Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Author Interview with Louann Carroll

The first of two interviews this week is with Louann Carroll. Let us delve into the depths of some of my favourite genres-paranormal and sci-fi. But first get digging...

Hi Louann, before I start asking you about writing-what’s the most interesting fossil you’ve found? My son and I need to know.

Fossilized brain coral from a dry lake bed in Nevada. It is 45 million years old AND a fossilized turtle egg. I also have arrow heads and I have a fossilized knee bone from a miniature mammoth from the islands off California. I have grinding stones and paint pots plus tons of copper and other minerals.

Jealous! I'll take the knee bone, it's probably better than mine. OK down to the business of writing. I love the occult, paranormal and Sci-Fi, but for anyone new to those genres-what inspires you to write the books you do?

When you write in those genres it almost exclusively relies on imagination along with some pretty heady research into theoretical physics which is amazing in itself. Imagine a world where there are multiple dimensions taking place all at the same time. Then imagine you could visit any dimension you wanted. Then you can imagine a dimension that gets broken and accidentally gets mixed up in other dimensions. Or you can go further and imagine a place where heaven and hell are just lighter or darker (in mass) dimensions and you can visit them anytime you want. You just can’t take your regular body with you. Using that formula anything can happen anywhere at any time.

When did you first start writing and was being an author a lifelong ambition?

My lifelong ambition was to be a mother. Becoming an author was an afterthought and due to a hyperactive imagination I get brain constipation if I don’t write out my stories. I used to entertain my kids and nieces and nephews with what they called the Auntie Louann routine. Now they can read my thoughts instead of listening to them.

There is so much more to being an author than writing the book. Out of the entire process from concept to promotion-what do you enjoy the most?

When I am in the zone all becomes quiet and I write. I love that process. Everything flows perfectly. Problem is, people have to really jolt me out of the process if they need me and that can be stressful for them and for me. It is like all is right with the world and then BAM reality bites.

I had to learn how to market the hard way. I had a horrible time outing myself. I just wanted people to find my books, but that doesn’t work. You have to keep yourself in the public eye. You have to market and then you have to discover what works for you. Eventually, I joined everything and guess what I discovered? That on pinterest you can redo your kitchen, on Goodreads you can find great books to read, on Amazon you meet new friends and other reviewers, and on Facebook you can reconnect with old friends. Oh, and on Twitter you gain a bunch of new friends who know friends who know friends and you can keep up with current events while they are happening. Super cool.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

If you love writing, never give up. Continue to read and to write and if you get stuck, blog your journey. Have fun and most of all remember, if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. 

Tell us where you write. Do you have a dedicated space or are you able to write anywhere?

I write anywhere I have a computer. I have a writing room at home, but prefer the couch next to my husband.

Do you have a process or any habits you have to do before you can start writing?

I do like to have everything done like my domestics or unfinished things like redoing my kitchen. Other than that, no habits or rituals.

Name a place fictional or real that you’d like to visit.

I would love to visit Egypt and the Middle East. Too bad things are so upsetting right now or I would go. I have always been fascinated with the Egypt.

I on the other hand have been the Egypt and didn't even see the pyramids! Who are your favourite authors and what are you reading at the moment?

Danielle DeVor’s Sorrow’s series. It’s about an ex-priest who continues to exorcise demons and the like. He hangs out with his girlfriend who is a witch and a young girl named Lucy who haunts them both. Actually, she’s more like their daughter. It is such a great series. So perfect for a lazy weekend.

What music do you like? Who is on your current play list?

I don’t have a play list. I like music, but I’m hooked on the 60s. Nothing makes me happier. When I write, I enjoy the quiet. Actually, I kind of go away so anything that makes me present is a distraction. 

Spill the beans-what are you currently working on?

Gemini Rising, The Word, the 3rd book in the trilogy is almost done. However, I have had a new book pop into my mind today about Kate’s husband Jason and his journey on Earth. I have to think about this one. 

Finally, if you weren’t a writer and you could choose to do anything else with your life what would you do?

I would be an archaeologist, a geologist, a paleontologist or just a researcher. I like being in my head as much as possible and I love being outside. However, I am getting too old to be any of those things now so writing is my game.

Thank you Louann. 

Right you lot-you know the drill, click all these links

Sunday, 26 February 2017

I rant therefore I am

Can someone please explain to me why there are only two days in the weekend? Clearly it's not enough time for a busy working mum to catch up on everything. And I'm not even talking about watching things we've recorded off the TV.

Yesterday I baked biscuits and cakes for the family. Sure, I could have bought them and it probably would have been cheaper too. Shop bought biscuits and cakes tend to get eaten quicker. I'm not sure what that says about my cooking. But, still no-one has died, so I imagine it's fine. 

The next job was looking at cars. I would like to drive distances without my left leg dislocating half way there because of the uncomfortable passenger seat that doesn't adjust in the way I need it to. (Hypermobility Syndrome-in case you weren't aware.) We might have found a car that fits the bill, but that was the first trip of many to the dealership to sort that out.

Then shopping, because everyone knows how much I detest shopping for ANYTHING. I just hate it. I might have had a coffee in the five minute break I got in-between arriving home and starting to cook dinner-dinner that I wasn't eating because I am dieting at the moment and have my own meals sorted out.

Now we come to Sunday and the mission for Sunday was to find school shoes. Naturally you would be forgiven for thinking that you rock up at the school section of the well known shoe shop on the high street, have your son's feet measured and then select a pair of well fitting shoes. Well, no. For a start the school in question has published a list of acceptable shoes on their web site and none of them are conducive to walking 3 miles a day. Let alone walking 3 miles a day with painful joints which run in our family. What's more the school section of the well known shoe shop mostly stocks shoes that don't conform to what the school says are suitable for school. There follows time spent constructing an email including pictures to ascertain which if any of the shoes actually available on the high street would be suitable for school.

Having done all of this and served dinner, which was chicken based and therefore OK for me to eat, it's 6.30pm on Sunday evening and I'd like to start my weekend now please.

Insert many different swear words here...

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Interview with author R.L Jackson

Hello world. It’s time for another treat. I’d like to introduce you to the second indie author I have had the privilege to interview recently. So I’m calling a coffee break because it’s been five minutes since I had one. Everyone sit down, stop that, yes you, thank you, pay attention you might learn something, will you just...oh never mind.

Welcome to the multi-talented R.L Jackson.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, who you are, where you’re from, what do you write? (Inside leg measurement, arm length, shoe size-kidding!)

Lol, I'm R.L Jackson and I hail from the very steamy state of Florida and I try to write equally steamy romance novels.

2. When did you start writing?

My writing bug bit me in middle school and honestly, I haven't stopped writing since. I read everything I could get my hands on too, so that helped to stoke the passion for creating.

3. What do you love the most from planning to publication?

I think the creating side of it actually because you can do anything you want. The flip side of formatting, book design, feedback, editing etc, you have rules to follow and you have to be precise so that was tough for me especially doing it alone like I did. So patience is a virtue.

4. What about things you wish you didn't have to do-are there any of those?

Marketing and advertising, lol. I wish there were some sort of fairy dust I could sprinkle on the keyboards that did all the banners, tweets, facebook posts, website etc. It's A LOT of work.

5. It is a huge amount of work and by no means my favourite task either. OK, so where do you write. Do you have a dedicated space or do you write anywhere?

A desk in my living room is where I create nowadays. It’s not the most ideal space because of traffic, but when everyone crashes for the night, that usually when I brew a pot of coffee and have at it til 4 am.

6. 4am?? I would be utterly useless the next day if I tried to pull that off. How do you start writing? Do you have a process?

I do. I write at least five or six different outlines for a book from start to finish (Same topic, just different ways to explore the journey). Very roughly though so a page per book idea. When I can’t think of anything else I arrange them all in a line and look at what the first premise is in each and pick the best and I do that for every line or plot point of each, mash  them up etc until I have two good plots ideas and usually I combine that for my final outline. Then I do a scene breakdown based on chapter goals, then chapter breakdowns, then the overall flow etc. Sometimes I do this and it never gets used because one scene will spark a whole chapter and I'm left with a paper trail that I can reference to if need to.

7. Name a place fictional or real that you’d like to visit. 

Hawaii. Just want to fall asleep on the sand and do nothing for a week.

8. I’ll just install myself in your suitcase…Right final question, if you weren’t an author and you could choose to do anything else with your life what would you do?

Nurse Practioner.

That is a very honourable answer. RL Jackson thank you so much for your time, it’s been a pleasure.

Click all of these links simultaneously to find out more about RL Jackson. Go on, test your connectivity:

Monday, 20 February 2017

Interview with author Cecily Wolfe

Today I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing a fellow author. So grab your coffee, sit back and enjoy the insights of the wonderful Cecily Wolfe and I'll try no to get in the way too much.

Tell us a bit about yourself, who you are, do you write full time or have another job and what you do for fun when you’re not writing. (Inside leg measurement, head circumference, shoe size-kidding!)

I am a librarian, and work-full time - yes, I love my job, how could I not? For fun - I read, of course - but I love to bake, swim, and knit/crochet, as well as hang out with my kids. I'm a single parent, and my children and I are very close. We make a great team. 

We seem to make a great mess! When did you first start writing and did you enjoy it right from the start?

I started writing when I was in third grade, and became obsessed with Helen Keller. I read everything in the school library I could find, then in the public library as well. I started daydreaming about adventures Helen must have had with her tutor, exploring her home and the world around her, and wrote them down. I don't have those stories anymore, but I do remember that that was when I knew I wanted to keep writing stories to share with others. 

I too spent some time at school reading about Helen Keller, fascinating woman. Out of the entire process of writing and publishing what do you enjoy the most?

Probably the very beginning, the taking of notes, wrestling with that first draft - learning about my characters and their stories. The story never goes the way I imagine it, because the characters have other ideas, so it is all a mystery to me until it comes out as I type. 

 Is there anything from writing through to promotion and publication that you wish you didn’t have to do?

Formatting! Ugh! Is anyone confident about doing this? 

 Certainly not me! Tell us about where you write. Do you have a dedicated space or are you able to write anywhere?

I write longhand on yellow legal pads when I first take notes and start drafting, so I can sit in my recliner, at my desk, or at the dining room table. I write the 'official' first draft and those after on my desktop Mac with Scrivener, then MS Word, so it's my desk from there on out. 

 Do you have a process or any habits that must be completed before you start writing?

Sometimes I have to clean something. I have a thing about mopping the kitchen floor, and sometimes I can't focus until I do that. Coffee helps too, whether it is in the morning or evening. 

Cleaning-not a thing I focus on. Coffee however is a different thing entirely. Name a place fictional or real that you’d like to visit.

Venice! I hear it smells bad, though, but that really isn't discouraging. So much history, and so much beauty.

 I’ve never been either, it's on the list. Who are your favourite authors and what are you reading at the moment?

Joyce Carol Oates is my favorite living author - right now I'm reading some great indie work, including Ember Raine Winters' Beautiful Delusions and India Adams' Serenity, along with Eva Leigh's latest historical romance, From Duke Till Dawn, and Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. I read a wide variety of fiction - whatever looks good goes on my TBR list. I make no apologies for my reading interests!

 What music do you like? Who is on your current play list?

I like everything but country (hate me if you will!). I have been listening to Sabrina Carpenter's latest album, Evolution, because it has been inspiration for a lot of the scenes in my upcoming contemporary drama/romance, Reckless Treasure. I have book playlists for all my work on Spotify under ceciwolfe. 

Finally, if you weren’t a writer and you could choose to do anything else with your life what would you do?

A librarian - and I am! Honestly, I would have loved to have been a professional ice skater, but I can't skate. At all. I have a huge emergency room copay with my medical insurance, so I don't even play around at a rink!

Well I broke my ankle ice skating so I avoid rinks too. Cecily it's been a pleasure, thank you so much for your time.

To find out more about Cecily Wolfe click these, all at once, work that internet connection...

Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Amazon    Nook   iBooks

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Half Term Woohoo

I know some mums might dread half term, but I really look forward to it. Then again I have teenagers who only venture out of their bedrooms to scavenge for food or feed a random pet. What I really like about half term is that I don't have the stress of worrying if I can roll out of bed in the morning to make sure they get to school in time. Even when they were little I preferred the school holidays. Not that I'm up for the challenge of home schooling you understand!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Our plan to buy each other the same card went tits up again this year, although we did pick a similar theme:

Both cards are very accurate! I still think the best Valentine's card I ever saw was on a simple red background with the words "You'll do" on the front.

So what are your plans for this week? I'm sitting here with my feet up about to continue writing a chapter of my book. Sam the degu is running in his wheel. Wherever he's going he's not getting any closer. Crunch the tortoise is busy scraping away at her home trying to dig her way though wood which also isn't going to happen. 

I feel a large coffee is in my immediate future. I hope I remember to sweeten this one, the last one was rank!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Head meet brick wall.

It's Thursday. (Well I can't speak for when you got around to reading this, I wrote it on a Thursday, if you're reading it on a Tuesday, that's your problem! Do try to keep up.)

More accurately to quote Arthur Dent created by the brilliant Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

"This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

Apply that sentiment to my entire week and it'll be about right.

I have started a few things and have been distracted and waylaid by even more. I will eternally cling to the fact that yesterday I did at least achieve cake. Cake was made and boxed up ready to go into my son's school for the bake sale tomorrow. I don't envisage any weird mutations occurring as a result of ingesting my culinary endeavours. I even listed the ingredients on the box I put the cake in because we live in this era:

£500 scales for my business broke and were deemed, by me, uneconomically viable to pay a massive call out charge to just look at them. I did that for free and determined that they were busted. Cheaper scales were investigated at length, shortlisted, ordered out of frustration, delivered and sent back when I realised that they didn't weigh in stones and pounds. (Really not useful for the majority of the people I see who do not work in kilos.) A second set of cheap scales were then ordered due for delivery tomorrow. Meanwhile my husband has fixed the £500 set of scales because he is a genius. Naively I really was expecting them to last more than 6 years.

I had high hopes for getting some writing done this week, but the scales event meant that I lost a chunk of time to the other business on my writing day. 

Highlight of my week so far alongside the achievement of cake is that the supermarket did not reject my online review of their appalling own brand mixed spice. Yay me!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

How many of me are there?

This morning I either had to remove my right eyeball or sort out my new contact lens. Luckily eyeball removal was not necessary-I'd managed to put my contact in inside out. Easily remedied. Just as well, I'm not sure I have the right implements to remove my eyeballs. I imagine it might be quite complicated.

Yesterday I had the misfortune to be infiltrated by a sloth. I don't know how the sloth got in, but it wasn't very useful. As well as falling asleep throughout the day I felt like this cat:

To be honest I feel like that cat most days, but I'm very good at hiding it.

Today I've woken up a completely different person-although probably still suffering from "mood of cat". The sloth is no longer in residence. I can't actually tell where he's gone, but he's not in the house. I have achieved a few small things. One thing is this graphic for a competition I've entered. (You may praise me on my skills-yes I did take the actual graphic off the web-I write, I do not do graphics-frankly I should have teams of people to do these things for me.)

I did a bit of work for the day job. I also sorted out the banging noise from one of the bedrooms upstairs. The noise was caused by Cossie the bearded dragon trying to break her way out of her vivarium. Usually that means she's about to lay eggs. I brought her downstairs so I could sit on the sofa with her and stroke her back for a bit.  Clearly I am a lizard whisperer because she calmed down. (This is her at a younger age, but you get the idea-up on back legs scratching at the glass.)

And now for my next trick I'll post this blog entry and spend the rest of my life trying to get the photos and the video to work. Like I said-I require teams of people to do these things for me. 

Almost Halloween

Today is one of the highlights of my year. I love Halloween. I don't particularly enjoy the incessant opening of the front door and hand...