Spotlight on Marlin Williams – Interview with Author of ‘The Attic Piranhas’

He’s the author of some greatly reviewed mysteries. He says he writes for his readers’ enjoyment, and it’s clear that he’s doing it pretty well so far.

With his wife as a supporter and editor, Marlin Williams has a winner team.

So, let’s learn more about him!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Marlin Williams. I’ve lived in Southeast Texas all of my life except for a brief time in Austin. I loved the artistic community and creative mind-set of that city. I’m currently living in a small country town and the slow pace allows for ample writing time. I began my writing career as a freelance writer for online publications about health and fitness. In 2011, I expanded to writing fiction short stories for Hubpages and decided to enter the Hubpages Patron of the Arts Contest. My short story, The Agency, won the overall Grand Prize. One aspect of winning the contest was to have Smashwords format and publish the short story for ebook distribution on their site. They not only published The Agency, but they agreed to format and publish my novel, The Attic Piranhas. My writing career has now become my primary focus. At this time, I have gone exclusively with Amazon and have self published the novel and two short stories.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction for most of my life. I had almost given up on getting my writing out there until self publishing opened up a whole new avenue.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Yes, I was six years old. The title was, John and the Haunted Well. I folded a piece of notebook paper in half, drew a well and a spooky looking tree on the outside of the paper and wrote the story on the inside.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

I kept thinking about that and all I could come up with is that I’m so normal that I’m boring.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

The consistent feedback I receive is that the stories hook them and they can’t put the book down until it’s finished. That makes me feel like I’ve done my job as a writer and put something out there that readers enjoy.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

There are so many great Indie authors out there that take their craft seriously and produce some really great works. I’m just now getting to know who they are. One author I enjoyed reading recently is K D George. His novel, Q-A Thriller, was well written and suspenseful.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

In my early years, it was my mother. She encouraged me to write and even bought my first typewriter and a book on how to write novels for Christmas when I was in Junior High. My biggest supporter now is my wife. She not only encourages me, she plays a big part in the writing process by editing my work. She actually takes my writing and turns it into something great. She will never allow any writing to be just okay. It has to be great. If any of you have experienced what a great editor can do then you know what I’m talking about. Editing is where the work starts.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I’m currently working on another novel titled, New Flesh On Old Bones, a thriller suspense and a short story called, Life Form, a science fiction short story.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

My favorite is actually my short story, The Agency. I love old Hollywood and am a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. I used both for my inspiration for this tale.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

My favorite character is Max Fagan from my novel, The Attic Piranhas. Max is a guy that is really down on his luck. He is selfish, self centered and depending on things outside himself for change. His off-the-wall journey was fun to create.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

I like Twitter the best because I’m meeting so many wonderful authors there that are working hard to make their dreams come true. They are all an inspiration to me.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

I found it hard to concentrate on writing and do the marketing. It takes a lot of time and effort to bring a book to the top where the readers can find it. I would honestly love to hand that part of to some one that knows what they’re doing in that field.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

You can find me on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0081S2PS8

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Marlin!

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on Amanda Green – Interview with Author of ‘My Alien Self: My Journey Back to Me’

Spotlight on Alex Hunter – Interview with Author of the Game Over series

There’s some mystery here today, with my guest. As you may see, we don’t have a bio picture, and all I can say is that this person is really sweet and creative. We met on Twitter, and cheered each other to finish our books.

I’m truly happy to present you today to Alex Hunter, and the Game Over series.

So, let’s learn more about Alex!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Alex Hunter. I have always lived in Wales, in the UK and I have always wanted to be a writer.
This is the first time I have finished a book from the first word to THE END.
And it is the best feeling ever – except for maybe holding my finished book in my hands.
I tried to get an agent for a couple of months and had a few come back with a ‘no’ – some don’t even bother with that!
But I found it to be quite a miserable and frustrating process that seems to take forever. I remember being so excited every time I got an email or phone call in case it was an agent getting in touch with a yes. It never was though.
In the meantime I’d stopped writing while I waiting for my ship to come in!
But in March of this year, 2012, I just decided to do it myself! With a little bit of help. I found a local editor and asked a friend who’s a graphic designer to do my covers and my illustrations. And then I got to work!

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was about eight. I have probably started more than a hundred books, but never finished any. I was full of good ideas but not so good on the execution.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

I remember watching Byker Grove (A UK kid’s programme set in Newcastle about a youth club) and writing my own version. Not very well.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

I bite my own toenails.
And I can turn my eyelids inside out.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

I wrote GAME OVER to help get my son, who is 8, to enjoy reading. When he read it and said it was brilliant that made my day

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

I write more than I read at the moment, trying to spend every moment writing, so my reading has taken a back seat – which is sad because I love to read.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

I have always wanted to write because I have always enjoyed reading. I will read any writer and any genre.
My whole family supports and believes in me, which is great.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

At the moment I am only working on GAME OVER (because I do tend to get distracted easily!). This set of four books is called The Knight’s Castle. The next four will be The Pirate’s Island and then the next will be something about aliens.
Book One is available now, Book Two is ready to go to print, Book Three is about to go to the editors – my awesome editor Chrissie Collier – and Book Four is more than half written.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

My favourite is the first of this series, because it’s the first time I’ve seen a book through from start to finish, through editing and illustrating – thanks to my amazing illustrator and cover artist Jen Rew – to a finished book I can hold in my hand.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

I have two – Sam and Corey because they are named after my sons!

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

I’m getting better at it!
Twitter is my favourite. It annoys me that my responses can only be so long, but the help that I have received – like this interview, for example – are priceless. If I ask about reviewers or formatting or marketing someone on there has the answer.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

This is a funny one.
When I dreamed of being a writer I always assumed I would have a traditional publisher and wouldn’t have to think about this, but I am finding that I quite enjoy the challenge of getting my book out there.
At the moment twitter and face book are my friends!
But I have also been invited to speak in schools and plan to ask if I can do the same in libraries.
I have made bumper stickers and posters to place in children’s play centres. I’m trying to think where parents go so that I can attack them with some form of advertising.
It’s the hardest bit of self publishing – and I’m sure others would agree.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Okay so my website is www.gameoverbooks.com and all the info needed is on there!

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/T7CZ7v

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Alex!

(May I say I’m really impressed and a little disturbed by your eccentricities? O.O)

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on David Prosser – Interview with Author of the Barsetshire Diaries series

It’s really a pleasure to have this funny and elegant author here. David Prosser born 1951 worked for many years as a Local Government Officer before taking early retirement due to health problems. Finding it difficult to talk to people as a result of the illness he found himself in the situation of being housebound most of the time. In an effort to prove to himself he still had a value he started The Buthidars which is an all denomination, all color, all creed group determined to better the world by Hugging.

The next step was to remind the world of Edwardian style and beg the designers to recreate it in exchange for clothing that displays too much of next weeks washing. Let’s dress with some dignity!

Often heard are the words, life begins at 40. David is trying to show that life can get a kick-start at 60 too. He chose this age to sit and write his first novel, My Barchester Diary, a fictional look at the life of the gentry.  Currently under consideration is a fourth book, the next in a line of books he hopes will entertain and make him rich !

So, let’s learn more about him!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

Hello Renata, thanks for having me. I’m David (M F ) Prosser though I don’t use the initials on my books as there wouldn’t be any space left for the design. I’m the Lord of Bouldnor an hereditary Manorial title lost in the mists of time, well the 1400’s anyway. I was born in Germany when my parents were posted there ( not in the mail of course ) but have lived in North Wales for a long time. My father was Welsh and I consider myself to be so.

My journey as a writer has been short since I only started writing at age 60 after someone asked me how my day had been and I responded in the form of a diary entry that supposedly had her in stitches. She asked for more…….and more……..

This cover was kindly designed by another author and friend http://ililarbel.weebly.com

Book 2 which is also in diary form is a prequel telling of the days between gaining his title and now, when he performed the duties of an unofficial envoy to Her Majesty. I’m afraid I undertook the cover design for the paperback but a kind lady, author Patti Roberts did the design for the ebook. The imaginatively titled ‘More Barsetshire Diary’ is a part sequel to book 1 in which the reader gets up to date with the attempt by the Dreaded Edna to get herself elected as Councillor with Lord David’s help. He also gets volunteered to help raise funds to save the childhood home of Diana The Dowager Duchess of Cheam, or Triple D as he call her, though not to her face.

The Cover for this book and for each of the chapters was a very talented young artist called Sara Japanwalla www.sarajapanwalla.com The cartoons are fantastic.

How long have you been writing?

This morning about 4 hours since I’ve had lots of emails…oops, you mean WRITING. Well, properly since I was 60 which was 2011 but it was about the July I started and couldn’t seem to stop. Though of course I’m sure I remember writing stories for myself when young and some to read my daughter when she was much younger.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

I’m afraid not though I’m pretty sure it involved Brer Rabbit. I do remember there was a problem getting the dinosaurs to sit still while I read it.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

What, who’s been talking?????? I suspect that I could be considered eccentric because I tend to wear a lot of waistcoats (vests for my U.S. Cousins) in lots of colours and perhaps also because I like to wear a frock coat as often as possible. Usually black but sometimes brown. I think we’ve lost elegance these days and I’m doing my bit to encourage it back.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

I bought something from ebay which necessitated me sending a message to the seller. He responded with the answer and then tagged on ” Are you the same David Prosser that wrote My Barsetshire Diary. My wife was laughing so much at it I pinched it off her. It was hilarious?” I was amazed that out of the millions of users I’d found the person I sold the book too. (Joking, I have sold more than one and I’m looking for the other person now).

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

That’s really hard as there are so many good ones out there and of course in different genres. But…

Not your run of the mill Romance stories- Collette Scott http://www.collettescott.com/

Christian Paranormal- The G6 Chronicles – Daniel L Carter http://g6chronicles.com

Thrillers. The Tom Gray series – Alan McDermott http://amzn.to/AyDk8S

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

I think pushed into describes it better than inspired, but support was given by Ilil Arbel who continued to convince me it was worthwhile as I sent each new chapter and of course my wonderful wife who laughed in bed every night, even when I gave her the book.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

For a moment then I thought you knew about my secret dungeon. I started the fourth book last August under the working title, More Queen’s Envoy ( no-one’s ever going to say I lack imagination are they?)but my wife was diagnose with terminal cancer that month and I haven’t written since.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

The Queen’s Envoy is favourite because I had fun writing it. I allowed myself to be the poor man’s James Bond who could still solve the problem. It was the side issues where I’m faced with women that made me laugh as I had to confess my naivety.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

Since I’m the main character it would be wrong to say me. But I’m going to anyway because he’s much more stoic than I am and I think I’d like me to be the me that the me there is.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

Gone are the days when I could sit down and interact on Facebook. Since Indie publishers are bound to do their own publicity and promotion I spend an inordinate amount of time tied to my chair and with upward of 300 messages a day I have no time any more for being social. Of course when I’ve made my first million and can relax a bit and hire a secretary perhaps the old times will reappear. If anyone wants to buy a million books to fill a library just get in touch…

How do you feel about marketing your books?

It’s chore, it’s a bind but it’s a necessity if I’m to sell any. Even those people lucky enough to sign with a mainstream publisher these days find it’s not optional.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/Lord-David-Prosser/e/B004I7CFTU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1348304316&sr=1-2-ent

http://www.amazon.com/Queens-Envoy-Barsetshire-Diaries-ebook/dp/B0054GP52S/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348304424&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Queen%27s+Envoy

 http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/LordDavid

@davidmprosser

Many thanks for the visit Renata and for letting me ramble on. You’ll show yourself out won’t you. Can I just check your handbag for my silverware. Can’t be too careful these days.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, David! (I told you he was funny! Tell me this interview didn’t put a smile in your face–I dare you! 🙂 You sure need to read his books!)

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on Massimo Marino – Interview with Author of ‘Daimones’

He’s an international gentleman with a scientific background. Massimo Marino spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He’s also partner in a new start-up in Geneva for smartphone applications: TAKEALL SA. Massimo currently lives in France and crosses the border with Switzerland multiple times daily. But calm down, he swears he’s not a smuggler!

Being a gentleman, of course he plays golf. 🙂

So, let’s learn more about him!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Renata, thanks for the opportunity to be with you and your readers. I’m Italian, or should I say, Sicilian. Palermo is my home town and I left it in 1986. I now have lived more years abroad than in Italy. Needless to say, I have changed in many and different way than my old friends there.

 I lived in Switzerland, France, and the United States. For work, I used to travel some 500,000 air miles a year. I am a scientist as a background, having spent over 17 years in fundamental research. Most of my writing are academic stuff. I worked for many years at CERN, near Geneva—an international lab for particle physics research—then in the US at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. In 1995 I moved to the private sector, worked with Apple Inc., and then for the World Economic Forum.

Some say I have acquired a multi-faceted personality 😉

How long have you been writing?

Many years, could not count them. Mostly—as I said—academic writing, but since my teen years I have written novelettes and short stories that always ended up in a drawer and then lost. Still in my mind though. Daimones, the first volume of a planned trilogy, is the very first non-fictional work that is published.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

I should not say that because I would then be accused of plagiarism, but my first story was about a boy who had been recruited as warden for the human race and ends up as the Earth pilot representative in a power struggle at a galactic level. It was fun but not realistic. Definitely not hard science fiction.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

I played football as a Quarterback for 18 years and then played golf for 18 years. Golf is bound to add to the year count. Football doesn’t have a chance anymore.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

“This story is brilliant. It screams for a sequel”

 


Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

I’d like to recommend my Editor, Rebecca Stroud. I have learned from her a lot. I met her through one of her book, “Zellwood: A Dog Story”, and I discovered what impeccable editing, flow, and drama can do to a story. She has written other books, all with stellar reviews.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

I can’t say it came from someone. There are stories that build up in the mind of any writer, or aspiring one. Sometimes you are able to contain them all your life and no one will ever think of you as a writer. Other times a story breaks free and you can’t but start writing it. It becomes inevitable.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I am working at the sequel of “Daimones”: The story sets the stage for what happens next, and what comes after “Daimones” is complicated.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

The one I am writing at the moment. Why? Because it is the one for which you dream, lose sleep, sweat, scream at, and bleed for.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

All of them are favorite ones, in a sense. But if I had to choose one, I’d say the one for which I have to write about in the future. He or she is in there, waiting to come out, and I am intrigued and fascinated because—my experience—all of my characters come to an independent life and do and say things that surprise me. Sometimes negatively so.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

I’m on twitter and I think I will have to go on facebook too. But I am starting to appreciate a lot goodreads. There are lots of readers there and I am meeting lots of writers too. Apart from those, my favourite at the moment are the threads I share with fellow writers at the Amazon threads. Great people, none excluded, and very helpful, too.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

Terrible. I know I am not doing the right things and not doing enough of them, either. Would you like to market my book(s) for me?

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Thank you for this. So, links are:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083IHV5I

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/daimones/id526356367?mt=11

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/162885

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15811231-daimones

and if any reader would like to follow and be followed, I am @MASSIM0MARIN0 on twitter.

Also, my Editor (She has done an amazing job) is Rebecca Stroud, and her page on Amazon is: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Stroud/e/B00460RZMQ

Thank you Renata for this pleasant chat with you, and thank you reader who read this through. I write for myself, of course—the story breaking free—but I write for every reader out there. If I can make so that one spends a good time in the world I created, care for the characters that speak through the pages, and is willing to share the emotions and feelings I hope to transmit, I have found gold. There is not a greater reward than a reader who sends a “Thank you” note.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Massimo! It was a pleasure to have you here.

And let me tell you, this sentence is perfect for me too: “(My favorite of my books is) The one I am writing at the moment. Why? Because it is the one for which you dream, lose sleep, sweat, scream at, and bleed for.

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on Wodke Hawkinson – Interview with Author duo of ‘Zeke’ and other stories

 

Today I’ll have not only one, but two talented authors under my spotlight.

Together or alone, they wrote many popular books. Their stories are greatly reviewed.

They are also really funny and friendly people, who support Indie Authors all the time, specially with their popular website, Find a Good book to read. It’s my absolute pleasure to have you two here, girls!

So, let’s learn more about them!

Please, tell us a little about yourselves.

K- For many years I was into music, performing in bands, writing and co-writing songs.  Performing music is no longer a part of my life, but I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve worked at various jobs throughout my life, but began writing full-time just recently. I published a book for young readers entitled James Willis Makes a Million. Then, in 2009 PJ and I began collaborating.  Our pen name for those works is the combination of our last names: Wodke Hawkinson.  We’ve written several volumes of short stories along with three novels, so far. I look forward to more writing, both on my own and with my co-author, PJ. We have many ideas for future projects. We’ve self-published all our books, but one has since been signed by a publisher. 

PJ- I grew up and still live in the Midwest. I graduated from Hutchinson Community College. I have one published novel of my own; Half Bitten. Currently I am writing novels under the pen name of Wodke Hawkinson along with co-author, Karen Wodke. My other interests include sightseeing off the beaten path, fishing, and reading. I admit to no favorite writer but enjoy the works of Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, JA Konrath, and Douglas Adams. I envision a life of writing both alone and with my long-time friend and co-author. To date, I have published 1 book solo and 8 books (including novelettes) with my coauthor, Karen.

How long have you been writing?

K- Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed, but I didn’t make a determined effort until a few years ago.  Even as a child when I had to write sentences for English class, I liked the challenge of making my sentences as complex as possible.  I’m intrigued by words.

PJ- I wrote Half Bitten in 2010 and began seriously writing with Karen shortly after.
 

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

 K- In junior high school I wrote a story about a woman who killed her husband and buried him under her flower garden. Kind of morbid for a youngster. In high school, I wrote a ghost story. And then PJ and I used to write humorous stories just for laughs in high school.

PJ- The first story I wrote would have been co-written with Karen when we were in high school. It was silly and fun. We wrote a series of stories that centered around 3 or 4 characters. I still have them and actually put together a spiral bound copy for myself, Karen, and my family several years ago. They were lots of fun and produced giggles galore.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

 K- I don’t know how eccentric this is but if I eat something sweet, I always like to follow that with something salty. I’m sure there are other eccentricities about me, but I can’t identify them because they seem normal to me. LOL

PJ- First, I like certain things in threes: kisses and sips of soda (yes, I know that is borderline OCD, but hey, it’s only a couple of things). Second, I get out of bed in stages: stage 1-make the bed and get out my clothes for the day, stage 2- lay back down and read or get caught up on facebook and words with friends, stage 3- brush teeth, wash face, get dressed and lay back on bed for a few more minutes, stage 4- get up and stay up (sometimes).

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

K- Recently a reader told me our new novel, Zeke, is so realistic she couldn’t finish it because it tripped too many triggers for her. Now, I’m not glad about causing any distress to our reader, but it was gratifying to know we had managed to capture the personality of a character like Zeke.

PJ- One of the best things I’ve ever heard from a reader was the praise of my family when I finished Half Bitten (my first novel). Nothing can be better.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

K- I could recommend quite a few. If I have to just pick one, I would say Ruby Barnes. His novel, Peril, is very well written and twisty.

PJ-An extremely hard question as I read so many books. I went out to Amazon and looked through my past digital orders and have chosen to recommend Casino Shuffle, by J. Fields Jr. This book is about Antonio Cruz, the head butler at the Native Sun Casino and the challenges he faces to keep the guests happy. My husband and I both read this book and enjoyed it immensely.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

K- When PJ wrote Half Bitten, it reminded me of my love for writing and inspired me to make a serious effort. I wrote James Willis and enjoyed the process very much. Soon after, PJ & I began collaborating.

PJ-Karen was my original inspiration but it took me many years to act on the idea. After reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris, I decided to try my hand at a different kind of vampire novel; thus, Half Bitten came to life.

My biggest supporter is my husband. He is the reason I have become who I am today and the reason I continue to be.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

K- I have a couple of projects started on my own, and PJ and I are writing two books. It’s the first time we’ve ever tried working on two novels at a time.

PJ- We actually have two books in the works but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while to learn anything about them. I can tell you one is a suspense and the other is fantasy.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

K- I’m a little torn between Betrayed and Tangerine. Betrayed is our most popular novel so far and I loved the main characters, Lance and Brooklyn. But Tangerine is the very first novel we wrote together and it was so enjoyable creating the other worlds, the characters, and the aliens that I still have a fondness for that book. We originally self-published Tangerine, but have pulled it from all venues because it’s been picked up by a publisher. It should be re-released very soon.

PJ- I guess I’d choose Betrayed. {{Spoiler Alert}} Brook goes through one of the most horrendous ordeals a woman can ever face and manages to deal with her demons and move forward with life. Lance is a steadfast, easy-going recluse whom Brook manages to bring out of his shell. We also decided to let Brook have her revenge and wrote Betrayed-Alternate Ending that takes the reader along a new path from Chapter 49 forward.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

 K- I like Lance the best from our novel Betrayed. He’s a strong, kind man who steps forward to do the right thing, but he also is subject to very human emotions.

PJ- Oh, wow! That’s a tough question. I would have to say Lance from the book Betrayed.  Honestly, his temperament and personality remind me of my husband.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

K- I enjoy keeping up with the work of fellow authors, interacting with readers, learning others’ perspectives on writing, and finding new books to add to my collection. Facebook is great, but I have to admit my favorite is Twitter. We’ve made so many great friends there, including readers and other writers.

PJ- Interacting online is sometimes the only interaction I get since I am no longer working outside the home. My personal Facebook is probably my favorite way to interact and that is due mainly to the fact that I know, personally, everyone. I also enjoy Twitter because of the interaction between possible new friends.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

 K- Marketing is very important to the success of any author. Writing is our livelihood. Therefore, it is a business. When I look at it that way, it makes marketing easier. A lot of writers are reticent about promoting their own work, and I understand that. Many authors are introverts or shy about self-promotion. But in the process of learning how to market our books, we’ve met some really generous and fantastic people, authors and others who are willing to help each other get the word out. These relationships and those with readers have really enriched our online experience. An important key to marketing, we believe, is to support and cooperate with others. We enjoy promoting the work of other authors along with our own books.

PJ- Marketing our books is one of the hardest things we’ve faced. Karen had done an excellent job of getting authors and others to follow us on Twitter. She spends hours promoting our works and I can’t thank her enough (recently I took over the retweets and have more appreciation of the time she spent). Karen has set up and maintains our website; Find a Good Book to Read and I maintain our original author website; wodke-hawkinson.com.

We also look for other means of promotion; such as, this interview with you, Renata, and both thank you for the opportunity.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Wodke Hawkinson books, websites, and blogs:

Zeke
Betrayed

Betrayed-Alternate Ending
Tangerine (coming soon)

Ghost Writer

Acim

Short Story Volumes:

Alone

Catch Her in the Rye

Blue

 

wodke-hawkinson.com

http://wodke-hawkinson.com/blog1/

findagoodbooktoread.com

http://findagoodbooktoread.com/wodke-hawkinsons-blog.php

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, girls! Loved having you here, and reciprocate my (hilarious) Wacky interview on your website.

Oh! And I have to say that I also need to eat something salty after something sweet! I thought I was the only one. 🙂

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview on Friday.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on Jeff Whelan – Interview with Sci-Fi Author of ‘Space Orville’

Jeff Whelan is the author of the highly reviewed Space Orville. Wherever you look you find wide praise for his book, currently available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. (My daughter, a huge science fiction fan, already has Space Orville on her TBR!)

He’s also a great guy, who’s always available to help other authors, spreading the word about them and their books.

So, let’s learn more about him!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

Wow – okay. Let’s start with my name, Jeff Whelan. I’m a Pisces. I enjoy long walks in the sunshine, fuzzy robes, slinkies and . . . waitaminute . . . wrong interview. Let’s start over.

I was born in Oak Park, IL, near Chicago and am the oldest of children. My family moved to DeKalb, IL when I was about 3 and I’ve lived here most of my life with the exception of 9 months traveling with a carnival on the east coast and 3 years in San Francisco. I’ve worked for over 20 years as a special education paraprofessional at the high school level and also work nights from home as a remote medical transcriptionist. I’ve been blissfully married for 16 years and have 2 brilliant children. I also act and have been a member our local community theater for 19 years.

As for my writing, aside from several short stories posted on my blog, I currently have only one book in publication, my humorous, young adult science fiction adventure, “Space Orville”, which I started in high school and finally managed to finish some 18 years later. After nearly 10 years of desperately trying to break into print, the advent of the independent e-book made it possible for me to publish “Space Orville” myself on line. “Space Orville” can now be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords & Lulu. Links to everything are posted below.

How long have you been writing?

Ever since I could grasp a crayon and print my name.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

The first significant story that I can remember was something I wrote in 6th grade called “The D-Barrier”. It was about a couple that was trying to film images of ghosts using a tricked-out holographic video camera. When the camera is accidentally left running, strange beasties from another dimension creep through and wreak havoc in our world. Wish I still had that. I went on, in middle school, to write a couple of radio mysteries for our local public radio station which used to host a Young People’s Radio Festival. Our school librarian, Mrs. Phyllis Horton, liked my writing and encouraged me to enter. Our ensemble won first prize.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourself?

Just two? Well, there’s my passion for dashikis – African, Indian, South American, you name it. Got a bunch of ’em. They’re beautiful and really comfortable. Oh, and I can wiggle my eyeballs at will.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

So many people have said so many wonderful things. My first reader review, by Megan Broutian, was very thrilling. Here was someone I didn’t know who stated she was “in awe” and found my book “witty and well-written”. As if that weren’t special enough, the next reader to post a review stated I served up “vivid description, priceless Lewis Carroll-like dialogue and wordplay, as well as meditations both profound and playful” and created “that literary miracle J.K. Rowling accomplished: an expansive, fully formed, vibrantly imagined, believably magical world.” Honestly, comparisons like that? They both delighted and humbled me a great deal. I remain eternally grateful for all who have posted such kind and thoughtful comments.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

Oh my, yes. Michael K. Rose is a master of the modern short story. His stuff compels you to read until you are finished. I am eager to read his longer works, like his science fiction series, “Sullivan’s War”. Also, R.G. Lawrence, who demonstrates tremendous versatility in his storytelling with an expert grasp on character development and pacing. His novel, “Golden Boy” was fantastic and I am just about finished with “The Circle”, which has me on the edge of my seat.

Honestly, though, I’ve read so many good things by so many amazingly talented indies – Rolando Garcia, Martha Rodriguez & Ford Forkum to name a few – whose talent rivals that of any popular print author. The amount of talent out there in the independent e-book world is simply stunning. My TBR list is huge.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

I must give a lot of credit to the school librarian I mentioned earlier, Mrs. Phyllis Horton, for her support and encouragement all those years ago. She got me believing that my writing might be worth something. We all need a Mrs. Horton in our lives. Authors and past teachers aside, my wife and 2 sons are now my biggest source of inspiration and support.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

A sequel to Space Orville, tentatively titled “Methuselah’s Cradle”, is in the development phase, i.e., scribbled notes, ideas and outlines. Hate to give away any spoilers, but it involves a quest to recover stolen time. I am also working on a follow-up to a well-received autobiographical short I wrote titled “Greyhound”, about the first time I left home at 19. Readers of that story on my blog have been clamoring for more of that tale.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

Well, since “Space Orville” is the only full-length book I have ever completed and published I guess that would have to be it. Why? Probably because I actually managed to complete and publish it. That and I just like the story. It was deliciously fun to write.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

I can certainly relate to Space Orville himself since I remember what it was like to be an adolescent on the verge of adulthood, wanting to assert my independence and face new challenges on my own yet still feeling hampered by the adults surrounding me. But my favorite character would have to be NeutroFuzz, Space Orville’s constant companion. NeutroFuzz is a magnaradiant, capable of the most amazing things. I love him (I’m still assuming it’s a “him”) because he’s so incredibly versatile and is not limited to any behavioral constraints that plague other species. The most outlandish thing I can imagine, NeutroFuzz can probably do.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

Yikes. Well, I recently saw a tweet that stated “Twitter is a full-time job” and, for an independent author, I suppose that’s all too true. That’s what it feels like, anyway. Actually, I shunned all social media until Space Orville’s publication, at which point my wife said I no longer had a choice if I wanted anyone at all to know about my book. She was right, of course. So, I plugged into Facebook and Twitter, but that’s still as far as I’ve gotten. As we indies work without the benefit of any powerhouse print publisher to promote our work, it falls upon us to engage in shameless self-promotion to get our stuff noticed.

The astonishing thing, however, is how this vast, global network of independent authors and artists works to support each other. Tweeting, re-tweeting, sharing, re-posting, comments, reviews, recommendations, guest blog and interview opportunities such as this . . . it’s utterly remarkable to be a part of this mammoth collection of brilliant people who are constantly paying it forward and helping each other out. When it’s working right, the social media can be a fine example of good karma in action.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

Can’t stand it.  Let me re-phrase that.  I’ve never been that great at tooting my own horn and it was quite an adjustment to have to spout off about how great my work was and why everybody should read it.  But once I learned how it all works and found myself a part of that miraculous machine I mentioned above, I was able to get into it a little more.  When I have an opportunity to share good things about others and they, in turn, are kind enough to share good things about my work, then I’m not so self-conscious about it all.  Still, it is a time-consuming affair and there are many times I must force myself to sit down at the computer, again, to commence with yet another round of marketing and self-promotion.  But, since I also get the chance to help promote the work of others, I don’t feel so bad about it.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Okay, here goes:

Kindle owners can find Space Orville at Amazon: http://amzn.to/GP7Eps.  Nook users can find him at Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/H95HR4.  He can also be found in other formats at Smashwords, http://bit.ly/GSUSVJ and Lulu http://bit.ly/PwIJen.

I have a WordPress blog at http://bit.ly/H2U4cH and love visitors.  I have a page at The Independent Author Network, http://bit.ly/H4uh5j, that likes visitors, too.  I have a personal Facebook page http://on.fb.me/NrVm6s as does Space Orville http://on.fb.me/OHKfWW.  Finally, I have a very active Twitter account at http://bit.ly/LQUTON.  My Twitter handle is @SpaceOrville.  Followers welcome!

****

Thank you so much, Renata, for this wonderful opportunity to share with your readers.  It’s indies like you presenting features like this who keep this fantastic machine working the way it should.  Hats off to you for your unparalleled support of indie authors everywhere.  And I am greatly looking forward to digging into “Mean”!  Cheers!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Jeff! It’s really astonishing how the Indie Author Community (or should I say ‘family’?) embraces new members like myself. All I’m doing is paying it forward, and it feels great! 🙂

P.S. -Really hope you  like “Mean”! Please let me know your impressions!

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview on Monday.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on Ally Malinenko – Interview with a rising star

Today I’m proud to introduce a rising star: Ally Malinenko. She’s had poetry and stories published online and in print, including her first collection of poems, entitled The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press). Her second book of poems, Crashing to Earth, is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press. Her first children’s novel Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, the first part in a series, was recently published by Antenna Books.

So, let’s learn more about her!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

Hi I’m Ally. I’m from Monroe, NY which is… er… was a little town about an hour north of New York City. Since I was a kid growing up there it’s grown quite considerably. I live in Brooklyn now which is great except for when it isn’t which is horrid. Currently I’ve got 2 books published, a novel for children entitled Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Press) and a book of poetry entitled The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press). My second book of poetry entitled Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing on and off for as long as I can remember. I’ve been an avid journal keeper nearly my whole life so I’ve got journals going back to grade school. My best friend and I kept a journal and log book for our imaginary land back when we were little. We cataloged all the creatures that lived there and even had an entire language. I kept all that. It’s good for creativity.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

I wrote my very first story when I was ten. It was eight pages long, which at the time felt about the same size as Moby Dick. After that I moved on to shorter work and started writing very typical angst-y poetry in high school.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourself?

Oh goodness, only two? Let’s see – I know many people find my writing schedule rather eccentric. I get up at 5 am each morning to write. It was my husband’s idea. He’s also a writer and came up with the notion that you can get better work done first thing in the morning, before the day get its grip on you. And it works. Though I do miss sleeping in. That’s what weekends are for right? Okay, what else? I write in a closet. It fits my desk and some built in book shelves. Most mornings I’m joined by my cat June who sleeps in an empty comic book box and occasionally meows at me to remind me to stop goofing off online and get back to writing. Oh and I have a shadow of my former self tacked on the wall made by an old friend. There’s a picture in this blog entry: http://allymalinenko.com/2012/04/06/strings-and-sealing-wax-and-other-fancy-stuff/

And finally, in case none of that is considered eccentric, I’m a self-proclaimed Bardolator who was turned away from Shakespeare’s grave.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

I had a woman come up to me once after a poetry reading and tell me that a specific poem about my mother’s battle with breast cancer is exactly the way she thought/felt. I was so flattered to know that my words had that effect on her. The universe got a little smaller that day, in a good way.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

Yes Jen McConnel. I’m currently reading her book The Burning of Isobel Key and it’s fantastic. If you like witches and history and Scotland and good writing, it’s for you. It’s due out in October. She blogs here:  http://jennifermcconnel.wordpress.com/ 

And also Julie Innis. Her book Three Squares a Day with Occasional Torture (Foxhead Books) is a fantastic, peculiar, hilarious collection of short stories. You can find out more here –  http://julieinnis.net/

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

My first novel is a children’s book called Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. It was definitely inspired by all the children’s literature I read as a kid. The biggest one for me was C.S. Lewis. The Narnia books were the first books that I remember reading and saying, “Wait, this is a job?  This is something anyone can do? I wanna tell a story too!” Another big one for me was Bridge to Terabithia by Patterson. That taught me that books can be sad and funny and exciting and beautiful all at the same time. As for support, my entire family supports my writing work as do people I count as my closest friends. Good friends can make great beta readers as long as you’ve both got thick skin. My parents and sisters have always supported me, reading early drafts, buying books. And my long suffering husband has had to read nearly every single word I’ve written. He deserves an award.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I have two actually. I’m currently working on the second part of Lizzy’s story and then also an untitled YA book that I just call The Chess Book. Lizzy’s book picks up where the first one left off which I won’t spoil for anyone but I will say the bad guy is back with badder intentions and Lizzy will need to pull all her friends and courage together to stop him. It’s gonna get hairy for our heroine. As for the YA book, it’s about chess and time travel and first loves and homelessness and doppelgangers and magic and kisses and family. Mostly it’s about the power to stand up to forces much bigger than you and not flinch.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

Oh wow, I don’t know. I only have one fully completed and published novel. I probably love the ones I want to write more than the ones I’ve written. They are still full of potential. But I guess since Lizzy is my first she’ll always have a special place in my heart. So much of her story is mine, minus the whole Shakespeare connection of course!

 

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

Again that’s hard but probably Lizzy. Though I do have a special fondness for Kate in the YA book I’m working on. All my characters are a little bit me, a little people I know and a little bit imagination.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

I do. It’s an easy way to talk to people with the same interests as me, people that without social media I would never know. I’ve met so many great writers and enthusiastic readers online. Facebook is one of my favorites but Twitter is currently climbing the ranks. StumbleUpon and Pinterest are fun too for inspiration.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

Interviews like this are fun! I like talking about my work so I don’t really mind. I’ve got a great little press, Antenna Books, behind me too so that helps. I like sharing what I do and hearing what other people do. I’m not terribly hung up on the logistics. I try to think of it as a big party – we all have stuff in common, we like to read or write. My favorite people are readers.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Here’s my blog: http://allymalinenko.com/

My twitter: @allymalinenko

My publisher’s link: http://www.antennabooks.com/

My book cover designer: http://saragable.com/

And my book is here at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lizzy-Speare-Cursed-Series-ebook/dp/B0098TBGHU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347482058&sr=1-1&keywords=lizzy+speare

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ally! It was a pleasure to have you on my spotlight!

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview on Monday.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!