Monthly Archives: June 2013

Author Interview: Peggy Holloway

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This week I’m interviewing Peggy Holloway, who writes mysteries as well as science fiction and fantasy. She has quite a few books out–check them out!

You can find her profile on Goodreads here:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5278265.Peggy_Holloway

  1. What first inspired you to write?

I used to watch Murder She Wrote and think, “That would be the perfect life, to be able to live in a small town and write mysteries.”  At the time, I was living in Houston and working as a geophysicist.  I also had a novel that had been running around in my head for about thirty years.  After retiring, I moved to a small town in Florida and decided to see if I could write that novel.  I had only just started writing when the characters took over and I have not been able to stop.  I have written fourteen books and the ideas keep coming.  I love it.

2.  I see that you have a mystery series out. What do you love most about mysteries?

I love mysteries, especially those with many twists and turns, where you keep thinking you have it figured out and you never do.  I think it’s my scientific and mathematical background that makes me want to figure things out, whether it’s a mathematical problem or a mystery.

3.  Unique settings are often a hallmark of mysteries. Why New Orleans?

I lived in New Orleans for four years, when I worked for Gulf Oil.  I fell in love with that town.  It has so much character.  I love the people, there is such a wide range of cultures.  I love the food. There is no food like it anywhere.  I love the buildings, I love the music.  Hell I love everything about it.

4.  Tell me about your latest book.

My latest book is called A Life of Confusion and is my memoirs.  When I turned seventy, I decided it was time to write it.  It was the most difficult book I’ve written so far.  When I finished it, I wasn’t sure whether I would actually publish it.  Then when I got it published, I was afraid someone would buy and read it.  It is not for virgin eyes.

5.  Other writers have come into writing later in life. How do you think your life experiences have helped you as a writer?

I didn’t know, before I started writing, that the experience would be so emotional.  I have experienced just about everything that my characters have and I cry for them, I laugh with them, I get angry at them.  By the time you’re my age, unless you’ve lived your life in a nunnery, you have had so many experiences that you will never run out of material.  I was alive during the sixties and can describe what that was like, for example.

6.  Who is your favorite writer, and why?

My very favorite author is Nelson DeMille.  I like all his books because I can feel what he’s describing.  He writes a lot about Vietnam and I think he must have been there.  When I read his books, I am there also.  Now that I’m an indie author, of course I only read other indie authors.  The favorite one I’ve read so far is Susan Fleet.

7.  Tell me about what you’re working on next.

I’m working on another mystery entitled, “She’s Gone.”  It’s about a six year old girl who is taken from a train.  It should be out by this summer.

8.  Some writers believe you should use different names for different genres. I see that besides mystery, you’ve written time travel and other things. Do you think there are advantages to having everything under one name, and why?

I write and publish under my own name.  I never thought about using any other name.  I can’t think of a reason to use different names.  Catherine Coulter, one of my favorite authors, uses her name for her FBI series and for her romance novels.  I can’t think of any advantages to using more than one name.  Life is complicated enough as it is.

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Final Free Promotion: Heart of the Witch

 

http://www.amazon.com/Heart-of-the-Witch-ebook/dp/B00AR5HMZO/

Free today and tomorrow, and then I’ll be pulling this book from the Amazon KDP Select program!

Zerrick’s fears are closing in on him. A local girl has been accused of witchcraft. There are murmurs of a cursed illness in town. And Zerrick’s father, the town Reverend, has announced that he is leading a vendetta against magic and will burn them at the stake.

The problem is, Zerrick is the witch.

This is the start of what will be a monumental journey for Zerrick, to answer the question that most plagues him. His people, colonists in the land of Argessa, think that magic is evil, yet the native tribes use it as a tool for good. As he travels deep into the land, Zerrick must decide for himself if he is damned or blessed. A woman, an old scout, and a funny little creature will all help him face his worst nightmare, the Ravenger, a demon of unspeakable power.

In the end, he’ll find the heart of magic.

Zerrick sketch 2 small

Finding a Writing Community

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I see a lot of newbie writers posting in places like the KDP boards on Amazon or on Goodreads boards, writers who are searching for help from other writers. As many have said before, writing can be a lonely business. Worse, we tend to be terrible judges of our own work. It’s vital to make connections with other writers to gain information and share your work. Of course it also goes without saying that you need to be open to such advice and criticism.

It occurs to me that it would be helpful to have a small list of websites where writers can turn to in order to get answers, meet other writers, and join critique or beta reading groups. Note that this is just a small sampling of what is out there. Most of these I have used and found helpful in one way or another.

Forums for general questions about publishing, marketing, being an author:

  1. https://kdp.amazon.com/community/forum.jspa?forumID=9
  2. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/31471
  3. https://www.createspace.com/en/community/index.jspa (for print books)

Blogs with lots of useful information for indie writers:

  1. Smashwords founder: http://blog.smashwords.com/
  2. Joe Konrath, author: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/
  3. Dean Wesley Smith, author, mentor: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/
  4. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, author: http://www.kristinekathrynrusch.com/

Writing critique communities online: (for getting your work critiqued or beta read by other writers)

  1. http://www.critters.org  (very thorough, I have found, but it takes a while to move through the queue)
  2. http://www.scribophile.com
  3. http://thenextbigwriter.com
  4. http://tor.com/community  (yes, it’s a publishing house, but there’s an active reader/writer community there, and you can post chapters of your book up for review. I had some excellent suggestions from there for the first chapters of my book).

So these are again just a few to get you going, but there’s a wealth of knowledge there, as well as support from other writers. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to new writers is this: BE PROFESSIONAL. Don’t be one of the “badly behaving authors” who think that because they wrote a book they deserve every reader on the planet to bow down to them and buy their book. Be respectful, be humble, be polite. I don’t care how many hours/months/years you spent on your book. It’s not your baby. It’s a bunch of words. Words that may need to be improved, so that you can get your story across.

Good luck!

Author Interview: Justin Bienvenue

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My interview today is with Justin Bienvenue, writer of horror and apparently westerns as well? Check him out on Goodreads!

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4572127.Justin_Bienvenue

1. What first inspired you to write?

I believe I was first inspired to write when I had a writing project to do in school, I would say middle school not sure which grade. I wrote some story about knights and ninjas if I remember correctly and while I’m sure it wasn’t great it really got me to enjoy writing. I was also inspired after reading a poem later on which inspired me to start writing poetry.

2. I see that your new book features horror mixed with westerns. How did that come about, and where did you get your ideas?

The title, A Bloody Bloody Mess In The Wild Wild West popped into my head one day after watching a western movie. After that, I ended up watching a horror movie and then an idea came into my head. Before I knew it I had idea after idea pouring out of my head. After writing down the concept I had I got started. I watched old western shows which tide up any small gaps I had and pieced everything together and before I knew it I had the book which is out right now.

3. What do you like best about horror?

The thing I like best about horror is that your writing with every intention to scare or gross out your reader. After all isn’t that what horrors about? Horror is a popular genre that people just can’t seem to get enough of and you know when you write there’s always going to be an audience that will enjoy it. I also like all the branches of horror that one can work from to create a story.

4. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

Elmore Leonard. He’s probably not known from his name but many of his works have been made into movies such as Get Shorty and 3:10 to Yuma. I read a couple of his books and I just really enjoy the style to which he writes. Not only does he give his characters purpose but he gives them definition and mystery at the same time which I really like.

5. What did you learn from your first experience publishing a book?

I learned that you should always look into a publishing company before you make any decisions. I went with an awful company that wronged me in so many ways. By the time I realized all the bad they did it was too late and I was and still am stuck in a awful contract. I have since moved on from this and accepted it and now I always triple check every publisher I look into to make sure the same mistake doesn’t happen again.

6. Getting reviews is always one of the toughest things to do, especially for poetry. Did you have a strategy, and if so, what was it?

In all honesty, No. I was totally new to the book world. I had no clue what to do however I was aware that poetry is harder to get people to read than any other genre. Basically I just told people if they liked horror that they should give my book a try. Getting people to read poetry isn’t easy but as long as you believe in your work and you try your best then maybe you can get a few people to read it.

7. Tell me about your new book.

My newest book is a western horror, “A Bloody Bloody Mess In The Wild Wild West” It takes place in the fictiona; small town of Toomswood five years after the Civil War. The town still in shambles lead by the son of a recently departed sheriff must battle against a slick Mexican business tycoon and his army of undead Civil War soldiers. It really has a good blend of both the old west and horror.

8. What will your next project be? Tell me about that.

For my next project I will be going back to my passion of poetry. It will be a book of mixed poetry with no true theme. It will contain poems of all different genres written in different poetic styles and will have rhyme and prose. It’s pretty much done I’ll just need to touch it up a bit when I’m ready to get it published.

New Fantasy Novella: Dreams and Constellations

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Out today!  Only $1.99 for a decent length Novella with elements of paranormal romance and fantasy.

When dreams and reality collide, Iona must discover whether the universe is sending her a message . . . or she’s going crazy.

Mayan temples. Psychology classes. And an annoying young man who won’t leave her alone.

As her dreams plummet into darkness, Iona must make a choice, whether to trust another or not.

Her life just might be in the balance.

By day, Iona Mendoza is a college student at the University of Arizona, studying psychology and trying to avoid Justin Tabers, an annoying fellow student. By night, however, she is the daughter of a Mayan priest, being forced to marry against her will before the neighboring kingdom attacks her city. As the danger escalates, Iona begins to encounter issues in her real life–or are the dreams more real?

She must figure out the mystery before war comes to her dreams and possibly takes away both her futures.

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-and-Constellations-ebook/dp/B00D7NQDHQ/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/323287

Author Interview: Kirsten Weiss

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  1. What made you want to write a book?

I’ve wanted to write mysteries since I read my first Nancy Drew. Well, actually I initially wanted to be a girl detective, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that wasn’t a feasible career choice. So writing mysteries was my next best option!

2.  Where do you get your ideas for stories?

From life, from research, and from a sort of stream of consciousness that connects one idea to the next. For example The Metaphysical Detective started with an idea for a fun career – metaphysical detective. What would a metaphysical detective do? What would my detective’s name be? I like the name Riga. Riga who? Riga Hayworth – because I’m lazy and it rhymed with the silver screen goddess, Rita Hayworth. So what does Riga look like? The book is a paranormal mystery; what would my heroine’s life be like if she was a dead ringer for Rita? And on and on and on.

3. You have a paranormal mystery series. What are your interests in both the paranormal, and in mystery?

I’ve loved mysteries as long as I could read. But I became more interested in the paranormal during my overseas career. I worked mostly in developing countries, and superstition and the paranormal was much more a part of daily life. I became interested in local traditions, and my research carried me deeper and deeper into the world of the paranormal.

4.  Tell me about your latest book.

The Infernal Detective is book four in the Riga Hayworth series. Riga is getting married, so I wanted this book to have a lighter, more comedic feel, and I did that with the introduction of two new characters – Riga’s dotty elderly aunts. They are much more than they appear.

The book starts off the week before the wedding, with the discovery of a murdered photographer in Riga’s bedroom. When the body drives off with her future groom, Riga suspects necromancy is afoot.

5.  Who is your favorite writer, and why?

There are so many! I think J.K. Rowling did an amazing job creating her magical world and cast of characters. There are dozens of characters in her books and each one is vivid and memorable. It’s quite a trick. But for the mystery genre, my favorite author is Ian Rankin. I admire his clean style and tortured characters.

6.  What do you hope that readers will take away from your books?

I hope they’ll have fun!

7.  What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new paranormal mystery series featuring Rocky Bridges, a female security consultant. Rocky’s last assignment went bad, and she lost her client and the hearing in her left ear in a bomb blast. But now she’s starting to hear a voice in her deaf ear. Is she going crazy? Or is something else happening?

8.  Why do you think the paranormal genre is so popular these days?

I think it’s popular because there have been a lot of great paranormal books out recently – the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter…  The list goes on and on.

But I also think the paranormal satisfies a certain craving we have for “safe” ambiguity. In mystery novels, at the end of the book the crime is solved and order is restored. And we like that. But that isn’t always real life. Real life is full of unsolved crimes and disorder, which makes us uneasy.

The paranormal, by its very nature, is unexplainable, chaotic, unresolved. But it’s a sort of ambiguity we can live with – much more fun to think about than if some teenager texting and driving is going to wipe us out tomorrow.

About the Author:

Kirsten Weiss is the author of the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries published by misterio press: the urban fantasies, The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective and The Infernal Detective.

Kirsten worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and deep in the Afghan war zone.  Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking good wine.

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