Interview with Author Maria Thompson Corley

Interview Questions for Maria Thompson Corley

1) First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you find yourself drawn to the world of writing?

I always liked to write. When I was young, I was much more secure expressing myself in writing than in speech. Not that I never spoke, but I was always more self-revelatory in writing. I would write my parents notes, sometimes, instead of speaking to them about things that bothered me. I wrote my first novel at 14 (no worries—I have no intention of inflicting it on anyone!). My first published novel was Choices, which I wrote on a whim. I had the rather confident attitude that I could come up with something as good as a lot of the books I was reading, so I sent my manuscript to Ballantine and received a letter back from an editor. She said her list was full, but recommended that I get in touch with someone at Kensington, since they were starting a line of books aimed at African American women. I was kind of in the right place at the right time.

 

That was in 1996! My book was published as a romance, and my follow up didn’t fit the genre, since I had a prominent gay character who was in a relationship. I didn’t want to get rid of him, deciding instead to focus on being a pianist (I have Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Juilliard, and have played since I was 4). I had married by then, and my daughter was born in 1997, followed in 1999 by my son, who is on the autism spectrum. It took me a while to get back to writing, with all of that on my plate. When my marriage broke up, I found writing very cathartic, and I can truly say that the written word has turned out to be as much a part of me as music.

I’ve even started writing a bit of poetry. One poem was published by New York Literary Magazine, having come in second in a contest, and I presented one about my son, the first one I’d written since middle school, at the National Autism Conference last summer. We’ll see where that goes. I have ambitions of writing a few more and trying to set them to music. Some of my songs and solo/choral arrangements have been performed nationally and, in one case, internationally, and one choral piece was published by Walton. That said, I can’t do everything. Can I? Either way, I feel like an emerging composer. We’ll see.

2) What inspired you to write Letting Go?

The inspiration was a who, not a what. My mother suggested that I write something a bit closer to home, shall we say. As mentioned in my acknowledgments, she isn’t a big fan of the four-letter words and occasional sex, but she is a huge supporter of everything I do. I am so blessed to have been given wonderful parents.

What’s fun about the book is that people who know me can see similarities to my life, but most of the book is fiction. Which is which? You’ll have to guess (hint: I made up the first chapter. That said, I definitely want to be present at the auditions for casting Devonte Jones).

3) What message or theme do you hope to convey to your readers when they read this book?

I hope readers will look at love, in all its manifestations, through fresh eyes. While people call my book a romance, to me, the cliché is true—the greatest love of all is between you and yourself.


4) If you could sit down for a cup of coffee with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them/ask them?

Tough question! I think I’d sit down with Langston, ideally with him supplying the coffee and another treat of his choice, hopefully something he’d made himself (selfish reasons! I love good coffee and treats!). I’d ask him if he had any regrets about the way his path went, as in, if he wished he’d done some things sooner, or felt they happened at the right time.

The thing is, I think we all do the best we can with what we have, even if what we’re doing is destructive. We have to get better, internally, to do better.

5) When writing Letting Go, what was more important to you: plot development or character development?

Hopefully, both! That said, I love to get into people’s heads, and to create imaginary friends or foes) for the reader. Humans are endlessly complex, and thus (at least to me), endlessly fascinating.

6) What social media site would you say has been the most helpful developing your readership?

I’m not sure! I’d say a toss-up between Facebook and Twitter. Then again, I basically use only Facebook and Twitter, so…

7) What’s one piece of advice you would give to new authors out there?

Be an educated, ruthlessly critical author. Learn the grammar, read books and articles by respected writers, analyze the way they use words. Strive to write good sentences, so that your ideas truly come to life. Find beta readers who are honest and skilled in the craft (I know this isn’t always easy), and then listen to them. Opinion is just that, but I at least try to consider every suggestion, so that if I don’t take it, the reason isn’t my own defensiveness or insecurity. That said, I’m so used to critique, these days, I have a very thick skin.

8) What are your future plans? Any new books in the works?

I just finished a revision of the New Adult book I mentioned earlier, with the gay character. When my beta readers have weighed in, I’ll revise some more and see where that goes. After that (or while I wait for my betas), I hope to write a book from the point of view of a very famous animal. I have barely started (last summer). I know that will be shorter, but also harder because I have to stick to the historical facts. Oh yeah, and because I’m choosing to write from the point of view of an animal!

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Outlast 2 Review Link!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have written a review of the recently released game, Outlast 2, a survival horror game. It is on my secondary blog on Tumblr, so please go check it out and let me know what you think!

 

REVIEW

Milijun by Clayton Graham Book Review

An alien threat will test one mother and her quest to protect her teenage son in Milijun by Clayton Graham.

Milijun by Clayton Graham Book Review

Reviewers Note: “I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.”

An alien threat will test one mother and her quest to protect her teenage son in Milijun by Clayton Graham. Showing an alien incursion and
analyzing philosophical questions involving spirituality and the lengths a parent will go to for their children. Here is the official synopsis:

It is Australia in 2179. On a moonlit Nullarbor night, Laura Sinclair and son, Jason, witness aliens descend to Earth. The extraterrestrials
endeavour to form a symbiotic relationship with humankind, and Jason is chosen as a genetic link in a bizarre trial involving the impregnation
of human females with hybrid embryos and exploration of spiritual compatibility. Laura crosses swords with Major General Sebastian Ord from the
Australian Defence Force, Eucla and Uriel, the enigmatic head of Milijun, a reclusive research facility in the outback. Following a disastrous
armed attempt to capture aliens at Cocklebiddy Cave and a fierce confrontation at Eucla, Jason is abducted by an alien swarm. What follows tests
the resolve of Laura to the core. Caught in a relentless web of frightening new technologies and alien mystery, spurred by the undying love of
her son, she gains a strength of character she never thought possible. All she has to do is save herself, Jason and several women and unborn
children from the scheming plans of man and alien alike …

This book does an excellent job of fusing futuristic sci-fi storytelling with themes of spirituality and questioning mankind’s place in the
universe. The struggle for Laura to hold onto some sense of normalcy while the world around her begins to get more complicated and more chaotic
is a great way to humanize such an epic science fiction adventure. Exploring a future version of Australia, this book features creepy,
mysterious aliens and government operatives with hidden agendas all their own. As the story progresses, the audience will be on the edge of their
seat as they must ask themselves: are the aliens invaders, or friends?

This was a well written sci-fi thriller with complex, developed characters, profound themes that need to be explored, and an exciting plot that
continuously keeps the reader on edge as they read through this layered story. By the end of the story, readers will be confronted with a shocking
end, one that can either be seen as the beginning of a journey, or the end of one. You must decide for yourselves. Be sure to check out Clayton
Graham’s Milijun, available for purchase now!

Rating: 9/10

Interview with Nicholas Nash

Nicholas Nash, author of the recently released thriller “The Girl at the Bar”, took the time to answer a few questions for us. Check it out!


1) Tell us how you came up with the premise
of The Girl at the Bar?

I started writing THE GIRL AT THE
BAR as a pantser, figuring out the story as I went along. After the first few
chapters, I started plotting out the characters and story line.

I’ve always found the field of
cancer research very interesting. There are so many new developments that the
average person is not aware of. The biotech industry is enjoying its golden age
in terms of finding modalities to cure cancer. I wanted to highlight some of
that in my book while adding a human story around it.

I also
enjoy reading mysteries a lot and hence decided to write one – one that I would
enjoy reading. Blend all these elements and what do you get? A mystery thriller
set in the backdrop of cancer research.

 

2) What kind of research did you do to
prepare for this book?

I read a
lot about what cancer is, what it does and the latest developments in the field
to cure cancer. I’ve met a few people, including researchers, who helped shape
my understanding of the science behind cancer. At one point in my life, I also
worked with some leading cancer researchers and learnt a great deal about the
latest developments in the field from them.

The
biggest challenge though with all the background research is being able to
synthesize all of this into plain language that a regular reader could
understand and appreciate. That was the toughest part of the research. I was
constantly afraid that readers would lose me if I became too technical in my
descriptions, so that kept me on guard whenever I wrote about cancer in the
book.

Siddhartha
Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies
was a great book that I had read and helped my understanding of this disease.
That said, to my point earlier, his book was long (592 pages) and relatively
technical and I must confess, at some point, I stopped reading and did not
finish it. Irrespective, it’s still a great book and a must read for anyone who
wants to understand this disease some more.

 

3) What inspired you to dive into the world
of cancer research?

There is
some truly groundbreaking research and developments taking place in the quest
to cure cancer that the average person is not aware of. The biotech industry in
general is making huge strides in finding unique cures for cancer. I wanted to
highlight the work that I have been reading about.

The
biotech industry, particularly on the research side, is heavily dominated by
men. However, there are several strong well-rounded women who are instrumental
in the industry either as researchers, CEOs or biotech investors. Rebecca is in
some respects a composite of these real-life women who play a key role in the
progress we’ve made in the war on cancer.

 

4) What matters most to you when writing:
developing plot or developing characters?

Mostly from real life
experiences. Each of my characters is a composite of people I know personally,
people I’ve met, people I know of or people I’ve read about. Each character is
a blend of interesting characteristics from different sources.

 

5) What social media sites do you find have
been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Currently, I have only tried
Facebook and Instagram. I enjoy Facebook more as it allows me to interact with
the readers. You can find me on Facebook at @NicholasNashAuthor and Instagram at
NicholasNashAuthor.

 

6) What are your future plans?

I am currently working on my second
novel set during the last days of World War II. The book title is still under
wraps because I don’t want to give the story setting away just yet. There was
an interesting time period during the Second World War that I chose as the
backdrop.

Hitler died, having committed suicide,
on April 30th, 1945 but the war in Europe did not end with his death. Germany
continued fighting the Allies and surrendered only a week later on May 7th,
1945. During these days between his death and eventual German surrender, an
unimaginable series of events took place that remains unexplained and shrouded
in mystery to this very day. My second novel revolves around one of those
events during that period of uncertainty, with my imagination filling in the
blanks that history has left unanswered forever.

I first read about it a few years ago
and I always wondered to myself, “What exactly happened there? Why did they the
retreating Germans that? Who was really responsible? What were they thinking?”

I searched and searched and searched
and never found any satisfactory answers. That was when I said to myself, “Hmm,
that’s interesting. The magnitude of what happened then was immense and here we
are over 70 years later and we still don’t know much about it.” That’s when I
decided to write my second book around these bizarre events.

The first chapter of my
second book will be available to all readers of THE GIRL AT THE BAR. The
details on how to get it will be at the end of my first book.

Red Death by Jeff Altabef Book Review

Fantasy and Dystopian genres blend together beautifully in author Jeff Altabef’s novel, Red Death. Exploring the impact of religion on various
groups of people and the dangers of how it dictates their lives, Red Death delves into the lives of several young people throughout this
deadly world, with various tribes and Kingdoms conflicting with one another and the mysteries of this world waiting to be unlocked by one
courageous hero. Here is the synopsis:

Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient
sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close. They must
keep Eden a secret if they are to survive.

Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained and dedicated Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother discovers a cure to
the plague, her world is turned upside down. The discovery is a miracle, yet miracles are dangerous in Eden.

The corrupt, all-powerful High Priest brands Aaliss and her brother Wilky as traitors, forcing them to run. They seek refuge in the last
place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden, and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval
world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders who are only a few years older than her.

Aaliss yearns to return home to Eden, but she must protect Wilky at all costs. And when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the
Soulless, she questions everything she once believed, everything the Priests had taught her about those who live outside Eden—they are
forever cursed, savage, soulless.

Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens
to tear apart the Soulless world? Or… might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?

This was an incredibly well written novel. The dark dystopian world is so vividly described that you can visualize the characters in your
mind. The action and plot of this incredible book took this reader on a roller coaster of emotions and created a world that can easily
pass for a dystopian version of our own. The themes of this novel have never been more true than in this day and age, from the dark side of
power in religion, to the judgement we often have for anyone who isn’t a part of our own culture, to the true meaning of family and how
a person can find family in the most unlikely of places.

It was refreshing to see the gender roles reversed from the “traditional” book styles, where a man is the hardened warrior and the female
needs rescuing or needs to be taught how to fight. Aaliss is a seasoned warrior, and the male lead of this novel that fans will meet must
seek her help for a quest, and must use her skills in order to learn and survive. It shows a welcome trend of strong female characters that
may be flawed but still become the epic hero of the story and prove that they don’t need a man to save them. It helps to break down the
gender stereotypes of our world and showcases that a person’s gender doesn’t define a hero, but rather their actions.

This is a beautifully dark world that has been created by Jeff Altabef, and is a promising first novel in a brand new series. This new world
promises to bring deadly threats to Aaliss and the rest of the people she befriends in this novel, and shows that the world she knows is
going to change drastically. Filled with twists and turns, characters we love and characters we love to hate, this is a fantastic read that
every dystopian and Fantasy reader must check out, so make sure you pick up your copies of Red Death today!

10/10 Stars

Facing Fear: My Reaction to the U.S. Election 2016 Results

Fear. Shame. Anger.

These are just a few of the emotions I’ve been dealing with over the last few days.

Why? I’ve felt these emotions because beyond belief, Donald Trump has become the President-Elect of the United States.

This election wasn’t just about the first female President possibly becoming a reality. It wasn’t a Democrat versus Republican race either.
This race pitted a well qualified, empowered and intelligent human being against a bigoted, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, alleged
sexual predator and all around awful human being, and people gave into their fear and voted this awful person into the most powerful office
in our nation, and one of the most powerful positions on the world stage.

Let me clear a few things up. I respect everyone’s right to vote for who they want, and I do not hate Trump supporters. In fact, I pity them.
I know they came into this race out of a place of fear and distrust of government, and I am so sorry they have allowed that fear to blind them
to the hatred and violence this man has spewed throughout his life, not just his campaign. I also know that not all Trump supporters are
bigoted or hateful, and that is why I do not hate his supporters.

I also want to make a point about the voting process. While I wholeheartedly respect everyone’s right to choose and vote the way they want,
I do have a problem with the Electoral College. According to the results, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, meaning she got more votes
than Donald Trump did. However because our President is elected according to the results of the Electoral College, Trump somehow won. I find
the Electoral College to be an outdated system. How can a system created in the 18th century remain relevant for a nation that has grown in
population, and has evolved in terms of technology, diversity and more? It makes no sense, and it upsets me that our election system is
so flawed in this day and age. I also found out that if the millennial vote had been counted only, Hillary’s Electoral College count would have
made it a landslide victory, (all information can be verified through non-partisan sources). This both upsets me and gives me hope. Upsets
me because I feel as if the votes of my generation will be hindered by older generations for several years. However this also gives me
hope because it means that my generation is learning from our past mistakes and looking towards a future filled with acceptance, hope, and
a more progressive outlook on life.

Obviously, you guys can tell that I am a more progressive, liberal minded person. I have no problem with anyone who calls themselves a Republican,
as long as they do not demean, ridicule or put down anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. This is an outlook I’ve shared on most
subjects in life. This election hurts me on so many levels, both as a liberal and as a human being. I could fill a book with the problems
I have with Donald Trump, but I cannot put it all in this blog post. This is just an outlet to express my frustration.

The bottom line is this: I do not acknowledge Donald Trump as my President. I know what a lot of people are saying, even liberal voices and
personalities whom I truly respect. Yes, legally he is the President, (unless by some miracle the Electoral College votes against him in
their December vote. I don’t expect it to happen, but it would be historic and awesome). However I cannot accept him as my President on a
personal level. I can’t do this because I am half Hispanic, and love my Hispanic culture. I am disabled. I have a mother and a sister whom
I love with all of my heart and soul. These things are a part of who I am, and they are also things that Donald Trump has attacked and
humiliated throughout his campaign.

He created a campaign of fear and hatred, and that cannot be ignored. He has attacked hard working immigrants, calling into question their
character and threatening to deport them. He has attacked people with disabilities, mocking their ailments at his rally’s. He’s incited
violence, and has even had the disabled thrown out of his events for daring to question or voice their opinions. Worst of all, he’s
made lewd, unspeakable comments towards women. He has no respect for women at all, and the horrible things he’s said on audio tape and the
things that he’s accused of doing to innocent women make him one of the most despicable human beings to run for this office, and it makes
him unfit to serve.

So while he may legally hold the title of President, I do not acknowledge him as my President personally. I can’t do that because to do so
would be a betrayal to my mother, to my sister, to my family, and to myself and my beliefs. He is a con artist who played on people’s fears
to get elected on a campaign of hatred, and he chose a running mate who’s loathing of the LGBT community has me fearful for the loss of
all the amazing progress we’ve made over the last several years. I will not hate either of these men or their families. I will not hate any
of their supporters. I do not  believe they are all hateful, racist, misogynistic, homophobic people. Yes, some of them are, as evidence
by the rise in violent crimes against minorities since the election. Yet not everyone is like this. For those of you who are taking to the
streets to peacefully protest this election, I applaud you. Stand up for your rights and never stop fighting for what’s right. However, we
must be careful not to cross the line into being a riot. We have to be better than that. Violence and hatred won’t solve anything. It will
only add to the problem. We have to be willing to stand up to hatred with peace, love, and hope. Let us stand together in peace, and show
“President” Trump and his upcoming administration that we won’t back down. We won’t accept his campaign of hate, and will use our words and
hearts to fight the good fight and stop discrimination and hatred in its tracks. Trump won’t beat me. I still believe that the future will
belong to the accepting, peace loving generation I belong to. I believe that the future will be brighter, and so I will endure the next
four years, not by accepting him, but by defying him and not giving into the same hatred he peddles to everyone else. This is my promise.
Will you join me?