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)

Author Interview: Braxton Cosby

Happy Friday, dear readers!

I have a special guest on my blog today. Braxton Cosby is making a return to my site and sharing all about his new release The Sect. 

Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, which is a multimedia company. I work for the Print Division as the Chief Editor, so I’ve gotten to work with Braxton in many capacities, including being his editor for the upcoming Protostar and Supernova YA/SciFi/Romance novels from his Star-Crossed Saga Series. (Which will totally blow your socks off, by the way.)

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.

 

Q & A Time

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I have a love for creation. I appreciate those who have creative minds and love to take their thoughts and ideas to the next level. We have all been given gifts and talents in some form, and writing has really become an avenue of expression for me through the characters and stories I tell. Writing Young Adult and New Adult genres gives me the liberty of being as free as I can with my imagination because most readers who like these kinds of books have an easier time traveling with me (the writer) as I world build.

How has being a publisher changed your life?

I’m very busy now. I always find myself either fleshing out a new book idea (personally or with another writer), or doing interviews, or just reading a new book. Reading is much more fulfilling to me now because it gets my creative brain going and I am able to pour much more into my works because of it.

What are you reading right now?

I finished two very successful Young Adult franchise novel series: Divergent by Veronica Roth and Legend by Marie Lu, and am currently loving every minute of CF Waller’s Free Dive. If you haven’t read it, please grab a copy on ebook, audiobook, or paperback. You will not be disappointed.

 What is your current work-in-progress?

I am currently working on the last book of The Star-Crossed Saga’s (Sci-fi Romance) franchise. Protostar (Book 1) will be re-released (Deluxe Edition) under a joint venture between Tate Publishing LLC and Cosby Media Productions in mid-April, and Supernova (Book 2) will be out in May (both initially on eBook). June will release both on paperback and the audiobooks should be available by then as well. The novella Broken Prince, which chronicles William’s first mission and leads us up to Protostar will be available early April, right before the release of Protostar.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

My settings have a tendency to jump around because I like to keep the readers involved. Protostar is a space epic, which settles on planet Earth in Tennessee, while The Windgate (Book 1 of The School of Ministry) is right here in Atlanta. None of the characters in each story stay in one place though. I like to think of the main cities as origin points just so people understand the characters better.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I like to spend time with my girls (3 daughters) and take them to the movies, eat frozen yogurt, or read at the book store. I’m also a gamer, and I enjoy playing games with my friends online.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Getting my outline started. I have to have structure with my writing, which gives me direction. Once I get it nailed down, it’s so easy to start flowing.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Find a vision, write it down (make it real), and love it. It is yours, so you need to perfect it. Make the book you write the book you love first. Then, others will follow.

9781483418674_COVER.inddTell us about the featured book.

The Sect: The Windgate, tells the story about a young man named Ziv, who is orphaned at the age of six and struggles to find his identity. He learns that he has to power to see things through dreams and by just closing his eyes. He can see creatures from the other side. When he turns eighteen, he is re-united with his long secret love named Stephanie, and he decides that he will finally tell her how he feels. On the day that he goes to see her, she is kidnapped and he is recruited by a secret society called The Sect and they want to hone his gifts as a “Conduit” (stop time and see demons) to fight evil. He agrees to join them if they will help him find his friend, and along the way, he is teamed up with two other young men. They must all work together to stop Akabod – the spiritual prodigal son of The School of Ministry — before he can destroy the Windgate. It’s an epic tale that is just the first book in a planned trilogy. The Sect: The Windgate is actually a re-imagined version of the award-wining The School of Ministry: The Windgate (this title represents the series), with more streamlined storytelling elements. I whittled it down a bit to make it flow much faster in preparation for the sequel. The eBook will be out on March 10th, and the audiobook is finished and will be available by April, when the paperback drops.

Also, readers can pick up a copy of the novella Evan’s Heart this weekend for only $0.99. It gives you the perspective of Evan during a very pivotal scene in the book. You don’t want to miss this quick read that will prepare you for The Sect: The Windgate.

 

PROLOGUE OF THE SECT

Five years ago, one night changed everything. I was out horse playing with a bunch of friends, in the streets, acting crazy. We came to an old abandoned building and decided to play a game of hide and seek. But I played hide and seek a little too well, easily ducking away from the others, making my way to the lower levels undetected. As they scouted around looking for me, I lost myself, trapped in a maze of empty rooms. Trying to find my way back, I came across another group of other teens, making such a ruckus that I couldn’t help but spy on them from a distance. But their horse playing was nothing like what we were doing. Boys. A pack of them and a lone girl, engaged in disturbing behavior.

The boys were harassing her, hands everywhere. She cried out in screams that rattled my eardrums. My hands found their way over my ears, trying their best to block out the screeches. The more hands she batted away, twice as many appeared. They pressed in, grasping and groping. One of the boys pressed harder, adding slaps and kicks, until finally ripping a few layers of clothing from her body.

That’s when the others joined in. Her screams echoed through the rooms, breaking through my hands, making it hard for me to look away. I hid in the shadows, too afraid to help, too scared to make them stop. She tried to fight back, but there were too many.

Finally, I emerged from the darkness and bucked up the nerve to yell out, “Stop!” But they ignored me. Eventually, things got really heated, the girl screaming at the top of her lungs, and the boys pushing her down. That’s when something broke free inside me. It started with a quiver, then a strong tremble, until my legs shook so hard I fell backward. My head slammed the floor. I winced and closed my eyes. What I saw terrified me. It was dark but I could see everything clearly. Horrible images shrouded me in a sheath of fear. Circling each one of the boys were hideous, great and fearful beasts. They had eyes that burned like embers, claws the length of fingers, and skin like that of dragons with patches of blazing red hair all over that seemed to stand on end. Grey smoke puffed from their mouths as they spoke. Some whispered obscenities, while others screamed deplorable things, encouraging the boys to continue. I opened my eyes and gasped. My heart fluttered and I looked around the room. The beasts were gone. Only the boys and the girl remained. Taking a deep breath, I shuddered at the thought of closing them again, but I had to.

I had to know the truth.

I did. It was true. I closed my eyes again and there they were. Within the dark recesses of my eyelids, I was able to see creatures from the other side. But what were they? Ghosts?

I mustered the strength to run out of the building, screaming for help. People stared at me like I was crazy. Finally, an adult took my accusations seriously and the police arrived, but it was too late. The damage was done. The girl’s family tried to press charges, but she was high on drugs and was not able to identify the suspects. I lacked the heart to come forward and testify against them, left town for good. From then on, I knew I was different. I had a path. But how it would all play out one day was beyond me.

Until now…

 Social Media Links

Twitter: @BraxtonACosby

Website: www.braxtoncosby.com

Book site: www.theschoolofministry.com

Blog site: www.braxtoncosby.com/cosbyscorner

 Book Links

The Sect: The Windgate http://goo.gl/0oAaJR

Evan’s Heart http://goo.gl/LHJdPi

My YouTube Debut

Hey, readers!

So I made my YouTube debut today! I am featured over at Robin Woods Fiction today, and we thought it’d be fun if I answered some questions via video. Okay, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s fun, too! I talk about parts of my writing process, give advice to writers, and even show viewers my journals. Go and check it out, and give Robin Woods Fiction some blog love! Until next time…

CLICK HERE TO READ MY INTERVIEW WITH ROBIN WOODS

Blog Hop: How/Why I Write & 2 Writers You Should Check Out

Author Thomas A Fowler tagged me in this continuing series of blog hops.

First up: Props to the tagger. Thomas A Fowler and I are Twitter friends, and have been for quite some time. (You can follow him at: @thomasafowler) In fact, Thomas wrote about me in one of his blog posts last year, and, being that I am your typical narcissistic human, it earned him a spot in my “favorite tweeps” list. But in all seriousness, I like reading his posts and tweets, and it’s very exciting to be part of a writers’ community on social media.

To quote his “about” section on his blog, Thomas is a “Broadcast and Digital Producer at a Denver Ad Agency by day, Writer of Commercial Mainstream and Science-Fiction by Night. Bringing you all the Marketing & Writing advice you need as we take on the Writer’s Conquest together.” Sweet.

Now, onward and upward.

1. What am I working on?

I am working on several different projects, though, my next Spirit Lake Series book is taking precedence for the next few months. Since I just released book two, I want to keep the momentum going by getting book three out in a timely manner. So far, I have over 3K words in my WIP, and am super excited to be world building again. You can click HERE to read the synopses for the first two books in the series.

Another project I am working on has to do with the retelling of my exciting and adventure-filled summer in Spain. I lived abroad this year, for part of the summer, and definitely had some story-worthy experiences.

I also began penning a non-fiction sort of inspirational/self-help kind of book. I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of this year, or at least by the end of January 2015. We shall see what happens.  

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My first book, Feast Island, is a Young Adult Fantasy with, as one reviewer put it, “a refreshing lack of make-out scenes.” Feast Island is the type of book that borders between middle grade and young adult, so it’s fairly “clean” and even the gruesome stuff is not as crazy as could be. However, The Wrong Fairy Tale, Feast Island’s follow-up, is definitely more young adult in that there is some romance, cursing, and (at times) grisly violence. The characters are growing up, and I wanted to convey that. I think that the contrast makes my work different from what’s generally and currently out there, and I like hearing from my readers that my books are unique and surprising. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 15.54.55

3. Why do I write what I do?

Growing up, I was a total bookworm. I was THAT KID who got in trouble for staying up late because I was reading. My dad introduced me to the coolest books, and I blame him for my fantasy genre addiction. There I was, this 13-year-old kid, reading adult fantasy books about King Arthur and stuff. I just couldn’t get enough!

My mom was always cool with my book addiction too, and she bought my sister and I a book every time a book magazine came through our mail. Granted, it was usually Christian fiction, but I managed to find the series that were more obscure and (to me) provided hours of real life escape. One of my favorite series was The Seven Sleepers by Gilbert L Morris, and some of my ideas for my series were inspired by his middle grade books.

I think that fantasy fiction provides a healthy escape from the mundane–or tragic–in life. Middle school wasn’t particularly kind to me, and books were some of my greatest friends. I felt like I could relate to many characters I was reading about, and that I was right there with them, living their adventures. Because this particular genre had such a positive influence on my life, I hope that my fantasy fiction stories will do the same for my readers. That my books will provide them with a healthy escape and the means to see themselves more clearly.  

4. How does my writing process work?

I have been asked this many times, and every time, my process has changed a bit. I think that it’s important for writers–and any artist, really–to continually evolve in their craft. Every story is different, and as such, every story needs permission to be told the way it wants. Typically, I DO outline each book I write, but even the outlines differ.

I have experimented with writing purely on Scrivner, only to find that I prefer Word. I have also tried outlining on Word, which worked well for a while until I went back to outlining by hand. I keep a separate journal for each book so that my ideas are confined, and I focus on that particular story. Oftentimes, ideas hit me at the most random and sometimes inconvenient times, so it’s important that I keep my journal with me to capture those ideas. I DO sleep with my journal on my nightstand and have had a few instances where I woke up at 2am with an idea and wrote it down. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 15.55.50

When I was living in Spain this summer, I began going on walks around 9pm, my journal in tow. The sun didn’t set until 9:30pm or so, and I was most definitely inspired by the beauty of nature. I lived in Alicante, a beach city, so I’d go to a more quiet area by the beach (avoiding the huge touristy area) and sit on a bench to take in the scenery. Sometimes I’d write down something to move my story forward, sometimes I’d journal about general life reflections, or sometimes I’d simply sit there and let my mind wander. That routine actually helped me to write so much more this year than ever before, and I think it’s important to remember that quiet reflection can be more productive than we realize. 

And, of course, I read a lot. Since I am also an editor, I read for work besides reading for pleasure. This year alone, I have edited 12 books, in addition to reading 30+ for fun. I read AND edit in several different genres, and my brain soaks up everything. Though I can always improve, I have definitely developed a writers’ coach sort of mentality, and I can spot what makes a story great–and what makes it a flop. Because of this, I am that much more nit picky about my writing, and catch so much when I edit my own works.

Tag, you’re it!

http://robinwoodsfiction.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/robinwoods.jpgYoung 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. 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.

 

IMG_1577.JPGBrea Essex is a wife, mom, YA/NA author, recovering soda addict, and wannabe pop star (but only in her own home). She is owned by several cats, and one cat-dog. Her books, Foreshadow and Overshadow, Book One and Two of The Shadow Imperium Trilogy, and Ouroboros, Book One of The Seven Relics Saga, are available now on major outlets. 

 

Interview & Spotlight: Braxton Cosby Shares His Latest Book & Other Endeavors

Happy Monday to you all! Remember when I had a really awesome guest last year, Braxton Cosby? If you have yet to read my first interview with him, click HERE to do so right now and then come back and read this post.

Braxton Cosby 126 grass

Braxton is back to share his newest release, as well as tell us what he’s been up to the past several months. So sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy reading the latest from Dr. Cosby.

 

broken1

Synopsis for Broken Prince: Spurred on by the desire to forge his own destiny, Prince William Derry seeks to complete his bounty hunter training by taking out a strategic target on the edge of the star system that could quell the undercurrent of uprising against the Torrian Alliance. To do so, he must collaborate with objectionable characters and trust his wits rather than his training in an effort to gain his father’s confidence. His resolve is tested when he is forced to make a decision that threatens to shatter the foundation of his identity, risking not just the mission, but the lives of those involved.

Follow Prince William’s origin story into bounty hunter status in this prequel to the incredible Protostar, the first novel in the Star-Crossed Saga.

proto3

Interview with Braxton Cosby:

1. Why did you decide to write Broken Prince?

BC: I felt that it was necessary to write Broken Prince after I completed Protostar so that readers could get a better feel for William before he arrives on Earth. The origin story had purpose behind it so that those who read Protostar would be able to understand why William made the decisions he did. Readers would also be able to get a better feel about the relationship between William and his father King Gregorio. This story gives you a good feel of William’s personality from a weaker, softer vantage point when he is thrown into the unknown.

 

2. What kind of feedback have you received from readers in regards to Broken Prince?

BC: People seem to be enjoying it. For the most part, they are really hungry to dive into Protostar now, which was the goal of releasing the novella when I did. They love the action elements and the developing story arc.

 

3. Has writing become any easier since you have written more books?

BC: Things really flow a lot more smoothly now. I can bang out more stories quicker and I see them unfold more fluidly. I can’t wait to finish one book and move back into the other.

 

4. What are you currently working on?

BC: Working on the sequel to my current novel The Windgate. The next book is really coming together well and I can’t wait for people who read and enjoyed the first one to see how the characters develop. The storyline is getting a lot of attention so that readers are pulled in from the beginning and are rewarded for finishing it.

 

5. What will be your next release? Can you tell us a little about it?

BC: I have a couple of autobiographies that I am working on right now with two celebrities. It’s still kind of a “hush” situation, so I can’t give out too many details, but a press release is in the works and will be on the Cosby Media Productions website very soon.

 

6. What do you hope will be a takeaway for readers of your series?

BC: The experience of life. I hope readers feel what the characters go through. The story has to read believable. Even though there are Sci-Fi and paranormal elements, I would like to think that readers are pulled in so far that their reference of reality is suspended. I also want them to anticipate where the series may go next and then read the next one. Hopefully, I’ll be able to avoid the predictable road and give them just a few surprises along the way.

Media & Buy Links:

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Goodreads

Blog

Website

 

Braxton_A. Cosby4Bio: Author, actor, entrepreneur. Multi-Award Winning Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga and The School of Ministry: The Windgate are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, a full-service media company with five divisions focused on developing Intellectual Properties that will “Entertain the Mind and Inspire the Soul.” Braxton lives in Georgia with his wife, three children, and a troop of crazy African Cichlids.