Interview With Sandra Giles, Author of the Collision Of Worlds Series

I’d like to welcome my special guest Sandra Giles, author of the Collision of Worlds series. Please enjoy her insightful interview.

161241801.  How long does it take you to write a book?

That all depends on how much I procrastinate and whether I’m in a writing mind-set. When I’m working on a novel straight through without distractions, either from another novel or from the real world, it takes me up to a month. Unfortunately this is a rare occurrence as I mostly find my mind elsewhere. If that’s the case then it can take months, years, or maybe even a lifetime. The last is something I might be testing with the novel I am currently working on.

2.  Can you tell us about your challenge in getting your first book published?

I self-published my first novel, so the challenges have mostly been in being heard among the many other writers crying out for attention. Oh, and editing. That’s a massive challenge all in itself. Novels shouldn’t hit the shelves without strict editing and being self-published is no excuse. As someone who has never had enough money to spare for a proper editor, I can definitely be called a hypocrite. But I am working on it. I guess you can say that the biggest challenge is something that I still face and am determined to tackle head-on.

3.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Oh the usual things writers do. Sit in my room with my characters and gossip about those who aren’t present. We do this with a glass of red wine and surrounded by balls of paper from failed ideas. Okay, I’m not much of a stereotypical writer. I can be a bit of a hermit at times, but mostly I’m with loved ones (who are real, not fictional) and whatnot. I’m a big music fan and love concerts, so I can often be found at venues in various locations. More recently I have entered into a venture with my partner, Aron, that sees us attending local gigs and blogging about them. He takes the photographs and I attempt to write about reality as opposed to fiction. It’s proving difficult but is fun nonetheless.

4.  What does your family think of your writing?

They think I need to be sectioned, or see a therapist at the very least. Those who have read my stuff are slightly fearful of my imagination as I write about some disturbing things, but they seem to think I have talent and have said they enjoy what I write. They have to say that as they’re family, but I think it might be genuine. The fear for my state of mind is, anyway.

5.  How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best in your genre?

I don’t market my work anywhere near as much as I should. I used to do anything from social networking to giving libraries my novels and wearing promotional t-shirts. Nowadays I might blog a bit or send out the odd tweet, but mostly I let my novels fly solo. I’ve noticed a decrease in sales but it’s not significant enough to get me back on track. Especially as I don’t actually know what worked best as I did them all at once and didn’t find the link. I think blogging is quite effective as it shows writers as humans rather than allowing their novels to do all the talking for them.

6.  What do you think makes a good story?

I personally wrote my novels for me, removing the aspects that, in my opinion, ruined stories. I like something with a fast-pace and a good balance of plot, action and humour. The characters need to be developed in a way that is relatable yet intriguing, and there is no fun in reading something where everything is described in excruciating detail. I’m also a massive fan of series, but not so keen on lengthy novels that never meet an end. This is because it’s great to get to know characters, but dragging a plot over hundreds of pages often becomes tedious. Oh, and it needs at least an element of fantasy. I can’t read about things that are too close to reality. To me it defeats the purpose of writing.

7.  Can you tell us about this book?

I’ll answer this as I answer similar questions and act like my series is a book. It’s much easier as I never know which novel to go with. Collision Of Worlds is a contemporary fantasy series focusing on various narrators of varying abilities. From vampires to ghosts and psychics, these novels keep legends alive and deeply embedded in this very ordinary world we live in. There is gore, humour. love, confusion and suspense in every book, or at least from every narrator. But if you really want to know more, read the novels. It’s the only real way of knowing. [Insert evil cackle here].

8.  Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Are you still out there?

Feeble joking aside, I’d like to thank anyone who has given my novels or even my blog the time of day as it means a lot to know there are people out there (however few) who enjoy reading what I write. And anyone who has gone that one step further and reviewed or commented on something by me, thanks a million. It means the world to have some way of knowing you’re out there, as it often feels as though I am talking to thin air. For the most part I probably am, but it’s good to know this isn’t always the case. I will try to give more than I have been as a thanks, and hopefully some new books are on the horizon.

9.  Social media you’d like to share?

I now have to split this into two parts.

For my novels and whatnot, I can be found at the following places:

And for all things related to VEXtended (mine and Aron’s music blog), go to:

Book Review: The Ultimate Merger By Delaney Diamond

The Ultimate Merger is a short story. It’s the prequel to Second Chances, Book 4 of the Hot Latin Men series.

Two workaholics slow down long enough to find love when they least expect it.

Renaldo da Silva is on the verge of entering the U.S. market with the purchase of a hotel in downtown Chicago. After working hard for several days straight, he heads to a local bar and sees a woman who instantly makes him reconsider how to spend his evening.

When another one of her male counterparts unfairly becomes the lead on a project, Sabrina Porter leaves work intent on drowning her sorrows in wine and loud music at a local bar. Instead, she meets a sexy Brazilian who’s intent on showing her a different way to unwind.

15746949I loved this 11 chapter book. My favorite lines: 1) She needed a man like she needed a hole in her head. 2) It was perfect. And that’s what she feared. It was too perfect.

Sabrina had a friends with benefits called Samuel. She ditched him when she met Renaldo, and I couldn’t blame her. The scene at the bar where they first met was HOT!!! The author managed to give the characters amazing sexual chemistry, especially dealing with the tension.

I liked that they both had careers and took their jobs seriously. In fact, Renaldo was returning to Brazil after he finished in the States. The whole time I kept thinking ‘please make up, please make up before he goes!’ She was dealing with a family emergency after they had a big blowout.

Delaney Diamond had a brilliant talent with characterization. Even though it was a short story, she managed to have me care for Sabrina and Renaldo. It felt like I knew them, and I definitely plan on reading the rest of the series. The ending was cute and sweet. I sneaked at the excerpt for the next book in the series and it looks like it’s filled with drama.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Wendy Won’t Go By Amanda M. Lyons

Billy and Sara are living a life of fear. Every day and every night since Sara was small they have been haunted by a terrible apparition. She is cold and she is cruel, strange and frightening. Her name is Wendy, and no matter where they go and no matter what they do, Wendy Won’t Go.

19519293I enjoyed this short story with no chapters. It was frightening–reminded me of the movie Unborn. With the very first paragraph, I was hooked. That mental image of the dead mother crawling with her body all twisted played with my emotions. I had to read this book with the light on!

My favorite lines: 1) He refuses to treat his wife like a boogeyman no matter how much she has come to fit that mold. 2) Death meant pain and loss, but it also meant peace and the hope of a new beginning.

The mom, Wendy, had died while giving birth to Sara. The dad, Billy, was a writer and took care of his daughter. Wendy would show up often to harass and strike their daughter. By the opening, I thought it would scare me up to the end, but it didn’t. Towards the middle, the story started getting more philosophical and drama filled (concerning Sara sad about thinking her mom hates her and getting into how Wendy came about being dead but can still bother her family). It was still a good story though.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White By David Meredith

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

18780192I enjoyed this 14 chapter book. Queen Snow White had a very complicated childhood; her father died and her step-mother tortured her. She was isolated from everyone in the castle because anyone who showed sympathy towards the princess got fired or executed. Of course, she had issues as an adult. One being withdrawn by her daughter’s Princess Raven’s wedding to Prince Edel.

At first, I didn’t understand why the Queen was treating her daughter poorly, but the author did an amazing job of showing her past through flashbacks. I thought it was cool that she came across the magical mirror and found her dad’s soul trapped in there. The catch: the viewer of the mirror sees what they want to see.

My favorite lines: 1) “Why does everyone good in my life leave me? Why does everyone I love abandon me and go away?” 2) “Across all the years and all the struggles, even though decades dead, the evil woman had still found a way to hurt her! What had the hideous witch done?”

My favorite scenes were when the Queen found happiness with her husband Charming. Finally something positive was going on in her life. As the underdog, I rooted for her since the beginning. I could understand why she felt depressed after she lost him. Luckily, she could have a second chance at happiness.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Writing Goals For 2014!!!

It seems like only yesterday I created New Year’s Resolutions for 2013.  Geez Louise, time flies by!!! I’m looking forward to 2014 and I hope you all do the same.

WRITING GOALS FOR 2014

  • Finish editing my previous novels for publication
  • Write 2 new novels or novellas
  • Focus on my blog more
  • Attend at least 1 writer’s conference
  • Be a competent critique partner/beta-reader for other authors

For all the writers out there, what are your goals for the new year?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Pit Stop By Yawatta Hosby

The short story Pit Stop is an excerpt from my novella Something’s Amiss.

COPYRIGHT 2014

Pit Stop By Yawatta Hosby

Silence lingered in the car even though it was packed with four people. Poe and Raven sat in the back. From the corner of her eye, Poe noticed Oliver looking at her in the mirror. She busied herself, fidgeting with the suitcase that lay near her feet. Raven told her about her favorite cartoons. Poe pretended to be interested.

She felt envy toward the little girl, who didn’t feel the tension in the car. It must be nice to be full of innocence and naivety. To not understand the emotional toll it took being near an ex and his new girlfriend, especially when the new girlfriend wanted to flaunt it in her face. How did Poe get in this predicament anyway? The plan was to stay in a hotel. Why had she let Oliver talk her out of that so easily?

She shook her head and looked out the window. Was it a good idea to leave Dominic alone in the house all by himself? Maybe she should have offered to stay at his place to look after his daughter. That way he would have someone to talk to.

Even though her stomach cramped from not eating all day, Poe was not motivated to enjoy a meal. All she wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position and cry herself to sleep. She had sobbed last night and then this morning in the shower, but she had plenty of tears left. Yet, she couldn’t cry in the car–not in front of Oliver and Kate. And what about Raven?

Poe sighed and looked at the little girl. She needed to snap out of her funk if she wanted to baby-sit her properly. She tried to clear her mind and absorb Raven’s descriptions of Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, and Care Bears.

“Honey, you’re dropping them off right? Then we can go to dinner,” Kate said in an annoyed tone, as if she was tired of their company in the back seat.

“Who’s them? My name–my name is Raven.”

“Kate was using a pronoun,” Poe said.

Raven placed her index finger on her lip. “Pronoun?”

Poe patted her shoulder. “Yes, I’ll teach you all about it later if you want.”

Kate must be ex-phobic; that could be the only explanation why she didn’t speak civilly at Dominic’s place, and now Kate was trying her best to get Oliver away from her.

“Honey?”

“Actually, I’m staying a little while. I want to see my mom.” He tapped the steering wheel. “Then we can go out to eat.”

Kate pouted, folding her arms across her chest. She stared out the window.

He sighed. “What’s the problem? I said we’ll go after I see my mom.”

“I’ve been waiting since last night for our date. Can’t you visit her tomorrow?”

“Please don’t throw that back in my face. It’s not like I stood you up on purpose.” Oliver gripped the steering wheel. “How can you sit there and ask me not to visit my mom after you know what happened?”

“Please. Like you really want to see her. You just want to be up under your ex, and I’m not allowing it!”

“You’re losing it, Kate. I’m not playing your game.”

If this was a game, Poe could only imagine when Kate was really angry. Jenna hadn’t been lying when she said Oliver had a handful. Raven perked up and stopped playing with her teddy bear. She must like witnessing drama as much as her mom did.

“If it makes you feel any better, Kate,” Poe said. “I have a boyfriend back home.”

“Like it matters.”

Raven hugged her teddy bear. “Leo is nice. He buyed–he buyed me a slice of pizza once, and we played Mario Kart.”

Like it matters. Kate must have heard the story of how Poe and Oliver ended up together. When they were twenty-two, Oliver was dating someone else and Poe had just moved in with Jenna after college graduation. She met Oliver through Jenna. Poe liked men who looked into her eyes and studied her. Oliver was like that. Many times, Poe had caught him staring at her. Eventually, they had their first date at Four Leaf Clover. Oliver was Poe’s first love, the one she lost her virginity to. The details were kind of blurry regarding whether or not he had broken up with the other girl first. They had followed their hearts. Poe could see why she’d be a girlfriend’s enemy. That one incident would forever brand her as the ‘relationship killer.’

Poe’s first time was in the back of Oliver’s Jetta; she observed the back seat and grinned. Reminiscing about that hot, passionate night made Poe forget her stomach cramps. She knew she shouldn’t be thinking about Oliver. It was wrong, yet it felt as if it was meant to be. Memories of him were a part of her life.

#

For a split second, Oliver peeked in the rearview mirror to look at his little cousin. He never knew Raven had met Leo; Jenna and Dominic had failed to mention that. Perhaps Leo and Poe were more romantically bonded than the impression he had. Images of his ex and her new man holding hands out in public rippled through his mind. He imagined them meeting with each others’ families as if they were in a serious relationship. Oliver gulped when he imagined Poe getting intimate with Leo. It had taken Poe a while to open up to him, to allow him to knock her wall down, so why did Leo get off easy? What was so special about him?

Oliver was tired of being the nice guy, the one who set his happiness aside for everyone else. Starting today, he would fight for what he wanted. The embrace at the airport and stolen glances of Poe wasn’t enough for him. Oliver needed to be close to her again–emotionally and physically. His stomach clenched. Why couldn’t Poe be his?

Oliver made a u-turn.

Raven gasped. “Ollie, this is the wrong way to Aunt Lily’s house.”

“I know. I have to make a pit stop first.” Oliver focused on the road, avoiding Kate’s icy glare. He stared at the taillights of the car in front of them. He swallowed a knot in his throat while looking the other way. He wanted to dodge the sidewalk at all costs. They passed the boutique where Jenna was killed. In his peripheral vision, he noticed the yellow caution tape, and frowned. His heart sank.

Did Poe see the scene of Jenna’s accident? What is she thinking about at this moment? She’s so quiet. I wish I had a paid subscription to read her mind all day.

Oliver’s destination was the Ruby Tuesday parking lot. Oliver parked the car and left the engine running. Everyone gave him a questioning look, yet Poe seemed the most curious. In the next minute, she would probably think he was an asshole, which he couldn’t bear, but hopefully Poe would let him show her that he was still the guy she had fallen in love with.

He pulled out his wallet from his back pocket. “You want a restaurant so badly, here you go.” He extended a hand filled with cash. “Here’s money for dinner, a tip, and cab fare.”

Kate’s hand was gripped on her knee. “Honey–“

“Here. Take it and get out of my car.” No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more Mr. Pushover.

“Honey–” Kate pouted, squeezing her eyes tightly. Fake crying wouldn’t work this time. She had fooled him when they first began dating, but once she revealed her dream was to win an Oscar, Oliver wised up, which wasn’t hard for him to do since Kate always went through the same routine before a tear fell from her eye.

“Take the money and get out. I want to grieve with people who cared about Jenna. I want to grieve with people who won’t make today about themselves.”

Like clockwork, tears fell down both sides of Kate’s cheeks. “I’m sorry, Honey.”

Oscar indeed. “It’s too late for half apologies. Bye, Kate.”

She caressed his cheek. “No, I’m not going anywhere.”

“If someone tells you to do something, you should do it so you don’t get a time out,” Raven lectured.

Kate snatched the bills out of Oliver’s hand, then got out of the passenger side, and slammed the door. He could see her in the rearview mirror as he drove off. Good thing she didn’t have a key to his apartment. Otherwise, all his clothes would be drenched in bleach. She had the audacity to do that to her ex. What did he see in her again? Maybe deep down, he was punishing himself for not fighting for Poe to stay in Rhode Island.

THE END

Congratulations Melissa!!!

I can’t wait to share my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions with Melissa. She’s starting off the year in a celebratory fashion. Her short story was accepted into an online literary magazine! I’m very proud of her.

Please check out Spartan to read Melissa O. Howley’s The Bone or Tissue.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby