devil’s Nightmare

CHAPTER ONE

Sole Survivor

I arrived at the crime scene at seven-thirty on Monday morning and parked my black ’81 Corvette Stingray behind a police car that had the left rear door hanging open. A young boy with sandy blond hair sat in the back, staring at the seat in front of him. Emergency vehicles packed the street in front of the house. Police officers, crime scene investigators, and paramedics performed their jobs while reporters yelled out questions to anyone within earshot. A mob of reporters barked a barrage of questions at me, but I ignored them and ducked under the police tape, making my way to the front porch. A bloodstained curtain hung out of a broken window to the right of the front entrance. The shattered bay window to left of the entrance had pieces of the frame bent towards the interior of the house. The highest-ranking officer of the Austin Police Department, and an old friend of mine of many years, exited the home just as I stepped onto the front porch. I shook his hand. “So, what’ve we got here, Chief?” “It’s bad, Aaron. Tenemos dos víctimas.” Chief David Hernandez spoke perfect English, and without much of an accent, but that didn’t stop him from throwing in a little bit of Spanish for my benefit. It was David’s not-so-subtle way of trying to mold me into a bilingual detective, which of course is useful in Texas. I still couldn’t speak the language, but, thanks to David, I could at least understand it. “So, who are our two vics?” “Carol and Tony Scoletti. Whoever killed them must have been really pissed.” “Yeah, that’s usually the case” I bobbed my head in agreement. Murderers do tend to have slight anger issues. “So, we have a double-homicide. Doesn’t happen here much, but what’s so unusual?” “You haven’t seen the bodies… or what’s left of them, that is.” “Okay.” I lowered my brow. “Now you have my attention. Just what exactly are we dealing with?” “Follow me,” he said, and led me to the living room. The body of a decapitated Caucasian woman lay mangled on top of a shattered glass coffee table. Her left arm hung from her shoulder, attached only by tendons. Intestines spilled onto the floor from her torn stomach. She also had three large gashes across her breasts and several more on her bare legs. “Jesus! You weren’t kidding. What the hell did this guy come at her with, a chainsaw?” “You haven’t seen anything yet,” Chief Hernandez answered, and then headed down the hallway towards the bedrooms. I followed him inside the first bedroom. Blood and gore painted the walls and ceiling. Only the torso of what used to be a body lay in the middle of the room in a pool of blood, guts and ripped flesh. Pieces of bloody flesh hung from the ceiling fan. There was a severed arm on a blood-soaked pillow on the bed and a detached leg protruding out from underneath it. Where was the rest of the body? “This is the kid’s bedroom,” he said. “He’s lucky to be alive. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but why spare him?” I noticed muddy footprints mixed in blood underneath the shattered window. “Come on, Aaron. You don’t really think anyone would do this to a kid, do you?” No, I didn’t, but you could never know for sure. Some people have absolutely no conscience whatsoever. The kid was lucky. After examining the remains of a man’s body, I asked, “That kid in the squad car. Has he said anything?” “Nada. Not a word since we arrived.” “I’ll go to talk to him. See if I can get him to open up.” I tapped the shoulder of the crime scene investigator taking photos of the body. “You have a swab kit I can borrow?” “Yeah, sure.” The young CSI set her camera down and retrieved the items from her crime scene kit. “Need me to come with?” “Nah, that’s okay. I got it.” My heart sank from the boy’s blank expression. Dry blood splatter peppered his cheeks and forehead. The blood covering his clothes told me he’d had a front seat view of what had happened. A seat that would have also given him a clear view of the perpetrator. “What’s his name?” I asked the police officer in charge of babysitting the boy, while a bunch of strangers with badges, guns, and funny-looking suits, filtered in and out of his home. “Cody Sumner,” the officer answered. “I can’t imagine what he’s going through.” She shook her head and added, “Poor baby.” I knelt down next to Cody and introduced myself. “Hi, Cody. My name is Detective Aaron Sanders, with the Austin Police Department. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” Cody didn’t acknowledge my presence. “Are you hurt anywhere?” Nothing. He just stared ahead. “Can I see your hands?” That time he gave me a subtle shrug. I put on a pair of latex gloves and tenderly turned his hands over. Dried blood covered his palms. I sighed and placed the boy’s hands back on his lap. I pulled a buccal swab from the kit that I borrowed from the crime scene investigator. “I need to get some samples off your clothing and hands. It’s not going to hurt though. Can you give me a little nod if that’s okay?” Cody faced me, his blue eyes watering, and said, “They’re dead.” “I’m sorry.” I placed my hand on the back seat. “I promise we’ll find and punish the person who did this, Cody, but we need your help. Can you tell me what happened?” Cody focused on the back seat again. His crying came in constricted whimpers and sniffling. “That’s okay.” I squeezed the boy’s shoulder. “We’ll talk later.” “Aaron!” Chief Hernandez yelled from the porch, gesturing me toward him. I met him halfway on the front lawn. “What is it?” “We have another crime scene.” “Another one?” “Memorial Heights Cemetery. Busy day for the APD, and it’s about to get even busier for you, amigo.” “Can we get Anderson or—” “No, I want you on this. You should head over there right away.” “Why? What’s so special about this one?” “The grounds crew found three bodies. Two of them with their heads missing.” He rubbed his hand over his face and took a breath. “What?” Finding dead bodies at a cemetery was normal enough, but they tend to arrive in caskets. And they typically have their heads attached. I asked again, “What?” “They’re kids, Aaron. Niños!” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. “What the hell is going on here?” “I don’t know, pero we have one sick cabrón targeting children now. I need you to head over to the cemetery. I’ll call the FBI. This is way over our heads.” “Whoa, wait a minute.” I hated dealing with feds. “The last thing we need is a bunch of bureaucratic suits flashing badges around here and putting up a bunch of red tape. We can handle it ourselves.” “Aaron, this isn’t a typical murder case. I think we’re dealing with a serial.” “Yeah… maybe.” “Maybe?” Chief Hernandez said. “Decapitations and bodies ripped apart don’t exactly fit the description of a normal homicide. And speaking of decapitations, where’re the victims’ heads?” Good question. “All right, I see your point. I’ll check out the cemetery. What about that kid over there?” Cody had stopped crying. A police officer handed him a bottled water. “He’s our only witness.” “I’ll let you know where he ends up. Probably Brackenridge. Now go.” “All right, all right. I’m going.”

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Chapters – VI

C06We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

Yellow sand? Who peed on the beach?

***

Because the complaint mentioned a supposed mistake in a brochure, this brings up the topic of making sure you’re as correct as you can be before writing down anything. I’ve discussed before about authors needing to be factual about many things – medical procedures, the law, physics, and geography. Obviously, there is creative license so sometimes you can fudge on locations of things, but unless you’re writing about a mixed up Earth, you can’t have the Eiffel Tower in Mumbai.

Actually, I think more along the lines of the many taekwondo tournaments I’ve attended throughout the years and how correct the judges have to be. Let me explain.

The tournament floor is covered with ‘rings’ for the various divisions of competitors. Three judges are assigned to each ring. In the forms competition, Judge A assesses the quality of the kicks and stances; Judge B looks at the hand technique (blocks, strikes, hands in the proper position); and the Center judges various specifics about the overall form. Aspects included are: timing, rhythm, attitude, etc. Each judge will give a point value of between 9.2 and 9.9. The competitor with the highest score wins. There are other rules about ties and such, but I don’t want to get too detailed but especially on ties one has to stay true to one’s choices to be correct.

Weapons competition judging is based on the utilization of the weapon. Are the strikes correct, the target correct, power existent? Sometimes, the judge has to pick out minor differences to be able to score correctly.

Sparring competition has too many variables and rules to detail here but judges have to think fast and be able to score correctly. There are other types of competition (XMA, Creative, Combat Weapons) but the judging is similar to the traditional competition.

So we can see that there are many areas where the judges have to be correct. The competitor, parents, and supporters are observing the proceedings and keeping track of each score and decision and will point out mistakes. (Sometimes not in a kind way.) Judges are human and, yes, mistakes are made, but having three judges helps minimize errors. I’ve been judging for over twenty years but sometimes I have a discussion with the other judges about what the correct call should be (this deals with rules not a judgment call for forms or weapons) or have them clarify a rule or help me be correct on some aspect that might be a rare occurrence but is nonetheless important.

Paperwork is one of the biggest issues for a judge. It has to be as complete as possible or the head table reps will reject it. Competitors names, ID numbers, scores, judges’ signatures (printed with their ID number), ranks. The information on the outside of the packet must be filled out. Ring number, competition division (age-, gender-, and rank of competitors), number of competitors, number of medals/trophies awarded, judges’ names/rank/ID number, scorekeeper and timekeeper information.

My organization headquarters doesn’t want to get incomplete information because they get miffed and call the tournament host, who gets miffed and may have to track down the specific judges involved. So, those head table people are not to be messed with if they say you’ve missed something. They’re doing their jobs so in the future, nobody gets their butts kicked.

I enjoy tournaments and I enjoy judging. I’m not so gung-ho on competing. I still do, but if I don’t, I don’t feel cheated. For a long time I’ve had the attitude that I’m at a tournament to help others have fun. We’re always told that to have fun, we have to have safety. I have to be correct in my judging because others are judging me. A minor cost of having fun is that I have to spend a few extra minutes being correct on the paperwork.

Can you think of other areas where being correct is so important? (Yeah, I know. This one’s too easy a question.)

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Around The Globe With Tricia Skinner

So, this morning, I pick up this week’s feisty guest author and we’re off to sunny Ochos Rios, Jamaica. We’re lounging on the beach with a plate of fried breadfruit between us. Sun, sand, surf…ouch! What? Well, isn’t that wonderful? She slapped my hand when I tried to take a piece of breadfruit. Now she threatens to do more bodily harm. What? Open a can of Whoop-Ass if I don’t get my own plate?

Whew! Better get to the interview while I’m still able to walk.

1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I’m Trish, a writer of dark, diverse, dangerous romance. Fascinating? Hardly. I’d rather think other Jamaicans see me as one of their own whose dreams are coming true because I worked hard.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I used to have 14 pen pals from the former Soviet Union. As a kid, I loved writing letters and receiving them. Where we lived in Detroit, the post office couldn’t figure out who in the world would be getting mail from Russia and Ukraine. One day, the mailman actually held the mail until he saw who it belonged to, which had me laughing. I wasn’t a Communist, just a kid who loved to write. I went on to study Russian in college, but I can only read Cyrillic now. I’ve forgotten most of the language.

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?

I couldn’t play an instrument, dammit. I did own a keyboard like Nick Rhoades from Duran Duran at one point, but I never took lessons. Man, that would have been awesome. Instead, I read a ton and marveled at how authors transported me to different times or places using only words. I became a newspaper reporter, but writing facts all the time wasn’t nearly as fun as making stuff up.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

Gah! Seriously? Um… Susan Ee, the author of Angel Fall would be cool. I’d like hearing how she went about creating her dystopian world where angels arrived to destroy humans. Those are the kind of angel stories I like, where they are not the super sweet beings we all think they are.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

My iPad is packed with books, which would allow everyone in an airport to avoid my whining. If you think about it, books are perfect company. They give so much, take you to so many cool places. You can ride dragons, or breathe under water. You can marry a rainbow alien and live on his spaceship. There’s no end to the fun a book can provide. I’d never leave my island.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

I always write a brief synopsis of the story in my head. I get down all the plot points I want to hit and then I try to layer in the romance if I see it’s missing. Once I start writing, I’m rather linear. I’ve tried jumping around, but that causes my brain to spasm. I tend to write about three scenes per chapter until the end. Research is tough because it’s the gateway to distraction and procrastination for me. I’ll just make a note where I need to come back and add something, if possible. If I can’t avoid the Internet, I grab quick info from Wikipedia just to fill the void until I can dig deeper or head to the library.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Try writing your story idea out in a few paragraphs. Begin with something happening, real action. Focus on what the character is trying to accomplish in the scene, and then end with a cliffhanger. Now, do the same until you have another scene, and another. Make your characters suffer, keep adding roadblocks until they can’t do anything but succeed or fail. Make them work for their happily ever after.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

“You keep what you kill.” Okay, that’s from The Chronicles of Riddick. Ha! My real philosophy is rather simple: “Go big, or go home.” I’ve chosen writing as my career. There’s no going back for me. This is what I want and where I belong.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

Next up is a novella and two more novels in my Angel Assassins series. I also have a new trilogy I’m working on, and a standalone that’s darker than what I’ve previously written. All are romances.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

If they visit my website (http://www.triciaskinner.com) and sign up for my newsletter, they’ll always be on top of what I’m doing. Plus, I invite readers to influence my work through polls and questions about characters or plot.

Angel Lover

Tricia Skinner

Release Date: 6/30/15

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

There’s no danger greater than falling for your enemy…

Book Description:

The Nephilim are bound. Their powers cursed. But half-angel Kasdeja will do anything to free them from Heaven’s tyranny. When Kas is approached by a striking, mysterious woman, she tells him his greatest enemies hold the key to his freedom.

Mariel keeps herself shrouded in secrets, using them to hide her true self. For she is not just employed by the Renegades–enemy fallen angels—she is a double agent, working on the sly for Heaven. Her directive is to seduce the gorgeous Nephilim—despite her insecurity about such sensual acts.

For Mariel is playing a dangerous game, and falling for Kas could only cause trouble; her assignment isn’t just seduction. It’s destruction.

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Balance

balanceThe second attribute the two students chose was Balance. Here are their essays on how and where they can exhibit Balance.

NOELLE

Balance is very important. The definition of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” I need balance so I can do tricky things. Like climbing the huge rock at the recreation center. Or ziplining at Anna’s house.

I can use balance in most places. At home, I need balance when my brothers try to tackle me. And wrestle me. If I want to keep my head, hands, neck, and legs, I need to use my balance. Even if I’m on one foot, it’ll be hard, but balance is the key.

I can use balance at school. When I’m playing during recess and I’m playing on the balance beam (look, it even says it in its name) I need to balance. I guess, whatever I’m playing at recess, or whatever I’m doing, I need to balance FOR EVERYTHING.

I can use my balance in the community. How, you say? Well, say I’m riding my bike. I need to use my balance so I don’t fall off and hurt my leg by some of the sharp stuff that the bike is made of. I need to use balance for everything and balance is the key.

Hmm…if I need to use balance for everything and balance is the key, what make it important? If I lose my balance, I’ll fall and hurt myself every time I try to stand up. Now do you see why balance is important? But, I had one mistake in my essay. Balance isn’t the key. It’s you.

ELIJAH

I need to use balance everywhere I go: at home, at school, or in the community. At home, I have to use balance a lot. I have to balance my chores and playtime evenly so that I will have time to do my schoolwork and to go to bed on time.

At school, when I’m playing kickball, it’s hard not to slip. So, I have to balance and round the bases properly. When playing dodgeball in P.E., I have to balance so I can dodge the ball when needed (like when it’s flying at my face).

In the community, I need balance, too. I have to balance when I’m at my friend Carson Breon’s house. He has a zipline on his play set, and if I fell, I’d hurt myself badly.

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