Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A Sweet Tale of Motherhood...

I just wanted to share this lovely tale by P.K. Hrezo over at her blog.

Being a parent and trying to write always throws up it's problems. For me personally, my brain often feels as if it's full of Swiss cheese holes (my own four-year old is often found saying 'you always forget things, don't you Mummy?'). I think when half your head is always living in an imaginary world, it's hard to live fully in one or the other!

Anyway, pop over and have a read of P.K.'s great story about how she almost fluffed her son's tooth fairy visit. It's great proof of how having an overactive imagination doesn't always have to be a bad thing!

Friday, 24 June 2011

SFTW! Interview with Erotic Fantasy Author, Danielle Gavan and Win ALL of Her Books!

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had a good week and I'm sure, like me, you're all pleased the weekend is here. Before I introduce my next guest, I just wanted to apologise for my lack of commenting on either this blog or anyone elses. For some reason Blogger is no longer recognising my login details and won't let me leave comments. So, I'm not ignoring you, promise! I'm also aware of a few other people who've been unable to leave comments. If you've had this problem while trying to enter one of the giveaways, please email me your entry at marissafarrar@hotmail.co.uk and I'll be sure to include you!

Now, for my guest for this week, Danielle Gavan. I met Danielle over at the Write in the Shadows blog, where we co-blogged, (and which is now being relaunched as Digital Digest, but I will share more on this venture another time). Not only is she a gifted author, she is also a talented cover designer and a total expert on all things formatting. Seriously, this lady knows it all and she is a great person to get to know!

So, Danielle, thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing a little about yourself and your work.


Let’s start with the most important thing: your books. Give us a brief description of the novel you want to talk about today.

D.G.  The novel I’d like to tell you about today is UnWrapped. It’s a novella about four supernatural siblings who discover just how fun getting older can be for a Satyr, Incubus, Dhampire and Fae. Readers who follow Everything Erotic will have seen some of the chapters on the blog.


M.F.  So what are you working on at the moment? Have you got any new projects in the pipeline?

D.G.  I’m currently working on a few projects. The Lists is a novella about the Elves who supervise the Naughty and Nice lists. Some of the things they get up to in the office, and out, are downright naughty and a whole lot of nice. Untouchable is another novella I’m working on about the children of angels and demons and their fight to save themselves from extermination. Lastly, I have a series in the works called Finders Keepers with fellow author Jennifer Feuerstein. The five books we have planned focus on a group of supersoldiers who must find the one woman meant for them in order to free themselves from the clutches of The Council.

M.F.  Lol. So not much then.. ;-) Is writing something you’ve recently got into, or have you been writing for ages?

D.G.   I’ve been writing for ages. I can remember sitting in grade school with a friend while we passed notes back and forth. We’d end up with page after page of stories about the rock/pop stars we fantasized about. My pages are no longer filled with rock stars. Instead, they contain werewolves, demons, angels and other supernatural beings.

M.F.  What do you make of the changes in the industry, with so many more people going ‘indie’?

D.G.   Honestly? I think it’s about time people took back control of what they’ve worked so hard for. We, the authors, spend weeks/months/years creating and yet those who go the traditional publishing route end up with the smallest share of the profit from their blood, sweat and tears. That doesn’t make sense to me. Sure, I understand the publishing houses need to recoup their costs for editing, cover design and all the other minutiae that goes along with putting out a book but when you see an author making $0.48 off a $6.99 book…that’s just wrong, in my opinion.

M.F. I hear you sista!  Who is your greatest influence when it comes to your writing?

D.G.  Hmm.. I can’t say there’s just one person that has influenced me more than the other. I’ve read so many great authors, it’s hard to pin point just one. I’d have to say it’s a tie between Laurell K. Hamilton, Diana Gabaldon and Gena Showalter. All three are wonderful writers whom I greatly admire.

M.F.  Stephen King says when he writes, it is for his wife Tabitha. When you write, is there anyone you are writing for?

D.G.  My family. My husband and our two boys. I think, in some way, I’m also writing for my mom. She’s always been an avid reader and if it weren’t for her love of books, I’d never have become the book worm I am. I don’t think she’s read any of my work yet but, I hope when she does it’ll make her proud.

M.F.  What sort of books do you read yourself?

D.G.  I like paranormal romance/urban fantasy mostly. I do read some YA, but again, it’s mostly the paranormal stuff. The last two books I read were Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton and City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. Both were fabulous reads.

.M.F.  Now for some more abstract questions: If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

D.G.  Ooh, good one. Hmm… I think it’s a toss-up between Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry from Laurell’s two series.

M.F.  If aliens landed in front of you and offered you anything you wanted, what would it be?

D.G.   LOL I’d have to unfurl the extremely long scroll of things I want and play eenie-meenie to answer that one.

M.F.  Tell us something quirky/interesting that people probably don’t know about you.

D.G.   I can wiggle my nose like a bunny, and I’ve got an extreme paranoia when it comes to bugs.

Thanks so much for taking part Danielle!

***COMPETITION TIME***

Danielle would like to give away a copy of each of her titles to ONE lucky winner. So that's FOUR books in total! Just leave her a comment below or email me at the address above if you're unable to comment!


Author Bio:

Danielle Gavan lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband of eight years, and their two sons. Danielle has been writing in her spare time since she was in middle school. She is currently writing, editing and doing cover design full time.
You can find out more about Danielle at her Facebook Page, by following her on Twitter!

Her erotic short stories also appear on the blogs site and ebooks, Everything Erotic

Friday, 17 June 2011

Something for the Weekend! Paranormal Romance author Shannan Albright and a Giveaway!

M.F.  Welcome Shannan Albright! Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing a little about yourself and your work. Let’s start with the most important thing: your books. Give us a brief description of the novel you want to talk about today.

S.A   Dark Passion Rising is a paranormal romance/ urban fantasy set in Las Vegas. Here is a quick blurb:


Tambra Ellis has just had her world turned upside down! Surviving a bite from a Lycan, attracted to one hot vampire guy and now she has to look forward to turning into something from some bad werewolf movie.


Marcus Valerian has enough on his plate without the added complication of Tambra Ellis. Fiery and independent? Sure. Beautiful with a body made for sin? Oh Yeh. And a human cop. Tambra is everything he needs to stay away from.


As leader of the Tribunal’s enforcers it’s up to him to find out why the Dark Breeds are going feral and killing humans in ever increasing numbers. Tambra’s life is in the balance as the secrets of her past place her in the middle of old deceits and a betrayal that will change the world forever.


Will Marcus and Tambra’s love survive or will it be too late.

M.F.  Sounds great! So what are you working on at the moment? Have you got any new projects in the pipeline?

S.A.   I am putting on the finishing touches to a novella called Beloved Wizard and will soon be submitting it. It’s about King Arthur’s return with all of his round table. The first book is about Merlin reincarnated as Drake and sets the stage for future books.


I also am working on the second Dark Breed novel and hope to have it to my publisher in about a month. It’s called Passions Flight.

M.F.   Is writing something you’ve recently got into, or have you been writing for ages?

S.A   I have been writing for many years, but thanks to eBooks and epublishers I have finally gotten my foot in the door and can say I’m published.

M.F.  What do you make of the changes in the industry, with so many more people going ‘indie’?

S.A.   I love the changes it opens up so much for a new author and I love that there is now the opportunity available to publish your own work. This is an exciting time in the publishing industry and I can’t wait to see how this all shakes out in the end.

M.F.   Who is your greatest influence when it comes to your writing?

S.A.   Wow I want to say I’ve been influenced by everyone I read, but if I had to narrow it down it would be Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. R. Ward , Erin Quinn (whom I had the pleasure of meeting and found her to be an absolute delight.)All three struck a chord with me because of their unique blend of characterization, layering of the plot and description.

M.F.  Stephen King says when he writes, it is for his wife Tabitha. When you write, is there anyone you are writing for?

S.A.  I write for the readers out there who love good stories as much as I do.

M.F.  Good answer! What sort of books do you read yourself?

S.A.  I love Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy and Steampunk.

M.F.  I'm still at a bit of a loss about what Steampunk actually is! If anyone can give me a brief run down, it would be appreciated! Lol. Now for some more abstract questions: If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

S.A.  Maggie the cat from Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I find her a compelling blend of strength and desperation.

M.F.  If aliens landed in front of you and offered you anything you wanted, what would it be?

S.A.  More time to write. Perhaps they could give me a clone? Humm...scary thought having more than one of me in the world.

M.F. I hear you there! I think all writers want more time to write. Tell us something quirky/interesting that people probably don’t know about you.

S.A.  I read Tarot cards and give regular readings to friends. I learned them as a small child from my great grandmother.
M.F.  Oooh! I love stuff like that. Maybe virtual readings are possible??? Thanks so much for stopping by Shannan. It's beeen great learning a bit more about you and your books.

S.A.  Thanks for this opportunity!

***COMPETITION TIME***

Shannan would love to giveaway one e-copy of her book Dark Passion Rising to one of our readers. All you need to do is leave her a comment together with your own email address or blog address so we can contact you if you win!

Author Bio
Lynnet Shannan using the pen name Shannan Albright writes Paranormal Romance primarily. She got serious about writing as a business in 2008 when she became a member of Romance Writers of America. She uses oil painting as a way to work through her books and relaxes with a good book. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, step-daughter, two cats and two dogs.
You can find out more about Shannan on facebook, twitter, her blog, or at her website!
Her novel, Dark Passion Rising is available to buy from Amazon.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Writers write for a different reason than publishers publish...

I read this on the Smashwords blog page today and it kind of rang a bell with me.

The problem is that now the boundaries between writers and publishers are blurring. With so many authors turning Indie, we now have to accept that if we want our work to sell, we need to have some of the business nuance of a publisher. We need to be able to produce great covers, with catchy blurbs. We need to be clever with pricing and promotion.

But what about the books themselves? Should we also be writing books we think will sell or simply writing to 'express' ourselves?

A good friend of mine recently told me she modeled her own (now successful) series on that of a number of other already successful author's series'. I have to be honest, when I was told that, I was surprised. It has never occurred to me to produce a book modeled on something I knew would sell. For me, I've just written the story because the idea popped in my head and wouldn't go away until I'd written it all down.

But let's be honest, while I'm sure there are plenty of writers out there who do it purely for the love of writing, this is a business and needs to be treated as such. Writing to a particular 'formula' which I know would sell, makes sense, doesn't it?

I'm struggling a little with a number of things as far as my writing goes at the moment. I have one book currently due out, but I'm getting so many different pieces of advice about the book, my head is spinning. The second problem I have is with an ending of a novel that is basically done--all except the final scene, which I can't bring myself to write. I know how the book is supposed to end, but I know that ending won't please the readers and it will hinder the sales of the third in the series.

So, what do I do? Go with my guts, or be savvy and write what sells?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Something for the Weekend! Author of the smash hit, Vampire Vacation, C.J. Ellisson!

This week I’d like to welcome the author of the super sexy, Vampire Vacation, C.J. Ellisson, to Something for the Weekend! Vampire Vacation has been sky-rocketing on both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sales charts and is now up there with Amanda Hocking, among others.


This woman has single-handedly changed how I approach both my writing and the publishing industry. She gave me the confidence to make some changes, which ultimately led to me to being able to write full-time. I’m honoured to have her here and feel blessed that our paths crossed. I only wish I’d met her sooner.

So, C.J., welcome.


C.J.  Thanks for having me, Marissa! And you’re too kind to even mention me in the same sentence with the wunderkid, Amanda Hocking.
I’m glad we met as well, but you had everything you needed. Let’s just say I gave you a helpful push in the right direction.

M.F.  First, tell us a bit about Vampire Vacation.

C.J.   The book blurb says it best, but I’ll spare your readers from copying and pasting it. They can always click a link at the end if they’d like to read it.


For me, Vampire Vacation is simply what I saw missing in the urban fantasy genre. I wanted a monogamous married couple who worked side by side to solve a problem, rather than another strong female character with a wreck of a personal life. I wanted the couple to bicker, have pasts they’d rather forget, respect one another through the occasional snarky barb, and have smoking hot sex when the mood strikes them—you know, just like real life ;-)
In this case, the wife happens to be an ancient vampire and the husband is human. She’s the volatile, sexy creature he tries his best to manage.

M.F.  I know the sequel to Vampire Vacation, The Hunt, is on its way. How did you find writing a sequel?

C.J    It was much harder than I thought. Not because the story itself was problematic, but because of personal and professional hurdles. This past year had ups and downs galore, I dealt with things the best I could. Made some mistakes, made some good choices. Live and learn.

M.F.  You’re not many years into your writing career, yet you’re seeing great success. What do you think your key to success has been and what advice would you give any aspiring authors.

C.J.   LOL! I wish it were that simple: “Here, take this advice and you’ll sell lots of books.” There really is no quick fix, as you can well attest to.

Like any venture in life you need faith—not in God, not in “the powers that be”, not in your moral beliefs of right and wrong—but first and foremost, in your self.
If you say, “I can’t do this”. You’re dead RIGHT, you sure as hell can’t. If you worry your work is not good enough, then it most certainly isn’t.

Realize one thing: you can’t make everyone happy. All you can do is your best and work your ass off on every piece you put out for readers to enjoy.
If you allow your fears to rule how you perceive your own work, then it will also color how other people see it as well.

M.F.  So what do you make about the recent changes in the publishing industry? Do you have any cheeky predictions about how things will continue to change?

C.J.   I think it’s a fascinating time to be a writer. It also makes me feel like the one time in my life I have an edge. A business background in a time where some of the writers I’ve met can’t grasp advertising cost and rate of return?

M.F.  What does the future hold for publishing? I have no idea. More of the same? Drastic changes regarding print and ebook pricing?

C.J.  It sounds like the industry is on a good path for most savvy writers, that’s for darn sure.

M.F.  How long have you been writing for and what prompted you to pick up a pen?

C.J.  Ah... the moment where we get to shock everyone. I can hear them now: “Is she a hack? Why in the hell were we impressed with her?”

This past February marked two years from when I wrote “Chapter One”. It marked the first bit of fiction writing I’d attempted since college back in 1989. Yes, twenty years later I thought I’d give writing a try.


I started writing as an escape. I had some health issues overwhelming me and had to end my previous career. It was humbling to be stuck at home with hours and hours staring back at me… and with not even the strength to walk around the block. Writing became the one thing I could still do, so I threw myself in with gusto.

M.F.  Whom do you read yourself? What authors have inspired you to write?

C.J.  Although I’m not thrilled with her current stuff as much as her older titles, Laurell K. Hamilton remains one of the best storytellers I’ve had the pleasure to read.
Way before True Blood, I’d read about Ms. Teagarden, Lily Bard and the chick who finds dead people—Charlaine Harris remains a master of combining a British cozy feel with compelling characters and storylines. Love her work.


Of course, some others I auto-buy are just as darn good: Jim Butcher, P.N. Elrod, Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Keri Arthur, Carrie Vaughn, and Jenna Black. I could name quite a few more in other genres… but we’d be here all day.

None of them inspired me to write, my own professional isolation and desire to shut out medical worries I could do nothing to change did that. But, the above authors all inspired me to write better.

 
M.F.  Other than publishing The Hunt, what’s next on the agenda?

C.J.  I promised my kids I’d do their middle grade book next. This is especially dear to me since they can’t read even one of the three titles I’ve currently got out. We plotted out ideas for a book last summer and after I penned chapter one, I allowed myself to get pulled in many directions. Once the editing is done on The Hunt I plan to start their story, Black is for Lies. It will be under a new pen name, C.J. Stern.
After that will be another erotica novella and working on book three in The V V Inn series.

M.F.  Thanks so much for stopping by C.J. and huge congrats on all your success. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person!

C.J.  Thanks for having me, Marissa. I’m grateful we met and thrilled to have you as a partner in crime.

~~*~~



**CONTEST TIME**



C.J. is running a unique pre-launch promo contest. She plans to give away ten signed and numbered copies of The Hunt. They will be mailed to winners when the print book goes up for sale, which is slotted right now for June 30th, 2011.


Here’s how you enter: You comment on any blog C.J. does for the next three weeks. She will notify readers when a new post is live via her Facebook business page, and she’ll Tweet about it. Each comment counts as one entry (only one entry per post, but you can comment more if you'd like). The comments must be made within the first 48 hours of the post going live, and she’ll post a "closing" comment when the entries for that day are closed.



All entries will be tossed into a drawing, and the participants with more entries have a higher chance of winning. BONUS!! Every entrant who comments on at least six blog posts and does not win a signed print copy will receive a free ecopy when the book goes up for sale.




Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Delays and Contest Winners!

Well, today was supposed to be my publication date for The Followers, but something has come up and so it will be postponed for a couple of weeks. Ah, well...best laid plans and all of that. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Naturally, I'm disappointed, but I'd rather my book went out as good as it can possibly be, then rush things.

In the meantime, I have some competition winners to announce! The winner of the anthology 2013: The Aftermath was Denise Zaky (Goodreads entry) and the winners of Armand Rosamilia's extreme zombie novella, Dying Days, are Blaze McRob and Kalex.

This Friday I've got author, C.J. Ellisson stopping by the blog to tell us all about her novel, Vampire Vacation, (which is currently clambering for best-selling status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and the forth coming sequel, The Hunt!

Hope to see you all then!

BTW. I'm having some problems commenting on my own posts at the moment, so if I've not answered any of your comments, please don't think I haven't read them...