Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight with Eva Lesko Natiello

TMB headshot

Today I am excited to welcome Eva Natiello to the blog for an Author Spotlight. Eva is the author of The Memory Boxa dark, psychological thriller (think Gone Girl). Eva writes in a genre that I normally don't read, but I picked up her book because we share a copy editor. I couldn't put the book down, and I'm excited she is on the blog today.

Let's start with a brief introduction. Tell us a little about yourself your novel The Memory Box.

Let's see, I grew up in New York and went to school at SUNY Albany where I studied psychology. After I graduated from school I moved to the Bahamas for my first job as a singer. Eventually I moved back to New York and worked in the cosmetics industry as a communications and p.r. executive. It was never in my master plan to write a book. But some things just happen in life. When I had my second child and decided to stay at home with them, that's when I started writing.

The Memory Box is a story about a at-home mom of two (that sounds familiar!) who Googles her maiden name and discovers a past she doesn't remember. (By the way, that's where the similarities end...)

The Memory Box is a dark, twisty psychological thriller. Where does your desire to write this type of fiction originate?

Well, I'm fascinated by misconceptions. When things are not as they appear or seem. We make all sorts of judgments about people based on how they look, what they wear, how they talk, where they live, etc. And these assumptions in many cases can be wrong. I also am fascinated with the idea that bad people are not all bad and vice versa. I like to explore moral dilemmas. And I love to write suspense and thrillers because they are essentially literary puzzles. I guess I am a natural problem solver, so I do like to figure things out.

As I write this question, The Memory Box has 156 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars in a few short months since its June release. I also know The Memory Box was downloaded over 27,000 times during a free run on Kindle. Did you have a specific marketing strategy when you launched your book? Also, how did you encourage readers to review your book?

Before I released The Memory Box, when I was in the beta reader stage, much of the feedback was similar. My readers were saying that it was a very fast read. Many reviewers say this as well, and that it's hard to put down. I knew that it was the kind of book that would be great for book clubs. So one of my main marketing strategies was to try to get it read by as many book clubs as possible. I deliberately wrote a list of Discussion Questions and placed them in the back of the book, both the ebook and paperback. I also offered to attend book club meetings where my book was being discussed. Not only is that so much fun to do, you get to talk to people who want to help you succeed and one of the things you can ask them for are reviews. I have noticed that writing reviews is not everyone's cup of tea, even if they loved the book. It freaks them out to have to write something for a writer! They get uptight about this. The main thing I've tried to do, is to be grateful and thank my readers as much as I can. I tell them I appreciate them reading the book and spending time to write reviews or simply telling other people about it.

This question is out of pure curiosity since we both work with Candace Johnson of Change it Up Editing. How do you find Candace and decide to work with her?

Once I decided to self-publish, I knew I had to invest in certain aspects of the book so that it looked and read as professionally as possible. The first person I needed was a copy editor. I searched a great deal for the right copy editor and found Candace on Facebook, of all places! There were certain things I was looking for in a copy editor, obviously a lot of applicable experience on interesting projects, experience in a traditional publishing house, someone who was active on social media, availability in my time frame and the right chemistry. What I mean by that is, all the editors I was considering did a sample edit for me, and I really focused on how they edited and what they edited. This is a great way to see beforehand, if you think the relationship will work.

Usually writers like to read in the same genre that they write. What are some of your favorite books and genres to read?

Okay, this is going to sound very strange. I do not like to read in the genre I write. I get nightmares very easily and have trouble sleeping normally, so I can not read thrillers or watch those types of movies. I can only write them. I can't explain it. I think I know my characters so well, that I am never scared of them. As screwed up as they are, they do have redeeming qualities! One of my favorite books, and the one I credit to turning my writing around, is White Oleander. I think it's beautifully written, while tackling some dark subject matter. I also like to read historical fiction and humor (and I love to write humor, too!). Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a recent book I read where the quirky characters made me laugh out loud. A few other recent favorites are: Midnight Circus, Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Paris Wife, Then Kitchen House.

Finally, what is next for you?

I have started another dark twisty psychological read and hope to get back to spending some quality time writing it. But as you know, book marketing never sleeps!

Thanks again to Eva for taking the time to answer a few questions. You can learn more about her at her website or head over to Amazon to buy a copy of The Memory Box

Author Spotlight with Kate Sparkes

Today I am excited to feature author Kate Sparkes. Her debut novel, Boundreleased on June 23, 2014 and has been on the top of the young adult fantasy charts since it released. I read and reviewed Bound last month. It was a joy to read, and I am excited about her success.

Tell us a little about yourself and your novel Bound.

I’m a writer and a mom, wife to a Mountie, comfortable seating for three cats and regular walker for a Boxer named Jack. And actually… all of that pretty much sums up my daily life. I was born in Ontario, but I now live in Newfoundland, which I think is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I’ve been writing stories since I was in Kindergarten, but only started working toward it as a career in 2010. That’s when I started writing Bound.

Bound is the first book in a YA Fantasy trilogy. It’s the story of two characters: Rowan, a young woman who comes from a country where magic is considered a sin (but who has always been fascinated with the fairy tales she’s not supposed to be reading), and Aren, an enemy Sorcerer whose life she accidentally saves. Secrets are revealed, loyalties tested, adventures had… it’s good fun.

What are your favorite and most challenging parts of writing a novel?

My favourite part is when things click into place, when a plot problem or character motivation issue that I’ve been struggling with finally yields, and everything seems like it was just meant to be. My least favourite part would be the struggles leading up to that. Also, trying to write sales/cover copy. I didn’t think I was going to survive that with my sanity intact.

I love reading fantasy because of the creative, immersive worlds of the genre, but as a writer, I am intimidated by that world building aspect. What was your process to create the fantasy world of Bound?

The world had been gradually forming in my mind for years before I came up with the story and characters that fit into it. I’ve always loved fairy tales and myths, so it seemed natural that mythical creatures from our world would find their way in there, but I try to put my own spin on them. The land itself is frequently based on Newfoundland. Its rugged beauty, worn-down mountains, and glacier-carved landscapes seem like they’re already full of magic, especially on foggy days. The hardest part of the world for me was creating the magic system, finding a balance between possibilities and limitations, setting the rules, and making sure it didn’t make things too easy for my characters. I was tweaking that right up to the last minute, and I’m glad my editor regularly works in Fantasy and was willing to give my hands a slap when I messed up.

The challenge now is pushing the boundaries that I’ve set, and also exploring other aspects of magic that were mentioned in Bound but that we haven’t really explored.

Bound is a bestseller on Amazon in the YA Fantasy Sword & Sorcery and Coming of Age categories with almost 50 reviews posted on Amazon since its June 23rd launch. Can you share your launch and release strategy?

I wish there was some huge secret I could share, but I think I’m as surprised as anyone. Pleasantly surprised, of course, and incredibly grateful to the readers who have made it happen. My launch strategy for publication involved releasing on multiple platforms so that my Nook and Kobo loving friends could get the book. Sales have been far better on Amazon than anywhere else, but I’m still glad it’s available to everyone. On Amazon, I got the book into as many appropriate sub-categories as I could, which meant it showed up in Best Seller lists and Hot New Release lists sooner than it would have in larger categories. I launched the book at an introductory sale price of $2.99 as a “thank you” to everyone who was already supporting me, and I hoped it would make it easier for people to decide to try the book.

In terms of publicity, there’s my blog, where I had been posting weekly teaser snippets as part of WIPpet Wednesday. I have a nice little community of writers I follow on Wordpress, and many of them helped spread the word on cover reveal and release day, and a few hosted interviews. I had a launch party on Facebook. That was really just for fun, but it did get people I already knew talking about the book. Some of them read it and loved it, and recommended it to their friends.

Most of the book’s success has been thanks to word of mouth promotion. People who read advance copies loved the story, and when they learned how important their enthusiasm was to the book’s success, they were more than happy to tell their friends. I put a few sentences in my note to readers about how they can help spread the word about books they love, and that encouraged people to leave reviews. Eventually the book started showing up on sub-category Best Seller lists, and Amazon’s recommendations took over.

I learned later that I had accidentally followed most of the advice in David Gaughran’s book “Let’s Get Visible,” which I have now read and recommend to everyone who asks. Fantastic advice on getting the word out on Amazon.

Finally, what is on the horizon for your fans? What books are next to be released?

The next book that I’ll be releasing is Torn, which is book two of the Bound trilogy. I think some people would be rather upset if I released anything unrelated before I did that! I have a short story in the works that’s a prequel to Bound, but it still needs editing and a cover, so that has to wait. After that we’ll see book three of the trilogy… and I do have a fun urban fantasy novella in the works that’s gotten excellent reviews from beta readers, but again, that has to wait for its turn.

And then, who knows? There are a ton of characters in the Bound trilogy who are begging to have their stories told. If readers want them, we might see a few spin-off stories, or even full-length novels.

Thanks for having me!

Thanks again to Kate for her thoughtful responses. You can purchase Kate's novel Bound using the links below. Also, I encourage you to follow her on social media. She's funny. :)

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

iBooks

Facebook

Twitter 

Disregard the Prologue (blog)

Sparrowcat Press

Author newsletter (releases, giveaways, news, and other fun stuff)

Author Spotlight with Laurel Garver

LaureGarver2013

Today I'm excited to host an interview with author Laurel Garver. I read Garver's young adult novel, Never Gone last month. I really enjoyed the book, (read my review here) so I asked Laurel if she would answer a few questions. The interview is below, and her responses are definitely worth reading. I really enjoyed her comments about writing for young adults and writing from a Christian perspective.

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing. 

I grew up in north central Pennsylvania not far from The Office territory. To fend off crushing boredom, I joined every arty thing: band, choir, art club, school newspaper, and speech and drama. I often scribbled stories during class when my teachers thought I was taking copious notes. (As the youngest of five children, I have a bit of a mischievous streak.)

As an undergrad, I majored in English with a communications minor (lots of theatre classes) and studied abroad in the UK.  I went on to earn a master’s in journalism while working full time as an editor in Philadelphia. I have 20+ years experience in trade, association, and academic publishing.

During my post-college years, I gravitated toward poetry and put much of my creative energy there. (My poetry collection, Muddy-fingered Midnights, includes some early work as well as many new pieces).From 1995-2000, I was editor and publisher of a Christian literary magazine, About Such Things. Through it, I got to know the philosophy PhD student who became my husband. Our daughter was born in 2002.

I grew restless as a stay-at-home mom, and a friend urged me to pick up writing again. Something inside me lit up when I unearthed character sketches for Danielle Deane, a grieving teen I’d first imagined while on a walk in 1992. I’d heard her voice tell me about her difficult relationship with her mother since her dad had died, and her struggles to hang onto her faith when her church-going parent had been snatched away and she was stuck with the atheist. I’d lost my own father to renal failure a few years before this, and it felt like the time had arrived to work through that loss. There was enough difference between Dani’s circumstances and mine to help me have creative distance, yet emotional truth.

It took six years of writing and revision, research trips to NYC and England, and critiques from three writing groups to get Never Gone into its final form.

What does a typical work day look like for you? How much time do you spend writing fiction compared to marketing, blogging, working another job, etc? 

I work 5-6 hours each weekday as managing editor of a scholarly journal. My work load can fluctuate quite a bit seasonally, so I’m able to squeeze in research or social networking during quiet periods. For the most part, writing happens during my lunch hour, on the train, the late afternoon after work, or while my daughter is at her Irish dance or guitar lessons.

My evenings are typically filled with household chores (not cooking, thankfully--my hubby is our family chef), overseeing homework, going to the gym, critiquing for my CPs, and attending church activities.  Once my daughter is in bed, I most often creatively recharge by reading. If I’m feeling energetic, I usually try to make connections online, research marketing opportunities, write blog posts, and schedule tweets.

What draws you to write young adult fiction?

What turned me on to reading, and continues to captivate me, are stories that explore the places where heart and soul are tested and growing up truly begins.  Volunteering with my church youth ministry opened my eyes to how teens today struggle to be real in a culture that glorifies superficiality. When beauty, strength, and charisma are idolized, all the ways we are broken never see the light, never have a chance to heal. Instead, they fester under the surface, filling our lives with poison. So I write about kids in crisis who learn to let go of their pretensions and falseness and allow God to remake them as people who humbly hope, believe, and love.

As a Christian and a writer, I am intrigued by the intersection of faith with writing, especially fiction. Tell us about the decision to make Dani a Christian character. Did (or do) you feel any pushback from the Christian themes in your novel? 

I knew from the get-go that faith would be at the core of Never Gone. When a person is grieving, spiritual questions about the nature of life and of a higher power naturally come up. My approach was simply to write through the eyes of a character for whom faith is a natural part of life. It’s Dani’s framework for understanding the world, just like her artistic ability is. The imagery and stories of her faith weave through her thought world as much as the language of painting and drawing. Readers walk with Dani through sadness, longing, first love, turmoil, broken relationships, confusion and doubt. She has to come to grips with what is really real, who God is, and how she must grow and change in order to become her best self.

I’ve tried to walk the fine line of emphasizing the universality of grief while making sure readers are aware there is Christian content, so no one is blindsided by it. The response to my themes and approach has been overwhelmingly positive. Readers have appreciated my willingness to explore the dark emotions of loss while affirming that we can talk (and holler and cry) to our Creator honestly about our pain, which at root is an expression of faith that He hears, cares, comforts and makes things new.

What is on the horizon for you? What books are next to be released?

I’m wrapping up the final chapters of a sequel to Never Gone that takes place the summer after Dani’s junior year. I also have two nonfiction books in the works, one of which I hope to release later this year, Writing When You Can’t Write. It will be full of tips and exercises to keep your writing projects on track, even when you can’t be at the keyboard.

Finally, I'm always looking for recommendations for young adult fiction. What are a few of your favorite young adult books or series?

There are so many! The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Summer to Die by Lois Lowry and pretty much everything by Sara Zarr and Deb Caletti. In terms of series, I adore J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, as well as Susan Howatch’s adult fiction Starbridge series and St. Benet’s series.

Thanks again to Laurel for her thoughtful responses!

Connect with Laurel:

Goodreads

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Google+

LinkedIn

Buy Laurel's Books:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Author Spotlight with Amy Martin

After I read a great self-published book, I contact the author and ask to spotlight them on the blog. 90% of the time the author responds right away with an affirmative yes. So thanks to the indie writing community for the willingness to answer a few questions for me and the blog! This month I interviewed Amy Martin, author of the In Your Dreams series. I read and reviewed the first in the series last month. Amy tells us a little bit about her dreams, being a semifinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and balancing work with writing.

BookCoverImageInYour Dreams

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I’m originally from Missouri, but I currently live in Lexington, KY with my husband and cat, and I work in higher education. When I’m not writing, I like to watch sports and movies, and I spend way too much time on social media (usually just lurking rather than participating). The In Your Dreams novels are my first published novels, although I’ve been writing off and on for my whole life.

The In Your Dreams series, in a sentence, is about a basketball-playing girl nicknamed Zip who meets a boy named Kieran who suffers from a strange narcolepsy-like condition that brings trouble and adventure to the two of them and their families.

What draws you to write young adult fiction?

I’ve worked with young people my entire adult life, so I feel like I know more about the 17-24 age group than I do people my own age. :) And as many of my friends’ daughters are becoming young adult readers, I wanted to put stories out there that feature strong heroines—heroines who can fall in love and be vulnerable but who can still maintain their lives and interests and not sacrifice everything to their relationships.

What does a typical work day look like for you? How much time do you spend writing fiction compared to marketing, blogging, working another job, etc?

Unfortunately, I still work full-time, so my writing and marketing time ends up crammed into those corners of my life in which I’m not working or taking care of things around the house. I try to write a little every day, but sometimes after a long day at work, it’s just not feasible. I really struggle with balance, and it’s something I hope to get better at this year.

In Your Dreams was a semifinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Tell us a little about the process and the benefits for you from reaching the semifinals.

I submitted an early version of In Your Dreams along with a pitch (a version of the book description that currently appears on the book’s for-sale pages). Amazon reviewers first judged the book solely on the pitch and then on the first five-thousand words. Once I progressed to the semifinal round, a Publishers’ Weekly reviewer read and reviewed the entire book. I didn’t progress any further, but comments from the reviewer and other readers gave me the confidence to revise the novel and self-publish.

Last month, I read your novel In Your Dreams. As the title suggests, the novel explores the dreams of one of the characters. I’ve always found dreams fascinating and have some pretty strange dreams. Do you have a strange dream of your own that you are willing to share?

I have trouble remembering my dreams (much like Zip—at least at first), but I do know that one of the strangest things that always happens in my dreams is that I’ll be in a place I remember from growing up, and people who aren’t supposed to be there show up. For example, I’ll be running around my high school as an adult (I haven’t been back to my high school in years) and people I went to college with will be there.

What is on the horizon for your fans this year?

I’m working on the fourth and final book of the In Your Dreams series—tentatively titled Beyond Your Dreams—which I’m hoping to have out this summer. After that, I’m hoping to put out a new adult title later on this year, and I’ve got ideas for other young adult books that I hope to start working on before the year is out.

Finally, I'm always looking for recommendations of great self-published books and indie authors. What are a few of your favorite self-published fiction books?

I really enjoyed the Deck of Lies series by Jade Varden—I read that in one day. Honestly, my “to read” list is so long at this point with both self-published and traditionally-published books, I’m not sure I’ll ever dig my way out. I think I may need some recommendations to help me sort out my list. :)

Thanks again to Amy! You can check out her books on Amazon by clicking the images or find her on social media via the below links.

Connect with Amy on her website.

Follow Amy on Twitter.

Like Amy on Facebook.

BookCoverImageInYour DreamsBookCoverImage-As You WakeBeforeYouSleep-Amz

Author Interview with the Addled Alchemist

I really enjoyed this month's author interview. Becca Andre is the author of The Final Formula. After reading and reviewing The Final Formula in January, I knew she would be a  great author to interview. I was right! I love her honesty and transparency. The-Final-Formula 800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I was born and raised in southern Ohio, married my high school sweetheart, and have two cool kids who keep life interesting.  I’m a fellow dog lover, though of the Jack Russell variety.  We used to spend a lot of time at Jack Russell Terrier trials around the country.  But my dog will be sixteen this month, so those days are behind us.  Now I spend my free time focused on writing.

I’ve always been a writer, even before I started to write my stories down.  In grade school, I often got into trouble for daydreaming.  It was annoying.  Just when I got to the good part of my imaginary tale, the teacher would interrupt and make me pay attention.  Eventually, I learned to stare at the chalkboard instead of the window.  The teacher didn’t interrupt nearly as much then.

I started writing down my stories when I was in high school, and though I enjoyed it immensely, I didn’t even consider pursing a career as a writer.  Instead, I followed my interest in science and became a chemist.  It wasn’t until four years ago that I decided to do something with my writing hobby.  I independently published my first novel at the end of September last year.  It’ been a positive experience so far, and I’m looking forward to getting more of my work out there.

As a chemist, do you have a fun story of blowing something up accidentally (or on purpose)?

The exploding crucible in the opening scene of The Final Formula is based on a real event.  It wasn’t quite as dramatic, nor did it happen to me (I just witnessed it), but I’m pretty sure the stain is still on the ceiling.

On a personal note, I blew up a water sample once.  Blasted the bottom right out of the beaker.  I was rather proud of that one—until I had to clean up the mess.  Explosions are a lot more fun on paper.

What is your favorite part about writing a novel? And the toughest?

I love when a character takes me somewhere I hadn’t planned on going.  That moment when they seem to take on a life of their own and suddenly, I’m just there to record what happens.  Some of my favorite scenes arise from those moments.  In the process, I stumble across aspects of the story I didn’t even know were there.

The toughest part is when I bump up against a scene that isn’t working and I have no clue why.  This seems to happen in the middle.  I’ve got the beginning, I know the end, but I just can’t seem to find my way.  Eventually, it’ll hit me and it’s often the simplest thing.  I’m left feeling like an idiot for wasting so much time.

The subconscious mind is a crazy place.  Or at least, mine is.

The Final Formula is set in an urban fantasy world with magic, alchemy, necromancers, grims, and more. If you could have any magical power similar to a character in your book, what would it be and why?

A necromancer.  Ha!  Just kidding.  Hmm.  There are a lot of cool powers, but what fascinates me most is the alchemy.  How awesome would it be to take some mundane ingredients, and with the right attitude and skill, bottle magic?

I based my alchemy more on modern chemistry than the bubbling cauldrons of old, keeping the story rooted in our world and making alchemy accessible to people without magic.  That’s one of my favorite aspects of this series: Addie, my alchemist, can go toe-to-toe with the magical heavy hitters even though she has no inborn ability herself.

One of my favorite aspects of the Final Formula was the character development and interaction. The characters were playful and smart. Did you create this characters with anybody specifically in mind? 

Not really.  Everyone in my story is a figment of my imagination, with one exception: Addie is a lot like me.  Of course, she’s smarter, and wittier, but the inspiration for her character hit close to home.  The idea for this series came from a writing prompt to write what you know with a fantasy twist.  I took it literally.  I added magic to my modern world and went from chemist to alchemist.

The rest of the characters rose organically from that idea.  In the past, alchemists worked with the elements (fire, water, earth and air), so I made the elements into actual people.  Although in my modern world, the elemental powers stem from the states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.  The Elements are the top dogs in Addie’s magical world and are often an obstacle to her plans.  Addie’s greatest asset—and flaw—is her confidence.  So Rowan, my Fire Element, had to have an arrogance to match.  Writing their dialogue is a blast.

Then there is the alchemist’s age old quest for the Elixir of Life.  That brought out the themes of life and death, and immortality.  Enter the necromancers and all the fun they add to a story (zombies!).  And, of course, James.  I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the story, but James was one of those surprises I didn’t see coming.  He’s a wonderfully conflicted character who is so much fun to write.

Finally, what is on the horizon for your fans? What books are next to be released?  

My novella, The Element of Death, should be out in February.  It’s a short work from James’s point of view that adds to the events of The Final Formula.

Then Addie is back in the driver’s seat for the second novel in the series (no title yet).  I hope to release it later this spring.

Thanks again to Becca for taking the time to answer these questions. You can find Becca at her website, twitter, or facebook. You can buy her novel The Final Formula at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords. I definitely recommend it!

Author Spotlight with Randy Shaffer

TheHorrorCoverc

Today's author spotlight is with horror author and friend Randy Shaffer. His short story, The Horror, has been holding steady in the top 100 horror kindle books in January. Besides his horror short stories, he also writes nonfiction and has a background in film. His interview is fascinating and worth the read, even if you aren't a horror fan.

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do outside of writing? What are your hobbies and favorite things to do outside of writing?

I was born and raised in Mentor, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I am married to a lovely woman who serves as the president of the Burning River Roller Girls in Cleveland (she's also a marketing guru for a jeweler). We have no kids, but we do have one mean-spirited cat we dearly love and adore (she just tolerates us).

I went to Wright State University for a year where I studied film production. Alas, the professors weren't particularly keen on crafting cinema people would actually want to watch (or care about), so I transferred to Kent State University and studied writing and film theory instead.

I basically live and breathe writing. I'm paraphrasing, but Stephen King once said that writing was easy, life is hard. I couldn't agree more. I'm always working on stories, screenplays, books and other ideas. I even shoot skits and video blogs every so often. I don't sleep very well, only a few hours a night. My brain is always running wild, so I am continually looking for ways to keep my mind occupied.

I love movies, though I'm not a fan of going to the theater, unless that theater is a drive-in, in which case I would gladly go to the theater. I have a pretty slick setup in my house, with a terrific 1080p projector, Blu-ray and theater-quality 7.1 surround sound. There's basically no reason to leave the house with a home theater this nice. And with ticket prices the way they are, it's cheaper just buying the film when it hits video. I also really love sharing and discussing movies with people, especially films they have never seen.

I am a bit of a gamer. I feel that gaming is the next big storytelling industry. This latest console generation (PS3 and Xbox 360) really pushed the envelope in this regard. I can't wait to see what the next generation has in store.

And naturally, I love reading. I try and read at least 50 books a year. Last year I read more than double that.

How long have you been writing? What books have you published?

I've been writing stories since I was about 10 years old and I wrote a piece of (hilarious and embarassing) Planet of the Apes fan fiction. But the storytelling bug first bit me when I was 6. I was bullied by this kid named Jake and, in order to comprehend his actions, I created a story (in my head) about who he was when he wasn't bullying me at school. It was a sympathetic tale that had him dealing with cruel parents, jealousy over siblings and bullying of his own. In my story, he was a victim, too. And that's why he picked on me. A few years later, I discovered that I wasn't far off. He was abused by his parents and ridiculed by his siblings, and this drove him to dark places. Once I made that discovery, I was hooked on storytelling.

At current, I have four books published, with a fifth on the way at the end of January. And several more short stories and novellas coming in the next year. I've also got three full-length novels being prepped for sale to publishers.

Right now, I'm focusing on short stories, novellas and shorter novels, primarily because I believe there's an untapped market of readers (with e-readers on their smartphones and tablets) who simply don't have the time for longer books. We live in a very busy world, with hundreds of daily distractions. An 800-page book simply isn't going to appeal to those on the go. But something shorter might just whet their appetite. I'm trying to find that audience, and see where they take me. But I'm also seeking that core base of readers. It might sound dumb, but if I could be the guy you read in the bathroom, I would be a very happy man. That writer gets to share their stories with the world all the time. In lesser words, that person is always working.

What books or authors influenced your writing and why?

That's a tough question – one I could probably spend thousands of words discussing. I'll try and be brief and highlight just a few authors.

Stephen King. He is a master writer, and his stories have shaped who I am. Any self respecting horror writer should aspire to churn out the kind of work he does … with books that are maybe not as long as his, though.

J.K. Rowling. Her Harry Potter series is an absolute game changer. It shifted the entire landscape of young adult fiction. And even better, the books are remarkably well written, with a terrific amount of plot and a perfect balance of character.

Michael Crichton. His books are so immeasurably fun, nerdy and awesome. You learn something about science while exploring a great thrill ride of a plot. I am devastated that he's gone and I won't get to read another one of his new books (outside of those ghost-written books that keep coming out).

And finally, F. Scott Fitzgerald. If ever there was an author who nailed society in just one book, it was this man. The Great Gatsby is my all-time favorite novel. It speaks to our culture in such brutally honest ways, and it's still relevant to this day. I suspect it will stay relevant forever. I read his work, which is usually very lean and concise (Gatsby comes in at under 200 pages), and I can't help but smile, cry, loath and love. So awesome and so completely unforgettable.

What draws you to write horror?

I absolutely love writing about what scares me, though what scares me is not necessarily limited to just the horror genre. But even when I was a kid, I would write horror short stories.

I've always been fascinated with that crossroads between fiction and reality, and my mind is always conjuring new stories that explore that realm. The horror genre is a particularly potent field for that kind of storytelling.

My novelette, The Horror, for example, is about a young couple being stalked by an unnamed killer, all while isolated in a haunted house maze. On the surface, it's a tense thriller, built upon anxiety and dread. But metaphorically, The Horror is about how fear can sometimes drive us to irrational places. It questions whether or not you – the reader – would ever go to a haunted house after reading this story, despite the fact that what I wrote is purely fictional. My thesis was to spark an inner-debate. And my hope is that readers can apply what they learned about fear to other aspects in their life. Should we let fear drive us, or should we focus on the more joyful aspects of our admittedly brief existence? And can we really prevent such fears from infecting our being?

But I'm not just limited to horror. I've also written Does She Smile at Home?, which is a character drama about a man suffering from an existential crisis. Also in 2013, I completed a nonfiction manuscript about swing culture and alternative sexual lifestyles. My idea with these books was to explore the nature of human beings, from their darkest, most hidden corners, in order to discover something deeper about our ever-evolving, yet curiously ever-consistent culture.

What is your favorite part of being an indie author?

It's tough being an indie author. Sometimes it's frustrating. Sometimes it's upsetting. You sort of live and die by reviews, guerrilla marketing and the thoughts of others, which can be very challenging to your wallet, your emotions, and your ego (which is crucial for a writer to have, mind you). You have to make sure you find the right person for your book, otherwise they might not like your story, or connect with it in the right way, or the way you hoped.

But when you do connect with a reader … that's downright magical. I love discovering new readers. I find myself reading the books they are reading and sharing with them so much more than just my stories. Connecting with another human being is a rich, wonderful experience, and I sincerely welcome the opportunity to uncover new readers and friends. There are challenges that indie authors must face, and they can be quite grueling, but the end results are deeply rewarding.

What is on the horizon for you in 2014? What books are next to be released?

I'm working on a slew of short stories and novellas, which should be rolling out this summer. I've also got the remaining four issues coming of my five-issue series, Wicked Neighborhood, which readers have described as a "Goosebumps for adults" horror series. I'll be publishing the second issue, The Foot, on January 25 (my birthday), with further issues in the months following. Once that series is completed, I'll be publishing a full-length version of the complete series in both ebook and print formats. After that, I'll be taking my work to comic cons to garner an even larger audience.

I'm also hard at work editing three full-length books, two fiction and one nonfiction. I am hoping to get one of those books in the hands of a publisher in 2014.

And lastly, I'm crafting an audiobook of The Horror. I'm hoping to release it sometime this summer, or early fall, well ahead of the Halloween season … my busy season, so to speak.

Thanks again to Randy for coming on the blog and sharing his story with us. You can connect with him at the links below.

Website: http://rlshaffer.com/

Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/randyshaffer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/rlshaffer

Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/rlshafferwrites

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rlshafferwrites

Books by Randy Shaffer

TheHorrorCovercVampZomClausNEWTheStrayCatsCoverSmileATHome1

Indie Author Spotlight with Kendra C. Highley

Kendra Pic 2010 I'm excited for today's post- an indie author spotlight with Kendra C. Highley. It's been too long since I've highlighted an indie author on the blog.  When I read Sidelined last month, I thought she would be a great fit for the indie author spotlight. I contacted her and she promptly said yes.  Along with Sidelined, Kendra is the author of the Matt Archer series.

Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What books have you published?

I've been writing since I was in third grade, short stories and such, and I've always loved to, uh, "stretch the truth" to make a story more exciting. Good trait for a writer, right? :) But I didn't get serious about my craft, with an eye toward publication, until about five years ago.

My books include my self-published Matt Archer series, an urban fantasy YA series about a teen who fights monsters, and Sidelined (Entangled Ember), an upper contemporary YA about a female basketball star who gets injured and has to rebuild her life.

What is your favorite part of writing a novel?

When my characters take a detour I wasn't expecting. I'm getting better at plotting, but I'm really more of a pantser, and I love it when I'm writing along and suddenly the story turns in a place I never expected. More often than not, it turns out to be better for the story, too.

What draws you to write young adult fiction?

I love the wonder, the excitement, the "newness" of experiences that teen characters face. I also think some of the most daring, edgy modern books are being written in the YA space.

What are a few of your favorite young adult books and/or series?

Wow, narrowing it down to a few is hard. I'm writing a four-part series on my blog on my favorite YA books right now! I'd have to say Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Girl of Fire and Thorns series have been my favorites of the last few years.

Sidelined-cover-900px(1)I recently read your novel Sidelined. I was drawn to the book as a former athlete and current basketball coach. I think the book deals with issues many teens face as they struggle with addiction, identity, and relationships. Did you have any specific moments in your life that inspired the writing of this book?

One in particular stands out. While I was friends with a couple of varsity women's basketball players (which influenced my decision to make Genna a basketball star), the first seed for this story was planted by a football player when I was a freshman. He was a senior, with three scholarships on the table, and in my church youth group. He was injured late in his last season and lost all his scholarship opportunities. I remember how angry he was, how this life-changing event threw him into despair. But I also got to see, over the course of that year, how he eventually discovered other pursuits and slowly found his balance again. It was inspiring, frankly, and the experience stuck with me.

What are your current writing projects? What is on the horizon for your fans?

I'm working on the fourth Matt Archer book. It's in final edits and will be released in January 2014. The fifth and final book will release summer 2014. I'm also working on a new contemporary YA that has me pretty excited, about a high school reporter.

Finally, I'm always looking for recommendations of great self-published books and indie authors. Do you have any recommendations for self-published fiction books or indie authors to check out?

Wow, two come to mind immediately. They aren't YA, but they have teen characters and are safe for readers 14+. The first is the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. The sixth book in the series, Forged in Blood I, has made it all the way to the finals for Best Fantasy in the 2013 GoodReads Book awards. The second is The Final Formula by Becca Andre. It's an urban fantasy about an alchemist who has amnesia...it's very unique and a ton of fun. I also really enjoyed Red, by Kait Nolan. It's an urban fantasy (YA) based on Red Riding Hood.

Thanks so much to Kendra for her thoughtful responses. I recently picked up the first Matt Archer book and look forward to reading and reviewing it soon.

You can find Kendra at:

www.matt-archer.com (MA series site)
Her contemporary YA novel, Sidelined, is available for purchase at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Indie Author Spotlight - Meet L.M. Sherwin

Night Bells CoverartPubtIt!Ver

authorpicfall2012

This month's Indie Author Spotlight features L.M. Sherwin. I read Sherwin's first novel, Night Bellsearlier this month and will review the book in my May book reviews at the end of the month. She's a great young writer and I'm excited for her to be on the blog today.

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do outside of writing? What are your hobbies and favorite things to do besides writing?

Hi there! I’m L.M. Sherwin and I work full-time from home as an author, an administrator for a graphic design company called Maiedae, and as a lifestyle blogger. As you can see, I’m one busy lady! In addition to writing fantasy novels, I love to read fantasy and science-fiction books and watch those same sorts of shows/movies. I’m also very partial to reading health books and watching fun documentaries. A consummate language nerd, I study both Korean and Japanese in my spare time. Aside from my more “academic” pursuits, I love to do martial arts and take both Taekwondo and Hapkido. I attend four classes a week! I also teach yoga twice a week. I’m very active. I’m very big into drawing and digital artwork as well. :-)

How long have you been writing? What books have you published?

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to read. I would dictate my stories to my mother and she would always write them down for me. When I was old enough to write for myself, I knew I wanted to be an author one day! I’ve always loved writing and telling stories. When I got married to my wonderful husband (dubbed “The Philosopher” on both of my blogs), he encouraged me to pursue publishing—specifically self-publishing. I have three books currently available, two novels and a novella. My two current novels are a part of a series called Tales from Niflheim and are titled: Night Bells and Silent Shades. The novella is part of another series called Tales from the Moons of Kirovna. You can find my books at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. If you’re interested in checking out my first book, Night Bells is FREE in all of those places! Here’s the Kindle link. ;-)

What is your favorite part of writing a novel? 

My favorite part of writing a novel is most likely the revising//editing stage. I know that might sound weird, but during this stage, I get to go back and re-read everything I’ve written! If I’ve let the manuscript “lie fallow” for a while with my eyes off it, it’s always fun to dive back in as if I’m reading someone else’s story! Sometimes, I even forget things that I wrote, so it is like experiencing it for the first time and it is fun to read the manuscript with that perspective. It is also a great exercise to read your own work, make revisions, and edit because it helps you to have a more critical eye.

I recently read your first novel Night Bells. I enjoyed the story greatly and loved the names of the characters and places. How do you develop names for character and places for your novels?

Night Bells CoverartPubtIt!VerI’m greatly interested in many cultures in our world and my books are heavily influenced by those interests. For names of both characters and places, I base them in the cultural frameworks in which I’m interested. Most of the names in Night Bells come from Norse-derived cultures like Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. For a novel I’m currently working on, my names come from German culture. If I have to make up names, I try to fit them within an existing framework or within a new language-framework that I’m creating specifically for a book.

As a Christian, how does your faith influence your writing?

My faith pervades every part of my life, so it is inevitable that my faith would show up in my novels. I don’t write “explicitly Christian” novels, but my Christian perspective finds its way into my stories (sometimes on purpose). My faith influences my writing most directly in my characters’ lives and choices. The morality decisions my characters face will often fall under what I personally feel convicted is right under my Christian religion. Sometimes, though, I will purposefully create a character or situation that challenges those thoughts and perspectives. I do this to make sure I’m fairly representing variety in the worlds I make and to also challenge myself to think about life in ways different from my own beliefs. I do this NOT to take away my own Christian faith but to make it stronger. I was heavily influenced, growing up, by Christian authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Francine Rivers.

Finally, I'm always looking for recommendations of great self-published books and indie authors. Do you have any recommendations for self-published fiction books or indie authors to check out? 

Absolutely! One of my favorite indie authors of all-time is Lindsay Buroker. She is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Her Emperor’s Edge series is one of my favorites! Her blog is so, so helpful, as well. You’ll not only love her books, but her website. She is always helpful to new and up-and-coming authors, so if you don’t check her out, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. Some other notable indie authors that are terrific are Daniel Arenson and Kendra C. Highley. There are plenty others out there, too! Get to reading! These guys are GREAT!

Thanks again to L.M. Sherwin for stopping by and answering some questions. You can learn more about her by visiting her links below. Or go pick up Night Bells! It's free on all e-book platforms!

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Indie Author Spotlight - Cole Crook

coleToday's post features author, singer, and songwriter Cole Crook. Cole and I share many similar writing influences and I'm excited to feature him this month! His responses are thoughtful and insightful so read on!

Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What creative endeavors are you working on? What are your plans for publishing your work?

Whew! I’ll do my best to give a little insight into each of these openers. It’s been a while since someone has simply asked me, “Who are you?” but I’m happier than I’d like to admit that you did ask that; because it’s one of my favorite questions. I ask it of myself all the time. Even more, I would gladly pay a stranger to wake me up each morning by leaning over my bed and asking, “Who are you? And what are you doing here?” I think we could all ask ourselves those questions more often.

Raised Roman Catholic in the beautiful city of Louisville, KY I’d moved on to the more advanced religion of synthetic euphoria by sixteen after my parent’s divorce. For nearly a decade I lived the life of a managing addict, in and out of trouble, rehab, and jail. To make a long story inadequately short, I was reconciled with my biological father in Alabama, and God used it as a catalyst into an ever-surprising, adventurous, at times seemingly dull, and yet colorful life of following Jesus; the Great Adventurer. “The Way,” as early believers referred to it, is merely Following the Adventurer into a sacrificial life of being a life-giving lover of people.

I have a beautiful wife of 3 years, a miniature schnauzer named Olive, and we built our first home back in July. That was my last full month as the pastor of Mill Creek Church, which was unbelievably challenging, yet so fun! Proceeding that position I worked as a youth pastor, college pastor, and worship pastor; those experiences helped reveal the purer passion of my heart – or God’s next assignment – to reach a wider audience through writing, speaking, recording albums, an adoption advocacy project well under way, and leading worship for churches every now and again.

Throughout the past year I’ve experienced the most radical shift of worldview, (and thus, personality and opinions) than ever before in my life. I confess that it is a click away from fundamentalism and heavily reformed theological thinking (though not an abandonment of all their beliefs or bitterness towards them.) And a click towards a life that’s honest. I responded to a Literature professor of mine after she said that I “am talented,” that my sole talent is being uncomfortably honest. And maybe it’s a calling more than a talent – and there are heavy traces of that in all my work. The willingness to paint a detailed picture of my thoughts and experiences – the beautiful and the ugly and the sacred – because I have to. And I think it’s going to resonate deeply with a large amount of people who aren’t sure how to merge their secular life with their sacred life – because despite all our cultural ingrained peculiarities – all of my life is one person.

Currently, I have an EP out (which you can download at Cole Crook on Bandcamp) entitled {Dear Redemption,} – as its title track is somewhat of a letter to God of desperation and hope. I chose the four songs out of the many I’ve written because they are the most meaningful to me as a person. And more music will be coming soon.

I’m also writing a semi-autobiographical non-fiction novel (my main outpouring of creative energy at the moment) which is a fancy way of saying it is a book composed of a series of personal essays with a common theme. Each story is a progression of the failed methods I’ve employed to avoid uncomfortable realities, suffering, and ultimately; reality itself. It’s a pretty honest book.

Publishing is rarely on my mind. Not because I don’t want to be published. Precisely the opposite; I want it too badly until it takes authenticity out of my efforts. Despite my best effort to follow Anne Lamott’s advice to never write because you want to be published, I found it difficult not to let the eyes of my heart dart in ‘that’ direction, especially early on in the writing process. I am working with an editor from Canada, named Rachel. (Rachel’s really awesome.) I have some optimism that this will develop into a good partnership, and that working with an editor earlier in the process will have saved time and money when it hits the shelves. My peers and others who have an understanding of the book seem to be surprised at what is on the page so far, so with a little luck and a lot of work, maybe I can find a publisher by this time next year or sooner.

MORE THAN ANYTHING

I want to have a humble heart that produces words for the love of those who read those words.

What is your favorite part about writing?

Having written! That’s a truer joke than I wish it were. I like the discoveries. Epiphanies through the ancient art of penciling what is most important to us. Anyone who writes on a subject they’re not deeply passionate towards at the time, is writing with an incorrect motive in my opinion. Naturally, I love writing because it’s a job that follows my heart’s direction, rather than my heart’s direction being maneuvered by my career or finances or uncertainties concerning getting published etc…

Who are a few of your favorite authors? What draws you to their work?

There are three authors that immediately come to mind so I must mention them first, although, it seems less than helpful because most readers (and especially writers) are already familiar with them. But Donald Miller, Anne Lamott, and C.S. Lewis are my biggest influences. I’ve read nearly all of their books and only wish that there were enough material so I wouldn’t run out.

As a more unique list of writers I really enjoy, there is Rob Bell, Tim Keller, Madeleine L'Engle, Lois Lowry, G.K. Chesterton, Suzanne Collins for her work with the Hunger Games trilogy, and I read the Message Bible daily right now for my annual NT exegetical devotional time.

I’m drawn to writers who run towards the tension – the paradoxes – and do their best to express how some level of transcendence exists around us that we’re naturally blind too, but have begun to notice more little by little of God’s craftsmanship in the story of humanity. Some glory – or God – in everything. Because he made everything.

We are the observers of the universe. We are the seers of God. The stewards of all that is Earth. In Lewis’ memoir ‘Surprised by Joy’ he says Joy, is a byproduct of focusing on an object of delight. And the only object capable of producing genuine Joy – an inextinguishable peace with reality – is the triune Creator God who sings the universe’s existence into being and breathed spiritual life into our lungs found in Genesis 1:1. That’s an earth-shifting realization: You can’t have Joy while focusing on Joy, because Joy is produced through our focus on the object, which produces it. Joy doesn’t produce joy. If you focus on your joy, it will vanish in the same moment.

Rob Bell is the Lewis of our generation (IMO). Although he is more controversial than Lewis was, much of this can be attributed to our generation’s greater complexities, integrations, and information tsunami. So naturally, writers of spiritual books (including myself) are more prone to controversy than ever. This valuable wisdom from the Apostle James is now, more than ever: Be slow to speak and quick to listen.

Lastly, Adair Lara from San Francisco wrote a book called ‘Naked, Drunk, and Writing’ that has been more helpful than any other book on writing I’ve read. It even beats out Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and Lamott’s ‘Bird by Bird’ in terms of what it did for the quality of my writing immediately.

Besides writing you are also a singer-songwriter. What are your musical influences and how would you describe your music?

Yes, that’s correct. The first writing I did for pleasure was song lyrics. Not sentences. And I still find song writing to be incredibly therapeutic. Perhaps, in retrospect, that’s the sole reason I wrote songs from the beginning: I needed therapy but didn’t know it. Coincidentally, I decided to begin playing guitar, and it just kind of… happened. But most importantly, writing songs opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of reality. By finding methods to be deeply known and expressive through media, that is interesting AND helpful, I felt as if I’d landed in myself for the first time in my life.

I was most heavily influenced by the bands I was listening to while playing venues in my early twenties. Some of those bands are still around like Band of Horses and Jimmy Eat World.  Others such as Copeland, Mae, and Brand New are finished, but I still listen to them almost daily. Manchester Orchestra is by far my favorite band. Andy Hull is musically unmatched in their genre right now. In 2002 I bought The Format’s debut album ‘Intervention and Lullabies’ who’s lead vocalists is now the front man for F.U.N. FUN’s debut album blew me away – before it got radio burn (which is like carpet burn but when radio stations over play a song until you want to strangle yourself with the telephone cord at work) – moving on… and The Format was a nice peak into what would become the main focus of my music interest (indie-epic-pop-alternative-rock songs with big hooks). Those make me happy on the inside.

Thanks to Cole for his great responses. Check him out at http://www.colecrook.com/.

Indie Author Spotlight - Joseph Evans

josephevans

josephevansToday's post is the second in a monthly author interview series. This month features author Joseph Evans, self-published author of City of the Falling Sky, the first in a young adult series called the Seckry Sequence which has sold over 50,000 copies. I reviewed City of the Falling Sky last month in my monthly book reviews post. If you missed it, you can read it here. Joseph is in the middle of finishing up his second novel and I really appreciate him taking some time out of his day to answer these questions.

What is your favorite part of writing a novel?

My favorite part is getting to the final stages and piecing all of the bits that I've written together. I work in a slightly unorthodox way, in which I plan very heavily beforehand so I know exactly where the story is going, and then I write all of the main segments out of chronological order before piecing them together at the end. Because my books are very plot orientated, it's really satisfying to see the how all of the twists lock into place. And, of course, the relief of knowing that I have a break coming up soon after spending every single day working is a bonus too!

I know you are a big fan of the Harry Potter series and the young adult realm. What draws you to read young adult fiction and write young adult fiction?

Surprisingly, I was a very reluctant reader as a child, and didn't start reading for pleasure until I was around thirteen or fourteen. I was much more interested in playing video games or watching anime before that. My mum was a school librarian at the time and she knew these books called Broken Sky by Chris Wooding that had anime covers, and she bought the first one for me to see if it would encourage me to read. I read the first few chapters, then the next few, and before I knew it, I was hooked. I went out and bought the rest of the series and couldn't put them down. It was the first time I had ever spent my own money on a book, and it felt like the best money I had ever spent. I went on to read tons and tons of teenage fiction, and couldn't get enough of it, and whereas a lot of people my age grew out of it, and started reading much more literary adult fiction, I just felt at home reading the teen stuff, even into my twenties. I'm now twenty seven and still choose to read teenage fiction over anything else because it has such a soft spot in my heart, and I suppose deep down I just feel like I've never really stopped being a teenager inside!

What are a few of your favorite young adult books and series?

Aside from the Broken Sky series that I've mentioned, my other favourites are Harry Potter (which I read shortly after Broken Sky, and completely blew me away), His Dark materials by Philip Pullman, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (not technically young adult, but maybe crossover), Troy by Adele Geras, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, and Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan.

I loved reading about Friction in The City of the Falling Sky. For those who haven't read your novel yet, can you explain the game of Friction, where the idea of Friction originated and why Friction is a centerpiece in your novel?

Friction is a massively multiplayer video game that allows players to become virtual avatars and run around in arenas, using their real body movements to control that of the avatar's. There is a yearly event called the Mega Meltdown in which all four of Skyfall City's schools compete for a trophy. Friction was mainly inspired by Quidditch from Harry Potter - I, along with many other, loved reading about Quidditch, but I struggled to find many other books that had some kind of sporting event as a side story to the main plot. in early planning stages for City of the Falling Sky I decided I was going to invent my own sporting event to fit into the story, and being an avid video gamer, it just felt right to invent something like Friction, especially since the world of esports is actually starting to take off in the real world right now, and MMOs are are taking over the gaming world.

What adventures await Seckry in Book #2? Do you have a general timeframe for its release?

seckryOk, at the end of the first book, Kevan Kayne, who was thought to have been shot dead by Darklight, is actually back from the grave, and he plays a very important role in the Trinity Awakening because he has a very strange obsession with Eiya. Also, in City of the Falling Sky, we learn that Seckry's father is still out there and alive, but Seckry has never been able to contact him. This time, Seckry is determined to find out more about his father's mysterious disappearance, and his search takes him far out of Skyfall City and into the snowy peaks of the northern mountains. On top of this, there is more Friction training to be had before the twenty eighth Mega Meltdown, and Tippian is devising a weird plan to help him get a date for this year's annual school ball!

I've almost finished writing the book and I'm hoping to have it released sometime this April. A teaser trailer will be going up soon, which you can see on my Youtube page here: youtube.com/josephevansauthor

I'm always looking for recommendations of great self-published books and indie authors. Do you have any recommendations for self-published fiction books or indie authors to check out?

Unfortunately I have been so engrossed in writing over the last few months that I haven't even looked at another book, I'll be doing a massive reading spree when I'm finished, but for now I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to some friends of mine who are up and coming - Karla J. M. Brading and Charlotte Kane.

Thanks so much for the time, and I hope you enjoy The Trinity Awakening when it's released!

Learn more about Joseph and his books at the following sites:

facebook.com/theseckrysequence

www.theseckrysequence.com

@JosephCEvans