authors, books, fiction, vampire romannce, vampires

FanGirl Friday: The Twilight Saga

Stephanie Meyer hit a homerun with the Twilight Saga, there’s no doubt about that. Some people love it; some people hate it. I, of course, belong to the former group.

Bella Swan is awkward, but she finds a home in Forks, Washington. She’s finally found a place she fits in within the secret supernatural community. She blossoms right along with her budding relationship with Edward Cullen. But when he leaves, all the progress she’s made disappears with him. Jacob Black helps give her what she needs to return to life. Two factions were created with this love triangle: Team Edward and Team Jacob.

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I’m a proud Team Edward supporter. Sure, if he was human, he’d be a narcissistic, psychotic stalker, but he’s not human. Being a vampire really worked for him. Those traits that would raise red-flags in an ordinary relationship made the love story more endearing as he fought against his very nature to be with the girl he loved. Like all passionate star-crossed love stories, Edward and Bela are equally obsessed with one another.

Jacob, on the other hand, is perfect for Bella in every way. He’s down-to-Earth, adorable, and totally devoted to Bella. He’s the safe option. The path her life would have taken if not for the presence of the Cullens. Stephanie Meyer did an exceptional job allowing readers to understand that Jacob should have been Bella’s destiny. I felt the promise between them. I felt the loss that destiny doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes there are forces stronger than fate at play. I’m not ashamed to say I bawled like a baby for Jacob’s broken heart, but not once was I attempted to jump the ship called Edward.

While Ms. Meyer did an excellent job with her portrayal of skin-walkers, her vampires never felt truly vampiric. While the classification I feel was poorly used, the creativity of her special brand of vampires definitely made up for it.

I’ve read these books several times and still get all the feels. I’m sure I’ll read them several more.

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authors, books, contemporary fiction, contemporary romance, dark romance

FanGirl Friday: H.Q. Frost

This week’s Fangirl Friday goes to none other that H.Q. Frost. I was introduced to this author and her work during my first-ever release party. Her debut novel, Destructive Gods was totally unconventional and I loved every minute of it. I devoured the Luxe series as quickly as she could write them. There were so many twists and turns that I never saw coming… And that is a staple of her work. I’m still reeling over Little Love, a spinoff from her Immure Diaries series and I read that over a month ago.

Her characters more than come off the page. They truly come alive. Even in their greatest beauty they are inherently flawed. They are more real than the faces a lot of us put out for the public to see, and thus, they become like friends.

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She’s not your average romance writer. There’s no boy meets girl, they fall in love, happily ever after. No, these characters she creates have to work for their happily-ever-after. There’s darkness in her light, and light in her darkness. There is no formula to the stories she pens. She pushes the envelope on what her characters and her readers can endure. Anytime you pick up a Frost book, you can expect the unexpected.

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She doesn’t just write solo books, either. Together with her co-author M. Piper, both authors showcase such amazing talent. If one didn’t know the books were written by two different people, you would never guess. Their books are that seamless and that takes an ungodly amount of talent.

I will forever fangirl over this author and her work.

authors, books, interviews

In the Words of an Author: An Interview With Christopher Griffith

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About the Author and His Work (In His Own Words)

My name is Christopher Griffith and I have been writing across different genres of fiction for a number of years now; Temples of a Fantasy Revenge and its companion piece Corin’s Chronicle are teenage moving to Young Adult fantasy –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Temples-Fantasy-Revenge-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B007RMHSBS/ref=la_B0034PX2CG_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517766167&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corins-Chronicle-Revenge-Chronicles-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B0716MRRN2/ref=la_B0034PX2CG_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517766167&sr=1-6

Rick with a (Bipolar) View is an autobiographical novel about the time in my life when I was first diagnosed with mental illness:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rick-Bipolar-View-friendships-electronic-ebook/dp/B01E9SS0FA/ref=la_B0034PX2CG_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517766167&sr=1-7

Shakespeare’s Secret Knowledge is my stab at conspiracy theory writing – I’ve always loved the Bard’s plays but like many people I’ve also been stupefied that the historical Shakespeare we learn about who signed documents with a cross was able to pen Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shakespeares-Secret-Knowledge-Literatures-Renaissance-ebook/dp/B01EVVH15A/ref=la_B0034PX2CG_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517766167&sr=1-2

My supermarket love story, Champagne Jealousy comes next:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Champagne-Jealousy-Detective-Investigates-community-ebook/dp/B01E9D11N8/ref=la_B0034PX2CG_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517766167&sr=1-5

And then there’s William Ottoway’s Utopia which is the novel I talk about for at least the first part of these interview questions:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/William-Ottoways-Utopia-Christopher-Griffith-ebook/dp/B076NZMZ2D/ref=la_B0034PX2CG_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517766167&sr=1-4

As well as fiction, I also write poetry and stage plays; I’ve got a postgraduate qualification in scriptwriting but I was never able to really settle in to that genre; the buzz word for film, television, radio and stage writing is subtext in which characters say one thing but mean another. That doesn’t suit me at all – what’s the point of saying what you don’t mean? I tend to steer clear of people like that in real life so why would I want to include the like in my creative writing? I’ve also got a soft spot for poetry, but I think that genre is even more niche; a lot of people don’t like it at all and I must say I find much modern poetry weak, soulless and flimsily constructed, but of course that’s just my opinion on the matter!!!

And on to the interview…

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

In relation to the above book, William Ottoway’s Utopia, there were four authors whose work influenced the novel – Alex Garland’s The Beach definitely guided me in my choice of background, a society cut off from the rest of civilisation that purports to be paradise but in the end turns out to be its exact antithesis; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein influenced the literary style of the piece and to some extent the structure regarding its epistolary beginning and end; Sir Thomas More’s Utopia which of course gave me the idea for the book in the first place; and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies that encouraged me to narrate a story in which really there was no redemption at close, and one in which human nature’s own corruption was to blame for the demise in relations between the people sharing space on the island. However, on this last point I was slightly at odds with an admittedly titanic writer in that I have a more optimistic (perhaps more dreamy) view of humankind. I do understand the lure of savagery, and goodness knows our race has succumbed to it over the centuries, but I wondered if the catalyst to our becoming like beasts might in this instance owe itself to an object rather than straight debauchery of our nature, here of course the humble, versatile and rather perennial item otherwise known as the television set. In an instant, I was sold. I still very readily bore in mind my four influences, and in composing my own story I still reflected heavily upon them, but I was keen to tread my own path and so I conflated the quartet (stepping carefully not to plagiarise) to produce my own piece of writing. To broaden scope for a moment, this is actually pretty much the same process so undertaken for each of my novels – I think it is very important to use source material, but of paramount importance is not to slavishly follow its particular dictates of tone, plot and character. Other authors and works I have revered in these instances are Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy – you’ll have to read my other pieces to try to see which has influenced me in each regard! The only non-source novel I’ve written is Champagne Jealousy, and even then you could argue it’s big nod to humorous fiction like Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and gentle crime works on the Marple-Poirot spectrum, though I stress not of their ilk! Assimilation is key – what I read, I tend to digest and then regurgitate in my own way.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

It’s got to be William Ottoway, if only because he represents that kind of naive idealism I so miss in my own nature these days – William genuinely believes he can up and run to somewhere else in the world which will somehow provide him with 100% safe and secure haven. The unravelling of his realisation that this is just pipe dream really tugs at my heart, but it’s no use tugging at mine unless it tugs at yours also! Of all the characters I have created, William is for me the most vulnerable, and that includes Rick in Rick With A View who suffers from bipolar disorder, Emily in Champagne Jealousy whose anxiety is off the scale, Norman in Temples of a Fantasy Revenge whose inferiority complex makes both Rick and Emily seem the very paragons of stability, and Thomas in Shakespeare’s Secret Knowledge who simply hasn’t got an iota of clue what on earth is going on around him, and to him. All these characters have human defects in their personalities, but William’s whole personality is the human defect – he simply misunderstands that there are bad people out there like the Usurper, and that people like this, in a fallen world, are the very sort who will find their way to a Utopia and wreck the enterprise. Bound with this is of course the appliance, television, and the fact that it is this, an object, which hastens the protagonist’s demise. I like the idea, although it terrifies me to consider, that it’s not just up to us to cause our own, and each other’s, misfortune but that we live in a world in which inanimate tools and trade can bring us to serious harm – there’s a scene in the film Anaconda in which Jon Voight says the river Amazon can kill you in a thousand ways, well that’s the kind of world of which I think William Ottoway has no conception, but one which dawns and grows upon him as the narrative continues. Of course such a world would be depressing beyond measure, the kind of world which say a particular series of broadcasts blasting out round the clock from a particular appliance might detail and encourage us to think the norm, but rather than accept our home planet holds both good and bad for us at different times William’s hamartia is that he firmly believes the bad can be extirpated leaving the good our warm companion forevermore. Even when the falsity of this dream has been laid bare for him, our idealistic Ottoway still clings to the dream, and that refusal to admit defeat even when defeated cements him as my favourite created character to date.

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

I find descriptive scenes an absolute nightmare, mainly because I feel as though I am cheating my readers of their imagination if I detail too greatly what is in my own head. This is quite a complicated concern of mine so I shall elaborate by saying that, as a writer, when I have a scene in mind it is pretty much fixed in my psyche; now I don’t want to impinge on your innate ability to conjure pictures in your imagination and I think it is remiss of me to try to alter whatever image you may have created when for example I set my scene on a desert island. I don’t want to encourage you to see that desert island from my point of view; I hate it when writers provided detailed description of a location because my imagination has already done most of the job for me when the writer gave me the nature of that location in the first place. As a reader, I like to be involved in doing the work of the writer also, it helps me cement that bond between the two of us into which we enter when I take up the novel in the first place. Of course, and in William Ottoway’s Utopia, I do outline certain features of the island to which the characters journey but overall I feel it more effective for you the reader to create that image of the place in your own psyche. The same, I believe, can be said for character description – I simply think that it’s a more productive exercise for the reader to flesh out features of a protagonist whether physical or emotional because it then makes that fictional character more real for the person making their way through the novel. All that hokum you learn as a writer about flat and round, two dimensional, three dimensional characters, in my opinion that’s not up to the person who’s crafting the story at all; remember again that the writer and reader are bonding over the course of the narrative. The soulless call it a contract but it’s not that at all – it’s not business nor cold jointure but a warm and friendly relationship struck up for however many pages in which the reader says ‘tell me a tale’ and the writer replies with their offering; the reader gives of their time, and the writer gives of their time, and both hope to benefit one another. All this business of description simply muddies the waters and gives the writer undue power in the process. I tend to steer well clear of books which instruct me in this regard and give my attention instead to an author who allows me to breathe my own life into the particular plotline unfolding before me.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Escaping into creating – it really is the most incredible jump to make from the real world into that of the imagination, and the more freedom in this regard you allow yourself as a writer the greater the sense of fun, responsibility and effectiveness you experience. Alas, I’ve been on courses in which plot synopsis in full was required before the act of writing even took place; this is anathema and gets the whole process of composition the wrong way round. For me, you’ve got to be swimming on the surface of consciousness or everyday life, and then plunge down beneath the water into the subconscious, the realm of the psyche, of imagination, of archetypes and of the really profound elements of storytelling. It can be a dangerous place, a little like the dreams within dreams of that wonderful film Inception in that there is every possibility of diving so deep into Limbo that you can find it difficult to return. But as ever with life, the weight of risk is linked to that of reward – if you can swim amongst the sharks of this underworld and navigate your way through their threat to dry land then your novel will be all the better for it. Planning the whole enterprise in advance is a bit like reading the instruction manual before you make up an object; it’s much more rewarding to have a go at construction yourself, particularly when you get it right and produce the finished piece without much preparation beforehand. Of course, the problem with such endeavour is that you might never achieve what you set out to do, and injury might even result; I once wrote a novel with which I dove too deep, got stuck in Limbo, hunted round for the instruction manual I’d flung aside at the art of composition, and only just managed to return to the surface and to safe haven. Feeling relieved and a bit too pleased with myself, I suddenly realised I bore the metaphorical teeth marks of those sharks who had bitten into me on the way down and then back up. But the whole point is that I learnt from my error of judgement, I matured as a writer, and reward came when I escaped to create again, producing work of more merit. This was progress for me, and there’s nothing that makes us feel more satisfied in our lives than feeling that we have moved on, improved, evolved, shed the slough of our former selves and crawled on to greater output. One more element – reading back over a piece and realising that I’ve said what I want to say, that’s rewarding and harder to achieve than it might sound!!

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Read, read, read! It’s possible to write novels without having read much, but for some reason the more input you’ve absorbed both from life experience and books the easier it becomes to write deeply, profoundly, and therefore authoritatively. I have a tremendously tense relationship with reading and it’s because of this rather awkward confession that I don’t actually enjoy it greatly; I studied English Literature at tertiary level, and after three years of prolonged examination, dissection and analysis of many classic works I found it hard to return to the simple act of reading for pleasure. What my training had afforded me though was the ability to rip through texts and pull out the salient features, skim reading if you like so that now I can study more pieces and extract from them promptly their plot, character and theme. This isn’t a particularly special skill, it’s just practice in a trade whose repetition makes the task easier, more effective; and so I encourage you to read as broadly and as deeply as you are able because the words which are absorbed by the mind are placed upon its parchment, kneaded, doughed, leavened, baked and then returned by way of your imagination, your individual imprint, back on to the page or screen upon which you are writing. The process by which this happens continues to amaze me even as it defeats my ability to explain it, but as life is a mystery we would do wisely not to try to solve in its entirety so this amorphous conversion shouldn’t really bother us, as writers, to understand too much or too greatly. The same really can be said for the input of opinion on our work; when I first started writing, just the fact that I was considering being an author drew detraction, scorn and mockery from people I considered friends. I felt as though no one supported me in my chosen pursuit, and I simply couldn’t understand the hostility towards my practicing a craft which I considered nothing other than benign in operation. The problem was just that though in that I attempted fully to understand this behaviour towards me; once I realised I’d never discover the reasons, an incredible sense of empowerment lifted my pen to compose far more courageously, and freely. This process extended to feedback from those who had taken the time to read my work – when the same novel draws adulation from one person and condemnation from another, well it’s simply enough to draw on the reserves of the only person who really understands your work – you!!

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

I actually don’t have anything as formal as a writing ritual or a superstition to which I adhere in the hope that I can compose well; however, I thought it might be helpful to provide a quick rundown of the processes involved in planning and writing each of my novels because they have changed over time and the evolution may, I hope, be of some interest to other writers and readers out there. In essence, I’ve moved from a position of rigidity to that of relaxation – for Temples of a Fantasy Revenge, I created the story framework largely by drawing on personal interests in both Pandora’s Box and Halloween. I was very disciplined with myself, setting aside certain hours in the day to compose, and I retained control of the novel’s direction pretty much from start to finish; that is to say that whenever I felt the plot moving away from me, I didn’t wait too long before I pulled on the reins and brought it back within my charge. Rick With A (Bipolar) View was much more stream-of-consciousness in that I let the horses of my creativity have great freedom whither to travel. The result is that the narrative moves at quick pace, and I certainly enjoyed the feeling of words pouring from my pen to the page during its composition. The research I undertook for Shakespeare’s Secret Knowledge was so voluminous that I found myself editing very heavily as I proceeded with writing that novel; every time I finished a scene I trawled back through it for any evidence I’d been writing from the history books rather than through my characters. Champagne Jealousy saw me drawing heavily on my own experience of retail and with this book I allowed myself to give vent to years of frustration with the trade – this is a novel as much about anger as anything else, but I hope it doesn’t obscure the fun I had in creating the world of Sheila’s. The rigidity I’ve mentioned had, ironically given the emotion permeating the book, by now given way to relaxation, and so I created the novella Corin’s Chronicle as companion to Temples which starts as separate entity before becoming adjunct, the first time I’d really played around with convention and enjoyed the freedom that came from such enterprise. With William Ottoway’s Utopia then, and despite some of the subject matter, writing in a slightly more in elevated, literary style I found enjoyable, liberating and effective. Ritual is for me then to experiment and progress, to grow more comfortable as my writing life continues with each book completed.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Not at all! I’ve always had dreams and plans to do something outside 9-5 office routine though – when I was a child growing up in my early years, I wanted to be quarterback for the Chicago Bears American Football team. Once that dream had been swallowed up by reality, I wanted to be a racing driver; I loved Formula One in my teenage years and felt it would be a short step to emulate great drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Once that plan had been subsumed by reality, I decided I was going to be a star rugby player for England; the theme continued as I realised I probably wouldn’t be good enough to take to the hallowed turf at Twickenham! And then I wanted to be a superstar DJ but I’m too introverted for that kind of life and so I became a writer – even that though was a long time being decided in my mind. At school, I was really good at English and I took the entrance exam to get into Oxford to study the subject but I came up short although I did go on to have a tremendous grounding in the discipline at Bristol. It was in my second year there that I first envisaged I might become a writer; I was growing stifled by the incessant study of novels and poetry, much of it very depressing to absorb if truth be known, and simply felt that I’d like to add my own voice to the oeuvre. I didn’t for one moment think I could outdo the great titans of literature but I did think that I could balance the negativity a little with my efforts. And then I began to write, and realised how difficult it is actually to complete a project without its being affected even a little by the dark side of human nature. Now that interested me, and held my attention – what was it about writing a story which ineluctably drew one to the night in our souls? It wasn’t for years that I understood when reading a wonderful book called The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker; the argument within its pages too lengthy to summarise here, except to say that Mr Booker believes a great change came over storytelling right around the time of the French Revolution and has affected our pages ever since. For me, it’s no coincidence that my favourite story Frankenstein was written just thirty years after that event by an author who I simply can’t imagine still at such tender age could produce something so profound without there being a seismic shift in the society in which she lived also. I write now because I want to understand this focus, and help storytelling heal its self-inflicted wounds.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d like to speak to Frankenstein’s monster because I think he is an incredible creation and sums up so well what so many human beings have felt through the ages – why was I created? Why was I created so imperfectly? Why was I abandoned by the creator who created me? Why did my creator loathe me so much he sought to pain me? My creator created me, and with that act of creation comes surely the responsibility to look after me, protect me, at least love me? I have often thought about the loneliness and sense of isolation to which Frankenstein’s monster gives such great voice, and emotion, and wondered whether Mary Shelley was in fact tapping in to some part of the human psyche, or indeed our history, of which she may not even have been aware. The ancient alien hypothesis, for example, suggests that humankind was created and then for some reason abandoned. How much more bearable, if still agonising, would this realisation be for Frankenstein’s monster were I to sit down with him and explain that Victor persecutes him because he himself is flawed, fallible, and fated to live out his days not knowing the reason either why he has been born; that, for me, is the monster’s curse, that he is so miserably hurt by not comprehending why Victor is repulsed by him and so seeks to kill him. He is in a state of ignorance, but no more so than the man who created him. Would that make him feel better knowing that he himself has been formed by an imperfect creator? This, inevitably, leads to the centuries old religious and spiritual awareness that anything designed by man is necessarily corrupt, and that by putting our faith in men and women we do ourselves grave disservice and sometimes unimaginable pain when they in due course let us down. Victor Frankenstein has the tools at his disposal to genetically engineer but he lacks the compassion, love and empathy to create a being in which he can imbue his soul. I would tell Frankenstein’s monster not to worry about securing the love of men because he already possesses the Creator’s care and concern for every living element in the world – if Victor wants to ditch him, so be it, but don’t fight fire with fire and seek to kill him first; ignorance, superficiality and detestation can only be overcome by love, not by some misguided redirection of them against themselves. The monster’s condition is our condition too, and we would do well to learn from the increase in his misery that hate must be returned by faith, hope and charity.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?  

I was about to call him out, tell him how predictable his actions had been since first we had pulled him from the boat, but then Manou’s almighty scream from the direction to which Dan had pointed set my hair from my head and I turned to see the mud covering the Usurper’s grave being pushed up from within. First one hand, then another broke through the earth, the right fist clenching the air, vital, pulling its torso and legs up and into view, head emerging last, shaking itself free of mud and dust, standing rather sullenly as we all watched in terror and many crossed themselves at sight this undead resurrection. And it was him. Of that there was no doubt. Momentarily, he looked back down at the grave from which he had emerged, bent over to pick something up and in one movement somehow swung it round to strike Manou hard on the side of his head. It was a corpse, the half-rotting skull smashing into Manou’s temple with a force that sent him sprawling in that sick sort of motion which immediately made me fear the worst. Then the Usurper threw the body towards us and it landed face up on the table, spread-eagled, half a dozen melons squashed beneath it and the same number of Utopians backing away feverishly crossing themselves still.
It was Emily.
I gawped at my nemesis.
Death, not even death, had contained him. Somehow he had transcended it, returned back through the gate, by what soul-killing magic I knew not, so that here he now stood, commensurate with his new condition, strong, mighty, immortal, and ready for the last time to harrow our paradise to extinction. I glanced at the Utopians sitting rigid in their seats and Dan who continued to eye me with disdain. Then I looked back at the Usurper. In the instant he nodded, I felt searing pain as my arm was twisted back behind me, forcing me to bend to the table where my face smacked hard upon the wooden top, Dan’s laughter increasing as he lifted my arm to breaking point before suddenly letting go, his choking the only thing I could hear as I fell back to the ground and cradled my injured limb. Through the fog and tears in my eyes, I saw him struggling against an assailant, a heavy length of rope coiled about his throat. It was Tom, strangling him to death, but not with rope, a snake, holding it at both ends and pulling it tight. Dan fought against him, kicking out with flailing legs, reaching with his right hand for one of the candle holders we had set by the table but he fumbled and groped thin air instead…

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authors, books, fiction, interviews, kids books, murder-mystery, mystery, New Release

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Robyn Washington

 

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Author Biography

Starting out in Seattle in a military family, Robyn’s family moved to North Carolina where she was raised in a family of six siblings. Being the oldest child, she had to learn how to make up stories to survive in a competitive family. Storytelling became easy for Robyn, and she started to pen romantic stories, children’s books and mystery novels at an early age. She progressed to writing journals and blogs, and later to novellas, plays, skits and her first published book. Graduating with a B.S. in Biology, an M.B.A in Business Administration, she has worked in the business world most of her life, but her passion is to excel in writing and brand her next series featuring stories on Children’s Books.

 

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

 

My favorite authors are the following: Nora Roberts, John Grisham, James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Mark Twain, J. K. Rowling, and Danielle Steele. I can’t even mention all the authors I’ve read. Some are unknown, and I read just about anything to learn and for pleasure. I’ve been known just to get a biology book down and start reading From plays to history, science to romance novels, reading has been a favorite hobby of mine for years.

 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

My favorite character was Jade, a CIA agent. Trying to write from a federal agent’s perspective and one who has been shafted was extremely hard. Penning emotions and fleshing out the character can be hard when tagging them with specific characteristics.

 

What are the most difficult scenes for you to write?

The most difficult scenes to write were the action scenes where confrontations occurred. I have two new books coming out soon in the month of February 2018, Deception, Love & Lies Part 2 and New Beginnings that have scenes that I had to rewrite so many times until it stressed me out. I had to teach myself how to write with continuity and make the topic interesting for readers. Romance novels are my favorite to read, but I don’t write steamy punk love scenes. Although I may read one occasionally, I like a story with a learning curve and a romance linked to the storyline.

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What is the most rewarding part of being an author for you?

 

The most rewarding part of being an author is that I get to create, design, draw, imagine, deliver, and make-up stories as I go along. I have a very wild imagination and can step out of my mind at any time and write what I feel. The hardest part is when you come back and edit your words, change it around, and forget what you were trying to say. I want a reaction out of my readers, and I’ve got to master the art. I understand now why movie directors try to get a rise out of the audience, it makes sales.

 

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

A good story needs to be adequately researched, so the facts match what you’re writing about. Mysteries need to have a good twist, romance novels need to be unique, murder scenes need to be fleshed out, and the facts need to be as real as possible. Inadequate info can turn readers off. Don’t get trapped by criticism, learn from what others say about your work. Visit author’s groups and participate, create a blog, create and tweet, become friends with colleagues, and ask questions whenever you can. As a previous science teacher, asking questions always helps to increase the learning experience.

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

I have a room with crazy colors and designs to set the mood for me to write with a large desk, a comfortable chair, a tv, a bright light, and then I try to write every day. There is no set time, but when I enter my space, I spend time researching, reading, writing, or creating an outline for a book. I carry a notebook and pen in my pocketbook at all times, and sometimes use my iPhone to capture ideas or thoughts. Explosions can occur everywhere. The first process for me in writing a book is to create an outline, jot down thoughts, ideas, and create a plot for the story.

 

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

No, I wanted to be a doctor, but I changed my major, so many times in college it was funny. I have worked in management and business most of my life and even taught school for a short while. My interest in science and animals has been a focal point in my life and lead me to start publishing my work.

 

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

My father. He died when I was a child and knowing him would have been the highlight of my life. People don’t know what they’re missing when they miss out on knowing their parents.

 

Where can readers go to find out about you and your books?

Coming soon a Pinterest link, but below are my Facebook and Twitter accounts for Robyn Washington.

https://twitter.com/RobynSeattle

https://www.facebook.com/RobynSeattle/

 

Deception Love and Lies - ebook (1) first book.jpg

Synopsis:

After a lifetime of a broken marriage, zoo owner, Barry Weinstein is persuaded by his longtime friend, Chad Everette, an MI6, to buy two Amur Leopards for the zoo. The Leopards become the featured attraction at the zoo and a baby cub, Malachi is born.

Life begins to change for Barry, and he must face his attraction to his new office administrator at his zoo, the curvy petite Gloria Peterson. But love is not that simple for Barry, and he runs. Tragedy strikes and Barry must face the battle from within himself to empty the darkness out of his soul.

Endowed with bad investments and massive debts, Chad falls in love with what he hates the most, an American CIA agent, the classy blonde Jade Ayers. Back in the USA, Jade is heading up an investigation involving six CIA agents that have been murdered in the last year in Afghanistan. When she finds out who’s involved, she becomes a suspect in her own investigation from London to all parts of the world. Love, adoption, greed, kidnapping, pain, torment, and endurance will be best experienced when everyone realizes what they’ve been chasing was right at their back door.

 

authors, books, interviews, nonfiction

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Atif A K, PhD

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Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Well I started my fascination of reading with Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming but with the passage I also recognized my fancy for non-fiction so I would say if you keep aside the marketing/strategy/branding on the more personal side I like Eckhart Tolle. He is definitely not only an author but his works amplified because of his books. I also like Dr. Daniel Amen whose works with brain rewiring has really mesmerized me. Of course, Shakespeare is always there to provide a framework to anyones comprehension. I also like the Lebanese great Khalil Jibran and his works Broken Wings and Madman very inspiring. There is also a Pakistani writer Ashfaq Ahmed- whose philosophical works transcend universalism into humanism.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

My inspiration to writing particularly screen-writing because thats where I write most of my characters- is totally driven from the unusual faces that I see. They all tell me a story and their mental ambience. The environments from where they are hailing. I understand these faces make my task easier to dramatize both as a writer and director. So before I even met them when I use them on screen- I have a fatal portrait in my head with a reference point of someone that I saw in the train or at the bank or merely hanging at my favorite bar or local cinema. The inspire me to tell their metaphysical tales that they never told me.  

For instance, I saw a homeless guy who could have been a body double of Gregory Pack- I saw him talking to himself, he was probably unwell. But that drove me to write the street actor character on my short film Do You Know Me? where his acting rehearsal/monologue was considered talking-to-himself by many strangers around.

I find talking to ones self extremely romantic and I have used it in my upcoming film The Disowned where Kay Gamaldi (the female lead/central character) talks to herself about her affair and where she stands in the relationship. I may say that all these characters are my favorite and are inter-related to my innate fair of never talking to myself. They are linked with my inner obscurities and social phobias. In terms of writing technique in The Disowned our male protagonist (Gil Gilead) is also antagonist and it will lot of fun unleashing and cheating the audience with his character and histrionic role.  A small glimpse into it can be seen here.

https://youtu.be/4DX4xp-AM0E

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

I like to write scenes in which there are less dialogues and more non-verbal communication. The actors use their expressions, emotions and body language to communicate the sub-text of what’s being seen. It’s like a person who can’t hear or understands the language- even who cannot read closed captions would still understand where the scene is going.

Fortunately, we are writing in an age where new media and mainstream is too much reliant on independent artists- who take liberty to approaching subject matter from brand new angles. The other versions- so to say. Just last night I saw Shape of Water and I was fascinated how in a fantasy world Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor have tricked the audience while developing a plot by building it up. Fine lining the outcasts of the previous eras while legitimizing the beauty and beast concept in a distorted, spectacular and unusual way. Sort of breaking a taboo but at the same time leaving an untouched impression of a story strangely told by unusual characters.

So these kind of scenarios may be hard to depict by the book but surely leave a stellar impression and are easier to write- if you are immune to writing things from the unprecedented angles.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Clarity of thought is the most prized possession for any writer. The ability to think through the storm and to be able to come out survivor is so much gratifying at least for me being a writer. If I write good couple of pages every morning as I wake up- 50% of task has been achieved for me for the rest of the day. Writing is cathartic, it is therapeutic- and like Ozzy Osborne once said- he would actually pay his audience if he had to, just to let him perform. So thats the most rewarding part- I would write for free. It is sort of confessional, and letting it off your chest or sharing the fire in your belly. After that there is calm, like after a tempest. But thats not easy being able to find that poise in the way you compose your writing. Apart from commercial writing, self-indulgent writing needs lot of discourse, contemplation and self conflicts. Yes, all the questions have to be answered before they are put on paper- and sometimes, these answers dont come easy. And sometimes they take lot of time. Its like a secret watch-tower in the writers head that leads the sail in the dark. This phenomenon is much more gratifying than any other feeling. When the sail reaches the shore. And of course, financial and other accolades follow the suit. Because this is a diamond that the writer brings from a distant mine that no body knows as it exists in the clumsy minds.   

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Get solitary confinement in a hotel and start dreaming without being buffered by anyone or anything. Of course when you read 100 pages, you are then able to write one good page. Our brains are receptive when we have lot of reference memory and observation material around. You have to be compulsive thinker. Free-thinking has always worked for me and to be able to avoid any intellectual conflict or cognitive dissonance so to say is the way out as an artist and as an author.

Unfortunately, writing prospered when it was the only mode of entertainment. In the cross media age- writing is done for various platforms. But having said that every product and entertainment starts and ends with good writing. It cannot begin without someone sitting down and composing the ideas. So in a way the scope of writing has even widened. Although there has been tremendous development in new wave media and platforms but the enhancement is not that remarkable when it comes to writing technique. We are hooked on Stephen Kings and Rowlings along with Grishams. There is more to it- in terms of substance beyond genre. And that is the reason we see some of very predictable stories emerging to be huge like Twilight and Shades of Grey. Although it is essentially recycled material in a new setting- much like Shakespeare in a standard format. But when Romeo and Juliet or Midsummer Nights Dream or even Tempest was written there was no sign of screen and a bunch of actors will play it out on theater. In that sense such intricate content was hard to be communicated so easily. So we as writers who are just started out- must start thinking out of the box while not forgetting that we are slave to the comprehension of others so whatever we may tell should not be safe but it must fit the meter as we call it when we rhyme or create an even flow in writing.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

No writing comes to me instead of the other way around. When I feel desperate to put it on screen or note it in my iPhone pad that’s when the magic starts churning. I have no idea what I am about to write- unless it keeps lingering in my subconscious and just flushes out at a point where I cannot hold it anymore. Like a secret hard to carry around, or like being a witness to some crime. You need to tell, you can’t keep it to yourself. Because the self-contemplation and no being able to share the burden and experience will ultimately leave you with immense guilt. Which if not told on time and in time will stick like a dirty deed in my psychology forever.

So that’s how I write. I may be doing laundry, or swimming, or practicing Yoga, listening to a song or just searching on Google where I parked my car. While I might later realize that I took Uber instead of my car on the way back home- I have a great idea with me, that prompts me to write. So before I go back to the mall and find my lost car- I need to put it in Word. That’s my ritual- I need a solid excuse to prefer it over any other task in my life. And that has kept my flame alive and made people pay me for this dedication to this art form.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Absolutely. I wanted to be an astronaut but then I found writing, as I was stuck on an Executive Floor of Marriott for 8 months. It was like solitary confinement, I was left with nothing but weird life concepts buzzing through my day- in and out. I had this urge to reflect on things the way they are and the way they should or can be. I think solitude is the excellent time, when one can find their calling. This is the reason of all the prisons- around the world. To give people time to reflect and fix. I am sure without solitude; one cannot acquire a set of skills to offer the world. There is no contribution, if you are not by yourself. After that bout, I spent another couple of years as my creative pilgrimage in a downtown hotel. There I used to watch movies, sleep, eat and repeat. Strum guitar once in a while, work online and order food through room service. 

This kept on, until I was left with nothing else to do but write. I was also fortunate enough to be able to write couple of books as ghostwriter, to understand the challenges and review the process from inception to cover design. The research, statistics and reference studies all proved to be the honing ground for my creative maturity.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

William Peter Bletty writer of Exorcist as to what was going through his mind when he wrote this. This has remained to be a timeless classic and masterpiece. Ahead of time and will always be- to the point when humans can develop the technology to reach out to another dimension and communicate with dead souls. I know there was some case in Germany little similar to what was depicted in the book. But the way it was written in a passive manner was both shocking, extremely dramatic and urges you to revisit your faith or school of thought. Thats the power of writing, its like a punch on your face. His later works didnt strike the right note with the masses but thats what writing is- once the world discovers you, you are lost as a writer.   

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Couple of pages from the book that are published on EZine Articles. Feel free to check them out.

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Atif_A_K/2465019  

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Curious to know more? Check out these links:

http://a.co/0d8IEBM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=1IHKY0Rv01g
authors, books, Coming Soon, cover reveal, fiction

Cover Reveal: Battered Mind by Sylvia Stein

Concept 2

Synopsis:

Sadie Martin Carlyle is on trial for the murder of her husband Dante Caryle. She claims she killed him in self defense and that he was a monster. She was a battered woman and if she had not defended herself he would of killed both their young daughter and her.  In short, She feared for their lives.
However, there is more to this case than meets the eye. Sadie Martin is not your typical woman. Her family consists of her Criminal lawyer father Jackson Martin from Atlanta and her mother Barbara Reece Martin is one of the main leaders of the Southern Belles of Atlanta.

From the very start, there are secrets that are hidden that no one will see coming. Sadie’s story will take the reader through a very emotional journey throughout. Once the case begins, everything you think you know about what happened between Sadie and Dante Carlyle will have you asking many questions and is everything being said the truth?

 

Battered Mind Excerpt:

Copyright by Sylvia Stein

As I lie here holding on to my sanity.   I have to say never in a million years would I have thought all would turn out the way it did. 

You see for most of my life I had been searching and hoping that one day I would find the one

and be able to finally lead “the normal life.”

However, nothing could be farther from the truth.  My name is Sadie Martin Carlyle and on

May 27, 2010, I was charged with the murder of my husband Dante Carlyle. 

The thing that makes this so horrific is that I do not even remember committing the crime.  

All I know is that when I awoke the next morning, My husband Dante was dead and I was found next

to his body and the murder weapon. 

As of now all I can do is await my trial which will not be for a few months. 

Sadly because of the circumstance of the crime, I will have to sit in a jail cell until my trial.

You must be wondering why I seem to know so much about the law in particular. 

One second, “Can you please let me finish talking.”

  Sorry being locked away in this cell has made me a bit paranoid.

Well in any case as I was saying.  The reason I know so much was that my beloved husband was a lawyer and before I got married.  We both met in law school. 

Oh, it was so simple back then. 

If only I could go back to the beginning.   Things were easier.  At least I thought they were.   However maybe if I can just go back to the beginning I can try to salvage a bit of my dignity.

Besides, I was born and raised to be a good girl. But right now I am really placing a damper on all the years my parents spent trying to make me something I never wanted to be.   You see I was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia.

It’s too damn bad I was never able to lead a normal life.  Thanks to my dear parents!

My mother was born to parents of money and my father was no different.  However, he was known for being one of the best criminal defense attorneys in all of the state of Georgia.  

He was deeply admired for his hardcore antics.  My father was never one to give up on his client and

he is both loved and hated throughout the community. 

On the other hand, my dear mother Barbara Reece Martin has always been in the public eye.  As a child, her parents owned several wineries all over the state of Georgia and North Carolina and she was left with a trust fund and decided to invest in stock and has done pretty well.  She is now the Ceo of The Reece Winery and overlooks them along with my father and she is also one of the main members of the Women of Atlanta social club.  

All in all, she is always busy and thinks that I am just spoiled.   My mother and I are not close.

She was always gone when I needed her.  The only person that seemed to care and worry about me was my father Jackson. 

He always made time to see me and for that, I am very grateful.  My father has always said I was his

everything.   At the time I thought I was but then I discovered it was all lies.  I will get to that later.

As I was saying my mother was never around as a kid.  She was always out and busy with all her numerous work and charitable events. 

I hated her, and I still do!”

As you can see I get a bit angry being cooped up in here.  I mean there are many criminals in here and I know they are women like me.  But I am not one of them.  I am different and I want to do is start over again. 

Let me outta here.  

]Author Pic

Sylvia Stein is a published author with several anthologies with her Writer’s group 750 on linked

in. Stein obtained a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New

Hampshire University this past July 2015. She is a mother of three beautiful children Paul 10,

Michael 9 and Consuelo 6. She resides in the city of Fuquay Varina with her amazing husband

Jeremy. Stein has also published two solo books one was her first novella Closure which she

worked on while attending SNHU and published in July of 2014 and the other her first YA

Chasing Clarity was published this past October 2015 and it was created during National Novel

Month (Nano) in 2013. Her latest book is entitled, The Diary of a Broken Father which came

Out in February 2017. Her new thriller which she has been working on since 2014 will be out

Late 2018 and is entitled, Battered Mind.

 

Follow Author Sylvia Stein:

http://sylviawriter07.wix.com/sylvia-author

http://www.amazon.com/Sylvia-Stein/e/B00EJT3FYQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

https://twitter.com/sylvia_stein07

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Clarity-Sylvia-Stein/dp/1494964724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463014469&sr=8-1&keywords=Chasing+Clarity

http://www.amazon.com/Closure-Sylvia-Stein/dp/061590694X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463014518&sr=8-1&keywords=Closure+Sylvia+Stein

https://www.facebook.com/SylWriter07/

The Daily with Syl Stein on Anchor

http://sylauthor07.podbean.com

https://twitter.com/sylvia_stein07

Meet the Cover Artist: Michael Dangremond

Michael Dangremond and his lovely wife Alanna Dangremond

My name is Michael Dangremond and I am mainly a self-taught artist. My professional Media is tattooing. I’ve been involved in art for the better span of my life. I grew up in a small town called Hopkins in the state of Michigan. Growing up had its challenges and equally; it’s lessons. After high school, I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan to begin a career in the culinary arts. After bouncing from kitchen to kitchen and climbing the ladder, I decided to reinvest myself in the art my heart called me to pursue. I am happily married to my wife, Alanna and I am blessed with my daughter, Sophia. This story of mine continues growing in my passion for my brand of art. 

 

You can find Michael on  Instagram page under Mykaldangerous

https://www.facebook.com/ artbymykaldangerous/

 

authors, books, children's literature, interviews, kids books

In the Words of an Author: An Interview With Elijah & Isaiah Smith

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Our mom (LaDonna Smith- author of the award winning children’s book “The Money Tree”) is a children’s book author and she is our biggest influence. Our mom helped us publish our book Pick Me, Pick Me! through her publishing company, Follow Your Dreams Publishing.

 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

Pick Me, Pick Me! is our first book. Cree is our favorite character because we used ourselves as the inspiration for his character.

 

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The most rewarding part about being a kid author is being able to go to schools to read our book and talk to other kids. Kids are usually inspired to start their own businesses after they meet us and it makes us feel good that we are inspiring other kids to do something good for themselves.

 

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

I would tell other kid authors to follow their dreams and not give up. Once your book is finally done you will be proud of all of your hard work.

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Sometimes we write a story together and other times we do what our mom calls tag team writing. With tag team writing, one of us will start writing the story and wherever we stop we tag the other in and he continues writing until our story is done.

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Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Yes. When our mom published her first book a few years ago we decided we wanted to follow in her footsteps and be authors too.

 

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

We would want to talk to our grandmother (our moms mother). She passed away when were only 1 and 2 years old so we never really got to know her.

 

To find out more about the Smith brothers, find them on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/ballingwiththesmithbrothers