Monday, October 29, 2012

Author-fest - Meet Imogen Rose

October is rapidly coming to an end. I can't believe how fast it's flown by. Christmas will be here before we know it.

The Author-fest is coming to an end too. It has been SO much fun and I've felt very honoured to have some many cool writers on my site.

To wrap up the "fest", I'd like to introduce you to the final author, Imogen Rose. This lovely lady has seven books under her belt, including one that has been translated into German. Very cool.

Welcome to YAlicious, Imogen.

 When did you publish your first book?
The first one I published was PORTAL in January 2010.

What is the best lesson you've learned since starting out in the writing business?
I have learned that it’s not only about writing a book, but also about then presenting it to the world.

What are you currently working on?
I am working on the fifth book of the Portal Chronicles, and also translations (Japanese, German, French, and Spanish) of my current books.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?
I love the actual writing… the transfer of the story from my imagination onto paper.

What is your ultimate writing dream?
Having my stories made into TV series or movies.

Five Favourites:
TV Show- Right now, Homeland
Style of Music or Band- currently Imagine Dragons
Movie- Too many to choose from, but I really enjoyed the last MIB J
Book- 1984
Item of clothing - Valentino jacket

I've had Homeland recommended to me by a few people. I must check it out. Like you, I would LOVE to see my stories on screen.

If you'd like to connect with Imogen online, please follow the links below:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Favourites - Top Five

Well - we're nearing the end of October, which also means the Author-fest has only one more week to go. I have SO enjoyed having all these awesome writers visit my site and share their thoughts on writing... as well as their five favourites.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the interviews as much as I have.

Today I thought it'd be fun to find out what your Top Five Favourites are. I'll post mine and please join in the fun by listing yours in the comments section.

Now - with all of these I have more than one, so I'm just choosing the first that pops into my head :)

Okay - here goes...

TV Show: Rookie Blue
Style of Music or Band: Taylor Swift
Movie: I'm a movie freak! I have about ten in my brain right now!! Among them is Footloose.
Book: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Item of clothing: My knee high Doc Martin boots.

Okay - you're turn :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Author-fest - Meet Julia Crane

I'm very excited to have Julia Crane on my blog today. She has a long list of books under her name and continues to keep tapping them out. I have enjoyed getting to know her over the past few weeks.

It's a pleasure to have you, Julia.

 How many books have you published altogether?
I've published six books and one more is at the editor. 

What is the best lesson you've learned since starting out in the writing business?
Splurge on a good editor.

What are you currently working on?
I'm working on Freak of Nature and a co-written book that has yet to be named.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?
Getting ideas at random times. I always get ideas when i'm not trying to think about writing. Such as when cleaning the dishes or out on a walk.

Where is your favourite place to read?
I love having an iPhone with a Nook and Kindle app I can read anywhere. I would have to say my favorite place is the couch looking out at the ocean. 

Five Favourites...
TV Show: Bones
Style of Music or Band: Country - years of living in Tennesse
Movie: Brave Heart
Book: Fountain Head
Item of clothing: Winter hats that I never get to wear in Dubai.

I love getting ideas in random places too. When I'm out walking is a big one for me. Makes me want to go and get exercise. That can only be a good thing, right :)

If you'd like to connect with Julia on line, you can follow the links below...
Amazon Author Page

Julia also has a great Facebook Page that shares Nook deals. It's worth checking out :)
Nook Deals of the Day

Monday, October 22, 2012

Author-fest - Meet J. J. Bonds

Only two weeks left of the Author-fest to go. I've so enjoyed hosting these awesome writers on YAlicious. Thanks so much for everyone who has visited and read the interviews. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have.

Today, I'm very happy to introduce you to J. J. Bonds. J. J approached me when she heard about the Author-fest and I have so enjoyed getting to know her with our back and forth e-mails.

Welcome along J. J.

When did you publish your first book?
 My first novel, Crossroads, a YA Paranormal Romance, was released in November of 2011. It is the first in the Crossroads Academy trilogy. I’ve since released the sequel, Red Dawn, and am hard at work on the final installment, which is currently unnamed. I am quickly learning that saying goodbye to my debut series is much more difficult than I had anticipated. While I am excited to see how the characters have grown over the last few years, it’s bittersweet to let them go and move on to other projects. I’ve become so attached to the characters in Crossroads that I have to make sure my emotional attachment to them isn’t holding the series back. I promised readers an explosive conclusion and I have to deliver on that promise.

What is the best lesson you've learned since starting out in the writing business?
Indie Author is synonymous with Entrepreneur. (Seriously-- Look it up in the dictionary if you don’t believe me.) As an indie author, your job doesn’t end when the writing is done. It’s really just beginning. There’s marketing, networking, editing, design, publicity, and the list goes on. Sure, you can hire freelancers to help with some of the technical work, but even they are going to be looking for direction and guidance along the way. As an indie author you are in complete control-- and it’s a double edged sword with both benefits and disadvantages. Having a clearly defined plan, strong organizational skills and superb time-management are crucial to success.

Don’t get me wrong though. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also extremely rewarding. I’ve met some amazing people- both authors and bloggers- who’ve helped me along the way, and I wouldn’t trade the experience or the relationships for the world.

What is your favourite part of the writing process? 
I love brainstorming! It’s so much fun to create the characters and the setting and to know that nothing is off limits. This is the stage where anything goes. And although not every idea will make the final cut, I find myself bouncing all kinds of stuff off of my husband (who I’m certain occasionally wonders if I’ve lost my mind) and my beta readers. Their feedback is crucial to the process and makes my stories and my writing tighter, cleaner, and more effective.

What is your ultimate writing dream?
Growing up, I spent countless hours perusing the shelves of the local libraries and bookstores. My mom and I spent just about every weekend in one or the other as we share a love of reading. It was our ritual and it’s a tradition I intend to continue with my own daughter. I’d love for her to see my work on the shelves of our hometown library and bookstores so she’ll know that with a little hard work and dedication, dreams do come true.

Where is your favourite place to write?
As crazy as it may sound, I do most of my writing at the dining room table. Fortunately, my husband isn’t big on formal dinners so having my laptop, notebooks and drafts spread out all over the table rarely poses a problem. It’s far from ergonomic, but the dining room gets a lot of natural light which outweighs the discomfort of sitting on a wooden chair for hours!
Five Favourites...
TV Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Style of Music or Band: Alternative/Punk
Movie: Zombieland
Book: I couldn’t possibly choose just one! ;-)
Item of clothing: An old PSU sweatshirt that belonged to my dad.

Fantastic answers, J. J. I agree that being an indie author is really hard work, but so rewarding at the same time. 

If you'd like to connect with J. J., you can follow the links below...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Favourites - Non-fiction Authors

I tend to avoid non-fiction. To me those two little words, joined with that small hyphen, scream boredom. But the truth is, every time I do reach for a non-fiction book I am always pleasantly surprised by how readable it is and how much I get out of it.

Do you read non-fiction?
Who are your favourite non-fiction writers?

My list is steadily growing. I've broken my favourites into a few different categories.

 Life Stories
The most profound and moving story I've ever read was written by a Dutch lady - Corrie Ten Boom. She harboured Jews during World War 2 and was eventually captured. She spent the rest of the war surviving the horrific conditions of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. She faced many horrors and tragedies, but her book, The Hiding Place, is written with grace and wit. I haven't read her other books, but I'm sure I would enjoy them.

I have never laughed so much reading a book than when I read I Should Have Seen It Coming When The Rabbit Died by Teresa Bloomingdale. It was such a fantastic book and her writing was so heartfelt and personal.

Being a writer, I have obviously read quite a few books on writing. My list of recommendations is ridiculously long, but I can say that one of the most enjoyable books to read was On Writing by Stephen King. His easy style and points of advice made for almost light reading with impacting content. I didn't feel bogged down by information, but more inspired with a list of new strategies to execute.

The most enjoyable and helpful "self-help" book I've ever read has been Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. Once again, it is peppered with humor, but also laid out in a very practical, easy to follow manner with charts and lists. I love that kind of thing.

So, that's me.
Which non-fiction authors do you keep an eye out for?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Author-fest - Meet Tara West

I have just met Tara through a completely awesome Facebook group and I have SO enjoyed getting to know her. She is a very supportive author with awesome ideas. It is my pleasure to have her as part of the Author-fest.

Welcome along, Tara :)

When did you publish your first book?

I published my first book, Sophie's Secret, back in 2007 with a small press. Last fall I asked for my rights back to that book and two other YA paranormals and republished them on Kindle, Nook and iTunes. 

How many books have you published altogether?
I have now published four books under this penname, three YA paranormals and one YA fantasy. I should have my next YA paranormal out early  2013 and then it's back to work on my fantasy series. 

What is the best lesson you've learned since starting out in the writing business?
I've learned that a writer needs to appreciate her fans. They are what makes this profession worthwhile, so I always need to consider them when writing my next book. 

What is your ultimate writing dream?

My ultimate writing dream would be to see my books become movies, especially my fantasy YA, Curse of the Ice Dragon

Where is your favourite place to read?

I don't have a favorite place to read. I have this uncanny ability to shut out the world around me when I'm reading. I can read anywhere, standing in line, waiting for my daughter's choir practice. Thanks to my Kindle, I have limitless books to choose from. 

Five Favourites...
 TV Show - American Idol and Game of Thrones
Style of Music or Band -  Too many to list. I love many styles of music. It depends on my mood. Currently, it's either country or classic rock. 
Movie - All of the Harry Potters and anything with fantasy, plus I love silly funny movies like Bridesmaids
Book - All of the Harry Potters, The Hunger Games, plus anything by CL Wilson, M. Edward McNally, Shea MacLeod and Heather Marie Adkins
Item of clothing - Depends on my mood but I definitely like comfort, especially tshirts and jeans.

Great interview, Tara. Thanks. I would LOVE to see my books as movies too! That would just be the icing on this already awesome cake!

If you'd like to connect with Tara online, you can check out the links below:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Author-fest - Meet Laurel Garver

Welcome to week 3 of the Author-fest. So far we've met some outstanding authors and I'm very excited to introduce you to yet another... Laurel Garver. This fine lady approached me when she heard I was running the "fest" this month and I was more than happy to have her join us.

Welcome along, Laurel :)

When did you publish your first book?
My debut novel, Never Gone, released in September 2012 as an ebook and a paperback. It is the story of a grieving teen who believes her dead father has come back as a ghost to help her reconcile with her estranged mother.

What are you currently working on?
I have a companion book to Never Gone in the works, as well as a nonfiction writing resource book on deep characterization about halfway finished. I have a two other ideas in the planning/research stages, but it’s not yet clear to me which will grow into a viable project. I like to jot ideas as they come to me, and dig into research when I hit roadblocks on other projects.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?
I most enjoy revision. I suppose that’s because I’ve worked professionally as an editor for twenty years, so finding ways to strengthen work comes most naturally to me. I also really like the research and planning stages--when vague ideas begin to take shape.

What is the best lesson you've learned since starting out in the writing business?
Talk to real people when researching any aspect of your story. It not only gains you insider perspective, but also can stimulate your thinking and help generate stronger plots and characters far more than static library and Internet research can.

If you could recommend any book to aspiring writers, what would it be and why?
Elizabeth Lyon’s Manuscript Makeover is hands-down the most comprehensive, helpful book on revision I’ve ever read. And it’s the ability to revise that really separates the professional from the amateur. Lyon covers not only copyediting issues, but also voice, theme and symbolism, pacing and characterization. My copy is underlined and bristling with Post-it flags.

Five Favourites...
 TV Show—Doctor Who
Style of Music or Band— I love thoughtful lyrics paired with lush instrumental backgrounds: Sting, Coldplay, and the like
Book—The Wonder Worker by Susan Howatch
Item of clothing—soft cotton sweaters

I love the movie Amelie. So gorgeous! Thanks for the Manuscript Makeover recommendation too. It sounds like a goodie.

If you'd like to connect with Laurel online, you can check out the links below...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Favourites - Traditionally Published Authors

In sticking with the author theme of this month, I am now asking people who their favourite traditionally published authors are.

Last week I posted about favourite indie authors if you'd like to check it out.

So - traditionally published.... hmmmm - there are just so many, aren't there?

 The first few that pop into my head are:

Francine Rivers - I have loved most of her books - particularly Redeeming Love and The Mark of the Lion Trilogy.

Dee Henderson - I own all of her books - the first series I read was the Uncommon Heroes. LOVED it!

Simone Elkeles - I have loved most of her books. Perfect Chemistry was the first book of hers I read and I couldn't put it down.

How about you?
Which traditionally published authors have you looking for their latest releases?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Author-fest - Meet Heather Marie Adkins

I'm having so much fun this month. I love getting to know authors a little better. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Heather Marie Adkins today. I also had the privilege of working with her on the "Taste Test" sampler. She is awesome :)

Thanks for joining us, Heather!

How many books have you published altogether?
Under Heather Marie Adkins, I have published four books: The TempleAbigailConstant State of Disaster, and Cause & Effect.

Under my YA pen name, Nolia McCarty, I have published two: Heaven Below, and a co-write with Julia Crane, Eternal Youth.

I’m also in several anthologies, including Pink Snowbunnies in Hell (flash fiction, “It Finally Happens”), all of the Indie Chicks Indie Chicks anthologies (nonfiction, inspirational stories), and all of the Eclective’s anthologies (fictional short stories.)

What is the best lesson you've learned since starting out in the writing business?
Don’t do things halfway.  You HAVE to have an editor.  You HAVE to have professional, clean formatting.  You HAVE to have a professional cover from someone with experience and talent in graphic design.  These things are so pivotal to your success.  It’s hard, yes, because it’s so expensive up front.  But it’s better to have all those i’s dotted, so that later you aren’t trying to get out from under a shadow of bad reviews for editing.  I'm currently doing edits on every single one of my books, and I wish I had done it to begin with.

What are you currently working on?
I have several novels in the works right now.  Mother of All is the first in my Hedgewitch Mystery series.  Wiccan Wars is a stand-alone YA paranormal romance (to be published under my YA pen name, Nolia McCarty).  And I’m also working on the sequel to my first novel (The Temple), entitled “The Trickster”.  Outside of full-length novels, I’ll have quite a few novelettes published before the end of the year, too.

What is your ultimate writing dream?
My ultimate dream is to just make a living at writing.  As it is now, I work a full time day job as a police dispatcher.  I also run an extremely successful ebook/print formatting business.  So I just kind of stuff an hour of writing in here or there as I can, which doesn’t help me finish books.  That would be why I haven’t published a book since Eternal Youth came out in April :(  Ultimately, I just want my books to be the sole source of my income.  I don’t want fame.  I don’t want riches.  I just want to be able to write!

If you could recommend any book to aspiring writers, what would it be ?
For aspiring writers: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
For aspiring writers who want to self-publish: Let’s Get Digital—How To Self-Publish & Why You Should by David Gaughran

Five Favourites...
TV Show: Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations

Style of Music or Band: Irish music/Gaelic Storm

Movie: I don’t watch a whole lot of movies, but an all-time favorite is Boondock Saints.

Book: SO MANY.  Let’s go with American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Item of clothing: Hooded sweatshirt

Thanks for the great interview, Heather. I couldn't agree more about going to full lengths with your writing. It's so important to set yourself up as a professional and produce top quality work.

If you'd like to connect with Heather online, here are the links:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Author-fest - Meet Sarah Billington

I worked with Sarah on the "Taste Test" sampler, which we produced earlier this year. It has been so cool getting to know her. I've read The Kiss Off and really enjoyed it. Her writing is full of fun and humour. It was so cool to bury my nose in a light read that had me smiling and guessing the whole way through.

So it is my absolute pleasure to have her on my blog for the Author-fest.

When did you publish your first book?
April 2011, The Ballerina & My Best Friend and The Runaway, two short stories that had both previously been published before in an anthology (Ballerina) and magazine (The Runaway). Ballerina had a TERRIBLE original cover for its ebook, back in my noob days. That's since been rectified.

How many books have you published altogether?
Fourteen! Ten short stories, two novels and two short story collections.

What are you currently working on?
The sequel to The Kiss Off (which has been reviewed right here on this blog! It was an exciting day)! It has the most original of titles at the moment. Yes. It's The Kiss Off 2.

Where is your favourite place to read?
In bed. I love curling up in bed with a good book. LOVE. I pretty much always read lying down. On a couch, on the grass, on my desk...okay maybe I haven't done that last one. But it doesn't mean I won't. 

If you could recommend any book to aspiring writers, what would it be and why?
It's an absolute goldmine for character development, and helps to really make your characters three-dimensional, real people. Is your character a thirteen year old pyromaniac? She can tell you what personality traits he/she would have. Going through a divorce? What type of divorce? She takes you through the different stages of divorce and the effects it can have on the husband as wife as well as any kids involved. It's a brilliant book.

And Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. It's a book about plotting out screenplays but it 
DEFINITELY applies to novel writing. BIG TIME.

Five Favourites...

One? You want ONE of each? Yeah, that's not possible.

TV Show: Awkward. And Smash. And Game of Thrones. And Criminal Minds. And The Walking Dead. And Veronica Mars. And... yes I love TV.

Style of Music or Band: I love power pop and punk rock so my favourite bands are McFly and All Time Low. But I love the Rock of Ages soundtrack. And I love Marc Broussard. And I really love upbeat pop because my favourite songs right now are Brokenhearted by Karmin, Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson and Gangnam Style by Psy. I know everyone's over it but I literally JUST heard Gangnam Style a week ago for the first time. How funny is that video?  

Movie: As of today, because I only saw it a couple of days ago and am still thinking about it, Cabin in the Woods. The only thing I knew about that movie before seeing it was what the move cover looked like. So if you were to say "There's no way Sarah would have seen any of that coming"... you would be right.

Book: The Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison, the Carter series by Brent Crawford, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian.

Item of clothing: My Threadless tee shirts. Especially my Don't Care Bears one. I'm very into tee shirts right now.

Thanks for having me, Melissa! It's been fun!

Thanks so much for being here. I love "Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson. I love blasting it super loud and dancing around the house with my kids :)

If you'd like to connect with Sarah online, here are her links:

Amazon Author Page