Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Cleaning

It's the time of year (here in the northern hemisphere) for cleaning out clutter and dust and cobwebs. I'm working through my house, cleaning out all the clutter I can find, and soon I'll get to the boxes in the closet I always push aside. The boxes (or files) every writer has: the hidden books.

Photo by inf3ktion via Flickr

I've been writing stories since I was eight years old, and though I don't have my earliest stories anymore, I do have a lot of things written during my teen years. These are the books that helped me develop my skills in character building and storytelling. At the time I thought that they were my greatest masterpieces and they were--at that point in time. Now, I look back at them and think, "I'm so glad Kindle Direct Publishing didn't exist when I was fourteen!"

There's a reason these books never caught the interest of an agent or editor (yes, I did query a bit even back then). There's a reason they've been hidden away in boxes for the past 15 years or so.

But as bad as I now know they are, I also can't get myself to throw them away. This is my writing history, these stories are what turned me into the writer I am today. I'd be embarrassed for anyone else to read them. But maybe there are some nuggets there that are worth holding onto. Something to Blog About used characters I had first created when I was fifteen. I still have those old stories I wrote about them, and although the published book is completely different from the early stories, I like to keep the old ones around to remember how far they came.

I'm also working on another story now that is based on a story I've written and rewritten since I was sixteen. I pulled out the old drafts of it for inspiration, but most of the story I'm writing now is all new. Characters are different, dialogue is changed, some new events happen. But the basic story idea was still good and could be rebuilt into something new.

So what about you? Are you doing any spring cleaning? If you have any old stories printed out or in files on disks still hanging around, why not take a look and see if you can find any gems to pull out of them?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Excerpt from SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO by Lisette Brodey

Today we'd like to feature an excerpt from Squalor, New Mexico, a highly rated "coming of age" story by Lisette Brodey. Lisette is known for her character-driven novels with multi-layered plots, and Squalor certainly delivers! Her other works include Crooked Moon and Molly Hacker is Too Picky!. Please let us know what you think in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!

My aunt Rebecca lived in Squalor. I first heard my mother and my aunt Didi discussing this one day when I was nine. I was supposed to be in my bedroom doing homework, but I snuck down the back stairs into the kitchen for a McIntosh apple and an Oreo cookie. Mom and Aunt Didi were close by in the dining room, huddled together at the corner of the table, as they often were, and they were talking about Aunt Rebecca. To me, the most curious thing about Aunt Rebecca, whom I had never met, was that Mom and Aunt Didi only brought her up when they thought no one was listening.

“I’m sure she’s still living in squalor,” Aunt Didi told Mom authoritatively. “Unless she’s screwed her way out!”

I had no idea what all that meant, but it seemed like such an odd thing to say that I was willing to take the risk of letting my presence be known and ask. “What’s squalor, Mom?” I said, walking into the dining room.

“Goodness, Darla!” Mom said putting her hand to her throat. “How long have you been listening?”

“Not long. I just came down for an apple.” (I thought it best not to mention the cookie.) “What’s squalor, Mom?” I repeated.

Aunt Didi, knowing Mom would be loath to answer my question, took hold of the reins for her. “It’s a town in New Mexico, Darla. It’s an Indian name.”

Mom looked at Aunt Didi in amazement. I figured she hadn’t known what it meant, either.

“Oh,” I said. And then I took a bite out of my apple.

“You have a book report due tomorrow,” Mom said.

“I know,” I said, taking another bite.

“Well, you’re not going to get it done standing here, are you?”

“I guess not,” I replied reluctantly. “All right, I’m going. Mom?”

“Yes, Darla?” she asked impatiently.

“What did Aunt Didi mean about—”

“Please dear,” Mom pleaded softly. “Go upstairs and finish your—”

“But Mom, I really want to know what—”

“Darla!” Aunt Didi screamed. “Listen to your mother. Go upstairs, now, and finish your book report!”

“All right. Forget it!” I said indignantly. “How am I supposed to learn stuff if I don’t ask?”

I walked back through the kitchen to make my way upstairs, mumbling about how I had been treated. I knew that Mom hated being angry and having to raise her voice, but from where I stood that was no reason to slink into passivity and to allow Aunt Didi to do her yelling for her—especially when it was directed at me.

But Mom wasn’t the only passive one in the family. Dad very seldom got angry either, and even when he found himself in passionate discord with the rest of the world, he did little or nothing to argue his contrariety. Instead, he just seemed to “go with the flow”—always following someone else’s footsteps rather than blazing his own trail. Naturally, he had plenty of opinions to express, but the things he griped about—like dishonest mechanics, rainy weekends, and bad restaurant service—never seemed to hold much importance. Once, I asked him why he didn’t scream and yell like other fathers, and he told me that when you yell you lose control, and losing control is a very bad thing to do. Of course, the older I got, the more adept I became at recognizing his anger, as well as his oft-times Herculean efforts to keep it under wraps. 
Dad had a penchant for speaking in clichés, which I suppose was a convenient way of acquiescing to “the flow.” For him, quoting something that had been said before, meant that he didn’t have to worry about holding unpopular or radical opinions. Clichés solved everything for my father. “Well, Darla, to coin an old phrase, you only go around once in life, you know,” or “You never have a second chance to make a first impression,” and “Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.” I found it strangely fascinating that you only go around once in life, yet what goes around comes around, and that absence makes the heart grow fonder, yet out of sight means out of mind.

About the Author
Lisette Brodey is originally from Philadelphia and moved to New York after high school. It’s a really long story, but she is now residing in Los Angeles. She’s published three novels, Crooked Moon, Squalor, New Mexico, and Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! Her fourth novel, in the YA paranormal genre, is due out this summer.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Interview with Victoria Simcox

In both The Magic Warble and the sequel, The Black Shard, Kristina is our heroine. Your daughter is also named Kristina. How much of her personality is inspiration for the Kristina of your books?

Yes, my daughter inspired Kristina, in the book, and even though I named Kristina my character, after my daughter, the two are different personalities. Kristina in the book is slightly timid, where my daughter is not so much.

Growing up, what authors or books influenced you as a kid coming into young adulthood?

C.S Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books as a kid. I used to read them to my mom when she cooked dinner; they are one of my fondest childhood memories. I also love J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series, even though I was an adult when I read them. Besides them, I love all kinds of Juvenile fiction.

Talking animals are a main feature of several children's books. How did you weave that particular feature into your books?

 I thought: What's a magical world without talking animals, lol. Then I just included them in my character scheme, and gave them personalities like humans have. It was a great idea because many children have told me that this is one of their favorite aspects of the book.

The cover art for both of your books is quite enchanting. Will you talk a bit about the collaborative effort with the artist?

 An artist by the name of Amanda Swanson did the illustrations and cover. She specializes in fantasy art. I had her read the manuscript and she created the artwork from her imagination.  I am very happy with what she has created.

Please share some advice for new writers starting out, no matter their age or work situation. Aspiring writers often hear,

Read what you want to write. Also, read other types of writing than what you write. You can get inspiration from different types of writing than your form.

Hone in on your writing craft. Make sure you write every day or at least try. If you want to be a professional writer, you must love what you do and not count it as a chore.
Above all else, be patient. Don't give up when you're faced with rejection. If you feel deeply that your story is worthy of being published, then do your research and find away to get it out there. In addition, consider self-publishing, say for instance with Amazon, or other self-publishing companies that are available; it's a way to get your work read and if it's really good you may be noticed by a publisher.

You can check out Victoria's personal blog @

Friday, April 19, 2013

Insatiable, A Mermaid's Curse Excerpt & Review

Interview with Daniele Lanzarotta

In February, I met author Daniele Lanzarotta (pictured above in black blouse next to me in red) during our YA at Heart Book Tour here in coastal North Carolina.  I love to hear her talk, her accent is beautiful.   We became instant friends and have had a lot of fun meeting fans.  On May 11, 2013 you can meet Daniele and many other authors (me too, Devyn Dawson) at the Regency Mall in Richmond Virginia.

A Mermaid's Curse

1. What quirky thing do you catch yourself doing when writing?

I don’t know if you’d consider this a writing quirk, but I have to have music.  If the music stops, I stop.

2. If I came over for dinner - what would we eat?

Hmm.  This is the toughest question ever.  It would have to be something easy because I can’t cook.  How about pizza?

    Yum, homemade pizza is my favorite!

3. In the movie of your writing career who will play you?

Well, it would have to be someone who can be sarcastic.  I think Rachel McAdams.

    I had to look her up - I don't see too many movies.  She's pretty.

4. What do you do to celebrate when you finish writing a book?

I start another one. *Laughs*


5. Are you still against jelly beans? If so, what's your favorite color

Haha Yes, I’m still against jellybeans.  I do love skittles though, especially the purple ones

   I like to ask about jellybeans in interviews - she hates them... I only like the yellow ones... we're like kindred spirits!

Arianna always felt like she didn't belong in the world where she was born. Ever since she was little, she used to hide behind the rocks in the sea, and watch the human family who spent their summers on that island. Over the years, there was nothing she wished more than to be like them, especially so she could get close to Blake, the human boy who she saw turn into a troubled teenager and then, an unhappy man. Once her dad grew tired of her dreams and hopes for a reality that is not her own, Arianna is thrown into an arranged marriage, and her only way out of it is to make a deal with the power-hungry man who will give her everything that she has ever dreamed of. Dreams that turn into nightmares as she watches Blake's world fall apart, because of her and Blake's inability to control their desires for one another.


When I returned, my father was waiting for me and he wasn’t happy.
“Were you watching the humans again?” he asked in a cold tone.
I nodded.
He shook his head and sat down.  “I worry about you, Arianna.  You have no friends.  And then there’s Bram.  He’s a good man and he has been asking you to be his for so long.”
“Dad, I’m not a thing that should ‘belong’ to someone.”
“That’s not what I meant, Arianna.”
“Isn’t it though?  That’s how we live, Dad.  We belong to our parents until we get married and belong to someone else.  That’s not what I want.”
“That’s called tradition, Arianna.  Watching the humans for as long as you have has put ideas into your head that should never be there.  You are not human and never will be.  You are my daughter, and as the ruler of our kingdom, I’ll not allow you to be a bad example for the others.”
I stood there, speechless.   Tears sprung to my eyes.  My dad had never spoken to me as a ruler.
His tone didn’t soften one bit as he continued.  “I can’t take any chances, Arianna.  Our kingdom has questioned my ability to rule ever since your mother left.”
“But you are a good leader.  If they don’t see that—“
“Arianna, enforcing traditions is a part of being a good King.  You should’ve been married two years ago.”
“What are you saying, dad?”
“I’m saying that you’ll marry Bram tomorrow evening.”
“What?  But—There is no time to—”
My failed attempt to find excuses to avoid this wedding never stood a chance.  Father said everything would be ready and there was no changing his mind.
I turned around to leave.
“Sit down, Arianna,” he said in a firm tone.
Avoiding his gaze, I sat down.  I hoped that if I didn’t argue back, he would come to his senses.
“Lyra, Anthea, Amias!” he yelled.
The three came as fast as they could.  There was a sense of urgency to my father’s voice at that moment.  He was using his ‘ruler voice’, which he rarely did at home.
As soon as they were all in the room, father started to spill orders.  “Lyra, I need you to go find Bram and bring him to me.  Amias, escort my daughter to her room and make sure she doesn’t go anywhere.  Lyra, Arianna is getting married tomorrow evening.  Make sure everything is ready for the ceremony.”
They were all as shocked as I was.
“GO!” Father yelled.
Amias faced me, and I swam to my room with him following me.
“What did you do to make him so mad?”
I shrugged.
“You were watching the humans again, weren’t you?”
I gave him a cold look hoping that would be enough for him to leave me alone.
Amias put his hands up.  “Sorry.  None of my business, I know.”
I swam into my room, leaving Amias behind along with the ripples of water that I created as I swam past him.

©2013 Daniele Lanzarotta. May not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner, written, electronic or otherwise without express permission of author.

I'm not going to write another synopsis, just my views. First, I must say I wasn't sure about the mermaid thing....but hey, I write about werewolves and they aren't my thing either. Well slap me silly, what a fun read. Mermaid loves human, who is engaged (or almost) to another a sinister brother, a horrible man, a lovely child and pissed off ocean. My kind of angst, romance, imagination, and rainy afternoon read. It didn't rain for me, but rain would have made the mermaid thing that much better. Although the book is NA, I would be comfortable with 14+ to read. Just the right amount of love and dammit that cliff hanger! Oh my! 

For people that don't have an imagination and believe in love or paranormal tales (tails) of mermaids, you might want to steer clear. 

I received an ARC of this book by the author in trade for an honest review.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Supernatural VS. Paranormal

Supernatural VS. Paranormal
People like to assume that the supernatural and the paranormal are one in the same. They figure saying one term is the same as saying the other. But, in actuality, there is a difference between the two. Though the differences are subtle, they define the two as separate.
SUPERNATURAL- Something that was once of nature, but has gone beyond it. Something that has roots in something natural, but has grown into something more. Example: Werewolves, Vampires, Changeling, Kitsune. They are creatures that might have once been human, or an animal, but has developed into something more.
PARANORMAL- Something that exists on a plain beyond that of our own. People with abilities that cannot be scientifically explained, such as: telekinesis, telepathy, precognition, empathy. Then there are the beings of the paranormal: Ghosts, Demons, Angels.
Though the two are very similar in the fact they categorize things that are not of the norm, they are different. Think of the two as like cousins, or two different countries on the same continent. The differences are what make the terms what they are. Remember to use them wisely!
-Michael L.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Sincerest apologies

Dear readers and authors,

I'm so sorry that I don't have an article ready for you. I spent my day yesterday in the emergency room with high blood pressure, rapid pulse, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Being a nurse, the first thing I think is heart attack. Luckily it wasn't. They aren't sure what it was. So now I just have to keep watch on my blood pressure and try not to flip out. The article I had planned for today actually coincides with this topic. Well to a degree.

How to we write when we don't want to or just feel like crap. The reason I ask this is because just like at a conventional job there are only so many days we can take off because we have a job to do. We have to write books in order to sell them and we have to sell them in order to pay the bills. I'm curious is there any tricks or advice that other authors have that they use to motivate themselves when they just feel like crap and a week later they still feel like crap and that deadline is creeping up on them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Interview with Kate Avery Ellison

 Hey all you readers and writers!
Emma Michaels here to introduce you to our guest author of the day
Kate Avery Ellison
Hello Kate and welcome to The Writers Voice!
What is your biggest pet peeve in fiction writing?
--Probably when characters aren’t consistent, or they do things for no discernible reason—like the stereotypical horror movie plot where the girl hears a scary noise and goes alone to check it out instead of locking herself in her bedroom and calling the police.
Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. What would your words of encouragement for aspiring authors be when it comes to developing their own worlds?
--Look at history and other cultures for inspiration, and then cobble together various interesting facets. Consider every detail about the society, including food, music, language, clothing, common names, education levels, climate, architecture, and technology levels. Outline those things even if they don’t make it into the actual book—it will give your story depth and flavor in your own mind.
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
--Reading, surfing the internet, or watching movies on Netflix are my favorite ways. But I have been known to even clean the bathroom or wash the dishes to get out of writing when I have writer’s block and a deadline.
Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?
--I don’t really have a specific place that I prefer to write, other than somewhere quiet and secluded. I’m easily distracted, so I rarely write in places like coffee shops or libraries. I also prefer writing late at night—the inspiration seems to flow best in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the world sleeps.
If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be?
--Harry Potter, I think. I’d really like to visit Hogwarts.
Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
--I love photography, reading, and playing board games like Settlers of Catan with my friends.
Is there anything you’d like to go back one year and tell yourself?
Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Life has an ebb and flow of fortune and misfortune. Have a little patience when things are tough or they seem as though they aren’t coming together.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be an author. When I was about six years old, my mother explained that some people were lucky enough to get to make up stories for a living. I wanted that job ever since.
Thank you for stopping by
The Writers Voice!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview with Jack Barrow

Hello all you readers and writers!
Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day
Jack Barrow
Hello Jack and welcome back to The Writers Voice!
Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I'm a huge fan of Radio 4 so it's on all the time but I can listen to that while I work. I used to watch too much TV so I got rid of it but now I watch the iPlayer. I am a bit of an enthusiast for the BBC and it's quality media so I don't mind admitting it. Otherwise I do quite a bit of camping but mostly at organised camps. Some of the camps involve music and percussion so I do a bit of drumming around the fire. I should practice percussion more at home but I really don't find the time as much as I would like to.

Tell us something about your book that we wouldn’t know just by reading the blurb.
There are three chapters that have similar plots where the characters have to do similar things three times (if an individual chapter can have a plot). In an attempt to make each chapter a bit different from the others I tried to write each one in a different genre. I don't know if it worked and I've never had any feedback so perhaps I wasn't obvious enough. There's also a chapter where someone mixes twenty six cocktails in alphabetical order but I don't know if that's been spotted either.

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?
I really want to answer this question but I sincerely can't think of one. I'm sure there is such a book but I can't put my finger on it. I'm sure that at some point I'll think of something really seminal but by then it'll be too late.

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey?
My characters drink quite a lot and I quite often have to portray them getting steadily intoxicated. It's not an emotion as such but portraying someone gradually losing control, forgetting things, slurring their words, having sudden outbursts of inspiration or excitement; I'm just not sure I've got that right. I was once at a boy's weekend away where we very nearly failed to make a ham sandwich because we were so out of control; not falling over drunk, just we couldn't concentrate to keep it together. I try to use real events that have happened for my fiction so I put that in the story but I'm not sure it really worked. I think I might just have confused the readers.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you!
I had an ecclesifringical upbringing. My parents were both Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses at different times during my childhood. There is a suggestion that the experience has given me a bit of a skewed view on what some people might call spirituality and that a big part of my writing.

Which came first for you--the characters, the idea for the setting, or the plot?
The characters, undoubtedly, because they are real people. They really do get up to these things at the weekend, just they don't save the universe while they are away, well not that I'm aware of anyway.

Is there anything you’d like to go back one year and tell yourself?
Don't buy those shoelaces, they lied about how long they were!

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
An architect, but someone told me that you had to be good at maths so I didn't pursue it. That was the case with quite a few ambitions. A careers adviser once told me that if I wanted to be a professional photographer I would have to make the tea and sweep up so I didn't pursue that either. What I later learned was that you had to make the tea at the start of any career. If I ever meet that career advisor I'll give him some advice of my own but he was really a geography teacher doing a job he wasn't trained for so I suppose I should excuse him.

Is there one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you before you started writing?
Find a good editor, friends are fine at the start but you can't beat a good editor. In fact get professional help in every way you can. Don't be afraid to spend money on services that you can't do to a professional standard. Just think how unlikely it is that you have natural talent at any one thing. How likely is it that you will have natural talent at editing, jacket design, blurb writing, marketing, web design, accounting, as well as writing? Pay professionals to do this and you will have so much more of a chance. You might even restart the economy in the process.

When you are reading, what make a character compelling to you? Is it the same aspects that make a character you are writing compelling?
Strangely, I don't read a lot of fiction. I read for research and education which means reading non fiction. I'm about to write about an end of the world cult so I'm going back to my interest in psychology that I studied for years ago so I'll be reading Festinger's When Prophecy Fails. A friend has been recommending a steampunk novel so that might be my next foray into fiction.
Thank you for stopping by
The Writers Voice!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How I Use Personality Tests to Develop Characters

While I was working on The Boyfriend Thief, I kept running into the problem of not being able to really connect with my main character. Which is a major problem. Avery James has some important events in her past that shaped who she is at the beginning of the book, and made her into a person who was different from me in ways that made it harder to tap into her head.

Then I decided to try an approach I had used before for fun on other books: I took a personality test as Avery would answer it. This approached helped so much. I knew who Avery was in my head and in my notes, but now I had "scientific" results that told me what kind of personality type she fit into. I had a written summary of how she thought and felt and reacted to the world around her.

Avery ended up being an ISTJ, according to this test. This is the one I use most often and I find the summaries of the types to be pretty accurate about the character personality I had in my head. I recommend taking the test as you would answer it first and see what type it says you are and determine how well you agree with the results. Then take the test as your characters would.

My problem with Avery is that I'm an INFJ. We're both introverted (that's the I) and judging (that's the J). But we differ in that while I rely a lot on my own intuition (that's the N for me) and my feelings (the F), Avery relies on sensing (the S for her) and thinking (the T). Therefore, while I deal with situations according to how I feel about them, Avery deals with situations according to what makes logical sense to her. Avery has shut down her feelings because she's learned that she can't trust them to keep her from getting hurt, so she looks at the world according to facts, rules, and what is the best logical approach to a situation.

Once I knew how differently Avery looked at the world than I did, it opened up a door into her head. It was the breakthrough I needed in developing her character because now I could really understand her and why she reacted to things the way she did.

I did this with the other characters in The Boyfriend Thief as well, and I've done it with the characters in the books I've worked on since then. Every time I feel that I'm having problems connecting with a certain character, taking the personality quiz and learning their type helps me to figure them out.

So what about you? Have you ever taken a personality test, or have you tried using one for your characters?

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Making of a Book Cover

This past Saturday was the day of the cover photo shoot for my upcoming release, For Everly. I've always used stock images for my covers, so this was a huge event for me! I thought it would be fun to chat about how it all came together.

I worked with photographer Kelsey Kukal-Keeton. It was so much fun! She let me pick out the models that I felt fit the images for Everly and Cole, my main protagonists. Then she asked me lots of questions about the ideal setting for the shoot, how the characters would dress, etc. It felt like she was immersing herself in the story, which I fully appreciated.

Once Kelsey selects the perfect images, she'll turn them over to me so my talented cover designer, Devan Edwards of Nimbi Design, can put everything together. To say that I'm excited to see the final result would be an enormous understatement!

For now, Kelsey shared a few "outtakes" with me, which I wanted to share with you. Since the story features an injured baseball player being treated by a college student pursuing a degree in physical therapy, Kelsey opted to shoot in a gym. She said the models had a lot of fun with it and couldn't stop laughing!

I'll share the final cover after it's revealed on April 26th. For now, please feel free to hop over to my blog for a free preview of For Everly!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Karli Rush - Daylight NA

Posted by Devyn Dawson

In a small spectrum of the world is a city full of vampires and a very rare serum. This serum allows a vampire to walk in the light of day. The formula has been guarded for thousands of years, and yet a young female vampire from the north claims to have lived on the serum as if it is common place… This can not be… This must be dealt with. Mattie desires two things, getting Daylight back and Him. Since mother dearest is no longer pulling her strings and she is now completely self-reliant, she heads for a vampire city. There she hopes to get the serum but she soon learns that she is being stalked and not by whom you think, like I have said before…This is no ordinary Vampire Love Story.!home|mainPage
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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Interview with Jennifer L Armentrout

 Hey all you readers and writers!
Emma Michaels here to introduce  our guest author of the day
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Hello Jennifer and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Are the traits of anyone close to you apparent in your characters?

I think my characters tend to take on my snarkier side. So if anything, a little bit of me bleeds through to the characters. Otherwise, with the exception of two characters I based off of friends in real life, there really isn’t anyone I know like them.

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?

I think invisibility would be pretty cool. Who knows what you’d see, but to be able to move around unseen, would be pretty awesome.

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

I want them to have fun while reading a novel of mine, to also feel what the characters are experiencing, but most importantly, I want them to be able to escape into my stories.

What do you feel is your biggest writerly fault and how do you deal with it?

I think a lot of authors have this problem: negativity. We can be having a great day, have a thousand people tell us how much they liked a character/story/plot/etc, but the moment we hear or see something negative, it effects us. Not in major ways. At least not me, but it sticks with you while you’re writing.  Even if we let it get to us in a teeny, tiny way, we shouldn’t.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

Twitter. ‘Nuff said.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?

Honestly, its at any part of the day, but I cannot write if someone is talking to me. Way too distracting.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you!

I’ve never tasted apple pie before, have a fear of gas grills blowing up in my face, and I don’t like traveling by car on bridges over water.
Thank you for stopping by
The Writers Voice!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Interview with Phillip W Simpson

Hello all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce you to our guest author of the day
Phillip W. Simpson
Hello Phillip and welcome to
The Writers Voice.

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?

I'm going to cheat here and pick being an operant in Julian May's novels. Humanity has evolved to have awesome mind powers. Each human has a different strength with the rare individual possessing strengths in many areas. Some are powerful in creativity, others in telepathy, others in kinetic etc. It's been a while since I read them but just talking about them has given me a hankering to re-read.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

I don't know if it counts as procrastination (who am I kidding? Of course it does), but I read. My favorite thing to do is hop into bed on a rainy day and read a book. In a perfect world, I'd read all day. I also have been known to spend hours surfing twitter, goodreads, facebook and youtube. I play a reasonable amount of solitaire as well.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?

To be honest, it doesn't really matter. I tend to switch off to the outside world when I'm writing. My wife tells me that we have conversations when I'm writing (she's learnt better now) which I don't remember at all. Anywhere where my son can't find me (he's twenty months old). If he does, I have to pick him up which makes it impossible to type. He, of course, is able to and has almost succeeded in deleting several pieces of work with his busy fingers. I generally hide in the garage now.

If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be?

The world of the Culture by Iain M. Banks. All the people live in a utopian society on ships or artificial worlds. The ships are run by Minds (like AI's but better). The humans basically have an ideal existence of indulgence and privilege with the ships running everything. The ships are almost omnipotent.

Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

Are you implying that I have free time? Sleep mostly. Family time. When I can, play football and golf. Go fishing. Read. Drink single malt whiskeys. Read some more.

Which came first for you--the characters, the idea for the setting, or the plot?

For me, it's the idea. The setting, concept and theme is of paramount importance. The character is almost as important but I have to sit down and think about how he (or she) fits into the world I've created.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

An archaeologist. I trained to become one and worked as one for a while. It didn't quite live up to my expectations (Indiana Jones lied to me!). I would've liked to have become an astronaut but I don't think I could handle the G's (I tend to scream a lot on rollercoasters).

Thank you for stopping by
The Writers Voice!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interview With Victoria Simcox

 I read on your blog that your teenage daughter inspired Kristina, but who inspired some of the other characters, like Werrien and Hector? (Hopefully, no one real inspired Davina or Hester ;D)

Yes, Kristina, in the book was inspired by my daughter, and even though I named Kristina my character after my daughter, the two are different personalities. Werrien came from different personality traits of people I know. I have a teenage son, and I took some traits from him, as well as his friends and other teenagers I have encountered. Hector, I created from my imagination, at least I can't pinpoint where I got him from. Davina's and Hester's personalities came from kids I knew when I was in grade school—bully type peers. Even though they were annoying, hurtful and even scary when I was young, now that I'm an adult I find it quite fun to use their character traits in my writing.

This book has some beautiful illustrations. I know you teach art, so I was curious as to whether the cover or any of the images inside were your drawings?

Yes, I teach art and have been doing so for 11 years, but the illustration and cover were not done by me. I have a different style of drawing and painting than what is in my book.  An artist by the name of Amanda Swanson did all the art work inside the book as well as the cover. She specializes in fantasy art and I am very happy with what she has created.

Bernovem seems to be such a beautiful place. Is there any place that you’ve been to or read about that inspired it?

I was inspired to create Bernovem from different places that I have been, like the Hoh Rain Forest in WA. I love hiking through its densely green, moss laden trails. There is definitely something magical about it. Hemlock Valley Mountain, in BC Canada, is a place I have been skiing at since I was a youth. It is a majestic yet peaceful place. I was in Tahiti and Hawaii some years back and enjoyed the beaches, aqua-blue waters, and tropical forests. I created Finimus Island from my experience at these two paradises. My mother and father are immigrants from Europe and throughout my lifetime I have had the opportunity to visit Austria, Germany and other places, like the beautiful city of Prague. These places have influenced me in creating the city Ezeree as well as Salas.

 What inspired you to be a writer and to write the Magic Warble series?

I remember I was sitting in the movie theater watching the first Harry Potter movie when I envisioned my main character Kristina walking down a snowy sidewalk. At the time that was all of story, I had. I went home that night and wrote my first page not knowing where the story would go.
So the ending of The Black Shard left me in total, utter suspense - can you tell us when to expect the third installment of this amazing series?

I was hoping book 2 would leave readers wanting to read more and I'm so glad it did.  I am in the process of writing the 3rd book and when it is finished (I don't have a set date yet) I will definitely let all my Magic Warble fans know.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Keep Calm and Survive A Book Launch

Hello Everyone,

On March 31st, I released my first Contemporary Romance Novel called the Prelude. I found myself nervous and scared and my stomach filled with butterflies. I mean, I had an idea I could create a lovely story set in one of my favorite places in the world (Milan, Italy), according to my fantastic readers. But the circumstances leading up to the release day almost finished me. 

First, the book release was delayed due to me being hospitalized earlier in the year. The paperback wasn't ready on the release day. Some critical publicity fell through at the last minute. And then, both the host of my release party and myself caught a bug that felt a lot like the flu. I guess it's safe to say, my release day was headed into delirium hell (please excuse the innuendo). Besides hopping into the bed and throwing the covers over your head on a stressful release day, what else can you do to survive a book launch? 

Mainly, you'll need to:

That's right! You have to breathe and keep marketing if you want to survive a book launch. Despite my fears, anxieties, and panic surrounding this release, a wonderful thing readers kept things going for me. Loyal fans wrote letters to tell me how they hope I feel better, and new readers left messages telling me how much they enjoyed my book. I was floored. Why is that? Because despite all of the setbacks, the positive energy came through. The ARCs and street team and blog tours I set up well in advance came through like nothing I've ever seen happen before in my previous releases. I'm so flattered and humbled. 

Thank you world! You are most awesome!

Also, you need to remember that you're human. I kept thinking, everybody's going to hate my book. I should have just stuck with my fantasy world. No, that didn't happen, thank goodness. You need to realize that with a novel as broad as a Contemporary Romance, you're going to have some folks who love it and some who don't. Romances happen in various ways, intensities, and levels. But that's another blog post. **winks**. 

The main tidbit of advice I can give you is to write a great book, have it edited and polished until it shines, set up tours and publicity efforts in advance and then have fun interacting with your readers on release day. They will love you for it. Enjoy a sample of my novel the Prelude and remember to Keep Calm on your special day! 

All the best,
KaSonndra Leigh

Erin Gets Her Happy Dance On…

I’m walking in a daze.
I think I’m going to pass out. Whoa! What just happened out there? The most gorgeous, successful, beautifully arrogant man ever just kissed my hand. My best friend, Selene is going to hate me for being so lucky. I can’t wait to tell her.
“Alright, chill out, Cinderella.” I walk through my door and let all the pretense, aka Miss Control USA, go flying out the window. I hop right up in the middle of my living room floor and start doing my hot damn dance.
So, yeah, Alek’s statement about the prelude freaked me out for a second. The word reminded me of something Jada used to say. His line was just the tiniest bit corny, too. But I meant what I said when I told him I thought his words were cute. He can say anything with that accent and get away with it.
I glance at my watch. 10p.m. It’s too early to call Selene. She works as a bartender in Florence. Sometimes her nights don’t end until around 2am.
I sniff the contract Alek gave me. His scent still lingers on the paper, reminding me of the day I first experienced the scent of his cologne. That was the day I fell on my butt, and he offered me his jacket to cover my body. He’s a true gentleman. Well, maybe a little.
So what if the gesture came after I had bolted for the door because he was looking me up and down at first. I feel myself forgiving his neglect to inform me of his true identity. He’s yet to explain himself. I consider agreeing to meet him for dinner just so he can tell me why he led me to believe he was an assistant.
I shower and throw on my Betty Boop sleeping shirt, a pair of booties, and then try to bring my racing thoughts back under control. Heading to my bedroom, I lie down on the bed and pull out a romance novel Selene let me borrow.
She thinks I’m destined to become either a nun or a homicidal maniac. Her reasoning being that no normal person goes without sex as long as I have done. Selene’s boyfriend and my old design lab partner from school, Christopher, even chimed in to help drill the thought into me one day when the two of them visited. I study the book in my hands.
This just doesn’t seem right. Erin Angelo is pulling out a romance novel and actually considering reading it. Now I know something’s wrong with me.

Want More? You can grab a copy for only $2.99 from Amazon or Barnes&Noble.