This is what chronic illness looks like.

I want to share my friend’s post and her struggle through life with a chronic illness. You may never see the symptoms but they are there and people need to understand the importance of life and the many things others deal with. Be compassionate. Be kind. Be honest. And be you! Don’t let someone tell you how to live when YOU are the only one to know what is the best route.

While you’re struggling to find your place in this world and what is right for you, don’t take it out on others who are different. I have a chronic illness and it effects my whole body at times. Whether I’m tired or sore or in pain, I’m still a person who deserves respect. Read what Katrina has to say about her illness on her blog below.

These photos were taken within 24 hours of each other. In the first photo, I look like a happy and productive person. I’m a young woman painting my first house with my husband. -Katrina

Source: This is what chronic illness looks like.

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A Look Inside Author L.E. Fred’s Head!

Recently, I’ve made so many new friends including several authors from one of my publishers, Clean Reads. It’s great to get to know new people and check out what they are working on. Today I’d like to introduce L.E. Fred! LE Fred

L. E. Fred is a YA author so wrapped up in her own worlds, that she had to write them all down. Beginning her journey with Devon’s world, L. E. Fred writes books to inspire young adults to find their hidden potential and become the hero they wish to be. With stories ranging from fantasy, to sci-fi, to even a splash of romance, L. E. Fred writes for the young adults she admires and wishes to inspire. Her stories are heavily influenced by her love for travel, and every new experience inspires another story to tell.
L. E. Fred currently lives in New Orleans (not for long!) with her family and red, fluffy dog.
lefredL.E. can you tell us about your upcoming book?   My recent release is Reverie, the sequel in my Lucid series. Reverie continues the adventures of Devon, Kyle, and Mitch as they face the perils of the Dream World to save both the real world and the people of the Dream World.
Can you tell us a little bit about the series?   Lucid is a YA fantasy series about a 15 year-old boy Devon who’s been tasked with saving the world. One night, he dreams about being on a spaceship. He sees other people on the spaceship, but he thinks nothing of it. The next day, he sees on the news that people are being put into inexplicable comas all over the world. He recognizes some of the coma victims from his dream and knows he must figure out what’s going on. What starts as teenage curiosity becomes a fast-paced adventure in a fantastical dream world.
Wow! That sounds awesome! What inspired you to write your first book? Lucid was inspired by my own personal struggles with sleep paralysis. That’s when you wake up mid-dream unable to move. It’s usually accompanied by some pretty freaky hallucinations which can lead to some scary moments. I always wondered what would happen if I was unable to wake up, which led to my fabrication of a separate Dream World.
Very interesting! So, how long have you been writing?   I’ve been writing since I was in 6th grade. I still remember being assigned my first creative writing assignment. What was supposed to be a 2-page story turned into a 14-page novella. I still have plans on turning that story into a novel!
L.E. are you a full-time or part-time writer?  And how do you find or make time to write?   Well, I’m no J.K. Rowling…yet. So writing isn’t my day-job. I have many passions, though, so I don’t mind sharing my writing time. I treat writing like a workout and discipline myself to do it every day. Some days are better than others, but if I’m writing, I’m happy.
Okay, one more question before we get to the fun ones. How do you get through the dreaded writer’s block?  Writers block is just a fancy word for being LAZY! No, seriously, it is an obstacle I’m suffering with as of late. I find experiencing new things like traveling to a new city or even visiting a new coffee shop jolts me back into a writing mode. I love experiencing new things, and getting out of my comfort zone usually sparks some new material.
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That sounds like excellent advice. Now, the most important question of the day: Do you have any pets? (You know us writers like to keep furry friends.)   I have a fluffy red dog named Ragu. He’s my partner-in-crime 🙂
Aw! He sounds so fun!  Tea or coffee?    Wine 😉
Fair enough. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?   I’ve always wanted to go to Dublin. I studied abroad in the UK, but I never got the time to visit Ireland. Since half my family comes from the Emerald Isles, I know I gotta get over there!
Oh, I’d love to go there! If I told you that I was buying you an island, what would you name it? And who would live there with you?   I’d name my island Fabrica, and I’d invite all of my friends and family to have a massive beach party for forever and ever!
Party on L.E.’s island! And lastly, what do you do for fun outside of writing books?  Aside from writing, my big hobbies are singing and playing guitar. I’m a professional singer, and I play guitar at a local bar. I also cosplay and make my own costumes of my favorite video game and anime characters. It’s so much fun to be a character for the day!
I’m a big fan of Renaissance fairs. I know how fun that can be!  What are you currently working on so we have an idea for the future?   My current WIP is an urban fantasy that takes place in my hometown, New Orleans. It deals with a mixture of mythology tied in with the changes taking place in the Big Easy. I love playing a tourist in my own hometown to do research!
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Your life sounds so fun! If you want to keep in touch with L.E. Fred you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
To get your hands on the Lucid series, you can find them here: AmazonB&N,  Smashwords, Kobo, and iTunes.
To purchase Reverie, find them here: Amazon and Smashwords.
I hope you enjoyed this interview. Please contact me if you would like to see a certain author or creative person interviewed. Next week I will be talking with Artemis Grey!

Author Carol Riggs Cover Reveal!

I have the honor of spreading the news about Carol Riggs’ book Bottled and showing everyone her new cover. How exciting!

Advanced Praise for BOTTLED:
Bottled has everything you could want in a story: humor, suspense, action, and romance. The twists kept me glued to the pages.”
~Elizabeth Langston, author of I Wish and Whisper Falls

Here is a blurb for BOTTLED:

At seventeen, Adeelah Naji is transformed into a genie and imprisoned in a bottle. For a Bottled453x680thousand years, she fulfills the wishes of greedy masters—building their palaces, lining their pockets with gold, and granting them every earthly pleasure. All that sustains her is the hope of finding Karim, the boy she fell in love with as a human. When at last she finds a note from her beloved, she confirms he has access to the elixir of life and that he still searches for her.

But someone else also hunts her. Faruq—the man who plots to use her powers to murder and seize the life forces of others—is just one step behind her. With the help of a kind master named Nathan, Adeelah continues to search for Karim while trying to evade Faruq. To complicate matters, she begins to experience growing fatigue and pain after conjuring, and finds herself struggling against an undeniable attraction to Nathan.

As Faruq closes in, Adeelah must decide just how much she’ll risk to protect Nathan and be with Karim forever. How much power does she really have to change her future, and what is she willing to sacrifice for an eternity of love? If she makes the wrong choice, the deaths of many will be on her hands.

Carol Riggs author photo_head

Carol Riggs is an author of YA fiction who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. Her debut novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, released Sept 2015 from Entangled Teen, exploring body image and identity. Her fantasy YA, BOTTLED, will release from Clean Reads on July 7, 2016, and her sci-fi YA, SAFE ZONE, will release from Entangled Teen in October 2016. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.

 

You can keep in touch with Carol on her website, TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads!

 

Featuring Benjamin William Phillips

Hello everyone! I had the chance to sit down with another Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing author and learn about the book he signed with them. Benjamin William Phillips is a fantasy/sci-fi novelist who lives in an interesting place.

Benjamin, where do you currently live?  I currently live in the Midwestern United States, though I prefer to say that I live through a rainbow under a bridge to the left of the third star on the right and you go all the way ‘til dusk.

That’s a really cool place to live. So, when did you first consider yourself a writer?  As soon as I started writing my very first novel at the age of 10.

BEN MOONWow, so early. But I guess that’s when most authors start writing. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?   Yes, it’s set to be release next year in June. Shards of the Crystal Rose is a young adult urban fantasy novel about a fifteen-year-old girl that has to make sense of the world around her, because nothing seems to be what it is at first and she gets drawn into a fantastical adventure filled with fairies, a dragon, elves, unicorn people, fox people, magic, a terrifying masked teenaged queen, war, and all sorts of other weirdos as she tries to sort out what is and what is not real and fix the world around her.

WOW! That sounds awesome. What inspired you to write this book?   I was inspired to write Shards because of the way in which the media from television to film to video games and magazines and other books all tend to abuse and portray mentally ill people, especially schizophrenics. I wanted to show these illnesses, and the people that are afflicted with them, in a different; more kinder light… to show that they are just as human BEN MEMEas you or I am and that we’re not some big boogey critter in the closet waiting for darkness so we can eat you. We have the same emotions, the same fears, the same problems just like everyone else. We love and live just like everyone else does and I felt that it was time to try to help change the world’s view on how mental illness should be thought of.

It sounds like you have a good grasp on what you are trying to accomplish. I have no doubt your book will be as great as you want it to be. I’d love to know, how do you find the time to write?   I just post a note in my Facebook timeline that asks that people not disturb me so that I can have the time I need to write, and then I just get to it.

It’s that easy, is it? How long does it take you to write a book?   I’m not sure. One of my other novels, and is a part of a series by the way, called The Raven’s Blood Chronicles—Mirrored Sisters, (it’s Book One of that series), took me 11 years to write, whereas Shards of the Crystal Rose took only about 9 months or so. It really tends to vary with the subject of the book and how long I plan on making the first draft.

I definitely agree with that. Now, I want to ask you a very important question. Are you ready for it?   Go for it!

Do you have any pets? Do the animals that accompany several of my characters in my stories count as pets?

I guess that counts, you have created them, live with them, write their every move. It counts. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be?   None of them. They already exist in the pages of my novels, and in the hearts, minds, and souls of my fans, followers, and readers. There is no need to bring them into this world as they have their own worlds to live in, which can be visited at any time by anyone. All you need to do is pick up a book and read it.

Fair enough. For the dreaded writer’s block; do you have any advice?   Generally speaking, I just walk away from the project for a day or two. I do try to do other things, like play video games or watch a film, or read. When I get ‘writer’s block,’ I see it as my brain’s way of telling me that I have taken too much time working on (blank) project and that it is time for me to step aside and take a break to prevent burn out on the storyline, this way my characters and the story itself won’t suffer.

Great advice. Something I do whenever I have trouble with writing. Do you have any otherben advice for aspiring writers?   Don’t bother listening to the people that tell you, you won’t make it in the world of writing. You’ll get there. It may take time, and a lot of it, but you’ll get there. You’ve got a story to tell and out there in this world there will be one person that desperately wants to read it, so write it. Besides, no one is more uniquely qualified, or more capable, of writing your story than you. And, give your editor some respect. They aren’t trying to hurt you, or your story. They want to see it succeed just as much as you do, even when it doesn’t seem that way at times. You don’t have to always follow every single suggestion, but more often than not, those suggestions that they make will actually make your story stronger and more believable to your audience, so it would benefit you to listen to what they have to say.

And there you have it from Benjamin Phillips. Can we have a peek at Shards of the Crystal Rose?   This is from Shards of the Crystal Rose, Chapter Twenty-Five, and is the first on-screen appearance of the main antagonist character, the White Crown.

A young girl’s screech of terror brought everyone to a frozen standstill.

                All eyes turned to the south of the village.

                A masked girl stood behind the quivering body of a young Runga’an woman, ignoring the wailing of the filly that stood in front of the older Runga’an, a long dagger clutched in her hand as a rivulet of crimson ebbed its way down the blade and dripped from her wrist. Her mask obscured her face; the eyes empty, blacked out. The only feature on the otherwise featureless mask was the upper lip. It had been painted black as jet. The girl’s mask was tied by a thin black ribbon behind her head. Onyx hair, tinged at the tips with fiery red, waved in the clutches of the breeze. She ripped her dagger from the throat of her victim and wiped the blood across the sleeve of her sapphire tunic and tucked the weapon into its sheath at her hip. Releasing her free hand from the dying woman’s shoulder, she let her fall and crushed her victims’ chest beneath her boot as the she stepped over her, making a beeline straight for Grae Reivyn. A small opaque crystal crown rode on the girl’s head, glittering in the sunlight. “No,” Grae Reivyn muttered, her eyes widening. She flicked her wrist, summoning a sphere of glittering black speckled mist. The White Crown locked her eyes with Grae Reivyn’s and inclined her head slightly. Grae Reivyn flicked her wrist again, snuffing the sphere out. The Crown raised a hand straight into the air and snapped her fingers. Forty guards phazed around her, appearing in a cloud of sparkly purple-black smoke.

                “I will not submit to you,” Grae Reivyn snarled, her arm shaking as she tried to summon her magic again. The White Crown stood an arm’s length away, keeping her empty eyes locked with the Soother’s.

                “Bow before your queen, now!” one of the guards said, unsheathing a broadsword.

                “I will…n-not!” Grae Reivyn choked, coughing.

                Her lungs burned for air.

                “Bow!” the guard bellowed, stepping behind her. He kicked her in the back of the knees, forcing the Soother to the dirt. Grae Reivyn collapsed, tucking her face into her arms as deep chested coughs ripped through her throat. She sputtered, clutching at her neck as the White Crown crouched, gripping the Soother’s chin. She pulled the woman from the dirt and flung her away, her manicured nails gouging thin trails of blood. Grae Reivyn rolled into a ball, tears bursting from her eyes. Her lips blaze with blue. She quivered, fighting for air. The Crown turned away from her. Grae Reivyn choked, falling face first onto the ground, sucking in mouthfuls of welcome air.

                “Next time, horse, you will bow willingly!” the guard growled and turned to the rest of the onlookers. “Hail your queen!”

Great excerpt! Thanks for sharing it with us. If you are having fun getting to know Benjamin and his book, please follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Please don’t forget to check out his publisher here.

And I know you are all wondering where to purchase this book, but you will need to wait 390 days and 23 hours. They book should be released on June 15, 2017. That’s right, I said it, 2017! I will update again when it gets closer to the release date so you all remember to snag a copy!

Thank you so much Benjamin for playing along and answering all of my silly questions.

fireflies

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Writing Close To My Heart

When I was younger, I had always dreamed of writing a book. I had this awesome fantasy world I created and even drew a detailed map with mountains, streams, and oceans. I came up with a plot and characters; the whole shebang!

But, what I didn’t do was actually write the book. I was never confident about writing. There was always something in the back of my mind telling me I wasn’t good enough, so I kept my folder (with a horse on the front) with all my story ideas and pictures close to me so I could add to it whenever. If I suddenly had an idea, it went in the folder. No one knew what was inside. They all thought it was school work. But they were wrong.

I kept that dream close to my heart until one day, I wrote some of that down.

It all started when I decided my sister would help me write. My great idea was for me to come up with the plot points and Elena would write my story. That lasted all of one day. Elena basically told me to write it myself. So, I did. I was so excited. Writing was exhilarating and new. It worked parts of my brain that I loved. Creativity is my middle name, I get it from my dad – who used to write westerns back in the day. Sadly, he doesn’t have any of his work.

My first story ever wasn’t really what I wanted to write; it was a collaboration with my sister because I was clueless how to start. The story consisted of a private school, princesses, and bombings. None of it worked. LOL. 15,000 words later and I scrapped that idea to start my fantasy story I created when I was young. I was actually writing that book!

You could imagine my excitement! It took me eight months to finish 60,000 words of junk. But the most important part was that I wrote the book; my childhood dream! I titled it Under The Willow Tree and still hope to one day revisit that lovely work of art and finish it the way I want too, but for now, it stays close to my heart as the first book I ever wrote.

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Left to right: Kristina, Melissa, Elena, Dana

 

I want to thank my sister, Elena for denying me and my crazy idea of her writing my book. I want to thank her for always believing in me and talking with me about ideas (rather excitedly) and chapters and editing. I want to thank her for just being my sister. If it wasn’t for her, I would’ve never landed a publishing contract with Clean Reads or Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing, Inc.

All of my sisters, Kristina for reading Bleeding Hearts and loving it, for reading the first, horrible draft of Under The Willow Tree and never once complaining.

And for Melissa, who has always supported my writing, and although I haven’t let her read anything yet, I know she will love it.

Lastly, my husband, Kyle for buying me that laptop and letting me buy an unimaginable amount of books and never once telling me I couldn’t do it. And for loving me. (That’s a given. LOL)

I will keep my writing, my books, my sisters, my husband, and the rest of my family close to my heart as I continue on this journey of a writer.

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Me and Kyle

Let’s sit down with Kade Cook

As many may know, Kade Cook is an author with Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing, Inc., and I had the chance to ask her some questions about being an author!

So, Kade, tell me a little about yourself. I am a coffee addicted writer that sings, dances and blogs from my kitchen bubble about whatever enters my mind and scribbles away about my book on my blog. I love everything reading, writing and artistic. I spend most of my time chasing around my incredible children that I hope one day will grow up reading and enjoying books as much as I do.

kadesymbol
This symbol is made by Kade herself.

 

Sounds like you have a lot of fun. That brings me to my first question, what is your book called and what’s it about? (Okay, two questions.)  GREY is the story about a young logically wired psychologist who is thrown into a supernatural world that is anything but logical and must find control of her true self in order to survive the Darkness that haunts her. It takes you through her trials and tribulation of learning to walk again as a stranger in a world that is no longer familiar to her.

It is everyday life, infused with magical elements just beneath its surface.

Wow! So fascinating. Is this part of a series?  Yes, GREY is book one of The Covenant of Shadows Trilogy or series, I haven’t exactly decided if there will be a fourth. It is out lined but we will see how it goes.

The trilogy is a journey of growth and enlightenment, of seeing things in a different light than what had once been allowed in order to shelter a child from unnecessary truths of her heritage. A discovery of the real spirit inside that refuses to be contained and conform any longer.

I personally can’t wait to read this. So, what inspired you to write this book?  Well I have been sitting on a book idea for more than 20 years but was always afraid to do it. I was terrified every time I thought about how I would make the characters talk, so I buried it. After years of being home with the kids, not doing any kind a cerebral work I began to get bored and it showed. One day my husband said to me: ”if you are so bored then why don’t you write a book.”kadecook

So…I did.

And boy was he sorry. But I put away my fears of dialogue and just began to write. Little did I know that when it was time for the characters to speak, they did exactly that. Loud and clear. There was no longer any fear of ‘how’ they would say it, just nervousness and exhilaration of ‘what’ they would say.

How long have you been writing?  I have written my entire life but only in song, music and in poetry. It was just until 2015 that I actually put pencil to paper in an attempt to create a novel. Mind you I have lived in the land of make believe since I was able to recall, writing everything out mentally as I went. Life just seemed more interesting that way.

Would you consider yourself an outliner or pantser?  I would have to say both. Though the skeleton of the story, once it reveals itself, is normally figured out to the best of my abilities first. Then I just let the story go, with minimal guidance and allow the muscles to take form on the bones naturally, unforced. I let the characters have as much room as they need to find themselves and the message they want to show me. I basically just take notes as quickly as I can before they change their minds. Which sometimes they do.

I’m a bit of both myself. That reminds me, how long, on average, does it take you to write a book?  GREY’s first draft was written and completed (without edits) in five months. But book two is taking a bit longer. With edits to GREY, time spent publicizing its birth and then of course life in general, things are moving along more slowly but they are still moving. That is the main thing. I am hoping to have it done by end of summer, then start on book three. Which has already been out lined and waiting my attention.

Sounds like a ton of work and dedication to writing. What else do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?  Let’s see, I garden in the summer, I run to the hockey rinks all winter long, I sing and dance in the kitchen when no one is watching and I read and read and read some more. Once in a while, I even wander down the road and hang out with some of the folks that live in my incredible neighborhood.

That makes me want to come to your house for a week and hang out with you. But I’d love to know where you would like to visit that you haven’t been before.  Oh, that is an unfair question. I cannot pick just one… but, hmm, okay here is one place I would love to go: Europe. That is one place right? Hee hee

Yes! I would call it a place. I would love to go to Europe. Kade, if I told you that I won the lottery and bought you an island, what would you name it? And who would live there with you?  The veil. Non-fictional? I would take all my neighbors and my family. Fictional? Any of the Schaeduwe – Shadow Walkers, from my book. They can jump in and out of shadows at will, arriving anywhere at any time, pretty handy when you are on an island. OH and did I mention they are wickedly cute?kadedog

That sounds awesome and a fun place to go. I’ll add it to my list of places I want to visit. Okay, now on to the more important questions: Do you have any pets?  I have a beta fish, well, I don’t… my four year old does, named Rainbow. We used to have a Rough Collie named Indy but he went to the clouds last summer.

Aw, he is adorable. I’m sure Indy enjoys the freedom from up above. Here’s another important question: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?  A frog… and you know what? It does taste like chicken. So, yah.

In light of the strange questions, if you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be?  Oh, wow. Just one? Well I guess maybe Ethan Borne. He has been around for a while, and has an open outlook on the way the world works. He has seen many sides of what life gives you but still manages to find the goodness in everyone. I like him.

He sounds so interesting! Do you have any advice for other writers?  Regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels or tells you what you should do, write for you. Not for them. Do it for yourself. Build the world that you want to see and always believe in that dream of seeing it through. It’s your dream, defend it.

Would you mind sharing a little bit of your book with us?  Here is a small snippet from GREY:

“Everything alright in there?” Knowing full well that it was not, Sarapheane wanted to comfort Gabrian.

“Yeah, mom,” Gabrian says, lying through her teeth. “Migraine, I will be alright. I just need to lay down.” Her head hurt, her mind hurt, her whole body hurt. Nothing felt good.  All she wanted was to go to bed and wake up better in the world she knew before the auras started.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.  I’m sure.” 

For a moment Gabrian wishes that she was a little girl again. That her mom would come tuck her into bed and tell her that everything will be ok.

That there isn’t anything hiding under her bed in the shadows.

That there is nothing to be afraid of in the Darkness.

And that she wasn’t a monster.

I’m very intrigued by this snippet. If you are just as interested in this book as I am, you’re going to have to wait in line! GREY is set to be released on August 15, 2016. Only a few short months away and we get to take a look at this book!kadepic

If you would like to follow Kade and The Covenant of Shadows Trilogy please do so below.

WordPress     Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn   Google     Goodreads     Tumblr

I had so much fun talking with Kade. She has been a peach to work with at RRPI and I wish her and her books the best of luck. Happy Friday the 13th!

Please don’t forget, if you have a creative person you would like me to interview, leave me a comment and I’ll get right on it.

Interview with Clean Reads Author Lora Palmer

I’ve had the pleasure to take part in Lora’s release party last month and loved it! Lora is so sweet and her new book, MirrorMasters is available to purchase today! She got back into writing as an adult by starting out doing role play, first based on the TV show Roswell and then on Harry Potter. It was a fun, creative outlet, and her muse kept nudging her to get back to writing original stuff!

Lora Palmer writes science fiction and fantasy for young adults. Bucks County, Pennsylvania is her home, where she resides with her wonderful husband and their mischievous cat. She has earned a graduate degree in Psychology and works at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. In her spare time, she also sings in a praise band, Chalice Sounds. 

MirrorMasters is Lora’s first book and you can find the summary below.lorapalmer
Leah Ellis never knew why she was found abandoned on the beach at two years old. Content with her adoptive family and small town life, she hadn’t thought much about it over the years. That is, until her life takes a bizarre turn when she begins seeing images in mirrors she can’t explain–cloaked figures using powers that manifest like lightning bolts, or flash-frozen beaches on another world beneath a purple sky.

She practices mirror-gazing, driven to understand these images and their possible connection to her forgotten past, and discovers that it’s kind of addictive with its wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to control what the mirror shows her.

When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they’re dead ringers for the people in her visions. According to Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes, and his father, she is a MirrorMaster–an alien with a gift that lets her travel through mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Her birth parents sent them to take her from Earth back to her homeworld of Jantyr, a planet she doesn’t remember. They’ve searched for her ever since she disappeared.

But Leah’s long-lost birth sister, a sorceress, activated an ancient device to trigger a cataclysm on Jantyr as a bid to consolidate her own power. Leah must return to Jantyr, master her newfound ability in order to locate and wield crystals that will disable the device, and thwart her sister’s plans. Otherwise, the destruction will consume the entire galaxy, including Earth and everyone she loves.

 

What inspired you to write your first book? It started with this story idea I’d had as a kid and would act out with my friends from the neighborhood. Originally, it was a time travel story about two girls who discovered a mirror in an attic, and it took them into the past. Then, as I set down to re-work what I’d first written, what came out was much different than the original story. Now, the main character, Leah, had the gift of controlling mirrors to view, and even travel to, other places. Then, everything else, like the cataclysms her birth sister triggered on their homeworld, fell into place around that.

How long have you been writing? I was writing little stories—even in crayon—from the time I learned to read, so I’m told :). During college and beyond, I kind of got away from it until maybe about 10 years ago or so. I loved writing role play because it was fun creating stories with a partner, and then I finally decided to get back to writing original stuff of my own, starting with this story idea I’d had as a kid and would act out with my friends from the neighborhood. What came out was much different than the original story, but it’s been about 7 or 8 years now since I started writing MIRRORMASTERS.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?  MIRRORMASTERS took maybe four years, then lots and lots of editing in the years following, then querying, more editing, and so on, until I found my wonderful publisher! I tend to write and edit in fits and starts, so I’m still working on doing the initial edits for RED SKY. I think it took maybe a couple of years to write, and I’ve been working a little at a time on the edits.

I always love this question. When did you first consider yourself a writer? It probably took me until I ‘d written MIRRORMASTERS and had also written a couple short stories. By then, I knew this was something I loved, something I wanted to be doing long-term.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Taking a break to go for a walk, or read/listen to a good book definitely helps to come back fresh to the story. Usually, I write scenes in order, but it can sometimes help to write ahead, or at least brainstorm an upcoming scene I’ve been looking forward to working on.

We want to know what’s going on in your life besides being an author. What are your hobbies aside from writing? I love to read, of course! I also sing in a praise band. It’s fun doing little creative projects, like playing around with graphics or designing jewelry like the necklace I gave away for the MIRRORMASTERS release party.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Oh, there are so many places I’d love to see it’d be hard to narrow it down to just one! But, since, I need to pick one, I’ll go with Hawaii!

 

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You were just given an Island (by me). What would you name it? And who would live there with you? Ooh, I love this question! It would be wonderful to live on an island with my family and friends. I’d probably call it Paradise Island, because it does sound like paradise to live with my loved ones in such a gorgeous setting!

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten. I haven’t eaten anything too weird, but I guess the most exotic thing I’ve eaten would be Calimari.

If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? Wow, I would love to meet Leah and help support her on her journey. Oh, and it would be a blast to hang out together, go for smoothies, and travel with her through mirrors to explore the cosmos! And if she could bring Kara along, too, that would make it even more fun! Leah’s sweet, and Kara is adventurous and sassy, so I love them both :).

Do you have any advice for other writers? Persistence does pay off! Keep writing, keep editing, keep querying, and find a really good critique partner and betas to help you get your manuscript in shape. Oh, and once your manuscript is ready, twitter pitch parties like #PitMad and #Pit2Pub can be a great way to connect with industry professionals who may be interested in your work. Check out AgentQuery Connect and the Query Tracker forum. These are places where you can learn from other writers tons of useful information about the publishing industry, as well as workshop your query to get it into shape. The main Query Tracker site also came in handy for keeping track of queries sent and their responses.

I’d love to read some your book. Can you share a little of your work with us?

Strange things happen in Sea Cliff Heights every single year on this date, June 15th. Mysterious pulses of light flickered in the forest. Not-quite-solid figures appeared in the cemetery one second and disappeared the next. All day, I couldn’t shake the intuition that this year would bring something much worse than the usual weirdness, much worse than the usual gibes about how it began thirteen years ago, the same night my parents found me abandoned on the beach.

“Let’s watch something light — not a horror movie,” I said.

“Leah, Leah, Leah.” My brother David shook his head and scooted closer to Kara, my best friend, on their loveseat. They shared a conspiratorial grin. “Don’t tell me you want to watch some lame comedy when we can have a slasher fest. It’s tradition.”

A shiver raced down my spine at the mental image the idea conjured, one of chilling music, strangled sobs and hitching breaths, followed by silenced screams. Tonight also marked the town tragedy of the 1870s, when strangers murdered the Stanford twins, the mayor’s daughters. Of course David would insist we do something scary to commemorate the anniversary.

“Come on!” I shot him a pleading look. “I’m sure you breezed through exams, but I took three AP finals this week and fielded a million alien jokes today. Enough already — I deserve a break from crazy.”

“Just go out to the cemetery with us,” Kara said, her eyes sparkling. “We won’t do anything risky, I promise.”

Sure. Why wait for trouble to find us when we could seek it out and bring it right here?

Glancing out the sliding glass doors toward the church beyond, I couldn’t help checking for signs of unusual activity. My hands fidgeted, and I fought to still them. I thought I could just make out the sound of otherworldly voices speaking in urgent whispers outside. A gust of wind rustled the palm trees, obscuring any other noise and causing moonlight and shadows to flit across the lawn. Every muscle in my body tensed. Whatever might lurk out there, we’d be safer staying away from it. 

mirrormasters

Wow, that was something. Thanks for sharing it with us!

If you want to purchase a copy of MirrorMasters you can do them here:

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If you have any questions for me or for Lora, please ask away! If you want me to interview another author or artist, comment and let me know. I hope you enjoyed this interview, thanks for reading. Next week I will be talking with Kade Cook, author with Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing, Inc.

Monday Morning Makeover

Every writer starts somewhere. They have that one manuscript that they wrote in full but is now sitting on a shelf, in a box, or in a file on their computer. I have that very same manuscript that I wrote a while back and now, I want to bring it back to life.

The hard part about that is you almost always rewrite your entire book. For me, that’s exactly what I plan on doing. Under The Willow Tree is a young adult fantasy about a supernatural race around the world. Every word I wrote years ago doesn’t even come close to how I would write today. So, what’s my point? The point is, I have begun to outline and work on my character profiles and I’d love to share a bit with you all.

This is the very first paragraph in my original story:

I make my final strides to the marina entrance, ready for an early’s day of work.  Five days a week a barge docks at the marina and the islanders unload the unwanted fruit they bring from Neuphoria. Whatever you unload you get to keep, so I try to make it everyday. Any fruit that isn’t unloaded they dump into the ocean. It’s wasteful. 

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And this is the updated version:

Where I live, people die all the time, every day, sometimes every hour. There’s no safe, secluded place on the island that will keep you completely hidden, save for a few large Willow trees that I have made into my own personal shelter. With Basil by my side I am as safe as anyone is going to get on the Islands of Cadeaux.

This is only the beginning. I’m sure this first chapter will change again in the future, but it’s a start.

What story is in the makeover process for you? Do you have a plan on what you want to change? Are you just going to scrap the whole thing and completely start over?