Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Interview & Spotlight with indie author Elizabeth Morgan

Elizabeth Morgan is a British indie author who mix and match different genres. She has also blog interview she did with me.
With her blog she supports other indies to spread the word about their work - I have been there on a couple of blog tours and I am thrilled to share with you an interview I did with her:

Elizabeth talks about writing different genres under one pen name, how she went indie a lot more!

1. according to your bio, you live in a cottage and have a garden and a couple of cats. Can you share with the readers what is a typical day for the author Elizabeth Morgan?
I go to work - and I know stating that I have another job takes away the air of mystery about myself, but I do have another job lol - and when I get back I grab myself a cup of tea, top up biscuits and water for the cats and spend half an hour with them because they like to act as though I had abandoned them for a whole year.

I get changed and then I am on the computer for the rest of the evening; checking emails, social media, doing a little promoting etc. I do break to have supper and then I try to get some writing done.

Not every day is like that as a) it depends on what shifts I do at work - sometimes I work nights - and if I have a day off I would jump on the computer for a bit, and then go do some cleaning or gardening, if the weather is nice. But I do tend to do most of my writing in the evening; I just find it easier to concentrate. Plus, I know I won’t get disturbed by phone calls or someone knocking on the front door.

2. You write in a variety of genres, from contemporary, urban fantasy, erotica, and so on. Some authors use different pen names if they write different genres. How does it work for you to use the same pen name for all the variation that you write? Has it been an advantage?
My author tag line is; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”

This has been my personal tag line from the beginning. As a reader, I like to read many different genres. As a writer, although there are genres I tend to lean more toward, I wanted - and still do - to be able to write any genre.

I get why a lot of authors have different pen names for the genres they write, but it never really made sense for me. So, that is what the tag line is for and why I picked it. I want all potential readers to know straight off that I write any genre and that is what they will notice when they look at my work/site.

An advantage... I’m not sure. I like to think that if a reader really loves a certain genre, and I have written a story in that genre, then I have catered for them, but just because it is a genre they like doesn’t me they will like my story, or character, or writing style. I suppose it has been more of a gamble and one that, so far, is working well for me.

3. Tell us about the beginning. How, why and when you decide to publish your first book and which title was that?
I have been writing for the simple joy of it, on an off for years. When I was studying Musical Theatre in college some of our assignments were to write scripts, and that is when I started writing with the drive to do something with the stories I was creating.

So, I wrote some scripts and sent them off to various theatre groups, but nothing ever happened. One day my friend - who had finished reading one of my scripts - said, “you should write a book. You give so much detail which no one will ever see in a script, but in a book you can go crazy.”

It took me a year and a half before I actually sat down to start planning a book - which ended up being Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One) though it was nothing like the story that is published today - and then a year to write, but I tried; I loved every minute of it and I haven’t stopped since.

4. What influences your writing? Where do you charge the batteries of inspiration when creating? Do you have any favourite authors or stories?
Everything influences my writing. I just seem to absorb things and then have crazy thoughts or dreams - a lot of my story ideas started as dreams - and go from there. I don’t have a particular place or ritual that I go/do to charge my batteries. I think I should probably change that, because as an author your mind is constantly active and with real life throwing curve balls at you all the time, well, your batteries can drain quickly. I do like sitting in my garden. I like being outside, which seems to help a lot.

I like a lot of authors, the ones that always come to mind first; Patrica Briggs, Iiona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, Lara Adrian, Kit Rocha, Dianna Hardy, are all but a few authors you will find on my bookshelf.

Fave stories; I love The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, the world building is mind blowing and the story and characters are amazing. And I will read anything Dianna Hardy writes because I know I will just love it. She is a wonderful writer with a brilliant voice and ideas. I love all her books/series, but I have to say that her Once Times Thrice Series is just beautiful and both stories had me crying, but feeling so moved and hopeful by the end.

5. Which are the biggest challenges for you as indie writer and publisher? Why?
I think the biggest challenges for any indie author is promoting your work with the hope of getting sales. There are so many options nowadays, but you never know which option will prove successful in generating sales, or be the right option which will get your books to your audience.

6. Which of your book titles had opened more doors to you as author in terms of success? How do you measure success?
When I originally published She-Wolf (Blood Series: Prequel) with an ex-publisher, I found that book sold well. I was still an unknown author, but it sold. I think it was partly because the book is a Werewolf Romance. Werewolves and Shifters are very popular.

But I have to say that since I turned to self-publishing doors have opened for me more, especially when I got the rights back for She-Wolf and book one in the series, Cranberry Blood. The re-release of those two books really made a difference to sales, but also to interest off readers. I believe it’s because I had more say in the promotional side of the books and the packaging. Covers are very important. Everyone loves a visual and the covers are what grab your reader’s eye.

Success to me is the fact that I still get to write; that I have at least sold one book. I have sold one copy of each of my books and that’s awesome. I get wonderful reviews and I have met some lovely and very talented people since I started 5 years ago. I’m just really thankful that I can continue writing and sharing my stories.

7. What is your biggest ambition?
Once upon a time, I wanted to be an actress. It’s a desire that still burns way deep inside, but I just want to live a creative life. I want to create and share.

I would love for just one of my stories to be made into a TV show or a film. That would be awesome, but I have to say that my biggest ambition is to either go back into acting - and I would still write there is no way I could stop - or maybe start my own production company; theatre or film, maybe both.

8. What are you working on right now?
I have just re-released my short f/f, erotic horror, On the Rocks which you can download free from Kindle Unlimited or buy for 99 cents from Kindle.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ajcUWs
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2amHr3f
Next, I shall be starting on Blood Series Book 1.5, which will be a novella staring a new hero to the world of the Blood Series and a heroine we have only heard about. :)

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She has recently published a new edition for 
On the Rocks is the hottest club on South Padre Island, and Meghan’s new workplace.

If the warped mermaid uniform isn’t enough, the fact that she can’t stop thinking about the club’s singer, Zenzie, is. Everything about the female gets Meghan hot, but when she finally gets her shot with the temptress, it turns out Zenzie isn’t as perfect, or as human, as Meghan thought. 

Length: 6,000 words | Content: F/F, Erotic Paranormal/Horror | Publisher: Elizabeth Morgan

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ajcUWs
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2amHr3f

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By the way, I love her cover! and I did a review of her story, which you can read here:
MY REVIEW - 5 out of 5 stars
I had never read an Erotica before. (Not kidding!) So this is my first read within the genre and I am glad it had to be a story by Elizabeth Morgan. She writes exceptionally well and there’s a great flow in the plot.

On the Rocks is a Horror/Dark Fantasy subgenre short story, and that’s the main reason why I enjoyed it, as a big fan of both styles. Now, imagine, combining something dark and spooky with something beautifully sexy and you have a roller-coaster of moods throughout the book! Like, going from a “hot” moment to a “chilling cold” creepy scene! (That’s brilliant!)

In the space of a short story the author was also able to show nice characterization. The protagonists (and others as well) read like very distinct personalities, which adds more depth to the work.

I cannot tell much of the story without spoiling things. So let’s say I’d have to create a logline for On the Rocks, that would be “Hot bartender chick meets mermaid from Hell.” Now, go on, grab your copy and have some fun!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Alora's Tear Vol. III - "Locations" - A guest post by Nathan Barham, Fantasy author

Since I have illustrated and designed the covers for Alora's Tear, I invited Fantasy author for a guest post.

Nathan Barham tells about his inspiration for the locations of his Epic Fantasy series "Alora's Tear Vol. III - The Voice Like Water" - is coming for sale this 9th August! The paperback and e-book versions will be available on popular book retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and so on. Check www.barhamink.com for more info.

https://www.amazon.com/Fragments-Aloras-Tear-Nathan-Barham/dp/0990596524/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1470385655&sr=8-3&keywords=nathan+barham http://www.barhamink.com/ 

Click on the links to see pictures and more info about the real life places.

I’ve always hoped the places my characters visit feel real and lived-in. Often, I tell my students that their characters shouldn’t simply be disembodied heads floating around empty rooms. But more so than having the places feel inhabited, I want Vladvir, Tolarenz, Grafmark, and the rest to be characters that readers know and understand in the way they understand John or Brâghda, Thomas or Askon.

If Tolarenz is empty, we should feel not just Askon’s loneliness, but the loneliness of the valley itself. Grafmark should threaten and glower, irritated that our heroes dare set foot within its bounds. King’s City should go on without taking notice, bustling and busying itself with the mundane, the everyday, even as fleeting moments of the fantastic pass through its streets.

One of the challenges in working on the covers for the series is deciding what will make up the background. Now, as should be made clear, my calling this process hard is laughable. Isis does the real work of bringing these places and people to visual life, but I play my small part.

Each character stands before a specific location somewhere in Vladvir, and each of those comes from a place where I have lived or visited. Many of the settings in the story are fantasy versions of places with which I am familiar. Some of them are what I call “special places,” locations in the real world that feel as though they’ve stepped out of a story, that have a power, an energy one feels when in their presence, a spirit. Lover’s Fall, for instance, is modeled after Multnomah Falls in Oregon, a place I’ve visited several times, one special enough that I will go hours out of the way simply to stop just to listen to its water, watch the mist sparkle, and feel the cool shadows.

Askon passes the Vladvir version in Volume I, just before his company reaches Austgæta. But it is after the events that take place there, just before his defining choice in the first book that we see him as he appears on the cover with the mountains behind him looking down into the plains far below. This too has a real world counterpart. The two valleys in which I grew up, the first, on the Clearwater River in Idaho, and the second, at the confluence of the Clearwater and the Snake (which coincidentally flows into the Colombia, along which one will find Multnomah), both show signs of at one prehistoric era being under an enormous body of water. Such are the hillside bluffs west of Austgæta.

For Volume II, the moment and location are similar generally, mountainous terrain and a character looking out onto a valley. However, Grafmark itself, the site of the second book’s cover, is an amalgam of the forests in north Idaho where I spent summers working for my father’s logging company. Many mornings, I would arrive on the job while it was still dark. The nature of my particular work had me there by myself most days. And when the wind picks up in the pines and spruce, when the darkness is deeper than you thought possible, when you ask yourself where all the stars have gone and if that sound in the trees is only just the wind, you’ve known what it’s like to stand in the forest of Grafmark, and what it’s like to walk from the pickup to the machine on an early north Idaho morning.

Another prime example of a location directly from the places I have lived is the Æsten Ridge. Almost a footnote in the adventure from book two, the Ridge is iconic to anyone who has ever lived in Lewiston, Idaho or Clarkston, Washington, twin towns only twin because the river and the state line separate them. Swallow’s Nest Rock is the original, and though the Æsten Ridge is even larger, the real world place still holds its own.

But the Lewis-Clark valley is only one source. Above it, and to the north, a long stretch of rolling hills called the Palouse spreads in all directions. In the spring, its fields are as green as Tolkien’s Shire and in the summer epitomize the “amber waves of grain” from America the Beautiful. These hills and dales, fields and little streams that the locals call rivers, scattered with a willow or a cottonwood, make up the inspiration for the South Kingdom, where Volume III takes place. Here, sunsets fan out over the whole of the horizon, right on the edge of what the Montanans call “big sky country.” And in the winter, when the snows bury the wheat fields, the nights are bright enough to see for miles.

And though these places are merely inspirations for the land of Vladvir, and though there are many more to discover, each with their own story, I hope they breathe and emote within the Alora’s Tear series as much as my characters do. I hope that were they to come to harm for some reason, that the threat would be as though the world itself might experience pain, anguish, and terror. And, that if our heroes are victorious, the world too experiences joy and exultation.

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About Nathan Barham

Nathan spends most of his working days with the students of Genesee Junior-Senior High School in Genesee, Idaho. Whether it’s essay structure, a classic literary work, or the occasional impromptu dance routine, he strives to keep students interested in the fun and the fundamentals of the English language.

When he’s not teaching, he wears a number of hats, though the one that says “Dad” is the most careworn and cherished (it says “Husband” on the back). It hangs on a hook in a house where music is a constant and all the computers say “Designed by Apple in California” somewhere on their aluminium facades. From time to time it is said that he ventures into the mysterious realm called outside, though the occasion is rare and almost exclusively upon request by son or daughter.

Visit his website: www.barhamink.com
Visit his Amazon page. Click HERE.
Connect With Nathan on GoodReads: Click HERE.
Connect with Nathan on Twitter: @NateBarham

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Last week to participate on The Night of Elisa GoodReads giveaway!

So, you're looking for a dark, surreal, dreamy, fantastic read? Would you like to delve in a world beyond our own? This is the last week to participate my GoodReads giveaway for The Night of Elisa - the art book edition!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Night of Elisa - An Illustrated Gothic Novel by Isis Sousa

The Night of Elisa - An Illustrated Gothic Novel

by Isis Sousa

Giveaway ends August 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Working on: As Cold As Thorns – an illustrated Gothic novel

I’m concluding chapter 10 out of 14 (or maybe 16). I write during weekends and evenings if/when I have some free time, since my books and writing don’t pay my bills.

This time the process is different than on my debut novel, The Night of Elisa, because I am working with a wonderful team of beta readers (team will be disclosed when the book is published), coordinated by RBTL Blog Tours & Anna Dase.

The process goes like this: Clare Diston, my editor, edits each chapter, then I pass it to the beta readers, who provide great feedback with their thoughts and opinions. I am taking note of everything and all the gathered information will be used/help on the final editing of the manuscript when the novel draft is concluded.

Basically, it is a lot of extra work, e-mails back and forth and time commitment from all parties, but ultimately, it helps me to see where I went right and where I can improve the story, so that in the end, I can offer a great work to the readers of Gothic, paranormal and Dark Fantasy Fiction.

I am starting the illustration process this month. Basically there will things like Chapter separators, page borders, objects and characters.

I plan to publish the book in November, if all goes smooth until then, in the formats paperback, hardcover with dust jacket and e-book.

For now, you can read the
As Cold As Thorns - a Gothic novel packed with beautiful illustrations.

When lust and vanity consume a humble young soul, nothing is left but a faint flame in the darkness of the void.

The solace and contentment of Henrique’s simple life as a small-town tailor’s apprentice vanish when his ambitions turn him overnight into one of the most powerful and influential personalities in early-1800s Europe. His quick ascension to the upper echelons of the leading Iberian Empire reveals a man torn between the pure heart he once was, and the grim shade of what he has now become: a spirit obsessed with expensive material possessions and the urge to acquire the unattainable.

Henrique succumbs to the ever-growing desires and beguiling passions tormenting his mind, causing a rupture between reason and a desolate world of ice and snow where pain is the key to salvation.

Will he survive his encounter with the colossal emptiness and find the righteous path to lead him out of his agony?

Come and indulge yourself in this startling tale of coldness and wonder.

Excerpts and illustration teasers coming soon!