A Closer Look at Creative Commons Licensing

publicdomain.large

We’ve spoken about copyright before on here on LWI, but a lot of scribblers are still unaware of some of the pitfalls out there, especially when it comes to the Creative Commons (CC) licenses. As I’ve often said, when it comes to copyright infringement for both content and images, it is always better to err on the side of caution.  Unless you’re a hundred percent certain that using someone else’s work can’t possibly get you sued, don’t use it.  When it comes to this issue, ignorance of the law doesn’t count.  You are always at fault even if you don’t know what copyright means, and as such, if you’re sued you’re more than likely going to have to pay up.

While titles of books are not subject to copyright, and you can use them as you please, the content of books and also songs are very much so, unless they are clearly in the public domain.  Stay well away from music.  Never use song lyrics in your books without specific written permission from the copyright holders, unless you are positive that they are in the public domain – not even a single recognisable sentence.  It’s not worth the risk.  Legally, using a phrase of ten words or less is considered fair use if you’re happy to take the chance.  Plain lists can’t be copyrighted.  For instance, a list of varieties of birds.  Recipes can’t be copyrighted either.  Unless you actually do very obviously copy and paste another writer’s recipes right down to the same words for the method. Another point to consider is that there are many images that get loaded and labelled as CC0 that are in fact not owned by the people who have loaded them. Another biggie is when using images of people. Unless you have a model release please don’t ever use free images of people for your commercial work. Free fonts downloaded onto your computer also have licences, so be sure of any limitations before you use them in your books.

Anything with a CC licence isn’t automatically free to use in any way you choose and for any purpose, so it’s always a good idea to check properly first. You’re generally safe with public domain works, although you should take note of the fact that just because something like the Mona Lisa is in the public domain and if you take a photo of it, you can indeed do anything you want to with it, photos by other photographers are subject to copyright unless they licence their images CC0. So let’s have a look at the CC licences.

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) works are purposely given this licence particularly because their authors/artists want them to be as freely available worldwide for any use by anyone. You can change them, paint moustaches on them, or use them for your commercial and non-commercial work just as you like, with the only potential problems being when they contain images of people or copyrighted places.

CC BY

Attribution

You can distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit the artist/author for the original creation. So in this instance all you would have to do for use in or on your book would be to place the credit in the front matter. This would apply even if the work used is only a small element of a bigger work created by yourself.

CC BY-ND

Attribution-NoDerivs

You can redistribute for both commercial and non-commercial work, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author/artist/creator. Once again, credit in your front matter, but with the added proviso that it can only be used exactly as it is. No changes at all including the use of only a portion of it.

CC BY-NC-SA

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

You can remix, tweak, and build on it non-commercially with credit to the creator, and the proviso that you licence your new creation under the identical terms. This is not going to do for your book, unless your book is permanently free, and even then I would think that you would be able to find something else suitable with a CC0 licence. For just playing around to publish on your blog, this would be fine—just don’t forget the credit.

CC BY-SA

Attribution-ShareAlike

You can remix, tweak, and build upon once again but also for commercial purposes with credit to the creator and identical licensing terms. This means that your new work using this would also have to bear the CC BY-SA licence online. You would have to REALLY want to use this for your book to go to so much trouble.

CC BY-NC

Attribution-NonCommercial

You can remix, tweak, and build upon non-commercially with credit to the creator, but you don’t have to licence your new work on the same terms.

CC BY-NC-ND

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

You can download and share with others with credit to the creator, but you are not allowed to change them in any way or use them commercially.

So it’s good to remember that when a font, image, or article is labelled Creative Commons, especially on Wikipedia, it’s always important to look at the exact CC license it’s using before using it for your commercial project. There are many great sites, such as Pixabay and Fontsquirrel where you can download freebies to help you on your way to published awesomeness so there is no need to upload straight from Google searches. Still, it’s always best to check before using anyway.

 

 

Advertisements

Stevie Turner interviews Cynthia Morgan

Cynthia Morgan's photo

 

I am pleased that Cynthia Morgan, one of my fellow Creativia authors, has agreed to answer 20 of my questions. Cynthia A. Morgan is the creator of the mythical realm of Jyndari and author of the epic fantasy, “Dark Fey: The Reviled”, Book One of the Dark Fey Triology.  “The Reviled” draws the reader into a mystical realm of primordial forests, magic and the lives of Light-loving and Darkness-revering Feykind.  Not to be confused with pixies or “Tinkerbell” type fairies, the feyfolk of Jyndari are winged beings the size of any human who live in a realm where tradition, magic, and spirituality are fundamentals of everyday life.

Reviews of Dark Fey continue to earn 5 stars by lovers of fantasy as well as readers who do not typically enjoy that genre.  Compared to a fantasy version of a play by Shakespeare, “Dark Fey The Reviled” is a brutally beautiful story of Love, Hope, and finding Peace in the Darkness.

The Reviled by Cynthia Morgan

You can find out more about Cynthia and her books by clicking on the links below:

Worldwide Amazon book link: http://bookShow.me/B00JYJ0NEG

Dark Fey The Reviled on Barnes and Noble:   http://goo.gl/OxNr6M

Blogwww.booknvolume.com

Website:  http://allthingsdarkfey.wix.com/feyandmusings 

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/booknvolume

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MorganBC728 & https://twitter.com/DarkFeyMorgan29

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/cynthey728

1.  Did you believe in fairies as a child?

I am sure I did, but it wasn’t something that I specifically focused on. More importantly was the fact that my parents encouraged my imagination and creativity, which eventually blossomed into poetry and stories, and ultimately, the Fey of Jyndari.

2.  At what age did you start writing poetry?

I have been writing and rhyming since I was very young. In fact, I recently discovered cards I wrote to my mother as a child, in crayon, that contained poetry I had written for her.

3.  Are you an only child?

No, I have one older sister, with whom I am very close.

4.  Were you ever in trouble for daydreaming as a child?

Many times in school, but more for writing (stories) when I should have been studying. When I was at home daydreaming was fine J

5.  Why do you prefer to write fantasy above other genres?

I actually do not necessarily prefer it. I have written Regency Period Dramas, Post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi, and YA Romance, all of which I hope to eventually publish. My focus right now just happens to be Fantasy, although having said all that, I do very much enjoy creating a tale in a realm where I am free to make up the rules as I go along.

6.  Tell us a little bit about your latest work, book 3 of the ‘Dark Fey’ trilogy.

Book Three will take the story and characters of Dark Fey into the final phase; that quintessential battle that ultimately must take place. It will also broaden the spectrum a bit, allowing several of the minor characters the “flex their wings’ so to speak, and it will take an unexpected turn in order to accomplish the Purpose I have planned for it.  I know that’s rather vague, but can’t give too much away before I’ve even written it.

7.  Where or how do you find the inspiration for your plots?

The original inspiration for the story came to me through a vivid dream, which I could not stop thinking about days afterward. As I thought about it, the characters developed and the idea expanded, so I finally sat down and wrote out the first scene, which is now Chapter Six of The Reviled.

8.  Did you promote your blog ‘Booknvolume’ in order to attract 15,000 followers, or did they just subscribe?

I do very minimal promotion via Twitter, but by and large, those who follow me subscribed on their own for their own reasons. I am Blessed and Amazed each time I log in and see the following continuing to increase, particularly because when I started out less than three years ago I didn’t have a clue about blogging.

9.  Which social media do you think is best for promoting your books?

I have had the most response through Twitter and have been able to network with the broadest range of other writers/authors there. I think with any social media a certain level of caution is merited, but I am always willing to learn about new avenues from other Indies; this is simply where I have had the most success.
10. Where in the world is home to you?

I reside in Pennsylvania, but Wales is Home to my Heart and Spirit. The Poem “Home” which I wrote about the love I feel for the homeland of my Fathers and the Call I constantly feel to return to that place, although I’ve never stepped foot there (yet) may explain better:   http://wp.me/p3C4k1-3hy

11. Do you write full-time, or do you also have a day job?

I look forward to the day when I will be able write full-time, as there is nothing I desire to do more, but until then, I also work a day job as a medical/administrative secretary.

12. Do you think there is life on Mars?

I believe the possibility exists that there was once life on Mars, though long ago. Having said that, however, I do also believe there is Life on many other worlds throughout the Cosmos.  The mathematical probability is simply too great to discount.  Besides, I believe all the Heavens were Created by the Great Artist of all Life and I do not know of any Artist or Creative Individual that creates just one work of art and then says they are done.

13. Does it concern you that we are just floating around in space ad infinitum?

Personally, I believe everything has Purpose, even if we do not understand that Purpose or plan. So no I am not worried. I truly Believe it is all very well in hand.

14. Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes I have, actually, and it (she) scared the bejebbers out of me! More frequently, however, I have experienced the presence of energy without form.

15. Do you believe our spirits live on after death?

I believe our spirits do live on after the physical body ceases and it is a subject I am currently exploring on my blog (Those We Do Not Speak Of – http://wp.me/p3C4k1-3KC )

16. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

I am very eclectic and enjoy everything from Mozart to Marilyn Manson, Beethoven to Depeche Mode, and Hans Zimmer to Delirium. The only form I am not enamored with, really, is rap.

17. Is there anywhere you’d love to visit, but as yet haven’t done so?

First and Foremost, Great Britain. But I’d love to see Italy, the French countryside, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Australia, part of the Caribbean, Hawaii, Romania, Kenya ….If it’s out there, I’d probably love to visit.

18. Do you find yourself laughing at things that others don’t find funny?

All the time. Laughter is the Music composed by the Soul that is Shared through the Heart.

19. Are you a positive Blue Sky thinker?

I do try to be, if only to keep the pragmatist in me in check!

20. Which one of your possessions would you take with you to a desert island?

Presuming that I am not stranded, but just staying on holiday, I would say my camera so I could capture the moment(s). If however you mean I am going to be stranded and can take only one thing, then I’d say my Swiss Army Knife.  There I go being pragmatic, but MacGyver would approve.

Thanks Cynthia for taking the time to answer my questions.  Like you I worked as a medical secretary, and I also am not enamoured with rap!

If any authors/publishers would like to answer 20 of my questions, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk  with some information about yourself.

 

#BOOKREVIEW BY @LRWLEE OF NYSSA GLASS AND THE HOUSE OF MIRRORS

NyssaGlassCoverCreative. Engaging. Well written. These adjectives summarize well the fun steampunk novel, Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H. L. Burke.

SUMMARY (From back):  Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician’s apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job. No one has entered Professor Dalhart’s secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she’ll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?

WHAT I THOUGHT: I’ve never read anything by H. L. Burke before but when she offered her latest release to me for an honest review, I thought I’d check it out and I’m glad I did, for this fun adventure did not disappoint.

I love steampunk for the creativity authors show re: inventions in the Victorian era that could have been. This novel captured Burke’s vivid imagination as we find a house full of mirrors that feed data into a central computer. I love the imagery, for mirrors not only reflect ourselves, but more importantly, give sight and that’s the roll the host of mirrors throughout the old abandoned manor serve. In fact, after investigation, they reveal that the manor is not deserted at all. But what manner of beings  does Nyssa, our protagonist, find inhabit the place? Now that is the question…and it won’t be what you expect, trust me, for it proved a great plot twist when I found out.

The characters were well done as well. Our primary character, Nyssa Glass, is a spunky teen thrust into a situation not of her making. But this girl, who has a past she is trying to escape, proves quite the curious heroine as she befriends the house’s computer. I appreciated her resolve as well as ingenuity as she encounters obstacle after obstacle, but like McGyver, figures out a way through. If I had a complaint with the character it would be Nyssa’s seeming lacks of response to a horrific murder she witnesses as well as lack of an emotional response to who/what she finds  in the house. When I got to several instances where I would have totally freaked, Nyssa puts on a stiff upper lip of sorts and under reacts. That’s not a big detraction from the narrative for she is very much an analytical, figure-things-out kind of character.

I also loved the house computer that she meets early on. The personality and humor it introduces are steampunk at its best and enhances the story.  If the protagonist isn’t reason enough, read this book for the computer, for we find out it’s more than just your average machine..and yet another great plot twist 🙂

Overall, I give this 4.5 stars!

Buy Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors (at Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Affiliate

The Affiliate CoverEngaging plot. Complex world. Scintillating romance. This is how I summarize The Affiliate by K. A. Linde.

SUMMARY (From back):  On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm’s lifelong plans come to fruition when she’s chosen for one of the most prestigious positions in her homeland—an Affiliate to the Queen.

Or so she thinks.

When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene’s position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have…

King Edric himself.

Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I’m a sucker for a believable romance and this book definitely had that in spades. But there’s more. Linde introduces us to the complex world of Byren that is filled with numerous factions vying for their own gain and thus not friendly to each other…it’s the stuff great stories are made of, right?

The writing flowed and drew me in to the world. One thing I can’t stand is when I notice the writing, for it detracts from the narrative. This was not at all the case in this book. The prose hid behind the scenes and carried the story along.  I do have one complaint though and it’s purely one of style, but all the description of a new place/person was always in a large paragraph as the author introduced the “thing.” I prefer to have the details spread throughout several paragraphs so I can more easily “see” rather than be “told.” But as I say, that is more  a matter of preference.

The characters were a good mix of the best and worst of Byren and I enjoyed them. We start with the main protagonist, Cyrene who is a young woman whose selection has determined her path in life. Throughout the book we see her grow from a naive girl who has been raised in a privileged household into a young woman who catches the eye of the king, introducing her to a host of challenges I dare say her upbringing never prepared her for. We see her wrestle with inner conflicts about “knowing” the king but at every turn she holds firm to her values and principles. *claps* Good for her! I hate characters who are push-overs!

We also meet Cyrene’s best friend growing up, Rhea, and what a great friend she is. I loved her humility but helpfulness. She’s the best friend everyone wishes they had. And then there’s the bad boy, Ahlvie who flirts with trouble, keeping it as a close friend who definitely pushes the plot forward.

But we also have the folks of royalty before whom Cyrene must adapt in her new role: the king of course who surprises her senseless as she catches his eye. So naive is she that she doesn’t initially understand he views her more favorably than others. But of course the king’s affections can’t be left unchallenged, for that would make for a rather boring narrative. So, Cyrene ends up reporting to the queen… yes, exactly… And said queen is very aware of her husband’s interest in Cyrene. You see the conflict.*Rubs hands together and grins*

As for the plot, the narrative is well-paced with sufficient action and reflection sprinkled throughout. One objection I had to the plot is one of the initial scenes, that of a hazing-like ritual that happened completely unexpectedly and almost seems out of place. I believe I understand why the scene is there, but I would say it was too sudden as to make it seem strange and out of place.

That aside, I thought the author also did a good job planting two central mysteries to keep readers interested: the meaning of the Presenting letter and the book that no one but Cyrene can see writing in. And this is where Linde leaves us at the end of book one, going off to search out the meaning of both. I’ll bite. And now I can’t wait until book two comes out!!

I give this 4.5 stars!

Buy The Affiliate on Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “Goddess,” BY AUTHOR @KELLEEMORRIS

Goddess

  • Title:  Goddess
  • Author: Kelee Morris
  • File Size: 3808 KB
  • Print Length: 232 Pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Kelee Morris
  •  Publication Date: November 1, 2015
  • Sold by  Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B015JVAF54
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Formats: Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Erotica, Literature and Fiction

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review which follows*

Wife, Mother, PTA President…

Julia Nelson is your typical wife, mother, and President of the PTA at her children’s school. Years ago, in a rebellious stage during her late teenage years, she got a tattoo on her ankle inspired by a dream that stoked the fires of her imagination with a passion that was yet to be realized.

Many years later, a chance encounter with one of Dr. Ashland Stewart’s archeology team members at a PTA meeting gives new meaning to Julia’s faded tattoo. She discovers the tattoo she was sure she had designed from her dreams is, in fact, a sacred emblem of an ancient goddess culture.

Goddess?

When Julia meets the renowned archeologist, Dr. Ashland Stewart their attraction is immediate and sexually charged. Dr. Stewart is convinced that Julia’s tattoo and the ancient symbol he discovered in Magoa are part of an ancient culture that thrived during the Three Kingdoms period. Magoa was a matriarchy and its leader was considered a goddess. Somehow, it appears that Julia and the goddess are linked through her sensual dreams of a time long ago.

Julia feels the mysterious pull of this ancient goddess and embarks on a sexual awakening with Dr. Steward as he frees her inner goddess. Julia has everything to lose as she undertakes this quest to come to grips with the deity she is linked to. Will she give up her family and comfortable life to embrace her new found love with Dr. Stewart?

Recommendation:

I must say that I really enjoyed this story! Kelee Morris created a woman who was at the crossroads of her life with the character of Judith Nelson.

This was the kind of story that most women can relate to. Judith is in her early 40’s and suddenly realizes she has given up most of her adult life to a husband that travels for work and who has become emotionally distant. The rest of her time is spent raising her three daughters who are at various stages in their own lives. There has been little time to nurture or expand “Judith the woman,” sexually or intellectually.

Dr. Stewart offers Judith the chance to translate the writings of a priest that once visited the Magoan settlement. It is the goddess symbol that signifies a sexual enlightenment to Judith represented by the tattoo she possesses. It is the mystical link to Judith and this actual goddess that moves the story along bringing you to the fork in her life journey where real life intrudes upon her desires and responsibilities.

In erotic literature the true test for me is if you remove the sexual content, is there still a story? I can say for a fact that in this book what remains is an excellent story line.

Judith is really the study of a woman awakening her inner goddess and embracing her own sexuality. The theme of marital infidelity is essential to the plot and becomes the trigger that causes emotional growth.

The book ends with a cliffhanger of epic proportions! I understand that this is Kelee Morris’ debut novel and she is writing the sequel. I hope so. This was a well thought out novel heavy in character development. I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Judith and her quest to find her true inner goddess.

Kelee Morris

Author, Kelee Morris

Character Believability: 4.5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars

4.5 stars
About Kelee Morris:

Growing up restless and bored in Terre Haute, Indiana, Kelee Morris first discovered romance when she was swept away by Thomas Hardy’s “Far From A Madding Crowd.” After earning degrees in Comparative Literature and Film, Morris pursued screenwriter, winning numerous awards and coming tantalizingly close to catching Hollywood’s brass ring.

Tired of high-concept plots and rigid, three-act structure, Morris awoke one morning with Julia Nelson’s duel life of the suburban mother and illicit lover fully formed in her mind. Her first novel “Goddess” is the result.

Morris now lives in Chicago, where she is rarely bored thanks to her family and too many pets to count.

~*~

You can find Kelee Morris on Twitter @KeleeMorris and on Facebook at Kelee Morris romance author, and on her Author Blog, KeleeMorris.wordpress.com

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 1122016

Stevie Turner interviews author Malcolm Archibald

Malcolm Archibald photo

 

Today is the turn of fellow Creativia author and Dundee Book Prize winner, Malcolm Archibald, to answer 20 of my questions. Check out the many books that Malcolm has written by clicking on his Amazon author page here: http://bookShow.me/B009QXP610

1.  Which of the many jobs you have done did you like the most?

Most jobs have highs and lows. I was a rural postman in the Scottish Borders for years and I miss watching the world wake up, watching the sun slowly rise over the valley of the Tweed and visiting the out-of-the-way farms and cottages that virtually nobody ever sees. Delivering to hill farms above the cloud base was fun; watching children’s faces when they receive Christmas presents made the long hours worthwhile. In saying that, working as a historical researcher had the thrill of finding material that had not been read for decades or centuries, piecing together a jig-saw of facts to reach a new conclusion [and always finding new material for a book in the bye-going] was endlessly fascinating, while lecturing had many ups. When one had a student who thought he or she could not do something, there was no greater pleasure than in helping them break the barrier so they realised they had a good brain there, despite what others had told them. That was perhaps the greatest pleasure of them all.

2.  You write mainly historical fiction and non-fiction. Do you carry out all your research before you begin to write, or do you research as you go along?

Mixed! I always start with an amount of general knowledge about the subject, but as characters and scenes develop there is always a need to research more, looking for details. For instance in ‘The Darkest Walk’ I had to delve into the type of train that Queen Victoria travelled in, and the layout of a Chartist village, and in ‘Our Land of Palestine’ there was a need to find out about Jerusalem in 1915 and the organisation of the local Ottoman army. The only danger about that [danger is not the right word] is that research becomes an end in itself.

3.  Which period in history interests you the most? Would you have liked to live in that time?

The nineteenth century, undoubtedly. There was so much happening there, so many changes; the world opened up, conditions improved for so many people, there was opportunity to move, to see new things, to experience mechanical and transport innovations, geographical discoveries, to sail on clipper ships and the first steam vessels, to see the development of steam trains and still ride a stage coach, to see the world opening up and hear about, or travel to, new places with exotic people. This century seems so dull with its push-button living and a monoculture that seems to embrace everybody.

4.  Did it bother you being a mature student amongst teenagers when studying for a history degree?

A wee bit. I felt a bit out of place but there were major advantages: compared to working 50 or 60 hour weeks in the Post a student’s life was easy [although I was working part time as well] and having free access to the amazing university library and other resources was breath-taking. The lecturers treated me just like another student – and there were other mature students there. I had a gentleman of 80 in one of my classes; he bicycled to the university and back, got his degree and enrolled for another afterward. The last I heard he had collected four honours degrees in subjects as diverse as history, computing and town planning.

5.  You won the Dundee Book Prize with Whales for the Wizard. What is this story about?

‘Whales’ is a novel set in Dundee in 1860, when the Dundee whaling industry was on the cusp of a revival with the use of steam powered whaling ships. It is based partly on truth, the story of a whaling ship that vanished in the Arctic but was discovered intact, hundreds of miles from where it disappeared. Of course I made it into a murder-mystery story to add spice.

6.  Did any literary agents contact you after you won the Dundee Book Prize?

I am afraid not! Still hopeful. . .

7.  Are any of your novels partly autobiographical?

I have little bits of me in some of them, yes. My Victorian detective, James Mendick, shares some life experiences with me in ‘The Darkest Walk’, while young Mathew Pryde in ‘Pryde’s Rock’ echoes part of my early life. However I am saying no more than that!

8.  What made you choose Creativia publishers for your latest novel Windrush?

Word of mouth! I heard a lot of good things about Creativia. I heard they were fast, efficient, created excellent covers and had a good track record of sales. So far all I have heard has proven to be correct.

9.  If you were alive in 2110 and had carried out historical research for a novel, how would you go on to describe the decade from 2006 – 2016?

It is too early yet to understand this past decade. We will have to wait and see what transpires; things that seem important today may only be a passing phase, while things that seem insignificant may escalate to become major troubles or quite the reverse. To me, it seems that the rise [or rather resurgence] or radical Islam is the most important thing, but combine that with the growing power of China and the recovery of Russia and it points to a whole raft of interesting scenarios. The USA having its first black President could be of monumental importance in the future, and the massive immigration into Europe could alter the demography of that continent for centuries: or the tide could turn and many could return home to the Middle East. In my own country, Scotland had a close vote for independence that could yet happen as the people are discontented with the present political set up within the UK.

10. What are you working on at the moment?

I have a number of on-going projects. I am working on the second in the Windrush series for Creativia, I am waiting for Fledgling Press to publish the next Mendick detective novel, I am waiting for Fort Publishing to publish a non-fiction book about Dundee I wrote last year, I am working on a piece of non-fiction on Midlothian crime and I am writing the last in a series of historical articles for a Scottish-American magazine.

11. What type of articles do you write for newspapers (I wrote one about 10 years ago, but The Daily Mail told me it was too controversial to be published!)?

Too controversial? That sounds like fun! What was it about – you have me intrigued! I write historical pieces, usually the slants of history that the mainstream history books do not speak of. Local history rather than the big things.

12. What’s the best day you’ve ever had as a lecturer?

No single day. My best experiences were when I saw the look of joy on a student’s face when they grasp something they believe was beyond them, or realise that Further Education is nothing like school and they matter, they are valued and the lecturers actively want them to succeed. I had one class in Dundee that sticks in my mind; they were all nurses and there were tears when we parted – not all from the students. It is possible to create a strong bond with a class; that makes it all worthwhile.

13. What book are you reading at the moment?

One that my son gave me: Lincoln Paine’s ‘The Sea and Civilization’, and one my younger daughter gave me: ‘The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean’ by David Abulafia – do you see a common thread there? In his next case, Mendick is at sea, while the next Windrush book is based partly in Malta and partly in the Crimea.

14. How do you market your books?

Badly. I am terrible at that. I have no major problems in writing books; that is what I do but my marketing skills are poor.

15. When you go hill walking, does it clear your mind, or are you thinking about the folklore and mythology associated with that area?

Both. The rhythm of walking, combined with the beauty and peace of the hills, the constant possibility of seeing wildlife and the always-changing weather [this is Scotland after all] chases away the normal worries of life, but there is amazing depth in the hills. Every animal and bird has its own fund of folklore [I wrote a short book about that once], every plant and tree had a use and a story and up here there is nowhere without a fund of legend and myth. We live in the shadow of a thirteenth century abbey that was burned by the notorious Wolf of Badenoch [see my Creativia published ‘Shadow of the Wolf’], with Pictish symbols stones, battlefields and fishing villages only a few miles away. There are tales of witches and covenanters, great floods and droughts, clan feuds and stage-coach crashes. . . there are so many layers of history and so many interwoven stories that one is never short of material.

16. After your youngest daughter moves out next week, how will you cope with an empty nest?

Oh – sad question. She has been gradually moving away as she has been at university for years – she obtained her Honours at St Andrews last year and is now completing her Masters in Dundee. Guess who is the proud dad? She used to come home for the summer and Cathy – my wife – was always emotional when she returned back south. Now she is moving into a permanent flat – and quite right of course- there is a feeling of good-bye. Cathy and I have been married upward of 35 years and always had children, so this is a massive change.

17. What’s number one on your bucket list?

That has never changed: my top priority is to keep Cathy happy. That is ongoing and will never change.

18. Can you sing in harmony or play a musical instrument?

Ha ha ha! When I had a rowdy class I always threatened to sing to them. One minute of my out-of-tune croaking and they were quiet as a spring night. I am the most tuneless singer the world has ever seen. When I try to sing at home the wife-woman puts me out of the room.

19. Did you take part in the Millennium celebrations in Edinburgh?

I was sick with the flu that night which spoiled things for the rest of the family. A pity: millenniums don’t come around very often and I may be a little old to enjoy the next.

20. Does it bother you to be in the middle of a crowd of people, or do you prefer to be on the outside looking in?

That depends on my mood, really. When I was younger I was an avid football fan [Edinburgh Hibernian in case anybody is interested – so I am used to disappointments!] so was happy in the midst of a raucous crowd. People and observing people, are tools of the writer. However I am a quiet living man so am probably happier outside looking in.

————————————————————————–

Thanks Malcolm for your brilliant answers!  If any authors/publishers would like to answer 20 of my questions, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk  with some information about yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Agent of the Crown

AgentoftheCrownWho do I want to be? This is the central question of the well-written Agent of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontane Book 3) by Melissa McShane.

SUMMARY (from back): Telaine North Hunter, Princess of Tremontane, is beautiful, spoiled, flirtatious, and the center of fashionable society throughout Tremontane.

She’s also a spy.

As an agent of the Crown, Telaine uses her high society connections to gather information for her uncle, King Jeffrey. But when an overheard conversation reveals a sinister plot centered on the Baron of Steepridge, Telaine must pose as a common Deviser in the distant frontier town of Longbourne to uncover the truth.

Fresh from her glittering world of the palace, Telaine is completely unprepared for rural life. She must conceal her identity not only from the townspeople, but from the suspicious, corrupt Baron as well. Her only assistance comes from Mistress Weaver, a local woman with an agenda of her own, and Ben, the handsome young blacksmith who reaches out a hand of friendship when others turn away.

As the days pass with no success in sight, Telaine’s pretense becomes real, and her growing attachment to Longbourne and its people comes into conflict with her mission. She can’t keep up the lie forever, but when the truth comes out, will she face it as the Princess—or as an agent of the Crown?

WHAT I THOUGHT: I enjoyed the previous two books in this series. They were thought-filled, inspiring, and romantic  and book three lives up to that same standard. While the cast of characters changes slightly, focusing this time on Telaine North Hunter, niece of King Jeffrey, there were many carryovers from the first two books to keep continuity.

As with the first two books, McShane weaves in a fundamental question we all ask of ourselves, who do I want to be? Telaine is a spy and as such acts in two roles, Princess and Devisor (an inventor of mechanical/repairer of “things”).  And her covers have her confused as to who she really is–a Princess who could not be more superficial or a Devisor who, for the first time in her life, is coming to understand and appreciate the down-to-earth people of Longbourne.

Telaine begins as a pampered young woman of the court who uses people for information. She is sent to the podunk little town of Longbourne where she initially wrestles with being rejected by the townspeople, wanting to fit in so she can accomplish her mission (or so she tells herself)–despite the fact that she knows she will not be in town after her mission ends. She acknowledges this oddity, but as she begins to fit in with the townspeople, she starts to appreciate their down-to-earth-ness, everything she hasn’t been at court. So begins her conflict of wrestling with who she is but more importantly, who she most wants to spend the rest of her life being.

McShane continues to build out the world of Tremontaine and we see more of the little town of Longbourne where Exile of the Crown, the novella bridge between book one and book two in the series takes place. We experience the toughness/closed-ness of the townsfolk but get a much more in-depth look at what binds them together…trust and love, as the book unfolds.

We see another glimpse of Zara North, former queen of Tremontaine, who, because of her magic she cannot die, has taken up residence in Longbourne. “Aunt Weaver” as she is known by Telaine, has settled in to a place that could not be more different than the palace as well. And her love of and loyalty to the townsfolk has her pressing the young spy about her true intentions.

I loved Ben Garrett. What a sweet, but introverted guy. He is a great foil against which Telaine has to finally come to grips with the life she really wants. And when he comes after her, to the palace of all intimidating places, out if his love for her, I was cheering!

Overall, a fitting conclusion to The Crown of Tremontane series. I will definitely be looking for McShane’s next book 🙂

I give this 5 stars!

Buy Agent of the Crown at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#INTERVIEW BY @LRWLEE OF YA SCI FI AUTHOR JO MICHAELS

Meet YA Sci Fi author Jo Michaels and watch as she reads from M. Then get to know her as she poses a fun trivia question. Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway for one of two prizes: a signed paperback or an ebook of the same.

https://youtu.be/wFnNQOCrVaA

Summary: In 2026, it finally arrives, the drug promising to make life easier for the masses. One dose of M and anyone can gain an ability. There are no promises made as to what the power could manifest as, but people are crawling over one another to take a chance.

There’s a problem: One pill costs a million dollars. Only those with extraordinary wealth are afforded the luxury of cleaning house with a click of their diamond-adorned fingers or solving a puzzle by talking to it.

A knockoff begins circulating in 2038 that does the same thing as M. Hundreds of thousands of people have mutated for a mere one hundred dollars.

Enter the year 2042.

Seventeen-year-old Griffin is a normal kid, who has a regular job, and dreams of going to college someday. When his girlfriend of three years succumbs to peer pressure, they break up. He believes the body is a temple not to be messed with outside of nature, and she wants to fit in. Once he meets the supplier, things take a turn for the worse.

He’s left with nothing but pain in his heart and the desire to make them suffer when his plans for payback blow up in his face.

Thirst for revenge consumes him, and he finds himself locked in a battle he never anticipated with a merciless kingpin as they struggle to gain the advantage.

How far is too far?

_________________________________________________________________

Book Nerd ParadiseInterview by Book Nerd Paradise
Twitter: @BookNerdParadis
FB: bit.ly/BookNerdParadiseFB

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you thought.

ALSO, BE SURE TO follow our host YA Fantasy author L. R. W Lee at:
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

DOWNLOAD the FREE ebooks of the award winning Prequel andBook one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of The Snow Globe

TheSnowGlobe_coverImaginative with multiple plot twists. This is how I summarize The Snow Globe by Jenna Nelson.

SUMMARY (from back): By day, Sondrine Renfrew works at Cimmerian’s Curio Emporium, her aunt’s apothecary and antique shop in London, 1875. By night, she weaves fire, water, and air into both inanimate objects and living creatures. When a hooded stranger offers Sondrine a snow globe in trade for medicinal herbs, she accepts, enchanted by the castle, forest, and sea encapsulated under the glass.

Her enchantment fades, however, when her deceitful aunt betroths her to one of London’s wealthiest men—a complete stranger. Determined to escape the marriage, Sondrine trades her corset for trousers and decides to run away. With one foot out the door, she falls down a veritable rabbit hole into Winterhaven, the haunting world inside the snow globe.

Sondrine soon discovers her arrival in Winterhaven is no accident. There, she meets Shán, a man who broods more than the darkened sky above. Turns out Shán is not to be trusted. Not only is he the man who sold Sondrine the snow globe, he is a bounty hunter employed by the king. The beginnings of a sovereign war have been set in motion and an Immortal queen, one who uses fire as a weapon, is set on destroying Winterhaven. Because of her Elemental gifts, only Sondrine has the means to stop the queen. If Sondrine refuses the king’s request, he will behead her. If she rises to the challenge of killing the Immortal queen, her death is just as imminent. After all, an Immortal queen cannot be killed.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I was drawn to this book because of the premise that an entire world exists within a snow globe. Unlike Alice in Wonderland though, the main character, Sondrine, doesn’t have to fall down a rabbit hole to arrive. This is a debut novel and as such had sparks of brilliance mixed with some points that betrayed the author’s newness.

So then, for the characters, initially we meet Sondrine who seems spoiled and petulant, running away from an arranged marriage at the hands of her nasty aunt. I wasn’t sure if I’d like her to begin based upon who she is initially set up to be. She is a misunderstood Elementalist in London in the late 1800s. As the narrative moves forward though, the experiences she endures make her grow up quick and she begins to be more appreciative and more discerning.

The author also attempts a Snape-like character named Shan who one questions which side he is on. I thought this was carried out with fairly good success with the details woven throughout that have Sondrine, as well as we readers, second-guessing his true alligience.

The supporting characters like Zhang the Elder, Lark, Snap and others were fun additions to support the quest of freeing Winterhaven from the evil queen. Which actually brings up the question of why the queen wants to destroy the world of Winterhaven. She has a way of staying alive eternally, why must she try to destroy it?

As world-building goes I am on the fence as parts were absolutely brilliant, but others I felt like too much detail was described that served to confuse me rather than enhance. Some of the scenes, while vividly creative, seemed just too wild to be believable. I think some of these might not have been necessary to move the narrative along but a short mention of time passing would have sufficed for the purpose. In my view, this is just a “first” novel issue though and I fully expect the author will grow in her craft making these infrequent in the future.

One point I would have liked to see addressed in this first book in the series: we are not told how Winterhaven actually came to be within a snow globe…and that is one piece of detail that needs to be revealed for this narrative to make complete sense, especially with the close interplay between the worlds of London and Winterhaven.

One complaint I did have: The author set up a conflict with an evil queen early on in the book and grows it, but I have to say I was disappointed at how quickly and seemingly easy it was for Sondrine and Shan to eliminate her…unless they didn’t really succeed, which, if that’s the case, I guess we are left to find out in the next book. That was not made clear.

Overall, this was a fairly well done debut novel and as such had sparks of brilliance mixed with some points that betrayed the author’s newness. I loved where the author is going with the story arc and feel confident that as she matures in her craft, this world will get even better!

I give this 4 stars

Buy The Snow Globe at Amazon

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

Stevie Turner interviews author Margaret Millmore

Margaret Millmore photo

 

Today is the turn of another Creativia author, Margaret Millmore, to answer my 20 questions. As well as her replies here, you can also find out more about Margaret by clicking on the links below:

http://www.margaretmillmore.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Margaret-Millmore/e/B005ME8QTQ

 1.  Tell us something about your work in progress.

I’ve just finished the first draft of What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer – Book II). It continues the adventures of George, Billy, Phil and the watchers and their never ending quest to rid the world of ghosts and demons. In book 2, they come across a rather nasty 17th century demon that is in cahoots (or so they think) with a teenage boy. Instead of just haunting people, the demon, with the help of the boy are killing people and wreaking havoc. They need to find the boy and his demon and stop them before more lives are lost. I tap some very interesting San Francisco history in this book and I had a lot of fun pulling it together. Expected release is late spring or early summer under the Creativia Publishing label.

2.  When did you know that you wanted to write a novel?

When I was young, my best friend and I would make up stories, I always thought it would be fun to write a book, but never really pursued it (although I did continue to write stories and jot down ideas throughout my teenage and adult years). I really didn’t take the idea seriously until about 7 years ago, when I suddenly found myself with the time to write, then I jumped in with both feet and have been doing that ever since.

3.  Where did you find the inspiration for your novel ‘What Haunts Me?’

My husband had been on a business trip and he’d had a very strange dream, which he shared with me. I thought it was interesting and made a note of it, but didn’t put much more thought into it (consciously at least), because I was finishing up my novel The Dragonfly Door and that was quite consuming. However, my subconscious had taken quite a liking to the idea and 6 months later, a full blown story had developed. As with all stories, it stalled about midway through, yet again, there was my husband with another bit of inspiration, he’d read an article about a ghost tour (I can’t recall what city it was in) and I decided to see if we had one here in San Francisco, we did and I took the tour, which opened up a whole new path for my story, so much so, that I based one of my main characters (with permission) off of the owner of the tour. (http://www.sfghosthunt.com  – they’re currently closed, but it’s rumored they’ll re-open soon, I hope they do, it’s fantastic!)
4.  Which book genre do you prefer to read?

My preferred reading genre is generally thriller/suspense novels (without political overtones), I also enjoy police/detective novels. Although I write in paranormal/supernatural, I rarely read it (however S. King, Dean Koontz and some others are true favorites, so I don’t exclude that genre altogether).

5.  Who is your favourite author?

I can’t say that I have one. Growing up it was Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz and so many more, I try not to have favorites as a rule (unless its dessert, cheesecake wins every time).

6.  Do you believe in an afterlife?

I don’t not believe in it.

7.  Have you ever seen a ghost or had a paranormal experience?

I’ve experienced some odd occurrences that I can easily attribute to a ghost or the paranormal. They were strange and wonderful all at once, and certainly they help keep my imagination going.

 8.  Why did you choose different publishers for your books?

When I finished my first book, self-publishing wasn’t as acceptable as it is today, so I queried hundreds of publishers and was finally picked up by a great small press publisher (they originally published my first four books, Doppelganger Experiment and The Four Series, books 1-3, all of which are now available under Amazon’s digital service). That was a great experience, but by the time I got around to my novel, The Dragonfly Door, self-pub had blossomed and I decided to self-publish it. I also originally self-published What Haunts Me, however I soon discovered that I really wanted to put most of my effort and energy into developing the WHM series than I did into creating the finished publishable product, so I decided to begin the publishing query process again and was very fortunate to be picked up by Creativia.

9.  Can books become best sellers without going through the agent/traditional publishing route?

Absolutely, and it’s happened quite a bit! Obviously, it isn’t the norm (yet), but it is definitely possible (do a quick online search and you’ll find several success stories).

10. Which social media do you prefer when promoting your books?

Generally I use Twitter and Facebook (fan page and my personal page). But I also use various book promoting sites to get the word out. It’s also important to connect with bloggers like yourself, what you do is as important as Twitter and FB, and I think it’s a bit more personal, so that makes it fun too.

11. When you see a link to a 5 star review on Twitter, are you tempted to check it out if it looks to be of your preferred genre?

Definitely, it only takes a few seconds to check out book recommendations through Twitter and I’ve bought quite a few books based on tweets I’ve received.

12.  Did you find that the real estate business became more competitive the longer you worked there?

I began my career in the real estate field (at the bottom and worked my way up) in 1992, so I’ve seen the volatile market fluctuations up close. But in the more recent boom and bust, the “quick buck” perception/attitude was so irresistible, that just about everyone was getting in on it (which was certainly a large contributor to the bust itself). It was reminiscent of the dot.com boom in regards to the amount of competition involved.

13. You’re a native Californian.  Have you ever visited Alcatraz and wondered whether Frank Morris really did make it to freedom?

Yes, I have been to Alcatraz on a few occasions, it’s a great part of San Francisco history and worth the trip. Did Frank make it to freedom, I believe he could have, if he made it to Angel Island (about 2 miles away), then he could have continued on to the mainland and disappeared forever, who’s to say, he’s never been found…

14.  Do you ever wish you could have been part of the Haight-Ashbury hippie scene in the 1960’s?

Not in the least, mainly because it would mean I’d have to be much older than I am…

15.  Where will you be travelling to for your holidays this year?

My husband and I love to travel, but this year we’re keeping it local (meaning the USA), we’ll be taking a trip down the coast of California and we’re discussing trips to the Pacific Northwest and some of our western national parks, but the year is young, so who knows where else we might end up.

16.  Is there anywhere in the world you would love to visit, but as yet have not?

So many places…I was fortunate enough to spend some time in France and Germany (with a stop in Luxembourg and Switzerland) last year, and I’d love to go back and rent a car and drive all through Europe for several weeks.

17.  Does visiting your relatives in Ireland ever cause you to consider living there permanently?

Constantly! I’ve been visiting my family in IR since I was a child, but as an adult, I’ve been able to see much more of the country, it is so beautiful and the people are truly the best. I often daydream of renting a small cottage by the sea, perhaps down in Arklow, County Wicklow just south of Dublin. Dublin is wonderful  as well (and only an hour away from most parts of Wicklow by train or bus), but having lived in a big city for so long, I think I’d prefer a quiet sea-side retreat.

18.  What is your most prized possession?

I would have to say my collection of books. I have autographed books by Ray Bradbury and Dean Koontz as well as Irish author, Benedict Kiely (who is my great-uncle) and Irish author Sharon Owens (she is also a relative). In addition to the autographed books, I have a large collection of fiction books (both very old and very new) as well as a variety of history and non-fiction books that I inherited from my father’s collection.
 19Do you prefer to be inside or outside?

Both…I am a huge fan of various types of architecture and I love exploring old buildings, churches, castles, homes, etc., but I love the beauty of the outside world as well, so I guess it depends on where I am and what I’m seeing…

20.  What is your favourite song or piece of music?

I’m a big Motown fan, in fact, when I have writer’s block, it’s my go-to music. However, I also enjoy a variety of other music too, so I suppose I have no favorites.

Thanks to Margaret for these answers. If you are an author and would also like to be interviewed, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk with a little bit of information about yourself and your books.

#BOOKREVIEW The Challenge by Kim Iveson Headlee (@KimHeadlee). The real challenge is to know what you’re fighting for

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

The Challenge. The Dragon's Dove Chronicles by Kim Headlee
The Challenge. The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles by Kim Headlee

Title:   The Challenge
Author:   Kim Iveson Headlee
ISBN13:  978-1518615481
ASIN:  B00ZGROCUQ
Published:  October 2015
Pages:  38
Genre:  Historical Fantasy/Fantasy

Description:

The gauntlet is thrown. One must die. Refusal is not an option.

Arthur the high king of Breatein has fallen captive of a longtime enemy, the Saxon warrior-princess, Camilla, who lusts to avenge the death of her betrothed at Gyan’s hands and will stop at nothing, even the black arts, to achieve her goal. Because Gyan and Arthur have grown estranged, she fears that Arthur may side with Camilla and make her his new queen.

Now Gyan must face all her demons – public as well as private.

 Body of review:

The Challenge is part of Kim Headlee’s The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles and although it is the first story of the series I’ve read, that does not impede its enjoyment. It is a short story set in the world of the Arthurian legends and although it mixes fantasy elements (not that there are no fantasy elements in the story we’re all familiar with) it does refer back to older stories and traditions. Considering its length, the story packs an incredible amount of detail, not only of the action and fight itself (with vivid descriptions of weapons and gear), but also of the relationships of the queen, Gyan, with her men, of her feelings about her people and her kingdom, and also of her mental state at the time. She confronts a rival with supernatural strength, but more important than that she also has to fight her doubts about her relationship with the King. And although I’m not going to give you any spoilers, I can tell you that the ending won’t disappoint.

If you fancy a short read, full of action, with a good mix of historical detail and fantasy, and a superb strong female lead, I strongly recommend it.

 What the book is about: A challenge and the fight of the queen against her rival, now a witch, to keep her kingdom and the man she loves, King Arthur.

 Book Highlights: Good descriptions of both fights and also of the motivations of the characters, particularly considering the length of the story.

 Challenges of the book: Some of the expressions and words that are adapted from old languages in the British Isles.

 What do you get from it: A good short break and a read that can be savoured no matter how short a time you have. Also a good introduction to the series.

 What I would have changed if anything: I’ve noticed some readers complained about the names of objects (like the sword) and characters although I think they are part of the authentic touches of the story. Perhaps a short guide identifying characters and objects with the corresponding names we’re already used to in Arthurian legend would make it easier for readers. As I haven’t read the longer books it’s possible that it’s already available elsewhere.

 Who Would I recommend this book to?: People with only a short time to read but kin on getting into the action quickly and having an introduction to the series.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think: 3.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 4.5/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $5.49 

Kindle: $0.99 

Audible: $ 4.15 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

Stevie Turner interviews author Mari Collier

Mari Collier's photo

Thanks to Mari Collier, another of my fellow Creativia authors, for agreeing to take part in this interview. You can find Mari online by clicking on the links below:

Blog: http://www.maricollier.com

Amazon author page: http://bookShow.me/B00BGTT09Q

Facebook: Twisted Tales From A Skewed Mind  https://www.facebook.com/Twisted-Tales-From-A-Skewed-Mind-124947397618599/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/child7mari

1.  What gave you the idea of combining science fiction with the Old West in your Chronicles of Maca series?

The story started in the Old West in my mind and I wrote the first chapter and killed off everyone but two characters. My one older brother thought it hilarious that his baby sister did this. I quit writing on it, but in my mind it kept playing. So I started again and realized the one needed his Uncle.  It grew from there as the main character had mind powers that humans do not possess. The Uncle was not strong enough to control the character. He needed a stepfather. He couldn’t have a stepfather until I resurrected the mother from the Comanche attack arranged by her Justine husband.

2.  Tell us about the sixth book in the series, your work in progress.

Captain Jarvis and his crew discover that the De’Chins’ mining asteroid has been invaded and the De’Chins’ space vessels destroyed. The Thalains attack. Rescue the De’Chin woman and take a Draygon captive. Lorenz, the Earth/Justine mutant must use his mind to make the prisoner reveal the Draygon location. It is discovered the Krepyons have become their allies. Thalia, the Betrons, and the Golden One of the Earth MacDonald Corporation join in the attack. Upon their return, Beauty the leader of the Sisterhood escapes and kills the Maca of Don’s daughter, and then the son of the Maca of Betron. She and her counselor (wife in Earth speak) disappear, helped by the hidden Sisterhood. The Kenning Woman discovers the hidden Book of Gar and nearly dies in the cave beside Ayran’s foul Lake Bliss. It takes Daniel, JayEll, and Medicine to rescue her and JoAnne, the first rescuer. The hunt for the killer continues, but the Sisterhood kills their own rather than betray them. It is discovered that the Sisterhood has become embedded in the Houses of Medicine and Ishner, but the rules of Thalia preclude invading the continent of another House. Llewellyn, Maca of Don, and his Earth/Mutant claimed (adopted) son plan their own revenge against Beauty. She will die just as Lillie died at her hands. JayEll proclaims himself the new Martin and he and the Kenning Woman plan to wed.

On one of his preaching trips, the Kenning Woman’s vision states that Ishner is bleeding for their true Maca. The hidden Sisterhood promptly uses a stinger to destroy the Kenning Woman’s family’s home.  Her father is a son of the former Maca of Ishner. He reveals that JayEll is probably his son. Incest tis forbidden on Thalia just as it is on Earth. The Thalians are ready to invade Ishner to confiscate the rest of the stingers when the people of Ishner attack the Sisterhood. Riots and fire break out. The Sisterhood holds the Guardian, Counselor, and Director of Ishner hostage. Captain Daniel and troopers are sent to Port Issac to quell the riots and Captain Jarvis and troopers are sent to rescue the hostages in the city Iconda.  During the fighting, the true Maca of Ishner will be revealed. The question of JayEll’s genes will be settled by Medicine.

3.  You’re starting a new family saga, ‘Earthbound’.  How is this family different?

I’m not starting it, I’m still writing it. Earthbound is the first book of my series, Chronicles of the Maca.  MacDonald, or Llewellyn, Maca of Don, as he is named on his on planet is part Thalian and part Justine.  His Earth wife, Anna, had married a stranded Justine and produced four children with Toma.  MacDonald and Anna have one child that lives. Mina is Earth, Thalian, and Justine.  MacDonald will adopt Anna’s third son Lorenz, who is Earth and Justine.  One of the things that prompted me to put westerns and science fiction together was when I had catechism lessons at the age of twelve through thirteen.  When explaining the spread of faith in this country, the Pastor explained that the Germans had gone into Texas before it had become a state.  He created a love of Western history that has never died.

4.  How long have you been writing?

I was about eleven or twelve when I started writing a story about a family destroyed by a Comanche raid in Texas prior to the Civil War. That story evolved into Gather The Children, but Anna and MacDonald kept insisting I write their story. My older brother’s laughter at the idea of his baby sister writing a tale that killed off most of the characters meant that I put that story to the side for many years. I wrote for the Audubon Advocate when I was thirteen reporting on what neighbor visited what neighbor and any birthday or engagement party. I kept writing short stories through high school and early marriage. I did sell a children’s story to Jack and Jill, but went to work for a weekly paycheck when I realized that writing for a newcomer would not pay a mortgage or a new car payment.

5.  Who is your favourite author?

Will and Ariel Durant, the authors of The Story of Civilization. Yes, I’ve read all eleven volumes.  Some more than once.
6.  Which social media works best for you as regards promoting your books?

So far it has been Facebook.

7.  Do you believe there could be life on other planets?

I was always of the opinion that since the Almighty God made this planet with beings on it, there could be any number of planets with beings. I do not limit God.  It wasn’t until I was introduced to someone who worked on the Project Blue Book that convinced me that there are other living beings out there. Our government has not been completely honest about things.  Why didn’t that person say anything?  He did on a You Tube interview.  He would lose his retirement, his health insurance, and all records of his military service would be obliterated.

8.  Would you have liked to live in the Old West of the 19thcentury?

Oh, hell, no. The work alone was a killer.  Just consider carrying bucket after bucket of water to fill up a tub.  That doesn’t take in using a cone agitator and bringing the firewood to keep the water hot.  There was no medical response to anything, and the diet was rather restricted to what you could grow, preserve, or hunt. I do not want to live without hot water on tap or lights that come on with a flick of the switch.

9.  You grew up on a farm in Iowa with no modern amenities.  How did you cope with no electricity, hot water and central heating?  Did your neighbours have modern amenities?

We did have running water (cold) in the kitchen and in the washhouse. That meant we did not carry buckets of water, but the galvanized tub was for bathing.  One wore the clothes all week and changed on Saturday before going into town.  There were also special clothes for Sunday.  There was no electricity in our section of Iowa until 1950.  Some like my father, refused to have it installed. One neighbor did have a bathroom, but most of them had outhouses until the 1960s.  I loved going into town to see an Uncle or Aunt, or the long trip to Council Bluffs to my brother’s house where there were such things as electricity and bathrooms inside.
10. Were children expected to work on the farms from a young age?

Of course, they were. My parents were a bit lenient.  They didn’t expect it until one was nine-years of age.  One neighbor even had their six-year-old son driving a tractor.  My parents were horrified at that as it was far too dangerous for a child.  We walked to school whether it was sunshine, rain, or snow.  It was what my parents had done so we could do that too.  We were going to a one room public school.  There were two outhouses there: one for girls and one for boys.  Two of the eighth graders would take the bucket and walked to the closest farm for the water for the day.  We all drank from the same cup. That horrified the County Nurse when she visited our school.  We all had to bring in our own cup after that.

11. Do you remember anything about being so ill as a child that you were near death?

Yes, it was so difficult to breathe, that I decided not to fight to get the air out of my lungs anymore. I don’t like to go into that experience too deeply except to say I was walking down a murky, gray tunnel towards the wondrous golden light. Instead of the freezing cold in my bedroom, the warmth radiated outward from the golden place as I neared. Just as I stepped out of the tunnel and the light flowed around me a voice said, “You do not belong here yet. It is too soon.  Go back.” The scene vanished and I was back in my bed, layered between two feather beds.  By the way, Mama had made the feather beds from the ducks that we had.

12. Do you believe in the power of prayer and positive thinking?

I believe in prayer to the Lord. I am not silly enough to believe that every prayer will have a “yes” answer as I do not know the plans of the Almighty.  Prayer is the Christians way of meditation.  The term positive thinking leaves me baffled as I have always been an optimist.

13. Do you suffer any ill-effects from working ‘like a man’ on the farm as a child?

Oh, heavens no. It just meant that when I was working, I would not accept the fact that men received a higher salary than I was receiving.  I was quite capable of doing their work.  I did secure the job after proving I could go into the worst areas of Phoenix and collect money.  There is a huge difference between $249.00 per month and $600.00.  At least there was in 1973.

14. Do you feel as though you’ve missed out on a childhood through working on the farm? 

How could I have missed out? We weren’t working ten hour days.  For us it would just be the morning or afternoon.  When we were in school, we just had the chores before we left and some of the chores before dark.  We had an entire quarter of an acre by a creek with wild flowers, elderberry trees, willows, and prairie grass as our private playground.  I could make up all sorts of stories to enact.  In the evening after dinner there were board games, puzzles, and, of course, we learned pinochle at an early age.  Papa always read the comics to us and he would laugh harder than anyone else.  Mama taught us how to play the piano, and, of course, there were always huge dinners after church at Grandma’s house.  I could go on about the reunions and old clothes we children had to play “dress” up.

15. You married while still a teenager. Do you think it’s best to marry early and be young parents, or to wait until you’ve seen the world and gained life experiences?

I think that depends on the person. Lanny was always “old” according to his mother.  I had been earning my own living since I was sixteen.  In theory, it should have been a disaster.  In reality, I can count the quarrels we had on one hand and inside it still hurts that he is gone home and I am still on this Earth.

16. Where do you consider is home?  Iowa, Arizona, Washington, or California?

Home is wherever I am living. I would not, however, choose Washington as a place to retire.  I chose the desert.

17. When living in Washington you worked for Nintendo.  What did your job entail?

I was an Advanced Super Agent in their Correspondence section of the Consumer Call Center. That meant I could take phone calls for all problems from set ups to game play.  I also read in the letters, later the email, and routed them to the files for response.  I was also one of the letter writers for all problems, and I did the entering for the Elmo Folio Views in the Correspondence section so other Correspondence people knew what and how we were to respond to certain situations.  We were also expected to play the games (all of our cubicles had game devices and we could check out games) that we played when not busy at something else.  Nintendo also gave us each system for the home and the game to master.

18. Where will you travel to for your holidays this year?

Nowhere. I’ll be right here in Twentynine Palms, CA.

19. What’s number one on your bucket list?

You will think this strange, but I do not have a bucket list. Perhaps it would be nice to see Oak Creek Canyon again.

20. What’s your favourite song?

That is difficult to say. It is difficult to choose between “Just As I Am” or “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Another favorite is “Your Cheating Heart.”  I also love “Bolero”.  Of course, “Heartbreak Hotel” is right up there too.  That pretty well gives away my age and era, doesn’t it?

Thanks for taking part, Mari.  If any authors/publishers would like to answer 20 of my questions, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk  with some information about yourself.

 

What do you want in a Book Review?

Book Reviewing is one of the main things we do here on LitWorldInterviews. So much so, that at one time or other most of us write about them. We write about the importance of them, how to do them, where to find people to do them, and the list goes on.

Most of the time the idea of Book Reviews is looking at it from the point of the author or how to relay helpful information for the author. Today I want to change it up a little.

Today we’ll talk about the Amazon Book Review, or the B&N Book Review. Sites that sell books, not sites that are for people digging for in depth analysis of a book, not that you get that from me.

My belief is regardless of which type of review you do, there is a golden rule to follow; don’t give spoilers. I don’t even care if you mention ahead of time that a spoiler is coming up, I don’t believe it needs to be out there. I do believe in trigger warnings. That’s fine. If you have a book advertising itself as a humorous cozy mystery and you find some type of assault against a woman or children, I say trigger alert away.

Now for the Book Seller Site Reviews. What is the normal person surfing through Amazon looking for? What are the first two things that catch their eye about a book?

That’s right: the Book Title, and Book Cover.

I know when I see a title I then see the cover and if still interested I go to the description or price next. Then I go to the reviews. If you want to know the truth, if the book has a lot of reviews and I see the percentage of 5 and 4 star reviews are high, I may not even read the reviews, unless the price is pushing my thrifty nature a bit.

Now I’m at the reviews. What do I want to know?

Enjoyment Factor is what I want to know.

  • Did they enjoy reading the book overall?
  • Was there anything in the book that took away from the enjoyment?
  • Did it deliver what it said it would?

Notice I didn’t mention unfavorable comparisons to other authors, long diatribes of things hoped for, or saying the author is the worst ever. There was mention of showing of a literature degree.

So what’s the difference in the writing of a review site review and an Amazon review?

If I came across a book I didn’t like, and the author asked me to post the review regardless of my score, I would keep in mind what needs said for the book buyer to make a decision. The more detailed version, if an unfavorable review, would go directly to the author in an email. On the site here, I would put detail as well, but still keep in mind not to rip the author apart. There might be several paragraphs explaining why I didn’t like the book.

Here is what I might say about a book I didn’t like on Amazon, if I dared put such a review on there. I doubt I would even if the author asked me to put it on there.

2 Stars

“The books idea seemed to be a good one from the description, but for me, it just didn’t come through in the actual story itself. I liked the main character most of the time, but there were inconsistencies that didn’t make sense to me within the given storyline, maybe in a sequel? What seemed to be important subplots never played out or ended up later contradicted with other plots. I’m not sure if this was intentional or oversight. It felt to me as though the author was so excited to get the book into our hands, they raced to the finish line when a little more time would have made a much better finished product. I’m not sure I would read it a second time in its current edition.”

What the review means.

“The author’s story does not match the excitement or intrigue of book description given. The main character is not well developed. In addition, the main character is like reading a confused jumble of ideas that never comes together for any reason. Maybe the author kept changing their mind during the writing and didn’t go back to edit for character continuity. Important subplots are left behind and ignored, as if the author completely forgets he ever wrote about them, and that makes for irritating points later that didn’t match up. It feels to me the book was rushed to market without being properly proofread and edited, which is what a customer is paying for. I would not recommend this book to anyone.”

Why do I not say the second review in an Amazon review?

There are a number of people involved in getting a manuscript to book form. It’s not only the author or authors. You also have proofreaders, editors, and publishers. An author cannot wholly depend on their own judgement about their baby. With my book, co-authored with PS Bartlett, we had each other to look to for any problems that came up and to push each other forward. That did not stop us from going to beta-readers, to test the story out. Then we took suggestions and made some edits. Then PS Bartlett sent it to her editor she’s worked with on some of her previous books.

Does all of that make for a perfect book? No. There is no such thing as a perfect book, but through that time taken, you can end up with a very enjoyable read.

What an author does is realize a book will never be good enough in his or her own eyes, and must trust others to help push them forward. Books I’ve written, that haven’t seen the light of a Kindle screen yet, are those I haven’t trusted to the eyes of beta-readers because I am not happy with them. In other words, I need someone to push me forward, but I don’t have a person on premises that does that, that encourages and nudges me forward. With the reviews coming out for Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, I’m getting the confidence I need to move ahead with the more than a dozen books I’ve written.

Now do you see how important a properly written review is? The first review tells a reader that they may not want to read this, warns them there are problems. At the same time, it doesn’t destroy confidence in the writer because they realize they have something there, but they need to work on it longer and take time. They need help getting it in a polished state.

Everything we write has an effect somewhere along the way. We may think we are being funny at times when we hit publish or submit, but the truth is, we could be doing more damage than good. Be honest, but be professional at the same time, even in an Amazon review. Help, not hinder.

As a Reader or as an Author, what do you want in an Amazon Review? Share for others to know. Maybe I’ll compile the results in a future article.

© Copyright-All rights reserved by Ronovan Hester 2016

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Rite of Revelation

Rite of Revelation Delightful craft. Expanding world. Flawed but growing characters. These phrases well summarize Rite of Revelation by Sarah Negovetich.

SUMMARY (from back): Before you Stands the Future.

The Cardinal plans to execute seventeen-year-old Rebecca Collins, just as soon as he gets what he needs to solidify his rule over the United Territories. Faced with certain death, Rebecca discovers not everyone is under the Cardinal’s control. A new alliance helps Rebecca and her friends escape the PIT, giving Rebecca a chance to live the life her Rejection took away.

But the Cardinal needs her in order to stay in power, and he doesn’t care who has to die to bring her back to justice.

Her last fight was a push to survive. This time, Rebecca has a life that might be worth dying for.

WHAT I THOUGHT: When I started reading this second installment in the Acceptance series, I wasn’t clear what the title, Rite of Revelation, meant especially in the context of the series. It becomes clear at the end and that revelation is what will move the narrative forward into the final book. It was definitely appropriately titled.

Sarah Negovetich’s craft again delighted me for her prose are crisp and dialogue efficient. It’s clear she’s studied craft and I appreciate her mastery.

The world built in book one grows in book two and we find out there are 142 freeman colonies. With the complexity of trade between each, we come to understand how these folks not only survived, but thrived apart from the economy of the Cardinal and his power. Although the threat always loomed and the reader wonders when the other shoe will drop.

I loved how Rebecca grows in this book as well as her counterparts. I appreciated how she wrestles with the balance between passion and action. Her propensity to go off half cocked, while at times admirable, is becoming a flaw that I speculate will cause her and others problems in book three. One complaint I had about Rebecca is that her taking on the problems of the world and feeling guilty if she can’t save everyone gets to be too much at times. I felt like shaking some sense into her. I question whether anyone in life would ever go as far overboard as she seems to. I felt going “there” too frequently made her annoying at times.

But the other characters grow as well and these maturings seemed appropriate, especially Eric and Patrice as well as Liam.

All in all I enjoyed book two and give it 4.5 stars. Now to await the final showdown in book three.

Buy Rite of Revelation (on Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

Finding New Readers

Many authors view marketing their books as a necessary evil to be endured rather than enjoyed. This can be true if our entire focus is on simply finding people—any people—to buy our books, and sharing our book blurbs, book links, and other book related things every day, generally in the same places and with the same people. Marketing doesn’t only have to be this way though. You can find new readers without doing so to the exclusion of all else, and enjoy yourself in the process too.

Us scribblers naturally gravitate to each other, and there is a lot of fun to be had socializing with our own kind. It’s great chatting with like-minded people who are knowledgeable in our ways. Our families and “normal” friends are not going to want to talk about formatting and cover design, and are most unlikely to instigate any conversations about grammar. Authors, whether Indie or traditionally published all need the support of our tribe, whether to cheer us on when we hit walls, celebrate our successes, or generally to inspire us with their own stories and knowledge. As well as having fun with our online writer buddies, we should also find out what our “thing” is, and move around in places where we’ll find people interested in that in order to increase our readership.

So, what is your “thing”? Yes—writing is your thing, but unless you write about writing then you’re going to have something else that you’re an expert at. Do you write historical fiction? Detective thrillers? Science-fiction? All of these things also have other things within them that could be your “thing”. Are you fascinated with England’s royalty, American politics, serial killers or faster than light travel? All of these topics and thousands more have thousands of fans who are not also writers. They gather online in groups on Linkedin, G+, Facebook, or specific websites and forums.

Do you actively participate in groups that are interested in aspects of your expertise related to your fiction or non-fiction? If not, you should consider joining a few. Finding these places is easy using the search engines on each site, or even just using Google search. Don’t join in your capacity as an author and try and sell your book. Rather enjoy the fellowship of those who share your passions and let others be keen enough to seek out your books because you yourself have interested them. Obviously, don’t hide the fact that you write westerns or whatever subject it is that the group is about—just don’t talk about your books all the time. Have fun interacting as simply another person, and you could find a whole group of new readers while you’re at it.

Follow non-writing blogs, join groups, and interact in places where people share your passions as who you are and without the obvious end result being to sell your books. If you haven’t considered what your “thing” is before, then set aside a few moments to think about it. Don’t be self-deprecating with this. What are you knowledgeable about? What are you passionate about? Find your “thing” and use it to find new readers.

community-580297_640

Stevie Turner interviews author J.W Goodwin

I hope you enjoy my interview of another Creativia author, YA Fantasy/Paranormal writer J.W Goodwin.

J.W Goodwin

Link to J.W Goodwin’s Amazon author page:  http://bookShow.me/B01AKXEOP8

1.  How old were you when you had the urge to become a writer?

I think I was 13-14 years old when I started with fanfiction, bad fanfiction to boot. The only reason I can remember is because of what grade I was in at the time. Thank goodness I’ve gotten better since then.

2.  It’s taken you 10 years to finish your debut novel.  What gave you the inspiration for the story?

It’s going to sound corny but it was due to a dream I had. I was lost in a forest until I was attacked by monster brown bugs. I was saved by an elf in green, who looks very much like the male protagonist in my debut novel By The Light of a Darkened Forest. He hid me from the monsters and went out to take care of them, telling me to stay hidden and that he would come back. I woke up before he could but he did manage by giving me a brilliant idea for a story.

 3.  Is any or part of the story autobiographical?

No. Though the main female protagonist Evelyn has some of my characteristics, none of events mimic my life.

4.  Your novel is a paranormal fantasy adventure for young adults.  Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

It would be awesome if I could say yes but unfortunately no. Unless of course having very imaginative dreams counts. The feelings I get from my grandparents’ farm brought the story to life. It feels so different there compared to other places I’ve been. Magical is a good word for it.

5.  Do you find that writing your debut novel has helped with your slight dyslexia?

Definitely. I’m more confident with my writing than even the spoken word. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the years I’ve spent practicing have helped immensely.

6.  Were your schoolteachers sympathetic regarding your dyslexia?

Not really. I don’t think it was in my student file so I doubt they knew. It always took me longer to read through books but I’d get it done eventually. If I could get away with not reading the material I would. It saved me time to do other things, like writing the reports and essays they wanted. Also the reason I believe I have/had dyslexia is because I would be pulled from classes grades 1-3 to learn the differences between letters and directions. It didn’t change until I was in high school, something clicked then and it became easier.

7.  Why did you change from a French school to an English language school?

Verbs. That is the only reason why I changed schools. The French language has so many verbs and so many different variations of said verbs with special rules that I couldn’t wrap my head around them. I could get away with speaking in slang but writing was a different story. Without writing I couldn’t get decent grades not matter how hard I tried. So my parents switched me.

8.  Do you think in French or English? Which one is your first language?

I think in English since it’s easier and I’m much better at it, though sometimes if I don’t remember a word I usually know the French one. Pencil sharpener was one I got hung up on way too often, I’m lucky I live in a bilingual community or else trying to ask for one would be a task in itself.

For my first language I’m not sure. I learned both at the same time though my first words were French.

9.  Have you written other stories or poetry?

I have lots of poetry though none of it is published. I like to write them to express a mood or an idea or they just come to me. For stories I have so many beginnings but no ends. This is the first one I finished and it was all thanks to a good friend who was reading them as I was writing. If it wasn’t for her this one wouldn’t get finished either.

10. What in your experience is the best book you’ve ever read?

That’s a loaded question. Honestly it keeps changing with each book I read. It started with The Three Investigators series by Robert Arthur Jr. then progressed to Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, now it’s a tie between Graceling by Kristin Cashore and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. As I grow older I get to read more novels and with that new flavors to taste. So it’s really hard to say what the best book is.

11. Which social media do you think helps the most in building up an author platform?

I can’t really answer since I’m still trying to figure it all out. Being so shy it’s hard for me to put myself out there. Doing this interview is going way beyond my comfort zone. One thing that’s helping my confidence is finding an author group with supportive peers like I’ve found with Creativia. I feel bad that I barely post on there but it’s so stressing to even think about it let alone what I’m going to say. Having a group where you can ask the more tenured authors for advice (I think, I haven’t yet because, again, I’m too shy to) would help and if you’ve found the right group they will help you grow.

 12. Living in Northern Ontario, do you prefer the cold winters or the boiling summers?

I like the transition periods best where you don’t have to wear 10 pounds of clothes because it’s so cold or want to tear your skin off because it’s so hot. So I guess you can call it the few weeks of spring and fall. If I had to choose between the two though it would be the winters. I have a saying that you can always put more clothes on to stay warm but you can only take off so much to get cool.

13. My fascination is with the Mennonite lifestyle when I found out about them on a visit to the area around Kincardine on a Canadian holiday in 2013.  Does the slower pace of their lifestyle with its lack of modern amenities appeal to you?

Definitely! Though I’d miss my computer since it makes writing so much easier for me. It’s a reason why I moved back to my hometown from the city. Much slower pace and so much quieter. Gives a person time to think. Also you’d spend more time talking with people face to face, and I don’t mean facetime on the phone, which is very important. Today it looks like what happened to people in Disney’s Wall-E is happening now. Makes me sad really.

14. What is it about forests that you find fascinating?

It’s the feeling I get from them. It’s so quiet and peaceful but if those trees could talk they could go on forever. Whenever I’m with nature there’s something magical that comes over me. It’s perfectly imperfect within the canopy. Everything has its place in the mismatch of things. It’s hard to describe but it’s one place that’s left untouched by people. You never know what you can find in there.

15. Do you think that playing video games is a good pastime for teenagers?

Depending on the video games yes. One’s that are just for going around and killing stuff, what they call hack n’ slash, no. If it includes a story, puzzles/tactics and even morals then I do think it’s good. My favorites to play are ones with a story, my favorite of those by far is The Legend of Zelda series. It does have to be balanced with other things though, like exploring outside or having a hobby off screen.

16.  Are you adept at orienteering using only a map and compass?

I know how to use them but that’s about it. When I go out I usually go with my dad. He’s the expert. If we go off on foot he can find our way back. On my own I’d get too nervous and stick close to an obvious trail.

17.  Have you ever been lost in a forest?

No. Though I love exploring I always make sure I know where I am. If I get disoriented I retrace my steps until I can remember. Going on drives with my dad, however, is a different story. Though he says we’re not lost I’ve had moments where I’ve doubted him. He finds a way out though.

18. Who is your favourite band?

Another loaded question. I’ve got so many. If it was based on concerts I’ve attended and grew up with then it would be Rush. For newer music I love Daughtry for the sound but I can say that about Gowan’s older music and some others. I just love music in general.

19. What is your most prized possession?

Though it’s a bit embarrassing I have to say it’s my Barney. I’ve had him since I was 2-3 years old and he’s been with me everywhere. I’m very protective of him and don’t let many touch him. To this day he still fights off nightmares and keeps me company though he has more friends than he used to. There’s a group of dogs and wolves he hangs out with now, even a polar bear that I got at the Cochrane polar bear habitat. They all have their own stories, the stuffed animals that I’ve gotten attached to, so what normal people think about Barney is not how mine is.

20.  Which one thing would you like with you on a desert island?

A sailboat filled with supplies so I can get back home? I bet that’s not what you’re getting at though. If not then a pencil and a pencil sharpener with sketchbook if a set counts. I’d spend my days drawing and writing for a vacation. I guess I’m lucky that my favorite things to do can be brought with my anywhere. I thank God for that. If not I’d be quite the miserable person as there would be no outlet for a very overactive imagination.

Thanks J.W for your answers.  Rush is also one of my favourite bands!

To find out more about J.W, please click on the links below:

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Queen of Always

Queen of Always Queen of Always is the third book in the Stolen Empire series by Sherry Ficklin. It is an YA historical fiction based on the life of young Catherine the Great, one of the most dynamic women in history.

SUMMARY (from back): If her time at court has taught Catherine anything, it’s that there is no room for weakness in Imperial Russia. With the Empress’ health failing and rumors of a change in the line of succession, her place in the royal line is once more in jeopardy.

Tormented by her sadistic husband and his venomous mistress, Catherine must once more walk the fine line between pleasure and politics—between scandal and survival.
When her young son becomes the target of those rebelling against Peter’s reign, Catherine will have to rise up to protect herself, her child, and her nation from his unstable and potentially catastrophic rule. This means putting herself at odds with the most dangerous man she’s ever known, trusting those who once proved to be her enemies, and turning a nation against its sovereign. In the ultimate battle for the crown, new alliances will be forged, loyalties will be tested, and blood will be shed.

WHAT I THOUGHT: If you follow my reviews, you’ll remember I discussed the brilliance of the first two books in the Stolen Empire series by Sherry Ficklin.

In this third and final installment, Catherine approaches the world realistically, no longer the naive pawn Peter would hope her to be. In this book, I found Catherine stronger than most women, forced to be that way because of her situation as the despised wife of the most powerful man in Russia who openly flaunts his mistress before the royal court. But Catherine does not allow the pity that so many must have viewed her with to undermine her confidence.

Never! For she understands how precarious her position is. She has no preconceived notions that if she is dismissed, not only will her life be in jeopardy, but so too will her son’s life. But with Peter behaving so erradically and meniacally, he threatens to turn the Russian court against himself and his family.

The only bright spots in her life seemed to have been her children and her lovers. I can get how the pressure of her position would cause her to seek out comfort from men, but I have to say the menage-et-trois was a bit shocking. Reading this caused me to do a small amount of research and what I found more than surprised me: Catherine, by one count, had over 300 lovers! So Ficklin’s narrative, while shocking, actually painted the picture in a much less scandelous light than history would suggest. Amazing…

I can’t imagine myself having to endure all she did. I question whether I could have sucked it up or whether I would have become a weeping mess, pitying myself. I grant that facing the death of your child probably had her view her situation in a very different and very clear light, something no one today faces. Ficklin did a brillaint job of helping the reader idenity with Catherine the Great despite how removed in time and culture she is from us today. Well done!

MY RATING: 5 of 5 stars!

Get Queen of Always (at Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Queen of Tomorrow

Queen of TomorrowThis series is a fantastical telling of the life of Catherine the Great of Russia. Queen of Tomorrow by Sherry Ficklin is book two in the Stolen Empire series.

SUMMARY (from back): Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things start to look up. As a new day dawns, Catherine thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces that try to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Catherine soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia and her new empire. While navigating the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.

When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, Catherine glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it vanish at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Catherine must sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Conspiracy, deceit and intrigue… Life in the Russian court was anything but dull. While I understand Ficklin took literary license with many of the specifics, I think the overall story arc was probably close to reality. Certainly one place I would not want to be. I will definitely be reading the next installment in this gripping saga. And again, the author added lots of interactive videos throughout the book which gave historical perspective on the time and served to ground the author’s speculations of what really happened upon which she built this tale.

Get Queen of Tomorrow (Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

 

Stevie Turner interviews author Sahara Foley

Sahara

 

It was Sahara’s enthusiastic support of Creativia publishing that eventually made me send off my latest novel to them, which I’m pleased to say was accepted.  Sahara is an author who is part of Creativia’s Street Team, and tirelessly supports other authors’ work.  Today I’m pleased to be able to promote Sahara’s novels by way of this 20 question interview.

You can find out more about Sahara’s books by checking out her Amazon author page (link is below).

http://www.amazon.com/Sahara-Foley/e/B00J9ST32U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1458670356&sr=1-1

1.  Did you have to make many changes to your husband’s short stories after his death to get them ready for publication?

Most of the short stories, no.  I did have to rewrite them for showing instead of telling, make sure they were in the right cause & effect sequence.  The actual books have taken a lot more rewriting.

2.  Did you or your husband ever send  the stories to any literary agents?

Yes, back in the late 1980’s Bob sent his books to quite a few publishers.  At that time, I didn’t realize they still needed a lot of work.  Now, I do.  Bob was one of those writers that didn’t believe in changing anything in his stories.  They were perfect the way they were.

3.  Where did you find the inspiration for ‘The Secret of Excalibur’?

Since these are Bob’s stories, I have no idea where they came from. The original title was Arthur Merlin, but Miika wanted a catchier title, so I changed it.  I could swear Bob was glaring holes in me at the time.  Since then, he’s learned to live with all the changes I make to his stories.  He doesn’t have a choice.  LOL.

4.  Did you carry out all your research for the book beforehand, or did you research as you went along?

I’m not sure what type of research Bob did, but I have done research for The Secret of Excalibur.  St George was not the knight that threw Excalibur into the lake, but I wanted to keep the story the way Bob wrote it.

5.  Which social media has helped you the most regarding building up your author platform?

Without a doubt Twitter, then Facebook.

6.  Why did you choose Creativia Publishers?

I always knew I wanted to put The Secret of Excalibur with a publisher.  I ran across them on Twitter and joined them as part of their Street Team.  I became friends with a few of the authors, loved when they told me about them, so I signed up.  Where else can you find a publisher that pays for your promotions?  Or you only have to give a 90-day notice to get your rights back?  None that I’m aware of.

7.  The Secret of Excalibur earned an Amazon #1 bestseller badge in the Arthurian category. Were you contacted by literary agents or publishers whilst the book was at #1?

No, it was already under Creativia Publishing.  I wouldn’t have reached #1 without them.

8.  What are you working on at the moment?

The second book in the Excalibur saga: The Revenge of Excalibur.  That one is with beta readers now.  While it’s going through those trials, I’ve started on the third one: Karrin: Warrior Child.  This one is much darker, and takes place decades later.

9.  Are you a full-time writer, or do you have a day job?

I work 10 hour days with an Insurance Company in the Agent Sales Support Department. I’m also a licensed agent and make commissions from sales.

10. If you could ask a famous writer one question, what would you ask and to whom?

That’s a tough one.  I love a variety of genres and writers.  I could ask the same question from 3 or 4 famous writers and get totally different answers.  I’ve studied enough books since I started my writing process that I think I’ve covered any answers they would give.  My biggest shortcoming is marketing and how to connect with readers.  That would be my question.

11. In your opinion, what’s the best resource for authors who are looking for readers?

Haven’t found it yet.  I use Twitter, and I do generate sales from there.

12. Where in the world do you call home?

Omaha NE

13.  Will you be travelling anywhere this year for a holiday?

I have plans with my family to visit the Wisconsin Dells.  I’ve never been there.

14. Do you have a favourite song?

OMG.  Too many to name.  Whatever comes on Pandora.

15. Do you prefer the city or country life?

Country.  I used to have a small farm (3 acres) where we had chickens, ducks, geese, and other critters.  I loved it, but the Missouri River decided to reclaim it for several months and I had to move back into the city.  Bob died shortly after that.

16. Are you vegetarian?

Heavens, NO!  I love my meat.

17. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert.  My whole life.

18. Which one thing would you save in a fire?

All the outlines of Bob’s stories that I haven’t touched yet.

19. What’s number one on your bucket list?

To win the Readers’ Favorite Award for one of my books.

20. Could you survive alone for 6 months on a desert island?

Yes.  Wouldn’t want to, but I could.  I’d lose some weight and get back into shape.

————————————————————————————————–

Here are some more social media links for Sahara Foley and her books:

The Secret of Excalibur: 

EBOOK  http://amzn.to/1w8UMSe

PAPERBACK  http://amzn.to/1wwyXfw

B&N   http://bit.ly/1WMU3Un

AUDIO: http://amzn.to/1Lpt2R7

 

We Journey No More:

EBOOK  http://amzn.to/1IP3r3O

PAPERBACK  http://amzn.to/1V2hMOD

B&N  http://bit.ly/1JdNEuq

AUDIO:  http://amzn.to/1nXJ5On

 

It Lives in the Basement: 

http://amzn.to/1xbEwTe

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksbysaharafoley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaharaFoley

Blog: http://saharafoley.com/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SaharaFoley

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/saharafoley/

Riffle: https://read.rifflebooks.com/profiles/151923

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8029282.Sahara_Foley

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/5wPlj

 

To Self-Publish or Try the Publishing Option? That is the Question…

Great advice in a guest post on our very own Colleen Chesebro’s SilverThreading.com blog. A MUST for every author to read. Seriously!

✨Colleen Chesebro✨The Faery Whisperer ✨

Image Credit: Randomhousebooks.com/hydra

Last week I came across an article about Hydra, a digital-first imprint of Random House. Here is the link to read the article. Hydra is reported as presenting the next generation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror who says: “Every title is available for purchase at major e-retailers and compatible with all reading devices.”

The interesting thing was, the article opened up a dialog about the options writers have in releasing their books to the public. It then becomes all about traditional publishing and independent publishing. Trying to figure out what is best for you is sometimes hard.

I am lucky to have built up a friendship with Lyz Russo, an accomplished author and the owner of an Indy Publishing company called P’kaboo Publishers. As a novice author, writing my first novel, I wanted to hear what choices I had available to me. There are…

View original post 2,478 more words