News, Featured Author

Featured Author: Raquel Herrera

Meet Raquel Herrera, author of Hunters I: The Mission.

About Raquel Herrera

Raquel is a 25-year-old student of Classic Philology. She fell in love with books when she was in high school and her literature teacher made her read The Hunger Games for her final test, soon after that she found her passion to write too. Her first attempt to write was around 2016 on Wattpad, with a story called “Just one heart” but for some personal situations she stopped writing back then. Also, she is a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. She has been following her for years. Besides writing she loves traveling and music, and she actually play bass and transversal flute.

So let’s talk a bit about Hunters I: The Mission.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Hunters I: The Mission:
Hunters is a high fantasy world, with seven kingdoms and each of them hunt a specific type of animal or creature. In the first book (The Mission) we meet Akane, she is a huntress/crown princess, who has to do a mission for her to become queen. But the day before she starts her mission, a bunch of different things happen, from a prince showing up to an ancient legend, her world will soon turn upside down.

When did you start writing Hunters I: The Mission? What inspired you to write it?
I start writing hunters back in 2018. That’s when the first idea came up. I believe I got it from a dream, this princess hunting in the woods. Back then I was living in New York alone, away from my family and I was homesick so I started writing it as a way to escape. I’m sure the sad/angry/tense scenes where the first ones I ever wrote.

Who is your favorite character?
People are going to be upset about this, but it’s actually Killian. He is not the main character at all, he is in just 2 or 3 chapters but I just love him so bad.

What was your favorite part to write?
Probably the scenes where Killian and Ashton are together (that’s around chapters 29-30) I love the chemistry of those two characters together.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Hunters I: The Mission?
Even though the situation might be hard, or what’s in front of you seems impossible, with friends and family you can make it through. Also, not giving up, writing the book was hard for me as well this mission is hard for Akane, but we didn’t give up. People should follow their dreams.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
There’s a face-to-face dragon scene

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Hunters I: The Mission?
Well, who doesn’t like a badass warrior crown princess with a sarcastic and funny sidekick friend? Plus, there’s a bit of an enemy to lovers.

Hunters I: The Mission sounds like so much fun, and I love how it has been influenced by your life.

So speaking of your life…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

If you could sit down with your favorite author for an hour, what would you ask them?
I’ll probably have time just for 1 question because I’ll freak out (no joke, this already happened, I got into the same elevator as her, and I didn’t know what to do so I got out on the wrong floor) so I’ll ask her any tip she can give me to grow as an author. Or about her mistakes in her journey so I can try to avoid them

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one?
Let’s say it includes a lot of procrastinating, but there’s something I always do, and it’s setting a daily writing goal, I even do a chart where I can keep track of it. I can’t really write without it because I need to see that I’m in fact making some progress.

Who do you consider your biggest support when you are writing?
My parents and brothers hear me talking about my own nonsense all the time, they aren’t readers and of course, they don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, but they still support me. My parents even read my first book, even though it took them months to finish it. And I’m sure that was the first book my dad ever read completely. 

How do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
For me, success is being able to inspire people, for me publishing my first book was a long journey, and the fact that there are people out there telling me my book inspired them to follow their own dreams, is more than enough for me.

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
There are two things I can think of right now, the first one is that my book was the most sell book in my local bookstore back in June 2021. And the second one is that I got an invitation to be one of the authors signing in ApollyCon 2022, which is a really big signing event in DC, organized by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Basically, I’ll be signing books along with other amazing and popular authors like Brigid Kemmerer and Danielle L. Jensen. 

Check out Hunters I: The Mission below…and be sure to follow Raquel Herrera to discover more of her work!

Featured Author, News

Featured Author: R.T. Cole

Meet R.T. Cole, author of Genesis of War (Book One of the Realm of Aeron).

About R.T. Cole

R.T. Cole is a fiction writer and the author of THE REALM OF AREON series. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

He has been a fan of fantasy since the days of Willow, Conan the Barbarian, and The Princess Bride. When he was a teenager, he saw The Fellowship of the Ring in theaters; After that, he knew that he wanted to write epic stories and turn them into books for a new generation of fantasy fans. R.T. now spends his days working to bring life to his own worlds.

He grew up reading science fiction & fantasy, from Star Wars to Harry Potter, and writing fan-fiction Transformers stories. He was, and still is, a gamer that prefers RPGs for their intricate plots and detailed magic systems. If there’s ever time left in the day, he can also be found reading the latest issue of DC’s The Flash.

So let’s talk a bit about Genesis of War.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Genesis of War:
Genesis of War is the first book in a 5-part epic fantasy series called The Realm of Areon. It tells the story of three brothers who are thrust into a new war with a vengeful sorcerer. While the siblings are together in the beginning, they’re quickly separated by duty, and we then follow each of them on their unique journeys.

When did you start writing Genesis of War? What inspired you to write it?
Technically, I started writing it in 2002. By “writing it”, I mean I jotted down a notebook full of ideas, lol. After spending years compiling more notes—never fully taking it seriously until I was older—I finally took the plunge and wrote the whole novel in 2017.

As for the inspiration, the reason I began writing down notes in early 2002 is because I had just seen “The Fellowship of the Ring” in December 2001. I will always credit that film for giving me the realization that I wanted to tell stories.

Who is your favorite character?
I have a lot of characters, lol. But if I had to choose one, I’d say Thasus Palidor. He is the oldest of the three brothers I mentioned before. It’s a lot of fun writing him because he’s the one character who has taken on a life of his own in the story—meaning he has turned out completely different than what I had envisioned in my outline. It has actually worked out for the better.  

What was your favorite part to write?
Any part where there was a battle, or when I had the opportunity to describe one of the many abilities used throughout the book. For example, the first time we find a character utilizing the ability to read minds, I wanted to give the reader a perfect glimpse into what that would be like.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Genesis of War?
All heroes have flaws, and all villains have at least one redeeming quality.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
The evolution of one character may surprise you.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Genesis of War?
It’s an easy read for a first-in-a-series.

Any other things you want us to know about Genesis of War?
While there’s talk of different locations, history, and people called Sages, there’s a map at the front of the book and appendices at the back to make things a lot easier to follow.

Genesis of War sounds like an amazing first book to a series! I just started reading and can’t wait to dive into it more!

So speaking of writing…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

So tell me…why do you write?
I just want to tell stories. Books, movies, TV shows, comic books, and video games have all shaped me with the amazing stories they tell. I hope my stories reach just one person at that level.m out of my mind. 

Do you prefer physical books, eBooks, audiobooks or all of the above? Why?
I prefer physical books. Not only do I love the smell of a new book, but also it’s easier for me to stare at over a screen any day of the week.

How do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
Book sales are great. Reviews are even better because they can lead to more sales through word-of-mouth. But I consider myself a successful author if my stories resonate with the readers. There’s no greater feeling than seeing one of my books mentioned in a social media post, or receiving a message from a reader with positive thoughts.

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
’ve had two that come to mind: 1) I’ve sold over 1,000 copies of Genesis of War since it was published in 2018; and 2) My third book, Shards of the Sun, received the #1 New Release banner on Amazon in January 2021, and the banner remained for the entire first week of publication. That last one was a bit of a big deal because the book could’ve lost the banner after the first day, due to lack of sales, but it thrived for its first 7 days in the world. I was shocked!

What has been one of your biggest mistakes on your publishing journey?
Rushing my first two book releases. In that regard, I mean that I didn’t know the ins and outs of obtaining ARC readers, sending out newsletters, marketing for months leading up to the day of release, etc. I did well enough with Book 3, but I’m hoping I can perfect the process when I come out with Book 4.

Check out Genesis of War below…and be sure to follow R.T. Cole to discover more of his work!

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Featured Author: Jesse M. Harvey

Meet Jesse M. Harvey, author of Scythia Protostar (Book One of the Dark Stellar Legacy).

About Jesse M. Harvey

Jesse M. Harvey debut book is ‘Motherhood at the End of the World.’ She writes many types of fiction, including science fiction, space fantasy, supernatural, thriller and mystery. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree in history.

Jesse currently lives in Syracuse NY. She is married with three school age children. Her family comes from a military background, and her husband is a veteran.

Through all her work, Jesse includes underlining themes of hope, compassion, courage and determination. She believes that fiction shapes the future. Jesse wants to help inspire a more diverse and inclusive world.

So let’s talk a bit about Scythia Protostar.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Scythia Protostar:
It is a Science Fiction/Fantasy adventure. It’s the first in a series. Evil Galactic Empire, where a group of misfits are brought together. They are sent on their first mission together and it does not go as planned.

When did you start writing Scythia Protostar? What inspired you to write it?
I started writing it about five years ago. It started as a NaNoWriMo challenge. My husband and I were discussing working together on a book. We originally talked about writing a Romantic Comedy. Somehow, we went from, Bad guys need love too; to what if the henchmen fell in love. Then, too what if they were really bad at being bad guys, ending up with a group of morally grey characters inadvertently becoming heroes as they try to survive a very dangerous world. It was a wild ride honestly.

Who is your favorite character?
Djaem is my favorite. He is the sneaky, brilliant master mind, and manipulator. I love the super smart characters, like Sherlock Holmes, or Loki. But he is also the physically weakest of the group, so he must be very clever to not get hurt. It also means that when he does put himself in harm’s way it is even more of a sacrifice.   

What was your favorite part to write?
I really enjoy writing the descriptive scenes. I feel that this book lets me get a little more poetic with some of the descriptors because it is in space. I also really like the funny parts. They still make me laugh.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Scythia Protostar?
Scythia is written in a pulp style. So, it is supposed to be fast and fun. I hope they feel a little inspired, a little hopeful. The darker it is the, brighter our little light becomes.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
Uthraith is one of the smallest people from his tribe. He was sent from his tribe to the Inner Ring of the empire because he was the smartest and spoke the most languages. He only keeps and decorates the skulls of the enemies he finds worth.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Scythia Protostar?
It is a wild ride, and it will make you smile.

Any other things you want us to know about Scythia Protostar?
We didn’t get rid of the Romantic idea. In fact, we decided to make the romance and unlaying theme. Each book is like an episode, each episode is a beat to the romance plot. Book one is boy meets girl. Book two will have book boy realizes he likes girl. Etc.  

Scythia Protostar sounds like an amazing and fun book! I love that you enjoy writing descriptive scenes…I feel like a lot of writers don’t.

So speaking of writing…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

So tell me…why do you write?
I have been writing since I was 11. I joke that if I don’t write the people and worlds in my head will make my brain explode. It helps to tell their stories. It clears them out of my mind. 

Ok so you must have more hobbies outside of writing. What are they? Do they influence your writing in any way? Oh I collect hobbies. I love puzzles, and games. I play roleplaying games, as well as video games. I also do cross stich, and pain by numbers. I love baking and stuff like that. I think it helps a lot with my writing. It helps give ideas, and keeps my calm, it also gives my brain a way of sorting through things while I do the hobby and relax.

What is your favorite word? Why?
I don’t think I have a favorite word because there are so many. But I do have a favorite curse word. I love the word Fuck. Because it is so diverse, and I can use it in so man different ways.

Ha! That’s great! It really is quite a diverse word…it can be used as a verb…adjective…noun…oops! I’m getting carried away.

Anyhow, who do you consider your biggest support when you are writing?
My Husband really is my biggest support. As I said I have been writing since I was a teen. But I didn’t think I would ever publish. I wasn’t even going to try. I was writing to get the stories out of my head, and to share with friends. He was the first person to keep pushing me to send out samples of my work. To finish a novel, to do the edits. He has always been the one to keep me working. He never lets me quite and always keeps me believing in myself.

I love that! It is so important to have support. But it is also important to meet our goals. So with that being said, how do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
Success for me I guess it hard to really explain. I absolutely love when someone enjoys my books, or stories. And I get so excited when someone leaves a review. But I have a dream. It is to walk into a bookstore and see My books on the shelves. Or on a display. Like at Barnes and Nobles or the library. That is my dream.

I think that’s a common goal for all of us. So I’m sure you always need to remind yourself to keep pushing. So, with that in mind, if you could give one piece of advise to your past self, what would it be?
Write. Just keep writing. Different genres, different styles. Just write.

Thank you so much for answering these questions Jesse! I think it will help readers really get in touch with your writing. Do you have anything else you want to say before signing off?
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy my book. I have many more in the works.

Check out Scythia Protostar below…and be sure to follow Jesse M. Harvey to discover more of her work!

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Chloe Gilholy

Today we are talking with Chloe Gilholy about her creative process. Chloe Gilholy is the author of Game of Mass Destruction.

About Author

Chloe Gilholy was born in Staffordshire and is a healthcare worker from Oxfordshire. She had her first poem published in an anthology when she was eight and hasn’t stopped writing since. She is the author of Game of Mass Destruction, Drinking Poetry and Fishman. She also writes fanfiction under the penname, Chloboshoka.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Game of Mass Destruction is a romance between dystopian sci-fi and black comedy.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I came up with the plot to Game of Mass Destruction as part of an English assignment where we had to write a science fiction story. I got carried away and started a fan fic where couples from many fandoms were put into teams and had to destroy loads of robots. At the time it was called Paranoia Wars Community. I was only 15 when I started it and it became too much for me, so I never finished it.

Battle Royale is one of my favourite novels and I loved the movies and the manga series as well. Getting into Hunger Games, The Lord of the Flies, Ready Player One and The Running Man eventually made me want to try the story again. Paranoia Wars Community was changed to Game of Mass Destruction. After writing the fic version, I thought I would have more freedom with it if I created my own characters.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Yuzuko Shikumi is widow with an infant son and a girlfriend. She loves her country and is very close to her grandfather. Yuzuko shares a name with one of the main characters from a manga called Citrus.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

The main setting for the story is an island under constant watch. Various reality tv shows like Big Brother, Survivor and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. I still haven’t watched a single episode of Love Island.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Other than the fan fic inceptions, there were plenty. It was so much more than just name changes. The robots have more personality and Sia or Bobby would have been the main characters.I never used to edit my work cause I was obsessed with getting right the first time. Now it’s one of my favourite parts. I like sharing my work too.Other than the fan fic inceptions, there were plenty. It was so much more than just name changes. The robots have more personality and Sia or Bobby would have been the main characters.

What is your writing process like?

I have no routine. There are days I can write thousands and days when I’m lucky to reach a page. I put all my brainstorming and plotting on pen to paper first, then start the first draft in my notebook, then write it up on Word, the tidy it up as I go along.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I never used to edit my work cause I was obsessed with getting right the first time. Now it’s one of my favourite parts. I like sharing my work too.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Refining my work and getting understood.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

Reading lots of books made me decide to write books too. My nans on both sides of the family encouraged it.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Just do it, but don’t feel bad if you can’t do it everyday.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Chloe Gilholy, check out the links below!

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Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Valerie Evans

Today we are talking with Valerie Evans about her creative process. Valerie Evans is the author of the Anberlin Chronicles.

About Author

Valerie Evans has been writing since she was in middle school and started the first book of the Anberlin Chronicles back in 2012. All three parts were published earlier this year in a staggered timeline. She has always loved fantasy and bringing stories to life so she’s excited to share more stories from Anberlin as well as a new project involving werewolves.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Kindred Spirit focuses on Aria Tate who is a witch that sees ghosts and lives in a very supernatural town. Vampires, werewolves, witches, an occasional demon, and the many unaware and aware humans call Anberlin home. The trouble starts when she saves an injured man’s life only to learn that he’s a hunter of people like her then worsens when her childhood imaginary friend, Faith, returns in adult form. Suddenly, the pranks of her childhood and Faith’s current behavior seem malicious and alienating which leads her to wonder if maybe it was more than just an overactive imagination and what Faith wants from her.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

Funnily enough, a movie called Imaginary Friend starring Lacey Chabert started me on this path. It dealt with an imaginary friend coming back as an adult and her questioning her sanity. However, I was disappointed to learn it wasn’t supernatural so I began crafting a story of my own where it’s definitely supernatural but the what isn’t so obvious. Who better to draw things dark and malicious than a witch with some strange hobbies?

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Aria Tate comes from a long line of witches but also has an unfortunate side effect of seeing ghosts. She runs a junk shop with her brother’s girlfriend and tries to be as normal as possible. While I didn’t have any particular real life person, her appearance as red hair and green eyes was inspired by my Irish ancestry. I translated my love of thrift stores and all things strange into creating her store.

Jeremy Hayes came from far too much Supernatural. The idea of hunting supernatural creatures intrigued me, but I also wanted to play with the idea of can people change when given all the facts? He grew up with a limited view of the supernatural then gets dumped into the middle of it by crossing paths with Aria. He’s forced to face supernatural creatures are more than he realized and begins to question if he can continue to kill them so indiscriminately.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

In a lot of ways, Anberlin is like the town where I grew up. It’s small and everyone knows everyone. Strangers are rare and the businesses are locally owned. It’s a lot more interesting with its supernatural citizens, though!

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

It was originally intended to be a stand-alone novel except new questions arose. Hints were dropped, and I found myself learning more about where Aria’s magic came from. An event took an unexpected turn and gave me a chance to explore “magic comes at a price”. It wasn’t intended to have such a romance angle, but Jeremy and Aria’a chemistry popped up almost immediately so I had to explore it deeper.

What is your writing process like?

I’m an outline person, but I normally do it in chunks of 5-7 chapters with basics ideas or hints then write the meat of it freehand. I try not to edit as I go unless I left off unsure of a scene. I’ll sometimes write scenes out of order then have to find where they fit into the rest of the story.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I love the writing phase because I finally get to see all these choppy notes become a cohesive story. It always takes me fun, unexpected directions, too, so it’s like an adventure where you don’t have to leave the house.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

The most difficult part was the confidence part because I’m overly critical. I’d had people praise my work in school assignments or writing fanfiction but making an entire world and characters of my own was new. I actually overcame it through conversation and a supportive network in my real life so I took the step to finish and publish.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I’ve read so many great authors but Holly Black started my fantasy obsession; however, I’ve shifted away from fairies to more mainstream fantasy species. A close friend and my sister inspired me, too, because both had early access to the first draft of Kindred Spirit and encouraged me to make that push toward self-publishing and getting my stories out. And the rest is history!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Write the story you want and be true to your own vision. Don’t be afraid to write something new and strange!

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Valerie Evans, check out the links below!

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Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Cynthia Vespia

Today we are talking with Cynthia Vespia about her creative process. Cynthia Vespia is the author of Karma, Kobra, and more!

About Author

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

It’s a superhero series called Silke’s Strike Force. Book 1 is Karma. 2 is Kobra. 3 is Kaged and 4 is Khaos. I did the spelling that way with the “K” on purpose just to have a theme.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

When I started, superheroes on the big screen and TV were all the rage. I’ve always loved superheroes and comics so I decided to make up my own.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

My main character is Silke (silky) Butters. I got the name when I was working at The Wynn in Las Vegas. Someone checked in using it. We get a lot of aliases in Vegas hotels! I wrote Silke to have a good heart and pure intentions so I could challenge her. She starts out a little naïve and as her powers grow she does as well. I also made her American Indian to change things up from the norm.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

The story takes place across New York and Los Angeles. Isn’t that where all superhero stories are based? Heh heh

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Silke’s Strike Force started out way different! Originally it was a story about female investigators. Silke was a Caucasian blonde. It evolved into this massive superhero story with military and sci-fi undertones. Crazy stuff happens when you’re a writer.

What is your writing process like?

I used to be a panster but I realized it was hurting my story. Because Silke’s Strike Force is my first big series I needed to plot it out more to have a throughline between all 4 books that links them up. But I don’t over plot either. It stifles creativity. I just put down the nuts and bolts then let the characters surprise me.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Character creation is my favorite for sure! I’m also partial to developing villains. I guess because you have more freedom. For instance, my villains The Sin Squad are full of a bunch of powered people named after the Seven Deadly Sins. In writing them I got to explore each of their unique stories and what brought them all together.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

I wrote part 1 Karma in 2017. Then life kicked my ass. So the hardest part was trying to get back in the mindset to finish the rest of the series. Part 2, Kobra was so hard to write. But I got through it and I’m very pleased with the outcome.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

Dean Koontz. I read a book of his called Intensity when I was in school and wanted to create stories like that. I met him a few years later!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Learn the rules of writing and then break them! Don’t be afraid to take a risk with your writing. It’s your story, have fun!

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Cynthia Vespia, check out the links below!

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Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with S.W. Raine

Today we are talking with S.W. Raine about her creative process. S.W. Raine is the author of The Techno Mage.

About Author

Raine is Canadian, born and raised, and constantly moved in between Ontario and Quebec with her military family. She moved to Michigan, USA, in 2004, where she currently still resides with her husband and son.

She has always had a vivid imagination and loved reading and writing from a very young age. She took courses in Children’s Literature through ICL in Illinois, and released her debut New Adult Steampunk adventure in 2020. She has participated in NaNoWriMo for over a decade and is currently a Municipal Liaison for the Detroit region.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

The Techno Mage is about a trio of friends, a mythical man, and a mission to destroy the mythical airship Faugregir.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I’m a total Pantser, and the only inspiration I had was an image of an airship that appeared as a floating island instead.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

I had originally created the trio (Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana) for a Steampunk Role Play that never really took off. The only inspiration I had was a random image of a blond man as my avatar for Ikarim, and a woman with long blonde dreadlocks wearing tan overalls that I had seen long ago.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

When I created the trio for the RP, all three were mechanics. And since Arteus was the son of Doktor Gesselmeyer–a wealthier scientist–it just made sense to have them be in Germany, working as a side-gig for the old man.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

I deleted a few scenes, but I also ended up deleting an entire character, as well! It broke my heart, but he’ll make his reappearance proper in the spin-off. 😉

What is your writing process like?

As stated earlier, I’m a total Pantser. I cannot outline to save my life. I like to think of myself as simply following the characters around and chronicling their journeys.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

The actual writing. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) is my favorite part because I can just let the ideas flow.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Revision and Editing were the most difficult parts. I had originally written The Techno Mage back in 2012 for NaNoWriMo, and every time I’d try to edit, I’d end up giving up after chapter 3 or 4. It’s because I didn’t truly understand how to properly edit, nor did I know that editing and revision were two separate things. It took years of trying and giving up off and on before I found myself up until 3AM learning about revision, macro edits, and micro edits via Pinterest.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I have always loved reading and telling stories. I’ve had a wild imagination since I can remember, and creative writing was always a favorite at school. I’d have to bargain with the teachers to let me write over the max word limit! I’ve had many different favorite authors as I grew up, and even took courses with ICL in Chicago, but I can say that even though I didn’t know the awesomeness of Neil Gaiman until the early 2000s, he is definitely my biggest inspiration. His storytelling is amazing, and the fact that he writes for all different ages was a definite win in my books.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in S.W. Raine, check out the links below!

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Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with S. Courtney

Today we are talking with S. Courtney about her creative process. S. Courtney is the author of Bound to You, Bound by Destiny, and Unapologetically Nessa.

About Author

S Courtney is new to the published writing community but has been a lifelong writer and began creatively writing in junior high. She is the author of the paranormal romance, Bound to You, a fast paced read full of action that will make you both smile and sigh. The dynamic between Kayden and his wolf Phoenix is awesome, while the relationship between him and Kamari is sweet enough to melt a heart. Trouble is coming and it may be more than Kayden can handle. But not if Kamari can help.

This is book one in the series, Bound by Destiny, the second book of the Bound Series is available now and Unapologetically Nessa will be released in November of 2020.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Bound to You is a paranormal romance about a local artist who has an obsession with drawing a particular wolf she always dreams about and an Alpha leader who also enjoys painting a woman whose face he never sees but he knows, she’s the one. During a turn of events he comes into town for supplies and catches her drawing this wolf, but wait…that wolf…is him! It is a tale of two people “drawn together” by fate.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

After extensive reading on Wattpad, I noticed a pattern that I wanted to break. I wanted the heroine to be strong and fearless, not timid and weak and I wanted the hero to be strong but soft hearted, not smug and arrogant.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Kamari Lee is a representation of myself, she’s independent but also a big sweetheart who can be a bit naive, she is supported by her best friend who constantly reassures her that her true love is coming even after her most recent heartache.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Lovenshire was made up in my imagination, I never say exactly where the town is located but I always think Wyoming or Montana. It is a small town at the base of the mountains and lots of forestry.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

It constantly changed, especially while editing you have to make sure everything connects and that the story flows smoothly. The plot twist in the middle of the story came out of nowhere and it seems to be everyone’s favorite part.

What is your writing process like?

I don’t plan or outline, I literally begin writing and then I go back and read. I may make notes in my phone but I like free writing, it works for me. I write any chance I get unless my characters are quiet then I don’t force it. It is their story I’m just writing it down.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Intertwining the stories from the other books whether it be a line, a scene, or more. I enjoy people realizing that this is another POV to a particular moment in the story.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Trying to explain a new creature not known outside the book and their power and characteristics. I took some time to think about how I wanted them to look when in power and once complete I was very proud.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing but a lot of friends and family encouraged me to publish.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

To be yourself and be open to talking with others about their experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because they are the very same questions we asked and finally, be confident in your writing! It may have been done a million times but none of those are from you, tell us how you would write it!

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in S. Courtney, check out the links below!

Social Media

Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Tanya Ross

Today we are talking with Tanya Ross about her creative process. Tanya Ross is the author of Rising Up.

About Author

Tanya Ross was born and raised in San Diego County, her “happy place.” Although Southern California is a particular kind of paradise, she desires a world where everyone is kind, compassionate, and upbeat, which became one of the themes of her new novel, Rising Up. For thirty-two years she was an educator of English, history, AVID, and student leadership.  She loves teaching and kids, her students a daily inspiration. Her exit from the educational arena allowed her to indulge her hopes, dreams, and goals in what she taught for so many years–writing. This first novel begins her lifelong dream of writing meaningful novels for young adults. When she’s not creating new worlds, you can find her reading, spending time with her husband and two kids, or walking her golden retriever, Honey.  

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My novel is the first in a series. It’s about a girl (Ember) who is an Empath. She lives in a domed city called Tranquility. Everyone who lives there wears a device to monitor their emotions. Those who are happy and can stay positive earn points to rise up in society. Those who resist are banished. When Ember’s mother dies, and she is not allowed to grieve, she uncovers secrets about the city that set her on a path to revolution. With the help of Will, a city hero, and Xander, an exiled resistor, she pursues a quest to answer the questions that no one wants to ask. And the answers no one wants to believe.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I once wore a data-collecting device from Arbitron, a company that determined the ratings for radio and tv. I wondered what would happen if it could measure other things, like emotions.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

My main character, Ember, is an extension of my 16 year old self. She is shy, does not believe she has the courage to make changes, and is very emotional and vulnerable. She looks to others for her strength. My second character, Will, 18, is based on a former student from my student leadership class when I was a teacher. He is gorgeous, friendly, ambitious, humble, and heroic. He wants to rise up in society, but when he meets Ember, he has to re-examine his priorities. My 3rd character is Xander. He is the ultimate rebel. He hates the city and all he’s expected to embrace as a citizen. He resists so much, he’s branded as a criminal and expelled from the city. He’s not based on anyone per se, but I had Adam Lambert in mind when I came up with his physical look. Both boys fall in love with Ember.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

I wanted a protected environment where people had no choice but to agree to the requirements because the alternative (living outside the city) made it almost impossible to survive. The city is perfect. It’s a place where any of us would hope to live—no crime, no negativity, no dissension. Who doesn’t yearn for that?

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

I never imagined my MC would have supernatural powers beyond her ability to feel other people’s emotions. When she had the ability to rewind time, it was a surprise.

What is your writing process like?

I only use mind maps. I run ideas in front of my family. I like to go where the characters take me, so it’s a definite seat of your pants approach.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

When I get into the flow and I am completely in other place with people I know intimately!

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Self doubt. I didn’t think I could finish it because I was always worried about whether it was any good.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I have always wanted to write a book from the time I was in high school. I don’t even know why…I know I’ve always been good with words. Also, my students inspired me. I wanted to write YA books for them.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Don’t give up. You can do this.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Tanya Ross, check out the links below!

Social Media

Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Avalon Roselin

Today we are talking with Avalon Roselin about her creative process. Avalon Roselin is the author of Stellar Eclipse, Like Falling Stars, and ALiCE.

About Author

As an independent author, Avalon Roselin’s goal is to explore as many different genres as she can. Her focus right now is on an urban fantasy/thriller-mystery series, and her plans for future books include a magical school story, an animal fiction drama, and a sci-fi romance with robot characters. She hopes to have a wide range of stories under my belt eventually!

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My most recent release is the second book in the Stellar Eclipse series, Dark Lightning! This sequel builds on the relationships founded in the first, and introduces more elements of fantasy-adventure as they journey into new environments that expand on the lore and world of the Stellar Eclipse series.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved camping! As a child, my family would take me camping at least once a year, and I’ve been in love with the outdoors ever since. In fact, the very first rough draft of Dark Lightning was completed on a camping trip! The first book in the Stellar Eclipse series, Cloudless Rain, takes place almost exclusively in an urban setting, so I wanted to explore beyond the city limits and introduce the readers to more of the natural world that the series is set in.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

All of my characters carry some of myself within them. For example, Eureka’s fear of heights–that’s all me. I can’t even climb up a ladder at a playground without freezing up, so it was cathartic to express that fear through him having to climb trees that are multiple stories tall!

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Despite my aforementioned fear of heights, I’ve always been fascinated by giant trees and the idea of living in them. I took many trips to the redwood forests during my childhood, and I think it was here that my desire to write a story where a society of people live in such massive trees began!

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Dark Lightning is actually an older story despite being a sequel, so it had to change a lot as its predecessor did. One of the biggest changes was shifting the setting–originally, the main characters passed through the forest on the way to the mountains, where the second and third acts took place. In the final version, they stay in the forest, which allows the story to move forward with the plot much faster and gives more time to develop characters that will return in future installments!

What is your writing process like?

I start with outlining and planning, then draft and redraft as many times as I feel is necessary, until I think I’m ready to show my work to people. After that the unfinished manuscript is shown to beta readers to get feedback on the story, and I make adjustments and general improvements as needed. Next it goes to my content editor, who goes into more depth of which specific details or plot points should be altered to tell the story I really want to tell. I revise again, then go over the semi-final draft with my line editor. Once everything’s set, I send it off to my proofreader, and then it’s ready for publication! Dark Lightning finished this process in the shortest amount of time (just under two years), but I anticipate the next book will take 2-3 years.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I actually love the editing process. Seeing my story become its best self is a beautiful and wonderful thing, and even if it’s hard, it’s always rewarding and I learn something new about how to write better.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Committing to major changes is always difficult. There’s always a sense of doubt, and I tend to question my judgment quite a bit, but thankfully my critique partners and editors are usually available to talk it through and, usually, they’re good changes.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I always loved writing as a hobby when I was a kid, but it was a particularly spirited discussion on The Giver in middle school that inspired me to take it seriously!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Never let the fear of writing something that’s not “good” stop you! All writing has worth as practice, and you never know what ideas you might reuse later.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in [author], check out the links below!

Social Media

Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison