Writer Interview-Kathleen Kaska

Tell me about your latest book. 

My latest book, Run Dog Run, just released by Black Opal Books last March, is the first of my new Kate Caraway animal-rights series. Run Dog Run revolves around the world of greyhound racing.

Here’s a short synopsis:

After five years in Africa researching the decline of elephant populations, animal-rights activist Kate Caraway’s project comes to a screeching halt when she shoots a poacher and is forced to leave the country. Kate travels to a friend’s ranch in Texas for a much-needed rest. But before she has a chance to unpack, her friend’s daughter pleads for Kate’s assistance. The young woman has become entangled in the ugly world of greyhound abuse and believes Kate is the only one with enough experience and tenacity to expose the crime and find out who is responsible. On the case for only a few hours, Kate discovers a body, which complicates the investigation by adding murder to the puzzle. Now, she’s in a race against time to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.

What’s next for you?

 I’ve just finished the second Kate Caraway mystery. A Two Horse Town in set in Montana and Kate is on a mission to save wild horses living in the Prior Mountains. Also, I’m putting the finishing touches on a hardboiled-detective novel.

Who are your writing role models?

I have so many and they are all so different. As far as essays and blogs, I love reading anything by Roger Angell, The New Yorker editor and writer; William Zinsser, E.B. White, and Lisa Socttoline. Mystery writers Martha Grimes, Laurie R. King, Spencer Quinn, Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Chrisite, and Arthur Conan Doyle are tops on my list. For literary fiction I read Pat Conroy, John Irving, and Anthony Doerr. And I have an entire shelf of foodie books written by M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Julia Child. My hardboiled-detective writer favorites are Raymond Chandler, Dashell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, and Rex Stout.

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

I get up early. I’m a morning person so that’s easy for me. Sometimes I over schedule and put too much on my plate and the balancing act becomes tedious. But it also motivates me to get the work done. I set long-term goals and daily goals and that keeps me on track.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love birding. Living in Washington State most of the year and spending several weeks in Texas in the winter allows me to see a variety of birds, some local and some migratory. I have several friends who are birders and this gives us a great reason to spend time together and travel to exotic places. Cuba is next on our list.

I also love running, especially long runs. I live on Fidalgo Island and the scenes are spectacular. This is one of the few times I am by myself and it’s easy to get lost in my thoughts. I solve problems, plot mysteries, and plan my day, week, and year. I often run marathons with my three sisters. The big city races I participate in are quite different from my solitary runs. Running with thousands of people is a thrill like no other, especially the huge races like the ones in Houston and Seattle. Imagine thousands of people out there with the same goal: challenging yourself and having a blast.

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

I’d like readers to know that a portion of the sales of Run Dog Run will be donated to the Greyhound [adoption] Project Inc, which provides adoption and foresting services.

Books are available through Black Opal Books, Kathleen’s website, and Amazon.

http://www.kathleenkaska.com

http://www.blackopalbooks.com

https://twitter.com/KKaskaAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/kathleenkaska

Writer Interview-Laurel S. Peterson

Tell me about your latest book.Do_You_Expect_Your_Art_to_Answer Cover

My latest book is a collection of poetry based on artwork: Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press, 2017). My husband and I love to travel, and we look at a lot of art. The book documents my perceptions, interactions, and ideas about the works I’ve seen, including Chadri (burqas) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a horse painting by Picasso in Madrid; and a handwoven Navajo rug in Santa Fe.

 

The book previous to that is a mystery novel, Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). Shadow Notes Cover compressedIt’s about a landscape architect, Clara Montague, with terrible mother issues, who has to come home after fifteen years away because she has a dream her mother is in trouble. A few days after her return, her mother is arrested for murder. Did she do it? And what does the mother’s history with the local politician have to do with anything? The book is set in wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it’s all about how shiny your new ___________ is.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently acting as my town’s poet laureate, in the second year of a two-year term. That’s the highest creative priority at the moment. I’m lucky to have a job teaching, so I get my summers off, which gives me space to write. I am working on a book of poems about piloting and the stars, what it means to float up there in the sky, and what it means to land. I’m also finishing my second mystery novel, which also features Clara, above. Given the number of projects I get myself involved in, I’m a little behind.

Who are your writing role models?

What an interesting question. I have writers I admire, but I’m not sure I ever thought of them as role models, even though they most assuredly are. I admire Sara Paretsky because she interweaves political issues with strong mysteries and an intelligent female P.I. I admire Sue Grafton for her incredible productivity, and for trying new forms and approaches in each of her Kinsey Millhone novels. I love poet Mark Doty for his language and his attempt to connect with life on a deeper level. I  love travel writer Colin Thubron for his gorgeous depictions of the world he’s walking through. I love poet Billy Collins for his wit, poet Claudia Rankine for making me think about race, mystery writer Jo Nesbo for scaring me half to death. And I love Jonathan Franzen for going on and on and on, because he challenges me to look more closely. So many wonderful writers out there to make me think about things in a new way.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?www.utechristinphotography.com

Balance? What’s that?  A friend of mine once commented that we were rarely in balance; it was more about getting into and out of it over and over, like a see saw. I tend to see my life more in those terms. I write a lot in the summer, from two to six hours a day, depending on where I am in a manuscript and how much work (play) there is to do in the garden. I can maintain a fairly regular writing schedule into early October, and then the college essays needing to be graded start to pile up.  I’ll write on and off until the end of the semester, and then write over the Christmas break, mostly in January and February, until the semester heats up again.  “People” say one is supposed to write every day, but I just don’t have the time or the mental space when the semester is busy.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

My husband is a Francophile, so we’ve visited France a number of times. We have family in Australia and Canada, and we love Central Coast California wineries. We also have a house in Vermont where we spend time on weekends and in the summer.  We live close to New York City, so we maintain memberships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; we like films, hiking with our dog, botanical gardens, hosting dinner parties, reading (!), drinking coffee on the back deck on summer mornings, gardening… Life has so much beauty to offer, and we are so lucky to be in a place where we can enjoy it.

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

Don’t put off doing what you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Find things in the world that bring you joy. Listen, even to people with whom you don’t agree. Read things that make you cringe—in order to understand and to think. Never stop looking for something to challenge you. Act from love, rather than rage or fear.

And thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I am so honored to be here.

Come find me on Twitter @laurelwriter49, on Facebook or at my website: www.laurelpeterson.com.  Thanks for dropping by!

Indie Author Day

“Writers aren’t exactly a pself-e_indieauthorday_logo_tshirt-01-e1462823856596erson a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” Scott Fitzgerald

I believe Fitzgerald’s quote to be especially true for indie published writers. Not only do you have a cast of characters in your head vying for attention, as an indie writer you are the CEO, publicist, finance director and tech support of your own business.  Even if you hire out for some of the heavy lifting jobs (like editing), the success or failure of your enterprise rests squarely on your shoulders.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the inaugural Indie Author Day  taking place in libraries across the country on October 8th with a live webcast scheduled for 2:00PM EST.  My local library, Washoe County Library-Spanish Springs, will have their event on Sunday, October 9th from 2:00-4:00PM PST. The Spanish Springs event will host about a dozen local writers (including yours truly).  Authors will have their books available for purchase and there will be an author Q&A from 2:30-3:30.

Curious if your local library is participating? Check out http://indieauthorday.com/where

 

A Tale of Two Talks

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With Ellen Hopkins after Microtalk event at Grassroots.

I recently attended two events featuring local writers.   Both intended to illuminate the journey of community movers and shakers in hopes of inspiring others.  While both events were well-attended only one was a success, the other a disappointment.

The flop was held at a trendy bar to a standing room only crowd.  A local author would interview four  Reno-well-knowns about their creative journey.  The main event was held in a room adjacent to the bar which was packed well before the event started.  Those at the bar could watch the interview unfold on the TV screen. While there’s nothing like watching a playoff game in a crowded bar, a talking head interview doesn’t have the same intensity.  I could have just have easily watched the same interview while settled in my favorite chair with better popcorn at home on a public access channel.

Adding to the disconnect our host gave such an in-depth introduction of his first speaker, that when she finally spoke it seemed like old news.  Or maybe it was the slow pacing of the Q&A format.  In any case, despite the fact that the saison on tap was delightful, I couldn’t stay for another speaker or even a second round.  I expect according to the bar receipts this event was a success, but in terms of human connection it was a failure.

The Microtalk event at Grassroots Books was a completely different story (not just because I had the chance to meet Ellen Hopkins-though that was a highlight for me).  The event was free, but required reservations which allowed Grassroots to gauge crowd control and adjust logistics if needed.

The speaker line-up featured  Molly Sheridan, from Desert Sky Adventures,  Rebekah Stetson of Urban Roots and NY Times Best Selling Author, Ellen Hopkins.  Their host gave a concise intro for each speaker. Each speaker had 15 minutes which allowed them to share their stories with time for questions from the audience.  With the speakers touching on such topics ranging from running in the Himalayas to organic farming to addiction’s impact on families –how could you not want to learn more?

The pacing of the event allowed plenty of time for audience members to chat with the speakers afterwards (and book signing). And for those longing for even more discussion, Grassroots hosted an after party off-site open to all.  I drove home after the Microtalk feeling engaged and inspired.  Sometimes the less is more approach is what works best.

Writer Interview-Rachel Leigh Smith

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Tell me about your latest book.

My newest book is the fifth novel in my A’yen’s Legacy paranormal sci-fi romance series, Hidden In Ashes. It does stand alone, but I recommend starting with the first book, My Name Is A’yen. It’s free everywhere.

The series is set in the far distant future, after we’ve made contact with a humanoid alien species. As is humanity is wont to do, we stole from them and enslaved them. A’yen’s Legacy is the story of their fight to regain their freedom.

 What’s next for you?

In the fall, I’m joining the world of shifter and mythology-based paranormals with my first shifter romance, To Hold A Siren’s Heart. Sirens from Greek mythology, shifters created by the Egyptian gods, and a blood feud between the Greek and Egyptian gods of war. It’s a lot of fun to write.

 Who are your writing role models?

I don’t know that I have role models so much as me being a serious fan girl of both  Nalini Singh and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I’ve met Nalini twice. Her especially, if I can write half as good as her one day I’ll be over the moon thrilled. Her imagination astounds me, and I love her almost poetic dialog descriptions. That woman can capture more emotion in a handful of words than any other author I’ve read.

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

I actually have a very charmed life. I’m single, no kids except for my cat, and live at home with my parents. Due to chronic health issues, I only work part-time. I’m also a pretty extreme introvert, so I don’t go out much. I don’t have much difficulty balancing things most days, mostly because there’s not a lot to balance right now.

When I do have to balance things, it’s because of the aforementioned health issues. Fibromyalgia to be specific. That’s what steals my energy and makes life interesting in a bad way sometimes. I learned a long time ago to guard my down time and not bend my schedule to others’ whims. The physical price is never worth it.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I don’t really have any, to be honest. Not ones that I’d qualify as a passion. I have several hobbies I enjoy, including counted cross-stitch, knitting, and coloring. And in the summer, floating in the pool with my mom and sister. We talk about all kinds of stuff out there.

I’m part of multiple pop-culture fandoms ranging from Doctor Who to Star Trek: The Next Generation to Sherlock to Orphan Black, but I don’t actively participate in any of them online. I just enjoy the shows a lot. Though I have been to a comic con to see Matt Smith from Doctor Who, and Alan Tudik from Firefly. And the opening night midnight showing of Star Trek: Into Darkness.

But passions? Nope, just writing. Putting words on the page, dreaming up characters, learning more about the craft, it’s truly my happy place and where I’m most fulfilled.

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

If you have a dream, go after it. Don’t let work commitments or any other kind of time suck derail you. Chase it until you catch it, then hold on for life. You won’t regret it.

You can find out more about Rachel at her website: http://www.rachelleighsmith.com/

My Name Is A’yen, A’yen’s Legacy #1MNIA 200x300-7-30-16

They’ve taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A’yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master’s murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant of the galaxy.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A’yen’s trust. But she’s a breeder’s daughter and can’t be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A’yen’s mind about her importance. When she’s threatened, he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association’s radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.

Writer Interview-Stanalei Fletcher

Dead Reckoning (Northstar Security Series)

Tell me about your latest book.

Dead Reckoning is the second book in the Northstar Security Series. It tells the story of Kellee O’Neal, the daughter of Northstar’s director, who is missing after a devastating hurricane and how her father sends one of his best agents to locate her and protect her from an unknown threat. For readers who enjoy the series, this story offers more background into the Northstar Security Firm.

What’s next for you?

Next up, is Beyond Duty, book 3 in the Northstar Security Series. This story gives Northstar fans a look into the life the director’s son, Riley O’Neal, who is tapped for taking over the security firm someday.

Who are your writing role models?

When it comes to work ethic, I don’t know that anyone can top Nora Roberts. I love RaeAnne Thayne for pulling deep story emotion to the surface, when it comes to sheer enthusiasm for writing, I think Susan Elizabeth Phillips tops the list. And of course, Alistair MacLean for his unparalleled story-telling style.

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

I have a full time job, plus we just added a new family member, so it’s been a busy start to the new year, already. But I have an established set of nights, plus most Saturdays that are set aside for my writing time. I do my best to stay committed to that schedule or I find my writing suffers.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Does spending time with my husband count? We love to take drives and listen to audio stories. I used to train regularly in Aikido, a Japanese martial arts, but I’ve traded training time for writing time. I still love to watch training videos and martial arts movies and try to work out the techniques used. I also garden with my husband from spring to fall – planting, tending and harvesting. Fortunately, the garden isn’t huge, but it produces most of our best meals during the summer. And then there’s the grandkids, their baseball and football games. Typically, there are not enough hours in the day, however, I’d rather stay busy with more to do than less—it makes those moments when I can sit out on back porch during the summer watch the sunset all the more sweeter.

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

If your readers enjoy a bit of action and suspense and romance, they might enjoy the stories from Northstar Security Series. Each book is written as a standalone and do not need to be read in order, although as I introduce characters from earlier books, they do make an appearance in subsequent stories.

Thank you Susan for opening your blog and sharing your audience today. I enjoyed my visit.

Dead Reckoning Blurb:

Egan Maddox isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job when Northstar director, Byron O’Neal, asks him to find his missing daughter and protect her from an unknown danger. Egan’s never shaken off his attraction to Kellee O’Neal and hiding away with her, could be more than trouble than this former Navy SEAL can handle.

Kellee is lost, with no memory, and believes someone wants to hurt her. When Egan appears and seems to know her, he convinces her she’ll be safe with him. As her memories resurface, she turns to Egan for comfort, and her youthful crush transforms into a womanly passion she can’t deny.

With the Russian Mafia closing in, Kellee learns her entire life has been a lie. How can her love for Egan be enough to help her navigate the murky waters of her past and prove that her heritage doesn’t matter as much as the woman she’s become?

Buy-links:

The Wild Rose Press –ebook

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble

iBook/iTunes

http://stanaleifletcher.com/

 

Writer Interview-J.C. McKenzie

CarpeDemon_w9702_750Tell me about your latest book.

Carpe Demon is the third installment of my urban fantasy Carus Series. It continues to follow the journey of badass Shifter, Andy McNeilly as she navigates the supernatural underworld of Vancouver and her tumultuous love life.

What’s next for you?

The fourth book of the series will release in a few months. I’m still waiting on a release date, and will be revealing the title and the cover at the same time.

Who are your writing role models?

I love Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison and Ilona Andrews. I admire their world building and character development, in addition to their use and infusion of humour, in tightly-packed, fast-paced prose.

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

Well, right now I would argue I don’t. I recently moved provinces and although I’m still a science teacher by day, I find the workload in a rural community school more challenging to manage and don’t find a lot of time to write or promote. When I do find some extra minutes, here and there, I tend to promote more, because it’s a lot faster and easier to do with a 3 year old running circle around me.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love science. I’m a total geek and love to learn new things. When I lived in the city, I played volleyball fairly regularly, and love the ocean. I could watch it for hours.

View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

If you sign-up for my newsletter you can stay up-to-date on release dates, cover, and title announcements. Also, if you’re in the Palm Springs area, I’ll be making an appearance at the 2015 InD’Scribe Readers and Writers Conference on September 17-20th, 2015 and look forward to meeting you.

 

 

Website: www.jcmckenzie.ca

Blog: www.jcmckenzie.blogspot.ca

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/j.c.mckenzie.author

Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/JC_McKenzie

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/jcmckenzie

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JCMcKenzie