Couch Convos – Colleen Chesebro

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Part I

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos! Let’s get started. How did you get the idea to write about the swamp fairy?

CC: Thanks, Lisa. I’m happy to be here with you. I love this big comfy couch. Now hang on, because I am going to tell you how I met a real life fairy!

While on a walk during a warm, foggy morning in November 2014, I had a close encounter of the fairy kind. At the time, we were living in Pensacola, Florida. I still remember the day, as if it has been carved into my memory; something I will never forget.

Road I took on my walk

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

As I walked along the road, I heard a sound that instantly caught my attention. At first, I considered the possibility that the sound might be an injured bird rustling in the thick underbrush. I peered into the foliage and drew back in surprise. At first glance, I thought I saw a ruby-throated hummingbird with brilliant green feathers. However, that was not so.

Instead, appearing in front of my eyes was a tiny green swamp fairy fluttering on delicate wings that looked like transparent leaves. She had hair the color and consistency of corn silk. Bottle green leaves adorned her small body. The heady fragrance of lavender, patchouli, and sandalwood wafted on the air.

I stood there at the edge of the road transfixed by the vision. I realized then, I had witnessed a miracle. I had been given the gift of fairy vision.

The petite winged-being stared at me with eyes as green as the leaves she was hiding

Spot where I saw the Swamp Fairy

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

in. I must tell you, this meeting felt something akin to a spiritual encounter. An overwhelming feeling of peace and love surrounded me and held me within its grasp. In an instant, she was gone. The swamp fairy vanished into the fog that swirled around me.

I shook my head and continued my walk. My feet felt lighter that day. I knew something had changed. The swamp fairy had ignited my imagination. I knew what this fairy encounter meant. I had been granted the ability to become a fairy whisperer.

Soon after, I started to write stories about the swamp fairies which I posted to my blog. The stories came in quick succession. Next, the dreams started. I began to channel the stories of the fairy nymphs that had inspired me that day long ago. Each day on my walks, I observed the real swamp as it was crowded out by the building of new homes. The natural wetlands were disappearing at a rapid rate. Slowly, a story began to form in my mind.

By the fall of 2015, we moved to Colorado. The dreams continued and grew even stronger. The stories changed. The fairy nymphs wanted me to tell their stories. And, that is exactly what I have done. The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy is that story, which I published this year.

LWT: Wow! What a great experience. Was Abby’s character based on someone you know or is she entirely imaginary?

CC: Abby Forester is a combination of myself, my daughters, and my granddaughters. I borrowed a little of something from each of us. I was a foster child as a teenager. Those emotions and memories never leave you. So, I decided to use those experiences for something good. Abby Forester is the outcome.

LWT: Tell us about the area in Florida where you first came across the swamp fairy?

CC: We were about ten miles inland from the Gulf Coast. It was a rural setting with houses nestled in between fields and wooded areas. Much of the area was natural wetland swamps or sloughs. In fact, we had the best neighbors living in the field behind our house. The horses would visit and beg for carrots which I describe in the story. The photo below is depicted in the book. See the strange tree trunk? That was the magical portal between the fairy realm and our human existence that  Abby slipped through daily to visit her friend Savanna.

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©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

LWT: When I write, I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who was the muse for Abby?

CC: I did a lot of research on female YA characters. Most of them had dark hair and wereAbby Forester drop dead gorgeous. I wanted Abby to be the image of the girl next door. She had to be kind and sweet but still, have the usual teenage angst. I imagined her with amber strawberry blond or red hair with fair skin. I found a picture on Pixabay.com that I have used to portray her.

LWT: I have to know, who was the muse for Rafe Cobb? I really wanted to hurt him.

CC: LOL! I couldn’t help it but, I used the 45th President as the physical image in my mind of Rafe Cobb. You know, the bad reddish comb over? Actually, years ago, I worked as a legal secretary in South Florida, and we had a client that was as evil and conniving as my character. Rafe Cobb is based loosely on that man.

You know his name was hard to come up with. Finally, I researched the names of deceased Civil War soldiers to find a name that would sound southern enough. I hope I haven’t disturbed the spirit of the real Rafe Cobb.

LWT: Let’s just hope the real Rafe Cobb was nothing like the one in the book or you’ll be in trouble. For such a young girl, Abby had a lot of spunk. Why was this an important part of her personality?

CC: I gave Abby my birthday (April 18). That meant she had to mirror some of my characteristics and faults. I used astrological research on the sign of Aires, to make her stubborn but also loyal to her family and friends. Abby had to have that sense of responsibility that she carried on her shoulders for her to help the fairies. The loyalty to her mother and her heritage were important to the story and to make Abby come across as a real person.

LWT: No wonder I liked her so much. In the book, it is said that “the wrath of God will bring about the destruction of humankind.” Explain why this is so relevant in the book and in today’s society?

CC: The main theme in the book is that humans and the expanding population were destroying precious wetlands. Rafe Cobb was building a housing area that backed right up to fairy swamp. If he could buy Abby’s land (or take it), he would have destroyed the swamp where the precious Pink Sundew plants grew. If that happened, the fairy nymphs and Abby would have failed in their responsibilities to preserve the plants which contained a “magical” substance found in all antibiotics. The gods (I used the Greek gods) would destroy us all for our folly. Of course, this is a fantasy novel… but you never know. This could be a fact. (wink, wink)

Climate change and how it is devastating our world is the central message the fairy nymphs want us, humans, to understand. It is up to us to save our world. Even though my novel is based on fantasy elements, the addition of current events gives credence to the message.

LWT: How long did it take to complete this masterpiece?

CC: Lisa, I think I’m a slow writer. It took about a year to create, write, edit, and format this book.

LWT: Sometimes slow is better. How important is Aunt Magnolia’s character in Abby’s development?

CC: Aunt Magnolia had to step into Abby’s mother’s shoes. She had no children of her

Aunt Magnolia

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

own and wasn’t sure what to do with Abby. I created the aunt as a strong, educated woman who was not afraid to take on the responsibility of raising a teenager. Aunt Magnolia has quite a bit of my grandmother in her.

Besides, Aunt Magnolia had to accept Abby for what she was – a fairy whisperer. It was that link to the family that kept their relationship strong. Abby is different, just like many kids are. The fact that her aunt accepts her also gives her courage to meet her responsibilities.

LWT: Who are some of your influences in paranormal writing and why?

CC: I have always been attracted to the strange and unusual. I’ve had a few unique experiences. I don’t feel that my experience meeting the swamp fairy was paranormal. It was more of a spiritual encounter. I know I’m empathetic and more receptive to the vibrations of nature. I feel things many people can’t. Nature is the catalyst that really gets my imagination going.

Part II

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

CC: I was lucky to have met my dear friend, Wendy Ann Darling, through the WordPress 2016-07-15 14.48.40blogging community. When I moved to Colorado, I found out she was only a couple hours away from me. Once we met, we became fast friends. Wendy is a graphic artist. I described the swamp fairy to her, and she drew the fairy. I gave her a photo of fairy swamp, and she added the calcite heart stone and the image of the hummingbird (since the fairy was a shapeshifter), to create a fantastic cover.

Wendy designs book covers for Bookxeedo Book covers. Her prices are reasonable, and she is easy to work with. She will be designing my future book covers.

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

CC: I use social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. From what I can tell, I have not sold any books from those forums. It is the blog and interviews like this where I notice a spike in sales. It just goes to prove that we writers are also readers and buy each other’s books. Our blogs are a powerful marketing tool.

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.

CC: I write with music playing, usually Pandora. I love Enya, Classical piano, and all new wave sounds. Sometimes I play nature sounds while I’m writing. I think I’m clairaudient like my character, Abby. No, I can’t function if I drink, let alone write! LOL! But I do love tea!

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

CC: As an indie writer, I’ve had to teach myself how to write YA fiction, how to edit, and how to format the book to CreateSpace.

I also had to learn to ask for help. I have an author friend that I asked to help me with the first edit. I learned more from her than I thought possible. She took me under wing and helped me with plot holes and sentence structure. The only way I could thank her was to do the same for another author. It is important that we help each other as beta readers and first draft editors.

LWT: What is your experience like with editing your work?

CC: Initially, I hated the editing process. It was tedious as all get out! I did purchase Grammarly, and that has helped to keep me in line. Eventually, I understood that the editing process is where you do the actual writing. Once I figured that out, I liked the editing because I was making the story better, and could see the results. I still have a lot to learn. I will be using an editor on future books. P. C. Zick from The Manuscript Doctor is my choice.

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

CC: The first tip is to read every book in your genre you can get your hands on. The next is to keep learning about how to write. The last tip is to set a goal and keep working towards it. Don’t give up!

LWT: That is great advice! Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

CC: I contacted my friend and fellow blogger, Irene, from IreneDesign2011.com to design a calcite fairy pendant like the one Abby wears in the book so readers could feel the magic of the fairies. I sell the books, and Irene sells the necklaces. We both benefit from this relationship. By the way, Irene’s prices are the best!

Would you love to own your own calcite fairy stone pendant like Abby Forester wears in the book? Here’s how to get yours:

small calcite for sale IreneDesign2011

Here are the links to Irene’s Etsy site where you can buy your large calcite for sale IreneDesign2011own SMALL pendant or the LARGE pendant

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

CC: My favorite resource is Thesaurus.com. I love that site! I use synonyms extensively in my writing, especially when I am editing.

LWT: What does success look like for you?

CC: Success for me is accomplishing my goals and reaching for the stars. I feel like a success because if I say I’m going to do something… I do it! It might take me awhile to get there, but I seldom give up. Success is gained with determination and perseverance.

LWT: That is a wonderful outlook. What’s up next for Colleen?

CC: Lisa, those fairy nymphs are whispering in my dreams every night. Currently, I am working on the second book of the series called, The Meadow Fairy. Here is a brief synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester journeys from Blackberry Ridge, Florida to Bent Grass, Colorado when her Aunt Magnolia accepts a job as a researcher working for an author who specializes in writing about myths and paranormal activity.

 Abby, along with her deceased mother’s most sacred possession, a calcite pendant, continues her legacy as a Fairy Whisperer to the primordial fairy nymphs who inhabit unique places scattered about the world.

 In Colorado, Abby meets two young friends, Crosby and Landon Miller, who along with their family are beekeepers on a small farm under the shadow of Pike’s Peak. Abby is summoned by a primeval nymph who asks her to resolve the secret of why the bee population is disappearing from the prairie meadows. 

 With the help of Nate Bannock, a Native American Ute rancher, Abby learns the astonishing truths behind the decimation of the bee population.

Does Abby have what it takes to save the bees and the Meliae Meadow Nymphs before it is too late?

 Thank you for inviting me to Couch Convos. I loved getting together with you, Lisa. I appreciate your help in spreading the magic of the fairy nymphs! ❤

And I loved having you. Well folks, that’s another Couch Convos in the can. Until next month… In the meantime pick up Colleen’s book, The Heart Stone Chronicles on Amazon by clicking HERE!

colleen

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative.

To connect with her please click the links for her Social Media.

Website: colleenchesebro.com

Facebook: @CMChesebro

Twitter: @colleenchesebro

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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

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

Couch Convos w/ Lisa W. Tetting featuring Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

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Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. Today we have a special treat for you. Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl, aka EC, joins us to talk about her short story trilogy, Stella. It is a unique take on racism, slavery and provides a history lesson we all need to learn.

Part I

LWT: Welcome EC, let’s get started. What was your inspiration behind Stella?

YY: “Well, I used to teach third and fourth grade creative writing as part of a Home School program and we studied black literature a lot. In that process, Stella was conceived during an assignment I’d given my students on writing about that era, about slavery and discrimination. I always seek to be an example, especially to children, so I occasionally participated in these assignments to show my students that we were in this together and if I could do it, they could as well. That is when I wrote the first chapter, or part, of Stella. I saved it because I started to like Stella! And I knew I would build on her life at some point in the future.”

LWT: I’m glad you save it! Why did you choose to make this a short story trilogy as opposed to a novel?

YY: “I felt that drawing it out, which I would have had to do for a novel, would have taken away from the simplicity I am trying to achieve with these books. I don’t want my readers to get bored and because of the way Stella was designed, I think a novel would have done that. Of course, there is always room to add more, and always room to clarify. But I want my readers to have something to think about after reading these books. I want to leave yall hanging a little bit; it’s a lot more fun. It provokes the individual to go on his own search and to think more. The idea was to make it short, sweet, and to the point. Ideally, I would like for each book to be under 100 pages.

LWT: That being said, there is a difference between the e-book and the print book, why did you decide to make them different?

YY: “This was a mistake actually! I sent everything in to the various distributors, Amazon, B&N, etc., for the e-book version. Afterward however, I realized that I wanted to add more to the prologue to really capture those scenes and I also wanted to lessen the broken language of the slave scenes so that it’s easier to read. Because I could not reedit the e-book, I just reedited the print book and decided to make it a special thing since you’d generally pay more for the paperback than the e-book anyway. So I turned this mistake into a marketing tool. That is, if you want the deleted scenes you’d have to get the print book!”

LWT: Explain Cynthia’s belief that she is not a racist, yet she believes blacks and whites should be separate?

YY: “Cynthia is an example of the upbringing of many Europeans who are the offspring of parents who have been taught racism. It has been said that many black people still exhibit characteristics of slavery because of the deep rooted trauma they’ve incurred. But the same is true for some white people. If we believe that African Americans have developed character traits that go back to chattel slavery, then is it too far-fetched to say that whites may have also developed character traits that go back to their fathers? So, Cynthia’s mentality is attributed to a kind of generational, institutionalized racism. For instance, Cynthia makes the statement that her Aunts tell her all the time about how it was better to live in the 60s when the races were separate. Cynthia then really believes she’s not racist and in her mind she may not hate blacks, but racism shows up in her heart because it was planted there.”

©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

LWT: That is very profound and gives us all something to think about. What is your opinion on the concept of Separate but Equal?

YY: “In my opinion, it should have been Separate but Unequal. I am also of the opinion that this was not necessarily a bad concept. Of course, I don’t agree we should have been bitten by dogs and burned to a crisp, but I do believe that Blacks have always been called to be different. Everything that black people do is mimicked by people all over the world because everything about them is unique. Everything about them is special. Everything about them is unequal. The separation of blacks during this time in history actually helped us to maintain a more communal mentality than integration did. It was our inability to acquire the same jobs as others that motivated us to build what would later be known as Black Wall Street. The Greenwood community of Tulsa, Oklahoma was one of the most successful and wealthiest African American communities of the 20th century. Black people were also the first to Home School their children when they couldn’t go to the same schools. Upon integration however, we lost a lot of that culture and that family bond we once had. Our children also did not receive the same kind of education upon school desegregation and many of them began to fail. It has been said before and I’ll say it again, we are a spiritual people. And it is the bible that says to envy not your oppressor and to choose none of his ways.”

LWT: Speaking of racial divide, please expound on the concept humans were meant to be divided by nationality as opposed to race.

YY: “Historians and Scholars have deemed Genesis Chapter 10 of the bible as The Table of Nations because it’s basically a description of the genealogy of man, the nations divided from Noah. These nations have been traced back to the various people spread across the world. For instance, Magog has been traced back to the Russians, Hungarians, Goths, etc. Madai goes back to the Meds or Indo-European people. The Kushites, who lived south of Egypt in what is the Sudan today, are the Ethiopians and Nubians, and according to the record of Egypt, the Somalians go back to Put. So forth and so on was man divided according to his lands. Race, a term first used by a French physician Francois Bernier, who was the first to use the word race as a category for classifying humans, focuses solely on physical attributes and characteristics (race) as opposed to land, language and livelihood (nationality). We are called blacks but black is not a nationality. Meaning it does not have land, and it does not have language. It does not have these things because black is a color. But we identify ourselves as blacks because man has divided the world into shades and colors and sizes, this is race. In fact, Science has a lot to do with the usage of race to identify a people. Although there is uncertainty about the correctness of the term “race” versus “species” to classify human variation, Bernier relied on categories based on outward physical characteristics such as skin color. To make a long story short, the Almighty divided the world into Nations of people. Man on the other hand, divided it into races of people and by attributing psychological value and importance to race; this became what we know as racism.”

LWT: What is your opinion on people who pass for another race?

YY: “I think people who pass for another race, in addition to whatever issues many of them have or feel in regard to their own physical attributes, are also on a quest to understand more on how to rightly place themselves among the races. If race does not actually exist and we are all nations of people, where does that put the person who does not fully understand what nation they are from? If race does exist, where do we rightly place the person of a mixed race? Could they pass to position themselves among one people? So, you know, I think the answer is rooted in nationhood and a sense of belonging.”

LWT: That being said, how do you feel about the Rachael Dolezal issue?

YY: “I find the Rachel Dolezal story intriguing actually. I do not feel betrayed nor do I think she’s crazy, but I believe she understands more about black people than she’s letting on and that she is trying to mimic that. For instance, in a comment on whether or not she was African American, Dolezal stated: “I don’t understand the question.” That was profound to me because I tend to give people a similar answer about what it means to be African American. I use these terms, Black, African American, for the sake of understanding but like Black, African American is also not a nationality; it’s just a combining of two continents, the continent of Africa and the continent of America. The ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Libyans never spoke of a place called Africa even though these people were indigenous to that continent. In fact, the word Africa is foreign to many of the indigenous people living there today. The name Africa is Latin and it was Leo Africanus, a Roman, who called that land mass Africa, in honor of their military general who defeated Hannibal in the Punic wars. And as I stated, there has always been something special about black people that other people have wanted to copy and in that aspect I believe Rachel was really trying to mimic a restored identity. I mean, don’t tell a white woman she can’t wear a black hair style and excuse Beyoncé for wearing a white hair style. I’m just saying if we gonna keep it real, keep it all the way real. Black women have been trying to be white for years.”

LWT: With such passion for bettering the race,why do you choose to use the “N” word in your writing?

YY: “I use the “N” word in my writing because my stories are representative of real people and real people use the “N” word despite their Nationality. I also use the “N” word in my writing because I think it’s foolish to think that getting rid of a word will get rid of the behavior associated with it. I’m all for change, but as long as certain behaviors exist, so will these kinds of words. Black people will always be known by mockeries, proverbs, and bywords as long as they are unaware of who they are and as long as they are comfortable living their lives in ignorance.

LWT: Tying this back to Stella, why is this story so relevant in today’s society?

YY: “I believe the so called Black people today are the direct descendants of the ancient Israelites and that their entire existence has been prophesied about in the bible. For nearly 400 years black people have suffered at the hands of their oppressors. From slavery, to Jim Crow, and to police brutality, if there is any kind of suffering going on you can be sure that we are in the midst of it. And if we are not dying in the streets we are suffering from incurable diseases, our children are in the foster care systems, and our brothers and sisters hang out on the corners like wild bulls in a net. And if they aren’t strung out on the latest drug they are in jail. African Americans comprise the highest prison population both black men and black women. I read an article once that prisons estimate how many more beds to add to their cells based on the reading scores of 4th grade black males. This story or these kinds of stories rather, are more important today than they were fifty years ago because slavery is being taken out of the history books. Our children know nothing about whom they truly are or where they come from. Many of them don’t even know about the events of The Civil Rights Movement, we’re talking about the basics. So, I hope that my books can be a stepping stone to increased understanding in a world that seems to be without structure and without placement for the so-called African American people.”

LWT: How do we combat this epidemic of misinformation that is fed to the masses about slavery and history in general?

YY: “I believe Self-Revolution is what is necessary to combat the level of misinformation that plagues us today. I mean, as a people we have to change. In the 1960s and 70s black people spoke a lot about a revolution to come and many of them stood up and declared themselves revolutionaries. Revolution by definition is a change in power or organizational structures, and so many of our people at that time sought to spark a revolution among our people. They did this in many ways but the way they didn’t try was Self-Revolution and because of this many of these revolutionaries are no longer with us today. But the revolution has not ended. You see the problem with the revolutions that they were bringing is that it always started on the outside, but in truth if one seeks to create a change or reversal of a condition it has to begin on the inside, it has to begin with self. You’re only capable of changing lives if you yourself have been changed. Black people, and all people, who wish to see a change in their conditions have to first seek a change in themselves. To love ourselves enough to reverse our condition will help to bring about a reversal of the condition that plagues the world, which is a lack of love. Love is a universal language and can be understood by all people. When a baby emerges from his mother’s womb he is crying out for love; he must be reconnected to her breast, literally or figuratively, to continue to receive that love. This is what the bible talks about from the beginning to the end; it teaches us how to love. I can walk down the street in China and help an elderly woman across the street and she’ll understand that language. That’s because the law of Love inspires discipline and compassion among all people. It is the umbilical cord that connects us to our creator and the rest of mankind.”

Part II

 LWT: Switching gears, let’s talk about the business of writing. What tools do you use to market your work?

YY: “I use a combination of online and offline methods to market my work; mostly online since social media has made it easier to be visible that way. I have an Author Website, a Newsletter, and social media accounts across the board. Whatever is out there I’m on it. I blog, I tweet, I post, I upload, all of that. I try to be everywhere there is to be online. Offline is the part I think is important for me to explain because we often lose sight that we need a combination of both. I don’t have a lot of money, but I try to run my writing like a business so when promoting offline I’m marketing myself as an online merchant. I don’t have the funds to carry around boxes of books, so I carry business cards and flyers instead. Professionally designed and printed flyers with my book covers and contact information on it. I also try to always have at least a sample book to present. But in all of this I’m putting my books out there as part of an online store. In this way, people know to expect to find me online and if they don’t have internet access they can always request an offline form. Fill that out, mail it back to me and I will process that order. That combined with the blessing of social media gets the job done.”

LWT: That is amazing advice! Now, tell us about your experience using iTunes?

YY: “I actually have not experienced using iTunes hands on. I didn’t upload my e-book to that service directly, but it was sent to iTunes, Amazon, and B&N directly from my publishing platform so my books can be available at multiple places. When I get my Publishing Company off the ground however, I’ll have a better answer for you! But in brief, what I love about iTunes is that it gives readers another venue in which to purchase books. Like I said, I’m trying to be everywhere there is to be online. Whatever you want, I got it. That’s my motto: “Using Digital Technology to Create Unique Reading Experiences”. So if you want to download Stella from iTunes, I got you. You can do that.”

LWT: A one stop shop. I love it! Do you find doing book reviews helpful to exposure for your work as well as other authors?

YY: “I do. Not only do I enjoy writing book reviews to help others, but I really believe that anything an author writes is a kind of advertisement or marketing if you will, of their work. Of course, we all have those moments of personal writing on our blogs, social media and all that, but I also try to keep in mind that everything that I write is either useful or harmful to me as a writer. Writing Book Reviews for me is like a diamond in the ruff. It’s helpful for the author but it’s also helpful for the writer of the review; if you can convince someone to buy a book based solely on personal opinion and critical analysis that says a lot about you as a writer. It’s not just about exposure for the author, but it also helps me to sharpen my writing skills. If I like the book, I don’t want to just tell people what the book is about, but I want to help interpret the authors’ message for his or her audience in a way that will compel readers to buy. So I’m like promoting and learning in the process. And it’s a lot of fun too. You get to read all these great books nobody would ever know about if not for Self-Publishing.”

LWT: That is a blessing in itself. Please give other indie authors 5 tips to successful networking?

YY:

  • Have an Author Website where ALL of your work can be found in one place. Even if it’s on Amazon, put the Amazon links on your website. Make it easier for people to find you.
  • Create Social Networks for at least the top 3:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

  • Create Business Cards you could pass out to people you meet on the street. You never know who you’ll run into so keep it professional.
  • Save your Contacts. Surround yourself with people who can help you, especially those who are professionals at what they do and save their contacts. If you consider yourself an author you should have at least a few (non-related) author contacts.
  • Be Visible: Make your presence known online and offline. Stay in the loop.
©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

LWT: Tell us what genres you have written in so far and why?

YY: “I’ve written Poetry, Sci-Fi, General Fiction, a Screenplay, and now Historical Fiction and Short Story. Poetry, obviously, was the reason I got into Self-Publishing in the first place. I didn’t have a desire to do anything outside of publish my poetry. I am also becoming really interested in science because my husband’s a science nerd! He’s a handsome nerd though, he’s no Geek, there’s a difference! LOL. He doesn’t have the goggle glasses and pocket protectors going on! But he is really intelligent and wise and I learn a lot from him. Consequently, I became really interested in writing about the future and advanced technology; designer babies, flying cars, and all that weird stuff and, most importantly, tying these things into scripture and the end times and all that. So that’s where the Sci-Fi comes in at. The screenplay was just something I wanted to try my hand at. I’ve written plays before for my High School and watched them being played out on the stage and was actually in some of them, so I wanted to kinda bring that back so that’s why I wrote Pearls Before Swine which is actually a play not a novel. I pretty much want to try my hand at every genre if possible! I’m looking at Romance kinda sideways though, I don’t know, I’m not really into Romance like that. I like to read it but I don’t think it’s really my style from the writing POV. Historical Fiction and Short Stories is something I’m really digging right now though and I think Stella has shown me my primary niche.”

 LWT: Since you write poetry in addition to books and short stories, how has spoken word helped you expand your readership?

YY: “Yessss! Finally a question about poetry! What took you so long? LOL. Having this skill has really blessed my readership. When I’m on stage or somewhere and I open my mouth to spit that piece, people are instantly interested in me individually which includes my work across the board because people love stories. What I’m quickly learning is that behind each product is a story, a narrative and it is that story that draws people in to support that product. As writers we are that product and we have to sell our stories. A book is good but it must have a heartbeat behind it too. For instance one day I was at this Open Mic spot right, in Shreveport, and these sisters were so drawn into this piece that I did about black women that they said that they will follow me everywhere and that just blew me away because I’m really into awakening the sisterhood. I was like ooookkk well, here’s my card, look me up! I don’t really share stuff like this though because I’d like to think I’m a pretty humble person and I don’t really need people thinking I got fans and whatnot. But I say this to say that poetry increases my readership a lot because of the power of spoken language and how it makes people feel. Maya Angelou said it best: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

LWT: Sorry I took so long, but I was warming you up. LOL. Speaking of people not forgetting how you make them feel. Social Media is a way to make an impression. How has social media helped you with building your readership?

YY: “Oh man. Social Media has given my readership like, steroids! I mean, I met you through social media! I get to communicate with a lot of authors and readers and professionals, by way of social, so that’s great and the feedback is awesome. My blog is doing better than any other blog I’ve had in the past (I’ve had two) and my website is starting to see some real traffic.”

LWT: Speaking of websites, how important is it to have a great author website?

YY: “I’m glad you asked that Lisa because I am actually in the process of upgrading my Author Website. It’s OK but nowhere near where I want it to be so hopefully my readers will be seeing a nice upgrade soon. Having a great Author Website is critical to an Author. As I talk a lot about on my blog, writers should treat this like a business. And any great business needs to invest in a website where people can go and view all of their products. Like I said when you asked me to give tips, create an Author Website and put ALL of your products on there so that people know where to find you. Even if you’re on Amazon, embed your Amazon links into your primary website because you need one place people can go. The idea is to drive as much traffic as possible to the website. If at all possible, get a professional to design the site for you. It has to be fun to visit, but also very easy to navigate so don’t try to do too much. Simplicity is always best.”

LWT: You are up for a small business grant from Merchant Negotiators; tell us about your budding business and how things are going?

YY: “I am so excited about starting this business! I don’t know if I’ll get the grant but as many of you who follow my blog already know, I want to do more than write books. I love writing but my passion for teaching has got to be included in some way. Eventually, I would like to start my own Publishing Business to help other Indie’s to get started (For the non-writers out there Indie is short for Indie Author or Independent Author). Not only do I want to help others to publish their own books, but I would also like to offer a few Self-Publishing packages even if they would like to publish elsewhere; a place where they can still come to me for Book Cover Design, Formatting, Editing, or whatever they need to help prepare the book for publishing. Right now I am in the process of registering The Literary Korner as an LLC or Limited Liability Company, polishing off the Business plan, and setting something up for those who would like to invest in this vision.

LWT:  That sounds like a great plan and I look forward to following the progress of your company. As far as writing goes, what is coming up next for you, EC?

YY: “Well Lisa, I have so many plans for this coming year that I’m excited about and I’m just taking it one step at a time. I want to stick to the Short Story Genre so hopefully more short stories are coming. Right now though, Stella Book #2, Beyond The Colored Line, releases on the 24th and I’m putting the finishing touches on Book #3, The Road to Freedom, before sending it to my editor which I’m really excited about. I think yall are really going to love it! Its part of the Stella series and takes you back to the Freedom Rider age. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to get this Publishing Business off the ground so there’s a lot to do but I’m excited.”

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, another edition of Couch Convos in the books. To connect with EC please click the links to her Social Media sites below. You can purchase her books at most online retailers or via her author website. Don’t forget to pick up Stella, available now and the sequel Beyond The Colored Line available on August 24th.

Wanderlust

Click the pic above to purchase

Author Website: www.theliterarykorner.com

Blog: www.thepbsblog.wordpress.com

Email: ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com, yecheilyahysrayl@theliterarykorner.com

Facebook: ThePBSBlog (Blog)

Yecheilyah Ysrayl (Personal)

Twitter: @ahouseofpoetry

Instagram: @yecheilyah

Pinterest: ahouseofpoetry

LinkedIn: Yecheilyah Ysrayl  

Couch Convos with Lisa W. Tetting featuring Author Twyla Turner

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Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. Today we’re chatting with Author Twyla Turner. I ran across her erotica trilogy Damaged Souls and it blew my mind. Usually not one for Romance novels, I was pleasantly surprised when I could not put down her books. Her books made such an impact on me that they inspired me to try my hand at writing this genre. Join us as we discuss “Scarred”, “Open Wounds” and “Healed” the “Damaged Souls” Trilogy. 

Part I

©Author Twyla Turner used with permission

©Author Twyla Turner used with permission

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos Twyla. Let’s get started. What made you decide to make Sloan a vet suffering from PTSD?

TT: Well when I originally thought of the story all I knew was that I wanted the hero to be homeless. After watching a news story where Richard Gere was playing a homeless man for a movie and a bystander saw him digging through a garbage can and kindly gave him some food, I thought “you never know who is behind those ragged clothes and scruffy hair. And who makes up a lot of the homeless population…veterans. A story was born!

LWT: You have to love Richard Gere. During Open Wounds, Sloan makes a rant about how veterans are treated in this country. Do you have firsthand knowledge of veterans who were wronged?

TT: I actually don’t know any war veterans, who are struggling, but I watch the news a lot and here in Arizona is where they were having a lot of problems with the VA hospital not taking care of them and several dying because of it.

LWT: I’ve seen the reports also and think it is tragic. Sloan and Lexi meet in Savannah, GA where there isn’t a large population of interracial couples. Why did you select this setting?

TT: Many times I write the places that I would most like to visit or already have. I want to visit Savannah, so I decided to make that the place the story would be set. I know that there aren’t a lot of interracial couples there, but I never try to make race a huge factor in my stories. Basically, a world where color is appreciated instead of disparaged is my fantasy land.

LWT: I love that concept. Instead of pretending there is no difference, we should all embrace our differences. Why did you write about a mixed race couple?

TT: So far that’s all I’ve ever written. I prefer to date outside of my race. So I’m just writing what I know. Though I have dated the rainbow, black men included. But since I was little, my preference has always been white men.

LWT: I am happy to know it is a preference and not a prejudice. Even though they are an interracial couple, you make a point to let the reader know it is more about damaged souls and not skin color. Why was that an important message for the readers to obtain?

TT: Like I mentioned before, color is something to be appreciated. Not ignored or anything because it is brought up a couple of times in the story, but it will more than likely never be the main focus unless the story really calls for it. In my own interracial relationships, we talked about race here and there, of course. But it was not the focus; we just enjoyed each other as people.

LWT: I know that feeling all too well. Being a proud Southerner, I couldn’t help but notice the dialog used by Sloan’s childhood nanny, Annie. Where did you derive the inspiration for the manner in which she talks?

TT: I’m from the North so I haven’t had a ton of experience with Southern accents aside from movies or TV shows. But hearing my mom talk about family from the South, some of my great grandmothers and aunts sounded so sweet and funny when my mom would imitate how they would talk to her. So I was trying to go for that Southern charm and sweetness that many women have there.

LWT: Well, just for the record, not all of us Southern ladies talk like that, but it was cute. The sex scenes in the book really grab the reader’s attention. Did you draw from personal experience or was it pure fantasy?

TT: I wish it was from experience! Ha! I’ve definitely had some remarkable sexual encounters, but nothing on that level. Though I did learn that it is possible or almost possible to orgasm while giving someone else pleasure. Good stuff!

LWT: That was an amazing scene in the story. I had no idea. Sloan is such a captivating character. What made you give him such contradictory traits? For example he is such a loving and caring man, but when faced with jealousy he becomes scary and possessive.

TT: Well we can’t all be just one thing. People are more interesting when they have different sides to their personalities. Though I didn’t let the scary possessive side show until Lexi and the readers knew that he would never intentionally hurt her. I think most of us would love to have a non-psychotic man be possessive over us. At least, I would!

LWT: I must admit it made him more attractive, if that is possible. A lot of erotic books make the male character “Mr. Perfect” like your character Aaron. What caused you to give Sloan all of these imperfections?

TT: Because to me imperfections are so much sexier than perfection. I prefer a man with scruff than clean shaven. Thick eyebrows, sans unibrow, than perfectly arched. For some reason I love big ears and slightly crooked teeth too. I love finding beauty and quirkiness in unlikely places. Plus, I purposely wanted to stand out from all the billionaire romance/erotic out there.

LWT: Mission accomplished! I love how flawed the characters are, but remain perfect for each other. Explain to the reader why Sloan and Lexi just seem to mesh?

TT: I guess it’s the same way that people are paired in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). They’re damaged in somewhat similar ways, so only another damaged person can sympathize and help them. Someone as damaged as Lexi and Sloan are, would feel like a freak show dating someone that seems to really have their sh*t together. Someone like Aaron for instance. And it would piss them off if someone who had never gone through any real trauma tried to help change them.

LWT: I can see that. Tell us, why were Victoria and Aaron the perfect nemeses for Lexi and Sloan?

TT: Because they were “perfect” for them by outside appearances. They were what society or Sloan’s parents thought were acceptable, when in reality they were the worst possible people for them and they both knew it. Though they were still jealous and intimidated by them because they knew Aaron and Victoria were what they should want.

LWT: I love how Lexi befriends Sloan when he is homeless and scary looking. She feels something in his spirit that she is drawn to. Do you believe in soul mates and love at first sight?

TT: Even after all the crap I see in the world when it comes to relationships…I do believe in soul mates and love at first sight. At least to a certain extent. I do believe it is possible but rare. Even though I still haven’t found mine at this time.

LWT: I am here to tell you it exists, because I found mine. Never give up hope. How did you start writing erotic romance novels?

TT: Well I always knew that I’d like to write a romance at some point, but never thought I’d have the discipline. And I’ve always been a sexual person that doesn’t mind talking about sex to anyone, but I didn’t even know about erotica until Fifty Shades. Yeah, I know. That book opened up a world I didn’t know about and once I knew it was there, I tried to get as much of it as possible. Then I found BBW Erotica and was in heaven! Though at the time (two years ago) I couldn’t find very many BBW Erotica novels that were full-length and that frustrated me. Then one day I was reading a book and my very first characters Sunny and Gabe wouldn’t get out of my head. So much so, that I couldn’t even concentrate on what I was reading. That was when I put down my Nook and picked up my laptop and started writing. I basically wrote what I wasn’t getting from other novels. The erotic part just fell into place. Though I think of my books as more Romantica. A combination of Romance and Erotica.

 

Part II

© Author Twyla Turner used with permission

© Author Twyla Turner used with permission

 

LWT: Tell us what the premise behind “Novels with Curves” is and how it came about?

TT: I write stories for women with lovely curves and beautiful imperfections. I have always loved reading and mainly romance, but almost every heroine I’ve read since Jr. High was slender and perfect in almost every way. Well, I’m not like that and many women I know and see aren’t like that. And isn’t reading one of the most intimate forms of entertainment? Where you feel like you are or know the characters? Like they’re a part of your life? Then why can’t the heroines better reflect what the majority of the population looks like? So one day I thought, “I write novels. Novels with curves.” And I was like, “That’s it! That’s what I’m calling my brand!”

LWT: It is a great representation of curvy ladies and I thank you. Speaking of brands, the book covers for your trilogy are amazing. Who did them and how did you find her?

TT: They are, aren’t they?! She’s amazing! Her name is Suzy Almblade and I met her working at a call center, selling cable. Hahahaha!!! I had just released my first book “Star-Struck” when I started working there. I had a piss poor excuse for a cover that I did myself and I showed her the paperback and she asked who did the cover art. In which, I bowed my head in shame and said, “I did.” She then offered to do the cover for the follow up “Awe-Struck” and redo “Star-Struck” and from then on, a partnership was formed. I knew my covers weren’t the classic erotica covers, but I thought they were beautiful. And the covers for the Damaged Souls Series ended up working out perfectly because they look like something Lexi would’ve painted. And by the way, here’s Suzy’s website: www.suzyalmblade.com

LWT: I’m sure our readers will check her out. Is there a stigma that comes along with writing erotica? If so, how do you combat it?

TT: I do sometimes get a little bashful when telling someone what I do because I never know how they’re going to take it. Well, at least in the beginning I did. Now I tell people with more confidence because the moment you say what you do, the majority of people are instantly fascinated, instead of turned off. And if someone does turn up their noses, I don’t really care. Romance and Erotica are the biggest selling genres of all-time according to what I’ve read. So those people can stick a sock in it and secretly go buy the book on their Kindle and shamefully adore it in private, like I’m sure many of them do.

LWT: That’s funny. What advice would you offer someone new to writing in the erotica genre?

TT: My advice is…write like no one is gonna read it. Ha! I just came up with that off the top of my head! You know the saying ‘Dance like no one is watching…’You have to go into it with no fear or you’ll hold back. Trust me, if you’re writing erotica and when you release it and put it in the erotica category where everyone knows what it is, the right audience will pick it up. And the erotica audience are some kinky f*ckers and will probably love what you write, if you write with your heart and no fear. And if you’re still uncomfortable, I know several erotic authors that write under a pen name. I don’t because I don’t feel that my books are that kinky…well, maybe “THR3E” is, but other than that, they’re not. Plus, my head gets all jumbled trying to keep track of social media under my own name. Add double the social media accounts under another name and I’d die!

LWT: That’s great to know. You have inspired me to dabble a little in this area so be on the lookout. Are your book signings handled differently than say a fiction novel? Do you run into fans that are inappropriate?

TT: And as far as book signings go…I haven’t had any yet. I’m still new to this world and still learning. I’ll be attending my first convention in September in New Orleans called Swirling the Big Easy, a convention for readers and authors of IR Romance. So I’ll see how that goes.

LWT: We will have to fix that. The convention sounds interesting though. How do you handle negative feedback from critics and fans?

TT: That’s a tough one. At first, I didn’t take it so well. It was very discouraging. Never enough to stop me, mind you. But it still hurt like a mother. Now I’ve come up with a strategy. I only read the reviews that are 3 stars and above. Why you ask? Because I’ve found that most of the 1 and 2 stars reviews are just mean and hateful, instead of constructive. The 3 star reviews are usually the best for getting honest constructive criticism. That way, I can still learn and grow, without wanting to roll up in a ball and give up.

LWT: Sometimes people can be mean for no reason. Please tell us about your involvement with Indie Books Be Seen?

TT: Another author invited me the event and I thought it was awesome. But I’ve only done the one big day a couple weeks ago. Normally, I basically try to join groups on Facebook and interact with other indie authors to offer support. Though I’m sure there’s a lot more that I could be doing.

LWT: What is your writing process like? Do you have any rituals that you utilize?

TT: I basically just write. And when I get stumped, I write down an outline as a map of what I’d like to happen throughout the rest of the story. I also wake up at 6am every morning because I seem to get my stride in the morning and early afternoon hours.

LWT: Outlines are a great tool to rely on. In your “Damaged Souls” series you utilize a great connection between music and your novel. Please explain this to the readers and tell us how you came up with this idea?

TT: I’ve always felt like I should have theme music or a soundtrack to my life. And once I read a book where the author placed random songs in the footnotes that went with a certain scene. So I decided to take it a step further. Plus, as I was rereading and editing Scarred, I was listening to Calm Water Radio on iHeart Radio and a sad instrumental started playing during a particularly emotional part of the story and I started crying. So I thought it would be perfect to add music to the story, since it heightens emotions. I love movie soundtracks and felt like a book could have one too. So I painstakingly listened to songs I knew and loved to see which ones best fit the feeling of each chapter. It was fun and I loved adding that additional element.

LWT: How do you determine your book prices on Amazon?

TT: Well, most self-publishing advice says that books $2.99 or less do better than pricier ones. As a new author you kind of have to price your books lower until you gain a large readership. And even then I don’t know if I’d jack up the prices that much because I know how much hardcore readers spend each year on books. Though, if I ever signed on with a publishing house that would probably change. So here’s hoping that I can be successful enough on my own to where I don’t need a publishing house.

LWT: Here, here! Please share your top 5 marketing tips with us?

TT: Oh boy, I’m still learning and I still have a LONG way to go. But for now I say…

  1. Join reader/author fan groups in your genre. This is huge!
  2. Find a good Twitter book promoter to tweet out about your books.
  3. TALK TO YOUR READERS!!! They will love you for it and spread the word of how awesome you and your books are. There’s nothing like gaining loyalty.
  4. Utilize Thunderclap and HeadTalker. (I’m not sure how great they work, but they have great potential)
  5. Keep writing. Keep putting stuff out there. The more you write, the more readers have to read, share, and talk about.
  6. Okay, just one more for a bonus. I no longer use Facebook or Twitter ads because unless you have a big budget, I found that they really don’t work. Also, start a blog! Tumblr is pretty popular and it gives readers another chance to see your personality and thoughts on a deeper level than FB or Twitter, while they await your next book.

LWT: Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, how do you use Social Media to engage your fans? Do you find that it builds loyalty?

TT: Dear Lord…YES!!! It’s funny, I have a private personal Facebook page and an Author Fan page, but they still find my personal page and friend request me. So I decided to start accepting them and it was totally worth it. They get to know me as a person and they message me every now and again. And I take time out to chat with them for a little while and I’ve been gaining their loyalty a little at a time. I cannot emphasize enough how important readers are to your success as an author. Unless you’re John Grisham or someone like that, books aren’t really advertised like other products. Books live and die by word of mouth. If you write a decent story and act as a decent person by communicating with the readers that have found and loved your work the word that they’ll spread can change everything!

LWT: Do you have plans to write in any other type of genre?

TT: I actually plan on writing kid’s books or YA at some point. Though I’ll definitely have to use a pen name for that. Hahaha!!! I would also like to write a memoir too. My own version of Eat, Pray, Love but I’ll wait until I can start doing some of the traveling that I have planned in the future.

LWT: I have the travel bug as well. Let us in on what project you are currently working on and what’s coming up next for Twyla Turner?

TT: I want to tell you but its kind of super top secret. I’ll just say that it is a book of short stories. After the depths I needed to go to write the Damaged Souls Series, I needed to step back and do something lighthearted before I dive into another full-length story. I can also say that it will be BBW and it will be a book of several different ethnicities, ALL interracial. Like a United Nations of Erotica. Teehee…

 

There you have it ladies and gents, another edition of Couch Convos in the books. If you have never read erotic romance, I challenge you to give it a try and Twyla’s series would be a great place to start. To purchase her Damaged Souls Series click the book covers below. Be sure to follow her on social media as well.   

Damaged Souls Trilogy

Social Media:

Facebook:  twylaturner11
Twitter:  @TwylaTurner11
Instagram:  @novelswithcurves
Pinterest:  twylite11
Google+:  TwylaTurner
Goodreads:  twylaturner

Couch Convos with Lisa W. Tetting, Featuring Author Lisa Y. Sparrow

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Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting This week author Lisa Y. Sparrow chats about her life dealing with mental illness and how she finds the strength to continue. Her book “His Eye is on the Sparrow gives a detail account of the tragic story of her upbringing and the abuse she suffered along the way. Join us as we welcome this strong survivor.  

 

Part I

 

© Lisa Y. Sparrow used with permission

© Lisa Y. Sparrow used with permission

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos Lisa! Let’s get started. In your book, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” you speak about your life as someone who suffers from mental illness, but you never mention what type plagues you. Can you share your diagnosis with us?

LS: Yes, of course I’ll share my diagnosis! Major depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Paranoia, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and PTSD.

 

LWT: That is a lot to deal with for anyone. Let’s talk about the depression, which comes and goes. Do you have any tale tell signs that an episode is coming on?

LS: Not always. Sometimes, it’s like someone flipped a switch and at others, it’s like a slow build up.

 

LWT: Your friends tell you, your sad eyes give you away. Are they still sad or is there a light there now?

LS: Depends on how you catch me. Listening to music (primarily gospel) helps to lift my spirit/mood because it reminds me that I’m not too horrible for God to love.  

LWT:  That is a good coping mechanism. I use music to uplift me, as well. You have made several suicide attempts. How are you combating the urge to try again?

LS: I pray ALOT and turn to my safety net, as well as my support network

 

LWT:  In your book, you mention you have a daughter and a son. How do they handle your episodes?

LS:  I’ve been like this my whole life, so this is all they know. They take it in stride, but get more afraid of my suicide attempts than anything else.

 

LWT:  Speaking of suicide, Robin Williams’ death affected many people and made an impact on pop culture. Did his suicide affect you in any way?

LS: It took a while for me to understand what had happened because I had had a hysterectomy with complications. But once I was a little more lucid, I was upset.

 

LWT:  On your website, you mention having “Safety Nets” to help you deal. Explain your “Safety Nets” to the readers. What are they and how do they help?

LS: Safety Nets are whatever you like to enjoy doing, that helps get you out of a tailspin and keeps you from further spiraling out of control. Safety Nets are different for everyone. For me, I like to color, so I have my own coloring books, crayons and markers. I’ll get myself a Happy Meal and a big cookie from a local bakery, watch cartoons, just to name a few.

 

LWT: Since you were born, you’ve felt as if you were not wanted or loved by your parents, especially your mom. Have you flat out asked your mom why she never loved you? If so, what did she say? If not, why?

LS: No. There’s really no point. I’ve tried to talk to her about various things over the years and it always ends up my fault.

LWT:  Have you received any backlash from relatives about how they were portrayed in your book?

LS: Surprisingly, no. I rarely go to family events (because I’m not invited) but you can tell that it’s the elephant in the room when I am around them.

LWT: Your brother was the one who encouraged you to get into doing hair for a living. Do you at least have a relationship with him currently?

LS: Sadly, no. I really wish that we did but that isn’t possible.

 

LWT:  I am so sorry to hear that. Are you still into doing hair?

LS: I ’m not actually a cosmetologist, I am a licensed braider. I love doing hair because it’s living art…lol

LWT:  How is your relationship with God these days? Do you still feel He doesn’t know you’re alive?

LS:  I know now that He knows that I am alive, but I struggle with faith at times because He has allowed so many bad things to happen. I am like a weary traveler seeking rest and peace.

LWT:  I believe He can provide that peace for you. Speaking to someone who may think they are mentally ill, what would you suggest their first steps be to recovery?

LS: Get help. Do NOT worry about others have to say because they are not in your shoes and do not know your struggle. If you are in crisis mode, go to the ER or contact your local mental health facility. You can’t always do it on your own.

   

© Lisa Y. Sparrow used with permission

© Lisa Y. Sparrow used with permission

 

 

Part II

 

LWT:  Switching gears a little, please tell our readers what it was like when you found out your book was being added to Dr. Cynthia Tyson’s African American Studies curriculum at Ohio State University? Please give us details on what the course entails? 

LS: First, I have known Dr. Cynthia for many years and she is an amazing educator!!! I cried when she told me because I was beyond dumbfounded!! (I’m crying as I type this because she believes in me) According to Dr. Tyson:

“The course was called Epistemologies and Theories in Multicultural and Equity Studies. It is a course in the doctoral program in The College of Education and Human Ecology- Multicultural and Equity Studies program. We looked at the various positions of diversity, race, gender, sexuality, social economic status, etc. I wanted to expand that to look at the ways that challenges of mental health also lead to inequities in society. Your book was just one of many other first person memoirs I used to make sure the voices those who are most impacted by the particular inequity were authentic . The students loved the book and in our discussion they said your voice was authentic and moving. They felt they could no longer ignore the challenge of those who are often ignored due to depression and other challenges of mental health.”

 

LWT:  Wow, that is amazing. How did you organize yourself when writing this book? Did you use an outline or other tools to help?

LS: There was absolutely NO organization to THIS book! Bless my editor / publisher’s heart! I just simply wrote what I felt.

LWT:  That is an unusual way to approach an autobiography. Please, describe your writing process?

LS: I am very specific in how I write, I listen to music, light candles and let it flow. If it gets too emotional, I get up and do something different, then come back to it.

LWT: Did you enlist a professional editor?

LS: My publisher (Cassietta Jefferson), is also my editor.

 

LWT: Since you have a publisher, do you also have an agent or a publicist?

LS:  Unfortunately, I have neither.

 

LWT: I saw you participated in a blog tour recently, what was that experience like?

LS: It was great! There are so many talented women that actually want you to succeed, that it warmed my heart. I am new to this and it hasn’t always been a pleasant experience, but to find those that believe in and support you ~ PRICELESS!!!

LWT: Do you find have an author website helpful? How do you attract people to the site?

LS: I think having an author website is helpful because I typically do not post the same information on my website that I post on my author’s page on Facebook. I post in hundreds of groups and always make sure to include my web address. Plus, I have an absolutely AWESOME web designer (JoAnn Bishop) that helps get me out there too!

LWT:  It is great to surround yourself with good people. What types of groups do you suggest for indie authors to join in order to network?

LS: Because I am an unknown, I have joined any and all groups on Facebook that I can get my grubby paws on. There are also hundreds websites that are dedicated to Indie authors, do your homework to find out what best fits your needs and genre.

 

LWT:  What advice would you give to new authors who may be apprehensive about public events?

LS:  To me, it is imperative to do public events because people like to meet authors, get autographed copies and take pictures in some cases. It’s nice to meet the person behind the name and to see if they are as nice as you think they are.

 

LWT:  Do you have plans for more books? If so what type?

LS: Oh yes!!! Another autobiography but this time, it deals with two attempted murders and domestic violence, love, homelessness and having the faith of a mustard seed. That will drop in February 2016. I have been asked to write and erotic romance and I am outlining a murder mystery. I am also open to ideas and trying new things. After book 2 drops in February 2016, I will focus on getting my son through the rest of his senior year and across the stage. I love writing because it is very cathartic for me.

 

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, another Couch Convos in the books. To find out more about this amazing lady, please connect with her via the social media links listed below. If you would like to purchase her book, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” please click the picture below to be taken to Amazon. Thanks for joining us and stay tuned for the next edition of Couch Convos with Lisa W. Tetting.

 

Author Website – hiseyeisonthesparrow.com

Facebook – hiseyesonthesparrow

Twitter – @LisaSparrow41

Google + – Lisa Y Sparrow 

 His Eye is on the Sparrow

 

Couch Convos with Lisa W. Tetting – Author Kirsten Campbell

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Part I

Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. This week’s guest is Author Kirsten Campbell who is here to chat about her novel, Blood Master. Are we ready? Let’s begin…

LWT: Welcome Kirsten, let’s get started. What prompted you to write an Urban Paranormal Fantasy novel?

KC:  I have always loved Fantasy novels, and I write Urban Paranormal because I associate with that genre. I read Science Fiction/ Fantasy religiously as a child and once I got older, I got into Urban Fantasy and all types of supernatural fantasy which then led to my love of Urban Paranormal. That in turn led to me to creating and finally writing about the Brotherhood, a place of heroes, a place in the future where African Americans have gathered and come to powerful positions, and most have prospered to the point of making a difference against the evils of the dystopian society of 2052. Don’t get me wrong. The Brotherhood does have other ethnicities within, but African-Americans are the majority within its walls. I have four very beautiful children and lots of beautiful grandchildren and like most I wanted to leave a legacy for my little family, a legacy they could be proud of.  As a matter of fact,Tassta is patterned after my youngest daughter, Brittany.

 LWT: That’s a very interesting perspective. Why did you base your book, Blood Master in Atlanta? 

KC: I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for twenty years. I went to school in Ellenwood, got married in Decatur, and had my children at Grady Hospital. I worked in Fulton County and Dekalb County and have lots of family from my husband’s side, and lots of friends that I visit every year in Atlanta. I absolutely love Georgia and will retire there in the future. Hence, when I decided to write, I swore that I would honor the good ole ATL by making it the main location for my books!

 LWT: I lived in The A for several years so I am familiar with those places. In your book you use Atlanta’s famed Underground as a place of refuge for abandoned children. Explain the correlation between your past history and the need to protect children?

© Kirsten Campbell and her grandchildren used with permission

© Kirsten Campbell and her grandchildren used with permission

KC: My father was Jamaican and my mother German. I was abandoned by both parents at the age of six, and left to be brought up by my Jamaican grandmother, in a horrific world of abuse. When I grew to womanhood, I took it upon myself to protect my children and grandchildren. I wrote books about a hero that would go out of his way to protect the innocent and find a home for the lost, abandoned children of society.

 LWT: That sounds like a great reason to champion for children. Speaking of the hero of your book, what is the reason for making Griffin an albino?

KC: When I came up with the idea for the G.O.D.s Series, I knew that I wanted an unusual protagonist. I also read up on cloning and genetic manipulation and lots of scientific theories. I believe Griffin says it best when he said, “Years ago scientists used white mice for experiments. The Guild Faction used albinos. I guess I’m the white mouse that got away…”

 LWT: Please explain what G.O.D. stands for and its significance?

KC: G.O.D.s stands for Genetically-enhanced Omni Dimensionals. Basically G.O.D.s are beings that have the ability to manipulate/ change or control objects within different dimensions. Most G.O.D.s have inter-dimensional doors in the bodies, their chest area.

LWT: One of the main characters, Tassta is a strong female character who is trying to do what the men in the book are doing. She is told by her brother early on that she should stay home like the other women and be a home maker. Why is it in 2052 the men in the book are chauvinists?

KC: First, let me say that all the men in the book are not chauvinists. LOL… You have to remember that Earth lost two thirds of the human population. It’s 2052 and this dystopian society has lost two thirds of the women of child bearing years. That’s a lot of valuable women, to say the least. Tassta Vinetti is almost a resource at the Brotherhood Fortress. She’s educated and she’s a lab assistant and library assistant and she knows how to handle herself in a fight. She’s also eighteen and in 2052 that means she’s of childbearing age. Her twin brother, Penn, is actually looking out for her-in a cave man, male chauvinistic kind of way. LOL. Hey, if you read the book you will see that he’s the comic relief in the book, a real sweet knucklehead that most people love. On the other end of the spectrum is Lerin Sanctobous, her uncle. He loves Tassta and wants her to become a Guardian, while secretly hoping that other women at the fortress will follow suit. Now, let’s remember that in any society there are factions of people that have their own beliefs and within the male faction, I believe, there will always be men who have chauvinistic views of the roles females play in society. Just saying…

LWT: Well, that clears that up. Your second book in the series will be out shortly, give us a little taste of what it entails?

KC: The second book of The G.O.D.s Series is titled, Blood Rage, and it’s a monster! LOL. Griffin has transformed into a G.O.D. and he is now a Blood Master. The Throng, the demons within the Dimension of Blood, are constantly trying to leave the inter-dimensional doors within his chest and he must learn to control them and the rage he feels when they are present. He must also learn to control his unbelievable powers. Tassta needs his undying love and devotion and the Brotherhood needs him more than ever. In Blood Rage, the Trips, the most lethal Agents of the Guild, turn up on the Brotherhood’s door step. They want to take the children of the Underground so they can beef up their numbers. Can Griffin be the man that Tassta needs him to be? Can he save the children and the residents of the Brotherhood from the Guild Faction and the Trips? Will he learn to control the abilities or will they control him? Only time will tell…

LWT: That sounds amazing. Some of your short stories and poems have been published. How did it feel when the first one was published? What was the experience like?

KC: That was a long time ago… It was 1996. I was elated, as anyone would be and that’s when I decided I would pursue a writing career.

LWT: Other than short stories and poems, do you write any other genres?

KC: Yes, I co-authored a non-fiction short story in an anthology that is being published in September 2015 called “Chocolate & Diamonds for a Woman’s Soul”.

 LWT: We’ll have to keep an eye out for that. Since your book is post- apocalyptic I am curious, if you were stuck on a desert island or an abandoned city for that matter, what 3 books would you want with you?

KC: Don’t judge… I would love to have George Lucas-Star Wars Trilogy/ 720 pgs, Anne Rice-Vampire Chronicles/1280 pgs, and last but not least, Frank Herbert-Dune Messiah.

 LWT: No judgement on my blog, ever! Name 3 writers that have influenced you the most?

KC: Nikki Giovanni, George Lucas, Anne Rice.

          Part II

 

LWT: What does your writing process look like?

KC: I write by hand, type, edit, read, edit and then give to beta

© Kirsten Campbell used with permission

© Kirsten Campbell used with permission

readers and then get back manuscript, look at questions. Make edits and then give to my editor.

LWT: Wow, that sounds like a long process, how long does it normally take for you to complete a book?

KC: There is no set time. It is finished when it feels right.

 LWT: You mentioned the use of beta readers. Please give some tips on finding quality beta readers?

KC: I always look for intelligent devil’s advocates; 2 females and 2 males. They don’t necessarily have to be friends, and I prefer people that are very opinionated. They always question things that I would never think of.

 LWT: Some writers try to edit their own work. Why do you believe in using a professional editor?

KC: Unless you’re a Harvard English professor, you definitely need an editor. There’s no way to know every detail of the laws of grammar and dialogue. Also, it’s great to get an editor’s eyes on your manuscript. They catch things you would never catch and a good editor can clean up mistakes and make you aware when you have redundancies in your manuscript.

 LWT: For Blood Master I noticed you wrote two versions, one for adults and one for young adults. What was the reasoning behind that? And was it difficult?

KC: I wrote the adult version of Blood Master figuring that I could easily create a young adult version from the original manuscript. I really wanted my grandchildren to read the series. The books are long but they love to read just like me. It wasn’t that difficult to change from adult to young adult. I just took out the heavy duty kisses and most of the curse words.

LWT: Why did you decide to have a separate website for this series?

KC: The G.O.D.s Series is such a huge series that it kind of took on a life of its own. Each book is at least 400 pages and there are four books that I have written, so far. I knew I needed a place to put the blog for G.O.D.s, the music I wrote, the character studies, the schematics, and everything else involved with G.O.D.s.  Check out kcampbell-gods.com and you will see what I mean. There’s even a Donation Page – every 3 months I donate to NoKidHungry.com. My other site, kirstencampbellbooks.com has my other books that will be available shortly on Amazon. I have a young adult Paranormal Fantasy book of short stories, “Darkness Calls”, a book of published poetry, “Perfect Chaos” and the previously mentioned “Chocolate & Diamonds for a Woman’s Soul”.

LWT: There is a trend with indie writers making their own book covers. Do you design your own book covers or do you use a graphic designer?

KC:  I use a graphic designer. You have to remember that your book is the first impression of you that a reader sees, and first impressions do count. Believe me, you can judge a book by its cover.

LWT:  I have never understood that saying because I always judge a book by it’s cover. You had a blog tour at the end of last year. Did you find it successful in helping to sell books? Would you do it again?

KC: Blog Tours definitely help to get your book out there. I am going to do a few more tours this year for Blood Master adult and young adult and for my new short story book, “Darkness Calls”.

 LWT: What are your most successful methods of building your readership?

KC:  Blog tours, Good Reads and using advice from Trainingauthors.com. They have lots of helpful hints about getting your readership up to par!

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, another Couch Convos on the shelf. To purchase Kirsten’s fascinating book, Blood Master, click the book cover below:

Blood Master cover

Feel free to contact her on the web at the following links:

G.O.D. Series Website – kcampbell-gods.com

Author Website – kirstencampbellbooks.com

Facebook Blood Master

Good Reads Kirsten Campbell