Category Archives: Information
Recently I had the opportunity to interview amazing author Christine Butler who shared a bit about her work and her thoughts on writing. Welcome Christine!
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I am now 39 years old, and have published nine novels. I get excited, like it’s the first time, with each new novel, because I have been dreaming of being an author since I was a little girl. I used to write stories and poems starting the minute I learned to put letters together to make sense. Before that, I used to scribble as I told the story out loud to my mom.
What inspires/motivates you to write?
I am inspired by so many things. I am a very visual person, so the things I see on a day to day basis often lead to a new idea, and then I start playing the “what if” game with myself.I’ll come up with 20 different ways the scene I just witnessed in real life was different, and some of those deviations from reality are quite hilarious. Plus, I’m a dreamer. Obviously, I day dream, but my dreams at night are super vivid too, and more times than I can count I have woken up in search of pen and paper to write it all down before I forget it. A couple of those dreams have already been written into books.
What message do you hope your readers walk away with after reading your books?
I write paranormal fantasy and science fiction books. While there are little messages hidden inside about not judging things on first sight, and that’s there usually a bigger story to life than you’re privy too, I think the biggest thing I want people to take away from my books is just pure entertainment. I like to make people forget their own troubles for just a few minutes of the day, because let’s face it, we all need an escape to another world once in a while. :)
Has your writing process changed from when you first started?
Hahaha in a huge way! It took me a long time to work up to writing novels. I used to be a poem and short story girl, because I have had attention issues all my life. I lack focus. My first book took me about a year and a half to write with a partner. We were both barely functioning, chaotic writers. We had notes for the book everywhere. There wasn’t a clear plan, we just wrote, and bounced ideas off one another and wrote again. Once I was able to finish book one with a partner, I thought about how it could have gone better. I started plotting out the story ahead of time instead of just letting unruly characters have their way with my story. ;) These days – I get an idea, I write the basics down, then I start plotting an entire outline, I write out character notes, notes about the settings used, and then I start writing based on the outline. I deviate from it, because sometimes as you write your characters grow or move beyond the outline, but the basics of the story are still there to focus me on how I need to get to the finish line. The great thing about my plotting is that instead of taking a year and a half to write a book, I can now write one in about two weeks to a month’s time.
Are you a plotter (do you outline) or are you a “pantser” and prefer to just see where an idea leads you?
I just accidentally answered this question in the previous one. I am definitely a reformed pantser, and current plotter! ;)
Do you ever get writer’s block and how do you work through it?
I do get writer’s block, and sometimes it can be crippling. I’m not so sure I work through the block so much, instead I tend to work around it. As I said before, I am a very visual person. I also dabble in graphic design and make book covers. So, when I feel blocked with words, I go play with images. Many times it allows me to just imagine things differently, and more often than not it starts the “what if” game I mentioned before. For example, while playing with hair on a model (in photoshop): “What if her hair weren’t just black, what if it were made of magical properties and the right person would see it as a thousand twinkling stars…” Of course that example might be pure garbage, but it just made me think outside the box, and it starts a tumble down effect that jumpstarts my creativity for me. If I still feel blocked with a particular writing project, I will put it aside and go to work on something else. When I can come back to a project I felt blocked on, later, with clear eyes, I can usually see where the problem was and fix it at that point.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your work?
There really are two that stick out in my mind. A long time ago I wrote a young adult book, The Voodoo Follies. Someone mentioned it on my Facebook page, and my daughter (who is in college now) was tagged in the post. One of her friends, who my daughter hadn’t seen in years (we move around a lot) started gushing about that book. My daughter explained that I was her mom, and this girl had a mini freak-out about it. “Oh my God! Oh my God! You can’t be serious!” hahaha I can’t even explain the feeling. I was equal parts grateful for the compliment and amazed by it all at the same time.
The other time was when one of my fans (also a friend now) posted a picture of her birthday cake. Her friend had made the cake with the spines from her favorite books showing, and one of them was a book I wrote. My name was literally on her cake. It was the must surreal thing to see. I had been in the middle of commenting that I wanted a cake like that for my birthday, and there it was – my name – my book! Crazy!
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
Stephen King – Christine was the first adult book I read, when I was in second or third grade. I checked it out from the public library from a frazzled librarian who didn’t realize what she was giving me. Of course, I picked it because it was a killer car with MY NAME! lol Little me played into ego a bit, even if she was shy. ;) I ended up on a writing tangent of making inanimate objects have personalities in stories after that. None of it was good material, but all of that writing was great practice.
Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison – These ladies were among the first adult urban fantasy / paranormal fantasy stories I read, and I LOVED them! I’ve always been a fan of things that go bump in the night as not just the horrible creatures of nightmares, but as real beings who are multi-faceted. Anyway, as I read their stories, I was thinking, “what if they had done this instead?” Of course, my what if game is a constant. But they really jump started my writing in that genre, because it was one I loved and finally there were books being written for that masses. Books that I wanted to write and absolutely loved to read.
Joss Whedon – Because when he was asked why he writes strong female characters he said, “because you’re still asking that question.” He’s a darling, and I’ve been a fan for ages, because he did break the mold, and he was a big part of making it okay to have a kick butt leading lady in entertainment. Plus, I really liked the X-men comics he was writing. They were my favorites.
And most recently – Jennifer L. Armentrout. When I first stumbled across her books, I had never heard of her, she wasn’t recommended to me, I just literally saw a book in a list and tried it. The writing was so smooth, fluid, and inviting. It was like coming home to the pools of sarcasm-laden conversations in my own home. We’re a bunch of smart alecks here, and her books drew me in for that reason. The banter was witty. The female characters were strong, but also not afraid to admit that it’s okay to ask for help, because we’re not all super heroes – even if we possess unbelievable God-like powers! ;) She inspired me to make sure my writing was just as inviting. It gave me a whole new way to look at how I was approaching my work, and ways to make it flow better.
Which one of your characters would you most like to travel the world with?
I would most like to travel the world with Seraphine LaLande. She is the main character from my YA book, The Voodoo Follies. I choose her because she’s kind of a klutzy mess of a person. I like that. I like that nothing would be predictable with her, and besides, she’s a voodoo priestess. She could totally kick butt if she had to, that is, if she didn’t screw it up! ;)
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
I have so many projects in the works. My newest release – Breathless, which is the first book in the Death Viewers series, revolves around Lacy McAdams who has the uncanny ability to touch a corpse and see up to 12 hours of their life before their death. She uses her abilities to help the police solve homicides, but ultimately it comes at a price. Death Viewers are looked down upon in Lacy’s world, and because of that she leads a pretty lonely existence. Watching her navigate the memories of the dead while trying to date in a world that hates her ends up being a little sad and a lot hilarious. These are some of my new favorite characters to write.
I will have a new Young Adult / New Adult series coming out this year as well. This series is literally split in two. One is on the YA side (high school), the Arcane Academy Books, and the other is on the New Adult (college age) side and is tentatively known as the Necro Series. They are slated to start rolling out this summer.
If you want to check in on what’s going on with me or my books, you can do so over at Moonlit Dreams Publishing: http://www.moonlitdreams.org or my author page through Moonlit Dreams which is, http://www.authorchristinembutler.moonlitdreams.org
You can also find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M00nlitDreams
Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/ChristineMButler and
*** Checkout Christine’s Goodreads Book Giveaway***
Recently I was fortunate enough to interview wonderful author Wendy Nystrom, Welcome Wendy! :)
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I have written 5 children adventure books. James and Syvok adventures ages 7-12.
I am 51, married for 21 years, and I am blessed with three wonderful children. I have moved around a lot. I was born in St, Paul, MN. Moves Austin, TX, Moscow, ID, Alamosa, CO, Corpus Christi, TX, Bloomington, MN, Akureyri, Iceland, Shepherdstown, WV, and currently live in Big Rapids, MI. I started writing 2005 while living in Iceland. We lived in wonderful Iceland for two years.
Tell us the inspiration behind your books.
My writing career started while living in Iceland. You don’t see the moon every evening like you do in USA. My kids would get excited every time they saw the moon. One evening my son noticed the moon sitting on the mountain and told me he was going to climb the mountain and touch the moon. The Next day my imagination was unlocked and I was writing the story and many many more began to come to me rapidly. It is an incredible experience. I have story ideas come to through dreams, when I am driving, someone says something, while attending community meetings etc. My fun adventurous family and friends I have made are also is a big contributor to my writing.
Is there a message you hope to relate through your books?
Enjoy the adventures every day brings you. I hope to open children’s imaginations so they will explore have fabulous new ideas for the future.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Going into my imaginary world with my imaginary friends, I just love free flow writing. Once I have a beginning and ending the complete story will come to me often rapidly. When writing my night time dreams become spectacular and help me along. I keep notebooks every where.
What do you enjoy least about writing?
Editing but must do it.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you get through it?
I have had writers block and usually will work on editing and organizing things I have written or blog. I use to rarely have writers block but in March of 2014 I had two bleeding brain aneurisms. I was lucky and my recovery has been amazing. But I no longer can write for long periods of time, so my writing gets interrupted or slowed down. Sometimes what is going in my head will not come out on paper or even voice. I was lucky when I got out of the hospital I was in the process of editing two books with my publisher Anchor Group Publishing. In January of this year I joined a local writers group and the first meeting already has helped me to focus and unlocked some of my stories. Plus I get to enjoy some others stories. I am working on a Urban Fantasy novel called the New Moon Brethren. Which is based on a short story which was published in an anthology a couple of years ago? I would like to two of my main characters Blaze a dragon and Carolyn helped me recover upon returning home. Blaze flew me up to their mountain retreat which is beautiful relaxing place. When I slept they would come to me and took care of my recovery needs. It was wonderful. My 6th children’s is also moving along Magic Carousel thanks to my illustrator Kelly Murray. I asked her to make an illustration of two new characters I will be introducing to get the imagination going and it worked. Now, I just have to adjust that two hours is about as long I remain focused on a project now.
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
While living in Iceland many of my friends there introduced me to their books about their culture, sagas, legends and folktales.
So many my favorite author is Anne McCaffrey who passed away a couple of years ago. I enjoy Honor Harrington series by David Weber. I love star war books and many more. I like a book to take me away to other places. I do enjoy many genres beside science fiction or fantasy. While earning my urban planning BA though nearly every book used for my classes changed my life.
What advice could you offer aspiring authors?
Read and write every day. Do not take it personal when someone critiques’ your work. Take it as someone taking the time to improve your writing. Enjoy the adventures every day brings you no matter what it is.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
Well I set my goals to finish my first novel of my New Moon Brethren series. This series is about a secret society created a long time ago to protect all creatures of mother earth as they did before the world had great upheaval due to dragon’s decision not to do what mother earth intended for her unborn child. I also want to finish book 6 of my children’s series Magic Carousel. I am working on second authorpaooza event at our local library when it kicks off the summer reading program in June. Hope to get some opportunities to meet fans. Re-do my website. Plus enjoy my family.
I’ve been looking for a great YA book, so I thought I would check out Annamaria Bazzi’s Book ~White Swans A Regency World (Book 1). Check back here for my review :)
Book: White Swans A Regency World (book 1)
By: annamaria bazzi
Cover Design: Natasha Brown
Genre: Young Adult
Kendíka’s second chance at life begins as a nightmare.
Will the eerie eyes always looking down from the sky reveal themselves?
Kendíka challenges the aliens no one has ever seen to bring about a better life for the humans trapped in the surreal Regency world she wakes up in.
While getting to know her alien owner, she discovers the aliens aren’t so perfect and have much to learn about humans.
Will Kendíka survive or perish, attempting to make life better for the people living on Regency?
Purchase link: Amazon
Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the States, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.
Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.
You can visit Annamaria at:
Check in on Kendíka’s Facebook Page
The follow-up short story to Emerald Barnes’ Entertaining Angels, Before We Say I Do, is now available! If you loved Chase and Mads in Entertaining Angels, you’ll love this!
About the Book:
Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.
Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or is he concealing the truth of why he’s actually back in town?
Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, he is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.
Before Chase and Mads can say “I Do,” Chase must first learn to let go of the past before the dark forces that haunt his nightmares come to life.
The day had finally come. I was marrying my best friend. Tears of joy stung my eyes, but I tried to hold them in. I couldn’t cry. Not now. Mom and Mandy would kill me if I messed up my makeup.
I stared in the mirror. I had come a long way in the two years since I’d met Zach. We graduated high school, and I was now working on a degree in counseling. I’d fallen head-over-heels in love with my best friend, and I learned to love myself for who I really was. I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy for me. Sometimes I would look in the mirror, and I’d see the fat girl from high school. Other times, Chase would wrap his arms around my waist and reassure me that he loved every inch of me – whether I was big or small. It didn’t matter to him. I was beautiful. When he’d say that, I’d remind myself that God had loved me enough to send his angel just to show me that I was important, loved, and beautiful.
Eventually, the way I saw myself began to change. I no longer compared myself to photo-shopped pictures of models in magazines or my friends who were smaller sizes than me, and I began to look at myself as a daughter of the King. God formed me. He knew exactly what I would look like, and as He’d told me before, He only makes beautiful things.
A knock sounded at the door, and Mrs. Cheryl asked, “Can I come in?”
Mom answered the door and let her in. I turned to face her and saw the tears form in her eyes. “Don’t!” I said, “I can’t cry. Mom has threatened me if I mess up my makeup.”
She laughed and said, “I’m so happy that you’re going to be my daughter-in-law!”
She wrapped her arms around me and pulled me close. I could hear her sniffle, but I fought the tears back again. I wasn’t going to cry. Not now at least.
“I’m happy that you’ll be my mother-in-law. I couldn’t ask for a better one.”
She pulled away and smiled at me before wiping away her own tears. I had always felt like Mrs. Cheryl was a second mom. And now, she would be!
“How’s Chase?” I asked.
“He’s nervous.” She laughed. “But he’s excited to finally make you his wife, girly.”
She winked at me, and Mom said, “Cheryl, you won’t do! Don’t embarrass the poor child.”
“It’s better than making her cry, Maggie.”
Mom laughed and said, “I’m going to check on the photographer. We need to start doing pictures as soon as we can.”
I nodded, and Mom left the room.
“Can you help me sit?” I asked Mrs. Cheryl.
She walked over to me and helped lift my train, so I could sit comfortably without wrinkling the dress too much. The beaded bodice felt a little tight, but I wanted to look my best. I wasn’t loosening it at all.
“You look gorgeous,” Mrs. Cheryl said, pulling her phone out of her purse and snapping a picture of me.
“Thank you,” I said, smiling at my future mother-in-law.
“Are you nervous?” she asked, taking a seat beside me.
“Yeah,” I answered, honestly. “Not the marrying Chase part. That I’m okay with, but I’m afraid I’ll trip or mess up my vows or something.”
I laughed, praying that what I’d just spoken wouldn’t come true at all. I don’t suppose it mattered. I was about to be joined with Chase forever in our very own happily ever after. I knew not all marriages were perfect, and I didn’t expect ours to be any different. I did hope that we would have a beautiful marriage as close to perfect as possible. I knew that if we put God first, we could get through anything; however, the wedding night was what really made me nervous. I just didn’t want to tell Cheryl that.
Chase and I had waited until marriage. It was what was right to do according to the Bible. We wanted to be each other’s firsts and each other’s lasts. At least we were both new at it. I wondered if that was why he was nervous, too. I mean, I certainly understood that.
“Is that all?” she asked, staring at me knowingly. I briefly wondered what all Chase might have told her. This might be awkward. I didn’t even talk to my own mom about stuff like this.
I hated to lie, but I didn’t want to have this conversation. I nodded and said, “Yeah. I guess.”
She patted my leg and said, “There’s nothing to worry about, dear. You two will learn each other’s rhythms before you know it.”
Oh my gosh. Was she really talking about this with me? “Uh. Yeah. I know.”
She laughed. “You don’t have to be so shy. I’m not your father. I’m not in denial about what happens on the honeymoon.”
I felt the blood rushing to my cheeks, and I was thankful for the pink blush already coloring them.
“Are you worried about what he may think about your body? I know that’s always been a concern of yours.”
“Well, partly, but I know he loves me for my flaws and all.”
“Honey, you don’t have flaws. You’re perfect. Have you forgotten what God has done for you?”
I shook my head, biting the inside of my cheek. I wasn’t going to cry now. “No,” I said, “I’ll never forget what he’s done. Zach’s here too.” I added on that last bit to distract her from the conversation she seemed wanted to have.
“Is he?” She smiled broadly. “I always loved him. I knew he was special from the start.”
“I was blind,” I said. “I thought I might actually have a crush on him. Boy was I glad when I decided that I wanted Chase! How awkward would it have been to fall in love with an angel?”
Cheryl let out a deep laugh and said, “It could be worse. You could’ve fallen for a man like Chase’s father.”
Her smile faded at the mention of him. She rarely brought him up, but I couldn’t blame her for that. He’d left her for another woman and ignored them for the first seven years he’d been away. He’d only just started talking to Chase again two years ago. Even Chase didn’t want to tell his dad about our union, so we kept it a secret from him. I didn’t know if that would work or not, but Chase really didn’t want him ruining the day. I wasn’t going to force him to invite his father to our wedding, though. It was entirely his decision.
“We didn’t invite him, you know,” I said.
“I know. I told Chase to, but he refused. I don’t blame him.”
“Nor do I, but he may have seen the announcement in the paper.”
“Well, then he’ll understand that his son doesn’t want anything to do with him. He shouldn’t have left us, Mads.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I hated that Chase had such a rocky relationship with his dad. I couldn’t imagine not having Dad around, but then again, Dad didn’t cheat on Mom and have a new family while ignoring me completely for the first few years of his new life.
Mom pushed the door open and said, “Come on, Mads. It’s time for pictures.”
I looked at Mrs. Cheryl and gave her a big smile. She stood and extended her hand out to me. “Let’s go, Mads. It won’t be long until you’re officially part of the family.”
I wrapped my arms around her in a tight hug after she helped pull me off of the chair I sat in. She kissed my cheek, and we walked out of the room and into the sanctuary where we were about to take pictures. It was now a little over two hours before I officially became Mrs. Chase Sanders.
Enter to win one of five digital copies of Before We Say I Do!!
Where can you buy Before We Say I Do?
And, in honor of Before We Say I Do’s release, Entertaining Angels, the first book in the series is $0.99!!
Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She tries her hardest to write novels that appeal not only to young adults but to those who are young at heart as well.
She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages! She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with. She’s also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is amazing, and she is a crazy grammar nazi who proofreads novels!
When she isn’t writing or proofreading novels, she’s spending all of her time with her nieces and nephews. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd, avid reader, and TV watcher. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.
Connect with Emerald:
Just wanted to wish everyone who celebrates it a
Very Merry Christmas & Happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!
Wishing you and yours all the love and joy the season has to offer.
I will be offline until January 12th to enjoy some quality time with those I love! :)