Posted in Anthology, New Releases, Solstice Publishing

New Horror Anthology from Solstice Publishing: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I am proud to announce the release of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Vol 4, a Horror anthology just in time for Halloween, that includes my story, Knowledge is Power.

Welcome to your worst nightmare. Sleep is highly overrated. You could be reading a book guaranteed to keep awake long after the kiddos are in bed and the Halloween candy is tempting you to grab some. Please enjoy these eight tales sure to send you to hiding under the bed!

Solstice Shadows and eight fabulous authors team up to bring you, our faithful readers, creepy tales from all around the world.

now-i-lay-me-down-vol-4-001-2

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01M7URA5Z

Blurb

Sleep is impossible after reading these eight tales of things that go bump in the night…

Mysterious Warrior Battles Evil Coven…

Haunted wedding dress horror story…

Every secret has a cost…

Who am I and why am I here?

Long hidden secrets emerge from the pond…

Unexpected consequences from an interruption…

Don’t plan on the usual housewarming!

The perfect relationship from hell!

Sadie K. Frazier, Josie Montano, S.C. Alban, Johnny Gunn, K.C. Sprayberry, Debbie De Louise, Archimede Fusillo, and Alex Pilalis present eight stories of horror sure to have you screaming!

https://youtu.be/2tr5-Z_KNDM

While you’re out and about for these wonderfully terrifying stories, check out our Halloween cookbook, to prepare wonderfully themed meals!

http://solsticepublishing.com/ghoulish-delights-for-your-halloween-fun/

Have a scary time and don’t forget to leave the lights on!

Global Book Link: (paperback and Kindle Singles coming soon. eBook available now)

myBook.to/NILMDTSVol4

 

 

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Posted in Authors, Books, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries

Cozy Chat with Charmain Zimmerman Brackett

cozycatpic

960228_320375644759739_1401603587_nIt’s my pleasure to have cozy mystery author, Charmain Zimmerman Brackett for a cozy chat today.

Hi, Charmain. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Thank you, Debbie. 

Can you please give us some information about your books or current series?

I have two books in Grace’s Augusta Mystery Series. The first is Murder Under the Magnolias and the second, which is being released today, October 27, is Murder En Pointe.

The series takes place in my hometown of Augusta, Ga. In the first book, I thought about a special event that happens the first week of every April. There’s a prestigious golf tournament here, and it brings in a lot of visitors from all over the globe. I began to surmise what else might be taking place in my cozy town during this tournament. Anywhere there’s lots of money flowing, there’s bound to be a variety of vices as well, and that led me to plot out a murder on the fringes of the tournament.

charmainscoverMurder En Pointe is about a Russian ballet troupe visiting Augusta when the star ballerina is killed. I have three adult children who spent a lot of time dancing. Two of my adult daughters teach ballet, and both my youngest daughter and my son plan to audition as dancers for cruise lines. Since it’s been an important part of all of our lives, I wanted to integrate it into a book. I also have an idea formulating on book three.

Those sound wonderful. It’s always helpful to use real life experiences to generate ideas for a book. Would you like to share an excerpt from your new release?

Yes, Thank you, Debbie. Here’s one from Murder En Pointe:

I walked around and listened.

 Silence – an eerie silence, at that.

 I seemed to be alone, but for some reason, I felt like someone was watching me. I felt a shiver down my spine. I’d never heard of a phantom at this theater. I felt the urge to get out of there as fast as I could. I wanted to run.

I put my hand on the door handle and paused as I felt another shiver. That urge to run was even stronger. I knocked on the door and waited. Despite the feeling of dread, I opened the door, and what I saw as I entered the dressing room shocked me. I saw a woman lying on her back on the floor. It was Aleksandra. Wearing a beautiful, silk, Asian-inspired robe, the same leotard and tights from earlier, and a pair of pink pointe shoes on her feet, she lay motionless.

I stepped back and paused for what seemed like an eternity. Of course, it was probably only a few seconds. I couldn’t scream, but my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. When I finally got my bearings, I placed the flowers on the makeup counter in front of the wall of mirrors and then stared into the reflection. There was something written in Russian in red lipstick on one of the dressing room mirrors. Another mirror was broken and several of the light bulbs that surrounded it were broken as well. Bloodied glass shards lay on the counter and pulverized purple eye shadow glittered on the floor. Several containers littered the carpet as though Aleksandra had entered a massive struggle right before her violent end.

I noticed a second pair of pointe shoes beside her. Saturated in blood, the shoes’ ribbons were laced around her neck, and orchid blossoms were scattered atop her still body. There was blood on her hands, which were resting by her side. It was odd. It didn’t seem like a natural position. My own hands started shaking as I took it all in. I felt dizzy. Where was my phone? I rummaged through my purse until I found it. Speed dial 2 for my husband.

“Hey, baby. I was just getting ready to call you,” I heard Drew on the other end of the call.

I continued to stare.

“Grace? Are you there?”

“Drew” was all I could say.

“What’s wrong?”

“Could you come to the dressing rooms at the Bell?”

The words seemed to be stuck in my throat. I tried to clear it.

“What’s the matter, Grace?”

“I think there’s been another murder.”

“I’m on my way.”

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Yes. I’ve written three YA science fiction fantasy books (The Key of Elyon, Elyon’s Cipher and Elyon’s Light), two illustrated children’s books (Little Pearl’s Circus World, which won the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Award in children’s literature, and Nutcrackers and Pirates: A Boy’s Journey into Dance),  an inspirational contemporary fiction stand-alone (Fixed in the Tempest),and the Victoria James’ cozy mystery novella series, which has six stories in it. The first in the Victoria James’ series is Murder at Twin Oaks.

My debut novel, The Key of Elyon, won the 2014 Yerby Award for Fiction at the Augusta Literary Festival.

Nice. You seem talented in many genres.

How did you get started in writing?

I don’t remember when I first started writing. I think I always have. I wrote some for both my high school and college newspapers. When I was in college, people automatically assumed that I would be a teacher because my major was English. I had a huge fear of speaking in front of people or even talking to people I didn’t know. I knew I couldn’t stand in front of a group of students on a daily basis. This fear led me to a career in journalism. The irony was that while I could hide in a crowd, I still had to talk to people I didn’t know.

Very interesting. I, too, worked on my college newspaper where I won a journalism award. I also was an English major and didn’t want to be a teacher. I became a librarian instead. I also dislike speaking in front of groups, but I’m beginning to get more comfortable with it as I’ve been doing author talks at libraries.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I hope this doesn’t come across as rude or arrogant, but writing has never been a hobby. It’s the only career I’ve ever known. I have written for newspapers and magazines since I graduated college nearly 30 years ago.

As for hobbies, I started doing community theater in 2006 as a way to combat my fear of being in front of people. I’ve been in several plays and loved every minute of it. My favorite role was Glinda the Good in the Wizard of Oz, and yes, I got to fly in a bubble. It was amazing.

The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies, and I also read all of the Oz books. Like you, I’ve written for newspapers and magazines. My first articles were about cats when I joined the Cat Writer’s Association, and I am still a member today.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I consider myself to be a Southern writer. I’m from the South, and my characters are from the South. But I don’t want my characters to come across as caricatures who explode with “Southern sounding sayings” all the time. While they may say these things, it’s not designed to be cutesy. It’s part of who they are. My characters are based on real people with real feelings and complex personalities.

I think those types of characters are the best because they are more realistic to readers who can identify with them. I, too, am a character-oriented writer.

Can you please list your social media links and book links?

Thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed having you on Cozy Chat, Charmain. Best wishes to you on your new release and future books.

 

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books

Author Spotlight: Alex Pilalis

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  Alex Pilalis from Dublin, Ireland.

limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Alex.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

coverartwork_final_frontI self-published a couple of children’s story books around 5 years ago or so, but my first release with a publisher was my fantasy adventure novel Island Legends: The Awakening of James Island, in January of 2016. Since then I’ve released a few short stories, all with Solstice Publishing.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

I would say I’m mostly a fantasy writer, although I try to expand a little into action and adventure, and most recently, horror. My ‘main’ books, as I see them, is the Island Legends series, the first of which is The Awakening of James Island. I’m currently around half way through the second book, with the aim of writing around six or seven books in the series.

theboyfriendcovernow-i-lay-me-down-vol-4-001-2I have a short horror story, The Boyfriend, coming soon as part of a horror anthology called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, released October 28th. It’s about a guy who meets the perfect girl, but then starts to realize that she may not be so perfect when strange things start to happen around her.

Blurb for The Boyfriend

Mary might be everything that Andy has been looking for; bright, sexy, interesting, and very keen on him. Not usually having much luck with the ladies, Andy might rightly be cautious about this flirtatious young girl who thinks they were fated to meet – especially when things start to take a darker turn, as he gets to know Mary more.

What Andy discovers next shocks his whole existence. Can he successfully navigate his relationship with Mary and still keep his life?

 If you thought relationships were tough, wait until you meet Andy and Mary.

Dark Light is about angels fighting demons in modern day London. It’s a bit of an homage to 80s/90s action films, about an angel (who is a big, muscle-bound hero) who falls in love with a human woman, and the consequences that leads to. I enjoyed writing it and I hope people find it to be a fun, action-packed ride full of twists and suspense.

Dark Light Blurb

Grounded to Earth, angels have been battling demons for centuries.

 Camael believes that this year will be a turning point in the ongoing war, but when he unexpectedly falls in love with a human woman, the balance between good and evil shifts far greater than any of them could have imagined.

 When the sun sets, which force will come out stronger?

A shorter story is Custody of the World, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fantasy story about a Druid facing off against a Witch, for a final battle to determine the fate of the world. But the Druid and Witch are also ex-lovers. So while they’re throwing magic and trying to kill each other they’re also arguing and bringing up old relationship issues. It was very fun to write.

Those all sound very interesting. I also have a story included in the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep anthology. It’s a horror tale called, Knowledge is Power, that I wrote a long time ago. I write mostly mysteries, but I like to try my hand at different genres. This was one of my few attempts at horror.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I first got into this writing ‘gig’ to bring to life my Island Legends series, so that’s definitely my priority, especially considering the time-consuming scope of them. Although I’ve found that writing shorter stories can be a lot of fun too, and I enjoy padding out my catalogue with different genres and tones. I hope to meet a lot more authors and people in the community, to become fairly well known in some writing circles, and some day complete my book series.

We seem to have a lot in common, Alex. I am working also working on a series, the Cobble Cove mystery series; but, as I said, I also try writing different genres.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Anyone who is a fan of fantasy, really. The Island Legends series is somewhat of a cross between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, so you have a big fantasy journey, but with people running around with swords and throwing magic, with spaceships around them. It definitely has some science fiction to it too, so I’m hoping to attract fans of that genre also. In general I don’t really think of an age group for my writing, I’d say it goes from YA and up, as I feel it’s fairly easily accessible, but also can be quite mature and dark in places.

A couple of my works is definitely for mature readers. Dark Light has a steamy sex scene (my only one) and The Boyfriend has some dark and scary psychological moments.

You sound like quite a versatile writer. I normally don’t write scenes with explicit violence or sex, and most of my readers consider my mysteries cozies, but I do have another in the works that’s a psychological thriller. No explicit scenes in that one either, though.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

The old adage of ‘never give up’ is definitely a good one. It took me around ten years to fully complete The Awakening of James Island, writing very on and off – but now I’m more in the writing zone I can release a couple of short stories a year, while focusing on the second book in the series. Take inspiration from your life, as only you have the experiences you have and can make your story unique, and studying some basics of storytelling definitely helps – three act structures, character arcs, pacing, conflict, themes etc.

I agree completely. I always wonder about authors who can spit out four books or more a year. Either they don’t work full-time or they don’t do much research. I think quality suffers at such a writing pace. I find one or two books a year is more reasonable for myself. I also write short stories in between and articles as well as my blog. I also like to draw from past experiences and fictionalize them to create more realistic themes.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

I learned the hard way that there is so much more to writing than just putting words to paper, and pretty much learnt how to write while I was writing my first book, so there were many, many iterations of it. Using too many words and being overly descriptive was probably my first obstacle. It helps to be able to see the pacing of your scenes as an overview too, to know when to slow down and explain/describe things or when to just keep moving forward. Even things like the size of your paragraphs, and not blocking out a page with walls of text, is something to consider. I’ve found that many different readers can interpret the same sentence differently, so being very clear and concise with my writing is definitely important. Sometimes I might think that a sentence is well written, but find four different reactions to it from readers and try to see where the misunderstandings came from. And of course I’m still learning, always discovering a new trick, and still developing my author voice.

I think we authors are always learning and that’s what makes writing such an intriguing challenge. I still have difficulty creating a strong opening. The last third of my books tend to pick up in pace, and my endings are usually strong. However, readers today like to get to the gist of the mystery early. I tend to take time develop my characters which is sometimes a good thing especially in cozy mysteries and series.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I’ve never really taken any classes or courses. It’s mostly been through different articles and forums online, but the most helpful thing I’ve done is put my work out there for others to read and critique. Wattpad has been a huge help to find readers, and Critiquecircle is the most valuable for receiving detailed critiques. I usually post chapters there and critique other writers’ chapters. Critiquing other people’s work is actually a great learning process too.

I know many Wattpad authors and was tempted to join, but I knew I couldn’t devote any additional time with something like that when it’s hard enough to keep up with my blog, social media postings, etc. I have taken online writing and publishing classes through Gale Courses through my library, but I haven’t had time to take any additional ones lately.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an animator by profession, working on children’s television shows. I’m currently working on a couple of show ideas and short story ideas, with the aim of getting something into production. I am also creating art assets for a mobile game concept. I also enjoy working out, various gym sessions and classes – it definitely helps to counter all the sitting around I do on a daily basis! At some point I’d like to go back to creating children’s story books, or even a tween novel.

Very nice. Since I’ve been writing, I’ve also taken up exercise videos and walking in the morning when the weather is nice. It definitely helps to get up from behind the computer when you sit at it at work all day and also write at it.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love the cathartic process of putting your thoughts and feelings into your work. It can be a really great way to express yourself, and really does benefit your writing when it comes from a deep place within you. I’m a big fan of planning and storytelling, and working out how a story will play out. I also try to leave things a bit open so I have some room to let things happen organically – seeing things change as you write, like you have no say in the matter. It’s a cliché for sure, but characters do sometimes speak for themselves, and you get them in a situation and you feel that doing something feels more natural and organic than what you had originally planned for them to do. It’s great that you can get surprised while writing a story, like how a reader gets surprised while reading.

I do get that dreaded blank page feeling at times. But once I’m writing, even feeling that it’s not great, I know I can see things better when I look over them again later. The trick is to just get words down, keep things moving, and edit later. I’d say my toughest challenge is to constantly improve myself and my work, always striving to learn something new or consider something from a new angle. And I just hope that people find my work and enjoy what they read!

I can definitely identify with all of that. While I don’t plan much except basic themes and character sketches in my writing, I enjoy going where the words take me and, as you said, like surprising myself with where I end up. I also make it a habit to write without censoring or editing my thoughts.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Social media links

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Island_Legends

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/14099200-alex-pilalis

Website: www.pilalis.net

Book links

(no link yet for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep/The Boyfriend)

Island Legends: The Awakening of James Island: getBook.at/IslandLegends

Dark Light: getBook.at/DarkLight

Custody of the World: getBook.at/CotWORLD

I am also including my author bio

Author Bio

After completing an Art Foundation course and a BA in Digital Arts, Alex Pilalis pursued his interest of animation with an MSc in Computer Animation and an online course with Animation Mentor. He is currently an animator on children’s television shows.

Alex began his publishing journey with two children’s story books, “Three Wishes” and “Where Dreams May Go,” and was spurred on to write and create more.

As a big science fiction and fantasy fan, and heavily inspired by classic adventure stories such as The Lord of the Rings, the Star Wars films and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Alex felt a great urge to tell his own story. Being an avid gamer, he spent the majority of his time growing up developing a video game adventure concept, and to this day has amassed hundreds of A4 pages, several filled notepads, dozens of word documents and a detailed Wiki, collecting all the ideas and images of the world as it progressed and became what it is today. Feeling the overwhelming need to bring the story to life and out into the ether, somehow, Alex decided to use his passion for writing and storytelling and turn the game into a novel, which has become Island Legends: The Awakening of James Island. Doing so has allowed him to delve into the character’s minds and bring them to life so much more than he ever thought possible back when he was designing hit-point percentages of sword attack combinations, and the result is a much more mature and complicated story than his younger mind could have ever conceived.

Originally from London, Alex currently lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.

Thank you, Alex. I wish you all the best in your current and future writing. It was a pleasure to have you on the blog.

 

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, New Releases

Author Spotlight: Jannette Fuller

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  Jannette Fuller from Clover, South Carolina.jannettefullerlimitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Jannette.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Please give details.

bookcoverjannetteI’ve only been published for a few days. My debut novel released on October 21st, 2016. Transgression (Book One in the Ambrosial Acres Series) is published by Solstice Faith Imprint. 

Congratulations!

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress.

I write young adult entwined with mystery, suspense, and the supernatural. And I write from a Christian perspective intended for a wider audience.

I’m currently working on Delusion (Book Two in the Ambrosial Acres Series).

Sounds very nice.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

In the next few years, I plan to finish the Ambrosial Acres Series. I also have plans to write novellas for some of the supporting characters: Trent and Tirzah. I love them–they’re spunky and nutty! In order to reach my goal, I’ll keep jotting down notes inside my journal until I have enough content to start writing their stories.

Good idea to use your characters in other works. I’m a character-oriented writer myself.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Ooh. Good question. I wanted to write about spiritual warfare and the consequences of our choices, but without boring my readers to tears. Meaning, I didn’t want to throw Scripture at them left and right, making them feel as if I were preaching to them.

Honestly, I think my books are suitable for Christians, non-Christians, and anyone young at heart. Plus, I think a lot of people enjoy supernatural elements as well as a good mystery. 🙂

I agree. My first book featured some paranormal elements and my Cobble Cove mystery series are cozy mysteries.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

What helped me while writing my first book was to change my intentions. Instead of stressing myself out by writing what I think would be picked up by an agent/publisher, I was determined to write the story within my mind. Keeping that extra pressure to write what I thought would sell was kept at bay. And because of that Transgression is now available to the public.

That’s an interesting point. I said basically the same thing when asked on my recent radio interview what I would suggest to another author to make their writing easier. I said they had to listen to their own voice and write what was in their heart and not what they thought would sell. I think, if you do that, it will not jeopardize your marketing efforts. If you write what you feel, the rest is bound to come.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Forming a habit of daily writing, structuring my novel, filling in the gaps where content was needed, redundancy, and refraining from over editing as I wrote. To sum it up–EVERYTHING.

Lol. So true.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

No, I haven’t. In fact, wanting to become a writer didn’t happen until my mid-thirties. I was currently taking online classes through Liberty University when this unexpected passion ignited within me.

After reading the entire Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, I pulled up Microsoft Word. But nothing happened. I just stared at a blank screen. Lol! Seriously, it’s true. Not knowing where to begin, I searched the Internet and came across Writer’s Digest. It was the place where I was introduced to all things writing. The place where I made my first author friend as well: Tetonia Blossom.

Writer’s Digest is great. I took one of their courses years ago and still read their magazine. I also took online writing and publishing courses more recently through my library’s Gale Courses. I think writing courses are optional for authors, but they can’t hurt. I learned more through my editing work on my college paper and, of course, from other authors — both those I read and those with whom I network.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love working out, it helps burn off the anxiety, including calories. Which is always a plus!  Staying active in general makes me feel better, less guilty for sitting in front of a computer screen for hours. Let’s see…I love Netflix, baking (cupcakes, especially), joy riding, shopping (well, duh), and hanging out with my family. We love to watch movies, play board games, and hang out.

Nice. I also try to exercise through walking or doing exercise videos.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

For me, the best part about being an author is creating stories and watching them take shape, growing into finished products. It’s even more wonderful when the day arrives for your story to be birthed into the world. Yay!

I feel the same way. I believe creating a book is like having a baby. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly worthwhile.

Thanks so much for the wonderful interview, Jannette, and please share your links for our readers.

If you have the time, I’d love for you to visit me at:

My Website:

http://www.jannettefuller.com/

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M2ZZRVC

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13895419.Jannette_Fuller

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/jfuller3

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/jannettefuller/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/jannettefuller/

Thanks so much! Best wishes to you on your current and upcoming books and series.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books

Author Spotlight: Kimberly Amato

kimberly
I love this image from my first ever book signing at the Book Revue. My niece, Emily wanted to come up and help me during my Q & A. Like I said before, head and heart. Many people would have said to go up by myself. I couldn’t. I needed her for support as much as she wanted to be with her Aunt Kimmie.

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  Kimberly Amato from Hicksville, New York who I met at a local author signing at the Levittown Public Library this past summer.

Thanks for joining me, Kimberly.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

Do you have a pen name that you use or do you write under your real name?

I write under Kimberly Amato, but I am working on a Graphic Novel/Comic so I am considering the pen name of K.C. Kompass.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I am 100% self-published since 2014. I wanted to go what many consider the normal route, but I was impatient. I had my first book, Steele Resolve, done and edited already. I had worked on it for over a year and wanted it released. I had emailed many agents and publishing companies with cover letters. They tell you a specific amount of time for a reply; but, at a certain point, I was months passed that. So I hired a company Deranged Doctor Designs to do my formatting and cover. Then I released it on my own to Amazon. My second Book, Melting Steele, was released the same way. Recently, I published a spoken word video on YouTube about the 2016 election. It has been getting positive feedback. In the end, you have to do what you feel is best for you and not be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone.

That makes a lot of sense. Large publishers are so swamped with materials and most will not even look at authors without agents. The query process is so time-consuming. I’ve had a little luck with small publishers, and I recommend them to new authors. However, I am aware that some people who self-publish do quite well.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

I love the crime/thriller genre – but I have several things outlined that span so many more. My series, The Jasmine Steele Mystery Series – or just the Steele Series for short – has Breaking Steele coming soon. After that is released, I am focusing on my Graphic Novel/Comic and In The Shadow of the Needle – a crime novel set in Seattle. I’ve also started outlining a new series based on my mother’s RV travels entitled Granny’s On The Go – a fun mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie and Murder She Wrote. I wish I had specific dates, but I am at the mercy of editing.

I can relate to that also. It sounds like you are quite a versatile author. I also don’t like to conform to one particular genre, although my series is considered a cozy mystery. I have a psychological thriller in the works that I’m also editing. Your Steele books sound very interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading them.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goals… I want to be able to write as my primary career. I want to create stories that are vivid, richly detailed and thought-provoking when meant to. I hope to continue to entertain people and have them truly enjoy reading. Over the next few years, I would love to have an agent and several books released. I am actively writing, outlining like mad and investigating my options in regards to agents that fit my needs and vice versa.

I create very sketchy outlines, but I know they work well for many authors. I also would love to write full-time, but I also enjoy my work as a librarian and hope to do both for quite a few more years. I’m currently working on presenting my psychological thriller to an agent once I have it polished and have crafted a good synopsis and query for it.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I know I have specific genres for different books, but I hope to attract any kind of reader. The fact is, everyone who is odd, different, part of the masses etc – everyone can understand the emotions in my books.

I think my Steele Series would be for anyone who enjoys crime mysteries with psychological undertones. My untitled Graphic Novel would be more for those who enjoy dark, super hero type of comics.

My ultimate goal is to entertain everyone with something I have written at some point in my life. A lofty goal, but I think it is possible.

I think that’s a great goal. I hope to attract more readers and that’s my main reason for hoping to publish with a large publisher one day. By having my work available in more formats and more widely distributed, I can reach more people.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Listen to your heart and head. People are going to tell you so many things from “It’s not what we’re looking for” to “This is exactly what we want!” or “You can’t write yourself out of a closet.” You have to be willing to listen to your head when it comes to the marketing, the money people might want from you and the reality of how good your story really is. Then you use your heart to ensure that you protect your product. It sounds overwhelming, but the simple truth is – no one protects your best interest other than you.

Very well said. I totally agree.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

I find it so difficult to believe in myself. I had my first book written. I had cold emails out to agents and publishers. I was getting rejections back from some and nothing from most. I was sitting here trying to figure out why anyone would care about Detective Jasmine Steele other than me. I put it on Amazon because I thought if my Aunt Christine (a published author herself) said it was good – it had to be worth a sale or two. I still struggle with my confidence in my stories, but I feel more comfortable about putting them out there.

That’s a common issue with most authors. I still feel nervous about how the “public” will receive my work, but I realize not everyone will love it but those that do make it all worthwhile.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I took a creative writing class at Hofstra University but other than that, no. I went on to earn my Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College – so my writing was limited to various reports, psychological exams and things like that. I began acting and writing scripts for productions with my business partner in crime Michelle Tomlinson. I know it might not have been the normal way people go about writing novels – but I think it works for me.

I don’t believe there is a “normal” way for people to go about writing novels. I started with articles for my student newspaper at C.W. Post and then wrote for pet magazines. Every author has their own path to publishing. Yours sounds very interesting.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love creating things. As I mentioned before I work with people on films and other endeavors. That helps keep my mind sharp on the work front. Truthfully, I love video games. I love the stories, the gameplay and being online with friends playing. That, gardening and minor house renovations always keep me relaxed.

Interesting. I used to be very active in the virtual world of  Second Life where I met librarians from all over the world, and I still have a pet memorial center there. I have less time to participate at this point, but I still maintain that area. I wrote about it in my very first book, Cloudy Rainbow. 

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

The least – marketing. I know I can do it but it can be overwhelming and so tiring. I think this could also be my toughest challenge. There are only so many hours in the day and marketing can demand all of it on certain days. Sometimes I just don’t have the patience for it, but it has to be done.

What I like most… the fact that people are giving me the opportunity to share these whacky ideas in my head. People spend their hard-earned money on my books. That feels amazing to me. Especially when I’m at an event and I get to meet people and other writers in person. I really love that part.

Yes, it’s great to meet readers and other authors, and marketing is definitely something most writers dislike because of the time it takes away from their writing. When I first began talking at libraries, I was a nervous wreck, but now I actually enjoy that part of marketing, the part where I connect in-person with people as opposed to the social media marketing which is also necessary.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.

Thanks so much, Kimberly. It’s been a pleasure. I wish you all the luck with your upcoming books and search for an agent.

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, New Releases, Short Story

Author Spotlight: Lisa Diaz Meyer

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Lisa Meyer who writes under Lisa Diaz Meyer, from Wantagh, Long Island, New York. As we are practically neighbors, I met Lisa at an author signing at a local library this past summer.
photo-1limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Lisa.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.
I understand you have a short story collection that was recently released that is the second of a similar collection you published recently which also contains a continuing saga. Can you give me some details about them and your publishing history?

I have been published with Outskirts Press since April of 2015, ALL ROADS HOME: A Collection of Short Stories and recently this year in September 2016, with the sequel ALL ROADS DESTINED: A Collection of Dark Fiction and Poems.

img_3506ALL ROADS HOME is a collection of what I’d written throughout my life, short stories, essays, poems and stage plays. I consider myself a dark fiction writer, which doesn’t particularly mean only horror, I just appreciate an unhappy ending or a twist. I also choose to write about awareness issues and depression situations. In both of my books there’s a post-apocalyptic saga, called the Outposts. I’d never done that genre and wanted to give it a try.

 all-roads-destined-coverIn ALL ROADS DESTINED, the Outposts continue and will slowly slide into the science fiction genre, because I’d never tried that before either. There are short stories and poems at the end as well, that are again different in nature.

Right now, I’m working on my third and fourth installments of my ALL ROADS books that will include more Outpost stories, my usual, weird short stories and poems. I will be adding another saga-esque storyline in that leans toward dystopian. I hope they are as likeable as the Outposts.

For someone who has read and very much enjoyed your first book and who is looking forward to the follow-up collection and the continuation of the Outpost stories, I can say that you truly have a unique writing voice, Lisa.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goals as a writer are to be part of the literary world, not so much as pop culture. (Though, I’ll take it should it happen!) Perhaps some short stories and poems could be in a curriculum for high schools or colleges. Ya’ know how kids just love a Nathaniel Hawthorne story! (Although I did) Sorry, a little lit humor there but it’s actually what I’d like to see happen for some of my work. Required reading, what was the author trying to say, that type of thing. And for other works, maybe some will be considered camp. Right now, I’m just trying to get myself out there and noticed and hope that people like my writing style.

Very nice. I think most authors would agree that building a fan base is the most important thing; everything else will follow. You certainly have a good start and some interesting ideas.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

People who like something different. People who need a change from the norm. I want people to think. Readers who enjoy dark fiction, a little macabre and aren’t afraid of unhappily ever after’s. Someone who wants to hear the voices of the victim, the hero and villain.

As a librarian as well as an author, I like to expose myself to a variety of genres and other authors’ styles of writing. I guess that’s why I found yours a nice change of pace. As part of my job, I also edit the monthly staff picks at my library and like to feature debut authors as well as those from the New York Times bestseller’s list. I find that readers are always looking for new and distinctive voices.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Not to be afraid of indie or self-publishing. We’re a huge community. If that’s just not for you then just keep trying. Start a blog, make a you-tube channel for discussions, create a following on Twitter. Believe it or not, pre-book I was told I needed a “following” first. Sounds ridiculous. How does one get followed BEFORE the book? Social media. Don’t fight it. It’s a window, climb on in. It’s also time consuming and a numbers game but a breakthrough opportunity writers didn’t have before.

That’s so true. I self-published my first book, Cloudy Rainbow, but then was lucky enough to find a small publisher for my following novels. I know many self-published and Indie authors who do quite well. I believe there are more opportunities for authors today due to the proliferance of print-on-demand technology and ebooks. However, whether you self-publish or publish through a traditional publisher, you, the author, are still responsible for marketing and promoting your books in as many venues and media outlets as possible both on-line and in person. An author who doesn’t have a website, blog, or pages on Facebook and Twitter is like a job seeker today who doesn’t have a college degree. Your options are severely limited.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

My life! Ha! Actually, being a short story writer, I didn’t have enough material at first. So I had to write more, taking me off my time frame. Also… fear but I decided to stop that. It’s counterproductive and takes up more energy than you’d think.

Yes, fear can be quite debilitating. Everyone goes through it, but some people are better able to cope. You certainly seem like you’ve developed a way of combating the different fears a writer faces — fear of rejection, fear of criticism, even fear of success.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I’ve gone to writing groups maybe twice in my life but always stopped going after the first meeting. Too shy.

We have a writing group at Hicksville. I actually started it. They found a very good teacher to run it, but there are people who are still reticent about sharing their writing. Most authors are sensitive because the words they pen are often quite personal. Writing groups aim to be non-judgmental and their members are advised to only offer constructive criticism.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Writing is always number one but there are many others. The theater; just before the play starts and those lights begin to dim, I am home. I crotchet. I paint abstract art. Photography. Abandoned places. Antiques. Reading my favorite authors. History. Science. I love to research things. Gardening. I get ideas to make something and I make them. I love to design things and decorate my house with them. Pretty much ANYTHING creative. Or anything spooky. Certain video games and promoting other indie’s (music, movies, writers and artists).

Wow, Lisa. You have a variety of interesting interests – lol.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

Right now, I love everything about being an author. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to be. The toughest challenge is marketing and patience.

Marketing is most author’s achilles heel. I know it’s mine, although I actually enjoy some parts of it.

gray-me-1Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Website: lisadiazmeyer.com

Blog: Blah Blah Blog …ldmeyer.blogspot.com

Twitter: @LisaDMeyer

 

Thanks, Lisa. I hope my readers connect with you. It’s been a pleasure having you in my author spotlight, and I wish you the best of luck with your books. I can’t wait to read your latest.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books

Have you Read Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pisligo

beyondgloryPromoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pisligo @richardfoleyrfi

http://pub.rfi.net/promoted-beyond-glory/afterlife/

Recovering from a near death experience following a car crash, Nathalie Lamont is left with a terrifying vision of the afterlife. Struggling to understand the experience, she seeks out others like her and together they discover the horrifying reality of the Abrahamic dystopia that exists beyond death….

Part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series.

https://www.amazon.com/Promoted-Beyond-Glory-Afterlife-Part/dp/0957243294