Category Archives: Author Friends

Interview With Shona Husk

Author Spotlight: Shona Husk

1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?

I’ve been writing (as an adult) for 13 years. I wrote as a child, but stopped in high school to concentrate on my studies. I’ve been published for seven years. I write romance, mostly paranormal but with a little sci-fi and fantasy and contemporary for variety. I like to try out new things and the different genres let me do that.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?

The very first one I wrote (that lives in the back of a cupboard) was a tale of forbidden love with a vampire hero. It was actually more of an urban fantasy than a romance. I can’t remember where the idea for that story came from. The first book that was published was An Elemental Tail and that came from a dream where I was handed a very old book made out of mermaid skin.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere! I read nonfiction and fiction. I love books about lost or ancient civilizations. Fragments of ideas will tumble around for ages before clumping together into something that can be turned into a story. Sometimes the point of inspiration is clear, other times it’s an assortment of what ifs.

4. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?

I write while the kids are at school, and while I have a desk I move around. Over Christmas I did some of my best writing on the sofa in the shadow of the Christmas tree. I read something about runners getting better times when surrounded by nature, so maybe I type faster when near a tree?

5. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?

Staying published. This business can be very hard. Signing one contract is no guarantee of getting another.

6. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.

The Shadowlands. It was my first novel and print series and that really helped me get my name out there.

7. Do you have a favorite author?

I have lots of favorite authors. I’m loving Marie Brennan’s Memoires of Lady Trent series (regencyesque fantasy), Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Katie McGarry’s Thunder Road series and Deborah Blakes Baba Yaga/Rider series.

8. Do you have any advice for other authors?

Read in the genre you want to write in and read widely. Also just keep going. What’s hot now will change in six to twelve months. You just have to keep writing.

9. Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?

I have just branched out under another pen name as I wanted to start writing urban fantasy. I didn’t want to use the same name as Shona Husk writes romance and there is a guaranteed HEA at the end, with urban fantasy it will take a few books and I didn’t want to break that promise to my romance readers.

10. Describe your latest WIP
Lady of Silver is paranormal romance, with a dose of suspense. There’s an evil vampire, a human cop who discovers there’s more to the world than he ever thought possible and a woman who is part of a dying race of magic users. It’s the first book in the series and while they stand alone there is an overarching plot. I like my series to have an end, and a common thread.

11. How can readers reach you?

I’m on twitter and facebook and goodreads, or they can subscribe to my newsletter if they just want to keep up with my new releases.

SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands, Blood and Silver, and the Face the Music series. You can find out more information about Shona at www.shonahusk.com or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Author Spotlight -Let’s Get To Know Veronica Scott

Thank you for having me as your guest – I’m honored to be here today.

Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?

I write science fiction romance primarily, although I also have a series of paranormal romances set in ancient Egypt and have begun a fantasy series. I’ve always been a writer, going back to my first completed book at the age of seven, which featured princesses, cats and flying horses, and had a riverboat captain as the hero/love interest. I still have that one (self-illustrated too!) but have no plans to release it LOL.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I’m going to assume we’re talking about my first published book, as you can see from the above answer that I’ve written literally my entire life. The fundamental answer is that I never can find enough books that I want to read, so I write them. Priestess of the Nile was my first published book, from Carina Press in 2012, and I was inspired by my love of ancient Egypt, my fascination with the paranormal element of shifters – I viewed the Crocodile God, who is the hero, as being a shifter – and the fact that Carina had put out a call for ancient world romances. A few months later I self-published my first science fiction romance, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which is loosely inspired by the Titanic sinking, but set in the far future, aboard an interstellar luxury liner. I’ve always been fascinated by anything to do with the Titanic and thought the situation made for an intriguing springboard to an action-packed scifi story with romantic elements.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anything and everything can become the germ of a story idea. My most recent book Danger in the Stars, was inspired by the idea of a kidnapped alien priestess who also happens to be a super empath, held by an interstellar crime syndicate and forced to do their bidding. The original concept was for my novella Star Cruise: Stowaway in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology (story now available separately). After I finished writing that story, I still had more adventures to tell, and so I wrote Danger in the Stars, which features the sister of the heroine in Stowaway. The other element of Danger which fascinated me was who could my heroine Miriell trust? Who would be her hero and love interest in a situation like that? How would they ever get free of the mob?

Where/When do you do the most of your writing?

I’m a fulltime author now, which is wonderful and I’m so appreciative of the readers who’ve bought my books and made this possible! I write in the living room, at my great grandmother’s desk, on my laptop, closely supervised by my two cats. I’m most creative in the morning so I try to get one solid writing stint in every morning before diving into the promo and social media work that an independent author needs to do these days. Although don’t let me kid you – I love being on Facebook and Twitter and talking to people so much that it can really eat up a lot of the day for me if I let it! I usually get in another hour or two of writing in the evenings, but not always.

What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?

Raising my two daughters as a single Mom after their Dad was killed in a bicycle accident when they were only 3 and 5. I’m very proud of my daughters, who are now college graduates and mothers themselves. After that, I’m proud that I got my first book published and that I’ve been able to leave the day job and become a fulltime author. Which required me to write quite a few books of course – no overnight success here. And in the old day job at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory I received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for certain business process improvements and let me tell you, I’m very proud of that.

What series/book did you write that has the biggest following? 

I think because it has the most books released (eleven to date), my Sectors SciFi Romance series has the biggest following. It’s a connected series, all in the same interstellar civilization, and most of the books are standalone. I have written a few direct sequels, however. I have a page on my website that explains my thoughts on reading order but usually it’s fine to read the books in any order.

Who has influenced your writing the most?

Andre Norton. As a kid, I loved her tales of interstellar adventure but I definitely felt there needed to be ROMANCE. At the time she wrote, that wasn’t the way the genre went of course. Anne McCaffrey, with her ability to create worlds like Pern, with the dragon riders. Movies like “Aliens”, with a strong heroine like Ripley, and an equally strong hero like Corporal Hicks, and the way they work together, depend on each other and respect each other. I add a lot more romance and less gore and ick factor.

Do you have a favorite author?

Of course Susan is a must buy for me! Add Nalini Singh, Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews. Anna Hackett and Michelle Diener are two SFR authors also high on my list.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Write something every day and don’t self-edit too much on the first draft. There is no perfect on a first draft and if you self-edit too much, you can paralyze yourself. Get the words down and then you can go back and improve and expand. Try not to compare your books, your sales, your readership or anything else to any other author. Yes, we can all learn from each other, but direct comparisons can be daunting and discouraging if you let them. We’re all on our own path. There’s no one right way to go about this business of being an author. Understand it is a business, especially if you self-publish, which I do.

Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?

Scifi romance will always be my first love, but I enjoy taking side trips to ancient Egypt and I’m really excited about the world I created for my fantasy series. I wish there was more time or that I was one of those people who could work on one novel in the morning and another novel in the afternoon. I’m so eager to tell ALL the stories, you know? But my Muse believes in writing one book at a time.

Describe your latest WIP.

Two Against the Stars is the third story in my ‘kidnapped alien empathic priestess’ set of plots. The heroine Charalle escapes the mob on her own through a fluke at the beginning of the book and then makes the difficult decision to put her safety in jeopardy to rescue a Special Forces soldier. The two of them are on the run trying to avoid the crime syndicate enforcers and find a way to save themselves, bring down the bad guys and reach that Happy Ever After ending.

How can readers reach you?

Blog  https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthor
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VeronicaScottAuthor/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5428500.Veronica_ScottAmazon Author Page  https://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92Newsletter : http://wordpress.us7.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=2a337b96e2ee1ee1250004b9d&id=7462393c9e

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Interview With Jessica E. Subject

Author Spotlight: Jessica E. Subject

1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
Thank you so much to S.E. Smith for inviting me to meet your newsletter readers! I write sci-fi romance as well as other romance stories under the name Jessica E. Subject. I live in a small city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, and enjoy going to fitness class and walking my Great Pyranees/Retriever when I’m not reading, writing, or spending time with my family. I started writing when I was in grade eight, but not for publication until eight years ago, when I was on maternity leave with my son.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book in grade eight was an assignment for an educational enrichment program. Many years later, the first book I wrote for publication was inspired by a dream I had to get onto paper.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from everything around me. It could be a conversation with a friend, an overheard conversation, a news story, something I read on the internet, a song, a dream, or a random thought that simply popped into my mind.

4. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
Most of my writing occurs in the afternoon, after lunch and before I have to pick up my children from school. The where varies depending on what season it is, and any other possible distractions. I’m more likely to be in my office in the summer, as it’s cooler in that room, or sitting on the love seat in the winter with my computer on my lap. Sometimes you can even catch me writing in a notebook in my vehicle while I’m waiting for my kids.

5. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment changes every time I try something new. When I first started writing, it was simply being published. Then it was writing a series and finishing it. In November 2016, I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time. While I didn’t meet the 50,000 word goal, I wrote over 40,000 words, which is a record for me. I finished one story, and started another. Next year, I hope to try it again, and beat my record.

6. Who has influenced your writing the most?
Every author I have read has influenced my writing, regardless of what genre they write. I quickly learn what I like, and what I don’t like. Two of my high school English teachers (Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Faulds) have also influenced my writing.

7. Do you have a favorite author?
I find it so hard to choose just one author, as I have read books from so many fabulous authors in my life. So, I’m just going to share some of the authors whose books are on my immediate to-read pile: Deborah Cooke, Cara Bristol, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa West, Anna Hackett, Melissa Landers, Veronica Scott, Kimberly Derting, and of course, S.E. Smith.

8. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find it hard to leave the worlds I write in when I have to stop and join the real world again. I get so lost in them, the characters, and their emotions, that it takes me a few minutes to reacquaint myself with the world around me.

9. Do you have any advice for other authors?
Write what you love, and always be willing to learn something new, whether in technique, or industry related.

10. Describe your latest WIP
I have two works in progress waiting for my attention. One is a new adult interracial romance that occurs during a zombie apocalypse. It was a story that imbedded itself in my mind, and wouldn’t let go until I had it written down. The second is JAGER, the second book in my Galactic Defenders sci-fi adventure romance series. Both stories are written, but need to go through revisions and edits.

11. How can readers reach you?
I love to hear from readers! You can reach me by email: jess@jessicasubject.com and at any of the following places:

Website – http://jessicasubject.com
Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/eX1Zw
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jsubject
Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-E-Subject-author/205759796126370
Facebook Reader Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/175887792592903/
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/jessicasubject/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jessicaesubject/
Amazon Author Page – http://amazon.com/author/jessicasubject
Goodreads Page – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4959083.Jessica_E_Subject
Authorgraph – http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/jsubject

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Interview With Pauline Baird Jones

Author Spotlight with Pauline Baird Jones

Thank you so much for spotlighting me today!

Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
My dad used to tell about a neighbor who got married when he was fourteen. He’d say, “I’ve been married as long as I can recollect.”

While I haven’t been writing quite that long, it often feels like I’ve been writing longer than I can recollect (at least some days).

But you asked about me. Let’s see, the most interesting thing about me (IMHO) is that I was born the same year as Godzilla. He doesn’t find that as cool as I do, but still, only all the other people born that year can say the same thing. But no one else.

“Officially” I tell people that I’ve published eighteen (or possibly nineteen – I’m not great with numbers) novels.

I like to wander among the genres, but they all have:
1. Peril
2. Romance
3. A sense of humor (at least MY sense of humor)

What inspired you to write your first book?
Okay, this is a bit embarrassing. I was watching the FIRST Gulf War, way back in the early 90’s when we were all still impressed by smart bombs and the novelty of watching our first, televised war. It’s hard to explain what it was like back then. That’s all anyone talked about, and we were all armchair generals with our favorite “SCUD stud,” (go on, Google that).

And I went, “What if… and wow, wouldn’t it be interesting if…”

And Pig in a Park (now called The Spy Who Kissed Me), exploded inside my head. I wrote feverishly for two months and at the end, has this monster manuscript that not only made agents and editors both want—and reject it because it was written in the forbidden first person.

I was told it would never get published, but it did, in 1998. It won some fun kudos, despite its “sins,” including a Dorothy Parker Award. And I still get fan mail (and requests for sequel).

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration, like lightning, strikes when and where it will. When it hits, ideas explode inside my head, but they are…shy. They have to be lured into becoming a full-fledged novel. So I don’t make eye contact with them until they start kicking me in the mental shins.

Idea lightning has struck me in my dreams, while watching movies, reading books, from news stories, while trying not to have ideas (such as when I’m writing another book), pretty much anytime, anywhere.

What I find interesting is that I can be watching a show or movie, and I’ll get struck with an idea that has no relation at all to what I’m watching. I think…it’s an emotion that triggers it, maybe. But I don’t really know. It’s pretty messy inside my head.

Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
I do my writing *thinking* everywhere (which can sometimes be embarrassing when I lose touch with the real world), but I do the bulk of putting words on paper at my desk. I have tried writing in coffee shops and such, and I will when needs must, but I prefer the quiet of my office. Yes, I am hermit.

What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
I am most proud of my wonderful children. That they have grown up to be such amazing adults, makes me beam with pride. And I’m thrilled to be a grandma! If you stop by my blog, you’ll find out that my #GrandmaProject takes almost as much time as being an author. Lol

As an author, I’m most proud of taking control of my publishing myself. And the fact that I haven’t given up. LOL

What series/book did you write that has the biggest following?
I actually have two series that are neck-and-neck for most sales. Lonesome Lawmen is a romantic suspense series that I wrote after I finished Pig in a Park. And my science fiction romance Project Enterprise series, well, I wrote that against the advice of one of my two agents. Books in both series won me some cool awards, but it does make it hard to figure out which direction to focus. haha

Who has influenced your writing the most?
There are several authors I discovered as I was growing up, but probably the one who influenced me the most was Mary Stewart. From her I learned about creating great characters and how to ramp up the action to a big finish. I still love her books and reread them when I need a comfort read.

Do you have a favorite author?
I could never pick just one! So I will say, in addition to Mary Stewart, an early favorite was Elizabeth Cadell (her estate is finally in process of releasing her books into digital!) and a new favorite (besides the amazing S.E. Smith – that goes without saying, right?) is Veronica Scott. She writes the kind of high octane adventure romance I like to read.

Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Starting. Getting through the middle. Finishing. Finding readers…other than that, writing is easy.

Are the experiences of your characters based on any of your own or people that you know?

In Pig in a Park aka The Spy Who Kissed Me, there is a spit rainbow kiss that comes from someone’s experience, but I promised I’d never tell. lol

Do you have any advice for other authors?
Oh dear, I always have advice, but I never know if it’s good advice. I had such a quirky publishing adventure, more off-road than on, so I always tell authors to dream big, and never let anyone tell you how to navigate this crazy business IF it feels wrong to you. Follow your heart, follow your gut, follow your dreams.

Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?
I would like to be amazingly famous. LOL Seriously, because I am independently published, I am free to follow my muse in weird and wonderful directions.

Describe your latest WIP
I did mention that I’m torn in two directions right? So I’m currently working on two books, one a romantic mystery in my Big Uneasy series and the other a science fiction romance that is a reboot of my Project Enterprise series. Both of them are baby ideas, but I will say, I’m loving finding out what is happening in both of them (and getting a twitch in one eye because of them).

Pauline, you recently joined with me and seven other authors to release the Pets in Space anthology. This was such a fun project and I couldn’t not ask you a couple of questions about pets and space travel.

Describe your relationship with your pets? Who is the boss? Is there a pet you wished you had but didn’t?
Basically, my relationship with my pets has always been: they are in charge. I’ve spent most of my life beneath the cat’s paw. But…for my submission, I have received great snuggles and much comfort during hard times.

I will admit I never thought I’d be tempted by anything but a cat/kitten, but I fear to make eye contact with puppies and…when I did the research for the bearded dragon in Pets in Space…I wish I’d had one when we lived in bug-infested New Orleans. LOL

If you were to go into space which pet (past/future) would you take with you?
I would definitely take the bearded dragon with me into space. None of the cats that ever owned me would GO into space with me. And if they did, they would make me pay for it. Oh, the power of the annoyed pet Look.

You can download Pets in Space here: 
Amazon
iBooks
B&N
Kobo
Google Play
ARe

How can readers reach you?
Website: http://www.paulinebjones.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPaulineBairdJones
Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulinebjones
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/247227.Pauline_Baird_Jones
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/pauline-baird-jones

Thanks again for spotlighting me. I had a lot of fun answering the questions.

Perilously yours,
Pauline

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Interview With PJ Ochlan

Author Spotlight with PJ Ochlan

PJ is the narrator for Ha’ven’s Song: Curizan Warrior Book 1

To listen to a sample click here: Ha’ven’s Song: Curizan Warrior Book 1

P.J. Ochlan is an Audie-nominated and multiple Earphones Award- winning narrator of over 200 audiobooks. His acting career spans more than 30 years and has also included Broadway, the NY Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp, critically acclaimed feature films and television series regular roles. Along the way he’s worked with countless icons including Jodie Foster, Clint Eastwood, Robin Williams, Al Pacino and Garry Marshall.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I’ve been an actor for over 30 years and that’s always included a fair amount of voiceover work. But even though I’d been interested in the idea of audiobook narration for a long time, I didn’t get into it until about 5 years ago. A lot of my work has always included character voices and accents, so a gig like narration where you get to play the entire cast seemed like a great fit. I was doing a Shakespeare production in L.A. and a castmate who was a narrator agreed it would be right up my alley, so she introduced me to a leading audiobook producer who came to see the show. I played multiple characters in the play, and at one point I spoke seven different languages in rapid fire – so that made an impression. I later auditioned for the producer, and now, 200+ audiobooks later, I guess you can say the rest is history 🙂 I’m often asked what audiobooks mean to me. I’ve had a lot of “big breaks” in my career that each could have easily become the one that changed everything, but nevertheless had me hitting the pavement afterward hustling for the next one. It wasn’t until audiobook narration that I got to be a working actor pretty much every day that I want to be. That means everything.

I love YA, fantasy/sci-fi, thrillers, and obviously romance 😉 But I’d say even more important than genre for me is perspective. I’m partial to first-person narratives or third-person with clear character POVs (as with Ha’ven’s Song). I use those opportunities to really connect with the characters and bring their personalities and emotional states to the narrative and not just the dialogue. That way, even a third-person narrative doesn’t feel like some separate entity that’s somehow detached from the story. As I’ve grown as a narrator, I’ve found this helps to create a much more immersive listening experience.

As with any acting job, I try to tap into who the characters are as people. While I specialize in character voices and accents, I look at those as technical flourishes that help to enhance a character, but shouldn’t dictate or define him/her. Even when I teach those skills I make clear that rooting characters in reality as actual human beings and not caricatures trumps what tricks we use to make them sound different. Of course this is easier said than done. It’s something I remind myself of constantly and try to improve with every book I narrate.

The professional standard has been what we call “two to one,” meaning it typically takes two hours to complete one “finished hour” of audio. So a 10-hour book takes about 20 hours in the booth to record. But that’s now considered fast as the industry has moved toward narrators self-directing and self-engineering (even for many of the top publishers). That also doesn’t include pre-production book prep or post-production such as proofing, editing and mastering, which can all add up to several more hours per finished hour. As for equipment, I have a professional recording booth in my home office along with software, a high-quality microphone and other hardware odds and ends.

I’m fortunate to have a lot of vocal endurance, which is key for this particular island on planet voiceover. I don’t have any vocal health rituals per se, but I think a life of on-the-job training in multiple acting disciplines has definitely helped. And it’s not just my voice, but my stomach I have to take care of too. I watch what and how much I eat so I don’t end up with constant annoying rumbles in the booth.

Ok, some factoids… I live with my author wife, our three rescue dogs and two cats up in the Santa Monica Mountains in L.A.; I used to be a sommelier and run a winery with vineyards in Napa and New Zealand; I speak five languages including Mandarin; I sit in a box all day getting paid to tell stories.

Be my friend at facebook.com/pjochlan, @pjochlan on the bird thing, and see my snazzy pix including the weekly #WellyWednesday shot of my dog Wellington on Instagram @pjochlan.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail