Bookin' It

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Wednesday Author Interview: Jennifer Melzer

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Today, Bookin’ It would like to welcome Fantasy author, Jennifer Melzer. So nice to have you here with us, Jennifer. Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?

JM: When I was ten, I got a Fisher Price typewriter for my birthday. Before that, I made up extravagant lies about everything under the sun. After, I started typing the lies out and hiding them in a shoebox I kept under my bed. I don’t know why I hid them. Probably because my mom taught me that lying was morally wrong, but as I got older I started to realize there was so much more to it than lying. I was making up stories, living out little fantasies through these elaborate falsehoods I would never get to live out in any other way. By the time I was sixteen, I had dozens upon dozens of full notebooks of handwritten short stories and novels and I was relatively sure the only thing I would ever know how to do is tell stories. Eventually, I went to university and majored in English and creative writing, and experience I highly recommend.

BI: Well, hiding stories in a shoebox under the bed is a new one. Thanks for sharing that. I love it! Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

JM: Neil Gaiman has been one of the greatest inspirations throughout the course of my life. As a teenager, I was enraptured by the Sandman comics and absolutely fell in love with Neverwhere when it came out. One of the things that inspires me about his work is that Gaiman has never been afraid to take risks. Sometimes the more fantastic the risk, the better and no matter what kind of stories we tell. 

BI: I’m a big Neil Gaiman fan, myself, though I only discovered him recently. Still catching up with him and Terry Pratchett, another late discovery. What genres do you read most often for pleasure today, Jennifer…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

JM: Fantasy is my go-to genre of choice, followed by historical fiction centered around the Dark Ages and Medieval Period. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy… Dragons, sorcery, fairytales. I might be a bit of an escapist, but I love stories that take me out of this world. Historical fiction has the same appeal for me because it is a world we’ve already been to, and yet it seems so alien to the world we live in now. 

BI: Good point, about historical fiction being alien to our world today. I can see that. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

JM: At the moment, I work in my bedroom, tucked away from the rest of the household for several hours a day. Consistency, however, depends highly on where I am with what I’m working on. If I’m fully absorbed, I can spend anywhere from five to ten hours a day writing, forgetting there is a world beyond my keyboard. If I’m struggling with a plot point or a character is giving me a hard time, I am far more easily distracted. 

BI: Makes sense to me. Those characters can really run amok with our minds. Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write? 

JM: It’s funny, but as a fantasy writer I have to use a lot more resources than one might think. I find myself consulting maps quite a bit, especially when constructing my own maps of the fantastical worlds I create. Linguistic resources come into play quite a bit, and so do mythology texts. Even when you’re making up monsters or fantastic beings unlike any the world has ever seen before, inspiration is often found in other mythological beasties and stories. 

BI: I can understand that, and I think good world-building would require a ton of research, to be sure it all works together like it should. Jennifer, when you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing? 

JM: I am what is often referred to as a “pantser,” meaning I write from the seat of my pants. I struggle with outlines, their rigidity and structure making me feel like I’m suffocating. My first draft almost always turns out to be what others might consider their outline. I have tried being a good little plotter my whole life, but the more I plot and plan something, the less likely I am to finish it because I really do feel like I can’t breathe. 

BI: I’m a firm believer in “whatever works for you.” There’s more than one way to write, just like pretty much everything else in life. It’s good you’ve figured out your own approach. Let’s talk about reading again. Do you prefer eBooks, or print? Why? 

JM: I still prefer reading good old fashioned books. I love the way the smell, the way they feel in my hands and there’s no threat of your tablet or eReader battery dying just when you get to the really good parts. As much as I love traditional paper books, however, I tend to buy more eBooks these days because it’s easier and often less expensive. 

BI: I love both, myself, each for different reasons. Can you tell us about the books have you published, and where we can buy them? 

JM: My current project is The Serpent of Time series. The first book in the series, Edgelanders, came out in February, 2014, and is available in paperback and eBook formats. The audiobook, narrated by the incredibly talented Veronica Giguere, will be available by summer’s end. When Princess Lorelei of Leithe overhears her fiancé’s plot to murder her on the way to their wedding, she does the only smart thing: she runs.  Into the Edgelands, the savage, woodland home of the legendary U’lfer, a race of fierce wolves who walk as men, she knows she is as good as dead, but she would rather be torn apart by werewolves than die by Trystay’s hand.  A young U’lfer warrior named Finn catches her scent on the wind and finds himself possessed by an unnatural desire to shield and protect her from that which hunts her. From the moment he first sees her, Finn knows she is his. He feels her heartbeat, knows her soul, and he will do anything, even suffer exile from the Edgelands to be with her.  But there is more to Lorelei than meets the eye. She is like Finn; there is U’lfer blood in her veins, a beast beneath her skin she never knew was there. The answers she seeks lie south, in the frozen tundra of Rimian, where a village of people just like her have been waiting for Lorelei to come and save them since before she was even born. 

There is a page on my website with links to worldwide sales venues, as well as free samples of text and audio. 

BI: Great synopsis of the story line, and absolutely beautiful cover, too! Edgelanders sounds like something I’d enjoy. (Have added it to my TBR list). Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available? 

JM: I am wrapping up edits on the second book in the Serpent of Time series: Sorrow’s Peak. It will be available in eBook and paperback formats by autumn 2014, but an exact release date has not been announced at this time. 

BI: You’ll have to keep us updated on that one. I’d like to know what you think is the best thing about being a writer? The worst? 

JM: I love everything about being a writer, and I always have. I love the stories and the characters, working through difficult plot points and coming out feeling as if I’ve only just returned from someplace incredible I can’t wait to share with others. As a storyteller, one has so much freedom and it’s a beautiful thing.   

One of the hardest things is often the amount of self-promotion one has to do in order to make noise in the void of competitive voices vying for reader attention. I love talking about my books, but I love writing them far more and often feel my attention would best be spent on that aspect. Sadly, I know that can’t always be the case. 

Thank you so much for being here with us today, Jennifer. I’m really looking forward to checking out Edgelanders, and I wish you the best of luck with the whole series. 

Jennifer Melzer ap

 Fantasy author Jennifer Melzer enjoys spinning elements of the fantastic with strands plucked from the heart. She spent most of her life denying the romantic overtones sewn into her fiction, but awoke one morning and realized every single tales she’d spun somehow revolved around the heart. She has since given into the whim, spinning yarns woven from heartstrings. 

She currently resides in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and a houseful of dragons she must train regularly to keep them from setting fire to the curtains. Nightly she dreams she is laying on the beach watching stars burst over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Connect with Jennifer Melzer all over the ‘net!

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

Goodreads

Tumblr

Wattpad

You can get a copy of Edgelanders from Jennifer’s own website, Jennifer Melzer, Author

Or from amazon.com: 

Edgelanders: Serpent of Time Book 1 

 

 

Author Interview Opening

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Hey, you writers out there…especially you independent, self-published authors…how about joining us for an interview? It’s FREE. It’s extra exposure for your books. And it’s fun. Let new readers get to know you.

I have an opening Wednesday, August 20, if you’re interested. The next one after that is September 10. And I’m booking through December, so email me at mmeara@cfl.rr.com if you’d like to participate. Nothing to lose, and who knows what you might gain? Looking forward to hearing from you guys, so we can get to know you and your books.

Monday Giveaways: Jim Butcher and Dean Koontz

Jim Butcher's White Night Cover

Still working my way through the Dresden Files and the Odd Thomas series. For those who have missed out on either of these, you can get a free download today that will help you catch up. Just email me after 3:00PM Eastern Standard Time (to give the folks on the west coast a shot, too), and request the book you want. Be first to ask, and I’ll gift it to you. That’s it. Today’s offerings:

1. White Night: Jim Butcher’s 9th book in The Dresden Files series. (My favorite cover of all, btw.  I bought a signed print of this one and framed it for my library. I’m a nerd.)

2. Brother Odd: Dean Koontz’s 3rd book in the Odd Thomas series.

You don’t want to miss out on these. Let me hear from you.

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One Lovely Blog Award

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I’m very excited to let you guys know that last week, Marjorie of Kyrosmagica nominated Bookin’ It for the One Lovely Blog Award. What a great surprise, Marjorie, and I thank you so much! So pleased you thought of me. Please stop by Kyrosmagica and say hi to Marjorie, a really nice lady with a cool blog. You’ll enjoy looking around there.

The rules for this award are:

1. Thank the person nominating you and link back to them in your post (See above! :) )

2. Share seven things about yourself

3. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

~~~

Here are Seven Things About Me which you probably never knew. I’m sure you could get along fine without knowing them now, but I thought it would be fun to share them with you, anyway. :)

1. I’m tall. Nearly 5’11″. That’s close enough to six feet to look most men directly in the eyes, and to look down on a few of them, too. (Not that I’d ever REALLY look down on them, of course. At least not most of them.) But being that tall back in the day was an interesting way to grow up. I was in high school before I had to relinquish my status as the tallest person in the class…including the teacher. (I mean I was 5’5″ in 3rd grade!) Read more…

What Are You Reading?

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If it’s Friday, it must be What Are You Reading Day! Me, I’m still working my way through Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. I finished Book 1, and am closing in on the halfway  point of Book 2. Still enjoying it very much, though I’m worried about some of the characters. Having already lost one I really liked, I’m not sure who else will survive all the way to the end of Book 3. All in all, I’d say it’s a pretty good introduction to a fantasy epic.

Your turn, now. What are you reading this week? As always, inquiring minds wanna know. (And some of us are taking notes!)

Thor’s Day Joke #3

Squeezing in one more before the stroke of midnight! :)

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Things I Have Learned #1 by Marcia Meara

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TV ads we all endure
Proclaim loudly “We have the cure!”

You try it out, and find it’s good,
Why can’t they leave it as they should?
Beware the label “New and Improved,”
It really means you’ve just been scrooved.

:D

Thor’s Day Joke #2

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Thor’s Day Joke #1

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Wednesday’s Author Interview: Elise Abram

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Today, our guest author is Elise Abram who writes what might be called “light science fiction,” and also has a newly released YA adult book available. Elise, welcome to Bookin’ It. So nice of you to join us today.
 
BI:. Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
 
EA: Being a writer was never a choice for me; I’ve always felt compelled to write. Growing up, I told myself stories to keep myself occupied. Sometimes I wrote them down, but I never really liked how they sounded. I kept telling myself one day I’d write all my stories down and get them published, but I never did. The Internet changed all that, because I suddenly had access to content I couldn’t get before and I was able to teach myself how to write well. With practice, I got to the point where I actually liked what I was writing. Now I look back at my first stories and cringe, but I can also see my progress, which is really gratifying.

Read more…

Summoned by Rainy Kaye

summoned

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

This might be the strangest book I’ve ever reviewed, in so many, many ways. First of all, I didn’t like Summoned at all when I started reading. I mean, I really didn’t. I pretty much hated the main character, Dimitri. I didn’t think much of the girl he picked up at a local bar, either, Syd. And I was really turned off by the instant (and frequent) graphic sex between them, without a shred of emotion connecting them. That lack of feeling between them nearly made me put the book right down. But I’m glad I didn’t. Read more…

Monday Giveaways: Jim Butcher and Dean Koontz

ProvenGuilty

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Happy Moon’s Day! Time once again for my Monday Giveaways. Read more…

Sunday Blog of the Week – Nancy’s Notes From Florida

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Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series featuring hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style. She also writes the Drift Lords Series, adventures more in the sci-fi romance vein.  Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

Nancy’s Notes From Florida blog is always a fun and interesting place to visit. I’ve been following Nancy via email for close to two years, and I have learned a lot about everything from her favorite recipes to her advice on writing cozy mystery novels, and the importance of networking via groups like the Romance Writers of America. She also blogs on general writing subjects of interest to authors in every genre. Her experience in the industry is wide and varied, and I guarantee you can learn something helpful by following Nancy’s blog. Hope you’ll stop by and check it out today.

Nancy’s Notes From Florida

Check out Nancy’s books, too.

Writing the Cozy Mystery

Permed To Death (Bad Hair Day Mystery #1)

Warrior Prince (The Drift Lord Series)

The Saturday Six: Weird Driving Laws

Marcia:

Hilarious! Make sure to scroll down far enough to read the silly state laws.

Originally posted on Long Awkward Pause:

 saturday six

If you haven’t seen the show, House of Cards, it’s about the corruption and intrigue behind the nation’s capital.

Did we mention it stars a friend of ours?

*Name drop in 5…4…3….*

Kevin Spacey!

In the show…between killing drunk Congressmen, back stabbing the President, fighting the Chinese, and some good old fashion lesbian sex…you get to see how hard it is to try to pass a new bill through Congress.

Granted this Machiavellian drama is more fiction than fact, but it’s still a glimpse behind the process we would never see…unless you’re addicted to C-Span.

Or C-Span Two.

Or watching moss grow on rocks.

If all of the above are equally entertaining to you, you may need to get out more…or get a puppy.

It seems very apparent from the list below that it’s not quite that hard to pass laws on the state level. It also seems…

View original 330 more words

What Are You Reading?

Mistborn pics edited5

Happy Freya’s Day, everyone! It’s that time again…what are you reading this week? Me, I’m finally getting around to reading an actual, straight-on fantasy. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. Guess what? I’m loving it, so far. It’s really a fun read, with fantastic world-building, though I think it could possibly take me the rest of my natural life to finish it. The first book, itself, is very long, as are the other two in the trilogy, which I downloaded in a “combo-pack.” I’ll be reviewing it when I finish, of course…if I can still remember how to type by then. ;)

Your turn! What are you reading? Inquiring minds wanna know, as always!

Thor’s Day Chuckle #3 & Good Night

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Thor’s Day Chuckle #2

One more, just for giggles!

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Thor’s Day Chuckle #1

Been in low gear all day. That happens sometimes when your ancient body parts no longer want to do what you tell them to… :( But, hey! I’m still here…and still crazy after all these years! :D And just to prove it, here’s a laugh for you today. Enjoy!

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Wednesday Author Interview: Linda Rue Quinn

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Today, I’d like to welcome Suspense author Linda Rue Quinn to Bookin’ It. I know you will enjoy meeting Linda, and learning about her books. I sure did! Read more…

How About A Tewe’s Day Chuckle for a Change?

Been a long, hard slog today, working over plot points and datelines for my sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge, and I need a break. Preferably a break with a laugh or two involved.  Figured I might as well share with you guys, too. After all, it’s probably been a long, hard slog today for a few of you, as well. :) Maybe these will help.

 

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Monday Giveaway: Jim Butcher and Dean Koontz

OddThomas

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Continuing with my Dresden Files giveaway today, plus Book One of another of my very favorite series, Odd Thomas. Read more…

Sunday Blog of the Week: The Creative Penn

Today’s Blog of the Week is especially geared towards writers, and some areas are, in particular, geared toward writers who want to self-publish. Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author of both thrillers and non-fiction works designed to help other authors. She’s many other things, as well, but I want to focus on her blog, because I’ve learned so much from it. If you are at all interested in writing and self-publishing, particularly via CreateSpace, you will want to make yourself familiar with it, too. In particular, the post I’m linking to here, which features guest blogger, Dean Fetzer. Read more…

Might As Well Have A Laugh Today…

Yeah, it’s not Thor’s Day, my usual joke day, but sometimes I just feel the need to share a laugh, regardless. Got a couple more reviews to do today, and my Sunday Blog of the Week, but I don’t care. I’m starting with a chuckle, anyway. Hope it makes you smile, too. I might even throw in a few more throughout the day. That’s the kind of week I’ve had. Every little laugh helps! :)

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Every since reading my first Brandon Sanderson book last year, The Alloy of Law, I have been planning to read more. I loved Alloy. It was funny, witty, and very imaginative, and I decided I would delve into Sanderson’s fantasy a bit more, and read the Mistborn Trilogy. (The Alloy of Law is a sort of addendum to the Mistborn Trilogy, taking place about 300 years after that series). Somehow, I kept getting sidetracked, but when I saw Steelheart, a YA Sanderson novel, I couldn’t resist giving it a try, and I have to say I’m glad I did.

Sanderson’s imagination is wonderful, and his characters are well thought out. The book isn’t perfect, but I don’t care. I enjoyed every minute of it. Yes, I figured out several plot points before they were revealed, but it was still fun, seeing how our young hero would figure things out for himself. And speaking of the hero, David Charleston, he is a boy bent on revenge for the murder of his father, but beset by so many obstacles as to make the task seem pretty daunting. The world of Newcago is a dark, frightening place, and dealing with the evil superpowers in charge of the planet, known as Epics, is not something your typical teenage boy should be able to handle. But David joins a group of rebels, the Reckoners, with much the same goals as his, and a plan is put into action that will change his life, and the world forever.

Superheroes with superpowers aren’t normally my thing, with or without capes, but Steelheart pulls it off with flair, and I’m looking forward to seeing what David and the Reckoners get up to in their next book. If you are a Sanderson fan, you will want to read this one, for sure. If you enjoy YA sci-fi fantasy, you’ll probably want to check it out, too. And if you are just looking for a light, fun read, set in an imaginative future world, it works for that, also. But be warned. Once you have read one or two of Sanderson’s books, you’ll find yourself looking for more. I have finally downloaded a boxed set of the Mistborn Trilogy, and I’m halfway through Book 1 already. Absolutely loving it. Talk about a great escape!

Steelheart

The Dark Witch & Shadow Spell – Nora Roberts

DarkWitch

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

The Dark Witch and Shadow Spells are Volumes 1 and 2 of the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy, so I’m reviewing them together. I read these two books back to back, and couldn’t possibly separate where one left off and the other began, anyway. First, let me say that I haven’t read Nora Roberts in years and years. I thought I remembered that I wasn’t drawn to her writing way back when, but since a reviewer of one of my books suggested her fans would like my work, I thought I’d better get busy and check her out again. Secondly, let me say that said reviewer was being very kind. Only in my wildest dreams, would I ever become the popular author that Nora Roberts is, though I loved the compliment. And third, I want to say that whatever I was remembering from the book(s) I read years ago, well…it turned out to be total applesauce. Probably wasn’t even remembering the right author.

If you have guessed that I enjoyed these two books, you’d be right. I was pulled into this tale of good witches and evil sorcerers in Ireland by the end of the first sentence. And I remained engrossed straight through to the last sentence of the second book. The only reason I haven’t already read the third book is that it isn’t out yet. But it is marked on my calendar, believe me. And the reason I was so completely invested in the story is a simple one. Characters. They were engaging, interesting, and just quirky enough to make me enjoy watching them plot and scheme against their mutual ages-old enemy. I did read a few reviews from fans who were disappointed, saying the books were too similar to another of her series. I suppose that could be a problem for some readers, but since I hadn’t read the other books in question, it certainly was not one for me. The plot was solid, if not brilliantly unusual, the magic was well described and interesting, and again, the characters were fun. That’s enough to rate 4 stars in my book, and I recommend these books to you folks who love a little magic with your romantic suspense. No, better make that a lot of magic. :) Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the covers are cool, too, especially The Dark Witch. It has “Ireland” written all over it! Check ‘em out!

ShadowSpell

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

The Dark Witch

Shadow Spell

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