Kyle Robert Shultz has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

Hi! *waves* I’m Kyle Robert Shultz. My blog is at www.kylerobertshultz.com, my Twitter handle is @kylerbrtshultz, and you can find my Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/kylerobertshultz. Basically, just type “Kyle Robert Shultz” into anything, and my face will probably pop up. Even on ATM machines.

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

You mean there’s another world besides this? *peeks out the window in amazement* No, seriously, I do other stuff besides write. My hobbies include horseback riding and caring for a small flock of miniature sheep. I also love digital art, and I’m slowly working to improve my skills in that area.

  1. Your series, Beaumont and Beasley, is a retelling of several fairy tales. What exactly drew you to fairy tales, and what inspired you to write them in such a way?

To be honest, I’ve never really been drawn to fairy tales. I’m not even a Disney fan, per se–about the only Disney films I actually love are Tangled and The Emperor’s New Groove. But, the basic premise of retelling classic stories has always fascinated me. I love seeing the new twists that Marvel and DC put on familiar characters when they make their movies. And since all those characters are off-limits to me, I decided I’d try to make something cool and imaginative with public-domain stuff. In the setting of my series, pretty much every public-domain story and character exists, not just classic fairy tales.

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

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Steven Moffat are the three authors who have had the most profound impact on my writing. Narnia and Middle-Earth got me started liking fantasy, but it was Doctor Who that showed me how to break all the rules to create something really fun and unexpected. I also can’t say enough good things about the encouragement I’ve gotten from other writers on social media. That’s been a huge boost to my creativity.

  1. While there’s only 2 books out in your series so far, The Beast of Talesend and The Tomb of the Sea Witch, you’ve already shown covers for 2 more books to come. Did you know exactly where this tale was going to take you when you started or has it been surprising you along the way?

I had a rough idea where it was going to go, but there have been some surprises. Basically, I’ve had an endgame in mind for the series for a long time (not necessarily a final “end,” just a culmination of the current story arcs). However, additional stories have sprung up between Book 1 and the climactic future books I have in mind. I’ve been putting off a fairly shattering story based on Cinderella for a long time now. Pretty soon I’m going to have to get cracking on it. My readers are going to hate me…

  1. Do you have any plans for stories outside of the fairy tale realm or are you focusing just on the book before you now?

I do have lots of ideas sitting around in my notebooks, but given the positive response to Beaumont and Beasley, I think it will be wisest for me to continue building this brand for the time being. I don’t feel that I have anything quite as unique and fun to write as B&B in my ideas list at the moment. But if the series reaches a natural end, or if I just want to take a break from it for a while, I know I have other stuff to fall back on.

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

I think funny, snarky dialogue is my main strength. It’s all the other stuff that I have a problem with. XD My initial drafts usually read like movie scripts, and I have to go back in and add all the necessary description to flesh out the story. When my characters are sparking off each other in dialogue, writing is a breeze. The quieter scenes that rely on imagery are the ones I need to keep practicing.

  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?

My marketing is generally based on real, interpersonal connections rather than paid advertising. Not that I’m knocking paid advertising; I’m just not very experienced with it at the moment (I’m working on that). The way I market at the moment is to just put myself out there. I try to befriend people instead of just yelling “Buy my book!” at them. So far, this approach has had a lot of positive benefits. That being said, my tip to other writers is to be bold about sharing your writing. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but don’t be timid either. Never apologize in advance for what you’ve written, no matter how dubious you may be about it. Pitch it to people like it’s the best thing in the world. Own what you’ve created.

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

My advice to a new writer is twofold:

First of all, put your writing online for free. Share it on a critique website like Scribophile, or on the YouTube for stories which is Wattpad. This will get you helpful feedback and allow you to start building your audience.

Second, STOP putting your writing online for free. Once you’ve learned enough from reader feedback to progress beyond rookie mistakes, start charging for what you create. Go ahead and publish it on Kindle. It sounds scary. It IS scary. But it’s the only way you’ll ever actually get started as a writer. Strange as it may sound, crossing that fine line between having your work on the web and having it published–even self-published–makes a ton of difference.

Dennis Carstens has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

Dennis Carstens, you can connect with me at www.denniscarstensauthor.com and on www.facebook.com/TheKeyToJustice. Keep in touch on social media with the hashtag #MarcKadellaMystery

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

Even though I am not very good at it because I am basically a beginner, I do like to go golfing with friends. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a nice summer day. I have five grandchildren who are a hobby also. Everything you may have heard about being a grandparent is true. It’s terrific. The kids are all very nice, healthy and fun. And best of all when they act up as kids do, it’s time to go home.

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

I actually wrote my first book The Key to Justice in 1999 – 2000. I tried to go the traditional route to get it published and was met with total disinterest and rejection. Discouraged, I did not take it up again until 2011. My son encouraged me to self-publish on Amazon. The response surprised me with its success which encouraged me to continue.

The legal world, murder mystery/courtroom drama is the only genre I have written so far. I am extremely interested and well read in history and I have in mind a couple of historical novels based on actual events that I will eventually do.

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

I am a retired lawyer who always enjoyed a good legal genre novel. What got me interested in doing one is most of the books in the genre left me wondering if the author had ever seen the inside of a courtroom. Ever represented a live, human client with a real legal problem or tried to make a living practicing law. Some do such as Scott Turow and Steve Martini who are very experienced and very good. Then others such as John Grisham, James Patterson and Michael Connelly who clearly have no clue. I wanted to write more realistically about what it is like.

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

I am about to start, and by the time you read this will have started, the eighth of the Marc Kadella legal mystery series. No, I am not going to tell you about it. Buy it, you’ll like it.

  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?

To me the main thing I need to have mostly figured out before I start writing is the ending. I think it is very important to know where you are going so as not to wander off too far as can happen. Writing a book is almost like building a house. You build the story one step at a time. And just as building a house you better have a pretty good idea of what it is supposed to look like when you are finished.

I do not use a written outline. I know what my beginning is going to be, my ending and the middle. I keep a lot of notebooks around the house, especially by my bed, for when ideas pop into my head so I can make notes of it.

As for characters, this is the main thing I am trying to accomplish. I want to create an emotional tie between the reader and the characters (good or bad, favorable or unfavorable) to keep the reader engaged to find out how they all make out in the end. Several of my characters are in all of my books and I do keep a written profile of each to be consistent. I also do that with non-recurring characters for the same reason.

I normally focus on one book at a time but things come to me about future books. When this happens I write up notes about it so as not to forget. Makin notes is extremely important. I once had a dream and I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about it. It was a great idea for a book. I laid in bed for at least twenty minutes thinking it through and was quite pleased about it. Instead of getting up and writing it down I was certain I would remember it in the morning. When I woke up I remembered having a dream, waking up and thinking about it but could not remember one thing about the dream itself. Still have not. Take notes. Do not rely strictly on your memory.

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

I prefer to have my characters tell my story with their actions and interactions and their dialogue. I do not use a lot of third party narration for this. I think it helps with character development, creates the reader-character bond and makes the story flow along better. When reading I can get a little bored with page after page of third party narration.

I am a lawyer, not a grammar expert. Apparently there are people out there who believe they are. I have used the internet to check on grammar usage all the time and have found there are differing opinions on proper usage. If you think you are a grammar expert, you probably are not. At least others will disagree with you. Plus, I use dialogue the way people actually speak not the way your sixth grade English teacher tried to get you to speak.

  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?

At first I did nothing much except publish on Amazon and let them do the marketing. There are services out there who will work with you for a fee or commission to use Amazon and other book promo organizations to promote your book. I am just now starting to use them and it has worked for me. But, I was fortunate to do well right away which, from what I understand, is quite unusual.

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

First of all, be disciplined. Writing a 300 plus page fiction novel is very difficult. It is a lot of work. There are millions of partially written manuscripts sitting in desk drawers in this country from people who found this out. They wanted to try it, and good for them, then got part way into it and ran out of ideas.

I treat writing like a job. I am retired but I get up every morning around 6:30 and am at the desk by 8:00 every day. I have a daily goal of what I want to accomplish and I get at it and work until I have it. If you are employed, make a schedule every week of times when you are going to write and stick to it. If you can’t be that disciplined, odds are pretty good you are going to fail. Know that going in.

So as not to be overly negative, it is also very rewarding. I am fortunate enough to have had some success and am making a pretty good living at it. I also like the creative side of it. Apparently I have a fairly active imagination and creative streak. Not to brag but I have received more Five Star reviews from readers than all other reviews combined. Each time you get one of those it feels very gratifying to know that all of the work you put into the book was not a waste of time.

Write about what you know. If you are a doctor don’t write science fiction about interstellar space travel. You can do that but it will not seem factual.

Be realistic about your target market. I happen to have worked in a genre that is very popular with the reading public. My audience was quite large going in. Children’s books are enormously popular. For some reason people keep having babies and buying books for them to teach them to read. Apparently no one tells them about dealing with teenagers. Books about the exciting life of a plumber, not so much.

M.L. LeGette has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

For my writing, I use an abbreviation of my initials: M.L. LeGette. Everywhere else, I go by Melissa.

I’m on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mllegette/),

Twitter (https://twitter.com/MelissaLeGette),

Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/melissalegette/boards/),

Tumblr (https://mlegette.tumblr.com/),

and Instagram (@melissalegette).

My blog is Come What May (https://legettewrites.wordpress.com/)

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

I’m a small scale vegetable farmer with an even smaller flock of sheep. If you’re around the Athens, GA area, stop by the farmers market at Bishop Park and buy some potatoes. They’re wicked good. I’m also a hobbyist photographer (Garden Windows Photography). I love to bake, though I don’t often have the time during the height of farming season, and I’m teaching myself how to knit. Second pair of gloves is underway.

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

I credit J.K. Rowling for opening my eyes to storytelling. I’d been exploring writing before discovering her Harry Potter series, but it wasn’t until I read them that the bomb in my brain went off. Her ability to make every scene as vivid as a film, how she fleshes out the minor characters as much as the leads, her play of light and dark, the balance of serious and silly – it’s these aspects that connected with me the most and have stuck with me over the years.

  1. Now you have a few books that are already out for sale, can you tell us about them?

The Unicorn Girl is my first full length novel. It’s a fantasy adventure about a young girl who discovers she has a powerful connection with the legendary creatures and must travel across her homeland in search of them.

The Tale of Mally Biddle is my second. I took a step away from magic with it. Mally, the protagonist, juggles working as a servant in a castle full of dangerous knights while trying to find the answers to the questions spinning around the heir to the throne.

  1. One of your stories, The Orphan and the Thief, you actually took down to rewrite. What was it like going back to work on your story? Considering how often authors complain about simple editing, was this an experience you’ve enjoyed?

I loved it. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed rewriting the story. It helped a lot in that I was spurred on by excellent feedback/suggestions from an agent. I’m not entirely sure if I would have been able to muster up the energy or enthusiasm to take on an undertaking of this magnitude without such outside interest. It also ended up being surprisingly easy. The rewrite happened years after I finished The Orphan and the Thief. I think having such a stretch of time away from the project helped me see the areas that needed improvement. This might be why rewrites are generally so very hard to stomach for writers. When we finish a project, we’re so high on excitement and pride that the prospect of major reconstruction makes many of us want to punch something … or someone. I think the rewrite was also so much fun for me because I’d already gone through the terrible stages of writers block and plot construction. Now, I was exploring. I was fleshing out the story. I was diving deeper into the characters. And that was all immensely enjoyable.

  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?

I like working on one main project at a time, but I’ve got notebooks full of story ideas.

I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl. I like to spend a few days hashing out the general idea of a story: the main focus, the overall atmospheric vibe of the story, the characters most basic motivations. And then I write. I let the writing take the lead. If things start feeling wrong – if the story seems off all of a sudden – I take a step back. I evaluate. I ask myself what exactly is missing/wrong/off, and I make the necessary changes. This process typically repeats many times in the first few chapters. I’m essentially testing the story out. I ended up deleting a large chunk of the first draft of Orphan, because I realized it was going in a direction that wasn’t working for the rest of the story. In the story I’m working on now, it took many drafts of the first three chapters before it dawned on me that the setting wasn’t working.

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

I think my greatest strength is dialogue. I like keeping my dialogue exchanges as natural as possible, and that usually comes easily for me. Creating relatable characters is also a strength in my writing. It’s extremely important to create characters that the reader roots for, or is fascinated or terrified by. But writing characters that the readers embrace is difficult and often takes me many, many drafts to get right.

I’m not a plotter, so my storylines are usually very simple. I have a tendency to focus too much on the individual scenes in a chapter and forget about the bigger picture … or forget about deepening my characters. Luckily, this is where rewrites come in.

  1. While you’ve actually had your books out and for sale for a while now, you’ve recently kind of done a clean slate approach and starting anew with your approach to publishing and marketing. From the way you began and the way you’re going about it now, is there anything you’d advise beginning authors to try or to avoid?

That is a heavy and very good question. As you know, I started out in self-publishing, nudged my big toe up against traditional publishing, and have now ventured fully into serially posting weekly chapters of Orphan’s rewrite online. Honestly, I don’t believe there is any right or wrong. There is only exploration and your own personal desires.

When publishing traditionally didn’t work out, I was both discouraged and relieved. Relieved, in that I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted the pressure and expectations that go along with publishing deals. Discouraged, in that I couldn’t see a clear future for my writing.

Trying to make a living at being a writer is incredibly hard, if not downright impossible, at least for the sort of writing I do — mainly middle grade and young adult. The moment I told myself that I didn’t need to make my books make me money, the pressure vanished. The question then simply became where do I put my writing? For me, writing has always been about sharing. I write for myself, yes, but I also write for interaction. It’s an incredible feeling to connect with readers. I’m posting chapters of The Orphan and the Thief to Wattpad and my own blog, Come What May. My tumblr is dedicated to teasers, excerpts, and painting an aesthetic vibe of the story. When the last chapter is posted, I plan on making the book available on Kindle and as a print-on-demand paperback. When my next book is finished – which will be years from now – I’m going to ask myself the same questions. What do I want? Am I up for another round at the big publisher’s table? Do I want to post chapter by chapter or go straight to ebook? Do I wish to market the book through blog tours or festivals? I don’t expect to be able to answer these questions now, but when the time comes I know the answers will be there.

This is why giving advice is so difficult. We all want different things from our writing. But my big advice points are:

  1. If you choose to spend money on marketing, and that includes travel expenses to bookstore signings and festivals, have a budget. Most marketing does not work and that is why you must be careful about how much money you spend.
  2. Have a presence online. You don’t have to be on every social media, unless you want to. I’ve only recently joined tumblr and it is by far my favorite place to be.
  3. Take your time on your writing. Get it as good as you can. If you self-publish it, know that you can rewrite it to make it even better whenever you want, just as I did.
  4. If you’re interested in getting a book deal, query before self-publishing. It’s a terrible truth, but many traditional publishers do not want books that have been self-published unless they have already proven themselves popular on the market.
  5. Most important of all, choose the outlet that keeps you writing. Writing is not about being in bookstores or getting awards or having the six figure advance. Writing is your love and your best friend. Never forget that.

The Tomb of the Sea Witch

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz

The Tomb of the Sea Witch   description:

Private detective Nick Beasley used to be a debunker of magic–and a human being. Then he found out magic is real. The hard way. Now he’s on the run from a powerful council of enchanters who want him dead, along with his little brother Crispin and the renegade enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont.

So when Cordelia suggests going undercover at a stronghold of the Council’s power–the Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic–Nick isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea. Cordelia insists that the school may hold the key to Nick regaining his humanity: an ancient spell created by the Sea Witch from the tale of the Little Mermaid.

But the mission proves to be more complicated than Beaumont and Beasley had expected. An ancient threat is rising from the deep, bringing an army of the dead along with it. Shocking revelations send Nick, Cordelia, and Crispin on a harrowing journey under the sea.

The Sea Witch is not quite as dead as everyone believes…and her secrets will change everything.

BOOK 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch   5 STARS

At this point I just need Shultz to go back and write a book for every fairy tale, and the truth of how it all actually went down, because his versions seem far better than the way we’ve been told them. Now if you liked the first book even just a little bit, you definitely have to read this one. We’re really delving into the world of magic, and all the beings that have been in hiding in the Afterlands. I rather liked that they ended up at a school of magic (not for villains but anti-heroes), because it was an instant view into everything that’s been hidden from the rest of the world, and a look at their history and how they interact with others. More so, Nick, Crispin, and Cordelia felt more balanced in this book. They’re more of a team, and the humor flows really well in contrast to all the insanity that’s going on around them. Plus it’s just adorable how every animal Crispin comes across loves him, which is understandable considering how much he cares for every new thing he finds. Yet, it’s not just them that you love, it’s all the new characters being added and really filling out the story and giving us an exciting plot on their journey to uncurse Nick. I particularly liked the class of Mythfits, and even the show of their own fear of having to survive without magic, and why they’re so terrified of mermaids. There’s endless reasons to enjoy this story, and the world that’s being created here, you can’t help but dive right in. I only hope the next book comes out quickly, especially with those interesting tidbits Shultz left at the end.

 

O-Face COVER REVEAL!!!

O Face by Heather Hildenbrand

coming October 16th, 2017

 

I have a confession.
I’ve never had an orgasm.
Not for lack of trying. Hell, I even experimented once in college with a girlfriend, but nothing. Nada. Zilch.
I’m pretty sure I’m broken.
That is, until Liam Porter waltzes back into my life.

Cassie Franklin is untouchable. And she wears it well.

Heir to a fortune and heart of fucking stone—I’ve never, not once in the years I’ve known her—seen her smile.

Not that I’ve lost sleep over her while I’ve been rolling in the sheets with every other beautiful girl this town has to offer. Not to mention the women I had during my tour of duty. I’m not exactly pining. Still, Cassie’s always gotten under my skin—all that cool beauty set into a cold stare.

So when her best friend begs me to find out what Cassie’s hiding, I’m more than happy to comply. In fact, this is one covert takedown I’ll actually enjoy.

So why is it that the more I learn about the real Cassie Franklin, the more positive I am—there’s only one expression I want to see grace her features: Her O Face.

And I never back down from a challenge.

 

Pre-order exclusively on iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1233007167

O Face is part of the Meet Cute theme of books, a collection of contemporary romance novels by different authors with the same theme.

Boy meets girl. It’s the way romances usually begin . . . and while we all love a happy ending, it’s the #MeetCute that wins our hearts.

How did you two meet?

The #MeetCute Books each have a unique answer to that query. Some might make you swoon, others might make you giggle . . . and some may make you blush.

Twelve authors. Twelve stand-alone contemporary romance novels. Twelve stories that will make your heart beat a little faster.

Because it’s all about the #MeetCute.

Learn More about all the Meet Cute books here.

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.) She writes paranormal and contemporary romance with plenty of abs and angst. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.

You can find out more about Heather and her books at heatherhildenbrand.com.

Kathryn Brown Ramsperger has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
 
Hello! My byline is Kathryn Brown Ramsperger, but feel free to call me Kathy.

You can order my debut novel at shoresofoursouls.com, and I have a blog tab there, too:

Shoresofoursouls.com/

You can find my short fiction at shoresofoursouls.com/media

Google me to find my other writing.
 
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and I’m getting the hang of Instagram and Pinterest. Here are some of my links:
Twitter: @kathyramsperger
2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
 
I try to read one new novel, and one of the classics every month.There is nothing like sitting by a window with your cats smelling the grass right after a rain, reading the afternoon away.  Although I love audio books because it lets me read more. I mix it up with nonfiction because I’m also a life and creativity coach. You can find more info on that at groundonecoaching.com. I love anything Creative: from fashion to photography, from singing to travel.  (Yes, I consider travel as a creative endeavor.) What brings it all together is a long, meditative walk in Nature. 

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

I’ve still got stories I wrote in grade school. The story I remember most was about an errant pumpkin. I wrote my first novel in college, but I never tried to get it published. My first full-time job was as a journalist. My entire career has involved writing: National Geographic and Kiplinger publications, poetry, publishing Red Cross & Red Crescent publications, and now writing nonfiction online. I breathe, therefore I write. Can’t imagine a day without it!

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

Oh, countless people: My professors at Hollins University, especially Dara Weir and Richard Dillard; so many renowned writers who led me to the right avenue when I was searching down empty alleys; and my Southern family, who bottle fed me on The Story on long, lazy days rocking away the heat on a porch swing. 

My time living and working overseas inspired me to write about immigrants and refugees. I also get a lot of my stories sitting in cafes and observing when I travel. My biggest early influences were Ernest Hemingway and Eudora Welty. I wasn’t able to meet Hemingway, but I went to every reading I could find that Eudora Welty held. Her readings were workshop-like; she was a wonderful teacher, and she was a photographer as well. I get inspiration from every writer I meet. 

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

The most exciting fiction I’m working on right now is the sequel to my novel The Shores of Our Souls. Its working title is A Thousand Flying Things. It continues Dianna’s story, and Qasim may just show up. The first part of the novel takes place in Southern Sudan. Not the most conducive place to find the love of your life, but a great place to grow and learn who you really are. This part of the second novel is hugely autobiographical because I worked in Africa in the 1990s, though not in Sudan. I was also the one who looked through the countless photos of wounded children during war–photos deemed too graphic for the public, and that was an education about children in war and refugee families. Both are a a big part of this sequel. 

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?

To tell you the truth, I wish I had a template for beginning a book project, but every one is unique and needs a different approach. I usually write first, then outline, then organize to the outline, then revise and revise. This way my characters lead me, and I don’t have to lead them. An image of a scene comes to me before I ever begin writing. My favorite way to start any project is with an interview. I interview my main characters, and that way they already have a voice when I begin to plot. I’ve never had writer’s block because it’s like meeting a friend for lunch every day. Ever had a lack of things to talk about with a good friend?

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

I guess you can tell characterization is my strength. People tell me I’m good at dialogue, too. I close my eyes and I can see my story unfold like a movie, so my prose is pretty visual. I may have finally gotten plotting down to a science, but I struggled with it for years. So many wonderful books taught me the best techniques, and a shout out to Paula Munier who wrote the magical and practical Plot Perfect, which has become my encyclopedia for all things plot. I despise revision and proofreading, even though I’m good at both, because I’m obsessed with getting to the perfect final draft.  Which may be why I have an animosity toward them…my perfectionism.

 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 did marketing for the American Red Cross and then the International Red Cross & Red Crescent. When I told people what my job was, they’d ask me, “Why does the Red Cross need PR?” 
 
I’d answer: “Because if they didn’t have marketing, there would be no Red Cross. No one would know they existed.” 
 
The same is true for writers. It’s important to get the word out, and now we have social media as well as live book tours to engage our readers. If I hear about a way I can promote my book, I do it. I consider writing a business, and business means an investment in marketing.
 
My biggest tip: Get away from your computer and get to know people. Have conversations with as many people as you can. Ask how you can support them.  Ask them for feedback on your writing. Friends share their stories with you, buy your books, and spread the word about your writing. Friends want you and your writing to succeed. Just this morning, a friend gave me the seed for what may become my next short story, which takes place on the Mediterranean Sea. 

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
  • Apprentice with someone who is willing to mentor you. Remember the people who helped you and pass it on when you become more established.
  • Practice! Write until you find your own Voice.
  • Use grammarly. Or something like it. As someone who used to approve and reject nonfiction manuscripts, your writing had to be stellar if it had lots of typos. I was a nice editor; one or two typos were okay. More than that and it went in the trash.
  • Learn all you can about the publishing world itself, what they want, and what they don’t want. Which will change. Try to give them what they want. After you get your first big break, you can begin to write more of what you want.
  • My screensaver says: “Never, ever, ever give up!” Winston Churchill was supposed to have said that in the aftermath of World War II. Writing is its own kind of uphill battle, and there’s a reason my dad called me “the little engine that could.” My nonfiction got published early on in my life. My novel’s available today because of my persistence and resilience.
  • You’ve got what it takes if you desire to write. Now learn, practice, knock on doors, get up and dust yourself off if you get knocked down. Keep going. You’ve got this!

Barbarian’s Rescue

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Rescue  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Bad day? Try mine on for size.
Rogue slavers have landed on the ice planet and captured the tribe. The only ones not snatched? Me, a walking human motormouth with no skill except that of incoherent babbling, and Warrek, who’s as silent as he is attractive. Two more unlikely people have never been paired together.
And now we’re supposed to form a rescue team.

Saving the others is either going to bring us closer together – or drive us completely apart. I’m pretty sure the feelings I’m having for my alien companion are as unrequited as they are inappropriate, but since we aren’t going to make it out alive, what harm is one teeny, tiny kiss?
Who knew that one kiss could change everything?

BOOK 15: Barbarian’s Rescue   5 STARS

There are so many reasons to love this book. I love Summer, and her inability to shut up and her need to fill the silence makes her a rather amusing character, but she isn’t just some silly girl. With the need to rescue her new tribe, it’s her ability to strategize and think of every angle that ends up saving the day. Yes, she needs Warrec and he’s definitely no slouch in the saving-the-day department, but I love that she’s not just some helpless female. She plays the biggest role in all of it, and the twist near the end in their relationship (you’ll know what I’m talking about) was hilariously perfect. Got to love a woman that knows what she wants and goes for it. Lets not forget how sweet and good Warrec is, and bless his heart for being so quiet he struggles to know what’s the right thing to say or how to express himself. He’s a good balance for Summer, and I do like that it’s delving more into the worry and possibility of resonating with someone other than the one you actually love. While in some ways I fear that ever happening, it is a possibility in this world, and I like that it’s not something the characters are just ignoring or willing to just say the khui will decide like the Sa-Khui tend to be willing to do. Though in past books it shows not all of them were so willing to go along with such either.

Spoiler Alert: While it’s not a real complaint, since it wasn’t enough to knock it from 5 stars, it does kind of bother me that in those crates while all the men were aliens all the women were human. I understand obviously for the readers a human woman may be easier to relate too, but I enjoyed the books about Farli and Asha as much as I did about any of the humans, and so it would’ve been nice to throw in perhaps an alien woman too just considering that this is a huge galaxy and if they’re trading in alien men why wouldn’t they trade in alien women. Or perhaps even have thrown in a human man. Something to kind of mix things up a bit more. Once again it wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’m sure I’ll love all the books to come dealing with these new comers, but it’s just a thought.

To Trust a Wolf

To Trust a Wolf   by  Danielle Hardgrave   description:

A list of things Helen Jurist never expected to see in her museum:

1. Viking relics
2. A dangerously seductive Dane with a suspicious interest in Viking relics
3. Werewolves

With the discovery of the Cutler Hoard, Helen may be forced to strike the word “never” from her vocabulary.

BOOK 1: To Trust a Wolf    4 STARS

I have to admit that within the same old story of werewolves and vampires the part that shines brightest is Helen. Here is finally a heroine that I can relate too whole heartedly. A no nonsense woman, who doesn’t get hysterical at the sight of mythical creatures, but instead takes it in realizes what’s happening and moves forward from there. While she can’t help but notice how handsome Rune is, and is at times swayed by his charm, she doesn’t let him stop her from trying to do what’s right and find the truth. But mostly a woman whose more about research and organization than some magical quest. I just feel like this here is a real woman, or maybe it’s just because that would so be me. And while Rune is a character I did quite enjoy, I believe Benji was far more intriguing. A being whose hypnotic powers felt more like that of the old tales of vampires, and I’m very curious to see what he’s all about. Altogether it was a good book, with some twists and romance to keep you coming back for more, though it does feel like it was over rather quickly. Regardless, I’ll definitely be picking up the next book as soon as I can.

Danielle Hardgrave has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

My name is Danielle Hardgrave and I can be found all over the place. I blog over www.caldwellbooks.com, which is the website for my publishing company, Caldwell Publishing. We’ve also got a Twitter and a Facebook, both of which are @caldwellbooks. My personal Twitter is @dhardgrav3.

2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I’m a big fan of naps. Really. They’re something that I plan in advance and get pumped up about. I also love movies, kickboxing, and reading.

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

Like most writers, I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. I took a pretty long siesta from writing after high school and only got back into it in late 2015. Since then it feels like all I do is write, since I earn my living as a ghostwriter. At Caldwell so far we only write paranormal romance, but I’ve written in almost every romance genre there is.

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

Honestly the greatest influence has been partnering up with my amazing business partner Olivia. She’s ruthless about my inability to correctly use commas and helps me sort out good ideas from bad. I’d be nowhere without her.

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

Right now I’m working on the second book in our Sea Assassins Trilogy. It’s called Redemption. The whole series is pretty weird and will continue getting weirder. But, then again, when you write a series about dudes who turn into sharks, what else can you expect?

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’m all about the outline and character profiles. I find I just got blocked otherwise. Big fan of beat sheets too for early outlining. I have three projects on the go at the moment. One for a client, one for Caldwell, and another that’s more of a personal project. Ideally, however, I’d only have one 😛

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

My strength is definitely my sense of humor. I’ve never been any good at writing serious, angsty novels, and I often get bored reading them. Sass is where it’s at for me. My biggest weakness is description. I tend to overthink scenes and either end up with too much or too little. It’s something I’m definitely working on.

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?

Honestly, I am no marketing guru when it comes to self-publishing. We use social media, but most of our marketing efforts are spent getting reviews. The only tip I have is to keep getting books out! The more you write, the more likely you are to gain readership.

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

Read lots. Write lots. Rinse, repeat. And don’t give up!

The Festival

The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft  description:

“The Festival” is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales. It is considered to be one of the first of his Cthulhu Mythos stories.

The Festival   4 STARS

This was a short story that leaves you wanting more, but afraid of getting it. I love the use of ambiguity in this sort of horror. The sort of telling that leaves your own fears to fill in the blanks. Yet with all the questions it makes you wonder how did any of it happen? Why was this person really brought there? It seems like he’s always known of this sort of pagan celebration that predates Christmas, and yet everything was very much unknown to him. More so, I like that Lovecraft brings in things from previous stories, like his fictitious author, Abdul Alhazred, whose book keeps being mentioned and seems to be tied to so many different terrifying events. It helps to build a world in such a short time, and I quite enjoyed the thrill.