This month Author Showcase is hosting writer of fun and witty characters. Please help me welcome author Jan Romes.
AS: Welcome Jan. It is a pleasure to have you join me here on Author Showcase and here in The Tea Room this month.
JR: It’s a joy to be here, Alexia! You’re awesome to showcase me on your blog this month and also to invite me to tea with an interview. Thank you so much!
AS: You recently returned from a trip to Florida that was both business and pleasure. I understand you attended a writer’s conference. How did that go?
JR: This trip took me to Fort Lauderale to the Florida Romance Writers - Fun in the Sun Conference. Besides being packed with great information about craft, using social media, and publishing, I got to meet some incredible people – both multi-published authors and aspiring authors. The friendships and joy of creating was invigorating. It renewed me to the point I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to write. The pleasure part of my trip involved cruising the Caribbean. In need of some serious rest and relaxation, I felt energy seep back into my body and soul. That may sound corny, but it’s one-hundred percent true. We all have our happy place – the Caribbean is mine. I hadn’t been there for over five years. I was ready to be rejuvenated by the warm weather, turquoise waters, and welcoming atmosphere at the islands. When I came home, I felt like a new person; ready to write my fingers to the bone. *grins*
AS: Galveston was my playground for years. No turquoise waters there but refreshing all the same. Glad you came back energized.
I enjoy being around fun and quick witted folks and your characters deliver. I hope you brought along your all star cast of witty characters. They are a fun bunch to be around.
This week I want to focus on your Texas Boys Falling Fast. Is this a series or a set?
JR: This is a four-book series. Book one is Tysen’s story. Book two belongs to Quinn. Book three is Jake’s. And book four is Trigg’s. They are four guys who grew up together. Each guy is distinctively different in most respects, but they all fall into the playboy category – until the women they’re supposed to be with enters the picture.
I’ve been asked to write Sam’s story, which would make book five. Sam’s the bartender-friend that makes an appearance in each book. I’m considering breathing life into Sam’s character. We’ll see, I guess.
I love to discuss all things writing, but I favor discussing my characters the most. Today I’d like to share a bit about the personalities of the four remarkable men in my Texas Boys Falling Fast series:
Book One – Married to Maggie (Tysen’s story) – Tysen Loy Vincent, III – is a playboy (at least in the eyes of the media). He comes across as a guy who has too much money and too much time. Deep within, however, is a guy who’s still in mourning over the death of his father. He doesn’t let the world know what’s driving his reckless, non-committal behavior. The media rips him apart on a daily basis and his grandfather has all but given up on him. Ty realizes life is short and refuses to play by the rules. And then Maggie enters the picture.
Book Two – Keeping Kylee (Quinn’s story) – Quinn Randel – is a world-class philanthropist and a world-class _ _ _ (you’ll have to fill in the blank. Have to keep Alexia’s blog rated PG, smiles). He, too, has too much confidence, money, and free time. His life is perfect and he doesn’t want to muck it up with marriage and kids. His behavior appears to stem from an abundance of everything, but Quinn carries a secret close to his heart few people are privy to. Kylee Steele and her daughter Gabbi puts him to the test and forces the real Quinn Randel to the surface.
Book Three – Taming Tori (Jake’s story) – of the three guys, Jake Garrison is the all-around nice guy who doesn’t value or want the limelight. He’s creative, down to earth and a quiet people-pleaser until someone pushes his buttons. Like the others, he’s from wealth but he doesn’t flaunt it. Enter Tori Caye who’s a mean-girl debutante whose sense of entitlement is off-the-charts. Jake and Tori have friends and money in common, but that’s it. The growth of both of these characters astounded even me.
Book Four – Not Without Nancy (Trigg’s story) – Trigg Sinclair is a happy-go-lucky, laid back kind of guy, but he’s also a hardworking cattleman. He’s the mischief-maker in his group of friends. And he doesn’t take no for an answer, especially when it comes to his attraction for Nancy Reeger, a stressed out, overworked cardiac rehab nurse who can’t pump the brakes long enough to relax...or find love. His wealth and determination causes a lot of mayhem, until he fully understands Nancy.
AS: Why Texas and not, oh say, Wyoming or Montana?
JR: I’ll have Tysen Vincent, III, answer this question. “I love every state in this great country, but my heart, soul and body needs Texas. It’s where my great-grandfather started Vincent Oil. It’s where I met the love of my life, Maggie Gray. Her mother is buried here; so is my father. For those reasons alone, I’ll never leave the Lonestar State, other than for business or vacation. Maggie and I are as much a part of Texas as the soil.
AS: Well, I am originally from Texas and if there is anything I can tell you about the state it would be that Texas has plenty of oil and soil.
Jan, if you were a character in one of these novels, which one would you choose and why?
JR: That’s a really tough question, Alexia, because in each of the four women in the series, is a part of me. I dug deep and decided I am more like Kylee Steele from book 2. She’s hardworking, serious a lot of the time, but also has a sense of humor. Kylee is fiercely protective of those she loves. She always has a plan to keep her life moving forward.
AS: I was working on my mystery the other day and struggling through a conversation between my two main characters. I want all of my writing to have some humor. All of a sudden, it seemed that my character Kohana answered my dilemma with, "Tell that old man if he don't behave he will be riding a borrowed stick horse back to the office."
Your novels are known for fun & witty characters. Do your characters, like my Kohana, write their own story or are you often accused of being a witty person yourself?
JR: When we start our stories, we have certain traits in mind for the characters. I feel as though those traits come alive with the situations we put them in. If they’re meant to be witty, it will happen organically with the story. You can’t force the funny.
To answer the second part of the question, my husband says the older I get the funnier I’ve become. Not sure if it’s true but we do laugh a lot.
AS: Oh, I love to laugh. You currently have four books in this series. Can we expect more?
JR: At this point in time, Sam-the-bartender’s story is hanging in the balance. The ole GMC (goal, motiviation, and conflict) that would drive Sam’s story hasn’t come to me yet. *fingers crossed that it will*
AS: We'll all keep our fingers crossed with you.
I want to make a set with character’s Duke and Kohana but as a young writer that task seems more of a chunk than I can chew right now. What advice would you give for those of us wanting to write a series or a set?
JR: I’m not big on outlining, Alexia, but with Texas Boys Falling Fast I did prepare a sketchy outline so I knew who, when, where, and how. I had a rough blurb for each story and I had a general tagline. Book one was the hardest to write because all four men made an appearance. It was Tysen’s story but you got a feel for the other three guys. Not only were their personalities revealed at that time, but also what they did for a living, and the quirks that would cause problems down the road. I had to be organized so I could transition from book to book. I didn’t leave the reader hanging. Each hero and heroine got their happily-ever-afters, but they showed up in the next guys’ story. Essentially, it was like writing four books at one time.
AS: Wow, that would be a lot of information to keep together. Well, Jan, it has been fun visiting with you and Vincent today. I hope you both enjoyed your visit. Thank you so much for stopping by.
Jan will return this month on the 22nd so be sure to check back as we dig into her latest novel, The No Sweatpants Allowed Wine Club. Thanks for stopping by The Tea Room and hope you join us again. Have a great week.
My next guest comes from New York and she is joining me in a celebration of her debut release, Rogue. Please join me in welcoming author Kari Nichols.
AS: So, you are a published author now. How does it feel?
KN: It feels surreal. I’m still reeling from the fact that my book is sitting on my bookshelf.
AS: Writing is a process of writing, read, rejection, read, and rewrite. You stayed the course; no doubt through many ups and downs, and you reached your goal. Have you taken the time to sit back and breathe?
KN: It was definitely a long process, and I did take a bit of time off from writing. But the time off was mainly spent focusing on my other business. I’ll get to sit back and breathe once December hits!
AS: Mutual Twitter friend Iona Morrison celebrated her debut release this month. She quoted, “Today I celebrate, tomorrow I write.” Did you have a big celebration?
KN: I didn’t have a big celebration. But my husband and I celebrated with two of our good friends, and the night was definitely memorable!
AS: Well, we join you in the sweet victory.
AS: What age did you realize you wanted to become a writer / author?
KN: I’ve always loved to write. And I’ve been dreaming up stories in my head since I was about five years old. But it wasn’t until 2013 that I realized I should be writing them down. I have no idea what took me so long, but I’m incredibly happy now that I’ve figured out this is what I truly love to do.
AS: What genres interest you most?
KN: I’m pretty diverse when it comes to genres, but urban fantasy, historical fiction and romance have to be my top three.
AS: So, what prompted you to write Rogue? Where did your ideas or inspiration come from?
KN: I was reading a really terrible YA series when I had to stop because the books were just SO poorly written. I looked at my husband and said, “I should really do this. I’m a way better writer.” So he stayed up with me really, really late that night and helped me come up with the premise for Rogue. I knew I wanted to write a story about immortals, but I didn’t want it to be geared towards teens. I wanted to write a book that was something I would want to read. I can’t go into detail about where my ideas came from, because I would be giving away some major plot lines! Needless to say, we both really like history.
AS: You and your husband have a very successful photography business in New York. How do you find the time to write?
KN: It is not easy! I am a very singularly focused person, so I only write once my photography clients are completely taken care of. Wedding season is generally much slower between November and February, so I wrote the majority of Rogue over those months last year (and will likely try to do the same with Ghost this year).
AS: Each author approaches prewriting differently. What’s your favorite method of prewriting?
KN: I write my full story arc so I know where I’m going to start and where I plan to end up. It’s complicated with The Plagued Trilogy because I’m writing three books that are all heading toward the same outcome. So I have to be really careful that there aren’t any discrepancies in plot lines or characters. In addition to the outlines, I now write detailed character bios on any characters that will make important appearances in the book. I give them a past—a full story of their personalities, life experiences, emotional responses, etc. That way I really know my characters before I ever write about them.
AS: You’ve described your editor as invaluable in helping you stay focused. Describe how you two work together. Do you send her the entire novel at one time or do you break it down into segments or chapters, wait for her feedback and then continue?
KN: She is incredible. I send her pieces of each novel as I’m writing. Each time I send her something new, she reads the entire work as a whole—not just the new parts. So with Rogue, the first thing I sent her was the first five chapters. Once she gave me her feedback on that section, I worked more and sent her the first fifteen chapters (and so on and so forth). Once the book was completed, she got each new draft as I finished them. She is incredible!
AS: Did you experience times when you needed to change the direction of Rogue and was that easy for you?
KN: I didn’t really have to change the direction of the book, but I did have to do a major overhaul on a few of my characters. It was only easy because I knew by changing them, I was going to make the characters much more relatable/likeable which would lead to readers enjoying the book more. I’m pretty much willing to do anything to make my books the best they can be—even if it’s a lot of extra work or heartache for me.
AS: Many new authors often give up trying to cope with the details of the business side of becoming an author.
At some point did you find yourself overwhelmed with the process? How did you handle those times? What can you tell aspiring authors to help them get through this?
KN: I already run a successful business, and years ago I sold a second successful business. So the business side of being an author doesn’t stress me out as much as one might think. The one thing that really does stress me out is trying to run both businesses simultaneously while trying to continue writing. It’s a huge commitment and more often than not I find myself behind schedule at the end of each day. I usually turn to my husband in those times. It’s so important to have a strong support system around you if you’re going to be an author. I rely not only on my husband, but also on my author friends who have already released books of their own. I have one friend in particular who released her book two days before I released Rogue, so we’ve been able to talk about our triumphs and frustrations as they come. It’s been a huge comfort to be able to talk to someone going through the same things.
AS: You chose to take the route of an indie author. What benefits / challenges presented themselves that prompted your decision?
KN: I spent months just researching the differences between indie publishing and traditional publishing. There was one author in particular who pretty much cemented my decision to go the indie route. You can find her amazing articles about self-publishing on her blog here-- http://elizabethhunterwrites.com/2014/03/03/self-publishing-is-it-difficult-sometimes-is-it-doable-definitely/I basically decided that I would rather maintain control over the creative process and make a smaller initial profit than hand over my rights, creativity, and editing to a company that probably wasn’t going to end up doing much for me in the end.
AS: How long did it take you to write Rogue?
KN: I began writing Rogue in October of 2013 and released it on August 20th this year.
AS: What has been the most rewarding / challenging part in writing Rogue?
KN: The most rewarding part is seeing the reviews of my book. It wasn’t until I saw the first review that I said to myself, “People are actually reading the book that I wrote! This is real!” The most challenging part was just making the time to sit down and write it. After my first draft was finished, I sent it out to three readers to get their honest feedback. After their responses, I ended up just sitting back and thinking about the feedback they’d given me for a solid month. I was so overwhelmed by how much I had to add/change to make the book better that I couldn’t touch the story for a while. So once I was able to wrap my head around it, I got to work (and dove in head first). That was definitely the most challenging part of the writing process for me.
AS: Tell us about Rogue, give us a teaser.
KN: “We stand united, Family of Immortals. Plagued by life. Cursed by the hand of God …”
Rogue was born into an immortal family whose wealth is marked by a trail of blood. But when he meets the unnervingly familiar assistant of his next target, an unexpected rush of emotions begins to unravel his carefully laid plans.Lissie lives a mundane life filled with work … and little else. She hasn’t taken a risk since she moved to New York City after college—seven years ago. But when the mysterious Matthew McCloud walks through the door of her office, she finds herself diving head-first into a whirlwind romance she never saw coming.
AS: Will this become a series?
KN: Yes! Rogue is the first installment of The Plagued Trilogy. I’m currently writing Ghost, the second book in the series.
AS: Where can we buy Rogue?
KN: You can buy Rogue on Amazon here-- http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-The-Plagued-Trilogy-Volume/dp/0990612325/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
Or on Smashwords here-- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467452
AS: What can we expect from author Kari Nichols in the near future?
KN: I’m hoping to finish the first draft of Ghost in the next month or two. I’m also working on a compilation of short stories that are contemporary fiction. If I can find the time to work on that, I may get the short stories out before Thanksgiving. But I’m not making any promises!
AS: Do you have a book tour set up; where can we find this schedule?
KN: I’m not going to do a book tour with Rogue. I just don’t have the time with wedding season still in full swing. But I am in the middle of a blog tour. I try to regularly post links to the latest blog posts on my website.
AS: We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. How can you be reached or how can we find information on upcoming releases?
KN: You can follow my blog here— http://www.karinichols.com
On Facebook here— http://www.facebook.com/thekarinichols
On Goodreads here— http://www.goodreads.com/thekarinichols
Or on Twitter— @TheKariNichols
AS: Kari, thank you for stopping by and giving us the opportunity to celebrate with you on your new release. It is exciting, and we certainly look forward to the completion of The Plagued Trilogy.
KN: Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure!
AS: Once again, Kari’s new release can be found at Amazon -- http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-The-Plagued-Trilogy-Volume/dp/0990612325/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 and Smashwords -- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467452
If you find yourself in need of a photographer, Kari and her husband, Caleb, travel extensively, providing some of the finest wedding photography anywhere. Psst: I’ve seen their work and it is amazing. You can find more about them and their studio at http://www.cottonwoodstudiosworldwide.com
If you are new to writing, do yourself a huge favor. Take advantage of the resources provided by Kari and myself. Visit Elizabeth Hunter at Self-Publishing: Is it Difficult? Sometimes. Is it Doable? Definitely. and Joanna Penn at TheCreativePenn.com for a free download of her e-book Author 2.0.
Welcome back to Author Showcase.
I just want to take a minute to say thank you to all my readers for stopping by and giving me ear as I shout out the latest releases of authors who work hard to bring you some entertainment through reading.
We are back for a final week with author Kaye Kelly from NZ.
AS: Kaye I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed visiting with you this month and learning more about your work and taking in all the wonderful and encouraging advice. I’ve had a great month and I thank you so much for taking the time out to be here on Author Showcase.
KK: It has been a great month. I really appreciate this opportunity, Alexia, thanks so much to you and all your readers.
AS: This week we are going to talk about your latest book but first, I’ve noticed all your books are set way back in time.
KK: Yes. I enjoy writing historical pieces. All my published novels to date have been historical with backgrounds in the 1860s, 1870s. Then with The Body Snatcher, a giant leap forward to the late 1940s.
AS: What prompted the giant leap?
KK: Two things, mainly. The first was a reader suggesting I write a book with a Marlborough background as my first three books have West Coast backgrounds. The second was knowing there were still people living in Havelock (the town Rossville in The Body Snatcher is based on) who were around in 1947/48. As all the characters in earlier books lived years before I was even a suggestion of a twinkle in my father’s eye, all my research was done through books, local historians and museums, the thought of being able to talk to these people – real LIVE people – to be able hear their versions and snippets of what went on at that time was too temptingly delicious to resist.
AS: In last week’s interview you mentioned that your character from BS was your favorite. Tell us about him and how he comes across this body. Tell us a little about this book.
KK: Brian got into my head in a way that no other character has ever done before. It was as if he was directing the story; telling me what to say, I couldn’t bring him into line, and despite me worrying that he was leading me up the garden path, to my mind, the story absolutely flowed. How did Brian come across the body? The local Rossville kids often used to find coins in the mudflats at low tide that had dropped out of pockets when people had been fishing off the wharf. One day Brian finds two half crowns – a veritable fortune – but he also finds a body that the coins probably belonged to. By the time the local cop comes on the scene the body’s disappeared and because Brian’s a bit of a larrikin and is known to stretch the truth at times, nobody believes him. Brian determines to find out what happened to the body, but in doing so ends up in all sorts of situations that everyone, apart from him, seems to find hilarious.
AS: What is special about this book to you and how long did it take you to write BS?
KK: What’s so special to me about this book is that words flowed all the way through. Brian got into my head and led me by the nose … excuse all the body parts. It took around three months to write The Body Snatcher, but months and months of polishing. Then I laid Brian to rest. Forgot about him until last year when he suddenly demanded to be let out of the computer file I’d so rudely locked him in.
AS: We talked earlier about some of your wips. What can we expect to see from Kaye Kelly in the near future?
KK: I’m not sure what I’ll be working on next. I have a middle grade trilogy that’s demanding my attention, a YA fantasy that’s also vying for attention. Then there’s a contemporary comedy trying to nudge these books aside. As well as thinking seriously of reworking and republishing Mecca’s Gold, the first book in my historical trilogy.
AS: Kaye where can we buy your books and how can we get in touch with you?
KK: Cross the River to Home, A Secret Mind, and The Body Snatcher can be found at: http://Amazon.com Amazon.uk Amazon.au Amazon.ca Links at http://www.kayekelly.co.nz
I would love to hear from readers and writers. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – if there’s any way I can help, I promise to do so.
AS: In closing out this month, what final piece of advice do you have for our readers?
KK: My advice for the last week would be; no matter how frantically busy you are, always make time to help another writer. I can pretty well guarantee that somewhere down the line, you’ll be finding your favours returned a hundred fold.
AS: Well, Kaye thanks again for stopping by this month. We will definitely look forward to seeing more of your works out in the near future. I hope a revival of Mecca's Gold will be one of those works.
KK: Alexia, I have really enjoyed my chats with you this month. Thank you so much for this opportunity to enjoy your hospitality and chat with you and your readers!
AS: Take Care Kaye. Find Kaye on Twitter and Facebook. Pick up her latest works at Amazon.
Next month, Author Showcase will be hosting author Jan Romes; author of witty and zany characters. Please join us on there February 1st.
AS: Author Kaye Kelly is back with us once again. This is week 3 of 4.
Thank you Kaye for keeping up with us all this month. I'm sure you have been busy and I really appreciate you coming back by for another interview.
Last week, Kaye shared with us that Random Germany won the bid for Cross the River to Home. That must have been exciting to know that your books were being taken the Frankfurt Book Fair. But you didn't just have one book that made it to the tables. You actually had your third book, The Secret Mind, that was also on the bidding block.
How awesome is that! How did you feel when you found out that Random was taking both of your books to the fair?
KK: Apart from finding it hard to believe, I felt pretty good! I’d always dreamed of something like that happening, but never really thought it would. When I received my publisher’s email telling me the terrific news I must have read it through at least a dozen times to make sure I wasn’t having a “wishful thinking” moment. Had I been more agile I would have done a few cartwheels around my little office.
AS: What a nice surprise. So, tell us a little bit about The Secret Mind. It's a very unique title, what was your inspiration behind this novel?
KK: The idea for A Secret Mind came from an abandoned mental asylum in Hokitika, a small town on the West Coast of New Zealand. Rich in pioneering history with its gold deposits and temporary cosmopolitan population it was begging for a story to be told. A secret Mind has several plots but the main one revolves around Libby Budd, a young girl who, because of an accident, not only has grand mal seizures, but can’t speak. Her step-father convinces her mother to have Libby committed to the asylum. With her lack of communication skills, Libby’s powerless to stop him.
AS: Of all the characters in your novels, do you feel you relate to any one of them and how so? Which one would you say would be your favorite character - the one you enjoyed writing the most?
KK: I think it would be impossible for an author not to relate to any of the characters they write about. When I’m writing from a particular character’s point of view I try to get into their head. I know I’ve succeeded when suddenly they’ve got into MY head and taken over. But I have to be firm with them at times and make them wait their turn. My very favourite character is 14 year-old Brian Lowe from The Body Snatcher. He was an absolute joy to work with. I use the expression “work with “rather than “write about” because he totally took over the novel and I didn’t have a hope of stopping him.
AS: That is wonderful and that one is sure to be a best seller. Kaye, each week you have given our readers some advise. What do you have for us this week?
KK: Well writing is such a joy in my life and realize the benefit of having a writer's group within reach. So, if you're just starting out never work alone, join writers groups. If you don't want to join a physical group there are so many wonderful groups now online you can join. You'll find so many helpful tips and advice as most of these writers will have been Indie or main stream published and are aware of the pitfalls, and believe me there are many.
AS: Do you have a favorite writers club or organization or do you participate in a local writing community?
KK: These days I rely on on-line writers’ groups for support. In particular, a group of Australian and New Zealand writers I found on Facebook and a wonderful group of writers on Twitter – you – yes you, Alexia Stevens – being one of them. They’re a great bunch of talented authors and so willing to give of their time and help.
AS: Awe, thank you Kaye for your kind comment, it's sweet of you to think of me.
I have really enjoyed our visits, Kaye, thank you and I'll look forward to visiting next week.
It will be hard to say good bye.
Well, that's it for this week. Please give Kaye a big round of applause.
And I just want to remind you Kaye will be back one more time this month to visit and we'll be talking about her latest release The Body Snatcher.
With an author of this caliber, you don't want to miss this last week.
IN closing, author of zany, witty, characters, Jan Romes will be stopping by for a visit for the month of February, please join us again soon. Thanks for stopping by once again and have a pleasant evening everybody.
This month on Author Showcase, we are celebrating the works of New Zealand author, Kaye Kelly. She will be with us all month and she is back again for part two.
Please make welcome, Kaye Kelly.
AS: Welcome back Kaye, thanks for visiting us this month.
KK: It's good to be back, thank you for having me all month.
AS: So, with your first book, you learned some hard lessons about publishing but you enjoyed it enough, came back and wrote a 2nd book. Share with us a little about Cross the River to Home.
KK: Cross the River to Home was my second book, Alexia. I love your comment regarding jumping straight back in because I had a ball writing the first novel.
Set in the 1870s, Cross the River to Home tells of the impossible love between Mai, a Chinese woman, and Henry, a young immigrant who has come to New Zealand in search of his sister, now married to a doctor and living in Charleston (yes, we have a Charleston in New Zealand too). With racial prejudice, rife from both sides of the family and the local community conspiring to keep them apart, their future promises to be bleak.
AS: Very interesting.
AS: I hear you have an interesting story to tell about how you got the idea to write this novel.
KK: The idea for this book came from a Chinese lady I was chatting to in a local dairy. I mentioned I was about to write another book but was stumped for inspiration, and she said I should write about a mixed marriage. Aha! Salvation! Not wanting to startle the bejeebers out of her, I refrained from shouting hallelujah and hugging her.
AS: After successfully publishing this time I bet you wished you could really give her a hug.
AS: In an earlier conversation, you mentioned that all of your books have special meaning to you. Would you care to share about this with our readers?
KK: I’d have to say that none of the books I write are “just another book to write.” Even the ones written years ago lying languishing and unpublished – deservedly so – in the bowels of the computer leave a mark on me. I’ll suddenly think of one of the characters and wonder how they’re getting on. Daft, I know, but I like to think that in another universe they’re living inside a house-sized book, carrying on with their lives undisturbed by a nosy giant (me) peering over the top at them and dropping them into situations they would rather not find themselves.
AS: Talk about the challenges a writer faces when starting a new book.
KK: For me, it's mainly the research. When I wrote Cross the River to Home the internet wasn’t the fount of information it is today, or should I say it was, but so much of it was rubbish, and a lot couldn’t be verified. Today, you can find heaps of information without having to leave the computer, which is great, but not so great for the posterior … sigh. There’s a scene in the book where the local doctor performs a cataract operation. The librarian at the Dental and Medical library at Otago university was a marvellous help, spending hours delving in the archives, then putting me in touch with a retired professor of Ophthalmology who checked the scene I wrote. Generally, I found people so willing to help, many of them becoming friends I still keep in touch with.
AS: That is wonderful.
AS: As writers, we grow both personally and professionally. How would you describe growing as a writer from your second book?
KK; I learned so much from writing this book, the most useful being the editing. I had a wonderful editor, Rachel Scott, who didn’t spare the red pen, and for that I thank her from the bottom of my heart. When editing future books, I found myself thinking, “what would Rachel do here?” And, inevitably my own “red pen” would show no mercy in slashing the waffle.
AS: Ah yes. That blasted red pen should be thought of as a writer’s best friend.
So, did Cross the River win any awards for you?
KK: Cross the River to Home was pubbed in 2004 by Random House, NZ. It’s now available on Amazon as an e-book. However, it did receive some mixed reviews. But the wonderful thing is that Random put it in their catalogue to take to the annual Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. Two companies bid on that book and Random Germany won the bid on it. While it didn’t allow me to retire, the payoff was handsome. And at that time, none of Random NZ authors had ever had an advance that high.
AS: How awesome is that. Grateful to you for sharing your book writing experiences with us.
AS: Each week Kaye will be offering a bit of advice for those new to writing. This week, Kaye’s advice to you is: During times when the thought of the research and plot or your next step seems daunting, treat these things like an onion, simply peel the layers one at a time. It’s something that still works for me today.”
AS: Thanks once again Kaye for stopping by Author Showcase. Our visits are delightful.
AS: Kaye will be joining us again next week. We will be discussing her third book and there is a little special surprise that we will share about this book as well.
Please join us again here on Author Showcase on Monday, January the 18th for another visit with Kaye Kelly.
Thanks for dropping by all and have a safe week.
So, the holidays are over and I am back at my desk. I am especially excited about all the changes taking place in my writing career and for my website.
And I am especially excited that New Zealand author, Kaye Kelly, is visiting this January, 2016. Author Showcase is filling up fast and will present some exciting reads.
Kaye will be interviewing with me each week this month so be sure to stop back by for more updates with Kaye.
So, without further adieux; please help me make welcome from
New Zealand, author Kaye Kelly.
Welcome Kaye, thanks for joining me here at Author Showcase.
AS: Mmm. New Zealand. Land of sunshine. The name evokes a sense of beauty and a place of peaceful respite. Have you always lived in NZ?
KK: Yes, I was born in New Zealand, Alexia, in a little town called Westport, though Tony and I have lived in Blenheim for over 30 years now. And you're right, New Zealand is a place of beauty and serenity, and pretty nice people.
AS: Sounds lovely. One of my favorite mountain climbing shows, Vertical Limit, was filmed there in NZ. The topography closely resembled the area surrounding the K2 so it made a perfect place to film.
So, let's talk about your first novel, Mecca's God.
KK: Mecca's Gold is an historical novel (1860s) with a New Zealand background. A simple romance, it was my first novel and published in 1998 by Quoin Press, a publisher long since gone out of business.
AS: Have you thought about condensing it and putting up a sample on your blog for your adoring fans?
KK: I've been thinking of putting it up as an e-book. It needs a good editing but I have a few other projects I'm working on for Indie publishing first. If I decide to release it as an e-book, it could take a while.
AS: I like the name, Mecca's Gold. And I enjoy historical romance novels and would love to see that out as an e-book. What a wonderful idea.
Perhaps with your help, we can entice Kaye to pull that one off the shelf, give it good dusting, so that we may once again relive the courageous lives of the characters within.
Each week Kaye offers some advise for those new to writing. This week, Kaye cautions authors to be careful in accepting offers from vanity publishers. With vanity publishers, the author pays the publishing company to publish the book. You may be stuck with trying to sell your book to no avail, then you could be out several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Kaye will be back again on Monday the 11th. Please join us then as we discuss Cross the River to Home, followed by A Secret Mind on the 18th and finally, on the 25th, we discuss her latest release, The Body Snatcher.
Thank you Kaye for joining me here this month in The Tea Room for Author Showcase. I look forward to all our visits.
Welcome to another Author Showcase. Thank you for dropping by.
Currently we are featuring the work of Theresa Snyder, a very talented author writing across several genres. She already has an extensive collection of books available with more to come.
We will find out what’s new and what’s next with Theresa. And of course, she brought one of America’s favorite dragons, none other than Farloft, with her and we will have a chance to set down and talk with him later.
But for now, please make welcome, author, Theresa Snyder.
AS: Good morning, Theresa. Thank you for stopping by.
So, how’s it going in Oregon these days?
TS: Well, we really can’t get past the topic of weather. Oregon has been unseasonably hot this summer. You know I have an extensive garden, right? We have been watering since May. Unheard of in Oregon. I am so looking forward to the rain. I love rain, not only cleansing for the landscape, but also for the soul and my favorite kind of writing weather.
AS: Oh, I agree. Love the rain; it is refreshing.
I understand you still work at a local community college. How do you find time to write?
TS: I am not one of those writers that will tell you to spend so many hours per day writing. I do a lot of writing in my head, so when I do get a chance to put it down, I can just sit down and let it flow. I take the opportunity to write whenever possible, lunchtime, breaks, evenings, weekends, holidays. I wrote my latest paranormal novella over the Memorial Day weekend.
AS: A weekend? Wow.
Well, every writer gets asked for their best advice. I personally like author W. Somerset Maugham’s note on writing: “There are 3 rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” All fun aside, authors agree that writing and reading is still the best advice ever.
TS: I would have to agree with that statement about writing and reading. Writing anything, even business letters, or in a journal, is excellent practice. I wrote a column for the local newspaper for four years. I only did it once a week, but it was an exercise in being precise and getting my point across in a limited amount a words, and meeting a deadline.
And, I can’t say enough about reading. Reading gives you access to ideas, other styles, and so much more. I read between 3-5 books a month.
AS: I do enjoy some books but if I read that much, I’d be sleeping that much.
You are involved in a collaborative effort. How’s that going? How many other authors are working with you on this? How long have you been doing this? When will this project be completed or what is the future for this group?
TS: Wow! You are full of questions, but I like that. Let’s start at the beginning with this story. In December of 2013, Drew Avera, an author friend, emailed me and said he wanted to start a group of authors, maybe four or five who would write in the same setting, but with their own characters and a few overlapping characters we would all use. He envisioned it being much like the Star Trek series of books. So we all did a marathon email session, which I am sure almost melted the internet, and we came up with a place called The Realms as a setting. It is the place where all things humans think are mythological, paranormal or imagined actually live. We call our project The Twin Cities Series. Currently, The Realms is ruled by a vampire named Raven which is one of Drew’s characters. JB Cameron has a siren and a shape-shifter team who are a detective team and help the innocent steer clear of the nasty things in The Realms. Kedrick Rue has a vampire who didn’t want to be a blood sucker, but ended up getting a bit lost. I have my series of Shifting books. They are built around a shape-shifter and his human friend who does not know he shifts into a three-hundred-pound wolf. The lady he loves knows and loves him as Scar, his wolf form, but could care less about Cody in his human form. It is all seen through his eyes as a wolf.
As for when this project will end, well, Drew and I are really committed to keeping it going for the rest of our ‘author’ lives.
AS: That’s impressive.
TS: In 2016 Drew and JB intend to put Raven’s rule to an end. When that happens, someone else has to rule and depending on who it is The Realms, which is a living thing itself, will shift to the environment of that ruler. So if an Egyptian God like Ra took over then the landscape would shift to sand, tents and pyramids.
I intend to finish the Shifting Series of books in late 2015 or early 2016, then I will pick a new set of characters and run with those.
AS: What a clever story idea. I’m sure the end will be as amazing as its beginning.
My favorite of your works is, of course, The Farloft Chronicles. What single thing motivated you most to write this series?
TS: I wrote the initial book in the series for my nephew, James. He was not listening to his parents, me or his grandparents. I wondered who a ten year old boy would listen to and I decided it would be an old wise dragon. Hence, Farloft, over one thousand years old and full of stories, wisdom and fun.
AS: Oh, he is definitely full of fun; *looks back toward the goodie table* and chocolate. So, at first, did you see his entire lifespan or did it come as you wrote about him?
TS: He definitely grew over the years. Books two and three were actually written in serial form on my blog. The latest book Dragon Memories, Dreams & Reflections was actually prompted by a question he was asked on Twitter. They wanted to know how he met me. He said it was a very long story and so it came out as book number six.
AS: I’m sure you have enjoyed bringing Farloft to the world. And the world has definitely welcomed Farloft, as have I. How has that impacted or changed your life?
TS: It is very rewarding, but a bit awkward at times, living with a part-time dragon house guest. He is a great entertainer, has a story for everything, but when he does his happy dance it shakes the neighborhood. However, I can’t think of life without him.
AS: Awe, how sweet. If ever I am in your neighborhood and the ground is shaking, I’ll know it’s Farloft.
You recently worked a couple of book shows and a book signing. How did that go? Do you have more dates on this tour?
TS: I had a lot of fun, and a ton of work, preparing for the 7th Annual NW Book Festival, a book signing at the local bookstore which carries my books, Another Read Through, and then Farloft and I hosted a dragon table at the Japanese Festival. Weather was not our friend on the first two. The first was almost rained out and the second it was 97 degrees at the table. But, we made friends at all of the events.
AS: 97 degrees? Whoa, that’s probably way above normal for Oregon. I am like a snowman-I melt in high temps.
What can we expect next from the talented Theresa Snyder?
TS: In October, my 7th Scifi in The Star Traveler Series will come out. Believe it or not, it is a good place to start the series. I was careful to make this a stand-alone volume. If folks like the characters, there are just enough teasers to give them glimpses of what they missed in the previous six volumes.
The day after Thanksgiving Farloft will be unveiling his “Farloft’s Storybook.” This is an illustrated children’s book for hatchlings age 2-1/2 to 6 years old. The six year old will be able to read it on their own. Any of the younger aged with an attention span of about 3-5 pages will enjoy the nine short stories it contains with illustrations and coloring pages. Just in time for the holidays.
AS: Now, that sounds like so much fun.
Well, Theresa, we look forward to your future works and wish you the best. Tell us how we can get in touch with you and find your books?
TS: I'm on the web at www.TheresaSnyderAuthor.com.
For other interviews with Theresa and Farloft visit: Interviews and Web Reviews
AS: Everybody, please make welcome Farloft.
Hello, Farloft. Good Morning!
F: Lovely day we are having. *waves a chocolate covered paw, looking around the garden*
Good to meet in the garden. Lots more room. You humans live in such confining space. *grins and licks chocolate covered muzzle with long pink tongue*
I brought you something, Alexia, if you can help me with this. *tugs at straps on large pink messenger bag hanging around neck*
AS: Oh yes, let me help you with that. This is quite an attractive bag you have here.
F: It’s really not my color, *eyes roll at sight of pink with gold tassels* but Theresa made it for me so I could carry things and have my paws free.
AS: And that did come in handy when you saw my snack table, right?
F: Yep! *chuckles and digs in bag - comes up with flowers* Thank you for inviting me. *hands flowers and gives dragonic lick of affection to cheek* I picked them myself out of Theresa's garden. Shhh, don't tell her. *grins toothily at Theresa*.
AS: How kind, they are beautiful, Farloft. I will put them in an equally beautiful vase. I put out a special tray of assorted chocolates just for you. I see you found it.
F: Sure did! *licks chocolate off paw* You had my favorite with Caramel.
AS: Please have a seat. So, you recently had a birthday, how old are you now?
F: I lost track of birthday numbers a while back, *sits down on lawn* but Theresa tells me I am over 1,000 years old.
I look well for my age I think *ruffles wings and chuckles*
AS: You do, you do. And I believe you are still very young at heart; like me.
Did you have a big celebration?
F: I celebrate my birthday on January 16th, which just happens to be ‘Appreciate a Dragon Day!’ I took this selfie of me and my friends at the party. *pulls picture out of bag* We had a dragonly time.
AS: Did you do the whole party thing with hats and all?
I don’t usually wear a hat, except when Theresa makes me for her tea parties or at Christmas for Santa. He’s my favorite Big Dude *tilts hat to one side jauntily* We did have horns and lots and lots of chocolate cake, as you can see.
AS: How’s Flutterby, your flying cat, doing? What’s she up to these days?
F: We have become fast friends, since Alayna gave her to me for Christmas in 2013. As to what she does, well what do all cats do? She eats, sleeps and huggles. I like the huggling part best. Here's a pic of us huggling.
AS: Sounds cozy and lovely.
AS: So, Farloft, are there many types of dragons out there? What kind of a dragon are you? Besides being a nice kind of dragon, you know.
F: Why, thank you. *tilts wedged head and scratches with paw thinking of how to start* There is no end to the variety of dragons in the world. I personally am a Western Green Dragon. Here is a copy of my reference sheet. *digs in bag* I know it is here somewhere. *head totally engulfed in bag* Ah! Here it is! *pulls it out* All well prepared dragons have a reference sheet. *nudges sheet toward you* I know dragons who have fur and some that are dragon hybrids with feathers. Dragons come in all colors and color combinations. Like butterflies, they are infinite in their varieties.
AS: You are definitely the leading authority on dragons. Where are you from - what’s the name of your kingdom?
F: I am originally from the far west on a continent the humans call North Trairdon. I traveled extensively when I was young, exploring the nine continents of my world. I finally settled in The Kingdom of the Last Dragons in the Westridge mountains above the village of Brownbrair. I live in the side of a semi-dormant volcano.
AS: Do you get to go home often? Do you keep in touch with your family there?
I go home on occasion to visit with my parents and siblings. Especially, during fire breathing training. I like to watch the new younglings light up the first time. *grins toothily* Would you like to see some pics?
AS: I would. I would love to see your kingdom. Sounds fun.
F: I really liked the Belgium Chocolate shop and the Pyramids were great fun. The Eiffel Tower was great until they told me I couldn’t sit on it. So I didn’t even try to sit on Big Ben when we got there.
AS: You went to the book show in Portland. Theresa said it rained, but did you meet lots of new friends? Did some of them already know you? I bet they were excited to see you?
F: I was pleased that folks looked me up. *sticks out chest with pride* I love meeting new folks. Kate is a reader of my books and she followed me from show to show. She bought the first two of my books at the 7th Annual NW Book Fair, book three at Another Read Through and book four at the Japanese Festival. I told her she could get the rest online, ebook or paper.
AS: Well, that’s good to know. We will post where folks can find you.
Theresa has written lots of books about you. You’ve had an amazing life.
F: I have led a very full life and intend to do lots more in the future. Really looking forward to the release of my book for the little hatchlings of the world in November. Who knows what else may come. I know Theresa has been talking about a book of stories about my adventures when I was young and traveling. Some of them are on her blog now. *Stretches out in garden on back* Ahhhhh…Those were great times.
AS: I’d certainly like to hear about them.
Is there anything new going on with Farloft? Maybe a tour? Are you still doing the Twitter contest?
F: *gazes up over belly* New? There is always something new happening. A dragon has to stay active to stay young *grins and rolls over on belly – plucks at flowers* I have two contests that run all the time. You can buy one of my buttons from my Hoard online and place it somewhere, there are examples on my site, take a picture of it, and submit it to Theresa on her Twitter site @TheresaSnyder19 or via my site. That enters you to win a free set of my e-books. The other contest is a coloring contest. Download a picture off my site, color it and submit it to Theresa on Twitter or send it to my illustrations email site. That enters you to win a set of books too! I do a drawing every month. I hope folks who win them, enjoy them and will put a review for other readers up on some purchasing platform or other social media. Then all the world will eventually know about me and how much fun dragons can be.
AS: You are definitely lots of fun Farloft. No doubt about that. It’s got to be pretty cool being one of the world’s favorite dragons.
F: *blushes – green scales turning magenta around muzzle*
AS: I have spoken with you on Twitter. Share with us your time on Twitter, please. What’s your twitter handle?
F: Theresa lets me use her twitter account. She changes the avatar to me and I tweet away. Currently, I do it the last Friday of every month, but I am thinking of dropping in more often. I miss my dragon friends on Twitter and making new friends is such a pleasure. I used to get up at midnight Pacific Standard time and Tweet until 9:00 at night, but I am an old dragon and that took a lot out of me *hangs head* I wanted to talk with Robert in the UK and Levi in Iceland and Geri in Malta, when they first got up, but I just got too tired. And I had Theresa’s Twitter account shut down more than a few times for using it to much. *brow wrinkles into a frown* You know there is a limit. I have done as many as 879 tweets in one day *comes to a sitting position on haunches and mantles wings in a stretch* Theresa suggested I tweet no more than 12 hours. So now I tweet 8am to 8pm PST. But, like I said, I like to talk to all my friends and some of them work, so going to just start dropping in on occasion. Besides, Theresa’s pot roast is delicious. I can smell it from a mile away. *grins*
AS: I may have to join you one day. I love pot roast. That’s what I made for my family for dinner.
I wrote a story a couple of years ago called Aymee Goes to School, and recently I read it at a local school. My character is Aymee and her recent favorite pastime is reading your chronicles. The kids at school thought you were pretty cool.
F: *chuckles* I am pretty irresistible.
AS" Theresa sent them each a copy of your coloring book. They were so excited and very grateful. And they enjoyed the selfie you took with all your friends. I think their teacher hung it up in the class room.
Did you ever think you would become so famous and so loved?
F: *golden eyes whirl* Never…Honestly, never.
AS: Well, Farloft, I am so glad you came with Theresa. I’ve enjoyed visiting with you both. Where are you heading when you leave here?
F: *eyes snack table greedily* Back to the goodies?
AS: Help yourself. I think I bought plenty even for a *consults reference sheet* 13,000 pound dragon. Got any room in that bag? Take some home with you.
Farloft, one more question? Is there anything you would like to say to your adoring fans?
F: Be kind, be strong and keep the wind at your back *waves a wing and blows lovely heart shaped smoke rings* See you soon *wraps a wing around Theresa and moves off toward goodies. Theresa, you’ve got to see this table she set up.*
AS: I think I will join my guests before the chocolate is all gone. Thanks again to our guests, Theresa Snyder and the incredibly hilarious and wonderful Farloft. And thanks again to you for stopping by. *hustles off toward the table*
Theresa SnyderAuthor Website: www.TheresaSnyderAuthor.comBooks Available on Amazon / Smashwords / CreateSpace / Google play “Scifi reminiscent of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein”
“Paranormal like a breath of fresh air in a genre that has become formatted”
“Fantasy beautifully written with complex characters that children to adults can appreciate”
“Memoirs that are heartwarming, funny and soothing to the spirit”
Farloft photos by "Bluekite-Falls of Deviant Art"
Hello, I am
I write ya romance and non-murder mystery. Take a sneak peak at Mystery at Bear Creek Island. You can also read the personal bio's of Duke and Kohana.