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“Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession, but about securing a portal.” – Laura Miller
You’re at an estate sale when you are drawn to an old journal and the price is too good to pass up. When you get home you decide to go on the internet and do a little research on the author. What you discover frightens yet intrigues you at the same time. The writer of your masterpiece is known to have dabbled in the occult until they went missing over a decade ago. It is rumoured that by reading the journal you can open a portal to another dimension.
Write about your adventure with this journal. Are you brave enough to read it? What do you find inside? Does this portal exist and if it does where does it lead? Is it a dream come true or your worst nightmare? Get creative, write and have fun! :)
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I’ve been drawn to books for as long as I can remember. Like many authors, my love of great stories drew me in early. I grew up in a family of readers where books were always important. I began to take writing more seriously in high school and then college, but didn’t aspire to write novels until I was in my twenties.
Tell us about your YA Fantasy Adventure, THE EXPATRIATES.
I had a blast writing THE EXPATRIATES. It’s the first in a series that follows teenager, Jim Wales, who can communicate telepathically with animals. He discovers his family has been hiding him because they know he’s a scholar—one who can manipulate energy using magic—and someone is hunting all scholars.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
Oh, it’s the ultimate cliché! The kernel for the idea of this series came to me in a dream, almost 14 years ago. It was a little scene in my head where this dark-haired kid is walking through a meadow of golden grass with a tiger and there’s a falcon hovering in the air over him, and he was communicating with the animals with his mind. It is still so vivid, all these years later.
Is there a message you hope to relate through your books?
I didn’t write the book with a message in mind, but after the book was finished there were many themes that emerged. This book is about what makes a family and a home, friendship, trust, and, taking a stand—even when that’s scary.
What is the most important thing for you when writing your novels—the characters or the plot?
I think there needs to be a balance in a book—especially adventure and quest stories—between the weight of the plot and the characters. When I’m planning out the story, I find the plot takes the lead, but the twists and turns are only meaningful because of the how they impact the characters. So, I think it’s important to give both equal time and attention while writing.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you outline/plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea leads you? Has your process changed from when you first started?
I am a converted plotter. I first wrote THE EXPATRIATES as the pansters do. No outline, nothing but my mind to guide the next thing. Believe me when I say that I made every single mistake you can make. The whole thing was a mess. Rewrites took years, and finally I had to stop, outline it as if it were a new story, and start over. That process was laborious and took another few years to complete, but I can honestly say that it’s made me a much better writer. Now, I plot using a whiteboard with color-coded post-it notes, which allows me to plot but also lets my inner pantser make some changes along the way. I try not to make it too rigid.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you get through it?
I find that when I get stuck in my writing, it’s usually because something isn’t working. If that’s writer’s block, then yes, I totally battle with it. I believe the subconscious mind is constantly tinkering and when it needs time to percolate over something, it will put on the brakes. I’ve discovered that I get through it more easily when I don’t stress over the block. I put my writing energy into something else and let the mental knots tease themselves out until the aha! moment arrives. And it usually does, so that’s always good.
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
I read most of the usual things as a kid, but I remember discovering Stephen King when I was a tween. I was sick, home from school, tucked into my parent’s bed in our apartment in the Bronx, reading SALEM’S LOT. I was totally freaked out, and completely hooked. Then came THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I love everything about this book and its ties to the women of the Arthurian tales. After that, it was anything supernatural, magical, or creepy. Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, Anne Rice, Harry Potter, LOTR, and His Dark Materials. I also adore PILLARS OF THE EARTH and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
If you could go to lunch with one of your characters who would it be and why?
I’d have to pick Hollis. He’s a minor character in THE EXPATRIATES who’s intrigued me from the moment he appeared. I’m looking forward to seeing some more of him in book two!
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
I’m busy with book two at the moment, finishing up all the plotting and starting to get the words in order. I’ve been working on some short stories, some related to this series and some not, that I hope to release as well. I blog at http://www.corinneoflynn.com. I am also on facebook.com/oflynnbooks and Twitter @CorinneOFlynn
Next week, Nov 17-23, Corinne will be taking her book across the web on a blog tour with giveaways via Xpresso blog tours. Bloggers can sign up here: http://xpressobooktours.com/2014/10/09/blitz-sign-up-the-expatriates-by-corinne-oflynn/ Readers should visit her website for links to participating blogs.
What readers are saying:
“Told in a beautiful, flowing style full of colorful images and adrenaline-pumping action.”
“Pop some popcorn, sit back … and enjoy the thrill ride, right up to the end, which leaves you begging for more.”
“Captures your attention from the start and then guides you through a roller coaster of adventure, drama, mystery, magic and young love.”
Corinne O’Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is a YA fantasy adventure with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy. When she isn’t writing or hanging with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Expatriates is available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. She blogs about her adventures at www.corinneoflynn.com.
Due to a very busy week ahead I will be taking a short break from blogging until
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
~Joseph Campbell ~
Wherever you may be in your day/eve, I hope you’re living with passion & purpose!
Live,laugh & love! xo
Wishing all a wonderful week! :)
Expected release date: November 12th, 2014
Meet New Protagonist and Mystery
By Jillian Hillcrest, Character
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you to Brynn Bancroft, a new protagonist in Joyce T. Strand’s most recent mystery, HILLTOP SUNSET.
I’m Jillian Hillcrest. I solved the murders in Strand’s first three mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE. In those books, Brynn Bancroft served as Chief Financial Officer of my company and also as my boss.
Strand’s newest book, HILLTOP SUNSET, features Brynn Bancroft as the star. Oh, I’m still around, but Brynn dominates. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, Brynn had an affair with the CEO of the company. Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do.
In the meantime, her husband of 14 years, Liam grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce, even though He understood that Brynn grew up in an abusive household. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif.
Much like me in the previous Strand books, Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.
Like all Joyce T Strand books, HILLTOP SUNSET is drawn from an actual California case.
HILLTOP SUNSET: A BRYNN BANCROFT MYSTERY
A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.
Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim. Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to enjoy supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-threatening events.
About Joyce T. Strand
Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.
Her most recent novel, HILLTOP SUNSET, is the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s novels ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.
Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.
Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.
She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
HILLTOP SUNSET is available November 12, 2014 on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. For a peek, check out an excerpt at: http://joycestrand.com
Barnes and Noble Nook Author Link – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/joyce-t-strand?store=allproducts&keyword=joyce+t+strand
Web page – http://joycestrand.com
“It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.” ~Erin Morgenstern
With Halloween around the corner, many of us partake in reading ghost and horror stories. Imagine you close the book only to find its creepy creatures, ghouls and goblins have come to life. Write about your ghoulish adventures.
Get creative, write and have fun!
Recently I had a chance to interview author S.G. Lee about the release of her new book “Dreams Can Kill” and get some insight on her thoughts on writing. Welcome!
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
My interest in writing began as a child when I read my first book and I wanted to tell my own stories. My first taste with fame I won a speech contest in grade six, a story about my mother’s talking pet crow.
Congrats on your new release! Tell us a little bit about your new book Dreams Can Kill.
“Sharron Alexander has awoken with no memory. Sharron vaguely recalls the shooting in dreams and knows someone shot her and left her for dead. Sharron must remember or she will learn Dreams can Kill!”
Available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/373190 (Smashwords)
Although both are important, what is the most important thing for you when writing your novels~ the characters or the plot?
I can’t choose; I focus on both. I want the character to be revealed layer by layer so the reader will grow to like the character and care about that character and the situations they might find themselves in. In order to create believable characters, the author must live in their minds, experience their emotions, and in essence be the character. The plot is also important because you really can’t have a story without it. You need to carefully nurture it and make it all make sense.
Do you outline/plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea leads you? Has your process changed from when you first started?
I outline the main premise and then let the story take it from there. The muse often decides the story should go another way. My process has changed in that I edit more as I go along.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you get through it?
Yes of course, I think every writer does. I do something else whether going for a walk or watching something enjoyable, or reading a book in another genre to distract me.
What genre are your books and what draws you to this particular genre?
My books are in mystery and paranormal. I love mystery because it presents a puzzle the reader has to solve. Paranormal just appeals to me because it presents the reader with different scenarios and situations that make you think.
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
When I was a child I read ’What Katy Did’ and I greatly admired Katy and how she overcame a physical disability and how she learned patience. This helped me when I had my own medical challenge at age eighteen.
If you could spend a vacation with one of your characters which one would you choose?
Sharron~ I identified with the main character. I lived with that character in my mind as I wrote about her life. She became like a sister or close relative to me.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you?
I have recently written and e-pubbed short story anthologies for Christmas and Hallowe’en. Available only at Amazon.
I am also working on three other projects:
I am also working on a murder, mystery, paranormal book tentatively called “Third Eye”:
“Mary Katherine Kendall survived a horrific sinking of the ferry the Victoria on May twenty fourth, 1881 in London, Ontario only to fight back for her health and to find she now sees ghosts. Katherine must now accept the changes in her life. Katherine meets a handsome policeman as ghosts seek her help to solve their problems and murders, and she seeks to hide her abilities from all lest she be judged insane.”
This book expected out 2016.
I am working hard on an idea for a follow up to A Diller a Dollar A Really Dead Scholar which I am outlining called “Betty Blue Lost her Holiday Shoe” . This book is expected out in 2015 .
Lastly, I started working on a book loosely based on my grandmother’s life, but due to unknown facts about parts of her secretive life, that I am unable to obtain; I have decided to fictionalized the story changing names and situations to protect people and advance the story. This book is called “As the Blackbird Sang”. This book is expected out in late 2016.
Where can we find you online?
You can find me at:
http://sheilaghlee.blogspot.com/ (writing blog)
http://poeticyearnings.blogspot.com/ (my poetry blog)
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SGLee/833668436645335
I understand you wish to give one lucky reader you’re e-book Dreams can Kill
That’s correct. If the reader likes or leaves a comment below they will be entered to win. The contest will end next week.
Thanks so much for taking time out to speak with me! Sounds like you are one busy lady!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
~C. S. Lewis
Do you dream about pursuing your creative goals only to push them to the wayside because you feel it’s too late? Every now and then, does that nagging question “what if?” rear it’s ugly head? Now really think about it, what is stopping you? Do you feel you lack skill? Lack time? Lack resources?
Let’s pretend you’re writing a letter of encouragement to a dear friend who wants to become a “insert your dream here” (writer, artist, musician,sculptor etc.). What would you say to encourage them? What would you tell them if they kept making excuses? Brainstorm and help give them ideas of how to accomplish their goals.
Would you take your advice? Reflect and write! :)
I started my writing journey on 8 September 2008. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I sat down at my computer with nothing more than an idea. If I’d known then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort. I hope you will benefit from my experience.
At the time, I didn’t know the best way to write a beginning, middle, or an ending. I didn’t know what “beats” were, or what “foreshadowing” was–and it didn’t occur to me that I was foolish not to ask for, or look for help.
I think when it comes to creative things, people have some idea that needing help somehow implies that they aren’t actually talented. Nothing could be further from the truth. So, without any more delay, I will list the books that I have found most helpful.
100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein–This was the first book I bought, and I referred to it a lot. Great starter book.
Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress--Before writing line one, buy this book. It’s fantastic and will save you a lot of revisions. I’ve written three books and am working on number four–this book is sitting on my desk right now, opened. I always have trouble writing the middle of the novel, this book helps me get through that difficult transition.
First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke–Hate to, but will repeat myself–before writing line one, buy this book. But especially before sending to agents.
Last but not least, How Not to Write A Novel by Howald Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. See if you’ve committed the sins they list, and fix them before sending your book to agents.
I’ve used/referred to other books, but these are my favorites.
MaryAnn Kempher writes mystery novels with a dash of humor.
She is the author of three books: Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder; a romantic mystery set in Reno NV. Forever Doomed, a mystery set aboard a cruise ship, and Sweet Mystery—another “I did not see that ending coming.” mystery. All three will make you giggle, and keep you guessing until the very end.
Her influencers include Janet Evanovich and Agatha Christie.
If you’d like to connect with MaryAnn Kempher, that will be easy:
A Day In The Life Of Eri, the unorthodox author:
“Holy freaking crap is it seven in the morning already? Grrr, it is. Remind me to change that rooster chime one of these days.”
Typically from here it is a half-hazard stumble to the alarm and a debate to go back to bed or not (she says with a wicked grin). After another hour or few, I am up with a toothbrush in my mouth letting the dogs out to do their business. Which considering that both of my dogs are seniors might take a tad (smirk).
Finally harvesting my dogs from their sun bathing because who goes out to pee in the morning, it is another twenty minutes ushering the dogs along before I can spit out the now foaming toothpaste from my mouth.
With a final rinse of the oral cavity, I am toting the bare feet style up the stairs in my PJs to start the coffee. Nothing is accomplished without the coffee… truly. As the pot is brewing, it is the gathering of food for a few barn cats and my feathered stock. This morning ritual is always a dangerous encounter for you see, they see me coming and in my yard the feathered few and fur bound rustlers work together to accomplish their goals. Hence, my stumble and cursing as I try to make my way like a bad juggler in a back yard play across the yard to the barn. (snorting giggle is heard from the author).
A very breathless sigh is heard as the barn doors are closed and everyone inside is content snuggled up in the bale of hay forts. It is getting cooler so I make this routine even more now to fatten them up for the upcoming snow.
Now as I once again enter the basement doors, I make the trek upstairs to feed my pooches and few inside cats. Yes, the same working masses are formed as they had been outside. Therefore, it is a stumble into a wall type of day once again.
Finally, in my office I have realized I forgot my coffee (wicked grin for the words I use at this moment). However, with cursing aside I am back now with coffee in hand to sit down at my screens, for I have three, counting my phone there is four in which to carry out my day.
With click and a clack of the keys I answer my emails, tweet attack my following, Facebook posts my favorites, update my blog postings, Instagram my morning, and down the rest of my coffee. Which sadly takes me at least a few hours to accomplish and always makes me feel like it is a job in itself just to keep up with social media. Makes me miss my personal assistant who is back in college now…. Sigh.
A few extra coffees have come and gone and now it is time to move my writing in due course. I won’t get into specifics because you see I have another office that I use like a court. No crown is worn but the throne is always warm for my word count to commence upon.
Once my writing for the day is accomplished it is a cleaning of the clutter, doing the washing of the week, dishes to load, a dog to scratch, felines to take over my lap, editing of prior work to be done, even a lagging format to commence, and a cover to create maybe for myself or another word working wrangler. This last bit is probably where I am most happy but don’t let my own words hear me or my characters might cast their own mutiny.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my day in a life of an author with you and all of your readers. It has been a pure joy.
About the author:
Eri Nelson is a nontraditional indie author who manages all areas of her fiction, fantasy, paranormal, action, adventure and sometimes-erotic writing. Eri handles all the groundwork of her books, even the editing. Because of this Eri strives to improve her abilities along with trying to explain to readers her far from traditional sentence structures. However, she will openly admit that typos follow her.
Join Eri and her shadowy side of writing as she takes you along to explore new desire hunger filled worlds where your mind can share in the heat of the read.
From the unorthodox author Eri Nelson arrives a humorous twist to a witchy succubus whose hunger sparks more than desires, but troubles from the council. The first in the ‘All About The Sauce Series’ comes ‘The Hidden Witch’.
Unlike any other murder mystery our far from heroine type realizes she is wanted for a murder that she mostly likely could have committed. Although, she doubts her hunger could have drove her to it. Well at least not again…
Join Eri and her unusual telling of a tale in this fictional paranormal of a murder mystery that will hopefully have you giggling all the way through it.