Six Questions with Author Mary Pat Hyland

Tough question, but describe your writings in 5 words:
Magic realism transforms everyday characters

What inspired you to become a writer:
My great aunt was a wonderful storyteller, the family seanchaí as the
Irish say. I loved how she could tell vivid tales with a few well-chosen
words. I read a lot in my youth, loved Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and sci
fi paperbacks. Then MAD magazine widened my scope to parody and humor. As
I grew older I was drawn to the works of Eudora Welty. I read her book The
Optimist’s Daughter just after my grandfather died, and it showed me how
you can make occurrences in everyday lives riveting. Later I worked as a
newspaper journalist for fifteen years and am grateful that it instilled
in me the habit of writing daily.

What is the Maeve Kenny series about:
It started out with Maeve, who was leading a charmed life in Manhattan and
had everything going for her. Then three unrelated incidents turned her
world upside down and she returned home to upstate New York to start her
life over. She befriends a quirky neighbor who’s a paraplegic and computer
whiz (with a penchant for hacking websites for fun). They develop a strong
bond with an Irish couple she knows back in New York, and the four share
some hilarious adventures and life-changing experiences together. There
are three books in the series. The second book follows the Irish couple
after they are given a winery in New York’s Finger Lakes to manage as a
wedding gift. Did I mention they know nothing about making wine? The third
book picks up where that one ends and throughout the series, the influence
of the internet on their lives becomes an important part of the story. In
2018 the series will be ten years old, and I’m thinking about adding a
fourth book to the series in honor of that milestone.

3/17 has got to be one of the best covers I stumbled upon, what’s this
book about:
I play guitar and sing with a traditional Irish band. For more than two
decades we’ve had gigs on March 17 (including an Italian restaurant each
year) and I found it fascinating to see how the celebration of Ireland’s
beloved saint has been skewed by Americans into bizarre traditions. Case
in point: what’s with wearing bobbing shamrocks on your head? It reminded
me of Dante’s Inferno and its nine levels of hell. I started jotting down
all the weird things I witnessed each year and correlated his ideas to
nine levels of St. Patrick’s Day revelry hell. The story follows four
traditional musicians on tour from Ireland who get lost in upstate New
York and end up experiencing those hellish levels. Warning: If you have a
strong aversion to corned beef and green beer, this book is not for you.

What other authors would you compare your writings to:
I approach my writing in the manner of Eudora Welty and Anne Tyler and
have been compared to Maeve Binchy. Some of my characters are reminiscent
of John Irving’s style. I would love to be compared someday to Flannery
O’Connor.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2014:
Right now I’m editing my first collection of short stories for publication
this summer. There are eighteen tales in the collection, and though not
related, all are set in the Southern Tier of New York where I live. At the
same time, I am working on my seventh novel—a humorous look at classes in
modern American society. Hope to publish that before year’s end. Details
about all can be seen on my website, http://marypathyland.com and my
facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/marypathyland.

Thank you, Chris, for the fun interview!

All of Mary Pat’s books can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/MaryPat-Hyland/e/B002BLYIFO/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1405684791&sr=8-1

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Six Questions with Author M. Edward McNally

I’m lucky enough to be around other authors and have the chance to hear their stories, their advice, their strategies and who they are behind the covers of their books.  Here is a brief chat I had with Ed McNally.

Q: Tough question, but describe your books in 5 words:

“Muskets, Magic, and Matilda Lanai.”

Q: How long have you been a writer and what inspired you to become an author:

In grade school, a teacher submitted a poem I’d written in class to the local paper, which ran it. My name in print, I was hooked. ;-)

Q: What is the Norothian Cycle Series about:

It’s an epic fantasy series, so it falls into that dangerous category of being about everything. Life, death, love, war, politics, adventure. And occasionally stinky cheese and debonair devils.

Q: I noticed a collaboration with other authors, how did that come about:

Yeah, a couple years ago myself and some authors who write in a variety of genres decided to put some short story collections, linked to a theme (The Apocalypse, Christmas), but approached from different directions. We called ourselves the “Eclective” as we were operating under the premise that quality stories would appeal to readers across genre lines. It was great fun, and we became good friends, but as a sort of marketing idea, it’s not great. Turns out a lot of readers really like what they like, basically to the exclusion of anything else. So for any given collection, fantasy fans like the fantasy stories, romance fans like the romance stories, horror fans like the horror stories, etc., and few of them are very interested in anything else. Live and learn.

Q: What other authors would you compare your books to:

I’m definitely more Tolkien than GRRM, to the extent that some sense of fun and wonder still appeals to me more in fantasy writing than unrelenting darkness. But at the same time, I like a bit more complexity in characters and themes than just classic Good v. Evil. Basically I like to read, and try to write, stories about people I could actually stand to be around.

Q: What’s the plan for the rest of 2014:

Book VI of the Norothian Cycle, the conclusion to the series, is underway in fits and bursts. It is taking a lot longer than I had originally hoped, but it is getting there bit by bit.

Thanks, Ed.

Here is an Amazon link where you can find all of Ed’s books.

http://www.amazon.com/M.-Edward-McNally/e/B004Q27UKQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1405087943&sr=8-2-ent

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Summer Splash Blog Hop June 13-16

Heading to the beach?  Going on vacation this summer?  Need to load up your Kindle with great books?  Welcome to the Summer Splash Blog Hop.  A group of 60+ authors are giving away free and discounted books from June13-16.  There will also be Amazon gift cards, Kindles and much more being given away so hop around to the other author pages.  I myself am giving away an Ebook, paperback and audiobook of your choice.  Just comment below with your email address and I’ll notify you if you’ve won.  Also, all of my books are $.99 on Kindle for a limited time.

http://summersplashhop.blogspot.com/

Thanks and good luck!

2014 SUMMER SPLASH BLOG HOP!

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Coming Soon….

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Interview with Cheryl Bradshaw

I met Cheryl a few years ago and we’ve remained cyber friends ever since.  She had just published her first book, Black Diamond Death, the first in her Sloane Monroe private eye mystery series.  Since then, she has published four more in the series as well as two other books outside of the series.  Cheryl has reached the USA Today Bestsellers list and was named one of the seven best authors to follow on Twitter.  I asked Cheryl to take time away from her busy schedule to answer a few questions that may interest readers and authors.  Here is that exchange…

Cheryl, your Sloane Monroe series is about a spunky, no nonsense, female private eye.  Tell me where her inspiration comes from:

I suppose if I’m being honest, those two words could be used to describe me. In some ways, Sloane is me. At least, my friends and family think so. And she is, to a degree. The inspiration to create a private eye stems from an interest I’ve had in the FBI since high school. I’ve always been fascinated with forensics and how crimes are solved. I drew from my research and experience to create my main character.

I enjoy the settings in your books, tell me a little bit about where Utah and Wyoming fit in your life.

I read a lot. And I notice a lot of writers use the same metro areas for their series, so I decided to change things up and use a backdrop from two areas I’m quite familiar with, as I’ve lived in both places. In Black Diamond Death, Sloane Monroe series #1, Sloane is living in Park City, Utah. Park City has a rich, interesting history, so it was easy to choose a place I thought readers would enjoy. Through the series, Sloane has grown and developed a lot, and book six (which I’m writing now) has her selling her home in Park City and contemplating a move, possibly to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, another town I feel has been underused in writing and is equally as fascinating and historical as Park City.

Is this type of book, mystery/thriller, what you enjoy to read as well?

Yes. I write in a few different genres, but mystery is my main genre. I started out reading authors like Agatha Christie and Robert B. Parker and fell in love with their stories. I have now branched out into paranormal suspense, romantic suspense, and contemporary romance, but I weave the mystery storyline into almost everything I write.

Speaking of, who are some of your favorite authors in this genre?

I’ve already mentioned Agatha Christie and Robert B. Parker, but right now I am really enjoying Blake Crouch. He’s an excellent storyteller. There are many up and coming authors today that I’m getting into, and I find myself reading more indie published novels than traditionally published ones.

Favorite books?

Murder on the Orient Express: Agatha Christie

Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen

Pines: Blake Crouch

The List: J.A. Konrath

The Secret: Rhonda Byrne

The Art of Happiness: Dalai Lama

You’ve also written a ghost series, how did that become about?

I’m a curious person by nature, and I love a good ghost story. I was watching Celebrity Ghost Stories one day and started thinking about writing a story about a girl who inherits an old house in Rhinebeck, New York and discovers she can communicate with the dead. Originally, I meant to write a short story, but I really liked how the story unfolded as I wrote it, so I kept going and decided to make it into a series. I plan to write the second in the series this year.

We met in 2011 and your success since this has been amazing to watch.  Are you completely overwhelmed by what has happened?

No matter what happens, I honestly feel like there’s still so much to achieve, but I am humbled by the success. I have made the USA Today bestsellers list twice, and a few of my books have some excellent accolades attached to them. I’m represented by one of the most talented agents in the business, and, most recently joined a group called THE TWELVE. I am very grateful for all the milestones I’ve achieved and I feel like the best is yet to come.

I’m sure you are writing now more than ever, what is your schedule from having an idea for a book, to the day it is published?

My schedule is to get everyone out of the house so I can get things done! There’s no school on Friday where I live, and my husband works swing shift, so it’s impossible for me to set any kind of consistent schedule, which is a little maddening at times. I bail every now and then and go to a hotel so I can think straight, usually when I’m completing a novel and going over it for the last time.

On a day to day basis, I try to get four hours of writing in a day if I can. The rest of the time is spent doing promotional things. I set a goal for novels to be completed in 3-4 months and novellas in 1-2 months, and I have a spreadsheet I tally weekly to let me know if I’m on track or how behind I’m getting. Right now I am writing two novellas and one novel.

What would you say to other authors out there that are struggling to find readers?

If you’ve been published for more than a year and you’re still having a hard time gaining an audience, it’s time to rethink your strategy. In this business, I believe who you know can be a tremendous asset to you. Get involved in groups, and pay close attention to what successful authors are doing and how they did it. So many authors post advice for other authors on their websites/blog. What works for them won’t always work for you, but there’s no harm in trying something new. I’m always trying new things, branching out, reinventing my brand. Believe in yourself. Roll your sleeves up, and look at this wonderful talent you’ve been given for what it is: a business. Businesses take work. Lots of it.

Here’s an article last year I wrote on promoting and getting yourself out there:

What’s the plan for the rest of 2014?

I am currently writing Hush Now Baby (Sloane Monroe series #6). I also have a novella coming out in April called Echoes of Murder, and I’m picking at my contemporary romance novella series as well. Once all these things are done, I’d like to write the second in my paranormal series and then either start a new thriller series or write Sloane #7…all before 2014 is over!

Thanks, Cheryl!

Here is where you can find Cheryl and all of her books.

Twitter: @cherylbradshaw

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Interview with Author Michael Robertson

I met Michael a few years ago in an online forum for authors and since then, we’ve become good friends.  We’ve shared novel ideas, promotion tips, cover thoughts and everything else that authors do.  I’ve read all his books and short stories and if you are a fan of twisted thoughts and unusual suspects, you are in for a treat.  Below is a brief interview with Michael.  Enjoy…

Michael, you just released your 7th publication, “Kill Game”, can you give us a brief sense of why you love blood and guts so much??  Just teasing, tell us why you like being a horror writer:

 

Horror is the genre I love the most, in terms of reading, so I guess it’s just natural that it’s a genre I enjoy writing in. My first novel REGRET, and some of my shorter stories are more suspense than horror, so I don’t focus solely on horror, but it seems like most of my ideas start there—with a horrific idea. Write what you love. Isn’t that a thing?

 

“Kill Game” is based on a poker game.  I assume you, like I, are an avid poker player?

 

I love poker, but, much like golf, it’s something I don’t get to play nearly as often as I’d like. I wish they’d legalize online gambling in Virginia so I could lose money to strangers on the Internet.

 

In your first book, “Regret”, you wrote it using an alias.  Why was that?

 

It was a marketing tactic, 100% — REGRET is the devastating first-hand account of a successful author’s tale of tragedy, mental deterioration, and murder. It’s written almost like a memoir. Since I was just starting out in my publishing career at the time, I tried to think of ways to make my work stand out, draw interest to it. So I thought, why not make people start to question if REGRET was a true story? It worked. I got lots of emails asking if Dan Dawkins was a real person.

 

I wrote a more detailed blog post about writing as Dan Dawkins here:

http://mrobertsonjr.com/blog-news/2012/1/31/why-i-published-as-dan-dawkins.html

 

 

Jackson, your main character in a few of your publications is a nasty SOB.  What’s in store for him?

 

Yes, Jackson is a nasty SOB. But a ton of fun to write!

 

Jackson always pops up now and again when it comes to story ideas, so I won’t say he’s gone for good, but nothing currently in the works. Maybe later…

 

A few personal questions, if you don’t mind.  How long have you been writing and what first interested you in becoming an author?

 

I’ve been trying my hand at writing novels for about 8 years, but have only been published for 3.

 

I’ve always been a voracious reader, for as long as I can remember (a credit I give to my mother). I remember liking to write stories when I was a younger kid, but it wasn’t until I was about 20 that I finally got the itch to try writing a novel. One day I just decided that it might be fun to tell a story of my own. I wrote the first chapter of my first novel (never to be published) the following weekend, and haven’t really ever looked back.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

 

I read a ton of things, across lots of genres. But as far as favorites? First and foremost, Stephen King. I also enjoy Harlan Coben, Sandra Brown, Greg Iles, Joe Hill, Chelsea Cain, James Rollins, Michael Crichton, Gillian Flynn, Dean Koontz, Marcus Sakey, George R. R. Martin, Blake Crouch, Karen Slaughter, It goes on and on. I’ve also enjoyed everything you’ve written, Chris. I’m waiting for the next Foxworth Academy.

 

Favorite book(s)?

 

Goodness that’s tough. I’d say, It and The Stand by Stephen King. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (Rest of the series is dern good too). Heartsick by Chelsea Cain (and the rest of the series). I’m sure there are many more I’m forgetting, but those are some of the current ones I can think of.

 

Are you a ebook reader, paperback, hardcover or audio book type of reader?

 

I’m probably 70% paper and 30% ebook. I love the convenience and portability of ebooks, not to mention the price, most of the time, but there’s still a bit of old school reader in me that likes holding a book. I’m the guy who wants a library in his house. Usually don’t mess with audio much unless it’s a road trip, but I think it’s a fantastic platform. I have friends who find it hard to sit still and read a book, but still love a good story. Audiobooks give them that.

 

What’s the plan for 2014?

Well, I just released a novella in February called KILL GAME, and then put out short story bundle called TORMENTED THOUGHTS  that includes that story and two of my older ones. I’m currently stirring the pot of a new idea I have for a novel (or maybe multi-part series) that I hope to start writing this week. That’s my priority for now. I’ll also be getting more of my backlist out in audio this year. Maybe even narrating some of them myself! That way everybody can hear my sexy voice.

Thanks for having me over, Chris. Best of luck!

Thanks for your time, Michael.

Find all the books and info about Michael here:

http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Robertson-Jr/e/B006NB4K9W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_9?qid=1393607943&sr=8-9

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New Audio Release

My new audio book, The Chemist – Based on a True Story, released today.

For fans of historical fiction & conspiracy theories, my short story The Chemist, is now available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes for under $4.  Just an hour long, you’ll listen to a wild tale based on a true story during the days of Prohibition.  Thanks to narrator Zac Wilson who did a terrific job in such a short time and cover designer Jason Merrick.

Reviews:

“Prohibition may seem like an unlikely catalyst for a work of suspense fiction, but Chris Blewitt makes it work–flawlessly. From the exciting opening chase scene down city streets, to the ending’s shocking revelation, The Chemist is a terrific work of historical short fiction guaranteed to make you want to finish it in one sitting”. — Michael Robertson

“Riveting Short Story” – K. Williams

“Fascinating!” – R. Schaefer

“Fast moving and well written” – J. Baarda

“This definitely gives you something to think about…” – S. Warfield

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