Author Interview: CF Waller, author of Free Dive

Please excuse me while I fangirl a bit. Today, I’m hosting C.F. Waller, author of Free Dive–hooray!! And, if you can’t already tell, I am a big fan of his work. I had the privilege of editing Free Dive last year when Cosby Media Productions acquired it. (YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THIS BOOK, OKAY??) Since then, I’ve become giddy any time I get to read something by Waller. (In fact, I’m editing one of his next releases, Palindrome 656, which will be released this year by CMP.) But let’s move on to the good stuff—my interview with Mr. Waller. Enjoy!

—> PS: There is a giveaway I’m hosting, courtesy of Cosby Media Productions, for an audiobook of FREE DIVE by C.F. Waller! Click HERE to enter now! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 31st.

Free Dive Cover

Q & A

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Growing up, my house was book shelves—one on almost every wall. I was reading novels in the third grade during recess. I used to grumble about the plot lines as if I had a better idea. It wasn’t until the last six years I had the time to write, but I always wanted to do it.

What inspired you to write your first book? Michael Crichton: The first adult novel I ever read was The Terminal Man. In my opinion, his techno-thrillers are the best example of that genre ever. I also have a soft spot for Oscar Wilde.

What genre do you consider your book(s)? I have been exploring a few. I never want to write the same subject matter twice. So far, I’ve written one Space Opera, one Time Travel, one techno-thriller, one Paranormal and my new work in progress is about Immortals. I always change the locations so I learn about a new thing.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? I walk in the morning, have lunch, and then have all afternoon to write. I never write if I am not in the mood. Forced page counts or writing through a block produce a bad end product. Sometimes I go a week and don’t work, but when the stories come, I will write 6-7 hours a day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? For the most part, I over-research locations. Sometimes you have to make the ideas fit a timeline or a place fit a scene, but I try to be spot-on as much as I can. I can sit down to write and get lost in research, winding up with no words at the end of the day.

Do you have a specific writing style? Lots of dialogue, less describing.

How did you come up with the title? Every book gives me a title as I write it. Oddly, my new project is the first one that has gone to beta readers with no set title. I do adhere to a two word title rule. If I can’t come up with a two word title, something is wrong with the book for me. Possibly, it’s over complicated.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I never start out with one. I have had readers tell me they got the message. Often, several readers get different messages. People all have different brains and they fill in the blanks from their own experiences. Good for them, as they become part of the story.

How much of the book is realistic? As much as possible. On the Everest climbing book, I went so far as to talk to an actual climber who made the summit. On Free Dive, I watched a dozen documentaries on the subject. It’s important to me to be as real as the plot allows.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Not ever. I don’t write about myself or people I know. I do use places I have been or general stereotypes on actual people. Most often, I cast the movie in my head before I start writing, and then use characters from many movies jumbled together. It helps me create actual people, thus helping me decide what they might do in the book.

How long did it take you to write this book? Free Dive took five months, which has been the case for my last three books. The new one might be a hair longer, and the first book took over a year. I have a step-by-step process now. Research, write, beta, re-write, beta, re-write, edit, publish.

What books have most influenced your life most? The story of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde, One Second After – By William R. Forstchen, and anything by Michael Crichton.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Re-occurring answer . . . Crichton.

What book are you reading now? Michael Connelly – The Drop.

What are your current projects? Book about immortals, unofficially titled The Calling Tree.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest (or first) book? Way too many things. I understand why Stephen Spielberg can’t resist changing things to his old movies. We all evolve and learn. Never plot lines; mostly semantics and mechanical things.

Who designed the covers? CMP did a wonderful new cover for Free Dive, but I have had original art done by people in the UK, Romania, and Bulgaria. I go where I find the perfect thing.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Cutting myself off of re-writes and letting go. The first book I re-wrote for a year before publishing it. An author can sometimes mess with a beautiful idea if they let it cook to long.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Be original at all costs. I avoid whatever is in vogue. If the movie theaters are bursting with movies about certain subject matter, then I put it on the Do not write about that list. Sure, readers might be buying those type of books now, but I don’t want mine lumped in with a pile of books that appear to be knock-offs. This might rub some authors the wrong way, thus this is my personal feeling. Other authors, please write what you feel passionate about.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you for your time and please contact me with feedback (good or bad).

Do you ever experience writer’s block? Rarely, but I don’t write in those circumstances. If you don’t have any good ideas to write, better to write nothing at all.

Do you write an outline before every book you write? Nope. I take long walks daily (2-3 hours) and let my mind watch the idea as a movie. I watch it over and over ’til I have it how I want it and then sit down and let fly.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? Every writer does, don’t they? I sometimes take an entire chapter and remove it. This can sometimes be good, as the deleted sections often become unseen backstory that I use to help my characters make decisions in the rest of the book.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters? Nope. I keep myself out of the books.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I’m active at church, serving in several areas. I watch too much television, especially reality cooking shows. My wife and I play very competitive Yahtzee.

What does your family think of your writing? My wife is very supportive, but the subject matter is not her thing. Mother seems to enjoy it, and I don’t think my brother has read any of the books.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? Everyone is like a crash course in the subject matter. It’s been like a masters class in space travel, time travel physics, deep sea diving, and mountain climbing. I suppose it helps me when I watch Jeopardy.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? The first two books … probably Katee Sackhoff. Free Dive would be Shane Carruth (a Canadian director/actor), and South Face, more than likely Charlize Theron.

What is your favorite motivational phrase or positive saying? Every day’s a school day. Thank you, Brian Stierle, for giving me that one.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Tie down the ignition wire on the 1995 state finals car, don’t buy a motorcycle, don’t bet into a flush draw with trips, and never use 100 words when 5 will do. That won’t make sense to anyone, but that’s what I would say.

—> Don’t forget to enter the audiobook giveaway for Free Dive! Click HERE to enter now!

Free Dive Cover

THIS OR THAT

Reading or writing? Reading my writing (egocentric much?).

Writing during the night or writing during the day? Daytime for most; night to make sure you finish your idea from the daytime.

Reading an eBook or print? Print.

Buy books online or buy in a bookstore? Online, as it’s cheaper by far, but go to bookstores, if only for the smell. My local big box bookstore has a yogurt shop, and I love frozen yogurt.

Writing from home or someplace else? Always home, and never when anyone else is home or awake.

Weather: Hot or Cold? I live in Florida for a reason. Hot and full of palm trees.

Music or Silence? When writing, silence.

Classic Fairy tales or Fairy tale retellings? Classic. No Zombie Pride or Prejudice or Vampire presidents, please. Be original, not a piggy-backer.

Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla.

The Beach or the Mountains? Beach.

The world being taken over by zombies or blood-sucking vampires? Neither. How about an EMP Apocalypse?

Time Travel to the future or past? Always the past.

Facebook or Twitter? I don’t understand Twitter????

Being able to fly or being able to go invisible? Invisible; airplanes fly already.

Bookmark or Dog-eared? Finish the book all at once and you don’t need either. I do bookmark in the Bible, however.

City or Country? In between.

Pen or Pencil? Pen.

Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles.

Books or Movies? Movies.

Coffee or Tea? Diet Pepsi.

 How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Stalk me on Google (click this link for a laugh)

Website: Cfwaller.com

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

Twitter: @wallercf

Amazon (book links/author page): Click HERE

 Goodreads: Click HERE

—> Enter the giveaway for a Free Dive audiobook now by clicking HERE.

Free Dive Cover

About CF Waller

Charles published his first science fiction novel at age forty-seven, after a flight on an ill-fated commercial airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, that nearly became an episode of Why Planes Crash. This experience illustrated for him first hand that writing about exotic or dangerous locales was safer than traveling to them. Since then, he likes to think his meticulous research and storytelling gives readers a clear sense of their grandeur, without the inherent risk of flying.

After narrowly escaping the academic death-grip of several universities, Charles worked in nightclubs, took a turn as a new car salesman, and also as a hurricane shutter engineer. His favorite authors include, Oscar Wilde, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Michael Crichton. The later being especially close to his heart as Crichton epitomizes the techno-thriller genre and and the failure of humans to interact with technology.

Though he will forever be a Midwestern boy at heart, he now lives on the gulf coast of Florida with his wife, Tina, and one fuzzy feline companion. If he’s not working on a new novel, you can find him volunteering at church, playing overly competitive Yahtzee with his spouse, or indulging in an unhealthy addiction to competitive cooking shows on television.

Official Release–Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince

Menzuo Book Cover - FrontHey, readers!

As promised last week, I’m reminding you all to grab your copy of Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince by Keshawn Dodds. He was on the blog last week, giving us some insight into his life and writing process. You can read all about him by clicking HERE.

On to the good stuff: Menzuo is available TODAY and you can grab the eBook on Amazon! Even if you don’t have a Kindle eReader, you can still download a Kindle app for any smart phone, tablet, or computer desktop that supports the app. I already pre-ordered my eBook copy, but you guys don’t have to wait—download it RIGHT NOW!

Click HERE to buy a copy of Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince

Menzuo Book Cover - Front

Jammal Hall is just eleven years old when he finds out his life on Earth is more important than he could ever imagine. A week before his twelfth birthday, which happens to be his age of destiny, many secrets are revealed to him—including the news that he’s from another planet and his earthly parents are not his birth parents. Jammal, who is actually Prince Menzuo: Universal Protector, must rely on his guardian, Solar, if he is to survive combat training in order to prepare to face his arch nemesis: the deadly Pirate Warrior, Morbid. As Prince Menzuo begins to understand just how important he is in protecting the planet and the power of All Good and Evil, he must also face the challenge of trying to live a normal life while participating in a virtual reality tournament with his best friends. Will Menzuo be able to fulfill his destiny as protector, or will he give in to his fears and let the fate of the universe fall into the hands of the evil Morbid?

Publisher: Cosby Media Productions

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Adventure

Kindle Price: $3.99

Page Count: 232

Keshawn DoddsKeshawn Dodds was born, and raised in the city of Springfield, MA. He attended Central High School in the mid 1990s. While there, he excelled on the football field as one of the top running backs in the area. Keshawn was able to continue his football career at Wilbraham and Monson Academy and earned a full scholarship to American International College.

Dodds benefited from his scholarship at AIC and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. He later received a Master of Education degree from AIC as well. Keshawn is a former elementary school teacher and former Mayoral Aide for Springfield, under past Mayor, Charles V. Ryan. Keshawn is now the Director of Diversity and Community Engagement at his alma mater, American International College.

Along with Dodds’ career journey, he is also a motivational speaker, actor, playwright, and published author. He is an avid writer and strong supporter of education. Keshawn wants to continue to spread his words of faith towards obtaining a great education and achieving all goals that a person has set in their life.

Raised by his mother, Elizabeth Dodd, Keshawn was always instilled with what a good education can bring to a person. He firmly believes that when hard work meets dedication, success is born.

Don’t forget to grab your copy of Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince TODAY!!! Click HERE to get it!

 

Author Interview: Keshawn Dodds, Author of Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince

Today, for Writer Wednesday, I am hosting one of my clients from Cosby Media Productions. I had the privilege of editing for Keshawn Dodds last year, and he was amazing to work with. He has been one of the easiest and most receptive writers I have worked with—EVER. And, because of that willingness to learn and take my suggestions, there’s no doubt in my mind that this talented author is going places.

Cosby Media is gearing up to release Keshawn’s middle grade fantasy/sci-fi novel, Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince. Of course, all of us at CMP are very excited. The book will be out on Tuesday, March 24th, so make sure you mark your calendar and pick up a copy of the eBook when it’s available.

Now, let’s get on to the interview and learn more about Keshawn and his writing process. Please give a warm welcome to author Keshawn Dodds!

Keshawn DoddsTell us a bit about yourself—what’s your background and how did you become a writer?

Well, I am from Springfield, Massachusetts, the Home of Basketball (born and raised). I still live here with my wife, Tamara Dodds, and my amazing daughter who just turned ten, Sydney Dodds. Also, we have the best guard dog, our Shi Tzu, Barkley. I grew up in the center of the city with my mother, who raised me by herself after my father passed away when I was seven. I have three older brothers, Kevin Edward, Keith Edward and Kraig Edward Dodds. YES, we all have the same middle name. My three brothers have helped guide me through live and have helped me with finding my place in life as an advocate for education, sports and my passion for writing. I am also very thankful for the neighborhood that I grew up in. The people on Dunmoreland Street really helped my mother raise me, and I could not be more thankful for growing up in such a great environment.

Now, how I became a writer is a little bit of a sad story but very uplifting. When I was seventeen, my best friend, Marcus McDowell, was diagnosed with Cancer. While he was in the hospital, he wanted to do something to take his mind off of the pain and the chemo treatments that he was going through. So, we decided to create a comic book. He loved to draw, and I always had a passion for writing, so the process began. We both created this one character, Menzuo (Men-Zoo-O) and gave him the best super powers that any superhero could have. From there, we developed other characters and were well on our way to put things together.

Unfortunately, eleven months later, Marcus passed away. At that point, I fell into a very deep depression and really wanted to give up on everything that I wanted to be. Losing my friend in the world was heartbreaking. I was lost and didn’t know how to make my way back to being me.

A few months later, I sat down with Marcus’ father, Douglas Skinner, and we talked about life and Marcus. After that discussion, he gave me the artwork that Marcus created, and I took it home. I constantly looked at it, and then one day, I started to put pencil to paper and just wrote. I continued to write and write and write until I had a three hundred page manuscript. I really had no clue how it happened, but I looked at it as a blessing.

When I realized it, what I wrote was a tribute to Marcus and also a way of me dealing with the loss of my best friend.

What is the genre in which you write?

I write in several different genres: Juvenile Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Adult Romance. I have a very wide range in the art of writing with so many stories to tell. My favorite genre of them all is the Juvenile Science Fiction/Fantasy because it keeps my mind young.

What is the book you recently published? What is it all about?

The book that I have recently published is actually a republished book called Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince. The book has been republished through Cosby Media Productions, and I am glad to announce that they have picked up the entire series. Menzuo has also been considered for film and television. My dreams are really coming to fruition.

Have you published or written any other works?

Yes, I have. I have published a book in the Young Adult Fiction genre called: Who’s On My Side? The Story of Kalen Brown. I debuted the book as a stage play back in 2012, and for all three shows, we got standing ovations. I am actually in the process of putting the play on again this summer at American International College.

Name your favorite characters you’ve made up and explain why they’re your favorites.

I really love all of the characters that I have created because I consider myself a method writer. I become each one of the characters that I create. I believe that’s why people really enjoy my writing style. If I had to choose a couple characters, it would have to be Menzuo and Solar from my Menzuo—Solar Warrior’s series. The reason these two characters are my favorite is because when you read the story, you will see that Menzuo is actually me and Solar, Menzuo’s protector—the one who gives Menzuo his superpowers is my best friend, Marcus. The connection with these two characters is real and makes my story complete.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

I feel that I am seriously very lucky. I don’t ever get writer’s block. I believe that’s because everything that I write plays like a movie in my head, so I can see everything that is happening and where the stories are going. The best thing that I can do is paint the pictures that I see with words on a page.

How long did it take to finish your first novel?

My first novel took me six months to write out the first time. Writing the first Menzuo novel was my escape from pain, and I dug deep and got lost in the story. For those six months, I kept writing, and from there, I fell in love with creating stories.

What were the challenges you faced when getting your first book published?

There were so many challenges because I was an unknown author. It seemed like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Back in 2002-2003, every company that I contacted or submitted my manuscript to rejected it. Then, there were the companies that said that I needed an agent to represent my work. Then, there were the agents who said that I needed to have a published book to be represented. REALLY? So, how is a writer supposed to break into the market?

After seventeen rejection letters, I stumbled upon a company that was willing to publish my work. PublishAmerica opened its doors to me. I am forever grateful for the start because it has gotten me to where I am today.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found that work best for your genre?

I market my work in many different ways, from using social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, to my own website: www.keshawndodds.com. I also go into schools, community centers, boys and girls clubs, and hold reading and writing events. Being face-to-face with your target group really gets people interested in your work and grows your following.

What I am doing now to market my book is creating a documentary with the help of American International College students called, “The Creation of a New Superhero,” which we will put out on YouTube, leading up to the East Coast Black Age of Comic Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 15th – 16th. This is where I will reveal the Menzuo costume that is being created by the Theater Department at AIC.

What does your writing process “look” like?

My writing process is really free flowing. I first think about the story that I want to create, what message I want my story to tell, and how many characters I want to start with. I think about the background of my main character, what the obstacles are that he or she will be facing and how will they be solved.

I rarely have an outline for my stories. I try my best to write out the first draft straight through. The one thing that I do is take notes, so when I go back, I can add, take out, or change things to make the story flow better. I usually write my story over at least three times before I give it to my editor. I really try to do my best to make sure that my reader is inside of the story and understands my characters and where the story is going.

When I’m ready to write, I put on some music to get me in the mood—more than likely, I play Busta Rhymes for my fight scenes, and Metallica when I’m putting together some intense scenes. Music is my lifeline to my writing and it keeps me focused.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the second book in the Menzuo ~ Solar Warrior’s series: “Menzuo S.W. Legend of the Blue Diamond.” I am looking to release the book by the end of this year. To see where the series is going is amazing, and I am loving this journey.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism has actually been my best motivation. I have had someone tell me that my books are not good and no one will enjoy my work. The fear for every author is that people will hate their work. I have come to see that you cannot please everyone, but as an artist, you have to do what you love, and the people that truly enjoy what you do will continue to support you.

The best compliment that I have received is that my work has inspired them to write their own stories. That is the best compliment that I can receive. If I can motivate others to build upon their dreams, that’s what makes my work matter.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors?

The best advice that I can give to aspiring authors is: “Just Write!” That is the hardest part. Getting your story out of your head and onto paper or onto a computer is the first step to becoming an author. Many people think that this is easy to do, but it’s just like working out; not everyone is in shape because it’s hard to stay focused on your goals. The same goes for writing. It’s hard to keep going back to finish a story.

When can we expect to see another publication of your work?

The eBook for Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince will be released on March 24th, and the physical copy will be out shortly after. From there, you can get updates on my next projects on my website: www.keshawndodds.com. I plan to publish many books over the years, so be on the lookout.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and readers?

I want to say thank you for believing in me and helping to make my dreams a reality. I consider all of the fans of my work as friends. I’m just a regular guy trying to build an empire that will inspire others to be great and also live their dreams. I am truly blessed to do what I do, and I thank you all for taking the time to be on this journey with me.

What’s a cool (or nerdy) fact about you that you’ll share with us?

I am truly a comic book buff. I fell in love with comics when I was a kid. I always wanted to be Flash! He was my favorite because he was so fast. I am also a huge fan of science fiction/fantasy movies that people really have never heard of. I stay on Netflix and on the Internet, looking for new stories.

Finally, how can we find you? What are your social media sites and where can we purchase your book(s)?

You can find me on these sites:

www.facebook.com/keshawndodds

www.twitter.com/iamkeshawndodds

www.instagram.com/k.e.dodds

www.keshawndodds.com

My books will be able to be purchased on my website and various other online sites as soon as they are uploaded. www.amazon.com, www.tatepublishing.com, and many other sites.

Menzuo Book Cover - FrontMenzuo synopsis:

Jammal Hall is just eleven years old when he finds out his life on Earth is more important than he could ever imagine. A week before his twelfth birthday, which happens to be his age of destiny, many secrets are revealed to him—including the news that he’s from another planet and his earthly parents are not his birth parents. Jammal, who is actually Prince Menzuo: Universal Protector, must rely on his guardian, Solar, if he is to survive combat training in order to prepare to face his arch nemesis: the deadly Pirate Warrior, Morbid. As Prince Menzuo begins to understand just how important he is in protecting the planet and the power of All Good and Evil, he must also face the challenge of trying to live a normal life while participating in a virtual reality tournament with his best friends. Will Menzuo be able to fulfill his destiny as protector, or will he give in to his fears and let the fate of the universe fall into the hands of the evil Morbid?

Don’t forget to grab your copy of Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince on March 24th! Book available at most major online retail sites.

Character Interview: Tyran/Taranis from The Watcher Series

book boyfriend

Okay, so let’s all be real with each other for a minute and admit that we have fictional crushes. My very first fictional crush—and I don’t think I’ve confessed this since Kindergarten, mind you—was Bugs Bunny. HAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!! Now, it’s slightly embarrassing, but I obviously wasn’t thinking about LOVE in the real sense (or even sexuality) as a 5-year-old. I just thought the cartoon character was funny and cute and always managed to get away from the notorious Elmer Fudd.

As I became older, I still had cartoon crushes, but they were at least human cartoons. Okay, actually, I think I did kinda have a crush on Rocko from Rocko’s Modern Life. (Don’t judge. Fine, you CAN, but just don’t tell me.) And, of course, I grew up with Disney, so I crushed on almost every prince or hero in the cartoon movies.

Finally, when I was nearing junior high age and reading tons and tons of books on my own, I began developing crushes on fictional literary characters. Since then, I have collected quite a string of fictional boyfriends and will continue to add to my list as I discover new books. However, the guest on my blog today has…I dunno…like that something extra special about him. Good thing I happen to know his creator, Robin Woods, quite well, because I can ask her about him as much as I want.

But today, I have the bad boy vampire prince all to myself, and he’s here to answer my questions.

Devin Paisley - Petra van Raaij ...

Yes, I’m drooling over the bad boy prince of the Watcher Series, too. It’s perfectly normal.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my #1 fictional boyfriend, Tyran! *clapping my hands, making internal cat calls, and fanning myself* I’ll let Tyran speak for himself while I ask him questions, and then you can decide if he’ll be your next crush, too. Here we go:

Me: Hi, Tyran. Or…should I say Prince Tyran? Thank you so much for letting me interview you on my blog today.

Tyran: Whatever you prefer. (He waves his hand dismissively, but I swear he winks at me.) It is my pleasure to be interviewed by you.

Me: So, let’s cut to the chase. (I gulp nervously.) How long have you been a vampire?
Tyran: My entire existence; I was born a vampire.

Me: Do sparkly vampires, like Edward Cullen, actually exist? (I have to hold back my smirk.)
Tyran: (He rolls his eyes and flicks his wrist as if batting away the question.) Cliché. Next.

Me: (I want to press him about the former question for a real answer, but there’s something in the way he’s watching me that tells me it’s best to move on.) What’s the best thing about being a vampire?
Tyran: Superiority.

Me: (His answers are so clipped, but I need to remain calm, cool, and collected. I move to the next question on my list.) What’s the worst thing about being a vampire?
Tyran: There is nothing bad about being me. (He raises an eyebrow, and I suck in a breath. I’m nervous all over again, like when I asked out my old junior high crush for the Sadie Hawkins dance freshman year of high school.)

Me: Do you like being a prince?
Tyran: (Examining his nails and looking bored.) Nothing else would do now, would it?

Me: I suppose not. (I nod a little too emphatically.) Do you have any special abilities? 
Tyran: Strength, speed, mind-control, and several other things I would be happy to show you.

Me: (Is it hot in here or is it just me? I find myself reaching up to the back of my neck and rubbing it as if that will steady me somehow. Then I clear my throat after what seems like 100 years, but is closer to 10 seconds.) If you wanted to take someone like me—er…a woman on a date, how would you plan it? Do you plan ahead like that?
Tyran: My planning would be meticulous. I like to familiarize myself with whomever I have interest in. Especially if it were with the likes of you. (The way he says the last sentence sounds very intimate. My throat is suddenly dry and I have to take a sip from my water while he’s looking me up and down.)

Me: Do you have a favorite book? (I hope and pray this is a safe question. But then again, nothing is safe about Tyran.)
Tyran: I prefer the classics. (He laughs and winks at me.) The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli or maybe something by Sun Tsu. (He pauses and leans forward, slowly running his finger over my knuckles. I find myself locked in his stare, completely mesmerized by the ridiculously blue eyes looking at me. I hope I’m not drooling, because that’s the only thing my body can manage at this point.)

‘Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.’ Though, it is often an advantage to know your poetry. (He seems to turn the full force of his blue eyes on me as he takes my hand. He’s reciting—freaking RECITING, from memory—poetry to me, like he’s trying to woo me. WHO. DOES. THAT? Well…Tyran, that’s who.)
‘By night, Love, tie your heart to mine, and the two
Together in their sleep will defeat the darkness
Like a double drum in the forest, pounding
Against the thick wall of wet leaves.’

Me: (Was that double entendre? How am I supposed to take all this? Reluctantly, I take my hand back and try to keep my demeanor professional. Hopefully he doesn’t hear the slight tremor in my voice. Then again, he’s supposed to have better hearing than a Border Collie, so he probably knows. Lord, I hope he can’t read minds—I can’t remember now if that was one of his “special abilities” or otherwise.) That’s nice. Who is it by?

Tyran: Pablo Neruda (He’s looking at the hand I pulled from him, a slight frown on his face.)

Me: Do you think you’ll ever get married? Or that you’ll find someone with whom you could spend the rest of your immortal life? 
Tyran: (His head snaps up. Well…that got his attention.) I would never deprive myself of any experience.

Me: (I wasn’t expecting that. Very interesting…hmm…) Okay, Prin—I mean, Tyran. Final question. Does the thought of immortality ever scare you?
Tyran: (A leisurely grin spread across his face as he rakes his eyes up and down me. He’s taking in every inch, and I want to both hide behind my chair and lean forward to kiss him. My heartbeat is a little faster than normal.) Never. I like being able to take my time in all things.

Me: (I think I’ve just died and gone to Man—Vampire—Candy Heaven. It takes me a few seconds to recover from that last answer. Tyran is somehow in possession of my hand again, and I think he’s starting to ask me if I’ve ever gone to France—where he currently resides. I pretend to not hear his question and instead start to wrap up the interview.) I—well—thank you, Tyran, for the interview and for your time today. I’m sure my readers are very interested in knowing more about you.

Tyran: And what about you, Tamar? (He’s practically cooing, and my name sounds like a loaded question that’s already been answered for me, instead of the usual harshness of pronunciation by Starbucks baristas who royally screw up my name.)

Me: Oh, I enjoyed this interview very much as well. (I’m stammering now, so Tyran’s going to take over from this point.)

Tyran: Good. We can discuss more over dinner.


Well…guess I have a dinner date with Tyran. Though, I don’t think he really eats, but maybe he’ll have a glass of wine. ;)

In the meantime, to close out this interview, I have a profile for Tyran below. Enjoy the eye candy, and leave a comment—or a question you might have for Tyran—if you’d like. Below the picture/profile are links to Robin’s Watcher Series Pinterest boards. Make sure you check those out—they’re super fun. :)

Tyran Character Profile

PINTEREST BOARDS FOR THE WATCHER SERIES

The Watcher Series

Who Would You Cast? The Watcher Series

Cover Reveal: Spirit Lake by Tamar Hela

DSCN1607 - Version 3

YOU. GUYS.

It’s here. It’s finally here.

The brand-spanking-new cover for the first book of my series in Spirit Lake, appropriately re-titled Spirit Lake (formally known as Feast Island.)

What’s so special about this book? Well…for starters, it is now traditionally published through Cosby Media Productions and Tate Publishing. It’s been completely revised for pacing and reader maturity level. The stakes have been raised, and my characters are itching to be let back out into the reading world.

I’m stoked. I’m humbled. I’m excited.

Spirit Lake will be released next month on eBook, and then the paperback will be released some time in June. The followup to Spirit Lake, The Wrong Fairy Tale, will be released on eBook in May and will also have a tentative release date in paperback some time in June. Hooray! I’ll be doing a cover reveal for TWFT next month. Stay tuned.

I’m doing some cartwheels right now.

So…without further ado, here is the NEW cover for Spirit Lake:

*Drum roll, please!*

Spirit_Lake_[2](1)

So…what do you guys think? I love it! And I can’t wait till it’s out for your reading pleasure!

Here’s the new/updated synopsis:

Six teenagers from Northern California are assigned a group project for their sophomore English class. Little do they know, this project will literally take them on a journey out of this world. Cantelia appears much like Earth, until the teens realize magic is as plentiful as the danger surrounding them. A dark and evil ruler has placed a curse on the tribal people of Sikuku Island—the same island where the teens have been transported. Now, they must help the tribal people break the curse if they ever want to see their own planet again. Alex and her companions quickly learn that there is so much more beyond their comfortable lives in Pollock Pines and its legendary Spirit Lake.

Braxton Cosby is also hosting a cover reveal for me today over at his blog. You can read the post by clicking HERE. And feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you think of the cover—or if you have any questions for my about my book. :)

xoxo

 

Author Interview: Robin Woods

I have a special guest on my blog today. She’s no stranger here, but it’s been a while since I’ve hosted her. Please give a warm welcome to novelist, Robin Woods, author of The Watcher Series. She’s sharing about her latest projects, giving some author/writer tips, and letting us know a bit more about her life. Enjoy!

IMG_7812About Robin:

     Young adult fiction writer, Robin Woods, was born and raised in San Jose, CA where she earned a BA in English and a MA in Education from local universities. In addition to writing, Robin has been teaching high school English for close to two decades, and also works as a college professor. Her love of working with teenagers and her love of books inspired her to begin writing in the teen genre.
     Robin’s love affair with vampire lore began at age eight when she was mesmerized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. She took advantage of her summers off and traveled all over Europe; she even managed to find herself in one of Vlad Dracul’s castles in Romania. She escaped unharmed.
     When she is not torturing her high school English students or chasing her two small children around, she is sitting in a local coffee shop wondering how vampires like their lattes.

 Q & A

What genre do you consider your books?  The series starts out as Young Adult (YA), but gradually becomes New Adult (NA) as the books progress. Though, I have never listed my novels as NA because there is an expectation that there will be graphic/explicit sex scenes. My novels get dark and definitely have some sizzle, but I keep to the YA “rules.”

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? Chaos!! I work about 50-60 hours a week, at minimum, as an English teacher/college professor and have two children (ages 5 & 8). So my writing schedule is fairly erratic. I do write (almost) every day, though. Sometimes it is only a paragraph or two, but it is important to look at my manuscript each day to keep my head in the story. I am usually having conversations with my characters as I drift off to sleep each night.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I need coffee in my hand and music in my ears.

What are your current projects?  I am finishing up The Fallen: Part Two and will begin writing a couple of novellas for a Hollywood producer as soon as I am done. I have been tasked to write stories with the intention that they will be turned into a script. One of them is a fairytale reboot or origin story. That is all that I am allowed to say, but I am excited.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book, The Unintended? I would probably mix up the timeline in the first few chapters and cut some detail to help pick up the pacing. It is a little slow, but I did lay out the world fairly well for a first novel. I think there is a large jump in my writing between my first and second book. The second one, The Nexus, is much faster and sexier than the first.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Writing the exposition between major scenes. I usually write key scenes and connect the dots later. Sometimes it is hard to force myself to write those interim scenes. It isn’t nearly as fun as writing something with a high emotional impact—be it action or romance.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 

1. Be consistent and write every day—guard that writing time!

2. Research and fact check, even if you are writing a fantasy novel. There is no excuse with the ease of Google.

3. Have your work professionally edited. Period. No arguments. The number one complaint about indie books is the lack of editing, and it is the top reason for being rejected by a large publisher.

4. It is never too early to start building a platform—brand yourself and not your book.

5. Read, read, read—no excuses.

I try to give back to the writing community and blog about the craft and have free resources on my website.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?  Maybe a little; I do almost everything in my head. I have a very organized brain. If you aren’t that way, I do not recommend it. Outlining is a great exploratory and organizational tool.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters? I think you have to put yourself in your character’s shoes for the writing to be authentic. I have been known to have tears in my eyes while killing off a character.

I know that you have done some other interviews recently. Do you have a favorite? Yes! I did an interview for The Hammock and want to give a shout out to Claudia Arroyo Valdez (@arroyoclau) for having me. This interview focused on music and writing. I got to show off my saucy side. ;)

THIS OR THAT

 Writing during the night or writing during the day? Night

Writing from home or someplace else? I’m just happy to find time to write!

Weather: Hot or Cold? Cold

Music or Silence? Music

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

The World being taken over by Zombies or Sexy Blood-sucking Vampires? Duh, vampires

eBook or Physical Copy? Hardback (but I usually have both going)

Time travel to the Future or Past? Past

Being able to Fly or become Invisible? Fly

Bookmark or Dog-eared? Post It

Pen or Pencil? Pen (I have a special affection for Sharpies)

Coffee or Tea? Both

Manicure or Pedicure? Pedi!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website and Blog

Book Descriptions, Samples, and Links to US & UK
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Amazon US Page
Goodreads

Robin’s books:

Allure Cover (Small)Unintended CoverTHE NEXUS (Book 2)THE SACRIFICE (Book 3)The Fallen Spine (Book 4)

Cover Reveal: Protostar by Braxton Cosby

Last week, I had Braxton Cosby on my blog for an interview. This week, he and I are sharing hosting responsibilities, and I am revealing the cover of his re-release, Protostar, while he’ll be revealing MY new cover for Spirit Lake (formally known as Feast Island). Needless to say, it’s going to be an exciting week on the blog!

Now, for a bit about Protostar—which, by the way, I had the privilege of editing in January: Protostar is a special, deluxe edition of the multi-award-winning first book of the series the Star-Crossed Trilogy. This re-release, according to Braxton, has better story-telling elements, and its followup, Supernova, is the “highly anticipated successor” of the series. Protostar is slated for release in April, and Supernova will be released sometime in May.

And, you guys, both books are AWESOME. Young Adult Sci/Fi Fantasy, with lots of twists and turns and surprises. I also had the privilege of editing Supernova and am very excited for its release this spring.

Protostar Synopsis:

What Would You Choose: love or duty?

As the Torrian Alliance continues its age-old mission of hunting down Star-children, King Gregorio Derry reluctantly agrees to send his only son, William, to planet Earth on a mission to bring honor back to the Royal Family name. The target: Sydney, a young teenage girl, unaware of her alien heritage. When an unforeseen accident delays the assassination, William begins to realize a connection forming with Sydney and struggles to follow through with his orders. With the fear of Civil War imminent back home, William must make the ultimate choice between his irrevocable duty and love, sacrificing everything he believes. But as a hidden menace emerges to secure a vested interest, and impossible odds begin to mount against them, William and Sydney wonder if a connection between two Star-Crossed lovers is enough to save them from destruction.

And now…the big reveal… *drum roll, please*

Protostar Cover

Ta-da! What do you think? I LOVE it! When we have an official release date, I’ll be sure to let you all know. :)

—> Also, don’t forget that today is the release of The Sect: The Windgate, which is Braxton’s first book. It was featured on this blog last week. Check out the post by clicking HERE if you missed it.

The Sect: The Windgate is the Award-Wining Book 1 of The School of Ministry Series, and is out now on eBook. The paperback is coming out April 21st.  Evan’s Heart, the novella and prequel to The Sect, is now available for free! Grab a copy NOW by clicking HERE!

9 300About Braxton: Braxton A. Cosby loves to share stories of hope, inspiration, and love that exemplify the joys and trials of life’s journeys. He is a multi-award-winning author who delves in a little bit of every genre from young adult fiction, health and non-fiction, to autobiographies. 

For a full bio, click HERE to visit his about page on his website.

***

On Thursday, I’ll be revealing the cover for my book, Spirit Lake, which is the first novel in the Spirit Lake Series. But, tomorrow, I have a treat for you guys. Robin Woods is stopping by my blog for a special interview, and on Friday, I will be hosting an interview with one of her characters, who happens to be my favorite book boyfriend. ;) Stay tuned for all the fun going on this week. There might even be another giveaway! Hooray!

I hope you all have a very lovely Tuesday. Here’s to reading and writing!

-T xoxoxo