Author Interview Series: Sharon Lopez

E4E2529E-123E-4FE1-A510-928E5C3CCC0CJ: My next guest, Sharon Lopez, comes to us from Phoenix, Arizona. Her novel My Right to Choose is up for a Reader’s Choice Award in the religion category. Last day to vote is August 21st 2019. (pg. 16) Find it here: https://www.tckpublishing.com Tell us a little more about yourself. Aside from the possible award, what are you proud of as an author?

S: I joined an author’s group named WolfPackAuthors. I not only have a new outlet to learn and grow as an author, but also a great group of friends that have been an awesome support system through personal ups and downs. Together we put together a wonderful anthology titled Once Upon A WolfPack. The proceeds from it go to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center’s WOLVES AND WARRIORS program.

J: I noticed you have quite a large body of work. What’s your favorite genre to write, and how did you decide or were drawn to that particular genre?

S: I am a multi-genre YA author. The common theme is YA. I have always been drawn to that genre whether writing or reading. Maybe it is being so young or young at heart.

J: Staying young at heart is important. My kids tell me I’m a just a big kid, perhaps as an excuse to be lippy. Who’s your favorite author/ favorite book(s)?

S: Cassandra Clare is a favorite author of mine.

J: Oh boy… The Mortal Instruments series. And when did you begin your writing career?

S: I began writing plays and short stories when I was ten.

J: Quite a head start. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

S: For me, the telling of character’s stories is the best part of being an author.

J: Any words of wisdom? What practices have you found most beneficial being an author?

S: A quiet space to write as well as threats of withholding video game privileges to get said quiet are quite beneficial. The best editing tip I can give is hear your work. I use Dragon software to read my books to catch errors. Authors spend our time in alternate realities acting as multiple people. Can any of us say that we are truly sane?

J: Haha… nope. I’m surprised more authors aren’t schizophrenic. Tell us about your most recent work.

S: I recently finished two short stories. The Moon’s curse is a story I wrote for the next WolfPack Anthology. It is about a girl that goes on a search for her missing mother and finds an ancient curse. Embracing Vengeance is due out in October. It is a bit different from other things I have written. Darker. In it, a woman must make a tough choice when faced with whether or not to avenge her family.

J: Dark is good. Love the title. Tell us a little about you as a person.

S: I am a fairly mellow and down to earth person. I enjoy reading, horror movies, gaming (mostly RPGs), Anime (fav genre is slice of life), and I have vast musical tastes. I plan to continue writing until I run out of stories to tell. My goal is to someday visit my dream destination, London, England.

Thanks for spending some time with us. Visit Sharon on her website here: https://azteddie.wixsite.com/sharon-lopez

Check out any one of any of her many novels!

The Problem with Emmahttps://www.books2read.com/u/mVZD9A

The World Inside Stephanie’s Headhttps://www.books2read.com/u/478WnR

The World Beyond Stephanie’s Headhttps://www.books2read.com/u/38gW76

Destiny’s Mark https://www.books2read.com/u/bWZpaG

Before the Mark https://www.books2read.com/u/md0dwy

Alright, Well I Love Youhttps://www.books2read.com/u/bMrz87

Life Is Funny That Way https://www.books2read.com/u/4Xoeae

Sanguisuge Book 1 https://www.books2read.com/u/49PqBw

Sanguisuge Book 2 https://www.books2read.com/u/bMQjK8

My Right to Choose https://www.books2read.com/u/bPJz8x

Emotions Behind the Chaoshttps://www.books2read.com/u/3J8GzB

 

Author Interview Series: Hoot N. Holler

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J: With me today is Hoot N. Holler, hailing from the great state of Maryland. Now, I understand that you’re an expert in brainwashing, as all three of your kids graduated from your alma-mater, University of MD.

H: Go Terps!

J: We’ll have to discuss some of those brain-washing techniques after the interview… I also understand you were a government employee (God help you… I know what that’s like), and you’ve also received numerous awards including the Bronze Medal Award when at the Department of Commerce, and what you value most are the times when you helped others succeed.

H: Yes, I genuinely enjoy mentoring, encouraging, lifting up friends and coworkers, or just lending a much-needed ear.

J: Then, of course, your book Terror in Boring Town has won 3 book awards! 1st Place – Mystery – 2019 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, Bronze Medal – Pre-teen Mystery – 2018 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, Honorable Mention – Middle Grade Fiction – 2019 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. Congratulations! I understand you write under multiple pen names in different genre’s. So, what’s your favorite genre to write?

H: That’s correct, I actually write under two pen names, Hoot N. Holler is my children’s book pen name, and I wear Alex Bailey’s mask when writing for adults. I love writing all genres, which can be a problem when trying to define who you are. I’ve written mystery, romance, early readers, middle grade, women’s fiction, time travel, fantasy, adventure, and even thriller. I’m too much of a chicken to attempt horror, because I like to sleep at night and often wake up thinking of my current WIP. But my favorite stories always have at least a splash of magic in them. When I was a child, I’d dream of escaping the situation I was in and those dreams always involved magic. I believe great books are the magic in the world during lonely, mundane, or difficult situations, when they carry you away from your distress and for a moment, leave you with hope.

J: There is something indeed magical about opening a good book and being swept away to a foreign land. Who’s your favorite author/ favorite book(s)?

H: I don’t have a favorite author, because there are far too many great authors who’ve touched a piece of my soul in some way or another. But I do have a favorite book, “A Christmas Carol.” I love Dickens’ writing, but it’s the story that resonates so deeply with me. The story of transformation and redemption is a powerful one for me because of a deep longing for a metamorphosis of an Ebenezer in my own life.

J: I love that story! I’ve read the book, naturally, but I have my favorite film interpretations ranked by who played Scrooge. First is Alastair Sim, Second is George C. Scott, third is Bill Murray in Scrooged… but I’m getting off topic. When did you start writing?

H: May 15, 2000. It may sound bizarre that I remember the date, but it was a rather life-altering event. Let’s just say, something hit me during my daily lunchtime walk around the National Mall. I’d never written fiction; didn’t believe I had an ounce of creativity or any stories inside me. But once Pandora’s box was opened, I couldn’t slam the lid shut again. And believe me, I tried. I walked away from stories numerous times, and each time when I submitted to the hand on my back, I felt a wave of relief. When people ask me why I write, the answer’s always the same—I’m compelled.

J: Indeed, writing is a difficult habit to break, and seems to often take over. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

H: There are so many wonderful things about writing – getting revenge on real-life foes, seeing my book in print, meeting other authors, making up words, donating my books, stifling that nagging compulsion – but it’s the creation process—creating something from nothing that I love the most. And hearing that someone enjoyed my book is always a huge thrill!

J: Ah, yes… sweet revenge. So, what’s your secret? Any practices you find particularly helpful?

H: When I first was drawn into the writing arena, I hadn’t a clue how to write a story, much less a full-length novel. I read books, took classes at our local college, and attempted to write. For fifteen years. It wasn’t until I joined a writer’s critique group that my writing markedly improved. Our group formed four years ago from a writing class from among the students, whom I adore. We’ve had members come and go since, but our core group is still intact.

Being in an author critique group has been the most beneficial thing for my own writing that I’ve come across so far. It was difficult at first to hear your work criticized, but knowing that everyone is going through the same feelings and we’re all in it to help each other, quickly eased any discomfort. Having different perspectives from authors writing a variety of genres has opened my eyes to issues in plot, characters, or setting that I would have missed on my own. It’s difficult to see your own errors, just like it’s too difficult to edit your own work. Another advantage to the group is that by critiquing other authors’ work, it helps me to see the same issues in my own writing. I highly recommend finding a group if possible.

Another strategy I’ve used is to swap manuscripts with other authors for a much faster critique. This has worked well with some of my online friends. I know many authors use beta readers, and I do have a few, but not a formal targeted group for my genres yet.

J: Great advice! Might be a good idea for me to seek out a military post-apocalyptic sci fi thriller critique group (if such a thing exists). Tell us about your most recent work.

H: Terror in Boring Town is the first in the “A Sam and Rex Adventure” series written for kids 9-12 with my son in mind. When he was growing up, Chris had a difficult time reading and rarely could find a book that interested him enough to struggle through it. I wanted to create stories that would help boys especially, who struggle or don’t like to read. My daughters were (and still are) both avid readers (and writers) and read anything and everything, but my son wanted stories with boys as the main characters – perhaps because he had two older sisters and we never gave him the brother he begged for all those years? So I created Sam and Rex who live in a boring town (that actually exists). But can it be all that boring with characters named: Les Gross who works at the Boring Post Office, letter carrier, Daisy Whoopsy, handy man, Rich Oldmann, 3rd-grade teacher, Mrs. Attaboy, truck driver & comedian, Harry Pitt, and Mr. Junker who owns the Boring Antiques store.

Sam and Rex are friends who are very different. Sam is level-headed and hates his boring town. Rex sees adventure at every turn in the town they live in – Boring, MD, aptly named. Nothing ever happens there, until mysterious strangers come to town for the summer. Why would anyone want to visit their town? There’s nothing to do there.

Luckily, Rex has a wild imagination and sees criminals and spies in every stranger who visits. Because when it turns out these men actually do have a nefarious plot, the boys investigate to find out the strangers’ intentions. And when no one in the town believes the boys, including Rex’s dad, the deputy sheriff, they must take it upon themselves and risk lives (but whose?) to save their town.

J: Sounds like my step daughter would love it! I’ll have to pick up a copy. Before you go, tell us a little about you as a person. Is this your primary job? If not, what? Hobbies? Family? Future plans and goals. Any plans for world domination, or winning a Pulitzer prize in the future?

H: After retiring three years ago as a Writer/Editor with the Federal government, I began my author journey and got serious about sending stories out into the world. At that time, my husband and I also started a small organic farm (so small one could call it a large garden) to donate fresh produce to our local food bank.

Recently, our three grown children +1 have descended upon our home (temporarily – one way or another!) which has hindered the pace of my writing production – again, temporarily! You’d be surprised how needy grown adults can be after living on their own, when they deem their parents, “have nothing to do all day.”

World domination – no thanks, I can hardly keep up with the demands I’ve been given thus far. Though, travel is certainly on the list of future plans. We have a family trip planned to WDW, even though we were just there in April. We’re a seriously-goofy Disney family and the thought of too many trips to Disney would never cross our minds. It’s our happy place – The Most Magical Place on Earth – for us.

J: Thanks so much for joining us! I’ve read excerpts of your work and can tell you that’s it’s certainly worth the price of admission. I’m sure a number of fans would like to connect; how do we follow you?

Website for suggestions on donating books: http://alexbailey-writes.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HootNHollerAuthor/

Other places to purchase: https://books2read.com/u/3J8wWJ

 

Author Interview Series: Stanley P. Brown

 

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J: With me today is paranormal Author and Professor of Exercise Physiology, Stanley P. Brown. Thus far, he’s published 3 novels, Fallen Wizard, Veiled Memory and The Legacy (links below) with one on the way for release November 16, 2019. He hails from Starkville, MS, and ever the gentleman, I’m told his better half is the brilliant Dr. Yvonne Zerangue.

J: Welcome, Stanley! Tell us a little more about you as a person, hobbies, family, plans to win a Pulitzer prize or take over the world?

S: I am a college professor and head of the department of kinesiology at Mississippi State university. This professor gig of mine has been going on for 30 years. It is quite boring, but I do love the students and interacting with brilliant people (my faculty). My fiction writing is my hobby which I plan to do into retirement (whenever that happens). Hopefully God gives me the years to write many more novel as I have 4 distinct mythologies I am working on. My other hobby is to simply stay healthy, which I do by exercising daily. I enjoy being with my wife, Yvonne, traveling with her, and I enjoy seeing our three grown daughters and my one (so far) son-in-law.

J: And on the literary side, what do you most enjoy about being an author?

S: I really enjoy the creative process. It’s just me and the blank page. Being a fictionalist is totally different than publishing as a scientist. When publishing research or even textbooks (which I’ve done) it’s you, the blank page, AND the scientific literature you’re using, trying to understand and shed new light on. It’s a very arduous process, much harder than fiction. HOWEVER, fiction is much harder in other ways. It was very hard to break into publishing novels and I still haven’t achieved the big five.

J: You and me both! Regardless, you’ve seen success in traditional publishing. What’s your secret?

S: Let me just say that to write fiction well you have to learn the craft well and to do that you have to write a ton and read a ton. Then the editing begins and never ends. Being an Indie author, marketing is an unforeseen necessity I wish I didn’t have to do, but c’est la vie.

J: Great advice! Read a ton… and as I always say, writers are generally the most voracious demographic of readers. With that, what do you like to read?

S: Tough question. I read very widely in fiction. I think that’s important if your goal in genre writing is to mix it up. For fantasy, since I’m promoting Fallen Wizard in this interview, I’d have to say Philip Pullman. His book, The Golden Compass, is a beautiful work and deep as all get out.

J: So, tell me what’s your favorite genre to write? And how’d you decide on that particular genre?

S: Favorite and only (so far) is paranormal. I wanted to write mixed genre so I tend to blend. This is true of my two adult novels. However, the children’s novel, Fallen Wizard, is all fantasy. Also, I like to stick to stuff in the real world. So, I’ll use place names that work. In Fallen Wizard, however, the characters start in this world then end up in a literal fantasy land.

J: That sounds exciting! More on Fallen Wizard  in just a moment. When did you start writing?

S: I can nail that down for fiction. It was March 2005 when I decided to attempt to write a novel. Of course, my job as a professor involves writing and publishing, so I’d been doing that already for at least a couple of decades, and even as a student.

J: Wow, that’s fairly precise. I’d imagine it was an important day. On to the important stuff, tell us about your most recent novel, Fallen Wizard

S: Peter Michaels is an average American, twelve-year-old boy. He loves his friends, his mom and dad, even his sisters. What he most wants in life is to make the all-star team in the summer league. That’s his goal. One summer afternoon on his way home from a Saturday practice session the most unusual thing that has ever happened to him (and there have been lots of unusual things in his young life) is that an old man apparently falls out of the sky and onto his front lawn. And he’s alive, but hurt. But that can’t happen, right? He lands next to the big azalea in Peter’s front yard and suddenly the bush animates and starts beating the unfortunate old man. Peter helps him, reluctantly, into his house and onto his bed. Then the problems really begin because comforting a dying wizard marks you. The old man dies right there and disappears. With the aid of his best friends, Raven Dakota and Stumpy Simpkins, they try to make sense of the event only to fall head long into an adventure that tests their friendship and their wits. It takes place initially in my childhood hometown of Plaquemine, Louisiana, but quickly moves to Ireland then to the mythical City of Air – Sha-oo-el. The book is meant to be a series and my inspiration was the great children’s literature of Pullman, Rowling, and others. The series is open ended. I’ve only just started the next book to be called, The Moons of Sha-oo-el.

J: Outstanding! I’ve read an excerpt of this and can tell you that’s it’s certainly worth the price of admission. I’m sure a number of fans would like to connect, how do we follow you?

S: You can find me online at spbrownbooks.com, at my author page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stanbrownauthor/), on Twitter @StanleyPBrown, and at my Amazon author page (https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-P.-Brown/e/B001ITW0DM). My publisher is Black Opal Books, found here (https://blackopalbooks.com/). My next book will be published November 16, 2019. It is titled, The Ruby Ring, and is the second of The Stonehenge Chronicles trilogy (the first is Veiled Memory). My current work in progress is a short story called, Blood Moon, being written for the next #WolfPackAuthors anthology. Blood Moon is set in the immediate aftermath of The Legacy, which is my debut novel. My other work in progress is a children’s animal adventure story called, The Captain of Tally Ho, which I hope to finish by the end of the year.

 

Tread: Fallen Nation

In the years of the second Civil War, and before the great tribulation, hope failed in the darkest of times.

Staff Sergeant Evan Decker is an EOD tech returning from war. The country he’s returned to bears no resemblance to the one he remembers. A virus has ravaged the population, as millions have died, the communication infrastructure is disabled, leaving the nation cut off, Washington D.C. is gone, wiped off the map. But who is responsible?
In the chaos, civilians and inner city gangs have risen up; at war with police and military forces, martial law has been declared. Ordered to do the unthinkable, Evan is at odds with his leaders; follow orders and become a murderer or attempt escape, risking both death and dishonor.

Follow Evan as he uncovers the conspiracy to enslave the United States, and risks all for the woman he’s growing to love.

Once Upon a WolfPack

The idea was simple: form a group of authors based on the mantra, “Do good things for the right reasons.” We are a pack – #WolfPackAuthors. Together, we expand exposure for our books, help one another with all aspects of the process, pick each other up when the lonely life of writing gets us down.

As with wolves, words can be dangerous or healing. The reintroduction of the wolf, hunted to the brink of extinction, carries such far-reaching results as to make vegetation grow on what was once barren, and to change the paths of rivers. Considering these powerful facts, we chose to donate the proceeds of this anthology to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center /LARC, a facility with a unique mission. They are one of the few organizations focused heavily on wolves, integrating military veteran rehabilitation into the caretaking process.

In this collection of work, you will find a showcase of many of our members’ talents: A young girl betrothed to a werewolf, yet her father, a human, is the true monster. Two snipers who lay in wait, an otherworldly supreme being watching them, in the form of a majestic wolf. A she-wolf sets her sights on a young woman, married to the man she loved. The paradoxical story of the big bad wolf, who through no fault of his own sets out on a calamity filled adventure. A batch of witty private investigators at work solving crime. A sarcastic banshee, a shapeshifting detective, and a vampire, all friends, investigate a string of murders. There are many others, varied in style or genre.

Come on an adventure with the WolfPackAuthors. We’ve got the stories you want; together, we hope to make the world a better place for wolves, humans, and those who dare to dream.

Cozy Mystery – Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Veronica Cline Barton
Fairy Tale/ Parody – Unfairy Prosecuted: J.W. Crawford
Fairy Tale – Poppy: Tia Fanning
Fantasy/ Supernatural – For the Love of the Pack: Sharon Lopez
Horror/ Meta horror – The Untold One: B.L. Clark
Horror – Frost Harbor: Alexander Pain
Literary – Omega Road: Lee M. Tipton
Magical Realism – An Early Snow: Andi Marchal
P.I./ Detective – The Wolf: Joe Congel
P.I./ Detective, Cozy Mystery – Mrs Solberg’s Problem: CW Hawes
Poetry – Wolf Pack United: Angie-Marie Delsante
Poetry – Welcome to the Den: Lori Katherine
Romance/ Supernatural – The Soap Maker’s Mother: Christina van Deventer
Science Fiction/ Military – Sacha: Jeff DeMarco
Science Fiction/ Paranormal – Wolf Cry: Z Gottlieb
Science Fiction/ Paranormal – Circus of the Night: Stefan Angelina McElvain
Urban Fantasy – True Nature : Luna Selas

Born of Chaos

What would you die for? Erica’s saga continues in the second installment of the Ruler of Ashes Series – a post-apocalyptic military science fiction thriller. Crimson Sky has ravaged the Earth, and transformed humans into Apex Predators known as ‘hunters.’

The Order, once sure of their superiority, have been driven beneath the Earth; betrayed by their creations – The Children of the Order, a genetically manipulated race gifted with superhuman capabilities. An ancient evil has emerged – technologically advanced, otherworldly and deadly. Alliances will shift, as The Children align with what they believe is ideologically right.

The Wonderful World of Marketing

First off, Thanks Emit Blackwell and Apocalypse Guys. I did back to back interviews about my novel Into Armageddon this week. Check them out here:

Emit Blackwell Show Listen here: simplecast.com/s/84cf7233

Apocalypse guys read here:

And as always, check out my apocalyptic science fiction novel ‘Into Armageddon’ read here:

What a crazy week. I’ve had to back off the #WolfPackAuthors initiatives (website building and recruitment), and I’ve said “Give me two weeks,” to a few folks interested in joining. We’ve joined forces with Indies United Publishing House and FauphTalk Fiction (See promoted sites page). Working on a few things that will streamline the promotion process. i.e. building a standard set of tweets, integrate automation. I’ve seen my followers grow to over 4,000 in two months. Oh… and I have another interview at my local library next week.

I feel as though I’m spread a little thin with work, but all good problems to have, so i’m not complaining. I have decided… blogging really isn’t my thing. I don’t like non-fiction – real life (the political spectrum and global issues in particular) is so dreary, whereas the little world in my head is a whole lot more exciting. This “Blog” going forward will be for promotional purposes and writing updates (at least i’ve got that figured out.) Guess i’ll just keep on, keepin’ on – writing, editing, marketing (but mostly writing, that’s the fun part.)