Monday, September 29, 2014

#MondayBlogs: Don't Break The Chain! #amwriting

I was tagged by the lovely Josh Hayes to answer the following questions about my writing. It is sort of like the writing process blogs that were going around, but even better because it focuses more on the work than my narcissistic a$$.


The name of your main character that you wish to highlight. Describe how you came up with their idea.
Jesse is the main character of my Dying for a Living series. Some people love her, others want to shake her to death. She is definitely a "flawed" character, but aren't we all? As to where I came up with the idea? Reading and life. I wanted a female lead who had to come to terms with her own power despite being made powerless in the past--and I couldn't help but imbue her with my own snark. ;) 

When and where is the setting of their story.
Present day. "Alternate reality". Nashville, TN

Tell what things you want people to know about them. Strengths, weaknesses, etc.
She's much softer on the inside. There are good reasons for that hard outer shell.


Their main conflict, and how they develop from dealing with it.
The emotional conflict: She's a social outcast and reject with a really traumatic past. She's overcompensates for this sense of rejection with a "devil may care" approach to life. This false bravado is what she uses to protect herself, but she'll have to learn how to develop really accept herself by the end. 

The physical conflict: Vigilantes and religious extremists (led by her father) want to kill her. She's trying not to take this personally.

Title of your work, and links to purchase it.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Her Men: Book Spotlight & #Giveaway




Title: Her Men
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary Erotic male-female-male romance
Book Length: 22,000 words






BLURB:

Forty-four year old Julie Weston has loved Timmy and James since her college days twenty something years ago. She's fantasized about both all these long years, never able to choose between them.

Hoping Tim and James will attend, she attends their college marching band reunion. When both men show up her dreams are answered. They're sexier than she imagined and she hopes they won't be disappointed by her older self.

It turns out both men came just to see her again and neither is happy about the other’s presence. They fight over her, confusing her more than ever. It takes a hot ménage…or two…for her heart to decide which one she’s in love with.


EXCERPT:

      Oh God.
She couldn’t make up her mind, just as she’d feared. They were both fulfilling her dreams and almost her fantasies. Why couldn’t she be like Connie and love just one man?
     “I’m single. And confused,” she admitted unhappily, hoping and praying her answer wouldn’t drive either man away before her heart could decide who it wanted. She held her breath, waiting for James to drop her on her ass and leave in disgust.
      But he stayed. His eyes darkened. His fingers bit into her arms, but he didn’t walk away. Instead, he kissed her again, rubbing his groin against her. When he finally released her, he promised, “Game on.”
      Tim stomped over and shoved James away. “What the hell was that?”
      James pushed him back. “What in the hell does it look like?”
      “Keep your hands off her.”
      “I don’t see a ring on her finger, and she started it.”
Tim wrinkled his brow, captured her hand and yanked her to him. “She’s had too much to drink.”
       Again she help up one finger and repeated, “I just had one.” She thought it best not to mention the Benadryl.
       With sad eyes, Tim asked, “Who do you want? Me or him?”
       Fighting back sudden, scalding tears, she freed herself, stepped back and regarded both men. “I don’t know.”
        Tim’s expression grew incredulous as if she’d struck him. He echoed, “You don’t know? Since when do you like him?”
        “Maybe since you dumped her,” James said with a sneer.         He puffed up and faced off with Tim. “If you don’t like it, back out. I’m going to fight for her—like I should have before.”
        Tim’s eyes grew large as saucers. “I had no idea. You were with Theresa…”
        “Theresa dropped me like a hot cake. And you disappeared.”
        “And I heard she was going out with Gus, not you.” Tim looked around as though to make sure Gus wasn’t about to pop out of nowhere.
        She heaved a sigh. “Gus was my friend. He fell for me, not vice versa. I feel bad if I led him on. It wasn’t intentional.”
        “Like me? You never realized I liked you as more than a friend,” Phil interjected as he danced nearby with Anita.
         She blanched and wanted to evaporate.
         James winked. “It seems you were quite the siren, leaving all of us shipwrecked in your wake.”
         Stunned, she clasped her hand to her throat. “I swear, I had no clue. I’m so sorry.”
         “Yet you’re still leaving us in your wake, honey.” Tim glared at all of them and fisted his hands on his hips.
         Honey? She didn’t like the sound of that.


BUY LINKS:

 
Ashley Ladd is a disabled Air Force vet that is hard of hearing but still loves language, especially the written word. She loves a sexy man, especially one with a military background and they’ll often pop up in her stories. She also loves cats and has been known to empower a cat with the gift of speech. Unfortunately he wouldn’t shut up. J She loves to plug into Pandora and sip Diet Coke while writing, usually with a cat or kid at her side.


How you can contact Ashley:





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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Autographed Paperbacks For Sale

A few people have specifically asked for signed paperbacks of either/both Dying for a Living and Dying by the Hour and because I love my fans, I think I've figured out a way to accommodate you! 

I believe it is feasible to send out signed books at $15 each/including shipping. (So if you wanted a copy of both Dying for a Living and Dying by the Hour, for example, it would be $30). This is competitive to the price you would pay for it because I can buy them wholesale and have them shipped to my house--which brings me to my question:

Besides the people whom I've already talked to, does anyone else want signed books? I would like to place one big order this weekend, so if I know how many people will want books that would be really helpful.

If you'd like to order a book, please send $15/book via PayPal to kory.m.shrum@gmail.com. In the comments of the sale, be sure to mention your name and which book(s) you want. You can also email me at that address (kory.m.shrum@gmail.com) and give me more details about your order--who you would like the books signed to, what message to include if any, and the shipping address.

I'll take care of the rest! 


And if signed paperbacks ain't your thing, don't forget to enter the contest for a free audiobook in the post below! :)


Have a great weekend, everyone

Friday, September 26, 2014

#FreebieFriday Free #audiobooks: Dying for a Living #Audible

I needed a breather between giveaways! 

But I'm back! 

This time, I have FIVE free audiobooks to give away because Audible gave me all these fancy codes for Dying for a Living. For those of you who don't know Jesse Sullivan's story, it starts like this:

On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally. As a Necronite, she is one of the population’s rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don’t have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory.

But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself—or die trying.


If you want to enter to win a free audiobook version of Dying for a Living, and hear Jesse's story come to life by the fabulous narrator Hollie Jackson, enter the giveaway below.

And more good news, the sequel, Dying by the Hour should be on audiobook by December! :)

You know what that means? Holiday giveaways! :)




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Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Do You Still Write #Poetry?" Yes! Confessions of a Cross-Genre Writer #Writerproblems

Someone recently asked me if I still write poetry. I suppose this is because my fantasy novels are certainly getting more attention than my poetry--and goodness knows, I can write a manifesto on why poetry should be more appreciated, and why I am a mediocre poet at best. But instead, I thought I would simply share a recent poem with you.

I  had a dream that I was a comet, and being a writer, wrote a poem about that experience. My goal was to have it finished for my partner by our anniversary (October 14). I finished early obviously and here I am sharing it with you. For those of you who are curious, IRAS-Araki-Alcock is the name of a comet that came very close to Earth near the time of my birth.



IRAS–Araki–Alcock

This is the dream.

I am a comet,
stardust breath,
and spectral tail ablaze.
In the blackest corner of
a starless sky,
I pace alone
through a forgotten orbit
out of desperation
for the familiar,
in loyalty to a rhythm
I cannot comprehend,
a millennium at a time.

Then you are born,
and in that instant
my comet heart knows
and sets course for Earth.
By the power of dream
logic somehow
ice is exchanged for bone.
Stardust settles into green eyes.

Still it takes me 27 years
to place your body
next to mine. But this
homecoming feels familiar,
expected—as if I’ve only
just left and come back
having forgotten something

important, until I wake
crying, begging you that I don’t
want to return to the cold
dark of space alone. That
I can’t bear to spend another
millennium out there, knowing
you may or may not be born,
knowing orbits can change
and I will have to search for you
again.

In our bed, you smile. You
kiss each cheek and tell me
it was a dream. But it isn’t, I say.

This is the dream.

Monday, September 22, 2014

#Mondayblogs: First 'Unboxing' #video #amwriting #writerprobs






I stole the idea of an unboxing video from Hugh Howey. (Sorry, Hugh! But writers are like magpies, you can't possibly be surprised?)

Anyway, Hugh always goes for the fresh-faced and washed approach when he films. However, I think this is misleading--so I decided to go for the bed-head-pajamas-I-haven't-had-enough-sleep-and-from-this angle-the-camera-makes-my-chin-look-fat approach.

Keepin' it real, ya'll

Fo Sho.

Friday, September 19, 2014

#Audible: Why Aren't You Using It? #amwriting

So my best kept secret this summer was that I produced an audiobook. I made a to fans shortly after releasing Dying for a Living in March, that I would expand distribution as soon as possible. I can now proudly say that my book is available on Audible, and you sign up for the free trial, you can listen to it for free! :)

Have I ever led you astray, baby?


I was excited to use Smashwords and get my book out to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and other eReader users--but I was most excited about the audiobook. I know not everyone likes audiobooks, but I do. I like hearing a story read to me like when I was a kid. It's a pleasant distraction in the car during long drives, or on my bike on the way to work.

So when I found out that I could produce an audiobook for FREE--I didn't hesitate to get on that *&^%. 

If you want to fork over the cash and pay someone on contract immediately, you can do that too. But I went with the royalty share, splitting the royalties down the middle with the narrator. I was more than OK with this. I know that an audiobook is only half my creation and half what the narrator's own voice lends to the book--so I opted for the royalty share (read: FREE; nothing upfront needed).

ACX allows you to hold "auditions" and choose the narrator that you like best. Also, you get to preview/approve the chapters as the narrator submits them, so it is a very hands on process--which I felt good about. I liked thinking I was involved in the project as well as making sure everything went well.


Lastly, when it is all finished and you've given approval, the book is published about 10-14 days later--and AUTOMATICALLY synced to your Amazon listing of the book, which was REALLY convenient.


Anyway, I give the whole process 4.5 out of 5 stars (-1/2 star because setting up the account and project page requires patience) and recommend it to any of you authors out there looking to expand the story experience for your readers. Hollie and I are already scheduled to start producing Dying by the Hour around Thanksgiving, and I'm psyched for that too.

If you have questions, or want tips about producing an audiobook with ACX, or if you've already used ACX and want to share your story/tips with me, please leave your comments below.

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rock The Book: A Rocking Interview with Kory Shrum

Rock The Book: A Rocking Interview with Kory Shrum: Today's author interview is with Kory Shrum, author of Dying by the Hour and Dying for a Living . What made you decide to g...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Nancy Christie & Traveling Left of Center @NChristie_OH #MondayBlogs


Q&A with Nancy Christie  About TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER--

**Say Hello in the Comments section and get a free copy of  her story "Annabelle"! :)**
The characters in the stories all seem a little (in some case, a lot!) wounded or vulnerable. What draws you to write about these types of characters?
I’m not entirely sure. It’s not like I set out to write stories about odd, eccentric or unstable people. It’s just, for some reason, I am drawn to those types of people—perhaps it’s one of those “There, but for the grace of God” things.
My fiction—or at least, my short fiction—tends to be about people who are damaged in some way—by what they have done to themselves or by what was done to them, by what they have received, what they gave up, or what was taken from them. They are, for the most part, struggling to navigate through dangerous waters. Some survive and move forward toward land, some are just treading water, and some don’t even know that they have lost the battle and are, even now, drowning.
I feel sorry for those people, wish I could do something for them, and perhaps, in the writing of their stories, that is what I am doing. Because somewhere out there, there is a real person who is held in thrall by his or her obsessions, who is controlled by past or present circumstances, who wants to live a happy, normal, balanced life but finds that the tightrope of life vibrates too much and maintaining equilibrium is but a dream.
“Dream”—and there it is again. The idea of what we want and what we have. For some of us—perhaps for most of us—the former is the dream and the latter is the reality and never the twain shall meet.

Dreams and dreaming figure into several of your stories—“Misconnections” and “Beautiful Dreamer,” to name two. Did you “dream” these stories? And what kind of dream history do you have?
Actually, ever since I was little, I have been an active dreamer. The description of her children’s nocturnal activities in “Misconnections” is taken from my own life. I was (and, when I am very tired or stressed, still am) a sleepwalker and sleep-talker, and prone to dreams that are so real that, when I wake up, I’m not entirely sure if it was a dream or not! And sometimes, the images in the dreams do end up being part of a story. As a matter of fact, the dream image the character has of the little child in “Misconnections” came from one of my own dreams! Unfortunately, I am unable to dream on command—if I could, I would have lots more stories!

Where did the idea of the cover art for TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER come from?
From the very beginning—even before I knew it would be a book!—I had an image in mind for the book cover. The cover is a literal interpretation of each character’s metaphorical journey on the road of life. Some of them zig-zag across the center line only to pull back to the right side at the last moment, while others cross once and never make it back in time. And then, there are the few who are merrily driving right down the center, every now and then drifting first to the left and then to the right, blissfully unaware that they are courting disaster. When I shared the concept with my publisher, it took only a few tweaks before we had the “ah hah!” moment and said “This is it!” and after a few revisions, we successfully “birthed” this book cover!

Enough about the book—let’s get personal! How long have you been writing? When did you start? Why did you start —what triggered your writing?
I was always a reader—the best gift anyone could give me was a book—so I would imagine that influenced me. And as a child, my next-door neighbor Danny and I were always making up stories, acting out scenarios, creating our own worlds out in the woods. From making up stories to writing them down was a natural progression. I wrote my first short story (actually I called it a book—it even had a cover!) in second grade.
There’s a lot to be said for not having all those electronic games that only require button pushing. When children are left to their own devices and have nothing but their imagination to work with, they can be very creative. 

What does writing fiction bring into your life?
It is less a question of writing fiction as recounting what my characters choose to tell me. I am their conduit, their confidante; I wait for their stories and then do my best to put them in written form so others can understand what they have done, what they have experienced and why they are the way they are.
Writing fiction gives me the freedom to imagine certain circumstances and scenarios, and then watch my characters cope with them. Of course, that freedom comes at a price—the cost being an inability to let go of the characters, to close the book on them, so to speak. They become real to me and so, years after I have written about them, I grieve for lonely, lost Annabelle, for Connie who gives to the children as a way of coping with her empty life, for Sara’s mother, who longs to turn back the clock and hold her daughter once again.
In a sense, fiction is also my coping strategy. Like most people, I have had my share of pain and loss, disappointment and heartbreak. Many times, I will use fiction as a way to heal. The stories, while not necessarily mirroring my own experiences, do explore the attendant emotions. I watch from a distance, as my characters deal with their own private anguish, and little by little come closer, until eventually, I can allow myself to face my own. Their grief and pain becomes mine—we share, and in that sharing, I can move on.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
I often thought I would have liked to be an archeologist. In some way, the professions are similar. The archeologist carefully digs through stone and sand and dirt until he uncovers a world that has long been hidden, and, in some cases, the remains of people who lived so long ago. I dig through thoughts and memories and emotions until I find the imagined world and imagined people.
Then we both do the same thing: we re-create that world. The only difference is the archeologist recreates what once was while I recreate what existed only in some space and time outside of this reality.

When do you usually write: are you a morning writer, late night writer, any-time-you-can-grab-a-minute writer?
I am at my most creative first thing in the morning. For years, I kept to a 30-minute a day writing schedule, heading into my office with my second cup of coffee by 5:30 (that’s AM, not PM!) and working on fiction. Lately, though, my schedule has been in flux and my writing has been temporarily shunted off to one side. Bad, bad Nancy!

Is writing your full-time career?
Well, writing is my full-time career, but unfortunately that is not fiction writing. I do a lot of writing for companies and magazines—that’s what keeps the cats fed and the lights on!—so since that’s my income, it takes up the bulk of my time. Fiction, however, is my passion, so I try to get it in there regularly. As I previously mentioned, lately it’s more irregular than regular, but there is always some part of my writer brain that is thinking and imagining and creating.


BIO

Nancy Christie is a professional writer, whose credits include both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to her fiction collection, TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER, and two short story e-books, ANNABELLE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND (all published by Pixel Hall Press), her short stories can be found in literary publications such as EWR: Short Stories, Hypertext, Full of Crow, Fiction365, Red Fez, Wanderings, The Chaffin Journal and Xtreme.
Her inspirational book, THE GIFTS OF CHANGE, (Beyond Words/Atria) encourages readers to take a closer look at how they deal with the inevitability of change and ways in which they can use change to gain a new perspective, re-evaluate their goals and reconsider their options. Christie’s essays have also appeared in Woman’s Day, Stress-Free Living, Succeed, Experience Life, Tai Chi and Writer’s Digest. She is currently working on several other book projects, including a novel and a book for writers.
A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Short Fiction Writers Guild (SFWG), Christie teaches workshops at writing conferences and schools across the country and hosts the monthly Monday Night Writers group in Canfield, Ohio.
Visit her website at www.nancychristie.com or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or at her writing blogs: Finding Fran, The Writer’s Place and One on One.

Keep Reading For Story Teasers! 

Blogs:
Social media links:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NChristie_OH  @NChristie_OH


***
Keep Reading For Story Teasers!


(From “Traveling Left of Center”)
“Girl,” my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, “on the highway of life, you’re always traveling left of center.”
Mama was always saying things like that. She had a phrase for every occasion, and would pronounce them with a certainty that, in my younger days, I accepted as gospel. But that time, I didn’t pay her no mind. I just went on painting my nails “Passionate Purple,” hoping that the sexy polish would catch the doctor’s eye.
I was justifiably proud of my hands, especially since, at that particular time, they were the only part of me that was skinny. A girl’s body sure takes a beating from having a baby. It had taken me at least a year to get my shape back after Robert Nicholas, and it looked like Rebecca Nicole wouldn’t be any kinder to her mama than her big brother had been.
~~~~~~~~~~

(From “Alice in Wonderland”)
“Alice! Alice! Where are you?”
Her mother’s shrill voice crept up the stairs, seeping around the corners, through the cracks and under the door like a damp chill until it found Alice, sitting cross-legged on her rumpled bed, a scratchy woolen blanket wrapped around her, holding tightly to her book.
She heard the words as though they came from a great distance, not just the floor below. But instead of responding, she kept on chewing, tearing off more bits to slip into her mouth and onto her tongue. “Cairo… Alexandria… Mozambique… Tangiers…”
“Alice! I want some tea!”—complaining, demanding, the words pulling at Alice like a rope around her neck.
Nebet, the master awaits your presence,” said the servant, bowing before her with the respect due to one of great beauty and power.
“Tell him to wait,” Alice answered calmly. She extended one slim leg to allow the servant girl to free her delicate, high-arched foot from its sandal. “I will bathe first and then see him. Perhaps. Or, perhaps not”—the control she wielded evident in her tone, her attitude… The heat from the Sahara desert permeated the room, melting her muscles and bones into a sinuous form, curled and waiting like a cobra. The perfumed water tempted her…
“Alice! Dammit, you get down here right now!”
One last bite, one final swallow, and then Alice reluctantly set the book back on the shelf, the bangles and caftan vanishing as the cover closed… She had tarried too long and the price she paid for any delay, any deviation from the daily routine, was an endless litany of complaints and grievances, lasting until her mother was fed, bathed, and finally put to bed.
~~~~~~~~~~
(From “Watching for Billy”)
The sound woke her from her usual afternoon sleep. One of the curses of old age was the need to nap at odd hours of the day, coupled with the inability to stay asleep during the dark hours of the night. And since Roger died, it was even worse. Agnes found herself nodding off at mid-morning while the game shows played on the television screen, during the afternoon courtroom dramas, after the soup-and-sandwich dinner that almost always constituted her evening meal. Why not? There was no one to talk to and nothing else to do.
Brad said that she wouldn’t be bored if she moved into one of those retirement homes. But she didn’t want to leave her home and go live among strangers—even if sometimes the loneliness was more than she could bear.
“I’ve lived here more than 60 years and I’m not leaving now,” she had told her son. “There’s nothing you can say that will change my mind.”
 “Fine,” he answered, an unmistakable note of irritation in his voice. “But if you won’t move, then you need to at least have an alarm installed. There have been too many break-ins in your neighborhood lately.”
Agnes agreed reluctantly… was dutifully attentive when the technician explained how the alarm worked and what each noise and light represented.
During the long summer days, she didn’t bother to activate it until bedtime, trusting in the safety of daylight to keep thieves and robbers from her door. But as winter drew near and the days grew shorter, she found herself turning the alarm on at the first sign of dusk, feeling for the first time a little unsure, a little vulnerable, in the house where she had lived for six decades.
~~~~~~~~~~
(From “Anything Can Happen”)
“Where are my keys?”
Charlotte always put them on the hook right near the front door. Each night when she came home from work, she followed the same exact procedure.
First, she would check to make sure the door was locked, that she had bolted it securely against any intruders.
Then quickly, before anyone could come up behind her, she would unlock all three bolts, slip inside and quickly lock them behind her, before hanging her key ring on the small brass hook next to the doorframe.
Only then would she set her handbag—the one she had chosen specifically because of its multiple zippered compartments inside a larger section that itself was secured with two clasps—on the side table.
Finally, after she had hung up her coat, she would look around to make sure that everything was where they belonged. And sometimes, if the day had been particularly stressful, she would even go back and check, just to make sure the door really was locked and the keys were there, where they belonged, that they hadn’t somehow disappeared from their appointed location.
And yet, this morning, the hook was empty. No key ring hanging there. No keys on the floor. Or in her purse. Or in her jacket pocket. It took her nearly twenty-five minutes of increasingly anxious searching and feverish speculation (What if she had left them in the lock outside her door? Might someone even now be carefully, quietly turning the key, releasing the bolt, preparing to come in?) before she finally located them.
“A place for everything and everything in its place,” her mother had drilled into her, and Charlotte had to admit that it made life so much easier when things were kept where they belonged. And, like so many of the strictures that narrated her life, Charlotte always followed her mother’s rules and admonitions to the letter.

So how did her keys end up in the silverware drawer?

Friday, September 12, 2014

#Sexy #Vampires & an #Authorreveal

Meet Carole Gill!

If you like historical fiction and sexy vampires, you may be interested in her newest release Justine: Into The Blood (Blood and Passion Book 1).



Born in pre-Revolutionary France and orphaned as a child, Justine Bodeau is taken in by a family friend who employs her as a seamstress. Eventually, she winds up to work in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. 

A strong-willed survivor, defeat does not occur to her. When she fights off an attack by an aristocrat and kills him, she is given refuge but is soon betrayed and winds up on the streets of Paris, where she is attacked and killed by rogue vampires. But for whatever reason, love will not let her die. 

Justine goes from wishing to be destroyed to wanting to survive, when she feels passion for the one who brought her back, Gascoyne — the one they call the Vampire Prince of Paris.


***

Since I'm interested in historical fiction and vampires, I thought this was an awesome idea and invited Carole for to share a little about herself and her book:

What is this book about in 140 characters?

Love, lust and passion among the undead—this is the tale of Justine and the Vampire Prince of Paris who would not let her die.

What was the name of your first completed work? 

The House on Blackstone Moor, Book 1 in the acclaimed Blackstone Vampires Series

How old were you when you finished?

40 plus J

Favorite author growing up?

Daphne du Maurier

If you could be anything BUT a writer, what job would interest you?

Forensic psychiatry

What gets you in the mood to write?
Deadlines! Seriously, anything and everything.


When not writing what are you reading?

I read widely, good stories with great characters are what I like! I also enjoy doing research being the nerd that I am.


What is the message you want readers to take away from your latest book?


Vampires are complex beings. They love hate, feel passion and regret. They are haunted by the living lives they left behind. Their tales, as in Justine: Into the Blood are fraught with irony, the irony of fate and circumstance.

For more about Carole or her new release Justine: Into the Blood, follow the links below. 

Best of luck, Carole! :)










Thursday, September 11, 2014

#ThursdayTreat: A Look Under My Hood #Books #amreading

Lucky me, that my partner is beautiful, smart--

-- and also a blogger--

The danger of course is that in blogging about us, she reveals a lot about me, whether she means to or not. So if you'd like to know a few of my secrets, take a peek at my bookcase, and enjoy a good characterization of what it is like to live with this *&^$% author, then you should read this super cute post:


At the very least, you'll love the GIFS, which feature JLaw, Mr. Darcy, and other bits of fabulous :)

Don't say I never gave you anything.


Monday, September 8, 2014

#MondayBlogs Meet @Hans_Hirschi Author of New Release The Fallen Angels of Karnataka

If you do not yet know this face, then you clearly didn't see the book spotlight I recently posted for this talented guy. Scroll down! Go ahead! We will wait for you.  

Back already?

Fabulous! 

So, as I was saying, Hans recently released a new book and I wanted to pick his brain about it, as well as about his writing in general.  But before you get wrapped up in the interview, scroll to the bottom and enter his giveaway for your chance to win a free copy of his newest book--assuming you didn't already enter the contest on the Book Spotlight Page. 
So here's what happened:


THE INTERVIEW
The Writing

Why the switch from nonfiction to fiction?
Switch back, you mean? Ive written fiction decades before I wrote my first non-fictional book, and my first published work was poetry. But yes, I did publish three books in the realm of corporate life, two on e-learning and a management handbook (which is on my to-do list to revise.) Thing is, Ive always dreamt of writing a novel. As a teen, I started several, but being the Gemini I am, the next morning another shiny object caught my eye and all these fantasy, Science-Fiction or whatever projects fell by the wayside. As a young adult, heartbroken more often than not, I wrote poetry, sullen, dark, nothing Im particularly proud of. Then I studied literature, and the process of getting that degree was so gruesome in terms of reading demands that I completely lost the appetite to read (and all literature.) I barely read from the age of 30 until I was 45. Then I had an amazing opportunity to take a leave of absence (I was basically unemployed) before the birth of my son. I had just gotten back into reading fiercely and somehow my brain came up with a story. Within five weeks, I had two finished novels in my laptops hard drive.
Your new release THE FALLEN ANGELS OF KARNATAKA has a great title? How did you come up with it?
The story deals with two very different topics. HIV and child abuse. I recall the amazing play Angels in America by Tony Kushner where the connection is made between the disease and HIV, and how the angels fell from the heavens. For me, children are angels, but in my book, I write about how literally tens of thousands of children are abducted (or sold by their parents) from their homes in various parts of India (sadly a harsh reality, and not fiction) and are sold into virtual (real) slavery, either to work off family debts in factories or to work on fields or in prostitution. In the book, there is an organization that works with such children, and the organizations name is Fallen Angels. Since much of the Indian part of the plays out in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, I suddenly had an epiphany of sorts and the title appeared before my eyes. I had no choice. *laughing*
Where were you when you started writing FALLEN?
At my desk. LOL I do all of my writing at my desk, unless we have guests (my office also serves as guest room.) Then youll likely find me in one of our reading rocking chairs with my laptop burning on my lap or at the dining table. I am fortunate (and cursed) to be able to work from home. I get up with my husband in the morning, make sure our son gets his breakfast, is dressed and ready for pre-school. Once they leave the house, I read the news, drink copious amounts of coffee before sitting down at my desk to work. Am I allowed to say that I often forget to shower until lunch as I get so engrossed in work? Its really a curse working from home. Easy to focus, but hard to draw the line between work and whatever else youre supposed to do in a household. And it does get lonely at times.

Youre a dad! Is it really hard to balance family life and writing life? Any tips for those parent-writers?
We live in Sweden, where we are fortunate enough to have a great welfare system. Our son is entitled to full time pre-school from the age of one, and hes been doing great and loves his mates and teachers. So I do get to write and work from (technically) 7:15 in the morning when they take the ferry until 5 pm when they return. However, being the stay-at-home dad, I also run parts of the household on the side. I manage.
I dont think I should be the one giving tips. Not my thing, but I do try NOT to work on weekends unless its absolutely unavoidable. I dont blog on weekends, and spend that time with my family instead.

You also work as a badass blogger. Did you blog then write or write then blog?
*blush* thank you I started blogging because for me, as an exhibitionist about to happen, blogging is the ultimate diary. Ive always written, and I started my first blog back in 2007 or 08 on my own website, as I didnt want to lose control over it. I moved over to Blogger in 2011, but I had been writing before and Ive always done articles, contributions to others and what not. I cannot not write. Its impossible for me not to write.
Do you often draw your inspiration from other books or a different mediums altogether (movies, anime, etc.)?
I guess I do. However, the process for me is very unconscious and I rarely remember how or why I started writing something (except for my blog posts, which are very real time commentaries to things happening out there) In FALLEN, the thing that got me going was a book from a fellow author friend Larry Benjamin, What Binds Us. There is a short sequence about traveling that inspired me to write a travel novel. But the real meat on the bone came from things that happened in my real life, friends and acquaintances who are troubled, and books Ive read. Im always amazed how my brain takes these things, chops and mulches them into nothingness to then build my stories from the rich earth those inspirations provide.
When you write, do you have a process that helps get you in the mood?
Coffee? I dont do drugs, never have, not even a little. I remember being scared after The Opera House, my third novel, to have run out of inspiration. I started to plan to work on something else, non-fiction, squeezed out the book about our parenting journey (non-fiction), Dads, and had my mind set on working on the second edition of my management book Common Sense. Then I read Larrys book and I knew I better sit down and get going
What are you working on now? And what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Right now I’m working on the most successful launch possible for FALLEN. It’s a challenge, as I’m a writer, not a marketing executive. But I cope and I try to do my best, along with the publishing duties of my company. But I’m back to where I was last december, after the previous novel got released. What now? What next? Do I still have another novel in me? If no inspiration comes, I’ll just work on “Common Sense”, that book deserves a better fate than the first edition received at the hands of its publisher.
Furthermore
You live in Sweden…? Is it cold there right now?
LOL It depends. Is it cold in America? Sweden is immensely long, north-south anyway. So the northernmost points, which reach far beyond the arctic circle, there’s snow falling already (as you’d likely see in parts of Alaska by this time of year). In our part of the country, the south-west, it’s still summer, albeit late, and we’re currently plagued by the left overs of your Atlantic hurricanes. Once they turn north-east, they eventually hit Scandinavia and bring stormy weather and tons of rain… So the answer for Gothenburg, where I live, is no. It’s still fairly warm.

If the world was burning and you could save but one book, which would it be?
My iPhone? It contains ALL of my books… LOL This question is impossible to answer. If I say “my latest” I’m a prick, and if I say something by Shakespeare I’d be lying… I honestly don’t know. By the time I have made up my mind, all books will probably have burned up already.
What’s your go to snack food?
Something salty, chips, pretzels, or fruit.
If you could have any (but only one) super power, what would you choose?
When my brother and I were kids, we used to play super heroes. He was the Batman, I was the Flash. I loved to run, so that would be cool. to be really fast (too bad it’s never been turned into a really good film, the ones I’ve seen were soooooooo bad) When I was in my teens and tween years I would’ve like to have x-ray vision. These days I’m glad I don’t. So let’s stick with being the Flash. Fast!
If you could pick the brain of any famous person anywhere across time and space, who would it be and why?
Alexander the Great, Ceaser (great author btw), Cleopatra, Lord Buddha, I would’ve loved to have met Gandhi (I hear he was quite the self-righteous prick) and of course the amazing one and only Madiba, Nelson Mandela. But as an author, it is equally interesting to get to know the real villains, people like Nero of Rome, or Hitler or Stalin, to find out how they tick. And who knows, in terms of the still living I’m curious about the new pope (is he as genuine as he appears) or the Dalai Lama (same question), or Putin (what makes him tick?)

Now these are all famous ones, but I find that I often get the most inspiration out of people like you and me. I recently met a reader of my books. We’ve known each other for about a year now, she stumbled across my first two novels and devoured them. She then wiggled her way (thanks to my unconscious mind) into my third book, 8 months before I met her. I was amazed at the resemblance between the real person and the nurse in the book.

If you could have lived in any from any of the fictional universes, which would it be and why?
StarTrek, I’d be Captain Kirk. No doubt about that. To me, Roddenberry’s creation is the ultimate utopia, a sort of communism of good, where human needs are expressed through art, the betterment of humanity since our bodily needs are all met. Utopia for sure, but I’ve always wanted to leave earth and fly to the stars…
What is your favorite word?
I’m an author. I love many words… But since you want one, I’ll give you Sascha, my son’s first name.
What is your least favorite word?
Invoice. (unless it’s sent by me)
If Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell existed, which circle would you be trapped in and why?

LOL That’s a good one. I would definitely choose the second circle. Sounds like a lot of fun and the perfect playground for my libido… *blush* Although, when you read about being blown back and forth by terrible winds without rest? Keats puts it like this in “On a Dream”:
... But to that second circle of sad hell,
Where mid the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw
Of rain and hail-stones, lovers need not tell
Their sorrows. Pale were the sweet lips I saw,
Pale were the lips I kissd, and fair the form
I floated with, about that melancholy storm.
Who decorates these places? Nah, on second thought, not a good place. No sex, no fun…
As an atheist and fierce critic of organized religion, I’m probably also a candidate for the sixth circle of heresy, and I believe the people I criticize so fiercely would probably stick me into the inner ring of the seventh circle to reside in the desert of flaming sand, with fiery flakes raining from the sky
Dante was such a douche. I’m glad no one needs to take him seriously any more…
Is that it? Thanks for the opportunity! :)


My pleasure, Hans! Good luck with the new book! :)


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Spotlight:The Fallen Angels of Karnataka



THE FALLEN ANGELS OF KARNATAKA:

In an isolated mountain town in Norway, Haakon dreams of traveling the world, pursuing adventure, seeing great places, finding love. His very first trip to London with friends from university offers much promise, yet soon after tragedy strikes.
Still young, and mourning the loss of his lover, Haakon is not ready to give up on his dream, so when a rich Englishman offers him the chance to join him on a tour of the world, Haakon takes it, daring to believe that his dream is finally coming true...but at what price?

ABOUT HANS
Hans M Hirschi (b. 1967) has been writing stories ever since he was a child. Adulthood and the demands of corporate life efficiently put an end to his fictional writing for over twenty years. A global executive in training and channel development, Hans has traveled the world and had previously published non-fictional titles.
The birth of his son and the subsequent parental leave provided him with the opportunity to unleash his creative writing once again. With little influence over his brain's creative workings, he indulges it, going with the flow.
A deeply rooted passion for, faith in a better world, in love, tolerance and diversity are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work. His novels might best be described as “literary romance, engaging characters and relevant stories that won't leave you untouched, but hopeful.”
Hans is a proud member of the Swedish Writers’ Union, the Writers’ Center in Sweden and serves as chair of the Swedish Federation of Self- & Independent Publishers.




Don't forget to enter the giveaway and check back on September 8th for the full interview with the author! :)


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