Hi, I’m Virginia McKevitt, author of Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga, and I’m your host for this stop in the Hunt.
If you would like to find out more about the Hunt, please click here - http://vfcscavengerhunt.weebly.com/
Somewhere on this page is a hidden number. Collect all the numbers from all the authors’ posts, and then add them up. Once you’ve added all the numbers, and if I am your last author, please head to the official website and click on the ENTER HERE page to find the entry form. Only entries will the correct number will qualify to win.
The author I’m pleased to be hosting for Virtual FantasyCon’s Blog Hop Hunt today is Jaleta Clegg.
Feeding and Care of Your Creative Monster
What's large and hairy, with five eyes, seven legs, and a pair of huge fangs?
I don't know.
I don't know, either, but it's crawling up your back!
That was a joke my grandmother told me when I was staying with her the summer I was seven. I remember laughing until my sides hurt every time I told it, or she told it. The number of facial features and appendages changed with each telling, which only made it funnier. It was satisfying, in a deep emotional way, to spin a joke that changed and morphed and had roots in our relationship. It fed my burgeoning love of storytelling.
That summer was one of those golden times, with long days of playing in the irrigation ditches on the farm, climbing in the hay bales, watching the cows, eating fresh apricots and garden produce, fishing with my grandpa, hanging out the wash with my grandmother, and lazy hours just reading books. Time stretched on forever. It was magical.
Time seems to rush past much to quickly these days. Bills and worries and responsibilities hedge in my life, driving me into corners of frustration. I feel myself shriveling up. Those are the times I need to break out and make something. That's when I need to feed my creative monster, with its five eyes and seven legs, the one that's crawling up my back begging to be set loose again. Those times are when I open up Photoshop and make something silly like the Darth Po picture at the beginning of this post, or pull out yarn and crochet something, or 16 crayons and color a picture, or ingredients to make a new recipe, or my laptop and write a new story. The funny thing about that creative monster is the more I feed it, the more creative it gets. If I give it new experiences, new places, new tastes, new ideas, it produces intriguing new settings for stories, new characters, and new plots. It spits out fantastical details and the words start flowing.
When I starve that inner childish creative monster, when I push aside those urges to make something, my life becomes dull and tedious. Frustration reaches a boiling point. I need to start feeding and nourishing that creative monster again, building it up until the stories bubble out in new waves of fantastical words. I get out my crayons and paints and rose petals and yarn and fabric and candied ginger and spices and create something new and satisfying. I reach for my roots through my memories and relationships. And I start again, shaping worlds and stories in my mind.
How do you feed your inner creative monster? What do you enjoy creating?
Jaleta Clegg enjoys creating fantastical stories of aliens and spaceships, magic and monsters, and everything in between. Ranging from silly to serious, short stories to epic tomes, her work can be found at http://www.jaletac.com
Read Nexus Point, book one in the Fall of the Altairan Empire series, for free! Visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/10672 and use the code AA47G.
Visit her blog, The Far Edge of Normal, and enter to win a handmade crocheted Itty Bitty Kitty!
If you knit, crochet, or spin, check out Ravelry.com and find her there as vampiresquid. http://www.ravelry.com/people/vampiresquid
Did you find the number? If you did, then click Jaleta Clegg’s link – http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com to continue Virtual FantasyCon’s Blog Hop Hunt.
Welcome Lily. Who do you have with you today?
Hello! I have with me Angelica Cross, founder of the Paranormal Investigative Division of the FBI, vampire, and paranormal detective.
Welcome Angelica. Do you have a nick name, or other name you prefer to go by?
I use a few different aliases, but only when I'm working. Danny (my boyfriend) gets to call me Angie, but no one else is allowed to unless they want to be *ahem* excommunicated.
::Chuckles:: Angelica it is then. Don't want to wind up on the wrong side of anyone. Especially someone in government.
So that I don't insult you accidentally, may I know which race or species you are?
I am a vampire. I was born a "vamplet" (my mother was a vampire, my father a human) but after a bit of a close call during a battle with a rogue vampire, I was forcefully turned, lest I lie comatose forever. I admit I was a bit unhappy with it, but I am learning to live with my improved condition.
I haven't ever heard of a "vamplet" before. Will you elaborate a bit on that?
Well, we are a rare species. The technical term for a vamplet is a dhampir/dhampyr (spelling is inconsequential). Call us a halfblood or halfling, and it's likely the last thing you'll ever say. As a vamplet, I was forced to drink blood to live, but I also required human fare to keep the mortal side of me alive. I could go out in the sunlight as long as I had SPF 150 sunscreen, but I was also able to harness most of my vampiric abilities as well. The only things I could not do were change into a bat (and even after becoming full-blooded, I still hate to transform) and I had to work very hard to put people under thrall. It was an interesting existence to say the least. Truthfully, the thing I miss the most about being a vamplet is drinking coffee!
::chuckles:: Not much of a coffee drinker here, but I could join your team should I ever find myself prevented from drinking my sodas.
Since you work with law enforcement, would you consider yourself to be one of the "good guys" then? Or is that even something you consider?
Ah soda, yes I miss that as well.
Am I a good guy? That's a question I often ask myself. If you asked Danny, he'd say of course. I myself find that to be a harder question than most. I like to try and be good. I started the PID in order to save humans from being treated like cattle by vampires, shapeshifters, and the other paranormal creatures who feed upon them. Being part human for most of my two-hundred-year existence, I value life as my mother did. I have had some...dust-ups. Things have happened that make me wonder if I am "good". But I try to do my best. I keep humans safe and persecute those who would harm them. I am a vampire. Like humanity, we have light and dark among our ranks, but every vampire has a darkness inside of them that cannot be purged. We are not good or evil: we just are. Some of us are just a bit more...animalistic than others, and those are the ones I execute. The PID saves mortals, but it is for self-preservation as well. The less humans who know what REALLY lurks in the shadows, the better for us. I just value all life, so if that makes me a do-gooder, so be it!
I'd count that on the site of "good", or at least "light". Then again, I am a bit biased - like my mortal existence.
I'm guessing, then that with your unique point of view, you are under quite a bit of stress. What's your favorite way of destressing after a really bad day?
Well, with one of those ways I require Danny's assistance! *chuckles* My non-NSFW ways of relaxing include reading and music. I have an extensive library filled with books that probably cost a small fortune. I also love to take my car (a black Lamborghini I call Dracula) out for a spin and blast very loud metal music from the speakers. It's very cathartic.
I'm sure your neighbors love it when you do that though.
There's a law in my city, Chicago, that says you have to have your music at a certain volume when in residential areas, so I usually avoid them and drive by the woods or Lake Michigan. (According to any of my passengers, I am going to kill someone with my driving one day.)
::Laughs:: I've ridden with a few who were like that. They aren't dead (yet), and I'm still alive, though with a few extra white hairs.
Do you ever play the "what if" game: as in, "What if I were a..." to let your mind get away from things?
Oh yes, sometimes. I often have to do that professionally, when dealing with paranormal lawbreakers. I have wondered what it's like to be a werewolf, a witch, and even a siren. Most frequently, I wonder how my life would have been different had I been born a human, like my father. If I would have had the same zeal, even in the 1800's, to save the world like I do, or the same love of power. Knowing my human roots, that answer is probably yes. My vampire mother was docile compared to my human father!
Would you change anything, though, from what you are now? Or is it all just putting yourself in the other's mindset so you can find/catch them?
Just for professional purposes. I am still getting used to being a full vampire, so if I were to want to change anything, I'd go back to being a vamplet, because it has its perks. Otherwise I am currently very pleased with how my life has turned out and with who I am. It's just this stronger bloodlust that has me a bit concerned.
From a few other vampires I've met - that'll become easier to manage in time. So, hopefully that's true for you as well.
I certainly hope so. My mother managed it, but then again she was five hundred years my senior, so I assume it will take some time.
::Chuckles:: Maybe a case of the "I want patience, and I want it NOW!" syndrome?
*Laughs* Yes, that is a very good way of putting it!
While you're waiting, then.
Do you have any friends, or allies, that help you manage?
I do. First and foremost I have Danny Mancini, my love and my partner in much more than the PID. We were married in his previous life, and when he was reincarnated we were able to reconnect due to him being assigned to my father's murder case. He was a Chicago PD detective, but now he works exclusively with us. I have Bart, the werewolf who is head of security at the PID. He's very trustworthy and knows me better than anyone except Danny. I also have two friends from the London branch of the PID: Brighton Sands and Mark Evans. They're a wonderful couple who are here in Chicago right now to help me with a difficult case. Brighton is a psychic with telekinesis and psychometry, just like Danny, and he is also a brilliant biologist. Mark is an Army-caliber strategist. I used to think myself alone. How wrong I was!
It's always nice to have those around to help. Especially when they'll be able to be around for a good, long while.
If you could make something happen that would benefit you, or your team, what would it be?
Well, world peace within the paranormal community would be nice, but I assume you're speaking realistically, not something out of my daydreams. Right now, we have a bit of a demon witch problem. And the Lieutenant of Hell is working alongside her. And also Brighton and Mark have just learned that their old enemy--some vampire even I never heard of, he is so old--has returned. So I suppose I'd just like to be able to focus on one case at a time! I think Fiona Guilfoyle, the witch in question, being dead would help immensely, as she has been hounding me since 1881.
Ouch! I think I'm glad I'm not a paranormal with that bit of news. Any clue what she wants?
Unfortunately, I do know what she wants. She wants witches to be in control of every species: from humans to shifters. She also wants all vampires dead, as she believes we are blemishes on the face of the Earth. Top that off, she wants my Danny to rule at her side. I have a bit of news for her: even if she were to defeat me (like that's going to happen), she'd never be in control, because Lucifer's second-in-command (Leander Price) will take over. She's a fool to consort with demons and think she has the upper hand.
Uh, oh. Never mess with a man who's firmly attached to his woman - and that goes for any species.
I know you're time is valuable Angelica, so one more question. When things look their worst, do you have any accomplishments to look at that help pull you through?
I think about all the people that I have saved. I've been hunting since 1832, and the lives I have saved are unable to be counted. I remind myself that I am capable, I am strong, and nothing can defeat me unless I let it. Confidence is key to any existence, mortal or not. I created something from nothing with the PID, I saved Danny from being a PTSD-induced recluse on the verge of suicide, and I avenged my mother's murder. I think holding onto the good, especially when your world seems so dark you cannot see, is the key to succeeding.
That is quite a list, and I agree that focusing on the good is a wonderful way to help give yourself strength.
That it is. And when I am unable to, Danny does help me quite a bit as well. He is quite the optimist compared with me.
A true partnership then - you lift each other up when you need to.
Angelica, it has been wonderful to talk with you. Thank you for letting Lily convince you to come out and visit with us
Thank you for having me. It was nice. When I usually give interviews to the media I have to pretend everything is all "normal". How boring! *waves goodbye*
Lilly, any last words for your readers? And, any hints where we can find Angelica's story?
Hey, I'm back. Well, Angelica doesn't mess around, does she? My last words for my readers are to enjoy the books! You can find the paperback books of the Paranormal Detectives Series at Barnes And Noble or Books-A-Million. The ebooks are available exclusively on Amazon athttp://smarturl.it/ParanormalDetectives . Book four will be coming on January 17th, 2017. Enjoy!
October 2, 2016 VirtualFantasyCon 2016
A.A. Jankiewicz (known to most as Agnes) hails from the city of Pickering, Ontario. Her debut novel ‘Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds’ was published as part of her thesis project at Durham College as part of the Contemporary Media Design Program. Prior to that, she graduated from York University with a BFA in Film Theory, Historiography and Criticism. When she’s not busy plotting the next great adventure, writing, doodling, tinkering in the Adobe suite programs or mellowing out with her friends, she enjoys walks with her four-legged companion Meesha. She is currently working on the next installment in the Q-16 series.
What is your chosen genre, and why?
I write Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. I write in this genre because Science Fiction and Fantasy gives me the most freedom in creating worlds. While they must be structured and governed by their own sets of rules, they are in essence places that do not exist and push the boundaries of imagination. As to why Young Adult, it is simply because my protagonists are of that age group. This is not to say in the future I will not branch out into other subgenres.
Name of your most current book, and if it’s a series, what is the series title and how many volumes are anticipated?
My most current book and first in the Q-16 series with five anticipated volumes and two prequel novels to come after is Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds. I am currently in the midst of editing the second volume entitles Q-16 and the Lord of the Unfinished Tower.
Summary for your most current book.
Headstrong, tomboyish Annetta Severio and her cynical, sharp-tongued friend Jason Kinsman are two teenagers from Toronto, making the most of their mundane existence.
Their world is forever changed when they discover that their fathers were once the protectors of a castle called The Eye to All Worlds located where the fabric of the universe is weakest, creating gateways to other worlds, hidden within the bowels of an underwater base known only as Q-16.
Learning of the threat of a warlord bent on conquering the multiverse, Annetta, Jason and their companions, Puc Thanestorm a cold, sarcastic Water Elf mage, Brakkus, a monstrous but kind hearted creature called a Hurtz, Puc’s apprentice Darius Silver, and a shape-changing young warrior named Lincerious Heallaws race to reassemble Annetta’s grandfather’s army, known as the Four Forces before it is too late.
Who is your favorite character in the story?
If I had to pick just one it would be Puc Thanestorm, though the truth is I love all of my characters, good and bad, for varying reasons.
Puc is the most complex to write and as such he creates a challenge for me and forces me to see the world in a very different array of colours.
Are there any short stories or companion novellas?
I have some short stories I am working on that will be featured on my blog in the future. They are meant to bridge Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds to my second upcoming novel Q-16 and the Lord of the Unfinished Tower.
What inspired you to write it?
Q-16 began as a series of stories I would tell my friends in elementary school. As we got older it evolved into a tabletop role-playing game and years later I decided to give the characters I grew up with a home on the written page.
Do you have a newsletter or blog?
I have a blog on my website, it is currently under construction and will be available for viewing sometime in early fall/end of summer.
What kinds of things do you write or showcase on them?
The blog is used mainly to keep readers up to date with works in progress, post short stories as well as share novel and film reviews. Sometimes the odd meditative musing makes its way there too.
What other places can we find you?
I can also be found on twitter and facebook.
Twitter handle - @aajankiewicz
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/aajankiewicz/
Where can I purchase a copy of your book?
Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds can be purchased on Lulu.com, Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and the Chapters Kobo store.
Lulu - http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/aajankiewicz
Amazon – https://www.amazon.ca/Q-16-Eye-All-Worlds-Jankiewicz-ebook/dp/B00ZPTIJ86/
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/q-16-and-the-eye-to-all-worlds/id967359340
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/q-16-and-the-eye-to-all-worlds-aa-jankiewicz/1121253880
Do you have a website?
Virtual FantasyCon 2016 showcase interview.
Bryan, I'd like to welcome you in to the Pukah Works lounge. Feel free to get yourself something to drink over at the bar. And, don't forget something for your friend...?
Fiona's not a drinker of alcoholic beverages.
Welcome Fiona. We also have water, soda, tea, milk, and juice. (You don't want to know the trouble the pukah get into if I let them into the alcohol!)
Nor is she old enough. She questions about what soda and tea are?
Soda is a carbonated, fizzy Earth drink. Tea is a infusion made from the leaves of the tea plant. If you're not familiar with them, you may wish to avoid them. Humans enjoy the taste, but others do not.
If you are unfamiliar with soda or tea, may I inquire where you are from, that our common drinks are not familiar to you, Fiona?
Oh, I am from a distant galaxy. I forgot what tea is. Not fond of it. Soda, I think it sounds similar to our Colare.
I'll take a soda...
As I am not familiar with your world, it may be.
::Retrieves a selection of different flavors.:: I wasn't sure which flavor you would prefer. ::Sets the selection down::
Since you're from a distant galaxy, I would take a guess that you are different from the people I'm familiar with. Do you mind telling us a little about your home and family?
Right now I am staying with my boyfriend and his family in his deceased sister's room in a huge manor on the planet of Desarti. I am stranded here, but my arrival was foretold in some prophecy.
As for my family... Wow... My oldest sister is actually my time displaced self from an alternate future, my father lost my mother the day I was born, my brother and younger sister were born to my stepmother, we were once royalty until our planet was razed by the Triad, both my father and stepmother died momentarily... This is just some highlights
Your people have time travel, then?
No. It was a specialized starship that allowed them to come back in time. Once their timeline crashed, they were stranded here in my time.
I would say interesting, but that sounds like it was frightful.
With everything that has happened, do you think you are someone who handles surprises well?
Weird, is what I would say. I was eight when they arrived. That was ten years ago.
Handle surprises well? Hah. Surprising me us very hard with my teke powers. Usually, can catch the surprise long before it can be pulled off. Though, I feign surprise very well.
I'm going to have to ask. What are "teke" powers? It's an unusual term to me.
Short for telekinetic and telepathic powers. Also, very skilled in martial arts, swordsmanship, and marksmanship.
Sounds like you live in some dangerous times. Did you learn your skills for pleasure, or protection from enemies?
Mostly protection from enemies. I am part of the Sentinel Order. We begin our training at a young age. I was seven when I became an apprentice to Mistress Starragaar
Are you still an apprentice, or have you graduated?
I was on my first mission as a Sentinel Knight when I got stranded on Desarti. Only recently passed the trials two months ago.
Congratulations on passing them. Do you enjoy your work, now that you're out in the field?
Sometimes... It can be a bit exhausting as well. I am with my first boyfriend right now. My father would not approve since he is older than I.
I do get to see some exotic and strange worlds, though.
Parents always seem to disapprove of potential lifepartners. Doesn't matter what age they are.
Sounds exciting. You said you're stranded, but I'm sure you're working on a way to get home. I don't want to keep you away from your work, so just one more question.
When things become bleak, and it seems like nothing will go right for you ever again, do you have any accomplishments or fond memories you can look back on for inspiration to go on?
Well, I know that where I currently am is high tech level except for spacefaring so it's not really that bad. Helped stop a civil war on Myr Kinaa with fellow compatriots.
Stopping a war is a big thing. Especially a civil war.
I am going to let you get back to work, however. Thank you so much for coming with Bryan today. It has been visiting with you. Do you have any last words you'd like to pass along?
Words to pass along... Be yourself let no one dictate who you should be no matter how bad the situation gets. - Fiona
Bryan, do you have any final words before I close down the interview?
Fiona Harley is the main character of the Starshot: Chronicles saga. The first book of her on Desarti is Unforeseen: Forgotten Planet I out on Feb 9, 2016
I will have to keep an eye out for it. Sounds interesting.
Bryan, it was great having you over to visit. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to stop by.
Are you one of the authors participating in the VirtualFantasyCon 2016?
Yes, I am. I participated last year as well. Look for me on SciFi Monday and Urban Fantasy as Brien O'Raighne.
I will definitely come look you up.
This is the first of many interviews for the upcoming Virtual Fantasy Con that I will be a part of in October. Enjoy!
Character Interview with Felix from the world created by Assaph Mehr
January 23, 2016 by Katheryn Caffee
Katheryn Caffee~Assaph, thank you for coming over this evening. Who is this with you tonight?
Assaph Mehr~Thanks Katheryn. Allow me to introduce Spurius Volpius Felix, better known as Felix the Fox.
Good evening, Felix. It's nice to have you in to visit.
As I'm not familiar with your world, may I ask what species you are?
Um, human... I thought that was pretty obvious.
"The Fox" is a reference to Felix' profession.
Better than ferret, which is what you almost stuck me with.
Forgive me. As I said, I'm not familiar with your world. And, I've seen a few species that looked human who weren't.
Will you tell us a little about where you were born, and your family to get us started?
Sure. I come from a city called Egretia, on the shores of the Mare Sepiae. I've actually been to your world once, during an unfortunate miscalculated magic ritual. I found I could speak the local language - called Latin in your world. There were a lot of similarities with the local empire called 'Rome', but with some key differences. In my world there is magic, for example, while in yours it seemed to be missing.
As for my family, it was your average Egretian family. I have no siblings though, and both my parents have passed away a few years ago.
My condolences if you'll accept them. I do not mean to open old wounds. Do you have any friends or allies now who are like your family?
Thank you. That was quite a few years ago, and hardly an open wound any more. Now I have plenty of friends and acquaintances, but none that I would call family. My profession takes me out and about at odd hours and sometimes associate with the undesirable elements in our society. Not conducive to family life. There was a girl once... But that _is_ an open wound, one I'd rather steer clear from.
What do you do for work, that is so dangerous? Or is that a secret you cannot share?
Hardly a secret. I'm called 'the Fox' because I hunt down the truth for those who pay for it. I nearly got called the ferret [shoots dark look at Assaph] because it involves a lot of digging around in other people’s rubbish.
Let me step back a little. My father was a dealer in antiques. I learned a lot about the business of trading exotic items from him. I was the first of my family through to join the Collegium Incantatorum –
College of Wizards, in Latin.
... but I was rudely ejected from it after my father passed away and I could no longer pay the feed. I tried the legions, but hated it. I found work as a private investigator with the firm of Gordius et Falconius –
Gordianus and Falco in our world.
Who's telling the story, you or me? Anyway, I've learned how to be a private investigator. Now I combine my various skills, and solve cases that often involve magical items or corpses that died in mysterious ways. My clients come from all walks of society, but usually they'd like to keep things private and out of sight of the authorities.
Sounds like you enjoy your work. Would you consider yourself more aligned with the lawful/good side of life, or the not-so lawful side of life?
I'm firmly aligned with the side of money. I keep out of the way of the authorities, because these mentulae –
...because they are too rigid and only care about the 'big things'. What I do is solve problems - though I am not one to make people disappear, if that's what you mean. I'm more into finding lost magical rings, validating authenticity of ancient scroll and the like.
Occasionally I get to do more exciting things. Recently I had to deal with a problem, for example, where someone released some unfortunate beast into the sewers. The authorities don't care about the people in the streets, so I take my chances to help them.
And get paid, of course.
Have to make a living, and pay the bills somehow, right?
I'm sure in your line of work you've wound up in someone's "black book of better off dead". Have you ever run into anyone trying to scratch your name off that list?
Far too often, sadly. I'm still alive though, and they are mostly not. I tread carefully.
Just means you're a survivor, and can handle pressure well.
I don't want to tie up too much of your valuable time, so one more question. If you had the chance to make anything happen in your life, what would you choose?
That girl I mentioned? She would still be with us today. It wasn't my fault, yet I still feel responsible... She deserved to live.
Perhaps, if you talk really nice with Assaph, you can convince him to let you find closure for that.
Felix, thank you so much for letting Assaph drag you away from your work, and for visiting with us. Do you have any last words before we close out our chat?
Thank you sincerely, Katheryn, for taking the time to hear me. While I can't tell you of some of my more interesting adventures because I am paid handsomely to keep my mouth shut about them (and my integrity matters to me), I do let Assaph write up my memoirs.
For example, that story I mentioned about the sewers? You can find it here: http://egretia.com/2015/06/05/burnt/
Let me echo Felix' gratitude. We are much obliged Katheryn.
You are both quite welcome. And, thank you Assaph for bringing Felix in today for the visit. Between the two of you, I look forward to getting to know you better.
Thank you kindly.
Part 1 ~ Front Matter
Your cover is the single most important feature of your book, second only to its great (and polished) story, but what comes next will be the first thing readers see, front matter. Your front matter is important and the following information will not only introduce your book to your readers but is also comprised of the book’s title, copyright information, preface, dedication, and or the table of contents. This doesn’t have to be overcomplicated and in fact, the simpler the better. If you have a lot of front matter it will decrease the amount of pages your reader can download or view online as part of the sample of your book.
First up is your Title Page. This should be about halfway down the page and centered. Next, type in the full title, including a series title if applicable. On the next double-spaced line, type by-or a novel by-or a story by (whatever seems best to you), then on the next double-spaced line, add your pen name or your real name.
Here is what mine looks like:
Next is the Copyright Page. The copyright notice will contain the name of the copyright owner, the publication year, permissions and disclaimers.
Here is mine:
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, alive or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Any references to real events, businesses, organizations or locales are only intended to give the fiction a sense of realism and authenticity.
Copyright © 2014 V. M. McKevitt
All rights reserved
(note) If you are publishing through Smashwords you will need to put “Smashwords Edition” or “Published by ---------- at Smashwords.” Please read their guidelines.
Now you’re Dedication Page. This is optional but it has a nice warm feeling to most readers. It says you are not a robot, lol. Dedications are always in the front of the book, after the copyright page and before the table of contents which is also optional. Acknowledgments are to thank those people who have helped or inspired you in the creation of your novel.
Again, here is mine:
In appreciation and thanks to Char Marie Adles with Wicked Book Covers for another beautiful cover, to ROMANCENOVELCOVERS.COM and Jimmy Thomas, owner and model at RNC, and Natalie Paquette, for portraying my vision of this series, and for my family and friends who have supported me every step of the way. A special thanks to Gini Hamilton, Lisa Angel Miller, Kathie Noblit, Theresa Johnson, and Sue McGarvie, for loving me as I am. But most of all, I thank you, the reader, for turning the pages, liking what you saw, and wanting more. I am forever grateful.
Preface (this is optional)
This is the why your book was written and is more common in non-fiction. I do not write a preface but there are many authors who do.
Foreword (also optional)
It is a short introduction to your book written by a third party, such as another author in your field or a celebrity. The foreword is the place to show the reader why they should be reading your book and is a major selling tool for the book. Never write the foreword yourself. Instead, use the preface or introduction for that purpose.
Table of Contents/TOC (optional)
A table of contents is most often added to non-fiction books. Now whether your fiction book needs a TOC is a matter of preference. If you do include a TOC, it should be right before your first chapter or prologue.
This is commonly done in science fiction and fantasy. It is a hook for the reader, giving them a reason to keep turning the pages to find out the more. Sometimes the prologue relates to a scene near the end of the story, and the story itself then shows what has led up to this moment or gives you a peek inside or a sort of foreshadowing of what is to come.
Here are a few no-no’s to remember:
don’t use your prologue as an info dump
make sure it has something to do with the main story
yawn, is it overly long?
You get the idea. Here is my prologue for Aiden’s War (release date summer 2016)
“My name is Aiden.”
The sound of a blade sliding across stone screeched in the night. An owl hooted in the trees nearby and then fell silent. The only other sounds were the crackle of flames chewing at logs in a makeshift pit and the steady breathing of the boy who sharpened the blade.
I’m seventeen, eighteen next month.” The blade slid across the stone again.
“My parents and sister were murdered in these woods.” He stood up and flung the long deadly knife toward an Oak tree nearby.
“Right there, next to that tree, three years ago.” Leaves crunch under dark brown hiking boots as he walks to retrieve his knife. He rocks it back and forth, loosening the razor sharp blade from the tree.
"Everyone I loved is dead, taken from me, and nobody believes what I saw. Nobody but that Indian, Old Joe and Michael. I told the police what killed my family but they said it was a bear or a wolf, not some monster a scared kid imagined in the night."
The blade slips into a sheath attached to his belt and he pulls a worn, tattered coat over his muscular frame and zips it up. “How did I get away? My mother sacrificed herself for me.
That monster thought she was dead and I was next but he was wrong.” He squints into the darkness past the campfire. “Every night since that one, when I close my eyes, I can still see his yellow eyes staring into mine while I stood there waiting to die, and then I hear the shot gun blast.
The sound still rings in my ears but his screams of rage are worse when he turns on my mother. I’ll never forget the tears streaming down her face as she mouths the words, run, please Aiden, run.”
He stares at the Owl as if it understands. “Today is the day I stop running.”
Well that’s it for this post. Next time I will be sharing the body of your novel; chapter headings, spacing, fonts, and so much more. I hope you found this info helpful. Drop me a line and let me know what you think. See you on the other side of the pen!
Very good info from Stephen Hise co-administrator at IndiesUnlimited
Writing a good blog article is a fairly simple thing. If properly constructed, a well-written post will invite traffic from search engines and promote commentary. It may seem strange that people who can write a novel of 100,000 words can struggle so much over a mere 750 word post. In truth, it is no more surprising than discovering a decent sprinter might beat a champion marathon runner in a 100 yard dash. Writing a good blog article requires a different skill-set than writing a good novel. All that is required for success is an understanding of how to apply those skills within the framework of article writing.
Let’s cover some of the basic considerations in crafting an effective blog article: form, focus, and strategy.
A blog article has the same general anatomy as any short-form essay: title, introduction, body, and conclusion.
The title should clearly state what the article is about. For example, if the article is about CreateSpace, the word CreateSpace should be in the title. It is no good naming such a titleMy Summer at Wembly Manor, even if that is where you discovered CreateSpace. People using search engines and who are looking for articles about CreateSpace are unlikely to use terms like “summer” or “Wembly Manor.”
If your article is a how-to article or a tutorial, the title should include those words. Proper titling will make your article easier for search engines to find, and easier for browsing readers to pick out of a long list of search term results.
The introduction is the first paragraph or two of the article. The very first sentences should clearly state the purpose of the article. The reason for this is that those first few lines are sometimes excerpted by search engines as the description for the article.
So, in your article, How to Use CreateSpace, your first sentence should be something like: “Using CreateSpace is simple if you remember a few basic rules.”
If the first line of your CreateSpace article, My Summer at Wembly Manor, is “I well remember the halcyon days of my youth at Wembly Manor,” NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO FIND IT. Strictly speaking, I guess no one looking for an article on CreateSpace will ever find it.
Use the introduction to state the subject and scope of the article. Establish your authority, experience, or expertise, and finish with a segue to the body. This can be something like: “All that is required for success is an understanding of how to apply those skills within the framework of article writing.”
The body of the article is where you will set forth the arguments, facts, findings, problems, steps, lists, etc., that set forth the substance of the article. Make your body text flow in some sort of logical order. If you are building towards a conclusion, order the information in such a way as to support that conclusion. If you are describing a process, describe it through from beginning to end.
Include hyperlinks to sources and resources where appropriate. Do not assume your readers are familiar with outside content you are referencing – give them a link so they can see for themselves. (Try to limit the number of hyperlinks – search engines frown on the use of five or more.)
The body text should be concise, clear, and well-ordered/linear. It should include links to supporting documentation or information, and it should progress organically to the summary or conclusion.
The conclusion is the bottom slice of bread in our article sandwich. Restate and summarize the article. An article without a conclusion section will seem somehow incomplete. It is rather like hanging up the phone without saying goodbye. The conclusion can be something as simple as: “Even though CreateSpace can seem daunting at first, following the few simple steps I have outlined above will make it simple.”
Remember that a blog article must address only one or two topics. Stay on target. If you catch yourself writing the words, “…but I digress,” you have. Your reader came to see the information you advertised. Don’t get them lost in a maze of other subjects.
There are two simple strategies for improving your article’s attractiveness to search engines:
Think of a keyword as a folder label for your article. If your article is about the nutritional value of eggs, it might go in a folder labeled “eggs” and it might also go in a folder labeled “nutrition.” That means people will be more likely to find it whether they are looking for info on eggs or nutrition. However, the words “eggs” and “nutrition” should be prominently used in the article. Now, jockeying for a good ranking on a term as general as “eggs” is best left to the big boys who pay for ads and positioning. You would rather attract someone interested in a more specialized search term such as “egg nutrition” or “health benefits of eating eggs.” Try doing a search yourself to see what terms you would use to find what you’re looking for, and use that logic when determining your keywords.
Writers tend naturally to avoid using the same word over and over in the course of a few short paragraphs. Put your thesaurus aside when writing a blog article. Decide what your keywords are and use them. In the search engine industry, this is known as keyword “weight.”
When providing a link to an outside resource or article, place the hyperlink in words that describe the essence of the resource for the reader.
Consider this sentence:
“Coleman wrote of the seven proteins found in eggs in an article for the National Scientific Journal.”
The best place to put the hyperlink would be in the words seven proteins found in eggs. Some people would put the link in Coleman or the National Scientific Journal. The problem is that your article is not about those things. It’s about the nutritional value of eggs. The worst choice of words to hyperlink in the example sentence would be an article. Use link love to strengthen your theme. Not sure how to do that? Well, here is an article on embedding a link in a blog post.
That’s all there is to it. Writing your article in the proper form, maintaining focus, and using the correct strategy will improve your search engine results and make your guest posts more appealing to other bloggers. Writing an attention-getting blog article is a fairly simple thing. Just follow the rules above and you’ll start to see more traffic. That’s what you want, right?
I met this amazing and lovely women several years ago when I published my first book. We never met face to face, never talked on the phone or any of the traditional ways a new friendship is formed. We met on facebook. I don't even remember her friended who first but what I do remember was a newby writer (myself) was welcomed with open arms into an alien and foreign world and made to feel at home by one of the sweetest and loving person I have ever known.
We've shared over the years our ups and downs, our highs and lows and I can tell you this woman ALWAYS finds the good in any situation. This past month though has broken her heart. The love of her life passed away unexpectedly and has left her torn and shredded and as you can see she needs our help.
This blog hop has been created to help support Karli in her time of loss and need. There are several ways you can help; there is a fundraiser that is listed above, with any amount appreciated, or another way you can help Karli and also pick up a great read is to by one of her books.
Today I am hosting Crescent Bound, the first in her series, The Crescent Bound Series.
The e-book of Crescent Bound is free so you can get into this series without spending a single penny and then you can pick up the other four, Raven Bound, Demon Bound, Shadow Bound, Demon Bound for only 2.99. That's five books for 12.00, plus for the first FIVE readers who by the complete series I have a wonderful gift. These one of a kind bracelets created just for this event.
Thank you for hopping by. Enjoy your stay and leave a comment before you hop to the next blog. http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/
Lots of Love,
This bracelet goes to the first five readers who send me proof of purchase for Karli Rush's Crescent Bound Series.
Check out the post below and the links to where you can find Karli.
Here's ten things about Karli.
- I'm a mother of three.
- I ghost hunt, love paranormal sci/fi shows.
- I write (generally) in first person present tense.
- I didn't grow up wanting to become an author, I wanted to be a Rockette.
- I walked to school, up hill, both ways. (True story.)
- I am coulrophobic. (Thanks to Stephen King,)
- I can not function properly without caffeine.
- I love haunted places, one of my favorites is the Crescent Hotel.
- I'm a Autism Advocate.
- I have a goal to become a Zumba guru.
Crescent Bound~blog hop and give a way
Paranormal Witch Romance series
Alyssa Worthington is the daughter and sole heir to the most prestigious coven in the witch world. Her childhood has been spent in the mundane human world learning to blend in and hide who she truly is, and it is here, during her last year that she meets a striking ex-high school quarterback from a small town in Montana who will turn her world upside down.
Alyssa holds the element of fire, unlike her best friends Lisa and Megan, who are both air elementals. It is the elemental powers that reside inside which require positive thoughts and positive actions in order to maintain this magickal connection. What would happen to a witch that let this get out of control? How can evil become the driving force behind revenge and death?
Dark secrets, dark magick and a desperate desire for revenge will bring Alyssa to the brink of destruction. She is being chased, but this pursuit is a silent one and her chaser has but one goal, Alyssa’s complete and total destruction. Will she overcome this dark threat and begin to live out her destiny? Will she survive and if so, will she lose herself as part of the price for being alive? Or, will her destiny rest on being crescent bound?
This witch romance book contains mature themes and subject matter including profanity, and sexual situations/language. 18+
REVIEWS:Julie Ramsey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Crescent BoundThis wonderful story is about a young women and her 2 childhood friends all now seniors in High School. Magically hidden from the other Students, till 1 can see through. Oh what a ride that will be. Magic is everywhere and so beautiful. More Friends enter this trio and off to a wonderful world filled with Magic, Trust, Love, FUN, Friendship!
Oh did I forgot Drag Strip for teens and adults. Also hidden from us mortals!
Alyssa Worthington is a Fire Witch. She has powers that are yet to be tapped. This puts her on the list of most coveted by the bad guys. Her friends and family will do everything in their powers to help Alyssa survive. Marcus is from a coven long thought extinct. He doesn't know about Witches or anything paranormal. He is about to have a crash course in Witches and Love if he is to save his Crescent Bound
The book kept my attention, all the characters showed promise of being the best of friends and yet no one is perfect and all accepted this.
Very Well Written. Most of the time I forgot I was reading a Book. This tells me a lot about the Author. Karli Rush is an Author to Watch!!
I Highly Recommend this Book!!
Oct 23, 2012 Mayra rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I received, Crescent Bound for free by the lovely, Karli Rush. All I can say is, I LOVE this book! I completely fell in love with the characters and I must say, Marc is now a part of my heart. With editing the story will be perfect but for me it did not affect the story. The plot is different from anything I have ever read and I must admit, I laughed, cried, and just fell in love with Marc. Would I recommend this book? YES!!! Not to young readers but definitely to everyone else. Can't wait to read the next book
Hey Everyone!!! :-)
Guess what??? The wait is over!!!!! :-) Intrigue In The Summer Court is now out and available from Amazon and Smashwords!!!!! :-) Check it out, and please let me know what you think!! :-)
Intrigue In The Summer Court On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Intrigue-Summer-Court-Mistral-Dawn-ebook/dp/B013IMFQXC/ref=la_B00NGXETSM_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438895709&sr=1-3
Intrigue In The Summer Court On Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/566871
Jillian knows something bad is going to happen! She has been a loyal adviser to the throne and friend of the queen, Briallen, for thousands of years, and now Roni and Uaine's wedding and coronation are to take place in just a couple days. The Summer Court will have a new king and queen, who, it is hoped, can repair the damage and heal the schism the late king created.
But Jillian can't shake the feeling that trouble is brewing. Many of the Summer nobles aren't happy about the changes that are taking place in the Summer Court, and many of the other Fae just aren't too sure about having a human on the throne...even if she has been blessed by the goddess. When Angelica, the leader of the Pixies, comes to her with news of a plot to murder the prince and princess, Jillian's suspicions are confirmed. Will the two of them be able to unravel this conspiracy in time to save the royal couple? Or will prejudice prevail, and the hope for peace in Fairie be lost forever?
And if you missed the first two books, get them here so you can read the series in order! :-)
Book 1: Taken By The Huntsman: http://www.amazon.com/Taken-The-Huntsman-Mistral-Dawn-ebook/dp/B00NGANG5C/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1S7KHWPRMFQ78EMFART7
Book 2: Bound By The Summer Prince: http://www.amazon.com/Bound-By-The-Summer-Prince-ebook/dp/B00U1QFOWC/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0M40B3FYRQGG4BBKVC8P
Want a sneak peek of Intrigue In The Summer Court? Here you go! :-)
Jillian had a bad feeling. The Sidhe's gaze flitted from one Fae to the next, her eyes combing through the crowd assembled in the throne room of the Summer Court. Searching desperately for some clue as to the source of the threat. For days she had stood quietly behind the queen, as Briallen welcomed the dignitaries who had traveled from all over Fairie to witness the wedding and coronation of Roni and Uaine. It wasn't every day that new rulers assumed control of one of the Season Courts.
Once the young people were properly crowned, they would ascend to the throne of the Summer Court, and Briallen would step down. Never had Briallen looked more regal than she did now, as she fought through her grief to represent the Summer Court during this time of change. Jillian's heart broke for her queen, even as her trepidation built.
What Jillian found maddening was that she couldn't identify the source of her unease. Ever since her encounter with the goddess, her instincts seemed to have been heightened. At times, it seemed as though she could tell what would happen before it came to pass. She was still learning how to use this new ability, but she knew that ignoring a gift from the goddess was never wise. Right now, every instinct in her was screaming that something was wrong.
Taking a deep breath, Jillian reached into the bag that hung over her shoulder to pet the easy-going rabbit who waited inside. The feel of Patches' soft fur under her hand calmed her, as it always did. Her sweet bunny friend, sensing her disquiet, nuzzled her fingers in an attempt to reassure her. Unfortunately, despite Patches' best efforts, Jillian's feeling of foreboding persisted without abatement.
She continued to seek any hint as to what direction the peril might strike from by observing the crowd. Jillian noted that the Erlking and his Anamchara, Cassie, had finally arrived. The presence of Fairie's Huntsman gave her some comfort. A Fae would have to be bold indeed, and foolhardy, to instigate trouble in the presence of the goddess's own enforcer. Still, Jillian couldn't escape a feeling of dread.
Her attention was caught as Ankou, the king of the Winter Court, approached Briallen and nodded to the queen. Jillian marveled at how strong the king looked, despite all of his loss. A weaker Fae would have long since decided to allow themselves to fade, but Ankou appeared as solid and powerful as ever. The thought of his long eons of existence gave even Jillian, who had lived for tens of thousands of years, pause. As she observed the large male moving through the throng of Fae around the throne, her heart ached over the mantle of sorrow that surrounded him.
Shaking herself from her reverie, Jillian tried to focus on the nebulous feeling at the back of her mind and identify just what was causing it. With so many gathered to celebrate Roni and Uaine's union, a premonition of danger couldn't be dismissed. She shook her head; it was no good. Any Fae with enough status to be invited to such an important event would have long since learned to control their reactions. Perhaps if she withdrew and sought some quiet for meditation, then clarity would follow.
Just as Jillian turned away to find the desired solitude, she was approached by Angelica. As the head of the largest of the Pixie villages, the tiny Fae was, by default, the representative of the Pixies. "Greetings Jillian, you look pensive," said the tiny Fae as she hovered in front of Jillian's face on wings beating as fast as a humming bird's.
"Angelica, welcome," Jillian nodded to the winged female. "I hope the Pixies are pleased with the new trade agreements."
Angelica gave her a predatory smile. "Oh, they'll do for now. But what could be causing you to look so serious on such a happy occasion?"
"Do I look serious?" hedged Jillian. She made a mental note to control her face better, now was not the time to show weakness to outsiders.
"Oh, I think you know you do," the Pixie gave her a sharp look, "and I think I know why, as well."
Jillian just raised an eyebrow and looked at Angelica. The delicate Fae's tiny face betrayed nothing.
"Do you think it is only the High-Court Fae who are capable of smelling trouble in the air?" Angelica gave the Sidhe a bitter look. "We lesser-Fae have noses as sharp as yours, my lady," she added, the honorific thrown in ironically.
Jillian's second eyebrow joined the first, just below her hairline. "I never suggested that you don't, and the only one calling you 'lesser', Angelica, is you. If you have knowledge of danger brewing, then by all means, speak up."
"Ah yes, how could I have forgotten? It is a new day, with a new regime about to rise." As the Pixie spoke, she cut a contemptuous glance towards Uaine and Roni standing near the queen. "The past is now over, and we are all one Court once again. Not all of us forget centuries of injustice so easily, Jillian."
Grimacing but acknowledging the truth in the Pixie's words, Jillian said, "Ithel's behavior was inexcusable, but he is dead and his vision for the Summer Court died with him. The goddess made her judgment known, and the wise will do their best to abide by it. The past may not be forgotten, but we cannot change what was done. All we can do is make the future better."
Sighing, Angelica crossed her arms over her chest. She looked down, and then back up and cocked her head to the side. "Perhaps. We shall see. Your prince and his mate will be under close scrutiny, I hope you know that."
"Our prince and our princess are well aware that they have much work to do to heal the Court of past hurts. Is that the trouble you spoke of?"
Flipping her lilac hair over her shoulder, the Pixie gave Jillian a sly look. "No," she floated over to settle onto the larger Fae's shoulder, "I have reason to believe that the prince and the princess may not live long enough to be king and queen," she whispered into the Sidhe's ear.
Jillian gave Angelica a sharp look out of the corner of her eye. "Why would you believe such a thing?"
"There have been whisperings. You must know that Logan and Deirdra's family is not pleased with their fate."
"That is hardly a revelation," said Jillian, thinking of how the Elf female had been killed by the spell she tried to use to murder Roni.
"No, of course not, and you don't truly believe they will not retaliate, do you?"
Jillian fought to conceal how startled she was by the thought. "The goddess herself has bestowed her protection on the princess, and her blessing on the royal wedding. Are Logan and Deirdra's relatives foolish enough to challenge the goddess?"
Angelica snorted. "Not directly, of course, that would be suicide. But you know perfectly well there are always loopholes in any magic. All they need do is find one."
"Do you have specific knowledge of any such plots, or is this mere speculation?"
The Pixie gave Jillian a smug look, as she lifted off of the Sidhe's shoulder to once again hover before the larger Fae's eyes. "Why don't we go somewhere more private to discuss the matter?"
Jillian gave the Pixie a searching look and then nodded. "If you'll follow
Gaming the System... Success in Publishing means playing the game in front of you
#1 best-selling, award-winning author and freelance developmental editor (and closeted, lifelong jock) Anna DeStefano gives us some insight on learning how to apply the techniques of disciplined, elite athletes to your daily writing “workout.”
1. Analyze as you create/work/produce/publish/play.
Top athletes and the long-term, successful author (whether traditionally published or indie or hybrid) never stop learning and improving and changing their process. The world of every game, every book, every book release continues to change and grow and transform. What worked last time almost never works the same way again, even if last time you hit a home run out of the part.
Yesterday’s “golden ticket” or silver bullet or key to success is more than likely NOT going to net you the same outcome today, and might just be a time and money sink you can’t afford.
How do you know what to keep from the current wisdom, what to toss out and what to reinvent on your own?
Write every day, yes, but play the game of publishing, too, EVERY day. Stop making it look like you wanted it to look, and actually deal with the reality you’re facing.
Those business partners (your coaches and teammates and counselors) are great. Butthey don’t know you as well as YOU do, they don’t know your true, core goals until you communicate them.
And their job is often to keep you happy—NOT always to advise you on what’s best to do for your long-term career.
Elite athletes listen to negative expectations, once they’ve committed to a goal.
The elite athlete is a risk taker, not a reckless rebel. They follow direction and advice, more often than they strike out on your own. They pick and choose their battles.
Often, they’re choosing to follow trends and advice, because they respect others’ game and expertise in areas they’re not as strong. They’re skilled at surrounding themselves with talented, smart, equally driven people who can propel the athlete in areas they’re not equipped to explore and purse alone.
6. Never, ever EVER stop playing the ball (the game) in front of you!
Being successful is an ever-changing, ever-confusing, ever-up-and-down process.
Anna DeStefano is the nationally best-selling, award-winning author of over 25 classic romance, women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and sci-fi fantasy novels. Her latest release, LET ME LOVE YOU AGAIN, is Book 2 in her best-selling Echoes of the Heart series. HERE IN MY HEART, Book 1, was the #1 Best-selling Short Story on Amazon at its debut. HIS DARLING BRIDE releases in April, 2016.
Past President of Georgia Romance Writers, Anna is a GA Tech honors graduate with 10 years of experience working in Corporate IT and enjoyed an award-winning career as a senior tech writer. She’s in demand as a workshop, keynote, master class and retreat speaker. She's also a freelance developmental editor.
She's a two-time Romantic Times Award winner, a Golden Heart winner, and she's won the Gale Wilson Award of Excellence, the Maggie Award for Excellence, and has been a finalist in numerous other awards, including the National Readers Choice awards, the Holt Medallian, and the Book Buyers Best Award.
Thank you Anna for allowing me to share this insightful post with everyone. Much success in your future endeavors!
Visit her on Facebook and Twitter and at www.annawrites.com, where she blogs regularly about the wacky world of writing that she calls home.
WEEKLY DEAL ENDS 7/25/2015!
I'm a weekly deal! Get your copy Love on Mimosa Lane and Three Days on Mimosa Lane for just $1.99 each! And Psssssst! Love on Mimosa Lane is the bridge book into the new best-selling Echoes is the Heart series.
Kindle Love Stories
The New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros summed it up pretty well when she said, “Anna DeStefano is a treasure!” We couldn’t agree more! And right now, you can get Three Days on Mimosa Lane AND Love on Mimosa Lane by award-winning author Anna DeStefano: Author for $1.99 each until 7/25!
Three Days on Mimosa Lane: http://amzn.to/1M4mjx8
Love on Mimosa Lane: http://amzn.to/1I0wJ0X
I am honored today to have romance author, Cynthia Lucas on my blog. Not only is she an accomplished writer but she is also a professional singer/songwriter/performer and cover artist. When she is not writing you will find her performing on the weekends with her band, NORTH 2 SOUTH entertaining in little beach bars, to pre-concert shows on the east side stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall in and around Clearwater, FL.
VM~First off I want to say thank you for taking the time to share your life with us today, Cynthia. Tell us, who is Cynthia Lucas?
CL~ Wow. Virginia…before I start I want to say thank YOU so much for having me!! I am so honored to be interviewed by you…I am a fan of your work, and I really appreciate you taking the time to include me here on your blog! J As for me? Well, at the core of everything I am, I am an artist. My life and every aspect of it revolves around creativity whether through music, writing, visual…graphic design. My goals in life are to reach as many people as possible through the arts…to help take them away for a few minutes or a few hours where they can escape from every day routines or troubles, and I always hope to inspire people in any way possible….to get people thinking about life itself, our nature both spiritually and intellectually, maybe help them reach for the best version of themselves they can be, and to drive things toward the creation of a better world in general.
VM~The honor is mine Cynthia. You are an interesting and diverse person and I would like the readers to get to know you better, so here we go...
VM~I’ve read that some of your other interests besides writing novels are writing screenplays and getting them into film. Is there a particular book that you have written that you would want to see on the big screen and why?
CL~ It would be a dream come true to see all my books make it to film. The time travel ones could be right there in the same genre/adaptation for audiences as Outlander and the paranormals are very much in the realm of Prince of Persia or the like. ALL my books have messages of redemption and spiritual growth, which are extremely important to us by our very nature here on earth. All of my stories also have plenty of steamy romance, action and adventure. I would love to see Smoke & MirrorZ which is my favorite of my books on screen….and Blood From a Stone in particular…which is a gargoyle paranormal fantasy romance. It would make an interesting change amid all the vampire and werewolf series/screenplays.
VM~A gargoyle. That would be a change to something different. And the time travel books would peak the interests of science fiction enthusiast everywhere.
VM~I see you enjoy working with photography and graphic arts and have designed some of your own book covers and also have added cover artist to your list of talents. Where do you see this talent leading you in the future?
CL~ Yep! I love it, and I’m open on that one. I love to design…so I just kind of go with the flow. It started as a hobby, and sort of still is…but then my covers started selling and now quite a few of them are out there for some other wonderful authors. Danielle James, Crystal Dawn, KJ Montgomery…to name a few.
VM~That is awesome! I have a daily round of battles with photoshop, where I am unfortunately, the loser, lol. One day photoshop, one day…
You are featured on your own cover, SMOKE & MIRRORZ with gorgeous Grigoris Drakakis. Every female on the planet wants to know what that was like, so fess up. We are all ears.
CL~ Well…it was every bit as amazing as you can fantasize! Lol. He is just incredibly beautiful in person... and he’s even more so on the inside. We just had immediate chemistry and it came out on the cover and in the cinematic trailer too. Now, to be honest, I almost chickened out last minute, because I wasn’t sure at my age of 50 (at the time last year) that I could pull off playing the part of a woman who is 33 years old as Scheharazade Bloom is in my story…plus I was a little intimidated being on screen or on a cover with a guy as beautiful as Grigoris! Yes, I stand on stage every weekend fronting and singing in a band in front of sometimes hundreds of people at a time, even pre-concert crowds at large venues. I am really pretty fearless, and completely comfortable on stage and on camera; but when I realized what I was about to do…to face my own greatest self-image fears (as SOOO many ladies have!!), being on screen with a guy THAT good looking AND oh, about 20 years younger than me, well I REALLY had to put on my big girl panties and get brave. Lol. Yep. You don’t think about those things until you actually DO it and realize the WHOLE world will see it…including all your critics and everyone else who might say, “Why is SHE on there with HIM?” There’s going to be those who might judge you…or criticize. And you have to be strong enough to accept all of it…the good and the not so good. But you know, one of my missions in life is to help promote the ideal of beauty in ALL ages, sizes, weights, etc. and to empower and inspire women to LOVE themselves and have the courage to try anything they want to try!! And if I could have the courage to put myself out here like that when I am NOT a professional model and I am not 25 years old…and I’m not skinny either…well, maybe some of them would have the courage to do something they want to do too. An artistic goal, physical fitness, a new business, or even a hot photo shoot for their boyfriend or husband. Just whatever they wanted to try. So, I pushed aside any last minute jitters and I gave it my best. Grigoris has been my biggest supporter and such a wonderful friend. It was one of the best experiences EVER in my life, and we’re planning another for this coming fall. J
VM~Well the cover is fantastic and you are a beautiful fifty-year-old that many would love to look like. You are comfortable in your own skin and it shows.
VM~Readers will go to your sale sights and will scratch their heads. “What happened to the Jimmy Thomas cover?!” (the original model who was on Smoke & Mirrorz). What was the reason you changed the cover of Smoke and Mirrors from Jimmy Thomas to the then up and coming Grigoris Drakakis?
CL~When I decided I wanted to make a cinematic trailer for the book and I couldn't hire Jimmy to do it. I found Grigoris (I discovered him). Once that happened it seemed too weird to have one actor in the trailer and another model on the cover and it became apparent that it was a wonderful opportunity to introduce Grigoris into the book cover world for real. (He'd only had one other cover at that point...Katie McAllister's)...and was unknown. Once he hit my page...he took off like a rocket.
VM~Wow, great story! How did you find him?
CL~I searched high and low for just the right guy to play Z in the trailer. I started locally, then USA...and finally nothing was coming up. And I came across Grigoris on line and asked him if he was still in LA or was he in Greece. Turned out he was in Greece but wanted to come to the USA. Doors opened immediately and he was able to set up photo shoots etc. etc. after we were done shooting in Atlanta....
He came all the way from Greece to come shoot with me....an ocean separated us, but I just knew he was the right one, and it was funny that he is Greek...I'd somehow made a connection to my heritage. I felt that was no accident either that out of all the people in the world I found HIM....across the miles of ocean that led me 'home' in a sense.
VM~That’s good stuff right there folks, lol. What is your relationship with Grigoris like?
CL~We have a wonderful, special friendship because of that connection and we always will….very much support for each other’s work and trust. It opened the door to so many great things for him and for me too! And it was no accident...I believe the universe brought us together for Smoke &MirrorZ.
You can watch the cinematic teaser here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O5mRyCjGZ4
VM~That is an awesome story in itself but we have lots more we want to know. Your first novel, When Lightning Strikes, combines time-travel, swashbuckling and romance and made a lengthy stay in the Top 100 of Amazon.com's Best Sellers in Time Travel Romance and reached #1 in Time Travel Romance in Amazon Kindle Edition in 2011. Tell us what went into writing this best seller, why you wrote the sequel, QUICKSILVER MOON which was nominated for a RONE AWARD for excellence in writing. (FINALIST: Best Time Travel 2013).
CL~ The original manuscript for When Lightning Strikes took me a few years to complete…and I published it. It went nowhere…I maybe sold a few copies to friends and shelved my writing for a few years. Then I decided to re-work the story, edit and re-issue in 2010. I released it and was delighted when some of my friends were buying it…and a small trickle of sales started on Amazon. A year later I woke up one morning and found it sitting at #1 in Time Travel Romance and I was having every reaction you could imaging….laughing, crying tears of joy. Every emotion ran through my mind…but probably the most prominent was that my mother, who had passed away several months earlier and who was one of my biggest supporters, did not survive to see the book reach that success. She was so proud of it, even when it was sitting in the Top 20…but I know that she knows wherever her continued journey has taken her, and I dedicated Blood From a Stone to her, which I wrote in between WLS and Quicksilver Moon. Quicksilver Moon came about because I felt there was more of the story there to tell…and needed to tie up the loose ends and bring everything full circle in the time line. That is exactly what it did and actually I feel it is one of my best pieces of writing to date, even though it is lesser known that some of my other books. I cried SO hard at the end of that story….I was sobbing when I wrote it because of the way it comes full circle and brings everything in their timeline together and you understand how the whole thing works…and the circle of life. Quicksilver Moon was just an incredibly emotional piece of writing for me.
VM~Of the five titles out today, do you have a favorite and why?
CL~Smoke & MirrorZ is my favorite of my books there’s just something of Z that lives inside me…he is my twin soul. I believe in the power the growth of the human spirit has to transform life itself…I never give up hope for every being’s ability to grow into something better than they were before….and most of all…I believe that love is the most powerful magic in the world. <3
VM~You are right. The power of love can overcome any obstacle. I believe that.
VM~Lets go back to graphic design and another hat you are now wearing, Cover Designer. What made you decide to try your hand at this complex and not so easy endeavor?
CL~ I have always loved art…painting, drawing and graphics too. And I just wanted to try my hand creating beautiful artwork that would represent a story.
VM~Cynthia has a real talent when it comes to graphic design. You can see her work here: https://www.facebook.com/cynthialucasfantasycovers
CL~ Thank you, Virginia…. J <3
VM~Our next stop on this artistic train ride is Cynthia the songwriter and singer. Cynthia tell us about your singing career. How long have you been singing? Who is your favorite artist and where can we come and hear your music?
This lady ROCKS ya’ll!
CL ~ I have been singing for most of my adult life, and playing keyboards for many years. I’ve played in many bands over the course of the years, both cover and original….been to Nashville to record with Mark Oliverius, who’s written with artists such as Trick Pony, Lorrie Morgan (he’s her musical director), and many, many others in the Grand Ole Opry.
We were nominated for Country Song of the Year in the JPF Music Awards in 2005. We moved out of country music and into more of our roots in rock and pop some years ago, because we felt we wanted more creative leeway…and currently have a band that plays mostly covers and some original here at home in Tampa Bay. We play many venues in and around Indian Rocks Beach, Clearwater and Tampa. Favorite artists? Hmm…well, classics that would be Steely Dan, Hall & Oates and Journey….always have loved Sade too. Vocally when I just wanna let it rip: Love covering Ann Wilson (Heart) and we cover some mean Journey too….ditto Loverboy and Bon Jovi. Newer stuff: I’m definitely a Maroon 5 fan and we cover several of their songs. And I love John Mayer.
You can find us at ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/north2south and www.north2southonline.com as well as the link to a cover song video that Virginia has below:
VM~Isn’t this one amazing lady, you guys?
VM~What are some fun facts that you would like to share with readers? What makes Cynthia Lucas tick, lol?
I am an animal lover…we have nine cats, four dogs, two macaws, a flying squirrel, a fat tailed gecko and my daughter’s mice and rats.
Smoke & MirrorZ is dedicated to my late cat Giorgio (aka George). The kitten in the book is named after him. He was truly a king of cats.
Two of my cats (and sometimes three) like to go on walks with our dogs. They just follow along for a whole mile around the neighborhood. All of them are black. Sometimes people stop and stare or actually ask if they are our cats following…it looks like a pet parade walking three or four dogs with three cats following along in a caravan! Lol.
My favorite color is purple.
My favorite flowers are tiger lilies and canna lilies.
I sometimes get insomnia and when I do…I either clean house or write.
VM~What a great interview! You are a very interesting woman with an abundance of talent. It has been my pleasure to let readers get to know you better. Thank you for taking the time to spend with me today. Before we say goodbye, can you tell us what we can see in the future with your writing and music?
CL~ Virginia…thank YOU so much for having me, and asking so many creative, well-thought out questions! I hope to interview you someday in return. To everyone who’s out there….thank you so much for getting to know me a little, and for allowing me to share my creative endeavors with you. You are the reason I love to create…and YOU inspire me! J <3
Cynthia’s books can be found here:
Here is where you can connect with Cynthia:
Thank you to Claire Plaisted, writer of Adult Romance, Regency, Detective, Erotic, Young Adult, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Thriller, and Young Children's adventur, for tagging me to join in this blog tour. You can check out Claire and get to know her here https://claireplaisted.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/my-lovely-blog-blog-tour-2/
VIRGINIA'S FIRST MEMORIES
Children’s fairy tales and imaginary friends were the building blocks that started this writer on a path to where she is today.
I have so much to be thankful for but I would not be at this place in my life today if not for some pretty remarkable influences that charted my path. The first is my sister Anna, who started the whole fairy tale business in the first place. The stories she would read to me were a ride that I never got off of. Alice in wonderland is still my favorite escape of all time.
From childhood, through the teen years then on to Anne Rice, and my first vampire love Lestat. Growing up and living in New Orleans, what can I say, it is the perfect place to hone the paranormal fantasy mind and this legendary woman and her Vampire Chronicles fueled my imagination.
I began to write, but was too self conscious to share my stories, so I wrote for me. Time passed, works were put away and life went on, until Hurricane Katrina. The curse to so many was a blessing in disguise for me, though at the time I didn’t think so. She blew into town, destroyed my business and my farm, then moved me north, to Alabama, then to the Georgia mountains.
That decision changed my life and rekindled my love for writing.
My imagination knows no boundaries and I love fantasy, so writing it seemed the thing to do. I really don’t have an answer as to how the idea came to me, it just did. It usually starts with a character or characters and then the theme of the story seems to fall into place. THEY LIVE! Lol, that’s kind of, what happens.
My favorite writers are Dean Koontz and Stephen King and Anne Rice. I know, huh. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Lightning, for Koontz, and It, for Stephen King. They keep you on the edge of your seat or the light on. I also love Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.
I also read some of the newer authors making their mark out there when I can, like when I’m taking a break from writing. Check out my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
Virginia's Libraries and Book Stores.
One of my favorites is the Chattanooga Library
It has a hometown feel but is chock full of life, history and great books. The other is the New Orleans Milton Latter Branch, a beautiful place just to sit. Hey, I love Barnes and Noble. What can I say
Virginia about Learning
I was okay in school. to many distractions and a boyfriend (now hubby) going to Viet Nam but I loved art and was pretty good at it. Loved writing but hated English, lol. I learned to love 'learning' when I got older. Now I learn all I can.
Hmmm, lots there! I love gardening. I am a landscape architect, Hurricane Katrina retired me. Love horses. I used to breed show and halter Quarter Horses. I love animals and most people. I try to find the good in everyone, and I LOVE fantasy. It's a daydreamer's world of escape and that is how I became a writer.
Thanks for stopping by the Lovely Blog Tour and we hope you will continue to follow us on our journey. I’m passing the baton to these wonderful authors who I met via social media and who support Indie authors in their endeavors to give readers a world to go to when they want their own escape.
First up is the awesome Karli Rush!
buy Karli's books here: http://www.amazon.com/Karli-Rush/e/B007DJNOMW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
I have long wanted to have a look inside of best-selling author Anne Rice’s right hand man’s mind and today he has graciously said yes. There are many layers to this interesting and charismatic man that most people do not know about. Besides being the personal assistant to the iconic Anne Rice, he is also an accomplished author in his own right, however his talents do not stop there.
He is a photographer with an exceptional eye for the beauty and reality in this world, a gifted musician, a computer programmer, and a former Franciscan Monk. Yes you heard me right, a monk, which in my personal opinion gives him an insight into this world, and the unseen world, with a clarity that few of us have.
Now that I have your undivided attention, let us peal back the layers, shall we?
VM: Thank you for taking the time to be here today, Becket. Can you tell us what you enjoyed most from your childhood?
B: The part of childhood that I enjoyed most is the same part that I enjoy today in adulthood, which is being in my room and engaging my imagination. In childhood, I would stay in my room for hours, building with Legos, or playing games, or even (and this happened before I learned to value comics) cut out pictures of 70s Captain America and pretend that they were my toys. My imagination was highly active at that time. And it has continued into adulthood. In a sense, I am still doing the same thing, when I close my door and lose myself in my imagination; the only difference is that now I write it all down and shape it into a narrative.
VM: I feel like most writers come from that same place. Our creative imagination never turns off and as an adult it becomes channeled into the stories we write. Our experiences in life culminated with our mind’s never-ending search for the next story is what makes us uniquely fitted for writing, which brings me to my next question(s), your life as a monk. What was it like to walk in those shoes, how long where you a monk, and if you don’t mind my asking, why did you leave the order?
B: I was a seminarian for three years and then a Benedictine monk for five more. When I began, I had a romance with the monastic habit, that is, part of me loved the superficial elements, such as the habit. Before I entered, I had seen monks wearing their habit, and I thought it was spiritually inspiring. But then I put the habit on and realize that, beneath the habit, there is just a man. And being a monk meant living with other men, each with our own idiosyncrasies and faults. But the beauty of the monastic order runs much deeper than the surface. Beneath monk and man lies a spirit that seeks peace in the heart of Eternal Love. We monks achieved that interior peace only when we fully surrendered to the discipline of our prayer life. We prayed five times a day in community. We gathered as monks in the morning at noon and at evening and we chanted the Psalms, as well as read other Scripture passages from the Old Testament and New Testament, or the Jewish writings and the Christian writings of the Bible. The reason I left is because being in a monastery is like being in a relationship. Sometimes in a relationship we come to realize that the person we are with is not the person we desire to be with for the rest of our lives. For me in the monastery, it was the same. It was not the life I wanted to live for the rest of my life. So with the blessing of my brother monks, bearing no ill will toward them and neither them toward me, I packed my bags and left.
VM: I am relieved to know that your brothers held no ill will in your parting from the monastic life. I am sure it is a part of you that you will always hold close. I read somewhere that after you resigned the monastic life, you sent an e-mail to Anne Rice, asking her if she needed a former monk on her staff and the answer was, a remarkable, yes. That must have been an incredible moment in your life. Can you tell us about that?
B: Anne and I had been emailing each other for several years prior to my departure from the monastery. We had built up a very nice friendship. When I left, I told her my plans; and jokingly I asked her if she had room on her staff for an ex-Benedictine monk. Less than a day later she wrote back and told me that she did, and that I could come any time. I simply stared at the computer monitor, utterly dumbstruck at this news. Honestly, it was a dream-come-true! And it has forever changed my life because it gave me responsibilities that I never had before, and it has given me experience that I never thought possible. As her assistant, I have traveled the world many times, to France, Brazil, Switzerland, the Middle East, and many other places, not to mention the tours around the US and Canada. She has taught me how to be a better employee, a better friend, a better artist, and a better man.
VM: From the simple life of a monk to becoming the Personal Assistant to one of the most well-known authors of our time most definitely was a life changer. The schedule you keep must be grueling. Can you tell us what it is like working for this dynamic woman, and how you fit the time in to also do your own writing?
B: What I enjoy most about my work schedule for Anne is that it is never the same. Every day is something new, a wonderful surprise, be it researching for a book, planning a trip, overseeing the hanging of wallpaper, creating merchandise, creating online advertising campaigns, etc. The list goes on! The thrilling element is that I have learned how to use many programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, as well as do a little bit of coding now and again. It was the monks who taught me how to find time for my writing. Through their friendship and discipline, I learned that I enjoy going to bed early and rising early, so I wake up at about 4AM, pray, shower, and fill my coffee carafe to the brim with Starbucks jet fuel. Then I write for a few hours until it's time to do yoga and the elliptical. After that, it is time to go to work.
VM: Ah, Photoshop. My nemesis, lol. One day I will overcome that beast but to stay on track…I am sure Anne has given you many words of wisdom but now that you are a successful writer, what are some encouraging words from your heart that you can pass on to writers who aspire to live their dream?
B: These are words that Anne handed on to me: “Find what works for you and then just write.” Her words help me see that every writer is different, and all of us are going to have different routines for writing a book. For me, I write every day because it helps me feel as though I have accomplished something. I might write a hundred words or a thousand or ten thousand; the word count does not matter as much as just writing. If I only write one hundred words, then I am one hundred words closer to finishing my book. However, I also feel that writing is an exercise. The more we do it, the stronger we get. If we write a hundred words a day, we will soon find that we have the strength to write more. And that strength builds even greater strength. If you really want to be a writer, find the writing discipline that helps you get that book out of your heart and head, and onto the paper, or Word docx.
VM: The next few questions are about your books and music and what the future holds for both. As a writer, I hold music in as high a regard as the written word. They are one in the same because both inspire an emotional response in our souls. One of my favorite songs (I’m telling my age, lol) is Tapestry by Carol King. The song moves through my thoughts as a living image.
I love music. Unfortunately I am tone deaf so singing is out of the question for me unless you want to chase wild animals off, lol. What came first, the writer or the musician? Give us an insight to the evolution of Becket and how music affects you?
B: They came simultaneously, actually. I started playing music when I was in the sixth grade, with my friend, Sam Rivers, who eventually became the bassist for Limp Bizkit, and who is still a good friend today. We formed a band and began playing music throughout junior high and high school. And during that time, I wrote a lot of poetry and lyrics for our band. I was reading anything from Stan Rice to Shakespeare, from Anne Rice to Bram Stoker. So my writing at the time was highly affected by the melody with words. Even to this day, I write prose with a melody in mind. Often, when I struggle with writing, I'm struggling to get the melody of a sentence just right, the rhythm of a sentence perfect. Of course that usually means I am struggling to put round words in the square peg of iambic pentameter.
Music affects me profoundly. As I write this now I am listening to Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony. But when I wake up in the morning and begin to write, I generally listen to my playlist of Bach fugues on the piano or orchestrated for string quartet. Fugues calm my mind. I consider many of my own compositions to be minimalist fugues, namely The Journey and its two variations (see my album). They also help me focus and get into a trance-like rhythm of writing.
VM: Blood Vivicanti is a serialized novel written by yourself and Anne. Can you tell us about the storyline, what inspired you to write it, and how much of Anne is in the book?
B: Anne and I developed the idea for the Blood Vivicanti over several months. It was an exchange of emails about ideas and character names. We knew that these blood drinkers would have a different cosmology than vampires, and it would give them different talents and abilities. Due to our mutual fascination with (potential) interstellar life, it was an inevitable conclusion that we would create blood drinkers whose abilities are based on the DNA from extraterrestrials. The heroine of the story is Mary Paige. She is a solitary girl who is rejected by peers and parents. Yet because of her photographic memory, she is turned into a Blood Vivicanti and eventually becomes the greatest of them all. At its heart, the story is about finding an unlikely family.
VM: That is an unusual twist on vampires. I am sure young readers will find the story extremely intriguing. You also wrote a children’s novel, Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl, also a series, with Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl and the Dungeon of Despair being the first in the series.
VM: Can you tell us what inspired you to write a children’s book and what the storyline is about and where it is going? I also have to mention the covers and artwork. They are fantastic, thanks to the talented Raven Quinn. Tell us about the thought process that went into creating the covers and other artwork and how Raven was able to conceptualize your vision of the series.
B: Some of my favorite stories are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Phantom Tollbooth, and more. In essence, I adore children stories! But I especially love those with humor and or magical elements. So when I write a children's story, I want it to be full of humor and magic! I want to write stories that I enjoyed reading or listening to on audiobook. Children's stories have wonderful messages told in simple ways. Oftentimes, that is all I’m looking for. Oftentimes, that is all I want to write. And these books would not be as wonderful as they are without Raven Quinn’s masterful artwork. She has truly brought new life to these stories. The details in her illustrations add elements to the characters or to the scenes that I never fully saw. She's brilliant!
VM: I know you love steampunk, as do many readers, and have incorporated the steampunk genre into the Key series and also into Good the Goblin Queen, another children’s book illustrated by Raven Quinn. What interest you about steampunk, and do you feel that children are able to relate to a world based on modern science using the Victorian 19th century?
B: Plainly, it is beautiful! It is a combination of various elements of my favorite genres—Gothic, science fiction, and fantasy literature. For instance, you see Victorian apparel from Charles Dickens’ works, combined with inventions in Jules Vern's books, along with the magical elements you might read in Lord Dunsany’s works. Or you might see the Georgian and attire from Jane Austen's books combined with the innovation in a Georges Méliès movie. Steampunk is a wonderful mingling of human optimism over the centuries.
VM: Where do see your writing career going from here and do you have any new projects in the works?
B: I have several more books that I plan to release in 2015 and 2016. A fantasy book titled The Mandrake, about a man who can transform into a dragon, will be released later this year. My book of haikus will be released in May 2015. In July 2015 will be the release of another of my children's book titled Meredith and the Magic Library. October 2015 will be the release of another children’s book titled The Ghost, the Buttons, and the Magic of Halloween. And I have seven more installments of the Blood Vivicanti series that I'll be releasing intermittently over the next twelve months. I also hope to release another music album in 2016.
VM: Your schedule looks very busy in the writing department so can you tell us where the road will take you and your music and what you foresee in the future for your music?
B: When I was in the monastery my life predominantly revolved around music for almost 8 years. Over the last ten years it has taken a backseat to my literary endeavors. I hope that I might have more time in the future to devote to music composition. Writing music is different for me than writing books. When I write a book, I am always aware of the time because I'm always trying to make a deadline. When I write music, I lose complete track of the time. Writing music is the more time-consuming of the two, but I love it greatly because it engages my mind very differently.
VM: It has truly been an honor to get to know you a little better. Thank you for sharing a small part of your life with us. Is there anything else you would like the world to know about Becket before we say goodbye?
B: For what it’s worth, though I am no longer in the monastery, I am still a man of prayer. So I continued to remember you, the reader, in my conversations with God, whom I believe is a being of Eternal Love. Peace and joy to you always.
VM: What a great interview! Becket is a truly inspiring person and I hope you all have enjoyed getting to know him a little better.
Want to know more about Becket and his writing?
As a self-published author, social media can be a great opportunity to promote your book to a huge audience. Here is some advice and pointers on promoting your book (and yourself) on one of the biggest platforms today, Facebook. With over a billion users Facebook is still a force not to be ignored.
So, what is the first step to getting in front of the Facebook throng? Create a Facebook page for you and your book. Create a profile picture for your author page of yourself, so every time you post, your image is getting seen. Create an eye catching book page for your like page. Use a quality image of your book cover as your Timeline on your like page. It’s a great beginning to generate a following and to connect with readers who are looking for your work.
Hearing crickets? Don’t know where to start?
The first step is easy. Invite your friends and family to “Like” your book page and ‘friend’ your author page. Ask them to interact and share your page with their friends. Your community is growing. Now, what do you post? Chat with your following. Share the things you like. Share what your following is enjoying but be careful not to drown your peeps in posts about your books.
That doesn’t mean you can never talk about your books, just don’t let it be all that people see when they come to your page(s). Post news and blurbs; things your fans are waiting to hear about but keep it to a minimum. If you are having a book signing or event, share that great news, and ask your friends to do the same. Word will spread. You will grow.
Here are some other helpful things you can do to increase your following:
Put important information in the “About” section of your page, such as where to buy your books, your blog, website, twitter, or anywhere you want to direct your followers.
Events are a fantastic way to increase awareness about your books. Ask your Facebook friends to share your event and post it on your book’s page. List all of the important information about the event, including prizes and give-a-ways on your pages.
Excerpts and picture blurbs from your book(s) are a great way to give your peeps a look at what your writing is all about. Intrigue the public. They’ll cry for more.
Marketing your book is time consuming but rewarding, and Facebook will help you find your audience who in turn will spread the word. Oh, I almost forgot. Write the book .
I started reading when I was about four years old. I have a sister who is ten years older than I am and she loved to read to us little ones (I come from a family of eight) all the time. She was the one who taught me to read.
That is when my love for fantasy really began. My imagination was always off the charts, and reading books like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Cinderella, only added fuel to the fire. Disney’s Snow White is the first book I remember reading by myself. I carried that little book around with me until it fell apart.
As I got older my taste changed, but not my hunger for fantasy or reading. I would write little stories about fairies, dragons, wizards, and kings. My teen years were vampires and the baddies that run around today. It’s funny how the circle continues.
Some of my favorite authors are- Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and James Patterson. I could go on… Anne Rice in my teens, Stephen King forever, and the rest just followed.
I like stories that have a lot going on from one page to the next and I hope I am giving that to my readers also. I am a character driven kind of reader, and writer. I like a strong plot but if I don’t get into the characters, it’s hard to stay with the story.
I write fantasy, with a romantic flavor, but I want a lot of action and mystery for my readers. I don’t write erotica or occult type books. It’s just not me, but I do give you a peak and you can take it the rest of the way your imagination.
The first person to read my finished work, Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga, was my husband who reads like most people eat. I will never forget what he said when he turned the last page, "I feel like I've been on a journey that I didn't want to end. Don't stop."
Those words have pushed me onward and there is no turning back. I wrote the following as a Q and A post originally, at Goodreads, to see what other writers had to say, and the reach continues onward.
Paranormal Romance is one of the hottest genres (actually a sub-genre of fantasy) on the market today. The titles and book covers alone can make one break out in a sweat, but what is it that makes you want to read about romantic encounters with beings from other worlds or vampires and werewolves? Is it the old concept of forbidden love or the thrill of the bad boy (or girl) image mixed up with fangs and wolf fur?
Dragons and wizards are sitting on the back burner, while muscled bodies and creatures who howl at the moon warm the beds of the humans we write about. Steamy romance, whether implied in YA or graphic in paranormal erotica, has increased by leaps and bounds since the e-book revolution and now knows no boundaries.
Fantasy, as wild and imaginative as it is, still has rules. If your reader does not find your characters and story believable, you will lose their interest. Make the relationships between your human and non-human characters real. Give them a cause they both have a stake in (no pun intended), especially if it is for different reasons. Obstacles that strengthen real life relationships are everywhere. Just give them a little twist.
So, what makes it hot? Dark and dangerous delivers whether you dash it with a little pepper or turn on the hot sauce. Romance appeals to the heart and the paranormal infuses it with the thrill of the fantastic, something we all want a little bite of (I just can't help myself).
There are many challenges in mixing genres, especially fantasy and romance. How can beings from different worlds become romantically involved and even be believable? I hope I can shed some light on that very subject because that is what my novel, Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga stands on; two people from different worlds, fighting in the same cause and falling in love. That's a mouthful!
How can I make that believable you ask? Next time you go to the mall look around you. The couples holding hands and shopping are as diverse as you can get; different nationalities, different shapes and sizes, even different beliefs, yet they seem to make their relationships work. How?
The Asian man with the American wife are from worlds so different they might as well be from Mars and Jupiter. What about the Italian woman or the French man? I could go on and on. The cultures and beliefs that separate us everyday are broken and shattered by one simple need, to be loved and accepted by another.
How far off am I, that someone from another world could actually fall in love with someone from this world and vice versa. Not far at all. Take those two people, throw them into a conflict that threatens both their worlds and fill it in with a little magic and mayhem, friends and family and who knows.
USA Today's Robin Covington~ evokes the adventure and pace of the big movie thrillers
The trailer for Virginia McKevitt's Fracture: The Secret Enemy Saga evokes the adventure and pace of the big movie thrillers. I love the way this trailer uses ancient images and font to set the mood for this book. The more traditional aspects of the design showcase the paranormal elements. I liked it!
1~Three months before the release: Share a few key excerpts that will grab reader’s curiosity. Ask your beta readers to spread the word about how much they loved the storyline. If you don’t have beta readers, find some. They are an important part of your release process. Ask Facebook book groups, bloggers and friends to share the excerpts to promote a buzz.
2~One month before the release: post the cover image along with the release date. Create a short blurb that will catch people’s attention. Send out Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) of your book to your author friends in exchange for a written review for you to include in your book (cover, inside, Amazon page, etc). Again ask Facebook book groups, bloggers and friends, if they will share the cover image on their pages, announcing the release day. Announce a “BUY IT ON THIS DAY!” and create a raffle to win an Amazon gift card. To enter ask people when they buy your new release to send you a copy of the receipt.
3~Create an event page where you can share all of the great things about your new release. This is the perfect place for all the promoting without spamming because people are expecting to land here just for your book release. Look around at what others are doing to get an idea of how to create an appealing event page. If you are able, have a couple of give a ways, or ask some of your author friends if they would like to be a part of the event. Most of them would love too.
4~ Create a Twitter hashtag specifically for your new release. In the month prior to the release, use this hashtag and request that others do too when referring to your new book. These hashtags can highlight the elements of your book marketing campaign to the Twitterverse. Don’t know what a hashtag is?
From About.com: Specific Twitter hashtags for writers and publishing professionals can connect you with like-minded authors and fans, and help you grow your list of followers. For those who are new to the Twittersphere, read this overview of why you should Twitter and some specifics on how to make tweet, tweet conversation with retweets, replies, mentions, etc..
General Promotional Hashtags These hashtags can highlight the elements of your book marketing campaign to the Twitterverse.
#free or freebie
Hashtags for “Indies” Self-published “indie” authors have an especially rich on world Twitter. As many publish on e-book only, tweeting and linking is an organic way for them to drum up reader interest in their books and connect with other DIY writers.
#indieauthor or #indiepub
Authors use these to define themselves as self-published.
The following hashtags help alert potential readers as to the e-book formats on which the work is available
#ebook #kindle #sony #nook #pubit (PubIt is Barnes & Noble's ebook publishing platform)
#kobo #ipad #new #special #free or freebie
5~Every week during this month release something new about your book but don’t go overboard, and please, no spamming. I know we all get crazed at this time but you don’t want to turn people off before they get the chance to open the cover. Try this: first week the book cover and your great blurb. The second week, a couple of ‘pull them in’ quotes from the book. The third week, those reviews from one of the ARCs you should have sent out. The fourth week, announce the release date and the rafflecopter and a nice snip of the book for people to read and get excited about.
Above all, have fun with it and Congratulations! You did It!
Interview with Author Virginia McKevitt
* What is *Your Book* about? As the author, what do you say it is about?
FRACTURE is a fantasy that is set in two worlds. One, similar in ways to medieval times, the other in present day small town America. Fracture not only represents the separation of two worlds, but a deeper look into the lives of Tegrin, an assassin for his king, and Kristina, a young woman who realizes her life has a different path. A path that entangles them both in a destiny neither will be able to walk away from.
Tegrin is sent to our world to kill and return the Couton, an ancient clan of women who feed off the memories of others. The Couton think they have escaped a world that keeps their feeding in check, to a world where they can hunt freely, but Tegrin will never rest until they are dead. His mission is to get in and out before he or the Couton are discovered in our world.
Enter Kristina. The murder of her parents by the Couton, and her discovery of Tegrin, will set off a chain of events that will reveal secrets in her life that have been hidden in her soul since she was a small child. Secrets that only a few will ever know in this world and some are willing to kill for at all cost, in the other.
*Where is your well of inspiration for this novel? How did the idea come to you?
Hmm, that’s not an easy answer. My imagination knows no boundaries and I love fantasy, so writing it seemed the thing to do. I really don’t have an answer as to how the idea came to me, it just did. It usually starts with a character or characters and then the theme of the story seems to fall into place. THEY LIVE! Lol, that’s kind of, what happens.
*Do you base any of your characters on real people? If so, do they know, and how do they feel about their portrayal?
I try not to, but I’m sure there are some truths woven into the characters I have created. I’m sure that some of the characters are a bit like Frankenstein. The bits and pieces make a whole.
*Writing music? What is coming through your speakers when you're writing?
I’m a rock-n-roller. I like the older groups, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Eagles, but I also like Nickleback, Metallica, and even Adele.
*If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
“When I Am Through With You,” by VLA. I love the show Damages, and when they played this song at the end it hit me as the one.
*For you, what is the most problematic portion of writing a novel? Plot lines? Character depth?
I know the characters like I know myself (haha, multiple personalities come to mind) but making the magic believable and the keeping the plot interesting to my readers is the challenge.
*When writing, are you ever stumped? How do you get over it?
Yes, I get stumped, sometimes for days. The way I get over it is to get away from writing it for a little while. I don’t want to come across as forced so the best thing to me is to wait until my characters are ready to play again.
*Do you have a character that is most like you? If so, why and how?
Sissy, maybe. She is Kristina’s older friend and a cop’s daughter. She‘s having the hardest time of all of the characters in dealing with the reality of killing someone, no matter the reason. All of the characters carry around some extra baggage that haunts them, but Sissy struggles the most with it. I‘m not a cut and dry person, and neither is she.
*Are there any characters that were difficult to write? If so, why?
No, not really. They all seem to have a life of their own and come together quickly. As they grow in the story so does their personalities and traits. Once I see them in my head, the rest follows.
*What are you favorite authors and books? What do you like about them?
Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I know, huh. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Lightning, for Koontz, and It, for Stephen King. They keep you on the edge of your seat or the light on. I also love Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.
I’m starting to read some of the newer authors out there when I get a chance, like Heaven Leigh Eldeen and Rue Volley, when I’m taking a break from writing. I don’t multitask very well so the reading thing kind of waits on me.
*What are you working on now? What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
Plenty! Book two of Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga, The Hunted is out at Smashwords, and I’m waiting for the proof for Createspace. Book three is in the works now, with book four. I also have a Vampire (not another one) story to finish that I started when Fracture was born.
Then, there is Lafitte’s Treasure, a fiction story about Lafitte the pirate, and Aiden’s War. That one’s a secret.
*If any actress was to play you in your biopic, who would it be?
OMG! I haven’t a clue. I couldn’t even guess at that one.
*Speaking of family and friends, do you have a support system when it comes to writing? What was the reaction from those close to you about your novels?
My husband is my biggest fan. He is a lover of sci-fi and fantasy, and read like most people eat. He has been with me every step of the way, and tries to pick my brain for where it comes from, but it’s scary up there so he keeps his distance.
The rest of my friends and family didn’t get to see the storyline until it was finished. Most of them truly only read it because they were related to me or were a friend, but after reading Fracture they are waiting in line for the next one.
*If you could change anything about the book(s) that are already out there, is there something you wish you'd changed?
Book one could be changed somewhat, I think. I’ve grown a lot since then and I can see where improvement is needed. There are a couple of things that didn’t help or improve the storyline that I could have scraped, but those things are what make the book what it is. Book two is still my knew baby so, not yet.
*You're about to write. Do you have a ritual?
I have an office but I sit at the dining room table. I like the early mornings while it is quiet. Two cups of coffee and the day begins.
*What are you currently reading?
The Human Side, by Heaven Leigh Eldeen.
*Do you have any great moments in writing to share? A character hits too close to home? A plot line makes you cringe?
I had to kill a good guy off and it didn’t feel good. I have to talk to God a little about all this killing going on, and a few other things, but he gave me this brain so I’m using it.
*You meet one of your characters in a dark alley. You...?
If it’s Tegrin and he’s hunting me. Say my prayers.
*What do you want fans to know about *Your Book*? About you? What do you want them to know about your day, your passions, your mind-frame when you're writing?
Wow! That’s heavy. I want fans to enjoy the ride I’m taking them on. If they have questions, I want to answer them. I want them to know I am approachable. I love talking to people about what like or don’t like about my book.
As far as my day goes, that would probably bore the heck out of someone, lol. My passion. My husband and my family first, and then my writing. Writing takes up a lot of time in an author’s life. It doesn’t end at the last page. That is were the real work begins, so I try to make sure that each day I spend time with my family, call a friend, and tell someone I care about that I love them.
When I’m writing I’m not here anymore. The story is pulling me from scene to scene, like a movie playing in my head. Getting it at the moment of conception is so important, because that is where the fire burns the hottest.
When we are reading a good story, that’s where we all want to be. The closer to the flame, the better.
That got your attention didn’t it, but the topic really is about crossing genres; can you, should you and if you do, can you pull it off. This coming from a fantasy, mystery, thriller, romance, action, eh, novelist (try slinging that out there when someone ask you what your book is about).
Someone once told me fantasy has rules. I agree, its magic, you can do anything: pigs can fly, cows can talk, a kiss can wake a princess, but wizards always have to carry a staff. No I’m serious. I was told never to break that rule. It has to do with quantum physics and pole shifts. Serious stuff that could change our world as we know it.
All kidding aside, every genre has rules that have been bent over the course of time. Plato or some famous cartoon character (Pluto, I think) divided literature into three classic genres: poetry, drama and prose but somewhere back in the 1900′s all hell broke loose. In 1898 H. G. Wells wrote a science fiction novel, War Of The Worlds, that spawned widespread panic in 1938, when it was aired on Halloween, by actor Orson Welles as a news bulletin. People actually believed the world was being invaded by aliens.
That is power people! Ah, but I digress. Back to the present. Today we are bombarded with creatures and human beings who are brought together in every imaginable way; love, or friendship, or even in a common goal, to save the world, and we do it by mixing genres. Case in point: Romance is supposed to be happily ever after with a strong emphasis on, well romance. With Fantasy, one designs the world’s geography, race and magic, with good verses evil. Westerns should have a hero in conflict. You get my point.
Jump to the present; rules are made to be broken and so they are. Today’s readers expect more. Romance doesn’t always end with the lovers riding off into the sunset. They do eventually; they just go kicking, screaming and fighting first. Sometimes the evil sorcerer wins, and we get a certain amount of satisfaction from that. Oh, and the hot guy in the cowboy hat? He runs off with the beautiful lonely widow’s brother.
For god’s sake people just make it believable! If you don’t your reader is out of here and them babies are hard to get back. How do you do that you ask? Do a little research on your subject matter. Know the basic structure of the genre you are writing in. What makes it work and why readers like it, then stretch it.
I know, I know. You have to write it for you. Well if that’s the case then you shouldn’t be disappointed if only you read it. The little lady down the hall ain’t going to be happy if Jack and Jane don’t make it. That’s what makes her read romance, because in spite of it all, they will be together. If Johnny expects his assassin to be like Jason Bourne, give him a little romance, but don’t have him cutting out hearts or humming the theme from Barney. Wait, that sounds creepy. It might work, she thought.
Ahem… So, write your paranormal romance about Jack the vampire, who lives a tortured existence because his mother was an alien who came here from that planet no one can pronounce, and then one day he falls in love and marries a half human history teacher who figures it all out, and then they ride off into the sunset in her time travel machine to live happily ever after. All in one breath.
See how easy that was.
(original post 2012 Indies Unlimited)
An author’s platform is their ability to reach readers. Authors who continually build on and maintain their platforms will have a broader reach over those who do not. To reach and keep both new and existing fans an author must maintain a constant interaction on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, their blog and website. Is your book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords? Is it offered on Kindle and the Nook?t Are there reviews for your books on those sites? Are you a member of Goodreads, Shelfari, and Librarything?
Authors need to get their book in front of readers. You have to make them want what you have to offer. Your job is to make readers aware of your books and YOU. Get their attention, please. You, the author, you are the brand. Your job, again is to create desire and demand for your books. Your platform helps you get the message out to existing fans who already know you and desire your brand. They will help you reach new fans who will also help you grow your brand. The larger your platform is, the easier it is to grow your brand.
It is not a job for the faint at heart. It seems like you are spending more time on branding yourself than writing, but if you will take a few minutes each day to grow your platform, it will become second nature. After a while you will see the results of your efforts and the time spent well worth the moments lost.
Are you going to be in New Orleans the week of August 14th through the 17th? If you are, you don't want to miss this great author and reader conference. I will be there along with tons of great authors I am sure you would love to meet. Wonderful authors, smokin cover models, loads of swag! It's an event you don't want to miss. Click on the button to find out more.
Rome was not built in a day. I know, I know. That is as old as it gets but there is still a mountain of truth in those words. It takes time to build a following and the odds are you will not become an overnight success. Ask the overnight success story authors who have done it. Amanda Hocking took years and many books to be where she is today and so have many others who have gone on to become successful indie authors. How did they get where they are today? They did what they loved most. They wrote. They never gave up and they continued to better themselves and their writing as they went.
Will you sell books at first? Probably to your friends and family, to the neighbor next door and the waitress at Waffle House (OMG! A real author!). Then what? You do not have a big publisher behind you so guess what? It is up to you. Get on social media. Learn twitter, facebook, Pinterest , youtube and every other social website that is out there. Interact with your followers. If you do, a fan base will start to grow. A seed that turns into a mighty oak, spreading far and wide.
Here are a few simple tips that will help on your way to becoming a successful writer:
Your cover art. It is important, extremely important, that you choose a compelling and professional cover. It is your first impression and no matter what anyone tells you, first impressions do matter. Unless you are a photoshop guru, hire a cover artist. The majority of people choose the books they read based solely on cover art. Then there is editing (is that weeping I hear?). This is not the time to scrimp. Find an editor and polish that baby you have been hammering away at for what seems like a lifetime.
Fill your dance card with people who have been there and done that. There are scores of indie authors who love to help when they can (myself included). We writers are a solitary bunch, sometimes, but we do stop at the same watering holes-facebook, Goodreads, blogs and twitter, being the best watering holes in these parts. Ask to be interviewed, give away books in exchange for an honest review, and share the love you get with others. It comes back to you in ways you will never imagine, and remember, have fun on your journey.