Sunday, April 29, 2012

#SixSunday- Silenced (WIP) #2

I trudge to my room crying. The pain flows freely throughout my body. It's attacking my delicate heart that tries so hard to be strong. That’s where it fails. It hurts and, once again, the darkness is getting the best of me. I settle myself down and notice I'm not in my room.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review Event


I would like to invite you to be part of a great event. JH Glaze is hosting an event for his book, The Spirit Box on Facebook. He is looking to get at the least 51 reviews. 

This event is going to run for approximately a month.  So please help him . Invite all your friends. Everyone who posts a review of TSB on Amazon will receive a free ebook of the sequel, NorthWest during this event. You can find the event here: THE SPIRIT BOX

Thus far we can guarantee you that some of you will win books by other authors in this event, who knows if that is all you would be able to get. So if you're interested. Comment on the event page and they will make sure you get the code for a free ecopy of The Spirit Box at Smashwords. Here is the smashwords link.

Author Spotlight: JC Cassels

JC Cassels



JC Cassels, a native of Tampa, Florida, traces her lifelong fascination with SF/Adventure to watching Star Trek on a tiny black and white portable television aboard the family boat as a child. The Space Opera trend that followed the release of Star Wars fed an obsessive need for swashbuckling adventure set in deep space. Today, JC feeds that need by writing her own adventures, heavily inspired by 1960's television shows like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Wild Wild West and fueled by Firefly reruns.

When not writing in her haunted hospital, JC lives with her husband, three children, five dogs, twenty chickens and a horse in a century-old house in a tiny rural community, and enjoys spending her free time sewing, camping, and heckling theoretical physicists on the Science Channel.

Book Review (Coming Soon)


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1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
My name is JC Cassels, American by birth, Southerner by the grace of God. There’s a long-standing tradition of writing and storytelling in my family, as in most old Southern families. The four predominant careers in my family have been politician, teacher, entrepreneur or writer. Writing was the only one of those that held any appeal for me. Early in my career I was a freelancer for newspapers and magazines. I write stories about my imaginary friends because it gives us an excuse to continue to hang out. They happen to be space pirates and interstellar men of mystery.

2. What types of books do you write?
My books are space opera and science fiction romance.

3. Who's your main audience?
Most likely smart, savvy women who like science fiction, space opera, and space western, and men who aren’t afraid of a little mushy stuff in with the adventure.

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
That’s a hard one. I have to say that one of my strengths is my ability to write long. It’s also one of my greatest weaknesses. I’ve often said that if brevity is the soul of wit, then I am witless, for I cannot be brief.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
I try not to think about it much. Some days the muse won’t shut up and you find yourself in THE ZONE. When I’m in that ZONE, I ride the creative wave. I like to use the sports analogy of being on a hitting streak. To quote the movie BULL DURHAM, “respect the streak.” By the same token, when you hit a slump, you don’t let it get in your head. You keep going up to bat and swinging, knowing that one of those times, you’re going to connect and be riding another streak. It’s cyclical.

6. How many books have you written?
I’ve written probably a dozen novels across a broad spectrum of genres.

7. How many are published?
Just the one at present. SOVRAN’S PAWN is my first.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
I am self-published. I’m a bit of a control freak and I like having the total creative control over my work. No one is going to be as passionate about my books as I am. No one is going to care as deeply about how they are presented or marketed. No publisher is going to believe in them as much as I do. If my books are good, they’ll find an audience. If they’re not, they won’t. I’m not against traditional publishing. For me, it would depend on the publisher and the circumstances.

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Dealing with the ringing in my ears from having my headphones turned up so loud. I write in an old abandoned hospital to escape my family. Unfortunately, I don’t have electricity in my office, so if I want to do any writing on the computer, I have to quit when my battery dies. If I write at home with my family around, I have to work with my headphones on to tune out the noise of three lively children and my husband, none of whom can leave me alone for a minute – that’s how much they love me!

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Well-written books. I like a wide variety of books. I like books that take me on an adventure with characters that I can really relate to and care about. It doesn’t have to be a grand adventure, just a fun one with equal parts humor and relationships, not necessarily romance. I like stories that explore the humor and comfort of relationships without the melodrama of them.

11. Who's your favorite Author?
Louisa May Alcott

12. What's your all time favorite book?

13. How long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote SOVRAN’S PAWN in six months. Some books take longer. I’ve written a book in one month before, but that was only the first draft.

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
Blade Devon, the hero, without a doubt. He’s got a devil’s charm and the soul of an adventurer. He is a complete rascal, but the kind of man you can look to when all hope is fading. Failure is not in his vocabulary. He is very close to what I would consider to be the perfect man.

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
I had an epiphany one evening when I stood up to introduce myself at a writer’s meeting. It came off sounding like I was introducing myself at a twelve-step program. Writing is an addiction for me, and for many other writers of my acquaintance. We write because we’re compelled to do it. We can’t NOT write. Maybe there should be a twelve-step program for writers.

16. What does your family think of your writing?
Pretty much the same as everyone else – that I’m an out-of-work bum with no aspirations of seeking gainful employment. I think my husband is looking into a twelve-step program for me as well. My projects tend to run together in the eyes of my family so they are operating under the misconception that I haven’t finished anything and that I’ve been working on the same fruitless novel for twenty years. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. I finally had to sit my sister down and present her with the hard copies of all my completed works before anyone accepted that I had, in actuality, completed anything, let alone lots of things.

17. What does your writing schedule look like? 
I’m up before dawn doing Mommy things. Once the kids get off to school, I sit down with my e-mails. I catch up on Facebook and Twitter. I’m writing by 8:30. I take a few breaks to take care of more Mommy business and I wrap up my writing by mid-afternoon. Unless I’m on deadline, or working with my West-coast editor, I try to keep my evenings free.

18. Do you manage to write every day?
I do, especially if I have an active project, which I usually do. If I didn’t write every day, I could hardly call myself a writer, could I? In order to do this day in and day out for years, decades even, writing has to be more than just a passing fancy. It has to border more along the lines of obsessive/compulsive behavior. Even when I’m not at my computer, I’m adding dialog tags to conversations and working out plot problems. At some point, you just get brain fried and have to take a break for a few days, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?
I just released my first published novel SOVRAN’S PAWN last week. It is the first installment in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES. You can find it in e-book on Amazon and Smashwords. It will be released in paperback in a few months, and later this year, I will be releasing ARCANA DOUBLE CROSS, which is a science fiction adventure from THE MERCENARY ADVENTURES OF BLADE DEVON. You can find links and updates on my blog.

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Write. Write until you can’t write any more and then write some more. Once you’ve done that, write some more and find a local writer’s group. Local groups are a wonderful source of encouragement and information.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Books vs Toys

I'm not one to share stories about my home life on this blog. The story I want to share with you makes me very proud and I have to share it with you.

My five year old daughter got in to trouble in school this past Monday. We had no choice but to discipline her for her actions. She was grounded from the TV, computer, and video games. Then, we sent her to her room for the remaining part of the afternoon. We hardly ever take this route. She ends up screaming her head off and yelling down the steps asking when she can come down. This time was different.

We told her she was allowed to play with her toys in her room and read books. She was there for the better part of five hours until bedtime. I got her bathed. Daddy gave her snack and took her up to bed.

A few short hours later, I went up to tuck her in right before going to bed myself. What I saw was incredible to me. Instead of my daughter pulling all her toys from the toy box and making a huge mess within her room, I saw books scattered around her room. I saw her lying with a few at the bottom of her bed.

Instead of playing with her toys, my daughter decided to read books. I'm proud she would choose reading a book over playing with her new Buzz light year toy she got for Christmas. It made me feel like I'm doing something right.

Let's skip a little further in the week....

We all remember our first little crush we had. I'm sure of it. This next story pertains to my daughters first crush. She talks about him all the time. I hear things such as, "I can't wait to see him tomorrow. I'm going to fix my hair really pretty just for him." OR "If he's good tomorrow during class, I'll let him hold my hand during recess." It's just too cute.

Yesterday she came home with a note from this boy. She was jumping up and down. Truly excited and showed me the note. When I looked at the paper, I couldn't help but to laugh. Take a look for yourself.....

This little boy poured his heart out to her. Probably went through hell before actually giving it to her. In return, he got a spelling lesson. She corrected it. She added in the Y,O in front of the U. She is definitely the daughter of a writer and I'm so proud!!!!

Author Interview: Selah Janel

Selah Janel


1.      Please tell the readers a bit more about you.

I consider myself a pretty typical gal – I grew up in Middle America in several small towns. I tend to do okay in big cities or small towns, but I think there’s something really magical about small communities where people know each other and have each other’s back. Plus, there’s something to be said for little farm towns where state parks or creeks and forests are a close walk away. I’m in mad love with ideas and bringing them from concept to reality – whether it’s writing, sewing, or performing. It’s so cool that there’s so much possibility in the world, y’know? Everyone keeps saying that there’s no new ideas left, but I think that everyone has their own filter and their own take on things so it’s impossible not to have new and original ideas all the time – the trick is getting people to accept that and not keep looking for or expecting the same old thing.

2.      What types of books do you write?

I write any genre that I have a good idea for. I’ve mainly been published for dark fantasy, magic realism, urban fantasy, and horror, but I also have a big soft spot for children’s literature and I’m not going to turn away from standard contemporary fiction either. If an idea or concept catches my interest enough, then I’m open to it.

3.      Who's your main audience?

I think anyone who’s attracted to surreal situations, genre fiction, and the unusual can find something in any of my titles. I tend to have a sideways approach to things so even the typical set-ups tend to get turned into something else in my work. If people are interested in reading about the magic or horrific in the everyday and appreciate strong female characters, then so much the better.

4.      When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?

I think strength wise I’m very lucky to love the genres I write. If I don’t love it, I don’t do it. Love helps compensate for the rejection and the frustration. I’m also passionate about genre fiction and women’s roles – I want female characters to be like actual, regular women and I don’t see a reason that fiction should be panned or snubbed because it happens to be sci-fi or fantasy or something. I’m also very curious and very observant and I hope that through the years this has helped with my character development. It also means that I’m absolutely shameless and if I need to fact check or bounce ideas off of someone I just go ahead and do it. I tend to be a sideways thinker and that can be a strength and a weakness, honestly. It gives me some really interesting ideas but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re what publishers want to read. No matter what guidelines say people are still looking for a formula – they want things that they know for sure people are going to read. I tend to get frustrated with editing and have to make sure I’m focusing and get all my ducks in a row – sometimes I look at manuscripts I’ve submitted a few times and wonder why I didn’t catch things that could have been fixed much earlier. I also feel like I’m always pulled in two different directions: I want to constantly tighten things up, but to get things accepted by publishers I often have to meet larger word counts. I think epic fantasy and longer horror is great but I don’t think it necessarily takes 100,000 words to make a good story.

5.      What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?

If you write you’re going to face it. It’s very equal opportunity and I just don’t buy it when people say they don’t have a problem with it. I think it’s natural and sometimes a good thing. If I’m plowing along on something with the sole purpose of trying to fit a certain genre appeal or meet a deadline I may not be doing all I can to let the idea grow and be what it’s supposed to be. That being said, it frustrates me when all I want is to get a manuscript to work. I generally work on a few things at once so I can keep rotating and feel like I’m accomplishing something – I get moody if I get too frustrated and that never gets me anywhere. Sometimes I recognize that I genuinely need to put something away and go for a walk or focus on another area of my life – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a human thing. If I really feel that what’s going on is more me putting something off, then I try to power through. While I know work shopping and having friends beta in-process works help some people, I’m not comfortable presenting something in its infancy until I have a really good grasp of the full spectrum of the idea – otherwise it sounds much more one-dimensional than what I’m intending.

6.      How many books have you written?

I’ve got a lot in-process. If you mean actually finished then five or so.

7.      How many are published?

Three are eBooks and two I’m currently working on submitting

8.      Are you self published or traditionally published?

I’ve always gone through publishers. I personally like having a community available to help me with the process. I’m very independent but at a certain point I want to have people helping me, especially since I’m new to the game. I think that self-publishing is awesome for a lot of people, but I also feel that if you’re doing that to avoid drama or work around the system…well there’s no silver bullet. There’s no one magical way to do things or way to be safe from drama. That happens at any level. I may self-publish in the future but right now I like working with people and the gals at No Boundaries Press have been absolutely fantastic about communication and helping me get started.

9.       What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Pacing. I tend to either start too fast or too slow – or I get cooking and realize that I’ve glossed over something that I really want to highlight or that I could use more. I have to keep rereading and double-checking myself all the time to make sure everything in a manuscript syncs up.

10.  What type of books do you enjoy reading?

With fiction I read a lot of fantasy and horror, and I enjoy some chick lit, romance and cozy mysteries. I also really like a lot of creative nonfiction titles – I love learning about things that I may not bump into during my own daily life. I’m also a glutton for autobiographies and memoirs – especially if it’s written by a person who’s really far removed from the type of life I lead. I know there’s a vibe lately against memoirs but I think I’ve gained a huge appreciation for people at large by being willing to listen to lots of different types of life experiences.

11.  Who's your favorite Author?

Ray Bradbury. I’m in awe of his work. His ideas are innovative, but they’re also emotionally grounded. No matter how far removed the setting or plot is from the “real” world, his stories make sense to a reader because they tap into very real emotions. Some of his stories are stronger than others, but he runs the gamut: horror that’s genuinely creepy, science fiction that’s both commentary and fantastic, and gentle, touching coming of age stories. I also like that he’s not afraid to recycle themes: he’s used the concept of matter in a jar in a short story and in a novel in very different ways, and instead of it feeling like a cheat it’s like a gentle inside joke between friends. I feel like a lot of my learning to appreciate characters’ emotions and to genuinely love all sorts of plots came from immersing myself in his work.

12.  What's your all time favorite book?

I don’t know if I could pick just one! I love Dandelion Wine by Bradbury, but I also think American Gods by Neil Gaiman is pure magic. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson is one of the best newer books I’ve read in a long time, and Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series is incredible.

13.  How long does it take you to write a book?

It depends on the length and what it is. I had a novel I’m working on start out as a short story, sit for years, and then rocketed past 30,000 words in a month. I always end up thinking of subplots and details when I’m half-way through things, so then I end up going back to fix things.

14.  Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?

I really love the cast in the urban fantasy series I’m developing now, probably because they share a lot of the things I love about where and how I grew up. They all have magical qualities that are combined with mundane lifestyles but they all try very hard to do their best and figure out the world around them. And I won’t lie – a few of them definitely are outlets for my sense of humor so it’s hilarious to write them.

15.  What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?

How much you have to keep at it. I expected having to keep looking for outlets and writing, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of self-promotion or having to really put myself out there right away. Luckily I’m not afraid of hard work and I’m open to learning so I’ve tried to approach it with open arms and attack it with gusto. I also thought I was ready for the amount of rejection I was going to face, but some days it really bowls me over and still does. I try not to get too frustrated and just remember that it’s like dating: not everyone is going to love you and the point is to find the best match.

16.  What does your family think of your writing?

I actually didn’t tell them for a long time, since I wanted to actually have something to show for what I was doing. And I was nervous about showing them things that might be darker or weirder than what they’d expect from me. But they’ve been really supportive. They may not always get everything I write but they’re all for it and that makes me very happy.

17.  What does your writing schedule look like?

It depends on what else is going on. If I’m trying to meet a deadline I’ll hunker down and work on that specific piece. If I’m just trying to finish a manuscript I’ll try to get in a thousand words or more a day. If I’ve got other projects and work going on then I just have to take it as it comes. I’m always happier when I’m writing, though, so I try to carve time out for it every day.

18.  Do you manage to write every day?

During some parts of the year – it may not be a huge word count or it may just be the development of an idea, but I try my best to.

19.  What's the latest news you'd like to share?

I just had my second title The Other Man released. It’s a great, quirky story about relationships and the little things that can make or break them.  My third title In the Red, a glam rock re-imagining of the folktale The Red Shoes will come out some time in the next couple of months. I’ll also be at Fandom Fest in Louisville at the end of June promoting my work and speaking on different panels; in the meantime readers can check out my blog for the convention’s zine Fandom Scene.

20.  Do you have any advice for new writers?

Read a lot – don’t be afraid of genres that you’re not necessarily into and be sure to get your nose into some of the classics and some nonfiction. The point of reading as a writer is to expand your universe, not to check up on what everyone else is doing and copy it. Write a lot, even if it isn’t publishable. You have to start getting in a groove and making mistakes so that you can see what works and where your comfort zone is. Live your life and say yes to opportunities – even a trip to the grocery store could give you an idea for how a character might behave. I feel like I know so much more about emotions than I did when I was in my teens and twenties since I’ve gone through that much more life – and I hope I’ll keep feeling the same way with the more time I get under my belt.  Be prepared that it isn’t just about writing: it’s about business and promotion and keeping an eye on your work. There’s not a point where you can just sit back and say “that’s it.” 

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