Monday, February 28, 2011

Murder Mystery Author J. K. Maze discusses her newest novel 'Murder for Kicks'

Scribal Love Welcomes J.K. Maze

Joan K. Maze, writing as J. K. Maze is an author of cozy mysteries and romantic suspense.  Her newest work Murder For Kicks is available from Red Rose Publishing.

What is the name of your latest book?  And how did you come up with the title?

The latest book is Murder For Kicks and I got the idea when watching a rerun of Walker Texas Ranger. I thought it would be fun if my less-than-acrobatically-adept protagonist tried to do this. 

What is this book about?  And what genre is this book in? 

This is book 2 in the Mollie Fenwick series. She, among other things, is psychic and has a vision where she sees a woman being abducted, forced into a car, at a strip mall. She investigates, discovers it's the one she frequents, and that the site is right in front of a martial arts studio. She signs up for a class, together with a senior citizen friend, and discovers the instructor is Jack Wolf, a Native American hunk who appeared in book 1. 

Her reasoning for doing this is to be on site in order to find the abduction vehicle and also to find out who was abducted. She gets into all kinds of trouble and is pursued by a killer. Neither her detective friend, Bartholomew, or Jack Wolf can keep her from sticking to her guns and solving the mystery.

Who is/are the main characters?  And why did you choose them? 

The protagonist is Mollie Fenwick, an artist/part time bus driver for a company serving seniors and the disabled/and an unwilling psychic. 

Bradley Bartholomew, detective with Hamlet Police Department, now a lieutenant. He is her next door neighbor and first met her in book 1 when she discovered a body lying in front of her TV in the living room. This also was a vision. 

Jack Wolf, Native American - artist and man of many talents. He was a walk on in book 1 and refused to leave. 

Henrietta - Mollie's nosy neighbor. She first met Henrietta when Henrietta's cat escaped her apartment because Henrietta had a habit of leaving her door open and failing to understand why the cat couldn't obey the command to stay inside. She's in her 60's and, Mollie discovers, a lot of fun. 

Solutions, Inc. - I have to list this bus company as a character as it is an integral part of the plot. Mollie had applied for the job after her husband's death and was astonished to be hired, especially since she's directionally challenged. 

Jackson - a patrol cop who first appeared in book 1. He and his partner answered the call when Mollie found the body. He becomes a detective in Murder For Kicks and also is the 3rd hero in her life.

What is the coolest or best part about your book?  (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..)

I like the scene where she's tossed into a dolphin tank by the bad guy and rescued by Jackson. 

Do you have a favorite character in the book?  If so, why?

That changes daily, or perhaps hourly. I have lots of fun writing about Mollie, and salivate over the various characteristics of the 3 heroes. Like Mollie, I can't choose between them. 

Is this book part of a series?  If so? What can we expect in future books? 

Yes, it is part of a series, the 2nd one. Also, I am now working on book 3, which is Murder By Spook. This doesn't have to do with ghosts (well, maybe), but with spies, as in CIA. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

The difficulties of writing a series. It was challenging. Also, writing in first person was a great learning experience. It would take an entire book to list what I learned from it. 

Do you have a publisher?  And if so, why did you choose them?   

Red Rose Publishing. At the time I was looking for a publisher, the original one having closed its doors, I was acquainted with an editor, who suggested I try Red Rose Publishing.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Bond

And many many others 

What books are you reading now? 

I'm reading The Vanishing Man, a Lincoln Rhyme story. I'm also beginning to reread the entire Stephanie Plum series and the Haunted Bookshop series, along with a bunch of other books I haven't read, too many to list. 

What are the current writing projects that you are working on?

Murder By Spook, book 3 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series

A Pirate's Heritage - a Viking/Scotland timetravel encompassing the years from 900 to the present.

Widow's Walk - a timetravel thriller/romance set in Northern Minnesota

Deadly Bouquet - book 1 in a series involving a woman who wants to be a cop and is now working for a P.I. The first draft is finished.

I have a couple more on hold, both mysteries. 

Do you write full time?  If not, do you hope to do so one day?

Yes, I write full time, having retired 3 years ago.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was 8 years old my mother taught me how to type on her ancient Smith Corona typewriter, which was so heavy I couldn't pick it up. I typed my first “book” while at the typewriter, sitting in a spooky attic. I later gravitated to music and art, returning to writing several years ago.  

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes, adding the senses wasn't easy for me and I still have to work at it. 

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time? 

Don't ever give up. I once saw a plaque on the wall of a copy room in a hospital. It said, “the successful person is the one who gets up one more time than he falls down.” That's physically impossible, but I get what the writer intended. It took me many years to get published. 

Also, I don't compete with others. I only compete with myself.

Thanks Joan For Dropping By!

You can find J.K. Maze on the web at:

Red Rose Publishing:


Barnes and Noble:


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meet Multipublished Author Leah Leonard As She Discusses Her Some of Her Work including 'Love Letters at Sunset Hill'

Scribal Love Welcomes Leah Leonard. 

She is the author of several Romance, Paranormal Romance Novels and Young Adult Novels.  Her Latest Work 'Love Letters at Sunset Hill' is coming soon from Red Rose Publishing! 

Hi Leah!  Welcome to Embraced: Scribal Love.  

Leah: Thanks for having me, Clare!  

Clare: When and why did you begin writing? 

Leah: When I was a kid I loved to play imaginary games which I think translated into writing fiction as an adult.  Since I started pursuing this full time four years ago, it’s become more of a compulsion. I HAVE to do it now.  I always heard about artists who are obsessed with painting, or whatever art they create and I used to think how neat it would be to become so passionate about what you’re doing…I’m there now and it feels good.

Clare: When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

Leah: Actually I’ve been writing things most of my life, but I never considered myself to actually BE a writer or never called myself a writer until after I attended my first RWA conference.  Luckily the first year I joined RWA the National Conference was in Dallas near my home.  I will never forget going into the hotel and looking around at all the other ladies who I thought were just like me – all like to sit home in their jammies and make up stuff.  I remember thinking, “These are my people!”  It was quite an experience. I’ve had lots of jobs over the years – too many, perhaps, so to finally feel like I belonged somewhere was awesome

Clare: What inspired you to pen your first novel?

Leah: The very first fiction I ever wrote (but unfortunately tossed away, assuming it was not worthy of publication) was about a friend of mine who died suddenly.  The second novel I wrote was one I dreamed up while on a cruise ship.  The first was inspired by true events, the second was anything but.  Now my books do a little of both.

Clare: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 

Leah:  I’m LOLing as I write this, but my major influence was Danielle Steele.  Ever since childhood, my mom and I devoured her books. I know a lot of folks like to poo poo her stuff, but I loved it, still do.  She knows how to do high drama as well as anyone, I think.  In more recent years, I’ve admired Nora Roberts, for her prolific ability to crank out the books, if nothing else.   My dear friend Vicki Lewis Thompson has also been an inspiration and has given me many words of encouragement through the years, and Jane Porter.  Jane’s book Flirting with Forty was made into a movie starring one of my favorite actresses, Heather Locklear.  That is exciting!
Clare: How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing? 

Leah: I’ve penned a couple young adult novels about young girls and Native American tribes which were both directly influenced by my childhood growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I also wrote a historical western romance called Dead Man’s Diamond for Devine Destinies which is about the 1880’s in Tombstone. I love the west! 

Clare: How much of your work is realistic? 

Leah: LOL Not much at all.  In my romance Kiss at Blarney Castle (Red Rose Publishing), I went to Ireland and visited all the places mentioned, yes, but nothing else in the book actually happened.  In my other book Road to Casablanca (Red Rose Publishing), I did go to Morocco in real life, and yes, there was a film festival which just ended before I arrived, but again, other than that, I made it all up.  Sheik’s Design (Red Rose Publishing) has absolutely no truth to it, nor does the story about the singer and the psychic in my novel Country Gold, although I live in Texas, so needless to say, I’ve seen a few cowboys over the years. :)  

Clare: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Staying focused, not doing more than one at a time and finishing what I start.

Clare: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? 

For the past ten years, I’ve traveled around the world lecturing about my non-fiction works which are under my real name.  So now as a fiction writer, the book is born from the travel, not the other way around.  Other than writing fiction, travel is my other greatest love so I plan to keep on going.  There’s a lot more of the world I want to see!  

Clare: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Leah: Two things - Getting started, then finishing.  Once I’m off to a good start, I generally keep going, but there comes a point sometime after the middle where I tend to grow a bit weary.

Clare: How do you get past that?

Leah: I make myself a phony deadline and pretend someone is waiting for the book, whether they are or not.  I do my best to stick to the deadline, which is how I was trained years ago when I used to be in the newspaper business.  It works!

Clare: How long have you been writing? 

Leah: Scary, but over thirty years now.

Clare: How did you deal with rejection letters? 

Leah: With chocolate.  :)   And lots of it….(seriously!) I’m doing better now than when I first started.  I’ve realized writing is a numbers game. If you like what you wrote chances are somebody else will too.  I’ve learned to keep going.

Clare: Tell us about your upcoming projects. What’s got you excited about 2011?

Leah:  Several things.  I have the second installment of my Natalie Locke YA series book called Natalie Locke and the Sundancer coming soon.  This is a YA series about a young girl who is taken in and shown tribal secrets by a Native American tribe.  She owns a rock shop in Albuquerque and has lots of fun adventures.  The first book got really great reviews and my readers are anxiously awaiting part two and beyond.  It’s one of the most enjoyable series I do.  The other one coming out in 2011 is Nascha and the Medicine Man, also a  YA novel, from Parker Publishing.  It’s about a young black girl living in New York City whose mother dies and her grandmother is terminally ill so she is forced to go live out in the boondocks in New Mexico with the father she never knew she had – a Navajo Medicine Man.  I really loved writing that one and can’t wait for my Natalie readers to get ahold of it.

Clare:  How did you wind up writing a book like Nascha?

Leah:  An editor at Parker read Natalie Locke and offered a contract on it, she loved the story so much, but to be a Parker publication, the girl needed to be of mixed race.  I didn’t want to change Natalie’s character to fit because she is so strong, so instead I “met” Nascha, and the rest is history. I plan to make a series out of her too, I love her so much.

Clare: Any other new titles coming this year?

Leah:  Yes!  From Red Rose Publishing, some of my favorites are coming – Love Letters at Sunset Hill and Man of the Year will be out later in 2011.  Not sure of the dates yet though on any of these…

Clare: Love Letters sounds interesting. What’s that about?

Leah:  It’s really romantic! I think readers will find it compelling.  

Here’s a blurb:

Nancy and Bill were high school sweethearts who expected to spend their lives together until 
her family moved away and they thought they would never be together again.  When a chance encounter at a high school reunion brings them back together, they engage in a love affair that threatens to tear her marriage apart until she decides to end things.  Heartbroken Bill suffers a stroke and moves to a remote mountain cabin where he pens love letters to Nancy and still wonders if they will ever be together.  When her husband dies of cancer, Nancy ventures to Sunset Hill to see her one true love.  After all these years, will Bill welcome her with open  arms, or has he moved on?

Clare:  Sounds interesting, Leah.  Thanks for being here today!

Leah: Thanks so much for having me, Clare!  

Clare: Here are some links to Leah’s work:

Natalie Locke and the Shapeshifter 

Or check out her many titles at Red Rose Publishing here: 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Welcome British Romantic Thriller Author Stuart Aken as His Discusses His Newest Book 'Breaking Faith'

Scribal Love Welcomes Stuart Aken

Stuart Aken is an author of Romance and Science Fiction Books.  His newest work Breaking Faith is available from Smashwords and Amazon. 

So where do you hail from?
My birth is a story all of its own. Hull, a large port in northern England, was much bombed in the 2nd World War. My father had worked as chief engineer on small boats that guarded the English Channel from U-boats. 

Because of his dedication to duty, eating on the job in rough seas, he developed a duodenal ulcer. After the war, he became a mechanic at a local garage and his job entitled him to the house next to the workshop; a valuable asset in those days. But the ulcer burst and he died, leaving my mother homeless and pregnant with my 18 month old sister in tow. My short story, Ella, a contest prize-winner, is a semi-autobiographical account of the time around my birth.  

What inspired you to write 'Breaking Faith'?

Years ago, I was on holiday in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the National Park of the Yorkshire Dales. Teetering on the brink of oblivion at the edge of a sinkhole (a type of vertical cave) with the damp rocky bottom barely visible, a question came to mind: 'What if there was a woman's body down there?' That was the starting point.

Do you have a specific writing style? 

I used to be a professional photographer, so my writing is very visual; many readers have said they can picture my characters and settings as if they were watching a film. I prefer to 'show' my readers what is happening through the eyes of the character whose point of view I'm using. Some things you have to 'tell' the reader, mostly for brevity, but it's much more absorbing for the reader to live the story from within the character, don't you think?

How did you come up with the title?

Because my heroine is steeped in the religious prejudices of her bullying master, and she's the eldest of 3 sisters, it seemed appropriate to borrow from a religious quote. ', hope and charity..', which, of course, names all 3 sisters in the story. As she matures, she breaks free of Heacham's imposed restrictions, and she understands that her faith is false. Also, she's put through difficult and dangerous challenges that might break her. So, the 'breaking' part has multiple meanings. The downside is that some people may see the title as indicating the novel is about religion, which it most definitely isn't.

What is Breaking Faith about?

Breaking Faith is a romantic thriller about the influence of corruption in society.
A naive young woman, emerging from obscurity, a philandering photographer and his glamorous models, and a jealous misogynist eager for revenge turn the pages. Older friends, mistaken parents and a younger sister, all with their own motives, complicate Faith's voyage of self discovery. When she falls in love, her inexperience places her in great danger.

The novel, primarily a romance, heightened by aspects of the thriller, is set mostly during the heat wave of 1976, in the Yorkshire Dales of northern England. The eponymous heroine, Faith Heacham, is naive and trusting. Raised in isolation by her hypocritical, abusive, Bible-bashing father as his skivvy and as nursemaid to her disabled sister, she has no knowledge of the wider world. Made to find work, in order to support the household, she takes a job with Leighton Longshaw, a notorious local photographer. His misogynist assistant resents her presence and threatens her with violence. Just as Faith realises she's falling in love with Leighton, she rediscovers her estranged, beautiful, and sexually predacious younger sister, Netta, and introduces her to him without understanding the likely outcome.

Is it a single or multi-layered storyline?

The overlying story is the developing romance between Faith and Leighton, but there are other threads drawing Faith into renewed relationships with her family members and entwining Leigh with his other women, especially Netta. Underlying the whole is the growing menace of the woman-hating Mervyn, who desires revenge and isn't too concerned who satisfies his needs.

So is it a man’s or a woman’s novel?

I hope it appeals to both; certainly both men and women have responded positively with reviews of the book. On the surface, the romance will probably find more favour with women whilst the sexual elements of Leigh's relationships with his models and other women, will attract more men. But, as the novel is written from the viewpoints of the two main characters, both female and male voices speak throughout the book.

And what is Ten Tales for Tomorrow about?

Ten Tales for Tomorrow is a collection of short stories, some prize-winners, some previously published in small magazines. All are speculative fiction, with a strong leaning toward science fiction. Most, though not all, are dark tales of one sort or another. But there's some light and humour here as well.

Is it a book for men or women?

I suspect this one will appeal more to men than women, but only because traditionally the readership for science fiction has been male centred. 

What books are you reading now?

I've just finished The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffennegger . An excellent story with some wonderful writing. At this moment, I'm re-reading Hamlet and will soon re-read Jane Eyre, because these are some of the texts my daughter's studying for her A level exams and I want to be able to discuss them with her, if she wants my input. I have an extensive and somewhat eclectic list of 'to read' books, however. Time is the basic block, isn't it?

What are your current projects?

A long time ago, I drew a map of an imaginary land and marked it with invented places and features. That was the real beginning of an adult fantasy novel I'd been considering for a while. The history, religions, myths, customs, geography, societies and politics all followed until I had a world that seemed real enough to stand as a setting. But, as I always start a piece of fiction writing by getting to know my characters, I developed the 50 or so named people who populate the pages before I started on the story.

I've written and edited the first volume of The Seared Sky, but at 277,000 words I suspect it's a little too long to attract most publishers. I'm now reading the typed MS from beginning to end to see if I can split this first volume into two books before I start to write the next part of the story.

Do you see writing as a career?

I'd dearly love to join the 2% of authors who write full time and make  a living but it's very difficult in the modern world. In the past, publishers supported writers they considered promising and allowed them time to develop. Sometimes they got it wrong, but often they allowed real talent to grow and reaped their rewards in great sales and the production of brilliant books. This no longer happens: now, publishers are interested only in celebrity and are run by bean-counters; people with no understanding that the world is about more than money. 

This year, I'd like to finish the adult fantasy to the point where it can be published; volumes 1 and 2. I've more stories I'd like to compile as anthologies and there are writing contests to enter, magazines to submit my short stories to. My website and blog need constant up-dating to remain of interest and help to my readers. I hope to attend my writing group regularly for the weekly meetings that prove so supportive and inspiring. So, not a lot going on, really.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

At school, my English homework frequently consisted of essays and stories; it was the only homework I actively enjoyed. In fact, the only two subjects that resonated for me were English and Technical Drawing. Had the teacher of the latter been more sympathetic, I might have become an architect. My English teacher, a pretty young woman, whose sexual presence was quite stimulating for an adolescent, encouraged me to enter an annual writing competition. I won first prize; the cup. From there I went on to some journalism and playwriting, to novel and short story writing.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

In the writing itself; not really. I can sit down at the keyboard with no prior preparation and turn out a decent 1000-3000 word short story at one sitting. It'll need editing, of course, and occasionally it will be rubbish. But I love the act of writing, of being there in that other place that my imagination takes me when I'm in the creative phase.

What I do find a constant challenge, and a real drain on my time and energy, is the necessary marketing activity. The two aspects of being a modern author – writing and publicity – are diametrically opposed activities, requiring different personality traits for real success. I think publishing made a huge error when it decided to place the burden of marketing on authors instead of hiring people with those specific skills.

What books have influenced your life most?

I've read since my early years. We had no TV until I was about 14, so I'd exhausted the children's section of the local library by the time I was 11. I was allowed to take out one book at a time from the adult section after that. My first such book was Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, a classic of war and coming of age, set in the First World War. It was an eye-opener and made me realise what could be done with a book. Since then, I've read countless books, and all have influenced me in their own ways.

Did you find the idea of having your work published for others to read intimidating?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 

Not intimidating. I wouldn't put something forward for publication unless I was relatively confident it was something people wanted to read and unless I was sure I'd made it as good as I could at the time. I love the idea of publication. Readers will undoubtedly let me know if I've sent a pup out there.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Very difficult. Different writers bring different qualities to the craft. But, if I'm forced to name names, I'd choose William Golding for the richness of his metaphor, Graham Greene for the depth of his story telling, Shakespeare for his poetry, William Horwood for his empathy, J.K Rowling for her imagination, Stephen King for his menace and tension, and Rosie Thomas for her intelligent emotional component. But that does a disservice to hundreds of other brilliant writers I've encountered, and continue to come across, in a lifetime of reading.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I'm learning all the time. Sometimes, my ignorance astounds me. I think what came across most, in the publication of both these books, was the importance of the reader. To write for yourself, a phrase too glibly repeated, is to embrace the danger of self-indulgence. Yes, you must write what you know and what you would want to read, but modified by the knowledge that others will spend time and money on your output. Respect for those who read and buy your books can only be a good thing, can't it?

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Unpopular, but, yes. There are too many people writing. In the same way that everyone with a camera believes themselves a photographer, everyone with a pen, keyboard or PC thinks they're a writer. Please, only write if you have something worthwhile to say, understand the rules thoroughly enough to break them without causing offence, and, most importantly, if your life depends on you writing. Anything less than a deep passion about writing and the work you produce is insufficient to preserve you in a world where would-be authors are ten-a-penny but where good, published authors are as rare as altruistic politicians.

Thanks Stuart for Dropping by!  You can find Stuart on the Web at:

Stuart Aken: Author of Breaking Faith & Ten Tales for Tomorrow. 

Editor of A Sackful of Shorts (An anthology of short stories from the Hornsea Writers group). 

Find them on my Author page at Amazon: 
UK -

Or USA -

Sample or buy as Ebook:

Visit my Website:

Follow my Blog:

Tweet with me:

Friend with me at Facebook:

Thank you, Clare, for this generous opportunity for me to interest more readers. They're the lifeblood of the author; little point in publishing for yourself, after all. I've enjoyed this session with you and hope I haven't rattled on too much. Words, you know, are the downfall of the writer.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Join Our Discussion/Chat Groups

We are live on the internet day and night and we would love for you to join us!  We have a great group where you can share ideas, offer advice or even promote your work!  Published or unpublished, reader, fan or novice we'd love to have you!

If you're interested come look us up on Google at

or on Yahoo Groups at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Welcome Mystery Author Wade J. McMahan As He Discusses His Newest Novel "Naughty or Nice? A Richard Dick Mystery"

Independent short-fiction author, Wade J. McMahan, crosses the boundaries of numerous genres.  His latest work “Naughty or Nice? A Richard Dick Mystery”  is available in virtually all  eBook formats from Untreed Reads Publishing or globally through eBook outlets including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, OmniLit, and Waterstones (UK). 

What is the name of your latest book? 

Naughty or Nice? A Richard Dick Mystery.

And how did you come up with the title? 

This became the third story published in my humorous Richard Dick Mystery series after  Jay Hartman, the Publisher at Untreed Reads Publishing, asked challenged me to write a Christmas/Hanukkah cross-over  story.   The question then arose, what would a private dick investigate prior to Christmas?  Well, he would assist Santa in the development of his annual list of “Naughty or Nice” children—of course!  

What is this book about? 

Bringing Santa Claus into a Christmas story is obvious enough, but what has that got to do with Hanukkah?  The plot thickens.  During the course of his investigation, private detective Richard Dick discovers that Santa is not Saint Nicholas after all, but is in truth, Jewish—the greatly misunderstood Rabbi Silverstein.

Beyond Dick’s usual tomfoolery, the story actually takes a serious turn with the introduction of two young brothers.   Insert here, one tragic fire and a boy dying of cancer and then hold on for a trip around the globe on Santa’s sleigh and a life lesson worth learning.

And what genre is this book in? 

How could a story about Santa Claus not be a fantasy?  
Who is/are the main character(s)? 

Richard Dick (please just call him Dick), Santa Clause (aka Rabbi Silverstein), and two young brothers, Lamarcus and Randy Johnson.

And why did you choose them? 

Christmas stories oftentypically gravitate towards Santa Claus and children.   Dick was the catalyst that brought all the characters together.

What is the coolest or best part about your book? 

The ending.  Santa coaches young Lamarcus through a tragic life lesson that even an adult would find difficult to grasp.

Do you have a favorite character in the book? 

Dick is my favorite in all of his stories, but I really came to like Santa in this one.

Why him? 

In many ways, Santa Claus became a tragic figure in this story.  Beyond the many popular misunderstandings about his true persona, Santa is far more than “a jolly old elf.”  Most importantly, in “Naughty or Nice?” I wanted to express that he cares very deeply about children, especially those in trouble.     

Is this book part of a series? 

As already mentioned, yes it is.  The series began with “Bite This!  A Richard Dick Mystery,” a story of shape-shifters that hit the Top 10 Bestseller List at OmniLit and is selling like hotcakes at Waterstones (UK).   Following that successful launch, I wrote “Witches Witch?” and now “Naughty or Nice?”

If so?   What can we expect in future books?

Wow, where to begin?  Hmm, Untreed Reads Publishing will soon release “The Lincoln Park Horror” where our hero Dick has a client who is a ghost.   I’m also working on “Fanged” where Dick will encounter a vampire.   Beyond that, I have partial storylines involving aliens and cavemen.  Dick opens a lot of doors.

If  you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

I don’t think so—I was quite satisfied with it.  If the great fantastic review I received from “The Pagan and the Pen” is any indication of its merit,  then I believe readers will find  it”Naughty or Nice?” worth their time.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Aside from the knowledge that Santa Claus is Jewish?  Let me think…  Oh yes, it re-inforced that I am capable of writing stories that contain more than pure humor.   I intend to take that knowledge in an altogether new direction and to a new level.

Do you have a publisher? 

Yes.  I am currently closely allied with Untreed Reads Publishing who publishes my Richard Dick series, and also published my humorous fantasy, “Flying Solo.”   I have also been published in The Ampersand Review, The df_Underground, Pine Tree Mysteries, and The Crow’s Nest Magazine. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

Mark Twain.  Yeah sure, I know that sounds trite, but the truth is—damn that man could pack a lot into a short story in his own unique amazing way!  I want to be Mark Twain when I grow up.

What books are you reading now? 

Non-fiction.  Research for my in-progress novel and for my career as a forester.  I know—boring stuff, but necessary.

What are the current writing projects that you are working on? 

I’ve already metioned the on-going works in my Richard Dick series.  Beyond that, I’m terribly excited about a full-length, fantasy novel I’m writing in company with Irish poet, Mike Mitchell.  The working title is “Above All Else.  An Irish Ballad,” although we fully expect it to change numerous times before it’s the book completed.  It’s a lyrical work based upon an ancient Irish legend, and introduces conflicts between traditional Druid beliefs and the introduction march of Christianity into Ireland.  We hope to bring the novel out by the end of the year.

Do you write full time? 

No, no, no.  I am a forester by profession and enjoy my time outdoors too much to sit at a desk all day.  

If not, do you hope to do so one day?

Someday maybe.   Meanwhile, I own my own business which offers many personal rewards as well as an income.  

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

No.  I suppose it kind of grew on me.  

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

You mean other than “normal people” thinking I’m some kind of a nut?  I find everything about writing challenging.  Writing well—writing to the high standards demanded by publishers is hard, damn it!  My best friends on my keyboard are “Highlight>Delete.”

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?

Think of writing as a business because that’s precisely what it is.  Read what’s already out there.  See what the competition looks like.  Can you do as well or better?  If so, you shouldn’t be reading this, you should be writing!!

Becoming published is a demanding process, so don’t start down this road unless you are  committed to seeing it through to the end.  Write well, better than you ever thought you could, and stay on task.   If you write a piece of crap, and all of us have, put it in your rear view mirror and move on.  Find people whose judgement you value to review your work, but remain true to your own instincts.   You will need a thick skin because rejections will flood your inbox.   Don’t flinch.   Get over it, learn from your mistakes and keep your eyes on the prize!

Thank you Wade for Dropping By!  

Visit Wade on Facebook

And buy his book at:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Author Annette Shelley Talks About Her Books The Glob and Beyond 2012: Return to Love

Scribal Love Welcomes Annette Shelley!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Since I was a kid, I always LOVED horror movies and books and wanted to write them.  I've worked on newspaper and yearbook staffs in high school and college and worked for magazines, TV stations and newspapers in my adult years.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Interesting question. This varies.  It might only take me a week or two to write the first draft, but the real work comes in with edits and revisions after that.  The series I'm working on now has been in my head for six years. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I've been self employed for several years so getting into the swing of full time writing was not too difficult for me.  On atypical day, I get up, go to the gym and get back late morning to take care of my customers, etc.  Then I normally write in the afternoons from noon until dinner. In the earlier days, I wrote all day and into the night, but had to find time for balance in my life.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I enjoy injecting humor into my work.  Yes, it may be a dark brooding story, but always with a few laughs along the way.  I try to include things that crack me up and hope others find it amusing too.

How do books get published?

You write your best work, submit it to publishers and if they choose to publish it, then it is turned over to an editor who works with you on revisions and then it's released.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas are everywhere.  Sometimes I see something during the day I think would make a good story, other times an idea floats into my mind, or more likely a question arises.  I find myself asking, “What if?” a lot.  That's always a good place to begin a story.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

My first book was a fiction piece I wrote when I was about twenty five.  At the time I was very self critical so I ended up throwing it out.  If I only knew then what I know now…I didn't start writing books again until 2001 when I began doing nonfiction and publishing those.  Then I wrote my second novel around 2004 and stopped again until 2007 when I finally decided I wanted to pursue this on a more full time basis. I love writing fiction more than any work I've ever done.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love to exercise.  The endorphin rush really helps me stay focused on other things. I am an avid spin cycle person, I love yoga, hiking, watching movies and a few drama programs, reading books - of course.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family is the reason I do this now. My mom read some of my early work and told me she thought it was good enough to publish.  My parents and brother in particular have been a huge support.  Without them, I wouldn't be doing this.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How much I love getting lost in these other worlds.  I knew I wanted to do this, but I never imagined enjoying anything as much. 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

In fiction I've written eighteen novels and at least a dozen short stories.  I've lost count…

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Keep going, keep reading books on the craft, listen to your editors.  I see a lot of writers who argue with the editor.  From my experience, the editors only have your best in mind and want to help you make things better.  I never recall a time when the suggestions didn't make my work better.  I think the writer has an attachment to the book - I mean it is our baby, right?  But there is a point where you have to let it go and look at it as a saleable product.  Be open to suggestion.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do.  I've had the pleasure of having readers tell me how much they enjoyed my work, which is a real thrill. One reader who read all my fiction says she now recognizes books by me just by the way they are written which is really cool.  That means I am doing my job in developing my voice.  That said, I can't rest on my laurels.  I still have much to learn in this business.  I believe it's a lifelong endeavor.  I hope to hear more from readers in the future.

Do you like to create books for adults?

I've always enjoyed writing for adults, even in nonfiction.  I believe there is a real service to humanity in helping adults get up out of their mundane lives and escape into the worlds we fiction writers create.  Fiction gives people escape and opens their minds to the possibilities that exist in the world.  I love it!

What do you think makes a good story?

People must identify with the characters and in my mind, there must be a plot laced with intrigue to get readers to turn the page.  Even in romance, I think there must be an underlying plot underneath the story of the love affair.  

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a newspaper writer, which I have done.   I also wanted to be a counselor which I've also pursued, and finally, I told my mom when I was little that I wanted to write novels, so finally I am doing that.  It feels really good! 

Tell us about your latest releases
With Red Rose Publishing, my latest is Lady in Red, a spooky tale about a couple of ghost hunters who go off to a haunted hotel for the weekend to investigate and discover more than they bargained for. 

With eXtasy books, my latest sci-fi romance is The Glob.  

Here is a review from Night Owl Reviews who gives The Glob 4.5 stars:

Original and hilarious, The Glob is a quick and entertaining read with just the right amount of spice. Alex, the alien who's taken human form to blend in on his mission to earth, is fabulous. He lands on earth in search of plastic bags to feed his people and discovers earth isn't at all what he pictured. A kind of Mork meets Mindy, his view of earthlings and their habits is hilarious, especially when he discovers sex. The author's storyline is fast paced, and the sex scenes, hot, hot, hot.

What's next?
Several projects in the mix right now. I'm doing several stories for a Tarot theme for eXtasy which will be coming out this year, some new novels, maybe some more stories with my characters from my Beyond 2012 Trilogy. 

That's your sci-fi, right?

You know I love sci-fi! Tell us more…

The stories begin in the year 3033 and we see the end result of some of the poor decision making made in the year 2012.  

Book one - Beyond 2012: Return to Love - Mankind is genetically modified to consume only fructose corn syrup and thanks to an evil Queen, men and women are segregated and used for reproductive purposes only.  One woman, Myra, fights to bring men and woman back together and end the cycle of darkness.  She falls in love with an alien named Cecil who helps her and teaches her about steak ( an aphrodisiac) and physical intimacy.  

Book Two - Beyond 2012: Return of the Reptilians The Great Shift occurred but darkness is still looming.  Myra's brother Thomas always had a dark streak.  Now he must fight those urges if he wants to continue to have a relationship with Cecil's sister, Cecilia.  Can he tame his nature and find true love? 

Book Three - Rise of the Queen - Here we go back to the beginning, to cataclysmic events of 2012 and find out how the future Queen Devlyn wound up like she did.  All the pieces of the puzzle are wrapped up as she falls in love with Nelek, commander of the Reptilian star fleet. 

Annette, Thanks for Hanging Out With Us For A While! 

You Can Find Annette On the Web At: