18 December 2013

Author Interview - Okwor Onyeka

Please welcome Author Okwor Onyeka to the blog this week!

Have you always had a passion for writing? -
Yes, a deep passion

Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books? - What I read influences what I write at times. My favourite authors and books include Purple hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie, Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe, Brother Jero’s play Wole Soyinka, etc.

What are your biggest inspirations? – Things happening me inspire me a lot.

Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings? - No.

Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces? – Some times. It’s a great inspiration for me.

What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block? – reading a lot.

How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?) Being a published author has opened my eyes to the reality of the industry, now I can find my way in the industry so long as I have the necessary resources like money. But I had thought that I would become rich immediately I become a published author, but it’s not that automatic, it’s a building process. But at least, I have gained huge experiences about the industry.

What are your biggest challenges as an author? Getting published, giving out your best in writing to satisfy the audience and getting your book(s) out there to a wider audience.

Do you have any pets? No.

What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing? Playing and watching football.

Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world? Enugu, Nigeria.
Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work… most of my new works are in the writing and publishing process. Here is the link to one of the published book, a collection of love poems and stories- http://www.amazon.com/A-Heart-Broken-Okwor-Onyeka-ebook/dp/B009QP6L3K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386152294&sr=8-1&keywords=okwor+onyeka

Here are the links to my social pages- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amazon-Great-Books/446423635436799,


11 December 2013

Author Interview - Sharon C. Williams

This week's interview is with Author Sharon C. Williams!

1. Have you always had a passion for writing?

I can't say that I have. When I was young, I did have a small journal of poems, but that’s where it stayed. It was not until the summer of 2009 that my husband mentioned to a friend that he felt I wrote well. She, in turn, told me.

That got me thinking, and in the fall of 2009, after having two non-related surgeries within weeks of each other, I started to put pen to paper, and wrote a story about my parrot, Jasper. Being laid up in bed for a few weeks was motivation enough.

2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

I can honestly say what I read does not influence what I write. I tend to pick up stories from the things around me. This could be a photo, a writing prompt, or an event that carries me in a different direction.

What you would see on my bookshelves are books from Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Bentley Little, and James Patterson.

I was born and raised in New England, primarily in Maine. Stephen King is our native son who has done well, extremely well. As someone who loves to watch horror flicks and read horror books, my relationship with King was meant to be. I also love mysteries, and trying to solve the puzzle inside, which brings me to Agatha Christie. I own 95% of her books. The ones remaining are no longer in print.

The rest goes for the authors I have listed above. I have a majority of their books, if not all. These are the authors that the minute I hear they have a book released, I go out, and buy them. They keep me interested, and make the pages turn, thus leaving me feeling quite happy.

3. What are your biggest inspirations?

I became a bird owner in the year of 1998. They have given me a lot of inspirations. Just observing them, and their quirky personalities, has given me many short stories and short books.

In September of this year, my first book, that was previously passed on, about my Amazon parrot was released by Fountain Blue Publishing. My growing up in Northern Maine has inspired a few stories as well. As a French Acadian and my experience growing up in this region has a distinct and unique culture that comes into play when I write.

I can honestly say a large percentage of my writings are based on writing and photo prompts. I love how a simple short sentence can be turned into a short story, and in my case, books. Each one is different, but it seems to spark something inside of me where I need to write about it.

4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

I rarely go into much thought as far as naming my characters. I know a lot of writers do take care with this. I rather just sit down and write, but what I also do is create a bio for each character. This is something I learned from a development class I took. I do more then just a physical description. I try to give them depth, for not only does that make my job easier as I write, but it also makes it easier for the readers to love or hate them, which is part of reading and enjoying a book.

When an idea comes to mind, I will mentally make a list of people that need to be included in this particular manuscript, and go from there. Most of the time, the locations are decided for me. When I wrote my first book, which is based on my Amazon parrot, it could only be in one place, which is the rainforest. My short novelette on my war with my backyard squirrels . . . well, the location was there for me as well. I tend to write a few chapters first, and the location seems to materialize in my mind. I also have a few manuscripts where I’ve said,” Okay, I will be placing the setting here,” and things sort of take off from there.

5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

My office is in my bird room. I am owned by eight birds. Their chatter and singing is nice background music for me. I, on occasion, do turn on the radio, but it is not a requirement.

I write my stories longhand. I am more creative this way. By doing so, my equipment is a notebook, my favorite pen, and any location that I settle down in. When I do that, it does not really matter what noise is in the background, for it tends to get faded out as I write.

6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

I’ve been fortunate that I have not really suffered from writer's block up to this point. I keep a notebook with me at all times. This could be by my bed, in my purse, in my car, and in different parts of the house. As I am writing, any idea that pertains to the work, I jot down just in case it can be used. This could be for the present manuscript I am working on, or for a future one down the road.

I am a member of three writing groups, one of which I started. The members in these groups are invaluable, and their input just as much. I find if I come across something that I am iffy about, I can bring it up to the group, and knock it around a bit. They are worth their weight in gold when it comes to keeping me focused and on track. My editor also is a great source of information. She is not just an editor, but an author herself.

I also keep a notebook of possible ideas for books and short stories. The list is getting a bit long at this point. I find this alone is motivating enough for me to write, for if I have ideas to write on, it keeps me going forward.

7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

My goal, when I first started to write, was to get my book picked up by a publisher. In my mind, that was the end game. I knew I did have the option of self-publishing my book, but I wanted to give it a try with publishing houses. When it was picked up, the satisfaction of that is truly indescribable. I have had people who really did not take me seriously when I said I was a writer.

It’s taken a lot of work and time to get to this point from when I first started. It has given me a real sense of accomplishment that me, a small country girl from Northern Maine, has not only written a book, but it has been published. Things like this don't happen in the town I am from. It truly shows me that if a person puts their mind to it, and put in the time and effort to go with it, just about anything is possible.

I stand up a bit straighter now. Along the way, I have had a lot of great support both online and in real life. I’ve been surrounded by people who have pushed me forward with encouragement. That has not been wasted. My accomplishment is their accomplishment. It has motivated me to keep on writing, to believe in my dream of being an author.

Is it what I expected it to be? Absolutely! I feel silly saying this is indescribable, considering I am a writer, but it is. The sense of this just makes me smile from ear to ear. All I have to do is look on my bookshelves, and see a copy of my book to know I did it. I am new to this venture, and I have a long way to go, but I have opened the door to new adventures. 

8. What are your biggest challenges as an author? 

Editing is always fun for someone who absolutely hates it. My editor is an amazing woman who keeps my manuscripts tight so I can stay with the business at hand, which is to write.

Marketing and promoting my book is also a new challenge for me. I’ve been working on my author's platform about two years prior to my book being released. That gave me a good start as far as getting my brand out, and now I have my first book.

As a shy person, it is hard for me to stand up, and go, “Hey look at me!” It is not me at all, but something I am slowly grasping at, as I learn and listen to those who have gone before me, and have done it well.

9. Do you have any pets?

I am owned by eight birds.

10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

I am a budding photographer, and tend to always have my camera around my neck when I go out. I love to walk and exercise. Movies and listening to music are other favorite past-times of mine, as they help relax me.

I am also a budding bird watcher, as I am slowly learning about the birds on the outside. I knit on the side, and I am an avid sports fan, watching baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.

11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

During my freshman year in high school, my mother and I, along with the French club, went to France for two weeks. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I would love to go again.

12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…\

My first book, “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure”, was released on September 7th of this year.

The premise of book is about a young Amazon parrot named Jasper who is being raised in the rainforest. Along for the ride is his brother, Willie, and their friend Charlie who is a Spider Monkey. They explore their home together as they encounter mischief and danger. Along the way, Jasper learns about some life lessons important to the young parrot and his brother. It's a children's chapter book that falls in the genre of adventure for children in the age groups of 7-9 years of age.

I am now wrapping up a novelette titled, “The Door in The Tree,” which is my first true attempt at writing paranormal. The writing group I formed is putting together an anthology of short stories to self-publish, hopefully this year before Christmas. I came up with the idea

You can find Sharon here: 
Blog: http://www.newenglandmuse.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Sharon-C-Williams/195232693863109
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NewEngland_Muse
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5394360-sharon
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110251056756084178306
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NewEnglandMuse
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=165672049
Email: NewEngland_Muse@yahoo.com

5 December 2013

Author Interview - Michelle Abbott

Please welcome Author Michelle Abbott for this weeks interview!

1. Have you always had a passion for writing?

Yes always. Back when I was a teenager I loved to write poems and I kept a diary. I won a short story writing competition organized by my school.

2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

Only in so far as the genre, I love to read romance and so I write what I love. I make a point never to read any romance while I’m writing a book so I don’t inadvertently copy another author. I love the Dark Duet series by CJ Roberts, the Thoughtless series by S.C. Stephens and the Undeniable series by Madeline Sheehan.

3. What are your biggest inspirations?

I come up with a basic idea for the characters and plot but once I begin writing, my characters are my biggest inspiration. The scenes play out like a movie in my head and I write down what I see and hear.

4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

I choose locations that I have some knowledge of, my current work in progress is set in a village that I went to for a vacation. My In Chains series of books were set in Kent, where I live. My male characters are always underdogs who fall hard for my heroine.

5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

No, I have to work in silence or I get distracted. I listen to music prior to writing a scene. I create playlists for my books and these can be found on my website http://www.michelleabbott.com

6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

I don’t get writer’s block, there are days I don’t feel like writing but I just force on through because I know that once I begin typing the ideas will flow and I’ll enjoy it. It’s just a case of getting the first couple of sentences down.

7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

I didn’t realise it would be so hard to get noticed or that marketing would take up so much of my time. That said, I’ve found I enjoy marketing and that skill can be put to use in other areas of my life.

8. What are your biggest challenges as an author?

Getting noticed. Once people read my books, the majority like them, the problem is getting readers to discover them in the first place. If anyone would like to check me out I’m on Goodreads, facebook, twitter and G+





9. Do you have any pets?

No, I had a cat many years ago.

10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

I spend hours reading and writing, which doesn’t leave much time for other hobbies. I do enjoy travelling and seeing new places.

11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

There are two, the U.S and Greece. I’ve travelled across a large part of the U.S through Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. I love the space, people and the food. I also adored Greece, the little white washed cottages, dining out under the stars and the laid back way of life.

12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…

My work in progress is titled Just Stay and I hope to have it ready to publish in February or March 2014. It’s a romance set in a village in Cornwall. My two main characters are aged eighteen and nineteen, so I guess it could fall into the new adult genre. I’m loving Trey and Pia. Trey comes across as a player who loves himself but really he’s troubled and in need of love. Here’s the blurb:

The last place Pia wants to be is on a family vacation in a sleepy Cornish village. She's anticipating two weeks of mind-numbing boredom. Then she meets Trey, a local boy. He's absolutely gorgeous. The trouble is — he knows it. He's arrogant and egotistical, and Pia intends to avoid him at all costs.

But Trey is not the kind of guy who gives up easily. When he sets his sights on Pia, her resistance is futile.

It's just a holiday romance, some light-hearted fun, right? But one of them is about to discover that still waters do, indeed, run deep. When what lurks beneath the surface finally erupts, the consequences may prove to be catastrophic.

27 November 2013

Author Interview - Amanda Alberson

Please welcome Author Amanda Alberson to the blog today!

I’d like to start by saying thank you so much for having me on your blog! Without wonderful readers, bloggers, reviewers ect indie authors like me would be lost.

Have you always had a passion for writing?   
Yes, I have written stories and poems all my life. I have had a passion for reading for as long as I can remember, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon!

Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books? 

When I was younger I often mirrored the stories I wrote after books I loved. In junior high I wrote a book about two girls who go back in time and end up in the fifties. It was heavily influenced by S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. Now that I am older I write more about people or issues that touch my heart. I have so many favourite books and authors, I’ll read any genre almost so my books range from Stephen King to Anne Rice to Aprilynne Pike, Krystal George, Felicia Tatum, R.A Salvatore and onward.

What are your biggest inspirations?              

Emotions are my biggest inspiration. Love, fear, anger, I guess life really. Life is so many fleeting moments and while we can often feel our own lives are mundane, there’s so many possibilities out there. I love books that make me cry or make me so angry I want to scream, or make me think about something or see something in a different light.

Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?         

I really don’t have a technique for anything, I can’t even follow a recipe right I always add something. An idea will hit me, either the last scene of the book or a scenario and everything else will follow. The character names are very important to me. The names have to fit the person I see in my head, they’re looks, they’re personality, everything. I mean, I can’t have a bad a$$, rough and tumble, hot guy named Petey or Timmy it just wouldn't work.

Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?     

Yes, I have to have music! All of my WIP’s have a playlist. There are songs that match the overall theme of the stories, songs that inspire certain scenes even songs that inspire and fit certain characters.

What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?           

If I find myself stuck I go back and re-read my favourite parts, an especially emotional scene between characters, a moment that reaches into the chest and squeezes the heart and then I’m back on track.

How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)            

I was terrified to actually put a book of mine out there. I was half way through writing my first when I stumbled upon the Indie Writing community. I began making friends online with other authors/bloggers/reviewers and with their support and encouragement I finished my first book and set it loose into the world. It’s actually a little better than I thought it would be. I honestly didn’t’ think anyone outside of my circle would buy it or read it, and people did, and so far they’ve all loved it. I’m a terrible promoter but word is slowly spreading and I have a small but wonderful fan base, and it’s humbling and amazing and it keeps me writing.

What are your biggest challenges as an author?           

Money. I don’t think people outside of the Indie community have any idea the costs of publishing your own book. Editing, cover art, swag, it’s crazy and honestly it’s the only thing holding me back right now. I have three nearly complete books that I think everyone would really enjoy, I just don’t have the funds to get them out there yet.

Do you have any pets?          

Yes I have a small Chi-weenie named Jake (from Adventure Time although I call him Jake from State Farms) and a Beta fish named Ichabod Drain

What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?        

Well reading and writing are the biggest, I also love hiking, camping and photography.

Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?                

Can Cun Mexico when I was 18 years old. It was beautiful and scary and so much fun. I hope to make it to Ireland one day as well as Greece, Italy, Germany ….everywhere, I want to see it all.

Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work… 

My only published work is Losing Connor. It’s the tragic romance story of Cassie and Declan. It switches from past to present exposing their love and the impact their choices have made on their lives. Pregnant at 17 Cassie decides their child deserves more than they can offer. Declan wants to be a family. Years later their worlds collide again, can they lose one another a second time?  Can they let go of the anger and regrets?  

I am also working on a two part book, possibly a trilogy. The first book is titled When No One was Listening. It’s the story of Sloane, Eric and Barrett. It’s told from all three POV’s. Sloane is the outcast, she hears her dead twin’s voice in her head and does her best to hide her crazy as well as her guilt over Sara’s death from everyone around her. Eric is the son of the town sheriff as well as the high school football star who’s use to getting his way. Barrett is the town bully, with an addict for a mother and a father in prison for murder, everyone steers clear of him. But are people really who we think they are? Or are they much more? Sloane , Eric and Barrett’s lives mix and entwine ending in a climatic standoff in the end.

You can find Amanda on her Website, Facebook and Amazon!

23 November 2013

Giveaways! The Fury!

To celebrate the release of Therian Secrets Book 2 - THE 

FURY, I have a great giveaway for you. One paperback and 

three ecopies of the book are up for grabs and there are 

seven ways to enter!

20 November 2013

Interview Leigh SC Johnson

Have you always had a passion for writing?

Yes, I have always had a passion for writing. Throughout my school years the most writing my teachers got out of me was writing whether essays or short stories in English class.

Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

I think what I read does influence me to a degree. My favourite authors include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Keri Arthur, Torie James and Perci T. Brooks among others.

What are your biggest inspirations?

I find inspiration in something as simple as a phrase or songs. There's is nothing in particular that inspires me.

Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

I don't know about techniques, however, my characters introduce themselves to me and tell me about themselves. As for locations, I use places I know or that interest me.

Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

I need to have some sort of background noise but I write best to music. Particularly a playlist compiled by the main character of my WIP.

What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

My motivation is nothing more than wanting to prove to myself that I can accomplish my dream of being able to write something that is suitable for publishing. Other than looking at things from a different angle and talking things out with my characters I don't really have ways of avoiding writer's block and it has plagued of often while I work on my first book.

How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

I am currently unpublished but I am hoping that in 2014 that will change.

What are your biggest challenges as an author?

My biggest challenge is having the faith in myself to do this. As someone with low self-confidence I am struggling quite a bit.

Do you have any pets?

I have one cat called Stryker. He has been with me just over a year now and his company stopped me from going crazy when I first got him.

What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

Outside of reading and writing I enjoy drawing, singing, listening to music, doing cross stitch (designing and making bookmarks and small pictures) and spending time with friends.

Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

The most memorable place I have been to was Gran Canaria. It was a family holiday when I was 16 and it was the best holiday I've had in my life.

Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…

My latest work... my first work... is a piece called What the Darkness Brings. It is about a girl who is the only non-human born to a human family. Her differences have always confused her and she has wondered if she is different for a reason or if things had just got messed up. When her twin sister and grandfather a killed things start to spiral out of control and while she learns the truth of herself, she starts to lose herself. She must face an unknown enemy in a battle to the death, the result of which the fate of the world relies on.

You can find Leigh on Facebook!

7 November 2013

Guest Interview - Maurice Tudor from BOOKSHELF

This week I am proud to welcome Maurice Tudor from BOOKSHELF. Today he talks about his site, and forum and how he helps to promote other authors and their books! If you like the sound of BOOKSHELF, there are some links at the bottom of the interview, I recommend checking it out.

Tell us a little about your company/site.
Bookshelf is not only a Blog, but a forum as well, with quite a good following in such a short time.

What gave you the idea to start something like this?
I saw a need that Writers and the industry as a whole, lacked adequate promotion. Perhaps it was a question of  finance, so I decided to do something about it. And started the Forum as a follow up to the blog.

Is this a solo venture or do you have a team working behind the scenes?
Yes, only me I am afraid and I do work long hours to keep abreast of things!

Do you do anything special to attract followers?
I advertise by invitations to LI writers, plus many of my followers tweet and FB me so everything helps!

Where are the majority of your followers from? Are you global or is your audience closer to home for you?
Global, which is nice. I have a translator software on all my sites and it comes in handy when any of my members can't speak English. I converse briefly in their language.

What is your favorite thing about what you do? What is your favorite part of the job?
Everything about what I do is therapeutic for me as I have a terminal illness and my PC is my lifeline to others. Probably if I had to choose a favorite part of my job, would be the pleasure I get, knowing I have helped someone in our industry.

Have there been any unexpected challenges?
Yes but I won't go into them here!

What are your future goals for the site?
Just to carry on as now, but with a bigger membership.

Tell us a random fact about your site that readers might find interesting.
Free promotions for their book, or services. I would find that very interesting if I was on the outside looking in. No other writer's forum does what I am doing, so yes it must be an interesting fact to your readers.

What's your favorite book genre?

Do you have any favorite authors?
Too many to list here, but Stephen King is one!



5 November 2013

Special Interview - Lauren Tisdale

Please welcome our guest Lauren Tisdale to the blog today to celebrate her new release!

1. Have you always had a passion for writing?

Well, that’s a yes and no. I used to /try/ to write song lyrics or even poetry and even some very short stories. Mostly poetry…but I didn’t think I was any good. I thought I rhymed too much. But then in 2011, I needed a hobby. Something I was good at. So I gave creative fan fiction writing a chance and it went from there really. At first, I sucked. But the more I read others work around me, I learned, I grew, I expanded.

At the insistence of my mother in law at first, who continuously told me I should write a book. Then my fellow writer friends who suggested the same, an idea was born. I’m going to write a book. And then…the journey began. I wrote a book. I’m writing several books, along with creative fan fiction writing on the side to keep my mind working. So I guess I can say no, I never had a PASSION for it, until now. And now, I cannot get enough.

2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

Sometimes yes. Reading other popular works has given me lots of insight to what I want to strive to be and what to avoid.

My favourite authors include but are not limited to: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sara Shepard, Charlaine Harris, Torie James, Jas T. Ward, Stephanie Meyers, Lynda Glosorio.

Some of my favourite books were yes, the Twilight series, The Immortal Series, Sookie Stackhouse series, Dark Hunter series, Bits & Pieces, Timeless Night, and I have to admit…the 50 shades books are slightly okay…slightly. They aren’t horrible, but they are not fantastic. I can’t stop reading but some things annoy me.

3. What are your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspirations are the people who support me. They continue to urge me to continue and write more. It was someone very wise who once told me, “Sherrilyn Kenyon was a small fish once, we start small but we grow. It’s a process.” And it reminded me that all these famous people started just where I did. My other inspirations are the facts that I just want my words to reach people, to touch them, make them laugh, captivate them with my characters, and ultimately inspire others.

4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

Not really a technique, but I think of the plot, I think of the time frame and setting. Then I search things that would fit it right. The research is usually the longest part. I know it’s fiction I’m creating, but I also want accuracy. Especially if I want it to feel real to the reader. So research, research, research. When it feels right, I go with it.

5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

Always. Sometimes I need to be in a certain mood and listen to music accordingly, or sometimes I’ll just do random shuffle. Most of the time it’s country or classic country… that puts me in my zone.

6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

I write fan fiction or writing prompts from Writer’s Digest.

7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

It has opened my eyes to a lot really. I didn’t know it was so…complex? And also rewarding. I mean you feel…so accomplished? Not that being published makes you accomplished but for me it feels like I succeeded…like I did it. The editing process has also taught me so much in regards to things I’d long forgotten since high school. It will make writing all my other books much easy since I know the RIGHT way it is to be done. So far, it’s everything I expected and more…it’s very exciting. I can’t wait for what’s next.

8. What are your biggest challenges as an author?

The biggest challenges is getting out there. At first, I mean you promote and market as much as you can but ultimately its word of mouth (I think) because if your book is any good, friends will tell friends, who will tell their family and friends, so on and so on. It’s like wildfire…if it’s great it will spread and then it’s like a domino effect. But it works the same way for bad. One person thinks it’s bad and spreads it that it’s horrible don’t waste your time, then it may put a damper on things.

But again, as much as it does matter for your readers to care and like your work, in the end it’s what you feel towards it. At least that’s what I keep telling myself…gotta look at the positive, right? LOL

9. Do you have any pets?

I do not care for pets in particular because with an almost-three year old running around, that’s enough. Oh and also a husband…I rather not clean after a pet, but yes…we have one. A bearded dragon named Stewie. Yeah…I know, right?

10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

I like to sing, I used to think that was my talent, my passion. Hah, not exactly. I mean I’m decent, but nowhere near fantastic. So for fun I sing. I do enjoy fishing occasionally. I’d love to go camping sometimes. You know this question was the hardest, I actually had to think…wow, goes to show I don’t do much outside of reading and writing (hobby wise)

11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

Hmm, I’ve been to Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, and passed through Oklahoma. To me they were all fascinating. I love accents and find them interesting. They were all pretty memorable for different reasons. I’d LOVE to see Europe and Spain. I bet I’d have something to say then. LOL But, if I had to choose, my first and most memorable was Nashville, Tennessee when I was nine and we visited the Country Music capital. Grand Ole Opry, Loretta Lynn’s estate, and everything you could imagine related to Country Music. It’s the best memory I had of my mom too, she absolutely LOVED Country Music. So when I think back to those times, I remember the smile on her face that barely left on that vacation.

12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…

Well my most recent and first published work is called ‘Circle of Secrets’ and it is to be released in ebook version and for print version. It’s about two women whose family secrets intertwine and connect them in the most amazing way. (Can change later when synopsis is done) I’m very excited for everyone to read it, it was inspired by my mother who passed in 2007. It’s dedicated to her.

My other works in progress are ‘Crimson Horizon’, ‘Secret Desire’, and ‘Darkest Temptation’. (all working titles and may be changed).

--Crimson Horizon is going to be a historical romance set in the 17th century, Salem, MA at the time of the witch trials.

--Secret Desire is an erotica novel set in the present time, focused on two people who should not be in love or involved, but the insatiable desire that continues to merge them.

--Darkest Temptation is a paranormal/historical romance set in the times of the Gods and Valkyries. Warriors who died on the battlefield and taken to Valhalla. A Valkyrie and a warrior fall in love, but all is not as it seems.

So, there you have it…yes, I like to keep busy. LOL

You can find Lauren on Facebook!

2 November 2013

WINNERS (Souls Around The World Blog Hop)

Congratulations to Toinette Thomas and Jessie2247, you have each won an ebook copy of my novel The Mercenary! Thanks so much for participating in Souls Around The World Blog Hop! I hope you had a great time getting to know all the authors and their works. Please email me at johannamrae@gmail.com so that I can get that book delivered to you.

23 October 2013

Special Interview! ME!

Hello ladies and gents! Jenny here! A little while back I had you compile your questions for our fabulous author to answer. Well this week's interview is from you the readers! Make sure you see what she said to all your questions!

Question 1 (from CJ Edhouse)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
To be honest, I’m very happy with where I live right now. I love my beautiful country and I feel that my current location is a little slice of paradise. I have a beautiful view and peaceful environment, what more could a writer ask for? *smiles* failing this, I would choose another secluded spot. A cottage on a private beach or a secluded cabin in the woods, perhaps a cabin by a lake. I find nature a wonderful motivator.

Question 2 (from CJ Edhouse)
If you could become any animal, which would you choose?
*Laughs* I’m afraid this won’t come as much of a surprise. My two favorite animals are leopards and tigers. I love all feline animals but those two are right at the top of the list. I have a soft spot for the snow leopard in particular. Such a beautiful and alluring animal.
It is also the only one of the big cats that is missing the hyoid bone in its throat. (Which makes it closely related to a domestic housecat) it means it can produce a true purr by rolling air across its vocal chords and it cannot roar. Other leopards can make a purring sort of sound when relaxed, a sort of snore. However it is different from the snow leopard. I love that this particular leopard is unique.

Question 3 (from Andrea Boyde)
What is the earliest story you remember writing?
When I was in primary/elementary school I got an achievement certificate for a story I wrote. It was about an alien that landed on earth by mistake. He was frightened by the humans and couldn’t seem to communicate with them. So he made a tunnel underground until he had gone far from the cities and towns, and built himself a safe place to live there.
My first attempt at writing a “chapter book”, as we referred to them in our childhood, was when I was about eleven. It was a mystery thriller about a girl who avoided being abducted on her way home from school by outwitting her possible kidnapper.

Question 4 (from Lori Toshek)
How true to life are the character traits you’ve used, to you, your friends and your family?
Like any author, I find character inspiration in almost anyone I meet. Never a complete ensemble of course. I borrow this person’s tinkling laugh and add it to that person’s kind nature and someone else’s need for order/organization. I also find that I’m inspired by singular moments. A single smile by a stranger in the street can bring something to life in my mind. I always add my own spin though, no one character can ever be attributed to just one person in my life. It is a complicated web. A cocktail of personality traits, looks, interests, mannerisms and Johanna Rae magic.

Question 5 (from Lori Toshek)
Which city would you choose to do your first book tour?
Wow now there’s a nice thought! If I was ever lucky enough to have a book tour, I would probably start with the USA as while my readers are global, that is my biggest concentration of interest. Since that is on the other side of the world I would try to make the most of the trip by choosing cities that offer events such as Comicon, Dragoncon, and Romance Novel Conventions. I would love to start in either New York or Atlanta.

Question 6 (from anonymous)
You always talk about Muse when you post about your writing. How important is that and is it always that same band?
Muse is my favourite band but it also happens to be the driving force behind the leading male in my Therian Secrets series, Danny Archer. He has two songs in particular, Hysteria and Endlessly. Whenever I hear those two songs, no matter where I am, his character jumps to the front of my mind ready to be written. I have an entire playlist comprised only of Muse songs and it is what I play most often when writing about the Therians.
However, that being said… certain characters do not gel with Muse. I find that Luke Fletcher likes Seether, Blackberry Wednesday, Switchfoot and Imagine Dragons. Leon Ross likes rap and hiphop, while Eddie Pirini likes easy listening and pop. All my characters have their own style, therefore requiring their own music to get kick-started.
In another story I’m working on (Stronger than Blood) I have a character, an angel, who really challenged my boundaries. He requires all sorts of bands I would never have listened to prior to awakening him. (Aerosmith, Nirvana, Breaking Benjamin, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam). There is no telling what the characters in my brain may demand next. *grins*

Question 7 (from Amber Liddell)
What inspires/drives you to write about certain characters? (Or to write in general).

Much of my inspiration comes from music. Sometimes it only takes one line in a song for me to come up with an entire scene, perhaps a whole novel. My brain expands on the emotion created from those notes and lyrics, putting together pieces of plot like a jigsaw puzzle. This is probably my primary source of inspiration. As I said in question 6, different bands and music genre call to different characters.
I am also inspired by locations. The entire initial concept for the Therian Secrets series was sparked by a visit to my hometown. (Much of the fictional town of Redcliffe is based on my home town, though I have used a great deal of creative licence to perfect it to my needs and keep it unique).
Inspiration really does hit you when you least expect it. I was at the base of the cliffs at the Whakatane Heads, and gazed up thoughtfully. Having explored the top of those cliffs I knew that many years ago before the settlers came to NZ, there was a Maori Pa up there. (A village). I thought about how there could be an entire community up there and you would never know from down at the beach where I was sitting. It made me think of all sorts of secrets and forbidden things that could lurk there… and I began to infuse that notion with my love for the paranormal. The more the idea grew in my mind the more I knew writing about it was a must, no longer a want. Characters began to emerge and the rest is history.

Question 8 (from Amber Liddell)
Do you plan your writing beforehand?
I never outline at all. I don't spend hours writing down character details and plot ideas the way that some authors do, I find that it stifles my creativity. I think this is because I’m a very character driven author. Once the characters have residence in my brain, they start to think they have full control in the driver’s seat. *laughs* I have a basic idea in my mind… usually a starting and finishing point. Sometimes I have a few key events in between. It is the characters that decide how and when they will arrive at those points, and no coaxing on my part will push them in a direction they don’t want to go.
Often I have no idea what the small details will be until they are immortalized on the page in front of me. Sometimes I end up with such a different result than I expected, that I sit there in amazement, thinking: “Wow, I wrote this?” I like to think that this is both an advantage and a gift. I love that I don’t know every moment in advance, it’s like an adventure! I also don’t tend to write in chronological order. I have to write the scenes that scream the loudest, first. Sometimes I start in the middle and write a few sections, then I have to link it up and go back to write the beginning/end.

Question 8 (from Nikki Cameron).
Your writing has always covered many genres, what inspired you to lean towards shape-shifting and do you see yourself ever foraging into a general (everyday/romance) type of book to get published?
I have enjoyed a number of paranormal books over the years. Many were about vampires or shape-shifters. There seemed to be a pattern. Either there were all manners of creatures, including vampires and shape-shifters, or you got a singular group. (Vampires OR shape-shifters). I noticed a lot of the books focused on one animal. A high percentage were wolves, and there were a few about leopards. None seemed to be anything like what I wanted.
The only books that had multiple animal types had other sorts of supernatural creatures too. I also felt that it would be interesting if there was more than just were-wolves, were-tigers, were-leopards etc. I wanted a different sort of shifter. So when I became inspired as in question seven, all of these ‘wants’ came into play and I began to create it.

Question 9 (from Nicola Montford)
Do you ever forget the characters you’ve made, or are they always a part of you?
Yes, they will always remain a part of me. Whether or not the story makes it to print, whether it’s a singular book or a series, all the characters stay inside me. I guess it’s because every single one has a piece of my heart, part of myself in them. Some more than others, but all special to me. When others are able to share my stories and enjoy those characters too, it brings them to life even more for me.

Question 9 (from Janice Thomas) 
Was the Therians your first attempt at writing a book or did you write something else first?
I have four other books hidden away. Three of them will probably never see the light of day, but it is nice to look back at them and see how far I’ve come. I still think fondly of those characters, no matter how many flaws there were in the writing. I do have one which I think could be rewritten and published one day, but it is in a series of handwritten notebooks. It will be a big project and I’ll need to have a free schedule to achieve it.

Question 10 (from Robyn Mitchell)
Where do you get the inspirations for the different Therians animals and their personalities?
In the beginning I tried hard to balance the animal types to give the story a well-rounded feel. Matching the character’s personalities and animals wasn’t difficult, when inspiration hit with this series, it really hit hard. *laughs* the basic formation of the characters just sort of happened, but I was careful with the tweaking and minor details to flesh out the world of Redcliffe. Some of the newer characters arrived in a much less hurried fashion and slowly materialized, taking shape in a whole new way.
I have in the past asked friends and readers what sort of animals they’d like to see and why. Hearing the responses is almost a form of inspiration in itself. It doesn’t take much of an idea to build on when you have the world and story base behind you already. I think I had the most fun with Eddie. His animal is a fictional one. I invented a species of giant water lizard that modern scientists had not discovered yet. I likened him to the Komodo dragon and the tuatara.

Question 11 (from anonymous)
Do you ever have trouble with time management? How hard is it to find time to write?
Given that I’m a busy wife and mother of three young children, yes! My family and motherhood commitments always come first and I love that. I’m very lucky to have a fully supportive husband, and children who are so excited about what I do, even though they are too young to read it. I try to make time for editing and self-promotion during the daytime while the kids are at school, then I do my fresh writing at night when my husband is watching TV or after he’s gone to bed. Sometimes that needs to be juggled around a bit though to make sure I give everyone enough of my time.

Question 12 (from Maxine Patterson)
When are you coming to visit and can you bring some yummy donuts?
Maxine, it’s been too long. *laughs again* I will try to make a trip to Tauranga soon and I promise to stop at the bakery on the way to your place.

If you have not read Johanna’s shapeshifter series (Therian Secrets) and would like to know more, please check out the book trailers below for The Mercenary and The Fury.

                       The Mercenary Trailer                                        The Fury Trailer

Also you can find Johanna here:


16 October 2013

Author Interview - Wendy Schuffert

Please welcome Author Wendy Schuffert to the interview seat!

1. Have you always had a passion for writing? 

Yes, I have. It all started when I started reading R.L. Stine when I was younger & I realized that is what I wanted to do.

2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books? 

Yes. I read a lot of male/male manga, novellas & young adult books. And it got me wanting to write that myself, but I’ve always wanted to write young adult. Some of my favourite authors include R.L. Stine, Lynn Flewelling, L.J. Smith. Yamila Abraham as for books…I have so many favourite books by R.L. Stine, it’s not even funny, Nightrunner Series by: Lynn Flewelling (her series got me wanting to publish male/male books), Forbidden Games by: L.J. Smith & The Vampire Diaries by: L.J. Smith. I even love Japanese manga where my favourite manga-ka Makoto Tateno got me wanting to publish male/male stuff as well.

3. What are your biggest inspirations? 

My biggest inspirations have to be Japanese rock singer Kyo of the band Dir en Grey, actor Rob Lowe & the Original Incredible Hulk himself Lou Ferrigno. Why? Because I am half deaf (with other medical problems & disabilities). I’m completely deaf in my left ear & have possibly about 75% of hearing in my right ear and those 3 men have shown me that even though I’m hearing impaired I can still do what I want to do. Because those 3 men are hard of hearing as well & I owe them a BIG thank you.

4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings? 

Actually I don’t most of the time. Sometimes the characters just come to me & sometimes they come from being modelled after people and for the locations. For the longest time I never set my stuff in a certain spot. I’m from California in the States and I now use that for my characters or I’ll use my own world I created for my demons.

5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces? 

Sometimes I listen to music and it’s usually Japanese rock/Visual Kei bands, but I mostly watch TV as I write.

6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block? 

I read, watch true crime shows. I get ideas from just about anything.

7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?) 

As of this moment my novella is in the middle of getting published. It is in line to be edited, but I am part of a charity anthology called Shades of Pink that will feature a short story I did for it called Pink Rose. I’m not really sure what to expect yet.

8. What are your biggest challenges as an author? 

Trying to work on other stuff. My first novella is part of a series & I’m really trying to get the second novella finished right now.

9. Do you have any pets? 

Yes. I have 4 cats. Oldest girl is Lizzie, second oldest is a boy Snoop Katt, third is a boy Neko Mana & fourth is a girl named Princess Icy Miku & 2 dogs both girls named Maggie Mae & Lacee No Name
10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing? 

My other hobbies include, reading, poetry, watching anime, reading manga, cross stitching.

11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world? 

Hmmm…No place yet

12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work… 

I write under the name Perci T. Brooks and currently I am working on my Beloved Series and I am part of the Shades of Pink charity anthology that is a $5 donation for Breast Cancer. I am very glad to be part of that. 

Of course everyone can go to my author page for more info at https://www.facebook.com/PerciTBrooks

9 October 2013

Author Interview - John Monk

Please welcome Author John Monk to the interview seat today!

Have you always had a passion for writing?

When I was in first grade, I got a poem published in the school newspaper.  I remember how it ended: “...with a beautiful spark of love.”  Even back then I thought it was sappy.  But I got so much positive attention from it that I kept writing cheesy poems and they kept publishing them.

Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

By around fifth grade, I started writing short stories where I grossly plagiarized Ursula Le Guin and Terry Brooks. I came up with the plots—I just stole all the names.  “Shady Vale” and “Garret Jax” and “Ged” and “the island of Roke.”  My love of these names were the beginning of my love affair with language.  In high school, when I discovered Edgar Allen Poe, I started writing long, complicated writing that would have fit better in the 19th century. These days, I like to think my writing is my own—but of course I’d be lying. All writers are a product of their literary environment. You’ll find a little Terry Brooks and Robert B. Parker peppered throughout my writing, as well as some Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman and Dean Koontz. And I’d be lying if I said Poe’s “...eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming” didn’t give me chills to this very day.

What are your biggest inspirations?

In a general sense, I’m inspired by beauty. Whether it’s a gorgeous woman or a great song or a really good movie, I get my inspiration from unique things. Often it’s something intangible, like a charitable deed or act of bravery—something that lifts a person, however briefly, from the plane we all exist on to regions indescribable.

When I’m sitting in traffic, I often wonder what makes something “great.”  Why does the Beach Boys song “God only knows” seize me the way it does when I hear it playing? I’m truly mystified.  And the funny thing is: this confusion gives me real hope. Do we really want a scientific answer for why things inspire us, like beauty? Or, for that matter, terrible ugliness?  When something horrific comes on the news, isn’t it better to feel the awfulness at a visceral level rather have it reduced to “a byproduct of our survival instinct which triggers an empathetic response”?

Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

Like a lot of writers, I try to write what I know.  So Centreville Virginia shows up in my published book, Kick, as well as the one I’m editing now.  I also like to write about places I’ve vacationed.  Likewise, I write about people I’ve met, though I modify them quite a bit.  Often I take several people and mash them together into a frankenperson, of sorts, picking and pairing the best parts for the needs of the story.  My buddy Rob isn’t a murderer, but the way he gets angry when he’s cut off in traffic might be just the thing for the murderer in my book. And I think my readers respond to it—they know when something seems real. An artist does his or her best work when the subject is painted from something in real life.

Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

I don’t always listen to music, but sometimes I do.  My musical tastes range into every single category dated before 1990 (with the occasional one-off like that funny C Lo Green song).  Rap, rock, punk, disco, jazz, bluegrass, country, big band, folk, jubilee gospel, mariachi—this is the music I listen to.  It really gets my brain working to hear something out of pace from my daily, natural rhythms.  Recently I’ve gotten into Spanish guitar—wonderful stuff. There’s a scene in Kick where one of the sympathetic characters plays some Spanish Guitar. Blame the Gypsy Kings.

What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

When I’m having writer’s block, I read some Elmore Leonard or watch Justified on TV or anything with good writing in it.  Just like when I was a kid, nothing gets me going better than experiencing something marvelous.  It motivates me to make something marvelous too—to add something of my own to the world.  And it sure beats sitting there staring at an empty screen in frustration.

How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

Heh, now that’s a good question. Publishing my writing without the endorsement of Big Publishing and then having to market it myself to a world of readers who don’t know I exist has been a tremendously humbling experience. Getting that official nod from a major publishing house...look, we writers like to pretend that recognition isn’t important or that we’re sitting here all self-possessed and confident in our work and all that, but at the end of the day we just want to be told how brilliant we are.  Especially from some official body of professionals, ie., “the establishment.” 

There’s a part of me that wonders if Amazon and other eBook outlets aren’t a new kind of American Idol and whether I’m not the self-publishing version of William Hung. It sure would be nice to wake up every morning to another hundred downloads of Kick.  Until then, I’ll continue to assist my ego out of bed every morning, downstairs to breakfast and then off to work. And I probably won’t stop checking my sales rank several times a day to see if something’s changed. My ego and I will get through this together.  I don’t mind—my ego carried me for the last 42 years without complaint!

What are your biggest challenges as an author?

Time.  I need time to create, time to edit, time to market, time to do interviews like this, time to go to work and do a good job.  Time to be a husband.  My wife and I want to adopt—that’s going to take time.  When we adopt, our child will need so much of my time I’m afraid I’ll have to stop writing.  So I need to get even more done now—because I won’t have any time later.

Do you have any pets?

Dorothy and I have a cat, an Old English Sheep Dog, and a white Schnauzer (a rare color, we’re told).  The Schnauzer’s name is Shadowfax—which, to any fans of Tolkien out there, has revealed to you one of my other great inspirations: the Lord of the Rings. 

What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

I like to go sailing with a friend of mine, in his boat, out on the Chesapeake.  I like to go hiking once or twice a year.  I used to play an unhealthy amount of World of Warcraft—when I quit about 3 years ago, I used the time to write my first novel.  Now, looking back, I wish I could reach out and slap that WOW-playing John L. Monk.  Writing is so much more rewarding. 

Hmm, thinking of other hobbies...do potential hobbies count?  I’d really love to take up woodworking.  I think it’d be the coolest thing in the world to make a table or a chair.  One day when I’m rich and famous, maybe I’ll take a year off from writing to do that?

Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

When I was in college, getting my degree in anthropology, I visited the island of Malta for a study-abroad program.  Simply put, Malta’s a giant rock in the middle of the Mediterranean.  It’s cities are fortress cities.  It’s poorest people live in subdivided palaces for the Knights of Saint John. The water was an almost magical blue, and yet their beaches were littered.  A lady proprietor of a bar was worried when we were playing dominos at one of the tables and almost had a heart attack when we suggested switching to cards.  Bands walked the streets at night in a parade playing as loud as they could so a rival village could hear them coming.  Some of the band members smoked between parts or stepped in and out of bars, rejoining when it was time for them to play again. Perhaps the most shocking thing that happened was when I went looking for a boat maker so I could interview him. The boat maker and his sons almost threw me into the Mediterranean.  I didn’t speak Malti, but through hand gestures and smiles I managed to convince them I wasn’t trying to steal the secrets of their designs to sell to a competitor in the Regatta. It was a fascinating, memorable trip. 

Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…

Kick is my most recent published work.  It’s a story about a college student, Dan, who commits suicide when the girl he loves dumps him. Afterward, Dan finds himself in a strange limbo where he can remember his life so perfectly that, if he chose to, he could tell you the exact number of breaths he took in his life until the very last second of it.  Such is the perfect memory of the dead.  He’s also able to come back into the world of the living by possessing the bodies of predatory criminals:  rapists, killers, pedophiles—the worst of humanity. Whenever he does, he has complete control and his motivations for living are entirely his own.  Mostly he just lives his life again—eating out, watching movies, reading books, and going to ball games.  He also spends a lot of time trying to remain celibate. Just because a women he runs into thinks she knows him, it doesn’t give him the right to know her back (so to speak).  This sets Dan up for sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious encounters.

Before Dan is kicked out, usually in about 3 weeks, he’ll find a way to take his killer down with him, either through a police confession with an evidence dump or a self-administered bullet to the head.  One reviewer said it was kind of a cross between the TV show Quantum Leap and the show Dexter on Showtime.  I always felt the same way about it, but it’s better when a fan says so.

The working title of my latest book, still unpublished, is Thief’s Odyssey.  Unlike Kick there’s nothing supernatural in it. It’s a story about a cat burglar and his adventures: from DC to the Bahamas to Florida and then back again.  I’m reluctant to give too much away right now, but suffice to say that unlike many of the caper movies made over the years, Thief’s Odyssey was heavily researched.  The methods used to crack safes, pick locks, and disable alarms actually work.

The one thing that ties Kick to Thief’s Odyssey is they’re both told in first person narrative, and that lets my John L. Monkiness shine through.  I like stories about outcasts from society—whether through a suicide, like in Kick, or that of a criminal like the main character in Thief’s Odyssey.  I’ve thought about my fascination with outcasts, and the best I can come up with is it’s an echo of my writer’s perspective on life. On some level, I’ve written my observer-self into my stories.

You can find Kick on Amazon!