Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marla Press, Author of I'm a Dog, You're a Cat

relationships, communication, dating, humor, dogs, cats, personalities, pets and relationships, dogs and love, marla press, love lessons from animals,

Today we are interviewing Marla Press about her book, "I'm a Dog You're a Cat: Love Lessons From Our Furry Friends."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Rock Island, Illinois. I had what you'd call a typical, wonderful small town experience. There were enough people to be interesting but small enough to run the streets. You know, like high school girl gangs. We were so not tough.

We always had dogs and cats so I guess it's natural that I understand their personalities. I went to college in Austin, Texas and ended up moving to Houston later and that's where I've been for the past 19 years.

Describe your book in a few sentences.
“I'm a Dog, You're a Cat: Love Lessons From Our Furry Friends” is a shorter version of “Mars and Venus” only with dogs and cats. It offers a quick, easy to understand method to access and understand people and their personalities with an added dose of humor.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Everyone can benefit from understanding other people's personalities. However, my inclination and observations are that dogs are more likely to care about how people are hard-wired. Ok, as a “dog,” I admit that I'm biased. I think that we care more about what people think of us, thus care about how we act towards them. While “cats” (we truly love you), really kind of have the world by the tail. They act the way they act and everyone needs to just deal with it!

Author Marla Press.
What inspired you to write a book about the personality traits of our feline and canine companions?
I started dating a wonderful man 71/2 years ago. I thought that he liked me but I didn't understand his actions. I would leave town for several days for work and not hear from him. What?! If you like someone you call that person 100 times a day, right? Okay, at least 3!

After consulting a good friend (who we discovered later happened to also be a “cat”), we determined he was a great guy, but he had the personality of a cat. Sometimes aloof, independent, a tad moody; he had most of the traits. It became apparent to me that I in turn was a “dog.” A big, needy, optimistic, overly friendly dog! The new dog/cat "language" helped us understand each other from the beginning. If I'm getting too needy, he'll hiss a bit but I remind him that he can't get mad, that's my DNA. By contrast, when he needs to be left alone for a time, I have to accept that this is his DNA. It works for us and I know it can help others.

Have you always been interested in the relationships people have with their dogs and cats?
I guess I have been collecting stories about people all my life. I'm an observer. The dog/cat tie in is something that really just came to me when I started dating my boyfriend (the cat).

What was the creative process like for you?
Believe it or it, this was the easy part. When I decided that I wanted to write a book and share the idea, I just started talking to people. Every story in the book is a real life story from someone I talked to. As for the illustrations, I wanted the book to be light, fun and cute.

In addition to the text, your book includes beautiful watercolor illustrations. What was the process of working with an illustrator like?
Jim Tweedy is such a talented illustrator/artist. I had bought some of Jim Tweedy’s work before and knew he was the artist I wanted to represent the idea. He understood the concept and I gave him free reign to draw what he saw. It was magical when he sent me a drawing based on a story I provided. I'm told from other authors it's not usually that seamless.
He and I were always on the same page.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
My hope is that it has the same impact on readers as it has had on me in my relationships. It has allowed me to take a very quick inventory when I meet someone, and I can channel my inner cat if the situation demands. If it's a dog I meet, I can be my doggy self. It's really pretty simple and not intended to cause any angst.

Like any personality test (hard core scientific versus light-hearted), most people are a combination of traits. That's what makes people so interesting. However, if the individual is hard wired more one way than the other (cat vs. dog), it then becomes helpful in communicating.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I believe that the people that love dog/cat will let me know what would help them the most. I've had people mention using dog/cat as a human resource training module. Also, there have been suggestions of utilizing the dog/cat concepts specifically for children. I've had therapists use the book in family discussions as a way to role-play. The idea has so many legs (8 at least) so I'm open to the next chapter.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
The next time that they have a party, get together, dinner, shower, etc., play the dog/cat game. It is so much fun to break the ice for those that don't know each other. For those that do, let everyone else vote and see where it goes. It's a blast! Go to the website and take the quiz. There are only 5 questions that will help you determine whether you are more a “cat” or a “dog,” and it will open up conversation for hours.

More Information

Visit the book website 
Buy the book on Amazon

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Vivian Amis, Author of The Lotus

God, Oneness, Enlightenment, Self, the lotus, realization of oneness, vivian amis, spiritual consciousness, end suffering, conscious path,

Today we are interviewing Vivian Amis about her new thought/spirituality book "The Lotus | Realization of Oneness."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a teacher of Spiritual Consciousness, a mystic and author who was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. In 1992 I moved to America with my three children after my divorce. During the years 2001-2004 I had a profound spiritual transformation that changed my life.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.
The purpose of this book is to outline a path to end suffering in our life and so in the world.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Those that are on a conscious path to realizing their true Self and seekers of a deeper meaning to life.

What inspired you to write a book on Oneness?

The inspiration for writing this book while writing my book “I AM”, which covered the topic of how we create our experiences. I saw the need of writing a book that took the reader beyond the mind into the spiritual realm of Oneness.

God, Oneness, Enlightenment, Self, the lotus, realization of oneness, vivian amis, spiritual consciousness, end suffering, conscious path,
Tell us a bit about your own experience with the pursuit of Oneness.
I was raised Catholic, when the church could not give me satisfactory answers on questions pertaining life, God and who I am I turned away from the church and turned within. I searched for answers for more than 18 years, until I one day heard God say to me “I am closer than you think”. This was my “aha” moment that took me back, before thought… into silence. There I realized my Oneness with God and all life.

One of the topics covered in the book is about how the surrender of the mind, heart, and soul can be a way out of suffering. Can you elaborate on the surrendering process?

Both Jesus and Buddha were tempted three times. These temptations are the blockages that keep us from realizing Oneness and are the cause of suffering. That is why Jesus said to love God with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul. The way out of suffering is to surrender our attachments, our desires and our life. The process is simple yet not easy: just hand it over and let go.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?
That both Jesus and Buddha were tempted three times and on the same subjects.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
I think that reading my book may give people the opportunity to heal, be uplifted, and inspired to seek Oneness with the divine in each and every one of us.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

I am in the process of writing my next book: The Prayer of Oneness.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I am offering my e-book free on Amazon August 6th-8th.

More Information
Check out "The Lotus" on Amazon

Visit Vivian Amis' website

Friday, August 7, 2015

Amalia Moerman Pavlidi, Soprano, Teacher & Vocal Academy Founder

Amalia Moerman Pavlidi is a soprano, singing teacher, yoga instructor, and founder of Pavlidi Vocal Academy.

Tell us a bit about your background in music.
I have studied classical singing in Florence Italy. I have studied music theory grade 8 and piano until grade 6. In 2014 I have obtained my diploma in vocal coaching from London with Ria Keen.
I have done performances all over Europe. Last year I signed a contract with a famous ageny which took me a step further to my stage career.

What inspired you to take your love of music a step further and start a vocal academy?
My passion for it! I want to help singers or singing students become complete performers.

What classes or instruction do you offer?
We do offer classical singing classes, contemporary singing classes, music theory classes, piano for singer classes, yoga for singers, musical classes for kids, and vocal coaching classes.

Soprano Amalia Moerman Pavlidi.
What experience level do you teach? Do you teach absolute amateurs?
We do teach all levels, from complete beginners to professionals.

In addition to working with students in your studio, you do workshops and seminars online. Tell us about them.
We do offer online workshops which are mostly theoretical. This helps students to know more about singing, about vocal studies about their bodies. We launched it 6 months ago and we already had 2 with huge success. Distance learning worhshops give you the opportunity to learn from wherever you are.

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching students?
When I see their effort and then their improvement and love and passion for our work.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions people have about singing lessons?

Most people come and think it is an easy thing to do! You just open your mouth and sing...No!
Singing is a serious art and you need to be determined and committed. To be able to sing you need first to learn technique, to learn how your body works, to learn theory of music, to learn aural skills and in the end to combine all your knowledge and add your soul to your song.

One of the more unique classes you offer is yoga for singers. What benefit does yoga have on singers?
I am very happy for this question. I have studied Yoga and massage therapy. I have noticed so many benefits that I decided to add it to our programs. Yoga is a way to discover optimum body alignment, breathing and metal focus. Some of the  benefits for a singer are:
1.    Increases metal focus.
2.    Improves flexibility, strength, posture and
3.    releases tension from the body.
4.    Relaxes the nervous system
5.    increases body awareness
6.    Give lungs room to breathe

For someone interested in contacting you about taking lessons, how should they do that?

In our webiste we have a contact form a student can dirreclty from there send us a message.
We do also provide our email adress pavlidivocalacademy@gmail.com .

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to talk about my work.

Relevant Links

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pepi Vilana, Author of Murder in Kathmandu

Today we are interviewing Pepi Vilana about her crime novel, "Murder in Kathmandu."

Book description:
The book you have in your hands is the first in a series of stories that have one thing common: mystery, intrigue and the succession of events that the reader must fully to find the assassin.

Tell us a bit about yourself. 
I was born in a small village near Barcelona, called Palau de Plegamans, in 1975. After having won a literary contest in 1989,1990 and 1991, I started to enjoy writing.

I grew up with the novels of Sherlock Holmes and I hope, someday, a child can dream with James Coopersy stories.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Investigation of the murder, an impossible love, ... from the start of the novel we become involved in a crime, adding a great dose of suspense to our reading of the text. The first case of Inspector James Coopersy.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
This book is for anyone who loves crime novel.

What inspired you to write a thriller/detective series?
What inspires me is having an opportunity to write, which is what really enthuses me.

Author Pepi Vilana.
One thing that is unique about the novel is that it features two cases that are investigated in parallel. What made you decide to take this approach to writing the story?  
This is a different approach that focuses on surprising to the reader.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, James Coopersy.
He is a police inspector in New York. James is a tall, curly hair and intelligent. He is an attractive man of 33 with sad eyes. He hasn't forgotten his past, which shapes his present or future.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Without a doubt, what most influenced me is sir. Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

I initially had the idea to tell a story, a thriller, but afterward I thought: “What can I do differently?” OK. I'll Take two stories, a part of the book takes place on Nepal and the other part occurs on New York. In my next few novels, there will always be a case will happen in a country from which we can learn.  

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I feel good, I feel that more and more people are more likely to read than before e-books existed.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

You never know where your destiny will take you so, I shall continue writing and I continue to work for those who want to enjoy an entertaining read.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

No, I like clear and simple writing.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the next book in the series?
My next book will be a surprise, a mix of murder, a group of men protecting a secret, revenge, ...

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
This book is not only fun. This book is Nepal, a short but very interesting trip to this country. Unfortunately, all the monuments and places that appear in the book have disappeared by the recent earthquakes. I hope someday my readers may visit Nepal which I knew. 

More Information

Buy "Murder in Kathmandu" on Amazon US
Buy "Murder in Kathmandu" on Amazon UK

Graham Old, Author of Of Madness and Folly

Autism, comedy, graham old, Mental Health, of madness and folly, Self-harm, aspergers novel, humor book, humour novel, missionary author, psychiatric patient

Today we are interviewing Graham Old about his comedy/memoir/fiction book "Of Madness and Folly."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Graham Old. I am a working-class Brit, staunchly anti-establishment and a wimpy pacifist. I'd be a revolutionary communist or anarchist, if I could justify throwing bricks at department store windows or guillotining the rich. (Note: I reserve the right to re-visit that intention once I'm rich and famous!) I guess I'm what they call a champagne socialist, if I could afford the champagne.

I am a former missionary, church leader and university chaplain. I have also worked in Social Services and for adults with Learning Difficulties. I am currently a certified Hypnotherapist and work in private practice.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Rob Auldam is a Social Worker with a love of red wine and a diagnosis of Aspergers. Following a drunken incident of self-harm he is admitted as a psychiatric patient. There, he discovers a world of unexpected humour and learns that we are all a little bit crazy.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
I hope that the book will appeal to anyone who enjoys comedy books. Although the content might be considered dark, gritty or 'unsuitable for minors', my intention is that the humour throughout the book makes the raw expereinces within digestible and strangely enjoyable. I also hope that it appeals to people who have an interest in mental health, autism, self-harm or have ever wondered what life inside a 'mental hospital' is really like.

What inspired you to write a fictional comedy memoir?

I think there were three sources that lead to me writing this book. Years ago, my brother and I were talking about the surreal experience of working within social services. We briefly toyed with writing a sitcom set within that environment, but concluded that if it was true to our experiences, it would be dismissed as unbelievable! Although this book is not set within Children's Services, that serves as something of a back-drop.

Secondly, I read the book Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, which is an account of his journey through depression. I cannot recommend that book highly enough.

Finally, I re-read Philip Roth's magnificent Portnoy's Complaint. Reading Roth and Haig in close proximity persuaded me that it was possible to discuss topics that were deeply theoretical and essential – like ethnicity, sexuality and identity – but to do so in a way that was humourous and engaging.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Rob.

I love Rob! I think of him as something like Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. But imagine a Sheldon who desperately wanted to be liked and was fully aware of his own foibles.

Rob is a Social Worker and also works as a Life Coach. He had a less than perfect upbringing, though in this book you only receive vague details of that. Rob was also diagnosed with Asperger's a few years ago and is probably still in the midst of reviewing his life's history and figuring out the part that Aspergers played in all of that. As such, Rob has experience of mental health and family crisis from both sides of the fence. He is perhaps the epitome of a 'wounded healer'. Yet, rather than giving up, he stubbornly believes he can really make a difference in people's lives. He should probably have quit some time ago!

Rob, as an autistic social worker, is a unique character. What steps did you take with your writing to make his character feel authentic?
I kinda feel like I cheated with this one. Due to my own work in Social Services and in private practice, plus some family insight and personal first-hand knowledge, I can probably relate to Rob more than you might think. However, I wrote and re-wrote every line that he said and every internal monologue he had. I then asked friends and family to read them.

The reaction I was hoping for was 'believable shock'. I wanted people to be offended, but to accept that Rob meant well. If they weren't offended, then I was pulling my punches. If they actively dis-liked Rob, then I had gone too far. I hope I've achieved a realistic balance. I want people to feel for Rob, whilst also thinking that he's a bit of a well-meaning jerk. There's a good tradition of characters like this in British comedy, such as Basil Fawlty or David Brent. Rob doesn't have a malicious bone in his body, though his quick judgements and self-imposed isolation may cause you to think otherwise.

People with autism are not always perceived in the best light in media. They might be treated like non-emotional automatons, or heartless self-centred nerds. I have tried to create a character for whom you will feel some sympathy, perhaps even admitting that you like him, whilst acknowleding his own unique perspective on the world. In a sense, the character of Rob is the most important part of the book.

Humor is a big part of this novel. Has humor always been important to you? Or did it develop as you wrote?
Humour is HUGELY important to me. I guess I have had a fairly unqiue work history, which has included giving sexual advice to adults with learning difficulties, counselling elderly parishoners who have lost their life's Love and mentoring teenage Dads with a glue habit. Humour has been an essential part of empowering people in such situations, often the only effective way to seeing the possibility of a hopeful future. Aside from that, it strengthens the practitoner in such situations.

We all know the stereotype of the bullied fat kid who turns to comedy to win-over his classmates. It's a stereotype because it happens again and again. There is something about the power of comedy that can change people, challenge roles and stereotypes and set us on a new path. I'm not saying it's easy – and anyone who dabbles in comedy whilst talking about ethnicity or prejudice needs to have balls of steel and a sharp wit – but I do believe that comedy can open doors that may otherwise be firmly shut.

So, I wouldn't dream of talking about mental health without injecting humour throughout. To suggest that such an environment is devoid of humour simply devalues those living through it. If you think that nothing funny ever happens in a psychiatric hospital, you are simply refusing to acknowledge the absurdtiy and humanity inherent in such an arena.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Charles Bukowski, Matt Haig, Kurt Vonnegut, David Sedaris and Mark SaFranko. I have oodles of respect for authors who can take subjects that shouldn't be funny and fill them with humour. This strikes me as a uniquely human thing to do. Who hasn't had that experience of being in a stressful or traumatic situation and feeling the relief that a moment of humour brings?

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
I tend to start by 'brain-storming'. I don't write any stories or dialogue, but I jot down scenes or headings that occur to me. I'm looking for things that are funny and significant. I avoid any out-and-out jokes, because they seem cheap and lazy, but I'm looking for the ludicrous and authentic.

I then read whatever fiction books I currently have on the go. It's a bit of an act, because I convince myself that I'm just reading to enjoy reading-for-reading's-sake. Yet, it's obvious that I am digging deep for inspiration. I focus on authors who write i) well, ii) realistically and iii) humorously. David Sedaris would be a good example.

I then return to my headings and look for one or two that feel like they have potential. Anything that feels like it is trying too hard to be funny gets rejected immediately. (I'm not just after laughs for their own sake.) I flesh out one or two ideas and at some point I get caught up in the flow of writing. When I look back on my day's work, I might have combined half a dozen of my early ideas without having been aware of it. When I have a handful of 'episodes', I send them off to some trusted friends who have my full persmission to pull them to pieces. They know about my desire to be funny yet authentic and help me to shave-off anything that is lacking in either of those areas.

Recently, it's become important to me to read my work out-loud. When I have the bulk of a chapter, I will read it aloud to get a feel for it. I'm looking for anything that feels forced. I know that something is genuinely funny if I still chuckle to myself on reading it through. Although I obviously know the punchline, it should still be funny enough to provoke a reaction. After all, I still laugh when watching Curb Your Enthusiam, Fawlty Towers or Only Fools and Horses, even though I know what is coming.

Finally, I send out the full book to another group of trusted readers. I give them no idea at all what to expect and that is the most nerve-wrecking. Obviously, not everyone will share my sense of humour or sensibilities. However, at the very least, I'm looking for them to agree that it is well-written and insightful. I then re-read the whole manuscript again and again.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

In an ideological sense, I don't have a problem with it. However, I personally still prefer to have a book in my hands. If I read an ebook that I love, I will most probably buy a hard copy, just to hold it in my hands.

However, I'm slightly concerned with the inequality that ebooks and kindle deals can bring. Perhaps if Libraries stocked kindles or ipads, so that people could check them out for 3 weeks and make the most of the 99p deals, I'd feel slightly happier with the situation. I'm not sure what the answer is there, but I think it's more than achievable.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I'd like to make enough money to buy J. K. Rowling.

Failing that, I would like to write comedy so well that it gets taken seriously. Comedy books can be seen as 'light' reads, which I think does the genre a real disservice. Unless I am completely wrong about all of this, comedy books are able to tackle the 'heavy' subjects in a way that nothing else really can.

If I can be a part of that, I would be thrilled. If I can have a ride at Disney Land named after me, even better!

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
Reading and re-reading the final manuscript. I'd like spell-checks to reach the point where they genuinely know what you mean and we can trust auto-correct to do its job. Frustratingly, when you know what you want a sentence to say, your mind plays tricks on you and you're convinced it actually says that. It's embarrassing to read a manuscript for the 19th time and find a rogue spelling mistake!

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I would like to continue exploring the life of Rob Auldam. As he is based very much on a composite of me and those I have known, we have naturally had some shared experiences. I would like to write about his experiences as a Social Worker, bringing my conversation with my brother full-circle. I would also like to write a little about his experiences of religion from the inside.

In a sense, I want to look at some of the archetypal experiences that many of us go through, yet never talk about. And I want to find the humour within, to allow us to talk about them.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
More of it is based on the reality of my life than I'd ever admit! :)  Also, you probably shouldn't let your children read it. 

An excerpt from "Of Madness and Folly":
I will begin with today, which started - as all good days are prone to do - with a rude awakening.

For whilst I was happily biting Scarlet Johansson's lower lip, Charge Nurse Grace was knocking on my bedroom door and calling my name. It is a peculiar feature of dreams that the mind seems capable of incorporating outside noises and distractions, without them appearing out of place or incredulous. How many times was my adolescent mind indulging in darkly perverse yet deeply satisfying fantasies, whilst my mother was standing at the bottom of the stairs, yelling at me to wake up for school? Yet, my dreaming mind, aroused and unfazed, included my mother's voice within the content of my fantasy, no doubt encouraging me to "Get up!" and "Come-On!", whilst I protested that I didn't need her encouragement and knew very well what to put where, thank you very much!

No, no, we are not yet ready for tales of childhood trauma or the blurred lines of my adolescent mind. Let's return instead to my mind, such as it is, today. Unsurprisingly, the sound of Nurse Grace's voice invited her into my dream, where she knelt at the head of my beloved Scarlet. The sumptuous ruby lips of Ms. Johansson had finally met their match in Grace's generous enticing bosom. A Kenyan woman, with an imposing backside, Nurse Grace was a wonderfully welcome stereotype. As she bent over Scarlet's now smiling lips, Grace's uniform began to slowly unbutton from the top, of its own accord.

I had just about caught a glimpse of the outer lace of a surprisingly seductive purple bra, when the sky exploded into a field of brightness and I awoke to find my door open, my bedroom light on and Nurse Grace standing at the foot of my bed.

"Are you up?" She asked.

I am, in retrospect, painfully aware that my porn movie training - which has consisted of digesting at least half of the content of the entire World Wide Web - should have equipped me to respond, "why don't you check for yourself?". However, I meekly uttered a breathless "yep", whilst sitting up, hoping that my beer barrelled belly would cast its shadow over my Depravity and hide my shame.

"Breakfast", Nurse Grace grumped and swiftly left my room.

And, so began day 29 of my stay at Greenfields Psychiatric hospital.
More Information
Buy the ebook on Amazon UK
Buy the paperback on Amazon UK
Check out Graham Old's Twitter
Find the book on Goodreads

Eris Field, Author of No Greater Love

Circassian beauty, child refugees, restitution, Holocaust, Amsterdam, Istanbul, international romance, eris field, no greater love

Today we are interviewing Eris Field, author of the international romance "No Greater Love."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
When I was 17 and had just started my training as a nurse, I met my future husband, a Turkish intern, and developed an interest in other cultures. After several years in psychiatric nursing, I started to write novels. Now, I work full time at researching and writing contemporary, international romances that tend to feature psychiatrists, international charmers, and fascinating cities.

Describe the plot of “No Greater Love” in a few sentences.
For two people—Janan and Pieter—love seems to have passed them by while they have been the dutiful caregivers of their families, but when they fall in love, they share the one night they have. A serious illness and a selfish mother prevent Pieter from returning to Janan, and Janan, pregnant with twins, refuses to seek out Pieter. She has lived without love so long, she cannot bear the thought of Pieter marrying her for the sake of the babies, not for love. Carl tries to contact Pieter but Pieter’s mother who does not want a daughter-in-law from Eastern Turkey does not give him the message. Carl then offers Janan a way out—marriage. He will give her support and a name for the twins that she carries and she will take him home, back to Leiden to seek retribution for his father .Janan knows that accepting Carl’s offer may cost her all chances of a life with Pieter but she chooses to do what is best for the babies.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Women between 35 and 65 seem to like my novels.

I think Turkish-American readers would enjoy the book. There are approximately 500.000 Turkish-Americans in the US and a slightly smaller number in Canada.

What inspired you to write a book about a young woman who must make sacrifices to help her family?

In No Greater Love, Janan’s life has slipped by as she took care of aging relatives. But when love comes, she knows it, and, although Pieter will be gone in the morning, she seizes the chance to have one night of happiness. I have known many women who did not seize that opportunity when it came and later regretted it. I also know some who have seized the opportunity and paid the price as Janan does.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Janan.
When Janan was eight, an earthquake killed her mother, father, and twin brother, Tomas. Abandoned in an orphanage in eastern Turkey, she was rescued by an American who had studied copper designing with her father. He and his wife who have no children adopt Janan and she grows up in a small village in Western New York. In that family, is an older uncle, Carl, who had been sent by his father, a Dutch-Jew in Leiden, Holland, as a five year old during WWII to save him from the Nazis. This older uncle, Carl, supported Janan’s desire to go to college when her adoptive parents did not, and now she looks after him. Like all refugees, Janan and Carl yearn to go home, even though there is no longer a home or family for either of them.

One theme of “No Greater Love” is about making sacrifices for the benefit of one’s family. Did you set out to explore this theme? Or did it develop as you wrote?
The story is about Janan, a Turkish-American girl, whoseTurkish upbringing and culture would have taught her that the welfare of the family is more important than the happiness on one person. Her life in American would have taught her that the individual has the right to happiness. She struggles with these contradictory beliefs. Ironically, when she risks everything for her individual happiness, she is saved by Carl’s belief that the family—Janan and her babies—are more important than the individual. Pieter, who risks everything to overcome leukemia so that he can return to Janan, believes that it is right for individuals to seek happiness even if it means turning his back on his family.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
An early influence was Betty Neels who wrote international romances. In her stories, family honor was highly valued but the right of individuals to love was held even higher.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
My stories begin when characters make themselves known to me and start telling me their stories. They ride in the back seat of my car and talk to me and to each other. I know what they want, what they fear, and what painful experiences they have endured. From that knowledge, I begin to weave a tapestry of time, places, events, and other people that become part of their struggle to get what they want.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I intend to continue to write contemporary, international romances. There are so many fascinating people in the world.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
I like all aspects of writing. My favorite is research but the temptation is to follow each thread that research uncovers and that can lead you away from the story.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

My next hero is a Peshmerga fighter—a glorious hero.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Many of us are refugees at some time in our life—fleeing from conflict, disasters, or family rejection—while yearning to return home, even though that home no longer exists.

An excerpt from "No Greater Love":
“To get back to the business at hand. You just gave me a lovely kiss of introduction.”

“A kiss of introduction?” she stammered. “I didn’t know kisses had names.”

“Well, there are lots of different kinds of kisses and names help keep them straight in one’s mind.”

“Is it important? To keep them straight?”

“Oh, yes. Each kiss has a definite purpose . . .and outcome.”

“Outcome?” she squeaked.

He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face him and, when she did not resist, he pulled her closer. “I am going to acknowledge your kiss of introduction.” He moved his hands to cup her face as he lowered his lips until they rested firmly against hers and then began to move gently. Lifting his head, his breathing rapid, he said, “Now we are getting to know each other better, don’t you agree.”

Touching her lips with her finger tips, she nodded. “After the acknowledging kiss?”

“Then we will use our hands and tiny getting-to-know-you kisses,” he whispered as his long fingers traced her eyes, her nose and her mouth, each touch followed by a kiss.
. . .
“Invitation,” he murmured as he trailed kisses down her throat toward the first button partially hidden in the ruffles of the low neckline of her blouse. He groaned as he unbuttoned his jacket and pulled off his tie. “We aren’t doing this right. He took a step in her direction. “Remember you said when you were shoveling the walk that it would go better if two people worked at it?” . . . he guided her fingers to the first button of his shirt.

. . . ‘She hesitated. “I should tell you that I am not sure . . “

“We will not do anything that you don’t want to do.” . . .

“I am not sure that I know what to do.”

“The process?”

‘Yes. I have read about it clinically of course, but I have had limited personal experience?

“I see,” he maneuvered the hook at the waist band of her skirt and let it slide silently to the floor. “How limited?”

“Very limited.” Her breath was coming in quick gasps.

“My experience has been limited too, but I think I can remember enough to guide us through the process.”

She shot him a frosty look. “You are tall, dark, and handsome.  Somehow I doubt that your experience has been limited.”

More Information

Buy "No Greater Love" on Amazon 
Check out Eris Field's website 

Olivia Bersell, Author of Under the Burning Sun

Today we are interviewing Olivia Bersell about her romance/suspense novel "Under the Burning Sun."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was raised on a sheep and cattle station. In one sentence. The simple things in life are the things that really matter to me.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
It’s a suspenseful, romantic story of a love between Ethan and Amarin, and how they overcome all the barriers that threaten to keep them apart.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
People that enjoy romance with a real story behind it.

What inspired you to write a romantic story about two very different people?
I’m of mixed race. The experience’s I had growing up is probably why I made the two main characters totally opposite to each other.

Tell us a bit about the protagonists.
Amarin, she’s head strong, spunky, vulnerable and funny in a quiet understated way. She believes in family values

Ethan he is moral and kind. Because of his personality, his romance with Amarin manages to be both sexually charged at the same time that it’s sweet and fresh.

What are some of the challenges the protagonists face in their relationship?
Their cultural backgrounds, interference from people that love or dislike them.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
There are several I like, but to be honest… not really

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
In a nut shell the story is broadly based on my upbringing and the experience’s I had growing up on a cattle station.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of eBooks?
I think they have reached their peak. In all honesty I feel there is a slight decline in popularity.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
To keep on writing

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

Writers block. 

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Haven’t thought that far ahead yet.

An excerpt from "Under the Burning Sun":
The night sounds were so entertaining that Ethan’s attention was piqued. This was all a new experience for him and he wanted to savor every minute of the drive. But before long his eyelids fluttered closed and he drifted off to a faraway place in his past, which took him back four years; a dream he’d had before.
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Buy "Under the Burning Sun" on Amazon

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lory La Selva Paduano, Author of The Legacy of a Legend

Today we are interviewing Lory La Selva Paduano about her historical fiction novel "The Legacy of A Legend."

For readers who aren’t familiar with your work, tell us a bit about your writing.
Writing for me is a magical escapade of learning and experimenting. I've learned so much these last few years, and I'm thankful for all the good advice from those who've stuck beside me and continously cheer me on. I have so many people to thank and the list grows everyday! Without my readers, faithful followers and amazing publisher ( Kingsnake Publishing) none of my works would be out there. In more ways than one...writing has become my career, my passion and life, and I miss it dearly when the summer months roll in and my children have my full attention. I'm itching to get back to the blank pages, where there, I start adding color and life.

Your new book, “The Legacy of A Legend,” is set in Rome. Can you describe the plot for us?

This particular book, literally took the “life'' out of me. I was injured in between it all, and had to take three months off, while the manuscript sat in cyber space, well, in ''MANUSCRIPTON” a new land I made up, where all manuscripts patiently await for their authors to revive them, while their injuries subside. The plot is about my female protagonist – Arria. She's the daughter of a well known rebel, known to ancient Rome, and whom is a Legend today... but no more spoilers here! After the “Serville War”, almost two decades later, a story emerges about siblings, “Twins” to be precise, who take on the beast named “Rome”. With purpose and righteousness, Arria becomes more than a woman, leading her down a path of exploration in the art of survival and so much more. Just when things seem lost, and there aren't any answers for any of it, hope comes crashing through and seals Arria's fate forever. It's a story about, hope, family, love, trickery, power, status, nobility and much more.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Anyone who appreciates ancient History and all those who helped shape it, will love the story line here. I think many would say, “There's always more to be told” and what better way to incorporate fiction with actual events. I'm having a blast and so will the readers! - Promise!!

What inspired you to set the novel in Rome?

Given the nature of the setting, even though I haven't given away the entire plot, it's obvious why I chose Ancient Rome as my next destination ; everyone loves a hero, an “insurgent” to a major cause and those who pick up the pieces long after they're gone. My ancestrial roots are Italian, and I also thought it would be grand to brush up on those long lost ties.

How did you research the historical aspects of this book?

Most of the research is common knowledge, and most of it is knowledge I had already aquired in the past and experienced first hand, of course it does not exclude the many hours of reading up on fascinating facts mentioned in the book, or watching underground documentries to put it all into perspective, so that it flows naturally into a wonderful and unique storyline. It's about shaping and moulding ones work to the best it can be.

Did you learning anything new while doing research for this book?

Indeed! I had no clue “urine” was used as bleach in ancient Rome, and worked wonders on whites!

Can you tell us about the creative process of this book, from the initial idea to the finished manuscript?

I think I may have mentioned this in the past. My creativity is aroused by photos really, it helps set a theme in my mind, from there I work tirelessly on capturing the essence of all that surrounds that photo. Usually, I have vivid dreams, where manuscripts speak to me, and calls me to my p.c., at all hours of the day and night. I can almost count on the fact that the “beginning” and “ending” of all my stories, are already inserted in my brain, like having a microchip installed or software and working on the middle of the story line ( once there ) this part, is probably where I have the most fun. It's indescribable really, and to think it took me decades to see my dreams of writing come true, renders many speechless! It is much like having an “aqueduct” overflow. - true story! The initial idea was to give back to my roots and heritage. I love Rome and it's cluttered monstrosity of a city, it spoke to me many years ago, I just wasn't listening attentively.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

My next project will be under my ( Pseudonym ) or “pen” name of [ LILIANA L.S. ] Look out for a groundbreaking “series or volumes” of books, that will cover Historical Enigmas & Urban Legends! To know more is to follow me on Facebook, where a new page will be shortly introduced and invites will be sent to all. Look for it on page www.facebook.com/romarria in the near future.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I'm always available for questions regarding all my works of the 'Wonderland Series', 'The High Priestess' and of course 'The Legacy of A Legend' as well. I love story telling, I've practiced it all my life, wether vocally or written, and judging by my many wonderful reviews on amazon.com, and other important and prestigious sites such as, www.BlueInkReviews.com. I'm confident enough to voice what really matters here. Stories of all sorts rock our world, if you are in tune or intrigued by History and Fiction – Fantasy, which experts in our industry have described our books as clever, robust and dramatic, I can certainly add that many won't be dissapointed and will always find something unexpected, uncoventional and refreshing in all my works. I strive to be better than I was yesterday, and relevancy is important to me. Consequentially, giving my readers what they crave and wish for ... is my ultimate pleasure! 

More Information

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Terry Robinson, Author of A Walk With An Irishman

terry robinson, a walk with an irishman, octogenarian author, irish author, new zealand author, memoir, autobiography, octogenarian memoir

Today we are interviewing Terry Robinson about his fascinating autobiography titled "A Walk With An Irishman."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1927, one of 5 children and because of my father becoming an alcoholic was forced to adapt to a lifestyle that eventually helped me to become the person I am today. Happy beyond my wildest dreams.I worked as a motor mechanic for most of my life. I love to meet people and hear their stories. I am an author,poet and singer. I have also just written and recorded my first song Bed of Wishes.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

The purpose of my book is to leave a little something behind me and also to encourage others to write their story. I believe so many great stories go untold and A Walk With An Irishman is my way of demonstrating what can be achieved. I really enjoyed writing and collaborating with others to make this book a reality.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

People who feel a need to really be themselves at any God given moment. Those that love adventure and a good laugh.

What inspired you to write your autobiography?
When I went to visit the South Island in New Zealand after I separated from my wife I was told by a friend I met that I should write a story about my life. Once the seed of that thought was planted then I had to bring my story to life.

You cover a lot of ground in your book, from childhood in Dublin to joining the Royal Air Force to moving to New Zealand. How did  you decide which periods to focus on with your writing?
I wanted to build a complete picture for the reader of the experiences that shaped me. As a child growing up in 1930’s Dublin I spent a lot of my youth cycling and was a member of the boy scouts. Leaving home at 17 to join the Royal Air Force and go to the Middle East was a significant  step for me. My travels did not end there though and after 14 years of marriage I took a gamble on new life in New Zealand with my family where I now live happily today.

While writing and remembering your life, did you learn anything new that you hadn’t considered before?
Yes, I learned a lot more about myself when writing my story, I learned to be more tolerant,caring and understanding of others.  I learned that there is nothing like achieving my dreams.

You’re also an active blogger. Tell us a bit about your blog.
It was my good friend Patrick O’Reilly who suggested I write a blog.  I  really enjoy writing and connecting with people.. I have a collection of my writings and songs I like to sing listed on www.spiritualirishterry.com.

In addition to blogging, you’re a musician. When did you first get interested in music? Where can people find out more about your music?
When I was 7 years old I loved to listened to a an Irish band called The Bachelors. I regularly would whistle my favorite songs walking the streets of Dublin. I never learned to play an instrument, but I’ve been told my voice is my instrument.  People can find look at my Youtube channel or visit www.spiritualirishterry.com

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
People will find humour, an interesting story and hopefully inspiration to tell their own story.

Do you have another writing project planned?
No, I have not planned another book. My blog will be the continuing story of my life, and of those who help me fill it.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Just that it was written from the heart, and to try and read between the lines. I also welcome your feedback on my blog.

More Information

Buy "A Walk With An Irishman" on Lulu 
Buy "A Walk With An Irishman" on Amazon 
Visit Terry Robinson's blog

Nefretiti A. Morant, Author of Across the Sands

Today we are interviewing Nefretiti A. Morant about her historical fiction novel "Across the Sands."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mom firstly, a wife secondly and a passionate writer who decided to go out on a limb and snatch her dream.  I've always loved literature but I didn't about pursuing writing seriously until about three years ago.   The journey has been humbling yet very rewarding.

Describe the plot of “Across The Sands” in a few sentences.
Across The Sands is a coming of age novel about a girl who is determined to live life on her own terms.  Awa Camara is the daughter of a wealthy salt merchant who is betrothed to marry the son of Mali's King.   In a bold attempt to take her life into her own hands Awa decides to run away.  The reader will meet a colorful array of characters from the various social classes of mid-evil Mali as they journey into a time and place almost forgotten in history.

How do you think most people will appreciate this book?
I think people who like historical fiction will appreciate this literary exploration into a world not often explored.

What attracted you to the genre of historical fiction?

Well since I was a child I've loved reading stories and watching shows set in different time periods.  I'm a big fan shows like; The Tudors, Downtown Abbey and Reign.    I thought it would be interesting and different to write a story set in Africa's golden age.  It's rare to find works from this time period.

Author Nefretiti A. Morant.

What inspired you to set the novel in Mali circa 1332 – 1334?

I had the idea in mind but wasn't sure which African nation to pick.  I decided on Mali and Mansa Musa's reign because of his infamous pilgrimage from Mali to Mecca.  This journey took a year to complete, and his envoy consisted of 60,000 noble men, officials, priest, and servants.  He is the richest man in history, even to this day.   His philanthropy was also remarkable.  While on his pilgrimage he commissioned the construction of a mosque every Friday in the towns he passed through.  Mansa Musa also gave out so much gold on his journey and while in Cairo that the value of gold in Egypt plummeted.   It took 10 years for gold to regain its value in Egypt's economy.

Do you have a favorite character in the book?
Awa and Maghan.  Their love is so young, innocent and pure.  I'm a romantic through and through.  I like how they both enter their relationship with false perceptions of each other.  I don't want to give too much of the book away but they both soon learn that things aren't always as they seem.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Not sure if they've influenced my writing style, but I am a big fan of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley and Mildred D. Taylor.  I think my writing style is unique, but their works have definitely inspired my love for the written word.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I'm not sure what's next.  I've been working on and off with a science fiction piece, but now that I've completed Across The Sands, I am tempted to do some more historical fiction books.  I just had so much fun writing Across The Sands.

An excerpt from "Across the Sands":

I head back to my room, grab a few clothes and some jewelry to sell.   I sneak back out, ready to take my destiny into my own hands.  Shafeeq mounts his horse and hoist me up behind him.   We ride through the night; the power of the horse between my thighs invigorates my soul as I hold on tightly to his waist,    We flee ahead of the approaching orange sunrise,  and I smile as the wind whips through my hair.   I was free.  As free as I have always dreamt of being.  I was finally escaping the long  shadow, cast by the role of the wealthy salt merchant's daughter. 
As we ride I enjoy the scenery of the passing countryside.   The sun rises in the east and a trail of meandering images appear on the horizon.  Could it be a caravan I think as we near the long chain of men and horses.  
"We are husband and wife, traveling to relatives in the West."  Shafeeq says with caution as he slows the horse to a trot.  We lag to the south of the caravan for hours before.   

As night approaches we decide to set up camp beneath a Kola tree.  

"It will get cold.  Work on the fire while I set up the tent."

I had started camp fires plenty of times.  Some nights Mahmaudou and I would head off to the edges of father's property and laugh under the same immense African sky. 

"You smile.  What pleases you?"

"Being here.  Being away from all the expectations.  I feel happy."

Shafeeq secures the last sides of the tent to the ground and walks over to myside.

"I am happy you came with me. I know I am no prince.." He begins to say.  I put my fingers to his lips.

"You are greater than a prince.  You Shafeeq are a Hero. You have liberated me from a life that would have caged my dreams."  He smiles and his white teeth shine in the darkness of the night.
"Across the Sands" book trailer: 

More Information
Visit Nefretiti A. Morant's website 
Follow Nefretiti A. Morant on Twitter
Like Nefretiti A. Morant on Facebook
Buy "Across the Sands" on Amazon

Caridad Martin, Author of Masque: Choices

Phantom of the Opera, Gothic novel, romance gothic suspense, Romantic suspense historical, Romantic obsession and jealousy, Gaston Leroux, Romance series

Today we are interviewing Caridad Martin, author of the gothic romance "Masque: Choices" (A Gaston Leroux Phantom of the Opera Romance Series).

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Cuba and grew up in the Bronx in New York City. I began to write poetry when I was seven. While I was high school, I had two interests, sports and writing. I wrote several apocalyptic based short stories. I graduated from The City College of NY with a degree in creative writing, I but did not pursue writing as a career. Instead, I travelled extensively throughout the US, Europe and Latin America. I got married and lived in Colchester, England for a few years. We moved back to the US and I had a child and wrote several fiction pieces which again, I stored away. I became an educator and taught bilingual students as well as special education students. As a staff developer I have published several articles on the use of technology in education. Aside from writing, I coach teachers to improve their teaching skills.

In 2005, I saw the 2004 movie version of the Phantom of the Opera. I loved the movie so much that next day bought a copy and purchased tickets for the Broadway show ― I was hooked! The story fascinated me and I wanted more. I purchased most of the books available at the time and eventually discovered fan-fiction online. After a few months of reading, I submitted a short, short story. It was well received and I wrote a longer one. I began to write regularly and realized that there were readers that really liked my writing style. Around 2008, I went through a period of emotional turmoil due to my mother’s declining health. I filled notebook after notebook as I sat in the waiting room of a number of hospitals. After I left New York City and went to live across the river in Jersey City, I continued writing. The calm of this smaller city settled my mind enough to take my writing to the next level and publish.

Phantom of the Opera, Gothic novel, romance gothic suspense, Romantic suspense historical, Romantic obsession and jealousy, Gaston Leroux, Romance series, 101+ secrets from nutrition school,
Author Caridad Martin.
Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Erik is dying. Not once in his life has anyone ever loved him, not even his mother. Every day his heart fails him more and he is desperate not to die alone. He hides his face and past sins behind a mask. Erik is dying and has fallen desperately, obsessively in love.

Christine Daaé, a rising star at the Paris Opéra is kidnapped by Erik, her voice tutor. When her childhood sweetheart attempts to rescue her, he gets trapped in Erik’s torture chamber. Erik gives her a choice, marry him or watch her lover die an agonizing death. Defeated, she agrees to the marriage in name only.

After doing his part to make their wedding a reality, the Persian is left alone with Christine for a few moments, remembering Erik’s past deeds he feels he must warn her: “If he comes to believe that you have betrayed him, he will hurt you, Christine…If you ever need my help, wear red, as much red as you can find.”

Erik finally has the companion he has always dreamed of, he cannot hope for more…but he does. His heart, though failing, dreams of romance and love. Though he yearns for her love and lusts after her body, Erik knows they’re forbidden fruit for someone like him.

Christine is determined to honor her marriage vows, though she’ll love Raoul forever. But, the more time she spends with her husband, the more she’s drawn to him, falling under the spell of his music and the tender wounded soul he desperately tries to hide behind his mask.

Erik finds his mask cannot protect his heart from the anguish of unrequited love, his obsession for her, spirals out of control. His passion for Christine has brought him to the brink of insanity and threatens to destroy them both.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

18+ Men and women who like the story of the Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast and readers of gothic romance.

What inspired you to write a gothic romance with the “Phantom of the Opera” characters?

Our society today is so obsessed with the concept of beauty, that the idea that a protagonist that is totally hideous could be loved, was a challenge I wanted to tackle. In the original story written by Gaston Leroux in 1910, the character of Erik is born physically hideous. He becomes mentally unstable when the world rejects him, he is also known to have been an assassin for the Shah while in Persia. I wanted to make this character human. In my version of the story, the character of “Erik” has two redeeming characteristics he is a musical genius and he loves selflessly.

How did you capture the style of the Gothic romance with your writing style?

Erik lives in a house that is in a dark, gloomy mysterious place with secret tunnels and pathways. Christine is naïve, eager to please and an orphan, making her seemingly powerless. Erik’s personality at first is cold and reserved which is typical of a gothic romance protagonist. Erik is commanding and holds sway over the entire opera house. However, there are other unnatural forces Erik must gain control over or lose every thing.

In the story, the Persian acquiesces to Erik’s request to help him marrying Christine. Why does he do this?
Many of the Phantom of the Opera rewrites, including the Broadway show, leave out the Persian. I have named him Hafiz and made him a central character. Thanks to his willingness to help the plot events can move along. When Erik comes to him for help with the marriage, he doesn’t want to help him. The Persian knows that Erik suffers from a heart condition. He and Erik both believe that Erik will die soon. Erik convinces the Persian that he will leave all his worldly possessions to his new wife. The Persian knows Erik has been rejected by society all his life and as an act of kindness he agrees to help since the marriage will last only a short time.

Christine, despite being forced into marrying Erik, seems to empathize with him. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about the emotions she experiences?
She is grateful to him because through his tutoring of her voice she has become an amazing singer. Christine has always been loved and is herself a very loving person. After she sees Erik’s face she pities him deeply. As she gets to know him, she sees not just the teacher and the monster, but the man he has always hidden.

What makes your gothic romance story stand out from other books in the genre?

The story has gone through several editors and is professionally formatted. My story, set in 1880, is a continuation of Leroux’s novel, had Erik made a different choice and not let Christine go. I notice that lately the trend is to have Erik meet a woman other than Christine, but I prefer the original Erik/Christine combination. Christine is often criticized for being immature and selfish. At age twenty, I can’t say I was paragon of maturity.

Who was your favorite character to write?
I enjoyed writing “Erik” because he is such a complex character and his life story is so compelling. As the story develops his character develops, but not in a linear fashion. 

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

My writing process is eclectic. I start with a general idea for story I want to tell. For Masque, I did months of historical research on France, the Paris Ópera and the French aristocracy during the period around 1880. It helped that I’ve been there several times. Getting the fact accurately is essential to me. Once I have the time period solidly in my head I can begin to develop the storyline.

I envision a scene at a climatic point in the story. The character talks to each other during this scene. This will determine what is going to happen in the scene. For draft one I never outline the story since the characters dictate where the story should go by their interactions. I just write and let them talk to each other. I write several scenes just using dialogue without regard for their connectivity.

During the second draft I begin to connect the scenes and to include detailed descriptions of the characters and their surroundings. As the grouped scenes fall into natural blocks of time or events, I separate them into chapters. 

The third draft consists of taking out irrelevant scenes, changing dialogue, checking for POV discrepancies bringing in a character or removing one and using flashbacks to fill in vital information. At this point I will leave the story alone for a while and take care of the rest of my life. Then begin my editing process. After I make corrections I send it out to a copy editor make those corrections and eventually the novel is sent to a proofreader.

Masque went through seven full edits before I send it out to a developmental editor. At this stage the book had grown to about eight hundred pages. The editor suggested I break it down into more manageable sections. After arguing with editor I finally saw his wisdom and decided to make Masque a series. The print version of Masque: Choices Book one, is just over three hundred pages, which was practicable for me.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I love the idea of being able to “carry” a plethora of books with me where ever I go. I make up my mind what I want to read on the way. E-books have revolutionized the industry. I know that many people complain that the quality of books has gone down. There have always been awful books, books that should have never been printed―weed them out yourself. Physical books have their place as well and that is why I will make my series available in paperback before the end of 2015.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the next book in the series?
Masque: Forge, Book two is published and currently available on Amazon. The storyline continues and explores the possibility that Erik and Christine’s marriage may have crossed too many bridges to be saved. There are changes that both Erik and Christine must make if they are to forge a new relationship. Will they be able to make those changes in time to save their marriage? Book three, Masque: LeBeque, is still in the works for fall 2015.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
All my characters are flawed in some way and some of them grow and change, but not always for the best. I hope that readers will fall in love with Erik and Christine’s love story.

An excerpt from "Masque: Choices":

Erik paced the small living room in Hafiz's home.
     “Stop it. You will wear out my carpets. And don't think I will not charge you,” the Persian said.
     Erik stopped in front of Hafiz. “Daroga, she kissed me!” he exploded. The Persian looked perplexed.
     “Oh, God, yes! She…she kissed my forehead. Here,” He pointed to the spot she had kissed. The Persian looked horrified that something like that could happen.     “Kissed me of her own free will. Her lips touched me. Here, here.” He pointed at the spot again. Now do you see that she cares for me? Do you see that she is willing to marry me?”
     The Persian quirked a scraggly eyebrow.
     He had made a blunder! Erik knew it was not lost on the Persian that he had not said, “She wants to marry me.”
     “Her kindness is boundless...but you know, I hope you know that you cannot force...yourself on her.”
     “I was not meant to be with the living. She would die if I inflict myself on her.” Life had just made a turn in his direction and he had to be less excited, more careful—everything was at stake. “A living wife. A companion for a short while, before I die.”
     The Persian sighed. “You are asking that girl to give up...”
     He paced in front of the Persian. “A few months at most. We both know I am at the end...how long can my heart hold out. Constant pain grips my heart, threatening to shred it to bits. Even I deserve a little joy before my wretched life comes to a close. The desolation alone is killing me.”
     “Who will want her then?”
     “You have no idea what I brought out of Constantinople. She will be rich when I am dead. Plenty will want a rich widow.”
     “If I accede, Allah will call me on this,” Hafiz said, more to himself than in answer to Erik.
     “I call on you, my benefactor, and my judge, to grant me mercy! Every day I grow weaker. A month or two of happiness, that is all, then she can bury me and be free.”
     “Two months, you say?” Hafiz closed his eyes to Erik’s nod. With a deep sigh, he asked, “What do you need of me?”
 Book trailer for "Masque: Choices":

Connect with Caridad Martin
Visit Caridad Martin's website
Follow Caridad Martin on Twitter
Email: carimartinauthor@gmail.com

Where to buy "Masque: Choices"
Buy "Masque: Choices" on Amazon
Buy "Masque: Choices" on Barnes & Noble
Buy "Masque: Choices" on Google Play

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alesia Matson, Co-Author of Raven's Tears

urban fantasy, romance, role playing, husband wife team, husband and wife authors, alesia matson, michael matson, raven's tears, matson author, price of love, strong smart characters, metropolitan book

Today we are interviewing Alesia Matson, co-author (with Michael Matson) of the urban fantasy novel "Raven's Tears."

"Raven's Tears" is on sale during August 2015! Get your copy here.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Michael and I are currently living in far northern California. He retired for the third time in 2013, and I for the second time, and rather than growing old and bored and bad-tempered and maybe stabbing each other before we hit our 60s, we thought we might try writing, instead. So far, it’s worked out fairly well.

Describe the plot of “Raven’s Tears” in a few sentences.

Two people who’ve been lying for most of their lives fall for each other. Somewhere amid the deceptions and betrayals, they have to find what’s true about themselves, and each other, before her past catches up with them both. Set amid all the fantasy trappings of the world of Menelon, the book’s protagonists must ask - and answer - the question: What wouldn’t you do for love?

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Anyone who likes strong, smart characters falling for each other in a metropolitan setting. If you like crime dramas and police procedural elements in your stories, you’ll find something to like in Raven’s Tears, and especially anyone who’s ever wanted to read those stories in a fantasy setting - magic, swords, elves, dragons -  is going to find a lot to love.

What inspired you to write a book with elements of both fantasy and romance?

Michael and I are role playing gamers from way back, and we’ve always most enjoyed books that had all the elements of the kinds of games we liked to play. We’ve also always written - most of our courtship was conducted via the written word, actually - so fantasy role playing and romance blurred into fantasy romance when we put together the plot for this series. It’s much more difficult to market, but the feedback has been so positive that we know we must be on to something.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Angelique Blakesly, the eponymous “Iris” of the story. She’s a woman who had a crappy hand dealt to her early in life - horrid, really - and has had to make some pretty crappy choices in order to deal with it.  On top of it all, she’s dealing with the onset of some symptoms of a mental illness while concealing her secret identity as a high-stakes burglar AND falling in love with a man who’s just as twisted up as she is, in his own way. It’s been a high-bar challenge for a first book/series, but I’m enjoying it a whole lot.

What was it like to write on a husband-and-wife team?

=heh= About what you’d expect, really. Adding to the fun is the fact that Michael and I are polar opposites in almost every way except in being deeply committed to our art. So, we disagree a lot, and we fight about the story and what’s best for it, but always because we’re both so passionate about it. Then we resolve our differences, kiss, and make up - and yes, the whole world looks brighter in the aftermath of one of those fights.  In the end, I do believe that the catalytic nature of our relationship makes it into our books. We’d like to think that this energy drives our stories - and so far, our readers seem to concur.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

Many. My husband’s more a prosaic Tom Clancy guy, while I’m reading Salman Rushdie, Patrick Rothfuss, and Neil Gaiman. Robert Heinlein was a seminal influence in my writing style, and Molly Ivins, though she considered herself a journalist, taught me so much about how write with humor - and that iconic southern grace which I’ve yet to master.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

We’re all for them. Ebook readers provide access to stories for people who otherwise wouldn’t get it - like the homeless, or the disabled - as well as giving readers access to large - I’m talking VAST, here - libraries of books of all genres and perspectives. In my opinion, anything that increases the overall readership of books is going to be good for the book industry. Whether or not it’s good for the art of storytelling remains to be seen.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

I don’t like editing for grammar and punctuation. I adore brainstorming the plot, creating the characters, setting up the backdrop. I’m all right with the rewriting phase of editing, where I’m revising drafts, adding material, taking it out - that’s a bit of fun really, like sculpting the story from raw clay - but the nit-picky stuff I only love when I pay a proofreader to do it.

Tell us a bit about the “Raven’s Tears” promotion in August.

We’re giving readers one last chance to buy into “The Raven & The Iris” trilogy - and the world of Menelon as a setting - at a deeply discounted price. For the month of August, the price of the ebook only drops to $1.99. Then, in November, the second book in the series will be published, and we’ll run a 3 day give-away for it on Amazon and on MetaphorPublications.com as part of the launch party.

The next book in the series, “Dead Man’s Trigger,” comes out in November. Without giving too much away, what can you tell readers about it?

When the narrative resumes, a bit of time has passed, while nothing much on the outside has appeared to change. However, there’s so much going on just beneath the surface, and we take the reader deep into the seamier side of Fernwall - and the two protagonists - as the consequences of their choices mount. In “Raven’s Tears,” the reader met Angelique Blakesly; in the sequel, Raven and the reader get an extended introduction to Iris. I can’t tell you much more than that without “going spoiler,” but I can promise you that with the continuation of the story, we push these two to the breaking point in order to make them face the truth about each other, and about themselves.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

This ebook has a secret mission: It also serves as an introduction to the fantasy world of Menelon. You’ll find clues to that mission throughout the whole ebook  - they’re active links that, if tapped or clicked, take you to an entry in our wiki that will give you more information on the subject! So, you can learn more about the Clocktower than we could spare words to include in the books, and about Guardian Paladins, Fernwall, and much more. Some of the secondary characters in the books have entries too, and we’re constantly adding new material to that database for our readers’ enjoyment. What’s more, we’re opening up the world as a setting to other writers, and possibly to role playing gamers as a setting for fantasy games. The wiki can also be accessed through Metaphor Publications’ website -- https://MetaphorPublications.com -- but you’ll need to create an account to access it from there. If you’ve got aspirations to write fantasy but haven’t had the time and energy to build your own setting, you might give ours a look. There are other ebooks that are set in Menelon available on our website, including a free short story, and lots of ways to get in touch with us here if you like what you see!

An excerpt from "Raven's Tears":

“Bishop-Florian security is tight for this exhibit,” Louis had told her, stretching out the floor plans for the venerable old building over his desk. “They’ll have attack dogs, of course, and extra guards besides. That’s nothing new,” he’d smiled; a mirthless expression, but Angel had already become engrossed in the drawings in front of her.

She had always been a quick study. It had been one of the qualities that had originally endeared her to him. The woman who greater Fernwall knew as Lady Angelique Blakesly, in fact, possessed a suite of talents that had once made her a desirable apprentice in the slippery, chaotic world of post-war Püran-Khir: keen intelligence, fast reflexes, good instincts, decent strength, and cold-blooded fearlessness when faced with a challenge. Happily, these were also traits that made her an even more valuable “associate,” lacking a better term for it, in the confines of peaceful, civilized Fernwall. Louis had watched her avidly, almost greedily, as she pored over the drawings, delighted with what he saw. Angel’s mind was taking in the information before her at a phenomenal rate, memorizing and collating data with an ease that surprised anyone who might have mistaken such loveliness for shallowness.

This job was much more challenging than any she had previously attempted. Still, he had few doubts she’d succeed. Any woman who could successfully deceive the entire noble class of Fernwall and keep that web of lies intact for years could certainly figure out how to infiltrate a museum and take whatever she wished. In this case it was a mere bauble, a necklace crafted by dwarven smiths so far back in history, humans had no clear record of it. The necklace, ‘Mâgun-Zak,’ had been a gift to the royal family of Vin-Nôrë from their dwarven neighbors, and was quite literally priceless. The metal wasn’t silver, but niobïtan. The centerpiece was molded and etched to resemble a raven’s head and wings, bejeweled and shining iridescently. Each stone, tear-drop cuts scintillating like the source of light itself, were “flawless” by human standards. When one looked closely, one saw that each delicate link in the interlocking chains had been etched with countless dwarven rune-letters, reputedly a prayer to Eldar their ancient God, to bless the wearer with health, protection, good fortune and long life.

Louis didn’t believe any of it. But then, Louis had lost his faith in a lot of things long before the Great War was over, and had resigned himself to the reality that most people stubbornly insisted on clinging to theirs. What he believed in today was power—and money, because money was the fuel every engine of power required. To that end, he’d once recruited a very young girl in a very bad place, raising her up into what had become a very interesting
and lucrative partnership.

“Angelique Blakesly” was a fiction, of course. A cover, suitable for hiding her true purpose in the city: gathering information, from the inside, for the high-stakes thefts he selected, and directed. A quite lovely fiction, he mused, watching her complete her first study of the floor plans. Louis understood young Vincent Sultaire’s fancy for her. He didn’t quite understand what she saw in Sultaire; but then again, a woman’s mind was always a mystery. He’d resigned himself to that, too.

“You’ve studied The Spider’s methods,” he’d then said, puzzled at her
extended silence. “Do you know how you’ll do it, yet?”
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