Sunday, August 26, 2012

Author Interview: Justin Childress


Justin Childress, author of The Steam Punk, was kind enough to drop by the blog today to answer a few of my questions. Justin studied English in Arizona but currently resides in South Korea where he is a university professor. 


Which authors have inspired you the most?
Stephen King, Clive Barker, and HP Lovecraft.  They're most well-known for writing horror, but King and Barker also have deep roots in fantasy, which is what I usually write, and Lovecraft's stuff is pretty epic in scope.  

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Well, I dictated stories to my parents before I knew the alphabet, so that should've been a tip-off, but I didn't actually figure it out until I was in my teens.  And even then it just seemed like it could never be anything but a hobby.  Like a lot of kids, I was passively told in school that I shouldn't pursue art seriously because I "Couldn't get a career doing THAT," so it never really occurred to me that I could be a writer until a lot later.

How does your everyday life influence how or what you write?
Well, I've been a teacher for years, so I mainly write for the young adult (YA) crowd, and my books generally tend to feature young-ish protagonists.  Thankfully I have a cushy job as an English professor at a university in Korea, so I have lots of spare time to write.

Are you currently working on any other projects?
Always.  If I don't have at least one or two books I'm working on now, with another three or four or five in the pipe, something's amiss.  My current focus is spent on polishing the final draft of a YA/urban fantasy/action-adventure novel that draws a lot of inspiration from "Indiana Jones," and the pulp serials of the twenties and thirties, and the sequel to "The Steam Punk."

What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Taking an empty page and filling it with stuff.  First there's nothing, then there's a world filled with cities, characters, stories, all that.  The whole writing process is fun, but first starting a new book and setting everything up is a huge thrill.  Finishing a book is also very satisfying.

What is your least favorite thing about being an author?
The sometimes crippling self-doubt that plagues the entire process.  Especially in the first draft.  I write my first drafts in a vacuum, all on my lonesome, and it's hard to be objective about the story and characters and whatnot when you're by yourself.  Is it bad or am I being too hard on myself?  Is it good or am I being over-confident?  What if nobody likes it?  What if somebody else is already writing this same type of story?  It's a serious bummer and it never goes away.
What was your inspiration for your book, "The Steam Punk"?
I always loved steampunk as a genre, but a lot of the steampunk books I saw were just people with top hats and waistcoats, without any of the gritty, fringe elements that are supposed to be there as well.  I also haven't seen a lot of superhero literature.  That's probably because that genre lends itself to more visual mediums like comics (where it originates from) but you can never have enough superheroes.  So I wanted to make a real steampunk book with characters on the edges of society, fighting against established norms, and superheroes. "The Steam Punk," is the result of that.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give is Stephen King's advice: "Read every day, and write every day."  I'd also add to that a few other things, like "Be critical of your own work, but don't beat yourself up," and "Listen to honest, constructive criticism, but ignore hate," and things in that vein.  But most of all, have fun.  That's really what it boils down to.  If you're not having fun writing it, I'm not going to have fun reading it.  Make it a work of passion, not obligation.  That's where the best art comes from: passion.  I hope that helps.  I'm still trying to figure all this stuff out myself.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Follow Friday


Happy Follow Friday #111, make a wish!

Q: Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you've read and loved?.


A: The worst cover of a book that I read and loved would probably be Kevin's Point of View, which I did a review for. I think I remember hearing that a kid drew the picture and the author included it on the cover, a while ago he was trying to raise enough money to print a new edition with a different cover, but I'm not sure how things are going with that.






Posts of note this week:



Thanks for stopping by and happy Friday!

~ Larissa

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Release announcement: Shards of History


“SHARDS OF HISTORY”
A NEW NOVEL
BY REBECCA ROLAND
NOW AVAILABLE

RELEASED BY
WORLD WEAVER PRESS
TODAY, TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2012


New York, NY (August 21, 2012) – World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced Shards of History, debut novel by author Rebecca Roland and their first full-length publication as a small press, is available as a digital edition today, Tuesday, August 21st.

Shards of History is available via Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.comKobo.com, and other ebook retailers. You can also find Shards of History on Goodreads.

Like all Taakwa, Malia fears the fierce winged creatures known as Jeguduns who live in the cliffs surrounding her valley. When the river dries up and Malia is forced to scavenge farther from the village than normal, she discovers a Jegudun, injured and in need of help. Malia’s existence--her status as clan mother in training, her marriage, her very life in the village--is threatened by her choice to befriend the Jegudun. But she’s the only Taakwa who knows the truth: that the threat to her people is much bigger and much more malicious than the Jeguduns who’ve lived alongside them for decades. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy the Taakwa, and it’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley--a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.

Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes primarily fantasy and horror. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncle John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical therapist, or eating way too much chocolate. You can find her online at Spice of Life, her blog, or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_roland.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction, dedicated to producing quality novels, novellas, collections, and anthologies. As a small press, World Weaver seeks to produce books that engage the mind and ensnare the story-loving soul.

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@rebecca_roland 


Author Interview: Stuart Wilson

Today I am glad to introduce Stuart Wilson, author of Cyberfreak Debt, to the blog today! Stuart was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.


1.    When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

About the age of 15 - I think you have a lot of frustration with things - parents, teachers, companies, even governments - when you're in your teens and you just think "what are they all doing?". That's when I realised I could really make an impact and influence people by writing (mainly fake sick notes to get out of school, but I progressed as you'll see!). 

2.    What authors have inspired you the most?

Stephen King - He's the one I feel taught me my craft, his technique is just so so good and something I studied for years to get to the standard I reached today. Terry Pratchett too - there's underlying jokes and humour in Cyberfreak Debt which all stem from my love of reading his stuff and laughing my head off. I think writing is really about sending a good message in an entertaining way, so that's the main aim of my book.

3.    Is Cyberfreak Debt your first book?

No. I've spent a good few years writing others but they're all locked away in the recesses of my hard drive. I thought each one would be my big break, but really that was all just honing my skills, sharpening my claws for this one. Cyberfreak Debt is all my best ideas rolled into one mind-blowing tale. But I couldn't have written this out of the blue. I don't regret all the time I spent working on other stories because that was what made this the story it is today!

4.    What was your inspiration for Cyberfreak Debt.

I wanted to create a modern-day Harry Potter - a book with the same fun feeling that anyone could get lost in, but one that people can really connect with today. It had to be fantastical and mysterious, but at the same time up to date in terms of the internet and social networking. This created a bit of a problem because whenever any of my characters ran into trouble they always could have just "googled" an answer to get out! ... I got round it though ;-) 

5.    What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Speaking to people who have read my work - it's honestly magical. It's the readers who bring stories to life. When they talk about it with the same enthusiasm I had when writing it I know I've done my job. It's a great feeling.

6.    What is your least favorite part of being a writer?

It takes such a long time to produce a real quality piece of work - Cyberfreak Debt for example took two years of writing pretty much every day. It's normally hard to hold the vision of the end product long enough to stay motivated, but in this case that was never a problem so I was lucky. It's been a slog in the past but with this one I was pretty much flying over the keyboard. I think that enjoyment is evident in the story.

7.    Are you currently working on any other projects?

In my head I'm always working on something; there's post-it notes all over my house with ideas on (it looks like a crazy person lives here, and if you read the book you might just agree with that!), but at the moment I'm focusing totally on promoting Cyberfreak Debt since it's got the potential to make a real impact on people and I want to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to read it!

8.    What was the best advice on writing you have ever been given?

Every writer needs a mentor. Do your best to find one, and always be able to take their harsh criticism and learn from it. If they don't critique you harshly enough, then you need a new mentor to bring out your very best!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blog Tour Stop and Interview: Shards of History


Today I am glad to be a stop on the Blog Tour for Shards of History. The author, Rebecca Roland, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

When did you first start writing?

I've written off and on since I was a kid, but I didn't start writing with the intention of publication until 2005 or 2006. That was when I joined an online writing community and began maneuvering the ins and outs of short story and novel publication as well as the craft of writing. I started off writing a couple of novels because that was what I read and enjoyed. I wasn't much of a short story writer or reader back then. I actually sent out a few queries after I finished the novel. I'm rather embarrassed now to think of what I sent out back then. It wasn't very good. I was fortunate enough to get a scrawled noted on a form rejection from Barbara Bova that helped point out one of my writing weaknesses. I put the novel in a drawer and began writing short stories to work on the craft.

Which authors have inspired you the most?

There are so many! I love the character of Miles Vorkosigan in the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Stephen King is good at atmosphere, writing quirky characters, and taking our terrors and inspecting them with a magnifying glass until chills run down your arms and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I wish I could write prose like Ray Bradbury and Margaret Atwood.

How would you describe the process of writing Shards of History in three words?

Rewrites. Revisions. Relief.

What was your inspiration for Shards of History?

The novel started out as a short story written at the Odyssey Writing Workshop. I needed to turn in a story in a couple of days and was starting to sweat bullets trying to come up with something to write about. My subconscious came to the rescue when it provided me with a dream about towering, steep cliffs and houses built in them with no discernible way to get to them. I wondered what sort of people would live in such a place and then realized that nobody human would. That led to the Jeguduns, which led, eventually, to the rest of the story.

Are you currently working on any other projects?

I recently sold two short stories. Yay, me! So I feel the need to write more to send out. But I'm also working on a YA urban fantasy novel that I'm trying to wrap up by the middle of December.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

I enjoy learning new things when I research for a story. Some of my favorite bits of research have included learning about Teddy Boys in 1950's London and the history of CPR.

Which character do you most enjoy writing about in Shards of History?

I loved writing the Jeguduns. It was like coming up with an alien species.

How did you come up with the idea for the Jeguduns?

The first thing I came up with when I had that dream about the cliff houses was winged humans, but that felt clich├ęd, not to mention how improbable it would be to come up with biologically possible winged humans. They'd have to be smaller, among several other issues. So I figured I'd come up with a different species. I wanted the Jeguduns to be sort of like living gargoyles that would protect the valley. So they became part bird, part human, and a teensy bit wolfish.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you'd like to see your work published, keep at it. It takes perseverance to spend years working at the craft and to keep on submitting when you've received dozens or hundreds of rejections. I had over a hundred rejections before I sold my first story.


Synopsis:


Only she knows the truth that can save her people.
Like all Taakwa, Malia fears the fierce winged creatures known as Jeguduns who live in the cliffs surrounding her valley. When the river dries up and Malia is forced to scavenge farther from the village than normal, she discovers a Jegudun, injured and in need of help.
Malia’s existence — her status as clan mother in training, her marriage, her very life in the village — is threatened by her choice to befriend the Jegudun. But she’s the only Taakwa who knows the truth: that the threat to her people is much bigger and much more malicious than the Jeguduns who’ve lived alongside them for decades. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy the Taakwa, and it’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley — a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.
Now Malia is in a race against time. She must warn the Jeguduns that the Taakwa march against them and somehow convince the Taakwa that their real enemy isn’t who they think it is before the Outsiders find a way into the valley and destroy everything she holds dear.
To find out more about Shards of HIstory and World Weaver Press, check out these websites:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Follow Friday



Q: What blogger inspires you? It can be any kind, it doesn't have to be a book blog.


A: Well I know it doesn't HAVE to be a book blogger, but one blog that has helped me tremendously as a blogger is Rachel @ Parajunkee. I read her Book Blogging 101 every week and it has answered many of my questions and brought to my attention things I wouldn't have thought of.

A second blog that inspires me is an author blog promoting The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the inside out. The author, Susan Pease Banitt, doesn't only promote her book but has many great posts on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)and I find her dedication to helping others very inspiring.

I'm sure there are a ton of other bloggers that have inspired me in some way, but if I had to list every one I'd be here all night!

Happy Friday!

~ Larissa

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blog Tour Stop: Phantom



People often ask writers how they come up with their characters. Are they based off real people or are they entirely fictional? For me, it’s normally a mix of both. I might give a character the first name of one friend or the last name of another. The bad guy might have the same name as the nasty customer I had to deal with at work that day. And sometimes characters completely create themselves. But I have to admit, that the characters in Phantom were inspired by the people around me more than any other book I have written. I thought it would be fun to introduce some of the people who helped make Phantom one of my favorite novels so far.

Rebecca Hope-Rebecca is the main character, and she gets the lead role of Christine in the play. She isn't really based on anyone in particular, but I did give her a few of my own characteristics. In the first chapter, I mention that she was normally hiding in the orchestra with her violin instead of trying out for a role. That was totally me in high school.  I was always too shy to try out for the musicals, even though I really wanted to. But unlike Becca, I was actually a much better violinist than a singer anyway, so I was better off where I was.  She also shares my nervous energy, and of course, we are both obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera in all its incarnations. 

Laura Deluca & Jay
Jay Kopp - In my book, Jay Kopp is the class clown. The one making jokes at all the wrong times, and who thinks he is a whole lot cooler than he really is. The real Jay Kopp is not much different. Instead of the class clown, he is the office clown.  Here is a man who is in his forties, but still makes faces behind the executive president's back while he's handing out awards. A man who every single solitary day, walks out the door at closing time and yells, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done."  A man who has somehow wound up with the nickname of "Muffin" among his female coworkers.  Some of his other shenanigans include tapping a picture of my husband (than new boyfriend) all over the office, including the toilet seat, and dressing up as Flavor Flav, and no, it wasn't Halloween. As you can tell, our little group had a tendency to stray away from corporate etiquette and we loved every minute of it.   All that being said, Jay is actually a really sweet guy, a hard worker, and a wonderful husband and father.  I think I stayed pretty close to Jay's real personality in my book. I just made him thirty years younger.

Mr. Russ - Mr Russ is the school janitor. He's a little on the dirty side and he’s definitely not all there. Again, he is based on a real person, but I can't say his name because I don't want to get sued. When I was working, there was an old man who worked in one of the buildings on the same street. I would run into him at Wawa all the time, and he decided he had a crush on me. Finally, he came in the office one day with a pack of tickets for the Lion King on Ice, and wanted to take me and my children. Ummmm...creepy!  Of course I told him as nicely as possible that I couldn't do that, and explained I was in a relationship for the hundredth time.  He got a little angry, I got a little freaked out, and thus I had to turn him into the creepy school janitor in my book. His name is different, but his physical description is right on. If you read this book, you'll understand why he made me nervous.

Carmen Webber -  Carmen is one of Rebecca's best friends. When I created Carmen, I was really thinking about one of my best friends, Viv.  I gave her a lot of Viv's personality traits, but when it comes to her looks, I was thinking more about her daughter Sarah. Sarah is closer to Carmen's age.  So she sort of wound up being a combination of them both, but she definitely has a little more attitude than either of them.  On a side note, their last name is Zarfati, which is also the name of one of the characters in my Destiny series.

Debbie O'Neill  & Wendy Wright - Both of these girls got their first names from people I worked with.  Wendy is the class snob, and there was a girl at one of our offices in North Jersey that always had an attitude when she called. Plus she sounded like a valley girl. I was trying to decide on a name for Wendy and she happened to call that day in a particularly miserable mood, and so she became my b***h.  With Debbie, it was more a physical thing.  Someone was leading a meeting and she looked exactly the way I envisioned Debbie, so she took her name.

Darlene and Matt
Darlene & Matt:  Darlene is a good friend and was my former High Priestess before she moved out of state. She opened her arms to me when I was new to the Craft and completely on my own, and I learned a lot from her. When she didn't get "a part" in Destiny, I promised to put her name in Phantom. She took it a step further and asked me to add in her best friend Matt as well.  So I made them someone's parents. What's funny is, I never really intended to include any parents in the book, but adding Darlene became a big part of one of my favorite scenes. Meeting Darlene & Matt is a fun part of the book, so I can't say too much more. But if you met the real Darlene, you would definitely find that she and her namesake have the same remarkable ability to speak in complete paragraphs without taking a single breath.

Tom Rittenhouse:  This is the guy who gets the role of Raoul, the hero. Tom is very much like my first real boyfriend, even though I don't think I realized it myself until I read back through the book when it was done. He was a surfer. He was the star of the high school musicals. He even had hopes of being an actor someday. He did get a few small parts in TV and Broadway in college, but as far as I know, he gave up on Hollywood and is back home now.  Darron from Destiny has some of his characteristics as well. I think since he was my high school sweet heart, and my first love, he comes back to haunt my high school characters...

Tempest
Tempest: Tempest is a Gothic Belly Dancer. I consider myself truly blessed to have not only met Tempest, but to have shared Sacred Space with her on a few occasions. About three years ago,  I was introduced to Tempest through my best friend and coven sister, Donna. She was taking her belly dance class at a local gym, and convinced me to come along.  The class was fun, but was nothing compared to watching Tempest perform live. When she begins to move, it’s like she is magically transformed into the Goddess herself. Her movements are fluid and graceful. Her costumes (which she often designs herself) are enchanting. She has created her own version of Gothic Belly Dance that is elegant and breathtaking. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Even as a writer, I find it hard to express just how amazing it is to watch her perform.  Tempest is one of the most beautiful women I have had the privilege to meet. It is a beauty that emanates from her soul and is transferred to the fluid movements of her body. All the wisdom of the ages is expressed in the poetic motions of her dance. She is a true artist.

Justyn
Justyn Patko (AKA-Lord Justyn) - When I tell people that Lord Justyn was based on a real person, most of them look at me like I'm crazy. They think he's my imaginary friend.  But, nope, he’s is real. Like my character, the real Lord Justyn is a Gothic Pagan who also happens to be a musician and an actor.  I have never spoken to Justyn outside of cyber space. We met on MySpace before I met my husband. I don't even remember how. But I do remember how all his notes would have a little old world charm in them. We would talk about books and movies, and, of course, magic and the Craft. He even read Destiny way before it was published. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a little crush on him. But in the real world, when we lived in different states and I was a single mom, there was no way it could have worked. Not to mention the fact that I am several years older, and not really the cougar type. Maybe in another time or another life it could have happened. But in this life, I could only make him into one of the most amazing characters I have ever created. It all started because I was writing him an email while Andrew Lloyds's Weber's musical was playing the background. I started to think how great he would be in the role of the Phantom...one thought led to another, and Phantom was born.

Finally, Justyn’s last name came from my friend Jared Patko. He was handsome. He was fun. He was hilarious.  He was an amazing artist. He also suffered from severe Bipolar Disorder. In 2009, Jared took his own life. I had just started writing Phantom when this happened, and I wanted to immortalize him in some small way. I had promised him I'd use his name in a book eventually, and he had hoped to draw the cover art. Phantom is also dedicated to Jared as well as the real Lord Justyn.

Well, that pretty much sums it up. It’s amazing how even the smallest things that people do and say can touch our lives and bring about inspiration. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for these folks will probably depend on who lives, who dies, and who the killer really is. But you'll have to read Phantom to find all that out. I have to wrap up this post with one of my favorite quotes. "Be careful, or I'll put you in my novel!"




The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

Excerpt can be found here:  http://authorlauradeluca.blogspot.com/2011/11/excerpt-from-my-young-adult-novel.html

Buy Links:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble      Smashwords       Book Depositary      Shelfari




Author Bio
Laura "Luna" DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and three children. She has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Old high school friends would tell you she was always scratching in her notebook instead of paying attention in class and the children she used to babysit for always loved to hear her scary stories at bedtime. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.  She loves writing young adult novels, because it keeps her young at heart. She is the author of three published works including Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, and Phantom, and has several more projects in the works.

Author Links:
Site      Twitter      Facebook      Goodreads 


Giveaway
One Phantom Prize Pack, It includes a signed copy of the book, a geode , two full size boxes of incense, a mini pack of incense with holder, two rough crystal points, a crystal cluster, a crystal pendant, a stone vile pendant, and a sage smudge stick.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post for Diminishing Paige by Robert Shields


Q. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book?

A. Because we have all been in love with a person that we thought was greater than us, but in the end you find out their only human.

Q. Who are our favorite authors?

A. As a child I loved S.E. Hinton and all her books being the Outsiders, That was then this is now, Rumble Fish, Tex etc...  I did not realize until later that the “S” stood for Sue and the “E” for Eloise.  If I had known the author was a woman from the beginning, I may have never read the books.  I do believe although it is contrary that women can write great men characters and men can write great women characters.

Q. What inspired you to become a writer?

A. I started writing at an early age.  I give the credit to my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Gowen, because she made us write all the time.  The first thing that I ever wrote was a fan fiction piece on Star Wars where the rebels actually stop the Empire from boarding their ship in the opening scene and they kill Darth Vader.  I also started my own sports newspaper that had a whopping circulation of one when I was ten.   I have since been writing a weekly syndicated sports column in Arkansas for over fifteen years on the side.


Synopsis:
A fool knows the price of everything and the value of nothing is the romantic theme between Paige Wheeler and Storm Lancaster. The intelligent high school expellees serendipitously meet at a garage sale and end up approaching sex in an awkward text book fashion.  They start viewing the relationship through the lens of economics as if sex was a commodity.
As they grow closer together, Paige’s promiscuous past comes to light that haunts her, which leads to complications in their relationship. Storm’s ineptness in handling the pressures of a relationship from previously attending an all-boys school causes problems while Paige finds some amusement in his immaturity. Her sterilized view of sex creates consternation for Storm over their rapport.
At their new school, they make a mutual friend in Jamal. The trio engages in pranks as their friendship with him develops. Storm’s proclivity as an adolescent male leads to poor decisions with Paige as Jamal, often the voice of reason and conscience is ignored to the detriment of the couple.
Emotions spin out of control after a frolicking camping trip with Paige’s old high-school buddies and the sexual economics experiment explodes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Guest Post: Emotobooks: The Fusion of Written Fiction and Expressionistic Art

Ron Gavalik

Thank you to Larissa of the Howling Turtle Blog  for allowing me to guest post.

As a writer and publisher, it’s always been a goal to bridge the gap between the cerebral gratifications of well-plotted fiction writing and the visual stimulation of illustrative art. The one day I had a mini-epiphany. Insert expressive, emotionally representative imagery in written stories, during moments of emotional consequence. By delivering a visual of what a character feels, the reader becomes more intensely immersed in the story.

Emotobooks are written fiction stories, not comics or graphic novels. The few emotional abstract images woven in the stories are the dream-like visuals each of us experience in the middle of the night.

The term Emotobook is a portmanteau word I conjured as a memorable label for the very first fiction medium for smartphones and tablets. For the first time, readers can now see actual representation of character emotions right on the page for a fun, interactive experience.

Stories are published as EmotoSerials orEmotoSinglesEmotoSerials are monthly-released, continuing stories, much like TV dramas or miniseries that continue until their climactic ends. EmotoSingles are individual experiences.

I launched Grit City Publications in July of 2011, with the first Emotobook series titled Grit City, a seven-part story about Dillon Galway, an idealistic freelance journalist, who scrapes out a living reporting on corruption. Since then, we’ve grown the Emotobooks Catalog into an array of fun genre fiction titles in Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, and Horror.

Each Emotobook title consists of three creators: the author, editor, and illustrator. It’s our philosophy that three contributors on each Emotobook delivers a richer, more flavorful story. The creators even offer Autograph Cards and suggest mood settings, such as food, drink, and music. This way our fans can achieve a full-bodied experience.

Emotobooks accommodate a new audience, who desire a fast “full story experience” on smartphones, iPods, computers, or tablet readers in about 30 to 60 minutes. They can be purchased from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and other retailers.

Our editors are currently seeking the best genre fiction for the Emotobooks transformation. It’s required that fiction writers read our submission guidelines and the free handbook, How to Create Emotobooks, before submitting. Our publishing model is unique and we require long-term participation from authors for everyone’s success.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the Emotobooks Revolution, I hope you’ll join ourReaders Cult and begin collecting the coolest titles. We even offer free Autograph Cards to our fans. What it really comes down to is we write, edit, and illustrate the best modern fiction for our fans. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you.


Ron Gavalik’s Bio:

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ron Gavalik is a seasoned freelance journalist and fiction author of the successful Grit City thriller series. As Publisher for Grit City Publications, he oversees the Emotobooks Revolution. Ron holds an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Point Park University.When not writing, you can find him in the outdoors of Southwestern Pennsylvania on his trail bike, hiking, or fishing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Post: The Exceptionals


Today I am happy to welcome Erin Cashman to the blog to talk about the inspiration for her novel The Exceptionals. Here is the synopsis:


Buy The Exceptionals on Amazon
In a famous family of exceptionally talented people, fifteen-year-old Claire Walker is ordinary . . . or so she leads everyone to believe. Yet the minute she steps out of line, her parents transfer her to Cambial Academy: the prestigious boarding school that her great-grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities, or “specials”. Although Claire can’t see ghosts or move objects with her mind like the other students, she does have a special she considers too lame to admit: she can hear the thoughts of animals. Just as she is settling in, one by one the most talented students – the Exceptionals – go missing. In an attempt to find out what happened to them, Claire uncovers a dark prophecy involving a plot to destroy Cambial and a mysterious girl who can communicate with a hawk. Could she be that girl? Does the gorgeous but secretive boy she meets in the woods know more than he is letting on? After years of ignoring her special gift, Claire decides the time has come to embrace her ability . . . before it’s too late.



INSPIRATION
A great idea can strike you like a thunderbolt. You wake up from a dream, or are brushing your teeth, and BAM! It comes to you. Other times, however, your imagination is whispering softly in your ear, and if you don't pay attention you might not hear her.
I had the idea for The Exceptionals years ago.  Growing up, my father often told me that we only use ten percent of our brain power. I often wondered, can some people use more? Did Einstein use more of his brain than most people – and what about mediums? My mother believed in ghosts, and she used to go to a medium. Maybe the medium could use a different part of her brain.  This became the foundation for The Exceptionals: a school for students who have “special” abilities. It was an idea that evolved and became fully realized over time. When I finally sat down to write it, I tried to think of a unique ability for my protagonist, Claire, but I had a hard time finding something that felt right.
Erin Cashman
A few days later I took my dog for a walk, and two majestic hawks circled above me the entire time. And then it hit me – Claire could communicate with animals! And The Exceptionals was born. It is about a teenage girl who must use her long-ignored ability to communicate with animals to unravel the mystery behind the disappearances of the most talented students at Cambial Academy, a school for teens with special abilities. Along the way she uncovers a chilling prophecy and meets a gorgeous but secretive boy – who may know more than he’s letting on.
For my new book, The Legend of the Four, I had vague ideas about incorporating the Irish myths and legends my mother had shared with me as a child. My mother (like many Irish people) was a great story teller. She believed in fairies, leprechauns, angels and ghosts.  She never understood why some people have to see something to believe it.  She has been very influential to my writing, since the two most important words to any writer are “What if?” I read several books on Celtic mythology to help me paint the broad strokes of the world I wanted to create. My main character also became like a real person to me and I knew I could conjure him up with ease.
However, the secondary characters and the story eluded me. I sat in front of my laptop, fingers perched above the keys, waiting for the story to emerge. It didn’t. Day after day I tried to wrestle the story out of my head. Finally, I shut the keyboard and took a break. A couple of days later I was on a hike in the woods with my dog -- no phone, no music, just me and Riley. I wasn't even thinking about Legend of the Four, but soon into the quiet rhythm of the walk, my mind began to wander. And then the story slowly emerged in my mind.
What I have learned is this:  inspiration often whispers softly in our ear, and we may need to tune everything else out to hear her.
Visit Erin Cashman's Website