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: Lucinda Moebius

In my ongoing “Author Spotlight” Series I’m pleased to present Lucinda Moebius.


Author Spotlight: Lucinda Moebius

101_0680Today I’m fortunate to present Lucinda Moebius author of a number of books published through Haven Novels Publishing.

Hi Lucinda. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi back and thank you for giving me the chance to talk about my journey as an author. I grew up in Idaho as part of a large family. I am the third out of eight children, putting me smack dab in the middle. As a middle child I was always torn between wanting to be included with the “big kids” and being responsible for the “little ones”. I never quite fit in with any of them and as a result ended up needing to find ways to entertain myself. When I was eight we lost a sister to SIDS and this loss sent our family into quite a tailspin. We found joy in the birth of another sister, but some wounds can never heal. I struggled and as a result found escapism in fictional worlds. There were never enough books out there for me to read so I started writing my own.

My family was poor. We always said we were lower middle class, but looking back on our situation I realize we could only be described as poor. At one point we actually lived in a cabin in the Idaho mountains. It was a tiny, two-roomed structure heated by a wood stove and lit using gas lanterns. Our running water consisted of running down to the creek and filling up the water buckets. My parents didn’t let us know we were living in the cabin because we were poor. For us it was a grand adventure. A year and a half long camping trip in which we learned to live off the land and entertain ourselves without the benefits of television (the home computer was only just becoming accessible to the general public not that it would have mattered much because the cabin didn’t have electricity). We moved from the mountains to a trailer park. Yes, I lived in a trailer park. In fact, the majority of the town was a trailer park. Even the church was a trailer. My class was held in the bathroom. Our chapel was built a few months after we moved into the town.

My parents gave us the best gift they could: the gift of the desire to gain knowledge. They pushed each of us to get an education. It worked. Five of their surviving children have bachelor’s degrees and a sixth will graduate with hers soon. Two have Master’s and one (me) has a Doctorate.

 

How long have you been writing?

I have been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. I started writing them down about the time we moved into the cabin. We moved the summer I turned eleven. My mom would always hit the back to school sales and stock up on spiral notebooks. It’s a habit I keep to this day. I always had a notebook handy for writing stories. Although I do most of my writing on a computer now, I still have a collection of notebooks full of story ideas and outlines.

 

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 have so many stories bouncing around in my head at one time it’s difficult to tell you about one current project. I am writing two novels right now: Hunter: Book Two of Chronicles of the Soul Eaters and Lakota’s Strength: Book Three in the Haven Novels series.

My goal is to finish both books this year and send them off to editors and proofreaders. If I can stay on track with my writing Hunter should be out about mid-summer and Lakota’s Strength should be available in early 2018.

 

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

I write every genre. The Haven Novels series is Science Fiction and the Chronicles of the Soul Eaters is Paranormal. I have published books in the following genres: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Literary Fiction, Romance, Non-fiction, and Children’s books. I have a few Fantasy novels planned out. Once I have finished the two series I am currently working on I will get started on the Fantasy series.

 

What authors influenced you?

There are too many to name. I am a huge fan of the bard! William Shakespeare understands the true spectrum of the human experience. He wrote every genre even Fantasy and Paranormal (Witches, Spirits, Magic, Histories, Insanity, Love) He wrote it all.

My favorite book as a teenager was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I was supposed to read it as an assigned book in High School. I found it under my bed one hot summer day between my Junior and Senior year. I think I read it in one night. I don’t know how many times I read it that summer and I don’t know how many times I read it since, but it is still one of my favorite books.

I think I read through every Science Fiction and Fantasy book in our school library as well as the ones I found in my brother’s bedroom (I might have also read a few of the letters I found from his girlfriend, too). He had quite a collection of comic books and I might have “borrowed” a few X-Men and ElfQuest comics from his collection. He used to steal my babysitting money to fund his collection so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

 

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

I try to write every day. I may not be able to write on my current WIP, but I at least try to get some kind of writing done.

 

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

No, I watch TV. There are a few shows I binge watch: Star Trek, Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds and although I don’t really pay attention to the shows the background noise allows me to concentrate. I like music, but my auditory perception of the world is different than the average persons. I had my hearing tested once and it was discovered my hearing is 10% above the average human beings so I don’t hear music the same way as most people. I can’t zone out and just let the sound wash over me and I become overstimulated easily.

 

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

Every book I write allows me to improve. The most important skill I’ve developed is the art of Showing vs. Telling. Most importantly, I have learned I still have a lot to learn. I am not afraid to take critique and improve my writing.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

41gveqdiqwlI have some very talented friends who create covers for my novels. Amazon has a cover making template I use for my 30 Days Stream of Consciousness novels. I use my own photography for the images on these novels. I am going to continue exploring my cover options in the future.

 

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

Excerpt from Hunter: Chronicles of the Soul Eaters book 2

I could feel the creature’s energy pushing at my back as I followed the Warrior out into the street. Her energy pulsed and grabbed deep in my core. Every ounce of my soul reached out to draw her in to my existence. I wanted her to be a part of me, to become intertwined with my being. The raw power in her soul called to me, pulling like the moon pulled on water. Since the first day I saw the creature in the graveyard so many months ago she consumed my thoughts and invaded my dreams. I couldn’t explain my desire to possess her, I just knew she belonged to me like nothing else in my past ever did.

The monster had a name, Maria Christine, but I couldn’t bring myself to call her by the name I had spent my entire life regarding the name as the most holy of holies. Even now, when I know I would never complete the path to the priesthood I still couldn’t see calling this creature the name I regarded most holy from my earliest memories.

We were moving fast. Buildings flashed by in streams of light. There were people on the sidewalk but we breezed past them as if they weren’t even there. We melted through the crowds, passing through their energy like a hot knife cuts through butter. I could see the bodies all around me. They were crowded in front of me and on all sides, pressing in as I made my way down the sidewalk. None of them moved out my way, but somehow I passed by all of them, keeping pace with the fast moving slayer ahead of me.

 

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

All of my books are available on Amazon.

Echoes of Savanna: Book One: The Parent Generation

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006RM66QM

 

Raven’s Song: Book One: T1 Generation

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006YJ92GO

 

Write Well Publish Right

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product

 

Feeder: Chronicles of the Soul Eaters Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615968325

 

30 Days Stream of Consciousness V. 1

http://www.amazon.com/30-Days-Streams-Consciousness-1-ebook/dp/B01BW8JXBU

 

30 Days Streams of Consciousness Vol 2: A Haunting

http://www.amazon.com/30-Days-Stream-Consciousness-Haunting-ebook/dp/B01D7T9CFY

 

30 Days Streams of Consciousness Vol 3: Abduction

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F1DMOBI

 

30 Days Stream of Consciousness: Fire and Ice A Love Story

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GGL8QUM

 

Raising Grandpa

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPP1FCI

 

I Know I am Awesome

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QYAQBZI

 

Oh Brother!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A1PC5YM

 

How can we follow you online?

Lucinda Moebius Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lucinda-Moebius-Fan-Page-136358979707547/

 

SFF Promo Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1132459036786385/

 

Twitter Handle https://twitter.com/?lang=en

 

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4176363.Lucinda_Moebius

 

Blogs:

Your Next Favorite Author: http://mynextfavoriteauthor.blogspot.com/

30 days Stream of Consciousness:  http://30daysofconsciousness.blogspot.com/

 

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

I was originally published through a small independent press. The owner made a lot of big promises and when it came time for follow through he quickly faded. I lost creative control and my work suffered for it. I paid for editing and proofreading and the quality or the work was sadly lacking. When I gained creative control back I decided to self-publish. I love the control self-publishing gave me. It’s a lot of work to promote and try to get my name out there, but I doubt I ever go the traditional publishing route again.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Write. Every day. Just write. People tell me all the time they want to write a book but they don’t know how. If you want to write a book you should just write the book. Then join writing groups and hire editors and proofreaders to fix the issues you have with story structure and grammar. Stop telling people you want to write a book and just do it. That is all.

Author Spotlight: V.R. Craft

Today in my series of “Author Spotlights” I present author V.R. Craft.


Author Spotlight: V.R. Craft

vrcraftToday I’m fortunate to present V. R. Craft, author of “Stupid Humans.”

 

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I always heard you should write about what you know, so I decided to write a book called Stupid Humans, drawing on my experience working in retail and my subsequent desire to leave plant Earth. (Nowhere will you meet more stupid humans than in retail.) I also worked in marketing, advertising, and public relations, where I found even more material for my book. I’m now self-employed, and I consider myself a professional shopper. I enjoy the contact sport of shopping clearance sales, slamming on the brakes for yard sales (seriously, you do NOT want to tailgate me), and wasting time on social media, where I find inspiration for a sequel to Stupid Humans every day.

 

How long have you been writing?

Since I was a kid, really. I wrote for some local newspapers and magazines, but never got paid much, if anything, so that made me lose interest in writing for a while. I have a background in journalism, but was always more interested in making up my own stories than writing the truth. I guess it was either politics or writing, and I’m not much for kissing people’s asses, so writing it was.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I guess I have a lot to say. I’m opinionated. I want everyone to know what I think, and I’d like to think my books and stories make a point. They’re also humorous, because I think sometimes the best way to make a point is to get people laughing and hope they think about the absurdity of the topic.

In Stupid Humans, I poke fun at stupidity, and a lot of things we do in society that don’t make sense. In the book, humanity has discovered that some super-smart humans left Earth about four thousand years ago—the lost colony of Atlantis. So we find our long-lost, distant human relatives, and five minutes later we’ve started a war with them. I honestly think that’s what would really happen if that scenario were true. Or if we encountered intelligent life on other planets. If there’s one thing human beings are good at, it’s picking fights over stupid stuff. In the book, this manifests in a peace rally that goes great until someone starts throwing peace symbols, and then the whole thing deteriorates fairly quickly. It’s a funny scene, but it also makes a point about how we human beings are.

 

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

Well, I have several projects. I have some short stories that will be published this year—Not Enough Scotch in Scotland, Don’t Feed the Trolls, and A World Without Stories. All are variations on alien abduction stories, which I also do a lot of on my blog, vrcraftauthor.wordpress.com.

Stupid Humans is also being adapted as a serial, due out in early 2017. It’s interesting watching it be adapted into a shorter form.

I’m also working on my next novel, a parallel universe story that will probably be out sometime in 2018.

 

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

I mostly write science fiction, because that’s what I like to read.

 

What authors influenced you?

Jack McDevitt, Ben Bova, Douglas Adams. I loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because it was so funny, but it also had a lot of science fiction themes that were interesting. I guess that inspired me to write comical science fiction.

 

What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein, then I’m going to read Death Wave by Ben Bova.

 

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

It varies. When I’m attempting a Nanowrimo, every day. Or if I’m trying to finish a project. Funny story about Nanowrimo—I started Stupid Humans in November of 2012, thinking I was actually going to write it in a month. Now the finished version of that book is about 140,000 words. The first draft was about 176,000. I finished it in November, all right—November, 2014. Hey, they never said it had to be November of the same year, right?

But there are also some days and even weeks when I don’t write. I know I should write every day, but mostly I write sporadically.

 

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

Yes, I sometimes listen to music. I don’t really know if it influences how I write. I’m a pantser, so I don’t have anything planned when I write, music or not. I wrote most of the second half of Stupid Humans while listening to Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox playing on repeat. It’s still one of my favorite albums, and sometimes I remember writing a scene when I hear those songs.

 

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

I’ve learned a lot about writing style, like deep point-of-view and avoiding passive voice. That’s the main thing. I also try not to overwrite as much. Like I said, Stupid Humans was 176,000 words in its first draft. Part of that was due to being a pantser, but most of it was due to writing a whole lot of crap readers don’t care about. When I edited the first draft, there was so much stuff that I looked at and said, “Do I really need to spend two pages on this? Can I just sum it up in a sentence or two?” Mostly if it was neither relevant nor extremely funny or interesting, I decided the answer was no. The second draft was only about 155,000, and I later cut more from it.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

My publisher, a small press called Oghma Creative Media, designed the book cover. I really like how it turned out.

13445360_1236045719790054_1771228305834197707_n

 

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

Absolutely! Here’s an excerpt of about 600 words. This is the peace rally scene:

For reasons Hailey didn’t quite understand, the second the shaking stopped, everyone ran for the exits. Hands pulled apart, feet pounded the floor in heels and soft soles, and signs fluttered to the ground as their holders fled.

“This door is locked!” someone screamed from the end of the concourse.

“So is this one!” Clark had joined the fleeing crowd. She’d thought better of him than that, but he’d been dating a Human, and while stupidity wasn’t contagious, people sometimes picked up each other’s habits.

Farley, running through the crowd in his “Peace for peace’s sake” t-shirt, threw the first peace symbol. Samantha said something Hailey couldn’t hear to Sheila, as she flounced out the door of her restaurant and surveyed the scene. Sheila grabbed for the nearest emergency exit door, jostling Samantha, who stumbled into Farley.

“This one’s locked too!” Sheila bellowed.

“It locks automatically after an impact to protect the inner part of the station in case of….” No one could hear her over the noisy crowd, and finishing the sentence with “a hull breach” would only worsen the panic, anyway.

“This is your fault, Human!” Farley yelled at Samantha. “I bet you caused whatever just happened, didn’t you? Your people can’t stand peace.”

Two minutes earlier he’d been holding hands with two Earthers and singing some old Human song, the lyrics of which sounded a lot like, “Come buy bombs.”

“Oh, that’s great!” yelled a Human at the back of the crowd. “Some peace organizer you are.”

“Seriously? You helped organize this display?” Samantha sneered at Farley.

“Not anymore!” He slammed his peace symbol onto the ground. Due to the lightweight plastic and the lightweight gravity, it bounced off the floor and flew up into the crowd, smacking Clark in the face.

Sheila shoved Samantha up against the wall, grabbing the collar of her black jacket. Was that messing up one of the camera shots? “Time for you to stop asking questions and start answering them. What do you know about this Human attack? Which of your people blew up that ship, and how stupid was their reasoning? Or were you in on it, Human?”

“Leave her alone, or I’ll make sure you stop getting an Economic Crisis discount on your rent.” Hailey hoped to come off as a beacon of peace instead of a miserly manager. It was so hard to gauge these things before they hit the news nets.

Sheila let go of Samantha and stomped back into her restaurant, slamming the door on other frantic fleers, but the Human/People clash was far from over.

While Hailey yelled at the crowd to calm down, every peace symbol in the room was lobbed at someone. Fortunately, the cheap plastic limited the damage, but a few pieces managed to leave red marks. One found its way to the mouth of a shop owner just as he yelled, “You people are sub-Human!” The peace sign drove his lip into a nearby tooth, and blood trickled down onto his “Give peace a fighting chance” t-shirt.

What was she doing? She was supposed to be in charge here, and she was gaping at this idiocy like, well, an idiot. Remembering her data pad, she called up the emergency preparedness plan she’d signed off on after Clark wrote it last month. She hadn’t actually read the plan, so hopefully Clark knew what he was doing.

 

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

Here is the book link for Stupid Humans on Amazon. It is also available on BN.com, and other online stores where books are sold.

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/VR-Craft-104391266655648/

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/vrcraftauthor

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/vrcraftauthor

Book Link on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H7FQ3VU

Author Page on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/V.R.-Craft/e/B01H7POQPU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog:

https://vrcraftauthor.wordpress.com/

 

Any parting words for writers?

Find a good writing critique group. I go to a couple, and they have helped me improve my writing a lot. Because of them I learned about things like deep point-of-view, avoiding passive voice, and other things that tighten up your writing a lot. I also learned how to condense two pages worth of back story into a short conversation in a way that still gets the necessary info to the readers without boring them in too much back story.

 

Author Spotlight: RJ Batla

Today I’m fortunate to present RJ Batla author of AGAINST THE BEAST and FIRE EYES AWAKENED.

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

Hi! Thanks for the interview Jason! I’m a Texan, born and raised, a Christian who loves my family and a fan of good old fashioned fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero books. I’m a country boy who has always loved to read and be outdoors in any form or fashion. I consider myself to be one of the ‘nice guys,’ and try to help anyone I can when I can.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for around seven years now, but I’ve gotten serious about it in the last two and have written over two hundred thousand words since then. Most of it probably wasn’t that good (or will ever see a published book in its current form), but it has helped hone my writing craft. It’s been a journey, but now that I (kinda) know what I’m doing, it’s a lot of fun!

 

What inspired you to start writing?

To get the voices out of my head!

Just kidding. But I’ve always wanted to write a book and I’ve been telling stories to myself in my head for a long time. I wrote a little in college, and some family had said it was pretty good. So I continued on, enjoying the learning of a new skill and telling a story.

 

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

So I’ve got several projects going at the moment. FIRE EYES AWAKENED is my first full-blown novel, and it’s at the editor right now. I expect to release it around May or June.

The RANGER’S FIELD MANUAL is the companion guide to the world of Terraunum. I’ve gotten it written and edited, and might be available now for free for signing up for my email list! There is a smaller version available now for an email signup, but anyone on my list will get the expanded edition as soon as I can.

 

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

I don’t know that I prefer any, but I’d have to say fantasy comes the easiest for me. I like the creation of worlds, the magic (both the system and in general), and the old school sword & sorcery battles.

All of my current works are based in Terraunum, a future earth where Marvels have amazing powers over the elements and much more. It’s Epic Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery with a good bit of Superheroism and some technological elements of Steampunk. So a blend of genres.

 

What authors influenced you?

Oh wow, several. Terry Brooks, who was the first author I really latched onto in the fantasy genre, is a clear influence. Also Jim Butcher, who writes the Dresden Files, my favorite series – I love the main character Harry Dresden, a smart-aleck wizard with a strong sense of justice. Those would be the two biggest influences, though everything I read tends to influence me in some way.

 

What are you currently reading?

So I’ve got several books on my reading list right now. I tend to read several books at once (I know, a little crazy). Right now, here is what I’m reading:

Outbreak by Joshua C. Chadd; Mistress of Masks by C. Greenwood, and Thinblade by David A. Wells

 

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

I try to write every day, but it usually turns into around 4-5 days per week, depending on when the kids go to bed and how much time I have at night. The day job gets in the way (as per the usual), so I do all my writing at night. Usually I can knock out between 500-1000 words per hour after I have my outline done, so I am able to make good use of my time.

 

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

Absolutely not! I love music and tv, but I can’t do either and write at the same time – I get too involved in one thing and get sidetracked.

 

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

I’d like to think it has gotten better – better at telling the story, better at getting my point across, more succinct, clearer, more descriptive without wasting words. I also think I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and how to make sure and only include what is good/important but to make sure I do include those same things.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

RJBatlaI come up with the general idea for what I’m looking for, then I work with the professionals to get it done right. I am by no means an artist (drawing wise), so I hire out freelancers who are pros. I have two different cover artists that I use, and they are both amazing.

 

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

Absolutely! Movies – anything superhero-related, action/adventure, and even some of the drama. I’ve also been heavily influenced by a couple of animated shows, particlularly Avatar: The Last Airbender (the series, not the movie), and Naruto, a manga adaption.

 

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

I’m exclusive with Amazon right now, so that’s the only place to get any of my books. I’ve only got one out, but several are in the works and will be out as soon as I can get them out there.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Now that is a tough question. Because you’re making me pick ONE, I’m assuming a work of fiction, I would have to pick Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, Book 4) by Jim Butcher because it introduced me to the Dresden Files series that I love.

 

How do you market your books?

I use Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Ads, and my email list. But mostly it’s word of mouth from other authors and friends.

 

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

Sure, here is an excerpt from AGAINST THE BEAST.

Royn parried the sword from the left Skeptor and threw up an air shield on his right. Steel clanged against bone as the two traded blows. The second one broke through the air shield quickly and thrust at Royn’s midsection.

Royn teleported at the last second, the creature’s sword hitting nothing but blue light. Growling, they advanced on his new position, circling around again. Clearly they meant to keep his attention divided. The left one started in again, and Royn counterattacked, matching the strikes with his own as the second one circled and jumped in again. Thank God for his Ranger training, or he wouldn’t have lasted ten seconds against these things.

“Flying Knives!” Royn called, arcing his arm and sending dozens of daggers of sharpened air at the Skeptor. They imbedded themselves in the bone, but didn’t penetrate, didn’t even slow the thing down. Again Royn teleported away at the last second.

They continued to circle, and this time Royn put everything he had into his sword work, until he found an opening. “Aha!” he said, driving his blade right into a Skeptor’s chest.

It clanged and bounced harmlessly off the bone armor, the force prying the sword from his hands. “No!” he said, teleporting away, then right back to get his sword and away again too fast for them to react. Damn that was close.

Five more times they circled and advanced, each time Royn throwing a different attack at the second Skeptor, and five more times Royn teleported away. But there was a problem. Royn’s energy was draining quickly—the second bean was wearing off, his reserves already depleted. He was weaker than he thought. He hadn’t fully recovered. He shouldn’t have come. The Skeptors circled again. Like vultures. Might as well be. One of these times they were going to get him. Just a matter of time. How could he win this battle? His attacks fell right off of them, nothing stuck. He was severely out matched.

What is that blasted buzzing? Royn dodged a sword attack and deflected a fireball with an air blast.

“Now.”

From behind him the second Skeptor launched another fireball. Diving away, the heat singed his clothes as he tucked and rolled on the landing, immediately jumping up before he was blasted again.

 

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

Definitely Indie, though if someone wanted to pay me an insane amount of money I could be convinced!

The main reasons I chose Indie is the ability to actually get your work out in the world and let the people/readers/fans decide if it is good enough, vs someone in a corporate office. So in a word control – I have ultimate say on anything involving my works.

Plus it’s on my timeline – if I need to push something back because I have time with my family scheduled, it doesn’t hurt anyone or myself.

 

Where can we find you online?

Here they are:

WEBSITE: rjbatla.com

TWITTER: @RJBatlaAuthor

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/rjbatla

EMAIL: rjbatla@rjbatla.com

 

Any parting words for writers?

Keep working hard. Take it one day at a time. Grab any time you can to write, market your current works, or read – either for fun or for honing your craft. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and you write a book one word at a time over a sustained period. You can do it!

 

Author Spotlight: Merri Halma

In my continuing “Author Spotlight” series, I present to you author Merri Halma.


Author Spotlight: Merri Halma

merri2Today I’m fortunate to present Merri Halma, author of the Indigo Traveler Series (Indigo Traveler Book 1 and Keys to the Shadowlands Book 2 of the Indigo Traveler Series).

Hi Merri, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Thank you for having me, Jason.

 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

 I studied Children’s theatre and children’s literature when I was younger. I really wanted to be a writer from a young age. I graduated though with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Social Studies and the Humanities. Two years later, I earned a Master’s of Science in Counseling-Psychology. I still had the overwhelming desire to write and be published. Back then, I wasn’t aware of the writer’s groups like I am now. My whole goal after graduating was working in my field and attending prayer groups at my Church. After leaving my field and moving to Idaho, I saw a whole new world open. I realized there were writer’s groups and began joining them and seeking out others to work with. Digital publishing started and computers became the normal. Still, I am struggling to get my name out as other indie authors are.

 

How long have you been writing?

 I always had an active imagination growing-up. I used to tell myself stories at night when I was going to sleep. I would often dream in stories or hear songs with lyrics, though I couldn’t write the music to go with the words. I also had a speech impediment, so at 11, I started writing down the poetry, and lyrics as well as stories. Writing became my way of expressing myself. My dad gave me my first journal book at 12 and taught me to never write in pencil. He knew I would write about my feelings because that is what I knew and felt. Words had power to me. Words, the taunts the peers lashed out at me with, had power to cut deep. Those words echoed through the brain. Eventually, that became one of my monsters in Shadowlands. Without expressing my feelings, I knew I would be dead. I discovered all writers feel deep and write from a wounded soul. I write to heal myself as well as to expand my inner self and journey toward Spirit.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

My need to express myself and feel like I am being heard. As someone with a speech impediment, I wanted the friendship and felt fulfilled when I wrote down the words pounding in my brain.

 

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 am currently almost finished with my third book, tentatively titled Many Paths which is the third book in the Indigo Traveler Series. I realized this week that I will likely write another draft and deepen most of the theology bases on that current world as well as work with more development of the new characters that are introduced. I will find readers first to read through this draft to get comments.  I am also doing my best to post a blog on Niume every week. I am hoping to post about two or more times, to drive up interest in my page and draw in more readers.

 

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

I have coined the phrase Spiritual Fantasy because I explore the whole concept that we cannot avoid addressing Spirit, however we see Spirit. I view it as a sense of self. I have grown from the view of Christianity as the only way to embracing a more world view that says all spiritual paths have truth in it. The ultimate truth resides deep within each person. My characters all strive to find their self-acceptance while struggling to realize how they fit into the whole Spiritual world or whether they really believe in the Creator of All worlds.

 

What authors influenced you?

After I read the Hunger Games, I began writing like Collins, but it didn’t last. I can’t say any one really influenced me, per se. I love to read, but mostly I have that inner drive to write. If I don’t write every day or work on my book everyday, then my characters begin bugging me or yelling at me. I’ve had my Lynx character begin telling me he was stuck where I left him and he was itching to move on. He gave me ideas of what he wanted to do next.

 

What are you currently reading?

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. She won a Hugo award this year for one of her books. I found her on Patreon.com earlier this year and was fascinated with her campaign and began following her on Facebook. The Fifth Season is a very deep world but watching as she develops the story and the characters is also fascinating. It is not for the light of heart to read because I find I must concentrate and spend time with it and engage my brain. I highly recommend this book to others.

 

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

I have been doing my best to write every day even if it just in my journal. I have to devote my time to finishing my novel, though.

 

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

Sometimes I listen to instrumental music when I am the only one home. Right now, there is a Doctor Who marathon going on while I answer these questions. Since I’ve seen most of the episodes, I can write and watch it.

 

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

When I first started writing, and hadn’t gotten published yet, there was only traditional publishing. If someone were to self-publish, they had to spend a small fortune on the printing and finding distributors for the books. I remember stories of the author of the Celestine Prophecy giving his book out for free wherever he went because he couldn’t sell them. The more people who read it, the more they talked with others his book swept through the country and he was awarded a book contract. I read it and it was horribly written, yet the plot, story and message were the driving force of the success. After that, he had someone help him write the second book in the series and it was better.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

I usually get an idea of what I want, and hire a graphic artist because I can’t draw. I can visualize what I want, I can’t duplicate what I see on to paper. That is why I am a wordsmith, as another friend calls it.

indigo

 

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

I really love the Moody Blues. Their lyrics and music sends me into dreams and inspires me to write.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

I have many favorite books. I love the Harry Potter series, Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, J.R.R. Tolkien, Percy Jackson series and many more.

 

How do you market your books?

I have one Youtube book trailer that I posted below. I am still learning to market and create the ad copy and how to use PowerPoint. I plan to start teaching classes on how to journal to Journal to Your Soul and hope that platform will lead to people buying my books.

I am doing my best to write every day and learn how to get feedback from my audience.

 

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

An Titus found himself in a dark forest. The trees grew together so densely no light could filter through the canopy. It was grey, black and off white, but had no natural light. For a few moments, Titus stood completely still, not daring to breath. Finally, he took a cautious step forward and then another. Soon he was roaming through the dense woods. He felt lost, afraid and not sure of how he got here. Voices could be heard in the distance. Some were whispering but they were overshadowed by a few shouting voices. His heart pounded in his chest. He felt alone, yet knew something was there, watching him, waiting for him to make a move.

 A creature made of sticks and stones wobbled out from amongst the trees. The creature’s eyes grew wide when it saw Titus, then cowered on the ground trying to cover his body in fear.

 “Names are names. Just labels that can’t hurt me. Words are empty and meaningless,” it said. “I can hurt you worse.”

 “Your words are brave, yet you cover your body as if you fear me.”

 “Aye–, I am afraid of giants like you. You erupt at a moment’s notice – your temper – your rage. You hurt people with that whip you wear around your waist and send them to a dark place.”

 “Dark place? You mean a place like this?”

 “No, dark places within them, belittling them, telling them they are useless, don’t measure up to your expectations and are no good. From then on, all they do or see is reinforced. It is the dark place that you are experiencing now. You, you, you see, see what you have done.”

 Rustling steps echoed from deep within the forest in the distance, like leaves being displaced as something came through. Titus’ whipped his head around, listening and trying to see what was approaching him.

 “No, no, I can’t bare this! Take me away!” he screamed. “I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused others. I can’t ever be happy again. Sticks and Stone, Sticks and Stones, they heard and break my bones. But the words are replayed over and over and over. My mother and father could never see me for what I was or wanted to be. The village kids hated me for being the prince. Take me away!”

 “No, I can’t take you away. But I can lead you to another place where you see more. Do you dare continue?”

 *Excerpt from Keys to the Shadowlands Book 2 of the Indigo Traveler Series

 

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

I was not sure I could land a traditional publisher. I had made friends with individuals who had published on CreateSpace, and they encouraged me to use that because it would cost less and I could control how it is marketed better.

 

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

My books are all available on Amazon and Kindle. Indigo Traveler Book 1 is also on Smashwords.

http://amzn.to/2e4Mb1n

http://amzn.to/2ftkzVX

 

Where can we find you online?

https://www.facebook.com/IndigoTravelerbook/

https://www.facebook.com/authormerrihalma/

https://www.facebook.com/Clarence-from-Indigo-Traveler-Series-926226174154752/

https://twitter.com/MerriHalma

https://niume.com/profile/96169#!/posts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmTn8r679IQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Any parting words for writers?

Write every day. Find writer groups that you can join and learn from. Do not be afraid to share your work nor give up who you are because others say it doesn’t work. If you agree with them, then listen. Above all, it is your book and your words. Consider your message and what you want to say and then say it. We need your voice so please finish that book and get it out there.

Author Spotlight: Lisa Wylie

Here’s the latest in my continuing series of “Author Spotlight” interviews. Today I interview Lisa Wylie.


Author Spotlight: Lisa Wylie

Today I’m fortunate to present Lisa Wylie, author of Burning Suns: Conflagration.

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

Hi, and thanks for inviting me. I’m from Scotland, I live just outside Glasgow, and I work for a research software group at an academic publisher. I’m a scientist by training and a sci-fi geek by nature, and I dabble in photography and cooking as well as scribbling in my spare time.

 

How long have you been writing?

In fits and starts since I was a kid – any time there was a writing assignment at school, I’d make up a story. As a hobby, since I was at university, and it’s been a continuous passion since then, so let’s say twenty years.  Yipes…

 

What inspired you to start writing?

The catalyst was having a bunch of friends who were also interested in writing.  We started with our own Star Trek fanfic ship and crew, writing stories for original characters and their adventures within that universe. I fell in love with it at that point. We then moved on to an original work, and writing that, at first as a way to keep a connection, and then for the sake of the story itself, is what really got me hooked.

 

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

Burning Suns: Conflagration is a project of interesting beginnings, actually. Burning Suns itself is a board game produced by Emil Larsen at SunTzu Games. It’s a sci-fi based game, so Emil had got together with a bunch of artists and produced a galaxy that was populated with fantastic races and locations, and he wanted a story to go with that galaxy—which, for me, was like being a kid given full run of the toy store. When you get a picture like this, there’s a story just waiting to be told…

4268502_orig

And thus Conflagration was born. It’s a three-book series following the adventures of two of the playable characters in the game, although the story is totally standalone – you don’t need to play the game to follow the books. There’s a lot of potential for sequels and other timeframes in the world-build as well, so I hope it’ll keep me busy for some time.

 

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

Sci-fi. I dabble in fantasy as well, but I’ve always loved sci-fi a little more, and it was a natural progression from reading and watching to writing. Though, perversely, I think I own more fantasy books.

 

What authors influenced you?

David Eddings, Tom Clancy, Robert Heinlein, Alistair MacLean, Janny Wurts, and Richard Morgan.  That’s an odd list when you read it back, right? Eddings at the top because he was, and is, my favourite author, and even if you haven’t read his other books, the Rivan Codex, which is a companion piece to his Belgariad fantasy series, has a whole wealth of insight into how he wrote the books.  The thing that sticks with me to this day is the advice to: “Write a million words. Then throw them away. Now you’re ready to begin.” It really underscores the importance of practice.

 

What are you currently reading?

The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu.

 

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

I try to write every day, if only for five minutes, although some days I do take a complete break.  Habit is a powerful ally against writer’s block, I find.

 

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

Usually, and yes, very much so.  I often use it to set my mood.  I love movie soundtracks, I always have. I love the way it’s an emotional amplifier for what you see on the screen, and that once you’ve associated a piece of music with an emotion, it can be difficult to ever shift that conception that you’re supposed to feel “this” when you hear “that” piece. So if I need to tackle a scene or chapter that has a certain emotional tone, I’ll pick the music to put me in the right mindset. And sometimes, that needs to be a terribly cheesy power ballad, hah!

 

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

I’m sure I’m echoing many others in a hope that it’s gotten better! But I think it has. I’m more comfortable with different styles, more confident in trusting to the content of a story rather than dressing it with too many fancy words, more aware that you can’t spend ten thousand words describing something in loving detail no matter how cool you think it is. Getting feedback really helps with that.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

Burning Suns has a very talented artist crew, and they create the artwork that supports the books and the game. The book covers are a team effort between me, Emil, and our principal story artist, Angelita Ramos, about whom there are not enough superlatives I can use. I adore her work, and I’m really lucky to be working with her. You can see some of that artwork in our trailer for Conflagration – you really get a feel for the scope of the galaxy, I think.

 

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

Sci-fi movies and TV series of all shapes and sizes, I would say, and even the odd computer game – Mass Effect was a strong influence on my decision to start writing fanfiction again after a long break. And that led me to the opportunity I have now, so it was definitely a positive influence!

 

What is your favorite book and why?

HMS Ulysses, by Alistair MacLean. The fact that it’s written from experience lends it an authenticity that’s hard to surpass, but the way in which in portrays the better angels of human nature against a setting of such extraordinary hardship and in the midst of war is utterly magnificent.

 

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

Not excerpts as such, but a series of small stories called snapshots that fill in some background and work as teasers for the main story, available here: https://wyles77writes.wordpress.com/snapshots/

 

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

My new book, the third and final installment of Conflagration, will be released May 11th. Book One is free to download on Smashwords, and if you sign up for my email list, you can get Book Two for free as well (otherwise you can pick it up on Smashwords or Amazon.)

Where can we find you online?

My website

Facebook

Twitter

My Amazon bio page

Smashwords

 

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

I’m not really an indie, since technically I have a publisher, but we’re a two-man army so pretty much we do this on our own.  We’re occupying a niche between indie and trad, thanks to the setup of the game world, so we need the control that the indie option brings.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Ooh, gosh—have fun with it! Whatever you’re writing, however far along with it you are, whether it’s fanfic, original fic, poetry, or factual. When you’re putting this amount of time into something, enjoying it is crucial!

 

Author Spotlight: Ray Wenck

As part of my ongoing series of “Author Spotlights” I’m pleased to highlight author Ray Wenck. I met Ray in June of 2016 at a convention in St. Louis. We’ve stayed in touch since then and in April of this year (less than a week from this post!) we’ll be at another convention together.


Author Spotlight: Ray Wenck

ray4-2Today I’m fortunate to present Ray Wenck, author of the Danny Roth mystery suspense series and the post-apocalyptic Random Survival series.

 

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

I have 11 published novels to date. I was a teacher for 35 years and owned an Italian restaurant for 25 of those years, both of which play a part in the Danny Roth series.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for 6 years and a good example of the phrase ‘it’s never too late …’

 

What inspired you to start writing?

It was something I’d always wanted to do, but never had the time. Once I found the time it’s been non-stop ever since.

 

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 WIP is titled A Story Best Left Untold. It’s a stand alone mystery. It developed from one sentence a friend said about their child. “That’s a story best left untold.” Although that story and this one have absolutely nothing in common, the sentence sparked something that came out to be this story. It’s funny sometimes where the inspirations come from.

 

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

I write thrillers in all styles, but my most popular series is Random Survival, a post-apocalyptic tale following one man as he tries to find his way through the chaos of a world altering event that has everyone mystified.

 

What authors influenced you?

There’s so many. Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Robert Crais, John Sandford and a list of others.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading D.P. Lyle’s Deep Six. Met him at some conferences and decided to read one of his books. I didn’t realize how similar our styles and main characters were. They were both former major league baseball players and both now own restaurants.

 

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

I write five days a week usually for 3-5 hours.

 

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

Sometimes, but once I start writing I don’t hear anything. In fact, I find it easier to write sitting in a diner then I do being home. I’m able to block out all the noise but, if I write at home, everything bothers me. The dog wants attention, unfinished chores make me feel guilty, the refrigerator calls to me. Not good.

 

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

I understand the process so much better now. I was always a good story teller, but my craft has improved.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

That’s easy. I let the publisher come up with the idea and say yes or no.

 

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

I think almost anything could be an influence, but that’s not always good. I have to be careful to be true to my characters and not copy them after something I’ve seen.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

One of my favorite books was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Intense for the time.

 

How do you market your books?

As many ways as possible. I’ve done TV ads; ads on Facebook and Goodreads. But the best way I’ve found for convincing a reader to take a chance on a new author is face-to-face. I do a lot of shows. It’s easier to explain a book to someone when you don’t have to worry about word count or time. They can also feel the passion with which you explain it.

 

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

Sure, but it’s raw.

I have a story to tell, I think. Oh, not that I think I have a story, I definitely do, especially considering the small, but important part I play in it. It’s just that I’m not sure I should tell it. I mean, after all, if the facts became known, a lot of people could be in trouble, though most, I’m sure, would go to ground, scattered about the world by strong, need-to-disappear winds.

 

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

I’m published through small presses, but because I do a lot of creative writing workshops, the question about self-publishing comes up every class. To be able to talk to them from experience I have published 2 of my novels myself, Ghost of a Chance and Live to Die Again.

 

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

All my titles are available by going through my website: raywenck.com or on Amazon.

 

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @raywenck

Facebook: Author Ray Wenck

website: raywenck.com

 

Any parting words for writers?

At least once a show someone will come up to me and say they’re a writer too, or they always wanted to write. The secret to writing is to sit your butt in a seat and write. My suggestion, is to write for yourself, not to get published. Have fun. Enjoy the creative process and keep going until you finish. You can always go back afterward and do rewrites, but they are much easier to do once the book is done. Some may disagree with that, but so many times I’ve talked to people who write, stop and start something new, or start, decide they don’t like it and go back and start over. Consequently, the story never advances. If you finish you can go back and fix the parts you don’t like and it won’t feel as daunting.