Meet Susan Schwartz

Today we meet another wonderful author friend of mine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, as I have. All of the authors are providing links to both purchase their books and follow them on social media. Take a moment and explore  by signing up on their sites.

LU   meet Susan…

Susan writes in the horror, paranormal, suspense, medical genres. Her books are available in Amazon, Amazon KU and many other sites.
Here are her links:
Website, Schiffer Books, Amazon, Goodreads & Pinterest.

When did you start writing?
I began writing freelance articles for blogs and other websites in 2006. More interested in fiction writing, I started working on two novels – a paranormal romance and a medical thriller.
As to why I began writing, I started journaling after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. My writing led me to the Virginia Writers Club, where I found many mentors and help along the way. I have been a member since 2006 and currently serve as 1st Vice President of the State organization.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?
I love all the nurses in my stories. Being an OR nurse myself, I love to use my experiences in the medical field to twist into something they never saw it coming. The nursing profession is one of honor, and this is my way of giving recognition back to those awesome nurses who work tirelessly each and every day.
I must admit some of my nurse peers, who have read my stories, think I am putting on a good front for being a normal person. They had no idea of my twisted imagination and told me they now know not to upset me in the future. Mw ha ha ha!

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
For Haunted Charlottesville and Surrounding Counties, my current book, the biggest challenge was getting to all of the sites and getting enough research to make an entry. Some didn’t have a lot of backstory, and some didn’t want to participate in the book. This was fine, I used pieces that were already public knowledge so I didn’t step on any toes.
Another challenge was to compile all the information into one book. It took me a while to figure out how to write, denote different chapter headers, caption photographs, assemble an index, and keep track of a large bibliography page. I learned many of these for the first time writing Haunted Charlottesville.
I feel much better having had the experience going forward than not. It has made writing the second book of this genre much easier.

What do you hope readers take away from your books?
For my fiction stories, I hope they share that shock at the end when I twist everything they thought they knew. Maybe they will also get feelings of familiarity with some of them.
For my non-fiction, I want readers to experience my love of travel and seeing new places. I toured Virginia extensively for Haunted Charlottesville and my upcoming book to visit haunted places and learn their history. In two other books, Handbook for the Dead and Paranormal Encounters, I make mention of trips to other counties in Virginia and even other countries. Even if you don’t visit any of the places named, take a ghost tour in whatever city you find yourself visiting. I love learning the history behind the locations and what caused them to be troubled today.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Awesome question.  I have many short stories that are not published with several in the works.
One paranormal romance novel – ½ done
One medical thriller novel – ½ done
One haunted location book – 1 chapter to go as well as compiling all the material and photographs.
I tend to work on several things at once because I get bored quite easily. Hence, this why I have so many still in progress. I will be finished with the haunted book by the end of this month, and that will free me up to work on other projects that are pending. I really want to finish the paranormal romance that has a witch, wizard, and maybe even a vampire that showed up – I am not sure from where yet. He is a charming fellow though.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
Fiction stories –
The Sparkling Floor is based somewhat in reality. What nurse hasn’t dreamed of revenge on a disrespectful surgeon? I just fictionalized it up a bit.
I Thought You Did is based upon all those Rush week antics colleges put the students through to join a fraternity. My son was in college at the time going through rush week, and this story popped into my head thinking about the different ways to initiate a pledge.
Blurred Line is something we have all faced as writers: Writer’s Block. I didn’t plan this one at all, I just wrote as it came out and the story is as you see it. It was nominated for a Bran Stoker Award in 2016. Fun fact: It was the only story I ever wrote that I really didn’t like. Everyone loves this story, but me. Isn’t that weird?
Non-fiction books –These are all real and full of the experiences I had at each location. Through investigating and interviewing, I learned a lot of history and the back story on each place. Some of it was quite fascinating, while some was downright heart-breaking.

Favorite Quote –This one has to be from the great and awesome Yoda:
Do or Do Not. There is no Try.
I do follow this advice daily. I am also convinced of a statement from Jim Rohn:
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse.
What this says to me is people who have a goal will not let anything interfere with reaching that accomplishment. Those who don’t will make an excuse as to why they can’t reach it.
CAN’T is the one four letter word that is not in my vocabulary. I will find a way around all obstacles, if necessary.
I want to be a doer, not a tryer. How about you?

A final word from Susan…
Thanks to everyone, especially the readers and to Victoria for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I hope you are staying safe during these trying times. What better way is there to pass the time than selecting a great story to lose touch with reality, if only for a while. Enjoy the adventure and getaway, you can go explore new places and meet new people from the comfort of your own favorite reading spot.
Please feel free to contact me  if you have any questions or concerns. I love to hear from my readers. Please take good care in the meantime and Be Well!

I hope you are finding these interviews as much fun as I am. I love finding out more about the authors I read. There are many more great writers to be included in this series, so stick around. And watch for a special treat…A free short story from me about the legend behind my new series that starts April 25th!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Diane Bator

Blessed Easter Sunday!

Today we meet another wonderful author friend of mine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, as I have. All of the authors are providing links to both purchase their books and follow them on social media. Take a moment and explore  by signing up on their sites.

pose in blue   meet Diane…

A born writer and storyteller, once Diane Bator started writing, she’s never looked back and is the author of several mystery novels. When she’s not writing, she works in a theater which may be subjected to immortality in a whole new series. She might even try writing a play. Diane has written assorted short stories, murder mysteries, and YA novellas.
The best place for links to her books is through her publisher: which has links for every online shop.
Website, Blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Linkedin, Smashwords, Facebook

 

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Featured books:

Dead Without Shame (Book 4 Gilda Wright Mysteries)
Once more, Gilda considers leaving the karate school to work for her friend Happy (no one has ever called him Harvey). When three men rob Happy Harvey’s Hangover Hut killing the woman at the front counter, Gilda is stunned to think that could have been her. Was this a mere robbery, or does someone have a vendetta against Happy, including his good friend Gary del Garda? The evidence keeps piling up while both her mother and another karate instructor come to town bearing secrets that may cost Gilda the life she loves in Sandstone Cove.

All That Sparkles (Book 1 Glitter Bay Mysteries)
What do a trunk full of vintage clothes, a handsome land developer, and a fifty year old diamond heist have in common? Laken Miller receives a trunk full of expensive vintage clothing and a stack of newspaper clippings about a fifty-year old diamond heist. Now all she has to do is figure out who murdered Tilly San Vicente before the killer silences her as well.

Questions and Answers:

Do you have a library membership?
I do for sure, but I find I meet so many writers and end up buying so many books, I rarely use the library except for resources. One of the other things I do at my local library is attend writing group meetings twice a month. To support our library, our group has also started to host annual Open Mic nights and author events as well as workshops anyone can attend. We welcome writers of all levels and try to be a support for whoever wants to join us. It was by attending this group that I developed the confidence to submit my first novel for publication.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Seriously! I planned back then to either be an actress or a writer. Here I am many years later a writer who works at a theater! While I’m working from home for a few weeks, I’ve finished my tenth novel, Drop Dead Cowboy, that will be published in September 2020. My next project, thanks to coaching from an acting teacher, is a play.

Do you base your characters on real people?
Sometimes loosely but I have actually based one character on a friend who just happened to win a contest I held for a reader to win a “guest spot” as a character in my novel Dead Without Shame. She received her free copy when the book came out and said she enjoyed it! In previous novels, characters may have been combinations of people I’ve met or know, but I’ll never say.

Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Neither! Growing up and living in Canada my whole life, I love having four seasons. The fresh new growth of spring after a long, cold winter. Heat and humidity of summer then the cool, colorful fall. It’s nice to travel to warmer places in the winter and see other parts of the world, but the weather here is never boring!

A Final Word From Diane…
I’ve been a writer my entire life so when people tell me they want to write a book and ask where they should start, I need to stop and think. Writing for me comes as naturally as breathing. I don’t struggle to find a new project since I have file folders and binders full of ideas! I also rarely have writer’s block. Working with a writing group has honed my ability to write to a prompt for up to half an hour. I encourage all writers to practice, practice, practice… And not to give up!

Thanks to Diane! And I wish all of you the very best. It’s a difficult world we find ourselves in, but today, of all days, have faith that all will work out according to God’s plans. Stay healthy and safe, and Happy Easter.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Thomas Burns

As promised, I am sharing some great writers, and friends, with you. Not all write cozy mystery, but that’s okay. Lets broaden our minds. Each author was given a list of questions that they could choose from. Some of the answers are very interesting. I’m enjoying finding out about these authors and I hope you will too.

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About Thomas’s Books…

Michael writes in the genre of Mystery, and all his books are available on Amazon and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium.

If you’re a mystery lover, you’ve read all the classic detectives. Sherlock Holmes. Sam Spade. Phillip Marlowe. Kinsey Millhone. What do all these sleuths have in common? Each one was a product of their era and their culture. So too is Natalie McMasters.
Nattie is a pre-law student at State University, a mega-college in an unnamed capital city in a southern state. As the series opens, she’s renting a house in the student ghetto with her roommates Kwaneshia and Fields. To help make ends meet, she works for her Uncle Amos Murdoch, the proprietor of the 3M Detective Agency, which is based in a nearby small town because the frugal Amos won’t pay the high rents in the capital. Most of his business comes from catching insurance scofflaws who say they’re hurt but aren’t. Nattie spends most of her working hours on stakeout, waiting for a subject to do something they’re not supposed to be able to so she can get a picture. It’s a great job for a student — she can study during all those long hours in the car. Amos even got her a private detective trainee’s license from the state, of which she’s prouder than she likes to let on. But one day, she sees something that she’s not supposed to. That’s the premise of the first Natalie McMasters story, Stakeout!
Stripper! is the first Natalie McMasters novel. The action occurs immediately after that in Stakeout! Nattie enters the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt a killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself.
Revenge! is the sequel to Stripper! A scandalous video of Nattie from her web cam days is posted on the State campus CCTV system for all to see and is just the first in a series of vicious attacks on Nattie, her family and her friends. What could she have possibly done to someone in her short life to deserve the callous revenge her unseen tormentor is so brutally exacting?
The third volume is entitled Trafficked! in which Nattie takes Manhattan, searching for her wife, Lupe, who is fleeing deportation by ICE. As one reviewer says, you’ll find “blood, whipping, love making, sewer stench, a tour of Manhattan and Kosher food, honor, despair, and a healthy dollop of deceit and mystery solving” in it.
Venom! is the latest installment. It’s a contemporary take on an English country house mystery, as Nattie, Lupe and Danny try to meld themselves into a polyamorous family at a relationship retreat in the mountains of rural Georgia, without letting a series of gruesome murders get in the way.
It’s important to point out that, while the Natalie McMasters Mysteries are chronological, enough background is given in each book so they can be enjoyed as standalone works.
The Natalie McMasters series is notable for its sexy, intricate plots, its breakneck pacing and gritty, dark atmosphere. These are definitely not cozy mysteries! Keep on reading the series and you’ll experience the transformation of an innocent college coed into a hard-boiled PI for the 21st century.

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Now lets ask Michael some questions…
When did you start writing? I have written fiction as a hobby all of my life, starting in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. I built a career as a technical writer, science writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that I’m truly on my own as a freelance science writer and editor, I’m excited to publish my own mystery series as well.
How do you research for your books? For big topics that will be an important element of a book, I’ll spend days on the Internet, taking notes and cataloging relevant websites. I also research constantly as I’m writing, going back and forth from the manuscript to the web when I have questions about certain details, like the cost of meal in New York City, or facts about a particular place.
On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? It depends. Many writers get fixated on hours and word count. Of course, if you’re going to write a novel, sooner or later, you’re going to have to sit down and bang it out, but other things are important too. Sometimes I’ll spend days doing research, or just reading the work of others. As I do this, I find that important elements of my stories are forming unconsciously, so that when I do concentrate on writing, the story flows much better.
What do you hope your readers take away from your books? In addition to writing a thrilling, sexy mystery, I try to consider some important social issues in each Natalie McMasters mystery. For example, Stripper! explores the treatment of sex workers by society, and touches on immigration issues. Immigration is also a big part of Revenge!, as is the effect of religion on relationships. The treatment of the homeless and of veterans, and the realities of sex trafficking are touched upon in Trafficked!, and Venom! looks at society’s reactions to alternative lifestyles and transgender issues. I try to portray multiple viewpoints in my books, not just my own. My objective is to get my readers to think about these issues, to examine their beliefs and understand why they believe as they do.
Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source) (Man) is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see. Knowledge, for any conscious organism, is the means of survival; to a living consciousness, every “is” implies an “ought.” Man is free to choose not to be conscious, but not free to escape the penalty of unconsciousness: destruction. Ayn Rand

Author Links ↓
Website: https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/541595279667727/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/3Mdetective
Blog: https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/blog/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/show/17956517.Thomas_A_Burns_Jr_
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/3mdetective/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/thomas-a-burns-jr
Tumblr: https://nataliemcmasters.tumblr.com/

Those sound like exciting books, and I hope you’ll visit Thomas’s links (above) to find out more. Thanks for a great interview!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Heather Weidner

As promised, I am sharing some great writers, and friends, with you. Not all write cozy mystery, but that’s okay. Lets broaden our minds. Each author was given a list of questions that they could choose from. Some of the answers are very interesting. I’m enjoying finding out about these authors and I hope you will too.

Heather sq.png  About Heather…

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Heather’s choice of questions and her answers…

When did you start writing? I have been writing since elementary school. I didn’t have any fiction published until I was in my 40’s. I did have some non-fiction credits, and I was a technical writer for many years.

Describe your writing space. I usually write at my desk in my home office. It’s in front of a big window that looks out at the tops of the trees in the woods behind our house. My desk is cluttered, and there are lots of sticky notes about plot ideas, cool character names, and ways to knock off people (in fiction).

What is your work schedule like when you are writing? My day gig is in IT, so I get up early to write. I also try to write at lunch and at night and on weekends.

How do you do research for your books? I’m a “CK” (cop’s kid). I thought everyone grew up talking about murder and mayhem at the dinner table. It wasn’t until college that I realized murder wasn’t always a good dinner topic. I do a lot of research online. My dad is retired now from the force, but he’s a great resource for a lot of questions. I am also part of a wonderful organization, Sisters in Crime, and our local chapter has programs with writers, agents, and law enforcement. Social media is also a great way to find out information. I’ve always been able to find an expert who was willing to answer my questions. For my latest Delanie Fitzgerald mystery, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband, I had to do some research on drag shows, contraband reptiles, Poe, and historic time capsules. I love the research part. My writer friend, Rosemary Shomaker, got a group of us together to go to the dragshow in Richmond at Godfrey’s. I had so much fun, and the gals were so helpful when they found out we were writers. The snake research was a little creepy. It still gives me the heebee jeebies.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? I’m a binge writer. I try to write every day, but sometimes life gets in the way. Typically, I write in the mornings and evenings. I try to write during my lunch hour too. I tend to write more on the weekends.

Do you write while listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book? I always have some kind of music playing when I write or edit. I have playlists for all my books. I like all kinds of music, but I’m an 80’s girl, so I always have a special place in my heart for that decade. I usually listen to loud music when I’m writing and classical or jazz when I’m editing.

What are you reading now? Right now, I’m reading K. L. Murphy’s A Guilty Mind. I love her Detective Cancini mysteries.

How many bookshelves are in your house? Way too many. My TBR (to be read pile) is a bookshelf. There are at least three bookcases in the den, living room, office, and bedrooms. 

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book? My first book took five years to write, and then it was another year for editing/revising before the book was published. I’m getting faster. Last year, I wrote a novella, two short stories, a nonfiction article, and two novels. This year, I’ve written two short stories and a novella. I’m working on a cozy novel that I hope to finish by summer.

Sign up for Heather’s Newsletter

Connect with Heather at any of these sites: Website and Blog , Twitter  , Facebook   instagram  , Goodreads  , Amazon Authors  , Pinterest  , LinkedInBookBub  , AllAuthor  YouTube

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Well, I hope you enjoyed meeting Heather!

Victoria LK Williams

 

It’s Time for a Change

Hello, readers and writers, I hope this post finds you well and staying hopeful in our changing world.

Just because more and more of us are for staying home to practice social distancing, that doesn’t need to mean that we can’t meet new people and make new friends.

With the help of some of my writing friends, I’m going to start a series of blog posts that will introduce you to not only great people but new books and a little bit about what goes on in the authoring process.

I count each and every one of these authors as my friends,  even though many I have never met in person. Some I’ve shared a laugh or two with, others exciting news in the author community. Many have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. One thing I can say with confidence is we have each other’s backs.

Each post will include a new author, highlighting 1   or 2 of their books along with answers and questions about their writing process and a little bit about themselves. I will be sure to include contact information for you to find them on social media or purchase their books.

So I hope you’ll make some new friends and find some great books to read.

I’ll start the series with some information about myself…

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I was born in upstate New York, the Niagara Falls area. After I got married, we moved to  South Florida and have been happy here for 35 years. We raised our son here (a real Florida Native!), and he is now married and finishing up his college degree. So in our household consist of me, the hubby, and two very demanding cats.

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I primarily write in the cozy mystery genre, although I have started to expand into cozy paranormal mysteries. I have a new series coming out in May that I’m excited about.  You can find out about all my books from my website .

That’s enough about me. I hope you’re as excited as I am to meet these new authors and find out more about their books and what makes them the author that they are. Watch for the next post and be surprised at who you will discover!

Victoria LK Williams

Some hashtags aren’t true.

By now, most of us know what a # (hashtag) is for, and I would hazard a guess that a good percentage of us have used a # (hashtag) or two.

There’s one # (hashtag) that I’ve seen, and I have to admit I’ve even used it. But I just can’t wrap my head around its use, because it certainly isn’t true, at least for me.

That hashtag is #WritingWithCats.

Now, I don’t know about you but writing with cats is impossible. You either write around a cat, in spite of a cat or trick a cat. But in my opinion, there is no way that you can compose a complete sentence with a cat around. And anyone who has tried knows what I mean.
Writing with a dog is a lot easier. They obey you, they don’t blatantly move things around, and a dog would hardly ever sit on your keyboard. The old saying of “give a dog a bone” works perfectly here. A couple pats on the head, a treat, and a kind word and your dog is perfectly content to curl up at your feet and let you do your work.


But not the cat. At least not my cats. I sit down to my desk and it’s like a signal goes out. They could be sound asleep in a closet with the door closed, but somehow they know I’m getting ready to sit down and try and do some work. The next thing I know they’re crawling all over my desk. Miss Marble sits on my hands if I ignore her for too long, waiting for attention. Fletch isn’t so subtle, if I ignore her for too long, she will start knocking things off my desk. Then it becomes a game, and the harder you try to work the more persistent they become.

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Finally, just when you’re ready to give up and walk away, my kitties will settle down in a nice sunny spot, stretch out, and take up as much of the desk area as they possibly can. Even if it means sitting on your paperwork, you’re outline or your research. They’ll be content for ten or fifteen minutes, but if you move the wrong way or do something that’s not in sync with what they have been listening to, then look-out. They’re wide awake again, ready to inspect and put their stamp of approval on what you’re doing. Then the process begins all over.

But I’m persistent, and I don’t give up easily. I’ve even found a “babysitter” to keep them occupied while I work. I put Alexa on the job, asking her to find cat videos to play on a small screen that sits on my desk. My girls will sit there, entranced, watching the birds occasionally growling at the chattering birds. And if a squirrel happens come in on the screen, their haunches are up, their ears are back and they’re ready for action. Occasionally one of them will tap at the screen, then look at me, confused as to why they can’t grab hold of that pesky squirrel. I know it’s a little devious, but you gotta do what you gotta do when work needs to be done.

And when you and when you finally finished your goal for this writing session, you reach for the cat, pet and scratch her behind her ears while picking her up for a cuddle. And that’s when she jumps down, no longer interested in what’s going on on the desk, or you for that matter. Now Miss Marple and Fletch will find a quiet place to curl up and take a nap. I sit in my chair with empty arms and watch my two cats walk away, their tails swishing. They know perfectly well what they’ve done and I can only shake my head. There’s no sense getting upset with them because I love them. Besides, a cat is a cat, and they live by their own rules!

Victoria LK Williams

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Cozy Mysteries with a Tropical Twist!

Guest Interview: Donna Walo Clancy

Wow! Are you in for a treat! This post is an interview with a very talented Cozy Mystery Author Donna Walo Clancy. I have read many of her books and enjoyed them. My favorite of her series is the Shipwreck Cafe. The series is a bit different from most cozy mysteries, as you’ll find out from my questions and Donna’s answers. So, sit back and enjoy the interview.

Tell us a little about yourself; your hobbies, interests, and anything else you might want to share with us. 
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I turned the big 60 this year! Cape Cod is where I call home for now,  and I have three grown children in their mid to late 20’s. I am happily divorced. For many years I was a wedding planner and then a floral arranger. I finally got back into writing eight years ago as my children were older and working on their own.

My dog, Zumiez, is a black and white Papillon and the most spoiled dog on earth. 

I do many types of crafts and love to paint (but I never show anyone but my kids the finished products). I read all the time, many types of genres, and am in the process of starting up a small publishing company, DWC Books, this fall. 

I love yard sales, flea markets, and metal detecting. 

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I would like to ask you about one of your series in particular: The Shipwreck Cafe Mystery series. Why this series?

I think in one of my past lives that I must have been a lighthouse keeper. I have always had a fascination for them and what better subject to write about than something that you enjoy. I also belonged to a paranormal hunters group years ago and have always loved to follow the ghosts.  

You have chosen a great location for the series- is it similar to a special spot you may know?

Living on Cape Cod, I am surrounded by beaches and lighthouses. The stories surrounding sea lore and ghosts are plentiful, so it is easy to draw inspiration from the area. My favorite is Nauset Light which has been moved back from the edge of disaster twice now. The ocean is constantly changing the shoreline and eating it away. The lighthouse still stands with its beam constantly rotating, day and night, shining over the waters of the Atlantic that it has cheated out of its demise.

Your main character is unusual in the Cozy Mystery Genre: it a male character. What was it like to write in a male voice and was it difficult for you?

The first manuscript of Death by Chowder was given to ARC readers, and the repeated comment that I received from them was that Jay cried too much. I had to start thinking like a man instead of a woman and toughen up his character in my writing. But I still wanted Jay to have a soft side for family and animals but not be mushy about it. I still have to go back after I have written a chapter and think about whether a guy would react that way. It is getting easier with each book I write in the series, but it was difficult at the beginning.

You have also included the character of a ghost (I love this!). Did you find any limitations using this character?

Not at all! Ghosts can do anything. They can shimmer in and out and be anywhere at any time. Roland is unique as he has attached himself to the Jay’s family, especially Jay’s mother, Martha. 

He cannot move on as his guilt over a shipwreck that happened at the turn of the twentieth century keeps him at his post on the catwalk of the lighthouse. He is a wonderful character who maintains feelings and actions just like any living human would have. He also has a humorous side, scaring customers at the café when he feels like causing a little havoc.

Tell us what’s next in your writing schedule

My writing schedule is full for the next two years, God willing. I have 20 books laid out ready for writing. There will be additional books in The Shipwreck Cafe series and in The Jelly Shop Mysteries series. I am also starting a new series, Inks. It is set in a tattoo parlor in the small town of Dexter with many interesting and zany characters.

I also have quite a few stand-alone books ready to be written. Daddy’s Last Wish will be out this Christmas, The Book Juggler, a YA book, will be out in January. Mother Earth Murders, Letters in the Rolltop Desk, and the sequel to Keep the Faith, Ellen McGuire, Be Careful What You Wish For, Ellen McGuire will be released in 2020.

I will be writing full time starting in October of this year.

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How can my readers find you and your books?

All my books are on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
 I am on almost all social pages out there including:

https://www.facebook.com/dwaloclancy

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDonnaWaloClancy/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/267663097515708/

https://www.amazon.com/Walo-Clancy-Donna/e/B00C401RS8?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1565105492&sr=8-1

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/donna-walo-clancy

https://twitter.com/dwaloclancy

I hope you enjoyed reading about one of my favorite writers. It’s always great to find out more about what is going on behind the printed pages, isn’t it?
3D cover MAA#2, ereader  Keep an eye out for my next book in Mrs. Avery’s AdventuresFinal Delivery will be released on August 31, 2019.

Victoria LK Williams

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Write What You Know-Right?

Write what you know – right?

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For years I heard that advice; write what you know. And to some extent, it was good advice. After all, if you know the subject, you are going to be more involved in it. You will know the ins and outs and consequently be more passionate. But it’s also very limiting. How many times can you write about the same thing before you start boring your readers?

My advice is to write what you want to write.
Write what you dream about, what excites you.

There’s no excuse for saying, “I don’t know about that subject.”  With today’s vast sources of information, you can find out about things in ways we never could have before, even 10 years ago. You don’t need to haul around a thick, heavy encyclopedia anymore! All you have to do is click a button and ask your computer, Seri, Alexa, or Google, and the answer is spoken to you like magic.

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And the ever-increasing number of videos now available on YouTube is another excellent source of information. Pick a video and let yourself explore far-away-places you would never have thought of going, or had the financial means to do so.

Have a question about something? It’s easy enough to ask; just get on a social media outlet and find someone knowledgeable in the area. If they don’t know they may be able to point you in the right direction.

And even if you want a hands-on experience, travel is so easy nowadays. Hop on a plane, rent a vehicle, take a cruise, or go for a train ride. These are all possible now, and many trips can be made on a short weekend jaunt.

Use your writing as an outlet for learning new things. Learn about a trade you never knew about, learn about a culture you’ve never been exposed to. Discover the native flora and animals that live in the area you want to write about. Find out about an unsolved crime, a fantastic discovery…the list goes on!

But don’t over helm your reader with facts. Most of what you find in your research should stay in your notes, not in the pages of your book. Pick two or three really interesting or unusual fact that relates to your storyline and use only those. Keep strictly to the facts, or embellish them to fit your story, it’s up to you. But do not make things up. Your readers will know, and may even call you out on it.

 

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Knowledge has never been so easily accessible. Which means if your book isn’t filled with points of interest for your readers to grab hold of and keep their attention, then shame on you. Boring books should be a thing of the past! We have so many avenues of information to draw from to make our books enjoyable.

Now, go, find the facts that will help you create a great book, and have fun learning some new things.

Victoria LK Williams

 

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Currently Available in e-reader and print formats

 

 

 

Series or Stand-alone?

Why do I write in series rather than standalone books?

 First off let me say I love to read standalone books. They draw you in and they complete all of your questions in one sitting, but my true love is book series. It is much as I like to read series, I love to write them as well.

 

 Let me give you some of the reasons why I love to write and series.

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 I love my characters. They become friends to me, and I don’t want to see them leave at the end of the book. I can think of so many other things that they can get into, so many new mysteries for them to solve. When I’m reading, I don’t like to see a ton of characters in book one. Which is great, because when you’re writing the series, you can add characters as you go along. I’m not talking about the main characters, they should be consistent from book to book, but it’s the back story; the characters that live in the town with your main character and interacts with them daily. The characters that come and go could be the villains or just townsfolk that are only needed for one story.

 When I do my character casting, I have MAIN CHARACTERS, usually three or four; and one is always an animal. Then I have SECONDARY MAIN CHARACTERS. These are the glue to the story. These characters are the ones that help move the main character in the direction they need to go or point out things they may miss; they add interest. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a book where the main character has all the action. Having a sidekick, a doting relative, or even a love interest will add more interest and meat to the story.

 The next group of characters I have used are the RETURNING CHARACTERS. These are the characters that I build on as the series grows. They can be shop owners, friends, and family, townsfolk, or resources for the main character. These are the characters that add to the back story, making your book feel more in-depth and realistic. Here’s where you can have some fun. You can let one of your returning characters be an oddball that people shy away from or the opposite; somebody that everybody graduates gravitates to because he is so loving. They’re not main characters, but they play an essential role. And you want to bring them back, book after book.

 Then I have a fourth set of characters, and they are the characters it will only appear in the book I’m currently writing. I call these my THROW-AWAY CHARACTERS. These will usually that involves a villain, his minions, and a couple throwaways that are added just for interest or to move the story along without the help of a major character.

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 But writing a series is not just about the characters. For me, it’s also getting to know the SETTING of the story. My settings are all tropical. I live in the tropics, and I love it. After living up north in the Buffalo area in my youth, I have no desire to ever be cold again, and that includes writing about being cold.

 My settings are built on from book to book, just like the characters are. One book may future a specific setting and it may not be mentioned again for one or two books, but it’s always there, and it’s often referred to by the characters. By creating my settings in detail, I can give the reader a sense of the community my main character is revolving around.

 Another reason I like to write a series is to develop RELATIONSHIPS. Whether it be of a love interest that starts out as the first meeting in book 1 and ends up in marriage in book 10, or “frein-enemies” that end up helping each other at the end of a series.

 I could go on and on. But I’m giving you three reasons why I enjoy writing in a series; the Characters, the Settings, and the Relationships. That, to me, is a solid base to start and continue my series.

 I currently have for series written, adding new books to the series as time goes on. I’m also working on two other series and will release them at a later date. For more information about my series, check out my website.

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Victoria LK Williams

 

A Special Interview!

THE COVER SELLS THE BOOK!!

I am thrilled to share with you an interview I did with my cover artist. And she is an artist. I found Karen Kalbacher on Fiverr, as FuzzyM, back in 2013 when I wrote my first book, Now Arriving…Sister Station 1. She has become more than an illustrator, I’m proud to consider her a friend as well. I thought it might be interesting for you to discover what goes on during the creation of a book cover. I hope you will enjoy the interview. I’ve included some samples of her work. I’m sure you’ll agree this woman is loaded with talent!

 

 

 

1. I see you are also a children’s writer and ghostwriter (so many talents!). Which do you enjoy more, the writing or the illustrations?
At heart, I’m a writer. I love seeing a plot come together and creating new and interesting characters and worlds. It comes a bit easier for me, so that helps. That doesn’t mean I don’t love being an artist and creating illustrations, I do. The fun is in the challenge. I like taking another person’s idea or world and bringing it to life for them. It also involves a lot of communication with the client and feels more collaborative. I’ve always had a hard time choosing between them and took several English courses before choosing to major in art. Who knows if I made the right choice?
2. For a new client, what services do you offer when creating a book cover, and how much input do you like from the client?
I create covers based on the client’s needs. I can do photo editing, add titles to an existing image, or I can create an entire design from scratch. I normally design in Illustrator to create vector-based graphics. This has the distinct advantage of being easy to resize while maintaining quality and being editable.
When a client is new, I like a lot of communication. We are both feeling one another out. I can’t see inside the client’s head, so I ask a lot of questions about style, colors, feel, and often ask for images of covers in a similar vein to what they want. I want the author to love their cover. It’s important to me that we both love it at the end of the project. It’s a lot easier for us to get into a grove if the client has ideas. Blank canvases are intimidating. I can work a lot faster if the client hands me something. It can be as simple as a list of wants and a color they hate/adore.
3. What is your favorite genre to create covers for and why?
Wow, I specialize in Cozy Mysteries at the moment. I love them because the settings are always new and intriguing. There are often a lot of elements that have to be balanced like red herrings, Easter eggs, and pets. It makes it like a jigsaw puzzle to assemble and balance. That appeals to my artsy side. My second favorite is children’s books. I love bright colors, the characters are kids or animals and they are deceptively simple. I’d love to break out into more fantasy covers. I don’t get to draw unicorns nearly enough for my taste.

 


4. Give us a glimpse into the process of creating a book cover.
I like to talk to a potential client before we get a gig going. It’s a chance for us to feel each other out and see if we’re a match. So, generally, I will have a short conversation with you about the size of your cover and what your needs are. After that, we set the price based on the amount of work involved. The client will then send me all the pertinent details.
I’ll look at everything sent to me. If there’s a mood board, I will consider what elements are similar in the images the client likes. This could be as simple as colors, shapes, or composition. If there’s no mood board, I will sketch out a thumbnail with the elements the client has requested. This is mainly to see how to balance them on the page and for me to get a feel for the image. Then I’ll sleep on it and let my subconscious work on it. I might also send it to the client if I think it will help them visualize what I’m doing.
After marinating, I’ll take the sketch into Illustrator. I’ll hunt for reference photos to help me create the detailed versions of what I’ve sketched. I tend to start with the backdrop. It’s usually complete so I can move the elements around on it like a stage. I add the main element (body, sleuth, kid, dragon,) and move them around until I like it. Then I detail it. I add bagels to the sleuth’s breakfast plate. I add toys around the dog. I find the light source and shadow everything. I might also add highlights. Finally, I drop the titles on top.
I will send an almost done version to the client to get their input. The client and I normally go back and forth a bit to shape it into their vision. I’m done when the client is happy.

 


5. What has been your most challenging cover/client to do and why?
Every cover is challenging, that’s why I enjoy doing them. Sometimes you and the client can’t see eye to eye and that’s frustrating for both. I used to ghostwrite for a client. When she asked me to also create the cover, I was excited. But it just didn’t work. We couldn’t get on the same page. I would send what I thought she wanted. She wouldn’t like it. She would try to describe it better. I would try again. We just ended up aggravated. She wasn’t a bad client. She was a good person. She had just chosen the wrong artist for her vision. We weren’t a match. We went on to ghostwrite together for a while after that. I think an artist is like a psychiatrist, you need to shop around for the one that really gets you.
6. Describe for us the perfect client.
Most clients are perfect clients for me. It’s not hard. They need to have a vision even if it is stick figures on a piece of paper. Anything to work with is better than nothing. They need to communicate with me. I’m friendly, I promise! Most importantly, they need to respect me. I will make a zillion changes for a good client. A rude client gets whatever is stated in the deal. They should be enjoying the process. We should have fun together.
7. Life can’t be all about books; what other interest do you have. Did I read something about knitting doll?
Hobbies? Who has time for hobbies? I’m kidding! I love walking. I’m lucky in that I live near a little park and within easy driving distance of a dozen more. I am a knitter! A corner of my living room had a laundry basket overflowing with yarn. I have created doll patterns from scratch and I do a lot of fingerless gloves, scarves, hats, and the occasional baby blanket. I have a podcast called Eh, it’s Something to Do that I record on Wednesdays with Rick Connor. I’m also an avid reader. My apartment is brimming with books and art supplies. It’s a bit chaotic.
8. What is on the horizon for your business?
Right now, I am looking to expand my client base. I would like to expand into pet portraits, do a few more children’s books and possibly start publishing my own line of books. I would like to do more writing gigs for individuals or businesses. I would like to branch out and so a horror story cover or fantasy. On the practical front, I am constantly learning new Illustrator tricks to improve the quality of my work.
9. Give us a few samples of your work.

 


10. How can you be reached? Share your links below.
Find me on Twitter: @1fuzzymonster
Find me on Instagram: @1fuzzymonster_Karen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1FuzzyMonster/
Blog: https://karenkalbacher.com/
Direct link to my portfolio: https://1fuzzymonster.wordpress.com/portfolio/
11. Any final words for us?
Choosing someone to flesh out your vision is an important decision. A good artist/writer will take the time to get to know you. They’ll be enthusiastic about your project. I love my clients. I consider them friends. I look forward to working with them on multiple projects. It’s very rewarding.

Be sure to check out the above sites and see for yourself just how talented Karen is! I know my readers love her covers.