28 May 2014

Michelle Irwin Interview


This week we have the lovely Michelle Irwin to the blog. 
Give her a warm welcome!

11.    Have you always had a passion for writing?

Yes and no. In high school, I loved English and always had my nose in a book reading or writing. I especially loved writing poems and song lyrics. When I left high school and joined the ‘real world’ that passion was largely supressed by university study and my day job. About three years ago, as I closed in on the end of my many years of study, I was finally able to reconnect to that love and since then I have never looked back.

22.    Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

I tend to be a very eclectic reader, just as likely to be reading a mystery novel as a high fantasy or paranormal romance. When I write though, I tend to hover toward the paranormal romance.

Favourite authors and books are fairly varied, again because of my eclectic tastes. Above all else, I love Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I adored Harry Potter and fell in love with Twilight. An author which I know will always give me a good, entertaining ride is Harlan Coben.

33.    What are your biggest inspirations?

I love trying to find twists on old stories or new ways for people to fall in love. So far the creatures I’ve used in my paranormal stories are not the usual shifters or vampires (not that there’s anything wrong with a good vamp or wolf story).

In terms of what can inspire a story, it can be anything from a conversation, an episode of a TV show, or even a song. With my current series, it all started from the song “Cat and Mouse” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and a brief thought during a re-watch of an early season of Supernatural, but as I wrote the first book the story shifted significantly away from the rough outline I had and took on a life of its own.

44.    Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

Generally my characters talk to me first. I spend a bit of time getting to know the basics of that character—what motivates them—and then I sit to write. On a good day, when the muse is switched on, it’s like watching a movie in my mind and trying to dictate it to the page.

Usually the location comes to me some point later, I don’t really have a technique for that and although I like to root stories in real places, and do as much research as I can into an area, I also like to leave a certain “anywhere-ness” to my stories to allow readers to fill the blanks with their own experiences which I think is important when dealing with the fantastical elements of paranormal stories. The more “at home” the reader feels the more likely they are to believe in the unbelievable.

55.    Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

Almost always. Usually one of the first things I do after a story has moved from idea conception to actually story (some point around 2-5k in usually), I start a playlist for the mood I’m trying to create in the book. Then when I sit to write, I use that playlist to get into the right mood. For me, mood sometimes comes from lyrics and other times it comes from the music itself. I know a lot of people who listen to classical music so that there are no words interrupting the ones on the page but I’m the opposite—usually the more noise I have going on around me in the music the more I can focus in on the words. For Through the Fire, my playlist was eclectic, from , very heavy with Dashboard Confessional, Train, Taking Back Sunday, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and similar songs. 

66.    What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

Ask me this on a good day and I can give you a number of techniques—music, just writing anything, character interviews, writing the scene from a different perspective. I’ve done all of these over time and all of them have worked with varying degrees of success.

On a bad day though, it’s sometimes impossible to remember and use these techniques. Sometimes the best way to avoid writer’s block is to just shut the laptop and get out of the house for a few hours.

77.    How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

Ask me again in a few months LOL. Seriously though, it has made me appreciate the process of editing and the work that goes into creating a book so much more. As much as I’d love everyone who is interested in paranormal romances to read and love my book, I am realistic. I don’t expect to set the world on fire and have any significant changes in my life, I still see myself getting up each morning and going to work, doing what I need to around the house and carving out precious writing time after my daughter is in bed at night.

88.    What are your biggest challenges as an author?

See question seven: time. I would love nothing more than to be able to spend hours and hours writing each day. In reality, I’m usually lucky to get three hours and in that time I have to plot and write blog posts, keep up with Facebook and Twitter, read and review crit partners’ work, and write. So far, I’ve managed to average around 500 words a day in that time, which sounds really low when I put it like that, but I’m happy with considering I haven’t adjusted for holidays or days where I’ve written nothing at all.

99.    Do you have any pets?

I have one cat, Tom. He’s an anti-cat though—he loves his cuddles and adores his humans. When time and funds allow, I’d love to get a dog too but at the moment we don’t have adequate fencing or time for a puppy. My dream pet is a miniature dachshund, although I couldn’t honestly say why.

110.  What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

Is travelling a hobby? If so, than that.

111.  Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

So far, London. As much as I’ve loved all of my travels around Australia and New Zealand, there’s a sense of history that London has that Australia just doesn’t. I’m not talking cultural history as such because I know there are a number of significant Aboriginal sites, but the architectural history in London is just so mind blowing. I can easily recall the feeling of walking near the Tower of London and reading the signs which declared the dates various part of it had been built. It’s hard to put that sort of experience into words but it made my life, and my place in history, feel both insignificant and incredibly important all at the same time.

112.  Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…

My current work in progress is a twin series called Daughter of Fire and Son of Rain. The first book in the Daughter of Fire series Through the Fire is due for release in 2014 (join the BDP newsletter for more information on the release date and a 10% discount http://www.bottomdrawerpublications.net). The Daughter of Fire series follows Evelyn “Evie” Meyers as a former love interest, Clay Jacobs—who is also the most dangerous man she knows—forces his way back into her life with devastating consequences. The Son of Rain series tells the story from Clay Jacobs’ side. Although both series travel the same timeline, they have very distinct paths.

The official blub is: 

Evie Meyers’ life is one spent on the run. Every minute of every day, her life is in danger if anyone should suspect the truth about her ancestry. Her father was willing to risk everything to keep the truth hidden, even from her, but the lies he fabricated were exposed when her high school crush, Clay Jacobs, inadvertently stumbled upon her secret. His discovery puts Evie at risk from a secret organization tasked with washing the world clean of nonhumans—and Clay is one of its deadliest soldiers. Forced into a war she doesn’t understand, all because of what she is, Evie is left with no choice but to flee with her father to escape persecution.

When Clay reappears in her life, battle scarred and mysterious, Evie is unprepared and terrified as he forces his way back into her heart. When the battle catches up with her, and a tragic accident tears apart the peace she discovered, she finds herself alone and without the protection of her father, or her lover. Now, she needs to keep her secrets hidden and learn to survive on her own in a world that wants her dead, all while searching for the missing piece of her heart.

21 May 2014

Trudy Silverheels and Miranda Whitecrow

This week you are getting a bonus, we are interviewing TWO authors. Please join me in welcoming sisters Trudy Silverheels and Miranda Whitecrow.

1. Have you always had a passion for writing? Do you have similar style and content or are you both very different?

Trudy:  Miranda got me started.  She used to write and self-publish beautiful little hand-bound books.  This was when we were both in grade school.  She always let me help her.  Eventually I started doing my own.  There are four years between us, but we have the sort of connection you’d expect to find in twins.  I’d say our styles are very similar, and so too what we write about, that being the pursuit of wisdom, fulfilment, and sexual gratification.

Miranda:   I have always had a passion for books.  Well, we both have.  As a pre-teen and then as a teenager, I loved experimenting with typography and different bindery techniques.  Trudy was always more fascinated by woodcraft, which she views as a type of sorcery.  If our writing is similar, then it is because I consciously emulate her style. 

2. Miranda, do you find having two writers in the same family a challenge or a blessing?

Miranda:  That’s funny.  I don’t think of myself as a writer.  I mean,
not really.  I’m a housewife and a mother, who writes in her spare time.  Trudy is a dedicated professional.  Oh, she has other interests and other careers (modelling, art, photography, woodcraft), but writing always comes first with her. 

3. Trudy, the two of you come from a Native American background. Does your heritage feature in or influence what you write about?

Trudy:  Sure.  To some extent.  In Baring All I related how Dusty and I discovered our Indian connection and visited the reservation for the first time.  I’m actually three quarters Navajo, while Dusty is one quarter Navajo.  Friends and family, by the way, call Miranda Dusty, and they call me Bootsy.  We are half-sisters, but we were brought up together in the White world.  We don’t even speak the ancient tongue.  Our cousin Michelle has tried to teach us, but you cannot imagine how complex a language it is. For my third book, a novella called The Chosen Profession of Jade Stonecalf, I created my first Native American heroine, a teenage runaway who believes her true calling to be prostitution.  Sounds depressing, I know, but it’s actually quite positive and uplifting.  My two other books are unrelated to the Indian experience.

4. Does music influence your writing, and do you have a favorite music genre?

Trudy:  I love music, and I like to have it playing while I work, but if it influences my writing, I can’t tell.  Jazz is my favorite.  I also like salsa, samba, rhumba, and mambo.

Miranda:  I pretty much agree with Trudy on this.  The difference might be that I prefer contemporary smooth jazz (like Dave Koz, Keiko Matsui, and Mindi Abair), while Trudy adores the old stuff from the 1930s and ’40s (think of Benny Goodman, Ozzie Nelson, and Duke Ellington).

5. Do you have any pets?

Trudy:  No.  We have horses at our grandmother’s ranch in Arizona, but we don’t think of them as pets.

Miranda:  A stray cat has recently taken up residence on our patio, and I believe our cook surreptitiously feeds it.  I refuse to allow it in the house.  But my daughters have named it.  So I guess I really must take it to the vet and see that it is spayed or neutered (I don’t even know yet whether it is male or female) and has all the necessary shots.

6. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

Trudy:  Movies are my favorite amusement.  And then too, I love to travel. I enjoy seeing new places and trying new foods.  Also visiting art galleries and dancing. I adore to dance, especially tango.  Let’s see.  What else?  I’m a killer bridge player.  I don’t belong to any bridge clubs, but friends often call me to make a foursome.

Miranda:  Tennis, hiking, riding, swimming, anything where I can expend some energy

7. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

Trudy:  That’s difficult to say.  I loved Rio, and I had a really good time there.  But Singapore was exciting too. And also Hong Kong.   I’d say it’s between those three, and Hong Kong is probably on top. I’d like to be able to spend a couple of years there.  It would take that long to begin to know the place.

Miranda:  For me, it’s England, all of England.  My husband is from Exeter; so we visit his family there from time to time.  And we always use the occasion to tour London, Oxford, Stonehenge, and a hundred other places familiar to me through literature and public television.

8. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

Trudy:  I should probably be ashamed to admit how gratified I feel when I’m asked to sign one of my books.  Even before it happened for the first time, I had resolved never to resent being thus importuned.  But it took me completely by surprise that I so relished being asked for a handshake and my autograph.  Nor does the thrill diminish as this occurs more and more often.  Total strangers walk up to me and say, “I’m your biggest fan.”  I always ask for their names, because I don’t like the relationship to be one-sided, and inevitably, I tell them that I prefer them to consider themselves my friends, rather than my fans.  And I mean it.  I probably have more friends than anyone else in the world, and I value each and every one of them.

Miranda:  I don’t feel that my life itself has changed that much, but my perspective now includes consideration for how every situation I encounter might be adapted to fit a story line.  I never used to think that way.  I mean, I actually keep notebooks for plot ideas and clever lines.  I suspect that my friends all laugh at me behind my back for taking myself so seriously.  What a laugh!  I’m the girl who said she doesn’t even consider herself a writer.  So I’m full of contradictions.  Arrest me.

9. Miranda, you wrote a book about your sister.  What was the inspiration behind this? Tell us a little about it

Miranda:  The months immediately following publication of Trudy’s autobiography Baring All were extraordinarily eventful. Trudy’s devoted readers (and she has quite many) would want to know all that had happened to her. A sequel was definitely in order.  And Trudy herself was in a coma and couldn’t write it; so I did.  At least I started it.  It took me more than a year to finish it, by which time Trudy had recovered enough to write the Jade Stonecalf novella.  My Sister Bootsy is more than just a sequel though; it is a companion volume to Baring All.  In it I recall incidents from Trudy’s early childhood (I was present at her birth), I explain the curious circumstances surrounding delivery of her twins, I spell out the details of the accident that put her in hospital, and I pay tribute to her amazing strength of character, her talent, her sense of humour, and her essential goodness.  My Sister Bootsy is not offered as an unbiased account of Trudy’s life to date; for my love and admiration for my younger sibling are readily apparent on every page of this work.

Trudy:  Dusty had to say lots of nice things about me; she probably thought she was writing my obituary when she started this project.

10. Trudy, would you like to tell us about your latest work?

Nuevo Biloxi was a huge departure for me.  For one thing, I had a writing partner, Damien Wynter.  He would do one chapter, and I would do the next, each of us writing first person in the voices of different characters.  He wrote the male parts; I wrote the female parts.  Set in the 1980s, this is the story a group of American expatriates in Mexico.  Adventuring, they stumble upon a remote village populated by descendants of Confederate refugees from the American Civil War.  The plot is complex; the characters are many; and the themes, I admit, are a bit off-the-wall.  Working with Damien was a lot like I imagine working with Paul Theroux would be.  He kept throwing me weird curve balls, but I’m very pleased with the final product.  It is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever done.   And while it is not a utopian or propaganda novel, it does deal (realistically, I think) with alternative lifestyles and non-traditional marriage.

16 May 2014

Author Promo - Beverly Ovalle

This week I am proud to introduce Beverly Ovalle to you all. Today she will be promoting her book A Saint's Salvation, and after that we'll share a little about Beverly herself. Please join me in giving her a warm welcome!

by Beverly Ovalle
Published by Secret Cravings Publishing
Released February 10, 2014

Tag Line:
Angel’s life changed the minute Saint saved her from a grenade. Now Saint has a second chance to prove he’s the man for her.

Corporal Nicholas 'Saint' Santiago needs to go home to reclaim the man he used to be. To be the man he was before Operation Enduring Freedom slowly hardened his heart. He needs to reconnect to the values and the reasons he is doing what he does. Saint also needs to try to forget the courageous woman he knows was meant to be his.

Petty Officer Angelina Jones' life changed the moment Saint saved her life. She survived the blast but now has to deal with the fact that she will never be whole. Knowing Saint received a 'Dear John' letter, Angelina has no intention of being his rebound romance. She needs to be loved for herself. She needs to forget about the one man she knows was meant to be hers.
They each try to find someone to help them forget.
But what does fate have planned for them?

Buy Links:
Add it to Goodreads:
Book Trailer:

Fun Facts:
The name was changed less than two weeks before publication!
A Saint's Salvation was inspired by my son's tattoo
His tattoo says 'St. Nicholas' – the original name of my book
A Saint's Salvation took me eight months to write!
The name of A Saint's Salvation was my editor's suggestion
The teasers were made from photos from Afghanistan
The Marine in the teasers is my son
He only gave me permission to use his photo because he loves me
He only gave me permission if I cut off his head! LOL

Author Bio:

Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 24 years and two Chinese Water Dragons. Having her own Dragons is expected as she is dragon crazy and anyone that walks in her house can tell. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines.  Her daughter Susannah visits to grocery shop in the pantry and to see what might be cooking for dinner.

Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell.  Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.

Contact Links:

8 May 2014

Author Interview - Merilyn Dignum

Please welcome Merilyn Dignum for this week's interview!

1. Have you always had a passion for writing?

I remember my father was a great story teller, and taught me to write when I was little, by getting me to write down stories he told me. Then he encouraged me to make up my own.

So the answer is a definite yes. A passion I learnt from him.

2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?

I think everything I have ever read, has had some influence in some way on what I write. I don’t think it’s possible to read, or live life for that matter, without gems appearing in your writing intentionally, or unintentionally.

Some of my favourite authors and books are –

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings trilogy. It’s a fantastic fantasy world that I fell into as a child.

Kate Forsyth – The Witches of Eileanan series.

Dan Brown – The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol. I love the intrigue, and the weaving of myth and reality. I don’t believe, like some seem to, that any of it is real, but I love the way I fell into the story and was able to suspend my belief for the time I was reading. Really, that’s all I ask of a story – let me be able to believe for a few hours at least.

Philip Carter – Altar of Bones.

Louise Voss & Mark Edwards – Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death.

Melissa Marr – the Wicked Lovely series.

Terry Brooks – Anything he writes

Terry Pratchett – the Discworld series.

These are just a few. My list goes on, and on.

3. What are your biggest inspirations?

Moments in life that leave me with a ‘what if?’ feeling. It might be an article or news item I’ve read, or it might be something that has affected me personally. As soon as I ask ‘what if?’, I know there’s at least a fragment of a story in there somewhere to be fleshed out.

4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?

I know this probably sounds a little strange, but the ‘what if?’ feeling I mentioned before generally starts scenarios playing in my head, and it doesn’t take long for the main characters to form, and start influencing those scenarios. Where the story is going to take place then organically takes shape.

5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?

Yes, and I have a large eclectic iTunes library. I’ll often play songs randomly until I find a sound, or group, that seems to get my fingers moving faster, and then I make a playlist.

6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?

It’s not hard to be motivated when everything is going well and the words are flying up on the page. When everything’s not going so well, staying motivated is hard work. Swapping projects generally works for me.

I’ve never felt as though I’ve had writer’s block, but I have had times when it feels like the characters won’t work with me. Generally I find that’s my fault because I’m trying to push the characters into a scenario that just doesn’t work for them. Again, swapping projects can help. Once my focus is elsewhere, and not on trying to fix a scene, it opens up the possibility for a light bulb moment.

7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)

I don’t think it’s really changed my perspective on life but it has opened my eyes to the Indie world that I never realised was so huge. The authors I have come into contact with are amazing people. I am so grateful I found the Indie Community.

I can’t say becoming an author was everything I expected because, to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I can say I am thankful I took the leap of faith and published.

8. What are your biggest challenges as an author?

At this point in time, it’s learning what works and what doesn’t with social media and marketing. If you don’t get it right, it won’t matter how good your book might be, no-one will read it because they won’t be able to find it amongst the millions of other books out there.

It’s also a challenge to juggle your writing with everything else you need to do, like marketing and networking. Managing your time effectively, and efficiently, can be a challenge.

9. Do you have any pets?

Yes I have a Great Dane named Odin and he is about to get a little sister early next week, another Dane. We’ve named her Dakota, Daks for short.

10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?

I collect anything Scooby Doo, when I can afford it. I’ve loved that cartoon character since childhood. That’s probably the reason I was always drawn to Great Danes and have had them all my life.

I also make my own swag. Making the little dangles and bookmarks is relaxing, and I like the thought that what I give away was made by me. I hope the people that win them in my giveaways like them as much as I do.

11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?

I would have to say Russia. I visited there in my early 20’s and loved the people, architecture and country. It wasn’t perfect back then, and still isn’t now, but it was beautiful.

12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…

I am currently finishing up Book 2 in the Ties That Bond series but I am also working on two other projects.

The first one is set in the near future where governments and technology have taken full control of everything and everyone, except for the Freeborns.

The second also involves parallel universes, like Ties That Bond, but is very different.

Ties That Bond on Amazon, Smashwords
Ties That Bond Facebook

1 May 2014

Author Spotlight - Karina Kantas

Please welcome Karina Kantas to the blog today to share about her books!

Queen of biker fiction: Hard-edged urban thrillers; A New Genre of Fiction
Karina Kantas felt there was a hole missing in the book market. As a teenager she wanted to read hard-edged novels. A story that contained violence, drugs, as well as the romance and friendship.
"I believe that this genre of fiction is still needed today. Readers want conflict, action. They enjoy rebel-type fiction; and want to sympathize with the characters in the story. I know there is a place in the market for this type of book."

I think when I first read this they wrongly put it in the graphic novels section ie comic section. so I was a bit hesitant to read it but I’d gotten the name off the internet as a good read so I read it. it’s amazing. I totally loved the rawness of it. The ending was sad in my opinion though. I think the first time I read it I actually cried!  Review: US

In Times of Violence is Karina's first published novel. 

Her second novel Lawless Justice an urban thriller about a group of women biker vigilantes that run Northampton in the UK. Lawless Justice is a fan favourite.

“If you’re sitting in a bar in lower London, and six beautiful women enter dressed in black leather, check out their back as they walk by. If the image of a cat’s paw print is present, sit down, shut up, and respectful enjoy the view. The Kittnz have arrived. These six motorcycle riding felines can either hook you up, or knock you out, your choice. Karina has given us a book that will keep you entertained page after page. The Kittnz, a group of motorcycle riding self-appointed vigilantes, roam the streets of London doing what the cops can't. They serve up Lawless Justice. This is a great book that you will read until you’re finished. Great job Karina!” Review: UK
Next came Huntress a sequel to In Times of Violence, but also a book that can stand on its own. This was picked up by a publisher, but is now released back to author.

“This is the second of Karina's books I have read (I read Lawless Justice at the end of last year) and when I get through a few of the books on the shelf (I buy them faster than I read them) I’ll certainly get another. I'm not going to write a review that gives away the story’s ending but generally the book is about a young female journalist who infiltrates an outlaw biker gang to get revenge for her uncle’s murder. It is well written and descriptive, you can almost imagine being there and is the type of book that’s very easy to read and hard to put down. I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.” Review: UK

Her last published thriller is Road Rage.

“First of all I must say that this is not really my normal read but decided to give it a go. I found it gripping. The Story of Gem who leaves a Motorcycle club and the trouble it has brought to her life. She has settled away from it all and leading as normal a life as possible despite from both physical & mental scars from her past. She meets Shep a member of Rage and is drawn into the club with life threatening consequences. A riveting read.” Review: US

 A published writer of exciting new fiction, she has over thirty pieces of work published online and printed journals.
As well as writing exciting urban thrillers, she is a versatile writer of all genres, a past book reviewer for Future Fire and also a freelance journalist for several magazines.
Heads & Tales is a collection of short stories that will delight fright and leave you questioning your sanity. Her short story Crossed from the collection Heads & Tales won first prize in an international short story contest.

Stone Cold is a YA supernatural thriller

Karina has just released her new collection UNDRESSED.

Currently she is working on a two- book fantasy series called Illusional Reality.

All her books can be bought in either paperback or e-book format.