I did an interview with Kathryn Elizabeth Jones. Check it out HERE. It was a fun interview and I thank Kathryn for having me!
Category Archives: Author Interviews
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the presenters at UAACon15. Check it out HERE. Julie presented an amazing class on self-editing and revision today.
Sometimes saying ‘yes’ when I really am too busy comes with great returns!
I’m a little obsessed with anthologies of late. What’s not to love about a short story – the perfect nightcap before bed without the threat of getting sucked into chapter after chapter and before you know it you have to get up in an hour for work. I’ve discovered writers I never might have read and went on to pick up longer works thanks to the wonder of anthologies. Which is why I jumped at the chance to host a stop on this blog tour.
What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.
Today I have the pleasure of spotlighting one of my friends-in-arms, L.K. McIntosh, a fellow author who I’ve become personally acquainted with through mutual associations and writing conventions the past year. Her story is one of twelve in this new anthology from Xchyler Publishing.
L.K. McIntosh has been making up stories about the people around her since she learned how to talk. She eventually discovered cultural anthropology, a fantastic and often macabre world of research rabbit holes and bare bones tales just begging to be fleshed out. She is irrationally terrified of sharks, which makes perfect sense, considering she has always lived in a landlocked state, and she is a proud supporter of the Oxford comma. She is currently working on two speculative fiction novels and several short stories. She physically lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, but tends to live life vicariously thanks to the Internet, books, television, and a vast array of interesting people.
L.K.’s story is titled THE ‘GRIM’ REAPER. When a soul reaper loses the source of their power, they must either find the witch who stole it or a new purpose for living.
I had a chance to chat with L.K. a bit and found some interesting (tasty even!) tidbits…
Me: How did you come up with the title of your story?
LK: I have to give credit to my mother. After talking through my story with her, she said, “Well, then I guess ‘grim’ really applies, doesn’t it? Hey, you should title it, “The ‘Grim’ Reaper”!” It is clever, so I went with it. (thanks mom!)
Me: What was the hardest part of writing this story, and how did you overcome it?
LK: The hardest part was just sitting down and writing it. I have this ridiculous idea that I want my first draft to be perfect, so I get in my own way a lot. I love to brainstorm and outline, but putting the story onto an actual page was very difficult for me. A lot of tears, frustration, and laborious placement of words, but I finally got there, and I love the characters and the things that happen within the story.
Me: So you’re a typical writer, then. I see! What is your favorite snack while writing?
LK: I usually have a cup of tea or coffee sitting nearby when I write.
Me: Girl after my own heart! I know you’re a speculative fiction writer which everyone knows makes you a nerd or a geek on some level. So just for fun, Star Wars or Star Trek?
LK: Star Wars, though I do like the new Star Trek films.
Me: Personally, either answer is correct on that question!
You can check out L.K.’s story and eleven others in Beyond the Wail available HERE on Amazon.
If you love a good book trailer – and who doesn’t? – check it out HERE.
For other author spotlights, check out the upcoming schedule:
Book Release Blog Tour
I visited with author Johnny Worthen this week after reading his latest book, THE BRAND DEMAND. Johnny writes books I like to read and I wanted to give readers an insight into this mystery thriller, as well as pick his brain about some insider secrets for other aspiring authors.
Galen is political. Galen is fed up. Galen is a blackmailer.
A criminal and self-styled Robin Hood, Galen must face down a ruthless enemy who
does not share his ideological limitations.
In the footsteps of Edward Abbey’s THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, THE BRAND
DEMAND follows a group of political activists who strike at the system with cunning and
guile while getting rich doing it.
Galen takes risks and money, but when his plans go awry, he quickly learns that politics
are no substitute for wits.
Galen has to come to grips with his own boundaries of action and love while running for
his life in Southern Utah. He has to stay under the radar, dodging skinheads and corporate
moguls, Latter Day Saints romance writers and cheating husbands and—of course and
Johnny, The Brand Demand is a departure from your previous works. When did you write it in relation to the others you’ve released?
I consider myself a multi-genre author. Since no one has asked me to specialize, I haven’t. “I write what I like to read. This guarantees me at least one fan.” Although my debut, BEATRYSEL is a literary horror, and my second book ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN begins a YA Paranormal trilogy, this is more a reflection of what was first out of the gate. Contemporary mystery/thriller is one of my favorite genres and I tend to write plenty of them. THE BRAND DEMAND is the first of this genre out of the gate, but not the last.
THE BRAND DEMAND was one of the first books I wrote. It was born out of the Bush years and my own frustration and imaginings. Over the years, I returned to it time and time again, tinkering and fixing, adjusting and reworking as my craft improved, until I could take it no further alone. Then I hired an editor in Nevada to help me fix it some more. When she was done, I sent it out in the world looking to get it published.
My main publisher, Jolly Fish Press, passed on it, thinking it was too controversial for that point in my career with them. JFP has me primarily as a YA author, though they are bringing out THE FINGER TRAP, a comedy noir detective thriller in the fall. They suggested I keep it in my quiver and they’d look at it again later on.
Being impatient, I didn’t wait. I submitted it to Cherokee McGhee, a small press in Virginia specializing in mysteries. Greg Lily, the publisher was wonderful to work with and bent over backwards with JFP to coordinate the release of THE BRAND DEMAND so as not interfere with my other releases this year. Another couple of edits, coordination on cover and stuff and I have become a mystery writer.
I’m not patient either! We could talk days about how you found the right publisher for your work – maybe we should in the future? But back to THE BRAND DEMAND, why a mystery with all these politics and religion thrown in?
Political ideology is the primary motivation for the protagonist, Galen Reed. It is his deeply felt beliefs in social justice that drives him to act. This ideology and its limitations and weak tethering are the crux of the book.
Religion is mentioned only insofar as it wields political power and is a central identifier in the community. THE BRAND DEMAND takes place in Utah and there is no separating the LDS church from the conservative politics in that state. Further, the LDS church has been known to reach well beyond Utah to influence social issues – Prop 8 in California being a prime example. To discuss politics in Utah and exclude the Mormon church would be dishonest.
That honest look at the world is largely what I loved about this book, as well as recognizing familiar places and history weaved in. The first chapter should come with a sensitivity warning – potentially pushing buttons left and right. Why risk possibly alienating readers in the opening pages?
I assume you’re talking about Levi, the bad bishop. THE BRAND DEMAND is an adult book. It looks at real situations, real dangers and real institutions in a fictitious way, strange as that sounds. The scene sets the theme and mood of the rest of the book; hypocrites and bad guys are made to feel uncomfortable and made to pay. What is a more telling example of a hypocrite that a clergyman taking advantage of his flock? In Utah, that flock must be Mormon. There are bad apples in every institution and to deny that is arrogance. Here I present someone who so goes against their beliefs as a philandering bishop that it becomes the perfect symbol for the rest of the book. Compare Levi to Galen as the book progresses and then at the ending.
I’m not attacking the religion, I’m attacking the hypocrites who preach it but don’t live it. I think it humanizes the church but I’ve seen that it can upset people. If they can make it through the first chapter and understand what I’m doing, readers should be in the proper mindset to understand and enjoy the rest of the book.
Well done. Personally, I love books that keep things real; grown up books that make no apologies about the world. Once past that chapter it becomes exactly as promised, a thriller that kept me guessing until the end. What is your secret to unpredictable twists?
THE BRAND DEMAND is a unique book for me because I woke one day and had the ending. I felt the triumph and tragedy of a single moment and then went to work building a book around that singular moment. I felt it like a sorrow, like a memory, an epiphany of understanding. I won’t say I worked backwards, but I always worked to that one moment.
To justify that moment, I needed a journey, I needed real life threats and stakes beyond anything a bourgeois zealot might expect to face. I needed my suburban activist to face real world pressures, violence and dangers. I needed him to realize a connection to what he was fighting for. The twists came from my cruelty in putting Galen through the trials he’d have to face to come to that moment. The details came from research and horror at the world we live in.
Is this a stand-alone novel or can readers expect more to come in Galen’s world?
Depending on the success of THE BRAND DEMAND and my publisher’s wishes, there might be more. I have laid a foundation. One thing to note for my loyal readers, is the unified world I create in my Utah novels. Characters from one book often appear in others. Look for Luke in THE FINGER TRAP this fall.
I saw the hidden gem in this one knowing your upcoming publications. I love when authors do that – a literary treasure hunt for those devoted fans. How long does it take you to write an average novel?
Honest, but lame answer: A lifetime. My life up to the point the book is finally sent to the printers is all incorporated into each book.
More useful answer: Once I decide on a project, I give myself one month to pre-write, outline and imagine, create characters, find names. Plan the attack with waypoint, scenes, ending, and theme – always theme. Once I have my pieces together, I try to write 1,666 words per day. I keep daily logs of my progress and make myself reach my goals as if it’s my job and I’ll be fired if I don’t. It’s kinda’ true and kinda’ not. It’s all insane mind-games to force me to put the black on the white. At this rate I get a book in about two months. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Then I edit the book. For some books, like THE BRAND DEMAND, the editing went on for years. For others, like my most recent works, a month is usually enough to get it where I want it to be. I write a synopsis or five and a blurb while it’s still fresh in my mind and then I let my readers have it for a run through. Then it’s off to market and I start another project.
Let’s stay on the subject of insider secrets for other aspiring writers. I envy you being this prolific writer, a new book releasing every few months. What I’m learning about the industry is most authors have numerous novels already finished while they keep their heads down, always writing more. How many of your books are written and waiting to sell?
I have written twelve novels as of now. Six have been picked up by publishers. Of the remaining six, five are ready to be picked up by a publisher. Two are in series that begins this fall (Tony Flaner in THE FINGER TRAP). I’m expecting my publisher to pick those up by and by. The others are being shopped to agents for larger markets.
Twelve. I have a lot of writing to do if I ever expect to find similar success. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far on your journey?
On the bad side, rejections surprise me. I expected them, but I also thought I’d get used to them. I haven’t and they never stop. Writing as much as I do, trying as hard as I am, I’m putting myself out there all the time. Every day I get rejected for something. It’s mentally debilitating.
On the good side, I love the other authors I’ve met. They too suffer from the rejections. They are comrades in arms. I love talking about writing, sharing with other authors, and just hanging out. I’ve met so many different authors, different kinds, different backgrounds and everything, and yet I feel a kinship to them all. The only thing better than hanging out with a bunch of writers is hanging out with a bunch of fans of my books.
I would have to agree on the genuineness of the kinship with fellow writers. On the publishing front, are there more books we can look forward to? And if so, when?
Beyond THE BRAND DEMAND, this year I have the second book in THE UNSEEN trilogy: CELESTE. DAVID, THE UNSEEN BOOK THREE is schedule for 2016.
This fall, I release upon the world, my anti-hero slacker, detective, Tony Flaner, in the social commentary, comedy, mystery noir, THE FINGER TRAP.
While all this is happening, I’m placing my unsold titles. I have a literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND, that I won’t let go of until I get the right home. It’s awesome. I have a new crime thriller called A BLIND SQUIRREL that’s cool with a capital C. It’s one of my Utah novels so has characters from my other books in it. I just finished a YA adventure called ANDI KENDRICK: THINGS BEQUEATHED which will be a good follow-up for fans of THE UNSEEN trilogy. My un-ready book is a YA dystopian that I put aside to ferment for a while. And finally, this week marks the final days of my pre-writing for a Science Fiction book (and potential series). WIP name: Coronam.
I can’t wait to read all of them. Where can readers find and connect with you?
For locals in Utah, come out to the Sugarhouse Barnes & Noble, Saturday April 18th from 2:00-5:00 p.m. for the official BRAND DEMAND Launch party and signing shindig. Here’s the invitation to the Launch Party Shindig
Thanks for stopping by, Johnny! Readers can check out my Goodreads review of THE BRAND DEMAND HERE. It is a fabulous read so do yourself a favor and pick it up today.
Today I have the pleasure of talking with fellow author, Adrienne Monson, about her new book Defiance releasing later this month.
Leisha and Samantha barely survived. Now, an explosive battle between the vampires and immortals seems imminent. It’s more important than ever before that the prophecy child is found, but there’s a problem—Leisha has lost her powers. She seems like nothing more than a human. Her newfound humanity is further complicated when Tafari, her old lover, appears with a desire for reconciliation. Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves, or will fate tear everything from her once again?
Where did your idea for Defiance come from?
I’ve had a fascination with vampires since I was 11. It was inevitable that the first story I write included these mythical creatures, with my own personal twist to them.
Many argue the trend in vampire novels have come and gone. What makes yours different from the rest?
Like everything else, the market for vampires does a roller coaster. But even on the downward slope, there’s fans that will always pick it up. My vampires are unique in many ways, one of which is the story talks about how they came into existence in the first place using Voodoo magic.
What is your secret to balancing romance without cliche?
If you have a strong plot and three-dimensional characters, the romance will just work. It’s when an author forces a romance that a reader doesn’t really feel that it becomes cliche.
What’s the key to writing a second book in a series?
Have the end in mind. Even if you plan on writing a 12 book series, always know exactly where everyone is going to end up at the end. Hopefully, if you do that, all the previous books will flow together.
How long did it take you to write Defiance?
One year. Someday I’ll get as good as some other authors I know and pop out a new book every couple months. Someday…
I have young kids at home, so it’s dicey to have that time. I generally wait until the kids are in bed, which gives me a solid two hours a night. I also have an amazing critique group, and we go on writers retreats twice a year. It’s amazing how much I write during those trips!
What is your favorite part of being an author?
Interacting with the readers! I’ve gotten some amazing messages online from fans and it’s always a blast to meet more readers at book signings. They keep me going on the days I feel like throwing in the towel.
Actually sitting my butt in the chair to write. Maybe I chose the wrong career… 😉
How did you go from aspiring writer to published author?
It’s really about keeping your eyes open for opportunities and taking it when they come along. I kept going to writers conferences, joined writing groups and critique groups. I immersed myself in the industry as much as possible and worked on improving my craft while seeking opportunities. One day, it paid off!
Any advice for other aspiring writers?
Join an awesome critique group with other writers that will tell you what’s what. Keep an open mind and don’t get defensive about your work. If people are putting in the time to give you feedback, recognize it. It doesn’t mean that they’re right – that’s up to you to decide. But make sure you listen with an open mind before you disagree.
Keep writing. Keep seeking opportunities and don’t give up!
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far on your journey?
That people actually like my books. I know it sounds silly, but I’m critical and insecure when it comes to my craft. I handle criticism from others better than compliments. So I was actually surprised that people really like what I write! (And I have to remind myself of that sometimes.)
Where can readers find and connect with you?
If you’re in the Salt Lake area, don’t miss the launch party for Defiance! Come get your book signed by the author, win door prizes (signed books, gift cards to restaurants and Amazon) and have a great time.
When: February 28, 2015 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM
Where: Barnes & Noble – Sugarhouse
1104 East 2100 South, Salt Lake City UT
Another stop on the blog tour took me to visit the lovely Kathy Jones and an interview that peeks into my writing process.
Thanks to Kathy for hosting me!
Check out this very insightful interview over at Amy Bank’s blog today.
It was fun to be the author interviewed rather than doing the interview (and hoping someday someone would want to interview me). Thanks for having me, Amy!
Today I have the honor of kicking off the blog tour for one fabulous book – Heart of Annihilation by C.R. Asay. A book with a very special place in my heart. C.R. is a member of my own writing group so I’ve watched and participated intimately through the entire creative process. I’ve read it countless times. It’s amazing. But don’t let my biased judgement be the only thing that sways you… it is an exciting and imaginative read that you don’t want to miss. Especially if you love science fiction with a military twist and a strong female lead. Or maybe it’s military with a science fiction twist? Just trust me and pick this one up.
Shaken by her newly found power and hunted by vigilantes from her unit, Rose is forced away from her structured, military world and into a fight for her life.
With the aid of her battle buddy, Corporal Thurmond, Rose sets out to learn more about the aliens under attack. In the process, she discovers her bizarre connection to a devastating threat to Earth—an alternate dimensional weapon called the Heart of Annihilation.
From a chuteless free-fall from 20,000 feet, to deadly bullet wounds and the unforgiving Sonoron Desert, Rose enters a world where aliens are real. And she may be one of them.
If you’d like a chance to win your own free copy, you can enter by commenting on this blog post! Rafflecopter will then pick a random winner next week. Good luck!
Time for another blog touring author to stop by for a visit. Today I have the privilege of hosting Johnny Worthen, author of Eleanor, The Unseen coming July 1 from Jolly Fish Press.
It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless. Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had—the only other person who knows her secret—is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless.
Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.
Johnny is one of my fellow Utah Fantasy Authors and I twisted his arm to give me a copy of Eleanor before anyone else could read it because… hello, you all know I’m not a patient woman! This book grabbed me quick and fast; despite the fact it is touted as juvenile fiction, which I rarely read. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again for the record: Johnny Worthen writes books I like to read.
I asked Johnny to visit with a guest post about how he creates such amazing and well-rounded characters since it is something he consistently does well in his work. Enjoy…
If you’d rather have the instant gratification, instead of waiting to win, you can get your copy online:
BARNES & NOBLE
JOHNNY WORTHEN graduated with a B.A. in English and Master’s in American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of businesses and adventures, including running his own bakery, Worthen found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do—write. And write he does. When he’s not pounding on his keyboard or attending writers conferences, Worthen spends his time with his wife and two boys in Sandy, Utah.
This is my first author interview as part of a cool thing called a blog tour. (Don’t worry, I didn’t know what they were either…) When an author has a new book coming out that they want to publicize, they set up a virtual book tour by visiting bloggers like me who will take the time to read an advanced copy and give an honest review. Since I’m not a patient woman and I love to read, I immediately jumped at the chance to get my hands on books before the general public.
Today I’m joined by the author of Copper Descent, Angela Hartley, who is also one of my fellow Utah Fantasy Authors.
The tale of Sinauf was a secret nineteen-year-old Nina Douglas’ ancestors kept hidden for eighteen generations. But the truth has been brought into light.
The dark god of legend is real.
Caught in an ancient war still raging strong in the modern world, Nina is confronted with Sinauf—the embodiment of all she fears and desires. Like a moth drawn to a deadly flame, Nina must resist the seductive charm of a beautiful monster, or prepare to lose everything she holds dear.
I read Copper Descent before it had a cover and without knowing anything except that Angela had asked if anyone was willing to read it and review it as part of her blog tour for the launch. I had no idea how it was being marketed but I would have described it as a young adult urban fantasy. (I later found out it is New Adult Horror. Same thing, right?) My favorite aspect was how real the characters are portrayed. The main character, Nina, starts out as a teen but for the majority of the story is a young woman. She kisses boys without commitments, she experiences the heat of passion when she is attracted to someone (more than once), runs away when things get tough, fights with her parents, and is selfish and self-centered at times. She was a realistic breath of fresh air. And then, to my surprise, the evil antagonist chasing after our heroin is actually the devil. As a very non-religious person, I expected to be annoyed with this turn of events but it was so well written I instead found myself sucked in and unable to put it down. I love the way Angela took age-old themes and gave them new life. She expertly weaves Native American legends with all the religions of the ages resulting in a character I both understood and empathized with – even as he plotted to destroy mankind. The book has many elements of fantasy since worlds beyond our own are brought to life. And even though one of the main characters is Lucifer himself, the themes are nothing like you would expect. I highly recommend it – although I must disclose it does have violence and some sexuality for those of you who might have sensitivities. I would give it a PG-13 equivalent rating.
Initially, I only committed to reviewing the book in exchange for the early sneak peak. But then it was so entertaining and I had a million questions I wanted to ask about it so I sat down and picked Angela’s brains for an interview instead.
Me: Where did your idea for Copper Descent come from?
Me: How did you go from aspiring writer to published author?
After high school, she met and married her own Prince Charming. They rode off into the sunset in his blue Toyota and a whole new world full of hope and happiness opened up. He claimed they could move mountains together, and they did. While facing the painful realization that sometimes there are no tomorrows following her father’s tragic death in 2005, she decided it was time to follow her dreams. With the love and support of her family, she dove into another world, full of procreating angels and demon rock stars.
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