Lyn Miller Lacoursiere

Meet Lyn Miller Lacoursiere in her latest video and learn about her six novels in the mystery series, the Lindy Lewis Diaries.

The Lindy Lewis Diaries

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D.K. Christi Interview on Dames of Dialogue

On Wednesday, October 17th, Dames of Dialogue posted an interview with D. K. Christi. With kind permission, the interview is posted here:

Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, D.K. Tell us about your latest work, “Mother and the Class Reunion,” a short story in the international anthology, Forever Families, published by Mandinam Press and shortly available in ebook at Amazon.com.

D. K. Christi: Recently, this favorite short story theme about a loving mom engineering a summer romance for her adult daughter was printed in the third of Mandinam Press’s Forever series: Forever Friends, Forever Travels and the recently released, Forever Families. All three anthologies are collections of international stories by authors from across the globe writing in every genre. It’s great company. “Mother and the Class Reunion” is loosely modeled after a personal experience with a twist.

Sounds like not only an interesting but fun read, D.K. Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?

D. K. Christi: I have one manuscript waiting for approval with L & L Dreamspell, The Bamboo Ring, a story of exotic lands through the eyes of a woman in love. I also have a work in progress, Escape to Love, a period romance and adventure in the South from the Civil War era. It is based on a young soldier’s love triangle discovered after he escapes from the heinous Elvira prisoner of war camp in New York by organizing a tunnel crew of POWs. He returns to battle at the southern lines after many misadventures along the way and then back to his southern home after the war ends to face love lost and the challenges to rebuild the south and his own dreams.

Wow. Both sound intriguing. As a Southerner, I especially like the concept for Escape to Love. What is a typical writing day like for you?

D. K. Christi: There are few typical days. I write about four hours a day; however, it is split between short stories, novels and articles for the local Southwest Florida Spotlight , www. swspotlight.com , a print and online news magazine. When I have a deadline, I am known to spend up to a week with only naps in order to finish a novel or a story. Nothing else gets done. I also write for Examiner.com and Suite101.com in addition to other freelance articles, grant writing and media releases.

I really wish I had more self-discipline and could devote more time to writing. I do enjoy reading your articles, D.K., and don’t know how you do all that you do. When you’re writing, who’s in control, you or the characters?

D. K. Christi: The characters tend to take control of the novel and their behaviors take on a life of their own. They may take the story in a different direction than planned. Neev became the heroine of Ghost Orchid; but she was not in the original story outline. Her birth and story came from the development of a back story for another main character. Neev’s physical attributes, intelligence and personality were born from the genes she inherited from the original, planned characters. She literally came to life between the covers of Ghost Orchid, a haunting story that rises in the mist of the haunting and exquisite Everglades.

Now, that’s interesting, especially since I really liked the character Neev. Who are your favorite authors, the ones you read when you should be doing something else? Why do they appeal to you?

D. K. Christi: I prefer historical literature, the complex and romantic novels of the 19thcentury. They appeal to me because they tell so much about the world at that time and how the romantic heart fit in that environment. It is a romantic though difficult era in which to live; but the wealthy class had leisurely comforts and occupations that make today’s technological existence seem cold and distant in comparison. Human relationships at that time are infinitely interesting and entertaining, shedding so much light on the human condition.

Oh, I agree. Promotion is a big — and usually the most hated — part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?

D. K. Christi: My most successful promotions are talks at organizations about the sex, myth and magic of the ghost orchid. The interest generated leads to book sales. The pre-publicity also generates sales and more live engagements. I love public speaking and gain energy from an enthused audience. My talks are generally a bit interactive. I would enjoy expanding public performances.

I’ve found it not only makes speaking easier but is more fun when there is interaction with the audience. Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?

D. K. Christi: My muse is a person I loved with all my heart and soul at one time but who became more of a ghost as time went by, still reading my writing and encouraging me to continue but not part of my real life. My best writing was under his influence and incorporated many of his suggestions. I often thought we should co-author, but it never quite happened. Without my muse, my writing is more essays and less romantic. My dad wrote stories for my son. He played classical and honky tonk piano and wrote music and poetry. He encouraged my writing. He died young; I had just begun writing my first novel, Arirang: The Bamboo Connection.

It’s sad your dad didn’t live to see you published. I’m sure he would have been so proud. What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?

D. K. Christi: Sharing my writing with someone who enjoys the story and wants more is quite satisfying. I also like the chance to create – to bring a story to life from words alone. I like being able to take the thoughts in my mind and put them on paper. That process seems to set me free. I am quite introspective with a mind that’s analyzing life all the time. Moving some thoughts to paper opens space. As a photographer uses a camera to capture a picture, I use words.

Love that answer. Who were your favorite authors as a child? Have they influenced your writing career in any way?

D. K. Christi: Grace Livingston Hill was the most influential in my young life. Her stories of sweet young Christian girls whose moral perfection led them into the arms of their prince charming for happiness ever after – that was what I wanted for my life. I thought if I could become an author, that would lead to that conclusion. Instead, I believe Humpty Dumpty seems more my story, often broken and never quite put back together again.

I think a great many of us fall under the Humpty Dumpty category, D.K. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

D. K. Christi: Emotions are an integral part of existence: love, hate, joy, depression and more affect how life is felt and lived. My inspiration comes from events and thoughts that become bigger in my mind; they take on lives and emotions of their own. An example is the simple blooming of a rare and endangered ghost orchid at Corkscrew Swamp on my birthday that inspired my mystery novel, Ghost Orchid. To anyone else, it was a flower that opened and was beautiful. For me, it is a perpetual gift on my birthday that encompasses many stories from all those who discover this exquisite flower for themselves. People travel on quests from around the world just to see the ghost orchid that only grows in Cuba and the Everglades.

I never knew of its existence until your book and was quite taken with not only the story you told but the ghost orchid itself. What are major themes or motifs in your work? Do your readers ever surprise you by seeing something else in your stories than you think you wrote?

D. K. Christi: Amazon.com editors beautifully captured the themes: “Themes of friendship surviving tragedy; love conquering adversity and the triumph of the human spirit over the hardships of life serve to uplift and inspire.” Add a dash of mystery and a dash of adventure in exotic and foreign locations. I was thrilled when Darryl Saffer, an award-winning environmental filmmaker read Ghost Orchid and identified with the confusion of an adopted child who longs for knowledge about birth parents. He provided the beautiful trailer with his original flute music and video to help me share the themes of Ghost Orchid with the world.

Oh, and he did such a beautiful job. What are your thoughts on the standard writing advice, “write what you know”?

D. K. Christi: Sometimes, writing about what you don’t know provides a research challenge that might open a new perspective. I write about real emotions and places I know and shape characters and stories around them. The characters in the short stories published in Forever Travels and Forever Families are people a reader might actually know, people who might step out from the pages and say, “hello.” Neev in Ghost Orchid smiles from the pages of any fashion magazine or points a camera at the flower itself at Corkscrew Swamp. My characters are real enough to touch. The places capture the reader’s imagination and desire to experience for themselves. The only fantasies so far in the pages of a D. K. Christi story are in the imaginations of the characters or in the mystery of that illusive, ethereal ghost orchid plant.

Lovely answer. Have you bought an e-reader? What is your overall impression of electronic publishing?

D. K. Christi: I read on my smart phone and my netbook; I don’t need an e-reader. I believe electronic publishing will become even more real time and exotic. At some point, I think as a person writes, a person across the globe will be reading their words. The importance of producing a perfect first copy will grow. At some point, there will be direct electronic communication from author to reader, bypassing any “publication” except to storage and retrieval systems. The relationship between authors and readers will be important. Reviewers may gain in importance as publishers disappear. Print book machines may be available perhaps in kiosks for those who want a printed copy. Software applications will be more sophisticated for authors, providing online editors in real time and automatically recording a script copy at the same time as a print copy.

I can see that world hovering just over the horizon, D.K., and find the changes in the publishing industry exciting and innovative. I look forward to what the future holds.

Thanks for joining us today, D.K., for an informative, interesting interview. For more information about D.K. Christi:

http://dkchristi.com
Ghost Orchid book trailer by Darryl Saffer
WGVU National Public Radio interviews D.K. Christi
Southwest Spotlight

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Dougie Brimson

Widely acknowledged, as well as one of the games most vocal anti-violence and anti-racism campaigners, Dougie Brimson has acted as an advisor to both the British governments working group into soccer disorder and the European commissions’ soccer group. He has also written extensively for various magazines, newspapers and websites including The Sun, The Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, Loaded, Four-Four-Two magazine, About.com and Soccer 365.

In 2003, Dougie made the move into screenwriting first with the critically acclaimed short movie, “It’s a Casual Life”, and then with his first full length feature, the Hollywood funded, “Green Street Hooligans”, starring Elijah Wood.

Please tell us a little about yourself, Dougie.

Dougie: My name is Dougie Brimson and I’m a former RAF serviceman who was fortunate enough to have my first book published in 1996.

Since then I’ve written a further thirteen books in a variety of genres as well as a couple of movies including the Elijah Wood film, Green Street.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Dougie: I actually never set out to be a writer at all, it happened by accident. I had left the RAF in 1994 with no real idea of what I wanted to do other than I was intent on avoiding any more engineering for a while and somehow ended up working as a television and film extra with my younger brother.

Anyone who has ever done any of that kind of work knows how much sitting around you do and inevitably, discussions turned to football and the forthcoming EURO 96. That’s when the idea for a non-fiction book about football fan culture was born. That book became Everywhere We Go, and it was a smash as, to be fair, we knew it would be.

It was very much a case of ‘right book, right time’ and went so well that I wrote a further three non-fiction books with my younger brother before branching out on my own into fiction. Since then I’ve written two best-selling thrillers (The Crew and Top Dog) and a number of comedy books as well as more non-fiction.

I’m very lucky in that I have a very loyal readership who seem to like the varied nature of my list. Someone recently called me the Forrest Gump of literature as they never knew what they were going to get next. I hope that’s what they meant anyway!!

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Dougie: Initially I had one clear goal, to make as much money as I could as quickly as I could and then retire. Simple as that.

I know that sounds mercenary, but you have to remember that my first book was the first thing I’d ever really written, so it never occurred to me that it would end up as any kind of career. I was also well into my thirties when I started writing, so I wasn’t exactly looking for a fresh challenge!

These days it’s all about keeping my readers happy because, without them, I don’t have a career of any kind. And if I write something they don’t like, they’ll soon let me know.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Dougie: That depends on the idea but how it tends to happen is that as the idea unfolds in my head so will a mental image of that character. Once I have that, then the character traits roll out, and then I need two final elements. A name, which has to suit both my character and the subject matter, and finally, I need to hear the character’s voice. Literally. So to do that, I’ll find someone who is as close to my profile as I can possibly get, and from that point on, that becomes my character. It can either be someone I know personally or an individual who is in the public eye, it doesn’t matter.

The reason I do that is because, if I become stuck on anything or unsure of how that character would react in a given situation, I can simply call that person up or YouTube them. Usually, simply hearing the right voice will provide me with the solution to my problem.

Setting wise, I base my fictional work in places I know simply because it saves on research although, occasionally, Google maps have provided a nice and rapid reminder.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Dougie: My comedy novel Billy’s Log was written as a male response to the Bridget Jones phenomenon (or anti-male propaganda as I prefer to think of it), and as a consequence, it required the creation of a character who not only possessed a great deal of depth but was also incredibly likeable.

The result was Billy Ellis and in many ways, what I created with him was my invisible best mate. I adored working with Billy and as a character I still miss him ten years on. Thankfully, so do the people who read the original book and as a result of the success Billy’s Log is currently enjoying in eBook format, I’m coming under a great deal of pressure to write a sequel simply because people are keen to know what happened to him. I’m very excited about that prospect and will be writing that next year.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Dougie: I write in an apparently odd way in that once I have a rough outline of my idea and my basic characters, I work on the ending first. Not in rough form, I mean that it is tight and edited to within an inch of its life.

I do that because to me, fiction is all about the ending. It’s the part most readers remember and is certainly what keeps them coming back for more. Only once I’m totally happy with the ending will I take a fresh look at my characters to tighten them up a bit, and then I thrash through a first draft in true panster style. After that, it’s all down to polishing and editing.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Dougie: I think all authors have their own style and if they haven’t, then they should have. After all, if your aspiration is to be like everyone else, you surely need a different aspiration.

Mine is biased toward providing snappy dialogue simply because I prefer to involve the readers in the creative process and let them paint the pictures as I’m getting on with telling the story. Indeed, someone once reviewed one of my books as reading like a film script, and I took that as a huge compliment.

I’ve written in both first and third person and actually prefer the former because that means that, as a writer, I’m writing about me or a version of me. Similarly, first person makes the reader the actual hero. Or the villain of course! I love that it takes you out of your comfort zone, and isn’t that the point of a book?

How does your environment/upbringing colour your writing?

Dougie: I’ve lived a very interesting and varied life thus far, and it would be foolish to say that it hasn’t impacted on my work because of course it has. If nothing else, it’s equipped me with a colourful vocabulary!

I’m also a great advocate of the ‘write what you know’ school, so many of the situations you’ll read in my fictional work will have happened to me or people I know in real life. But I do struggle with my writing environment at times, and to combat that, I use headphones and music. Indeed, music is vital to me when I write anything as I use it as a trigger, so it’s very important to find the right album for the particular project.

For example, when I wrote Billy’s Log, I listened to the Stereophonics first album on repeat and after about fifty times (seriously), it became almost like hypnosis because as soon as I heard it, I was back in character. Conversely, if the phone rang, I could simply pause it and step away for a few minutes. Of course, once the book was finished, I had to throw the album away. Even to this day, ten years later, if one of the tracks comes on the radio, I go into writing position!

As a professional author, do you enjoy the part of your job that doesn’t involve writing?

Dougie: The promotional aspect of writing is great fun, and I do everything I can to sell my books and spread the word about what a former editor once called ‘Brand Brimson’.

I also like to talk to writing groups whenever I’m asked, but that’s about it really. I don’t get invited to literary functions, and although I’ve spoken at a couple of festivals abroad, I’ve only recently received my first invitation to speak at a festival of any kind in the UK.

I’m not really sure why that is, but hey, that’s the literary world for you. I’ve been writing for over sixteen years now, and it’s never made much sense to me at all. But one thing I have learned is that there are a huge number of people involved in publishing who fail to grasp the simple truth that the most important person in the whole process is the reader.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Dougie: I’ve had some brilliant reviews in the mainstream press over the years as well as some hilariously bad ones, but in truth, although I read them all, and they certainly sell books, I’ve never really given them much consideration.

I know my market and it’s feedback from that which is important to me, especially these days as it’s such perfect customer research. In effect, reader reviews tell me what to write next.

That’s why I have made myself so easy to contact, and I do receive lots of direct mail from readers, which I absolutely love. Hearing from someone that I wrote the first book they’d ever read cover to cover, or even the first they had ever actually finished, is incredibly rewarding.

What are your current projects?

Dougie: Book wise, I’m currently putting the finishing touches to a novel called Wings of a Sparrow which is a comedy based around a football fanatic who inherits ownership of his local rivals. Think Fever Pitch meets Brewster’s Millions. Once I’ve finished that, then work will commence on the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy and then the sequel to Billy’s Log.

I’m also working on a few movie projects at the moment, and if they go as I hope they will, there may well be book versions of those to write.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Dougie: Everything you will ever need to know about me can be found at www.dougiebrimson.com

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Baye McNeil

Baye McNeil was born in Brooklyn, New York, but currently lives in Yokohama, Japan. He recently published his first book, Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist.  Baye’s  motto is: … and if the elevator tries to bring you down, go Loco! 

Hi Baye, Please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Baye: My name is Baye McNeil and I’m a freelance writer and blogger from Brooklyn, New York. I currently live in Yokohama, Japan, where I teach Junior High School English.  I’m a fervent connoisseur of Japanese Hot Springs and Ramen and spend my free time taking photos of trains, and life in the subways and stations of Yokohama, Kawasaki and Tokyo.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Baye: I think the first bite was in the genre of poetry when I was in elementary and junior high school, as a way to attract girls. By high school, screenplays gave me quite a charge. I wrote a couple including one horror movie that garnered me my first applause. After that it didn’t resurface until university.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Baye: I wasn’t really aware of any particular message or goal aside from “I’d like to meet you after school and take you for a long walk in the botanical garden holding hands and stealing coins from the wishing pond …” By University, one of my writing professors informed me that I had unsuspected depth and “a voice the reader loves to hear …” Shouldn’t have told me that! Started writing like a mad man. Around that time I came across a writer by the name of James Baldwin and from that point on my unstated goal became to write something he might read and say, “That’s not bad.”

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Baye: It’s a stand alone book called, Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. It’s about how my bitter responses to the behavior of people here in Japan (whether it is due to their racism, xenophobia, or any other fear-based feeling my presence inspires) informed me in no uncertain terms that I was a racist, and that if I wanted to be rid of this dark social virus — that I believe many of us are afflicted with whether we’re aware of it or not — then I had better locate its source and confront it head on!

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Baye: That title would probably go to Aiko, the woman the book is dedicated to and the inspiration behind its writing. She taught me so much about Japanese people and culture, upon my arrival in Japan, but eventually she became like a mirror that when held up reveals not only the person you are but the person you have the capacity to be. She taught me about love and hate, about the meaning of strength and the proper use of power. She is a mortgage I will gladly pay until the day I pass on, and probably still be in debt once I’ve gone, and this book attempts to pay homage to the woman she was and will forever be in my heart.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Baye: Since this book is a non-fiction memoir of sorts there isn’t a plot really, but I did need to keep each chapter related to the theme and reveal more not only about myself but about how I viewed and what I was learning from the world around me in digestible nuggets. I also had to modulate my story so as not to overwhelm the reader. This I learned how to do, ironically, through blogging. I’ve kept a blog, www.locoinyokohama.com, for the past three years where I floated a lot of the ideas I intended to include in the book just to see how they would be received and how to present them with just the amount of intensity to engage the reader without inundating them with too much raw emotion (something I had a tendency to do before I learned the extent of the force I write with quite often … it’s a hell of a challenge!)

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Baye: Again, this was something I discovered via my blog. I tend to write first person … but I lacked the confidence at the onset of blogging to stand behind my feelings and thoughts full on. I often write very confrontationally, delving into issues that make people uncomfortable…including me at times. I feel wary and vulnerable to attacks while at the same time I feel like I’m doing the right thing because certainly these issues deserve the light of day and were just waiting for a voice to emerge with the courage and dare I say skill to address them in an honest, direct and provocative way yet keep it entertaining and educational at the same time. I feel my style and voice accomplish this and my blog readers would concur, as do, thus far, the readers of my book

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Baye: Oh man, in every way imaginable, particularly with this book and the issue of racism. Being raised in Brooklyn new York in the 1970s, before New York became the kinder, gentler metropolis it is now, when it was a still a Buppie /Yuppie-free neglected, gang and drug infested ghetto, replete with corrupt racist cops and an angry black populace striving to maintain dignity and gain respect … yeah, I was influenced quite a bit by being brought up amid this. I was basically a child of the Pan African/Black Power Movement, my playground was on the front lines of boycott and demonstrations against the white power structure. My first school was an all-black private school formed by educators fed up with a public school system that set black children up for failure and low self-esteem and taught them to capitulate before the Eurocentric train of thought. I was raised to be a warrior in a war against white indoctrination and brain washing. And this colors the writing in this book and most of the writing I’ve done over the course of my life.

Any advice you’d give to aspiring self-publishers?

Baye: Yeah. Make sure the product is as good as you can make it and then some, because word of mouth will be the kiss of life or death. And before you even think about self-publishing anything, you had better build up some solid relationships founded on mutual respect and admiration. And preferably some that are willing to help out with those above mentioned tasks … or go out and learn about them on your own because they are realer than real. And don’t count on friends to help you out of the kindness of their hearts. Some will of course but plan around that. Whatever they do ought to be gravy. They should not be part of the meal. That includes family, as well. You are the rudder. Give people a good reason to help you, like for example they stand to benefit as well, then you’ll get a more robust response. And learn how to be grateful. How to stay humble and say please and thank you, and SHOW appreciation. We writers are quite often hermits and spend a lot of our time alone with a keyboard and our thoughts and feelings. So, wearing the social hat often takes us out of our comfort zone. Try to learn to be comfortable in that discomfort zone BEFORE you publish! And never make the mistake of believing ten bucks or five bucks is nothing and people will just part with it for your product like it’s nothing. The onus is on you to make them feel that it’s nothing. The value of the product they’re getting for that price is what makes the money easier to part with. And that, my friend, returns us to the product. Make it great!

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Baye: This is from the book’s Amazon page:

I was genuinely caught off guard by this book in so many ways. I didn’t hope to laugh as much as I ended up doing, but I never expected to cry. The book blew me away on three different levels. The first is that Loco completely succeeds at drawing you slowly into his world, talking to me about things I thought I knew about or was familiar with, but learning I was not. Showing me a whole different life experience through his own eyes. The second thing that got me about the book was Loco’s writing style. His narrative is fluorescently vivid. Some of his turns of phrase and sentences really made me actually wish I could stop and mark the page. So many quotables, and so many brilliantly and succinctly put insights. The third thing about the book is the structure of the book – I’ve read his blog before and found it a bit jarring to go straight into, as indeed, I think jumping straight to the third or fourth chapter of this book would be. But the narrative is set up so well, and you are eased into it, and then led through a dance between sadness and joy, geographies and timescales, each contrasting and complementing the last before finally and gently returning the reader to the motif used in the beginning of the empty train seat, and the thought piece at the end. I expected to read a really long blog about Japan made into a book. I got the best damn read I’ve had in the last 10 years by a man who has proven to me beyond any doubt that he is a uniquely talented writer.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Baye: I have a website set up for the book here: www.himynameisloco.com.  There folks can find info about me, about the book, excerpts, reviews, and info on upcoming readings and events. For the time being most will be in Japan, but hopefully they’ll be some in the US and elsewhere in the days to come. I’m currently working on my second book about teaching and living in Japan as an African American from New York, called: Loco Was Here!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Baye: Yes, there is. Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist is essentially a mission statement. I AM a racist. There’s no doubt in my mind of that, but that’s not the end of my story. And I don’t think it needs to be the end of anyone’s story. I think most of us deal with these types of issues at some point in our lives and I believe it’s essential that we face them and not lurk in the shadows like pedophiles or some other kind of degenerate. Demonizing racism only chases it underground. Surrendering to these proclivities, like it’s human nature and thus inescapable, only perpetuates it. We can’t concede victory to this social virus. I’m of the mind that it CAN be beat, and with constant vigilance and conscious abstinence it WILL eventually go into remission. We may even find a cure. That’s my personal mission and I ain’t ashamed to say it out loud.

Thank you for joining us today, Baye.

Baye: Thanks a lot!

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Cheyenne Mitchell

Cheyenne Mitchell writes fast-paced, supernatural thrillers.  Her first  novel, In The Light of Darkness, was published in 2007.

Hi Cheyenne, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Cheyenne: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism/Communication, I was born in Philadelphia, Pa, and I’ve always loved reading fast-paced, exciting novels of which my favorite of all time is entitled The Captains and The Kings by Taylor Caldwell. It’s an over a thousand page novel I read in about four days during the early 1980s.  I love writing, singing, dancing, and being with God and family most of all.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre (s)?

Cheyenne: My love of writing began at the age of six years old when I was in the first grade. I loved writing poetry, and my favorite Poet has always been Mr. Edgar Allan Poe whose writings were dark, but very heart-felt.  I have always been attracted to the supernatural/thrillers with a touch of drama, which is what I myself love to write about.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Cheyenne: I wrote my first supernatural thriller/drama In The Light of Darkness in 1993. It took me three years to write it because I was working full time then.  My goal has always been to become a rich and famous novelist, and still is.  The message I want readers to grasp from my writings is “what if” this could happen?  Or what if this happened to you?  I aim to make my protagonists and their problems very identifiable to readers so they can sympathize with them, and to keep them on the edge of their seats with nail-biting suspense and mystery in the process.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.  Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Cheyenne: I have two supernatural thrillers on the market right now. One is entitled The Covering which is the story of two, teenage sisters who cannot figure out what is going on with their family members who are very strange.  Celia, who is the protagonist, will take readers on an incredible and exciting journey as she endeavors, along with her sister, Drew, to find out what their family members are hiding from them.  It is a novel filled with terror and lots of shock for readers.  My other novel, Syroia, is the story of a young man who is only one member of a family who has been tormented for generations by the demonic spirit of a long-dead murderer. However, the spirit he sees after every killing is NOT the one who has actually been terrorizing him, and many others in his family.  The Covering  is receiving all FIVE stars, and Syroia as well from reviewers.

What is the hook for the book?

Cheyenne:  In The Covering: What if nearly two hundred year old vampires were raising two normal, teenage girls who are their own flesh and blood?  In Syroia: What if a terrible spirit of someone you never knew is after your soul, but is really someone closer to you than you would ever believe?

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Cheyenne: I must say that all of my inspiration, creativity, and imagination come directly from God ALONE, and nowhere else. It is like second nature to me. Like a burning in my bones.  I have been awakened at three in the morning with ideas for a story or character.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Cheyenne: I would have to say my most likeable character in all three of my supernatural thrillers would be Tyla Davidson in In The Light of Darkness.  She suffered much as a little girl along with her siblings because of who they believed was their mother. But in the end all of them come through their terror not entirely unscathed, but they manage to find peace.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Cheyenne: Again, I have to rely on God, and I take a lot of notes.  All I do is write whatever He tells me to write. The words seem to come pouring out onto the page, and the plot comes together naturally for me.

What are your current projects?

Cheyenne: I have a number of projects yet to begin from my God.  One thing He wants me to do is write a screenplay for one of my novels. I am in the process of beginning that.  Also, I have novels in front of me yet to write, and short stories I want to have published.   I have chapters of  In the Light of Darkness on my website and website blog – www.misscheyennemitchell.com and I have posted a short story thriller on Facebook (www.facebook.com/misscheyennemitchell)  entitled “The Doorway” and another short story   thriller on my blog (www.misscheyennemitchell.blogspot.com) entitled “Enraged.”  I hope readers will enjoy them.

 Thanks for joining us today, Cheyenne.

 Cheyenne: Thank you so much.

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Rosen Trevithick

Rosen Trevithick is an Exeter-based, Cornish writer and playwright. Her light-hearted comedy dramas include the stage play, My Cat Geoffrey, a sweet , coming of age story set in Cornwall, and  the screenplay, The Winning Streak, a comedy-drama about three football fans and their relationship with chance.

Hi Rosen, Please tell everyone a little bit about yourself.

Rosen: I’m Rosen Trevithick, a Cornish writer; part girl: part geek. I’ve just launched my second book, Straight Out of University. It’s a contemporary romance that explores the experience of leaving university and adapting to the real world. Sophie Sweet is a perpetual student at Oxford University and out-and-proud bisexual woman, but her father’s health sends her back to the rural community where she grew up, and she finds that she no longer fits in. She’s just about to run screaming back to Oxford when she accidentally falls in love with a man, and her life turns upside-down.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Rosen: I experienced leaving university and moving to the country myself two years ago. The contrast between the two worlds was profound. Amusing things happened to me everyday, so eventually I decided I had to write a story using that premise.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Rosen: Primarily, I wanted to entertain but there is also a little rebellion against the standard bisexual stereotype used in fiction.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Rosen:  Straight Out of University is a stand alone book. I’ve written a novel in the past, Footprints, but it’s a completely different genre and has an unrelated plot. I have no plans to write a sequel to either of them.

What’s the hook for the book?

Rosen: I like to think that the humour will keep readers turning pages.

How do you develop characters and setting?

Rosen: I actually design the appearance of my characters using a character tool in a computer game. Then, I print them out, glue them into a pocket book and scribble notes around them.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Rosen: When Sophie moves to a country village, all of the young mothers seem very bizarre to her. She cannot understand why they’re all falling out over whose daughter will play Mary in the next carol service.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Rosen: I make detailed notes beforehand.

Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?

Rosen: I find writing from first person most natural.

How does your environment/upbringing colour your writing?

Rosen: I grew up in a village in the country and then moved away, which helps me notice little things about remote places that I may have otherwise missed. Also, going to university made me challenge my views and I think I’m a lot more open-minded as a consequence, which is certainly reflected in Straight Out of University.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Rosen:

Well if you’re looking for something just a little bit different, this is that kind of book. It was like dipping a lolly into a bag of pop rocks, I was never sure where the author would take it next. – Cheryl M-M 

What are your current projects?

Rosen: At the moment I’m very busy trying to promote Straight Out of University, but I don’t enjoy that side of things – I prefer to be writing. I’m also working with a small theatre group, The Coffee House Players, putting together a comedy sketch show.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Rosen: General info: http://www.rosentrevithick.co.uk/
Trailer for Straight Out of University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47VoHXM-4VY

Blog tour dates:

Tuesday 8th November – Kait at Catz – http://kaitatcatz.blogspot.com/Wednesday
Wednesday 9th November – Along the Write Lines – http://alongthewritelines.blogspot.com/
Thursday 10th November – Mel Comely Author – http://melcomley.blogspot.com/
Friday 11th November – Bisexuality and Beyond – http://suegeorgewrites.blogspot.com/
Saturday 12th November – Fentonton 
 http://fentonton.blogspot.com/

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D.K. Christi

D.K. Christi’s debut novel Arirang, a romantic adventure that spans seven continents, conveys an underlying theme that “life happens when you are planning something else.” In Christi’s shorter works such as Chalk, The Magic Box, and The Valentine , exclusive to Amazon Shorts , themes of friendship surviving tragedy, love conquering adversity, and the triumph of the human spirit over the hardships of life serve to uplift and inspire. Discover a new voice in fiction and through her stories, perhaps discover something new about yourself.

Shelagh: Welcome D. K., please tell everyone a little about yourself:

D.K.: My roots are in Michigan where my family lives and I visit each year, preferring to drive so I can stop in the Georgia mountains and hike a little. I also spent significant youthful years in California, the dream land for a midwestern girl trying to get out of the snow and become a “surfer girl.” Once I started traveling, I didn’t stop, living an average of 3 years wherever I landed, job or home. These travels included international work in Europe and Asia and blue water sailing in the Caribbean. Experiences in foreign cultures and living “on the economy” provide insights that I try to share with readers. I have had a profession as an editor and writer for state departments of education and even a stint as a political intern in Washington, D. C. Right now, I live in Florida where I enjoy the Gulf and the Everglades for contrast, but miss hills.

Shelagh: When did you first start writing?

D.K.: I started writing in my youth, keeping meticulous diaries under lock and key that were as much fantasy thought as reality. I basically write essays, commenting on life. Recently, I have turned those comments into fiction.

Shelagh: What goals did you set yourself? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

D.K.: “LIfe is what happens when you plan for something else.” Amazon.com actually said it best when their editor described my stories as characters rising above adversity, overcoming life’s traumas and ecking out a new beginning. That’s the thought I wish to convey. Every challenge has a gift; we just need the capacity to recognize when it comes. I want readers to recognize their own selves in the characters, their agonies and their ecstasies, and perhaps find comfort in the resolution of their challenges.

Shelagh: Is your latest book part of a series or stand alone?

D.K.: At the moment, Ghost Orchid seems to stand alone; however, the ending begs for a sequel. Neev is the main character whose life is examined and changed through the magic of the ghost orchid; yet, the ending leaves the reader with the desire to know more about the characters who shaped her destiny, one in particular. She begins that story as hers ends. One family’s loves, lies and redemption are woven through the fabric of the Everglades as photographers search for the perfect subject in the perfect light and find themselves. Neev’s search unfolds as a mystery, one coincidence at a time, under the mystical magic of the ethereal ghost orchid. Recently, I also have  short stories published in several anthologies: “Rose’s Question” in The World Outside My Window; “The Ice Storm” in Romance of My Dreams, and “The View From the Balcony” in Romance of My Dreams II.

Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?

D.K.: Death is the end. Or is it? A tragic accident opens Ghost Orchid and sets the stage to search for an answer to that age old question: Is love eternal? A mystical and exotic ghost orchid watches from its perch high in the cypress canopy as a mystery unfolds, one coincidence at a time.

Shelagh: How do you develop characters and create the settings?

D.K.: Their traits fit the circumstances in which they dwell. They are borrowed and reworked from all the people I have know, about whom I have read, and those I’ve imagined. Neev is the daughter I never had, molded from the clay of men and women whose personalities left an impression.

Settings come from the places where I have lived and traveled. They are real to me in every respect though they sometimes require adjusting with research to make up for imperfect memories or documentation.

Shelagh: Who is the most unusual or most likeable character?

D.K: Since I have already given away my secret that I always wanted a daughter, I vote for Neev. However, Roger has his charm and Mel has depth worth examining and loving.

Shelagh: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

D.K.: I’ll use the word processing outline features to give me skeletons of the manuscript and check for anomolies.

Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?

D.K.: My preferred POV is first person and in the present tense. Publishers do not like either, especially in new authors. Therefore, I have switched to third person, past tense. When I am famous, I will return to first person, present tense.

Shelagh: How does your upbringing affect your writing?

D.K.: I have a very eclectic personal history with many twists and turns, traumas and joyful events. Therefore, I give my characters a strong dose of emotional appeal; readers have expressed great dislike for a character or been stunned by a stupid decision. One reader said she actually shouted out loud while reading Arirang: The Bamboo Connection, “no, don’t be so stupid!”- Another reader complained that a short story could not possibly be a romance because, “He walked away at the end. How could he do that to her? How could he just walk away?” As though I was supposed to give her some release for her pain at his behavior.

Shelagh: Please share the best review  that you’ve ever had.

D.K.: I think I hold onto the Amazon.com review because it says so much in such a few words:

D.K. Christi’s debut novel Arirang, a romantic adventure that spans seven continents, conveys an underlying theme that “life happens when you are planning something else.” In Christi’s shorter works such as Chalk, The Magic Box, and The Valentine , exclusive to Amazon Shorts , themes of friendship surviving tragedy, love conquering adversity, and the triumph of the human spirit over the hardships of life serve to uplift and inspire. Discover a new voice in fiction and through her stories, perhaps discover something new about yourself.”

Shelagh: What are your current projects?

D.K.: I am working on a short story anthology, a major work, The Virgin Odyssey, about blue water sailors with stories in each craft that are shared in ports along their journey, a sequel to Ghost Orchid, and a special story about the Civil War inspired by my great grandfather’s escape from a prison camp.

Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

D.K.: website: http://www.dkchristi.com

twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dkchristi

Publisher: http://www.lldreamspell.com

I blog at www.redroom.com and www.amazon.com

Booktour.com includes events and there’s always Google.

ebook versions of Ghost Orchid are found at Mobipocket, Fictionwise and Kindle; print coming soon.

Arirang: The Bamboo Connection is in print and Kindle at Amazon.com where several short stories are also found in Amazon Shorts. The anthologies are also at Amazon.com in print and Kindle. All online bookstores carry my books, and anthologies containing my short stories.

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