Indie Shine – Eliza David

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In this month’s edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author, womanist and creator of the popular Cougarette series Eliza David!

Bio:

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©Eliza David used with permission

Eliza David is the author of the five-star-rated, six-book Cougarette series. She was born and raised on the noisy South Side of Chicago, but now lives in super quiet Iowa. When she’s not writing, working full-time, or raising two children with her loving husband, Eliza enjoys reading throwback Jackie Collins and indulging in the occasional order of cheese fries. Eliza is a blogger as well, having served as a contributing writer for Real Moms of Eastern Iowa, Good Men Project, and Thirty on Tap. She was a featured panelist at both the Iowa Soul Festival and Iowa City Book Festival in 2016. Eliza’s latest novel, Savage, dropped in September. She’s currently working on the sequel to Savage – Still Savage – for release in 2017. For additional information, including witty clapbacks from this author, visit www.elizadavidwrites.com

Q & A

 

What do you do and Why do you do it?
When I’m not working my day job or freelancing on lifestyle blogs like ‘Thirty On Tap’, I write modern romance novels about not-so-modern women. My characters are what I like to call ‘flawed but fabulous’. They are mothers, daughters, and sisters. They work hard at their careers and at love. And yes, they like to have sex quite a bit! I write because my hope is to broaden the spectrum of women characters in fiction. Women aren’t binary and there are levels to us that aren’t explored. I hope to unlock some of those traits.
Tell us about your most recent work.
 
Still Savage is a sequel to my last novel, Savage. Savage tells the story of fundraising guru LaneySavage1.1 Townes, a divorced lesbian whose personal and professional lives intersect into sexy circumstances. In the sequel, Laney reunites with her ex, A-list R&B pop singer Eva Reynolds, for business. Of course, things happen that find them entangled with each other…which is awkward for Eva, who is still dating her male songwriting partner. Yes honey – drama!
Who inspires you? 
First and foremost, my mother – who always wanted me to be a writer but I just had to find my lane (and I have!). My writing heroes include Erica Jong, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Jennifer Weiner.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
The Cougarette series, hands down. It’s based on Laney’s BFF, CeeCee Banks. Forty-something CeeCee is only divorced for hours when she meets Jay – a man a little over half her age. The series is a collection of six books (first one’s free on Amazon!) and takes you on a sexy ride with CeeCee.
What is your motto in life? 
I remind myself often that tomorrow is another day. I tend to hold on to memories of human error way longer than I should and it never does me any favors.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
FourBookProfilePic - Amanda Walker DesignI would love to see The Cougarette become a TV dramedy and (bonus!) I’d want a hand in creating the series – not just selling the rights off. That would make my life.
What is your favorite quote?
I am drawn to Alice Walker quotes and, if I had to select one as a motto for life, it would be…‘I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.’
 
I keep this ideal of the imagination being a free spirit when I write. I’m still a planner, but I use my plot outline as a road map. There are many ways to get to a destination – on the page and in real life!
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
Life is so hectic so if I’m remembered for anything, I’d want it to be giving my readers a sexy escape.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
I have three projects planned for 2017. In addition to ‘Still Savage’ hitting Amazon in the spring, I have two more novels I’d like to drop. First up is another Cougarette novel, tentatively titled ‘The Westons’. It will kick off a fresh book series, so I’m excited to step back into my fave character’s black stilettos. My third novel is a standalone tentatively titled ‘For The Fandom’, which I hope to drop around the holidays.
Where can fans purchase your work?
Amazon is the one-stop shop for all things me: http://amazon.com/author/elizadavid

Social Media Contact Information:

52feministsEliza

 

Facebook:  elizadwrites

Instagram: writegirlproblems

Blog: www.elizadavidwrites.com

You can also catch her on Twitter stirring up all types of trouble @elizadwrites.

 

 

Zora’s Uncanny Resemblance to my mom – Yea or Nae?

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Today ends the week long celebration of the 2nd Anniversary of my first book, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston. I wanted to share something very personal that happened during the planning stages of the book cover.

My graphic artist, Monica Gibbs drew the picture of Zora and sent it to me for approval. A little know fact is that there were some changes made, but when I looked at the draft of her I thought Zora bared an uncanny resemblance to my mom. I marveled at this and showed it only to my husband, trying to think of a way to explain it. You see, Monica and I met online and she had never seen my mom so I was at a loss to explain how this could happen. I still can’t explain it so I will leave that alone.

With Monica’s permission, I am including the pics of ‘work in progress Zora’ and my mom back in the day when she was in her twenties. You tell me what you think. Does Zora really look like my mom or is it just me? Leave me a comment and let me know.image1(1)

img_4848If you still need to get your copy of The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, be sure to take advantage of the anniversary sale $0.99 thru March 19th. e-book only! Click Here to purchase.

Couch Convos featuring Author A. Renee Hunt

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Welcome to another episode of Couch Convos! Today we welcome A. Renee Hunt, author of ‘Puddle’ to the blog. Let’s get started.

Part I

LWT: How did you get into writing?

A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: I began writing back in elementary school. I was a military brat, so I was alone a lot. My thing was to hide in bathrooms and write stories. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with journals, so I used to buy them with my allowance. I would then calculate a story, with illustrations, and write so the tale fit perfectly inside. I would either keep them for myself or give them to my friends. Everyone loved them so I asked for a typewriter and the end result: me today!

LWT: In this book you take a silly childhood pastime and turn it into something sinister. How did you come up with this concept?

ARH: That’s a fun story I share; I’m a home school mom who believes in morning walks. When my son was in sixth grade, we took a walk on a rainy day. Normally we stomp puddles, but this storm snuck up on us unprepared. On the way home, I was struck with the idea of stomping a puddle, but instead of making a huge mess of a splash, we fell in. I could see the opening above me, while beneath the rainwater and everything! So we got home and I grabbed my umbrella and camera and snapped a bunch of photos. That day, I wrote the tale in about four hours. The current version has been revamped, but still the original story.

LWT: I read the 2nd Anniversary Edition of ‘Puddle’. Were there any significant changes to this edition?

ARH: Yes I’ve made some changes, that I felt were significant, but only to lend the urban legend more substance. At the time, I was living in DeSoto, MO, which carries a lot of history, both black and white. I wanted to add more into Puddle, without taking from the original myth. Some of the events mentioned are from true, but as far as which ones… I won’t say. “wink wink”

LWT: When I write I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for Quinn and Maxine?

ARH: When it came to Quinn, I saw my middle school self, because I was always new. Many times, I was the only black kid or one of a few, as well, so it just worked. I saw a friend of mine named Nicole as Maxine. She and I became besties, years after she’d beat me up for being new.  Another crazy story I may share in a novelette.

LWT: Did you allow your son to read this story or was it too scary for him?

ARH: Whenever I decide to write a short story on children, I always want it safe for my son to read. Reading is a huge deal for me, passed on by my engineer of a father, so if I’m writing on kids at a certain age, I want my son to be able to read it too.  Thankfully, this one wasn’t bad for him, but he’s not really in to horror… yet.

LWT: I see you have written a couple of Halloween tales. Do you only write short stories for children?

ARH: Those Halloween tales were actually written for my son. He was the inspiration- he’s even on the cover of the In The Walls short stories. I’ve had a lot of friends enjoy them but no, children are not my usual focus. I usually write with New Adults in mind. I guess because that’s how I still see myself.  And I’m not!

Part II

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LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?

ARH: Ever since my first experience with traditional publishing and moved Indie, I’ve always done things backwards. When I get a story idea, I create my book cover. Either I will make it all from scratch myself, or I will reach out to a really fabulous artist I’d originally found on Fiverr.com. Now we’re friends and he’s my Go To man for artwork. I draw it, but he creates what I want to see, like a true visionary.

LWT:  Do you use social media and does it help with sales?

ARH: I love social media, but as far as it helping me, I can say about half. By no means do I feel I’m a big selling author, because that’s no why I write. I just love the idea of getting a story out of me and sharing. When I use social media, it helps but I mostly use it to help others.  Crazy I guess.

LWT:  Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.

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©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: LOL Spill the tea; I like that! My process is as such: I gain an idea and purchase a new journal. I then create my characters in such a way’ they practically come to life. When I can see them clearly, I have them drawn by my concept artist. I then add their pics to my journal and as I write, they’re either on my computer, beside my document, or open in my book so I can see them. To me, they’re real- conversations, quirks, jobs- I need to see them. I can write any place at any time, on my Mac, iPhone or iPads. I also take lots of notes and add them to the journal. By the time I’m done with the story, that journal is a wreck!

LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?

ARH: My worst challenge as an indie author was when I took my traditionally published, first novel back from the publisher. It was crazy, I was foolish and I didn’t have the control I was promised. Now, I can do what I wish when I want, and when it flops, I have myself to blame on my choices- not someone else’s.

LWT: How does your editing process work?

ARH: Oh my goodness, my editing process is very redundant. I run through it a few times, making changes. Then I read it again with changes. Then again, before passing it to someone to read. I make appropriate adjustments and read it again. Then I find a team of at least 6, then make adjustments and read again, before sending it to an editor. I then read it again. By the time it’s published, I’m sick of it!

LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?

ARH: My three tips are: (1) Don’t ever pay to be published! (2) Make yourself sick of your story by reading it so many times, you can find nothing wrong. Then hand it to others for editing. My final tip, (3) Always keep a thesaurus on hand. It should become your best friend.

LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

ARH: I believe the most unique method of marketing I’ve ever had the pleasure was marketing inside a comic book. A friend of mine was releasing his first graphic novel, and he gave me a half page, FREE! Best move I ever agreed to.

LWT: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

ARH: I’m not even going to lie- my best resource are other authors! I read more than 200 books a year (physical, ebook & audio), and because of their styles, I developed my own. As an author, the best thing you can do is glean successes and mistakes made by other authors.

LWT: We met on Instagram, where you are very active. How important is a site like Instagram for indie writers?

Author A. Renee Hunt

©A. Renee Hunt used with permission

ARH: I am just now easing up on how much I’m on media, but I LOVE Instagram more than any other site. People share and interact more there, than any other for me. Plus, there’s no drama.

LWT: What does success look like for you?

ARH: Oh that’s an easy one! Success is when my mom called me last week stating, my aunt had mentioned to some friends that her niece was an author and stated my name. They said they knew my name and title- even the story’s theme. They’re in Philly! Needless to say, I was elated. To me, that’s the best form of success; someone knew my name and my story. The sales can come later.

LWT: What’s up next for you?

ARH: I am currently writing my first serious novel, as an Indie Author. The Malignant Soul is my toughest project yet, because I have to go deeper than I’ve ever gone emotionally. With a novel of this capacity, I need more description, more personality and more of a plot. It’s a complex story, but I believe my research and imagery will push this novel to great heights.

A. Renee Hunt, Alyssa by those who know her, is a home school mother, London Lover, Book & Funko Pop Hoarder, Tea Drinker, Reader & Reviewer. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and son.To connect with A. Renee please click the links to her Social Media sites below. To purchase her e-book, Puddle, click here to go to Amazon

Author Website: http://www.areneehunt.com

Instagram: @bookzbookzbookz

Twitter: @AReneeHunt

Tumblr: areneehunt

Pinterest: @AReneeHunt

Google+: AReneeHunt

Linkedin: areneehunt

Facebook: AlyssaHunt40

Goodreads: Books_Books_Books_

Bookstr: BookzBookzBookz

Zora is 2 Years Old!

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It is the 2 year Anniversary of The Mistreatment of Zora Langston!(March 16th) To celebrate I am giving away 2 autographed copies to my readers. Enter to win on Goodreads.com and good luck! Only available in the US.

Click Here to Enter

 

Indie Shine – Ranjeeta Nath Ghai

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In our February edition of Indie Shine, a place for @rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome poet Ranjeeta Nath Ghai.

Bio:

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©Ranjeeta Nath Ghai used with permission

Born to a Gujarati mother, Assamese father in MH Agra Cantt, Uttar Pradesh, brought up in New Delhi and married to a Punjabi… I have a rich cultural background. “Mann Ki आरज़ू” is my debut attempt at publishing a few of my poems which I have been writing since 1985 to date. Being an army BRAT(Born Raised And Transferred) and Army Officer’s wife I have had the golden opportunity denied to many(and mine by birth)… to have covered the length and breadth of India, and seeing it in its splendor. Hardly have I ever lived in any state for more than a period of 2 years. Giving up my promising career as a graphic designer I build a parallel career as an educationist, to spend more time with my expanding family. My life has been enriched by my seven furry buddies who with their unconditional love have always been a de-stressing factor of my life teaching me to value and love all HIS creations unconditionally. From being a daughter to being a mother, from a caregiver to being loved back in return, being a friend and having friends worth dying for, life has come a full circle. “Life has treated me good and God has been kind to me. Looking back today I feel no regret as I have lived and celebrated each moment of my life with passion, on my own terms and conditions.” You can follow her blog: http://atrangizindagieksafar.wordpress.com

Q & A:

What do you do and Why do you do it?
I am a mentor. Teaching is my passion and I love to express my feelings through poetry.
Tell us about your most recent work
My most recent work is a collection of poems of the past 35 years called Mann Ki Aarzoo, an Amalgamation of Sentiments. It is my maiden venture in book publishing.
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Who inspires you?
I am inspired by LIFE. what i see, how i perceive, and what goes on around me… all are converted into poems.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time? 
My best is yet to come… but for beginners… its my book Mann Ki Aarzoo
What is your motto in life?
Live and let life
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true.
My wildest dream would be my books breaking all records.
What is your favorite quote?

It is a Bengali quote by Rabindranath Tagore:

“Jodi tor daak shune keu na aashe tobe ekla cholo re. Ekla cholo ekla cholo ekla cholo ekla cholo re.” (“IF THEY ANSWER not to thy call walk alone, If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall, O thou of evil luck, Open thy mind and speak out alone.”)

When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
When it is all said and done, I want to be remembered for standing up for truth and justice; be it towards humans or animals.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
My next book will be Chandramauli, A Ray of Hope. It should be available by April 2018.
Where can fans purchase your work?
It’s available on Notion Press, Amazon.in, Amazon.UK., Flipkart… all you have to do is type the name 🙂 For US Amazon Click Here.
There you have it Lovies. I hope you will not only purchase Ranjeeta’s inspirational poetry, but also follow her on social media.

Social Media Links:

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Ranjeeta and her Mother at the World Book Fair

Twitter: @ghainath

Facebook: ranjeetanath.ghai

Blog: atrangizindagieksafar 

 

Friday Happy Dance – ZAYN

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For this week’s dance, I have chosen a slow groove in honor of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I know it was Tuesday, but can a girl have a love hangover? This song is on the 50Shades Darker Soundtrack with Taylor Swift, but I like the acoustic version better with only ZAYN. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

Couch Convos – Gisele Walko

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Welcome Back! It has been a long minute since I did an edition of Couch Convos.

Your girl was having some time management issue between working on the blog, and writing novels, but I have worked that all out and decided to bring back this feature. Today we have the talented Gisele Walko, an indie author who writes Paranormal Romance(PNR) stories. Her latest book Craving and Triggers is phenomenal. Let’s get to it:

Part I

 

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos! Let’s get started. How did you get into writing PNR?

GW: PNR is the first thing I ever wrote. The story just came to me out of the blue, after my husband suggested that I try writing.

LWT: Sometimes we get our best inspiration out of the blue. Now, in this book your ‘hero’, Sani is a Skinwalker. How did you discover this entity and what compelled you to write about it?

 GW: Hmm. I’m pretty sure I read some Navajo short stories about Skinwalkers, and a couple of years ago when I wrote Wolf Girl finds Necromance, I thought he would fit in quite well with the werewolves and vampires.

LWT: Speaking of previous books, I hear this isn’t Sani’s first appearance in your writing. How did his character start out and what inspired you to give him his own book?

GW: Sani was the villain in my first book, but through some growth and soul-searching he was able to grow as a person, and made a great hero in Cravings and Triggers.  I wrote him a book because I love my spinoffs, but it hadn’t occurred to me to give him his own story until my friends Heather Crews and Donnya both told me within a few days of each other that he should have his own story.  I gave them namesakes in the book.

LWT: I love it when readers get involved in your books! When I write, I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for Sani and Zeph?

GW: For Zeph, I pictured Meagan Good, but a little darker and curvier.  For Sani, I just had myself a good time looking up hot Native American men with long hair.  No one in particular stands out.

LWT: I can attest, it is fun finding inspiration for the characters, especially the men! In this story Zeph has a teenage daughter who is transgender and identifies as a boy. What inspired you to write Z as a transgender youth?

GW: Well, I love diversity in books, is probably the main reason.  Secondly, my mother used to be a foster parent and she had one male to female transgender child, and two female to male transgender children.  One of the female to male children was such a sweet person, but had issues and challenges relating to all kinds of things.  He eventually moved on to another foster home, where the foster parents were very religious and forced him to identify as a female.  It made me sad.  I still think about him and hope he’s okay.

LWT: I have to know, in Cravings and Triggers, why did you decide to include a vampire element?

GW: I just think vampires are fun. The book already had some supernatural stuff going on.  One of the reviews I got said the supernatural stuff wasn’t necessary, which may be true, but I write for enjoyment, and it was fun.

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©Gisele Walko Used with permission.

LWT: Having fun and enjoying the writing is what it is all about. Explain why Sani felt so comfortable revealing that he was a Skinwalker to Zeph and Z on the day they first met. He seemed to know that they would not be disturbed by this?

GW: I think Sani wasn’t really expecting to see Zeph much or get attached to her and he was just having a little fun. He would have been entertained even if they were terrified.  In Wolf Girl finds Necromance, he actually was trying to scare Brennan when he revealed himself to her, but then she turned into a huge wolf and pinned him to the floor, so maybe it was like a nod to his past too.

LWT: Speaking of wolves and shifters, how do you feel that some people think PNR promotes bestiality and can you defend against it?

GW: I wasn’t aware that people felt that way.  I don’t share that opinion.  I don’t know how to defend against it, other than to say I don’t condone any form of animal abuse.

LWT: In the book does Zeph have the supernatural power to read minds or is it only Sani’s mind that she seems to read?

GW: Just Sani’s dark and twisted mind.

LWT: Who are some of your favorite PNR writers and why?

GW: Hmm.  I like Theodora Taylor’s wolf books; all of her books really.  Heather Crews has an interracial vampire romance called ‘Prince of Misery’ that I like.  G.L. Tomas has a couple that I like, but surprisingly I haven’t read too much PNR.

Part II

LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?

GW: My husband and I do them on Adobe Photoshop to the best of our ability.  I try to do everything for cheap or free.

 LWT: Isn’t that the indie author’s way? Do you use social media and does it help with sales?

GW: I send out a few tweets, but I’m not great at social media. I wish I was better at it.  Goodreads is my social media.

 LWT: That totally counts! Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete

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©Gisele Walko Used with permission.

silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.

GW: I usually start with a few scenes or bits of dialogue and try to build around that.  I think when I sit down to write again, I may try using note cards.  I don’t write out an outline or anything like that. Then I just try to string the scenes and conversations together.  I usually have on the TV when I write, but just for background noise.  If I find myself writing at night, I may have a glass of wine or two, but sometimes when I go back to reread those scenes, they’re not as funny as I thought they were when I was tipsy.

LWT: That’s why they say write drunk and edit sober. LOL. What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?

GW: I am an approval seeker by nature, so I hope most people like my books.  In the beginning, bad reviews would hurt my feelings.  Some people don’t like my stuff of course, and that’s okay. I try to take any constructive feedback I get and incorporate it and improve. Probably, some of the reviews that have helped me grow most were two star reviews.  If I only got fours and fives, I would just think that everything I did was perfect, or damn near perfect, and never learn.  Also finding readers is a challenge of course.

LWT: That is a huge challenge for us all. Earlier you mentioned how helpful your husband has been. I hear he also assists you with editing. How does that process work? Does it spark arguments or does it bring you closer?

GW: My husband reads and rereads for spelling and grammar mostly, but if he doesn’t get a joke, or thinks something sounds awkward, or thinks I need to look at a scene and tweak it, he’s vocal about it.  Usually I agree, when I finish being defensive.  I originally killed Sani, and he was like, “No! Absolutely not!”  I un-killed Sani.  We don’t really argue about it.  He’s a sounding board and he’s pretty good at catching editing issues.

LWT: Well, he made the right call on Sani. I would have been devastated if he died. Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?

GW: I don’t know that I’m successful.

  • I try to deliver a product pretty clear of most spelling and editing issues, because I know how they can distract from a story, and it’s important to be professional.
  • Secondly, write for yourself. Writing a book is a tedious process, so write the kind of thing that you would like to read and just have fun with all the imaginary friends in your head. Chances are other people will like it too.
  • Thirdly, I would recommend that you spend $5 on fiverr and promote with bknights. For Ethan and Michelle, I did really well with his gig.  For my other books, not as well, but you’ll at least recoup your initial investment.

LWT: Oh, I love Fiverr. I will have to check him out. Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

 GW: At the risk of sounding crazy…I had business cards made up for my first book. On occasion, I still leave them places; the pharmacy, the grocery store, the doctor’s office.  As far as I know, this has resulted in zero sales, but it’s a good time.

LWT: That doesn’t sound crazy at all. Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

GW: The thesaurus and Google for research, or funny stories.

LWT: We met on Goodreads, where you are very active. How important is a site like Goodreads that brings writers and readers together in the same place?

GW: Goodreads is my favorite. Writers are readers, and I have found lots of fantastic authors (yourself included) who I have had the joy of discovering. I also love having a platform where I can interact with my readers.

LWT: It’s great isn’t it? What does success look like for you?

GW: I would eventually like to make some money at writing, so I can quit my day job and write more. I had a dream that my seventh book really took off, and I’m at number five so…we’ll just see.

LWT: You better speak that into existence! Speaking of your seventh book, what’s up next for Gisele?

GW: I was thinking earlier, that maybe I would start on Donnya and Ezra’s story from Cravings and Triggers, and keep the supernatural elements out of it.  I don’t think it would be that hard since the vampire part was only the last 25% of Cravings and Triggers, and the new book would be mostly the meeting and falling in love part of the Donnya and Ezra story.  I already love Donnya because she doesn’t cuss.  She says things like, “What the cuss do you think you’re hecking doing?!” Ezra, I have to figure out more.

LWT: That sounds intriguing! I look forward to reading it.

 There you have it ladies and gentlemen, another edition of Couch Convos in the books. You can purchase her books on Amazon by clicking the picture below:

gisele-walko

Gisele Walko is a wife, mother, and elementary school assistant librarian.  She has a degree in Social Sciences, which she doesn’t use, from the University of Oklahoma.  She loves writing, reading, and hanging out and watching movies with her family.  She resides in the Oklahoma City suburbs with her hubby, two teenagers, and three spoiled rotten dogs.To connect with Gisele please click the links to her Social Media sites below.

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon Author Page