Author Interviews

Author Interview: Sarina Langer

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sarinaOn Monday, Sarina Langer released her debut novel, Rise of the Sparrows. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for Sarina, and can honestly say that it was a gripping, well written, captivating read. You can check out my review here.

And guess what? Sarina has stopped by my little ol’ blog on her week long blog tour! I’m thrilled to welcome Sarina to my blog today, to throw some questions at her, and get an insight into the life of the newly published author.

Firstly, congratulations on the release of your first book! Is there a particular experience, good or bad, that has stuck out for you in the drafting or publication of your debut?

There are several things which I enjoyed, like writing the first draft, doing the research, and even editing! The writing community both here on WordPress and on Twitter (or more recently on Instagram) has been amazing and incredibly welcoming. The only thing that has stuck out negatively is formatting my novel for Createspace and Amazon KDP. There were no issues with either- Createspace have responded to everything very quickly and were much faster than I expected! – But formatting anything in Open Office has proven to be a huge pain. I’ve made notes, so hopefully it’ll be a little easier next time.

Would you share your writing routine with us? Are a scheduler or an ‘as and when’ type of writer?

My writing routine is relaxed and forgiving compared to my editing routine. I usually write for roughly one hour to ninety minutes every day (apart from weekends- I take those off), which tends to result in anything between 1k and 3k words, sometimes (rarely) even more than that! If you’re not a writer you might not realise how many other things are involved. We don’t just write- we do research, we have to name people, places, maybe different magics and towns and complicated systems, and we have entire worlds to create from nothing. So, while I’m not writing every free minute I get, I do these other things which also progress the novel. My mornings are quite varied because of it.

What has been the most rewarding part of publishing your novel?

I write for myself- and I think every writer should- but I do want to inspire other people with my writing. Whether my writing inspires them to write themselves, improve their writing, or to do something else entirely doesn’t matter. Every time someone tells me that my writing makes them want to write or do something, I know I’ve done well, and that’s a very rewarding feeling.

What were your reasons for choosing the self-publishing route?

I am a control freak to a personal extent, and didn’t want to give up control over important aspects of my book, such as the cover design. It’s my business, my baby, and I want to be the one who makes all the big decisions. To be honest, I did want to go the traditional way when I started writing Rise of the Sparrows, but I thought that if I published a trilogy by myself first and did it well, my chances of getting a great agent and publishing deal would improve! A year later, and I’m not so sure anymore that I want an agent or traditional publisher. I like being in charge. This is my book, and I will work my butt off to make it work.

Can you describe Rise of the Sparrows in ten words of less? A quick summary for anyone thinking of purchasing your novel.

Oh my! Let me think…

Misjudgements, swords and daggers, magic, prophecy, trust issues, demons, prejudices and death. (You weren’t hoping for one sentence, right?)

I’m going to name three characters and I would love for you to describe them in just three words.

Rachaelsurvivor, paranoid, and defensive.

Cephyyoung, naive, and pyromancer.

Cale- strong, fiercely loyal (we’ll treat that as one, shan’t we?), and protective.

Would you share an excerpt from Rise of the Sparrows, pretty please?

This is a moment from the first chapter, where we first meet Rachael. Two men have come to rape her, and I think it shows nicely that she can defend herself when necessary, despite being homeless and malnourished. She maybe tired, hungry, and weak, but she can kick as if her life depends on it!

Rise of the Sparrows Excerpt

What is next for Sarina Langer?

I’m working on two novels at the moment- the sequel to Rise fo the Sparrows and a scifi novel, which is a bit of an experiment for me. I’ve never written two books at once and I’ve never written scifi either, so it’s a learning curve for me. But it’s an interesting and fun learning curve, and I’m enjoying all the new research I get to do! ( The end of the world, anyone? Multiple universe theory, anyone?)

Do you have any parting advice for unpublished writers out there?

A lot of people will love your writing, but a lot of other people won’t. That’s fine. You can’t please everyone, and that’s perfectly alright. Whether your first book does well or fails, you write another. And maybe make a note of some of that awesome feedback you get along the way- it will cheer you up when you get a bad review!

Thank you, Sarina for stopping by today, and I wish you every success with the blog tour and your debut novel!


Buy Rise of the Sparrows: here.

Find Sarina on:

Twitter

WordPress: Cookie Break

Facebook

Goodreads


Permission to use excerpts, quotations, or content must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer.

100% K.J Chapman, Writing and Me

WIP Update #3

Book Review(2)

I have been holding off with this update because I didn’t feel that I had much to report, but I thought I could still ‘update’ you on my lack of motivation. However, when I started thinking about this update I realised that a lot has happened slowly but surely.

Two WIPs!

I kept being drawn into a new idea (one I blogged about before), and it took my attention away from EVO Ghost. So, I decided to start drafting both. I like to make more work for myself *hehe*.

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New WIP:

My new WIP is a fantasy with two POVS- Princess Ezrahli, and a skilled archer named Reed. I wrote 12k words of the draft in just Ezrahli’s POV, and got stuck with how to progress the narrative with the sub-story that she is to become a huge part of. Once I started writing from Reed’s POV, I knew that his narration was equally important, and went back and added/ rewrote chapters.

I have been calling this WIP ‘Thrown to The Blue’ because of an important act that is necessary for witches to have their magic awakened. The title may change, but it is kind of stuck in my head for the time being. I’m unsure if this will be a series or not, but only time will tell. I like the idea of a stand alone book.

Current Word Count: 15,470 words

Excerpt from Thrown to The Blue:

“I wanted to understand, is all.”

“And what is it you think you understand, archer?”

“A lot. I am sorry for you, Princess.”

“I don’t need your pity!” I scream. How dare he? “I am not to be pitied!”

The guards bang on the door at my outburst, throwing it open and almost breaking its hinges. The thunder of feet race through my chambers, and the archer throws himself from the balcony, effortlessly scaling the building like an animal of the night.

“Your Majesty,” shouts a guard, gripping my forearm forcefully. I stare at him in a moments confusion, and then tear my arm from his hold. “Princess?”

“I’m fine. It was just a dream. Get out! All of you get out!” He eyes my wrist, and I pull my sleeve down fully. “I could have your eyes removed from your skull if I wished.”

He averts his gaze, bowing low to the ground. “My apologies, Your Majesty.” He backs away without any further eye contact, ushering the other guards with him.

Quinn slips into the room, rushing to my side as I lie on the bed. He wears a simple negligée, showcasing smooth legs to rival any woman’s. “Was it another dream, Ezra?”

I want to tell him of the archer- of how both he and the guard saw more of the real me today than anyone save him. Even Brenneth has never seen them since I was a child. The words won’t form in my mouth. I feel like there is a mystery to the caped man that I’m the only one privy too, and that interests me more than it should.

“Yes, just another dream,” I say, choosing to keep the encounter to myself. “Tell me a story, Quinn. One of the tales your mother would tell you.”

Lying beside me on the bed, Quinn plays with my hair and recites a renowned story about a Queen who fell in love with a poor man with nothing to his name but an enchanted bow and arrow.

EVO Ghost:

I think I’ve been enjoying getting to know the new characters a little too much and EVO Ghost has suffered because of it. That being said, I have decided on a time jump of about three to four months. Just getting everything in place for that jump has been a slog, but I’m confident it will work out well.  Yesterday, I had a plot twist idea that needs to simmer a little longer in my head. I haven’t even written it down because I want to see where my mind goes with it- if anywhere. It’s a fragile one that has to be handled with care- a ‘this could go amazingly right or drastically wrong’ idea, but that alone makes me keen. Go big or go home, right?

Current Word Count: 23,673 words

Excerpt from EVO Ghost:

Rafe retrieves a laptop from his bed, sits on the pristine, army style sheets, and gestures for me to sit beside him. “Things have stepped up a gear since the rally. What has it been- eight days? I can’t fully believe it myself.” He hands me the laptop, presses play, and gets up to leave, taking the others with him. “Come and find me when you’re done.”

A news broadcast, dated two days ago, plays as smoke billows from a high rise building. People run from the building, clutching infants, carrying injured people, and some throw themselves to the ground in an attempt to put out the flames that engulf their clothes. The news reporter can’t be heard over the noise, but he comes into view, and gestures for the camera to swing to the right.

Soldiers and military vehicles fill the area to the right of the burning building. Every person who rushes out of the flames is restrained by soldiers and tested with a kinetic reader and a swab. Injured men and women are cuffed and thrown forcefully into the back of large trucks with guns trained on their heads; none are offered medical treatment. Screaming kids are bundled into separate trucks from the adults. They look so terrified.

“I thought this was an E.N.C attack,” says the reporter to the camera man, the carnage making him oblivious to the camera still rolling. “I don’t understand this.”

“It’s a flush,” shouts a bloodied man, running passed them at speed. The reporter grabs his arm, almost whipping him off of his feet.

“Can you tell us more about—”

“I’m EVO. We’re all EVO. I need to get away from here,” the man shouts, trying to free himself. “This is a flush. The E.N.C have been protecting us here. The government bombed the building to flush us out. There are children inside. There are kids in there and they still bombed us! Let me go!” He frees himself and races off between buildings.

The reporter just stares at the camera. “It appears this is a government orchestrated attack against EVO. We do not have facts, but… hell, I don’t know what this is.” He pushes the camera aside. “Come on, man. Let’s get out of here.”

I think I have been generous with the long excerpts, but I hope that makes up for my lack of updates.

God knows when my next update will be, but if I have anything to report, I will do.


All content is the property of KJ.Chapman

Image sourced from CraftaholicsAnonymous.net

Author Interviews

Author Interview: J.M.Bush

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jm bushA few weeks ago, I received a book review request email from someone unknown to me- J.M.Bush. After finding me on Twitter, and noticing I do book reviews, he sent me a personality packed email, and a request to read a free copy of his novel, Storm in Shanghai, for review. I agreed, and guess what? I’m so glad I did. Check out my review: Storm in Shanghai review.

Since the review, I have contacted J.M.Bush to see if he’d like to be a guest on my blog, and he agreed- yay! Today’s the day that I get to welcome him to my blog and introduce him to you lovely lot.

Storm in Shanghai is a fantasy novel set in present day, Shanghai. What inspired the narrative, and is fantasy your go to genre?

The story was inspired by my time living in Shanghai, China from 2011-2015. My wife was working at an international school, and I had given up my job in America as Claim Processor for State Farm Insurance to become a stay-at-home Dad as I was not allowed to work in China. Having been a musician for the past 20 years, playing in several different punk bands, I ended up forming a band in Shanghai. We played a lot, toured around China, released two albums, and were featured on National Chinese news to 1.5 billion viewers, so I had this kind of double life while living there. During the day I was a stay-at-home Dad, but at night I lived the life of a punk rock star, and those two lives had very little to do with one another. When I decided to write the book, I took that idea and wove magic into it because, yes, fantasy (and to a lesser degree) sci-fi are my go to genres.

How has living in China helped you with the drafting of Storm in Shanghai? It must have had great influence over your work.

I left China in 2015, and me and the family now live in Penang, Malaysia. The sequel to Storm in Shanghai will take place here; I made sure to set that up in the book! But my time in Shanghai absolutely helped with the sculpting of my book. In fact, many of the characters from the novel are based on the people from the Shanghai punk rock scene. On my facebook page I have recently been doing a character inspiration series, where I introduce the real life versions of the characters from the book.

Character development is an important feature in your novel. Could you describe your main character in 10 words or less?

Family man, mage, fast, son, selfless, funny, insubordinate, leader, hungry. Haha, I hope that wasn’t meant to be a complete sentence, If so, I totally cheated.

What experience, good or bad, stands out for you in the drafting or publishing process of your novel?

In drafting the novel, I learned that you’re not always as good as you think you are. After beta-reads, I recieved some harsh criticism. The story was good, but the book was to ‘explain-y’ one reader told me. He begged me to show him and not tell him why the characters were doing what they were doing, especially the Maelstrom. So, I went back and did several rewrites, which is where the flashback chapters came from for both Jaret and the Maelstrom. This really improved the way the book read as now you could follow both of the characters from their youth until the present day, and see their motivations for the wonderful or terrible things they have done. It was a great lesson- get multiple opinions and listen to your readers.

In the publishing arena, I learned that there are millions of people trying to do what I’m doing. They all want to get published and many of them write better than I do, write stories with more marketability than I do, or know the right people. After a year of queries, I had two full requests on this book. After a couple of months each, they passed. I had many partial requests, but those never panned out either. So, I made the decision to self publish. Many people think that self publishing your first novel is a mistake. They say that your first book probably isn’t good enough to publish. They say to just keep writing. But others, like Hugh Howey, say publish it. Self publish as many books as you can. Just keep writing. I prefer that advice.

What is your writing process? Structured or ‘as and when’? Plotter or pantser?

I come up with an idea, and sometimes jot down notes so as not to forget them. But when it comes time to write, I just sit down and let my fingers do the talking. I’ve explained it before like this- there is a movie playing in my mind as I write and I just type what is happening as fast as I can. I never pause to consider motivations or if this makes any sense. I just type as fast as I can to keep up with that movie in my head. The details got sorted out in editing and rewrites.

What advice would you give to an aspiring fantasy author? Is there anything you have learnt from your journey that you didn’t know when you set out?

Write something else, something that will sell. Hahaha! No, but seriously, some people will tell you to write what you want to read, and other people will tell you to write something marketable. My advice is do whatever makes you happy. If you want money, write with marketability in mind. If you have stories in your head and you want them out, write those. If you want to read a book about six dogs that can turn into cars and know karate, please write that… I want to read it.

Would you like to share a small excerpt from Storm in Shanghai? Pretty please…

Storm In Shanghai Excerpt

What is next for J.M.Bush?

Keep writing! As much as possible. The family is in talks to return to America in late 2017, but nothing is final, yet.

Here’s your chance to pitch other books or upcoming works.

I have two manuscripts currently being edited and a third being written. One is a sci-fi lovestory set in my hometown in Alabama, and taking place in the not too distant future. The second one is a mixed genre fantasy/sci fi where in ancient times, human magic users from Earth travelled through time and space on wooden ships to arrive on a planet full of dwarves. Space travel, axes and hammers, magic, and same sex relationship between the two main characters… a dwarven warrior and a dwarven sorcerer. The third book is a non-fiction collection of the articles I have been writing about my international travels. Also, I have recently committed myself to participating in a 100 day project, where I will write one short story for 100 days. I’ll be posting them all on my Wattpad. Oh, and it’s about dwarves. I’m a big fan of the short yet sturdy race that lives under the mountain.

Thank you to JM.Bush for joining me today!


Get your copy of Storm in Shanghai from Amazon today!

Find JM. Bush on

Goodreads.

Facebook

Twitter

Wattpad

Amazon

Website


Permission to use any excerpts, quotations, or content must be sought from the author, JM.Bush.

EVO Ghost, Writing and Me

WIP Update #1

Book Review(2)

When I was writing EVO Shift, I posted weekly updates of word counts and excerpts etc. I simply don’t have the time to do that weekly during EVO Ghost drafting. I want my sole focus to be on my WIP. I will still be posting my writing exercises, but as you may have noticed, I’m allowing myself to miss weeks here and there in regards to those as well. I will still post musings and reviews as and when the feeling takes me, I’m just not giving myself anymore commitments for the time being.

During the drafting of EVO Shift, I spent a lot of time preparing blog posts, and my drafting process suffered. I sometimes missed days of writing because my attention was elsewhere. I’m putting my foot down with myself for this draft, and it is working brilliantly. I’m writing faster than I’ve ever done, and managing to read much more- yay! This means I get to beta read and ARC read, and give the projects my full attention. Something, I would have struggled with last year.

So, on with the first update:

Title & Cover Reveal:

EVOGHOSTThe title was announced on March 11th, as was the cover design. I usually don’t have a title until well into the drafting process, but this one has been on my mind since I wrote the end of EVO Shift. Once I started drafting book three, the title grew more prominent in my mind. I just had to use it. I’ve had great feedback from readers of the series. They agree that the title makes perfect sense, and even commented on how reading the new title gave them goosebumps, or made them doubly excited for book three. Bonus!

I feel the cover is simplistic, in keeping with the previous two covers, and has something haunting about it… Ghost…haunting… get it? *laughs to self*

Word Count:

I’ve been drafting since mid February, and I have put down 18k words; leagues ahead of where I was at this point in the drafting of EVO Shift. I’m conscious of this being the last in the series. I keep chanting to myself, ‘no loose ends, no loose ends.’ I’m sure I’m just being over paranoid, but this book has to be on point in regards to conclusions, and at the same time, I want it to hold mystery, suspense, and be…EPIC! It’s so hard to not write in twists that may require more than one book to explain, when I have enough to wrap up. That being said, there is one twist I simply had to include because it links into the very first book- I shall say no more on that score!

Excerpt:

It is hard to pick excerpts that don’t give too much away. I’m purposely trying to find paragraphs that don’t feature too many character names etc, because if readers haven’t yet read EVO shift, I don’t want them guessing the outcome to events in that book by reading excerpts from EVO Ghost.

Here’s my choice:

“They’re looking less inflamed, and the ones I’ve stitched are healing nicely.” He dabs on some kind of antiseptic that stings to the high heavens, but nothing more than a hiss escapes my lips. “Rafe wants me to assess you for training. Ideally, I would hold off on any physical exertion, but I know you won’t pay any attention to what I say.”
  “You know nothing about me,” I say, sliding a t-shirt over my fresh dressings.
  “I know why you hate me, and I understand your reasons, but you of all people must see that I was just a pawn to Towley. You saw what he is capable of. I couldn’t go against him.”
  I lift my head, staring at the blank wall in front of me. “Another doctor I knew said the same thing about Alan Roscoe. She turned out to be a psychotic, supremacist, who double crossed everyone. I don’t trust you, doctor.” I purposely emphasise the last word. “I have no idea why Papa does.”


 

All written works & images are the property of K.J.Chapman

 

Word Count Weekly

Word Count Weekly #19

  • I have a five year old daughter.
  • School Christmas plays and parties have been non-stop.
  • I’m still recuperating after my wedding on the 11th.
  • I didn’t start my Christmas shopping until this week.

There you have my list of reasons…*excuses* for my shameful word count this week.

701 Words

It’s okay, though. I’ve been enjoying myself, enjoying family life, and getting in the Christmas spirit. 701 words will do.

I won’t hold out any promises for next week’s word count either. It’s Christmas week, so I shall be eating, drinking, and having a blast. I hope you all do too. Let’s all aim for a festive, merry week and low word counts.

And if you’re not feeling the Christmas spirit…giphy (57).gif

Excerpt from this week’s W.I.P:

I wear pyjamas. I haven’t worn pyjamas in weeks. They seem pointless, what if we need to run in a hurry? Pink, fluffy pyjamas with unicorns on them aren’t the most practical outlaw attire. I strip them off and chuck them into the corner. Instead, opting for jeans, a grey, knit sweater, and zip up boots. I fill a rucksack with more practical choices before climbing back into bed.

I just want to add a huge thank you to everyone who read my short stories and writing exercises this week. Your comments have been amazing, motivating, and uplifting. Your support is much appreciated.


 

All written works are the property of K.J.Chapman

GIF sourced from GIPHY.COM

Word Count Weekly

Word Count Weekly #17 & #18

My word counts are pretty decent considering I got married and all… Yep, I’m on a bridal/ post-wedding high right now, and I don’t care who knows it. I took a blog hiatus last week, so this ‘Word Count Weekly’ is a double whammy.

Sunday 6th final tally: 3568 Words

Sunday 13th final tally: 2116 Words

 I thought I’d be run ragged, and have little time for my W.I.P, but it actually proved a welcome distraction when the wedding planning stress was at a high. I could disappear into Teddie Leason’s life and re-emerge in my own in a much calmer,amiable state. Writing is amazing, is it not?

giphy (53).gifThat being said, I was steamrolling on with the narrative, but felt a little lost. I was struggling with too many info dumps because I was trying to explain the narrative to myself. I went through this same phase whilst writing EVO Nation, and I know there will be light at the end of the tunnel. I do not edit on a first draft, it would be my downfall, so I shall power on and sort the info dumps during editing once my draft is complete.

Last week’s excerpt: 

The wardrobe door is ajar, bursting with clothes and shoes. I pick up my fox slippers and drop them just as quickly. None of this seems real. None of this seems connected to me. I thought those slippers were the coolest thing since sliced bread, now they’re insignificant. Who gives a shit about fox slippers when the world is falling apart?

I shut the door and jump at the sight of Adam standing behind it. “It feels like I’ve stepped into someone else’s life,” I admit, sliding my arms around his waist.

This week’s excerpt:

“I love you,” I say straight into his mind. It doesn’t even feel like telepathy, more like we are one mind. We both soar from the bed, our entwined bodies suspended in an orb of electrokinetic and telekinetic energy. Only, the telekinesis is not my own, I’m not in control. I am linked, but separate at the same time. The bed and the rest of the furniture follow us, hovering below, and shaking violently.


 

All excerpts are the works of K.J.Chapman

 

Word Count Weekly

Word Count Weekly #16

I may not have hit a similar word count target to last week’s 10k, but I have had a good week in general and that’s all that counts. First things first, I have hit a reasonable word count that I’m pleased with…

4012 Words

I’ve also been finalising wedding prep this week; spray painting decorations like the concept is going out of fashion, and a girly day of make-up testing on Thursday. Next week’s word count may be lower again due to the fact that my wedding is on December 11th, eek!

12313731_1076468465737903_5274154940506809865_nNot only has wedding prep consumed my week, but Christmas prep has kind of spiraled too. This weekend has been the only weekend we all have had time to put the decorations up together, so that’s exactly what we did! Decorations, Santa meet ‘n ‘ greets, and Christmas shopping have made the week a busy one.

As for my writing, I had a monumental brainwave on Tuesday. An ending idea exploded in my mind with little ghgjgwarning, and had the force of a lightning bolt. However, jumping around the room with excitement was quickly replaced with nausea and heart break. Yes, the idea is a good one (even if I do say so myself), but it’s going to be a killer to write. I’ll get the tissues ready.

As I fore-mentioned, next week is going to be hit and miss as I try to keep Bridezilla at bay. There will be a small blog hiatus planned from December 5th, so watch out for the blog post about that one.

Excerpt from this week’s W.I.P:

I start awake to screams and a swerving sensation in my stomach. Rio wrestles the wheel as we careen off the road and into undergrowth. Cooper’s full weight pins me to the chair, but I push him away, raise my hand, and force out a blast of energy. The windscreen shatters outwards in a splintering crash, and the van stops dead, its tail end rising, and then slamming to the ground with a brain rattling thud.

“Is everyone alright?” Rio asks, his voice shaking.

I feel every inch of my body to double check. “What the hell happened?”

“You just saved our asses that’s what,” says Brick. “Was that lightning?” Rio just nods, staring out at the smoking bonnet. “Isn’t that lucky or something?”

Pug pulls a gun from his waistband. “Lucky? Where the fuck did it come from?”

“The sky dumb ass,” Brick says, laughing.

“Hardy har. Don’t you think it’s a little coincidental that there’s not a cloud in the sky and a bunch of renegade EVO get struck by lightning? Everyone out, masks on, and be ready.”

I reach out my telepathy- silence apart from Kid singing along to ACDC in his head. “There’s no one except Kid for as far as my telepathy can reach.”

Pug chews at a hang nail, unsure of my ability and the reliability of what I said. “Just keep your heads out of your asses and be vigilant.”

I pull my mask over my face, open the door, and step out into the chilling air. Pug’s right, the sky is clear. Lightning is not a possibility.


 

All excerpts are the works of K.J.Chapman