Tuesday 20 August 2019

Interview With Author Elka Ray

Today I have a great interview with mystery author Elka Ray, where she talks books, suspense and a little romance. Enjoy.

Interview with Elka Ray

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I'm Canadian, write mysteries and suspense, and live by the beach in Vietnam.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Divorce is Murder is the first book in a new romantic mystery series set on Canada's Vancouver Island. After being bullied as a teen, Toby fled her small hometown as soon as she could. Now a successful divorce lawyer, she returns to the island to spend time with her mom, who just beat cancer. Toby thinks she's put her past in perspective until her teenage crush, Josh Barton, asks her to handle his divorce. Things get worse when Josh’s estranged wife is murdered, and he's the main suspect. As she tries to help clear him, Toby encounters all the people who made her life hell as a teen. Worst of all, one of them is a dangerous killer.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

My first book, a romantic mystery, Hanoi Jane, came out in 2011. A much darker thriller, Saigon Dark, was released in 2016. Divorce is Murder is somewhere in between - a fast, easy read that touches on the legacy of old traumas.

Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

Toby's mom, Ivy, reads tarot cards for a living and is constantly trying to inflict alternative remedies on her highly skeptical daughter. I love how Toby is endlessly embarrassed (yet secretly fascinated) by her mom's rampant New Ageyness. While it'd be easy to dismiss Ivy as flakey, she's actually very astute - and funny.

Why did you decide to write in the romantic mystery genre?

Life is hard. We're all busy. We're tired. We need a break. I want stories that are smart yet easy to read - books that will entertain me without feeling like a vacuous waste of time. I read and write mysteries because they're fun yet expand my understanding of human nature.

Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

Like many little girls, around age six my daughter announced her desire to be an actress when she grows up. She's a natural comedian but instead of thinking 'cool, you have talent!' my first reaction was dismay. The problem? She's half Asian and all I could think of was the roles she'd land - or not. I pictured her relegated to playing "Asian" characters instead of the lead or the love-interest. While I can't change Hollywood I can write more stories starring smart, funny, and strong people who aren't all white and blond.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

While I consider myself a mystery/suspense author, I had a lot of fun with this story's romantic dilemma.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Some years back, after reading one of my books, a friend said: "Wow. Where do you get this stuff? I mean, you don't even watch TV!" I loved the implication that most mystery writers sit around lifting their material off CSI."

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I'm psyched that my publisher has given Toby Wong and her cohorts a series. In the second book, Toby gets roped into searching for a wealthy friend of her mom's, who's gone missing after being romanced by a conman. In this book, Toby finally realizes where her heart belongs.

About the Author

Elka Ray is the Canadian author of Divorce is Murder.

Born in the UK and raised in Canada, Elka has two previous novels, Saigon Dark and Hanoi Jane; a short-story collection, What You Don't Know; and a series of children's picture books about Vietnam, where she currently lives with her family.

Elka grew up in Victoria, B.C. Canada, the setting for her latest mystery. When she's not writing, drawing, or reading, Elka is in the ocean.

Website: ElkaRay.com
Facebook: /elkaraybooks
Twitter: @ElkaRay
Instagram: @elka.ray
YouTube: Elka Ray
Goodreads: Elka Ray


A Toby Wong Novel

Toby Wong visits her quiet hometown in British Columbia, where nothing ever happens--until her old high school rival is found murdered.

Shortly after returning to her sleepy hometown on Vancouver Island, Chinese-Canadian divorce lawyer Toby Wong runs into Josh Barton, who broke her heart as a teen at summer camp. Now a wealthy entrepreneur, Josh wants to divorce Tonya, the mean girl who made Toby's life hell all those years ago. Not long after Toby takes Josh's case, Tonya is found murdered. Josh is the prime suspect.

Together with her fortune-teller mom and her pregnant best friend, Toby sets out to clear Josh, whom she still has a guilty crush on. While he seems equally smitten, can Toby trust him? The handsome cop charged with finding Tonya's killer doesn't think so. 

Since Tonya stayed in touch with everyone from that lousy summer camp, Toby keeps running into ex-campers she'd rather forget. Could one of Tonya's catty friends be her killer?

Are Toby's old insecurities making her paranoid? Only too late does she realize that she really is in danger.

 Divorce is Murder is available at Amazon

Thursday 15 August 2019

Interview with Author Claire Buss

Today I have a wonderful interview with fantasy and sci-fi author, Claire Buss. Enjoy!

Interview with Author Claire Buss

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Claire Buss, I’m a multi-genre author and stay-at-home mum to two rascals. I write hopeful dystopia, humorous fantasy, slice-of-life short stories, poetry and love writing flash fiction. I published my first book, The Gaia Effect, in 2016 and have since self-published a further 15 titles with two more due out later this year (2019). I am determined to make my author career a success and I’m in it for the long haul! I have lots of ideas for future books and series which I can’t wait to get stuck into. I feel like I have learnt a phenomenal amount with regards to independent publishing, book marketing and writing in general and I love that. I know there is lots more to master and I look forward to continually developing and improving my writing. I realise I sound a bit like I’m sat in an interview but I really want to make a good impression and I thought if I talked about my cake addiction, the ability to write 1000 or so words in half an hour when the muse is with me and constantly feeling like I’m failing as a mother, wife and entrepreneur you might run away. I wouldn’t blame you. But seriously, writing for me is usually a joy and something I am immensely proud of so I hope you’ll take a moment to have a read of my interview and maybe check out some of my books.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is a humorous fantasy novella called The Interspecies Poker Tournament. It is set in the town of Roshaven, the world you meet in my novel The Rose Thief and is a prequel of sorts.

Here’s the blurb:

Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, has a new case. A murderous moustache-wearing cult is killing off members of Roshaven's fae community. At least that's what he's been led to believe by his not-so-trusty sidekick, Jenni the sprite. She has information she's not sharing but plans to get her boss into the Interspecies Poker Tournament so he can catch the bad guy and save the day. If only Ned knew how to play!

If you loved Terry Pratchett's Discworld, you'll love Roshaven.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I’ve been writing collectively for a while. I wrote short stories and began a million fantasy books when I was a young girl and teenager. Then came the angsty poetry years and then real life stepped in and my creativity stopped so it wasn’t until a random poster for a writers’ workshop at my local library reminded me that I used to love writing. That was 2015 and from that workshop, I entered a book writing competition, came second and published my first book, The Gaia Effect in 2016. Since then I’ve published a further 15 titles with two more due out this year:

The Gaia Collection (hopeful dystopia)
The Gaia Effect
The Gaia Project
The Gaia Solution – coming November 2019

The Roshaven Books (humorous fantasy)
The Rose Thief
Ye Olde Magick Shoppe – a short story
The Interspecies Poker Tournament 

Short Story Collections (slice of life)
Tales from Suburbia
Tales from the Seaside

Flash Fiction
The Blue Serpent & other tales
Flashing Here and There

Little Book of Verse, Book 1 in the Little Book Series
Little Book of Spring, Book 2 in the Little Book Series
Little Book of Summer, Book 3 in the Little Book Series
Spooky Little Book, Book 4 in the Little Book Series

Underground Scratchings in Tales from the Underground, Inklings Press
Patient Data from The Quantum Soul, Knight of the Sci-Fi Roundtable
A Badger Christmas Carol from The Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology
Dress Like an Animal from Haunted, The Sparkly Badgers’ Halloween Anthology – out October 2019

You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

My favourite genre is usually the one I’m working in at the time. For me, it’s more about the story and the characters than the actual genre I’m writing. I pay no attention to tropes lol. I think the one that makes me laugh the most is definitely the humorous fantasy and I get a real kick out of hearing other people enjoying the same jokes. I’m funny – honest!

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

With two small children, my writing process is haphazard at best. I try to keep myself on track with a promotional spreadsheet that covers all the social media stuff and I have a 1-page plan of what I want to be writing, editing and releasing. It rarely happens but at least with those plans in place, I can always re-orientate myself and try and be productive. I’ve learnt not to worry if I didn’t get everything done, I can only do my best. When I have a new idea, I can’t not write it down. Usually the idea marinates in my head for a while before I’m ready to write but then when I am ready, I find it really easy to get the initial word count down. I prefer to write shorter length books than the traditional epic fantasy hefties. I write sequentially and I never read what I’ve written previously before I sit down to write again. With kids, usually all my writing is done in the evening, but I have recently negotiated coffee shop/library time with my husband when he’s off work because I get sooooooooo much more work done when I’m not sat in the house. Once the first draft has been written I let it rest for a couple of weeks before printing out a copy and beginning the first editing pass. That’s usually when I find all the gaping plot holes and lots of instances where I’ve written in caps what I want to happen, but I haven’t actually written in yet. I find editing a chore and will do things like clean the oven or wash windows to avoid doing it but once I get stuck in, it’s usually not that bad. I get ideas from all over the place; random thoughts, late night ideas, dreams, mash-ups of TV shows and books I’ve read, writing prompts and submission topics for competitions – everything!

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

My greatest challenge is finding the time. I never have enough time to do everything I want to do so either the writing suffers or the social media & promotion suffers and you can’t successfully have one without the other so it’s a constant catch-22 scenario. I am hoping when my youngest goes to nursery in January 2021 (I’m not counting down the days, honest), I will find more quality time to just get on with it and get the work done. I do treat my authorship like a business so I have goals I want to achieve and of course targets to try and make. I’m also really, really, really good at procrastination. 

How do you research your books?

Luckily for me, my current books are either set 200 years in a dystopian future or take place in a fantasy world that bears no relation to this one so I don’t have to really research anything – I make it up!. Every now and then something will come up and I’ll run to Google to fact check or find out. All my science in the Gaia books is based in fact so at least for my own peace of mind, I know it’s ‘right’.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

“Never give up! Never surrender!” If writing is something you enjoy, then you should write. Writing a book for you and for your own pleasure is a whole different ball game to writing to sell books and make a living. It’s hard work. And if you can imagine how hard it might be, triple it. It’s a constant process, there is no day off and sometimes it can be soul destroying. But you get to see your published book in your hands and there’s no feeling like that. People you don’t know will read your book and enjoy it, which is just amazing when you think about it. Plus, the indie author community is brilliant – full of advice and support, they really are the best cheerleading agony aunt you could ever ask for. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

When I’m not burnt out and sobbing in a corner, I like to cook and to bake. I very occasionally cross stitch which is a hobby I’m desperate to get back to. Obviously, I love to read, and I enjoy movie night with popcorn.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

My next novel out will be The Gaia Solution, book three of my hopeful dystopia series and then I am editing and taking part in an anthology of spooky tales for Haunted, The Sparkly Badgers’ Halloween Anthology. The Sparkly Badgers is a Facebook writing group that I run, we’re very friendly if anyone would like to join us. 

You can find out more about Claire and her books at her WebsiteFacebook Page or Twitter

Or sign up for her newsletter and get The Blue Serpent and Other Tales for free

Sunday 11 August 2019

Book Spotlight: The Dragon's Seamstress

Today I have a lovely treat with a book spotlight on the novel The Dragon's Seamstress (book five in the Antique Magic series) by Juli D. Revezzo.

The Dragon's Seamstress by Juli D. Revezzo

Since Caitlin and Trevor vowed to assist the Otherworld and opened their enchanted antique shop, they’ve seen many strange things. But now, someone comes in looking for a mundane item: kitschy “witches” brooms. Has their magical life returned to normal?

As the couple prepares to host a family gathering, fate intervenes and something they've never seen before roars into their life: A creature out of Welsh legend and fantasy: A blundering, somewhat underdeveloped dragon—if one can call a dragon blundering. Forced to undertake his unique challenge, Caitlin and Trevor are perplexed by his demands, but the magical beast is certain only they can help him.

Doing so might unlock an ancient hidden secret—or destroy them.

You can find on The Dragon's Seamstress on Amazon or Goodreads

The Artist's Inheritance (Antique Magic #1) 
Caitlin's Book of Shadows (Antique Magic #2) 
Drawing Down the Shades  (Antique Magic #3) 
Mourning Dove Locket (Antique Magic #4) 
The Dragon's Seamstress  (Antique Magic #5)

About the Author

Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the historical romances, Courting the Stationmaster's Daughter, House of Dark Envy, steampunk romances, Vesta's Clockwork Companions and Watchmaker's Heart, and the fantasy Gothic romance Lady of the Tarot, The Dragon Seamstress, part of the Antique Magic paranormal series,  and much more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

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