Sunday, November 11, 2012

Interview with author, G.B. Miller

I'd like to welcome author, G.B. Miller to my blog today.


While working as a Payroll Clerk in state government back 2006 (and with a little encouragement from friends and co-workers), G. . decided to take up writing so as to make better use of his free time. Becoming fully immersed with his nascent second career, some six years later, he can proudly say that he is a published somebody, with two short stories, a self-pubbed chapbook and his commercial debut, Line 21.

G.B. lives in Newington CT with his wife Joanne, his two children and his pet cat Holly. Currently he divides his time between working for the state, and creating written mayhem in the cyber world and the real world.

Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer:

I am 47 years old and a worker bee for the state of Connecticut, and unlike most writers who probably knew what they wanted to do, I didn’t start writing until about six years ago. Prior to that, most of my creative energy was done verbally and the pen was put to paper only for business purposes. The only reason I decided to write was because I was going through a personal crisis and the easiest (and safest)  way to survive that crisis was to write.

Tell us about your novel?

Jeannie Mitchell was deep in debt to her uncle the loan shark, and the only way she could get out of debt was to become an adult movie star. However, she did have some concerns and after voicing them to her symbiont sister, Aissa, she bravely stepped into a world that catered to the hidden desires of both sexes.
Line 21 tells the dual story of the trials and tribulations of a vivacious young woman who tries to straddle the line between illicit excitement and the moral high ground, and of her symbiont sister, who yearns to be flesh and blood.

What have you had published to-date?

To date, I have two short stories published: Cedar Mountain, which was published in the e-zine “Beat To A Pulp” ( and Red Stripe, published in The Cynic Online Magazine (, and I have one self-published chapbook called Betrayed (

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent? In your opinion are they even necessary?

The road for publication of this novel was about average, that from the first word written to the release of Line 21 was a little over 2 ½ years. The writing itself took about nine months, and the querying took almost a year. I signed with Solstice on my 13th query.

I do not have an agent, and in my opinion, if you’re writing in a genre that is popular/hot and you want to stand out from the crowd, then an agent is your best bet, especially if you’re gunning for a well known publisher. Otherwise, if you’re aiming for something a little more personal, like a small to medium sized publisher, then an agent probably isn’t for you.

How much of the marketing do you do?

I’m doing most of it. Since being commercially published is a new experience for me, I’m kind of doing baptism by fire. I’ve already picked up a lot of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to marketing, so at least I’m not stepping into this blind.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?

Word of mouth helps, as well as having a solid portfolio of what you’ve written, be it blog posts, short stories or even another novel or two. My blogs have helped me throughout the years, and I’m just getting my feet wet with other social media, as well as a trailer on YouTube (”

Where can readers find you?

I can found at my main blog Cedar’s Mountain (, and I can be found on Facebook (


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Welcome to the Next Big Thing Blog Hop where we will be hopping our way to various blogs to find out what fellow authors are working on.  At this stop, I will be answering 10 questions on my work in progress. Thank you Joss Landry for tagging me to participate.
Well, here it goes, here are my 10 questions along with the answer. I hope you enjoy.

What is the working title of your book?
The working title of my work in progress is Undercover Hero. I intend to change this title as it’s a whole lot too cliché.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Undercover Hero isn’t my usual genre. I wanted to try something new. The idea came from simply sitting my butt down and brainstorming until I came up with something workable. It’s ever evolving as I write.

What genre does your book fall under?
The genre is a romantic intrigue.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve never thought to that but I see Aiden Rourke as Gerard Butler and Lily Valier as Kate Beckinsale.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Detective falls in love with a woman accused of murdering her sister.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will more than likely send the manuscript to the publisher of my first novel, Invisible.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s still a work in progress but I’m almost halfway done. I’d say all tolled, it will probably take a good eight months to get the first draft down. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and go over and over my chapters before moving onto the next one.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
After I had my outline done, my husband told me it reminded him of an Al Pacino movie called The Sea of Love. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to because I don’t want it to influence me.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the challenge. Romance is a genre I’ve never written before and wanted to see how I liked it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hot, sexy steamy characters who get themselves into a lot of trouble.
Here are the people I've tagged to participate in the blog hop for next week:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

INVISIBLE is 99 cents

For a short time, Invisible will be available for 99 cents

Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear …
and then one day she does just that...

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than
she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even
in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best
pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall,  Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a  camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to
literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new  “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner  strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

Chapter One

“Lola, get your suit on and help supervise the pool,” Justine, the athletic, sun-kissed, twenty-one-year-old camp director orders once we get off the bus.“The more eyes the better.”

Immediately my heart takes off in a sprint. 
“What? Why?” I try to hide the wobble in my voice.

Curious, expectant gazes turn to me as my fellow counsellors wait with evil half-smiles for my reaction. Although I haven’t told a soul, except my best friend Charlie, how I feel about wearing a bathing suit, they know my private horror. It’s the horror of every fat girl.

Justine flips through the sheets on her clipboard. She runs a finger down the column of names. “No campers will be sitting out today.”

The impossible has just happened. Not one kid was sick, or had left their bathing suit at home. In my three summers as a counsellor, not once has this happened.

For a long, awkward moment, I stand frozen in place wondering how to get out of this. A sudden migraine? My period? My mouth opens, but no words come.

Justine leaves and with her, my chance for escape. I’m left teary-eyed, searching through my bag for my black one piece.

Stuffing away the panic, I march past the onlookers, who I have never considered my friends despite working with them the entire summer. In the change room, I find an empty stall and with great reluctance, pull on my suit.

It’s my last day of work as a camp counsellor at Inglewood Day Camp. My group of kids consists of eight six-year olds — four boys and four girls. On Thursdays we take the campers to the local outdoor swimming pool. It’s a short ride, only five minutes on the creaky old school bus and my job is to watch the kids who won’t be swimming; either because they don’t feel well, or they’ve forgotten their swimsuits. Believe me, this job suits me just fine. As a matter of fact, I volunteered for it.

Not only am I fat, I’m freakishly tall. God only knows why, since Mom is petite and Dad is on the short side. My older sister Eva is the spitting image of Mom, fair and fine boned. I take after Dad’s side, bulky, dark and thick. Dad says I must have gotten some of Uncle Sammy’s genes, the giant of the Savullo family, who tops out at 6ft 4 inches. Anyway, I’m sure you’re getting a good mental picture right about now.

My insides drop as if I placed a foot on a step that wasn’t there when I peer down at the coarse dark hair creeping from my calves to just past my knees, where it gradually peters out. Then I run a hand across the tops of my thighs. The triple bulge of my belly prevents me from a good look at my sorely neglected bikini area. Even in the blazing August sun, I wear baggy cotton Capri pants, never exposing more than an ankle. There’s never been a reason to shave. My eyes mist with tears, but I pinch them away. It’ll be hard enough to go out in public like this, but I won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I lift my chin in resolve and open the door.

The whistle blows, signalling the beginning of the session. Screams of delight fill the air, as the kids jump into the pool to find relief from the 90-degree heat.

I fasten a towel around my waist as best I can. Towels never seem large enough to wrap completely and comfortably around the bulge of my stomach. To the pool I go, treading silently so as not to draw attention.

“Where’s Lola?” Sonia, a fellow counsellor, asks.

At first I think she’s joking because I’m right in front of her. I toss her an annoyed look and don’t bother to answer as I trudge past to the edge of the pool, where I pull off my towel and slip into the water.

“She’s probably taken off,” Jerod replies. 

He’s a year younger than I am, but looks older with his muscular build and chiselled jaw line. The girls love him. “I hope she doesn’t show,” he continues. “Who wants to see a hippo in a bathing suit anyway?”

Sonia laughs, a little too hard and places a hand on Jerod’s shoulder.

Puzzlement and anger compete on my face. I’m standing no more than three feet away from them. I’m used to rude comments and I know what everyone thinks of me, but this is way beyond mean. The tears in my eyes spill down my cheeks and I slip under the water, hoping to wash away the evidence of my pain. Not that anyone would care, but crying could give them more ammunition; just another reason to taunt me.

Kids bounce around me, laughing and playing. Justine stands like a sentinel, looking like a Bay Watch babe in her red suit, one hand gripping an emergency flotation device. Her steel blue eyes are focused on the activity in the pool.

Jerod jumps in, nearly landing on my back. I barely have time to leap out of the way. My anger boils; blood rushes to my temples and pounds there, giving me an instant headache. I hurl myself at him, pushing with all my might, elbows aimed at his chest. I hit nothing but air and fly into the rough concrete wall of the pool, scraping a hole in my one piece and rubbing raw a patch of skin. Small blood pinpricks rise to the surface.

“Hey!” I scream, bewildered. How’d he manoeuver out of the way so fast?

 Jerod slips under the water and emerges at the other end of the pool in one long, slick glide.

The steel in me comes up, anger replacing humiliation. I pull my bulk out of the water and march over to Justine.

“Did you see what that asshole just did?” I bellow.

Justine brings the whistle that hangs from her neck to her lips and blows two sharp blasts, making my ears ring. “Stop horsing around,” she calls to a group of boys, who offer sheepish grins and stop instantly.

I step forward so she can see me. “Justine?” I reach to touch her shoulder but, impossibly, my hand falls through her.

“Justine?”I call again, louder, my voice panic-laced. With both hands, I grab her, or tryto. Again, it’s as if she’s not there.

My mind is swept along in a current of anxiety. What’s happening?

Then it hits me... it’s me who’s not there.
Purchase your copy at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Daddy Drool: BlogPOOst on chess, pot of gold, and Bon Jovi

My colleague and friend, Boris Roginsky has started a blog documenting he and his wife's experiences in becoming first time parents. For a funny, sweet and insightful read, check it out -
Daddy Drool: BlogPOOst on chess, pot of gold, and Bon Jovi

Saturday, August 4, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you, Vanessa Grillone, for the award. As part of the rules for accepting this award, I am to list seven things about myself and then pass the award onto other bloggers.

1. I have a brown belt in Shotokan karate.
2. I am addicted completely and thoroughly to Tim Horton's iced cappuccinos.
3. I collect fine wines but don't drink wine.
4. I hate to write, but love having written.
5. I love Boston Terriers.
6. Stephen King is my hero.
7. My daughters are my best friends.

I'm supposed to nominate a whole bunch of blogs to pass the award onto but I can only come up with a few.

1. Joy Campbell
2. The Grateful Undead
3. Turning the Pages
4. Books, Books, Books
5. Gotta have YA

Check out Vanessa's wonderful blog at

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Around the World Kindle Fire Blog Hop

The Summer Olympics are here and as a way to celebrate, authors Courtney Vail and J.L. Campbell are hosting the Around the World Blog Hop. There are many wonderful authors, books and places to discover as well as lots o’ prizes!

There are only 16 blogs, so have fun hopping around and entering the contests on each one.

As part of the hop, I’m hosting an interview with Leslie DuBois, author of The Queen Bee of Bridgeton.

What title are you highlighting in this blog hop?

The Queen Bee of Bridgeton


When fifteen-year-old Sonya Garrison is accepted into the prestigious Bridgeton Academy, she soon discovers that rich girls are just as dangerous as the thugs in her home of Venton Heights. Maybe more so. After catching the eye of the star, white basketball player and unwittingly becoming the most popular girl in school, she earns the hatred of the three most ruthless and vindictive girls at Bridgeton. Can she defeat the reigning high school royalty? Or will they succeed in ruining her lifelong dream of becoming a world class dancer?

What gave you the idea for the book?

I confiscated a note from two of my students one day during class. The note described some lewd things that happened at a party the weekend before and how the girl was so embarrassed about it. That note became the seed for the major event in the book. I still have the note today.

Who are your main characters?

Sonya Garrison is an aspiring ballerina who is growing up in poverty. She can’t afford to attend her local ballet studio so she works out an agreement to clean the dance studio in exchange for lessons.

Will Maddox is the popular, yet troubled school basketball star who instantly falls for Sonya, but will he be good for her or her career.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Sonya is my favorite character because she reminds me a lot of myself.

Share one quirky trait of your charactersWill is obsessed with the number three. He always carries three Jolly Ranchers in his pocket.

Sonya is obsessed with the Russian Ballet.

What was your biggest challenge writing this book?

Actually, I think the hardest part was trying to keep out the profanity. I’ve been around teens for a long time and I know how they actually talk even though parents like to believe their kids do not have a potty mouth.

Spill a secret, mystery or hidden thing in your book:

The Queen Bee is not who she seems.

Where do you live?

Charleston, South Carolina

What's a cool, unknown spot?

Runaway Bay is a little known, fantastic Jamaican restaurant right by the water in Riverfront Park

What's the most well known city in your country and why?

Probably New York City. At least, it seems like the most well known city since every action movie always takes place there. Why is it aliens only want to take over New York?

What's a little known fact about where you live?

Charleston was the start of the Civil War.

Name two famous people who've been sighted in your corner of the world.

Bill Murray and Reese Witherspoon.

What is the one thing tourists must do?

Carriage ride tour.

What's your favorite restaurant and what type of food do they serve?

Wow. There are too many Amazing restaurants in Charleston to choose from. But if forced, I think I’d go with The Library at Vendue Inn. They serve Contemporary Low Country Cuisine.

What are you giving away on your blog?

$15 Amazon Gift Card

Who is the author you are highlighting on your blog?

Jennifer Laurens, author of Grace Doll

Where can readers connect with you?
@sybilnelson on Twitter" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Interview with author, Michael Thal

Welcome to author, Michael Thal

Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer. I had an interest in writing since college. I was a History major and had many papers to write. I enjoyed the challenge of finding information and putting it together into a cogent document that was fun to read. After college and grad school I became a teacher. I taught middle school for 28 years. During my summer vacations I wrote articles and short stories. I even started a novel.

One morning, after teaching for 21 years, I awoke to a profound silence. Hearing aides helped, but hearing has since been a chore. Six years later, my “good ear” went deaf after the virus attacked again. I tried to teach for another year, but the job became a nightmare trying to comprehend what children and teachers were saying to me. After the doctor signed my disability papers, I decided to write full time.
Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy. Since my retirement from teaching, I wrote four novels. Two were published this past winter.

The Legend of Koolura, published by Solstice Publishing, is the story of a sixth grade girl who was injected with cool powers as an infant. Since that time, a homeless man bent on Koolura’s destruction has stalked her and her father. The book is a coming-of-age novel about the importance of friends, family, and self-reliance. Here are its links: Barnes and Noble:

Goodbye Tchaikovsky, published by Royal Fireworks Press, is a young adult novel about a deaf teen. A twelve-year-old violin virtuoso, David Rothman, is plunged into a deaf world, necessitating him to adapt to a new culture and language in order to survive.
The book can be ordered here: The book recently won Honorable Mention in the 2012 Hollywood Book Festival.
What have you had published to-date?  I have had over 70 articles published in print magazines like Highlights for Children, Writer’s Digest, Shine Brightly Magazine, San Diego Family Magazine, and The Jewish Journal, to name a few.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent? In your opinion are they even necessary? After I completed The Legend of Koolura, I contacted 160 agents and publishers. Two agents accepted me, but they went out of business a few months after I signed their contracts. Goodbye Tchaikovsky was submitted to 37 agents and publishers. It took Royal Fireworks Press (RFP) three years from the signed contract to publishing the book, where Solstice Publishing took a year to publish The Legend of Koolura.

If I had an agent, I would have gotten an advance on both my books. So they are important because they ensure fair treatment of writers. However, agents won’t look at a writer until he has a track record of selling books. Which brings us to marketing.

How much of the marketing do you do? Both of my publishers have good marketing departments. RFP has Rachel, their publicist who has been wonderful. Solstice has a team of professionals working night and day to get their books on search engines and websites for sales around the Internet. I promote by writing press releases, blogs, e-mails, and messages to my readers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I also write a bi-weekly column for the Los Angeles Examiner, so I make sure to give my books a plug every opportunity I get.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book(s)? It is extremely important to link blogs and websites to each other to get noticed by search engines. For example, this interview should be linked to my website at and I need to set up a link to it.

Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience with that process? The Legend of Koolura is available as an e-book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in print. Solstice Publishing took care of the entire process, so it was real easy for me. Goodbye Tchaikovsky is only available in print.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In Goodbye Tchaikovsky David Rothman is plunged into the deaf world overnight. The novel shows how teens can cope with adversity. If a person has a willingness to learn and an open mind to explore all possibilities, he can find a way to succeed.

The Legend of Koolura shows the importance of friendships and family and how people need each other to survive and be successful.

Where can readers find you?
Readers can find me at my website:

 About The Legend of Koolura

Koolura isn’t an ordinary girl. She has what every child dreams. She has the COOL.
But, like all preteens, Koolura has doubts about herself. She and her father have relocated so often she has few community ties. Now, at her new school, she feels right at home for the first time in her life.
The Legend of Koolura tells the story of a sixth grade Armenian girl and how she obtained the cool powers. She has the ability to dematerialize at will and reappear where she chooses. She can move objects with her mind and she can even defy gravity!
But will these powers be of any use in stopping a stalker intent on her destruction? The stalker is determined to retrieve Koolura’s unrealized cool powers and hurt any of her friends who get into his way.
As the hour approaches for Koolura’s final confrontation with her nemesis, she may finally find vengeance to the man who killed her mother.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Introducing the cover by for Ciao, by Bethany Lopez

I'm happy to introduce the cover for Bethany Lopez's latest novel, Ciao

Melissa has had a fantastic summer, hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months.


Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novels. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her contemporary Young Adult series, Stories about Melissa. Ta Ta for Now! and xoxoxo are available now. Book three, Ciao, will be released in Aug 2012.
Prior to Wednesday -
13 Jun @BethanyLopez2 will be revealing the cover for #Ciao, book 3 in the #StoriesAboutMelissa series - add TBR PLS RT
On Wednesday -
Check out the Cover Reveal of Ciao by @BethanyLopez2
Check out the Cover Reveal of Ciao, book 3 in the Stories about Melissa series, by fellow indie author BethanyLopez

Monday, June 11, 2012

Welcome, author Erika Lindsen

I'd like to welcome Erika Lindsen to my site today. Take it away, Erika...
So when it came time to find an excellent topic to blog about, Jeanne told me to write about “whatever blows your skirt up.” Which got me thinking…as a female paranormal romance writer, what does blow my skirt up?

First the paranormal. It seems to be a hot genre at the moment. Of course vampires (which I’ve written about: see Tyran’s Thirst) are on top. I think it has to do with the sucking of blood, the exchange of body fluids and the act being so intimate itself. All of that alone equates to one thing: sex. And as the saying goes, sex sells. Let’s hope since my second book is about vampires lol. A close second would be shifters. Now, I love a good shifter novel, but I’ve never quite understood the sexiness of them. If someone, anyone, has an idea, holler at me! Angels are also big, which I think has to do with them being so innocent. We like taking the innocence, equating to virginity, from our characters.

And now for the romance. Love is one of, if not the strongest emotion we as human beings have. Everyone loves someone, whether it’s their parents, a pet or a significant other. We also like to believe love conquers all. Does it really? It better, since I have based a whole career on it. An the alpha male and strong heroine. The picture of romance perfection. We, as romance readers, like our men tough, protective and willing to do anything for his lady. Equally, we like our women to be able to kick some serious ass, and maybe even save the man from time to time.

-Erika Lindsen, author of Soul and Tyran’s Thirst

About the author

Erika Lindsen was born June 12, 1987 in a small town in northern Ohio. She began writing, mostly poetry and songs, at age thirteen. Erika wrote her first novel in 2010. Her first published work entitled, Night of the Doll, was featured in the January 2011 issue of the Horror Zine. As her alter-ego Erika Talbot, her first children’s book entitled, The Three Sibling Adventures: What We Want To Be, was published by Solstice Publishing in March 2011. For her Three Siblings book, she, along with Solstice, have given 100% of the royalties to the Toledo Children’s Hospital, where Erika’s nephew Joey is receiving treatment for leukemia. When not visiting her two nieces and nephew, she writes, (seriously a lot) and spends time with her husband. They have three children (she calls them her kids), a dog named Scooter, a cat named Princess, and a rabbit named Hoppity Hop.
Blood runs across the floor like a winter’s creek. It always puts a smile on his face. As a Taker – a demon sent to entice humans to commit suicide in order to gain their soul for Lucifer – Drebin is at the top of his game. He has already claimed 421 souls and there is no sign of him slowing down. Much like a fine wine, Drebin gets better with age. Alexia Downer is just a few months into her freshman year of college and still undecided about a career. Ally is more than eager to meet new people and live up to the college stereotypes. But her gentle nature may cause her to put trust in the wrong person. The stage is set, the hound is released, but Drebin begins to have second thoughts about his next victim, Alexia, his 422nd victim. Her beauty is mesmerizing and her spirit is captivating. As much as he tries, Drebin cannot bring himself to destroy her, yet he must. He has a higher, more vicious power to answer to, after all…
Tyran's Thirst links:

When zombie hunting, Kathyrn Meloncamp has a great tip: although an ax is more effective, a sledgehammer is more fun. Hell's Gates have opened and blanketed the Earth in smoke. That is the easy pill to swallow. Zombies and vampires have descended from the hole and are quickly making a meal out of every human the planet has to offer. Kat had to learn, and very quickly, how to shoot a gun and wield a machete. While out looking for food, Kat is attacked by zombies but is saved by a man. The thank yous stop there when she realizes he is a vampire named Tyran. Escaping him proves to be useless with his speed and nose for blood. He forces her to keep him company, which could be more deadly than any zombie could ever be.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview with author, Sherry Foley

It's my pleasure to welcome author, Sherry Foley to my blog today.

About Sherry Foley:

Sherry Foley has always had a wild imagination which she has used to craft inspired pieces of fiction that often border on the disturbing. While her creative mind races forward, she keeps her feet planted in Missouri with her husband and three teenage children.

In a nutshell, what is Switched in Death about?

A serial killer who kills two women and then he switches their heads for a very unique reason.  It’s a look into the mind of killer, but the answers will hit home for many. 

How long did it take you to write Switched in Death?

Four months
Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero(s)?  

My male hero is a combination of all the things I’ve sat and listen to my friends say they wanted in a man.  My heroine is strong in her own right and isn’t afraid to take on a serial killer.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one?

I’ve been writing eight years.  Last year I decided to seek publication, well, that and my mentor Shannon K. Butcher threatened me.  (laughs)

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on your journey to publication?

You have to really want it for it to happen. I’ve faced the all too familiar discouragement, self-doubt, and sadly watched a lot of friends quit.  I kept asking myself, “How bad do you want it?”  Determination is key.

Do you have any words of advice for people just getting started on the road to publication?

Refuse to listen to self-doubt and keep your eyes focused on your dream. 

What’s next for you?

My next book, A CAPTIVE HEART, will release in November.  I’m currently working on a detective series.

How much of the marketing do you do?

As much as I can and anything I can think of doing.  I’ve been invited to three book clubs to discuss my book, it is now on the reading counts list at the high school, and in our public library system.  I’m working on book signing events and blog tours.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?

Word of mouth is still the greatest tool, even past all the forms of social media.  Introducing myself and being available to readers has been HUGE!

Where can readers find you?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Interview with author, Natalie Hancock

It's my pleasure to welcome author, Natalie Hancock to my blog today

Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m Natalie Hancock, I was born in Plymouth Devon and moved to Lincoln at a young age. I have been to University of Lincoln, Riseholme College, studying a course on Animal Care, which I did for two years. I now live in the middle of nowhere with my partner, Reece, and our little zoo, which includes my hamster named Crunch, a chinchilla called Hektor and three guinea pigs, Fluff, Smudge and Squig.
We both love animals and hope to have an army of guinea pigs, hamsters and chinchilla’s. Along with a goat.

I started writing when I had this weird, but awesome dream, and because I didn’t want to forget it (which happened a lot) I wrote it down, and I guess I never stopped writing.

The first series I ever wrote was about witches. I tried to get those published but had trouble with con men. So gave up.

It remains to be seen what will happen with those books. They were the first I’d ever written and I would like to get them published so we will see.

After that series, I wrote my first vampire book, which I didn’t finish because I ended up having ideas for a werewolf book, and then another book, this time about demons. I have a lot of unfinished books.

Eternal Darkness is the first vampire erotic book I ever wrote, which was new to me because I kept getting embarrassed over what I was writing. I got over it quickly though!

I am now currently writing the sixth book in the Cursed in Darkness Series.

Tell us about your novel?

Cursed in Darkness is a vampire paranormal romance/erotica series. Eternal Darkness is the first book in the series.

It’s about Layla, a half vampire, half human who is sent to live in the hundred acres of land full of vampires for her own safety. The only problem is she hungers for the vampires’ blood, so when she has lessons with them, not only does she struggle with the hunger raging inside of her, but she has to learn to trust those around her, something she can’t do because she has a dark past, and because of it, she has trouble trusting anyone.

She knows she’s in as much danger inside the land as she was when she was outside the land, and she can’t shake off the feeling that something or someone is watching her, waiting to attack, despite the guards watching her every move.

When she meets one of the tutors, she feels things towards him and wants both his blood and his body, but it’s forbidden to feel the way they do and Layla must fight her feelings otherwise the secrets she desperately wants to remain a secret will get out, and put her in more danger than she already is.

What have you had published to-date?

I’ve only had one book published to date and that’s Eternal Darkness. My next book, Dark Shadows is going to be released April, and Dark Awakening, June.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent? In your opinion are they even necessary?

When I decided to get my work published, my lovely sister helped me out a lot—with a LOT of persuasion. She gave me half of a list of publishers to look at while she looked at the other half. She actually did most of the emailing because, once I looked into them, most of the publishers wanted an author who had previously published their works. Or an agent.

When I did get to one that required neither, I emailed the submission form, along with what they asked on the submission and just waited.

After two or three weeks, I began receiving emails from the publishers Shelby had contacted for me. They all said the same thing. “Your work isn’t right for us at this time.” Now that wasn’t because I wasn’t a good writer, because some of the publishers told me they enjoyed what they read, and thought I was a talented writer. It was because my work was over 150k words long.

When the publisher I had emailed, contacted me back, I honestly expected the worst.

I was surprised. She didn’t tell me what the others had. She said, “if you make these changes, I’ll look at your work again.” I was really excited then. It took me a week to split Eternal Darkness into, Eternal Darkness, Dark Shadows and Dark Awakening and once I sent my work off, within two hours, I had a contract and had basically joined the family.

I don’t think an agent is necessary, in my opinion. If your work is good enough, you don’t need one to be published.

How much of the marketing do you do?

Most of it. I know my publisher does some, but it is my job to do the promoting, and I do. I promote every day, as much as I can. It’s hard work but it’ll get me somewhere one day.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?

You get to meet awesome people! Marketing, for me, isn’t about getting more people to buy my book. It’s about meeting new people and getting to know them. If they want to read my book, they will read it. I can’t make people do anything, and it would be a waste of time to even try.

Where can readers find you?

Twitter: @Author_Natalie


Buy links:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Interview with author and actor, Stephen Jared

As an actor Stephen Jared has appeared in feature films and television series, as well as commercials for both radio and television. His writings, including articles and interviews, have appeared in various publications. In 2010, he self-published an adventure novel titled Jack and the Jungle Lion to much critical praise, including an honorable mention in the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival. He is currently at work on a sequel. Together, they will be the first two stories of an extended series.
Various neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles have been called home for more than twenty years. Prior to that, Stephen was a kid in Cincinnati where he excelled at watching a lot of good movies. The Indiana Jones series pointed him in the direction of Hollywood's classic era. Today, his literary works are largely inspired by old-Hollywood and the action-oriented pulps.

Stephen is thrilled to have Solstice Publishing release Ten-A-Week Steale. The idea for the novel came out of a desire to utilize a lifetime of research on early Hollywood, however, it soon evolved into a violent tale about a soldier and a politician who turn from loving brothers to bitter rivals, with the silent film community as a backdrop. Further information about Stephen’s work as an actor and a writer can be found at

Where did the inspiration for your novel, TEN-A-WEEK STEALE, come from?

My whole life I’ve been a massive fan of classic Hollywood films. So, the concoction starts with those old Bogart and Cagney films. Add to that a love of Hollywood history and its most exciting time being the 20s and 30s. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over twenty years. My passions and personal experiences gave me a strong setting, a foundation, a tone. And then I thought, “I wonder if I could write something that took place back then that captures the feel of those old movies, and has relevance to our present day world.” Soldiers and politicians rushed to the forefront of our news over the last several years in a way they hadn’t since the early seventies. I decided to write about a soldier and a politician who are very much opposites, and yet they’re brothers, with silent film-era Hollywood as background.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent?

I had a short adventure novel set in the 30s that I knew would never get a chance from a publishing house. So, I self-published it. I managed to get nice reviews, won an Honorable Mention in the Hollywood Book Festival, and was told that only five percent of books submitted received recognition. With Ten-A-Week Steale being a more accessible genre, much closer to proper length, I decided to try for an agent and got only rejection notices. I couldn’t get anyone to read page one. I submitted it to two publishing houses that didn’t require an agent. One was Solstice and they thankfully picked it up. From completing the novel to seeing its release took about eighteen months.

The artwork on your cover is very interesting. Can you tell us a little about the artist?

Atula Siriwardane. He lives in Sri Lanka. I saw a piece of his online and it knocked me out. He worked extremely hard on Ten-A-Week Steale. I’m particular about the cover art – I’d imagine more so than most writers. I think Atula ended up very pleased with the work he did on it, and he should be. He did a terrific job. I wanted something that resembled old-Hollywood movie posters, but with a completely different feel from the previous release. 
What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

The years between ’75 and ’85 were incredible for movies. And, as a young boy growing up at that time, I was defenceless against their powers of seduction. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to move from Ohio to Hollywood and take my shot at getting involved. I wrote screenplays for years and came close a couple times but never sold anything. I placed well in a screenplay competition. I wrote at least fifteen screenplays. One day it dawned on me – Hollywood doesn’t make the kind of films I like much anymore. Why am I banging my head against the wall? I had producers tell me they liked my scripts, but that studios wouldn’t be interested. For a long time I ignored this. But at some point my efforts seemed to become ridiculous, especially as almost everything Hollywood was making was part of a brand name. My stories were of no interested to them. Meanwhile, I had been writing some journalistic pieces and getting them published. In 2010, I decided to take one of my old scripts and adapt it as a short adventure novel.
Has your career as an actor helped or hindered you as an author?

Given how incredibly difficult it is to succeed in either profession, I might have been better off focusing on just one. A narrow, tunnel-vision determination is necessary, unless you’re super-connected. That said, I think I’m a better actor thanks to being a writer, and I think my writing has been informed by my acting in a positive way too. Also, on a personal level, I think both professions come with a risk of leap-from-a-tall-building madness. For years, when I received disappointment from one, I would simply focus on the other. Perhaps as a consequence, I’m still standing.  

As a veteran actor, you must have some interesting stories. Would you care to share one with our readers?

I played a small role in Seabiscuit. It was a huge thrill to be on-set in period costume with those stars, and perhaps most meaningful to me – Steven Spielberg was there. His friends Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, who produced all the Indiana Jones films, produced Seabiscuit. These people were directly responsible for me dreaming of a career as an actor and storyteller. Here I am on their set shooting a film that takes place in the thirties! Almost a year later, the film was a couple weeks from release and I couldn’t wait. One Wednesday morning I got a call saying I was cut from the film. It was a pacing issue – the little scene I was in slowed the film and the runtime was already long. It was crushing. Three hours later I got a call from my agent giving me information for a commercial audition for the next day. It was for a fast-food chain called Jack in the Box. I had zero enthusiasm for this at first because I was still upset. But a voice inside me said, “You’ll get this, and it’ll make up for the loss of Seabiscuit.” I’m not a deeply religious person, not metaphysical, never have premonitions about anything, so it was a very strange thing to have a voice that spoke with such certainty. I hadn’t been doing commercials. It was June and this was my third commercial audition for the year. It’s not uncommon to audition for a hundred commercials and get nothing. Anyway, it turned into a job that stretched over seven years. I ended up doing nearly twenty commercials for them. It changed my life. You never know what’s around the corner. It’s like the Sinatra song goes, “Riding high in April, shot down in May!” except in Hollywood it’s more like, “Riding high at two, shot down by four!” That’s life.  

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I just hope to be working hard. I like to work. Not working is difficult for me. I also hope that five years from now comes slowly. The previous five years went by in a flash.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Hemmingway once said that a writer should eliminate the favorite lines and see if the story still makes sense. That had a big impact on me. Basically I think what he’s saying is the same advice given to actors, which is to make the work disappear. One should never see the work an actor does in a performance. Same thing with writing. If the reader glimpses the writer’s efforts it becomes a distraction. Acting should look effortless. Writing is the same. You want it to appear as if it came about spontaneously. I hear people all the time complain that this actor or that actress just plays himself or herself and is the same in every movie. If great acting was all about becoming someone else, someone far removed from who they were in their last performance then Meryl Streep would be the only decent acting talent on the planet. Watch You’ve Got Mail. Look at how spontaneous Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan seem. Consider that every line they utter was done multiple times from multiple angles over and over and over again – and yet the work is invisible.   

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Honestly, nothing comes to mind. When weaknesses are mentioned I try to learn and feel grateful to be learning. When strengths are mentioned I just think, “Yep, I know. Pretty amazing, huh?”

Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.

I write with old-Hollywood in mind. It’s a big romantic language. It doesn’t shy from being sentimental. It goes for the throat. I think subtlety has a place of course, but it’s also a little over-rated. People often feel smart to discover the barely perceptible things, and they like that. But I’m not interested in massaging anyone’s intellect. I want to make readers feel something. I want to make them laugh and cry. I want to punch them in the gut. I want to remind them they’re alive.    

Where can your readers follow you? (include all the purchase links and social media links you want)

I’m easily found on Amazon, Solstice Publishing, Facebook, Twitter (@stephen_jared) – and my own website,

Thank you, Stephen, for stopping by and best of luck with all your endeavors :D