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Author Spotlight

Foster An Author #3- M.M. Koening

 

M. M. Koenig enjoys being active and has a variety of interests that coincide with her passion for life. Always one to try new things, she has acquired a variety of skills. Her sarcastic nature and multitude of experiences tend to find their way into her novels. When she has free time and isn’t writing, she spends as much time as she can with friends and family. To fuel her soul, she is constantly looking for new music, movies, and books to keep the writer’s block at bay.

 

 

Find M. M. Koenig online
http://www.mmkoenig.com
https://www.facebook.com/authormmkoenig/
https://twitter.com/M_M_Koenig
https://www.pinterest.com/koen0092/
https://instagram.com/mmkoenig/
http://www.tsu.co/mmkoenig
https://www.amazon.com/M.-M.-%20Koenig/e/B00HBH4L7I

M.M. Koenig is sponsoring a giveaway ebooks for the S&L Series, a $10 Amazon GC, and S&L swag 

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1. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

If my only mission is to enjoy myself, I’d spend the day with my best friend and her kiddos and/or my family.  They are my biggest supporters and pick me up when life kicks me down.  I love being with them and listening to them laugh and tell jokes, so we could really be doing anything and I enjoy myself.  What I do love doing the most is trying something new or going to a place I haven’t seen before with them.  I love experiencing new things with the people I hold dearest to my heart.
2. Describe your writing process.
I’m what they call a fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer.  I always know the major plot points for my books, but a lot of times scenes will change as I’m writing them because the characters will take me in a different direction.  I rather enjoy it as it feeds into the type of suspense I enjoy writing.
3. I will take you and any author you want out to dinner. Who will you invite and what will we talk about?
I would love an opportunity to sit down and have dinner with Rebecca Donovan.  Her Breathing series not only inspired me to begin writing again, but it also struck on a very personal chord as well.  I’d love to talk all things books with her and what inspired her to write Emma and Evan’s story.  It’s such a beautiful story and I highly recommend it.
4. What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Never be afraid of criticism.  Write without Fear.  Edit without Mercy.  Listen to everything your critique partner and beta readers advise you after they read.  Know that not everyone who reads your books won’t always like them and that’s okay.  No two people will ever read the read a book the same way.
5. You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?
First, this is a very hard question.  I truly can’t narrow it down to five since almost everything I read is in a series so I’ll supplement with my top five book series.
The Breathing Series – Rebecca Donovan
Hopeless/Losing Hope – Colleen Hoover
The Avoiding Series – K.A. Linde
Easy/Breakable – Tammara Webber
The Neighbor From Hell Series – R.L Mathewson

Foster An Author #3- Meet NAK Baldron

Nicholi (N.A.K. Baldron) is an author and avid reader. He likes stories that take place in fictional worlds, with memorable characters.

He spends his days debating between whether it’s coffee or tea time, and pecking away at his keyboard to produce stories for his readers. He can be found strolling through one of the many wooded areas in the small town outside of Austin, Texas that he calls home.

If he could have any power, it would be the power to control time; then he could freeze it and find enough reading time. One of his deepest regrets in life, is knowing he’ll never get around to reading all the books on his to be read list.

Knowing how precious reading time is, he’s always honored when his readers choose to spend their time on his stories.

NAK is sponsoring a giveaway ebook copy of Aether Walker Queens Gambit

 

Aether Walker: Game Changer (Free on all platforms)

Only few can see them for what they really are, Kandice is in the fight of her life to get revenge on the one that killed her mother. Living a double life as a college student by day, and Huntress by night is slowly wearing her down. But she is determined to get her revenge or die trying.”

 

Aether Walker: Queen’s Gambit (Amazon Exclusive & KU)

 

Living on the road hunting Aether Walkers isn’t as glamorous as Kandice hoped it would be. From rundown motels to abandon houses, heading back to her life in Austin is a serious consideration for her until the Council steps in to give her the answers she has been looking for. However she soon discovers it comes at the price of her freedom.

Follow Kandice as she steps into uncharted territory in her relationship with Lance while juggling the demands of the Council.”

 

Aether Walker: Blake’s Story

After witnessing his mother’s horrific death Blake finds himself committed against his will for what he thinks he saw. Were those creatures real or a figment of his imagination? Read through Blake’s journal as he tries to unravel the events and learn the truth about what happened to his mother.

 

 

 

 

1. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

– Drink Coffee, Read, Drink Tea, Read, and finish the day by watching a family movie with my daughter. 2. Describe your writing process. – I always write in chronological order, and I usually start with no outline. I just write the characters and see what happens until about

2. Describe your writing process.

– I always write in chronological order, and I usually start with no outline. I just write the characters and see what happens until about halfway through. Then I will have to sit down and plot out the story so I can finish it.

3. I will take you and any author you want out to dinner. Who will you invite and what will we talk about?

– Scott Lynch, and we’d discuss nerd stuff and politics. I would definitly have to ask him who the builders were.

4. What is the best writing advice you ever received?

– Don’t compare your first draft to someone else’s finished novel.

5. You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?

Lord of the RingsItDuneHarry Potter & the Order of the PhoenixThe Republic of Thieves

 

Foster An Author #3- Meet S.F. Benson

 

SF Benson is a native of Detroit, Michigan and a graduate of Western Michigan University, SF has fed her creative brain through a variety of jobs from customer service to working with animals. Although the work title has changed, one thing remained true—her desire to be a writer. As a kid she could often be found writing stories or with a book in her hand. It didn’t matter where the location, SF could be found reading (even at the beach).

Her debut novel, Regress—a dystopian set in her home state—developed from a dream. When she’s not concocting tales in her sleep, SF has been known to come up with entire dialogues in the shower.

SF prefers writing stories which answer the “what if” question in life. Her protagonists are strong and diverse set in post-apocalyptic or paranormal worlds.

S.F. Benson has sponsored a giveaway of a signed paperback of any of her books.

Find me on Radish Fiction!

Social media links:

Website: https://www.authorsfbenson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BensonSF/

Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/273428139797021/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BensonShantella

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019441.S_F_Benson

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/SFBenson/e/B01DI9Z58Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sf-benson

Instagram: @authorsfbenson

 

Rebel: the Alliance Chronicles, Book Four

“Some secrets are more costly than others.”

Tru Shepard holds the key—a highly coveted piece of tech—in the palm of her hand.

Everyone in the American Republic has secrets—some innocent and some dangerous.

Tru Shepard, a Creative, thinks she’s fighting to maintain her identity. She soon learns that the struggle is much bigger, and she holds the key.

Zared Aoki, the guy she loves, thinks he’s fighting for happiness. The ghosts from his past are supposed to be behind him, but sometimes the past shows up when you least expect it.

In a world built on secrecy, will the truth set you free?

Amazon

 

Blessed Hearts: Hearts Duology, Book Two

He went to Hell…for her.

Cash Martin, tattoo artist and incubus, doesn’t do relationships. Late night debauchery with as many females as he can muster suits him just fine. He’s following the golden rule: incubi don’t fall in love.

Until her.

Qadira, fifth daughter of Al-Qadir, is a djinniyah on the run from an arranged marriage. She’s passing through town when she runs into the one creature she abhors—an incubus.

When someone starts mutilating humans in Falls Creek, suspicion falls on Qadira. Cash provides an alibi and a spark is ignited. The situation becomes complicated when he must travel to Hell to rescue her.

Cash may have put his soul on the line for Qadira, but will he give her his heart?

Blessed Hearts is a New Adult standalone in the Hearts Duology.

Amazon

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1. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

A free day with no responsibilities…I’d probably marathon my favorite Marvel/DC Comics movies or dive into a book and read it from beginning to end.

2. Describe your writing process.
I’m a recovering pantser. I used to plan but didn’t outline. Now I do both. After arriving at an idea, I like to write out a summary–basically, a third person synopsis of everything that will happen. Then I come up with an outline for each act (I write in three acts) and I use a timeline I found on www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com. I’ll develop a secret Pinterest board with characters and setting pictures. In the planning stage I’ve already fleshed out my characters. Sometimes I interview them. Other times I just write out (in a notebook) the relevant things about them. After all that’s done, it’s time to draft. I set an overall word count for the story and then divide that by how many chapters I’m shooting for. That word count gets divided by 30. I try to draft in a month and then I put the book down for a few months before I revise and get into the editing process.
3. I will take you and any author you want out to dinner. Who will you invite and what will we talk about? 
Let’s invite George R.R. Martin. I want to talk about his world building for his books.
4. What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Keep writing and just do it. I know those are very cliche, but they are relevant for me. At one point, I stopped writing and didn’t pick it up again for 20 years.
5. You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?
Man, that’s hard. Let’s see… Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (comes in handy for writing PNR), Sarah J. Maas’ Court of Wings and Ruin, Stephen King’s On Writing, and my first book Regress (a reminder of what I can do when I just keep writing).

Meet the Authors- Foster An Author 3, 2017

This is my first year participating in Foster An Author hosted by Jo & Isalovesbooks with Read Reveiw Repeat. I’m lucky enough to be hosting three authors and so it is my pleasure to introduce you to these great people.

 

Nicholi (N.A.K. Baldron) is an author and avid reader. He likes stories that take place in fictional worlds, with memorable characters.

He spends his days debating between whether it’s coffee or tea time, and pecking away at his keyboard to produce stories for his readers. He can be found strolling through one of the many wooded areas in the small town outside of Austin, Texas that he calls home.

If he could have any power, it would be the power to control time; then he could freeze it and find enough reading time. One of his deepest regrets in life is knowing he’ll never get around to reading all the books on his to be read list.

Knowing how precious reading time is, he’s always honored when his readers choose to spend their time on his stories.

 

NAK is sponsoring a giveaway ebook copy of Aether Walker Queens Gambit (open 10-17-17)

 

S.F. Benson is a native of Detroit, Michigan and a graduate of Western Michigan University, SF has fed her creative brain through a variety of jobs from customer service to working with animals. Although the work title has changed, one thing remained true—her desire to be a writer. As a kid she could often be found writing stories or with a book in her hand. It didn’t matter where the location, SF could be found reading (even at the beach).

Her debut novel, Regress—a dystopian set in her home state—developed from a dream. When she’s not concocting tales in her sleep, SF has been known to come up with entire dialogues in the shower.

SF prefers writing stories which answer the “what if” question in life. Her protagonists are strong and diverse set in post-apocalyptic or paranormal worlds.

Find me on Radish Fiction!

Social media links:

Website: https://www.authorsfbenson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BensonSF/

Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/273428139797021/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BensonShantella

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019441.S_F_Benson

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/SFBenson/e/B01DI9Z58Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sf-benson

Instagram: @authorsfbenson

S.F. Benson has sponsored a giveaway of a signed paperback of any of her books.

 

 

M. M. Koenig enjoys being active and has a variety of interests that coincide with her passion for life. Always one to try new things, she has acquired a variety of skills. Her sarcastic nature and multitude of experiences tend to find their way into her novels.

When she has free time and isn’t writing, she spends as much time as she can with friends and family. To fuel her soul, she is constantly looking for new music, movies, and books to keep the writer’s block at bay.

 

Find M. M. Koenig online:

http://www.mmkoenig.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-M-M-Koenig/734651516551415

https://twitter.com/M_M_Koenig

https://www.pinterest.com/koen0092/

https://instagram.com/mmkoenig/

http://www.tsu.co/mmkoenig

http://www.amazon.com/M.-M.-Koenig/e/B00HBH4L7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

M.M. Koenig is sponsoring a giveaway ebooks for the S&L Series, a $10 Amazon GC, and S&L swag (open 10-17)

Let’s Chat- Cassy Roop

In your book, Find Your Strong: How I changed my MIND to change my BODY and heal my HEART, you talk about how everything seemed to click and you knew it was time to change your life and take care of you. Can you tell us a little about led you to that point and what that moment was like?
I was so focused on building Pink Ink that I sort of lost focus on myself. I found myself eating every meal behind my computer. I ate whatever was cheap and fast and that I could scarf down in a matter of minutes. I was feeding my body, not fueling it. My “aha” moment came when I saw the pictures of me at my Mom’s wedding. I knew then something needed to change otherwise, I would continue down a path of self-destruction.
Why was it important to you to share this with others?
I felt it was important for me to share my story with others because I know there are others out there that feel the same struggles I have. I knew there were others out there that have a food addiction like I do and wanted to be living proof that you can take charge of your addiction and your life.
What impressed me the most while reading your book is your ability to juggle a lot of balls at once. You are a fitness instructor, a graphic designer, a mother and a wife? How do you get it all done and what advice do you have for the readers?
Some days are harder than others. I drink a LOT of coffee lol. I find, though, its all about balance. I lead a very busy and active life so time management is very important. You have to set your priorities and go from there. What is the most important thing that needs to be done that day? Then just go down your list. Do I get everything done I’m supposed to every day? Of course not. But I try and that’s really all you can ask of yourself.
What’s your favorite exercise move and why?
My favorite exercise is taking a class. I love that group fitness classes gives you variety. It’s something new every class. The class may have the same structure, but there is different choreography and different music. It also helps keep your body guessing when you do different things instead of the same exercises every day.
When you look in the mirror now, what do you like the most about what you see?
My confidence. I can actually look in the mirror now and say that I love myself. Does my brain still want to bring up nasty thoughts about myself? Of course. But I try to push those away and focus on the good things 🙂
What is Pink Ink Designs? How did it get started? What’s your favorite part of graphic design and working with authors?
Pink Ink Designs is a graphic, print and web design company with a strong focus in book cover design, author branding, and interior book formatting. I got started because I was an author first. I started playing around with making my own teasers and then eventually covers. I tried my hand at my own formatting. I found that I enjoyed it so much that I went to school for it and got my degree in graphic design. My favorite part would be getting to hold a physical copy of a book in my hands. A physical piece that proves I helped someone achieve their dream.
This is not your first book, but definitely your most personal. How is autobiographical writing different for you than fiction writing? Tell us about your fiction books and do you have plans for more books in the future?
Writing non-fiction is definitely harder that writing fiction in my opinion. Do you know how hard it is to write a book entirely about yourself? It’s not easy. I had to dig deep and bring out emotions that aren’t the same as when I write fiction. Sure, writing fiction can be emotional as well, but Find Your Strong was a true story, not something I made up, so I had to be as authentic as I could possibly be. As of right now, I don’t have any immediate plans to publish any more fiction book. I do have several stories that I have started, but haven’t finished. I’m not going to say they’ll never get published, just not right now. I enjoy being on the design side of the business.
What are your future plans in regards to writing?
I’ve considered doing a follow up to Find Your Strong, but I don’t have any immediate plans for it. Designing keeps me pretty busy, but I would one day love to co-write a book with someone 🙂
I’ll buy dinner for you and any author or book character you would like. Who’ll join us and why?
Hmmm….There are so many I could choose from! I’d have to say my most favorite character is Jamie from Kandy Steiner’s A Love Letter to Whiskey. It’s probably my most favorite book at the moment. I’m a sucker for second chance romances.
You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?
A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandy Steiner
Sting by Sandra Brown ( Have an autographed copy from meeting her. She’s also a client )
Survivor’s Guilt by me (only because it was my favorite book to write)
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
and Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Let’s Chat- Violet Howe

Violet Howe enjoys writing romance with humor. She lives in Florida with her husband, who is her knight in shining armor, and their two handsome sons. They share their home with three adorable but spoiled dogs. When she’s not writing, Violet is usually watching movies, reading, or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Violet’s ramblings on her blog, The Goddess Howe.

 Author Website:  www.violethowe.com

 Facebook VioletHoweAuthor

Twitter @Violet_Howe

Blog:  www.thegoddesshowe.com

I saw on your blog, that you’ve planned weddings but you also had many other jobs. So why did you choose wedding planning as the background for your series? And just how does one emcee a crab race?

 Wedding event planning allows you a unique window into other people’s lives. You are privy to family secrets, family dynamics, relationship issues, budgetary issues, and you get a front row seat to the drama that plays out which can be good and/or bad. Truth is quite often stranger than fiction, and what I saw and heard doing weddings was sometimes inspiring, sometimes revolting, and sometimes downright unbelievable. But all good stories, nonetheless. Throughout the years and the many events I participated in, I always said that one day I was going to write a book about those experiences. When I decided it was to be a fiction novel instead of a memoir, I wove together bits and pieces of many different people and events along with imagined people and events to create the weddings in Tyler’s fictional diary.
I got roped into being a crab race emcee as  favor for a friend with an entertainment company. He wanted someone who was comfortable speaking and performing in front a crowd (check), someone with a great imagination who could spin a story and engage an audience (check), and someone who wasn’t afraid to laugh at themselves and encourage the crowd to laugh with them (check). It didn’t hurt that I was also loud! The key to emceeing a crab race is to get the crowd pumped up and excited even though NOTHING is happening.

The crab races were usually a feature of a Key West-themed party for convention guests, and we had a special crab racing table (complete with checkered flags and a finish line) and a team of crabs adorned with racing numbers. Some crabs didn’t move at all, others moved in the complete opposite direction of the finish line, and some were more interested in the other crabs than in making progress. None of that mattered as long as the crowd was having fun. I encouraged them to choose their racer and cheer loudly, and I would talk in rapid-fire play-by-play reports on the megaphone. “He’s ahead by a claw.” “She’s pinching her way to the finish line.” “He loves the attention…it’s really bringing him out of his shell.” The cornier, the better.

On your blog, you mention you believe stories can “Transport us some place we’ve never been.” When you’re stressed and need a happy place to go in your mind, where do you go and why?

I love to get lost in a good movie or a good story when I’m stressed. I can fully immerse myself into what’s happening with the characters and allow my own life to become background noise as I live in the world on the screen or on the page. At night, when I’m trying to go to sleep and it’s hard to shut down my mind with the recap of the day and the worries of the day to come, I will close my eyes and picture a white sand beach (Pensacola Beach to be exact!). I try to hear the sound of the waves crashing and the distant murmur of people’s laughter and conversation with strains of music and the occasional call of one seagull to another. I try to imagine the feel of the ceiling fan’s air across my limbs is the gentle sea breeze and I imagine my worries and stresses being carried out in the gulf by the waves.

 Tell us about the Goddess Howe blog?

The Goddess Howe Blog started in 2012, when i first left teaching ro pursue writing full-time. It began as a way to express myself with words and pictures and to reach out and find if anyone was listening. It is a basically a collection of personal essays–some funny, some self-deprecating, some inspiring, some thought-provoking. With an occasional movie review or checkout line frustration tale thrown in for trivial measure. Before I began writing novels in earnest, I tried to publish there weekly, and I also used the blog to share my love of photography with a somewhat regular feature called “Saturday Through My Lens.” I set the same goal with the blog that I have set with my novels….to make people think and to make people laugh. Unfortunately, as publishing and marketing have taken the bulk of my time, I have been delinquent in keeping the blog current. But I set a goal this summer to return to The Goddess Howe’s essays once a month moving forward. I did get one published for August already, so hopefully I can stay on track!

Where did you get the idea for The Wedding Planner series?

 As I mentioned above, I had always thought I would like to write about the wedding experiences I had and share the unique view a planner gets into what is considered one of life’s most important events. I was working on an as-of-yet-unpublished novel in 2013, and I signed up to participate in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) on October 31st that year. Nanowrimo is a global challenge for writers to get 50,000 words on the page in a 30-day time period (November 1-30). I thought it would be a good shove for me to finish that novel that had been languishing on my laptop. However, after signing up the night of the 31st for the event starting the next day, I read the fine print. (Always a good idea to read it AFTER signing up, right?) The guidelines asked that it be an original work, not one that was already started. Since I was four chapters and most of an outline into the novel I’d planned to write, I went into panic mode wondering how I was going to come up with an idea for a completely different story in a matter of hours. They say “write what you know”, so I fell back on my wedding experiences and began to tell wedding stories in a diary format. As I wrote, I ended each diary entry with a bit of reflection on the wedding and its participants, and with those reflections, a character began to emerge who was telling the story. It became her diary, and the story became more about her coming into her own as an adult and coming to terms with the reality of love and romance vs. the fairy tale idea of it she had clung to her entire life.

You travel to a lot of cons and reader events. What is your favorite part of doing that and how important has that been for your success?

My favorite part of cons and reader events is definitely meeting people. Readers, organizers, and other authors. In my career as a wedding planner and in my time as a teacher, I was part of a team environment. Writing can be a very solitary existence, and I missed the camaraderie and support of having a network of people surrounding me. Meeting other authors at cons and events has built up my network in this industry, and the knowledge they have shared and the support they have given has been crucial to my success. Being able to meet readers and discuss our mutual love of books and characters has been incredible. I have found new books to read, new genres to love, and new ideas to challenge me through the readers I have met. I have also found the indescribable joy that comes from opening your heart and your mind to put your characters and their story out in the world and have readers embrace them and love them. Publishing can be a very vulnerable experience that leaves you feeling exposed, but when someone shares that they’ve found something of value in your words–that it made them laugh, made them think, or allowed them to escape–it is an amazing reminder of how we’re all connected and on similar journeys.

You mention your involvement in community theater. Tell us a little about some of the plays you did? What was your favorite? How has this helped your writing career?

 I have been involved with the Moonlight Players Community Theater in Clermont, Florida since 1996. Unfortunately, I haven’t been on the stage in quite a while since my time and creativity has been devoted to writing, but it is still alive in my heart, and I would love to be back under the lights someday soon. My favorite roles are not only due to the character I played but also tied together with the cast I belonged to. Each cast is like a family with its own dynamics and personality and style. I’ve made lifelong friends through the theater, and you bond very quickly when you’re sharing emotions in such a public way. If I had to pick favorites, I would say my roles in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Rumors would be near the top, but my all-time favorite role was Annelle in Steel Magnolias. (the Daryl Hannah character if you saw the movie!) Annelle went through a grand transformation in pretty much every scene of the play, and it was fun to play so many different aspects of one character. I think theater has helped my writing in that I see the entire scene as I am writing it. I think of the “props” and the “set” and try to describe them for the reader much like the stage directions describe them for the actor. I believe doing so helps immerse the reader in the story more fully, and allows them to hear what the character is hearing, see what the character is seeing, and feel what the character is doing. I also find that I write in scenes rather than by an outline or linear timeline.

 Tell us about your writing process and what keeps you motivated.

 I try to stick to a schedule of writing on Monday-WednesdayFriday and doing marketing, social media planning, and business on TuesdayThursday. Doing so allows me to set aside the “boring” or “taxing” parts of the business on my creative days, and it allows me to not feel guilt for not writing on business days. However, as I get close to the climax and ending of a book, that plan goes out the window and I write every single day, every single night, until all hours of the night! (And fall behind on EVERYTHING else!) I stay motivated by the stories that are constantly going on in my head, the character dialogue that is non-stop chatter underscoring everything else I’m doing or thinking about, and by reading books and watching movies that inspire me to write!

What are your future plans in regards to writing?

 I am working on the second book in the Cedar Creek series, and I have at least three planned for the main characters, Sloane and Tristan, as well as a spin-off for Tristan’s brother, Holden. I have two stories set on different horse ranches I’d like to get out next year, one of which I am planning to publish as part of a “Meet Cute” promotion with other authors. At some point, I want to get back to that unfinished novel that is still waiting since before my Nanowrimo project began, and I also have a couple of other ideas in the pipeline that I’d like to see developed into full novels.

I’ll buy dinner for you and any author or book character you would like. Who’ll join us and why?

Diana Gabaldon and Jamie Fraser! One of my dearest friends nagged me for over a year to read Diana’s Outlander, and when I finally got around to it, I flew through the entire series and became obsessed!! I am in awe of her writing style and the way she brings her characters to life for me and immerses me in their world and their lives to the point that I feel they are family members and I miss them when I’m not reading! I’m always impressed with her mind and her wit in interviews and on her Facebook page, and I would love to sit down and chat with her. And Jamie because, well, Jamie! He’s the King of Men. haha Her hero is tough, intelligent, powerful leader who is also tender, passionate, and so funny that I often laugh at loud at his dialogue. I have quite the book boyfriend crush on Jamie Fraser…me and several hundred thousand others!

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?

Oh wow. Very difficult to narrow that down.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (my guilty pleasure and the book that got me back into reading after years spent distracted by other things)

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

______________

Thank you, Violet!

 

Aranya by Marc Secchia~ Interview & Giveaway

About the Audiobook

Author: Marc Secchia

Narrator: Siromi Arserio

Length: 14 hours 33 minutes

Publisher: Marc Secchia⎮2015

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1

Release date: April 05, 2015

I love dragons, but I haven’t read many books with dragons. When I saw this one I knew it was a book I would enjoy. Yes, I know we shouldn’t judge books based on covers, but look at the cover! It’s beautiful. This story is as beautiful as the cover. The author created a completely new world with such detailed description I wanted to book a vacation to this mysterious land. His combination of Victorian, steampunk, and fantasy images brought the setting alive to the reader. The action was developed in such a way that sometimes I felt like I was watching a movie and not listening to a book.

One of the things that impressed me was his description of Dragon Aranya. I think of dragons as being very masculine. Secchia created a fierce dragon that was very feminine but just as strong as any warrior.  All of his characters were such real people I wanted to meet them.

The narrator does a fantastic job with the various voices. Each character had a unique voice and it was always easy to determine the different people. I think her interpretations only added to the richness of this great story. She even did a good job with the sound of arrows and fires.

 

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?
Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.
Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

 

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About the Author: Marc Secchia

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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About the Narrator: Shiromi Arserio

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

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Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card
Runs Aug. 9th-16th⎮Open internationally
Aranya Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Author Interview:

 

I’ve read about your background on your blog, but can you please tell my readers about living in Africa and why you chose the myths and legends from here to be the background of your stories?

I think there’s a generation of readers and fans who have grown up with Euro-centric and Tolkeinesque paradigms in fantasy. That’s all well and fine, and some truly excellent work has been produced. But I also feel those tropes are now somewhat overused and under-represent the diversity (to pick one example) of the world around us. I choose to draw from African traditions, mores and values because firstly I connect with those best, but also because there’s a great unexplored world out there that I’d love to draw readers into. I think there’s something beautiful about the African values of humanity and community which I would love to communicate and celebrate.

For myself, I grew up in Cape Town near the ocean and now live and work in Ethiopia. I resonate with the richness and diversity of the African histories and societies which surround me, and I deliberately chose to come back (from the UK) to work in Africa because I wanted to give more or give back to the continent where I grew up. Africa has a magical quality which gets under your skin. Yes, there is poverty, but there is also an extraordinary opportunity if people would give Africa and Africans a chance.

Addis Ababa, where I live, is a city of some 5-6 million persons, always growing and thriving and bubbling from dawn to dusk. Early in the morning you’ll hear the Orthodox churches worshipping and dogs barking and the night is thick and velvety. During the day, the city explodes with busyness. There are people everywhere. Cars dodging donkeys. Sheep. Street vendors. Sights and smells to take in. It’s a joyous, vibrant place where you cannot walk down a street without being greeted or even invited to share a meal, no matter how small. That’s what I love about Ethiopia – much hospitality, and many smiles.

You obviously spent a lot of time world building for your series. How did you get started, what did you use for reference, and is this world static or is changing when you need to add something new?

I love landscapes and situations that play into and shape a story and the characters that move within that world. Also, I think fantasy fans enjoy the unusual. I started worldbuilding when I was in my teens, misspending English lessons dreaming up fantasy worlds – but usually it starts with concept, say, what about a world above the clouds? How would that work?

I tend to draw up broad principles before I start but then allow my imagination loose in the world and adapt and add details as I go along. I try hard to stick within the bounds of physics (for  example, how high can a dragon fly before falling over from hypoxia?) but if those need to be stretched a little then so be it. So we have supersonic dragon flight, for example, space-faring whales and a world that is comprised entirely of canyons beneath a scorching surface.

Describe your writing process.

I have a story idea or I dream a story – I’ve always found this the easy part, as I’ve far more ideas than time to write them. I write a synopsis, just a few lines or words about what will happen, right the way through to the ending (that’s so I don’t meander). Then I separate it out roughly into chapters and scenes to form a framework, before fleshing out that framework starting from the top. I’ll separately brainstorm the characters to build in a few quirks and think about how they’ll interact. Each character gets a brief sketch beforehand but I like to throw them into the story and see what happens.

If I’m uncertain about a writing idea I’ll file it for later. But generally speaking, that’s the process – I try to write 3 – 5,000 words per day, usually mornings from early (5am).

What is your favorite snack while writing?

I don’t snack a whole lot while writing, but if I do, it would be to pause for a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Coffee is my morning addiction.

What is it about dragons that fascinate you?

Dragons are Fantasy’s most majestic creatures. I like my dragons served up awesome, magical and as full of character as any person you’d wish to meet, the kind of person you’re almost compelled to spend time with or watch. I’m a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern as well as her other writings. It was her viewpoint of fully-formed dragon characters, the telepathic communication between Dragon and Rider, and the possibilities of Human-Dragon interaction which shaped my early fascination with dragons as creatures and characters.

Dragons can fly anywhere. They spread their wings and soar into the realms of the possible. That’s why they’re so rewarding to write.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always wanted to become a writer. I was the kid who when we were asked to produce a haiku, I’d write an epic haiku series in 16 parts. I know because when I write and create, something in me comes alive.

It took 8 books to find any kind of success in writing. For me, while success wasn’t the point, it was a watershed moment when I thought, ‘I love this, but I could also do this for a living’. There’s something awesome and humbling about realising that you could make art for a living. What a privilege.

What are your writing plans for the future?

Firstly, finish all these series I’ve started. I’ve made great headway but there’s a ways to go yet. I’d love to sell a film deal. Back in real life, I’ve many other ideas that I’d like to bring alive. As long as the love of reading and writing is there, I think I’ll continue.

I will take you and any author or character of your choice out to lunch. Who’s coming with us?

Goodness, you do like your tough questions don’t you? Ok, I’m going to pick a certain Mister Tolkien because he is my all-time favourite author, and the breadth and depth of his imagination are simply dazzling.

 

What are you currently reading or have recently finished?

 

Mike Shelton, The Dragon Orb – read it!

https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Orb-Alaris-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01N4LI376

 

 

You can have only five books on your bookshelf, what are they?

AAAARRRGGH! How could you? Ok, now that I have that off my chest:

  1. The bestselling book of all time, the Bible
  2. LOTR – does a box set count as one?
  3. Something by Anne McCaffrey – probably her Crystal Singer Omnibus
  4. Roget’s Thesaurus, a very well-thumbed one
  5. A space for that next book to obsess over. Something unexpected. It’s calling to me, just waiting to be found …

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**I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review**

Lucky Penny by Ellie Ashe ~~Giveaway~~ ~~Author Interview~~

 

**I received an audio copy in exchange for a review**

This is the third book in this series, and as I said in this post, I could read 50 more books in this series. This book continues Miranda Vaughn’s adventures as she recovers from her trouble with the law. Even though she was acquitted, people don’t see her as NOT GUILTY. One of the fun parts of reading a series is to see how the characters develop. It gives the reader a chance to truly fall in love with them. These characters are great. They are real. This author does a great job with showing us the story and letting it develop organically. She doesn’t beat us over the head with unnecessary details or treat us as incompetent readers who must be spoon-fed. Trust me when I say combine this cozy series with a poolside lounge chair and free drinks and you will have an excellent summer.

Author: Ellie Ashe

Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt

Length: 7 hours 17 minutes

Publisher: Ellie Ashe

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Release date:

Synopsis: A year after her acquittal on fraud charges, former financial analyst Miranda Vaughn is finally getting her life back. Not only does she have a chance for romance with her sexy neighbor, FBI Agent Jake Barnes, but she’s also got a new job…one that’s taking her to a vacation paradise!
Perched above the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, the Whispering Pines Resort & Spa is a local landmark and a popular destination for the rich and famous who are stressed out from being rich and famous. And down on the water’s edge is the Lucky Penny Casino—an abandoned shell of a once-stylish casino. Max Emmerson, the owner of the Whispering Pines Resort, used to own the Lucky Penny, and he wants it back. Miranda’s job is to get Max’s finances in order so he can borrow the money to buy the casino, and make sure nothing jeopardizes his gaming license. Easy, right?
But the nice boring accounting job spirals out of control with the addition of a Hollywood film crew, an underground gambling ring, and Jake going undercover at the resort as a newlywed—with another woman. As Miranda and Jake each dive into their investigations, they can’t deny their growing feelings for each other. But it’s more important than ever that they keep their attraction hidden. Especially since someone at the resort is watching them very closely, and is willing to do just about anything to keep them from uncovering the truth.

About the Author: Ellie Ashe

USA Today best-selling author Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the “happily ever after” that so often is lacking in her day job.

When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on petfinder.com.

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About the Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt

Teri Schnaubelt is a Chicago-based actor, voice actor and audiobook narrator with over 100 titles, including NY Times Bestsellers.

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Interview with author Ellie Ashe

When you worked as a lawyer, did you work with white collar crimes? Is that how you came to know so much or did you just research everything and learned as you wrote?

I did work on white-collar criminal cases, but I should stress that none of my cases even resembled Miranda’s story. I didn’t have to do quite as much research since I was familiar with the law, though I did have to come up with a financial crime. That was actually pretty fun.

What pushed you to write a book?

I’ve always wanted to write a book and attempted many times in the past. I have many half-finished manuscripts on my hard-drive, and on floppy disks (yikes, I’m old), and even old notebooks that should probably stay buried in my attic. The idea behind Chasing the Dollar came about because I wanted to tell a story from an angle we don’t see as often—that of the person accused of a crime—and after all the hype around the high-profile arrest has died down.

How much of you is in Miranda?

Not much, really. You can tell because she’s good at math, and ugh, math. Not my strength. If there’s any similarity, it’s that we’ll both willing to help people who are in trouble and often volunteer without thinking through the commitment. Though I haven’t found myself in quite the same situations as Miranda. Thank goodness.

Describe your writing process?

It changes a little for each book, but I usually have an outline—or at least enough of a plan that I know where I’m going. I write in bursts, when I have time, so that helps me when I get back to my project after a few days off. Sometimes, I’ll start writing and see where it goes, and once I’ve got some traction, I will plot out the next section. Also, I’ve recently started dictating and I really like it.

What is your dream project?

I have an idea and some sketchy plans for a mystery that spans a trilogy. I’m not sure how it will work, but I like to take it out and play around with the outline every few weeks. One day, I’ll figure out how to put this together… And find the time to tackle it!

Are we going to get more stories about Miranda? (I hope so)

Thank you! And yes! Yes! I’m really happy to be working on book 4 in the series, Running the Numbers. I wanted to return to the action-adventure feel of the first book, so this one is a wild ride.

Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?

It is. When I was very young, I used to write stories out and staple the pages together to make a “book,” so I think is a lifelong ambition.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t pay attention to the market, just write the story you want to read. Most writers are also readers, so if you want to read it, someone else probably does, too.

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?

Only 5? I don’t know if that’s possible. Can I have five Kindles, instead? I read a lot, and my current favorites change with what I’ve read recently, so I don’t know how I’d survive with only five books on my shelves. Though one would probably be To Kill a Mockingbird since that’s one I re-read frequently.

https://gleam.io/BmPpV/miranda-vaughn-mysteries-giveaway
Miranda Vaughn Mysteries Giveaway

Congratulations Sherry Rentschler

Congratulations Sherry Rentschler

The Book of Now has just won another award!
The Independent Press Awards will be announced in a day or two. I just received word that I won Distinguished Favorite for Book Covers Non-Fiction Category!!!!!!

IPA gives out a Gold Winner and a Silver Distinguished Favorite in each category. Thousands enter!!

 Marisa-rose Shor, Cover Me Darling you took an idea and turned it into art.

Buy your copy now.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

**I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for a review**

This was a unique read for me.  There were no vampires, shifters, or fairies. However, the fantasy world in this novel made me fall in love. I have said before that I listen to audiobooks when I exercise. I exercised a lot during this book. The author does an excellent job creating a believable world that mirrors reality. The characters are unique and fully developed. I ached for Danny when things went array and cheered for him to keep searching for answers. I never thought of time as such a powerful living being. I was so engrossed in this story, I missed my turn off one day while listening to this in the car. 🙂 The narrator did a fantastic job bringing these characters to life. He helped me visualize the characters even more.

 

 

Author: Tara Sim

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 8h 50m

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: Feb. 14, 2017

Synopsis: Two o’clock was missing.
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at tarasim.com.

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Gary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek’s production of Rent in 2010.

Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over.

He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.

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Interview with Gary

How do prepare for the various characters in a book?

I give the book a read.  While reading through the book I either take notes, make a short recording or have the character voice so engrained in my head that I can remember when the book is done.  

How long does it take to record an average size book?

I would say an average length book, like Timekeeper, would take two weeks.  One week to prepare the book and then one week to record it.

Can you tell us a little about your time as a puppeteer in Prague? and how did you get from Prague to Memphis?

I used to freelance for a Street Theater company called Bui Bolg.  They are a Wexford based company and through them I visited both Prague and Memphis.  I say puppeteer, the puppets we used were massive.  They were full body suits.  The mouths and eyes moved electronically and we would walk around Prague entertaining and often scaring the locals.  We went to Memphis as part of the Memphis in May festival.  Every year they will have one country as their theme.  The year I went, Ireland was the theme.

I know that sometimes an illustrator and an author do not really work together so as not to influence each other. Is it the same for a narrator and an author? If so tell us a little about the process of working with an author. If not, why not?

Usually, it will start with an audition.  You read once or maybe twice for the author and based on that the author knows if you are right for the job.  Generally, there is little interaction between the author and narrator while the book is being recorded.  I’ll sometimes ask for the author’s ideas on how they want the characters to sound and then I’ll do my best to incorporate that into the story.  But other than that it is pretty minimal.

Do you use some of the same voices for characters in different books?

Creating a voice can often be like making a meal.  Some foods will have the same base but as you add different ingredients to them the end result is often very different.  I have a lot of bases for different voices and I use them a lot, but I’ll add certain things to them to make that character slightly different for another with the same base.  I’m always trying to come up with more and more voices.

Who are your influencers?

Robin Williams and Jim Carey

In the narration world I would say:

Michael Kramer and Kate Reading

Scott Brick

Jonathan Davis

Simon Vance

Marc Thompson

And my coach Sean Pratt.  Even now I find myself needing advice and guidance and he is always there to help.

What is your dream project?

More books like Timekeeper!

You mention you can speak in a General American voice. What exactly is that and how did you develop this talent?

I think it is described as a Mid-West accent in the States.  I am not sure, basically it is an accent-less American accent.  You couldn’t say “Oh that accent is from X Y Z”.  It (hopefully) sounds like a neutral American accent.  I think I developed it unconsciously.  I grew up watching shows like Friends, Scrubs, The X-files.  Being so close to American media and being someone who loves to mimic what I hear I just found myself doing voices for fun.  I knew I wanted to make funny voices after seeing Aladdin and it just took off from there.

How does narration differ from voice overs for video games?

Narration requires you to dial the acting down a notch.  I haven’t done too many voice overs but usually it will call for some kind of focused energy that must be present all the time.  If you were to be extremely energetic for the duration of an audiobook the listener would be exhausted.  Narration takes many times the stamina of a normal voice over.  If you are doing a radio or TV spot, you might only have 30 seconds of dialogue.  10 minutes in the studio and you will have done every possible take imaginable and then you are done.  With audiobooks you will be in the studio for up to 6 hours a day.  

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?

Timekeeper

Jurassic Park

Snow Crash

The Princess Bride

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Interested in reviewing audiobooks? Contact Jess at TheAudioBookWorm