L.Leander Book Reviews

Introducing Author Winslow Eliot

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Winslow EliotIt’s my great pleasure to introduce author Winslow Eliot this week.  I stumbled across this author’s site as I was doing research and  I was very interested in what she offers.   Ms. Eliot runs a series of workshops for writers called WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year based on faith and daily exercises.  I joined and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Immediately I contacted Ms. Eliot and asked if she would like to be featured on this blog and she agreed.  I’m glad I could interview her and share her work with my readers.  If you’d like to read my review of her book The Happiness Cure click here.  Please leave a comment and let us know you visited!

Interview with Winslow Eliot

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why? Probably Tess HeavenFallsCoverDuncan – she was my heroine in Heaven Falls. I just loved how she entered into an entirely new situation with such grace and humor, and I found her as lovable and interesting as the hero did!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why? I’ve been published traditionally (NAL/Signet and St. Martin’s Press) in the past, but since 2010 I’ve been self-published. I MUCH prefer the freedom, adventure, thrill of investing in my creative projects. I love owning 100% of my work, and receiving 100% of my profits. In addition to being able to thoroughly enjoy writing my stories the way I want to, I also love the covers that my designers have created.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream? I always wanted to be a writer. Even before I knew how to write I’d fill up notebooks with arcane scribbles, pretending that I was writing a book. So, yes, writing has been my dream, and I HAVE realized it. Dreams do continue, though, so it’s not over… there’s always more to realize within the dream of writing. We’ll see what unfolds.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? Hmm. It’s hard to say. A story sweeps me away, scenes sweep me away, and I follow my beloved characters through those events. My stories are very twisty-turny, unexpected, so once the first draft is completed I do find I spend many months—sometimes years—making sure that all the twists, turns, and unexpected surprises are 100% explained and tied up by the end.

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects? That’s just one of those things. They pour out—I can’t really keep up with them, because I do like to take my time with my stories.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why? I’d have to say my mother has always been my biggest supporter. She was a fantastic editor of every single one of my first drafts of every book I wrote. She was one of the most enthusiastic fans. She admired my talent, my determination, my courage in pursuing my dream. She died recently and I sometimes don’t know how I’ll write and get my next book to press without her editorial skills and her unstinting encouragement.

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you). I wake up around six a.m. and lean over the edge of my bed, pick up and turn on my laptop, and begin to write. I start with writing down my dreams and some other things, and then always write my “daily happinesses” which I then share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. During this time, my handsome husband has brought me coffee in bed, without interrupting my flow. Once my happinesses are posted, I check mail, but unless it’s really important I don’t respond until later in the morning. I devote the rest of the morning to working on my writing project—whichever book is currently absorbing me. In the afternoon, we’ll walk, or I’ll do yoga, answer emails, or indulge in various other hobbies I have: like meditative sufi dance and tarot. Then in the evening I’ll join my husband for a glass of wine and some light entertainment—currently our favorite is watching old Perry Mason mysteries. I do teach high school students twice a week during the school year, and have other things I do. But basically that’s my ideal “day in the life.”

What is your wildest dream for your writing? To be a beloved household name—and the income to show for it LOL.

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you? So many! I love the classics like Jane Austen; love Graham Greene and Anne Douglas Sedwick. Contemporary novelists…I just read Karen Engelmann’s The Stockholm Octavo which is fabulous. I also recently discovered Robert MacLean, who’s a sort of modern-day P.G.Wodehouse. I love an author (like him) who can make me laugh out loud. Most of all I love my grandmother’s books. Her grown-up novels are all out of print, but they definitely inspired me growing up. Her name is Ethel Cook Eliot.
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What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing? As I mentioned earlier, I love dancing. I used to do a lot of belly dancing, and that has morphed into a sufi dance meditation practice. I also enjoy using the tarot—those cards are like my friends. We sit around telling each other stories! Also, I sing and play guitar, and we have friends who come over and play with us on occasion. My husband is a musician too. Yes, I think singing and dancing definitely enhances my writing! It keeps me light-hearted. I can get much too serious otherwise.

Happiness-cover-ebookSHORT AUTHOR BIO: Winslow Eliot is the award-winning author of the novels Heaven Falls, Bright Face of Danger, A Perfect Gem, and Pursued, as well as the inspirational books: What Would You Do If There Was Nothing You Had To Do and WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year. Every morning she writes and shares her daily happinesses before turning to her work of the day: writing more books and mentoring writers.

LINKS:

Author site: http://winsloweliot.com/

The Happiness Cure on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-Cure-ebook/dp/B00CGMJZWY/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1366637415&sr=8-10&keywords=the+happiness+cure

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/winsloweliot.author?ref=hl

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/winsloweliot

On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winslow_Eliot

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Introducing Author Michael Murphy

Posted on May 6, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

005 What a treat we have in store for us this week.  My guest is Michael Murphy, author of Goodbye Emily.  This is a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes sad and downright funny book about returning to Woodstock and reliving the days of youth.  If you’d like to read my review click here.

Interview with Michael Murphy

By L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?  

I used to write glued to my home office computer, but in the past year I’ve added a wireless keyboard to my tablet and now write in the backyard with my chickens, Michael bonds with the girls 005around the pool or patio. Freedom via technology!

What is your favorite writing tool?

As I mentioned, my tablet is a fabulous tool. In addition to writing, I can pause and check something on the internet and since my current work in process is historical fiction, that comes in handy when checking slang words in the 1930s for example.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why? I’ve been asked this more for my return to Woodstock novel, Goodbye Emily, than any of my previous books. I think it’s because readers often comment that it would make a great movie. Since it focuses on three baby boomers reliving their roadtrip to Woodstock, I envision Tom Hanks as Sparky, Billy Bob Thornton or Sam Elliott as Buck and William H. Macy as Josh.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be an author. I read Gone with the Wind when I was nine. I was a geek even then, still am.

Did you realize that dream?

Just about.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

I’ve always been a seat of the pants author, but I’ve become more formalized as I’ve become more experienced. For example. I write details biographical histories for my main characters so I know how they’ll act or what they might say in a given situation or scene.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

I’m not much for either, but my wife and I have a tandem bike that we dust off now and then. She still looks sweet, upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

Do you dream about your stories?

Absolutely. Ever written about a dream? Dreaming is the most important part of my creative process. I use it as a tool. If I envision a character or scene before falling asleep, I often wake up with a vivid dream. I also tap into my subconscious on a treadmill.

What’s your favorite theme park?

Definitely Disneyland.

Why?

It’s the happiest place on earth!

Are you a reader?  I’m an avid reader.

I write the type of books I love reading, mostly (but not limited to) mystery/suspense with a lot of humor. The master being Nelson DeMille.

Michael says:

My goal in writing Goodbye Emily was to portray sixty-somethings in a realistic manner instead of “get off my lawn” clichés. By realistic, I mean, funny, talented, sexually active and optimistic about the future. From the reviews so far, I think I’ve succeeded.

IMG_0http://www.amazon.com/Goodbye-Emily-ebook/dp/B00A8IYL2C

www.mjmurphy.com

www.goodbyeemily.com

http://blog.mjmurphy.com/

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Introducing Author Thomas M Sullivan

Posted on April 29, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

ThomasSullivanPhotoA few months ago a fellow Facebook author asked for reviews on a site we both belong to.  I had some time so sent him a message and agreed to give the book an unbiased review.  I’m glad I did.  The story was so heartwarming and so funny that I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.  It’s a look into the life of a Driver’s Education teacher and the trials and tribulations he faces while trying to teach an important subject to those who need or want to learn.  If you’d like to read my review of Life In The Slow Lane click here.

Interview with Author Thomas M. Sullivan

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

I seem to write all over the place – at home, in coffee shops, the library. Whenever something comes to me, I start jotting things down. So I always carry a pen and pad. My creative space is pretty wide open and includes anywhere someone isn’t yapping on a cell phone. I can’t concentrate around those one-sided calls.

What is your favorite writing tool?

I’m still a pen and paper guy, at least for initial drafts.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

Definitely Steve Buscemi. He’s got those bad teeth and awkward mannerisms, which make him so loveable. My characters are goofy and flailing through life, which is their charm. Just like Steve Buscemi.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

I never had any clear interest in a particular field. I seemed to fall into things, and for much of the last two decades I was a teacher. I worked for a series of schools that got shut down or blew themselves up. It was all quite funny. But now I’m doing what I really think is right – writing humor essays.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Since I write essays I don’t really plan or outline things. An idea arrives and I just start writing. And I go until it’s “out of me”. It’s kind of like attacking a buffet when you’re starving. Then I sit back and refine things.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

A bicycle. You don’t have to feed a bike and it never throws you. You throw yourself.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Not really. I’m a forgetter of my sleeping dreams.

What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

I was a clown/jock hybrid, leaning more toward clown. I could never be a cheerleader because I’m very inflexible physically. One high kick and I’d be done.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

It’s not really a theme park, but there’s a velvet painting museum in Portland, Oregon that I adore. They’ve got paintings of unicorns with comb-over hair a portrait of Jesus surfing atop a tractor-trailer. Pure magic.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

I like fiction with believable humor that comes from lesser-known authors. I just read Keith Lee Morris’s The Dart League King. Currently I’m reading Salty by Mark Haskell Smith. Great books from authors who should be getting far more attention.

Thomas Sullivan is a humor writer from Seattle. He is a former teacher whose first book (Life In The Slow Lane) recounted his experience teaching driver education.

If you’d like to find out more about author Thomas M Sullivan here are links his websites.

http://www.thomassullivanhumor.com

http://humoroutcasts.com/author/thomassullivan/

Books by Thomas M. Sullivan

lifeLife in the Slow Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

somuchcoverSo Much Time So Little Change

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Introducing Author Lizak Strahm

Posted on April 15, 2013. Filed under: Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

simonChildren’s authors hold a special place in my heart.  I loved reading to my son and daughter as they were growing up and was always on the lookout for good material to share with them.  There are few authors who are able to entertain the adults who read and the children who listen to the books and stories designed for them.  Lizak Strahm is a writer who pleases both in his children’s book Charlie Learns to Fly.  If you’d like to read my review of the book click here.

 The illustrations in this book and his upcoming book, Danny and the Dinosaurs, are not to be missed.  Look throughout this interview for awesome illustrations from the new book Danny and the Dinosaurs, available very soon on Amazon.

Interview of Author Lizak Strahm

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  Whats your creative space like?

I write in a small office surrounded by books, notes, scraps of paper, more notes and packets of cookies.

My computer monitor is facing the window, so when I need a bit of creative inspiration I just gaze out into the sky. That always seems to get the creative juices flowing

If it doesn’t, I just have another cookie!dino1

What is your favorite writing tool?

Hmm… that’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t really use any tools apart from my imagination and my keyboard. I don’t use software for ideas or to organize my writing. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned. Once I have the plot outlined then I just sit down and write.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

I’d choose Jack Nicholson because he can portray villains really well. In my latest children’s book, Danny and the Dinosaurs there is a villainous character called Professor Ceratops who is completely mad and who wants to imprison all the dinosaurs in a zoo. He’s the archetypal villain, and I think Jack Nicholson would be able to pull him off to a tee.

dino2What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

I always wanted to be a writer. I was writing short stories in my spare time ever since I was about eight or nine. Then life kinda got in the way and writing was put on the back burner. I only really returned to it when I had more spare time.

I suppose the real ‘dream’ would be to actually earn enough money from writing to make it a full-time job. But I’m no where near that point yet. But I live in hope!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Like I said, I don’t use software. I just outline the plot of the story on a piece of paper, then write it. I’m a very simple writer. Software often makes things more difficult than it needs to be.

I had a writer friend who always used to plan out everything in some writing application. He made important notes in it, organized his plots in it and then wrote his novel in it. Then, half way through the process the software application crashed and he couldn’t open it again! It took him several weeks of anxiety and despair before he found some tech wizard to rescue all his data for him.dino3

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

A bicycle, for the very simple logistical reason that there is no room in my apartment for a horse. Plus, the lifts don’t often work.

From a purely transportational perspective, I’d choose the bicycle because it keeps you fit and isn’t in the habit of eject foul-smelling substances behind it when you’re out and about.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream

No. My dreams are far too boring to turn into stories.

dino4What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

I suppose a bit of a class clown.

Whats your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If youve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

I live in England and probably the best theme park is in a place called Blackpool, which is a sea-side resort in the North of the country. It has a theme park called The Pleasure Beach and I love it. It has the UK’s tallest and fastest roller coaster called The Big One. I could spend all day on it!

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?dino5

Of course. If I had to pick one genre as my favorite, I’d choose horror. I love the books by Peter James, James Herbert and, of course, Stephen King.But I also like comic science fiction. The Hichhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is my all time favorite. Genius, sheer genius…

Readers, be sure to leave Lizak a comment below.  And be sure to check out his delightful children’s books!

charlieThe Day Charlie Learned to Fly

Coming Soon!  Danny and the Dinosaurs – look for it on Amazon soon!dinocover

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Introducing Author LA Jones

Posted on March 11, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

lajones_1I love Mondays because I get to meet some intriguing authors each week.  This week my guest is LA Jones, author of Tales of Aradia The Last Witch.  You can read my review of the book here.  Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book!

Interview with LA Jones

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

Shopping. I love shopping. Going out and checking the new imaginative styles. Hanging out at the book stores and talking with the clerks. It’s my favorite pastime.

Who are you as a writer?

In all honesty, I am a person who has ASD (autism spectrum disorder) who is trying to become a role model and inspiration to people who also have this disorder.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

My thought is like many new movements it takes to time to flower or flourish. I am actually happy about the indie author movement because it puts more power in to the author’s hands. Too long has the publisher held power in the relationship between writer and publisher. Publisher and their clients (writers) should be partners. This indie author movement is making sure of that.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

No. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with using someone else’s identity and idea to write a book.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Matilda by Roald Dahl because the story of a little girl over coming such impossible odds has always been so inspiring.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not? No. I believe degrees don’t guarantee or signify anything. In the end determination is what gets things done. I have always been a believer of self-education. What you learn on your own time is what you use in your life.  

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I stay very still and try not to irritate whatever the hell it is that made that noise. I also try to hide a weapon under my pillow just in case.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My creativity and my ability to be so open-minded. I welcome criticism and suggestions because they help me to be a better writer. My creativity because it helps me think of new things to write and develop.

What do you treasure most on earth? My family and my friends.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc. I like to make up games and watch TV. Most of all, I loved to read.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I think what has helped me most of all was meeting my editor Harrison R. Bradlow. He has helped my series reach its true potential and opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities.

How important is being successful as a writer to you? Very. I want to be able to live off my writing and help entertain people with my stories. In addition to inspiring others.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

One) my book series to become the next big franchise. Two) to be able to live off my writing. Three) to be able to become the next J.K. Rowling. Meaning an inspiration to my fellow authors and such.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

Meeting some of the authors who helped inspire me to reach my potential. Namely, buying plane tickets to visit RJ Palmer and her husband and taking her family out to Disneyland or something. Traveling to Florida to meet L.A. Sherman another author who has inspired me. Most of all, traveling to Las Vegas and taking my editor and his family to Disney World.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

My family mostly. They have always loved the fact that I am an author and are very proud of me for being able to publish my books. I don’t think I would have gotten this far without their help.

Editor and partner in my series: Harrison R. Bradlow.la_1

http://www.harrisonbradlow.com/index.html

Readers: Thanks for coming and don’t forget to leave a comment in the comments section for a chance to win an autographed copy of the first book in the series.  Winner will be notified on Monday, March 18.

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Introducing Author Tarah Scott

Posted on March 4, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

tarahjpg

What a pleasure to have author Tarah Scott on the blog this week.  You’ll see in her bio below that she and I share a favorite author we both read as youngsters – Zane Grey.  You’ll definitely enjoy her candid answers to my questions.  Be sure to tell her what you think – Tarah is offering a free digital copy of  My Highland Love to one lucky person who leaves a comment.  If you’d like to read my review of My Highland Love click here.

Interview with Author Tarah Scott

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

I love to bake!

Who are you as a writer?

ROFL. I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I have my regular life, a daughter, all of which comes with the day to day work of housecleaning, cooking, errands, helping with homework (who knew I would be going back to high school?) But writing is just a part of me. It’s pretty hard to separate that from any other part of my psyche.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think the Indie Publishing movement is a natural evolution of the industry, and like any other new phase of any industry there are plenty of growing pains. The opportunities are endless. A professional, serious author can shine. There’s plenty of less-than-stellar fiction being published but, again, that’s the same in any industry. I love indie publishing.

Have you ever ghostwritten? Would you?  Why?

I haven’t ghostwritten. I haven’t given the idea much thought, but my first reaction is no, I wouldn’t ghostwrite. I don’t think I would care for the having to take orders from someone in my writing.

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

A Tale of Two Cities! The characterization in this book is as masterful as it gets. A Tale of Two Cities isn’t just a love story, it’s a story of redemption. Dickens is the man.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful? Why or why not?

ROFL. They better not, because I don’t have one. Doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officers must learn medicine, science, and law. These are specifics that can’t diverge. We writers must study our craft, but our mistakes won’t jeopardize a life or set free a criminal.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I always was a fool. I peek through the flap to see what’s happened.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My sense of humor. Because I am a never ending source of amusement for my friends, which makes it easy for them forgive me—a lot!

What do you treasure most on earth?

I’m corny; my daughter.

What did you like to do as a child? Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

You’ll laugh, my favorite thing to do as a child was read. I was a total geek. Favorite games: basketball, pool, and ping pong. I was good at all three. I had some very nice friends. If the teenager years count, my first serious boyfriend at age 16 (if serious can be associated with that age), was a doppelganger for Patrick Swayze. Of course, Patrick wasn’t known then, but years later I actually had to look up the old boyfriend to be sure they weren’t the same. Heh heh. I should be so lucky—though my boyfriend was a pretty good guy.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I think the single most important thing that has happened to me so far as a writer is meeting the people who are my teachers/critique partners, Kimberly Comeau and Evan Trevane. They’ve made me the writer I am. I was beyond lucky to meet them so early in my writing life.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

Of all the things that belong to me and me only, being a successful writer is number one.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

I am granted ownership of a Caribbean island. I can eat chocolate without gaining any weight! My internet connection quits bleeping out on me.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

Oh boy, I would gather my daughter, my brother, and a couple of my very close friends and we would go to the Florida Keyes for the whole summer.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

One huge inspiration was (and still is) Amanda Quick. I adore her work and could only hope to be as good as her someday. Of course, Charles Dickens, who I couldn’t hope to be as good as for at least ten lifetimes.

What else would you like us to know about you Tarah?

My latest release is My Highland Love, the first in the Highland Lords series.

How does a woman tell her betrothed that she murdered her first husband?

Elise Kingston is a wanted woman. Nothing, not even Highlander Marcus MacGregor, will stop her from returning home to ensure that the man responsible for her daughter’s death hangs.

Until she must choose between his life and her revenge.

My next release is My Highland Lord, the second in the Highland Lords series.

London Heiress kidnapped by the Marquess of Ashlund, read the headlines. Yet no one tried to save her.

You can find my books at all the major distributors. I have character wallpapers I offer free to my fans, so stop by my website or email me anytime to see what I have on hand.

Thank you for being my guest this week.  Readers, please don’t forget to leave Tarah a comment below for a chance to win a copy of her ebook My Highland Love.  If you’d like to find out more about Tarah Scott be sure to check out the links below her bio.

Thanks for having me, Linda! It’s been great being here at L. Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews, and it’s been so nice visiting with everyone today.

Tarah Scott Bio

Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.

MyHighlandLovebyTarahScott200x300_96DPI_FINALWhere you can find me and my books

B&N

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/tarah-scott

Kobo

http://ptbr.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=%22Tarah+Scott%22&t=none&f=author&p=1&s=none&g=both

MyHighlandLordFINAL200x300_150DPIAmazon

http://www.amazon.com/Tarah-Scott/e/B004RBDUXM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1360006364&sr=8-2-ent

ARe

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Tarah+Scott

Website:

http://www.tarahscott.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TarahScottsRomanceNovels

Twitter:

@TarahScott

Blog:

http://tarahscott.tarahscott.com/

Email:

tscott@tarahscott.com

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Introducing Author Sarah Buchynski

Posted on February 25, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

sarah_1Please help me welcome a young up and coming author this week who I’m sure we’ll see more of.  Her name is Sarah Buchynski and her book reads like a video game – action, plot and characters that pop.  If you’d like to read my review of her book, The Awakening (Before True Light) click here.  And, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the interview to see Sarah’s free offer!

Interview with Author Sarah Buchynski

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

My favourite pastime, other than writing, would be playing video games.  More specifically RPGs such as games from the Final Fantasy series are really enjoyable to me.  I like them since they convey a story and you can really immerse yourself into the world through the visuals, music, and interactions.  Even though it is entertaining for me, sometimes the emotions that the music creates with the different scenarios gives me a burst of inspiration, which can lead me to go write or compose music.

Who are you as a writer?

My identity as a writer is simple.  I only try to create works that will entertain readers and make them laugh, cry, be angry, get excited, etc…

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think it is great.  However, it is still a small movement in comparison to other indie movements such as music.  Hopefully it will continue to grow, so truly talented authors can be more easily discovered.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have not ghostwritten.  However, if I had the opportunity, I probably would.  If you are ghostwriting for certain people, it can lead to other writing opportunities since you are networking your writing skills.  Although, not getting a credit for the public to see is disheartening, but inside the industry can discover you through word of mouth.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Probably The Horse and his Boy by CS Lewis.  That was the first book that I got so addicted to that I could not put it down.  Before I read that, I was not really into reading and now I read a variety of things like books, manga, articles, etc…

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

Absolutely not! For fiction, I believe that a degree cannot teach a person to be creative to create a captivating story.  In my opinion, a degree would only help to teach a person to have proper grammar skills so they can convey their story in a written format.  The story is the most important element of a book and an editor can help with the technical aspect for the writer if they lack the skill.  The grammar is not what captives an audience, it is the story.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I pinch myself and then I wake up from a terrifying dream.  In reality I am safe in my bed at home.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

I suppose my greatest asset as an independent author would be the business skills/knowledge I’ve been learning in post secondary.  This knowledge helps me to find ways to market and promote myself as well as understand any contracts I need to so there is a lesser chance I get ripped off.

What do you treasure most on earth?

The human brain because it is an amazing thing that it can do so much and create so much.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

To be honest, most of my childhood memories are of me doing homework.  However, I really enjoyed the traveling that I was able to do.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

Probably getting my book published and actually finding out complete strangers are reading my book.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

It is not very important, however, it would be nice.  All I really want is for people to read and enjoy my book.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

An isolated tropical island, a movie deal for my book where I get to work on the post production for it, and a wish for more wishes since at the time I could not come up with a last one.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

I’m not really sure what I would do.  Any day where I do not have to worry about anything school related is a great day.  I would probably end up going to a music store and getting new and high quality instruments, equipment and software for music production and post production so I can go out and record anything from field recordings to a full band.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

Writing is not really my career.  I do it because I enjoy it.  However, I put enough effort into that it could be my career.  I mainly got into writing because someone once told me that I was good at it.  From that I tried writing poetry and had some publishing success with that then moved into the world of writing novels.  People seemed to enjoy reading my work so that’s what makes me keep writing.

So when I’m not writing and promoting my work, I am a full time student of audio engineering (soon to be graduated).  I have already recorded a few indie bands.  In the near future I may be doing the audio for an indie film.  I also want to branch out to doing audio for book trailers plus create original music for them either contemporary, orchestrated or a combination of both.   My ultimate career goal with that is to be a foley artist and eventually get into composing music for film.  Writing is what keeps me sane trying to accomplish these goals.

People have told me that my book, Before True Light: The Awakening is very unique, but in a good way.  The system of abilities comes from the science of ancient alchemy, but also the fantasy side of it.  So it is not 100% magic and not 100% science.  The storyline is more than just a story too.  I want to entertain people, but also make them think about the world around us.  However, I would like to think that I’ve done this in a way that if a person does not understand the metaphors, it will not hinder the storyline in any way for them – it’s more like bonus material if you catch on to it.

Thanks for stopping by – leave a comment for Sarah and let her know you came.  Check below for her generous offer to five lucky readers.

Beforetruelight_1Points of Purchase:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/269067

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/before-true-light/id591634024?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=Before+True+Light

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/before-true-light-sarah-buchynski/1114142585

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BeforeTrueLight

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/FantasyFanatic7

Bio:

Sarah Buchynski is a young author that showed a passion for writing even as a child. In her grade school years, she placed second in an essay writing contest for the Royal Canadian Legion and has two poems published in a student anthology with Creative Communications and several works in school-based anthologies. Now she has expanded her writing ambitions with her first fantasy series, Before True Light.

As a writer, one of Sarah’s main techniques is to paint a vivid picture into the reader’s mind through carefully constructed imagery. In addition to the embedded metaphors which older audiences can enjoy along with the story.

Sarah’s other technique is research. Almost every name of places and characters have been carefully researched so that it is relevant to the storyline. Sarah believes that everything in a story should have a purpose to an extend,so that makes research even more important even for works of fiction.

Giveaway: the first 5 people to like Before True Light on facebook will receive a free copy of the ebook.

 

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Introducing Author Barbara Watkins

Posted on December 17, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Barbs professional pic2I am so happy to have as my featured author this week the incredible Barbara Watkins.  She’s definitely got a lot of thrills and chills in store for her readers.  I’ve read Barbara’s short stories in a book she and Betty Dravis co-authored – Six Pack of Blood, but until I read Hollowing Screams I didn’t realize her capacity to hold a reader in suspense and make them squirm for hours on end.  You can read my review of Hollowing Screams here.

Interview with Barbara Watkins

by L.Leander

Where do you write? What’s your creative space like?

I have a room in my house that my husband and I converted into an office space. On the corner of my desk sits an old antique Royal typewriter,

a gift from my dear mother, and several horror posters adorn the walls including a poster from The Vampire Guardian Angel series, courtesy of horror Director/Producer, Lia Scott Price.

What is your favorite writing tool?

My just about worn out Dell computer and outdated Microsoft word processor! LOL)family pics from phone 801_1

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?  Nicole Kidman would be perfect to play the role of ‘Shannon’ – her performance in the paranormal flick, ‘The Others,’ absolutely blew my mind. Her portrayal of complex characters, along with the fact that she fits the description of ‘Shannon’ makes this actress my first pick.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you realize that dream?

I always thought that I would like to be an actress – that didn’t happen. However, I get to play make-believe and act in various roles every time I create a character – guess you could say that I have realized my dream!

Explain your creative process. Pantser? Outliner?

Um, I guess you could say that I’m more of a fly by the seat-of-my-pants plotter. It’s not like I don’t know where my story is going though – I just tend to let my characters lead me there.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle? Why?

I’d have to say a horse, cause I’m too lazy to pedal a bike! LOL)

family pics from phone 802_1Do you dream about your stories? Ever written about a dream?

When I was quite young and would have nightmares, I often wrote them down in a journal. In fact, I have incorporated several of my nightmares into my writings – makes for some horrifying tales!

What were you like in high school? Class clown? Nerd? Cheerleader type?

Um, I guess you would say I was more of a class clown – definitely not a nerd or cheerleader type. I did have a habit of talking to my classmates too much, as often indicated on my report card. LOL)

What’s your favorite theme park? Why? (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

Universal Studio in Orlando, Florida ROCKS! I love the simulated rides; particularly the ‘Back to the Future’ ride. Do they still have that one? LOL)

Are you a reader? What types of books do you like best? What author(s)?

family pics from phone 800_1I consider myself an avid reader when I’m not writing. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in as to what I like to read.

I’ve been known to enjoy a good sappy love story, a comedy, and even a futuristic sci-fi. Nevertheless, give me a paranormal thriller, a thrilling horror tale and I’m in seventh heaven! Clive Barker, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and John Saul – all rate high on my list.

bwhollowingThank-you Barbara for an interesting and candid interview.  Readers, leave some comments and let Barbara know what you think about her interview and writing.  If you’d like to find out more about Barbara Watkins here are some links:

Barbara Watkins Website

Barbara Watkins Fan Page

Barbara Watkins on Twitter

Books by Barbara Watkins:

Hollowing Screams (Kindle Version)

Hollowing Screams (Paperback)

Mortal Abomination

Awaken Spirit (A Digital Short)

Six-Pack of Blood (with Betty Dravis)

Soon to be released:  Six-Pack of Fear (with Betty Dravis)

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR LAURA SEEBER

Posted on December 10, 2012. Filed under: L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

lauraThis week my author guest is Laura Seeber.  I have just finished reading her novel The Spring And Autumn Murders. You can read my review here. This was an interesting book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Seeber has done a great job of making the story personal and relevant to today’s readers.

I love getting to know authors and Laura is definitely not an exception.  How I yearn to be like her!  Read question #5 below and in Laura’s answer you’ll see why.  I am a total pantser, but Laura’s explanation of how she writes puts me to shame.  I just have to get used to outlining.

Enjoy our conversation and don’t forget to comment and show Laura Seeber some author love.

Interview with Author Laura Seeber

by: L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

I work primarily in my living room in a great big pink chair with my laptop perched either on my knees or on a nearby coffee table.  The area around me changes depending on how much other work I have going on- but it usually consists of a notebook, a sketchbook and a few wads of crumpled up paper tossed around the table and floor.  I am definitely not an organized person.

pENPAP_1What is your favorite writing tool?

My favorite writing tool is probably my notebook and pen.  I know, sounds weird when I spend so much time on the computer, but being able to draw out plot lines, etc. with pen and paper feels much more real to me.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

I would probably cast Jackie Chan as Lord Nianzu if I had the chance.  I’m a genuine fan of him, and his acting ability which goes way beyond what is shown in a lot of the kung fu action movies that you see him in.  It would be great to see him in a role that would highlight his acting ability without type-casting him as a kung fu master.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?scientist_1

Depends on when you would have asked me.  At one point I wanted to be a pilot, a tap dancer, a scientist, and a horse trainer.  To be honest, being a writer was never one of my dreams that I remember.  However, right now I also work as a geologist, so I guess I partially realized my dream of becoming a scientist.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

Oh I’m almost obsessive in my outlining.  I’ll start with a subject matter or area I want to write about.  Then I’ll spend the next few months researching the setting, the people, the eras, and the subject matter until I feel that I can truly internalize what I have researched.  Then for the next few months I’ll “write” the story in my head, reworking things, changing point of view, altering characters until I get to the point where I don’t think it can be changed anymore.  Then I break out the lap top and write it down.  After that I’ll revise it a few more times until feel it’s good enough to submit.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

bike_1Unfortunately I would probably choose the bicycle.  Although I love riding horses, they can be quite expensive to fix and or replace when something goes wrong.  It’s much easier to fix a flat tire than it is to fix a broken leg.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Actually, dreaming of my stories is one of my steps in writing.  If I continuously dream of a story for a few nights I know that it’s near completion and it’s time to break out the computer.

What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

Actually in high school I was the quiet kid who sat in the back and didn’t say much.  The only time I came out of my shell was when I was around my friends- then I became a smiling goofball who wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time.HIGH_1

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

Well, I guess my favorite theme park would be Kenny wood Park in Pennsylvania.  It’s the closest park to where I grew up, and it has a great nostalgia feel to it.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

I’m a fairly avid reader, but I wouldn’t say that I read incessantly.  I prefer either mystery, non-fiction or the occasional romance if the heroine actually has half a brain on top of her shoulders.  Honestly if the story is well written, I’ll read just about anything.  As far as authors- Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Madeline L’Engle are a few that come to mind.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to join me today.  It’s been great chatting with you.  Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and do check out my review of The Spring And Autumn Murders – I’m sure you’d love to read it!

You can learn more about Laura Seeber by visiting these links:

Where to purchase The Spring and Autumn Murders:


Spring and Autumn murders coverWriters Thread

Emerald Musings

Biography:

Laura Seeber has worked as a geologist, an environmental consultant, and a freelance writer.  She currently divides her time between her own environmental consulting business, handling various ghostwriting and freelance writing projects, and her own fiction writing.  Her interests include history, outdoor activities, martial arts, mysteries, and non-fiction material.  The Spring and Autumn Murders is her first novel.   She currently lives in Illinois with her husband, Michael.

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Introducing Author Brian Beam

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This week it’s my pleasure to introduce an exciting author, Brian Beam.  Brian and I met on a Facebook group.  I offered to read and review his manuscript.  Am I ever glad I did!

From the very first paragraph of The Dragon Gem I was hooked.  Mr. Beam has a style that keeps readers on their toes, craning their necks to get a peek at what’s coming up next.  The fantasy world he creates is well-developed and the characters are delightful.  You can read my review of The Dragon Gem here.

One of the things that interested me about Brian Beam was his comment about being a dad.  He takes his role very seriously and is proud of his son.  That is something that endears him to readers, I think.  His compassion and fun-loving spirit shine through the pages of his writing.

I sincerely believe that Mr. Beam is an author who will make a name for himself.  His first book was great and I’ve been privileged to read the manuscript of the second.  (I promised not to relay any secrets – sorry!)  Brian has a definite way with words and plot.  His characters jump from the pages right into your heart and you find yourself falling in love with them.  I was sad to see the first book end.  Oh, and I forgot – for you adventure lovers – Brian writes lots of action and adventure in his series.  You won’t be disappointed!

Here is my interview with Brian – his personality shines through!

Interview with Brian Beam

by L.Leander

L.Leander:  What makes you stand out as a writer?

Brian Beam:  I write for the sheer pleasure of writing and telling a story, not to sell the most books I can.  When I have a story in mind, I don’t really think much about how universally appealing it will be.  I hope that readers will love it, and I hope that it will sell, but I don’t sacrifice vision solely for increased readership.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to shovel out poor work just because I think it’s good, but it does mean that there will be no vampires or erotica in my books any time soon.  I think that dedication to my vision comes out in my work.

L.Leander:  What is your favorite type of reading material?

Brian Beam:  I’m a big fantasy nerd, so just about anything fantasy.  I tend to read more epic fantasy, though.

L.Leander:  If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Brian Beam:  Even though I just started reading his work about three or four years ago, Brandon Sanderson.  He is not the author who made me want to strive to write fantasy; he’s the one who made we want to strive to write good fantasy.  His books have taught me so much about effective world-building and thinking outside of the box when crafting stories.  I would say that if not for his work, I probably never would have completely finished my first novel.

L.Leander:  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Brian Beam:  They just pop in my head.  I know that sounds simple, but there’s not much more to it.  I am a jogger, and sometimes I get some great(to me at least) ideas then, but there’s no particular process.

L.Leander:  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Brian Beam:  Mostly a pantser.  I say mostly because I do come up with the generalities of the story in my head.  I know where the characters will start and finish.  I know most of the big events that occur in between.  I know my characters’ personalities.  I never put all this to paper except for the occasional note or two.  Once I start writing, I let the story lead me from the beginning to the end.  Sometimes I find myself on the general path that was plotted in my mind.  Other times, I go off-roading and have a great time doing so.

L.Leander:  Finish this sentence:  One thing very few people know about me is…

Brian Beam:  That I love to write and record music.  I haven’t done so in quite a while, but I love it!

L.Leander:  If I had a choice, every day would include..

Brian Beam:  Four hours of dedicated writing time followed by 12 straight hours of playing with my wife and son.  And chocolate.  And cake.

L.Leander:  If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have Internet and a computer or a supply of paper and pens which would you choose?

Brian Beam:  Depends…do I get electricity?  If so, internet hands down.  There’s plenty of programs where I could write.  Besides, I type much faster than I write and I have horrible handwriting/drawing skills.  Plus, it’d be much easier to send letters through email than in a bottle J.

L.Leander:  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Brian Beam:  They tell me to write their stories.  I tell them to sit down, shut up, and wait their turn.  I’m starting to wonder if this is an interview or a psychological screening questionnaire…

L.Leander:  What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

Brian Beam:  Having someone say they enjoyed my book is my favorite.  When I first published The Dragon Gem, I told my wife that if just one person who was a complete stranger said they liked my book, it would all be worth it.  Just reaching even one person truly validates what an author does.  My least favorite is having so many ideas in my head and not having the time to dedicate to them.

L.Leander:  Where did you grow up?

Brian Beam:  I was born and raised in Bardstown, Kentucky (bourbon capital of the world as well as Rand McNally’s Most Beautiful Small Town in America 2012).  It was one of those quaint towns that you hate growing up in as a kid and miss the minute you move away.  My father still lives there, so I get to visit my hometown still.  It’s just one of those friendly, historic towns.

L.Leander:  Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit)

Brian Beam:  All I want is a beach and no responsibilities.  I’m not too hard to please J

L.Leander:  If you could be either, which would you choose – a dog or a cat?  Why?

Brian Beam:  Definitely a cat.  Cats are (usually) very independent.  Plus, as a cat, I could look at everyone like they’re idiots or have an incredibly eclectic personality and people would be okay with it because I was a cat.

L.Leander:  You are the co-host of CBS This Morning – who would you like to snag an interview with?

Brian Beam:  Brandon Sanderson.  He has some amazing thoughts on what it takes to be a good writer and write a good book.  He teaches a creative writing class at BYU and one of his students taped a series of his lectures.  I watched several of them and took so much away from them.  I’d love the chance to pick his brain a bit.  Maybe some of his creativity would rub off on me too.

L.Leander:  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Brian Beam:  Korin is sarcastic, good-natured, slightly flawed, and willing to put his life on the line for those he cares about.  He’s not the perfect hero.  He’s brave, but only to an extent.  He’s smart, but not a genius.  He’s a capable fighter, but still gets his butt handed to him.  He is generous, yet not selfless.  Basically, he’s real.  Too often in books we get these cookie-cutter good guys and villains.  I wanted to try to steer from that a bit.

Korin’s best friend is a magic talking wizard cat named Max, who is partially to blame for his sarcastic wit.  Max is there to keep Korin grounded…and alive.

The Korin’s Journal trilogy will follow him on a journey that starts as a quest to find his parents that turns out to be much much more.

L.Leander:  Thank you Brian for allowing me to interview you.  Readers, you’ll definitely want to read Brian’s fantasy novel, The Dragon Gem.  It’s available on Amazon.  Click on the book cover below to purchase.  You’ll be glad you did!

Brian Beam Facebook Author Page

Brian Beam Website

Brian Beam on Twitter

Brian Beam Amazon Author Page

Be sure to grab a copy of The Dragon Gem – you’ll be glad you did!  Click on the book cover to take you to the Amazon sale page.  Be sure to give Brian some love in the comments section – he’d love to hear from you!

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