IAM15 Snapshot Interview…Melissa Groeling

IAM 2015 - TopperToday’s guest author is Melissa Groeling. She’s dropped in to answer one of our tough ‘Gimme 10’ interviews, where you have to answer each question in ten words or less. You can also find out more about her novel Lights Out.

So let’s get started with the questions…

 

Melissa Groeling

Melissa Groeling

10 words or less?!? Yikes! 🙂

1. Where do you find your inspiration? Through most people I know.

2. What is your favourite aspect of Lights Out? How heavy Paul’s emotional baggage is. I torture him relentlessly.

3. Who is your favourite character from Lights Out and why? He’s the catalyst for the redemption that Paul needs desperately.

4. What are you working on now? A story called Two Evils.

5. What do you love about most about writing? Creating something from the ground up 🙂

 

Lights Out cover-1 

Even when the lights are out, he can still see you…

Paul Holten’s profession doesn’t leave much room for doubt or conscience but he’s reaching his breaking point. The nightmares are getting worse, the jobs are getting harder to finish and the volatile relationship with his boss, Aaron, is falling apart. Now faced with the possibility of an impending death sentence, Paul makes the fatal decision to run. Drawn into one hellish situation after another, he’s forced to confront his dark past—and wonder if perhaps dying isn’t the better option.

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Melissa Groeling graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in English. She lives, reads and writes in the Philadelphia region and wherever else life happens to send her. She is a hardcore New York Giants fan and loves chocolate. Lights Out is her second novel to date.

http://www.facebook.com/melissa.groeling

https://twitter.com/#!/stringbean10

http://melissagroeling.blogspot.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H51R2AS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lights-out-melissa-groeling/1117540680?ean=2940148946137

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/379110

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lightsout-1369485-235.html

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19270732-lights-out

IAM15 Guest Post…Carmen Stevens

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Carmen Stevens about…

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Anne

Fourteen-year old Anne Falkman is an arrogant, desperate orphan trying to live any way she can on the streets of London. Through her desolate, lonely years, a hope was born within her, the hope that fate would bless her and give her lasting happiness. Growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father, Anne has nurtured a fear of men. She also fears marrying and giving birth, which was the death of her mother and caused her father to go mad and violently hate his daughter. When a series of events gives Anne a chance for happiness, she takes it and achieves her dreams, but at what cost? Will she attain the life of happiness that she dreamed of? Which choices are the best ones to make?

***

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Carmen Gross, pen name Carmen Stevens, was born in Fargo, ND, March 1992. She currently resides in Detroit Lakes, MN, where she is a recent college graduate and works part-time. Carmen published her novel “Anne” in July 2013-an exciting, richly-written historical work about a young English girl who makes many bad choices throughout her life and then struggles to find redemption.

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Guest Post: Why I Love Being an Indie Author

Because I’m in control of everything involving my book, and I’m a bit of a control freak, so this is a good thing to me. I try to do my best every day as I promote my book. I take advantage of guest posts and book reviewers, utilize social media sites to get the word out, keep up with the writers’ groups that I’m a part of on Goodreads and Facebook, write in my blog regularly, and so forth. It’s definitely not the easiest job in the world, but it’s also not the hardest. I try to have fun with it, and I encourage other indie authors to enjoy their promoting as well. I do look forward to attaining a career (I attended college for Paralegalism) and get some steady money coming in so I can do more to promote my work. In the meantime, however, I’m happy just doing what I can to promote my work and myself as an author. Thanks very much for this opportunity!!

***

Where can we find you?

My Links

Blog: http://bubblymissy16.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carmstevens

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191165.Carmen_Stevens

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/carmenstevens

Book’s Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Anne-Carmen-Stevens-ebook/dp/B00E4D3HY0

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/372253

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18245315-anne

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Carmen!

IAM15 Guest Post….Bryan Perkins

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Bryan Perkins about…

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The Asymptote’s Tail

Far into our future humankind controls the fabric of reality with such ease that “here” and “there” have become one. Space is bent such that many separate worlds exist, most in complete ignorance of the others. The Asymptote’s Tail begins the story of the interactions between seven of those worlds.

In one, a servant imagines life with no master and learns if she can withstand the risks that come with freedom. In another, a young girl is forced into freedom of another kind when her parents disappear and she sets out to find them.

An actor learns how much work is done by who in which worlds and decides what he wants to do about it, a black cat tries to decipher the ways of humankind and protect his owner as she does the same, an assembly line worker seeks revenge for the death of her son, a police officer learns what the job entails and decides if he can stay on the force, and a scientist vies to regain control over her inventions which are being used to wreak havoc on all the worlds of Outland.

As each new perspective illuminates experiences from the old, the Sisyphean nature of chasing an endless limit and the totality of contradictions inherent in a divided system become clear. “Then” and “now” take on as little difference as “here” and “there”, for in the end, we are all, everywhere, and forever chasing The Asymptote’s Tail.

The Asymptote’s Tail is an epic science fiction novel and the first in the four-part Infinite Limits series.

***

bp(Author photo by Geoff Badeaux)

Bryan “with a Y” Perkins is an Air Force brat who ended up in Louisiana by way of Nevada, Arizona, California, Rhineland-Palatinate (in Germany), and Colorado. After graduating from Airline High School in Bossier City, Louisiana, he received a Bachelor’s in Biology from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge then scurried further south to New Orleans where he works a soul-crushing job for just enough hours to pay the bills and support his true passion, writing.

***

A Day in the Life of Bryan

by Bryan Perkins

At seven in the morning, sometimes six-thirty, sometimes nine, but every day of the week, sharp cat claws, delicately caressing your eyes and nose, or brushing through your hair, awaken you. Mr. Kitty is ready for the day.

You’re not, though, and Mr. Kitty knows it. That’s why he wakes you up.

“Oh, alright,” you grumble, moaning and groaning, crawling out of your bed to eliminate yesterday’s waste before stumbling back into your room to sit behind the desk and wake up the laptop that’s waiting for you there–asleep itself and probably no more ready for the day than you are.

First thing’s first, though, no matter what any of the three of you want: You have to get to work. Luckily–or unluckily as the case may be–you’re already there, so you begin as soon as you sit down, getting the worst part of your day out of the way.

Work is painful, soul crushing to even talk about. No one knows what it is–not even the people you work for–and you don’t care enough to explain. “Search engine evaluation” the people who pay you call it, but everyone you tell that title to confuses it with SEO so you don’t use it often. You prefer QA. You do quality assurance for search engines is what you tell anyone who asks–not many people, you don’t get out much. Which is true, in a sense, but you’re more like a taste tester, putting yourself in the shoes of a million different Google users, imagining how satisfied they each would be with the results of their unique personal searches, an oddly intimate relationship to have with completely anonymous strangers who you could never hope to meet.

After two hours of murdering your soul for a wage, only leaving the same room you slept in to get a drink or pee, Mr. Kitty is ready to leave. You are, too. You both actually start getting antsy around the half hour mark, but you’ve been trained so well by time that the energy doesn’t properly burst until hour two. When it does, it’s time to go outside.

Mr. Kitty is probably up on the mantel already, staring at the door of the office/bedroom, meowing to get out, so you slip the red bandana in your back pocket and snap Mr. Kitty’s pink harness and leash on. You live too close to a busy street to let him run free anymore, but he’s too used to being wild to be cooped up inside all day, so you both had to compromise. The red bandana gets tied outside your neighbor’s door so her bear of a dog, heavier even than she is, doesn’t eat the cat it’s been licking its massive slobbery jaws at for months.

Walking a cat for ten minutes is not like walking a dog for ten minutes. You don’t walk Mr. Kitty, you follow him, walking as quietly as possible so as not to frighten him, until he goes somewhere you can’t, then you turn him around and follow him some more. Usually you stay in the shaded parking lot behind your building, sniffing cars, tearing up the wooden fence with the same sharp claws that woke you up, or chasing the neighborhood cats out of your territory, but on some days, Mr. Kitty likes to walk all the way to the corner of the block, only running and hiding if there’s a bus or truck to hiss with their pneumatic brakes and scare him away.

After ten minutes, it’s back inside and back to work, whether Mr. Kitty–or you, for that matter–likes it or not. You grab a granola bar for breakfast, to eat while you work, and after two more hours of near soul death experience, it’s ten more minutes in the yard with Mr. Kitty. You work two final hours, usually while eating lunch–frozen Quorn, soy, and quinoa have been on the menu a lot since you gave up meat–then the third ten minute walk with Mr. Kitty, which is the best, because your soul is finally free to rest and recuperate.

Now the beers pop open. You don’t do that, they do it of their own accord, you swear. Besides, you live in New Orleans, a little casual alcoholism is accepted–if not actively encouraged. And though Hemingway has been fake quoted so often–it wasn’t him, actually, but Peter De Vries–as saying “Write drunk, edit sober”, you say “Two o’clock, time to drink” whatever stage of the process you’re in.

And now you’re writing, or editing–as above–but it doesn’t matter. Your soul is healing itself from the beating it took earning the right to do this. An hour passes by within the blink of an eye while you play in an imaginary world filled with imaginary people. Another beer opens, more worlds, more characters, more stories. And you write and you write, and you know it’s the writing, not the beer, repairing your soul, but another one opens anyway, because today is a new day and it’s never ending.

Then six o’clock rolls around. You’re exhausted from traveling through space and time to dimensions unknown, dimensions you wish so desperately–and work so tirelessly–to share with other people, and a little drunk because, in the four or so hours you’ve been writing, you’ve downed and crushed at least three tall boys of Busch beer. So you stumble out of your room, the half full beer still in hand, and there are your roommates, there is the real world again, there is Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, dinner, paying taxes, rent, and electricity, movies, TV, walking to the grocery store because you don’t have a car, there’s everything that goes away when you’re inside that imaginary world you just came from, there is everything real.

Life is harder for you there, but you press on. Maybe, if dinner filled you up enough to sober you, you crack open another beer, maybe you watch some Community or Doctor Who before going to bed early–nine, ten o’clock early–to read yourself to sleep. Whatever you do, eventually, you pass out, you enter another imaginary dimension, one which you have less control over, a dimension almost as chaotic and tumultuous as the real world, but this one filled with both made up and real characters alike.

And when you feel like you can’t take it anymore, that nothing in any of the dimensions makes sense, usually at seven in the morning, sometimes six-thirty, sometimes nine, but every day of the week, sharp cat claws, delicately caressing your eyes and nose, or brushing through your hair, awaken you from that dreamland and tell you to get back to work, because Mr. Kitty is ready for a new day, and it will never end.

Bryan Perkins 06/03/15

***

Where can we find you?

Website: http://bryanperkinsauthor.com/

Blog: http://bryanperkinsauthor.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BPerkinsAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BryanPerkinsAuthor
The Asymptote’s Tail paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Asymptotes-Tail-Infinite-Limits/dp/0996395318/

The Asymptote’s Tail eBook: http://www.amazon.com/Asymptotes-Tail-Infinite-Limits-Book-ebook/dp/B00XNIUFLA/

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Bryan!

IAM 15 Guest post…Annabelle Franklin

 IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Annabelle Franklin about…

SLAPSTYX_cover_FINAL

The Slapstyx

The Slapstyx features psychic twins Georgie and Gem whose stepfather works for dodgy businessman Zachary Zigstack. Greedy Zigstack has teamed up with disgusting Dr Quagley and his tribe of grubby goblins to make everyone buy his toxic cleaning product. This dreadful detergent is poisoning the world’s oceans, and the twins must use their magical skills to put an end to Zigstack’s dirty dealings before all the sea creatures are destroyed.

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Annabelle Franklin is a children’s author living on Wales’s South Gower coast, in an area of outstanding natural beauty that could be a model for Fairyland. She has published two middle grade novels, Gateway to Magic and The Slapstyx, and her short story Mercy Dog appears in Unforgotten (Accent Press), an anthology themed around WW1. When not writing Annabelle helps rescue ex-racing sighthounds, two of which share her home.

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Indie Interview

  • A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what would you wish for and why?

A magic word to switch off my Inner Editor while I’m writing a first draft, another magic word to switch it on again when I’m ready to edit my work, and a fairy to take care of everything else in my life so I can concentrate on writing.

  • Describe your ideal writing space.

A luxury beach hut in the Maldives.

  • What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Hearing that children are enjoying my stories. When I hear that a child has loved one of my books and laughed at the funny bits, I know I’ve done my job well.

  • Who is your favourite character from The Slapstyx, and why?

Zachary Zigstack. I have a grotesque sense of humour, and Zachary Zigstack is grotesque. I love it when my writing makes me laugh out loud.

  • What do you love about most about writing?

The opportunity to escape from reality and become a fictional character, especially if that character is a child. Much more fun than being grown up!

***

Where can we find you?

The Slapstyx can be found on Amazon at http://myBook.to/Slapstyx and Smashwords at http://bit.ly/1FQ3gnr .

Gateway to Magic can be found on Amazon at http://myBook.to/G2M

Amazon author page http://Author.to/AFranklin

Smashwords author page https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StarFireMagic

Blog http://annabellefranklinauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Annabelle-Franklin-Author/1474449249481609

Twitter https://twitter.com/Anabel1Franklin

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6904737.Annabelle_Franklin

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Annabelle!

IAM15 Guest Post…James Keller

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to James Keller about…

Hand_of_god_

Hand of God

An advanced race of humans have seemingly conquered death only to see themselves dying off from stagnation. A crisis on two fronts emerges as their solar system is destined to be swallowed by the super massive black hole in the galactic center. An engineer from earth may hold the key to their salvation but what he learns in the process will forever change him and perhaps all of humanity.

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I am a mechanical engineer working for a cancer diagnostics company. Born in 1962. I spent my senior year of high school as an exchange student in Japan and did the ironman triathlon in 1984 (long time ago!). Current hobbies include woodworking and origami.

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Guest Post

I have been told that I should write from a number of different people over the years, but never really had the urge or something I considered worth writing about until this year. Hand Of God has many themes in it, but starts with the idea of what happens once a civilization completely understands the universe? Does immortality become a curse at that point? If there is nothing to strive for, does life lose its meaning?

I also had another idea that I believed would make a good book (which is the revelation at the end) but never quite had a viable means of making it happen in a way that I could stay engaged. Seeing Interstellar planted the seeds of the approach, and time dilation provided the means.

Hand of God isn’t space opera, and that is intentional, as it has been done to death in my opinion. I wanted something different, and hopefully unique. Something to make you think. Nothing is free in the universe as far as I can tell, and Hand of God tries to explore what the true price of genetic enhancement and immortality might be.

I am currently working on the sequel to Hand of God. Originally it was going to be one book but once I started writing it became clear it would be better as a series. I don’t artificially pad my writing by going into 2 page descriptions of what the character is wearing, or how long and thin their fingers are. If it doesn’t add anything tangible to the story I tend to leave it out. Being an engineer means there is an efficiency mandate that prevents me from writing in that manner, and that is why it is relatively short at ~75,000 words.

If you read it and enjoy it please review/rate it! If you want to discuss it or the themes or just have questions my author page on Goodreads is the place.

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Where can we find you?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14056558.James_Keller

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, James!

IAM15 Guest Post…Jan Sikes

IAM 2015 - Topper Today we’re talking to Jan Sikes about…

HomeAtLast_BookAnd_CD-Text

Home at Last

With empty pockets and a heart full of dreams Luke Stone leaves behind the nightmare of fifteen long years in Leavenworth prison, not giving it a backward glance.

Eyes firmly on the future, he boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas…for freedom…for the one who holds his heart. The unjust conviction no longer matters and revenge haunts him no more. Darlina Flowers, the woman who takes his breath away, waits ahead and with her by his side, nothing can stop him.

He is headed HOME AT LAST.

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Jan_Sikes_Author_Picture

Award winning author, Jan Sikes, writes true stories in a creative and entertaining way.

Her current project chronicles the life of veteran Texas musician, Rick Sikes. Not only was Rick a highly popular entertainer in Texas music, he truly began the Outlaw movement. But, as songwriter Richard Dobson penned, “He took that outlaw thing a little far…”

She also releases music CDs with each book.

At a very early age, she developed a passion for reading. It not only provided entertainment, but also taught her about other ways of life and transported her to exotic places. Jan writes songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays and novels.

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WRITING AND MUSIC

BY JAN SIKES

I often get asked the question, “why is there a music CD with each of your books?” And I love it when I get the chance to give an answer.

I’ll start at the beginning (although I promise to keep it short!) I grew up in a very strict religious household. We had no TV because it was against our religion. At a young age, I discovered the joy and adventures to be had through reading. My first love was Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but I soon progressed to reading everything I could get my hands on.

I found such exciting people, places and happenings in the pages of the books. I could travel the world without ever leaving my bedroom.

And then there was music! The church I was raised in had very lively music and that was always my favorite part of the service. My first piece of writing was a gospel song about my favorite uncle, who was an alcoholic.

When I was a teenager, I received a transistor radio one year for my birthday. Then I discovered KOMA broadcasting out of Oklahoma City and XERF where Wolfman Jack did his show. Wow! I truly fell in love with music then. But I craved live music. So, when I left home, I sought it out.

This is where the stories I write begin. I met and fell head-over-heels in love with a highly popular Texas musician. Little did I know what that chance meeting would grow to be. And that I would be singing and writing my own music along with him many years later.

So, the short answer to the original question is: The reason I release a music CD along with each book is because these stories all revolve and evolve around music.

Publishing music is much the same as publishing books. I see very distinct parallels. The production mode is different but marketing is similar. I have worked over the past three years to incorporate authors into music events and now that hard work is beginning to pay off. I am helping organize an event in Frisco, Texas this coming September called Wood and Words. It is a combination of songwriters and authors. I am super excited about it and hoping that it grows and flourishes. I hope the idea catches on everywhere because as I said, there are such parallels between music and books as far as creating and marketing.

I hope that you will check out my true stories told through fictitious characters.

Flowers and Stone is set in the rowdy raucous honky-tonks of Texas in 1970. Darlina Flowers is a young naïve girl while Luke Stone is older and a well-seasoned rogue musician. Their love sparks then ignites into an ever-burning flame.

The Convict and the Rose is set in Leavenworth Federal Prison with Luke and Darlina being split apart by fate and circumstance. Both experience tremendous growth through the years and it is a story that can inspire hope for anyone in a desperate situation.

Home At Last is set in the small west Texas town of Coleman. With empty pockets and a heart full of dreams, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for freedom and the woman who takes his breath away. Prison behind him and eyes set firmly on the future, revenge for the false conviction and imprisonment haunts him no more. He is headed home at last!

‘Til Death Do Us Part is slated for release in late summer of this year. It concludes this series of stories. Luke Stone found making music again, with Darlina at his side, more satisfying and rewarding than filling the Texas honky-tonks as he’d done in his younger days. But, there is only so much sand in the hourglass. Determined to make the most of what life dealt him, Luke persevered through trials that would destroy a lesser man.

The music CDs that accompany these books are each unique, influenced by the time periods the music was written and performed.

The CD that compliments Flowers and Stone is titled Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels – Early recordings and is a compilation of songs taken from 45 rpm records that were made in the 60s.

Forty Foot High, the CD that goes with The Convict and the Rose contains songs that were all written and recorded inside the walls of Leavenworth prison. It is historic.

The most recent CD release – I’ll Be Home When The Roses Bloom Again – is unique in that it consists of songs written and recorded by myself and some written by both myself and Rick Sikes. The other unique feature of this CD is that our daughter, Deva is showcased with her silk voice singing songs that Rick and I wrote together.

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Where can we find you?

Websites

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8DK * http://www.jansikes.com * http://www.rijanpublishing.com * http://www.ricksikes.com

Blog

https://rijanjks.wordpress.com/

Social Media

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks * http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks * http://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/ * https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=65865260&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic * https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JanSikes/posts

Book trailer videos

Home At Last and ‘Til Death Do Us Part https://youtu.be/y3rAnjhlqgw

The Convict and The Rose https://youtu.be/Bkb9g4f6has

Flowers and Stone https://youtu.be/zgVDzXmKuQo

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Jan!

IAM15 Guest post…Isabel Curtis

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Isabel Curtis about…

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Before Life Happened

When sixteen year old Hayden Wilson recovers from the hospital, her world is upside-down. Her parents are dead, and her three older brothers are all she’s got left. But times are difficult, and staying strong is even harder. Wrong friendships and wrong choices will lead her to a path of self-destruction, a one way ticket to downfall. But at some point, Hayden has to learn how to deal with life. Putting the pieces back together and growing up. Because it’s OK to want to go back to before, but it’s also OK to learn how to move on. Before life happened is a YA coming-of-age novel that will bring you into a teenager’s world of grief and despair, and her journey back home. But will she be able to find her way?

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Isabel Curtis is the author of “the Before series” and avid reader. She has spent most of her life on airplanes, and because of this she knows pretty well that “Home is where your heart is.” Her debut novel “Before Life Happened” was released June 2015.

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Guest Post

I didn’t really decide that I wanted to be an author, I think writing sort of choose me. Characters and stories just popped into my head (and they still do!) and at some point I decided I needed to put my imagination in order: by writing. Then ideas turned into stories and stories into books. My self-publishing journey has just begun: my first novel “Before Life Happened” was published on June 2015. It’s the first book in the YA “Before” series, which features the main character Hayden Wilson, a sixteen year old girl, struggling through life after the death of her parents in a car crash. It’s a pretty deep novel, yet not too sentimental or heartbreaking – just a story about how wrong choices can impact our lives in unimaginable ways, and how at some point we must face our fears. Writing this book, and giving life to all the characters was extremely fun! The second instalment is due next year, and I’m also working on other YA novels that I want to publish in a near future (stay tuned!). Being a writer is not my full-time job, but I really hope one day I’ll be able to turn my passion into more than just a hobby… but if not, life will still be pretty darn awesome – as long as you can count on good books to keep you company.

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Where can we find you?

Here’s my website: isabelcurtis.weebly.com

Here’s my Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/iamtheheroofmystory

Facebook book page: facebook.com/beforelifehappened

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Isabel!