Tag Archives: (Almost) Average Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Brent A. Harris

Today I’m crazy excited to present Brent A. Harris, author of A Time of Need: A Dark Eagle Novel. Brent and I met over Twitter (along with the Inklings Press team) close to two years ago and I couldn’t be more happy for him with his recent release.

 

Hi Brent, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks Jason! I appreciate you having me. I’m a writer of alternate history. For those of you not familiar with the genre, it’s when you take a detail from our past and change it to produce a different world than the one we know today. So far, my writings in the genre have earned me a Sidewise Award nomination for my short story Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon. And a pretty amazing review for my novel A Time of Need, from Amazing Stories.

 

How long have you been writing?

My daughter recently uncovered a story I’d written in grade school. She laughed at me.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

Can’t say for sure. I supposed it’s because I buried myself in books. Because I read a lot, I found that I expressed myself better with the written word.

 

A Time of Need Front CoverTell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

A Time of Need is the first book in the Dark Eagle series. As an alternate history novel, it asks, “What if George Washington had fought for the British?” What we see is an altered path for the young nation. A land where George Washington isn’t the father of our country. In fact, the very idea of the colonists’ winning their independence hangs in the balance. You’ll have to read the book to see if those rebellious Yanks can still win.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I love science fiction and alternate history. But I’ve written steampunk, horror, and fantasy.

 

What authors influenced you?

Too many to list them all. Highlights include: Bradbury, Brackett (most known for penning the first draft of Empire Strikes Back), D.C. Fontana (she wrote some of my favorite Star Trek episodes), Harry Turtledove, Michael Crichton, Hemingway, Joan Didion, and so very many more.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading this one book but we’re not serious. I’m reading a few others too. So long as I don’t shelve them all next to each other, I should be fine.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I typically write every day. Lately, that hasn’t happened because I had no idea how much work goes into marketing your book. I want it to be successful, I want it to sell, and that means getting out there every day and engaging with people, talking with them and making sure they know who I am. I’ve been told readers don’t read books, they read authors. Maybe the readers of your blog can tell me if that’s true or not. I’d like to think that is. I’m adorable.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

I MUST listen to music as I write. It affects the story, it affects my mood. It’s inspiration. I listen to Lindsey Stirling. Movie Scores. Classic Rock. 90’s Grunge. It depends on the piece I’m writing. I once wrote a story listening to Oingo Boingo’s Insanity on infinite loop. It hit the perfect chord.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I’m a Masters student of Creative Writing. I enrolled in order to strengthen my writing and to meet other writers. I think we can always get better. Always improve.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

A Time of Need is available online wherever books are sold: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million. Here’s a handy link: www.mybook.to/ATimeofNeed

My other short stories are available through Inklings Press, Rhetoric Askew, and Quantum Soul. My Amazon author page will take you straight to them (be sure to Follow me!): www.Amazon.com/author/BrentAHarris

 

Where can we find you online?

My website: www.brentaharris.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Authorbrentaharris

Twitter: @BrentAHarris1

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Jurassic Park is my favorite book. In an alternate world, I was eaten by a dinosaur, I’m sure.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

You can read the first few chapters for free through Amazon’s Look Inside feature.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Read. Read. Read some more. Read with an eye for improving your writing. Read for fun. Read for self-enrichment. Always be reading.

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(Almost) Average August Recap

It’s finally August 31st and I can back down from posting a bit. If you’ve been following along this month, you might’ve noticed I went on a post frenzy, sharing a new post every day.

I decided in late July to give it a try and I’m proud to say I’ve made it to the end. I think instead of my normal once a week posting schedule I adhered to prior to August, I might up that to three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

calendar-159098_960_720During this past month, I’ve had the most visits, views, likes, and comments since I’ve started this blog several years ago. I was blown away by the response I’ve had and hope to continue offering interesting posts going forward.

So in case you missed it, here’s a rundown of the last 30 days.


New Release: Twilight Madhouse Vol.1: My post about a new horror anthology featuring 10 stories, including my short piece “Achievement Unlocked.”

“Gate” Crashing: My rant on using the suffix -gate for scandals.

Writing Ideas: My tips and tricks when trying to get the creative juices flowing.

Reality Bites Book Awards: I was nominated in four different categories.

Rough Writing: I reminisce about a difficult lesson learned.

Morning Routine of a Non Best-Selling Author: It’s exactly as it sounds.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews: I discuss the latest reviews for my book The Selection.

Review Circles for Authors: I’ve started a Facebook group for authors to give and receive reviews.

Tools of the Trade: A nice discussion about the hardware and software I use to write.

Forgetting to Remember: My terrible problem with remembering names.

Dirty Dish Philosophy: Lessons learned from washing dishes.

5 Posts for Indie Authors: 5 blog posts I thought were informative to the indie authors of the world.

Flash Fiction – “Zombie Says”: I offered a free story for you the reader!

Author Spotlight – Greg Alldredge: An interview with scifi author Greg Alldredge.

Review – “Fire Eyes Awakened”: My review of R.J. Batla’s new book.

“Self To Younger Self, Come in”: Words of wisdom I’d share with my younger self.

Review – “Twilight Madhouse Vol.1”: My review of the horror anthology with my story “Achievement Unlocked” in it.

10 Things Learned Since I Started Writing: As the title implies, 10 lessons learned since I started this journey.

Reality Bites Book Awards – Final Round: I made it to the final round in the category of “Sci-Fi Author.”

Giving Back: I strongly believe I need to give back to other writers in any way I can.

Eclipse Comic Con Recap: I attended an awesome event and met new friends.

Upcoming Events: A list of all the places you can find me in the next few months.

Just Finish Already!: Get that story out of your head and on the screen.

Indie Comic Creator – Todd Black: A super talented creator of indie comics I met at the Eclipse Comic Con.

Musical Inspiration: How music inspires my writing.

Sacrifice for Greatness: What are you willing to sacrifice in order to be great?

Choose Wisely: Important decisions can lead to lasting consequences.

Author Spotlight – Pamela Morris: My interview of Pamela Morris, an excellent horror author you should know.

“The Selection” – Chapter 1 Preview: I offer the entire first chapter of my novel The Selection.

Youthful Dreaming: When I was younger, I really, really wanted to be Spider Man.


 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my month of madness. When you have time, please check out the posts from this past month and please consider clicking “like,” commenting, or sharing whatever interests you.

Thanks for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlight: Pamela Morris

Today I’m fortunate to present Pamela Morris author of the horror novel No Rest For The Wicked.


Hi Pamela, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks for having me, Jason. My background is pretty mundane. I grew up in the Finger Lake region of Upstate NY in a town with a population of less than 2000. I have two grown children and am on Husband #2 with whom I just celebrated our 1st anniversary on August 27. I love crows and ravens, miniatures, motorcycles, fake food, and all things paranormal.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing and making books for as long as I’ve been able to write! The earliest document I have dates back to 1974 so I would have been eight at the time. It’s nothing more than a thin, spiral notebook that I drew pictures in and labeled each picture. The odd part of it is, I broke it down into specific subjects like people, foods, houses, etc. and finished it off with a full table of contents.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I think writing is in my blood. My mother worked in a library for almost thirty years, which is the same library I work in now. Books were everywhere for me growing up. I have several ancestors who were writers. My great, great grandmother kept a diary for over 25 years and wrote in it almost every day, up until about ten days before her death. Another great grandmother kept a travel journal when she made a trip out to Ohio to visit with family. One of my great uncles wrote a children’s story. In fact, the first story I wrote (and illustrated) was a children’s book called “Bill: The Worm Who Ran Away”. I was all of nine. At ten I wrote my first ghost story, “The Strange Well”.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I’m in the very early stages of my next novel. It’s part two of a two-part series called “The Witch’s Backbone”. These two novels are part of my Barnesville Chronicles. The Chronicles center around the small town of Barnesville and the surrounding towns where many strange things happen. The first two are murder-mysteries, but “The Witch’s Backbone” is more about a local urban legend, how it came to be, and whether any of it is real or not.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

Though I was first published in the erotica market, I tossed that all aside about six years ago and dove into my first and greatest love of Horror and paranormal Murder-Mysteries. I love anything that has that Twilight Zone, Outer Limits feel to it.

 

What authors influenced you?

Believe it or not, Carolyne Keene was a huge influence. I was a massive Nancy Drew Mysteries fan. Later, I grew to love Stephen King, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Tanith Lee, Shirley Jackson and Anne Rice. Tanith Lee probably sparked my writer’s imagination the most, though, with her short story collection, “Red As Blood” which is all about very, very twisted fairytales. I love those things and her writing style is incredibly unique.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading “The Selection” by this guy named Jason J. Nugent. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Haven’t gotten too far into it just yet, but liking it so far. I’m also listening to Dean Koontz’s “77 Shadows Street” on audiobook.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

In my dreams, I’d write every day. That doesn’t happen. I shy away from writing after work unless there’s a particularly powerful scene going on. I want to be on my best game when I sit down to write. I try and spend a few hours on my weekend mornings, otherwise.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

I’ve discovered I am most productive when I have the Blues on. I think it’s because I find the Blues very emotional to listen to. It’s something you feel deep inside you and when I write, that’s what I am trying to get across to my readers, not just the plot, but the emotions my characters are going through, good or bad.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

Well, I’m 40+ years older now than I was then, so… But seriously, I’ve gone back and read my earlier stuff, and I think I’ve become a lot better at description. I’ve grown better at SHOWING my readers what it going on, instead of just TELLING them a story. I am much better at incorporating all the senses into a scene and placing my readers right there with the characters. I want my readers to feel like they are participating in the action and experiencing whatever is going on.

 

NoRestHow do you create the covers for your books?

The covers for The Barnesville Chronicles were all designed by my husband and myself. At first, I’d just draw up a quick pencil sketch of what I had in mind and give it to him, then he’d work his creative magic on the computer. Now, I’ve learned a bit of the program he uses and can create a much better jumping off point for him to finish up. He fine tunes it and makes it into something that works. The cover for “No Rest For The Wicked” was created by the publisher with a few suggestions and ‘must-haves’ from me.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Definitely! I grew up being enthralled by Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Night Gallery programs. Love Alfred Hitchcock Presents… along with the In Search Of… series hosted by Leonard Nemoy. The 1963 horror movie “The Haunting” based on Shirley Jackson’s novel “The Haunting of Hill House” is my all-time favorite scary movie. I also grew up always believing in ghosts, something my grandmother instilled in me. She was also the person who first introduced me to the Ouija Board.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

No Rest For The Wicked is available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook. You can also find it at Kobo Books. Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon and That’s What Shadows Are Made Of can be found on Amazon, too.

Where can we find you online?

My website is www.pamelamorrisbooks.com. I post a weekly blog and have some freebie short stories posted there along with links and info on all my novels, even the erotica, if you’re brave enough to go down that dark avenue. I’m @pamelamorris65 on Twitter and over on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PamelaMorrisBooks/. If you’re intent on a thorough stalking, I can also be found over at Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/908656.Pamela_Morris

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Oh, jeeze. That’s impossible to answer! I love so many for different reasons. Tanith Lee’s “Red As Blood” stands out because through it I was first introduced to the concept of taking a common fairytale and turning it into something bizarre and almost unrecognizable from the original. Certain parts of Shirley Jackon’s “We Have Always Lived In The Castle” apparently stuck into my head a lot more than I realized which only just occurred to me when I was enjoying it the second time around a few months ago. But, if you go by the book I’ve read the most often, that’s Bram Stoker’s classic and unforgettable “Dracula”. I’ve read it no fewer than ten times. Why? Because it’s awesome!

 

How do you market your books?

Mostly on Twitter with the little book ads I post and also through my author page on Facebook and the kindness of those who share my page and any ads I put up. I have done a few signings and sales events and have my books available in a small, local bookstore.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure. This is from the soon-to-be released third book in The Barnesville Chronicles, “The Witch’s Backbone – The Curse”.

      The square and its fancy gazebo were all well and good, but that was a place Tara went to practically every day. Today, however, was Saturday and Saturday was garbage day and garbage day meant a trip to the county dump with her dad and, in this case, nearly getting her teeth knocked out by the open mouth of her soda bottle.

The station wagon came to a smooth stop as they waited their turn in line behind a pick-up loaded to the gills with bagged trash. Bob Gunderman, who ran the gate and took the dumping fees, was a talker.

“Can I get out here?” Tara asked.

John nodded. “Just don’t go too far. Stay where I can see you.”

“Cool.” She didn’t wait for him to change his mind, not that John ever had in the past, but he knew as well as Tara that her mother would have a fit and fall in it if she knew he was letting Tara run wild, as she called it, among the mountains and pits of trash. The last thing either of them wanted was for Tara to fall into some forgotten mound and get buried alive. That might be a little hard to explain back home to Mom.

“Watch out for the seagulls,” he shouted just before Tara’s door slammed shut.

She gave him a thumbs up in reply.

The results of last night’s storm squished under the rubber soles of her boots, sucking and splatting her way to where the gate attendant leaned against the battered doorway of the dump station’s shelter, Tara slid on a pair of yellow dishwashing gloves. “Hey, Mr. Gunderman!” She saluted.

He shook his head and chuckled. “Heading in?” he asked, saluting her back with a tip of his Texaco ball cap. When he wasn’t tending to trash, Bob did small engine and appliance repair out of a rusted and lop-sided metal shed set up behind his equally akimbo and well-maintained mobile home. They’d passed on the left, halfway up the road. Tara suspected he got a lot of parts from the dump.

“Yes, sir. Got anything good this week?”

“I’m sure you’ll find a treasure or two. Stay clear of the back west though, it’s been shifting a lot lately.”

“Ten-four, good buddy.” She strode past the pick-up truck, ducked under the wooden security arm that had probably been white once, but now was more a mottled grey-green, and made her way into the refuse-littered landscape beyond.

It stank. It stank a lot, especially after last night’s rain, but it wasn’t anything compared to how it would be once the late August sun rose high and hot. Sometimes John wasn’t so early getting the trash around and that’s when coming here wasn’t as much fun. How Mr. Gunderman could stand it, Tara didn’t know, but he didn’t seem to mind.

“You get used to it,” he’d told her once.

The pick-up passed by at a crawl; the side-to-side motion created by each muddy rut threatening to toss one bag or another of garbage out the back end. Tara paused to watch as it made its way around to the left of the ever-growing ring of refuse. In the middle of it all was The Pit, the massive hole in the ground that was slowly being filled. The road circled all the way around The Pit, which was further ringed by a section devoted to dead washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators next to a heap of lawn mowers and a bunch of vacuum cleaners. Another was nothing but discarded tires. A section of small appliances; lamps, toasters, blenders, small radios and record players lay jumbled together in a mound at least six feet high and twenty feet around. There was a vague sense of order to the place. Tara tried to decide what sort of something she wanted to look for today.

She could use a new tape player, but if it was here, chances were it didn’t work and she didn’t know so much about fixing those. Tara wandered off to the right, away from the man and boy hurling bag after bag into The Pit from the truck bed. Their actions had sent the flock of gulls into a dive-bombing, screaming frenzy overhead. Rats with wings, that’s what Mr. Gunderman called them.

“What are sea gulls doing around here anyway?” Tara wanted to know. “We’re not even close to the sea or a lake or anything.”

“There’s Meyer’s Pond,” Bob had offered. “And Miller’s Pond and …”

“Then these are pond gulls,” Tara interrupted with a laugh.

“Or trash gulls. Just rats with wings, Tara. That’s all they are, rats with wings. If there’s a free meal to be ‘et, that’s where they’ll be.”

Strolling from pile to pile, Tara kept an eye out for just about anything. Sometimes there was hidden treasure. Sometimes there was nothing. Today felt like a nothing day. She’d reached the furthest point from the front gates by now. Her dad’s car was parked near the pick-up whose occupants were finally done and climbing back into the cab. Dad only had a few bags so he wouldn’t be long. It hadn’t really been enough time to look the place over very well, but Tara could always ride her bike up to come back later in the week. Maybe she could even get a friend to come with her. Maybe Danny as long as it was just him and not his annoying brother or, God forbid, his whiney girlfriend, Susan; not Sue, not Susie, but Susan.

With her hands on her hips, Tara looked out across the piles towards the slope of weeds that ended abruptly with a thick line of shrubs and Birch trees a couple hundred feet out. The wind, thank God, was blowing in her favor, lifting the feather of her bangs off her forehead just enough to feel a tiny bit cooler. Something moved along the tree line. It was low and slow and brown. Probably a deer. Nah, too dark to be a deer, she immediately determined. Not much else could have been seen this far away. Its back was hunched up, pausing as it maybe nibbled on some grass or wild berries along its path. Maybe it was a bear. A bear would be a lot more exciting to see than a deer. Whatever it was pivoted, displayed a flash of dark brown or black fabric and a feather on top of its head and stopped. Tara’s jaw dropped. She saw its eyes, small, black, and glistening, staring right at her.

It wasn’t a bear. As Tara turned to run as fast as possible back to the station wagon, she prayed it wasn’t what she thought it was. If it was, she was as good as dead.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

My first murder-mystery was accepted and released by a publisher, but a mere six months after the release, they went out of business. That was a huge punch to the gut. After a year of searching for another publisher and with readers of the first book hounding me about getting a second one out, I gave in and decided to self-publish. I got a lot of encouragement from a fellow writer in regards to “No Rest For The Wicked” so when I saw HellBound Books accepting manuscripts, I sent it out, even though I’d already released it myself six month earlier. They took it in and gave it a new home, so I’m pretty happy about that. I’ll continue to put out my Barnesville Chronicles myself as they are just too near and dear to my heart to hand over to anyone else at this time.

 

Any parting words for writers?

First, don’t write about what’s popular right now, chances are whatever the current fad is today, will be fading away by the time you get that novel done. Instead, write what speaks to you. Tell the stories that come to you in your daydreams, or nightmares, whichever the case may be. Second, listen, truly listen, to the characters that approach you out of nowhere. Tell their stories. They won’t always go where you think they should, so follow them along and try to keep up as best you can. Lastly, don’t worry about that first draft being a mess, just get the story down as fast as you are capable of doing. Tell the story first. Fix the mess it will be after.

 

Author Spotlight: Greg Alldredge

Welcome to another installment of my ongoing “Author Spotlight” series where I bring new and talented authors to your attention. Today’s guest is author Greg Alldredge.


Hi Greg, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

The other day I had a professor tell me I had a unique way of reinventing myself every few years. I like the sound of that and I might steal it. Writing is my fifth career. Before that I was a teacher, an actor, a plant manager for a medical manufacturing company, and a sailor for twenty years. At one time or another I sold insurance, appliances, paint, and delivered pizzas all since I was eighteen. I would like to think I’m a well-rounded person, pun intended. Though I have lost some weight and I am not nearly as round as I once was.

 

How long have you been writing?

Since the early 80s. “Lights in the Night” is the first novel I have completed, but I have been writing in one form or another since the early 80s. It just took me a long time to finish something.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

When I started in the early 80s it was for school or work. There was nothing fun or exciting about that writing. Now, I think for everyone there is a time when something motivates you to do something else. I had an idea that just couldn’t not be written down.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

The only book I currently have for sale, I like to call a proper novel. That’s how I explain it to my friends so they don’t think I wrote a pamphlet. When I originally thought of the idea it was a standalone book, but the deeper I got into the story the more I enjoyed writing it and I wasn’t finished with the story after one book. That’s how it became Book One of the Ostinato Series. I am currently halfway finished with Book Two but other obligations have sidetracked me specifically writing a couple of short stories for upcoming anthologies.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer Science Fiction. I believe in science fiction you can write with a flavor of the other genres. Though I am going to write a straight suspense, horror, and I have an idea for a Western. I know I should pick a genre and stick to it, but right now I’m writing to please myself and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, there are plenty of people in the world willing to do that for me.

 

What authors influenced you?

So many, but I think Douglas Adams, William Gibson, and Parke Godwin. I’m also a theatre teacher so I must add Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, and Samuel Beckett.

 

What are you currently reading?

“Man of Two Planets” by Judith Rook.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I still work full-time as a teacher, so I write every day just not on my novels. Normally I think about writing more than I write. That sounds like I procrastinate a lot, and I guess I do, but normally when I sit down to write a book I have the story mapped out, including much of the dialogue. This way I can do a couple thousand words at a sitting. This last summer I completed my last year towards my Master of Theatre Education degree. That had me writing a lot, just not the kind I wanted to be writing.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Yes, depending on the scene I’m writing, is the music I will choose to listen to. I feel the rhythm and tempo of the music help guide me when I’m writing the words for certain scenes.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I finish things now. Over the decades I started a couple of novels and for one reason or another life’s distractions caused me to look away and never finish. Now I am motivated to finish what I start. Maybe it’s an age thing, I don’t know, I just feel ready to finish my novels.

 

Cover2smallHow do you create the covers for your books?

I use online software and royalty-free images off the Internet.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing?

I think everything influences my writing. I think my theatre studies and being an actor helps me to tell the story I want to tell. I think learning about history and the styles of writing before the modern era also influences my writing. I also feel traveling enriches the soul, plus it gives me great ideas for stories.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

For now I only sell on Amazon though I am looking at the other platforms to increase my reach. Here is the link for the kindle version: http://amzn.to/2fyvxuA

 

Where can we find you online?

Amazon Author Page

www.greg-alldredge.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

What is your favorite book and why?

“Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” I love the writing style. There are other books I have read but that one matched my sense of humour.

 

How do you market your books?

Some might say not well enough. Mostly through social media and a few advertisers. I do suck as a salesman, I probably need to find someone to help me sell my books and pay them a percentage.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Not at the moment, they are still in rough draft and everything I’m working on needs work.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I wanted to get my work out there. My first book I honestly didn’t even think about sending it to a publisher I wanted to make a name for myself and control my own work. For the second book, I’m considering sending it to publishers but I’m still thinking that over.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Sure, don’t expect friends or family to buy your book. Don’t expect people you think care about you, to understand what and why your writing. It may sound cynical, but you cannot control the actions of others, if you don’t expect them to do something, you can never be disappointed when they fail to do it. Peace out!

 

Author Spotlight: Mercedes Prunty

If you’ve been following along this year, I’ve featured many new and “new to you” authors on my blog. I believe in supporting my fellow authors and I hope you’ve been able to find new authors to follow and read. Here’s my latest “Author Spotlight,” author Mercedes Prunty, author of Junia and many more books.


Hi Mercedes, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, well I’m a mother, wife, author and blogger and I currently reside in a small seaside town in East Sussex in the UK. I trained as a hairdresser before finding out I was pregnant with my eldest and it was on my maternity leave when I was bored (Before the baby arrived) that I really started writing. I had always written things as a teenager such as short stories and poems in my notebooks in class instead of paying attention so I guess it’s always been in me to write but I didn’t think I would pursue it. But I didn’t actually write and self-publish my first book until after I’d had my second child. I just needed a confidence push to get me going, which my husband gave me with a pep talk of ‘If you don’t try you’ll never know’ and I’m so glad he told me to.

 

How long have you been writing?

Properly, about 4 years. Not properly, my whole life.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

My first proper novel idea came to me whilst visiting my grandparents. My baby was asleep in her travel cot and my grandad had a documentary on TV about temples in Peru and ancient gateways around the world and to be honest I’d always loved things like ‘Tomb raider or Indiana Jones’ and that was when the idea hit me. So I wrote it down and threw it in a drawer, that was until a night feed at 1am one night and I was wide awake, so I wrote the first chapter, the next night the next chapter and so on. It still took me a year to write but that’s what awakened the true writer in me. Thanks Nan and Grandad.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

It’s a novel which is going to be around 50,000 words, I’m writing it for a competition and that’s around the limit they want, because normally my novels are 100,000+ words. It will be a stand-alone and it’s a Zombie horror novel set in my home town. (I mean why not right?) The idea for this one came to me in a dream and I began writing it, then I spotted the competition and thought, why not.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

Fantasy and Horror and those are the genre’s I mainly read although I will read pretty much anything just depends on my mood.

 

JuniaWhat authors influenced you?

Funnily enough one of the authors who influenced me a lot was S.D.Perry who wrote the novel adaptions from the Capcom game ‘Resident Evil’. As a teen I was obsessed with Zombie horror (I still am) but I loved those books and read them to death, literally, I had to buy them all again they were unreadable after the 57th time. Another author who influence me was Laurell K Hamilton, this mainly influenced my voice as for most of my works I write in first person as she did with the Anita Blake novels but with my new WIP I am in third person which is actually a nice change.

 

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading the Resident Evil series that are adaptions of the films. (See I told you I liked zombies). I recently brought the last book in the series but thought I would read them all in a book marathon so I remember what happens and can envision it like one long film. Although I have seen the films hundreds of times over too.

 

AloneDo you write every day? A few days per week?

If and when I can. I have two young children and it’s hard to find the time sometimes. So I just wing it and if I have a quiet day I’ll write, if it’s crazy I don’t.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

I have to listen to music when I write, I get so easily distracted by other noises, even the fridge talking distracts me. (My desk is in the kitchen. I’m not really a piggy…much). I tend to have a separate playlist for each novel but I mainly listen to film or video game soundtracks. For my book Junia I listened to the Final Fantasy X soundtrack on repeat for months.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

It’s neater and by that I mean less sloppy, my vocabulary is broadening, my ideas getting more vivid, less mistakes but still a few, the formatting and page layout has improved. I take it all in my stride though and learn as I go along.

 

KeeperOfTheKeyHow do you create the covers for your books?

I’ve done photography and art in school and college (Before I went off to do hairdressing), so I love drawing and taking photos so I tend to use them as my covers. One day I would love a cover to be made for me but my finances can’t accommodate that so I use my own, which isn’t a bad thing as people have commented on how they like my covers as they are not all the same generic ones you get from the shop.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

The Resident Evil films and games, The Last of Us video game (Honestly if you haven’t played it you haven’t lived, it is awesome and so is the soundtrack), Final Fantasy X video game, (I like video games if you haven’t guessed and yes I am a bit of a geek). The Walking Dead… Just anything Zombie horror and Fantasy.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

‘Suddenly Alicia stopped, it looked as if she was trying to listen to something behind the scream of the alarms. Joel stopped and raised his gun up still holding onto the case, then his eyes widened. “RUN!” he screamed grabbing Maria’s hand and dragging her along the corridor.

Glenn turned to see a whole army of the turned chasing after them, their eyes focused on one thing, “The case Joel, drop the case!” He shouted as he also took Alicia’s hand and ran behind them.’

It’s not been edited yet but I’m working on it so this part may or may not change.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Hard to choose just one but… Maybe… The Enemy by Charlie Higson. (Yes it’s another Zombie horror book)

 

How do you market your books?

Social media mostly because it’s cheap / mostly free although I have been planning to try and branch out a little into the paid Facebook and Amazon ads so we’ll soon see if they bring any more punters in. I have also been to a few book festival type events and sold a few copies there too.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

They are all available on Amazon…

From Amazon.com

Junia

Alone

Lone (Alone Book 2)

The Keeper of the Key

From Amazon.co.uk

Junia

Alone

Lone (Alone Book 2)

The Keeper of the Key

 

Where can we find you online?

Twitter – @MercedesPrunty

Facebook author page

Blog

 

LoneIf you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I chose the Indie route because I have so many ideas in my brain for stories, that I worried I would forever be trying to find agents or publishers and not have time to write. I have been told by many that even if you score a publishing deal with a traditional publisher that they might not want to take on all your works, so that would mean finding new agents again and I can’t be harassed with that. Although if one day I decided to try it I wouldn’t mind giving traditional a good go. I guess right now the indie scene suits me and it’s so hot right now it’s a great and inspirational scene to be involved in.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Never give up, keep writing, even when it all feels like rubbish and your failing you truly are not. True writers never give up, quitters are the people who didn’t believe and you must believe.

Author Spotlight: Myrod Byers

Today’s “Author Spotlight” is Myrod Byers, author of the memoir “The Literary Works of Me.”


Author Spotlight: Myrod Byers

 

Hi Myrod, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hello my name is Myrod Byers. I was born in 1968. Grew up in rural Indiana, Mt.Vernon, New Harmony. Was born into Islam. My father was a shoe repairman. Enlisted into the US Navy after High School where i served for 7 years. Went to USI to study Social Work. I have 3 brothers/3 Sisters. Have worked in manufacturing for the last 23 years. Have 4 children. 3 boys and 1 Girl.

 

How long have you been writing?

I actually have only been writing since 2013.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I am not sure as to what inspired me to write. I woke up one morning and started to write. Maybe it was something spiritual, although I am not a spiritual person.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

My current published project is a memoir. It is a collection of personal thoughts on a variety of different topics from life to death, success to failures, and from friendships to enemies.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I like to write memoirs. I like the aspect of inspiring people. Try to make a change for the better in one’s life for the better.

 

What authors influenced you?

I like Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Dan Brown, and Robert Ludlow.

 

What are you currently reading?

Dan Brown’s “Inferno.”

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

My writing comes in spurts. I have 2 completed memoirs and I am also working on my first novel.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

I actually don’t listen to music when I am writing. I just have a literary flow in my head. I write until it runs out.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

When I first started writing, I wrote about different topics. Now I have fine tuned my writing where I focus on 1-2 key topics.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

41e2pe0mtlI have only published one book. The publishing company designed my book cover for me.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Actually I like DL Hughley and Joey Zsa Zsa as they have personally supported my book.

 

 

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” by Stephen king. I like it because of the short story format. I loved “Dolan’s Cadillac.”

 

How do you market your books?

I mainly market my book through Facebook and through various local book signings.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure.

Lots of people not only think within the box, But they live also live within the box. Therefore, they are limiting their own potential in dealing with life skills.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

My current book can be purchased from me directly and also on my publishers website www.tatespublishing.com, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

 

Where can we find you online?

I am on Facebook as Myrod L Byers, also have a book page on Facebook titled The Literary Works of Me- Myrod L Byers. I am on Twitter as Slimboi68, also I am on Instagram as Nerdyauthor68.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I am not an indie author on this book, But I plan on being one on my upcoming books. I feel i have a great support team in place.

 

Any parting words for writers?

I can only say if you want to do it, do it. Don’t give up on your dreams. You may impact someone’s live in a way you never thought of.

 

Author Spotlight: J.S. Frankel

In my year long quest to bring you new and “new to you” authors, I’m please to present young adult fantasy author J.S. Frankel, author of The Titans of Ardana (and many other YA Fantasy novels).

Hi, J.S., thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My real name is Jesse Frankel, but I never cared for it, so I go by my initials most of the time. I was born in Toronto, Canada, a long time ago, and grew up there, attending university and graduating with an Arts Degree, which is about as useful these days as an empty beer bottle.
When I was twenty-six, I moved to Japan to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) and never really went back. I got married a long time ago, and my wife and two sons make our home in Osaka. I teach English and write when I have the time.

Star Maps on AmazonHow long have you been writing?

Not very long, really. I started when I was forty-eight, and now I’m fifty-five, but I didn’t get into it until I was around fifty-two.

What inspired you to start writing?

Something my son said to me back in 2011. We’d been watching a cartoon, something about trees, and he said, “Papa, it would be great if the trees could talk.” It was a throwaway line, really, but that night—cliché time!—I had a dream, and later on I turned it into my first novel, The Tower. (That’s out of print, but I may self-pub it in the future).

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I’m working on a number of projects right now. Actually, I’m waiting for the edits to Master Fantastic, a YA novel I have with my publisher. Then I have the third Titans novel to edit, and two more, and I’ve just completed the rough draft of Ether, a fantasy novel with a hard-edged twist. So, I’ve always got something going.

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

CatnipYA, as it is fresh and exciting and new. Teens always have something new happening in their lives, and I like to record those happenings, as it were.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Yes, every day, unless sick. If I don’t write, I get withdrawal symptoms. OCD, I know, but that’s how it is.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

When I first started, I was pretty decent with writing dialogue and action, but my narrative was poor. I knew it, the reviewers knew it, and they mentioned it to me—kindly. I went to work on it, and now my narrative has improved quite a bit, although I still feel there’s room for improvement. I like to keep things simple, no excess, no waste, just enough description to spice things up, and then let the action carry things along.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

MASTERFANTASTIC final cover!I don’t. I work with a cover artist who goes on basic ideas I put out and she carries them through. I’ve worked with a number of people, but two of them stand out: Carmen Waters and Martine Jardin. Both work for Devine Destinies. Carmen did most of my covers including those for Catnip, Picture (Im)perfect, and Mr. Taxi, while Martine did the Titans covers as well as Master Fantastic and a few others. Both are excellent artists!

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc.)?

I’m a huge YouTube video watcher, and I can honestly say that music and music videos have provided me with the inspiration to pen my novels. Mr. Taxi, Twisted (a gender-switch action/comedy) Star Maps, and a couple of others all came about due to watching music vids. They gave me ideas and I ran with them.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

THETITANSOFARDANA510-253x379Excerpt from my novel, entitled The Titans of Ardana. This is from the end of Chapter One, where the main protagonist, Martin Calder, attempts to get an autograph from his favorite television action star, Dana. And…he finds out that things aren’t quite what they seem…


Peering inside, the brother-sister combo stood in the center of the room. Dressed in jeans and long-sleeved shirts, they stood ankle deep in a sea of empty candy bar wrappers and cookie boxes. Three assistants fussed around throwing garbage into a large trash bag.

In a lazy, idle motion, Dana lifted the front of her shirt to reveal a firm midriff. Yeah, she had the abs, along with a line of bumps that started from a triangular bellybutton and ran around her narrow waist. All of the bumps were a perfectly round shape, the size of pearls. Multiple bumps… that wasn’t a rash. Neither was the three-pointed navel.

Oh hell! My heart immediately accelerated to mega proportions and I flattened my back against the wall, breathing hard. Bumps, I’d seen bumps and…no…it had to be some kind of prosthetic. Sure, that was it. In a second, she’d peel it off, scratch her stomach, and I was an idiot for believing something had been wrong in the first place.

Risking another peek, the assistants turned around, and all of them were clones of Van. With a sudden, massive inhalation of breath from him, they melted into his body. “Holy crap, they’re…”

Reflexively, I put my hand over my mouth in order to stifle the gasp of surprise. This couldn’t be happening! People didn’t just split apart and reassemble, did they?

“Hey, what are you doing here?”

The voice—Dana’s—startled me. Damn it, I’d been busted. Hands on her hips, she wore a pissed off expression. “What did you see?” she demanded.

“Uh, nothing, I saw—”

“You saw nothing. Now what do you want?” That came from Van. He’d come outside to stand alongside Dana and I felt his eyes rake my form over as if searching for a spot to tear me a new one. At six feet and around two hundred pounds, the guy looked strong enough to lift a tank.

Put on the spot, trying desperately to hang onto the real and true, I sputtered out an excuse. “I, uh, was hoping I could get an autograph from Dana. And you, too,” I added. “I’m a big fan of the show.”

Dana visibly relaxed and a smile began to play around her lips. “You’re a fan, huh? If you are, tell me what happened in episode twelve, midway through the show.”

plit-second answer time and it was a no-brainer. “You were captured by the Shadow Agency. They tortured you, sent a rogue mutant agent named Saldar to kill your brother, and you busted in and saved him at the last moment.”

Yes, perfect response, and in an attempt to look cool, I crossed my arms over my scrawny chest. A second later, I dropped them to my sides. My chest was too small and my arms resembled sticks. Glancing at her brother, his reaction was to offer no reaction at all. Rocks showed more emotion.

“Great,” he said. “We got us a fanboy.”

He then took a step toward me, violence flashing from his eyes. Please don’t hammer me too hard. In a quick move, Dana put her hand on his arm to restrain him. She may have been shorter and lighter, but she had some grip. Van struggled, but couldn’t go anywhere. Finally, he jerked his arm away. “All right, sis, it’s cool.” Impaling me with a glare, he said, “Fine, you’re hardcore. So, what did you see?”

“N-nothing,” I stuttered. My confidence shattered and sweat poured down my face. After wiping it away and hoping not to appear too pathetic, I managed to say, “I just, uh, walked in and saw all the candy wrappers and—”

“And now you’re here because you wanted an autograph. That’s all, right?”

“Yeah, an autograph, and then I was going to leave.”

Unfortunate situations made people feel like total tools. Call me Tool Dude. Van grunted something unintelligible, and then pulled a piece of paper and a pen out of his pocket. He scribbled something on the paper and thrust it at me. Pivoting around on his heel, he walked inside, back turned to me.

Dana stayed a moment longer, long enough to give me that same curious smile, a faint curling of the corners of her mouth. Dawn purple glowed in her eyes, and the color seemed to leap out and swallow me up. Something was there, something I couldn’t figure out. Maybe it was interest or maybe not. “What’s your name?”

“It’s Martin, Martin Calder. I’m a student at Tacoma High.”

Dana didn’t bat an eyelash and then went over to the table to grab a sheet of paper and a pen. Following her brother’s lead, she wrote on the paper and handed it over. It read From Dana to my biggest fan.

Lifting my head, our eyes met once more. She was in the process of giving me that same curious look, and then the door closed. Well, mission successful and I’d achieved the impossible. I’d seen it as well. While exiting the building, a security guard confronted me. “Hey, how’d you get inside?”

“Uh… uh, well…”

The expression of mess with me and you’ll suffer major trauma was written all over his face. “The exit is over there.” He stabbed a thick forefinger at the gate. Message given—message received.

Once outside the entrance, the shakes began. What I’d just seen had rocked my world and shaken the very foundation of my grasp on reality. Two people I idolized weren’t people. Aliens lived here and I was the first one to know their secret. The only problem was no one would believe me.

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

Here are the links to where they can be bought.
Amazon
Devine Destinies
Finch Books
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble

 

Where can we find you online?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

How do you market your books?

I use mainly Facebook and Twitter, and hope that word-of-mouth will carry my name around.

Any parting words for writers?

Don’t give up! I know that sounds like a cliché—and it is—but the most popular writers—not the best, maybe, but the most popular, are those who stayed the course and kept at it when others folded. You have to be persistent as well as consistent. If you have those traits, you have a good chance of getting published.

 

Massive book cover from Sara