Friday, October 31, 2014

Interview with literary fiction author Seth Mullins

Today’s guest is literary fiction author Seth Mullins. He’s talking about his new novel, What Casts the Shadow and other writing and non-writing-related things.

During his virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Seth will be awarding one lucky winner with a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice). 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!

Seth Mullins draws upon the great sweep of human soul-journeying to weave his tales. He's inspired by music, shamanism, dreams and the mysteries and miracles of our inner life. His greatest love as a writer is for fiction that depicts a journey towards self-awareness in the deepest sense.

"Probably the most valuable thing that I learned throughout my spiritual journey in this life is the importance of trusting in one's self. Many of our cultural lessons encourage us to ignore or even fear our inner reality. And yet it is this realm that really does hold the answers to all of our questions, and can point the way towards the most fulfilling life experiences possible for us."

Mr. Mullins has lived in Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.

Welcome, Seth. Please tell us a little bit about What Casts the Shadow.
A troubled young rock musician, a mystic mentor, and a generation of lost souls longing for a new voice to emerge from the wilderness...

When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing - one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss - begins.


First Session with Saul

Saul’s office was arranged much like others I’d seen: A dark cherry desk, glossy clean; plaques, proclaiming his education and other achievements, hanging on the wall behind. All the prominent names in the field of psychology cluttered his bookcase. Most of the titles that Tommy had found for me at the library made an appearance there. Saul invited me to sit in a brown leather recliner. I didn’t want to tilt it back; but I kept feeling like I was about to fall out of that chair when it was in the upright position.

Saul leaned forward and smiled like he harbored a secret. “I’d like to start, Brandon, by assuring you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. You have no ‘problems’ per se. You aren’t evil, because there is no such thing. And if you’re ignorant, then you are no more so than every other human to ever walk the Earth. Now, is any of that reassuring?”

It almost sounded like he was trying to provoke an argument. Yet his manner and tone implied that he meant every word he said in the most literal sense.

“Of course,” he went on, “that’s all true only from a perspective that you may have to work hard to arrive at. When you’re suffering, it definitely feels like something is wrong with you; and the seeming causes of that suffering are problems. They are the embodiment of evil. And every smiling person you see must be privy to answers that have totally eluded you.”

What do you think you’re really good at?
Crafting stories that go beyond escapism and really say something about the human condition; writing with an ear for musicality in my prose and breathing life into characters who have depth, who feel real.

What do you think you’re really bad at?
Keeping the details straight. My tendency to, say, lose track of new people’s names at a party plays out in my writing too. Editing can be a headache.

Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
When I was maybe four years old I was walking through the woods one day with my parents and I had the sense that a bear spirit was following, watching over me. I stayed connected with him for a while after that. Sometimes I was “with” Bear and sometimes I “became” him in my play-acting.

Do you have any phobias?
I sometimes experience anxiety around technology, particular the speed at which it develops. It moves so fast; and nobody seems quite able to gauge the ways in which that frenzied rate of change could be affecting us all. So, I can get sucked in to sci-fi ‘technology gone awry’ scenarios because they feel real to me.

Ever broken any bones?
Never. (So much for cultivating an ‘artist living on the edge’ persona…)


"What Casts the Shadow?"  (The Edge of the Known) on Amazon    

Thanks, Seth!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interview with YA author Kaizen Love

Today’s special guest is young adult debut author Kaizen Love. And the feature is her novel My Name Is Thank-You.

During her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Kaizen will be awarding a $15 Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky 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.

Kaizen Love is an up and coming writer from Miami, Fl. Her gift is the ability to spin words into a beautiful web that should enrich the lives of all who read them. She has a positive and fresh take on life, and has mastered the art of storytelling. She has spent her time quietly listening to the world around her, waiting on the moment to share her message of love with the world.

Welcome, Kaizen. Please tell us about your current release.
My debut novel is titled My Name Is Thank-You and it is about two thirteen-year-old girls, one being named Thank-You, and the other, Josephine. We follow their stories as each chapter alternates between voices. We follow as they face abuse, fear, rejection, and loneliness. We learn with them as they discover what it means to forgive, love unconditionally, and ultimately become a light.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had a pretty rough childhood myself, so to keep myself distracted, I spent a lot of time burying my head in books. I would sit in my closet with the tiniest bit of light sneaking in, and I would use that light to read. As an adult I have learned forgiveness, humility, mindfulness, and gratitude, amongst other vital lessons. What inspired me to write this book was the thought, that maybe if I had a book like "My Name Is Thank-You" when I was a kid, one that spoke about adult issues in a child's voice, one that would have given me the insight into all of those things that I would learn as an adult, then maybe I would not have had to wait so long to understand that life is truly what you make it, and we all have the ability to choose everyday what kind of day we will have, what kind of person we will be. Maybe, my journey into gratitude would have begun a little bit sooner...

"Everybody got a story. It don’t matter who you is or where you come from, as long as you got breath in yo body you got a story to tell. The more people start sharing they stories the faster we gonna learn to appreciate each other, and recognize how similar we all is. Every human bean is connected to the other, despite the color they was born wearing or the language they was born speaking."

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next novel is going to be a cross between a journey of self-discovery and romance; I don't want to give to many details away because I know that my story line can change at any moment until I type "The End".

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Writing to me has always been as natural as breathing. There isn't a time where I can recall not considering 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?
I am blessed enough to be able to write full time. It can be a challenge at times, but it is definitely worth it.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I talk to myself out loud while I am writing. Sometimes I catch myself speaking in the dialects or voices of my characters.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. That was my dream.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Interview with historical fiction author Barbara Bettis

Please welcome today’s guest, historical fiction author Barbara Bettis as she shares about her new novel, The Heart of the Phoenix.

During her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a 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!

Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.

A former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former journalism teacher, Barbara Bettis plans never to be a “former” author. Currently, she supports her writing habit as an adjunct English instructor at a community college near her home in Missouri.

She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.

Welcome, Barbara. Please tell us about your current release.
Sir Stephen is consumed with revenge. He and his band of mercenaries The Brotherhood of the Phoenix, have identified a group of renegade knights who have pillaged and murdered their way from the Holy Land. But Stephen is hampered in the final confrontation when his childhood nemesis, Lady Evelynn, turns up and he is forced to take her home.

Here’s the blurb:
Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.

Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can Be Cruel
Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.
And Deadly
When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.

What inspired you to write this book?
Sir Stephen lost his betrothed in a previous book, and readers (as well as my editor) asked for his story. I had already started on it. Stephen’s experiences with King Richard I in the Third Crusade disillusioned him so much, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I had to give him his HEA. And who better than Lady Evelynn, the sister of his dear friend. Plus, Evie had loved him since she was young. It seemed they belonged together. She, too, had appeared in earlier books.
Hmmm. Seems like I speak of them as if they are real. That’s because they are—to me, anyway.

“You were able to find a ship?” she asked.

“Yes.” He gestured with the empty wooden spoon. “We won’t be alone. An emissary for King John bespoke it, but he agreed to share quarters with us.”

Her head tilted to one side. “How did you manage that? I can’t imagine a knight with such authority condescending to share anything with strangers.”

“I told him your brother had ordered you home and would be furious if you delayed. You and the maid will share a small cabin, while the lord occupies the captain’s quarters. I have no idea how large your chamber will be, but we’ll make the best of it.”

“We?” She didn’t look up as she took another bite.

Damn her, what did she find amusing in what he’d just said, for there was no mistaking the humor in her voice. She looked up as he stalked toward the bed. Yes, a mischievous light glimmered in her eyes. He loomed above her and slowly leaned in.

“You’d best try to appear the anxious maiden, in fear of her brother,” he warned. “Or questions might arise that none of us want to answer.”

The amusement faded. “What questions?” Her breath caressed his cheek.

He reared back. “Just behave yourself during the passage.”

“This is the second time you’ve warned me about my conduct. Do you fear I will ride off with one of the guards?”

He clenched his teeth to hold back a retort. Let her have her say. She’d be easier to deal with on the morrow if all her complaints were aired.

“We both know my behavior has been perfectly appropriate. And I’ve accepted each of your edicts calmly.” Her gaze flicked away, as if she knew that statement stretched the truth.

“But that’s not the problem, is it?” she added, her voice low, intent. “Why are you really on this journey, Stephen? We both know it’s not to protect me.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m half finished with the story of Evie’s brother, Henry, and the fascinating Lady Katherine who captures him, thinking he’s a traitor. It’s a novella, tentatively called Lady of the Forest.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s difficult to answer. I spent several years writing non-fiction (news and feature articles), so the idea of being a writer wasn’t a difficult one for me to accept. What was, however—calling myself an author. Semantics, I know. But, really, I wasn’t comfortable saying, “I’m an author,” until almost time for my first book to come out. Ironic, because I use the two terms interchangeably when speaking of others.

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 wish I could write full-time, but I do have a day job as an adjunct English teacher at a local college. This semester I have only three classes and the schedule has changed, so I do get a couple of solid days in there to write—when I don’t have essays to grade, of course. I must get back to a regular daily output, which I fell away from when I began editing this book.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk.
I’m not sure they’re quirks—more like bad habits. When I’m at the computer, I always have something to sip on, usually hot tea or coffee. No wine or I fall asleep. When I’m plotting or trying to work through a difficult scene, I munch while I think. And then I wonder why I’m perpetually on a diet!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Thin. Seriously, I was always making up stories or writing (very bad) poetry, but I never thought, “I’m going to be a novelist when I grow up.” I never had one specific career goal. I loved history, learning about other people in other times, reading their myths and folk tales. Not until I was in high school did I start “trying on” career options.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Never say never. In college, there were two careers I knew I’d never undertake: writing for newspapers and teaching. Let’s see…I was a full time journalist for 12 years, and I’ve been a teacher for more than 20.

Never stop pursuing your dream. I have a little pillow in my bedroom that has the following written on it: Dreams Have No Expiration Date. Believe in yourself and never give up.

Visit her at:

Buy Links:
Amazon | TWRP 

Thanks, Barbara!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Interview with journalist/writer Greta Beigel

Today's guest is non-fiction writer/journalist Greta Beigel. Her book Kvetch: One Bitch of a Life--A Memoir of Music & Survival is the topic of conversation, but there's a lot of other fun stuff, too.

Read on!

American journalist Greta Beigel worked for many years as an arts reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of three Jewish-themed books: The humorous/satirical Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat (also in audio); the short story, “A Jew from Riga,” about her efforts to learn more about her Dad’s mysterious past, and Kvetch: One Bitch of a Life, a memoir (paperback and e-book) about growing up an Orthodox Jew and a gifted pianist in South Africa during the apartheid era. Beigel now lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Welcome, Greta.  Please tell us about your current release. 
"Kvetch: One Bitch of a Life," recently released in paperback, tells the courageous true story of the author who grew up in Johannesburg as a gifted piano prodigy, only to be exploited by her superambitious mother desperate to be accepted by a scornful Jewish society. Subtitled "A Memoir of Music & Survival," the book also takes a hard look at everyday living in apartheid-South Africa, where prejudice dominated all. The memoir soon migrates to Southern California where our protagonist morphs from music performer to music scribe, becoming a staff writer specializing in classical music coverage for the Los Angeles Times. Sadly, once in America, three chapters call forth the details of sibling sexual molestation--a subject so taboo, yet one that begs for further public discourse. The last chapter of "Kvetch" hops around the world, as the author gets her story down, and seeks a type of spiritual transformation. 

What inspired you to write this book?
All my books to date have been personal, autobiographical, even my favorite, Mewsings: My Life as Jewish Cat, a humorous, albeit learned take on Jewish life from one feline’s perspective, but in reality reflections on Judaism from my alter ego. My desire to pen “Kvetch: One Bitch of a Life,” evolved over decades. The need was propulsive, with no way out. I felt compelled to get a certain event, a certain image, a certain dialogue down on paper. I usually write in cafes, or coffee shops or restaurants, away from my normal milieu, and carry a notebook and jot thoughts or chapters down in shorthand, a skill that I learned in Johannesburg in my 20s that sustained my early years as a newspaper reporter, interviewing celebs in Los Angeles. 

Excerpt from Kvetch: One Bitch of a Life
Copyright©2014, Greta Beigel. All Rights Reserved

Under cover of darkness a secondary terror rages forth: the abuses of apartheid. Often my mom wakens me, beckoning me to the window. Fingers to lips, we watch members of the Afrikaner police force as they conduct raids and make arrests and throw African men into the backs of waiting vans, as though they’re nothing more than sacks of mealies to be stacked up one against the other for transport.

For what? These men apparently are guilty of walking around without the requisite "pass books" documenting their existence. They can be stopped and picked off the streets at any time and in any place, and if failing to show reference books, detained. Whites for the most part merely look on, or cluck-cluck or perhaps even deem it all a good idea. I often hear shouting from upstairs as a husband or lover or friend of a servant employed by someone in the building is cornered and carted off by yet another zealous copper.

History note: In 1947, the Nationalist Party comes to power. This Afrikaner govt. soon begins its diatribes against Indians, “Coloreds” and Africans. The Dutch Reform Church sanctifies this apartheid, or apartness. Now the church makes damn sure that everything shuts down on Sundays and that cinemas and shops and places to eat remain closed. They make sure there’s bugger-all for all of us to do. Except go to church, I suppose. Sex ranks next on the agenda, and the passage of the Immorality Act mandates sex between whites and non-whites illegal.

Mornings, Johannesburg streets are jammed with giant green Putco buses packed to capacity with non-white workers streaming into the city to work as domestics or gardeners. Evenings, the train station in Hillbrow remains chaotic with workers rushing along non-white platforms to catch trains alarmingly stacked to the rafters as they head back to Alexandra or Soweto townships with their shanties and smokestacks and no water or electricity and marauding tsotsis.

By contrast, whites-only platforms stand clean and orderly and calm. At virtually all public facilities, separate entrances exist for blankes and nie-blankes. Signs are posted in front of banks and at government buildings and outside post offices. Ironically, the nie-blankes are there for the most part to buy stamps for the blankes, and yet they have to resort to their separate entrances and stand in separate lines to make these purchases. Beaches are marked separate, and park benches painted blankes-only. Restaurants, cinemas, theaters and concert halls remain the sole purview of us Caucasians.......

What exciting story are you working on next?
The conclusion of Kvetch refers to my longing to return to live in Hawaii, a place of great beauty and pineapples, coconut and palm trees. But also enormous social and economic complexities. Now that I’m back in Honolulu, I’m toying with writing about the islands in either a blog or a column, covering the joys and setbacks. Also plan to get back into journalism, and write about classical music, both online and in print. And perhaps start on that book about a certain pet sitter.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
From a young age, I became fascinated with the inner workings of newspapers. Perhaps this resulted from my mother's pushing, for after every musical triumph she'd schlep me to the various newsrooms for interviews and photographs, and I became fascinated with the editorial process. Daily, I'd compare arts stories between the morning and evening papers, and was not above calling editors to point out lapses in coverage. I also loved entering writing contests. So albeit I was a terrific pianist, methinks I was always destined to be a music writer and later an author. I've always loved seeing my name in print.

Are you a fulltime writer? If not, what else do you do, and how find time to write?
Yes, I write most of the time. I also need to concentrate on getting the word out about my books. Social media takes time and we all must engage. It's an ever-evolving process. These days I'm focusing on making appearances at book clubs.

What would you say is your fun writing quirk?
As mentioned, I like to write in cafes, anyway away from home. I also do good works traveling on buses, in fact public transportation is a great way to get through the slog of research and underlining, etc. For many years, I've preferred to use computers at libraries--I have many cards from many cities--to laboring at home alone, and also enjoy sitting amongst students at university labs and libraries. The staffers are so helpful with technical stuff. Journalism, far more rigid, is easier in many ways. I do much research, interview subjects, transcribe my notes (moaning all the time), and then prepare an outline of the story to follow. It’s a far easier world of writing, albeit much more disciplined. Once the story is published, my job is over. But birthing a book, remains a lifetime commitment. 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Growing up a lonely child in South Africa, I became obsessed with British author Enid Blyton who wrote wonderful mystery series for children. I resolved by age 10 that I, too, would write a book one day. This pronouncement continued over the years and in many countries and I would insist that I’d tell my story of growing up a gifted child pianist with a cruel mother and an absentee father. Even when I worked as a music journalist for the Times, I’d tell everybody that one day I’d write my story and be published. I always KNEW. But did not know when.

Buy links:

Social: Facebook 

Thanks, Greta!

Readers, if you'd like to chat with Greta in person, she's going to be a guest at The Writer's Chatroom on Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 7-9PM EST. Feel free to join us!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book excerpt for contemporary romance novel Sean's Sweetheart by Allie Kincheloe

Today is a special book excerpt for the contemporary romance novel Sean’s Sweetheart by Allie Kincheloe.

Allie is doing a special virtual book blast today with Goddess Fish Promotions and I’m just one host.

Allie will award a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to one randomly selected winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. 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 today and enter there, too!

Blurb about Sean’s Sweetheart:
Sean has spent five years cleaning up his life. He’s shoved his past behind him and built a profitable business in the town’s most popular dance club. Falling in love with a college sophomore wasn’t in his plans. But, from the moment he rescued Talia, she brings out his every protective instinct. He tries to resist getting involved on a personal level. Talia’s persistence, however, is stronger than his will.

Despite just ending an abusive relationship, Talia finds an instant connection with a man unlike any she’s dated before. Older, tattooed, and totally inappropriate for her, Talia couldn’t keep Sean off her mind, especially once he calls her “sweetheart” in that deep drawl of his.

When Talia is in danger, they discover just how strong their relationship is. Can Sean and his sweetheart make things last when horrors from their pasts come back to haunt them and family seems determined to keep them apart?

Excerpt from Sean’s Sweetheart:

Sean tried to call Talia for the sixth time that week.

“This is Talia, you know what to do.” But obviously she doesn’t or she’d answer her damn phone!

He hung up without leaving a message. He’d left messages earlier in the week. Sent a couple texts. No response. She was still pissed. But damn it, she’d kissed him. He just wanted to explain himself. Explain his reasons for pushing her away. But she wouldn’t answer his call. Again. Sean pulled his arm back to sling the damn phone at the wall, but he’d just have to replace it. His hand itched for a handset to slam down. Jabbing at the touchscreen would never satisfy like slamming a receiver down so hard the phone rang.

Sean tossed his phone on the table and sank down onto his couch with a sigh. One kiss and he acted like a lovesick puppy. Frustrated the hell out of him. He was a grown-ass man who should have better control over himself than that. Maybe it was a side effect of two years of self-imposed celibacy, you idiot, he chided himself. Not dating for five years while he got the club going seemed like a good plan. Until a beautiful, soft woman pressed her lips to his.

He never should have kissed her back. He should’ve shoved her away the moment she stepped between his legs. Should have, but didn’t. Oh, no, he pulled her tight to his chest and kissed her until they both gasped for air and he thought his lungs might collapse from lack of oxygen. Then he’d moved to that delectable throat, savoring the feel of her pulse beneath his lips. He’d marked her, leaving evidence of their passion on her pale skin. He’d thoroughly enjoyed her soft curves pressed against…

He had to get out of this apartment.

Bio and Links:
As a busy mother of five, Allie sneaks time to write between breakfast and tickles. Always a Kentucky girl at heart, she currently makes her home near Nashville. 

Author links:

Buy links:

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Interview with YA dark fiction/urban fantasy author Nicky Peacock

With one week to go before Halloween, I’d like to introduce you to YA horror/urban fantasy writer Nicky Peacock. She's visiting with us from ‘across the pond’ to tell us a bit about Bad Blood – Battle of the Undead #1 and her personal and writing life.

Let her know you stopped by with a ‘hi’ in the comments below!

Welcome, Nicky. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. 

Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic?

Writing was really a natural progression. Right now I’m obsessed with writing: a YA Urban Fantasy novel, a Paranormal Romance novella series, and several short horror stories! So I’m currently living in a functional fiction coma – and loving it!

Please tell us about your current release.
Bad Blood is a YA horror/ urban fantasy that features vampires VS zombies – it’s a kind of True Blood meets the Walking Dead for teen and adult readers.

What inspired you to write this book?
I love both vampire and zombie fiction and actually looked round for a book which had them fighting against one another, I couldn’t find anything so decided to write it myself.

Excerpt from Bad Blood:
We ran to the hospital. On the way, we encountered hardly anyone, alive or dead. Where were they all? When we arrived at the hospital car park, I understood. Zombies were pack animals. A massive crowd of them were crammed in and around the main building like they were waiting for a concert to start, all barely paying attention to their surroundings and seemingly swaying against the force of gravity. The other thing was the smell. When watching horror films filled with shuffling zombies, the horror came from their ghastly looks—the reminder that death has a tight grip on us all, well, most of us. But what the filmmakers should focus on—if they could—was the acidic rank odor zombies gave off. They had been dead barely twenty-four hours. It took a normal human body at least thirty-six hours to really start to smell, and that was with a vampire’s heightened senses. These guys smelled like they’d been out in the sun for three weeks covered in rubbish and besieged by wily maggots. They were mostly intact, though. Maybe this hospital had been Zombie Ground Zero. Most had turned so quickly their comrades hadn’t had time to feed.

“Maybe we should try a less populated target.” Nicholas twitched his nose and turned away from me to dry retch.

“Maybe you should grow a pair.”

“Maybe you should act like a lady.” He now had his hands on his hips, squaring up for yet another argument.

“Acting like a lady isn’t going to help now, is it? What do you want me to do? Drop my handkerchief in front of the zombies and watch them fight one another to scoop it up for me? Moron!”

“Always to the ‘nth degree with you, isn’t it?”

“Shut up. Look, the doors are holding, and they’re outside, not inside, which means there must be some people left in there alive to have barricaded this place so tight.”

“Or maybe there are just more zombies in there.”

“Well, there’s definitely a blood bank in there, and that’ll help matters no end!”

Nicholas looked thoughtful then nodded. He of course didn’t want to actually say aloud that I’d had a good idea. “So, how do we get past them?”

I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I started down to the car park entrance, where most of the zombies were mobbing. I opened the outer door as quietly as possible.

“Ladies first,” Nicholas whispered in my ear.

“I thought we’d agreed I wasn’t a lady.” And with that, I shoved him as hard as I could into the throbbing throng of zombies.

(Published by Evernight Teen

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently work on Bad Timing, which is the next in the Battle of the Undead series and also I’m working on an adult historical urban fantasy based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale (I know that sounds a bit crazy, but sometimes crazy works, or at least I hope it does!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m still not even sure I do. Like most published authors I still have to hold down a full time job – it’s only the top ten percent of authors that get to write for a living – so I guess it’ll be when I’m in that 10%.

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?
Well, I have an office-based job so have my weekends and nights free to write. It’s hard work, and you have to give up certain parts of a normal social life to accommodate it. But it’s worth it. I go to the gym a lot too – I actually find a good work-out can really simulate your mind as well as your body – so I can get a lot of scene plotting and dialogue done while on the treadmill.

I also run a local writer’s group which meet every two weeks. This has been a massive inspiration for me – as the organizer I kind of have to lead from the front to encourage other writers to follow their dreams.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write like I am putting together a movie – I don’t write scenes in order. I think that by writing them out of order you get to write the scenes you are most excited about, rather than have to trudge through to get to them – trudgery (not a word, but should be) makes writing seem like too much work. By writing what you are excited about at the time, you get to continue that feeling about your work and hopefully it translates to the reader.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I did want to be an author. Although I wanted to be slightly richer than I am now! Maybe a movie deal under my belt…

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love talking to readers and value everyone’s opinion, so if you’d like to get in touch with me you can leave me a comment on my blog.

Thank you for having me and Happy almost Halloween to everyone!

Bad Blood buy links: Amazon UK       Amazon US      Evernight Teen

Thanks so much for talking to us, Nicky! Happy writing!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interview with literary fiction author Benjamin W. DeHaven

Today’s special guest is literary fiction writer Benjamin W.DeHaven, and we’re focused on his new book Confessions of a Self-Help Writer.

During his virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Benjamin will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to one lucky winner plus FIVE signed hard copies (US only) of his novel to even more winners. 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!

A Graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Benjamin DeHaven keeps his heart in Chicago and his soul in New Orleans. He holds a MBA from Tulane and a film degree from Columbia. Once ejected from a community college for arguing Frost cried out for acceptance in Birches, he has since written screenplays, traded futures in Madrid, and was Editor in Chief of the Nola Shopper Newspaper, a free art newspaper and the 2nd largest monthly paper in the New Orleans, MSA. He also has a "shout out" in a Jay "Z" Song.

DeHaven, who currently resides in Las Vegas began his writing career with Stone United, a Chicago based Film Company, which works primarily in independent film. As an unknown fiction writer, he feels the best description of himself is a sarcastic one and is as follows:

Benjamin W. DeHaven was born on a pool table after a Waylon Jennings' concert in 1977. His personal success is outweighed only by his stunning good looks and adherence to unwritten moral guidelines. He has been described as a thinking man's Tucker Max as well as an idiot's Hunter S. Thompson. His goal is to die from an unwavering commitment to be more like Hemingway.

He and Michael Enzo were friends

Blurb about Confessions of a Self-Help Writer:
A ghost, a philanthropist, a con man, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, an heir, a common man, and an addict are just some of the words used to describe Michael Enzo, who some sources credit with ghost-writing more than 108 self-help books on behalf of celebrities, politicians and business leaders. After failing to make what he considered to be a positive impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him including Benjamin DeHaven, the author of this book, and former collaborator. Defrauding an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people's insecurities and profiting from them, more than likely these friends contributed more to the field of self-help, while profiting from it, than they will ever know. Believing they could only understand people's problems by suffering along with them, they lived on the razor's edge. If you've ever picked up a tell-all biography of a celebrity or a title from the self-help section at the bookstore, certainly you would question the source. This is an inside look at the mind of Michael Enzo and it is the author's hope that people will start helping themselves again after reading it. Discover what turns someone from preaching salvation towards seeking its destruction. You won't believe this could be true.

Is your life anything like it was two years ago?
No. About 3 years ago I quit a dream job to come home and help my mom who suffers with Lupus. I took another job running a mechanical company, but roughly 2 years ago, my doctor accidently sent a letter to the employer saying I had Narcolepsy, which was a disability. It was a disaster, because the employer assumed I was going to sue him for something and he reacted by forcing me out and screwing up my insurance. I had just finished a trial about the character in my book, Michael Enzo. And was immediately thrown into another with the Department of Labor suing my employer. So 2 years ago was at a pretty low point, but it was also the time I was writing the most. Plus 2 years ago, Confessions was just an idea.

Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
Sure, lots-I wrote a screen play about Solipsism and for a while toyed with the idea that I was the only thing and everything thing else was a creation of my mind. Other than Descartes, it’s the only philosophical theory than cannot be proven or disproven to satisfaction.

Do you have any phobias?
I’m definitely a germaphobe.

Ever broken any bones?
I broke my ankle playing basketball in high school. Which was a blessing because I had a lot of time to read and get into theater

Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
I compulsively clean and throw out everything I own.

What is your favorite quote and why?
Do I have to pick just one? –My favorite motivation is probably “If” by Kipling, and “The Courage of Conviction” by Rita Mae Brown. I read them over and over again when I need strength.

"It is not only the leader of men, statesman, philosopher, or poet, that owes this bounden duty to mankind. Every rustic who delivers in the village alehouse his slow, infrequent sentences, may help to kill or keep alive the fatal superstitions which clog his race. Every hard-worked wife of an artisan may transmit to her children beliefs which shall knit society together, or rend it in pieces. No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe."
—W. K. Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief”

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Some of my favorite quotes are from the Confessions of a Self-Help Writer project:
“Beware of people who say “I love you” without hesitation. They’ve had a lot of practice saying it.” (confessions of a Self-Help Writer)
There are signs everywhere. The secret is reading them
It’s good to ask questions that make people uncomfortable
Your reality can be as beautiful as you imagine it.
Escape is impossible without knowledge.
It’s easy to sell people with a glimmer of hope.
Self-destruction is inevitable because existence is a full-time job. #confessionsofaselfhelpwriter
When you bargain with yourself, you always lose


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Interview with new adult author Trae Stratton

Hello Readers!

Today I’d like to introduce you to debut novelist Trae Stratton. He’s telling us a bit about his novel, To Have and To Hold, and his writing and personal life.

Please say ‘hi’ to Trae in the comments so he knows you stopped by!

Trae was born and raised in Queens, N.Y. After 20 years with the NYPD he retired to fill an urgent vacancy at home: Mr. Mom. He has always enjoyed writing and continues to outwit the forces of nature and temptation to make time at the keyboard. His debut novel, To Have and To Hold, is a charming reminder that life could indeed be fun before cell phones and that happy endings do exist in the real world if you’re brave enough to believe in them.

Welcome, Trae. Please tell us about your current release.
To Have and To Hold is a New Adult/Family Saga set in the suburbs of New York City during the 1980s-90s. The plot is anchored to the wedding of Colin MacLann and what happens at his house as his family and friends get ready for the ceremony. Using that point of view turns the bride’s identity into an enticing mystery. 

Readers can try to figure out which of Colin’s five loves eventually wears the veil with clues they glean from poignant coming of age flashbacks that tell his story, or just enjoy the ride. We also get hints from the bride herself during some first person vignettes that show how she winds up marrying Colin. The big reveal comes in the final chapter when the bride walks into the church. 

At the heart of the book is a deeper question: Fate has a soulmate for all of us, but what happens if we screw that up with bad decisions? Life isn’t that simple, so I try to make sure it isn’t obvious who Colin’s soulmate is actually supposed to be. Does Colin get his act together in time to meet her at the altar or does destiny send him someone else? That’s also for you, as the reader to decide.

What inspired you to write this book?
The last chapter came to me first. It’s so momentous when a bride walks into a church, and I thought how great it would be if I could magnify that with one of those spine tingling moments like you get at the end of “Officer and a Gentleman” when Richard Gere walks into the factory and sweeps up Debra Winger. As the story evolved from there I became inspired by how the people that intersect our lives for any length of time so often mirror what we think of ourselves and our mindset for the future. How fate can come full circle or shatter because of the decisions we all make on a daily basis, and because of that, happily ever after is not an end result, it’s a fluid state that requires nurturing and maintenance.

Excerpt from To Have and To Hold:
This excerpt comes from the beginning of the book and foreshadows how the flashbacks will tell their stories- the bride’s life came into focus quite suddenly during one illuminating night, while Colin needed to learn many difficult lessons over the course of his life that taught him to be his own man, and ultimately what those experiences meant as they fell in love.

Just two years ago, marrying Colin seemed so outlandishly impossible. We had known each other for so
long, but in so many ways, knew each other so little.
            Funny how quickly things can fall into place once you figure out who you are.
            For Colin that’s been a long journey. For me, most of it came together in one eye-opening, magical night.
            I pick up his picture again and look at him.
            I always say I had to find myself.
            He always says he had to create himself.
            We’ve drunk a lot of wine long into the night talking about the difference.
            Here we are now though, one of those first day of the rest of your life days—Hell, I’m going to have a
whole new name after today!
            I wonder what he’s doing right now. If he’s thinking about this stuff too. I guess he is.
            What did mom say last night?
            I’ve written my book and he’s written his. Today we start writing our story, so it’s only natural to
remember the highlights of the one you’ve just finished…

What exciting story are you working on next?
I was all set to churn out a psychological thriller, but instead I’ve decided to a write something for my little girl. She’s three, and I want her to have something dedicated to her waiting on the shelf for when she’s old enough to read it. So now my pages are filling up with magic and unicorns, secret bloodlines and dangerous creatures that live on the edge of twilight, and with border crossings between the realms of faerie and the world we know- all the things that live and breathe in YA fiction. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m having a lot of fun working on it!

When did you consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I joined the staff of SPRING 3100 at the NYPD and started seeing my work published on a regular basis. But as a self-published novelist it was the realization that people I would never meet were suddenly paying real money for my book or taking it out of the library and reading it. Having a book out there is still very new to me, and maybe it’s not the same for writers of mass market publications, but watching as my book crossed the border from friends and family to readers everywhere was really quite a thrill that made me feel like a writer and not just someone who likes to write.

Do you write full time?
I wish I could, but Mr. Mom is a full-time gig right now. As a result, most of my writing gets done after everyone else has gone to bed. It can be very frustrating, so a big key for me is to use the spare moments in my day preparing for my next writing block by knocking out any promoting, editing or research at hand. Then when I have available solitude I can just sit down and write without distraction.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Using unique fonts for each story. It helps me shift back into the right voice and mindset for whatever I’m working on much quicker. Right now it’s a Unicorn story and I’m using Harrington. Just seeing how much cooler and atmospheric words like Unicorn look in Harrington gets me right back into the story. When you have limited time periods to work with stuff like that is important. You do anything and everything to get the words flowing again as fast as you can and changing fonts works for me.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
As an adult I can look back and say archaeologist or paleontologist, but as a kid I didn’t know what those words really meant. I just loved dinosaurs.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. I love hearing from you through my contact page or Goodreads. The arguments for why Colin made a good choice or bad choice, how you figured out who was under the veil, suggestions about who should get married next or why such and such character is a jerk, and what the casting would be if To Have and To Hold became a movie and so on are so much fun to read. 

They really are. I don’t get too many of those, so along with interviews like this, hearing from a reader affords me the opportunity to write back and say thanks for reading in a meaningful way.


Thanks so much, Trae! This has been fun.