Author Interview–Richelle E. Goodrich

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is proud to present:

Richelle E. Goodrich!!

Richelle E. Goodrich lives in Washington with her husband and three boys somewhere in a compromise between country and city living. She has two BA degrees and possesses a wide range of interests in the creative arts.

Untitled-1 copyHer love for writing emerged later in life, first manifesting itself through children’s books geared at entertaining her boys. ‘Eena, The Dawn and Rescue‘ and ‘Eena, The Return of a Queen‘ (the beginning adventures in the Harrowbethian Saga) are Richelle’s first novel-length achievements.

This author will tell you that the greatest thrill of writing is to hear what readers have to say about the characters living within her enchanted pages.

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BB & B: I love this quote of yours, “Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action…..no matter what. So you’re afraid? Be afraid. Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!” (Smile Anyway)

Can you tell us about this quote and what brought out these words of encouragement?

Richelle: Yes, I certainly can.  For the most part my quotes have been inspired by personal experiences and some unpleasant trials.  At times, however, they’ve resulted from a keen fascination for observing and evaluating human behavior.  I like to ‘people watch’, perhaps because I never cease to be amazed by the actions of others.  Smile Anyway FINAL COVER smallest

The quote you mention regarding courage came to me when I was facing a difficult challenge that resulted in taking a stand for what I heartily wanted despite strenuous opposition.  I’m no super hero, I’ll admit.  I cringe at the mere mention of anxiety, fear, and confrontation.  But I’ve learned that courage isn’t reserved for the brave and daring only.  Courage means taking action, period.  And even a timid personality can do that—albeit trembling the entire time.    

BB & B: I love fantasy and magic in my books and you definitely capture these elements so beautifully in your stories.  What inspires you when in the creation of your characters and the world they live in?

Richelle: I’m a daydreamer to the very core.  There are a thousand stories swirling in my head constantly, sort of like an inner library where I slip a book off the shelf almost daily for the purpose of entertaining an untiring brain.

If only I could write—had the time to write—all the adventures and fantasies that play on my mental view screen.  I have my favorites memorized, and I tweak their stories often, hoping someday to jot them down on paper.  I’ve always been this way, passing the time in another world, pretending to be some extraordinary character.  I have to laugh because I actually wrote a quote inspired by this truth:

 “I live in two unique worlds, traveling between both with just the opening or closing of my eyes.”

~Richelle E. Goodrich 

 That’s me.  What inspires these stories—the characters and the worlds they come from?  Well….what doesn’t inspire them?  In other words, just about anything can act as inspiration for me, depending upon what I’m thinking about at the moment.  A mangled tree once inspired an entire book, including the type of life that dominated a fantasy world.  A touching scene from a movie Dandelions Cover smallwas what sparked the idea for my book, ‘Dandelions’. 

Art seems to be a strong stimulation when it comes to sparking stories in my imagination.  I believe that’s because art is so highly interpretive, which means I must draw on my own creativity to evaluate it.  And once the creativity starts to flow, quite frankly there’s no stopping what develops from it.

BB & B: To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Richelle: I’m smiling at this question.  I am a firm believer that there is absolutely a portion of the personality of a writer in the main character(s) he/she creates.  My characters are not exactly as I am, but they most certainly do possess solid elements of ‘me-ness’ in them.  They must, because it’s me imagining how they would react and respond and reply to presented stimuli.  And all I have to go on is what exists within my experience; experience that has made me, me.   

BB & B: If you had to pick just one story or one character of yours.  Which or who would it be and why?

Richelle: Hmmmm.  Pick one for what purpose?  Do you want the character that entertains me the most?  Or the one I most relate to?  Or the one that I enjoyed creating most?  Okay, let’s see…

The character that entertains me most is probably Kira the Mishmorat from my stories in the Harrowbethian Saga or ‘Eena’ books.  Kira’s personality is nervy, edgy, and spirited—traits I normally repress.  She speaks at will, behavesEena1 cover boldly, is a striking beauty and an alluring nymph.  I love how she is.

The character that I most relate to would be Annabelle Fancher in ‘Dandelions’.  Not because I have ever experienced the abusive life she unfortunately endures, but because she and I both are dreamers and avid people watchers.  Despite Annabelle’s youth, she makes very astute observations about her peers and many adults.

The character I most enjoyed creating would be Eena, hands down.  That’s because she is me.  I am her.  At least that’s the way I always imagined it when I use to daydream about Eena and her other-world adventures as a high school student bored to death in class.

BB & B: Here’s another quote from Smile Anyway, “A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination.” I just love your quotes.  They’re inspiring and full of wisdom.  I can see that you are about positivity and living up to your true calling and not giving up. 

Can you share with us your tips for staying positive and keeping on course?  I think this can be especially challenging for those of us in the creative field.

Richelle: There are three things that help fuel my drive to succeed.  The first is an easy and simple habit; I do at least one thing daily to get me nearer to my goal.  On a busy day, that might mean writing just one sentence in a developing EENA 3 COVER FINAL smallest copymanuscript.  On a lazy day I might read for research purposes or scribble out an entry on my author blog.  The point is that I not allow myself to become stagnant.  Doing nothing achieves nothing, therefore I take at least one step toward my goal every day, despite how tiny the step.

 Next, I’ve come to realize that where dreams are concerned I have only two choices—give up or keep going.  If I were to give up, that would translate into sheer failure, and I do NOT want to fail.  Therefore, I’ve no other choice but to keep going, to keep striving towards those dreams.

The last habit I rely upon most heavily.  I pray.  I explain to my Heavenly Father what I wish to achieve, and I ask Him for inspiration, guidance, and His hand in making it possible.  And I believe assuredly that He can and will help me.

BB & B: Do you have any works in progress?  What can fans expect from you in the near future?

Richelle: Yes, as a matter of fact; I’m excited about this one!  I’ve begun a new YA book staring a genius boy-gifted girl duo.  They’re coerced by an old Mayan priest into opposing phantom villains who must be stopped at all costs or else…  (Wait a minute.  I probably shouldn’t give the entire story away.)  Anyhow, I hope to have this work completed by the end of the year. 

BB & B: Do you have any closing words you’d like to share?

Richelle: Sure, how about a quote to inspire?  This one is from my recently released book, ‘Smile Anyway’: 

 “Never give up. 
It’s like breathing—once you quit, your flame dies letting total darkness extinguish every last gasp of hope. You can’t do that. You must continue taking in even the shallowest of breaths, continue putting forth even the smallest of efforts to sustain your dreams. Don’t ever, ever, ever give up.” 
 Richelle E. Goodrich

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Thank you Richelle for your time!  Beautiful words indeed!

To get to know more about Richelle and her great works, please visit the links below:

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Richelle’s Websites:

 

Author Interview–Darren Worrow

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is proud to present:

Darren Worrow!!

In his own words 🙂 about his bio… shot from my dying home planet as a baby in an egg shaped craft I grew up with a company of wolves, learning to live as they did. Until one day the threat of the return of a naughty tiger meant I was guided out of the jungle by a jazz singing bear and into a man-village.

darrenworrowAt the village I managed to win a golden ticket to a chocolate factory where I fell into a river of chocolate and got sucked up a pipe. Things went from bad to worse when I found out that a drunken sailor in the local inn had a treasure map and I was accosted by pirates and traveled to a secret Caribbean island.After this I could take no more of my adopted parents and so I went away off with some strange bloke to a school for wizards where I thought it best to challenge a lecturer that killed my parents.

However after this my life turned around, I grew up and gave my favourite toys, a cowboy and a space ranger away to a snotty girl from around the corner and went to college. Unfortunately though I was bitten by a rare spider and found myself with special arachnid powers which I used to defeat an evil leprechaun.

Now, well, now I just write books, people say where do you get your ideas from and I tell them I have no idea, I’ve had such a boring, everyday life.

Hi, many thanks for inviting me here!

BB & B: You are definitely an artist when it comes to crafting humor in your work.  What inspires you to take something that can be so ordinary like a wsvmcover2delivery driver job and turn it into a space adventure as seen in White Space Van Man?

Darren: Yes thanks, humour (or humor to you, I don’t know, too lazy to stick a quick “U” in!) is the only thing I am ever serious about. I have always had a bit of fascination with the MGM cartoons of the great Tex Avery, how he took such a simple area of logic and exploded it into complete madness; as in “King Sized Canary,” whereby a bottle of super fast plant grower is drunk by the cat and the mouse and they grow to enormous proportions.  One simple piece of logic turns into complete hilarity and mayhem.

 To take something quite simple, every-day or even mundane and twist it or take it out of context is a good starting point. Schh, keep it to yourself but in the case of White Space Van Man, I really have been what the UK media term a “white van man,” (a delivery driver, usually with a stereotypical obnoxious attitude towards other road users) so the concept here begins with just having a rant about the mechanics of my employment.

Not a very entertaining prospect you might think, but again to simply take that area of logic, that simple thought, out of its usual surroundings or environment, such as space in this instance, well, the gags flow like water off a ducks back. Douglas Adams uses sci-fi to great effect but the real logical starting point for him was simply hitchhiking. The Flintstones takes humo(u)r from everyday life, it just gives it a prehistoric setting. 

So anything life throws at you can be the basis of a funny plot, no matter how modest, mundane or humdrum it starts, as long as you can expand the idea beyond the realms of its normality. Some humorists use this as a form of crooked payback too, I often get asked by paranoid people if that character was supposed to be them, like a magician not revealing his tricks I never reply with any truth!  I overheard two people speaking about White Space Van Man in my workplace, one said “So, what’s it like?” The other replied, “It’s just like a day working in this place!” Ah-ha, but it is so much more than that I thought to myself, yes, we don’t get to have such an adventure in space, we don’t mess about in the space/time continuum, well if we did I hadn’t noticed.

BB & B: To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Darren: I think I touched on this a little in the last question. Other characters I do take inspiration from people I know, if I never actually use a compete person I might well merge two or three people into one, but for a main character, in order to give them realism of course they all have a piece of me in them. Again though, they are not always the complete me, they might be me in a particular mood or even me from a time in the past. This way I can change the characters attitude or opinions by the end of the book and it will still be a little part of me, you see?!

My wife started to read White Space Van Man, when she finished the part where Barry complains about his wife, how he thought she took him for granted and generally criticized her, she gave me a stern look and asked if I was Barry! I told her no I wasn’t, as it is hard to explain that although some attributes of the character derives from me the character is not really wholly me at all. I then told her to read the rest of the book whereby Barry realizes the error of his ways and changes and she forgave me, told me it was her favorite book (another missing “U”, favourite, what have you guys and gals got against the letter “U?”)

So yes, I think it’s important to have a little bit of you in every main character but equally vital not expose your full self. This applies no matter how far away your character is from yourself, I mean if your lead character is a small slice of banana cake you still have to make it a bit like you. I am sure that although Bilbo Baggins is not human and lives in a complete fantasy world he still retains an inner likeness to Tolkien.

One piece missing coverTXTWhen I wanted to write a romance story, (not just to cash in on its current popularity you understand?) I pondered the idea of writing from the perspective of a female. This is tricky, although other authors on forums I discussed this with seemed to think otherwise. I decided not to do it, that to make a realistic character it had to be my own gender. In the end the book,One Piece Missing has fast become a favorite with readers of both genders, however I did get a reviewer that commented how well she related to the main male character but that the girl was rather flat and she could not relate to her.  Maybe it’s easier for women; men are far less complex, (we think about beer, sex and sport, the only confusing part is in what order we do so) particularly if they write about a small boy, like Sue Townsend or J K Rowling. So, perhaps this is a good challenge, one which accomplished authors can do, I’m still just playing around with it!

BB & B: Not only are you an author, but you are also an artist.  Tell us a bit about your art work and what you love about drawing.

Darren: Well that is the starting point you see, I relished as a child in TV cartoons and reading the Great British comic institutions like the Beano and Dandy. I spent many hours making up my own cartoons just for the fun of it. One day in a “Bash Street Kids” story in the Beano comic said kids went on an outing to the Beano studios. For the creators I am sure it was all just an excuse for a lot of in-house jokes, for the writers to mock the artists and for the artists to get their own back through their caricatures of the writers.

For me though it was a turning point for although I knew somewhere in my mind that people must draw and write these comics I had never really considered it before. That was it then my career dream was mapped on that very day and no teacher or adult could steer me away from it.

So pen and paper in hand I sketched away, having my first experience of being published in my school magazine. I flunked Art College, being pushed into graphic design; they asked me at the second year interview if I really wanted to be a graphic designer. I was too honest, I should have lied through my teeth but I said “no, I want to be a cartoonist!” Cartoons are seen as a hybrid of art and literature that neither world likes to touch, they are truly out there on limb. I argue that the ancient Egyptians created writing by drawing little pictures and symbols and so by all reasoning cartoons are actually the father of both writing and art. Unfortunately this was far too radical a thought for my college and they threw me out into the real world, the fact that a man that made cartoons became the largest entertainment industry ever never meant a Mickey Mouse to them.

So I used to dream of becoming the next Charles Schultz, getting a syndicated cartoon strip and moving to the sunshine state, oh how naïve I was! The reality saw me slaving away at my art after a day working a real job and making very little money out of it. I did start contributing to many a magazine and gradually finding a home within the self-published music fanzines and FINs (free information networks, little hand-made zines that gave counter-culture information- the internet killed this off very quickly) as these would be the only ones that dared publish the outrageous material I was churning out.

It wouldn’t be long under the wing of self-publishing that I decided the time was nigh to put all these crazy cartoons in one place and make my own comic. In the spirit of underground comix of yore I made Toonedelic Times in 1995, a madcap mixture of psychedelic cartoons, music reviews and other insane babble! I ran that comic for ten years, it had its ups and downs but the highlight for me was releasing three off-shoot comics in which my main characters (two whacked-out superheroes called “Rat Arsed and Shit Faced,”) took to a full-length adventure. This was the point where I found myself favo(U!)ring the writing over the artwork, so I began writing scripts for other artists to bulk out the comic and even set about writing a graphic novel.

At the point whereby Rat Arsed and Shit Faced where reaching a bit of a cult status and I was meeting my heroes, people like Gilbert Shelton who created the underground comic “Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers,” I unexpectedly fell in love. My life turned around, we got married and had my daughter. The skullduggery in my life which fueled the nature of the comic was put to rest and I matured. That never worried me, it was getting tiresome and I had no time now for self-publishing, nappy (sorry diaper) changing yes, making crazy-ass comics, no!

It would be some years later that I got a kindle for my birthday and a year after that when I realized that I could self-publish on it. So, I reformed to be an author.

Comic creators may dub me a traitor to the ninth art if they wish, but I will always love drawing and keep my hand in by designing many posters, local shop logos and of course, book covers. I do my own covers and have done for a few other authors too. Be warned though I will always try and convince the client that they need a cartoon in their design somewhere!

BB & B: If you had to pick just one story or one character of yours.  Which or who would it be and why?perminatorcover

Darren: Oh that’s a tricky one, its New Year’s Day y’know, don’t make me think too hard! Can I answer this like a politician? Yes, that’s a good question and one which I would like to answer in the fullness of time but let me first say this, under the previous government picking just one character would give us mass unemployment, civil disobedience and, and oh, I don’t know…..

Like I have said, a little bit of me is in every character. So, I have selected the first book character I wrote, Robert Longdong from the Hargreaves Code. It is still my bestseller to date and Longdong is nothing at all like that of any similar sounding character from a more renowned author like, say Dan Brown for instance.

He is a fool but a lovable one, a little bit sneaky and can, at times reveal a certain intelligence that is beyond him; perhaps that is just a fluke though. I could say that he is not the most developed of character as say, Barry from White Space Van Man, but for that reason I choose him….or maybe The Perminator, he is not what you might think, oh, it aggravates my wife when I spend eons staring aimlessly at a menu in a restaurant, this is no different, I have to leave it like that before I change my mind again!

BB & B: Your latest project, I am not Frazzle; the foreword in Frazzle is great, it starts beautifully detailed and had me giggling at the mention of nose hairs.  For those that haven’t read I am not Frazzle yet, can you tell us again, what inspired you to put this project together? 

Darren: Awl gee, thanks! I don’t stand on convention (it never stood on me.) When it comes to writing things like Forwards I guess it goes back to the days of making the comic, Toonedelic Times where I would have things like a Fake Contents page at the start. Another uncompleted book which just hangs on my computer called “50 Lampshades of Clay,” begins with a forward like “Forward. Can we have sex now? Well, how much more forward do you want me to be?”

So, yeah, anyway; Frazzle! As the forward says, the idea to make a charity anthology just popped in mind as I came crashing down on the sofa to watch some TV after work. I put up a group on Facebook to see if other authors would be interested in contributing and that is how it came about. A day before there was a news item I was reading, yet another story whereby some children had been horribly mistreated, a toddler left for dead for over two years in a pile of rubbish in a house and the mother hiding the fact so that she could claim the social benefit money. Now I am sorry if I swear here but what the f*** is going on in this world, how on earth can I be expected to make people laugh when this kind of sick, depraved event could possibly happen? There was no doubt that I wanted it to be a children’s charity.

Last year my daughter Jess did Christmas box packing at a local church. This is where they pack up shoe boxes with toys, clothes and things for children in third world countries. She was so inspired by this that this year she wanted to organize some at home to do and so she sent out an appeal letter to her school for items for the boxes. The head teacher was so impressed by her letter she encouraged the whole school to get involved and they ordered over 150 boxes to pack. I could not believe that my daughter had organized this all by herself, she is only six! So, she got her picture in the paper and received the Head-Teachers award, the highest merit in the school and she is only in her first year!

I was overwhelmed with pride as you can imagine but not to be outdone I decided that I have never really organized a charity fundraising exercise myself! And so Frazzle was born, I had the idea for my cover story somewhere on a random file of ideas and so I put you guys to work creating some others and wow, the book looks amazing, I love it more than anything I have ever made before, save a really nice pasta bake.

I did think that by getting others to write other stories it would reduce my workload but I have found it not so easy. I now find myself getting frustrated with these websites that want money to promote books and they will not wavier that for a charity project. Still it is in its early stages but doing quite well.

BB & B: I am not Frazzle was done to donate proceeds to a children’s charity. What has it been like to work with a charity organization like The Devizes and District Opportunity Centre?  Would you consider undertaking another similar CoverJpegproject?

Darren: At first I approached the big children’s charities in the UK; they however would not allow us to use their brand name without being an established company and giving a guaranteed sum. Unfortunately I could meet this criteria and this frustrated me. It was my wife who told me that the Opportunity Centre in our town was a registered charity; I thought it was council funded.

I went to talk to them, they showed me around. They specialize with young children with learning difficulties and disabilities, working with various organizations, schools and parents to give the kids the best start to life and make parents aware of the options open to them.

For the children themselves they seem to see it as one big nursery which caters more for their needs than normal nurseries, they have a one-on-one ratio and work with children very closely and on a personal level. The kids love it there and see the workers as friends. I was a lively place to be and full of fun, I could have stayed all day; they had a train set and everything!

 The Centre was very helpful, and warmed to the idea very quickly. I will be revisiting very soon when we have some paperbacks in the local bookstore, hopefully with the local press, as long as they don’t want to play with MY train set.

BB & B: Do you have works in progress?  What can fans expect from you in the near future?

Darren: Fans? Plural? Fan, I think you mean; that spotty guy on Facebook that always likes my status.

I seem to have more ideas than time to produce them all and therefore I have several projects just hanging there. I started a zombie comedy which takes place in a very British West Country village. I have the 50 Lampshades project I started too. I have also plotted out a sequel to White Space Van Man, called “Stark Trek.”

I am part way through an enormous project called Kelly. It is very ambitious, starting off as a social commentary which holds no prisoners; it is a twisted narrative which becomes more paranormal and horrific as time goes on. The second part is more political thriller and by the time it all pans out you will see that it fits nicely into a sci-fi genre! After the great reception that my first serious novelette Saffron, received I thought I would try my hand a large full length novel in three parts. It does give me the creeps writing it though and I make notes, stop and work on comedy to refresh myself!

BB & B: Do you have any closing words you’d like to share?

Darren: Indeed I do and it is this: People- support self-publishers, review, plug and shout out loud to the world when you find a self-published book you liked, splash it all over the social networks and make your friends out there, that would have otherwise just paid for an overpriced celebrity autobiography from a supermarket, know what is happening. People are waking up to the fact that there an alternative choice of publications they can venture into, they just need a little shove in the right direction!

Thank you Darren for your time! Best wishes to I am not Frazzle and all your future works!

The pleasure was all mine, thanks!

Get more laughs and more fun with Darren by going to the links below:

My books can also be found on iTunes, Sony, Kobo, EBM and many others!

 

Author Interview–Graham Downs

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is proud to present:

GRAHAM DOWNS!!

Graham Downs was born in Alberton, in Gauteng, South Africa. He now lives in Germiston with his wife. He is a computer programmer in Rivonia, who has always had a passion for writing.

The stories he writes are not constrained by genre, length, or time period. They are the stories that are burning to be told, and unleashed onto the world.

BB & B: You are a very busy gentleman—author, reviewer and librarian for Goodreads, blogger, and a computer programmer!  How do you maintain a healthy balance between all these great things that you do?  Any tips for other authors who find themselves maintaining a full time day-job while trying to pursue their creative passion?

cover jpegGraham: Well, it’s not easy, I’ll admit. My day job keeps me busy for long hours, but I always find time to read. Reading is incredibly important, and I find that Goodreads keeps me focused and disciplined in my reading.

Since discovering that site a year and a half ago, I don’t read anything (except what I have to read for work) that I don’t review anymore. I really enjoy thinking of all the things that I’m going to say when I review books, as I’m reading them.

As for my writing, well, I’ve always been the kind of person who really struggles with discipline. I always have at least three unfinished projects (writing projects, programming projects, household projects) on the go at any given point in time, most of which I’m sorry to admit will never see the light of day! The reading helps with my writing as well (you’ll hear a lot of authors say that); it keeps my imagination ticking, and when I’m struggling to write a difficult scene, or an ending for a story, I turn to a good book to clear my head and motivate me to press on.

I also have an amazingly supportive wife, who has promised to support and back me in anything that I want to achieve. Having that kind of love and support is invaluable!

BB & B: You are a fiction author.  Your collection of stories range from fantasy to thriller.  This is quite a range. Tell us what you love best about writing in these genres.

Graham: To be honest, I don’t really think about what genre I want to write in; I come up with the story, and the genre comes naturally. My first book was a short story called A Petition to Magic, and I don’t think I could’ve told that story any other way. Next came Heritage of Deceit, which is a modern day thriller set in an office environment. The idea for Stingers just hit me, and I knew exactly how the story would play out before my fingers hit the keyboard. As for what’s next, who knows?

BB & B: What inspires your stories and your characters?  What fuels your creativity?

Graham: I think the best way for me to be creative is to just “switch off” froma petition to magic technology and the world. Again, I think you’ll hear a lot of authors say that–it really works!

I’ve always had a really vivid imagination, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve liked to tell stories. Growing up, I played a lot of table-top RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, and I was always ended up being the “Game Master”, the one in charge of telling the story.

As to my inspiration, that’s a really difficult question to answer. Stories just come to me at the weirdest times. For A Petition to Magic, it was one particular scene where Solon was standing in his study preparing to cast his fateful spell. I dreamt about that one, one night, and it was really vivid.

Heritage of Deceit, not surprisingly, hit me one day at work when I was struggling with a particularly difficult programming problem and decided to step away from my computer for a few minutes. And as I’ve mentioned, Stingers came to me as more or less a complete story, all at once.

BB & B: To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Graham: Well, it’s not intentional, but I think there’s a little bit of me in all of my protagonists. Solon the Wizard is a mirror of my fears of trying new things, or “getting back on the horse” when I’ve made a horrible mistake (although thankfully, none of my mistakes have ever killed anyone!).

James Clarke is reminiscent of my Primary School days, when I was a bullied kid –although the bullying never escalated to the point that it did in Stingers.

cover jpegI guess that Lloyd from Heritage of Deceit is a lot like one or two people I’ve met in my career, whereas I fancy myself as being a bit like Robert.

There’s probably a little bit of us in all of our characters, for better or worse, and there’s a certain amount of “confession” that goes on in all our stories. Writing is a writer’s special kind of therapy, of getting things off his chest.

BB & B: You recently collaborated in a great children’s charity project—I am not Frazzle.  What inspired you to be so giving of your time? Would you do it again?

Graham: I just love to write. I saw a blog post by Darren Worrow (our editor on the project), looking for people to participate. His brief was very broad: A story, geared at adults, with at least one main character who’s a child. As I’ve already mentioned, when I read that brief, Stingers just came to me. I don’t know from whence it came, or why, but it just did. Before responding to Darren (and certainly before I knew whether he still had space, or whether I’d be accepted), I bashed out the first scene of the story, popped it off to him, and he loved it!

Would I do it again? Absolutely! It was a huge honour to be part of such a big project, and to work with all the amazing authors. Words cannot describe how I felt when Darren told us all that the project was going on sale. Even though I’m not making any money off of it, and I’d never heard of the charity before I embarked on the project, I have humbled and grateful to be supporting that worthy cause, in my own small way.

BB & B: Like many authors, you must have a ton of ideas for stories.  How do you decide which of your stories to bring to life and devote to paper?

Graham: I know what you’re thinking: you’re probably thinking that, as a computer programmer, I must have this carefully organised folder of story ideas, maybe I’ve even written a computer program to help me keep track of them all, and that I carefully choose what my next story will be from that list, based on market trends, genre, and so forth.

None of that is true, though. Most of my ideas aren’t even stored anywhere outside of my own head. The ones that get written are the ones that choose to be written when I sit down at my keyboard, stare at a blank screen, and start typing. You see, I don’t decide; the story does!

BB & B: Do you have any current projects and what can fans expect from you in the near future?

Graham: You know, every time someone asks me what I’m working on currently, they get a different answer!

I’m busy with a really short horror story, which I’m hoping is going to be accepted into a well known Independent Author Magazine. But I might not finish that, we’ll see how it goes. Then I have two ideas which might actually turn into novella length books, but I don’t think I’ll be any more specific than that, because by the time someone interviews me again, I may have forgotten all about them and be working on something completely different!

BB & B: Do you have any closing words you’d like to share?

Graham: Ooh, an open-ended question; those are difficult!

Readers, keep reading. If you’d include my stories in your reading, even better! Even better than that, though, is if you’d leave a review of each when you’re done. Reader reviews are independent authors’ bread and butter, and not just because we don’t have access to the insane marketing resources that big businesses do: we all tend to be an insecure bunch, and we’re never truly sure if anybody out there is actually reading what we’ve put out into the world. So, good or bad, please leave your thoughts on our stories. Every word of encouragement or criticism means that somebody has read our work and taken the time to say what they thought. You, dear reader, are the reason we keep writing!

Writers, keep writing! It’s a labour of love, and most of us will never get rich off it, nor even ever make enough to quit our day jobs. But it’s as necessary to us as breathing.

I find that I’m a lot like Graham in that my stories, my characters tend to take over and they dictate what’s next.  Thank you Graham for your time and we look forward to your next work!

To get to know more about and Graham and his work, check out these great links:

You can also follow Graham by going to:

Author Interview–Fleur Gaskin

Books, Blogs, and Bits

is proud to present,

the fabulous  FLEUR GASKIN!

05

BB & B:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Fleur:  I’m from New Zealand but I haven’t lived there for the past twelve years. I’ve been living in Asia mainly– with a year in Europe and six months in New York.

I traveled a lot because I was an international model. These days I live in Shanghai with fiancé and my two cats. I tutor English for an income but most of my time is spent working on my novels. I do yoga for exercise and I really miss living near the ocean.

BB & B:  What inspired you to write your book?

Fleur:  When I first began to write Arabelle’s Shadows I wanted to expose the world of modeling for what it really is, not how it’s portrayed in the media. Modeling is not as glamorous as it may appear and when I was modeling I often felt that the fashion industry was taking advantage of young girls who didn’t know how to stand up for themselves.

Then I started writing the novel and it formed into something else. Modeling in Arabelle’s Shadows is now mainly just the setting. The story is more about depression and Arabelle struggling to learn how to love herself. In the end I was inspired to try and show that no matter how bad things are, if you just keep going, keep trying, eventually things will get better.

BB & B:  What was the hardest thing about writing this book?  Can you explain why?

Fleur:  The hardest thing about writing Arabelle’s Shadows was talking about the depression. If you have been depressed before and have dealt with your issues then the best way to stay healthy is to not dwell on your past any more. It is a terrible idea to replay in your mind your worst thoughts over and over again. Bringing up the memories of my darkest moments and then attempting to turn them into words was really tough. I had to work hard to make sure my depression did not return. But, as with many tasks that are extremely difficult, in the end it was all worthwhile. Writing Arabelle’s Shadows was very therapeutic and now that it’s done I feel like I have left my past behind and am now a whole new person. ArabelleShadows

BB & B:  If there is one lesson, one message, or any one thing you can share with your readers, what would that be?

Fleur:  Love yourself. Accept yourself the way that you are. If you don’t like something about yourself, change it or forget about it. It’s very difficult to find love and happiness if you don’t already love yourself. That’s what Arabelle needed to learn. That happiness doesn’t come from wealth, beauty or dress size. That another person cannot solve all your problems for you. Happiness comes from within.

BB & B:  What do you love best about being an author?

Fleur:  My new favorite thing about being an author is being quoted. Often when people write reviews they quote something from the book and I’m always amazed at the sentences they find. I read the quote, think that it’s really quite lovely and then I realize I wrote it! It’s all very surreal.

BB & B:  What can fans expect from you in the future?

Fleur:  I am working on a novel at the moment about being good. I’m hoping it will be more lighthearted than Arabelle’s Shadows. I have no idea just yet which genre it will fall into. I do know that it won’t be based on my life which will make it a lot easier to write!

BB & B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?

Fleur:  Your first draft probably won’t be very good and that’s okay. Just get something down on paper and then develop your storytelling skills from there. When I wrote Arabelle’s Shadows I had to rewrite it over and over again. And every time I thought it was done, someone would come up with another thing that needed changing. I learned not to take criticism as an insult to my writing skills, but rather as helpful guide to improving my book. Because I kept going and going even when things were all going wrong I ended up with a piece of writing I am really proud of.

If you’d like to find out more about Arabelle’s Shadows, here’s a little summary to whet your appetite:

ArabelleShadowsEverything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.

You can purchase Arabelle’s Shadows at the following retailer:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Itunes

Be sure to follow Fleur, by visiting her at:

http://www.fightingtheshadows.com

http://www.facebook.com/ArabellesShadows

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17282501-arabelle-s-shadows

 

I was interviewed!

firework displayI am really excited!  I was interviewed by the awesome Jessica Kong!

You might remember Jessica as one of our featured authors here on Books, Blogs, and Bits!  If you have not yet visited her site, go check it out.  You can find Jessica at www.seaanan.com

While you’re there, take a peek at yours truly’s interview 🙂

http://seaanan.com/2013/02/18/welcome-to-limelight-mignon-v-supnet/

Author Interview–Tracy Heath

Tracy Heath PicBooks, Blogs, and Bits proudly presents:

Bestselling Author, Country Humorist Writer

Tracy Heath

If you love to laugh, you’ll love this author!

Tracy’s Bio:   Bestselling author Tracy Heath is a country humorist writer, having grown up in the Eastern Oregon desert among dogs, cows, and tumbleweeds.  She has now published the first two books of her Country Misadventures series and is known for her comical tales of country incidents and family mishaps.  Tracy currently resides in the medium-sized city of Kennewick, Washington, with her husband.  Living with them are their rambunctious son and scruffy hunting dog.

BB&B:  What inspires you to create a story? 

Tracy:  My family does on so many different levels. My parents exposed me to quality literature as a child, and I’ve always wanted to write. Now as I have a family of my own, I want to share my childhood stories with my husband and son.  Also, I get so much pleasure myself when I’m writing. Even though it can make me feel completely frazzled, I love the process.

BB&B:  How do you decide on the setting of your story?

Tracy:  Selecting a setting was easy for me since both of my current books are based off of my own childhood in Eastern Oregon. The deep-hued sunsets, the ever-stretching wasteland, the rolling tumbleweeds are what I know best.

BB&B:  To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Tracy:  Most of my characters are based off of real people—my parents, my brothers, and myself. But as I wrote each story, even people so closely related to me took on personalities vastly different than their real-life characteristics. And then there are people such as Cynthia and Tom in the story A Redneck Romance that are composites of various individuals I knew way back in the day.

BB&B:  Can you tell us about one of your characters and what it is A Redneck Romance Coverabout that character that you like best?  Which book has this character?

Tracy:  Cynthia Clark is a black-haired, black-eyed young woman who gets caught in the crossfire between her blustery, protective pa and the backwoods neighbors next door. She’s at a turning-point of discovering that she can think for herself, and she has to decide whether to follow her own desires or to respect her pa’s commands. This country love story unfolds in the book A Redneck Romance.

 BB&B:  What do you love best about being an author?

Tracy:  There’s something so fulfilling about slaving over a document for countless hours, putting every lick of mental energy into a book, and then seeing that treasured piece of work get into the hands of strangers who never knew you even existed until they stumbled across a comical little book of country tales. And it’s comments like “I laughed until I cried” that keep me going.

BB&B:  What can fans expect from you in the future?

Tracy:  I will be adding a third book to the Country Misadventures series. The first two books are collections of short stories as will be the third. From there I plan on branching out into longer works of fiction still in the same humorous country genre. For me, it’s not worth writing unless there’s humor.

BB&B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?

Tracy:  Just start writing. That’s what I did—just for the fun of it. And now, in less than a year, I have two books published. With the opportunity of self-publishing available these days, there is no reason to not write if you so desire!

Get linked up with other writers. I’m involved in a community that has greatly increased my confidence and knowledge of how to get it done. Feel free to contact me for help on getting started!

BB&B:  Where can fans purchase your books?

Tracy:  Both titles are available at Amazon.com

BB&B:  Where can fans find you?

Tracy Heath Website

Tracy’s Facebook Page

Follow Tracy on Twitter

Author Interview–Jessica Kong

 Jessica KongBooks, Blogs, & Bits proudly presents:

JESSICA KONG

Author of Fiction, Fantasy Novels

 

Jessica’s Bio:  Jessica A. Kong lives in Somerset, New Jersey with her loving husband of twenty-one years and teenage triplets. She is an avid reader of fantasy, futuristic, and paranormals. When she is not reading she enjoys arts and craft, puzzles, crocheting, and playing video games.

 BB&B:  What inspires you to create a story?

Jessica:  I get my ideas from movies, books, and current events that blend at night and give me crazy dreams.  I keep notes on the more interesting dreams.

BB&B:  How do you decide on the setting of your story? 

Jessica:  I chose the setting for the first book I wrote.  All the books that came afterwards were decided by the characters and where their journeys take them.

BB&B:  To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Jessica:  Without mentioning any names, my characters do share traits with people in my life, and some traits I wish to find in people.

BB&B:   Can you tell us about one of your characters and what it is about that character that you like best? 

Jessica:  John McCall.  He is a tough as nails warrior with a kind heart.  He tries to hide it, but at times, it shows either in his eyes or in his actions. 

BB&B:  Which book has this character? 

Jessica:  I introduce John in A Lost Kitten.  A Lost Kitten

BB&B:  What do you love best about being an author?

Jessica:  What I love best is writing about the family I love, the Ruling Clan, and hearing that my readers are sharing my love.

BB&B:  What can fans expect from you in the future? 

Jessica:  I am currently editing the next installment in the Sea-anan Saga and the first installment to the Oceanan Saga.

BB&B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?

Jessica:  First of all, you can’t please everyone.  You will grow bald if you try.  The best thing to do is to write the story from your heart, polish it the best you can, and then let it go.  Some will like it and some will not.  It is just a fact of life you cannot change.  Secondly, whether you are an indie author or published with a publishing house, marketing your book is time consuming and tedious at times, but a necessity.  Always be kind and courteous to your followers.  And enjoy the journey.

Check out and learn more about the world of Jessica’s creation at:

Follow Jessica and become an even bigger fan by going to these sites:

Find Jessica’s Books at these sites:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon.com

 

Author Interview–Nancy Brooks

NancyBooks, Blogs, and Bits proudly presents:

 

NANCY BROOKS

Author of fantasy, fiction, action/adventure novels.

Books by Nancy Brooks:

The Isle of Cipit

The Legendseeker

Bestia

In a Drink

The Caretaker

BB&B:  Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Nancy:  I was born and raised in San Francisco to immigrant parents; my father was French-Canadian with ancestry in the British Isles, and my mother is from El Salvador, of Lebanese descent. I grew up within the Salvadoran culture, where I fell in love with stories from the ‘old country’, stories of dwarves, goblins, devils and witches. I wanted to share the Salvadoran tales I had heard, but as I began writing my novels I realized there were so many other cultures out there with similar stories and legends. My quest is to bring these legends back into the mainstream by fusing them with modern-day action-adventure.

B&B:  What inspires you to create a story?
Nancy:  A face. A moment. A song. Anything and everything can spark a storyline. I’ve even written a short story based upon a scent. When I was younger I’d ask my friends to give me a list of words, and I would write a story for them. Now I ask for a culture or a legend.

BB&B:  How do you decide on the setting of your story?
Nancy:  I travel a lot, especially to historical sites with my children. The Caretaker was inspired during a trip into Nevada. Seeing the desert and the abandoned mines awakened my imagination, and I could picture my main character living out his existence on a remote piece of land. I wrote The Legendseeker after a trip into Utah. I use San Francisco in my stories as well. I like writing about remote islands and rainforests , because you never know what’s been lying dormant.

BB&B:  To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?
Nancy:  It may sound silly, but I write my characters the way they want to be written. I can plan how I want their personalities to be, but it never turns out that way. I also try to write them the way I’d love to be: adventurous, brave, and loving. I have written characters based on people I know. I like adding the little ‘inside joke’ now and then, like a friend’s favorite expression.

BB&B:  Can you tell us about one of your characters and what it is about that character that you like best?  Which book has this character?
Nancy:  William Hohnney. LOL I love Bill. He first appears in The Legendseeker as part of a monster-hunting group called Walquer Enterprises. Bill’s life is all about fun and excitement, the thrill of the hunt, finding elusive creatures like Bigfoot, and drinking his five-country limit on beer (Corona, Asahi, Heinekin, etc) He seemingly has no cares in the world, except he’s secretly building a nest egg for his toddler son. I like that he’s persistent yet charming, and though things start to unravel for him, he’s quick to reconsider his situation and ends up doing the right thing. You can count on Bill in the face of danger, and he’ll never leave your side as long as you need him.

BB&B:  What do you love best about being an author?
Nancy:  I love having my own world. I love the fact that I can leave all of my stress and troubles behind, and just slip through the buttressed roots of a kapok tree in the Amazon. I can hunt for creatures among the hoodoos in Utah, or fight Coyote along the side of a road in the middle of Nevada. I love hearing the voices as my characters engage in dialogue, and I like the way one little idea can turn into a whole journey.

I especially love it when readers talk about my characters as if they were real. I LOVE that.

BB&B:  What can fans expect from you in the future?
Nancy:  They can expect to see more legends coming to life, more cultures being mentioned, more countries being explored. I’m currently editing a story that starts off in the Yucatan Peninsula and ends up on an island in the Philippines.

BB&B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?
Nancy:  Write. Just write.

If you are interested in finding out more about Nancy Brooks and her world, follow these links:

http://Legendseeker.com

https://twitter.com/Sonsofmil

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Legendseekercom

Want to be interviewed?

Magic book

I am very excited about this little blog of mine.  While it is still small, I fully expect it to grow into a thriving hot spot for authors, readers, and anyone else whose attention it may capture.

I’d like to ask for your help to cultivate the growth of this little seedling I’ve planted.  I know how difficult promoting and marketing is and that is why I’d like to do my part to help.  I truly believe there is abundance for everyone and if we can help support each other, we can all succeed together.

I’d like to help by offering my blog as another way for authors and other artist to get the spotlight they so fully deserve.  I would like to interview you and post that interview on my site.  I’ll also announce the interview on Facebook, Twitter, and the post will also show up on my Amazon.com Author Central page.

Interested?

Email me: iggylife.com@gmail.com