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!
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The Nameless City

The Nameless City  by  H.P. Lovecraft

“The Nameless City” is a horror story written by H. P. Lovecraft in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of the amateur press journal The Wolverine. It is often considered the first Cthulhu Mythos story.

The Nameless City of the story’s title is an ancient ruin located somewhere in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and is older than any human civilization.

The Nameless City   2 STARS

This is an extremely short story. It is also the first story I’ve read by Lovecraft. Perhaps because I’ve read so much about him and know his stories are about the strange unknown horrible things that lurk in the night I wasn’t surprised by how this went about. The main character seems to have held onto denial a bit too much, but I do understand that sense of adventure and need to know that can drive a person into places they know they shouldn’t go. It’s that foolhardy idiocy of sensing something in the dark, being afraid it’s probably there to kill you, but having to know exactly what it is before you die. That wanting to know the truth of the abyss is the driving force of this story, which it does well, but it fails in any real sense of horror since it is so obvious from the get go. And I honestly don’t get why this is considered the first of the Cthulhu stories, It really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Cthulhu as much as some other creepy crawlies.

Aftershocks: A Slice of Life Story

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.

Aftershocks    description:

On the day the world shook, everything changed for the barbarian tribe. This short story goes back to the event and gives additional insight. How do Rukh and Harlow fare through the disaster? How does the chief handle the destruction of everything he’s ever known?

This short story is a slice of life and intended to be read after Barbarian’s Taming. It is NOT a stand alone. It is, however, intended to provide extra character insight for those who want to visit the ice planet for a little bit longer.

aftershocksBOOK 8.5: Aftershocks   5 STARS

While I have enjoyed the other short stories, this one probably added the most to the series. While Barbarian’s Taming of course showed the devastation that the tribe has gone through in the wake of the earthquake, the blow was softened by the love story going on between Hassen and Maddie, but this book was heartbreaking. Seeing the destruction that was wrought, not just on their home, but both physically and mentally to the characters we’ve come to love. We got to see the point of views and look more into what was going on while Hassen and Maddie were off in search of a new home for the tribe. The rotating point of views really let us fully grasp how this simple tribe will never be the same again.

The Next World and the Next

http://www.lennyletter.com/culture/a394/the-next-world-and-the-next/

The Next World and the Next by Alice Sola Kim

So this is a different sort of review, because it’s for a short story I stumbled across on the internet. Not long enough for a description, other than if you like science fiction and the sort of ambiguity and intrigue that comes with a short story like this, then definitely read it. Heck read it regardless because it won’t take long, but it will leave you wishing you could find more by her. I’ve only found one other story by Kim and while it’s quite different from this piece of scifi, it was still really good. At the beginning of this link is a short intro bit by the creator of this page, and it is something to wonder about, women in science fiction. Because while I do love science fiction, and that women in them now-a-days aren’t the skimpy clad women of old, I’m still having a hard time remembering a book where the woman was the main lead, and now I sure want to find more. In the end, follow the link and enjoy.

Calm: Slice of Life Short Stories

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.

Calm  description:

Calm
One morning, gentle Maylak wakes up and feels a sense of oncoming dread. As the tribe’s healer, it is her job to ensure that everyone is safe, happy, and healthy… and they are.

So what can be threatening her people?

Moving Day
Farli helps move Maddie into the new ‘girls’ cave while avoiding some prospective suitors.

These are two slice of life short stories set in the ICE PLANET BARBARIANS series and do not stand alone. They should be read after BARBARIAN’S TOUCH and are a little bit of sweetness and family life for those waiting for the next full book release.

calmBOOK 7.5: Calm  3 STARS

This story was good, and it definitely makes me excited about the next book in the series. However, it is just a teaser, and I wonder how necessary it really is to the series. I mean it sets up a story to come, but it doesn’t really hold much detail on its’ own. The best part of both stories was getting a better point of view from the sa-khui, especially one like Maylak, because we haven’t really gotten any view points from the women sa-khui, and since she’s already married to see how she views a lot of the new customs coming in, like kissing. Even Farli’s really short story helped with this. But my issue that brought down the rating was that both of these short stories could’ve easily been full tales, and I feel a little jipped that we didn’t get more from this. I don’t know about the other readers, but while I do love the good lovin’ side of these stories, I’ve become so invested in the characters that it’s so much more than that now. I like the full story, and even in this where the characters are already settled, and it’s more about an unknown threat than any romance really had me drawn in. And I wonder if Dixon realizes that she could easily make a thrilling story out of a lot of this that doesn’t really focus on the human relationships and her readers would still love it. Well, at least this reader would.

Having the Barbarian’s Baby

BOOK 1: Ice Planet Barbarians  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Barbarian Alien

BOOK 3: Barbarian Lover

BOOK 4: Barbarian Mine

BOOK 4.5: Ice Planet Holiday

BOOK 5: Barbarian’s Prize

BOOK 6: Barbarian’s Mate

Having the Barbarian’s Baby   description:

Megan’s ready to give birth, but she’s not ready to let her mate leave her side. When Cashol must go hunting to feed the tribe, they’re separated for the first time since resonance. Not a problem, except the baby’s ready to be born and there’s a storm brewing…

This is a short story set in the ICE PLANET BARBARIANS world. It does not stand alone, and is intended to be read after BARBARIAN’S MATE. It’s a little bit of sweetness for those that can’t get enough of the big blue aliens! Happy reading!

babyBOOK 6.5: Having the Barbarian’s Baby   5 STARS

This was a wonderful short story, and it just shows how great this series has been that you can’t help but love any piece about them. We get to see a bit of Megan and Cashol’s life, which was great since they didn’t get their own story, but have been characters that we’ve learned a little about along the way, and now get to see what makes them so great together. I really related to Megan, and knowing how it is to be a bit needy, and hating when your man has to go off for a bit. This showed more into how they work, and how the tribe is all there for each other and making sure they’re all able to survive in such a harsh environment. It was sweet, and rather heartwarming, and I can’t wait to read what happens next.

 

Ice Planet Holiday

BOOK 1: Ice Planet Barbarians  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Barbarian Alien

BOOK 3: Barbarian Lover

BOOK 4: Barbarian Mine

Ice Planet Holiday   description:

All this snow and no holidays? What’s a stranded human to do?

Create a new holiday, of course. Georgie and the other women decide to bring some new traditions and cheer to the sa-khui. More babies are born, presents are exchanged, and a new romance blossoms between a human woman desperate for a change, and the alien determined to protect her.

This 25,000 word novella is NOT intended as a stand-alone. Looking for a place to start? Try ICE PLANET BARBARIANS, book one in the series.

ice holidayBOOK 5: Ice Planet Holiday   4 STARS

I figured why quit before I get to the Christmas Special. It’s a rather quick read, but it felt like about the length of the first one. For some reason Goodreads lists it as book 4.5, but Amazon says it’s book 5, and that makes more sense. It was fun seeing the women trying to bring the holiday spirit to the tribe, and trying to explain customs that really just have no explanation. This one’s rotating view if between the women, and we get to see how they’re coming along on the planet, and dealing with their babies, and pregnancy, and their sort of marriages which is really sweet. However, it is mainly about Claire, which we have seen before, mainly in the 3rd book when Kira tried to talk to her about her relationship with Bek. It’s nice to see what her deal was, and it was a good switch up on Dixon’s part to show that not all the women are being treated like princesses. Claire’s in a situation a lot of people can relate to to some degree, being trapped in a relationship and unsure how to get out, and it was a good development for the series. Though now I just hope Dixon will tell us what’s up with Josie and Haeden, because I know that would just be a great story to read.

Tempt You: A Naughty and Nice Collection COVER REVEAL!!!

Tempt You cover

Coming November 12th

AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME: From 9 bestselling authors, a boxed set of novels ranging from Naughty to Nice and everything in between! These 9 sweet and spicy stories will TEMPT YOU to fall in love—or lust! Either way, you won’t be able to stop turning the page.

Break it Up by E.M. Tippetts
Kyra Armijo’s got two problems: her wild past of sex and partying and her overpowering crush on a member of the ultra-clean boy band, Triple Cross. Make that three problems: once they meet, her crush is besotted, but if his fans find out about her reputation, it’ll wreck his image for good.

All She Wants by Anna Cruise
Annika Sellers always gets what she wants. But then she meets Stuart Woodcock, a sexy humanitarian who is indifferent to her charms, and Annika realizes she just might have met her match . . .

Love & Relativity by Rachael Wade
It’s no secret that Sanibel Island’s notorious resident bad boy, Jackson Taylor, loves to get underneath Emma’s skin, but this time he’s gone too far. Now all he wants is to earn her forgiveness before she’s gone for good, but their ideas of closure—and the future—are enough to keep them worlds apart. Love, life, and happily ever after? It’s all relative.

Deeper by Blue Ashcroft
Lifeguard Rain Wilson can’t afford to get distracted by her gorgeous co-supervisor Knight McAllister. As they find themselves drawn closer together and their pasts start to surface, Rain and Knight realize that maybe too much broken can make a relationship impossible. Then again, sometimes it’s the broken parts of us that fit together best.

8 Weeks by Bethany Lopez
After committing the ultimate betrayal, Cal asks his wife, Shelly, for 8 Weeks: 8 dates, to prove that they’re meant to be together and their love is true. If at the end of the 8 Weeks Shelly wants to walk away, Cal won’t stop her. Is 8 Weeks long enough to right wrongs and kick start a marriage that has stalled?

Real Eyes by Amy Evans
Two guys, one girl, a public relationship, a private crush. And one tour bus that will never be big enough for any of them to decide what’s real to them versus public eyes.

The Ghost & The Graveyard by Genevieve Jack
Meet Grateful Knight, a nurse left destitute by an unscrupulous ex-boyfriend. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to recover financially, including live in a rent-free house on the edge of a graveyard. Sparks fly when she meets the gorgeous cemetery caretaker and learns her attic is home to things that go bump in the night.

Zoey Rogue by Lizzy Ford
Meet Declan: A sexy incubus Enforcer who specializes in long nights of hot passion and hunting down threats to his supernatural society. His destined soul-mate defies his powerful sex magic—and he’s determined to claim the wild she-warrior, no matter what it takes.

Selling Scarlett by Ella James
Follow Elizabeth—code-named Scarlett—to the lush Nevada brothel where she’ll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that’s not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face with wicked hands and the devil’s mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost Scarlett her life.

Coming Nov 12!
For more details or a release day announcement visit www.elephantinepublishing.com or join their Herd News and get all the details in your inbox the minute it’s live!

Eric Wilder has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Drbbblavi1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Eric C. Wilder

Ello: @ericwilder

Twitter: @grimmreport

Tumblr: Grimmreport

Google+: +Grimm Report

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

I might tell you that I’m also a designer, or a blogger. What I should say is that I spend the majority of my time responding to the whims of my adorable children.

3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.IHumpty_Kindle

We have been writing nearly as long as we have been reading. I, Humpty is the first book that I have written.

4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

Satire. I make jokes when I get nervous, and writing make me very nervous. I’ll read just about anything. Writing is a constant learning process for me. New ideas can come from anywhere.

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

I’ve always got something going on in the back of my mind. Sorry, I can’t give you any details at the moment.

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?

Every good story begins with a glass of wine. Then, after two or three, I’m thoroughly convinced that I’m at least as half as creative as Hemingway ever was, or at least nearly as intoxicated.

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

My brevity. My Speling.

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?

After publishing I spread the word using carrier pigeon and twitter, but only one of those methods is actually effective.

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

Write every day. Learn to accept criticism. Never get complacent. And never eat an apple given to you by a stranger.

The Ambiguity of Ligeia and Young Goodman Brown

Many authors have used ambiguity in their writing in order to achieve the sort of story that forces the readers to formulate their own conclusions and bring about a meaning that may be different for each reader. This can lead to varying interpretations that allows a story to reach a diverse audience in new and intriguing ways. Stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s Ligeia and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown use the ambiguity in order to create an even more uncertain and dark atmosphere that keeps the reader wondering whether any of it was real, and how the tales should be looked at. It forces all to question what they are willing to believe.

Young Goodman Brown is often seen as an allegorical tale, where the main characters and even settings are representations of something greater. While Goodman Brown is the everyday man, his wife Faith can be seen as ones faith in religion or even just the representation of goodness in the world, and the old man he meets on the path tends to be seen as Satan or the evil in the world. While the woods are the dangerous wild things that we need to avoid by staying on the path of righteousness. Yet, even looking at the story from such a perspective one is a little unsure how to really take all that happens around Goodman Brown. After all, he never is quite sure of what he sees, for all the people that come to the woods as well just look like the shape of a certain person, or sound like a certain person, but he never clearly sees anything that is going on. As he was hiding in the woods it says, “neither the travellers nor their steeds were visible… It vexed him the more, because he could have sworn, were such a thing possible, that he recognized the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin”(Hawthorne). “The mass of foliage that had overgrown the summit of the rock was all on fire, blazing high into the night and fitfully illuminating… [and] the red light arose and fell, a numerous congregation alternately shone forth, then disappeared in shadow, and again grew, as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the heart of the solitary woods at once.”(Hawthorne). Even when he sees people it is either dark or the casting of the light makes it uncertain, and, furthermore, Satan is known for his tricks at deceiving, and so anything that is shown by his hand is automatically called into question.

By having this story appear first off as a representation of the choices between good and evil it is able to remain a tale that people of any time and place can relate too. It shows how in our life we all come to face choices that can lead us one way or another. However, after all that Goodman Brown witnesses, with the burning woods and the chanting people, he finds himself suddenly “amid calm night and solitude… and felt it chill and damp, while a hanging twig, that had been all on fire, besprinkled his cheek with the coldest dew” (Hawthorne). This ending shows everything that he thought had transpired being completely erased, displaying no signs of the events having ever happened. Regardless of this, the memory of that night stays with him forever; altering his relationships with all the people of that town. This sort of ambiguity leaves the reader unsure if it was real, if it had all been just a dream, if the devil got rid of the evidence, and whether it matters if it was real or not. Because it’s very real to Goodman Brown who can no longer trust those around him, and is no longer the carefree man he was before he chose to enter the woods that night. The tale begs the question of where the real evil lies, and how truth is to be perceived.

Ligeia, on the other hand, has a much more obscure meaning. Poe creates a narrator that is unreliable to begin with. He talks at length of how beautiful every part of Ligeia was, and how much he loved her, but freely admits that he had “never known the paternal name of her” (Poe). Nonetheless, he seemed to remember every detail of her appearance, and comments on how intelligent and knowing she was, but goes on to repeatedly mention that there was something strange about her. Saying, “although I perceived that her loveliness was indeed ‘exquisite’… there was much of ‘strangeness’ pervading it.” Though, he continues to mention this strangeness there is never a real explanation, and once more calls to question if the narrator’s memory is accurate or if in his grief he is just romanticizing the truth about her, as he points out his “memory is feeble through much suffering” (Poe)

The ending of Ligeia is what leads to much debate about not only the narrator’s reliability, but also the meaning behind the tale. After Ligeia’s death he remarries the Lady Rowena, but she too falls ill in the same way Ligeia did, but at a point when she appears to be recovering he states, “I saw, or may have dreamed that I saw, fall within the goblet, as if from some invisible spring in the atmosphere of the room, three or four large drops of a brilliant and ruby colored fluid. If this I saw –not so Rowena. She swallowed the wine unhesitatingly” (Poe). Seeing such things happen would normally cause someone at least a moments worry, but he seems to take it in stride and doesn’t even bother mentioning it to Rowena, who does not see any of the things he supposedly sees. The real questioning of the story as a whole begins after Rowena has died, but the narrator finds her coming back to life. However she does not appear as Rowena, who was small with fair hair and blue eyes, for he begins to question what it is he sees, “but had she then grown taller since her malady? What inexpressible madness seized me with that thought?… and there streamed forth, into the rushing atmosphere of the chamber, huge masses of long and dishevelled hair; it was blacker than the raven wings of the midnight! And now slowly opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me… ‘can I never be mistaken –these are the full, and the black, and the wild eyes –of my lost love –of the lady –of the lady Ligeia.” (Poe). This unexplainable ending that has the narrator questioning his own sanity leads to so many questions that it’s hard to give real credence to anything that is told. Has the narrator gone insane from losing two wives to the same illness? Was Ligeia someone magical, and was that the strangeness he saw in her? Did the power of his grief from losing his true love transform his new wife into Ligeia so he could be with her once more? The lack of explanation for anything that happens in this story gives it a dark and unnerving edge that creates a tale that the reader won’t soon forget.

Altogether, the ambiguity gives what could be a straight forward and simple piece of fiction a remarkable quality that keeps people delving into in the search for answers. The narrators aren’t ones anybody would simply trust and take at their word; instead the reader is left to search for clues and hidden meanings in the text. Poe and Hawthorne have managed to write stories that have withstood the test of time for a number of reasons, one of which is the haunting feeling that nothing is certain and the dark hides much that we may not wish to see. It is that dark aspect and the ambiguity that make these two stories so fascinating and eerily memorable.