Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. – Stephen King

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Since a young age, I’ve always imagined the world differently. Asked strange questions. Pictured how things could be rather than how they are. Writing is my way of capturing that imagination and documenting it. When I have a thought, I write it. It’s my way of allowing that thought to leave my mind and instead, possibly go into the minds of others. If people like my thoughts, wonderful. If not, I have plenty others!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I don’t know anyone who reads regularly in my circle of friends. Perhaps that means I need new friends 🙂 But it also means that in general, my generation is not one of readers. My generation gets a ridiculous amount of screen time. Whether it’s TV, YouTube, or whatever else, it’s all the same. First of all, it limits the kinds of opinions they will hear. Second, the mind simply doesn’t work when it is receiving content through a screen. It’s a lazy method, and breeds even more laziness. Even those who laud themselves as people who read the news, do they really read it? Or just the gist?
I wrote this book to encourage my generation to spend more time with an open book in front of them, rather than a screen. The hope is that with only five minutes a day, people can escape their lives and take a small glimpse into a life that once was, or could someday be. And perhaps they would gain something positive from this insight.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The themes in the book are plenty, as every short story aims to take the reader somewhere different than the one before. If I was to summarize all the messages and concoct a common theme that connects them all, it would simply be: think differently. If society runs things in a certain way, that way may be entirely wrong. There may be a far better way that is waiting for someone to discover it. There may be a way far worse, that’s still worth trying in order to feel more assured of society’s way. There is always something to be gained when thinking differently and questioning everything.
4) What drew you into this particular genre or genres?
Writing a book of short stories was never my intention. I actually finished a sci-fi novel and had sent it to my editor for editing which usually takes a few months. In the meantime, I couldn’t sit idle. So I decided to put some ideas down, which turned into short stories. I then wanted to challenge my creativity: 30 stories in 30 days. I was able to do it, a story a day. Then I added ten more, and thought to myself, “Why not publish?”
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
That’s an extremely tough one given that there are 40 shorts with 40 main characters. But I think I would choose Apolena Kipp from the story “Before the Beginning.” A space explorer who takes humanity’s first trip back to before the Big Bang. There was a moment while writing that story that I truly felt scared for her. I couldn’t imagine the courage it would need to take such a trip. Being the first to ever do anything requires courage, but especially to cross that threshold where there are no safety precautions, that’s something else. I would want to ask her what this trip means to her personally. Why does she so desperately want to know what happened before the Big Bang? And more importantly, how did she feel about what she found?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have to be honest, I don’t have social media. I used to. I was one of the first to join Facebook back when it required a .edu address and you needed to put in which classes you were taking. But on a specific day, I found myself with my 1-yrld daughter at Disneyland, and I was fighting with someone I didn’t know on Facebook about some political opinion. It hit me then, and then I deactivated my account, and vowed never to return.
I don’t deny however that social media can tremendously help marketing a book. So that’s something I’m currently working on, but without social media 🙂
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The most important thing any writer can do, is write. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing is initially. It doesn’t matter if t hey don’t have a fully fleshed story. Start writing, and write everyday. One’s writing is a muscle. If it’s not exercised it, it will become weak. To write is to find the characters, then the characters will build the story. Just start, that’s the most important thing. Start!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
The soft sci-fi is currently out with agents! The book is titled, “ETA: the Trial of Logan Gruver.” The story talks of Logan, a traveler on a commercialized time-travel trip to the Pliocene epoch, who finds purpose and love when he meets Giselle, a fellow traveler in the past. Together, they discover that humanity will mysteriously cease to exist in the future. The newly discovered Canvas of Time, a fabric that covers the universe and also lends way to time travel, will begin to deteriorate. Logan and Giselle understand their devotion, the consequences of their actions, and why humanity may have to pay the price.
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I was fortunate enough to work with author Claire Gem recently on her novel Spirits of the Heart, and she was kind enough to offer me a chance to do an interview for her website as well. So be sure to check out my interview with Claire over on her website, and don’t forget to follow her while you’re there!

 

via Welcome Author Anthony Avina

Hello there everyone. This is Anthony Avina. I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this guest post regarding depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and I hope this will be the first of many guest posts working with this amazing company to bring awareness to these very serious topics that affect so many people. I hope you guys will enjoy this article and if you or anyone you know is suffering from any sort of mental health disorder, please be sure to go to this website and find the necessary resources and support systems you need to help you or those you love. Now here is BetterHelp with a look at depression.

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How to Live with Depression

For those of us who suffer with depression, we know that life is not as easy for us as it is for other people. What makes it worse is that depression and other mental health conditions are “invisible” diseases so nobody can tell what is wrong with you just by looking at you. While some may think this is a good thing, it also makes it hard for others to understand why we may not feel like getting up and going to the beach with the gang or how it takes everything we have to just get out of bed on some days. In fact, I am sure some of you have heard “you are just lazy,” or “quit being so dramatic,” or my favorite “it is all in your head.”

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is very common in both adults as well as children. In fact, it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives, which is almost 17% of the American population. It is not just feeling sad or grouchy for a while or being upset because you lost a loved one, although that can trigger it. Depression is a group of symptoms that include:

  • Feelings of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Sleep changes (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual)
  • Extreme fatigue or listlessness
  • Feeling empty or lost
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who Is Most at Risk?

While anyone can suffer from depression, it is more common in some people than others. For example, women are twice as likely to have depression as men. Other risk factors of depression include:

  • Hereditary – Mental health conditions such as depression can be hereditary so if someone in your family has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, you may be more susceptible.
  • Chemistry – Many experts believe that a chemical imbalance (too much or too little) in the brain is a major cause of depression.
  • Previous mental health disorders – If you have had trouble with anxiety or depression before, you are more likely to have another bout of one of these mental health disorders.
  • Environmental situations – Many situations such as abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, or exposure to violence can make you more susceptible to depression.
  • Physical ailments – Certain major chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can cause depression.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone. Even if you do not have a doctor or therapist, there are experts who are available to you that can help. In fact, you can talk to an online psychologist without even having to leave your home or make an appointment. These therapists are licensed and trained in dealing with depression as well as many other disorders. There are other things you can do in the mean time to make your life easier to deal with such as:

  • Exercise – Force yourself to get out of bed at least once a day and move around. Even if it is just to get up and take a shower and walk around the house.
  • Smile – According to experts, even a fake smile can make you feel happier.
  • Break things up – Do things a little bit at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Thinking about all the things you have to do that day can be a major block but if you break things up into smaller tasks, it is much easier.
  • Talk about itTell people how you feel. Even if they do not seem to care, talking about it helps you understand your illness.
  • Goals Set some small goals for yourself. Talk yourself into doing at least one thing from that goal list every week.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and do not try to hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it is more common than you think. Talk to someone. Today.

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Better Than This
By: Tia Souders

Releasing February 13th, 2018
Clean Reads

Blurb

What can keep a dream alive?

 

Before the car accident that changed everything, Samantha Becker was a happy and loved little girl. Ten years later, Sam, now 18, lives under a dark cloud—largely ignored by an alcoholic mother who never recovered from her loss and ruled by an overbearing father who blames Samantha for the family tragedy. And yet, the troubled teenager has a dream that keeps her going, and an extraordinary musical talent that could take her all the way to Julliard…and far beyond.

 

Following her heart, however, means defying her father, who has his own plans for his daughter’s future.  Then, in the wake of another devastating personal catastrophe, her dream is irreparably shattered, and in her pain and anger, Samantha acts out recklessly. But her salvation could come from a most unlikely trio: a handsome college student, a hopeful little boy…and an older neighbor woman whose caring and secrets will change Sam’s world forever.

 

A powerfully moving addition to the ranks of superior YA fiction, Better Than This by Tia Souders joins Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, the novels of John Green, and other prime examples of contemporary teen literature.  Souders tells the heartbreaking, yet ultimately transcendent story of 18-year-old Samantha, whose remarkable musical abilities could be her escape from a family devastated by tragedy and steeped in guilt, sadness, and recrimination. But when a terrible accident seems to destroy her dreams for the future, Sam discovers a new path forward and new hope when she becomes involved with a remarkable young boy and his grandmother, a caring older neighbor who guards a secret that will change the troubled teenager’s life forever.

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Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37930697-better-than-this

Buy Links:    Amazon

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078WW6L5X

 

 

Author Info

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Tia Souders is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel, Waiting On Hope and the upcoming award-winning young adult novel Better Than This (formerly titled Freedom Road). When she isn’t writing, she’s likely renovating their century home. She’s a wine-loving, coffeeholic, with a sweet tooth and resides on a farm in rural Ohio with her husband and children.

 

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | FB Street TeamInstagram

Website:  http://www.tiasouders.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tiasoudersauthor/

Facebook Group/Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/359632431141710/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tia.s.writes/

 

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Excerpt

My mother crashed into the kitchen, knocking over the wine glasses nestled on the hutch. Mumbling something incomprehensible, along with accusations that someone rearranged the furniture, she stumbled and fell. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the raised knife poised again above the apple.

My father said I shifted my hand on the island, distracted by my mother. A totally plausible explanation—if it were true.

My eyes widened as I stared down at the halved fruit, now drenched in my blood. The pain came in startling, pulsing waves until my entire hand felt as though it was engulfed in flames.

My heart threatened to crash through my chest, as I struggled to comprehend what happened. I vaguely recalled screaming in the background. Where it came from, I’m still unsure. Possibly me, or my mother. I barely noticed my father’s panicked voice as it rang in my ears, nor did I feel it when he squeezed the dish towel over my hand.

I don’t recall moving. I don’t remember speaking or moaning in pain. All I remembered is the sight of the blood-stained cloth shifting, noting the missing finger, and thinking This is my fretting hand.

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I wanted to let you guys know that two of my books will be free starting today and ending on the 17th! The first is Blood and Romance and the second is At First Glance.

At First Glance: A Frightening Romance Novel https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008X0NK56/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_umVGAbMERH74E

Blood and Romance: A Book of Poetry and Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042P5DP6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_4mVGAbAWZFY7K

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

A young woman on a mission of vengeance becomes the savior of the underworld in author J. David Core’s On the Side of the Angel. Part of the A Bartering Angel series, this story explores a mystery woman’s role as a fixer and the complicated tale she weaves to save various criminals. Here’s the synopsis:

Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.
Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.
Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

What I really found interesting when jumping into this story was that it is the first in a series written by various authors. It’s all centered around Angel, or the Bartering Angel. Each author writes in their own unique voice, but focuses on this singular character and her journey. It’s a unique premise that led me into this gripping tale. Each novel can stand on it’s own, and this novel by J. David Core delivers a fantastic thriller. A mix between the films True Romance and Goodfellas (with a Bourne Identity element for good measure), this story is incredibly powerful and fueled by fantastic characters. The story is fast paced and action packed in it’s delivery, and the hints at Angel and her backstory led the reader into wanting more and more of this incredibly complex character and her story. The story delivers a satisfying ending while leaving the reader not only wanting more, but giving them a reason to go out and get the next author’s book in this series. It does a great job of creating an emotional pull to characters that are often billed as villains with no redeeming qualities. It proves that everyone is complex in their own right, and the line between good and evil are easily blurred.

Overall this is a must read tale. Every fan of thrillers and action packed stories will be able to pick this novel up with ease, and will be left wanting to jump head first into this adventurous new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of On the Side of the Angel: A Bartering Angel novel by J. David Core today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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With a profound interest in religion, liberal politics and humor, J. David Core began writing in High School and has not given up on it since. His first professional writing jobs came while attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when he was hired to create political cartoons forThe Pitt News and to write humor pieces for Smile Magazine.

Dave has worked in the newspaper industry as a photographer, in the online publishing industry as a weekly contributor to Streetmail.com, and was a contributing writer to the Buzz On series of informational books and to the Western online anthology, Elbow Creek. Dave’s science fiction novel, Synthetic Blood and Mixed Emotions, is available from writewordsinc.com. Dave currently resides in his childhood home in Toronto, OH with his beautiful girlfriend and his teenage daughter.

He enjoys participating in local community events and visiting with his two adult children and his grandkids.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lupaschwartzmysteries/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gamutman

Website: ThrillsandMystery.com

Read On the Side of the Angel: https://books2read.com/u/mV7yWr

Mailing list: bit.ly/JDCsignup

 

Interview for Claire Gem, multi-award-winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense.

 

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

 

I’m a native New Yorker who grew up in a small town about 60 miles northwest of Manhattan. Mother of three, I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 39 years. I think it’s why I chose romance as my genre—I’m living it, so I feel qualified to write about it.

 

I’ve always loved to write as a form of expression. Therapy, really. In the seventh grade I had an excellent English teacher who took me aside one day and said, “You have an exceptional talent for writing. Don’t waste it.” I never forgot her words, and they inspire me and give me confidence to this day.

 

But I’m dual-sided: by day, I work in the field of scientific research. When I come home from work, I let the creative side of my brain come out to play. I didn’t start writing seriously until about ten years ago, when the business of life and raising children allowed me the extra down time to nurture the passion.

 

 

  • What inspired you to write your book?

 

Spirits of the Heart is set on the grounds of an abandoned mental asylum that really exists in the town where I grew up. I remember as a child feeling very haunted by the majestic old buildings and wondering what went on inside them. When I was about eighteen, I dated a young man who was a nighttime security guard at the facility before it closed down in the 1990s. He became my inspiration for Miller, although he and Miller are nothing alike.

 

When I decided to write the book, my sister (who is a photographer and still lives in the same town) spent a day driving around the mostly abandoned campus, taking pictures for my cover and book trailer. That’s when I decided on Talcott Hall—mysteriously, two weeks after that photo session, the building caught fire and burned to the ground. A local fireman took the fire photos and gave me permission to use them.

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

 

In every one of my books I try to address real life, big issues and show how my characters overcome them. Miller lives in the shadow of his alcoholic father and beats the addiction himself. Laura learns to accept her parents’ divorce and her father’s new choice of a mate. By the end of the book, both characters have not only fallen in love, but have grown as individuals.

 

  • What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I have always been fascinated by the paranormal, and really do believe in ghosts—spirits trapped between this world and the next. For some strange reason, I love to wander in old graveyards—it’s called taphophilia. The histories of the lives commemorated there intrigue me. So, it’s only natural I would choose to write supernatural suspense.

 

 

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

 

That’s a difficult question because in developing my characters, I get to know them so well that I know what all their answers would be. It’s my way of making them real. To me, they become real people who I actually miss when I’ve finished writing the book. My process of character development involves me asking them every question I can think of—by the time I’ve written The End, I know them intimately.

 

 

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

 

I’m active on many social media sites but have found Twitter to be my most helpful. I have 21.6K followers, and it’s easy for me to put up snippets from my books with buy links, or teasers from the book I’m working on next. I have my Twitter account linked to Facebook, so my ~1000 Facebook fans automatically see what I post on Twitter as well.

 

 

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

 

READ. Whatever genre you want to write in, read as many books as you can. I also highly recommend listening to audiobooks. I always have three books going at the same time: one in print, one in eBook, and one on audio. I believe an aspiring author can learn something different from consuming the same book in different formats—what you see with your eyes will be different from what you hear with your ears. I have some titles I have listened to and read multiple times. I learn something different every time.

 

Also, write what you are passionate about. At one time an editor at a conference suggested I write something in the YA genre because it as “hot” at the time…I’m not a fan of YA, and just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to write something I didn’t love. If you are passionate about what you write, that passion comes through on the page. If you love it, there will be other readers who will love it too.

 

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

 

I just completed another supernatural suspense, CIVIL HEARTS, which is set in an abandoned antebellum home in rural Alabama. The idea for this book came to me in a dream, as many of them do. My heroine is a widow whose husband died from a dreadful form of brain cancer, and the hero suffers from epilepsy. The house my heroine buys is haunted by a Confederate soldier who’s come home from war looking for his bride.

 

Next is Sirens of Salt, another idea that came to me in a dream. This one is set on the Atlantic coast of Florida and revolves around some theories I have about the mysterious underwater stones off the island of Bimini. I’m in the research process right now . . .

Author Links:

Website         Facebook        Twitter     Smashwords        Amazon       Book Gorilla

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I live in the hospital, working 18 hour days. 
My entire life consists of running from patient to patient, until I meet her. 
The girl that is afraid of her own shadow. 
She starts out as a patient, but  thoughts of her consume me. 
One phone call leads to me meeting her amazing little girl which changes everything. 
 
With the help of my new partner in crime, I set out to try and save her from a life of fear. 
Can she learn to trust me with her life and both their hearts?
 
**** TRIGGER WARNING: contains mention of physical and emotional abuse. Although no abuse is written out it is described, at times in detail. ****
 
 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ANDI JAXON
Raised all over the country, I’m an interesting mix of East Coast meets West Coast with a little bit of Southern thrown in, just for good measure. I married a sexy man in uniform who let me spawn and am now raising a mutinous army of hell raisers that I created myself, all while he defends our country. I drink too much coffee until it’s late enough to drink too much wine and am sexually frustrated for your freedom.
I never thought I would be a writer, it was never an interest of mine. But when the voices start in and won’t let you sleep, you write so they STFU and leave you alone for a while.
If you see me online, I’m probably sitting in a closet, hiding from my kids. I’m sarcastic, love a dirty alpha male, and love to laugh.
STALKER LINKS
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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever wanted to jump into a reading session but realized there aren’t enough hours in the day to really get into a full on novel? That’s where I. Ashmawey’s Stories That Are Short Vol 1 comes in. This collection of 5-minute short stories is the perfect way to get a meaningful, fun and entertaining story with rich characters in without having to dedicate a lengthy amount of time to the art of reading. Here is the official synopsis:

How likely is it that you will unearth a hidden treasure in an Egyptian Pyramid that would change the course of humanity? How about grow up with extraterrestrials on Jupiter? Travel to before the big bang occurred? Invent feminism in medieval times, attend Dracula’s secret dinner party, experience Star Trek in real life, have dinner with Marlon Brando, take part in the signing of the Declaration of Independence…each in just five minutes?

These short stories will take you the same time to read as listening to a song. In a world where people only read summaries and headlines and get nothing out of them, here is a collection of forty stories that are short to tickle your intellects and arouse your emotions. From sci-fi to comedy, from romance to drama, from love to exploration to horror, enjoy these stories that promise to take you to different worlds, all in under five minutes.

This collection of short stories was really engaging. Delving into a wide range of genres that will entertain everyone, the stories are not only fun and exciting, but are very thought provoking as well. Touching on themes such as advanced technology, socializing and individualism, this collection is meaningful and incredibly well written. It proves that genres like horror and sci-fi are not meant to be strictly entertaining or shocking. They can be equally powerful with their message and share a unique view of the world that other genres can’t provide.

Overall this was a wonderful collection that everyone should read. They are quick reads and doesn’t require you to dedicate hours to read. However the stories are so engaging that you may just find yourself losing time as you become engrossed in author I. Ashmawey’s incredibly original and creative writing style. It’s an incredibly powerful read and has me excited to see where the author’s career will take them next, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Stories That Are Short Vol. 1 today!

Rating: 10/10