Author Interview: Amanda McColgan

189417616-176-k549527The town of New Winslow is a small community in the grip of a strange curse. While life tends to go on as normal, residents or visitors will occasionally find themselves unable to move past the town limits. You never when it’ll hit you or how long it will last. But the rent is cheap and the people are nice. So if you can ignore the occasional paranormal phenomenon, New Winslow is a great place to live.

Part One begins when an impulsive promise and family obligations bring two friends back to New Winslow years after they left. Meanwhile, the town psychic looks for answers, the lone bartender quietly mourns, a young mother tries to hold things together, and the pizzeria owner just wants to be left in peace. As all their stories come together, mysteries are pursued, long-buried feelings resurface, and, as always, life carries on.

Trigger warnings for New Winslow include: alcoholism, postpartum depression, mild violence, blood


If you’re looking for a deep dive into friend dynamics, found family, and facing your demons, New Winslow is for you! I enjoyed seasons 1 and 2 so much I binge-read them over the course of 2 days. The story deals with some heavy topics (see TWs above), the characters are wonderfully real and messy, and the specter of something ghostly hangs over it all. I highly recommend New Winslow.

And onto the interview!


Hi, Amanda, welcome to the blog! Tell us a bit about yourself!

I live a pretty quiet life in Massachusetts. Back in another life, I worked in libraries but I’ve been a stay at home/work at home mom for several years now. So a lot of my life revolves around my home and family, which I love. I also spend a lot of time studying local history/folklore, experimenting with cooking and gardening, and hanging out with my sisters and mother.

I can definitely feel the love for your state in your work. What was the inspiration behind New Winslow?

A large part of it was that local history and folklore I mentioned before. Several years ago I got absolutely obsessed with the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, a local man made reservoir that established safe drinking water for Boston at the cost of four flooded towns eighty miles away. It was eighty years ago and these communities just disappeared, yet surprisingly few people in the rest of the state seem to even be aware of that fact. So a lot of the stories of the reservoir and the surrounding communities made their way into New Winslow. This region is often overlooked when people talk about Massachusetts, but I wanted to celebrate both it and the people who live here.

Drowning towns is super spooky. No wonder that played a bit part in setting the scene in the stories! Speaking of, season 2 ends on a really intriguing cliff-hanger. What can we expect for these characters in season 3?

Yeah, I got in a lot of trouble for that cliff-hanger with some family members haha. Season 3 is going to see a lot of the cast having no choice but to face down their worst fears. For some it might be in the form of literal demons while others are facing their more metaphorical demons. So there’s going to be some painful moments, some reckonings, changed relationships. But there’s also the possibility of redemption and strengthened bonds among the families in New Winslow, both blood and found. And some new characters that I’m really looking forward to having everybody meet.

When it comes to individual characters, I obviously can’t get into many specifics. But I will say I’m excited for Olivia’s development in particular. She’s been stuck in a bit of a holding pattern between her job and her postpartum depression. Season 2 saw her taking a few steps down her own path, but I’m really excited for that to expand in this coming season.

I really love Olivia, so I’m really excited to see her story arc! Switching gears a bit, can you talk about serialized fiction and how it’s working for you? Are you enjoying it?

So I never actually considered doing serialized fiction when I first came up with the idea for New Winslow. But now I honestly can’t picture it in any other format. (Though, Netflix, if you want to call, I’m here haha). I absolutely love it. Originally New Winslow was going to be an audio drama. I actually wrote the first season in script format during Nanowrimo 2018, entirely on my phone and usually while my kid was in his playgroup. I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have the skills or the resources to do the story justice as a podcast, so I decided to change it into a novel.

But then I realized it was far too episodic to be a satisfying novel. I considered changing it around, but felt that the story just worked best in that style. Which led me to serials. I’d only ever read fan fiction in a serialized format like that, but after discussing it with several friends, I decided to give it a try. And it worked out better than I could have imagined.

I truly enjoy writing serialized fiction. I feel like you get the best of both worlds with it, where you can write a novel-length work and get the satisfaction of writing an ongoing story, but also get the immediate thrill of releasing it publicly. New Winslow still has a ways to go before it wraps up, but I will absolutely be writing more serialized fiction in the future as well.

It’s always an amazing feeling when you find the perfect format for your project. I would have a hard time seeing New Winslow in any other format, too. What advice would you give other authors thinking about trying their hand at serialized fiction?

Finish your story before you release it. I know it seems to go against the idea of releasing the story in parts, but it makes things so much less stressful if you are done before releasing Episode One. Sure, you might have a few little changes to make as you publish, things like word choice or grammatical errors. But writing everything first means that you have so much more freedom with your story decisions. If you release episode 2, then have a great idea for episode 10 that goes against what happened in episode 2, you can simply go back and edit episode 2. But if you’re releasing episodes as you write them, then you’ve written yourself into a corner. And it’s not fair to your readers for you to go back and retcon episode 2 in order to make it work.

So focus on pre-production, finish your writing in advance, and then all you have to worry about is releasing and promoting episodes.

Also, I would suggest having your story on as many platforms as you can feasibly promote and keep track of. I come from podcasting, which is very centralized. If you upload your show to Apple and Spotify, you’re accessible for the majority of podcast audiences. It’s not the same with publishing online. So I publish on Patreon, along with several other free websites and my own site. And at the end of the season, I also publish complete novel-style ebooks and paperbacks. The downside is that tracking readership is completely impossible. But the upside is that you’re getting your work out to a much wider audience than you would have by just focusing on, say, Patreon and your website.

That’s really great advice. Thank you! I always love hearing about other writers’ habits, so before we go: what’s your favorite place to write?

Currently, my kitchen table. I can spread out all my notes and have plenty of room for snacks. But I’m hoping to have an office area in my next home because I’ve had that before and loved it!

And one last question! Where can we find you and your projects online?

You can find me at EnfieldArts.com or enfieldarts@gmail.com. For social media, I’m mostly on Twitter and Tumblr and I’m working on getting better at consistently posting on Instagram.

My projects are on a few different sites. The primary one is my Patreon. That’s the most popular choice and it’s free, though patrons get perks as well. Beyond that, New Winslow is available on the Enfield Arts website, Medium, Tumblr, and Wattpad. And full season collections are available on Gumroad and Amazon.



6v7zLdxv.jpg small

Amanda McColgan is a writer, performer, and lifelong Massachusetts resident. In a past life, she was a librarian in both public libraries and private research institutions. This led to a passion for research and writing which, combined with her love of New England’s history and culture, formed the foundation for Enfield Arts. She loves getting lost on the back roads of Massachusetts, chocolate chip cookies, and a good slow-burn romance story. She hates pears and driving in Boston. You can usually find her at home with a cup of coffee in hand and at least three pens stuck in her hair for safekeeping. You can contact Amanda at enfieldarts@gmail.com.

Author Interview: Kat Caulberg

I had the pleasure of reading an advanced reader copy of Kat Caulberg’s latest book Black Dog Rising, and I’m very excited to welcome her to the blog for an interview today! Her book was an entertaining paranormal romp through the English countryside, complete with shapeshifters and Fairie courts and lots and lots of chemistry between Emma and her love interest, Toby.


51+FxaU2umL._SY346_Since arriving in England, nothing has made sense for Emma Aubrey. Forced to flee her ex-boyfriend and the vengeful ghost of his dead wife, she seeks refuge in Ninestone Downs, a sleepy country village where people still whisper of fairies and a hellish phantom canine prowls its streets.

Toby Deering has no more room in his life for the paranormal. He’s got secrets of his own, including a four-hundred-year-old curse and a past he can’t escape. The last thing he wants is a quirky American woman on his doorstep in desperate need of shelter, or the accidental touch that awakens a bond between them neither can ignore.

But ancient forces are stirring. When Emma finds herself the target of a shadowy stalker, will her bond with Toby be enough to withstand the evil Fae Court and the hellhound on her heels?

Sound interesting? Get your copy here!

Content warnings for the book include: sexual assault (side character), abuse, violence, blood, gore, forced amnesia, mind control, and explicit sex.


Hi, Kat, and welcome to the blog! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

There’s not too much to tell! I’m a woman of obsessions, mostly; history, folklore, anything creepy. If it’s weird, obscure, and old, I’ll probably be interested in it. I’m a novelist living in North Carolina with a couple of cats and an Englishman at the moment.

What was the inspiration for the story?

Ah, the dreaded inspiration question! 🙂 Kidding. The inspirations for Black Dog Rising are far, far too many to count. I’ve loved pretty much everything that went into Black Dog Rising since I was a child. At seven, I was reading about the Shuck and the haunted UK, and I haven’t stopped since. I wanted to do something that included all of these loves, and from it sprang Black Dog Rising.

I think the first scene that popped into my head was the barrow scene. I visited the Neolithic burial mound Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales in around 2010, and it stuck with me in my memory. I knew I wanted to do a scene between two characters in some form using that imagery, and nine years later, I started writing Black Dog Rising. It had to go in.

Ohh, the barrow scene. It was really sexy and powerful, and will stay with me for a long time! Your answer explains why there’s so much rich mythology in the book. What drew you to those particular legends?

The folklore in Black Dog Rising is specifically locale-related. I knew I wanted to write a story about the Black Shuck, which is an East Anglian creature, and so some of the other odds and ends popped up around it (like the growing stone) due to research on the area.

All of your characters are intriguing and always left me wanting to know more of their stories. Who’s your favorite character and who was the most fun to write?

Jack is most definitely my favorite character. There have been few characters who I’ve loved to write so much. He’s a tricky one, and so a challenge, and I do love a broken soul.

I really loved Jack, too. He was such a tragic figure, I just wanted to sweep him up in a blanket and feed him cocoa. Changing tracks a bit, what does your writing routine look like?

Normally, my writing routine is a late-night one, and confined also to weekends. I work a 32+hr job, so I squeeze writing in when I can.

Writing while working full time is a commitment! That’s awesome you’ve figured out what works best for you. Switching tracks again, what media are you enjoying at the moment?

I’m reading a lot of short stories right now. Bradbury, Gaiman, and Murakami. As I don’t have any form of steaming shows, I’m always watching anything on PBS or stuff like Sanford & Son, The Brady Bunch, or Unsolved Mysteries on digital TV.

And finally: where can we find you online?

You can find me on twitter, facebook, my too-neglected website, and GoodReads!

Thanks so much for joining us today! I really enjoyed your book, and I hope other folks do, too! You can get your copy of Black Dog Rising here!


5G0DYZfb.jpg smallFor as long as she can remember, Kat Caulberg has been obsessed with history and the paranormal. Somewhat to the dismay of her parents, her interests led her into both museums and graveyards as a child, a trend which has continued into her adulthood. This has influenced her reading tastes and her writing, whether it be a good ghost story, thrilling tales of time-travel, or devouring endless volumes of ancient warfare.

She enjoys writing strong, quirky heroines, and has a weakness for cheeky heroes who have as much compassion as they have flaws.

Review: Collie Jolly by Leigh Landry

unnamedA sunny dog trainer. A grieving New Orleans photographer. The unruly pup that brings them together.

Ashley’s never owned a dog, much less trained one. But she’s not about to let that little detail stop her—especially during the holiday season—from applying for this dog training job. Her new gig is the perfect way to survive the recession while strolling the festive streets of New Orleans with a cute pooch. The biggest challenge? Heeling a growing attraction to her stunning shut-in of a boss.

When her girlfriend died a year ago, Madison found herself overwhelmed by grief and her girlfriend’s rambunctious puppy. Now the dog is an unmanageable, attention-starved reminder of everything Madison has lost. She’s still afraid to face the world, but her vibrant new dog trainer—with the help of a furry sidekick—is determined to bring light, laughter, and Christmas cheer back into Madison’s life.


I read this book in two sittings, but only because I had to pry myself away to go to bed at a reasonable hour last night. It’s charming, delightful, and full of healing and holiday cheer. I loved every minute of this book.

Both main characters were lovable and fun to read about. I was rooting for them the whole time, and even though happy endings are guaranteed in romances, it never gets old waiting for them to realize they’re perfect for each other.

The book deals with some heavy topics (the death of a former partner, being laid off, near death experience), but that only added to the book’s appeal to me. I love it when romances reflect real life, and I got plenty of that in this one.

This is the queer Hallmark story my queer heart has been longing for. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


COLLIE JOLLY will be available for purchase on December 1st, and is available for pre-order now!

Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Apple
Amazon

Recent Reads

It’s summertime, and that means plenty of time for me to read without feeling guilty! Homework is a thing of the past (until September), so I’m enjoying the time to read for fun.

I’ve been reading a blend of new things and old favorites, and it’s been wonderful revisiting loved places and discovering new ones.

What are you all reading this summer? I’m always looking for new recommendations!

Recent Favorites:
STRANGE GRACE by Tessa Gratton
51qnM9oEh-L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_
This book tugged at my heart in all the right ways. It’s beautifully gruesome in the way only Gratton can write, and I loved every agonizing second of it. The most surprising thing about this book was the polyamorous triad that was so well done, I couldn’t see any of the characters without the others. Highly recommend this gorgeous book.

 

 

 

TECHNICALLY YOU STARTED IT by Lana Wood Johnson
9781338335460
Full disclosure: I helped beta this book when it was still under construction, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. But even that hadn’t been the case, this is a fun, light read for the summer and it comes out tomorrow! It’s another beautifully queer book with both main characters discovering themselves and each other, and I just love these nerds so much.

 

 

Books That Missed The Mark:
THESE WITCHES DON’T BURN by Isabel Sterling
43071689
I wanted to like this. I really did. Queer witches is usually a fierce SIGN ME UP, but the first 1/3 of this gave me anxiety because the adults refused to listen to the teens and the middle 1/3 was pretty forgettable. It was only in the last 1/3 that the book picked up and left me wanting more. (Which is good because this is the first book in a series, and ends on a cliff-hanger!) The queer rep in this was awesome, and I enjoyed the casual diversity in this. (Ex/ non-plot-advancing description of a little girl on the street with two dads!) Overall, not a successful book for me, but mostly due to personal preferences.

DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK by Paul Tremblay
61kVTtyM8sL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_
I was expecting paranormal horror, and I got some weird “maybe it is, maybe it isn’t” horror instead. If I hadn’t been expecting something different, maybe I’d feel differently. But I was looking for some creepy devil action, and all I got was the horrors that humans inflict on one another instead. Which is much more frightening, but not what I wanted when I picked this book up.

 

 

Book In Progress:
THE LUMINOUS DEAD by Caitlyn Starling
40696751
I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I’m halfway through, and I’m enjoying every terrifying second of this book. It hits on a bunch of things I love: caves, horror, and character-driven sci-fi. Wonderfully written, engaging, and suspenseful. Highly, highly recommend you don’t miss out on this one.

 

Interview–Lana Wood Johnson

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to welcome author Lana Wood Johnson to my blog today! Her debut YA book, TECHNICALLY YOU STARTED IT, comes out June 25th from Scholastic.

9781338335460


When a guy named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II texts you, it should be obvious who you’re talking to. Except there’s two of them (it’s a long story), and Haley thinks she’s talking to the one she doesn’t hate.

A question about a class project rapidly evolves into an all-consuming conversation. Haley finds that Martin is actually willing to listen to her weird facts and unusual obsessions, and Martin feels like Haley is the first person to really see who he is. Haley and Martin might be too awkward to hang out in real life, but over text, they’re becoming addicted to each other.

There’s just one problem: Haley doesn’t know who Martin is. And Martin doesn’t know that Haley doesn’t know. But they better figure it out fast before their meet-cute becomes an epic meet-disaster


Hi Lana! Thanks for joining me on the blog today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Lana and I’m a giant nerd! People sometimes don’t entirely get how deep it goes when I say it, but I’ve got the cred: my first memory is Star Wars A New Hope in theaters, I met my best friend 24 years ago in an online roleplaying game, and I initially flirted with my husband by shouting a meme at him in the year 2000.

Wow, your nerd cred is impressive! Your debut novel, TECHNICALLY YOU STARTED IT, comes out this summer. Can you tell us a bit about the project?

Haley and Martin are also just as nerdy in their own way as I am, (although Martin’s a bit cooler than either of us.) Told entirely through their text messages, it’s Haley’s story of falling in love with someone whose physical body she doesn’t really recognize but who she knows better than anyone else around her.

What inspired you to write this story?

After a hefty round of full rejections on my second book, I found myself volunteering on a crisis line for a local youth shelter. That’s where I discovered my skill of connecting with people via text messages is actually kind of special. I realized that like the youth I was talking to, I used the internet to connect with people and I decided to channel that into a story.

Very cool! In addition to the nerdiness, this book is also really queer. I’m super excited to see it hit mainstream shelves. Can you tell us a little about those themes and what you’re hoping people will take away from them?

My biggest hope is that people will take away that even though it’s m/f it’s two queer characters connecting in their own ways. And while it’s not about their identity, and the coming out they do is incidental and contextual to the situations, the story wouldn’t be remotely the same if they were straight characters.

As I started revising, I realized how important it was to me that the story stay in their text messages. By keeping it there, it made Haley’s perspective on the relationship the center and I realized showed better what it was like to fall in love with the person inside the skin.

What media (books, movies, podcasts, etc) are you enjoying right now?

I’ve just started drafting again which means my tendency is to go back to old, familiar stories. That said, I just discovered My Favorite Murder and as the completionist I am, I’m working my way through their archives. There’s a LOT of archives tho!

Any favorite writing snacks or drinks?

I don’t need anything to write, but I love writing at a fancy bakery nearby my house. They have miel lattes which is made with honey and the FANCIEST pastries. I think one of their bakers also watches Great British Bake Off so I get to taste some of the weird things they make on the show. That’s where I first had a kougin amann which is an excellent writing food.

That sounds delicious, and I’m hungry now. That’s a good place to leave this conversation. In closing, where can people find you online?

I am on Twitter and Instagram, and on my website.


TECHNICALLY YOU STARTED IT will be released on June 25th. You can preorder it from Indiebound, Barnes and Noble, Target, or Book Depository!


Lana_Wood_Johnson_websize_YA_Contemp_100x100

Lana Wood Johnson was born and raised in Iowa in the time before the internet but has spent the rest of her life making up for that. After years working in wireless communication for companies of all sizes, she now works doing the same for a local youth shelter. Lana lives in Minnesota with her husband and their English bulldog. TECHNICALLY, YOU STARTED IT is her debut novel.

 

Dating by the Book — Review

71im--6M06LIs love just something you find in books?

Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life…
 
There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.
 
Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect…


I’m not usually one for enjoying romance novels (*waves in asexual*) but when I heard the synopsis of DATING BY THE BOOK, and the author put out a call for reviewers, I wanted to get in on the fun. I received an ARC several months later in a hot pink polka dot envelope, and I knew I’d made a good decision.

The main character was real and I identified with her living life with her head in the clouds and her nose in a book. I really enjoyed her character arc from expecting people to behave like book characters to really seeing the reality of what was in front of her. Her growth and self-actualization were great to see. I never identify with the sexual pining in romance novels (and is often why I don’t quite enjoy them), but there was enough other plot going on that the pining was sort of secondary, which I appreciated.

One major thing that was really jarring was the subplot regarding the online book reviewer whom Maddie (as a debut author) writes a scathing email to while drunk after the reviewer only gave her 3 stars. It’s quite taboo in real life for authors to respond to reviewers, especially after a real-life author stalked and confronted a reviewer at her home after a bad review. The beginning of DATING BY THE BOOK made me deeply uncomfortable because of how badly this plays out in real life, so I had to keep telling myself that this is fiction (and romance at that!) so everything was going to turn out okay. And it did. But if you’re sensitive to this type of situation, you may want to skip this particular book.

Overall, this was a fun story with characters I enjoyed. I will definitely be picking up Mary Ann Marlow’s other books!


DATING BY THE BOOK will be out June 25. You can pre-order it here!

Cover Reveal: Anyone but You

I am incredibly excited to help reveal the cover for Chelsea M. Cameron’s newest book ANYONE BUT YOU!

Without further ado:

unnamed

About the book: Things are going great for Sutton Kay, or at least they were. Her yoga studio is doing well, she’s living with her best friend, and she just got two kittens named Mocha and Cappuccino. Sure, she doesn’t have a girlfriend, but her life is full and busy.

Then her building is sold and the new landlord turns out to be the woman putting in a gym downstairs who doesn’t seem to understand the concepts “courtesy” and “don’t be rude to your tenants.” Sutton can’t get a read on Tuesday Grímsdóttir, but she can appreciate her muscles. Seriously, Tuesday is ripped. Not that that has anything to do with anything since she’s too surly to have a conversation with, and won’t stop pissing Sutton off.

Sutton’s life gets interesting after she dares Tuesday to make it through one yoga class, and then Tuesday gives Sutton the same dare. Soon enough they’re spending time working out together and when the sweat starts flowing, the sparks start flying. How is it possible to be so attracted to a person you can barely stand?

But when someone from Tuesday’s past shows up and Sutton sees a whole new side of Tuesday, will she change her mind about her grumpy landlord? Can she?


Are you excited yet? I know I am!

I don’t know how I’m going to wait until March 19th to read it! In the meantime, we can console ourselves by adding it on Goodreads.

And if the blurb wasn’t enough to peak your interest, here’s a sneak-peak!


“You’re attracted to her.” I made a sputtering noise like a car trying to start in the winter before I was able to formulate any words.

“I am not!” I said and my voice squeaked on the last word.

Zee cackled and scared the kittens, which were on the floor rolling around with some new toys that had come.

“You totally are. I mean, I read between the lines and figured out she was hot, but your little obsession with her is telling me that she’s really hot.” I pressed my lips together because I didn’t want to say anything that might incriminate myself and lead Zee to think their theory was something that it wasn’t.

Okay, fine. Tuesday was stunning. Gorgeous. Hot. Sexy. All of those. But that didn’t mean anything. I saw hot people all the time; I ran a yoga studio. Her attractiveness had nothing to do with anything.

“Ohhhh, this is very interesting,” Zee said, stroking their chin and staring at me as I glared back.

“Stop it,” I said, pointing my finger in their face. “Stop it right now.” They laughed and shook their head.

“No way. She’s mean and hot, which is a deadly combination. You’d better be careful. Pretty soon she’s going to ask you to ‘help paint’ and there will be no brushes or paint involved. Unless she’s into that kind of thing.” I stood up from the couch.

“I’m leaving right now unless you stop talking about this immediately. And I’m taking the babies with me.” I scooped up both kittens and held them to my chest as they wiggled, angry I’d taken them away from their new shiny toys.

“No, don’t leave,” Zee said, falling horizontal on the couch and reaching for me dramatically. “Come backkkkkk.”

I turned on my heel and pretended to flounce, whipping my hair around.

“Come back and I’ll let you have the rest of the ice cream,” they said. That did it. I went back and dropped the kittens in her lap. They made cooing noises at them and gave them kisses as they meowed.


About the Author:

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today/Internationally Best-selling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She’s a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader, and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, getting brunch with her partner, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Where you can find the author: Twitter    Facebook   Instagram   Patreon   Website

Happy New Year and Author Interview (Jeremy Martin)

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season and a very happy new year! I know I’m excited for the upcoming year and all the amazing books that are being released.

Today, I’m pleased to welcome my friend and fellow writer Jeremy Martin to the blog to talk about his upcoming debut FOREIGN TO YOU. Jeremy and I first met at a Madcap workshop back in 2016. How time flies!

41732287The harmony between humans and fianna, a species of shape-shifting deer, begins to wither as racial tensions and deeply rooted resentment turns violent.

Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.

As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.


Q: Welcome, Jeremy, and thanks for joining me on the blog today! Can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

A: *waves* Hello! I am 24 years old and living in Pennsylvania. I work full-time as a residential and commercial estimator and I get to use highlighters a lot. Which is fun. When I’m not working, I’m normally playing an obscene amount of video games, rewatching the Office for the millionth time, or writing about people dying and sadness.

Q: Your upcoming release, FOREIGN TO YOU, has a darkly whimsical feel to it. What was your inspiration for the story?

A: FOREIGN TO YOU was birthed from this darker theory that sometimes ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ can’t be broken or rewritten. I’ve read plenty of stories that have the main characters battling the gods, higher powers, etc, to change the world around them and defying everything. I’ve always wondered, ‘Well…what if that didn’t work out? What if fate is set up for a reason?’

Another large part of FOREIGN TO YOU is my perception of the world and my own battles with certain viewpoints or ideas. While there might be shape-shifting deer in the story, there are some real-world issues being snuck in there.

Q : Yeah, those shape-shifting deer really surprised me. I’m used to shifters usually being werewolves, so this was really different and unique. How did you come up with having deer shifters?

A: I grew up in a family of hunters. Every November they’d go to our cabin during rifle season. I used to go, when I was younger, but didn’t find much joy in actually killing the deer. I used to love sitting in the tree stands and watching as the deer came and went, almost mystically.

One time, my grandpa had told me, “Deer come and go through the forest like magic. One second they’re there and the next they’re gone,” and that has always stuck with me. I love the duality of animal and human residing in one form, but I didn’t want to use shifters that I felt like were overdone or already mapped out. I liked the idea of exploring a new species and, hopefully, adding a breath of fresh air to the shifter genre!

Q: It definitely is a breath of fresh air! I’m about 5 chapters into the ARC I received, and I’ve been enjoying how different it is.
Can you talk a little about your journey to being published?

A: As a writer, there are a million drafts of various stories and ideas chilling on my flash drive. FOREIGN TO YOU is an accumulation of all those ideas that didn’t work out, that just weren’t ready yet. Each time one idea doesn’t work, the plot doesn’t feel right, or you get a rejection from an agent you take it mega personal. You doubt your worth as a creator, as a story teller. You think, ‘what’s the point?’

But there is always hope. I’m literally getting a book about deer becoming humans published. If I can succeed, your chances are that much greater.

I participated in PitMad on Twitter and then queried Nine Star Press who later offered me a publishing deal. I had actually never considered going with a small publisher before. The stigma that the writing/reading world has about small presses is suffocating and scary at times, but I don’t think I would change a single thing that has happened in this journey.

I’m also TERRIBLE at being patient and waiting. And from my experience so far, it’s a lot of hurry up and then waitttt.

Q: What is your writing process like? Any favorite snacks or drinks for writing?

A: My writing process is a lot like a flamingo that wasn’t born with good balance and thinks it can run. I often joke that I’m a part-time writer and a full-time mess, because really I am. I want to be able to look someone in the eyes and tell them I map out every single action my characters take and each plot point, but I just don’t. It kind of scares me how each time I edited FOREIGN TO YOU, I added something new and crucial to the story.

My biggest ‘writing tool’ is probably Pinterest. I create a board for each idea and get visuals on characters, places, aesthetics, etc.

So, I drink coffee when I’m drafting because I think it makes me look smart and sophisticated. When I’m editing, I drink wine so I can slowly stop feeling the pain of fixing how many times I used “you ass” in my story.

I don’t eat much though. If I do, I try to reward myself. Oh, you finished a paragraph? Eat a cookie!

Q: Cookies are always a good reward!
What media (tv/books/podcast/etc) are you enjoying right now?

A: I am always looking for stories and strong narratives in all forms of media. I love playing video games for that reason. Sure, they are entertaining as heck, but some of the plots and characters that come out of games these days is wild. Play the Last of Us. That game tore me open and left me broken. Oh, and I started watching the Great British Baking Show and my life hasn’t been the same ever since.

PS: I will marry Steven one day.

Q :Where can people find you online?

A: Probably on America’s Most Wanted.

But if not there, I frequent Instagram so I can share photos of my dogs and feel only slightly judged for my lack of life. I also have Twitter (have a twitter?) where I take a full day to craft up something witty and funny that ends up getting 1 like (shout out to Sabina for those pity likes.)


You can find FOREIGN TO YOU at Nine Star Press on February 4, 2019! I know it feels far away, but the book will be released before you know it! Thanks for joining us today!

 

Cover Reveal– Love and Bubbles

I am incredibly excited to be part of the cover reveal for the Love and Bubbles anthology put together by Jaylee James and Jennifer Lee Rossman. I’ve been looking forward to the release of this book since the call for stories was announced, and the day is almost finally here!

You can preorder the anthology here, and you can add it on Goodreads here.

But before we get to the cover, here’s some information about the book!

Love & Bubbles
An anthology of queer underwater love stories
Edited by Jaylee James & Jennifer Lee Rossman
Dive into romance with these thirteen stories of queer love under the sea!

Love & Bubbles is a short fiction anthology of love stories united by an underwater theme and featuring characters from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

Go on a deep-sea voyage to study a brand-new species alongside a cute, distracted scientist. Discover your magic with a water witch and the help of a cute mermaid. Explore the waters of an alien ocean. Get summoned to the surface with a grumpy old merman and his non-binary water demon neighbor. Swim with a catfish goddess, rescue a dolphin… and so much more!

Featuring stories by: 
Evvan Burke
Minerva Cerridwen
Lizzie Colt
Lia Cooper
Maggie Derrick
M. Hollis
V. S. Holmes
Jaylee James
Jennifer Lee Rossman
Riley Sidell
Mharie West
Victoria Zelvin
And without further ado: The absolutely gorgeous cover!
Love and Bubbles
I don’t know about you, but this cover makes me even more excited for the anthology’s release on October 18th. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy today!

About the Editors:
Jaylee Jamesis a nonbinary writer, editor, and story curator native to Kansas City who is best known as the editor ofCircuits & Slippers, an anthology of science-fiction fairytales, and Vitality Magazine, which published LGBTQ+ genre fiction between 2014-2016. E also writes a smattering of short fiction and video games. Learn more atJayleeJames.com.

Jennifer Lee Rossman is a science fiction geek from Oneonta, New York, who has never ever threatened to run over anyone with her wheelchair. Nope, definitely not. Her debut novel, Jack Jetstark’s Intergalactic Freakshow, will be published in December 2018. She blogs at jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com and tweets @JenLRossman.

Author Interview–Leigh Landry

I’m incredibly excited to welcome my friend and writing buddy, Leigh Landry, to my blog! Hi Leigh! Can you tell my readers a bit about yourself?
*waves* I’m a former musician and English teacher, and I now write and homeschool my two kids. We’ve got a house full of animals, and we foster cats and volunteer at our local animal rescue center. I like to keep things interesting here!
Can you tell us about your first novella, SECOND FIDDLE FLIRT?
Novella #1 Cover (variation 3)
Lauren’s in the middle of clearing out her recently deceased sister’s room and prepping for a rehearsal/audition with an all-female Cajun band when her sister’s sexy, ex-soldier best friend arrives to help. Freshly out of a controlling relationship coupled with a heaping side of shared grief between them, Lauren has to learn how to trust herself again and fight for what she wants: her dream gig and Tyler.
SECOND FIDDLE FLIRT, is simultaneously fun and heavy. Where did you get your inspiration from?
I really wanted to write a fun, flirty series as a tribute to the music and modern Cajun culture of this area. But everything I write ends up tackling serious, weighty themes and issues, whether or not I intend to from the beginning. I am perpetually fluffy-dark, in writing and personality, hehe.
I love hearing about other writers’ processes, so can you tell us what your writing process looks like?
No matter how many books I write, I always feel like I’m still figuring out my process with each new project! I do plan more now than I used to, but my initial outlines are still very sparse and flexible. The further I get in this series, though, the more structured my outlines get, because I’m starting to know how I need the series to shape up. I always begin with my main characters and what they want, then put my couple together and see what happens!
Any favorite snacks for while you write?
As much as I love snacks, I don’t usually eat while I write. I do almost always have something hot nearby, coffee with a little sugar or herbal tea with honey.
What media are you loving right now (books, shows, etc)?
I’ve been in a reading slump lately. Other than critique partner manuscripts (which I am BEYOND excited about the things I read last year!!!), my brain seems incapable of finishing stories the last few months. Looking forward to enjoying more books again this year! I always love listening to the Smart Podcast, Trashy Books podcast, because their enthusiasm for books is absolutely contagious. OH! And I just finished season 1 of The Good Place, and I am completely smitten with that show. ❤ ❤ ❤
And where can people find you?
I mostly hang out on Twitter (@LeighLAuthor), but I do have a Facebook page (LeighLandryAuthor) where I post writing updates, songs on my writing playlists, and occasional kitty pics. I’ve also started a blog (https://leighlandry.blogspot.com) that has all of my book & contact info.

You can find Leigh’s first novella here, and you can preorder her second one, SIX STRING SASS, set for release on February 8, here! Happy reading!