Writer Interview-Cameron Coral

Brink-12-9-17Sometimes being stuck in line at the hotel reservation desk is a good thing. While waiting for check-in at Sam’s Town, I met Cameron Coral, one of the amazing indie authors attending 20Books Las Vegas!

Tell me about your latest book.  BRINK is a dystopian cyber-thriller that takes place in futuristic Spark City. The main character is a woman named Ida. After several years in the military, her time is up, and she’s able to return to civilian life. She ends up in Spark City where she hopes to start over and leave her troubled past behind.

But she intervenes in a hostage situation, and others discover her secret–she can bring people back from the brink of death. The mayor of Spark City is terminally ill. When he discovers her ability, he will stop at nothing to find her and unleashes his robot army to hunt her down.

Imagine Blade Runner meets La Femme Nikita,  and you get a sense of BRINK.  I enjoy writing strong female protagonists inspired by characters like Ripley in the movie, Aliens, and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. You can expect my books to have strong female characters who kick ass.

What’s next for you? I’m busy at work on Book Two of the Spark City series. You’ll learn a lot more about Ida and other characters from BRINK in subsequent books. I’m planning to release the sequel in early 2018, along with at least two more novels in the series.

Also in the works, I am writing an apocalyptic novella series set in Chicago. Imagine waking up one day to find an entire city population is gone. What would you do? How would you react now that we are so dependent on mobile phones and GPS? This scenario has always fascinated me.

Who are your writing role models? Ever since my stepdad gave me my first Stephen King novel at age eight, I’ve been hooked on horror and the supernatural. I was a late bloomer and learned to read later than other kids, but once I started, I was a voracious reader.

Stephen King’s productivity throughout his career has been amazing. When I was a kid, some people laughed him off. It’s a testament to his dedication, consistency, and talent that he has become one of the most successful writers of all time.

I am also inspired by Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, and more recently by George R.R. Martin and Octavia Butler. Sci-fi fans should absolutely read Parable of the Sower by Butler. It’s an apocalyptic novel that she wrote in the early 1990s, and it’s eerily predictive of our current times. I love her work.

Joanna Penn (also writes as J.F. Penn) is an indie author whom I greatly admire. I hope to model her career someday. She has been a mentor and an inspiration to me as I’ve begun my author journey.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life? I write first thing in the morning when I wake up. With a clear head, I’m rested, and can usually churn out a few thousand words. My days are always better when I write first.

For many years, I was a corporate project manager but quit a few years ago. Now, my day job is helping authors launch bestselling books. I also write nonfiction and blog under another name. You can check out my nonfiction writing at ProjectManagerWriter.com.

It’s challenging to balance writing and a day job. Scheduling my day has been helpful. I also track my time to see where I’m spending it, and I keep a list of goals and hold myself accountable to deadlines.

What are your other passions outside of writing? I’m a travel junkie. Chicago is now home, and it’s the longest place I’ve lived other than Maryland where I grew up. I’ve lived in Arizona, Maine, and spent nearly two years in Adelaide, Australia. I’ve been fortunate to visit over a dozen countries including China, Germany, Poland, Greece, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, and New Caledonia.

Of course, I’m also a nerd and enjoy sci-fi and comic conventions. A child of the 80s, I am nostalgic for Star Trek, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and so on.

My husband is also a writer. In the next few years, we plan to turn our creativity into a sustainable business that allows us to travel and live in different places around the world. While I love Chicago, the winters can be tough!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Keep creating! Creativity is so important, and I believe that too many people ignore it, or lose their creativity because of the daily grind of life. I was stuck for years in a job I hated, just living for the weekends. I missed out on time I could have spent writing.

It finally took a wake up call: my stepfather died of cancer, and I got laid off. That’s when I realized that life is short, and we should be spending our time on what matters. I started writing and haven’t stopped.

I encourage others to spend just a few minutes a day journaling or doing something creative. No matter what–whether sketching, creating a collage, or writing poetry–what matters is that you are creating something, and I truly believe that something happens in your brain. When you create, neurological switches get turned on, and you become a happier, more fulfilled person. Creativity is like a domino effect: when you create, you want more creativity, and you make better decisions, which can ultimately change your life for the better.

One last thing, I have a free short story for anyone who is interested. You can find it on my website: CameronCoral.com. Breaking Day is about a dystopian prep school. Dresden School isn’t like regular schools. Electives include Weaponry 101 and Advanced Hand-To-Hand Combat. Interesting things start to happen when new student, Rik, arrives and meets Ida. Don’t be late to class…your life may depend on it.

BRINK

Hunted For Her Power to Heal.

After leaving the military, Ida moves to Spark City, where she plans to start a new life and leave her past behind. Instead, she discovers a disturbing trend of returning soldiers becoming violent and an android police force that shoots to kill.

When she intervenes in a hostage situation, Ida’s hopes of blending in are shattered after the malevolent mayor discovers she is the answer to keeping his ailing cyborg body alive.

Despite Ida’s resistance, she is befriended by a rebellious seventeen-year-old artist and a genetically engineered hybrid. Can she trust them or will they double-cross her?

As the lives of innocent citizens hang in the balance, can Ida stop the mayor from his deadly plans and start accepting her true power of bringing lives back from the brink? Only she knows the devastating consequences her power creates.

 

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Good Reads for the Holidays

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Each basket includes a book, votive candle and of course chocolate.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”   C.S. Lewis

When you have a long Christmas to-do list and with many good causes needing support this time of year, trying to cover all bases during holidays can be a challenge.  Fortunately, Secondhand Prose’s Open House can solve both problems.  The 13th Annual Open House will have books, holiday items and book-themed gift baskets (including a couple from yours truly).

Located in the Northwest Reno Library, bookstore is operated by volunteers from Friends of the Washoe County Library.  In addition to gently used titles, the bookstore also carries books on CD and unique gifts for the booklover.

When I dropped off my baskets, the library’s backroom was filled with busy volunteers, baskets, and all sorts of goodies from toys to wine glasses. As with most holiday events preparation is key.  One of the volunteers told me, they had slotted two full days to prepare all the baskets for the open house.

Holiday music will be provided by local musicians, so the open house is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few gifts while enjoying the spirit of the season.  And you might find a couple choice reads for yourself…after all it’s for a good cause.

Northwest Reno Library

3525 Robb Drive, Reno NV

775-787-4145

Saturday, December 2, 1017

10:00AM-3:00PM

20Books Vegas

20 BOOKS

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“And everyone’s definition of success is different. Know what yours is before you start on your author journey.”  From 20Books 2017 handout.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a rookie, most writers agree that writing conferences are an excellent way to network and garner tips on perfecting your craft. However with the vast range of abilities and genres out there, it’s impossible for a single conference to be all things to all authors.  Even genre-specific conferences can have issues with logistics as a couple of my romance colleagues discovered when they attended an established romance conference in Vegas.  The duo trekked long distances to the panels only to discover the rooms filled to capacity.  Not to be denied their HEA, the pair spent the remainder of the conference in their suite working on manuscripts and strategizing for their next boxed set.

I’m happy to report a much different experience from 20 Books Vegas 2017.  Unlike many conferences which are focused on traditional publishing, 20Books is all about Indie publishing. What started as a Facebook group in March 2016 by Michael Anderle soon developed into a significant voice in the indie world.

Held at Sam’s Town, the event reflected the frontier vibe of the venue.  No shoot-out’s at Sam's Townhigh noon, but the spirit of people helping each other resonated throughout the conference.   Twenty minutes before Craig Martelle’s opening remarks, the Ponderosa room was already abuzz with discussion.  With many writers staying at the venue, networking was often as simple as waiting for the elevator.

I returned home with my green spiral bound notebook packed with ideas, business cards and a daunting to-do list.  I can’t say that I’ve got it all figured out, but I now have a better sense of direction thanks to 20Books.

Writer Interview-Maureen Bonatch

EvilSpeaksSoftly_w11335_750Tell me about your latest book.

Evil Speaks Softly is the first book of The Nightwalkers series. It’s a paranormal romance that explores the possibilities of what goes bump in the night. The first person narrative allows the reader to uncover family secrets, struggle with hopes, heartache and love and seek to break an ancient curse along with our strong heroine.

Here’s a short synopsis:

They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead.

They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on edits for the second story in my The Enchantlings Series tentatively titled Not A Chance as well as gearing up for NaNoWri (National Novel Writing Month) this November.

Who are your writing role models?

There are so many writers that I admire. Some of my favorites that inspire me include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?maureenbonatch

I start my day really early. Getting up around 4:30 gives me a little time to work on my writing before I get the kids up for school or go to the day job. I take my laptop practically everywhere and sneak some time in for writing on lunch breaks, commercials, waiting for the kids during activities, or if I’m watching television.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Besides reading, of course, my favorite hobbies include music and concerts, bicycling on the beautiful trails around my home and winding down with a glass of wine and a movie.  Plus since I can’t get enough writing, I’m also a freelance writer specializing in healthcare, careers and mental health.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

We all get the same amount of time everyday. You can find the time to do what you love even if it’s only a few minutes a day, or if you have to give up a little sleep or a television show. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Buy Links for Evil Speaks Softly

Amazon:

 The Wild Rose Press:

 Barnes and Noble:

 Kobo:

 Google Play:

 iBooks:

About Maureen:

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

 

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Art Open House

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

What do Froggie Beads, Meridian Press prints and Wine-ing Cats have in common? Besides being featured on Create on the Side, they’re also part of the creations available from the talented artists featured at Reno Open Studios.

Wine-Ing Cats Reno

Wine-ing Cats by Michele DiFonzo

This year 31 visual artists, coppersmiths to photographers, open their studios to the public.

Best of all, Reno Open Studios is arranged in a true open house format.  Since the studios are located throughout Reno and Sparks, you can easily manage to visit a couple of studios between your usual weekend errands.  Or better yet, grab a friend and make a day of it.

Reno Open Studios-Dates and Hours

October 6th, 7th and 8th, 2017-Note some studios are not open on Friday. Check the website for details.

Hours 10:00am to 5:00pm each day.

Writer Interview-Christina George

ARoyalAffairBoxedSetLARGETell me about your latest book.

A Royal Romance is a time travel romance, with a paranormal twist – set in present day and 200 years ago.

Emma was born with a “gift” to see past live. But she’s never really wanted this gift and she’s certainly never wanted to know about her own past lives. Until it comes back to haunt her.

The story is set in Belgium, New York and takes a trip back through time to the 19th century. I had never planned to write anything historical, this just sort of “happened.”

It also weaves elements of paranormal (the lead is psychic) and royals! We all love our royals! The book also weaves some really lovely historical elements of 19th century Europe.

BOOK BLURB:

Emma was born with a gift to see past lives, but has no interest in reliving her own.

Until it comes back to haunt her.

When Emma meets Peter he seems like an average guy, albeit crushingly handsome, not to mention wealthy. Then he reveals he’s so much more, he’s the crowned Prince of Belgium, and Emma can’t shake the feeling they’ve met before. And when starts falling for him she suddenly realizes they’ll never be together in this life because of what happened in the past.

Two-hundred years ago Fitz and Anna-Maria ruled Belgium as King and Queen, but their heart-stopping love story ended in one of the greatest royal tragedies history has ever known.

Recalling the past is one thing, rewriting history is another.

Is Emma skilled enough for the task?

Battling unfinished business, navigating 19th century society, and evading enemies that are able to travel through time just to keep them apart makes Emma fear the worst, despite what her heart tells her.

What’s next for you?

Well my first book series was The Publicist, so I’m rereleasing those books – with a rewrite and new content! I also have another novella romance coming out (contemporary) called My One and Only in December.

Who are your writing role models?

I love Kristan Higgins, I’ve met her, spoken with her about her books (of which I am also a huge fan) and she’s so lovely and helpful. She’s a model author!

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

Hmmm, that’s a great question and the answer is: it’s tough. I work a very full time job (by that I mean it flows into evenings and weekends sometimes) and I love it, but boy finding time to write and promote is tough. You know you’d think, since I promote books for a living mine would be crazy successful. Well do you know the story of the cobbler who goes home to kids with no shoes? Yeah, often I just run out of time. I think really you have to go easy on yourself. I find this true for anyone holding down a job and trying to be a writer. It’s simply not easy. Also, don’t expect anything to happen overnight and one big lesson I try to share with my authors is this: do lots of things at once. You don’t have to do them all the time every day, but pick three things you love and do those. If you aren’t doing things you love to do, you won’t keep up your marketing efforts.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Reading. Wait, did that just make me sound boring?

Well I love travel, I love teaching. Love. Teaching. I do a lot of writers conferences which I adore.

Yeah I know, there’s a theme here. Books, books, books. You know what they say: Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I adore writing. I never proclaim to be the best writer, but I do adore what I do. If anyone reads my books, I always, always welcome feedback. Loved them, hated them, write me! authorchristinageorge@gmail.com

Artist Interview-Rachel Micander

REMI was fortunate to meet Rachel in person at the Wild Nevada exhibit during Reno’s Artown.

My biggest breakthrough came when… It was very recently. I think it came when I realized that my artwork was unique. I thought for so long that the paintings I created were generic and in an artistic style that was no longer in vogue. I recently went to a local salon to show my work in consideration for an upcoming show. I was very nervous about showing my work since I never see anything like my paintings in local coffee shops or salons. My paintings were received quite well and I will (hopefully) be having a show at the end of 2017. The gal that organizes the shows told me that she had never seen anything like my paintings before and loved how different they were. Since then, I have begun to embrace my style of painting and work to share the landscapes and birds of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra that I love so much.

CedarWaxwing

Cedar Waxwing-R. Micander

Who are your heroes in real life? I have always had a hard time defining heroes in my day to day life, but I would have to say that my parents are two people who have always taught me to do good and whom I look up to. My mother shared her artistic talent and love of nature with me and my father shared his love of sports cars, his calm demeanor, and rationality, making me the person that I am today. Also, my husband, Gary, who always supports and encourages me in anything I try to tackle and is a constant rock in my life. I have a great appreciation and respect for John Muir – he fought for what he believed in and I am so thankful I am able to enjoy the wilderness, mountains, and the beautiful western landscapes because of what he worked so hard to protect. After all, “none of nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild” – John Muir.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your creative pursuits? Recently, I have found that after a long, sometimes monotonous, and stressful day at work, the best thing for me is to decompress at home with painting. I find that if I have a project going at home, it helps me through my day, and I have something completely different to tackle when I am home from a 10-hour day at work. It’s not always easy, but I find that if I leave my unfinished work on the kitchen table I am drawn to return to it at some point.

What are your other passions? I love topographic maps, compasses, and old-style navigation. I am also a geologist by training and love the Great Basin in all its beauty and

ConwaySummit

Conway Summit-R.Micander

geological interest. I have a love of European sports cars and motorsports (thanks dad). Last year I competed in the inaugural Rebelle Rally, the first all-women’s off-road rally in the United States. My best friend and I competed in this seven day, off-road excursion with no GPS or cell phones through the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. She was my driver and I was her navigator. I have always wanted to compete in motorsports (again, thanks dad), and this rally made my dream a reality.

What’s next for you? I hope to continue painting the beautiful landscapes of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra. I would like to learn how to make prints of my art so I can keep some of my favorite originals. There are quite a few paintings I sold early on that I wish I still had. I also hope to begin creating stationary, and maybe one day, design wedding invitations.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? I believe that anyone can be an artist. If you want to create something, don’t let self-doubt hold you back. This is something that I have struggled with for a long time. If you love painting then you should paint.

To learn more about Rachel and her art -check out the following link: 

micander.com/art