Saturday 25 March 2017

Q & A with Jeff Horton

Heaven's Oasis
by Jeff W Horton

Claire is dead.

She’s been the love of Kevin Foster’s life for as long as he can remember; his soulmate, and his best friend.

Before she dies, Claire, an archaeologist, goes on an expedition to the Middle East and comes across evidence supporting the existence of a biblical, antediluvian site the ancients called Heaven’s Oasis, and that certain ancient artifacts can lead her to it. Claire believes that finding this site will help prove the Bible's veracity, and provide indisputable evidence of God's existence.

Following her unexpected death Claire's expeditions become public knowledge, and the subsequent assaults against her reputation from the scientific community and the media are both brutal and relentless.

Furious at the public ridicule and to prove she was right, Kevin decides to pick up where Claire left off in her search and to finish what she started. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, to restore her reputation and to honor her memory.

A billionaire arms dealer named Kain Masterson has also been searching for the Oasis, however, intending to keep what he finds for himself. The deadly competition soon becomes a struggle just to stay alive in the race to find the artifacts, follow the clues, and ultimately to find Heaven’s Oasis. 

ebook, 258 pages
Published November 22nd 2016 

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords

Read It & Reap:  February 28, 2017

Jeff W. Horton was an Information technology professional for twenty-five years before deciding to pursue his lifelong dream of being a writer. Since becoming an author and screenwriter of family-friendly fiction, Jeff has written two screenplays and eight published novels in several genres including apocalyptic-fiction, science-fiction, religious fantasy, and romance thrillers. 

When he's not penning his next novel, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, going to church, and reading. Among his favorite authors are many immediately recognizable names including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, C.S. Lewis, Ted Dekker, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jeff Horton is a member of the North Carolina Writers Network.

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Q & A with Jeff Horton

 Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
First, please let me say thanks to and to everyone in the group for this opportunity to tell you a little about my latest novel, Heaven’s Oasis. I’m really excited about this one, because I feel it’s a touching love story, with a lot of suspense and thrills thrown in as well.   I very much appreciate it and I hope that some of you will take a look at Heaven’s Oasis!

The main characters in Heaven’s Oasis are:
Kevin Foster-The protagonist. Kevin is a young man fresh out of high school when he first meets Claire. He’s a kind, hard-working young Christian man, but he’s also a teenager, who’s out with a friend driving up and down the strip at beach talking with girls when he meets Claire. He attends UNC-Chapel Hill and after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, goes on to obtain a PhD and becomes a history professor. Kevin forms a deep, intense bond with Claire while they are undergraduate student, before later marrying her. The two are extremely devoted to one another. Following Claire’s death she is ridiculed in the press for her theories and her work. Determined to honor her memory and discredit those who ridiculed her in death,  Kevin sets out to finish Claire’s research and make the discovery she was certain she would find.

Claire Evans:  Claire is a warm, sensitive, and thoughtful woman. She and Kevin are both scared by the intense bond they form so early on, and end up going separate ways for a short while before coming back together for good. Claire’s interest is in archaeology, and eventually becomes an archaeologist. She makes some amazing discoveries early on and proves to be a rising star in the field, which leads to rivalries and jealousies from among her peers.

Zari Abedini:  Zari is one of Claire’s contacts in the Middle East and a friend. helps Claire with expeditions within Iraq or Iran. She is also a beautiful Persian woman who, several years after Claire’s death, ends up falling in love with Kevin while he’s following in Claire’s footsteps, and helps him complete the work for Claire as well as for Kevin, despite the danger and risk to her life.

Kain Masterson: A billionaire arms dealer, and murderer, Kain Masterson has also been searching for the Oasis believing it holds the fountain of youth, intending to keep it for himself. He and his team of mercenaries hound Claire and then Kevin and Zari after her, as they race to find Heaven’s Oasis.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
 For me and my publisher it has always been a give and take process. We tend to work well together, batting designs back and forth, until we end up with something we’re both happy with. For me the cover is very important, as it’s the first  a reader sees. As an artist it is important that the cover convey something about the novel, at some level, to the potential reader, so it’s always a struggle for me.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My favorite writing spot to date is sitting on a balcony or porch at the beach while listening to the ocean waves crashing on the shore. Most of the time, however, I write while sitting in my easy chair in front of the television, though my most productive writing comes when I have something blocking my view, while, you guessed it, listening to a recording of the ocean waves crashing on the shore. : )
What is the best advice you have been given? 
Jeff W. Horton: I’d say that the best advice I’ve been given is this, there really is no right or wrong way to write a novel, everyone’s different. Another piece of very helpful advice was this, write because you enjoy it, because you love it, not just to make money. I imagine that by so doing, you may just end up writing a bestseller!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Jeff W. Horton: Like a lot of boys growing up in the 1970s I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. Funny, being a writer was probably the last thing I ever expected to end up doing, but I really enjoy it! Of course with our imaginations, we can go much further than we ever could as an astronaut, so I’m not complaining!

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I’d say I have to prefer paperback and hardbacks over ebooks. There’s just something about having a physical copy of a book…maybe I’m just a little old-fashioned. I enjoy ebooks, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about carrying a book around with me with nothing required but some light to read by and my eyes.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Hmmm…that’s a tough one. I suppose I’d just like to be Superman; that about sums it up!  

What book are you reading now?
I’m currently working on my ninth novel so I’ve been really busy, but once I’ve finished it I’ll definitely be picking up another novel to read. I’ve found reading a novel in-between writing one to be both refreshing and helpful! I prefer reading so much to watching movies; the experience is just so much deeper and enjoyable. It certainly would be nice if we could get more young people to re-discover the joy of reading!

Thursday 16 March 2017

Q & A with Gayvin Powers

Iona Fay: An Irish Fairy Tale 
Iona Fay #1
by Gayvin Powers 

A modern Irish fairy tale. Iona Fay, a realistic 13-year-old from the United States, searches for her missing mother in Ireland, only to discover her mother is lost to the Fairy World. To find her mother, she must forget everything she knows about reality and embrace a world of magic. For Iona, real magic begins with believing in herself. 

For girls and boys ages 8 - 14 (and adults young at heart).

Iona Fay: An Irish Fairy Tale is book #1 in The Adventures of Iona Fay. Iona Fay & the Fire Keepers, book #2, is coming out March 1, 2017.

The Adventures of Iona Fay books are filled with positive and empowering stories, written to inspire self-confidence in middle graders. Throughout the series, young readers go on epic Irish adventures to various fairy realms where Iona discovers more than she imagines about magic, family, friends, and herself. 

Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published December 13th 2015

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  August 10, 2017

Gayvin Powers is a writer-in-residence at the Weymouth Center and teaches film and humanities at Sandhills Community College in North Carolina. After earning an MFA from the American Film Institute and BA from the University of Southern California, she was the first writer to win the Ojai Film Society Award. Iona Fay, a modern Irish fairy tale, is the first book in the Iona Fay series and Iona Fay & The Fire Keepers is being released in early 2017. For more information, go to: Gayvin and

Connect with Gayvin Powers

                                        Q & A with Gayvin Powers 

                                               Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main character is Iona Fay, a realistic 13-year-old from the United States, who is searching for her missing mother in Ireland. In order to save her mother, she must embrace a world of magic and learns that real magic begins with believing in herself. Iona is an impulsive teenager who goes after what she wants while on her epic journey. In some cases, her impulsiveness works well for her, and in other situations it appears to be her down fall. Iona is a flawed character, she loves deeply, and, over the course of the series (five books planned), she learns to embrace her positive and challenging qualities while righting what is wrong with magic and the fairy world.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Su Jen Buchheim, an illustrator from Los Angeles, is the amazing talent behind the drawings in the first two books of Iona Fay. I give her excerpts from the book and asked her to use for tone, style, setting, and image. Sometimes I send her my own sketches or photos of what I’m envisioning to help clarify what I’m trying to convey. Su Jen is a dream to work with.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My ideal writing spot is any place in nature where I’m comfortable, cozied up with a blanket and am writing on my laptop. Since nature can’t always be ordered up, I’ll take a blanket, warm spot, and turn on some music to inspire writing. I choose a theme song for each book or script I write – it usually helps me bypass writer’s block.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Write. Just write. When you don’t know what to do, write.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer or an actress. Now that I’m older, if I couldn’t be a writer, I’d want to be an astronaut -- would be very cool.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I prefer paperback books. I like the feel of the pages in my fingers and to fold back the book as I hunker down into a couch while I’m reading a good part of the story. For me, it’s paperbacks all the way.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I do have a super power. If I told you, I’d have to erase your mind with my…well, you know. Ssh!

What book are you reading now?
My mother used to be reading three books at a time; I seem to have gotten that trait from her. Currently, I’m reading Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, Heart of the Sea (from The Gallagher of Ardmore trilogy by Nora Roberts, and the outline for my third book (getting ready to start writing any day now). I’m very excited! 

Friday 10 March 2017

Q & A with Jessica McCrory

The Phoenix 
Prophecy #1
by Jessica McCrory 

Life has brought very little joy to Anastasia Carter. Raised in an abusive household has left her with many scars, both physical and mental and the only thing that brought her peace, was knowing that the time was coming when she would be able to finally escape from the horrors that hid behind closed doors.

She never could have imagined that her escape would come at the hands of a sorcerer who saved her from a certain death, or that she would have to give up her best friend and first love.

When the sorcerer whisks her away to another world, she is shocked to discover that not only is magic real, but she was prophesized long before to be the one who could end the darkness that was being spread by a sorcerer bent on ruling all the worlds. She transforms form a victim into a warrior, and dives headlong into a war that had been raging years before she arrived.

Now, ten years after disappearing from Seattle, she returns on the heels of her enemy, only to run into the boy who had lived next door to her throughout her entire childhood, only he isn’t a boy anymore. As he joins her in the fight to save both their worlds, Anastasia has to decide whether she believes giving in to her love for Dakota would be an unaffordable distraction, or her greatest strength.

Paperback, 548 pages
Published January 1st 2017

Find it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon

Read It & Reap:  August 22, 2017

I was born in California and moved to Texas with my family when I was a teenager.  I have always been an avid reader and have been writing stories since I was a kid! It has always been a dream of mine to have my stories published and it is beyond exciting to see that dream coming true!

I am a wine (red!!) lover and I love T-shirts (the kind with the hilarious sayings on them).  I have an amazing husband who is more supportive than I could have ever hoped for, two sweet kiddos (who keep my life wonderfully eventful), a dog, and a rabbit.

Growing up, reading was my way to escape reality whether it was good or bad at the time and I want my stories to offer readers the same kind of adventure I have sought out in between the covers of a book.  

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Q & A with Jessica McCrory

            Hi! Thank you so much for having me here!  So a little about myself, I spent seven years in the Texas Army National Guard until I was medically retired following a training injury.  I have been happily married for going on seven years and we have two wonderful kiddos together.  I am also a lover of red wine and all things Captain America. LOL. 

You've written two books so far, The Phoenix: The Prophecy Series, being your most recent one. How many books do you plan on having in this series? Is it an on-going series? Considered standalones?

            The Prophecy Series will consist of three books: The Phoenix, The Fighter (which will be available middle of this year) and a third, which does not have a title yet. 

            I am currently working on two standalone books, one of which will contain three separate novelettes, a prequel to my first book, Tethered Souls, and I plan on releasing five books this year! Crazy goal I know, haha.

Do you have a favorite character? Any of your characters based off anyone you know?

            I think Anastasia is my favorite character, she has been through so much in her life and she still comes out on the other side stronger then she was before. Her strength and determination are endless.

            The character Carmen, who is introduced towards the end of The Phoenix is based off of my Grandmother Carmen McGinley.  She was the one who showed me a love of books and pushed me to publish.  She passed away in 2015 before Tethered Souls had been released. 

I love your title, The Phoenix, which reminds me of the mythical bird. Does the title have any important significance? If so, can you tell us without ruining any secrets from the story?

            Thank you! The Phoenix is a symbol of a rebirth of sorts and that’s what Anastasia experiences in a way.
            The symbol of that means a lot to me and I believe most of us can apply it in someway to our lives.  Everyone goes through things and I believe that it’s how you come out on the other side that defines you, not the action or event itself. 

Where does your inspiration come from, especially having a passion for fantasy or anything paranormal? 

            I love all things magic- I think it’s fascinating and although one of the books I am currently working on isn’t fantasy based, I believe its something I will stick with for the majority of my writing.

            As a teenager, books are what I disappeared into in order to escape real life and with magic, anything is possible. :)

You've been writing since you were a teenager. Do you have any favorite stories hidden in a drawer that you plan on dusting off?

            Haha, how did you know?! I recently pulled out a rough draft I wrote my senior year of high school, it’s one of the books I’m planning on releasing this year! Admittedly with more adult content then the original. :)

Do you have anyone who influenced you to a writing career? Family? Another author? A personal choice?

            My Grandmother definitely pushed me in the direction of publishing.  She would read every story I wrote and give me honest feedback and helped to shape the way I wrote. 

What has been your favorite part about being an indie author? Highs? Lows?

            I love the community that you are introduced to as an indie author, the other authors have all been so supportive and one in particular has helped me out a ton with figuring out how to take that first step.  

Any last thoughts?

            I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my stories with everyone! It has been a dream of mine since I was young and the fact that I can see it shaping and coming true in front of me is such a gift!  I definitely couldn’t do it without the support of my husband, Nathan, or without my best friend Tarynbeth who is the most awesome person/editor/idea bouncer I could ever ask for!!