Interview With Jewel E. Leonard, Author of Alight

Please welcome my special guest Jewel E. Leonard. She’s a paranormal romance and Steampunk author. I had the pleasure of sharing my Six Plus One script on her blog, so I thought it’d be fun to return the favor by giving her an interview on the release date of her new book! Please enjoy her insightful interview.

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1.  Do you have advice for other writers trying to get published?

I think patience is a virtue that is especially important in this industry. If you’re aiming to get published traditionally, it could take a very long time and an awful lot of rejections before you get there (but you probably already know that).

On the other hand, if your goal is to be published independently, patience will serve you well to put out the best product you can. Indie books certainly have a reputation for being “thrown onto Amazon.” Patience with the process (a load of editing and proof reading prior to hitting “publish”) should certainly help an indie author’s book from having that “thrown onto Amazon” appearance. If enough indie authors did that, someday maybe that stigma will be nothing more than an ugly memory.

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

As far as the The Witches’ Rede goes: I really hope they enjoy the ride. The benefit to approaching a series like this one the way I did (here’s again where patience plays a significant role) is that I’ve planned the big things out thoroughly, beginning to end. I encourage readers who finish the series to start over with Alight. There are lots of what seem like throw-away remarks that are anything but–and you won’t know it until you get to the end.

As an aside, to those who enjoyed reading about Rhea and Surfer Boy: I haven’t forgotten about them, either.

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their work?

The expectation publishers now have of authors to self-promote was actually one of many things that made traditional publication unappealing to me. I fairly well hate marketing. I’ve always been a bad salesperson, and not having to promote myself would have been a massive perk to finding an agent/publisher. But since trads are expected to do that, too, I kind of felt like…I’m having to put in the same amount of work as an indie author and split my profits? No, thank you!

4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

My work is polygenreistic (my word processor informs me this isn’t a word–well, it should be!). When I have to pigeonhole it, I call it either paranormal romance or Steampunk.

I love the combination and juxtaposition of science and magic in my world. As far as in other authors’ books, I think it’s the vampires/magic/werewolves fighting for the right to exist in worlds that often don’t accept them that appeals to me. As someone who feels like an outsider in everything she does, it’s a concept I can really relate to.

My least favorite aspect? I hate that the paranormal romance genre was declared dead. Its fans beg to differ!

5.  What are your current/next projects?

Alas, I’m going to be working on The Witches’ Rede books for many years to come. The 2nd and 3rd novels are currently in varying states of doneness.

It’s a bit risky, I know, that until 2021, my new books will rely on readers having read–and enjoyed–my backlist.

I need to figure out how to write stand-alone novels! LOL!

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

I actually write with a partner. My husband contributes so much to my books that his name really should be beside mine on my book covers. It is his decision that it’s not. He can deny it all he wants, but these projects to now are practically 50/50.

I have a wonderful alpha reader, whose opinions and feedback are invaluable to me.

I have a very small group of betas which I hope as time goes on, I can expand. I have yet to put out a public call for betas–or for ARC reviewers. This will likely change as well. I am the type of person who gets easily overwhelmed so I need to start small or I’ll succumb to the temptation to quit.

7.  How do you find time to write?

I don’t, really. I steal some time here and there–when my daughter naps, or between the time my work shift ends and my son comes home from school. I forego sleep as much as I can. Often when there’s quiet play (having Bob Ross on TV really helps mellow my son out!), I’m able to settle down and get some writing done with the family nearby.

Now that I have a new workspace in a bigger home, as our new schedules “gel,” I hope I might find more time for solitude to get those words out. They’re pretty seriously backlogged currently, and I have (self-imposed) deadlines to meet.

8.  Did you always want to become an author?

Oh yes, without a doubt. The desire to write and to have my words read by other people has always been inherent in me.

9.  Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?

As a pantser, no, not really. I grab my notebook and pen, and just get to work when the muse bites. Planning (and lots of editing and revising) comes later. I admit it’s a bit backward, but it works best for me.

10.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

My manuscripts are a mess. I generally write the scenes that are most clear in my head, or whatever I’m inspired to write at the time. One of my hubby’s greatest talents is for rearranging scenes into an order that makes sense.

For the sake of streamlining a process that most established writers wouldn’t recommend to their worst enemy, I’m making a valiant effort (going forward) to write chronologically. I got maybe 20,000 words into book 3 of The Witches’ Rede series before I had to jump ahead if I wanted to keep writing. So now I have to go back and start filling in the gaps.

11.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Hate is such a strong word.

And yet, it isn’t strong enough to describe how I felt about Possession, the book that follows Alight in my series. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo (and won, for what it’s worth) and when I attempted reading through it, I came dangerously close to throwing out everything related to it–the hand-written pages as well as Shift+Del’ing the computer copy.

My husband promised there was good in it, and that he would find it. He kept his promise–and then some!

It took a lot of editing to make it readable…and the next thing I know (many, many, many months and tears later), Possession is now my favorite of the books I’ve worked on in the series.

12.  Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

Novel. Er, novel series. My worlds grow, my characters get complex–I really don’t know how to do novellas well or stand-alone books…at all.

13.  While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?

I’ve had dreams from my characters’ POV.

Lots of my characters share several of my traits…and one shares many of my life experiences. I guess in writing some of those scenes, I very much did feel like I was in her shoes (again).

In working out new ideas, my husband and I often “role play,” and create some of the more fun exchanges between my two main characters.

14. How did you come up with the title?

Alight has had 4 different titles over the years (excluding the inspired “Untitled” title, and the equally uninspiring “Naming Book 1 the Same as the Series Because This Wasn’t Actually Meant to be a Series” title).

Alight was another of my husband’s brilliant ideas, and I’m so grateful for it. It’s a perfect fit for this book and a great start to the series.

15.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

Well, my latest WIP is the 3rd book in the The Witches’ Rede series, and it follows the adventures of my main characters, Rafaele and Maeve, as they hunt down a prized possession that was feloniously taken from Maeve during the course of the 2nd book.

They encounter numerous road blocks along the way (including a literal one) and wind up in a fight for their lives against a charismatic Native American demigod on a fiendish mission from a higher authority.

16.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

Yes, absolutely!

You can find me on…

Thanks again, Jewel, for being a guest on my blog. It’s awesomesauce that you’re an old school writer like me and still write in notebooks! I thought I was the only one LOL. Good luck with your new release 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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My Interview Turned Into a #Horror Story!!!

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I had the pleasure of being a guest on Avrin Kelly’s blog. Wicked Shorts features her quirky, horror short stories. She really impressed me. Instead of just doing a standard interview, she wanted to turn my Q&A into a horror story. Welcome to my first collaborative effort. Avrin was a rock star, writing and revising 95% of everything.

Here’s an excerpt of Glass Witch:

The dark, three story house loomed overhead as I stood in the property’s driveway. Droplets of water fell from above, threatening to undo the curls in my hair and the makeup on my face.

I propelled myself out of the rain and up the steps. The old wood creaked under my heels as I glided to the tall front door and unlocked the house.

Today was a huge day.

I couldn’t believe my good luck.

It was my very first interview for Wicked Shorts: a blog I hosted about speculative fiction, weird fiction and horror and the person I was interviewing was quickly becoming a personal hero of mine.

Yawatta Hosby was a strong, impeccably well written author of thriller and suspense novels. She was the real deal, and she’d be here in less than ten minutes.

To continue reading, please click: Glass Witch/Yawatta Hosby (Interview).

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Check Out My Author Interview!!!

I’m so excited! I was lucky to be a guest on Author Meka James‘s blog. She gave me a interview to help support my new release, Six Plus One.

My author interview:

1. What books have influenced your life?

Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries have always had a place in my heart. For the longest time, I’d only buy her novels in bookstores. My favorite of hers: And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and The A.B.C. Murders. Her writing has influenced me in every way possible, even down to the monsters in my stories are always human.

If you’d like to read the rest, please click: Author Interview: Yawatta Hosby.

Six Plus One - High Resolution

Plus, Alexandrina Brant hosted a cover reveal of Six Plus One on her blog. She said, “Whilst Yawatta’s first edition of ONE BY ONE featured its infamous house in the woods wrapped by yellow police tape, the misty woods of SIX PLUS ONE’s cover reflects the trademark of her books, of the atmospheric mist that smothers the characters and drains their spirits.”

If you’d like to read the rest (I feel like she really gets me and gives a great analytical viewpoint of my books), please click: Cover Reveal: SIX PLUS ONE by Yawatta Hosby.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Check Out Mystery Author John W. Howell’s Interview!

Welcome John W. Howell! I just finished this thought-provoking and very enjoyable read – a blend of mystery, friendship, and family, with a helping of supernatural. Get your copy now – the price is only 99 cents until November 1st! I am introducing a new book this month titled Circumstances of Childhood. It is a […]

via #BadMoonRising John W. Howell #supernatural #mystery #family — Books and Such

#BadMoonRising Yawatta Hosby #IndieAuthor #thriller

Check out my author interview in celebration of 31 days of October. #BadMoonRising

Books and Such

Today’s indie author shares her thriller novella, along with a chilling paranormal account I wish I’d experienced with her.  Welcome Yawatta Hosby to Bad Moon Rising!

Baby or no baby, Finia’s determined to live life her way.

Too bad that doesn’t fit Miki’s version of a happy ending. He owns her. No leeway. If she fights back, then he’ll make her regret it.

Miki will get his perfect family by any means necessary.

Any paranormal experiences you’d like to share?

I had a ghost experience when I was a kid. I was waiting by the door to go to school. The door was near a full length mirror attached to the wall. The mirror turned gray, like fog, then a ghost appeared. He wore a 1940’s hat and suit. He just stood there. I yelled for my dad. When he approached the mirror, it was only our reflections. The ghost…

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Interview With Stephen Kozeniewski and Stevie Kopas, Authors of Slashvivor!

Please welcome my special guests Stephen Kozeniewski and Stevie Kopas, both talented horror authors. They co-wrote their new release Slashvivor!–serial killers meet the popular TV show “Survivor.” I hope you enjoy their insightful interview.

1. Do you have advice for other writers trying to get published?

Stephen:  First, remember that success is what you make of it. (Success could just be holding a book in your hands or success could be selling a million copies and a book deal. It’ll probably be somewhere in between.)

Second, be kind. Be humble. Be helpful. Remember you’re joining a community of authors, not hiding in your hole like a hermit. And we can always sniff out the difference between those who want to be a part of the community and those who are just takers.

Third, make friends with people like Stevie Kopas. In fact, just make friends with her. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, whatever. She’s the tops.

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Stevie:  I’d have to agree wholeheartedly with Stephen, be friends with me. Lol, but in all seriousness, remember to be humble, helpful, and most of all thankful. Unless they’ve got a million-dollar making hit on their hands, most authors have full time jobs or if they are full time writers they’ve got multiple projects at a time that they work on. So, when someone takes the time to help you out, give you guidance or advice, remember that they could have used that time in other ways, but they chose to help you out. Authors are great that way though, especially in the horror community. I’ve met a tone of wonderful people.

I’d also say to remember never to be discouraged. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head and bring yourself down about something trivial, but remember, nothing great was ever easy, so just keep pushing yourself. It’s important to also have a fellow author or anybody in the business really, to talk to when things get tough. You don’t have to go it alone, so don’t. And if you ever find yourself being discouraged by others, remove them from the scenario, you want to surround yourself with people who are excited by, as well as supportive of, any success you encounter, be it great or small.

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

Stephen:  Thank you. You are my lifeblood. You are that thing that keeps me going when I’m ready to throw in the towel. There’s precious little that can make me smile the way hearing someone liked my book does.

Stevie:  Thank you to every single one of you. When I first started writing, I did it for myself, but now I have someone else to write for. No matter the size of that audience, you guys are what matter, so thank you for all your feedback, positive and negative. You keep me writing. Don’t ever forget to tell an author what you think of their work, because it really lets us know that we made an impact on a reader.

3. What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?

Stephen:  Well, it’s part of the deal now, not just for authors but increasingly for everyone. We’re all becoming little one-person operations, promoting essentially ourselves. Some people are nothing more than internet celebrities. They’re just interesting online. Others are trying to sell a product. That’s what authors are, really, is small business owners, and the product we’re selling is our art. So, like with any business, advertising and getting your product into people’s homes is key.

Stevie:  I would say it’s fair. In any business, you have employees where part of their job is community outreach and “going local” in order to grow the business. Whether it’s self-promotion for a new book or selling your pitch for a new MS, authors need to essentially get back to the basics of a small business model that can be applied to many aspects of a day job or sitting at your desk plugging your book. Hard work gets results! I’d say if you’re an author big or small, or any type of artist for that matter, and you don’t like working hard, then you don’t know what you’re in for.

4. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

Stephen:  I’m a proud horror author. I love the community. The people here really are amazing. As far as least favorite aspect, there’s more than a little drama I could do without. Neckbeards and windbags and trolls, oh my!

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Stevie:  I, too, am a proud horror author. My favorite aspect would definitely be that nobody judges anybody else’s ideas or projects. Horror is such a wonderful, expressive genre with a great community. As far as the least favorite aspect goes, you get some people from time to time who are “self-proclaimed experts” on what a woman should be writing and there are tons of trolls, just like Stephen said.

5. What are your current/next projects?

Stephen:  Right now I’m very…gradually…working on author edits for the sequel to my sophomore novel THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO. As far as new manuscripts, I’m trying to put together a reverse haunted house story and a piece from the perspective of a secret policeman in a near future totalitarianish America.

Stevie:  I’ve got a re-release coming soon of my fourth book Never Say Die from Permuted Press. As far as works in progress, I’m working on a sequel of sorts to a story from Never Say Die tentatively titled Trevor: King of Zombies. There will also be a second book in that series as well. It’s been super fun to write and I’ve got a team of readers who are loving the early stages so far.

6. How do you find time to write?

Stephen:  Sigh…lately I haven’t been. The ideal situation though is to have an idea that you’re so passionate about that you want to work on it. Then you’ll find yourself sneaking away from the TV and Facebook to slip in some writing time.

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Stevie:  It’s like dealing with a child. I have to tell myself “you’ll get to do this fun thing if you write this many words” or something along those lines. I’m easily distracted and so I have to reason with myself on what I’m focusing on.

7. Did you always want to become an author?

Stephen:  This is going to sound coy, but I really always have been an author. I remember writing when I was very young, and when I wasn’t writing I was drawing concept art. There are novels I’m still working on that I started when I was twelve.

Stevie:  I think in a way, I can piggyback off what Stephen said here in that I’ve really always been writing. I would write plays when I was a kid, short stories, silly “novels.” I was always into writing lyrics and poetry and combining that with music to create beautiful expressions of myself. And it all led me here, so I’d say I always had it in me.

8. Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?

Stephen:  I always burn a small effigy of Stevie Kopas.

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Stevie:  I retreat to my yard at midnight and repel Stephen’s darkness with the blood of many chickens.

9. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

Stephen:  Out of order, definitely. My method is to write what are sometimes called “cookie scenes”–you know, the actual gunfight or showdown or whatever that you’re actually excited about–first, then build up whatever connecting tissue I need to. It works pretty well to keep me motivated and it has the added benefit that when I realize all the parts I need to have in play for a particular scene I can go back and layer them into the narrative. Need a hammer in the end? Maybe there was a trip to the hardware store in the beginning, then.

Stevie:  I don’t think I’ve ever written anything in the same order or fashion as a previous work. Sometimes I start at the beginning, other times at the end. I used to write out whole plotlines just so I could challenge myself and see how much I could stray from the original story I intended to write. Like I said earlier, I’m easily distracted, so even in my writing I’ll get an idea at random and then kind of run with it and then bam, I have a completely new plot to incorporate into the main story.

10. While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?

Stephen:  Actually (and I hope this isn’t a huge spoiler) when I was writing the flashback scene where Marisol Martinez–our main villain–meets her first serial killer, I was definitely living in her headspace. So much so that while we were usually able to pick up each other’s threads (even mid-scene) Stevie told me she wasn’t sure where I was going and let me do the whole flashback. What it says about me that I was so in tune with a megalomaniac is probably better left unexplored.

Stevie:  With all of the characters in Slashvivor!, even the good guys, being absolute homicidal maniacs, I don’t know that that’s such a good thing? But, hey, who’s judging? I’d say that Dawn’s resilience in the face of adversity is such a big part of who I am. I also think Dr. Feelbad’s odd way of caring about others or Raze’s playfulness are parts of myself as well. No spoilers, but the shotgun surgery is totally something I’d figure out a way to do in a situation like that to help someone out.

11. How did you come up with the title?

Stephen:  I just tried to come up with something cheesy like you would see on television that would sort of add a level of satire to the gore. I was stuck between two titles: SLASHERPALOOZA and SLASHVIVOR! I forget why I went with the latter, except I think maybe the “palooza” thing had been played out, or else that SLASHVIVOR! just immediately made it clear what the book was about, with “Survivor” being the first and most famous reality TV show.

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Stevie:  I always like to bounce my ideas off others to gauge their responses and see if the entertainment factor is there. I sent Stephen my plot summary and we realized that our ideas were so similar that surely he must have hacked my computer. But anyway, I think the idea had come to me after a combination of experiences. I was in like a three hour haunted house line where 80s music was blasting and the concept of the house was different countries pitting their most dangerous criminals against one another in this Mad Max type world. That was really interesting to me. Shortly after that, I was watching a clip of a foreign game show on YouTube that was just totally absurd and I started wondering if one day we’d ever get to a point as a society where killing people for entertainment would be a thing.

13. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

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Stephen:  Amazon, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

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Stevie:  Facebook, Twitter, Website, Amazon

Thanks for being a guest. I hope you guys enjoyed the interview. Good luck with sales!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

I’m Not A Celebrity, But I Got An Interview Anyway :)

JD Byrne is a fellow West Virginian writer. He’s a fantasy and science fiction author. Check him out if you like to read those genres. JD was nice enough to give me an author interview. I haven’t had one in a long time ha ha. Please click on the link if you’d like to read it–Author Interview Yawatta Hosby

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby