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Enter bestselling fantasy author KateMarie Collins!

KateMarie Collins

 

Thanks for joining us today, KateMarie! I remember when you first got started and almost fell over in shock from all the good reviews. 🙂 What prompted you to write?

A bad thing that ended up very good! LOL. We’d been playing in a Dungeons & Dragons game for several years when the entire party was killed or imprisoned suddenly. Fast forward a few weeks, and my character from that game is resurrected in another one. Unable to explain what was going on at the table, I sat down the next morning and wrote what ended up being a short story. Everyone loved it, and asked for more. Once you let the Muse out like that, She doesn’t like being silenced. LOL

Why fantasy?

I love fantasy. It’s pretty much all I read as I grew up. It’s natural for me to write in the genre, and I tend to run the gamut of fantasy sub-genres. To be honest, I like being able to create my own worlds, gods, versions of magic!

What would you like to tell us about your books and stories? How can we find them?

All of my titles are available on Amazon. Print books are also available there and through a number of other venues like Powell’s Books and Barnes & Noble. [Solstice Publishing carries both Kindle and print versions of most of its titles.]

What’s the one thing that drives you crazy as a reader, the one thing you promised yourself never to do as a writer?

I hate books that pander to readers and talk down to them. I like what I call ‘intelligent reads’. Books where the author gives the reader credit for intelligence and doesn’t have to remind you every other page (or paragraph for that matter) that a character’s hair is red or they’re a cop. I like a book where something’s said in passing on page 10 and isn’t mentioned again until it becomes relevant. Because that’s what I like to read, that’s how I write.

Did you find writing a challenge at first? Do you still, or not?

At first, yes. I grew up in an environment where creativity wasn’t encouraged. It took me years to stop hearing the voice in my head telling me that I should give up because I would never measure up, let alone get published. I’ve all but silenced that voice, but it does try and resurface every now and then. When it does, I go look at my bookshelf and tell it what it can do with ‘not good enough’! LOL

How would you classify yourself—as an organized writer, or an intuitive one, or a mix of both? Why?

Intuitive, hands down. I don’t use spreadsheets with character or place names. I don’t outline. I get an idea, know how to start it and how I want it to finish it. From there, I let the characters tell me what happens in the middle. I think a lot of that stems from when I used to write with my eyes closed. The scene would play like a movie in my head and my fingers would find the words on the keyboard. It was the only way I could write without stopping every other word and spend 45 minutes debating if I was using the right adverb. When my own self-doubt was so crippling that you’re scared of how good your writing was, the only way to write was in a way where I couldn’t analyze every sentence or word.

Has there been anything about getting published that surprised you? Or anything about the process?

It took me time to get used to the idea that I was now a public person in respect to my books. When you’re raised to think that any sort of self-promoting or confidence is a sign of being a braggart/rudest sort of person, it’s hard to work around that type of programming. But the only way for me to succeed as an author is to take control of my image and be the type of author I’d want to meet.

Do you have anything you would like to share with aspiring writers?

It’s not a get quick rich scheme, that’s for sure. It’s work. Years and years of promoting and staying positive before you even start seeing sales come in. If you truly love to write, though, and are willing to both work with your publisher and promote, it’s worth it. This is one of the few industries where the nice guy finishes first. Take your ego out of the book, put it in a nice box on a shelf, and be ready for the best roller coaster you’ll ever ride.

Where can we find you and your books? 

BOOK LINKS

Daughter of Hauk:  myBook.to/Daughterofhauk

Son of Corse:  myBook.to/sonofcorse

Wielder of Tiren: myBook.to/WielderofTiren

The Raven Chronicles: myBook.to/theravenchronicles

 

Guarding Charon: myBook.to/guardingcharon

 

Arine’s Sanctuary: myBook.to/arinessanctuary

 

Kick the Can: myBook.to/kickthecan

Looking At The Light: myBook.to/lookingatthelight

A Stab at the Dark: myBook.to/astabatthedark

The Rose Box: myBook.to/therosebox

Permafrost:  myBook.to/permafrost

Challenges Met: myBook.to/challengesmet

Siaira: myBook.to/siaira

 

Fin’s Magic: myBook.to/finsmagic

Alaric’s Bow: myBook.to/alaricsbow

Emile’s Blade: myBook.to/emilesblade

Amari: Three Tales of Love and Triumph: myBook.to/amari1

 

Mark of the Successor: myBook.to/markofthesuccessor

Consort of the Successor: myBook.to/consortofthesuccessor

 

Twitter:  @DaughterHauk

FB:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492

Blog:  http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com

Email: katemariecollins@gmail.com

 

 

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FREE DAYS AT AMAZON: Meet THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND!!!

THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER UNEXPECTED TALES has been getting great reviews. Thank you, readers!!! 😀

Because the season of spookiness is upon us, and The Ossuary Playground is a collection of (mostly) paranormal tales, I’ve decided to celebrate my favorite time of the year by offering THREE FREE DAYS at http://www.amazon.com! The Kindle edition of the book is being offered for free starting Tuesday Oct 17 and running through Thursday Oct 19th. During these three days, the price will show as free/$0.00.  (If it hasn’t yet where you live, please check back–sometimes there’s a little catch up on amazon’s part.)

Get your copy and read the reviews! See what all the hurrah is about! And if you are so inclined, please share yours as well.

Spread the word, and happy reading! 😀

The Ossuary-001

 

 


 


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Interview With Thriller Author John DeBoer

 

It’s that time again! Meet another one of Solstice Publishing’s fantastic authors. Today, we meet John DeBoer.

Hi John! Thanks for stopping by! As you know, I’m always interested in what brings people into this field. What was your journey?

I enjoyed writing term papers in high school and college English classes. Thanks to an old-school teacher in the ninth grade who drilled the rules of grammar into me, and two literate parents, both of whom published non-fiction books, I did pretty well. But writing a book never occurred to me then. My focus was on medical school and then surgical training. During that time I wrote a few scientific articles for surgical journals, but the rules regarding their formats were strict; and they obviously weren’t fictional stories. Later on, when I was engaged in my surgical career, our annual Christmas letter gave me the opportunity to let my imagination loose in humorous takes on recaps of our family’s doings during the year and comments on world events. Friends and family enjoyed these letters. “You should write a book!” some of them said. So I did. And the bug that lay hidden deep within me for decades became an active infection!

What are your genres, and what led you to choose them?

That one’s easy. I’ve always been an active reader, especially of fiction, and my favorite class of stories has been the thriller. So that’s what I chose to write. And that’s all I write, though there are elements of mystery and romance in all of my novels.

What would you like to tell us about your books? How can we find them?

My novels involve conflicts between the good guys and bad guys. (“Guys” here is generic; my stories also have strong female characters.) And in all of my books, the good guys win. I’m never ambiguous about the conflict resolution! I’ve noticed some authors leave their stories open-ended, presumably to set up sequels, but to me, that cheats the reader. If I want to do a sequel (and I’ve done that), I’ll have a totally new plot involving those characters.

We have to love thoroughly satisfying resolutions! 🙂

All of my books can be seen on my website, www.novelsbyjohnldeboer.com and are available for purchase on Amazon.

Did you find writing a challenge at first? Do you still, or not?

I’m always challenged to come up with a compelling idea for a story. My first book relied on the axiom of, “Write what you know,” fictionalizing parts of my own life. The actual writing of it, though, other than deciding what would happen to my characters and how, was not an issue for me. I have learned a number of dos and don’ts of story composition along the way, however, thanks to editors and reviewers in my online critique group.

How would you classify yourself – as an organized writer or an intuitive one, or a mixture of both? Why?

I’d have to say I’m an intuitive writer. During my surgical career, I had to be both organized and intuitive. But writing my stories is never organized! I start with a vague idea of a plot, but I never know how it will end (other than the good guys win, of course). I may write down bullet points for what I want included in a chapter, but I don’t outline the whole novel. I saw this quote from E.L. Doctorow that applies to me: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the entire journey that way.” Yes! That’s how I write my books. I also don’t set a daily schedule – so many minutes, so many words. When the muse hits me, I write until she leaves or life gets in the way. This could be all day or less than an hour. Truth be told, most days I don’t write a lick. But a day doesn’t go by when I’m not thinking about how my plot will proceed. Mostly when I’m in the shower or trying to get to sleep at night!

I can’t answer the why part of the question. It’s just the way I am.

Has there been anything about getting published that surprised you? Or anything about the process?

I was surprised to learn how hard it was to get published! I had just written my first book – a super story, to my mind. “Let’s get this puppy published.” At the time, I was unaware of such independent publishers as Solstice and thought one needed an agent to pitch the book to a Big 5 publisher. I wasted a year trying to get agents to even respond to my queries, let alone sign me. I gave up and self-published it. And I thought that was what my publishing future would be thereafter. But then, through Preditors & Editors, I think, I came across a publisher that didn’t require an agent intermediary. Lo and behold, they offered me a contract! I was on cloud nine. A real publisher! It took two books to realize this press was not for me. They weren’t author-friendly and not really helpful at all. So I went looking for an alternative and found one for my next book. Again, it wasn’t a major publisher, but I could actually talk to the owner on the phone, and she was very helpful regarding marketing. Problems developed, though, that I won’t go into, and that’s when I found Solstice.

Another thing that surprised me along the way of this journey was the importance – no, necessity – of marketing. In the beginning, I naively thought once my book was out there, readers would eat it up. I didn’t even consider using social media, getting reviewers, or having a website. Sounds really stupid now, but I was uncomfortable having to be a salesman for my own wares.

Do you have anything you would like to share with aspiring writers?

Count me among those aspiring writers. I’m always aspiring! But I get your meaning, and I have eight novels published, so I do have some experience I can share. Bear in mind, these are my personal opinions; take them for what they’re worth.

First of all, aspiring writers, don’t go into writing with the idea this is a path to fame and fortune, or at the very least, to providing a living, though it can happen. If the money comes rolling in, you become a NYT bestselling author, and an A-list actor will play your protagonist in a film, great. The odds are stacked heavily against you, though.

Secondly, and it follows the first, you have to love writing, because that love may be all you get out of it. And let’s be frank. What drives that love is ego. A sense of accomplishment. If you plan to write your stories only for yourself to enjoy, that’s fine, but then you won’t need any advice from me, and this entire post will be a waste of your time. I’ll assume, though, you want your novels to be available to the public to like as well as you do, and to like you in the process. Ego projected! Regardless of financial reward – and as I suggested, that is likely to be relatively small – recognition of a job well done by unknown readers is very satisfying. Ego massaged!

My third bit of counsel is associated with the first two. You’ve written a book; a book you think deserves, if not widespread praise, at least a favorable reception. You’ve self-published it or landed a publisher. You’ve hyped it on Facebook and Twitter and have even garnered some five-star reviews. But the sales are terrible. Don’t give up! I know that advice is trite and usually given by those who have already made their mark in the literary world. Easy for them to say. But some of those writers toiled for years in the wilderness before being “discovered.” So that advice applies even for those who have yet to publish their first book, let alone worry about sales ranking. Your book is one among thousands of books published every week. It’s a crowded field, but that doesn’t mean you should follow Yogi Berra’s words of wisdom:  “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

Okay, let’s assume you won’t give up being discovered. Besides optimism (and my encouragement), though, is there a good reason for you to persevere? Do you know your writing is sound, your stories attractive? That brings me to my fourth – and last (You thought it would never come, right?) – piece of advice: Get objective opinions of your creations before offering them for publication. I’m not talking friends and family here, obviously, but input from other writers and/or editors. Editors cost money, and you’re only getting one critique at a time, but a good one knows their way around competent storytelling. More bang for your buck would be a writing community, either in-person or online. I’ve workshopped all my novels in such a venue before presenting them for publication, and it’s been an extremely rewarding experience. I’ve become a much better writer because of it.

Keep writing, keep perfecting your craft, and keep getting your stories – and name – out there. Who knows? Your next novel could be the one that has Hollywood producers beating a path to your door.

Excellent advice!

Where can we find your books?

Books of mine published by Solstice Publishing:

Get the Picture? https://www.amazon.com/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY

The Sincerest Form of Flattery  https://www.amazon.com/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK

How Little We Know  https://www.amazon.com/How-Little-Know-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B01CO4618O

When the Reaper Comes  https://www.amazon.com/When-Reaper-Comes-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B01M9JQVO2

Social Media Links:

Facebook  www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/John-L-DeBoers-novels/713214712080731

Twitter  https://twitter.com/johnldeboer

Amazon author page  www.amazon.com/author/johnldeboer

Website  www.novelsbyjohnldeboer.com

Thank you John, and continued success!

 

 

 


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More praise for THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND!

Straight off of my amazon.com page. Fellow author Susan Solomon says:

“I enjoy a good ghost story, always have. But not the kind filled with demonic spirits and gratuitous bloodletting that seem to glut today’s market. When a friend loaned me a copy of Cynthia Ley’s “The Ossuary Playground and Other Unexpected Tales,” and told me it contained the kind of literary ghost tales I enjoy, I couldn’t wait to read it. This book of four short stories certainly didn’t disappoint me. The first three were what I would term classic ghost stories, in which a spirit seeking peace, or, as in the third of Ms. Ley’s tales absolution interacts with the living. The fourth, the title story, embodies a different type of spirit, but mentioning what that is would be a spoiler. What binds these stories is the twist at the end, the “unexpected” that the author suggests in her title.

“Beyond the nature of these stories, what kept me reading until my eyes grew bleary is that each is told with an elegance of prose too often missing from writing today. For me, and I’m certain for others who enjoy good literature, “The Ossuary Playground and Other Unexpected Tales”  is a book well worth reading.”

Why not light the candles, cozy up to the fire, and enjoy some reading for the season?

THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND is available in both print and Kindle editions

 

The Ossuary-001


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Meet Solstice author Ken Newman!

The Ark-001[1051]

 

Hi Ken, and thank you for sharing some time with our readers! I always ask the same questions, because the answer is never the same.

What got you into writing?

Years ago I had an idea for a simple little vampire tale, but I didn’t have a clue about books or even where to start. The story didn’t work out, but the process of writing—learning to properly write—was like a gateway drug. I absolutely loved it and have never looked back.

What are your genres, and what led you to choose them?

I am drawn to science fiction, fantasy, mystery, action adventure and some horror. I prefer topics out of the ordinary. Larger than life heroes, twisted mysteries, life and death situations served with a generous dollop of the supernatural. Even my one shot at a hardboiled detective noir has a strong supernatural element. Mystery is the spice of life and the last thing I want to do is tell a bland, tasteless story.

What would you like to tell us about your books and stories? And how can we find them?

I have three novels and one short story with Solstice Publishing.

The Ark is a dark, sci-fi spin on the Biblical story of Noah’s ark. Imagine an antediluvian civilization as advanced as our own, facing complete destruction. Noah must not only contend with natural enemies, to save his family, but supernatural as well.

Bedeviled is a first person noir-styled gritty mystery where I introduce cocky private investigator, Inky Snow. Inky finds herself with a sudden case of amnesia—two missing days and a case she can’t remember. Little does Inky know that she only has a few hours to solve this mystery or this case will be her last.

The Witch Tattoo is a quirky, tongue-in-cheek adventure about a powerful three-thousand-year-old witch named Wu Xian Zui, whose spirit is trapped within a tattoo. Xian needs a willing host to survive and she finds herself sharing a body with a hapless young man named Eric Fane. As they struggle to adapt to their new, bizarre relationship, they find themselves embroiled in a deadly mystery.

All my books can be found at Amazon and my web page http://www.newkman.net

Amazon author’s page: amazon.com/author/newkman

Did you find writing a challenge at first? Do you still, or not?

Challenge? That is an understatement. I was completely out of my element, but being too hard headed to listen to reason, I never gave up. However, I found it is much more than grammar and ‘I’ before ‘e’. You have to have a personal style or voice to make your story live. I have discovered that the voice is paramount even if you have to shatter a few inviolate rules in the process. With every story I try to improve my meager abilities, even to the point of going outside my comfort zone to weave an interesting tale. It isn’t easy, but if I can establish a clear, distinctive voice, substantial characters and easy story flow, then I have achieved my goal.

How would you classify yourself—as an organized writer, or an intuitive one, or a mix of both? Why?

I suppose a mix would be the best description. I don’t follow an outline or plan. I start with a germ of an idea and let it grow. I find it wildly entertaining to see how it turns out. Often, the characters, and not me, are in charge and write their own story; however, I have to a have a concrete destination or things get out of hand.

Has there been anything about getting published that surprised you? Or anything about the process?

Not really. Other than cover art. I don’t think I will ever be completely happy with the cover. Why did Frank Frazetta have to die, just when I needed him the most?

Do you have anything you would like to share with aspiring writers?

Buy and consume a copy of The Elements of Style. Develop a strong voice and a thick hide. Read….read and then read some more. Take reviews and comments with a grain of salt-you will never be as good or as bad as they say. Listen to your editor. She knows best.

Bedeviled-001

Author links:

http://www.newkman.net

amazon.com/author/newkman

@newkman61

http://www.facebook.com/newkman61

The Ark: goo.gl/k8HhKy

Bedeviled: goo.gl/pLfnPv

The Witch Tattoo: goo.gl/tHPFwj

The Witch Tattoo-001

Thank you, Ken! Happy sales!


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Welcome Award Winning Author CJ Warrant!

CJWarrant_MirrorImage_eCover_1400

 

Hi CJ! It’s delightful to have you here!  Thank you for spending some time with us today. 🙂

What got you into writing? As far back as I can remember I loved making up stories, but particularly poems. I had an awesome 8th grade English teacher who had encouraged me to write more seriously. But life has a way of shifting directions and I didn’t fully immerse myself into writing until later—after a career, marriage and three kids. However, bottom line, I have to give my husband full credit. He gave me the push to pursue my passion in writing.

What are your genres, and what led you to choose them? I write dark romantic thriller and paranormal suspense. What leads me in that direction of those genres is my voice. And I love to read stories that make my heart race and at the same time can’t seem to put the book down. Both romance and thrillers do that for me.

What would you like to tell us about your books and stories? How can we find them? I love writing dark romance. To reach into those moments and feel despair, hatred, and rage with love mixed in between. Like my first book, Forgetting Jane, which is a paranormal thriller, where a woman was brutally beaten, buried and left for dead. She claws herself out of the ground to live. The desperation to survive. Or in the eyes of a killer in my new romantic thriller, Mirror Image, where you see the disturbing reality of a killer and the reasoning why she murders men. In that single act affects so many lives, especially her twin sister. All my books start out dark, like you’re huddled in a tunnel. But by the end, you’re standing in the sunshine, happy.

You can find my books on Amazon and Solstice Publishing.

Did you find writing a challenge at first? Do you still, or not? I don’t find writing a       challenge. I can whip up a story easily, but what I do find challenging is edits. I loathe the process. Yet, it’s necessary to make sure you hand your editor a good story. 😉

How would you classify yourself—as an organized writer, or an intuitive one, or a mix of both? Why? I’m a pantser through and through. However, over the last few years I do organize my characters, their history and arc. Who they are? What they do for a living? Etc. I have to know who I’m writing about to make the story flow. Without them, there’s no story.

Has there been anything about getting published that surprised you? Or anything about the process? I have author friends who basically told me what I’m about to venture into. But it’s still a learning curve. Writing the story is just one part of the publishing journey. That’s the easy part. Selling and Marketing is what is hard. However, with every book I write, sell and market, I’m learning more and more.

Do you have anything you would like to share with aspiring writers? The biggest and best advice I received is to keep writing and don’t give up. You’ll get there. And once you do, you’ll never look back.

Please enclose a list of your books and stories carried by Solstice, their links, and how folks can connect with you via social media.

Forgetting Jane myBook.to/ForgettingJane

Mirror Image (link forthcoming)

www.cjwarrant.com

www.cjwarrant.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/cjwarrantauthor

www.twitter.com/cjwarrant

www.pinterest.com/cjwarrant

www.instagram.com/cjwarrant

goodreads.com/cjwarrant

 

Thanks for having me on your blog. It’s a great pleasure being here.

READERS: If you sign up for my newsletter and comment on it, I’ll add your name in a drawing in November for a  free signed copy of Mirror Image.

And here’s the cover for Forgetting Jane. 🙂

Forgetting Jane-002-2

Thank you for sharing with us, CJ! Happy Sales!

 

 

 


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My Editor, My Frenemy??

Hi all. I’d like to take a minute here and discuss something which is near and dear to my wordy little heart: editors.

Laying this on the line now–I am both an author and an editor, but this doesn’t mean I edit my own stuff. I wouldn’t want to. I think, for the vast majority of authors, it’s a recipe for disaster.

There is a substantial difference between writing clean copy and having edited copy. As an author, I try to write clean, tight copy that tells a story well. I am also aware of several things which could happen as part of the writing and self-reviewing process. The first of these is simply not seeing mistakes. Maybe a word has been used five times in the last two paragraphs. Maybe my brain wrote in a word that doesn’t even exist in the copy, but I know it’s there,  by gum! Maybe the continuity that I feel in my head on the story doesn’t hold outside my perceptions. These are just a few reasons to have an editor.

Let’s get one thing straight. Your editor is on your side. They want your material to be the best it can be. An editor may do things you disagree with, or mark your manuscript from here to the skies. This does not mean they hate you. It means they are asking you to look critically at your work. They may want to know the reasons for some of your choices. They may find themselves having to ask you some uncomfortable questions regarding the work. They want to know your reasons for doing certain things. “I just felt like it”  is not a reason, by the way–your choices have to make sense.  Your editor wants to know where you are coming from, and work in sync with you. Your work is about your voice, not theirs.

For your part, you have to trust their viewpoint. Editors function using “split brain” reading–they read for issues with the writing, but they also read as part of your prospective reading audience. And audiences aren’t stupid.

Remember that you and your editor may be feeling each other out a little bit at first. This is only normal if you’ve never worked together before. As your partnership develops, you’ll ideally find yourself with a helpmate who has pushed you in all the right directions. Your job is not to OK everything they say, but to think about it, and make wise decisions regarding the story. THAT is how you make an editor happy.

Happy writing!