Category Archives: Indie Author Spotlight

Indie Author Spotlight-Callum McLaughlin

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In honor of The Girl In Between blog tour, this week’s Indie Author Spotlight is with Callum McLaughlin, author of the YA thriller False Awakening.

False Awakening (ebook, ad version) copyWhen teenager Abi Watson wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of the incident that put her there, she must begin the long and difficult process of piecing her life back together, but unfortunately, her search for answers will merely give rise to further questions. Frayed relationships and haunting revelations soon come into play, leading Abi to discover that some things are best left forgotten. 

With a past that is unwilling to let go, her only option is to delve into the depths of her own mind so that she can uncover the truth and finally awaken from her living nightmare.

Excerpt:

Before either of her friends could speak, two police officers in full uniform filled the doorway. 

“What are you two doing in here?” asked one of them. Male, tall and inherently intimidating; his ice-cold eyes moved from Dan to Luke as he swept into the room, bringing with him an atmosphere far cooler than any breeze. “We specifically told you not to speak with the victim until we had questioned her. 

The word victim made Abi’s stomach squirm again. 

“We’re sorry,” said Dan, looking more uncomfortable than ever as he sidled towards the door.

“We were worried. We had to make sure she was okay.” Luke did not budge from Abi’s bedside as he looked the officer directly in the eye.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you both to leave immediately,” said the second officer. A woman who appeared at least a few years younger than her partner, she held a notebook and pen in her hands that Abi suspected were intended to document her version of events; events she still scarcely remembered besides the deeply unsettling image that had invaded her mind a mere moment ago.

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First of all, I’d love to hear about all of the projects you have in the works, where you’re at with them currently, and what your hopes are for each of them.

The project that’s occupying most of my thoughts and attention at the moment is actually something totally different to my previous books. I’ve been writing poetry for a while now and after some gentle persuasion have come around to the idea of putting together a compilation. My hope is to release this sometime in early 2015.

I know what the next piece of fiction I will work on will be and I have it planned out but I’m taking my time to focus on the aftermath of launching my newest book and working on poetry before diving into it fully.

The synopsis for your newest novel, False Awakening, really piqued my interest because it deals with the issues of identity and memory loss, similar to in my novel The Girl In Between. What inspired you to write the novel and what was it like following a character who was such a mystery, even to herself?

Not to sound too much like a typically whimsical writer but the idea really did just hit me one day. I was struck by the image of a girl waking up in a hospital bed with no idea of what had happened to put her there. This became my opening scene and everything else was built around that basic concept. I was so excited by the premise and just knew I had to write it.

As for the main character herself, it actually made for a really interesting dynamic in the writing process, as it was as though she and I were discovering who she was simultaneously.

Tell me a bit about your writing process. Do you set strict deadlines or do you just go with the flow? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?

When I’m in the swing of a big project I try and write at least 1000 words per day if I can, to keep up the momentum, and while I definitely love an outline for the major plot points, I leave enough wiggle room to go with the flow when it comes to smaller subplots and character traits. Some writers have to stick to either a rigid plan or no plan at all but I strive for a healthy balance between the two.

Both of your current works are Thrillers and it’s a genre that is really underrepresented in YA. What draws you to the genre and what do you like about putting teenagers in these kinds of situations as opposed to adults?

I love that the genre is usually fast-paced, full of twists and really packs a punch. I also like the versatility it offers in terms of incorporating other sub-genres and ideas.

When it comes to the characters at the heart of my stories, they are the way they are primarily because that’s the way I have always envisioned them since they first came into my mind. I suppose in this genre in particular, readers need to be able to sympathise with and relate to the protagonists and our teenage years are often our most vulnerable and turbulent, so there’s a lot of room for high emotion and interesting development there; something we can all engage with.

Why did you decide to go indie?

Being new to the industry and a small fish in a big pond as it were, I was drawn to the idea of doing things in my own time and in my own way. The freedom of choice and creative control is every writer’s dream, really. It’s not to say I won’t ever try different routes, it’s just that this one felt right for these projects and I went with my gut.

What are your ultimate publishing goals?

I just want to keep writing stories and releasing books that I would want to read. Getting a collection of poetry out there will be a major tick on the bucket list and one day, I’d love to write a series. I’ve got ideas bubbling away for that already, but it will have to await its turn – So many ideas, so little time.

And here’s an even more intimidating question: What kind of writing legacy do you hope to leave behind?

That certainly is a big question! I once remember J.K. Rowling saying that she wanted to be remembered “as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.”

P1000905 - Copy copyI don’t claim to put myself in the same league as Rowling but I’m not one to disagree with the master either. If I know I’ve done my best and people out there have enjoyed reading what I have to say, then I will consider myself very happy.

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***If you’re an indie author who wants to get in on the blog tour and gain some exposure this winter, email me at lzkbooks[@]gmail[.]com***

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Indie Author Spotlight-Kristen Otte

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In honor of The Girl In Between blog tour this week’s Indie Author Spotlight is with Kristen Otte, author of The Adventures of Zelda children’s book series and the young adult novel The Photograph.

the-adventures-of-zelda“I have the wrinkles, smashed face, and curly tail of a pug, but I have an appetite for adventure. I am always searching for a new mystery to solve, cat to chase, or pillow to steal.

After I gathered acorns for my squirrel friend Squeaks, my family knew it was time to put my adventures into a book. The thirteen short stories in this book connect and build into a story arc creating an exciting chapter book for young pug lovers (ages 7 and up).”

The Adventures of Zelda is FREE on all major ebook platforms:

Available at Amazon (Kindle & Paperback), Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble (Nook & Paperback), Apple iBooks

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On a quest for truth, one girl will find more than she bargained for.

Sixteen-year-old Rachel Brandt is excited about her six-month anniversary with her boyfriend, Brent, getting her driver’s license, and competing for a district championship in her first season on the varsity basketball team.

But when Rachel stumbles across a photograph of her parents, she can’t shake the feeling that she is meant to find her mother, whose identity is a secret her grandparents have closely guarded. All Rachel knows is that her mother disappeared around the time her father was killed in action in the Gulf War a few months after she was born.

Her discovery of the photograph sends Rachel on a search for her mother against her grandparents’ wishes and propels her life into a tailspin. She never imagines her search will reveal a series of lies that jeopardizes every important relationship in her life and ultimately lead Rachel to question her identity.

The Photograph is a contemporary young adult novel for ages 12-16 that follows Rachel’s search for her mother through the backdrop of her basketball team’s quest for its first district championship in twelve years.

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First of all, I’d love to hear about all of the projects you have in the works, where you’re at with them currently, and what your hopes are for each of them.

I am currently working on a few different projects. First, I have a children’s chapter book series titled The Adventures of Zelda about a stubborn, yet adventurous pug. I am currently writing the first draft of the fourth book in the series to release in summer of 2015.

Second, I just sent off my second contemporary young adult novel, The Evolution of Lillie Gable, to the editor. The novel is a follow up to The Photograph, but it focuses on Lillie, who is a secondary character in The Photograph. I expect to publish The Evolution of Lillie Gable in early 2015.

Third, I have the first draft written for the first in a brand new fantasy series. I have some story planning and outlining to do for the series before I return to revising and editing this project for release. I am really excited about this project, and I am hoping for a fall of 2015 release.

Tell me a bit about your writing process. Do you set strict deadlines or do you just go with the flow? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?

My writing process is a work in progress. In the past year, I’ve made significant strides in my writing speed and productivity. I am a big proponent of outlining before starting a first draft. This outline includes character sketches, timelines, and a chapter-by-chapter outline. On most projects, I end up veering from the outline because the story takes me somewhere else, but the outline is crucial to get me started.

I also write in a distraction free environment. Since I have a job outside of writing, I need to manage my time wisely. I close myself off in my office, turn off my wifi and notifications, so I can focus on getting the words on the page. (At least until the dogs run into the office).

As someone who speaks on the intersection of writing and faith, how important is it for you personally that your books or other projects have some kind of moral or bigger meaning? Also, what kind of effect do you think that can have on readers when they’re reading about characters or situations that are ethical as opposed to indifferent and self-serving?

When I write a novel, my purpose is to tell a good story, but I find that my faith and morality seeps through the characters and situations. With my contemporary young adult novels, the characters struggle with right and wrong. They make mistakes, but they learn from those mistakes, and my hope is that teen readers can learn from these characters. It’s the same for my children’s books. I created the Adventures of Zelda series to make kids laugh and fall in love with reading. The books are goofy and silly, but Zelda is learning and growing as a character. She learns about sharing, making friends, and being part of a family.  I think good fiction teaches readers about human nature and the world around them without pushing a specific agenda.

Your YA novel, The Photograph, deals with an issue that has been central to many of my novels as well–secrets. What inspired you to explore this issue through the eyes of a teenager and how damaging do you think lies and secrets are to young people in particular?

I worked for six years in teen ministry before I started writing, and I saw the devastating effects of secrets and lies on people. I knew students who were lying to themselves and their parents, and it was eating away at them. On the other end of the spectrum, I saw students who were hurt by the lies of their parents and family.

When I started writing, I wanted to explore how teens deal with secrets and lies because I knew it was an issue confronting teens.

What are your ultimate publishing goals? Why did you decide to go indie?

My plans are to write fiction for the rest of my life. I would love to be a hybrid author with some books published by one of the big publishing houses and others independently published. I have plans down the road to seek an agent, but I decided to go indie to start to build my platform. I know having a solid platform and fan base will help secure an agent. Until then, I enjoy the freedom of being independent and being able to write stories and novels I love.

photo-1And here’s an even more intimidating question: What kind of writing legacy do you hope to leave behind?

My tagline sums up the legacy I want to leave behind as a writer: Finding Love and Laughter through Story. I want to be known as an author who wrote good books that made people smile and laugh.

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Indie Author Spotlight-Elaine Jeremiah

IASIn honor of The Girl In Between blog tour this week’s Indie Author Spotlight is with Elaine Jeremiah, author of The Inheritance and her latest release, Reunion of The Heart.

RotH-Cover copyAfter a messy breakup with her boyfriend, Anna is feeling fragile. So when her best friend Melissa suggests the two of them go to their school reunion, she’s reluctant as Anna’s school days weren’t her happiest. The evening is going well until she meets the boy who made her school life hell.

But the grown up Will is different and Anna is surprised by the direction her life takes. The reunion sets in motion a series of events that lead Anna to realise things will never be the same again.

‘Reunion of the Heart’ is a romance that will lead you to ponder whether love can atone for past mistakes.

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First of all, I’d love to hear about all of the projects you have in the works, where you’re at with them currently, and what your hopes are for each of them.

I’ve only got one story that I’m working on at the moment, but it’s going well. It’s a romance called Teaching Mr Leavis about a young woman called Rebecca teaching at a secondary school (here in the UK it’s for 11 to 16 year olds). I’ve set it 20 years ago for when I was at secondary school, reason being that I have no idea how things are done nowadays in school. What with the advance of technology since I was at school, I felt it would be easier to set it in the past and write about what I know. It’s saving me a ton of research – that’s for sure!

I’m about halfway through writing it, but I’m finding that the plot is kind of running away from me at the moment. I think I need to rein it in a bit so that I don’t get to the end too soon. But I feel it’s important for me to finish the first draft before I start going back and changing/expanding on what I’ve got.

Tell me a bit about your writing process. Do you set strict deadlines or do you just go with the flow? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants? 

I don’t set myself strict deadlines – I don’t really work well under pressure, so I don’t set myself stringent targets. But I do make a plan. However, I don’t necessarily stick to that plan all the way. In fact Teaching Mr Leavis is deviating quite a lot from the plan!

In your bio you admit to genre hopping, which you claim makes your work hard to market. As someone who also genre hops how do you feel about authors who give the advice that writers who are just starting out should only write in one genre?

I would disagree with that. I think that, especially when you’re starting out, you should go with whatever genre you feel called to write in. In my opinion as a writer you should follow your gut instinct of what you want to write about. Write what you like! Of course, as I’ve mentioned in my bio, if your work doesn’t fit neatly into a genre that can be a problem too. But personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with experimenting with genres. It’s what I’m doing at the moment and I feel that in a way I haven’t yet found the genre that suits me best. So I’m mixing it up.

Why did you decide to go indie?

My husband actually suggested I go indie. Before he told me it was possible to self-publish via Amazon, I had no idea that you could do that. But it seemed to make sense – I wrote a novel a few years ago which I sent to a few agents and they all turned me down. One didn’t even reply! So going indie seemed like a sensible idea.

Self-publishing has made it possible for me to share my writing, my novels, with many people – those who I know personally and many more who I don’t. Also, I really think that going down the traditional route of publishing is just so hard. It’s very difficult to get an agent, and just as hard to get picked up by a publisher. Self-publishing means that your work is out there for people to read almost as soon as you click the publish button.

What are your ultimate publishing goals?

I would like to be more successful as an author – wouldn’t we all?! I want my books to reach as many people as possible. I don’t actually intend to be a full time author at the moment, but it would be good to extend my publishing reach so that I get a much bigger audience than I have at the moment. I’m in it for the long haul, so I’m just going to keep working away producing more novels until my sales take off.

EJAnd here’s an even more intimidating question: What kind of writing legacy do you hope to leave behind?

Gosh that is an intimidating question! Um… well I would hope that my books would still be read after I’m gone, that would be wonderful! I think the beauty of digital publishing is that even after I’m not around, my books will still be in the virtual world. So there’ll never be the problem of them going out of print – if people stop reading them, someone else may well rediscover them and share them with a new generation of readers. I think the future’s bright for indie authors.
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Indie Author Spotlight-Devon Trevarrow Flaherty

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In celebration of The Girl In Between blog tour, we’re kicking off the Indie Author Spotlights with Devon Trevarrow Flaherty, author of The Night of One Hundred Thieves, The Journey of Clement Fancywater, and The Family Elephant’s Jewels.FRONT ONLY MOCKUP VERSION 5 JPG

The Night of One Hundred Thieves: Who will be the last thief standing? The Queen was dying. The kingdom was at peace. And the ring was about to be buried forever in the royal crypt. But its aura of power and its promise of riches and its stories of magic were destined to inspire a night never to forget, The Night of One Hundred Thieves. From an unlikely cast of farmers, travelers, townspeople, courtiers and royals, One Hundred unravels a tale of forty people all both recognizable and special in their own way, as they barrel toward their future together and an inevitable clash of motives. From Farah the Barren to Nora the Girl Widow, from Tarquis the Secret Pirate to Lykus the Cupbearer, their stories will make you laugh, cry, remember, and hope for their future and the future of magic.

The Journey of Clement FancywaterSometimes fantasies are for real. Clement is living with his parents, working as an administrative assistant by day, and playing video games all by himself by night, when he is orphaned at age thirty. His grief, desperation, and homelessness lead him to a park bench where a bizarre two-faced man points him down a rabbit hole toward the Hollow Earth. Is Clement the hero the world needs to save it from a power so insidious the Wide Worlders don’t yet know of its approach? Will he find his way through a colorful, subterrestrial world to sonship, love, worth, and the magical, glowing rock that will save humanity from the schemes of the Wizard Queen?

The Family Elephant’s JewelsWhose secrets could undo you? John was once a young, superstitious literature professor meeting the fiery love of his life, Gemma. Now he’s an aged, superstitious literature professor dealing with the sudden death of the grossly obese, shop-o-holic love of his life, Gemma. As their 7 surviving kids make their way back to their East coast home for the funeral, they each uncover a secret about Gemma, and in so doing unhinge something in themselves.

****Devon is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund these projects and she needs your help!****

KICKSTARTER OANDZ LOGO JPEGCampaign Info:

The Kickstarter campaign runs until Wednesday, November 5 at 11:00 pm EDT. The goal–only realized if fully funded–is $17,579. This number reflects costs for publishing and publicizing Devon Trevarrow Flaherty’s next three novels. One book is ready, the other two are nearly there. Two of the books are fantasies (The Night of One Hundred Thieves and The Journey of Clement Fancywater) and the other is literary fiction (The Family Elephant’s Jewels). Gifts include free ebooks, paperbacks, and even parties and recognition in the book.

FYI, I just donated to the campaign and the process is incredibly simple. In one step you can create an account and kickstarter actually processes your payment through Amazon, which if you’re already a frequent shopper there, makes everything so much easier!

For more information on Devon’s books or the author herself, visit the following links. And if you can’t give to her campaign there are plenty of other ways to show your support by following her on social media and tweeting about her projects.

IMG_2422Author Website
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***If you’re an indie author who wants to get in on the blog tour and gain some exposure this winter, email me at lzkbooks[@]gmail[.]com***

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