A Perfect 10 with Allan Hudson

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Allan Hudson on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan Hall, Staci Troilo

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing has not yet gone beyond being a hobby for me at this point so I find it very soothing, very relaxing to be able to sit at the keyboard and wrap myself up in a story. There is only myself and my characters and their antics. I love that feeling. So in that sense I guess I find it energizing.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I have never contemplated a pseudonym. Perhaps you may think it vain, but to see my name on a novel I’ve written has been a dream for many years. With the completion of my first book, the box with the first copies arrived and when I lifted that first one out, the title stood out dramatically and there in smaller print on the bottom was my name. What a feeling of accomplishment. I’ll never forget it. So, no pseudonym at present.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I don’t think you need a big ego to write well or if being humble makes you a better writer. I know a few authors that perhaps hold themselves in high regard and they do write neat stories but in my opinion, as a person, they don’t garner the same respect as someone who presents their efforts as a work of love for the enjoyment of the readers.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Hiring an editor has absolutely been the best move financially I’ve made and I feel that any author must. I prefer to self-publish and would never consider going to print without this professional service. It’s as important as an experienced cover artist. I made many mistakes with my first novel but it has been a tremendous learning experience and with my second novel, I will spare no expense in having it properly edited.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

We all measure success differently, of course. Seeing my book in print, the most gratifying thing for me in my writing is having a reader buy my book and tell me how much they enjoyed it. So in that sense, yes I believe I’ve been successful. I honestly would like to be able to support myself financially with my writing and I’ve not achieved that yet. Perhaps someday.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I do very little research in the beginning of a story. I have a very brief outline of what I want to write about and how it might end. When I do need to research something I do it when the subject comes up in the story. The internet has been a tremendous help in researching as well as Google Earth when I want to visit different locales. I also take advantage of my local library which is most helpful. I am presently writing an historical fiction which requires much more research than my previous novels and I enjoy digging into the past. I would like to be able to visit the countries that I write about but that is not always practical.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

When I create a character, I can already envision them in my mind and I try to find a name that seems appropriate for that image. Sometimes I use friends and family names if the name is complimentary to the character and the person I take the name from. My first novel takes place mainly in Bangladesh and I was very fortunate to meet a photographer online that was very helpful with the story, both with his photos and advice, so as a way to thank him, I named a minor character after him.

There have been a few times that I regretted the choice I made with a name because as the character developed, the name didn’t seem to fit. That’s an easy problem to remedy by changing it to something more appropriate.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I find fight scenes the most difficult, where to draw the line whether  the aggression goes on too long. I’ve read some stories where the fights have gone on so long that I wonder how the hero is still standing. I feel that the fight sequence must be realistic enough to keep the reader involved, not too long and not so short as to be unbelievable. This one I worry over.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

Image result for bryce courtenay

Number one would be Bryce Courtenay. Mr. Courtenay started writing when he was 55 and went on to pen 20 best sellers before he passed away last year at the age of 80. I love his stories, how he tells a tale. He is my favorite author. I always wanted to write and it was his beginnings that inspired me to get started. I would want to ask him about his writing habits.

Image result for jj cale

I would treasure an afternoon with musician JJ Cale. I have been listening to his music since the early seventies and always have one of his discs on the spinner. JJ has been called a musician’s musician. He has been covered by many others, most notably, Eric Clapton. Very humble, not much is known about him. I would ask him to tell me about his childhood.

motherI would like to spend time with my mother again. She was a school teacher and taught me to read and write even before I started to attend classes. She brought home the Dick & Jane books and then I discovered the Hardy Boys and she never said no if I wanted a book. I’d like for her to know of the stories I wrote.

Image result for clint eastwoodI’d like to meet Clint Eastwood. I think he is one of the top directors alive today. It would be a treat to talk about the early spaghetti westerns he starred in and the aggressive attitude he developed in so many of the characters he portrayed, the tough unbeatable hero.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Interesting enough, it has been the local stores and book stores that have sold the most books for me. I have not been overly successful with online sales. My blog has been helpful in getting readers to my amazon pages. I use Facebook a lot as well as Twitter. This has been a new experience for me and with my second novel being published soon I have developed a more thorough sales plan of getting on the road and selling my books everywhere I can. I want to write better stories which appeal to a larger audience and keep my fingers crossed.

Allan’s Book:

wall-of-war4Wall of War.

In 1953, an amateur rock climber makes a startling discovery while scaling a sheer cliff in Ollantaytambo, Peru, not far from the mountain fortress of Machu Picchu. The discovery is not only extraordinary in the monument that has been created but that it has been built and left in a giant cavern where no one can see it.

The rock climber is a priest. Confused and amazed, he hurries back to his parish to document his find. The hour is late and weariness prevents him from finishing the details. Before he can complete his instructions, he dies in an auto accident. The secret remains hidden for another 51 years.

In 2004, Miguel Pisconte, recovers an artefact and an unfinished manuscript. The discovery is beyond belief. But not to others whose greed supersedes common sense. Pisconte is soon on the run with a lost treasure and a dead body in his closet. He needs to reach Drake Alexander, the man that he grew up with. Alexander is a Canadian ex-soldier with no qualms of taking the law in his own hands.

5 On: Dario Ciriello from Jane Friedman’s blog

In this 5 On interview, author Dario Ciriello talks about breaking writing rules, what publishing other writers taught him about the business, and how little he as a writer cares about what other writers think.


Dario Ciriello is a professional author and editor as well as the founder of Panverse Publishing. His fiction includes Sutherland’s Rules, a crime caper/thriller with a shimmer of the fantastic; Black Easter, a supernatural suspense novel which pits love against black magic and demonic possession on a remote, idyllic Greek island; and Free Verse and Other Stories, a collection of Dario’s short science fiction work.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

A Perfect Ten with Staci Troilo

This week, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring Author and Blogger Staci Troilo on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. Clair, Joan Hall

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Troilo

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. I love when a seed of an idea bounces around in my head and I get to cultivate it and watch it grow on the page. Editing, however, exhausts me. Editing for my clients isn’t a problem, but when I’m revising my own work, it takes a lot out of me. I don’t think that’s unusual, though. I think most of us struggle to edit our own work—that’s one of the many reasons writers should work with an editor.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

No, I don’t, nor do I think I ever would. I’m a multi-genre author, so I did consider it. But I have enough trouble maintaining a single platform. Maintaining two or more would be a nightmare. Besides, I do see some cross-over in my audiences, so it doesn’t hurt me to have a single name as a brand. And I used my real name, not a pen name. I’m not embarrassed by the genres I write in, and I’ve noticed that some people from my past recognized my name and became loyal readers. In my case, name recognition was a benefit. So, no, I’ll never use a pen name.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

While I do think you have to be confident to publish, I think there’s a difference between confidence and ego. And ego is a huge detriment. When you think you’re above reproach, you won’t take constructive criticism. And we can all benefit from the informed opinions of others. That’s how we learn and grow.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Scrivener. The price is laughably low for a program, especially when you compare it to, say, Microsoft Word. And writing in Scrivener lets me keep all my information in one file—research, character sketches, scene descriptions, outlines, and the text itself—rather than in several documents that I have to print out or switch back and forth to view. I can’t say enough good things about it. I write faster now, and I think better, because of it.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Success would be earning a regular income that could replace a fulltime job or my freelance work. I have not achieved it yet, but I’m working hard toward that end.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Like I said, I’m a multi-genre author, and research is largely depended on the genre. For my Medici Protectorate series (a contemporary romance saga with a paranormal element), I did a lot of online research on the Medici and on alchemy. For my Cathedral Lake series (a contemporary suspense/family drama with medical and legal aspects), I did a little research, but I mostly asked doctors, lawyers, police, and military veterans questions. I tend to only do minimal research before I write, but as I’m writing, I’ll dig deep into situations that present themselves. Yes, it takes time out of my writing, but it does enable me to get the most relevant details answered and saves me a lot of time by keeping me from investigating things that I won’t need.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I decide if I need a modern name or one more appropriate for a different time period, then I start looking at online name generators, baby name books, even sports rosters, family/friend names, and film and television credits. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted a choice. By the time I start writing, that character’s name fits perfectly with who the character is.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I think I’d have to say the intimate scenes in romance novels. It’s hard to make sure they are evocative without being cheesy and still manage to impact both characters’ arcs and advance the plot. There’s a lot to accomplish with such a small yet impactful scene.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1jFirst, Jesus (yes, I know that’s cliché, but come on… He’s Jesus!). Because His words are already so powerful on the page, but hearing them aloud and in person would have to be life-altering. I’d ask Him if I’m going to make it to Heaven, and if not, what can I change to assure my place there.

2gSecond, my grandfather. Because I lost him when I was too young, I miss him every day, and I’d love to catch him up on everything he’s missed and see his reaction to it all. I’d ask him what Heaven is like, because I know he’s there.

Iron Man 3Third, Robert Downey Jr. Because he is one of the best talents on the planet, and I would love to exchange ideas with him as well as experience his humor first-hand. I’d ask him if there was a chance on earth for us to collaborate on anything, particularly on a script based off one of my works. (But I’d settle for working on any project with him. He’s brilliant, and I know I’d learn a lot.)

4bjAnd finally, fourth, Billy Joel. Because his music has always spoken to me. If I was lucky enough to be eating at a piano bar, I would ask him to play something for me. Sometimes it’s not about learning but rather just experiencing beauty in the moment.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Marketing is hard. If there’s a magic formula, I haven’t found it. I’d have to say my newsletter has been most beneficial to me. I have signups on my website, some social media platforms, even in my email signature. Getting those names and communicating with these fans has been the best thing for me, because those people have confirmed that they are interested in my work, and cultivating my relationship with them keeps them interested.


About Staci’s Books:

I’d like to promote my Medici Protectorate series. Books one and two (Bleeding Heart and Mind Control) are already out, and book three (Body Armor) comes out this summer.

dual adSeries Premise: The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

Book One, Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.

Book Two, Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?

Book Three, Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.


 

About Staci:

Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was a young girl. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com/.

Connect with Staci:

Web

Blog

Newsletter Signup

Twitter

Amazon

Additional Social Media Links

A Perfect 10 With Joan Hall

This week, we sit down with author Joan Hall. She will give us some insight into her inspiration and her writing.

Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda Bradley, Luna St. Clair

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Joan Hall 9

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both. On those days when I struggle to write the words, it’s exhausting. But most of the time, I’m energized by writing. Seeing the thoughts in my head come forth on the computer screen is exhilarating.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym?

No, I use my real name.

If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

Back when I was a want to be writer, I considered using a pseudonym, but once I began to write decided to use my own name. I just want to be.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I believe a big ego is harmful to anyone, especially writers. The bigger the ego, the harder the fall. And no matter how good a writer is or how successful they are, there will be times of failure. I also believe egos are a detriment to learning. We should all strive to constantly improve our writing and if our egos tell us we’re the best, then we deceive ourselves.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Before I actually began writing, I invested in some online writing classes. Those courses helped me to learn the basic techniques of writing. The encouragement from instructors and fellow students was extremely helpful in crushing self-doubt.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

To me, success is having the courage to write and publish. It took me a long time, but now that I’ve done it, I feel successful. I’m not making much money as a writer, but that’s okay. Someday, I would like to see writing supplement my income, particularly when I retire from my regular job. But I would write without making penny because it’s something I love to do.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

In my novel Unseen Motives, there is a case of embezzlement. I spent time on the Internet researching and reading true stories of embezzlement. Even though I didn’t go into a lot of detail about the crime, I wanted it to be realistic. For the sequel, which I’m writing now, there is an arsonist on the loose. Again, I searched the web for true stories as well as purchasing a book written by an arson investigator. A few years ago, there was a series of church arsons in the area where I live, so I read about those crimes in great detail.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Often a character name will pop into my head or I’ll see a name I like in the course of my job. When that happens, I’ll put it into a list on my iPhone or PC. I’ve also used name generators and I try to match the name with the character age by searching for popular names from the time period my characters would have been born.

Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

In Unseen Motives, the first book in my Driscoll Lake series, I have a minor character named Vince. I later decided he will be a main character in book three of the series, Unclear Purposes. Had I realized that before beginning to plot the storyline for Unclear Purposes, I would have probably chosen another name like Brett or Cade. But I can live with Vince.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I sometimes struggle when there are scenes with multiple characters using dialogue. I try to avoid overuse of dialogue tags and instead use dialogue beats. But even that can get a little tricky when you have multiple characters talking.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1dMy fourth great-grandmother, Joanna White McCorkle. I would love to know what life was like in the late 1700s and how she felt about her husband (my fourth great-grandfather) fighting in the Revolutionary War. I could also name dozens of other ancestors, but I’m drawn to this one probably because of the similarity of our names.

3-Abraham-Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln. I would ask him about the pain and heartbreak of seeing a nation divided.

3d

Neal Armstrong. I would ask how he felt when he took that first step on the moon, knowing he was walking where no other human had ever been.

4d

Amelia Earhart (assuming she could come back from the dead). Probably because I enjoy a good unsolved mystery (and wanting to see them solved) I would ask her the location of her plane. If she didn’t crash in the ocean and landed on another island as some theorize, I would ask if she was taken as a prisoner and what the final days of her life were like.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I’m still learning this game, but at this point I would say word of mouth and Facebook. Friends and family have been very receptive and although I try to keep my personal page personal, it gets more traffic than my website page. Guest posting is also generating new interest in my mailing list, so I’m hoping to build up a list of devoted followers.

About Joan:

Joan Hall likes to create character-driven fiction with strong, determined female leads and male characters that are sometimes a bit mysterious. Her favorite genre is mystery and suspense—often with a touch of romance.

When she’s not writing, Joan likes to take nature walks, explore old cemeteries, and visit America’s National Parks and historical sites. She and her husband live in Texas with their two cats and a dog.

About Joan’s Book:

D2DUnseen Motives

Stephanie Harris is no stranger to mystery and suspense. The author of several best-selling thrillers returns to her hometown of Driscoll Lake twenty years after her father’s suicide when her great-aunt Helen dies.

She hopes to settle Helen’s affairs as quickly as possible and leave behind the place where she suffered so much heartache. Soon after her arrival, Stephanie stumbles upon information that leads her to believe that all is not as it seems.

When she digs deeper into secrets long buried, she begins to receive warning notes and mysterious phone calls. The threats soon escalate into deliberate attempts to harm her. Stephanie soon finds herself caught in a web of deceit and danger.

Who doesn’t want her to stay? And why? What are they afraid she’ll learn?

Undaunted, Stephanie searches for clues about the scandal surrounding her father’s death. But discovering the truth places her in the path of a cold-blooded killer.

Connect with Joan:

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

 

A Perfect 10 with Luna St. Clair

This week, Luna St. Clair is the featured author on this week’s edition of A Perfect 10. She tells us about her inspiration and work.

Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry Rentshler, Linda Bradley

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


LunaDoes writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. I consider myself a Creator—filled with inspiration. In my life-time I have been a ballet dancer, painter and potter. In my tortured youth, I penned poetry with dreams of becoming a song-writer. As a costume designer, creating wardrobe looks for characters is creative and can be both energizing and exhausting. Writing The Sleeping Serpent energized me. It stretched me creatively. It was the most creative process I have ever experienced.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I can see many reasons for writing under a pseudonym. It can be for the protection of the author as well to disguise the identity and experiences of characters. The choice is personal, and should not affect the quality of the work.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

Ego, as tied to personal identity and drives our feelings of self-worth. If an author is attached to an outcome of celebrity and wealth, then their motivation is the validation, and approval of others, and therefore it is ego driven. If writing is a compelling need driven by inspiration it does not require an inflated ego.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I was blessed with an extraordinary editor who possesses keen insight. Without imposing herself, she coached me and encouraged me. I learned about structure, grammar, point-of-view, and how to write engaging natural dialog. She gave me self-confidence and I couldn’t have done it without her.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Writing my novel, The Sleeping Serpent, was exhilarating, and cathartic. I stretched myself creatively, and learned a great deal about myself. I do not measure success by money, or by the validation of others. All my experiences that I have grown from spiritually and that have brought me wisdom are my measures of success. Writing has been one of them.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I have always done extensive research in my work as a costume designer. So, when it came to writing my novel, The Sleeping Serpent, I dove in. I use Google and Wikipedia both as starting points. The Sleeping Serpent required research in Kundalini yoga, the Q’ero people and their spiritual practices, and the city of Buenos Aires—its restaurants, tango and food.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?  

Sometimes names just pop into my head and sometimes I scroll down the baby names on those web sites… Something sticks and I love all my character names.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I had never written a sex scene before The Sleeping Serpent. I was nervous about it. I read a few of the infamous and most popular novels and found them contrived and repetitive. So, I watched videos and found my own style.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1Given this opportunity I am going to make it a literary dinner party. Jim Harrison is one of my favorite authors. I adore his style. My favorite of his stories is Legends of the Fall. He writes gloriously about the West and Native American characters play important roles. I would listen and learn.

ErnestHemingwayErnest Hemingway is larger than life to me. After recently re-reading The Old Man in the Sea on a short train ride, I was awestruck and silently gazed out the window wondering how he can achieve that with so few words. That would be my question. But I probably wouldn’t get to ask him because I would be enthralled with his dinner conversation.

3Isak Dinesen’s memoir Out of Africa is always within touching distance from my desk. I would hope she would reminisce about Africa and certainly Hemingway and she would engage each other.

4I would also invite the contemporary author, Hanya Yanagihara, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, A Little Life. I had a major book hangover when I finished it, and there has been much discussion about her dark psychological book. I would love to know her inspiration for that story.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I am a new author with one book, The Sleeping Serpent, published just over a year-ago. Facebook was a big surprise. I had no idea there are hundreds of pages and groups that support Indie authors. This year I was given spotlights and interviews on dozens of Facebook pages that graciously share my promotional posts regularly. I have hosted Takeovers, and attended events and release parties. The community of bloggers, readers and authors are always willing to read for an honest review, and I have received over a hundred reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I am delighted to now be a member of Rave Reviews Book Club, where I will meet new authors and bloggers.

Luna’s Book:

 

FINAL-HI-RES-SLEEPING SERPENT COVER-EBOOKClick on the cover image for the purchase link

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.

“She realized in an instant that being around him awakened her, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of her well. He made her feel a part of him–of something larger, and somehow more alive.”

A Perfect 10 With Linda Bradley

This week’s guest is author Linda Bradley. She gives us some insight into her writing process and inspiration.

Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton, Sherry Rentshler

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Headshots16-85Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing doesn’t exhaust me. I find the act of writing similar to the act of exercising. Some days I may have to fight my way through the process, but when I’ve reached my goal it feels great. The sense of accomplishment aides in getting on with the day’s tasks and a good night’s sleep.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

No, I don’t. I have considered it, but decided to write under my given name. I’m not sure why, but I do have a pseudonym tucked away should I want to write in another genre someday.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

To be honest, I never really thought about it before. I suspect that one’s ego can temper the quality of the writing. There’s a fine line between ego and instinct. I think a writer needs to listen to their instincts when it comes to applying the blanket of editing after listening to critique. I believe creativity is fed by ego. There’s a need for self expression and visibility. Perhaps, ego is the secret ingredient in respects to completing the writing process successfully.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Books written by successful writers that note their journeys and offer writing advice to fellow authors. Two of my favorites are Stephen King’s, On Writing and Alan Watt’s, the 90-day novel.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Teaching elementary school full time consumes most of my days, so writing comes later and sometimes in the wee hours of the night. Writing has called to me for much of my life and now that my own boys are grown, I can devote more of myself to the process. I have several manuscripts on the shelf and who knows if they’ll ever turn into printed pieces, but the fact that I wrote and published my Montana Bound Series in a three-year time frame encourages me to strive for new goals. With retirement on the horizon, it excites me to know that I’ll be able to give more to this dream that has become tangible. With the gift of time, positive reviews, and support from the people who matter most, I believe I’ve been successful thus far.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Before beginning a new book, the story line in question has been seeded in my brain for quite some time. I tend to mull over ideas and plots that continue to pop up. The research that helps me the most is actually going to the place where the story is set. I find that talking to people and experiencing the surroundings foster my understanding for lifestyles I don’t necessarily share with the characters I create. I usually have an image in my mind of the main character’s appearance. At this stage of planning, I utilize the internet to find photos that fit the descriptions of all my characters. From there I print out images of people, animals, and places to help me construct character bibliographies. Depending on the nature of the book, I’ll pull articles or books to research details and history.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Names usually pop into my head before I begin a storyline. I’m not sure where they come from. If a name doesn’t resonate with me, I don’t use it. At this point, there are no names I’ve regretted using.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

The hardest scene to write is the scene where key events need to be connected, but I don’t want to give away too much detail because it’s needed later in the book. Balancing information within the read is crucial to keeping the reader hooked.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

ErnestHemingwayI’ve always been fascinated with Hemingway so I think I’d invite him. He roomed across the street from my grandparents and my mother, so I’d invite them, too. I’d ask them all about the time period that they coincided in the same neighborhood and how they viewed the world. I’d want to know what Hemingway was working on at that time and hear about his travels. For some reason, I think my mother would lead conversation as she was excellent at conversation. She was a natural born historian and the fact that we could all share the same table and share stories of Michigan fascinate me.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

My first book came out in June 2015 and I’m not sure which platform has been most successful. Most of the time, I feel as if I’m still learning. I believe that appearing on blogs, posting to social media regularly, and traveling to places where readers show interest in my work along with attending luncheons and book clubs are all necessary parts of marketing. Readers like to meet authors and are curious about the process. They usually ask me how much of my work stems from personal experiences. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to never underestimate word of mouth.

Find Linda’s Books:

Amazon

Connect with Linda:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

A Perfect 10 with Sherry Rentschler

This week we sit down with author Sherry Rentschler to discuss her work and what motivates her to write.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10.

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Sherry_Rentschler__014smDoes writing energize or exhaust you?

I write every day whether I feel like it or not, always beginning with a few exercises to wake the muse. Some days I can’t get the material out of my head fast enough. Other days I feel as though I’m trying to create the world from scratch. Those hard days I wonder what I’m doing but they pass. In the end, I am better when I write and miserable when I don’t. I’m exhausted only when I don’t.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

Yes, I have. Currently my name Sherry is a nickname so technically it qualifies as a pseudonym. I’ve also published as a few other names, small works. I think a secondary name works best if you are in a profession where you don’t want your real name to cross with your writing (say a lawyer who writes about serial killers or vampires), or if you write childrens books and perhaps also erotica, you need different names. Otherwise, some do it trying to pick a memorable name. I think if you are Mr. Mxyzptlk that’s original. But the only thing that makes you memorable, no matter the name, is the story. So, write good stories and worry less about the name.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

My dad used to say that having a big ego wasn’t conceit if you really were as good as you said (or thought) you were. But that most of us were just full of hubris. I think the more successful you are, the more humble you should be. Because fame is fleeting. Let your fans swell with pride. You just keep on doing good work and remember where you came from.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

In a cover for a book. First impressions are critical. Pay for the best and stand out from a crowd.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

On any given day, I may answer this differently. One day success is being a best seller (which I am not). One day it is getting lots of reviews (which I need). One day it might be praise by another author (which makes me geek out). One day it may be winning an award (which I have). But the biggest success to me was realizing my dream of being published. Now I have six books. I don’t have a national best seller or a huge following but I voice is clear and out there. And my books are in the Library of Congress. I am immortal. Can you beat that for success?

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Poetry requires little research. It is the wellspring of the heart and mind and our environment. It simply is. For my fictional memoir, it was spending time going back and examining the popular culture, politics, music, fashion, morals, world events – it was daunting sometimes. It took me years. For my fiction, because the best fiction is rooted in fact (when you write urban fantasy), it is easier to lock in on a time period and then simply recreate the style and idea of the time. A few weeks, or a month or two. Historical fiction is probably the most daunting and I am avoiding it because I fear I would get lost in the research and you’d have to send a posse out for me!

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Characters usually find me. When I have to create a new one, I sometimes troll baby names or famous persons in ancient history. I try very hard to avoid cliché names. For example, when introducing a new, male vampire I run away from names like Vlad, Stephen, Dimitri, Nicholas, Xavier, Marius, Ambrose, Greggario, because they’ve been overdone and make my stories seem trite. I try to pick a name that reflects heritage. Sometimes when developing traits, a name will jump out to me. I try it and it feel comfortable (and my character doesn’t change it midway through the story) then it’s golden. I have regretted names in some short stories. Those tales await the rewrite!

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

Lovemaking or dying. Both can get you into trouble with overworked actions or stereotypical descriptions. I read a vampire book where every time the woman had sex with her vampire lover (about every 30 pages in a 400-page book), “his velvet touch and black eyes seduced her.” Ugh. No matter the scene always go for the unexpected. Be real, even in fiction, be genuine. Readers will respond to you when you give them honesty and originality. And use a variety in your language. Language is a beautiful thing that waits the deft hand of the writer to paint a picture. Diversify the colors and let language do the work it was intended to do.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1-John-WayneJohn Wayne. When I was young, he was my idol because I knew he was a patriot. His movies embodied the standards I believed in. I know he was a gun-toting, chain smoking fella with narrow views but he still holds sway in my memories.

2-Katharine-Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn. A ground breaker for working women. She was ahead of her time and I would love to talk to her about the world today and get her advice.

3-Abraham-Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln. to ask him how he overcame one of the harshest prejudices this country ever faced and how he dealt with a divergent country.

4-maya angelou

Maya Angelou. a poet, an educator, and civil rights activist. She wrote with logic and humor and her insights into people are invaluable. I would love to sit down and listen to her philosophy about women today and how to capture it in my writing.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Live, in person sales. Online publicity is good but for me, so far, I sell more in person than on any other platform. It is difficult to pitch online when you are not a bestseller. I wish more successful authors would mentor and put forth others. I try to do that for as many as I can but this isn’t a shared philosophy (especially between traditionally published vs Indie published). But I recommend every writer use every medium available, and concentrate on three to five online areas where you have the most visibility. Remember that social media is about being social first, and pushy about you last. Authors tend to forget that.

Sherry’s Books:

BreakingTheGlassSlipper-2My newest release is a fictional memoir, Breaking the Glass Slipper. The true story of how I broke down my fairy-tale ideas about sex and love, went a little crazy, and finally discovered that happily ever after really can happen to you once you find yourself. The story is haunting, funny, insightful, and honest plus appeals to baby boomers or today’s young women.

TheGypsyThorn

And check out the new Gothic urban fantasy novella with the same vampire from my first novella, Midnight Assassin – A Tale of Lust and Revenge. The new book, released in May 2017, is a prequel to a vampire series (anticipated to begin Nov 2017).

 You can find information about all my books on my website:

http://www.sherryrentschler.com

While there, you can read my blog, sign up for my newletter, click links to purchase books, request a signed, print copy, find out where I’ll be signing, or send me a personal message.

Or purchase my books on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/author/sherryrentschler

Barnes and Noble (includes Nook for Paper Bones and By Light Betrayed)

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Sherry+Rentschler%22?_requestid=482621

Connect with Sherry:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSherryRentschler

Twitter:  @poetphoenix