Monday, February 24, 2020

Interview with thriller author Peter Riva

Thriller author Peter Riva is chatting with me today about his new novel, Kidnapped on Safari.

Bio:
Peter Riva is the author of Kidnapped on Safari. He has spent many months over thirty years traveling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books, including the previous two titles in the Mbuno and Pero Adventures series, Murder on Safari and The Berlin Package. He lives in Gila, New Mexico.

Welcome, Peter. Please tell us about your current release.
The book is an armchair safari into the real East Africa – we follow the adventures of Pero Baltazar, television documentary producer and Mbuno Waliangulu, safari guide and expert. Pero is an organizer, intelligent and capable in foreign lands and with different cultures. Mbuno sees life as nature, evaluated animals—including humans—accurately. An exemplary guide and wildlife expert, his physical capabilities are unsurpassed.

Happily filming near Lake Rudolf in the desert dry northern territories of Kenya, they learn Mbuno’s son has been kidnapped and they immediately go to Tanzania to effect a rescue. What they find there, what they feel honor-bound to achieve, puts the stability of all of Africa at risk.

What inspired you to write this book?
I love writing events that are true. Maybe not calendar actually fact, but true nonetheless. Throw in two incredible capable men and their team, female and male, and you can have a rip-roaring adventure. In truth, Mbuno (a real man and safari guide, as was his father and his father’s father), is a hero of mine and nothing I write about him can ever really capture his wonderful oneness with nature.


Excerpt from Kidnapped on Safari:
As we join our heroes in the African moonlight... they are slowly following forestry truck tracks and an elephant herd

As Mbuno predicted... the forest ended at the top of the rise replaced by dense bush -- then tall grasses ran a half mile downhill to the edge of the water...

The ndovu herd wasted no time, plunging straight ahead... oldest elephants first followed by the mtotos entering the water with playful glee. Mbuno made Pero stop the Landrover... then telling Bob and Pero to join him up through the hatch.

Pero was the tallest of the three and he could just see through the rushes above the grass across the lake. He scanned with the binoculars and could see nothing, just some industrial Sodium yellow lights at a compound... across the water. Even with the half moon, there was not enough light to make out anything distinctive. Besides, there were also clouds scuttling across the moon from time to time. He explained what he could see to Mbuno who merely said to wait. Bob wanted to know where they went from here as the truck tracks they had been following ended at the lake, turning neither left nor right....

Mbuno pointed to a rock outcrop fifty feet to the right of where the elephant entered the water. Pero trained the binoculars... As he swept left to right he caught an elephant that seemed to trip and tumble over in shallow water, immediately righting itself and moving away from the place he had tripped. Pero saw a glint of metal. He peered intently through the binoculars and said, “Wire.”
Mbuno nodded. Bob asked, “What, where?” Pero handed over the binoculars. Bob focused and leaned forward, trying to see what was possible there. “Ah, got it. Big thick cable. What’s it for man?”

Mbuno answered, “It is a ferry cable.” He pointed to the flat beach, “It goes from here across the water to the other side.” Bob wanted to know why they needed a cable, there was no current in the lake, you could simply drive a boat across. Mbuno explained, “When there is no bridge for trucks, you need a strong boat…”

Pero interrupted, “A barge?”

“Yes, a barge, tafadali. A barge cannot have a motor in the water, it is too shallow. The barge has a motor that pulls along the cable.”

It appeared simple and yet effective to both Bob and Pero. No propeller to get tangled in the weeds or rocks in shallow water, the barge would simply winch itself across. Pero asked, “So I guess the barge is over on the other side, right?”

“Ndiyo.”

“So we drive around, or walk around the lake?”

Mbuno shook his head. Pero was worried. He guessed what Mbuno was going to suggest and was unfortunately right—when Mbuno explained, “We must swim. There is no path we can take without lights to drive. On foot there is great danger from hippo. No, we must swim.”
Bob was alarmed, “What about crocs?”

In the starlight and moonlight, Mbuno’s smile was radiant, “It is why we need the ndovu. The crocodiles will only be in shallow water, but not,” he pointed at the frolicking herd, “anywhere near ndovu. They would be trample-ed.” He patted Bob on the shoulder. “It will be alright.”


What exciting story are you working on next?
Fatigued from their Kidnapped adventure, Pero, Mbuno, and Nancy (who was on the Kidnapped rescue), decide to recapture the purity of East Africa and undertake a 2-week foot safari following migrating elephants into Ethiopia… and stumble on to a poaching operation which they cannot tolerate—a poaching operation with international tentacles.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always enjoyed writing tales, even as a child. Growing up in an artistic family, I was exposed to some of the worlds most talented authors, film-makers, television producers. Later on, as a literary agent, time did not permit that indulgence. So, when I turned 60 I felt, now or never. Since then I have enjoyed writing tales of Mbuno and Pero as well as two SF books. More to come. It’s pure hedonism I am afraid.

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?
Finding time is always the problem. I binge write, taking two of three weekends in a row and then re-writing late into the nights for a few months until the tale unfolds as I hope will thrill.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Having been in East Africa as a TV producer, I have perhaps a better sense of that reality. Knowing and having spent time with Mbuno allows me to celebrate him (and his father’s tales).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A marine biologist, a cetacean expert, then a film-maker, then an astronaut, then an experimental aircraft manager, then a documentary wildlife producer… basically anything that really fascinates me.


Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you want to go to East Africa or anywhere in Africa, always look for the one-on-one safari trip, never in tourist busses. It is the real thing that makes the lasting memory that is too rare these days.

Links:

Thank you for joining me today.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Interview with sci-fi author Jamie Killen

Author Jamie Killen is here today and we’re chatting about her new sci-fi, Red Hail.

Bio:
Jamie Killen’s introduction to the world of dark fiction came at the age of seven, when her well-meaning but perhaps overly enthusiastic dad decided that the works of Harlan Ellison made for some great bedtime stories. She’s been avidly consuming science fiction, horror, and fantasy novels, movies, comic books, and podcasts ever since.

Jamie’s short stories and flash fiction have appeared in dozens of anthologies and magazines. She is also a writer and director of several dark fiction podcasts.
Originally from Arizona, Jamie now lives in Texas with her longtime partner. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys practicing her mixology skills by inventing new and exciting designer cocktails. She also likes craft beer, travel, and cuddling with her two adorable rescue mutts.

Welcome, Jamie. Please tell us about your current release.
Red Hail is a multigenerational sci-fi story taking place in Southern Arizona. The first storyline takes place in 1960, and the second in 2020. In the first story, a freak storm drops red hail over a small Arizona mining town. In the months that follow, the residents of the town are plagued with strange symptoms and eerie changes to their environment. Panic ensues, and the people of the town are soon gripped by dangerous paranoia and fanaticism. In the second storyline, one of the descendants of the people who witnessed the red hail starts to experience the same symptoms that plagued the town 60 years ago. After the symptoms spread to other descendants, they realize that they will have to solve the mystery what really happened in 1960 in order to stop what is happening to them today.

What inspired you to write this book?
A lot of the 1960 storyline is drawn from family stories. Many of my older family members worked in copper mines, and lived in mining towns like Superior, AZ. I love sci-fi, and I wanted to write a story that was set in an environment I know really well but which doesn’t get a lot of representation in sci-fi. As far as the structure goes, I really enjoy reading multigenerational stories or stories with multiple timelines, and that was something I hadn’t really tackled before in my writing.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now I’m wading into the first phase of edits on an as-yet-untitled new fantasy/dark speculative story. It deals with some of the same themes as Red Hail, like dealing with the consequences of decisions made generations earlier, but it’s a different setting and completely new mythology.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was gradual. I sold my first short story at 19, started producing my own fiction podcasts at around 30, and I think I’ve only recently started thinking of myself as a real writer.

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 don’t write full time. I draw a really clear line between my day job and my writing. I write in afternoons and on weekends. It can be a challenge to juggle those responsibilities, and there are definitely times when the writing has to be set aside for a week or two so I don’t burn out.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need natural light. I don’t know why, but writing after sunset is a big problem for me. I just need to be near a sunny window or nothing is going to happen.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Writer!

Links:

Thanks for being here today!



Friday, February 14, 2020

Interview with debut thriller author C.H. Lyn

Today’s spotlight shines on author C.H. Lyn as she chats with us about her new thriller suspense, Lacey Goes to Tokyo.

During her virtual book tour, C.H. will be giving away a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. 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!

Welcome, C.H. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California. Growing up in a college town meant I experienced a wide variety of people and opinions. I like to think my stories reflect the vast differences in the people I've met. I love to travel. I want to explore the world around me while writing about the worlds in my mind.

I grew up with a steady diet of wonderful stories set in amazing worlds. I've read almost every series Tamora Pierce has written, and I am a crazy fan of the Hunger Games series. My nerdiness also encompasses the Harry Potter series, LOTR, and (to an extent) the worlds of superheros. Though, my husband is really head of DC knowledge in the household. He is also the most amazing source of support I could hope for.

I'm 26 now. My daughter just turned one. She is already so smart, curious, and beautiful. I want the female characters in my writing to be inspiring, not just for her, but for all the little girls who grow up reading.

Please tell us about your new release.
Releasing Lacey Goes to Tokyo has been fantastic. This is my debut novel, the first in a long series I’m currently working on. My publisher has been amazing, from communication to cover. The release is eBook only, but I’m confident we will be putting Lacey Goes to Tokyo into print very soon.

What inspired you to write this book?
This book was inspired by the characters. I can’t say where Miss Belle, Lacey, Missa, Thomas, and the rest originally came from, all I can say is when they appeared in my head, I had to get their story on paper. Once they appeared, different aspects were heightened by drawing from people in real life. By that time, the story itself had materialized, and not writing it would have driven me crazy.


Excerpt from Lacey Goes to Tokyo:
I jump over a seat and give Delilah a friendly nudge with my shoulder. “What do you think so far?”

“It’s not what they said it would be.”

I frown. That’s not the response I was expecting. “I think it’s pretty good. I wasn’t expecting anything really different.”

“Well no.” She faces me. Her eye makeup is heavy. “You’re with Mr. Blake and you’ve done this before.”

Oh. The gut punch of realization almost makes me flinch.

She turns back toward the stage. “It’s just not what they said.”

I want to respond. I want to pull her into a hug and tell her it never is. I want to reassure her that it’s not easy for me either.

Daniel returns and watches me until I move over. They didn’t have his preferred alcohol. He grumbles that the second half better be shorter than the first.

Nathan rejoins us a few minutes later. He hands me a steaming cup of green tea which I sip gratefully. We hold hands during the rest of the play.

Nathan asks me if I enjoyed the show. I tell him it was splendid. I thank him for including me and ask what is next.

We make our way to Daniel’s penthouse. In the cab, Nathan pulls out a little Kabuki figurine; one of the ones I’d been eyeing. My insides knot up. I hate how good it feels when he is kind to me.


What exciting story are you working on next?Book two of Miss Belle’s Travel Guides! Damen Goes to Peru is coming along nicely. This story follows three characters rather than two: Miss Belle, Damen, and his twin sister Carmen. I am very excited to follow these new characters in their adventures, and to follow Miss Belle as she deals with the events of this story, and the repercussions of the end of Lacey Goes to Tokyo.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Oh gosh, maybe at 14? Is that too young? I’ve been writing forever. The plots have gotten more complex, the characters have gotten more realistic, and the writing has (hopefully, haha) gotten a heck of a lot better. But I’ve thought of myself as a writer long before I decided I wanted to pursue a publishing career.

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 definitely do not write full-time. Not with a 1.5-year-old in the house. I wish I had a more time to write, and I will once summer hits and my babysitter is out of school. For now, I write during naptime and on the weekends. I find my ability to write at home is somewhere close to nonexistent. I do my best and most productive work when I can’t see the stack of dishes or pile of laundry waiting to be done. Coffee shops are my go-to. I love a good mocha (decaf at the moment as I’m 6 months pregnant), a pastry, and a few hours of good, uninterrupted writing time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I go back and forth between techniques. Sometimes I do speed writing, sometimes I take my time. Sometimes I write an outline for a scene, other times I wing it. I’ve even used a talk to text software my mom got me a while back. It’s a bit harder to use now, mostly because of the aforementioned 1.5 year old, but when she’s a bit older and I have more time in a quiet office, I’ll probably start back up with it again.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
All the things. I wasn’t the kid who had one dream from an early age. I always wanted to travel, and I always wanted to write. But picking a career based off those two things never really happened. I fancied myself a spy, an adventurer, a teacher, and a whole handful of other things as I grew up. Now, still not grown-up but closer than I was at 14, I still want to travel and write. And I am! I’m lucky enough to have married a man who not only indulges, but encourages my need to explore the world. We took our little one to Costa Rica when she was 6 months old (less trouble on the plane than you’d think), and we have a trip to Ireland planned sometime in the fall. Though, that one will be a bit more difficult as we will have a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old at that point. Pray for me now, hahaha.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?Only that I hope they enjoy the book! I had so much fun writing it. So many laugh-out-loud moments, moments I teared up, moments I got angry, etc. I want them to have a similar experience reading it. I want them to fall in love with the characters as much as I have.

Links:

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

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Interview with mystery novelist David Siegel Bernstein

Novelist David Siegel Bernstein is in the hot seat today to chat about his new mystery thriller Poisoned Pawn.

During his virtual book tour, David will be giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.


Bio:
To support his writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, David Siegel Bernstein, PhD, is a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician. That sounds really boring until you realize that his clients include the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and a host of other acronymonious agencies who cultivate exciting and shadowy reputations. Alas, those reputations are mere facades that disguise the real reason these organizations exist, which is to keep him entertained and fed.

When David wants a break from this spellbinding work, he writes. His fiction credits encompass two novelettes and sixty shorts. His nonfiction has appeared in newsletters, popular blogs, academic journals and he is the author of the book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.

He lives within the shadow of Philadelphia with his wife, Michelle, two children, Seth and Gwendolyn, and a dog named Ringo Biggles Woofington.


Welcome, David. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Hi Lisa. Thank you for inviting me here!

Here is gist of Poisoned Pawn. It is the story of Caleb Jacobs. He is a man with a dark past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective.

During an investigation, Jacobs becomes convinced the murder he is assigned to solve is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. Old secrets have come back to haunt him.

In this novel, he is forced to partner up with a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes. The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock.

It is a very character driven novel—very quirky characters—very hot characters. Take Margret Liang for example. I have to admit I’m a little afraid of her. She is sexy, deadly, and always in control. If I ever had a sinful thought about her—I wouldn’t be around to write the sequel.

What inspired you to write this book?
My bibliophile and poet mother, and my mystery loving grandmother were my early writing inspirations. Between the two of them I had read a library’s worth of books before I left high school. Of course, my mom gave me a lot of at home writing assignments. My father reinforced my love of mysteries by watching (just about) every mystery ever aired on PBS and BBC with me.


Here is brief excerpt of Poisoned Pawn. Enjoy.
I opened my eyes. A ceiling fan whirled slowly above me. Pain erupted in my chest when I raised my head to look around. So it hadn’t been a dream. I did get my ass kicked.

Where am I? I lifted up the blanket. I wore only my boxers. I dropped my head back onto a pillow.

“Good morning sleepy head,” a familiar voice said. Gum popped.

“Penelope?” I turned my head and saw her standing in the doorway, wearing a retro 1960s-styled paisley blue dress. Today Liang’s assistant was platinum blonde with long thick eyelashes. The action of looking cost me more pain. I moaned.

She rushed to my bedside, holding a glass. “Move slowly. I didn’t feel any breaks but your ribs are bruised. You’re going to be tender there for a while. I doubt a lung was punctured. Your breathing sounds clear but you have to get an X-Ray. You might also have a concussion.”

She handed me the glass and a couple of pills. “I brought you Ibuprofen. It’s all I have. Sorry.”

She sounded like a trained medic. I pushed myself into a sitting position and accepted the offering. The cool water tasted good. “What’s going on?”

She settled herself on the edge of the bed. “You not saying thank-you. This girl appreciates gratitude.”

“For what?”

“Tell me the last thing you remember?”


What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the next book in the Caleb Jacobs series titled The Queen’s Gambit. A frighteningly skilled assassin hires Jacobs to find her latest assignment and to then protect him from her.

I’m also working on a science fiction novel set on a planet where time is literally a currency. The wealthy live for hundreds of years in dewy youth while the poor are geriatric.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That is a deep question. Darn you. Okay, here’s how it is. I bragged I was a writer the day I sold my first story. Not long after I like a fraud (Don’t judge me!). Even now, after over 70 publications, two novelettes, and two books I’m still uncomfortable calling myself a writer.

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?
To support my writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, I’m a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write naked. No. That isn’t true. My real quirk is boring: I’m my most creative when editing (or after a few beers. Once again… don’t judge me.)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First an astronaut, then a movie star, then a kung fu master.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Look for the mystery in everything. When you write, never be boring. Oh, and buy Poisoned Pawn.

Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
It was a lot of fun. I hope to be invited back.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Interview with fantasy author Jamie Marchant

Fantasy author Jamie Marchant is here today to chat about her epic fantasy box set, The Kronicles of Korthlundia.

During her virtual book tour, Jamie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. 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:
Jamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a backup plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University.

One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went into the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012. Her other novels include The Soul Stone, The Ghost in Exile, The Shattered Throne, and The Bull Riding Witch. In addition, she has published a novella, Demons in the Big Easy, and a collection of short stories, Blood Cursed and Other Tales of the Fantastic.

Her short fiction has also appeared in the anthologies Urban Fantasy, Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, and Waiting for a Kiss. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives.

She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and five cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

Welcome, Jamie. What inspired you to write this series?
The Goddess's Choice, the first novel in The Kronicles of Korthlundia, originates deep within my childhood. My sister Jalane--she is ten years older than me--told me stories, fairy tales mostly: "Midas and His Golden Touch," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Hansel and Gretel." But my favorite was always "The Princess and the Glass Hill" or "The Glass Mountain" as my sister titled it. I had her tell that story over and over again. I was captivated by the bold hero on his magical horses of bronze, silver, and gold.

When I had a child of my own, I wanted to pass that fairy tale on. My son, Jesse, loved it every bit as much as I had. One day after telling it to him, it came to me that the story could be so much more than five pages and sparse details. However, I didn’t want to write a children’s story but the type of epic fantasy I enjoy as an adult. I upped the dramatic tension, villainy, and sexuality of the piece to create something far different than the original fairy tale. The Goddess’s Choice is intended for an adult audience.

However, when I finished The Goddess’s Choice, the characters let me know that their story was far from done. It’s hard to say where I got the inspiration for the later volumes in the series, except that the characters themselves told me how to continue their tales.


Excerpt:

As The Ghost entered Ares’s temple, an oppressive presence settled over him. He seemed to be alone in the huge sanctuary, but he knew the acolytes of Ares watched through hidden panels. Rumors claimed they waited for someone with signs of weakness to enter. Then they would pour forth, seize the unfortunate, and sacrifice him to their god. The Ghost had found no evidence to support such rumors, but he knew that animals and criminals were regularly sacrificed on Ares’s altar, bleeding out their lives into the bowl at the foot of his statue. It was a hard death, both the blood and the pain feeding the magic of Ares’s priests.

The Ghost knelt at Ares’s feet, where the stench of blood was nearly overpowering. The altar was stained with it, and the bowl at the god’s feet was full from a fresh sacrifice. The power present in this place was undeniable—dark and forbidding, far from the peace and serenity in Sulis’s temples. But he was no longer worthy of Sulis’s blessing. The Ghost drew his dagger, held his left forearm over the sacrificial bowl, and sliced a new cut alongside his numerous scars. As he bled into the bowl, he felt the magic of the place coalesce around him. His blood sizzled as it hit the bowl, and the wound on his arm healed instantly, signaling that The Ghost truly belonged to the Saloynan god.


What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m presently working on the fourth novel in The Kronicles of Korthlundia, which I believe will complete the series. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I call it the dragon book. I wonder what kind of creature it may introduce into my world. I also have ideas for at least two other side novels involving characters from the series. Eventually, I also want to get back to the other series I started with The Bull Riding Witch and finish that story.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was born, I guess. I never remember wanting to be anything other than a writer. Stories needing to be let out have always lived in my head. I start writing stories about the man from Mars for my older sister when I was about six. Writing is in my blood, encoded in my DNA.


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’m afraid I don’t have the luxury to write full-time. I teach writing and literature at Auburn University. I’ve found a teaching career an ideal day job for a writer. My work life keeps me emerged in literature and the creative life, and teaching provides me with a lot of flexibility and long breaks in which to devote myself to writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure I have any interesting writing quirks. Does writing while lying back on the sofa with my laptop on my knees count? All I know is that to be happy I need to write. The stories within me demand to be let out.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. I’ve never wanted to be anything else.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Treat others as you would like to be treated, and find time to cultivate joy in your lives.

Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!


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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Interview with writer Casey Samuel Bell

Writer Casey Samuel Bell is here today. We’re chatting about his new poetry chapbook, Poems from the Other Side.

Bio:
Proud Uncle Casey Bell has authored two Young Adult books, three General Fiction, three Non-Fiction, two Short-Stories, one Horror, one book of Poetries, five Children books, one book of collection of Art, and has produced four Word Search books. Twenty-two books in total, but has no intentions of slowing down. He enjoys sharing stories, ideas, and art that cause people to think beyond the box. Not only a writer, but also a playwright, graphic designer, fine artist, and fashion designer.

Welcome, Casey. What inspired you to write this book?
It is a book of my poetry. I always think differently from everyone. Basically, the side of topics no one ever sees. So, I decided to write poetry on topics from the side I see no one else sees. I also added songs and poems I wrote years ago (5-10).


Excerpt:
LOVE IS

Love is massaging the backs of those who stabbed yours.
Love is giving sun to those who shade you
Love is lifting the people up who took you down
Love is speaking kindly to those who gossiped and rumored
Love is praising those who criticized you
Love is complementing those who condemned you
Love is smiling at those who frown at you
Love is laughing with those who have laughed at you
Love is hugging those who dream of strangling you
Love is giving love to those who gave you hate
Love is not an emotion
It is an action you choose to execute in the midst of hate.


What exciting project are you working on next?
I am working on a series of children’s books, “American History.” They shine light on inventors and innovators the American school systems leave out of their curriculum. The first two have been published and I am working on five more.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About two years ago. I wrote as a child, but never thought of it as a job. I wrote, songs, poems, plays, and prayers all the time. Mostly it was my therapy, but when I got ideas, I wrote them down. The second book I wrote was the first to be published in 2007, but I didn’t consider myself a writer until recently. I believed the lie the school system taught me that due to my grades I wasn’t good enough to be a writer. I kept running away from it, but writing seems to be the only thing I find success in so I finally denounce the lies I was taught and accepted me for who I am, a writer.

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 am not a full-time writer just yet, but I plan to be one within in the next two years.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t say I have any. Every book I write has its own conception story. The only thing I can say is the book that took me ten years to write, I decided to write it backwards. From end to middle (the beginning was already written). As I wrote it backwards the rest of the book came to me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Depends on the age. I started out wanting to be a gospel singer, then a fine artist (drawing), then a chef. By the time I was 13/14 I wanted to be a Broadway actor. By the time I left college I wanted to be a graphic designer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Always remember to never judge yourself according to what people taught you. Your identity is in your fingerprint and no one can ever tech you how to be your fingerprint. That can only come from within. Because your fingerprint is unique and can never fit in, make sure you stay as unique as your fingerprint.

Thanks for being here today!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Interview with children's author Sunayna Prasad

Writer Sunayna Prasad joins me today to chat about her middle grade children’s fantasy, The Frights of Fiji.

During her virtual book tour, Sunayna will be awarding a $25 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!

Bio:
Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji, formerly titled as From Frights to Flaws. She is passionate about modern life, fantasy, and world-building. Aside from her website, sunaynaprasadbooks.com, she also has a blog about different creative and entertaining topics, including fiction and writing, called “Sunayna Prasad’s Blog”. Sunayna graduated from college in May 2017. She lives in Long Island, NY.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
The Frights of Fiji was published a year ago. It’s about a girl who is living with her harsh uncle, but is kidnapped to Fiji by a warlock. She has to defeat him in order to leave the nation.

What inspired you to write this book?
The “Harry Potter” series gave me a ton of inspiration. In fact, many readers have compared the book to “Harry Potter”. One character was even compared to Harry’s Aunt Petunia, who actually had no inspiration or influence behind that other character.


Excerpt from The Frights of Fiji:
About a half hour had gone by, and footsteps thumped down the stairs. Alyssa figured out that Mathias had returned via his flying tube since Isabelle had said that he owned one too. Alyssa turned to the staircase and watched him carry a small cage with about six or seven mice. They had white fur with patches of green, purple, red, and blue. Mathias also carried a bag of silver, gold, copper, metallic green, red, and blue fronds.

He entered the living room and sat on one of the couch chairs. He placed the cage on the carpet. But Isabelle bent her eyebrows. “Mathias, don’t put them on the carpet. They’re going to—”

“Isabelle, it’s okay. They’re in a cage.”

“Still, they’re filthy wild animals, and they could get my clean carpet dirty.”

“Oh, Isabelle, stop being such a neat freak,” said Mathias.

“No.” Isabelle turned to Simon, who sat on the other couch chair and listened to his WiPod. “Simon, can you track the snake, please?”

Simon took out his earbuds. “What did you want me track? I didn’t get that.”

Isabelle repeated herself, and Simon made his tablet appear. Alyssa watched him press it; he probably programmed a way to track the snake.

“Simon, how far away is the snake?” asked Alyssa.

“Erm . . . about a hundred feet away,” he replied.

“Oh my god,” moaned Alyssa.

“Let’s go,” said Isabelle.

Alyssa’s stomach hardened as she walked up the stairs. She could even feel her heart throb through her throat. She hurried her breathing and followed everyone else out of the tent.

Alyssa stepped onto the sand and saw something move. She gasped, her muscles constricting to her bones. Her hands shook and cooled down despite the burning sun. Tingles spread through her toes and fingers and expanded to the rest of her body. She whined through her contracted throat. She wished that what she saw was just a mirage. But the smell of the ash hanging in the air revealed to her that she didn’t just see things—the snake drew nearer.

It opened its jaw, exhaling light gray ash. It stuck out its pointy black tongue and pushed its head toward Alyssa, and she coughed. But it sped up its slithering. Alyssa screamed and spun around. She dashed along the beach, and her feet sped up, thus kicking the backs of her legs.

“Alyssa, get back here!” yelled Mathias. “I can’t disappear holding the cage or mice! It’s impossible doing both!”

But Alyssa continued to sprint across the beach. Sand streamed into her sneakers. Sweat even trickled into the neckline of her shirt and her legs.

Something scaly slapped her legs. She flew into the air and screamed. Her body fought against the direction of the breeze, and she landed on her butt.

She moaned and quickened up breaths through her gritted teeth. The snake continued to slither and release ash. Shrieking, Alyssa bolted up and turned around. She headed into the rainforest.

Facing vines, twigs, trees, bushes, and fronds, Alyssa found her way around them. Her legs ached from all the different movements she made. She ran sideways from a tree, jumped over a couple of twigs and vines, and zigzagged around trees and bushes. A trail even lay in front of her.

Alyssa’s thin legs and body kept her energy going, but her legs felt like they’d been clogged with broken cobblestones. The snake kept chasing her, though.


What exciting story are you working on next?
The third installment, which will hopefully be done by next month. It took about 4 years to complete, which is a long time for me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In my teens, but my writing didn’t please a lot of people until I was 19. I’m 26 now and my feedback from readers is far better now.

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?
Nope, I also work in an office, hang out with my friends, and cook. That being said, I also have a blog with different topics in the creative and entertainment categories.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to apply humor to it. As long as it’s believable, it’s acceptable.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Different things, ranging from pilot to zookeeper to baker.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have recently launched a website about my books’ universe called magicalmissionsworld.com. It’s got details about the content and will gain more material soon.

Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!


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