Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Meet Fellow Authors’ Category

Biography: Sai Marie is an author, creative writer, and concept creator. She resides in the Great Pacific Northwest where she enjoys the flora, fauna, action and adventure that bred the Pioneer Spirit. With a heart for advocacy, animals, the environment, and great imagination she is sure to capture your attention with something for everyone.

 Sai

Martin: Hello Sai, I understand that you have some important and exciting news?

 SJ: Hello Martin, yes that is true. I’m excited to announce that I have a new book releasing, Forbidden Fantasies; which is my 15th published title. It will be out on Halloween.

 Martin: Tell me a bit about your writing to date including any genre specifics.

 SJ: Well, each of my titles have been very different; however, I’ve learned that contemporary romantic thrillers and paranormal or urban fantasy seem to be my niche markets.

 Martin: What inspired you to write?

 SJ: I’ve been telling stories since I was a child and began penning them in grammar school. I decided to become an author in my later years, however, and only decided to pursue my career after many other people pointed out that I had great concepts that others would enjoy. At that time, I chose to take a leap of faith, enrolled in college and the rest is relative history.

 Martin: Do you think book covers are important? Can you tell me about yours?

 SJ: As sad as it is to admit, imagery is what we pay most attention to and while it is wrong to judge a book by a cover most consumers are guilty of doing so at some point in their lives. Because of this, yes, a book cover is paramount to your success just as much as a quality blurb is. My cover for my newest release is a self-designed cover and I am quite proud of it as it shows some of my own graphic skills and talents and allows me to enjoy all aspects of the creative process when designing, marketing, and selling my story.

Forbidden

 Martin: What projects are you working on at the moment?

 SJ: I am working on a new story for NaNoWriMo entitled Swiped, it is a contemporary romantic thriller that takes place in Eugene, Oregon around the U of O campus.

Martin: Do you experience any challenges when writing?

 SJ: Finding the proper balance between writing, marketing and creating all the content and materials needed to bring exposure to my work.

 Martin: Do any authors inspire you?

 SJ: Oh, yes. Several actually, some names recently are Alta Hensley, Ashley Jade and Haylee Thorne. Each of these women are incredibly talented and their success had lead me to believe mine is not too far off.

 Martin: Does anyone outside of the writing world inspire you?

 SJ: My parents and children both inspire me. However, I find most of my inspiration doesn’t come from other people but from being in nature and left to my own wandering mind’s devices.

Martin: I was once asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

 SJ: Music is important to world building and I believe it helps immerse both author and reader into the world backdrop a creator is making when considering the songs and music listened to while creating. I would have to say that for myself, it would be the Beatles.

 Martin: What angers you/makes you cry?

 SJ: Giving away one’s emotional responses is usually a bad idea, isn’t it? I jest, but in all honesty the usual things. A loved one dying or becoming sick, the loss of a pet, seeing a family’s home burn down and people suffering from the loss of having a home, knowing people are homeless and veterans are without medical care. Lots of things about the world outside me disturb and anger me as well as cause me tears and sadness and joy alike.

 Martin: What makes you laugh?

 SJ: I like witty puns that others may not get unless they are intellectual. I’m odd and have a dark sense of humour at times. For instance, the scene of Joe Black being run over in Meet Joe Black, I admit I laughed at first when seeing it and it was an awful depiction honestly. However, I could not help but laugh because of how ridiculous the flying body in the air appeared. Some might think this is a bit appalling but, like I said, dark humoured at times.

 Martin: Do you have a favourite quote?

 SJ: Yes, my favorite quote is by Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Martin: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

 SJ: Yes, I expect to have another release very soon upon completing Swiped and hope that others will check out my social networks to learn more about that book.

Martin: Where can we learn even more about you?

 SJ: You may learn more about me from the following:

 Want Author Sai Marie’s Autograph?

Check out her Author page on Authorgraph.com:

http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/LadySai

 FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/saimariejohnson

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/author/saimariejohnson

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/LadySai

WEBSITE: http://www.saimariejohnson.wordpress.com

BLOG: http://www.saimariejohnson.blogspot.com

 Forbidden

 

 FORBIDDEN FANTASIES on #Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KZ6LCV/

FORBIDDEN FANTASIES BOOK TRAILER

https://vimeo.com/239055539

BLURB

Araceli Nativa

Sheltered and yet looking to expand beyond her small-town Alabama raising, Araceli’s attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville but so far, she hasn’t broadened her horizons in the least. A pretty and successful student, Araceli spends all her days studying, attending class and living a fairly boring existence. That is until her dorm mate peer pressures her to attend the biggest frat and Halloween party on campus and when Araceli finally breaks out of her closed up shell, the consequences might just be devastating.

Abel Slaine

For centuries, he has scoured the earth searching for her, the demonic queen who stole his beloved before they ever had the chance to thrive. She and all of her dark daughters have been his target for millennia and now there is a new one who will find her death at the end of his hands one way or another but putting plan to action may prove more difficult than Abel has bargained for when his prey becomes more than a deathly pursuit.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

For all you lovers of football out there I welcome Jay to my blog to speak about his exciting & informative book about Bilston Town – the other team in Wolverhampton!

btfc-history

Biography: My pen name is Jay Hearst and I’m from Wolverhampton. I have lived in and around the Black Country my entire life. I started to write in 1998 and this book is my first solo project ever to be published, hopefully it won’t be the last. Professionally I have a normal, ordinary day job like so many writers and prefer to be called a ‘hobbying writer’ than an actual one. It’s good to keep things in perspective.

Tell me a bit about your writing to date?

I’ve written mostly on various authoring/writers websites since 2003 and have had a few short stories published in anthologies. I’ve been blogging on and off for about 15 years and have been writing at my current blog for about 5. In 2011 one of my posts was shared by Ricky Gervais on his website which came at a time when I was close to giving it all up but that single event encouraged me to keep trying and later that same year I had a go at NaNoWriMo which I completed successfully which was no easy task.

What inspired you to write your book about Bilston Football Club?

I was interested in reading it. In 2012 I was given a copy of the history of Darlaston Town Football Club and was fascinated to see that a local, grass roots club had been around so long and achieved so much. I wondered if other local non league clubs had history books and found that very few actually did. As someone who enjoys writing and loves football it didn’t take long for the idea to take root.

So what is the book about?

The book is a season by season record of achievements, starting in 1894-95 running up until the end of the 2014-15 season. It covers all 121 years excluding the breaks for the two World Wars and details league and cup achievements, notable former players who went on to or came from bigger teams, important and interesting events andmany team photos and newspaper clippings. I’m particularly proud of the FA Cup proper section which covers the greatest achievements in the clubs history. I was also fortunate to discover all of the clubs league results from 1985 to 2015 as well as complete post war records for the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase.

How did you go about designing your book cover?

I was fortunate on one visit to Queen Street to get a nice photo of the main stand myself so I used that for the back cover. The front cover was sent to me by an American lady who’s family had emigrated from the UK decades ago. Her great grandfather had played for Bilston in 1900-01 when they won six trophies, their best ever haul in a season, and it’s a shot of the team from that year with their silverware,it’s a superb image.

Where can we find the book?

The book is currently available exclusively via the football club’s website. I wanted to give them distribution rights as part of a profit share. They make a few quid and hopefully I’ll recover the cost of the project. The club have been extremely helpful throughout working very closely with me for over 2 and half years and its nice to give something, no matter how small, back.

Do you have any other projects in your sights now you successfully have a book in print?

At the moment no. The time spent researching and writing this book has been hard work and sometimes very stressful. I’m going to relax and enjoy Christmas and the New Year with my family before taking on anything else. But no doubt I’ll continue to write in some capacity. I’ll update the History of Bilston Town FC site from time to time and no doubt drop the occasional blog post too.

Did you experience any challenges when writing your book? 

Just the researching, compiling, writing, editing and publishing. Apart from that it was challenge free! I joke of course, there were no particular challenges that I remember. I had free reign to work when I could and as hard as I wanted to. I set myself a deadline of 1 year, which it turned out wasn’t even long enough to gather all of the information. I’d underestimated the quality and quantity of the material that was available but it was certainly worth taking my time and doing as good a job as I could with what I found or was given by so many people.

I was recently asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work? 

Anyone that answers ‘The Monkees’ deserves to be taken around the back of the barn with old yeller, so make of that what you will. I think everyone likes music it’s just the type and style that differs from person to person. I like most music to be honest although I feel it’s a shame that modern pop music is all the same and is owned by sofew companies and individuals who are only interested in jemmying the pocket money out of the pockets of teenage girls. There are so many bands that deserve the opportunity to shine through their amazing musical skills that are overlooked simply because they aren’t commercially viable. If the Beatles were formed today you canguarantee that no one would know who they are because they would be ignored by today’s music industry. But like many other aspects of modern life, music has had its heart and soul replaced with greed and capitalism. I love Metallica and REM and I often listen to The Killers and Kasabian when I write. I don’t think music particularly inspires me though, but it certainly keeps me company as I type.

Do you have a favourite quote?

I love quotes but I don’t have a particular favourite. This is a good one: If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all – Anne Tyler.What authors inspire you?Stephen King was the author who inspired me originally to write many years ago but I’d say that anyone, anywhere whose writing I read, inspires me. There is so much good stuff out there these days. I try not to overlook people like myself who aren’t professional or successful writers. We need to support each other as much as we can.I like to randomly pick someone and see where they take me. If I enjoy it I’ll read more and if not move on to someone else.

What footballers inspire you?

I love professional football but I’m not inspired by any of the professional players. They are generally overpaid, over-important, man-children. If you want to be inspired by a professional person go and shake hands and chat to a soldier. They deserve our attention and respect, but not footballers. They are entertainers at best,rarely are they role models or inspirational individuals. Grass roots players have my admiration and respect as they play for the love of the sport, not financial reward or fame.

Email: bilstontownfcbook@outlook.com

Twitter: bilstontownbook

Blog:https://thehistoryofbilstontownfc.wordpress.com/

 

Read Full Post »

Okay everyone, I have real treat here for you to brighten any weekend. I am delighted to post an interview that I have conducted with fellow author, Joseph. A Pinto. Joseph focuses on the horror genre and I have connected with him all the way from New Jersey!

As well as being a quality author and poet, Joseph gives us an important insight into his support of the Pancreatic Cancer community, so please do read on…

author_head_shot (1)

Biography

Joseph A. Pinto is the horror author of two published books including the poignant novella Dusk and Summer as well numerous short stories; his most recent works can be found in Midnight Echo magazine and Sirens Call Publications.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association as well the co-founder of Pen of the Damned, a collective of angst and horror driven writers.  Indulge in his unique voice on his personal blog JosephPinto. com and PenofTheDamned.com.  Join his pancreatic cancer advocacy efforts at ‘Purple Hope’ (endpancan.com).  You can follow him on Twitter @JosephAPinto.  Joseph hails from New Jersey where he lives with his wife and young daughter.

Interview for Joe Pinto

Martin: Tell me a bit about your writing to date including any genre specifics.

Hi Martin!  I primarily write in the horror genre.  Horror means different things to different people; I tend to focus on the darker side of my characters while layering my plots with a direction and twist the reader may not expect.  I generally stay clear of narrations that rely on ‘blood and guts’ to make an impact.

Although my passion to become an author has burned within me since I was a little boy, the actual pursuit of it came about late in my life.  I’m forty-four now, but it wasn’t until ten years ago that I finally had the opportunity to take the initial steps.  I feel the past three years have really seen me grow and mature as a writer as I’ve prepared myself for the next level of things to come.

To date, two of my books have been published as well as multiple short stories.  My most recent book Dusk and Summer, published by Sirens Call Publications, ironically enough falls in the contemporary fantasy genre – my only work outside the horror realm.  It also stands as my proudest bit of writing.

I also enjoy writing poetry, often exploring and expressing the more painful aspects of life.

Martin: As well as writing I notice that you are very involved with something called Purple Hope. Could you tell us a bit more about that, Joe?

Purple Hope is a blog I started along with editor and co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, Nina D’Arcangela, in November 2014 to provide information, support and awareness for the pancreatic cancer community at large.

It all came about with the release of my book Dusk and Summer.  I wrote Dusk and Summer seven years ago in tribute to my father after he lost his courageous fifteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  My intent was to honor my father’s fight, as well as a way in which to deal with my own grief, which was overwhelming in the months following his death.  I incorporated my father’s love for the sea and wrote a fictitious story – not a biography, mind you – about a man who must find a way to bring his dying father’s soul to rest beneath the ocean’s waves.

I originally self-published Dusk and Summer back in 2008.  Years passed, and I went on to meet Nina, who has become an extremely respected role model in my life.  She read my book and loved it, and my book’s publishing journey came full circle from that point on.

Perhaps most importantly, I donate half of all my book’s proceeds to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research here in the United States.

The culmination of Dusk and Summer‘s publication seemed a good way to take my advocacy efforts in creating awareness about pancreatic cancer a step further.  Hence, Purple Hope was launched.  I thought if I could share my story, then why not encourage others to share their own?  I’m hoping Purple Hope will catch on as a means for others to share their memories and their hopes while venting their pain.  I also share any news and relevant information I find involving pancreatic cancer on Purple Hope as well.

Martin: Your book covers are great, who designed them?

Thank youThe cover for Dusk and Summer is an actual photograph shot by Nina D’Arcangela.  Her talent and enthusiasm are endless!  Nina came up with the vision of a live beach shot, incorporating my actual silhouette into the cover.  She believed it would lend a wonderful personal touch – the feel of experiencing my book as opposed to just reading.  We scoured the beach for hours, searching for just the right spot.  Finally, Nina nailed the money shot; it was among one of the very last photos taken that day.

Ironically, the location of our photo shoot – Long Branch, New Jersey – was struck by Hurricane Sandy not long thereafter.  The entire Jersey shore still struggles in its bid to recover to this day.

Martin: I notice that you also write poetry. What turned you on to that?

I primarily write poetry to keep my creative juices flowing, so to speak.  I express myself through a free verse medium and as I mentioned earlier, I gravitate toward the conveyance of heartache, angst and pain.

My exception is when writing about my young daughter.  That’s when the soft, sensitive side of me comes out.

Martin: What projects are you working on at the moment?

Well Martin, I’m currently writing a new horror novel.  I don’t usually give much away on current works, but I’ll share this: it involves events after Hurricane Sandy ripped apart the Jersey shore – the storm seems to have dredged something mysterious from the depths.  It will explore the possibility of a strange entity invading our world while examining the monster within my main character.  I’m having fun with it, and it won’t be along the lines of anything anyone has read before, I can assure you that.

Martin: Do you experience any challenges when writing?

I think the greatest challenge I experience when writing is overcoming the seed of self-doubt.  Facing a blank page is a daunting task for any writer.  I trick myself into believing that it’s not so much a blank page but an open road; I’m free to explore any route I choose.  And so I do.  I don’t structure or outline a story prior to writing.  I’ll run with an idea, then have at it on my keyboard.  The discovery of one’s own work during the actual process of creation is a feeling like no other.

Martin: Do any authors inspire you?

Authors inspire me as a whole.  It’s a ‘we’re all in this together’ kind of feeling.  Authors need to be read, their voices heard.  So the inspiration I find is in seeing the determination and in feeling the passion a writer possesses.  It turns an ‘I can’t’ into an ‘I can.’

Martin: Does anyone outside of the writing world inspire you?

Outside the writing world, my daughter inspires me most.  She’s gone through some tribulations during her first six years of life and still they continue, yet her smile, her love and her spirit are infectious.  She’s my inspiration to push and grind on so that what I might achieve today may provide for her tomorrow.

Martin: I was once asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

How ironic Martin, the Beatles happen to be one of my favorite bands!  I love all their work, so my answer is an easy one – of course, the Beatles.  Although I do remember watching the Monkees when I was a kid (how I loved that hot rod of theirs!)

Music inspires my work greatly.  What I listen to depends on the piece I’m writing, or an actual scene.  Some of my best writing is done while I’m singing along to a tune – I kid you not!  Lyrics don’t distract me, but if someone should try to speak to me while in the middle of a writing session, it most definitely throws me out of my zone.  Go figure! I have very eclectic taste in music, with the exception of country and rap.

Martin: In the UK we are a bit of a soccer mad nation. Do you like soccer or any other sports?

My favorite sport is American football, and I am a die hard New Orleans Saints fan.  Since I was born and raised in New Jersey, it might seem odd to some.  But the Saints and the city have my heart.  I’ve been rabidly cheering on my team since I was a kid.

Martin: What angers you/makes you cry?

The overall state of our world makes me angry – so much violence, upheaval, and distrust.

Watching my daughter just be herself often makes me shed a happy tear.

Martin: What makes you laugh?

Okay, I’m going to share a guilty pleasure with you, Martin – I find humor in people tripping, and I might seriously wet myself if someone fell in front of me.  Of course, I’d help them up and make sure they weren’t injured – I’m not cruel, but I’d still be laughing!

Also, I don’t take myself too seriously, so I often find humor in the things I do and say.

Martin: Do you have a favourite quote?

I have two favorite quotes.  The first is ‘win the day.’  That’s my mantra upon waking.

The second is ‘never drop the ball.’  It’s the personal rally cry my father and I used as he battled pancreatic cancer.  ‘Never Drop The Ball’ is now tattooed atop my hand as a constant reminder.

Martin: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes, Martin, there is.  For any of your readers who are fans of horror fiction, I’d like to throw a quick plug in for Pen of the Damned.  Nina D’Arcangela and I started Pen of the Damned in 2012.  Each Tuesday, we, along with eight other wonderful authors from around the globe, take turns sharing free horror fiction for readers.  The stories and prose are always 2,500 words or less, ensuring for quick, impactful reads.  It’s been steadily gaining in popularity and something Nina and I are quite proud of.

And if I may share one more thing, it’s to ask readers to invest a little bit of time and a whole lot of emotion into reading my book Dusk and Summer.  Even if you aren’t an advocate for pancreatic cancer awareness, it’s a story that will suspend your belief about things you think you know about life and death.

Does Heaven await beneath the waves? One man needs to know.

When his dying father whispers a cryptic message to him, he has no choice but to summon his courage and begin the quest of a lifetime. It’s a race against time to realize his father’s wish and fulfill his own destiny; it’s a discovery of the unbreakable bond between father and son. It’s a journey of the heart that unfolds where only the Chosen exist – in the moments between Dusk and Summer.

“A poignant, metaphoric conversation between son and father. A story that will warm your heart.”
–Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., bestselling author of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

The author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Dusk and Summer is available at:

Amazon: US |UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil
CreateSpace | Smashwords
Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes (Apple)

Read Full Post »

laura-k-cowan-headshot/>musicofsacredlakesbookcoverfront[1]

Hi everyone, I have a real treat for you as I have managed to secure an interview with the latest literary phenomenon from across the pond – Laura K. Cowan. I also have the distinct pleasure of kicking off Laura’s Blog Tour which leads up to the launch of her latest novel Music of Sacred Lakes. Laura describes herself as a Dream novelist making connections between the natural and spiritual world.

I can relate to Laura as an author as we are both influenced by music and my own novel Mind Guerrilla, due for release later this year, includes the exploration of connecting and even controlling on levels not obvious to most of us.

To learn more about Laura and her intriguing work please read the exciting interview:

Hi Laura, you have a book coming out shortly. Could you tell us a little bit about Music of Sacred Lakes and how you came to choose the title?

Music of Sacred Lakes is about a young man in crisis who doesn’t want to be a sixth-generation farmer because he thinks his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole the land from its Odawa owners. He doesn’t feel he really belongs anywhere. Then, he accidentally kills a girl, but it is the spirit of the girl who comes back as a personification of the spirit of Lake Michigan to help him.

The title is inspired by the idea that there is music in all things, a voice running through the universe. I started this novel with a question: is there a relationship between music and the land it comes from? I began to research metaphysics, what wisdom traditions had to say about connectedness and the nature of the universe and matter, what physics had to say about the nature of reality and the relationship between sound and matter: superstring theory, M Field Theory, quantum entanglement. What I found was an overpoweringly beautiful pattern of connectedness, through all disciplines, through all cultures, through all matter. It’s so hard to explain in a blog post, but this pattern of connectedness informed the heart of this story: what it means for us to belong, and what is keeping so many of us in the modern western world feeling isolated and disconnected.

Is it fair to say that the genre you write in is a little unique, and could you tell us a bit more about the genre of magical realism or metaphysical fiction?

My books are all about dreams, connections between the natural and spiritual worlds, about bringing the magical and presumed-impossible into the world for the reader in a literal way. It’s imaginative fiction, at its heart. Pan’s Labyrinth is a good example of a movie in this genre. Many books in this genre involve mythic elements, fairytales, angels and demons, or completely invented magical characters and worlds. It’s fantasy, but often fantasy just out of the corner of your eye, Neil Gaiman or Borges style. Everything else in the story is contemporary, but then suddenly there are flying carpets, like in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude or Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden, in which the blood of a bear a frontier woman once loved makes it so everything in her garden can only grow blood red for generations.

What inspired you to write Music of Sacred Lakes?

My family actually has a sixth-generation family farm in East Jordan, Michigan, just like Peter, but for me personally the heart of the story was not about specific people but exploring the relationship between this disconnect in our modern western culture between people and the world around them (the modernist idea that humans stand apart from nature and can be its objective observers) and the legacy of rejection my family has had especially on that side. Generation after generation there is at least one child who feels unwanted, embattled, rejected, and they make big messes and pass it on. I decided a long time ago that this chain would end with me, insofar as it was within my power to stop the legacy. And part of my journey to healing involved receiving this gift of the understanding of the connectedness of all things in the world, including people, from Eastern and Native American cultures. I wanted to write a story that explored these themes while honoring these cultures for bringing this crucial piece of wisdom and healing truth to me, because I grew up in a conservative religious culture that really didn’t know how to honor truth found in other cultures or religions—a symptom of this disconnected crisis.

Which character in the book did you have the most fun with?

Uncle Lou, the Odawa pipe carrier who first tells Peter he needs to live by the shores of Lake Michigan until it speaks to him. I was worried I would stumble across some offensive cultural faux pas writing him, because Uncle Lou kept wanting to be a guy with a mischievous sense of humor. I am grateful that some Odawa and Ojibwe linguists and tribe members helped me proof this book for cultural references and language, because I didn’t want Uncle Lou to end up some cultural stereotype mashup of blackface and Victorian Indian shows. Somehow he came through despite my anxiety, cracking cross-language jokes and (I hope) coming across as a wise and kind but very good-humored elder with a lot of joy in life despite his experience of being displaced from his own culture.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing your book?

Ah, that would be being called a heretic; even by some of the people closest to me (did I mention my upbringing?). Suffice it to say this book involved me growing a lot, and it was pretty hard to discover that I couldn’t explain my discoveries to anyone else. It made me wonder if the book was worth anything more than an exercise in moral courage for me. If people couldn’t understand it, was I doing anything meaningful? This was my wakeup call as an artist. I suddenly found this scripture, which says (I paraphrase, the Bible does go on for poetic emphasis, lol) “if I make you a watcher on the walls and you don’t warn the people that danger is coming, their blood will be on your head.” To me, that meant that it was crucially important that I put my own belief that I had discovered an important healing truth ahead of what other people thought of me. Otherwise I was worse than no good to anyone, regardless of whether I really understood what I thought I did. This book was me developing some courage to speak my truth, and I’m so glad someone out there seems to understand it. Rave reviews can be a seductive mistress, but it’s pretty amazing to see people picking up this book and seeing their eyes light up.

Is a book cover something that you consider important?

It’s very important, especially for magical realism, where the most sophisticated covers can often be found. I had this cover designed by someone who not only could design book covers but also understood the nuances of fonts and cover styles for conveying the exact style, time period, and content of this book. I love it.

For you personally what was the most spiritual experience that you have ever encountered?

When I was exploring the various traditions of vision quests and meditations for pursuing spiritual wisdom I was following a meditation by Lewis Mehl-Madrona on the spirit of healing, in which the listener walks up a mountain path looking for a healing lake. It was so simple, not coercive, so I kept going despite my anxiety (did I mention my religious upbringing? Gah! Fear-based thinking is the gift that just keeps on giving). I followed the path, and when he said that you had found the healing lake and what did it look like, suddenly I realized I was on an island in Lake Michigan, and the healing lake was actually all around me. The healing lake was everywhere! So accessible, so abundant. And my grandparents came to me, who have to me represented this legacy of rejection and neglect, and I asked my grandfather why we had all been through so much pain, why he had suffered and caused so much suffering. His face fell, and he said to me, “No one wanted me.” It broke my heart, this man who in my life had represented the monster of mental illness, telling me it was all because he was an orphan at heart. And aren’t we all, those of us who live believing that we are separated from the world and have no place? My grandmother told me that my grandfather was trying to put things right in our generational line because he was ashamed, of how much pain his suffering had caused, and that was when I knew I was writing a book about freedom from this orphan heart, for the sake of everyone and even the planet itself, which suffers because we suffer.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?

For me, it’s the only way to get a book like this out to market and increasingly the best option for artists. Things are changing quickly, with traditional publishers most often offering very poor terms and services for authors and self-publishing increasingly offering more. I wanted someone to champion this book, but a dozen top agents in the magical realism space told me it was beautiful, amazing, wonderful, unique, and then that they couldn’t represent it because it didn’t match the longer style of most mainstream books. They did give me some really valuable advice that I took about how to improve the book, but I realized that since my style runs short and this book just isn’t like many other things out there, they really couldn’t help me sell the book without changing it into something I didn’t intend it to be. I’m grateful self-publishing is an increasingly amazing option, so this book doesn’t have to be molded into something it isn’t in order to succeed.

If your book was turned into a movie who could you see playing the lead role for the character or characters?

I want to say a young Johnny Depp because he’s so bizarre and talented, but he’s way too confident for this role, lol. He is a chameleon though. He could probably pull it off.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Italo Calvino. I read his Cosmicomics in college and it blew my mind that someone could succeed as a writer noodling around with fantasy based on the moon and the stars with plots that were coded with messages about the scientific elements that hinted at the nature of the universe. And people loved him! I always thought my tendency to obsess on these metaphysical topics would land me in the bargain bin, if I even got out of the slush pile. Wow!

Ok time to be a bit more random. It is no secret that I am a huge Beatles fan so for you is it Beatles or Stones?

Beatles. I know the Beatles were a UK phenomenon, but they remind me of the optimism and freedom of California, and I think I’m a Northern California girl at heart.

Do you have any other musical preferences?

I played classical and jazz piano pretty seriously through high school, so I have a soft spot for the German and Russian Romantics, but to give you a more up-to-date answer, I love cross-genre hip hop and Latin jazz, Tibetan throat-singing monks, and the music of water. Basically Dream Theater. Dream Theater would be the short answer to that question, lol. Give me something intense and authentic.

Are you a girl who likes football/soccer and if so who is your team?

I’m from Detroit, so my soccer team is the Redwings, I guess? Sorry to hit you up with a very American answer to that question. Hey hey Hockeytown.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about Laura K. Cowan?

Gosh, it sometimes feels like my strangeness doesn’t have a bottom, but I think we’ve covered it all. I suppose one thing to add would be that my books all center around these spiritual supernatural questions, but that doesn’t mean they’re all in the literary genre. I have books coming out this year that range from new fairytales and mythic fiction to a psychological thriller romance with nightmares that bleed into waking reality. It’s these topics that center my work, all other bets are off. I don’t live inside a genre box. No boring stories.

Where can we buy your book and when is its release date?

Music of Sacred Lakes will be available in paperback and Kindle e-book from Amazon on April 26, or you can order it at your local bookstore.

Do you have any means where we can contact you?

laurakcowan@gmail.com goes directly to me, or you can find me obsessing over many strange and possibly recursive thoughts with my friends on Facebook at fb.com/laurakcowannovelist.

Thanks Laura, I wish you every success for the future.

Thank you! Likewise. Thanks for having me.

BIOGRAPHY: Laura K. Cowan, The Dreaming Novelist, writes imaginative novels that explore the possibilities of the human condition through the connections between the spiritual and natural worlds. Her debut novel The Little Seer spent its launch week at #2 and #5 on the Kindle Bestseller List for free titles in Christian Suspense and Occult/Supernatural, and was hailed by reviewers and readers as “riveting,” “moving and lyrical.” Laura’s second novel, a redemptive ghost story titled Music of Sacred Lakes, and her first short story collection, The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen, will be available soon. Connect with Laura on her website LauraKCowan.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Read Full Post »

It is my great pleasure to feature an interview on my blog of the talented and refreshing author Rachael H Dixon. Rachael is the author of Slippery Souls, the first instalment of the Sunray Bay Series, featuring vampires and werewolves by the seaside. How fantastic and intriguing! If you are having a sleepy Sunday this interview will certainly get you moving . Let’s see what Rachael has to tell us:

Biography

Rachael H Dixon lives in the cold and windy northeast of England. She craves sunlight and warmth, and as such her skin is so white it’s almost translucent.

She’s been writing ever since she could hold, albeit strangely, a pen. Her love for the macabre stems from reading James Herbert novels and watching Vincent Price films when she was small.

As well as writing, Rachael loves reading, walking the legs off her dog, drinking red wine and Gil Elvgren art work. And she often wonders whether she’s the only writer in the whole world who doesn’t like coffee.

Tell me a bit about your writing to date.

I’ve felt the need to write ever since I was small – but I didn’t take it seriously until about three and a half years ago when I started a home study writing course. The course covered all aspects of writing, beginning with non-fiction. I’ve always felt more drawn to fiction, but during the first modules of the course I did enjoy working on non-fiction travel pieces – and a few of my features were even published.

When the course shifted over to fiction, I rekindled my love for storytelling and making stuff up – and so I began to write short stories. I experimented with all kinds of genres to test my abilities and to push my boundaries – but essentially I kept coming back to horror. Dark psychological stories and tales of big-toothed creatures that want to rip your throat out seemed to be my thing. I won a few competitions with my short stories and some have been published in e-zines and anthologies.

In 2010 I was made redundant for the second time in just over a year. Sick of job-chasing, that’s when I decided to pursue writing as a career – but on a much bigger scale to anything I’d ever tried before. I decided I’d try my hand at writing a full length novel – and this is the path I’m still on now, as I focus on the rest of the Sunray Bay Series. My husband has been incredibly supportive throughout, and I doubt Slippery Souls would have come to fruition if it weren’t for him.

Slippery Souls was shortlisted for the Writing Magazine’s Self-publishing Award earlier this year – which was an extremely proud moment for me. It was the confidence boost I needed, telling me I must be doing something right.

What inspired you to write?

I’d say the film The Bucketlist kick-started my writing aspirations. As I said, I’d always enjoyed writing (stories, poems and diaries) from being very small – yet, for so many years during adulthood, life got in the way and my writing fell by the wayside.

When I saw the Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman film, it urged me to write my own list of things I want to do before I kick the proverbial bucket – and I realised that writing a novel was number one on my list! So from then I knew it was something I absolutely needed to do.

Did you design your own book cover/covers?

I have a degree in Graphic Design so I decided to put it to use by designing my own cover and marketing bits and pieces for Slippery Souls. I wanted to create something vibrant and quirky. There’s an overall sense of fun to the book, therefore I wanted the main illustration to be hand-rendered with a bit of a comic-style essence going on. I’ll be continuing in the same style for the rest of the Sunray Bay Series too.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just completed the first draft of book two in the Sunray Bay Series – The Forgotten Ones. I’m also working on the book cover design for it. It’ll take me quite some time yet to go through all of the editing, reworking, proofreading and formatting processes – but, for the most part, I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s a good feeling.

I’m also trying to plan ahead for the third book in the series – Tattooed Gods. In fact I’ve written the final chapter for that already – I like to know where it’s all headed. I’m a maniac for planning!

Slippery Souls is part of the Sunray Bay series, can you tell us a bit more about this series and what we have to look forward to?

Slippery Souls came about, essentially, because of a dream I had quite a few years ago about the two main characters Libby and Grim. That original idea grew and morphed in my head over the years until it reached the point that it’s at now.

Funnily enough, the story wasn’t initially located at the seaside – it began life in a city setting. But I soon got bored with it – something about it just didn’t feel right for me. And so I decided that I needed to set the story somewhere that I could get excited about, somewhere that appealed to me – and that’s when I thought, why not at the beach? This idea conjured images of stripy deckchairs, wonderfully coloured beach huts, donkeys, ice-creams – all the things that aren’t typically associated with vampires and werewolves. It seemed like a wonderful contrast – darkness lurking in an otherwise carefree environment. I knew I could have great fun with it!

Slippery Souls was originally planned to be a complete standalone – but when I reached the end, I felt like I couldn’t say goodbye to some of the characters. I liked them all so much, and admittedly I’m perhaps a teeny bit in love with Grim. So I knew then that it would be a series. At the moment I have three planned – Slippery Souls, The Forgotten Ones & Tattooed Gods. If there’s demand for even more, I’m sure I could be easily talked into exploring Sunray Bay even further.

How do you feel about self publishing now that you have experienced the process?

I think it’s losing some of the negative stigma that was attached to it once upon a time, and I think it’s a very exciting time to be self-publishing right now. There are so many opportunities available. That’s not to say that it’s easy though – far from it! Marketing and self-promotion can be even harder than writing the book in the first place. Self-publishing takes an enormous amount of persistence, perseverance, self-belief – and an element of luck!

I’m still happy about my choice to self-publish – but that’s not to say it’s for everyone. I’ll keep on keeping on at it though, and I just keep telling myself, one day

Do you experience any challenges when writing?

Absolutely. I’m the kind of writer who needs to have a concrete plan before I can sit down to write the novel. I can’t just start writing and then see where it takes me – I’d be too worried about waffling, going off on a tangent, or forgetting what my point was in the first place (or whether there even was a point) – I constantly fret about stuff like that. So I need to have a beginning and ending mapped out first and foremost – and then I have to sit down and strategically plan each and every chapter to make sure something is happening in the middle bits. This in itself I find very challenging – when beginning a new project I just want to jump right in and start writing, but first I need to iron out all the faffy details. I perhaps find this the most challenging aspect of writing, getting the story right- especially when the timeline jumps all over the place like it did in Slippery Souls. Man, that was head busting at times!

I was recently asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

If I’m completely honest, off the top of my head, I’m not really familiar with what The Monkees actually sang – is that bad? But then, I’m not a massive 60s fan – it was before my time, and growing up I was brought up with 50s music – my dad was a teddy boy. So I guess the 60s era managed to pass me by completely. If I had to choose though, I’d say The Beatles – because I at least know who they were.

I love all kinds of music – depending what mood I’m in. I’m bit of a rock chick at heart, I suppose – I love bands such as Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Aerosmith. But I also enjoy chill-out music when I’m writing – I can’t really do music with vocals when writing, I find it distracts me too much.

When I was writing Slippery Souls I was influenced by Mumford & Sons – they’re sort of folk-rock perhaps. I listened to their album Sigh No More an awful lot around the time I was working on Slippery Souls – not when I was actually writing though. Their lyrics are absolutely stunning – poetic and soulful. And now when I hear the song Roll Away Your Stone, it kind of reminds me of Libby and Grim.

Do you have a favourite quote?

It’s probably a bit cheesy, but I love the quote ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. I find it very fitting in the world of self-publishing.

What authors inspire you?

Horror writer James Herbert has been my biggest inspiration throughout my life – he was the reason I decided, when I was a little girl, that I wanted to be an author. His book Fluke won me over and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is amazing. This is what I want to do.”

I’m also inspired by all the indie writers out there who take the profession seriously and who go on to make a living from their writing – proving that it can be done. I’m not necessarily talking about the size and scale of Amanda Hocking’s or E L James’ fame and fortune either – I’m talking about the people who have a loyal fan base and monthly royalty cheques that cover the bills. It’s the most we can all hope for – anything else is a bonus.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes! I’m currently running a competition where one winner will be selected at random to have one of the main vampire characters in The Forgotten Ones named after them.

So, if you fancy being a vampire – just send me an email to say so at rachaelhdixon@gmail.com

Oh and thanks for the opportunity to be on your blog Martin, it’s been great!

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Rachael-H-Dixon/125424854223752

Twitter: @RachaelHD

Slippery Souls Blog: www.rhdixon.blogspot.com

 

Amazon (Kindle version): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slippery-Souls-Sunray-Series-ebook/dp/B007A451OE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347530943&sr=8-2

Amazon (paperback version): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slippery-Souls-Rachael-H-Dixon/dp/1908481218/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347530943&sr=8-1

 

 

Read Full Post »

It is my great pleasure to introduce and showcase Dina Santorelli. Dina is a very talented and interesting lady and is the author of Baby Grand  a modern day thriller about kidnap, family ties, loyalty, murder, betrayal, and love. To find out more about Dina and Baby Grand please read on:

Congratulations on publishing BABY GRAND, could you tell me what inspired you to write this novel?

I’ve always been a huge fan of thriller novels. I love the action, the suspense, the pacing. And for some reason I always thought I had it in me to write one. I had the idea for BABY GRAND for a long time, and I decided, gosh, about eight years ago that I was going to go back to college, to Hofstra University, and get my master’s degree and get to work on that first novel. I have many ideas for novels that I’ve accumulated over the years, and I just decided that BABY GRAND would be my first, simply because I knew how it was going to end.

Did you have to do much research for the book, for example visit locations or research particular themes?

I wouldn’t say I did THAT much research. My research for BABY GRAND consisted of googling things when I came to them – such as what a death row visitors’ room might look like – and then using that information, or not using it, to create my own vision. That’s where my journalism background came in handy – knowing how to research things quickly.

However, I did take a road trip to Albany, New York, back in May 2010 so I could get a feel for the city, particularly the governor’s Executive Mansion, which is an important setting for BABY GRAND. But again, I took notes and then maybe used them and maybe didn’t. That’s the fun of writing a novel. You can mix fact and fiction.

I see that you chose to self-publish the novel. Could you tell me how you feel about taking that route?

When I told one of my professors at Hofstra that I had decided to self-publish, she called it a “wise, brave choice.” I kind of agree with that assessment. I took a look at what was happening in publishing and what my experiences had been trying to publish BABY GRAND through traditional channels, and I decided to make a go of it on my own. I tend to be a self-starter, and as a journalist I am familiar with the ins and outs of promotion, and plus I blog and am a big social media user, so thought I could give self-publishing a solid try. And so far I’ve been happy with the results. The book has been extremely well received. As of today, BABY GRAND has 31 five-star reviews on Amazon, and it’s only been out a couple of months.

What do you view as the biggest challenge to being an author?

Marketing, for sure. It’s tough, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish. Getting noticed in a sea of titles. And because it’s so tough, we authors find ourselves constantly thinking about it. You’ll be lying in bed at 3 a.m. and say to yourself, “There’s something I can be doing RIGHT NOW to publicize my novel – a tweet, a blog comment, anything.” And it’s true. You can run yourself down or drive yourself crazy promoting 24/7. And many of us do, because we can, and we can do it inexpensively. Social media, in that respect, is a gift. But it’s important to use social media wisely and effectively, which is something you learn mostly by using it unwisely and ineffectively. Practice makes perfect.

Do you think it is important for a writer to stick to writing in one genre or do you view “variety as being the spice of life”?

I think writers should write whatever is in their heart. Right now, I’m interested in writing thrillers, but who knows? That may change one day.

I see as well as being a successful writer you have also interviewed some very famous people. Are you able to give an insight into this exciting work?

Over the years, as a journalist I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing all kinds of people. Most of the celebrities I’ve interviewed, such as James Gandolfini, Kevin Bacon, Tim McGraw and Larry the Cable Guy, were for articles written for FAMILY and SALUTE magazines, for which I serve as executive editor. Those are always a lot of fun, but I treat those interviews like I would any other. I make sure that I’m prepared, and that I’m respectful, professional, and accurate. In other words, I keep my gushing to a minimum.

And finally, do you have any advice or tips for other authors starting their journey?

Make time to write. It’s so important. I know it’s easy to let other things come first. Our lives are chock full of “important” things, but if you REALLY want to be a writer – I mean, REALLY – you have to put your writing right up there with all those other important things and commit to spending time each and every day developing your craft.

Author bio:

A freelance writer for over 15 years, Dina Santorelli has written for Newsday, First for Women and CNNMoney.com, among other publications. She served as the “with” writer for the well-received Good Girls Don’t Get Fat and most recently contributed to Bully, the companion book to the acclaimed film. Dina is the Executive Editor of Salute and Family magazines for which she has interviewed many celebrities, including James Gandolfini, Tim McGraw, Angela Bassett, Mario Lopez, Gary Sinise and Kevin Bacon. You can follow Dina on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and on her blog. Baby Grand, her first novel, is available on Amazon.

Book synopsis:

In Albany, New York, the governor’s infant daughter disappears without a trace from her crib at the Executive Mansion. Hours later, newly divorced and down-and-out writer Jamie Carter is abducted from the streets of Manhattan. Jamie is whisked upstate, where she is forced by her captor, Don Bailino, a handsome, charismatic ex-war hero/successful businessman, to care for the kidnapped child in a plot to delay the execution of mobster Gino Cataldi – the sixth man to be put to death in six years by hardliner Governor Phillip Grand. What prevails is a modern-day thriller about family ties, loyalty, murder, betrayal, and love that’s told in deftly interweaving narratives that follow the police investigation of the missing Baby Grand, the bad guys who took her, and the woman who found the strength to protect her.

Read Full Post »