Memoirs of a Virtual Assistant

Rachel RuebenToday it’s my turn on the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour and I’d like to take the time to talk about me.  Where do I begin?…  Gosh, no wonder Mark Twain never finished his autobiography, this stuff is hard!  Okay, I guess I should start by saying I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was 12, but was told by my writing instructors, you couldn’t make a living at it.  So I went to school and got a certification in IT crap.  It was my plan B, just in case the writing thing didn’t work out.

I went into freelance writing but hated it, I mean the hustle was ridiculous.  The constant querying and networking involved was a huge pain.  So I decided to go into the workforce and get a “real” job.  However, my plan B was officially ruined after the economy crashed.

Just as I was about to go back to school, I saw a posting on Facebook for Red River Writers looking for a virtual assistant for one of their podcasts.  Having no idea what a podcast was, I Googled it and was immediately stoked.

As I listened to authors talk about their books and how they couldn’t live without writing, something clicked and before long, I was writing fiction again.  In fact, one day when our host Dellani Oakes was having technical issues, I was called upon to read one of my children’s stories.  “What?”  I said aloud.  You see, I hadn’t been published yet so this was daunting.  I managed to stammer and stutter my way through my story all the while, sweating bullets.  No seriously, I was Schvitzing like a pig and in the middle of January no less!

After that I was no longer a rookie, and right before one of our shows, Dellani, asked me what I was working on.  Dumbfounded, I had no idea I was supposed to keep writing while I queried.  I figured I’d just wait by the mailbox and see what happened LOL!

Hag by Rachel RuebenIn 2011, I decided to write a YA novel after the highly publicized suicides of several young gay men.  I had no idea where these characters would take me, but by 2012, I had a completed manuscript.  Since I had so much trouble getting an agent with my children’s book and after noticing that my kind of work wasn’t being published by the mainstream I decided to self-publish.  In March of 2012, I released “Hag” to the world and it managed to make all the way to the #10 spot on Amazon’s bestseller’s list.  So I’m in this for the long haul, and with a little hard work, I’ll be able to do it again with my upcoming book, “Eternal Bond.”

Keep your fingers crossed!

~ Rachel

Today, I’m being interviewed by several fellow authors on The Fantastic Blog Hop.  Do me a favor and give them a little love by clicking like or commenting. ❤

Juli Page Morgan: www.julipagemorgan.com/blog
S. A. Hussey:   http://sahussey1.wordpress.com/
Ruth Davis Hays:  http://jorthusbooks.wordpress.com/
Dellani Oakes: http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com/
Karina Gioertz: www.friedgatortail.wordpress.com
Karen Vaughan:www.karenwritesmurder.com
Kristen Duvall: www.kristenduvall.com/blog

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Meet S.A. Hussey: Yeah, That Hussey!

fantastic blog hop bus

Meet S.A. Hussey, author of the new novel Remembrance available soon at a bookstore near you.  Let’s see what we can learn about this new and upcoming author.

1.  Are you a fan of the genre that you write in?

Stephanie: My biggest issue I am a fan of many genres and I tend to incorporate them all when I write, so I never know what to call my book genre other than, “Stephy’s Supreme”.

2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write?

Stephanie: Both, but mostly the computer.  I keep pen and paper with me everywhere I go so in case something leaps out at me I can jot it down.  Other times I revert to pen and paper when writer’s block hits me.   I’ve also used a dictation machine and keep one in the car “just in case”.
3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead?

Stephanie: My best guess…a singer or an artist.

4. What about this business surprised you the most?

Stephanie: How hard it can be to get a “good” crit.   Thankfully I have 2 people who are my “go to” people and I know they’ll give it to me straight.

5. Do you blog?

Stephanie: I have one and I do try but I changed over to WordPress and I am still learning the ins and outs of it.
6. Are you on social media? Do you enjoy it?

Stephanie: I am.  I tweet, have a facebook acct., etc. etc.   I still have an old Myspace acct. lol    I enjoy meeting up with new people but I find social media can be an energetical drain.  I feel like once I’m on-line I can’t get off and if you’re trying to write…well you need to uplug the internet connection.
7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection?

Stephanie: Since I am limited on space – my library is electronic I’d grab the laptop.  Though if I had the room and I had a library I would most definitely save the book collection.

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors?

Stephanie: Everything is changing.  I would say it’s a little of both for authors.  Good in that anyone can self pub nowadays but the bad is at what cost?  You have to market and edit the story, something the industry used to do.

9. How do you promote your books?

Stephanie: My plan is to get myself into the local papers.  Most papers will post a blurb on locals.  I live near colleges so my plan was to make flyers and post them there and put under wipers at the local malls.  Also to hang some bigger flyers at high point traffic stops so people can see it.    It’s a plan.

10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax?

Stephanie: In my current story, Remembrance, someone does get bumped off but if I had to kill off another person it would probably be Paige and by doing so would really change Ari.

Blurb for Remembrance: “Everybody has a past but not everyone has it return to torment them 600-years later bringing with it an enemy who plans to eliminate their future.”

Author Bio:

S.A. HusseyS. A. Hussey is a freelance writer, author, and published poet. She writes for Bluebird Reviews and Rock-it-Write both web-based music review sites and has had two poems published in anthology books. She takes part in on-line critique and writers groups. Her latest project is preparing her first novel, REMEMBRANCE, for self publication in January 2014. She continues to write and is working on another story entitled, ALL ACCESS.

Author Personal:

I live in a small coastal community just north of Boston, Massachusetts, and very close to the witch city of Salem. I have two amazingly beautiful daughters, and a 20-year-old Maine coon cat named Gidget who we believe gives rides to fairies in exchange for her long and leisurely life lounging on the back of my sofa. I am a full-time manager at a local hospital and when I’m not there I’m writing, reading or listening to music. I enjoy a good concert, and write reviews for my music website, Rock-it-Write, as well as do freelance reviews for an amazing fan-based music website, Blue Bird Reviews. I enjoy most genres of music but the blues and classic rock are favorites. Led Zeppelin stole my heart and makes my soul come alive.

Reading is another passion. I love escaping into new worlds every day. My favorite is, The Songmaster, by Orson Scott Card. There’s something in the way the worlds were weaved and how the characters were brought to life. When I first read it my 11 year-old mind was enthralled. I wanted to do that – I wanted to create and write, and I did for many years through poems and short stories, stopping only to raise my girls. Now I’m back, creating worlds and characters of my own and having a blast while doing it.

Today’s Featured Author: Karina Gioertz

fantastic blog hop bus

Today on the tour, we’re going to meet Karina Gioertz and pick her brain on various things writing related.  All of Karina’s books are available now on Amazon as well as other fine online retailers.

1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in?

Karina: Sure

2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write?

Karina: Both actually. But the Blood Bound by Karina Gioertzbulk of my writing I do on the computer.

3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead?

Karina: I would work on a horse ranch. My family had a ranch when I was younger and part of me is always tempted to go back to that lifestyle.

4. What about this business surprised you the most?

Karina: How wonderfully supportive everyone is. Meeting and learning from other authors has been the greatest blessing.

5. Do you blog?

Karina: Yes!

6. Are you on social media?

Karina:  I am.

Do you enjoy it?

Karina: Eh…most of the time….other times it feels like a necessary evil.

7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection?

Karina: Laptop…my books can be replaced.

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors?

Karina: I think it’s an amazing time for authors who are willing to learn and grow with the industry.

9. How do you promote your books?

Karina: I’m always looking for new ways to promote my books. I’ve done interviews like this one on other blogs, had my books featured by book reviewers, done free promotions through KDP Select, etc. I’m pretty open to giving different things a shot at least once. The only thing I haven’t done yet is actually pay for advertising.

10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax?

Karina:  Which book? Alright, let’s go with COUNTRY GIRLS…terribly sorry Private Investigator Fallon.

Excerpts from Country Girls

Chapter 5: The Call

 

Country Girls by Karina Gioertz

It was dawn by the time Brady’s truck was driving up in front of our house. As Eli and I crawled out of the passenger side door, Harry came walking out onto the front porch. He looked angry. I assumed it was because someone from the sheriff’s office had called and filled him in on the nights events, but I was wrong.

“Where the hell have you two been? I’ve been trying to find you for hours!” he growled at us. Then he turned to growl something at Roscoe, who had been howling since we pulled into the driveway. Now that Brady had left again there was certainly no reason for him to still sound the alarm. Finally he stopped and plopped down at Harry’s feet.

“Why? What’s wrong?” Eli was tired and I could tell she wanted to get past whatever it was that was putting Harry between her and her bed. The look on Harry’s face shifted from anger to concern and immediately I became worried.

“I don’t know. Evey called late last night. She wouldn’t tell me anything. She just kept saying that she needed to talk to Em. Something’s wrong. You need to call her!” He looked helpless. We had never seen him that way.

“Oh my God” was all I could say as I ran up the steps and into the house to use the phone. Eli was still standing in the same spot. Frozen. Anxiously awaiting her next emotion and whom she would be directing it at.  Harry could tell, so he snapped her out of it by talking to her.

“Where were you?”

Eli still didn’t move but she replied, “Jail.  And I may be going back if that son of a bitch

 

laid even a finger on her.”

 

“Now don’t go jumping to conclusions. We don’t know anything yet.”

Eli’s face was turning red. “Like hell we don’t! The only reason she would insist on Em is because she thinks Em wouldn’t actually kill him.” Both of them looked up towards the door when they heard the sound of my feet scrambling across the hardwood floors in our living room. I came rushing back through the front door as fast as I had entered it, this time my keys in hand.

I was focused only on one thing, “I’m going to get her.”

Eli fell into step behind me, “I’m going, too.”

I stopped. “No, she specifically said you couldn’t come.”

She threw her hands up at me. “Since when does anyone listen to Evey? Let’s go!” And we both went to get into my old Bronco.

Harry stood there in the same place watching us leave. “Just bring her back home. We can figure things out after she’s here!” he called after us as we were pulling out.

“Fine.” That was exactly what I had intended to do.

“Eli!” Harry was almost yelling, but Eli said nothing. She just stared back at him as we drove away.

 

The drive lasted for hours. We hardly spoke the whole way there, mostly because neither one of us wanted to fight. I could tell by looking at her that Eli wanted to scream ‘I told you so’ from the roof tops almost as much as she wanted to put a bullet in Eve’s husband. We hadn’t even seen Evey yet; we had no details, but in Eli’s mind the worst had happened and she was prepared to dish out some heavy consequences.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t ready to jump to those conclusions. I knew I would probably have to soon enough, but for the moment it felt safer to be in denial. All I was focused on was getting to Eve and bringing her home where I knew how to take care of her – where she would be safe. I was the protector, Eli was the fighter.

It was dark out as Eli and I pulled into the Tinley Park train station. Except for one lonely car in the back of the parking lot, the place appeared to be completely deserted. Both of us were straining to see anything in the dark.

“Do you see her anywhere?” I asked. Eli’s face was practically glued to the window.

“No. Wait, yes. There she is! Over there!”

Instantly I was relieved. I pulled the truck up to where Eve was standing. Eli and I got out and I ran to give Eve a hug. As I got closer I couldn’t deny what had happened any longer. Evey’s eye was badly bruised and her lip was swollen and bleeding. Instinctively I pulled her close.

“Evey! Thank God we found you.” While we were standing there I felt something else I could no longer deny. Eve’s rather large belly had been hiding under her coat, but now it was hard to miss.

“Damn.”

“What?” Nobody could do clueless like Evey.

“I was right, that’s what.” Eli had made her way around the front of the truck.

Eve frowned at me, “Emma! I told you not to bring her!”

“Listen to me. You were in trouble. Nobody was keeping me from you.” It was always that simple, especially for Eli.

Eve hugged Eli and whispered in her ear, “Just promise you won’t do anything crazy.” Eli pulled back.

“I’m not making any promises until I hear the whole story. Look at your face. Just tell me, was this the first time?”

We didn’t have time for this. The train station was so quiet and dark it was outright spooky, and not having the advantage of being on our own turf was nagging at me.

“Later. Let’s just get out of here. This place is giving me the creeps.”

Eli picked up Eve’s bags. “I’ve got this.” She walked behind the truck and around to the back. She was just a few feet away when the darkness swallowed her whole and she was out of sight.

I took Eve’s hand and squeezed it. Suddenly Preston came charging out of the black night and grabbed Eve from behind. He was holding a gun and frantically waving it around while yelling, “Did you really think I’d let you get away that easy?”

We were completely shocked. I was able to speak first. “You let her go right now!” Preston just sneered at me.

“Don’t tell me what to do with my wife! You think you can just show up here and take her back to the swamp with you? You can’t!”

Eve began to plead, “Please Preston. Just let me go. I want to go back home.” She was crying now and on top of being terrified, my heart was breaking for her. Preston’s heart however was cold as stone.

“Home is with me. That’s the only place you’re going. So your sisters can just get back into their rust wagon and go back to where they came from.” He was pointing his gun at me now.

“I’m not leaving without my sister.” Little did he know it wasn’t my first run in with that end of the barrel, and I wasn’t about to cower before him just because he had it pointed at me.

Preston was about to bark another demand when Eli crept up behind him and hit him over the head with a shovel. There was a loud thud as his body hit the ground. Eve screamed. I reached down and took the gun from his limp hand. Eve was freaking out. She knelt down beside him.

“Oh my God! Did you kill him?” Eve whispered, her voice barely audible.

Eli was stunned. “No, I didn’t kill him. What is wrong with you? He had a gun to your head! Stop worrying about this piece of shit!”

She kicked his unconscious body for good measure and then bent down to help Evey back up…

Bio

994555_410708465716854_1689807310_nAlthough Karina Gioertz has been writing for most of her life, it never quite registered with her as something out of the ordinary or worth pursuing, because it was so closely connected to who she was. It wasn’t until she became a stay at home mom and finally took the time to write an entire book from beginning to end, that she understood what all of those ideas she had been jotting down all those years were really for. Since then, she has written several books, including Country Girls, Lucky In Love and Blood Bound.

While writing and motherhood have become her main focus over the years, she also enjoys many other creative activities such as painting and photography. Most sunny days she can be found in her courtyard working feverishly at painting and refurbishing old furniture…that is, of course, only if it wasn’t a suitable day to spend at the beach. 😉

Karina resides in sunny Florida with her family and two dogs and can be contacted via Facebook (www.facebook.com/friedgatortail) Twitter (www.twitter.com/friedgatortail) and at www.friedgatortail.wix.com/karinagioertz

10 Questions and More with Author Karen Vaughan

Today on the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour we have a regular on board, Karen Vaughan.  Author of Dead Comic Standing, Over Her Dead Body and Daytona Dead and new pod caster on the Red River Writers Network.  Let’s see if we can find out a little more about this very talented woman.

1073283_10151707685041668_1316799290_o1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in?

Karen: Yes I grew up reading Hardy boys and Nancy Drew. I love light mystery like what I write and romantic suspense along with thrillers and crime drama.

2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write?

Karen: I go from whats in my head to the laptop. However there are times I do take notes and add them to the story.

3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead?

Karen: Welfare bum with tin cup? No I would probably do some kind of work to help the less fortunate.

4. What about this business surprised you the most?

Karen: How much the authors support each other. I thought it would be more cut-throat and competitive.

5. Do you blog?

Karen: Yes, not religiously but when an idea comes to mind I do blog about it.

6. Are you on social media?

Karen: Do you enjoy it? Yes I live on Facebook, the others not so much.

7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection?

Karen: Laptop—I can find other books later

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors?

Karen: Yes good for independent authors to forge their own path and not depend on the big houses. We do have to do our own marketing but there is the opportunity to learn so much.

9. How do you promote your books?

Karen: Social media like facebook and Goodreads and word of mouth. I also hired the services of a publicist for 2 months and it’s been helpful.

10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax? 

Karen: Maybe Gibbons that would create a conflict for Laura as they were good friends and to have to get used to a new detective who might not be so nice.

Daytona Dead Character Interview:

Front cover of daytona deadCHAT WITH DAVE MEECHAM

The cub reporter  for The Daytona Beach News journal Callie Springford sits down with convicted police officer to get the straight skinny on what went down during the Killer T. Ford Roadkill rampage.

WHY ARE YOU IN JAIL?

I let my brother in-law Killer T. Ford talk me into being his eyes and ears at the police station. I was privy to a lot of info that I should have told my supervisors about with regards to his involvement in the identity theft ring and the hit and runs.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO COME CLEAN?

My wife Annabelle made me see that her brother Duane aka Killer T. was nothing but trouble and he could very easily drag me down the same dark path to hell that he was going on. I decided my life with her was more important than keeping that spoiled little prima donna happy. I had tremendous guilt over the whole break in thing at the Fitz hotel room, getting Rueben to nail Cronk, and getting the kid killed by that bastard.  I might be doing time here but I can stand a bit taller having down the right thing.

WHAT WAS YOUR CAREER BEFORE THAT? I was a desk clerk at the local police station as I had been demoted from my job in Forensics up in Dade County.

ARE YOU EASILY INFLUENCED BY OTHERS?

Unfortunately I would have to say yes. Killer T kind of bullied me into doing a lot of dirty things including trashing that nice couples room.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE? Not be such a wuss.

COUNTRY MUSIC OR ROCK?  Depends on my mood I like either

DO YOU HAVE A NICK NAME? At work they called me Barney Fife now the guys in here call me Dead Meat

FAVORITE COLOUR? Definitely not orange.   Hey do you think this jumpsuit makes me look fat?

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU GET OUT?  I am taking computer courses so maybe I can get a job at Best Buy when I get out.

DO YOU HAVE REGRETS?  Yes definitely and if I could I would undo all the things I did to hurt innocent people I would do it in a minute.

IF YOU COULD GIVE A ROOKIE COP ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WHAT WOULD IT BE? Stick with your principles and don’t let the lure of easy money make you do stupid things.

Author Bio

About Karen Vaughan:Author Karen Vaughan

Karen Vaughan lives in Peterborough Ontario with her husband Jim and a four legged off spring named Sugar. She is the mom of a 22 year old daughter and four grown step children and a 2 1/2 year old grandson named Ike. DEAD COMIC STANDING is her second novel. Her first novel DEAD ON ARRIVAL garnered praise from friends, family and online gamers.  She also enjoys doing crafts and other hobbies. Her latest book is called OVER HER DEAD BODY is the second book to DEAD ON ARRIVAL. DAYTONA DEAD is the third in that series which is soon to be released.

Going Retro with Juli Page Morgan

Today on the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour we have Juli Page Morgan romance author of Athena’s Daughter and Crimson and Clover.

1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in? Oh, absolutely! I’ve been a reader of romances since I was a young teenager.

59117_10153086899660637_258432797_n2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write? I’m a computer girl, even though sometimes I have a hate/hate relationship with MS Word.

3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead? I’d probably try to figure out how to start my own online radio station. I miss that biz more than I thought I would. If money was no object, I’d buy old, historic houses and restore them.

4. What about this business surprised you the most? How fast everything moves now! Just five years ago it tended to take at least a year if not longer for a publisher to get a book out once the contract was signed. My first book came out less than four months after my publisher offered me a contract!

5. Do you blog? Twice a week at www.julipagemorgan.com. Come on by and check it out!

6. Are you on social media? Do you enjoy it? I’m on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JuliPageMorganAuthor) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/julipagemorgan) and I really do enjoy them! I will say that I’m more active on Facebook, but when I take the time to devote to Twitter, I love it, too!

7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection? My laptop! All the books I’ve written and am currently writing are on it, along with lots and lots of pictures. I can always replace my books, though I’d hate to lose my tattered, well-read favorites.

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors? I think it’s a good time for authors because there are so many choices now that we didn’t have before. My first book was traditionally published through Crimson Romance, and I self-published my second. Both avenues have been really great, and I value the experience I’ve gained from each. Also, there is so much information now on the web about how to successfully pitch to editors, how to find critique groups, online classes, etc., things that were out of reach for writers either financially or location-wise before. Plus it’s so much easier to interact with readers now, and I love that!

9. How do you promote your books? I pretty much stick to my website for promotion, though I will post about my books occasionally on my FB author page. If I get a good review I’ll link to it on Twitter, but I try not to spam my followers with advertising.

10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax? Adam Greene in Crimson and Clover. I love him, but he was a real twit when Katie and Jay got together.

946700_10153086904605637_1946542852_nUnder Katie Scott’s flower child exterior beats the heart of June Cleaver. Though she digs her bellbottoms and love beads, she longs for the idyllic family life she was denied as a child.

Laughed out of San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury after the Summer of Love for believing rock ‘n roll and white picket fences can coexist she decides to try her luck in the bohemian neighborhood of Ladbroke Grove in London.

When she discovers her new friend Adam is starting a band with Jay Carey, she’s ecstatic. She’d admired the British guitar god from afar for years, and when she and Jay finally meet the attraction between them is instantaneous. 

But life with a rock ‘n roll star doesn’t lend itself well to white picket fences. And when Katie tells Jay the secret she’s carried for two years it may end the dream before it begins.

Author Bio

521883_10153086911790637_1146588630_nJuli Page Morgan is a former rock ‘n roll radio announcer who had the great luck to meet and interview lots of bands over the years. During those interviews she heard lots of interesting stories, but it was when the microphone was turned off and they were just hanging out that she heard – and saw – the really juicy stuff! Incorporating these revelations in her books (with names and locations changed to protect the innocent, and often the not-so-innocent!) lets her remember those wonderful people that briefly rocked through her life, and to take her readers on a hard rocking journey full of love, music and happy endings while giving a “backstage peek” at some of the things that really happened.  Her Romances that Rock™ include Crimson and Clover published by Crimson Romance, and Athena’s Daughter from Carey On Publishing.

Juli lives in Arkansas with her husband. When she’s not writing, she’s recording voiceovers for television commercials, remodeling her old house,  and trying to convince her husband the world won’t come to an end if the television is turned off.  She also listens to a lot of music at maximum volume and has never met a speed limit she didn’t exceed.  Juli’s an unapologetic lover of rock ‘n roll, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, and French onion dip, not necessarily in that order.

Visit Juli at her website www.julipagemorgan.com!

Meet The Amazing Ruth Davis Hays

fantastic blog hop bus

Today on our tour, we meet Ruth Davis Hays an author whom I’ve actually become a fan of.  If you want to check out some of her work you can here.  Her books The Convergence and The Dawnstone Tales are from the Jorthus Series and can be found on Amazon and at her website.

Convergence The Jorthus Tales by Ruth Davis Hays1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in? I do enjoy fantasy/sci-fi movies and books. They can be either brain candy or poignant allegory.

2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write? I use both. It depends on where I am when the idea strikes. Occasionally, I end up scribbling on napkins.

3. If you couldn’t write, what would you be doing instead? I also enjoy designing costumes, especially historical ones.

4. What about this business surprised you the most? How difficult it is to summarize my stories.

5. Do you blog? Not on a regular basis, although I know that I should.

6. Are you on social media? Do you enjoy it? I enjoy Facebook, but Twitter eludes me.

7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection? I would probably grab my laptop because my book collection can be replaced.

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is a good or bad time for authors? While it is easier to get ideas out to the public through self publishing, it is harder to be taken seriously if you do utilize this path. It seems that the need for brick and mortar stores is shrinking, as is the demand for physical books. Ebooks can be handy, but it is hard to replace the thrill of seeing or smelling a printed page with your words on it.

9. How do you promote your books? I have a difficult time with self promotion, but blog interviews, such as this, help.

10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax? All of them! (maniacal laughter) Is that over the top? To answer that with more seriousness, I would say that it would depend on if I needed the character for the storyline’s advancement. If I can transfer their job to another character, then almost any of them would be ax fodder.

Excerpt from Translations from Jorthus:  The Excursion – by Ruth Davis Hays

 

Excursion The Jorthus Tales By Ruth Davis HaysDharromar laid back, staring at the ceiling, feeling Lylith’s warm, smooth body next to him and cursed himself. He had surrendered to her every whim and curiosity. And, in doing so, had lost himself in the passion. At one point, he almost told her the truth of why he was here with her. That would have been a costly mistake.

The woman had taken him by surprise with her intensity and her unselfish, unconditional acceptance. He had never in his life felt as he had with her. She made his heart tremble.

Their lovemaking had been so intense that tears stung him and he was left feeling shocked, empty. But, it was a pleasurable emptiness, not the coldness that he was used to feeling.

He stretched out his long body, hearing a few snaps and pops. The trust he saw in her eyes told him what he needed to know. If he kept her as contented as a fat cat, she would follow him anywhere.

This job might prove easier than I had originally thought. Definitely more pleasurable.

Putting on his most tender smile, he rolled to face Lylith. The blanket draped teasingly over her curvaceous figure. He could not rip his eyes from her. Her face rested in gentle happiness, a slight smile on her lips. Reaching over, he touched the wild flame of her hair as the morning sun made it dance with life. Her eyes opened slowly, revealing the lavender orbs beneath dark lashes. Her smile warmed him.

“You didn’t tell me you were virgin.” He scolded in a gentle tone. “I would have been gentler with you had I known.”

“I didn’t think it important.” Lylith purred. “I’m happy with the result, aren’t you?”

“Very happy, love.” He ran his hand softly down her pale arm. His eye followed the movement, noting the absurd contrast of his dark gray nails against her creamy skin.

“What is that on your arm?” she asked with all the innocence of a child.

Ruth Davis Hays Convergence
By Khanada Taylor

He glanced at the light blue-green markings on his right forearm. “It’s a tattoo. Have you never seen one before?”

“No.” She watched it with sleepy fascination. “I’d never even seen a man’s body before either. Do most men have tattoos?”

“I suppose some do. It’s usually a symbol of something that they don’t want to forget.”

“Mmm.” She closed her eyes and smiled. That seemed to satisfy her, and she did not ask anything more of his guild symbol. Her mind drifted onto other topics.

She was quietly musing on something when he suddenly asked her, “Why did you choose me?”

“Hmm?” Lylith roused herself from her thoughts. “Choose you?”

A half smile played across his face. “Yes. Usually when a woman chooses to open herself to a man in such a private fashion for the first time, there is a reason… sometimes a very special reason that she picks him.”

Lylith shrugged and smiled shyly at him. “I liked your eyes.”

That was all she had to offer and he nodded, willing to accept that simple of a reason…

Bio:

601975_4804071394339_927906416_nRuth Davis Hays has been a stay-at-home mom, a writer, a costumer, and a data entry clerk. Not all at the same time, of course.

A Florida native, she was born in Jacksonville and graduated with a BA from Florida State University, School of Theatre. Having a love of fantasy from an early age, she took inspiration from anywhere; staring at a picture, the clouds in the sky, or walking down her grandmother’s driveway. Studying theatre and humanities since high school, she and her friend Khanada would write short stories to entertain each other.

When she moved to Orlando with her husband, Ruth worked in the Costuming Department at Universal Orlando for four years before leaving to work as a data entry operator with Harcourt Publishing. Deciding to stay at home with her new son, she freelanced on a research project for Wizards of the Coast. Later, helping on independent films such as The Last Will and Legend of the Red Reaper, she had the fun of being an extra as well as stretching her artistic wings behind the scenes. She was allowed to design and create individual costumes for some of the lead characters on the upcoming Legend of the Red Reaper (and got to die in it, too!).

During all these adventures, she spent her spare time writing a few more adventures down and produced two fantasy novels based on fictional worlds that had infected her brain in college. The series, Translations from Jorthus, is her chosen place for mental vacations. She tries to visit there as often as she can; bringing back tidbits that may entertain the hearts of others. Her books, The Dawnstone Tale and The Convergence, introduce the readers to an idyllic world of elemental magic and fairytale creatures, then plunges them into bigotry, betrayals, and war. Just an average, relaxing afternoon, right?  The third book in the cycle, The Excursion is in post-production and number four, The Illusion where many loose ends get tied up and gagged, will be done (hopefully) later this year.

Follow her on Facebook and WordPress.

 

10 Questions with Kristen Duvall

fantastic blog hop busToday on the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour I am putting Kristen Duvall in spotlight and discuss all things writerly.  It’s a word, look it up! ;P

1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in?

Of course. I only write the types of things I enjoy to read as well. I write science fiction, dark fantasy, horror and speculative fiction and that’s what I write as well.

2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write?

Computer all the way. Though sometimes when I’m not near my computer, I type it up on my phone. I’ve written entire short stories this way.

3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead?

Something with animals, which I hope to do anyway. I prefer to work alone or with animals, not so much with other people.

4. What about this business surprised you the most?

I’m blown away by the support and love I’ve received from the indie author community. It’s been great networking with other writers, everyone is so helpful.

5. Do you blog?

I do. I’ve been blogging for well over 10 years via Livejournal. I have a public blog on my website, but I’ve been neglecting it lately in order to finish my book.

6. Are you on social media? Do you enjoy it?

I’m all over social media. I love it. Since I discovered the internet as a teen, I’ve always loved how you can connect with people all over the world. I’m way more social online than I am in real life and I’ve made long-lasting friendships and partnerships this way.

7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection?

My laptop, but only because all my writing and photos are on there. I’d lose so many stories because I suck at backing things up. I’d love my novel. I couldn’t imagine how hard that would be.

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors?

I think it’s a great time for authors. I love how self-publishing is being taken more seriously and I think this is wonderful for authors who are talented, but who were otherwise overlooked by the traditional publishing houses for silly reasons.

9. How do you promote your books?

I have a website, a Twitter, a FB page and I post free snippets and stories on my blog, Smashwords and WattPad with links to my page and eventually links to where you can buy my books. I give away free samples of my work with the hopes that people will enjoy it and buy my book when it comes out. I also try to engage my followers, getting to know them and sharing interesting things other than just my book. I feel like you’re more likely to get people to buy your book if you post interesting things they like to read, not just “buy my book” all day, everyday

10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax?

The question would make more sense if worded this way “your editor says you mustn’t kill all your characters, which one gets to survive?” Only partially kidding. I’m brutal to my characters. No one is safe in the stories I write.

About Femmes du Chaos

They messed with the wrong girl this time.

581682_703574739633_1216564877_nFrom heroes to villains, Femmes du Chaos sets out to show the world what the fairer sex is really made of. You’ll meet women of all ages and from many different walks of life… Warriors and schoolgirls, side-by-side in one place. One thing connects them all, and that is their ambition. Whether they use their ambition for good or evil, well that’s for them to decide. Gritty, fantastical and sometimes uncomfortable to read, Femmes du Chaos is a tour de force that holds nothing back. There will be violence and there will be blood. Some will survive and come out stronger in the end… And some will let the darkness consume them. After all, no two girls are ever alike.

Here are a few of the femmes you’ll meet in this thrilling collection:

Sylvia: The bounty hunter with a dark past who is hellbent on revenge. When the justice system fails her, she sets out to correct their mistakes.

Layla: The ballerina who wants to be a star who’s spent her life being overshadowed and under-appreciated. What happens when she stumbles across magic that makes her sister the star she’s longed to be for so long? Let’s just say, you’ve never seen sibling rivalry like this before.

Daphne and Delia: Identical twins who share a painful secret. Confined to a lab and tortured in the name of science for most of their lives, they managed to escape once. But when their past catches up them, can they escape from it again? There may only be one way out and these are girls who are willing to do anything to stop their torment. And I do mean anything.

Mikayla: When a curse falls upon their town and the children end up dying left and right, it appears that Mikayla is next. Except, there’s one thing that no one, not even her family saw coming… Mikayla is too smart for her own good and knows how to make a deal with the devil.

Liz: A servant girl forced to work for the upper class people living in a dystopian future. All she wants is an education and the chance to better herself. In a world where she’s not allowed to read a book without fear of death, she breaks all the rules. Until she comes face to face with the punishment awaiting those who disobey, that is…

Mallory: A young girl who can see the future in her dreams. She’s saved lives in the past, and her dreams are warning her to not return to the world they all left behind. Faced with starvation, no one wants to believe her about the multitude of horrors that wait for them above. After all, monsters don’t exist… Or do they?

Melody: A girl who knows nothing but religious fanaticism. Her father and her sisters are the only people she’s ever known. But what happens to the “mothers”, those who are chosen to sacrifice for the greater good of the family? Melody needs to find out and stop it, or else she may just be the next to go.

Snippets:

A Fate Worse Than Death

Lisette was pulled to the edge of the pool first. Gag firmly placed in her mouth, her eyes were wide with fear as tears fell in thick droplets onto her favorite dress, the pink one with white lace at the collar. Lisette struggled as the guard effortlessly shackled her feet to the large weight. Kicking and squirming, she fought for her life, but her slight frame was no match for the strength of the guards.

The mechanism was as cruel as it was simple in design. Lisette’s feet were chained to the weights on a platform that would drop out from under her, dragging her down into the murky depths of the pool below. Chains were attached to both sides of the weight, and on a whim, the executioner could shorten or prolong a prisoner’s life for the pleasure of the crowd by simply raising or lowering the weight.

“Two minutes. I give her two minutes unless old Ira decides to have some fun with her,” The guards wagered amongst themselves as the one beside Meredith winked in her direction.

Bonnie and Clyde

The dream was always the same.

A single yelp of pain that forever echoed in Sylvia’s ears. A streak of crimson where Bonnie had tried crawling for help; help that didn’t arrive soon enough. Even in the dream, it never did.

Bonnie was dead. Murdered.

Sylvia woke up drenched in sweat, just as she had that hot July morning when she’d heard the awful cry followed by peals of drunken laughter.

She’d tried to chase the bastards down, but the cops had gotten to them first. They were lucky.

Two years in prison. Two measly years was all they’d served.

Author Bio:

531779_703574445223_1838153192_nKristen Duvall is a writer of tales both real and make believe. Originally a Midwestern girl, she now resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, her Great Dane and a her rescued calico kitty. She dabbles in horror, science fiction, fantasy, young adult and speculative fiction. Femmes du Chaos is her first foray into publishing her own work, but she has one YA novel and a novella completed and ready to be edited. She also owns a small publishing company called Fey Publishing where she publishes other people’s work because while it’s a lot of work, there’s nothing she’d rather be doing with her life.

The release of Femmes du Chaos has been delayed a little, but currently it’s expected to be finished at the end of August or early September 2013.

To keep up to date on Kristen and to read more of her work, please follow her on Facebook or Twitter.