Tag Archive | writing

Jan McCanless~Beryl’s Cove Mysteries

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Jan McCanless is a retired school teacher and noted premier Southern Humorist. Her homespun articles appear in six national magazines, and her regular newspaper columns. Her delightful Beryl’s Cove mystery series is a cross between Mayberry RFD and Murder She Wrote, and she has two compilations of her humor articles out as well. Once you’ve read one of her books, you are hooked and become a Jan McCanless fan for life! 

Welcome Jan. We are thrilled to have you visit us today.

Tell us something you would like your readers to know about you they don’t.

I am an absolute fanatic about crossword puzzles, and am usually seen working on one anytime I am not writing.  Spouse claims I am the world’s best cook, and  I am an ordained Lay Minister of the Lutheran Church – a fact I am very proud of.

Wow, I did not know that.

I understand you traveled to a most unusual place. Where was this and did it wind up in one of your books?

Quite honestly, the most unusual place was a wax museum in New Orleans. It was dedicated to the macabre, and had some really unusual things in it. Scenes from Dracula, that sort of thing.  No, it never made it into one of my books.

Most of my columns are autobiographical in nature, so things of this nature find themselves in my stories.  Interesting thing about this adventure was the sign on each exhibit, telling the visitor to keep their hands down, so as not to sound an alarm. Naturally, I had to point and gesture, setting off every alarm in the whole place, at each exhibit. Spouse says I embarrassed him tremendously, but, isn’t that what I’m supposed to do with my columns?

In a previous life, what did you do before becoming a writer?

Most all my readers know I was a school teacher, but, a lot of them are surprised to learn I was once a registered Medical Technologist.  I was an assistant to a pathologist, and we of course, did forensic work, autopsies, tissue examination, that sort of thing. I’ve always been fascinated by forensics, probably why I write murder mysteries. I loved the work.  Retirement brought me to the job of volunteer tour guide for our local senior center, a very rewarding job, and I absolutely loved it.jan

If you’ve retired, how difficult was it to give it up?

My first day of not teaching was hard, I got up early, got dressed and was going out the door to school, when it occurred to me I was no longer employed there. I’d still be teaching if not for arthritis, which made it extremely difficult to walk the concrete floors and carry AV equipment, etc .  To this day, I miss my students, many of whom have remained friends over the years, and I miss the mental stimulation.  Realistically, I knew I could not give it my all, so, yes, I miss it.

Does coincidence sometimes play a role in your books? If so, is there a particular example you can share. 

Not as much as one would think,  since my books are pure fiction. My two compilations of columns  did have a coincidence. I had just submitted a column about my time up in Fish Creek , Wisconsin, visiting my brother. Spouse and I were taking a day trip up to the mountains, when I ran into a gentleman who was visiting North Carolina from Fish Creek, Wisconsin. My column ran that very week, so, I was quite surprised at the coincidence, and the gentleman and I had a nice, long chat. He loved visiting here he said, and I loved visiting there.  What I find so amusing is, someone at a book signing will invariably tell me they have been to Beryls Cove, NC, an entirely fictional place, yet, they will insist they have been there and loved it. Fans, you gotta love em !  back_to_b_cove

What is your favorite Hobby? Does it by chance have any influence on your writing?

Without question, its reading. I love to read, and  between May and July of this year, I read 14 books. I read constantly, when I’m not writing, and could not live without my books. I have a personal library in my home with over 300 volumes of books I want to keep and maybe read again some day. Other books go to consignment, there simply is not room enough for them.

Does reading influence my writing? Absolutely, I love to study characters and interesting, exciting plots will really hold my interest. I try to learn from other successful authors too, and have garnered many ideas from them over the years. You have to tell yourself  that they are successful  for a reason.  I try to take something away from all of them, and writing well is a constant learning process.

Do you have to do much research in your writing?

Writing a good story takes research, no matter what the subject. Even fiction has to be accurate if you are quoting facts, so, I actually enjoy research. I have a research assistant  when needed, and have found out many things about Las Vegas, for instance, and the book I’m writing now takes place in England. So, I am thoroughly enjoying researching places near my fictional town. Over the years, I have made a few mistakes in my facts, so, I quickly learned that to be accurate, I must research. It’s time-consuming, but, worth the effort. For the book I am doing now, I did about 3 months worth of research before I wrote the first word.

What are yo working on now?

It’s the third book in my Brother Jerome series, which is an offshoot of the Beryls Cove mysteries. I made the HUGE mistake of saying in my last book, there would be no more, and fans and publisher alike jumped all over me, wanting more, more, more. So, This book is entitled The Opera House Murders, and is about this lovely old home that is now a residence for elderly, retired entertainers in the small English village of Colliers Dog.  I have lovely, elderly British people, retired from show business, but, still entertaining themselves, and wonderful  English customs and sayings to employ.  My maternal grandmother was born in England,and I used to adore her way of speaking, and am absolutely fascinated by British mysteries, so, thought I would write one myself. I am really enjoying it,and having great fun with my characters,and especially Brother Jerome, a true misfit if there ever was one.  Hopefully, it will be out next winter.

Tell us how your newest book came about, the story behind it.

Well, as I said, I love the English mysteries, but, to tell you the truth, in my last book,  Gold, Frankincense and Mrrrdur , I had an English  character, and he was very popular with my readers. I loved the way his part in the plot was revealed, and enjoyed writing about him, so, I thought, why not?murder jan

What is the easiest for you? Writing dialogue, creating characters, plot or scenes?

For me, the easiest is the plot, it’s usually fomenting in my brain for quite some time before I sit down to write. In fact, it  generally keeps me awake at night,and when I can’t stand it any longer, I sit down and write.  Plots , for me, are easy, they just simply pop into my head.  Hardest is writing dialogue. For one thing, I was an English teacher, and proper grammar is important to me, but, most people don’t speak a formal English with a lot of correct grammar. I have to remember that when I write. A construction worker, for instance, is not going to tell you he is headed to the restaurant and going to buy a cup of coffee. No, he will say he’s goin to the diner to get a cuppa coffee, or joe.  Most folks are turned off by overly formal language and all the proper grammar a writer can throw at them, they are intimidated, so, I try always to write as the average person speaks.  In my early books, I have octogenarian twins, one repeated everything the other one said. Oh man, that was hard, because I was writing everything twice. It made their characterizations quite endearing though, but, it was a long, slow process.

What advice would you give to other writers?

I would tell them three things.  Stay the course, don’t be put off by rejection or two, we all get them or have gotten them.  If you believe in your work, then, eventually, someone else will, and you’ll be on your way. I self published my first book, because all the rejects I got told me there was not enough sex, violence or profanity in it. I don’t write books like that, and I believed in my work. One publisher told me I’d never get anywhere with it, but, I published it anyway, and it was out one week, and went best seller. the rest, as they say, is history. Now, my publisher asks me when he can receive the next book.

Network as much as you can with other authors.  Writing is a learning experience, and talk to other authors as much as you can, and you will find out a lot of good information.  Southern Writers Magazine is a marvelous resource for this, and eventually, you’ll hit upon your own voice and style of writing.  I work at least 2 book festivals a year, in other parts of the country, and I learn from every one of them. I see many author friends, and we get together and brain storm. you’d be surprised the good ideas you can pick up from another writer.  We swap books often,and you can really learn from all this.

Write what you know. If you are into romance, don’t try to write science fiction. Write what you know, and familiarize yourself with your audience. I had the advantage of writing newspaper columns for the middle ager, that’s what I know, so, my characters are almost all middle-aged or older, with few exceptions,  because I know and understand how the middle years affect people.  I could not nor would not attempt to write a book about teenagers, too far removed from them ,despite having 6 teenaged grandchildren, I am not with them 24/7 to see all their activities, or understand their language and music today.  My favorite genre of book is murder mysteries, Agatha Christie being my fave author, so, that is what I write. Murder mysteries, always with a twist, and always family friendly stories.

Tell me a fun fact about you.

I am an incorrigible practical joker, and I could not live without humor. I tried being serious once, it didn’t work for me.   Humor is  a big part of my public speaking, and I am a very frustrated pop singer.  Don’t tell anyone though.

It has been an honor having Jan McCanless with us today. Check out her sites and get her books if you want great reads.

 

janmacbooks.com

http://authors.southernwritersmagazine.com/jan-mccanless.html

 

 

 

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Lindsey Brackett~Still Waters

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Welcome Lindsey, we are delighted to have you  on Authors Visits.

I am axious to hear the story behind the creation of Still Waters.

This novel really started with a place—Edisto Beach, where my family spent most summers of my childhood. When I first decided I thought I could actually do this, write a book, all I knew was I wanted a story set on Edisto. From there I began to build characters who might be there and to discover what brings them back or makes them stay away. As I grew as a writer, and began to understand how little I knew about novel structure, the plot changed many times, but ultimately it has always been a story of homecoming, relying on the power of family that ties us to a place.

lindsey

What do you like most about writing? What do you like least?

I love writing as a craft. I love to trip over the words and find the best verb to suit an action or develop a way to make a scene seem to linger—without compromising my word count. I love to see the story escalate and the tension heighten. I love resolution, though plotting is a struggle for me. I’m 100% pantser. But the crafting of a story, nothing about that stresses me out. I even love editing and rewriting, though at times it gets tedious. What I don’t like is the after—the pitching and selling and marketing. I’d really love to have a personal assistant who could do all that for me.

How long did it take to write this book?

Forever it seemed. I started fiddling with this story in 2007. I had two really young daughters and I was teaching middle school. It was the height of the Twilight era and all my students (girls) loved that book. I read it with them so we could discuss it, and I thought, this writer is not that different from me. If she can do this, so can I. But then life happened (two more kids) and along the way, I lost momentum for much beyond sleep. When I picked the story back up in 2014, I still had no idea what I was doing, but I’d been blogging awhile and was more comfortable with my voice. I attended a writers conference, received some positive feedback, and over the next year, completely rewrote the book so it would be ready to pitch. It went under contract with LPC Books in November 2015. So it’s been a long road to publication.

Where did the characters come from?

Nan is modeled after my maternal grandmother whom we called Grandmommy White Hair. She died suddenly the Christmas I was ten, and so much of this story was motivated by the “what if she’d lived” scenario. What would she have been like for me to experience as an adult? She was a true Southern lady and my mother, aunt, and uncle make sure we grandkids remember her and our grandfather. Lou is much sterner and colder than my own mother, but my mom wrangled a passel of kids, too, so they have that in common. Cora Anne and I share a lot of the same qualities—that tendency to hold onto guilt and perfectionism, but she’s way more organized and self-disciplined that I have ever been. Tennessee’s patience and persistence with her are characteristics I borrowed from my own marriage.

What does this book mean to you?

I remember, the day Eva told me she would contract my story, crying so hard because when this story is read, it’s like my grandmother is living again. So much of what I remember—and it doesn’t matter if it’s fact, it’s an impression—is embedded in these pages. My grandparents lived in Colleton County and spent every summer on Edisto after the tobacco was brought in from the fields. We hunted snail shells and made homemade ice cream and she loved to play solitaire. It was so important to me that I get the pace of Edisto right, because it’s a slow place. There’s a phrase I use in the story “an invitation to linger hung among the Spanish moss of the live oaks edging the highway” and for me, that captures Edisto. It’s a place to linger and refresh and let your soul be filled with good food and fun family memories.

What was the hardest thing to write in this story? What was the easiest?

Probably, since I knew I was going to sell CBA, the spiritual takeaway was difficult. I didn’t want to be preachy and I didn’t want to make assumptions about anyone’s faith when they read my book. I just want them to enjoy the story, and if they want to talk about how Cora Anne found her peace, it’s there, but hopefully in a very organic way that rings true of the characters and setting.

The easiest part, for me, was indeed evoking the setting. I researched and read a lot of history, even though it’s not a historical novel. I used this as an excuse to go on vacation and I made notes about what I saw and heard and touched. Edisto is very much a main character of the novel.

What’s next for you in writing?

Well, I have several projects going, including a Christmas novella that gives Hannah and Ben (Still Waters minor characters) a story. I’ve also got a sequel for Still Waters in the works. But an agent gave me some valuable advice to pursue a completely different project because of its strong hook and sale-ability. The new project is more Southern Gothic, really strong narrative drive, teenage protagonist, and all the drama and conflict of a small community split down the county line by a tragedy. There’s football and fried chicken and country music and references to Friday Night Lights and Footloose. It’s really different from Still Waters—not nearly as lyrical—but I’m enjoying the process of creating a completely different world. It’s set in the North Georgia mountains, which is where I’m from, so that’s been fun to make people see what this culture is like, because Appalachia is not the same as the Lowcountry.

Be sure and get her new book, releasing September 2017.

Thank you for visiting today.  

Please visit Lindsey at: https://lindseypbrackett.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LindseyPBrackett/

https://twitter.com/@lindsbrac/

 

 

Janie Dempsey Watts Turns Curiosity Into Writing Career

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A Chattanooga native, Janie Dempsey Watts grew up riding horses at her family farm in Woodstation, Georgia. Her curiosity about most everything steered her to journalism and a writing career.

She was just chosen to be “Author of the Month” for June by Barnes and Noble, Chattanooga.

Her novel “Return to Taylor’s Crossing” (2015) earned an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion and won first place in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild novel excerpt competition. Her first novel, “Moon Over Taylor’s Ridge,” was a Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for a debut novel and nominated for a S.I.B.A. Her newest book is a collection of her short stories, “Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers” (Bold Horses Press, 2017)

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Hi Janie, welcome to Authors Visits. Tell us about this new collection fo short stories.

It’s fifteen short stories set in the South, California, and Europe. One of the stories, “Erice,” was a Faulkner Pirate’s Alley finalist. These stories feature characters facing inner and outer journeys that often do not go as expected. Why did Sadie’s mother run away? And when will she return? Must a teenage girl learn the truth about her daddy the hard way? Why must a bride’s rehearsal dinner feel like a Hatfield-McCoy moment? Can a widow escape loneliness by commiserating? On a train ride in Belgium, can a mother and son trust a postcard salesman they meet? At a laundromat in Rome, Italy, what kind of trouble can a restless wife find? In these tales, some humorous and some edgy, characters discover they do not really know those who are closest, yet a stranger may offer the gift of hope.

Oh this sounds like a must read for sure.

I also wanted to talk to you about your book, Return to Taylor’s Crossing. This book earned an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion and won first place in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild novel excerpt competition. Tell us a little about this book.

.Return

The summer of 1959 in a small Georgia town, dairy worker Abednego Harris, 19, not only stands out for his skillful handling of bulls, but because of his color. When Lola James, 17, arrives to do day work for a nearby family, Abednego is smitten. As the young couple falls in love, racial tensions heat up, threatening their world. A violent attack tears them apart and spins their lives in different directions. This is their story, and the story of four others whose lives are forever changed by violence. One of them will return to Taylor’s Crossing seeking answers.

What drew you to writing?

My parents gave me a diary when I was eight or nine.  I started writing life events in short, newspaper style. A winter storm, the death of a newborn colt, for example. I also read constantly–-horse books, biographies, any book I could get my hands on.  In 8th grade I read “Catcher in the Rye.”  Our Civics teacher asked us to write a paper on what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I knew I wanted to be a novelist, like J.D. Salinger.

How long was it before you wrote your first novel?

The short answer is 28 years from the time I wrote my first short story in college. The long answer is this. In college, I studied English, then journalism, graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in journalism, and later, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California. I wrote for newspapers, magazines, and TV during my journalism career. When my children were little, I used my time as a stay-at-home mother to study screenplay writing at U.C.L.A. Writing five screenplays (never produced) taught me the craft of long-form fiction writing.  All throughout the 28 years, I wrote short stories and also short non-fiction pieces.  Many were published in anthologies and literary magazines, anthologies. In late 2012, my first novel was published.  I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer––and persistent!

 

What do you think made your book Moon over Taylor’s Ridge stand out above all the others to win  Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for a debut novel?
Readers of this novel have told me that the Cherokee history, folklore, and Trail of Tears connection is why they were drawn to the story. I spent many hours researching to make sure my fictional story rested upon a solid base of facts.  The legend of the Cherokee silver mine in the area where the novel is set was passed down in my family and recounted in a history book by my late Aunt Mary. 

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In your speaking engagements, do you take your book and do you sell many of your books? 
I always take about a dozen copies of each book, more if a big crowd is anticipated. I usually sell five to six copies, but I have sold as few as one and as many as 52 at an event. It’s very humbling, and you have to check your ego at the door. Many times those attending will buy my novels later in e-book format, or check it out at the library. From a marketing point of view, the best part about speaking at an event is the publicity generated.  If the event is mentioned in the media, it draws more attention to your book, and hopefully brings in more sales from those unable to attend.
Janie, you’ve been in Southern Writers Magazine a few times and we are so pleased you joined us on our Authors Visits. I know your fans will enjoy this new book that released.
Please come back and visit, and let us know the when you are ready to release another new book.

Heather Blanton–Lady in Defiance

Heather Blanton ph    Heather Blanton––Lady in Defiance

Heather said, “I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” –

A former journalist, and avid researcher you skillfully weave truth in among fictional story lines. I understand you love to explore the American West.

Yes, especially ghost towns and museums. I’ve walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in my hand.

No wonder your books bring our western culture to life.

You write Christian Westerns. Besides your love of the west is there another reason?

I get to write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in my stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly.

You have been able to write Christian Westerns without being preachy or cheesy.

Like good old-fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, and lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense. I think readers find my stories heart-warming, realistic, illuminating and glorifying to God.

Where do you think this love for the west stems from?

I think it’s because I grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. My fondest childhood memory is of sitting next to my father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

I can relate to your love for the old west. I loved the western movies growing up. Every Saturday afternoon was movies and then home to recreate those Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies. We loved that era.

You are the bestselling independent author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series.

This  series, Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, caused a few notable Hollywood producers to request the script for my first book in that series.

trio of heather    book1    book 2

You’ve been called “A Lady in Defiance” and your writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, your books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love. You just released Romance in the Rockies Books 1, 2, & 3 Plus The Lost Chapters.

Readers now can get all three of the bestselling Defiance books in ONE collection, along with a BONUS, never-before-published prequel novella, The Lost Chapters.

Heather, we wish you continuing success in your writing. We enjoy reading your work so we can’t wait to read this one.

Thank you for visiting with us today.

 

To learn more about Heather visit her website: https://ladiesindefiance.com/ and get her newsletter.

https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton https://twitter.com/heatherfblanton
https://www.pinterest.com/heatherfblanton/

 

Elaine Marie Cooper on Road to Deer Run

elaine marie cooper 451MtQNdo0qL._UX250_We are delighted to have Elaine Marie Cooper visiting with us today. Elaine is an author and speaker who became fascinated with the American Revolution growing up in Massachusetts. 

I describe myself as a history geek. You will find my bookshelves filled with volumes about the American Revolution.

Your  book, Road to Deer Run, tell us about the story and the books in the series.Road-to-Deer-Run-Cover-197x300

It’s a historical romance set in Colonial America in 1777. This book was published in December 2015. The war has already broken the heart of Mary Thomsen, a nineteen-year-old colonial woman from Massachusetts. Her brother, Asa was killed by the King’s army, so when she stumbles across a wounded British soldier, you can imagine her sense of right and wrong is challenged. Inside she’s battling the “Should I help a soldier of the enemy who took my brother’s life, or let him die, cold and alone?”

The war has  broken the British soldier Daniel Lowe’s spirit. He’s severely wounded and a prisoner of war, he escapes his rebel captors while on a death march to Boston. As the pain in his injured leg worsens, he wonders if the young woman looking down at him is an angel or the enemy.

So the question becomes, what will they find on the Road to Deer Run? This book was highlighted in Southern Writers Magazine.

The second book, Promise of Deer Run was just published in June of this year.

promise of deer run

It is set in 1790 and the American Revolution is over, but a battle still rages in the hearts of survivors. Painful memories of war haunt one young veteran. He still waits for a father who never returned from battle and feels the sting of betrayal from a former love. Withdrawing into his own world, he clings to one hope — perhaps his father still lives.

There is only one person in Deer Run who seems to understand him, Sarah Thomsen. She’s nineteen- year- old who struggles to bury her own war memories. The veteran’s search for his father touches a chord in her, as she feels the loss of a father she never knew. While the couple begins to find hope in a mutual affection, others are determined to destroy it. Slander and misunderstandings ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust, destroying any faith they had in each other.

The next book, the third one in this saga will be released in December, 2016.  Can’t wait to hear more about the third book. We hope you will come back and visit and share information on this book and also information about the new historical novel that will release in October, 2016 which is Saratoga Letters. I understand that book is set in 1777 and 1977. Can’t wait to hear more about that one.

You also wrote a book called Fields of the Fatherless.

Yes and it won a few awards.

It won the Winner of the 2014 Selah Award, YA Fiction, right? 

Yes and it won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Best Religious Fiction
Winner of the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and Best YA Religious Fiction .

The  Fields of the Fatherless is based on a true story.

fields of fatherless51yq+jk+SsL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_  In the early months of 1775, war is brewing in the American colonies. Although frightened, eighteen-year-old Betsy Russell (an ancestor to actor Kurt Russell) of Menotomy Village, Massachusetts, wants to be prepared in case of attack by British troops. Her father, prosperous farmer Jason, is the fourth generation of Russells on this land yet their very rights as British Colonials are being stripped away one by one. Will the King of England take their land as well? Tensions are growing here in the countryside west of Boston and the outbreak of battle seems a certainty. Jason desperately wants to protect his family–– his wife, children and grandchildren and their future. Betsy makes every attempt to be prepared for the worst. But not even the American militia could have predicted the bloody massacre that was about to occur right on the Russells’ doorstep. If Betsy loses everything she holds dear, are the rights of all the Colonists endangered?

And this is based on a true story?

Yes, on the first day of the American Revolution, the worst battle did not occur at Lexington or Concord. It took place at the home of Jason Russell in Menotomy Village, MA. “Fields of the Fatherless” brings this true story to light as seen through the eyes of Jason’s daughter, Betsy.  Although written for a YA audience, it has received positive reviews from its many adult readers.

No wonder this novel has received several awards and continues to find new readers more than two years after its release. Thank you for sharing this with us.

It was great having Elaine here today to share her books. Be sure and check out her website

http://www.elainemariecooper.com/

and visit her blog

http://www.elainemariecooper.com/blog/

 

 

 

Cyci Cade~Brazilian Writer of Urban Fantasy and YA Fiction

cyci cade  We are delighted to welcome Cyci Cade with us today. Cyci lives in Brazil and writes Urban Fantasy and YA Fiction. Her debut novel Dragon’s Curse was released in November of 2015.

I am anxious to know if you chose urban fantasy and young adult fiction or did these two choose you?

I believe both things happened. During my childhood, my mother used to read me stories like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Beauty and the beast; as time passed I started reading those types of genres and new ones like Marvel, DC Comics, and Philip Pullman´s books. I use to say  I´m a professional reader! Becoming a writer was inevitable.

Tell us what publishing is like in Brazil. 

The process is a little different from the way it is here in  America. We don´t have literary agents; we send the query letters to editors. Getting published is easier in Brazil but more expensive. We have to compete with best-sellers books that come from America and Europe. Usually, it´s a combination of both.

And what about the marketing methods, are they so different from here in America?

My book, Dragon’s Curse you can get on AgBook, a Brazilian publisher, and you can get it on Amazon.com. I set up online giveaways,  write bonus material, short stories, and offer exclusive content. I also use social media to distribute my work.

Do you market in Brazil only or do you also market in other countries as well as America?

I market in many countries. Social Media gets me in touch with people from other countries, so when I set up my giveaways it is open on a worldwide scale.

I read where you said your ideas for your book Dragons Curse came from reading and watching Painted Skin and Game of Thrones. What specifically from each one?

I took the dragons from Game of Thrones when Daenerys Targaryen mentioned them for the first time. I immediately thought, “I´ll write a book about dragons”. Then Painted Skin gave me the idea to look for Chinese mythologies, places and creatures. Chinese culture is very rich so I was able to find many legends and mythologies.

Do you attend writer’s conferences and/or belong to a writer’s group?

I use to attend book fairs and biennials, now I belong to some fantasy, sci-fi, and writers´ groups on Goodreads.

Tell us a little about your book Dragon’s Curse.

dragons curse      Two princes from the Dragon´s Dynasty, Liu and Wei, are cursed and condemned to live as dragons because they failed in their duty, to protect the Dragon Empire. After two centuries their fate changes when Kate appears in their lives and they are able to return to their human form. However, the curse isn´t broken yet, they can´t survive without the dragon´s side.  To break the curse, the princes must recover the eyes and heart of the Great Dragon. As Liu, Wei, and Kate embark on a journey to the Palace of Jade in search of the first eye, they´ll have to face mythological creatures and the immortal warriors. Face death and have to prove  they are honorable men to save Kate´s life. They´ll be tested as never before and discover feelings they never imagined existed plus they will have to  fight like wild warriors. A curse can be broken… But at what cost?

Wow, great description. Now I know I’ve got to read this book. I would think this will have a lot of following. This is just book 1 in the series right?

Yes, I wrote  six books of the series Dragon Princes; Dragon´s Curse is the first one published. I also wrote another trilogy and I decided that now is the right moment to share my work.

What’s next for Cyci Cade?

egypt   I´ve worked on a new book related to a short story I´ve published on my blog, Son of Egypt. As the name suggests, the story is set in ancient Egypt, I mix real people who lived at that time with gods, myths, fantasy, and romance.

Love the cover. Congratulations Cyci. Please keep us posted as new books come out.

Thank you so much for visiting with us.

 

For more information about Cyci Cade visit her at:

http://cycicade.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cycicade/?fref=ts

 

 

TERRY SHAMES-THE SAMUEL CRADDOCK SERIES

 

Terry Shames 3 photo by Margaretta K. Mitchell Terry Shames is the author of the award-winning best-selling Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, Texas. MysteryPeople named Terry Shames one of the top Five Texas Mystery authors of 2015!

Welcome Terry, I am excited you are here and anxious to hear about this series. 

What brought about the writing of this particular series?

 I had been struggling to find a publishing niche for several years. I took time off when my son was in middle school and high school and when I went back to writing, I took a weekend workshop that changed my writing life. In it, one of the workshop leaders spoke passionately about the need to find your own voice. I had heard this advice before (“Find an empty space on the bookstore shelves and fill it,” and “Write the book that only you can write.”). Maybe I was ready to hear the advice, but a month later I sat down and thought about the book only I could write. I had written a few short stories set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, which was based on the town where my grandparents lived when I was growing up, and I thought it would be a natural setting for me. And when I thought of a main character, there was really no question. I was very close to my grandfather. He was no angel, but he had a strong sense of fairness and responsibility. I thought those qualities would be excellent in a protagonist who solved crimes. The first book in the series poured out of me as if it had been waiting to be told.

I love the rural life you create your story in and the Texas setting. It’s that small settlement feeling, where everyone knows everyone. And the characters you create just come to life.

killing-at-cotton-hill-175  This book, A Killing at Cotton Hill, was a finalist for numerous awards and won the Macavity for Best First Mystery, 2013.

For those who don’t know The Macavity Award’s name is the “mystery cat” of T.S. Eliot (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). Each year the members of Mystery Readers International nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in four categories.

Is there a purpose behind the story that you want your readers to know?

I have heard it said writers have one main story to tell, or one main idea to explore. I am always interested in the way secrets affect people. The person keeping the secret isn’t able to fully be part of a family and community. I’m not talking about small secrets (when you stole a lipstick from the drugstore when you were nine), I’m talking about the big ones. Big secrets ripple all the way through the community. Sometimes an entire community has made the decision to ignore an open secret. When I was growing up, there was a woman in our community who was a kleptomaniac. Everyone knew it and was complicit in allowing her husband to quietly return purloined items.

nonie-blake-175    Families sometimes simply don’t talk about the family member who is a little “off.” In my latest book, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake, the family has chosen to hide a family member who did something terrible by sending her to a mental facility. But as the book reveals, there’s more to it. Liars keep secrets in order to save face. And sometimes they even kill to make sure the secret doesn’t overwhelm them.

What was the most challenging part in writing this story?

For some reason The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake didn’t present the challenge I talked about in the prior answer. It seemed to unfold easily. But in that book most of the challenge was in researching how mental illness would have been described and handled twenty years ago.

dead-broke-175  Every book seems to present a challenge at some point. Usually for me it’s the plot resolution. I know how I want it to end, but I don’t know exactly how to get there. My third book, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, lead me astray until I had a complete mess. Finally I went back to the middle and realized where I had gone wrong. Sometimes it’s when you try to force your characters into roles they don’t want to inhabit, but sometimes it’s not exerting enough control over your story. It’s a delicate balance. 

death of jacklast-death-175 The Last Death of Jack Harbin was a Macavity finalist for Best Mystery, 2014 and named one of the top ten mysteries of 2014 by Library Journal and top five of 2014 by MysteryPeople.

Tell us about this book.

 Right before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven’t spoken since.

Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it’s up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. Against the backdrop of small-town loyalties and betrayals, Craddock discovers dark secrets of the past and present to solve the mystery of Jack’s death.

Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge When I finished my fourth book, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, which came out last May, the end didn’t satisfy me. It was empty and didn’t give me the resolution I wanted. My editor told me to keep thinking about it. Finally I appealed to my agent, and she told me that one scene didn’t quite work for her. I immediately realized that what was in my head hadn’t fully made it onto the page. Fixing it required a whole new scene and a big expansion of another scene. When I was done, I knew it was right.

 I read A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. Could not put it down. Loved the twist you created in the story. In fact, I liked it so well, my husband decided he wanted to read it. He too could enjoyed reading this book and liked your story style.

Did the writing require a lot of research and if so what kind?

All the books require some kind of research. I do “backwards” research, which I fear one day will get me in trouble. I usually write my books the way I “think” things would go. If I have a question about the way law enforcement works, how an autopsy would be handled, or the type of gun someone would carry, for example, I write it the way I think it would be and put big stars around it. When the first draft is done, I go back to find the stars and research how it would really happen—to make sure I haven’t made any glaring mistakes. In a couple of books, I’ve had to go back several years to find out how things would have been done.

In book three, I relied on an official website for information about law enforcement. After the book was edited, I had the good fortune to attend a talk at Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime, given by a veteran detective. I asked him about the protocol. He laughed and told me that officially it was supposed to work that way, but in reality it was handled much differently. I instantly phoned my editor. Fortunately, it wasn’t too late to make the few lines of changes. Here’s the thing: it wouldn’t have really mattered if the book had been published with the error. I doubt that anyone would have quibbled. But I knew that it was wrong, and I wanted it to be right.

Thank you Terry for visiting with us today. We have enjoyed learning more about your writing and books. I recommend them for other readers, knowing they will enjoy your stories and writing style.

Be sure a visit Terry Shames at:

http://terryshames.com/

http://terryshamesbooks.blogspot.com