Lit World Interviews is delighted to announce that Tales from the Garden, by Sally Cronin, is now available in Ebook versions with the print copies available shortly.
Sally and husband, David, will be leaving their house and garden at some point in the future and when they put the house on the market, Sally realised that it was not only the sunshine that she would miss. She already had many photographs taken over the last sixteen years and she decided to capture as many aspects of the garden as she could to take with them digitally at least.
As Sally photographed the statues, most far too heavy to take with them, it came to her that some of them had been there at least for 60 years and had seen many changes over that time. Also there was the mystery surrounding the missing dwarves? Just exactly where did they disappear to some nights; when the garden seems to be alive with excitement and you can hear the fluttering of many wings in the air?
Sally wrote the stories weekly on her blog but was so delighted by the response from those who read them, that this became her surprise book of the year. Those that were planned will be released in the New Year.
The Ebook is available now, and the print version will be available in the next week. Both are discounted on her publisher’s website, as there are no additional charges as on other online bookstores.
About the book.
Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five, that will change the way you look at your garden, forever….
With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin, reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.
You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.
The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.
Meet Queen Filigree of the Kingdom of Magia, The Last Emperor and The Lost Boy who live in the sanctuary on the Spanish mountain. Ten stories of adventure, magic and love.
Find out more about Tales from the Garden and buy the Ebook in Mobi for Kindle Format and Epub at a special 50% discount via the website – £2.48. Print copies are discounted by 23% at £8.42. The photographs in the print copy are in black and white and will be available in the next week to ten days.
Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.
She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.
For the last two years Smorgasbord Invitation has offered a legitimate excuse to write daily, meet amazing people from around the world and provide a platform to assist any artist, musician or writer to showcase their work.
Any help that you can provide in promoting the book would be most welcome and you can contact Sally on firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be doing a series of guest posts on various aspects of the book. Behind the scene stories of the statues, parts of the garden etc. and will of course share any posts on your blog across by social media.
“The writing is utterly descriptive and sensory oriented and it really gets you to experience what the characters are going through.”-Dan
“This book is set in a fantasy land, and Bussiere does a fantastic job at painting a scene. You instantly fall in love with the characters, and the character development is phenomenal. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy fiction.”-Alyssa from Lubbock, TX
“Spell binding. I didn’t want the book to end. In The WorldMight Cyril Bussiere weaves together a world of fantasy and the deep, complex questions of life. The characters are wonderfully and fully drawn.”-V.C.
I’ve known Cyril Bussiere for some time now. He’s a guy with a great sense of humor but who is way to smart at times. Sometimes you just wish he could stop thinking, but you know it’s not going to happen. Cyril did an interview with me back when I first started doing them but now we have a new one about his book The WorldMight and of course a little about the man behind it.
RW: Tell everyone your interesting path to where you currently find yourself?
CYRIL: I was born in Avignon, France and spent my youth in Marseille, Provence by the Mediterranean Sea.
After high school and a brief stint in Med School, I left for the US. There I got my B.S. in Biology from the University of Utah and then my PhD in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin.
RW: Who are your favorite authors?
CYRIL: Tough one, among a good fifty, the ones that marked me the most are Kazantzakis, Nietzsche, Stephen King, and Emile Cioran.
RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?
CYRIL: A light beer like a Shiner or a Blue Moon. But they don’t last long.
RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point of overload or writer’s block?
CYRIL: Something mindless. Right now I’m getting back into classical guitar after a five year hiatus, so I do a lot of that. I’m also involved with Big Brother Big Sister and my little lent me Grand Theft Auto V so I’m playing that too.
RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?
CYRIL: I was trained in microbiology and the last thing I wrote before getting into fiction was my Ph.D. thesis (you can find it here if you’re into that kind of stuff, or would enjoy a headache right about now). I wrote a lot as a youth, but only poetry and some short plays. Most people who knew me before I graduated from high school were surprised when I went into science rather than literature.
As far as being a writer, I instinctively shy away from labels, they always feel so reducing (as if we’re not stuffed into enough boxes already). So instead of calling myself a writer, I prefer saying that I write, the difference is probably more about how one feels about it than anything else, but that’s where I stand.
RW: What genre does The WorldMight fall into?
CYRIL: I’d say it’s a mystical fantasy imbued with romance. It contains a good dose of philosophy too and has spiritual stuff interwoven throughout the plot. At its core it is a drama in the classical sense where events long passed have far reaching consequences in the lives of people and there is not much they can do, knowing little or nothing about them, to change the flow of events they find themselves sucked in.
RW: Gives us your book jacket version of The WorldMight.
CYRIL: It is the end of fall in the kingdom of Alymphia. Princess Aria and Prince Hob are readying themselves for yet another Fall Passing Festival. But unbeknownst to them, change is coming to the kingdom. Change brought on by dark forces and events that occurred generations prior. And those changes will unfold over their lives like a flood that nothing can stop.
In another place and another time, a mysterious prince walks the world, trusted steel at his belt and a mystical stone imbued with magic at his neck. He is looking for a word that has never been said; a word that would save his love from the grip of an ancient beast.
RW: What inspired the book?
CYRIL: The idea came to me while driving a U-haul truck across Texas (I was helping my wife move from Austin to Lubbock). It was a simple thought, about a princess trapped in a sleeping beast and her prince trying to free her; and he needs a word that has never been said to wake the beast up and rescue her. That was it; like I said, simple. That idea stayed dormant for a year and a half. I finished my PhD, moved to Lubbock and one morning, in October 2011, out of the blue I started writing what became the prologue of The WorldMight. The strangest thing is that I didn’t stop writing. And from those first few paragraphs the rest of the novel came to life more or less of its own accord.
RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will make them connect to readers.
CYRIL: There are really four main characters. But one ends up being the most preeminent, so I’ll tell you about that one.
The prince is described in the first lines of the prologue as follow: “His father was no king and his mother was no queen, but he was a prince nonetheless.” He is a mysterious character who one mindedly searches the world for an equally mysterious word which would save his love. His whole quest is wrapped in mystery and learning more about who he is and what the word is is one of the drives pulling the reader along the pages.
He is the embodiment of devotion and perseverance; he relentlessly forges forward in his quest and faces off with many natural and none-natural obstacles and enemies, some coming from within. I think we’ve all gone above and beyond for someone we love, though probably nothing as epic as what the prince goes through, but we can relate to that feeling of going to the end of the world for someone we deeply cherish.
RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?
CYRIL: Well, let’s see, he’s a young man, so without giving it to much thought, I’d pick Xavier Samuel
RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?
CYRIL: I’d say there are many, faith, governance, self-cognizance, but in the end it is the tragic story of the prince and his love, and the take-home message is that in the face of chance, of all the things that pre-determine who we are and where we stand in life (think genetics and environment – which are everything and are completely determined by chance, or randomly if you want to put it that way) there is little we can do within these tight and often insurmountable constraints but persevere forward toward our goals, however unreachable they might appear or actually be.
RW: What did you learn about yourself while writing The WorldMight?
CYRIL: First thing would be that I can write a novel. That was not something I was sure of until the epilogue was finished.
Second, that I don’t have much control over the writing process. It happens more than I make it happen. It’s both engrossing when it flows and utterly frustrating when it doesn’t.
Third, that I pour a lot of who I am in my characters. They might be very different from me, but there’s always a crucial aspect about them that is a reflection of an aspect of my own persona. Sometimes, I don’t see it right away and it’s only on the umpteenth reread that it jumps at me, but it’s always there.
RW: Describe your book in one word.
RW: Where can we get your book now?
CYRIL: At this moment it’s available at Amazon for Kindle.
RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?
RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.
CYRIL: Since I enjoy writing in various styles and in different genres, flexibility would be important in an agent. Also, given my attachment to well written sentences, one who is ruthless when it comes to editing would be a definite plus. And of course someone who would know how to get my work in the right hands both publisher-wise and to reader-wise.
The story takes place in Austin, TX, and follows Barrett, a scientist and wannabe writer, and, Pete, the protagonist of Barrett’s first novel. In it I explore love, lust, and the effect childhood experiences have on intimate relationships. It’s a raw, sometimes graphic work, that’s very different from my first novel. I’m six chapters short of being done, so I hope to have it out by beginning 2015.
RW: What book are you reading at this time?
CYRIL: I’m between two books from authors new to me: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (a friend’s recommendation) and Death’s Hand by SM Reine (a random internet freebie find)
RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?
CYRIL: Hmmm, I’m self-published so that’s very different from being traditionally published but I think having a good story and a tight manuscript trimmed of all the excess fat and well edited is definitely a good starting point either way.
RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?
CYRIL: Hands down Report to Greco (or Letter to Greco in French) by Nikos Kazantzakis. An amazing book, beautifully written, deep and thought provoking. Ha! What a life that man lived, so much fire, unyielding in the face of the void, deeply spiritual in the most life-affirming way. One can only hope to live half a life such as his.
Thank you Cyril for this interview. I encourage all to get a copy of The WorldMight, as I have my own as well, and no I had it long after my first interview with Cyril. For that interview click here. It has much more detail about many things you might find interesting, including his original book cover art and book trailer. Also you can see Cyril with his guitar.
Again to purchase a copy of The WorldMight click here.
“Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.”
Alysha Kaye Author of The Waiting Room Interview
Today I’m spotlighting newly published author Alysha Kaye. Her debut novel The Waiting Room was just released at the end of June and we are fortunate to be a part of her tour.
I immediately wanted to be involved with this tour when I saw not only the premise of Alysha’s novel but also the fact that she’s a teacher. This old man holds a fondness for the noble profession.
Alysha received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University and was accepted into Teach America ending up in of all places, Oahu, HI. I am still recovering from that piece of information.
But even Hawaii, where she received her Masters in Education from the University of Hawaii couldn’t keep her from the her home state where she now teaches 7th Grade in Austin.
Now for the interview!
Having read the summary of The Waiting Room, I just had to start off by asking;
RW: Where did the idea for the book come from?Was it some event or what that sparked the idea?
ALYSHA: I had a dream about waiting for my boyfriend after death. I was in a strange room that looked a lot like an airport terminal. I wound up writing him a (very cheesy) poem about it and somehow, that became an entire novel! I just couldn’t get it out of my head.
RW: Alysha, I know from having been in the classroom that free time is rare, even at home. Many people don’t realize the time you have to put into teaching, unless you have a very good system in place. How do you balance teaching and writing, managing the other aspects of your life?
ALYSHA: It’s extremely hard! Teaching is exhausting, especially my lovely middle schoolers haha but I adore them. I try to get all of my lesson planning and grading done at school so that when I come home, my night is free for writing/blogging, and everything else in between.
RW: I know from reading what I’ve written things surprise me in what I learn. What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
ALYSHA: I definitely learned that I am much more of a philosopher than I ever realized! THE WAITING ROOM asks questions that we’ve all wondered–What happens after we die? Do our souls still exist in some way? Can we find our loved ones again? The novel is a romance, but it’s also so much more. It offers various perspectives on the afterlife and welcomes new discussion.
RW: I know I always seem to connect with one particular character the most when I write a novel. What character do you most identify with in your book and why?
ALYSHA: This is hard. I think a lot of myself went into Nina, who is also an English teacher. But Jude, her husband, is extremely sarcastic, which is what I live for!
RW: That makes a lot of sense. You’re the writer, the creator so you do often times end up channeling parts of yourself into the characters. Now for something I know my Friends want to learn. How did you go about being published?
ALYSHA: I decided to self-publish and the experience has been amazing (although difficult). I wanted to get it out as soon as possible since it had already been collecting dust on my laptop for 3 years. I also wanted creative control- which large publishing companies don’t really offer. I used Expert Subjects for editing, cover design, and website design. Then the novel is published through CreateSpace and Amazon.
RW: Alysha, you said the novel collected dust for 3 years. How long did it take you from idea to now for the project?
ALYSHA: I began writing THE WAITING ROOM while interning at Simon & Schuster Publishing in New York. I was so inspired, but also so young! I didn’t finish it until I was out of college, about three years ago. Ever since then, it’s just been sitting patiently in my laptop.
RW: Then it wasn’t an overnight thing. Being that you are an English teacher I just have to ask, are you an outliner or a seat of the pants kind of writer?
ALYSHA: Definitely seat of the pants (although I stress to my students the importance of outlining so shhh!). I loathe editing.
RW: I take gift certificates to all Mexican restaurants for staying quiet. Now I know writing and throwing yourself into a book can take a lot of your time, and the subject matter must have taken some emotional energy as well. How has your family and friends been as far as support during this time? How did they handle your devotion to the project and did they see any changes in you as far as the way you thought about subjects you discuss in the book?
ALYSHA: My family has always thought that I’m a little crazy, I think haha I’m a bit of a black sheep. When I decided to major in Creative Writing they reacted as most families do: “But…what…are you going to DO?” Now that I’ve published, my parents are realizing how serious I am about writing. I understand though–it’s hard to take someone else’s passions and hobbies seriously until they prove that they’re MORE than simply “passions and hobbies”.
RW: What project are you working on now or do you even have the time?
ALYSHA: My energy has been completely devoted to marketing this novel, now that it’s released. However, I hope to start the next one very soon!
RW: Finally, what were/are your go to munchy food and beverage while writing?
ALYSHA: One word and one word only: caffeine. No music, no food, no people…just caffeine of some delicious sort!
It was a great honor to be part of Alysha’s Book Tour. Much appreciation goes out to her for agreeing to let us be involved and answering questions I am sure she’s been asked a million times before. Make sure to watch the Book Trailer for The Waiting Room below.
Get The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye in print or for Kindle here at Amazon.
A list of reviews of The Waiting Room can be found here. But I included two for you that I thought would really make you want to read Alysha Kaye’s novel.
“I love the whole afterlife concept that Alysha Kaye created, because it looks so ‘normal’ and so ‘human’. The Waiting Room is a light, fun reading that comes with great message behind it. I read it like one day. It totally answered my question about true love.”
“I think my final comment is that The Waiting Room built characters that I cared about. I cared about not only Jude and Nina but supporting characters as well. I even cared about the Waiting Room itself and was glad to see how it changed and grew throughout the book. Fantasy lovers, romance lovers, lovers of a thoughtful story – all of these readers will enjoy The Waiting Room. I wish the book success and I hope to read more by Alysha Kaye in the future.”
Robbie is a meek boy in New York City who struggles with the desire to prove himself to his friends, his enemies, and himself. Robbie’s father is a stubborn man determined to teach his son through tough love. When he witnesses Robbie being bullied, he forces his son to face his fears. Robbie is sentenced to a frightening challenge––staying in the basement alone for a night. But what lies in the dark recesses of the basement? Will Robbie make it out alive and well? Will the urban legend about the terrifying creatures that hide in the dark basement prove to be true? And most importantly, will Robbie prove to his friends and his father that he is brave enough to take on the challenge? The Basement is a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, treasure hunts and adventure, and facing fears. It focuses on the small world of one group of preteens and the very real and wondrous challenges they face.
I never expected a book like this from a lady like this. When I first approached Vashti, who I met through her blog, about an interview I wanted to learn more about the author behind The Basement. I still want to learn more but in truth, I want to know about this book and how it came to be and what else this author has planned for us. I’m going to get out of the way of this interview, simply ask the questions and let you meet . . .
RW: Vashti Quiroz-Vega. Love the name. Tell us a little about your ancestry. I am very into history. And your name spins all sorts of imagery through the echoes of my mind. And is there a meaning behind your name?
VASHTI: My first name, Vashti, is Persian in origin and has very little to do with my ancestry, I’m afraid. Vashti is the name of a queen in the old testament of the bible in the book of Esther.
VASHTI: The Basement began as a short story I wrote in high school. I won an award for it and put it away in a box, along with a bunch of other stories. Years later, I came across it. After reading it again and with the encouragement of others, I decided to expand the short story into a novel.
RW: The book is about an 11-year-old boy and his troubles, how did you connect with the character?
VASHTI:I have a brother and two sisters. I’m close to all my siblings, but I grew up especially close to my brother (maybe determined by the fact that I was a tomboy). The Basement is loosely based on memories I have from childhood. The main character, Robbie, was inspired by my brother and my nephew, Joshua.
RW: And the abuse parts?
VASHTI: There has been no abuse in my household, but I did know a child growing up who was verbally and physically abused by a parent. The parent did not try to hide this from anyone. I saw and heard this child being abused on many occasions. This experience and the memory of this child have stayed with me till this day, which is why I tolerate no kind of bullying or abuse of any kind.
An ex-boyfriend once told me that I was a perfect mix of femininity and masculinity because I am feminine and very much a woman, but I am also assertive, straightforward and I love basketball, action movies, UFC and camping.
RW: What did it feel like writing the character of Robbie, the 11 year old boy in the book, as you had to basically become him for periods of time?
VASHTI: When I wrote The Basement, I essentially became an 11-year-old boy. I felt vulnerable––like my life was not in my control. I guess I felt like a child in a scary world.
RW: For those reading who may not be familiar with you can you give an example of an author and perhaps a book that would give them an idea of what this book is like as far as feel and style?
VASHTI: That’s a tough one. Some people have compared my storytelling to that of several other writers, including Stephen King and Anne Rice, who are two of my favorite writers and whose books I have been reading for years. So I don’t doubt that there is some of their influence in my writing, but I believe that I’m developing my own style. Not that I wouldn’t love to write as well as Stephen King and Anne Rice, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet.
RW: Are you a character in The Basement?
VASHTI: Let’s just say that several of the characters in The Basement have some of my personality traits.
RW: Tell us about your writing process. You took a short story and turned it into a full-length novel. How did you go about that?
VASHTI: As I re-read the story, I added, changed and rearranged sentences, and I replaced and deleted words. I had read so many books and learned so much since writing that story in high school that expanding it was not that difficult. Even now, I feel that I have learned so much since publishing The Basement. I guess that’s how it is with writers. We are constantly reading, learning and improving. I feel that my second book, Lilith, will be much better written than my first, and my third book, Dracul, will probably be better written than my second, and so on. That doesn’t mean any of my books are badly written. It just means that as I learn and gain experience, my work will reflect that. I have noticed this when I compare Stephen King’s earlier books with the books he’s written in the last couple of years. But I have always enjoyed all of his books.
RW: Can you walk us through how you went from complete and satisfied manuscript to now available for purchase? Many will be reading this who haven’t gone through it yet, and since you have on a number of occasions, I know I would personally like to hear it from a pro like you.
VASTHI: Wow! You flatter me, Ron. 😉 I’ve actually gone through the entire process only once with my book The Basement. The best advice I can offer anyone who has finished writing a story is to give the finished manuscript to several trusted people and ask for their honest opinions. Then after revisions (if any), hire a professional editor.
RW: Ah, I get the impression you have published several because of how professional everything seems. What other works do you have available and what are you working on presently?
VASHTI: I have written a variety of short stories, from horror and dark fantasy to sci-fi and romance. You can check them out on my blog.
I’m in the final stages of editing my book Lilith. This is a dark fantasy about angels aimed at a young adult/ adult audience. I’m hoping to have it available in early 2015.
RW: Is there a lot of romance in your work or sensuality?
VASHTI: There’s always a little romance because I believe that’s part of life and reality. There’s also some sensuality in my work-in-progress because that’s part of who I am, and that part of my personality comes through in the story.
RW: How understanding are your friends and family when the writing mania takes hold of you?
VASHTI: Some are very understanding, especially other writers because they’ve been there. Others––not so much.
RW: What would be your ideal agent be like to sign with?
VASHTI: I would love an agent who truly enjoys my story. The editor that’s working with me on my second book ‘Lilith’ truly loves the book. It is obvious by her enthusiasm, the comments she’s made and the questions that she’s asked me. It makes a difference when the agent loves the genre and story. Also, an agent that is hardworking and self motivated is great. One that will stop at nothing to get you the best deal possible for your book. I would love to get into one of the big publishing houses.
RW: Now for a few fun and trivial questions. What’s your go to beverage while writing?
VASHTI: Water. I know you’re thinking, “boring,” but I prefer to be sharp and focused when I write. Being well-hydrated does that for me. I don’t drink much coffee, beer makes me bloat like a blowfish, wine puts me to sleep, margaritas and rum are fun, but put me in the wrong frame of mind, and I get distracted easily. So while I’m writing, it’s water for me.
RW: What is your escape from writing when you need that break before burnout happens?
VASHTI: Reading, cooking, baking, hiking, kayaking, getting together with family and friends, watching one of my favorite shows on TV (Criminal Minds, Law and Order, Castle, Modern Family . . .) or going to the cinema, playing with my dog, and other things I shouldn’t mention––not necessarily in that order.
RW: And finally, as a writer, what is your favorite word and why?
VASHTI: Wow! There are several words I love, but the first word that comes to mind is “Dulcet.” Why? Because it’s a beautiful word, I enjoy pronouncing it and writing it down. Meaning: 1: sweet to the taste 2: pleasing to the ear 3: generally pleasing or agreeable.
Thank you, Ronovan, for inviting me as a guest author to your awesome blog. I appreciate you.
I want to thank Vashti for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. And I hope she comes back when her next book is due out.
Her various contact information appeared in some links throughout the interview but I am putting them all here together so you can follow her everywhere. Also here are some some fan art of her and one of her characters from The Basement, Natasha. Don’t worry, she won’t mind, I already do and if she will let me follower her she’ll let you too. And we are all about supporting each other here, right?