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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Savvy Saturday: J.C. Mead's Playlist for The Silver Cord

In the summer of 2009 I had an idea for a book. I had never written a book before but had read plenty so I thought, why not?? To quote Shel Silverstein, “If there is a book you want to read but isn`t written yet, write it.”

I had been living in Georgia for almost 5 years and had attended the Highland Games every year. I was absolutely baffled by the popularity of it since I had no idea that there were so many Scots in the area. So I did a little research.

And The Silver Cord was created.

It took one year of writing the first draft and a total of four years of sending queries to agents and publishers before something actually happened with it. All the while, I had been editing, writing, and rewriting.

Things have changed so drastically in the publishing world. It’s not just snail-mailing a query out anymore. There are Twitter pitches, Facebook messages, blogs, conventions, and a ton of other ways to get your work in front of someone. I joined Twitter for grad school and ended up getting published because of it. There was a Pit Mad contest in September of 2014 so I entered for the hell of it. Because writing a query and synopsis of your book isn’t hard enough, this is a contest in where you pitch your book on Twitter in 140 characters or less AND include a hashtag of the genre. No pressure.

Two people favorited it. A publisher and an agent. I sent out the query, synopsis, and manuscript to both parties as requested and waited. After a few weeks I got an email from Champagne saying they wanted my book. It was 5:00 in the morning when I read that email and my entire house knew I had an offer by 5:04 (I read it five times before believing it or else everyone would have known by 5:01).

So how did I do all that as a full time working mother of two (and in grad school during two years of it)?

Music. And coffee. But mainly music.

I always write to music, it changes as my scenes change. Or is it the other way around?

I am a music addict. I listen to music constantly. A friend of mine actually speculated if I could breathe without music playing. It’s on while I’m cooking, cleaning, eating, showering, gardening, driving, working and ALWAYS when I’m writing. So while I was writing and editing, there was always music on in the background. It never failed, I would hear a song on Pandora then look up the group and fall down the rabbit hole known as YouTube where I would happen upon bands I never heard of because I listened to some other band. Writing while listening to music helps me write scenes or work through plotlines. The lyrics or the melody make me think of what my characters are doing, feeling, and thinking in the scene and how it relates to the music. Sometimes scenes are inspired by songs and sometimes I’ll hear a song that reminds me of a scene I’ve already written.

So I thought it would be really fun to include a playlist for my book. There’s a song or two that goes with each chapter and I am starting a whole new one for the second book in the trilogy. The second book in the trilogy is being worked on as we speak, and the music for it is quite different!!

The Silver Cord Playlist:

CH. 1 First Aid Kit "Winter is all Over You (Baauer Remix)"
CH. 2 Band of Horses “Is There a Ghost”
Ramones “I Wanna be Sedated”
CH. 3 She & Him “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
Dwight Yokam “Turn it on, Turn it up, Turn Me Loose”
Ch. 4 Josh Rouse “Quiet Town”
Ed Sheeran “Kiss Me”
CH. 5 First Aid Kit “Wolf”
CH. 6 Phish “Free”
Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs “The Devil’s in the Jukebox”
CH. 7 Radical Face “Welcome Home”
Mumford & Sons “Ghosts That we Knew”
CH. 8 The Shins “Girl Inform Me”
Bon Iver “Come Talk to Me”
CH. 9 Sia “I’m in Here”
Haim “The Wire”
CH. 10 Iron & Wine “Each Coming Night”
Shinedown “Crow and the Butterfly”
CH. 11 Ms Mr “Hurricane”
The Paper Kites “Bloom”
CH. 12 Ingrid Michaelson “The Way I Am”
Maria Taylor “Clean Getaway”
CH. 13 Ray Lamontagne “For the Summer”
Ingrid Michaelson “Locked Up”
CH. 14 Ms Mr “Bones”
Phillip Phillips “Gone, Gone, Gone”
CH. 15 Celtic Woman “The Sky & the Dawn & the Sun”
CH. 16 Landon Pigg “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop”
Loreena McKennitt “The Mummers Dance”
Epilogue: The Kooks “Shine On”

More about me:

Visit me at www.jcmead.weebly.com or follow me on Twitter @JeanCMead

More about The Silver Cord:

After her husband’s death, single mom Kat Cambridge yearns to get back to nature and resume her practice of witchcraft. She leaves bustling Boston and her high pressure interior design job to raise her kids in a sleepy southern town. To support herself, she and her best friend, fellow single mom Jess Greenleaf, purchase a run-down property they intend to fix and flip. But does the long-dead builder of the house have other plans?

Once she discovers an old painting in the attic, Kat begins to have reality-bending visions of a handsome Scottish soldier. While exploring the house’s history, Kat meets charming Colin MacKay, who unknowingly reveals the identity of the sexy specter.

The soldier summons Kat and Jess to save his drifting soul before it is lost forever. As challenging as that seems, creating the perfect spell is easy compared to choosing between the ghost who knows everything about her, and the real man in her life, who wants to.

More about Publishing and Twitter:

Here are some of the most helpful hashtags to follow on Twitter if you're a (soon-to-be) querying writer: #querytip, #pubtip, #writingtip, #MSWL, #askagent

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Finches Fear Cats with Angelica Hart and Zi

Finches Fear Cats
By
Angelica Hart and Zi
From: The Sin-Sin Cinderella Series of Feghoots and Groaners

In a kitchen...in a small home...in a homey community...in a quaint village...in a hidden valley...far, far away from Hamlet there was a conversation.

“Why don’t we live in the city?” asked Ronny.

“Fear,” said his mother.

“Fear?” He questioned.

“Fear!” She reaffirmed.

“That shocks me,” he remarked, as he gazed out the kitchen window into the wide expanse of a lush backyard, tire swing, birdbath ready for birds, detached garage, a trellis with vines, and a beehive bustling with bees.

“People fear people. Sadly, cities seem to breed a fear that one cannot trust others. I also know that people are people, built to have the same instincts. It is the environment that may cause this fear. I don’t fear the people but the fear. It is treacherous, and jades the beauty of human spirit.”

His mother stirred the soup, aromatic, chicken noodle soup. The scent popped into the air, inducing a stalking hunger to anyone near. “Still I’ve never known you to be afraid of anything.” Ronny remarked as he enjoyed the smell of her cooking.

“Let me relate a story to illustrate my point.” She put her ladle into the pocket of her apron. Ronny snickered thinking she reminded him of the alien coming out of Ripley’s chest.

Ronny sat on the edge of the table and bit into a red apple he grabbed to quell his appetite. Some juice from the fruit dripped out the side of his mouth, it was wiped away onto his shirtsleeve.

Mrs. Matters looked at him with that use a napkin, please look then she began, “A couple swooshed-out the side door their cat, covered the finches’ cage they still chirping, quickly showered, called the restaurant, made reservations, dressed, and called for a carriage. They were going downtown to enjoy a nice dinner, something they did most Saturday nights. They heard the carriage arrive, left one light burning to present the appearances of someone being home, and opened the door at which the cat ran back into the house. The husband told his wife to let the driver know that he’d be right out and went to find the cat. They never let the cat stay in alone with the birds. She would torment them.”

“Yeah, cats like birds but they were in the cage,” interjected Ronny.

“Torment is torment."  She returned to the stove, stirred the broth, tapped the spoon on the pot, and then put it aside as she shoved biscuits into the oven. “Where was I? Torment is still torment. They respected their birds’ well-being as we all should do for living things. It is a cosmic harmony thing.”

Ronny smiled knowing that subject was better left unvisited.

The oven door closed and she shook her head as if tossing away a thought. “Let me finish my story. The wife slipped into the back seat of the carriage and immediately told the driver that her husband would be right out. Feeling that she did not want to let him know that the house would be empty she stated that her husband was helping her mother before they left.”

“Ok?”

“Do you catch the fear thing? The lights? The worry about the home being vacant?”

“Kinda.”

“The husband finally arrived and scooted along beside his wife. He said, 'Sorry. Thanks for waiting. I finally was able to corner her upstairs after she had run from me and hid under the bed.' The driver’s face flashed astonishment. The husband continued, “I used the dust mop to push her out, she fought but was able to catch her in the corner. Grabbing her by the scruff of the neck, though she screeching, scratching, and fighting, I was able to drag her to the back door and throw her out into the backyard. She’ll be fine until we get home and let her back in the house.”

Ronny smiled at the dilemma that the story painted.

His mother returned to stirring soup. Steam painted curly wisps, spreading appetizing enticement, though she still continued with her story. “At that moment the driver, who was captured by every word the man was saying had to swerve quickly to avoid a cart.”

“Is this a true story?” Ronny tilted his head in that disbelieving manner.

“It is a story to illustrate a point. True or not really does not matter. My point is that people trust so few people these days. What a sad fear to hold.”

“Yeah, it is sad,” Ronny agreed, his apple nearly gone, juice splatters creating a new pattern on his shirt, his feet on the floor as he pondered what it would be like to be that worrisome all the time.

“I wonder if that specific fear results in the perpetuation of the concept that people are unworthy of trust. I believe that we create what we fear. Believe that if people are perceived not to be trustworthy then in your mind they are not, your actions dealing with them invariably send messages that they are thought to be not and ultimately I believe that the interactive dynamic becomes that of mistrust.” His mother turned thoughtful as she said this.

“So what does that mean?”

“Treat people the way you expect them to be. Treat a friend as if they are important and they feel so.”

“So city people are different?”

“Aye and nay. It is the fear that changes some.”

She set down her spoon and turned to him before continuing. “The country mentality that we reap what we sow is more simplistic. Not that the people are better. Just that I believe they have a better process. Country folk depend upon each other. Expect a certain code of behavior. Believe and trust in that. And I see that the result is that people trust their neighbor and have good reasons to do so. Ask for respect and you shall get it. Give respect and others shall feel its power in their lives. Abstain from all that and uncertainty fertilizes fear.”

“Was that a true story about the cat?”

His mom offered a small non-committal smile. “Finish your apple and take the trash out, please. As soon as you are done, take a quart of this soup to Ben Campbell, he is ill. See if he needs anything. We’ll eat when you get back.”

The End

Creative synergy sizzled when the authors, from Delaware, USA, met and soon a literary partnership formed. They live several miles apart but meet every week day to dive into their collaboration of taking readers to new places and other worlds, to help them suspend reality, and to simply entertain.

Their combined accomplishments include book publications in print and/or electronic versions of thirty-seven titles, twelve romance specific, EPPIE finalist for three books, Cecil Whig award, Hob-Nob Reader's Choice Award, Champagne Books Novel of the Year, Champagne Books Author of the Year. Plus, they have written over 500 shorts with numerous published in both nationwide and small press magazines, articles published in various local, city and statewide newspapers, including four as a Guest Columnist in addition to trade articles. Both are members of various writing groups.

“Love and lust conjoined upon imagination’s roller coaster,” said Zi.

“Enjoy the ride,” added Angelica.
Liked this? Check out their website! Or, take a look at some of their books on Amazon.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

CURSE ME NOT BY ELIZABETH FISHER Review from On My Kindle

Curse Me Not by Elizabeth Fisher

Front cover image of Curse Me Not by Elizabeth Fisher, reviewed by On My Kindle Book Reviews

Genre: Romance, Paranormal
Format: eBook, Print
Number of Pages: 267
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Source: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

Appalachian unsophisticate Elzetta Swan has gained a rare ability considered very lucrative in her reality: she can see people’s auras and clean revenge curses off those auras. Embracing the gift faster than grass through a goose, she’s about to finish her first year as a licensed "bodywasher" in Knoxville, Tennessee, with a countrified inner child that’s skipping all the way to the bank.

Suddenly a routine aura cleansing turns ugly. Elzetta suspects a professional invoker has come to town—one who’s hooked on the rush of setting particularly nasty curses. If that wasn’t bad enough, the invoker may be visiting at the invitation of a mysterious local with a malicious hard-on for revenge.

Well-intentioned but often out of her depth, Elzetta attempts to track down the culprits. In doing so, she ends up facing threats to both her trendy new life and the hallelujah hankering she’s formed for a reluctant—and way too sexy—urban white knight who’s crossed her path. Will the confrontations create in Elzetta a vengeful rage all her own?
~ Summary from Goodreads.com ~

Review

I enjoy reading paranormal and supernatural fiction, so I have to admit that I was a bit worried when I discovered that this book was categorized as a "romance." I do not mind reading romances, but I was concerned that what seemed like a romantic subplot would end up consuming the whole story.

Boy, was I wrong!

Fisher not only created a realistic world in which the paranormal is accepted to a certain extent, she also made this gift that the protagonist has about as un-mystical as breathing. I figured that the protagonist would be Wiccan, or some kind of supernatural creature with powers that are beyond our understanding. I was both surprised and delighted when I discovered that Elzetta is down-to-earth and practical; she is the type of gal who you can have a beer, coffee, or iced tea with while talking about ways to cope with hot flashes.

The other characters are just as realistic; all of them have personality traits and quirks that breathe life into a unique and spellbinding story that is a break from action-packed paranormal novels filled with supernatural characters. There is romance in the book, but the plot of the book can stand on its own without the romance; which is what I prefer when I read novels categorized as "romance."

If you are looking for a romance novel like the Harlequin romances from the 80's, then you will probably be disappointed; however, if you are looking for a unique, realistic, and entertaining story that has some personality to it, then I highly recommend that you grab a copy of Curse Me Not by Elizabeth Fisher. I am hoping she has plans to make this book the beginning of a series, because I definitely want to read more!

About the Author

Image of Elizabeth Fisher, Author of Curse Me Not, reviewed by On My Kindle Book Reviews
Photo courtesy of:
Elizabeth Fisher's profile on Goodreads

Elizabeth Fisher lives in east Tennessee and has deep Appalachian roots that involve all the usual elements—moonshine stills, horse thieving ancestors and rumors of illicit banjo pickin’. Fortunately, due to her father’s less felonious North Carolina heritage, Fisher makes an honest living as a freelance writer, editor and graphic designer. In her spare time, she reads, hikes and attempts to oil paint. She believes she’s making great strides in creatively incorporating the errant hairs of her cats—Buck and Bozo—into her still lifes. Her loving husband, Tim, is not so sure.

To learn more about Elizabeth Fisher, or her book, Curse Me Not, you can find her on social media:

UNBALANCED BY COURTNEY SHEPARD - Review from BookViral Spotlight

Asha is fire......
Every generation four sisters with power over earth, air, fire, and water are born to fight against a fanatical, secret faith. The Order exists only to sacrifice the sisters for their power. With each success their strength and control grows. They have never failed, for their rule depends on it.

The sisters, separated at birth, are unaware of what hunts them...but they are coming. A handsome stranger discovers Asha in hiding, and swears allegiance to her cause. She falls for him; though he is not who he says he is. Betrayed and imprisoned inside the Order, Asha is without her power for the first time in her life. As the war heats up haunting secrets and true motivations are revealed, but the sisters must unite and override their instincts and trust the untrustworthy if they are to fight their terrifying destiny.

Our review......
An exciting and stylish paranormal fantasy debut, Unbalanced by author Courtney Shepard certainly taps into the deepest reaches of the imagination, taking us on an unfamiliar journey that gradually becomes more and more real. As much a coming of age story as it is paranormal fantasy, how Asha changes and matures is an intriguing part of the novel whilst Shepard’s adherence to a gritty and believable story world helps emphasize this theme. With an upbeat narrative and impressive plot it’s one of those novels that pays tribute to the reader instead of the author with Shepard intent on giving her readers what they most want. There’s burgeoning romance, bravery, tragedy, intrigue, and most of all, the rite of passage as destiny beckons and alliances are built. These alone are reasons to pick up a copy and start reading, whilst the promise of an epic saga in the making will leave many readers hoping there is much more to come.


Sure to sate the reading appetites of the most demanding paranormal fantasy fans, Unbalanced is strongly recommended.

TRAITOR KNIGHT - Finalist in Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Keith W. Willis' debut fantasy novel Traitor Knight has been recognized as one of five finalists in the Fantasy competition in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (http://www.indiebookawards.com). NGIBA is the largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors. The winners and finalists will be officially announced on April 30, 2016, and will be recognized at Book Expo America in Chicago in May 2016 (http://www.bookexpoamerica.com) . 


Traitor Knight  weaves fantasy, adventure, intrigue, a dash of romance and a dollop of wit into a fast-paced tale of a dashing, heroic and (literally) hopelessly romantic knight; a disillusioned damsel-in-distress; a surfeit of sinister spies; and a fiercesome dragon with an inconvenient case of hiccups. Published by Champagne Books (Alberta, Canada) in electronic (Sept. 2015) and paperback (March 2016) editions, Traitor Knight has garnered numerous five-star reviews. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Interview with Holly Hunt and Lauren


Welcome back to Savvy Saturday! Today, we are happy to have Holly Hunt with us and Lauren from Tyrant of Tarsit.

Hello Holly! Lauren, how wonderful it is to meet you.

H: You as well. Thanks for having us here, you have a wonderful living room.

Well today we wanted to get to know both of you a little bit more. First question on the agenda: Holly, where did you get the idea for Tyrant of Tarsit?

H: Tyrant is a story set in a much larger world. It's a prequel-ish of Scale & Feather, without the dragons and griffins that make that story so much fun. It tells the story of the origins of the Southern States, a magic-hating confederation of bigots. This is why they hate magic.

L: I would have liked to see the dragons. What gives?

Lauren, how does it feel to be a modern day woman stuck in the past?

L: Well, there's a lot of things that modern people take for granted, which I had to learn to live without. If I had the choice to go back to Tarsit, I'd take tampons. Lots and lots of tampons.

And the food! Hearty and delicious, like you'd never get here. Fat? More the merrier! Salt? Pour that stuff in! Sugar? Do you even need to ask? In it goes!

Overall, it's a good thing, I guess. I like living in Tarsit. So much less stressful, even on execution row.

I’ve heard from a little bird that you like motorcycles. What started your passion for biking?

L: My dad. He took me on his bike when I was a kid, and I loved the speed. I'd sneak out on his bike whenever I could, until he caught me Eventually, he bought me a bike of my own, my sweet little black thing that goes like you wouldn't believe. Thank god we managed to rig it to run on magic instead of gas, or I'd have had to leave it behind when the tank ran out in Tarsit!

Holly, do you ride motorcycles as well?

H: No way, you will never get me on a bike. I've seen more than enough people splattered across the road.


L: Chicken.

H: Quiet, you.

Lauren, when you aren’t riding, what is you favorite thing to do? Same for you Holly, what’s a favorite pastime?

L: I'm actually very good at alchemy, something that Malcolm and I share. He's the one who taught me, actually. The best I can do is turn straw into cotton, but he's so good he can turn straw to gold! One day I hope to be that good!

H: I spend a lot of time in the garden, I enjoy growing pumpkin vines and bean stalks. Nothing better than spending time and energy on something you can eventually eat!

L: Only a modern person would take pleasure in something her grandparents spent their time doing and hating!

H: Oh, shush.

Well, I won’t keep you ladies too long. Thank you for joining us today!

H: Pleasure is all mine, honey.

L: Thanks for having us!

Butcher by day, author by night, Holly spends her days off writing, playing in her garden and watching superhero cartoons. Holly lives with her husband Matthew and her cat Talia al-Kitty in a two-bedroom flat crammed with comics, video games, books and movie memorabilia. An active cosplayer, Holly and Matthew take time out of their days to entertain kids as various DC comics characters, and make their own costumes (when Real Life allows).

For more information on Holly Hunt's books, including upcoming releases, visit her site or follow her on Facebook.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Celebrating the 1st Birthday of The Lesson with Joyce Ward

This week Joyce Ward's book, The Lesson, turned a year old. To celebrate this anniversary, Joyce is joining us today to tell readers a little about her experience in those important first 365 days.

Hey Joyce! So how was this first year with your book?

Hello! So nice to be visiting with you. As you know, The Lesson, celebrated a birthday on April 6th. The year flew by and I’m still pinching myself. I love the thriller/horror genre and was very proud of the book.

Having a book published was a dream come true. But the experience wasn’t without its ups and downs. I must confess I spent way too much time watching how my book was doing on Amazon.

We heard you did some fun events this year, including Facebook parties and blog hops. What are your thoughts on those looking back?

Facebook parties were my favorite. They were a lot of fun and gave me the opportunity to interact with readers in real time.

I also did a few blog hops and participated in some huge blog celebrations, some were worth it, but some were, for me, a waste of money.

If you could, what would you do differently for this next year?


Sticking with the thriller/horror books, I would mainly promote on blogs or FB pages that cater to the horror genre. Because I don’t write gore, finding such groups might be difficult.

I would also build my Twitter following, grow a mailing list, and post more often to my website, and FB author page.

On that same note, what do you think worked really well?

Facebook parties were the best. Lots of interaction and the giveaways worked extremely well.

I know you write under another pen name, but what was your favorite author moment for this book?

No doubt about it—Seeing my name on the cover. What a thrill. A close second would be receiving a fabulous review.

Any advice for authors with new releases?

Do your homework: Find blogs and Facebook sites that specialize in the genre you’re writing. Use them!

Use all social media to the max!

Interact with other authors. They offer a wealth of information and encouragement. When my book was released, I was too timid to reach out and I regret not doing so.

Joyce Ward stopped stirring up trouble in the corporate world a few years ago and now satisfies her appetite for mayhem in the fictional world. When she isn't working on one of her cozy horror, paranormal romance or historical western manuscripts, she can usually be found hanging out with her family in San Juan Capistrano. She has published several short stories in various anthologies, and she's an active member of Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America and O.C. Writers.

The Lesson: A rebellious, young woman and her stoned boyfriend learn an important and frightening lesson after behaving badly in a mortuary.
Find her ebook on Amazon and Kobo for $2.50.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

UNBALANCED by Courtney Shepherd BOOK VIRAL Review

An exciting and stylish paranormal fantasy debut, Unbalanced by author Courtney Shepard certainly taps into the deepest reaches of the imagination, taking us on an unfamiliar journey that gradually becomes more and more real. As much a coming of age story as it is paranormal fantasy, how Asha changes and matures is an intriguing part of the novel whilst Shepard’s adherence to a gritty and believable story world helps emphasize this theme. With an upbeat narrative and impressive plot it’s one of those novels that pays tribute to the reader instead of the author with Shepard intent on giving her readers what they most want. There’s burgeoning romance, bravery, tragedy, intrigue, and most of all, the rite of passage as destiny beckons and alliances are built. These alone are reasons to pick up a copy and start reading, whilst the promise of an epic saga in the making will leave many readers hoping there is much more to come.


Sure to sate the reading appetites of the most demanding paranormal fantasy fans, Unbalanced is strongly recommended.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Release Day!

Hello readers! It's our favorite time of the month: release day. Today we are happy to welcome Shiela Stewart's third book, Embracing the Darkness, to the CBG family. This next installment in her Darkness series follows new protagonists Jonah and Raven as they try to survive the unpredictable world of vampires.


Embracing The Darkness
Darkness, III
By Shiela Stewart
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
$3.99
Amazon: http://goo.gl/JO23V6
Kobo: https://goo.gl/bWGI6x
Champagne Books: http://goo.gl/arvVXC

One upon a time Jonah Moore had it all. Then his wife and unborn child were taken from him, leaving his life darker than when Chaos and his evil vampires stole the sun. Now, Jonah has lost the will to face another day, which could be a problem, considering he’s just been turned into a vampire and is now destined to live for eternity.

As a nurse, Raven Moony is used to tending to the needs of others. Until an accident changes everything. When she is abducted and forced to tend to Chaos’ needs, she is more than ready to give in and willingly accepts her role as his slave.


When Jonah enters the picture, she finds herself fighting for his safety and freedom as well as her own. Can she convince Jonah to go on despite her own doubts? And can they open their hearts to love and learn that there is indeed life after death?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Interview with Shiela Stewart

Today on Savvy Saturday, Shiela Stewart is back. She has a new book, Embracing the Darkness, being released on Monday, and we thought it would be great to get to know a little bit more about Shiela as a writer. 

So Shiela, you have a new book coming out. Are you excited?
I’m always excited. This isn’t a new new book, it’s a republished book (s) The Darkness has been out before, but when the publisher closed, I knew I couldn’t let it be the end of the series. There are eight books in the series and right now there are two books out and the third one is due out in a few weeks. All of the books are basically the same except for the sixth. The reviews for it the first time around weren’t favorable so I decided to rewrite most of it. I hope this one is better liked.

We want to learn a little bit more about you. What got you into writing?

I’ve always been a story teller and when I was ten I started writing little stories. When I was fifteen, I wrote a short play for my sister's drama class. That is what really set me going. To date, I have fifty written manuscripts which are sitting in a box in my office. I go through them from time to time and have yet to decide which ones I want to fix up and publish.

What’s your favorite writing guilty pleasure?

Pop. I feel off if I don’t have a can or glass of pepsi or a slurpee at my side.

I know this is a hard question, but who is your favorite character to write?
It's like asking me who my favorite child is. LOL But if I had to choose one it would be Victor Davis from my Passion series which is no longer in publication. He’s a sheriff in a small town running from his past. He’s a complete dreamboat and he knows it. He loves the ladies. He’s passionate about his work and despite looking like an angel, he has a devilish side.

Do you have any tips for other budding writers?

Don’t give up. Writing is tough and the business is hard, but if you have a dream and are passionate about your work, don’t let anything stand in your way. Also, edit, edit, edit before submitting.


Raised on a rural farm in Saskatchewan, Shiela Stewart relied on her vivid imagination to fill her days. Never did she realize that her need to tell a story would someday lead to becoming a published romance author. In the fall of two thousand and six, Shiela published her very first book and hasn't stopped since. You can find out more about Shiela at http://www.shielasbooks.ca/

Friday, April 1, 2016

Tattle and Wrye column April 2016 edition

FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
AND
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH

Greetings,

“I saw Daffodils!” announces Tattle as she plops into her office chair.  “Now, I truly feel that spring is here.”

Wrye looks up from his tablet with his glasses trembling on the tip of his nose and a jelly-filled donut ready to be devoured.  “Knock, knock!”

Well-acquainted with his jokester personality, she automatically responds, “Who’s there?”

“Spring.”

“Spring who?”

“It is time to spring into our Love of Literature Leap interviews!”

“All-righty!  Bring the donuts.”

Just outside Naomi Stone’s door, Tattle asks, “So what do we know about Naomi Stone.”

Wrye lifts a bushy brow, “You mean you don’t know? She is the author of many CBG books, including The Team Guardian Adventures."  He pulls out his tablet, performs a few keystrokes and looks at her website and quotes, "In a near future world, probability bombs have imbued hundreds of people with special powers. Not all of these people are law-abiding citizens. Team Guardian uses their powers to police the miscreants."

"I knew that," Tattle says smugly.  

"Then why did you ask?"

"Just to make certain you knew."

Groaning, he raps on Naomi's door, whispering before she answers, "I really like her work.  We must remember to review some of her books."

Before Tattle can respond, the author's imaginary husband opens the door, unleashing the caterwauling of a cat.  The semi-transparent apparition ushers the duo inside as they greet a very surprised Naomi.

W: “Donuts?”  Wrye hands her the assortment.

N: “Ooo. Is that a Bismark? Yum.”

T: “We apologize for coming unannounced but at our mature age, we oft forget to do so. As Günter Grass wrote, ‘Memory likes to play hide-and-seek, to crawl away.’”

W: Frowns and whispers, “I thought you said you arranged this interview months ago.”

T: Flutters her hand as if chasing away the pesty question. “Um, can't remember.  As Günter Grass wrote, “’Memory likes to play hide-and-seek, to crawl away.’ Now, dear Naomi, are your ready for your interview?” 

N: "If you don't mind my being in jammies or the state of general chaos.”

T: Looks down at her own Minnie Mouse slippers. “Don’t mind at all.”

N: “I can put on some tea or coffee if you like? Donuts call for liquid refreshment.” Naomi steps into the tiny kitchenette and puts a kettle on.

When Naomi returns, all settle into sitting across from each other.
 
T:  Smiling happily, Tattle scoops up a furry feline and rubs behind its ear.  We see you are a cat person, if you could be a cat, which breed would you be and what would your daily routine be like?  Would you still write?  If so, what?

N:  “I think I'd be one of the advanced-evolution cats from Jim Butcher's new Citadel Spires series - they have vestigial thumbs, and I'd probably still be able to manage a keyboard. I'm very determined that way.”

W:  “Hmmm, interesting response.  What a grand cat to become. I think that would be my choice as well. So, what is your biggest fear? Spiders? Snakes? Harpsichords? A day without chocolate?”

N:  "My biggest fear is people who want to know my biggest fears so that the knowledge can be used against me... I mean, snakes. They’re sleek, I mean slimy skins just give me the shudders..." 

T:  Winks at the not-quite-there hubby, "Ah, Naomi, he is a cutie. You are one lucky lady. Is he normally this quiet?  Oh and is he the inspiration behind any of your books?”

N: “The best quality of an imaginary husband is that he only talks to me when I'm paying attention. Of course, then we argue incessantly. My imagination has the perversity of disagreeing with me constantly - and yes, he's very inspirational. I've always had a thing for imaginary characters. My first crush was on Rocky the Flying Squirrel, when I was in grade school. I daydreamed of adventures with Batman and Robin and the crew of the Starship Enterprise, and became a vegetarian for a couple years because of my feelings for Kwai Chang Caine of the Kung Fu series. One of the most powerful qualities of fiction is the way imaginary characters and situations can move us to experience very real feelings.”

W: Nods in agreement and appreciation of her introspective response.  He walks around, peeking at her fantasy book collection, noting her obsession with bookmarks, and finally asks, "Anywho, you have an interesting outlook on the world.  Would you consider yourself an arm-chair adventurer or get-out-there and mow-m-down and watch my smoke sort of writer?"

N: “That's the kettle! Coffee or Tea?”

T: Eyes wide, looks at Wrye.  "What sort of question is that? Explain ye-self, m'abstract minded bud in literature." Then to Naomi, “he is coffee and I am tea, thank you.”

W: "Ummm, in other words, are your exploits through your stories or are any of those stories based on real life adventure?" 

N:  “Considering that my characters include super heroes and a magical djinni, I have to confess that the real-life inspiration is entirely in their emotional/psychological lives. That's what fiction is all about, right? The events may all be imaginary, but the feelings they inspire are real, and they
allow us to experience vicarious adventures that may be beyond us physically. How cool is it that we can relax at home while at the same time climbing Mount Doom with Sam and Frodo, or running through the jungle with Mowgli and Bagheera?”

T: Smiles, resembling that remark. "If you could have any supernatural or superhero power, what would it be and why?”

N: “I recently lost my younger brother David to multiple myeloma - bone cancer. He spent the last several years trying numerous therapies including stem-cell replacement and debilitating chemo. At this point I can't think of a better superpower than that of a healing touch. There's so much need. We need armies of healers. We need to look at our society, all the contributing toxins and pollutants that are factors threatening the health of our people. A super power in a story is a substitute for a solution to real life problems. We can dream about the super powers, but the real heroes are those with the technical and scientific skills to find remedies to the diseases and ways to cleanse us and the environment of the toxins.”

T: “I am so sorry for your loss. Death truly rearranges our outlook on life.”

W: “And that outlook gives depth to writing. I, too, am very sorry, my condolences to you and yours.

They share a moment of respectful silence.

W: "Of all the characters you have written, who would you like to be and why?"

N: “I'd love to spend some time in the shoes of Amelia Swenson, the heroine of 'Spirited,' with her djinni lover - and growing magical abilities of her own. Of course, that would carry with it the responsibility of using those powers to do as much good as possible in the world. I'm afraid I wouldn't have much time for my writing in that case...”

T: "Please tell us what books you wrote with CBG and a one-liner about them?"

N: “'Spirited' is my full-length novel, in which Amelia unwittingly frees both a djinni and a dangerous succubus demon and enlists the djinni's aid in saving the world from the demon.
In a near future world where many people have super powers, Team Guardian works to police the bad eggs among them. 'Team Guardian' collects the three novellas below:
~In 'Sweet Mercy' a reverse-empath, Rachel Connolly meets her hero, Fluke, a man with amazing luck and they work together to stop a Puppet Master.
~In 'Safe Haven' Rachel's brother David meets his match in Beth Talbot, a psychometrist as they work together to stop a super-powered hacker from taking over the world's banking systems.
~In 'Shining Hope' illusionist Sophia Alvarez works with the team and teleporter Tom Stanton to stop a vigilante going after sexual predators. A date-rape experience in her past leaves her with conflicted feelings about the mission.

W: "Wow! They all sound fabulous.  They will definitely be on our TBR list. Naomi, we both agree it has been a pleasure to interview you."  Heads toward the door and is about to leave when he glares at Tattle. "Put the cat down.  It is not yours."

T: Pouts!

N: Thanks so much for stopping by!


T: (Whispers) “Should I salute?  I mean, after all, she served seven years of active duty and earned three meritorious awards.”

W: “We will treat her like any other author with respect, courtesy, and quirky questions.”

T: “Our questions are not quirky… just seriously bent.” Suddenly looks horrified.  “We forgot the donuts!”

Just then Colleen S. Meyers appears at her door, and Wrye offers her a pack of gum.  “Er, hi, we’re Penza Dona Tattle and Associate Wrye Balderdash and we’re here for your CBG interview.” Does a tap dance “Ta Da!”

C: Colleen grabs the pack of gum. “Doublemint. My favorite.”  She walks further into the room and sits across from Wyre and Tattle. “Thanks for having me.”

T:  “A little birdie told us you have been a Harlequin fan from way back, but you are also a sci-fi aficionado.  Hence, we observe possibly the reason of your mixture of the two genres in your writing.  With that in mind, what space creature from any fantasy or sci-fi world would make your swoon?”

C: “Oh well, swoon. I don’t know about swooning, but I know my favorite authors when I was growing up was David Eddings. His Belgariad series was exceptional. I loved the mixture of fantasy, romance, and humor that characterized his writing.  I remember thinking, “I want to write like that. One day, maybe I will be able to do that.”

W: “Considering your military background and medical career, you appear to be a logical, focused individual, but do you have an eclectic side?  If so, on a scale from one to ten, how eclectic?   Ten being, you are living on the planet Ramura – Homeworld of the Ramurian species or one being you occasionally wear different colored socks.”

C: “Hmm, well in real life, I am probably a 2, very boring. I deal with people being ill on a daily basis and that can be rough. I want to help them and sometimes I am not able to do that. Thus why I love anything fantasy, be it sci-fi, paranormal, magical realism, or urban fantasy. And in my fantasies, the hero can always help someone, save the day, right the wrong. So in my head, I am totally a 9 or a 10, Supergirl.”

T: “So, tell us, confidentially, we won’t squeal to anyone but our errrr readership, are you secretly in love with the hero of MUST REMEMBER, Marin. And just what would be your perfect date experience with him or would you prefer a Bajoran?”

C: “Oh my god, Marin is like my ideal man. Not perfect, but devoted and loving. That is all you need.  As for an ideal date night. Time alone would be good.” Colleen winks.

W: “How much of you is part of your character Elizabeth ‘Beta’ Camden?”

C: “I think I put a little bit of myself in every heroine. Life is our greatest teacher and inspiration.”

T: “Since you’re a doc, and well Doctor Who is a doc, do you find any similarities in your outlook on the universe?” 

C: “Ha! I haven’t really watched too much Doctor Who. I am a Star Trek/Star Wars kinda gal, so I don’t know the answer to that? Do you think I have the same outlook?”

W: “Upon meeting you, I’d say the humor of Doctor McCoy and the togetherness of Doctor Crusher.  Anywho, what universe would you prefer to live in, Star Trek, Star Wars, or Galaxy Quest and why?”

C: “Can I pick a fourth option?  Firefly, for the humor, for the reality and world building. I have a crush on Joss Whedon.”

T: “Ooooh, I think I cast my vote for that universe, too.  Who doesn’t have a crush on Joss Wheldon?”

T/W: All our joking aside, after pursuing your website, we have discovered you’ve been through tragedy, heroism and heart-tugging romance, you are an amazing woman and it has been our honor to interview you. Kudos, on your amazing strength and your upbeat attitude.


Off they go on another interviewing venture.  This time with Celia Breslin, urban fantasy and paranormal romance author of such books as DESTINY and HAVEN to name a few.


Tattle gulps. “You sure there aren’t any vampires around here?”

Wrye does the eye lift to heaven look. “You know those things don’t exist. We live in a world devoid of that kind of magic and fantasy and spooky stuff.”

“All I can say is when we reviewed Celia’s books, she sure made me feel like all sorts of things can happen.”

“You’ll be fine.  Now, let’s just materialize in her office.”

And they do, startling Celia.

C: Celia shrieks and jumps from her chair. “What the--? How did--? You sparkled like the Star Trek transporter beam…”

She picks up her water glass from her desk. Sniffs. Sips. Shrugs. “Okay…um…Hi?”

T: “It is very nice to meet you in the flesh.”  Keeps watching Celia’s mouth, checking for fangs as she takes a seat, perching on the end of it as if ready to dash at any moment.  “Now, to get things started.  Tell us, do you believe in ghosts? In your world are they horrid or friendly or a mixture?  Do you talk to them?”

W: “That’s rude! Of course, she talks to them if she sees them.  Oh, sorry, Celia, for interrupting.”

C: She gestures at them. “Well, clearly I believe in ghosts, since I’m talking to you now. Actually, given how you arrived, alien makes more sense to explain you, right?” She rolls her chair back several inches away from them. “Yep, friendly ghosts and/or aliens works for me.”

W: “Great response.  As for us, we are simply literary magic.”

T: “In other words a combo of ghost, alien, and unexplainable. We, however, can be whatever…”

W: Cuts Tattle off, knowing she can digress with the best of them. “Please tell us which of your characters’ has you totally mesmerized and why?”

C: She relaxes against the back of her chair with a sigh of relief. “So… you’re ghost and/or alien journalists? Cool! Well, all my characters hold a piece of my heart, but since I’m currently writing about vampires, I’ll share my favorite. His name is Jonas, and he appears in my Tranquilli Bloodline Series.  He’s the heroine Carina’s mentor. An ancient vampire originally from England, Jonas embodies extreme violence in a pretty package.  He’s a man of few words, dark and moody, fiercely loyal and violently protective of those few people he loves (such as Carina). I adore him so much that I gave him his own short story in the series: VAMPIRE CODE.

T: Please tell us if you belong to the tribe of geek, nerd, weird or are you a sensible, logical person like… well…moi, for instance?”

C: Laughs. “Well, I’d like to subscribe to your brand of “sensible and logical”. You can travel through space and time -- and without even a Tardis! She grins. “Aaaaand, I think my answer just put me squarely in the geek/nerd tribe.”  Points at a dashing navy coat hanging in her open closet. “The Tardis coat probably gave me away, too. The swirly lining with the exploding Tardis was inspired by the episode, 'Vincent (Van Gogh) and the Doctor.' Season 5, episode 10.” She shrugs. “Yeah…geek.”

T: “A gal after me own heart. I never miss a show, and honestly believe Doctor Who is real, and the shows are the way he is preparing us for his actual arrival.”

W: Interrupts before she goes into fandom.  “For an infinitely more important question, if you were a shapeshifter, what creature would you be and why?”

C: She nods. “I get this question a lot. A mermaid might be cool. I like the idea of being able to breathe underwater. I’m also a cat person, so maybe a black panther shifter. Wolves are amazing, too, though.  I have some sexy Scottish Wolf shifters in Destiny (Book 2, Tranquilli Bloodline). They’re a fun pack.”

T: Soooo, you like lairs? Horror? Scaring the bejesus outta people? Is there a dark, dank place deep within you? Tell us…. (Poises on the edge of her seat, and bites a nail)

C: “Well, clearly you two love to scare the bejesus out of people, given your sudden sparkly appearance in my office. I like some horror fiction, especially Stephen King…”

W: Wyre holds a hand to his heart as he interrupts. “You are indeed a woman of discernment. I own every version, of every book Stephen King ever wrote. I am a down-home fan for the King of Horror. Forgive my outburst and do go on.”

C: “And in movies, the best horror movie of all time is, hands down, The Cabin In The Woods by Joss Whedon. That man is a genius. Everything he writes is amazing. There’s Firefly, Buffy, Angel, Avengers, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along…oh…” She blushes.  “I’m letting my geek flag fly again, aren’t I?”

T: “Geeks are some of my favorite people. They think outside the circle.”

W: “If you could interview a vampire, what would be your first question?”

C: Celia’s smile disappears. She leans forward.  “I’d ask: Do you play for Team Evil or Team Good?”  Points her finger at them. “Actually, make sure you ask them that before you agree to meet in person. And don’t beam yourselves into their space unannounced. Even a vampire on Team Good might get rather cranky about that!”

T:  “Thank you so much for allowing us to grill… um…. interview you.  You have been a delight, and also thank you for the great advice and for not biting us.”  (Tattle could swear she saw a glint of fangs.)


Hope you all enjoyed our triplet interviews. Until next month, keep reading.

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat

Created and written by:  Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by: Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS ~ SNAKE DANCE ~
CHASING YESTERDAY ~ CHRISTMAS EVE...VIL
Books by: Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
STEEL EMBRACE
BOOK NOOKIE-A LIBRARIAN'S BUIDE TO THE DO-ME DECIMAL SYSTEM
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