Sunday, 12 November 2017

Q & A with Stella Knights

Taken Outback 
The Dusty Rider Series #1
by Stella Knights 

An American woman, named Holly, has everything she could possibly want living in the city of Melbourne. Her Australian husband, Tom, works hard chasing his hierarchical corporate dreams, so much so that he forgoes Holly’s happiness. Fighting to make their marriage work, Holly uncovers secrets about Tom, causing her to question all she ever believed in. 

Distractions abound as Holly starts a new job, where she meets a charming stranger in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Her imagination is opened to a possible new way of life, lust and love as she is given a chance to see how she can break free from the shackled boundaries set by a stifling city lifestyle.

Will she ever be able to go back to living the only way she ever knew or will she embrace the life offered to her? This love story is one of fear versus freedom, power versus submission and scheduled time versus endless time as city and country life collide. 


ABOUT THE DUSTY RIDER SERIES BY STELLA KNIGHTS
Imagine breaking free of city life and losing yourself in the Australian Outback. This contemporary romance will show you there’s more than just kangaroos out in the country.

The Dusty Rider Series will take you across Australia as Holly meets a stockman "cowboy" that shows her what real love is. This romantic story is about a possible second chance at life and love as Holly tries to follow her heart. Will she take a chance at this new life full of action and passionate, erotic adventure?

This series is for mature audiences. 

Kindle Edition, 275 pages
Published March 31st 2017

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap:  November 12, 2017


Stella Knights has lived and worked in several countries across four continents, journaling her life experiences along the way. After university, she traveled extensively and worked in several career paths, including as a Parole Officer. 

Blurring the lines between her reality and dreams, Stella found the courage to share her stories in hope that she will inspire others with her love of travel and living life the simple way. 

Stella loves to connect with both readers and other authors sharing experiences and books. Books are such an important part of life. 

Having spent most of her life in Australia, Stella wrote her first novel series based on things she experienced and learned about while living there. Stella hopes that The Dusty Rider Series opens others to the resilience, hardship, beauty and eternal love of those living in the Australian bush. 

Connect with Stella Knights
Goodreads

Q & A with Stella Knights

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The idea behind my characters came from two aspects. The first, was from my own experience of moving from a city in America to a rural area in Australia. I always wanted to write about the rollercoaster of feelings and changes that happen when one takes a risk to drastically change their life. The second, was my work as a parole officer. It is nothing like what you see in the movies! I was constantly surrounded by people trying to alter their path in life. I found the concept of rebuilding or starting over quite fascinating and saw first-hand how this can play out in many ways.

In the series, my main character, Holly, is searching for what to do when her marriage is falling apart. She desperately believes in love, but struggles with what is considered right and wrong based on society’s standards. For Holly, city life becomes stifling, but at first, she has no idea how to escape from it. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but I have tried to create a storyline that gives Holly a chance to try out a new life to see if this is what she wants. A new man opens Holly up to passion she never knew existed. He has a dark past that he will have to overcome as the series progresses. In the course of the series, Holly transforms from being pretentious to being down-to-earth as her eyes are opened to new ways and adventure.

So, what will Holly choose in the end? Old life versus new life? City versus country? You will have to read to find out.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I have a friend that is a graphic designer and he helped me translate my ideas into reality. In Book One’s image, you can see Holly wearing high heels as a reflection of being from the city. I purposely kept the faces of my characters hidden on my covers because I want the reader to imagine themselves as one of the characters. I had a very open mind when I worked with my friend in the designs, so when I saw the final design I was in instantly in love with it…but I do have to say that Book Two’s design is my favourite in the series.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I travel often so there are a few spots that I find are best for bringing out my creativity. The main one is in any coffee shop that has a funky vibe and a great latte. Coffee shops are a great place to people watch and observe how communication can take place between both words and body language. I think as a writer this helps me keep it real with how my characters interact. The other spots I look for would be around a pool or a beach. I find being near water helps get my creativity flowing.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Always stay true to yourself. I find this is very relevant in both life and writing. Often, people may want to alter your character or your storyline, but you must remember it is your story and your voice. Don’t shy away from creating characters that may push someone’s buttons or challenge the status quo. It is important that we try to see things from all angles, even if it can be  uncomfortable.

 As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Funny enough, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was obsessed with space and I even begged my parents to let me go to Space Camp. I read every book I could get my hands on about space, space travel or the planets. I filled notebook after notebook with poems and I wrote about my dreams of exploring space. I am not sure when I changed paths, but somewhere along the lines I went the other direction and studied marine biology and molecular biology. I was fascinated by what is in our oceans and also the tiniest things in our universe.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Being conscientious of the environment, I hope we all move more towards eBooks. Though, I have to say I love trawling bookstores and being surrounded by all those pages filled with words. So much to read, so little time!

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I would love to be able to teleport back in time. I always felt I was born in the wrong era, so I think it would be fun to go back in time and see what life was really like at different times in history. I know with nostalgia we often romanticize things, so it would be intriguing to experience it first-hand and see if it was really like all the old Hollywood movies I love watching over and over. I think I would have loved experiencing life back in the 1920’s being a flapper girl or supporting our troops going off to war in the WWII.

What book are you reading now? 
I have a couple books I just bought while attending the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Indonesia. The festival was inspiring, and I met some amazing women that are trying to change the world with their writing. I learned how important it is for us to all tell our story. I’ll probably start with the book Lotus by Lijia Zhang. Listening to her speak alongside Jung Chang was amazing. They both discussed the importance of not losing our histories even if they are painful to reflect on. Life is not always nice, but we can possibly change our future by putting our voice out there. I feel we are witnessing a change right now where women are starting to be heard and I hope it is the start of a new chapter for women to be empowered and less afraid to speak their mind.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Q & A with J.G. Follansbee

Carbon Run 
Tales From A Warming Planet #2
by J.G. Follansbee 

What if your father had to run for his life? Carbon Run is an exciting thriller set in a dystopian world ravaged by climate change. Fossil fuels are banned, pirates smuggle oil, and governments erase citizens' identities. Anne Penn dreamed of saving an endangered species of birds. When a fire destroys the birds' last home, her beloved father Bill is accused of starting the blaze. Fanatic officer Janine Kilel comes to arrest Anne's father, but Bill escapes, because in the 22nd century, destroying a species means execution. How will Anne find her father in a Russian city where the difference between good and evil is as murky as the choking smog? 



338 pages
Published October 21st 2017 


Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  February 11, 2018


J.G. Follansbee is the author of science fiction and speculative fiction novels set on an Earth and in a society transformed by climate change. A writer who publishes independently, Follansbee explores themes of survival, justice, and tolerance with strong female protagonists and antagonists. Mr. Follansbee supports meaningful clean energy and transportation policies that combat the damaging effects of climate change.

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                                               Goodreads * Website * Twitter * Facebook

                             Q & A with J.G. Follansbee

                               Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Anne Penn is an intelligent, hard-working young woman who lives with her father on a ranch in southern Oregon. She's a sharp observer who has spent several years helping biologists study an endangered species of birds. Her father, Bill Penn, is an ex-tall ship sailor who is forced to return to the sea after he is accused of causing the deaths of the birds his daughter studies. He sails aboard a ship that crosses the top of the world after all the Arctic Ocean's ice melts away. Janine Kilel is a deputy inspector in the Bureau of Environmental Security who is tasked with finding and arresting Bill Penn for his crimes. Kilel uses Anne Penn as bait to draw Bill out of hiding.

In your opinion, what makes a good, strong lead character?
A strong lead character drives the narrative forward. She is not a passive bystander. I like strong female characters, because they provide a unique perspective on the action, and they often have different goals than male protagonists. For example, I wanted Anne Penn to have an unbreakable tie to her father, which drives her to work toward reuniting with him to preserve her family. A male character might be more interested in proving himself to peers to show his masculinity. Readers have seen plenty of that over the centuries.

What or who do you see as influences on your writing style?
I admire many writers, including Margaret Atwood, Rod Serling, and Harlan Ellison. The biggest influence on my style comes from episodic television and movies. I try to write well-structured scenes and often think of chapters as similar to episodes of a well-crafted TV series. My favorite show ever, by the way, is Star Trek: The Original Series.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
For Carbon Run and the upcoming books in my series, Tales From A Warming Planet, I read several books on climate change, and I constantly read articles on the subject. I've tried to base the world of Carbon Run on accepted, proven science. For the tall ship scenes, I drew on my experience working for a non-profit that operates two ships, as well as my maritime history research that resulted in three non-fiction books.

What is the best writing advice you have been given?
Write every day, even if it's just a note, an email, or a tweet. Most readers and new writers see only the final product: a book. Of course, writing a novel is a process done one step at a time. If you write just one page a day, in a year, you'll have 365 pages. That's about the right length for a book manuscript.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
I wish I had a power that could make adversaries see that they have more in common than they have differences. Maybe then, we'd all get along better.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
My wife and I own a small vacation house on the Pacific Coast of Washington State. We wish we could spend more time there. Also, I love watching my home town NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks. Go Hawks!

What book are you reading now?
I'm reading The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu. It's a great story that calls to mind classic science fiction of the mid-20th century. I think science fiction fans should keep a close eye on Chinese sci-fi writers. They're going to amaze us.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Q & A with Alexandrea Weis

Blackwell 
Magnus Blackwell #1
by Alexandrea Weis, Lucas Astor

Hell has a new master. 

In the late 1800s, handsome, wealthy New Englander, Magnus Blackwell, is the envy of all.

When Magnus meets Jacob O’Conner—a Harvard student from the working class—an unlikely friendship is forged. But their close bond is soon challenged by a captivating woman; a woman Magnus wants, but Jacob gets.

Devastated, Magnus seeks solace in a trip to New Orleans. After a chance meeting with Oscar Wilde, he becomes immersed in a world of depravity and brutality, inevitably becoming the inspiration for Dorian Gray. Armed with the forbidden magic of voodoo, he sets his sights on winning back the woman Jacob stole from him.

Amid the trappings of Victorian society, two men, bent on revenge, will lay the foundation for a curse that will forever alter their destinies. 

Hardcover, 295 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Vesuvian Books

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap:  October 12, 2017


Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. 

Connect with Alexandrea Weis
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Q & A with Alexandrea Weis

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main characters in Damned are Lexi Arden and Magnus Blackwell. Damned is the journey of a ghost and his road to redemption after living a less than honorable life. Magnus Blackwell haunts his abandoned mansion, Altmover Manor. One day the house is bought by an architect and his fiancé, Lexie Arden. A woman with an ability to see the dead, she and Magnus begin a strange relationship that takes them across the country from Maine to New Orleans. They unravel secrets, and become part of the voodoo culture in New Orleans, ultimately uncovering a new destiny for both of them.

In your opinion, what makes a good, strong lead character?
Believability. If a reader can relate to the character, if they feel like a person they would see on the street, meet at a party, someone who shares common flaws with everyone else, they can accept them.

 What or who do you see as influences on your writing style?
I think every person I have known and book I have read influences your style. And the inner voice. The running dialogue in your head sets up how your words transcribe onto the page. 

 Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
All the time. The best stories hide in the past. I have a few books written about characters from history, legends, or myth.

 What is the best writing advice you have been given?
Keep writing. Every writer will tell you this, and it’s true. You have to keep writing to get better and to find your voice. It takes time.

 If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why? 
The power to heal. I’m a nurse and have witnessed so much pain and suffering. That would be the best power to have.

 What do you do to unwind and relax?
I am a permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, so when I am not writing I care for orphaned and injured animals. I love animals, and anything I do with them helps me to relax. 

 What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading now, but writing. I’m finishing up the next book in the Magnus Blackwell Series, Bound. It will be out in fall 2018.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Q & A with Pete Planisek

Frankenstein A Life Beyond  (Book 1 of 3)
The Resurrection Trinity
by Pete Planisek 

Ten years after the loss of his entire family to madness and death, Ernest Frankenstein finds himself compelled to return to the city of his birth, Geneva, in order to discover if his elder brother, Victor, might still be alive. Only Victor can provide the answers to questions, which have long plagued Ernest. The quest for answers will force Ernest to confront demons, both internal and external, from his past, which refuse to be at peace and which ultimately will endanger both he and his new family. Hunted across Europe their only hope may lie with a French spy, Ernest’s childhood friend, and a mysterious gypsy girl whose people believe that Ernest will lead humanity to its salvation or final destruction. 

Frankenstein A Life Beyond (Book 1 of 3) The Resurrection Tirnity by Pete Planisek is a direct sequel to Mary Shelley’s iconic story, Frankenstein, which examined Victor Frankenstein’s quest to both create and kill an unnamed creature that ultimately destroys all but one member of the Frankenstein family, Victor’s brother, Ernest. Frankenstein A Life Beyond explores many of the issues left open by the original, while establishing new characters and mysteries.

322 pages
Published August 1st 2012 

Find it on Goodreads
AmazonBarnes& Noble * Apple/iBookstore * Smashwords * Kobo * Enceladus Literary

Read It & Reap:  

Book 1 October 1, 2017
Book 2 October 3, 2017

Pete Planisek lives in Columbus, OH, where he teaches English, runs Enceladus Literary LLC, and is co-host of an entertainment podcast called Hindsight is 20-20. He received his Masters from Ohio University where he founded a student literary arts magazine called Recently Eclipsed. He has published newspaper articles and is a member of Independent Book Publishers Association. He served for seven years as adviser/co-adviser to a NCTE award winning student literary arts publication. He has published two novels in his Resurrection Trinity series titled Frankenstein A Life Beyond (Book 1 of 3) and Frankenstein Soul's Echo (Book 2 of 3) and a children's chapter book titled Princess Bella and the Dragon's Charm, which won a 2016 Silver Honoree IBPA Benjamin Franklin Digital Book Award.

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                                        Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter * Blog


Q & A with  Pete Planisek

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Frankenstein A Life Beyond (Book 1 of 3) The Resurrection Trinity is really a story about family, trust, and justice.  These are issues the main character, Ernest Frankenstein, must confront after ten years of trying to out run his family’s dark past.  His young Irish wife, Ailis Tierney Frankenstein, who is key to Ernest’s personal rebirth, must confront choices that may destroy both herself and her unborn child.  Her mysterious half-sister, Abrielle, must decide if she is more loyal to her spy masters in Napoleon’s Imperial France or to the family that abandoned her. 

Victor Frankenstein’s creature seeks justice from Ernest Frankenstein and will draw Ernest and his family into a deadly war between two rival groups of gypsies who fight to control the outcome of an ancient prophecy involving Ernest and the creature.  One of these groups is led by an imposing gypsy named Jal, whose daughter, Baseria, has been rejected by her people but may hold the key to humanity’s salvation or final destruction.

Frankenstein Soul’s Echo (Book 2 of 3) The Resurrection Trinity continues and expands upon the storyline from the previous novel.  Ernest must now journey northward to the creature’s stronghold and confront his complex relationship with it, Baseria, his past, and face grim realities that will determine his future.

Meanwhile, Abrielle is forced to return to France in an effort to secure the safe return of her niece.  Fractured by untold loss, she must navigate an uncertain future and balance the complex needs and demands of duty to herself and family, Jack Clerval’s unique situation, and an unforeseen love. 

Ernest and Abrielle are surrounded by enemies, short on time, and possess only their flawed hearts to lead them, as they struggle to fulfill a shared promise as they fight to reunite family and to discover a path beyond the unrelenting forces of darkness.

In your opinion, what makes a good, strong lead character?
A relatable character, that faces clear conflicts that the reader can both understand and increasing relate to as they progress through the story.  If the character is underdeveloped or isn’t one the reader can relate to then the reader is unlikely to care about their struggles.

What or who do you see as influences on your writing style?
I find inspiration from a diverse set of experiences, resources, artistic mediums, and a desire to explore the possibilities of being an author. I never know where inspiration will come from but I know now it’s important to embrace it when it does because you never know where it will lead you as an artist. I’ve also learned to trust myself more than I once did by trying to judge less and listen more, be it to people or my own instincts as an author. My writing style comes from a diverse tapestry of artistic voices and styles.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas? 
I revisit real events, legends, myths, and classic literature on a regular basis as I find them the Rosetta stones of storytelling.  My Frankenstein Resurrection Trinity series and most of my free short stories (visit https://www.enceladusliterary.com/?page_id=466) demonstrate this. If you’re going to tell new stories, expand on existing ones, or blaze new trails in storytelling, it is best to understand what came before.

What is the best writing advice you have been given?
Your worst story is the one you don’t write. We grow by practicing and expanding our skills as writers. If you’re not writing, you tend to stagnate.  Not everything you write will be brilliant or will be something you want to publish but everything you write can help you to mature as an artist.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why? 
These may sound incredibly lame but I’d say the ability to get more people to empathize with others is my most desirable superpower.  We seem to be living in a time when this is unfortunately in short supply. Think of how many problems could be addressed, problems solved, or pointless conflicts could be avoided if more people were empathetic to their fellow human beings as we journey through this reality.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
Be close to family and friends, hike, bike, paint, photography, write, hang out with friends, cook, garden, discover new artists, brew beer, play with my pets, pursue dreams, support others in my community, challenge myself to discover new interests.

 What book are you reading now? 

I have to praise Montana 1948 by Larry Watson as my most enjoyable read this year (it’s an older book but definitely worth the read).  Before the end of the year I want to complete A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis and am currently reading a book I’ve been wanting to get to for years,  the 2011 Pulitzer Prize Biography winning nonfiction work Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. 
















Genres: Fiction, Literary fiction, Horror, Historical fiction, Romance fiction, Sci-Fi fiction
YouTube book trailer: https://youtu.be/mPvmP6Lephs

Book page for Frankenstein A Life Beyond: 











Monday, 2 October 2017

Q & A with Amanda J. Evans

Save Her Soul
by Amanda J. Evans 

Can Evil Survive When Love Exists?

Almost a year after the brutal murder of her sister, Kate’s world is anything but ordinary. Consumed by the rage in her soul there's nothing she won't do to get her revenge.

Drake’s no ordinary guy. Dead for nearly 500 years, he’s been tasked with saving Kate’s soul but he has a mission of his own: to ensure she gets what she wants so that he can take her soul to hell. He’ll stop at nothing to see her succeed, but their fates are tied and love may stand in his way.

As secrets are revealed, can one cursed soul end it all? Is love strong enough to overcome evil and break the curse that binds them both?

Paperback, 295 pages
Published July 15th 2017 

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  November 30, 2017


Amanda J. Evans writes paranormal and fantasy novels as well as children’s stories. Amanda lives in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland with her husband and two children. She was published in several journals and anthologies in 2016. Her first novel Finding Forever was published in 2017 and her forthcoming title Save Her Soul will be released on the 1st August 2017. Amanda has also secured a publishing deal with Handersen Publishing for a children’s book and this will be released in the fall, 2017. Amanda is the author of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, published in 2012. You can find out more on her website. 

                                      Connect with Amanda
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                       Q & A with Amanda J. Evans

Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 
My main characters in Save Her Soul are Kate and Drake. Kate is a very strong character and grieving deeply after her younger sister is murdered. She knows who did it and her need for revenge is what drives her. She has a plan, she’s been training her body to fight, and she is hell-bent on seeing the man responsible for her sisters take his last breath at her hands. There is nothing that will stand in her way. She has closed herself off to everything and lives only to take her revenge. 

Drake has been dead for 500 years and is taken with saving the soul of Isteria. Isteria was cursed with evil and in a bid to save her, the guardians cast a spell that had her reincarnating over and over again until they could find a way to break the curse. Isteria has now reincarnated as Kate and Drake’s mission is to save her and prevent Kate from killing and unleashing the evil that is trapped inside her. Drake is a tortured character and as we go through the book secrets are revealed and he struggles to come to terms with what he learns. 

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
My cover for this book was designed by Krys at TakeCover Designs. It was actually a pre-made that I fell in love with because of the red glow around the female. I got in touch with her and she agreed to add a male character to the cover and I had the perfect cover for my book. 

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I handwrite everything first so my ideal spot would be sitting on a beach with the sun beaming down. Most of the time though, I write in my office. I do take my notebook with me to hairdressing appointments and in the car if I have to pick my children up from school so I can get some writing done while I wait. 

What is the best advice you have been given?
To just go for it. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but lack of confidence and fear got in the way. Last year a friend told me to just go for it and I did. It’s been a whirlwind ever since and I’ve loved every moment of it. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, my dream was to be a famous author. I wrote my first book when I was eight and even sent it off to Penguin. I also received a rejection letter. I used to write new episodes for all my favourite TV shows. Life changed when I hit my teenage years and my father took his own life. After that, I wrote to express the emotions that I couldn’t deal with so it was mainly poetry and short morbid pieces. 

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I love paperbacks. I just love looking at them, filling bookcases with them. In saying that, most of my reading is done on my Kindle. I love that I can adjust the size of the writing and fit so many books into one tiny device. I love both really.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Oh gosh, I really have to think about this one. I was going to say flying so I could go wherever I want, whenever I want, but I think I’d prefer to be a sorcerer with real magic powers so I could create anything I want and cast spells for everything. 

What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading The Girl in Between series by Laekan Sea Kemp. I’m just finished book 2 of the 4 books and they are amazing. The author’s writing is excellent and it’s a storyline I haven’t read before. 


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Q & A with Meg Anne

Mother of Shadows 
The Chosen #1
by Meg Anne 

Helena’s life had always been quiet. In fact, she liked it that way. When her childhood friend returns home and tells her that she is the prophesied ruler of the Chosen, those blessed with the gift of magic, her quiet life goes up in flames. Suddenly Helena finds herself surrounded by a circle of protectors, each having sworn their loyalty to her since her birth. All except for one: her Mate. It’s not enough that she learn how to use her magic and undergo a trial to prove her worthiness; in order to claim her title, Helena must also find the man who carries the other half of her soul. Exiled due to a past he had no part in, Von is the last man the Chosen expect Helena to select. Despite their protests, his soul calls to hers and there’s no denying that he was made for her. But the prophecy stands and all isn’t as it seems. There’s an enemy lurking within plain sight who will stop at nothing to destroy her. 

Kindle Edition, 257 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Author Friends With Benefits (first published 2017)


Find it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon
Read It & Reap:  January 23, 2018


Meg Anne has always had stories running on a loop in her head. They started off as daydreams about how the evil queen (aka Mom) had her slaving away doing chores; and more recently shifted into creating backgrounds about the people stuck beside her during rush hour. The stories have been there, they were just waiting for her to tell them.

Like any true SoCal native, Meg enjoys staying inside curled up with a good book and her cat Henry... or maybe that's just her; sunburns hurt! You can convince Meg to buy just about anything if it's covered in glitter or rhinestones, or make her laugh by sharing your favorite bad joke. She also accepts bribes in the form of baked goods and Mexican food.

Connect with Meg Anne

Q & A with Meg Anne

Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 
The two main characters in Mother of Shadows are Helena and Von. Helena is fated to be one of the most powerful rulers her people have ever seen. Unfortunately, she has to learn how to use her magic first and it has a tendency to take over whenever Helena experiences strong emotions. With no background or experience to guide her, she has to trust her gut, even against the advice of others. Her belief in the innate goodness of others is both her biggest strength and greatest vulnerability. Von is the other half of her soul. For all that is good and whole in her is damaged within him. His past is a dark one, but through his relationship with her, he finds new purpose and redemption.

In your opinion, what makes a good, strong lead character? 
Someone complex and flawed. A character whose voice is so well defined that you don't even need to see their name before the dialogue to know that they are talking. 

What or who do you see as influences on your writing style? 
It's hard to identify any one thing, but I would say that my playful sense of humor weaves its way in to my writing. In almost every scene there is some element of levity to balance what else is happening. I think in life being able to laugh at yourself and the things that are out of our control is hope we cope with them, and its the same for my characters. 

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas? 
I haven't done any specific research to date, but I do have a story with tarot cards simmering in the back of my mind, so I could see some research going into that one. 

What is the best writing advice you have been given? 
BICHOK - Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Seriously, just making yourself do it is a huge step in the right direction. Also - When you get writer's block it's because you are trying to make you character's do something they do not want to do. Take a step back and approach it from a different angle. 

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why? 
I would like to visit other people's dreams and/or have the ability to help others have good dreams (or if they were an A hole maybe some bad ones, haha). I think that would be pretty awesome.

What do you do to unwind and relax? 
Besides reading and playing with my cat Henry, I am a huge videogame nerd. I like to get lost in other worlds for awhile, so whatever venue be it book, show or game gets me there is alright with me.

What book are you reading now? 
I am in the middle of two at the moment because I listen to audiobooks in the car in addition to whatever I'm reading when I'm at home. So I'm listening to Cassandra Clare's "Lord of Shadows" and reading Montana Ash's "Paladin."


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Q & A with Yvonne Blackwood

NOSEY CHARLIE COMES TO TOWN 
The Adventures of Nosey Charlie Book 1001
by Yvonne Blackwood 

Meet Nosey Charlie, a spunky little squirrel who grew up in the country. He became an orphan and moved to the city to live with his aunt, uncle, and his cousin, Pete. Charlie desperately wants to know everything about the people and strange objects in the city, and he doesn’t understand that he can’t always go wherever he likes. 

Mama Leticia (his aunt) tries to teach Charlie to be careful, and asks Cousin Pete to keep on eye on him. But Charlie is too nosey, and curiosity gets the better of him. He goes where he shouldn’t—checking out garbage bags in the park—and this time poor Cousin Pete gets hurt.

The Nosey Charlie adventures will make you laugh and cry, and sometimes cheer Charlie along as he explores his new environment and finds himself in desperate situations. 

Kindle Edition, 24 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by QUILLORATION ENTERPRISE

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  January 21, 2018


Yvonne Blackwood is an author, columnist, speaker, world traveler, and retired banker. She has published three adult books―the very successful Into Africa a Personal Journey which ranked # 2 best-selling book under Ghana on Amazon.com in 2002; the hilarious Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? and Into Africa, the Return. Inspired several years ago to write children’s books, she recently published Nosey Charlie Comes To Town, and Nosey Charlie Goes To Court, part of a series of Nosey Charlie Adventures. A third book, Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener is soon to be released. Yvonne is an award winning short story writer and she has written numerous articles for several newspapers including the Toronto Star, and InTouch magazine.

Connect with Yvonne
                                     Q & A with Yvonne Blackwood 


                                            Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main character in Nosey Charlie Comes To Town and all stories in the Nosey Charlie Adventure series is a little black squirrel named Charlie. He was raised in the country, however, when his parents died, he moved to live in a big city with his Aunt Letitia, Uncle Harold, and his cousin, Pete. Charlie is three months younger than Pete, therefore they should make good companions for each other. While Pete―born and raised in the city―is well acclimatized to city living and all that it entails, Charlie is just bubbling with excitement to learn all he can about his new environment. He is overly nosey and tends to forget warnings from his aunt to stay away from certain places and things. Because of his nosiness, Charlie gets into trouble often and causes his relatives much anxiety, but somehow he seems to survive unscathed!

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I hired an illustrator to do all the drawings for the books. I provide him with a mock-up of the stories and precise instructions on the scenes I want him to draw. Based on the drawings he provides I select one that is indicative of the theme of the story, and to it the illustrator adds the title and my name. Because I have used Createspace to publish the books so far, I have selected one of their templates that works well with the cover drawing, therefore all covers have a consistency.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I use one of the bedrooms in my house as my office. It is set up comfortably with my desk, computer, printer, lamp, bookshelf, filing cabinet, and all the accoutrements one needs for writing. A window is to the left of my desk and I can look out on mother nature when I need a bit of distraction. The evening sun streams in from around three o’clock. Of course, being an art-lover, there are great paintings on all walls.

What is the best advice you have been given?
This is a difficult question to answer because after attending many writing workshops, seminars, and classes, I have received a lot of advice. In addition, I write both adult and children’s books. Here are a few that mainly pertain to children’s books since that is the focus at the moment: Do not talk down to children readers; always build a character bible for your main character; a great way to evoke vivid images in readers’ minds is to infuse prose that engages the senses.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to become a nurse until I attended high school and had to dissect a frog during biology class! I promptly switched my plans from nursing to becoming someone who worked in commerce.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I prefer paperbacks; they are flexible and easier to handle, and I can still curl up in bed with them.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
 I would choose the power to be able to read people’s minds. That way, I would know what they are thinking and how genuine they are.

What book are you reading now?
 I am one of those people who read more than one book at a time. I started reading Secret Daughter some time ago but have not finished it. In the mean time I’m reading The Audacity of Hope. It will be interesting to see which one I complete first.