Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview Fallen Star Dust

Have you been writing for a long time?

My writing journey started in middle school with the power of poetry.  I was a very shy child, so much so that I had trouble verbally expressing my feelings, but I also had an overactive imagination that wanted to be shared. I did a unit in eighth grade on poets with a grand teacher and it opened up a genre I was not familiar with, one that I used to start getting my feelings out and learn the thrill of creating something with merely my mind, heart, a pencil, and notebook. My first collection, A Sweet, Little Dream, my stepping stone, has my poems, short stories, and more that I crafted in middle school and high school. Fallen Star Dust, the book for this tour, is my second collection, focusing on my college and first few years in education works.

Professionally, my first book, Spirit Vision, was published over four years ago on my mom’s birthday on December 17th, 2013, but I started writing on it as a freshman in high school.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I had one loud, over the top, challenging language arts teacher: Mr. Banger that began this whole ordeal. He would go into rants so passionate that his bald head would turn red.  He was not afraid to talk straight with us and he was tough on his grading.  One day, out of the blue, for that was how he rolled, he declared he was going to write a book. We dismissed it, like several of his other declarations. He came to me and told me, “You would be a fantastic book character for my novel Straughan!” I laughed at this after I jumped out of my seat, but his eyes were so bold, so bright, so full of sincere honesty that it triggered the question in me: “If he can write a book…Why can’t I?” He still supports my dreams to this day as a dear friend and I go to speak to his classes every year to show every student they have a light, a talent to share, and to never give up: Mr. Banger and I believe in them.

It took me four years to complete my manuscript and four to find a publishing company. I received 40 rejections before I got my yes with Paper Crane Books. I never gave up for I wanted to hold this precious work, with the characters I cherished like children, in my hands.

Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?

Fallen Star Dust is a collection of poems, short stories, scripts, essays, and other literary works, so it is stand-alone. However, it is the second I have ever compiled and I plan to compile a third one in two or three years.

I do have a young adult paranormal mystery series, Spirit Vision, that is on its third book. I plan to do six in all.

Why did you choose this genre?

I wanted to share another collection to show my readers how I have grown as a writer from my first collection, A Sweet, Little Dream.  Working as a teacher, I never want my students to give up on their dreams, no matter how far out of reach they seem. These collections are made with that in mind. I never imagined I could be a professional author as a teenager, but I wanted to be.  I am so glad I saved these first works, these writing that helped the timid by voice me express myself and fuel my imagination.  You never know what could happen, so save and treasure your dreams. Plus, I like seeing how my writings have changed to fit different situations, and take trips down memory lane.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Never give up and know that someone always believes in you: me.  I have so many people who support me and their strength shines within me, a light I want to give back to others. Do research and find author groups.  I am in one and it is one of the best therapies I have in my life.

If you do not know what to write, write about what you know, what you love, and let your pen or typing fingers fly. You will be surprised the story you will share, the one always inside you.

About the Book

Title: Fallen Star Dust

Author: Morgan Straughan Comnick

Genre: Collection (Poetry, Short Stories, and more)

When I reached the point where adult life began to make its presence known right after high school graduation, I looked to the sky. I hoped to see a shooting star that would light my way and I wished that it would leave a trail of star dust behind to remind myself to stay young at heart. Thanks to writing, the enchantment of youth has never left me. In the next chapter of my life, I began college to follow my dream of being an educator. I developed my career, found out who I was an independent being, stopped hiding my passions, figured out my role in my lifelong relationship with my now-husband, and realized that it was okay to question the world. There was darkness that needed to be seen as well as the light. The poems, short stories, scripts, essays, and other works in this second collection are my everything: the shoulders I cried on, my joys, my bravery when the road became too twisty or too safe. It led me to a waterfall of creativity. That fallen star dust gave me the drive to become who I am today: a teacher, an author, a nerd, and a person of morals, love, and magic.

 

Author Bio

Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

For more information about Morgan and her works, check out her website, which also have links to all her social medias: http://morganscomnick.com.

 

Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Youtube

Amazon

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Author Interview The Hooligans of Kandahar

Have you been writing for a long time?

I’ve probably been writing since I in 6th grade. Short little stories about nothing, mostly because I was busy not paying attention in class.

 

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I wish I had a good answer to that. I always wanted to be a writer, but to me it sounded like a pipe dream. It reminds me of that scene in Step Brothers when the Dad is told “Stop being a dinosaur and get a job!” Because of how dumb it sounded that someone would actually pay me real currency that they worked for to read what my stupid fingers typed on a laptop.

Is this book a stand-alone, or are you planning a sequel?

Due to the subject of my book and the fact I am no longer a Soldier, a sequel seems unlikely.

What was the most challenging part about writing down your story?

Doing the story, and my fellow soldiers justice all while staying painfully honest with the subject matter. It didnt make a lot of people happy when they read accounts of their actions several years later.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Go for it. A lot of people are going to tell you you’re stupid for wanting to try to make a living doing this. But the guy from Stepbrothers is right: don’t let them steal your dinosaur.

 

About the Book

Title: The Hooligans of Kandahar

Author: Joseph Kassabian

Genre: Nonfiction / War Memoir

During the peak years of the Afghanistan War, a group of soldiers is dropped by helicopter into the remote mountains outside of Kandahar City. Mismanaged and overlooked by command, how they survive is largely up to them. In the birthplace of the Taliban, some men lose their sanity, others their humanity. They are The Hooligans.

Written in the months and years following his deployment, Joseph Kassabian recounts his time in the isolated and dangerous country of Afghanistan. Pulling no punches, The Hooligans of Kandahar is a sobering, saddening, and often sarcastic first-hand account of America’s War on Terror.

 

Links

Amazon (eBook)

Amazon (Paperback)

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Author Interview The Visitor

Have you been writing for a long time?

I wrote my first book in 1999

 

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I love telling stories.

 

Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?

Both The Visitor and Ernie and the Evils of Insurance are stand alone

 

Why did you choose this genre?

The Visitor was a super challenge in that I actually found out how to create a race-specific Ebola and it is explained in the story, as incredible as that may seem. The book has SI FI aspects, but that part is very real.

 

Ernie and the Evils of Insurance is based on actual cases that I had as a lawyer.  It was easy to incorporate them

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

No

About the Book

Title: The Visitor

Author: Brent Ayscough

Genre: Science Fiction

Tasked by the Federation of Planets to determine if Earthlings present a threat as they venture into space, Tak, an alien anthropologist, leaves her starship orbiting Earth and takes a shuttle to Kansas. Intending to study humans in the United States—as she has learned no Earth language but English—she is detected while descending through the atmosphere and only evades capture by fleeing to Europe, where she lands in Poland. There, she meets an international arms merchant, Baron Von Limbach, who becomes her guide. She studies “typical” human behavior by accompanying the baron as he fulfills his latest assignment—to get the Dalai Lama back into Tibet. His method of halting the communist takeover of Tibet is to create a race-specific Ebola that will only attack Han Chinese, giving Tak a prime example of how barbaric humans can be. However, the CIA and US military are aware of Tak’s presence on Earth and are determined to capture her. And if she is unable to complete her mission and return to her starship—her captain will destroy every living thing on Earth.

 

Author Bio

Brent Ayscough or Ace, as he is known to friends, retired from the practice of law and lives in a house overlooking the sea in Southern California. He has always loved machines, from airplanes to motorcycles, structural design, and other interests. He has enjoyed the acquaintance of diverse and interesting people, and is widely traveled. Bits and pieces of characters he has known, places he has been, seasoned with the spice of his imagination, help him create unusual stories and characters. Extensive collaboration with experts and sources, hopefully, make his stories credible and interesting.

Links

The Visitor on Amazon (Kindle)

The Visitor on Amazon (Paperback)

The Visitor on Goodreads

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Author Interview Sweet Tales

About the Book

Title: Sweet Tales

Author: Laurie Hyman

Genre: Children’s Books

The Adventures of Brittany and Lace, the second book in the Sweet Tales series, is the perfect chapter book or read-out-loud book for animal lovers of all ages! Told from the animals’ point of view, these three charming stories center around Britt the Kit, now a grown-up tabby cat, and a special litter of rescued kittens—Lace, our new co-star destined to be Brittany’s new sister, Coco, who needs a home, Scamp and Willa. Exploring universal themes, with lots of trouble and adventure in between, each story is resolved with determination, love, and understanding. When needed, humans help, along with a colorful group of animal friends. An enjoyable book for the entire family – or anyone who enjoys a good tale!

“An educational adventure story for young animal lovers that delivers justice where it’s deserved.” -Kirkus Reviews

”The overall sense of caring, community, and responsibility for others is palpable throughout.”
–Kirkus Reviews

Cover Credits

Original Art: Belinda DelPesco

Cover Design: Heather Wood

 

Author Bio

“Writing is my creative outlet,” says Laurie Hyman, author of Sweet Tales: The Adventures of Brittany and Lace.  The children’s series is written from the perspectives of cats, dogs, horses, woodchucks, coyotes, squirrels, crows and various other animals.  The stories explore universal themes such as family, friends, bullying, animal cruelty, abandonment and rescue, and the environment.  These books will appeal to readers of all ages, says Laurie, who comes from a creative family.  Her father was a writer and her brother, David Saperstein, wrote the novel on which the hit movie, Cocoon was based.

But her creativity doesn’t begin and end with books.  Laurie has extensive experience representing recording artists such as Barry Manilow and working as a producer and program coordinator for film, television, music and video companies.  She was assistant producer on Nurse, the acclaimed 1981 CBS network drama starring Michael Learned and Robert Reed.  Laurie also associate produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Coming Out of Their Shells, a documentary about the making of the live musical tour based on the hit movies and TV series.

Laurie Hyman is passionate about the creative process, which she finds fascinating and fulfilling.  She has also worked extensively as a senior health care advocate and she developed the Health Navigator Program for ReServe Inc. where she supervised several volunteers for NYC hospitals.  She also volunteered as an advocate for the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, and MRC (Medicare Rights Center) in health care and senior care advocacy.  She currently lives in New York State with her husband Micky and their two cats Maggie and Lily.

Connect with Laurie: www.redskypresents.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Author Interview Spoonful Chronicles Blog Tour

Have you been writing a long time?

The year was 2003, and the US was bombing Iraq, yet again, my employer sent me to Washington DC to attend a work related conference. The irony of sending an Iraqi to the capital city of the US at that particular time escaped my boss. My state of distress was well disguised under the polished veneer of a professional. Smile. Shake hands. Exchange business cards. Give happy presentations. In the evenings I aimlessly wandered the streets like a wraith searching for physical embodiment to pour my despair into. It was a Jekyll and Hyde state. Peppy mornings followed by languid remains of a day. On one of these phantom walks, a sharp pain pierced through my left knee. This was unusual. I am an avid placer of one foot in front of the other in perpetual pursuit of motion. Ache was a new sensation for a most favored of activities. My feet screamed of treason and proceeded to disobey orders. My back side pleaded for a merciful sitting position. “You guys are not team players” I rolled my eyes exasperated by uncooperative body parts. I walked into the art gallery to my right hoping to find a chair to sit. That is the story of how my physical representation was placed in the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. As soon as I walked in, the bodily insurrection stopped. “Hey what is going on?” I looked quizzically at my left knee. The knee shrugged its shoulders to indicate ignorance “Don’t look at me. I have no idea what is going on”. My feet stopped complaining and resumed their obeying. Inside, I saw the Peacock Room by James Whistler. A dining room where everything from the ceiling, walls, carpets and fixtures was designed by the artist. A fusion of the east and west. A melding of harmony and discord. Beautiful in an ugly way. Delightful in a – “I am going to assault you and peck your eyes out so that you will see how delightful I am” way. It is one thing to look at a painting and a different thing to be enveloped inside a work of art. Something inside my DNA changed. “If I could create something, anything, so striking I will die a happy woman” the thought popped into my mind as I walked away.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

The next morning when I woke up I heard the voice of a fictional character called Nelly whispering in my ear commanding me to write her story. That is how I wrote my first novel. I made a video about how I become I writer. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/fTjbcbM6Y3Y

Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?
My book is a stand-alone story. All self contained within itself.

Why did you choose this genre?
I don’t choose what to write. It chooses me.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write with no purpose. Let your writing be the kind that serves no function. Stop trying to change anybody’s perspectives, don’t impress anybody. When the inner critic raises his harsh voice with “You are stupid, you have nothing to say, everything you write is garbage”. Tell him: “You are right! but I will write anyway for the pure joy of it”. Write because you love it. It comes from a place of delight. If others find value in it, then that is a huge blessing. If no accolades come then that is a huge blessing as well. The reward is in the doing of it. And that can’t be taken away.

About the Book

Title: Spoonful Chronicles

Author: Elen Ghulam

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Thaniya Rasid grew up in the Middle East dreaming of becoming a surgeon. Now living an ordinary life as a mother, wife and a hospital lab tech in Vancouver, Canada, she garners unexpected fame as youTube’s Queen of Hummus when her video demonstrating the recipe goes viral. How could blending chickpeas in a food processor generate so much excitement? And how could her life have ended up so far away from all her expectations?

To make sense of the unlikely events that have brought her to this place, Thaniya turns to food, curating memorable eating experiences of her life, searching for clues. Between her childhood aversion to cucumbers, her search for an authentic Iraqi kubeh in the city of Jerusalem, her 10-year tomato wars with her husband Samih, a mood altering encounter with a blood pudding in Edinburgh, and a Kafkaesque nightmare involving a cauliflower, Thaniya unravels repeated patterns occurring in her life. The secrets of love, friendship and destiny hidden in her cauldron of mishmashed cultures begin to reveal themselves.

Between lust and disgust there is a thin line. Spoonful Chronicles is the beguiling story of one woman taking hold of her fate by uncovering the clandestine geography of this divide in her heart.

 

 

Author Bio

My name is Elen. I am an Iraqi-Canadian. Please allow me to tell you a story of a curios event that happened to me. I was a perfectly happy computer programmer doing the nerdy stuff that computer programmers do. You know! Geeky stuff. Like the normal stuff that an Iraqi-Canadian would do if they worked as a computer programmer. When one day, out of nowhere, the inspiration to write hit me over the head. It came at me fast and furious and turned my life topsy turvy. I was always an avid reader. Ok I was a bookish geek. But the idea that I would try to write never even occurred to me, until the violent incident with the muse. Since then I have published a memoir called “Don’t Shoot! … I Have Another Story to Tell You“. Which Was followed by a novel called Graffiti Hack. That one tells the story of a hacker who installs lavish graphical designs on commercial websites. Imagine the trouble she gets in? Well I had to. I was writing the story, so I had to imagine every last bit. A third novel is on it way. I don’t know where all these ideas come from, they just pop in my head and I write them down. In addition to writing, I am a flamenco dancer, I enjoy painting and I love to cook. Somehow all these activities inspire each other.

I am a married mother of three, living in a pink house in Vancouver BC. Really I just love telling stories and I love listening to stories.

Links

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Youtube

Get your copy from Amazon

 

1 Comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Author Interview K My Name is Kendra

Have you been writing for a long time?

If you count my very first book report in elementary school…then YES! In all serious, though, as I go through this journey with my new book, I’m remembering little things that brought me to this time in my life. Writing book reports and papers—every assignment and every little teacher’s note in the margins of my notebook paper—helped shape me as a writer, which I’ve officially been since the publication of my first book in 2000.

 

What inspired you to start a writing career?

Reading! My love of books and words and the art of storytelling. I was an avid reader, and fortunately, I eventually discovered that I could also write and tell my own stories. But it all began with my love of reading, which is why I’m so happy when I meet young readers. Who knows how many of them will grace us with beautiful tales in the years to come?

 

Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?

It was originally penned as a stand-alone, though I have decided to write a sequel. And if at the end of that book I realize there is still more story to tell, then I will write a third book. I think I have to let Kendra decide when she’s ready to stop telling her story.

 

Why did you choose this genre?

I actually did not choose the YA genre. In this instance, it chose me! I set out to tell a story that needed to be told. As I think about it now, I suppose it could’ve been written from the point of view of one of the adult characters. The Miss Wilson character, for instance, could’ve been the main character, and the book could’ve focused on her life and how she—among many other things happening in her world—helps a teen girl named Kendra, who is in crisis. The tone and voice of the story would’ve been entirely different, and the conversations would’ve been more grown up and perhaps not as appealing to—or as appropriate for—younger readers. But Kendra wanted to tell her own story in her own voice. And while her words do appeal to plenty of adults, she’s really talking to teens and young adults.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into being any one type of writer. Tell the stories you want to tell, whatever the genre. Just tell them authentically, and tell them well.

About the Book

Title: K My Name is Kendra

Author: Kamichi Jackson

Genre: Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity uncle with questionable intentions. Things take a particular turn for the worse when that uncle exploits Kendra’s loneliness and untreated depression and makes a move on her that sends her world into a tailspin from which she’s not sure she’ll ever recover. Will she survive this tragedy…or will she hit rock-bottom before anyone even notices?

 

Author Bio

In addition to K My Name Is Kendra, Kamichi Jackson is the author of an eBook entitled Where Present Meets Past (originally available as part of the now-defunct Amazon Shorts Program), the middle reader book You’re Too Much, Reggie Brown, a forthcoming adult novel entitled The Brownstone, two unproduced screenplays, and several short stories. KJ has made numerous appearances in support of her work, among them the Baltimore Book Festival. When not writing, Kamichi is likely off somewhere singing karaoke. The South Norwalk, Connecticut native currently resides in Northern Virginia with family.

 

Links

Website

Goodreads

Buy on Amazon (Paperback)

Buy on Amazon (Kindle)

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Author Interview When Blood Reigns

bloodreignsbanner

Have you been writing for a long time?

I’ve been writing in earnest since the summer of 1990, after my mother’s death. Around 2004, I became the owner of Night to Dawn Magazine and later converted it into a micro-press for other authors.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I took my mother’s death hard, and my college instructor suggested that try journalizing and writing short stories to work past the grief. I decided to try horror. At the time, I was making an avocation of reading Stephen King books, and I began asking myself and speculating: could I write something like that? So I began with short stories and migrated onto books. In most of my works, the protag has had to struggle with grief over the loss of a parent.

Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?

When Blood Reigns is the second book in a series. Steel Rose is the first, which starts out with Alexis and Yeron working at Jackson Hospital. Yeron, a Kryszka refugee, is hoping to practice medicine on humans that fear him. The break-ins by zombies and Kryszka renegades are getting underway, but severe arthritis leaves Alexis too weak to handle most guns. Yeron works on a formula to help contain her symptoms and becomes attracted to her.  Meantime the zombies that finally break into their hospital are hungry. Very hungry. Alexis wonders how she will fight them.

I am drafting a third book for the series, but I’m keeping the plotline under wraps until I have it more developed.

Why did you choose this genre?

Stephen King aside, my background led me to choose horror / dark fantasy/science fiction. Back in high school in the 1970s, as I’ve told people, I weaned on Dracula and Dark Shadows, and enjoyed a good horror or science fiction flick. However, my dance with horror began in 1964, during a trip to Atlantic City, when I faced a billboard that read, “See live 1000-year-old woman.” I didn’t understand until after I’d been badly frightened that the pavilion housed a mummified skeleton. The mummy’s parchment dry skin hugged her bones. Not a shred of fat or muscle. Afterward, my skeleton terror accompanied me everywhere I went. I told my instructor who helped me work through my grief about the mummy incident, and she encouraged me to channel my fear into a horror fiction tale. You’ll find plenty of skeletons in Steel Rose and When Blood Reigns.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I would encourage them to find a good writers’ group. It could be one that offers critiques by other members or one where you get an opportunity to discuss the business side of writing. Preferably both kinds. If doable, a new author should consider a class in creative writing and engage the services of a developmental editor before sending work to a publisher or self-publishing.  If there are any holes in the plotline, a good editor will catch them, and you can apply the things you learn to future works.

About the Book

whenbloodreigns_300dpi_printTitle: When Blood Reigns

Author: Barbara Custer

Genre: Horror / Science Fiction

Marked for death, Alexis accompanies her lover, Yeron, and four survivors of a zombie invasion on a search for the renegades who created a chemical that induces a zombie-like state. On the way, ravenous flesh-eaters attack Alexis’s team; one survivor turns on her. She realizes too late that the renegades have been tracking her every move. When officials capture her, she becomes deathly ill. Can DNA splicing save her? Will Yeron’s attempts at rescue jeopardize all their lives?

Author Bio

whenbloodreignsauthorphotoBarbara lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works full time as a respiratory therapist. When she’s not working with her patients, she’s enjoying a fright flick or working on horror and science fiction tales. She’s published Night to Dawn magazine since 2004.

Other books by Barbara include Twilight Healer, City of Brotherly Death, Infinite Sight, and Steel Rose; also novellas Close Liaisons and Life Raft: Earth. She enjoys bringing her medical background to the printed page, and then blending it with supernatural horror. She maintains a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and The Writers Coffeehouse forum. Look for the photos with the Mylar balloons, and you’ll find her.

To contact her, e-mail her at barbaracuster@hotmail.com.

Visit her at:

Website

Facebook

Linkedin

Twitter

Links

Amazon

Book Trailer

1 Comment

Filed under Author Interviews