Thursday, August 31, 2017

Interview with Alix Adale author of Fire is Magic - Specail Thursday Edition-Just released today!!

Alix Welcome!  And Congrats on the release of Fire is Magic, Book 3 in the Hearts of Magic Series!  It was just released today!!
Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, Sarah! Thanks so much for having me. Let’s see, I like to say I write “suspenseful, cathartic romance from the bleeding edge of reality.” What that means is that I try to present a fresh take on paranormal themes by incorporating a lot of ideas from psychology, true crime, horror, and the occult. At the same time, since this is romance, the relationship is the main storyline and love has a supernatural agency all its own. So a recurring theme in my book that “love is magic” is meant quite literally in a world of vampires, demons, and werewolves. Love can conquer all.
Currently, what are you working on?
Right now, I’m working on the fourth book in my Hearts of Dagon series, called Dawn is Magic. It’s a second chance romance between Armando—the head of the Braden vampire clan featured in this series—and a woman who is more than his match, Ursula, the Vampire Queen of Dagon. Not only do they have that dynamic going on, it’s a second-chance romance, because their love goes back a couple centuries. Can they get it right this time?
After that, I’m doing a bridge book or two featuring the series’ designated bad girl Cherise—it might be a tough making her likable, as readers do not like her at all and for good reason—before moving on to the next vampire clan in the grand scheme of things, a family closely allied with the Bradens called the Eibons. Which means, of course the Bradens will return in supporting roles and cameos in those books. It’s like an extended family.

That sounds interesting.  I love the side stories, because you get to know that characters a little better.  Tell us a little bit about your main characters
I mentioned Armando and Cherise already; the other Bradens include Colin, an Irish gentleman who sweeps Rowan off her feet and off to Paris in Blood is Magic, the first in the series. Then there’s Desiree, a vampire who hates undead life and is stuck in a rut—until her clan tries to pin a murder on this fantastic sweet mortal guy she just met—that’s told in Night is Magic.
The third book just out [August 31st] is Fire is Magic. In this one, George ‘Dreck’ Braden is searching for his sire’s killer in underground fight clubs. Imagine Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine as a vampire pit-fighter and you get the picture. While making the rounds, he falls for a tough, no-nonsense woman of faith named Jordan Rivers—who happens to be a vampire slayer. Things heat up, cool off, and burn up from there. 

Alix, how did you decide on what to title each book?
I work on the series name first, then play around with ideas for the titles. I’ve got a Word document with a dozen possible series names and numerous titles either attached to a series or usable as standalone names. Making titles is tons of fun and while I don’t always get it right, it’s enjoyable like poetry. I love your title Sunwalker ’by the way, it’s great.
Thanks so much!  I find sometimes it hard to pick between two title.  Sometimes I get outside advice.  Is this a stand-alone novel or part of a series?
All four of the novels mentioned—including Fire is Magic, just out, and Dawn is Magic, my current work in progress—make up the Hearts of Dagon series. All of my paranormal romance and urban fantasy series (I shade far more toward UF than eRom or New Adult in my books) all fit into the same universe, so just because the four-book Braden series is over doesn’t mean I’m done with that setting, those characters, or the overarching storylines. My ultimate goal is what I like to call a ‘supernatural Sopranos’ or a ‘paranormal Game of Thrones.’
 I am always amazed when authors can hold a story together for so many novels.  I've never been able to get past the trilogy.  That's impressive.  Alix, what is the easiest part of the writing process?  What is the hardest?
Ideas, characters, brainstorming, worldbuilding—these are the fun parts of the job! I’ve been doing it so long it’s second nature to me and my primary hobby, and I’ve got enough ideas jotted down even if I never came up with another idea, I could still write 100 novels across a variety of genres. I literally have a document called “100 ideas for a novel.” So ideas are the easy part, the hard part is the marketing. Writing itself is fun, it’s not so difficult either once you’ve broken those barriers of a few hundred thousand words, half a million words, which I have on other pen names in other genres. Even revisions aren’t such a slog. The hardest part of the writing part is still the copy-editing and proofreading. I can read through my manuscript between ten and twenty times and still have a ton of errors come back from the proofreader. I wish I wrote cleaner copy, but I also write fast so it’s a tradeoff.

Do you have people read your drafts before you publish?  How do you select beta readers?
I think a beta read is vital and while I’ve advertised for more beta readers, I’m still building up that team. I’m also open to critique swaps with other offers, with a preference given to those writing vampire fiction and paranormal romance authors.
I agree, betas are super important.  I too am looking for a couple more.  What was your writing process like?  
On days when I do get to write full-time, I roll straight out of bed and onto the computer. I don’t want anything else in between me and the story. I want to get 4k to 5k words in by lunchtime. Then I can focus on correspondence, marketing, freelance projects, social media, and all the other time-eaters. The remainder of my day is then either more writing, Photoshop work, revising, plotting—there are about a hundred things that have to be done.

In your novels, which character is your favorite?
If I said Cherise, readers would revolt and for good reason, but what’s interesting about her as a recurring villain is that because she’s young for a vampire—only nineteen and still a fledgling—she’s not taken that seriously. There’s also a good reason she keeps popping up: she shares the Braden bloodline, she’s part of the Braden clan, and she lives Braden House with everyone else. Everyone but her sire Armando despises her, but for now they’re stuck with her. So that’s a fun dynamic, as opposed to having some Big Bad who’s off in a secret lair doing evil things unrelated to the clan.
That said, she’s not my favorite—she’s too damn evil. I’ll go with Colin. He’s the family rock, the steady reliable anchor of the Bradens. Between George’s lone wolf act, Desiree’s shy sadness, and Armando’s moody hedonism, the clan needs that steady middle. Unfortunately, due to the way I wrote Blood is Magic, Colin didn’t get a viewpoint even though he was the male love interest! All the remainder of my books alternate viewpoints, but Colin got short shrift in my first one. Sorry, Colin!

Since you wrote in this genre, do you think you will ever write in other genres? 
– I love paranormal romance, urban fantasy, secondary-world fantasy, horror, and science fiction. So I read and write in all those genres and let the ideas cross-pollinate back and forth. There’s much to be learned about convincing, suspenseful, and original portrayals of magic in different fantasy fiction, for example, while reading horror can help you work in that creepy, frightening atmosphere that can work well in paranormal romance.
I enjoy fantasy too because there are no limits except your imagination.  What advice would you give someone who is considering publishing? Should they consider traditional or self-publishing?
Go ahead and try self-publishing first, the main reason being that trad markets are tight and getting tighter with a lot of lines closing, particularly in romance. And nowadays, a lot of times when trad publishers or even agents are evaluating new authors, they’re also evaluating what kind of mailing list you have, your social media presence, your discoverability, your website, your Amazon page, and other branding you already have in place. Because for the majority of their authors, they won’t do anything to market you anyway. It’s up to you. So even if you want to go trad, it doesn’t hurt you at all to do indie. That may not be true of every genre, literary maybe, but for genre fiction it’s a great way up. You’ll also learn a lot about writing and get market feedback a lot faster than if you’d went the traditional route, which can take years in cases.

Share a short excerpt from Night is Magic

Desiree sprinted down a silent, suburban street before dawn, chasing fear.
The old man’s fright hung in the wind, mingling with the crimson sweetness of his wounds. He left a scent-trail so palpable, so easy to follow, she could have chased him blindfolded. She could have ditched her underworld senses and tracked him by the blood drops alone.
Her sister Cherise was toying with their victim, slashing at his heels, dancing around him, driving the old man past the point of exhaustion. Sis leaped from car to car, a vampire in black leather, smirking with delight. Boot heels clattered over car roofs and hoods. A knife glittered in her fist—because fang marks gave the game away.
Dez strained to keep up. Tennis shoes slapped on concrete. Her denim jacket flapped in the cold night air. Time to end this barbarous sport. This time, sis had gone too far.
Not ten minutes ago, Cherise had kicked the man awake, slashed his face with the knife, and told him to run. That act was so unexpected—so unspeakably vile and violent—it made Dez want to puke.
But there was a method to sister’s madness. Fear sweetened the blood. Fright pumped adrenaline into the bloodstream, giving it a powerful, almost intoxicating kick. Most vampires craved that terror buzz, but it was an acquired taste.
One she never picked up, thank god. Hunting people was barbaric, something she’d avoided for years. Even drinking medical supply blood made her queasy. She could only force it down by mixing it with tomato juice, red wine, strawberry ice cream—anything to kill the cloying sweetness of stolen life. Blood tasted like guilt, like death, even though it kept her alive. But it wasn’t a life worth living.
Now this. The thought of killing anyone—even someone on the fair game list—made her sick. But running someone down in the streets like a dog before murdering them in a vacant parking lot and drinking raw blood from their veins—it was monstrous. Unconscionable. Her stomach tightened and her throat gagged. “Cherise! Stop!”
The other woman spun about, glaring. The hunting knife gleamed. Though still a fledgling, Cherise was vicious and bloodthirsty, everything a vampire should be. Everything Desiree was not. Green eyes flared in the dark.
“What?” Sister’s words took on a cold sneer and the hunting knife blazed in her hand, save where blood darkened the blade. “Out of breath, Dez? Can’t keep up? Want to run home to daddy?”
As a matter of fact, going home sounded great. But first, this had to end. A weapon hung in her fingers too, a butterfly knife with a silver-gilded blade. It weighed cold and heavy against her palm. Their sire had given it to her only hours ago, marking the anniversary of her turning. She swallowed hard but looked Cherise straight in the eye.
“We’re not killing this man.”

(end of excerpt)

Night is Magic – FREE from August 31 – Sept 4
Fire is Magic – LAUNCHES August 31
Hearts of Dagon series page:
The cover designer of the Hearts of Dagon series:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Interview with Richard Sutton author of Back to Santa Fe and many more

Welcome Richard! Thanks so much for joining us.  Richard also writes under the alias WT Durand.  Be sure to check out his books under both names.

Thanks for the opportunity to explain myself, Sarah. I was once called an "auto-didact" by an editor I respect a lot. The description certainly fits as my entire official college career consisted of two semesters (beginning Fall 1969) before I found the pull of full-time protest and music could not be resisted. Born in California in 1952, I grew up all over the West, often moving more than once a year. It resulted in shallow roots, but a good ability to fit in quickly, wherever I was. I became a meticulous observer of human behavior and detail which contributed to my adaptability. Later, I returned to the classroom to audit classes I had an interest in, but my self-driven education has really been active my entire life. I always had some skill with words and images, so stories came easily. After a couple of aborted attempts, my first novel was completed in 2008 (The Red Gate, published in 2009). By that time, I'd worn lots of different hats working jobs from cannery to frame carpenter to sign carver, graphic designer and Indian Trader,  traveling across the country and back, eventually settling down in New York City. I'd become an Ad Man, creating marketing campaigns, writing copy and designing corporate communications and identity. Later, I made a career sea-change as our family opened an American Indian Arts gallery and full-time trading in the Native Arts took us across country four to six times every year from 1985 until 2007. We also kept a home in New Mexico for twenty years, an inspiration in itself. Semi-Retirement after 2007 gave me more time to write, and more time to read which led to a few more books. As long as my hands are busy with building or creating or playing music, I'm a happy camper.
Wow Richard, it sounds like you have led quite an exciting life. So, what got you into writing?
There are really only two things that drew me in. First, reading of course. I liked adventure and scifi and exotic locales when I wasn't pouring over cereal boxes or owners manuals. If it had words in print, I was on it. The second was a book my grandmother found in her attic for ten-year-old me to read after having read almost everything else she had handy. It was a First Edition of L. Frank Baum's Tik-Tok of Oz. I still keep it on the shelf, where it reminds me of how it inspired me to want to tell stories and put them on paper.  

I know you have so many books out there, would you share a short excerpt from one?
Here's the opening from my 2014 novel, Back to Santa Fe, written as WT Durand. It's loosely a police procedural/family conflict kind of story. One of my favorite reviews came from a Romance writer, so it's clearly cross-genre. I also loaded it with little Easter eggs for the readers of my completely unrelated (or so it seems...) first two novels, set in Ireland. Here's the pitch: Sullivan Ortega has just returned to his empty childhood home in Santa Fe to pay his respects to the last of his family, his sister Maggie, killed in a single-car crash. He’s trying to put his life back together, but along with a bad temper, he's got few prospects or real friends. Learning what happened is taking him somewhere he doesn't want to go back to . Second chances can get messy.
1981, Northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico
A sudden gust of afternoon wind raked over the dark green water, sending a patch of ripples towards a rocky shoreline. It carried them right up and over the feet of a boy of ten or eleven, sitting on an old waterlogged stump, revealed when the dry season lowered the level of the reservoir. He laughed as the ripples tickled his legs and feet and began to swing them back and forth.
A woman’s voice called down from over the top of the steep, bank, “Sullivan, get up here, Lunch is ready!”
“Okay, Ma,” he shouted back. Sullivan reluctantly pulled his feet from the reservoir and shook the water off before pulling his muddy sneakers back on. As he stood, he turned back to the water to see how the snow-covered Las Truchas peaks were reflected in it, upside down. They winked like stars below the brown, Juniper-studded hills that ran into the shoreline.
“Here I come,” he called as he struggled up the slope. “Where’s Maggie? Have you got her?”
Chapter One
Fifteen years later…
"At least try to keep 'im quiet! Can you do that for me?" The desk sergeant, Ben Ortega, raised both hands in frustration and gave up on the booking form. There was barely enough desktop left uncovered to find a spot to write anyway. The morning had already been a disaster and now, here was Sullivan. Second time this month.
The arresting officers, Garcia and Sandoval, really had their hands full just keeping their arrest from charging the desk, let alone explaining the fine points of booking etiquette to him for the umpteenth time. The man they had cuffed a half an hour earlier towered over them both. Red faced, wild black hair flinging sweat, the man was a menace. Sergeant Ortega knew Garcia had pumped iron since a teenager in the barrio, but it wasn’t doing him much good. He was slowly losing the struggle with Sullivan. Officer Sandoval was really no help at all. In a firm, control voice, Sandoval told the struggling man, "Sullivan, you've got to calm down. We're going to book you if it takes ten of us — it won't be pretty.”
No change at all. Sullivan continued to struggle. Sandoval, nervously fingered his nightstick and looked
back at Garcia. Garcia, drew his own nightstick from the loop on his belt, and then attempted to put it across Sullivan's throat.
In a flash of surprising speed, Garcia found himself lying flat on the floor while the big guy, arms cuffed behind him, began to drag Sandoval over to the desk. Sandoval, forgetting his nightstick, leaned back with his full weight against the cuff chain. He heard his heels slipping across the freshly waxed floor.
Bellowing, "It's not right," Sullivan bellied up to the desk with a final lurch, rocking it back. It even rattled the ultra-cool sergeant, who found his arresting officers either picking themselves off the floor, or just standing there tugging weakly against the cuffs.
The sergeant looked calmly into a boiling red face, just inches from his own. He then unsnapped his MACE holster keeper and slid the aerosol can out so the label could be seen. Keeping it firmly in his grip, he laid his hand down on the desk and pushing out his chin said quietly, "Sullivan, if you don't shut up, I'll shut you up myself.” It appeared to him that Sullivan's anger management classes last month had accomplished little. The big man bent down to look the sergeant in the eye. Sgt. Ben Ortega stood, rising to his full 5 foot seven inch height and put his forehead against the angry man's forehead. In the same quiet voice, Ortega said, "Come on, cousin... we've all got a job to do.”
The six and a half foot tower named Sullivan Derrick Ortega, simply deflated… muttering. The two arresting officers quickly flanked him in seconds, wearing their best "in charge" faces. Sullivan looked down at the two on either side of his shoulders.
"No hard feelings, okay guys?"
"I guess not, Sully," said Garcia, watching Sgt. Ortega’s eyes.
"Me neither," said Sandoval, letting the smallest trace of a smile find its way to his face.
"Sullivan... listen cousin, you're going to have to learn how to keep your temper under control. This is getting serious.” Sgt. Ortega eased back into his chair.
As Sullivan began to protest, he simply cut it off by waving a finger in the air in his face. "What would your mother and sister — God rest them — think of all this?"
Sergeant Ortega waited for a response and when not a single grunt was forthcoming, he repeated it, "What?"
Sullivan, already shrunken back to his normal size, slumped more and muttered something, his head hanging, eyes focusing on the mess of paperwork on the desk.
"I didn't hear that, Vato,” said Ortega.
Sullivan, glanced up sharply, repeating, "My guess is that they wouldn't like it much. Okay, Ben?"

Richard, when you read, which do you prefer: print books or ebooks?
It depends on why I'm reading it. If it is completely absorbing, my Nook eReader is most effective and comfortable as I can change the text type size for better legibility and also instantly look up any words I meet that I'm unacquainted with. If it's a reference or non-fiction work, then generally I prefer paper, although the state of our library shelves (already heavily loaded...) can make the decision, too. 

Richard, you have more writing experience than most of my authors featured.  Have you been given any helpful advice you can pass along?
I stumbled into several really excellent writers groups online around 2006, when I was banging out stories on my laptop at the register stand in our gallery. I had the fundamentals, but little guidance. I found so much helpful criticism, unexpected insights and pats upon the back when I got depressed, that I can't begin to even sort them according to benefit. It was all incredibly useful. Most of these folks are still online friends that share the inside stuff easily. As far as structure, I'm what we call in our circle, a "pantser" (as in "by the seat of my pants") and have had little results from advice along the lines of plotting ahead of time, but as far as checking concepts, noting anachronisms, or cultural issues, these folks are the best! I do for them as much as I can as well. 

Currently, what are you working on?
I've got two works in progress right now. One is a family saga about a merchant marine during WW2 set mostly in New Orleans and Brooklyn. The other is a series about the education of two Hellenic scholars during the time of Caesar's conquest of Gaul and afterwards as they begin traveling to protect the ancient knowledge they have stolen from the Library of Alexandria. Their travels lead them into close association with Gallic Barbarians and even Druids. Their dealing with the Celtic culture has its moments. The first book was completed and released last year (The Gift Voyages) but there are at least two more to come. There is another Western themed novel that exists only in character notes right now that will become more of a book by next year.
Those both sound so exciting.  Good Luck, can’t wait to see the finished products.

Tell us a little bit about your main characters
No matter the book or genre, my characters are clueless, initially. They find themselves at odds with the current situation and have to learn to figure their way out of whatever it may be. They usually think they have it all figured out, then realize they don't. It's a condition I found myself in a lot when I was younger. I have always preferred reading about normal folks in unusual circumstances. My fiction writing is all character-driven, but the range of genres I write in reveals how important I think setting is. I like strong visuals, but when it comes to my characters, usually leave the reader guessing a bit so they can fill in what they need to connect. Sometimes, they are inspired by real people in my life; and sometimes, they just pop into my head and start making their presence known, even in dreams. One book, On Parson's Creek was inspired by a real small-town setting my Junior Year of High School. Two books take place on the Mayo coast of Ireland. One several light years from Earth; but whatever the setting, most readers will recognize the characters I write. Possibly even know them personally.

Share something with us not a lot of people know about you.
My very first job in New York City (after hitchhiking there from an Oregon Commune...) was as a ski mechanic. Later I was one of Saloman's very first certified bindings mechanics back in 1974. I went to work for Herman's Sporting Goods down on Nassau Street and used to ride the subway to work with old Herman himself. My interview was a bit off though. Once the manager had shaken my hand and told me to report for work Monday, I had to ask if he could give me and advance as my funds had run out completely! He gave me a fifty, which covered my SRO room in the Hotel Lucerne on Broadway, uptown, for a few more days. I later found out that American playwright Thornton Wilder had lived in the Lucerne before he made a name for himself. There was a coke machine in the lobby. It was not a posh situation, but it was better than the YMCA. Seriously. 
Wow, it looks like you’ve done a little bit of everything.

How do you promote your books? Any tips you can share?
Having spent a number of years in marketing and advertising, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out (like most of my characters...) but the truth is that since the advent of eBooks and online marketing, promotion is evolving almost daily. I'm still trying to find a formula. There are no easy, sure-thing answers at all beyond "know who your readers are and put your book where they congregate". This, of course, involves some cost, and if you have relatively shallow pockets, it can be difficult. Still, though even if you are bursting with cash, you need to take a cautious approach and see as much proof as you can of the effectiveness of offered sites and services, before plunking down your bucks. The whole author-as-brand thing is also overstated and over simplified. Be careful not to come off as a late night TV pitchman. Keep your nose clean in online reader forums by not providing troll-bait. If you are fortunate enough to have a publisher, make as much use of their ideas of positioning and market niche as you can in your own marketing and know that you will still have to do the lion's share of the work. Unless, of course you have a long sexual relationship with a viral celebrity, or a notorious business history, or the like. In those cases, the media will gladly step in a do your pitching for you. I recently read an article penned by a business colleague who has identified that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in marketing to younger generations (millennials and Xers) is to promote as if you're promoting. They supposedly hate to be pitched (unless it's Apple pitching them, of course...) to, so subtlety and discussion based upon the motivating interest in the content of your book will have to be carefully crafted or the trolls will cut you up and leave you bleeding. 

Is this a stand-alone novel or part of a series?
Back to Santa Fe was initially intended to be the first book of a series, but it evolved into a stand-alone. There may be other books coming, as there are so many New Mexico stories swirling in my memory from our Trading days, I can't ever say never. Readers seem to want more from Sullivan, the main character, so I will have to comply, eventually.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?  What is the hardest?
For me, the easiest part of writing is the research before the drafting begins, followed closely by the First Draft, which is a pleasure. Some books, the words flow out of my fingertips without even engaging my critical brain! I get the read the story as it tells itself. The hardest is the rewriting, of course. Over and over again. My first book took eleven rewrites, and then the editor found even more! There are always little bits you miss, and I've learned that while I can minimize mistakes, I can't completely eliminate them, so I aim for the big, ugly ones, first; then settle down to sifting the text for typos, and punctuation issues. It's no fun at all, but necessary to create something anyone else will want to read. 

Do you have people read your drafts before you publish?  How do you select beta readers?
I hang onto a core of six or so, trusted beta readers with additional help "on call" depending upon genre. Some of them are also writers and some of them are genre-readers. I don't usually provide full manuscripts to them all. Two or three chapters are usually good for movement/momentum and if they request more, I can always supply it! I pitch in-genre reading groups for reviewers, non-stop and those who respond to ARC offers and seem to "get" what I'm doing eventually end up betas. I also still engage with other writers in writing groups and some of my most trusted betas have been met thorough these groups. 

Who designed the artwork for your cover?  Or did you design it yourself?
Me, of course! The cover image is one I shot at dawn just outside of Gallup, NM headed East. It's a place my main character would have passed himself, several times. Cover and collateral graphic design for authors and small presses is the one sideline I retain in my semi-retirement. Mostly word-of-mouth connections refer new clients. I don't do any pre-made covers. Each is completely custom designed for the book in question. I'm not the cheapest designer out there, but I'm not too expensive either. Most of my clients are repeat projects. 
That’s great!  I wish I could design my own.  I have tried and I just don’t have that talent.  Gallup, NM?  If you had asked me last month I wouldn’t have known where that was but I just drove through there.  Very pretty country out there.

What brought about the idea for your book, Richard?
In the case of Back to Santa Fe, I wanted to give something back to a State and it's people who had given so much to me. My first book was also inspired by my Trading days, but in a circuitous way. IN our gallery, we found customers really hungry for the mystical, "woo-woo" side of American Indian Culture. They felt that each purchase should come with a big dose of ready-to-wear philosophy or shamanic lessons. We knew a lot of Native people from diverse Native cultures and locations. One thing they all shared though, was a need to protect the secrets of their religious culture from New Age shamans. Out of respect for their feelings I tried not to impart anything remotely feeling like religious insights along with our products. We did share known symbolism and cultural information when it was the subject of the artwork or craft, but there was always the customer who wanted more, and was willing to pay for it. We heard of several who ended up connected with sweat-lodge charlatans and the like, which made me begin thinking of why it was that our own, European heritage wasn't as satisfying somehow, for many folks. In my constant cultural and spiritual research and reading, it became very clear that many of our ancestors European spiritual concepts were very similar to American Indian traditional spirituality. In my first book, The Red Gate, which is the story of a reclusive Irish family discovering the ancient secrets binding them to the land, I tried to illustrate some of these concepts which, though hidden over the centuries of Christian thinking and education, still resound in our heritage. In other words, If you need to go into the woods and commune with the oak trees, you can do it as easily as a Druid-in-training as a wannabe American Indian. 

Is there something you learned from writing your first book?
A book is never finished perfectly. You have to decide to stop writing it and let it go. Even now, just bringing it up suggests things I should correct or change in my mind, but I remind myself that the works in progress need that energy more.
I felt this way when I published my first book.  I kept tweaking and editing, and eventually I just had to stop.  I think you can always come up with something to change. 

What advice would you give someone who is considering publishing? Should they consider traditional or self-publishing?
Finally, from my own trials, I would still suggest that anyone writing a book that they believe will work as a consumer product, should first attempt to find an agent. Once the book is presentable, of course. Literary Agents have resources within the industry that outsiders can't conceive of. They earn their percentage and then some. By all means, pitch publishers. If nothing else it will teach you a lot. I never found one. Don't ever be afraid to fail. Failure is the best teacher of all. Finally, if your work falls between the cracks or is not in a currently popular genre, and you are confident that readers will respond to it, self-publish it. Keep in mind, though that it needs to be as polished (or more so) as it would be if a publisher had invested in it. The stigma of self-publishing is lifting as the Gatekeepers roles are changing. Eventually I hope it won't matter at all and the quality of a books' content will be the only thing that will position it in the market niche it belongs in. 

Any last words you’d like to share with us?
Thank you, Sarah, for indulging me. I can really go on and on, I know! If any of your readers would be interested in reading and reviewing any of my titles, they can submit a request to for an eBook copy in their choice of format, either ePub or Kindle. They should also mention your blog as a reference. Thanks again!

Thanks, Richard!  Best of Luck on all your future endeavors!  I appreciate you sharing with us today.  Find about more about Richard and his books at the links below.
Happy Reading!!

Amazon author page:
My blog and design site:
Twitter: @RichardLSutton

Friday, August 25, 2017

Interview with David Meredith author of Aaru

This week, Let’s welcome David Meredith author of Aaru!

David, What got you into writing in the first place?
I’ve always had an interest in writing. I think my earliest attempt was a story I wrote in about 3rd grade that I bound in shirt boards and decorated with magic marker. I wrote some admittedly awful fanfic in middle school and high school that I’d honestly never want anyone to see now. I also had several false starts and attempts at novels. I think there were four that I got 50 or more pages into before giving up for various reasons, but all of those were important to helping me grow as a writer. I kept just kept at it until I finished my first novel, that I have still not published by the way, but I think that has been the key. Writing isn’t a product. It’s a process, and the only way you get better at it is to keep doing it.
David, I think you are absolutely correct.  We have to keep at it.  I too have a folder of stories that will never see the light, but they were all crucial in helping me reach the point I am at today.
Share a short excerpt from your novel.
The days were hard to measure in Aaru. Rose never felt any need to sleep, and she only ate when she felt like tasting something. It threw off her whole appreciation of time’s passage. Additionally, although there was a brilliant sun in the sky whenever she wanted it, the deeply orange harvest moon and all the stars of creation were hers to command as well. Day and night were only what she made of them. However much time there was though, she began spending a very great amount of it with Franco.
She helped him build his mansion, of course. It was a sprawling, walled structure with a reddish-brown, clay-tiled roof and looked like it might have been inspired by a combination of the villa of some ancient conquistador and the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine that Rose remembered visiting on a vacation to Florida once as a child. When they finished it, they stood staring up at the magnificent structure in silence. Franco’s face bore a deeply affected expression.
“Feel glad it’s done?” Rose ventured. “You took long enough to do it. Of all the Vedas, yours is the last one to go up…”
“I never thought I’d ever get to have anything like this,” he murmured. “My family… well… there was seven of us all living in a two bed-room apartment. My mom and dad had one room. My sisters shared the other. Me and my brother slept in the living room on the couch… It still doesn’t seem real…” He trailed off. “Is this thing really all mine?”
“That and anything else you want, Franco,” Rose replied softly. “It’s perfect here. You can do anything, be anything, have anything …”
Franco turned his face toward her with a curious half smile. Something in the way he looked at her made Rose catch her breath. Maybe it was the intensity that seemed to ever burn in his large, dark eyes or perhaps it was his strong angular features and high cheek bones, but when he looked at her like that, right at her, like he couldn’t see anything else, it stole the thoughts from her head and words from her lips. All she could contemplate was how utterly handsome he was.
“Can I?” he asked coyly. “I’ll have to think about it… What about you though, Rose? What do you want? What do you want to be?”
The question took her off guard. She hadn’t thought about it in quite a while.  There had been a time when she wanted to be a doctor or a professional soccer player – the first woman to play for Real Madrid! Maybe president. Why not?
Her illness had stolen all of those dreams away a long time ago, however. Could she have them back now, here in Aaru? Was not anything possible here?
As she thought about it some more though, they seemed less and less relevant. Why be a doctor in a world with no disease? What use was a president where everyone was a princess or king? What would she be?
Hana had told her that she was a Veda, but that was still just a word. It didn’t really hold any meaning for her. She thought back on the previous four long years – the constant sickness, the weakness, the fear, the pain.
Rose met Franco’s gaze earnestly. “I want to be happy.”
Franco chuckled and turned away. He stuck his hands deeply into the pockets of his skin-tight slacks. The heavy gold chain around his neck clinked softly as he looked down. Then he turned back to at her with a smile. He took Rose’s hand and squeezed it.
“Me too, Rose,” he agreed. “I think that’s a great thing to be.”
They stood there for a long time simply looking at each other, both unwilling to bring the moment to an end, but equally unsure of how they should proceed.
“Walk with me?” Rose ventured shyly at last.
Franco nodded.
Rose turned, but did not release Franco’s hand. She swept her free hand in a wide arc, and the sun slid across the sky to disappear below the horizon. It was replaced with an impossibly large full moon and a billion, billion stars, twinkling brilliantly in sable firmament.
“Wow,” Franco breathed, awestruck by the sudden celestial display.
Rose gave his hand a tug, and he wordlessly followed. They wended their way down the hill upon which they had built Franco’s mansion. Every so often Rose would pause and raise up a glowing flower. They were not a variety she had ever seen before except perhaps in a dream.
The vividly green leaves shone faintly in the darkness with an emerald luminescence. The tiny glowing flowers drooped like bluebells and gave off a gentle turquoise light. Rose’s quotidian kimono shimmered and changed into a translucent, blue gown to match them. It twinkled all over as if covered with diamonds. She met Franco’s wondering gaze with a coy grin of her own.
His expression suddenly struck Rose as hilariously funny. She threw back her head and laughed, and as she did so she spun in wide circles, dancing across the grass in unabashed joy. Everywhere her feet touched more of the shimmering flowers sprang to life. Soon the hilltop sparkled as if someone had spilled a million sapphires all over the grass.
Yes! She thought euphorically. Happy is what I’ll be! Happy forever!
Again she laughed, and as she did, tiny spheres of light issued from between her lips to camber and warp into minikin, winged people of every color of the rainbow. The faeries born of her laughter quickly flew away to gather dew from the softly chiming glowbells - at least that was what Rose decided in that moment her flowers should be called. The tiny people soon took up a wordless, haunting tune.
She continued her rapturous dance, the outline of her slender silhouette faintly visible as the brilliant moonlight shone down through her diaphanous gown. She spun in a dizzying pirouette, and beneath her feet, a tall marble structure erupted from the loamy earth. Fourteen feet tall it rose, layered like a wedding cake, and when it was fully exposed, the beauty of everything that had been wrought of her joy struck straight to Rose’s heart.
A single tear rolled down her cheek and dripped off her chin. Where it struck the top of the alabaster monument, it burgeoned and grew until cascades of cool, shimmering water flowed down the moonlit fountain in murmuring effusion. Franco said nothing, but simply stared up at her in amazement.
Rose blushed furiously pink, chagrined at how thoroughly she had allowed herself to be carried away. She nervously giggled.
“Something to remember me when I go home,” she ventured sheepishly. “I hope you don’t mind…”
“It’s beautiful,” Franco replied, eyes never straying from the vivid outline of Rose’s slim silhouette, illuminated starkly through the gossamer dress by the battened moon behind her. “You’re beautiful…”
Her cheeks flushed from roseate pink to beet crimson, but Rose was not at all displeased. However, her dress did darken a bit so that it was not quite so see-through. She hopped down off of the enormous fountain she had created to stand in the pooling water at the bottom. She lifted the hem of her sparkling gown, which shifted from a pale blue to milky white. She waded over to seat herself on the side, feet dangling in the cool water. Franco moved to shyly sit beside her.
He stared at his hands, folded in his lap and chuckled.
“What?” asked Rose warily, terrified that she had just made a total fool of herself and that her new friend now thought her quite insane.
He looked up at her with a wide grin. “Nothing, Rose. I just hope I can be as happy as you someday.”
Currently, what are you working on, David?
A couple of things. I’m over a hundred pages into my Aaru sequel, but I’m also still determined to publish my first finished novel, which is a fantasy novel based upon the mythology, legend and history of ancient Japan. It’s done, it just needs polishing. It will be published eventually, but it’s kind of my baby, so it will only be when I’m sure it’s perfect.
Will you tell us a little bit about your main characters?
Aaru is primarily told from the perspective of Rose and Koren. They are pretty typical Southern girls from an average working-class household, but thrust into events that soon overwhelm them. It was important for me that they came across as authentic, real, and relatable, so I hope I accomplished that.
Share something with us not a lot of people know about you.
First, because it’s so recent, I am actually Dr. David Meredith. I just finished my course work this summer and will be issued my degree on August 15, 2017.
Congratulations!  That’s quite an accomplishment.
Do you have people read your drafts before you publish?  How do you select beta readers?
Many. And I think that is a necessity as well. It’s very easy to get tunnel vision about your own work and other people are much more likely to spot glaring flaws than I am. In terms of selection, I first impose heavily on friends and family. My wife is always my first Beta-Reader, but then I also try to find other authors of diverse literary backgrounds who can bring interesting perspectives to my work.
What was your writing process like?
I outline some, but revise often I try to leave myself open to going where the writing leads and often end up places I hadn’t planned in the beginning.
What are your hobbies aside from writing, if any?
Of late, most of my time has been consumed by writing my dissertation, so this may be an area I’ll have to explore in more detail now that I have a little more time, but I like reading, and I still spend the bulk of my free time promoting my work.
The work really does begin once a book has been published.  Promoting can take up a lot of time.
What advice would you give someone who is considering publishing? Should they consider traditional or self-publishing?
If you can go the traditional route you should. It can take a lot of pressure off in terms of promotion, but there is a lot of freedom associated with going the Indie route that I have found personally appealing. When you do it all yourself, you get it all, for better or worse, exactly the way you want it, and that’s not a little thing.
Any last words?
Just be sure to check out Aaru! The reviews so far have been great and I think you’ll really enjoy it!
Thanks for taking the time to share with us today, David.  Best of luck in all your future endeavors.  Find David at any of the great sites below.
Buy Link -Amazon
Goodreads - Aaru: Goodreads-Aaru

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Interview with Suilyaniz Cintron author of Crying, the nightingale

This week I’d like to welcome Suilyaniz Cintron author of Crying, the nightingale

Suilyaniz, Can you tell us what got you into writing?

  I think I got into writing as a way to escape the world surrounding me. Since I was really little I’ve always had a big imagination and when I was twelve I decided to put that imagination on paper. I started writing short stories about princesses and it evolved from there. Being someone who has been called an old soul, I’ve honestly never felt I belong in the time period I am living in and writing is a way for me to mentally travel to the past which I love so much.

Would you share a short excerpt from your novel with us?
 “I thought about breaking my word and not coming… but I didn’t want to leave you waiting here for hours only to be disappointed when I didn’t show.”
She wouldn’t lift her face and when Warren touched her shoulder, she shrugged it off.
“Moira, why won’t you look at me?”
“I can’t Warren” she said putting a hand to her eyes, so he didn’t see the tears forming in them. “Because then we’ll have to part… and I don’t want to.”
“Moira, Vaughn’s not here… don’t be afraid” whispered Warren turning her face towards his. In the light of the lamp posts, he could see tear drops on her cheeks which fell on the collar of her coat and when she lay against his chest, he held her tight, feeling her shoulders tremble.
“Claire told me the reason Grady doesn’t want you to see me, is because he’s jealous… and you’ve refused to be his lover.” “Is this true?”
Moira sniffled and took the handkerchief Warren offered.
“Yes… it’s true.” “Vaughn doesn’t want me to fall in love.” “And that’s why he forbade me to have any contact with you.”
“He’s acting as if you’re his property.”
“If it weren’t for him, I’d be on the street.”
“Don’t you have family Moira, someone to take you in?” asked Warren, and the girl shook her head. “Are you an orphan?”
“I might as well be considering….”
“Considering what?” he said hoping she would finish the sentence.
“It doesn’t matter.”
 “What doesn’t matter?” said Warren and when she didn’t respond, he let out a sigh. “You aren’t ready to talk about your past.”
“Warren… what did Claire tell you, about me?” asked Moira.
“She said you’re lonely and find it hard to trust men,” said Warren lifting his head to the sky.
“But people who feel alone are searching for someone to fill the void.” “I can be that someone.”

When you pick up a book to read, which do you prefer print books or ebooks?
 I prefer print books because I love holding the finished product in my hand, the feel of the pages and adding it to my ever growing collection.

Suilyaniz, writing can be a long process, have you been given any helpful advice that you’d like to share with us?
 It is not easy being an independent author and there are times when I’ve felt frustrated not to have sold any copies or seeing people interested in reading my books. My father told me that what matters is not the number of copies I’ve sold but to keep working hard at it and I will get to where I want to be because I have the ability to write and not everyone does. That is advice that’s been beyond valuable to me.

Tell us a little bit about the main characters in your novel
      The main male protagonist Warren Harlan is a 24 year old loan officer for a Los Angeles Bank.  Lonely and grief stricken by his father’s passing he is encouraged by his mother to seek distraction by visiting a Nightclub and it’s there he meets Moira Lily. He’s a charming, friendly, easygoing man who can be very stubborn, set in his ways but his love for Moira is boundless.

     The female protagonist 23 year old Moira is a head turning beauty with pale, blonde hair, green eyes and a melodious laugh which captures Warren since their first meeting. She's the main singer of the Gilded Rose nightclub possessing an angelic voice and unrivaled grace. Moira’s sweet-natured, sincere, vivacious and amiable but also outspoken and impetuous. Carrying a dark secret concerning the nightclub, she has a deep distrust of men and only after meeting Warren can she hope for a life free of the misery and pain following her every step.

     Vaughn Grady is the main antagonist and owner of the Gilded Rose Nightclub where Moira works. A violent, cruel man with an explosive temper, his sole interest lies in making money and doesn’t care if it comes at the suffering of his star singer. To the guests that frequent his club Vaughn appears to be decent and respectable but in reality he is an ambitious, manipulative, heartless criminal who has caused Moira immense sorrow. 

 How did you decide on what to title each book?
 My first two novels, Windswept and Crying, the Nightingale have symbolic titles but my decision usually comes to what fits the novel’s message best. An example is my Puerto Rican novel A la sombra del Aleli which means In the shadow of the magnolia tree and it refers to the tree where the male protagonist reencounters his childhood friend.

Share something with us not a lot of people know about you.
  Since I was 6 years old I dreamed of being an actress and was once in a play at my city’s main theater. Living in Puerto Rico there is not a lot of opportunity for people who aspire to be actors and I decided to dedicate myself to writing. But the dream is still there and I would love to act again just to get that amazing feeling from when I was on stage once again.

Who designed the artwork for your cover?  Or did you design it yourself?
 I designed it myself on

That's amazing, it looks fantastic.  I actually tried designing my own, but ended up finding someone more talented.  My covers just looked to Juvenile.  
What brought about the idea for your book?
 The inspiration for my book came from 1950’s film Noir, which I love. Noir films were dramas that dealt with crime, sexual motivations and other real life themes.  

Currently, what are you working on?
I am working on my first Puerto Rican novel, A la sombra del Aleli which is set in a 19th century coffee plantation.

Do you have any hobbies aside from writing?
 I make videos for my YouTube channel Silent movie queen which is mainly about silent era stars. I also love to read.

That's so cool!  Videos and books, you have many talents.  You mentioned you love to read, which is your favorite book?
My all-time favorite book is A tree grows in Brooklyn.  I’ve read it a couple of times and love how it transports me to the 1900’s, my favorite time period.

Suilyaniz ,Any last words you’d like to share with our readers?
 Write, write, write! And don’t give up until you reach the top.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, be sure to check out her website, and book.  Happy Reading!

Find Suilyaniz on  Facebook 

You can find Crying the Nightingale at Amazon