Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Author Spotlight: Troy McCombs

Horror fans!  This post is for you! 


Welcome Troy McCombs!




1. What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far? 

I love writing horror! That's my forte and my favorite genre. I've written a number
of stories, and several novels. I do, however, have a few stories that aren't horror at all.
The Graveyard is a coming-of-age drama with some fantasy elements attached; The Music of 1997 is about a young man who travels back in time while listening to certain songs from a certain era. It all depends on where my imagination wants to go on a given day :) I also write screenplays: some horror; action; drama, etc...

2.  When is your next book being published?

Don't know yet. I'm working on a new novel: a crime/thriller/science fiction tale. I don't want to give out any details yet, though, about it. I do have another horror I wrote last year that I'm trying to publish. It's a post-apocalyptic series entitled 'Darkworld'.

    
3.  When did you start writing and what inspires you the most?

I started writing in third grade. Our teacher made us students write a short story for class credit. I was hooked instantly. I only progressed from there.
It's hard to say what inspires me. A butterfly has to fly. A fish has to swim. I have to write. I don't know why, I just do. Just the thought of creating a new world with new characters inspires me.
    
4.  Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?  Why or why not?

I've always loved horror for some reason. My second story was a short horror story I remember quite vividly (everything except the title, lol). I'll write in pretty much any genre, as long as the story/characters inspire me and tell me what to do, where to go.


5.  Tell us about your creative writing process.

It comes and goes. Some days I'm hot, some days I'm not. I do get writer's block quite frequently. Who knows how I get out of it. I just do. Sometimes it takes a while, too. I always try to write an outline for my books/stories before I start, even if it's as little as a paragraph or two. Then it gives me a sort of blueprint. I know my story is special when it writes itself.
 
            
6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?

H.P. Lovecraft. I just fell in love with his style years ago. His stories really frighten me. No writer has made me feel the way he's made me feel by reading his work.


7.  Tell us, what is the central message of your current book and the target audience.

I don't know if my book has a 'message'. Everybody takes a different meaning out of every book. I'd say my target audience is anyone who loves the horror genre, and anyone who's a big fan of 'haunted house' stories and is looking for a new twist on the haunted house theme. Ghosts are the small potatoes in this house.

8.  What do you hope your readers will walk away with after reading your book?

Hopefully, that they've read a book they enjoyed. Something different, something fresh. Since it's horror, maybe even a little frightened.


9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?

I have no idea. I'd probably be confused, without a place in this world.


10.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?

The worst experience was getting ripped off one time early in my career. I was promised payment and never received a dime. The best experience was watching a story of mine being produced into a movie.


11.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?

As a best-selling author with many fans—that's where I want to be, anyway. I can always hope for that, right?

12.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?

World Castle Publishing. You can find me at Facebook; just type in my name: Troy McCombs, (or Troy Ray McCombs) and I should com

Monday, January 30, 2012

Author Spotlight: Charlotte Blackwell

In my never ending attempt to reach readers of various genres, today I would like to welcome Charlotte Blackwell, author of the Embrace Series for YA paranormal romance lovers!






What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?
I write young adult, paranormal romance. Currently I have three books out in the Embrace series. A series about vampires, witches, family and friends and finding who you and where you belong.

When is your next book being published?
Everlasting Embrace is the fourth instalment in the Embrace Series and I hope to release it before spring.

When did you start writing?
I began wring at the end of 2008. Since then writing has fully taken over and after many years of wondering who I was and where I belonged I have found myself.

What inspired this piece of work?
I have always been a lover of the supernatural (mostly witches and vampires). After seeing Twilight in the theatres I decided to write my own story. I loved being taken back to high school, to a time of little worry and wanted to create my own little world. High school is similar where ever you are and I know there I times I wish I could re-write things that happened during my high school years. This was my chance. Through my characters I get to examine different parts of myself, those I love and those I don’t. I get to pull out every emotion and insecurity I had and see how I grew from it all.

Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?  Why or why not?
I picked paranormal romance because of my love of the supernatural. This was a way to put some of my fairytales into my stories. There is so mush to learn and experience in the paranormal. I am working on a contemporary romance geared to adults. I hope to finish it once Everlasting Embrace releases.

Tell us about your creative writing process.

I like to lock myself in my bedroom. I put some music of even the TV on and go. I like to have the background noise and go. What ever comes to mind related to my story, I write. After I go through and make sure everything is correct and in proper order and so on. I don’t have any ritual I need to follow and I don’t plan it either. I just let the story take me where it wants to go.

Who is your favourite author, past and present, and why?
I can’t go too far in the past for a favourite author because it wasn’t until recently I began to enjoy reading. So LJ Smith would be both past and present. She also writes YA paranormal romance and like her, I love my research. In her Vampire Diaries series her research is obvious, her vampires use magical stones (Lapis Lazuli) to protect them. This stone is believed to have mystical powers pertaining to the blood. I too use stones. I made up my own name after my research lead me to the same stone as her. I feared people thinking I was infringing on her work. The reason I use stones as well is because I believe in the healing qualities of stones, so it is natural for me to use them.

Another author that is on my favourite list is Kathi Barton. She writes (18+) paranormal and contemporary romance. We met through Facebook and helped each other through the writing and publishing process. She amazes me daily with her talent.  We are all going to see great things from her someday soon. (Okay I have already seen it...everyone else just has too). 

 What motivates you to continue writing?
My children. Writing has become a part of me and my dream. I want my children to see you can achieve anything as long as you work hard enough for it. I also want them to follow their dream and live life to the fullest. This is my way of showing them I can do the same.

How do you get ideas for your stories?
My kids, my life, my dreams and music. Pretty much everything I do can turn into a story. There is some much of me in everything I write.

If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?
I would be a stay at home mother, okay well I still am that I’m just an author as well. Before my third child was born I worked as a nurse and enjoyed in for the time I was there, but my children needed me.

Give us an insider look into your latest novel.
Mystic Embrace is book three in the Embrace Series. This book is from Ebony’s POV. She is a magical witch that is destined to save the world. Along with her vampire friends Ebony goes through some major changes in her life, and all before she graduates high school. This is a book about triumphing when faces with challenges and loss and will invoke a wide array of emotions. 


If your novel made it to the big screen, what actors do you see playing the key characters?
I always find this a difficult question. I have an idea of what the characters look and act like in my head and the actor I envision might not add up for some reason. As an example, I’ve always pictured Sophia (who is 17) as my daughter Jorden (who is only 13). The Sophia’s love interest Nate reminds me of Zac Effron, looks attitude he portrays in movies and so forth. Now Zac is in his 20’s and could play Nate, but it would sure look funny next to a 13 year old. So I guess if it ever came to it, I would show the director my ideas and hope we could find actors to fit the part. 


What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?
The worst is with editing. My publisher provided me with an editor. I didn’t feel comfortable with her, but continued to edit all 3 books with her. After all was said and done and the books were published, we found horrific errors. Thankfully she is no longer working with the publishing house. I read my own book and was in tears, readers were getting this book. I felt terrible. Well they have gone back into editing and we are re-releasing them. The First 2 books, Immortal Embrace and Forbidden Embrace have already been released to the public, Mystic Embrace should follow soon. 

Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?
I hope in five years I have improved my writing skills even more and continue to put out a few books a year. I don’t want to lose momentum. I really love what I do and want to continue writing for many years to come. I have achieved so much, so fast it’s hard to imagine toping it, but I hope to. I also would like to book more speaking engagements and talk to others about writing and following their dreams.

Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?
I can be found on Face book at https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteBlackwellAuthor and Twitter @CharBlackwell. I also have a blog charlotteblackwell.blogspot.com.
You can find my books almost anywhere on line, and you can also borrow them for free on Amazon Prime http://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Blackwell/e/B005FD1QB4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 and of course  my publisher World Castle Publishing http://www.worldcastlepublishing.com/home.html

Thank you so much for having me I had a really great time. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Author Spotlight: Maranda Russell

Please extend a warm welcome to author Maranda Russell!  This is the first time that I have hosted an author that specializes in children's books!  So, if you have little ones between the ages of 3 and 9, this is for you!



1. What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?
I write children’s books, mostly picture books or short stories. I have one print picture book available right now entitled “Ode to Icky”, as well as two ebooks entitled “In Memory of Dad” and “Weezie, the Elephant with Allergies”. 
  
2.  When is your next book being published?
I don’t have a release date yet, but I have signed contracts with two different publishers for upcoming picture books.

 3.  When did you start writing and what inspires you the most?
I have been writing since I first learned how. What inspires me the most are everyday relationships, emotions and events. My two favorite genres to read are realistic fiction and humor, which happen to be the two genres I find myself writing most often as well.
     
4.  Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?  Why or why not?
I write children’s books because I honestly enjoy reading them. Some might say I’m immature, but I prefer to say that I have a child-like spirit. I have written for adults in the past, and may do so again in the future, but children’s literature is where my heart really lies.

5.  Tell us about your creative writing process.
Normally I come up with an idea, write a little bit of an outline in my notebook and then sit down and type out the story. Next I start the editing process, which normally takes longer than the initial writing.
             
6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?
Edgar Allan Poe has been my favorite writer for most of my life. I like stories about psychological terror, so Poe is right up my alley. As for my favorite author who is still writing today, I would have to say that would be Mo Willems. I love his sense of humor.

 7.  Tell us, what is the central message of your current book and the target audience.
My most recent release, “Ode to Icky” is a picture book that is technically sold for ages 3-9, but I think the real target audience is probably 5-9. It is a funny little story about a stinky cat and his owner, Candy, a clever little girl who finds a way to make her pet’s hygiene issues work in her favor. Of course, as Candy finds out, not all great ideas turn out like you expect.

8.  What do you hope your readers will walk away with after reading your book?
I hope readers remember my characters, relate to them and learn along with them. I also hope I can bring a smile to their face or make them laugh.

9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?
I would still be writing, I just wouldn’t be doing it for a living. I would probably still be substitute teaching instead.

10.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?
Worst – getting all the rejections. Best – getting that first acceptance and holding my own book in my hands for the first time!

11.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?
Hopefully I will have made more of a name for myself and written and published a few more books! I also hope that I will have won some awards. As for my personal life, I just hope that my family is still happy and healthy. I wouldn’t mind making enough money to buy my dream house either J

12.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?
My blog/author website: www.marandarussell.com.
All of my books can be found on my website, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other online book retailers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Please welcome Dave Cleinman to the Spotlight!

It is an honor to have the great Dave Cleinman as a guest on my blog!  Enjoy the read!



What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far? 

I have written four novels. Two published and available: Toys In The Attic, a psych thriller
and Principle Destiny, a modern fantasy/political thriller.

Two are in revision: Snowdragons and Black Blade. Sci fi and fantasy, respectively.

I have written a short how-to called The Article Marketer’s Guide
When is your next book being published?

I have a horror short called MindEater that will be available this week.

I have a teen fantasy in the works which will be available in a couple months.
    
When did you start writing?

I began my first novel in middle school, just after finishing The Lord of The Rings. I was thirteen and, as you might imagine, it was too much like LOTR to be much good. I have since begun to revise it, however, and once again it softly breathes.

What inspires you the most?

I am most inspired by the goodness of people. To me, the unity of spirit is what truly leads to creativity and progress. It happens so rarely, though, sometimes we need to make our own inspiration. I tend to fold it into my stories as the backdrop of the good and, even though horrible things may happen, the protagonists and their loved ones always can count on it being there.

I am also inspired by nature and its beauty. It shows up in many of my stories. I think I was spoiled growing up in the midst of it.
    
4.  Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?

I actually tend to write cross-genre, although I have an affinity for literary works that lean towards light fantasy. I enjoy writing sci fi horror, psych thrillers, and reflective works. I can’t seem to settle on a single genre.

5.  Tell us about your creative writing process.

Stories develop in my mind, based on what’s getting to me the most over time. The characters come first, and I build the story around them. When I first started Principle Destiny, the very first scene was an impromptu meeting between alienated sister and brother. Their conflict drove much of the development of the story.
            
6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?

JRR Tolkien remains my favorite author. His master of language has made a life-long impression on me. Presently I am reading many Indie books and they have been some of the best works I have ever read, although it’s too soon to call out a favorite.

An author wins my respect by telling a good story that flows, is realistic to its roots, and has characters that I can visualize myself having a drink and conversation with. Excellent language use is a plus, as are unexpected twists and turns.

7.  Tell us, what is the central message of your current book and the target audience.

The central message in all of my books seems to be the same: never give up and fight for what you need and desire. Life is too precious to waste. The target audience for Principle Destiny is primarily readers of action/adventure and political thrillers who enjoy a female lead who is the equal of any man.

8.  What do you hope your readers will walk away with after reading your book?

Enjoyment, and a desire to read more of my works. I want my readers to feel elevated and satisfied, and perhaps personally empowered to some degree.

9.  If you hadn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?

I cannot say. I have worked all my life to get here.

10.  If your novel made it to the big screen, what actors do you see playing the key characters?

Right now I see Katie McGrath as Princess Alyssa. Their resemblance to each other is uncanny. Prince Tobias would be played by Tom Felton, who would have to tone down the nastiness a bit, but otherwise would be a good choice. I think I would play King Jessett, as it is a small part and right up my alley. For the antagonist, Skenter, I would choose Harrison Ford, who would just make a fine villain.
    
11.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?

Worst was my first rejection coming to me in my wife’s hands walking across the wide open driveway of our apartment complex. Best, was going Indie. That journey is just starting, and it is rapidly becoming an amazing journey.

12.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?

I cannot say. I try not to look so far ahead. I need to focus on the present and be in the here and now.

13.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?

You can learn more about me and my books on my blog. I can also be found on Facebook at Author David A. Cleinman, and on Twitter as David_Cleinman
I would like to invite your readers to like my Facebook author page Author David A. Cleinman. If they will leave a comment and introduce themselves and say they found me through this interview, I will give the first five a Smashwords coupon for a free copy of Principle Destiny and enter all commenters into a drawing for a SW coupon for a free copy of Toys In The Attic.
Thank you for hosting me Ashley. Can’t wait to see you on my blog!
Principle of Destiny is available at amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | Smashwords  | B&N

Toys in the Attic is available at amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | Smashwords  | B&N

Friday, January 13, 2012

Author Spotlight: K.T. Dixon! PLUS GIVEAWAY


Hey everyone!  Yes, the rambling southerner is back!  This time, I bring to all of you a fellow southerner!

I would like to introduce the fantastic K.T. Dixon!  Ever the quintessential Southern Gentleman, K.T. has graciously offered the opportunity to win one electronic copy of each of his books.




All you need to do is post a comment below by Friday, January 20th at midnight (EST) to enter.  Please remember--you must include your email address in your post so I can contact you when you win!

Enough of MY rambling...on with the show!


What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far?

My books are basically lighthearted action/adventures, with a hint of romance. When I started the first novel, I wanted to write a book that would be the perfect read for a day at the beach. From the reviews I’ve received, and the e-mails sent from readers, I hit my target pretty much right on.

When is your next book being published?

Hopefully, before Christmas 2012.  My most recent book, Sons of the New Confederacy, was just released a couple of months ago. I just started doing the research for the third book this month.

When did you start writing?

I started writing back in the mid-1980s. I was a police sergeant seeing the worst that the world had to offer on a daily basis, so I started writing short stories to escape the rigors of the job.

What inspired this piece of work?

Wow, this answer could be lengthy and depressing, so I’ll try to give you the short version. In 2008 my wife, and the love of my life, went middle aged crazy and our marriage couldn’t withstand the results. She broke my heart and I found myself in a state of deep depression. After losing 60 pounds and having a heart attack, I realized that I had to get my mind on something else, so I started writing my fist book, Seminole Wind, A Billy Brightpath Adventure. It was a success and lead to the sequel, Sons of the New Confederacy, Billy Brightpath Volume II.

Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?  Why or why not?

I chose the genre because I was trying to escape hardship, and because I wanted my books to be a fun read. As far as writing a different genre, no way, I like the style that I have created and the many different directions it can take a story.

Tell us about your creative writing process.

Well, this is a pretty tough one. I guess my creative process begins with isolating myself and then tapping into my imagination. Once I find something stashed away in my memory bank that I want to put on paper, I then have to find the discipline to sit down and do it. My grandfather told me a long time ago that everyone has a good story inside them, but few have the ability to put it on paper. Fortunately, I have a desire to share what I can create that far outweighs my inherent laziness.



Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?

I have to count Hiaasen, Dorsey, and Buffett among my current favorites, but of course I have always loved the classics of Ernest Hemingway.

 What motivates you to continue writing?

My readers; I never thought I would see the day when I would get e-mails from people that were rushing me to write the next book, but I get them all the time. I also love the way people laugh at my story lines and quirky characters when I do a reading, or when I meet them one on one.

How do you get ideas for your stories?

Most of my ideas come from two sources, life experiences and the State of Florida. I have an over abundant number of events to draw from being a retired police sergeant, and living in Florida is still an adventure in this day and time. Florida is filled with a rich history to draw from and a wild environment the stirs my soul.

If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would be the worst golfer in the world, and reaffirm that on a daily basis.

Give us an insider look into your latest novel.

The first chapter of Sons of the New Confederacy is on my website, www.ktdixon.com. Please feel free to give it a look at you leisure.

There is also a bio blurb about me and a look at my first novel, Seminole Wind.

If your novel made it to the big screen, what actors do you see playing the key characters?

I need someone that looks Native American, but he also has to be handsome, built well, and has a humorous side that is equal to his serious side. I guess I would have to go with Benjamin Bratt as Billy Brightpath.

The female lead would have to be Charlize Theron, she is beautiful and can carry a strong female character.

But the character that my readers love most is Abby Brightpath, Billy’s cousin. She is beautiful, sexy, spontaneous, fun, and she will start a fight with anybody. I really don’t know who would fit that character; maybe Olivia Munn.

The bad guy, Maxwell Jodaco, would have to be Danny DeVito. I think he could play the nasty kind of character is described in the book, yet could also be hilarious when the situation calls for it.

What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?

The best experience was holding a copy of my first book. There is nothing to explain the excitement and feeling of accomplishment.

The worst; brain freeze. When you know what you want to write, but you don’t know the exact words to use, it sucks.

Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?

Sitting alongside Jimmy Buffett writing music for the third story in the Billy Brightpath movie series, or the TV series; whichever pays the most.

Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?

K.T. Dixon on Facebook.