Archive for January, 2014

Matthew’s Interview with Margaret Prezioso-Frye

 

Please welcome MARGARET PREZIOSO-FRYE author of AN APARTMENT IN MADRID, and A NOTEBOOK OF STORIES

 

image001annotatedBookCoverPreview.do

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

I’m an author and publisher of two books, “An Apartment In Madrid” and “A Notebook Of Stories”, have another in the works and outlines for a few children’s books. I’m also a TEFL instructor, have lived in a few other countries besides the US, substitute teach at the local school district, and act as the granny-nanny for my grandson while I keep on writing. I love walking, cooking, reading, traveling, teaching, learning, language, movies, vampires, mummies, zombies, other assorted creatures of the night, science fiction, romance, action, adventure, classics, Latin, Bushmills, cabernet sauvignon, soave, D’Abruzzo, ouzo, sambuca, the ocean and tanning.

 

What genre(s) do you write in?

I’ve been told my writing is a combination of literary fiction, poetry and memoir. I’ve been listed under Philosophy, Social Psychology, Poetry and Biography.

What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

The feedback I’ve received from readers of excerpts from my books, readers of my books and blogs that I maintain reiterates I draw people in. They feel they are there with me as I write and tell the story. I hope that connection continues to define me within my genre.

 

Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

I am an Indie Author, self-published.

 

How many revisions do you make to something before it sees the light of day?

Who counts edits? As for revision, I was advised by an online publisher to revise “An Apartment In Madrid” which had been published with a previous ISBN, so they could assign their own and be able to offer me more distribution venues including availability in libraries. I’ve added / changed book covers for both volumes, so now “An Apartment In Madrid” is published under three covers, its original e-version, then two others I designed. “A Notebook Of Stories” has two covers, its original and one I designed. Sometimes a publisher provides cover designs but they can’t be used with a different publisher because of copyright laws. Independent publishing is a learning experience.

 

Who or what inspires you to write?

My family, people I see, events that happen, something I’ve read, something I’ve lived – in a nutshell life in general.

 

Do you have a set of writing goals that you try to accomplish each day?

Yes. I try to write something every day to share in my blogs. I try to add to my book that’s under construction. I monitor my blogs and make it a point to respond every day.

Do you outline your stories or are you a non-outline person?

As of yet I haven’t made a formal outline. For “A Notebook Of Stories” I began writing in a notebook by hand that I would go back and edit, add-to until I felt I had enough to begin typing. As I organized the chapters I’d decided to blog them for feedback and test my alignment. “A Notebook of Stories” is a compilation of poetry, fiction and memoir, most of which had been blogged under theme headings that I utilized as chapters when I put it together. You could say there was some form of organization involved in deciding heading order and whether or not all pieces under the headings would be included. With the third one I’ve combined characters I’ve created through writing challenges, expanded on them, added plots and utilized other bits of fiction, some that I’ve already written. As I write I jot down notes in a notebook to keep track of where I’m at, what I want to say, what I’d like to include and what I hope the outcome will be. That’s as close as it’s been. I don’t have an idea of length as far as pages, but this one is more complicated and requires more attention.

 

What is one thing about you that you’d like your readers to know?

I can’t say off the top of my head there’s an important fact. I try to give a peek through the “About The Author” included in the books, on the online sites they’re sold, or in an interview. I love building relationships. Like with my students, I leave the door open if there’s something they might like to ask.

 

What are your three favorite books?

Three favorite books, hmm…  The last books I read were the Twilight Saga, I’ve loved Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches and Vampire Chronicles. Right now I dusted off her copy of Blood and Gold that I hadn’t gotten around to reading. I do love classics though, Socrates et al and just recently reread one of my all time favorites about Goya written by Stephen Marlowe. I can’t decide…

 

Who is your favorite author and why?

I have a list of favorites that run the gamut from fiction to non-fiction to thought to research and study. If I did get into it I might just wind up with a dissertation.

 

What are you currently working on?

Along with this interview, a writing challenge posted by a friend of a friend called “Every Damn Day In December” as a spoof on NaNoWriMo that has just taken place, other thoughts as they come to me and my third book.

 

If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

Socrates which would then put to rest whether or not he really existed.

 

What are you currently reading?

Blood and Gold by Anne Rice, Vampires – Encounters with the Undead by David J Skal, X-treme Latin, Unleash Your Inner Gladiator by Henry Beard, and Velocities by Stephen Dobyns.

 

What makes good writing?

Substance, a good plot, a passionate writer.

 

Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

A big secret? No. I think I’m an open book when it comes to that.

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

Writing keeps me sane, even if I think I have nothing to say I write that and take it from there.

 

If you could be any character in literature whom would you choose to be?

Dr Rowen Mayfair of the Mayfair Witches. She’s a brilliant neurosurgeon and instinctive healer with that something special besides her something special.

 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

No, books haven’t changed my life but have become part of my life.

 

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?

Full Moon

 

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

There haven’t been obstacles. It’s all practice, learning, and perseverance.

 

What do you like best/least about writing?

There’s no best or least for me. I love writing.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Never give up. Try your hand at multiple genres. You might surprise yourself.

 

 

Please share your social media links with us:

http://preziosofrye.wordpress.com/

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/margaret-frye/1a/683/642

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20884038-margaret-prezioso-frye

http://www.flickr.com/photos/maggiestuff/

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/MyasWrites

https://twitter.com/maggiamo

http://margaretmpfrye.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/preziosofrye

https://www.facebook.com/ANotebookOfStories

https://www.rebelmouse.com/maggiamo/

https://www.rebelmouse.com/ANotebookofStories/

http://notebookofstories.blogspot.com/

http://notebookofstories.com/

 

For the most part they interconnect one way or the other.

 

An Apartment Cover1400_2100boldNotebookofstories1400tallAnnotated

 

Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your books, and please keep us posted on the latest developments.

 

 

Here are synopses and excerpts from AN APARTMENT IN MADRID and A NOTEBOOK OF STORIES:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

AN APARTMENT IN MADRID: An Apartment In Madrid covers a 13-month span of life as a teacher living and holding down jobs in Madrid, Spain. It is a from-the-inside-out look and is hair-raising, intriguing, fun and surprisingly non-stop action.

 

Who would have guessed an instructor’s life could be so dramatic? She certainly didn’t.

 

 

EXCERPT:

 

Chapter 9: Beloved as a Flatmate or Roommate Depending on What Country You’re From

 

I found out from a British colleague that flatmate and roommate hold two different meanings. For Americans, roommate simply means the person you share your apartment or dorm with so in American English, roommate would be equivalent to flatmate. For everyone else in the world, roommate means someone you share your bedroom with and implies something more intimate. So, if you go on a game show and are asked this question and win a bi-zillion dollars because you were the only one who knew the answer, you’re welcome.

 

One of my goals with the move was to be able to retrieve some things I’d left in Italy at a friend’s apartment. Now that I was in a situation that was long term, I planned a holiday to Italia. One of the good things about many European countries is the holy day, whether it be a saint’s day or another noteable celebration they’re always combined with the weekend making a surplus of days off. They have a knack for that balance of work and life plus practical thinking.

______________________________________

 

Synopsis:

 

A NOTEBOOK OF STORIES: A Notebook Of Stories is a collection of poetry, literary fiction and memoir. Whatever your fancy, there’s something there for everyone. If you are reading “An Apartment In Madrid”, the Afterword is an actual skeleton, the outline of what Apartment In Madrid was built on.

 

EXCERPTS:

 

 Thor Could Be a Really Fun Boyfriend

 

…The long, very well toned arms she’d seen were attached to something else, or rather, someone else. Raising her eyes, her stupor began to clear with the realization they belonged to her neighbor, the very man she’d arranged her lunch schedule around to watch work out in the company gym through the picture window facing her office. Adolescent glee shot through every crevice of her body as she instantly, silently ordained it might just take her a while to get back on her feet; in fact, how long could be negotiable or better yet, it wouldn’t be. “Could life get much better than this?” sent a thrill through every single facet of her being as he offered to help her get cleaned up and take her to the E.R. if she needed it. He wrapped her arm around his neck as he put his around her back, lifting her up for support, which couldn’t stop her knees from buckling not so much from the fall but from the sheer pleasure of his touch, his smell, being glued against the side of his body, his everything. He didn’t stumble as she shakily hobbled around her house to the front door, which luckily had been left unlocked. “Look, I hope you don’t mind, but…” and he gallantly swept her into his arms carrying her through the front door. Her inner Psyche smiled large as she thought, “Now it’s going to get good.”

 

 

EXCERPT: Snake In A Lawn Chair Tanning In The Sun

 

     Have You Ever Seen This One? But, it really happened on a day in the sun.

 

A perfect sultry day

For a sultry woman

In her sultry way

 

Two chairs in the yard

“On this one I’ll stay”

Laying oils and a book underneath

Eyes closed as she breathed summer heat

 

He fell from above her dangling low from the tree

Curled right up and erect in a hiss

She opened her eyes and said, “What is this

This is no way to lay in the sun and you’re ruining my tan number one!” …

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

13 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 31, 2014 at 10:49 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: ,

A Word on Process

Index Cards

 

I am interested in the different approaches different writers take to their work. Some make extensive outlines before they write, while others are more seat-of-their-pants types. Some do extensive character work prior to writing, while others let their characters develop over the course of the first and subsequent drafts.

I want to raise the issue of writing process and share a little bit about mine. I am a former academic, a political scientist by training, and so academic, non-fiction writing is almost second nature. What I didn’t realize when I started writing fiction is that writing fiction and writing non-fiction are two very different animals. Seldom do you worry about things like character arcs, plot points, and dénouements when writing academically (though in creative non-fiction such things can be just as important). Yes, the two are very different. I spent a lot of time unlearning the academic stiffness and the formal way of writing characteristic of journal articles and academic books.

But, and this is what I really want to share, I’ve been careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are skills I picked up in academia that I seek to carry over into my writing of fiction. The primary one is that ole’ r-word: research. It took me a long time to realize that detail and accuracy is not only important in writing effective fiction, but often depends on it.

When I was in college, friends joked about how I was a flash-card nerd. I always wrote things down on index cards and studied that way, usually to good effect. Only relatively recently I discovered that index cards can be just as useful, if not more so, in writing fiction. Now I do extensive research on my novels before writing a word—thrillers often lend themselves well to the outline approach. And let me just say that I have never used index cards to the extent I do now. I take all kinds of notes on possible plot points, important topics, and ideas for future novels. I rely on these notes when developing the story and writing the first few drafts.

In addition to the index cards relevant to a particular book, I keep another constantly running collection that I add to while reading. When I come across a particularly apt phrase, a simile, metaphor, or word that strikes me, I write it down on an index card. I have categories like overall physical description, eyes, furnishings, gestures, dialogue, and vocabulary.

The point is that good research skills can be applied to writing fiction just as much as non-fiction. I wanted to bring that to people’s attention because it took me a while to figure out. If I can save anyone some time on developing his or her skills as a writer, then I’m all for it.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

8 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

Categories: Writing   Tags: , , ,

Matthew’s Interview with Sunshine Somerville

Please welcome SUNSHINE SOMERVILLE, author of THE KOTA: BOOK 1 

 

Author Pic

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

I’m from Michigan and grew up on a hunting preserve that my family owns, later moving to Grand Rapids, which has a thriving little art community I really enjoy.  Currently, I’m working on THE EBIONITE AND HER EARTHLING: BOOK 2 in THE KOTA SERIES, and I recently released BOOK 1, THE KOTA, back in September.   I originally wrote the whole series ten years ago, so I want to redo the whole series now that I’m better at this and have had more time to think some things through.

 

 

What genre(s) do you write in?

Dark Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy

 

 

What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

You don’t see a lot of Christian Sci-Fi like mine.  Oftentimes stories even remotely in that genre will lean more on allegory and use of the paranormal, but I tried to do something really different with The Kota Series.  I approached everything from the viewpoint of what faith-based mysteries/miracles/supernatural phenomenon might look like in a scientific setting.  The whole “battle between good and evil” thing can be predictable, but I tried to use a literal, scientific way for how that might all play out.  My series is also different in that it’s really dark, and unless you know there’s a Christian influence there, you might not see it.  I try not to bash religion into the reader’s head, and I take a more general, philosophical approach.

 

 

How many revisions do you make to something before it sees the light of day?

I always like seeing how authors answer this question!  For me, I’ve been working on these books since I was nine years old, so it’s kind of hard to say.  This time around, I definitely tackled the whole thing and typed it all out before I let myself tinker.  Then I went through and tweaked and added to the story.  Now I’m in the process of going through and editing to make sure the story makes sense, and I’m cutting down anything that just doesn’t need to be there.  Then, I’ll go through again and edit from a technical standpoint.  Finally, I like to give it a good week where I don’t touch it, and then I read through it again while simultaneously having someone else read it to see if it’s enjoyable from a reader’s standpoint.  All that has become my process, I guess.

 

 

Do you have a set of writing goals that you try to accomplish each day?

I really don’t.  That’s just not how I work.  If I try to force myself, my heart isn’t really in it and it just ends up being crap I’m going to delete later.  I’m definitely a writer who goes in spurts, banging everything out when the creative juices start flowing.  And, oddly, my peak creative hours seem to be between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., so that’s weird.

 

 

Do you outline your stories or are you a non-outline person?

I definitely like to know where the entire plot is going, so I do sketch out a kind of timeline to make sure I hit key points.  Then I like filling in parts of the story as I go, almost never in any particular order.  I always keep a pad of paper nearby to make myself remember things, but it’s more like a bunch of thought bubbles than anything coherently resembling an outline.

 

 

What are you currently reading?

I gave myself the New Year’s resolution this year to reread my Top 25 Favorite Books list to see if they’re still as important to me as they were when I first read them.  Currently, I’m in DUNE by Frank Herbert.  Along with the Top 25 goal, I’m also reading a lot of other self-published authors, and I’m writing reviews for as many as I can.  Currently, I’m reading THE HAND THAT FEEDS by Michael Garza.

 

 

What makes good writing?

My friend circle is mostly composed of English Literature degree-wielding book nerds, so we discuss this a lot.  For me, there has to be a mix of well-crafted writing skills combined with good storytelling.   If the technical aspects are well done but the story is awful, I don’t think that’s good writing.  If the story is creative and interesting and fresh but the writing itself is poorly executed, that’s not good writing.  And I don’t like when writers make you FEEL their writing.  If you’re trying to show off how beautifully you can put together a sentence, oftentimes that distracts me from what you’re actually saying.  I think the best writing is when you’re communicating naturally, clearly, and from your unique, personal perspective.

 

 

Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

It’s been interesting, now that Book 1 is out, to start getting reviews.  Fortunately, for the most part people seem to be understanding what I’m trying to do.  Since I never want to be heavy-handed with the religious stuff, it’s nice to see that readers are picking up on the deeper, more philosophical side of the story that I tried to lace underneath all the big action/adventure stuff.  While the series is a lot of fun and shows interesting new worlds, there’s always supposed to be a sense that there’s a bigger purpose at work.  That, I think, is the biggest thing I hope people get out of the whole mythology I created – to always look for meaning underneath the surface of things.

 

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

A lot of non-writers probably don’t understand how much of an issue this is (haha). When I’m in “the zone,” I tend to forget about the outside world because my head is always, always working in that space of whatever world I’m working on.  I forget to eat.  I go for long periods of hibernation without seeing other people (it doesn’t help that I work from home and so I’m alone all day to begin with).  When I start to go a little nuts with myself, I definitely have to get out and be with people, completely disconnect from my writing for a while, and make my head leave it at my desk.  Writing time-outs are absolutely necessary for me, and I’m usually better when I come back to it because I’ve had time to reset and get a fresh perspective.

 

 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD by Orson Scott Card is the first book I remember reading and thinking, “Wow, I want to do that.”  It’s still my favorite book because it has this rich, interesting philosophical/religious element tied into all the sci-fi, alien stuff going on.  The idea of not being able to hate someone once you really understand them is fascinating to me (although I find it interesting Card can’t seem to follow his own philosophy in real life), and that book definitely gave me the courage to not make my series blatantly Christian – the Kota faith basically boils down to “Love people, trust in a higher purpose, don’t be an A-hole.”  The book helped aim my storytelling in a direction where I create complicated, flawed characters.  And the twist in the basic story of the book is amazing.

 

 

Please share your social media links with us:

www.sunshinesomerville.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kota-Series/423480655920

https://twitter.com/kynacoba

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/905284.Sunshine_Somerville

 

Thank you, Summer, for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your books, and please keep us posted on the latest developments.

 

Author Pic (1)

 

Here is a synopsis of THE KOTA: BOOK 1, and the Prologue:

 

Kota Cover Front

 

 

Synopsis:

The future is an ugly place, but we are not left without hope. Still, what is society supposed to make of ancient prophecies, Warrior children, swirling Signals, time-traveling Bearers, and an inescapable Virus? For Trok, these Kota prophecies mean little until the day comes when he is called to be the Marked children’s guardian. With Trok’s guidance, these four children must answer destiny’s call to fight the Dominion, an evil tyranny controlling the virus. Watching through time, Trok sees the bigger purpose behind all that happens, but how everything comes together surprises even him.

 

 

Prologue:

Why does anything happen the way it does? Because a grand purpose works in everything. Unfortunately, mankind ceased long ago to trust a grand purpose. In trust’s place we wanted control.

As I look back on our past achievements, I wonder why we did it to ourselves. I wonder why the bloodshed, the destruction, or the terror of war had to be. Perhaps the most troubling fact I see is that there is no single point in time that can be scrutinized and blamed. Our fate built upon itself throughout our entire race’s existence, and each generation’s bite of the forbidden fruit brought us closer to hell on earth. Throughout time, we strove to know too much and then to abuse what we learned. We refused to be what we were meant to be, and we tried to control our destinies by taking each moment into our own hands. The whole of our history seems to be filled with more pain than was needed, but, as a species, we fought what was meant for us and decided for ourselves how life should be. We did not appreciate that we were part of a bigger plan. We tried to control life.

On the fortunate side of things, we were never abandoned. An age once existed when miracles flowed freely to guide us, but in these latter days the miracles diminished as man grew bolder in his rebellion. Through it all the grand purpose kept ticking, and the miraculous was never taken away, only hidden. We thought we were on our own, but we never were. We were given hints and helps, but it was largely up to our finite minds as to how we interpreted their meaning. The grand design always allowed our choices of will to play a part in the workings of fate. That is the greatest blessing of the grand purpose – we are never left without a choice. Just as we are given the freedom to choose evil, so we are given the freedom to choose good. Free will can bring us to dust as a species, but it can also bring us to redemption. We are given the power to change mankind’s daily fate for better or for worse, and we are never abandoned in this choice.

Despite the miracles offered to generation after generation, mankind still chose to live as we saw fit and ignore anything outside ourselves. Think back. The conduct of Cain and Abel was not a one-time occurrence, nor was that of Romulus and Remus or the Karamazov brothers. Two brothers formed into different races so that, in the end, the races didn’t even remember they were of the same blood. Each man ran to his own corner of existence, forming his own world and calling all others alien. We repeatedly abused every gift given to us and yet scorned those who came before us for doing the same.

Mankind as a whole chose to continue down this road of self-destruction and ignore – no, worse than that – defy faith in anything beyond our control. I accept as true, also, that somewhere in the back of our minds we never really believed we would get what we deserved. But, we have always created our own destruction. However stupid we were, free will was always given. Even as our world crumbled under our pounding fists, man still had the twisted right to destroy himself. So, we were at last allowed to take life from ourselves.

I myself am not immune to man’s pride, but I have been blessed with objective hindsight in ways you cannot yet imagine. This is why I am recording this history: I know that, however far we have fallen from what we were meant to be, there is always a grand purpose behind everything, and it works for our benefit if we follow its path. Specifically, this record will highlight the story of some who accepted and followed what the rest of mankind cast aside. These flawed heroes were given a choice, and the grand purpose worked itself out through them in miraculous ways. So, I hope to give you a glimpse of how and why this particular history of these particular heroes played out as it did – there was more to what happened than what was in their hands. Learn from their lives. Above all, remember not to control life. Trust, and let whatever happens happen.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

5 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 24, 2014 at 8:17 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: ,

Social Media: How Much is too Much?

 

cartoon--nerd-with-a-laptop_21-95687938Hi, my name is Matthew, and I’m a social media addict.

I’m not sure if what I just said is true, but I thought I’d give it a try, to see if it has a ring of authenticity.

As every author knows, building a social media presence is a critical step in marketing your book and yourself. Today, every author—no matter if he or she has signed with a publisher—must stay active online to reach and to stay in touch with readers. The list is a familiar one—Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, a personal website, LinkedIn, Google+, About Me, Instagram, Pinterest—always growing, and increasingly impossible to keep up with.

The question that arises is how much social media is a good thing and how much social media is simply too much?

I am a first-time author and have two books coming out later this year. As such, it behooves me to craft and foster a social media image, one that is courteous and professional, interesting, and personal enough to be meaningful. Consequently, I have spent the last few months promoting myself, the thought of which I initially found as appealing as rat stew, but necessary nonetheless.

Confession: When I first started this blog, I said that technology was really THE problem today, that it was self-serving and catered to the penchant for instant gratification, that it substituted artificial, virtual friendships for long-lasting and genuine ones, that it distracted people from implementing the fundamental change necessary to address the major social issues of today. Consequently, I abhorred the idea of setting up a website, developing a Facebook and Twitter account and all of the other online activity deemed so important by everyone on the planet.

But here’s the thing: a few months into it and… I…am…loving it!

I have connected with so many interesting people that I literally can’t count them all (though my Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as Google analytics can ;-). I’ve “met” people from all walks of life and from many different continents. Some of these people have become almost a part of my daily routine, and I honestly would miss them if they were no longer in my life.

Now, the issue I am confronted with, as I said, is how much is too much? I have to say that I spend at least 2- 4 hours a day on social media, checking accounts, adding to them, corresponding with others, etc. Sometimes I find myself in a perpetual loop: I check all my accounts, then go back to the first account I checked and start all over again. Now, my only job is writing, but I have a life (or least I like deluding myself into thinking I have one), just as much as the next person–complete with girlfriend, two cats, and household duties.

I am interested in finding out your social media habit, especially the amount of time a day you spend online. And I pose the question to you: how much is too much?

I’m starting to wonder if I need to take all the coping skills I use to stay away from alcohol and apply them to the Internet.

I look forward to hearing from you.

And now I must check my accounts!

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

7 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 22, 2014 at 8:59 am

Categories: General Thoughts   Tags: , , ,

Matthew’s Interview with Kimberley Clark

Please welcome Kimberley Clark, author of The Species Within (Battles in the Dark #1)

IMG_5712-Edit

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

Hello Lovelies! I’m Kimberley from the Land Down Under! I personally feel it’s hard to write about yourself with so few words, but let’s give it a go…I’m an avid reader (though not recently because writing takes up my time), movie/series buff (especially sci-fi, action, horror, fantasy), Krav Maga enthusiast (I like punching and kicking people in the places that don’t shine when I have a bad day), animal lover (I want to hug and squeeze them), pysch degree holder (I learnt about crazy people), food eater (don’t look at my plate, get your own food!), and I’m a firm believer in the bucket list (I like that doing a tick feeling)! Oh I write stuff too! Phew…I hope that gives you some indication of who or what I am. Did I just say “what”? Weirdo!

Currently I’m promoting my debut novel The Species Within (Battles in the Dark #1) an erotic urban fantasy.

 

What genre(s) do you write in?

Urban Fantasy

 

Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

Self-published

 

How many revisions do you make to something before it sees the light of day?

Too many! Even when it sees the light of day I want to revise it again. I think it’s a never ending process, especially as you evolve as a writer and become more attuned to your gift, you see how what you have written in the past could sound better.

 

Who or what inspires you to write?

To be able to get out into the world a story I want to be told. Every story is unique and there’s nothing like creating something and having others see what goes through your mind.

 

Do you have a set of writing goals that you try to accomplish each day?

At the moment I’m trying to write 2000 words a day minimum so I can get this second book out as soon as possible so everyone can find out what happens after my first book (had a bit of a cliff hanger). But in general, I think if you want to write you should try and do it every day, even if it’s just a paragraph.

 

Do you outline your stories or are you a non-outline person?

Definitely not an outline person. In general, I know where I have to go and I just write and see how I get there.

 

What is one thing about you that you’d like your readers to know?

I have many more story ideas up in my noggin that are yet to be told, beyond this trilogy that I’m currently writing. I want to delve into a little sci-fi, more paranormal/urban fantasy, maybe even try a little romance or horror. Who can say what the next one will be?

 

Who is your favorite author and why?

Gena Showalter. She has created some great series that I love to read, including Lords of the Underworld, and the Atlantis series. I enjoy them for their fantasy/paranormal themes that are targeted at an adult audience (I love a good erotic love story).

 

What are you currently working on?

The sequel to The Species Within, called The Ultimate Killer. It’s Book 2 of the Battles in the Dark trilogy.

 

If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

Angelina Jolie. I think she is a unique and very interesting individual, oh and let’s not forget beautiful. A conversation with her would be quite the experience because of all the things she has done and accomplished in her life, every part of which she is so passionate about.

 

What are you currently reading?

Through the Zombieglass by Gena Showalter

 

What makes good writing?

Good writing is when you are able to create a world that a reader gets so engrossed in that they not only can’t put the book down, but they feel like they are right there with the characters in their journey.

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

I make sure I spend time doing two things I enjoy…watching my favourite shows and doing Krav Maga. Doing Krav is not only important from a fitness perspective, because it is crucial to get some fitness in when you’re a writer, but it’s also a time for me to get out of the house and interact with other people.

  

If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

There’s no particular character, but any strong female character is who I would choose in any instance.

 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

Stephen King’s On Writing. Reading his book helped me when it came to writing my first novel, not only with the amount of tips he gives, but from motivating me to actually do it in the first place and write scenes that I saw could be potentially uncomfortable to write, i.e. graphic sex scenes.

 

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?

The Diary of a Psychic’s Daughter!

 

Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?

My social life. When you write, you lose touch with everything beyond your little world. Writing takes time and a lot of mental energy, and if you’re setting yourself goals as well as dealing with your everyday chores/commitments, then hanging out with friends  or just going out is the last thing you have time for. It can suck in that instance.

 

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

Editing issues. Sometimes it’s best to stick with your gut on something and leave things how they were instead of taking the advice of a professional. This is not always the case, but if you aren’t sure, always ask someone else’s opinion on the matter.

Luckily I haven’t had problems with writer’s block yet, because I learnt early that if you can’t find the words to write on one thing, write what you can, even if it’s far off in the story, because at least you’re writing something. The other tip is to work on a completely different book altogether. Either way…keep writing!

As a first time author, realizing there is so much more involved than just writing a book, especially if you self-publish. If you have never entered the author world before then the amount you have to learn to promote your little treasure you have created can be quite daunting.

 

 

Please share your social media links with us:

 

Website: www.kimberleyclarknovels.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kimberleyclarknovels

Twitter: @Kim_L_Clark

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7376208.Kimberley_Clark

 

Thank you so much, Kimberley, for sharing your time. I wish you all the best with your book, and please keep us posted on the latest developments.

Here is a summary and excerpt from The Species Within (Battles in the Dark #1). Click on the link at the bottom to read the rest of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2!

The Species Within Front

 

Summary:

Kira, a huntress plagued by dreams of fire and pain has worked tirelessly to rid her city of the scourge that has nearly destroyed it…nostvores, mythlend creatures with dark and vast appetites for blood and sex. She does this not only because they had killed so many people in her life, but also because she has an edge that no other human had…she has their abilities. The problem was, these abilities were killing her and she feared time was no longer on her side.

So the moment she found out that Darius, a nostvore leader was threatening to awaken an indestructible species to help him enslave all humans and mythlends, and that she may be the key to his plan, she knew her only choice was to risk her life with the little time that she had left and join her enemy to find out why, and to make sure his plan failed.

If that wasn’t dangerous enough, the more time she spends with the Vanatre nostvore Emmerich, and the mooran Kuron, who she brings with her for protection, the less she wants to kill them. Instead, she feels an unexplainable attraction towards them both, and she fears surrendering to such desire with either is a deadly game to play, for she would not only be risking her life, but quite possibly her heart.

 

Excerpt:

Kira could feel it coming like a dog could sense a stranger too close to its territory. It was not just that she could smell it or hear it…it was more complicated than that. She could feel it in her body; how it moved; its way of thinking; hiding in the shadows and stalking her quietly while looking and waiting impatiently for the right opportunity to attack its soon-to-be next victim.

She was part of its mind. The hunger it felt for the warm, delicious blood that pumped through her veins she felt as her own hunger. She could hear her own heart thumping through its ears. ‘Bah boom, bah boom, bah boom,’ a beacon for those who craved the flesh. Sexy

She could also sense the curiosity it had, that she was different somehow. Yes, she was human, but she smelt different to all other humans. This made it even more determined to prey upon her, to capture her and satisfy its curiosity and hunger.

Usually, tracking her down and smelling her scent was next to impossible, it was something she could turn on and off at will. In this very instance though, she wanted it to find her.

That it was a nostvore, one of the many species of mythlend or supernatural creatures that existed within the city. It was a being that lived off the blood of humans and was cursed to stalk the night, the sunlight weakening them to the point that they were just as helpless as humans. It was also the bane of her existence…the cause of not only the majority of deaths within the city, but those who had been closest to her. Thus, she felt great pleasure every time she was able to hunt down and plunge her weapon into their decaying hearts.

What she also found satisfaction in was how surprised they were when she killed them. She was a human, something they regarded as weak and pathetic, and above all…their food source. But she wasn’t like any other human. She was different…different to the point that like many of the mythlends, she had their speed, strength, healing abilities and other traits that had helped her in her endeavours.

She had never discovered how she came by these abilities. All she knew was that her blood showed evidence of including two species of mythlend DNA, and instead of those genes lying dormant as they did in all other humans, hers had activated. What made things more complicated was that one of those species that happened to flow through her blood was none other than the DNA of a nostvore, the creature that she currently hunted.

It made her cringe and feel disgusted every time she thought about being connected to something so vile. But in the end it didn’t matter, because having those abilities also helped her kill them without it being too much of a struggle.

She stumbled as she walked down a side alley, the perfect picture of a woman who had had too much to drink after a night out. She sold the ploy by pretending she was having a great deal of trouble walking in a straight line, emphasized by looks of confusion as if she didn’t know which direction home was located.

She had chosen a club downtown called the Devil’s Gate as the first place to sweep for nostvores. It was in one of those very dangerous areas of the city where a sensible person wouldn’t walk alone at night, let alone at any other time of the day. That was one of the reasons it was a regular hotspot for all types of mythlends to frequent, and her first choice as a hunting ground. It was a place where mythlends could not only mingle with humans who had a similar deviant and sadistic disposition to their own, but it also gave them the opportunity to fulfill their needs without being exposed.

It was definitely a place where a predator could easily find its prey, and Kira had already sensed the one who was hunting her before she had even entered the club. But she also knew it wasn’t going to risk entering…flashes of blood, the tearing of flesh and the screams of its victims entering her head. Its mind was animalistic, far from abiding by the laws of rationale. It would therefore not blend well into a human crowd.

By that fact alone she knew it was a newly-turned fanger and a killer in training for the Mavator clan rather than the Vanatre. The Vanatre encompassed primarily ancient nostvores who rarely allowed humans to be turned, and they also tended to stay more isolated, never really showing themselves in public unless in battle with enemies trying to take over their territory or any nostvore breaking their laws, which the Mavator clan did regularly.

Now knowing what she was dealing with, she knew what to do almost immediately to get the fanger’s attention.

 

Click here to read more!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

13 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: ,

A Word on Anti-Depressants

2210841I’m always happy to talk with someone who has different beliefs than me. I mean, really, if we simply talk to people we agree with, what’s the point? I don’t think we grow that way.

I had a very nice discussion with a friend the other day via Facebook about depression and how to treat it. She observed that sometimes people self-medicate and treat their depression with alcohol and/or other drugs. She included “happy pills” or anti-depressants in the same group as other drugs.

This raised a question for me. Is the use of anti-depressants synonymous with the use of alcohol or other drugs in treating depression? As someone who is dual-diagnosed and prescribed anti-depressants, I certainly hope the answer is no.  I believe that the use of anti-depressants, especially in conjunction with other methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, differs significantly from using other drugs to self-medicate.

My friend said she had been depressed but had forced herself to go to the gym. She said she was able to work her way out of her depression. She also asked if food could affect depression and I said I believed so. I think if you are malnourished your chances of suffering from depression are higher than on a healthy diet. And certain foods, such as fish and popcorn, are said to combat depression.

But still the question remained in my mind, and I think hers as well. Is everyone capable of getting themselves out a depressive state by natural methods, especially without the use of prescription drugs?

I would have to say that depression varies from individual to individual. And certainly, it seems the case that anti-depressants are too often prescribed; they are used as a first line of treatment when other things might be tried initially (e.g., exercise, regulating sleep cycles, eating healthier, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.). But then I thought of how brain chemistry works and thought how it must be the case that some people are simply born with chemical imbalances that exacerbate an underlying propensity toward depression.

When I think back on some of my depressive periods, I remember there being no way I could come out of the house or get out of bed or into the shower or go to school or work.

So what do you think? Are anti-depressants simply another quick fix method of combatting depression, or do some people really need medication to augment their brain functioning? What do you think? Please let me know.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

5 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

Categories: Mental Health   Tags: ,

Finding Your Niche…Sort Of

My writers’ workshop began last night, led by Joyce Allen, an excellent writer, teacher, and woman I hold dear. There are five of us, altogether. I submitted a rough draft of a short story I wrote last November.  Now, I should say from the start that I’m a novelist first, and a short story writer a very distant second.  Therefore, it shouldn’t have come as a shock when Joyce said that my short story was a really good start for…you guessed it, a novel.

colorful-books-black-background-vectors_275-6577

On the other side of the spectrum is a young woman whose passion lies in the short, short form of fiction, or flash fiction. She admitted that anything longer than 750 words is a bit of a stretch. Now, this young woman is a fabulous writer, and I hope to learn a good deal from her about the form. But the interesting thing I thought about was that it is really important for us to find our niche as writers, and that one size definitely does not fit all.

Maybe because I’m a recovering alcoholic, but I often think of the different forms of fiction as equivalent to different types of drinks. A novel is like a nice glass of wine or a good beer, it unfolds slowly, over time, and it over takes several pages (drinks) to get the full effect. Short stories are like mixed drinks. You don’t have as many pages (drinks) to imbibe before you start feeling the effects—its potency is more concentrated. Each sentence adds to your literary buzz faster than does the lines in a novel. Finally, short, short fiction and poetry are like shots of straight liquor. Not a word is wasted, and there is a high concentration of meaning in a very small space.

I really think one of the most important jobs for us as writers is finding out where our strengths lie. Just as there are people with a proclivity to beer or wine, so there are those with a tendency to write novels. And while some people enjoy mixed-drinks, others like to pound shots.

Now I don’t think I’ll ever excel at the short form, (though I did enjoy doing shots for years) and I’m not sure I should spend much time trying to do so. However, and this is a big however, I think it is extremely important that we read in all fiction forms and even try our hand occasionally at a form we are less comfortable with. This is because it stretches us as writers. Novelists can learn a lot from poets, and vice-versa.  In fact, I think every novelist should make reading poetry a part of her daily routine. Developing a skill in a particular form is crucial if ever you want to market your writing, but rounding out the differences by reading various forms of fiction is a crucial way of finding your niche and also sharpening your capabilities within it.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

6 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 9, 2014 at 9:59 am

Categories: Writing   Tags: ,

Matthew’s Interview with Julie Davis

Please welcome Julie Davis, author of the forthcoming novel Down East Girl

Julie

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

I am currently cleaning up last minute edits on “Down East Girl,” part I of a family saga set off the coast of North Carolina.  It will be published as an e-book sometime in the summer of 2014.

 

What genre(s) do you write in? 

Fantasy, young adult, and historical.

 

Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

MuseItUp publishing out of Toronto, Canada.

 

How many revisions do you make to something before it sees the light of day?

At least three.

 

Who or what inspires you to write?

Sometimes I am inspired by something I read, but I often feel that the characters choose me.  I feel them talking to me when I am taking a shower or driving.  I realize that makes me sound schizophrenic, but that’s the way it is.

 

Do you outline your stories or are you a non-outline person?

I have a general outline but I often find that the story goes in a different direction than I intended.  I go with the flow, because if I try to bend it to my will I get stuck.

 

What is one thing about you that you’d like your readers to know? 

My guilty pleasures include reading People Magazine and advice columns.

 

What are your three favorite books?

Only three?  Okay:  To Kill a Mockingbird, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and The Fault in Our Stars.

 

What are you currently working on? 

When I am not tweaking my novel, I am working on a YA novel about a girl who must go and live with her estranged father after her mother dies.

 

If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

Jesus

 

What are you currently reading?

Just finished Eleanor and Park, a YA novel about two geeky teens who detest each other, but eventually connect through music and comic books.  It is funny, realistic, and bittersweet.

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

I keep in touch with my other friends who are writers and belong to a writer’s group.  When I feel stuck, I use writing prompts, or take a walk, or watch TV.  Yes, I am a horrible TV/movie addict.

 

If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

Elizabeth Bennett or Scout Finch.

 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

Reynolds Price’s A Whole New Life, which he wrote about his battle with cancer.  It helped me through a very bad period in my life while I was recovering from surgery.

 

What do you like best/least about writing?

Least:  getting started.  Best:  When I get in “the zone,” and feel as if I am a conduit for the story that wants to be told.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 

When you get a rejection or read something that you feel is so much better than anything you could ever write, it is okay to feel discouraged, or even to take a break from writing for a while.  But just remember that your goal is to be the best writer that you can be.  And never never never never give up.

 

Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing your time with us.

 

Pirate sexy

 

 

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

3 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

Categories: Uncategorized   Tags:

The New Year

 

Happy 2014!2014-New-Year-Calendar-Illustration-Vector_thumb

 

There are a couple of things I’d like to share.

 

First, my New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Stay sober
  2. Treat all those around me with love, respect, and kindness
  3. Develop and follow a realistic exercise program
  4. Focus on the quality of my writing, as opposed to the quantity
  5. Read more poetry
  6. Focus on the positive
  7. Stop whining
  8. Think of what I can do for people as opposed to what they can do for me
  9. Get a physical
  10. Drink less espresso

Now, I’d like to hear some of yours.

Second, beginning next week, I am going to make author interviews a regular feature of this blog. My goal is to bring a host of excellent new writers to your attention. If you would like to be interviewed, please send me an e-mail at matthewpetersbooks@gmail.com. Selections will be made primarily on the most subjective of all criteria: how much I like your writing project. Could anything be less fair? Probably. Take the publishing process for instance….

I look forward to hearing from you.

I wish you peace, happiness, and success this year.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - January 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Categories: General Thoughts, Writing   Tags: , ,

Subscribe to my newsletter

* indicates required