Sunday, March 27, 2011

Featured Author Spotlight Interview - C.C. Cole

About the Author
C. C. Cole is a writer from rural Mississippi. Schooled in medicine and martial arts; she
especially likes hapkido.  She and her husband live a surburban life in close proximity to her brother and mother. The main antagonist, Zermon, from her gastar series, is modeled loosely after her older brother, in fact. This bit of sub-conscience transference has become somewhat of a family joke and her brother generally refuses to read her work in progress as he says he prefers not to unduly influence events in the book.

C.C. loves greyhounds and adopted two of the beautiful animals in their senior years that, sadly, passed away last year. They are both dearly missed and C.C. may decide to adopt again someday. She is passionate about domestic violence awareness and current world events. 
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Laurie: Today, I am pleased to talk with author C.C. Cole. Thank you so much for the opportunity to learn more about you and your books.  Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

C.C.:  If I were to say a single person, that would be my sister who died as a result of a domestic violence incident. Writing became a creative outlet for me and has helped me cope with that loss.

Laurie: I am so very sorry for your loss, C.C., but it is good that you have been able to channel the intense emotions into your writing, I think.

You are currently writing a four-book dark fantasy series and I understand the first two books in that series are available. What can you tell us about the first book?

C.C.:  “Act of Redemption” was released in 2009; a dark fantasy, medieval novella about the city of Gastar in ruins followed by centuries of war and just a few human inhabitants left.  Zermon, a demon lord, arrives to destroy the remaining people and to make the city part of his territory in hell.  A trio of brave fighters from the past wars arrives to help the people fight off the demonic attacks.  Shevata, a sixteen-year-old girl is introduced in the prologue and later in the story.  She was an enslaved child of war and is a trained assassin who carried out a mission to rescue captured living people from the underworld.  Later, she killed an evil high priest without a death order, so her soul is removed and she is cursed.  Because of her underworld venture, she is well known to Zermon.  The story sums up good vs. evil as the people come together and Shevata is introduced as a fierce and respected adversary.

Laurie:  Tell us about Shevata, your main character, and how did you create her?

C.C.:   I wanted to craft a dark, strong, complex female heroine, using the ‘anti-hero’ idea with character flaws. I wanted to get away from the ‘damsel in distress’ and ‘kid gets tough’ stereotypes. 

Who is your favorite character from “Act of Redemption”?

C.C.:  My favorite character in “Act of Redemption” is Zermon, the main antagonist.  His personality is based on my older brother’s and it’s now a family joke.

Laurie:  Is C.C. Cole a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

C.C.:  C.C.Cole is my pen name, which is the initials of my original name and Cole is my maiden name.

Laurie:  Who are your books published with?

C.C.:  “Act of Redemption” was published by AuthorHouse.  “Children of Discord” was published by CreateSpace.  I like self-publishing; the freedom, the control, and the networking make it rewarding for me.  I did try the traditional approach, got instant ‘nos’ from all query letters about six times, and read a couple of those books on “How to get published.”  For genre fiction, self-publishing suits me fine, although I’ve been shut out of some groups because of the ‘self-published’ taint.  I learned long ago, from other Indie authors, to not let that bother me.

Laurie:  How do you describe your writing style?

C.C.:  My style is fast-paced, dialogue-driven, and almost constant action.  Some reviewers say I write ‘awkward’ or ‘choppy’ because I break scenes during chapters, and sometimes keep the same scene when the chapter changes.  The reviews that don’t like it think I don’t know better; but most readers like it because it holds their interest.

Laurie:  Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

C.C.:  A very intelligent young lady wrote me a several page, single-spaced critique of “Act of Redemption.”  It was almost as long as the book, and she picked up points I had not thought of.

Laurie:  That is so cool! She must have been very impressed to have taken the time to do that.
If you were given free tickets to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

C.C.:  I’d love to go to Paris.  A lot of people say that, and I agree with them.  It’s a beautiful city.

Laurie:  To where else do you dream of traveling?

C.C.:   would love to see the ancient city of Petra because the construction of the city fascinates me, and that’s it’s withstood so many years.

Laurie:  Does travel play in the writing of your books?

C.C.:  Not physical travel; Shevata’s (the main character) journey is written as time travel, but her actual journey is the road she takes within herself to become part of humanity.

Laurie:  What can you tell us about your latest release?

C.C.:  “Children of Discord” is the second of the four-novella series.  At the end of “Act of Redemption,” Shevata travels back to the underworld to find Goldeon, a treacherous boy who helped Zermon invade Gastar and for the murder of the mate of her mentor, the dragon Harathgus.  She gets forced back into the city of Gastar by unlikely allies.  Now, amongst the people two centuries later, they have grown and prospered with no knowledge of the dangerous children of the past.  As Goldeon hides in the city, seeking to destroy the leadership with a secret army, Shevata relentlessly hunts him amongst the people.  Their secret war places the people of Gastar in danger, and Shevata begins to reflect on her past actions and takes steps to re-join humanity at the story’s end.

Laurie:  For you, what is the hardest part of writing a book?

C.C.:  The hardest part is sending that last draft to the editor for the final read before publishing.  It’s like taking a leap of faith.  I feel like I’m closing my eyes and stepping off a cliff.

Laurie:  Where do you research for your books?

C.C.:  tend to watch historical documentaries for research; I’m a visual person so seeing something gives me a picture in my mind to write about.

Laurie:  Do you listen to music while writing?

C.C.:  No, I usually have a movie or historical documentary on.

Laurie:  What plans or ideas do you have for the book after you finish the Gastar series?

C.C.:  After “Gastar,” I’d like to write a non-fictional book about a wartime veteran I know.

Laurie:  What do you do to unwind and relax?

C.C.:  I sit on my deck with my husband with an appletini.

Laurie:  Would you say you are an introvert or an extravert?

C.C.:  I’m an introvert because I keep a small circle and tend to march to the beat of my own drum.

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

C.C.:   I’d say the “Gastar” series is just fast-paced entertainment, meant to be fun.  The books won’t change your religion, make you lose weight, or make you stop smoking. It’s action/adventure and hopefully, not boring.

Laurie:  Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

C.C.:  I say “write, write, write and don’t let anyone get in your way.  One bad review should not stop you from writing.

Laurie:  Where can your fans find you? Do you have a Website or Blog?

C.C.:  I shut down my first blog because I didn’t like the background, and recently started a new one: http://www.shevata-cccole.blogspot.com.  My website is http://www.gastarseries.com/, but it isn’t updated for “Children of Discord” yet.  I recommend comments to just go to the blog.

Laurie:  Thanks so much for taking time out to chat with us and sharing so many of your thoughts and ideas.  I am looking forward to reading “Act of Redemption” and I have to tell you that I watched the trailer for it about 3 times.  I really liked it! 

C.C.:  Thank you, Laurie!

I have added the trailers for both books in the following post

Trailers for Act of Redemption and Children of Discord (Gastar Series, books 1 & 2)





Sunday, March 20, 2011

Author Spotlight Interview - Clarrissa Lee Moon

Laurie:  Welcome, Clarrissa and thank you for taking time out so we can talk briefly about a few things you have going on these days. Well, let’s jump right in.  Nightwolves Siren’s Song is your latest release in the Memoirs of the Nightwolves series. Tell us about it, please.

Clarrissa:  It’s a pivotal book for a series I plan on writing as a spin off from Memoirs of The Nightwolves based off of three characters in this particular book. It was also the hardest book to write for this series, so far, in that it has so many mental action sub-plots going on with many different characters. The first two books contain more physical action and then Nightwolves Siren’s Song sneaks up on you with all this mental action, instead. Emotions, past experiences influencing current attitudes, and mental stress are more the focus of this book, instead of the guns, bombs and fighting. Much harder to write so that the reader is kept involved in the story, so it was a challenge.

Laurie:  Wow, Clarrissa! That seems like quite a task you set for yourself. I haven’t read book 3, Siren’s Song, yet, but I have been hearing many positive comments about it. So, tell us, what’s up next for us to look forward to?.

Clarrissa:  Two books in this series will come out at the same time. Nightwolves Dawn to Dusk, a sort of semi-prequel, and Nightwolves Battle for Kla’din. Since Nightwolves Siren’s Song and the next two books are so interlinked they really need to come out at the same time for the reader to be completely enthralled with the storyline. Plus I am having a damn good time writing and don’t want to slow down.

Read a special "Sneak Peek"  Excerpt from Dawn to Dusk here.

Read a special "Sneak Peek"  Excerpt from Battle for Kla'din here.

Laurie: Thank you for the sneak peaks!!

 In the series, your Nightwolves get to travel around and have adventures in many different locales.  It’s always amazing and interesting.  Is any of that from actual personal experience?

Clarrissa:  Not a lot. In fact, Cat gets to do all the things I have never gotten to do. She always has all the fun.   :-)

 
Laurie:  Where do you dream of going if you could have unlimited travel opportunities?

Clarrissa:  I have always wanted to see Greece, Portugal, Italy and Japan. The richness of their histories has always been a big draw to me. I hope to see these places with my own eyes some day and see for myself what I have been reading about for years.

Laurie:  Who would you say is your favorite author?

Clarrissa:  I would have to say Shakespeare. He was and always will be an amazing writer.

Laurie:  What was your first sale as an author?                                       

Clarrissa:  Nightwolves Coalition. I sold my first book in July and it was a rush for me.

Laurie:  Tell us about your daily schedule.  What period of your normal day do you set aside for writing?

Clarrissa:  I usually get started around 6 pm and go all night long. Sometimes, I can’t seem to stop until 12 noon the next day. I catch some zee’s and then go right back at it at 6 pm again until the whole book is done. I think I am addicted to getting this story out, or something. LOL

Laurie:  What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Clarrissa:  Getting the details as precisely as I can for the missions. I want to keep things as realistic as possible since the story deals with so much fantasy. I feel that the missions and esoteric workings need to have a solid foundation in reality to make the story more believable and entertaining.

Laurie:  Where do you research for your books?

Clarrissa:  Everywhere! Internet, people who are in the military, and books. Plus, a lot of things are from actual personal experience and or schooling.

Laurie:  What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

Clarrissa:  They think it is awesome. It is hard to get them to leave me alone long enough to write in peace, since most of the time they are breathing down my neck, reading as I type because they can’t wait to find out what happens next. I feel for them...really. NOT! LOL

Laurie:  Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and some dreams with us here today. I am so happy to have had this opportunity to find out more about your books and what motivates you to keep building the amazing world your characters inhabit.  

Best wishes in all your new endeavors and I wish you continued success in all you do.

Clarrissa:  Thanks Laurie.  I enjoyed this and always appreciate the opportunity to talk about my books.



Read my Review of Nightwolves Coalition here.

Read my Review of Nightwolves On The Prowl here.



BB Clarrissa visit my online pagan store at http://astralcrafts.theshoppe.com/index.html
Clarrissa Moon author of The Nightwolves Series and Celeste's Nites Novelette's at Amazon.com
http://clarrissamoon.blogspot.com/
Proud Member of Paranormal Romance Guild
http://www.paranormalromanceguild.com/




Friday, March 11, 2011

Author Spotlight Interview with Krisi Keley

Laurie:  Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you and find out a little more about how you write the beautiful prose you are becoming known for.  Let’s start off with the discipline you apply as a writer. When in the day/night do you write?  How long per day?

Krisi:  I’m definitely more of a night person and do a lot of my writing in the wee hours of the morning.  This is not only because I tend to be more awake at those hours, but also because there are a lot less distractions then.  I’ve got eight dogs and they never fail to decide it’s time to go outside or come back in, individually and every hour on the hour or more often, just when I start working on anything!  How long per day I write day varies greatly.  Some days I can’t write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts and I can write for many hours (6-8) at a time.  Other days, I may feel stuck on something and it’s like pulling teeth to get the ideas down the way I want them, so I may wander around doing other things or let pretty much anything distract me until I get back on track.

Laurie:  You mentioned getting stuck at times and not being able to find the exact words to properly convey your thoughts.  What is the hardest challenge you have when writing your books?

Krisi:  Although maybe not the norm these days, the aspects of a story I’ve always liked best, both to read and to write, are dialogue and in-depth character development.  So, for me, action sequences, in the sense of just describing what people are doing physically or events that are taking place around the characters, are the more challenging thing.

I hate to say simply “action” though, because I believe that relationships between people and even thoughts are action.  In fact, in the real world, I’d guess that the larger percentage of “acts” people perform on a daily basis are psychological and sociological, rather than physical.  Most of us aren’t jet-setting around the world or participating in unusual life-altering events.  The most significant things we do every day are think and interact, usually through conversation, with other human beings.   Often times I have the characters’ conversations in my head before I even write anything down and so when I do, it’s frequently blocks of conversation I write, before I add the “action” or descriptions of what’s going on around those conversations and relationships.

Laurie:  So, thinking about how the story is created, do you develop a detailed outline and plan the events and sequences, or do you have only an idea and then let it grow and mature as the story develops?

Krisi:  A bit of both, I’d say.  As I mentioned, I “write” a lot of the story in my head before I even put down any words on paper, so, in that sense, I have the essential story plotted out before I actually begin to write.  The details of the story can be very spur of the moment while I’m writing though.  Also, sometimes sections take on a life of their own as I’m writing.  And oftentimes when I go back for a reread of what I’ve written, there’s just a feeling that the conversation should have gone this other way or the character would have responded to an event differently than first imagined.  The story can change direction a little as the writer gets deeper inside the characters’ heads and hearts, I guess you could say.

Laurie:  How do you describe your writing style?

On the Soul of a VampireKrisi:  I honestly never thought about having a particular writing style before publishing my first book.  I just wrote it as I thought the main character and narrator would tell it.  He has a very distinctive voice and a complex history, and I wanted to let him do the talking, so to speak.  He’s an 800 year old, non-native English speaker who, for obvious reasons, can’t really “hang out” with mortals in any kind of normal way, and so he definitely doesn’t think or speak like a 25 year old from modern America.  Readers, on the other hand, have described my writing in On the Soul of a Vampire as archaic, like it’s from the Romantic Period, lilting, sonorous (thank you, Laurie!), or one of my favorites – a combination of Anne Rice and Shakespeare (thank you to the wonderful author, Lori Pescatore!)…  I very much love language in and of itself and I studied several foreign and classical languages in school, so that probably affects my writing style, as does my love of classical literature.  I love books in which not only the story is beautiful, but the language itself is too – where it has a certain poetry and emotional power simply in the way words are used.  So I’m sure I try to emulate that in my own writing to some degree, even if not always consciously.

Laurie:  I think you hit the nail right on the head and summed up your particular style perfectly. To me it is obvious that you have a great love of language by the way you structure your ideas on paper. It’s such a gift! 

Ok, You mentioned that you currently working on your second book, now. Can you give us a little peek of what we have to look forward to?

Krisi:  Sure!!  Here’s an excerpt from On the Way to the Cross (prequel to On the Soul of a Vampire)

His heart stopped with a final violent beat like an explosion, and his life force seemed to remain there for a moment, uncertain, while I reached out with a part of myself I barely recognized, trying to touch it.  Wanting desperately to make it mine as it merged into that light and so make its knowledge and final acceptance my own.

And then it was gone.  I held his inert body in my arms, a shell now it seemed, that no longer contained the thing I’d so badly wanted of it.  The thing in him I’d loved with a love I’d never even imagined could exist.

He is dead, a meek, numbed voice spoke inside my head.  Dead, dead, dead, and you are the reason.

I lowered his body away from me and rocked forward on my knees, lowering my head to his chest.  I stroked it in the place over his heart, as if my touch could make it beat again.  Then I lifted my head a fraction, staring at his face, still and serene and at peace.  The peace Sebastian should have had, I thought, but he hadn’t, and it did not matter that I’d tried to give it to him through this young man.

  However I might want to justify what I’d done to recognize I’d taken him to death in great pleasure and erased every fear a dying man might hold in his heart, it changed nothing.  He was dead and I was the reason for it and as much as I wished it, I could not bring him back.

I gathered his lifeless form into my arms and I rocked him.  For minutes or hours, I didn’t know.  All I knew was that this was going to be the result with every human being I touched – for eternity, if Lukyos had not lied.

“Oh God, oh please… make it stop,” I whispered once or twice or a hundred times.

My heart constricted so tightly it was excruciating; my breath came in ragged gasps.  Then I leaned forward over the man I’d just murdered, the human being whose very life I’d experienced the greatest pleasure I’d ever known to feed on, and I vomited up the blood I’d not long ago drank with no qualms.  The blood that had tasted so sweet in its promise of fulfilled desire.

“Make it stop!” I screamed, rising to my feet and lifting my arms to the sky in desperate supplication.  “God, my God, strike me down.  Kill me.  Please, kill me now!”

But no bolt of lightning struck me; no fiery death rained down from the sky.  God did not answer in voice or in action, just as He never had before this monstrous desire made me the killer I’d never believed I could be.

I fell to my knees, vomiting again, and as I fell forward, my hand landed on the dagger I’d just taken a life with – an innocent, beautiful life that I had known so intimately it might have been my own.

Screams were torn from me again, but this time there were no words – just terrible sounds that could not convey the horror which provoked them – and I raised the dagger above my head then slammed it down, driving it through my wrist so forcefully, it pierced my arm completely and pinned it to the ground beneath it.

I pulled it back out and, watching the blood gush from it, I wondered dazedly if I’d have enough strength to do with my right hand what I’d just done with my left.

But then someone was rocking me as I’d rocked the young troubadour’s body, clamping my bleeding wrist in his hand.  And as a blessed darkness descended, I heard a soft sob that sounded like “I’m sorry.”

-----------------------end of excerpt---------------------

Laurie:  Wow!! Powerful words to describe a man in hellish torment.  Thank you for sharing that scene. What else can you tell us about your next release?

Krisi:  The excerpt above is from Book II in the trilogy and is really a prequel, rather than a sequel, to On the Soul of a Vampire.  Valéry, the main character and narrator, is in a very bad place in Book I, when he meets Angelina, the young mortal woman who knows everything about him and his past.  On the Way to the Cross lets the reader see how Valéry got to that place.  I thought it was important that readers really see him as a human being, which it can be sometimes hard to do in On the Soul. 

When you meet Valéry in the first book, he’s very bitter, he thinks he can’t allow himself to believe in anything anymore, he’s had to kill to live for 800 years and though he’s watched human beings kill one another without mercy for all those same centuries, he still experiences terrible pain to take a life because he knows life in a much more fundamental way than human beings do.  But because in Book I the reader only gets a glimpse of Valéry’s history through flashbacks, it is very easy to judge him only on his present behavior.

This happens so often in real life – that we can’t see inside the mind and heart of others and so we only judge them on certain given actions or personality flaws we see at that time.  They can appear unlikable or unforgivable because of all we don’t know.  And I really thought that not showing Valéry’s past until the second book would drive home that point from On the Soul more strongly – that though we can judge actions as right or wrong, we should not judge people or souls as good or evil, because we simply cannot know them.  We haven’t walked in that person’s shoes; we don’t know what pain and desperation may have provoked their choices.  So I wanted readers to know Valéry much more intimately – more the way Angelina knows him – before continuing the story where On the Soul leaves off in Book III. 

Book II is also a journey, of sorts, through human history, as seen through the eyes of someone who has a very different perspective on human life and the way human beings so often don’t cherish it the way they should.

Laurie:  Thank you for those thought-provoking insights. Valery is an intellectual and I am sure seeing history through his eyes will be quite an experience. Well, I guess it is about time to wrap this up.  Do you have any parting comments for your readers?

Krisi:  I’d like to thank everyone who has read On the Soul of a Vampire and everyone who might be interested in checking it out.  Both that novel and On the Way to the Cross, which I’m hoping to have ready for release in the next two months, are a bit different in style and perspective than a lot of vampire novels and I would love to hear feedback from readers about that.  All the stories in the trilogy have some pretty complex ideas and most likely will leave readers with questions and, hopefully, strong feelings about certain aspects.  I’d love to hear from readers about those things, to answer questions or just discuss some of those ideas.  I wrote the stories to be entertaining, but they also are definitely ones I hope make people think about things they might not have thought about before and I’m very open to readers contacting me about any of those things.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be on your wonderful blog, Laurie.  I appreciate it so much and I’m a big fan of yours!  And thank you to all your readers for taking the time to listen to me gab!