Author Interview with Aella Black


Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.


Aella: I’ve been to Concord, Massachusetts, home of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Alcott house is worth going to see! My dream literary pilgrimage is to England to do a Jane Austen tour, as well as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien in Oxford.


Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?


Aella: I feel fortunate to have already lived on four continents, and I often “write what I know.” But I’d love to live in Scotland and perhaps use the Isle of Skye for the setting for a novel.


Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?


Aella: I’d take my dog for a walk. Getting out in nature is a necessity for me.


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Aella: Both when necessary, but primarily a Pantser.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


Aella: Writing while pedaling on my desk bike. Not sure if that’s a quirk, but it’s unusual.


Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Aella: Honestly, my mood changes from week to week. Romance is a favorite, but I also love fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and historical fiction. And all of those with at least a romance sub-plot.


Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?


Aella: Both. I always like to bring “something new to the table,” but I also understand the value of writing to market and the popularity of tropes.


Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Aella: Write, even when you think you don’t have time. Make time. You have so many stories to be told, and sometimes the window to tell those stories closes and won’t reopen. Tell them now.


Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


Aella: ProWritingAid (editing software) and Vellum (formatting software)


Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?


Aella: A dog, maybe? Niko (my dearly departed German shepherd) and Travis Barker (my current senior rescue) have been the best writing buds anyone could ask for, so they deserve mascot status.


Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?


Aella: 4 published books (a trilogy & a novella), and 1 finished Vella (3 incomplete)


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


Aella: New York Times best-seller list. Seeing my books in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I’m not there (yet).


Day: What’s the best way to market your books?


Aella: Social Media, newsletter promos, and paid advertising


Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Aella: I generally research as I go. Often it’s setting or job particulars.


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


Aella: Not nearly enough. I have a full-time job, so 1-2 hours maximum.


Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Aella: No, but great idea!


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


Aella: The novella I wrote called “Midnight Mayhem” takes place during a terrorist attack in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Because that’s very much the reality we live in and could happen anywhere at any time, it was difficult to write.


Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?


Aella: I write best first thing in the morning, with a good cup of coffee (and preferably a
tasty pastry).


Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings Strong, interesting characters

Aella: Strong, interesting characters.


Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?


Aella: Yes, my writing sprint partner is Rhonda Hopkins, who has a fantastic YA paranormal cozy mystery series called the “Witches of Whispering Pines.” She and I will be co-writing a YA series, “The Gemini Prophecy” next year!


Aella’s Top 3 Vellas are:


Break Every Chain

High school senior Maverick Mason has what every guy his age wants: the girl, the grades, the god-like status. Amira Abbasi is the same age and lives in the same town, but her reality couldn’t be more different. In fact, no one outside her household knows she exists. A chance encounter may change that–will it make a difference if her fate has already been sealed?

Christmas Cruise on the Danube (Under a pen name-Selah Beckham)

Single and orphaned at thirty, Evie Broussard is afraid the holidays will never be the same. And they won’t–but that doesn’t mean she can’t start new traditions. A last-minute trip to see Christmas markets in Europe might be just what she needs. Only Evie finds things aren’t quite what she expected. Then again, nothing could have prepared her for Keller Kendrix and his crew.


Point Break (Under a pen name-Selah Beckham)

Kaden James is one surf competition from going pro when disaster strikes. Then his fiance throws salt in the open wound. With a battered body and broken heart, he may have given up, but his friends haven’t given up on him. Dakota Eriksen is just what the doctor ordered–quite literally. She has a strict hands-off policy with her PT patients, except when hands are required to do her job. Since Kaden wants nothing to do with her–or her hands–it should be easy to steer clear. Or is it?


Aella’s Top 3 Books are: (all available free with Kindle Unlimited):

Lock Down

My superpower? I can’t die. You can imagine how much it hurts when they test that out…

Phoebe Atkinson has always felt different, but in the typical angsty way most teenagers do. She had no idea just how different until that fateful day she died—and then came back to life.

It appears that sort of thing is frowned upon because Phoebe awakens to find herself locked up in Leavenworth, a notorious prison that now holds teens with supernatural abilities.

Behind bars, some are welcoming and others are… not. One group in particular seems determined to make the lives of Phoebe and her new friends as miserable as possible.

Although Phoebe’s life before being imprisoned was far from perfect, she wants it back. And she will… if they don’t find a way to kill her first.

Regardless, she’s no longer going to stand by and be the rule-follower she’s always been.

Look where that got her.


Power Up

Out of the frying pan into the fire…


Break Out

Everyone has their breaking point…


You can find Aella at: Facebook, Instagram, Website, and Tictoc.

Author Interview with Teshelle Combs

Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Teshelle: Oh, hands down, I would go to Northern Sweden. The extreme seasons and the Midnight Sun. The Northern Lights and the ice cracking on the frozen lakes while the foxes cry out in the darkness. I would write one HECK of a story.


Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Teshelle: A long barefoot walk followed by a solo shower so I can play out some new scenes in my head!


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Teshelle: I’m largely a pantser, but I could call myself a hybrid. I have a basic plan that I feel fine with changing if need be. And I usually outline my last few chapters or episodes to make sure I “land the plane” okay. The rest…is intuition and improv.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

Teshelle: I have a little brain-hack ritual for snapping my attention back to my work whenever I get distracted (which is often).


Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Teshelle: I love fantasy. Especially dystopian fantasy. I really enjoy politics, world-building, delicious character development, and a juicy love interest that bends all the rules. So it’s gotta be some sort of fantasy for me!


Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?


Teshelle: I think a good writer does both. I think my readers expect (or demand at this point) for me to write something unique and original. So I need to deliver!


Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Teshelle: Don’t give up, silly genius. Write the darn stories.


Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


Teshelle: Experiences! The more of the world I taste and see, the more my perspective shifts and the better writer I become.


Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?


Teshelle: A hawk. Hands down. I can see what I want from so very far away, and once I’m in motion toward it, my vision focuses impeccably fast. Also…every time I see a hawk, I pay attention to my surroundings and my life at that current moment. It’s my favorite animal.


Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?


Teshelle: I have 34 total “books” on Amazon right now. Some are poetry, one is a short story, and the rest are novels. And I have 7 vellas currently as well.


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


Teshelle: I want my stories to fuel my family’s dreams. I want my books to be the foundation for every awesome thing we do in the future.


Day: What’s the best way to market your books?


Teshelle: Talk about your books constantly. With great joy. With extreme passion. Never tire of talking about them. Find the best ways and platforms for talking about them, and then…you guessed it. Talk about them. 


Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Teshelle: I usually need to plan most of the aspects of my fantasy world before I begin. Meanings of names, cultural references, types of food, dress, greetings, customs, and societal expectations. All of these I research and map out before I start writing. Usually, some version of the story has been cooking in my mind for many months, if not years. So once I get to the research phase, it only takes a day or two. Then I’m off to writing.


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


Teshelle: It’s different every day because I have a pretty eclectic life schedule. Sometimes one hour, sometimes five.

 


Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?


Teshelle: Oh yes, DEFINITELY. I have had readers sit down together with pencils and pens and highlighters and try to find my secrets! 


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

Teshelle: I am currently writing it. The final scenes in my upcoming release, Tuck Me In, are excruciating for me. I sure hope the story will be worth it. I think it’s an important one to tell.


Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

Teshelle: I would love to write around 10am every day, but that’s when I start homeschooling the boys, so it almost never happens at that time. 


Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Teshelle: Strong characters. If a character is strong enough, they could simply sit in a room for four hundred pages, and it would be intriguing. (Oh no. That’s a good story idea. Uh oh.)


Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

Teshelle: I will hands down shout out my dearest friend, LM Siddens. Check out their work because they are kind and whole and also brilliant and talented.


Teshelle’s Top three Vellas are:

The First Stone

Sanaa of Rote exists only to please her father, the King, by marrying the High Prince of an allied realm. And she will succeed. She must. If she can bear to swallow her hatred for the man to whom she must yield every fragment of her power. | From the world of The First Dryad.

The First Dryad

Aia spent her life in hiding until her secret was discovered, and she was taken to the Palace in chains. Now, among the last crop of an ancient arboreal race, she will have to prove herself useful to the High Prince to survive. But alas, love is ruin. And the last of one race might become the first in another. Season 2 has begun.

Slit Throat Saga

Fantasy like you’ve never read before | They are hunting us. They are hunting me. The death sentence in my veins will stay hidden because I’m clever. Because I’m careful. Because I’m Nexus. Until the people who are supposed to love me threaten to destroy me. But you’ll see. I’ll make a way. And I’ll forge it in blood, in lies…and in metal.


Teshelle’s top three books are:

The Underglow

Aurelie Kendrick hasn’t spoken a word since she was a young girl. Lucky for her, vampires, known in her world simply as “pyres” like Alexander don’t speak either. But in a dark world where pyres are enslaved, forced to drink the blood of their masters, can the speechless find a voice?

The First Dryad

Aia spent her life in hiding…until her secret was discovered, and she was taken to the Palace in chains. Now, among the last crop of an ancient arboreal race, she will have to prove herself useful to the High Prince to survive. But alas, love is ruin. And the last of one race might become the first in another.

Slit Throat Saga

They are hunting us. They are hunting me. The death sentence in my veins will stay hidden because I’m clever. Because I’m careful. Because I’m Nexus. Until the people who are supposed to love me threaten to destroy me. But you’ll see. I’ll make a way. And I’ll forge it in blood, in lies…and in metal.


You can find Teshelle at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon Author page, and Linktree.


Author Interview with C.H. Lyn

Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.


C.H Lyn: My sister and I spent a full weekend at a cute little bed and breakfast in Santa Cruz, CA, over the summer of 2021. It was amazing. I planned on writing a ton for my WIP at the time and ended up drafting a 4-part series with my sister instead. We haven’t gotten past the first few chapters of book one, but it’s biding its time, waiting for me to finish my current series.


Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?


C.H Lyn: Oohh, that’s a tough one. My series, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides takes place all over the world. Book one is set in Tokyo, Thailand, and New York. Book two is set in Peru and New York… I think I’d go for Europe. I’d try to slam out four books for the Travel Guides series that takes place in a bunch of different European countries.


Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?


C.H Lyn: Usually if I’ve been at the computer that long without writing, it’s because I got distracted watching Critical Role or Dimension20. The right music always helps. Some good tunes, a chocolatey snack, some tea or coffee, and I’m ready to go!


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?


C.H Lyn: I used to be a panster, but I’m a plotter all the way. I’ve got detailed outlines for everything I’m working on. For the vellas they’re usually a simple outline. For my books, they are fully written 5 act structures, scenes, etc.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


C.H Lyn: I’d have to say not getting stuck as I go. When I’m writing out the plot – sure, I spend a lot of time scratching my head about what happens next. When I’m actually writing, not so much. If I do have that moment of doubt or hesitation, I usually fill in the word – or even section – with {ELEPHANT} to replace whatever I will go back and take care of later.


Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?


C.H Lyn: So hard to answer! I write a bunch of different genres, and that’s what I like to read too! Off the top of my head: sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, contemporary action thrillers, and anything that makes me laugh without trying too hard.


Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

C.H Lyn: I write what I want to read. I know enough people read the same books as me, that they’ll hopefully like what I’m writing too. Beyond that, I’m not trying to write for the current popular genre. Maybe someday, when I’ve run out of WIPs and backlogged projects, I’ll be able to gauge the market and pop out what is trending, but at the moment, I’m writing for the characters I want more of.


Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


C.H Lyn: DON’T DO VANITY PUBLISHING!! Haha, but seriously. It’s a long story and one of the more expensive lessons I’ve ever learned. 19-year-old me could have used a bit of advice in that area.


Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


C.H Lyn: My husband bought me my laptop, so I’m not sure that counts. Beyond that, I’d say the cover art I’m currently having commissioned. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’ll definitely be worth the money.


Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?


C.H Lyn: My mascot has to be my white German Shepherd. If only because he comes to every game (writing session in my office).


Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?


C.H Lyn: I have one published book (Lacey Goes to Tokyo) and two finished Vellas, with a third releasing new episodes this month.


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


C.H Lyn: People reading my work, and not just people I know. Having book signings, merch, and a sweater with the rebel logo from my dystopian series on it. It looks like writing and publishing being my career.


Day: What’s the best way to market your books?


C.H Lyn: Ha! If I knew that, I’d tell you. From what I can tell, social media is key, but so is stuff like this. Doing interviews with fellow authors, chatting online, and making connections.


Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?


C.H Lyn: Good lordy, that’s a tough one. For Miss Belle’s Travel Guides, I do a ton of research. Hours for each book. With Book One, I did the research as I went. With Book Two, I’m actually holding off. If I need a restaurant, I leave a space to fill in later once I’ve put an hour into searching blogs and menus to find the perfect fit. For my sci-fi-fantasy/dystopian series, I don’t need much research. The usual writer stuff, how much blood loss kills you, what are the different burn levels, etc.


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


C.H Lyn: On a good day, the average is 2.5. I get a couple hours at the Y while my kids are at Learn and Play. (I love my Y, by the way. It has a cute little lounge area around a fireplace that is perfect for headphones and a laptop and diving into a story.) Then I try to do a half hour to an hour in the evening, depending on what my husband is up to. That time is generally spent with housekeeping: posting episodes to Vella, catching up on author emails, and planning social media stuff.


Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?


C.H Lyn: Oh, absolutely. I love easter eggs. There is nothing quite like a puzzle that a reader won’t realize until they go through the book a second time. I love pausing while I’m reading, flipping back a hundred pages, and having a Eureka moment. I want to deliver that to my readers as well.


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


C.H Lyn: In Lacey Goes to Tokyo there is a lot of reference to abuse. I dance around it because none of my books will show graphic violence against women in that way, but it gets close sometimes. Those are difficult to write, mostly because my mind is always trying to consider what a reader will take from the scene, and I never want to cause unnecessary harm to my readers. Apart from that, Hope and Lies (Book One of the Abredea Series) has several heartbreaking scenes. Writing them isn’t as tough as the edit later on. Reading through the end of my book, when an MC dies in the arms of her grandson, makes me cry every time.


Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?


C.H Lyn: I used to be a midnight writer, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning. Now I have two kids, haha. I do my best stuff on the weekends in the morning. Hubby watches the girls, and I hit the coffee shop (or get coffee and work in my new office). We also go to the Y in the mornings, so that automatically makes them the best time – if not technically my favorite.


Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

C.H Lyn: I think a strong character will get you through the worst plot, but an intriguing plot won’t get me past a 2-dimensional boring character. If I need to find out what happens, I’ll ask someone who reads it. Epic settings aren’t where I find myself engrossed. I love a good description, and if I’m able to live and breathe a world, it makes the book about a hundred times better. But again, none of that will matter to me if I don’t like the characters.


Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?


C.H Lyn: I’ll do ya better. I’ll shout out a few. I just finished reading Dakota Breann’s debut novel, and it was a very interesting take on a futuristic dystopian U.S. Lindz Hanson doesn’t have anything out yet, but she’s a riot on Tiktok (@bookreviewflashmob). Glint of Mischief is my cover artist, he did the art for Spooky Cat, and he is also an author. His stuff on social media is fantastic and hilarious, and his covers are gorgeous!


C.H. Lyn’s Vellas:

Abredea: Hope and Lies

No peace without order. No order without caste. Juliana believes in the system. Believes it will work for her as it always has. When she is Coded a White-Star, she realizes people in power don’t always tell the truth. Maybelle is a rebel. She has found her truth, and she will fight for it. Cho wants to survive. Wants his family to live peaceful lives. Their powers – superhuman abilities – make that life nearly impossible. Follow these three in a world where lies are abundant, and hope is rare.


Spooky Cat

Demi has always said ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. It’s the polite thing to do. But does their cat count? When Missy sneezes, and Demi fails to utter the appropriate response, a demon takes over their cat. The unlikely pairing undertakes adventure and hilarity, battling bigots and bigger demons, to get all the things necessary for an exorcism. Because as much as Demi doesn’t want a demon in their cat, the demon wants to be there even less.


Song of the Deep

Prince Derek is set to marry Lady Lydia. Not his choice; not hers. It’s his duty, so he tries to get to know his soon-to-be bride on their trek across the sea to his kingdom. When their ship goes down, and she is lost at sea, Derek is reminded of an old tale, a legend in his lands. When a woman dies at sea, she might not be lost forever. He, and Lydia’s handmaiden, Alyana, find a sea witch to learn if this legend might be true. It might. But what will it cost to see Lydia again?


C.H. Lyn’s book series is:

Lacey Goes To Tokyo: Miss Belle’s Travel Guides

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment in time and emerge unscathed? Or will this mission be their last?


You can find C.H. Lyn at: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TicToc, and Amazon.


Author Interview with Tricia Schneider

Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Tricia: I don’t have to go far. I live minutes away from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, perhaps best known in the literary world as the home of John O’Hara, author of Appointment in Samarra and Butterfield. He based his popular book, Gibbsville, on his hometown of Pottsville and the residents there.


Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Tricia: I have written books that take place in London, England, but I’ve never set foot there. Although, I’ve done a ton of research, I would love nothing more than to visit the place. Spending a year in London, or anywhere in the United Kingdom, would be a dream come true!
 


Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?


Tricia: This happens more often than I care for, to be honest. I have several methods to work through this. The best for me is taking a walk, going for a drive (although with gas prices these days – not so much lately), or taking a long shower. These work wonders for my creativity. I can usually work through any blocks or plot problems that come my way.
 


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?


Tricia: I call myself a Planster. A combination of the two work best for me. When I create a story, I write everything I know about it, from characters, setting, plot, you name it. I’ll create an outline with the information I have. Typically, there are big gaping holes where I don’t know what happens. Those get filled in as I write. Most times, I have to go back and fix things as I learn more about the characters and the story. But writing this way gives me a semblance of structure and a vague guide, but still leaves a lot of surprises and what happens next questions that I love to see answered.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


Tricia: I’m not sure I have any unusual writing quirks. Sometimes, I think I’m rather boring. But I will share my experience with my writing space this last summer. I spent days cleaning out my small walk-in closet to convert half of it into an office space where I might escape from my noisy family to get my writing done. It’s beautiful with a small desk, pretty lights and a comfy chair. I was so happy when I finished, imagining my days hidden away, typing my stories. Yeah, it didn’t work out like that. My office isn’t soundproof, so the noises from the household still distract me. Plus, my 7-year-old doesn’t understand the concept of mommy-needs-to-work, so there’s plenty of distraction from him playing with his toys in my office while I’m trying to write. While I haven’t abandoned it completely, I’ve gone back to writing on my bed with my laptop or the sofa in the living room, wearing headphones to block the noise around me.


Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?


Tricia: I’m an avid reader, and I’ll read anything, but romance is by far my favorite. Any kind of romance. Historical, paranormal, contemporary, it doesn’t matter. I crave that happily-ever-after story. This world is filled with so many uncertainties. I need to know the characters I read about will find their happy-ever-afters since none are guaranteed in real life.


Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?


Tricia: Probably a combination of the two. I want to write a story that will resonate with readers, but I like to put a fresh, unique spin on my stories. Romance is filled with tropes such as enemies to lovers, arranged marriages, or second-chance love. I like to play with these tropes and see what new twists I can create with them.


Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Tricia: Stop doubting yourself. Just go for it. You can do it!


Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


Tricia: The best money I ever spent was on the few writer’s conferences I went to when I was younger and learning about the publishing industry. I met so many people, authors, and aspiring writers, and I learned a great deal from them. Attending those conferences in my early days really impacted me in a wonderful way and led me on the journey I’m currently on.


Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?


Tricia: I’m not sure I would pick it for myself, but I think a spider picked me. The year I first became published, I kept encountering yellow garden spiders. These spiders are also known as writing spiders. Yes, I had to look it up. When I saw the name, I felt like someone was trying to send me a message. They are orb weavers, which means they create beautiful, intricate webs. I found several in my garden and front porch that year. Also, I found one crawling on my leg while I was driving my son home from preschool one day. No, I didn’t freak out, but it’s a good thing I like spiders! �� I think the spirits were definitely trying to get my attention.


Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?


Tricia: I’ve been published with The Wild Rose Press and some other indie publishers. I have several paranormal, historical, sci-fi, and fantasy romances published with varying lengths and heat levels. Novels to short stories. Steamy to sweet. Kindle Vella is my newest venture. Right now, I have one Vella published called Into the Dark. But I’m working on more to schedule for next year.


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


Tricia: I already feel successful. For me, I have many milestones on the way to a top goal. I’ve accomplished some such as getting a book written (yes, that counts as a success!), getting published, and making it onto the USA Today Bestseller’s list. My ultimate goal is to make enough income with my writing to pay my bills. That’s always been my dream.


Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Tricia: I’ve been doing this for a while, but I still feel like I’m learning as I go. There are so many methods, and what works for one author may not work for another. I’ve had good luck with my newsletter subscribers and word of mouth.


Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Tricia: It depends on the book. I’ve spent hours reading nonfiction books and searching online articles for my historical romances. I try my best to be as accurate as possible with historical detail. With my paranormal romances, I’ve researched books about mythological and magical creatures. If I can, I like to travel to the locations for the settings of my stories. It’s wonderful to walk the same streets as my characters.
 


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


Tricia: I’m a single mom with four children between the ages of 16 and 7. My writing hours vary greatly. Over the years, I’ve learned to be flexible. Sometimes, I get an hour, and other days I might have five hours. I don’t have a set schedule. My best time for writing in the summer was early in the morning every day while my kids were asleep. Now that they’re back in school, I write more during the weekdays.


Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?


Tricia: Yes. I love Easter eggs! Most of my stories are interconnected in small ways, whether it’s a setting or a character. Just something minor that ties them together. Another little secret in my writing is the names I use for my characters. I grew up in the ’80s watching re-runs of the 1960s TV drama, Dark Shadows. My mother got me hooked on that show, and it influenced my life in a huge way during my formative years. My passion for the supernatural stems from storylines involving vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, curses, time travel, and more. To pay homage to my favorite show, I borrow names of the characters and the actors who played them and use at least one in each of my books, first or last name. It’s not something obvious, but it’s a secret that I think only Dark Shadows fans might catch if they were looking closely.


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


Tricia: Anything involving the death of a loved one. My mother died from leukemia when I was 11. It’s difficult to write about loss as it brings strong memories. I discovered quite accidentally that nearly all the heroines in my stories have suffered the loss of their mother. It might not always pertain to the plot in a huge way, but I didn’t even realize I wrote them like that until someone close to me pointed it out.


Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?
 
Tricia: My favorite time to write is whenever I’m alone in my house or when my kids are asleep. That’s the only time it’s quiet and peaceful, so I can lose myself in my story. Having four children, there’s rarely a moment when there’s not noise or chaos. Also, my house has become a haven for some of the neighborhood kids, so I typically have more than just my children in my home. At least two or three others call my house a second home and spend a lot of time with us. So much that they’ve become like part of my family. When I say it’s beyond noisy at my house, I’m not exaggerating!


Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Tricia: All three would be best! Usually, when I’m developing my stories, I start with the characters. I spend a lot of time learning who they are and what makes them tick. I think readers really connect with strong characters who will share their journey and take them through the epic settings and mind-blowing plot twists.


Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?


Tricia: My bestie author buddy is the amazing Ash Krafton. She’s a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who writes speculative fiction. I’ve known her since my Waldenbooks days while I worked at the local mall. She’s not only a brilliant writer but a fantastic friend! You must check out her Demimonde series. And, I admit, I might have a teeny bit of a crush on the exorcist mage, Simon Alliant, from The Demon Whisperer series. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve re-read those books multiple times!


Thank you so much for the interview! This was fun!


If you’re interested in learning more about Tricia’s work,

Check out her Kindle Vella:

Into the Dark

Trapped in a dimension where magic feeds from the living, Allison must trust a stranger to help her survive in this terrifying reality. Brian has lost all hope of escape. Finding Allison has given him new purpose to keep going, but for how long? As they search for a way out of this nightmarish world, will they sacrifice their newfound feelings for each other for a chance to return home? Or will they remain trapped in a world where the dead walk among the living?

To see her USA Today bestselling books, check out Tricia’s website or her blog.

And in between deadlines, she’s usually hanging out at one of these social media sites:
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Bookbub
Instagram

Author Interview with R.T. Slaywood

  • Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

R.T.: None yet, and I don’t plan to. Mostly because I think author worship is weird. Wait, I would totally go to a convention to see Lou Diamond Phillips and get his autograph of my copy of The Tinderbox.

  • Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

R.T.: I’m going to assume this means I’m getting paid to be there? If so, I would choose my house as I could use a good staycation.

  • Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

R.T.: The P/C answer would be to read.

  • Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

R.T.: Pantser.

  • Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

R.T.: Aside from drafting on Twitter, my fascination with Furbies and harassment of celebrities? I like to do it on my phone.

  • Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

R.T.: I used to have a favorite, but I don’t anymore. Over time I’ve developed a unique taste for accessible authors. I like to ask the writer questions, send them reactions and memes. To me, it’s a way to honor the time they spent to tell me a story.

  • Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

R.T.: It’s about balance. You can only subvert expectations to a point before people lose the ability to relate to the narrative. At some point, you need to give them a win.

  • Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

R.T.: Start now, ask questions later.

  • Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

R.T.: Food. Hard to write when you’re hungry.

  • Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

R.T.: I would pick Stephen King in the middle of writing Cujo. 

  • Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

R.T.: Two, The Genius’ Guide to Writing Bad that I Co-Wrote, and The Ballad of Bonaduke.

  • Day: What does literary success look like to you?

R.T.: To crush other writers, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their fans.

  • Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

R.T.: There are two ways to sell anything. Either the buyer likes the product, or they like you. I prefer to sell the latter.

  • Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

R.T.: Approximately 0 before and a Google search during if I don’t think what I wrote sounds believable.

  • Day: How many hours a day do you write?

R.T.: 1-4

  • Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

R.T.: About every chapter has something that is special to me. Either a reference to something that will happen or an inside joke. I think it’s what makes writing fun.

  • Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

R.T.: Any scene that involves over 3 people talking or more than 15 lines of dialog. 

  • Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

R.T.: Mostly wherever I’m not supposed to, I like the adrenaline of doing it at work or during a conversation. 

  • Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

R.T.: None of the above. The most important thing is conflict. Nothing above matters if the readers aren’t engaged with the stakes. 

  • Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

R.T.: K. Thomas, author of Time To Wake. Without her encouragement, I would have never published The Ballad of Bonaduke onto Kindle vella, it would have never made #200th favorite in August, and it probably never would have left Twitter. 

R.T. Slaywood’s Kindle Vella

The Ballad of Bonaduke

Originally drafted as Twitterature, The Ballad of Bonaduke is about an ex-con turned family man who has been homeless for years. Haunted by memories he fears to face, he’s now ready to throw his life away. However, a simple purchase leads to a violent discovery about the truth of his ‘grifts’. All on the back of a 5$ bill.

R.T. Slaywood’s book is

The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing

Are you plagued by success? Need a break from fame? Or perhaps you’ve grown tired of your gigantic intellect and want to trade in for a smaller, used, or economic one. Well, have we got the guide for you! And unlike future you, we wrote it well.

You can follow R.T. Slaywood on Twitter and Facebook.

Author Interview with Gage Greenwood

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

    Gage: I haven’t been on any, but I live in New England, so I have been around some literary hotspots by happenstance. I’m less interested in who wrote where and more interested in visiting places where wild things happened. Okay, Edgar Allen Poe wrote at this bar, but tell me more about the ghosts people see in the hallways.

    2)  Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

    Gage: Most of my books take place in a fictional version of the town I live in, but for the sake of exploration, I would go to Ireland. I could see that conjuring a lot of fun folk horror stories.

    3) Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

    Gage: I’d probably do some cleaning or some working out. Put my headphones in and listen to an audiobook. It’s often listening to the words of another author that breaks me out of a writer’s block, that and being physically active, and by that, I just mean moving around a little.

    4) Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

    Gage: Definitely a pantser, but I do usually have an idea where it’s all going to end. It’s just I have no idea how it’s going to get there.

    5) Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

    Gage: I am always snacking while I write, which is both unhealthy and bad for my computer keys, which tend to get covered in snack crumbs.

    6) Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

    Gage: Horror. I read every genre imaginable, and I love something about all of them, but horror treads into the questions that most unnerve me, the kinds of things I don’t want to think about outside of when I’m reading. Almost always, horror is about life, death, and coming to
    terms with a world out of our control. Those are big, horrifying topics, and I find comfort in fearing them with a talented writer who wants to explore them in their own way. Outside of horror, I try to
    make sure my TBR pile is filled with different voices, cultures, races, religions, sexes, and creeds. It’s important for me to explore outside of my own worldview.

    7) Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

    Gage: Original, to my own detriment. I wish I could write to market, but I’m weird, and I don’t know how to un-weird myself. I suppose I could train myself to write to market, but I would get bored, and writing would lose some of its luster for me. I need to write from the gut.

    8) Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

    Gage: Don’t be so afraid. Challenge yourself. Take risks. Yes, you can bring your story there. You can bring it wherever the heck you want.

    9) Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

    Gage: Easily on my editor and cover artist. My editor, Mary Danner, is a one-of-a-kind, truly gifted editor who also understands my voice. She knows how to make my work shine while maintaining the integrity of how I like to write. Meanwhile, my cover artist, Luke Spooner, is much like me. His work crosses genres and mixes whimsy with darkness. It’s beautiful and fits my style so well.

    10) Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

    Gage: Probably a lemur. My writing looks harmless, friendly even, but it can bite and scratch.

    11) Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

    Gage: I have four Vellas, three of which are ongoing, and one is complete. Meanwhile, my debut novel came out in June, which was the first season of my most popular Vella, Winter’s Myths. Season two is complete on Vella, and going into book form in late October/early November. I am hoping to have four or five books published in 2023.

    12) Day: What does literary success look like to you?

    Gage: A television show based off my books starring Kevin Bacon, a popular line of toys based on characters from my books. Fans dressing up in cosplay from my work. People getting tattoos of quotes I wrote. An army of minions. A legion of warriors working for me. World domination. Or, honestly, just knowing my book makes some people happy.

    13) Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

    Gage: I’m a constant self-promoter. I like to do that because, for me, it’s not just about pitching my book. I enjoy finding my audience and getting to know them. I constantly tell my friends and readers this isn’t my journey, it’s ours. We’re in this together, and my successes are yours as well. Word of mouth has been huge for me. Booktokers and bookstagramers, as well as people spreading the word in book groups on Facebook. I’ve done some paid ads, but they haven’t worked for me because I need to learn the systems better. I plan to do just that, but for now, while I am learning, word of mouth is driving my sales.

    14) Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

    Gage: Depends on what I need. For Winter’s Myths, I needed to learn about prepping and living underground. I spent months reading up on survival skills and how one would live underground off nothing but their own skills.

    15) Day: How many hours a day do you write?

    Gage: My life is pretty scattered, and I have more projects than just writing to work on, so some days I write for 8 hours, and others I don’t write at all. On average, I would say three or four hours.

    16) Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Gage: Yes. And I also connect just about everything I write to something else I write, so those are fun easter eggs for people following my career. There are also a ton of little pop culture references or homages to artists and writers I dig.

    17) Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

    Gage: There was a scene in one story where a character I grew to love had to get attacked. She had a brutal battle, and I hated every second of it. I wanted to protect her. I also wrote a short story for my newsletter subscribers where I went deep into my past with addiction, and some of that was very raw and hard to write.

    18) Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

    Gage: Mornings when the house is quiet. I used to love to write about 2 or 3 in the morning, when everyone was asleep, but my life and routine has changed, and now the morning is when I have the most peace and quiet.

    19) Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters
    B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

    Gage: Why not all three? Characters always come first for me, so I will choose A. Plots are fun but hollow without strong characters going through them. Settings add an extra layer of character, but without the friends you want to follow through the scenes, the setting would feel pretty empty.

    20) Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

    Gage: Nikolai Wisekal. The man is writing some pure comedy gold with wonderful fantasy and sci-fi backdrops. How he’s not famous yet is beyond me. On top of that, he’s just a really great person.

Gage’s Top Three Vellas are:

Winter’s Myth

After a disease ravages his underground community, Winter escapes with his two daughters to the upper world, a place called Earth. Winter fears what he will find on Earth, but he is surprised to find the planet has largely been abandoned. As he and his daughters struggle to survive, and come face to face with deadly foes, Winter tells his children stories and legends as a way to make sense of their new surroundings. In Winter’s world, we are the mythology. We are the legends. We are the threat.

A Glass World

Marybeth’s panic attacks are getting worse. Brian’s daughter disappeared while on a camping trip. Tragedy unfolded for Judith while on a walk with her family. These strangers find their way to a secret world made entirely of glass, and with this discovery, they unlock uncanny powers within themselves. But they aren’t the only ones with vast power, and not everyone is happy with this group’s newfound abilities. The Dead Things are coming, and they hunger for the residents of Glass World.

Bunker Dogs

Don’t fear what you’re hiding from. Fear what you’re hiding with. When the Timurs ask Cassie to babysit, she couldn’t be happier. Their twelve-year-old son keeps to himself and plays video games all night, leaving Cassie to study in the peace and quiet of the Timur’s humongous open-floor house. But the world is about to descend into madness, and as Cassie tries to hide from it, she discovers the Timur house has secrets. Some secrets are best kept buried. Some secrets have teeth.

Gage’s books are:

Winter’s Myths

After a disease ravages his underground community, Winter escapes with his daughters to the dangerous surface of Earth. Believing the planet is largely abandoned, he struggles to make sense of this strange new world while trying to keep his family alive… But the surface is not all complicated artifacts and relics of a deserted universe. Winter is certain something—or someone—is hunting them.

He weaves wild tales to entertain and teach his daughters, turning celebrities into demigods and Abe Lincoln into an ice giant. As the journey grows darker and more dangerous, his mythologies keep not only his children from confusion and despair, but him as well.

With tensions rising and danger at every corner, will Winter keep his family alive long enough to finish his tales?

Winter’s Myths is a multi-season serial currently publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Vella. This book covers the first season. Each season will be available in book form upon completion.

Grackles on the Feeder: A Short Horror Story

WARNING: While these are not topics I typically write about, this story does contain scenes of animal cruelty and sexual assault.

In a small town in New England, against the backdrop of an abandoned amusement park, horrors will unfold.
Shelly will soon learn not everyone is who they seem. Not even Shelly herself.

Through Flickering Lights, a Silhouette: A Short Horror Story

Mira must travel through a thickening winter storm in search of her adopted brother, but the night is quickly approaching, and in the night, the monsters come.

For more of Gage Greenwood check out his links: Twitter, Amazon author page, YouTube, FaceBook, Instagram, and his Newsletter!

Author Interview with Jennifer Lush

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Jennifer: There have been so many! I’ll do my top three. In Salem, MA, I visited the Nathaniel Hawthorne house and the house which inspired “The House of the Seven Gables.” Faulkner House Books in New Orleans is run out of a home where he once lived. It’s the smallest bookstore I’ve ever seen! I’ve also visited the area where the Outsiders was filmed in Tulsa, OK. It’s a must for any fan. Yes, that’s a movie location, but it was based on a book.

  1. Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Jennifer: My initial reaction is to say Iceland because I long to visit there, but I would choose England. It’s not too exotic, but if I’m going to be there for a full year, I want comfort not adventure.

  1. Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Jennifer: I always write in Several stories at a time. If I’m not feeling one, there’s usually another causing my fingers to fly across the keyboard. Otherwise, I just type anything, just a couple random sentences. It will get my mind working to clean it up, make it fit the story, and that typically helps.

  1. Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Jennifer: Both! But I lean toward pantser. I have a general idea going into the story and maybe a few notes, but it unfolds as I write. Take Fogpoint Harbor for example. I had the house on the coast in mind and what happens at the house. I also knew a relative would move there and take over. The rest of it came to me as I worked on it.

  1. Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

Jennifer: I have to have silence to write. There are so many authors with a playlist, or they choose music to fit the tone of the scene they’re working on. It distracts me.

  1. Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Jennifer: I love horror and suspense. I want to be terrified and unable to stop turning pages because I have to know what happens at the same time.

  1. Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Jennifer: Original. I don’t write to market or follow tropes. I have more story ideas than I will live long enough to write. I write the stories consuming me and hope they find popularity.

  1. Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Jennifer: You’re better at this than you believe you are.

  1. Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Jennifer: I’d have to say it was the bundle of ISBN’s from Bowker. IngramSpark doesn’t issue free ones, and I’m very glad I bought my own to be able to publish on that platform.

  1. Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Jennifer: A squirrel. Imagine a very busy road. There’s a squirrel on one side of it and a mountain sized pile of nuts on the other. The squirrel is darting around, zig zagging, back and forth, here and there, trying to make it through the traffic to get to the nuts. That’s me. That’s my writing style.

  1. Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

Jennifer: Under this name, I have three published books and four Vellas. The first seasons of Ravenwood and The Below will be published this fall.

  1. Day: What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer: This is a fluid construct. It was the first time I saw my name in print. The first royalty I received. The first five star review from a stranger. Becoming a five figure author was another success milestone. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll be comfortable saying, “I’m a success.” I do enjoy the milestones along the way.

  1. Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Jennifer: I wish I knew! I use social media and word of mouth the most. I’ve recently tried FB ads for one of my Vellas. I need to take out more and try some Amazon ads as well.

  1. Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Jennifer: I don’t research before I begin. I jump in the deep end. Some things I look up online like who was king at this time. Other things, I might ask friends. My ex-husband was a cop at one time, so he gets any questions falling into the law category. 

  1. Day: How many hours a day do you write?

Jennifer: That depends on my work schedule. I write anywhere from 0-2 hours on days I work. If it’s my day off and I have no errands to run, I could spend 12-14 hours writing.

  1. Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Jennifer: I usually include small bits of foreshadowing. If it will be discovered a character is a werewolf, he might bark or growl his words for example. I’d like to leave Easter eggs, but it’s not my strong suit.

  1. Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

Jennifer: That was chapter sixteen in the book Air: The Elementals. As difficult as it was to write, I’ve received amazing feedback from people telling me how much it hurt to read and how much they sobbed.

  1. Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

Jennifer: A couple hours after I wake up, whatever time that might be. It’s when my mind is freshest, and I have the most energy.

  1. Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Jennifer: All three are important. I like to have characters who make the reader feel something. Love them or hate them. Either way, they’ve connected.

  1. Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

Jennifer: Yes! My friend Jinapher Hoffman is a fantasy writer, and her first book “For Mist & Tar” was recently released.

Jennifer’s top three Kindle Vellas:

Fogpoint Harbor: The Inheritance

Kat was surprised to learn of her great-aunt’s death twenty years after she had been led to believe Aunt Dot had passed away. As the soul inheritor of the estate, there was a catch. She had to live in her aunt’s house for one year to collect. The mysteries surrounding her aunt didn’t end with why she had been lied to about her death. Recruited by the police to solve a town’s murder, Kat relies on an unlikely source to solve the crime: the ghosts residing in her aunt’s Victorian home.

Ravenwood: Volume One

Along Route 116 where the state road weaved its way through the backwoods of Massachusetts was the lane leading to Ravenwood. It was easy to miss. The only travelers in that area were either lost or looking for the old Europeanesque inn. The only people who traveled west of Ravenwood were the people who had grown up there. They knew the woods, feared the creatures who dwelled there, but they respected them. They had made friends with the woods for it were the trees who wouldn’t let you leave.

The Below

All manner of supernatural and mythical beasts dwell in The Below. Their refuge underground has kept them safe for centuries. Phillipe had always known he would never go to The Above. He was the last of his kind, and he hadn’t always followed the rules. He accepted this as his fate until he learned the truth about his parents. Their murder and the lies that covered it up sparked an outrage. There was only one way justice would be carried out, and that was by Phillipe’s own hands.

Jennifer also wrote a YA Elemental series:

Air: The Elementals Book One

Lilah is not at all pleased about her family’s move to the Midwest regardless of the circumstances behind why they were summoned. It’s unfair she has to trade in her days in the sun on the beach for the lackluster cornfields and bare trees filled autumn. Especially since it is centuries old rules and traditions dictating her family’s code. That is until she meets Jackson. The timing of events couldn’t be more wrong. Secrets are revealed and psychic powers unleashed as she comes into her own while navigating the diminishing fine line between family honor and independence. Will she be able to help the other Elements fight the unknown force hunting them down while forging her own identity? Air is the first book in The Elementals series revealing the truth behind myths and legends dating back millennia. Time is running out for the four to bring about the Return and restore Balance to the earth.

Earth: The Elementals Book Two

Everleigh is torn between her grandma’s old fashioned ways and wanting to unite the Elementals in the fight to save their people.

Fire: The Elementals Book Three

Judd is torn between two identities. The private life he leads has to remain a secret. It’s the only way to save his son. The life he’s known by is a past filled with carnage and intimidation. His people are being hunted, and he has to figure out a way to save them without putting his family at risk.

Check out more of Jennifer’s work on her Amazon Author Page, Twitter, and Linktree.