Friday, August 29, 2014

FRIDAY FLICKS: The Delmar Shark Chronicles; Isola Di Squalo

This great trailer is a bit of a preview for the character interview I have scheduled for September 2. Enjoy and come back to see the character interview!

Learn more here
The Delmar Shark Chronicles:  Isola di Squalo (Book #1)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Toby from Apprentice Cat

Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)

My name is Toby. I'm a cat who lives in King's City. Although my parents are both black, my Mother was involved in a magical accident when she was pregnant with me, leaving me with bright orange fur. Most of the time it's no big deal, but it makes undercover work challenging. For long term undercover missions I have to use a transformation spell to change the color of my fur. Short term missions require a lot more focus than most other cats need for the illusion spell.

My greatest ambition has always to be the best Master Cat in the kingdom, just like my Father. He was the most trusted Loner to the High Council until the day he disappeared on a secret mission. It was supposed to be a simple recon, but something happened and he vanished just before a human mage named Master Hecktor Ribaldy tried to blow up the High Council during session. Since then, I've done my best to follow in his paw steps and become the best magical cat I can be.

Despite the fact that my human mage partner's grasp on doing magic is tenuous at the best of times, I think we have a great chance of becoming a great team. We've had some trust issues, but I think we've worked them out. Solving a mystery together that involves both our families kind of does that, I think.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Study.

Of course, that's when I'm not chasing after my partner's shadow trying to keep us from being expelled from the King's Academy of Mages. His need to prove himself means lots of backfired spells and being on the first name basis of the entire staff, especially the cleaning dragons. At least the Head Master Mage and Head Master Cat are willing to overlook the "occasional" indiscretion, otherwise, we'd have been tossed back to our families long before our first year was over. But, considering we solved the mystery of why my Father disappeared and discovered that my partner's uncle wasn't involved in the treasonous act of trying to blow up the High Council during session, a mystery the Head Masters personally asked us to work on, I guess their leniency on Lorn's little projects is understandable.

What is your favorite color and why?

I don't really have a favorite color. I can tell what color I don't like: orange. Pretty obvious why, I think. Hard to be taken seriously when you stick out like dog pee on snow.

What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?

Eggs, any kind, though omelets are my favorite, especially mouse-flavored. I just love the buttery texture. That and it's probably the one food that doesn't bother my sensitive nose.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?

A have a good nose. I don't mean like all cats have a better sense of smell than humans. I mean I can smell a dead mouse inside the walls from across a ball room.

I'm also magic allergies, which is pretty peculiar considering I'm a magic-wielding cat. I guess no one's perfect. The one that bothers me most is what I call the "improper spell" allergy. Just one more reason I have a close, personal relationship with the infirmary staff. If one of Lorn's spells doesn't send us both there for a spell reversal, then I'm going there because I've scratched myself bloody. Nothing is more irritating than feeling like you're fur is crawling with fire ants.

Crazy as it might sound, having a magic allergy has been helpful, too. I'm also allergic to blood magic, which smells like blood covered marigolds. One small whiff of that and I'll be sneezing until I can't breath. Never thought I'd be glad to have an allergy, but it's what helped us solve the mystery the Head Masters gave us--and what saved my Mother from a painful death.

What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why?

He hides behind others. I know he's somehow involved with my Father's disappearance, but I can't get to him to find out the truth. I'm not even sure who he is, though I know he scares my Mother, too, and she's not saying anything either.

I think it irks me most because secrets have a way of biting your tail when you least expect it. How can I fight what I can't see, you know?

What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?

My Mother, her partner, Master O'dorn, and my partner, Lorn. They're my family. I'd be willing to give up my dreams of becoming a Master Cat for them. I don't know if I'd give up my life, but I don't think anyone knows that until they're faced with that decision. I hope I would be brave enough to die for them.

What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?

I'm pretty much an open book. I don't like to be sneaky, but if the situation warrants it, I can be as devious as the next cat.

If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?

I think if I lost someone I loved, I might go crazy. If that were to happen, I think I'd be capable of anything, including murder.

Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.

How do you react when your characters have a mind of their own and don't want to do what you have planned for them?

Fantastic question! I usually let them have the last word, meaning I send them in the direction they're asking for. Almost nothing is en graven upon stone that can't be changed, and if the character is telling me that they "wouldn't do that," or "say that," or "go there," they're usually right, and I listen to them.

***

Thanks, Toby! This is the first time I've interviewed a cat!

To learn more about Toby read on:

Visit my website, like my fanpage, follow me on twitter, or read my blog.
Check out all my books on Amazon, from fantasies about magical talking cats to nonfiction works about prayer and trusting in God's promises.

Monday, August 25, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Erica Gore


Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I grew up in Brisbane, Australia. Reading has always been one of my favourite things to do and, as a child, making up my own stories was a natural progression. I didn't write them down, because they were just for myself.  I was a shy child. Creating characters and worlds for them was my way to be brave. I held story-telling sessions with my stuffed toys all sitting in a circle around me.  Later, my mother encouraged (forced) me to take a speech and drama class to help build my confidence. I will be forever grateful to her for that.

As a primary school teacher, I used stories as a base for the units of work I planned for my students. I think stories are an easy way for children to engage with and form understandings of the world around them.  

When I retired from classroom teaching, I began to write my stories down. It was as though the time was right to be writing. The ideas were there and I had to let them escape from my brain and sort themselves out on paper. 

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I plan freehand. I write lots of notes, half-formed ideas, draw maps, print out relevant info from the Internet, make plot diagrams etc. All the loose pieces of paper go into a project folder that I have on the desk beside the computer.  I don’t start typing until I have a fair idea of how the story is going to progress in my head. That being said, once I start typing, things usually change radically and often. My husband is quite used to hearing me conducting conversations with my characters as I try to flesh out a scene or an idea.

I write on a desktop computer. I need to have noise around me as I work, so the television has to be on. I like to have things going on around me as I write. My stories happen in the real world, so I like the real world to be happening around them as they are created. Silence is not my friend. It makes me worry.  I guess that comes from having children and dogs.

Purchase Tayla Bayliss, Dogsitter


What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favourite part of writing is the beginning of a new story, that initial rush of creative juices when I can feel the adventure unfolding ahead. I am a control freak and through writing I am controlling a whole bunch of characters and events. Oh sure, they try to take over and run themselves at times, but ultimately, I am in control. 

My least favourite part is offering my work up for critique. I need to grow a thicker skin so that I can shrug off less than fantastic reviews.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

My characters are average kids.  They do not have any special powers. They do not live in any fantasy worlds. They are like the kids I grew up with, the kids I teach, the kids who live in my street. 

My main character, Taya, is the adventurous little girl that I wanted to be. She has the adventures that I dreamed of having. She is a child who wonders about things and likes to figure out puzzles.  She can be a scaredy-cat and she can be amazingly brave.  She has a best friend, Chris, who teases her and occasionally tries to curb her enthusiasm, but who is always there to back her up when things become difficult.
They are like-able kids with whom young readers can easily identify. 

Who wouldn't want to be out and about solving mysteries and having adventures?

I'm with you. I also love a good mystery!

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I use all the usual Social media, Facebook, Twitter etc.  My target audience, for the most part, does not have access to these things but their parents and grandparents do.

I have an author website and a books website and a blog.

My books are on display at and available from the local cafĂ©/bistro and at a writers’ club bookstore.

My absolute favourite form of marketing is personal appearances. I enjoy visiting schools and conducting author sessions with the classes. These are loads of fun and enable me to talk with the children about writing in general and my books in particular.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

Physical writing is done in the mornings as I tutor in the afternoons/evenings.  Saturday is my day off.  That is the only day I get to spend time with my husband. Mental writing happens at anytime at all…usually at 2.00 a.m.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I am almost finished the fourth Taya Bayliss mystery.  It is in the editing phase. I am hoping it will be ready for launch by the end of August.  It is called ‘Taya Bayliss – Snake Charmer’.  Taya has to confront one of her biggest fears as she tries to put the clues together in this one. 

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have a dog, called Trudy, who is the naughtiest, cleverest, most mischievous dog you can imagine.  She and her sister, Heidi, write a blog called ‘The Big Blonde Dog’ which details all their misadventures.

I would one day like to turn some of the stories into picture book form with titles like
‘Goldidog and the Three Beds’ and ‘Behind the Bamboo Curtain’. 
I have started the project folder but that is as far as I have gone.

Purchase Taya Bayliss, Treasure Hunter


What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Publishing is the easy part.  Places like Createspace and Lightning Source have made publishing books a simple and affordable process.

Write...just write.  Writing is part of who you are. So do it. Put your thoughts on paper as often as you can, even if it is only in journal form. 

The hardest part, if you are anything like me, is asking someone other than your friends to read your work and give you their opinion, but that is how you learn and improve. There will always be people out there your work will not suit. That does not mean it is not good.

Find people who will be constructive in their criticism. Avoid the Negative Nellie’s. They are always around. Don’t let them derail you from achieving your dreams.
Be true to yourself and get your message out to the world.


 ***

Thank you, Erica!

Learn more about Erica here:

The links are:- My websites  www.ejgore.net 
                                         www.tayabaylissbooks.com
                   :- My Blog.      www.ejgoreauthor.wordpress.com 

Book links   Treasure Hunter:  www.amazon.com/dp/0987370804
                  Dog Sitter:          www.amazon.com/dp/0987370812
                  Code Breaker:     www.amazon.com/dp/0987370847




Friday, August 22, 2014

FRIDAY FLICKS: PD Workman

Our first Friday Flick!

Please send yours along either by responding to this post or shooting me an email at: kathy@ariverofstones.com.

And PLEASE keep in mind that this is a family friendly site. I will only post family friendly book trailers. Thanks!




standalone v3
http://pdworkman.com/my-books-2/stand-alone/

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Thierry, the Storyteller

Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)

I am called the Storyteller, it’s what the smiling man named me.  I suppose I’m somewhat of a mythical creature – or so I've been told. Stories are told 
about how I can read people’s entire lives and change them anyway I want, simply by writing in their book.  Every creature has a book, after all.

I don’t have specific looks, they tend to change depending on who I’m around, but I've become quite fond of the Scough, so I have their fox ears and tail at the moment. As for what I hope to accomplish, I’m not sure.  I’m honestly just happy to be out of that library.  I suppose I wish to have a more interesting story of my own from here out.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m actually quite fond of relaxing and watching the Scough children chase after their rabbits and each other – they’re so lively.  You’ll probably find me watching the others in the Scough tribe most of the time, or maybe the Red Dragons… I’m a people watcher, honestly.  It’s so interesting to see the stories unfold in front of your eyes.

What is your favorite color and why?
Anything bright and vibrant. I’m not too fond of dark things, but then I have a bit of a bad history with the shadows and their master, the Lurkhamara.

What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?
Rabbit isn't bad, but my daughter tells me all of these amazing stories about the food from your world.  Apparently, you can cook the rabbit, and then there’s things like pizza, burgers, and drinks that taste like sweet clouds. I’d like to try those if I ever get to visit.  Hopefully there’s time.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?
*chuckles*  If you give me your hand I can make words appear that will tell me your every thought and memory and everything you will do in the future. Is that quirky enough?

I would say so :)

What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why?

The Lurkhamara has his own agenda, one I don’t agree with.  He was part of the battle which killed the Kurai -- all of his people.  He seems to be under the mistaken impression that if he starts another war, he’ll become even more powerful and feared.  I don’t know that it irks me, but it’s unfortunate that he is so narrow minded.

What or who means the most to you in your life? 
What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?

That would have to be my daughter, Mira.  I originally created her to have someone to talk to in that lonely library, but her story has become so much more complex.  I have no intention of ever losing her but -- well, stories do tend to have twists.  I can’t see the ending of hers, which troubles me sometimes, so I have no idea what the future holds for her.

What one thing would you like readers to know about you that 
may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?

That is an interesting question, especially since there are more stories to be told in the future.  I suppose it may be my own past.  I used to live in a library full of books, each with a person’s name on it.  I was told to never leave – but I didn't listen.  You can’t imagine how lonely it is to read all of these amazing stories of people’s lives and not have one of your own.  At the time I didn't think about the consequences, but they’re unfolding now.  I feel bad for pulling people into this story, but I will never regret leaving that place.

If you could tell your writer (creator) anything 
about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?
*chuckles*  Oh, I've spoken with him.  The smiling man already knows my story and it wouldn't be any fun if I told him how I wanted it to go. That’s the thing about stories, they have lives of their own.  You might want to change something one moment, but years later you might realize that there was nothing to change.  I would rather live this path and see where my story takes me. The same would apply to those writing my story, I would never interfere.

Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.

I’m curious, what would you do with my power?  I have a book here, with your name on it.  You won’t be able to read it – no one can read their own story – but I could change something for you.  What would you want me to change?  Would you be willing to live with the consequences such a change would cause?

Fantastic question! Honestly, I've thought about changing certain things in my life but I don't think I'm daring - or crazy enough to have you make the change. Everything that I've experienced, both good and bad, has contributed to who I am today, and I wouldn't want to be anyone else :)


You may just want to keep your power; but thanks!


***
Learn more about Thierry here:

Also available on Barnes & Noble and other online sites!



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Favorite Marketing Tool

Do you have a favorite marketing tool?

Is it book signings at your home?

Social media with all of its highs and lows?

Or is it that you love radio interviews or blog interviews?

Do you find that you love giving your book away on Amazon for a few short FREE days and to see your book rise to the top?

Like you, I enjoy all of these things, but, frankly, the best marketing tool I own takes little to no planning. In fact, this marketing tool walks with me every day, waiting for just the right moment to speak up and share.



You've got it, my favorite marketing tool is my voice.

Why is that?

I don't think I'm any different from you. In fact, I'm sure I'm not. But have you ever watched the eyes of another writer as they talk about their book? Have you wondered why someone purchases your book right at the book signing, or promises to get it online later? Or why others call you for advice in writing their own books?

It's because the best marketing tool you have, and one in which you will always have, is your voice. No matter where you are you can use this tool to talk about your book, answer questions about what you do for a living, share what you are working on next.

And all of this adds up to one thing.

More readership.

Like you, I want to get the word out, and I do it through book signings, social media, free book giveaway days and the like, but what I find truly fascinating is getting out there and talking about my book.

It doesn't cost me a cent. It's as free as the air. And yet, speaking about what I do opens the doors to many new readers.


Monday, August 18, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jansina Grossman

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’m an editor and an author and can’t remember a time I didn't love words. When I was younger, I would tell stories verbally—usually things that had happened to friends (or, more often, fictional characters from books, movies, or Adventures in Odyssey). It was a natural progression to writing after that.

In 2012, a year after I self-published my first book, I started my editing and publishing company, Rivershore Books. The business began out of a desire to help my fellow authors see their books in print while doing something I enjoyed, and it is continuing to grow. My goal is to honor God in my writing and encourage others to do the same.


How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

It changes all the time. My regular spot is in the living room, with my laptop and some coffee. When I start to get stuck or distracted, I’ll move to my room, head outside, go to a coffee shop, or switch to a notebook. I also have a typewriter I’ll sometimes use.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love to see characters come alive on the page. Those rare moments when the writing just “flows” make it worth the frustrating days—the times when writing even one sentence is a struggle. Usually my writing speed falls somewhere in between those extremes.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

All of my books take place within the same “world,” so the main group of characters is in each of them, though the POV changes. New characters appear when the plot calls for them, and I get to know them by writing them into different scenes and filling out “character interviews” from their perspectives

My goal is for them to be realistic and easy to relate to, which is why I put myself into their shoes. Some characters are more likable; some are more flawed.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter and have two blogs (one as an author, the other as a publisher), so I’m slowly gaining followers and likes, but I haven’t done much actual marketing. When I was first beginning, another author gave me advice (paraphrased): “Wait to market until you have three or more books published. When readers find and enjoy your book, they’ll have more to read right away.” I’m working on my fourth and fifth books now, and then I’ll start pursuing marketing (mainly by contacting bloggers and reviewers).

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?


In short: I don’t schedule it. I know many authors have success when they set specific times to write, but I’m not one of them. I do make a point to write something creative every day. It doesn't matter if it happens at 7 a.m. or midnight. Sometimes it’s thousands of words, and sometimes it’s under a hundred. Any writing is a success.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

Tomatoes Don’t Judge is my current work in progress. It’s a novel about a girl who meets a boy and falls in love...with his family. She comes from a family that neglects her, so being involved in daily things (i.e., planting tomatoes) is huge.

My most recent books are As Fairydust Settles (sequel to Shrouded Jewels and a modern retelling of David and his first wife Michal from 1 Samuel 1:18) and Life is Crumbly (“morbidly funny,” illustrated short story about the ways cookies can die), both released in December 2013.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

The prequel-of-sorts to Tomatoes is called Potatoes Still Bruise. It’s the main character’s journal from her early years. Just like a small bruise can affect the entire potato, Kara's scars have an effect on the way she views the world.

While this book is first chronologically, I think it makes more sense to read Tomatoes before it, which is why this is on the back burner for now.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

You are your own biggest critic. It can be frightening, but sometimes the most helpful thing for your writing is to share it with others. Find a couple people you trust and ask for their opinion of it. You might be surprised by how encouraging they are.

In the meantime, keep writing and reading. The more you do both, the better you’ll become. It’s not about being “good enough.” It’s about letting your story be told in the way only you can tell it.

***

Thanks Jansina!

Learn more about Jansina and her books:


Purchase Forgotten Memories
Purchase Shrouded Jewels
Shrouded Jewels: 

Short Stories: