IAM Interview with…Anna Hub

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Anna Hub, Australian author of Beyond the Shadows. Check out the intriguing blurb for the book here and then find out more about the lady herself in our author interview. There’s a review of “Beyond the Shadows” coming tomorrow.

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Beyond_the_Shadows_Cover “A violent shudder travelled up my spine, each vertebrae snapping together like a zip lock, all my muscles tensed but I couldn’t tear myself away from the image …”

If your shadow was trying to consume you, how would you run from it?

What if you were afraid of something you could never escape?

Selena Parker’s journey into the unknown begins in her dreams, but the consequences are carried back into her conscious life and she soon realises paranormal forces are at work. Her shadow has become more than just an image, it is a gateway to a sinister new world where mysterious creatures roam and she is confronted by danger that challenges her will to survive.She finds the man whose fate is linked inexplicably to her own but she knows nothing of him and doubts his true nature. Her only option is to place her life in his hands while they search for a way to stop the shadows claiming them forever.

Anna_Hub_Profile_Pic

Which authors have influences you most and how?

I have to say Isobelle Carmody. When I was a kid, I struggled to get into books, until my sister gave me Isobelle’s first book – Obernewtyn. I fell in love with it, and from that point on I realised the magic and wonder that could live inside the pages. Obernewtyn pulled me into a world filled with adventure and magic – I guess I never really came back.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song to your book?

I listened to a lot of Bat for Lashes, in particular the Two Suns album, while I was working on the Shadow Series. It’s gentle enough to work in the background, but it also has a mystical quality. It created the perfect mood.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

I was invited to a local highschool to give a presentation on writing. I’m definitely not a natural public speaker, and to begin with the thought of it horrified me, but it’s the things that challenge us the most which reward us the most. Standing in front of that class was pretty surreal, one of those moments where you have to ask yourself if this is really happening to you.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Absolutely. I used to be embarrassed when people told me they could see me in my characters. Now I’ve realised it’s pretty much impossible to keep yourself out of them. You can only write what you know. My characters are a combination of who I am, what I see, and what I wish I could be.

How do you react to a bad review?

I was absolutely terrified of receiving my first bad review. I was afraid it would make me hate my writing too much to ever go back. To be honest it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t great, but surprisingly it actually inspired me to work harder. It made me realise where my weaknesses were and it gave me something to prove – that I can do better. Now I use bad reviews to motivate me.

What the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Once you release something you’ve created, it’s already in your past. It’s no longer a true representation of your skills or knowledge. Don’t get caught up in the imperfections, by the time someone criticises it, you’re already better at it.

What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

After releasing a four part series I wanted to work on a standalone project. I thought a short one to two year project might be nice!

My current WIP is set in a dark world where people are haunted by ghosts of themselves – ghosts of the living. The main character, Daniel, is a hunter trained to destroy these ghosts before they can take over their hosts and spread their curse.

It’s a little darker than the Shadow Series, there are definitely some creepy vibes in there, but I’d like to keep it accessible to people who don’t venture too deep into the realm of paranormal. I’m still on the first draft but if everything goes to plan, I’ll be releasing it later this year.

Your most unusual or random habit?

I’m not sure why, but I can’t eat everything on my plate. It’s ridiculous. If I have a bowl of ravioli, I have to leave at least one piece behind. It’s like that one little bit tips me into the dark abyss of psychological fullness. Weird right?

Hidden talent?

I can pick the perfect avocado, every time, without fail! It’s definitely a superpower.

Favourite quote from a movie?

Oh lord, how do I pick? I’m a quote lover. I’m going to go with, “We’re all mad here.” From Alice in Wonderland. It applies quite nicely to most of the writing community hehehe. There was a time when I hated my overactive mind, now it’s my favourite thing about myself! Embrace the madness!

Tell us about yourself. 

When I was a child I wanted to be an author, it seemed like a perfectly attainable dream to me then, but of course I grew up and realised that writing was not the best way to make a future for myself. So I discarded the idea and decided to do something normal.

When I studied nursing I thought I’d found a place for myself, but within six months of working in that field I knew I needed more. So in July 2007 I bought myself a lap top and started writing in my spare time. It took me two years to complete my first book and by the time it was finished I felt as though I’d learnt enough to pursue the dream.

My love for writing has grown rapidly since then and now I know that it’s something I can’t live without. It’s a place where there is no limit, no exact destination and my mind is free to exist in many worlds.

It’s a beautiful sanctuary.

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annahubbooks

Website: www.AnnaHubBooks.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/annahubbooks

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Anna-Hub/e/B00CKG56TM

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6913627.Anna_Hub  

Blog: www.annahub.wordpress.com

IAM Interview with…Mike Ronny

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Mike Ronny, author of Stalkers Drink Free. Check out the intriguing blurb for the book here and then find out more about the man behind the words in our spotlight author interview.

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092412 MR Stalkers CoverStalkers Drink Free

Like all aspiring stand-up comics, John Izor’s used to tough crowds and hecklers. But a deranged fan who wants to kill him? Open-mike nights just got a lot scarier.

 

How do you react to a bad review?

I haven’t gotten all that many reviews yet, good or bad, but I think the key to dealing with bad reviews is preparing yourself ahead of time. Accept that negative opinions from readers are a part of the process. And when you finish a story, spend a few minutes trying to imagine the worst things people could possibly say about it. Then, when a bad review does come, it might not seem as bad. Getting together with a group of writer friends to share experiences with bad reviews is another way to take the sting out of the experience.

Bad reviews are also less painful when you truly believe in your work. Now, believing in your work doesn’t mean you think your writing is perfect. It means feeling that your story is enjoyable and meaningful, and that it represents your best efforts at the time you wrote it.

Night owl or early bird?

I’m certainly an early bird. I enjoy being up late at night once in a while, but my brain is definitely the most active and the most creative early on. Sunrise is my favorite time of day, in fact – everything’s shining and nothing has gone wrong yet.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?                

For many years, starting when I was little, I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. As a kid, watching comics like Bill Cosby and Steve Martin on TV, and renting their videotapes, I found it unbelievable that there were people who got paid just to make other people laugh. I actually performed in a few dozen comedy shows in the Boston area from 2003 to 2006. But I eventually came to peace with the fact that the profession wasn’t for me, partly because of my answer to the previous question.

How did you know you should become an author?

In late 2010 I read a newspaper article about the independent publishing craze, something I was pretty much unaware of prior to that. The whole concept seemed irresistible: by self-publishing short stories I could – hopefully – entertain people, make them laugh, provide them some escape on a bad day. And no rejection letters are involved!

Favorite quote from a movie?

My favorite movie quote comes from the end of Back to the Future Part III, when Marty McFly shows Doc Brown a piece of paper from the future that’s been erased – Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer is standing next to him – and Marty asks Doc what it means. The Doc says, “It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.” Doc Brown sounds so sincere when he says these lines that it always makes me believe for a moment that anything is possible.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6583803.Mike_Ronny

Twitter: @MattDemko1 (Matt Demko’s my real name.)

 

IAM Interview with…Mariana Llanos

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Returning today as our guest is Mariana Llanos, author of the Tristan Wolf series. Yesterday we featured an excerpt from her latest book A Planet for Tristan Wolf, today we’re learning about the lady herself in an author interview…

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Mariana Llanos

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Tristan Wolf and A Planet for Tristan Wolf are unique books that spark creativity and imagination in children, and transport grown-ups to that place in time where they could be whoever they wanted to be.

What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I am working on two stories: The Wanting Monster, a fun story about a little boy that wants everything, and The Staircase on Pine St., a touching story about a girl and her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

At some point in my life, I wanted to write a new script for a Star Wars movie … now that I come to think about it … I think I should’ve!

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?

This year I’m looking forward to catch up on my reading, especially some classic literature … I love classics! I have lined up some Hemingway, Wilde, Woolf and Shakespeare so far.

Favorite quote from a movie?

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”-Casablanca

“I love you” “I know”-The Empire Strikes Back

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About the Author Mariana Llanos writes poetry and short stories since she was very young. In her native Lima, Peru, she explored her interest in the performing arts. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their three children, who inspire her to create touching stories. She works at a preschool where she likes to motivate children through music and art. Her first book, Tristan Wolf, was published early in 2013 and it’s getting great reviews. Now, in A Planet for Tristan Wolf, Mariana takes us one more time to the world of this imaginative boy and his adventures. The art of Rocio Perez Del Solar makes this a beautiful book that will spark creativity and entertain children and adults alike. As Mariana would say: “Let your imagination go wild!”

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Amazon “A PLANET FOR TRISTAN WOLF”: http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/1492747181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392952974&sr=8-1&keywords=a+planet+for+Tristan+Wolf

Amazon “Tristan Wolf”:http://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/148205308X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392953445&sr=8-1&keywords=tristan+wolf

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

Website: www.marianallanos.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marianallanos

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marianallanos

Blog: http://www.marianallanosauthor.blogspot.com

 

IAM Excerpt from…A Planet for Tristan Wolf by Mariana Llanos

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author on Indie Month for the next couple of days is Mariana Llanos, author of the Tristan Wolf series. Check out the books and an excerpt from one today, then find out more about the lady herself in our author interview tomorrow!

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  Tristan WolfA Planet for Tristan Wolf

Tristan Wolf is back! And this time he’s not alone on his adventure. After fighting with his  brother, Billy, Tristan and his best friend, Red, run away… to another planet! They want to start over with a new life, in a new place, far away from angry brothers. But this new planet is strange. There are no plants, no parks, and no sun. And Tristan can’t figure out exactly why everyone there is a strange shade of green. But the strangest part of all is the way everyone reacts to Red. It’s like they’re scared to be around him! Tristan will learn that nothing is at it seems in this crazy, extravagant planet! Now he must race to rescue himself and his friend, and get them both back to Earth, before they’re stuck on planet Orb forever! With colorful illustrations and the story line full of surprises, this will easily become one of your children’s favorite stories in no time! Tristan Wolf fans and new fans alike will fall in love with this tale of a young boy, his relationship with his family, and his wild imagination!

 

frontcover

A PLANET FOR TRISTAN WOLF EXCERPT

MARIANA LLANOS

Illustrated by

Rocio Perez del Solar

When Tristan opened his eyes, the world was still swirling around him. He stood up to look out the window. His body felt light and slow. He knew he wasn’t on Earth anymore. The almost perfectly-round blue planet was spinning in the distance, and Tristan, inside his spaceship, wiped a tear off his cheek.

He knew he’d have to land soon; he didn’t have enough fuel for a long trip. He didn’t have enough food either. Whatever he had he’d have to share with his best friend, Red, who was traveling with him. Just a few chips, bacon bits, an apple, and half of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich … that’s all they had left. Red had such a big appetite that Tristan was afraid they’d run out of food before they found a new home.

Home. That word seemed so cold now. It wasn’t sweet to Tristan, not anymore. Not after that big fight with his brother. Billy had gotten so mad at him! And it wasn’t even his fault… it was Red’s. Billy let Tristan look at his baseball trading cards, instructing him to put them away when he was done, but Tristan forgot and left them on the dining table. Somehow, Red got ahold of Billy’s favorite and most expensive card and completely destroyed it.

“Why did you do that?” Tristan asked Red in disbelief, but Red just turned around and looked away. He looks kinda sorry, Tristan thought.

Oh, Billy was so mad at them! He called Tristan all kinds of hurtful names. He yelled and kicked and even pushed Tristan to the floor. When Tristan threatened to tell Dad, Billy just looked at his brother and Red with a cold and hateful stare and yelled, “Get lost! Both of you!”

And that’s what Tristan and Red were doing. They were getting lost.

“I don’t think Billy likes us anymore, Red.”

Red opened one eye, closed it without making a sound, and rolled back to sleep. Outside, the cold, dark universe kept on doing its thing: planets were spinning, stars shining, black holes forming, big bangs exploding. Tristan watched a moving light sweep across his window. “A shooting star!” he yelled. “Come, Red, let’s wish for something special!” Red lazily got up and sat next to Tristan, looking up at their little skylight.

“I wish,” started Tristan, “to find a good home … and for me and Red to be loved and safe.”

“Grff!” Red said in what seemed to be agreement. And with that he turned his nose towards Tristan and started licking his leg.

“We’ll be all right, Red,” Tristan promised and lay back down on the sleeping bag floating nearby. Red, his loyal dog, wagged his tail and seemed to smile.

***

About the Author Mariana Llanos writes poetry and short stories since she was very young. In her native Lima, Peru, she explored her interest in the performing arts. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their three children, who inspire her to create touching stories. She works at a preschool where she likes to motivate children through music and art. Her first book, Tristan Wolf, was published early in 2013 and it’s getting great reviews. Now, in A Planet for Tristan Wolf, Mariana takes us one more time to the world of this imaginative boy and his adventures. The art of Rocio Perez Del Solar makes this a beautiful book that will spark creativity and entertain children and adults alike. As Mariana would say: “Let your imagination go wild!”

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Amazon “A PLANET FOR TRISTAN WOLF”: http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/1492747181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392952974&sr=8-1&keywords=a+planet+for+Tristan+Wolf

Amazon “Tristan Wolf”:http://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/148205308X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392953445&sr=8-1&keywords=tristan+wolf

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

Website: www.marianallanos.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marianallanos

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marianallanos

Blog: http://www.marianallanosauthor.blogspot.com

 

IAM Feature…Being a ‘social’ Indie

Guest Feature

Event Feature

No guest author today, just lil oil’ me pondering the value of marketing and social networking for indie writers 🙂 Mel x

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The one thing most writers will agree on, is that you think the writing part is hard…until you release your book and then have to consider how you actually get people to read it! Even over the last couple of years since I released my first book Hope’s Daughter as an indie, I’ve seen the indie writer world change: Goodreads seems to have exploded with people coming to the e-book scene; people are getting more savvy with blog tours, book trailers, well-designed covers…oh and marketing…

No matter how you look at things, everything takes time. When you’re writing, you might give up reading, TV, friends, family…maybe even eating any food that you can’t do with just one hand…but there is an end in sight. Your book has a beginning, middle and end (unless it’s some strange contemporary thing that comes as loose pages in a box that your reader puts together themselves…sorry – I digress) – and when you come to the end of writing the book, edit it and then send it out for the world to see, that part is done.

What begins then is the (perhaps) endless task of promoting your book and getting people to read it. After a while, I imagine some books can gain some momentum and begin generating attention for themselves, but, until you have some reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and co. – until you have a few bloggers reading your book and featuring it on their sites, it can be a very tough nut to crack.

What is tough for any author, but more so for indies, is being your own promoter. If you’re spending time blogging about books or your writing, networking with readers and other authors through websites, blogs and twitbookpindiggit.com then the one thing you’re definitely not doing is writing. Take me for example, right now – the last few hours of free time I’ve had to get on with anything writing related have been spent popping up the guest features for the indie month, posting tweets about the event and now, writing this post. In economic terms, I suppose today, I’m electing to accept the opportunity cost of using my time to do this, rather than the spare hour to progress my ‘Faris’ story.

Does this stuff – Goodreads, blogging, social media – help you get more people reading your books?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Perhaps a person reading the blog today will say “Hey – I like the waffling style of this person, perhaps their books are equally odd,” then go off to check them out. Or perhaps, I’ll meet another book blogger on here, whose stuff I like reading, which gets me reading other books or thinking about my own writing in a different way, and then I’ll do something different than I might have done before. Sometimes you meet other lovely authors (Mister Talbot is in this group!) 🙂 who become book-buddies and indulge your crazy writing obsession more than ‘real world’ friends might. Plus, it can be worth it for the odd time a reader comes back to you and let’s you know how much they loved reading your book – the positive feedback can make all the time spent cruising the interweb, working out what to post and frittering away good writing time, worth it.

I suppose it all comes back to being about the writing – even if it feels at times like it is completely unconnected (and perhaps even unproductive). So – to help you guys out a little, I’ve shared below some links to interesting blog posts on how to improve your social media stuff as a writer, as well as one for if you want to avoid it altogether. Hopefully then, you’ll find something useful yourself from this blog post and it won’t have been a waste of your time reading it 😉

Links

Duolit SelfPub Team are one of my favourite writing / publishing tip blogs around – I’ve always found their features interesting, useful and real – check them out on Twitter @duolit or online at their site: http://selfpublishingteam.com “Shannon’s the author. Toni’s the geek. As Duolit, we love indie authors, self-publishing, book design, author branding and book marketing. Oh, and Mountain Dew!”

Author Jade Varden blogs on all things writing and has everything from grammar assistance to marketing and social media advice – take a look on Twitter @JadeVarden or her blog: jadevarden.blogspot.com With 24.5k followers on Twitter, she must know something! 

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Mel is currently working on book 3 of her indie sci-fi dystopian series, The Ambrosia Sequence, as well as dabbling with a couple of old ideas for children’s books. She launched Aside from Writing in 2012 and blogs here and at her author blog regularly.

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog: http://www.melcj.com

Twitter: @melabupa

IAM Guest Post…Why I Like Being an Indie

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest post on about why she loves being an indie writer is by lovely author Patricia Lynne, whose novel Being Human was reviewed and featured on the blog in 2012. Today you can also find out about her latest work: Snapshot

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Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never gave it any thought during high school and college, but some stories are meant to be told and now she can’t stop. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. You can find her at my website, on wasting time on Twitter and lurking on Facebook.

Why I like being an Indie…

When I first started looking into publishing and I found out I’d have little say in my cover, book title, and synopsis I was very worried. What if the publisher did an awful job in my opinion? There is nothing more horrifying than the idea of hating my own book because I don’t like the cover or I think the title is awful. I was also concerned about changes to the story. Publishers mold stories to fit the market and I didn’t want to lose my story just because of what was hot at the moment.

Enter Indie and self publishing. I would be in control of everything. My cover, title, and synopsis. I discovered writing the synopsis was a giant pain, but every word I picked out. Essentially, I am the boss.

Lately, I’ve been wondering about traditional publishing again. A few writing friends are considering submitting their stories to small publishers in hopes of benefiting from the editing and possible marketing a publisher might have. The possible help marketing is very tempting. I haven’t been able to market like I want to because 1) I have no idea what I’m doing and 2) I’ve been jobless so I haven’t had much money to spare for marketing. A publisher might be able to help with that.

But then I wouldn’t be the boss.

Honestly, that is the main reason I plan on sticking with being an Indie. As tough as it is to be the boss of everything, I do love having that control over my story. It ensures I tell the story I want and the story isn’t at the mercy of trends. There is nothing wrong with trends, but I don’t want to sacrifice the story I want to tell just to sell more copies. The world is full of readers, more born every day, I’m bound to find plenty who like my story the way I wrote it. From time to time, I may consider the idea of a publisher, but that’s just being sensible. As things change it is wise to reassess. Maybe one day a publisher will be an option for me, but I am doubtful. I love saying I’m an Indie too much.

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SNAPSHOTS

 My name is Cyclop Blaine and I am a real person.
“You are mine.”
I am a real person: heedless of a childhood spent under the supervision of an old man I only know as Master.
 “You belong to me.”
I am a real person: regardless of my teenage years bound by violence as the adoptive son of the Victory Street Gang’s leader.
 “You will obey me.”
I am a real person: despite the visions I see in others’ eyes. Snapshots of their futures.
“You will cower before me.”
I am a real person: my life will be my own. I belong to no one.
“You. Are. MINE.”

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

IAM Interview with…Kim Smith

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Kim Smith, author of An Unexpected Performance and several other adult fiction books. Let’s find out a little more about the lady herself in today’s spotlight interview.

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AUPsmallIf you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

I would totally be able to fly. It has been a dream of mine many times. It feels so weird to be shooting through the air and have the ability to look down and see the world below. It would enable me to get, quite literally, a bird’s eye view of the places I want to visit and write about.

Night owl or early bird?

Early bird. I can accomplish more in the hours before dawn than all the others during the day. It may be because I can feel free to focus on whatever task I am doing. Other times, people, and ‘have to do’ things hone in on my time.

One food you would never eat? Chocolate covered insects. No way.

Your most unusual or random habit? Petting my dog with my feet. She loves the constant stroking and her fur feels good. It’s totally weird, but wonderful.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

A drama award, a theatrical mirror, and two teens destined to be great actors if their roles don’t get them killed first.

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.kimsmithauthor.com

http://www.facebook.com/mkimsmith

http://www.twitter.com/mkimsmith

Kim’s Radio Show-Writer Groupie – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writergroupie

Amazon link for Kindle

Amazon link for paperback