Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter
to all of you!

     I hope your day was filled with love and enjoyed by family and friends. As spring opens to us, along with new blossoms, fill your mind with positive changes you want in your life. Smile at others and change their life! Yes, it's that easy. If they choose not to change their own life, at least you know you tried. Slow down, smell the flowers and enjoy your friends. Open new doors for yourself and try new things. We can only experience new if we step out of our comfort zone. You can do it!
     Along with new beginnings, my latest book, Whispers at Ghost Point, could be a great new read for you if you've not read it yet. Regardless of the type of e-reader you have, Whisper's is in that format. Stop by my website and click on the site you use to download your books and grab a copy!! The e-book is only $3.99 - I hope you read and enjoy my characters as they walk the streets of Wilmington NC and Savannah GA!

New excerpt for you:

No other cars sat in the parking lot of the lighthouse; she half hoped Brad would be here already so they could all go inside together. Dana pulled up to the parking area right in front of the No Trespassing sign then looked at Sarah. “Since we have the keys, I don’t think we’ll be considered trespassers anymore.”
“Lucky for you!” Sarah unbuckled her seatbelt, grabbed her camera and got out. “Hurry up, I want inside!”
Dana got out with her camera, put the strap over her head so it would hang in front of her, grabbed the broom from her trunk and locked the car. She walked over to stand next to Sarah and surveyed the property. Her gaze immediately went to the tower and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. “Tell me I’m not the only one who feels as though we’re being watched...”
“That would explain why I have goose bumps all over me.” Sarah stepped closer. “The feelings seem to come from the tower more than the house itself. That’s odd,” she said, and began snapping a few pictures of the house, the tower and yard around the house.
Dana snapped a few of her own, then reached into her pocket for the keys, heading toward the porch with her broom. “Come on, let’s find out why.”
At the bottom of the steps to the front porch, Dana couldn’t help but take one last look up at the tower.
No shadows. No face looking back at her even though she could feel being watched.
Sarah nudged her shoulder. “Stop it. Let’s just go in. Maybe I’ll sense more inside. All I’m seeing right now is old English frigates sailing on the ocean...but there seems to be a black flag flying on the ship; that’s odd, too. I sure hope this stuff makes more sense to me one day.”
Dana brushed a few cobwebs off the door then held the key tight in her shaking hand as she stared at the door knob. This is what she’d waited so long to do and now here she was. Her muscles tensed as she contemplated what might be on the inside waiting for her.
Could she deal with all that might be unleashed on her and Sarah?
Butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she wondered if they should wait for Brad.
Her heart pounded in her ears.
Air felt trapped in her lungs as though a metal band surrounded her ribs.
She inserted the key with trembling fingers and turned the rusty knob. When it seemed stuck, she turned to look at Sarah.
“Won’t it open?”
“No.” Dana pushed again.
Now she leaned her shoulder against the door and pushed a little harder. The squeaking hinges grated on her ears but she slowly shoved it all the way open and removed the key. “Grab the broom. I think we’re going to need it just to make our way through the house.” She waved away a web directly in front of her face. “I hate spiders!”
Taking a few more steps inside on the dusty hardwood floors, closely followed by Sarah, the two stood listening to the silence around them. Dana turned to look at a wide-eyed Sarah but couldn’t bring herself to say a word as she continued to listen.
Birds cawed outside but inside...only an eerie silence surrounded them.
Sarah closed her eyes, putting her fingers against her temple. She swayed and Dana thought she might have to reach out to Sarah so she wouldn’t fall. Suddenly her eyes flew open, her pupils enlarged and her color had faded fast. She could only stare at Dana who waited patiently to hear what vision she’d seen.
Dana knew by now that this was how the spirits around her contacted Sarah, if indeed there were she doubted that fact! She snapped a picture of Sarah, hoping later it might show something that would help them. “What did you get?”
Sarah continued to stare wide-eyed at her for a few moments more. “I hope this isn’t how it’s going to be every time we visit here. He isn’t letting me through, but I’m getting a vision of a long haired man in period clothing, much like a grubby pirate. That might explain the black flag I sensed on the English frigate earlier.”
Dana’s excitement peeked as her nerves calmed. “Maybe a pirate ship sank out there two hundred years ago! How exciting! Come on, let’s look around. We’ve waited so long to be in here.”
Fingers wrapped around her upper arm and Sarah spun Dana around to face her. “Do not go anywhere in here alone...stay with me at all times...please?”
Dana searched her eyes for clues of what she meant, wondering what she may have seen but not told her.
Sarah clicked a few pictures of the rooms from the foyer area. “Just trust me on this. You lead the way, I’m right behind you.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Meet Suzanna Williams - YA Author!

Suzanna Williams
YA Author

      It's with great pleasure that I get to introduce you to an amazing author with a mind full of talent! Her website is filled with even more talent and when you click over there, make sure you have a few minutes to watch her funny videos!
     This week we're going aboard a ferry across the 'pond' to chat with Suzanna! She had me laughing more than a few times so I do hope you enjoy her and her books!

Suzanna: Hi Deanna. Thanks for meeting me. I thought the bar in the Rosslaire to Fishguard ferry would be a great place for an interview. When I’ve answered your questions we can go on deck. Ships are so romantic at night. 

Deanna:  Right. I’m not sure the Irish car ferry is romantic but the wine’s good. So, your book’s called ShockWaves. Is there a significance to the ferry in the story?

Suzanna: Yes, my heroine, Paige, finds herself stuck in car ferry that gets blown up and sinks in St Georges Channel between Wales and Ireland. (Laughs nervously) Let’s hope that doesn’t happen today. 

Deanna: Suzanna, I loved visiting your website! Which got me thinking about all you do. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Suzanna: I am the world’s worst person at sport. You know that kid who was always picked last for teams at school? That was me. I can’t run, jump, throw or catch and I’m not even competitive … which are not good traits for most sports.

      Maybe my lack of athletic achievement is the reason I make my characters so good. Paige has a black belt in karate and does gymnastics and Lee, my hero, is into parkour (which is a kind of urban gymnastics - the art of moving from one place to another taking the shortest route).

Deanna:  For an evening out, would it be dinner or a movie? What would the dinner be? What might the movie be?

Suzanna: Umm, what’s wrong with the Ferry bar? Only kidding. Let’s do dinner and a movie.

      When I’m eating out, I like to order something I wouldn’t cook at home, probably something Indian, Italian, Chinese, definitely an international dish – my home cooking tends to centre round very English roasts and stews.

And the movie? Action adventure please. I used to pitch ShockWaves as Die Hard for Kids and I went to see A Good Day to Die Hard last week. That was fun.

Deanna:  Do you have to split your writing time between a day job?

Suzanna: I am a serial collector of random, badly paying jobs. Presently, I only teach piano and work in a supermarket because I gave up my registrar job last year … not enough people getting married anymore.

      Although it would be nice to just be able to write, working lets me ‘people watch’ and provides lots of ideas for my characters so it’s not all bad. 

      (Leans forward) I don’t want to worry you, Deanna, but do you think this ferry crossing is starting to get rough now we’re out of the harbour?

Deanna:  Umm, *looking around out the windows* I don’t think the water’s too choppy at the moment; let's keep going. What do you do to relax when you aren’t writing?

Suzanna: Nice distraction technique, Deanna. I’m a serial collector of hobbies too. (Takes good swig from wine glass). I play the piano, read lots, love walking in the mountains and at the moment I’m knitting a baby shawl because I’m almost a granny. I have a ‘nearly’ grandson due at the end of April.

Deanna:  Congratulations on the new baby! How exciting! As authors, we’ve sometimes been accused of being several people. How many personalities live in your mind?

Suzanna: That would depend on the book I’m working on. I have two main characters talking to me from my present work in progress. In fact, I have the complete story written from both perspectives, although the finished book will only be told from one. After you’ve lived with your characters for a while, you actually do get to know their reactions to the situations they find themselves in.

      I think my family has gotten used to me having conversations with myself now.

Deanna:  Can you tell the readers something about your next book?

Suzanna: I’d love to, Deanna. It’s called Ninety-Five percent Human and it’s about a boy living on a farm in a sleepy Welsh village who saves a girl from committing suicide in the river only to discover she’s a human/alien hybrid and her survival has triggered the invasion of Earth. Phew! I knew I could do the log-line in one sentence.

     I know it sounds very sci-fi, and although we do get some spaceships at the end, it’s more about relationships and what it means to be human than ‘little green men.’

     Speaking of green men, I think the couple sitting by the window are starting to look an odd colour. Told you the water was rough. 

Deanna:  I’m afraid you might be right but perhaps they’re just poor sailors. So, what type of reader will Ninety-five percent Human appeal to?

Suzanna: All my books fall into the Young Adult category. There’s action and adventure and a touch of romance. They’re aimed at readers who might like Marie Lu’s ‘Legend’ or ‘Robert Muchamores ‘Cherub’ series or, dare I say, ‘The Hunger Games,’ which had a lot of adult readers too.

      Legend’s one of my favourite books at the moment. Here I am reading it. I like to get into the atmosphere of a book.

Deanna:  I see. I suppose that’s where this ship comes in? What research do you do when writing?   

Suzanna: I love stories that make the reader believe could happen to them. So I write about normal places I know and invent radical situations in them. Hence ShockWaves is set in Shrewsbury, my nearest town but my characters have to fight against an ex-IRA terrorist and have a telepathic connection and Ninety-five percent Human finds an alien in a Welsh farming community.

      I like to visit locations as research for my novels so I traveled on this ship before I wrote the scene. Who’d have thought you’d smell the non-slip rubbery decking? Or the corridors between the cabins would be so narrow? Or the lifeboats inflate????? Let’s go and look at them.

Deanna:  *pulling the collar of my coat tighter around my neck* The sea breeze is cold up here at night.

Suzanna: It is. Imagine Lee and Paige in the dark, soaking wet and being winched onto a rescue helicopter as the ship sinks beneath the waves.

Deanna:  That was the scene on your book cover. Did you really get actors to do that? 

Suzanna: Umm … No … It was my son and his girlfriend standing on a gate ... But don’t tell anyone … It was actually quite dangerous  ... They fell on the photographer twice! 

Deanna:  That must have been a fun photo shoot! *I grab hold of the side railing* Wait! Did you feel that? It was … an explosion!!!

Suzanna: Yes. (shrugs) We probably should wrap up this interview now.

Deanna:  What? You mean, you’ve blown up the ferry?

Suzanna: I told you I like doing research ...

(Suzanna would like to reassure readers that no authors were harmed in the making of this interview.)
Deanna:  Okay, I think we're all safe in this life boat now and they're taking us to shore. Suzanna, this has definitely been an exciting interview! Thank you for having us here. I don't think we'll soon forget THIS adventure!

Contest:  Suzanna is giving away THREE e-copies of ShockWaves! Wow! Get your entries into the Rafflecopter below and don't forget to let Suzanna know what type of e-format you need. Good luck everyone! 


*includes buy links and connections with her* 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 18, 2013

Interview w/Grayson Michaels - Rescue stories & more...

Grayson Michaels
Fiction Author

     For those ladies who love to read about first responders, whether they're policemen, firemen, or EMTs, I have a special treat for you. Grayson is a pen name for this author who just happens to be a firefighter on his day job! His first book will be out soon and will contain several short stories of rescue by his fellow first responders. His stories take place in 'Oceanview, CA' so he's invited us to the station house where the stories take place.
     Gather 'round and get comfy because Grayson has a few more books he's working on but I'll let him tell you. He'll be around all week to chat and answer your questions so please leave your questions and comments at the end. Please help me welcome him to one of his first online interviews for his upcoming release of 'Oceanview'!

Deanna: Grayson, welcome and congratulations on your first book. I know you're excited for the release and that's getting closer. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Grayson:  I am a multi-genre writer that has grown up in the inland Northwest my entire life. Much of my life has been through a pen, and ending on the paper. I absolutely love the paranormal and the ‘Unknown’ parts of life. I often reflect of things that can happen but haven’t quite yet. I’m often spontaneous, and can hope from genre to genre with as quick as the muse lets me. I’m a very open person and enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. I do have a background in EMS/Firefighting, as well as some background in law enforcement.

Deanna: What made you want to become a writer?

Grayson:  What sparked my interest to become a writer was 6th grade. I was going through a very tough time, dealing with a divorce that made no sense to me. I had turned to reading as a way to escape everything. That’s when I found my love for Michael Crichton, and his novels. It wasn’t too long after that, is when I started writing. During the same time period as a class we were doing a unit on the solar system. The teacher had asked all of us to do a story about the solar system, and the fact we had to write a short story and visit all of the planets. She said that there’d only been one other student that had accomplished that. By time I’d finished mine, I had gotten to read it in front of the class and got an A on the project. After that, my love for writing bloomed and all through Junior High and High School I stayed pretty grounded by either drawing comic strips with a few friends of mine, or I wrote short stories in between by studies in class. 

Deanna: Please share a bit about your new release, OceanView, without giving away any spoilers.

Grayson:  That is the tentative cover for right now and we're still working out the final details for it but it'll be very close to this. The book is in it's final edits and nearly ready to come out titled “OceanView”. This is my first published novel and I'm quite excited about it. This novel has been about eight years in the works and is a continuous story. The story itself revolves around the Police/Fire/EMS workers in the city of OceanView, California.
      Having previous experience in Fire/EMS I thought it would be neat to take on a project like this. Little did I know that this little project would eventually become my first book. The story of “OceanView” deals more with the the personal relationships of the cop , firefighters, and EMT’s the city more-so than the actual job. Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t action of the job involved with the story of “OceanView” but I thought the more human side is always more interesting to look at. How these different types of personalities react with one another, because everyone in this line of work has a very defined character. How the different kinds of stressors affect a person or what they see on the job. To me, that’s where the real story lies.

Deanna: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Grayson:  The kind of hero or heroine I like is the one with scars. The kind of person that may have had some kind of experience with whatever is going on in the story and it takes a constant facing of fears to get where they are at the conclusion. I think having a flawless hero at the beginning and ending with a flawless hero at the end is very flat and cookie cutter. If you want to draw your audience in, and you really want them to get involved with the book they are going to have to be able to relate with the character. Really feel the emotion of this character to keep them interested in the book. But you could also start off with a hero that chooses to accept their own reality but could become different by the end. I like something that shows a reflection of change for the character or the hero by the end of the story.

Deanna: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Grayson:  A typical day for me involves a lot of brain storming. The Muse and I have conversations through out the entire day, and sometimes the characters will talk plainer than others. Usually, when I started getting an idea then I let it play out for a little bit in my head. I am not real quick to jump and start writing immediately, because if you write the scene as quick as it comes to you, then sometimes you draw a blank after words. So the best advice I can give to anyone is let the idea brew for a bit. That’s what I do and when I have an idea then I write it down in the notebook that I typically carry on me. It would be similar to pulling a cake out of the oven too early before it was actually ready. I like to start the morning off with a warm cup of coffee or tea to get the ideas going.

Deanna: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Grayson:  As a writer, I try to keep my ideas open to anything. I think as a writer, that if you try to limit yourself to what you want to write instead of opening up to what you CAN write you only set your own boundaries, and as a writer I don’t think that it’s good for anyone. Usually, I try to write realistic/fiction. Again, going back to the beginning when I mentioned that I try to write about possibilities that could potentially happen but haven’t yet. Though, on the next book that will be coming out I write about the paranormal. It’s a subject I’ve always wanted to write about and didn’t want to sound cheesey at doing. After I finished it and looked back, the entire story is very pleasant. I cannot wait to get it off to my editor so we can start getting the process going on that one.

Deanna:  It's definitely an exciting process. How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Grayson:  With OceanView, it has taken me almost six months to get it edited, the writing itself took me about eight years length to complete it. The newest story, took me about six months to write, and I haven’t started the edits on that one yet.

Deanna: Glad to hear you've got other books going on, too. Do you have to be alone to write?

Grayson:  Yes, I have to be alone to write or it seems I cannot get my thought process on track to get the idea going. I used to be able to write to music, but even now with that I find that I can’t write with music and that it has to be quiet in the room. To help with the process, as my laptop is booting up and getting prepped I will brew a warm cup of tea and settle in that way. Usually, with that cup of tea the ideas begin to flow quite nice. Usually, I can get out five to six pages in a night. Though, I don’t like to push the muse because she has a way of being nasty, but typically on a good night I like to get at least three pages written, more if the idea is flowing well. I don’t like to cut myself off in the middle of a scene or idea.

Deanna: How do you go about naming characters?

Grayson:  What’s interesting about me, is that usually I get the concept of the character first, and then I get the name later. I can always see them in my head before they let me know there name. Some are more standoffish than others, but other times characters are very open about who they are and what their names are. I wrote a blog about character development and how I really look at my characters more as people than just fantasy people. By the end of my books, I have grown quite attached to all of them. The less desirables usually get their’s by the end. But all of my characters mean something to me and it’s always disappointing to say good bye at the end of the book.

Deanna:  It is hard to say goodbye to some! Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Grayson:  Sometimes I have to research and find pictures for them. Other times, it’s simpler to just go by off what they look like in your head.

Deanna: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Grayson:  The locations in my stories really have to fit the scene well. Usually locations are places I’ve either been, had dreams about, or have seen on travels through the Northwest.

Twitter:  @GraysonMichaels

Deanna:  Grayson, thank you for being with us this week! Readers, he'll be around for questions and he's also picking a winner on Saturday to receive an e-copy of OceanView when it's released. Get into the Rafflecopter below then leave a comment or question for Grayson.
a Rafflecopter giveaway