Category Archives: Author & Artist Interviews

Eden’s Exchange talks to Mark Barry (@greenwizard62)

Mark Barry wears many hats. I know him as the author of novels, Carla, Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and other books. He’s the head of  his publishing company, Green Wizard, and now, he’s also the writer by the name of … Luke Rock.

Like my name, Luke Rock is a pseudonym, and here is what he says about it:

“The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before”.

I’ve featured one of Mark’s books on my blog before, and I’m pleased to interview him to highlight his latest book.

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Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Mark. Great to have you here finally! Tell readers how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Loyal, honest, intelligent, funny and a bit bonkers.

That’s even less than 20 words.🙂 Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

I was a full time writer until imminent starvation propelled me into helping run Empleo, a popular local voluntary and social enterprise, alongside my friend and colleague Phil Pidluznyj. We are based in Nottingham (UK) and help others with employability, reading projects and creative writing and anything else we can think of.

Ha! We’d all be rich if we didn’t have to eat, right? What is your biggest extravagance?

Gambling on horses and going to football matches all over the UK, following a team called Notts County.

Gambling on horses? I made a bet on a horse once—a sure thing (I was told). I lost five bucks and that was the end of gambling for me! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Lose weight: An eternal struggle.

🙂 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Forestry.

Hmm … I’ve never had that answer before. What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Visit all the racetracks in the world, particularly Melbourne Park, Longchamp, Happy Valley, Baden Baden, Santa Anita, Del Mar and (your own) Woodbine.

Wow, you’re serious about horses, aren’t you?  Any favorite curse words? Especially, say, when you lose a bet on a horse?

I have to be careful with the F word. I use it way too much.

Hehe! Do you have a motto you live by?

Win or lose, have a booze.

That’s a new one! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Helping my nineteen year old son grow up to become a decent person.

Sweet. What makes you REALLY laugh?

A British TV programme called The IT Crowd. Cracks me up every time #Messyjoes.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.51 PMI love British comedies. As for your writing, I previously featured your book Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and I’m thrilled to learn you have another one under your name, Luke Rock.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Real life and real people. I won’t read a book unless it is theoretically possible to meet and shake hands with the characters in the street today.

 

What motivates you to write?

The prospect of making a living at it.

That never hurts, does it? What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Don’t write long books.

Ahh, that would explain your brevity here. Name a few of your favorite authors and books and why you like them.

Martin Amis, Scarlett Thomas, Jim Thompson, Sebastian Faulks, Charles Bukowski, Rimbaud, Liz Jensen, Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Tom McCarthy, Alan Moore. Great, clever, ingenious writers. Beautiful sentencesmiths – that is important to me, far more than the story itself.

How do you market yourself?

Badly.

I’m not sure I agree with you. You get around *wink.* How much research do you do for your books?

Virtually none. It’s all in my head.

You must have a lot of information stored in there. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I like the white space aspects of writing. Exploring the blank page in front of me at the beginning of a piece. The first pages of a novel are exciting, aren’t they!?  Actually, the blank page, meeting other lovely writers like yourself and the quest to construct the perfect sentence, are the only things I like about being a writer. The rest is an utter pain in the arse. Writers must be bonkers to even attempt the caper.

It’s always great connecting with other writers, but I agree that being an author is not an easy way to earn a living. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

The start and the climax. The middle is the actual work. Not a marketing man at all – like pulling teeth. My own.

I hear you, marketing is tough. Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

Yes. Absolutely essential. Otherwise, what is the point exactly?

I understand. For me, it’s the journey, but sometimes it’s a long, hard one. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

No. I’m a pantser, in that lovely YA-influenced olden times phrase.

Me too! What is your best advice for new authors?

If you need a kitchen critique group, advice from a 101 blog, a book club, a phalanx of beta readers and slabs of reassurance about your work and abilities, you simply aren’t ready to publish your work, simple as. Sorry if that’s offensive.

Not at all. I think every writer is different. Some may need more support initially to get started. Tell us a bit about your relaunched book, Kevin And The Atomic Bomb. I know it’s a YA/NA novel under your pen name of Luke Rock. Why should people read it?

It’s a black comedy full of different characters and it is based squarely in the ten days following the British people’s disastrous decision to leave the European Union. There is a love story at its core, there are jokes, there is polemic, a really nasty villain of the type many of us have worked with in the past and best of all, there is an atomic bomb in a garage in the suburbs.

Wow, that’s timely! How long did it take for you to write it?

I wrote it in 2012. It took six months and then I have completely rewritten in it in the last ten days, the hardest work I’ve done for a while.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.28 PMWhat inspired you to rewrite the book?

I published it under my own name and a different title in May 2012. The market reacted favourably to other books of mine, notably Carla (my most critically acclaimed book), but this one got a bit lost. I depubbed after three weeks. Then, when the British public decided to commit economic suicide en masse, I saw an opportunity to republish it, completely rebranded, titled, authornamed and covered.

Incidentally, it is quite political, but you can skip those bits and still enjoy it, assuming you don’t hate me for it, in which case bollocks.

Bollocks indeed! Let’s take a look at the book.

Kevin and the Atomic e-cover

Buy link: Amazon US | UK | Canada

Blurb for: Kevin And The Atomic Bomb

What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?

Kevin Taylor’s got problems.

His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.

To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody “companion” is constantly in his face.

And all he really wants to do is play Doom.

Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.

When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter – donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.

And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.

Other information: The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public’s decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.

How are you marketing the book?

Twitter and on FB. I use giveaways a lot.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing your book?

Books are of their time. There is a time and a place. In the first instance, when I set up my business, everyone bought Carla, one of my personal favourite novels. It sold well at one point, but is almost forgotten now. This one (Kevin) struggled in its original guise, but early signs are much more promising.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

When I publish the paperback, I’ll send it to you free if you review it!! You know, Eden, of all people, how important reviews are to small press and Indie authors. We can’t get reviewed in newspapers and it’s critical that we get the word of mouth. I sell quite a few books every quarter but I don’t get reviewed as often as some of my peers. I’m not sure why this happens. I would like that to change but hey, I’ll join the queue for the answer to that question.

Reviews are always tough to get. I’m happy to buy your book and read it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My ammunition crate full of vintage superhero comics, a photograph of a girlfriend, and this laptop.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? California – would love to meet my sidekick, your friend and mine, top fiction author Brenda Perlin, and I’m also a big fan of Lorraine Devon Wilke who has promised me muffins galore by the shore if I ever make it over again.

I’d travel over with my great friend Georgia Rose, romance author, noted horsewoman and paddock expert and we’d go to Santa Anita and pay for the trip using our combined horse selecting skills. I’ve just written a short story about Billy Idol on Highway One for Brenda’s new punk anthology and I had a great time researching it – would love to mountain bike up the Pacific Crest Trail too.

Name a food you can eat everyday.  KFC. Buckets of it. Unfortunately, it no longer loves me and we’ve been divorced for six weeks now.

Salty or sweet? As most ladies know, there’s nothing like something salty on birthdays and at Christmas.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea – every time. Built an Empire!

Favorite style of music? Late sixties psychedelia. Beatles. Byrds. Jefferson Airplane. Janis. Floyd. Favourite band: Black Sabbath.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sleeping in when I should be up and about.

Favorite season. Autumn – that’s the original label for Fall to you North Americans, Eden!

Name something you cannot go a day without. Reading. More of a passion to me than writing.

Thanks so much for  your answers, Mark. I wish you success, no matter what name you write under! 

Readers, please find Mark at all his virtual homes below.

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Connect to Mark Barry aka Luke Rock

Mark Barry Author

Blog | Twitter @GreenWizard62

Amazon Page US | Amazon Page UK

Green Wizard Publishing

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.

He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people. He has one son, Matt, on the  brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.

Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell in the UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
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Eden’s Exchange talks to @AuthorAmyMetz

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce author, Amy Metz. She and I have crossed paths on several writing sites, and I wanted to learn more about her.

Amy is a lovely woman, so do connect to her and find out more about her books.

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Amy, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I went straight to the source. He said, “A caring and sensitive mother and friend; always available to support others and is passionate about her beliefs and principles.”

How sweet.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a billionaire. Seriously, I would be an extrovert instead of introvert.

A billionaire extrovert wouldn’t be bad.😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I’d love to be a travel photographer.

Do you have a motto you live by?

For my personal life: The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For my writing life:You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

I love that, and peaches are one of my favorite fruits. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My children. I have two grown sons so I guess they’re actually not children anymore, but they will always be my babies and the best things I ever did.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.03 PM

You sound like an amazing mom, Amy. Let’s learn more about your writing life. How do you market yourself?

I think blog features like this one are effective in getting the word out about a book (thank you!), so I try to do as many as will have me. I also take advantage of any of the free services on the Internet, such as virtual bookshelves, author pages on various sites, or free or reduced book alert services. I have a list on my blog of marketing steps that I use: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/p/marketing.html

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.20 PM

I look forward to connecting with you on your site too. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

Favorite: I love getting lost in a story and feeling like I’m in the scene.
Least favorite: editing. Specifically, the 100,000th round of editing.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.56 PM

I know the feeling well, Amy. Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

A typical day starts by answering emails and posting to Facebook and Twitter. Then I pull up whatever it is I’m working on and reread the section I wrote last. Next, I write or edit or rewrite, depending on the need. Somewhere along the way, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will probably lead me to Facebook where I’ll be for I-don’t-know-how-long. Something on FB will probably lead me to another site like Twitter or Pinterest, where I’ll probably get lost again. I’ll eventually wonder what it was I came online to do, and I’ll finally go check out what I came online to do in the first place. Then I’ll go back to writing. Somewhere along the line, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will lead me to Facebook to like or comment . . . you get the picture. That and a short break for lunch is pretty much my day.

Haha, my head was spinning reading your answer! Do you have advice for new authors?

Stay away from Facebook while you’re working.

I agree Facebook can be a huge energy sucker. What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing?  

I don’t need much. My laptop. Electricity. The Internet for thesaurus.com and research or checking facts. That’s about it.

Tell us the name and genre of your latest book.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction is a cozy mystery.

Rogues&Rascals

Buy link: Amazon 

Blurb for: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Amy, why should people read the book?

I think if someone wants to get lost in a mystery that will make them laugh and make them want to move to a quirky small town where the community is fun, loving, and close-knit, they should read my books!

Sounds like a great reason to read it! How did you celebrate when you finished writing Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction?

I don’t think I celebrated when I finished writing the book, because as soon as I’m sure I’m finished, the editing process starts, which means the book isn’t really finished. I consider the book finished on launch day. On launch day, I went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and my friend Tom.

I feel the same way. It’s only finished for me when it’s available for sale. What has the reception been to the book?

It has received great reviews so far, with twelve 5-star reviews and one 4-star review. But sales have been very slow, which is depressing.

I hope it ramps up soon, Amy. What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends. Post a comment about it on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. And post a review online on as many sites as you can.

What is next for you after this book?

I’m writing the fifth book in the series. Wynona and Caledonia will be back!

That’s excellent news! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer. It pretty much has my life on it.

Salty or sweet? Sweet. A day without something sweet isn’t a day.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea. Preferably sweet tea—hot or cold. With a lemon!

Cat/dog/other pet? Dog. I love dogs, but I hate the fur that sheds all over everything and everywhere.

Your most guilty pleasure. Donuts. I love them. There’s a store near my house that sells Boston Cream Pie donuts. Oh. My. Gosh.

Favorite season. Fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, and the temps below 80. And I love Halloween.

Name something you cannot go a day without. My iPhone. Not necessarily for the phone feature, but for the email, notes, text message, photo, camera, Google and Google Maps, Audible, Kindle, calculator, clock, and Solitaire apps!

Thank you so much for hosting me!

You are most welcome, Amy. Readers, please find her at all her virtual homes below.

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Connect to Amy

AmyMetz

Website | Blog | Twitter @AuthorAmyMetz

Amazon Author Page | LinkedIn

Facebook | Goodreads | Google +

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @MarsDorian #scifi

I first connected with Mars Dorian on Twitter some years ago, not long after I started writing. We’ve been friends ever since.

Each exchange, no matter how brief is always a treat for me. Mars is a delightful human being who deserves every success because he works so hard at it.

And yet, he makes it look effortless. His presence on social media is superb and few people do it as well as he does—we can all learn from him!

It’s a pleasure for me to finally welcome Mars to my blog and highlight his work as a science fiction author.

Be sure to connect to him. He’s definitely worth your time.🙂

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Mars, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. Please tell my readers where you live.

Berlin. And I’m love-hating it. Love, because it’s an open-minded city with affordable rent, grrreat creative events and unique people. Hate, because it’s getting more criminal, dirty and dark. Sounds like hokus-pokus, or maybe I’ve lived here for too long, but the city seems to suck my creative energies, I need change.

I’d love to visit you. Don’t leave yet! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was more business-savvy and entrepreneurial-spirited. My parents are both creatives, and their chaotic daydreaming spirit has wandered over to me. It’s fun and fulfilling, but it also leads to many decisions that are dumb from a biz point of view. So less introvert daydreamer, more outgoing business man. But maybe it’s DNA. I’ll tell you in a year.

Please do.😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

In my early twenties, I wanted to become a movie director in Hollywood, but then I realized I hated waking up early and working with people. I still would love to see a movie made by me, I just hate all the steps it would take to get there.

Mars, at least you know yourself well! Do you have a motto you live by?

I stole this one from Mark Schaefer this year, a writing mentor and popular marketing blogger over at http://www.businessesgrow.com/.

The wise man said, “Growth and comfort can’t coexist.”

It’s my motto for 2016, to try things that challenge my comfort and hopefully grow my personality, finances and overall life.

Challenging your comfort zone is always a good thing, though I think your personality is already HUGE. Let’s learn more about your writing. What motivates you to do it?

I love telling stories, ever since my mother bought the first comic edition of Ghostbusters when I was seven years old. From that day on, I used comic-drawing, type-writng (remember that?) and conventional painting to tell stories.

As an adult, I find writing to be the purest and most accessible style to heart-reach a human being on the other side of the planet.

What a wonderful way of putting it. How do you market yourself?

I’ve built up an email list with over 1300 peeps that I write to once my new book comes out. I also have regular readers who give me honest reviews for new books, which helps build up social proof for the launch. I use Amazon’s marketing tools such as the Kindle countdown deal or the temporary free option to shoot up the sales ranks, or try to. Recently, I’ve started learning more about book promotion sites but I need more experience and knowledge to properly understand their merit. Other than that, it’s the good old ‘constantly ship quality books for your target audience.’

Quality. Yes. Name a few authors and books, and why you like them.

As a sci-fi writer, I try to avoid reading too much sci-fi to avoid idea incest and samey samey stories. So years ago, when I was looking for different authors to admire, I stumbled upon Don Winslow, a SoCal thriller writer. His book Savages, about two guys setting up a cannabis empire in California and pissing off a major Mexican cartel, inspired me. The man writes in a way that I hadn’t seen before: Don breaks the fourth wall, berates his characters in the middle of a paragraph, writes staccato minimalist prose with the beauty of a lyrical song text. And then you read his witty dialogue, bam. I’ve since read ten books penned by Don and it has deepened my literary love for his unconventional prose and storytelling.

Don sounds amazing. I must add him to my list. How much research do you do for your books?

I watch science videos every single day on Youtube, ranging from how space rockets work to how terraforming Mars could look like. I also use the online tool Evernote to collect and save articles about any technology I want to include in my stories, such as nano-medicine, miniature robots, AI, FTL-traveling and genome engineering. Even though I put characters and stories always first, I want to make sure that the worlds I create are based on (possible) science.

attack planetVery cool way of doing it Mars. How would you define your style of writing?

Minimalist, fast-paced, short-chapter-ish prose with the occasional word play and witty dialogue. Don Winslow, don’t sue me.

Ha! Don Winslow is lucky to have you as a true fan, Mars. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I write a character sheet for the protagonists and antagonists, where I clarify their wants, their voice and unique traits slash skills. Based on that, I craft a thousand word treatment that shows what must happen in each act of the story (I follow the trusted three act structure). The main parts of every story are: opening scene, premise, mid-point, mirror moment, showdown, and of course resolution. Once I’ve finished all that, I start writing the first draft. This sounds very plott-y, but there’s still a lot of making-things-up-on-the-go. I for example don’t outline my scenes, because that would take away any surprise on my end. So sixty-five percent plotting, thirty-five percent pantsing.🙂

Do you have a set schedule for writing? Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

I write during the day while listening to video game soundtracks and/or J-pop. Since I use the writing software Scrivener, I can track my daily writing goal in the form of a status bar that fills up the more you write. My goal is to write at least 2K words a day, 1K being the absolute minimum.

fear the liberator

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

The writing software is the most important part in my creative arsenal. Back when I wrote in Word, writing was less than half the fun it’s now. Scrivener, available for Mac and Windows, is in my opinion the best writing software for authors who write non/fiction. It’s organization of chapters is a dream, the options for writing and tracking your goals are amazing, and the possibility to formate any digital book file (epub, mobi, PDF, etc.) without coding experience makes it the perfect tool for self-publishing authors. I know I sound like a double-used car salesman, but I simply love products that drastically help my career.

I agree you need good tools. Writing in itself is hard enough. What is the name and genre of your latest book?

Vanguard Galaxy. It’s about an ambitious ex-military captain taking a cybernetic ship crew to the rim of the known galaxy to establish contact with a sentient life form. I guess some people call that genre space opera, but it does sound cheesy, that’s why I call it galactic sci-fi.🙂

Here is the cover and blurb.

Vanguard-Galaxy_Flattened

Buy links: Amazon US | UK | Canada | Germany

Vanguard Galaxy

Rising cruiser captain Tellride fails a secret asteroid assault and kills his military career. Fortunately for the captain, one of the solar system’s biggest corps hires him to lead an elite ship crew billions of kilometers across the mysterious space.

The mission: initiate contact with the first advanced alien known to mankind.

Sounds simple, especially when equipped with a biomorphic spaceship, hi-tech arms and elite members with cybernetic skills. But when deceptive aliens and archenemies from past battles collide, the question of success becomes one of survival.

“Vanguard Galaxy is filled with twists and turns, cool new tech, witty dialogue and epic space encounters…” ~ Ioangu

“If you’re into future tech, epic space battles, and a nice twisty plot, then this is the book you were looking for.” ~ Brandon Stewart

 

Why should people read Vanguard Galaxy?

If you’re open to sci-fi and want to read fast-paced, future-packed rides with diverse characters, cool new tech, and witty dialogue, you should check Mars Dorian out. There’s also a sense of wonder I want to instill in readers.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

That you have to keep your target market in mind. My first books flopped abysmally because I told stories no one cared about and used weird comic covers trying to (desperately) sell them. Nowadays, I’m very conscious of my audience and how to reach them, e.g. through adequate covers, targeted stories (that still end up unique and weird), and the proper promotion. Self-awareness is by the far most important skill here—knowing yourself, and the market where you want to position yourself.

What makes your books stand out from the crowd?

My unique storytelling style, the diverse set of characters, definitely the dialogue and the world-building. Once you read a Mars Dorian book, you will recognize my style because no one writes the way I do. I want to believe readers who dig that style keep coming back because they can’t get that experience anywhere else.

I read an early book of yours and I agree. Your style is uniquely YOU. What inspired you to write Vanguard Galaxy?

I often dream about the future and wonder how humanity would act as an advanced, spacefaring civilization. If we had the technology to travel and colonize much of the solar system, what would we discover in far away galaxies, which I call the Rim. And who would explore this ‘new’ frontier—governments, the military or even corporations in their future form? How would alien discoveries change our race? So many far-flung questions I wanted to jam-pack into a tight galactic sci-fi thriller.

What is next for you, Mars?

I want to explore the concept of exoplanet colonization, and how it changes us from a mental and genetic point of view. If we on Earth already differentiate between nationalities (German versus Canadian), how would that differ if humans evolved on different planets (Earthling versus Martian?). I believe we would turn into different humanoid species with vastly different cultures, and that’s a fascinating opportunity for stories.

It is indeed. Your science fiction is like nothing I’ve read before, and everyone should try it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round!

Name a food you can eat everyday. Pho soup. I almost hit my local vietnamese snack bar daily for the necessary fix.

Salty or sweet? How about bitter? Lemon, especially.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I love the former territories of the Queen—Australia and America. Canada is next on my list, I’m going there for at least 6-12 months beginning in 2017. There’s something fresh about these countries, opposed to ancient Europe which comes with a stale flavor.

Coffee or tea or something else? I love a German ice-tea brand that makes (somewhat) unique combos, such as green tea mixed with cactus pear. They produce two liter packages only, and in my weaker moments, I down them on a single day.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sounds trivial, but my doctors told me to trim down on the sugar intake. I’ve managed that goal somewhat, but I’m still hooked to a Bavarian Hipster-Drink based on the Mate flower from South America called Club Mate. It comes with only one third the sugar of a regular coke, someone told me. Or maybe that’s what I wish to believe.

Favorite style of music? I love Japanese pop and indie electronic music with video game elements, such as Lapfox who’s Canadian by the way.🙂

Favorite season. Autumn. I like the melancholic and morbid atmo it often brings when the wind blows the dying leaves from the tree-crowns. Autumn is also an excuse to stay inside, cuddle up and do work in front of the computer while enjoying hot chocolate.

Name something you cannot go a day without. I’m training myself to be emotionally independent from pretty much every object and thing, including the Internet.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers? Follow me on Twitter @marsdorian if you have any questions or just want to connect.

Mars, I knew you would be a fascinating subject and you did not disappoint. When you come to Canada, you must visit me, okay? 

Readers, please find Mars on his incredible website and connect to him! You will learn SO much. 

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Connect to Mars

MarsDorian2014

Website | Twitter @marsdorian | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Mars Dorian is a recovering world traveler, a web-based illustrator and an indie sci-fi author.

He’s created artwork for startups and popular podcasts such as The Unmistakable Creative and written viral articles for renowned marketing blog ‘Grow’ by Mark Schaefer.

He loves telling compelling stories using words and pictures, dealing with future technologies and how they impact human lives…forever. His books tackle futuristic topics such as privatized military, human/alien contacts and cybernetic humanity.

When Mars is not busy getting lost in the worlds he has created, he can be contacted via his website www.marsdorian.com/contact

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Filed under Author & Artist Interviews

Eden’s Exchange talks to author Anna Celeste Burke (@aburke59)

I know Anna Celeste Burke from several writing groups. Her friends and family call her Celeste, and so will I.😀

An award-winning author and a fascinating woman, Celeste has written numerous series of cozy mysteries. They are bound to please readers of the popular genre.

Please welcome Celeste to Eden’s Exchange.

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Thank you, Eden, for the invitation to drop by your lovely blog! I’m grateful for this opportunity to meet your followers and tell them more about myself and my writing.

You’re welcome! Thrilled to have you here, Celeste. Please tell readers if you have a motto you live by.

An interesting question. I find it a bit uncomfortable writing about myself, but here goes! That discomfort probably stems from an early upbringing in a hell fire and brimstone tradition that warns: “Pride goeth before the fall.” Pride was not just about taking pleasure in your accomplishments but included the vain glory of looking at yourself in a mirror, bodily adornments, and any desire for more than the simplest things in life. My roots reach back into the Amish/Mennonite tradition, although by the time I was born my paternal grandparents, both ministers, had left the reclusive sects in which they were raised. Perhaps, I’m still influenced by those early admonishments. My motto is something like: Dream big, work hard, stay humble.

Great answer. I believe humility is so important. What part of the world do you live in?

Maybe geography is destiny. At six, my more liberal and adventurous parents left the Midwest for California. That changed everything. By the time I turned ten those earlier religious tenets were old news. I experienced the physical beauty of California as wildly flamboyant. Even the Spanish Catholic heritage appeared to fly in the face of that more austere vision of life. Gleaming white-washed mission walls, strewn with magenta bougainvillea, set against the backdrop of blue skies—stunning.

The culture felt edgy and unbounded. Dreaming big, wanting more, seeking new and novel experiences all seemed part of the package. Think Hollywood, Baby, as the Old West gave way to the new. Of course, there were larger influences, too, given that my move west coincided with coming of age as a baby boomer: Space Race, as well as Civil Rights, Women’s and Peace movements. The place and time defined many things about life for me, as it did for many who grew up in the same era.

Is it any wonder that, at 17, I ran off with a high school dropout and rock and roll musician I met in San Diego and married in a Tijuana lawyer’s office? Not that my parents or the police agreed with my decision. I got as far as LAX before the police picked me up as a runaway. It wasn’t all about the California dream run amok—I had other reasons to run–good ones. Lucky for me, the guy I married turned out to be a keeper. I left California for decades, but the place stayed with me.

When it came time to retire from our jobs as professors at the Ohio State University, my ex-rocker husband and I returned to California. To the desert near Palm Spring, not San Diego where I grew up, and we met. I love most everything about this valley, even the triple-digit heat, although I’d gladly take fewer of those days!

Wow, Celeste … I’m happy you and your husband made it work despite the initial challenges! And I LOVE the heat! Is there another profession you would have liked to try?

Growing up in a large family, money was scarce. I started doing odd jobs early. Babysitting at age 7—mostly with moms nearby, but not always. At eight, a neighborhood teenager paid my younger brother and me a nickel for each snake chased out by running ahead of him through the brush in a nearby canyon. By the time I left home at 17, I had worked as a tutor, delivered papers, cleaned houses, sold Avon, and worked in a genetics lab breeding fruit flies.

My first real job was at Walt Disney World. At 18, I had completed basic training as a cook and started as a culinary assistant in one of the theme park restaurants. A couple of years later, Disney offered me an opportunity to enter the Walt Disney World University chef school where I continued my training and became a chef. After graduation, I became a Preparation Chef at the Polynesian Hotel, one of two or three women in that role in the Disney corporation.

Most of my professional life I worked as a professor, behavioral health researcher, and research administrator. As part of my training for that work on the way to my Ph.D., I earned a clinical degree in social work [MSW] and spent more than five years working as a therapist in substance abuse and mental health settings. I continued to supervise students in those settings for my entire career along with my other professorial duties.

During high school, I sang in the choir and smaller choral ensembles. I was encouraged by our music director to consider a career in opera. That might have been an exciting alternative career path, although I’m not sure I had “the chops” to cut it in that challenging profession. I also dabble in painting and wish I had more formal training in that area.

It’s great to learn of your diverse talents, Celeste. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to have a tougher hide and a better sense of humor about myself. I tend to be a serious person even though the absurdity of the world doesn’t elude me. That’s often brought home to me by my acts of hubris. Oh my, here we go back to that pride goeth before a fall thing. I have taken some spectacular pratfalls in my lifetime. Eventually, I can have a good “yuck” about it, but I’m a not always a good sport at first. My husband, on the other hand, has a terrific sense of humor and helps me find that laugh out loud moment sooner than I might otherwise.

You two were definitely meant for each other.🙂 Are you a full time writer now?

I write fiction full time, now, with the aim of spending 3 or 4 hours a day, 4-6 days a week, writing and editing. I spend that much time, or more, marketing the books I write. Like most indie authors that includes the work done by publishers: PR, book promotion, etc. Mornings are spent writing. Afternoons editing, blogging, creating materials for promotion, and evenings are spent tweeting, posting, and sharing elsewhere like on Facebook and Google+.

It is a lot of work, and you do it so well. Tell us what motivates you to write.

At this point in my life, writing is a lark. It’s an adventure, pure and simple. Much of my professional life I wrote nonfiction in the context of the “publish or perish” world of the university. I do still enjoy exploring some of the topics I dealt with teaching social work practice and doing research on poverty, addictions, and mental health problems. Social relationships, problems of living; drug addiction and mental health issues all figure into my stories. My lead characters are women so that worldview drives the way in which these subjects come up. I still have lots of questions about why people do what they do and how to anticipate or respond to troubled people—many of the same questions that drove me into social and behavioral science with a bent toward improving policy and practice.

How would you define your style of writing?

The tag line I use for my website is: Snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food–California style!

I write mystery fiction with a dash of romance and humor. That’s closer to what’s regarded as “cozy” these days than to the thriller end of the continuum.  When Agatha Christie wrote there was no such thing. It was just called “mystery” then.  The three series I write all feature “amateur” or “accidental” sleuths—women pulled into sleuthing by murder and mayhem. All three series are set in California so that setting is a backdrop—another “character” in many ways. Because of my background as a chef, and the fact that food is integral to California culture, “foodie” is part of the package and shows up in my writing. I have a “What’s Cooking” page on my website and have started to include recipes in my newest series featuring Georgie Shaw, a character trained as a chef.

montagesmaller

Very cool! What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I consider my stories “character-driven,” so character development is fascinating to me. The women are very different in the three series that I write. The rich, 30-something lead in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series is a child of wealth and privilege. When she’s delivered a big dose of “money can’t buy you happiness,” she keeps trying to console herself with shopping binges. An anxious sort prone to panic attacks, she has to search elsewhere for answers to the questions that bother her. She’s often preoccupied not just with “whodunit” but “why?”

Kim Reed the 20-something sleuth in my Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series is a streetwise young woman we first meet when she’s rescued by Jessica Huntington in A Dead Sister. Life surprises this cynical survivor with, of all things, love! She falls for another over-the-top character in the Jessica Huntington series, Brien Williams—a surfer dude stranded in the California desert. In Corsario Cove, he’s in his element and on his honeymoon with Kim. Murder and mayhem ensue, of course, and these two take to it like bees to honey. In my mind, at times, I react like I’m watching one of those old 1950s monster movies. “No, don’t go down there!” You know, that sort of thing?  Then, as I write, off they go, diving right into the middle of murder and mischief!

georgie shaw #1

Georgie Shaw, lead in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, is a 50-something corporate exec who started out at Marvelous Marley World as a chef.  In book 1, Murder at Catmmando Mountain, she’s working in public relations for a Disney-like entertainment conglomerate and her life turns upside down by a murder in the Arcadia theme park. A capable, intelligent woman, sleuthing isn’t part of her life until she’s framed for murder and forced to consider whodunit. The biggest bombshell in her life isn’t the murder. Georgie Shaw has a tragic past and never married. When the handsome detective, Jack Wheeler, sweeps into her life, he challenges her with new possibilities.  A new mystery brought them together. Will an old one drive them apart? Those questions get answered in book 2, Love Notes in the Key of Sea.

I also enjoy writing dialogue, and plotting out the murder and mayhem. I have a good laugh at the situations in which my characters are placed [by me]. They get back at me in surprising ways, and one of the things I find most challenging, at times, is writing my way out of a corner!

Why do you write your books as part of a series?

The character arc has a more realistic time frame in which to unfold in a series rather than in a single book.  There’s more room for characters to grow and change which is part of that character development that I find interesting. That often involves a lot of humor, too. Each of these amateurs, equipped with different skill sets, have to stretch as people to cope with the problems they encounter when plunged into the unpredictability of a murder investigation.

Good reasons! What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Some version of “don’t get it right, just get it written.” I forget now, who told me that. I’m sure it was while I was still writing for my university career where getting it right did matter. You have to back up claims made in your writing with evidence, but also have to recognize that the data you have to work with is never going to be perfect. So, the key for me, even now, is to write it then hammer it to bits—separate the creator from the critic. That’s the best advice I can give to someone just starting out, too.

Let’s learn about your upcoming books, Celeste!

Love Notes asymmetrical 6 x 9

Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery #2

Georgie Shaw and Detective Jack Wheeler have a second chance at love—despite the fact they met during a murder investigation. Decades earlier, Georgie lost the love of her life in an attack on the beach that left one man dead and two others missing including her fiancé, Danny Farrell. When Georgie returns to Corsario Cove, more than memories haunt her as a song Danny wrote just for her echoes in the air: Love Notes in the Key of Sea. Who else, other than she and Danny could know that song? A new mystery brought Georgie and Jack together, will an old one drive them apart?

 

I have two new cozy mystery releases that will be available for preorder in May and purchase in June. Love Notes in the Key of Sea, book 2 in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, will be included in a summer beach anthology of short reads: Stories of Sun, Sand, and Sea. The stories in this collection combine mystery, romance, and suspense, all set during the summer months but on different beaches. With 11 beaches…anything can happen. 

Stories of Sun, Sand, and Sea is available for preorder May 16th, for release June 28th.

sun sand and sea

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

A summer breeze, sandy shore, and sparkling waters. Is it the perfect setting for love or something more dangerous?
First loves, second chances, mystery, and intrigue, even murder.
Drift away with this collection of stories about Sun, Sand and Sea to 11 beaches…where anything can happen.

 

romantic sea beach. Women's Glasses and Champagne cork on sand

 Gnarly New Year – Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #2

The honeymoon’s not over yet! Kim and Brien’s excellent adventure at the swanky Sanctuary Resort & Spa continues when an unwelcome visitor drops in on New Year’s Eve. An elusive marine GPS device, found and lost again, unleashes another wave of murder and mayhem in Corsario Cove!  What is it about that thing? Stooges, Krugerrands, and monks—oh my! Will it be a Gnarly New Year for Kim and Brien?

 

Book 2 in the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series will be out soon, too. Kim and Brien’s excellent honeymoon adventure continues in Gnarly New Year. My two love birds are swept up into more murder and mayhem even though they vowed to stay out of it at the end of book 1, Cowabunga Christmas!

So much going on Celeste, congratulations! What is next for you after these books?

Next up in the queue is A DEAD MOTHER, book 4 in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series. There’s more on relationships between mothers and daughters in this book, as there was in book 3, A DEAD DAUGHTER . Jessica’s saga with her dysfunctional mother continues, but the story revolves around the death of Beverly Windsor, a client in Jessica’s newly reinstated law career. Why would anyone kill the wealthy woman, a pillar of the Palm Desert community, active in the homeowners’ association in her gated community, and on the charity circuit in the Greater Palm Springs area? Oh, let me count the reasons and the suspects.

Why should people read your books?

I want to entertain readers. The books are meant to be romps, with a mystery at the heart of each story. I hope they’ll be intrigued by my characters and will return to find out what’s up next for them. The blend of mystery, humor, romance, and women’s fiction is a bit different in each series, but present in all of them.

What is the best way for someone to support your books?

FEEDBACK! I’m fortunate that my husband and several readers will give me feedback early on, but gathering input is vital. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are so important when it comes to increasing the visibility of books. They also clarify what a book is about for other readers, and help other readers make more informed choices about the suitability of the book for them. I’m still learning, and feedback is critical to my growth as an author. Leaving a comment or suggestion on my website, blog, Goodreads, or Facebook, are all greatly appreciated as well as reviews.

Feedback is always helpful. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? MY LAPTOP—the “death” of my old one in December taught me how hard it is to live without one!

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Maui!

Name a food you can eat every day. Salads—not exciting, I know, but I love them!

Salty or sweet? Sweet.

Coffee or tea or something else? COFFEE—fresh ground beans brewed in a French press!

Cat/dog/other pet? Mouthy Siamese cats.

Favorite style of music? Jazz fusion a la John McLaughlin and my hubby.

The best gift you’ve ever received? Spa Day at the La Quinta Resort.

Your most guilty pleasure. Chocolate.

Favorite season. Spring.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Why love, of course!

Thank you Celeste for sharing with my readers. It was wonderful to learn more about you.

Readers, please find Celeste at all her virtual homes and discover her books! 

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Connect to Celeste

cropped head shot

WebsiteBlog | Twitter @aburke59 | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning and bestselling author who enjoys snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! Her books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark that take place in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.

BUY LINKS for Celeste’s books in ebook and print

The Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series

Amazon

A DEAD HUSBAND JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

A DEAD SISTER JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #2

Amazon | Barnes and Noble   

A DEAD DAUGHTER JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #3

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

LOVE A FOOT ABOVE THE GROUND: (PREQUEL TO THE JESSICA HUNTINGTON SERIES)

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

COWABUNGA CHRISTMAS CORSARIO COVE COZY MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

MURDER AT CATMMANDO MOUNTAIN GEORGIE SHAW COZY MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

ANTHOLOGIES

Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen Cozy Mysteries (Crimes of the Heart) 

Mother’s Day Magic with Love

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

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Filed under Author & Artist Interviews

Eden’s Exchange talks to author Don Massenzio (@dmassenzio)

I’m happy to introduce Don Massenzio. He is a new author to me, so I followed his blog to learn more about him, and … WOW!

He has excellent posts and resources for writers, and I’m thrilled to give him space here to tell you more about himself.

In fact, he returned my interview in record time AND chose to answer every question on the list. Given that, I’m posting the interview in its entirety because I’m a firm believer that hard work deserves an audience.

Please welcome Don Massenzio to Eden’s Exchange.

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Great to have you here, Don. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I believe I would be described as loyal to a fault, driven, humorous and intolerant of lies.

Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? 

I have a demanding day job that takes up about 50-60 hours per week and requires about 40 weeks per year of travel. I use the travel time, airport time, and hotel time to write. It keeps me on a schedule and makes me more productive.

Great to use that “down” time for something creative. Where do you live?

I live in Northern Florida where I’ve been for the past 20 years. I grew up in Upstate New York where we suffered through endless winters. Because my job demands so much travel, I feel like I’m going on vacation every weekend when I come home, especially in the winter.

Nice! What is your biggest extravagance?

My home workstation has two 26 inch monitors attached to it. I’d like to say it makes me more productive, but the second monitor is often displaying Netflix.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

The age at which I started writing. I published my first novel at 51. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

You got it done and that’s the most important thing. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Well, writing comes to mind as a full-time job. Also, I enjoy arranging music and would love to be an orchestrator/composer.

What is one thing you want to do before you die?

I would love to see my eight-year-old daughter established as an adult. I’d also like to write a lot more books and travel to Italy again.

Do you have any favorite curse words?

My current favorite is ‘asshat’ which I love to apply to various presidential candidates and other people I encounter. I generally don’t use a lot of curse words as I believe they are a lazy substitute for creativity.

I agree, but there are times when a good curse nails it! Do you have a motto you live by?

As you get older, move away from those around you that hold you back or pull you down.

That’s a wise one. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Convincing my beautiful wife to marry me and raising a family.

Sweet🙂. What makes you laugh, and I mean, REALLY laugh?

Besides the current presidential race, my eight-year-old makes me laugh very hard. I knew she was going to be a person that likes to make others laugh at a very young age. At age three, she asked for help getting dressed and I assured her she was a big girl and could do it on her own. She came back stark naked with her underwear on her head and said, “See Dad, I told you I couldn’t do it.”

No comment about your presidential race, except that it is definitely fodder for comedy. Let’s find out more about you as the writer. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from everywhere. I’m an avid observer and I am always people watching when I travel. I draw stories from things that happen to me and others and from the news.

What motivates you to write?

The creative process and the validation when a reader tells me they enjoyed my work. It’s the best feeling in the world.

It is! What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

This came from Stephen King through his book On Writing. To paraphrase, he said that if you don’t read regularly then you shouldn’t be writing.

That is a profound book. Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.

My all-time favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it in high school and related to Scout. I recently read it again and related to Atticus as an older dad trying to keep up with his kids. I’m also inspired by Stephen King’s books. His book, It, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever read. He has truly mastered the horror genre. I also like Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series. He has brought the same characters through 20+ years of novels and has allowed them to age and grow.

I’ve enjoyed Kellerman’s writing as well. How do you market yourself?

Interviews, blogging, social media, book signings, telling everyone I know, shamelessly using family members and various other techniques. My eight-year-old recently came to a book signing and it was pretty quiet. She picked up one of my books and started walking around the room telling everyone, “Buy my Daddy’s book.” No, I did not tell her to do this.

blood orangeWhat a precocious girl, you need to hire her! How much research do you do for your books?

It depends on the book. When I wrote my terrorism thriller, Blood Orange, I used the Internet to research the effects of radiation and dirty bombs. I kept waiting for the black SUVs to pull up in front of my house. I also use experts like military people that I know along with police officers and others. One thing I’ve learned is that readers will call you on bad information. I had a police officer that read an advance copy of my book tell me that the gun my character used doesn’t have a safety even though I said it did in the book. I was able to change it before the release and avoid the potential embarrassment.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

My favorite part is being able to escape into the lives of the characters. Sometimes I’ll go back and look at dialog and not even recognize that I wrote it. My least favorite part is everything outside of the writing; the editing, marketing, promoting, etc. I see the importance of those things and I do them, I just don’t like them.

How would you define your style of writing?

It’s very stream of consciousness driven. I do a pictorial outline at the beginning, but the scenes and chapters just flow. I don’t edit at all until the first draft of the entire book is done.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy getting started. It’s like having a blank canvas where you create the world and the people in it. By the time I get to the editing, however, I’m usually sick of the story and anxious to get it published.

frankly speakinglet me be frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

For my detective series, the main character’s name is Frank. The first book was Frankly Speaking. Then came Let Me Be Frank, Frank Incensed and Frankly, My Dear. My fear is that I’ll run out of Frank titles before I run out of ideas. I had someone at a writers’ conference come up to me after a panel I was on and hand me a list of about 20 titles with ’Frank’ in them. Some of them weren’t usable, but it did help. I have about 10 potential titles with story ideas attached to them. That should keep me busy for a while. I don’t always know the ending when I start a new book. In fact, sometimes I think I know the ending and it changes as I complete the journey to it.

I love the branding with the name, Frank. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I use a hybrid method where I diagram out the chapters of the novel and then plot them out in Scrivener. I don’t want to lock myself into an outline, but if I write without my pictorial view, there’s no telling what rabbit hole I’ll venture into.

frank incensed Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

I don’t have a set schedule. My typical writer’s day is centered around maintaining my blog in the very early morning hours and then writing whenever there are holes in the day. Planes, trains, airports and hotels are my usual writing environment and I write when I can.

Do you have advice for new authors?

Keep writing every day. Listen to advice objectively. There are those who are snobbish about writing and view it as a privilege only to be enjoyed by those that pass the publishing gate keepers. Don’t be intimidated by them. Whenever an aspiring traditionally published author turns up their nose at the idea of independent publishing, I always ask them how many books they’ve sold and how many they have in print.

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

My brain is the only real tool I need. I wrote my first novel longhand in notebooks and then typed it in page by page. I do like using Scrivener to draft the novel and then switch to Word for editing so we can track changes and insert comments.

Don’s latest book is Frankly, My Dear.

frankly, my dear

Buy Links: Amazon US | UK | Canada

 

Book blurb: Frankly, My Dear

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, has left his tragic past as a police officer behind for life as a private detective. Frank and his partner Clifford “Jonesy” Jones work with the local police to solve crimes that are virtually unsolvable.

In Frankly My Dear, the fourth in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series of novels, Frank and Jonesy are at it again and this time the case is one of the most bizarre that they have faced. Their latest client, arrested for domestic abuse, swears that he is the victim of one of the most vengeful women on the face of the earth.

Frank and Jonesy must determine if their client is telling the truth. As they investigate the case, they again pay a personal price for their involvement. Is their client trying to get away with his crime or is his ex-girlfriend continually coming up with new ways to damage him and his reputation?

Follow them as they navigate the twists and turns in this exciting new installment in the series, Frankly My Dear.

You classify the book as part of the detective/mystery genre. Tell us why we should read it. 

People should read my book by the millions so I can quit my day job. Short of that, I think it’s a fun story and they will enjoy escaping into the world that I created for a while.

How long did it take for you to write it, and what was the inspiration behind it?

From the pictorial view to publishing took about six months. The readers of the previous book wanted the series to continue. This is the fourth in my Frank Rozzani detective series.

How are you marketing your book?

I’m marketing it through interviews, my blog, select social media ads, author events, radio and television interviews, newspaper blurbs, smoke signals and shameless plugs.

Don’s video for Frankly, My Dear.

How did you publish the book?

It’s a pretty simple road. Amazon and CreateSpace make the publishing process very easy. Publishing a book is not the hard part. Publishing a book of quality that people want to read and then telling them about it, now that’s hard.

Well said, Don. How did you celebrate when you finished your book?

I started the next book almost immediately.

Great way not to lose momentum! What has the reception been to Frankly, My Dear?

Thanks to advance reader copies, it was released on Amazon and received 20 reviews the first day on Amazon and Goodreads. The reviews have averaged around 4.8 stars.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

I’m always learning and thinking of ways to improve the next one. One thing I learned from this book is to begin publicizing it earlier in the process.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

That’s a hard question. I hope the quality and the sincerity of the story are part of it. It’s in a genre that is pretty crowded so any recognition I get that differentiates it is positive.

How can people support your book?

Every indie author will tell you that reviews and word of mouth are the biggest help. My first book just passed the 50 review threshold on Amazon and I’m seeing more movement with it. Several people have let me know that Amazon has sent them emails recommending it. That’s a positive sign from reviews. The book itself is free.

What is next for you, Don?

I’m already 20,000 words into the next one which should be out in the September/October timeframe.

Excellent, something to look forward to! Let’s finish with a lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer, of course. It’s where my writing lives.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I went to Italy back in high school and would love to take my family for a long, leisurely trip there someday.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Not to perpetuate an Italian stereotype, but it would be pizza.

Salty or sweet? Mixed. I love salted caramel.

Coffee or tea or something else? Coffee.

Cat/dog/other pet? Dogs. I’m allergic to cats and other pets aren’t as fun to play with or as cuddly as my 80-pound black lab.

Favorite style of music? Depends on the mood. I like to play jazz and listen to jazz and classical, but sometimes hard rock fits the mood.

The best gift you’ve ever received? My family. I always tell my wife I’d be living in a box under a bridge without her. She thinks it’s a joke.

Your most guilty pleasure. Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.

Favorite season. Spring – rebirth.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Hugging someone in my family or seeing them via facetime or Skype when I’m traveling.

Thank you Don for sharing with my readers. Great to learn more about you. Readers, please visit Don at his virtual homes and say “Hello!”

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Connect to Don

Don M

Web Site | Blog | Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page | Goodreads Author Page

Google+ | Twitter @dmassenzio

Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work was the novel, Frankly Speaking, published in April, 2014. It was the first in a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files. Don’s second book in the series, Let Me Be Frank, was published in October of 2014. The third book in the series, Frank Incensed, was released April 24, 2015.

He took a break from his detective series and published the terrorism thriller, Blood Orange, in November of 2015 followed by his latest book, Frankly, My Dear, the fourth book in the series in April of 2016.

He has also released a collection of short stories called Random Tales that is available for your Kindle or as an eBook on Amazon. Also, look for Don’s first non-fiction book, The Ultimate Guide for Independently Published Authors: Tips for improving quality and selling your work, available on Amazon.com as an eBook or in paperback

He now resides in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife, children, and two dogs.

 

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @Shawn_McGuire

I’m happy to introduce readers to Shawn McGuire, whom I met while writing for the Lei Crime Series of Kindle Worlds. Along with her own series called The Wish Makers, Shawn has written two books for Kindle Worlds so far. Her latest novella released May 18th called Out of Her League.

Please learn more about this lovely author and her books.

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Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Shawn. Tell us a bit about where you live.

I live in Colorado, outside of Denver. The weather is beautiful, the scenery is jaw-dropping (nothing restores me like a weekend in the mountains), however it’s getting really crowded here which makes it harder and harder to enjoy the mountains. And, it’s too far away from the rest of my family in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

It must be tough to be far from family.😦 If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I could stop worrying so much about the future and live more in the now. There’s a lot of great things happening now, and if I’m not careful I miss them.

Here and now is definitely worth it. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I’ve thought lately about opening a bed and breakfast, one where once or twice a year I could hold retreats for writers.

Great idea, I would come! What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Travel! The world is such a huge, wonderful place, I want to see more of it. I’ve never been to Europe and I’d love to see Bali. Also, I’d love to sail with my husband. Before we moved to Colorado, he used to sail on Lake Michigan. He misses that and it’s something I’d love to do with him.

Travel is wonderful. I’ve been to Bali and it’s a must-see. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

 My two sons. They are fine young men and they make me so proud. I’m grateful every day that I was able to stay home with them while they grew up.

What a sweet thing to say about your sons, Shawn. Let’s turn our attention to your first book for Kindle Worlds—ONE OF HER OWN.

one of her own

Book blurb: One of Her Own

Maui is the perfect place… for murder.

Gemi Kittredge, rising MMA star, is facing the fight of her career. She hasn’t heard from her flighty sister in two weeks. And, she’s just come across the body of a fellow boxer during her morning run.

While her friend, Consuelo Aguilar, helps Gemi stay focused on the match, Detective Lei Texeira is hot on the trail of the killer. But the closer they get to the truth, the more Gemi starts to fear the killer could be one of her own.

One of Her Own takes place after Shattered Palms, book 6 in the Lei Crimes series.

Excellent blurb, Shawn. What motivates you to write?

When an idea really starts to gel, or when the new world I’m trying to create starts feeling real, that’s when I start getting itchy to get words on the page. Then, as I’m writing there will come a moment when everything comes together and I can see the real story. It’s usually a sentence or a short scene during the first draft phase and I go, ah, that’s what my story is about.

I love when a story reveals itself that way. What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

To turn off my internal editor and just write. My best first drafts happen when I just blitz my way through and get the words down. Sometimes the story goes a little off-track, but if I stick with it, everything works out in the end. I call it “trusting the process” and it took me a while to be able to do that.

How much research do you do for your books?

That depends on the book. For my YA fantasy series, there wasn’t a lot since I was basically making things up. I did a lot of research for my two Lei Crime novellas, because I wanted to get details about Maui and the Yakuza right.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most and least?

I hate the first draft. That’s the other reason I blitz through it, because it would take me forever to write otherwise. I love the revision process. By the time I’ve got the first draft done, I really know the characters and the plot. During revisions is when the story truly comes to life.

I love the revision process too. Is it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

The ending, yes. Sometimes the journey changes along the way, but my ending almost always stays the same from the start. I use that big scene at the end as almost a treat. I won’t allow myself to write that scene until the rest is done, it’s like a treat for me that keeps me motivated. Titles? I hardly ever know my title before I start.

Me neither. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I outline the big plot points and then let the characters take me on a journey as we head from point A to B, B to C…

Screen shot 2016-05-27 at 12.02.18 AM

Book blurb: Out of Her League

Paradise has a dark side, and Gemi has seen it.

One month ago, life for Gemi Kittredge meant college classes and mixed martial arts title fights. Now, her sister is missing, and Gemi is prepared to do whatever it takes to find her, including putting on a cocktail dress and cozying up to Yakuza crime bosses.

Thankfully, she’s got Detective Lei Texeira on speed dial, because when violence breaks out between the two rival factions, even Gemi, a woman capable of taking a man out using only her thumbs, is going to need backup.

Out of Her League takes place after Shattered Palms, book 6 in the Lei Crime series.

Buy Links on Amazon

ONE OF HER OWN | OUT OF HER LEAGUE

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Tell us more about your second and latest book for the Lei Crime Kindle World, OUT OF HER LEAGUEWhy should people read it?

This novella completes the mystery of what happened to Gemi’s sister. It’s fast-paced and, I think, takes the reader into a world they’ve probably never gone or possibly even known about – the Yakuza crime organization.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

The lesson came from the first Gemi Kittredge novella, ONE OF HER OWN. Don’t end a mystery on a cliffhanger! While some readers were okay with that, many others really hated it. I had no idea!

Great lesson! What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Leave an honest review and tell all your friends about it!

What is next for you, Shawn?

I’m working on a new project that will sort of marry my long-standing love of fantasy with my new love of mystery. As the ideas and the world start coming together, I’m getting really excited about it.

I’m sure your readers are excited too! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? The box in my office that’s stuffed with memories.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I’ve never been overseas, and I’d love to go… anywhere.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Dark chocolate-covered almonds.

Salty or sweet? Salty and sweet. I’m Gemini and can never choose just one thing.

Coffee or tea or something else? Coffee in the morning, tea (hot in winter, iced in summer) in the afternoon. Did I mention the Gemini thing?

Cat/dog/other pet? We lost both of our kitties in the last year. I think someday I’d love a dog.

Favorite style of music? Depends on my mood.

Your most guilty pleasure. Being with my husband. I feel complete with him.

 Favorite season. Spring. Fall is right on Spring’s heals.

 Name something you cannot go a day without. Taking a few moments for myself.

Thank you Shawn for sharing with my readers. So great to learn more about you. Readers, please visit Shawn at her virtual homes below and say “Hello!”

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Connect to Shawn

headshot 1.1

Website | Twitter @Shawn_McGuire | Amazon Author Page

Email: Shawn@Shawn-McGuire.com

Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter | Pinterest

Colorado-based author Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid. She couldn’t wait for the next installment to come out so wrote her own. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then. Her young adult novels deal with harder issues—dating violence, death of a family member, bullying, and teen suicide. Since those topics can be hard to handle, she infuses a good bit of humor as well because she believes that laughter can help you get through just about anything.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @DuncanWhitehead

I’ve seen Duncan around the interwebs for a long time, and we are part of several writing groups. He’s a hard worker with an “off the wall” sense of humour. You have to love a  man who’s a quick wit and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

He will have you in stitches.

Enjoy Duncan’s answers. I sure did.🙂

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Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Duncan. Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

Yes, I have a day job. I own a yacht management company – luckily I can work remotely and though I’m on 24 hour call – I really only go into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

reluctant jesusWhat a sweet deal! What part of the world do you live in? 

I live in Fort Lauderdale which is in South Florida. Very close, if not now merged into Miami. I enjoy it because it is lively, vibrant and exciting, The only thing I don’t like is the heat in summer!

Seriously? Summer and heat go together! What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Die? I won’t die. Will I?

Umm … there’s an old saying about death and taxes … What are some of your favorite curse words?

Are you sure? I’m from the North of England…..

Okay, please send me a list privately.😉 Do you have a motto you live by?

If at first you don’t succeed – hire a ghost writer.

Good one, you’re joking, right? Okay, never mind! What makes you laugh, and I mean, REALLY laugh?

The noise cats make while making love. Its hilarious.

I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure! Let’s talk about your books, Duncan. I want to highlight The Gordonston Ladies trilogy. 

duncan book 1

Book blurb: The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club (Book 1)

Little is what it seems to be in a leafy Savannah neighborhood as members of an afternoon cocktail and dog walking club mourn a neighbor’s death. Jealousies surface when friends vie for the widower running for mayor. An old woman with an infamous uncle plots to avenge a wrong. Memories haunt a once successful children’s writer. And a model has won the trip of a lifetime.

But a killer lurks and secrets unfold, as does a web of deceit. Is anyone really who he or she seems to be? A mysterious South American, a young Italian count, and a charitable nephew add suspicion and intrigue, as do an enigmatic organization linked to organized crime, a handsome firefighter, and three widows with hidden agendas. What’s a retired accountant’s secret, and why did a former showgirl really have plastic surgery?

The plot thickens, the Georgia temperature rises, and someone is destined for an early unmarked grave. The truth contorts to a climax that leaves readers breathless.

And here are books two and three of the series. 

duncan book 2 duncan book 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUY LINKS on Amazon

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Duncan, what is the name and genre of your latest book?

Mystery – Murder at the Fourth.

murder at the fourth

How long did it take for you to write it, and what was the inspiration behind it?

8 months. I wanted to do something no one had done before – two parallel stories involving the major character that merge together at the conclusion.

Are you marketing your book now?

Actually, I’m not – when Part 2 is ready I will begin marketing. I send the odd tweet – that’s it.

I’m doing less of it myself. Writing takes up enough time. Tell us about the road to publication for your book.

Structure, Draft, Proofread and Editor, 2nd Draft send to assistant for comments, 3rd Draft, then to editor, back to me 4th Draft, back to editor.

To the point. How did you celebrate when you finished your book?

I never do.

What has the reception been to Murder at the Fourth?

Good reviews but limited sales.

Hopefully it will pick up when you release book two. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing your books?

EDITING!!!

Agree! What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

It is different than anything else out there.

Why should people read your books?

So I can go on vacation this year!

That’s honest! What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Tell people about it.

What is next for you after this book?

The sequel!

I’ll let you get to it then! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? The insurance policy.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Cornflakes.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea.

Cat/dog/other pet? Cat.

Your most guilty pleasure. Not saying.

Favorite season. English football season!

Name something you cannot go a day without. Again, not answering that one!

Thank you Duncan for sharing with my readers! Your succinct answers definitely cut to the chase!

Readers, please find Duncan at all his virtual homes below. Friend him on Facebook to read his funny quips. They will make your day!

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Connect to Duncan

duncan whitehead

Website | Twitter @DuncanWhitehead | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

Award Winning Writer, Duncan Whitehead, was born in England and is the author of the best-selling and award-winning GORDONSTON LADIES DOG WALKING CLUB Trilogy. The series, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness in the real life Savannah neighborhood in which he once lived is a humorous mystery, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists.

He has also written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for a variety of websites both in the US and the UK.

He has written further novels; a comedy set in Manhattan, THE RELUCTANT JESUS, published in April 2014 and republished in July 2015 & three short stories.

Duncan is well known for his charity work, kindness to animals, children and old people; and, of course, his short-lived bullfighting career and his hideous hunchback.

In February 2045, he invented time travel and now spends much of his time in either the future (where he has won the lottery an astonishing 117 times) and the present day.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Brenda Perlin (@BrooklynandBo)

I’m very excited to introduce author, Brenda Perlin. When I first connected with her, I admit she intimidated me … just a little. She was well read, über cool, and she had a wonderful network of friends and authors. Add to that — she is an incredibly beautiful woman, both inside and out.

Her book  LA Punk Rocker is ranked as the #1 BEST SELLER in both the PUNK and PHOTOJOURNALISM categories. I learned so much about the punk era by reading it.

I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to interview her, especially since the sequel, PUNK ROCKER drops May 15th!

Please welcome the lovely Brenda Perlin. You’re going to love her.

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It’s wonderful to have you here Brenda, tell us how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Quirky but loyal. Goofy but has a serious side. Someone you would want on your team. (I am just guessing so please don’t gag!)

No gagging here! I’m sure it’s all true. What is your biggest extravagance?

Time. I don’t work, other than what I do with my books so I have the luxury of spending my days how I choose. That is a bigger extravagance than most people can imagine. I feel fortunate in this way because I know from having to make a living and that comes with plenty of stress.

I’ve never had this answer but TIME is definitely a luxury. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

It’s not so much about change but what I lack. I have always wanted to be able to sing yet I can’t carry a tune. Music is important to me. In another life. I pray I have the talent to be a rock singer.

Yes! You have excellent taste in music. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Friends have always told me I should be a therapist. I do like working out people’s problems. Always have. I believe I get that from my mom. Everyone went to her for advice.

We have that in common.😉 What are some of your favorite curse words?

I do like saying fuck-everyone. Yes, FUCK is an old standby.

Love it! Do you have a motto you live by?

Fuck-everyone. Ha-ha.

Haha! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I was able to complete my life story in a trilogy before the age of fifty. Now it’s all fun stuff from here on out.

That’s an amazing feat, Brenda—truly. Let’s learn a bit more about the writer in you. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Life. I write from my own experiences. Some things you can’t make up and I don’t even try.

shattered reality burnt promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what motivates you to write?

Usually I write when there is big drama in my life. I wrote Shattered Reality and Burnt Promises at lightning speed because flames were flying!

Of course! That makes a lot of sense. I can see the drama in the great book trailers too. 

 

What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

More than anything I have learned the valuable lesson of making sure I have read the proof completely looking for typos and such before publishing the book. Reading the book out loud is one of the best ways to catch errors.

I agree with you there. I write regularly for a podcast, and I always catch mistakes when reading my stories aloud. Tell us about your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer.

I do enjoy the process of writing. There is something mighty therapeutic about it. I love when people respond well to my books and I have enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. What I don’t appreciate as much are the headaches that come with publishing. And there are plenty. Also, it can be very frustrating trying to sell a book as an unknown author with no one representing your work. It is daunting.

And yet, you always appear so calm.🙂 How would you define your style of writing?

I am a memoirist. It’s conversational and yet there isn’t too much dialog. I am like the reality TV version of writers. I like giving away all my secrets and exposing the truths that lay hidden.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy the writing part when the story is flowing. That is the best feeling in the world.

What don’t you enjoy?

The worst part is relying on other people to get things done. That can be very frustrating and disappointing.

fractured vowsI agree. It’s always harder when you don’t have full control, isn’t it? Is it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

For me, not at all. I was writing Fractured Vows, my third book in Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles while the charades were still going on. From one day to the next I didn’t know how the book would end or where the story was being led. That was stressful and at the same time a bit exciting. Could have gone any way. I was prepared for the worst.

 

Yes, I feel the hints of uncertainty from the excellent book trailer.

 

What is your best advice for new authors?

I have learned quite a bit since I signed a bad seven year book contract with a fraudulent book publishing company. Now I would advise people to never sign a contract without legal counsel. Also, hire a professional editor and find some beta-readers to read the finished product as well. Some of the mistakes are just silly ones and make the author appear unprofessional.

Wise words indeed. Let’s learn more about your books. How would you classify them?

All my books are listed as fiction though they are more fact than fiction. I change names and places to protect the identities as well as myself.

Why should people read your books?

I do share a different slice of life. Some of the things I have experienced are unimaginable. It’s always fun to step in someone else’s sneakers.

la punk rocker

What inspired you to write the best-selling LA Punk Rocker?

I can put the blame entirely on British author Mark Barry. He thought writing about my punk days would be interesting. At first I was opposed to the idea but then I began listening to the old tunes and saw the wisdom in sharing those stories.

I’m so glad Mark talked you into it! What has surprised you the most about writing the book?

I didn’t expect to find so many people that were still so enthusiastic about the music.

I haven’t been involved in punk rock for more than thirty years but I have reunited with some of the friends I had from that time period. The interest in the music is still going strong. And who knew Billy Idol still had so many admirers?! I’ve even joined up with his fan club the #BIFFWW. These gals always have your back, so it seems.

That’s terrific Brenda, and now you have the sequel, Punk Rocker officially releasing May 15th! I admit I’ve already bought my copy since I saw it pre-released a few days early. I’m very excited to read it! Let’s learn more from the blurb.

Punk ROcker

PUNK ROCKER is now available on Amazon! 

US | UK | Canada

 Book blurb for Punk Rocker

Punk Rocker is the much anticipated sequel to “L.A. Punk Rocker”: top author Brenda Perlin’s best-selling punk anthology.

Here you will find a collection of short stories from those who were there in the early days. Hard core musical anarchists who saw it all, heard it all, did it all – and survived to tell their stories.

Along with Brenda and the West Coast punks, Punk Rocker features rebels, writers, commentators and street kids from all over America – talking about the music, the fashion, the attitude, the passion, the lifestyle and, of course, the bands who made it all happen.

Meet people who discovered punk’s new dawn – and those who were there for its sunset, in the ramshackle mausoleum of the Chelsea Hotel.

Backstage, in the clubs, in the gigs, in hotel rooms with the band, on the streets –Brenda was there. She saw it all. And so did her friends.

Punk Rocker. If you missed it…what are you waiting for?

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Of course, reviews are a pleasure. For me, I have made it my mission to jot down notes when I am reading new releases to help the author. And I do believe it helps. Who wouldn’t want to erase the overused words or typos, if possible? I am starting to do it less because it’s often a thankless job but that is another subject for another time possibly.

I know you’ve helped me with your copious notes, and I so appreciate it.  Let’s  finish with a fun lightning round! 

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? A framed drawing of my first dog Alex. The artist in Venice Beach only charged $5 to do the portrait but it’s my favorite possession. I’ve even considered having a tattoo done from the drawing but as of now I have put that thought to rest.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Kauai is where I feel the most connected. There is just something about the water that touches me.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Mangoes

Salty or sweet? Sweet Sweet Sweet!

Cat/dog/other pet? I am a dog person.

Favorite style of music? Is David Bowie a style? Ha-ha. I like classic rock, rock and alternative.

The best gift you’ve ever received? I was sick in 2007 as was told I might not ever walk again. I am blessed with the gift to walk. That is not something I take for granted. Ever.

Your most guilty pleasure. Papa John’s pizza delivery and reality TV.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Exercise and music. I am officially addicted.

Thank you Brenda for sharing with my readers. I learned many new and interesting things about you—all the more to admire.🙂 Congratulations on your accomplishments and the upcoming release of Punk Rocker. I look forward to reading and reviewing it.

Readers, please find Brenda at all her virtual homes below. She’s as amazing as she sounds.  

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Connect to Brenda

brenda perlin

Author Website | Website (Blossoming Press) | Blog | Google+

Twitter @BrooklynandBo | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Facebook Pages

Blossoming Press | Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles

Alex the Mutt | Ty the Bull

Additional book trailers

Ty the Bull | Alex the Mutt: From Death Row to Cozy Home

Brenda Perlin is an independent contemporary fiction author of five titles and numerous short stories. From novels to illustrated books, Brenda’s provocatively unique writing style evokes passionate responses in her readers. Ever since she was a child, Brenda has been fascinated with the writing process. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume who sparked her obsession with pursuing personal expression through prose. Brenda has always lost herself in the world of literature.

Her first series, the highly-acclaimed Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a couple struggling for emotional fulfillment against those who would keep them apart. Next, Brenda ventured into the realm of graphic novellas with Ty the Bull, a story about a young boy who overcomes bullying, and Alex the Mutt, which explores the journey of love and loss of a beloved dog.

Her latest, Punk Rocker comes after L.A. Punk Rocker, both are anthologies where authors write about the music scene in the late seventies to the early eighties: a time when she was in Hollywood meeting famous bands and enjoying the new music scene.

Now that Brenda has just released Punk Rocker, the second book in the punk series she is contemplating whether or not she will forge ahead with another book to complete the series, along with a photo book, L.A. Punk Snapshots. While she is still listening to her favorite bands from the eighties, Billy Idol remains the ultimate King Rocker and music is just as important to her as ever. All her works are available through Amazon.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to musical artist Voyce* (@voyceproduction)

It’s always a pleasure when serendipity plays a role in connecting me to incredible people. Not long ago, I made a comment on Facebook in response to a certain … umm … presidential candidate. My comment was something like “Wow, that’s crazy!” accompanied by a cartoon face that expressed the sentiment.

Little did I know I posted that comment on the wrong thread. It landed on a post about musician and songwriter Voyce*, whom Casey Ryan, creator of the popular podcast, The Cutting Room Floor was promoting. When Casey sent me a note about it, I was absolutely mortified and apologized profusely!

I’ve interviewed Casey, and he’s had me on his podcast several times. We are friends, so fortunately, he didn’t take my comment out of context. Instead, he introduced me to Voyce* and said I should get to know him. As an avid music fan who blogs about music weekly, I was more than happy to talk to Voyce*.

Thank you so much for the introduction, Casey!

Let me say that Voyce* is every bit as charming as he sounds. Please learn more about this very talented man, his music, and why the moon holds special meaning for him.

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voyce*2Voyce*, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. It was difficult to choose just a few pictures of you since you are so photogenic in each one! Tell us how you came to be known as Voyce*, and why you use the asterisk after your name.

Sure, so about the *. Initially my artist name was just Voyce. But I soon learned that another Artist in Toronto was using the same name. Initially I thought about changing the name altogether but it just embodied everything that I am so I couldn’t let the name go. I decided to add the * after my name much like *NSYNC had done years before after they faced a name dispute. But the * is more than just a symbol, I like to refer to it as “The Silent Star”. It embodies what my music is to me, my guide, much like the Sun guides our lives.

That is a powerful symbol indeed. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I actually have 2 best friends, Sookz and Jess Abran. They are both amazingly talented musicians that I regularly collaborate with. More than friends, they are family to me, not just because we share a common love for music but because we understand each other, and we do so without judgment. But back to the question… How would they describe me? They’d probably say that I’m an emotional mess and extremely dramatic lol.

Most artists I know are a tad dramatic, and it’s not a bad thing! Where do you call home and what do you love and hate about it?

I live in Montreal, Canada. Montreal is a multicultural city, filled with people from all parts of the world with different beliefs, traditions and ideologies and because of this it is rich in art. That’s what I love about Montreal, and it is especially beautiful in the spring and summer, heck even the fall. But then there’s the winter. Montreal winters are brutal, terribly brutal and that would be what I hate about it.

voyce3*I grew up in Montreal and get cold just thinking about the winters! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My completely illogical fear of spiders, urghhhhhh. I mean do they really need to have 8 legs? No, but in all seriousness, there was a time when I was insecure about myself, and I would have jumped at any chance to not just change myself but be someone new altogether. But in time I’ve grown to understand myself more and see that that desire for change came because I didn’t love who I was, not necessarily on the outside, but on the inside. So would I change anything about myself now? Yes, but not because I don’t love that part of me but because I want to improve on it. As an example, tattoos have become a part of my lifestyle. When I get a new tattoo I’m changing myself but I’m doing so to better reflect who I actually am, so my body can reflect my mind.

I like spiders😉 and that’s a great answer regarding your tattoos. I don’t have any, but I can relate to how they represent who you are. Do you have a motto you live by?

I have my motto tattooed on my chest “Born on the Moon, Raised on Mars, Stuck on Earth, Reaching for the Stars”.

alone in a crowd album

Alone in a Crowd: Angels | Demons is available on iTunes

Beautiful.🙂 Let’s talk about you as the musician.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My music is a reflection of my life, the life I’ve led, the life I am leading and the life that I believe I’ll lead. In my music I am simply telling my story and in doing so sharing that story with the world. In my life I’ve experienced pain and sorrow and in sharing this part of me, others can find peace in knowing that they are not alone, that like them I’ve been where they may be standing now.

I love your introspection and how you channel that into your music. What is the best advice you’ve received as a musician?

The best advice I’ve received as a musician came to me not necessarily from any one person but as an indirect response to my music from listeners. And I believe that advice applies to all facades of life. The first time someone wrote me to tell me that my music helped them survive their hardships it made me realize that by being honest about my world in my art I was connecting with others, I was helping others. And so indirectly a message was passed on to me, to always remain honest and true.

That’s a wonderful testament to how you connect with your listeners. Name one of your favorite musicians.

When I was a kid, my mum was obsessed with Michael Jackson. So naturally I was exposed to his music. I was fascinated with how he could convey his emotions through his art and how those emotions then affected those that listened to him. It was beautiful and it made me want to do the same thing, to touch the world through music.

How do you market yourself and your music?

In today’s world social media allows artists to not just advertise themselves but also have closer connections to their fans. As a musician you are able to show the world who you really are and that to me is extremely important. It forms the basis of how I market myself. On my Instagram profile for example, I don’t just post about my music. I talk my love for videogames, tattoos, coffee and absolute fear of spiders. I do so because it makes me real, it makes me approachable, and not just an icon that people look up to but can never “touch”.

hidden in plain sight album

Hidden in Plain Sight: King of the Sand Castle is available on iTunes

It is becoming more and more important to be accessible to fans, and you seem to do it very well. How would you define your style of music?

At surface level it’s easy to simply say I make R&B music and call it a day. But that would be a disservice to my craft. Honestly I just make emotional music and I’ll use whichever genre to best convey my feelings. It could be R&B, Soul, Rap, Acoustic Rock, truthfully it doesn’t matter. I’m just making music.

I agree. It’s less important to categorize the music when it touches someone at their core. As for crafting your songs, is it important for you to know the title of a song before you write it?

Most of the time I don’t even know what the song is about until I’m about half way done. For me only one thing is clear right off the bat, the emotion that I am transferring. Everything else just falls into place, almost as if I fall into a creative trance. Music is an emotional response that is triggered by a need for release.

lords of gemini album

Lords of Gemini: Somewhere Between Worlds is available on iTunes

That’s a wonderful explanation. Can you tell us about your latest CD?

This is always an interesting question to answer because of the very nature of the release. On October 20th 2015 I released my debut album ‘Alone in a Crowd: Angels | Demons’. On December 15th 2015 I released its pseudo sequel ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: King of the Sand Castle’. Unlike the first project which was self-produced, this one was produced by Montreal-based producer Sookz. On April 1st 2016 I released the sequel to both albums namely ‘Lords of Gemini: Somewhere between Worlds’. This project was produced collaboratively by Sookz and myself. And now you’re probably saying, why on earth would you release 3 albums in such a short amount of time? Short answer would be: I’m crazy. Long answer is as follows: The 3 projects are all part of one giant story, a story that began in 2010 when my mum passed away. In that time my mind became fractured and I was split between the part of me that was healing and the part of me that needed to tell his story. Stephen (my real name) was hurting but Voyce* needed the world to know that pain. AiaC is Stephen’s story while HiPS is Voyce*’s. LoG brings both sides of me back together as one and marks the end of that journey and the beginning of what’s to come.

I love the history behind your album. Why do you think people should buy it?

I’ve coined the 3 projects as ‘The Voyce* Trilogy’. In many ways each part of the story is one book in the collection. In them I am simply telling my story and I think people will connect with the raw emotion behind them and draw parallels to their lives. I think people will see themselves in my words and that will connect us to each other.

How long did it take for you to put it together?

As a whole this has been a story 6 years in the making. It’s a story that began with the passing of my mum. It’s a story about finding ones way out of darkness. It’s a reflection of my mind and hence a reflection of the human condition.

What an incredible way to honour your mother. What is next for you?

This year alone I’ve had music released by Warner and eOne Music. The close of the Voyce* trilogy has set me free from the shackles of my past, allowing me to set my mum free and hence set myself free. In many ways it marks the death of Voyce* figuratively, in the sense that he can now be reborn as something new. I am already working on a new project, a collaborative one with Jess Abran. Everything else is a book I haven’t written yet.

So well said. Let’s finish the interview with a fun lightning round!

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My hard drive with all my music or wait maybe my videogames…

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? The Moon, as you may have noticed I am obsessed with space.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Popcorn, but without butter.

Salty or sweet? Salty.

Coffee or tea or something else? Cofftea.

Cat/dog/other pet? Wolf.

Favorite genre of book to read? Whatever genre ‘Le Petit Prince’ is classified as.

The best gift you’ve ever received? Anything with Batman.

Your most guilty pleasure. Popcorn ha ha.

Favorite season. Fall, because I love how artsy the world looks.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Oxygen.

My sincere thanks again to Casey Ryan for connecting me with Voyce*. Readers, please feel free to comment and ask questions of Voyce*. His media links are below, and he is simply lovely to talk to. You can also preview his music on iTunes, Soundcloud, and via his website.

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Connect to Voyce*

Voyce*

Website | Instagram

Twitter @voyceproduction | Facebook

SoundcloudYou Tube

“Born on the moon, raised on Mars, stuck on Earth, reaching for the Stars”

With this tattooed on his chest, Voyce* -an award winning Montreal based singer, songwriter and music producer- defines how he lives and more importantly the music he creates, by these words. Winning a prestigious songwriting award, he officially embarked on his journey in 2008. Just two years later, he found himself signed to a Nashville based record label.

His career, mimicking his life, has taken him through peaks and valleys, and led him to collaborate with worldly renowned musicians and achieve national radio play.

Well respected in the music industry, his work has now reached over half a million views on VEVO.

Pain -in one word- he will tell you, is his greatest motivator. Through the valleys of suffering he’s experienced, he is relentless in finding himself, in becoming not only better than he was yesterday, but expanding way beyond who he is today.

Driven by the simple belief that, even through darkness, there will always be hope, ultimately, Voyce*, wants to serve as a catalyst for who we, humanity, through our individual and collective suffering, choose to become.

– Written by Kim Mecca

**

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author John McCaffrey (@jamccaffrey)

I’m very excited to introduce you to author, John McCaffrey. We first met on Facebook and subsequently followed each other on Twitter. He’s been a wonderful supporter of my work, and I consider it good fortune to interview him just after he’s released a HOT new book.

His latest offering, Two Syllable Men (Vine Leaves Press) came out April 26th. It’s already hit several top-selling lists.

Learn more about John and why he classifies his writing as “Disturbed Apple Crisp!” Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @PeterCBradbury

As with many authors I’ve interviewed, I met Peter C. Bradbury through social media and later, we found ourselves as part of the same writing groups.

It’s always interesting to learn from other writers, and I’m sure you will enjoy Peter’s insight. He’s an Englishman now living in California, and he is passionate about his causes, which include: animal cruelty, hunting for fun, bullying, and human trafficking.

Read more about this talented author and see what he has to offer. Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Claude Bouchard (@ceebee308)

It’s always nice to meet an author from my hometown of Montreal. Though the world of independent authors is not huge, Claude is one of the larger-than-life figures within it. He’s also one of the most gracious authors I know, and I’m happy to feature him on my blog.

Like most Canadians, he has a great sense of humor, so you don’t want to miss his interview!  Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @MariaHaskins

I don’t recall the exact moment I connected with poet and author, Maria Haskins. All I know is she has been extremely supportive of my work, and when I dug a bit deeper, I was not surprised to learn how talented she is.

For the past couple of months, we have both read for The Word Count Podcast, and it’s made me appreciate Maria’s stories and writing style.

I’m very happy to offer Maria a forum to share of herself and her books on Eden’s Exchange. Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Scott Bury (@ScottTheWriter)

I’ve crossed paths with Canadian author, Scott Bury in the past, but we didn’t connect until last year while working on the Lei Crime Series for Kindle Worlds.

I read his novella, Torn Roots and finally got a taste of his writing—excellent! Like me, Scott writes in multiple genres and he has numerous writing projects on the go.

Read more about this multi-talented writer and what he has to offer.

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author Olga Núñez Miret (@OlgaNM7)

I’m excited to have author Olga Núñez Miret on my blog. Olga is a talented writer and translator of English and Spanish texts. She was also a forensic psychiatrist, which is of great interest to me for my own writing.

Please learn more about Olga and her books.

Her latest one called Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is free for now, so be sure to pick it up! Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author James Moushon (@jimhbs)

Author interviews are a helpful way to learn about new and established writers. After doing nearly 150 of them since I started blogging, I took a break from Eden’s Exchange in 2015.

I’m happy to restart my series with an interview of author, James Moushon. James is a tireless promoter of others, and it’s my pleasure to shine a light on him for a change. Continue reading

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Props to the people I interviewed in 2014

Many thanks to the people who allowed me to interview them in 2014. Since 2010, I’ve interviewed nearly 150 authors and creatives, and you can read each of them here.

Interviews: 2010/2011 | 2012 | 2013

In 2014, I continued to share wonderful talent on my blog. It’s always an honour when other writers and artists are willing to share of themselves with me and my readers. Please give them a read if you missed their interviews initially; they are terrific people for your social network.

 Click on the name for the interview. 

 Profession and/or Genre  Name
 Historical & contemporary fiction /
*Medical thriller
 Christoph Fischer
 Mystery/thriller  Michelle Weidenbenner*
 Horror  Joseph DiBartolo
 Science fiction/fantasy  Raymond Bolton
 Mystery/thriller  Fiona Quinn
 Crime/fantasy  Bill Kirton
 Crime/adventure  Laurie Smith
 Horror/sci-fi/erotica/poetry  E.N. De Choudens
 Mystery/thriller  Angus Vieira
 Crime/short stories  Anthony McManus
 Romance/thriller/historical fiction  Britt Skrabanek
 Humour  Ned Hickson
 Apocalyptic Science Fiction  C.P. Bialois
 Poetry/editor  John Anstie
 Horror/thriller  C.W. Schultz
 Police procedural/mystery/romance*  Toby Neal
 Erotica/podcaster  Melissa Craig
 Crime/biography  Mackenzie Brown
 Suspense/thriller  D.A. Bale
 Farcical fantasy/romance  Kevin Klehr
 Psychological thriller/erotica  Jess C. Scott

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author @JessCScott

Author Jess C. Scott and I have crossed paths over the years but never connected until this past summer. I’m thrilled to offer her space to share about herself and her books—finally! I also learned we have many things in common.

Please give a warm welcome to Jess and find out more about this intriguing woman.

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author @KevinKlehr

Author Kevin Klehr and I met on Twitter sometime ago. It’s taken a while for me to have him on my blog, but I’m thrilled he’s finally here.

He recently released his books, so it’s the perfect time to learn more about Kevin.

Please give him a warm welcome all the way from Australia! Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author D.A. Bale (@DABale1)

Author D.A. Bale and I met when I discovered her terrific blog. Its tagline is: A blog about indie authors for indie authors and readers alike. You will recall I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her last month.

I’m happy to return the favor and really enjoyed learning more about DA. I know you will too.

Please welcome Ms. Bale and discover her books. Continue reading

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