Interview With Lazarus Barnhill, Author of PASTOR LARSEN AND THE RAT

Pastor Larsen and the RatWelcome, Lazarus Barnhill. Congratulations on the publication of your new book! What is Pastor Larsen and the Rat about?

Reverend Martin Luther Larsen — highly regarded, completely ethical, genuine and sincere —has dedicated his life to the pastorate. Now, in the face of the drudgery, church politics and frustration that are the usual professional hazards of the ministry, a dangerous and intriguing complication has slipped into his life: Ange. No one in Larsen’s close knit congregations knew of the existence of this woman, the daughter of a parishioner who appeared just in time for her mother’s funeral. For Larsen, Ange is more than mysterious. She is alluring, wise and astonishingly intuitive. . . . And then there is the issue of the large rat that seems to be taunting the members of his church.

That rat. Such an interesting part of the story. So mysterious! But that’s only one of the mysterious aspects of the book.

Underlying the story are multiple mysteries that get solved and secrets that get revealed. Most church-goers have little conception of the attitudes, aspirations and frustrations of the ministry. The more readers assume what they read in Pastor Larsen and the Rat  is totally unlike their congregation and sect, the more likely the story is a perfect mirror of their religious world. Then there is the mystery of mistress: who is Ange; why does she go out of her way to seduce Larsen; will she destroy him either intentionally or accidentally — how could it be otherwise? Finally there is the rat. Is his annoying, persistent presence some sort of sacred portent or is he just a varmint on the loose?

What made you write this particular story?

I actually conceived this book back in the 1980’s when a big rat took up residence in the church I served in Dallas. For weeks we tried everything to kill or capture the rat, without success. Over the years, the story grew, developed and transformed itself until at last it was complete in my mind. Once I started the actual writing process, the novel just wrote itself. Then I let it marinate for another twelve months, periodically re-reading it, until the publisher said, “It’s time!”

Are you worried that people will find Pastor Larsen and the Rat controversial?

To a degree. Some will find it profane. I hope some find it insightful and hopeful. Those familiar with religious bodies — and with the way spirituality operates in human life — will not be able to deny it’s honesty–not the sex part, but the organized religion part, and the divine intervention part. Ultimately I hoped when I wrote it that non-religious people would read it for the naughty romance and gain some insight into how the holy is able to work in our midst despite all that religions do to prevent it; and that religious people would “force themselves” live with the titillation in order at last to read something truthful about their gatherings.

Why do you write fiction? You once were a preacher. Isn’t that a better way of reaching more people?

When you write about a controversial issue, you don’t have to make it the center of your story to express it fully. You just work it in. For instance, when I wrote The Medicine People, I dealt a lot with the quiet underlying bigotry Native Americans and Western European descendants still harbor for one another but never express out loud. And while it was essential to the story, it didn’t overwhelm the novel. Stories have the power to make an issue live in the mind of the reader the way a speech never can.

In Pastor Larsen and the Rat, your religious background plays a big part. Do you believe writing is a divine inspiration?

I believe that whatever force there is out there in creation (call it God, destiny, a Higher Power or whatever you want) actually wants you to write. When you write, you are fulfilling an essential aspect of your truest purpose for existing. What do you think??

I am beginning to believe the meaning of Creation is creation, so by writing — or doing anything creative, even just living creatively — we are participating in Creation.

For  the sake of argument, let’s say the universe wants you (in fact the whole perverse group of us literary creative people) to write. Is there such a thing as praying for help with your writing? What would you pray? “Get me unstuck, O literary angel”? What about this, “Let my writing muse guide me to express my truest self as a writer, and trust the outcome to be in greater hands than mine”?

What if your literary angel has a purpose and story in mind for your writing that is greater than anything you can currently imagine? Of course that implies that being on the NY Times bestseller list may not be the greatest destiny.

You ask good questions, Lazarus. I wish I had the answers, but I do like the idea that our writing has a purpose greater than being on the NY Times bestseller list! Still, I hope one day your books will achieve such stardom.

Thank you, Pat. And thank you for talking with me today.

Thank you, Lazarus, and best of luck with Pastor Larsen and the Rat.

Pastor Larsen and the Rat is available from Indigo Sea Press http://indigoseapress.com
It’s also available from Amazon and is currently $0.99 on Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com/Pastor-Larsen-Rat-Lazarus-Barnhill-ebook/dp/B01GGIKF4A

Click here to read an Excerpt From PASTOR LARSEN AND THE RAT by Lazarus Barnhill

Interview with Rami Ungar, Author of VIDEO RAGE

Video RageCongratulations on the publication of your latest book, Rami. What is Video Rage about?

Video Rage is the sequel to my first novel, Reborn City, and the second book in the Reborn City series, a science fiction trilogy I’ve been writing since high school. The series follows the Hydras, a street gang in the futuristic city-state of Reborn City, a Vegas-like metropolis. The Hydra leaders have strange powers, and the origins of these powers are tied in with the mysterious Parthenon Company that rules Reborn City.

In Video Rage, the Hydras are currently on the run from Parthenon and its cruel CEO, Jason Price. They’ve been branded terrorists and are being hunted across the North American continent. They also have to deal with internal struggles and strife, which leads to some really interesting drama among the characters. It’s a very dark time for the Hydras, and they’ll have to band together if they have any hope of finding a way out of their troubles.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who is your favorite?

My protagonist is Zahara Bakur, a Sunni Muslim teenager from New York who found herself becoming a member of the Hydras by pure random chance. She’s the exact opposite of a gangster: she’s shy, modest, and timid, which makes her reluctant to take part in most of the Hydras’ activities. Despite this, she grows in confidence and courage throughout the books and establishes herself as an essential member of the Hydras, changing them and their outlooks on life as well. I really love her as a character, though I do have to put her through a lot of stress for the sake of story.

My other main character is Rip, a Hydra leader who’s a bit of a parody of the quiet and stern bad boys we see teenagers go crazy for in fiction these days. He’s tough and intense, but he can be too stubborn for his own good sometimes, and he actually has a phobia of talking too much, especially with people he doesn’t know. He has his own growth arc through the trilogy, mainly revolving around letting go of his earlier beliefs about the world and his place in it, as well as learning to open up to others, especially Zahara.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

I think readers will relate to my characters mainly because they may have been in similar situations to the characters. The Hydras have lived through violence and loss for all their lives, and many of them have been under the impression that they’re only meant for violence and loss. Zahara is a Muslim in a world that can be hostile to her faith, and has experienced horrible discrimination. Rip has struggled with drug addiction. They’ve lived hard lives, and even people who haven’t experienced these problems can identify with the characters, and with their hopes that things can change and improve.

What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think that, at its foundation, Reborn City and Video Rage are sci-fi adventure stories. The books are filled with fights with superpowered beings, futuristic technology, gunfights, shadowy government figures. The characters are also lots of fun to get to know, and their journey and struggles are believable and real. I think there’s a lot here that will draw in readers and make you want to find out what happens in the story.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

While I didn’t originally have this in mind when I started writing the trilogy, I think what I want people to come away with is that just because people say you;re good for only one thing or you may believe that about yourself, doesn’t mean it’s true, or that you can’t be something better. The Hydras have erroneous beliefs about themselves, but Zahara challenges those beliefs when she joins their gang. She’s had people think the worst of her for years, but she’s never let those ideas shape who she is, and that’s something to the Hydras. I think that message is going to resonate with a lot of people, and I hope they take it to heart.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Finding the time! I was able to write Reborn City through two years of high school, when my audience was family and friends and teachers, and I didn’t have a deadline or anything to make me write faster. But then I hit college and started to build an audience. And then I started publishing books, and Reborn City proved to be the most popular of my work. And readers wanted a sequel, which is difficult when you have a busy college schedule and a part-time job to do. Somehow though I did it, and I’m finally getting Video Rage out. Here’s hoping the third book doesn’t take as long to get out as the previous two did!

Who designed your cover?

The cover of Reborn City I designed myself on Createspace with a photo I took myself as artwork. I did the same thing with the cover of Video Rage, except I had my friend and fellow novelist Joleene Naylor do the artwork. She did a fantastic job bringing to life one of the scenes from Video Rage. I think I might have her do the final book’s artwork as well.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

I’ve thought a lot about this, but I’ve only been able to match two actors to two characters. Firstly, I would like Tyler Possey from Teen Wolf to play Rip. He looks very close to my vision of the character, and he has the range to play the character. I also would love for Jason Price to be played by Samuel L. Jackson. In fact, I based the character on some of Jackson’s performances. So if either of them somehow find this interview, I hope they would consider helping get this book to the big screen and playing the characters I mentioned!

Have you written any other books?

I’ve published a collection of short stories called The Quiet Game, and a thriller called Snake. I’ve also written two more novels, and I’m compiling another collection of short stories. I’m a busy, busy guy with more stories than I know what to do with it!

What are you working on right now?

I’m going to edit another of my already-completed novels. Then I’m going to probably work on some short stories till November, when I plan to start writing the final book in the trilogy for National Novel Writing Month. With any luck, I’ll have that book out before I’m thirty!

Where can people learn more about your books?

All of my books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo. If anyone reading this decides to read them, I hope you like what you read and that you find a way to tell me if you do. Positive or negative, I love hearing from my readers.

Blog: https://ramiungarthewriter.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RamiUngarWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RamiUngarWriter

See also:
Rami Ungar, Author of “Snake”
Rami Ungar, Author of “Reborn City”
Rami Ungar, Author of “The Quiet Game: Five Tales To Chill Your Bones”

Interview with Cindy Lynch, author of “Bye For Now”

bye-for-nowWhat is your book about?

My first novel entitled Bye For Now is the first installment in a young adult series. The story begins with Callie, the book’s main character, a woman, presently in her midyears. She is our narrator. During a quiet moment of mundane daily activity, as Callie is partially attuned to TV, a real life American tragedy begins to play out on the screen. It’s a traumatic—a horrific—event with unspeakable impacts on the human psyche. To escape the horror on the TV, Callie’s subconscious triggers the narrative and the book’s story commences to unfold, in detail.

Callie’s escape into her subconscious takes her back to her high school years. She’s on summer vacation at her grandparent’s lakeside cottage in northern Vermont, within spitting distance of the Canadian frontier. Life is slow. Life is rich. Pastoral Vermont scenes are carefully crafted with vivid imagery straight out of Callie’s memories of her youth. There’s the first hot flush of young love. There are soul nourishing family scenes of meals and recreational events. Each character is carefully painted in true-to-life brush strokes.

The character descriptions validate the youth Callie has experienced. There is special emphasis on the power of family connection to influence our future life in positive, uplifting ways. Later on, as Callie matures and the tale flows into her college years, troubling events are resolved in ways that hark back to the power and influence of her early family life. As the story proceeds, the pace picks up and the emotions conveyed take a tighter grip on the reader’s attention. Intensity grows as awkward social situations are recalled and irreconcilable adult enigmas are replayed.

How much of you is hidden in the characters in this book?

Much of this book is loosely based on my life growing up and visiting my grandparents in Vermont each summer. The lines blurred with fiction to grow this tail of love and loss.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I have always wanted to write a book about youth and young love. My friend and fellow author, Sharisse Coulter, helped push me in the right direction to get this book started. When the Newtown Massacre took place on that fateful day December 14, 2012 I knew I had to incorparate that into my story. This town was my hometown and it struck a chord deep inside me releasing this tragic tale.

Who is the most unusual character or likeable character?

Aunt Marilyn is the quirkiest in this story. She tends to talk to inanimate objects throughout the tale giving the reader the willies while Maddie gives the reader the laughs. Maddie with her colorful language and Italian phrases will have you laughing out loud.

What challenges did you face writing this book?

I have three very active boys at home ages 17, 14, and 11. Between getting them to their practices, games and music lessons at home it was difficult at time to carve out writing time.

Why would people relate to your characters?

I believe everyone has a story to tell of love and loss. The world was impacted by Sandy Hooks tragic event and I feel everyone can connect on a certain level with these characters that are involved.

What are you working on right now?

Currently I am finishing up some interior design of my second book, Even Willows Weep, the second book in this trilogy. It should be published by the end of May, 2016

How long did it take you to write your book?

This is an unusual answer to this question. Two weeks. Yes, you read that right. My friend, Sharisse, challenged me with writing a book in 14 days. This required writing 5,000 words a day to have a finished product in two weeks with 75,000 words. I had no idea what that entailed until I agreed to do it. What an undertaking, however the words just flowed. I enjoyed every second of it because I was prepared having had this story in my head since I was 14.

What advice do you have for other authors?

I would say just sit down and get started. Just write and let the words flow not worrying about sentence structure or grammar. Then when you edit make sure you find an editor that gets you. I mean really gets you. My editor, Keltin Barney, has been a god-send. He truly understands what I’m saying and where I’m going with my characters and plot.

Who did your designed cover?

I found Ivan Terzic from Czechoslovakia, on a website called 99designs. He was a great find and has produced the cover of my second book as well. I plan to continue working with him on future covers as I have one last book to write in the trilogy. I also have a non fiction book in the works.

Interview with Erik Therme, author of “Mortom”

mortom-coverHow much of yourself is hidden in the characters in Mortom?

As many writers will admit, characters are often only ‘thinly disguised versions of themselves.’ This has never been truer than with Andy Crowl in my debut mystery, Mortom. Many times I would ask myself: What would I think or do in this situation? I’d love to say Andy’s an altruistic hero who saves the day . . . but the truth is that he’s stubborn, selfish, and often crass—all my worst attributes rolled into one. It’s always a risk to have a severely flawed protagonist (as you’re never sure if readers will connect with them), but I think it works for the story.

What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I believe Mortom will appeal to people who enjoy ‘non-traditional’ mysteries. There are no serial killers, no burnt-out cops, and/or retired FBI agents—only a normal, everyday guy, thrown into extraordinary circumstances. And who wouldn’t love to play a ‘real life’ game of follow-the-clues?

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

I tend to be most prolific during late evenings and weekends. If I’m especially inspired, I might try to sneak in some pages during lunch. I absolutely need music when I write, and—depending on the project—it varies from metal to movie soundtracks. I personally don’t shoot for a word count; I only try and write something every day, whether it’s for five hours or five minutes.

What are you working on right now?

I have two teenage daughters, and I wanted to write something they’d enjoy. Resthaven (Spring 2016) is about a group of kids who decide to have a scavenger hunt inside an abandoned retirement home . . . only to discover they’re not the only ones inside, and sometimes there are things far worse to fear than ghosts or monsters.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

I struggle with writing action. One of the golden rules for a writer is show—don’t tell, but every time I put action on the page it feels like forced description. It’s not uncommon for me to spend hours on a single paragraph, trying to get the words just right. At some point you simply have to say ‘enough is enough’ and move on. Otherwise it can drive you insane.

What writer influenced you the most?

I’ve always been drawn to Stephen King. He’s a brilliant storyteller and an incredible curator of characters. Whenever I feel stuck or uninspired, I grab some King from the bookshelf, leaf through a few pages, and I’m off and running again.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

I don’t remember exactly where I heard it, but the best writing advice I’ve received is: “Raise the stakes and continue to build them.” If you don’t put your characters in peril, why should your readers care what happens to them?

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Never give up, and do whatever it takes to get your writing into the world. I would love to say that good writing is the majority of the battle, but it’s not. Timing, circumstance, and luck all play a huge factor. All you can do is believe in yourself and try to make as much luck as you can.

What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

Amazon publishing. With a few clicks you can sell your book with no upfront costs, and—like traditional publishing—you receive royalties. It’s incredibly empowering. The flip side is that the market is saturated with thousands of people doing the same thing, so the competition is huge. The most important thing is to write the best book possible. If you do that, rerik-therme-4-low-reseaders will find it.

Where can people learn more about your books?

I’m active on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and information on upcoming projects can be found at http://www.eriktherme.com. Mortom is available at Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.

Interview with Sharon Bloch, author of “How to be Happy – Rexy The Garden of Thoughts: Learning Positive Thinking”

RexyjpgWho are you?

My name is Sharon Bloch and I am an author of children and parents books from Israel. In the last year I translated my books into English and hope they will be loved also outside of Israel. I was a kindergarden teacher for 25 years and I am a couch for children and youth.

Do you have a goal?

My goal is to teach young people and children about our inner being. I belive children should grow learning about the freedom we have as humans to choose what we think and this way affect our reality. I belive most people have a negative thinking automat that makes our life harder than it should be. My goal is to help children learn those lessons from a young age so the road will be easier than my ownJ

Do you have any special strengths?

My strength is my ability to explain complex issues in a easy and simple way so children can understand. I think another strength I have is my experience in life. Living in different countries and cultures .

Do you have money troubles?

I build my new me and that comes with financial struggle . I used to have a chain of kindergardens that I owned . But 2 years ago I had a very profound personal experience that made me stop and choose again who and what I wish to be. My writing career is the new me I chose.

I was a foster parent for a baby refugee from Africa and after 1.5 years together me and my daughter had to say goodbye to him because his grandmother came to take him back. This was heart breaking for us and it made me stop and reevaluate my life. My children books series was created after this happened.

How do you see yourself?

I see my self as a human woman, I see myself as a mother in all my being. I love being a mother and as a teacher I always felt like a second mother to the children in my class.

I love children I feel free among them, I am free to be myself with them.

I think children are the future and education is the key to make the world a better place. I truly believe teaching children about positive thinking will make a huge difference.

If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

As an Israeli who lives in conflict all my life I would definitely love to make peace between the Israeli nation and the Arab nations. I FEEL THAT FEAR IS ALWAYS A PART OF OUR LIFE HERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IT MAKES ME SAD. My wish is that children from both sides will learn to love each other and be fear free!!!

What is your book about?

My book is about the choice we have as humans to choose what we think. Its about the understanding that our thoughts influence the way we feel and that we should not believe everything we think. We need to practice looking on our thoughts and choose positive thoughts.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

The story about Rexy was in my mind long before I wrote it. I used to tell my daughter when she was young about the “garden of thoughts” we have inside us. I told her many times in many different ways about our privilege to choose what we think. The image of the garden of thoughts was part of me for many years but the story about Rexy the dog came to me when I wanted to write a story about it that anyone can read.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The first version of my book was created while I was jogging one day. I record my self when I have ideas and one day I had the idea of a dog. Few days later I sat and wrote the whole story in one hour. Few month after that I started working on it with my editor and that made me think again about the massage the story bring to children.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

The challenges I had were in believing in myself , my massage and my books and it is still a challenge especially financially.

I wrote the first book but I knew from the beginning that it will be the first of few books that will teach the massage I wish to deliver. I did not have the money to make the books and it was an inner straggle.

What do you wear when you write?

This part of why I love writingJ I can wear my comfy home cloth . I can drink my coffee and take my notes to the beach and write.

Where can people learn more about your books?

In Israel I have my own site with all the information about me , my work , my books and my beliefs . In English I start my way now. My books are on Amazon and there is my author page in Amazon too.

How to be Happy-Rexy The Garden of Thoughts: Learning Positive Thinking http://amzn.to/1Om7FBk
OTHER BOOKS :
How to be in gratitude – Rexy the Trip: How to teach children to be in gratitude and develope positive attitude –
http://amzn.to/1Qs1MFP
How to choose positive being – Rexy and The House of Mirrors: How to teach children the effect of positive being- http://amzn.to/1ML0GiA
MY AUTHER PAGE ON AMAZON- http://amzn.to/1SSR60G

Interview with Tamara Lowery, author of HELL’S DODO

Hello Pat. Thank you for giving me this venue and opportunity to share a little bit about myself with fans and potential fans. I truly appreciate that you do things like this for fellow authors.

What is your book about?

Hell’s Dodo, book 5 in the Waves of Darkness series, recounts the adventures of the pirate Viktor Brandewyne aka Bloody Vik Brandee in his quest to find Auntie Clarissa, fifth of seven Sisters of Power. He must find the Sisters and perform seemingly impossible tasks or quests to gain their magical help towards breaking the curse that has made him a living vampire.

Clarissa sends him to find, among other things, a dragon’s egg and a dodo’s egg. His journey takes him from Colonial Savannah to Salem to the tip of South America as well as the Indian Ocean and Indonesia, with a side trip to New Orleans.

I do not have the cover from my publisher yet.

It is slated for a mid-November release by Gypsy Shadow Publishing (http://gypsyshadow.com)

Tell us about your main characters. Who is your favorite? Why?

Viktor, the main character, actually did an interview with you a few years ago (around the end of 2012 https://patbertram.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/viktor-brandewyne-main-character-of-the-waves-of-darkness-series-by-tamara-a-lowery/). He is a pirate-turned-vampire, and he is very good at what he does.

Belladonna is a man-eating siren (half-shark/half-human, but can take full human form). She accidentally bound herself to Viktor when she took a bite out of his shoulder. Her visions and weather magic aide Vik in finding the Sisters.

Hezekiah Grimm aka the Grimm Reaper is Vik’s first mate but has sailed as a pirate captain in his own right. He’s about six or seven years older than Vik and serves to balance out his captain’s intensity; however, he is just as ruthless as Viktor. He didn’t earn the moniker Reaper for nothing.

Lazarus most often appears as a large black tom cat and sometimes as a raven. He was once Vik’s erstwhile first mate, Jim Rigger. He was magically transformed shortly after he became Viktor’s second blood meal.

It is hard to pick a favorite; they’re all fun to write. Belladonna is probably the most interesting to write, however. She isn’t human; she’s ancient despite appearances (she frequently visited the library at Alexandria before the fire, to give you an idea of her age); she is a predator in the truest sense; these combine to make her a challenge to write. As a predatory creature, some human emotions can be a struggle for her.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Hell’s Dodo took me a little more than two years to write, nearly twice as long as it predecessors in the series. I made the mistake of juggling it with two other writing projects, both of which have been shelved for after the completion of this story arc in the series. (One is a stand-alone fantasy novel based on a dream I had. The other is a Steampunk serial adventure.)

What is your goal for this book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I want my readers to be entertained. I want them to feel they got their money’s worth in adventure and escapism. I want them hungry for the next book to find out what happens next (although I try to avoid cliff hanger endings). If any of my readers find some kind of “message,” “statement,” or political agenda in this series, it resides solely in their own minds, not mine. I loathe politics.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

In this, I am definitely atypical from what I’ve seen of other authors’ answer to this type of question. I do not have a words-per-day quota. The majority of my writing is done by hand during work breaks. I very rarely write at home or on the weekends because of my work schedule and practical demands on my time during my time off from work. Plus, there are too many distractions at home to make getting in any writing mind set easy.

What are you working on right now?

I just finished writing the first draft of book six, The Daedalus Enigma, in September. I’m currently writing the first draft of the seventh book, Maelstrom of fate. I also have a short story of Lovecraftian horror to polish up and submit for the horror anthology The Nameless for Ironclad Press (http://ironcladpress.com). The deadline on that is fast approaching.

When were you first published? How were you discovered?

My first book, Blood Curse, was published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing in 2011. I contracted with them after four years of collecting rejection slips from agents and publishers alike. I found Gypsy Shadow through Facebook. Beth Wylde (the pen name of a published friend of mine; she primarily writes lesbian erotica) had liked their page. I investigated their website and saw that my book would fit in nicely with their catalogue. They were a new indie press, but had recently signed famed sci-fi/fantasy author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough to re-release her backlog titles she’d regained the rights to as ebooks. I figured if someone who’d been in the industry as long as she had trusted them, I’d give them a try. It paid off.

Have you written any other books?

Yes. Hell’s Dodo will be my fifth published novel. The first four, in order, are Blood Curse, Demon Bayou, Silent Fathoms, and Black Venom. I also have an ebook-only dark fantasy short story, In the Dead of Winter, with Gypsy Shadow. I have several other writing projects patiently awaiting my attention and time.

What has been your greatest internal struggle to overcome in relation to your writing career?

Anxiety over confrontation, even in situations that are really non-confrontational. It is entirely irrational, but something I deal with frequently. In the past, I’ve allowed it to delay me in doing things to further my writing career. I suppose mild self-doubt is at the core of it; and I’m a notorious procrastinator.

What genre are your books?

They are adventure/horror, but my other projects range across several genres: horror, Steampunk, fantasy, and dystopian. I may even foray back into space opera, my first love in my teen years. (I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I saw Episode 4 at the drive-in back in ’77, and I grew up on Star Trek and Lost In Space. Yes, I AM that old. I’ve got scars older than half my coworkers.)

Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?

Most definitely. They often reveal what they are going to do during the writing process; things that have no connection to ANY of my plot points or notes. They even defy me on what I want them to do, sometimes. For example, it wasn’t until the first chapter of book six that I learned WHY one of my antagonists made a pet out of a minor character rather than kill him in book 3. Her reasoning proved sound and will provide readers with some fan service regarding Viktor. So, I’ve learned to just roll with it when the characters take over. I can always edit it out later, if necessary.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

Two of the original actors I wanted have aged out of the roles now. In all honesty, they were aged out when I first picked them. It could still work if the film(s) were done CGI/motion-capture like Beowulf was done.

Viktor Brandewyne: Liam Neeson (even though Vik is half Cherokee)

Hezekiah Grimm: Willem Dafoe (I think he’d make a great pirate)

Belladonna: Avril Lavigne (provided she can act; I know she can sing)

Uncle Zeke (the wizard of Hell’s Breath Island): Morgan Freeman (he will NEVER age out)

I really don’t have any particular actors in mind for any of the other characters.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website (which seems to be in a constant state of construction lately, as I add to and tweak it) is Tamara Lowery’s Scribblings (http://talowery.wordpress.com). I have all my books listed there along with purchase links for Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million for each title. I have linked the various reviews they’ve received, as well. The site also hosts character profiles, a “Readers’ Refuge” for various excerpts and deleted scenes, and my weekly blog.

Gypsy Shadow Publishing has an author page for me. http://gypsyshadow.com/TamaraLowery.html#top

On Facebook, my page is http://facebook.com/Waves.of.Darkness and my discussion group, Waves of Darkness and Other Writings of Tamara Lowery is http://facebook.com/groups/1567756800150981

Thank you again for having me.

Thank you for letting me interview you!

Interview with Belladonna, hero of HELL’S DODO by Tamara Lowery

Hello Pat, I finally convinced Belladonna, one of the major characters in my Waves of Darkness series to agree to an interview. Thanks for this opportunity. ~ Tamara Lowery

Who are you?

(laughs) A more accurate question would be “What are you?”

I am Belladonna, eldest daughter of the great sea dragon Theonikos, which makes me a siren.

Do you embrace conflict?

Life is conflict. yes, I embrace conflict. Occasionally I even incite it; the chemical changes it causes in the bodies of my prey add flavor to the meat.

How do you see yourself?

I am a predator. For the most part, my prey is sentient. There have been times when I’ve had to settle for sharks, but I prefer mermaids or humans.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Most definitely, although I object to her attempts to humanize me. Any human traits I exhibit are merely learned habits I use to blend in with my prey or to capitalize on their weaknesses. I do like to play with my food.

She does at least recognize the difference between a mermaid and a siren. I know that my shark tail in my true form rather than human guise could cause some confusion on the matter. (extends fingers to 10-inch razor-sharp talons and grins literally ear-to-ear to reveal multiple rows of needle-like teeth) However, mermaids do not eat sirens, nor can they take human form.

Well, I should correct that. True mermaids are blonde and cannot take human form. Sirens have red hair and can take human form. The rare males can also transform into sea dragons capable of swallowing a ship whole. Viktor Brandewyne (pauses in irritation) sired a merman on a mermaid. The new strain in the species has black hair and can take human form. At least the dark-haired ones cannot breed with humans like the purebreds. As it is, they breed like guppies and are quickly becoming the dominant strain in the species. (frowns in disgust)

Do you have a goal?

It used to be to regain my freedom. I once made the mistake of taking a bite out of Viktor. Now, I am magically and telepathically bound to the pirate-turned-vampire. He is powerful enough to master me, something I fought against vehemently for some time. My attitude toward him has changed over the years we’ve sailed together. My primary goal is to help him find the Sisters of Power. After that: we’ll see.

What makes you happy?

A skilled lover and a satisfying meal. In most cases, the former becomes the latter. As I said, I like to play with my food.

What do you regret?

Biting that chunk out of Viktor. I was free for millennia.

What, if anything, haunts you?

Being exiled from my native waters of the Mediterranean and Black seas. Who’d think that old wizard would be so touchy over a few hurricanes?

Have you ever betrayed anyone?

I had my pregnant sister killed in an attempt to protect my territory from her mate. It didn’t work.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

(smiles wryly) That is an interesting, if abrupt, subject change. Did my answer to the last question disturb you?

Very well: I have blood red hair. My eyes are the color of the ever-changing sea in my human guise but amber-gold in my true form. I have a mouthful of very efficient, needle-like teeth and can open my mouth wide enough to bite a man’s face off, but I can make them appear blunt like a human’s. My jaws are powerful enough to crush a man’s skull. My fingers can extend to 10-inch, razor-sharp talons and house toxin-bearing stinger cells in the fingertips, much like the stinger cells found in jellyfish tentacles. They exude toxins that can cause mild discomfort, chemical burns, anesthesia, or a paralysis that can cause a very painful but swift death. I also have an amazing voice capable of ultrasonic frequencies and volumes that can sonically lobotomize a human. I use song-spells to bend the winds and currents to my will.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

The murder of my sister. It led to a war between me and her mate. Eventually, it led to my exile from and the dragon’s restriction to my old territory. He cannot pass beyond Gibraltar, and I would forfeit my freedom to him to reenter those waters.

Who is your true love?

I am loathe to admit love at all. It is too human an emotion, and I am NOT human. However, given how rarely I have observed what you call “true love” really demonstrated by humans, I will say that I love Viktor. I would and have put his needs above my own, something normally alien to my nature. Anything less than that is merely lust or infatuation, two things all too often called “love.” Oh, I understand and enjoy lust quite well. It is a very useful tool to me. Infatuation, however, is something I never have and never will suffer from.

What is your favorite food? Why?

Mermaid, purebred anyway. To eat any of the strain Viktor introduced would only bind me that much closer to his will and possibly incur his anger. He is very protective of anything he considers his.

I prefer mermaid over human because their diet is far healthier, and they present more of a challenge as prey than humans. They are wily and wary of predators. Humans, the males especially, but quite often the females, too, all too often allow their lust to override their sense of self-preservation or forethought to the consequences of their actions. I’ve had men swim to my deadly embrace willingly; simply because they were more focused on what was below my shoulders rather than what was above them.

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

(laughs again) First, I can’t be stranded on an island, with the exception of Hell’s Breath Island. She only lets you leave when she wants you to.

However, for the sake of argument, if I was stranded on an island, I wouldn’t care whether I was with a man or a woman. Food is food.

You can read my profile page at http://talowery.wordpress.com/waves-of-darkness-character-profiles/belladonna-image-nsfw As the URL indicates, my profile picture is not safe for work. I find clothing a nuisance.

Thank you for being a gracious hostess. Is there anyone around here you wouldn’t miss? All this talk of food has my appetite up.

Thank you for letting me interview you. I think.

Interview with Mrs. Xavier Stayton, hero of MURDER MOST CONVENIENT by Robert Colton

How do you do, Pat? My name is Mrs. Xavier Stayton. Do please pardon me, I am new to all this. My first book was only just recently published. I am quite thrilled to give an interview, and will do my best to answer your questions.

Welcome, Mrs. Stayton. Tell us, do you have a hero?

Oh, yes, Charles Lindbergh. As you know, just last year he flew from America nonstop to Paris. My husband, rest his soul, would have been so thrilled with this amazing accomplishment.

What is your favorite beverage, and why?

Tea, growing up in the United States, tea was always just a drink, however, now that I live in London it is rather symbolic of my new way of life. There is a ritual to the serving of tea, and the time it takes gives one a moment to reflect.

Please name five things in your handbag.

Well, of course there is my little silver snuff box; my cigarette case; my lipstick; a bit of pocket money, both pounds and dollars; oh and yes, my pearl handled pistol.

Do you have any hobbies?

Well, I have given up on several hobbies. I had lessons on the piano and painting, to name a few. People are always concerned about how a young widow spends her time, and suggest hobbies. I seem to have very little free time between writing, testifying in murder cases and travel.

Did you get along with your parents?

Well, of course. My father keeps to himself, he’s a busy man at The Men’s Hospital back in Saint Louis. My mother is hopeful that one day I will move back, she does not understand my love of England. But we get on all the same.

Have you ever failed at anything?

-sigh- I am not proud of my flying record. Airplanes give me the willies. I think Xavier would have been disappointed in me.

What is your favorite color?

Blue, it is the color of the sky, the color of water and the color of my dear Xavier’s beautiful eyes.

Have you ever had an adventure?

Several, there was the murder at Pierce Manor, the incident on-board the RMS Olivia and then the missing mummy in Egypt, just to start with!

How do you envision your future?

Hmm…well, that is a mystery that I have not yet solved.

Interview with Tamara Carrington of “Alawahea: The Azellian Affairs, Book One” by Sara L Daigle

25842569Who are you?

I am Tamara Carrington, college student, young woman, daughter, girlfriend

Where do you live?

Denver, Colorado, Earth

Are you the hero of your own story?

Others may see it differently, but I don’t see myself as a hero, just someone who is doing the best she can

What is your problem in the story?

I meet these aliens and am getting to know them. It’s turning my life upside down, especially when I fall in love…and learn a bunch of stuff about my family and myself that I probably should have guessed, but never realized.

Do you embrace conflict?

I don’t like conflict and tend to avoid it, but if I have to, I will face it.

How do you see yourself?

A little shy, avoiding the lime-light, but deep down I do know I am strong enough to face anything that comes into my life.

How does the author see you?

The author sees me as much more than I see myself. I have navigated some very intense, life changing experiences and come out stronger in the end. I forget that sometimes.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

She did a wonderful job of portraying me. I was surprised at some of the strengths she showed.

Do you have a hero?

Mother Teresa

Did you get along with your parents?

I did get along with my parents; I love them both dearly. I sometimes wondered what they were hiding, because it was obvious there was more going on than I knew, but I didn’t let it bother me. Mostly.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

The hidden stuff that I didn’t discover until the Azellians came into my life.

What in your past would you like to forget?

A certain incident that happened in my late teens. I didn’t get past that incident until I met Greg, a wonderful Azellian healer.

What in your past would you like others to forget?

That same incident. I had to leave the high school I was at because what had happened was so disturbing.

Who was your first love?

My dog, Brindle. I fell in love with her when I was six and she was my constant companion until I was eighteen, when we had to put her down. I still miss her.

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?

Meeting the Azellians (the aliens). My whole life changed the day that they walked into the Registrar’s office. They introduced so much into my life: love, joy, fear, change, the airing of family secrets that had been poisoning our family. While it also ushered in adulthood (I’m not sure I was ready for that), I could greet what came with a clearer sense of myself and my abilities.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

The day I agreed to start spending time with the Azellians. They tell me that what ended up happening would have happened anyway, but sometimes I wonder if they were telling me the truth. Then I remember all the wonderful friends I have made and the intense connections and realize that I really am grateful that they came into my life.

What is your favorite scent? Why?

Lilacs. They remind me of spring.

What is your favorite color? Why?

Blue. It relaxes me, makes me realize there is more to the world than just what is happening in my life.

“Alawahea: The Azellian Affairs, Book One”
Author: Sara L Daigle (http://www.saraldaigle.com)
Amazon: :http://amzn.to/1PZMDrR
GoodReads: http://bit.ly/1JR5cKW

 

Interview With Lacy Dawn, the protagonist of “Rarity from the Hollow” by Robert Robert Eggleton

COtiXSKWUAQIsXeLacy Dawn is the protagonist of Rarity from the Hollow, a literary science fiction novel written by Robert Eggleton. She’s the last person that you would expect to save the universe – a skinny, eleven year old girl with stringy brown hair, from a hollow between the hills in West Virginia. She is also a prototypical humanoid whose savior attributes have evolved for hundreds of thousands years, the product of a genetic implant installed by Universal Management. This Lacy Dawn Adventure picks up with a threat to the economic structure of the universe. It is in imminent danger, potentially devastating billions of citizens living on hundreds of planets if Lacy Dawn cannot find a solution to prevent its collapse. An android has been sent to Earth for Lacy Dawn’s final training. He installs a port in her upper spine so that content from the Universal Database can be directly downloaded into her brain. During tutoring sessions, they fall so deeply in love with each other that the android begins to aspire to achieve human-like emotions and Lacy Dawn finds a boyfriend for when she is old enough to have one.

Hi, Lucy, what is your story?

I don’t really have a story. I’m just a kid who loves her mom and dad, even if dad is messed up – it’s not his fault, he used to be a good man, it was that damn war in Iraq, he came back and just wasn’t the same, not by a long shot. I still love him though, and I’m doing everything that I can to fix him. I’m studying really, really hard – working on it. I’m just a regular kid. There are lots of kids like me, my school is full of us. Each of us has our own story to tell, but nobody really wants to listen. They just say they do, but it’s part of their jobs. If is wasn’t for kids like me with a few problems here and there, just growing up stuff, you know, some adults wouldn’t even have jobs. They get paid for helping us, but I don’t need them because I’ve got a real best friend who is really, really powerful, for real. I’d let you meet him, but he’s not supposed to do stuff like that. Well, that’s it. That’s my story. Pretty boring, huh?

Who are you?

My name is Lacy Dawn Hickman and I’m going to be in the sixth grade next year when school starts. I always make straight A’s because that’s what makes my mommy most proud. She brags about it ‘cause we ain’t got much else to brag about. I’ve got a dog. His name is Brownie. I live down the holler just before the last school bus stop, but if the roads are slick, like in the winter, I have to walk up to the top of the hill. I’ve never missed a day of school and I sure don’t want to start now – no matter what! There ain’t nothing more important than an education. I’m going to be a veterinarian when I grow up, but my friend says that I have some other job to do first. I can float a few inches above the floor and move places without walking. Do you want to see? No, I ain’t supposed to show anybody. Sorry.

Where do you live?

Have you ever heard this? Mountaineers are always free! I’m from West Virginia, and proud of it, but I’m not sure why. My daddy always watches WVU football on TV, when it comes in cause we ain’t got no cable. I wish he wouldn’t get so drunk, but it’s funny sometimes, like when he gets excited and yells at the screen and stuff. I live in an okay house. I’ve got my own bedroom, that’s more than some girls my age. I wish that our bathroom had a door on it though. Sometimes, you know, it’s gross, never mind. This summer I get to plant my very own garden. Mommy promised. I’m still deciding on what to grow. Do you like veggies? I like meat okay as long as I don’t think about where it comes from. Cows have beautiful eyes. It makes me sad to think about it. We go into town every now and then and one day I’ll get to see a Harry Potter movie, like on my birthday. Everybody knows where I live. Do you want to visit? Tell me first because we’ll have to clean up or mommy would be embarrassed. We always leave one beer can to use as an ashtray. Do you smoke? It’s gross. Mommy don’t and I ain’t ever.

Are you the hero of your own story?

I ain’t no hero. That’s something else. Everybody keeps telling me how cool I am, smart and stuff. I am getting’ smarter, every day. I can feel it. I get extra help learning stuff. My best friend, oh forget I said that, I’m not supposed to talk about it. Anyway, sometimes I don’t know where the answers come from. It’s like magic or something. I just know stuff, a lot of stuff, stuff that I don’t know why I even want to know about, some of it is grow up stuff. It’s gross. I know how to help out people when they are having problems. I’m a lot better at it than the preacher. But that don’t make me no hero, not matter what other people say.

What is your problem in the story?

I ain’t got no problems. Well, nothing that I can’t handle. My friend keeps telling me that I have a real important job to do, something about saving the universe. I know about the universe. I know hundreds of different languages. Do you want to learn how to say “hello” in Simbean? It’s a planet close to, oh never mind, it’s too complicated. Maybe I should be a French teacher instead of a vet. Parlez-vous francais? I don’t know why my friend keeps talking about problems someplace else. I lied before. Sorry. I just wanted to sound brave. My problem is that I’ve got to fix my parents before my daddy kills my mommy and, maybe, me too. My mom cries all the time when I ain’t looking. She tries not to let me see, but I know that she does. Her eyes are red and sometimes I can hear her. It’s really, really sad. My dad got some pills from the VA but they ain’t helping. It’s up to me to fix things. It’s a kids job to fix her parents and any kid who don’t ain’t much of a kid and maybe don’t even deserve to live. Don’t you think that’s true?

Do you run from conflict?

I ain’t never run from nothing. It’s stupid. If you run from a bear, that bear will just chase you down. Think about copperheads, move real slow. That’s my advice. There ain’t much more dangerous than a copperhead in this universe. Running away never helps nothing.

How do you see yourself?

Sometimes I see myself as a kid alone in the woods, metaphorically speaking. See, I told you that I was smart. Other times, I see myself as the lead singer in a rock band, like James Hetfield of Metallica. That’s daddy’s favorite band. I’ve been looking at Goodwill every time we go for a CD that daddy doesn’t have, but no luck yet. I am kind. I am smart. I am important. Just kidding, did you see that movie? They showed it at school for social studies class every day for a week this year. There’s only one black kid in my whole school. I think we all need a lot more diversity training, a lot more. That’s my favorite movie of all time, but I do want to see one with Harry Potter. Other girls have shown me his picture and he is sooooooooooo cute!

How do your friends see you?

My best friend is named, Faith. I don’t know where her parents came up with that name. Nobody in her family has been inside of a church, not once. They need it too, except for Faith, she’s cool. Faith thinks that I have magic. I told her that I just have another best friend who teaches me stuff, but I don’t think that she believes me. I’m not allowed to introduce her to him. It’s against the rules. Faith thinks I’m too slow at fixing stuff. I told her that I’m doing the best I can, that I’m growing up too. Faith thinks that I’m kind, I’m good – just kidding again. Seriously, though, that’s what she really thinks. Honest. Ask her.

I don’t get to play with the other kids after school. They live too far away and daddy doesn’t want to drive me. When mommy learns how to drive, maybe she will. I think that those kids think that I’m too smart for my own britches. Most of the time I try not to look so smart. I want to fit in with the crowd, you know, fit. They like me okay, I guess, but they only talk to me when they want me to help them, like when they are feeling angry, or sad, or scared. I like helping them, but every once in a while it would be nice if somebody else besides Faith asked me to do something fun, or tell me a joke or something.

There is this one girl at school who is real jealous of me. Her name is Brittany. If I wasn’t there, Brittany would definitely be the smartest kid in school. I miss spelling words every time there’s a bee on purpose so she can win. Does she thank me? Heck no. And she knows that I’m missing those words on purpose. She has to. Last year, Faith beamed her in the back of the head with a dodge ball. I fussed at Faith for doing it, and didn’t laugh then, not even a smile. But after I got home I LMFAO. Do you know what that means? I’m not allow to say the “F” word, so I can’t tell you if you don’t. I ain’t got no computer at the house, but my friend lets me mess around on one of the ones that he’s got in his spaceship, oops, anyway, you wouldn’t believe what people say on the internet.

My other best friend, you know, the guy, but he ain’t got know private parts, not even a little bump, so it’s okay, he thinks that I’m like a God or something. I think he’s crazy ‘cause I ain’t that smart yet. It’s weird, but I kind of like him thinking that I’m something special when I’m not. Pretty soon, I’ll have him wrapped around my little finger and I’ll make him fix my parents. I didn’t learn how to do that to a man from the computer. My mommy has already taught me how to make men do what you want them to do, and, no, it ain’t got nothing to do with s, e, x. That’s where some girls mess up. They think that s, e, x is how you get a man to do whatever you want him to, like take out the trash or fix the roof. Since you are a girl too, you probably know all this stuff. A man’s attention span is too short for s, e, x to work for very long. Ain’t it? My mommy’s smart. Maybe she didn’t graduate from high school, but she knows a lot of stuff, not book smart, but SMART.

How does the author see you?

Who?

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Oh, I get it now. You think that I’m a made up character in a fictional story. Here, sing along with this, “I am he as you are he as you are me, And we are all together.” Does that answer your question? Did you ever play that Beatle’s record backward? Paul ain’t dead.

I’m as alive as any other part of Robert Eggleton’s personality, perhaps more so. There’s no way to portray any of us, the ones who live in his mind, any way other than accurately because we are what we are. That was a weird question. Anyway, I’ve got homework to do. It ain’t good enough just to know answers. A person has to actually do something with the answers before they count. And, what I’ve got to do before school tomorrow is a three page essay and a take home pre-algebra test. If I don’t write down the answers and turn in the papers, I score zero points. I doesn’t matter that I already know the answers inside my head. That counts for zip. See ya later, alligator.

Purchase links:

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B007JDI508
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B007JDI508
http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow

About the author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997. Today, he is a recently retired psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/

Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures.com
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13603677-rarity-from-the-hollow
https://www.facebook.com/robert.eggleton2
https://twitter.com/roberteggleton2