Thursday 26 February 2015

Q & A with Author Rachel A. Brune

Cold Run
by Rachel A. Brune 
It is amazing how quickly a phone call can interrupt your life, even when you're a werewolf. Rick Keller hangs up from the unwanted call, but the shadowy organization he once belonged to doesn't take such an answer lightly. Waking up collared and caged by MONIKER is a quick way to learn retirement isn't always permanent. Death will be if he doesn't accept their assignment.
Keller and his new team follow a group of human traffickers on a thin trail across the globe. Their only hope is in a man who hasn't had much practice being a werewolf in a really long time, a sadistic agent who loves making dog jokes, and a beautiful operative who is better with guns than relationships.
If being forced back into service wasn't bad enough, he quickly discovers they have many new experiments to try out on their pet wolf. Even worse, MONIKER now isn't the only one who knows his secret. 
Hopefully an old dog can learn some new tricks, especially if he wants to stay alive.
ebook, 236 pages
Published August 2nd 2014 by Untold Press

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon     B&N

Read It & Reap Date:  August 4, 2015

Rachel A. Brune graduated from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in May 2000, and was immediately plunged into the low-stakes world of entry-level executive assistant-ship. Her unexpected journey out of that world and into the military is chronicled in her self-published book Echoes and Premonitions.

Rachel served five years as a combat journalist, including two tours in Iraq, and a brief stint as a columnist for her hometown newspaper. After her second tour, she attended graduate school at the University at Albany in NY, where she earned her MA in Political Communication, and her commission as a second lieutenant in the military police corps.

Although her day job has taken in her in many strange, often twisted directions, Rachel continues to write and publish short fiction. She released her first novel, Soft Target, in early 2013. In addition to writing for the online military interest zine "Task & Purpose," she blogs her thoughts about reading and the writing life at The Infamous Scribbler. You can also follow her on Twitter, where she goes by the handle @rachelabrune. 

Q & A with Rachel A. Brune

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Rick Keller, Karen Willet, and John Tell are a team of agents sent out by covert organization, MONIKER, to combat a human trafficking pipeline. Rick is a semi-retired werewolf, currently living a quiet life in upstate Vermont, who really would prefer to stay retired. Karen, who holds a PhD in linguistics, is a legacy agent of the organization, equally as comfortable with an M4 as she is uncomfortable talking about her feelings. John is … well, Rick sees him as a gray-suited company man and a bit of a jerk. But he’s worked with that sort of agent before.
Q:  Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
For Cold Run, my publisher asked what I was thinking in regards to the cover, then created and designed it and sent it to me for final approval. This was a change from Soft Target, where I hired a graphic designer and paid out of pocket to get that professional look. In both instances, though, I was able to talk with someone who had expertise that I really don’t have – namely in creating something eye-catching and professional that might convince a reader to pick my book out of a lineup.
Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
A clean desk, lots of sunshine, fresh breeze coming through the room … and my baby girl taking a nap!
Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
Don’t take any wooden nickels.

Seriously, though, the best piece of writing advice I’ve received was: “Find what works for you.” Because there are a lot of people out there who want to sell you on what works for them – and that’s fine to try it out – but if it doesn’t work for you, you can’t force it.
Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut, a soldier, a police officer, and a journalist. Three out of four ain’t bad.
Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
For fiction, I’m bi-literature. But for non-fiction, I really need to have that hardcover or paperback to read through slowly and leisurely, and to be able to flip back and forth through the book for easy reference.
Q:  If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
Flying. I’m incredibly scared of heights, but I think that being able to fly under my own power would be awesome. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is the closest I’ve come, but I still have dreams where I’m just walking along and suddenly I can fly, and they are wonderful dreams.
Q:  What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a few. I just started Wave Links: Powers Meant for Gods, by Randall Boleyn, which I got through the Read It & Reap program, and am finishing up Windblown World, which is comprised of selections of Jack Kerouac’s work journals, edited by Douglas G. Brinkley. I typically have a number of books going at once, often a mixture of fiction and non-fiction; my “To Be Read” pile consists of a large, five-shelf bookcase, a couple of re-usable grocery bags full of books, and approximately 20 to 25 titles on my Kindle.

The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan: Interview + Giveaway

The Curse Servant 
The Dark Choir, Book 2 
by J.P. Sloan  

Genre: Urban Fantasy  
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press  
Date of Publication: February 26, 2015  
Number of pages: 346  
Cover Artist: Conzpiracy Digital Arts  

The one person standing between Hell… and an innocent girl… is a man without a soul. 

A regular life isn’t in the cards for Dorian Lake, but with his charm-crafting business invigorated, and the prospect of a serious relationship within his grasp, life is closer to normal than Dorian could ever expect. In the heat of the Baltimore mayoral campaign, Dorian has managed to balance his arrangements with Deputy Mayor Julian Bright with his search to find his lost soul. Dorian soon learns of a Netherworker, the head of a dangerous West Coast cabal, who might be able to find and return his soul. The price? Just one curse. 

Sounds easy… but nothing ever is for Dorian. A dark presence arrives in the city, hell-bent on finding Dorian’s soul first. Innocents are caught in the crossfire, and Dorian finds it harder to keep his commitments to Bright. When the fight gets personal, and the entity hits too close to home, Dorian must rely on those he trusts the least to save the ones he loves. As he tests the limits of his hermetic skills to defeat this new enemy, will Dorian lose his one chance to avoid damnation?

Find it on Goodreads
Available at Amazon

J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author ... primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times
stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. 
A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing. 
In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a certified beer judge.  
Web page:  
Twitter: @J_P_Sloan  

Q & A with J.P. Sloan

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 

A:  My protagonist and narrator, Dorian Lake, is a charmingly self-effacing (if a bit nobbish) Baltimore socialite who sells hexes and charms for a living. He was trained by a purveyor of dark magical practices, but who had sworn off his evil ways and trained Dorian to power his workings through the universal constant of Karma. If you have it coming to you, Dorian can cash it in ahead of schedule. He's a creature of luxury, and considers himself to be more of a connoisseur of the finer things than he actually is. 

His best friend is a Collector by the name of Edgar Swain, a bespectacled, floral-print-wearing dead-head living in a small town. Edgar is a family man, unlike Dorian, and enjoys living vicariously through Dorian's excesses. Ultimately, however, it is Edgar's quiet life that Dorian envies, and he often relies on the Swains to center himself. Edgar's collection of cursed magical items is the target of envy for many a Netherworker, though Edgar considers himself to be more of a curator of this evil objects than a merchant. 

In the first book of The Dark Choir series, The Curse Merchant, we discovered how unlucky in love Dorian truly was. His ex-lover, Carmen, dealt a vicious blow to his life, his career, and his affection. In the sequel, The Curse Servant, Carmen's shadow still looms over Dorian's life… though a waitress at his corner coffee bar may be the one who can call him on his dilettante ways and give him a chance at a normal relationship. Assuming, of course, that the dark forces bearing down on Dorian don't claim her first…

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot. 
A:  For the longest time, I'd banished myself to our unfinished basement. It was dark, dank, and devoid of all comfort. (ooh, alliteration!) I called it my Writing Dungeon. It was necessary, as I tend to need absolute silence in order to write. Recently, however, I've converted one of our guest bedrooms into a makeshift office, and I've been so much happier since. I might dare to say it's my "ideal writing spot," as it's quiet, warm, and sunny. Though, admittedly, I've spent several hours at the local brewpub hammering out some word count. I can't call that environment ideal, but it's damned charming. 

Q:  Who designed the covers for your book and what was that process like for you as the author?  
A:  Conzpiracy Digital Arts created both covers for my Dark Choir series. Dean was secured as a regular artist by my publisher, Curiosity Quills. He's straight-up amazeballs! My work tends toward the darker occult imagery, which is Dean's bread-and-butter. 

As for my process, authors who sign with Curiosity Quills fill out a graphics "worksheet," which asks all of the pertinent questions of tone, character, motif, and comparable covers we think would fit the theme. The artists take it from there… and I have to say that Curiosity Quills puts out some thunderously brilliant book covers! It's my hope that Dean stays with me throughout the Dark Choir series! 

Q:   What is the best advice you have been given? 
A:   I've tried to locate the attribution for this quote, but my Google skills are clearly lacking. But I read this quip once regarding writing a first draft, along the lines of the following:

"I have to remind myself I'm not building sand castles. I'm just shoveling sand into the bucket." 

It's been invaluable as I proceed through my drafting process, as doubling-back to edit my first draft before it's even finished continues to be one hell of a temptation. Everyone's first draft is basically crap, or at the very least possesses some manner of considerable flaw. Thus, when the temptation to look over what I've just tapped out, realizing it's a smelly bowl of indecipherable plot-point-gumbo, I just remind myself… Shoveling Sand. 

Q:  How do you keep busy when you're not writing?  
A:  Aside from keeping myself relevant and present for my family, I enjoy beating the ever-living snot out of a heavy bag at the local gym alongside my wife. Muay Thai is a hell of a workout! Also, I'm a homebrewer and a BJCP National ranked beer judge, which means that I find myself at odd weekends attending homebrew competitions. I dare say my judging skills exceed my skills as a homebrewer. (sips his Munich Dunkel and winces at the bracing acetaldehyde notes) 

Q:  If you could have any superhuman ability, what would you choose and why?
A:  I've waffled on this question for several years, but I've finally come to the point where I can admit that rather than super-speed, invisibility, or the ability to fly… I just want to mind-control people. It would make life so much easier for me, and I've strayed a bit from the pedestrian morality of my youth. (waves hand, waits for another scotch to appear) 

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?  
A:  This is easy… eBooks. Hands down. I suspect I have some manner of undiagnosed learning disability. It takes me several tries to read the printed word. If I plop myself down and read through a paperback, I might have to re-read each sentence three times over before it'll stick. This made undergrad school a bit of a torture, let me tell you. However, when I sit down with a Kindle, or rummage through a document on a computer screen, I find my speed more than triples. Give me an eReader any day! 

Q:  What book are you reading now?
A:  I'm working through Blightborn by Chuck Wendig at the moment, and I have The Martian by Andy Weir waiting in the wings.

Guest Blog
Sophia Kimble

Guest Post
Mythical Books

Urban Fantasy Investigations

Guest blog
Marsha A. Moore

Shut Up & Read

Deb Sanders

Guest blog
Coffee Addicted Writer

Roxanne's Realm

Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

Deal Sharing Aunt

Lisa's World of Books

Share My Destiny

Books and Tales

Mommabears Book Blog

CBY Book Club

Curling Up by the Fire

Fantasy Book Lane

Dragonsworn Books

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom