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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!

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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!

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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!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Effy J. Roan

Today we are talking with Effy J. Roan about her creative process. Effy J. Roan is the author of the World of Dadreon.

About Author

Effy J. Roan has been building the World of Dadreon on and off for over 20 years. Jadeflare went through several drafts over that time until it finally became a true finished draft of over 120k words in 2019, and she’s currently on book 3 of the the four book series, Eve of the Desecrators. Her plan is to draft all four books before she buckles down and edit, so that she can catch any inconsistencies. She loves dragons, and most of my stories include them. They’re an integral part of the world of Dadreon. She would like to see this series published eventually, but for now she’s happy pursuing amy lifelong dream.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Jadeflare is the first in a series of four books, Eve of the Desecrators. It’s about a young druid who discovers a powerful magic called Jadeflare. Now she must figure out how to use it and why it is making her the target of a dark creature who will stop at nothing to kill her and anyone who dares to help her, including a talking hawk, a telepathic wolf, and a man with a strange dragon obsession.

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

Lakeerae is partially me and partially the many main characters in nearly every fantasy I’ve read since I began reading.

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

The world of Dadreon is a vast, complex world that started out as a simple setting for elves and dragons and humans and expanded from there. Dadreon was created by the gods from the ashes of Earth with groups of protectors and desecrators, order versus chaos, who eternally fight for control.

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

Lakeerae’s story and the world around her have grown from a girl fighting for her life in her tiny realm called The Bracklin Reach to her leaving that tiny corner of this vast world and meeting different peoples and discovering different places while completing an epic quest.

What is your writing process like?

I’m still learning what works best for me, but I’ve realized I’m less plotter and more pantser than I originally thought. I tend to write out the main plot points then dive in, because so much changes in my drafting process. In my current series, each book is split into three parts (three is such a magic number). I love writing my draft by hand. Then I type it up about once a week, which helps with my need to do some editing while writing. At the end of each part, I do a readthrough, then I give that section to my alpha reader, who is my mom.

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

I enjoy the writing part and the discovery of how things will fit together.

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

The hardest part of my book was writing the first book to completion and coming in over 100k. The first time through, book one was only 45k words. So I replotted and rewrote it from start to finish. The next time around, it was over 120k. The second book hit 120k much easier, and I’m on track to hit 120k with book three.

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

I read a lot of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books when I was in school. My first fantasy story (which will probably be my next series) actually started out as a D&D adventure, but I realized that I’m a bit of a control freak and I was happier just telling the story myself.

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

Don’t let anyone dictate what you decide to do. If you want to write, write. If you want to draw, draw. Do it for yourself. Then share it only when and if you’re ready.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Effy J. Roan, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

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A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Penny Hooper

Today we are talking with Penny Hooper about her creative process. Penny Hooper is the author of I Fell In Love with a Psychopath and It’s My Mistake.

About Author

Penny Hooper is an award-winning multi-genre author and activist.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My book ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’ is about a woman who moves to Chicago to chase her dream to work in a museum, but it doesn’t quite go to plan. She meets the funny, outgoing Liam working in a boring office, having a small crush on him, but never quite getting his attention, until one day he finally asks her out. She also meets Xander in a bar one night, he’s tall, ruggedly handsome and mysterious. However, one of them is a psychopath…

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

I can’t remember exactly where I got the idea from, but I think I had a dream one day about a man, I can’t remember the details of the dream, but I do remember having this weird infatuation with it afterwards, like I was still living it. I decided then, that I couldn’t quite part with that feeling, so I had to use it to inspire a story. I also remember thinking about all the thrillers on psychopaths out there, and they always end up the same; someone gets killed or at least nearly killed. But, the truth is, there are many people with psychopathy that are living normal lives, not everyone turns out to be killers. So, I wanted to kind of promote the better side of psychopaths, but of course, add in a few twists and turns along the way!

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

Well, I can’t say too much about the two male characters in my book, as it might give the story away! But, the main character; Jo, like most of my main characters, a lot of her personality is based either around who I used to be, or who I am now, or who I want to be. Jo, in this case, is mostly based around who I used to be; shy, lacking confidence, and naive, but she does grow a little as the story develops, into more of the person I am today; a little more confident and strong.

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

Ah, the Windy City; Chicago. Ironically, I haven’t yet had the chance of visiting, even though my book is set there (I am planning on visiting in the next year or so, as I’m planning a charity tour down Route 66 with a friend!). In my book ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’, I wanted to set the book somewhere new, rather than keeping it to the UK all the time, where I’m from. Chicago is the one city in the USA that I have always loved (aside from LA and New York), it looks clean, bright and beautiful, so I set myself the challenge. I did have to do a lot of research, however!

What is your writing process like?

Haphazard. Haha. And this largely depends on the genre I am writing. My two published novels are both romantic suspense, so I initially start with an idea, brainstorm how I want to story to develop and set upon writing it, chapter by chapter. I know what’s going to happen at the start, in the middle, and how it’s going to end. However, one of my books I’m still currently working on; Rose Garden Sanatorium is a little different as it’s written very differently. Firstly, it has multiple points of views, and although I have an idea of how it ends and roughly what will happen in the middle – as well as the whole story which will span a series – I have been a lot more open to change – if I decide that it doesn’t seem to flow right, or I decide a character wouldn’t actually do or say something in particular, I would change it. Which is probably why it’s taking me nearly three years so far to write. I also had another idea of a story, which was slightly inspired by the writing style in Paula Hawkins’ book ‘The Girl on the Train’, as the timeline changes a lot, cutting back to an earlier timeline so your understanding of what’s going on develops just like a detective’s would.

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

Getting the initial story down as a first draft is always my favourite, just seeing the idea in my head forming into something tangible. But, one thing that I think sets me out differently to other authors, is that I like detail. I also said this in a recent podcast with Megha Upadhyaya… there is one chapter in particular in my book Rose Garden Sanatorium that originally was one of my less-liked chapters, it’s of a character that is a secondary character, initially I wrote it as a filler, so you build up an idea of what’s going on slowly. But I decided to go back to it, after putting a lot of time and effort into the chapters that I loved, I decided I should give the lesser-liked chapters a bit more attention. The chapter itself is about this agent who is put on her first mission, and the scene only really goes from the building to the van, but I go into detail about what she’s wearing, how it was designed, the equipment and so on. It seems like a lot, and I can imagine my future editor saying it’s unnecessary, but there are a few little ‘easter eggs’ in there, which if you read it properly, you will see and build up a picture of what is actually going on.

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

In ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’, the most difficult bit was actually the beginning. I started off with a chapter that I enjoyed writing, and it formed the starting point of the rest of the story, the story and characters developed along the way. But when I went back to it after getting half-way through, I realised that start wasn’t captivating enough. It took me a while to figure out what to do. But in the end, I actually created a prologue for the story, which actually started half-way in to the story, so you read this pivotal moment in the story first, then you go back to how it began. You read the first half of the story learning what happened leading up to that moment. Then, the rest of the book is what happens after that moment.

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

Yes; just write. I’ve said this before in other interviews. The only way you are going to learn, grow as a writer, and actually finish writing that book (I can’t talk too much, as I’m STILL writing Rose Garden Sanatorium!) is to write. Don’t worry if you don’t think it’s amazing, you’re not going to learn if you don’t practice. And, another piece of advice; work out if you want to go down the traditional publishing route or self-published, and be prepared that the book you are writing, even if it’s the most interesting and well-edited book in the world, if a traditional publisher isn’t interested in the genre, they will not be interested in your book. Both options are difficult and lots of hard work, but for different reasons.

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

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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 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!

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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