Dirty Dozen – Author Interview – Amanda Schmidt

Welcome to Amanda Schmidt

I have published thirteen books.  I have two stories that are two books (Taken, Solace), one trilogy (The Shadow Dragon), one story that will be two books (Rise of Ansea), and the rest are all stand-alone books (Not Human, Heart of the Emperor, The Huntsman’s Daughter, Project 21, and Adventurer’s Spirit).  They are all fictional adventure stories with a love story entwined.  Each story has two main characters: a strong – or will become strong – female and a male that eventually is the perfect compliment to her.  My published stories so far tend to take place on other worlds because I love using my imagination, although some of my stories talk about Earth, or start on Earth, but only one of them completely takes place only on Earth.  I have one story (my trilogy) that is true fantasy – with dragons, swords, magic, lords, wizards…   The books I publish contain the elements that I like to read: action, adventure, twists and turns, love, heroes, vicious enemies, fighting (weapons and hand to hand combat).

What prompted you to publish your work? My oldest son was about ten when he caught me writing.  He was smiling from ear to ear after I confessed what I was doing and he said, “You’re going to be famous.”  I didn’t believe that, I mean, I was hiding that fact that I was writing.  However, his excitement dwelled in my mind and I began to consider maybe I could publish.  I eventually allowed people to read my manuscript and they encouraged me to publish, which clearly I did.  It only took two years for me to gain the courage to do so.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Finishing/not having enough time.  I am constantly being bombarded with a new idea, and the ideas do not wait until I’ve completed the previous idea.  So, I’m constantly changing what I’m working on.  Which takes me even longer to finish a story.  Plus, I don’t read as fast as I’d like, so revising takes forever and then, again, another idea pops in for something not related to this story.  It’s a vicious cycle really (but I love it).

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a plotter? Definitely a pantser.  I have never been able to write an outline.  When I had to write papers in school, I usually did it after I finished the paper/story – or had to change the outline when I was done.  When I sit down to write, the moment I begin typing, the story plays out in front of me, and not always in chronological order.  For example, at least three of my books, I wrote the first chapter after I finished writing the rest of it.

What are your views on free books? I’m personally on the fence about that one.  I do not think it demeans the author or his/her work.  Getting your stories out there is an important part of being a writer, especially as an indie author since all marketing falls on the author.  Free books seemed like a great idea when I started.  I was told to make book one free and then they’ll come back for more.   They didn’t, and I struggled again with the idea that maybe my stories are not “good”.   One day someone said to me that they download free books all the time, and they had read very few of them.  However, they did read the ones they paid for… because they paid for them.  And my numbers seemed to reflect the idea that they probably weren’t that far off the mark.  I’ve never had much luck with selling my ebooks for free, and getting sales off my other books, so I stopped.   However, I do tend to give out my paperbacks, because I have made a few fans that way.

How do you deal with bad reviews? I always take my reviews to heart, even the bad ones.  However, depending on what is said, is how I react to it.  I honestly don’t expect everyone to like my stories, because I don’t like all the books I read either.  A review is a person’s opinion and they’re allowed to have one.  I usually take the bad review as constructive criticism, sometimes I can see their point.  Like with the “Huntsman’s Daughter”, I unpublished it and am trying to find the time to tend to the issues that my “editors” and I missed.   However, there have been times where the review kind of hurt, like when they attacked something about a character.  I wanted to be able to defend that character against whatever it was that they were attacked for, but alas I cannot.  Those are the times I make myself warm cookies, grab a glass of milk, and get back to writing.  Or I talk to a friend and vent a little.  The last time I did this my friend said: “writing with your heart again, I see.”  I shrugged, and let that sink in.  Then I realized that person didn’t understand my character’s behavior because they hadn’t experienced a similar situation to what my character was dealing with – or if they had, they dealt with it differently –  and that allowed me to not be so frustrated.

Order of importance?

Great Characters – If I get attached to the characters in a book I will finish reading that book guaranteed.  If the main characters don’t draw me in, I will stop reading the book.   So yes, when I write, character development is huge to me.

Good Plot – If the characters and their development are great, I will be more forgiving of the plot.  I will finish the story and if there’s a sequel I’ll probably read it as well.   As a writer, plot isn’t something I’ve struggled with, I actually don’t think about it too much because the characters tend to write the plot for me.

Technically perfect – I’m not saying it has to be perfect, but if there’s too many technical issues – then I will stop reading it.  I’ve put down a book before because there were a ton of short sentences and my brain was so fixated on the all the periods that it was not picking up any of the story.  I am pretty lax on typos, and am proud of myself when I catch a homophone error, but I am not a grammatical Nazi by any means.  As long as the errors are not overabundant and don’t pull me out of the world the author created, I will continue to read the story.

Awesome world-building – This is not necessary for me as a reader.  I’ve come to realize there are two types of people, those with active imaginations and those who need to be told what to see.  Which type am I?  I’m the type who gets annoyed if there’s too much description.  I have a very active and strong imagination so I don’t need pages of details to see something.  Give me an idea of what you see and my brain will do the rest unless it is important to the story.   Even when I take the time to read all the details an author is giving me, my brain pictures what it wants.  I would much rather the words be used for moving the story along or building the character than telling me about a tree that has little if any relevance to the story.   As a writer, I do draw the scenery, but I’ve had times where my friends have had to remind me that they are not in my head, so I go back and write to help them see what I see.

 

How is storytelling influential to our culture? I believe storytelling is very influential to our culture.  It helps to inspire and motivate people, it gives people a way to escape this world for a while, it gives something for people to relate to.  My older son was not a strong reader, he hated it when he was in early elementary.  We introduced him to comic books and by the time he was in sixth grade he was reading above his grade level, but more importantly, it inspired him to make better choices.  We had a discussion the other day, and he looks at me and says, “Mom, tragedy helps build character.  It sucks, but it’s the truth.  Look at Batman.  His parents were killed, and that’s horrible I know, but look at who he became, look at all the good he did and people he helped.  If his parents hadn’t died he would not have become that incredible man.”   And if you think about Star Trek, and all those devices they used that inspired people to figure out how to create things that were similar… like cell phones.  Storytelling invigorates the mind and encourages us to think differently than we did before.

What is your writing space like? My writing space is anywhere I can sit with my laptop.  In the summer I like to write outside under the trees, but when it’s not nice, I’ll sit on the floor, in my bed, on the couch.  I’ve sat in bleachers waiting for wrestling meets to start, in my car waiting for my kids to get done with class, at the library, at a coffee/tea shop.  I’m really not too picky about my writing space because as soon as I start typing, this world falls away.  Although sometimes if there’s too much talking or the TV is loud, I usually plug in headphones and I’m good.

Tell us about your latest piece.

My most recent story I’ve published is “Adventurer’s Spirit”.  It takes place on another world where two different races of people exist.  Alyxzandra belongs to a people who are in touch with the world they live on, and Jared’s people do not think twice about the planet.  Alyxzandra and Jared meet in the woods when they are young – she was playing a game and he was hunting.  They should have seen each other as enemies, but the moment they saw each other they only saw someone who didn’t deserve to die.  Jared should have killed her that day, and she should have let Jared die when he is attacked by a Zurgala, but instead they keep each other alive not knowing that these two incidents would change everything.  This story follows their journey of friendship as they do their best to protect each other, their sacrifices, and the impacts it has on them and the world they live on.

What’s your next writing adventure? I am always working on more than one thing, but currently I’ve been a bit obsessive over Story 20.  I’m almost 150,000 words in, and the ending is almost complete.  This is an adventure story taking place far from Earth.  It is a story of unexpected love, betrayal, and survival.

Is there a message in your books? I don’t set out for there to be, but they do seem to fall in line with my beliefs that nature is important, that love knows no bounds, that you’re stronger than you know, that men and women are equal and a complement to each other, and survival is possible even in our lowest/darkest moments.

How important is writing to you? The only thing more important to me than writing are my kids.  And they will attest to the fact that when I don’t write it affects everything about me.  I become forgetful and dumb – we joke around that I can’t think straight because of the voices in my head (the story ideas are taking up too much space).  Irritation and sadness tend to take over my mood more easily, and my focus goes out the window.  I love writing, stopping isn’t an option.  It’s my solace, my happy place, my space to challenge myself to think outside the box and become more than I thought I could be.

Links:

Blog: It all started with a dream…: https://amandaschmidt09.blogspot.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandaschmidt09/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaSchmidt09

Bio

I graduated from Eastern Michigan University and live in Rochester, Michigan. I am a single mother of three amazing children who have helped me rediscover my love of writing. I started writing in 2009 and discovered there were many stories within me that I wanted to share. With the help of my family, friends, and fans, I have gained confidence in myself and in what I love, allowing me to live my dream to be an author who finds inspiration everywhere: my past, listening to music, in laughter, and even random moments while out hiking or practicing Tai Chi.

I discovered the hard way how important believing in yourself and your dreams is. With each story I write, I hope to take my readers into a world that will captivate their attention. I hope my stories remind you to believe in your dreams, allowing you to think outside the box and become more than you thought you could be.

Boo! Authors – Leland Dirks

Who are you? Leland Dirks

Tell us about your Boo! story: I think I’ve actually got two in this anthology. Hitchhiker is set in a rural part of Colorado where there was a prison camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. The other is set in a museum that was once an Army fort on the Colorado frontier.

What else have your written? I’ve got over 20 other books out, fiction, photography, and humor. Almost everything I write has at least one dog in it! My most recent release was Mindful Dogs, co-authored by my Border Collie Angelo and my Black Lab/philosopher mix Maggie.

What frightens you the most?  People’s ability for cruelty.

Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes.

What are you reading at the moment? A lot of historical non-fiction, research for the next series of books I’m writing about Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II.

 

Which book do you see as the most influential in your life? Illusions, by Richard Bach.

In the zombie apocalypse what would be your weapon of choice with which to defend yourself? My sense of humor. It would help us all band together and maybe make the zombies die laughing.

 

Social media links etc.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LelandDirks

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/lelanddirks

Tumblr/blog: http://slvhermit.tumblr.com

#Boo! #Halloween #Horror

Book Spotlight – Blue Moon House Angelica Dawson

Blue Moon House #VAMPIRE Book 6 ~ Available Now! #erotica #LGBTQ #BDSM @angelicadawson

Available now!

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Find out how each of the characters in the original novella, “Blue Moon House,” became a member. Read the trials and tribulations they had to endure, the kinky sexual acts, and wickedly wonderful ways required for entry. Discover what the big secret is all about.

Don’t miss each new book by Angelica Dawson as she takes you back to where it all began…

A vampire on the run, Nicholas has the opportunity to make a home at Blue Moon House if he is able to curb his killing tendency and learn a new way of living.

Is there anything he won’t do to stay? What will he do when he inevitably fails?


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Angelica Dawson, bestselling author of the Blue Moon House series, has been writing for several years and having sex a lot longer than that. Angelica is a wife, mother and environmental consultant. Her love of plants and the outdoors is not diminished by the bloodsucking hoards — mosquitoes and black flies, not vampires. She is active on Twitter (@angelicadawson) and Facebook (facebook.com/authorangelicadawson)

What is your dream vacation?

I went to England a Wales a couple of years ago and it was fantastic. I was a dream! Japan is one of my bucket list locations to visit. I also want to take the train across Canada. I haven’t seen nearly enough of my own country.

What did you do this summer?

It’s been a busy couple of months. As an Environmental Consultant, I spend a lot of time working with native plants and that means going on site during the growing season. I try to get some writing in while travelling, but was less successful this year than last. I attend When Words Collide (http://whenwordscollide.org) every August including this one. It is a fantastic venue for connecting with authors, editors and publishers, chock full of panels and discussions to help you improve everything from the craft of writing to queries to marketing. It’s also inexpensive. I highly recommend it. The last thing this summer is on a sadder note. My grandfather passed away and we made a long trip to my hometown to say goodbye.

Are you looking forward to school starting?

Oh, yeah. I have a 9 year-old that can drive me bonkers. It’ll be great to have her back in school during the day. I might get a little more done… or not. LOL

Do you ever think of going back to school?

Sometimes. I only have my Bachelor’s degree and going back for my Master’s is an idea I toy with from time to time. So far, I haven’t acted on it. I also peruse the communication and writing courses offered by the Universities and Colleges in the area, but haven’t signed up for any yet.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m promoting Vampire and two boxed sets that are due to come out in the next few weeks. I have the latest edit in my inbox for a transgender paranormal novella that I need to open. I’m also working on the last Blue Moon House issue, Sophia’s story.

Where can readers find you?

Blog: http://angelicadawson.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/angelicadawson

FB: http://facebook.com/authorangelicadawson

Newsletter: http://angelicadawson.blogspot.ca/2016/02/mailing-list.html

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Back Catalogue 6 – Audiobooks

 

Hi folks, another ‘back catalogue’ interview. Originally published as http://thaddeusthesixth.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/how-to-make-audiobook-interview-with.html. Do check out this blog and the fantasy books of Thaddeus White – well worth the read.

 

How to Make an Audiobook – interview with Alexandra Butcher

 

Publishing has undergone something of a revolution in recent years, with the advent of e-books and e-readers making it easier than ever to self-publish. There’s also been a resurgence in the popularity of audiobooks. But how does one go about making an audiobook? To answer that (and other) questions, I’ve been joined by Alexandra Butcher, who has recently created the audiobook of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

 

 

What’s the premise of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles?

 

The book is set in the world of Erana where magic is outlawed and elves enslaved to the humans. The land is run by the Order of Witch-Hunters – a corrupt organisation who rule by fear and division. Magic still persists. It’s a case of either someone is magical or they aren’t, it’s something a person is born with. How well that person hides their skills can mean life or death. The slavers, too, have a lot of power. Slavery is not illegal – in fact the Witch-Hunters encourage it – the trade of flesh pays well and so the Order gets a cut. It also helps to instil fear in the population.

The book begins with Dii, an elven sorceress who had fled from her Keeper, or slave owner’s, home after years of terrible treatment. She knows next to nothing about the world outside – except it’s a very dangerous place and soon enough she encounters the Order.

We then meet Archos, another sorcerer, who is also a wealthy noble and more besides who, unbeknown to the Order, is working to help the elves and other mages escape from servitude or execution. When the slavers ravage a nearby elven village Archos and Dii set out to try and rescue the missing elves and avenge the village, whilst trying to avoid capture by the Order and other jealous enemies.

It’s been labelled ‘sex and sorcery’ as it’s definitely an adult book as there are elements of romance and erotica. It’s pretty steamy in places 😉 Foremost it’s fantasy/sword and sorcery.

 

It’s recently, as mentioned, been converted into an audiobook. How long did it take, from start to finish, to create and publish the audiobook version?

 

Oh gosh – in the end it was about a year – but part of that was because I was revising the book for a third edition and I had to wait for the editor to do her stuff. The narrator – Rob Goll – was the chap who narrated Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse so I had the advantage I’d worked with him before. Rob had several other commitments – including a Shakespeare festival and narration for Heroika: Dragon Eaters which, as I’d recommended him for I couldn’t really complain. Once Rob had made a start it was actually fairly quick – probably about a month.

As I’d worked with Rob before and I liked his work and style I suggested he audition for Light Beyond so I’d pretty much made my choice of narrator already. With another title of mine Outside the Walls we had a couple of people audition and, as the book was a co-write, it had to be someone both myself and Diana liked. It’s possible to have several narrators audition or none. So it can take time to find the correct person.

It’s a lot more time consuming for the narrator – I understand it’s about two hours work per finished hour – and them they have to ensure there are no background noises, the pronunciation is alright, the gaps between the chapters are the right length etc. ACX has strict criteria about how long the silence is at the beginning or end of each chapter and if it’s too long or too short they won’t approve it. Honestly I can’t tell unless it’s really obvious so I have to trust my narrator on that.

I was lucky with Rob – he’s very professional and there was only one edit and that was my fault… That’s a risk, too, as the audio has to match the manuscript perfectly or the whispersync doesn’t work. If there is a difference, or a mistake then that has to be rectified. Also sometimes when listening the author discovers a particular scene or line doesn’t really work – so that needs to be changed in the MS. It’s a great way of finding those pesky typos that might have sneaked in under the radar. Whether Rob had to do multiple records I don’t know – he didn’t say.

Officially once the narrator has uploaded the files the author can request up to two rounds of editing – so the author needs to listen to the files carefully to decide on any changes. Some narrators will do more but as it’s so time consuming the author can’t send them notes on every little thing unless it really is an error/revision.

The cover art – that has to be square (think a CD case) so that has to be adapted. Then there’s a suitable sample…

 

Audiobooks seem to be enjoying a resurgence as MP3 players are so commonplace and they can be listened to on the commute to work, whilst walking or doing household chores. Excepting your own, do you have a favourite audiobook?

I have a few I haven’t listened to yet (no headphones for my phone and my old phone went into meltdown if I tried to install audible) but I have a version of Phantom of the Opera I love, and Les Miserable – although off hand I can’t remember who narrated. I’ve listened to Chris Morris narrate some work, and other books Rob has done.

I’ve just bought Count of Monte Christo, Dracula and Soul Music, so I need to get listening!

With the classics there are usually a few versions – so the samples are a good way to find a narrator you like.

 

Self-publishing has taken off in a major way for written books. Apart from (obviously) needing the written text, what else do you need to go down the audiobook route?

 

Patience! Each chapter which is uploaded has to be listened to, usually a couple of times, and cross referenced with the manuscript for revisions, background noise, dips in volume, odd sounds pronunciation issues – often the narrator will pick up any sound related issues – but some can slip through.

A book I have just bought on audible is over 50 listening hours so you can imagine the work that went into that!

As I said the cover art has to be reproduced – it’s a bit fiddly – especially if the author has purchased a cover and needs to go back to the cover artist and ask them to do it.

 

How does a writer go about hiring a narrator, and how does the pricing work (is it a fixed fee or does the narrator get a royalty per copy sold)?

There are two payment options available for author/narrators price per finished hour or royalty share. From what I’ve seen quite a few narrators will only offer price per hour – after all the book may not sell many copies so they may not ever a great deal of money for all the work. I can see their point. I’ve not worked with anyone who has only asked for pay per finished hour but I understand the fees vary – so it is up to the narrator and author to negotiate. If the author opts for pay per hour the royalties from the sales belong solely to the author – after all the narrator has already been paid. I think it works out at about 40% royalty rate.

Royalty share is what it says on the tin. The narrator isn’t paid up front – they get a share of any royalties for the audio book sales. It works out at 20% for the author and 20% for the narrator.

This is for the exclusive production on ACX – there are other sites which produce audio so if the book is sold elsewhere then I think the royalty rate is dropped. I can’t recall exactly but I think it’s a seven-year contract.

Once the book is submitted to ACX the author fills in the required info – genre, preferred narrating style, royalty options etc. An author can request a specific type of narrator – British, male, middle aged, West Country for example – of course that limits the potential narrators but it is possible. I’d say it was better to be a bit more flexible. Narrators can then audition by reading the uploaded audition script – usually a five minute chunk of the MS. Sometime the narrators can approach the author with questions. ACX will contact the author/rightsholder and say there is an audition waiting for approval. In theory the author could wait until there are a few or take the first one that comes in if he or she likes it.

If the author likes the audition then he/she can make an offer to the narrator – so royalty share, time scale etc. If the narrator has a lot of other work on, and many of them are actors so may be working on shows, then obviously time scales are important. A 30 hour book would take 60 or more hours to produce and so that is unlikely to be done in a week.

Once both parties are happy the narrator accepts the offer and off you go. There is a lot of legal contract stuff to be considered – it is a contract between the narrator and author and ACX – If the narrator doesn’t turn up with the goods, or the quality is awful then the offer can be rescinded. If the author doesn’t pay up – or there are issues there, then the contract can be rescinded. It’s hard to do – and I think ACX have to mediate but it can be done. There is a 15-minute sample produced by the narrator – and this can be refused by the author, but that’s the only early get out. It’s worth the author reading these rules carefully as it IS a contract with all that entails. So make sure you find the right person for your project.

There are bounty payments too – basically if someone joins the audible members club with the subscription and your book is the first book they buy then the author (or author and narrator for royalty share) get a $50 bonus ($25) for royalty share. I think it’s an incentive to try and persuade people to get fans to sign up.

 

How long does the process take, and what level of direction to the narrator is needed? Did you provide a style guide for unusual fantasy terms?

The initial set up is pretty quick – sign up with the ACX account and claim the relevant book, produce the ‘audition script’ and upload it and wait for narrators to audition.

 

How do you like to listen to audiobooks?

I tend to listen on my laptop, but recently we were listening to Good Omens, Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dune played on a tablet via a speaker before bed. My partner tends to listen to them more than I do at the moment. That’s the beauty – audio books are pretty versatile and one can dip in and out, just picking up where one left off.

 

Are there any pitfalls newcomers to making audiobooks should know about?

http://www.acx.com/help/how-it-works/200484210

Make sure you read the FAQ and the contract carefully. ACX actually has a good set of FAQ but their contact customer service is a bit lousy. I’ve had to deal with them a few times – mostly regarding payment of the bounty payments – and once when we discovered an issue that had got past both author, narrator and the quality control. They told me it would be fixed in a week – more like six and with questions regarding the bounty payments the person I spoke to seemed clueless and I ended up having to take screen shots of the issue – namely bounty payments were listed which I hadn’t received and apparently they couldn’t see them on the invoice… no because I hadn’t received them. That took a couple of months going back and forth before it was sorted. It pays to be polite but persistent.

AL: Audible Listener – purchases made by members with membership credits.

ALOP: Audible Listener Over Plan – purchases made by members with cash (not with membership credits).

ALC: A la carte – purchases made by customers not in an Audible Listener membership.

There are royalties for books bought outright by people not in the membership plan, books bought by members using their membership credits, books bought by members NOT using their credits and so the author has to work out what that relates to in actual payments – I get 68c for a ALC sale and a 55c for an AL sale on the same short story. But honestly it’s not always that clear. But they do pay monthly and the royalties usually do turn up on time…. Well except the bounty payments…

The reporting of sales is a bit flaky – it’s supposed to update daily but often doesn’t.

What’s nice is the author gets promotional codes to give out – usually for home store (Audible.co.uk OR Audible.com but can ask for the ones from the other store. It’s a useful way of getting reviews or being able to offer the books as prizes in events.

The email system they have is a bit rubbish – it doesn’t always work – and I’ve been told that by several narrators as well BUT it is useful to have and means you don’t have to give out a personal email if you don’t want to, and any issues you can email direct to ACX support. Oh and they have phone support. KDP doesn’t and that drives a lot of authors mad.

There are a lot of good marketing tips on the blog and ACX have a twitter account. The author needs to do their own marketing – same as KDP – so don’t expect ACX to market your book for you.

Make sure you have the time to put in to it. It’s not easy listening carefully to each chapter. You’re the author – it’s your book being produced and you need to know that it’s correct and done according to what you want. Keep in mind though that a narrator doesn’t know what’s going on in your head – he or she doesn’t know that you want Bob the Postman to speak with a Geordie accent unless it’s made clear in the MS or you tell them. You may not get the book exactly as you’ve imagined it.

Make sure you keep a good relationship with your narrator – especially if you want them to do subsequent books.

 

What are your plans for the future?

The Shining Citadel has been revised for a second edition and will appear in audio – hopefully by the end of 2016. (UPDATED ALB)

The Stolen Tower will eventually get produced as well but that will wait until the second edition as well, depending on how well Light Beyond sells.

I have just produced a short fantasy story set entitled The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales and that’s also just been produced in audio by J Scott Bennett, an American narrator.

Book IV of the series is being written and I’m also working on a Tales of Erana novella so that may well appear in audio in the next year or so.

Links and info

Author Bio:

  1. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

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

 

 

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series – an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica.

Audio Book

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles-Book/dp/B01DAQRYV8/

http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles-Book/dp/B01DASVPLQ/

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Light-Beyond-the-Storm-Chronicles-Book-1-Audiobook/B01DAQSCIC/

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Light-Beyond-the-Storm-Chronicles-Book-1-Audiobook/B01DASV3PE/

Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Doc Holiday

Welcome back to the infernal interview service, offering you close-ups of the damned like never before.

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?  Name’s Doc Holliday – Gambler, gunfighter, lover and sometimes dentist.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? On account of some dark deeds committed throughout my life. I killed a lot of men in my time, and swindled a whole bunch more who didn’t understand the nature of their opponent when it came to games of chance. I got no complaints about where I ended up. I made some choices along the way that maybe I wouldn’t have if I’d known how things would work out. Some folk would call me an evil sonofabitch… can’t say as I’d blame them.

Who are your friends/allies here? I’ve met me an odd bunch here in hell, an eclectic mix of folks who all have one thing in common, a love of gamblin’. I’ve got my gal, Calamity Jane, a crazy ass Gaelic chieftain by the name o’ O’Neill – mad as hell but a good man to have at your back. Then there’s a genuine member of English royalty, the Earl of Sandwich. Finally there’s a Russian philosopher and writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Describe your home/environment in Hell. HSM in his infinite wisdom has chosen to bind me to a saloon in a frontier town called Helldorado. As a gamblin’ man I’ve always sought that elusive moment where your heart is beatin’ so strongly in your chest it feels like it’ll jump clean out, just before you turn the last card over, knowin’ that everything you own is sittin’ in a heap in the middle of the table. That ultimate high, the rush you experience an instant before the reveal, has been taken from me by HSM. Every hand I play here in hell I win, empty victories when the outcome is preordained.

Do you have any enemies here? I have enemies in every damned place I’ve ever laid my hat. Here ain’t no different.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? As evil overlords go he’s pretty much got the job nailed. Sadly the better he is at running this eternal prison for the damned the worse afterlife becomes for the citizens of hell.

So, this plague – who’s responsible? Sadly, no one ever tells me anything.

What is the technology level of the culture you chose to write about? My story is set in a western environment and time.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio. Paul Freeman is from Dublin, Ireland where he lives with his family. He is the author of the epic fantasy series, Tribesman. He has also co-authored a zombie apocalypse, collaborative novel, Season Of The Dead. In TAXI, he moves away from his usual speculative fiction genre, stepping into a more literary field, examining the effect on the life of a taxi driver after a single moment of madness which results in the death of a teenage girl, and how this event results in devastating consequences for him and those closest to him.

* Tell us about your story for this edition. My story is called Hell Noon. It is set in a western frontier town called Helldorado. The basic premise is that Doc Holliday and a collection of other famous gamblers are holed up in a saloon playing cards (Holliday is cursed to win every hand he plays) when they are invaded by a wild bunch of infected plague carriers. A gunfight ensues and the group come up with a plan to escape… nothing in hell runs smoothly though.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? I really liked the idea of writing a western-themed story and as the title was Doctors in Hell I figured Doc Holliday would be the perfect MC to choose.

How did you become involved with this project? I was invited by Janet Morris to join and thought it would be a really fun thing to be involved in. And it is!

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? By trying not to step on anyone’s toes.

What are you currently working on?  I’m currently writing a vampire apocalypse book. My normal genre to write in is fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, but I like to stray out of my comfort zone every now and then.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I have absolutely no issue with how anyone chooses to market their books. If it works go for it.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Watch what I do very carefully and then do the complete opposite.

What other books/short stories have you written? Books currently published are my two epic fantasy novels from the same series: Tribesman and Warrior. I’ve just recently published a novel called Taxi about a Dublin taxi driver who becomes involved in a road traffic accident that was not his fault, but he is left to deal with the consequences. I have also co-authored a zombie apocalypse novel with three other authors. The premise for this is that each of us wrote from our own perspective in our own locations, so the book is set in three different countries and the apocalypse told from four different points of view.

I’ve also contributed a short story to a steampunk anthology called Strange Tales From The Scriptorium Vaults. Also another collection called A Turn Of The Wheel.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Back away from the keyboard.

 

Author and Audio Book Producer – Lorna Collins

Today I welcome author and audiobook produce Lorna Collins.

My husband, Larry K. Collins, and I write both together and alone. After fifty years of marriage, we figured out how to do it.

We were both members of the team that helped to build the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka. Our memoir of that experience, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was a 2006 EPPIE finalist and chosen one of Rebeccas Reads best nonfiction books.

We have also co-written two cozy mysteries set in Hawaii: Murder…They Wrote and Murder in Paradise, the latter a finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for mystery. We are currently working on more in the series. The Memory Keeper, is our historical novel set in San Juan Capistrano.

I co-authored six sweet romance anthologies set in the fictional town of Aspen Grove, CO: Snowflake Secrets, Seasons of Love, An Aspen Grove Christmas, The Art of Love, …And a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe, and Directions of Love, 2011 EPIC eBook Award winner.

My fantasy/mystery/romance, Ghost Writer, launched Oak Tree Press’s Mystic Oaks imprint. It combines elements of fantasy, romance, and mystery. It’s a beach read with a dog, and a ghost.

In addition, I am a professional editor.

How did you become involved with audiobooks?

A friend and fellow author had one of his books made into an audiobook. I was very impressed with the result. When I looked into the details, I decided to see about our books recorded.

Tell us about your the titles you’ve had narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? 

Our first audiobook was Ghost Writer. This is my solo “beach read.” It was published by mid-level independent publisher. The contract with her did not include the audio rights. However, I checked with her to be sure I could convert it and also for permission to use the cover art. She was enthusiastic and said she’d hoped one of her authors would try audio.

I must confess my favorite to date, however, is The Memory Keeper. This is our historical novel set in the 1800s in San Juan Capistrano, California. The story is told in the voice of a Juaneño Indian. We spent nearly three years researching and writing this book, so we were very particular about how it would be presented. The voice actor we chose, Aaron Miller, was nearly as much of a perfectionist as we were. He struggled through the Indian words as well as the Spanish ones. (He was born in Wisconsin and now lives in Tennessee where Spanish is not a common language.) The final book perfectly captures the voice of our protagonist along with all of the other characters in the story.

We liked him so much, he is now creating the audiobook for Larry’s short story collection, Lakeview Park.

The gal who did Ghost Writer, Jean Ruda Habrukowich, is now doing one of the sweet romance anthologies I was part of, …And a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe.

How did you choose your narrators?

For an author, the process is quite simple. I uploaded an audition text. I chose a section of each book with several characters so I could see how the actor would interpret their voices. For Ghost Writer, the narrator had to be female since the story is written in the POV of a young woman. However, the other major character is a very proper British ghost, who is male. I wanted to be sure the actor found the right tone of voice for both. Jean nailed it.

For The Memory Keeper, we needed a male voice. Aaron had me as soon as he pronounced San Juan Capistrano with just the right touch of Spanish accent. He also indicated he would work with us on getting all the voices and pronunciation correct. A few of the words (like alcalde, noshuun, and Elena) gave him problems, but in the end, the book sounds better than we could have hoped for.

Are you planning on having more books made into audio?

Yes. We can only do the ones for which we have the audio rights, so we are limited. For some of our fourteen titles, the publisher’s contract gives them the audio rights. However, Larry has written a sci-fi series, The McGregor Chronicles. So far he has two books published in the series with the third due out before the end of the year. As soon as Aaron finishes Lakeview Park, we’ll get him started on the sci-fi books.

We also would like to have our memoir, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, done in audio. We have had a couple of auditions for it, but the people had no knowledge of Japanese, and one had a New York accent. We have helped several friends embark on the audio process, and one of them is currently using a husband and wife team for their book. We have spoken to them about their doing ours when the other one is finished. Since our memoir is written in two voices, this will be the perfect solution.

*Tell us about the ACX process.

This turned out to be much simpler than I had imagined. Our last few books have been published through KDP and CreateSpace, so I was familiar with those processes. Amazon now owns ACX, so they have made it much simpler for everyone involved.

  1. Make sure you have the audio rights for your book.
  2. Choose a chapter or section for the audio audition. This should be a short section with multiple characters. (We did not want to have our books read, we wanted them to be acted out.)
  3. Upload the book details. (ACX guides you through the process and links the book to its Amazon listing.)
  4. Upload the audition text.
  5. Wait for auditions.

Some books garner more auditions than others. Some genres attract more actors. Within two days of posting Lakeview Park, Larry had three auditions. Since one was from Aaron, we decided to stay with him. However, either of the other two would have been terrific.

During the actual recording, the author and actor are in communication. When the chapters are completed, the actor posts them to ACX. The author can then listen and send back comments or corrections.

When the entire book is completed, the actor closes the file and the author approves the book for publication. It appears on ACX and Amazon in about ten days to two weeks.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?

We were fortunate to find two excellent actors for our books. Both of them were nearly as picky as I am! Both were willing to make as many changes/corrections as necessary to ensure a quality product.

Hearing our books read added a whole new dimension to them. We knew what we thought they should sound like, but the final interpretations were far better than we could have hoped for.

Did you choose royalty share for your books? Why is this?

Confession: I’m essentially cheap. We have done (and plan to do) all of our books with a royalty share agreement. It is a win-win for both author and voice artist. From the time the book is listed for sale, passive income is generated for both parties.

Do you listen to audiobooks?

Yes. I have listened to more of them since our books have become available. They are great for long car trips. Larry used to listen to the text-to-speech feature on his old Kindle on long commutes for work. The actual audiobooks are much more enjoyable.

*With many people owning MP3 players, do you think this is the future of storytelling?

I don’t think books—ebooks and print—will ever go away. But many people enjoy the listening process. We are at an age where many of our friends have developed vision issues, including macular degeneration. They can now enjoy our books.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular?

They are now much more accessible, and more people are commuting. In addition, the actors producing them are getting better and better. The sheer competition is improving the quality.

Did you consider producing your own audiobooks, or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice?

We had talked for years about producing our own books—especially our memoir. But the cost of renting a studio and the time required to get the task done seemed daunting. We have been very fortunate to have found exceptionally good actors who understood our books.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?)

So far, it has exceeded our expectations. We had anticipated having to work with the actors, monitor the completed chapters, convey our expectations to them, and the process was very satisfying. Of course, we were blessed with terrific actors. It made all the difference.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself.

My husband, Larry, says I collect friends like other people collect stamps or coins. Very true. I strike up friendships in the supermarket line. I’m still in touch with nearly all of my friends from childhood, grammar school, high school, college, and nearly every place I’ve ever worked. I actually know who every one of my 1500+ Facebook friends is and how we met.

Where can we learn more about you?

You can find out more about me at our website: http://www.lornalarry.com

Follow my blog at: http://lornacollins-author.blogspot.com/

Social Media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorna.l.collins

Twitter: @LornaCollins

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lkcollins75/

LinkedIn: Lorna Collins http://tinyurl.com/nunt9no

Book Blast – Perfectly Straight – Jacqueline Campos #PStr8Blast

Blast Info
Title: Perfectly Straight
Author: Jacqueline Campos
Publication Date: May 11, 2015
Genre: Erotic Romance

Synopsis

Stevie Ramsey, America’s Sweetheart, is an actress who enjoys phenomenal popularity and success. She has one significant secret that she guards fiercely—she is a closeted lesbian who is in a relationship with her personal assistant, Kylie Winston. Kylie, a former model, maintains the position in title only as suggested by Stevie’s svengali-like manager. Eventually Stevie caves to pressure to have an affair with Fletcher Coleman, a hot up-and-coming actor as a ruse to fool her public. However the plan explodes in Stevie’s face and a heart-broken and betrayed Kylie leaves her.

But the actress pines for her gorgeous ex-lover, Kylie Winston who has moved to New York where she has resumed a successful modeling career. Stevie resolves to win back Kylie, but also decides to finally dedicate herself to her craft and takes charge of her career for the first time.

Perfectly Straight follows Stevie Ramsey as she struggles to find her way through life and love exploring relationships with women and men until finally accepting her identity. Can Stevie resolve the conflict between her public and private persona?

Author Bio

Jacqueline Campos is the author of the celebrity-based erotic books, “The Arrangement” and “Perfectly Straight.” When not writing books and screenplays she can be found vowing to take up yoga and guitar lessons on the guitar that was given to her by her mother many Christmases ago. She is usually searching for an inspiring view of nature, simplicity, and peace. Although she lives in Southern California, she always has Texas and Chicos Tacos in her heart. Jacqueline found herself writing to create stories that were entertaining but not necessarily the norm. She would like her novels to be exciting and to contain messages of love, kindness, and respect—and of course, sex with no holds barred.

 
Excerpt #1

The private jet vibrated from the roar of the crowd that had gathered to meet Stevie Ramsey at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport.  They shrieked in anticipation as stairs were rolled into place for disembarking.  “Stevie!  Stevie!  Stevie!” a mob of sobbing teens chanted in unison.  Tom Frances, her middle-aged agent, appeared first—waving to the fans.  Kylie Winston, Stevie’s personal assistant, followed.

“Come on, girl.  Let’s get out of the way.  She’s on!” Tom said.  Hand in hand they scurried down the steps and then disappeared into a waiting limousine.  Stevie was next to appear at the door.  The crowd went wild.   As she stood at the top of the stairs her legs felt like cement blocks.  She was still taken aback by the hysteria that seemed to accompany her public appearances.  She had trouble accepting that all these people had turned out to see her.  This was supposed to happen to groups like New Direction, not a twenty-four-year-old Latina from Odessa Texas, she told herself.

“Get her into this car right now!  All hell is about to break loose!” Kylie pleaded to Tom.

“She knows how to work a crowd.  This security team excels at this sort of situation.”

Stevie breathed deeply and exhaled a movie star attitude.  She forced her legs to begin the procession down the stairs as she waved Miss America-like.  Sobbing teenagers shoved autograph books at her when she reached the ground.  She scribbled SR in one book before the crowd forged forward—knocking a few of the police officers off balance, who were attempting to control the crowd.  A single arm towered over the mob, grabbed a hold of Stevie’s hair and yanked hard.  A blood curdling scream escaped from the actress’s mouth that sent the young fans further into frenzy.  An enormous bodyguard clutched the anonymous wrist and forced it free from Stevie’s mane.

“Do something!  They’re going to tear her apart!” Kylie begged.

“Are you crazy?  She has wanted this all of her life!”

“Tom, she’s really in danger!”

“Got enough?” Tom yelled out to a paparazzi right outside of the limo.  The paparazzo flashed him a thumbs up.  Tom turned to a security guard.  “That’s enough.  Get her in here!”  The guard wrapped his immense arm around Stevie’s waist and cleared a straight path to the car.  Instantaneously Stevie dove into the limo headfirst, landing on Kylie’s lap.

“Floor it!” Tom yelled at the shaken driver.

Kylie held Stevie’s hands in her own.  “Oh my God, are you okay, baby?”

A sharp stinging pain above her right ear pulled Stevie out of her shock.  She held her head, “That hurts!”

“Okay, that’s enough!  Come over and sit by me,” Tom demanded of Stevie.  “We don’t know where the paparazzi will pop up.  They may even be camped in your bushes again.”

“I don’t give a shit anymore, Tom!” Stevie exploded.  “I’m sick and tired of this!”

“Stevie, not now!”  He signaled with his eyes towards the limousine driver.  “Now get your ass over here next to me!”  Dutifully, Stevie maneuvered her body beside him where she sat in silence.

After a few minutes Tom began to speak to Stevie in a fatherly whisper.  “Aren’t you the biggest movie star at the box office because of me?   Tell me what other woman’s films have broken every box office record in the world!  Hell, tell me what man has done that!  Kiddo, you’re golden!”  Stevie looked blankly out of the window.  Tom patted her knee, “You know the press wouldn’t call you the hottest Latina bombshell of all time for no reason at all.”  Stevie was unresponsive.  “You couldn’t possibly want to risk all of that.”

“You know, that’s really something, isn’t it Tom?” Stevie fumed.  “I mean, especially after you made me change my name from Ramirez to Ramsey.”

Excerpt #2

“This is my secret place,” he said.  The tiny carpeted room was barren.  Fletcher tugged at a sheet hanging on the wall to reveal sliding glass doors.  He slid the door open and exposed a tiny terrace that overlooked a pool surrounded by lit-up palm trees.  The lights from outside dimly penetrated the room, making it unnecessary to turn on additional lighting.  He went to a mini-refrigerator in the corner of the room and took out two bottles of dark ale.  Fletcher took off his tuxedo jacket and laid it on the floor and then sat next to it.  He pulled her down on his jacket.  “I used to come here and dream about making it big,” he said, opening a bottle and handing it to her.  She took a long swallow that she instantly proceeded to spray over both of them.

“What the fuck is this!  Horse piss?” she uttered.  They laughed.  She wiped the beer off herself and from his face.  They stopped laughing and looked into each other’s eyes.  He looked away and took a long gulp from his bottle.  Stevie took another drink, knowing what to expect this time.  “So, tell me about this room.”

He guzzled again from his beer bottle then spoke.  “I worked at this hotel delivering room service not too long ago.  You can’t imagine the things I’ve seen!”

“Oh, do tell!”

He shook his head.  “No, I was raised not to talk about things like that around a lady.”

“Does anyone else know about this?”

“I don’t think so.  It’s like a forgotten room.  I was delivering room service once and I opened this door by mistake.  After a while I noticed no one ever used it.  So I brought in the little fridge.  I slept here many nights during my lean years.”

“Come on, I’m sure you have some steamy stories to tell about what has happened to you in this room!”

He cracked a grin.  “One story.  I only brought one woman here and it was actually after my career got going.  It’s not that exciting of a story, really.”

“Well, your career is exciting!”

“Yeah, I just wrapped my first film where I’m the lead.  It’s just an action film.  I play a bounty hunter trying to keep the streets safe.”

Just an action film?  I’m sure there were millions spent on it!”

“That may be true, but I want my films to mean something.  I’m not crazy about rehashing the same formula over and over.  My next film, whatever it is, will be relevant, no matter how long it takes me to find,” he said.

“Then I doubt we’ll ever be working together!  From what I understand, my films weren’t very good.  The next one, whatever it is, I’m sure will be the same.  I basically show up and say and do as I’m told.  Somebody is doing something right because I’ve made a lot of money for other people—and for myself as well.”

“They might be fluff Stevie, but I think you’re really good in them!  I can’t take my eyes off of you when you’re on screen.  Nobody can!  You have what they call it —something that can’t be taught.”

Stevie smiled.  “Thank you, Fletcher.  That’s very sweet.”  Her eyes were drawn to his massive biceps as he raised his arm to take another drink from the beer bottle.  They continued talking about everything and nothing in particular, drinking bottle after bottle of beer.  With each sip she wondered why he did not attempt to make a move.  She studied him as he spoke of his passion for his profession.  So far, he was one of the nicest men she had met.  Tom’s words rang in her head like church bells.  She uttered under her breath, “Tom hasn’t been wrong yet.  It might as well be you.”

“What was that?”

“Nothing . . . just drunk.”  The more she anticipated his move the more she found herself wanting him to make it.  She might have even been looking forward to making out with a man  for real for the first time.  Inevitably, Stevie knew that it would be up to her if anything were to happen between them that night, in that little room.  She also knew that if he was a healthy heterosexual male, it wouldn’t take much encouragement.  “You know, if this were a movie, this would be the part when the leading man would kiss his leading lady,” she whispered.

On cue he leaned in and kissed her.  She instantly felt the difference between kissing a man on a bright soundstage, with a large crew looking on, and alone in a dark little room, drunk.  Although he handled her as if she were a porcelain doll, it was more forceful than kissing a woman.  She felt his male energy taking the lead and directing the action.  Without a doubtshe was the one being kissed.  The barely-there hair stubble around his mouth burned her skin a little.  But his lips were soft, and when he parted them his tongue felt cold from the beer.  His tongue sought out hers and she took it in her mouth, sucking on it delicately.

Excerpt #3

When Stevie awoke at dawn, she glanced over her shoulder at Julianne who lay sleeping next to her.  A slight sense of guilt swept over her.  The sex had been hot and thrilling, yet for reasons unbeknownst to her, it did not feel right.  Why did she feel guilt she wondered, she was single—nothing tied her down.  Stevie feared this would change her relationship with Julianne.  Stevie turned her body to face Julianne and studied her angelic face as she slept.  The same stunning face she had become infatuated with the day she first saw it.  Now this beauty lay next to her after a night of blazing sex.  She relived every movement in her mind.  Surprisingly, Julianne had been totally uninhibited and full of wonderment about experimenting lovemaking with a woman for the first time.  She had been like a child who had received her very first puppy, eager and insatiable to play with it.  The woman knew what pleased her and was not shy about letting her partner know it.  Even though there was no question that Julianne had been sexually satisfied, Stevie wondered if Julianne knew exactly what she was getting herself into.  Julianne opened her eyes.  “Good morning,” Julianne whispered.

“Good morning.”  Stevie hopped to her feet and dressed.  “You know, Carney and I planned to work some more with the horse and wagon.  She agreed to come back early from Mazatlán today and help me on it.  I want to get really good at it.”

“Stevie, this doesn’t have to be awkward.  I knew what I was doing when I came here last night.  There is nothing wrong with having a little fun while we’re out here, is there?  I think we both know it’s a no-strings-attached thing . . . nothing more.”

A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Alexandra Butcher/Ilsa

At the risk of being self serving I thought I’d join in the fun of Heroika week.

Heroika: The Dragon Eaters

Character questions (choose from):

*Who are you?

I am Ilsa, of the Order of Blood Sisters. My past is my own concern, the Order do not ask such questions and most of us tell no such answers. My kind know the wisdom of the old ways, we know the power of blood, and the old gods.

Why are you embarking on this quest?

Why? Because the Followers of Arun have brought us to this. The Archduke Darrin is dead, murdered, his sons are dead. The only hope we have is a dying girl-child of his line and her noble mother. If the Ivory Throne does not hold the pure blood there will be civil war as the nobles squabble over it. Not a worthy man among them to rule this land, puppets and sycophants all.  War striped this land of its dignity and the return of war will ruin it.  I embark on this quest for love, for love of this land, of what it once was and could be again and for the love of the peace which is so fragile.

*Tell us about dragons in your world.

The dragons are ancient creatures, from a time when the world was free. Thus they are of the world, far more so than humans, who merely live on it until such time as it is cleansed. In the old times they were revered as the primal beasts they are. Now the people forget, but the land does not. The dragons do not. Their blood hold much magic, the ancient magics from before the coming of Arun, that fool. Do not think them kind, or noble, or even possessing the morals most people claim they have. Dragons are killers, the ultimate killers. They once ruled and may do so again when the time of Mankind is done. Dragons have the hunger which drives all creatures and none of the illusions with which we fool ourselves.

They fly, they fight, they hunger. They kill with caustic breath, claws and fangs like blades and sheer power. Not many dare fight them, and of those who do most die.

What is the best way to kill a dragon?

With courage, luck and a very good plan. If any of those fail….

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero?

I am merely a Bloodsister, no greater or lesser than my sisters who share my skills.  I would not say I was a hero, for those are far too few these days.

What is a hero? One who will risk all for what is right. One who will stand and do what must be done. One who does not turn from the job in hand and one who will speak for the voiceless.

Author questions (choose from):

*Who are you?

  1. L (Alexandra) Butcher, fantasy author, poet, lover of history and nature. I’m a scholar, a dreamer, a lover and a writer.

How do you define a hero?

Someone who does not think about their own wellbeing when faced with a dangerous challenge. A person who will defend what they see is right, and those who often cannot defend themselves. A person who is selfless, brave and modest about it, they simply do what is needed without expecting any thanks, indeed sometimes despite criticism.  There are many heroes in our world.

How much research did you need for your story?

Spear usage, flying creatures, and mountain terrain. I tend to do quite a bit of research for novels.

Have you written for anthologies before?

I have an anthology of mythic-style tales, plus another short story set in the world of my novels. I also have several poems and short fantasy and/or horror tales in anthologies with the Indie Collaboration and a group of Smashwords authors.

How does it differ from writing a novel?

Telling a tale in, say, 5000 words instead of 50000 has a number of challenges. One needs to be a lot more succinct and there is a lot less room for character or complex world building. In many instances it depends on the length and style of the story. For example I have some short tales about the Kitchen Imps – pesky little creatures that steal socks, knock food from shelves and generally get up to no good unseen by people. There is not enough material for a novel but they work well for short tales.  Another example – the tales of lore for my Tales of Erana are good ‘fireside tales’ of monsters, myth and legends of the world of Erana, but again only as part of a novel or short story.

A novel, at least for me, needs a lot more background, more character building and a continuous level of action and excitement.  I hate books with little or poor world/character building. Make me care what happens.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished re-reading the Odyssey, I read it some years ago when I was studying Classics, and I’d forgotten what a gem it is. This time the read through was for a course on Greek and Roman mythology. I’m about to start the Aeneid, which I’ve not read before.

I’m also reading the other Dragon Eaters stories, plus a fascinating book about pirates. Oh and an account of true crime in the 17th Century (which is hard going).

How important is the fantasy genre to our society?

I believe fantasy, myth and folklore are core to our cultures. Why? Look around you – it’s everywhere. In Britain we have a rich mythic heritage – George and the Dragon, fairies, elves, Welsh dragons, Scottish monsters, imps, sunken towns, ghosts, goblins, witches, King Arthur. Even Robin Hood – the outlaw who robbed the rich to give the money to the poor. The Heroic mythic is all over the place.  There are influences from Scandanavia, Rome, Celts, Christian, Pagan, Indian, Chinese and many more. In such a diverse country the folklore is rich indeed. Storytelling is vitally important – be it via books, movies, even games. This is how we learn about ourselves, dream, adventure, and seek the past – albeit a fantastical one. How many kids dress up as St George? Fantasy Princesses? Fairies? Monsters? As adults perhaps we lose a lot of the wonder of fantasy – but it’s there in the background. Novel reading is an escape from real life, it’s a way to find a new world and meet new people.

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself.

I am claustrophobic and caulrophobic.

Tidbit:

Hot and Sour Dragon Soup

Prep time 10 mins (plus however long it takes to kill the dragon) Cooking time 30 mins- 1 hour depending on size of cauldron.

1 large cauldron spring water or watered wine or ale as preferred.

1 small goblet fresh dragon’s blood (for stock)

2 large handfuls St George’s mushrooms (if in season)

1 small handful Penny Bun Bolete

Selection of bamboo shoots

2 cloves chopped garlic

3 slices fresh ginger

1 spoon chopped dragon’s breathe chilli (size of spoon according to taste –mild to certain death as required)

1 dragon cullion per person

1 dragon’s egg – lightly beaten

2 table spoons of cornflour

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Sesame oil and herbs to flavour

Cooking instructions

  • In large cauldron combine the dragon’s blood, water (ale) mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and crushed chilies. Bring to boil then cover the pot, settle on the heated stones or reduce the heat to simmer.
  • Place the cullions in a bowl, toss in sesame oil to coat and roll in the herbs. In a separate bowl stir together cornflour, wine vinegar (or wine) and set aside.
  • Bring stock back to boil as add the coated cullions, drizzle in the beaten egg until long strands are created. Add in the beaten cornflour and vinegar. Simmer until the stock is thick and the cullions cooked through.
  • Serve with ricebread, hardtack, bread or noodles.

 

 Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/HEROIKA-1-Dragon-Eaters/dp/0986414034/ 

Paperback US http://www.amazon.com/HEROIKA-1-Dragon-Eaters/dp/0986414034/

Heroika 1 Perfect promo 6&9

Blog: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

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

Heroika Dragon Eaters Anthology Interview with Joe Bonadonna

Joe’s interview for Heroika

Legends of Windemere

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Welcome to Joe Bonadonna and Vadreo. Hope everyone enjoys the questions and check out this new release.

Character Questions

Who are you?

My name is Vadreo. I am a Gluriahan warrior, a Warhand of Thoon Wolf. My blood is the blood of the Dragon Eaters of old.

Where are you from? (Tell us about it)

I was born in the Bloodland of K’Thoon Morai. This is the land to which my people, the Gluriah, fled hundreds of years ago when the Vuladraakoi, the Mountain Dragons, destroyed our ancestral homeland of K’Shar Wovay. The realm of my people is rich in forests and farmland, fresh water, hills, mountains, and to the south-east, a vast and barren desert. We are farmers and fishermen, craftsmen, artisans, and hunters. But first and above all, we are warriors.

Tell us about dragons in your world.

The last dragon was slain nearly five centuries ago. According…

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Author Interview Eighty Nine – Bret James Stewart

Welcome to Bret James Stewart

Where are you from and where do you live now? I am from and currently live in Brevard, North Carolina, a small town near Asheville, in the western mountains of the state.  It’s a great place to live with lots of hiking and other outdoor activities.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I am an eclectic writer and work in various genres.  I particularly love fantasy and poetry, especially fantasy poetry!  I write non-fiction and fiction, poetry, plays, and role-playing game material, so I have a wide spectrum of things going.  Currently, I have a fantasy novel out entitled The Dragon’s Lullaby.  Later this year, I will release a book entitled Codex Rosmanicus:  Twelve Tales of Enchantment compiled by Jaren the Traveller.  It is a mixture of short stories, poems, and a play, all of which are fantasy themed.  Much of my non-fiction is hiking trail related.  My company, Blue Ridge Hiker, has a website, and I write almost all the material for it.

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere.  The only thing I have not yet been able to work myself into inspiration with is poetry.  If I start working with something else, I can generally write long enough to gain inspiration.  Fortunately, because I write in various genres, I am usually inspired in one or more of them at any given time.  Also, as I immerse myself in my work and the work of other authors and artists, I tend to be in an inspired or nearly-inspired state all the time.  I live in that middle world between the real world or men and the realm of the fantastic, thank God, so I rarely feel mundane.  If I do, I can work on something routine or technical such as editing until I am again inspired.

Are your characters based on real people? Yes and no.  Certain characteristics of real people are incorporated into some of my characters.  This is a normal procedure I would imagine most authors use.  This adds an important element of realism to the descriptions and actions of the character.  Other times, though, my characters are not based on anyone in particular.  It just depends on what I am doing.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No.  But this is an intriguing idea…

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Sometimes.  As I mentioned before, I write in various genres, and some of my works are designed to convey a message.  For example, I am a Christian minister, and some of my works in this genre are written to convey some sort of spiritual and/or environmental message.  Other works are created to convey an idea or what might be called a philosophical point.  Others are written merely for entertainment and contain no conscious message.

Is it important?  Again, sometimes.  It is very important in books designed to convey one or more messages.  However, I do not think it is necessary that a book contain a message as I think that simple entertainment is sufficient reason to write a work.  That said, I think a work of any length is going to contain some sort of message that crept in, if only subconsciously, on the part of the author.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? The Dragon’s Lullaby is available as an e-book and print.  It will be available in audio form, too.  I do not have it in large print, predominantly because I’ve never thought about that before.  I would imagine large print will be a no-go as the e-book has adjustable font and the audio won’t need it.  Only those buying a print book who would also want large print would matter, and I imagine this segment of the market would be too small to justify doing it.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit.  I edit as I go and periodically thereafter, generally using a milepost of some sort such as a word count or chapter.  I find this helps me focus as I am distracted by errors.  This also results in a very clean manuscript.  For works longer than a short story, I also use a professional editor as you skim over some errors in your own work because you know what you’re trying to say and your mind puts the pieces together.  A fresh set of eyes also involves a different set of values, opinions, and ideas.  Professional editing is expensive, but it is well worth the price.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes.  Probably around one-quarter of the books I read are self-published.  The ratio would be higher except I read a lot of classics, and I am in school earning my Masters of Divinity, so I read several (text)books each semester for my classwork.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? Sometimes.  I read the reviews more for non-fiction than I do for fiction to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the material.  Fiction is much more a matter of opinion, so I am less interested in reviews that are opinions.  Still, I do sometimes use them, especially if they offer comparisons to other authors or works.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? My favourite traditionally published author is J.R.R. Tolkien, but he’s everybody’s favourite.  I also like Poe’s stuff and Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles.  I like the English Romantic and Victorian poets such as Tennyson, Keats, and Coleridge.  My favourite self-published author is Bret James Stewart!  Seriously, I like the work of Karen-Ann Stewart, who writes New Adult Romance, Kay Iscah’s Seventh Night and related books, and The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner. I think all three of these ladies have a fine career ahead of them.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I am torn over this one.  Many, many authors claim that you must give away some books to get reviews in order to get your works out there and help you sell books.  Others (the minority, it seems) claim that giving away books is basically senseless.  I tend to think it is a bad idea.  I have not yet given away any books, running on the theory that reviews, etc. will come organically.  I have not had enough time to test this theory out, so I have no idea as to its accuracy.

Do you have any pets? I currently have one feline companion, Petit-Leon le Chronicleer du Fay.  We read and write, sing and dance, and hang out.  We’re buds.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

My website:   http://www.bretjamesstewart.com/

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

Tsu:  https://www.tsu.co/BretJamesStewart

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Lullaby-Bret-James-Stewart/dp/0692333711/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430351764&sr=8-1&keywords=bret+james+stewart

Smashwords:   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/530989

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-dragon-s-lullaby

Blue Ridge Hiker: http://www.blueridgehiker.com/

The_Dragon's_Lullaby_Cover_for_Kindle