Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Logan Young

Today we are talking with Logan Young about his creative process. [Author] is the author of The Vanquisher of Water.

About Author

Logan Young is a Colorado-based young adult author. As a child, his overactive mind never seemed to shut off, filling his head with all kinds of stories and worlds. Now as an adult, he’s decided to put those stories on paper. When not writing, Logan enjoys getting out and exploring in nature whenever he can.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My debut novel, The Vanquisher of Water, tells the story of Kym Collins. Kym is a young teenage girl who’s life has been negatively impacted by magic. Then, when she discovers that she herself has magic, she must learn to accept her place in a world she never wanted to be a part of.

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

The idea for this world and Kym’s story really came out of nowhere. I was sitting in my parent’s house when I was 17 years old one night in December, and suddenly, the idea of Princirum, the setting of Kym’s story, plopped into my head. I knew there were gods and rulers and demons and people who could do magic, but there also weren’t that many of them. I started writing the mythology of the world, most of which only makes brief appearances in the actual story. Then, once I felt like I had a semi firm grasp on the world of Princirum, I started looking at Kym’s story.

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

The main character of The Vanquisher of Water is 16 year old Kymbralyn Collins. With Kym, I really wanted a hero who wasn’t, for lack of a better phrase, “special because they are the hero”. I wanted a hero who struggled with their place in the world, and who also struggled with the magic itself. Of course, there is always a little of every author in all of their characters, and that is very true for myself and Kym. Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I was not good when I was young. I had to work really, really hard to improve while other around me with more natural talent didn’t need to work as hard. And that struggle bled into Kym, to whom magic does not come naturally and who has to work extremely hard just to keep up with her magical training.

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

For a story like the one I wanted to tell, I needed a little more control over it. So, I invented a whole world, complete with it’s own religion, gods, and customs. I thought it would be fun to have a technologically advanced society living alongside a magical world that seemed so stuck in the past they were almost out of place. Then, since this was a magical world, that let me get away with having some very different locations on what is in actuality a relatively small island.

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

The biggest changes came near the beginning. In the very first draft, I did the rookie author mistake of trying to info dump all of the information I thought the reader would need, resulting in what is now the first chapter starting out as the third. I also spent many, many years writing this book. So, even if the story itself didn’t really change, everything got a little deeper and darker is I grew out of my angsty teen years and into my early twenties.

What is your writing process like?

I’m a big planner. I like to know what I’m going to do and where a story is going to go. However, I alway allow myself the room to let the story deviate from the plan and go where it needs to. With any part of my writing process, I really only have one rule: finish what you’re doing BEFORE you move on to the next part. This really comes in handy during drafting, where I always have ideas about how I could change and “fix” what I did a week ago. So, I jot down the idea so I don’t forget it, and then I keep pushing forward with the draft and save all changes until the draft is done.

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

I enjoy drafting the most. It’s where I feel the most free, and where literally anything can happen in the story, since there really is no story until I write it down.

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

The most difficult part of writing the book came about halfway through the process. I’d been writing the book for about 3 years at that point, and when I sat down to do another read through of the draft, I realized I couldn’t read it. The writing was just too hard to read. I couldn’t get through the first 5 pages of my own story. That was a huge blow. Even to me, the one who loves this story the most, the book was unreadable. So, I ended up rewriting the entire novel, from start to finish. And even though it took months to do, I’m happy I did it in the end, since the book wouldn’t be what it is without that step.

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

I grew up in the Harry Potter era, and it would be ridiculous of me to say that wasn’t a big inspiration, because it was. That series was the series that made me enjoy reading, and want to explore worlds of my own. I was also inspired my the TV series Avatar the Last Airbender, which had so many diverse characters and personalities that made a really fun group dynamic.

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

If you have a story to tell, tell it. Don’t let anyone stop you from telling a story you are excited about. Also, the only person you should be trying to please with your story is yourself. Write the story that excites you, not the one you think other will like.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Logan Young, 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 Patrick D. Kaiser

Today we are talking with Patrick D. Kaiser about his creative process. Patrick D. Kaiser is the author of the Crimson Minds Trilogy, Frost, and more!

About Author

Patrick D. Kaiser is the author of Catch the Moment, Colors of the Heart, The Light Before We Land, and the freshly completed Crimson Minds Trilogy. The upcoming first book: Frost – In his new series: The Death-Bringer Chronicles will be released in September 2020.

Having Asperger’s Syndrome as well as Tourettes doesn’t slow Patrick down in the slightest. His work ethic and positive attitude are infectious according to those in his life. His positivity can especially be seen in his writing; despite using heavier subjects in his books, he addresses them with a light that’s rarely found in fiction these days, resulting in a profound balance of entertaining and thought provoking content that tugs at the heart strings.

His various books are written in a curious, yet engaging style that is difficult to put down. Patrick’s vision is to turn the idea of the traditional verse novel on it’s head & to break new ground, creating something uniquely delicious, all it’s own.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Frost is about a young magical thief who get framed for murder. He teams up with Jack Frost and tangles with the magical FBI and The magical criminal underworld. It is a thriller written in verse.

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

Years ago me and a friend had an inside joke about helping the cops hunt down the criminal Jack Frost. Don’t really remember how it even started. But it stuck with me and this book is the result.

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

I just used the typical tactics on writing a compelling character. Relatable, mysterious, proactive, & a likable person.

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

I just like the thought of Paris as a home base for a global crime fighting organization.

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

It originally started as a high school romance.

What is your writing process like?

I usually start with a chapter title and an idea of where I’m going. Then I write what feels right.

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

Discovering parts of the story I didn’t anticipate.

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

Probably being brave enough to go through with writing Verse Thrillers against everyone telling me it wouldn’t work.

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

The author of Eragon – Christopher Paolini. He was 15 when he wrote it. Learning that that was an option made the decision for me.

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

Trust your instincts. Never let someone tell you it won’t work. If you have an idea you can make it work.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Patrick D. Kaiser, 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 B.D. West

Today we are talking with B.D. West about her creative process. B.D. West is the author of Wynter of Wolves.

About Author

B. D. West is a writer of fiction, children stories, poetry, romance, short stories and especially science fiction. She has been writing since the young age of 15. Poetry has always been one of her favorite ways of expressing how she feels even though that changes every day. Her favorite saying is “What I feel today might not be necessarily how I feel tomorrow and poetry helps me to work that out”. B. D. West has a passion for story telling that can be felt in every word written on paper from the poems that she writes to the daring fictional worlds that she creates. Inspired by her surroundings in North Carolina B. D. West often enjoys writing poetry and fictional stories based on local folklore. She also has a soft spot in her heart for the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and if you look carefully you may spot his style shining through her poetry.

B. D. West debut novel Wynter Of Wolves has been what she calls ‘A labor of Love’ and she is excited to share it with the world.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Wynter Of Wolves is about a man living in Alaska and he runs a home town bar with his dog Indigo at his side. He always felt like he did’nt belong and knowing he was adopted only increased those feelings. Three strangers enters his bar one night and his life changes forever.

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

In 2018 I had a dream that I was standing in a frozen wood watching a man from a distance. He was chopping wood and I could feel how frustrated he was and before I woke up, I knew he was a wolf. My husband urged me to write the dream down and the next year the story came to life.

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

Wynter’s character was influenced by my husbands personality. Like my husband, Wynter is always searching for more than what is in front of him and he is fiercely protective of his family.

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

I chose Alaska because of the winter setting and I love a play on words. Then as you read the book, Wynter begins to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the US and Canada to some known and hidden places reserved only for the wolves.

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

I thought about building a full fantasy world for the wolves but then as I began to think about Wynter, I thought it would be fun to place the wolves in a position of hiding in plain sight, as if they have been running the world.

What is your writing process like?

I first write out my ideas into a composition book and then I lay out a storyline on paper. Then I just sit down with my notes and I begin my rough draft on my laptop. I take my time because in a story, like the ones I write, there is a lot of research involved. Then after the rough draft is finished; the real work begins. I begin the rewrite and then the editing.

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

The rewrite is the most fun because I can begin to fill in the details and I love researching places and history I could possibly use.

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

The editing is always the hardest part but I just slow down and take my time.

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

My English teacher gave me an assignment in high school and after she read my paper I had wrote, she said I could be a writer some day. Until that moment I had only just loved to read books. I never thought that my imagination could take me somewhere. She gave me the inspiration to find my direction.

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

I always tell my fellow authors to never give up or listen to negativity. As writers we hear a lot of hurtful comments on wanting to be writers or about works we have put out into the world. It can sting but I encourage them to keep their heads up and keep writing. I also encourage them to surround themselves with a writing community whether from social media or at a local library because the support you get is all you need.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in [author], 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 Myria Candies

Today we are talking with Myria Candies about her creative process. Myria Candies is the author of Black Hollow.

About Author

Myria Candies is a young American author who writes a variety of genres– such as horror, dark fantasy, mystery and thrillers. Her own projects are taken from her grueling nightmares and life experiences.

Her debut novel is, “Black Hollow”, and she has a number of other projects to be published. She resides in the state of Washington with her loving husband. Myria is sweet, down to earth person, who loves to find new authors and hidden gems.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My book is a gothic thriller with a pinch of horror, romance, paranormal activity and mystery. It follows a man James, who is lured to the estate Black Hollow. While he is there, many horrors arise and a past he didn’t know about.

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

My nightmares and childhood have inspired for this novel.

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

Elene was inspired by my sister who struggles mentally and Marcus was inspired by my brother.

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

I chose Boston because that was where it was set in the nightmare.

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

It has changed drastically with each and every draft. It was actually called “Black Hollow Creek” and it was about the creek behind the house but that disappeared when I discovered I was not a fan of the ending for that one.

What is your writing process like?

I have tons of drafts and I end up rewriting the entire story to make sure it comes to life in a certain way. Then, I pass it off to my content editor and copy editor.

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

I love getting the ideas. Not necessarily the nightmare part, but waking up and realizing that the dream can be converted into a book.

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

I actually burnt my hand toward the end and I had to release it that month. I was going to wait on it, and release it next year but my pre-orders were in high demand and I had found out you cannot cancel a pre-order otherwise you will be suspended. So I had to type and edit with only one hand.

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

I have always written but after I heard Ellen Hopkins speak at a book signing, I realized that I could put my own experiences into books while having it still be fiction. So each piece of my stories, have something from my past that I relate to thanks to lovely Ellen.

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

I have always written but after I heard Ellen Hopkins speak at a book signing, I realized that I could put my own experiences into books while having it still be fiction. So each piece of my stories, have something from my past that I relate to thanks to lovely Ellen.

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

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Lilianne Milgrom

Today we are talking with Lilianne Milgrom about her creative process. Lilianne Milgrom is the author of L’Origine.

About Author

Paris-born, internationally acclaimed artist LILIANNE MILGROM lives in the greater Washington, DC, area. She exhibits her artwork around the world and is the recipient of multiple awards. Her articles and essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, Daily Art Magazine, Bonjour Paris and Ceramics Now magazine. In 2011, she became the first authorized copyist of Gustave Courbet’s controversial painting L’Origine du Monde, which hangs in the Orsay Museum in Paris. Milgrom spent close to a decade researching and writing L’Origine. L’Origine is her first novel.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

‘L’Origine’ traces the extraordinary, clandestine odyssey of an iconic 19th century painting that shook up my world and continues to scandalize all who set eyes upon it. My book brings a fresh, feminine perspective to Gustave Courbet’s infamous portrait of a woman’s genitals entitled L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World) – a painting that was commissioned by an Ottoman pasha and then passed secretly from collector to collector over centuries and continents. Today it draws millions of visitors to Paris’ Orsay Museum every year. But L’Origine is more than a riveting romp through history – it also reflects society’s historically complex attitude towards female nudity.

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

In 2011 I was in Paris on an extended artist residency and when I saw this shocking painting, it was love at first sight. I wrangled permission to become its first copyist at the museum. It was totally out of my comfort zone but it was the experience of a lifetime. After my 6-week stint at the museum I began to dig further into the painting’s history and I just knew I had to tell its story.

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

Actually, the books’ protagonist is the painting itself, but I’d say I was inspired and awed by the artist himself, Gustave Courbet. He was the quintessential ‘enfant terrible’ – volatile, passionate, provocative, sexy. But he was terribly arrogant and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and – without giving too much away – his enemies got the better of him in the end.

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

Well, I am Paris-born and the story begins in Paris. Who doesn’t love Paris? But its a very cosmopolitan setting that reaches to Constantinople, Vienna, Budapest and even Brooklyn!

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

Good question and so true. I struggled at the beginning thinking I wanted to write historical nonfiction. But then I felt too limited when it came to the gaps in the painting’s provenance. Once I decided to write fact-based fiction, it really took off.

What is your writing process like?

I used a ton of index cards because my book spans a century and a half. I would shuffle them around and edit like crazy to pull out only the most juicy and interesting bits. I also had a white board with a time line that I kept referring to. I did not have an outline, but I did know I was going to break it up into three parts. I write with the idea of each chapter being able to stand on its own, so after finishing a chapter, I would then know where the next chapter was going.

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

Writing! With research a close second. And the marketing of the book a definite last!

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

Hmm….writing a book is a difficult process with lots of challenges. My personal challenges presented themselves all along the way – I questioned whether others would be interested in my story, I questioned the tone, the POV, the structure. But aside from these typical writing challenges, I was at times overwhelmed by historical facts and forced myself to pick and choose carefully.

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

I’d have to say that the painting itself was my inspiration for writing the book, but other authors inspired my love of writing.

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

So cliche, but never give up. I had Barbara Abercrombie’s book ‘A year of Writing Dangerously’ by my bedside. It was inspiring when I felt an an impasse.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Lilianne Milgrom check out the links below!

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Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News, Uncategorized

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Jack Salva

Today we are talking with Jack Salva about his creative process. Jack Salva is the author of Dybbuk’s Asylum, Guise, and The Ruination Trilogy.

About Author

Jack Salva has had a number of different jobs in a number of different cities in a number of different industries giving him a broad range of life experiences upon which to draw. He is an avid gamer so it is only natural that his characters are creative problem solvers with high degrees of adaptability and a panache for fun. Being an animal lover and advocate, it is no surprise that animal companions also feature prominently in his stories. When not working on his next novels he can be found spending time with his adorable wife, working for their animal sanctuary, or gaming.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about Dybbuk’s Asylum.

Knowledge is Survival.

More than a motto, it is the principle that compels the Knowledge Reclamators to venture forth into the dangerous wilds of the post-Luddite Tyranny world, braving mutated Altered and cunning death traps, in search of precious information crèches.

Beguiled by the promise of a singular reward and treasures for the taking, Caern Bloodson and his team embark on a perilous mission to retrieve a unique artifact with a sordid history. Thrust into an uneasy alliance with the Clockwork Grenadiers, they travel to a blighted island where all previous expeditions have resulted in madness or death. It will take more than rayguns, clockwork contraptions, and Caern’s unique puzzle-solving intellect to survive this task before time runs out.

However, perhaps some buried secrets are best left unearthed.

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

The idea for the world started with the concept of ‘steampunk zombies’. Fortunately, it grew beyond this. The story idea started out as a short story concept, but just kept growing. I wanted to introduce a number of world concepts in a classic treasure hunt setting. The story also drops things that will reappear in later novels.

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

There are four main characters. Well, really five. Four are the Knowledge Reclamators with the fifth being the team leader of the expedition. Caern Bloodson is the leader. He is kind of what I would like to be in that world. All the female characters were inspired by different aspects of my wife. The other male on the team is patterned after the classic engineer/scientist/adventurer from old movies.

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

I wanted the group to be away from their normal stomping grounds. Somewhere foreign. The idea of a deserted island with a hidden laboratory is a classic that I wanted to put my own spin on. It also helped me expand my world.

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

The core of the story did not change during writing. However, details did get added. A lot of them. I found myself going into more depth concerning antagonists and their motives. Also, I added more background.

What is your writing process like?

I start by jotting down notes. I write down key things I want to have happen or elements I want in the story. I do a very loose outline, basically where do I start and where do I end. Then I make it up as I go. I am very much a pantser, with some plotter. At least for these stories.

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

World building, no question. I love coming up with backgrounds, gadgets, history, all of it. The richer the world, the more in depth the characters, the easier it is to write stories because the characters help me.

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

I think finding a good way to provide the reader background that didn’t sound like “let’s take a break and learn about the world”. I solved this by dropping little asides into the narrative. Also, when larger data dumps needed to happen, I tried to break them into pieces.

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

I have always wanted to be a writer. I was inspired by comic books and science fiction novels. I want to tell stories, but never thought I could. My wife convinced me that I could. I owe her a lot for that.

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

Write! It is a simple thing to say, but tougher to do. Know that there will be a lot of people who do not like your writing. There will also be a lot who do. Forget the first and appreciate the second. Above all, write what you enjoy. It will show in your work.

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

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Books

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author

Feature Friday: Avalon Roselin


Today I am excited to feature author Avalon Roselin, author of the Stellar Eclipse series as well as an array of other books. I’ve had the opportunity to read all of Avalon’s works…and I definitely recommend you check them out! You can read my reviews here.

As an independent author, Avalon Roselin’s goal is to explore as many different genres a shecan! Her focus right now is on an urban fantasy/thriller-mystery series, and herplans 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 her belt eventually!

Why did you choose indie publishing?

After reviewing my publication options, going indie made the most sense to me. I’m a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to cover design/illustrations. My books also tend to blur genre lines, and while this certainly isn’t unheard of in the world of traditional publishing, it would make marketing my book harder for a traditional publishing house. I figured I might as well save everyone the headache and do it myself!

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

My current project is the Stellar Eclipse series. Originally we planned to have four “main series” books, but after recent discussions we’ve cut that down to three. I was going to take a break from the series after Dark Lightning comes out–so, release the first two books, take a break, then release the last two–but since we’ve rearranged some things, I’ll be finishing the main trilogy before I work on anything else. Since Dark Lightning ends on a major cliffhanger, I think this is definitely best for fans of the series too. Getting to make decisions like this for myself is another big reason why I love being an indie author!

What is your writing routine like?

Day to day, my writing routine starts in the evening, after I’ve taken care of all my chores and other work for the day. I listen to music to pump myself up before I sit down to write, then try to get at least 500 words out. I use my bullet journal to track my ideas, word counts, and any writing I’m especially proud of. That last piece is very important to my process–reflecting on my work and highlighting what I liked about it that day leaves me with positive feelings toward writing that make it easier to come back and do it again the next day!

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Give yourself permission to “write it wrong.” Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a scene and realize it’s not going to work for the story, but I’ll finish the scene anyway just to get it out there, then cut and paste it to a separate file. Even if the scene doesn’t make it into the book, I still count it toward my word count goal and consider it a win. Sometimes the only way to find out what’s going to work is to write the wrong thing first. All writing is valuable in its own way.

Any shout outs?

I would be absolutely nothing without my team! This team consists of my creative consultant/illustrator R. Hamlin, content editor J. Rudolph, and line editor J. Smith. They do so much to help each and every book I write be the best it can be, and their feedback often leads me to further realizations on how I can improve as a writer. I’m very grateful for all their hard work!

And remember, Stellar Eclipse: Dark Lightning comes out TOMORROW!


Follow Avalon Roselin

Books

Christopher Robinson didn’t deserve what happened to him.  Then again, almost no one does…

Christopher was a simple man with a simple goal: to make sure his charges at Woodrow Children’s Asylum were as healthy and happy as possible.  Not an easy task, and running out of medicine on the stormiest night of the year didn’t make it any easier.

The car accident made it impossible.

Now stranded on a nearly-deserted island with no clue as to how or why he and one of his patients were brought there, Christopher’s goal has changed: get the child and himself out of Wonderland.  Faced with the cruel inhabitants of the island and his own dwindling sanity, Christopher must find a way to escape before he becomes a victim of one of the island’s many lunatics… or joins them.

Once Upon a Time, there was an Amnesiac and a Faerie Prince…

All Ann wanted was to go home; all Nicolas wanted was to be left alone. However, when Ann woke up in the woods with no memory of her past, fate brought them together—and friendship soon bound them to each other.

Facing their uncertainties about the future side-by-side, their desires become less clear. There is no guarantee that Ann will like the person she used to be, and Nicolas may never see her again if he lets her go. Even in fairy tales, happy endings are not easy to come by. Ann and Nicolas will have to decide how much their friendship is worth if they want a true Happily Ever After.

Stellar Eclipse: Cloudless Rain

Murder is no unusual phenomenon in Marina Delta, a fact former investigators Baltan and Eureka know all too well. But when Eureka brings home a wounded child bearing the mark of an infamous serial killer they put behind bars fifteen years ago, it’s clear that this is no ordinary crime.

Baltan thought his days as a detective were done, and taking on the case will mean dealing with a demon they both would rather leave behind. However, with a bloodthirsty cult mobilizing again, a child with no past in their custody, and only days to stop the most devastating tragedy of their time, taking action is their only choice.

Caught between family, duty, life, and death, Baltan and Eureka will have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice—and who they’re willing to sacrifice for.

Stellar Eclipse: Dark Lightning

An unexpected journey into the wilderness can test even the strongest bonds…

Nearly a year has passed since the slaughterhouse raid. Eureka should be happy now that he and Baltan are Azzie and Lleuwellyn’s legal guardians, but he can’t shake the feeling that a storm waits on the horizon.

When Eureka’s brother arrives with news that Kwoltan Gera was attacked and asks for help, Eureka knows he can’t turn away–especially after the search for their missing tribe leads them to a reclusive Azure village where trust is hard to come by and war looms overhead.

Old grudges and past failures follow close, and they may have deadly consequences for Eureka’s family.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author

Feature Friday: Emily Poirier


Today I am excited to feature author Emily Poirier, author of Vampires Don’t Need an Invitation & The Color Thief! I read her book, The Color Thief, a month ago and it was a wonderful story I encourage you to check out! I’ll be providing a review for the sequel, The Color Plague, sometime later this month.

Emily graduated from Hampshire College in 2017 where she studied Creative Writing and Literature. She spent her final year working on my Division III project, “No More Lions and Lambs: Examining and Re-Writing the Vampire Romance Novel,” which went on to become Vampires Don’t Need an Invitation. She enjoys cats, dragons, and magic. Her goal is to tell important and inclusive stories that also have magic and dragons. Girl power is a good start, but more than that is a better start. She loves Strong Women, but champions the Soft Boys. Apart from writing, she spends her days drawing, consuming media, and playing videogames – all those alone-in-your-room hobbies perfect for hermits. She likes salt and vinegar chips, pineapple on pizza, and loves tea but hates coffee.

Why did you choose indie publishing?

I indie published because my first book was a vampire romance novel. It was good, well-researched, and clever, and I stand by it, but I knew that no agent in their right mind would take a chance on a vampire romance novel from an unknown author at this stage of the game. Then, the more I wrote the more I realized my books aren’t marketable. No one is going to look at any of the books I’ve written or the ones I have planned and think, “Yes, this is perfect for the market as it stands.” These books are still worth writing, so I’ve got to do it all myself if I want them done.

What inspired you to write?

Generally: I’m an introverted only child and books and other media provided me a sense of companionship that didn’t drain my introvert batteries. I’ve dedicated so much of my heart to the fictional worlds of other people that I feel compelled to give some back.

Specifically: Vampires Don’t Need an Invitation is inspired first and foremost by Twilight, but also the vampire romance subgenre on a larger scale. I wanted to take it and bend it so that it retained the good and got rid of the bad. The Color Thief was inspired by a class I took my freshman year called The Philosophy of Color. We looked at color from every which angle, and I wanted to take those ideas and craft a magic system based on color. The Color Plague was inspired by me falling in love with my own characters and from a dissatisfaction by how much fantasy is set in pseudo-England and how little takes place on tropical archipelagos.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

I’m writing a Beauty and the Beast retelling called Beauty and Beast. It’s morally grayer than the original, and I have unceremoniously described it as: Beauty and the Beast but Beast doesn’t give a shit and also Beauty doesn’t give a shit. I’m on the second draft now.

What is your writing routine like?

When I’m working on a project, I write every day. I have a daily minimum wordcount, but it’s only 500 words. Most days, I write more than that, but having such a low daily goal means that I still get something done on the hard days. I don’t always, but when I feel like I’m having trouble focusing, I set a 25 minute timer for writing. Another small burst that means I can chip away at my goals without overwhelming myself. If I hit the daily goal, great. If I don’t, I haven’t wasted too much time on a session that isn’t working. I re-calibrate and try again in an hour or so. I work until I finish a draft, then I take a few weeks to a month off to get distance, then I go back in and work every day on the next draft. I try to think ahead to my next project, but I don’t do any real work on it, just note taking and idea jotting so that I have something to start from when I’m ready.

Can you give us an out of context spoiler?

There is no Supreme Vampire Council, so Grayson calls his mom.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Figure out what you’re trying to say. You can write through Writer’s Block, as long as you have something in the future to write toward; transitions are always weird. Revision is good, actually, and you should never sweat your first draft. Nothing about a first draft has to be good except for its ability to propel you into a second one.


Follow Emily Poirier

Books

Vampires Don’t Need an Invitation

The last thing Grayson thought he’d have to worry about his freshman year of college was vampires. Making friends, getting his work done on time, the freshman fifteen? Sure. Vampires? Definitely not. Yet, here he is, the survivor of a vampire attack, nursing a huge crush on the vampire who rescued him.

Leah hasn’t been close with a human since she was one, twenty years ago. She hadn’t realized how much she missed it, missed being around someone with eighteen years worth of baggage instead of a hundred. When a dangerous group of vampires moves into town, she decides to fight for Grayson’s humanity since no one fought for hers.

In this clever reimagining of the vampire romance novel, Leah and Grayson come to question the pervasive tropes that keep influencing how their relationship forms and must decide for themselves which literary precedents they’ll allow to color their own feelings. 

The Color Thief

The King and Queen of Teqell have kept a terrible secret for twenty-seven years. Now, it’s killing them. Magic is draining them of their color, and they are dying. Princess Helena is obligated to marry and ascend to the throne, told to ignore what she has learned and accept their fate, but she cannot.

Instead, she hatches a flimsy plan with Dresden, one of her Royal Guards, to right this wrong. They must help each other travel across the kingdom that she helps rule but has largely never seen while evading other Guards who would bring them back to the castle and stop short their quest. On the way, Helena must also struggle with her changing and complicated feelings about her own family, keep her first and only friend, and reevaluate magic’s role in her kingdom.

The Color Plague

Iria should have been a Princess. Instead, she spent twenty-seven years struggling to survive in the Wasteland beyond her kingdom’s borders. Now, thanks to the love and bravery of her sister, Iria finally has the life she was born to. She never has to worry or struggle again.

So why is she still unhappy?

When her magic finds the source of the plague that has been killing witches, it becomes clear that Iria is the only person with a chance of stopping it. Iria hopes that this quest will allow her to avenge a fallen friend, but doing so would require her to stop grieving and move on, and she’s not sure how to do that yet. She’s not sure how to be part of a team, either, and she’ll be forced onto one that doesn’t know her but fears her anyway, and she’ll have to battle their distrust as well as the plague.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author

Feature Friday: Nikki Mitchell


Today I am excited to feature middle-grade author Nikki Mitchell, author of Nightshade Forest! Her book releases TOMORROW, June 20th. You can read my ARC review here! Definitely worth the read…and kids will love it!

Meet Nikki. She is a stay-at-home homeschooling mama of Evelyn (6) and Everett (4) and married to her college sweetheart. She is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (a yooper, born and raised!). She has freelanced for my local weekly newspaper for the last 7 years, and is a Northern Michigan University alum with a degree in English Writing and journalism. She is a theater nerd, and loves musicals. She even used to owned a used-bookstore. She collects copies of Fahrenheit 451, and her most treasured book is the copy of the 4th Harry Potter book that she received in 8th grade.

Why did you choose indie publishing?

Honestly, I wanted complete control over my books, especially the cover and the illustrations. And I wanted to get my book into the hands of children as soon as possible.

What inspired you to write?

When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot and didn’t have a whole lot of friends. When I discovered Harry Potter in middle school, reading was a game-changer for me. I realized that I could disappear into books and the kids didn’t bother with me too much anymore because I always had my face in a book. I want to offer that escape to other middle-grade readers, and if I can reach just one, it will be worth it. Eleanor is much like I was, and so she disappears into this magical fairytale books and finds friendship and adventure.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

Yes! I am currently editing book 2 of the series and writing book 3!

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

I have three. Harry Potter because those are the books that started everything for me. Fahrenheit 451 because Ray Bradbury taught me that writing books make you live forever and that they are key for the society to thrive. To Kill a Mockingbird because it is a lovely read.

If you could apologize to one of your characters, what would you say?

Sorry about the gargoyles.

What is your writing routine like?

Haha. I have two kids at my heels every day. I try to have one, but it is hard.

Can you give us an out of context spoiler?

Ooh this is a tough one! A strong force of magic that had been banished from the kingdom for years comes back to aid the thief.

Who do you hope to inspire with your writing, if anyone?

I really hope to show kids that books can take you on magical adventures just by opening and reading that first line.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Self-publishing does not mean your book won’t be loved or successful.

Any shout outs?

Yes! My editor, Jennifer Navarre was absolutely amazing and she really brought Nightshade Forest into it’s best version. And everyone else that has helped it come alive. It really takes a village to publish a book!


Follow Nikki Mitchell

Books

When eleven-year-old Eleanor receives a gift from her father, she never imagines it will open a portal to a fairytale world. Upon reading the first sentence of chapter one, she finds herself standing in the middle of Nightshade Forest—a dark woods with glowing blue and purple trees. She soon learns that the magic in the kingdom is out of control, and it is up to Eleanor to restore what has gone missing.

Join Eleanor and her newfound friends, Elfie and Milo in a search for a magic crystal as they fight off creatures Eleanor has only dreamed about. Can she make it to the happily-ever-after and rejoin her family, or will she be stuck in the Nightshade Forest forever?


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author

Surprise Feature: Lane Northcutt

Technology is terrible isn’t it?

On June 12th, 2020, I had a wonderful interview with Author Lane Northcutt that I was so excited to share with everyone. Only to have Instagram to crash the moment the interview ended. And for me to lose the entire video.

I didn’t want to lose our conversation though, so let me tell you a bit more about Lane and his upcoming novel, The Delivery Co.

Lane Northcutt lives in New York with his wife, where he dabbles in array of artistic endeavors. He is an actor, a photographer, a screen writer, and now…a novel writer! His experience as an actor has given him a unique perspective on writing. One day while performing, he came up with the idea for The Delivery Co. and proceeded to write the story on the train to and from work each day. With the help of his wife and friends, they have been able to tackle The Deliver Co., hoping to have it published by the end of the year.

So what is The Delivery Co. about?

In a dystopian society, where humans go to a company to receive the “ideal” child (or at least what society deems “ideal”) known as Replacements. Yet, there are children rejected for deformities or not meeting certain criteria. So meet Ahna, a girl who has been trained to be a perfect and ideal replacement, only to be rejected and sent outside into the Junkyard. There, she meets another reject named Sticks, as well as the other rejected children. She’s an anomaly of sorts, since she wasn’t rejected at birth, but rather after the fact.

And like in any other fantastic dystopian novel, cue a series of events that force these kids to dismantle the system.

I mentioned to Lane how it reminded me of elements of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, as well as elements of the movie Gattaca. So, with it coming out towards the end of the year, it is definitely one to watch.

Lane’s experience in theater, as well as with photography and other art forms, has helped him in his writing process. He can easily visualize scenes and placement when something happens. Although, Lane is the first to admit that sometimes this skill did result in some underwriting issues.

Lane said that while he didn’t outline The Delivery Co., he intends to outline in the future to avoid more rewrites than necessary. He’s started one idea already using note cards, where he can flip through them and make notes as necessary, which is a unique way to outlining that some writers might want to try themselves.

Lane’s piece of advice to new writers is simple though: if you want to write, find time. It’s hard. But whether it’s on a train via your phone, in a cafe on your iPad, or at home on your computer…find time to write. After all, you can’t edit a blank page.

The Delivery Co. is anticipated to come out towards the end of 2020.

Follow Lane Northcutt for updates: