Meet Laurel Heidtman

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Today, I interview Laurel Heidtman. I met her through an author Facebook group I’m a member of. I’m really looking foward to reading her books. Laurel is originally from southwestern Ohio and is a three-time graduate of Miami University of Ohio. For the past 28 years, she and her husband  have lived on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky with an assortment of dogs and cats (3 dogs, 2 cats at the current time).

Over the years, she’s worked in many different professions. Laurel has been a dancer, a police officer, a registered nurse, and a technical writer to name the ones she did the longest. When she retired from the 9-to-5 life, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. She now writes mysteries and thrillers as Laurel Heidtman. She also write cozy mysteries, contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Lolli Powell.

Here’s a list of Laurel’s books. It’s impressive!

2014

Catch A Falling Star (An Eden Mystery), 247 pages, May 2014 – Laurel Heidtman

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The Boy Next Door, contemporary romance, 226 pages, November 2014 – Lolli Powell 

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2015

The Wrong Kind of Man, romantic suspense, 353 pages, January 2015 –Lolli Powell

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Bad Girls (An Eden Mystery), 344 pages, August 2015 – Laurel Heidtman

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2016

Whiteout, thriller, 284 pages, March 2016 – Laurel Heidtman

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The Body on the Barstool (A Top Shelf Mystery), cozy mystery, 314 pages, November 2016 – Lolli Powell

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2017

Whiskey Kills (A Top Shelf Mystery), cozy mystery, 369 pages, September 2017 – Lolli Powell

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The Gift: A Novella, 99 pages, November 2017 – Lolli Powell

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2018

Convenient Death (An Eden Mystery), 260 pages, January 2018 – Laurel Heidtman

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Murder in Eden, bundle of three Eden mysteries, 757 pages, April 2018 – Laurel Heidtman

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On to the interview!

What genre are your books?

As Laurel Heidtman, I write mysteries (crime novels) and thrillers. As Lolli Powell, I write cozy mysteries and romance.

Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?

I think all of my books are a pretty even mixture of both. I write genre fiction, and the primary purpose of genre fiction is to entertain, so obviously plot is important to that. But unless the reader also believes in and likes/hates/fears the characters, he or she isn’t likely to be entertained. In 2017, Whiskey Kills, the second book in my Top Shelf cozy mystery series won a Bronze in The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards contest. The contest is judged by reader groups in London and Stockholm, and the readers provide feedback to the authors. One of the things they give an opinion on is whether they think the book is plot- or character-driven. Out of twenty-three readers, ten thought my book was plot-driven and thirteen thought it was character-driven. Since they all read the same book, I think that confirms I’m correct in thinking mine are a pretty even mixture.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I know where the story starts and where it ends, but how I get from one to the other usually emerges as I write. It’s like a road trip—you start at point A and you know you’re going to point B, but there are a lot of roads you can take to get there.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

I name characters the same way I name my dogs and cats—I play around with different names until the dog/cat/character tells me that’s the one. Seriously, some names just don’t seem to fit, and then all of a sudden, one does.

How do you decide on the setting?

That is dictated by the story or the situation or event that triggered the idea for the story. For example, I got the idea for my thriller Whiteout from the experience of being trapped in our home in the woods in the freak March 1993 blizzard that hit Kentucky. We had 22 inches of snow and the high winds piled that into hip-high drifts. We lost power, of course, and had no hope of getting out for days. So I imagined what would happen to two couples with issues stranded like that and then two escaped killers show up on their doorstep.

Do you have a writing mentor?

Not really. But I am thankful for the support and encouragement of the many indie authors I’ve befriended both locally and through the Internet.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

My writing schedule leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the summer! I really want to get more disciplined about that, and it’s my goal for not only the New Year but the rest of this year. I’ve written and self-published eight full-length novels and one novella (plus published a bundle of three of my mysteries) in the last five years. That’s not bad, but if I had treated this more as a full-time job, I could have done a lot more.

I don’t have any favorite or interesting place to write. I just write at my desk, or occasionally I might take my laptop to a comfortable chair.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d just like to remind people that all writers, but especially indie authors, depend on reader reviews. Potential readers also depend on reviews to help them find a book that would appeal to them. We writers appreciate any and all reviews. Of course, we appreciate ones that detail what the reader liked and didn’t like about the book (the latter helps us improve), but even a simple one- or two-liner is appreciated.

Where can readers find you?

I have two websites, one for each of my author names. They are: www.laurelheidtman.com and www.lollipowell.com.

My blog link is: www.ridgewriter.com.

Amazon author pages: https://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Heidtman/e/B00KOR458M/ and https://www.amazon.com/Lolli-Powell/e/B00TM9IJFI/

Facebook links:

Laurel Heidtman Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/Laurel-Heidtman-Author-1493519914256076/

Lolli Powell Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/lollipowell/

Twitter link: https://twitter.com/kylaurel1

Google+ link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LaurelHeidtman

 

Meet Lynne Marino

I’m excited to be picking up my interview series again! This week, I’m happy to host Lynne Marino, author of  The Cha-cha Affair and Five Things. Lynne was born and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where she was always the first in line for the Bookmobile.  She has spent most of her adult life in the Southwest, still reading away. Now she writes her own stories. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Book blurb for The Cha-cha Affair:

Stephanie Ledger isn’t a Scottsdale princess anymore. Her messy, never-ending divorce has left her with an empty upscale house, and an even emptier bank account. She swears that she doesn’t want another man in her life-ever, until she meets Joe Schmidt at a ballroom dance class, and the sparks begin to fly.

The more time Joe spends with Stephanie, the more he wants their fledgling partnership—on and off the dance floor—to become something more. Unfortunately, he works for the IRS and they are investigating her soon-to-be-ex-husband, and Stephanie’s connection as well. Joe knows that if she ever finds out, he’s toast.

Still determined that she’ll never fall in love again, Stephanie ropes Joe into a riotous caper to get some leverage on her lying, lecherous husband in the hopes of finally bringing her divorce to a close. The duo dance their way in and out of trouble, and into each other’s heart, until Stephanie discovers what Joe has been hiding. But will she also discover what everyone around them already knows? While the two of them may be annoying and imperfect together, they are also annoyingly perfect for one another.  

The Cha-cha Affair is 263 pages long and was published by Solstice Publishing in June, 2018.

Why did you decide to write this book?

Before my daughter got married, my husband and I started taking dance lessons. We are still dancing away, and I had many funny stories in my head to tell about the experience.  

What genre is your book?

Comedy romance

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

Character driven, although the plot entanglements drive the novel along, too.  

What makes your book unique?

Besides a cadre of hilarious characters (even when they’re trying not to be), this book takes place in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Not many books are set there. Additionally, it pokes a lot of fun at the plastic surgery business that flourishes in Scottsdale.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

This one just came flowing out of my head.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

I usually pick names that are indicative of the generation I’m writing about.

How do you decide on the setting?

I’ve lived in Arizona for the last twenty-five years, twenty of which were in Phoenix. I know the city and its inhabitants well.  

Do you have a writing mentor?

There are many writers whose use of humor I enjoy. Carl Hiaasen comes immediately to mind. Also, Fredrick Backman.  

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

With a laptop, I write in a number of places around my house. Whatever feels right.

I try to write on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Right now my Tuesdays and Thursday are spent learning the ins and outs of book marketing.

Where can readers find you?

Website: https://lynnemarinoauthor.com/

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

Buy links:

The Cha-cha Affair

Five Things

Anything else you’d like to add?

Go to my website and read the first chapter of The Cha-cha Affair. You’ll also find the first chapter of my other comedy romance, Five Things. I hope you enjoy them.

Meet Geoff Nelder

Geoff-IOM-12Geoff Nelder escaped from his roots in the south of England and now lives in the north. He would do most things for a laugh but had to pay the mortgage so he taught I.T. and Geography in the local High school. After thirty years in the education business, he nearly become good at it. A post-war baby boomer, he has post-grad researched and written about climatic change, ran computer clubs and was editor of a Computer User Group magazine for 11 years. He read voraciously after his mother enrolled him in the children’s science fiction book club when he was four, and has written for fun since his fingers moved independently. His experiences on geographical expeditions have found themselves into amusing pieces in the Times Educational Supplement and taking his family on house-swap holidays years before they became popular added both authenticity and wild imagination to his creativity.

Geoff lives in Chester with his long-suffering wife and has two grown-up children whose sense and high intelligence persist in being a mystery to him.

Today, he’s talking about Xaghra’s Revenge. It was published on July 23, 2017. It’s 360 pages and was published by Solstice Publishing. And he’s lucky enough to have a YouTube trailer for the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P76jl8qMdEg

Note: Most people pronounce Xaghra as zagra. The Maltese would say shaara.

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When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century.

Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.

The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitement are palpable.

“A gripping tale, full of energy and mystery, keeping you wanting for more with every line you read.” John Bonello, First-Prize Winner of the Malta National Book Award

“I liked it. There’s a foreground of interesting characters combined with a skilfully fed-in hint of weirdness.” Jaine Fenn – Hidden Empire series.

Link to buy Xaghra’s Revengehttp://myBook.to/Xaghra

Why did you decide to write this book?

The Maltese islands, not far from Italy, is a popular tourist honeypot for Brits and more recently for Japanese and Americans. Everyone speaks English and it sports an ancient history. While on vacation there I visited a nearby tiny island, Gozo. To my horror I discovered that in 1551 pirates abducted its people, threw them onto a fleet of 148 galleys and after sailing them to Libya, sold them as slaves. Some to row, farm, or to be harem women. Those souls cried out for revenge. I gave it to them.

What genre is your book?

It’s a historical fiction with a strong element of fantasy. It’s also horror and some hot sex  – what genre is that- romance?

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

The characters drive the plot. Yep, the plot is crucial here: a revenge for a vile kidnap, rape, destruction of lives act, but the people are larger than life here too. Funny because in April 2018 the hotel in Malta at which I stayed to do the research invited me back to do a signing. A splendidly elegant Maltese lady handed me my euros and asked what historical fiction books I’d read before writing my own. I rattled off a few then added that all of them, like so much historical fiction, focused on the rich, the nobility, royalty and knights. (Fair enough because readers have heard of them and suppose more facts are known blah blah). However, while I reference those powerful players in history, I concentrate on the humble man and woman – ordinary folk to whom extraordinary things happen. “Ah,” she says. “It is good to feature the humble. My partner is a Knight of the Order of Saint John you know.”

I cringed. What if she wants her money back? I needn’t have worried. She works in the Advocate Chambers and often defends the poorer sections of society. In fact she gave me twice the price of the book saying it is worth it. I need a thousand more readers like her!

What makes your book unique?

As above it is the only fiction leading with the peasant victims of the abduction. It also takes point of view from the Turkish pirates—both galley sailor and admirals. It might be the only book featuring one of the oldest buildings in the world. The Ggantija Temples on Gozo in the town of Xaghra are older than the pyramids, older than Stonehenge. Nothing is known of their builders or whether the building is really a temple – common assumption of anything old! I get a buzz when I hug those rocks and they play their own part in the novel.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

The plot summary: abduction; fate of the taken; a contemporary couple thrown together by ancient spirits—one descended from the pirates, one from the abducted; finale with the 1565 Siege of Malta—a cusp in time between the Ottoman and Christian empires. All this came while on the pushme-pullme Gozo to Malta ferry after learning of the 5000 abducted. Nuances emerged later as research unfolded new facts and as the characters took hold.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

It’s great naming characters. It’s like having children without the pain! Stjepan (the 1551 Gozo farmer) is Albanian / Croatian but I found it on a list of genuine Gozo dwellers of the time. Love its unusual sound. His wife was Lydia until a Maltese beta reader told me there is no letter y in Maltese.

Some of the names are of real historical characters of the time. Rais Dragut and Sinan Pasha were real leaders of the Ottoman / Turkish invading forces.

How do you decide on the setting?

I live in chilly, rainy Britain and often have the urge to write of a hot, dry setting. Hence while the story sets itself in historically accurate Mediterranean islands and a hot, arid Libyan desert, my heart encouraged that.

Do you have a writing mentor?

I have a group of writing mentors – one very large composed of the world’s greatest writers of all time and quite crucially, a small group of fellow writers in a critique group. It’s run by the British Science Fiction Association. We send each other our stories – fantasy, hard SF, time travel, historical fiction if it has a alt-history slant, and surreal stories.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I used to have a schedule of getting home from my teaching job, marking and planning lessons in the evenings then write stories afterwards, often around midnight for a couple of hours. When I was told to retire early with a full pension (I was becoming deaf) I could write in the daytime too but I didn’t follow a schedule. I aim for 2,500 words a day but often fall short. I’ll write anywhere given half an hour peace. Have laptop, will travel. However, I really enjoy a writers’ retreat in Methana, Greece and go there for a couple of weeks every year.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to add a thousand dollars to my royalty income. Thanks for asking!

People often ask me from where I get my story ideas. I think I must have inherited a creative gene from my father who helped produce one of the first science fiction magazines in the UK. He’d illustrate them including the cover art. I thought all dad’s did that! To trigger that quirky gene, I’d go for long walks or bicycle rides. Perhaps the enriched oxygenation of my brain helped the ideas to spawn. It did with my ARIA Trilogy when halfway up a steep Welsh hill I suddenly thought how lucky we are that amnesia wasn’t infectious. I stopped. Wrote down that thought and hence was born-as far as I know- the world’s only novel on infectious amnesia.

Where can readers find you?

Webpage and blog: http://geoffnelder.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xaghrasrevenge

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/geoffnelder

 

 

 

Meet Virginia Babcock

author_photoToday, I’d like to introduce you to Solstice author Virginia Babcock. Virginia grew up in and still lives in Northern Utah with her husband and cat. In college, she started in Engineering and ended up in Art and English, which makes for weird syntax when she writes. The picture of her includes some “yard art” a fellow student made that she bought for her mom. She  likes to walk outside while listening to music. She uses that time to meditate on her writings and work out tricky parts. Virginia’s latest book is Hear Me.

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Page count: 174

Date published: September 26, 2017 by Solstice Publishing

Ebook: click here

 

 

 

About the book:

Maddy has always been different, but lately she’s been lonely. Even those who love her avoid her because of her “gift” and the strange things it makes her do. Then one night, a ghostly visitor warns her to go with the handsome stranger who shows up at her door before dawn.

Jacob needed a change in his life, so he quit his job. Before he could head out on his next adventure, his brother reached out to him for help. Will he ever know why a haunting dream told him to leave to help his brother now? On his way, he meets the beautiful Maddy.

Together Maddy and Jacob help those they are called to help. Through triumph and tragedy they find their own way and try to blend two varying paths into one.

Why did you decide to write this book?

I wondered whether I could write something supernatural. I found I couldn’t. I just couldn’t come up with an otherworldly feel to the story, so it morphed into a story about a “psychic” heroine. I then ran with it based on some personal experiences and memories of my own “grannies.” I also wanted to keep working on romances highlighting how normal guys can be attractive. The hero doesn’t need to be an immortal, a millionaire, or even a cop or FBI agent. Jacob in this book happens to be ex-army, but I know a lot of guys like him.

What genre is your book?

Romance>Action/Adventure

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

Both. I find myself telling stories based on what happened, with information about the characters tying it together.

What makes your book unique?

The idea that someone would actually live following the wishes of dead relatives. It’s also set in Idaho and Utah.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I try to plot out major events and a basic timeline for the book. Then I write the events. If it starts going a different way, I will go with the new flow if it’s better. For instance, I never intended to have the heroine in Hear Me get so hurt; it just came out that way.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

I typically look up baby names online. Madeline Lena got her names from one of my grandmas and one of my great-great grandmas. I used Madeline, because that granny was Madeline Udora (like Eudora) and went by Udora, when I’d thought she’d go by Madeline given a choice.

How do you decide on the setting?

I place my characters in places I know or where I’ve been. The first hospital in Hear Me was in Provo, UT, because I’d visited a sick family member there while writing the book.

Do you have a writing mentor?

No, but I’m thinking of getting one. Other Solstice authors recently read Hear Me and rated it on Amazon and Good Reads. They gave some good constructive feedback that I wish I’d had when writing it. I do have a best friend who’s a real bookhound like me. I usually test my plots on her.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I try to write when I feel like it. I try to dedicate time to writing each week, and usually write on my huge iPad Pro while being a couch potato in my husband’s recliner.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am working on a few stories and hope to get a couple of manuscripts done this year. I’m also going to my first writing conference in a few weeks. There I’m hoping to sharpen my skills and strengthen my plots. I’m also doing #TwitterTales flash fiction and am enjoying crafting these mini plots.

Where can readers find you?

@VirginiaBabcockBooks on Facebook

@VBabcockBooks on Twitter

Meet Kim Beall

KimBeallAmusedKim started sneaking into the basement to read her parents massive collection of science fiction, fantasy, and gothic romance when she was nine years old, and she spent her teenage years writing reams of Awesome Novels. This might have worked out better for her if she had not written them during math class. Today she’s promoting Seven Turns, a genre-busting mystery-romance-ghost-fantasy story.

About the book:

Callaghan McCarthy has ninety nine problems, and believing in ghosts is not one of them. The ghosts around her find this very amusing, and they need her help with a problem of their own. She has arrived at Vale House, an “authentic haunted bed and breakfast!” with everything she owns in the back seat of her car in a desperate bid to find inspiration for her next novel before her fans give up on her forever.

As Cally comes to know and love the eccentric denizens of the run-down southern town the locals call Woodley, USA, she begins to realize she has wandered into the midst of a host of secrets nobody will talk about in front of people who are Not From Around Here. While a disembodied internet entity and the ghost of a teenage Taino pirate attempt to help her understand her new role among them, she must prevent a murder, a fire, and the exploitation the innkeeper’s sweet mentally ill daughter, all while navigating a world of ghosts and faeries without whose help she will not succeed.

All this she must do while struggling to hold onto – or must she let go of? – her sanity.

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What’s the page count and publication date?

Seven Turns is 358 pages long and was released on May 8! Both the ebook and print versions are available now on Amazon and on the Solstice website.

Ebook: https://amzn.to/2x1pkPV

Print: https://amzn.to/2IAmxCK

Why did you decide to write this book?

I love stories that are built in worlds you can return to again and again. It’s almost as if some settings become beloved characters in their own right. The world of literature has given me so much pleasure and opportunity for personal growth. When I made up my mind to give something back by contributing something myself, I wanted to create a town that is every bit as much a main character as the people in the story, a place people will love to return to and visit, regardless of which main character the current volume is about (there will be several, eventually!)

What genre is your book?

Hah, that’s the question I love to hate! It takes place in a modern, but somewhat run-down, small southern town, and has elements of cozy mystery, but the mystery isn’t really the focus of the story.

It also has a touch of romance that just kind of snuck in there. I didn’t plan it – it just happened – but all the best love affairs happen that way, don’t they?

There is also a ghost who becomes a very major character – but no, this is /NOT/ a horror story! I don’t care for gore and mayhem, and I’m writing for other people who don’t care for it either. Any evil in my fictional world has its roots in the desires and aspirations of ordinary humans, just like in real life.

Oh, and there is a race of people living at the edge of the meadow who aren’t strictly human, but you had better not let them catch you calling them “faeries.”

So, I don’t know, what genre would you call that? I have been trying since I started writing it to pin down the answer to this question and have had no success so far. I’m only thankful that Solstice Publishing was willing to take a chance on this weird genre-bending author when so many others were not.

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

Absolutely character driven. The characters do seem to tell me the plot when I don’t know what to do next, though. Maybe it’s not the book, so much, but me who is driven by the characters.

What makes your book unique?

There is that weird blend of different genre elements I mentioned above but, mostly, I think what makes it unique is the quirkiness of many of the side characters, who are themselves affected by the quirkiness of the place in which they live. I have tried to weave an enchanting atmosphere that will cradle and soothe the reader even amid the chaos.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I call myself a “plantser.” That’s a cross between a planner and a pantser! I make plans. I know where I want to start and where I want to end up. I have a rough idea how I intend to get there. I even make outlines! But it often happens, when you start actually writing, that the story has other plans. I’ve learned to trust this and go with it – even when it sometimes takes a sharp left turn into territory I had no idea even existed!

How do you develop the names for your characters?

This is always hard for me. Mainly I start by establishing their ethnicity, and then I search for names that are popular in that culture. I don’t want something too common, but I don’t want anything that sounds too contrived, either. My main characters have names that actually mean something in the ancient languages of their ancestors (I’m kind of a linguistics nerd) though the characters themselves are generally not aware of the meaning. I often spend weeks and weeks intensively searching for just the right name. When I stumble upon it, I know instantly that it’s the right one.

How do you decide on the setting?

The setting decided on me! Sometimes I suspect it really exists, out there somewhere…

Do you have a writing mentor?

No, but I have had encouragement from some of my favorite authors: I will always be grateful to Charles de Lint for telling me to stop whining and start writing. “You know the drill: Writers write. So do it.” I’ve also received reassurance from Marly Youmans (my all-time favorite underrated modern author) that I am not, in fact, obligated to pick a single genre and stick to it if I ever want to see print. Now, if I were to make a list of authors who have encouraged and influenced me without my ever having corresponded with them, it would go on for pages, so I’ll save that for my blog someday!

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

Having a schedule and sticking to it has made all the difference between actually writing and just talking about it. I have found I must defend my writing schedule fiercely. The moment I created it, life immediately began to conspire to throw me off it, but I have been very stubborn about fighting back. I write three days a week from nine to three at my favorite local coffee shop (may I plug them? It’s the Wake Forest Coffee Company, whose shoes Starbucks is not worthy to shine!) Sometimes I’m on such a roll that I stay longer or go back on the weekend. They have a wonderful guitar and cello ensemble, “/Clairvoyance/,” who plays there on Sunday mornings. Perfect ambiance to which to write – I will have to dedicate a book to them one day!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that, as I mentioned above, I’m so grateful to Solstice Publishing for being willing to take a chance on a non-genre-adhering author such as myself. I hope they find out it was worth the risk!

Where can we find you?

Website: http://www.kimbeall.com
Blog: http://www.kimbeall.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimbeallauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimBeallsGhost

Meet KateMarie Collins

KateMarie CollinsBorn in the late 60’s, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she’s always been creative, she didn’t turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she’s not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as “Seattle Suburbia.” She’s the author of twenty books. Today, she’s promoting Guarding Charon, published by Solstice Publishing.

 

About the book:

2016 Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll award recipient – Best Scifi/Fantasy Novel – 4th place.

One should always read the fine print…especially with an inheritance from a relative you didn’t know existed.

In a rut doesn’t even begin to describe Grace’s life at 22. Her ex is using his position as a cop to stalk her, getting her fired from every job she finds. Her parents, not knowing how abusive he could be, believe all her problems would vanish if she’d simply marry him.

After losing yet another job, a lawyer arrives. A relative has died and left her entire estate in Maine to Grace. Eager to shake the dust of Bruce and small town Texas off of her for good, she leaps at the chance. She even changes her name.

Then she learns that her great aunt was a Witch…and the house has some big secrets. Secrets that she has to protect for six months if she hopes to inherit the entire estate and truly be free of her past.
Guarding Charon-001

134 pages

Published June 13, 2016 by Solstice Publishing

EBook: https://tinyurl.com/yd67ohq6

Print: https://tinyurl.com/yajp65hh

 

Why did you decide to write this book?

I didn’t really sit down and think, ‘hey, this is a cool idea.’ LOL. I was working on another story and woke up with the entire first chapter for this book in my head, including dialogue. When the muse talks that loud, I listen!

What genre is your book?

Urban fantasy, with touches of romance and paranormal.

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

I like diving into the minds of my characters, so I think it’s more character driven.

What makes your book unique?

The idea of Charon and a ferry ride to the Underworld isn’t part of Greek mythology that’s often played with in modern day novels. I think the story is unique in that, and how I connect an ancient mythology in a world that could easily be the house next door.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I usually have a start, and a good idea of the end. After that, I let the characters and plot tell me where to go. I live for the moments when I stop and think ‘what if’ and the events shift because of it.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

In this book, some names were easy. Charon, for example. LOL. The characters usually help me name them, though. I’ve started with one or two names and then changed them later because it just wasn’t right for the character.

How do you decide on the setting?

It really depends on the story. “Guarding Charon”, and the rest of the books in the series, will all be modern day. Well, at this time they are. LOL.

Do you have a writing mentor?

I did. Nick Pollotta was an author I’d admired for a few decades. He friended me on FB and taught me a lot about the business before I got my first contract. Sadly, he passed away in 2013. I saved all of our conversations and still refer to those when I need to remember that he believed in me when I was getting rejections.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I have no schedule. LOL. I write when I can, when I feel the need, but it gets put off if my family needs me. Most of the time, though, I’m on my laptop out in our living room. Headphones on (if family is home), or music cranked if I’m alone.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to thank anyone who takes a chance on a new author. Without the readers, we wouldn’t have a job.

Where can we find you?

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/KateMarie-Collins/e/B008I67BBE

Twitter:  @DaughterHauk

FaceBook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492

Blog:  http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com

Via email: katemariecollins@gmail.com

Meet Ann Bradford

logo ann bradfordRomance and erotica author Ann Bradford was born and raised on the prairies. She loves her rural lifestyle and hopes the passion for the simpler things in life slips into her writing. A romantic at heart, Ann enjoys nature, reading, and spending time with her family and St Bernard. Ann is happily married with two children and works for a non-profit organization. Today, she’s promoting His Holy Stare A Truth or Dare Forbidden Love, published by Solstice Publishing.

About the book:

Gripped by daring passion.

James has suffered a great loss in his life, but he’s pulled himself up and started a new life he’s committed to with passion and fascination. His first big assignment in the Brotherhood is to run a college for boys on the forgotten prairies. When he arrives, Brother James finds an attachment to a family who suffered the same type of loss as him. To help them heal, he starts a game of Truth or Dare with the daughter who’s close to his age, forging a needed friendship.

In search of a ravaging truth.

Frustrated with life, Constance finds herself on the doorstep of the boys’ college where her father wants her to help in exchange for her brother’s tuition which he can’t afford. But meeting Brother James changes her entire view on life. He’s charming, friendly, and so blasted happy. What is his secret? Gripped by a determination to find out, she agrees to a harmless game of Truth or Dare.

When things aren’t so innocent.

Neither will back down from the challenges, but how far will they let things escalate? No matter how intense things get, he refuses to give in to the temptation of her body while she squirms under his not-so-holy stare.

His Holy Stare-001

 

254 pages

Published January 10, 2018

Ebook: https://tinyurl.com/y9k6vgsl

 

Why did you decide to write this book?

His Holy Stare came about while I was researching for something entirely different. I was digging through some files from the 1950s when I stumbled on a picture of a Brother who ran a convent in a forgotten town on the prairies. He had this incredible smile, yet his eyes had this… deep sadness to them. I was so intrigued, I told myself I’d write a short paragraph about the man to find out what the shadow on his life was. And well, Brother James was born and took me on a journey of self-discipline that impressed me.

What genre does your book fall into?

His Holy Stare is a forbidden romance from the 20th Century.

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

Both. Sometimes Brother James’ actions, or lack of actions, push the story as much as the conflicts they face.

What makes your book unique?

Of course, the Truth or Dare aspect is a fun twist on things in this series as the characters challenge each other to do or not do certain things until the games escalate to a point of no return.

When it comes to forbidden romance, many of the ones I read have a character that is torn between their calling and their heart. I wanted James to suffer a different plight. And so Brother James is running from his past. He didn’t have a calling and he knows this. By pretending he had a calling, he’s keeping his heart safe. His refusal to break his vows is a thing of principal; a man stands behind his promises. This creates a huge problem for him, because if he’s to be the man Constance deserves, how can he break this vow to be with her? Yet… how can he watch her suffer alone?

And the last aspect that makes it unique is the plot. Sometimes, not everything is how it seems. In this series, each book reveals a new truth about the deaths in this backwater town.

Do you plot ahead of time or let the plot emerge as you write?

I let things emerge and allow my story to take me by surprise. I am a firm believer in the magic of writing and trust my creativity. My first drafts are raw but contain all the basic plot elements. It’s in the third and fourth drafts that I really focus on the elements of plot and character growth.

How did you develop the names for your characters?

The process is quite amusing. I write a sentence about my character doing something naughty and bring in another character to react to whatever they are doing. This shocked secondary character usually blurts out their name without thinking.

Of course, there is a bit of thought needed sometimes because I don’t like to have names with the same sounds or first letters, and do I use Constance or Connie? Well, it seems Mel likes to call her Connie, which is a fun friendly gesture I let go. But to hear the grounded, macho James roll that older delicate French name off his tongue as he pleads her to behave… there was a little magic to that moment.

How did you decide on the setting?

I love writing about the prairies, especially when settlers and pioneers were adjusting to the harsh lands. I am a prairie gal at heart and find inspiration in every blade of wheat I see. I love the idea of bringing my readers this magic and showing them the prairies I cherish through raw unfiltered eyes.

What’s your writing schedule?

I write for at least 4 hours a day. To me, writing includes, reading, researching, marketing, promoting, editing, rewriting, reviewing, and of course the actual writing. I steal time in the morning before work, at lunch, and at night when everyone is in bed. I can also steal time while at the dentist office. I have no schedule. I write because I can, when I can.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write everywhere. My favorite place is in my bed simply because my family can curl up beside me. And in those moments, all is right with the world.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for having me on your site! Be sure to look for His Forbidden Stare a Truth or Dare Forbidden Love which will be out by Solstice sometime this year. In this story, Constance’s brother fights his attraction to his best friend at a time when men were not supposed to fall in love with other men. Plus, the plot thickens as more layers are revealed about the deaths in this prairie town where nothing is what it seems.

Where can we find you?

www.annbradfordauthor.wix.com/books

 

Author Interviews

Hey everyone,

I’ve been reflecting on the previous incarnation of my blog and website. From 2012 to  2015, I had an active blog. Every week, I hosted a mystery author, asking everyone the same questions. I really enjoyed reaching out to authors and learning about their books and their writing process.

This time, I’ve decided to mix it up a bit and broaden the scope. I’ll interview indie authors writing in the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopia, historical fiction, literary.  I’ll include a bio, author photo, book cover photo, and links to books and social media platforms. I’ll be running these interviews every other Friday.

Some sample questions:

  • Why did you decide to write this book?
  • What genre does your book fall into?
  • Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?
  • What makes your book unique?
  • Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
  • How did you develop the names for your characters?
  • How did you decide on the setting?
  • Do you have a writing mentor?
  • What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

Are you interested? I’d love to connect!

Nancy