Monday, October 29, 2012

Interview with The e-reader House creator Alan Rhodes

Do you ever wonder as a writer, how am I ever going to get the word out about this beautiful book I’ve written?  As a person in general do you ever wonder, is there any decency, kindness or generosity left in the world?  Well, today’s guest offers an answer to both of those questions.  I am extremely grateful to introduce you to Alan Rhodes, creator of The e-reader House page on Facebook.  This page is geared toward promoting and motivating writers, as well as creating a buzz with readers.  Just to reinforce that I am not blowing smoke up your britches, this is a direct quote from the page:
“A home for independent authors and independently minded readers. Please be assured you are actively encouraged to post your books, reviews, etc. A chance to find the hidden gems in the e-book world.”
As of today, the page currently has 1,444 likes but deserves far more.  Alan thank you for being here today, can you share with us why you felt the need to generate such a marvelous page?
I moved to Norway some months back to be with Egle. We had met when I was editing her book – The life and death of Benjamin Brash. Getting her book out had started me looking at the changes in the publishing industry and The e-reader House grew out of seeing the changes and the need for  the newer authors to find a way to be noticed when they come up against the big marketing budgets of books linked to films, TV, celebrities etc.
I have a background in internet business having founded and run an on-line e-learning resource for social care workers in the UK so I just fancied getting involved with the whole e-reading and e-publishing world.
I’m always impressed by people who see a need and fill it, as you did.  When you first began The e-reader House, did you have an agenda in mind or were you doing this purely out of the kindness of your heart? 
I wish I could claim it as pure altruism but it’s not. I’ve always tried to work in a way that offers a gain to others through my work as well as to me and it’s the same with The e-reader House. I would like to see it grow to a point where it’s a win-win-win, a win for authors  - in the information provided and the exposure the page gives them, a win for readers – in highlighting some excellent but lesser-known authors and books and a win for me – in that through a quarterly e-magazine, The Book of Bits, and eventually through the book links being part of affiliate programs, I can hopefully produce a small income from The e-reader House.
We all have to survive and I don’t feel that lessons the generosity of what you do in anyway.  In fact, I think people would be surprised how much time and energy it takes to undergo such a task.  You not only add clever posts to your page regularly but you also organize an author’s list (which must hold 100’s of authors) and an “author services” list (which currently holds at least 14 resources).  Could you give us an idea how much time you spend daily preparing The e-reader House?
I probably spend 5-6 hours a day – searching out stories, posting stories, responding to messages, preparing The Book of Bits, etc. My favourite part of the page is The Author List which now has about 180 authors on it. We start each day on the page with a post about 6 of these authors and through the day I post a book from each of the six complete with links to Amazon,, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
I apologize for not taking the time to count the list on my own.  It is a rather sizeable collection of names and now to know there are actually 180, impresses me thoroughly.  What has been the most surprising thing you have learned in creating this page?
The most surprising, and most pleasing, part is the degree to which I have developed friendships with a number of the people who regularly visit and post to the page. Particularly having moved to Norway, knowing no-one apart from Egle, these on-line friends have become important to me.
I can completely relate to that.  Are you an author, and if so do you have any publications you would like to share with us?
No and Yes. No in the sense that I have no ability as a fiction writer at all. I greatly admire all the authors and their ability to create and sustain a story through 300-400 pages. I know I don’t have that in me. However, Yes in that I have always been what I call a good ‘technical’ writer. For the e-learning company I mentioned earlier I wrote a lot of the learning materials linked either to management and business or to social care issues. I now use that ability in areas such as The Book of Bits. We produced the first edition in August ( UK: ) and I wrote a number of ‘Bits’ for it linking management and business issues to writing and publishing.  The next edition, The Christmas Special, is due out on 1st December and we currently have about 12-15 authors contributing to it and again I’ll write a few hopefully helpful ‘Bits’
I think I can speak for fiction writers in saying that technical writing is difficult for most of us, so we applaud your abilities.  Besides helping promote many writers, your page is full of useful and sometimes witty posts.  Do you ever struggle with finding things to add to your page?
Yes – I have a number of sources I search every day and my home feed brings me info from well over a 1000 other Facebook pages but yes it can be a struggle. Saturday and Sunday are the hardest days as the main ‘news’ sources I use tend not to post on those days. Every day we post the story about the 6 authors and then we post one each of their books and 1 Author Service so that makes 8 posts. Most days I try to post 4-6 other stories – a couple about the whole writing/publishing world, a couple about the indie world and a couple of photos/cartoons. Finding these 4-6 is what takes the time.
Wow, that is impressive.  The more details I found out about The e-reader House the more I appreciate it.  What is your personal/professional opinion on what makes a book successful?
To me the true ‘success’ with a book is that the writer got it from their head onto the page in front of the reader. As I’ve said I greatly admire that skill, so ‘success’ to me isn’t limited purely to those books that sell. I genuinely see every one of the authors on our Author Listing as successes.
If we go further to define the success of a book as being about sales then the basics, a good story with interesting characters that is well written, skillfully edited and carefully proofread and formatted, all need to be there but then there is the nebulous area of its ‘discoverability’ – that can be a bit of luck, a bit of good or imaginative marketing, a bit of growing your links in the industry and a lot of stamina and patience – even the so-called overnight successes tend to come after years of hard slog.
I agree wholeheartedly!  As an avid reader, what is your personal favorite book and have you found any “gems” through The e-reader House?
I can’t say I have a favourite as such – it tends to be whatever I’ve just read. If pushed to pick one book it would probably be either Egle’s  The life and death of Benjamin Brash or Nelson Mandela’s  Long Walk to Freedom. The former because I admire the story, her imagination and her ability to bring that to the page in her third language. The latter because I admire the man’s ability to move from years of suffering to a position of reconciliation rather than revenge – I think that is the very best of humanity.
Gems via The e-reader House  - 2 books I read in order to review that I particularly liked were Wendy Steele’s Destiny of Angels and Kathy Bennett’s A Deadly Blessing – I hope both these 2 authors get the recognition their books deserve. A third author I would mention is Stuart Laing and his Robert Young of Newbiggin novels. I’m not a big fan of historical novels but the quality of Stuart’s writing stands out. If you like historical crime novels he is one you should definitely have a look at.
I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of those books, but I will certainly add them to my “to read” list.  If you could say anything to writers &/or readers alike, what would you say?
To writers – Thank you and please keep at it. Getting your book to be a success in terms of sales is a marathon not a sprint.
To readers – Please look beyond the books that the big publishers push in front of you all the time, there are some really good writers out there waiting to be found.
To both – please don’t let the ‘free’ books and cheap price of many e-books lead you to undervalue all the hard work that goes into a book.
Well said.  Alan, thank you so much for your time and for creating The e-reader House.  It truly is a wonderful generosity and sacrifice. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hauntingly, Spooky, Short Story Challenge

Yesterday on Facebook I thought we’d have a bit of fun, so I posted a “Hauntingly, Spooky, Short Story Challenge”.  This dared readers to exercise their creative muscles and come up with a short story using the writing prompt, “The awful smell surrounded me now, I wanted to escape, but it was so dark I was afraid to move."
This was a blast and we got some cleverly creepy tales in the process.  Today I am sharing with you my take on the prompt, as well as, the participating stories.  Special thanks to all who contributed.  Happy haunting everyone! 
(*stories are listed in the order they were posted.)
My Story:
I’ve been here for three days.  The awful smell surrounds me now, I want to escape, but it’s so dark I’m afraid to move.  I knew he’d come after me eventually, but I never dreamed the outcome would be as horrific as it has been. 
We’d once been in love, until the sickness consumed what was left of our lives.  Each day the simplicity of reality was drowned out, by the monsters of illusion.  I’d ran away to preserve a slowly dying affection, it wouldn’t be long until one or both of us slipped away. 
This old house was the home of my childhood, now condemned, just as I am.  The walls are stained by years of neglect and the shadows which lurk in the corners, are haunting reminders of where the madness began.  Flashes of cruelty and torcher flicker through the ever glowing red glimmers of past.
It couldn’t be possible that I wade through the muck of insanity with clear vision.  How could he have followed me when I clearly struggled to shield him?  Why is it now that I can see him so vividly standing in the hollowness of the door waiting for me, when days ago I was blinded by fear?
His ever approaching figure, taunting me with persuasive fantasy until I could no longer control the fiend inside;  a devil which clawed with determination to preserve a life that wasn’t in any real danger at all.  Now I sit surrounded by the gore of my own hand, a shell of my former self.  Bathed in the blood of my lover which now corrodes along with my soul; his decomposing body, reminding me of a fate worse than my own death and the agony of a crime I committed without intent.
The screech owls sing a haunting echo to the moonless night, a condemning question in my mind.  Whowho have I slain?  The awful smell surrounds me now…I want to escape, but it’s so dark I’m afraid to move.
Submission by Angel Elizabeth:
There are times in your life when caution plays a key role in decision making and this was one of those times.
I had been here before. I knew the terrors that awaited me should I make the wrong move. Take the wrong step. I was barefoot and alone. The thought of something squishing between my toes terrified me.

The slight breeze swirled the horrendous aroma from my nose but couldn't take it away completely.

Maybe if I waited. Maybe someone would rescue me or maybe it would get me too.

Hearing the faint sound of footsteps in the darkness I held my breath and awaited my fate.

The sound of a creaking doorknob slowly turning filled the silence as light quickly flooded the room.

"Honey, I brought you a light bulb. I know how much your son's room scares you."
Submission by Robbie Crego:
Between the darkness and the smell of mold, I tried not to panic...slowly trying to maintain my composer. I fumbled around the pitch blackness looking for some form of light. I could hear running water in the distance so I started to follow this noise thinking it may lead me to an opening. Not having any light...this was much more difficult than I thought.

I started tripping over what felt like boxes or maybe trunks. I paused for a few minutes thinking this might be it.

I started to open these boxes to hopefully try to find some tool that would help me get out of this creepy place. As I reached into the first box I felt old mildewed clothing. The next box was more like chest. It was locked.

Since the pitch black was a factor...I still followed the sound of running water. The sound started becoming louder and louder as I slowly made my way towards this sound.  How did I get here? Is this some kind of joke?
The ground I was crawling on was cold and wet and the smell...oh god the smell reminded me of a chicken slaughter house. I feel this it? The way I check out of this world? I’m alone and cold, dry heaving from the smell.

Submission by Christi Anna:
I awoke with a quick jolt, my head snapping upright with surprise. The air reeked of rotten flesh and decay. Everything was so pitch-black that if not for the tiny thread of light streaming from beneath the door, I would have thought myself blind.

I tried to sit up straight, my back aching and stiff. My legs were also asleep and I wondered just how long I had been out. I covered my nose and sucked in a cold breath by mouth, my lungs aching from the frigid temperatures. But even in this arctic of climates, the aroma of death permeated the air as if it were mid-summer.

Slowly, my surroundings began to emerge. Shadows took shape, forming objects a few feet away, none of which I recognized, and all made eerier by the constant, drip, drip, drip echoing in my ears. I was so cold, wearing nothing but an old t-shirt and pair of panties which I could feel were draped around my ankles. Oh, God, where was I? Thoughts and scenarios played through my mind like a horror movie. This can’t be happening, not to me!

In the midst of my panic, all thought came to a sudden halt. Shuffling footsteps, a sigh of aggravation, the light beneath the door broken. Someone was just on the other side. I stopped breathing, listened hard, watching wide-eyed as the shadow paced back and forth. My heart pounded in my ears as I realized these had to be my last moments. No doubt I was about to meet the same demise as whatever else had died in this room. But worse was not knowing how or why I would die or at whose hands my death would come.

Suddenly, the door flew open and the room lit up in a flash of light! I shielded my eyes and squinted at the figure which now loomed over me angrily. Slowly, my eyes adjusted to the light and his disgruntled face became clear. He remained silent for a moment, and then asked, “Are you done?”

I sat up a little straighter and rubbed my eyes. “What?”

“Are you done?” he repeated.

Again, I asked with confusion, “What?”

He ran a frustrated hand down his face and sighed. “Honey, you fell asleep in the bathroom again. Flush and get out. I’m about to pee myself!”

Submission by Tish Boothe:
The smell of burning flesh was sickening. The floor was cold stone, and as unfamiliar as the heaviness of the clothing I wore. Where was I? My last thoughts before this room were of....... Professor Quinn's lab. He bundled me into a strange, heavy costume, told me to stand on the Dias, and hold my breath.
I began feeling around the floor for something, anything to defend myself with should I need it. The door flew open, the heaviness of it slamming against the stone wall. "Up ye lazy dogs!" she shouted in what I could only imagine was a British accent. The lamps were lit and she caught her breath. She fell into a curtsey. "My ladyship, pardon me for my outburst. I knew not that you were here,” she begged, real fear in her voice. "The master awaits you upstairs. Would you like me to take you?" 
What was happening? Who was the master? One way to find out. I gathered my courage and followed her up the stone steps. Every inch of the way, fear crawling on my skin. Through the kitchens, (burnt meats on the spit. The burning flesh.) Past the servant’s rooms, (I would later learn I had woken in the slaves' rooms, people who were in too much debt to pay their own way so they worked as slaves in his house for 2 years).
Through the castle I went following a servant, fear and dread flowing from every step. My luck just wasn't good enough to let me get through this without a scratch. I was going to be burned as a witch, a heretic, something. As we rounded the last corner, I felt I would pee myself for fear. Then I saw him.
My feet, of their own accord flew to him. "Henry!!" I cried as I threw my arms around him. "The machine worked."  He stated more than asked. "Yes. Professor Quinn found your notes and promised to destroy it after."  Henry and I were very happy knowing his time machine had helped us to change history, change our lives, and finally be together through all dangers. Love and technology conquered all.

Submission by Carissa Martin:
The room is hot, and stifling. I can't breathe for the stuffy heat. I stare at the door hoping that it will open soon, anything to ease this feeling like I’m burning alive. At once the door flies open, the air in the room stirs and with it the worst smell I have ever experienced. I can't even describe it. With the opening of the door comes the sweet release of a cool breeze, even though the air is rancid I take a deep cooling breath. Finally gathering my senses I look up at the person who has provided me with relief from this hot and stifling prison I’m in...

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Enchanting Marilyn A. Hudson

Today, I have a special TREAT!  It is a rare occasion in which I am able to introduce to you someone so richly diverse.  My special guest is an author, storyteller, historian, and scholar, as well as an educator, and Steampunk enthusiast.   Her work is abundant with captivating facts, mesmerizing charm, and hypnotic thrills.  She has brought you such chilling tales as The Bone Days of Summer, Tales of Hell's Half Acre, When Death Rode the Rails, and one of my personal favorites The Mound.  She is also the author of several blogs including Hudson Tells, Whorl Books, and Mystorical, all of which lend an excitingly eerie intrigue and brilliance.  I am extremely excited to interview the enchanting Marilyn A. Hudson.
Marilyn, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.  I am both amazed and inspired by your talent and accomplishments.  You have such a fascinating list of achievements, half of which I didn’t even list.  What do you feel has been your greatest success in your career?
Finishing.  Like many writers, I did a lot of work early in life but never got around to finishing many projects. Some brilliant ideas lingered in a drawer or notebook. I had excellent excuses: children, work, and responsibilities. I continued to write in secret, for myself, and dream. Deciding to give birth to that dream and actually take the process to full term – that was my greatest success.  Everything else stems from that one achievement.
That truly is inspiring and I am so glad you did.  The books I listed are only a small selection in a lengthy list of both spooky and inspirational writings.  Do you have a project that is your absolute favorite, either for the finished product or the experience of its creation? 
The Mound.  It was such fun playing with plot, motifs and themes.  My co-author and I bounced creative ideas around like jugglers. We found that we creatively triggered each other.  We actually had a lot of fun as the story, the characters, and the energy combined.  The result was we created enough ideas that we have material for two more books from that first creative burst.
Oh my, I absolutely, cannot wait for those sequels!  As a historian you must find paranormal accounts riveting.  Which do you become most absorbed by, history or mystery? 
History sometimes is the most mysterious of all.  History by its nature is a one-sided view of a multi-dimensional experience.  It is like a box and we see just one side. 
There are always the forgotten people, events, and experiences that later generations tried to sweep under the carpet. Reading old newspapers this is clear. Communities tried to present themselves at their best. We ignored many people because we were ashamed of their primitive ways, their less than elegant manners, or their hardscrabble life.  We forgot the shady ladies, the shady dealings, the poor, the minorities, or the less than famous when we learned a history focused on role models.  Yet, those other elements often are what made it possible for those individuals to be remembered.  Is there a need for brave U.S. Marshalls when there is no lawless behavior? The mystery is finding the true story and remembering that there is no hero without struggle, danger or threat.
Well said and I absolutely agree.  I understand you are a native Oklahoma but enjoy travel.  With all your ghostly explorations, can you tell us what you consider to be the creepiest place you’ve ever visited?
While researching for The Mound the opportunity to go on a ‘ghost hunt’ arose. Since, a team of paranormal researchers feature in the novel it was perfect.   The team met at a deserted church in the eastern part of Oklahoma that had for years a reputation for haunting events.  One of the members of the team had recently purchased it to preserve it for research.  We arrived near midnight and spent the next few hours inside the church.   As a spooky looking low-lying mist rolled in, and lacy clouds covered the moon, we waited for the nocturnal manifestations to occur.  Some strange things occurred and I can tell you when they talk about those famous ‘cold spots’   – those are really cold!
Wow, how exciting!  That is truly chilling and once again you have proved to be a sensational storyteller!  As I mentioned above I understand you are quite the “Steampunk” connoisseur.  Can you explain what this craze is, (to those who may not be familiar), and why you find it so appealing?
Steampunk” is a term used to refer to an alternative fictional world of the imagination that combines Victorian era life with science fiction. The technology is more analog than digital: imagine Jules Verne and his submarine, H.G. Wells and his time machine or his island populated by scientific experimentation run wild.  Some of its symbols are Victorian era clothes, clockwork gears, goggles, and corsets worn outside the clothing. The corset is usually seen as a hidden restriction of female life but it gets turned on its head when worn outside the clothes and becomes a symbol of empowerment. An excellent introduction to modern steam punk literature is Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.
I love Halloween because it allows the imagination to run free with costumes and play. People need to play.  I think the reason people are drawn to alternative realities, be it at a novel, movie a Comic-Con, Steam Punk event or Star Trek Convention, are those imaginative aspects that allow us to pretend and the mind to play.
I highly believe in play and I will have to remember your suggestion to read Boneshaker.  I really hadn’t had the privilege of encountering a true storyteller before I met you.  Can you share what that experience is like and what types of presentations you put on?
Storytelling performers are classed as performance art and range from folksy tellers in bib overalls to concerts of stories on theater stages. A saying is that storytelling is an ancient art eternally new. Storytelling is used with people from childhood to senior life. Venues range from classroom, boardroom, hospital, pulpit, and library. I was once invited to share stories with a group of teens in a high security facility.  These were teens who had gotten in so much trouble they had to be locked in when we had the story session. I was thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”  Tough and covered in tats, they shuffled in and the doors locked, and the session began. Soon, however, the stories began to weave their spell. They were wisdom tales from around the world that shared lessons without hitting people over the head.  They leaned in. They stared out the window or looked away.  Yet, they listened.  When it was over many were quick to say in a sincere manner they liked the stories.  Stories can teach truth, connect lives, and bring understanding. They can also entertain your socks off!
In recent years, I have been doing presentations based on folklore and legends as “The Ghost Teller.” Nearly every summer, I travel to libraries and other facilities doing storytelling to support and encourage summer reading.
What a wonderful opportunity to reach young people, I bet it was a highly rewarding experience.  Much like your work, I find you spellbinding, and am anxiously anticipating your next big release.  Do you have any new titles or performances coming up? 
I am preparing a trio of books featuring a very proper Victorian woman as a ‘steam punk sleuth’.  The Madame Delaine series of books will be of interest to any who enjoy mysteries and a good read; they will have a dash of unusual steam punk contraptions and a lot of fun. She is a charming character and has amazing adventures.  I am also finishing another novel with a co-author in Kansas about a serial killer and his intended victim.  Since that co-author works in the mental health field she will certainly add to the reality of that story.    Also, the sequel to The Mound is now underway as well and looks to be another thrill ride as the main character, the psychic Shade, tackles a whole new action packed situation.   
All of those sound like they need to be #1 on my “to read” list.  Is there anything you would like to add?  Any words of wisdom to bestow upon eager minds?
Never give up on your dreams – whatever they may be - and try to make the world a better place because of your dreams. 
Well said.  Thank you again Marilyn.  I look forward to hearing more about your upcoming projects and wish you continued success. 
For more information on Marilyn, her books and performances please feel free to follow her on Facebook,  Goodreads, Linkedin, Hudson Tells, Whorl Books, Mystorical, The Steampunk Empire, Hudson House, Raven Wing Promotions, Oklahoma Writers, and Hudson Author Blogspot.  Her books can also be found at   Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million

When a group of strangers converge on an old hotel in a sleepy eastern Oklahoma town to investigate its haunted reputation, no one is prepared for the terror they are about to face. Matt Wolf busies himself with the renovation of the abandoned Montford Arms Hotel in the small Eastern Oklahoma settlement of Corvus Mound, unaware of his ancient legacy and strange destiny. Dr. Karen Houston is perplexed by the incongruous find she discovers while excavating the ancient native mounds nearby. She does not yet know that it is inextricably linked to her strange and frightening dreams. Psychic Shade Hoffmeyer will need every reserve of insight and intuition to fathom meaning from the bizarre visions leading her to a terror that will challenge her spirit as much as her mind. These three must understand the forces that have drawn them together in order to fight back the ancient evil awakening within THE MOUND.

My Review:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderfully Haunting!
The Mound is an exciting tale about the renovation of an old hotel, which holds many secrets. This haunting story draws you in to each dark corridor, as the spooky building literally comes alive. There were times during my read I found myself holding my breath, fearful of what might jump out around the next corner.

The Hudson’s' have a stimulating writing style, full of thrilling energy and cleverly spun history. Though there were times I found I needed a dictionary for a few of the words, this is only a reflection of my own limited education. This book is brilliantly constructed for those who love a fast paced, chilling story, with exhilarating action.

The Mound has it all, engaging characters, goose bumps, a battle scene and the satisfying sigh that comes at the end of a long journey. The high intensity of this story was impossible to walk away from and when the voyage was over, just like a few of the main characters, I felt changed somehow; victorious and extraordinarily invigorated.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trick & Treat

In honor of all the creepiness associated with this month, I’m sharing a “Trick” of a short story I did a few months back for a writing contest.  (The rules stated the story had to begin, “She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.”)  This was not the piece I entered, but it is fitting and fun, and I hope you enjoy it.
Also be watching for a special “Treat” real soon, as I have a spook-tacular guest interview coming up.  You won’t want to miss out, but until then I wish you ghastly good reads!
She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.  Her heart was unsettled but it was time to make a choice.  Carolyn often felt misplaced but the days of reading to Greta transformed her somehow. 
“How is she?”
“Well, what did you expect Alice?”
Alice shrunk to a corner with a huff.  Carolyn was used to her aunt’s pouty demeanor, but today it irritated her.  They’d all been sitting around waiting for this moment, perched like vultures and not one of them showed an ounce of remorse or shame.   Ralph was greasy and pompous, but Ginger was the worst.  Carolyn imagined her, a fly hungrily wringing her hands.
“Well?” Ginger’s brazen question actually caused Carolyn physical pain.
“Well, what mother?”
“Don’t get testy.  What did the book say?  Did you find out where she put it?”
“You should’ve read it yourself!”  She expected her mother to strike her for the haughty response, but the attack came from Ralph instead.
“That is no way to talk to your mother!”
“Give it a rest Uncle Ralph, the book didn’t tell me anymore than we already knew.  She had it, now she doesn’t.”
The defeated group grimaced and made grumbling noises.  Not one of them asked to see her, or cared enough to send her off with an offer of love or even a simple farewell.  The choice should’ve been easy, but things like this never were.  “Mom, wait,” Carolyn felt the sting of guilt but resisted it, “Nana wants to see you.”
“Oh’ Goody!” Ginger clapped like a child.  “I knew she’d pick me!”  The other’s snarled, slamming the door as they left. 
Returning to the shadowy room, Carolyn softly touched Greta’s cheek, clammy, she thought.   Reaching over to the side table she wrung out a cool cloth and placed it on the elderly woman’s forehead.  She looked at her longing to make her well, never realizing before how much she resembled her grandmother.  She’d never really cared, but there was an uncanny resemblance and it pleased her.
Reading the diary opened a window into a life she’d never considered.  This woman was a pioneer, courageous and a bit scandalous in her time.  Carolyn could only dream of being so remarkable. “Get out of the way!”  Ginger snapped, shoving Carolyn aside.  “Momma, I’m here.”  Her voice was syrupy, but the phony sound couldn’t hide her agenda.
 Carolyn was surprised the old woman had the strength to sit up, but she managed as if she’d been saving all her energy for this moment.  Looking directly at Carolyn she pointed toward a dresser, “There’s a box in the drawer.”
Carolyn retrieved the decrepit box as told and gently handed it over.  Greta opened it slowly and Carolyn imagined a glowing brilliance would pour from it, but once open, it only revealed an antique necklace.  “I want you to have it,” Greta announced handing it to Ginger.
Unable to take her concentration away from the bobble, Ginger’s eyes sparkled with greed.  She quickly put the trinket around her neck and smiled without showing an ounce of gratitude.  Greta coughed tiredly, “It’s the coveted everything and nothing.”
Carolyn watched, waiting for a miracle but the phenomenon had already transpired.  Ginger stood, her eyes gleaming with an unfamiliar affection, then she kissed Carolyn lovingly, “You may never have their love, but you own their adoration.”  Accepting the kiss was easy, masking her confusion was not, but her new mother gave a wink that soothed her nerves.
Mystified and gasping with terror, the old woman released her final breath and Carolyn felt her guilt slip away just as freely.  She hugged the adoring mother she’d always wanted and an eerie peace eased her deception.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blah, Blah Blog!

Well, I never thought I had much to say outside of a book.  Story lines are challenging enough, without the added pressure of having to think of something new to share on a regular basis.  Yet, here I am moving the small attempt at blogging from its birthplace on Goodreads to my very own page here on Blogspot. 
Today, I moved eight of my previous articles and will try to post something new as often as possible.  I look forward to getting to know each of you, as well as reviewing your comments and suggestions.  Thank you for taking the time to join.  Please, feel free to browse past interviews and thoughts. 

Interview w/ Emovamp Creator Christi Anna

Just when it seems things are looking up for Daniela Moretti, her life takes another unexpected turn. She is now royalty and possesses the ability to become one of their kind, yet, for all her power, and for all her resources, that option has never been more out of reach. Daniela is restless, tired, while others are happier than ever, and all she can do is watch as they get everything she's ever wanted and more. Driven to hasty decisions and desperate actions, Daniela makes a mess of things and soon seeks refuge in the arms of an old friend. But just as she is breathing a sigh of relief, she is informed of a new threat, one that is hunting her. And when a tempting offer is made, Daniela must consider it or face certain annihilation. Terrified and confused, she must make a decision that will forever alter her life and possibly the world. Will she choose a death sentence or continue Yearning for that which she covets most, knowing it is only a Deadly Desire?

I have to admit I am not on the vampire/werewolf book wagon, but the Thief of Life series is one of my guilty pleasures. It is inventive, exciting, and at moments, literally breathtaking. There is a strong mixture of familiarity, as well as something completely original and electrifying.

Author, Christi Anna, is joining us today to discuss Yearning Deadly Desire , her latest release and fourth book in the paranormal romance series Thief of Life, the Chronicles of Daniela. Christi’s books are not your run of the mill vampire fantasy; they are witty, clever and spun from a different yarn than the typical bloodsuckers. She has taken a different approach to a sometimes overdone genre giving her an A+ in the creativity department. I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading the series, but Christi’s ability to make you care for the characters won me over. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by, Christi, I am delighted to have you.

How do you feel about being lumped into the “Vampire” writer’s club, even though your book is so different?

I would answer by saying, there is a part of me which sometimes wants to clarify that my story is not about vampires, however, there is another side which embraces it and knows that even though mine are not actual, blood-sucking vampires, they are, in essence, true to the vampire form, mysterious, ancient, strong, fast, and devastatingly handsome creatures which feed on others. It is for this reason that I embrace being “lumped” into that genre because it opens up more opportunity to reach a wider audience, some that may only read vampire stories, some that would never.

Well said. In your story the main character, Daniela, starts off a bit weak and vulnerable. I really enjoyed watching her grow and gain substance throughout the books. Was this a conscious decision, and if so, were you ever eager to force her into a stronger position?

This was definitely a conscious decision, and yes, there were times throughout that I wanted to push her to be stronger, but her growth has needed to come slowly and, at times, I’ve had to knock her down a couple of notches. I want my readers to yell at her, slap their foreheads and beg, “WHY?” And the answer is, because we are all vulnerable and weak at times, but we have to keep fighting through the pain, struggling, moving forward and growing stronger, this is life, and that is her story.

That gave me chills, and is a very accurate depiction of humanity. I’ve read that the storyline came to you as a part of being emotionally drained. Could you explain that to us a little more?

Many years ago, I dealt with a person in my life who was, as I like to say, an emotional vampire. Someone who literally left me feeling emotionally drained every time I encountered them. Eventually, I had to withdraw from them for my own wellbeing. More than ten years later, I was, once again, engaged in a friendship with yet another one. I am generally a very upbeat person, and often direct that positive energy to encourage and lift up others, but there are some in this world who suck that life right out of you. No matter how much you give, they just keep taking more. It is never enough. I guess in a way I turned to writing about it as a means of therapy. I vented my frustration into my protagonist, so to speak, and let her carry my burden of feeling used.

I think we have all encountered such relationships and can certainly identify. I really admire your ability to mix wit, romance and tension. Which do you find the most difficult to convey?

All three of those seem to come easily enough, but my real downfall is fight scenes, OY! They are simply not my strong suit. By nature, I am a lover, not a fighter. I want to write mushy, feel-good, ooey-gooey romance, not battles. Unfortunately, in order for my readers to feel all warm and fuzzy, I need a little conflict and action, otherwise they would get bored and the story would fall flat. Though, I am finding that the more of these scenes I write, the easier they become and the more I like them. Alternatively, I don’t see myself writing a war story any time soon.

I hope not, I really enjoy your “ooey-gooiness”. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I could write an entire novel. When I began this journey, I honestly thought this would be a short story. After all, I hadn’t written so much as a poem since high school. I looked at other books and wondered how on earth people found so much to say. The night I wrote the outline for books two, three and four, I sort of freaked out. Here I was, with barely two chapters written of my first book ever, and I already had plans for additional novels. I knew right then that if I moved forward, I would not only be committing to finishing the one book, but additionally, however many it took to finish the story. Once I start something, I have to finish, it is just my nature. It was slightly overwhelming. I didn’t even know if I could finish one novel, let alone an entire series. I’m confident now that I can.

That is very inspiring. I know Yearning- Deadly Desire is the fourth book in your series, preceded by Wonder- Heart of Captivation, Jealousy- Legacy of Love, and Torn- Crystal of Despair. Can we expect more books in this sensational saga?

Absolutely! Book five, Betrayal-Masquerade of Seduction, is currently being prepared for release sometime late 2012 or early 2013, and the final book in Daniela’s chronicles, True Love-The Ever After, is already underway. Additionally, after a short break to work on a standalone book, Mers of the Deep, I will return to the series with a seventh book, Broken, and eventually, another set of chronicles, each of which will follow other characters from the original series. This story is far from over.

Fantastic! I am sure all of your readers are excited to hear that. I understand you are a working mother of three; do you have any special tricks to finding time to write?

Coffee, headphones, coffee, duct tape and coffee! Okay, no duct tape, but it does occasionally cross my mind. Honestly, I write every chance I get, and I only watch TV one hour a week. And I don’t sleep. I find sleep deprivation makes for some very interesting plot-twists.

More of that famed wit, I love so much. What does your family think of your writing success?

Almost three years ago, my darling husband said, “If you want to write a book, then stop talking about it and just write the thing.” He is probably regretting those words today, but doesn’t complain and helps me with the kids and house whenever I need him. My oldest refuses to have anything to do with my writing, she’s a teenager and any acknowledgment of my work at this point in her life could be construed as friendly. This is against the teenage code, you know. Secretly though, I think she finds it inspiring, as she is now writing her own books and often enjoys going over plots with me. My son, who is nine, is very interested and excited, as he is not a teenager, yet. He loves to ask questions about my story and keep up with it a little, especially anything to do with battling and throwing flaming spheres of energy. He will probably go on to write that war book that I never will. As for my littlest one, she is five and loves princess stuff, and is planning to write a princess book of her own, just as soon as she gets a laptop like mommy’s and learns to read.

That is precious, and it must be rewarding to be such a sound influence on your children. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Yes! Thank you so much for all of your continued devotion to my work and the numerous bags of chocolate covered peanut candies and scarves I have received! I have the best fans in the world, so generous and loving. They shower me with gifts and encouragement, send me beautiful fan letters and share their personal stories of how my books have affected them. It is an author’s dream, and it is for them that I write.

Well their fawning is well deserved. Finally, I know from experience once readers pick up your first book, they are going to be hungry for more. So can you please share with us where your books can be found?

Links to all of my books, as well as character bios, author bio and sneak-peaks can be found on my website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu. Also feel free to find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thank you so much Christi for your time. I really look forward to your upcoming publications and wish you continued success.

Thank you very much, Christy! Great interview questions, I loved it!