Author Interview with Jade Kerrion on her newest release, Perfection Challenged

I’m delighted to present an author interview with Jade Kerrion who’s here to talk about how she got into writing and her latest novel, Perfection Challenged.

1. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I started writing at the age of thirteen when my school essays were returned to me with a bunch of “A”s scrawled over the top. Teenagers are impressionable. Being much more impressionable than most, and believing that my teachers knew what they were doing, I figured I was destined to be a writer. It’s only taken me tens of thousands of hours of work since then to be halfway decent at writing (and I’m still learning each day), but one has to start somewhere.

2. When did you start taking writing seriously?

In November 2010, my husband challenged me to stop writing for fun and to start writing as a career. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2010 was the trigger. I spent that month writing Perfection Unleashed, my debut novel.

3. How many books have you written?

I released Perfection Unleashed in June 2012. To date, I have published six books; I’ve just released Perfection Challenged, the conclusion of my seven-time award-winning Double Helix series. I have another novel, Eternal Night, a paranormal romance/fantasy set in the future (sounds odd, doesn’t it?), scheduled for release in 2013.

4. What was your journey to becoming an author like?

Rocky, as most journeys are. For a while, I explored traditional publishing, but then decided I was too much of a control freak to take to traditional publishing. I preferred having creative control over my writing, artistic control over my covers, and process control over my publishing schedules. In the end, self-publishing made the most sense for me. That said, I do have a foot in the door of traditional publishing. McSill Literary Agency represents Portuguese rights for my Double Helix series.

5. Is there anything specifically that helps you write better/inspires you?

I think I’m past the stage of needing inspiration; writing is more of a compulsion now. In general, I have a compulsive personality; people like me should never get exposed to alcohol, cigarettes, or recreational drugs – we’re easy prey. Years ago, computer gaming and writing used to go hand-in-hand for me. My characters from my computer games inspired my writing. Since then, however, my characters have taken on a life of their own and thus, I have been freed to happily obsess about them without needing the occasional computer gaming boost to sustain them.

6. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part is stopping. After multiple rounds of self-editing, several weeks of working with my editor, and several rounds of proofreading, I have to put the manuscript away and say “done.” I think it is entirely possible to edit forever, but at some point, you have to stop and send the book out into the world.

7. Do you have a specific writing style?

Third person past tense? To be honest, I’m not sure I know the response to this question. Some people say my style is much like one author or another (which would be an interesting feat, considering I’ve never read some of those authors.) Broadly, I’d say that my style tends to resemble serials or movies. I grew up writing fan fiction, and got accustomed to writing sections of chapters that almost inevitably ended on a cliffhanger just because that’s the way fan fiction is usually consumed on online fan forums. In addition, I write the movie I see in my head, and not surprisingly, people have commented that reading my books is like watching a movie.

8. Who is your favorite author?

Neil Gaiman is pure genius in his storytelling ability. I’m a huge fan of his Sandman series.

9. What are your favorite books and what genres do you prefer?

Science fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres to read and write. I’ve especially enjoyed the Belgariad and Mallorean series by David Eddings. To unwind, I settle down with a sweet and satisfying romance, preferably Nora Roberts. I also enjoy thrillers, especially some of Robert Ludlum’s novels.

10. What is some good advice/tips for young writers/aspiring unpublished authors?

Success in any new career takes time. Be patient. Invest in yourself – understand your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and be committed to continual learning and constant growth. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours of work to become an expert in a field. That’s approximately 5 years of full time 8-to-5 work, and you need to be prepared to make the investment of your time and resources for the long haul.

11. Advice for getting rid of writer’s block?

I think writer’s block is just an excuse. Writing is a discipline, like going to school or work each day, like exercising and eating healthy. It’s just something to have to do because it’s an expectation for achieving your career goals as a writer. Maybe that particular scene isn’t working out the way you want, well, work on another, but work on something. Thomas Edison said it best, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Today, you may not have the 1%, but you sure can muster up the 99% because that is under your control.

12. A favorite quote of yours you’d like to share?

Neil Gaiman’s character, Death, from the Sandman series, utters my favorite quote, “It always ends. That’s what gives it value.” That quote reminds me that what makes any experience, even life as a whole, valuable, is the fact that it ends. Because it ends, every moment is that much more precious and beautiful. Savor it.

13. What would you be if you didn’t become an author?

Well, I’m already several things. In addition to author, wife, and mother, I work full time in an education company in the area of business and learning strategy. I enjoy my job very much and don’t have any intention of quitting. People often ask how I find time to do everything I do. My response is always the same, “You’ll always manage to find time for the things that matter. Oh, and I don’t sleep much.”

14. Can you share some info about your current work with us?

Danyael Sabre’s hard-won normal life shattered the day Zara Itani freed the genetically engineered perfect human being, Galahad, from his laboratory prison. Three years have since passed. Danyael has survived months of brutal torture and the grind of quiet despite without losing the core of compassion that makes him the most compelling and infuriating man Zara has ever known.

Danyael’s greatest challenge, nevertheless, lies ahead of him. In Perfection Challenged,Danyael is forced to confront his own mortality and Galahad’s hate. At the end of his road, will he remain true to his convictions or sacrifice all to protect the woman he loves from the man who hates him?

15. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Only that I’m thrilled you’ve enjoyed my novels. To every one of you, thank you for sharing this journey with me. Your enthusiasm, support, and love for my characters are the reasons I keep writing. I hope you keep hanging around. The best is yet to come.

“The best of the four books…the perfect ending to an amazing series.”

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to the multiple award-winning, bestsellingDOUBLE HELIX series, is finally here. Grab your copy today.

If you’ve never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep reading for a special offer on the six-time award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed.

perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him.

Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad?

In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo /Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK

PERFECTION UNLEASHEDPerfection Unleashed

“Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men.”

Recipient of six literary awards, including First place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner, Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99)

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple /Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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“Perfection Challenged” Cover Reveal – Guest Post by Jade Kerrion

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to Jade Kerrion’s multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, will be released on September 17th and will be available in paperback and all electronic formats. Beta readers have declared Perfection Challenged “the best of the four books…the perfect ending to an amazing series.”

If you’ve never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep on reading for a special offer on Perfection Unleashed, the book that launched the DOUBLE HELIX series.

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perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him.

Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad?

In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.

==0==

Perfection UnleashedPERFECTION UNLEASHED

Recipient of six literary awards, including first place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner in Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

“Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men.”

Danyael Sabre spent sixteen years clawing out of the ruins of his childhood and finally has everything he wanted – a career, a home, and a trusted friend. To hold on to them, he keeps his head down and plays by the rules. An alpha empath, he is powerful in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, yet his experience has taught him to avoid attention.

When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives – the in vitros, clones, and mutants – collapses into social upheaval. The abominations, deformed and distorted mirrors of humanity, created unintentionally in Pioneer Lab’s search for perfection, descend upon Washington D.C. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war.

Although the genetic future of the human race pivots on Galahad, Danyael does not feel compelled to get involved and risk his cover of anonymity, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, THE E-BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99):
E-books available at Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords
Paperbacks available at Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

To be the first to receive news of Jade Kerrion’s latest book releases, sign up for her New Release Mailing List. If Perfection Challenged makes it to the bookstores before September 17th, you’ll be among the first to know.

Connect with Jade Kerrion:

Website / Facebook / Twitter

Blog Browser Day: 24th August, 2013

Story Shucker

The Blogger, Stuart M. Perkins is originally from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys describing his true observations of daily life and recollections of growing up in a large family surrounded by cousins, animals, and more animals. Everyday experiences often carry great messages. Layers of ordinary reality can usually be peeled back to reveal the genuinely humorous or poignant themes buried within common events.

Daily life is full of “mini-scenarios”, each hiding an interesting story. Peeling back, or shucking the mundane facts from the situation to reveal the entertaining story beneath is what Stuart enjoys most. Shucking the story from the facts. Storyshucker. Stuart currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.

He does interesting, short reading, articles.

Blog Class: General Blog

Recommended by: The Story Reading Ape

Rating: 4 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Ruminations of a Remembrancer

This is my principal blog.  It covers several topics besides promoting my own self-published books.  I review books; discuss grammar and poetry; occasionally wax nostalgic, indulge in philosophical speculation, or vent on social issues; and post excerpts from my books, both published and WIPs.

Blog Class: General Blog

Recommended by: Lorinda J. Taylor

Rating: (Own blog)

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


4covert2overt

This is a blog by a person who loves history. She does research and hosts authors and others on her blog. Her book is a book about a historical event that affected her family.

Blog Class: Author’s

Recommended by: Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


The Attic Girls

Subtitled “Adventures and Misadventures of a Writers’ Critique Group…” this blog features a small group of published and aspiring writers who blog about everything and anything related to writing and publishing though their experiences. An eclectic mix of writers means a variety of interesting essays, and these women deliver straight from the heart. This is a newish blog, with each writer contributing once each month (so a new post each week). Consider starting with Jade Kerrion – Attic Girls’ First Date, and I think you’ll be hooked–I was!

Blog Class: Author’s

Recommended by: Candace Johnson

Rating: 4 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Press Release: Clive the Magic Camel – A Guest Post

clip_image002.jpgclip_image004.pngClive the Magic Camel
– At the Zoo

Clive the Magic Camel – At the Zoo is a very old story about a camel that meets various animals and wishes for one of each of their attributes that he thinks will improve his personality. The name ‘camel’ changes as each attribute is added until he becomes so absurd that he realises that he was better as he was, and not something/somebody else.

The book is written to be read by 6 year olds and upwards, but it can be read to, or told as a story to, children from the age 3 upwards. This book, based on an old nonsense fun story, can even be enjoyed by those in secondary school. It can be read to groups of children to aid discussion on the subject raised.

The story was told certainly in Victorian times when there was no or very little entertainment in the homes. The writer has been telling this and other stories for many years to children and young people of all ages in schools, churches, and youth organisations.

A few years ago the author was told he ought to write down his stories and he has written Clive the Magic Camel – At the Zoo as his first book.

The book was published by Diverze Publications and was released on 14th February 2013.

The book is available in Stroud at ‘The Children’s Bookshop’, Union Street, ‘The Centre Bookshop’, London Road, and at ‘Come into the Light’ High Street, Stonehouse.

It is also available online at: www.diverze.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.waterstones.com, etc.

Comments on the book (most recent first):

· Sarah, Milford VA, USA (Goodreads)

I have an 8 and a 9 year old daughters. They read the book together and they really enjoyed reading it. They had so much fun sounding out the animals name.

This would be a great book for the author to present at a school and read to students and celebrate everyone’s differences. We had a local author come to our school that did that and the children loved it. This is the perfect book for such a presentation and for children to learn about writing. I look forward to checking out more books from the author.

· Mary Jane Calara, London (FaceBook):

“Great book, the moral lesson is not just for children but for grown- ups too. Proud to have one! Thanks Clive Dale!”

· Janet O’Shea, St Ives (Facebook):

Nina, Morgan, Finley and Aidan really enjoyed this book. It was funny when mummy couldn’t pronounce the words! We are looking forward to reading Clive the Camel at the Seaside.

· Colin Morgan, Bristol (Diverze):

Great story with brilliant illustrations. My grandchildren ages 7 and 9 just loves Clive the Camel they think he is so cute. Hope the next adventure is just as good.

· Current rating on Goodreads is 4.75 out of a maximum 5.

Cotswold Life Magazine, August 2013
selected for an article on children’s books

Cotswold Life Cover Article Cotswold Life

More of Clive Dale’s Books in the Pipeline

Written, proofread and awaiting illustration and publication:

Clive the Magic Camel – At the Seaside
Johnny and the Rice Pudding

Being Written:

Ollie the Onion
Grub the Dog

About the author Clive Dale

Clive currently lives in Stroud, and has worked in the computer departments for various companies including: Purnells, Paulton; Rank Xerox, Mitcheldean; Brann Direct Marketing, Cirencester; and British Energy (now EDF) Gloucester while living in the West Country.

Someone told him he should write his stories down and get them published. ‘Clive the Magic Camel – at the Zoo’ is the first to be published, with ‘Johnny and the Rice Pudding’ and ‘Clive the Magic Camel – at the Seaside’ currently awaiting illustrations.

Clive is now retired and is able to find time to write his stories. He is a member of Ebley Chapel, and a Trustee of the Countess of Huntingdon Connexion. On 2nd April 2013, he was inducted as President of the Countess of Huntingdon Connexion for a two year term.

For over forty years he has been a leader in various children’s and youth organisations (mainly Boys’ Brigade) and has told his stories in those organisations, schools, and Sunday Schools.

He was invited to Longney School, Gloucester on 7th March 2013 for World Book Day when he told the story to four classes and answered their questions on writing a book.

Ben Gander his illustrator for the first book is an avid artist, having produced various murals for children’s bedrooms, a pub and a toyshop, as well as selling various cartoons, caricatures and portraits

clip_image006Contact Information:

Clive Dale
Website: www.dales-tales.com

More Useful Links:

www.facebook.com/clivesDalesTales
www.facebook.com/clive.dale
www.facebook.com/pages/Clive-the-Magic-Camel
www.pinterest.com/clivemdale/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/7035116.Clive_Dale
www.twitter.com/C_DalesTales
www.twitter.com/clivemdale
www.twitter.com/CliveTheMagicc

A Modern Science Fiction Epic

The Genesis Project by Barry E Woodham

Science fiction in the classic style by a new master of the genre!

The Genesis Project leads us out into Space, seeding Humanity far and wide, working against the time of the final demise of Earth’s Sun.  Of course, nothing is ever simple or straightforward.  Whatever options may be pursued to save our species, there is always an element of danger.  But who amongst those that sent Humanity out into the unknown could have predicted the future as it was to become.  Discover, then, the truth of Humanity’s future history – and the second chance of a species!  Rest assured, there will be perils to overcome if Humanity is to survive – and prosper…

The Genesis Project in eBook and paperback

Book 1 – Genesis 2
Book 2 – Genesis Debt
Book 3 – Genesis Weapon..
Book 4 – Genesis Search
Book 5 – Genesis 3 : A New Beginning


Other tales from Barry E Woodham

The Elf-war & Molock’s Wand (self-published)
Star-Seed – (Work in progress)
Tales of the Ferryman — 1 – 15
Ghost stories


Bio

Barry Woodham spent his working life as a design engineer/draughtsman on the nuclear fusion project and has been an avid reader of science fiction for over fifty years. He found himself with nothing to read one lunchtime and began to write Genesis 2, the saga of the Gnathe, the first book in The Genesis Project. Many of his colleagues on the project began reading his efforts as quickly as he could finish the new chapters. He was persuaded to carry on and was halfway through the final section when the project drew to a close and he was able to take early retirement before redundancy, through a legacy. He promised his friends he would continue the story and let them know when he had finished. The joys of early retirement followed – fishing and walking the dogs, and the separation from his old reading colleagues meant the story remained unfinished. He lost the text through changing computers and it took some effort to retrieve the full story.

Barry Woodham

Barry proudly holding up his paperback books!

He knew how Genesis 2 would end, but could never seem to be able to get round to finishing it.  This has now changed and Barry has written the Genesis Project series, which started with Genesis 2, the saga of the Gnathe and now includes Genesis Debt, Genesis Weapon, Genesis Search and the final book Genesis 3.

More information:

The Author on The Independent Author Network
The Author’s blog
The Author on Facebook
The Author on Twitter
The Author on Amazon UK

Read about Barry, including a ‘broad brush’ review of his works, in his local newspaper, the Swindon Advertiser!

Blog Browser Day: 3rd August, 2013

Welcome to the inaugural Blog Browser Day!  I have opted to place this on a Saturday each week, depending on submissions received, as I believe this will give the majority the most time possible to have a good wander around.  Weekdays tend to have severe time constraints on what we can do.  A Saturday should, in effect, allow a full weekend for browsing.  The submission form and details will be available through the top menu, as for Book Promo Day.  Please try to get your submissions in by midnight GMT on the Thursday as I cannot guarantee later  submissions being included the following Saturday, though they will be carried forward to the following week if that’s the case.

Thanks to all those who have submitted blogs for this first edition!

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Barbara Ann Mojica’s blog

Twice weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) review of children’s books (up to and including young adult) I also update my own works, do occasional guest postings and author interviews. My goal is to keep children, parents, homeschoolers and teachers up to date on current resources for children.

Blog Class: Book reviews

Recommended by: Barbara Ann Mojica

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Thriller Writer

The blog provides distinct authors the opportunity to publish a Guest Post concerning some aspect of writing. The objective is to inspire and inform writers of any level. Contributors are both Internationally known bestselling authors and writers who have yet to reach that status. These posts are backed up by a social media campaign designed to attract maximum exposure to their work and help promote the material about which they write. A maximum of 2 guests per month allows for an extended promotion of each post and all participants have indicated that this has increase their book sales and driven more traffic to their own websites/blogs.

Occasionally the blog’s manager, thriller writer Eric J. Gates, will publish additional material, usually of a whimsical nature, related to writing.

Blog Class: Author

Recommended by: Eric J. Gates

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Seumas Gallacher

A personal blog by author Seumas Gallacher, in which he mentions his writing but also gathers a wildly varied collection of threads from all  over the internet.  You’ll not be subjected to hard sell, here, which is refreshing in an author’s blog.  What more can I say, apart from the fact that Seumas has a tremendous sense of humour and is incredibly supportive of others?  Not much worth saying, so let Seumas have the final words (I quote the opening of his “About me”):

Seumas Gallacher was born in the cradle of the Govan shipyards in Glasgow in the so-called “bad old days” which were in reality the greatest of days, where everybody was a real character of note.

Blog Class: Writing/Publishing General

Recommended by: Steve K Smy

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Kellie Elmore

Kellie Elmore is a published poet who is currently working on a novel. On her blog she posts on a variety of subjects:
* some poetry
* her experiences as she works through writing her first novel
* she hosts Free Write Friday. This challenge helps me explore my own writing. Kellie takes the time to read all entries and comment on them.
I have found Kellie and her blog to be an inspiration to me ever since I found it. Not only that, her poetry is beautiful to read.

Blog Class: Author

Recommended by: Colline

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


John Guy Collick — On and on I sped into futurity…

John posts about art, writing, films, illustrators, TV shows, sci fi, fantasy, with updates about his own writing. His articles are witty, pithy, beautifully illustrated and researched.

Blog class: General Blog

Recommended by: Jane Dougherty

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Musings of a Social Butterfly Turned Cat Lady

Funny and down to earth blog concerning the everyday aspects of life, love and figuring it all out,  without losing your mind.

Blog class: Author

Recommended by: Karie Thoma

Rating: 4 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Change It Up Editing

Offers posts and occasional reblogs of information that is helpful to writers and authors of both self-published and traditionally published books.

Blog Class: Writing & Publishing General

Recommended by: change it up editing

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.

Stephen Holland, Author – An Interview

A warm welcome to my special guest, Stephen Holland, Fantasy author.

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Steve Holland When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

I had always written songs, though had never considered writing a novel. It happened almost by accident. I just opened my laptop one day and started writing, I had no idea where the story was going to go, who the characters were going to be, or even what genre it was likely to fit in. It really took on a life of its own.

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

I write in the Fantasy genre I suppose, though my stories have no fictitious beings like Elves, Trolls and Orcs or any kind of magical element. It is fantasy only insofar as it exists in an imaginary world. My preferred genre to read has always been Sci Fi though I do enjoy Fantasy and Thrillers.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

Printed for me, there is nothing like having a paperback in your hand (that’s probably an age thing)!

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

I would love to say Tolkien, but in no way would I compare myself to that master.

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

I don’t think you can avoid this; incidents within your life are bound to influence how you think whether consciously or subconsciously.

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

  1. William Horwood

In that order, Tolkien in my opinion ‘invented’ the fantasy genre, there have been many attempts to write in his style, but in my humble opinion none can compare.

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

I have both.

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

I would be the last person on earth who would ever be fashion conscious so I write what I think I would like to read personally.

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

I cannot write to set times; I have to do it when I ‘want’ to do it. I can go weeks without writing anything then write 10,000 words in a day. It’s not ideal and I wish I was far better organised.

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

I tend to have a document at the end of my book in word format, so if I think of a good idea I put it in there and use it if it lends itself to the story.

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

I plan very little, certainly my first book Solace and Distress almost seemed to write itself, though I have tried to be a bit more organised with the sequel. I am finding the more I write about a particular story the more I need to keep a track of place names, rivers, mountain ranges and of course characters.

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

Always a laptop. My handwriting is almost undecipherable even for me!

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

I once found hardback versions of some lesser known pieces of work by Tolkien in an antique bookshop in York. They have since been re-issued so probably more popular, but were certainly hard to obtain when I was collecting his work.

If you’ve had books published in print form, have you ever come across a copy of one of your own books by accident?

No, that hasn’t happened to me (yet)!

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

I am under no illusions, I am not about to become an international best seller. So long as there is somebody somewhere who appreciates my work then it is worth doing.

Where can readers find out more about your works?

Facebook
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk/Solace-Distress
Amazon.co.uk/21-Shades-of-Pale

Meeting Victoria Zigler – A Most Remarkable Lady

Tori Zigler  “My name is Victoria Zigler, but most people just call me Tori.”  So says my very special guest for today.  Tori is a remarkable lady, and I use that term meaning all it infers, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself…

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When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

“I’ve loved to read and write since I first learned how to. I was taught to read and write at the age of three because I wanted to do “homework” like my big brother. By the time I was in full time school shortly after turning four I was in love with the written word and already attempting to write short stories and poems. None of them were any good in those first few years, but by the time I was about seven I could write a good enough story to earn a medal in a writing competition. I still have the medal.”

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

“I’ll read almost anything, but my favourite books are fantasy books and children’s books, and since I write children’s books – often with a fantasy theme to them – I’ll have to say, yes.”

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

“Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales, Beatrix Potter’s animal themed Peter Rabbit series, and both Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl’s books were a big influence to me growing up, and I think still influence my writing today.”

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

“Yes, past events influence my writing. I think past events often influence someone’s writing. It’s something you can’t avoid happening. Although, with my Toby’s Tales series it was intentional.”

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

“I don’t think one author stands out. I have a few favourite authors, but if I pick one of them I’ll feel bad for not having picked the others!”

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

“No. I only have digital books published. It’s not that I don’t want to have my books available in print, it’s just that it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe one day, but not yet.”

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

“I write what I have ideas for. If what I write is fashionable, great, but if not then I just have to hope it’s good enough to interest people. Besides, fashions change so quickly that keeping up with trends is difficult to say the least. Also, working with ideas that pop in to your head of their own accord is usually easier than working with ones that someone forces on you.”

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

“I don’t actually have set times for anything. I tried routines, but they don’t work for me, partly due to an irregular sleep pattern. The only way things get done at specific times in my house is if someone else sets the times (for example, medical appointments we have to get to, events we want to go to, or trains we have to catch to get to somewhere before it closes). So, I just write when I feel it’s a good time to write, which can be any time of the day or night.”

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

“Yes. I have my ‘notes and ideas’ file, with snippets of ideas for potential future stories and notes on ones I’m working on in it.”

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

“I write freeform. I’ll just let the words flow freely on the first draft, not even stopping to check for typos or spelling and grammar mistakes. Then I slowly go through it a few times until I think it’s done. Then I go through again just to be sure. I think I end up doing about five or six drafts before I’m completely happy with something. But one thing I don’t do is plan out the story. I tried planning, but I felt it took the life out of the story. I prefer to just go with the flow and see where the story takes me. I mean, I’ll have an idea in my head of where I want to end up at the end of the story, but how I’ll get there is usually a mystery even to me until it’s written.”

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

“I’ll write using any means available to me, but most of the time I use a computer. I have a laptop intentionally so I can have it to hand and take it with me if I go away somewhere. Not that I go away that often, but since my family is spread all over the place I want to have the option.”

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

“Yes. I get unbelievably excited if I find a copy of a book I’ve been failing to get hold of. Discovering books you’ve been looking for is more exciting than Christmas!”

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

“I’d love to be a well-known author. I’m not searching for enormous amounts of fame or anything like that – though it would be nice. I just want to be well-known enough that there are several people waiting eagerly for my next book. And I’d love to be in the top sellers list somewhere.”

Where can readers find out more about your works?

Website
Smashwords
Goodreads
Facebook author page
Twitter

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Tori: In Her Own Words

“My name is Victoria, but most people call me Tori. I’m a blind, vegetarian author of children’s books and poetry. Born in the shadow of the Black Mountains in Wales, I now live in the South East of England with my husband, Kelly, a West Highland White Terrier named Keroberous, and four degus whose names are Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua.

“My favourite things to do are reading and writing, but I also enjoy watching movies and some TV shows, listening to music, doing various crafts (such as knitting and cardmaking), playing roleplaying games (such as Dungeons And Dragons), playing figure games (such as Monsterpocalypse and Classic BattleTech) and doing the odd bit of baking. I also have an interest in history (especially Stone Age and Egyptian history) and love almost everything to do with animals and nature (except spiders and creepy crawly bug things).”

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The Books of Victoria Zigler

The Magical Chapters Trilogy:

  1. Witchlet
  2. The Pineapple Loving Dragon
  3. A Magical Storm

The Toby’s Tales Series:

  1. Toby’s New World
  2. Toby’s Monsters
  3. Toby’s Outing
  4. Toby’s Games
  5. Toby’s Special School

The Kero’s World Series:

  1. Kero Goes Walkies
  2. Kero Celebrates His Birthday
  3. Kero Gets Sick
  4. Kero Celebrates Halloween (due for release October 2013)
  5. Kero Goes To Town (due for release November 2013)
  6. Kero Celebrates Christmas (due for release December 2013)

Stand Alone Stories:

Bluebell The Fairy Guide

Frank The Friendly Ogre

The Great Tadpole Rescue

Asha’s Big Adventure (due for release August 2013)

Snowball The Oddball Kobold (due for release September 2013)

Poetry Books:

Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems

My Friends Of Fur And Feather

The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems

Waves Of Broken Dreams And Other Poems

The Leaf Monster And Other Children’s Poems (due for release September 2013)

A Case of Personal Crisis – “The Guilty” by Gabriel Boutros: A Book Review

The Guilty by Gabriel Boutros

I received the ebook version of this novel from the author.  This has not influenced my judgement in any way with regard to this review.

I have to start this review by saying what a remarkable novel this is.  It  is in a genre I have never read before, and it has left me wondering what I may have missed.  Gabriel Boutros demonstrates a true gift for his craft as a writer, right from the beginning, and manages to draw you into the story with consummate skill.  At the outset, his protagonist is anything but likeable.  He’s arrogant, self-satisfied, ready to declare his personal genius to all and sundry with or without prompting.  Yes, in the beginning, his relationship with his daughter is shaking him, but not in the ways it should.  He belongs very firmly in that subspecies: homo sapiens lawyerensis.  There is only the vaguest hint of humanity about the man.  So how come you carry on reading about this undesirable?  Because you want to see his fall!  You are drawn along waiting to witness his utter ruin.  There’s a part of you, sparked into existence by the brief sentence on the cover, which is also waiting to see just when and how this reprehensible person will meet his personal epiphany and explode into a Fury of Retribution.  And that’s part of Mr Boutros’ skill.  He has lived the life and knows it intimately.  Not that he bears any resemblance to his protagonist, of course, but he must surely have encountered those who shared at least elements of the character’s personality.

I mentioned the main character meeting his personal epiphany.  Well, it demonstrates Mr Boutros’ skill that he so easily handles the fact that very few truly  experience an epiphany!  Our awakening is rarely one of those single, dramatic, life-changing moments.  In fact, it can be, and usually is, a slow, painful, confusing process.  As a reader coming from books which require episodes of intense action, The Guilty proved to be a remarkable experience for me.  There were, very definitely, events, but none were exactly describable as action.  I was amazed to find that I had been drawn along with such excellent writing that action sequences really weren’t required.  Indeed, they may well have turned an excellent novel into something far more ordinary.  Like a patient angler, with a prize fish (you) on the line, Mr Boutros allows you to twist and turn on the line, your mind darting off down  side alleyways of possibilities, but always, inescapably, you are drawn ever closer to the waiting net – the conclusion.  And I will say only this: the conclusion is very satisfying – though the characters are, by then, so a part of you that you’d love to hear more about them.  I genuinely regretted the book ending.

If you’re looking for a Perry Mason or other similar fictional lawyer, then you’ll be disappointed.  There’s a disturbing ring of honesty about the portrayed lawyers’ defects.  You’ll find those you can happily despise, but you’ll also be confused by those who exhibit more humanity than you would expect.  They are complex people.  They have lives.  You could, with little effort, imagine how they live their lives away from the spotlight of the  story.  There’s everything from the ‘wet behind the ears idealist’ youngster, just beginning their lives, to the jaded veteran who simply does what they’ve always done, without ever considering the consequences because they live only with the Law – not real people.  And of course the full spectrum  in between the extremes.  I haven’t read anything with such strong, real characters before.  Everything else, I could always take refuge in the underlying knowledge that I was reading fiction, even when it got a little too uncomfortable for my liking – or especially then.

I’m not going to include details of the plot or the events even in broad terms.  This book is too good a read to spoil with anything beyond general observations about its worth.  I do, however, have a request: when you’ve read The Guilty, come back and tell me whether you’re pleased that I recommended it to you, or not!

My rating?  A very definite 5 stars!  Who would I  recommend this book to?  Anybody who enjoys reading!

More information:

Author’s website

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington: Guest Post by D J Swykert

Read about how author D J Swykert was drawn away from one path to another, and entered a wholly new world…

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Maggie Elizabeth Harrington Sometimes when writing the lines between reality and fiction become a bit blurry. I began Maggie Elizabeth Harrington intending to write a historical story about a lonely woman who loses her mind after being jilted by her lover. I ended up with a novel about a young woman in a remote northern Michigan mining town trying to save a pack of wolves from a bounty hunter. It wasn’t difficult to figure out how the transition occurred. I had agreed to watch a pair of arctic hybrids for a friend and soon found myself attached to the ten week old hybrid wolf pups and fascinated by their behaviors. My reality became my fiction. Maggie would be someone who would want to protect these beautiful animals from bounty hunters. The story of Maggie Harrington and her wolves unfolded almost as if it were writing itself and the farther it progressed the further my interest in wolves increased.

This led me to do some research on wolves, including the studies by a professor at Michigan Technological University, Rolf Peterson, who has written on the wolves of Isle Royale for thirty years. Here is a brief history of Michigan wolves. There was a time when there were abundant packs. A bounty existed on them in the early 19th century and into the twentieth century, thirty-five dollars for the head of a female, and thirty for a male. The population was decimated and for most of the second half of the twentieth century were non-existent in the state. They became protected in 1974, and the population has increased steadily since. There are about 687 recorded wolves now that live only in the Upper Peninsula, there are still none in the Lower Peninsula.

I saw my first wolf in 1994, two of them roadside near Copper Harbor howling at the Fourth of July fireworks. I have seen perhaps a half dozen since. They have been removed from the endangered species list, and managed hunting is currently allowed once again. The relationship between wolves and human beings is very ancient. We shared similar survival techniques; living in organized societies for protection and hunting in packs. Rather than compete for food sources we simply joined forces. I believe this is the origin of the bond between man and wolf, and now dogs, which are simply domesticated wolves. The gray wolf, canis lupis, and a domesticated dog, canis lupis familiaris, share the same DNA profile. You cannot forensically differentiate one from the other.

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington ultimately became a book with multilayered themes concerning social and environmental issues. I see the book as crossing genres between romance and adventure and landing somewhere in a gray area between YA and Literary. The narrator is thirteen but I believe her ideas are adult enough to engage literary readers.

Since writing this book I have come to three significant conclusions about wolves: They work together, mate for life, and protect their young. They have a loyalty within the pack hierarchy that is beyond ours. There is no divorce in a wolf pack. Only the alpha’s mate, but they mate for life. If one of the pair is killed, the next highest ranking wolf in the pack, a beta, takes its place. They protect their young, whether it’s the alpha parent, a beta, or the omega wolf, which, although relegated to the bottom of the order in the pack, does participate in pack duties, often playing the role of a babysitter while the rest of the pack hunts. If the human race lived as wolves, the earth would be a far different place.

I still cherish the memories of stuffing both of the 150 pound wolf hybrids into my Jeep Wrangler and doing some traveling. From the time I wrote the book until I moved to Kentucky I lived in five different places, and I hauled and lodged those wolves with me at each one. I’m not sure I’d want to do that again, but they are fond memories. And what is life but memories, sweet illusions that move in all directions and linger much longer than reality. Isn’t life but perception and memories of what we are, and were, and is there really any difference?

Links to the book:

Facebook
Smashwords
tlblisspress.blogspot.com
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback

DJ SwykertThe author:

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