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All posts for the month July, 2014

Interview with Author and Illustrator C.L. Murphy!

Published July 29, 2014 by glgiles
C.L. Murphy

C.L. Murphy

C.L. Murphy is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book series THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO.  She describes herself as having the spirit of a glitter fairy with milk chocolate dipped wings, who wishes to spread some sparkle and a bit of yum. Her fourth book in the series, LOBO’S HOWLIDAY, was recently named a gold medal winner in the eLit Awards competition! Can you howl “Ho Ho Ho”?
 
Q. Many of your readers have fallen in love with your wolf pup in the series:  “The Adventures of Lovable Lobo!” On your site here you mention that “He’s not your ordinary wolf pup!” Is one of the ways he differs because he’s a ‘vegetarian wolf?’ In what other ways does he differ?
A. He’s a silly one, that Lobo! Yes, he considers himself a herbivore and it’s quite a dilemma to have when you are amongst a pack of apex predators. In the first book of the series, LOBO & POPO FOOL THE PACK, he is asked by the alpha, his father, to provide for the pack as a right of passage. The story line poses some interesting questions. Do you go against your father’s wishes or do you try to fool the pack? It’s meant to be thought provoking and to a encourage discussion. Lobo is not unlike many young children who are eager to please their parents, meet new friends, and curious about life.
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Q. What challenges must he overcome to make him the best wolf he can be?
A. I’d say his biggest challenge is that he considers all animals his friends and the thought of eating one of them isn’t a pleasant one.  Haha! At times, he has to deal with the stigma that comes from being feared, although he doesn’t seem to recognize it.  Lobo’s character is one of acceptance, curiosity, kindness with a dash of impetuousness, and a pinch of attention deficit disorder thrown in. Oh my,  I believe I’ve just described myself! As authors, it’s funny how we can’t help but include a little bit of yourselves in the characters we create. Lobo never hesitates to help a friend and aims to be the best furry pal one could ever hope for.
Q. LOL! That’s true. Switching gears, what’s the release date for Book 5?
A. The fifth book in the series should be released by September.  This book will take Lobo and Roxy, his right-hand(wing?) raven, to the Galapagos Islands.  What fun it was to create new characters for the book!  I called upon children of the kindergarten classes, that I visited in March, to help name some of the new characters.  They came up with some very interesting and unusual names and we all giggled over many of the ideas.  That age is a delight to work with, and I find their imagination, honesty and spontaneity quite charming.
Q. So great that “Las aventuras del adorable Lobo” is obviously available in Spanish, too! Is the series available in other languages besides English and Spanish?
A. The process to have LOBO VISITS THE BARNYARD translated in Spanish was an interesting one. The vocabulary is simple in this picture book, but it was surprising how many questions the translator had for me to be certain the words had the same meaning.  What tickled me was when the translator kept insisting on changing the sounds that the farm animals made, as she was reading from the manuscript. The animals’ sounds in the book are the actual audio sounds of the animals not the words.  It took me a bit to get that across.
For now, only the second book in the series is translated into another language.
Q. The ‘PAWSOME’ pledge is nothing short of awesome! Please tell readers what the acronym stands for.
A.  Thanks, Gia! You are PAWSOME and have certainly made my day! The pledge consists of some inspiring words to live by and I wear my PAWSOME wristband proudly, everyday, to help remind me of the pledge.
Play nice…….because that’s the only way to play.
Always be kind…..because kindness is magic.
Work hard……always try your best.
Stand up fur what you believe in……and that includes yourself, too!
Only take what you need……..don’t be greedy.
Make someone’s day…….it’s so important to think of others.
Eat your fruits and greens………….a healthy diet is essential.
Q. If you weren’t a wonderful writer, then what would you be?
A.  I’d be out there looking for Bigfoot! I’m kidding, just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention! While Lobo has met Squatchy, a little Bigfoot,  in LOBO FINDS BIGFOOT, I, on the other hand find it curious that there are so many sightings and yet no conclusive evidence has been discovered. I fantasize about the possibility though….excuse me as I digress.
If you’re asking what I’d consider my dream job, then “paws down”, I’m doing it! Creating for children has always been my passion!  If you would have asked me twenty plus years ago I would have said that my dream job would have been working for Walt Disney Studios. Disney made such an impact on me when I was young, and to me, is the embodiment of everything happy and fanciful.  The fantasy world that he and his legacy continue to create is nothing short of magical.  Pictures do tell a thousand words! Even to this day, watching Disney’s movies I treat as a glorious lesson.  As a very visual person, I’m not just watching, I’m studying the colors, design, the shadows and the sumptuous detail that they include. Walt Disney’s life is one of such inspiration and to think that it all started with a mouse!
Q. I love your sense of humor, so I definitely was! And, I’m pretty sure all readers who haven’t forgotten the magic of words were, too! 🙂 Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work?
A.  The best place to see all things Lovable Lobo is on the website. My favorite social media platform is twitter, and I’d like to invite your readers to engage this wacky wolf pup with a tweet and a follow.


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Interview with Greg Mimbs of Mimbs Photography!

Published July 24, 2014 by glgiles

 

 

Living In The Clouds of Western North Carolina

 

“Greg and Chrystal Mimbs are photographers living in Murphy, North Carolina. After many years of wedding and portrait photography, Chrystal and Greg have turned their focus to landscape and urban photography. Photographing not only the beautiful scenery and open spaces of the Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, and North Georgia Mountains, but also the small towns in the mountains.

Having developed a love for New Orleans, Greg and Chrystal visit and photograph the French Quarter often….” (Artistic Website).

 

 

Q. Great photos of New Orleans on your Twitter page here.  Which NOLA pics are your personal favorites?

A. Thank you, I actually have four favorite New Orleans photographs, all for different reasons.

Evening on Bourbon is my favorite because it is my most sold photograph I have ever taken. Although I really like the photo, I never really intended to show it, much less make it available for purchase. I may have had a mental block on thinking of this photograph as sellable because to me it was a snapshot. I was eating a steak on a balcony along Bourbon Street when I noticed the evening light on the street below. I grabbed my camera, leaned slightly over the railing and took the photo. I never really thought much about the photo until over a year later when I was reorganizing my files and realized that my snapshot was wonderful. Several prints of Evening on Bourbon sell every month and the print is also available as a poster in record stores and Spencer’s Gifts across the country.

1041 Royal Street is my favorite photograph of a building in the French Quarter. I really like the quality of light this early morning photograph has.

Past Present Future is a photograph that I cannot get enough of. I love the story the photos tells with the older buildings of Jackson Square in the foreground, the newer buildings in the background and the uniquely New Orleans atmosphere of the people in the square. Then on top of all these wonderful features within the same photograph, there are the amazing clouds. I could return to this spot a hundred times and not have all these elements together at the same time.

My most favorite NOLA photograph is the ones I have not taken yet. New Orleans is a photographer’s dream city, there is something for everyone and I always look forward to returning and taking more.

Evening on Bourbon

Q. Good answers! Have you ever lived in New Orleans? If not, then how frequently do you visit?

A. I have never lived in New Orleans. For several years my wife and I held 2 pet portrait fundraiser a year for the St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter. The fundraiser was always a one day event, but we would always stick around for a few days to play in New Orleans. Although we no longer take pet portraits, we still try to get to New Orleans every year.

Q. Besides photographing cities, you also capture spectacularly moving mountains and beaches. Where have you found great captures in beach and mountain areas?

A. I live in the mountains of North Carolina, but I sometimes suffer from GIG syndrome (Grass Is Greener), which makes me think any beach is great for photos. I have a weakness for including driftwood as an element in my photographs so Jekyll Island, Georgia is one of my favorite location. Mountains use to be more difficult for me, because I live here. Let me explain.

There is a barn near my house that people from out of town always stop on the side of the road to photograph. I see this barn everyday, it’s visible from my back porch. One day it hit me that these visitors from out of town see the beauty of the barn, where I just saw the barn next door (Farmall Barn photo attached). This made me wonder; when I’m on vacation and I’ve set up my camera to photograph a scene, do the locals in that area wonder why I’m taking a photograph of that tree next door. It hit me that I had what I think of as “Grass is Greener Syndrome”. I could not, no would not slow down enough in my everyday life to actually SEE the beauty right in front of me. I set a goal for myself to photograph only things within walking distance of my house. I was amazed at the beauty I found and the photographs I took.

Living In The Clouds of Western North Carolina is the view from my front porch.

North Carolina Pond is in my back yard (my neighbor’s pond).

Farmall Barn

Q. <LOL> regarding GIG syndrome. I may have suffered from that one before, too. So, did you take photography courses, or are you self-taught?

A. I attended North Georgia Tech School of Photography in Clarkesville, Georgia and the U.S. Navy School of Photography in Pensacola, FL.

But I’m still learning everyday.

Q. At your Mimbs Photography site here, you offer wedding photography, real estate listing photography, et cetera. What other professional services do you offer?

A. My wife and officially retired almost 10 years ago. Last year we decided to reopen our photography business. A couple of months after going back into the business my wife Chrystal was offered a job using her degree, so she took the job. Not sure I wanted to be working for the public again, I did nothing to promote the business. Just this month I decided to start offering weddings again in a limited form. I’ve always continued to do real estate photos because I really enjoy photographing houses/businesses. I also do some portraits.

Q. I have seen many of your photos from parts of the Southeastern United States. Have you ever visited and photographed in Charleston, South Carolina?

A. I have visited Charleston many years ago, and took some photographs on film. I have been considering returning to Charleston, but have not done so yet.

Q. What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?

A. During my 38 years as a photographer, only a few friends and family ever saw any of my landscape photography. Averaging 50 weddings per year, with my wife averaging 30 weddings per year, we never really had time to think about doing anything with our landscapes until 2 years ago when we started placing them for sale on Fine Art America. The response was wonderful, showing us that we should have been showing and selling them all along. 2014 has been filled with seeking out and photographing beautiful places. Having been published in a couple of magazines this year, we have been getting more request from other magazines to photograph different areas (including Charleston) for possible publication. We hope to travel to more of our ever expanding list of locations we want to photograph.

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work (social networking sites, websites)?

A. To find our photographs: http://1-greg-mimbs.artistwebsites.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MimbsPhotograph

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/MimbsPhotography

Our photography website: https://www.facebook.com/MimbsPhotography

and one other non related:

Our website which enabled us to retire almost 10 years ago (me at 44, Chrystal at 28): http://www.mountaintravelguide.com/

1041 Royal

 

Interview with Author Gary Starta!

Published July 18, 2014 by glgiles

 

Gary Starta

Gary Starta

 

 

Gary Starta fuses SCI FI, Mystery and the Paranormal/Occult in “Blood Web,” the first book of the Caitlin Diggs series including “Extreme Liquidation,” “Demon Inhibitions” and “9 Incarnate.” A former journalist, Starta has published 9 books since 2004 and looks forward to publishing a new series entitled Camden Investigation as well as “Dead Market” and “I Bought the Sun for a Dollar.” For more information, visit his Amazon page here.

BLOOD WEB 2014 COVER

 

 

 

Q. I’ve been a fan of your work for some time. In fact, I had the pleasure of reviewing your “Extreme Liquidation,” et cetera. Readers can check out one of the reviews here. I mention “Blood Web” in the review which has now been re-released with a new cover. What made you decide it was time for new cover art?

A.  The change in cover was necessitated by the original publisher sort of disappearing into the night – kind of scary – lol. So I grabbed the opportunity to publish it on KDP where I can control the price etc. By the way there is an alternative cover posted on Kindle that readers can view. I’m hoping a bargain price for a novel that runs well over normal mass market length will give readers value.

Q.  What are the challenges in mixing genre fiction?

A. That’s a good question but for me I seem to see blending genres as quite normal. I believe if you’re giving a reader science theories you should be able to make it easy to digest for them because maybe your reader isn’t so much a SCI FI reader as a mystery or romance reader. It’s a juggle to blend information with entertainment. I sort of go through the whole process by feel and think as if I’m the reader and what would be entertaining for them.

Q. Good way to do it! Please give readers a synopsis of “9 Incarnate.” And, why were you inspired to write it?

A. As for 9 Incarnate this is the fourth installment in the series and if you’re going to read Blood Web you’re going to see a very changed Caitlin Diggs to say the least.

Here’s a synopsis in the words of a reviewer:

Agent Caitlin Diggs is back and still adjusting to her new life in the parallel universe. She is posing as her alternate self because this universe’s Caitlin Diggs died trying to protect her. It is a weird concept for her to grasp at first, but she is learning.

When the President of the United States is mysteriously murdered, Caitlin and Briana must go to work to figure out if it was a demon who committed the crime. Armed with paranormal powers and Briana’s ability to cast spells, they handle the paranormal side of FBI investigations.

They feel like they may be getting clues, when suddenly, the whole demon population on the planet suddenly disappears.
Now, this is the alternate universe that Caitlin is in, so demons are as common as humans.

When strange orbs enter Earth and begin trying to communicate with the population, Caitlin and her crew at the FBI begin to theorize that they may be dealing with ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses.
This intrigues Caitlin more than usual because she is so constantly referred to as the goddess Isis.

When the Ennead actually make it to Earth, their motives come into question. Are they here to help humanity, or are they here to take over. Battling the investigation into the President’s death as well as trying to figure out why gods and goddesses are reappearing on Earth, Agent Diggs has no lack of action in her life.

With a character as well written and likeable as Caitlin Diggs, I feel fans of any genre would be able to get into this book.
The rest of the characters are also great supporting characters. They are all pretty likable in their own ways and have strong character arcs. They are well-written, and I don’t feel like any character was paid less attention to

The writing makes for a nice reading pace. It flows together nicely and has a nice balance of dialogue.

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Q. On your Amazon page, it’s noted that “Contemporary authors Laurell K. Hamilton, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher and Kelly Armstrong also fuel [your] aspiration to create paranormal suspense.” How did you go about building paranormal suspense in both “Blood Web” and “9 Incarnate?”

A. In Blood Web, Caitlin is already on pins and needles due to the death of her FBI partner and lover so in order to make it more than just an ordinary crime drama I wanted to create a scenario where she would relive or re-experience some events. Using a crystal, which attaches itself to an unsuspecting teen, it begins controlling him and ordering him to kill to sustain it. By the time Caitlin faces off against the killer she has another nemesis in the crystal which will attempt to connect with her and tempt her with a false reality, possibly saving her deceased lover/partner.

In 9 Incarnate, Caitlin Diggs is perplexed when she finds she is sharing consciousness with the goddess Isis due to the crystal connection. When the other gods return to Earth she begins doubting herself as an investigator and wonders if the Isis connection will be a nefarious influence. Could she be both criminal and investigator?

Q. What books have you read this year that you think should be on everyone’s ‘must list?’

A. I am kind of out of date with current books but I am looking to forward to reading the brand new Dresden Files release. I found these books very influential when I decided to switch Caitlin Diggs from third person to first person narrative.

Q. What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?

A. I am looking forward to releasing Dead Market through a traditional publisher as well as finishing up the trilogy of my new Camden Investigations series. Dead Market is a zombie novel that ties into the push for pills by Big Pharma. Camden Investigations involves ufology and ghost hunting.

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work? (social networking sites, etc.)

A. Blood Web FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blood-Web/7548046583

9 Incarnate FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/9IncarnateCaitlinDiggsIV

***Mr. Starta can be found on Twitter here.

Interview with Author and Publisher Mahip Chadha!

Published July 17, 2014 by glgiles
My wonderful friend, Mahip Chadha!

My wonderful friend, Mahip Chadha!

 

Colonel Mahip Chadha is a retired officer from the Indian Army. He was married to Kiran Sethi who, tragically, passed away in April 2010, and they had two daughters -Ganiv and Jyotan. Ganiv is married to Colonel Inderjit Panjrath and they have one son. His younger daughter, Jyotan, is married to Daljit Singh, a business man who is an Australian citizen. They have two sons. Col. Chadha lives in New Delhi with his aged father and mother-in-law, both of whom he looks after. He worked various jobs after retirement—including a prestigious one as President of Helios Aviation.

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Q. It was my pleasure to review your wonderful “Gin and Lime, Whiskey or Wine” here last year. But, why were you inspired to write “Grit, Guts and Gallantry?”

A. I loved writing and always dreamt of writing about my life in the National Defence Academy. I was very disappointed to see the mental apathy in the younger generation who either had no inkling of the life in the services or were not motivated enough! The sons and daughters of Services Officer cadre were also not willing to join the Armed Forces, preferring a life in an air conditioned environment or then working abroad!

Q. How did YS Books International come about?

A. I had written three books –GRIT GUTS AND GALLANTRY, SOLJER SOLJER and GIN and LIME WHISKEY or WINE? The latter were self published at extravagant costs by Author House and Create Space, both American publishing houses of repute. I have yet to receive a single cent from them! I could not discuss anything with them because of the compartmentalized way of working and a little arrogance! John would not take a message to Paul and neither could he deal with Mary who was now dealing with that subject! I have now published my books under our own banner and also written the second edition of GRIT GUTS and GALLANTRY. Let me say-I became a Publisher because I was very angry with big publishing houses!

YS does not charge anything from its authors except a small fee of Rs 4000/-INR-around $57 /-to cover the expense of re-formatting and evolving two covers for the book! The cost of printing is borne by me. We are extremely author friendly and try and accommodate authors to the extent possible in order to bring out a quality product using the best paper for interiors. WE are basically A TWO MAN ARMY!—I read the manuscript ,carry out the editing ,corrections and designing of the covers, as well as correspond with the authors! Hemant takes care of distribution and we market some of our books through Deep and Deep Publishers and Distributors.

Q. How many books have been published by YS Books?

A. Gia –we now have about 28 books in our kitty considering that we opened shop in July last year!

Q. That’s amazing, Mahip! What kind of books is YS looking for?

A. We publish books of Higher Education, Defence, Politics, Law and its Application, World Events, United Nations, Copyright, Geography and Fiction! We also publish thesis written by professors in pursuit of a doctorate!

Q. What does YS stand for?

A. YS is a distribution company which was owned by my partner Hemant Kalra. I have joined him as the publishing segment. Y and S stand for the first letters of Hemant’s brother and mother.

Q. Which books are you currently promoting and where?

A. I am currently working on a book on WITNESS PROTECTION, a book on UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING, one fiction book based on Lucifer-titled LORD OF DARKNESS, one book on the memoirs of an Air Force Air Commodore-called RAINDROPS, one book on the memoirs of a Colonel who served in the Kumaon Regiment –titled KUMAONI NOSTALGIA, another book by the same author called INDUSTRIAL SECURITY, and a COFFEE TABLE Book on THE KUMAON REGIMENT! We also have a book on LAW and one book on political essays titled INDIA AWAKE!

Q. What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?

A. I will be working on two volumes of Laws on various subjects ranging from SEZ, Airport Authority, ELECTRICITY and such subjects, This work is in two volumes. I will also have book on REFUGEES, and one book on INDIAS POLITICAL OUTLOOK TOWARDS SOUTH EAST ASIA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF NORTH EAST INDIA! Our books on education are printed in Hard Cover,whereas fiction books are printed in paperback!

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and YS Books?

A. Our website is ysbooksinternational.com where we can be seen and also contacted.

Interview with Author Skadi Winter!

Published July 17, 2014 by glgiles

 

Skadi Winter at a book signing event in Colchester 2014

Skadi Winter at a book signing event in Colchester 2014

 

 

Biography of Ms. Winter (in her own words):
“I was born during a very cold winter in 1953 in Germany, 8 years after WWII. My father was a Civil Engineer from Germany. His mother, my grandmother, had met Himmler, on one occasion, and my father was 17 when he was made a POW of Great Britain. He had been in a SS Elite School (NAPOLA) before the war and, luckily for him (and me), that war was over before he could have been made another tool of that deceitful regime.
My mother was French, from Lorraine originally, and I have spent many holidays with that part of the family, who at the time truly had been French. ‘Vive la France’ was their motto.
My father, from a German family as you can picture it, my mother from a French family with a socialistic background. They must have loved each other even though the marriage broke up when I was five. It could have never worked from my point of view now. My father, 85 years old, recently gave me an old photograph of my mother with tears in his eyes, saying: She was an extraordinary woman and I have loved her all my life. My mother is long dead.
I grew up in a little village, near the French border. By foot two hours. Our district town was an old garrison town and after WWII occupied by French and Canadian troops and later by the Americans.
Those times after the war were hard and the black market was something to make our lives better and not to starve…The inspiration to write came to me in early years. By the age of 5, I had read Wilhelm Busch, a terribly thick book, kneeling in front of our old sofa. Later on, when I was about 14, I nicked Arthur Miller from my mum’s book shelf and then Dostojewskij, Tolstoij and Hemingway. My mum had been an avid reader.
I have been inspired to write because my life was, like millions of others’, diminished, stained, attacked and twisted by a regime and a war which many of us Germans never wanted. We, as children, had the responsibility to build another world.
I am inspired to write, because wars are still ongoing and cruel.”

Q. Please give readers a synopsis of “Hexe.” And, what inspired you to write it?

A. A memoir but not in the strict sense of the word as I was born after the war. It is a pondering about all I have heard and seen during my time growing up. My grandmothers, my aunts, neighbours, at night when the lamp was pulled down over the kitchen table, knitting, talking about hardship, the old times, the old magic and a world in turmoil. Talking about gods who had abandoned us. Talks about honourable, heathen ancestors, ever so sad that our values had been used for propaganda. It is my story, about growing up, coming of age and being eyed suspiciously because I seemed to know and understand. A heathen childhood, coming of age during times of guilt, after a devastating war, stained, branded, searching for new values and returning to the Heathen ancestry.

Q. Do you generally favour wordy descriptions or a more laconic way of writing?

A. Oh, I do favour wordy descriptions because I do believe in the magic of words. Words distinguish us as humans and with words we paint our souls. Words have power and with words we touch hearts. There are not many words needed to show your heart and to touch others’ hearts. Words are magic, words are the ultimate tool of mankind, carried on and on, from generation to generation to make this world a better world. Words of many journalists have stopped the Vietnam War. I do believe in words and the responsibility of a true writer.

Q. Are you currently working on another book? If so, then what genre(s) will it fall in?

A. Yes, I am. One book is with the editor now, a mystery story about the wolf children of eastern Prussia. A fiction story but it could have been true. I am not a historian, but I am looking deep into the hearts of those who have been used, violated and are struggling to come to terms with what they have lived through. It is a book of a girl from eastern Prussia at the end of the war, when the Great Treks were going west, who’s abused, raped, a victim but searching for a new beginning, her tales of her grandmother in her heart.

Q. “Hexe” has been getting great reviews on Amazon. Why do you think that the storyline resonates with many?

A. Yes, “Hexe” has had some good reviews. I do believe that the power and magic of words have contributed to the reviews, I am not a savvy market analyst, and truly, I don’t care. I want my story out there to connect with hearts and souls, people who do believe that writers have an obligation to tell tales from the bottom of their hearts. Many turn to Buddhism, other religions. My intent is to say that we all should go back to our own roots, respect and tolerate others. The values of ancient societies teach us a lot. We, the writers, only have to listen.

Q. In what ways is it a ‘wild world of writing’ these days?

A. Writing nowadays means possessing a computer, an internet connection, a bit of money – and out the stories go. No skills of grammar, no commas. No real story, just what keyhole readers want to read, 50 shades of an ugly colour, magicians, werewolves. Tolstoij and Dostojewskij would have been lost, smiling, Hemingway, the good Bukowski – they would have drunk themselves to death. (They did.)

Q. Now for a fun question: Which book(s) contain your favourite literary inside jokes/hidden messages/’Easter eggs’?

A. Hidden inside jokes? Not really. Writing is a serious job. It takes it out of you. Writing is dark humour, the joke that hits you at your core. You read the joke and you have tears in your eyes because it is the joke of life as such, writers laughing about it in desperation.

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your work?

A. I am on Facebook, twitter and Goodreads. And, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Go, look it up. My name is Skadi Winter and I hate the internet.

Q. Please tell readers about being interviewed by Radio BBC Essex recently.

A. I had an interview with Radio BBC Essex. It was done one day after Germany had won the world cup. All was about football and I truly had forgotten to mention my book. What a crazy world.

Q. What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?

A. My 3rd book – story of a serial killer. Ukraine after Chernobyl. Devastation and danger. The Red Zone. A highly decorated Russian soldier, returning to his home village in the Red Zone. How could he ever find a way back into a civilian life without being recognized as what he himself believed he was: A hero. He had been trained to kill and that is what he is going to do over and over again. To save the world. But never being decorated again. The schizophrenia between the real world and the world we all wish it to be. The longing for the Gods of our ancestors to soothe the pain.

***You can pick up a copy of “Hexe” here.

Interview with Author S. Evan Townsend!

Published July 14, 2014 by glgiles
Photo Credit:  Lynn D. Townsend

Photo Credit: Lynn D. Townsend

 

“S. Evan Townsend has been called “America’s Unique Speculative Fiction Voice” and writes novels that cause thrills and rapid page-turning. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives in central Washington State with his wife and has three grown sons. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel. He currently has five published fantasy and science fiction novels” (Amazon).

 

Hammer of thor 453x680

Q. I was happy to win a copy of your “Hammer of Thor” earlier this year, so I was introduced to your wonderful writing that way. How many ‘book giveaways’ (via Rafflecopter, et cetera) do you participate in annually? Do you believe that they’re a must for writers nowadays?

A. I do a quarterly book giveaway on my webpage (www.sevantownsend.com).  I also occasionally participate in giveaways with my publisher and for friends.  I would guess I do about eight to ten a year.

I did giveaways on Goodreads for Agent of Artifice and Rock Killer and while doing so got me on a lot of “To be read” lists, I don’t know if it sold any books.

In today’s market with millions of competing authors out there, book giveaways are just one tool in the author’s box.  Marketing needs to be multi-faceted with Facebook, Twitter, a good blog, a good website, and other social media including giveaways.  And don’t forget to use any opportunity you can to get in front of the public to get your name out, including book signings and readings.

I don’t know if book giveaways are a “must” but they are a good way to draw attention and gain readers or followers.  I do know that I have sold other copies of my books because I have given away other books and then the readers want to see my other works.

Q. Please give readers a synopsis of “Hammer of Thor,” and tell us your inspiration for writing it.

A. Hammer of Thor is set between 1932 and 1950, with the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War as background.  Francis Kader is an “adept,” a person able to manipulate his world and other people.  He becomes involved in a Nazi plot to gather the world’s strongest talismans to help the Germans win the war, including the Hammer of Thor.   Kader’s problems become even worse when Thor comes back for the Hammer.  Can a mere mortal defeat an immortal god?

My inspiration for writing Hammer of Thor?  That’s a very good question.  In the early 2000s I was thinking about war since the U.S. suddenly found itself at war in lands different and distant from our own.  And I thought the last “good” war was World War II, in that we knew who the bad guys were and he had simple objectives: the destruction of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.  The whole country got behind the effort and mobilized for war.  And I wondered how people who had powers beyond that of normal humans would react and what if they were, somehow, drawn into the war effort.  And it grew from there.

Q. Do you have fun writing the ‘baddies’ into your novels? How do you go about making them multi-dimensional? Do you set up extensive character profiles first?

A. Someone once asked me “What do your villain’s friends like about him/her?”  And I had to think about that because if he doesn’t have any friends, or good qualities, then he is not “multi-dimensional” but more of a cartoon or a cardboard cutout.

The important thing to remember about baddies is that they have motivations just like your heroes.  And, more often or not, they think they are on the side of good and righteousness, at least from their perspective.  If you can put yourself in their mind so you can see their motivation—”Yes, protecting the Third Reich from those invading allies will help keep the glory of Germany alive”—then you can make them multidimensional and interesting.

And yes, writing baddies is fun, if you make them interesting people.

Q. Do you worry about things like your social networking sites’ growth (in numbers) or attrition (numbers-wise), or do you think what’s really important is the group of readers you’re directly connecting with? Something else?

A. Well, being a bit OCD and trained as an engineer, yes, I worry about the numbers: followers, unfollowers, likes, RTs, Klout score.  But it’s not about the numbers it’s about the relationships.  As a writer you want to make relations on social media for that’s how you’ll get reviews, guest blog posts, and, eventually, readers.

Q. Focusing on your book entitled “Gods of Strife” (which was just released on May 15th), what obstacles, in terms of things, must your protagonist overcome? Which antagonist is the biggest obstacle?

A. Gods of Strife is set in 1976 and my protagonist, Peter Branton, must deal with new emerging technology, including an early version of the internet called “ARPANET.”  But the bigger problem is, someone wants him dead and is sending a beautiful, shape-shifting assassin to do the job.  When he finds out that is a Greek god who is trying to kill him, he must team up with a mysterious warrior and his would-be assassin to overcome.

Q. Now for a fun question:  Which overused phrase should all writers avoid?

A. In their writing, authors should avoid any and all overused phrases.  If you can’t think of a new way to say something, you need to work on your writing skills.

One phrase that I see a lot I wish writers would avoid is “Buy My Book.”  That won’t sell books.  Making relationships will sell books.

Q. Great advice! So, what’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?

A. I just finished a science fiction novel called Treasure of the Black Hole where I take the hard-boiled detective novel of the 1940s and ’50s and move it about 3,000 years into the future.  I take the tropes and language of those novels and put them in a science fiction setting with multiple species and high technology.  What is the treasure of the black hole and why is it worth killing for?

I’m in edits of a fifth (!) Adept Series novel.  This one is set in 1881 so it is a fantasy/western mashup.  I haven’t thought of a title for it yet but Abel Lewis leaves the comforts of San Francisco to investigate reports of lithomancy and comes face-to-face with rock monsters bent on destroying him.

Q. Looking forward to reading that one, too! Where can readers go to connect with you and your work?

A. I’m all over the place.

My webpage: http://www.seventownsend.com has links to where you can buy my work and excerpts from my published works.

My blog (blog.sevantownsend.com) has my random thoughts on writing, cars, science, or whatever strikes me that day.  I also nearly every Friday do a bit of flash fiction.

I’m on Twitter at: @SEvanTownsend

I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SEvanTownsend

My Amazon page is http://www.amazon.com/S.-Evan-Townsend/e/B004B3DRFM/

Thank you so much for this opportunity!

 

 

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My pleasure! Anytime. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Darla Hogan!

Published July 14, 2014 by glgiles
Darla Hogan

Darla Hogan

Darla Hogan was born in Southampton, England. For 25 years, he worked as a Physics teacher in the UK, before realising a dream and starting his own business. He currently owns and runs Hogan’s, a sandwich shop in Blackpool (an obvious connection?). Darla has always been passionate about reading and amongst many genres, enjoys short stories and science fiction. In 2011 Darla began writing a novel, titled ‘First Awakening’. This is the first book of a quartet, which will become available on most e-book platforms in 2015. During the editing process of this book, Darla has written and published a book of 17 short horror stories titled, Sc@re E-stories 17 #internet #Horrors. This book is currently available on Kindle and is free to borrow for UK kindle prime members. A second book of short horror stories, entitled Cradle to Grave is now published and available on the Kindle platform.
Currently Darla is working on the completion of his Science fiction/fantasy epic and has plans for future book releases over the next few years.

For further information please visit his website at this link. http://www.darlahoganauthor.com/

Q. How has being an ‘Ex-Physics teacher’ aided your storytelling? (Please give examples from your work)

A. My Physics background does have a huge impact on my work, as I often find I myself trying to ‘scientifically explain’ a phenomenon or event in some of the horror stories I write. A prime example is “Message me tomorrow” in The SC@RE E-STORIES collection. My initial idea was to base a story around the paradox that would occur if we could receive information from the future. The thinking processes I used started with the idea of there being particles that travel faster than the speed of light. These particles would travel back in time and for this story they were detectable by a quantum computer which had the processing power to analyse patterns from the particles, hence enabling it to see limited aspects of the future. The paradox that occurs at the end of the story might only affect the main character, but it may be affecting the whole universe. The reader can make the choice in their own mind.

In the novel “First Awakening”, there is a huge amount of science and at every stage, I have researched as far as possible to ensure the Science is plausible, I consider this story to be a fantasy epic, but backed with sound science.
In the collection of horror stories featured in Cradle to Grave, ‘Eternity’ is the most scientifically structured of all the stories, detailing the darker aspects of trying to maintain life forever.

Q. Please tell readers what reads they’ll be able to find at your Weebly site.

A. My website is in an evolving process and it is my intention to expand the content over time. Besides links to my work, I will post new stories and at intervals, change sample stories relating to published works.

Q. How many hours a day do you spend on social media?

A. Because of my commitments to running a busy business and finding the time to write the answer to this is simple, less than one hour each day. I am not a fan of Facebook, see next answer, but I have found twitter to be a good place to form links with other authors and readers. Essentially, I prefer direct email contact with authors and readers because discussions can evolve to a deeper level.

Q. What are your thoughts about those who engage in trolling?

A. I think it is such a shame that human nature is polluted by feelings of jealousy and spite. I have no time for those who try to gain their thrills at the expense of others.

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Q. Me, either. Great answer! Now, do you favour any of your characters in “First Awakening?” In your short stories?

A. I have interpreted this question as favouring characters from any of my books. To deal with “First Awakening” first. There are several complex characters in this novel and due to direction the plot is heading, the main character, Leonardo, has flaws in the first novel. His character will evolve through the next three books however. The character of Calopius is very complex, as he has been damaged through his youth because of the extreme size of his penis. In some respects, this is partly metaphorical, in that there are many individuals who suffer because they have some aspect of their physical form or personality, which is outside the norm. Calopius is a character who has compensated for this by rising to power, but the established politics of Theoden is constraining his true feelings. Towards the end of the first book, I involve the reader with the turmoil that is taking place in Calopius’s mind, as he rediscovers that he can feel affection and love for another individual.

At the current time, I have unpublished ‘First Awakening’ as I feel the opening chapters need restricting and rewriting. I have received some very encouraging feedback from readers about this novel, mainly that it is an amazing plot with very powerful characters and totally unique. It is a complex story and in its current form, the opening chapters deviate from the main storyline due to excessive background content. I have planned how I will change this and will be working on the rewrite over the next few weeks.

In the short stories there are a variety of characters, some are purely evil, while others are innocent victims. During the process of writing any story, I try to place myself into the mind of the character, either as the perpetrator committing dark deeds, or the victim of the perpetrator. Some of my characters are very old people; I think this is a neglected aspect in some of the recent trends of horror writing. I find that building an outline sketch of an elderly character who is possibly suffering from dementia, produces a sinister aspect to a storyline. Agnes, the sweet old lady in “Waiting for Albert” being one example. The character of Neil, featured in “Through the eyes of a psychopath” is based on a real person. One of my ex-pupils was diagnosed as a sociopath after he decapitated several ducks. In his mind he carried out an experiment to see how long their bodies would continue to twitch for, after he ripped their heads from their bodies. As he grew older, he was constantly fighting a battle with himself, knowing that if he did hurt or kill someone in a moment of rage, he would feel nothing for them. I am not sure if continued to lead a ‘normal’ life as I lost contact with him twelve years ago.

Q. That’s awful! Real life horror, as many of my fellow animal lovers will agree. Switching gears, thankfully, though you’re mostly known for writing in the great genre of adult horror, you’re also versatile enough to be working on a YA novel now which is a departure from the darker side, correct?  What are some of the challenges you’ve faced writing in this new arena?

A. This is not such a big departure as there is a dark side in this novel. The reason I want to write in this genre, is because of my background as a teacher. Some of the characters in this novel are based on real people and real events that occurred during my time in teaching. My main challenge is to ensure I use a suitable vocabulary, alongside providing an entertaining and exciting story for my readers.

Q. Switching gears, you own a sandwich shop aptly named Hogan’s. Do you offer vegetarian/vegan fare there, too?

A. The shop offers a wide range of options for most tastes. We have a large number of vegetarian customers but only one or two vegans. As far as possible we try to offer bespoke sandwiches/snacks that our customers demand.

Q. Will you be at any book signing events and/or conventions the remainder of 2014? In 2015?

A. As yet, I have no plans in this direction, future plans will depend on how successful I am in marketing and promoting my work. I intend to take my writing career a step at a time and adjust my commitments as I deem necessary.

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your work? (social networking sites, et cetera)

A. I mainly use twitter for making contacts and blogging at the current time. I have recently placed a few pieces on Wattpad and I am now working on building my website.

The link to my website is http://www.darlahoganauthor.com/

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