Meet LeAnna Shields

As I write this post, I can look out my window and see the clouds racing by, getting darker with each hour. We are under a hurricane warning and the storm is supposed to skim the Florida coastline. It’s not a powerful storm, but only the first of the season for us. A foretaste of the rest of the season. If you are also in the storm’s path, I wish you safety.

713P-ym5n2L._US230_Meet LeAnna…

LeAnna writes Fantasy or genres and is now beginning to write Cosy Mysteries.  You can find her books on Amazon, in the Kindle Unlimited program. Check out her Amazon Author Page. 

106168126_282987426382532_5712767051706947355_nThe Art of the Facts

83426156_589746001947698_960977683472909502_nSparx of Suspicion 

 

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for 10+ years. Well, that’s how long I’ve been published, I think I’ve been writing for 20+ years. I started writing in Highschool during my homeschool free time. I started with Star Wars Fan Fiction, but when a friend of mine saw my writing her critique pushed me to create my own characters. That eventually lead to my current mystery books. One is called the Art of Facts and the other is called Sparx of Suspicion. The Art of Facts is a 1920’s steampunk-themed cozy that features an African American Archaeology Professor. Sparx is a contemporary mythic themed cozy that features a Native American elf named Sabiya Feathercroft.

How do you handle writer’s block?
Sometimes music helps. When I was writing my Mystic Ranch Mysteries, I was struggling to get a feel for Sabiya’s (my MC) personality until I came across a song featuring Lindsey Sterling called Something Wild. Really, it’s one that focuses more on Sabiya’s love interest Bridger Kane, but through his eyes, I was able to get a lens on Sabiya. With Art of Facts, I had a playlist of techno swing music. Bands like Caravan Palace.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Sparx of Suspicion came to me because Sabiya’s best friend in the book runs a coffee shop called Sparx. The Art of Facts came to me from the fact that the MC Maxine deals with out of place artifacts in the book.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
Oh, that’s tough, Sabiya would have to be played by a Native American Actress. Bridger… well, Josh Gates could probably do it.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
For Mystic Ranch, I draw my inspiration from mythology and folklore. Sabiya is a Canoti (Sioux elf), Bridger is a male Sprite, Lexiana (Sabiya’s best friend) is a centaur, and so is Cyrus (who raised Sabiya like his own daughter after hers died when she was thirteen). My world is full of mythics just leading ordinary lives. That is, until murder strikes. A lot of the inspiration for The Art of Facts came from watching old movies.

LeAnna’s Closing Comments
As you can see, I write a little of everything, but I love the mystery genre right now. And My closing words for you are don’t limit your creativity by what might or might not sell. If you can write it somewhere out there is someone who will read it and love it. You might be the starting point for a future writer. Have a great day, stay safe, and as I say on my podcast Keep Cozy.

I have to add how much I love LeAnna’s covers! I look forward to reading her books.

Victoria LK Williams

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Meet Angela K. Ryan

The fireworks are over, graduations (such as they were this year) complete, and vacations have started. In other words, we are in full gear summer mode. My husband and I are doing “staycations” this year; lounging by the pool with the cats. What about you? Are you sticking close to home in light of the pandemic or branching out from the nest? One benefit of a slower-paced summer is plenty of time for reading. I have read several books by Angela K. Ryan and love them. And I think you will too. Now onto the interview.

92948265_3075097849188692_7494302844405678080_n Meet Angela K. Ryan…

Angela K. Ryan is a Cozy Mystery author, and you can find her books on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. She writes the Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery Series.

 When did you start writing?
I have loved to write for as long as I can remember.  In college, I majored in Print Journalism and worked briefly in that field as a freelancer, but soon decided to go in another direction. I got my Master’s in Ministry and have worked in college campus ministry ever since. However, several years ago, I realized how much I missed writing. I published some religious fiction under another name, and plan to write more in that genre, but I also wanted to try something lighter. Cozy Mysteries were the natural choice. I have always enjoyed reading them – my Kindle is filled with cozies – and I discovered that I LOVE writing them as well. Strong female sleuths, often in the midst of a life transition, who live in a close-knit community with an interesting puzzle to solve. What more could you ask for?

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I try to make each one of my cozies fun, clean escapes with characters that uplift and inspire. As a reader, I frequently turn to cozy mysteries at the end of a long day to relax and escape from the pressures of work and life, or when I am dealing with something particularly challenging that I need to put aside for a while. You could say that cozies are my drug of choice! Similarly, I hope that when people read one of my books, they feel as though they’ve been taken on an enjoyable adventure away from their own stresses and challenges.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I wish my process were faster. I start out with a rough outline, usually creating all the suspects, some of their secrets, motives, etc. I also jot down ideas for plot twists and turning points, but many of them come to me as I’m writing. Then I briefly outline any subplots. After I’ve gone as far as I can with the outline, I write the first draft. If I can devote 3-4 hours a day to writing, I can write the first draft in about ten days, but it is still VERY rough. That first draft sucks the life out of me!
Then I start the editing process. This is where the writing process becomes fun for me again! I polish it up, add in more suspense, twists, and turns. This takes about two weeks. Then I do another two read-throughs, which go much more quickly. I enjoy plotting and the last few drafts the most.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
Several elements in my stories are taken from real life. My main character, Connie Petretta, has a background in humanitarian work, having she spent time after college volunteering in Kenya. This is based on personal experience. For a number of years, a friend and I had a small non-profit organization and raised funds for impoverished communities in Rwanda and India. I had the opportunity to visit Rwanda twice, which is what inspired the idea of having an m.c. with connections in Africa. I chose Kenya because at the time my main character would have been doing her post-graduate service, many programs had suspended volunteering in Rwanda because of the genocide. So, since one of my best friends is from Kenya, that is the country I chose for Connie.
Also, the last names of my main characters – Petretta and Belmonte – are taken from my family tree.
My mom lives in southwest Florida and my Sapphire Beach Series takes place in a fictitious town in southwest Florida. I love spending time there and I enjoy bringing it to life in my books.
And finally, there are some funny stories in my books, especially in Books One and Three, that are based on true stories. I won’t give away any spoilers, but the funny stories are connected with Gertrude, a loveable octogenarian. You’ll have to read the books to find out more!

58379368_2192347097467177_3009178633039249408_n  Free Prequel  92582227_519515778952110_149390369988018176_n  Book 1

A final word from Angela…
It’s always a treat to hear from readers and to chat with other authors! I’d love for you to introduce yourself by emailing me at angela@angelakryan.com

Be sure to visit Angela’s Amazon Author Page to find all her books!

Link to stay in touch via weekly updates: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c6q6e7

In August, I will continue the author interviews, but with a bit of a twist. No, I’m not giving out any clues, but boy, you will enjoy this next series! (hint-hint; there’s two clues in that sentence, ha-ha!). While you’re working out my puzzle, I’m off to continue the next book in the Beach House Mystery Series. Don’t forget, Mist By The Lighthouse, book 3, is now up for preorder.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Jessica Baker

I hope you are all enjoying the 4th of July weekend. Currently, as I look out my window into my garden, I’m seeing a light show. But it’s nature’s show, full of lightning, heavy rain and rumbling thunder. I don’t mind at all; I love a good thunderstorm. 

MIST BY THE LIGHTHOUSE VICKI  Before we meet our next author, I would like to announce that book 3 in the Beach House Mysteries, Mist By The Lighthouse is now up for preorder!

And now onto our next writer and my friend…

jessica baker meet Jessica Baker…

Jessica writes cozy mysteries, with a focus on historical cozies. She is also writing historical romance. Jessica has just released her first cozy mystery and you can find it on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing in elementary school, but I only just published my first book at the end of March. I started looking into writing as a serious career option in 2017.

Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? 
This year, I’m going to be focusing on writing and finishing more books to be published. Right now, I’m focusing on adapting a script I wrote in school into a historical romance novel. I’m really excited about that.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like knitting and crocheting when I’m not writing. I’ve made several dresses and shirts for myself, although most of them are too hot to wear in Florida.

What is your writing Kryptonite?
My writing Kryptonite is either being too wordy or not wordy enough.

Plotter or Pantser?
I am a plantser, which is a combination of a plotter and panter. I usually come up with a loose outline for the story before I begin. I know where the story will begin and end, but the journey in the middle takes on a life of its own while writing.

flyscot  Murder of the Flying Scotsman

Here are all the links to find Jessica and her book. Be sure to connect with her to find her next book release.
Newsletter: http://subscribepage.com/v2s7z6
Website: https://www.jessicabakerauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicabakerauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessicabakerauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JCBakerAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jessicabakerauthor
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jessica-baker
Amazon: amazon.com/author/jcbaker

Meet Trisha J. Kelly

Hello everyone! I hope you are all safe and healthy. And taking advantage of being home to catch up on your reading. And getting to know new-to-you authors! Here is our next guest…
I am so pleased to introduce our next author. We have become great friends, and I have the privilege of being part of Trisha’s ARC team! I can promise you her books are enjoyable and a splendid way to spend an afternoon.

trisha j kelly   Meet Trisha J. Kelly…
A multi-genre author. Cozy, mystery, crime, children, middle-grade. Those are her published books. She is now also working on YA, horror, historical fiction, and a contemporary comedy. She enrolls all her books with KU available as E-books and paperback. Her books are 99p so everyone can afford to read them.

When did you start writing?
I started writing this time around, in November 2016. It was at a time in my life I wanted a change, writing was something I’ve always wanted to do. As a child, I wrote poetry and won first prize in a national competition. I then went on to write a few poems in the early 90’s which were published alongside other authors.
Back then I wrote a book for children called the Bromington Nomad. I didn’t do anything with it, it’s still in a folder. All these years later I’ve taken that fictional place and I’m using it in my current set of cozy books.
So, in November 2016 I wrote my first book.  The first in a middle-grade series called Discovering Witchetty Waters. It took off, I won two awards and hit some No.1 hotspots on Amazon in Hot New Releases and Children’s Books. It was an honour to be sandwiched among the great writers, even if for a short while!

Describe your writing space.
Most of the year we stay in our caravan, which is right beside the seafront on the West Norfolk coast in the UK. It is central for my husband’s work and we have a beach on the doorstep. This is a great playground for our dogs (or it was) sadly, we lost one this January after nearly 14 years of cuddles and fun. Our other dog is a monkey for his age, so we don’t let him off the lead alone now, for a little guy he is still full of mischief! So, this is my space, and it’s a great one for writing.

Who is your favorite character?
This has got to be Rosie, Rosie Wodehouse in my Bromington series. She has a great personality, loving, generous, astute, and a tiny bit fragile. She also has great resolve and doesn’t let life get her down when times have been tough.

Does one character hold a special place in your heart, and why?
Again, this is Rosie Wodehouse. Sometimes in life do you ever think, I wish I could turn back the clock? Do things differently? I suppose in Rosie, I’m living the alternate side of life through her. I’ve had some great times and I love my family, but if I had my time again, I would never have married the wrong guy the first time! I would have met my husband ten years earlier, and then this would have been my dream, investigating! Living in a gorgeous property and raising my family in an idyllic place. So, as a writer, I’m giving this lady my ‘perfect’ life! If that makes sense.

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
My heart and soul. When we write, we project our personalities into everything we create. I hope people can feel my characters, believe my stories, and enjoy them. Can’t ask for any more than that, really.

bromington heights

bromington on sea
Click on covers to go-to books

Want to connect with Trisha? Here are the links…
Website, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramAmazon, WordPress, Tumbler, Pinterest, Linkedin, & Goodreads!

From Trisha…

message from trishatrisha's promo

 

The first of July is this week! Not only does that mean summer is in full swing, but it is also the signal for many writers, like myself, to buckle down and write! Once again, I will take part in Camp NaNo. My goal is to write 45-50k words in 30 days. I’ve done it before, so I know I can do it. Good luck to all who are joining in on the writing challenge.

Meet J.L. Collins

Yep, it’s summer! And even if you are only taking a “stay-cation”, then the time is now to pick your summer reading list. I hope you are finding some great new authors and are adding their books to your list! I know I am. And there are so many more to come. But first, let’s meet our next storyteller.

jerri collins 1    Meet J.L. Collins

J. L. writes cozies – Paranormal cozies at the moment, but will branch off into historical cozies later this year! 1920’s New York City, to be exact. Her books are part of the Amazon KU program, and you can browse her Amazon Author page to find all her books.

“Writing good, true-to-themselves characters that are relatable and worthy of fighting for has always been my number one favorite parts of writing stories. I’d like to think that all of my books incorporate this, as well as plenty of humor and quirky situations. And a little magic doesn’t hurt, either!”

jerri 3
(First in my series, Witch Hazel Lane Mysteries – Grits In The Graveyard – only 99c)

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I used to work at a funeral home and cemetery for a few years. I’ve always been incredibly fascinated by the paranormal and supernatural, but one thing I came to learn in my days there was there is no more peaceful place than a cemetery. It creeps a lot of people out, sure, but that has a lot to do with our fear of death.
When you’re around it all day long, you learn there’s nothing creepy about it. Funeral directors are some of the coolest and kindest people around. You kind of have to be to handle so much grief and sorrow every day. You have to be able to be sympathetic but also know how to distance yourself enough to stay sane.
My favorite part of working there was working with the families on their memorials for their loved ones. I created the designs for them with their help, and it was nice being able to bring them some sort of comfort.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
I always have at least one non-fiction book on my kindle and one paperback waiting for me, not to mention a fiction book! At the moment I have ‘Refuse To Choose’ by Barbara Sher, ‘When’ by Daniel Pink, and ‘Lair of Dreams’ by Libba Bray.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
I have a whole crew of celebrity inspiration for my Witch Hazel Lane mysteries! My main character and her best friends would be played by Jessica Lange, Dolly Parton, a mid-1980’s Betty White, Cicely Tyson, and Pam Grier.

Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? 
Yes! I’m currently working on two different paranormal cozy series set in different worlds. One is perfect for those fans of the new genre of paranormal women’s fiction, as the main character is older and so is her tight-knit group of best friends. The other centers around a woman in her mid-30s who just landed herself trapped in a magical town that’s been cursed with eternal winter and no way in or out.
But what I’m very excited about is my new historical mystery series coming the end of this summer! They’re set in NYC in the 1920’s, in one of the most exciting and intriguing times in the city’s history. I’m a huge history nerd and the research has been so fascinating. I’m obsessed with everything – can the ‘20s lingo please make a comeback?

Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
(An excerpt from ‘A Cold Case In Spell’-)
“What the…?” I fumbled to spin around but what I didn’t expect was a guy to be standing there. Especially the same guy that had just popped around the corner of the pillar half a second ago.
“Get off me!” I backed up the steps as fast as I could given the slipperiness of them. But he just stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face. Which funny enough, had a jaw that could cut glass. I only noticed this second, as the first thing I saw was the stupid cloak he was wearing.
And in true Indie fashion, I blurted out, “Are you a LARPer or something?” I mean, who else would wear what could only be described as a traveling cloak in sub-zero temperatures?
His lip curled. “Should I pretend to know what that is?”
“A LARPer? You know, a live-action role player? Ring any bells?” I shot back. I looked the rest of him up and down, assessing every detail just like Grandaddy taught me should the need arise to kick a guy where the sun don’t shine.
A shock of hair like dark chocolate. Which reminded me that I still need snacks in my camper.
Puzzling colored-eyes. Not quite as gold as Goldie’s, but not quite hazel. Hm. Thick lashes because that’s how unfair the universe is.
I wouldn’t call him buff but fit in a more lean kind of way. He could climb a tree and then balance on a broken limb like Mr. Miyagi. So potentially still a LARPer.
He was taller than me by a few inches, maybe 5’10. A pretty nice height, not that it mattered.
The cloak thing though, I wasn’t sure about. Did I just get thrown into an alternate universe with a guy straight off of a jaunt in medieval times?
Then there was the amused expression on his face that told me perhaps I’d been looking a little too closely.
“Do I need to ask who you are, or are you willingly going to tell me?” His voice, which surprisingly had an almost British accent to it, caught me off guard.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. I’m just trying to leave. And if you aren’t a murdery psychopath, maybe you could just tell me where to go and I’ll be out of your way.” I reached for the crowbar that had slipped from my hands. “Please don’t be a murdery psychopath.”
Goldie picked that exact moment to let out a squawk of laughter. “Oh, I like you.”
The guy stepped out of my way, gesturing for me to pass. “By all means, don’t let me stop you. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your futile attempts to leave town.”
I raised a brow. “See, that right there sounds murdery. And threatening. You don’t just tell someone that and expect them to trust you.” My cheeks stung as the wind whipped around us.
“I don’t need you to trust me,” cute but weird guy said, eyeing me suspiciously. “I need you to tell me who you are and how you managed to break into Charming Springs. We haven’t exactly seen any new faces here lately.”
This time I laughed, which felt a little delirious to be honest. Maybe I was going a little crazy after all. “Break in? What is this, a bank heist? Look… LARPer guy, my camper is over there,” I said, pointing in the right direction, “And it’s been fun but I’d like to leave. Now. If you can help me, great. But if not, please get the h-heck out of th-the way.” When had my teeth started chattering?

jerri 2
(First in my newest series, Ice Witch Mysteries– A Cold Case In Spell – only 99c)

So, now that you’ve gotten a taste of J. L.’s writing you need to connect with her. Sign up for her Newsletter and friend her on Facebook for more. 
For our next post, I will share some recent releases that you may not know about!  Until next time, grab a book, an icy drink, and find a shady spot to relax!

Meet Cherime MacFarlane

Wow! Can you believe it’s June already? Where has the first half of the year gone?  Oh, that’s right, we spent a lot of it close to home practicing self distancing. To say that this year has been unusual is a huge understatement. But I’m please to have been able to introduce you to some great writers that may have been new to you. And there are plenty more for you to meet. So, let’s not waste any time and get on with the show…
hat background removed BW    Meet Cherime!

A book can take you out of this world to another. Not a bad thing right now.

Cherime writes Historical romance, romance, apocalyptic, sci-fi fantasy, paranormal and her books are wide.
Smashwords and Amazon

Highland-Light-cherime-macfarlane-logo    nightwinds shadow-cherime-macfarlane
Highland Light                          Nightwind’s Shadow

How long have you been writing?
Since I was a child. Started with poetry. I wrote my first full length novel in the 1970s in longhand while sitting in a loft in the wilds of Alaska.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Often right as I’m about to drift off to sleep. They sort of float into my mind.

Describe a typical writing day.
Get up around 4 or 5 am, get coffee and toast, turn on the computer. Check Facebook, edit or write or do teasers. Maybe lunch, maybe not. Quit in the afternoon and chill on the couch. Go to bed read for a couple of hours. Maybe sleep. Fingers crossed.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
Marketing is my least favorite. I’d rather be writing.

What is the significance of the title?
Highland Light: Ailene isn’t a beauty, but she is honest and forthright. Gideon never thought to have a home and family. Ailene’s name means light and she is his.
Nightwind’s Shadow: He hides in the dark from the things that have hurt him growing up. JoJo begins as his shadow but draws him out of the shadows.

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I love hard or not at all.

Plotter or Pantser?
Pantser

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Live, love and learn all you can. Fill your mind with experiences, places, people. Let it mix and then write.

shutterstock_1103428241

I hope you enjoyed meeting Cherime MacFarlane. I’m always fascinated with writers who come from Alaska. Maybe because I’m in Florida; about as far away from there as you can be and still be in the US!  Until next time, be safe, healthy and happy.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Judy Moore

I need to be up front with this post: I’m biased! Judy Moore is a friend of mine and a fellow Sister In Crime member. We have spent hours chatting about books and writing. Even better, we live close to each other, so grabbing a cup of coffee and talking books is super easy.

61Eq65XWpRL._US230_   Meet Judy…

Judy writes wonderful thriller and suspense novels, but I’ve been trying to convince her how great the world of cozies can be. I’m tickled to death that she has written her first cozy mystery. I’ve read it, of course, and Judy nailed it! Her books are on Amazon and part of KU. You can also find her books on Goodreads.

Judy has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine feature writer, and publications editor for several years. A former tennis pro, Ms. Moore’s writing background also includes sports writing, and athletes from various sports are sprinkled throughout some of her novels. A lifelong resident of Florida, she currently resides in Vero Beach.

51FEqXzaumL   A Book Signing To Die For

When did you start writing?
As a child, I read all the time and was obsessed with fairy tales, the Dana Girls, and later Agatha Christie. But I was a math major and never thought seriously about writing until I took journalism my junior year in college and then changed my major from math. Once I started writing news and features, it came very naturally, and I knew it was the job for me. I became a newspaper reporter, a magazine feature writer, and a publications editor. When I took an early retirement from my full-time editing job, I decided it was time to start writing mysteries myself. I’m glad I’m at the point in my life that I can afford to write what I really want to write. I love coming up with oddball characters and writing books where the unexpected happens. I can’t stand formula stories. Sometimes, the bad guy might get away with it.

What is your approach to writing?
I write in a simple journalistic style. Grab the reader’s attention and hold on to it. The first page is essential. If readers aren’t drawn in immediately, they’ll probably put down the book. It’s important to use quotes effectively and succinctly. They have to be natural. I put myself in the character’s head and ask myself, “What would this person really say?” The quotes have to reflect the character’s personality. Above all, don’t let the reader get bored. Keep the story interesting and keep it moving! The biggest challenge in writing mysteries is to give the readers enough clues without giving away the killer.

Have you ever been on any sports teams? If so, what sport?
I grew up playing competitive tennis in Miami, played college tennis at Florida State University, and played on the European circuit. I later became a teaching pro and high school coach. I also played paddle tennis competitively, and my partner and I won the national beach paddle tennis championships three times. Won some table tennis tournaments as well. Because of my tennis background, I also wrote a tennis column for the newspaper for several years and covered many major events.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Having been a journalist, I write quickly. I can write a book in six weeks, and a novella in two weeks. I don’t have a set writing schedule, but just go at it until I’m finished. I might write two hours a day, or I might write ten hours. I can’t really rest until I’ve finished the book. Then, I might take a few weeks, or a few months break, depending on what else is going on in my life at the time.

Who is your favorite character?
I have two favorite characters. One is Scratchoff McLean, a homeless man with a big heart who is obsessed with scratch-off lottery tickets. He appears in two of my novels, Somebody in the Neighborhood and my new cozy mystery A Book Signing To Die For. The other is 11-year-old Lily, a manic matchmaker in my Christmas novella Airport Christmas. I truly love oddball characters and try to include at least one in every book I write.

8125h6jH90L.SR160,240_BG243,243,243   Somebody in the Neighborhood 

I hope you have enjoying meeting Judy. She’s a wonderful person as well as a excellent writer. I’m lucky to have her as a friend.  In my next post, look for an sneak-peek at my newest Book Mist Across The Waves, launching on June 3rd. Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend. And say a pray of thanks for all who have given something precious for our freedoms.

 

Meet Joan Wright Mularz

I’m thrilled to introduce Joan Wright Mularz. I know Joan personally; we are both members of our local Sister’s In Crime chapter. I hope you will enjoy getting to know Joan as much as I have.

joan  Meet Joan…

Joan writes Middle Grade/YA Mysteries and has also written and illustrated 5 children’s picture books. Her mysteries are in Kindle Unlimited and her other eBooks and paperbacks are in KDP.

“Joan Wright Mularz lives in Florida and summers in Maine. She is the author of the E.T. Madigan YA mystery series. The third book in the series, Maine Roots Run Deep, was a Finalist for BEST YA BOOK at the 2018 Independent Publishers of New England Book Awards. Her short story, “The Souk,” was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Bethlehem Writers’ Roundtable, 2017. Another short story, “Barbara Screechie.” was published in the anthology “Whittier Than Thou: Wit and Whimsy inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier,” 2019.”

Main Roots Run Deep                   White Flutters In Munich

When did you start writing?
The first writing I recall other than school assignments was entering a slogan contest for M&Ms when I was nine or ten. Around that same age, I entered a national photo contest and I think the title I wrote for it helped me clinch the prize. In high school, I won a national essay contest writing about the Irish Potato Famine of the 1800s. In college, I wrote poems about my inner emotional life, scribbled down memories of personal traumatic events and kept my first travel diary.

How do you research for your books?
The three books in the E.T. Madigan series are set in places I’ve lived—Italy, Germany and Maine. The book I’m working on now is set in New York City where I was born. In addition to that firsthand knowledge from experience, I always read books related to the places I’m writing about to learn their histories. I also do a lot of online research which, depending on the story can take me in strange and diverse directions.  Lately it’s included: The sound of spit, mango water, the breakfast burrito song, locker smells, the New York subway map, Landshark beer history, effects of eating crayons and ways to flirt with strangers without being creepy.

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I hope my readers feel a connection to my characters and enjoy learning about the settings, histories and cultures. I also hope Ellen Madigan, the teen in my first series, is a positive role model for showing girls they can be assertive, active, curious, adventurous and still feminine. She loves science and nature, is energetic and fit, solves mysteries and gets crushes on boys.

How many bookshelves are in your house?
When I moved from Massachusetts to Florida two years ago, I donated over 300 books to charity but I still have plenty. In Florida, I have three full bookcases, plus a few baskets full of books. In Maine, I have four full bookcases and some books piled on the sides of a staircase. My laptop Kindle app has lots of e-books too.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I’m almost done with the first draft of a new YA mystery with a male teen protagonist. In it, he deals with dangers generated by the celebrity of his parents. The working title is the main character’s name, “Slate.” I’m planning for it to be the first in a new series and each story will focus on one of his friends. I have also written some early ideas for a new E.T. Madigan mystery. One unpublished manuscript I have is a craft book for preschool teachers, “Building Blocks for Block Buildings.”

Here’s how to find Joan and her books!
Amazon Author Page
Web site
Facebook
Twitter

I hope you enjoyed reading about Joan and her writing. Connections are so important between the reader and the author, and I always feel more involved with a book when I know something about the author. Please stay healthy and happy; I’ll be back soon to introduce you do our next author. (Isn’t this fun!)

Victoria LK Williams

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

 

Bator-DeadWithoutShame  Bator-AllThatSparkles (1)

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