Friday, June 28, 2013

My Guest Appearance on Red Pencil Thursday Blog

Good morning everyone!  Or afternoon depending on where you are when you read this.

I am the most recent victim, the Red Pencil Thursday blog.  RPT blog is done by Mia Marlow.  As an author, you send her your first 500 words, she critiques it, and then posts it on her blog.  I sent her the first 500 words of my novel, An English Summer.  She gave some great feedback and I look forward to using it when I edit again.

I have heard that once you finish your novel you should leave it alone for 2-4 weeks.  So I'm taking that advice and working on something else.  When I can go back to it with fresh eyes, I will also be taking Mia's eyes and several beta readers.

So stop by, read, and if you want, leave a message.

Thank you for your time Mia.

Author Interview with Sarah England

Sarah England, Author
Sarah England: bio

Sarah originally trained as a nurse in Sheffield (UK) and then went on to work as a medical representative for nearly 20 years, specialising in mental health.
She had always wanted to write fiction, but did not begin until around 8 years ago, prompted by a house move and relocation to the South coast. Since then she has had around 140 short stories published, mostly in national magazines and various anthologies; and most recently a 3 part detective serial in Woman’s Weekly.
‘3am and Wide Awake’ was released in May 2013 by Alfie Dog Fiction - a collection of 25 thrillers, many supernatural or medically based - two of her predominant themes.
‘Expected’ is Sarah’s first novel - a comedy launched by Crooked Cat Publishing on 28th June, 2013.

She lives in Dorset with her husband, Don, and spaniel, Harry.

Book Blurb for ‘Expected’ by Sarah England

Sam Sweet is a failed psychiatric nurse from a sink estate in Weston Super mare. Her mother, whose husband ran off with another woman 20 years ago - although you'd think it happened only yesterday - has only one ambition and that is to be a grandmother.
But Sam is terrified of giving birth. She is easily traumatised and has no ambition to return to the sink estate and have dozens of children. She just wants a chance to do something with her life first, to fall in love, to see a bit of the world. Alas, in a drunken stupor she meets Simon - the psychopathic surgeon, who promises her a wonderful life and she believes him - because she is a dingbat and has a lot to learn.
Her latest job is injecting facial fillers and clients are suing because it’s going lumpy. And her best friend, also her boss, is sexually jealous to the point of blind rage because her boyfriend fancies Sam and does little to hide it.
Sam is coping - by shopping and over eating chocolate. But soon piles on weight and sinks deeply into debt, at which point Simon the surgeon starts playing serious mind games; and by the time it dawns on Sam just what a horrific mess she's in - well might as well pass her the JCB because she keeps on digging.
Then as the company spirals downwards and all knives are out for survival - a new MD is brought in from the states – Joel – WOWEE - Madison! Sam and he instantly fall for each other but...her mother is now going bonkers - has booked the wedding....with the psychopathic surgeon....oh it's getting worse.......fireworks? You bet....but that would be telling......

  1. I noticed in your book blurb you say Sam is over eating chocolate?  How is that possible?  I know of no way someone can overeat chocolate.

Ha ha – she does her best, Brenda! Sam is overeating because she is putting on weight and it is mostly with calorie-dense chocolate. Yummy. Just a pity she can’t get into her clothes anymore….

  1. Where do you get most of your inspiration from for your stories?  Life?  

Yes, most definitely. And the lives of others, and the stories I’ve picked up over the years. Sometimes inspiration comes when I’m in the middle of watching a film or reading a book.  Ah, I see I have jumped into your next question…yes just a flicker of a character or an idea I can see to develop. But mostly, with a medical background, my short stories in ‘3am and Wide Awake’ for example – are hugely influenced by experience. With Expected – again, I used to inject facial fillers myself and worked in a team of sales reps….

  1. Others’ books?  TV shows?  Movies?
  2. Since you are writing fiction, and your book is in the medical field, have you ever used real life experiences in any of your writing?

There is a scene in ‘Expected’ where Sam is injecting a facial filler and it won’t come out of the syringe. The product is too hard. Yes – that happened to me and I was pressing the plunger down so hard I broke a sweat. Awful experience. Happily my client was luckier than Sam’s. 

  1. Who is your favorite author?  What makes that author stand out from all of the other authors you read?

Well actually I love Stephen King, because he is a genuinely gifted raconteur – the stories pour from him. He’s the kind of storyteller who has you riveted with idea after idea – and with horror often juxtaposed with comedy too. I write comedy and at the opposite end of the literary scale – thrillers and horror – so I’d have to say Stephen King. But there are many others I admire too – like Ian McEwan, who I really feel is the master of literary prose – superb. 

  1. What is your favorite reading genre?
I enjoy classic literature, historical fiction such as ‘The White Queen,’ comedy, the supernatural and a really good thriller. I couldn’t choose. Not too keen on sci-fi, that’s all.

  1. How many books do you read each month?

I used to read around 3-4, but I’ve been so busy lately, that has probably dropped to around 2.

  1. Do you believe the adage that in order to write well you must read a lot?

Yes – definitely! 

  1. Would you give this advice to anyone else who wants to write?

Yes there is no way round it – it’s essential. It’s a learning tool. An education. A pleasure. However, if you are serious about your work then I’d read in your chosen genre.

  1. How many edits did you have to do on your novel, Expected?
Expected’ was probably written about 4 times. It then went on to be accepted by an online company and I edited it again with their in-house editor. That company then disbanded, and I was left trying to find another home for ‘Expected’ after 6 months of um…expectation…..Happily Crooked Cat liked it immediately and I was asked to edit it again. I then did it again once the kindle version was formatted…. So a fair few times! And every time I picked up more typos…

  1. How long did it take you to write your novel?

Around 3 months or so – but the editing would add another month on to it each time!

  1. Is your family supportive of your writing?

I didn’t get to be a writer for a very long time. I had to earn a living and pay the bills. So I came to my dream quite late in life. As I started writing magazine stories and earned quite well my husband was happy, but recently – with the novel – he is not so happy as I’m not earning. He’s supportive in that he believes I can do it, but I’m not sure he thinks I will be successful….. 

  1. Are they as excited as you are for your debut novel?

No! But my mum and dad are buying the book and telling their friends now – so maybe…. I think with my brother being a professor, you know, I’m not sure they know how hard this has been and how much of a passion it is.

  1. Do you have a special place at home where you write?
I usually jot everything down in my notebook and then type up later in my/our office. I have to be totally quiet. No music. No interference. Just the space inside my head. But at the ideas stage I can be anywhere – as long as my notepad is handy! 

  1. Do you write the same time every day, or just when you get the chance?

I am totally erratic – sometimes 4-5 hours will fly by and others I can’t get started.

  1. Does living on the South coast keep you from writing?  Are you near the beach?
No – we are well inland near a little saxon town called Shaftesbury. I am surrounded by farmland and there are no distractions. It’s so boring – even the cows are bored.

  1. What distracts you from writing?  If anything.
Everything. I have to be totally quiet, which is why living in the back of beyond suits me!

  1. What else would you like my readers to know about your writing and your new book?

Well ‘Expected’ deals with many contentious issues. It’s a comedy in that Sam Sweet, the main character, spars with her dreadful fiancé, biding her time while she plans her escape – but she also injects facial fillers, is terrified of childbirth, and has a background from which she wants to escape. She feels fat, has low self-esteem, and copes badly – with shopping to debt level and trying to pretend she can live the life expected of her without falling apart inside. But she can’t – the serious message – if you like, in a comedy – is that she must find her voice. And it takes her quite a while…..Yes there is a bit of my heart in this book! However, I am also fascinated by the dark side – tarot and the supernatural – so that’s another dimension I work on, hence the collection of horrors and thrillers in ‘3am and Wide Awake.’ Many of those are straight from my 20 years working in mental health. But overall I have to say that my primary goal is to entertain the reader… And I hope that I have achieved that, and will go on doing so.

Here are Sarah England’s links.

Twitter: @sarahengland16
Smashwords: free download of short comedy: coupon = SP93M


Links to books: ‘3am and Wide Awake’ –

Monday, June 24, 2013

Semi-colons: Poor, Misunderstood Punctuation Marks

Good morning, this is a repost from iWriteNetwork.  It is a post by Tristi Pinkston and has given me permission to repost it.  Thanks Tristi!!

Semi-colons have been referred to as the most feared punctuation mark on earth. But just look at it, all round and cute and curly - why the terror? The fear comes in because people don't know how to use it. That's okay - I'm here to make it really simple.

A semi-colon is used to hook together two complete sentences that are closely related. For example:

Today I'm going to sleep in; playing video games all night wasn't a good idea.

Notice that we have a complete sentence before the semi-colon and another complete sentence after the semi-colon. Then notice that they are related. I played video games all night and so I'm going to sleep in - there's a cause and effect here, a definite connection.

Authors get into trouble with the semi-colon in two ways.

First, they try to stick an incomplete sentence there.

Today I'm going to sleep in; dumb video games.

"Dumb video games" isn't a complete sentence. You'd want to use an em-dash here rather than the semi-colon.

The second way to get in trouble is to hook sentences together that really aren't related.

Mark says we need to buy a new car; the kids will be home from school soon.

Okay, that was a super over-the-top example, but you get what I'm saying. If the first sentence and the second sentence aren't directly related, like a cause-and-effect thing or if the second sentence doesn't clarify or enrich the first, etc., they shouldn't be stuck together with a semi-colon.

Semi-colons were used more frequently fifty and a hundred years ago than they are now, but that doesn't mean we should never use them at all. We should use them; they're awesome. (See - like that.) But we should know how to do it correctly so we can be awesome too.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kickstarter project ends in 10 days

Hello everyone.  Just a reminder about my kickstarter project.  I am trying to get as much information out there as possible.  I  would love for some of you to come along for the ride.  Please go to my kickstarter page for my project and donate.  There are cool prizes for those who donate.

3rd Edit done

I am so excited.  I finally just finished my third edit of my novel, An English Summer.  It has taken quite awhile as I needed to add conflict to my story.  Conflict is always required for a good romance novel [and most other stories].

My next step is to get into the hands of several beta-readers.  They will go over the story and find mistakes I can't because I'm the one who wrote it.  They will also tell me if the story flows well or if something else needs to be added or subtracted.

I ended up with 77,145 words.  Not bad, not bad at all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So Close but So Tired

Hello, I have worked the last several hours cleaning up my novel and adding words, plot lines and just general information that I am now tired.  That's the good part.  The second part is, I have only 5 pages left to edit and I am too tired to do so.  My brain has functioned all it's going to for today.  I may get lucky and have a second wind this evening, but for now I'm finished.  Therefore I am close to finishing my third edit but too tired to do so now.

Today I added 1,364 words for a total of 76,045 words.  I think I may hit the 80,000 mark before this is completely done.  The next step is the beta reader.  Oh boy, I'm getting this to come along.  I just hope a publisher is interested.

A romance novel is not easy to write.  You need to know if your characters are good or bad, or just ordinary.  Then, you need to make your readers want to continue to turn the pages.  That is where the conflict comes in.  Without conflict is there really a great love story?

Thanks for reading my blog and hopefully soon you will be reading my books.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today's Editing

I have been fleshing out scenes and adding news scenes to make my story read smoother.  I am still in that process.  Right now I am on page 147 out of 167.  By the time I finish editing today there will be more pages and more words added.  I just don't know how many.  that is always the hard part, never know what will happen when editing.  But it is a necessary evil.  If one writes a book and sends it off to a publisher or agent it is very likely going to be declined.  It has happened and will continue to happen in the future.  I don't want my novel rejected therefore I edit.  I will work for several hours and see where my story takes me.  Have a great day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Author Interview with Marcia Mickelson

Author Bio:

Marcia Mickelson was born in Guatemala and moved to the U.S. as an infant. She began writing her first novel her senior year of high school and finished it more than ten years later. Marcia graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors Degree in American Studies. She is the author of Star Shining Brightly, Reasonable Doubt, and Pickup Games. Marcia's YA novel, The Huaca, was released in May 2013. Marcia currently resides in Texas with her husband and three sons.

Today, my author interview is with Marcia Mickelson whose new book The Huaca, a YA novel, was just released last month.  Thank you for stopping by my blog today and let’s get you introduced to my readers.

Book Info:

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.

1. First, being someone who has their name screwed up 99% of the time, could you please tell us how to pronounce your first name?  Is it mar-cee-uh or is it mar-sha?

Ha, ha. It’s pronounced Mar-sha. It’s always mispronounced and misspelled. I’m used to it by now. I do take some pride in knowing that Marcia Brady spelled it the same way as I do!

2. Now that everyone can pronounce your name, thank you for agreeing to talk with me.  I am sure that my readers and your fans will love learning more about you.  Are you ready to get started?

Yes, I’m all ready. Thanks so much for having me on your blog.

3. Your new book The Huaca is a YA book.  Why did you change to a YA audience?

I hadn’t been interested in YA since I was a teenager, and I had only been interested in reading and writing adult fiction. About four years ago, I began reading more and more YA, and I fell in love with it. They didn’t have YA like this when I was a teenager. For the past few years, I have read only YA. Now, it is very rare that I pick up a book that is not YA. It’s all I want to write now. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and this is my way of holding onto youth. Ha, ha. I don’t know!

4. Where did you get your inspiration for your story?

I was watching the trailer for the movie, The Lovely Bones, and I was really taken with the idea of depicting a character that had passed away, but could observe her family as they lived next door to the man who killed her. Immediately, I began thinking what if… What if a character that had passed away could somehow communicate with her family to let them know? If only there was a way. This line of thinking coincided with a comment my mother said to me shortly after. She said, “why don’t you write something about Mayan myths?” Her comment collided with my ‘what if’s’ from The Lovely Bones, and then idea of The Huaca came to me.

5. Do you always find your inspiration from the same source?

I find inspiration from many different sources—books, movies, news stories, people I meet, strangers I see in public, songs. Inspiration can come from anywhere. In fact, here is a blog post where I talk about inspiration coming from anywhere.

6. I see you went to BYU and earned a BA in American Studies.  Have those studies helped you in your writing?  Has it helped with time, history, inventions, or in any other way?

I love American history and literature. I don’t write historical fiction, but only contemporary fiction, so it hasn’t necessarily helped me in that sense. Having studied the American experience has helped shape my current work in progress. The search for the American Dream has always been a point of interest for me. My current work in progress, tentatively titled “You Don’t Belong Here,” explores one young girl’s search for that dream that draws people to the U.S. every day.

7. Did you meet your husband at BYU?

Yes, I did! We saw each other at a men’s volleyball game at BYU. He kept looking at me; I kept looking at him. My friend and I had met his friend the night before. Well, they didn’t come to talk to us at the end of the game, but we saw them at a dance on campus later that night. During the final song, they finally came to talk to us. We hit it off right away!

8. Is he supportive of your writing career?

He is absolutely supportive of my writing! He carries my business cards around with him and gives them to anyone who will take one. He talks to people about my books all of the time.

9. Are your children old enough to understand what you do?

My boys are 13, 11, and 7. They are old enough to understand that I write books. They’re very excited about my writing and wanted to come to my last book signing. They wanted to be there the whole time. They also like to tell others about my books.

10. Does your husband help you with editing or plotting or anything else with your writing?

He doesn’t do too much of that. I’m a very closed person when I write which means that I do not talk to anyone about my books until they are almost complete. I don’t like to let anyone read any of my manuscript until it’s way over halfway done. I’m very afraid that talking about it will ruin the process for me. If I talk about it too early, I fear that I will not finish writing it. He is, however, excellent at answering questions. So, I can ask him specific questions about things I’m not sure about, such as changing tires or golf.

11. Where do you like to write?  What is your special spot?

I don’t have a specific writing spot. I write on the couch, at the kitchen table, at a desk, in the car—wherever I get a chance!

12. Where can my readers and your fans find your books for sale?

My books can be purchased here:

13. Where can my readers and your fans find you on the internet?

You can find me here:

14. Will you be having a launch party for your book?  If so; when and where?

I had a book signing in Corpus Christi, Texas last month. I have another one coming up in July in San Antonio, TX, and I’m hoping to schedule one for Utah in July.

15. Is there anything else you would like to tell my readers?

I hope you enjoy The Huaca. I loved writing it, and I hope readers will like reading it.  Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Brenda.

Thank you for stopping by and good look with your new novel.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Author Interview with C. David Belt

Author C. David Belt
Today’s author interview is with C. David Belt.  Usually I do interviews with romance writers, but it’s not a fast and hard rule.  So here is something different for everyone.  I hope you enjoy.

Here’s a direct link to my author bio:

Here’s the link to my book website:

The Children of Lilith is the story of the world’s first and only unwilling vampire.  Set in present-day Utah, it’s the story of Carl Morgan, a decent LDS man who loses his wife and children in an automobile accident.  Then he witnesses the murder of his wayward sister at the hands of the beautiful and mysterious Rebecca.  When the police can’t find the killer, he goes searching for her.  He finds Rebecca, but she takes away everything.  She transforms him into the world’s FIRST and ONLY unwilling vampire.  Vampirism is a choice, and you’re choosing to become a serial killer, because you can only survive on HUMAN blood, not animal blood.  Carl is unwilling to murder to survive and he really doesn’t understand what has happened to him.  He’s found and mentored by Moira MacDonald, a two-hundred and seventy year-old Penitent (repentant vampire).  She teaches him how to survive without killing, how to stay true to his temple covenants (in spite of his condition), and how to get justice for his murdered sister.  But to Moira?  Carl’s very existence as an unwilling vampire turns her world upside-down, because Carl is an impossibility.  In the 6,000 years that the Children of Lilith have walked the earth, there has never been an unwilling vampire, because eternal damnation cannot be forced on someone: they must choose it, just as Moira did.  And yet, there’s Carl.  If he can exist somehow, there must be something about Moira’s condition that she doesn’t know.  Is it possible that, after two and a half centuries of searching for redemption and repentance with no hope, perhaps there might somehow be a way back?  Meanwhile, Rebecca’s vampire Master, Michael, plans to unleash a wave of new vampires on the city.  Carl and Moira must stop him before countless innocents are slaughtered.

1.     From your blog everyone will know you are LDS.  How does being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints coincide with writing about vampires?
Great question!  I first read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” when I was nine and have reread it many times since (the latest being this year).  While I have always enjoyed a GOOD vampire story, there is one aspect of the popular vampire mythos that bothers me intensely: involuntary eternal damnation.  (OK, well, THAT and the fact that so many contemporary storytellers make vampires all about sex.)  The whole concept that simply being bitten by a vampire forces you to become one, i.e., the idea that you have NO CHOICE in the matter, never sat well with me.  However, we ARE affected by the choices of others.  You could walk down the sidewalk and get hit by a drunk driver.  The driver’s rotten choices have now changed your life.  Does that mean that it was God’s will that you be crippled?  Of course not.  Does that mean that God has abandoned you?  He will NEVER abandon you.  Perhaps you receive a priesthood blessing and are healed.  If so, wonderful!  However, that isn’t always the case.  The person who chose to drive under the influence of alcohol has taken away choices from you.  Does that mean that you have NO choices anymore?  Of course not.  You simply have different choices.  What is important is what you choose out of the options that you have.  Do you become bitter?  Do you curse God?  Or do you choose to do the best you can in whatever circumstances you are? 
In my mythos, vampirism is a CHOICE. And whatever your reason for choosing it (e.g., love, lust for power, immortality, etc.), it is a deliberate decision to become a serial murderer, because you can only survive on human blood (not that animal blood copout that we see in so many books and movies). It has never been forced on anyone, not in 6,000 years.  Well, not until now…

2.     Your main character, Carl, is LDS; do you write exclusively for the LDS market?
In most vampire fiction, the imagery is Catholic (or some distorted version of Catholicism): vampires fear the cross, the host renders their coffin unusable, holy water burns them, etc.  I’m simply framing my story in an LDS setting, with LDS imagery.  I tried very hard to keep my mythos in conformance with the scriptures and LDS doctrine.  However, I have a number of fans who are not LDS.  As I say in my author’s note for the first book, “The doctrines of my faith figure prominently in this novel. I make no apology for writing from the premise that what I believe to be true is, in fact, true. If you are not of my faith, I hope that you can enjoy this work with the understanding that it is set in a world where the doctrines of my faith are the truth. I believe them to be true. You are free to believe that such a world is fantasy.”

3.     Will your novel appeal to a wide range of people?
In The Children of Lilith, you will find action, mystery, romance, drama, fantasy, pathos, heartbreak, tragedy, and triumph.  And, yes, vampires.  There is something for the military and aviation buff.  There is something for the history fan.  There is something for the theologian.  (Imagine being able to talk to someone who has been around since the days of Adam…) 

4.     There are a lot of vampire stories/love stories on the market.  How does yours differ from everyone else’s?
As far as vampire stories go, I went back to the original Hebrew vampire myths.  Using the premise that Lilith and her Children have been around for six millennia, they would not necessarily conform to the notions that have grown up around vampires in the last couple of centuries.  For one thing, anciently, vampires are depicted as having feathered wings (centuries before anyone thought of putting wings on angels).  I abandoned all the silly stuff that made no sense scientifically, logically, or scripturally: my vampires do not fear the cross, CAN cross running water, CAN enter your home without permission, CAN be seen in a mirror, CANNOT change shape (i.e., cannot become a wolf, a bat, or a rat, or turn into mist), The biggest concession I made to modern vampire-lore is the fangs: their canine teeth do extend and retract to become fangs when feeding.  They do burst into flames in direct sunlight.  But the biggest difference is that they must choose to become a vampire of their own freewill (except for Carl, that is) and that they must consume HUMAN blood to survive.  One unique aspect to my mythos: vampires are driven to corrupt and seduce the innocent, while at the same time, they are compelled to murder the truly evil before they might have a chance to repent.  The urge to kill the wicked is almost overwhelming…

On the romance front, this would be considered a wartime romance.  Carl and Moira are thrown together under horrific circumstances.  Time is very short.  Death is imminent.  In fact, death is PROPHESIED.  But rest assured: Carl is determined to keep temple covenants and remain chaste no matter what happens.  And as for Moira?  She’s been alone for 250 years, but she is also determined to live the principles she believes to be right. 

5.     What is the age group for this book?  Thirteen and up?  Sixteen and up? In other words, who is your audience?
Thirteen and up.  The story is written for adults (and I mean that only in a good sense).  However, some of my fans are teenagers.  Carl is in his thirties. Moira?  Her BIOLOGICAL age is seventeen, but in her time, that was nigh being an old maid.  I never get graphic, but the vampires (other than Carl and Moira) are EVIL people who do EVIL things.  (If you are willing to murder to gain immortality, what moral restraints would you have?)  You know what happens; you just don’t need to know the details. 

6.     Is there a love story between Moira and Carl?
Yes.  Like I said, it’s a wartime romance.  The characters may be immortal, but they expect to die very soon.  However, you may rest assured that it is a CLEAN romance, suitable and interesting for teenagers and married couples alike.

7.     Is it possible for a 270 year old vampire to fall in love?
Oh, most definitely.  Moira was engaged to be married when her fiancé followed Bonnie Prince Charlie and marched to the Battle of Culloden in 1746.  He was captured and executed by the British.  His death and the reprisals that the British took against her and her family are the reasons she chose to become a vampire.  But she soon discovered that her revenge came at too dear a price.  She soon discovered that she had given up everything.  Moira desires to be a mother more than anything.  While a male vampire can sire a child with a mortal woman (the child would be mortal), a female vampire is incapable of bearing a child.  Moira has spent most of her long life as a mid-wife, a nurse, or a physician.  She’s currently a trauma surgeon, but the vast majority of her medical career has been in obstetrics.  In other words, she can’t have a family of her own, so shares in the miracle of birth in the only way she can: delivering babies.  Since the beginning of her repentance (i.e., for 250 years), she has been alone, living among mortals and avoiding her own kind.  When she discovers Carl and finds that, not only is he a Penitent like herself (i.e., a vampire who refuses to murder), her heart opens to the possibility of an end to her loneliness. 

8.     Where did you get the inspiration to write about vampires?
Like I said, I love a good vampire story.  However, the motivation for this particular story is more rooted in agency, choices, consequences, repentance, and forgiveness.  One of my inspirations for this story, believe it or not, is the story of Job.  Vampirism is merely the framework I used to tell a story about good man forced into a horrific situation.  Another inspiration though was an image I got in my head of an assemblage of vampires “ordaining” a new vampire, except I KNEW vampiric conversion must be voluntary and yet the new vampire was being converted against his will. A paradox, I know, but it wouldn’t let me go until I could figure out how that could work.

9.     During your travels, did you hear different stories about vampires?
Yes.  Korean and Philippino, but for the most part, I learned about vampire myths simply by doing research.  I read a fascinating book called, “The Vampire in Europe”.  It’s written by a monk, and it is supposed to a scholarly history of vampirism in Europe.  I’m convinced the author believed every word he wrote.  I also researched the myths about Lilith and the Lilitu extensively. 

10.  What makes vampires so interesting that you would use them as a focus in your writing?
What fascinates me most about vampirism is that, while they have such fantastic abilities, they are also limited.  They can fly, live forever (in theory), regenerate, etc., but a female vampire cannot bear a child.  They cannot enjoy (or consume) regular food!  They cannot survive direct sunlight.  Carl tries to keep his job in spite of his condition.  That presents him with unique challenges.  He cannot go where he wishes.  Moira desires to enter the temple, but she cannot so much as touch the outer walls.  (Actually, she did touch the wall once, but she has never been able to repeat it…)  Carl wants to be reunited with his dead wife and children, but he’s trapped here on earth, unable to die unless he takes his own life (which would prevent him from being reunited with his family) or dies a violent death at the hands of another.  Besides, he is convinced that he is damned—through no fault of his own.  The Children of Lilith trilogy is the only vampire fiction I have ever written.  That story is told now, so I don’t think I will be revisiting that theme again.  A sequel is not possible.  A prequel, perhaps… I miss Moira and would love to tell more of her story.  My current project is a standalone science-fiction novel with no horror elements.

11.  Is your book out, and if not when will it be published?
Volume 1, The Unwilling, is available now as a paperback and ebook.  Links are on my website:  Volume 2, The Penitent, is available as an ebook, but the paperback should be out in a few weeks.  Volume 3, The Prophecy, is available as an ebook.  The paperback is due out next May.  The publisher is planning hardcover editions of both volumes 1 and 2 to be published sometime this year. 

12.  Where can my readers and your fans find you book for purchase?
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, or directly from the publisher.  All those links are on

13.  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your book? 
It’s been a fun ride telling the tale or Carl and Moira.  I miss them.  I wanted to tell a good story.  I hope readers enjoy it! 

Thank you for your time.  Good look with your writing.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Author interview with Donna K. Weaver

Donna K. Weaver, author

Donna K. Weaver has always loved reading and creating stories, thus she’s been ever entertained. A Navy brat and U.S. Army veteran, she’s lived in many U.S. states as well as South Korea, the Philippines, and Germany. An avid cruiser, she’s sailed the Pacific four times. When she retired from Shorei Kempo Karate with a black belt, she decided it was time to put her imaginary friends and places on paper. She lives in Utah with her husband. They have six children and eight grandchildren.


When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.

Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

Now that we know a little more about Donna and her book, let's ask some questions.

1.      We all, at one time in our lives have had disagreements with someone.  So, did you have a high school teacher you hated/got into disagreements with, that you wanted to put her in peril, but couldn’t so you did it in one of your novels?

I didn’t start putting my stories down until just a few years ago. I’m not a vengeance kind of person. In fact, people who waste their lives hating others bore me stupid because that’s such an alien mindset for me. Life’s too short to be spent in such negative emotion.

2.      If you didn’t have troubles with any of your teachers, why choose a teacher as your heroine’s profession?

When I took some tests at the end of high school to give me a hint of possible future careers—one was for my aptitude and the other for things I was likely to enjoy—I tested really high as a teacher. I was all women’s lib then and no way would I consider something like that. At that age I was going to be a lawyer and then run for president. Yeah. Right. Now I wouldn’t even run for city council. But I do enjoy teaching. Besides, for the story, it was a way for Lyn to have the summer off to go on a 28-day cruise to New Zealand.

3.      I didn’t know people had surgery on their intrigue.  Why did you pick this particular type of surgeon?

Surgery in the intrigue? lol I decided having a doctor would be handy if you were stranded on an island. But I wanted Braedon to be a specialist, too. To be honest, I can’t even remember why I chose this Thoracic medicine. Maybe it had something to do with my husband having nearly died from blood clots in his lungs.

4.      Ok..Ok…I’m joking.  What is so intriguing about your surgeon?  What is so special about him that all of the ladies would be interested in him?

I don’t know that all the ladies would be interested in him. He’s not a gorgeous hunk like Jori, who really does draw people’s attention with his looks. Braedon is the right guy for Lyn because they connect and have common interests. Since everything is filtered through Lyn’s point of view, the reader will share all her preferences and biases.

5.      I’ve not seen books set in American Samoa before.  Have you been there before?  What was your reason for choosing such a remote location?

I have not been to American Samoa, but I did live in the Philippines for two years. The cruise itinerary in A Change of Plans is based on a real one, and one of its stops is Pago Pago, American Samoa. It’s a region rich in little islands far enough out of the regular shipping routes to not be noticed. Someday I want to visit American Samoa.

6.      How often do your imaginary friends speak to you?  What do they tell you?  Any good secrets you want to share with my readers?

Since I was a little girl I’ve told stories to myself as I went to sleep. When I was younger they were based upon TV shows or movies, so essentially fanfic. It’s a lot more satisfying now that I’m able to create my own worlds.

7.      Do your imaginary friends get a percentage of your earnings?  If not, are they upset over your decision not to share?  If so, what do they spend their share of the money on?

For most authors, writing isn’t a full-time job. At this point my imaginary friends and I are of a mind. We’ll use any money to keep learning and improving my craft.

8.      Are your imaginary friends like the elves making shoes for the cobbler?  Do they type your story while you’re sleeping?  Are there just pages or chapters waiting for you when you get up in the morning?

We blast through the first draft of the book. My last book—sequel in a YA fantasy—I did in 18 days for NaNo. It’s essentially a very long and detailed outline. The real writing then begins, when I start editing.

9.      On to more serious and less goofy questions.  Is your husband supportive of your writing career?

My husband is amazing. Seriously, I couldn’t ask for someone more supportive. I’m making him come to my first solo signing later in June because he’s so good at talking to people about my book.

10.  Does your husband proof read for you?  Does he make any editing suggestions to you?

He doesn’t proof because he’s dreadful with grammar and spelling, but I read it out loud to him. He gives me feedback on what he thinks works or doesn’t work, and by reading it aloud I can catch things I miss on the screen.

11.  Do you listen to his suggestions when he makes them?

Sometimes. =D

12.  Where can my readers and your fans find your books; either regular or ebooks?

13.  Is there anything else you want my readers and your fans to know about your current book?

I guess just that I hope they enjoy my little story. The characters have become dear friends to me. I wish I could really go and visit them.



Cover of Donna K. Weaver's latest book

Monday, June 10, 2013

Productive Writing Day

Both yesterday and today have been very productive writing days.

Yesterday I was able to edit 21 pages and add 2,180 words to my manuscript.  I fleshed out some scenes and made them read better and more smoothly.

Today, I have edited 16 pages and added 1,055 words.

It feels good knowing my story reads better and flows as it should.

Author Interview with M. Irish Gardner

Today’s guest is author M. Irish Gardner.  Thank you for allowing me to be the first person to do an author interview with you for my blog.  My readers and I look forward to learning more about you and your writing.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be a guest on your blog! It makes me feel like I can actually call myself an author now! A little information about myself: I live in on the east side of the Phoenix metropolitan monstrosity with my hubby of 10 years and two young daughters. I am a homemaker and love being around my family. I write whenever the muse strikes - 4am or 4pm, it doesn't really matter. My husband is very supportive of my craft, so we trade nap times as needed. 
I have always had a very vivid imagination, but didn't dive into actually writing down the scenes in my head until about seven years ago. I spent those years making lots of common mistakes, learning about them after the fact, then figuring out I should probably learn a bit more about what I was getting into. I joined the American Night Writers Association, then two months later was appointed to serve on their Board of Directors. After a very intense year of personal growth within the writing industry, I became an editor with Xchyler Publishing, an innovative publishing company designed to find new talent. I anonymously submitted a short story to their quarterly open submissions. The judges thought it was decent enough to publish, so my first published work, Reformation, a psychological thriller, will be coming out July 31st.
Often, the company will encourage the short story authors to submit full novels, so I queried my historical romance. That time, they knew it came from me, but I had established my ability, so they accepted. That doesn't mean my novel didn't need significant work. Actually, I believed it needed a major overhaul, which my editor in chief confirmed. I am currently in the process of rewriting the entire thing. A very liberating, empowering act.  That novel is due to come out in January, 2014.

1.     You said you started writing seven years ago, what was the first thing you wrote?
My first project was actually my historical romance, which I unwittingly filled with cliché characters and scenes. I hadn’t realized how influenced I was by other beloved romantic tales, either in book or movie form, and though I thought I had something original, research proved otherwise. I learned that I needed to give the reader what they wanted, just not in the way they expected it.
2.     From all of the scenes that come to your mind, which ones have your written down?
I write down just about every scene that comes into my head, either in “gist” format, or with full narration, dialogue, and action—just so I never forget a usable idea. In their infant states, many are not ready for any sort of use, but you never know where inspiration can originate. I keep notebooks by my bedside, my phone is filled with little thoughts, and occasionally I excuse myself from polite company so I can scribble like a madwoman as the revelation flows. I’ve learned that my brain will not hold on to ideas for long, so I must record them somehow.
3.     Did you use any of those scenes in a novel or short story?
All of my work originates from one, or a combination, of those recorded scenes. I woke up in the middle of the night one time to the sound of rushing water. While I was cleaning up the result of my daughter putting an open water bottle on the edge of our ottoman (we have a master suite—for some reason I feel the need to explain that I don’t sleep on the living room couch . . . often), an idea came to mind. I wrote it down, and about three notebook-pages later, I had the beginning version of my short story set to be released in a psycho-thriller anthology in July.
4.     Have you ever used real people fictionally in any of your stories?
In the original version of my historical romance, I used a real name when describing an individual’s old Dutch-style home in Kingston, New York, where my book takes place, and whose home actually still exists. I also included a story about the British soldiers burning said village, but with a rewrite, many things will change. For instance, the time is now set as during the American Revolution, instead of fifteen years after. The people and situations have changed a bit, and I will likely mention a few military and political leaders’ names, but not have them as actual characters in the story.
5.     Your book is being published in January 2014, what is its name?
Yes, that is the tentative release date, the 17th of January, and its working title is Dry Rain, although that may change, too. I think that title fit my previous version better.
6.     How excited are you to finally get one of your stories published?
Um, extremely? It was something that I knew I had potential for; I’ve rarely set my mind to something without finding one way or another to accomplish it, but this is something really special to me. My short story’s first draft was written in a day—testament that my writing ability and comfort had grown over the years. My full-length novel has taken SO much work and time and effort, and still will, so I feel that the sense of accomplishment will be greater.
7.     When will you have your launch party so everyone can celebrate your accomplishment?
The release party will happen on a Facebook page created by the Marketing Department of Xchyler Publishing. Check frequently on their page:, and my page: for more information!
8.     Where can my readers and your fans find your book for purchase?
My book will be available through Amazon (Kindle and paperback), Kobo, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble Nook. Possibly even Barnes and Noble stores if the anthology gets as wide recognition as their last one: Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology.
9.     How old are you children?
I have a four-year-old and a three-year-old. They are my little monkeys!
10.  Do they understand what you do as a writer, or do they just know that you spend a lot of time on the laptop?
A little bit of both. We talk about the people that write the books I read to them each night, and I explain that I write books, too. I try to help them understand that my job is to also help other authors make their books even better than they already are. Both of my careers are extremely fulfilling. As an editor, I develop my technical abilities. As a writer, I develop my creative abilities. I love every part of it and appreciate that my girls are best friends together and love to create their own imaginative worlds.
11.  Where do you write?  By that I mean, do you have a specific place in the house you type every day or just where ever you are when you decide to write?
I have an office, but I also like going to the library to work, or Starbucks, which is dangerous because I love their extremely fattening hot chocolate. Basically, anywhere that has a/c and the internet is fair game. My girls especially love Chic-Fil-A where they can play and eat while I type away.
12.  Are you working on a new book now?
I am currently revamping my outline for my historical romance, which is due in three days. I like to have my outlines really solid and fairly detailed so there is no excuse for writer’s block once I dive in. I outline the when/where, what happens, what’s revealed, and what’s foreshadowed. I also create in-depth character sketches, so I know how they’ll behave in any given circumstance.
13.  When will your next book come out?
As mentioned above, Reformation will be coming out July 31st in the A Dash of Madness: A Thriller Anthology. And Dry Rain (working title) is planned for January 17th, 2014. We’ll see how close I can get to that!
14.  Where can my readers find your webpage or blog?
I do not have a website at this point, but my Facebook author page is: Feel free to stop by and “like” what I have going on! I love what I do and can’t wait to do more!
15.  How can my readers contact you?

Please visit M. Irish Gardner's Facebook page and her publisher to learn more about her and books.