IAM Review…Medusa by Tony Talbot

Guest Feature

To finish our Indie Author Month for 2014, I thought I would surprise my fellow author/blogger Tony with my review of his latest book Medusa. I hope you’ve enjoyed the event this year, it’s been a little quieter on features, due to my technical problems, however, I hope you’ve liked the features from the authors you’ve met and perhaps found a new writer to try…

Mel x

Medusa-ResizeMy Review

Well, I finally got the time to knuckle down to some reading for fun last week and it has started really well: I just finished Tony Talbot’s great new book Medusa. This is the second book of Tony’s I’ve read and I was not disappointed.

We meet Lissa Two – captain of a strange ship with some interesting technical skills – in an apparently post-apocalyptic world of water. Giant ‘seasteads’ form the main areas of civilisation and Lissa uses her ship – Connie – and the particular powers she has, to salvage items for sale in the underground souks in her own seastead home. A random meeting with a man thrown from a strange flying machine; the mysterious disappearance of an apparently strong seastead and Lissa’s own questions about Connie provide the ingredients for a fast-paced, cocktail of adventure.

I really like Tony’s writing style, he has a real way with words (helpful if you’re a writer, I know!) But what I mean, what really stands out in this book for me, was his ability to create a world you felt completely transported to: there is beautiful description throughout the book, whilst he walks his characters through the fast-paced plot, leaving you the feeling that you could reach out and touch the world Lissa inhabits. Now and again, I would find myself noticing something, not because it jarred, but because it just flowed so naturally. Unfortunately, some of the best examples I highlighted would need spoilers to explain – so I’d say you have to check it out to know what I mean.

Medusa is one of those books you get sucked into quickly and struggle to find a place to pause, when reading – you just want to know ‘what next’ the whole time. Especially once Lissa’s questions start taking her down interesting paths, it gets even harder to stop: I read the second half of the book in one day. And it was worth it! 🙂

Overall, I’m going 4.5* for Medusa, I thought the characters, pace and writing in the book was even better than Eight Mile Island, the main reason it gets the same rating is because I loved the way EMI sucker punched me in it’s concluding chapters. I didn’t get quite the same left-field shock as I did with that one, but overall, I would say I enjoyed Medusa more and if you’re thinking of trying one of Tony’s books, this is the one I’d recommend.

Recommended for: fans of dystopian YA / post-apocalyptic world settings; I think people who liked the relationships in Angelfall would enjoy this, as well as Hunger Games / Blood Red Road fans looking for something with a feisty female protagonist in an unusual setting.

 

 

IAM Interview with…DJ Swykert

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is author DJ Swykert, a former 911 operator…Check out the intriguing blurb for his latest book here and then find out more about the man himself in one of our quick-fire Gimme 10 interviews.

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The Death Of Anyone

The Death of Anyone, Melange Books, March 2013, is a fictional story of Detroit Homicide Detective, Bonnie Benham, who convinces the District Attorney to allow a Familial DNA search as she investigates the murder of several young girls. The book reveals standard investigative homicide procedures and the frustration of the officers as all leads go nowhere and the body count continues to mount. A task force is put together and Bonnie and her partner, Neil Jensen, who understands Bonnie’s frustration, become inseparable as they track this killer of children.

 

Author, DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, The Death of Anyone and The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert. He is a wolf expert.

 

 

DJ Skwyert

DJ’s Gimme 10 interview…answer each question in 10 words or less – that’s what makes it tough but fun!

  1. Where do you find your inspiration? Observations of the drama of everyday life around us.

What is your favourite aspect of The Death of AnyoneIt has multiple themes and conflicts to be resolved.

Who is your favourite character from The Death of Anyone and why? Jack Joseph, he resolves his conflict and finds real love.

What are you working on now? Romance between older soldier/cop and younger suicidal woman.

What do you love about most about writing? Unlike real life, I decide how it ends.

 

IAM Interview with…Dyane Forde

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today we welcome Canadian author Dyane Forde to the blog, for an interview and to hear about her books.

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 Wolf's Bane

 

Dyane FordeDyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She was always amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results. People enjoyed what she created! This sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry…she enjoys trying genres and forms of writing which are different from what she’s used to; every story or book represents new joys and challenges. Dyane views writing as an amazing and intimate communication tool, meaning that it becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with others on a level deeper than intellect.

Dyane is a social worker by profession. Learning to see the world through other people’s eyes as well as sharing in their pain has influenced and enriched her as a person, as well as her writing. She is also a wife, and mother to two children, a cat named JackJack and a dog named Sparky.

She can be reached at her writing blog at www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com, where her other writing projects, and information and samples of her upcoming books can be found. Please write! Dyane loves to hear from her readers.

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1) What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I love anime and Asian movies. I enjoy their unique method of telling stories through solid (and often complex) character arcs and stupendous imagery; they take risks which mean you either get on board for the ride or miss out. I think I connect with anime in particular because I feel that they show stories the way I see them in my head, something I’ve never really seen anywhere else. So, I’m hooked.

2) How do you react to a bad review?

With fear and trembling and a dip in confidence. It sometimes takes a few days to get over, but eventually I do and then get back to writing with new focus or perspective

3) Which authors have influenced you most, and how?

I read Lord of the Rings when I was 12 and that book blew my mind. However, The Silmarillion is my all-time favorite. Though I don’t write that kind of fantasy, the sense of wonder, magic, and drama are elements I hope to capture in my stories, whether in fantasy or some other genre. Hemingway was another writer I loved for his minimalistic style. I emulated it for years, and though my style has changed over time, I still work hard to keep my work uncluttered and focused. The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, told in first-person point of view in present tense, also had a big impact on me. The sense of immediacy and intimacy created by the combination of the POV and the tense helped me figure out how to add a layer of depth and feeling to my own writing so that my characters ‘feel’ like real people. Lastly, Margaret Atwood, my fellow Canadian, is my role model. She’s a fantastic writer and she can and does write anything. She’s gripping, funny, sarcastic and witty and she has a writing legacy that spans generations and countries. Her book Surfacing just gutted me, and The Edible Woman was a wonderful and humorous commentary on society and gender roles.

4) How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

lol Well, my parents bought the first books, but they were so proud and happy that, of course, I felt great. Any sale after that was just a blessing.

5) Night owl or early bird?

I love to sleep in, but not for long or too much of the day is gone. When you’re a mom and working and writing, you need to grasp at every second of the day you can.

6) One food you would never eat?

Lol Only one? Lima beans, liver, eggplant, oysters, really spicy food…

7) Your most unusual or random habit?

I like to twist my hair. It’s a habit I gave to Nyssa, the female protagonist in The Purple Morrow.

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

I’m currently revising Wolf’s Bane, book two of the Rise of the Papilion series, and book 3, Berserker, is in mid-production. I have a slew of short stories and flash fiction on my blog portfolio and a few novels-in-progress on the back burner. Most of my books are in the fantasy genre but my short stories are a mix of various genres and styles.

9) What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I love crafting stories, and using words to create something memorable and unique while giving readers an unforgettable experience. It’s great to know that there are people out there looking forward to my next story or book excerpt.

10) What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

The feedback. It’s always amazing to hear that people who don’t usually read fantasy really enjoyed The Purple Morrow because the world-building and the characters engrossed them to the point they forgot about the genre and allowed themselves to experience the story as it unfolded.

11) If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

The world of Middle Earth in the Silmarillion era–but only as an observer since everyone who lived in those stories was miserable or endured some pretty crummy circumstances!

12) Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?

There’s this song by Deadly Avenger called Outro, and every time I hear it I can envision the book (movie) trailer for Morrow in my head. It’s a fantastic song.

13) What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Two things, actually: 1) Don’t expect writing quality pieces to come easily– perseverance is the key. Achieving powerful writing takes time and lots of practice, so expect to rewrite over and over again. And again. 2) Learn to love to edit. Learning to find and correct your own mistakes only makes you a better writer, and a good edit is essential to making your final vision a success.

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TPMCoverThe Rovers were sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead, they awoke its savior.

Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.

A new commander, bent on completing the mission left unfinished by his predecessors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artifact and a secret purpose.

While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, a harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny.

 

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Dyane Forde, author of The Purple Morrow

Blog: www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com

Twitter @PurpleMorrow

Google G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DyaneForde/about

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340969.Dyane_Forde

Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Dyane-Forde/e/B00J8R81A2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=286343198

 

 Buy Links:

Amazon: The Purple Morrow

IAM Book of the Day…The Awakening

IAM2014 - Logo

Book of the Day

Today we’re welcoming author Emma Jones to the blog, she’s sharing an excerpt of her debut novel The Awakening with us, as well as tackling the tricky, rapid-fire answers of our Gimme 10 interview – enjoy! 🙂

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 The AwakeningSynopsis 

Do you believe in vampires? Ghosts? The supernatural world?
Meet Lauren who instantly clicks with Gavin at a friend’s BBQ. Everything goes well until Lauren starts to experience strange things and hears a weird voice. It seems like a warning, but from what? Lauren eventually makes the startling discovery that Gavin is a vampire and it has profound consequences for herself.

The arrival of Daniel makes things even more confusing for Lauren as she is warned he is bad news from a ghostly source. Laurens life is turned upside down as things she thought were myths and legends become real and she struggles to cope with everything she has discovered.
Will Lauren and Gavin’s relationship survive and what about the mysterious Daniel?

Excerpt from The Awakening

In the next bar, Gavin and I ended up in a corner together and I suddenly began to get an awful headache. “You ok?” Gavin asked, gently holding my arm, but my headache suddenly intensified and I shook him off. Images started to swarm through my mind: shadows, light, and whispers that were getting louder and louder. “Lauren are you ok?” I could hear people speaking but couldn’t make out where it was coming from and then black.

I woke up with bright lights around me and in an unfamiliar room, it took a few minutes to realise I was in a hospital bed. I tried to sit up, my head thumped, and I rested back down. I looked about and then realised Gavin was sleeping sat up in a chair near my bed. I was just about to speak when a nurse come over “You’re awake.” she smiled kindly “I think you gave your friends a bit of a shock. Passed out and gave you quite a bang on the head.” It was only as she said this I realised I had a bandage on my head and raised my hand to touch the dressing. “You had to have a few stitches and as you were so drowsy we decided we’d better keep you in but you should be able to go home this afternoon,” the nurse informed me. “Your friend here insisted on staying in case you woke up and was confused. Oh look he’s just waking now, would you both like a cup of tea?”

“Um yes please that would be lovely,” I croaked and tried again to sit up. Gavin got up from his chair and stood at the end of the bed looking pale and worried,

“Do you remember much about last night?” he asked his voice full of concern,

“Not really, I remember getting a headache and that’s it.”

“Oh right that’s good then.”

“Why what happened?”

“You just passed out but you said some weird things that are all but don’t worry.” At that point, the nurse returned with two cups of tea and Gavin said he just had to pop out for a minute to make a call. I drank my tea and dozed back to sleep waking to find Gavin back in the room. “The nurse said once your blood test results are back and they check your blood pressure again you will be able to go home.”

“Oh that’s great I really need a shower and my own bed. What a weird night. I think it’s you Gavin.” I joked, “You seem to have a weird effect on me headaches and nose bleeds and now I pass out. Must be your super manliness!” I laughed. Gavin smiled back but looked anxious and the smile didn’t reach his eyes “I’m ok you know it’s only a joke.” I said trying to reassure him,

“I know. You just worried me that am all.” he replied.

Later that day I was discharged and Gavin took me home, insisted on making me some dinner, and stayed for a while although the whole time he kept some distance and seemed worried I might collapse at any time. After a few hours, he left and I rang my friends to let them know I was ok and apologised to Sophie for ruining her birthday night out and I decided an early night was in order. Thankfully, I slept with no problems and woke feeling much better although my head was still thumping slightly so I phoned work and explained I wouldn’t be in for the day and chilled out at home instead. Gavin called and although I assured him I was feeling fine now he insisted on coming round to check on me as soon as he finished work. When he arrived, he looked nervous and as we chatted, he kept his distance, which caused me to worry. I made a cup of tea and then sat on the sofa sensing he wanted to discuss something important. He moved forward and for the first time in over 24 hours touched me. He gently touched my arm, my head suddenly felt terrible again, and images much clearer flashed before my eyes. Gavin removed his arm and looked at me with alarm and worry, the images came faster and faster, and I felt a sudden rush of power and clarity. I put my head in my hands and squeezed my eyes tightly shut and concentrated on the images flying through my mind. I suddenly gasped and felt my heart rate speed up and then pop. The light bulbs in the living room smashed and fizzed. In the darkness, I said, “I know what you are.”

“I was worried you were going to say that.” he softly said.

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Meet the Author…Hi, I’m Emma. I have always absolutely loved reading. I remember reading The Worst Witch, Judy Blume and Point Horror when I was younger (I still love Point Horror). I have dabbled in writing for 7 years but only recently decided to dip my toe into the self publishing world after months of deliberation. My writing started as a hobby whilst on maternity leave but over the last 18 months has become my passion. I love all things vampire so naturally my first book is based on this theme. My first book The Awakening is out now and there is a short story called Origins which accompanies it. The short story focuses on Drake and Emily. I hope you enjoy.  Please feel free to come over and say hello or comment. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and my own Blog. I’d love to hear from you. X

Gimme 10 – Mini-Interview

Please answer each question in 10 words or less – that’s what makes it tough but fun! [Symbol]

Where do you find your inspiration?  Books, TV, conversations, my children and friends plus real events.

 What is your favourite aspect of The Awakening? I love how the truth is revealed.

Who is your favourite character from The Awakening and why? Argh! That’s tough. Lauren because she’s my leading lady.

What are you working on now?  I’m working on book number 2. I’m at 25,000 words.

 What do you love about most about writing? The freedom and escape.

Want to know more? Check out the links!

https://www.facebook.com/BooksbyEmmaJones

Twitter @booksemmajones

http://booksbyemmajones.blogspot.co.uk/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19393207-the-awakening

Purchase the Book

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00H5UM4QQ

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H5UM4QQ

IAM Review: “Beyond the Shadows”, Anna Hub

Guest Feature

It was a delight to have Anna here yesterday for our interview, and today Tony reviews her first novel “Beyond the Shadows”…

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3/5

What would happen if your shadow was trying to consume you? Selena Parker is about to find out…

Selena is leading a normal life until a man in a restaurant tells her to watch her shadow. Dismissing his concerns at first, she comes to realise it’s moving and shifting on its own. She places a hand on it, and falls through to a primitive jungle world, then again and again, each time spending less time in the real world.

Selena’s responses are entirely realistic when she realises she can fall through her shadow. She dims the lights and researches mental illness, wondering if she’s going quietly mad while she tries to continue her normal life. She quickly comes to realise that even the dimmest lights cause shadows though, and knows she can’t fight back against it.

It doesn’t stop her fight though; Selena is an adaptable character who refuses to accept the inevitability of the jumps to and from the jungle. And when she’s forced to accept the reality of what’s happening to her, she adapts again. She learns how to survive in the wilderness, what berries and bugs are edible and how to make a fire. She tries to warn her family what will happen to her. When she is finally, irrevocably trapped in the jungle, she shifts her focus, trying not to linger on the family and life she’ll never see again.

In the jungle she meets Braydon – the man who first warned her of the shadows – who seems to have given up on ‘normal’ life quicker than her and settled to life in the jungle. Braydon begins to exhibit signs of being a ‘Hunter’, a semi-supernatural human with enhanced strength, agility and senses. Together they move out of the dense jungle and towards a settlement of humans who are also trapped at the edges of the jungle.

It’s a great concept for a story…how can you hide from your own shadow? And it was that which pulled me through the first half of the book. Selena’s attempts to keep up a normal life and her resourcefulness when it came to researching survival techniques and tracking down a comatose Braydon drew me to the character. I loved the way she dealt with the things life was throwing at her and got on with it. There isn’t a moment when she gives up.

I liked the world of the book as well, the way that distances ‘over there’ equate to distance ‘over here’. Her upstairs bedroom is on a rock; her living room is a cave under that rock. It’s all logical and consistent. What was missing was a full sensory experience: I wanted to know what that jungle smelled like and the assault of the colours on her eyes. Was the sky blue over there?

Where the book starts to lose a little of its power is with Braydon. I found him to be two-dimensional next to Selena, and I had the impression that if Selena could have found another guide in the jungle, she probably would have. Partly, he’s such a foil for her it’s hard to empathise with him; he’s quite negative to Selena’s optimism. There didn’t seem to be much chemistry between them beyond the basic need to survive and share body heat.

The antagonists of the book – The Hunters – don’t make much of an appearance either. We’re only told what they are capable of and don’t see them in action much  – one anonymous woman being chased, that’s about it. The main threat in the jungle is the remarkable cats with whip-tails, which is danger enough without the Hunters being there.

What also didn’t work for me was the transition from jungle to village of survivors. From being adaptable and resourceful, Selena seemed suddenly powerless when she was there, becoming quite passive and weak. The village transition takes place about half-way through the book, and from then on, Selena seemed almost a secondary character in her own story.

The book needed a few more edits. There are a lot of run on sentences (the author told me she grimaces over them now too), but it seemed to suit the narrative voice of Selena.

For a first novel, this was pretty good. A nice concept with the shadow-portals and a strong (for the most part) main character and a consistent world.

 

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

***

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!”

—————————————- 

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