E.J. Simon has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I’m author E.J. Simon and you can find me at

www.ejsimon.com,

and on social media at @jimejsimon,

Facebook.com/jimejsimon, and Instagram.com/e.j.simon.

2.      Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

I have a full-time job as a recruiter for Coldwell Banker HPW in North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area), I love it and it keeps me connected with the real world and in touch with some fascinating people. My wife and I live in Cary, NC, and I have a terrific daughter who lives in Manhattan – and is about to be married. I’m an art collector, love baseball, read a lot of history and enjoy traveling to Europe with my wife.

3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing for over seven years. My first publication was a short story in a literary journal, The Forge, titled, The Secret Apple. All of my published books so far have been thrillers. I have completed the first draft, however, of a crime novel based upon a true story, Dirty Priest.

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I write primarily to entertain. I don’t write literary fiction in fact, if I could, I wish I could write to attract the biggest audience in the world: people who don’t read books. I haven’t quite found a way yet to get to all of them – but I have gotten to some!  My favorite novel authors are Dan Brown and Stuart Woods but I read mostly non-fiction. My stories come out of my own imagination, incidents that have occurred to me and, maybe, fears.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Death Logs Out is my third novel. I’m nearly done with the next – and fourth – one in this series (although they each stand alone), Death in the Cloud. I love the title. Agatha Christie has a story called Death in the Clouds. I happen to love her books.

6.    How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I begin with ideas in my head. If I were psychotic I’d call them voices, but they aren’t and I’m not. Seriously, I begin with a very rough idea of a story. From there I write and flesh out an outline, usually quite detailed anywhere from 7-15 pages, which I follow for at least the first few chapters. Then, as they say, life intervenes. Characters surprise, unexpected events occur, and the story takes on a life of its own, just as our lives, although meticulously planned at times, goes off in different directions. Often, in real life, that can be as simple as meeting a certain person, whether it’s the love of your life or a mugger in the street, both of whom can change everything in a second.

7.     What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think the plots and story lines are unique and my dialogue is real, often because the characters are ones I have known. My weakness is the development of the character whom I’ve modeled after myself. I don’t always understand him.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I have a publicity company to supplement my publisher’s marketing efforts. It’s a challenge to get attention and to get noticed in this crowded publishing and social media world.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Take writing courses for the genre in which you’re writing. There is a certain craft to this that you need to know and then can ignore. Ignore your critics except when, after days or weeks of reflection, you realize they have a point. Finally, keep writing, every day. As in most things, perseverance is at least as important as talent.

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Midsummer’s Bottom

Midsummer’s Bottom by Darren Dash  description:

The Midsummer Players stage an outdoor version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream every year on Midsummer’s Eve, in a glade in a forest. The actors have a wonderful time, even though they’re dreadful. Audience members appreciate the effort they put in and applaud politely, but almost never attend more than once. Except for…

…the fey folk!

All of the fairies named in the play are obliged to attend every performance, due to a deal that they struck back in the day with a mischievous Master Shakespeare. In an attempt to disband the irksome Midsummer Players on the eve of their twentieth anniversary, Oberon and Puck hire a human agent of chaos to infiltrate the actors’ ranks and set them against one another by focusing on secret attractions and grudges that have been lying dormant up to now. Sparks will fly, and everyone will come to blows, but it’s all executed with a wink and a grin, and there will be more smiles than tears by the end. At least, that’s the plan…

Inspired by the Bard’s immortal play (which it also weaves into its plot), this light-hearted Comedy is a novel in the spirit of the movies Smiles Of A Summer Night and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, and the musical A Little Night Music. For lovers of Shakespeare, chaos and fairies everywhere.

Midsummer’s Bottom  4 STARS

I don’t even know how to begin to review this. It was not at all the book I was expecting it to be, though I mean that in a good way. Every moment was a surprise where anything was possible and the ending was anybody’s guess. It turned out a lot more erotic that I would’ve guessed, though the final line of the book description should’ve given that away, but not too absurd when you consider the plot involves real life fairy dust and a man that considers himself an agent of chaos. But within all the absurdity, and the fact that real fairies appear from the Feyland, and Puck is indeed out making mischief, the characters were a varied and interesting bunch that brought real issues to the story. People in marriages where the spark has long since died, those unhappy with their lot in life, and more that are just trying to figure out their place in this world. All of which is sucked into a horrible rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is being challenged by the very fairies that inspired it. While I wouldn’t consider it a retelling per se, it definitely holds to the magical idea of the original play, more so by how lyrical Dash’s writing is. Not just counting the scenes in Feyland which are wonderfully written in the form of Shakespeare’s plays, but even just the main parts of the story between the events of the people were very well put together. It made for a story that I couldn’t stop reading for having to know how it would all come to an end.

The King’s Spinster Bride

The King’s Spinster Bride  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Sixteen years ago, Princess Halla of Yshrem saved the life of an eight-year-old barbarian boy and watched her kingdom fall to ruin, all on the same day. Now, she is a forgotten spinster in a quiet temple, living her days out in solitude. The last of her line, she exists in the hope that she has been forgotten, for to be remembered by the enemy is to be certain death.

One person has not forgotten her. Mathior, now twenty-four, is the fierce warrior king of the Cyclopae. Yshrem is in turmoil and his advisors have a suggestion – kill the last remaining member of the royal line, and there will be no rivals for the throne.

Mathior has a different idea. He’s loved Halla for sixteen long years, and it’s time he claimed her as his wife. But a barbarian’s wedding customs are unlike any other…

The King’s Spinster Bride  5 STARS

While I know this book was written in conjunction with other authors writing in the same “series” of sorts, I really hope Dixon chooses to write more in this world. As usual she creates such a detailed and interesting place that I want to be able to return again and again. It’s a fairly short story, but there’s a lot within and moves along at a good pace. Halla is a very regal woman, and definitely not some weeping wailing princess that needs some prince to save her. While she isn’t a warrior, she’s very dignified and meets life head on and whatever it has to throw at her. But as Halla is exactly from the sort of kingdom you’d imagine with castles and crowns, Mathior is from a barbaric tribe with customs they unwaveringly hold to and ultimately ends up bringing the two together. It was definitely an interesting wedding that had me blushing the whole time, and I’m not sure if she did write more how much it could vary due to their customs, but I’d love to see what Dixon could come up with.

Projesh Banerjea has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.  What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
Projesh Banerjea
I am on Facebook and Instagram both as an individual and via the Inkarnare accounts

2.  Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
I live in Abu Dhabi and work as an investment professional at a sovereign wealth fund. I recently completed an executive MBA program at the University of Oxford and am just getting used to having some free time again. I try and travel, train and explore new restaurants and cuisines in my spare time and am also a fan of live music and theatre.  

3.  How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
It’s taken me ten years to write this book. I used to blog but my last post was in 2010. The God Gene Chronicles: The Secret of the Gods is my first attempt at fiction.

4.  What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
I grew up reading a broad range of authors and I suppose some of it has stuck. My favorites include PG Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, Tagore, Julian Barnes, Jeffrey Archer, Michael Lewis, Ruskin Bond, Satyajit Ray etc. Living in four countries (India, USA, UK, UAE) has also helped broaden my horizons and provided helpful perspective and exposure that probably filters into my writing.

5.  Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…
I’m writing the second book in the series and hope to have it finished in another 12 months.

6.  How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I start with an outline and map out both the key themes I want to touch upon as well as the broader plot structure and character profiles. I try and visualise the story and then break up the outline into chapters based on the cadence and tone of the narrative.

7.  What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
Strengths: Coming up with plot structures and the overall outline of the book
Weakness: Descriptive text. Character profiles for younger characters

8.  After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
My only experience with marketing a book has been The God Gene Chronicles. I have focused primarily on Social Media and found Facebook to be an effective and fairly low-cost way to reach out to potential fans. I think the marketing strategy depends on the genre of the book but book trailers and comic strips have worked quite well for The God Gene Chronicles so far, which is perhaps unsurprising given the superhero theme. I think a non-fiction or academic book would probably need to follow a very different approach. I don’t have specific tips per se but recommend signing up for a number of book marketing blogs to create a strategy that best matches the ultimate goal.

9.  What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
It’s a long journey with plenty of twists and turns – don’t lose hope. Enlist the help of friends and family and stay invested in your manuscript. You will be proud of the outcome.  

The Girl Who Called the Stars COVER REVEAL!!!

The Girl Who Called the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand

Coming July 18th, 2018

Be very afraid of the Shadows.

I know what I’m not. Human.

I can’t remember my life before Earth, but I’ve grown up hearing the stories of a planet ravaged by war and a people in need of a leader who will bring them out of the darkness. I’m supposed to be their light.

My future terrifies me.

But I’m done waiting to have a real life. If I ever want a chance to live free of the Shadows, I’ll need to fight for it because freedom is never free. No matter what galaxy you call home.

Pre-order Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DMNCSSC

The Sweetest Oblivion COVER REVEAL!!!

The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori

Coming June 20th, 2018

She’s a romantic at heart, living in the most unromantic of worlds . . .

Nicknamed Sweet Abelli for her docile nature, Elena smiles on cue and has a charming response for everything. She’s the favored daughter, the perfect mafia principessa. . . or was.

Now, all she can see in the mirror’s reflection is blood staining her hands like crimson paint.

They say first impressions are everything . . .

In the murky waters of New York’s underworld, Elena’s sister is arranged to marry Nicolas Russo. A Made Man, a boss, a cheat—even measured against mafia standards. His reputation stretches far and wide and is darker than his black suits and ties. After his and Elena’s first encounter ends with an accidental glare on her part, she realizes he’s just as rude as he is handsome.

She doesn’t like the man or anything he stands for, though that doesn’t stop her heart from pattering like rain against glass when he’s near, nor the shiver that ghosts down her spine at the sound of his voice.

And he’s always near. Telling her what to do. Making her feel hotter than any future brother-in-law should. Elena may be the Sweet Abelli on the outside, but she’s beginning to learn she has a taste for the darkness, for rough hands, cigarettes, and whiskey-colored eyes. Having already escaped one scandal, however, she can hardly afford to be swept up in another.

Besides, even if he were hers, everyone knows you don’t fall in love with a Made Man . . . right?

If you want to learn more about the author, check out this INTERVIEW!!!

Monster Hunter International

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia description:

Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.

It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.

Business is good… Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

BOOK 1: Monster Hunter International  4 STARS

This was an exciting book to say the least. It had a good mix of monsters they went up against, though the main ones were vampires. But even they were written with some interesting twists so that even the experienced hunters within the story got surprised at times. The characters altogether were a great bunch, to a degree they’re a lot alike to be drawn to this kind of work, but they each had their own backgrounds and personalities that helped thoroughly develop the book. However, the best part to me was the Old Man in Owen’s head. He was a spunky old guy that made life interesting for Owen, but truly gave more intensity to the story with his own past experiences and fear that drives him to try and prepare Owen for what’s to come. Honestly, my only complaint about this book is Correia’s need to describe every gun they come across in great detail, and every character in this book is loaded down with guns. That’s a lot of wasted space on gun descriptions.

Midsummer’s Bottom COVER REVEAL!!!

Midsummer’s Bottom by Darren Dash

Coming June 21st, 2018

The Midsummer Players stage an outdoor version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream every year on Midsummer’s Eve, in a glade in a forest. The actors have a wonderful time, even though they’re dreadful. Audience members appreciate the effort they put in and applaud politely, but almost never attend more than once. Except for…

…the fey folk!

All of the fairies named in the play are obliged to attend every performance, due to a deal that they struck back in the day with a mischievous Master Shakespeare. In an attempt to disband the irksome Midsummer Players on the eve of their twentieth anniversary, Oberon and Puck hire a human agent of chaos to infiltrate the actors’ ranks and set them against one another by focusing on secret attractions and grudges that have been lying dormant up to now. Sparks will fly, and everyone will come to blows, but it’s all executed with a wink and a grin, and there will be more smiles than tears by the end. At least, that’s the plan…

Inspired by the Bard’s immortal play (which it also weaves into its plot), this light-hearted Comedy is a novel in the spirit of the movies Smiles Of A Summer Night and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, and the musical A Little Night Music. For lovers of Shakespeare, chaos and fairies everywhere.

AUTHOR BIO
Darren Dash is better known as Darren Shan, under which name he has sold over 25 million books worldwide, mainly in the YA market. Darren was born in London, but has spent most of his life in Limerick in Ireland, close to the forest where Midsummer’s Bottom is set, though he has not seen any fairies there… yet! Darren studied Sociology and English at Roehampton University in London, then worked for a cable television company in Limerick for a couple of years, before setting up as a full-time writer at the age of 23, and has never looked back.

*If you’d like to know more about the author, check out his INTERVIEW!!!

Laura Holtz has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I’m author Laura Holtz and you can find me at www.lauraholtz.com, and on social media at @lauraholtzauthor on Facebook and Instagram.

2.      Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

First and foremost, I am the dedicated mom of three terrific kids.  I am a cycling enthusiast and I regularly spend time outdoors on my bike, Chicago weather permitting, or in a spin studio when it’s cold or rainy.  I love a good creative project, so I often consult on home design or visual media endeavors.  Right now I’m working with a small food company on their logo and brand materials.

3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I am a musical theatre lyricist and bookwriter, and I completed my first show, Gatecrashers, just before starting Warm Transfer. Musicals are like mental Sudoku, and they require extensive rework – it’s just a matter of time before I get back to Gatecrashers for another round of revisions.  

Years ago, I wrote a screenplay about Tsar Nicholas II and his Russian ballerina mistress while my newborn napped, however I never did anything with it.  It remains on a diskette somewhere in my basement.

With respect to books, I have written commercial women’s fiction and YA science fiction.

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

My childhood family dynamic has influenced my writing, especially my fascination with gender power and control imbalance.  

As a kid, I often escaped into books about aliens – these both terrified and intrigued me, which is probably why I enjoy conceiving stories in the YA sci-fi realm.  

While in college, I spent a year abroad studying English Literature.  My college at the University of London used the tutorial method of instruction and the lessons were intense and immersive.  Reading Dickens, Hardy, Austen and Brontë gave me a huge appreciation for refined language and the precision of well-crafted imagery, among many other things.  One novel, Jane Eyre, was particularly compelling to me.  My mother had told me tales of her youth and somehow I felt like I had a better understanding of her cruel upbringing by reading about Jane’s own plight.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Yes!  I am working on book one in a YA science fiction series.  I am also in the early stages of my next musical, a full length drama skewed toward a younger audience.

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

Ideas come to me when I am moving – especially when I’m on my bike.  Once I have an idea, I begin by creating a list of story events – a timeline, then I flesh out each scene.  When a given scene has a purpose, and it serves the plot, I know I’m in good shape to begin writing.  Characters take real focus.  It’s almost like I have to court each one over a period of time before I really know what they’re about.  

I like to work actively on one project at a time.  For me, it would be tough to divide my time and attention between two activities.  I prefer to put all my energy into one project, and mentally flirt with the idea of the next.  Looking forward to my next project is extremely motivating to me.

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

My strength is definitely my ability to make the perfect cup of coffee (with real whipped cream on top) before I sit down to write.  My caffeine fueled descriptions of place are probably my strength, and the internal dialogue of my characters is something on which I am always working. 

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I’ve been fairly proactive on social media, and I am working with local Chicago bookstores on events.  I have a long list of podcasts I am soliciting, and I have also reached out to to woman’s organizations that support survivors of partner abuse.  Plenty of my friends and family are part of a grassroots promotional effort; many of them are also in bookclubs and are excited to get the word out.  I’ve also engaged Smith Publicity to cast a wide PR net.  

I wish I would have started developing my online presence much earlier than I did.  It would have been nice to document the process of developing Warm Transfer earlier.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Invest a little money in a class, coach, or online course.  Once you have skin in the game, you’re more likely to follow through when you hit a wall or decide your story is worthless.
Your story is not worthless.

Omar Beretta has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Omar Beretta. I wrote Shaman Express together with Bénédicte Rousseau. You can find us here:

Bénédicte Rousseau www.benedicterousseau.com

Omar Beretta www.yacarevolador.com

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

I am an LGBTIQ+ activist and a shamanic practitioner. I travel, I dance cumbia music, and I write about the interesting people I meet while I dance and travel. With Bénédicte, instead of writing about her, we wrote a novel together.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I have been writing (and reading) since childhood. Genres: mostly auto-fiction, drama; and some attempts at journalism, especially related to urban subcultures.

Bénédicte and I started writing Shaman Express together in 2015. It took us about a year and a half to consider that the book was finished. It was the first time for both of us to write a novel with a co-author.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

When I was seven years old I finished reading Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. I realized that, by comparison to the novel, life with my family was boring, so I put a few things in a cardboard box and left my home, with the hope to live a life of adventures that would be worth writing about. My father followed me in his car and after a couple of hours brought me back home. So I admit that Mark Twain has been, and still is, a great influence. Jack Kerouac, Chuck Palahniuk, Henri Michaux, Alan Hollinghurst, Daniel Kalder and Colm Tóibín have shaped the way in which I think and write. Horacio Quiroga and Alejandro López have the talent to turn ordinary incidents into epic narrative. Cecilia Pavón is the mother of modern writing in Spanish. The poetry of Mariano Blatt has shattered the literary canon and inaugurated a spring of experimental, joyful new writing.

But apart from them, I am mostly inspired by ordinary people with fantastic stories that I meet at parties or traveling who open to me.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I am writing a new novel about a pansexual anti-hero that fights against the literary canon.

I have just finished writing an article about Shamanism in the Peruvian Amazon that I posted on my website today.

At the same time, I am working on an article about Trans Diversity in Perú. To do so, I spent one month in Lima interviewing trans women, trans men and non-binary persons. While doing so, I joined them at educational programs at NGOs, feminist rallies, underground all-women rap sessions, self-defense training at parkes, at parties, and at their workplace.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

The outline generally comes in my dreams, and then I jump in head first. The more chaotic the atmosphere, the easiest it is for me to write.

The main idea for Shaman Express came during a shamanic workshop in Italy, where I met Bénédicte. Because we are both shamanic practitioners, we took several shamanic journeys to ask for guidance to write this novel. We built the two main characters at the same time.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I am very imaginative, it is easy for me to create new characters, new situations, and I relate well with what is not ‘normal’. I could not write a book about a happy family because not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine a happy family, but I am comfortable writing about a recovering addict and a depressed divorcee that travel in remote parts of the world, coming in and out of ordinary and shamanic reality.  Maybe some people like what I write because it presents a different angle.

My weakness is that I get easily distracted by new projects. For example, instead of dedicating all my efforts to write the piece abut Trans Diversity in Peru, I am  spending most of time researching books, movies and articles by authors that went on tour with bands because I was recently invited to go on tour with a band in the south of Spain.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I try to make the most of social media, especially Instagram and Twitter. I believe that the image that I want to convey as an author must be visually attractive, so I produce short videos with vibrant music and striking locations where my message is minimal but the visual/musical experience is powerful. You can see the videos on my website.

For Shaman Express, we have produced book trailers that provide only key sentences of our novel, placed in contrast with beautiful images and attractive music. We believe that they convey the essence of our message, without having to lecture about it. You can also see the trailers on my website.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Keep writing. Write every day. Read a lot. Find your favorite authors, follow them, read everything they write, and grow with them. Do not be afraid to abandon them and go find new ones. For example, Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia blew my mind when I read it in 1990. I read everything that Kureishi wrote afterwards, but at some point his work stopped producing the same effect. By that time I discovered Daniel Kalder, whose fantastic “Lost Cosmonaut” made me realize that one does not need to be Theroux or Chatwin to tackle the travel genre. Kalder is much younger than I am, so I had no time to loose: I put pen to paper and I wrote most of the chapter of Shaman Express that takes place in Siberia.

Also importantly, attend creative writing workshops: they are a safe place where knowledgeable people can tell you, in a pedagogical manner, “this is not good, go read this novel or stories, and when you have finished reading, write your piece again” for as many times as necessary, until you are ready to show it to the world and not fail. Read what your contemporary authors are publishing: either to admire them or to question their canon. Share a lot, meet other writers from your town that have similar interests. Go out and do crazy things, interesting things, change your perspective, and then change it again, and then write about it.