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.
belly dancing 2
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 Rebecca Jane Lynch

Posted on May 20, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, Fiction, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

This week I’m delighted to introduce an up and coming author who has written the young adult fantasy series Satu Country.  You’ll see by her answers to the questions below that she is dedicated to her work.  You can read my review of Coming Tides here.

Interview of Author Rebecca Jane Lynch

By L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why?

Kano Shadow is my favorite so far. He’s cool, strong, dark, and a real mystery. He’s the type of person I love to follow in a story, but I’d probably be afraid of him if he were real.

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?

I am actually both. I have been published in the anthology Swimming Blind by Athanatos Ministries, which was traditionally published by the Athanatos Publishing Group. I’ve also published two books through Publish America. More recently though, I’ve settled on self-publishing through Lulu.com, and I really enjoy it. I enjoy that I have full control over the formatting and cover design of my book. Best of all, Lulu is free–which is great for a new author.

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

Well, when I was little I always wanted to be three things simultaneously: an author, movie director, and an actress. So far I’m only one of those.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

I am definitely an outliner. I have dozens of documents on my computer storing plot ideas and extremely detailed character information. I always have a general idea of what I want to happen in a story before I begin writing. Usually as I go along though, random ideas come to me and I add them to the story. That’s especially true with a lot of the humor in my books–that is rarely planned.

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects?

Sometimes ideas just come to me when I least expect it; other times I get ideas from dreams or real-life experiences. When it comes to Satu Country, the idea just came to me one day and I started writing. With other books, such as my children’s mystery story Hamster Heroes, I based the characters on real-life people and animals, but the stories themselves are entirely imaginary.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why?

My biggest supporter is probably my friend Michelle. She’s one of my beta readers and has been encouraging me to write before I ever published my first book.

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you)

Since I only write as a hobby and my real “job” is being a full-time college student, I just grab a few moments here and there to write when I can. Usually I get my best writing done late at night after everyone else is in bed. When I’m not in classes however, I like to sit down, turn on some Skillet or Relient K music, and write.

What is your wildest dream for your writing?

To have my Satu Country books made into movies, or an anime-styled cartoon series. If I had the skills and people necessary, I’d love to make it an animated series and direct it myself.

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you?

Even though I read manga the most, I really enjoy reading fantasy books and some Christian fiction. My favorite authors are Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I’ve really been inspired by Ted Dekker’s writing style/tone.

What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing?

Writing really is my favorite hobby. Besides reading and sketching, it’s my favorite thing to do. As for the second half of that question, I think it does. Practice makes perfect (or, at least, makes things better). The more I write, the more I understand myself, my writing style, and my direction for future projects.

There will be seven books total in the Satu Country series, and the first two have already been published.  This year I’m working on book three, In the Heights.  Each year I plan to self-publish one of the Satu books, which shouldn’t be too difficult since I have already written them on paper and just need to transcribe them to digital copies and edit them.

Satu Country has really been my life’s dream.  I started working on handwriting them when I was in high school.  I’d like to encourage people to read the Satu books, especially if they like young adult fiction.  The first book, Coming Tides, was the roughest one I wrote, plot-wise, because it is mostly just introducing all of the characters to the readers while trying to add enough plot to keep the story going.  The second book, Saving the Valley, is smoother.  I think the books will get better the further along the series goes.

I’m also working on my first adult fiction novel, which will be titled Thethe perceptionalist front vs 4 Perceptionalist.  It probably won’t be published until 2014 because it’s taken a backseat to the Satu books.  More information about my other books can be found on my website.

~Rebecca Jane Lynch

stcLinks where my book can be purchased: My Author Spotlight, and Amazon.

Other links: My website and the Satu Country website

Author bio: Rebecca Jane has been writing books since she was eleven years old. She first became published after winning a Christian writing contest in 2010 and had her short story “The Dissenters” published in an anthology. Since then, she has published seven books and is best known for her young adult fantasy series Satu Country

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Introducing Author Shelley Workinger

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Fiction, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

shelleyHi everyone.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy my latest interview.  Shelley Workinger, author of the SOLID series is my guest and her answers to my questions are thought-provoking and interesting.  Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Interview with Shelley Workinger

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why?

I obviously care for all of them, because each has his or her own thing to offer like every person on the planet. I purposely built a large and diverse cast for the SOLID series so that every reader would be able to find her/himself and thus invest more fully in the story. But I have to admit that Garrett is my favorite. He’s the friend that Clio needs (that everyone needs) for some comic relief. And I love that so many of the readers I meet feel the same way about him!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?

In what has become a very DIY world, self-publishing now looks to be the way of the future. It’s a natural evolution of the American philosophy, at least – make things happen for yourself; build your own dream. That very much appeals to me because I’ve never had the patience to wait for everyone else to catch up with my bullet-train of ideas! Seriously, I wrote my series for today’s kids and I wanted to get the books into their hands today, so I made it happen and I think sharing that process with readers also serves the second purpose of showing them how they can bring their own ideas to fruition.

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

I wanted to be a judge right up until I learned that you have to practice as a lawyer first. I always knew I’d be great at hearing both sides of a case and bringing everyone to a fair and just conclusion, but I had no interest whatsoever in the arguing aspect of the process. I guess in a way I am realizing part of that dream in that I see every side to every character and figure out how to get them all to the finale in one piece!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Essentially, I let the characters write the story. I “launch” a scene in my head, then take notes as they run with it. It’s like planning a dream (which I also do); I imagine a setting, then close my eyes to watch as it develops on its own. The characters of “Solid” just exist so clearly in my imagination that for me to “direct” them would almost be unnatural. They may be fictional, but they are strong, distinct personalities who can really only react one way to the situations I’ve created for them in order to stay consistent and believable. So I may know where the story’s going and how to roll out the plot, but I have to let them talk amongst themselves to pick up their dialogue along the way. Then, of course, I have to back and add all the “filler” (descriptions, etc.); that’s one thing they don’t do for me. 😉

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects?

Ideas come to me at all hours in all places! That’s why I always have pens and paper somewhere on my person, and I also keep a digital recorder in the car, as well as in my pocket when I run. I find that a perfect phrase can be fleeting, and if I don’t capture it when it first appears, it may not return. This goes double for dream-spirations, which is why I stack notebooks and pens beside my bed, too!

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why?

I have a group of girls – my “circle of trust” – who are my go-to readers when I come out with anything new. They’re all quite invested in the story and the characters, so they don’t hesitate to tell me when anything sounds or feels disconnected. I adore these women, who are so willing to help and ask nothing in return…well, one did make me promise that I’ll take her with me when I go on the Ellen DeGeneres show. 😉

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you).

Currently, my days aren’t that structured, mainly because I’m completely focused on a project involving middle and high school libraries that needs to be completed before summer break. This means I’m essentially standing* at my computer for 6 hours a day, as well another 3 to 4 hours each night, researching, typing, and Skyping.
*Yes, I said standing – since I have to be logged in for such extensive hours and I
despise sitting down, I decided to wall-mount my whole system.

What is your wildest dream for your writing?

I would most love for SOLID to be made into a television series, because I get to see and hear the characters so clearly in my mind and it’d be wonderful if readers could fully experience that as well!

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you?

I’m a very random reader and often walk out of the library with more books than I can carry. 😉 I’ve been known to pick up a book because of its color (“The Toss of a Lemon” – Padma Viswanathan), a subject matter I know nothing about (“So, You Want To Join the Peace Corps: What To Know Before You Go”), or because the author’s name started with my two favorite letters: Q and X (Qui Xiaolong). I just like books! But I do have an all-time favorite book, which is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. (Putting together a top 10 list is virtually impossible since I love so many works for different reasons, but I never waver on that #1 pick!) If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t, bookmark this page to read later and go get your hands on a copy! “The Book Thief” is technically YA for some publishing-related reason that I’ve forgotten, but it really should be classified as AA for All Ages. Or, better yet, RR for Required Reading. Are you starting to get a sense of how much I adore this book?

What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing?

Oh, how I wish I had time to indulge in a hobby! When I need a mental break from writing and plotting, I tend to pick up a book or the TV remote. I also make monthly dates with my non-writing girlfriends to go out for dinner or drinks and not think about work for a few hours. I see how we’re all so “plugged in” technology-wise that we’re a bit in danger of staying connected in a real way.

Cover Trio Updated

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Linda, and for asking such thoughtful questions!

And thank you, readers – I am so grateful for your consideration of my work! I know we all have wish lists and TBR piles in the triple digits, so every set of hands that picks up my book is such a gift. J

Author Bio:

Shelley Workinger grew up in Maine, graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, currently resides in New Jersey, and considers all of them home.
 
When she’s not working on the SOLID series, she’s chatting about FoodFic on her blog: But What Are They Eating? Stop by and let her know what you’re reading and what they’re eating!
 
 
Connect with the author here:
 
 
And find the SOLID series here:
http://amzn.com/e/B003VRNPCE

 

 

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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.

006 (2)

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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INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) by L.Leander

Posted on April 22, 2013. Filed under: Book Reviews, Fiction, New Book Premiere | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s here!  After almost a year of editing, the second book of the INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders series continues where the first book left off.  Here is a brief description and links to both books.  I hope you enjoy them!

coverWe meet Bertha Maude Anderson, a girl of sixteen from the hills of Appalachia in INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book One).  Bertha is misunderstood by her parents and yearns to escape her mountain home and see the world.  She craves excitement, and when a Gypsy circus comes to the village of Brower’s Gap she seizes the opportunity and runs away from home.  Life is not exactly as she imagines, but she definitely lives a colorful life among the Gypsies who make up the performers and roustabouts of the small circus that tours the eastern part of the United States.  The year is 1843.  Bertha hates her name and is delighted when the circus owners give her the glamorous stage name of Inzared.  Introduced to Cecil the elephant, and his handler Paytre, Inzared falls in love with both of them and her life changes dramatically.  Although she endures many hardships she is steadfast and becomes the main attraction for the small circus.  She learns the Gypsy culture and superstitions and helps solve a mystery.  But how will she deal with the guilt that plagues her?  Will the Gypsies accept her?  And what of the old fortune-teller Vadoma’s warnings?  Part mystery, part romance and full of quirky characters the book is sure to delight readers of every age!

Inzared_1563x2500_MediumSizeIt is now 1849 and life in the circus continues.  INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) picks up the story where Book One left off.  Inzared feels the strong pull of home and knows she must face her demons.  A series of nightmares cause her to rethink her life.  When she left Brower’s Gap, North Carolina she didn’t say goodbye and now fears her family will no longer want her to be part of their lives.  But things are different now and she feels she must try to make amends.  After she writes a poignant letter home she makes the decision to return.  She goes back to find things not much different from what she remembered.  She learns the skills of healing from her Ma and with the fortune-telling she has studied from the Gypsies she journeys back to Home Run and the circus she loves.  But what will she encounter along the way?  Will she be strong enough to handle the problems that arise?  What of the man from her past  – will he be part of her future?  Filled with new adventures, paranormal romance and danger, INZARED,The Fortune Teller will make you laugh, make you cry, and you won’t want to put it down until it’s finished!

Stay Tuned for the third book in the Inzared series to be published in 2014.  The Civil War has broken out and Inzared and her son must make some heartbreaking sacrifices.  Will they survive this terrible time in American History?  What of the circus and Inzared’s beloved elephant Cecil?  Will Inzared support the North or the South?  These questions and more will be asked and answered in this adventurous tale of love, loss and human fortitude.

Bio:

L.Leander is an e-book author, freelancer and songwriter.  She writes for Yahoo! Content and does guest posts on author blogs and groups.  As a child Ms. Leander dreamed of running away to join the circus.  Instead, she grew up to write about it, bringing the magic alive for all who read her work.

Ms. Leander currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico.  INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is the first book in a series about a Gypsy wagon circus in pre-Civil War America.

Books by L.Leander:

 

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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 Roy Murry

Posted on April 8, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Roy MurryI’ve been waiting to do this interview for a while now and I’m very excited to present to you an author who has written perhaps one of the most interesting tales I’ve ever read.  The Audubon Caper is a work of fiction based on actual events and the story starts at rapid speed and escalates from there.  If you’d like to read my review of the book click here.  No matter what type of material you read you’ll definitely be amazed at the idea that this is a true story and  happened in the USA.  Without going into too much detail I’ll just tell you this is definitely one of my favorite books and if you haven’t already indulged you should run right out and buy a copy.  You definitely will not be disappointed.

Interview of Author Roy Murry

by L.Leander

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

A quiet room anywhere I can plug in my Laptop.  I need a place with no distractions.

What is your favorite writing tool?

#1 Tool: My Brain. A good night’s sleep with no appointments in the morning is very important to me before I write.  I place an outline in my mind the night before I write and fill in the blanks when I start writing around 4:00 a.m. in the morning.  Other than my mind, I have three books near by The World Almanac, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and their Thesaurus.

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

I have never thought of my book as movie material.  Any young actor in their late twenties would do fine.  I think any good actor could pull off the main character’s traits.

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

Well, I didn’t dream of being a writer.  I got drafted into the US Army, before I could decide what I wanted to be.  As a Green Beret in Vietnam, I felt like I reached a goal R. Murry circa 1970very few could achieve and live to tell about it.

When I returned home from the war, I reached another goal, not a dream, of graduating from college where my America Literature professor told me I could write after grading my assigned assessments of great and not so great American Writers.  At that point, I thought, not dreamt, I will be a writer someday.

Explain your creative process.

I outline with sentences what I will write.  After that, I put my mind to work at each step.  Sleep on it and write.  I do this with the reviews I write for my blog.

One or two sentences, while reading a book, and then put my brain to work. Then I write.  Might sound too easy, but it works for me.  If I’m not happy with the first draft, I repeat process again, again, and again if need be.

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

Neither.     I’m a walker.  Therefore, I’d rather walk, thank you.

Do you dream about your stories?

I don’t call it dreaming.  As I said, I put my brain to work.  That’s why I have one.

What were you like in high school?

I was an introvert until I got to know you.  Then I became an extrovert.  With friends and family, I was fun to be with.  But if they screwed with my reading time, they knew they were in trouble.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?

Disney World and Epcot Center, Orlando, Florida.  The main reason was to see the happy faces on my children.  That was years ago.  In a few years, I’ll take my grandchildren.  For me, I liked adventure land and the restaurants at Epcot.   Traveling is a theme park for me.  I do all the itineraries, etc.

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

Read?!  That’s all I do.  Read, write, and play golf is my life.

Past: Ralph Waldo Emerson; Henry David Thoreau, et al

Near past: Edgar Allen Poe; Arthur Conan Doyle, et al

Present: Dan Brown; James Patterson, et al

For my blog: #children to #erotica, and all in between

I like mysteries.   Who-done-it’s I love to solve before the end of the book.  Since

starting my blog  http://www.conniesbrother.blogspot.com,

my reading has been eclectic.

Links:

My book – The Audubon Capertac

Amazon: http://amzn.to/MGxfR7

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/PWnA8n

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roy.murry.7 

Twitter: @roylmurry425

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Introducing Author David D’Aguanno

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

SAMSUNGIf you love a comedic, witty mystery you’ll love this week’s author, David D’Aguanno.  You may know him best for his Brett character in Don’t Mess With Brett but do you know he has also penned a book that is very different and serious titled Why She Left Us?  I think you’ll enjoy learning about this writer and you’ll be glad you took the time to follow his interview. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free digital copy of Don’t Mess With Brett.  If you’d like to see my review of Brett Aerobicizes, the second book in the series, click here.

Interview with Author David D’Aguanno

by L.Leander

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

When I’m not writing (or reading), I’m usually listening to classical music. I have a huge CD collection, and because there are only so many hours in the day, there are many CDs I’ve heard only once and don’t even remember what they sound like!

Who are you as a writer?

As a writer – and particularly as a writer of the Brett Cornell series of comedy-mysteries – I view my role to be that of a person whose aim is merely to entertain. In other words, I sincerely doubt that anyone would want to read a “Brett book” in order to gain any kind of spiritual enlightenment. Escapism, a few laughs – That’s about it!

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think it’s wonderful, since it gives so many tremendously talented writers an opportunity to have their works read, instead of having to spend so much valuable time, simply trying to find an agent and/or a publisher in such a competitive area.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

No, I haven’t, and I probably wouldn’t. As it is, I have so many various ideas floating around in my head that I need to get “on paper” that I probably wouldn’t have the time for it.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Well, I probably have several favorites,  but one that stands out in my mind is “Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite” by Anthony Trollope. I recall how, when reading it, I said to myself,” I know where this story is heading,” only to find myself completely surprised by a tragic ending that left me emotionally devastated. Often, in a single phrase or a single sentence, Trollope was able to pull me into the minds and emotional states of his main characters. Amazing!

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

Having taught English in a public school for nearly 30 years, I find myself being somewhat finicky about spelling, punctuation, and the like. However, with a good editor and proper guidance, anyone should be able to produce a worthwhile piece of writing, even without having earned a degree.

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

Seeing as the mere suspicion that a spider or a snake may be nearby usually gets me nerved up, my imagination would go into over-drive at the sound of a loud roar, and I’d probably freak out completely!

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My greatest asset as a person? Well, I’ve been told that I’m extremely compassionate, or “an old softie” (if you will). As a writer, I think that I have a knack for coming up with a story that moves along fairly quickly, for the most part.

What do you treasure most on earth?

It may sound like a stock answer, but I’d have to say: “My friends and family.”

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

Being non-athletic as a child, I enjoyed mostly board games and word games, and my love of classical music, even at any early age, meant that listening to records or music on the radio took up a lot of my time. Oh, and writing little stories, too, of course.

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

Finding out that there are so many ways of reaching potential readers with my writing has been an eye-opening experience for me.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

Being successful as a writer is probably as important to me now as being successful as a teacher was, back in the days when I was doing that, assuming that “being successful” means being able to affect other people’s moods, attitudes, and lives in a positive way.

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

O.K., if I were to say that I’d wish I could feed all the hungry people in the world – or anything else along that line – I’d be lying. So, at the risk of sounding self-centered, I’d wish (1) that my Brett books could be turned into a TV series, preferably on HBO, Showtime, or Starz (I’m not too fussy, am I?),  (2) that my other novel “Why She Left Us” could be turned into a major motion picture, and (3) that I could live long enough to hear Brett’s quirky sayings become part of people’s everyday vocabulary. (You would have had to have read one of my Brett books in order to fully appreciate what I mean by that last “wish” of mine.)

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

Wow! I’m afraid I can’t really answer that, only because I’d want to be able to spend the day with people I miss the most, and sadly enough, it would be physically impossible to do that (you can guess the reason why).

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

A lot of my writing was originally done several years back, and it wasn’t until my cousin Darlene urged me to do something with the novels I had written that I actually decided to take on this so-called second career of mine. Without her show of confidence in my writing ability, I probably would be doing something else right now. Sad but true, now that I think about it.

Here’s a little more about books currently available from David D’Aguanno in his own words.

A little bit about my books:

Brett Cornell is meant to be taken more as a cartoonish type of character rather than a real person. In fact, if such a person really did exist, most people wouldn’t have anything to do with him, and any self-respecting woman would surely stay clear of him, despite his good looks. The novels themselves are over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek, so that anyone expecting a serious and intricately plotted murder mystery (as in Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, for example) would be very disappointed. Provided you don’t take the character of Brett Cornell too seriously, though, you should probably find the novels engaging and amusing and totally unique.

My novel “Why She Left Us” is radically different, written in a somewhat experimental style, and involving characters who are meant to be viewed as real human beings who have sincere and deep emotions and several of whom suffer greatly through acts of betrayal, loss, and revenge. If I can move readers emotionally in this novel, then I will have succeeded in doing what I meant to do in writing this novel.

Here are some links to check out this author and his books.  Be sure to leave a comment below to enter the drawing for a free digital copy of Don’t Mess With Brett by David D’Aguanno.

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Introducing Author JT Sather

Posted on March 27, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

7685942This week it’s my pleasure to share a writer with you who is very unique.  While many of us whine and moan when the bottom drops out of our lives, this author used a very different tactic.  I think JT Sather has had just about everything happen that can go wrong but he chose to face adversity with humor and optimism.  We’ve had a couple of good chats about my home state of Michigan and its beautiful upper peninsula, as well!  So, without further ado, let me introduce JT Sather and his book How to Survive When the Bottom Drops Out.  You can read my review of the book here.

Interview with JT Sather

by L.Leander

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

I love to build sandcastles, or at least my version of sandcastles.  Time on the beach is very relaxing for me.  I like to find a secluded spot so I can work undisturbed.  It takes anywhere from two to four hours to make a masterpiece, and it’s tough when there’s a bunch of kiddies running about.

Who are you as a writer?

I’m the same man that I am in regular life.  What I write about is non-fiction.  I don’t have to immerse myself into a fantasy world, my reality is crazy enough!

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think much of it’s terribly disorganized.  I’m happy to be a part of it, but I wish someone would have held my hand when I started.  When I first published, the book was terribly riddled with spelling mistakes.  When I finally realized this (two months later) I felt awful.  If people are going to pay their hard-earned money for a product, I want it to be quality.  Thankfully I have a publisher now, and it’s been edited by a professional.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have been approached to ghost write a memoir for a friend of mine.  I’m happy to do it, but it’s very slow go.  He’s 2000 miles away from me, and he’s a very busy guy.  It’s difficult to pin him down to answer the many questions I have for him.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

I’ve only read a handful in my life.  One that stuck in my head was Fear and Loathing. I really enjoyed Hunter’s story telling skills.

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

A degree? Absolutely not.  What they need to possess is story telling skills.  Everyone has an imagination, but it takes a skill to transfer it to paper.

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

I would scream like a ten year old girl, they hate that!

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

I’d have to say my experience.  I’ve been through more than most,  and the lessons that I’ve learned have served me well.

What do you treasure most on earth?

My freedom.  I lost it for a while, and I missed it terribly.  I have no plans to let it out of my sight again.

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

I was one of those tree climbers.  Not your ordinary tree climber, I was that kid who would climb to the top of a fifty foot pine tree and cling to the very top, swaying in the breeze, and survey the landscape.  That was my first taste of real freedom, and set me on the path of daredevil mayhem.

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

Getting a contract from Inknbeans Press to publish my work.  I’m out of my realm in the writing business, and it’s nice to have someone at my side, finally.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

It’s become the single most important thing to my future.  As an unemployed construction worker, I have no desire to go back to it.  My body getting tired, as well as damaged.  I hope to continue this for the rest of my days.

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

Peace, love, and happiness.  Anything else that I could ask for would only bring me to these conclusions anyway.

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

I want to take my mother out for a boat ride on Lake Mead.  I’ve done it a thousand times, and never had the chance to take her out there.  She lives in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and doesn’t get out much.  I’ve had some really great times on that lake.  We’d start the day off at nine in the morning, and depart from the southern part of Boulder Basin.  Lake Mead Marina is filled with beautiful boats of all kinds.  Speedboats, sailboats and yachts are lined up like toys in a pond.  Then it’s off to Sandy cove, where I can light the bbq and have a dandy lunch.  A relaxing day spent cruising on the water is just what my mother needs.  At seventy-four years old, she never seems to have enough time to just enjoy herself.  When the day is done, I’ll tie the boat up in the slip and we can have a cocktail in the Captain’s lounge.  That would be a great day.

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

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.  It’s the highlight of my night, whoever I’m hanging out with.  I’ve had a lot of friends over the years tell me “You need to write a book!”  Well, I finally did.  If the economy hadn’t crashed when it did, I probably would never had done it.  I never had the time before.  When things were good, I worked 80 hrs a day, and then some.  Time was a commodity that I never had.  Now, I have far too much!  Oh well, better finish the next one, before time runs out.

Thank you, JT for being my guest this week.  Readers, be sure to leave a comment to show JT you have enjoyed his featured spot.  And, if you’d like to find out more about author J.T. Sather check out the links below.  The Book Junkies page includes many pictures, including those of his sand sculptures.

http://www.bookjunkiesjournal.com/jt-sather.html

howtosurvivehttp://www.amazon.com/Survive-When-Bottom-Drops-Volume/dp/1479152250/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364329421&sr=8-1&keywords=jt+sather

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286380

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