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Author Spotlight: Barbara Eppich Struna

Who is Barbara Eppich Struna?

Internationally best-selling author Barbara Eppich Struna is fascinated by history and writes a blog about the unique facts and myths of Cape Cod. Her published books are The Old Cape House and The Old Cape Teapot; her third novel in the Old Cape Series is The Old Cape Hollywood Secret. Besides being a storyteller at heart, she is currently president of Cape Cod Writers Center, a Member in Letters of the National League of American Pen Women, a panelist at the International Thriller Writers – Thrillerfest 2016, and a member of Sisters in Crime: National, New England, LA  and two writing groups.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

My husband and I uprooted our family of three teenagers and moved from Ohio to Cape Cod into an old 1880 house in historic Brewster. We had just turned forty years old. In my backyard, I uncovered a pattern of red bricks beneath ten inches of dirt. There was nothing under the layer of bricks so I placed them in my garden, but a small spark in my head began to grow into a mystery/suspense story about the old house. Then I heard of the legend of the Whydah pirate ship, Maria Hallett and her pirate lover, Sam Bellamy.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?  

I listen to music. I find it difficult to write in silence. The key to this musical inspiration lies in choosing music with no vocals, rhythm, or melody. The background music in movies or video games is the best. If someone is chasing you, you need to feel the fear or anxiety of the chase, the exhilaration of reaching the top of a mountain, or finding a clue that takes you further in your story.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

Finding the time. When I began to write the story, I had three teenagers, with a few going off to college and the surprise of two more babies that arrived after we moved. With our sole income coming from my husband, who is a professional artist, our financial state was always a challenge…and our 1880 house was always in need of repair. It holds a lot of secrets.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?  

My present day character, Nancy Caldwell, is modeled after me and the story reflects almost 50% of my life; of course her life is a lot more exciting. I never found treasure but one’s treasure is unique to what you value the most. I think I’d still like to spend a day with Nancy Caldwell.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

Since 2013, I have written and published two other novels with Nancy Caldwell as the present day character. My books are written using alternating chapters between time periods.  Nancy is the vehicle that moves my reader through the story. Nancy finds a clue in present day and then in the next chapter, you meet the character from the time period and discover why she found the clue or why she didn’t find it. I’m working on the fourth novel in this series.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas come from the reality that surrounds me. Whatever I write is influenced by actual events and then expanded. I also need to become familiar with the time period that is featured in the story, so there is a lot of research.

What is something you are not good at doing?

I do not do well with file cards or graphs; I never know what my characters will do next. I do know the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. I just don’t know how my characters will go from ‘a’ to ‘b’, that’s the fun part. I do not enjoy nor utilize the process of knowing the complete plot of my story. I find it to be to confining.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

History surrounds us every day, you only need to look and find it. Pay attention to your reality.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Walk the beaches, old roads, and explore the places tourists never go.  When my husband, a professional artist, and I walk, he’s always looking up for shadows, colors, or the play of light on the grasses, dunes and water, while I’m looking down searching for treasures or any unique item that may appear. We hold hands so we don’t trip as we walk.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write everyday!

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

Surprisingly…the villains or bad guys, I think it’s because I never encounter bad people; I try to avoid them. But they make for very interesting characters.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Pay attention to who and what surrounds you. Don’t be afraid to take a step off the familiar path of life.

Purchase Barbara Eppich Struna’s Novels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Barbara Eppich Struna

Barbara’s Blog

http://barbarastruna.blogspot.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/strunabooks/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter  GoodyStruna

https://twitter.com/GoodyStruna

Author Spotlight: Elliot Parker

Who is Elliot Parker?

Elliot Parker is a 39-year-old aspiring writer transplanted from the North into the Deep Deep South. Originally from a scientific research background, she incorporates her love for research and science into every story. She is always looking for the perfect blend of creative and analytical. When not writing she consumes inhuman amounts of chai tea and searches for another animal to add to her menagerie.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

I was about six weeks post-partum, feeling like I was losing my mind and needing some sort of outlet for my hormone soaked, sleep deprived brain. I had been reading like a fiend and one day I thought, “maybe I’ll write something”. It felt like a way to help myself feel human again and exercise more than just the mommy part of my brain. I was hooked as soon as I started and haven’t quite since. That was nine years ago.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

Music is hard because the lyrics can be distracting but sometimes I will use music to inspire a mood. Eating is definitely a strange thing that I do when I write because I absolutely must have gummy bears. Haribo gummy bears. The sugar keeps me going, and the chewy texture allows me to relieve some stress while I write. If I am mad I can bite their little heads off.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge was getting serious about publishing it. Writing the story down was easy when the audience was one (me). Deciding that it was something I wanted other people to see meant editing, revisions, grammar, punctuation, continuity… Going back over your own story two dozen, three dozen times almost makes you hate it by the end. Trying to find a way to keep going back and re-reading, keep giving it to editors and making myself comb through comments and consider how to fine-tune the manuscript was the only part that felt like actual “work”. The drive to succeed and see my book on the shelf at my local bookstore is what helped me to overcome that obstacle.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

If I had to pick a character to spend the day with it would probably be Remmy. Remmy is a very enigmatic secondary character. He acts as the butler and general care-taker to cranky reclusive Adrien. Remmy is enigmatic even to me, the author. He shares his secrets at the strangest times, while I’m driving the car, in a meeting at work, talking on the phone to my sister. I’d love a day just to sit down and talk to him, figure out what makes him tick and where exactly he came from. He is very secretive about his origins. Plus he is an excellent cook!

What’s next for you and your writing career?

Next up is book two in the series. I feel like the second book is slower going than the first, then I remind myself I took seven years to write the first one. My professional career has taken off since book one and I have much less time to devote to writing. Having said that, I still need that creative release just as much as I did nine years ago. I sneak in bits of writing in the morning, during my lunch hour, and before bed at night. I still carry a digital recorder around in my car to dictate ideas to myself for later.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

When I’m actively writing I try not to read books in my genre, Urban Fantasy. So most of my inspiration comes from television, music, art, and good conversations with friends and family. I am definitely one of those people who while just walking down the street will narrow in on the smallest detail and a story will blossom. Why is that cat staring off into space? He is clearly downloading information to the mothership about human beings, because the takeover of our planet is imminent since these cat sentinels have been living among us for so long, learning our ways. These kinds of thoughts are constantly percolating while I walk around every day.

What is something you are not good at doing?

This is a question that I should not answer for myself. I tend to think that I’m not good at anything. While that seems like a completely negative thing to say, I have learned to embrace this aspect of my personality and understand that it drives me towards success in many things, because I look for outside validation of my skills. Let me limit this to writing. In writing I would say that I am not good at descriptions. This is for two reasons; as a reader I don’t like lengthy descriptions when I am immersed in a book and also because I am a plot driven writer. The very first thing I get down on the page is the action and the journey. It takes me several passes to convey the setting, emotions, and characteristics of the people and places.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

In my many craft books on writing, the one thing that always spoke to me is theme. Having a theme that resonates throughout your story and characters is very important to me. The theme of my novel Demon, Interrupted is self-acceptance. We meet the main character Evangeline when she has completely denied who she is and what her powers are. We watch as necessity forces her to accept her ancestry and powers and step forward into a supernatural world. Just when you think she has it, she becomes half demon and the journey starts all over again. Each one of the characters has some sort of journey through self-acceptance whether they find success or failure shapes their personalities.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I can be found with animals. I have ridden horses since I was a young girl and continue to teach lessons and support my daughter with her riding career. I have two dogs that I love to take hiking and kayaking. And six chickens who constantly remind me that they are more closely related to lizards than mammals.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

“Just because you can dribble a basketball doesn’t mean you can be in the NBA.” A writing friend told me that early in my journey. We can all write but that doesn’t mean you can become an author. I never stop trying to learn the craft of writing. I consume books, take courses, ask for advice. I am a scientist by education and training, not a writer. I have a lot to learn and a lot to practice, I want to put in my 10,000 hours to become great at writing.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

My favorite characters that I have created are definitely Elan and Suvan. I mostly love them for the way that they were created. I am a plotter to the core. My stories get rough outlines, detailed outlines, chapter outlines, scene outlines…all before I ever write a word. Elan and Suvan didn’t appear in any outline. I was in the middle of writing a scene where Evangeline had just taken refuge with Adrien and Remmy and as if my fingers had a mind of their own they typed the classic line “there was a knock at the door” and Elan and Suvan burst into the room. They had fully formed personalities from the start and have been running their own show ever since. Even when I do include them in my outlines very rarely does it end up that way on the page.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

I have said more than once in my life that If my teenage self could meet me today she’d kick my ass. I was very much a rebellious, down-with-the-man, teenager full of anger and angst. I wish I could go back to that time and convince myself to channel all that energy into something else. Energy is such a precious commodity in my life now that I can’t believe I wasted so much of it on railing against imaginary oppressors. Spend less time being angry with what other people say you cannot achieve and more time working on achieving it. That is what I would tell my teenage self.

Purchase Elliot Parker’s Novel

 

https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Interrupted-Elliot-Parker-ebook/dp/B07771QJ2K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528216809&sr=8-1&keywords=Demon%2C+Interrupted

 

Author Spotlight: Arleen Williams

Who is Arleen Williams?

Arleen Williams is a novelist, memoirist, and co-author of a dozen short novels in easy English for adults. When not putting pen to paper, Arleen teaches English as a Second Language at South Seattle College where she has worked with immigrants and refugees for over three decades. To learn more, please visit www.arleenwilliams.com and www.notalkingdogspress.com.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

My first book was actually a memoir rather than a novel. The Thirty-Ninth Victim is the story of my family’s journey before and after my youngest sister was murdered. The case was open for twenty years, and the effects on my family and myself were profound. Writing was the tool I used to make sense of my world. Little did I know that I would go on to write three novels and two more memoirs (Pub 2018 and 2019).

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

No quirks or rituals. I joke about my magical pen, but it is nothing more than that. Usually I create in long hand, pen to paper. Sometimes, not always, with a timer. I type up the new work and do all editing at the keyboard. If I’m working at home, I need absolute silence. If I’m in a coffee shop, I prefer loud music, the louder the better, loud enough to blot ambient conversation. If not, I start listening. And taking notes. A bad habit that has helped develop my ability to write dialogue, so maybe distraction is a good thing.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

Every piece of work presents unique challenges to each writer. I was speaking with an acquaintance after a reading the other night who told me she’s moved from writing short stories to poetry for the immediate gratification that come with the completion of each project. I write what I love – books. But I certainly I understand the challenge of working for months, years even, to finish a manuscript. With memoir, there’s the added challenge of memory. The simple act of remembering changes memory, especially distant memory. My current project is the story of my years as an expat in 1980s Mexico City. Talk about challenge! Fortunately, I’ve reconnected with a number of the women who shared the expat experience with me, and we’ve had the joy of swapping memories. These women and their stories have become an integral part of The Ex-Mexican Wives Club (Pub 2019).

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

That’s easy – my youngest sister. Maureen inspired The Thirty-Ninth Victim and she appears in my other two memoirs as well. Her visit to my home in Mexico City at age eighteen in August 1982 was the last time I saw her. What would we do?

I stare out the front window, pen in hand, a green wall of spring foliage between me and the street. Dogs are barking. Boys are hitting a plastic baseball. Roofers are pounding next door. I try to imagine a day with Maureen. She would be fifty-five now. A woman, not a girl. Where would life have taken her, where would she have taken life, had it not been stolen from her? What would we do with only one day? Love each other. Intensely.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

I have two memoir irons in the fire. I’m polishing a memoir of motherhood, memory loss, and writing memoir titled Mom’s Last Move for release later this year. I’m also doing a rewrite of my third memoir, The Ex-Mexican Wives Club.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration? People and lives lived. I am an ESL teacher at an urban community college. I have worked with immigrants and refugees for over thirty years. My students, their determination and resiliency despite the horrific challenges they had to overcome simply to reach my classroom and the ongoing threats they face inspired my three novels. My memoirs are inspired by personal experience and the need to explore and understand this chaotic world.

What is something you are not good at doing?

I’m not good at settling into writing, and I’m not good at getting up to stretch once I do. Like right now. My back and shoulders are screaming at me to put down this pen, go for a walk, make dinner, drink a glass of water. Move! But ideas are flowing and it’s hard to stop. Starting, stopping, starting again are a challenge.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

Experts say a writer should think about her audience when she writes. I think of neither audience nor message. My focus is on the story I see in my mind’s eye, the story I struggle to shape into words. Still, if I look at my body of work – novels and memoirs – I would say they all carry a message of understanding, acceptance, and inclusion. We are a diverse world with deep fissures. The ability to embrace those different from ourselves with open-minded appreciation of those differences could go a long way toward peace and reconciliation locally, nationally, and internationally.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Like many writers, I am an avid reader. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I cycle, hike, garden and spend time with family and friends in any combination of those activities.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

I was fortunate to have two gifted writing instructors. From Robert Ray, I learned to place my feet on the floor, breathe deeply and write from the core. I learned the value of putting in the seat time. Jack Remick once sent me a google image of a graffiti artist, spray can and stencil in hand, that reads: If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission. I believe these two acts – dedicating time to your work and allowing yourself the freedom to find voice – are essential to developing creativity.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

In the three novels of The Alki Trilogy – Running Secrets, Biking Uphill, and Walking Home – there are two characters I love dearly. Gemila Kemmal, or Gemi, is a middle-aged Ethiopian refugee who operates her own home healthcare business. Mama Lucy is an aging hippie, potter. Both of these women are surrogate mother figures – loving and gentle, strong and tenacious – with hearts of solid gold. Neither is perfect. Both are aware of their foibles yet willing to face them head on.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Ask questions. Face your fears. Love yourself.

 

Purchase Arleen William’s Novels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Arleen Williams

 

Website: aw@arleenwilliams.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/arleen_aw

Author Spotlight: Caroline A. DeJong

Who is Caroline A. DeJong?

Caroline A. DeJong grew up in Kent, Washington. Determined to get out of the rainy weather, she moved to Los Angeles for college, attended Loyola Marymount University, and graduated with a BA in Screenwriting. There, she was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and the Women’s Film Society. She is currently an MFA student at Lindenwood University. DeJong also writes screenplays and short stories. Her first screenplay was made into a TV movie on PixL channel in 2017, “Woman of the House.” DeJong currently lives in Los Angeles.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

I decided to write my first novel in college. I wanted more prose in my life. I was writing screenplay after screenplay for classes, and I missed prose. I drew on my experiences in college and just took it from there.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

I listen to the Titanic soundtrack over and over! I sometimes hum.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was writing freely. I worried at the beginning what other people would think of me writing about topics like sex, abortion, and drinking. Would they be ashamed that I wrote such words? But honestly, at the end of the day, this was my story. I had to keep it authentic to the college experience. This stuff happens in college. This stuff happens to my characters. And there is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the story I wanted to tell, and I was surely going to tell it.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

I would choose Stacy! She is wild and carefree and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. I think she would get me out of my introverted shell. I would say that we’d do something crazy… something totally original.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

Book 2 in the “These Four Years” series, focusing on Sophomore year, will be released later this year! Look out for it!

Also, I am hoping to write a few more screenplays. That was my first love, after all.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

I am inspired by those around me. I have a notebook in my purse that I use to write down ideas. I love to observe people. I would say that most of my ideas come from everyday life. I observe, listen, and write. Well, I eavesdrop!

What is something you are not good at doing?

What am I not good at doing? I do not love proofreading! It is tedious and boring… yet very necessary. I force myself to do. I usually reward myself with a glass of wine.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

I wouldn’t say there is an explicit message in my books. I just hope that readers enjoy themselves while reading my books. These books are supposed to be fun. I would suggest “A Lovestruck Freshman” as this summer’s beach read!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love Zumba and yoga. I also enjoy cooking and eating my fiancé’s baked goods. I am excited for summer, as this is the time of year I take sunset walks. That is one of the most enjoyable things for me this time of year.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write what you notice. An instructor told me this at the Creative Writers’ Workshop at Duke in summer 2007. What poignant advice it turned out to be! I watch and observe everything now. You never know what will make good fodder.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

Stacy is one of my favorite characters, as she is so bold, so different from me. I also enjoyed writing Ryan. Ryan is the ultimate jock and pretty boy, yet he is sensitive and sweet. You don’t meet a lot of those kinds of boys in college. But I promise you—they exist!

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

I would tell my teenage self to stress less. Work hard, write often, and do every homework assignment. It all matters. And at the end of the day, wipe that stress away and go to sleep with a full heart. I wish I had been more carefree in high school and college. I was also very focused, and sometimes that focus interfered with fun. Work hard and also have fun! You deserve it.

Purchase  A Lovestruck Freshman – These Four Years series

Free CreateSpace Book Cover Template.

https://www.amazon.com/Lovestruck-Freshman-These-Four-Years-ebook/dp/B077BX9K1D/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527867762&sr=8-1&keywords=a+lovestruck+freshman

Connect with Caroline A. DeJong

www.carolineadejong.com

Check out her short stories and daily thoughts!

Twitter: @carolineadejong

https://touchpointpress.com/authors/caroline-a-dejong/

Author Spotlight: A.R. Cooper

Who is A.R. Cooper?

A.R. Cooper loves reading and writing YA Fantasy and paranormal romance. When not writing or reading, she enjoys her husband and family, friends, Zumba, Martial Arts including Maui Thai, and hack-n-slash/dungeon crawler video games. She’s a wife, mom, and a writer. Her favorite genres are YA Fantasy, paranormal romance, urban and epic fantasy, and historical. A.R. Cooper is the YA pen name of author Andrea R. Cooper – adult fantasy, paranormal and historical romance

What motivated you to write your first novel?

Actually, since childhood, I created characters and plots. Neighborhood kids and I would act and ad lib the stories. Then I turned to writing as the ideas wouldn’t stop after I became an adult.

What strange things do you do when you write?

I have to have music or some type of noise in the background while I write. It’s difficult for me to sit down at the computer with complete silence.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was writing out Beth. Even though I read a ton of YA books and written a dozen adult novels, this was the first time I wrote a YA story. I overcame it by sending to my beta readers and having friends with teens review early drafts of the books too. Their feedback was invaluable.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

I would spend the day with Amar and find out all about Ancient Egypt J.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

Currently, I’m plotting out Ancient Bloodlines, Book 2.5 in the Shadow Bloodlines series as well as brainstorm for Book 3 in the series.  Can you tell I have writer ADD and have to jump around on different projects? LOL

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Everything and everywhere. From a dream to overhearing a snippet of conversation to daydreaming help me with ideas.

What is something you are not good at doing?

I’m terrible at arts and crafts. Like Pre-K kids are better than me. So painting, drawing, sewing, even cutting and gluing things turn out horrible.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

That love is real and conquers all.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, watch TV and movies, Zumba, martial arts, but mostly just spending time with my family.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Keep writing, read, repeat.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

I love Amar from Shadow Bloodlines. He is a complex character trying to make amends for the past, yet being drawn into love he doesn’t think he deserves.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Write now while time is open and easy. Later, with family and responsibilities, time flies by too quickly.

 

Purchase A.R. Cooper’s novels

Shadow Bloodlines

Books2read.com/u/bQZZ5D

Deadly Bloodlines

Books2read.com/u/4Xg7Qe

Connect to A.R. Cooper

https://www.facebook.com/arcooperYA/
https://twitter.com/AR_Cooper_YA
http://www.andrearcooper.com/viking-fire.html

 

Author Spotlight: A.D. Trosper

Who is A.D. Trosper?

I’m a writer, wife, mother, and ruler of the world (when my characters let me be)

What motivated you to write your first novel?

My husband. He kept telling me I had in me to write a book. I didn’t believe him for the longest time, but he kept encouraging me. So I finally decided to try it, thinking I might able to write one, standalone book. Yeah, that turned into a three book series with a prequel and fourth book in the works, another series with two books in it (a third book, and a novella planned), and another series with two books done and a third I’m working on. Plus several books not related to these series planned. I guess he was right, there was a book (and then some) in me.

What strange things do you do when you write?

I listen to music, preferably music with lyrics that I frequently sing along to while writing. Usually I choose a song that fits the scene or mood of the book (or my mood at the time) and set it to loop. It tends to fade into the background while I’m writing. And I use headphones so I don’t drive my family crazy. I used to munch on snacks while I wrote (Funyuns, YUM!), but that also encouraged my waist and thighs to expand, plus they aren’t particularly good for you. So I quit snacking while I write. Coffee is wonderful writing fuel, so I often have a cup of that nearby as well.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge with my latest story was the last chapter. It was very persnickety about how it wanted written. I started it, got about 1500 words in, and deleted it three times before it finally fell into place. I overcame it by being stubborn.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

Probably Jo. I think her and I would get along just fine. As to what we would do, I would have her take me to visit the places on the other side of the veil.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

The third book in my Raven Daughter series, the third book in my Bound series, the fourth book in my Dragon’s Call series, and many more books. I love writing, so it’s something I intend to do for quite some time. I’m also working on getting them in all sales channels. For years they’ve been exclusive to Amazon so they could be part of the Kindle Unlimited program. Now I think it’s time to branch out. I’ve already begun with Bound by Time, and as the time in KU ends for the other books, instead of renewing them in the program, I will be making them available across all platforms as well.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s something I see, sometimes it’s something I feel. As far as ideas, I don’t get them, they get me. Usually when I’m trying to sleep. They show up and make so much noise I have no choice but to acknowledge them.

What is something you are not good at doing?

Sewing and being crafty. I see so many cool things that require the ability in one of those areas and wish I had those talents. Alas, I do not.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

Enjoyment and a chance to live the life of the character.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love gaming on my PC, my favorite game right now is Star Wars the Old Republic where I’m working on getting all of the classes up to the highest level I can so I can build my full legacy. I also enjoy some console games like the Halo and Gears of War which I’ve played all of the available games. I also have fun on things like Call of Duty even though I’m terrible at that game for some reason and end up shooting the walls and floors more than the enemy. Not sure why that one feels so different from the others, but it does. I can say I have an extraordinarily high kill/death ratio. I probably have more deaths and fewer kills than any other player. Still fun.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Just do it. The book isn’t going to write itself.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

Kellinar in my Dragon’s Call series, Morgan in my Bound series, and Jo, Caius, and James in my Raven Daughter series.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Oh good heavens, that list is so long it’s hard to pick just one. But, if I could only say one thing, I would tell her to embrace her weirdness sooner.

 

Purchase A.D. Trosper’s Novels

Embers at Galdrilene (Dragon’s Call book one)

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0080R4LPK

Bound by Time (Bound book one)

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bound-Time-D-Trosper-ebook/dp/B0755N752S
Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bound-by-time-a-d-trosper/1118921659;jsessionid=8020ADA5CFC3E1A6A410C5BB0A61E677
iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1275906206
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bound-by-time

Unveiled (Raven Daughter book one)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3AHCTQ

  Connect to A.D. Trosper

Website: www.adtrosper.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adtrosper

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Author Spotlight and Excerpt: Melody Steiner

I am proud and excited to introduce Melody Steiner. Over the next six weeks, you’ll be seeing several guest posts (and even a bundle GIVEAWAY) from Melody. So enjoy this first installment and get to know Melody Steiner! Be sure you check out a “Scorch,” a short story set in the world of Slither at the bottom of this post.

Who is Melody Steiner?

Melody Steiner is a novelist, librarian, warrior woman, and a mother. She grew up in a home where science fiction and fantasy were staples of the imagination. Her earliest novels were written in elementary school and involved rocket ships to the moon, alien life, and gumdrop kingdoms at war with other invading candy nations.
Over the years, she found herself drawn to fantasy stories that empower female characters and particularly women of color. Currently, she’s based near Columbus, Ohio, along with her husband and the wild things they call “children.”
Her recent work, Slither, is a traditional fantasy about a young woman who is enslaved by a herd of dragons. You can find her at http://twitter.com/melody_steiner or on her author facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MelodySteinerAuthor/.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

More generally–I think the love of fantasy stories and the desire to create and “sit” in a fantasy world for a while was my initial motivations for writing my first novel. I would not say I had much knowledge of craft or much of a writing network at the time, so my first novel was really more of an exercise than it was a good story. Then I wrote several other novels, developed a network, and began the business of writing in earnest.

 What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

I enjoy piano music when I write. It is energetic enough that I can really get into it during exciting scenes—almost like a soundtrack. But with no words put to the music, I’m able to focus on the writing. Ludovici Einaudi is my favorite.

 What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

It’s been so long since I wrote the story, I barely remember! I wrote it over ten years ago, in college, over one summer when I worked in the school library. At that time, I suppose, the greatest challenge was finding time. But as you get older you have more and more demands on your time. So I guess you just push through the time issues just as I must have done then.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

Patience, because she’s amazing. She can do anything she sets her mind to. She’s the most capable person in the story, she doesn’t take crap from anyone, and she’s a good friend.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

I’m hoping to release my newest book based in the world of “Slither”. I have a saga mapped out, featuring different magical races in this kingdom, and the intersections are so much fun! I’ve got other novels, too, a science fiction and a YA urban fantasy, but I’m really enjoying the Slither world.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Life. I’m also a mother and a librarian. I enjoy books, although these days it is easier to turn on a Netflix movie than try to focus on a book since I’m often interrupted by children. I’m very inspired by stories that feature people of color and strong women. I’d love to write a fantasy story set in a Caribbean-inspired world featuring a tough warrior woman.

 What is something you are not good at doing?

Cleaning my house. Also, feeling put together.

 What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

This book is thematically all about monsters and humanity. How monsters sometimes do good things, and how humans, at times, do not.

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy being around my little wild children, my husband, and the imaginary kitty I’m not allowed to have due to allergies in the family.

 What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Try to quit. If you can’t quit it, just give in and be a writer already.

 What are your favorite characters that you have created?

I LOVE Patience. She was latecomer to the story, but I am so glad she is there. When I wrote the book, years ago, I was influenced by what I saw in fantasy at that time—namely very European settings and characters. Patience is my shift away from these things, for many reasons. In a sequel, I’ll happily dive more into the unique qualities she has to bring to the table.

 What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

“The bully from high school will want to become friends with you on FB, and you will hit the ignore button without blinking. Because you don’t need toxic people like that in your life, sweetie.”


Connect with Melody

www.melodysteiner.com

@melody_steiner

https://www.facebook.com/MelodySteinerAuthor/

 Click cover to read Scorch FREE!
Click cover to purchase Slither.
 

Author Spotlight: A.L. Deleon

What motivated you to write your first novel?

The motivation to write is actually very personal for me. I have been writing almost all of my life, but I never took it seriously until a few years before my marriage ended. That was nearly 9 years ago now. Writing at the time became my way of coping, escaping my own realities, and a way for me to reaffirm to myself that I was entirely capable of doing whatever I set my mind to. It’s a great feeling to regain your sense of self through a passion you have.

 

 

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

Lol, I don’t eat Cheetos while writing or watch television. Actually I don’t watch much TV at all and that’s by choice…but that’s a story for a different time.  When I write, I’m usually listening to a wide range of music, often choosing songs or instrumentals that fit the scene or the mood of the character who’s point of view it is that I’m writing from. If I’m having a particularly challenging day with it, I will go out walking until I figure out a solution or I’ll read.  One of the things I learned early on as I began this writing adventure was that I needed balance in life to be able to create stories or art. That meant getting into the habit of being physically active just as much as I was sitting and writing. Throw in the challenge of raising my three kids on my own and you can see how interesting that gets. I wouldn’t change it though, I truly enjoy doing what I do.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

Figuring out what worked for me as an author.  Blue isn’t the only novel I’ve written over the years, but it has taken the longest to write and will be my first one published. Part of that is because of how ambitious it is. You don’t just learn overnight how to write epic fantasies. It took me years to figure out all the things that don’t work and get into the habit of doing the things that do work for me. Outlining before writing is one of those things that I thought I wouldn’t need to do (who likes those things anyway, right?). It turns out, that outlines are very much like maps. For me, they help me see where I’m going and what my characters will be doing as I write. The other equally important lesson I had to learn was that just because you have a finished draft, doesn’t mean you’re done. I remember when I had the very first draft of Blue done and how excited that I was. I was so naive, that I sent it to a good friend of mine who also happens to be a film director. He invited me out to have coffee shortly after and it was there that he kindly told me to go back to the drawing board. I’m incredibly grateful to have such friends like him in my corner. He was kind enough to be honest about what didn’t work in the book and that’s what most of us authors need, if we’re open to hearing and digesting it.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

Blue. Blue has spent a good majority of his life being a loner or fighting for his right to exist. He carries a lot of bitterness and baggage, but he cares, deeply for the world in which he lives. I think he would be one of the most fascinating characters to get to know and be friends with. I imagine we’d probably just hang out and have a beer or two together.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

Once I send the finished manuscript of Blue (there’s a few tweaks I’m working on) to my publisher, Dragon Moon Press, then the next  step is getting the sequel written. I also plan on releasing a few short stories and I have one book of poetry I plan to self-publish. I have a ton of novel ideas in my head, including a different series I started  and outlined a while back that I’m looking forward to diving into after all three books for Blue is completed. Bottom line is that I have a ton of story ideas and I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. Time will tell where that takes me.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Life inspires many of the ideas I get, so does the fact that I’m constantly trying to feed my brain new information and knowledge that I didn’t have before. I think in some ways there’s an ambiguous quality to inspiration. No one thing in the world triggers it, but collectively, different things here and there spark creativity and new ideas.

What is something you are not good at doing?

Cooking. I’m terrible at it, well maybe not terrible at it, but it’s definitely not something I’ve ever learned to be exceptionally good at.  

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

The first thing I hope is that they enjoy reading it and maybe it’ll encourage people to read more often.  The second, and perhaps more important thing, is that I hope my books spark conversations and help people to see things from a different perspective.  I know that history, current events, and observations I’ve made here in the real world have influenced my writing.  Epics tend to have elements of social commentary in them, exploring the good and the ugly side of humanness in the form of fantasy or science fiction.  I hope I’ve done a good job of doing the same in Blue.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love outdoor ‘challenge yourself’ kind of sports like hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. I also enjoy traveling, learning, and getting to know others from around the world. I don’t get to do any of those nearly as often as I’d like, especially while my kids are still school age, but I hope that someday I’ll be able to travel much more.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I got was when my film director friend told me to go back to the drawing board. But I think the best writing advice, overall, is what I read in Stephen King’s book On Writing. I don’t remember the exact words in the book, but he basically said to get the bones of the story down first before doing anything else and to always have a book to read.  It’s simple advice, but it’s advice that takes self discipline to implement and it really does help.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

This is a tough one to answer because I really like a lot of the characters I’ve created and how they each develop the further into the book you get. It’s a braided P.O.V. novel, meaning you’re following more than one character at a time. I’ve stuck them all in a world that is on the verge of war and yet, they don’t realize it. The main character, Blue, is an obvious favorite- he’s a Nubien, the last fairy of his kind, and is not treated kindly by others. There’s two sprites that travel with him, York and Nolan (who are barely 4 inches tall, unlike the rest of the people in the world they live in) that hover around, and in general, create humorous havoc. Three other notable characters include a twin Leighn fairy named Shae who is discovering herself and her capabilities, a character named Kabelo that struggles with loss of honor and the horrors he’s had to do in the name of his master, and an Elder who is trying to help her people reclaim who they once were.  There are others in Blue who are equally fascinating, but I won’t try to list all the details here.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Don’t limit yourself, there’s more world out there than you’ve ever experienced and it is far less scary than you might believe. Be kind always. Don’t be afraid to cross bridges when it comes to getting to know others. If no bridge exist, build one. Most of all, Love.

 

Connect with A.L. Deleon

https://www.patreon.com/ALDeLeon

https://twitter.com/WingSeeker

https://www.instagram.com/april_aldeleonauthor/

www.aldeleonauthor.com

https://www.facebook.com/aldeleonauthor

 

Finished art of Blue by David Matthew Weese

Author Spotlight: Erik Scott de Bie

Who is Erik Scott de Bie?

Erik Scott de Bie is a 30-something speculative fiction author and game designer. He has published ten novels and counting, including tales in the storied Forgotten Realms, Iron Kingdoms, Hellmaw, and his World of Ruin epic fantasy setting (Mask of the Blood Queen is the third entry in that series). His short work has appeared in numerous anthologies and online, and he is the author of the multimedia superhero project, Justice/Vengeance. In his work as a game designer, he has contributed to products from such companies as Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press, and was a lead creative consultant on Vorpal Games’s Red Aegis. He lives in Seattle with his wife, sword collection, and entirely too many animals. Check out his website: erikscottdebie.com  

What motivated you to write your first novel?

Boredom! I was fifteen, it was Honors Chemistry, and I needed something to look forward to after I finished my hours of nightly homework. Sensible kids my age went on dates or lost themselves in video games, but for some reason my solution was to tell a story. And it worked.
 
And that first book was terrible! But don’t worry–no one has to see that. Or the next several novels I wrote before I published Ghostwalker at age 22.

 

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

Each of my books/series has its own playlist or Pandora station–songs and genres I associate with that particular story. I spend time writing while listening to that music, and it builds the association in my mind so I can go right back into the story if I hear one of those songs. To this day, songs I hear on the radio make me think of specific works I’ve done.

I do often have a TV on in the background while I work, which I only pay about 20% attention to. I’ve seen a lot of movies and TV without capturing much of what happened in them.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

Unlike the previous two novels in the series, Mask of the Blood Queen is a very specific story, told from the point of view of two characters who spend most of their time with each other. The challenge came about in making their voices and perspectives distinct, in such a way as to reveal more about the world as the novel progresses. Isolation and long periods of travel are some of the best times to learn about ourselves, and the same principle holds up in fiction. I think it gave me an excellent opportunity to explore those two characters and reveal more about them.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

Most of the characters in Mask of the Blood Queen are erratic and extremely dangerous, but I think I could learn a lot from the Deathless Rose, centuries-old Queen of the Fae. She knows so much–history, magic, and how to interact with almost anyone–and she’d be the least likely to kill me.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

I’m writing several novels for the Ed Greenwood Group and I’m shopping around a novel to agents. I’m finally writing that Justice/Vengeance superhero novel I’ve been planning for years. I also have idea seeds planted for a few other stories, which will inevitably grow into outlines that compel me to write them.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

A lot of my story ideas come from gaming, actually. Not that I’m recording transcript of games or anything–I derive creative energy from collaborative storytelling and hearing the stories of others. Sometimes a thing will happen in a game that seems wrong or just not ideal to me, and I go home and write my own version. This happens with books and movies as well.

What is something you are not good at doing?

I am not particularly great at communicating with people I don’t know. Phones or cold approaches out in public are hugely complicated and off-putting to me. Sometimes I can do it, and do it pretty well, but I have enough social anxiety to make it uncomfortable.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

I write mostly about identity, justice, and vengeance. The dominant lessons of my books are generally that treating each other with disrespect or hatred is counter-productive. Being good to people is how we accomplish our goals.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a big gamer. Tabletop games, bideo games, board games, card games, etc. I’m also a boxer, though I recently injured my rotator cuff, so mostly I’m working on training my distance running for a few months.

 

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Persistence. The foremost quality and skill of a professional writer is an unwillingness to give up.
Bob Salvatore once told me to try to give up, and if I couldn’t, then I was a writer. A piece of advice I repeat to this day.

But it goes beyond that. It requires me to challenge myself to overcome my hesitations and insecurities and keep pushing. To know my own quality and believe in my work. Persistence.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

All of them, in their own ways, but particularly Mask from the World of Ruin series (read the book and you’ll see why!), as well as my Forgotten Realms characters Shadowbane and the Fox-at-Twilight. I also dearly love the characters from my forthcoming Stormtalons book, WANDERER IN THE MISTS.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Get over yourself, push through your hesitations, and put yourself out there. The world is a bigger and cooler place than you think.

Purchase Erik Scott de Bie’s novels

My bibliography http://erikscottdebie.com/bibliography has all of ’em. 🙂

 

 

Connect with Erik Scott de Bie

Erikscottdebie.com

Facebook.com/Erik.s.debie

Twitter.com/erikscottdebie

Author Spotlight: Lily Luchesi

Who is Lily Luchesi?

Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle.

She is the author of the award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series from Vamptasy Publishing and also has short stories featured in the anthologies Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words, Naughty Bedtime Stories: Four You, Death Love Lust, Beautiful Nightmares, Lurking In The Mind, Lurking In The Shadows, and Weirdbook Magazine.

When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, watching the CW, or reading manga.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

My very first? I was twelve, and all I wanted was a vampire story that fit the type of characters I had in mind. My first published novel was Stake-Out, and I was inspired to write it because I was watching TV and I was thinking, “What would happen if a cop’s perp turned out to be a vampire?” Just that thought, that “what if” somehow spawned into what I hope will be a seven book series along with a spin-off novel.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

I listen to a lot of music when I write and include playlists in the beginnings of my books. Music is a huge inspiration to me and I want to give the readers the ultimate experience when reading my books, so the music sets the scene. Otherwise I don’t do anything that odd, unless you count drinking copious amounts of coffee odd haha.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

When writing my latest novel, Right To Silence, I had a hard time getting past something that Angelica endures that really breaks her. Angelica Cross is my heroine, and she’s tough as nails with a hidden soft spot very few get to see. She has a heart of steel and nothing can get to her until I decided to have her kidnapped and tortured. I suffer from PTSD and panic attacks, so when writing RTS, I had to take a few breaks and skip some parts until the end to avoid my own triggers. Writing in depth about a character in the throes of panic and flashbacks was difficult.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

I’d have to pick Angelica. I love all my characters, but she has so many stories to tell from her long life and her adventures. I’d spend some time at the Paranormal Investigative Divison in downtown Chicago. I’d want a grand tour, a look at her old files, and to see her in action.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

I will be releasing my very first LGBT+ BDSM short story on April 27th called A Bloody Legacy, which follows descendants of characters in the novel Dracula.

On June 14th I will be releasing my fifth novel in the Paranormal Detectives Series, which is called Last Rites.

On December 5th, I will release a standalone spin-off of my PDSeries called Never Again, which deals with World War Two and its aftermath, as well as some ancient myths and a monster I created from scratch.

I will also have short stories released in the following anthologies: Weirdbook Magazine #35, Lurking In The Mind, Beautiful Nightmares, and Naughty Bedtime Stories: Four You.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Anywhere. Nowhere. Sometimes they’re dreams, sometimes they blossom naturally from what I have already written, and some seem to come from the characters themselves, not me. Sometimes I barely know what I’ll write till I put my fingers to the keyboard.

What is something you are not good at doing?

Does having no patience count? haha I’m a terrible driver, actually.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

I have a few things that I sneak into this series. Good versus evil, the fact that having a good heart and good intentions can override a multitude of sins, and not to be prejudiced. I deal with xenophobia, which is my world’s version of racism, and universal acceptance. I want people to feel good about themselves and know that they’re wonderful no matter who they are.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I have a few hobbies. I love to cook, I love doing graphic design, I read comic books and manga, I watch anime and the CW network (I have a serious Supernatural obsession and even have the Impala from the show tattooed on me). I also enjoy playing video games in moderation (if I played as much as I want I’d never get any writing done).

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Reading Stephen King’s On Writing and following his advice in there. There wasn’t one thing in particular, but a combination of much of it that really helped me.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

I do love my Angelica, and Danny Mancini (my male lead) is certainly a unique person who has given me some trouble since I created him. However, my favorite character hasn’t debuted yet, but will in Last Rites: his name is Sean Wireman and he is a male siren, former lawyer, rock star, and war hero. He will be the main character in Never Again, and I loved discovering the nuances of his personality. He’s an asshole, but he’s got the biggest heart and feels so much. I can’t wait for everyone to meet him!

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Calm down, it’s all going to work out. I know it seems impossible now, but it does get better.

Purchase Lily’s Novels

The Paranormal Detectives series are free on Kindle Unlimited, or they cost $2.99 for

 

a Kindle Edition. They are also available in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-
Million.

http://smarturl.it/ParanormalDetectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Lily Luchesi

http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi