Friday, June 22, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Robert David MacNeil

I would like to welcome Robert David MacNeil to the Realm.  Thanks for joining us.  
To find all the parts of this interview follow the links
Part 4 is here with me

Robert David MacNeil is an author, wine-lover, and investigator of things supernatural.  Over the last twenty years he's traveled to 32 nations researching, writing, and teaching on angels, demons, and supernatural encounters.   His travels have taken him from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of Thailand, and from the Eskimo villages of Northwest Alaska to le fin del mundo, the "end of the world," at the tip of South America. 
Long a fan of science fiction and suspense thrillers, Robert also has a love for history–especially ancient Greece, Rome and medieval Europe.  He's particularly fascinated with Patrick, Columba, and the ancient Celts of Ireland and Scotland.  The Celtic monks had a special relationship with the angels.  They also loved beer and invented whiskey.  The Irish really did save civilization!
Robert and his wife, Linda, live near Dallas, Texas.  He has authored five non-fiction books under a different pen-name.  Iona Portal is his first novel.

Let's get into Your Current Work

BRoP:  Tell us about your new book and when it is out?
Robert:  My current book is Iona Portal, the first book in the Synaxis Chronicles series.  It's been out about eight months.

BRoP:  Where can people purchase it? 
 Robert:  It's on Amazon Kindle, and also available in paperback from Amazon.

BRoP:  Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?
Robert:  Iona Portal reads like a suspense thriller, but it's set in a "science fiction" universe of multiple parallel worlds.  The alternate versions of planet Earth are peopled by two races of intelligent humanoid aliens who shift between parallel worlds as easily as we move from sunlight to shadow.  They're locked in a war that's lasted thousands of years, with our world as the battleground. 
The Archons’ goal is to destroy the human race and seize our world for their own. Standing against them are the Irin, a benevolent race of winged aliens with great power but limited numbers. As our planet sinks rapidly toward apocalyptic doom, the only hope lies in the Synaxis, a group of ordinary men and women conscripted by the Irin and given supernormal powers.
Iona Portal describes the recruitment of the Synaxis members, and their struggle to work together to use their new abilities, in the midst of a rapidly disintegrating world.

BRoP:  What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Robert:  The hardest thing was learning to write dialogue.  I've written five non-fiction books, but never had to write dialogue.  Fortunately I had lots of help from writer friends who walked me through the process.  In the end, I'm very satisfied with how it turned out. 

BRoP:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Robert: My favorite section is the account of Erin Vanderberg at Mount Kilauea in Hawaii--chapters two and three.  Erin was about to commit suicide by jumping into the 300 foot-deep Halema'uma'u crater when she had a life-changing encounter with a powerful winged alien.  My wife and I actually went to the place, experienced the location first-hand, then went to a beach resort on the west coast of the Big Island where I sat on the balcony for two days writing those chapters. 

BRoP:  Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Robert:  I was surprised by how much fun writing fiction can be.  I've always loved to write, but fiction adds an extra dimension.  Writing fiction, to me, is like reading a good book.  It just takes longer.  I'd wake up in the morning with the next section of the book running through my mind.  I'd sit down and begin writing, eager to discover what happens next.

BRoP:  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Robert:  I want people to come away from the book wondering how much of it is real.  I believe there really is a battle between good and evil.  If we don't see that, we're in trouble. 
The beings we've called angels and demons are real as well.  Every society in human history has reported contacts with them.  Ancient humans scrawled pictures of winged humanoids on the walls of caves.  They're carved in the monuments of Babylon and Persia and painted on the walls of villas in Pompeii.  The Hebrews called them ‘sons of God.’  Early Christians named them angelloi.  Vikings called them valkyries.  Even in the 21st century, reports of these beings are common.
A lot of people today toy with the paranormal, assuming it's not real.  Iona Portal gives a picture of a universe where these beings are very real, and very deadly.  Some of the events portrayed in Iona Portal are based on actual occurrences.

BRoP:  Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?
Robert:  My starting point for the cover was the portal itself… a glowing tunnel in the sky.  One early version just had the portal with the beam of light shining down on Iona, but it seemed too stark.  So I added Eliel, the watcher.  She's the Irin warror, hovering in the foreground.
I liked that look, but it didn't express the conflict of the book, so I added the Archon horde, led by Kareina, moving in behind Eliel.
Finally I added the volcano eruption, which is a key element in the latter chapters, and the Roman Coliseum.  There really is a replica of the Coliseum in the Scottish highlands, perched on a cliff above the town of Oban, where a key scene in the book takes place. 
The final cover seems a little busy, but I like the overall effect.

Here's where you can find and follow Robert

Twitter:  @RDavidMacNeil

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?

Iona Portal is available in paperback and Kindle e-book at  Amazon Prime members can read Iona Portal free on their Kindle

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Writers Wednesday: Research

I think the first thing that comes to mind on this is... "All Hale George R.R. Martin!"

Okay, maybe not everyone feels that way.  I've only read his first book and was wowed by it.  There is so much depth, so much to every banner, every household.  So much that I didn't think of... back to the drawing board.

When writing fiction there are some basic backgrounds that need to be established.

The Main Character.  Where did they come from?  How did they get to be the way they are at the beginning of the book? What effects them the most positively and negatively?

The Supporting Characters.  Again, where did they come from? How did they get to be the way they are at the beginning of the book? What effects them the most positively and negatively?

The Land around them.  Yup even the land needs a history.  When writing Urban stories things are easier because the history was already made.  We know about what has happened in Boston in the year 1773, so the characters can mention it and the writer doesn't have to explain.  There is no... wait, they had a tea party and the British got angry... why.  Every one knows already.

If the land has an alternate time line than things may be different and harder to explain.

Then there is the conundrum of the new fantasy world created by the author.  New races, new lands, new history.

That's just fantasy, imagine what it would take to create a universe in Science Fiction? Parallel worlds? Whoa!

Everything has a basis of what we already know, however.  Such as a land has hills and mountains, planes and valleys.  The world could have kingdoms, or tribal communities.  Everything is based off of what we already know.  So when building a world do the research.  How are the rivers formed? How were the mountains formed? Who ruled when? Was there some kind of natural disaster that changed the face of the land? Was there some kind of disaster that was created by the races of the world?

Do the research and see what you discover.

You may not need to know all this for your world, but it will help you get closer to it.  You can learn how it works and see it's personality.

Here is an article I found on a history teachers view of the history of the fanatical worlds out there.  I thought it was interesting so I figured I'd share.

What do you find important when you create your world? Are there things that you think may not be needed? Do you think you do enough research? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you. 

Happy Writing

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Donning the Armor

I'm up on Dragons and Aliens and Wraiths Oh My, talking about the need for thick skin when getting a critique of my work.

It all deals with the mindset.  Keep an open mind and remember that your critique partner is trying to help you get better.

What do you do to don your armor?  Do you react badly to critiques? How do you get past harsh review?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Tiffany Heiser

I would like to welcome Tiffany Heiser to the realm, she has been a great online friend and a good critique buddy. Welcome! Let's start by getting to know you darling.  

I grew up in Granbury Texas. Always reading or writing from a young age. An only child- I'm not spoiled rotten...I think. Have two wonderful parents that pushed to me to reach my goals. I now live in Fort Worth with my wonderful husband and my two loving dogs(a corgi and a doxiepoo).
I started off with poetry and then short stories. Then decided at the end of last year that I woul
d sit down and write. So I did. 
As a kid I wanted to be a doctor(hate blood), an astronaut(scared to get stuck in space), a teacher(don't want to be stuck with a whole class to myself) and then it dawned on me one day. I want to write. I want to be an author. I love young adult fantasy fiction and knew that's the genre I would pick. Once I put the pen to paper...the rest as they say... is history :)

Section #1: About You

BRoP:  How long have you been writing?

TH: I have been writing since I was a young kid. I learned early on that it was easy for me to express my emotions through writing and poetry. Once I figured that out there was no stopping me. Notebooks were filled with poetry and then I decided once I was out of high school that I wanted to write a full manuscript. Of course it wasn't until years later that I came up with the Bonded With Love storyline.

BRoP: When and why did you begin writing?

TH: I began writing because I needed a way to express myself and even when I was young vivid dreams and never ending thoughts ran wild in my mind. I started young I believe I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.

BRoP: When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

TH: I honestly didn't consider myself a professional until Bonded was out for sale. I was a writer before that. Once I saw my novel out for sale, and after squealing and jumping for joy, did I realize that I had become a professional.

BRoP: What books have most influenced your life?

TH: I will always give a big thanks to Stephenie Meyer and Twilight. If I hadn't fallen in love with the books, the writing bug wouldn't have hit me so hard. After that authors like Richelle Mead and Melissa Marr have been amazing inspirations.

BRoP: What genre do you write?

TH: I am a paranormal romance author. I am in love and have always been with vampires, so you may see more books about the dark creatures come from me throughout the years. I also love other paranormal beings and can't wait to write about the others one day.

Where can our readers find you?


Never in a trillion years did Rena really think vampires existed...or that she had enemies among them.

Beginning of senior year, and Rena Vesten is hoping for something incredible to happen. She never expected that the dark-haired, blue-eyed man of her dreams-literally-to suddenly appear as the new student at school.

The gorgeous mystery guy, Cryder, has more secrets than his inexplicable presence in her dreams. Soon Rena's world takes a turn into the supernatural when she finds out Cryder is a vampire king with a deadly rebellion on his hands, and a destiny irrevocably tied to Rena's...

...'till death do them part.

Vampires live a long life and it can appear to be perfect to those who don't have the option for immortality, but when your sanity and place in society is dependent on the one you love- the thought of eternity can be excruciating.

When Bristol finds his true blood-mate at an early age, the girl who knows him to the deepest part of his soul- everything seems perfect. He pictures a future of only the two of them with no rules or limitations, but one terrifying night all of those dreams are stolen from him. 

What happens to a vampire when it goes insane?

To follow the rest of Tiffany's interview, don't forget to check out
Part 2 with Sandra
Part 3 with Dean
Part 4 with Terri
Part 5 with T.W.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Muse

My muse is a little guy who likes to fly and breathe fire.  Yup and his name is Random.  'Cause well... I couldn't resist. ;)

Isn't he cute? 

Pictures taken from various places on the web, no image belongs to me

What's your muse? Do you envision something hovering over your shoulder? Perhaps someone whispering in your ear?  I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Jacqueline Seewald

Multiple award-winning author Jacqueline Seewald has taught creative, expository and technical writing at the university level as well as high school English. She also worked as an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Eleven of her books of fiction have been published. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications. She enjoys spending time with family and friends when she isn’t writing. In addition, she is a playwright, a landscape artist and loves many types of music.  

Wow, now that's a diverse way to get into creativity! Welcome to the Realm Jacqueline!  Lets talk about your writing life a bit.

BRoP:  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.

JS: I have my own little office area set up at home. That’s what works best for me. I get up really early in the morning and start writing. I’m sharpest then. I often start a story or novel with a notebook and pen as ideas flow best that way initially.

BRoP:  How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?
JS: My husband says I spend too much time on the computer, and I know he’s right. But I do try to devote a fair amount of time to him and our family as well. I also like to cook, do my own cleaning and enjoy food shopping.

BRoP:  When do you write?

JS: Every single day. No time off for good behavior. Mornings really are best.

BRoP:  How much time per day do you spend on your writing?

JS:  That will vary. When I’m really into a novel, it can be most of the day. But when I’m needed by family or friends, I curtail my work.

BRoP:  What has been the most surprising reaction to something you've written?

JS:  I’ll be blunt and painfully truthful. I wrote a paranormal romance set in the Regency era entitled TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS. (It was published by Five Star/Gale in 2010.) After the initial edit, I sent it to Mary Balogh who went through the novel and made suggestions for improvement which I followed. I then asked Jayne Ann Krentz who writes paranormal historical romance as Amanda Quick if she would read the novel. She was kind enough to read, endorse and blurb the book. With the help of these two outstanding historical romance writers who I greatly admire, I thought the novel was going to be very successful. Imagine my surprise when Library Journal and Publishers Weekly both attacked the novel. Apparently, they did not like the hero because he was flawed. Perhaps the book was too sensual for their tastes. The poor reviews broke my heart. However, Thorndike Press brought out the novel in a large print edition anyway and it’s in a lot of libraries. Actual readers have loved the novel and asked when there would be a follow-up. I was touched by this. Connecting with readers is what matters most to me.

BRoP: How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?
JS: I have a thin skin so it isn’t easy for me to deal with criticism. However, you can learn from constructive criticism and I do accept that with appreciation. I always strive to improve the quality of my writing. I expect a good editor will make suggestions for change. Unlike the Ten Commandments, I understand that my prose is not chiseled in stone.

To find the rest of this progressive interview, don't forget to visit the rest of the Blog Ring of Power
Thursday with T.W. Fendley
Friday with me. Hi *waves*
Tuesday with Dean C. Rich
Wednesday with Terri Bruce


Barnes and Noble Online:

When Kim Reynolds, a university reference librarian with clairvoyant ability, is contacted by her friend, Lorette Campbell, a grad student in the English doctoral program, a chain of frightening events unfolds. Lorette, worried that someone is out to harm her, asks Kim to look into the possibility that an inferno collection exists at the library.
After Lorette dies, the police initially write it off as a suicide. Kim, convinced Lorette was murdered, begins her own investigation, placing her own life in jeopardy. She becomes romantically involved with dashing, popular professor, Don Bernard, as well as tough police detective, Mike Gardner.

Use the links below to get a copy today!
Buy the Ebook from AllRomance/OmniLit
Buy the multi-format Ebook from Fictionwise
Buy the Kindle Ebook from Amazon