Author Spotlight – Claire Plaisted

Introducing Claire Plaisted

Claire Plaisted is an Indie Author and Small Indie Publisher. Claire works each day helping Indie Authors get their work together in a professional format. She assists them to publish their books online. Claire also writes and has twenty six books published so far.

At present Claire is working on updating her books in between working with various clients writing different genres.

Claire is a positive role model and will help where she can, or direct you to those who are more experienced. You can contact Claire on the attached links.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I wasn’t an early reader. Books didn’t interest me much. I loved to climb trees and go on bike rides down the country lanes in England. I discovered books at the age of twelve and haven’t been without one since. In fact I used to go read in a tree at the back of my parents house.

Though writing isn’t a passion it is a journey of learning and I’ll admit to enjoying most of it. I suppose part of the joy is using computers which I was denied as a teenager. I had wanted to be a computer tech, though my mother reckoned it was a fad…. ooopps

I love computing. I enjoy writing, blogging and especially helping others. I blame my parents for that too – the helping I mean.

Since living in New Zealand I have changed as a person. Marriage of 25 years, four children and several cats later, my cultural understanding and heritage has changed and grown.

Meanwhile…will someone tell my muses to get their backsides back to New Zealand so I can write. Thanks

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Enchantments is a Young Adult Fantasy where a seven 21yr-olds are chosen to fight the Shadow Master. This first book is introducing you to all the characters and their animal energy. In the following series of four books will follow the journey of the characters and their strengths and weaknesses.

Watch out for the purple headed guy Kendall.

Who is your intended readership?

I am a multi genre author…so my reach is for all readers or those who need to be read to. For Enchantments it is aimed at 15 upwards.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I fell into writing due to waiting on documentation for a family history book I was creating for a client. I opened a document and the muse took over. That particular book is yet to be published

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

C S Lewis and the Narnia Series. I love these books, it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can read them and still learn something new. CS Lewis believed in writing a story for children of all ages. To me this means from one – one hundred.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Write a couple of manuscripts before you think about publishing. Find a great editor, join social media, promote you and your work a few months before you publish. Make sure you have a professional format your book. Also learn a bit about marketing, the more you know the better. There are some fab Facebook Groups out there.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

I have annoying characters who keep barging into my office and arguing over me about whose book I should be writing. It got so bad I threatened to push one (Duggan from Garrett Investigations Bureau) out of a plane without a parachute. It sure shut him up and made his girlfriend laugh.

The thought of having all my characters at a party would be hilarious, especially since I’m a multi genre author.

At present the muses are in the Northern Hemisphere enjoying the sun and ignoring me who is starting to panic here in New Zealand, wondering if I will finish two books in time for December celebrations.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

Helping other Indie Authors – is my business though hobby wise i enjoy Family History Research which started as a Hobby business. I research and make books for gifts. It’s great fun when I get the opportunity to make one.

I also enjoy my family time. They are amazing

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Girlie and the Ninja Lady Bugs is the fourth book in Girlie Adventures. This story will cover bullying. 40% of the proceeds will be going to a charity who helps stop bullying in the UK…

I also have Ancient Relics – A Garrett Investigation Novel – book 6 due out in December.

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2017 releasing on All Hallow’s Eve – Multi Authors
Childrens Fairy Tale Anthology releasing December – Multi Authors

Enchantments

The Shadow Realm had found a gap in space and time, a place where they could observe the Human world before they claimed it as their own.

Farron is one of six, chosen to embark of an epic adventure against the Shadow King and his evil Realm; but how can six Humans fight against the perils of the Shadows of Death?

Because they’re not really Human…

First born sons and daughters of the Bul’ith, Farron and the others must accept the truth and the animal energies they inherit, heed the words of their trainers and defeat the Realm of the Shadow King. If they ever wish to restore their world

Buy Now:

Paperback, E-Book (Amazon), E-Book (Kobo), E-Book (iTunes)

Author Pages:

Amazon, iTunes, Smashwords

Where to find Claire Plaisted:

Website (Claire Plaisted), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Email, Blog (Claire Plaisted), Facebook

Claire Plaisted also runs several groups and a website to assist Indie Authors get their names out there.

www.facebook.com/groups/childrensfairytalesanthology
www.facebookwww.facebook.com/groups/indiepublishingnews
www.facebook.com/plaistedpublishing/
www.facebook.com/groups/ghostlywritesanthology
www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com

Author Spotlight – Connie Cockrell

I had the pleasure of running into Connie Cockrell a little while ago, and we’ve been talking back and forth about setting up an interview swap. What I didn’t realize when we started talking is just how many genres this amazing woman manages to write in.

I know just how difficult it can be to write different genres, but Connie Cockrell seems to find it effortless. Maybe she’ll give us an insight into just how she does it in this interview. How about it Connie?

[Update: I just found out that this post coincides with Connie’s birthday, so please show her some love]

Introducing Connie Cockrell

A 20-year Air Force career, a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.

She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published sixteen books, has been included in five anthologies and been published on EveryDayStories.com and FrontierTales.com. Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you may be the next one.

 

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I grew up in Gloversville NY and joined the Air Force at eighteen. Lots of life happened the next 20 years, marrying, having a daughter, travelling around the world with the Air Force and retiring after 20 years in the service. Then we retired back to Northville NY where I worked for a computer company then, tired of the snow, moved to Payson AZ. That’s where I started writing on a challenge from my daughter in 2011. I haven’t stopped writing yet!

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My very latest book is a cozy mystery, Mystery at the Book Festival. It’s book 3 in my Jean Hays series. My last science fiction book is Troubled Streets, book 1 in my Zoe Ohale series.

Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

For Zoe Ohale, life on the streets is hard. Maybe too hard. She is one of the lucky few in the gang to have a place to lay her head, but for the rest an old abandoned warehouse is the best they can hope for to keep out of the rain.

Zoe has debts to pay. On the one side, the Lees are pressuring her to be an informant; on the other, the criminal underworld threatens to swallow her whole. But Zoe would do anything for her gang of orphans, so she shuts up and straddles the line of loyalty between night and day, always teetering on the edge.

But when a new gang of credit thieves comes to Baia Mare, everything is thrown into disarray, and Zoe’s precarious balance starts to crumble. With lies, kidnapping, corruption and even worse in the mix, the city is bound for a descent into anarchy.

Will Zoe find a way to help right a few wrongs? Or will she be the one who ends up needing help?

Who is your intended readership?

Women and girls who are looking for a smart, tough, yet sensitive main character. In the first book, Zoe is 17, so it could be considered a YA story though adults have enjoyed the story, too.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always dabbled at writing. Mostly just a few chapters then I’d toss the whole thing. Then when my daughter challenged me to participate in National Novel Writing Month, she loaned me her copy of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He laid out everything in a way that made total sense to me. I started plotting out my story in mid-October and finished that first book by the end of Nano. I was pretty pumped and I’m still going strong.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I’ll have to say the classic scifi authors like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and others. Female authors too, C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, and so many more. All of my favorites tell compelling stories and with every book, take me on a vacation to far away exotic locations. What’s not to love!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

I’d say find what works for you and follow that. There’s a lot of advice out on the internet about how to be a writer. Some say you need to plot everything out, some say you should work by the seat of your pants. Other advice is to write every day, or edit as you go or don’t edit as you go. All I can say is I know authors who break one or more of all of those rules. Take classes, read craft books and figure out what works for you. You should find joy in writing. If you aren’t, perhaps you’re doing it wrong.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Once when my husband I were travelling west along I40 from Flagstaff, I saw a highway sign for Devil Dog Road. What a great name! I had to write a story based on that and I did. It’s in my collection of Halloween Stories, available on most book retailers

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I like to hike. I belong to a group that goes out and about central Arizona every Tuesday. I also belong to a monthly Bunco group and I started an annual book festival here in Payson.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I have several projects in the works. I have completed a first draft of the second Zoe Ohale story, Troubled Campus. It needs a lot of work so I probably won’t publish it until 2018. Coming out soon, though, is the 4th book in my Brown Rain series, Tested. A dystopian scifi series, the books are novelette or novella length so they’re great fast reads.

Mystery at the Fair

Welcome to Greyson, Arizona. Population: One less than yesterday.

When Jean Hays moved to Greyson, Arizona, she thought she’d found the perfect place in which to get away from her sleazy ex-husband and start over, a fresh beginning far from the big city.

But when she discovers the desiccated corpse of local quilting legend Ina Grange in a storage container on the fairgrounds where she’s volunteering, she inadvertently starts uncovering a deadly conspiracy just under the surface of the sleepy town.

Between managing the annual Greyson fair and pursuing the shadowy trail of destruction left by the murderer, Jean has her hands full dealing with drunken brawls and nasty falls, suspicious ex-wives and keen-sharp knives. And that’s not to mention the stubborn Police Chief himself.

Will Jean find the truth before the killer decides enough is enough?

Troubled Streets

Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

For Zoe Ohale, life on the streets is hard. Maybe too hard. She is one of the lucky few in the gang to have a place to lay her head, but for the rest an old abandoned warehouse is the best they can hope for to keep out of the rain.

Zoe has debts to pay. On the one side, the Lees are pressuring her to be an informant; on the other, the criminal underworld threatens to swallow her whole. But Zoe would do anything for her gang of orphans, so she shuts up and straddles the line of loyalty between night and day, always teetering on the edge.

But when a new gang of credit thieves comes to Baia Mare, everything is thrown into disarray, and Zoe’s precarious balance starts to crumble. With lies, kidnapping, corruption and even worse in the mix, the city is bound for a descent into anarchy.

Will Zoe find a way to help right a few wrongs? Or will she be the one who ends up needing help?

First Encounter

Seventeen years ago, the brown rain started falling without explanation, without excuse. It killed everything it touched.

Then, after four years of death and destruction, it stopped just as inexplicably.

Now Alyssa and Kyra, two young women from a surviving community, are sent out into a desolate world to look for other survivors. Between Alyssa’s unique power and Kyra’s roguish skills, they might just succeed. But what they end up finding in the outside world, despite its veneer of civility, may be slightly less human than they had been expecting.

Book Buying Links:

Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords

Where to find Connie Cockrell:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook

Author Spotlight – Andy Peloquin

Over this coming week, I’ll be introducing you to Andy Peloquin, and his works. He’s one of those authors that is very active online, especially in the writer communities. It’s my pleasure to be featuring him over the next few days, as he builds up to the release of “Thief of the Night Guild”, which you’ll be finding out more about below… And lucky you, that’s several days ahead of it’s official release date, of July 18th 2017.

So, without further delay, it’s time for you to meet the wonderful Andy Peloquin…

Introducing Andy Peloquin

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I was born in Japan to French and American parents, and have lived abroad (Japan/Mexico) my entire life. I’m an odd mixture of bodybuilder/fitness nut and fantasy nerd/comic book geek.

Here are a few more things:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Thief of the Night Guild is the second book in the Queen of Thieves series. The first book (Child of the Night Guild) examined the sort of traumas, abuses, and trials that would turn an innocent child into a hardened thief and killer. This second book answers two questions:

  • How does a woman survive in a society dominated by men?
  • What is a mother willing to do to protect her child?

The story follows Ilanna, a third-story thief (cat burglar) in the Night Guild (thieves’ guild). She pulls off her world’s first bank heist by breaking into a secure vault and stealing a fortune in gold and gemstones. It has the feel of a classic heist novel, but with the dark fantasy flair that I love to add to my stories. There’s death, loss, sorrow, betrayal, murder, mayhem, mystery, thieves, assassins, and poisoners—the best of fantasy!

Who is your intended readership?

The target audience is definitely mature adults. The themes in the book are dark and grim, but presented in a fascinating story.

Both men and women will enjoy the story of Ilanna. I wrote her as a character I (a man) would want to read, yet one women of all ages would be able to identify with. She’s definitely more confident in this second book than in the first, as she’s “come into her own” as a thief.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I, like so many other authors, spent a lot of time writing during my childhood and teenaged years. However, it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I realized that it was what I wanted to do with my life. Not just to piddle around and put together a story, but actually turn it into a full-time career.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I try to “model myself” after Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch. Scott Lynch’s characters are so rich and bold and alive, his worlds and stories so rich. There’s an excellence, professionalism, and gravitas to Brandon Sanderson’s writings that I try to infuse into my own.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Be ready for A LOT of work. The writing process is no more than 20% of what needs to be done to publish a book. There’s the editing, drafting, formatting, cover creation, and all the rest. Then there’s the marketing, outreach, advertising, and everything else that goes into getting your book in front of the right people. Prepare for a solid 10-year investment to turn it into a full-time career. That way, if it happens more quickly, it’ll be a “win”.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I’m a pretty hardcore (Marvel) comic geek. I like to get my hands on the latest comics and stay abreast of the latest developments in the story lines of my favorite characters (Deadpool, Wolverine, etc.). I also hit the gym/run daily, LOVE to cook, and enjoy puzzles, watching TV, and reading.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

In addition to finishing the third book in the series (titled “Queen of the Night Guild”), I’ll be finishing the fourth novel in my The Last Bucelarii series. I’ll also be releasing a collection of short stories titled “Different, Not Damaged”—all featuring different disorders (PTSD, autism, fibromyalgia, etc.) in a fantasy context. Basically, the disorders are what make these characters special, hence the name of the book.

#1 : Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

Buy now: Ahead of the release of “Thief of the Night Guild” – Kindle

Where to find Andy Peloquin:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook

Oh and one more thing…

Get a sneak peek of “Thief of the Night Guild”

Author Spotlight – Heidi Angell

You’re going to see this lady’s name pop up a couple of times in the next few days, because I’m a great fan of her work. Because of that, I couldn’t help but jump on board when she announced she wanted to do book tour for the release of her latest book “The Hunted”.

Heidi was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, for today’s slot. And then on the 28th, come back to read her take on “The History Of Werewolves”, a topic we both love discussing…

At the end of the interview is a big banner image, which when clicked will take you to Heidi’s website, where you can check out the other stops on the tour. And don’t forget to check out the books, which I’ve linked to at the very bottom of the post.

Introducing Heidi Angell

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Saga, The Clear Angel Chronicles, and The Hell School Series. She also created Royal Prince Vince, and Creative Exercises to Inspire.

When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her lovely family camping, hiking, swimming, or watching movies.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Goodness, what is there to say? I am a closet introvert, who loves to fangirl over books, movies and anime. We just introduced our teen boys to Firefly and it was AWESOME! I love helping others, sometimes to my own detriment, which is why I have started partnering with other groups (Like Brain to Books and Our Write Side) so that I have other volunteers to help make sure I don’t get burned out.
I am eclectic in my interests, and so my books tend to be pretty eclectic as well.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is The Hunted, the second book in The Hunters Saga. This is an urban fantasy/ horror series for those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed. The Hunted releases February 18th.

Who is your intended readership?

Well, beyond those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed, the book tends to appeal to fans of action, gratuitous violence (my vampires explode) and who like the idea of vampires, werewolves, immortals, and other supernatural beings as scary. They aren’t necessarily monsters, per se, but they are dangerous! Also, I deal in werewolves, not shifters. This isn’t PNR.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

It really feels like forever. I have always wanted to be a storyteller. My mom has pictures of me when I was no more than 2 or 3, on stage “telling a story”. I could read before I started school, and was a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until my 1st grade teacher used “publishing” a book to teach us about the different components. From then, I was hooked. I wrote my first full-length novel in fourth grade (it was horrible and will NEVER see the light of day!) and have just kept going from there, dabbling in different forms of story-telling, from poetry, to screenplays, to music, and beyond.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Nope, I cannot pick one. I couldn’t even pick 15! I find inspiration in every story I read, see, hear. That is part of why I started my bookish blog, to share these awesome authors that I am reading and meeting. Also, the fangirling thing. Yeah. Totally the fangirling thing!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Start networking now. You need a strong tribe to make it as a writer. And that doesn’t mean just networking with readers (though, you definitely should!) You also need to connect with other authors. They will be there to answer questions, to offer support, to read and critique. My top favorite networking groups right now are OWS– run by Amanda Mabry and Stephanie Ayers, B2B CyCon– Headed up by Angela B. Chrysler and run by some incredible volunteers! (like you!), Sci-fan Society – run by Richard M. Mulder, Support Indie Authors, and Beta Readers and Critique Partners–  run by Dianne Wolfden.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Fun fact, though I do not recommend taking NyQuil recreationally, you would be surprised the crazy things one writes when one is powering through the soporific effects. As many great writers were known to abuse drugs of one form or another, this is the closest I have ever come to that.  And it only happened about a month ago. But I also learned that one cannot edit when in the same condition. True Story.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I actually really enjoy marketing my books. Sometimes more than writing. Now that I am writing full time, I actually have to schedule in writing time because I would just spend all my time marketing if I didn’t. And I LOVE marketing, because to me it is just another form of story telling!

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Well, I was working on an Infection story, but I have this little novelette in Romance (GASPS! I know, I can’t believe it either!)that is kind of demanding my immediate attention. You can learn more here.

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The Hunters Saga

#1 The Hunters: For those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed.

What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the group’s lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?

The Hunted: Now The Hunters become the hunted.

The highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunters Saga. Follow Fury, Havoc and Screvin as they track down the Werewolf who turned Screvin and try to help her come to terms with what she is. Things are going better than expected with Avie, then the Counsel comes after them. Now the hunters have become the hunted.

Buy Your Copies Of “The Hunters” and “The Hunted” NOW!

Where to find Heidi Angell:

Learn more at her website www.heidiangell.com

Want to get to know Heidi better? Follow her on Goodreads, Instagram, or join her e-newsletter to get weekly emails that show Heidi’s reader side with author interviews, book reviews, and other awesome bookish fun!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon, Smashwords

Author Spotlight – J.N. Sheats

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Introducing J.N. Sheats

I’m a paranormal author, but before I published my first book I was a freelance illustrator and designer. Today I do all three. I love creating covers and new graphics for not only myself, but other authors as well.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Sure, my latest book was released in October 2016, and it’s titled Lineage, the first in the J.J. Morris mysteries.

The book centers on the small town of Portstown, and Joey Morris. A teenager that has lived a unique life moving around ever since she was eleven. Now that’s back in her family’s hometown she has settled into a nice flow of life, until mysterious wild dog attacks start.

This book is full of paranormal goodies, everything from murderous hounds, to wandering spirits.

Who is your intended readership?

While the book itself focuses on characters in their mid teens, my readership is more adult. My books tend to be rather dark, haunting, and violent with adult themes for a more grownup audience.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

8th grade, I had a dream which I thought would be an awesome book, and from that day forward I was writing in notebooks. Never thought it would ever go anywhere, and for a while it went onto the back burner but not anymore.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I have too many favorite authors to list them all; as for inspiration I pull it from all over. From movies, watching people interact, or family drama. I never know where the idea for my next book is going to show up.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Write, just write. Don’t worry about genres, or fitting into this type of writing style or following this outlining process. Just write whatever you want, be true to yourself and your characters.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

I do have a quote I love. I stumbled upon it when I was studying animation, but I feel it applies to writing or any creative art.

“As an artist you have 10,000 bad drawings given to you at birth. Now spend your lifetime getting them out!” ~Sheldon Borenstein

Change the drawings to drafts and it rings true for writers.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I have too many hobbies. Aside from writing I illustrate/draw, garden, make jewelry, cook, read, and watch tons of brain rotting television.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I have a lot of little projects in the works, including a short fantasy series that will be released monthly in a special newsletter, called Divine Legacy. As far as my next big project, that would have to be Dreamscape, JJ Morris #2.

I always have goodies to tease people with. How about a look at the new character coming in Dreamscape?

Riann

A shy college student that comes face to face with the Dream Conductor and lives to tell about it. Frightened by the Conductor’s plans for her and others like her, Riann seeks out Joey for help. But the Dream Conductor is known for manipulating people, and using them for their own evil deeds. Can Riann trust herself and her judgment or is she putting Joey and the others in danger?

Catch the first 5 raw unedited chapters of Lineage on my blog:

Inside the Insanity

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5

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About The Author:

J.N. Sheats is an artist turned author. Living in Maryland with six wild cats, and her husband, J.N. spends her days designing covers and teasers for other authors. At night she is at the mercy of her demanding characters, and their wild fantasies.

Dark Paranormal Fantasy is her preferred genre of writing, but anything is game. Maybe even a lovely romance novel or two in the near future.

When not writing, designing, or drawing, J.N. spends her time doing a host of other activities. Including: gardening, jewelry making, cooking, and watching far too much television.

Catch what’s up in J.N. Sheats’ crazy life with the links below. Stalkers welcomed. 😉

Website : Facebook : Twitter : Blog : Newsletter

Get exclusive sneak-peeks and more of Dreamscape, JJ Morris #2, on my patreon.

BECOME MY PATRON

Follow the progress of Dreamscape and all writing/art projects. Plus, first looks at raw chapters, prizes, deleted scenes, and much more!

“A dream is but a lie humanity embraces with eager submission—longing for it’s devious reality.”

~The Dream Conductor, Dreamscape~

 

Brought to you by:

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Author Spotlight – Belinda Crawford

Back in April of this year, I introduced you to “Hero” by Belinda Crawford. This was the first of her “Hero Rebellion” series, and Belinda just released the second installment of the series “Riven”. So I am thankful that I was able to steal some of her time for this interview, especially since promoting a new book takes up a lot of time.

So, without further ado, I’m handing you over to Belinda. (Oh, and don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the upcoming Book Spotlight for “Riven”).

Introducing Belinda Crawford

Belinda Crawford is a horse-mad geek who loves rock music, hates pink and is occasionally driven nuts by the need to organise. She grew up riding fat, stubborn little ponies and questionably sane horses, and only discovered the delights of reading after her mum bought her a horse magazine.

Riven is Belinda’s second book. She’s currently writing the third, and final, instalment in The Hero Rebellion, with plans to write many more adventures in the world of Jørn.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I’m a sucker for Country music, I like my steak medium-rare and am totally hanging out for season 4 of RWBY, not to mention Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I’m not geeking out, I’m training horses and writing books, although not at the same time. That would be awkward.

I also make a wicked triple chocolate marshmallow ice cream and awesome pancakes, sometimes as the same time because, yum.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Riven is the second book in The Hero Rebellion trilogy and it features explosions, disasters, aliens, chases and weaponized chocolate. That last one is my favorite part of the book. Totally awesome.

If that’s not enough to tickle your tastebuds, The Hero Rebellion is a sci-fi series for young adults that follows the story of a young telepath called Hero as she tries to get a life. Riven takes place a year after the first book.

After foiling a centuries-old conspiracy in book 1, Hero has just about everything she wants, except her best friend is keeping secrets and Fink, her 600kg, genetically engineered companion is constantly angry. To top it all off, there’s something wrong with Hero’s brain, like blackouts and nosebleeds wrong.

Who is your intended readership?

Me, aged 13! Seriously though, I wrote the series for younger teenage readers who like movies such as Star Wars that are full of action and adventure. It’s also for kids who like computers, horses and the idea of running around a futuristic city in secret.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a storyteller. As a (mostly) only child with a vivid imagination, I’d entertain myself making up stories that I played out with teddy bears and Barbies.anything Later, in high school, I discovered text-based roleplaying, which is effectively collaborative storytelling and discovered that I loved writing.

But still, it wasn’t until my aunt told me she thought I should write a book, because I’d read so many of them, that the idea took hold. Up until then, I’d never thought of writing as anything more than a hobby. It took a few more years, several false starts and a change in career but eventually I decided to give the writing thing a serious go, and now here I am.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Tamora Pierce is a huge favorite of mine and has been since I was a kid, I’m also a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series, which does a phenomenal job of bringing to life a complex fantasy world. Another book I also recommend to people, and is great inspiration for me, is Path of the Fury by David Weber. The opening chapter is a brilliant example of how to write an action scene, it’s gritty, heart wrenching and just plain awesome.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Keeping writing stuff! From my own experience and that of the authors I’ve talked to, I’ve found that writers learn by doing. You can take courses, get a PhD and read a thousand books, but the only way you’re going to improve is to write. Write bad stuff, write good stuff but most importantly, have fun.

I honed my skills writing Star Trek fan fiction and had a blast while doing it. Along the way I learned a lot and discovered the kinds of things I’m passionate about writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

My family owns a small Arabian horse stud in High Country, Victoria, and when I’m not writing I’m usually outside working with the horses.

Currently I’m getting started in endurance riding, which is the equine equivalent of a marathon. There’s a lot of training involved, not just to get the horse fit but to get them used to the things they’ll encounter during a ride, like plastic bags and ride-on mowers.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Right now, I’m working on the third and final book in The Hero Rebellion and I’m really excited about the end of Hero’s story (HINT: it involves an explosion, a viral outbreak and a sunset). The story picks up roughly a year after the events of Riven. I won’t give away any spoilers but I will tell you that we’re going to find out more about Jørn and the beings that live on the surface as well as find out what really happened to Hero’s uncle, Paris.

After The Hero Rebellion, I’ll be starting another Jørn series. There’ll be AIs and funky mind powers like in The Hero Rebellion, but this time there’ll also be spaceships and creepy alien shipwrecks. It’ll be a little bit different from the first series, but just as much fun.

The Hero Rebellion

#1 :Hero

Centuries ago, humans colonised Jørn, a lonely planet on the far side of the galaxy. Arriving in five great colony ships, they quickly settled the surface only to discover, after a few short years, that the planet was killing them. The culprit, a native spore, carried on every wind to every corner of the globe.

Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species, saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure. Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into cities that floated above the spore’s reach.

Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices, voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers, bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.

Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City. Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.

Where to Buy: Amazon, Kobo, Signed Copies

#2 : Riven

Hero Regan is a telepath, the first in a new subspecies of human engineered to save the world, but that was before she blew up a chunk of Cumulus City. Now the world doesn’t need her, which is just how she likes it.

Hero has just about everything she wants: independence, friendship and a shot at her fondest dream—to explore the surface of the alien planet she calls home. Life would be perfect except her best friend is keeping secrets, Fink—her six hundred kilogram, genetically engineered companion—is constantly angry, and there’s something wrong with Hero’s brain. Like, really, really wrong.

It all wouldn’t be so bad, except Hero has secrets to keep too—the kind that may just be unforgivable—and the Librarian once again needs her help to save the world, whether she wants to or not.

With past actions coming back to haunt her, old friendships falling apart and new, confusing ones coming together, Hero has to find answers because, this time, the world really is going to change.

Where to Buy: Amazon, Kobo, Signed Copies

Where to find Belinda Crawford:

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Email

Author Spotlight – C.L. Schneider

C.L. Schneider is an author that some of you might already be familiar with from my “Crown of Stones” Series Spotlight back in February.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in email contact with her, despite her upcoming deadline for her current project. It was a pleasure reading her responses to the questions, and finding out we have a lot of interests in common. We share a love of Jim Butcher’s work, and both believe in the power of networking.

Without the work of Jim Butcher, and Dean Koontz, I would very likely never have had the courage to start consider writing in the first person, and immerse myself as fully in my characters as I do. But, it’s the power of networking that allows me to discover some amazing indie authors, bring them to your attention, and give their readers a chance to discover my own work.

So, without further delay, it’s time for you to meet the wonderful C.L. Schneider…

Introducing C.L. Schneider

C.L. Schneider grew up in a small Kansas town on the Missouri River, in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel was penned at sixteen on a type-writer in her parent’s living room. A self-published author of adult epic and urban fantasy, C. L. currently resides in New York’s Hudson Valley region with her husband and two sons. Her trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is an immersive epic dark fantasy that follows the trials of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

My name is C. L. (Cynthia or Cindy) Schneider, I am a self-published author of epic and urban fantasy. Originally from a small town in Kansas, I now live in New York’s Hudson Valley Region with my husband and two sons, a hound dog, a kitten named Holly, and Skittles, the grumpy old cat who hates her. I’m a stay at home mom turned full time writer. I published my first novel (The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price) in late December of 2013. Holding that book in my hands for the first time was the best Christmas present ever!

Most of my day is spent at my laptop, or letting the various animals in and out of the house. Coffee, wine, chocolate, and my cell phone are never far out of reach. My guilty pleasures are zombies, Netflix, shopping, torturing my characters, and Twitter (where I am using talking about zombies, Netflix, shopping, and torturing my characters).

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My last release, in February 2016, was The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne. The final installment in The Crown of Stones Trilogy, Magic-Borne wraps up the story of Ian Troy and his dark journey to embrace the one thing he fears most: his own power.  Only then can Ian have a hope of stopping the war, healing the racial divide among the realms, saving the people he cares for, ending the slave laws, and curing his people’s addiction to magic. But the freedom and peace he seeks will only come through great personal sacrifice. Will Ian pay what fate requires?

Magic-Borne was as much an emotional journey for my characters as it was for me. I had lived and breathed Ian Troy and his world for quite a few years. To say it was sad to wrap up the trilogy and say goodbye, is an understatement. It also felt amazing. Ian’s story with the Crown of Stones is complete, but there are definitely more stories to be told down the road, with these characters and in the world that I created for them.

Who is your intended readership?

I write for anyone who likes dark character-driven epic and urban fantasy with lots of twists and turns. My writing is for adults. I don’t shy away from mature themes.  I write flawed characters and anti-heroes, whose decisions are sometimes far from good. My intention is to tell an entertaining story that draws my readers in and makes them feel.  Whether they laugh, cry, or curse me, as long as I’ve sparked some emotion, then I’ve done my job.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I caught the writing bug when I was a child. By the time I was sixteen, I was dreaming of becoming a published author. I started writing my first full length novel that summer (which is currently sitting in a box in my closet). I never stopped writing after that, but school, career, and family happened, and my dream was put on the back burner for many years. When my children were old enough to be in school full time, I was finally able to devote myself to writing full time. That’s when The Crown of Stones Trilogy was first born.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

One of my favorite authors, who had a large influence on my early writing, is C. J. Cherryh. I discovered her books when I was in my early 20’s and read everything I could get my hands on. Her Gate series (The Morgaine Saga) is amazing, and I fell in love with her Rusalka trilogy. Her character-driven stories just swept me away and taught me so much about developing flawed characters.

Later on, I discovered Jim Butcher and Simon R. Greene, and I devoured their books. I had always enjoyed reading and writing in first person. It felt more natural to me. Yet, I was told to avoid writing in it, because it was hard to do well. Reading Jim Butcher and Simon Greene, and seeing how they handled first person, gave me the courage and confidence to write the way I always wanted to. Their influence allowed me to tell a traditional epic fantasy story with a more contemporary voice.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

  • Write every day if you can. Flexing your creative muscle on a regular basis will help you find your own voice. Even if it’s only a few lines and you delete it the next day, it makes a difference.
  • Don’t just read in the genre you’re writing in or only read epics because that’s what you like to write. Read across all genres. Read short stories, novellas, epics, poetry. Not only can it be a source of inspiration, it’s a great learning experience. It will help you get a feel for things like character development, pacing, for how other authors handle certain points of view. There is so much you can learn just by reading another’s work.
  • Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. It’s a comfy place, but nothing will ever happen if you stay inside.
  • Share your stories and ask for feedback. Connect and network with other authors. They are a goldmine of resources and inspiration, even friendship.
  • Write fearlessly. Don’t just write outside of the box, throw the box away. Never be afraid to push your limits.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I’m a Netflix junkie. Does that count?? I enjoy baking, walking/hiking, and reading. I love the movies, and I’m a bit of a foodie. My husband and I both are. From food trucks in Hawaii to fine dining in Quebec, we love the presentation and experience of finding new and exotic foods and drinks to enjoy.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

My current work in progress is Nite Fire, the first book in my new adult urban fantasy series. Nite Fire is told from the POV of female protagonist, Dahlia Nite, an empathic shapeshifter from a parallel world. The series is present day and set mainly in the fictitious, Sentinel City (an urban hot-spot for the unexplained). It will also feature travel to parallel worlds, including Dahlia’s home, Drimera, which is very different from our own. Though ruled by dragons, Drimera is mainly populated by lyrriken; a half-dragon, half-human species capable of shifting between two forms: full human and a human-dragon hybrid. Bearing some of the gifts of their dragon fathers, lyrriken are capable of using a higher percentage of their brain then humans, giving them the ability to manipulate their bodies in ways we would consider magical.

Dahlia fled her world for ours over ninety years ago after being condemned to die by the powerful dragon queen, Naalish. Dahlia spends her life here living on the road, hunting the creatures that cross illegally into the human world to do us harm. When a series of brutal killings disguised as spontaneous combustion strike Sentinel City, Dahlia knows the killer is one of her own. Worming her way into the investigation, she teams up with a human detective to solve the case, while struggling to maintain the lies that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries.

As Dahlia searches for the truth behind the murders, the bit of peace she’s found in this world starts to unravel.

Nite Fire will be released in 2017.  If you would like a sneak peek, you can find an early excerpt of the first chapter on my website on the My Playground page.

large-trilogy-banner

#1 : Magic-Price

COVER Crown of Stones Magic PriceIan Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races.

Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war, and pays a terrible price.

A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him, until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ian’s past crashing into the present. Targeted by a rogue Shinree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end.

With the land he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.

Buy Now: Kindle, Paperback

#2 : Magic-Scars

Final cover Magic-ScarsMagic doesn’t wound the same as a sword.

The story of Ian Troy continues in Magic-Scars, the second installment in C. L. Schneider’s riveting epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones.

Captured by his old enemy, King Draken of Langor, Shinree magic user Ian Troy was sentenced to prison. Tortured and drugged, robbed of his will, his memories, and his magic, Ian was made to do unspeakable things. Rescued, as his body slowly rids itself of the drug, Ian realizes he has returned to an unfamiliar world gripped with fear. In the wake of his fall, those he cared for were left to their own grim fates. Draken has seized control of the realms and named himself High King. His brutal rein has sparked a desperate rebellion that Ian now finds himself a part of. His one task: recover and repair the Crown of Stones, in hopes it will tip the balance in the revolution that is brewing. In pursuit of the reason behind the artifact’s strange loss of magic, Ian is driven to release an explosion of retribution and power that leaves him irrevocably scarred.

Struggling to reconcile the man he has become with the man he once was, Ian strives to understand the growing number of magic-scars adorning his body. He searches for the truth behind his link to the Crown of Stones and uncovers shocking secrets buried for generations beneath the sand. To become the weapon the resistance needs, he must assume responsibility for his magical inheritance. But can he curb the destructive appetite that comes with it?

The price of Ian’s magic and his addiction have never been higher.

Buy Now: Kindle, Paperback

#3 : Magic-Borne

MB final coverIn one fell swoop, the resistance was shattered. Lives were taken. Hope was lost. Peace slipped like grains of sand through his fingers. So did the Crown of Stones. Now, forced into hiding, Ian Troy grapples for a way to save the realm—and free its people—from the sadistic clutches of Jem Reth; Mirra’kelan’s new self-appointed emperor. Plagued with the knowledge of a tragic future, he strives to influence events and save those he cares for. But his magic has betrayed him, and Fate has other plans.

Marked by the crown, hindered by the transformation spell contained within, each cast brings Ian one step closer to becoming more beast than man. Each move brings the death and destruction foretold in his vision inexplicably nearer. With Langor on the brink of war, and King Malaq’s plan for peace hanging in the balance, Ian returns to the ancient past; seeking an end to the eldring spell and a means to thwart Jem’s growing domination. What he finds there sets off a chain of revelations that leads Ian places he never thought to go.

Entrusted with the future of his race, Ian becomes the linchpin for lasting change. But how much weight can one man carry? And how much is he willing to sacrifice in the name of peace?

Buy Now: Kindle, Paperback

Where to find C.L. Schneider:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Facebook

Want to read some of “The Crown of Stones” series, before buying?

Check out the prologues @
clschneiderauthor.com