Indie Author Friday – Nabila Fairuz #IndieAuthors #YoungAdult

indie-author

Who doesn’t love a good pirate story, right?  Today’s featured indie author is Nabila Fairuz with her book, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar.

32278405-1

The youngest of three siblings, Shelly’s childhood tragically ended when her family disappeared under cryptic circumstances. Shelly and her sister embark on an epic journey to find them, only to face more hardship.

Witnessing the death of her only sister hardened Shelly more, and she was left with facing the bleak reality of continuing the mission alone. It affected her deeper than she imagined, and fueled her every move. It made her become the pirate captain whose name would eventually be feared everywhere. She gathered a crew and despite all odds always managed to come unscathed from any of her crazy exploits.

Along the way, she bumps into her brother who is now charged with arresting her, reconciles with her father who is hiding his own secrets, and frees her mother from the clutches of a power hungry Admiral of the English Navy. Will the fearless Captain Shelly Manhar manage to evade the hangman’s noose, or be forever lost in Davy Jones’ Locker?

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

The most constructive criticism that I received in my writing career was given to me by my publicist, and it goes (more or less) as follows: “Get a better editor.”

Needless to say, editing is not one of my stronger points and I need ALL the help that I can get.

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

I’d wish I’d known what a tremendous amount of marketing I’d have to do. Writing the book is probably only a quarter of the actual work. Getting it recognized by people takes up about 80 percent of the time, and even then, it seems to me that it is never enough! I wish I had known that sooner.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to never give up. I can’t tell you the number of times I had come so close to giving up writing and not finishing my manuscript. Now that I actually hold my book in my hands, I bask in the pure joy of my creation. I just wish I had not been so negative about my writing in the early stages.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Firefly, and the movie sequel of the series, Serenity. I can watch that series over and over.

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

“Noot, noot, amigos!”

(I am guilty of occasionally enjoying watching Pingu. There, I said it.)

 How would your best friend describe you?

Makes really horrible and lame puns. Beware.

Author Bio

Nabila Fairuz is an upcoming writer making a debut in the world of fiction. Born innabila Dhaka, Bangladesh, she moved to Ottawa, Canada in 2009. Nabila has a deep passion for reading, and this habit was developed at a very early age. It grew in her an intense urge to venture into the field of writing. She has written a number of poems, stories and articles, and maintains her blog, My Own Little Corner, to keep her writing habits going strong.

Social Media
Blog: http://nabila-fairuz.blogspot.ca/
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/nabilafairuz56508/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/N_FairuzR
Instagram: n_fairuzr

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Captain-Shelly-Manhar/dp/1612967655/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476037530&sr=8-1&keywords=nabila+fairuz

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chronicles-of-captain-shelly-manhar-nabila-fairuz/1124683838?ean=9781612967653

 

 

 

Indie Author Friday – Christopher D. Schmitz #IndieAuthors #fantasy

indie-author

It’s Friday!  Indie Author Friday, to be more specific, and Christopher D. Schmitz is here today with his fantasy books, unusual question from a fan, and excellent taste in Netflix.

unnamed-9

 

After merging with her copy from an alternate reality, college student Claire Jones is thrust into a setting beyond imagine and must fight alongside Zabe, her self-appointed, inter-dimensional guardian. Together they must stop an evil warlock from shattering the laws of existence who, above all else, seeks Claire’s blood as the key to controlling the all-powerful Tesseract. If the evil one gets a drop of her blood he can rip a hole in time and space and summon his dark nega-god into existence.

Buy Links

Wolf of the Tesseract
Dekker’s Dozen: The Last Watchmen
The Kakos Realm: Grinden Proselyte (Volume 1)
The Kakos Realm: Rise of the Dragon Impervious Book 2

The book I’m currently pitching hardest is my paranomal YA adventure, Wolf of the Tesseract. Following WotT coming out with Black Rose Writing, I’ve written two new books and I’m in prewriting for the sequel: Through the Darque Gates of Koth. I also have the second novel in my fantasy series coming out in a few weeks (Rise of the Dragon Impervious.) Readers can get that the first novel for free by signing up for my mailing list on my main website. I’ve also had good feedback from my sci-fi Dekker’s Dozen: The Last Watchmen which is similar in feel to Firefly and Dark Matter, but with a steampunk-time-traveling twist. Plus zombies… in space. There might also be a clockwork ninja. All of my books (plus ten others) are on Amazon or on my personal website.

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

Kill the passive voice.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I had someone email to ask if a supporting character (Jackie from Wolf of the Tesseract) was based on a real person–if so could I pass on her information? Reader would very much like to ask her out on a date.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I took up writing short fiction exclusively for several years so that I worked on starting the story, evolving a plot, editing, killing babies, finishing the story, and dropping the mic. It also helped to learn to write succinctly and ramble less–writing shorter sentences for space reasons began to teach me how to write varied lengths and write with rhythms to move the pace and story rather than just impart communication.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

I play the great highland bagpipes.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I watched the entire Gravity Falls series–it’s almost a perfect cartoon touching on great themes and paranormal elements similar to Stranger Things (which might be my favorite show). But I would have ended it slightly different… as I watched it with my teenage children I noted that the ending was good, but I would’ve left Stan Pines as a vegetable and had his brother take him across the world on a sailboat while becoming his caretaker to reinforce the seriousness of his noble sacrifice. (Then my daughter said, “No–you would’ve killed everyone.” She has read most of my library and she might be right. I don’t always play nice with my characters.)

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

I often feel a little bit like Boromir from Lord of the Rings. I wish I was Aragorn, but I know the real me… at least I’m not Sméagol.

Author Bio

Christopher Schmitz has a growing platform and is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. He has a Master’s degree and attends regular conferences and workshops. In addition to a human day-job he also writes for his local newspaper and has produced pieces for online youth resources. He lives in Minnesota with his family, occasionally competes in pro BBQ competitions, and drinks unsafe amounts of espresso.

Social Media

https://www.authorchristopherdschmitz.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorchristopherdschmitz/

https://authorchristopherdschmitz.wordpress.com/

http://www.twitter.com/cylonbagpiper

https://www.wattpad.com/user/ChristopherSchmitz

https://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Schmitz/e/B01D3ZFGLG

Indie Author Friday – Matt Doyle #IndieAuthors #scifi #LGBT

indie-author

Today Matt Doyle drops by for Indie Author Friday!  Matt brings several books to share with us and is busy working on sequels.  After reading about his talents and hobbies, I’d love to have Matt at my house for Halloween – we’d be the hit of the neighborhood!  Guess I’d better get extra candy.

The Spark Form Chronicles

WICK (The Spark Form Chronicles, #1)

#1 – WICK

How do you define a life?

With overblown visuals, stunning entrances and bloody battles played out in real time by holograms, Spark Forming has become far more than a simple card game. Drawing in fans from across the Colonies, no other sporting event creates a bigger buzz than the annual two-day tournament to crown a new Spark Form World Champion. Yet the scramble for the title is not the only source of conflict this year, and for some competitor’s the real battles will take place away from the TV cameras.

What defines a person’s life and dives them to keep moving forward? When a game grows to reflect a society struggling to hang on, are some lives more valid than others? Can an AI ever truly be alive?

Find out in Matt Doyle’s genre bending Slice of Life / Science Fiction series, The Spark Form Chronicles.

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B011SG7TYO

CARNIVAL (The Spark Form Chronicles, #2)

#2 – CARNIVAL

As day two of the tournament begins, the top four competitors are readying themselves for the battles that lay ahead. But will their toughest battles take place in the arena, or will they be forced to focus on goals other than the championship?

With Carnival’s existence hanging in the balance, how hard each player is willing to fight has never been more important …

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01C22OJJG

GIFTS (The Spark Form Chronicles, #3)

#3 – GIFTS

The Forty-Third Annual Spark Form World Championships have been and gone, and John Forrester is still coming to terms with the effects of both the tournament itself and the weeks that followed.

Having almost had his career cut short by his own decisions, John has found a way to adapt and is set to make his return to active competition just before Christmas. But will being forced to change the way he plays cause him to fall apart, or will the support of his holographic companion, Carnival, be enough to steer him back onto the path towards glory? And what of Carnival herself? Has her continued interaction with Lana De La Cruz and her team changed her, or is she simply moving closer to being acknowledged as a living being? Oh, and then there’s the small matter of Christmas gifts …

Set six months after the conclusion of WICK and CARNIVAL, GIFTS continues the story of John Forrester and the living hologram, Carnival, as they learn how the world has changed for each of them.

As a bonus, this book also includes the rules to the card game played by John Forrester and his fellow competitors.

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B01MTMZ3U1

Basille

Teller Tales

#1 – Basille

Twelve-year- old Simon Teller is an avid gamer, loves obscure rock music and, much as he’s loathe to admit it, finds his Dad’s favourite 90’s action heroes to be far cooler than the modern teen characters that he’s supposed to admire. He is also very, very bored.

All that changes when Simon meets a six-foot- tall fennec fox named Xera, and her teenage friend, Carrie Lowry. Together with his unusual new companions, he is thrown into a world of exciting games that he can play while leaving his body behind to deal with all the things that he hates, like school and creepy local homeless girls. But the games are more sinister than they seem, and Xera’s people view humans as toys to play with and push until they break.

Simon may yet wish that he could go back to being bored … if he can survive long enough to get home.

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=1612968015

Also available from the publisher, Black Rose Writing:

http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/basille

The Cassie Tam Files

#1 – Addict

New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options … For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money.

All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems. When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case. Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

Coming soon. Keep checking Ninestar Press (http://ninestarpress.com/) and MDM (www.mattdoylemedia.com) for a release date.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Seeing where the characters take me. You see, I used to come up with story ideas and build the characters with no goal other than to fill specific roles in said tale. Since starting on The Spark Form Chronicles, I’ve been letting the characters come to me. It sounds odd, but they’re essentially these living, breathing people in my head now, and while I have an idea where I want to go with each book, they kinda lead the way themselves. The journey from A to B via X, Y and Z is a wonderful experience, especially when you don’t really know where X, Y and Z are.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’m a bit broader in the stories that I tell now. For a long time, everything I wrote was essentially a Lovecraft pastiche. And not always a good pastiche either. It wasn’t until I started trying new things that I began to grow as a writer. Initially, that meant a few short stories started emerging that were a fair bit removed from my early work, albeit still in the horror genre. I experimented a bit more then when I started writing a webcomic, and eventually, the idea for The Spark Form Chronicles came about. That one’s a complete genre-bender. It’s a Sci-Fi tale at heart, but there’s so much more to it than that; it’s got a wrestling influence, there’s a bit of anime influenced card gaming, a large cast of varied characters, a longer, over-arching plot, it’s a big geeky, a bit furry, a bit philosophical, a bit romantic … I even threw in some poetry. In all, it became an amalgamation of so many things in my life, and it remains a satisfying series to work in to this day. To that end, there are currently three books available from that run: WICK, CARNIVAL, and GIFTS.

At the same time though, I didn’t want to just stick to doing the one thing. While The Spark Form Chronicles is aimed at an older audience, I’ve always been a fan of literature for younger readers too. Neil Gaiman and Derek Landy do such a good job of weaving strange and entertaining stories for that audience, and I wanted to see if I could do the same. The result of that was the Teller Tales series. Moving back into the horror genre with a touch of fantasy thrown in, I wrote the first book, Basille, pretty quickly and started shipping it around to agents and publishers. That was when Black Rose Writing offered me a contract. Basille was released in January 2017, and both the second and third books only need one more run-through before I decide what to do with them. A lot of that will come down to how well Basille does with BRW of course, but we shall see.

After I wrote those three, I had an idea for something a little different again, and started working on a crime noir novel with a cyberpunk setting. The book is currently titled Addict and was picked up by the LGBT publishing house, Ninestar Press, after I pitched it on the Twitter Pitch Event, PitMad. The book is currently going through editing and cover design, and will be available later this year. I’ve started work on the follow-up too!

So yeah, in all, I guess that my biggest evolution has come with finding my own voice and being willing to take more risks in order to tell the stories that I want to tell, rather than simply emulating other people.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I like to talk to fans of my work whenever I can, so I tend to keep myself fairly active online when time allows. As a result, I get to hear a lot about what my readers think. It sounds daft, but the thing that surprised me most with this was how many people really enjoy what I’ve been releasing. There have been a few people who’ve said that WICK and CARNIVAL made them fans and that they’ll happily buy anything that I put out. That is so, so gratifying as an artist, because it means that I’m doing something right and reaching the right audience. I know it’s not a specific quote or anything, but those moments stick with me and remind me why I love doing this.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

I do have a few, or so I’m told. In general, I try to live to the idea that if you want to try something, you should. What that’s meant is that, over the years, I’ve had a pretty varied life.

I’d say that my most unusual two would be these though:

I actually spent around ten years in the professional wrestling industry. Way back in 2001, I started training at NWA-UK Hammerlock, and I worked my first show in 2002. After that, I spent a fair few years there, and got to meet one of my favourite workers of all time, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. All the time I was at Hammerlock, I carried out several different tasks, including wrestling on shows, ring announcing, and helping train new trainees. Unfortunately though, I got injured during a training session and, rather than take time off, made a point of honouring my booking a few nights later. The result of that was that I ended up with a back injury that saw me taking a bit more time off than I would have liked. By the time I was ready to come back, the school I was training at had moved and I couldn’t make it to the new one. That was OK though, because there were a few more places local to me that I could join up with. When a long-term colleague was starting up a new promotion, I offered my services and ended up with a number of jobs again. I was, first and foremost, still a wrestler. I helped out at the training school again, and also became the head booker (picking the matches and so on) for the first year and a half of the company’s existence. In the end though, a lot of things happened that resulted in me making the decision to call it a day. I ran my retirement show myself and ended up with a packed house to end my career in front of. My final match was not my best, but the crowd loved it, and I had a good send off. Though I haven’t been active for a while, I do still get the odd question from old trainees though, so I’m obviously well remembered. I also have the pleasure of seeing people that I’ve worked and trained with making big waves now, so that’s fantastic.

My other unusual hobby is cosplay. Over the last few years, I’ve made a number of different costumes, some from scratch and others by modifying pre-existing items. My most successful one by far was a fursuit of Renamon from an anime called Digimon Tamers. My sewing machine broke and I had to hand-stitch the entire thing, but it was so worth it! The sheer number of photos I was asked for at the convention I wore it to was phenomenal, and I still bring the costume out now for Halloween. It’s wonderful to see how happy the Trick or Treaters are when I answer the door in the thing. Outside that one, I’ve done a few other well received ones including a partial fursuit of Rouge the Bat from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and one of Celty from the anime, Durarara! Yes, I’m aware that the costumes listed are all female characters. In all honesty, they just seem to go down better. Oh, that and the female characters tend to have better outfits, at least in my eyes.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Hmm … I don’t actually have a Netflix account, and I don’t tend to watch too much regular TV these days. There have been exceptions over the years, such as Sons of Anarchy and Westworld, but very few shows appeal that much. Instead, I’ve been making use of my Crunchyroll account to watch a ton of anime and some Asian dramas. The last couple of things that I watched would have been Flying Witch (a relaxing anime about a witch in training) and GTO (a live-action comedy about a former gangster turned unorthodox high school teacher). Oh, and I’ve been checking out some of the content on the Halo Channel. I only got into the games recently, so there’s a lot of world-lore to catch up on!

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

Like most penguins, he would say, “Narp, Narp!” As to the reason that he’s here, it’s because I’ve been trying to convince Pingu to visit for years, and my house just happens to be on the way back from his holidays. Or it is if he takes a major and unnecessary detour anyway. But hey, it’s worth it to discuss that ‘The Thing re-enacted by Pingu’ video.

Author Bio

Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England. His house is inhabited by a wide Displaying img_20161031_075127.jpgvariety of people and animals including (at time of typing) his partner, his three kids, a dog, a cat, a snake, two Syrian hamsters, a rabbit, a selection of teas and a handful of wild windows.

He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain varying degrees of success in a great number of fields. This has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler (both working shows under the ring name Tad, and working backstage booking and running several successful shows in his local area), completing a range of cosplay projects and scripting the webcomic ‘Tales of the Winterborn’. These days, he can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: www.mattdoylemedia.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattdoylemedia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14173377.Matt_Doyle

DeviantArt: http://mattdoylemedia.deviantart.com/

Indie Author Friday – Michael Reed #IndieAuthors #bookpromotion #humor @trends_to_reed

indie-author

Welcome Michael Reed to Indie Author Friday!  Michael and I have a few things in common – we share the same publisher, if we don’t write something down it’s lost forever, and Batman would win in a fight against Spiderman.

A Houston Kind of Love Story, with Beer and a Couple Dead Folks Along the Way

Songs From Richmond Avenue by Michael Reed offers an off-kilter, satirical take32847470 on big-city misfits, the bars they frequent and the occasional, albeit, misguided quest for something better.

For the blurry-eyed denizens of the Relix Club and our narrator, a serially employed journalist with questionable work ethics, whiling away the hours engaged in their two favorite activities – drinking and betting on just about anything – is a pretty good life. That is until he meets pretty Michelle, a woman who he declares has “skin so perfect I doubted she even had pores.”

Could she be his salvation, he wonders. Maybe, but not until after he completes an alcohol- fueled urban odyssey involving Michelle’s Nihilist stripper roommate, a paramilitary Buddhist barfly, a pair of dumber-than- dirt, debt-collecting hoodlums, and the usual ration of Bayou City sweat and torrential rain.

 

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

“Slow down now and then or you’ll burn out and be really bad company on top of that.” I’ve learned to take a few minutes here and there, step back and enjoy my accomplishments along the way. I’m more of an “Okay, cool, that’s done, on to the next thing” kind of guy by nature. I don’t want to be, I just am. Writing is too difficult and too time consuming, particularly long-form writing, not to pause and recognize good work once in a while. (Or, stop and recognize bad work, knock off for a while, then start over.) Plus, watching Netflix or going to the beach tends to do more for my creative juices that staring at a blank page and muttering profanity ever did.

What are your favorite books in your genre?

Songs From Richmond Avenue is literary satire, though I doubt everything I write going forward will be satirical. That said, my favorite satire works would be 1984, Animal Farm, Confederacy of Dunces, Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, and pretty much everything by Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain. Of more contemporary satirists, I started reading Carl Hiaasen fairly recently. His Sick Puppy was a lot of fun.

How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

I don’t think it’s changed what I do very much, except for a brief period when I started blowing off doing much actual writing and telling myself it was OK because I was spending that same time helping to promote my book. I did do some promoting, for sure, but in reality I was also wasting time by checking my Amazon chart ratings way too often and avoiding getting back to a project that had started to bog down. At any rate, I’ve quit checking my chart position – at least for the most part.

I’ve also gotten in the habit of taking notes when I think of things that might work in a book or story, and I do so immediately – or as close to immediately as I can get away with. They may not always be good notes or even coherent notes, and they are certainly not always good ideas, but I’ve found this extremely valuable. I used to just tell myself I’d remember things. Most of the time I didn’t.

Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

I’m not really a Comic-Con kind of guy, so I offer this purely as an outsider looking in, and relying heavily on some limited childhood recollections of the two: I’ll take Batman because he’s a darker kind of dude, and because he’s got bigger muscles – unless that’s just his form- fitting costume making him look all buff like that. Spiderman looks too fragile for a brawl, and I don’t see squirting spider web gunk on Batman as doing much beyond making the big guy angry.

Book you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

Infinite Jest. It’s really long and has lots and lots of footnotes. I’ve never read it, and who knows how long I’ll be on the island, so it just seems like a good fit. Plus if life on the island got really grim, I’d have a lot of pages to start fires with. Just kidding, I’d never burn a book. Okay, maybe if I got really cold I’d burn the title page and a couple those in the front that are almost blank anyway.

If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?

Brian Griffin of Family Guy. Brian’s a writer, too, you know.

About the Author:Mike Reed's profile photo

Michael Reed is an award-winning Texas journalist, which means he has lived in inexpensive apartments and driven paid-for used cars most of his life. Experience as a reporter and editor, along with extensive, though at the time completely unintended research into the many facets of Houston’s dive bar scene, provided him with the requisite background material for this novel.

This is the Southern Illinois University graduate’s first novel.

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Richmond-Avenue-Michael-Reed-ebook/dp/B01N039ZM7

Black Rose Writing: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/literary/songsfromrichmondavenue

Social:

Twitter: @trends_to_reed

Facebook

Instagram: @miker0130

 

Indie Author Friday – Mary Ellen Bramwell #IndieAuthors #bookpromotion #suspense

indie-author

Today we welcome Mary Ellen Bramwell, another fellow author from Black Rose Writing.  She’s brought along her most recent release, When I Was Seven, and The Apple of My Eye, which has received 172 reviews on Amazon and an average 4 star rating!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d like to go back and tell myself not to be afraid to publish. I was always writing, but I never thought it amounted to anything. Somehow, I got in my head that just because I didn’t write on a par with Pulitzer prize winners, that my writing wasn’t worth reading. Once I realized that the point was not to win a Pulitzer, then I stopped being so hard on myself. I’ve embraced the idea that I can tell a good story, even a good literary story, and that’s just perfect!

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

In general, I love hearing that the ending is satisfying. To me endings are everything. But specifically, I recently heard from a reader of my second book, When I Was Seven, that she loved my book and went from devouring it to trying to slow down so it wouldn’t end.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love the evolving nature of it—the characters growing and developing, becoming real as I think about them, write about them, get to know them. A close second to that would be the inspiration that strikes when I least expect it. In the middle of the day (or night), I’ll suddenly have an idea for a plot point or twist, and I hurry to jot it down so I won’t forget it. Many of my best ideas have come that way.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

That’s an easy question to answer—snickerdoodles! I love them because of a memory. My great-grandmother, who we called Grandmother Martha, used to make snickerdoodles. It’s the first place I ever tasted them. She lived to be 100, and I can’t eat a snickerdoodle today without thinking of her. My first book, The Apple of My Eye, has a wonderful character in it, a kindly older lady, who is modeled and named after her.

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

He’d say, “I found it! After all this time, the lost city of gold wasn’t in Mexico, it was right under my flippers, and I didn’t know it! But I’ve come because you have the key that will allow me to open it.” And then he would keel over, dead. However, what he said would be spoken in penguin-speak, and it would take me the rest of the book (that this is the start of) to decipher what he said and what it meant.

Book you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

I’d probably want something like War and Peace—not because I love it, but because it’s long, so it would keep me going for a while. And with all those pages, I’d have toilet paper to last a long time.

My books:

The Apple of My Eye: When Brea Cass, a young mother, is awakened in the night 23137506by the news that her loving husband, Paul, has been shot during a robbery, she is stunned. When she finally emerges from the fog of her life, it dawns on her that something is amiss in the way her husband died. As Brea searches for answers, she discovers things she never knew… things she’s not sure she wants to know. Delving into unsolved mysteries brings several questions to the forefront of Brea’s thoughts, and she must decide if moving forward can erase the heartache and mistakes.

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Eye-Mary-Ellen-Bramwell/dp/1612964052/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1484589030&sr=8-3&keywords=the+apple+of+my+eye

When I Was Seven: Lucas is thrilled when his grandmother comes to live with him.32302113 She’s his best friend after Justin from down the street. But when she starts remembering things from her past, is he the only one who will listen? If no one else believes her, how can he fulfill her dying wish? A compelling story about the complexity and value of family as seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old boy.

https://www.amazon.com/When-Seven-Mary-Ellen-Bramwell/dp/1612967590/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1484589204&sr=8-2&keywords=When+i+was+seven

Author bio:

Mary Ellen Bramwell, an award-winning writer and author, has been writing short8514729 stories since she was ten. She is the mother of five and currently lives with her youngest son and her husband of over 30 years. She enjoys reading and playing games but is passionate about her family and alleviating the suffering of others.

Links:

www.maryellenbramwell.com

www.facebook.com/maryellenbramwellauthor/

 

Indie Author Friday – John Hazen #IndieAuthors #suspense #bookpromotion

 

indie-author

Welcome to my first Indie Author Friday!  Thanks to all who have signed up to be featured – the response has been tremendous and I’m booking into September now.

John Hazen kicks things off for us today.  He’s been pretty busy these past few years – he’s published four books and is working on his fifth.  Suspense lovers – heads up!

Thank you so much, Teri, for having me on your blog. It’s always rewarding when fellow authors are so supportive and provide a platform to get my story out there. Let me tell a bit about myself. I live with Lynn, my wife of 36 years, in New Jersey with plans to relocate to Florida in the not too distant future.

Although writing’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’m not one of those who will tell you they started writing when they were ten. I guess I was a late bloomer and only started writing novels in earnest in my early 50s. Well, I just turned 60 and I’m very proud that I now have four suspense novels floating around out there and am working on a fifth.

I self-published my first novel, Dear Dad, through Amazon.

Dear Dad ( http://amzn.to/1VYgo2Z ) – A Vietnam War soldier finds redemption 51kfkrjcwxl-_ac_us200_only after he makes a mystical trip back to 1862 Tennessee when he finds himself serving in a Union Army field hospital leading up to the Battle of Shiloh.

My other three books—Fava, Journey of an American Son and Aceldama—were published through the small independent publisher we share, Black Rose Writing.518uhz5f9gl-_ac_us200_

Fava (http://amzn.to/1sqss0b ) – The biggest story of a New York City TV reporter’s career can make her famous, kill her, and/or bring about World War III.

Journey of an American Son (http://amzn.to/1OuVZA5 ) – A young man is framed for murder half way around the 51nhh-l0vol-_ac_us200_globe in 1920 and his wife must race to prove his innocence and free.

Aceldama ( http://amzn.to/1sr15Uq ) – A young woman must battle logic and the Catholic Church to free her husband from the clutches of an ancient curse that is slowing sapping his life away.51r6lb7o-tl-_ac_us200_

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

There are several comments that jump to mind as the most memorable I’ve received from my readers (It would be extremely presumptuous of me to say I have “fans.”). It’s always great to read: “couldn’t put it down” or “a must read.” However, if I had to pick one, the comment that absolutely stands out is one I received on my book, Dear Dad, which is about a Vietnam War soldier who gets seriously wounded and when he wakes up he finds himself in a Civil War field hospital where he finds redemption.  The comment was: “As a Vietnam Veteran, I particularly related to this story.”

Not being a veteran of the Vietnam War (or of any war for that matter), I was nervous about whether I captured the war and the era correctly. I also wanted to be properly respectful of those who did serve our country, who did their duty when it was not the most popular thing to do. I therefore felt especially proud that perhaps I did it right after seeing that comment.

Any writer of fiction, I believe, puts themselves out there for people to pick you apart but it’s especially nerve wracking when you’re writing about something many people lived through who can come back to you and tell you that you’re full of it. “It didn’t happen that way,” they’d say and, as a result, you’d lose all credibility. I absolutely love J.K. Rowling but at least she did not face the fear of some wizard out there saying: “That’s not how it happened, J.K.! Here’s how that spell should have been cast.”

What do you love most about the writing process?

Creating characters. I love inventing people and then coming up with ways to flesh them out and make them real people to my readers.

Some of my favorite characters are ones who I initially insert for a minor role to help move the story along but then as time goes on, they evolve into major figures right before my eyes. In Fava for instance, FBI Special Agent Will Allen started off as a minor annoyance who is one of the roadblocks keeping the main protagonist, NYC TV reporter Francine Vega, from getting to the truth. But then as I was writing the book, Special Agent Allen kept on inserting himself back into the story until I had no choice but to make him an integral part of the book.

In Aceldama, the character René Bouvil, a captain in the French Gendarmerie (and based on a real person), started off with basically a cameo role and ends up pivotal to the story. Similarly, in Journey of an American Son, Sergeant Walter Jones began as the main character’s squad leader in World War I but comes back later as a major character. It’s almost like these people are a little shy at first but then they gradually gain their voices, demanding to be heard.

What do you do to get book reviews?

Begging and groveling are my two primary strategies.

Seriously, as most writers know, it’s tough getting reviews. A part of me is still naive enough to believe that my books are so interesting and topical that readers will be drawn to them and the reviews will be forthcoming. But since this groundswell of support is not going to happen on it’s own, I’ve had to push myself out there.

I’m quite active on social media to get my name and my work out there. More than a few comments have come as a result of masterly constructed and clever Tweets I’d put out there. I’ve also participated in review swaps with other authors and I have sent inquiries to various blogs that highlight that they do book reviews.

Through Black Rose, I was able to get my book, Fava, into a free give away promotion through BookBub that has resulted in over seventy reviews for that book. But the participation did cost me a fair amount of money, so it was a trade-off.

I must say I was impressed that you’ve been able to gather 18 reviews for Sarah in just over a month. I should be asking you for tips.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Without question it would be Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He had such quiet dignity as he stood for what was right, even when it was not popular. He was a learned man who loved knowledge surrounded by the uneducated, but he didn’t flaunt his intellect and instead used it to help others. The one thing I admired most is that he treated everyone, regardless of their class or color, with respect. Plus, it wouldn’t have hurt to be played by Gregory Peck in the movie.

What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island? 

I have a fair number of  “favorite” books (including my own, of course) so this is a tough question to answer but there is one that stands out in my mind. That book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It has everything: great characters, great writing, an uplifting story and classic themes. It’s long, so it would occupy my time. There are also the full panoply of human intentions and emotions ranging from the absolute unabashed goodness of Cosette and the Bishop through the more nuanced personalities of Jean Valjean and Javert to the absolute despicable evil of the Thernadiers. It is also a book that captures the endurance of the human spirit even in the most degrading and oppressive of conditions, which would be appropriate for being stranded on a desert island.

If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?

I have always had a thing for Thor. I remember watching a Saturday morning cartoon called The Mighty Thor and being fascinated by him. I loved that hammer. He was a champion for good but he had his flaws, namely arrogance that needed to be reigned in. It would be neat to have everyone think of me once a week (Thursday) as well as whenever there’s a thunderstorm. Plus, who wouldn’t want tounnamed-1 be a god?

So, thank you again, Teri, for having me here. If any of my newfound “fans” want to learn anything more about me, I invite them to see my website www.johnwhazen.com or follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/john.hazen.92?fref=ts or on Twitter @john_hazen .