Interview with Romance Author Elaine Cantrell

Hello Elaine!

elaine 's picture (1)

It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

I was born and raised in upstate South Carolina, one of the prettiest places anywhere. I attended a local university called Clemson University where I obtained an undergraduate degree in secondary educations and a master’s degree in personnel services. I taught for 35 years before retiring three years ago. I have a wonderful husband, two sons, a granddaughter, and two grandsons, and I love them all dearly. I’ve also got a dog and cat that I’m fond of. When I’m not writing, I love collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, reading, and walking.

 How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

My inspiration? A cartoon character called Woody Woodpecker. I wrote my first book at the age of five.  I actually couldn’t write so I dictated the book to my dad we wrote it down on notebook paper. He put it in a cedar chest and kept it until he died about fifteen years ago. My stepmother found it and gave it to me. It’s one of my greatest treasures.

 Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

This is a hard question. There are some authors whose work I love. For example, I read Karen White whenever a new book comes out, but I don’t really think I have a favorite author. There are far too many wonderful writers to pick a favorite.

 What has been your most proud moment as an author?

No doubt about this one! It had to be the night I learned that my first novel had won the 2003 Timeless Love contest. I had entered my manuscript in the contest at the last minute, hoping to win because the first prize was the publication of your novel. I forgot about it until months later when the publisher called and told me I’d won. My heart was beating so hard I could hardly hear her, and I let a container of ice cream melt and make a mess. It was too thrilling to believe, and I guess it still is.

 What are you working on now? What will you release next?

At the moment I’m between books. Turnaround Farm will be released September 1, 2018, and right now I’m waiting on the edits to come back from my editor. Turnaround Farm is one of my favorite books. It took a while, but I finally figured out why. My hero Dan Wakefield is so much like my husband. I promise I didn’t realize it as I wrote the book, but it’s true.

 So… where can we get your books? 

Most of them are available at all the major online retailers, and some are available only at Amazon. Just plug my name in the search box. The books can also be ordered from any brick and mortar book store. Flood, my last publication is available at http://amzn.to/2qRgYD7

Flood

 How would you define what being a successful writer means?

Naturally being on the New York Times bestseller list would define success in terms of the number of books sold, but I think there are other definitions as well. For example, it gives me great joy to create a new world and people it with characters I love. Writing is an outlet for creative expression that gives me great pleasure. Being successful could mean doing your best work and enjoying the whole process from start to finish.

 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I do read my book reviews. The good ones fill me with joy, but the bad ones not so much. If a bad review is well written and gives reasons why they didn’t like the book I think it’s possible to learn from them, but sometimes it seems like people just write them to be mean. I got a mean review the other day and discounted it immediately because there was no substance to it.

 What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? 

My latest published work is titled Flood because a natural disaster is a part of the story. I wish I’d titled the book Peaches and Caleb, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, at the time I got the idea for the book parts of the country had been ravaged by floods so I thought people might relate to the idea. My heroine in the story is a vet so I incorporated my love of animals into the book. My heroine Aria tries to find the leaders of a dog fighting ring so she can bring them to justice. Naturally she succeeds, but she’d never have suspected who the ringleader was.

 Where would you like to travel to and why?

If I could go anywhere I’d go to Greece. I think it’s a beautiful country, and it’s filled with history. I taught Social Studies for 35 years so of course the history aspect appeals to me. I’d love to see the ancient ruins and Santorini. Have you seen pictures of Santorini? It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

My favorite character is Richard Lovinggood, the hero of Return Engagement. Richard is everything I’d like a man to be. He’s good looking which isn’t totally necessary for a hero, but it is nice. He’s also devoted to my heroine. He’d give his life for her if necessary. He’s a man of principle, but look out if you cross him. He’s an FBI agent who won’t do anything illegal, but he will use all of his power and authority to bring the bad guys to justice. (http://amzn.to/1SMhEEk)

Return Engagement

What would you like readers to know? 

If readers would like to sample my work they can check out my .99 novel Rest Thy Head. It’s published by Clean Reads. To get the .99 price you’ll have to buy the book from Amazon as the book is more at other outlets. Here’s a buy link for you. http://amzn.to/1PDbyPX 

Rest Thy Head

Contact:

Website:   http://www.elainecantrell.com

Blog:           http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elainepcantrell

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review for Pandora’s Box Gazette

https://www.pandorasboxjt.com/single-post/2018/08/13/Book-Review-of-%E2%80%9CThe-Little-Dolphin-Adventure%E2%80%9D

Book Review of “The Little Dolphin Adventure”

Author: Diana Molly

Reviewer: Eve Culley

Adventure Books for Kids 9-12

A cute story for children ages 9 – 12 about a little dolphin named Bobby. The story’s 63 pages contain many interesting facts about dolphins.

Bobby becomes lost from his pod during migration and sets out to find his mom. There are many harrowing adventures along the way. Bobby and his new friends work together to find ways to eat, stay safe, and continue looking for Bobby’s mom.

About the Author:

Diana Molly is a writer for children who enjoy writing as much as reading. Her books mainly focus on friendship, efforts and good lessons. She believes that children learn from books, and any good book is like a good friend that can give only good advice. The number one reader of her stories is her own daughter, who enjoys her mother’s stories and always waits for more to come.

Diana Molly likes the story of Paper Bag Princess and believes that girls can be adventurous and strong, instead of being weak and fearful. The young readers can see this reflected in her stories, where the girls are the main heroes and solve problems better than many boys could have done.

Posted in animals, authors, blog, books, children stories, Pandora's Box Gazette, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Adventure around the corner…

barn town logo 5-31-18

 

Barn Town Children’s Books first book, an indys. publication, will be available November-December 2018. The new book, Mysteries at Barn Town will feature original artwork by Anna Gary.

Anna and I are extremely nervous and excited  about our new book and hope you will join us on this wonderful new adventure of Barn Town.

Posted in animals, artist, barns, blog, books, cats, chickens, children stories, ducks, Eve Culley's Blog eveculley.wordpress.com, family, Mysteries, painting, self publishing, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Interview with Fantasy Author – Nancy S. Brandt

Hello, Nancy. It is nice to meet you!

Author Photo

Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

Hi! I’m originally from Pennsylvania, born and raised, but since marrying my real life hero, I’ve lived all over the world (Illinois for 8 years while he was in grad school, Potsdam, Germany for two years, Pennsylvania (two places) for a total of six years, Beijing, China for a month (okay that was a business trip/vacation but we lived in an apartment so it counts), and now Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We’ve been here for almost 13 years.

Other than writing, I love to sew and do counted cross stitch.

I am an Army veteran (three years), a kidney transplant recipient, and a thyroid cancer survivor. I have two kids – a daughter, now married and a mom herself, and a teenage boy heading to high school. I also have a wonderful son-in-law and the cutest little granddaughter just a year old.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

I’ve always loved to tell stories, and when I was in about sixth grade, our English teacher had us write a descriptive essay. Mine was about a fabulous cave filled with diamonds and all kinds of precious gems. Every English class after that, even into college, I hoped we’d have to write something.

I believe we were made in God’s image and He is the Creator, so, therefore, there is something within us that drives us to create, whether it’s a lovely garden, a magazine worthy living room, fabulous one of a kind clothing, or books.

I have stories in my head all the time, and it came as a shock to me to find out that not everyone has that. I said something once at my in-laws’ house about everyone having stories in their heads, and my mother-in-law said, “I don’t.” I think that storytellers and fiction writers are wired slightly differently than the rest of society. We imagine what could be given a certain set of circumstances.

My inspiration comes from all over – a scene on a TV show might get me thinking about what if? A story in a newspaper or online connects to something else I read somewhere, and suddenly I’m wondering what would happen if.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

 Favorite is hard because I love so many. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series always makes me relish his use of the language. I have often said if I ever met him in person I might hug him for some of the passages I love.

I love Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon series, and she’s a personal friend so I have to include her.

Leah Marie Brown is another personal friend, and her It Girls series is a great example of chick lit.

As for inspiration, my husband (Steven R. Brandt, author of Turquoise Bones) inspires me. He has an amazing imagination and fabulous work ethic.

My readers inspire me. Whenever I wonder if it’s worth it; if anyone is reading my stuff, I will get a note, a review, a comment, or something from one of them out of the blue that reminds me that this is what I am called to do.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

 I love urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and YA urban fantasy. I also have been reading some contemporary books that have new movies based on them, mainly because the previews are intriguing and I’m curious.

Favorite book is hard, again, because how do you pick? In my teens and early twenties, I read a lot of glitz and glamor books and Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz was and still is my favorite. I read that one several times, which is remarkable because there are always new books coming out!

I love The Scarlet Letter, Rebecca, Gone with the Wind – these I have read more than once.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 

 I wish it had. I published two very different books with the same publisher in 2004. One was a contemporary inspirational romance and the other an epic fantasy. Neither of those are available anymore for personal reasons.

I didn’t publish again for 8 years, and that was a book that took me six years to write.

Then, I think I got a handle on the writing thing, and the next book came out three years after that and then one about two years after.

My writing process has changed from not knowing what I’m doing to understanding story structure. I am still a pantser, but I’ve learned to trust the process and let the characters take me where they need to, always keeping my ending in mind. Sometimes, throwaway lines or filler scenes end up being important, and that magic keeps me going.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about? 

 My Misfit Monarchs series (Pigsty Princess and Questionable Queen so far) is about “pretty, pretty princesses and the people who are trying to kill them.” It is also about people coming to the throne who no one would ever expect to rule.

What was it like creating back to back stories that link? 

My stories are always about new characters who are related somehow to the characters of the previous book, so I don’t usually end up writing about people I’ve dealt with before too much. The biggest issue is keeping family histories straight, and people’s ages. How that changes from one book to the next one. If my heroine in this book appeared in the previous one, how old is she now and how does that change who she is or how she would react to a given situation?

It is fun to go back and see a bit of the “happily ever after” from the previous book. I’m big on babies, so my previous couple might be pregnant when the new book starts and sometimes that lends itself to seeing their relationship differently than we did in their book.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

 I used to think I’d like to write cozy mysteries. I have a series of cozy supernatural mysteries in the back of my head; I just can’t quite make them gel yet.

What has been your most proud moment as an author? 

 Seeing your book, in print, in your hand is always a thrill, but there have been a few proud moments.

My second book, Attack of the Queen, contained a character who became a tree when she was expecting a child. Years before that book was published, I sat next to Eloisa James at an NJRW conference lunch and told her about this. She gave me some mythological information about such things, and when I finally got to sign that book at that same conference a few years later, she bought it! That’s one my claims to fame. Eloisa James bought MY book!!

More personally, there is a family member who is a bit passive-aggressive in her comments. (“I guess that’s nice for you.” “I wouldn’t do it, but if you like it, okay.”) She read my first Misfit Monarchs book, called me on the phone, and said, “Damn, Nancy, you can write.” That’s was a big deal.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration? 

 Don’t we all! Some days the words flow and angels sing.

Some days you wonder if sexing chickens might not be a better career path.

Some days you feel like you’re mining words out of the concrete with a toothpick.

The book I’m working on now, Shipwrecked Sovereign, is a hard one. There have been some personal issues that kept me blocked for about a year, but I think I’m finally getting back into the groove again.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

 I like to same I’m a recovering pantser. I’ll never been a plotter – that’s too organized for my unorganized brain, but I’m learning to pick out key plot points and figure out my ending before I start and then I just trust the process.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

 Actually, grammar and punctuation are two things I’m good at. I never stress about those things.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

  1. Don’t do this for money. The media lies and writers don’t make millions of dollars and live in penthouses. Not genre writers anyway, for the most part.
  2. Write because you CAN’T not write. Write because there are stories pounding on your skull and you have to get them out.
  3. Write the story you want to write, not what you think will sell. The industry is SO DIFFERENT now than it was when I started. No one even knew what an ebook was when I published my first book with a small epublisher. I was asked all the time if they had to print it themselves. Self-publishing was what you did when no one else would have you. The industry is wide open now.

Bonus: 4. Throw away the ego. Understand your stuff is not gold. It’s not as good as you think and you aren’t too good to get someone to edit you. Find an honest critique group and DON’T ARGUE with them. If your readers don’t get it or don’t like it, that’s not their problem. You need to work hard and make sure your work is the best it can be, even if that means rewriting, polishing, getting critiques, rewriting, polishing, etc., etc., until it SHINES.

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

 Shipwrecked Sovereign, book 3 in the Misfit Monarchs series. Release? Who knows? I’m still in first draft stage. 

So… where can we get your books? 

 My books are available on Amazon, all by Nancy S. Brandt.

Fabric of Faith

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

 Putting out your best stuff and having someone love it. We may never be famous or even best sellers but to know that your words touched even one person and made them smile on a bad day or helped them have hope; that’s all that matters.

Writing consistently and not giving up is success.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? 

I think you need a healthy ego to deal with one-star reviews from people who didn’t understand the story or didn’t like your style. We can’t please everyone (we’re not chocolate!) so a good sense of your own value is important, but I’ve given up reading authors that I loved before I became a writer because I recognize that their books aren’t necessarily being edited anymore. One of my former favorite authors had three POVs in one paragraph and I gave up. I never want to think I’m so good no one has to edit me. When you think you’re so good that anyone who doesn’t like your stuff is a moron, that’s a problem.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

 I started writing fantasy so I wouldn’t have to research! I don’t do a lot before I start. I generally dive in once I have a premise and know where I’m going. Research happens as I write and I have to fight Internet black holes when I do it. Usually, it’s things like what would my Princess wear, what did a pirate ship look like, blueprints of castles. I usually only take what I need and keep going. If my critique partners point out issues, then I go back and do more.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

 I read all of them. Good ones make me want to hug the writer and bake him/her cookies. Bad ones – I have to go to my support system (husband and daughter, sometimes good writer friends) and tell them what the writer said. They remind me not to engage and either said, “oh, well, can’t please everyone” or “they didn’t read the book/understand that part/get fantasy/are stupid (that tends to be my daughter’s reaction! 🙂 )”

By this time, I tend to just shrug and move on. I have read books I didn’t care for and I’m sure the author put his/her heart into that one, so I let it go. People are all different, which is great because it gives us infinite stuff to write about.

 What was your hardest scene to write?

 Hee Hee. I used to have a terrible time writing mean people. When a character’s mother was going to slap her, I literally didn’t know it was coming until right before, and I mean the sentence before, it happened. I got up from the computer and did housework because I couldn’t write it.

However, it was true to the characters and had to happen, so I took a deep breath and did it.

The hardest scenes are the ones where I want the characters to do something and they don’t want to. Once, I KNEW that my heroine and her sister were going to have to fight, like literally with swords. However, no matter how I wrote them, my heroine wouldn’t fight her sister. I kept typing their dialogue and thinking, “Okay, she would say that but they’ll start fighting in a minute.” But Nope. My heroine just wouldn’t. At the end of the day, I called my husband (my co-author on that book) and said, “They won’t fight. She won’t challenge her sister.” He sighed and said, “Yep. You’re right. She wouldn’t.” That was really an odd feeling; to know what I wanted to happen and watch as it just wouldn’t.

 What’s your writing schedule like?

 Schedule? Schedule? What does that mean? Right now, I’m working part-time in a fabric store at the cutting counter, so I’m on my feet six hours a day three to four days a week, and on those days, I am usually so physically tired, I can’t think of words.

Otherwise, on my days off, I try to write 1000 words a day, but there’s not necessarily a specific time of the day to do it. I really need to get better at this.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

 I was a member of an RWA chapter for many years until we had to disband due to lack of members. A few of us went to a small conference about an hour away, and we were staying in a nearby hotel together. We attended a Heather Graham workshop and apparently, we were giggling together. She called us “The Rowdy Girls,” and the three of us started a critique group. Many member changes later (due to job relocations), we’re just the Rowdies.

Out of that group, I became good friends with Josephine Templeton (Fallen Angelle series – Scorned and Broken). I edited Scorned for her, and my husband and I edited her latest novella which isn’t out yet.

Jo, my husband, another author (Wendy Russo), and I try to meet once a week for dinner and writing. Sometimes there is critiquing, often there is a lot of talking and laughing, and usually we try to do some writing.

When my husband was in graduate school, his office mate had a fantasy/sci-fi critique group and Steve got me invited to join. He wasn’t writing much himself at the time.

The first time we met, they critiqued my fantasy novel (the one that eventually got published), and it was HARD. When they left (this was done at my house), Steve asked me how it was.

“I am NEVER doing that again. They tore my book apart.”

He nodded and waited a little while, then said, “Was there anything they said that you agreed with and maybe can use?”

“They were right about EVERYTHING and I hate that.”

However, eventually, he joined the group too and we met every week and took turns being critiqued. I know I’m a better writer because of those meetings and those people.

BTW, only Steve and I have since gotten published from that group.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

 I think the process changes a bit for every book because I learn more and more about how I write and what I need out of writing and more about structure and what makes a good story.

I get an idea – for instance, for Pigsty Princess, I wondered what would happen if a king got fed up with his spoiled daughter spending all the treasury on dresses, boys, and jewels, and he married her off to a pig farmer to teach her a lesson.

As I truly got down to the writing, I figured out that if he loved her he couldn’t just do that, so there had to be a reason for her to marry a pig farmer (or my cute title wouldn’t work). That led to fleshing out motivations and reasons and courtly intrigue and secrets and all that fun stuff.

Ideas for scenes or things come when you don’t expect them. One thing in Pigsty (can’t give much away) was settled in my head, but my husband kept asking me, “Well, why is she like that?” I didn’t want to go the route he suggested, but as I was making dinner one night, my brain said, “What if she goes in the opposite direction?” I stopped chopping veggies and told my husband. He said, “Well, that would be interesting.”

The book changed a bit after that and it was a good surprise.

The amount of time changes, depending on how well I know the story I want to tell, but I can do a rough draft in about six months with another four or five to polish, send to beta readers, and repolish.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

As I said, my husband is also a writer, so yes, everyone in the family supports me. My daughter is a book reviewer and wanted to be an editor. She keeps talking about writing, too.

My son told kids in school that his mother “makes wizards.”

My brother’s widow is a big fan and bugs me a bit about when the next book will be out.

Extended family is a little less enthusiastic. Yes, Nancy writes, isn’t that nice?

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I wouldn’t say totally because I’m sure I put part of myself in my characters. I’ve always hated that strong Princesses or fantasy women have to hate needlework because I love that, so I try to make sure that at least at some point in the story, my heroine is stitching something.

I can’t say I base my characters on real people either but I’m sure parts of people I know creep in. I haven’t killed anyone I know in a book. Yet.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? 

In Questionable Queen, I created a group of Sea People (the Anamii), like mermaids but able to live on land as well. I was going to explore them more in a book I was going to call Saltwater Sovereign but my husband suggested Shipwrecked instead. That led me down a path of thinking about why she would be shipwrecked and that led to possibly pirates. I happened to be listening to a book series by Robin Hobb (Liveship Traders series) and there was a pirate (a terrible person) in the story so that added to the idea of pirates.

Where would you like to travel to and why? 

I have lived all over the world and seen a lot of places I’ve always wanted to see. I never thought I’d see China, so that was interesting. I think I would like to see the Grand Canyon. My son went through a period where he was obsessed with Mount Rushmore so I would like to take him there. I’d like to see Ireland and Scotland, I think. I’m not an adventurous traveler nor an adventurous eater.

Tell us about how you develop your characters?

 I let them talk to me, and I try to imagine how I would be in their situation. Lots of times I have to say, Well, she’s stronger than I am so she wouldn’t back down. I write about imaginary royalty so I watch a lot of Reign, the Crown, Downton Abbey (for servants and how they act) and try to figure out what it would be like to be faced with the things my characters are facing. In Questionable Queen, my heroine marries a King in a proxy ceremony (Reign had one and I watched intently to see how it was done!) and her husband dies before she arrives to meet him. So she’s a widow and still a virgin, and a Queen of a country she’s never set foot in. I had to really get into her head. What would that be like? How would she behave? She turned out to be very strong and held her own pretty well. Better than I would have.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

Oh, and which child is your favorite??? I love Moonrazer from Sword & Illusion (the book I wrote with my husband). I am Moonrazer! Right after Steve and I got married, my best friend was dating his friend who loved role-playing games, and she wanted to learn how to play them. Steve created a game and she and I invented characters. I created Moonrazer and she created Adazzra (also in S&I). We played through four adventures with those characters, so I have lived with Moonrazer longer than my kids. She was great fun to write because I feel like I know her so well and she was getting older and getting to a point in her life where she can’t be a warrior anymore.

Sword and Illusion

Gideon in Questionable Queen was a character I had in my head for years when I thought I would be writing contemporary romance. I created a man who came from a sports family (two brothers who were/had been professional athletes and a father who was a sports agent) but he’s been injured in a high school football game and was crippled. He could never play sports again and had to work harder to prove himself to his family. I fell half in love with him although I could never make a book with him in it work right. Eventually, when I turned to fantasy, I had to change him a bit, but I think he got a book worthy of him.

What would you like readers to know?

 I write books that I hope will make them smile, give them a lift on a bad day, maybe make them fall in love a little, and mostly, renew their hope in fairy tales and happily ever afters.

 

Contact: 

Website: http://nancysbrandt.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/nancysbrandt

Amazon Author Page:

 https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-S.-Brandt/e/B002BMG2XE

 

 

 

 

Posted in authors, blog, books, creative writing, Fantasy, Nancy S. Brandt, Romance, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From memoirs to novels, Author John Manuel is your man

Hello John and welcome!

IMG_0216

It is nice to meet you!

Please, tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

I’m a UK-born resident of Rhodes. I’ve been here for almost 13 years, but my birthplace was Bath in the UK; although, prior to moving to Rhodes, my wife and I lived in South Wales for 24 years. I feel more Welsh than English when I think of the UK!  My wife’s mother was Greek, which was a major factor in our choosing Greece when we decided to move abroad back in 2004-5. Both my wife and I are keen gardeners, and we have a large garden on a hillside in the South of the island, where most of our neighbours are goats, birds of prey, hares, and deer. In the winter time, we enjoy long walks, often covering 10 or 12 kilometres in one walk. I am also passionate about music, primarily guitar-based blues and rock.

 How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

Not long before we made the move, I began my first book of memoirs, which was inspired by the thought that, having read the Peter Mayle “Provence” books, and a couple of Bill Bryson’s, I rather immodestly thought – “I could do that!” The first book I wrote, which became No. 1 in the “Ramblings From Rhodes” series, was originally going to be titled “Lela’s Daughter”. This was because Lela was my mother-in-law’s name and, had it not been for her I wouldn’t have had such an ‘exotic’ wife, and would never have begun my Greek odyssey. The actual title when it was published became “Feta Compli!”

Feta Compli!

 What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I don’t really have a favourite author, genre or book, but names and titles that stand out to me would be John Grisham, Wilbur Smith, and, perhaps my most favourite authors would be a couple of classics, like Thomas Hardy and George Elliot. There are so many books that left a lasting impression on me, that I can only really now think of those I’ve read recently. The Embroiderer by Kathryn Gauci is a sweeping epic that impressed me. Plus I enjoy just about anything by British author Robert Goddard. 

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about? 

My first three books were a kind of series, documenting my whole Greek experience from first meeting a half-Greek girl, through to various visits with her family in Greece, and on down to the first few years of living on Rhodes. The series is called “The Ramblings From Rhodes” books and is definitely in the light-hearted anecdotal bracket.

Ramblings from Rhodes

 Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

Funnily enough, this is what happened a few years ago, when I finally struck on a plot for a work of fiction. My first novel “The View From Kleoboulos” was a very Hardy-esque relationship saga. Kind of “Thomas Hardy for the 21st century”. The only difference is that (not wishing to give too much away) in “Kleoboulos” the ending isn’t quite as bleak as in many of Hardy’s.

The View From Kleoboulos

 What has been your most proud moment as an author? 

Each moment when a new book is finished and let loose on the general public. I suppose most writers would say that they are never truly satisfied with each work. That’s how I feel. I do believe that one learns with each new book and, thus, improves as a writer.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration? 

I can honestly say no to that one. I use a MacBook Pro. They’re just too expensive not to treat with kid gloves!!

 Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer? 

With the memoir books, it’s just a question of remembering events and trying to relate them with a degree of humour. With the novels, of which I now have five in print/ebook circulation, I do have a basic plot before I begin, but in every case so far the story has kind of taken over and written itself to a degree. It’s weird, but lots of twist on my plots only occurred to me as I was typing. I’ve read this of a number of other authors too, who say that the thing seems to take on a life of its own.

 Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

I know what you mean. it seems to me that the English language is always evolving (not always for the better). I remember rules that applied to English grammar when I was at school that most certainly don’t apply today. The use of a comma before the word ‘and’ is a case in point. One of my editors is very hot on comma usage, but he’s usually right!

What are you working on now? What will you release next? 

I haven’t started writing it yet, but novel number 6 is taking shape in my head. It will be a story about an old Greek lady, on her deathbed in the UK, relating her life story to her nephew before it’s too late. He will learn things that will turn his life upside-down. Can’t reveal any more than that for now. I do have a working title for it, though, which I’m happy to reveal, it will probably be called “Panayiota”.

 So… where can we get your books? 

Because I’m an independent author, it’s not easy to get my books from high street stores. But they are all easily available to order through Amazon as paperbacks or in Kindle format. There are other online bookstores too which offer them as paperbacks. I only use Kindle for the e-books though. It’s simply a matter of where the largest marketplace is. My website has direct links on its homepage to every book’s individual Amazon page.

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

Well, everyone wants to make a living. Everyone, too, wants to reach as wide an audience as possible. But success to me is more about how good your work is, not about how many units you sell. Whilst I wouldn’t say no to a conventional publishing deal, I would prefer to keep the integrity of my work rather than compromise for the mass market. I do OK with my books and I do like having complete control over their content.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

I do read my reviews. I also don’t mind if someone doesn’t perhaps connect with my writing and for whatever reason doesn’t like it very much. What I do take exception to, though, is reviewers who seem to feel that they can insult the writer with derogatory or downright insulting remarks. There’s simply no need for that. When I read a work, I won’t post a review at all if I really dislike it that much. I believe that such people don’t appreciate how much of one’s heart and soul goes into the piece. Fortunately for me, in all due modesty, I’ve been relieved to find that by far the majority of reviewers of my work have given my books four or five stars. Phew!

 How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

I don’t have a huge family now. I would say, though, that my sister (bless her) is very supportive and does her best to champion my cause wherever she can. My wife, when I first started, told me to give it up, because paperback sales, in the beginning, were all I had, and without a huge publicity machine, you don’t get far. Once Kindle arrived and I began publishing my work in that format, her whole attitude changed. Now she encourages me to get on and write!

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Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Oh, that’s a good one. When writing the ‘factual’ books one has to be so careful. Usually at the very least one has to change names, but also, even in those books, one sometimes amalgamates people for the sake of telling the story in an entertaining way. I hope that some who may feel that they recognize themselves (if they’ve read the memoir books) will realize that, if the names have been changed, then often so have the personalities or the fine details. It’s not about telling lies, it’s about creating a readable narrative based around true events.

In the case of the novels, I have tapped a rich vein of past acquaintances and friend, but none of my characters are based purely on an individual. (Don’t sue)

Where would you like to travel to and why? 

I don’t have a great wanderlust anymore. There are, though, still a few Greek islands I’d like to visit. Plus probably Uluru in Australia. And I’d love to do Route 66 in the USA one day, before I’m no longer fit enough.

 Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

That’s a hard one, but possibly it would be the heroine of “Eve of Deconstruction”, Eve Watkins. I like her character because she’s thrown into disarray when going through her mother’s belongings after she’s died. Eve goes through ‘the ringer” as it were, but eventually comes out a happier person. By and large, I like to be a positive person. There’s enough negativity in this world already.

Eve of Deconstruction

 

 Contact:

blog: https://ramblingsfromrhodes.blogspot.gr

website: https://johnphilipmanuel.wixsite.com/works

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Manuel/e/B0040QB5EK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

“Published Works” facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/johnmanuelbooks/?ref=bookmarks

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Spy thriller & crime book Author Mark O’Neill

Welcome, Mark!

Mark O'Neill

Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

My name is Mark, I am 43 years old, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, and now living in Würzburg, Germany, with my wife and dog. Other than writing, I am a huge reader, book collector, and technology enthusiast.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

I’ve been writing since the age of 10, lost in my own world and imagination. I’ve always been very introverted, and for some unknown reason an unhappy child. So making up my own worlds made me feel better, that I was somehow in control of my life.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

As someone who reads a lot, that is an extremely difficult question. Of all time, it has to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I re-read the Sherlock Holmes stories once a year). Someone more up to date and in my genre would be Daniel Silva, who writes Israeli spy thrillers. I also love Lee Child’s work.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favourite book and why?

Spy thrillers and crime books. As I said in the last question, my favourite book is the Sherlock Holmes stories (which are actually a series of books). Crime books-wise, I am really into John Connolly and Lars Kepler. I used to like Michael Connelly but his recent work has been pretty dismal.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about? 

About a fictional German Intelligence Unit (or maybe it is not fictional? Who knows?) called Department 89. They are the elite of the elite, tasked with eliminating nuisance problems that regular law enforcement can’t deal with, due to lack of evidence. They have full authority to do what is necessary. Its chief is a woman, Sophie Decker, who was compared by a book reviewer to John McClain in the Die Hard movies. That was an extremely nice compliment.

What was it like creating back to back stories that link? 

Exhausting! You have to maintain the various strands of the stories and the characters, make sure you don’t contradict yourself in later books (readers can be merciless with continuity mistakes), and also have the stamina to keep the series going. I am on book 8 now and going through some burnout.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

I have thought about it and I will, to avoid the inevitable burnout that’s coming. Probably a crime series. It is still in the planning stages.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

Getting the first book published in print. Holding it in my hands was an emotional moment.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Every day. If an author says they never have those moments, they’re lying through their teeth.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantser” as a writer? 

A total unapologetic pantser. Plotting takes the pleasure out of writing. The whole fun of writing is not knowing where the story is going to go next.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

No, I am madly in love with the Oxford comma. Or, the, William, Shatner, comma.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

  1. Write drunk
  2. Edit sober
  3. Don’t give up. Writing is still better than flipping burgers.

What are you working on now? What will you release next? 

Book 8 of Department 89. The title is “Operation Eternal Vengeance”. Due out July 1st.

So where can we get your books? 

If you go to https://www.markoneill.org/books/, there is a list there, along with buttons to the online stores.

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

When you can bang out 3,000 words a day before thinking about your first double vodka.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? 

You MUST have an enormous ego. So many people like to put you down and tell you your books are terrible. You need a huge ego to ignore all of that.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t do too much research. I mean, when you watch an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and you see him jump on a jet fighter in mid-air, rip off the cockpit, throw the pilot out, jump in himself, and fly off, how much research do you think the scriptwriter did beforehand? Exactly. None. It’s called “suspending disbelief”.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

I read them then ignore them. They used to bother me, but I have better things to do now than get worked up about online trolls.

What’s your writing schedule like?

I write full-time for professional clients (blog posts, copywriting, etc), so that comes first. My fiction writing normally comes at night (around midnight) and lasts until I eventually fall asleep.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

Being a pantser, I don’t plan the start of the story so it does tend to be a long drawn-out agonizing birth where I am screaming for drugs. Once I have the germ of an idea, I will just start and see how I get on. Inevitably I will hit a brick wall eventually and I will spend days despairing about getting over the tall wall I have built myself.

But when I “get it”, I REALLY get it. When I finally had the last book all figured out (after months of writer’s block), I did almost 11,000 words in one day and finished the book with about a week to spare before the deadline.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

My family were…shall we say….initially skeptical when I told them. My mother asked me if there was any money to be made doing eBooks. But eventually, she was won over I think when she saw my work being published. My wife is overwhelmingly supportive as always.

Everyone else….well, the only two people in my family who reads my work are my dad and my uncle. And my uncle readily admits he is more of a science-fiction and fantasy kind of guy!

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

My imagination. Unfortunately, I have no connections in the real German Intelligence community (maybe one day….)

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

Everyone thinks it is Decker (the chief) and I admit I do have a fondness for her. I would never kill her off. But my favourite is actually her deputy, Wolfgang Schmitz. He wears nice suits (which get wrecked in every book!), he tells bad jokes, and he reads Asterix books in his downtime. So people tend to underestimate him. But when the crap hits the fan, he is there by your side, ruthless as hell. He’s kind of like the good cop to Decker’s bad cop but he can flip to the dark side in a micro-second.

What would you like readers to know?

The box-set of the first four full-length books is now available, which is cheaper to buy than each one individually. The link is here.

https://www.markoneill.org/books/dept89-boxset1/

I will shortly be bringing out the short story “case files” as a box-set on their own soon. You can sign up for the mailing list – and get three books free of charge – by going to https://www.markoneill.org.

 

Contact Info.:

Mark O’Neill

 

 

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Interview with Award Winning Author Cindy Huff

Hello Cindy.

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It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

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I grew up as an Air Force brat, so I learned to make friends. We moved every few years, so my sisters and I were always making new friends.  I’m an introverted /extrovert. I love people, but I also love time by myself. I love reading and visiting museums. When I went to the Sears Tower in Chicago everyone else was looking at the Chicago skyline while I was reading the historical plaques inside the observation deck.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

I found my writing muse in junior high. When I realized God had given me an imagination with lots of characters talking in my head I knew I needed to write. But it was decades later before I attempted a novel.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

I have more than one favorite writer. I love Mary Connealy, Cindy Ruchti, Shelley Arnold and C Hope Clark. I learn so much from reading them. I would say Lucy Montgomery inspired me to write when I read all her works including Anne of Green Gables when I was a home-school mom.

 What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I love historicals and mysteries.

My favorite book is usually the one I’m currently reading. And it doesn’t have to be in my favorite genre.

 I’m addicted to reading.

 How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I had to learn to write faster. Fans want more books. And it needs to be better than the first. The first one Secrets & Charades took over ten years from rough draft to publication. (Big learning curve.) My second book, New Duet took over a year. My third, still unpublished, Bride in Disguise took about nine months. And my present work, a novella I am contracted to write, needs to be done by August.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about? 

I’ve written a sequel to Secrets & Charades. This historical romance series takes place in the made-up town of Charleston Texas. Lots of fun, strong female characters. I address a variety of cultural and historical things that took places after the Civil War over a six-year period.

What was it like creating back to back stories that link? 

 Challenging. Each story needs to stand on its own.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

New Duet is a contemporary romance, while Secrets & Charades is a Historical Romance. I’d like to try a mystery or a time travel book someday. We will see.

What has been your proudest moment as an author? 

Winning the Maxwell Award for Secrets & Charades. That is second only to seeing my book in my hand.

 Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration? 

No, but I wanted to set a few manuscripts on fire.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer? 

Definitely. A hopeless pantster. I do lots of research, but outlining is never good. The characters take me down different roads from my outline.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

My hubby is the Grammar King. He fixes my commas and stands his ground when I disagree. He is usually right.

 What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

Learn all you can.

 Don’t fool yourself into thinking your first draft is a best seller., or too stubborn to change a word.

Take the advice of experienced writers and don’t be afraid to show your work to other authors. Their input is priceless.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a novella for a collection. The Cowboys will release in August 2019.

 What will you release next?  I hope Bride in Disguise gets picked up soon. Otherwise, that novella will be my next release.

So… where can we get your books? 

Both Secrets & Charades and my new release, New Duet are available on Amazon. Secrets & Charades just released in an audiobook available on Amazon, Audibles and iTunes.

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

I have no idea. I think I need several more books under my belt to earn that title.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

Depends on the plot. S&C took two months of reading before I began and lots of double checking facts. Historical books must be accurate. New Duet took a few weeks of research. Setting it in my hometown made it so much easier. But I’m not a thirty-something so I had to add the right touches to make New Duet believable. Because Dan has a prosthetic I need to be sure I describe it correctly. Lots of pictures on the Web.

What was your hardest scene to write? 

In New Duet, I had to ask my husband how one got off the floor to retrieve crutches after falling. He has had lots of experience with them while I have had none.  And in Bride in Disguise, my heroine is tied to a chair and works to get loose.

What’s your writing schedule like?

 I have a part-time job and grandchildren and a mom to do things for, so some days aren’t too productive. On a good day (usually my days off) I get up early, clean out my e-mail. Write a blog then spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon writing. Then my creative juices are done, and I find other things to do like read or take a walk or run errands.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Rather than name drop, I’ll just say being part of Word Weavers, ACFW and attending conferences has brought many wonderful published authors into my life. Those in critique groups with me help me fix stuff. Reading their work, I learn so much.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

My husband right from the first word. Other family members took my writing for granted until I got a contract for my first novel. My friends think it is cool to know a real author.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Mostly imagination, but at my age, I’ve met many people to draw characteristics from to create fresh characters.

 What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

A contract and a deadline. It’s the truth. I’d been given guidelines and I needed to create believable characters. Identical twins who didn’t look so identical anymore. Fears, past hurts and scares helped create Jed and Lonnie Holt. Add a woman running from trouble and you have my novella.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

The United Kingdom to track down ancestors.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

Evangeline because she was my first character. But I love them all when they are telling me their story.

Buy links:

Amazon: New Duet

Secrets & Charades links

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Charades-Cindy-Ervin-Huff

 Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-charades-cindy-ervin-huff/1126086057?ean=9781946016140

LPC: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/secrets-charades/

social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/author.huff11/about/?ref=page_internal and

www.facebook.com/cindyehuff,

Twitter: @CindyErvinHuff,

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-huff

Blog: www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Huff/e/B01N9UAOZA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Bonus:

Secretes and Chardes

Secrets & Charades Back Cover Copy

 Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?

 

New Duet Back cover copy:

Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning.

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog, Brutus, to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

About Cindy Ervin Huff:

Cindy Ervin Huff received the Editor’s Choice Award for her debut novel Secrets and Charades, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Secrets & Charades placed third in the Maxwell Awards.

Over the past forty years, her byline has appeared in numerous publications. Her latest release a Contemporary Romance New Duet is set in Aurora, Illinois. Healing Hearts, part of The Cowboys novella collection is slated for release in August 2019.

Cindy is the founding member of the Aurora Illinois chapter of Word Weavers and a member of ACFW.  Her blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies, especially those starting later in life. www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com

Visit Cindy on her Facebook www.facebook.com/cindyehuff or follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff.

 

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Denise Lynn – Author Extraordinaire

Hello Denise.

Denise Lynn

It is so very nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

Hi! Thanks for having me. Other than a short stint outside of Dallas, TX, I’ve always lived in NW Ohio.  When not writing, I like to hike in the mountains…Tennessee, Colorado, South Dakota…with the dh. At home, I sew…slipcovers, curtains, clothes…and bake.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

Ahem…um, one of my fave authors ended a book in a manner I didn’t like. It ticked me off so much that I threw the book across the room and claimed I could write better than that. The dh told me to put my money where my mouth was….yeah, turning down a dare isn’t in my nature. And writing a book is hard work. LOL. Worse, it’s darn addicting.    

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

One? Seriously, I don’t think I could pick just one…off the top of my head – Roberta Gellis, Sylvia Thorpe, Jude Deveraux, JR Ward, Amanda Quick…

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

When I’m not working, I like medieval romances. When I am working I read paranormal or contemporary.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about? 

Since I usually write about siblings, I guess all of them have been series —  

What was it like creating back to back stories that link? 

Was never a problem until the current set. For whatever reason, I didn’t set these stories up from oldest to youngest sibling and my notes got trashed in a computer crash so trying to backtrack ages, names, descriptions, etc., has been a trip. 

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

Contemporary Category

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

Getting that very first letter from a reader. I cried in awe. Someone I didn’t know read my book and liked it enough to send me a letter. I still have it.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration? 

It took me 12 years to contract my first book and about 11 years in, I packed up the office, boxed up the research books, and stowed away the computer. For almost 6 months.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

This’ll sound odd, but neither. I don’t plan a story, I don’t plot it out….it just “appears”. I don’t question these things for fear the magic will die.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

During first write, I don’t even get hung up on periods let alone commas. During editing, I drive myself insane.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

Don’t get hung up on word choices.

Don’t over think it.

Allow yourself to feel your way through the story.

What are you working on now? What will you release next? 

Right now I’m working on Rory of Roul’s story, it’s book 3 in what I call Warrior Wolves, but he’s the youngest brother.  The next release will be out this July – The Warrior’s Runaway Wife, it’s Elrik of Roul’s story, book 2 and he’s the oldest brother.

 So… where can we get your books? 

Harlequin, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks….

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

Everyone can ride the highs. It’s being able to stand strong against the rejection, the book or series tanking, reinventing yourself, getting up after being beat down – to me, those are the successful people, the ones who can find it in themselves to snarl at “NO” and keep on going.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

LOL – after I wrote the first rough draft for my first book, I put it away and spent 2 solid years seriously researching the period of King Stephen and that’s where I stay. Now, I always research. Daily I’m browsing historical sites or nonfiction books.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

 I read them, but I’ve gotten to the point where I realize that it’s all opinion. Good or bad. It’s just that person’s opinion. Movie critics trashed Excalibur. I loved it.

What was your hardest scene to write? 

The scene in Bedded By Her Lord where the hero comes home after being held captive for 7 years to find his wife giving birth. Only his thoughts of her and the love they shared gave him the strength to survive his captivity. Would he hate her? Would he hate the baby? How would he feel? How would he deal with the pain?   

Bedded by her Lord

 What’s your writing schedule like?

Normally 9pm until 4:30am.  I’m a night owl. When I’m closing in on the last ¼ of the book I just don’t stop. I pay for afterwards, but when I hit that race to type ‘The End’ nothing gets in my way. Especially nothing as silly as sleep.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book? 

I’ll see something or read something that just simply creates a story. It’s just there. Like a silent movie in my head. I’ll run it back and forth until I can feel it. That takes anywhere from a couple of hours to years…. Sometimes there’s just not enough there for a book. Once I sit down to write, it takes about 4 – 6 weeks.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?    

I’d say they are more resigned to the fact that, yes, Denise is odd.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?  

The main characters are always imaginary.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? 

I was researching something about King David I of Scotland and ran across a tidbit that led me to a wiki article about Robert the Bruce’s mother. A young man brought her word of her husband’s death and she was so taken with the man that she held him captive until he agreed to marry her. My kind of woman. LOLOL.

Where would you like to travel to and why? 

Right now I just want to go sit in the Smokies. Because it feels like home and feeds my soul.

Tell us about how you develop your characters? 

Develop my characters…hmmm…I write what I see and feel. Other than eye and hair color, there are no charts, or anything in great detail. Once I know I have material for a book, I’ll go browse actor/actress pictures until one hits me as the hero and heroine and that’s about it.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?   

My current heroine – Lady Gillian.  She desperately needs a husband and goes out and captures herself one. Unfortunately for her, she finds herself wed to the man before she realizes that she’s in way over her head. 

What would you like readers to know?

When I was young, I’d sit on Grandpa’s lap and he’d tell me wonderful stories about princesses and brave knights who would come rescue them from whatever danger they faced. Even after his stroke, when his Bulgarian accent was so thick people could hardly understand him, I could, and while it took him a little longer, he would still tell me stories.  As a grade schooler I made up stories in my head all the time. As wonderful as those memories are, there’s nothing better than being able to share stories with readers.


My next release is The Warrior’s Runaway Wife. Available in paperback from Amazon June 19, and on Kindle July 1. 

The Warrior's Runaway Wife cover

 

 From the back cover:

  THE NOTORIOUS LORD of ROUL…

…must take her as his bride!

Lady Avelyn flees an unwanted betrothal to an elderly warlord only to be hunted down and returned to King David’s court by fearsome Elrik, Lord of Roul, a legendary warrior with a heart of ice—and a kiss of fire.

And now Avelyn is bound to Elrik—and his bed—when Elrik is commanded to wed her instead!

For more info visit my website at: www.denise-lynn.com    I can also be found on Facebook at:   https://www.facebook.com/DeniseLynnBooks

 

Posted in Amazon Kindle, authors, Barnes and Noble, blog, creative writing, Denise Lynn, Harlequin, historical romance, history, iBooks, Kobo, medieval romance, paranormal, research, Romance, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Columnist Spotlight: Eve Culley

https://www.pandorasboxjt.com/single-post/2018/07/04/Columnist-Spotlight-Eve-Culley.

July 4, 2018 – Joanne Troppello

 

At Pandora’s Box Gazette, we truly appreciate our columnists and their monthly contributions to the magazine. We value their interesting and educational content and know that our readers enjoy reading their columns. We decided to let our readers get to know the columnists better. So, we will be featuring one of our columnists each month on the first Wednesday. Today we are featuring Eve Culley. Let’s get started chatting with Eve!

 Why did you accept the invitation to write for Pandora’s Box Gazette?

 I do book reviews for PBG, and usually, they are for children’s books. There are so many children books out there that my goal is to help parents, grandparents, etc. find good books for their children.

 What has been the most influential book to your life that you’ve ever read?

 IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE – by Sydney Watson 

This book led me to Christ.

In thr twinkling of an eye

Which social media platform (ex. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc.) is your preferred mode of online communication? Do you prefer one over the others for promotion of your work?

 I use them all, all the time. Plus my blog and website. I try to maintain a heavy presence on the web about my work. To drum up interest in your work requires a lot of work and consistency to do it right.

 What do you like to do when you’re not working? How do you relax?

 I read constantly and a wide variety of genres. I also like to sit in the barn with the animals.  We gossip and catch each other up on our lives.

 Is there a hobby you’d like to take on if you had the time?

 I like to do handwork: crocheting, knitting, embroidery, but I don’t have the time for it now. It’s a matter of choice, and I would rather be writing than anything else.

 Did you play any sports or belong to clubs in school?

 I was a thespian during high school and attended State Wide contests for drama. I specialized in Fairy Tales. I was active in school plays, on stage and off, as well as the orchestra and marching band.

 What do you do to keep learning each day? Read? Play puzzle games? Take online courses?

 I play word games; hidden object games as well as take online classes in writing, editing, and history classes. Plus, I like to play chess.

 What was the most significant event in your life?

I think the most significant event in my life would be accepting the Lord Jesus Christ when I was 21 yrs old. Next would be marrying my best friend and then publishing of my first book. (Hmm, might be a change in line up for the last two. Just kidding, Don… just kidding.)

 Who is your role model?

The woman in Proverbs 31 has always held a special place in my heart. I want to be just like her.

I agree. I want to be like her too! Have you taken an active role in mentoring someone?

 Yes, I encourage those who express a desire to be a writer to read and write. I read their work, listen to them, and encourage them to continue. I was encouraged when I began to write (and still am), and I believe it is important to pay it forward.

 About the Book

 Welcome to Barn Town where the residents are friendly and there is mischief and mystery around every corner. Things are changing in Barn Town and Ol’ Stripe is keeping his eye on the new arrivals and the current residents in an attempt to keep the peace.

 About the Author

I have been a storyteller since childhood, often preferring the make-believe world to the “real” one. My hubby, children, and grandchildren are usually my first audience nowadays.

You can connect with Eve online at her blogwebsite, on TwitterTumblrFacebook, and Instagram.

You can read Eve’s regular column here at Pandora’s Box Gazette on the 2nd Monday each month.

Posted in Adventures in Barn Town, animals, authors, barns, Bible, blog, books, cats, chickens, children, children stories, creative writing, ducks, Eve Culley's Blog eveculley.wordpress.com, geese, goats, Pandora's Box Gazette, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

No Author Interview this week.

flag-fireworks1

Due to the 4th of July, Independence Day celebrations, there will be no Author Interview post this week.  But never fear, they will return the following week. In the meantime, be safe; enjoy the fireworks and festivities.

Posted in blog, children, family, flags, government, history, military, Uncategorized, work | Leave a comment