Friday, October 20, 2017

Interview with novelist Courtney Williamson Milford

Novelist Courtney Williamson Milford joins me today to chat about her new historical WWII fantasy, Graced 1943. The history is meant to be accurate, but the characters have special powers called “Graces.”

Bio:
Courtney Williamson Milford lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and three children. She writes two series: The Grace Family Chronicles for adults, and Tales of Bark Story Land for children, and she currently has four free-standing books. She graduated from the University of Florida, and has owned and operated a wholesale automotive fleet leasing business called Courtney Leasing, Inc. since 1991.

Welcome, Courtney. Please tell us about your current release.
Based out of WWII-era Miami, Graced 1943 begins the story of the Grace family members and their friends. Most of them are Graced in at least one way, meaning they have special abilities that help them meet challenges. While WWII figures into the multiple plotlines, the story is mostly about the characters. It is the first book in a series, and has a cliffhanger ending.

What inspired you to write this book?
Initially, I meant for this to be a children’s story featuring the young mother we meet in the first chapter, Annelisa, her twin boys, and their dog. After I got to know Annelisa, I realized her story, and those of her family members and friends, were for adults. I based the story in Miami because I like to write about my home state of Florida, and Miami was a prominent base for training and manufacturing during WWII, largely because of its location. I chose the 1940’s because it turned out that Annelisa’s husband, Humboldt, is an astrophysicist, and I knew he had to work on the Manhattan Project.


Excerpt from Graced 1943:
I chose this short passage because it demonstrates the characters using their Graces. Annelisa is a Locator, and can find people by listening for their heartbeats. Mia is a Navigator, meaning she never needs a map, and never gets lost. Humboldt is a Knower, and can Focus on any topic and, immediately, Know all there is to know about it. The story is meant to be like an old-fashioned radio soap opera. For example, you’ll see that Annelisa can’t remember giving birth to one of her children.


Back at the marina, Humboldt, Mia, and Annelisa piled into Aunt Sam’s old car. Annelisa opened her mouth to tell Humboldt that her aunt was gone, but then she stopped. She could tell him later, if he did not already Know. It was much more important for Annelisa to focus on her son’s and sister’s heartbeats.
“Can you hear them? Can you give me any direction at all?” This was from Mia, who was in the driver’s seat.
Annelisa nodded. “I can hear them, and I know they are together south of here. They are not moving.” She meant they were no longer traveling by car, not that they were not moving at all. Neither of the others asked for clarification. They both knew there was no question of the pair being dead, or Annelisa could not have heard their hearts beating.
“I know where they are,” Humboldt announced. Annelisa sighed with relief. Sometimes she got annoyed because her skill as a Locator was often overshadowed by her husband’s ability to pick up knowledge by Focusing on an issue or situation but, in this case, she just wanted to hold her little boy as quickly as possible.
“Tell me.” Mia swung left into light traffic.
“Big Cypress.”
“On the Indian reservation?“
“Just outside. Eleanor can’t get in. Irene used a charm that keeps her off the tribe’s property.” Humboldt glanced at his watch. “The cab driver must have hustled to get there so quickly.” He Knew Eleanor had probably Multiplied the distance the car traveled per wheel rotation, but he did not feel like explaining this to Mia. Although she seemed pleasant and helpful, he felt that she was hiding something important, and he did not fully trust her.
“She’s not meeting Irene there?” Annelisa narrowed her eyes. “Why would Irene want to keep Eleanor away?” Irene, Eleanor’s mother-in-law, was three-quarters Seminole Indian.
“Irene has Eleanor’s daughter.” Mia did not turn her head. She did not know how Annelisa would react to what she was going to hear, but Irene did not want to be distracted. Like any Navigator, Mia prided herself on being a safe driver.
Annelisa just stared ahead, pressing her lips together.
“Annelisa, you don’t remember Tatum?” This was from Humboldt. He had been deployed when Tatum was born, about a month before Annelisa gave birth. “You must have been awfully sick.”
“No, I do not remember any Tatum.” Annelisa was embarrassed that she, during her extended illness, had forgotten not only her own son, Michelangelo, but also Eleanor’s daughter, Tatum. It frightened her that she could not remember having given birth to a second baby. These feelings, and her concern about Xavier, combined, prompting her to lash out at Humboldt. “Why don’t you enlighten me, since you Know everything?”
Humboldt opened his mouth to respond, but Mia broke in. “Eleanor told me about this. Tatum disappeared from her crib at Gracestone, not long after Xavier was taken. Eleanor blames your father because he was so focused on protecting Michelangelo.”
Annelisa began to cry. Their father, Henri, was one of the most caring, responsible people that Annelisa could imagine. She was sure that whatever had happened to Tatum, it had not been because Henri had allowed his granddaughter to be neglected.
           

What exciting story are you working on next?
Aside from revising the third book in The Grace Family Chronicles, which is called The Train of Thought, I am finishing a stand-alone adult fiction novel called Shackledown. It tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who died in 1917, and haunts the third floor of her old home, a former citrus and cotton plantation known as “Shackledown.” I wrote it from the points of view of the ghost girl’s mother, and the woman who currently lives in the house, who has her own 15-year old daughter. The chapters rotate between the present and the early 1900’s.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing in January of 2016 and considered myself a writer as soon as I had finished my first three books: Graced 1943, Fluffy and Dot (Book 1 in Tales of Bark Story Land), and Shell’s Amazing App, a middle grade novel.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Technically, I run Courtney Leasing, Inc., a wholesale automotive leasing company that I sacrificed my 20’s, 30’s, and part of my 40’s to build, but now I don’t have many duties, although I go into the office daily. Usually, I spend a good four hours a day writing or working on writing-related tasks. I usually do about two hours of cardio, and use my laptop when I’m on the stationary bike (I read on the elliptical and the treadmill). I also try to wake up for a couple of hours at night when it’s peaceful to write, market my books, etc.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t write straight fiction. I always have to include an element of fantasy, or the supernatural.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An “authoress” (I got that term from Jo March in Little Women).

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want my books to be accessible to everyone, which is why I put them on Kindle Unlimited. I also send the e-books to the local library system. If anyone ever wants to read one of my books, I’ll send it to them.

Thanks so much for being here today, Courtney.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Interview with mystery author Alistair Cross

Hello Readers, my special guest today is author Alistair Cross. We’re chatting about his paranormal murder mystery, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep.

Bio:
Alistair Cross' debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write - among other things - the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Welcome, Alistair. Please tell us about your current release.
My latest novel is a paranormal murder mystery called Sleep, Savannah, Sleep. It takes place in the spooky little fictional town of Shadow Springs, California, where my protagonist, recently widowed Jason Crandall, has recently moved with hopes of starting a new life for himself and his two children. No sooner does he begin meeting the townspeople than Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful young socialite, goes missing. Jason becomes entangled in the unsolved crime when he’s plagued by mysterious, terrifying visions and dreams that lead him (and the police) to Savannah’s murdered corpse. And when Jason falls under suspicion, he realizes the only way to clear his name is to uncover the identity of Savannah’s killer himself. But what he doesn’t know is that the truth is more terrifying than he - or anyone in Shadow Springs - could have ever imagined.
   
What inspired you to write this book?
I’d just finished my novel, The Angel Alejandro, and late one night, as I lay awake pondering the possibilities for the next story, I asked myself this question: What’s the absolute worst thing I could possibly do to my new protagonist … and from that seed, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep was born…


Excerpt from Sleep, Savannah, Sleep:
No longer tired, Jason slipped outside onto the veranda and sat on the porch swing. He sighed, taking in the stars, which were startlingly bright in comparison to L.A., and inhaled the night’s scents - honeysuckle, roses, and night-blooming jasmine. Those smells put him at ease and for the first time since Julia’s death, he felt like maybe he and the kids would be okay, after all. Maybe.

A light caught his attention at the house next door - not at Dottie’s, but at Tabitha Cooper’s. It seemed strange that a blind woman would keep a light on, but then again, perhaps she did it to keep prowlers away. Or maybe Coop’s visiting.

Jason stood and walked toward the rose-choked split-rail fence and stared. So far, he’d seen no sign of Coop’s ailing grandmother and he was curious about her. In the window, through gauzy white curtains, he could see her hazy form, rocking back in forth in the chair that Dottie said she never left. As he stared, the rocking slowed, then stopped. She turned her head to face him.

Jason’s mouth went instantly dry. He froze, unnerved, thinking he should duck and run, but he couldn’t make his feet move. Her hand, bent and clawed with age, reached out and pulled the curtain aside.

Jason’s breath snagged when he saw her clearly. She seemed to be without sex - no breasts, no swell of the hips - just a skeleton covered by thinly-stretched ashen skin, matted white hair standing on end, a gaunt wasted face, and sunken fog-white eyes that - though obviously blind - stared right at him. They were the eyes of a dead person.

She brought both hands to the glass, where her fingers ticked like spider’s legs, and her mouth - a toothless, lipless maw - opened and closed, opened and closed. She wasn’t speaking, he realized, just gumming the air mindlessly. There was something sinister about it - something lunatic.
Trying to convince himself she couldn’t see him, Jason backed away, nearly tripping on a tangle of vines as he hurried back inside, locking the door behind him.

From the safety of the house, he felt like a fool. First, he’d let Travis Delgado push him around and now he was running from a harmless, blind old woman. He smiled at the thought, but the smile felt cold. There really was something spooky about Tabitha Cooper; it was as if she’d been looking right at him. Or rather, right through him. He shivered, recalling Dottie’s words for the second time that day: ‘The children in town call her a witch, and I don’t blame them one bit.’

Jason didn’t blame them, either.


What exciting story are you working on next?
My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I are working on a vampire novel called Darling Girls, which is a sequel to her novel Candle Bay, as well as a continuation of my novel, The Crimson Corset. Darling Girls takes our vampires up to the mysterious little town of Eternity, California, where a massive vampire celebration called Biting Man is taking place. In Darling Girls, we learn about the ties between Tamara’s vampiric family and mine. And when a self-deluded young vampire hunter shows up, the, uh, ahem, stakes are raised.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my assigned Halloween story so offended my third-grade teacher that she refused to continue reading it aloud. I knew then and there it was my mission in life to either scare people or piss them off. And with horror-writing, I get to do both!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, eight to ten hours a day, five - and often - six days a week. As writers, we are no longer just storytellers. We’re also marketers, publicists, and business managers … so yeah, it’s a full-time gig and then some.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do a considerable portion of my writing with my cat, Pawpurrazzi, perched on my shoulder like a great black bird of prey … but one that purrs. And has whiskers.   

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Until writing came along - and sometimes even now - I’m torn between wanting to be a fireman and a mermaid.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Reading is sexy. Rock on.

Thanks for being here today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Interview with romance author Claire Marti

Romance author Claire Marti joins me today and we’re chatting about her new contemporary romance, At Last in Laguna.

During her virtual book tour, Claire will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a luck randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Bio:
Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. At Last in Laguna is the second book in her Finding Forever in Laguna series from The Wild Rose Press.

Welcome, Claire. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Here’s the blurb:
Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.

After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write about a hero who rose above a tragic childhood and becomes a success despite it all. He gives back by building Tearmann House, a center for abused children and women. He’s scarred inside, despite appearing like another handsome successful guy on the outside. Alyssa has her own demons to contend with too. Throwing them together in the brother’s best friend trope adds an element of lightness, fun, and forbidden romance.


Excerpt from At Last in Laguna:
What was his deal this morning?

She’d give him the cold shoulder if it killed her.

And it just might.

He’d rejected her, so why was he opening doors, hovering, and acting like a pest? Practically breathing down her neck. She could swear he’d sniffed her. Sniffed her. He couldn’t conceal his awareness. If he were so attracted to her, he would’ve agreed to her proposition, right? Since he’d shot her down in flames, he could at least have the decency to ignore her today. Rude, infuriating man.

Inhaling a deep cleansing breath, she forced herself to concentrate on the center. Sunlight streamed through the abundance of windows and along with the high ceilings imparted a feeling of freedom and space, perfect for the planned occupants. Because they’d decided to wait to obtain her input for the more specific room layout, the building’s interior remained a shell. She’d add to her brother’s amazing design and ensure Tearmann House’s beauty and serenity.

Serenity. What a concept. Ha.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I just submitted the manuscript for the third book in the Finding Forever in Laguna series to my editor. I’ll be working on edits for the next few months. I’ve got a new contemporary series with three sisters set in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing stories when I was seven years old. I’d even create covers and turn them into actual books for my family and friends to enjoy. Does that count? My first published magazine article was in 1997 for Delicious magazine about health supplements. I signed my first contract in March 2016 for the Finding Forever in Laguna series.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I was a yoga teacher who wrote and I’m transitioning into a writer who also teaches yoga. I teach a few public yoga classes, train a few private clients in their homes, and write for YogaDownload.com, an online yoga website for whom I also teach classes. Each day is different, but I have a dedicated writing space in my home office. I block out my writing time each day around the yoga.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My cats assist me when I write. Lola either drapes herself over the top back of my chair or wedges herself next to me. Beau plops himself wherever he can so he can keep an eye on the action.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actress, a writer, a dancer, an international explorer, Dr. Doolittle #2. Not necessarily in that order.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope my stories will transport you away from your daily life for a few hours and leave you with a smile on your face.

Links:
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you for having me!

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Interview with paranormal mystery author Tam Francis

My special guest today is novelist Tam Francis. She’s chatting with me about her new 1920’s paranormal time travel mystery, The Flapper Affair.

Bio:
Tam Francis writes historical romantic fiction with a pen in one hand and a vintage cocktail in the other. She has taught swing dancing for fifteen years with her husband and is an avid collector of vintage sewing patterns, retro clothing, and antiques. All of which make appearances in her stories. She also writes sci-fi, paranormal, memoir, personal essay, and poetry.

Born in Erie Pennsylvania into a military family, she grew up traveling the United States, always the new girl in town. At an early age, she wrote to entertain herself on long treks from one post to another. Landing in Arizona, she attended University of Arizona before moving with her Navy husband to his duty station in San Diego, CA. They eventually made their way to the lone star state, making a home in the BBQ capital of Texas.
She began her writing career as a poet and Poetry Slammer, (two-time National Poetry Slam Phoenix Team, Scottsdale Center for the Arts Poetry Art Walk Featured Poet, New Times Feature Poet, and more). Expanding to short story and feature writing, she advanced to editor-in-chief of two indie magazines.

She has been published in Texas Writer’s Journal, The Lucid Stone, Coffeelicious, and other print and electronic publications. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America. Her skills have garnered speaking engagements at The International Society for Women Educators (DKG) and Concordia College in Austin, where she spoke about writing genre fiction, creating your own niche, and blogging.

She currently has four titles available: two in the Jitterbug Dress Series, single title The Flapper Affair, and short story collection Ghostoria: Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright. She lives in a 1908 home in Lockhart, Texas that may or may not be haunted.

Welcome, Tam. Please tell us about your current release.
Eduard Hall is an odd young man. Unlike his eighteen-year-old peers, he likes black and white movies, 1920s hot jazz, and museum docents who dress in reproduction flapper dresses. So, it would figure that the one girl he'd fall in love with, Mia Waverly, would be a beautiful ghost from the famous Waverly family, brutally murdered seventy years ago. Though her body was never found.

The only home she’s ever known is the museum where Eduard works, but not for long. The city’s sold the land, and the building is scheduled for demolition. Why can’t she remember her death? Why is she the only ghost from her family? Why is she bound to the property? What will happen to her when her home is destroyed?

With time running out and through extraordinary forces, they travel back in time to the night of the murders, setting off a chain of events that will change everything. If they can solve the mystery, they may save her and her family, but lose each other forever.

The Flapper Affair is the story of two young lovers crossed by time, space, and an unsolved murder.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had written a short story collection of ghost stories and had contemplated writing a second volume. I went to sleep thinking about it and woke with the idea of a new-adult falling in love with a girl who turns out to be a ghost. Where there’s a ghost, there has to be a reason for the ghost, and the murder mystery evolved from there. Although I love the 1940s, I have always admired the freedom and cheek of 1920s flapper women and wanted to explore that in the character of Mia Waverly.


Excerpt from The Flapper Affair:
Eduard gaped at the bloody pictures of the 1920s crime scene. Anesthetized in black and white, the horror flashed across the wall in sterile vignettes of the Waverly Mansion.
Now a museum, the mansion’s juxtaposition of curved lines and sharp angles in clean, simple silhouettes was touted as an early example of art deco style—though not called art deco by its designer. But what really put the mansion on the map were the unsolved murders of the entire Waverly family.

* * *

“Are you lost?”

He jumped and turned in the direction of a girl’s voice.

“Hello, you. Lost?” The pretty docent smiled. It was not the guide from their field trip.
This girl—woman—was different.

Eduard caught his breath. She was exactly the kind of girl he dreamed about, one who embodied the style and character of the 1920s era. Her bobbed hair fell in loose, dark curls around her pale face. The afternoon sun shone through her beaded peach dress, illuminating the outline of her slender figure in willowy shadows. A tremor ran through his limbs. He became aware of every inch of his body.

“I, uh. No. I’m with the group. The school. The school group. Field trip.” Words stumbled out of his mouth, resounding idiotic and childish in his own ears. Sweat broke out across his back, the air-conditioning suddenly chilling him to the bone.

“Which group would that be?” She cocked her head to one side. Her auburn curls fell teasingly across her cheek.

He realized his class had moved on without him. “Which group?” he repeated and adjusted the strap on his satchel. “The Chaparral High School group. Do you have another field trip here?”

Was I rude? I didn’t mean to imply she was unintelligent. Why isn’t my brain connecting with my mouth?

“No, I suppose there’s no other tour here right now.” She smiled. “I really do not pay attention to high school tour groups.”

He couldn’t tell her age in the old-fashioned garb. The gauzy sequin dress draped the young woman’s curvy frame, shimmering like leaves in a breeze. He warmed another degree.

“Well, you could show me around, since I’ve lost my group,” he said in a rush, speaking more to this strange girl than he had to most girls his entire high school career.

“It would be an honor.” She turned toward the door. Eduard followed. He didn’t want to get too hopeful. After all, she was probably too old for him, but he decided right then and there, what he needed was a college girl. And she must like history and the 1920s. Why else would she want to work in the museum and wear a flapper costume?


What exciting story are you working on next? I’m working on The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress Dances in the Dark, the exciting trilogy wrap up of the Jitterbug Dress Series. I’m also working on a short story collection with each story having some kind of dance in it, but each exploring different themes and eras.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I became a published and paid poet in college while attending University of Arizona, but it wasn’t until I wrote my first novel several years ago that I began calling myself a writer. I still have a day job (as a substitute teacher), so as much as I am a writer, it is not my only job.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Besides the day job, I’m also a mother of two teens who are very active. I also run a youth and teen summer theatre camp at our regional theatre as well as directing and acting in theatrical productions.

I write everywhere and anywhere I can. I’ve been known to write or edit sitting in the carpool lane, halftime at a soccer game, at Starbucks during club soccer practice. I’ve brought my laptop to regional choir competitions when I was a chaperone. I wrote in the hospital when staying overnight with my mom. I write in the car on long car trips. I wish I had some great schedule--as suggested by blogs and craft books--but I fit it in. If I’m not creating, I get depressed. I’ve got to feed the creative need.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That I can write anywhere. Irish whiskey or dark ale, Earl gray tea with lavender, and dark chocolate are my go-to accessories for long writing jags.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ginger Rogers or a Charlie’s Angel, specifically Kate, the smart one. It’s wonderful I get to be them in my stories. But as a career: detective, actor, psychologist, writer, costumer, tea-shop owner, baker, linguist, world traveler, the list goes on.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I began writing ghost stories when we moved to Texas and bought a hundred-year-old house. The theatre we are part of has three different ghosts, two residents, and one occasional visitor. I’ve also played several different “spirits” for our annual “Speaking of the Dead” event for the Historic Commission.

I like to think of my novels and short stories as “vintage ChickLit,” incorporating fashion in my writing. How a particular piece of clothing makes the character feel. How a gabardine skirt feels unfurling in a dance spin. Or how a beaded dress hugs the body like a protective sheath or a crepe wool coat with a fur color tickles the chin and makes a character smile.

Fashion reflects character and can reveal our inner selves. Fashion can inspire us, make us feel confident, and empower us.

Links:

Find The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress on Amazon, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and

Thanks for being here today, Tam. All the best with your writing.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Interview with writer Dane Cobain

My special guest today is writer Dane Cobain and we’re chatting about his book of poetry, Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home.

Bio:
Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, UK) is a published author, freelance writer, poet and (occasional) musician with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and reviewing books for his award-winning book blog, SocialBookshelves.com, while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia. His releases include No Rest for the Wicked(supernatural thriller), Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home (poetry) Former.ly (literary fiction), Social Paranoia (non-fiction), Come On Up to the House(horror) and Subject Verb Object (anthology).

Welcome, Dane. What do you enjoy most about writing poems?
I think it’s the fact that you can examine different subjects and concepts much easier than you can with prose, and they also don’t take long to write so you can create multiple per day.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your poems – perhaps a couple of your favorites?
I memorise and perform my poems, so I suppose my point of view is different to most. Univocalisms is the most fun to perform because it’s almost like a long tongue-twister – each stanza uses only one vowel, cycling through A, E, I, O and U. Dying is close to my heart because it’s about anxiety, and Anonymous’ White Mask of Freedom is a bit of an epic one that takes several minutes to perform and is about internet censorship and digital freedom.

What form are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I almost exclusively write in free verse because I don’t like rhyming poetry. I find that writing in a specific form tends to stunt the work and make it feel flat and lifeless.

What type of project are you working on next?
I write in multiple formats and so my main current focus is actually the editing phases of my first detective novel, Driven. But when it comes to poetry, I’m also halfway through writing and memorising my next book (Kiss Kiss Death Death) and I have another book that’s a sort of poetic spin on the Titanic story that I may or may not release at some point.

When did you first consider yourself a writer / poet?
It’s hard to say as I’ve been writing for as long as I remember. I don’t think there’s any specific moment, although when my first book was published and when I quit my job to focus on writing full-time were both pivotal moments.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for not-yet-published poets?
I don’t. I write for myself, not for other people. Once I have a book on the market, I then start to reach out to bloggers etc. who are interested in the topics I cover. I use all sorts of different techniques to get the word out – anything that I can!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think my quirk is that I’m quirky. I write the kind of books that not many other people would (or could) write, which makes it hard to classify my writing. I think there’s something there for everyone.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. For a little while I also wanted to be a rock star (and I still kind of do), but being a writer was first and foremost.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just keep on reading – and be sure to review the books you read on Amazon and Goodreads, whether you’re reading indie authors of bestsellers. There’s no greater gift for an author you like than to read them a review. Plus, it doesn’t take long. I should know – I’ve reviewed over 1,000 books on my book blog. It’s fun!

Links:

Thanks for being here today, Dane. All the best with your writing projects!

Special feature for Rock Your Business by Boni Wagner-Stafford

This is a special excerpt for the business book, Rock Your Business, by Boni Wagner-Stafford.

During her virtual book tour, Boni will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

A little bit about the author:
Boni Wagner-Stafford is a full-time writer, ghostwriter, editor, and author. Boni's writing has helped other authors, business leaders and coaches thrive.

For more than 10 years, Boni was with the Ontario government. She held a number of senior communications and management roles. She worked on 5 consecutive Ontario budget documents. Most noteworthy is the 2008 Ontario Budget for which Boni was managing editor. She also played key editorial management roles in government reports such as Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. While in senior management Boni led teams that managed strategic communications for files such as securities regulation, auto insurance, tax reform, credit union and real estate legislative reform and tourism industry modernization.

Boni also worked for 15 years as a television reporter. She was also a news anchor and a producer. As a journalist, she worked under the names Boni Fox and Boni Fox Gray. Boni’s stories spanned politics, government, crime, health, environmental, and social issues. Her work won several awards.

A little bit about the book:
Rock Your Business is a book for those just starting out with a small business... or those considering starting a business. Told from those that have been there.


Excerpt from Rock Your Business:
Let’s talk about the differences – and the similarities – between the iPro, the freelancer, the self-employed, and the small business entrepreneur. Which one(s) are you?

IPro

These independent professionals are individuals who are highly skilled, work for themselves, and do not employ others. They typically function in the rapid-paced knowledge economy and are a distinct group: they are classified neither as small business nor as entrepreneurs.

Freelancer

Today’s freelancers may or may not be highly educated or highly skilled, but will provide their services to others independent of an employer. They may also contract pieces of work outside their skill set such as web design, bookkeeping, etcetera, to other freelancers or iPros. A freelancer likely won't have a business name registered with the relevant government body, and will likely file taxes as an individual while claiming some business expenses.

Self-employed

Those who are self-employed likely have a sole proprietorship or simple partnership business registered in order to add credibility and assist marketing efforts. Rarely will the self- employed hire others to work in the business, except for the service providers mentioned above.

Small Business Entrepreneur

These go-getters are tuned into market trends and gaps and work to capitalize on being first-to-market with a new idea, product, service, or technology. We would argue that some small business ventures are run by the self-employed and some self-employed people run small businesses. A small business that is incorporated becomes its own legal entity. And the entrepreneurs who run these incorporated small businesses are technically not self-employed; they are employed by the corporations they created.

The Small Business Numbers

In Canada, a small business is technically defined as having fewer than 100 employees. The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines a small business as having fewer than 20 employees. In the U.K. it’s considered a small or medium- sized business if it has 250 or fewer employees. Depending on how you look at things in the U.S., 99.7 per cent of all firms classify as small business. But that’s because the U.S. has an overly complicated classification system that changes the definition of small business industry by industry. It could have 500, 1000 or 1500 employees and still be considered a small business. Yeesh.

What these independent activists – freelancer, iPro, small business owner or entrepreneur – have in common is that they are running businesses. Size doesn’t matter for that definition.

Entrepreneurs start businesses hoping they’ll grow into the next Facebook. Small business owners work to provide a decent living and lifestyle for themselves and their families. Freelancers and iPros want the freedom to do the work they love for clients who appreciate their talents.

All of them are running businesses. They are all relatively solo endeavours, where there often isn't much time to connect with others who are working out the same kinks and learning the same tricks.

Regardless which category yours falls into, you bill clients directly, manage your own startup and sales and marketing and productivity and hiring and taxes and technology and... well, everything.

In addition to being awesome at what you do for clients, you must also become a quick study in the details of your business. It can be helpful to hear and read the stories of others... perhaps just before bed, where the ideas can percolate into your subconscious while you sleep, readying you to reach greater heights tomorrow.


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