Author Interview Crystal and Flint

Author Interview

1) How do you plot novels? Do you outline?

I don’t do a lot of planning for the first draft. I’ll have a general idea of what the story is about and maybe a few key moments, but that’s it. I use the first draft to figure out the story. Then for every other draft I make a detailed scene list that go into depth on what happens in the scene, who’s involved, what’s the purpose of the scene and so on. I even go so far as to color code it each scene depending on how much work needs to be done anything from minor changes, to doing a complete rewrite, or even adding in missing scenes. So, by the time I’m done, I end up with this massive multi-tab spreadsheet that really lets me see how the story has evolved and changed with each draft.

2) Do you write in one genre, or multiple genres?

I’m finding that most of my story ideas fall nicely in the science fiction genre. Not to say that I won’t ever write in another genre, but for now I’m sticking with science fiction. Where I can see myself changing things up is changing from Adult to Young Adult depending on the story.

3) What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I actually really like editing. I really enjoy problem solving and the editing phase really lets me do that with my stories. I enjoy going through rough first draft and figuring out the scenes that are missing or where a character’s motivation isn’t right and figuring out what I change to fix it. It’s kind of like a big game for me when I get that point and I love finding a way to fit all the pieces together perfectly.

4) What is your dream as an author?

I would love to have someone write fanfiction based off of my books. To have someone so invested in the characters I’ve created that they want to write their own story with them, or to love the world I’ve created so much they want to write themselves in a character. That would be such an awesome feeling. I want to see all the crazy relationship mash ups, I want to see Crystal go bad and join Teria, or Ryan be redeemed. All the things that I can’t do because I know how the story needs to work. I want my readers to take it and make it their own. That’s when I’d know I’d made it.

5) What would you like your readers to take away from your story?

I want my readers to walk away feeling empowered to be who they are without hiding any part of themselves. Crystal and Desi are both strong females in what are traditionally male roles but no one even bats an eye at it. They are simply the most qualified person for their jobs. On the other side of things some of my most sensitive characters are the men but that doesn’t take away from their ability to fight when they need to. It’s really about embracing yourself regardless of what people think you should be.

6) What are your strong points when it comes to writing? What are your weak points?

My weakest point is descriptions. In fact, most of my first drafts skip over all descriptions completely and then I have to go back in the next draft and really make an effort to add all that in. I think to think my strongest point is my dialogue, at least that’s the part that comes the easiest to me.

7) Are you working on something at the moment?

I’m currently working on finishing up book 2 in The Journey Missions series, Family Binds so that I can get it to my editor and release it this summer. Once that’s done, I’ll jump right into editing book 3, Thicker Than Blood. I also have an unrelated project I’ve been working on off and on about eco terrorism called Cleansing Rain.

About the Book

Title: Crystal and Flint

Author: Holly Ash

Genre: Science Fiction

It’s been 300 years since humans arrived on Neophia and the planet’s intelligent species have yet to agree on how much influence humans and their advanced technology should have on the planet.  With the threat of war hanging in the air, Lieutenant Commander Crystal Wolf races to finish construction of the mega submarine, Journey, in order to calm political tensions on Neophia and cement her already stellar military career.

Lieutenant Desiree Flint never dreamed she would leave Earth to serve on Neophia, but with the end of her military career in sight she doesn’t see a way around it. Determined to rebuild her reputation on Neophia, no matter the cost, she sets her sights on dethroning Commander Wolf in order to prove her own superiority.

When Journey is attacked by someone from Crystal’s past, the two women must find a way to work together to save the ship, liberate an underwater colony from an oppressive government, and prevent a war.

 

 

Author Bio

Holly Ash is the author of the underwater science fiction series The Journey Missions. She has worked for the last ten years as an Environmental Engineer after receiving degrees in Environmental Science and English Literature from Central Michigan University. Holly lives in the metro Detroit area with her husband and two tiny people who constantly want her to do things for them.

Holly is also a member of The Cabin in the Woods Association of writers which works to help indie authors get their books seen.

facebook.com/hollyashwriter

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Twitter: @hollyash85

 

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Book Review The Sanctity of Sloth

Title: The Sanctity of Sloth

Author: Greta Boris

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Series: The Seven Deadly Sins

Purchase: Amazon

There’s one thing more dangerous than testifying to a crime—staying silent.

Locked in the ruins of a California Mission, Abby Travers watches helplessly as a girl dies outside her window. As she struggles between her moral obligation to come forward as a witness, and her commitment to a Medieval religious practice that requires her to retreat from the world, the situation spins out of control.
Abby’s hesitation starts a series of catastrophes. She finds herself at the center of a deadly cover up where every minute counts and indecision could be fatal. She questions all her beliefs and everyone she knows becomes suspect. To save herself and those she loves, she must break free from her self-imposed prisons of stone and fear.
The Sanctity of Sloth is a taut, psychological thriller that answers the question: What happens when a good woman does nothing? Fans of Paula Hawkins and A.J. Finn will enjoy this third book in Greta Boris’s Seven Deadly Sins Series.
I’m a huge fan of mysteries that have somewhat different premises: not your typical, run-down-the-mill ‘someone was murdered and a lonely detective haunted by the past has to solve it’. And I did get that here, from “The Sanctity of Sloth”. The premise is unique: Abby Travers is lonely and haunted by the past, but she’s not a detective, she’s a regular person. And Abby struggles with her moral obligations and her commitments, and her choices has disastrous consequences. The other spins an excellent tale, with clever writing and an insightful way of creating characters that are quirky yet realistic. I felt sorry for Abby, I felt along with Abby, and even more importantly, I felt a connection with her; and it’s a great feat when an author can pull that off.

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Release Blitz Dreams Illuminate

About the Book

Title: Dreams Illuminate

Author: Michelle Iden and Emerson Miller

Genre: Middle Grade Urban Fantasy Mystery

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” –Albert Einstein

What could possibly be happening to Emerson Hill? When she touches an index card, the first color in a rainbow (red)—she’s whisked away to another domain–and given a glimpse of her first dream illuminating. She finds herself in a very hot desert having fun sand-boarding.

This mystery unfolds within a three year period. Emerson gets six more exploding dreams and experiences that coordinate with the other colors of the rainbow. Emerson has headaches from keeping her secret. She’s afraid to tell her parents that secret because they might commit her to a psych facility. She finally lets her best friend, Morgann Stone know what’s going on.

A mystical creature named Mondulalore follows and records Emerson’s movements without her knowledge. He’s able to make himself invisible with a touch of a button. And at times morphs into a human. He reports to his bosses, King London Dolloway and Queen Cortex Dolloway of the Kingdom Galen which is perched on a faraway planet, Bamore. This planet is unknown to the whole world.

Time’s ticking as EM and Morgann attempt to solve this mysterious force. They research sixteen areas, such as, witches, domains, realms, planets, telepathy, etc., to help them uncover clues of these unexplained events.

In the end, Emerson, now a junior in high school is faced with a difficult choice. Will she keep living her present life or forever have her entire past erased from memory to be handed a bright future? Which one will she pick? Which one would you select?

This electrifying, jaw-dropping urban fantasy mystery will bedazzle you. Get reading. Join Emerson on her journey of magic, excitement, fear, and mystery.

 

 

Author Bio

Michelle Iden is a retired counselor. She is published in her area of academia. She penned her first fiction novel, Emma Beware, Book One in her YA suspense series. Book Two, Clara Beware soon followed. She is currently working on the final book in the series, Helen Beware.

Michelle loves God. She likes spending time with family and her two grand-daughters, traveling, writing, reading, researching, cooking healthy dishes and working out.

Emerson Miller lives in the Midwest and attends middle school. She lives with her parents and two cats. She likes to dance, hang-out with friends, travel, bake, camp, run, read and write.

 

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Book Excerpt The Sanctity of Sloth

Book Excerpt

The person, if it was a person—it could have been a large dog, she hadnʹt gotten a good look—lay unmoving where theyʹd left it. Her heart thudded in her chest. What should she do?

     Abby couldnʹt leave her cell. Not without help. Her father had wanted to give her an escape hatch, but sheʹd said no. The experience had to be as realistic as possible.If she could come and go whenever she wanted, it would defeat the whole purpose. But sheʹd never imagined something like this would happen.

     Guilt and anxiety itched like a hair shirt. What on earth had possessed her to take six weeks off work to lock herself in these four walls? She hadn’t anticipated this feeling of helplessness. She’d only thought about the peace solitude can bring and her publishing goals, of course. She pushed herself off the stones, walked five steps to the other end of her enclosure, pivoted, and took five steps back. Repeat. Repeat.

 

About the Book

Title: The Sanctity of Sloth

Author: Greta Boris

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Series: The Seven Deadly Sins

There’s one thing more dangerous than testifying to a crime—staying silent.
Locked in the ruins of a California Mission, Abby Travers watches helplessly as a girl dies outside her window. As she struggles between her moral obligation to come forward as a witness, and her commitment to a Medieval religious practice that requires her to retreat from the world, the situation spins out of control.
Abby’s hesitation starts a series of catastrophes. She finds herself at the center of a deadly cover up where every minute counts and indecision could be fatal. She questions all her beliefs and everyone she knows becomes suspect. To save herself and those she loves, she must break free from her self-imposed prisons of stone and fear.
The Sanctity of Sloth is a taut, psychological thriller that answers the question: What happens when a good woman does nothing? Fans of Paula Hawkins and A.J. Finn will enjoy this third book in Greta Boris’s Seven Deadly Sins Series.

 

Purchase from Amazon

Author Bio

Greta Boris was raised in Greenwich Village, New York by an opera singing, piano playing, voice coach and a magazine publisher. Her original life plan was to be a famous Broadway actor, singer, and dancer, but when she moved to Laguna Beach, California, she changed her plans due to the commute. Today she writes to inspire, entertain, motivate, and so she can afford nice wine.

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Book Review: The Sacred Artifact

Title: The Sacred Artifacts

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

 

Review: This book reminded me of my childhood, and the countless fantasy novels I devoured day and night! It has an old-charm feel, reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series, and the classics of C.S. Lewis. Readers are transported through time and space to a world filled with alchemy, fantasy, numerous dangers, and characters you can root for and feel a real connection with.

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Author Interview The Sacred Artifact

Author Interview

1)     What inspired you to start a writing career?

Growing up, I was always an avid reader. I was the kid reading books under the covers by flashlight instead of going to bed. When I studied English in college, I was intrigued by the authors’ different approaches to writing and grew interested in the actual writing process in addition to the final product.

 During a summer class, I was daydreaming and had this mental image of a guy watching his house burn down. The mental image prompted many questions. I started jotting down ideas in a notebook throughout the class. Eventually, I had enough ideas to have an outline. I felt at that point I might as well try to write a full novel, which I finished in two years. I fell in love with the writing process, and although the novel was never published, it instilled a love of writing in me.

2)     Is your book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series?

My new middle grade fantasy, “The Sacred Artifact,” is the second and final book in the Young Alchemist series. The first book in the series is “The Missing Alchemist.” In the first book, I introduced readers to student alchemist Craig Pike, his archer friend, Audrey Clife, and the world of the Young Alchemist series. In “The Sacred Artifact,” I get to really develop the world and dive deeper into the story. Readers also learn a lot more about the history of alchemy. The even get to see where Cornelius, Craig’s teacher, trained!

3)     How does your book stand out from others?

“The Sacred Artifact” is a middle grade fantasy novel aimed at ages 10 to 14. The genre is quite eclectic, ranging from A Series of Unfortunate Events to the Percy Jackson series. I love the genre, and I think each book offers something different. My series, the Young Alchemist series, is geared toward young readers who enjoy fantasy with lots of action and adventure.

The Young Alchemist series is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time kicking into gear. That said, there is plenty of world building and character development, and I spend a fair amount of time ironing out my flavor of alchemy in the series. At the end of the day, I want the fantasy elements to augment the core of the story – the plot – rather than be the most central part. The characters are quite diverse, coming from a variety of backgrounds and motivations, so I think all readers will find someone they can root for and relate to.

4)     Are any of your characters based on real-life people?

I certainly draw inspiration from people I know in real life, and there are characters that have a lot in common with people I know. But there aren’t any exact replicas of people from my life in the Young Alchemist series. It’s not that I’m against basing characters on real-life people; it just didn’t pan out that way.

 5) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

 If your goal is to improve as writer, then read a lot and write a lot. If each book you write is better than the previous one, you’re succeeding. Don’t get bogged down with whether your book sold 100 copies or 10,000 copies. Just focus on continuously growing as a writer.

About the Book

Title: The Sacred Artifacts

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

 

Author Bio

Children’s book author Caldric Blackwell first realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten. From that point on, he was nearly inseparable from books.

His interest in reading culminated in him studying English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Exposure to a host of great authors inspired him to begin writing fiction and started his journey to becoming a children’s book author. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he was drawn to the whimsical, imaginative nature of children’s literature and began working on his first book for children.

Blackwell’s debut work is an adventure-filled early chapter book, titled “The Enchanted River Race,” which follows a team of children as they compete in a river race. His next release is the beautifully illustrated picture book “The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf,” which revolves around a young werewolf who is self-conscious about his inability to howl.

His most recent work is the two-part Young Alchemist series, which is targeted at a middle grade audience. The first book in the series, “The Missing Alchemist,” follows alchemy student Craig Pike and clever archer Audrey Clife as they travel across mysterious lands and battle other-worldly creatures in a quest to rescue a famous alchemist. The second book in the series, “The Sacred Artifact,” centers on Craig’s attempt to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, which entails journeying to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a mysterious, ancient alchemist.

Outside of reading and writing, children’s book author Caldric Blackwell enjoys jiu jitsu, gardening, and playing bass and guitar. He currently resides in Southern California.

 

 

 

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Guest Post: Why Love Was Such a Powerful Motivator for Vincent van Gogh’s Creativity

 

Guest Post by Giuseppe Cafiero

 

In a letter to his younger brother Theo, Vincent once wrote “What is done in love is well done”. It is through this, and other correspondences, that we can understand how important the concept of love was to van Gogh’s art.

In his personal life, van Gogh was unlucky in love. Though he pursued a number of relationships during his short life, he never married nor had children. The objections of his family brought an unhappy end to his involvement with one of his muses, former prostitute and model Sien Hoornik, while a later relationship with a neighbour, Margot Begemann, led to her attempting suicide because her family were opposed to the match.  

While this pain only contributed to the misery that Vincent already felt so keenly, it also deeply informed his approach to painting. In another letter to Theo, he states that “In order to work and to become an artist one needs love”, and it was that expansion of consciousness elicited by love that can be clearly seen in his expressionistic style. The intensity and immediacy of his passions were directed instead to the scene before him, with van Gogh embracing his impressions of the natural world without fear or restraint. In sharing his thoughts on a new love affair to his beloved Theo, van Gogh could as easily be describing his unique approach to art: “One loves because one loves. Then we keep our heads clear, and do not cloud our minds, nor do we hide our feelings, nor smother the fire and light, but simply say: Thank God, I love.” 

So for van Gogh, heartache was transfigured on to the canvas, representing a revolutionary act that allowed him to be a participant in something he viewed as otherwise precluded to him. It also served as a rebellion against the restrictive religious atmosphere that his father, Theodorus, had tried to inculcate when Vincent was still a young man.  

Here was an artist who was led by the heart; one driven to try and capture the truth with the same sincerity and striving as would be expected towards a lover. This capacity for love fuelled his creativity and is what still attracts us to his bold and bright paintings today.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity by Giuseppe Cafiero is out now as an audiobook on Amazon, Audible.com and iTunes.

About the Book

Title: Vincent Van Gogh: The Ambiguity of Insanity

Author: Giuseppe Cafiero

An abrasive itinerary of the presence of women, the landscape and obsession. Such are the internal paradigms that went through the compelling life of the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

Not flesh and blood women, but the woman as a guide: Mrs. Jones, the woman as a mother; Kee Vos; Christine Hoornik of Siena; Margot Begemann. The Portrait-women such as Augustine Roulin and Madame Ginoux. And then the backgrounds, endless, unforgettable in this genius’s works: Isleworth, Amsterdam, le Borinage, Arles, St. Remy, Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent his life trying to capture the colors, the atmosphere, the light.

The pain of finitude and his obsession with achieving redemption through art, with intimate and stormy religiosity, with brotherly love, with the French noon sun and, in short, with death. A hard-working and unwavering life where art interacted, in a painful gesture, with the iron will of a hand that never lost its way.

The life of a beloved and devoted man, silenced by the anguish and despair of creation, who could only find peacefulness when he found his own death.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity is a fictionalized biography and gripping novel of the life of the Nineteenth-Century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The author, Giuseppe Cafiero, draws a psychological portrait of the Post-Impressionist painter through the women that marked his life and the cities in which he lived.

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