Monday, October 27, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: T.W. Fendley

I would like to welcome Blog Ring of Power's very own T.W. Fendley. She's releasing a new book and we got to pick her brain. You can find the other half of this interview on Sandra's blog.

Author Bio –
T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. She began writing fiction full-time in 2007 after working twenty-five years in journalism and corporate communications. In October 2011, L&L Dreamspell LLC published her debut historical fantasy novel for adults, Zero Time. Her young adult contemporary fantasy novel, The Labyrinth of Time, will be released in November 2014. Her short stories are available on Kindle and Audible.

Teresa fell in love with ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Since then, she’s trekked to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest. She serves on the board of the St. Louis Writers Guild, and belongs to the Missouri Writers' Guild, Broad Universe, and Historical Novel Society. She also practices remote viewing with the Applied Precognition Project and studies shamanism. Teresa currently lives near St. Louis with her artist husband and his pet fish. 

You can find her online at: 

Section #4: About Your Current Work

BRoP: Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

T.W.: My first book for young adults--a contemporary fantasy set in Peru—will be released on Nov. 7. The ebook of THE LABYRINTH OF TIME is already available for preorder. This story was inspired by a museum of engraved stones I visited about two hundred miles south of Lima in Peru. They believe the stones were left as messages to us from people who lived in the time of dinosaurs.

BRoP: Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

T.W.: I’ve tried to find other books similar to it, so if you know of one, please let me know! While I think it has the “adventure” feel of the movie Super 8, it’s aimed at young adults instead of tweens. The aliens’ comet ship was inspired by Javier Cabrera Darquea’s ten-year study of the inscriptions and origin of the stones. Stories about travel on comets date back to 1877, when science fiction pioneer Jules Verne published OFF ON A COMET, a novel about forty people stranded on a comet for two years.

BRoP: What was your favorite character to write and why?
T.W.:Boss Lady, the shapeshifting dog, was my favorite because she surprised me. In my earliest drafts, I had a Peruvian hairless dog in the opening scene where Jade and her grandmother arrive in Ica, but the dog kept coming back as I wrote later scenes. It felt exactly like the scene in the book where Boss Lady is trying to get Jade and Felix to follow her. Eventually, I understood why—she was more than just a dog. Being a pantser, it took me a while to grasp her significance.

BRoP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
T.W.: Ultimately, it’s about the power of love to save the world. I’ll admit it—I’m an optimist.

BRoP: Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?
T.W.:My friend—author/illustrator Jennifer Stolzer—designed the cover. I emailed her some photographs I’d taken of the engraved stones and of crystals like those I imagined were in the labyrinth. The hardest part was making a Peruvian hairless dog look cute—they are some kind of ugly!--but we finally were inspired by a puppy. We hovered over Jen’s laptop at the local coffee shop to make the final changes.

Section #5: Words of Wisdom

BRoP: Is there anything you would have done differently during the querying and publishing process?
T.W. I’ve decided not to give the querying process so much time and energy with future novels. I kept sending queries for this book to a few agents or publishers at a time, with depressed lapses until I sent the next few emails. Three years passed, and the book was no closer to publication than the day I finished writing it. I will send my next novel out to a few agents, but if that doesn’t work out, I will self-publish it and move on to another project.
BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing?
T.W.: Editing is definitely the key to good writing. As C.J. Cherryh said, “It’s perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”
BRoP: What do you feel is the key to your success?
T.W.: When I started writing fiction, I gave myself permission to be bad. It was humbling to realize writing fiction required skills I didn’t have since I’d always earned my living through writing and won many awards for my nonfiction. Fortunately, the romance writers who took me under their wing were very supportive and business savvy. One thing I quickly learned was how important it is to finish stories. So many writers I know get stuck rewriting the first couple of chapters and never move on. Persistence, and a wicked imagination, are what keep me writing
BRoP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
T.W.: Thanks! I feel honored to share my crazy worlds with you.
BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)?

T.W.: I’m working on a retelling of the Adam and Eve story that’s set in the near future called MOONBLOOD.

BRoP: Is your book in print, ebook or both? 

T.W.: Both

Can Jade restore the Firestone’s powers before the First Men return to judge humanity? 
Spending spring break in Peru with her grandmother isn’t sixteen-year-old Jade’s idea of fun. She’d much rather be with her friends at Lake of the Ozarks. Then she meets Felix, a museum director’s son. Jade discovers only she and Felix can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones in the age of dinosaurs.
Following the ancient stones’ guidance, they enter the Labyrinth of Time and–with a shapeshifting dog’s help–seek a red crystal called the Firestone. But time is running out before the First Men return on the night of the second blue moon.
D. Buy/Book Links:

The ebook and print versions will be available at most online retail outlets on Nov. 7, 2014; you can ask for it at your local independent bookstore and library, too. Check for my ebook giveaway on Library Thing beginning Nov. 1. Additionally, THE LABYRINTH OF TIME is available free through Oct. 31 to Net Galley subscribers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

 Here's a real treat for everyone. One of our hosts has let us pick her brain! She has a new book coming out tomorrow, though you can grab the pre-order today!

I'm doing the first half of the interview and the rest is on T.W. Fendley's Blog

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Other published works by Sandra include Twinned Universes and several science fiction and fantasy short stories. She is a founding member of Broad Universe, which promotes science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

Sandra can be found online at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads
Section #1: About You 
BRoP: How long have you been writing?

Sandra: I wrote a few stories and poems in high school, wrote my first full-length novel (which thankfully will never see the light of day) during grad school/my internship, and finally started writing with professional goals in mind a few years later. 

BRoP: When and why did you begin writing?

Sandra: I started writing in my 20s to tell the stories I wanted to read but never could find the bookstore, the stories that don’t use the typical tropes.

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

Sandra: I always tried to act professionally from the start, but selling my first short story and receiving the anthology in the mail was a landmark. 

BRoP: What books have most influenced your life?

Sandra: It’s not genre, but Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I read in high school, affected my attitudes toward science, philosophy, and life. 

BRoP: What genre do you write?

Sandra: Science fiction and fantasy. 

BRoP: What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

Sandra: I like to write about friendships, especially in groups. My inspiration comes from the four-fold synergy of the Beatles.

BRoP: If you couldn't be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Sandra: A geneticist doing research.

Section #2: The Writing Life

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

Sandra: I try to follow a routine. I bring my laptop to work and write on my lunch hour. I also write at home in my office after my son goes to bed. Sometimes on the weekend, I’ll go somewhere to write while my husband looks after our son. 

BRoP: How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

Sandra: Not as well as I’d like. My son is in second grade, so he keeps me busy. He has to come first, at least while he’s awake. I can generally keep up with cooking and laundry, but the housework sometimes gets ignored so I can write. You can’t do everything at once, but sometimes priorities have to shift. 

BRoP: When do you write?

Sandra: On my lunch hour at work and after my son goes to bed. 

BRoP: How much time per day do you spend on your writing?
Sandra: I probably average between a half hour to an hour. Most days the word count is less than 1000, but since I keep at it, the words accumulate over time. 

BRoP: Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support?

Sandra: Other writers, especially crit partners. 

BRoP: How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?

Sandra: Rejection and negative reviews do sting, but I remind myself you can’t please everyone and focus on the story at hand.

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

Sandra: Everywhere. I get ideas from everyday situations, from things I read, from things I’m interested in, and even writing challenges. I need lots of ideas because I find the best stories come about when I mash two or more unrelated ideas together. 

BRoP: Do you have a specific writing style?

Sandra: I use too many semicolons for fiction, at least according to my editor. Although I like writing in first person so that I can give the narrator a strong voice, most of my stories are actually in third person. 

BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Sandra: It depends on the cause. When I first started writing, I sometimes got stuck when I wasn't deep enough inside the characters’ heads. I’m better at that now, but sometimes I don’t know what should happen next in the story. Then I may write out in the manuscript ideas about what could happen and the implications of those events. Writing the ideas down helps me focus instead of frittering away time on Internet games. And sometimes I’m just physically/mentally exhausted and need to recharge. Of course, I tend to get a spurt of writing energy right at bed time. 

BRoP: Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

Sandra: Although I have tried outlining, I invariably wind up ignoring the outline and pantsing the plot. 

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

Sandra: I was a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror until earlier this year. I didn't renew my membership because I unfortunately didn't have enough time to keep up with other people's stories. I still use beta readers after I've done as much with the story as I can on my own. 

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

Sandra: On one level, life is research; I mine everyday experiences, sensations, and emotions for tidbits for my stories. Since I write science fiction, I read a lot of science news stories, looking for ideas I might want to use to extrapolate a future world. I also read a lot of non-fiction to learn about other cultures and settings. The Internet can be handy for looking up specific facts I need on the spot.

The rest of this interview is located HERE

Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?

Buy Links:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Lauralyn Elliott

Lauralynn Elliott is an independently published author of paranormal and fantasy romance books, as well as some horror. She started the indie journey several years ago and has never regretted it, loving the freedom to publish what she wants when she wants. You will find everything from vampires and ghosts to elves and wizards in her novels and novellas. She enjoys putting a little bit of a different twist on some of the old ideas about our favorite fictional characters.
Lauralynn lives in the southeastern United States with her husband of many years. She has two grown sons whom she adores. Reading, playing computer games, and spending time with friends are some of her favorite activities.
 Author Contact Information 

BRoP Logo Revised-1
 Don’t miss the rest of Lauralynn’s interview with the Blog Ring of Power at:

Section #4: About Your Current Work

BRoP: Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it? 

LE: I just released a new book called Fire Wizard. The love scenes (not sex scenes) were fun to write in this one. So far, it is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. It should be on Kobo and iBooks soon.

BRoP: Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject? 

LE: I’m not sure there is another book on EXACTLY the same subject. Instead of vampires, ghosts, and werewolves, this one is about a race of people who can create and control fire.

BRoP: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

LE: The love scenes were fun. And the scenes where they were dealing with the bad guy was also fun.

BRoP: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book? 

LE: I wouldn't change a thing. I think authors drive themselves crazy worrying about this sometimes, so it’s best to let it be and be happy with their books.

BRoP: Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like? 

LE: This is the first cover where I actually did a custom shoot with the model. My cover artist, Anya Kelleye, did the photography. She and I disagreed on which photo should be used for the cover, but we ended up using the one I liked. She had some trouble with this one. She wanted to get the fire on the cover just right. I think she was satisfied with the final product.

Section #5: Words of Wisdom

BRoP: Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc. 

LE: I’ve never queried an agent. I actually used a vanity press for the first book. Then ebooks came along. Then CreateSpace for print books. I’m kind of a control freak, so self-publishing is perfect for me. I couldn’t stand the thought of waiting until a publisher said my book would come out when I could publish myself and do it when it was ready. One of my beta readers is actually an editor, so she catches my errors or plot holes. My cover artist is my best friend, so she’s done all of my covers. She started doing it just for me, and now she does covers for lots of authors. 

BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing? 

LE: I know this isn’t what most authors would say, but this is what I believe. The most important thing in writing is the ability to entertain. You can talk about the “three acts” or “pinch points” and “plot points” all you want, but if your book isn’t entertaining, none of the rest of it matters. Keep the reader engaged and excited. Try to touch their emotions. 

BRoP: Do you have any advice for other writers? 

LE: Please make sure your book is edited properly. I read so many books that make me cringe with all the mistakes. And don’t give up! The only way to sell books is to keep writing them.

BRoP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

LE: Buy my book! No, I’m just kidding. LOL. What I really want to say is that I appreciate each one of you so much. Without readers, where would authors be? I don’t understand authors who keep themselves away from the readers. I like to interact with all of you! 

BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)? 

LE: I’m currently working on a “cozy mystery”, so I’m watching a lot of old episodes of “Murder, She Wrote”. I’ve got a Science Fiction romance in my head, too.

Fire Wizard eBook 2-2When an arsonist sets a series of fires hotter than anything the local firefighters have ever seen, Finn McLain becomes the prime suspect. But all he’s trying to do is find out which of his fellow fire wizards is really guilty.

Niki Hansen is a firefighter who rushes into fires to save those trapped inside but always remains unscathed. She wants nothing more than to find out who’s setting these fires that burn everything down to ash, including the bodies of the victims.

When Finn sees Niki, he realizes she may be the first female fire wizard in a century. When she accuses him of setting the fires, he convinces her he’s innocent. But will he be able to convince her to embrace her unique abilities? While they try to find out who’s behind the fires, they end up starting a few fires of their own.

 Buy/Book Links

Is your book in print, ebook or both? Ebook right now, but print is coming soon.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Alisha Basso

Welcome to another Blog Ring of Power installment. Today I would like to welcome Alisha Basso to the blog/stage. 

Don't forget to check out the previous sections on my fellow hosts sites:

Part 5 - Em

Alisha lives in Nevada with her wonderful family and two sweet dogs. When not writing, Alisha is running around with lots of children or tending her garden. Please feel free to send her a note on facebook or drop her a line from her website

Section #5: Words of Wisdom

  1. Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.
I can thank H.P. Mallory for the idea to publish. I read her books and when I discovered she was self-published it was as if every road block I had in my path was cleared. She wrote a little book about her path to publishing and I used that to take my first steps. The internet was a huge help with locating my cover artist RonnellDPorterdesigns and I thank my lucky stars I found him. After all of this I believe that being kind to readers and other authors is huge. Readers are our bread and butter and the reason we get to keep doing what we do. Authors are kindred spirits who often share their ideas and know what it’s like to do what we do. Helping each other and boosting one another is key, in my opinion, to great relations and positive outcomes. It isn’t easy to be a writer and it’s rarely as glamourous as some people think. I once did an interview while sitting in front of the TV folding laundry with an episode of Looney Tunes on mute. I sign autographs on Kindles between bites of cereal. Most of us are everyday people who just happen to have the gift of storytelling and were intrepid enough to send our stories out into the world for people to either love or hate. Humility is never overrated.

  1. What are the most important elements of good writing?
To read and to always write for starters. I also believe that some newer writers are so paralyzed by the “rules of writing” that they cripple themselves into writing stiff prose. Relax and let it flow. If you are meant to be a writer, it will come. If not, write for fun and damn the rest!

  1. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up. So cliché but it’s true. Take criticism with a grain of salt and never ever respond to a negative review, it simply makes you look bad. Negativity should never be acknowledged.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! You really are an inspiration for me to keep going. I hope to gain more readers and share my stories.

  1. What are your current / future project(s)?
As I have said before, I am ending my series which is so sad. I love my characters, so I've decided to do a series of stand-alone novels revolving around the Grace Allen world of monsters and magic.

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I am currently included in a series of 8 stories written by several USA Today best sellers as well as many other best-selling authors. It’s titled Paranormally Yours A boxed Set. All of these stories are very entertaining and a great way to sample new authors. 

When Grace Allen discovers a valuable ring in a gutter, she thinks it’s her lucky day, but, fate has other ideas. Now, Grace finds herself not only the keeper of tremendous power, but the only person in the world able to wield it. 

Seth McPhee is a monster on the hunt and his prey has never been more seductive. While Grace's powers will ensure his leadership in the underworld, her beauty will make her captivity a pleasure. 
Rushing to the rescue is Lucian, a man who is more than he seems. Will he prove to be the white knight that he claims, or is he just another beautiful monster? 
Battling fantastic creatures as well as her raging libido, Grace’s resolve is tested. Will she succumb to a life of lavish entrapment, or escape for an uncertain freedom? 

Book Links: 
Book is in both print and ebook