Wednesday, July 29, 2015

P.I. Alltraine: The IAN Interview

P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

P.I. Alltraine: Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe and learn.

However, things don't exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can't quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

P.I. Alltraine: The kindle edition is to be released on August 5, 2015, and the print edition will follow in a few months.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

P.I. Alltraine: My novel, ‘Heartbound,’ is available on Amazon. My Spoken Word poems are available on my youtube channel:

IAN. What inspired you to write Heartbound?

P.I. Alltraine: The story came to me and demanded to be written. I know, I know. It’s the most clichéd answer ever, but writers keep saying it for a reason. It’s hard to describe the impact of a powerful idea. When it hits a writer, it’s no longer a choice. You have to write it, or it will drive you mad.  In my case, I was minding my own business, and all of a sudden, there was this image in my head. It hit me so hard that I had to stop what I was doing. I picked up a pen and paper and started to scribble. My husband walked in and found me on the floor with pieces of papers around me. At that point, the outline of ‘Heartbound’ was completed—chapter by chapter, from beginning to end.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

P.I. Alltraine:
I listen to my characters and let them do the writing for me. I don’t always agree with what they do or say, but I always try to be faithful to them and the world that I’ve created.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

P.I. Alltraine: ‘Heartbound’ is about Petyr’s journey, but it’s also about YOU, your own identity, your own bravery to follow your heart, and your own courage to find your place in the world.

IAN: How is your Heartbound different from others in your genre?

P.I. Alltraine:
It’s unique in a sense that I’ve created a completely new world/realm, new creatures, new myth, etc. But I think what sets it apart is how, through the narrator, Petyr, we can see the world around us in a completely different perspective. We take a lot of our experiences and emotions for granted, and hopefully seeing Petyr go through them for the first time will encourage the readers to realise how incredible it is to be Human.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life most?

P.I. Alltraine: I love pieces that make me feel something I can’t explain or change my perspective. When I read anything by Virginia Woolf, for example, be it an essay or a novel, I feel baffled and enlightened all at once. ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton, ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe and ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce are some of my favourites because these literary pieces pulled me into an unfamiliar world and compelled me to change my perspective. For instance, I was raised Roman Catholic so when I read ‘Paradise Lost,’ I found the sublimity and the epic heroism in a figure I grew up seeing as a one-dimensional villain very enlightening. It was empowering to see how Milton took something a lot of people considered sacred, especially at the time, and manipulated it with such grace, such skill.

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Heartbound?

P.I. Alltraine:
The short answer is no, but there were moments when I thought about it. For a long time, I had a rather complicated relationship with Petyr, the narrator. Half-way through writing the novel, I wanted to change the narrative perspective because I decided I didn’t like Petyr very much. I didn’t agree with his decisions, and the way he was constantly overthinking everything. It was so exhausting for me as a writer. I also hated how he kept assuming that Scarlett (the main female character) wouldn’t be strong enough. It wasn’t until the book was finished when I realised that the decisions I didn’t agree with became rather fundamental as these created moments that drove the narrative forward. And of course Petyr would initially assume that Scarlett wouldn’t be strong… it’s not because she’s a woman, but because she’s human, and compared to him she is fragile.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

P.I. Alltraine:
The cover artist is called Melody Pond, an excellent choice by Soul Mate Publishing’s Cover Art Coordinator, Cheryl Yeko. I wanted something that would accentuates the romance, the fantasy, how out of place Petyr is in this world, but I wanted it to be enchanting. There were many, many drafts. I think Melody did a magnificent job with the cover (and being very patient with me).

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Heartbound and what was it?

P.I. Alltraine: When I was writing ‘Heartbound,’ there were times when I didn’t agree with my characters’ actions, but I couldn’t change it because it wasn’t my decision anymore. That’s when I realised what being a writer truly means. Everyone can write a story, but to create a world with a life of its own, I think that takes a writer.

IAN. Do you have any advice for other writers?

P.I. Alltraine: Write for yourself. It doesn’t matter if your style doesn’t fit the current trend or if some circles won’t consider it “good writing.” Write because you want to, and write whatever the hell you want. Writing is not a way to fit in or please others. It’s one of the very few things in the world that allows the liberty to be true to yourself.

IAN. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

P.I. Alltraine: Heartbound’ is a fantasy so it’s littered with elements that are out of this world (literally). But at its core, it’s about questioning and finding one’s own identity, trying to find a resolution between who you’re meant to be and who you want to be. It’s about finding the bravery and courage to go against the tides, refuse to conform, and fight for something that means everything to you but means nothing to everyone else.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

P.I. Alltraine: I’m currently writing the the second book in the Heart Series (sequel to ‘Heartbound’). I’m also working on some poetry (spoken word). I’m building a collection that will hopefully be ready for publication by next year. There’s a video performance available for ‘Unmoving,’ and a few more from the collection should be up soon.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: The IAN Interview

Elizabeth S. Sullivan

Elizabeth S. Sullivan was born in Chicago and grew up in the LA area. Impassioned by social justice issues, inspired by her parents, she pursued teaching and earned a law degree. She has written five screenplays, one short. Her screenplays have placed or won such as: Nicholl, Austin, Page, and American Zoetrope. These recognitions garnered her a manager, Alexia Melocchi, Little Studio Films. Her first novel, Purified portrays a strong female protagonist in the genre of a noir thriller.  Sullivan explores issues of race, gender, privacy in the cyber age. She has written several blogs on of women in fiction featured on Venture Galleries.  She is busy working on the sequel to Purified and a new screenplay. 

IAN: Please tell us about Purified.
Elizabeth S. Sullivan: When a mutilated body of an African American girl is found in a park sandbox, the media shows no interest. Instead, their attention is riveted on the disappearance of Olivia Safra, a college student and only child of the powerful and dangerous Richard Safra. Suspended ADA, Beck Oldman, demoted to a rookie PI is assigned her first cases to find a missing teenager and Olivia Safra.

Leads connect the murders to the Safra case. The investigation into her client's private life reveals a dark side in the relationship between a father and daughter and exacts his wrath against Beck. More girls are found murdered, putting Beck in a race to stop a serial killer and stop her own client from destroying her.
PURIFIED is a thrilling story that explores many dark subjects, including what it does to those who have to live in the world of killers in order to stop them.
IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
Elizabeth S. Sullivan: Purified is in both ebook and paperback form.

IAN: Where can we buy Purified?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: At Barnes and Noble and Amazon
IAN: What inspired you to write Purified?
Elizabeth S. Sullivan:  I was inspired by Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and all of the thriller and mystery writers that have entertained me throughout my life. I am also motivated by social justice issues. All of my stories have one or more at the core. Purified was a perfect vehicle for me to explore this in my favorite genre.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: The title, Purified, came from one of the important themes explored, cannot reveal it as it is a key clue. I did a lot of research on this issue and it seemed the perfect title.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Purified?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: My hope is readers are tricked by the twist in the ending. My most fervent hope is that readers feel they have met a new female PI whose flaws are not that of the usual burned out male PI. Women handle things differently than men, including women who have to track down killers. Beck is a unique protagonist, one I hope they find tough but sympathetic.

IAN: How much of Purified is realistic?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: All of the issues in the book were researched, so a good deal of the book is based on reality and facts including Beck’s flaws.

IAN: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: Shakespeare is an important influence in my reading. While I have been moved, motivated, and utterly entertained and influenced by many writers, I do not know of any who has made my jaw drop, LITERALLY, so often than Shakespeare, or has brought me to tears and hours of self-reflection.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: Currently I am reading Jo Nesbo’s The Redeemer and A Freeman of Color by Barbara Hambly.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t write. Reading is what
inspired me to write. The love of story, its ability to transport, and the love of words.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: It is particularly challenging for me to write every single day. I find many distractions that keep me from confronting my own anxiety as to whether I can pull of completing another page and feel it is worthwhile.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Elizabeth S. Sullivan: The next book I am working on is the sequel to Purified. Beck, Will and her arch nemesis, Richard Safra will return a case that involves revenge and murder.

Visit for more info about Purified

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bob Kern: The IAN Interview

Bob Kern

Bob Kern is a native Hoosier. Born and raised in Indiana.  At the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the US Army serving almost 8 years in the infantry. 

The horrific events of 9/11 had a profound effect on Bob when other people began thanking him for his service. Suddenly, feelings of guilt overwhelmed him for not actually seeing combat.  Knowing there was nothing to be ashamed of, Bob realized many Cold War veterans probably had similar feelings.  Being a peacetime soldier in a wartime era has this effect.

Bob decided to write and publish the story of his military career so that others may have an inside view of what it was like to be in the military at that time. 

Bob is the father of five children - Natalie, Bambie, Amber, Bob, and Rob. He resides in Bedford, Indiana with his wife Marsha and his three granddaughters; Sage, Jade, and Harmonie. 

IAN. Please tell us about We Were Soldiers Too.

Bob Kern. The Cold War was an important part of history that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Everyone knows the headlines of this era but few know the details and just how close the world was to World War III and a nuclear war. 

Politicians take credit for ending the Cold War, but the real credit goes to the men and women who served in the military.  They trained hard and remained in a constant state of vigilance, ready to protect the world against a Soviet invasion and the spread of communism.  This is a personal account of military service and the historical events that were happening during President Reagan's time in office as the world faced the possibility of nuclear war.

Serving as the first line of defense for a Soviet invasion in Germany, he found himself assigned the responsibility of defending an area in the Fulda Gap with only one objective, to hold the advancing Soviets until reinforcements arrived. An assignment that likely would have been at Ground Zero of a nuclear war.

We travel back to Fort Knox with the author and experience firsthand the infantry transition from the slower, heavy armor vehicles to more technologically advanced armor like the Abrams tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

We learn how soldiers fared in Schofield Barracks, the most physical assignment as his unit began converting to light infantry.

IAN. What inspired you to write We Were Soldiers Too?
Bob Kern. The guilt I felt being thanked for my service after 9/11.  I knew people assumed I was involved in the war on terrorism and had no idea I was a peacetime soldier.  I suspected other vets had to struggle with this same guilt and shouldn’t.  I thought if I told my story and showed how physical and demanding it was people would know Cold War veterans played a very key role in the world, particularly preventing World War III and a likely nuclear war.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Bob Kern. I had a general outline in my head and just sat down and started typing it out, one chapter at a time.  Since it was about my military career, it was only a matter of telling stories about myself in the order they happened and making the military aspects of it easy to understand.  

IAN. How long did it take to write We Were Soldiers Too?

Bob Kern. From the moment I first sat down and typed the first word to the final edit, it took about a year to finish this book.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Bob Kern. I want people to realize it takes a special kind of person to make the commitment to put their country first, ahead of their own life and family.  It doesn’t matter when or where they served, the threat of being sent into combat is there every day.  Soldiers train hard to be ready for this, even if they never see combat, because they took that oath.  Every veteran deserves to be respected for their service.  Just as important, every veteran needs to be proud of their service.

IAN. How much of We Were Soldiers Too is realistic?

Bob Kern. I hope the whole book is realistic.  I tried to paint an accurate picture of what I went through, how it felt, and what I was thinking as I went through my career.  I wanted readers to be able to see it through my eyes as I was transformed from that naïve seventeen year old to the dedicated, die-hard soldier I became.

IAN. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Bob Kern. Everything in this book happened to me.  It is my entire military career told from my perspective.

IAN. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Bob Kern. Cold War Veterans. I can’t say enough about the the support I have gotten from so many veterans.  Some of the emails and messages I have received have brought tears to my eyes.  The kind words about my book and the gratitude this group has shown me for trying to tell our story has been very rewarding and is the reason I have committed myself to turning this book into a series, sharing the stories of others.

IAN. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Bob Kern. I hope you have a better understanding of what it was like to be a soldier in the 1980’s and I hope I was able to give you a bit of a history lesson on the Cold War and the role we played in it.

IAN. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life? 

Bob Kern. Marketing. Trying to get the word out and create interest is by far the most difficult part of the process. There are hundreds of thousands of people wanting to take your money by promising to sell you their secret to marketing an ebook if you buy their book, join their group, buy their membership, or pay for their services. Sifting through all the offers (and wasting money) trying to find what works was very challenging. Marketing the book is a very time consuming process, even after figuring out what to do.

IAN. Is We Were Soldiers Too published in print, e-book or both?

Bob Kern. Both

IAN. Where can we go to buy We Were Soldiers Too? 

Bob Kern.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Bob Kern. Do to the overwhelming positive response this book has gotten from Cold War veterans, I am turning this into a series of four book:
We Were Soldiers Too: Serving in Germany during the Cold War
We Were Soldiers Too: Serving in South Korea during the Cold War
We Were Soldiers Too: The Cold War at Sea and at Home

I hope to be able to release all three sequels by the end of this year.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Advantages of Self Publishing

The Advantages of Self Publishing

By Colin Dunbar 

Self publishing may not be for everyone. For many writers, however, it is an
option that makes perfect sense. While not always plain sailing or a walk in the park, the advantages of self publishing are significant and hard to ignore.

Let's see what you stand to gain from taking the self publishing route. Here are three of the most definitive advantages of self publishing.

1. Profit Margins

When you self publish, you have to pretty much do all the work. This additional effort is rewarded by the fact that you can keep all the profit from your book sales. This is one of the advantages of self publishing that will apply in particular to anyone who already has a way of promoting their book to an audience. Think in terms of motivational speakers, who can easily self publish their books and then sell them right at their seminars.

If you already run a bookshop, either online or offline, this can also be the perfect way to get buyer's eyes on your new book right away.

2. Complete Freedom

This is one of the big advantages of self publishing. A publisher will inevitably tie you down and control the look, layout and other aspects of your book. If you self publish, you will have complete control and freedom over how the book looks, and you can easily do further self promotion inside where the publisher would have promoted themselves instead.

This is particularly good for business related books, or anyone who has a backend catalogue that the reader may be interested. If they like your book, chances are they'll want more, and you can easily advertise this inside your self published book.

You can also choose the cover design and other visual aspects of your book to suit your own preferences.

3. You Own Your Work

This yet again ties into one of the big advantages of self publishing: the fact that you maintain total control over your book. If you publish a printed copy, you can easily convert that into a digital publication as well, for example. Many publishers will not allow you to do that without further red tape.

If you find it hard to sell your book, you can break it up, give it away for free, sell rights to it. As long as you maintain control as a self publisher, your work can continue to serve you in many ways even if it fails in its primary objective.

So, those are just a few of the advantages of self publishing. It may not be right for everyone, but many people have had great success with it.

Colin Dunbar offers practical advice on self publishing, and publishes his Self Publishing Journal, where you can follow him on his indie author journey. Subscribe to his newsletter, and receive a free copy of The Ultimate Self Publishing Checklist.

Article Source: The Advantages of Self Publishing

Monday, June 29, 2015

R.S. Penney: The IAN Interview

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario where I attended Saltfleet High School and McMaster University. I've spent most of my life fighting for the little guy in one form or another, advocating for the poor, for environmental sustainability, for minority rights.

Throughout my twenties, I wrote about five novels and threw them all out because they weren't very good. But I improved and honed my skills with each new manuscript. About two years ago, I had an offer from a traditional publishing house, but I chose to go indie instead. Writing is my passion; if I could dedicate myself to one thing, it would be bringing the ideas in my head to life.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

R.S. Penney: Symbiosis is kind of a mix of Star Trek: the Next Generation and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Gene Roddenberry envisioned an optimistic future, a society where racism, sexism and other such prejudices were all a thing of the past, where poverty and deprivation had been eliminated. I was fascinated by the idea of “what would happen if people from that optimistic future Earth had to live side by side with humans from the present day?”

Ten thousand years ago, a very powerful species took primitive humans and scattered them on Earth-like worlds throughout the galaxy. Some of those societies advanced to the point where they developed space-flight; some are peaceful and egalitarian while others are dystopic and violent. The story examines the culture clash between some these worlds with modern-day Earth thrown into the mix.

Anna Lenai is a young Justice Keeper, an officer of the law who pursues a felon into uncharted regions of space and discovers Earth. 

The series focuses on smaller, interpersonal conflicts such as family or relationship drama in addition to the larger conflicts of falling empires and changing political landscapes. Character development is a very important focus; in fact every review I've had mentions the depth and versatility of the characters. 

IAN: Is Symbiosis published in print, e-book or both?

R.S. Penney: Symbiosis and all subsequent Justice Keeper novels will be available in both print and e-book form

IAN: Where can we go to buy a copy of Symbiosis?

R.S. Penney: If you’d like to purchase Symbiosis in paperback, follow this link.

If you want to buy it on the Kindle, follow this link. (Note kindle has a free app for iPads, iPhones and other tablets).

And if you want the Kobo version, it’s right here.

IAN: What inspired you to write Symbiosis?

R.S. Penney: When I was fifteen, I was reading a lot of epic fantasy. Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth: that sort of thing. One thing I very much wanted to do was to create a story with two central protagonists, a young man and a young woman. Those characters eventually evolved into Jack Hunter and Anna Lenai.

The other thing I noticed, when I was a teenager reading epic fantasy, was that everybody was white. If you look at Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time or even something a little more modern like Song of Ice and Fire, you'll find that most of the main cast is white. You'll get the odd person of colour, but those are few and far between. So I really wanted to write a story where you had a diverse cast with a wide range of ethnicity. The next character I created eventually became Harry Carlson.

At the time, these characters were all living in an epic fantasy world, but I very quickly grew bored with that idea because I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do with these people. Jack and Anna were living in your typical bucolic fantasy town – you know the one; it looks like Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings – and then something comes along and sweeps them off into an adventure. But I found myself so unenthusiastic about writing that story. One thing I dislike about epic fantasy is that it just takes so long for anything to happen. With the exception of the Hobbit, where the journey is the whole point, I was always thinking “can't we just skip to what happens when they get there?”

One thing I realized I loved in sci-fi/fantasy was seeing characters do ordinary things. Yes, Buffy killed demons, but she also went on dates, did homework, took tests. It makes the characters feel like real people. So I wanted to write characters who had ordinary problems (work, school, family, etc) in addition to the extraordinary problems like saving the world from certain disaster. Put all these things together, and the switch to science-fiction became obvious. 

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

R.S. Penney: An outline? 

God, no! 

I'm the most disorganized person on the planet, but I have this freakishly good memory for certain things like plot points and character bios. And a complete goldfish memory for things like shopping lists. Go figure. I'll step you through the process of how something goes from a flash of inspiration to a finished product. 

I usually write a story around the climax, meaning I come up with the climax first and then fill in the details of what led to that moment afterward. I'm a huge fan of rock music. Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Pretty Reckless: that kind of rock music. So a lot of my good ideas happen when I'm behind the wheel of my car.

Take a random song – let's say Alert Status Red by Matthew Good. I'll hear that song, and suddenly the image of Anna running through an office building and dodging security guards will pop into my head. I usually write down the action sequence at my earliest opportunity. I can hold onto it for a few days, but I like to get a first draft on paper before I lose some of the details.

So now that I have that scene, I need a context for it. Generating a context is simply a matter of asking yourself all the logical questions. 

Why is she in the office building?

So I invent an objective. Maybe there's something in the office building she needs to recover. (I'm being vague here to avoid spoilers.)

How did she get into the office building?

What sort of security measures would stand in her way? Most major companies use key-card access. So how does she get a key-card? These all lead to extra chapters that fill in the rest of the story. Chapters where we set up the central conflict, inform the reader of the stakes (What happens if Anna loses), and deal with the mini-conflicts like getting past security. 

Now back to square one. Maybe I'm listening to I'm on Fire by Bruce Springsteen, and that song inspires a major turning point in the romance subplot. Again, ask all the logical questions. How did we get here? Why do the characters feel the way they feel? Put the interpersonal plot together with the action plot, and pretty soon you have a novel.

IAN: How long did it take to write Symbiosis?

R.S. Penney: Six months or twelve years, depending on whether or not you count the time I spent learning how to write. The idea has been in my head since high school. I can generally finish a Keepers book in about six months.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

R.S. Penney: I tend to focus on the nuts and bolts of the scene, the specifics of what happens, and then fill in the character's thoughts, feelings and interpretations afterward. The internal monologue is usually the hardest part for me because I'm always asking myself “how do I express this complex idea without sounding pretentious?” And then, of course, you have to add the little touches that make a character unique. Jack's internal monologue tends to include a lot of slang and vernacular; whereas someone like Wesley Pennfield would have a very dry, very formal monologue. Wesley is less likely to use contractions. That sort of thing.

But I focus on the nuts and bolts for a very simple reason; there is a temptation among authors to really get lost in the musings of your character. That can be fun, but if you do it too often, your readers will start skipping ahead to the point where the story picks up again.

IAN: How is Symbiosis different from others in your genre?

R.S. Penney: Before I answer this question, let me just state that “different” does not mean “superior.” I'll tell you what I think makes my book stand out, but there is a tonne of great sci-fi out there, from a tonne of talented authors, both independent and traditionally published.

My series differs from other science fiction novels by its emphasis on blending the ordinary with the extraordinary. Most science fiction I've read focuses on far-off planets or futuristic dystopias – and there is certainly that element to the Keepers Saga – but the characters who inhabit my universe have jobs, families and social lives. There are chapters of Symbiosis that focus on the friction between Jack and his coworkers or Harry's relationship with his kids.

That's not to say that those elements aren't present in other works of science fiction – they most certainly are – but I think it comes down to the setting. Take, for example, the Hunger Games. Even when she's not in the ring, Katniss's everyday life looks nothing like yours or mine. She lives in a world that is so different from our own that it affects every aspect of her life. For that reason, the minutiae of her average day still feels somewhat fantastic. That's one of the best things about the Hunger Games! Everything feels fresh, new and exciting. 

My characters live in a world that looks very much like our own on the surface, a world where all the fantastic elements are hidden from plain view. To my mind, that has the added advantage of making the abnormal all the more striking when it creeps into the everyday lives of my characters. 

IAN: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

R.S. Penney: Glenn Soucy.

He has a remarkable ability to blend crisp fast-paced writing with some very creepy plot twists. The action is solid, the characters fleshed out and the pacing spot on. A strong author all around.

Kristal Shaff.

In her latest novel, Krystal has created a fascinating fantasy world with a unique magic system. It's rare for a book to create a world that pulls you in with its attention to detail and compelling characters. Krystal hits both of those targets with pinpoint accuracy. 

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

R.S. Penney: Absolutely.

Be careful about taking advice from other authors. 

By the way, is this a good time to mention that I do a weekly blog where I offer tips and pointers to new writers? No, but in all seriousness, my advice is to be careful about taking advice from other authors, and that applies just as much to me as it does to anyone else.

When I was younger, I used to read interviews from some of my favourite authors about how to write a book. They'd talk about things like the importance of detailed outlines, extensive notes and what have you, and I tried to do it their way. Their way didn't work for me. 

So to those of you who like my books, don't look at what I do and set that as the benchmark for how you should go about writing a novel. When it comes to writing fiction, there are a million ways to get it right and a billion ways to get it wrong. 

Ultimately, your job – the job of any artist, in fact – is to create an emotional connection with your audience. The nuts and bolts like smooth prose, clever plot twists and snappy dialogue are just tools to achieve that end. Doing these things poorly will damage your emotional connection – so you do want to learn to do them well – but there are so many ways to do them well.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

R.S. Penney: His name is Mason Matlock. If you're interested in his services, you can contact him at

IAN: Tell us about your next work in progress.

R.S. Penney: The next novel I will be publishing is called Friction, and it's the direct sequel to Symbiosis. The novel is already complete and is currently in editing. I expect a release date in the early fall.

I don't want to get too deep into the details for fear of spoilers, but Friction deals with a terrorist group trying to break up the uneasy alliance between the planets in our corner of the galaxy.

Just last week, I completed the first half of Entanglement, the third book in the Justice Keepers Saga. This book features some shady things going on in the outskirts of our solar system, forcing our heroes to go investigate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

L. R. W. Lee Releases Book Four the Andy Smithson Series

The wait is over! Book Four in the Andy Smithson series is finally here!

In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace, Andy finds that Abaddon will stop at nothing to capture and punish him for thwarting his plans for eternal life for yet a third time. But, when Methuselah unexpectedly extends in Mom's hand while in Texas, something it has never done for him, it triggers more revelations about her past. 
After a frustrating and, at times, terrifying year, Andy returns to Oomaldee and joins Hans' quest to locate the only surviving heir to the throne of Cromlech. In the process, Andy and company discover the Giant's Ring, the center of Cromlech's healing powers, has been destroyed by Abaddon's evil sorcerer. The situation grows dire when Andy finds that the phoenix who rose from that land millennia before has returned to be reborn and the evil mage has trapped her inside the decimated Ring. Without the freedom to collect the materials she needs to build a pyre, she will die. Andy knows failure is not an option for he needs a feather from this phoenix as the next ingredient to break the curse. Will Andy and his friends free the phoenix in time? Will they be able to fix the Ring and restore Cromlech's healing powers? Will Andy collect a phoenix feather?

You won’t want to miss the non-stop action, drama and thrills on this adventure that is Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace!

"I really enjoyed this book! The author writes a thrilling action-adventure story that keeps you on the edge of your bean bag chair. I will admit, I stayed up late reading this book - it was that good! L. R. W. Lee has a talent for writing fantasy. The story flows well and has plenty of action to keep the reader wanting more. A great read!" 
                                                            - Erik Weibel, This Kid Reviews Books (Erik is 14)
                                                              Erik awarded the book 5 Bookworms! 
"L. R. W. Lee's best book of the Andy Smithson series to date!"
                                                           - Richard Weatherly, Author 

Purchase Kindle and Paperback

Book Five: Vision of the Griffin’s Heart (Andy Smithson series) is coming Winter 2015.

Watch L. R. W. Lee discuss Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace on Book Nerd Paradise on YouTube at

Book One

eBook 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now FREE. Pick up a copy at Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.

Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks 
Book one is also available in paperback.

Book Two

Book 2, Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent's Cunning is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!

Book Three

Book 3, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Prequel Novella

Power of the Heir’s Passion is available in Kindle and Paperback

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!

L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son.

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