Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Author Interview With Katie Zaber

This week, I'm delighted to introduce Katie Zaber to you all. Katie's latest book, "Below Dark Waters" (her second book in the Dalya series) has just been released. The first in the series is "Ashes and Blood".

Tell me more about the first book in your series?

Ashes and Blood is about a young woman named Megan who goes on a hike with her friends when the forest suddenly morphs around them. They find themselves in the woods nearby a frontier style town without electricity or water and clueless of how to return to Earth.

I wanted to write a story about a woman who isn’t a heroine. A woman who makes countless mistakes driven by her own desires and has good intentions, but good intentions can become deadly in ignorant hands.

What prompted you to write it?

Boredom. Pure Boredom while stuck at home recovering from surgery. Ashes and Blood evolved over six drafts and started with an insane king singing a sinister version of Lord of the Dance. In his twisted version of the religious song, he is the lord, dancing around his kingdom, subjecting his people to his will and killing them for entertainment. From there, the story grew and grew and changed perspective until I was happy.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book in the series?

Right now I’m finishing up DNA—Angels & Demons, a book about a woman named Evie who mysteriously gets pregnant. After a DNA test proves that her husband is not the father, her life becomes complicated.

People become possessed around Evie, telling her to kill the baby or protect it at all costs as she tries to rebuild her life after a heart-breaking divorce. Throughout the book, she realizes that her child might be a celestial being, but isn’t sure if it’s angelic or demonic.

When her perfect child is born, she sees the symbol and knows that her child is in fact the antichrist, leaving her with a decision. It’s almost done, and I hope to have it on sale by summer. 

I’m also working on the third book in the Dalya series, title undecided. It’s roughly 20,000 words, and I hope to have it out this fall.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

My first attempt at writing a book was after I had read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. I must have been ten years old and wanted a sequel. So I got a pen and stack of paper and wrote around 50-60 pages before I started a different project. I still have it.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

Ashes and Blood is my first novel.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

I love Kilyn. She is a preteen Fae slave who was sold by her parents because she has bad blood and was born without any magical gifts. She’s spunky and fearless, using her wits and resources to survive.

Where is your ideal writing space?

At my desk when it’s nice and quiet.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

My piano teacher told me when I was a kid that his friend had auditioned for Prince. Prince gave him sheet music and told him to play it. The guy nailed the song. Prince then said to play it backwards. The man looked at Prince confused. Prince said you should be able to read it forward and backward. That every band member he performed with was that fluid.

Now, I don’t know how much of that story is true, but the thing that always stuck with me was the ability to think in different directions and not just read left to right. It’s important to be flexible and learn how to bend in different ways in every situation.

And now for some more random questions...

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

I usually listen to my iPod that has a crazy selection of random musicians and genres. About half would be rock alternative, but my all time favourite singer/songwriter is Ani DiFranco, who is a folk/rock singer.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose, and why?
1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.
2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.
3. An endless supply of loo roll.

Computer. It would at least entertain me and keep me semi sane, though I would worry about sand getting into it. 😉 

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Green. At this moment, 75% of my clothes are already a shade of olive or forest green. The rest are brown, grey, and black.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs

City or country?

Depends on where the city is located. I’m not a fan of New York City, but I love Rome. I’m not a fan of country either, I like to order takeout way too often and live close to shopping.

Real book or e-book?

I used to love real books until I hurt my neck and shoulder. My e-book is much lighter when I want to read for hours.

Fountain pen or biro?

Neither. Mechanical pencil. 

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

Links to Katie's Dalya series:

Ashes and Blood (US)

Ashes and Blood (UK)

Below Dark Waters (US)

Below Dark Waters (UK)

You can keep up to date with Katie at all of the following places:

Website: http://zaberbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dalyaseries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zaberbooks
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-zaber
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20290665.Katie_Zaber
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Zaber/e/B087YXPDF2/



Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Special Offers

I have never seen other authors as competitors. Far from it. I'm not an especially fast or prolific reader and I can read 40-50 books in a year. Many readers can read 3 or 4 times that (or more!). Since no writer can ever write books as fast as readers can read them, I see other authors as colleagues and friends and try to promote them and their books whenever I can.

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to interview Eleanor Rousseau (catch up with her interview here) and next week, I will be interviewing Katie Zaber - make sure you come back and check that out.

This month, I'm pleased to be part of several promotions. Please do check them out. There are some great books and offers in them.

Happy reading! Go fill your Kindles!

To Fantastical New Worlds and Beyond

Tired of this world? Find new adventures in this big selection of fantasy set partially or entirely on a different world. All of them are available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

Check out the books here.

Unlimited Fantasy Deals

A selection of over 80 fantasy books on sale, all of them available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited. Offers end 3rd March, so be quick!

Check out the books here.

Fierce Females in Fantasy (to fall in love with)

Like your heroines feisty? Check out this selection of books on sale, all of which feature a fierce female lead.

Young Adult Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

Big selection of free short stories, novellas and books, but don't miss out as this ends 28th February.
Check it out here.


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Looking for cheerleaders...

via GIPHY

This round of edits of "Invasion: Guardians of The Realm 4" are done. The ms is back to Fiona for a final sweep; the cover is close to being finalised. So now I am looking for some cheerleaders to read an advanced copy before it's published.

Anyone up for it? Ideally, you'll have read (and enjoyed and reviewed) the rest of the Guardians of The Realm trilogy, and be prepared to shout about this one from the treetops (or social media or Amazon or Goodreads etc.).

Fit the bill? Let me know and I will send you an advanced copy of the ebook for free. All I ask is that if you enjoy it, you spread the word (and if you don't enjoy it, maybe just keep quiet!).

Trying to be found in the gazillion books out there is nigh on impossible, even with a big marketing budget (which I don't have). I have to rely a lot on word-of-mouth and reviews. Please, if you've read any of my books, leave me a review? It doesn't have to be long. But it does make all the difference to me.

Want to be in my cheerleader team? Drop me a note using the contact form on the right and I will get back to you!


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Author interview with Eleanor Rousseau

I'm delighted to share this interview with Eleanor Rousseau with you. Her new book, Heroes and a Hellhound: Book 1 comes out today!

Tell me more about your book?

The main character is Nevaeh St.Claire. She’s a ‘hellhound’ which is actually considered to be a derogatory term among demons for the subspecies that she’s a part of. This is one of the many reasons she’s glad that she escaped hell after her enemy dragged her there. Free from demonic influence, she currently has a life and even friends who also have cool powers. The only downside is the fact those friends like to use their powers to fight crime, and they usually drag Nevaeh into their escapades.

What prompted you to write it?

Initially, it was one of those ‘if you could be a superhero, what would your powers be’ conversations. During which I concluded that I would make an absolutely terrible superhero.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

Book two is definitely in the works, and I am very excited about it. But I also have another project I’m pretty excited about, it is my first foray into the world of crime fiction, but there are also elements of fantasy and Arthurian lore mixed in.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

Probably when I was 12, which was when I became completely obsessed with books. I went from hardly ever reading to constantly having my nose in a book. Moving on to writing was a pretty natural progression after that.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

It was a book about a demon-hunter who fell in love with a dragon shifter. It actually wasn’t bad, considering I was 13 when I wrote it.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

Probably Pete. He is Nevaeh’s sweet but dim German Shepard. He is the exact opposite of her, but she loves him anyway. Their bond is unshakable.

Where is your ideal writing space?

Curled up on the sofa in front of a fire.

And now for some more random questions... 

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

I do often tell Alexa to tune into Disney music. Otherwise, I’m currently really into Dermont Kennedy.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose and why?

1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.

2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.

3. An endless supply of loo roll.

2 - I’m always glued to my laptop.

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose? Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Probably green. I own a lot of olive green clothes.

Cats or dogs?

Both!

City or country?

Country

Real book or e-book?

Ebooks. Sorry paperbacks.

Fountain pen or biro?

Fountain pen

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

You can keep up to date with Eleanor here:

Website: https://eleanorrousseau.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEllaRousseau
IG: https://www.instagram.com/ellalrousseau/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EllaRousseau
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/eleanor-rousseau
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17152701.Eleanor_Rousseau
And check out her event that's running tonight at: https://www.facebook.com/events/989012711625381

Heroes and Hellhounds is released today!

[US readers click here]


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Nostepinnes and niddy-noddies

 There are some amazing words associated with yarn. These are two of my favourites! What are they?

Well, a nostepinne is essentially a wooden stick, usually tapering, with a few grooves cut in it. It's used to help wind a ball of wool from a skein. Here's a You Tube video (no affiliation, but it's a clear video) to show you:

A niddy-noddy is used to wind wool into a skein. Again, easier to see it done than to try to explain it!


Why do I even know about these things?

Well, for one, I'm a fairly keen knitter (very late to the party, only learning how to knit about 18 months ago, but now knit most days). Two, the main female character in book #10 has a yarn business, and she uses them!

That's one of the things I love about writing - learning new words and researching specific things.

What are your favourite (new) words?


Tuesday, 19 January 2021

#XpoNorth...


Last Friday (15th Jan), there was a Twitter-pitch event run by XpoNorth. The idea was that authors Tweet-pitched their work - essentially send a Tweet (with #XpoNorth in it) pitching a book. Agents and publishers were following the hashtag, and if any of them liked the pitch, they could get in touch and ask for more details, or invite the author to make a full submission to them.

I pitched book #10 over the day. The advice had been to pitch, even if the book wasn't at submission-point and if an agent was interested, to then give them an estimated date for when the work might be ready to submit (but to submit only when the work was ready). Book #10 is almost at first-draft stage. There are a few scenes to write and of course, it needs editing, but I thought, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" and pitched it.

Well, I got lots of likes and re-tweets on my pitches, which gives me heart that I've written something the market will be interested in, but sadly, none of the likes were from agents or publishers. Ah well.

There were some cracking ideas in the pitches. If you're on Twitter, go and check out #XpoNorth to see some of the amazing ideas that were tweeted over the day. I'm really hoping that quite a lot of them are ultimately published, because they sounded fantastic.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Back in The Realm

After last week's post, I opened the file from Fiona for "Invasion" (Guardians of The Realm 4), made a large pot of tea, and read through all the feedback.

Huge relief because...

She LOVES it!

That's not to say there weren't a gazillion comments throughout - this is Fiona, after all, and she's the most thorough editor I've ever worked with. And the best.

I've been delighted at how easy it has been to drop back into The Realm. It's as if I've never been away! Okay, I've been living (and dreaming) this world for some time now, but I've also drafted another book while Fiona was working her magic, in a different genre and with a very different setting. When I've done that in the past, I've sometimes struggled to become fully immersed again in the first project. This...? This feels like putting on all my comfiest clothes and snuggling down. I'm loving being back in The Realm.

All going to plan, I should have these edits done by the end of January, then the book will be back to Fiona for a last check. The cover is getting designed as I type this, and various other things sorted. I'm aiming for March as a publication date, but I'll keep you all posted. I'll be looking for cheerleaders soon!

Until next week...



Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Updates...

Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope 2021 isn't as much of a shocker as 2020 was!

blackboard with news written on it

I have updates for you! "Book #9" is back on my desk, and it now has a name! It will be called "Invasion" and is the fourth book in the Guardians of The Realm series.

The editing arrived back from Fiona on the last day of 2020. At time of writing this (Sunday 3rd) I haven't opened the file yet, because I know that as soon as I do, I will be sucked back into The Realm and there are other things I need to clear before that. I'm hugely excited to be back in The Realm with Aeron and Faran again and I'm hoping that Fiona really has loved the book as much as she said she did!

As for "book #10" - that's on hold for the moment. I didn't quite get to a full first draft by the end of the year (partly because I started on a second draft really - checking the timeline and the scene orders etc). I've packed away all the notes, maps and paraphernalia relating to book #10 to clear some real estate on my desk for "Invasion".

In a Facebook group I'm in, a fellow-writer (Mason Cross) had a suggestion of writing 100 words per day on a side-project, so I am also doing that. I've tweaked the challenge slightly to be 100 words and/or 10 minutes of planning. The idea is that by the time I've done the edits on "Invasion" and also the editing of book #10, I will then have a few thousand words and some planning for "book #11". 100 words is easy to achieve. 10 minutes of planning is easy to do. But they will add up to  a decent chunk by the time I'm ready to start that project for real. And then the 100 words/10 minutes will be on the next side-project. And so it goes on.

Setting writing goals seems almost futile with the way the world is at the moment, but I'm intending to publish both "Invasion" and book #10, hopefully before summer. I'm also hoping to have a first draft of another book by the end of the year. In a (more) ideal world, I'd like it to be at second draft (or better) but let's see what 2021 is going to throw at me! Two books published and a third drafted is enough. Anything more would be a bonus.

How about everyone else? What plans do you all have? Have they been scaled back after what happened in 2020? Do they exist at all, or are you just hoping to get through the year as unscathed as possible? Or are you optimistic that 2021 will be closer to normal and have drawn up plans accordingly? Drop me a note in the comments below.

Whatever your plans, I hope that 2021 is kind to you.