Sunday, July 31, 2011

IWU! Blog Tour welcomes Mike Cooley!

 This week it is my pleasure to welcome talented indie author Mike Cooley to our blog tour. Many of you know him for his compelling, witty, and interesting(sometimes--lol) comments on Fb. However Mike is also the author of the well-reviewed action adventure fantasy tale THE CRYSTAL WARRIOR. As an author of fantasy and science fiction for many years, Mike's writing has an edge to it, as you will see. So let's welcome Mike Cooley!



1 Tell us about you upcoming release.

The novel I am working on now is called, Crystal Origin. It is a sequel to my Epic Fantasy novel The Crystal Warrior. I can't reveal too much about it, but I can say that some of the characters from the first book survive, and there are some fascinating new characters. The story picks up immediately from where the first book left off, although Crystal Origin is very different in scope from the first book. We learn more about the crystals and the characters, and there is a new menace. I am currently about a third of the way done with it, and plan to finish it this year.

2 How did you come up with the title of your book?

Well the title of my first book (The Crystal Warrior) came directly from the story. The protagonist, Larissya, is The Crystal Warrior. The story is about her and how she is involved in an ancient legend of magic. She has to grow up quickly to survive.

3 What is The Crystal Warrior about?

At its heart The Crystal Warrior is about good and evil, friendship and loss, and survival.

4 Did anything special inspire you to write this particular  story? Why?

To tell the truth I always thought my first novel would be a science fiction novel, but this
story just grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I love artifact stories about magical artifacts, so that factored into it. And I also wanted to portray magic as a double-edged sword, not a 'get out of jail free card.'

5 Tell us a little about any current works in progress.

I'm always working on quite a few things at a time. Currently I am working on Crystal Origin and a Lovecraftian Horror story called Fade Away. I often stop between chapters on longer books and write a short story or two. I am terrible at single-tasking.

6 What do you as an author find as the most challenging aspect of writng? How do you deal with this?

Staying focused is the biggest challenge for me. I am always starting new projects in the middle of other projects. I deal with it by taking the attitude that "as long as I'm writing… it's all good." I don't stress too much about how many different things I have in progress.

7 What are you currently reading?

I'm reading mostly indie writers works these days, on my Kindle. It is very cool to see how many great authors there are that are publishing independently like I am. To be perfectly honest, when I have free time, I write. So I am way behind on my reading. Books keep piling up on my Kindle, gathering virtual dust.



8 If you could coauthor a story with any writer out there—deceased or alive—who would it be? Or would you even consider collaboration?

Wow. Tough one. It would have to be James Tiptree Jr. I love her work and I would love to have been able to meet her. She's brilliant and lived a fascinating life. I would consider collaboration since I have done it many times (in the rock music field -- not in fiction).

9 Writing can be very challenging—what do you do to just “get away” for a break every so often?

When I'm not writing I like to do things like Mountain Biking in the woods, and read, and play guitar (I have a recording studio in my basement and I still write and record music).

10 What do you like LEAST about writing?

Marketing. Editing would be second place, but these days I usually pay for a copy-editor to do that.

11 Any advice for beginning authors?

The only way to get better is to write more. The story is the most important part… grammar and spelling can be fixed -- boring can't (as easily). Show your passion for your words in your words. Be confident in yourself. Write like YOU--that's what you're selling.

12 Tell us about your other published works.

I have a science fiction short story collection out called Skin Of Giants. It's pretty dang good. I'm proud of it. I also have a Twilight Parody out called How To Keep Sparkly Emo Vampires Off Your Lawn. It's really short but readers seem to enjoy it. And I have a poetry book out called End Of The World Love Songs. The poetry is actually lyrics from 93 of my songs (I've written over 300 songs). In that book there is a link to my fiction blog where I will have links to the music for all 93 poems (not all are up yet but I'm working on it). So, my poetry book literally has a soundtrack.


13 How can readers contact you?

I can be found all over the internet like the dust from ancient civilizations. Specifically on twitter I am: @last_writes, and my fiction blog is at: http://www.blogger.com/goog_1820563838

List of purchase links for your books. Please send them as active links so I can just copy and paste them in. Thanks.

Amazon Links:





Smashwords:


Stop by and leave a comment for Mike. BTW, Mike, that's a good looking cover--you know her?



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

IWU! Blog Tour welcomes Julia Crane

This week it is my pleasure to post a fantastic book trailer by talented Indie author Julia Crane. Her teen fantasy young adult novel COEXIST(Keegan's Chronicles) was only recently released in June and has received some stellar reviews!

The COEXIST book trailer can be seen at: http://youtu.be/I9S5rXgjlok


Julia's website: http://juliacraneauthor.com/


Stop by and check out the sensational teen fantasy COEXIST(Keegan's Chronicles) by Julia Crane!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

IWU! Week Seven welcomes Steven Drennon!

This week I'm honored to have as my guest, the talented and prolific indie author Steven Drennon, creator of the fantasy novel THREE FOR AVADAR. Steve has been writing since he was fifteen and has penned  nearly one thousand poems. Today he will enlighten us on all his projects, including both his poetry as well as his novels.

Hi Steve, thank you for stopping in.

1 Tell us about you upcoming release.
Actually, I just released a new fantasy novel titled “Three for Avadar” a couple of weeks ago. It is a light fantasy novel with all the traditional magic and swordplay, but a touch of implied romance added in for the fun of it!

2 How did you come up with the title of your book?
The story is about three separate travelers who are all headed for the same location, a city named Avadar. When they are all three thrown together by chance and end up travelling together, the title became apparent!

3 What is---------about?
The three separate characters each have their own agenda and reasons for venturing to Avadar. There is a warrior who is headed there to offer his sword in the king’s army so that he can fight to avenge the death of his brother and his brother’s family.

There is also a young sorceress who is seeking to recover a powerful crystal that was secreted away by her father just before he was murdered. She is certain that her father’s killer is trying to obtain the same crystal, so she must get to it before he does.

Lastly, we have a wayward princess who is still trying to figure out what she wants out of life. She has been on a voyage of self-discovery but is now being summoned home to Avadar. While part of her is the loyal daughter who is responding as expected, a part of her is still rebellious and wants more from life.

4 Did anything special inspire you to write this particular  story? Why?
My youngest daughter asked me if I had ever considered adding an element of romance to a fantasy novel, and I thought that might be an interesting challenge. I decided to add two women so that there would be a challenge for our hero in deciding where his heart lies, and it turned out to be a lot of fun to write.

5 Tell us a little about any current works in progress.
I am currently working on three separate suspense novellas. I have completed an epic fantasy and a shorter traditional fantasy novel, so I wanted to do something a little different. Each of these novellas will be released individually once they are ready, and then after I finish the third I will combine them together in a single book as well.

The first novella is titled “Desperate Love”, and I expect it to be released around the first of August, 2011. This story is about a loner who decides that he will do anything at all to obtain the woman he loves, even though she is married and doesn’t really know he exists. Of course, he is convinced that he can change all of that!

The second novella is called “Shattered Vows”, and I hope to have it released in September of 2011. This story is about a recently married middle aged couple who seem to have it all, at least until the fateful day that the wife is shot to death in front of her husband in a crowded parking lot. After a couple of weeks of mourning, he receives a phone call from the killer who has called to apologize. He is apologizing because his intended target had been the husband!

The third novella is tentatively titled “Final Justice”, and I hope to release it in October of 2011. This story is about a former Marine sniper who decides to take matters into his own hands after his daughter’s killer is released on a technicality. He plots his revenge on the killer, and just when he is about to take his shot, someone else puts the man down. Now our Marine is trying to find out who stole his chance at revenge while trying to decide whether to thank the person or bring them to justice.

6 What do you as an author find as the most challenging aspect of writing? How do you deal with this?
Without a doubt, my single biggest challenge has always been finding the time to write. With a family and a full time job, it is hard to set aside the time you need without feeling like you are neglecting the wife or the kids, or even the boss.

What I have done to try to address this is to set aside designated times for writing when everyone else is asleep or gone. My wife leaves for work at 6am, so I try to write for an hour after she leaves and then I get ready for work and get the kids off to school.

In the evenings, I am always the last one to go to bed, and I try to spend about an hour or so each evening trying to get some more writing done then. I don’t always make the best use of these time slots, but at least I know that I have them available for when the desire to write hits me.

7 What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “33 A.D.” by David McAfee. It is so totally out of character for me, but the premise just caught my imagination and I had to read it! The story is about a vampire who has been tasked with killing someone, and not just anyone. This vampire is out to kill Jesus Christ!

8 If you could coauthor a story with any writer out there—deceased or alive—who would it be? Or would you even consider collaboration?
I think I would love to collaborate, and there are a number of indie writers I have read recently that I think I would enjoy working with very much. The one that first comes to mind is M. Edward McNally, the author of “The Sable City”. It is an epic fantasy written on a grand scale, and that happens to be my favorite kind of story to read and write. I love the way he paints his scenes and really draws the reader into the heart of the story!

9 Writing can be very challenging—what do you do to just “get away” for a break every so often?
Funny you should ask that, considering I just returned from a weeklong vacation at the beach! It was just my wife and I, with no computers and very limited television or telephone. In addition to that, we try to set aside one weekend each month which becomes our “slug” weekend, where we just relax and watch television and don’t worry about chores or the internet or anything else but spending time with each other.

10 What do you like LEAST about writing?
I suppose the one task that I see as a real chore is the editing process. It’s so hard to keep from getting caught up in your own story and forcing yourself to take a critical eye to your work.

11 Any advice for beginning authors?
Figure out what story you want to tell and then sit down and write it! Whether you outline it or just jot a few notes to get a general idea of what you want to say and where you’re going with the story doesn’t matter. The important thing is to just write it already!

12 Tell us about your other published works.
I have another fantasy novel which was released in the spring of 2011 titled “Rise of the Raven”. This is an epic fantasy novel with over 115,000 words which features many of the traditional sword and sorcery elements one would expect from such a book. It tells the story of a young wizard who becomes part of a group of wizards known as the Khand. These wizards are tasked with protecting the dimension barrier which separates our world from a world of demons and other evils, and from the very beginning they find that this dimension barrier is under attack.

This book goes into a lot of detail telling the story from both the good and the evil character’s points of view. I have had a number of people who have commented that the battle scenes are some of the best they’ve ever read! I’ve gotten a lot of criticism over the beginning of the story with people complaining that it starts out too slow, and frankly I agree. As a result, I am rewriting the first three chapters to spruce things up and get you right into the story, so if anyone has purchased it already, please get the new version!

In addition to my two fantasy novels, I have released eight different poetry books. There are six volumes with 100 poems each, as well as two anthologies. Each anthology includes the full contents of three of the original volumes along with an additional 150 poems that had never before been published.

13 How can readers contact you?
I welcome their visits and comments at my web site, which is located at http://www.drennon.com/.

Three for Avadar

Rise of the Raven

Meant to Be - Poetry Anthology 1

Promises - Poetry Anthology 2
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00588SIWQ

Thank you, Steve, for being a guest on my blog this week. Good luck with all your projects and we look forward to seeing more of your work.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Excerpt for GARGOYLES!

PROLOGUE


Somewhere near Itzimte Ruins, Guatemala, rainy season


   She turned her first trick four months shy of her thirteenth birthday. Patricio had been a small man, only a boy really, being just two years older than she. His father had been a teniente in the security police that patrolled Mexico City, and he’d paid sixty pesos for Gabriella’s services. Gabriella wasn’t her real name then, but it was the name she’d used while plying her trade, and it was how she was currently registered at Las Canas.
   Now, three years later, the teenage girl with the truculent almond eyes sat huddled under a gnarled tree limb, seeking refuge from the tropical shower. Her skin glistened moistly from sweat and precipitation, and she could smell her own fear above the pungent odor of the earth.
   Gabriella stroked one hand across her gravid abdomen, then quickly climbed from the security and cover of the lush vegetation to resume her flight along the muddy carretera that would eventually lead her to San Andres. Nightfall was fast approaching. She pressed onward, prodding herself another half kilometer, though her feet and thighs cried out for rest. Surrounded by miles of unfettered jungle that comprised the Guatemalan lowland rain forests, she longed for a shortcut. There was none. And carved out of this most intimidating habitat in all Central America was Las Canas.
   Wump. Wump. Wump. Wump. Los helicopteros. The choppers.
   Mi bebe!” My baby. Gabriella dashed back under the gloomy cover of the rain-forest canopy. She would rather risk an encounter with el tigre or even Desmodus rotundus, the loathsome bloodsucking vampire bat.
   Wump. Wump. Wump. Anything but not the choppers. She could never return to Las Canas. Never.  
   Gabriella clutched desperately at her stomach. It heaved with each laborious breath. She couldn’t maintain this frenetic pace; it was impossible. She forced herself to think through the tears, through the pain. She might still stand a chance if she could thwart their initial assault.
   Wump. Wump. Wump. Wump.
   “Que merida,”Gabriella cried out.
   Her hands protected her eyes as she stumbled farther through the thick underbrush. Thorns ripped at her skin, and vines threatened to ensnare her ankles as if they possessed wills of their own.
   She tripped, stumbling forward. Terror gripped her like a giant anaconda. Her breaths catapulted from her convulsing chest in short gasps.
   Oh Dios, por favor, she prayed. Please God. If she could just make it to the Itzimte Ruins before dark.
   High above her head, the canopy of epiphytes, vines, and towering ferns gyrated into a living tempest. The powerful downdraft from the Sikorsky’s blades created a whirlpool of flying debris.
   Gabriella threw herself on the forest floor, cowering under the onslaught of tangled vegetation.
   Wump. Wump. Wump. Wump.
   “No!” she cried. “No!”
   With nothing to cling to but remnants of past dreams, Gabriella began to pray. She prayed for herself. She prayed for Las Canas. But mostly she prayed for the bebes.
   The men from the plantacion de azucar were coming.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

IWU! Week Six welcomes Heather Marie Adkins!

This week I have the pleasure of welcoming  talented Indie author Heather Marie Adkins. Heather is the author of the recently released paranormal mystery novel THE TEMPLE and the short story UNDERNEATH.  Both works have received rave reviews. As an added bonus, Heather will be offering the first five people to comment a free Smashwords copy of THE TEMPLE!  BTW, this compelling cover is courtesy of Heather's incredibly talented little sister, Sheridan.

  Hello Heather, thanks for stopping by.

1 Tell us about your upcoming release.
            Next up for me is a Fantasy/Romance about a half-faery/half-human woman named Abigail.  When her supposedly immortal mother is found dead, Abigail’s human father--disgusted by how well she resembles her mother--sells her into slavery.  She’s bought by a handsome and wealthy landowner who whisks her away to his Mediterranean home...and falls in love with her.
            But the island has a terrible secret, one that has put the family in danger.  Abigail must side with the fae she has spent her life denying in order to save the people she loves.  Magic, romance, and battle abound.

2 How did you come up with the title of your book?
            “Abigail” doesn’t have an imaginative title, but from the moment I began to write it so many years ago, I just knew I had to name the book for my MC.  Her personality leaks from the pages.   

3 What is “The Temple” about?
            From my blurb:
            Vale Avari has a mysterious past and a laundry list of super-powers, but that's nothing compared to what she finds upon moving from small town U.S.A to jolly-good England.
            A chance dart throw lands her in Quicksilver, an off-the-map place with a big problem - people are dying, and word is, it's supernatural.
            At her new place of employment, a temple dedicated to the ancient Mother Goddess, Vale learns something even more shocking - women guards are disappearing at an alarmingly patterned rate; women who possess special gifts like her own.
            Supernatural powers aside, Vale isn't ready to believe in the Wild Hunt as the culprit, and she's determined to prove the deaths are acts of human violence.
            Plagued by a brute with a history of domestic violence and lusting after a dark-eyed man with a secret, Vale has a limited amount of time to discover the killer before he strikes again. In the process, she'll learn things aren't always what they seem and the supernatural might not be so extraordinary after all.
            The Hunt could ride for her.
           
4 Did anything special inspire you to write this particular story? Why?
            Like many of my pieces, “The Temple” was inspired by a dream.  When I awoke, I scribbled down everything I had experienced.  A couple months later, it turned into a novel.          

5 Tell us a little about any current works in progress.
            I am currently working on a couple projects.  My first chick lit novel, “Constant State of Disaster” is slated for a sometime-September release, so it’s going through some intense editing at the moment.  It’s the story of a down-on-her-luck twenty-something who thought her life was all planned out, only to be broken-hearted and on a downward spiral. 
            I’m mired in writing two main novels at the moment--a Thriller titled “Disembodied” with a dead protagonist and another chick lit named “Flipping Spouses” with a Southern flair.        
           
6 What do you as an author find as the most challenging aspect of writng? How do you deal with this?
            Motivation to finish what I start.  I get distracted easily when I’m having a bad day of writing, so I find everything else in the world to do except write.  I don’t deal with it well, to be honest.  I’m still working on that.

7 What are you currently reading?
            “Her Book of Shadows” by Larry D Marshall.  It’s fantastic--great writing, great voice, great characters.  I highly recommend it.

8 If you could coauthor a story with any writer out there—deceased or alive—who would it be? Or would you even consider collaboration?
            Jennifer Crusie.  I would absolutely die if I could co-author with Jennifer Crusie.  She’s my hero.

9 Writing can be very challenging—what do you do to just “get away” for a break every so often?
            READ!  I’m a total bibliophile.

10 What do you like LEAST about writing?
            I don’t think there’s anything I don’t like about writing.  I don’t like a lot of the rules--writing, to me, is an art form.  As long as it’s a great story with good writing, why all the diagrams and scenes being preached from the top?

11 Any advice for beginning authors?
            Just keep trucking.  Write all the time.  Meet other authors and build your support network for help and questions.  Mainly--do your own part to support your fellow indie authors.  We’re all in the same boat.

12 Tell us about your other published works.
            “Underneath” is a free ebook short story at Amazon that has received 2 five star reviews.  It’s a supernatural thriller about a woman who takes a job at a museum built over an ancient underground civilization.  It’s only the first of many shorts I plan on putting out for free.  The next will be a horror short out mid-July titled “The House”.

13. How can readers contact you, Heather?

       Website: http://heather.bishoffs.com/



Heather’s books can be purchased below:

Underneath




The Temple




Heather’s Ebook deal of the day Giveaway

Thank you again, Heather, for stopping in.

And readers and writers—remember the first five commenters will receive a free Smashwords copy of THE TEMPLE! (Think I'll go first!)