Friday, July 29, 2016

How to Write a Book Blog

So I've been getting emails from people and messages on my Facebook asking me, basically, the same question (though worded differently and asking about different specifics).
How do I write a Book Blog?
Well, that question is both super easy and super difficult to answer.

The simple answer is this:

Create a blog.

Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, even on Facebook. The platform doesn't matter! Not one bit, not one iota, not one... um, okay, so I don't know any other words to say that it doesn't matter. So you've got your blog, now go read some books and write about what you read. Yes, it's really that simple. Write about books you love, write about books you hate, write about how the cover for the latest Bestseller totally doesn't fit the story at all.

There you go, you've got a Book Blog.

I know, I know, you want something more in depth than that, and I've got you covered. I'm starting a weekly series titled *drum roll* How to Book Blog. Wow! It's such a clever name, huh?

...Anyway, each week I will post an email or message I've received about book blogging and then answer those questions. It'll be my own little "Dear Abby" column, except, well.... my name's not Abby.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

M.I.A.

I have to say to my lovely readers, I'm sorry that I have been very obviously MIA for the past couple of weeks. I have been all but off-grid thanks to somehow breaking the screen on my phone and Windows deciding that for whatever reason it no longer wanted to update on my computer leaving me with a broken version of Windows 10 insider build. Yep, lots of fun, but things seem to be back on track now and my book reviews will start flowing again.
Thanks for sticking in there with me!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Interview: Dan Straka


Tell me a little bit about your book.
A WOLF ON THE LOOSE is a weekly adventure/thriller about two former Marines trying to find their place in the civilian world by starting a private security company in Miami, Florida. What they get, is more than they bargained for.
The genre, timeframe and format allowed me to have the character’s living in our world, reacting to major events. The week-to-week format also gave the characters room to breathe; slice-of-life scenes that wouldn’t fit within a novel were able to be included.
The nature of the security company, and finding new clients with varying backgrounds, allows for social commentary from police shootings, veterans affairs, to nerd culture.



Title: A Wolf on the Loose

Age Group:18+
Genre: Thriller, Adventure, Military

Find the Book: Amazon | Goodreads






If you had to write this one all over again, go through the whole editing and publishing process from the beginning again, is there anything you’d do differently?
I actually love editing, more so than writing the first draft now-a-days. Very often I’ll take the nuclear option; delete a whole scene and write it again. I enjoy that.
What would I do different? For this one nothing major. Because of the nature of a serial, part of the fun is that the project takes its own course. It’s like going across country. I need to get to Cali, but how get the there, through Canada, the Rust Belt, or the Dixiland is unplanned.

Are you a plotter and know what’s going to happen or are you a pantser that lets your characters lead you by the balls?
For this project, exactly 33% plotter, 67% panster… other projects are more 60%, 40% but as I mentioned earlier the serial format allows (demands) for more flexibility.

What’s something that you are really good at that most people don’t know about?
I’m an excellent paintball player. Very sneaky.

Do you think being a writer is a gift or is it a curse? Why?
I’m not sure it’s either. It’s a muscle that grows stronger with practice. I do get frustrated when the distractions of life don’t allow me write, but that’s no different than any other discipline.

Parents like to say they don’t have a favorite child, but we all know that’s not true. I could say the same for writers. So who’s your favorite child... erm, I mean character?
They are all my favorites. No seriously, I don’t have a favorite, and I tried to write them that way. If I didn’t enjoy writing for each character, then something was wrong. Wrong with them, their backstory or the scene. Andrew's wacky, complicated. Emilio's the still waters run deep type. Derrick is an average nerd ball. Nora Jones is a tough country chick.

Do you usually root for the heroes or the villians?
If it is black in white; then it’s the anti-hero. What I prefer is shades of gray; complexity.

Who are your favorite authors?
Philip K. Dick, for starters. When I first read his work in high school I was blown away. Reading “Man in the High Castle” made me realize how contrived my plots were back then. A post-WWII where the Germans and Japanese spilt America…told from the perspective of an Americana dealer selling reproduction Colts? Brilliant! As a teenage boy, I would’ve written some contrived male wish- fulfillment story about a boy’s coming of age and resisting the occupiers.

What about up and coming authors? Anyone caught your fancy?
The last year has been focused on research and writing. Sometimes I go through periods where I have to act with single minded purposes and stop the distractions… I stay away from writer’s forums, don’t get sucked into Facebook, just focus and write. After I get through this period, then I start reading books again. I need to get caught on the Witcher series.

Back to your characters for a minute, who would you like to have a beer with? Who do you wish you hadn’t created?
Andrew would be tough to be a friend with; he’s got a lot of emotional baggage, is unstable, but with that comes a guaranteed fun time. He’s also fiercely loyal, but you have to stay at his level to be in his orbit long term. That’s a high price tag. Emilio is stable, dependable, more like someone you could be around on a daily basis.

Tell me one thing that’s on your bucket list.
Parachuting. At one point in my life I wanted to join the Airborne.

If you were asked to write a book in a different genre than your current works, what genre would you choose and why?
Horror. In many ways I think that’s one of the hardest genres to write in. The skill and craft required to build suspense, without being cheesy, is immense.

What are you working on right now?
Submitting to agents a fantasy S&S piece and researching a historical novel.

Care to give us the first sentence of the last chapter you were working on?
Andrew St George decided that this was as good a place to die as any.

So, say you just got arrested. What’s the most likely reason the cops are carting you off to jail?
Protesting Trump.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?
In researching A Wolf On the Loose, I buried myself in the news to try to insert the characters into real events. I looked at alternative sources, off-beat avenues and raw footage. There’s a lot of depressing places in the work, where PMC’s often find work. There are some things I’d wish I’d never seen.

What’s the one book you wish you had written?
The book after this one.

Tell us about your most embarrasing bookish experience.
After a seminar I asked a well-known critic for the New Yorker, a series of very thought-out, and yet, very college sophomore questions. They were good points undermined a lot of what he had been saying. I even turned his reference to John Keegan on him. I didn’t mean to be a dick but the critic was not amused and in fact got rather pissed at me.

When you were little, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
An army general.

What’s your writing quirk? Every author’s got one ;)
Gosh, that's a tough one. Tell me what a normal writer is first, then I can figure out what a quirk would be.

In your most recent work, would you tell us about some of the material that didn’t make it past the cutting room floor?
The serial format allowed me to keep scenes and dialogue would’ve been cut out of a mass pub novel. There’s a good deal of slice-of-life mixed in with plot focused scenes. Conversations aren’t as truncated either. That said, a few characters got removed and their role in the story was given to the others. Mainly, there was a private investigator that didn’t make the cut.

What’s your favorite Disney movie? Seriously, this one is super important. Your life depends on your answer here.
Aladdin.

Where can our readers find your work?
Search Amazon for A Wolf On the Loose. All the parts are there, but go for the complete episodes to buy or even get the entire first Season. They are priced better.

What/When is your next release coming out?
The next part of Season 1 is free on Amazon, starting each Monday and ending Friday. Season 2 is scheduled for 2017

How do you want readers to keep in touch with you?
Facebook, Instagram… but I prefer good ol’ email: baywatersecurity@outlook.com

~
About the Author:

Dan achieved a BFA in photography and metal working and since graduating, has done neither. By day he works in manufacturing. By night, often very late into the night, he writes and stalks America's sub-cultures on the vast internets.

Find him:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Author Central
Goodreads

Interview: DA Roach


Tell me a little bit about your book.
It’s a tale of good vs evil. A young woman recently lost two people who meant the world to her. She heads to the crash site to look for a ring that belonged to one of them and hear’s someone call her dead boyfriend’s name. As she goes to investigate, she accidentally stumbles through the gate to the demon realm and into the hands of a Clan of Demon Hunters. The hunters are unsure what to do with her as no mortal has ever successfully crossed into their realm on their own, and the woman begins to understand that maybe there was a reason she stumbled upon the Clan.


Title: Between the Bleeding Willows
Series: Demon Hunters
Publication Date: Mar 8, 2016
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Age Group: YA
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pages: 282
Find the Book: Amazon | Goodreads


If you had to write this one all over again, go through the whole editing and publishing process from the beginning again, is there anything you’d do differently?
Wait to turn it in. Those who read it said “Good, now we are ready for book 2.” But I was nowhere near done penning book 2..

Are you a plotter and know what’s going to happen or are you a pantser that lets your characters lead you by the balls?
I’m both. I do some mapping out and character building but once the writing begins, it becomes an organic experience and characters can derail my initial plot plan.

What’s something that you are really good at that most people don’t know about?
I’d say drawing. I am really good at looking at a picture and replicating it. I might not be good enough to make money from it, but I truly enjoy it.

Do you think being a writer is a gift or is it a curse? Why?
Gift!
Sometimes I struggle with the right way to say something verbally, but when I put it on paper, it comes out exactly as I intended. So for me, it is a powerful communication tool. I also fill out grant applications for our school and I think my ability to write well has helped us win many of those grants.

Parents like to say they don’t have a favorite child, but we all know that’s not true. I could say the same for writers. So who’s your favorite child... erm, I mean character?
It’s a toss up between Casper and Tyler. Casper is a lot of fun but he’s also loyal and all around awesome. Tyler is swoon worthy, hard working, head screwed on straight, has issues, but still lovable.

Do you usually root for the heroes or the villians?
Heroes, except in Avengers where I wanted Loki to win.

Who are your favorite authors?
Rebecca Donovan, Nicole Williams, Richelle Mead, JK Rowling from the big names. From the independent realm: Carissa Lynch and Bradon Nave.

What about up and coming authors? Anyone caught your fancy?
I had never heard of Tillie Cole until recently and am looking forward to reading A Thousand Boy Kisses.

Back to your characters for a minute, who would you like to have a beer with? Who do you wish you hadn’t created?
Probably a beer with Tyler, he sees the positive in things, despite having some deep anger issues. And he’s led an interesting life. I mean, wouldn’t you want to know why a guy in his young 20’s is covered in tattoos when he doesn’t seem into body modification?

Who do I wish I never created? I’d say Jace. He ends up being pretty slimy and unfortunately, quite powerful.

Tell me one thing that’s on your bucket list.
Make the USA Today Bestseller list.

If you were asked to write a book in a different genre than your current works, what genre would you choose and why?
I’d do a series for new chapter book readers. While so many kids got interested in The Magic Tree House books, my kids did not find them exciting. Maybe contributing to that age range would spark some new readers?

What are you working on right now?
I’m finishing book 3 of the Demon Hunters series and also framing out a book with fellow author and friend, Bradon Nave.

Care to give us the first sentence of the last chapter you were working on?
“Sean, I want Skylar to stay behind and guard Cass.”

So, say you just got arrested. What’s the most likely reason the cops are carting you off to jail?
Speeding. I try to keep it at 5mph over the speed limit or less but there have been times when I’ve been distracted (by construction detours, chatting to a passenger) and found I was going faster than I should be.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?
Degloving. One of my characters gets minorly degloved and I needed to know what all was involved physically in the healing of it. Gross stuff!

What’s the one book you wish you had written?
Reason the Breathe by Rebecca Donovan. It’s my favorite.

Tell us about your most embarrasing bookish experience.
I haven’t had one yet, knock on wood that I don’t ever have an answer to this. :>

When you were little, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
An artist. I loved drawing and couldn’t see myself doing anything but drawing.

What’s your writing quirk? Every author’s got one ;)
Hmm, writing quirk...these are really good questions by the way, I guess it would be I have to pen and paper my ideas in a place with no wifi and plenty of diet coke. Usually I chose a local diner and ask the waitress to keep the drink full and she’ll be tipped well. Hashing out those initial details at home (where dishes, laundry, phone calls) distract you or anywhere with wifi (fb, twitter, and instagram all beckon me(. Once I have the framework, I can hit the laptop at home. Oh, and NO MUSIC during the framework phase.

In your most recent work, would you tell us about some of the material that didn’t make it past the cutting room floor?
I had a scene where Cassidy was researching everything she learned about the demon hunters. She searched books, the internet, and any resources to learn about necromancers, demons, hunters, and casters. The editor chopped it, instead we threw details in throughout the story.

What’s your favorite Disney movie? Seriously, this one is super important. Your life depends on your answer here.
I really like Brave. It’s not the most popular movie, though that alone holds appeal, but I love the characters, plot, humor, and overall mood of the story. I was never a girlie girl so I didn’t do Barbies or princesses, instead I was playing with Star Wars figures (Leia of course), playing war outside (I was the nurse tending to the fallen soldiers), or kickball. I can relate to Merida as she didn’t want to be pushed into the princess role.

Where can our readers find your work?
AMAZON AUTHOR PG: http://www.amazon.com/author/daroach

What/When is your next release coming out?
I believe October 4th is the release of 13. It’s a Limitless Publishing Thriller Anthology and I have a short story in there. It’s NA. Then December 13th is the release of Within the Darkest Hollows (Book 2 of the Demon Hunters series), which is YA paranormal.

How do you want readers to keep in touch with you?
The best is through facebook as that will have the most current information on me. Here are my author links. Thank you for interviewing me.

WEBSITE: http://daroachbooks.blogspot.com/
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/DARoachDA/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/daroach12books

About the Author:

D.A. Roach has been telling stories since she was a young girl in the suburbs of Chicago. In college
she met the man of her dreams, her happily ever after, and married him 2 weeks after graduating. They have 3 kids together and a pet cockatiel named Gimli. D.A. did not find a love for books until after college. Her parents were immigrants from Lithuania and found tv and radio easier ways to hear stories so they did not do much reading or encourage it. But once she finished college and D.A. had free time, she discovered how amazing it was to get lost in a story.

D.A. is a full time mom and wife. When she is not doing domestic things (laundry, bills, etc) she is writing, reading, creating mixed media art, and helping beautify her kids' school landscape. Oh, and she is ALWAYS listening to music. Her favorite authors include Rebecca Donovan, Richelle Mead, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Meyer, E.L. James, and Sylvia Day. Reading great works from authors like these has motivated D.A. to write her own stories. She hopes to make positive changes in the world with her art and writing.

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

— George Bernard Shaw

Find her:
Website
Facebook

Twitter

Book Gorilla

Amazon Author Page

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Brought to you by:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Appalling Behavior


I received an email from an author earlier today. This author participated in and sponsored a giveaway by www.freekindlegiveaway.com. I entered that giveaway. One of the requirements to enter was to sign up for a number of different author's mailing lists. Doing so was a REQUIREMENT to enter. I was well aware of what I was doing. I understood that I was signing up for mailing lists. (You know, as in those mass emails you get about stuff you've signed up for?) Yup, pretty straight forward right?

Well, apparently, for a large number of idiots, who clearly did not read what they were signing up for, it's not so straight forward. This is  part of the email I received from the author:
"..the responses to Friday's mail have been mixed. I've seen a surge in downloads, and I've also seen a surge in unsubscribes. I kind of expected that. Had I participated in a contest that required me to subscribe to mailing lists I would probably unsubscribe at the first received e-mail as well. What I had not expected was the number of people who filed complaints with MailChimp, or the response by MailChimp itself. In essence: they strongly urged me to reconsider my strategy for obtaining new subscribers."
 This really upsets me. This author did nothing wrong in sending an email to the subscribers she obtained through a giveaway that clearly explained the requirements for entering. If these people didn't want to be subscribed to an author's mailing list, they should have simply moved on to the next giveaway.

In response to this ridiculousness, the author has made the decision to unsubscribe all 5,000+ people who subscribed through the giveaway. I understand why. However, even though I haven't yet read any of the author's work (I fully intend to), I am resubscribing to their mailing list.

So, if you're reading this, and you're one of those people who chose to behave so abhorrently toward this author, you should be ashamed of yourself.

For those who'd like to subscribe to the author's mailing list, here's a link:
http://www.jeroensteenbeeke.nl/mailinglist/

Friday, July 15, 2016

Interview: Susan Squires



Are you a plotter and know what’s going to happen or are you a pantser that lets your characters lead you by the balls?

I used to be a pantster—for my first six books. But then I switched publishing houses, and my new editor at St. Martin’s Press at McMillan wanted a LITTLE more control than just having faith I’d come through with something great—even though she loved the first books I wrote that way, and gave me a three book contract based on them. So she structured my contracts so that I got 50% of the advance on signing, 10% on her approval of a synopsis, and 40% when I turned the book in. Yikes! I had to plan in order to write that synopsis. I was panicked. But I did it, and I wrote 11 books for her that way. Now, even when I don’t have to write a synopsis, I do anyway. The advantage of being a pantster is that you are sometimes delightfully surprised where the book is going. The disadvantage is that sometimes you are tearing your hair out in the middle because you’re stuck and you may end up having to backtrack and dump completed chapters. Writing a synopsis (which is more than just a plot—it’s what the characters are feeling and why they do things, too) keeps you on track. You just tear your hair out earlier, when you’re writing it! And the books often do deviate from the synopsis. It just serves as a guidepost, and I find I like that.

What’s something that you are really good at that most people don’t know about? 

Well, most people know that I knit because it’s all over my Facebook Author page, including projects that I have knit. Maybe people don’t know that there is a reason for all those horse pictures. They aren’t just animal pictures. I rode horses for most of my life and completed in three-day eventing all over the west coast. That sport includes dressage, jumping and cross-country competitions on successive days. Cross country was especially fun—but I look at people doing it today, and I wonder if I was crazy! Probably not—just young. After too many ER visits, I gave up jumping, but still did dressage until fairly recently. These days, I’ve channeled that desire for competitive partnership with animals into my dogs. I compete with my Belgian Sheepdog, Blitz (or Rolin’ Ridges’ Evening Embers, if you want to be precise) in Obedience Trials. He’s one smart boy. I just try to keep up!

Do you think being a writer is a gift or is it a curse? Why?

I think writing is a gift. It can transport you to other realms, allow you to explore different historical times, live through situations you’d never be able to otherwise, and understand yourself and others better. It’s an addicting experience. Now, writing isn’t always fun. When you’re writing under contract, it can feel like pressure. If you’re stuck and tearing your hair out, that isn’t fun. But on balance, it’s something I love doing. I love it so much that I worked very hard to get good at it. I took classes at UCLA. I worked with critique groups. After I was published, I worked with agents and editors at the New York publishers who bought my books. All of the work was done with one purpose in mind: I didn’t want praise, I wanted to know how to be the best writer I could be. It was worth it. (I’m still working on that, by the way! I think you never stop.)

Parents like to say they don’t have a favorite child, but we all know that’s not true. I could say the same for writers. So who’s your favorite child... erm, I mean character?

Oh, dear. After twenty-four books, you have favorites (plural!) but not just one. Jody, the AI who finally got a body in Body Electric is one of my favorites. I loved the Duc d’Avignon in Time for Eternity, a heroic vampire in the French Revolution. I loved Ian, the tortured hero of The Companion, and I love my Vikings, Karn in Dangeld (the first book I ever published) and Galen in A Twist in Time. Yes, I love my female characters, too, especially the most complicated ones. But I’m always in love with my heroes.

Do you usually root for the heroes or the villians?

Okay, I usually root for the heroes. But I define heroes pretty broadly. They can be damaged. They can have done bad things. They can make choices they’re not proud of. I just want them to have 1) intelligence 2) self-awareness and 3) a core of honor, no matter how buried it might be.

Who are your favorite authors? What about up and coming authors? Anyone caught your fancy? 

I am a broad reader. I love the classics. I like Julia Quinn and Gena Showalter in modern romance. I love James Lee Burke mysteries and Robert Crais suspense. I’m really enjoying Bernard Cornwell’s Last Kingdom series that I’m working my way through now, and as far as up-and-comers, I like Emma Cline’s The Girls.

So, say you just got arrested. What’s the most likely reason the cops are carting you off to jail?

Hmmmm. I’m one of those straight arrow people who follows the rules even when nobody else is following that rule so people think you don’t have to. I can see myself getting arrested for trespassing for protesting a cause I believe in, though. I have blocked some streets in my time with candlelight vigils.

Back to your characters for a minute, who would you like to have a beer with? Who do you wish you hadn’t created?

I’d love to have a beer with the Tremaine family. I’ve written six books about them(My Magic Series, beginning with Do You Believe in Magic? ) and the family has become a character in itself. I love writing the family scenes—the jokes and bickering, the love and caring underneath them, the support as well as the difficult behavior. They have become real friends at this point. I’ll miss them when I finish that series!

Tell me one thing that’s on your bucket list.

I’m a traveller in my heart. We’re going to Spain this year, because it was next on our list. We’ve been to Hong Kong, China, upcountry Thailand, Portugal, all parts of England and Scotland, Italy…we’ve been around. But there are other places on the list. Romania, France, Scandinavia, a cruise down the Danube… the list goes on. So my bucket list is a bunch of travel!

What’s your favorite Disney movie? Seriously, this one is super important. Your life depends on your answer here.

Beauty and the Beast—hands down. Belle is smart and action-oriented and it’s the best romance they’ve ever done. I’m glad they are now making it into a live action movie with Emma Watson staring as Belle. I can hardly wait!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Stolen Memories by Alyson Reynolds






Stolen Memories

Alyson Reynolds



Release Date: July 12, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance



When Megan Douglas finds herself about to marry a man she hates, she calls her best friend to save her. Hunter Abbott would move mountains to make sure that Megan gets the happy ending she deserves, but when he finds out her father is trying to blackmail her into a loveless marriage, he decides that there is only one option to keep her safe --to marry her first. The fringe benefits of a marriage of convenience to a billionaire can’t be that bad can they?


Megan can’t remember how she ended up where she is, but now all she wants to do is find her sister and figure out how she fell head over heels for her best friend. Everything is falling apart around her, and now she has to figure out to handle the future. Is being Mrs. Hunter Abbott really such a hardship? Having a sexy, billionaire husband can’t be all that bad, especially if he can help save her sister from a fate worse than death.


Can Megan and Hunter manage turning from friends to lovers and actually live happily ever after? Or will their marriage be over before it even gets started?


~

Our First Christmas:
A Stolen Memories Exclusive Bonus Scene



I stood in our living room staring at the beautiful Christmas tree with my hands resting lightly on my bump. My belly was getting bigger by the day. Thank goodness Hunter was so turned on by my changing figure because I was totally disgusted with myself. He had a hard time keeping his hands off of me most nights, even days for that matter. It made me feel better since every item of clothing I owned felt like a circus tent or ten sizes too small. As soon as my bump started to show up, Hunter had taken me to a chic maternity boutique and bought me practically every item of clothing they sold.
We’d been to our first ultrasound, but we hadn’t been able to tell if we were having a boy or a girl yet. The little sucker wasn’t playing nice and decided he or she wouldn’t turn towards the camera. Hunter had been so disappointed, but I knew he was going to end up going crazy as soon as he knew what the sex of the baby actually was. What he didn’t know was that I had surprised a little Christmas surprise planned for him. I smirked to myself when I thought of his reaction might be.




*If you want to read the rest of the bonus scene, be sure to visit the other tour hosts!*

~




7/9   - The Violent Vixen, Scavenger Hunt


7/10 - Twisted Obsession Books, Scavenger Hunt


7/11 - Booking Out Besties, Scavenger Hunt, Takeover @ 8 pm EST

         FMR Bookgrind, Scavenger Hunt, Takeover @ 9 pm EST


7/12 - Bookworm, Scavenger Hunt, Takeover @ 10 pm EST


7/13 - Ramblings of a Bookworm, Scavenger Hunt

         Kylie's Fiction Addiction, Takeover @10 pm EST


7/14 - Witch Ritchey's Booktastic Reviews, Scavenger Hunt


7/15 - Kylie's Fiction Addiction, Scavenger Hunt


7/16 - FMR Bookgrind, Scavenger Hunt



~

About the Author:

Romance writer. Wife. Mother of two. Avid reader. Queen of multitasking.

Originally from the south, Alyson likes to incorporate what she knows into her books. She's lived not only on the east coast, but the west coast and a few places in between. Alyson loves sharing stories about her crazy family to anyone who will listen. Her guilty pleasures consist of coffee, country music, brunch, breaking the rules, and pedicures. And she will always be a daddy's girl.

When Alyson isn't chasing around her two kiddos, she's normally writing. Or reading. Her Kindle library is out of control. Alyson writes mainly contemporary novels and novellas with a bit of new adult mixed in. 





g


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Brought to you by:

www.theviolentvixenpr.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Interview: Jamie A. Waters

 
 I'm happy to have had the opportunity to interview Jamie A. Waters, author of the dystopian series, The Two Towers. Book Two of the series, Shadow of the Coalition released June 28th. This was such a great experience!


Tell me a little bit about your book.

"Shadow of the Coalition" is the second book in The Two Towers series. It's set about 150 years in the future, after the world was ravaged by war. There are two distinct groups – those who live in the towers owned by OmniLab (called "Omnis"), and the surface survivors (called "ruin rats"). The ruin rats survive by navigating the dangerous ruined cities in search of artifacts or materials they can trade with OmniLab in exchange for critical supplies.

The story is about a ruin rat named Kayla and focuses on her experiences both on the surface and with the elusive group in the towers. She's a spunky, kick-ass heroine who's willing to do whatever it takes to survive. In addition to the sci-fi setting, there are strong elements of romance, paranormal, action and adventure.

Title: Shadow of the Coalition
Series: The Two Towers
Publication Date: Jun 28 2016
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Age Group:
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi, Romance
Pages: 380
Find the Book: Amazon | Goodreads




If you had to write this one all over again, go through the whole editing and publishing process from the beginning again, is there anything you’d do differently?

Not really. I think this book actually went really well compared to my experiences with the first one. I had a few publishing delays, but I was also going through some personal issues at the time, so it all worked out.

If there was a chance to do things over, I'd like to redo some things in the first book. For starters, I'd probably like to have the entire series finished or close to finished before releasing them. I hate making my readers wait.

Are you a plotter and know what’s going to happen or are you a pantser that lets your characters lead you by the balls?

If I had balls, my characters would definitely be leading me by them. They'd also tie them in a knot and throw them over their shoulder. I try to make tentative outlines, but my characters always blow them to smithereens. I never know what's going to happen and I'm usually shocked at the end. Apparently, I'm just the narrator and they're the ones driving the bus – without a license.

What’s something that you are really good at that most people don’t know about?

I can pick things up with my feet. Oh wait… sorry. That's a little random. Not sure if that's what you're looking for.

I love drawing, painting and anything artsy. I don't usually show my work except to close family and friends, but I think I'm pretty damn good.

Do you think being a writer is a gift or is it a curse? Why?

It'd say a gift. I'm worried if I say it's a curse, I'll jinx myself and lose it. Karma's a bitch that way.

In all honesty, for me, I think writing is a calling. It's just something I'm meant to do. When I look at myself and at my life and everything I want to accomplish, I know down to the depths of my soul – this is what I'm meant to do. I'm not perfect and I'm constantly learning new things, but writing is my passion and I'm thankful for it every single day. 

Parents like to say they don’t have a favorite child, but we all know that’s not true. I could say the same for writers. So who’s your favorite child... erm, I mean character?

I *love* Kayla. I love her attitude, her spark, her humor and what she thinks is her badass image (even though underneath she's kinda soft). I have so much fun writing about her and her adventures.

Do you usually root for the heroes or the villains?

I don't really think villains are bad or evil. I think they're just misunderstood. They have their own reasons for doing things. We may not understand them, but in their mind – they're the good guys. I especially like villains who turn out to not be quite as villainous as you first thought. So I guess… I'm rooting for the heroes, but who they are is really up to debate.

Who are your favorite authors?

Yikes. Lots! Okay, some of the authors on my favorites list are:  Raymond E. Feist, Robin Hobb, Kim Harrison, Kristen Ashley, Patricia Briggs, Laurell Hamilton, Laurann Dohner, Nalini Singh, J R Ward, Karen Marie Moning, and Kresley Cole.

What about up and coming authors? Anyone caught your fancy?

So many! With the influx of all the indie authors on Amazon, there are some really talented authors who have come up on my radar. They may not be new authors, but they're new to me. Just recently, I've enjoyed reading books by Kristin Ashley and C.L. Stone. Kristen Ashley has written dozens of books and she has this incredible ability to immerse you in the story. C.L. Stone writes YA books, but with a really cool twist. I'm excited to see how she continues to develop the story.

Back to your characters for a minute, who would you like to have a beer with? Who do you wish you hadn’t created?

I would love to go have drinks with Sergei. He's a new character in this book, but I think he's really freaking cool. There's an edge to him that I'm just dying to unravel. I had to enlist the help of a Russian linguist with some of his dialogue and it just made me love him even more.

As far as a character that I wish I hadn't created? There's a character named Brant who I wasn't all that thrilled with for a really long time. In fact, I went back and tried to remove him from the story completely. But for some reason, my characters wouldn't let him go. It became a tug-of-war match (which I lost). I found out the reason why in the third book.

Tell me one thing that’s on your bucket list.

Trying not to kick it as long as possible.

If you were asked to write a book in a different genre than your current works, what genre would you choose and why?

Probably fantasy with elements of romance. I like the flexibility of fantasy (if I can imagine it, it can be real), but I also love writing romantic elements in my story. My stories are primarily character driven, and romance is a great path to self-discovery.

What are you working on right now?

I'm currently working on the third book in The Two Towers series. I'm about halfway through the first draft and hope to have it submitted to my publisher by the end of the summer.

Care to give us the first sentence of the last chapter you were working on?

Alec slammed his fist on the table, furious at the incompetence surrounding him. "What do you mean you lost her?"

So, say you just got arrested. What’s the most likely reason the cops are carting you off to jail?

They saw my internet browsing history. I swear – I'm not a violent person! I can't be held responsible for what my characters want to do though!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?

I'm convinced I've got to be on some watch lists. I've Googled the most effective ways to kill a man (facing them, facing away from them, with a knife, by hand), the amount of blood spatter by kill method, how much blood you lose before you pass out/die, videos on hand-to-hand combat and Systema (Russian martial art), how to effectively pick locks (and I bought a lockpick set so I could get hands on experience), and talked to actual white-hat and black-hat hackers for tips/techniques in computer hacking. Most recently – I had to consult with Russian linguistics expert for translation details and speak with an environmental engineer about water testing, microbial contaminants, electron microscopes, spectrophotometry, turbidity, and a whole host of things that I never thought I'd be researching.

By the way, don't look at the videos or images of how to kill a man in some of the more obscure areas of the internet unless you have a really strong stomach. *shudder* 

What’s the one book you wish you had written?

I'm not sure I have one. Does that make me weird? I think every writer has their own stories to tell. I'm not writing for any purpose except to tell the stories in my head that demand to be told. Someone else's stories wouldn't have been as vivid and potent in my imagination as it is in theirs. I just couldn't imagine it.

Tell us about your most embarrassing bookish experience.

I freaked out when I realized the sex scenes I wrote in my first book were going to be available for the public to read. At the time, I was working in the IT Department at a school district and my boss (the Assistant Superintendent) knew I was working on a book. He wanted to know the name of it so he could read it. I couldn't bring myself to tell him because the thought of my co-workers reading my sex scenes was mortifying – especially since we all worked in a school district with kids.

When you were little, what did you dream of being when you grew up?

I wanted to be everything! I wanted to be an artist, an architect, a doctor, a lawyer, a physicist, a veterinarian, a biologist, a park ranger, a librarian – and then I realized I *can* be all of those. Every time I pick up my computer to write a story, I can become any or all of those in my imagination.

What’s your writing quirk? Every author’s got one ;)

Music and cleaning.

I can't concentrate if I'm in a messy setting. I'll get distracted by the freaking dust on my ceiling fan or some other random item that most people wouldn't notice. So I'll go on a huge cleaning spree before I sit down for a hardcore writing session. I'll also listen to music that puts me in the mindset of the scene I'm about to write. I have a designated playlist specifically for that purpose.

Also, I write sex scenes after a glass of wine – and I have pictures that serve as the inspiration for most of my characters. No, it's not porn! They're just pictures. Sheesh.

In your most recent work, would you tell us about some of the material that didn’t make it past the cutting room floor?

There was a pretty intense shower scene that was cut from "Shadow of the Coalition". It wasn't deleted though… it actually moved to the third book. *fans self*

What’s your favorite Disney movie? Seriously, this one is super important. Your life depends on your answer here.

The pressure!!! Ohmigosh. Okay, I'm a total Disney fan. I have most of the movies and even the soundtracks. I listen to them in my car and sing along all the time. Since my son's outgrown it, I borrow my niece to take to the movies so I'm not the crazy adult lady in the theater.

But my favorite? It's an old one… but I loved "The Sword in the Stone". I've watched it countless times.

My second favorite and I'm probably going to get some backlash on this one – I love "Beauty and the Beast". The biggest reason? Belle's a huge reader!

Where can our readers find your work?

Any major retailer. My books are available from my publishers website (MuseItUp Publishing), and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo, etc.


What/When is your next release coming out?

"Shadow of the Coalition" is scheduled to be released in ebook on June 28th. The print versions of "The Two Towers" and "Shadow of the Coalition" should be released by end of summer. I'm hoping to have the third book submitted to my publisher also by the end of the summer.

How do you want readers to keep in touch with you?

The best place to find me is on my website: www.jamieawaters.com

There are links to all my social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, etc.). There's also a contact page if you want to send me an email – and yes, I do respond! I love hearing from my readers. I've met so many amazing readers and I love the feedback and comments I've gotten from my work. You guys have added some really amazing perspective and opinions to my stories. Thank you so much!

I'm also going to be attending the Authors After Dark Convention held in Savannah, GA this August. If you get a chance, this is a fantastic event that gives readers and authors to interact in a really informal and fun setting. Come play with me!
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Thank You, Jamie, for the wonderful interview!



About the Author:


Jamie A. Waters is an award-winning, science-fiction and paranormal romance writer. Her first novel, The Two Towers, was a winner of the Readers' Favorite Award in Science-Fiction Romance and the CIPA EVVY Award in Science-Fiction. The highly anticipated second book in the series, Shadow of the Coalition, is scheduled to be released Summer 2016 by MuseItUp Publishing.

Jamie currently resides in North Carolina with her teenage son and two neurotic dogs who enjoy stealing socks. When she's not pursuing her passion of writing, she's usually trying to learn new and interesting random things (like how to pick locks or use the self-cleaning feature of the oven without setting off the fire alarm). In her downtime, she enjoys reading on her Kindle, playing computer games, painting, or acting as a referee between the dragons and fairies currently at war inside her closet.

Find her:

 

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