Monday, October 7, 2013

Meet Elissa Daye author of In Rapture

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do? 
I try to think who my characters are going to be. 

What do they look like? What makes them happy? What music would play whenever they are around? Then I start to write down some ideas for my plot, a bare bones idea of where I want my story to go.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
I tell everyone I know in my real life and my internet life, for I have several connections I have never met before.

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer? 
Yes! I have a few fans in my Destiny Divas group that have really been super supportive of my Destined Series. The first time someone messaged me on facebook and told me she was a huge fan, I was smiling for a week. I couldn’t believe it at first. I’m so lucky to have such amazing friends and family that support me, but to have complete strangers believe in what I do is simply amazing!

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
I used to rescue ferrets in my area, until I had my two girls. For a time, these furry little critters were my kids and were completely spoiled. I even had a crafty ferret business on e-bay at one point, where I made cage accessories for small animals. I even attended a few ferret shows. Ferret shows are much like dog shows, believe it or not. Ferret breeders show their ferrets off and earn awards in different categories. For those of us who simply wanted to bring our ferrets for fun, there were a lot of small contests they could enter: paper bag escape, tunnel races, costume contests. Those were the days!

What was the inspiration for your books?
I’m a big believer that life leads you down the road you are meant to travel. There are many forks in the road, turns, twists, cracks, and crevasses that you fall into, but over time you learn to maneuver your way and exceed your expectations. Destiny, overcoming your life and living to your fullest has and will always be an important them in my Destined Series. It’s prevalent in my upcoming book, The Land of the Shadows too.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
Sometimes very difficult. At times, I think it is easier to wait until you are finished to decide the title of the book, that way your whole plot is complete and the name makes sense. For the Destined Series, the first book In Flames got its title in the beginning because it was such a spicy romance. In the end though, the title had a greater meaning, because one of my characters finds herself enflamed. In Rapture, well again, this book was also a hot read and very intense love story. The third book, In Chains,  which is taking forever to write, is more about being bound to a destiny with very little choice. I do intend for this to be a gentler love story than the other two, but still promise to not disappoint in the heat department. Now for The Land of the Shadows, the title came right from a place in the story. That was an easier title to come up with, but it was not decided until the book was completed. I actually played around with other titles, before deciding that this was the right choice for the book.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
Let’s see. I taught for almost 8 years in different schools and ages. From Middle school French/Language Arts all the way to teaching first grade at an inner-city school. My favorite teaching position was when I taught writing skills to every class in the building as part of their school improvement plan.

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?
Anywhere really. I like to find a place for my girls to play and write down ideas as I keep an eye on them. I’ve written at fast food restaurants while my oldest colors, at Panera when I get a break with a sitter, at the gym while the girls are in daycare, at home when everyone is asleep, and in the car when we go on road trips. I try to jot down ideas any time I can, to keep the juices flowing. I have ideas for several books written down in different notebooks.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Meet Jill Campbell author of Celtic Rose

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do? 
I call my Muse, Josh, and converse about the book until I get an idea for a great hook to start with.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
I dance around the house to Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. J

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer? 
I have a fan I call a little squirrel because she likes or comments on everything I post on my facebook.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
I read….a lot. J I crochet and cross stitch. I love going fishing and having movie marathons on the weekends.

What was the inspiration for your book?
I’ve seen this answer a lot, but the inspiration for my book came from my dreams.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
I come up with the title fairly easy, again using conversations with my physical Muse, Josh.

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
I have three in mind for my hero, Talus, Ian Sommerhalder, Jay Ryan, or Tyler Hoechlin. The heroine is more difficult to choose for, but I know for my guardian werewolf, Gabriel, I would want Hugh Jackman.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Every time I’m asked this question I say the same three words…”Never give up!” 

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
I’ve been a waitress, a cashier, and now I’m a Trade Spend Rep, kind of like an accountant in a way.

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?
I had the worst experience in the world with the first publishers I had. They were rude and wouldn’t answer any of my questions. On a happy note, though, I met my wonderful author friends and my wonderful publisher in the process and they helped me to get out of the sticky situation I was in and brought me into the fold at World Castle Publishing with open arms.

Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
There are so many I don’t even know where to begin. I love Stephanie Meyers books, of course. Laurell K. Hamilton, Keri Arthur, Cassandra Claire, L.J. Smith, etc…those are the better known ones. I could go on all day.

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?
In the kitchen. Lol That’s where my desk and computer are, although sometimes lying in bed writing on my laptop is good too.

Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time? 
Spend time with my adorable little boy, of course. J I spend a lot of my time with my family and I’m extremely active in my church as well.

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
I really prefer print books more than anything. You can turn the pages on a kindle like you do a print book now, but I just really love the sound of the pages turn and the smell that comes off them.

What's in the works for you?

I’m in the process of working with my editor on the second book in my Celtic Rose Saga as we speak and have been working on book 3 in between. When that’s done I’ll start the last book in the Saga. After that who knows, maybe I’ll get them turned into movies. lol

Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet Alexandrea Weis author of The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?  I write.  For me I tend to hone characters as I go along in the story. I always am going back and adding pieces here and there, but for the most part the story develops as I write it. I usually have the end in mind, but how I get there is always a work in progress for me.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book? Watch TV and try to acclimate again with the real world. I get so far removed from everything when I am in a book, that I need down time to get back into life. But it never lasts long. TV gets boring and I am usually thinking of another book to write soon after. It’s a disease.

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer? Several.  The best was when I was at an airport flying to Dallas and the lady on the plan next to me was reading her Kindle. I glanced over and thought what she was reading looked pretty familiar, until I realized it was my book, To My Senses. I casually asked her if it was a good book, and she seemed rather perturbed that I had disturbed her. Then, she began to go on about how much she loved the characters and how well the author had brought them to life. She suggested I read it, and I kindly told her I had, about two hundred times. She gave me an odd look, and then I told her it was my book. Her expression was priceless, and one of my lasting memories of a fan.   
If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go? Dinner at Antoine’s in New Orleans with James Bond. I know, I know so cheesy, but the character from the books was smoldering, brooding and very believable, unlike the caricature in the movies. Now that would be one hell of a dinner.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot? A little of all three. I see the end first. I always see the end, and go from there. The rest comes as I write.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share? I am a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the La. Wildlife and fisheries, so when I am not writing I am caring for a number of orphaned and injured wildlife at any given time of the year. Right now is baby squirrel season, and I am feeding anywhere from 10-15 babies at a time. I love it!

What was the inspiration for your book? The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine is inspired by my childhood in a small cottage in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The place was very haunted, and the antics of the ghosts there were too numerous to describe. I always wanted to write a story with that cottage as the setting.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books? Titles are hard. I try to base it on what goes on inside the book. Still it is difficult to do.

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Just keep writing. It is like a muscle that gets better with use. You discover your voice and style over time, and once you have that, you have who you are as a writer. But you can never discover those talents unless you write. So just keep writing. And there are no small jobs in publishing. Like acting where there are no small parts, any and every job that gives you a chance to put words down, is a blessing, so take it.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer? I am a registered nurse, and most of the positions I have held were in nursing prior to writing my first novel. But I feel the nursing experience I had was vital to understanding characters. In medicine, we see people at their best and at their worst, and I feel all those experiences allowed me to understand the human condition and bring all the sorrow, happiness, passion, joy, love,  and hatred I saw to the page. I don’t know of any other career that would have allowed me an up close and personal view of the human condition. It does not get any more dramatic than the life and death situations I experienced. In addition, I met some truly wonderful people along the way. My patients told me the stories of their lives and I like to think some of those tales have made their way into my work. For that, I will always be grateful to the people I was honored to care for.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Meet Judith White author of The Case Files of Sam Flanagan: Sins of the Father

Judith White

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?

Truly, I would sit down with Miss Jane Marple, the famed spinster amateur detective of Agatha Christie. As older people are, she’s so wise in matters of life. I love listening to the aged as they relate their lives. We’d either sit in her English garden, or sit inside of her cottage. I’m something of an Anglophile, too.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

With the two books I’ve written, and the third I am now writing, I’ve started out by knowing there is a murder, who is murdered, by whom and why. Also, I know the method. I then sort of build the story backward. I’m not sure if there is a proven method to all of this. I suppose you just have to go with what works best for you.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?

I suppose this sounds a bit mundane, but I love to read! I also love history, and therefore, find viewing documentaries fascinating. My mind is more active than my body…I love word and trivia games. Sometimes I wish I could say I love to ski or hike in the woods or am a great gardener. To me, it just seems it would sound more interesting to others if I could claim to be more physical.

What was the inspiration for your book?

I honestly don’t know how I came up with the plots for my first two novels. Now the third I am working on was inspired by a little excursion my husband and I and his siblings took some years back. A local park service sponsored a short trip across the Detroit River to the Canadian shore and back one summer, and we took the tour. It centered on the bootlegging days and how Detroit was run by the Purple Gang…much like Chicago was run by Al Capone. The stories told on that short boat trip were fascinating. Here I was, a student of history, and I had never even heard of The Purple Gang! I decided to incorporate them into a mystery, making them a dark part of my detective’s life in his early years.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?

So far, it hasn’t presented too much of a problem. I have an idea floating around in my head for a fourth book. Everything isn’t real clear, but I know what the case will be about and I keep wracking my brain over a title. Nothing seems to fit. I’m not too worried, though. I have time to create the perfect title.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, and that would be for them to stop telling themselves that getting published only happens to ‘other’ people. I guess I told myself that for years and years, and therefore, never was serious about writing. It was something I only dreamt of, but didn’t act on. It can happen to anyone. Just get the story down and then send it out and keep sending it out.

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?

Actually, I did. Just last night my husband and I and two friends went to a bar in downtown Detroit called ‘Tommy’s Detroit Bar and Grill’. There is a tunnel in the basement of the establishment that was used to move bootlegged liquor to the church next door when the Purple Gang feared a raid. I met the owner and he took us on a tour of the lower level, showing us the tunnel. He has stories of unexplained occurrences in the basement. There’s a constructed brick enclosure in an odd place and one wonders what (or who) is contained behind the brick. The Preservation Detroit Society is actually doing historical excavations in the bar’s basement. It was truly intriguing and I got an invitation to do a book signing when my current book comes out. What fun we had!

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?

I believe I will always be a physical book gal. I do own a kindle, but it’s just not the same for me. I like to actually hold it, turn the pages and look at the cover.

What's in the works for you?

As I’ve said, my third mystery novel is currently being written, although this one seems to be going a bit slow. But aside from that, I’ve just had my first story, A Method to Madness: The Case Files of Sam Flanagan recorded for an audio book. My second will follow. That one is titled Sins of the Father: The Case Files of Sam Flanagan. And I find that rather exciting!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Meet Terry Lee author of Saving Grace

Terry Lee

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
Characters begin circling in my mind. At some point I pull out my “Character Development Sketch” which is a list I put together to define my characters (looks, likes, dislikes, weaknesses, occupation, marital status and lately…what were high school years like?) My writing seems to be turning trans generational …by that I mean, what happened in one’s formative high school years…how does it affect the character today?

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer?
Just yesterday I scheduled two events for the middle of October with an old friend who lives in New Braunfels, TX. She’s a retired English teacher and now on the board of the library in New Braunfels. She absolutely knows EVERYONE in this town and said, she’s gotten a lot of bragging rights mileage out of saying she knows me. Made me smileJ 

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?
Professor Dumbledore at Hogwarts Academy, hands down.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
Although I’m a character driven writer, I seem to at least need to be pointed in a direction before I start to write.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
My volunteer work with Houston Hospice was a strong contributor to the story of Saving Gracie. Although not an active volunteer at this point, I do crochet baby blankets and make no-sew fleece lap throws for the children in Houston Hospice.

What was the inspiration for your book?
Saving Gracie: losing my mom to lung cancer in 1987 on Easter Sunday, my experience at Houston Hospice as a volunteer, movies (Always, Chances Are, Defending Your Life, Ghost, Heart and Souls, etc. ) All of these movies have to do with someone dying on this physical plane and picking up on “the other side.”

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
Saving Gracie – not a problem, I did it myself
Partly Sunny – way more difficult which I believe to be my fault…I involved too many people in the decision-making

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
This is easy because I devise storyboards for all my characters. In Saving Gracie, the mother is Betty White and the daughter is Debra Messing. In Partly Sunny, Darcy is Emma Stone (as she played in The Help) and Ms. Viola is Shirley Maclaine.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing. I know this is an over-used expression, but I can find a ton of “chores” to take care of before I sit down to write. Writing (for me) needs to be bumped up the priority list.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
Teachers Aid in Deaf Education Program in Cy Fair ISD; Substance Abuse Counselor; Massage Therapist; Houston Hospice Volunteer

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?
Had a less than favorable experience with the first critique group I joined. Learned quickly many people do not understand the difference between critique and criticism…

Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
Too many to name. I like authors who are able to write not only with a sense of humor but also some depth to their stories.

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?
Everywhere in the house. One week a year I travel to our time share in the Hill Country of Texas and spend an entire week writing…
Last fall, I retired my massage table and transformed my treatment room in my house to my office.

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
I find value in both. While I would be terrible distraught if the print books ever disappeared, I also enjoy the ease of ebooks.

What's in the works for you?
Started book #3 this week. Have my characters in my head and am in the process of filling out my own Character Development Sketches which gives them a history and most importantly…a personality.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Meet Sheldon Townsend author of the Adept Series

S. Evan Townsend

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
Think.  I do a lot of what I call "pre-writing" where I think about plot, characters, setting, figure out where I want to start, where I want to go, how I want to get there.  All of my novels have started out as an idea floating through my brain with a thought of "What if . . .?"  Driving, going for walks, or showering seem to be great times to pre-write

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
I take a deep breath, go "whew" and start thinking about the next book.  Sometimes there might be chocolate involved, though.

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?
Out of the pantheon of fiction characters I have to choose one?  I guess in that case, I'd pick Gandalf the Grey and try to go to Bilbo Baggins house for dinner.   I think Gandalf would have fascinating stories to tell and Bilbo, of course, would have a very full larder.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
My stories are plot driven, not generally character driven.  I'll develop a plot (the "What if . . .?") and then decide on the type of character I want to toss into this situation.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
I used to participate in "track days" and "high performance driving schools" both of which involve driving a car on a race track as fast as you dare or the car is capable of (which ever is slower).  I used to describe it as "the most fun I've had with my clothes on" but really the concentration and discipline it required was amazing.  It wasn't about speed (although the speed was a blast) it was about control and skill.  I've never given anything in my life so much concentration.  I called it "Zen and the Art of Driving Fast" because it just clears the mind of everything else and you reach speed nirvana.
After becoming a full-time writer my finances became such that I decided I didn't need to put out the expenditure necessary (buying a new set of expensive tires every year, for instance).

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read good writers (writers you aspire to be as good as) and write a lot.  Then write some more.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
I was in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence Branch, for four years (which may be why each of my Adept Series novels involves U.S. intelligence agencies at some point).  After that I went to college and then joined the family business as a co-owner/manager.  I worked there for 20 years feeling like a round peg in a square hole being pounded on with a triangular hammer.  I learned a lot about people, however, but I just never felt comfortable.  I have decided the corporate world wants both conformity and creativity (at the same time) and I was never very good at the former.
Currently in addition to fiction writing I'm dong freelance writing for local publications (I write about farmers a lot).  It's interesting as it covers two things I love: learning about things and writing.

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?
As I was writing Book of Death I realized I needed more information about what it was like to live and be in communist Romania in the 1960s.  The information on the internet was very much lacking (and I found out, contradictory or just wrong).  I started asking my network of friends and writers if they knew anyone from Romania but had no luck.  The book was on hold about one-third done (up until my character gets to Romania) and I couldn't proceed.
Then my father was over at my house for Easter dinner and he asked me if I attended a local political meeting.  I said I hadn't that year and he mentioned the speaker was very interesting, a woman who used to live in Romania.  Believe me, I pounced especially when he said he had her business card.  And the card had her email address.  I emailed the woman and she was just the right age, having grown up in the '60s in Romania.  She recommended some sources (including a book she'd written) and answered my many emailed questions about Romanian culture and life under the communist regime.  That helped me make Book of Death as accurate as possible and capture the feeling of being in that country at the height of communist power there.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Sort of both.  I liken it to a road trip: I know where I am, I know where I want to be and I sort of have a plan to get there.  However if a side trip look interesting or I decided on a detour and I don't end up at the same place I planned when I started, that's okay.  I once made a typo, loved how it twisted the story, and kept it.

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?

I have a converted bedroom in the basement of my house I call my "office."  Right now it's full of boxes of books and the desk is (except where the computer sits) covered with notes from freelance stories I need to file.   I have a large computer monitor hooked up to my laptop I spend the day typing.  Shockingly surprised I don't have carpel tunnel syndrome as much as I type.  However, I have had "mouse wrist."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Meet Dick Moomey author of The Valley of Good and Evil

Who are you?

I am Dick Moomey, an author and former educator who lives in Ballston Spa. Since retiring, I have written a series of thrillers. My latest book, “The Valley of Good and Evil,” was released Aug. 15 and published by World Castle Publishing. It is available in print and e-book via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

What is the gist of the novel?  The Valley of Good & Evil

The small village of Valley is entrapped by a horrible crime, placing all its citizens on red alert. Their police chief has been murdered, his eviscerated body found propped up against a cemetery tombstone. Even more mysterious is that on the back of the monument someone scribbled the three-word sentence: “Ken Black Knew.” Ken has been dead 10 years, the victim of a horrific, fiery accident on nearby Storm King Mountain. Hometown girl, attorney Amanda Black, is on her way back to her roots, determined to find some answers to the chief’s murder, but even more, to investigate the reasons behind her father’s name being used in connection with the murder.

Where did you find inspiration for this plot?

I had a plotline in my mind that paralleled my appetite for unusual thrillers. I started with a setting of an area I was familiar with and then expanded this to include a wide variety of characters, most of whom were under the thumb of a madman.

What other projects are you working on?

I have several more books waiting to be published, including “The Saratoga Connection,” and one I am currently writing that centers on a gang of jewel thieves plotting to invade the royal houses of Europe to make the contents their own. The story starts in the U.S. with many twists and turns before moving to Brussels, Belgium, and the first royal house, the House of Brabant.

How have you been spending your time when not writing?

Like most writers, which is sometimes a solitary life, I spend most of my time, besides writing, trying to market my books and get the word out to potential readers. I have had five books published, (including the upcoming one). My wife, Joan, and I spend time traveling, attending cultural events and being amused by the antics of our six grandchildren

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Teasers/ Quotes from a few our books.

The Assassin Journals: Hunter by S.L. Partington

My favorite Lyrian waitress sauntered over to my table. The Lyrians are a feline people, and Kayla was one very pretty kitty. Dressed in tight red leather cut to accommodate her three-foot long Persian cat tail, her black and white streaked hair hung in an intricately braided rope over her right shoulder. Her pointed ears twitched, and she balanced her empty tray on her hip as her green, feline eyes studied me with amusement. “Why do you insist on wearing those shades inside?”

I smiled. “They keep me from being blinded by your beauty.”

    Lightning blasted the ruined ground, briefly illuminating the blackened sky the being floated in; writhing; whipping tendrils spread forth as far as one could see, forming a nauseatingly undulating shroud over the horrible place. Its pale face floated in the sea of shivering black; the hunt was almost over, but the cycle had only begun.

I’m sorry!”  Tears steamed down her face.  Her words were muffled by her sobs.  “He’s a really wicked man and that’s all I know!

John walked into the kitchen carrying Emma's trophy. "I thought this would be a good housewarming gift for Emma." He waited for Sarah Jane to tell him what a remarkably stupid idea it was to give Emma something that already belonged to her. "I can't think of a better or more thoughtful gift, John. You give it to her. Emma will appreciate just how special it is if it comes from you."

There’s three of them, two men with guns and a crazy woman,” Alley told him, getting out of the car and holding onto the door for support.

For your own good, you must.” By her expression, I knew she was deliberately holding something back.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Meet Jeff Horton author of Cybersp@ce

World Castle: When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?

Jeff W. Horton:         Brainstorm. As I've written more and more, I've gotten much better at developing outlines,  plot, and characters ahead of time. Whenever I feel like I'm getting a little writer's block coming on, however, I set the outline aside and just write.    

World Castle:   How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

Jeff W. Horton: I do my best to tell everyone! It's such a thrill to release a new work, especially when                                               they're well-received.

World Castle:  Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer?
 Jeff W. Horton:  Oh, yes. I've had fans approach me at book signings or email me telling me how much they enjoy my work. It does a writer's beaten and battered ego a lot of good to receive positive                                     feedback after some of the harsher reviewers have finished with us.      

World Castle:  If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and  where would you go?
 Jeff W. Horton:  I suppose Kate Reynolds, a brilliant and stunningly beautiful scientist from the novel  Cybersp@ce. She may be a beauty, but she's also rather difficult and opinionated. I think I'd                                     have to avoid talking about politics. We'd probably go to a nice restaurant, probably in Las                                     Vegas, since she works in nearby Area 51.

World Castle:  Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
Jeff W. Horton: I start with both, since they are so intertwined.  I strive to give my characters depth, with their own personality, it makes all the difference.

World Castle:  Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
Jeff W. Horton:  I enjoy writing, reading, attending Church, exercise, and time with my family.

World Castle:    What was the inspiration for your book?
Jeff W. Horton: It varies by book. For The Great Collapse and The Dark Age, it was the frequent ice storms we  experience in the South during the winter helped. With Cybersp@ce, my computer background helped, as has the recent cyber attacks from China and Russia, among many others.      

World Castle:  How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
Jeff W. Horton:  It can be challenging, but I try not to over-think it. Titles are rather important, so I try to be judicious and choose catchy names.

World Castle: Who would play your hero/heroine in the TV or film version of your book?
Jeff W. Horton:  Hmmm. Maybe Tatum Channing as the protagonist, Nick Reynolds. I think he could do a great job of capturing some of Nick's better qualities. Daniel Craig would probably make a great                                     Nikolai Chervanko, the antagonist.

World Castle: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Jeff W. Horton: Just stay with it. Write, write, and then write some more. If you enjoy storytelling, you'll really discover it to be a labor of love!  

World Castle: What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
Jeff W. Horton: I still work in information technology field; though I'm hoping one day I might write full time.  It's definitely a dream!      

World Castle:  Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it  published?
Jeff W. Horton:  I've always learned a lot when researching for my novels. I was actually shocked to learn there was an EMP commission and that they were truly shocked when it turned out that they were as worried as I was about what an EMP attack could do to America.        

World Castle:  Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
 Jeff W. Horton: I like Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis, and a host of many other writers.    
World Castle:Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Jeff W. Horton: I'd never heard of the term "pantser" before so I had to look it up! I was more of a pantser starting off but I'm finding myself becoming more and more of a plotter as I write more. It                                     enables me to offer a better, more consistent structure and just fill in the gaps. The outline                                     becomes the truly creative work for me as I develop the storyline.

World Castle:Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?
 Jeff W. Horton: I do most of my writing in the living room, though the most productive writing takes place when the rest of the family's gone to bed.     
World Castle: Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time?
Jeff W. Horton: Free time? What is that?       

World Castle:  Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
Jeff W. Horton: Print, definitely.         

World Castle: What's in the works for you?
Jeff W. Horton: Well, once I finish out the Cybersp@ce Trilogy, I'm not sure.  I've got several ideas percolating, so I'll have to see what gels.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meet Linell Jeppsen the author of Onio

Linell Jeppsen is a writer of science fiction and fantasy. Her vampire novel, Detour to Dusk, has received over 29- four and five star reviews. Her novel Story Time,  with over 58- 4 and 5 star reviews, is a science fiction, post-apocalyptic novel, and has been touted by the Paranormal Romance Guild, Sandy’s Blog Spot, Coffeetime Romance , Bitten by Books and 54 top reviewers as a five star read, filled with terror, love, loss, and the indomitable beauty and strength of the human spirit. Story Time was also nominated as the best new read of 2011 by the PRG! Her dark fantasy novel, Onio (a story about a half-human Sasquatch who falls in love with a human girl), was released in December 2012 and won 3rd place as the best fantasy romance of 2012 by the PRG reviewers guild!
Her latest novel, The War of Odds, won the IBD award for fantasy fiction and boasts 12- 5 star reviews since its release in February of 2013.
She is also in a collaborative effort with the Welsh author, J. Bryden Lloyd in, The Guardians- a science fiction, serialized thriller with over 30 reviews here and in the UK!
For more information about Linell Jeppsen and her novels, visit, or


I remember following a discussion thread on Amazon a couple of years ago that addressed the issue~ some said that e-book covers do not matter, but I disagreed. There are so many books to browse on Amazon, Goodreads, assorted book sites, Smashwords, B and N, etc. There is also a lot of competition even getting your own book seen!
The BIG houses certainly know that good cover art is vital to the success of a book, and so should the small press and Indie authors. I heard, recently, that there are over two and a half MILLION independent books now, on Amazon alone, so great art is a must!
I write, primarily, science fiction and fantasy, so my art is even more important. My publisher does a great job, but I also hire a graphic designer who customizes my art to represent the characters, time and place of my assorted novels.
Onio is a quarter Sasquatch male who falls in love with a human girl. As you can see he is quite handsome, tall (about 6’7) and very hairy! Melody is pretty, but she is wearing no make-up… I mean, why would she? She is with a tribe of Sasquatches deep within the Rocky Mountains. The story takes place, mostly, during the wintertime- so there is a snowy background- perfect for the time and place.

All of my covers are custom made- Detour to Dusk is one that has a real, live model on the cover, but in the background, there is a tall, winged man. This is a vampire thriller, and the protagonists are huge, evil, winged creatures. The lake in the background is beautiful Lake Christina, in Canada.

One of my favorites is the cover of The War of Odds- an urban faerie tale. The girl’s name is Sara, the little sprite is Pollo, and the cat is called Hissaphat. He is a warrior general from the land of the fae. The evil, red eyes in the cave… well, you had better read it and find out! LOL!

So, you have sweated blood and tears on your new book- don’t cheap out now and put up mediocre art for your opus. Make your novel as irresistible as possible to the millions of readers out there who are browsing for a new book to read!


Practice, Practice, Practice! I know- that sounds simplistic, but it is true. There are born storytellers out there… I am one of them. That does not mean, however, that I knew how to write the stories down that teemed around in my head, when I first started writing! That takes practice.
This is for those people out there who don’t have a master’s degree in English Lit, okay? There are a hundred pitfalls to overcome in order to become a “good” writer. First, you need a good story! You can write the most perfect novel in existence; perfect grammar, spelling, outlining, perfect characterizations, POV’s and tensing- and still produce a lousy, boring book if it has no soul- that magical spark that makes your story unforgettable!
Still, your beautiful, thrilling, heart-wrenching story will soon be forgotten (or, worse yet, put down unfinished) if you do not endeavor to write clean copy. A good writer, in my opinion, has an excellent editor, and a host of Beta readers. An excellent writer also has a VERY thick skin! A good Beta is one who respects your story and your voice in the telling of it. They will not try to intrude upon your vision, or your plotline, but will be generous with their ideas- if you ask!
Sometimes, a really, good Beta reader is the person who spots repetitive words, or phrases. (Recently, my sister-in-law spotted the number four- five places in the opening pages of my latest project. Who knew? I must have been feeling “FOURISH” the day I wrote that! LOL!) They will tell you, gently, that you are telling the story out of order, or that they started yawning at the halfway mark.
A great Beta or editor will Never, Ever scoff at you, disparage your words, or disrespect you in any way. They will not try to impose their will upon you, or interject their voice into your work.
We all need to learn about writing great stories- and how great stories are structured. We need to learn the best Point of Views, the correct tense for our chosen POV, and a working knowledge of good grammar. One of my bug-a-boos is comma placement! Ugh! I have been at this for years now, and I still use far too many commas, and use them in the wrong places! (I’m probably doing it right now!)
In short, good writing takes time and practice. Some of my favorite authors started out a little rough, and improved their craft over time. So must we all!
Finding Your Voice: Writing in First Person (or Third)

This is an interesting phenomenon. I usually write in the third person- except for my novel, Story Time, which was written in the first person- from a number of viewpoints…whew!
I ran into an issue recently, however, that really gave me pause. A reviewer said I was writing in omniscient POV (the God View) in my novel, The War of Odds. I looked at it, and stared at it until my eyes crossed but I just couldn’t see it. Finally, my publisher said that there was no clear break between my character’s thoughts, words and actions- thus- the dreaded GOD-VIEW!
She literally put “Breaks” between the different characters, and now I am back to writing in the third person.
Just because YOU (the writer) know who is thinking and doing what, does not mean your reader knows. That is why it is so important to clarify and to be consistent in your point of view.
Writing in the first person POV has its share of challenges. This is where the old saying “Show don’t Tell”, really comes into play. Most people aren’t going to tell a story by saying, “I have beautiful, but troubled, blue eyes!” (lol) The protagonist will show by his or her ACTIONS that they are in trouble- maybe they observe the result of sleepless nights in the mirror and mutter, “I have GOT to get some sleep!”
There is no good way or bad way to tell a story- each has its merit. The first person narrative garners sympathy in the reader. I will give no spoilers here, but one case in point is the novel, “Gone Girl”. If you want to see a master of first person storytelling and the power of first person narrative, try that novel on for size. You will be in for a shock, and realize how vulnerable we are to really, good liars!

The Right Way and the Wrong Way To Promote Your Book Online

There are people out there who are masters of promotion; unfortunately, I am not one of them! I have learned a few things about product recognition, however, since I was first published in 2011.
There is SO much competition in the marketplace that both you and your product must become recognizable. This means that you need to interact with your readership. Be friendly, helpful, and supportive to them, even as you are promoting your services.
Join as many web sites as you can- and be sure to choose your sites wisely. There are places on Amazon where a writer is allowed to promote, but there are also places that will rip you to pieces if you dare advertise! Join in chat groups with like- minded people. You might not be able to promote- I mean, how would you like it if your good friend lifted his trumpet every morning and blasted it in YOUR face? You can make friends online, however, and they will do everything in their power to help you get ahead.
I have a thread on the MOA forum (Amazon) called the SS Wordsmyth. It is one of the most vibrant threads there and is home to many writers of science fiction and fantasy. We cross-promote one another, and give one another a shoulder to cry on when that occasional bad review comes in, or we feel rejected.
I also belong to a number of groups on Goodreads and Facebook. Another important thing to do is open an author page on Facebook, and get a good picture of yourself. Readers want to know who you are and what you look like! They want to identify with you as a person!
Most of all, and I mentioned this before, you need to grow a very thick skin. Book promoting is a microcosm of life itself… no matter how hard you try, or how friendly you try to be, not everyone will like you (or your writing style)! Having a lot on on-line friends will help insulate you from the occasional attack, or horrible review!
Most important of all is having product recognition for your own name. I am gratified to see that more and more people are starting to hit on the name Linell Jeppsen for fantasy and science fiction. With a little good planning and hard work, your name will become a marketable as well!