Interview with Author J.J. Angel

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Hello everyone!

My name is J.J. Angel and from in “the Boot of the South”, “the Sportsman’s Paradise” of the United States, aka Louisiana. I’ve been here all my life and I’m still here, now living in the state’s capital, Baton Rouge, for several years. I majored in Entertainment Technology (Film) and Digital Arts but surprisingly not Creative Writing. My first published title was, “Voices from the Bayou: Baton Rouge Student tackle Racism, Police Brutality and the Historic Flood”. It was an anthology of stories written by college students caught in the calamity of all these events within a single year. My specific piece titled, “Still Water Runs Deep,” is a deep rooted tale about my physical struggle as a flood victim blended with my own inner struggles drowning me within. The book is on Amazon and my particular piece is located in the flood chapters near the end. You’ll see J.J. Angel in there.

I started writing when I was still in early grade school. I used to be into drawing before I turned to writing. I get that from my mother who was an exceptional artist. My pen name is a part of her real name, Angela. My first and middle initial begin with the letter, “J”. So this is how I got into writing. I’m a small guy. I’ve always been little. That means as a kid I got teased a lot for not being as outgoing or athletic as the other boys. I wasn’t into sports at all. I stayed in the library during recess but outside that I used to be teased about everything. So what did I do? I started drawing stick figures but these were no ordinary stick figures. These were superhero stick figures. The kind who could fight off any bully and save the world! Somewhere down the road I started to create stories for these characters in my trusty notebook. The stories were episodic spanning ten pages back and front (20 pages an episode) using pen and paper. I think I had about four or five tablets. Each were a different color and represented a different arc of the series. I did this for a few years until I finished Jr. High. I felt writing stories like that were for little kids and since I was in High School, it was time to do “adult things”.  I dropped novel writing in favor of poetry because all the cool kids were writing poetry. I was such a follower during that time of my life. I did not want to be that oddball loser but ended up being the oddball loser who writes poetry. I even remember my Biology teacher asking what I wanted to do when I graduated. I told her I wanted to be a writer and she told me I was living a pipe dream. I kept my writing ability a secret in fear of being judged and when my senior year came, my writing dreams were over.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

What inspired me? Myself. I’m not being egotistical or anything. It had been seven years since I wrote a single damn thing. That was a weird period of my life but that’s another story for another book. Anyways, one day while I was moving I found an old box. Before I threw it away I decided to look through it and guess what I found? One of my old Lost Fighter tablets from grade school. It was a bit worn but the stories were still there in glorious ink. I stopped what I was doing and decided to read through it after all these years. My God! I had run-on sentences as long as anacondas. However, there was something else there. I had a great imagination and whole lot of heart. This is what I loved to do. This is what I really wanted to do. Take people on my visual journey and inspire them to do the same. What happened to the kid who had a big imagination and so much hope? I had given up on him. I was afraid of the ridicule for being a boring useless writer. It was me being bullied again. How can I create such fantastical superheroes or noble warriors who stand against the forces of evil when I can’t even stand against my own self-doubt? That was moment I realized what I had been running from and what I needed to do. That was the first day I picked up my laptop and pressed NEW DOCUMENT in Word.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Oh Lord. Well, I was telling my writing colleagues Potentia is a deep story under all the science fantasy lip gloss it has on. I want readers to look at it with an open heart and mind. Potentia is Latin. It means force, power or political authority. There are points in the book where I play around with that meaning. I like the idea of hope and believing in yourself, even when things look opposite of that. Karissa, Rupert, and Amare have periods of courage despite the odds they are up against. Even though she was injured, Karissa still made herself continue to the other side. She doesn’t just give up and fall down waiting for her attacker. She keeps on going and the crystal reacts to that emotion! Same for Rupert and Amare. These young adults are going up against supreme cosmic entities who could rip them to pieces. These are my main “bullies” (for now…*wink*) of the Universe. Despite this, Rupert and Amare show great courage at times. First, you need to believe in yourself. Second, you need to search deep within yourself. Third, you need to find that spark. Last, you need to bring that spark to life. 

When the story says the boys discovered Potentia, it’s saying they discovered the power (authority) residing deep within them and once they accepted it and believed in it, they could create something spectacular. Something powerful enough to repel the invasive shadow-like creatures trying to eclipse them.

I want readers to not only note the hopeful and brave moments, but see the themes of  acceptance. This book has a lot of diversity in it. Rupert is German-American and Amare is African-American. They have a tight knit friendship despite their racial backgrounds and physical differences. I want readers to see the strong levels of friendship here. They are like brothers. A strong brotherhood. Teamwork does make the dream work! Even Ya’asha is confused by how the two boys can fuse powers together so easily. We humans know how it’s done though! Plus one for humankind! There is also an LGBT character mentioned in the story. So I try to be as inclusive as possible.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I have a really big imagination! I’ve said that too many time now. I love the unknown and space is full of it. Even so, there were still some other experiences that brought me into this genre, both real and fictional. In fiction, I loved R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series as a kid. It’s what got me into horror fiction for young adults. I’m a big fan of Ridley Scott as well. I love his movies, Alien and Legend. Legend was a dark fantasy and is one of my all-time favorite films still to this day. There is something magical about that movie that fueled my imagination as a kid.

Now for the realistic side. As a child, I know two instances where I thought I saw dark figures or shadow people. They scared the hell out of me but made me interested in the paranormal/supernatural. Speculative Fiction is a beautiful genre and Science Fantasy has the power to captivate the entire world. I love it!

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I was originally going to pick Ya’asha for this but he’s too much of a smart-ass to sit down and answer questions cooperatively so I think I’ll go with Karissa. “How does it feel going from a character that dies in Chapter 4 of the original draft to one of the central protagonists in the final draft?”  

I want to see if she will glare at me. Perhaps, death might have been more desirable than what’s she going through currently? I also like cats and she hates them.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I want to say it’s a tie between Facebook and Instagram. Thought, I think Instagram is more on the visual side of Potentia. Facebook might be one since I started with it, but Instagram is catching up since I put way more content on it now. My Twitter isn’t too hot right now but hopefully people will look in my direction and be like, “This little guy has created a story that has many layers beneath it. I’ve read it and found some things from incorporating many systems of beliefs within it.You have to be an active protagonist while reading and search for hidden meanings.” (Hint: One of the characters wakes up after a nightmare and sees 5:55 on the clock.  (According to numerology, this combination means huge changes are on the way! And boy are they! *grins*)

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

KEEP WRITING! DO NOT GIVE UP! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! FIND THAT SPARK! ALWAYS HAVE YOUR FAVORITE SNACK FOOD CLOSE BY! YOU’LL THANK ME LATER FOR THE LAST ONE.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m currently going over Potentia The Shadows sequels, Tales of Potentia: the Awakening and Tales of Potentia: The Clash. First drafts are complete for both of these. I have two or three more after those. Legacy, Rebirth and War.

Stepping outside the world of Potenita, I’m working on a fantasy story called, “Arabian Rhapsody”. It’s supposed to be a novella but I have too much going on with the mythological monsters, faeries and other things. It’s getting a little stuffy right now. We’ll see how that one develops.

I have a horror I’m working on which is turning out to be a creature-feature splatter-fest. Screams!!

I also have a chapbook on Amazon called, “Poetic Vibrations”. You can check that out as well.

Well, that’s it for me, for now.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

About the Author

J.J. Angel, also know by his other pseudonym J.J. Angelus, is an energetic, humorous, but equally focused creative author who enjoys immersing his ideas and creating imaginary worlds within the realms of science fiction, fantasy, and some horror. He is a former Entertainment Tech Film Major of Baton Rouge Community College and a recipient of the Unsung Hero Award for his contribution towards the anthology, “Voices from the Bayou”, with emotional and thought provoking narrative, “Still Water Runs Deep”. 

When he isn’t writing, JJ enjoys creature features, evening walks by the river, poetry, volunteering, and digital art and animation.

Website:  https://www.talesofpotentia.com

Facebook: Facebook profile

Instagram (regular): @powerthenovel

Instagram (Music): @jjs_soundscapes

Twitter: @powerthenovel

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Interview with Author D. Elizabeth Ayers

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Well, I was a lonely kid, and like most lonely kids growing up in the 70s and 80s, I read a lot and watched a disgusting amount of television and movies. So, my mind was always focused on how stories unfold. I also had geeky, well-educated parents who knew things about storytelling and myth. They would point out things like foreshadowing and symbolism in stories that made me incredibly curious to find out more. Strangely, I started off my creative life in the theatre and did a lot of acting from the age of twelve to the age of about thirty. Even though I might not ever act again, the theatre gave me a great background in character development and scene building.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I was in England in 2003 and one of the places I visited was Bath. In the circus, (I’ve attached a link to a Wikipedia image for your reference), there is a beautiful grassy area and a very small copse of trees. Apparently, the architect who designed it believed Bath was the center of druid activity and designed the King’s Circus with the measurements of Stonehenge in mind. After visiting the Jane Austen House in the morning, I had a little picnic snack under those trees and I communed with the trees and, I think, druids. I conceptualized a ghost story that involved a body snatching element. This initial idea took a little time to marinate, and I wrote some ideas out that never came to be. Ultimately, it became This Pale Mortal Shell.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

There are two takeaways I hope will come across. The first being, don’t take anything for granted. It can be snatched away from you at any moment, and even if you get a second chance, you might still lose it. Live in the moment and make the most of what you’ve got! The second is, I hope readers understand my view on right action, especially when you’re using magic. I’m afraid to say too much here without spoiling it for future readers, but I’ll always advise people to be careful with the power they yield!

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 One thing was that when I was a kid, there was not a lot in the way of kids’ books and there was absolutely no YA, so I had read everything there was to read by the time I was ten, and I graduated to adult fiction. I think my mom was just glad that I was reading voraciously, so she didn’t monitor the material much. I started reading a lot of ghost stories and Edgar Allen Poe. Then I graduated to Stephen King when I was about eleven. I guess you could say I was kind of a dark kid. There were also things happening in my personal life that drew me to the paranormal and magic. In addition, I was the kind of kid who often paired off my plush toys and dolls because I didn’t want anyone to be alone, so I guess I was a romantic kid as well. I started reading paranormal romance a lot after I had the idea for This Pale Mortal Shell just to get a sense of what was out there, and I absolutely fell in love with the genre. Up until then, I had only experimented with historical fiction/romance.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’m actually really having a hard time answering that one because there will be major spoilers! So, I don’t know if you have a protocol for dealing with that. The character that was probably the hardest to write is represented in three different characters in the story. The Young Rocker, the Goddess, and the Omnipresent Voice in Tristan’s limbo are all representatives of what I like to call the Universal Consciousness and boy do I have some questions for that one! One would be “Do people really get what’s coming to them, good or bad?” “Does everything really happen for a reason?” is another question. I like to believe that the answer to both of those questions is yes, but I’m often uncertain when really crappy things happen to undeserving people and vice versa. I won’t get all political as a writer yet, but I think you all can imagine what I mean.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

To be honest, I’m still feeling my way around the social media world. I’m what some people might call a digital immigrant, which is a person who uses technology but wasn’t born into it. I have been playing around with the biggies, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but I’m also working on my profiles on Goodreads and Amazon. At the moment, I’m getting a lot more feedback/connections on Twitter, and I like it a lot. I do sometimes hate being limited to 280 characters, though!

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

First and foremost, you must do two things pretty much every day, even you only spend an hour a day doing them: Read and write! And persevere! Not many writers are amazing right out of the gate. I think Mark Twain was one of the few, so be ready to kill your darlings and take the hard feedback when you get it. But also, stick to your guns if you really believe you are right and it’s not just your ego talking. You should also believe that you can get better every day and tell the story that people want to read if you keep working at it.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m so glad you asked! I have the first in a series coming out this fall. The series is called The Selkie Chronicles, and the first of the series is called Only Skin Deep.

Here’s a little teaser for that series:

The selkie. Those hot-blooded, sea-dwelling creatures on which the phrase “love ‘em and leave ‘em” was coined. Unfortunately, in the twenty-first century, they’re not so focused on the seduction of unwitting but oh-so-willing humans even though it sure is fun once in a while. These days, they spend more time building up their own societies and domains and living within the constraints of their politics. Very few people even remember they exist, and a select few humans have been chosen for mutually beneficial partnerships to protect the selkie race from discovery. Occasionally, these relationships have tragic outcomes, but every once upon a time, the right human and the right selkie can set each other free.

And the blurb for the first of the series:

Sloane’s finally met her tall, dark, and handsome. The only problem is, sometimes he’s chubby, spotty, and smells of herring. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?

Sloane is a disowned heiress turned waitress living in a small seaside town in west Scotland. Llyr is a selkie prince living in a kingdom thousands of feet under the sea and hundreds of miles away. It seems unlikely that the two could even meet let alone fall in love. But when she inadvertently calls him, he is able to take human form and journey to the surface.

Sloane and Llyr must battle disapproving fathers, wicked stepmothers and other deadly enemies to make their relationship work. Along the way they discover secret treasure, unravel the truth about the past, and overcome the sins of a father and a mother. Against all odds, they find a way to bridge the gap between humans and selkies, and together they break the ancient curse which threatens to keep them apart.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/d.elizabeth.ayers/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.instagram.com/delizabethayers/https://twitter.com/DElizabethAyer1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19119504.D_Elizabeth_Ayers

And I also have a YouTube channel though it’s pretty thin at the moment. I like to have soundtracks for my novels which are in the playlists I have there. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC60_6pemqWIY3unPyAGgaTQ?view_as=subscriber

Guest Post: The Mental Health Struggles of Writers

Writing is a rich, rewarding profession; at least if you’re successful with it. However, even the most successful writers face mental health struggles. In this post, we will explain a few struggles a writer of any level may face.

This is Anthony Avina here. I’m happy to share with you guys this amazing guest post from the amazing people at BetterHelp and Regain about the mental health struggles of writers. I hope you guys will enjoy this post and gain some helpful insights into the life and mental health struggles writers go through.


Writing is a rich, rewarding profession; at least if you’re successful with it. However, even the most successful writers face mental health struggles. In this post, we will explain a few struggles a writer of any level may face.

Help for Your Struggles

Being a writer is hard, and sometimes you need to work on your own mental health to be a better writer. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, hopelessness, or need advice you should seek out the help you need. With so many writers busy at home, online therapy is becoming the new method of getting help. For more information, click this link: https://www.regain.us/advice/

The Fear of Rejection

Rejection is difficult for anyone to take, no matter your resistance to it. Rejection can come in many forms. If you’re a fiction author trying to publish the next great novel, getting dozens of rejection letters is a challenge. You just want to give up and keep your writing to yourself, or self-publish. Sure, you can hear inspiring stories about how the biggest authors got rejected hundreds of times, but it’s hard to stay motivated even then.

For a freelance writer, a potential client rejecting you and hiring someone else can be hurtful as well. You may wonder what you did wrong, and wonder if your work is any good at all. This especially applies if you don’t know why the rejection happened.

Getting past rejection is a challenge. While many say it gets better with time, others still struggle with it.

The Fear of Criticism

This is similar to the rejection fear. Your work gets out, and you want to hear what others are saying. Even if the reception is mostly positive, people tend to focus on the vocal minority of negative reviewers, and they may be upset or defensive over their work.

Even if you write the next great American novel, there is always going to be dissent. Handling criticism can be done in many ways. Some just ignore their critics, while others listen to the critics who have interesting points and see if they can make changes. With that said, don’t change your work just because you read a bad review.

The Struggle for Creativity

For some writers, creativity is always around the corner. For others, creativity comes in droplets. Writer’s block can affect a writer, and everyone fears it, especially if your income is dependent on your creativity.

Exercising creativity is a good way to get the juices flowing. Not overthinking your creativity is a good move too. Many people get their best ideas when they aren’t thinking too hard. However, this does not apply to everyone.

Staying Isolated

Many people dream of being writers because they like the idea of working from home, with no one watching you. However, many writers feel lonely or cooped up in their home, especially if they are single. However, even writers who have families may struggle with loneliness. If you have kids, teaching them the value of writing is a good way to get rid of that loneliness. For more information,   click here or look here.

That’s why some writers may go to coffee shops or other social gatherings. Alternatively, you can write in nature if you have a laptop and Internet access if your work requires that.

It’s a Rewarding, Yet Tough Career

If you can get past the mental health struggles of writing, it can be a rewarding career. When you have all the bumps bypassed, writing is great for the mind and can lead you down a path of creativity. Speak to other writers, or a therapist, if you’re having any struggles or doubts. People can help you, and you can succeed with your work.

Interview with Author Rina Z. Neiman

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve worked in music, fashion, high tech, and retail. Writing has always been an element of my professional career.


What inspired you to write your book?

My mother’s life inspired this book, and the understanding that her story was so deeply intertwined with the establishment of the State of Israel. Sadly, she died when I was eleven years old, and I was too young to know what questions to ask. Following my father’s death years later, I discovered her photographs and documents, most of which I had never seen before. Under pictures of best friends and boyfriends, whose names we’d never know (or how they affected her), I found an illustrated sketch book by her brother. Avraham was the uncle we never met, but knew was her best friend. The book tells the story of a trip they took to the Galilee in 1947. For the first time, I had an inside view into the most significant relationship in my mother’s life, and an intimate portrait of her as a 17-year-old. I wanted to tell not only her story, but the story of the Sabra generation, the first generation of modern-day Israelis.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

  • We are from our birthplace.
  • The importance of family and community.
  • War is about losing loved ones.
  • Resilience in the face of adversity is key to survival.
  • What led to the establishment of the State of Israel. The events in Europe during WWII had repercussions that affected the whole world.
  • A portrait of the unique Sabra generation.
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What drew you into this particular genre?

I began this project as a straight biography, but quickly found it was not possible to corroborate particular facts about my mother’s life. It also became clear that there was a broader story to tell about the time period and her generation. I’ve always found historical fiction compelling to read, and love that it can transport you to a different time and place.  

What I like about writing an historical fiction novel is that there is a timeline of events that I was able to follow. I could intertwine those events in ways that I knew, or had to imagine, affected my mother. Here’s an example: While researching the time (1940s), and place (Tel Aviv), I came across an incident that happened in 1941 that I never knew about. My mother never spoke about it, and it wasn’t mentioned in most of the histories of Tel Aviv. Shortly after the Italians entered WWII, an squadron of Italian planes dropped bombs on my mother’s neighborhood killing 137 people. Even though I didn’t know how it affected my mother, it became clear to me that this was a scene that I had to write. What would it be like to be a 12-year-old girl caught in such a frightening event?

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook and Instagram for now, and I’m working on my Twitter presence. With my WOW blog tour, I can see how effective the world of book blogs can be.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

  • Take classes in writing. Learn the craft.
  • Create a timeline with an outline. That’s your path.
  • Find a writing group.
  • Write THE END. Are you sure? Better check it one more time…
  • Polish your final piece.

Self-marketing is part of the publishing world now. The best way to create interest in your story is to find like-minded people, and promote to those you are connected with. Network with other writers, writing groups and organizations that may have an interest in your work.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have two projects that I’m currently outlining. There is a sequel to Born Under Fire that follows Shula in Manhattan in the 1950s, and her work at the first Israeli consulate in New York. And, because it’s based on my mother, the highs are high and the lows are devastating.

The second is a music-centered novel that takes place in New York in the early 1970s.

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About the Author

Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.REPORT THIS AD

You may find out more about the author and her book by visiting the website https://www.bornunderfire.com/. Also, you may find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

— Blog Tour Dates

May 20th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/REPORT THIS AD

May 21st @ Karen Brown Tyson Blog

Make sure you stop by Karen’s blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book – or thinking about writing one – this one is a post you don’t want to miss!

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 22nd @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog today where you can read her review about Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog again where you can read the author Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about why researching primary sources is so effective.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 23rd @ Bri’s Book Nook

Looking for a new book? Make sure to stop by Bri’s Book Nook and find out why you need to add Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire to your reading list.

https://brisbooknook.com/

May 24th @ One Sister’s Journey

Today is a can’t miss review by Lisa over at One Sister’s Journey blog. She’s sharing her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.REPORT THIS AD

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 26th @ Reading Whale

You won’t want to miss today’s stop at the blog Reading Whale where you can read this Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about when you can finally start writing your book after all that research.

https://readingwhale.com/

May 27th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Fill your bookshelf with good books! Stop by Veronica’s blog and read author Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about writing biographical fiction and when to dramatize real events.

https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

May 28th @ Helen Hollick’s World of Books

Join Helen Hollick’s Tuesday Talk over at her blog and read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how videos can reinforce your historical novel.

https://www.helenhollick.net/

May 28th @ Book Collab Blog

Make sure you stop by Morgan’s blog Book Collab where you can find out what she has to say about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

https://morganbray15.wixsite.com/mysite

May 29th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman’s blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won’t want to miss this!REPORT THIS AD

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 31st @ Jess Reading Blog

Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess’ blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.

https://jessbookishlife.wordpress.com/

June 1st @ The World of My Imagination

Come by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

June 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Can’t resist a good book? Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog today when he reviews Rina Z. Neiman’s incredible historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Looking for your next great read? Make sure you stop by Bev’s blog today and catch her opinion on this fascinating historical fiction novel Born Under Fire.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 4th @ Amanda Diaries

Today’s stop is at Amanda’s blog where you can read what she thinks about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire. REPORT THIS AD

https://amandalsanders1989.wordpress.com/

June 5th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today where you can not only read her review of Born Under Fire but also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

June 7th @ Bookworm Blog

Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette’s Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

June 8th @ Jessica’s Reading Room

Today’s tour stop is a fantastic guest post written by author Rina Z. Neiman about how to make stories interactive. A must-read for all the writers out there!

http://jessicasreadingroom.com/

June 9th @ Jess Bookish Life

Need a new book in your life? Stop by Jess’ blog today where she shares her opinion about the historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

https://jessbookishlife.wordpress.com/

June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Are you doing research for your novel? Make sure you visit Bev’s blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman is talking about top 5 ways to research secondary sources.REPORT THIS AD

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Get to know author Rina Z. Neiman at today’s stop over at author Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews the author.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 14th @ Bookworm Blog

Visit Anjanette’s blog today and read a guest post by the author who talks about making your story interactive and why adding music is so effective.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

Visit Wendi’s blog at Strength 4 Spouses where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about the importance of writing during deployment.

June 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Welcome to Strength 4 Spouses Blog!

June 17th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog over at 12 Books and find out her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

June 19th @ Inquiry and Beyond

Join Kathy on Instagram and on her blog PYP in Paradise as she reviews and features Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

https://www.instagram.com/InquiryandBeyond/

http://pypinparadise.blogspot.com/

June 21st @ Choices Blog

Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples’ blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.

http://madelinesharples.com/

June 23rd @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Need a new book? Make sure you stop by Wendi’s blog where she reviews Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman.

Welcome to Strength 4 Spouses Blog!

Interview with Author Chuck Regan

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I always enjoyed telling stories since I was a kid, but my focus had 
always been on illustration – I really wanted to be a comic book 
creator. In 2003, I self-published four issues of a dark science fantasy 
series called “Nether: The Age of Maga” (no connection to the current 
administration’s tag phrase) and as I dived deep into plotting out the 
series, I got more invested in the craft of prose. I found I could 
express a lot more in writing than just with pictures and speech 
balloons. If I had pursued that story in comic form, it would have taken 
me a couple of lifetimes to tell the story I wanted to tell. The comic 
book wasn’t successful enough to sustain production, so I switched gears 
and focused on writing.

In 2008 I finished my first novel, but it had a lot of flaws, so I filed 
it away and continued putting in my hours, reading and writing good and 
bad prose. My first short story for pay was accepted for publication in 
2011 in ‘Space and Time’ magazine. I’ve had 25 short stories and three 
novellas published to date.

None of it pays the rent yet, but I’m working on that part, building my 
library.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

A weird commingling of inspirations fueled the world of Stormkind. The 
ones that are right out in front are ‘The Watchmen’ by Moore and 
Gibbons, ‘Powers’ by Bendis and Oeming, ‘Marshal Law’ by Mills and 
O’Neill, and ‘Marvels’ by Busiek and Ross.

My day job for years had been a graphic designer for advertising 
agencies, so the starting point for this series was writing from the 
perspective of a guy who designed the costumes and logos for 
under-powered, noob superheroes. That character, Sven, made it into Book 
One, but as a very minor character. His sarcastic, so-over-it attitude 
spilled into Bloodstock, who ended up becoming the main character of the 
series. More details about Bloodstock will be drip fed to readers in 
subsequent books.

And then the movie Deadpool came out, and the concept began to gel. 
Bloodstock first appeared in a short story intended to be published with 
Zelmer Pulp, a collective of writers with whom I got a real taste for 
telling a broad range of stories. Each ZP anthology collection had a 
different theme – zombies, westerns, sci-fi, noir, etc. and we edited 
each others’ work. It was a great way to stay inspired. After five 
anthologies, we wanted to do a superhero noir theme, and I went bonkers 
worldbuilding a shared universe for the other writers to play in. That 
work is published on the History page of the Stormkind website. 
(http://www.chuckregan.com/stormkind/history.html)

Yeah, I went to a very geeky, very manic place. I wanted enough 
structure so I could tell consistent stories for a long time to come. 
That Bloodstock short story will be published in an anthology of 
Stormkind characters, some of which were mentioned in the footnotes.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your
book?

The core theme of the series is focused on answering the question ‘What 
is a hero?’ Is it a set of rules, or a gut instinct driven by altruism? 
Is it past-life karma moving a hero to act, or yesterday’s guilt? Is a 
character driven by heart or head? Which character’s actions serve their 
ego, and which actions serve a greater good? And how does each of us act 
under stress? Why?

I have always been a fan of Star Wars. Hell, the original trilogy was my 
religion growing up, so I guess I was trying to channel my inner Yoda 
trying to answer these questions. Hopefully, between all the snark and 
destruction, readers will start to answer these questions in their own 
lives.

Beyond all this pretentious babble, I just hope they have fun reading 
it.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Honestly, I don’t know. It just kind of grabbed hold of my enthusiasm, 
and momentum did the rest. The series will drift into some seriously 
messed up supernatural weirdness – that’s where all my stories typically 
end up – but I never really entertained writing about superheroes 
before.

I enjoyed The Flash and Batman as a kid. Later, X-men and New Mutants, 
but I always preferred reading stuff in the vein of DC’s Vertigo line, 
where ‘superheroes’ were mostly a sidebar to the esoteric adventures of 
characters like John Constantine.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me acting at the bidding of Causal 
Balance.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would
you ask them and why?

Thaddeus Ormond, no question. He knows what’s going on on many levels. 
He’s been to other alternate-Earths. More on him in Book Two. If Nikola 
Tesla and Elon Musk had a love child, that’s Ormond.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your
readership?

Honestly, I didn’t put much effort into marketing through social media 
or any other venue. The only one I used was Facebook. I decided at some 
point I’d rather put in my hours writing ten books that ten people 
enjoyed than dealing with the black abyss of marketing. This is all just 
a fun hobby for me. If other people find it and like it, great.

I really appreciate you letting me tell everyone who visits your blog 
how awful a businessperson I am!

And I’m very glad you enjoyed the story!

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out
there?

Use writing to learn about yourself. Let your characters make the 
choices you don’t feel safe making for yourself. Only when your writing 
is personal will it have real meaning. And don’t expect to make any 
money. That will kill your inspiration and honesty. Write only for 
yourself.

That said, put in your time. Just write. If you are a ‘pantser’ – 
writing by the seat of your pants, I can’t offer any advice. Pantsing 
only works for me with short stories.

For longer works, I needed to figure out a reliable method of plotting. 
After going through half the goddamn books on the planet about plotting, 
I found that ‘Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook’ by Donald Maass and 
‘The Anatomy of Story’ by John Truby were most helpful. Once I figured 
out what my plot was, I could finally feel safe investing the time in 
writing each chapter.

You ever see ‘A Beautiful Mind’? When the Professor’s wife discovers the 
shed with the insane notes, drawings, clippings, and colored string 
linking all his thoughts? That’s what I was doing before I discovered 
these plotting methods.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects
on the horizon?

I re-tooled that comic book series, Nether, into a novel series, and am 
shopping the first book around to literary agents. The working title 
(this week) is ‘Flames of Naraka.’ It takes place five thousand years in 
the future on a demon-infested post-apocalyptic Earth – kind of a ‘Lord 
of the Rings’ meets ‘Star Wars’. The second book is 75% complete. I 
plotted it out to book six.

‘Little Agony’ is a novel about the third generation of Martian 
colonists living in a corrupt dystopia. Inspired by ‘The Grapes of 
Wrath’ and ‘Firefly’, this was my first attempt at a novel. I’m working 
on rewrite number eight.

Yeah, I’m a big geek who lives on caffeine.

Interview with Author Sean Robbins

1- Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

“Who am I? I am Spiderman.”

Well, not really, but this should tell you all you need to know about me and my writing style.

I’m a huge Marvel (plus Game of ThronesStar Trek AND Star Wars) fan, which shows since my novel is loaded with pop culture references. If you are a sci-fi fan (I assume that you are, otherwise what are you doing here?) you will enjoy them tremendously. I even went full Deadpool in my first draft and broke the fourth wall multiple times, until my editor told it was distracting and kept taking her out of the moment. Shame. Those fourth-wall breaks were hilarious. Still, I can guarantee a few laugh-out-loud moments. Case in point: The “good” aliens in my novel are a race of pranksters, whose main goal in life is pulling other people’s legs (They have four legs, hence the slight change in the idiom). My favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is probably how I ended up writing in a first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone as he does. The fact that my MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental though.

I am a university/college level English teacher, and including Canada, I have lived and worked in five different countries. I have met people from all around the world. Plus, my parents are from a different background, and so is my wife. As a result, diversity has become a major theme in my novel. My characters look like the bridge crew from Star Trek. One of my female characters even impersonated Uhura once, albeit posthumously.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I have got purely obsessional OCD. What this means is a thought enters my mind—usually something negative—and doesn’t leave. I end up having to think about it 5000 times a day, and once this starts, my life is ruined for a week, two weeks, a month, or six months. I’d tried a lot of different ways to get rid of this problem: therapy, medication, meditation… Nothing ever worked, until I read an article that said the people who had this problem had an overly active imagination, and it would help if they channeled it into something productive, like writing.

I’d always wanted to be a writer. This is literally a childhood dream, one of those you give up when you grow up. I had the story of The Crimson Deathbringer in my mind for years (even started writing it and stopped a few times). When I read that article, I was going through a tough time in my marriage (fighting with your wife is no fun, even for sane people), and my mind had gone into its life-destroying over-drive, so I told myself, “Well, you’ve tried everything else, let’s give this a shot.”

And then a miracle happened.

My mind put the same energy it used to put into producing BS and making my life miserable into coming up with stories. Ideas would come to me fast and furious, and I had to stop whatever I was doing several times a day to write them down. I’ve been OCD-free since then (I know, I sound like a recovering alcoholic). When TCD (cool, eh?) was finished, it took my out-of-control brain half a day to plan my second novel, which is about a nerdy scientist and a sexy female mercenary who use a time machine to defeat an alien invasion.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

To be perfectly honest, I’m not trying to send a message. All I want is to entertain my readers. If they are so absorbed in my story that they forget about real life and its problems (and hopefully laugh a few times) my job is done. That said, being a Star Trek fan, I hope my book presents the same themes of optimism and diversity as OST does.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I think I was 9 when I watched the first Star Wars movie, and I never looked back. I’ve been a big sci-fi/space opera fan ever since, so it’s only natural that I write the same genre.  

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d love to ask Jim how he manages to shrug off the most terrible things a human might suffer using nothing but humor!

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

My publisher, Creativia, has a FB page called Creativia Street Team. Members of this group helped a lot.

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7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Besides the one mentioned in question 2, I’ve started planning for TCD’s sequels.

Twitter is @seanrobins300
https://seanrobins73.wixsite.com/website

Again, But Better by Christine Riccio Review

A young woman yearning to follow her dreams and overcome her shy nature finds herself far outside her bubble and struggling with new friendships, possible romances and a road very few travel in author Christine Riccio’s novel, “Again, but Better”.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman yearning to follow her dreams and overcome her shy nature finds herself far outside her bubble and struggling with new friendships, possible romances and a road very few travel in author Christine Riccio’s novel, “Again, but Better”. 

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The Synopsis

From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? 

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. 

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

The Review

This was an amazing read from a wonderful new author. The author perfectly captures the raw emotional struggle of those who struggle with self-doubt and reservedness that makes it difficult to put one’s self out there for friendship, love or any social life whatsoever. As someone who frequently struggles with this to this day, it was a novel and protagonist that truly spoke to me and I believe many readers will be able to identify and relate to as they read this novel.

One of the fun and interesting aspects is the sudden introduction of a magical or supernatural element of the story halfway through the novel, taking readers by surprise. This story element does a remarkable job of bringing a new understanding not only to the characters but to the concept of fighting for your dreams and overcoming that struggle between shyness and confidence. Readers will love this new element of the novel and will grow more with the characters overall as the story progresses. 

The Verdict

This was a fantastic novel from a promising new author that has a deep understanding and command over the YA genre. Protagonist Shane is a beloved character that readers will instantly root for and relate to, and the novel itself is an evenly paced read that will keep readers on the edge of their seat as the narrative comes to its end. This is a top contender for YA Book of the Year, and a wonderful read that will have readers excited to read more novels from the author in the years to come. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Again, but Better” by Christine Riccio today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christine Riccio has been on a quest to encourage more humans to read since the third grade. No one really listened until she started making videos about books on Youtube in 2010. Now her channel PolandbananasBOOKS has over 390,000 book-loving subscribers. She makes comedic book reviews, vlogs, sketches, and writing videos chronicling the creation of her own novel. She’s also one of the three YouTubers behind BOOKSPLOSION. Originally from New Jersey, Christine graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in Film and TV and now lives in Los Angeles, CA. Other hobbies include hot yoga and oatmeal. 

https://www.youtube.com/user/polandbananasBOOKS

https://www.instagram.com/xtinemay/

https://www.facebook.com/CMRproductionz/

https://www.christinericcio.com/