Archive | July 2016

Author Interview with Lauren Stock

Today I’m glad to present, Lauren Stock, whose book Necrobloods, I am currently reading, and I will add my review to the end of this feature once I have finished reading.

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Hello Lauren, and welcome to my blog. Please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?

I’ve always loved reading. As I began reading more and more, I decided that I wanted to create a story of my own. I’ve also loved writing short stories from a young age, so creating a piece of novel length posed an exciting challenge.

How did you come up with your stories?

As my father and I are a team, we discuss storylines together. It basically starts with him asking me what fantastical element we want to focus on, then we work our way from there and flesh out an outline of the story.

Is there a message in your novels you would like your readers to grasp, something you want to shout out?

I believe that our novels have strong female protagonists. Though the stories are not particularly didactic, I think they can inspire younger readers to go out into the world and do great things.

What a wonderful inspirational message! You have created great complex characters. Which one is your favorite?

That’s a tough question because, in a way, you grow to love all of your characters. I think currently one of my favorite characters to write is Macy in the Tamzin Clarke series. She’s so different from Tamzin, so it’s fun to be able to speak to another personality.

How much of your books are realistic and are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your life?

The books are all largely fiction, though some social interactions are loosely based off of things that have happened in my life. I used to dance, so having dance as Tamzin’s niche makes it easy to write about. Writing from experience is always a good thing.

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie or television series?

Emma Watson for Tamzin, Shailene Woodley for Celeste

Are you like any of the characters (and how so) and would you portray one of the characters?

I like to think that I’m relatively level headed, as Tamzin is. Though, Tamzin is not based off of my personality. Otherwise, most of the other characters are not similar to me.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how did they change, and how do you figure out the layout of each book?

We did outline the story and plot lines before starting, but certain parts changed as we went. It’s always good to have a little spontaneity, like when you go into a scene not knowing what’s going to happen yourself. It’s fun to just let it flow sometimes. But of course, major plot points have to be set in stone in order for the overall arc of the series to be met.

What is your main reason for writing?

I write because that’s what I enjoy doing, and I plan to make a career out of it.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best thing about writing is that you can step away from your reality and get into what’s going on in the world of your characters. I’d say the worst part about writing is that you have to set your own deadlines and really stick to them in order to get your work done.

I hear you on setting your own deadlines and sticking to them. I think this is a must for all indie authors. Please share a little of your current work in progress, or ideas for your next novel?

We just finished the second book in the Tamzin Clarke series, titled Tamzin Clarke vs the Mummy. We’re about to start working on the third book, and we’re also tossing around ideas for our Hellspawn trilogy, which will involve nephilim.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

My dad does most of the marketing work, but it’s all part of the entire process. The most important way to get things moving is to keep writing, so that’s what we’ve been doing.

Do you use editors, and if so, who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

We had a fantastic editor in Paula Goudreault for our first books. She was an old friend of my dad’s, an English teacher. Working with her was fun.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

So far, self publishing has been a good experience. Finding an agent then a publisher is very hard nowadays, so it seems that self publishing is the way to go. It allows us more freedom, but it also puts more of a burden on us to get our work out there.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favorite thing?

I love how you can essentially become a new person when you write. You can be whoever you want (at least, within the limits of the character you’re writing), but either way, you’re in total control of the world and the people in it. My least favorite thing about writing is that, for me at least, I need to have a spot where I know I’m going to be productive, which can be hard to find at times.

Do you have any advice to offer new indie writers?

Just keep writing and don’t give up if you’re not finding “success” right away. Because there are so many different kinds of people out there, you are bound to find someone who enjoys your work. It’s all a matter of finding those people.

Who are your favorite authors?

I’m not too picky when it comes to reading, but I’ve read many young adult authors that I’ve enjoyed. I tend to like horror as well, so I am a Poe fan.

What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?

I like to write and read horror, so I do believe that Poe has inspired me in that genre. Beyond that, I feel like I’ve taken bits and pieces of skills and techniques gathered from reading in general. I’ve also been learning some interesting takes on writing at school.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to read recently as I’ve been working on finishing my most current novel, so I’m not reading anything right now.

What makes you laugh?

Cute animal videos are what I laugh at.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

I suppose my phone so that way I’d at least be able to stay in touch with people (unless of course there was no reception. Then that would just be a terrible decision).

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

Emma Watson and Shailene Woodley

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

Best quality: loyalty

Oddest quality: probably my personality in general honestly

Tell us about your other books?

My first novel is titled Necrobloods, and it is a standalone novel. Celeste Boyd is the narrator and main character, and she is a caster of elemental magic. She plays basketball and is coping with the fact that there is a possible battle of magic looming over her head. My other two novels are in the Tamzin Clarke series. Essentially readers follow Tamzin on her adventures as she tries to keep things in her town from falling apart with the help of her friends.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

This one is hard to say – maybe some adventure music for Tamzin? I don’t think of them in terms of radio music.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

In general, we’ve gotten fantastic feedback. But for those that don’t love it, it is good to know the reasons why they don’t in order to glean insight and possibly adjust based off of what they are commenting on.

Necrobloods by Lauren Stock and Robert Stock

This isn’t my normal genre to read so took the plunge into a new arena; one of magic and mystery with a little romance thrown into the mix.

First, the author’s book blurb.  16 year old Celeste Boyd casts Elemental magic. With the great battle coming, she and her best friend Gena are learning more about their abilities. Even more pressing, though, are the basketball finals and the mysterious new boy in school, Carter Wells. Celeste now has to choose between her crush and Carter, who is showing quite the interest. And then there are the crazy dreams with the huge dragon eye…

Clearly this book was written for Young Adults, and many adults who love this genre will want this book. The fantasy is engrossing, and the stories between the different powers are immense.

I loved how the authors laid the groundwork, and the characters simply came to life. This is actually a well written book, and the flow is a nice pace, the characters are engaging, and the grammar is superb. I have the eBook version so I don’t know how the hard copy looks, however I would not indent the first paragraph of each new chapter, nor would I indent the first paragraph after those places where a ding font would be used within a chapter.  This may simply be my personal preference. Regardless, this book is five stars hands down!

Author Bio     Amazon Author Page     Facebook Author Page

Facebook Personal Page    Goodreads Author Page

 

 

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2016. 1 Comment

Cyberpunk. What does it mean?

Here is your chance to be a part of this truly awesome adventure! I’m in! So is Michael! Jason Turner has our full support!!!
Cyberpunk.  What does it mean?
High tech-low life.  Films such as Bladerunner, Robocop, The Terminator, and Ghost in the Shell explore these themes.
One young auteur named Jason Turner has created a world that encompasses this. In the Iron City Chronicles, a former police officer working as a private detective is pulled into a world of intrigue and deception. He is part of the “Solid Soldier” program which cybernetically enhances police officers to near superhuman levels.  When the funding gets interrupted, he is left half man half machine and forced to scrape out a living doing freelance work.
Jason Turner has been toying with this idea since his senior year of high school.  Sketches, short story ideas, and attempts to make short films.  In the early 2000’s he was diagnosed with type one diabetes, and found himself in an ICU.  He was rail thin, and the doctor stated that if he did not improve soon, he might not live to see his daughter’s next birthday.  Realizing his own mortality, he decided to stop kicking this idea around and do something with it.
Now, there are two short films, a comic book and a campaign to produce a feature anthology.
“This is the one shot I have to play a comic book character, based on my own high school creation. I’ve always been fascinated with knights and armor, the Arthur legend, and fantasy films. I’ve combined a love of Bladerunner with themes of humanity mixed with technology. It is a wandering knight story mixed with a futuristic detective flair.”
Pulling together the funds needed has been a challenge.  Turner had a lead on $20,000 in the form of a media contest looking for new content.  His film pitch was in the top 10, but was not selected. Moving forward, a campaign asking for 10% of the cost of an independent feature should cost is currently underway. It’s really not much funds at all, considering the work that many of his friends and family have put in to help support.  Now it’s time to release it to the world.
Twitter        Donate
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No pledge is too small! Be a part of this fantastic film!
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We saw the first screening of Bitter Heart during Planet Comicon in Kansas City. MO. 2016!
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Jason Turner has our full support!!
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This entry was posted on July 23, 2016. 1 Comment

Author Interview with Patricia Yager Delagrange

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Today I’m glad to present Patricia Yager Delagrange whose book Passing Through Brandiss  was my latest read. My review follows this interview. 

But the interview first, hello Patricia, and welcome to my blog, please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?

In 2009, my daughter was 11 years old and she told me that a friend at school asked why her mom didn’t have a job. I had been a stay-at-home mom since 1993. After putting a lid on my irritation that being a mom wasn’t considered a “job”, I paused and thought a bit. I did have more time, since my two kids were in school most of the day. So I went to the Apple store and bought a MacBook and wrote my first novel.

How did you come up with your stories?

All my stories involve a woman who must jump over life’s hurdles to find her happily ever after. I’m intrigued with topics I’ve either read about or seen on the news. Passing Through Brandiss involves a husband who is in a car accident and how his wife and young son deal with that tragedy. Moon Over Alcatraz deals with a couple whose baby dies at birth and how that tears them apart. Taken Away deals with a man whose wife and child disappear.

Is there a message in your novels you would like your readers to grasp?

My message is definitely that if you’re a strong woman, you can do anything, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

You have created great characters. Which one is your favorite?

Actually, one of my favorite characters is in my novel that’s not published yet. She’s a young woman who finds a baby in a dumpster and decides to keep the child. It was fun writing that since the circumstances are so unusual.

How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your life?

I incorporate personalities of people I know into my characters and I also include places I’ve lived and circumstances I’ve experienced into my books. In Moon Over Alcatraz there’s a young woman who wants to give up her baby for adoption. We adopted our daughter and I wanted to write about that topic.

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?

Wow. Well, in Passing Through Brandiss I would have Andie MacDowell play the main character Annie. Dylan Neal from Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series would play Prescott. I’d cast Jennifer Lawrence as Allessandra and Tom Taylor would be Annie’s son Rafe.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

I feel very much like Annie in Passing Through Brandiss and maybe that’s because I know what it feels like to adopt a baby. There was definitely a connection between Annie and me with regard to her thoughts and feelings about adopting a child.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

I don’t outline my books from start to finish. I’m a “pantser”, i.e.  I have an idea of what I want the story to be about then I start to write. Characters come onto the page and things unfold as they happen, and all my books have a happy ending.

What is your main reason for writing?

I love to write the type of books that I love to read.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best aspect of writing is creating a world that I totally made up in my head and writing about it on my computer. The worst thing about writing is trying to promote it so that people know it’s out there for them to read.

Would you like to share a little of your current work in progress, or ideas for your next novel?

The novel I just finished editing is Maddy’s Phoenix about a young woman who finds a baby in a dumpster and decides to keep the child.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

I wait until I have the majority of my marketing in place before I devote time to writing another book. I have to be very focused and not distracted about a past novel, in order to keep my head in the game on the current book I’m writing.

What do you do when you don’t write?

I have two kids at home, ages 17 and 22, and they aren’t going anywhere for several years. I try to be there for them even though they aren’t “little kids” any longer. My son is in college part-time and my daughter just graduated high school and got her first job. My priority is always my family.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

My editor is Lisanne Cooper who I met through my publisher, Ravenswood Publishing. She’s a great editor and we work well together. When a book is finished being edited, I give it to Kitty Honeycutt at Ravenswood, and she takes care of all the formatting and publishing aspects.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Joy Fielding, Debbie Macomber, Richard Paul Evans, Nicholas Sparks, and a writer I just discovered, Barbara Hinske.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book would be She’s Not There by Joy Fielding about a missing child.

What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?

My favorite writer is Joy Fielding. There’s a raw emotion about her writing that I only wish I could emulate but I’m light years away from being able to pull that off. She writes great internal dialogue and you really get into the head of the main character.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I read on a Kindle and my current book is Uncovering Secrets by Barbara Hinske, the latest one in her Rosemont series.

What makes you laugh?

Hmmm. If you’ve ever seen the movie Best Friends with Ryan Reynolds, that’s my type of humor. I also love Vince Vaughan’s movies. He’s hysterical.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

I would take my dog Jack.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

I’d love to talk with author Joy Fielding.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

My best quality would be my non-judgmental attitude. My worst quality would be that I’m a worry wort.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

If you have a good editor, you get a lot of criticism. I can handle it because I often don’t see the forest for the trees which is why I need an editor.

Author Bio

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended St. Mary’s College, studied my junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. I live with my husband and two kids in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. My Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.

Links to Social Media

Amazon Author Page     Facebook Author Page     Facebook Personal Page

Twitter    YouTube     Goodreads     Website

Thank you Patricia! I always love getting to know authors.

Passing Through Brandiss by Patricia Yager Delagrange

I just finished reading Passing Through Brandiss. First is the synopsis found on Amazon and my review follows afterwards.

After the tragic loss of her husband, Annie and her young son search for a new life full of meaning and hope. Fate nudges Annie into the arms of a man whose wife disappeared with his child years ago. Annie’s life spins out of control when first the pregnant teenager she hires to help her with her garden asks Annie to adopt her baby and shortly afterwards the long-lost wife of the man Annie loves reappears. Riddled with grief and heartache, the experiences demonstrate how, even in the face of overwhelming sorrow, opening her heart and home to those most in need of love has reaped unexpected joy for Annie and her son.

It is exceptionally rare for a book to elicit a strong reaction from within myself, and Passing Through Brandiss has done just that! I felt the varied emotions from the first chapter. Again, it is rare for a book to draw this strong of a reaction and I loved this story! The story is well laid out, and the flow is easy. There are a few places where the wording could be improved, and a few things a line editor should have caught, but that didn’t stop my reaction to Passing Through Brandiss.

This book touches deeply on grief and depression, from both the views of adult and a young child. Annie’s love for her young son, Rafe, is beyond question. Even though heartbreak certainly exists in this story, love comes to the forefront. This book is an easy read, and certainly showcases human emotions in various circumstances. Seeing how easily Annie fell in love again, with perfect chemistry, to a man named Prescott, shows how she overcame obstacles. Rafe’s tender age at the time of his father’s death presents what children feel, and it also showed how the surviving parent isn’t always aware of what is going on in her child’s world. Annie does see what Rafe is feeling, and they make the next decisions in their lives together. Hurt exists throughout this story, but so does love.

I highly recommend this book! Four stars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on July 18, 2016. 1 Comment

New Book Trailer “When Angels Fly”

Cancer took my little boy to Heaven, swallowed me with grief, but now I am stronger
now than before. Check out our new book trailer for our sweet memoir.

5* #AmazonBestSellingAuthor of When Angels Fly

They say there is no greater loss than that of a child; I say losing a child is the
King of Loss. Sometimes the thing that helps us survive it, is knowing we are not
alone. Bestselling author, Sarah Jackson, will take you on her journey of hope and
strength as she provides an intimate raw look at her life.
#RRBC #MEMOIR #PDF1 #IAN1 #WLM

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Be Present

 

How do you define presence? I love this quote! “If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.” Most would define presence as the “state of being physically present” at certain times such as at mealtime, bedtime, breakfast, ball games, and the like. Let’s take this a step further.

“If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.” Being present in the physical sense is wonderful. Existence – certainly for Christians believing that our Lord Jesus and God are with us but not seen is fundamental. God “exists or is present in a place but is not seen.”  How can we incorporate this into our daily lives?  The answer is clear. Though distance may keep us physically apart from a loved one, we can help those persons feel as if we are present no matter what. A simple phone call, short text, a email, or a postcard will do this job nicely.

“If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.” May today be a day full of presence in your life, and the lives of those you love, and may we all feel this presence. My point is that, even though miles apart, we can still make our love and presence known. I love you!

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