Life Is What You Make of It- Guest Post – Amy Manemann

  Life is what you make it. Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams. Inspirational words I have at the top of my blog page, yet words that can instill a shred fear into anyone with a hope or dream in their heart. Easier said than done, sure, but who said anything about it being easy?
   For years I’ve dreamed of being a published author, though I can honestly say at the time I didn’t really understand what that meant. I wanted the fame, the fortune and glory, and everything else in between. I truly thought you wrote a good story, sent it to a publishing house and they would publish it, end of story. (This is the part where you fall down laughing) Ok, done laughing now? ;0) In a perfect world that’s probably how it would have worked out, but in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth. My dream was about to lead me down an insurmountable road that at times would seem impossible to push through, but I refused to give up.  Why? Because I love what I do. I LOVE telling a story, carefully handcrafting a tale and having the freedom to put it out there for others to enjoy thanks to places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble PubIt.
   Some dreams can lead us down seemingly impossible roads (I lost count of rejection letters a long time ago!), but please don’t give up if you truly feel what you’re doing is worthwhile. A dream is just that, a dream. It’s up to youto make it into a reality.
International best-selling author, Amy Manemann, is the author of Deadly Reunion and Deadly Science, the first two books of the Deadly Series (Taci Andrews Mysteries) and Dracula’s Party, her first children’s book. She resides in her hometown along the Mississippi river with her husband and their two children, where she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, blogging and interviewing authors to feature on her website. Amy is also a site administrator for the World Literary Cafe.

Connect with Amy through her website www.amymanemann.webs.comor blog www.amymanemann.blogspot.com.
Chapter Excerpt from Amy’s newest release, Deadly Science, featuring investigative reporter Taci Andrews and her two beaus in hot pursuit; fireman Tony Parson and coworker Gavyn Davis:
I somehow managed to keep my mouth from dropping open, hard as it was. Was it just my imagination or did Gavyn just politely tell Parsons to back off? From the deadly glint in Parsons narrowed eyes I could tell he’d gleaned the same information I had. Great.
Stepping forward Tony clamped a possessive hand on my arm, giving it a gentle tug until I was standing next to him on the sidewalk. Yep, let the pissing match begin. “Thanks for the offer, but she’s already taken care of. Maybe another time.”
Gavyn flashed an easy grin, reaching over to capture my free hand and tug me back to him. “Sorry to rain on your parade, but she’s already taken my offer for a ride home. I guess you
can catch her another time.”
Tony’s jaw clenched and he reached a hand over to capture my arm but I sidestepped, slapping my hands on my waist to fix the two of them with an icy stare. Don’t get me wrong; it did a lot for a girl’s ego to have two guys fighting over her, but this was getting ridiculous.
“You know something? I’ve decided that I don’t want a ride home from either of you tonight. Thanks for the offers, but I’ll take my chances with the cab company,” I informed them icily. Turning on my heel I stomped back in the direction of the Times building, coming to a halt when a junked up Ford Fiesta pulled to a stop at the curb. Corey stuck his youthful, pimpled face out the window, shooting me a hopeful smile.
“Doest thou need a ride to yonder castle, M’lady?” he asked. I blew out a sigh. This night had gone from weird to weirder. My current choices included dealing with the testosterone duo or a kid who thinks he’s a knight from Sir Lancelot’s time.
A glance over my shoulder at the scowling Gavyn and jaw clenched Parsons told me I’d be better off with the knight, and I quickly scrambled to the passenger side of the car. A perfect ending to a perfect day, I thought as we pulled away from the curb. A pair of sparkling crystals winked at me from the rearview mirror.
Deadly Reunion: Amazon: http://amzn.to/Q30ime  Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/NfKBrw
Deadly Science: Amazon: http://amzn.to/Mie9D0   Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/LwNnHu
Dracula’s Party (Children’s Book): Amazon: http://amzn.to/LwNG56 (Paperback Only)

Blog Hop WINNER!

As some of you remember, I participated in the Independence Day Bloghop Giveaway on July 1st – 4th. Tons of people entered, tweeted, FB’ed, and shared my post in the hopes of being the lucky one to win 1 print copy of A TOUCH OF DARKNESS, 1 print copy of A TOUCH OF MADNESS, and 1 print copy of FRACAS: A COLLECTION OF SHORT FRICTION. There were a TON of entries! Thank you so much for being interested in my words! After everything was tallied, the winner is……………………………………………………………………………………………………..
AMBER VAUGHT FRANKS!
Amber, I will be emailing you shortly to get your contact information to get you your autographed prizes. To everyone else, thank you. And watch for the next giveaway at Howlaween! 🙂

Author & Book Spotlight – Jeanette Hornby

Thanks, Jeanette, for stopping by and telling me a little about yourself and your book – Candy’s Man.
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About Jeanette

Link to my blog: http://jeanettehornbybooks.blogspot.com.au/

I’m an Aussie who has always loved to read and write.
My first two novels are set in my hometown and are based on my observations of real people and relationships. 
Another novel ‘Grapevines and Gum Trees’ is set in country Western Australia and is in the final editing stages.
I like variety and I have just released ‘Candy’s Man’ –  a Sexy Romance novel.
While my novels are all 
different, there is a common thread that runs through them – they are all love stories.
 
Candy’s Man
The moment Candace (Candy) Walker steps foot on a cruise ship, she begins a journey that will turn her world upside down.  Recently divorced, the last thing Candy seeks is a serious relationship.  She meets a sexy American stranger, throws all propriety out the window, and then relegates their passionate encounter to a holiday ‘fling’.
On arrival back in Sydney, Australia, Candy doesn’t know all hell is about to break loose until she meets her new ‘boss’, but that is the least of her problems. 
Cleve Hammond is a man with a secret, and Candy is a complication he does not expect nor want.  Or so he tells himself.  When his twin brother, Nash, becomes embroiled in the situation, Cleve begins to question his feelings.
The emotions stirring within him may jeopardise everything he has worked so hard to conceal.  He can’t afford to let down his guard after what happened in his past but Candy seems to be getting under his skin. 
As for Candy, she must begin to wade through the ensuing chaos of Nash’s affections and her twin sister’s unexpected arrival on her doorstep.  But perhaps her biggest challenge is letting go of her past once and for all, and learning to trust again.
 Candy’s Man Excerpt
 
Candy stared at the closed door and swallowed.  Her gaze took in the bare name-plate where her boss’s name used to be.  She slowly brought up her fisted hand and knocked.
“Come in,” said a muffled voice.
She took a breath and walked in the room, closing the door behind her.
The room was light and airy.  She stood, silent, looking at the man seated behind the huge wood-carved desk.  He had his head down and pen up.
He was a large man.  She could tell by the span of his shoulders and he had dark, tousled hair.  Her brows furrowed.  There was something about him…
The scent of spicy cologne reached her nostrils and she chewed on her bottom lip.  There was something familiar…
“Sit down, Miss Walker,” the deep American voice resonated.  “I won’t bite.”
‘Well, only if you don’t want me to’.
As the words fought their way back through the recesses of her memory, Candy gasped and took a step back, her back to the door.
“What…?” he began.
She watched as helooked up.  Saw his frown.  Saw his eyes turn to slivers of ice.  With her hand behind her, she worked desperately to find the door handle so she could escape…
“Stop!” he bellowed, and quickly stood.
Where was it?  She had to get out of there!
He began moving towards her, a mountain of a man dressed in black pants and a grey shirt, and her heart thumped relentlessly in her chest. 
There, she found it.  Her hand turned the handle but before she could run out of the room a large hand covered hers.  A hand that knew far too much.
Her chest heaving, she looked up at him.  His ruggedly handsome face was only inches away.
“Well, well,” he snarled.  “If it isn’t the elusive, Candy.”
She felt his breath on her skin and closed her eyes.  The memories of their time together came crashing into her mind and made her put out a hand to steady herself.  She found cotton-covered, hard, solid muscle and quickly pulled her hand away.
He laughed then, throaty and cruel, and stepped away from her.
She opened her eyes.  He moved back to his desk and sat on the edge.  The king in his domain.  What now?
“Well?” he asked.
Oh, God!
“Can’t find your voice, Miss Walker?
She couldn’t find her brain!  Everything was jumbled and her stomach was churning.
He shook his head and moved back to his chair behind the desk.  “If you haven’t anything to say then you may leave the room.”
What?  Did he say she could leave?  The buzzing noise in her ears was deafening.
“Go,” he said louder, and motioned towards the door with his hands. 
The glint of the gold band on his finger almost blinded her.  She was the other woman.  She felt sick to her stomach.
“Oh, and Miss Walker,” he began, looking at her with eyes that sent a shiver down her spine.  “I never mix business with pleasure.”
Her heart pummelled her chest.  Did that mean she was fired?
With eyes wide, she looked at him one more time before getting the hell out of there.
Links to Candy’s Man.  

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/168622

Author Interview w/ Book Spotlight – J. Naomi Ay

Today I’m chatting a bit with author J. Naomi Ay about what it’s like for her as a writer and about one of her books. So without further ado…
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Could you describe your book in 25 words or less? 
      The Boy who Lit up the Sky is the first part of the epic fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, romance series The Two Moons of Rehnor. 
 What inspires you to your stories?  
Boredom. 
*Ha! That’s what inspires me a lot of the time. lol
Do you have a special place you write?  
Yes. Years ago I built what today is called a “man cave” but is actually a woman cave. It is a windowless room carved into the foundation of my house that has computer controlled lighting, ventilation, temperature and mood music. I have an enormous desk and three wall paneled high res displays so that I can write, read and edit all at the same time. I call it my WoMan cave. Actually, that’s all fiction. I sit on my bed with my laptop on my knees until it overheats. That’s the signal to be done for the day. 
 
Do you have a play list while writing, anything special you do while you write? 
 I read aloud everything I am writing. Because I only write in first person narratives and I have many different characters with different kinds of voices, I have to hear them to make sure they are speaking correctly for their voice. Fortunately, I’m a half-way decent actor too so I can play all these parts. My dog thinks it’s very entertaining.
 *I’m also convinced my dogs think I’m insane. 
What do you do when you get writer’s block?  
I sleep. Whatever I dream about will become the next chapter. It really works too.
*I have to agree with you on this one. Sleeping usually cures all my writing dilemmas, too.  
What do you struggle with as a writer?  
Self-doubt. Is this any good? Am I the only one in the world who will think this is funny? Will somebody read this and think I ought to be locked up in one of those places where you queue up for pills and sit in a circle while only the nurses talk.
How long does it take you to write a story? 
Usually not too long if I have a good idea. If I don’t have any ideas, then I don’t start so forever. Literally. 
How many books have you written? Are they part of a series?
 There are 5 books in the series The Two Moons of Rehnor. Each is a full length novel with 70,000 or more words. I’m working on a prequel which may end up as a series as well.
*Oo, I love prequels!
What other project are you working on? 
Publishing the whole series in paperback, maybe I’ll be doing audiobooks as well. I’ll explore that option this summer. I also have a day job in sales in the renewable energy/recycling sector.
*Day jobs and writing are hard to juggle. I know. I have yet to get into audiobooks. You’ll have to let me know more about your experience later.
 
If your book(s) were made into a TV Series, what actors would you choose to play your characters?
 There’s about 30 characters or more in the series so we’d have a whole lot of actors and it would have to be a big budget film because of everyone I would want in it. Unfortunately, the main character Senya is just not castable. There isn’t anyone on Earth who can play him. Someone recently suggested doing it animated instead. That might be cool.
Do you read the genres you write? 
Not really. I spend too much time comparing and getting all nervous when I do so I can’t enjoy it. 
 
What has one of your fans said that made your day? 
“I had to put down my kindle and stop reading because I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face and I couldn’t see the page anymore.” In reference to book 2, My Enemy’s Son.
* That is an awesome thing to hear from a reader! Congratulations.
And everybody loves a quickie in their day right? Here are a few tidbits from Naomi super quick!
  • Fave Paranormal Type (vamp, were-creature, ghosts, psychics, etc.) Angel
  • Beach or Mountains Beach
  • Coffee or Tea Grande decaf sugar-free carmel soy latte with extra foam.
  • Wake early or sleep in Early
  • Ugliest thing in your closet Dust Bunnies.
  • Favorite breakfast cereal Quisp. It was around in the early 70’s and had an alien and a space ship on the front. My mother would only let us eat it on special occasions and by the time I got old enough to go out and buy my own breakfast cereals it was long gone.
Meet J. Naomi Ay 
Naomi lives in the north Olympic Peninsula and is mom to 3 kids and a Pomeranian. Naomi has always been a fan of historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. When not dreaming of space adventures, Naomi works in the renewable energy business and spends time out on the water.
The Two Moons of Rehnor was started more than twenty years ago as one giant epic saga. Today it is available as a 5 part series with each novel more than 70,000 words. The complete series was written and finished before any of the books were released.
Learn more about her book!
After a thousand years of war, the Mishnese and Karupta have made peace by wedding the Mishnese Princess Royal to the Karupta Crown Prince. Their son whose birth was foretold ten centuries ago is destined to rule the entire planet and end the wars forever. But the Princess and the baby have died during childbirth or so it was said. In the meantime, a strange half-breed infant boy is left at an orphanage with a purse full of gold coins. The Boy who Lit up the Sky follows the early years of Senya from the streets of Old Mishnah, to the Palace of Mishnah and from there to Karuptani where he is taught to live off the land and fight for that which is his. Along the way, he finds the Human girl who unbeknownst to her, shares his important destiny. 

Links:
jnaomiay.wordpress.com
@jnaomiay
facebook.com/jnaomiay
trailer: http://youtu.be/nc6aqOy2nvI

Illustrator Interview – Daniela Frongia

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Daniela, and sharing a little bit about what you do.
**

Let’s start with the usual questions: tell us about yourself, what your work is all about and where you’re from.
Hi Everyone, My name is Daniela Frongia, I’m 32. I’m Italian but I’ve been living in London for about 3 years, and my job is children’s books illustrator .
When did you get started? Did you always draw or just pick it up one day and it stuck? Did you always know drawing was how you’d earn a living or did a light bulb go on one day? 
Since I was 4 years old,  I always drew.
I followed artistic studies and  I finally worked as a graphic designer for about 8 years. After which I moved in London and I started with painting, and after as a book illustrator. But honestly, even though that this one could begin a really job for me.
Do you have any recurring themes in your doodles, you know, eyeballs, zombies, etc?
Because all my artworks are coming from different customers request, there is nothing that I can consider “recurring themes” just my style is enough.
Do you keep any type of reference library?
Not particularly.
What is your typical process from start to finish? How many revisions does it typically take for you to get to a place where you’re happy? 
I prepare a sketch of what will be the character. If the author gives me the ok, then I start the sketches of all illustrations. And after there is the coloration phase . Usually, there are at least from 5 to 10 revisions.
Do you have ideas floating about that you use when a client comes around, or is it client first and then idea?
I have got the first ideas already in the description of the character. Then I try to imagine the scenes by reading the rest of the story 🙂
When you work are you a ‘no distractions’ kind of person, or are you watching your favorite movie for the 12,000th time?
I prefer to not have any distractions, just a few moments listening to music. 🙂
Are there other areas of art you want to branch out to, or things you do today that you’d like to evolve?
I dedicate to this work fully, and for now it’s ok.
Do you have any recent favorite projects or anything coming up you’re excited about?
I haven’t got a particular favorite project, I often enjoy myself with all the stories.
But I really like fantasy and comic stories.
How long have you been working as a freelance artist and illustrator?
About 3 years.
Do you think artists are born?
I think everyone is a little artist inside, just find the particular skills hidden.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Manga style, especially Studio Ghibli, but lately the styles of Disney and Pixar.
 
What is the most fascinating part of being an illustrator? What is the most frustrating?
The most charming is to imagine the story and blow up the fantasy. The most frustrating, I think, is  to have a restricted deadline.
Do you have a website where readers may learn more about you and see samples of your work?
Sure, my website is www.caisairbrush.com
 
Quickies:
Ugliest thing in your closet
I’m really disorganized, but all the artists are a little particular…aren’t they?
Favorite food
Pizza of course 😉
What one item would you pick to represent your work? (Purple octopus, orange hula hoop, etc.)
A pink pig
**

Thanks for chatting with me, Daniela! I’ve always been very appreciative of visual art and what it takes to have that kind of talent and learned skill. Visual artists make the world more beautiful, thoughtful, and inspiring!

Dazed & CON-Fused Pt. 1

June was a whirlwind. With the release of my latest paranormal novel, A TOUCH OF MADNESS, and the e-release of it’s predecessor, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS, I was launched into full promotion mode. This means blog tours, local festivals, and conventions.

While the concept of blog tours is known to me, I can state this is my first. And, believe me, it has been one helluva a bit of a learning curve. And exhausting. Festivals, on the other hand, are old hat. They’re hot and busy, but overall relaxing and a lot like a family event to me. A community I know who, in turn, already know a little about me, but are still interested enough to learn more. Then there is THE CONVENTION.

While I’ve promoted at conventions before, I have never before tackled one (or two in this month’s case) A) so far from home, and/or B) so fricking busy.

The first convention I picked to attend this year was Con-tamination in St. Louis, a horror and pop culture con. In a frenzied push, I foolishly worked the entire night before this con then suicidally drove up (more than three hours away) to set up and promote, promote, promote. To top it off, I chose to stay up late that same night (in order to hang with some StL friends), then get up early again Sunday to set up and promote, promote, promote. Followed by crazily choosing to drive home after that, only to have the car break down still two point five hours from home requiring an overnight stay and frenzied attempt to locate A) a family member to come haul me home, and B) a car dolly to tow my little baby back.

The end result? A couple of books given away. One to a wonderful neighbor at the convention – Kitten Natividad. (Be advised, clicking on this site WILL lead to ADULT images and subject matter. Ms. Natividad is a wonderful and sweet lady. She is also an adult film star.) (Me and Kitten to the right and above)

What else? Something that is always nice for an author – I sold some books. Not as many as I’d like but, given the smaller turnout of this convention in compared to years past (from what I’ve been told), I’m not unhappy. Especially since I am not well-known or yet well-loved in St. Louis. This convention was my “gate way” year into the state of Missouri.

What is this “gate way”, you ask? Or maybe you aren’t asking, but I’m going to tell you anyway because it’s my blog. Na, na, na, na, na, na!  My brilliant marketing theory, given I only have so many weekends off from the dreaded but necessary Paycheck every so many months and so much money to spread around for travel and promotional items, is to pick 1 state near me every year and branch that way. Since I live on the Indiana/Illinois border, these two states are combined automatically. Plus, I’ve already hit these decently over the years since my initial publishing. This year I’d selected (mainly due to convenience and learning about these opportunities) Kentucky and Tennessee (more on both these states later). However, a good friend introduced me to Con-tamination, opening up St. Louis. (See side picture for good friend – author J. Travis Grundon.)

So, I guess, I’m branching into three states this year. Which has definitely left me exhausted, frazzled, but invigorated.


I’m exhausted because of the reasons you already read about – travel, late nights, early mornings. I’m frazzled for those same things you read about – car trouble, harried rescuer contacting, and additional monies shelled out for overnight hotel and car dolly and extra fuel for truck big enough to haul my baby, Lola, home. But I’m invigorated for reasons tied to these. A) I sold books to people I do not know and probably would NEVER come in contact with otherwise (ahem, Ron Jeremy’s business associate, hello!), and B) I genuinely like meeting new people and interacting with them (potential readers and other potential business associates a like), and C) getting to meet business associates I’ve only interacted with on a digital level before – i.e. the Web. (See known business associate John F.D. Taff <——– to the left and above.)

The best thing I can say about the trip was that it was a fun adventure. Exasperating, exhausting, but exhilarating overall and a fun adventure.

As follows are a few pictures from the trip: 1) a view from our first table, and Trav taking a picture for his own records, 2) a view from our second table, 3) B and myself headed home in the car (prior to break down) – it was so fricking hot that S was gracious enough to let me borrow one of her gorgeous scarves to pull back my hair away from the wind of the rolled down windows, and 4) a great costume of Hunter S. Thompson.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2, DAZED & CON-FUSED 
LOUISVILLE, KY AND FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST
~ BC Brown  – Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Fantasy
“Because Weird is Good.”
**
Abigail St. Michael, a former cop, has joined the recently growing ranks of metaphysicals, individuals with abilities outside that of normal human nature. When a murderer stalks her town killing children, Abbey uses her ability of touch clairvoyance to hunt him down. Her only roadblock is that her murderer seems to have his own unique talent, the ability to ‘wipe’ his victims and their surroundings of any metaphysical energy. With little physical evidence and no supernatural evidence, Abbey is forced to rely on instinct and luck to solve the case. However both Abbey’s luck and instinct seem to have taken a permanent vacation as the victims keep piling up with the killer’s escalating blood lust.