Author Interview – Rita Lee Chapman #Crime #Mystery

 

Welcome to Crime author, Rita Lee Chapman.

Please tell us about your publications/work.

There are four books in the Anna Davies Mystery Series: Missing in Egypt, Missing at Sea, Missing in London and Missing in France.

I have also written two crime mysteries – Dangerous Associations and The Poinciana Tree.  I have also written a book for horse lovers, from teenagers upwards, Winston – A Horse’s Tale. 

I decided the beautiful Poinciana tree would make a great cover for a book, so I started with the cover and then built a story around it.

Most of my books also come in large print editions.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom?                 

I believe learning to read and write empowers everyone and should be a basic human right. 

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

I was actually given this advice by a wise, local bookshop owner.  “Don’t expect to become rich from your writing.”  Perhaps I should have taken more notice!

If you could have dinner with any literary character or author who would you choose, and what would you eat.

I think I would choose Kate Moreton, a local Australian author, who writes so beautifully.  I would like to have oysters natural for entrée, followed by roast pork with crackling and real apple sauce accompanied by roast vegetables, finishing with a decadent chocolate dessert.  There would, of course, be French champagne to drink.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

For some of my books, the research has already been done, i.e. I set the book in a country I have visited.  Other books require quite a lot of research.  For The Poinciana Tree I researched in formation on, and read books based in, the Sudan.  The wildest research I have done was on rohypnol, the rape drug, for Missing at Sea.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

Write more books!

What is your writing space like?

Quiet!  I’m lucky to have a study, lined with book shelves.

Tell us about your latest piece?

Missing in France is Book #4 in the Anna Davies Mystery Series.  Like the others, it is a stand-alone book, although I have recently combined the four books into the Anna Davies Mystery Series e-book.  Here is the blurb:

When Mike accepts a two-year contract in France, Anna is delighted at the prospect of spending time in Paris and Marseille.  She doesn’t anticipate being drawn into yet another mystery, one which puts her own life in danger. 

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work?

I don’t offer books for free.  I believe your time and energy deserve at least a small payment.  I also think a lot of free books are downloaded and never read, because that reader has downloaded so many free books, with the best of intentions but lack of time to read them.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Technically perfect

Awesome world-building

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling?

I think there is room for both indie authors and traditionally published authors.  It is the writing that counts, not the form of publishing.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline?

I think online shopping has affected all shops, especially during Covid.  There is no doubt that bookshops have declined in number and many are much smaller in size, which mean they are limited in the number of books they can display.  I am confident, however, that there will always be a call for bookshops.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

I wanted to be a show jumper, but as I lived in London, this was never likely to happen.  I was fortunate to go riding at a local riding school once a week and when I moved to Australia I rode all week-end for many years.  The show jumping bit never happened though.

Links to book

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WZ4KCN3/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X69SNJZ

Large Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X63F2BN

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08X63F2BN/

Bio

Rita Lee Chapman was born in London and moved to Australia in her early twenties.  It was only when she retired that she wrote her first novel, Missing in Egypt, the first in the Anna Davies Mystery series.  This was followed by Missing at Sea, Missing in London and Missing in France. All can be enjoyed as stand-alone books.

Winston – A Horse’s Tale was written for horse lovers like herself.  “It was the book I had to write.”

Dangerous Associations and The Poinciana Tree are crime mysteries. 

When she’s not writing or reading, Rita enjoys playing tennis, walking and entertaining.

Website: www.ritaleechapman.com

 

 

 

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Author Interview – Danielle Williams – Fantasy/horror/Scifi

 

Author name: Danielle Williams

*Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

I write wonder (sci-fi/fantasy), horror, and humor. The Witching License came out of a self-imposed challenge I did back in February 2019—I wanted to write one short story a week for a month, using a different prompt each week. From that challenge, I got The Witching License, plus an upbeat goat-intensive fantasy adventure called The Capramancer Next Door, and the sole short story to actually come out of the exercise: the dark fantasy Hello, Wizard.

The prompt that produced The Witching License was “regret.” But even though it’s a bittersweet story, I don’t think it’s too dark–I was playing Just Dance for exercise around this time, so the song Land of 1,000 Dances worked its way into the story, along with my (admittedly faded) memories of Venice.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

It was November 2016. I’d finally finished my ginormous science fantasy epic Steel City, Veiled Kingdom.

So I’m sitting there with this manuscript that’s just as long as The Lord of the Rings or The Name of the Wind, and realizing I now have to try and sell it to an agent, who will probably make me chop it up into little pieces and rewrite it to be more “marketable”, even though I’m happy with it as-is, and know it’s meant to be one big book.

And all this would probably take years.

I didn’t want to do that, but I didn’t know what else to do with it! I went a little ways into the traditional publishing process—I even wrote a chapter-by-chapter synopsis and a query letter, intending to submit them to agents.

Then I discovered the posts on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing and  Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing. They completely changed my life!

Reading those, I realized I didn’t need a publisher to get Steel City out to readers. I came to the table with years of experience in HTML, CSS, illustration, and graphic design–a perfectly solid talent stack for going into indie publishing with a $0 budget.

Fast-forward to 2021: the Steel City, Veiled Kingdom ebook has been out for over a year now. The print volumes are being released this year. And while it was in production, I’ve had a whale of a time writing and publishing three other novels, plus other shorter stories!

If writing is a thing you want to do, don’t let anyone stop you!!

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

I discovered the practice of book bundling through Chuck Heintzelman’s ebook The Author’s Guide to Ebook Bundling. I think bundles are a huge win-win for both authors and readers!

Bundling is like…anthologizing for the digital age: a bundle curator gathers stories from various authors and sells the collection online. Readers who buy the bundle get to sample a variety of authors who are already writing stories about things they like—and at a discount, to boot.

Meanwhile, authors split the profits from the bundle and gain exposure to new readers. And since bundling is relatively easy for authors on the back end, they can spend more time writing new stuff for their readers! Like I said, win-win.

What other bundles are you involved with?

I have stories in Cat Tales Issue #2, Cat Tales Issue #3, Cat Tales Issue #4, Thirteen Stakes, (all curated by Steve Vernon) and now Here Be More Magic. Hooray!

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be?

My scriptures

Harry Potter (all 7 books count as one unit don’t @ me)

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick

…and a blank book to write and draw in.

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat.

This is not very literary at all…but I think it’d be fascinating to have dinner with Artemis Fowl’s bodyguard, Butler (from the Artemis Fowl series). Being a military man, I’m sure he’d have a ton of entertaining stories on tap (even just training stories, man!), PLUS all the Butlers are trained chefs so whatever he fixed, you can bet it’d be delicious!

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

I tend to randomly come across interesting things, and then those interesting things make it into my work…If I don’t know a fact, I Ducky it (use Duck Duck Go search engine).

The wildest subject I’ve researched so far was on body decomposition times for my noir love story Out Where the Sun Always Shines. But one of the most interesting things I’ve researched into is the effect of lightning strikes on living creatures for a scene in Steel City, Veiled Kingdom.

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

Sometimes storytelling reflects culture, but storytelling also shapes culture, there’s no doubt in my mind! It’s been the primary way to transmit information, social mores, histories, etc. throughout time. And storytelling can be so deep!

Look at “The Good Samaritan”–on the one hand, there’s the surface level of the parable, about helping a man on a road, but there’s also deeper meanings and emotions and instructions there that can reach differing people based on their own knowledge and life experiences.

I also subscribe to acting teacher Ed Hooks’ notion that artists are shamans; at our highest level, we tell stories our tribe needs to hear. Or, as he puts it:

“To the artist: Your genealogical roots are in shamanism. It is your job to talk to the tribe, to help them get to survive a tough winter and to celebrate victories. Animation is not only a fun thing to do — It is an honorable way to spend your life.” (From https://magazine.artstation.com/2020/01/acting-for-animators-with-ed-hooks/ )

 

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

Dragon, hands-down. Flying + flaming + I could be tall. It would be epic.

Tell us about your latest piece?

The last novel I published was The Capramancer Next Door. In it, a down-to-earth mage and her magical goats protect their new neighbor when he crosses an angry fairy. The lead goat’s name is Elvis, which should give you an idea of the book’s tone.

Also, GoatsLive.com called it “a wonderful read!”, and if that endorsement doesn’t convince you that I have written the Great American Fantasy Goat Novel, nothing ever will.

What’s your next writing adventure?

I’m currently finishing The Guests of Crooked Neck, a direct follow-up to Steel City, Veiled Kingdom…but they’re almost reversals of each other. Where Steel City had a single hero’s viewpoint and spanned four worlds of adventure, Crooked Neck’s events are seen through the eyes of multiple characters in a single small town.

What is the last book you’ve read?

The last book I completed was A Horse and His Boy, by CS Lewis. I would’ve reread the rest of the Narnia series, except I want to read them in paperback and I only own two or three. Sometimes reading on a screen is the last thing I want to do!

I’m currently reading The Heist, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, because a friend lent the hardcover to me. I’m enjoying it, even if I hear everything Nick says in the voice of Lupin the Third!

 

Links

www.PixelvaniaPublishing.com

Bio

Danielle Williams is the author of (so far) four novels and nearly a dozen other tales of wonder, horror and humor, including science-fantasy epic Steel City, Veiled Kingdom, creepy apartment caper The Girlfriend Who Wasn’t from Delaware, and the beloved children’s Christmas novel A Gingersnap Cat Christmas.

Author Interview and Blog Tour – V. J. Allison – Romance

Welcome to V J Allison

How did you come up with name of this book?

Stricken came from the song by Disturbed. Its second chorus was exactly what had happened to Ewan. He was being haunted by Marti’s face and what she did to him, even if it was unconsciously.

Away to Me was suggested by an old school chum. It’s a herding term, and it means to go around and come back. Kelsey went away and came back to Neil, so it fit perfectly.

 Under Your Scars was influenced by Godsmack’s song of the same name. Seth and Alexis had a lot of emotional scars from previous relationships and they fell in love despite everything.

 Sweet Child of Mine was influenced by a song I listened to growing up.

COVID’s Arrow is a play on Cupid’s arrow… Love happening when least expected. Since it was written during the pandemic, and features two essential workers during a pandemic, I thought it was fitting.

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I like to start with a general idea of where the story will go – the main characters, and how they get their happy ever after at the end of the story. After that, I tend to just let the characters run with it, and if something doesn’t work, it’s axed and something else put in. I find if I just write without planning too much, things fall in to place much easier.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

One of the biggest ones is thinking they have a “best-selling idea” or story, when in reality, it’s probably not even a blip on the radar.

 Another one is thinking that if they have their own distinct style that goes against the grain of grammar and writing period, they’ll get noticed by a big name publisher and again, have a best-selling book.

 Some think that once the writing is done, the work is too. It’s the exact opposite. Once that story is drafted, the work is only beginning. Whether you go the traditional route or the self-publishing one, you still have to edit the story several times to get it as perfect as possible, get it proofed, have a cover made, and after it’s out there, promote it to death.

 Some also think that others should do their work while they do nothing. Not true. If you want to be successful, you have to work your butt off to get anywhere in this business.

 What is your writing Kryptonite?

Noise. Distractions of any kind. They’ll throw me off so badly that I lose track of things, get frustrated and have to stop for the day. Ugh!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell myself to ignore the naysayers, and keep writing… I’ll have a few problems and some road blocks at a few points, but I made it, despite everything. Keep going. Never give up… And check out an independent publisher out in British Columbia. *wink*

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It depends on many things – if I have a lot of alone time and my chronic pain issues are not acting up. If Hubby works day times while my son is in school, and I am deep into a story, I can sometimes clear 6K a week. I’ve written books in less than 3 months while writing only a day or two a week.

 On average, I’d say it is about six months to a year. If I can put out a full novel once a year, I’m happy.

 

EXCERPT from Stricken

Release Date: March 17, 2017

Series: Feathered Tartan 1

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Second Chance Romance

Pages: 206

Word Count: 58867

Flame Rating: 3 Flames

COVER ART: Syneca Featherstone

EXCERPT from Chapter Three:

The tan door was ajar, and he could see the blue and cream tile turned into a soft blue carpet at the threshold of the office. With a hope Kara was wrong, Ewan glanced around quickly, but a movement to his right drew his attention.

Marti’s back was to him as she rooted around in a file cabinet drawer and shook her head periodically. Her outfit was professional, from the roll of hair in a French twist at the back of her head, to the black skirt suit with brown pin-stripes, and the suede two-inch heeled shoes on her feet.

As he tapped his fingers on the doorjamb, a vision of her wearing nothing but one of his t-shirts and a solitaire engagement ring flashed through his mind.

“Yes?” Her voice was distant, cool and polite.

“Dr. Brown said you were in.”

Her back stiffened as he spoke to her without an audience for the first time in years. “I have no clue why you would want to see me,” she replied and dug a folder out of the drawer.

A soft sigh of exasperation came out of his throat as he entered the office and stopped halfway between the doorway and her desk. “I owe you an apology.”

“For what?”

“Saturday night. Shannon treated you like dirt, and—”

“I’ve dealt with people like her before and it hasn’t killed me yet.”

“That doesn’t excuse it—hell.” Ewan rubbed a hand down his face as he tried to find the right way to express himself.

“Maybe that will teach you not to take someone like her around your friends and coworkers.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s your life and your choice. If you want to go dumpster diving, that’s your business, but if I were you, I’d be careful on what I brought home.” She flipped a page in the file. “I have a meeting in less than an hour, and I’d like to be fully prepared for it, so if you don’t mind…”

“Look, I know this isn’t the ideal situation, but can’t we at least try to make an effort, for everyone’s best interest?”

So he wouldn’t look at her, he glanced around the room, and his gaze finally landed on a picture frame in her book-case. An unwelcome, searing bolt of jealousy zoomed up his spine when he saw it was a photo of her and a man with their arms around each other.

His eyes moved to the large windows facing Citadel Hill, and locked with hers via the reflection, a memory’s shadow of their first date at the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg.

Like that day, almost nine years ago, Marti was the one to break eye contact.

“How are we going to do that?” she asked.

“I don’t know, but unless we try, Kara and Dennis are go-ing to chalk it up to something big, and from what I’ve heard, you’re not open about your past.”

“That’s my life and my choice, isn’t it?”

Ewan sighed and raked a hand through his hair as he took a step toward her. When she stiffened, he stopped and shoved his hands into his coat pockets.

“Dr. Lewis—Marti…” He let out a long breath. “I am sorry about invading your life. If I had known you were living here, I wouldn’t have taken the promotion, and told Miran-da I was moving on.”

“Some things are beyond our control or knowledge. Hali-fax is a big place. I’m sure you and I can avoid being in the same area at the same time as much as possible.” With a shrug, Marti turned to face him.

As her cool and detached gaze met his, Ewan nodded, and his stomach dropped as the full impact of her calm and professional air hit him.

What was I thinking when I thought that maybe…

Hell.

The girl he knew was gone, replaced by this cool, sophisticated, and distant woman.

“Okay,” he murmured, and wondered why he felt as if his heart had been ripped out again.

Marti’s expression softened as she held up the file. “I’m not chasing you out because—I really do have a meeting, and I’d better get moving if I want to be ready for it.”

Ewan nodded and moved his gaze to a spot on the carpet. “Yeah.” With a final nod, he turned and walked out of her office, not understanding the heavy feeling around him.

Stricken
Feathered Tartan Book 1
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A heartbeat later, he was alone—shattered, confused and suicidal. Why had Marti walked away from him?
Years later, in another place and a new chapter of Ewan’s life, fate brings them face to face again.
They start building a friendship, but Ewan wants more. He wants Marti as his wife, while she seems to prefer their current status as friends.
Can he convince her that taking another chance at their failed future will be the start of the best part of their lives?
Sweet Child of Mine
Feathered Tartan Book 2
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
In the city on the harbour, miracles happen.
It’s Christmas Eve.
Ewan and Marti Campbell are hoping to have a quiet holiday season, their first as a married couple, and the last one before their new baby arrives.
A crisis at the real estate agency tosses a huge wrench into their plans, as does the sudden onset of Marti’s labour. As Ewan fights to get home before his child appears, more crises are flung at him. If he is to make it on time to help his wife bring their baby into the world, he’ll need a miracle…
A big one.
Away To Me
Tri-Town Book 1
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
What would you do if you found out your late spouse wasn’t the biological parent of your stepchild as they had led you to believe? Would you let it go, in hopes the child wouldn’t go looking for their birth family, or would you help them in their search?
This is the dilemma Neil Falcon faces when he first discovers his late wife, Rita, wasn’t the biological mother of his teenage stepdaughter, Rikki.
His decision to look for her roots puts them on a path that leads them to a part of Neil’s past, one he thought was locked away forever.
Kelsey Wagner is shocked to see the man she once adored appear on her doorstep with claims that Rikki may be her biological child. After finding out her daughter wants her to be a part of her life, she agrees.
Amidst the confusion of raising a teenage daughter, the old feelings resurface. They know their daughter wants them to become a family, but can they make it work?
Under Your Scars
Tri-Town Book 2
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Alexis has that special something about her that Seth can’t fathom. His friend Mirabelle’s new employee is even prettier than the merchandise she sells. Too bad she’s distantly polite when he tries talking to her.
Alexis is attracted to Seth, but she’s in hiding from her past and her mistakes. Getting involved with the one person she’s attracted to could blow her cover.
When they’re forced to work together, their libidos ignite. Alexis is terrified to open up and give in to her feelings for Seth. If he remembers that night five years ago, he’ll never speak to her again.
It becomes a question of whether Seth will expose her and force her to keep running, or if he’ll help her face her past.
COVID’s Arrow
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When two people are in love, social distancing cannot prevent them from being together.
Vicki has been half in love with her friend and co-worker, Mason, since she started working at a grocery store eight months ago. When a pandemic reaches the province, social distancing protocols are installed, and their friendship is put on hold. A break at work brings them back together, but will they have the time Vicki hopes to pursue her hidden desires?
**Only .99 cents!**
V.J. Allison was born and raised in southern Nova Scotia, Canada, and her work reflects her strong Maritime roots. She is a stay-at-home mother to a son on the autism spectrum, married to the love of her life, and “mama” to a rescued Maine Coon cat named Marnie. She has been writing various stories of novel length and short stories since her school days, and sees writing as a vital component to her life.
She is a small town erotic romance author published by eXtasy Books, and her novels have been received with great acclaim. Her second novel, Away to Me, is a recipient of the eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies’ Editor’s Choice Seal of Excellence and Enjoyable Reading.
On January 4, 2021, she released her first independently published story, COVID’s Arrow, which had been previously released in the Together We Stand charity collection of stories about essential workers.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to read romance and science fiction novels (notably Star Wars); listen to music (heavy metal, rock, alternative); and do graphics design. She runs her own graphics design company, Veridian Rose Designs, specializing in book promotional posters and Facebook cover photos. This self-proclaimed geeky rocker chick is a warrior and advocate for various chronic illnesses including Occipital Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diabetes, Migraines, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. She is also an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty and is a voice for Autism Awareness.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$15 USD eXtasy Books gift card

Legacy of the Mask – On Tour

Legacy of the Mask Schedule

Feb 11

kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours

A Pinch of Bookdust

Feb 12

Kayden McLeod, Author

All Things Dark & Dirty    

Feb 14

SE Lindberg  – GUEST POST

Feb 15

Bedazzled By Books

The Book Dragon

Feb 16

Insane Books

The Bookshelf Fairy

Feb 17

Musings From An Addicted Reader  

Twisted Book Ramblings

Feb 18

@theenchantedshelf

Westveil Publishing   

Feb 19

Scrupulous Dreams

Book Corner News and Reviews

Feb 20

R Tran Books – GUEST POST

A Wonderful World of Words – GUEST POST

Feb 21

Tina Donahue – Heat with Heart  

Feb 22

Sadie’s Spotlight

Literary Gold

Feb 23

Midnight Book Reader

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Feb 24

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Books, Authors, Blogs   

Feb 25

IndiePowerd by No Sweat Graphics

Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Feb 26

Lady Hawkeye   

Feb 27

Writing Dreams

Feb 28

Drako’s Den

Mar 1

Books all things paranormal and romance

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read   

Mar 2

Craving Lovely Books   

Why I Can’t Stop Reading  

Mar 3

Girl with Pen

Inside the Insanity – GUEST POST

Mar 4

Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’   

The Faerie Review

Mar 5

Sylv.net   

Teatime and Books  

Mar 8

eBook Addicts

The Sexy Nerd ‘Revue’

Mar 9

4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – GUEST POST

Chapters through life

Mar 10

Books A-Brewin’ – GUEST POST

❧Defining Ways❧

Mar 11

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Anthony St Clair

Author name: Anthony St. Clair

 Links to book: https://rucksackuniverse.com/books/the-lotus-and-the-barley/

 Bio: Anthony St. Clair, a freelance writer and entrepreneur, is the author of over 500 fiction and non-fiction works, including novels, short stories, articles, and more. Library Journal calls Anthony’s storytelling “reminiscent of Terry Pratchett,” and his fiction has been celebrated for its “quirk, wit, travel, and magic.” In addition to his global travels, Anthony spent fifteen years in media and business before turning full time to writing in 2011. Together with his wife, son, and daughter, Anthony lives a life of everyday adventure at home in Oregon and on the road anywhere. For more information, see rucksackuniverse.com and anthonystclair.com.

 Tell us a silly fact about yourself: Much to my children’s ongoing amusement, I’m incapable of blowing up a balloon.

Please tell us about your publications/work. My Rucksack Universe series revolves around people who seek to know themselves so that they understand their place in the broader world, be that with a social group or a place they want to live in.

The core of everything I write is an exploration of how we make the decisions that shape our destinies. What are the rules we are told about life and living? How many of those rules help us do what we consider meaningful? What rules deserve to be followed—and which rules should we break or get rid of?

We go through this life trying to find our way, searching out how we fit in. Sometimes we have to push back against presumptions and notions from family or culture, so we can understand and live our own personal truths about the world. My Rucksack Universe series is all about people making those choices.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom? Even when we don’t realize it, the written word is all around us. Books and articles are obvious manifestations, but even “visual” mediums such as video have an underlying script or teleplay written element that guides what happens and what’s said. The written word is similar to the atmosphere: All around us and essential, yet easy to forget it’s there.

How did you become involved with bundles? (For Bundle Authors) I got to meet Chuck Heintzelman at Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s Business Master Class in 2017. I’d been aware of his BundleRabbit platform, but especially after meeting Chuck was so impressed with how BundleRabbit was helping authors develop and participate in ebook bundles. Bundles are such a great way to help readers dive in deep on different variations on a theme, topic, etc., and it’s so fun to work with other authors on new ways to put our work in the world.

 How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? Travel has always been a big part of my life, and my fiction centers around people who travel as a lifestyle. I include destination research and draw from on-the-ground experience as much as I can too, so I can really evoke that feeling of “being there.”

For my novel THE LOTUS AND THE BARLEY, I drew on my own travels to London, my background covering Oregon’s craft beer industry, and a “what if?” mindset that helped me imagine a London that had built itself up in a different way, but based on landmarks that could be familiar to us in our world.

The beery touches were especially fun. My work has brought me on many a tour of breweries, so I got to bring all that experience together not only into my pro brewer and homebrewer characters, but the beer itself is its own character.

What is your greatest success? Marrying well. I had the good fortune and the good sense to know when I had found my soulmate. Jodie and I met in 2005, got married in 2009. From business to parenting, we bring out the best in one another, and I’m grateful every day that I found her.

Which authors have influenced you the most? If there is one author I wish I could have met, it’s Terry Pratchett. Discworld titles such as Thud! and Witches Abroad are books I re-read and re-read. Pratchett’s characters have to channel other feelings into meaningful action, and his sense of humor and satire is a candy coating that helps us swallow some tricky truths.

What is your writing space like? My wife and I currently share a “corner office” in our house. I usually use the office in the morning for writing and client work, and she uses it in the afternoon for teaching violin lessons. At other times I’ll be set up at our front table, with a MacBook Pro, a mouse, and an external keyboard. It helps me be both focused and flexible—and reminds me that I can work anywhere.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? If you want others to value your work, time, and expertise, then make sure you show that you value them too.

It’s not uncommon for writers to undervalue their work and underestimate the time and energy it takes to do their work. When I went full-time as a  freelance writer in 2011, I made sure to track my time on projects, agree fair rates with clients and editors, and, above all, to make sure that I always got paid. Writers do work that other people wish they could do—the power and value in understanding that is without equal.

 Tell us about your latest piece? My 2020 novel, STRANGE RIDE, brought me an interesting challenge. The setting was in a walled city full of skyscrapers, and drew heavily on labyrinths, mythology, and the five stages of grief: depression, anger, bargaining, denial, acceptance, collectively referred to as “DABDA.” I had to extensively research labyrinths. Plus, the city where I live—Eugene, Oregon—is home to many indoor and outdoor labyrinths, so I also got to have some contemplative introverted fun going to different labyrinths around town and walking them.

STRANGE RIDE focuses on a 10-year-old girl named Soarsha. She lives in this giant walled city, in a high-rise apartment with her dad. They lost her mother years ago, in the wasteland beyond the city. We meet Soarsha on her tenth birthday, and see her get bullied by her classmates. She seeks refuge in her Wandering Heroes comic books, and in hanging out with her dad. It’s not necessarily a great life, but she has some good things going for her. Until, the next day, she comes home… but her father doesn’t. She sets out to find him, but winds up discovering truths she didn’t even know she was looking for.

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? There’s this ongoing discussion that it can be really difficult to publish ebooks to different retailers—you know, upload to Amazon, to Draft 2 Digital, to Apple Books, to Kobo, etc.—because you have to enter the same information over and over. The problem isn’t the process, it’s whether or not the writer is organized to handle the process in less time.

 I independently publish my work, and I distribute ebooks to all the channels: Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, Nook, you name it. I keep a spreadsheet with all the details about every release: publication date, Patreon release date, links to stores, prices for different markets, even the color codes for my cover’s primary color. Once that info is set up, it’s a simple copy and paste job. I can set up a title across multiple channels in less than an hour.

Writers get hung up on the number of stores. That’s not the problem. Most of your time and energy goes into getting the details ready. Actually setting them up is a much smaller fraction of the time it takes than we often think it is.

 What’s your greatest networking tip? There’s an easy way to be remembered by pretty much any presenter at any event. It’s based on a simple principle: Everyone likes knowing their work is appreciated, looked forward to, and will help someone.

Before going to any sort of writing conference, take a few minutes to research presenters whose talks or workshops you plan on attending. Then, contact them—through their website’s contact form, their email, or a social network—and leave a short and simple note, such as “Hi, I’m FIRSTNAME LASTNAME, and I’ll be attending your talk on SUBJECT at NAMEOFEVENT. Just wanted to let you know I’m really looking forward to it.”

Anytime I’ve done this, it’s led to useful connections and worthwhile conversations. Plus, the moment I introduce myself, they say something like, “Oh, I got a note from you, thank you so much!”

It’s a simple but powerful way to help yourself stand out.

Sylvie Denied – Blog Tour and Guest Post

Sylvie Denied
by Deborah Clark Vance
Genre: Women’s Fiction
As she enters adulthood in the turbulent 1970s, Sylvie thinks the way to change a violent world is to become a peaceful person. Yet she slowly sees how a childhood trauma thwarts her peaceful intentions and leads her to men with a dark side – including Enzo, the man she marries. Even as his behavior becomes increasingly volatile, she believes she can make things better with love and understanding. But finally living in terror. Sylvie must find a way to escape with her daughter and a way to claim her place in the world.
Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Deborah Clark Vance has lived throughout the US and in Italy. While raising her children, she earned a living by teaching piano lessons, selling her original artwork, editing a health journal, translating Italian, writing freelance articles and textbook chapters, working on a children’s educational TV series, teaching in a day treatment program for adults with mental and emotional illnesses, creating garden designs and teaching as a college adjunct. After completing a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture at Howard University, she taught and served as Chair of the Department of Communication & Cinema at McDaniel College in Maryland. Although she also contributed articles and chapters to academic publications, those only earned her a modicum of prestige rather than income. She’s keenly interested in the natural world as well as in social justice, spirituality and women’s issues. “Sylvie Denied” is her debut novel.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$20 Amazon

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

It’s more circular than linear. I write in snippets as ideas occur, then build until I have enough to start organizing into chapters that I keep in separate computer files so I can I play around with the order. When I have enough, I troubleshoot and adjust the story—is it what I planned? is it becoming something else? – and make some decisions.

What makes a good story?

A story needs to be about someone who learns something, someone who starts out with a lack and acquires it, or maybe has something and loses it and in the losing acquires it. I think stories were invented to teach about a lifespan – we’re born, we live, we die = beginning, middle, end. But how do we change during that time? If there’s no change in awareness, there’s not really a story, though it could be an anecdote or just a joke.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

This is an interesting question. I think I’ll say no and here’s why. I write because I have a lot to say. Maybe some days I don’t feel like talking or thinking or even writing. Or maybe I really don’t have anything to say because I’m tired, empty, distracted, otherwise engaged. Or it could be I’ve started writing something and it isn’t turning out as I expected so I quit going that way.

Describe your writing style.

There’s a certain compactness to my writing that comes from my trying to find the strongest most perfect words to convey what I want to say. And there’s humor – my sense of humor is very dry and subtle so people don’t always pick up on it.  I get a kick out of people, even ones I don’t personally want to hang around with, so I try so share my amusement by showing their quirky ideas, behaviors and speech mannerisms.

Advice you would give new authors?

When I was learning to drive, my older brother said, “it’s great that you know the rules of the road and how to operate a car. But it’s most important to know how to get where you’re going.”

I’d amend that slightly and say an author should know what they want to say. For instance, Mary Shelly wrote the first book in the horror genre, but she wanted to say that humans aren’t ultimately in charge and shouldn’t be messing with the creation of life. There’s something unique we’ve all been learning in our life’s journeys and everyone has a perspective to share. Find that something and then figure out the best way of saying it. There’s nothing better for creating a sense of urgency and passion that keep you going.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

That’s like asking me whether it’s a good decision to breathe.

 

 

 

 

Chasing Xander – Blog Tour – Contemporary #Romance

Chasing Xander
The Collins Brothers Book 2
by Lexi Lawton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kylie Quinn is positive nothing could be more embarrassing on her first day of college than having her unmentionables go sprawling across campus. She was wrong. Very wrong. Having a super-sexy co-ed twirl them around his finger like he’s privy to all of Victoria’s Secrets is so much worse.
Xander Collins has met his match with Kylie—she’s gorgeous, smart, sarcastic as hell, and doesn’t give a damn that he’s loaded. She’s also a virgin. And he doesn’t do virgins. Been there, done that, and he’s still paying for it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends, despite the fact her flirty moves leave him with balls a shade of blue he never knew existed.
Kylie is special, and she deserves more than his typical “one and done” routine. But as his life implodes and his not-so-brilliant plan to take things slow blows up in his face, he’s at risk of losing everything—including Kylie. Now he must decide if everything he’s been fighting so hard for is worth it without her by his side.
**Only .99cents!!**
Born and raised in Central New York, Lexi Lawton is an only child who found companionship in books. When she was old enough to put pen to paper, she began writing her own stories of love, suspense, and heartbreak. The Collins Brothers Series is her first publication—but it won’t be her last! She also writes young adult novels under the pen name Kara Leigh Miller.
Today, Lexi lives in Michigan with her husband, a herd of kids, and what could probably be considered a zoo of dogs, cats, and fish.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$15 Amazon giftcard,
Signed Copy of Trusting Tanner
– 1 winner each!

Bridge of Magic Tour – Guest Post Robert E Balsley Jr. #Author Interview

Welcome to Robert E. Balsley Jr.

Author of  Salvation of Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 1

by Robert E. Balsley Jr.

Genre: Fantasy

 

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors? 

The Dragon Riders of Pern series/Anne McCaffrey.

The Sword of Truth series/Terry Goodkind

The Foundation Trilogy/Isaac Asimov

The Game of Thrones series/George R.R. Martin

The Belgariad and the Malloreon/David Eddings

The Deryni series/Katherine Kurtz

The Black Company series, Garrett P.I. series/Glen Cook

Destroyermen series/Taylor Anderson

The Dresden Files/Jim Butcher

Drizzt series/R.A. Salvatore

What book do you think everyone should read?  I’d like to say The Salvation of Innocence, but that’s kind of selfish. In truth, I can’t think of a book that has had, or has, more of an influence on people than the Bible. If this is a standard answer, then that would be because it’s the truth.

How long have you been writing? Books? Since late 2014. Dungeon and Dragon games? Since the mid-nineties.

 Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? Most come to me as I write. Mostly because the storyline demanded it. 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? I haven’t really done any research before I write. Since I write in the fantasy genre, there’s not a lot of fact checking I need to do before I start. However, I do research as I’m writing. For example, in The Salvation of Innocence, a sea voyage was required. Instead of glossing it over, I research the construction, parts of, and manning of ships from the 1700’s, particularly British ships of the line. I studied combat strategy and envisioned how to apply that past philosophy to fight off a dragon. I also researched land combat tactics from the medieval age as well as the different types of army units and their strengths. As for the Marines I have in my trilogy, I pretty much use modern-day U.S. Marines as my guide.

Do you see writing as a career? No. The people who are successful writers have several things in common… they have talent and they either have connections or provided a story that caught the public’s imagination. I call that catching “lightning in a bottle”. I don’t think my talent level is on par with successful writers, though I may be selling myself short.

What do you think about the current publishing market? Hard to crack. I consider myself lucky that Dove and Dragon Publishing decided to take me on. But that doesn’t mean my chances at success are guaranteed… just somewhat better. Demand dictates how well my novels are received… and there’s a lot of material out there to satisfy that demand.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre? I do, though not as much as I used to. Too many other things to occupy my time. My favorite genre is fantasy, but I also enjoy science fiction, horror, sometimes crime, and books about WWII.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? If I understand the question, I write with noise. I love writing with new age music (like Enya) in the background. Most weekdays, however, I write with FOX Business in the background. When I was writing games for my D&D sessions, I listened to classical music on my CD player. Sometimes the music inspires, sometimes it calms, sometimes it picks me up, particularly if I need to figure just exactly where I want my storyline to go (or how, which is just as important).

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? My books seem like they are several going at one time. I use many different storylines and characters to get from Point A to Point B. But the direct answer is one at a time.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? I think it would be the Lord of the Ring series. Those books pretty much set the standard for future fantasy books and D&D games and books.

Pen or typewriter or computer? Definitely computer. It spell checks as I write, allows me to cut and paste if and when I decide a particular storyline, paragraph, or sentence, allows me to save my work using several different formats, allows me to insert illustrations, checks basic grammar, etc, etc, etc. I know that some writers consider pen as the only pure form… but all that ever does for me is hurt my wrist, not to mention it’s slower which means my mind is always three ideas ahead.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book. I love ‘em all, but perhaps the one character I like writing about best is probably is Azriel. He’s a dwarf turned sylph who’s a bit outlandish. What I like about him is his lack of filter on both his thinking and his talking. He’s brash, short-tempered, and very opinionated. Yet he has a good heart and is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? I’m retired, so I’m not earning a living with my writing, so there isn’t the financial pressure. But the decision to write was definitely the right decision. I enjoy it immensely.

A day in the life of the author? Up at about 0800-0830, depending upon when my dogs decide when it’s time. Prepare for the day, get the dogs out and make the coffee. At 0900 I turn on the FOX Business Network (Varney and Co.) and watch while getting caught up with emails and Facebook. At 1000, downstairs to my space… man cave… where I surround myself with dragons, spaceships, castles, D&D miniatures, airplanes, etc. Turn on the TV (back to FOX Business) and get started writing. I stop around 1230 for lunch and some afternoon TV. (I’m gotten to where I like to watch old-time westerns like Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Bonanza). Break for time on the treadmill, then back upstairs for a shower. Feed the dogs, watch evening TV while reading or, too my horror, get on Facebook. I call it a day around 0100. (These are just the days I stay home, which, I must admit, I really, really like.)

Advice they would give new authors? Don’t quit your day job. Being a successful writer (money wise), regardless of talent, isn’t a guarantee. It’s a fact of life. Take care of your fam

The Salvation of Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 1

by Robert E. Balsley Jr.

Genre: Fantasy

A young woman embarks on a harrowing journey to save her world’s last vestige of magical healing in Robert E. Balsley Jr.’s epic new fantasy novel, The Salvation of Innocence.

Althaya, the goddess of healing, wishes to share her ability to help those in need, providing “empaths,” which give clerics the means to magically heal others-a means that some people fear and wish to destroy. In response, a dark magic known as the Purge is created to seek out and eradicate all empaths.

But one lone survivor remains, spirited away by Althaya and hidden in a magical stasis field. There, the last empath must remain alive until the time comes for rescue-but the Purge will not rest until the last empath is found and killed.

Three thousand years later, Kristen Rosilie Clearwater is only beginning to realize her destiny. Having been brought to the island of InnisRos as an orphan, she has long felt a “tug” toward something she can’t quite understand. But when she begins experiencing the dreams of a young child, Kristen knows that the two are somehow connected-and that the fate of the world, and the future of healing magic, rests on.

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * B&N

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25928961-the-salvation-of-innocence-a-bridge-of-magic-novel

Buy Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KZuFPB

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-salvation-of-innocence-robert-e-balsley/1132833811?ean=2940164643256

The Struggle For Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 2

In this suspenseful sequel to The Salvation of Innocence, the war against evil rages on. This time good must fight on two fronts to stop a great evil-one strong enough to commit genocide-or their world will be changed forever.

After barely escaping death at the hands of the vampire Lukas, Emmy still faces an even greater threat. The Purge is approaching. Emmy and her comrades’ only chance is to get help from the sentient city of Elanesse and commit the first assault.

Far way, another conflict is brewing. Father Horatio Goram must face off against the power-hungry First Counselor Mordecai Lannian, whose demonic concubine pushes for war, but the odds are against him. Emmy’s fate rests on this struggle, and this determined priest will do anything to win.

In a realm where healing magic relies on a single emissary’s ability to commune with the gods, Emmy’s death would have wide repercussions. This sensational thriller reveals the destructive power evil will use to achieve its dastardly ends-and the depths to which good must go to stop it.

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * B&N

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33906479-the-struggle-for-innocence

Buy Links
Amazon:
https://amzn.to/38b53bo

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-struggle-for-innocence-robert-e-balsley/1138246051?ean=2940164474416

The Loss of Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 3

War has come to InnisRos!

The Ak-Séregon Stone, stolen by the demon Nightshade, has been used to force open a corridor between Aster and the Svartalfheim, the home world of the Dark Elves. The Dark Elf army, led by Nightshade’s father, Aikanáro, marches on InnisRos. Only Father Goram and his allies, with Queen Lessien’s army, can close down the corridor and break the stranglehold the Dark Elves have on the island of the Elves of Light.

But the Dark Elf invasion of InnisRos is only one phase of Nightshade’s design. To ensure InnisRos’ human allies stay on their side of the world, she blackmails Lord Ternborg, leader of the Draugen Pesta, the Black Death, to invade the mainland from the east. Forced to collaborate with the mercenary cities of HeBron and Madeira, Lord Ternborg reluctantly leads three armies into the Forest of the Fey and the surrounding valley to capture the sorcerer stronghold of Havendale. Tangus, Kristen, Emmy and the humans now have their own war to fight on the mainland.

Meanwhile, deep below the surface, a new threat arises. The sylph are awake and moving from the depths with one goal in mind… destroy all life on Aster.

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * B&N

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55884064-the-loss-of-innocence

Buy Links
Amazon:
https://amzn.to/3hBnQQb

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-loss-of-innocence-robert-balsley-jr/1138282120?ean=2940164575175

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Rebecca Miller

Welcome to Rebecca Miller

Please tell us about your publications/work.  My writing credits include being a freelance journalist for The Inquisitr, The Weekly Register-Call, The Daily Camera, and the Earthkeeper. My books include Libertine Awakenings: A Psychosexual Odyssey under my pen name, Cat Ravenelle, and Being Max’s Mom under my birth name. These were self-published through IUniverse and KDP, respectively. I also did transcription work for President Obama. The Whisper is my latest novel.

 Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom? Absolutely. Writing The Whisper was incredibly empowering for me and helped me heal from the traumas I’d witnessed as a hospice nurse as well as attending my brother’s death. Writing shapes history facilitates change, educates, and informs. It’s cliché, but the pen is mightier than the sword.

 What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Buy a she-shed and hide from your family members. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been interrupted….

 What’s your greatest networking tip? The Power of Three. Tell three people three times a day about your book. That can be in a post or a conversation—it’s a bit exhausting, but it works. 

 If you could have dinner with any literary character or author, who would you choose, and what would you eat. Judy Blume. I’d take her to Le French and have some wine and a Salade Nicoise. 

 How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? WELL, since you asked. For this book, it was my life, so that part was easy, BUT for my erotic fiction, I actually went to swingers clubs and observed. I had a notebook in my purse. It was pretty interesting, and no, I didn’t participate. I’m too much of a germaphobe for that type of behaviour. I found the lack of hand sanitizer and protection disturbing. 

 How influential is storytelling to our culture? It’s essential to the survival of us as a species. We are doomed to repeat history…as evidenced by our current situation. We need to tell our ancestors’ stories to continue that lineage and tell our own stories. As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed how life does spin in a bit of a spiral. Right now, I’m having my students read part of The Decameron and thinking about how they’ve survived our recent lockdowns. We are not that different from our peers in 1300 in how we deal with forced isolation and an invisible enemy.

 What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Don’t give up. And don’t be afraid. You can’t please everybody. Like I’ve told my friends, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am someone’s double vodka. 

 What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Just publish and don’t worry about being perfect—it was referring toward just barfing words on a page and hitting send. Whereas I can get behind the idea of writing drunk, edit sober, you need to edit again and again—but not get crippled. Finally, letting go of my manuscript and giving it to the world is…was…right this moment, terrifying. 

 If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature, what would you be and why? Wonder Woman. Spin in a circle, and BAM. Outfit changed. 

 Which authors have influenced you the most? Judy Blume was the first author who I blame for my desire to become a writer. I read a TON of feminist lit in college. Books by Ram Dass and Pema Chodron sit on my shelf. All hail Virginia Woolf. 

 What is your writing space like? I have a desk in a shared home office, and I literally have a screen I put up in a vain attempt to send the message to leave me alone. It doesn’t work. I have headphones, and I have to listen to low-fi to block out the noise. I can track my writing sprints by how many coffee cups, diet Coke cans, and wine glasses are balanced around me. I’ve tried writing in coffee houses, my bedroom, even sat on the floor in my bathroom, but they STILL find me. Hence, the request for a she-shed. Might have to put up an electric fence. Too many kids….

 Tell us about your latest piece? The Whisper is a story about love and absolution. More than that, it’s my story. I worked as a crisis hospice nurse for four years. I am Rose McWhorter. Everything in the story is true but written in a way that protects my patients’ identities. In The Whisper, I tell the story about what it’s like to be a hospice nurse and what happens when we die. While it’s not intended to be a religious book, it is spiritual. The whisper I heard to become a nurse, to the final whisper that told me my work was done came from God. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life profoundly changed. I learned self-forgiveness, trust, regained my family and fell in love with being alive.

 What’s your next writing adventure? Probably try to work on Book 2 of Libertine Awakenings. I have it on jump drive but never continued. 

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? Nah. It’s like dark chocolate. If I get it for free, I’m still going to appreciate it. And, if no one eats it, no one gets to experience the sweetness of it. Which reminds me, I have some in my desk drawer.

 My son and I do art shows showcasing young people with autism. The thrill these kids get having their art up for display reinforces my stance on the free book. If no one sees your art, no one can enjoy your art or be influenced by it. I’m delighted to have my work shared. 

 What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Depends. If someone is a troll, I think you have the right to defend yourself. 

 How do you deal with bad reviews? Weep bitterly and grab my voodoo doll. 

 Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot 2

Great characters 1

Awesome world-building 3

Technically perfect 4

 With the influx of indie authors, do you think this is the future of storytelling? I think it’s great. It’s freeing. The idea of the “vanity press” is an act of, well, vanity is long gone. I think it helps contribute to the diversity of authors and that diversity can show us the world through someone else’s eyes. 

 Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? As long as there are dinosaurs like me and hipsters like my son, the bookstores will survive. 

 Are indie/self published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? It’s all about myth-busting. So I didn’t get picked up by Penguin. Does that make me any less than a writer? Usually, if I get this type of snark, I’ll ask them about their latest publications. Crickets. To write, and then to publish takes guts. And time. 

What is your greatest success? Being Max’s mom—he is the light of my life. He’s changed me in ways that I cannot monetize. I learn from my son every single day, especially now during COVID. He’s taught me how to use Google Classroom so I can teach my students. 

How important is writing/art to you? During this crisis I have learned that art and music are essential. Writing kept me going. The arts are what makes us human.

What are your hopes for the coming year? Try to survive the last push of COVID19 and all its trimmings, attempt to salvage my son’s senior year of high school, and hopefully get a couple trips in once it is safe to move. I’m not sure what my next move is writing wise. 2020 taught me that plans can change, so go with the flow.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself. I still compete in beauty pageants and I’m a highland athlete. Weird combo.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? Not a nurse! I wanted to be a writer. I ended up a hybrid, that’s ok.

Links to book

The Whisper on Amazon.Com

The Whisper on Amazon.Co.uk

Links —I think you already have them.

Bio I live in Denver, Colorado and I work as adjunct faculty for my local community college teaching nursing arts, anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology. Writing is my side job while I’m on sabbatical. My love, Dennis, and I share our home with three boys, two cats, and have adopted a feral cat named Darryl who lives in our backyard catching mice and chasing bunnies. 

For fun, post-COVID, we look forward to traveling overseas, skiing, taking the kids to Disney, supporting the local arts, but during the pandemic, we love working in our garden, supporting local biz via takeout, and firing up the smoker. We are grateful.

The Tainted Truth Blog Tour and Guest Post – Fantasy

Meet author Nathalie M.L. Römer

 Hello, everyone, my name is Nathalie and I’m a expat Brit who lives and works In Sweden (the country not the American city). I originate from the Netherlands originally where I was born, and I grew up in Amsterdam. (Fun fact, walking to school involved walking past the daytime versions of the “Red Light District” windows). My journey to authordom began originally with my ferocious bookworm addiction of devouring as many books as I could as I was growing up. My advice immediately is for kids to be as interested in reading books as early as possible.

I would typically read at least TEN books a day, and I’m not talking children’s books here though I’d read them too, but books by such authors as Isaac Asimov (still my favourite author and I’m excited for the upcoming Foundation movie), Tolkien, Georges Simenon and Jules Verne (I’d read the adult edition rather than the children’s edition of his books). My imagination was ignited by reading about so many different worlds and places, though circumstance caused me to only begin writing in 2014 (pesky bad marriage, annoying ex-husband getting in the way of creativity and all that sort of stuff). But when I began writing I realised that I had never forgotten any of the many stories I’d been dreaming up in my mind. One such story is the story in my series of The Wolf Riders of Keldarra, though the original premise did change somewhat as time went by…

I glance over at the suggested questions Silver Dagger Book Tours sent me and the first one is to tell something unique or quirky. I’ve often enough in my life been told I’m an empathic person who cares about others. I guess that’s not a unique thing but when I think back at what I’ve done throughout my life my mind settles on one event that has made me who I am.

The event is something that could have ended up tragic if I hadn’t acted as fast as I did. I knew I cared about others when I made an effort to rescue a toddler who got washed out to sea. I rushed to the child, got her from the water, and was already administering CPR and all necessary actions to save her. Her parents realised then what was going on. I still remember the mother’s words to this day, “Never forget what you did here today. You were a hero. You showed you cared for a child you never met before.” You need not do something massive to stand out from the crowd to “shine.” You can do a simple thing to show everyone you care about others. Though in Book 2 of my series, Stolen Truth, I decided to reverse the event somewhat, making the “rescue” spiritual rather than physical, there a scene in the book (available for pre-order on Amazon) that is a direct reflection of what had happened to me.

Well, even someone supposedly empathic can have her pet peeves. The biggest pet peeve I have is when I see people not wanting to get along with one another. I see us all as connected as we have one world to live on (so far and for the foreseeable future) and therefore we should all act in a way like we’re the hero. The best example of an explanation for this sort of behaviour comes from Melissa Benoist (never met her but she’s definitely on my bucket list of a “hero” I’d like to meet one day), who has said – and I’m not quoting verbatim: “We all are the heroes of the world. Girls come to me telling me that Supergirl has made them realise they matter no matter who they are.”

I kind of have the same approach with Marrida in The Wolf Riders of Keldarra (and had the approach before I knew of what Melissa Benoist said; she said it in 2019). Marrida in my story goes from a naive girl who knows very little about her world to someone who becomes an inspiration to others, i.e. a hero, and tells the people she meets they matter. A real hero, therefore, is ANY person who tells others they matter no matter who they are or where they’re from. So that means you can be a hero by simply being kind and loving to others, which then makes you my hero.

The drive to be an author comes from something a teacher once told me: “You’ll either be an artist or an author.” Before I became an author I did freelance work creating advert graphics (I guess that’s the artist part of the teacher’s statement fulfilled). As I decided in 2014 to embrace the other part of the statement that’s when I became an author. But whatever the creativity is, you become creative the moment you think about something you want to create, whether it is art, stories, music, movies or YouTube videos, theatre acting, costume design, or any other creativity. The ancient Homo Sapiens with their cave paintings teach us that by nature humans are creative. We invented writing. We invented mathematics. We invented engineering to create tools and later machines. It’s the first time you think: “What if I create…” that’s when you are a creative person. For me the “What if I create…” was when I was just four years old, created a drawing of a girl with a skirt (I still own the drawing) and then went into a lengthy tangent explaining to the girl beside me how drawing her art with just four fingers, opposed to me doing it with five, was likely the moment my storytelling skill was born. I may have begun writing my first novel over decades after that day as a toddler but I began being a creator of stories on that day in late 1973.

This leads into what I watch for added inspiration. I love movies that have a larger than life setting, which I commonly have in my books too, especially fantasy or science-fiction. When I write I have the movies of Lord of the Rings in my mind, where both the books and the movies offer the ultimate “hero’s journey.” Which coincidentally, right now, is my all-time favourite movies. But that may get eclipsed if either the movie Foundation, the reimagined Dune or any other movie comes along. I watch science fiction movies as they present to me the chance to see an imagined future. I watch fantasy movies for escapism. Personally, I’d like to see The Wolf Riders of Keldarra on the television screen though.

And finally, I’ll end this essay that gives you an insight in who I am with telling you that my “muse” is the plush doll of a WOLF that sits on my desk. Wolves are my spirit animal, and I have a high belief in such things as a Pagan. I’m someone who feels connected to nature, which is why almost all my stories always will feature animals in one fashion or another, especially wolves…

I support the Wolf Conservation Centre (https://nywolf.org/) as my chosen charity because of my love of wolves. Maybe you can show them your support too.

Tainted Truth
The Wolf Riders of Keldarra Book 1
by Nathalie M.L. Römer
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Begin your journey in the land of Keldarra…
It’s a land on the brink of war. Who wins it depends on which side is stronger: truth or the lies of thousands of years of deception and manipulation. But whose truth? What lies? That’s for you to find out in the first book of this nine-book series!
When truth and lies have been used as a weapon. When you fight an enemy from the past using lies, and truth becomes the weapon with which you fight that enemy.
The story takes you to an ancient land under siege. The history of Keldarra is long but forgotten. A distant past when someone knew the Wolf Riders would rise. They also knew they would come to an end.
The Truth: Words spoken.
Still spoken to speak a lie.
Marrida. Alagur.
Each individual has a reason for wanting change. But can the reasons co-exist without clashing? Can truth prevail when each of them exists because of lies? When they discover similarity it reveals a hidden past, a past that means so much more than either knew.
**Coming Soon!**
Stolen Truth
The Wolf Riders of Keldarra Book 2
**Release Date: Dec 1, 2020**

 

Truth of a Betrayer
The Wolf Riders of Keldarra Book 3
**Release Date: Aug 24, 2021**

Nathalie is a published author, based in Sweden, and born and bred in the Netherlands, with roots squarely planted culturally in Britain and Curaçao. She primarily writes epic fantasy, futuristic science fiction, mysteries, romance with a twist, and is now venturing into fairytale retellings, dystopian stories and much more (just keep visiting to see where stories take you and the author alike). And Nathalie describes her style of writing as unapologetically wordy, because she has discovered that the best part of writing is weaving a world that’s interesting to explore, to discover its back story, to meet its people, and find out what makes them tick. Nathalie weaves each world with her own experiences into the stories, and will touch on various causes and situations that speak to her…

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Signed Copy of the Book – 2 winners! ,
$10 Amazon giftcard – 1 winner