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 K. Thomas

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

K: I really haven’t. Most of my favorite authors are still living, and I feel invasive enough just following them on social media. I don’t know that I’d do much more than visit a gravesite when they passed. 


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?

K: Any major metropolis would be fun. New York, Seoul, Paris—anything where you have a lot of movement but could find quiet, local treasures.


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?

K: Right, so every time I try to force myself to write. I reread my prior books or stories. Putting yourself back into the characters as a reader, with no pressure for word count, really helps make you think of things you want to happen. 


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

K: Mostly a Pantser. I high-level know where things are going, but how I get there is anyone’s guess. 


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

K: Probably how I write everything out of order. Whatever scene comes to me gets put down, then I connect the ones I want to keep and fill in the gaps. 


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

K: Paranormal Romance is usually my go-to. When I read, it’s usually to relax and decompress, so I want a happy ending. Paranormal and fantasy romance means you get the happily-ever-after and the plot conflict is (usually) outside of the romantic relationship, which I find less stressful. 


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

K: The quick answer is that I like tropes, so it’s probably the latter. The tricky thing about giving readers “what they want,” though, is remembering just because someone reads your book, it does not make them your target reader. So, it’s best to just write what you want to happen and don’t worry about what everyone will think.


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

K: Don’t stop writing.


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

K: $35 on a snarky teacup about killing people off in books. Just kidding. Editing. There is something armor-like in knowing you used editing software and three other people checked your work when someone finds the inevitable errors. It makes you feel less alone in your imperfection (plus, it’s just one error and not a hundred!).


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

K: Is a teacup eligible?


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

K: I’ve finished the first two books in my Time to Wake trilogy. The third is in process. I just started my Vella story, and since you have to write in order, it’s been a challenge to finish!


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

K: Every time I think, “This is it. I’ve made it!” something new happens. For me, being in a library, a book box, having people love my writing, and ask when they’ll have something new is success. Being in the top 1% of millionaire best-selling authors is not a success, it’s a miracle, so I’m happy! It’s all about the baby steps.


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

K: For my genres (paranormal romance and urban fantasy), I find sneak peeks, and tidbits from the books work best. Let people read a little, and then they want to know more.


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

K: So much research. There is a two-word phrase in my second book I spent three months researching the Etruscan language to use. It’s a problem.


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

K: I’m a binge-writer, so I don’t write every day. When I do write, I sit down and finish 5-10k words at a time.


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

K: Yes. Many, many secrets. The books are practically 80k words of inside jokes.


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

K: A character near death. I’ve had a couple, and I think I cried during both for different reasons.


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

 K: Late at night. I don’t really have a choice. It’s when my brain cooperates.


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

 K: Selfishly, I’m going to say strong characters since that’s what I focus on writing and like to read.


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

K: R. Raeta! She writes my favorite book boyfriends.


K. Thomas’ Kindle Vella is:

Changeling Exchange

What if the Fae controlled the world’s currency, and humanity’s fate was in the hands of a magic addict, a car thief, and the one creature that just wants to be human? An heir on the run. A heist gone awry. And a childhood romance that will be their salvation or start a war.


Her books are:

Time to Wake

Time to Wake is the award-winning first book in the Time to Wake Series.

Senlis is your typical artist. Empath, hater of mornings, and the bearer of a strange name passed down from her grandmother. With a penchant for caffeine and a pet ghost, she’s just trying to live her best life.

Did she mention she also happens to devour souls? No? Well, it’s a bit of a conversation killer… no pun intended.

When new neighbors move in across the street, Senlis strikes up an unexpected friendship with the equally quirky Katie. The two get mixed up in a party circuit that leaves a string of missing girls– and a trail back to Senlis’ less than human origins. At the center of it all is Hunter: a guy not smart enough to keep his distance. He’s arrogant, frustrating, and terribly distracting… Just, please don’t tell anyone she admitted that last part.

Is Hunter involved in the mysterious murders? Or is he just in the wrong place at the right time?

As she tries to figure out Hunter’s motives, Senlis ends up learning what it means to be a Nephilim, and how her past is playing a role in the murders. “Time to Wake” is the first book of a new-adult paranormal romance series brimming with suspense and quirky laughs!

Not Right Now

Book two of the Time to Wake series unravels the deep history between the characters while taking readers further into the lore and world of the Nephilim, with our favorite snarky caffeine-addict leading the way.


You can find K. Thomas on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, her Website, and Tictoc.


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.

Author Interview With Valerie Claussen

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

Valerie: I’ve never gone on any but would like to someday. My travel focus is visiting ancestry sites and bucket list places.

  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?

Valerie: I would choose Ireland. That’s actually something I hope to do one day but for a few months.

  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?

Valerie: Getting up and moving around helps, taking a relaxing shower or browsing images on the subject helps a lot. 

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

Valerie: I’m a bit of both. I write out all my ideas (brainstorm), make a brief outline, and dive into writing.

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

Valerie: I think my biggest quirk is that I always need to be writing two polar opposite stories at once. If I start a sweet fantasy, I’ll also work on something dark and dramatic.

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

Valerie: Fantasy is my favorite genre because it encompasses so many types of stories and can take place in both the real world (urban fantasy) or a completely new universe.

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

Valerie: I enjoy hearing readers’ feedback, but I’ll always write what I think best suits my original stories. Sometimes that works out and gives them exactly what they want, sometimes, it’s a pleasant surprise.

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

Valerie: I would tell her to not be afraid to share her work. I waited far too long to allow my first novel to be published.

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

Valerie: Probably writing software was the best money I’ve spent on anything directly related to writing.

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

Valerie: That’s an interesting question. I’d probably say a free-spirited dolphin that likes to travel between different oceans, as I like to write in different genres.

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

Valerie: I believe I have around eighteen at the moment.

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

Valerie: It means my stories have made a positive effect on my readers, whether by inspiration or pure entertainment.

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

Valerie: That’s something I’m still learning. Social media has helped find the most readers. I’m currently looking into having someone manage my Facebook page so I can spend more time on writing and less on self-promotion.

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

Valerie: That entirely depends on the book. I can spend a few days or a few hours before starting to write, but I’ve also done research after a story is in progress. The internet is a wonderful thing to be able to use anytime I need to fact-check.

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

Valerie: That also depends. I can write anywhere from a couple of hours to eight.

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

      Valerie: I love placing secrets and little Easter eggs in my stories. It tickles me when a reader finds me on social media and messages me about them.

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

Valerie: I can’t share the detail because it’s a heavy spoiler, but in my fantasy novel, Sustain, there’s a scene where the protagonist has to do something extremely painful and self-sacrificing for the greater good. I needed a tissue box beside me to write it, even though I knew what was happening.

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

Valerie: I’m content with writing any time of the day, but I seem to power through more late at night. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a night owl.

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

Valerie: My primary focus has always been the characters. When they’re the top priority, everything else falls into place.

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

Valerie: Melody Moss is an outstanding dark fiction writer who is getting her feet wet but has great potential. https://www.amazon.com/Melody-Moss/e/B0B99BLNSD

Valerie’s top three Kindle Vella stories are:

The Experiment 

 What would you do for a quarter of a million dollars? A group of eight surrender control of their lives to participate in a social experiment with rising stakes and unforeseen challenges. Their only significant decisions are the doors they unlock to an unknown space. Join Cora as she embarks on a fun, sweet, and romantic adventure of a lifetime with rising tension, frustration, limited privacy, and desire.

Outside the Lamp 

At seventeen years old, what Avalie wants most in the world is to be with Albert. However, his father has other plans for him. To keep them apart, he imprisons the genie in a lamp. By chance, the magical object eventually finds a kindhearted human named Elijah. Together, they begin a quest in a modern world to help Avalie find Albert, let her people know of Albert’s father’s treachery, and search for someone to be Elijah’s forever love.

Lakeside 

A young woman returns to a small, remote lakeside town to spend the summer before her senior year with her estranged father. She encounters a menacing doppelganger, sparking memories, and the dark secrets of her forgotten past begin to unravel. She realizes that sometimes it’s better to forget.

Valerie’s top three novels currently are:

Sustain 

A time long past—humans were defenseless and kept at the mercy of powerful beings who controlled their world through natural magic. Sustain is a fantastical tale that follows the lives of the most influential Kastelian family of that age.

Cole, the eldest of three handsome sons, was a strong, arrogant man born into privilege, power and hatred. Raised by his merciless father—a self-proclaimed king—Cole and his brothers were key players in his father’s plan to annihilate their adversaries.

The family’s loyalty is tested when Cole brings a mysterious stranger named Arna into their lives. With this new addition to their world—danger follows her—as secrets unfurl around them.

Can Cole learn to distinguish between good and evil, despite his upbringing? Will he defend or destroy the ones he cares about the most?

At its core, Sustain is a story of growth, courage, sacrifice and extraordinary love.

Heirdom 

Alice always believed her life was ordinary. She’s devoted, a good girl who has always done what was right. Until the day she inherited a mysterious family heirloom from a father she never knew. An heirloom that is the key to unleashing the unfathomable magical properties hidden within Alice’s blood. Powers she knew nothing about and can scarcely comprehend. With the appearance of two strangers claiming to be warlocks, the unravelling of years-old secrets and misrepresented bloodlines begins.
Luke will stop at nothing to gain the right to rule, even if it means manipulating Alice and her newfound powers for his own gain. The only thing stopping him from achieving his throne is the one thing with which his powers cannot seem to help. He must learn to love.
Dimitri would do anything for Alice. He owes a debt to her family that can never be repaid, but falling for Alice was not how he planned to repay it.
Can Alice come to terms with who she has become? Will she learn who to trust before it is too late?
Heirdom is a fantastical tale steeped in magic and action. At its core, it is a story of discovering love, the value of friendship, and the sacrifices people make for those they care about.

“It feels like he’s always in my head, whether he’s speaking to me or not, just sitting in the shadows of my mind, silently watching me.”

“There were so many layers to him. I wondered if the ones that stirred madness would someday consume those that sought to be good.”

The Curse of Allston Manor 

Lillian longs to see the world. Instead of soaking in incredible sights, learning different cultures, and eating delicious food, she gets shunted off every summer while her parents travel without her. When someone she thought she could trust kindles a rumor about Lillian, it spreads like wildfire through her small Arizona town. Lillian suddenly finds herself a pariah. Now more than ever, she wishes to escape. When the abnormally perfect William and Olivia move into the beautiful Victorian manor they inherit from their uncle, Lillian finds herself inexplicably drawn to them. The twins are reclusive, never seeming to leave their home despite the business and millions left to them by will. But shy, William is growing restless, and overbearing Olivia is pushing everyone to their limits with her antics. Still, they are the rare few who don’t treat Lillian as an outcast. Lillian wonders, however, if there could be an ulterior motive to their benevolence. The twins seem to want something from her, but Lillian can’t figure out what. “The Curse of Allston Manor” is rife with betrayal, sacrifice, and love. Unexplained happenings, pranks that cross the line, and stolen dreams cause chaos to escalate to a boiling point. This book will grab you from the first page and leave you desperate to find out what happens next.

For more of Valerie’s work, check out her Amazon Author page! Follow her on Twitter @valerieclaussen!