Ramona Mainstrom is one fantastic writer covering several genres and bringing forward a multitude of books. This interesting author gave me some of her time earlier this year. I gathered a list of questions and she was kind enough to answer them, below is the interaction. This is not a interview to skip over!


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a full-time author and solo parent of two kids, ages 7 & 8. I enjoy acting and singing. I’m often dancing around the house and enjoy puttering around the garden with my neighbour.

What genre (s) do you write in?

Fantasy (Urban, Epic, and Dark), Thriller, and Horror.

For most, they began writing at a young age, taking writing more seriously later in life. Is this a sentiment that can apply to you? What was it like for you?

I was discouraged from writing or reading for pleasure, so becoming a writer wasn’t an option in my reality for a while. It was rough. I don’t know how to explain how having a part of your Self forbidden.

I was a story-teller as a child and as soon as I learned how to write words, I started writing stories. In high school, I wrote short stories, poems, scripts and started a few longer stories.

I didn’t consider writing as a career option until I was an adult and only because of peer pressure. Friends got a hold of some of my scenes and short stories and insisted I finish them. That’s how I started writing the Touch of Insanity series, but Eyes of the Hunter was the first stand alone book I completed.

How much time do you spend writing?

No clue. I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I’m also a multi-tasker. So, I’ll be at my desk for hours, but I’ll be writing a book, answering messages, homeschooling my kids, doing groceries online, and editing a different book.

 I just flow. If I start to stress about when, how long, or how many words, it kills the joy and creativity. I don’t put pressure on myself for deadlines or word counts. I need writing to be enjoyable. I need the words to flow naturally, so I let it happen when and how it wants while I go about taking care of the rest of my day.

What has been the most eye-opening part of publishing for you?

At the beginning, it was learning how traditional publishing works. It was very discouraging. Being an indie author taught me so much, but I think it also made me a better client once I was with a publisher.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.

Hands down; Santa in Sleigh Ride. Taking this epitome of kindness and generosity and giving him a hard edge made him more lovable to me. He’s avenging the benign creatures under his care who were injured or killed by dark forces. He’s racing, for not just his own life, but to preserve the beauty of Christmas and everyone who works with him.

Pitting him against the older, harsher Christmas representations in a death race let me show a dark and ruthless side of Santa. There’s a point in the story where his co-pilot, Jack Frost says, “People will get hurt” and Santa replies, “I’m counting on it.”

That gives me the chills. Every. Time. Santa is going to mess folk up to protect his people and keep the spirit of Christmas alive. He’s selling his soul for others to have that magic.

Do you ever write traits or characters inspired by people you know?

Always! It’s how I keep my characters real. Would so-and-so do this? How would they react? What’s their speech pattern like?

Where do your ideas come from?

Everything. Everywhere. There are a million stories in my world every day. People are lovely inspirations. Beautiful, complex, predictable yet chaotically unpredictable in all their messy glory.

 Real life is a non-stop Plot Bunny that just keeps popping out babies. For years, I was told I should write about my life because it’s so wild. But, as fiction because no one would believe it really happened. So I’ve started using bits of my personal life into my stories. The Crossroad is actually a journal entry from my life. It was intended to be part of a non-fiction series, but . . . Well, a good paranormal story is fun to read.

 And, my other big inspiration is dreams. My dreams and nightmares are detailed and emotion-filled. They stay with me long after I wake and often inspire my stories. The Greatest of Books is a story based on my dreams.

What is your current writing about?

I’m currently releasing the Touch of Insanity series. It’s a 10 book fantasy series about a Half-Elf named Kharee, who was created to heal a goddess who is going mad and is spreading insanity via her connection to the people of the world, Besamie. Unfortunately, her parents withheld the ability for her to actually use her powers until they knew she’d grown up to be a decent, sane person.

The series follows Kharee as she discovers her powers, her mission, and her own truth. I’ve tried to keep the story as PG as possible, but she goes through some dark and gruesome experiences as she wades through the madness. For example, there are winged monsters called karpa that impregnate their prey and werewolves which are called Hydan Kin in their world, named after Hydan Speargood, the Elven Mage-Master who first contracted the magical disease. Oh, and of course a vampire lord, because no dark fantasy is complete without one.

I’ve been releasing a new book every 20th. Book 4, Each According Their Worth, releases on April 20th and I’m hoping to have a completed collection of all 10 books in one out in time for Christmas. If readers want to know when each book releases, they can sign up for Books2Read notifications .

It’s been very exciting to write and I’m so proud of the finish products.

Do you have any new series planned?

After the Touch of Insanity series, Three Furies Press will be releasing the Harper series. It’s a paranormal thriller about a psychic named Hannah Harper who has PTSD. She’s very quirky. Edges frighten her, so everything in her home is rounded. Going out is challenging because there are edges everywhere. She gets dragged into an investigation of serial killings and finds the guy, but ends up as his next target. As the series progresses, they discover the killer from the first book isn’t the only threat they have to worry about. I’m very excited about this series because it sneaks from “okay this is a paranormal story” to “OhEmGee! This is mind-bending paranormal and I’m scared now”. Or, it will be if I do it right.

What has being signed to a publisher meant for you as a writer, since many self-publish nowadays?

It was surprisingly cathartic. I’d given up on the idea of being picked up by a publisher and was content self-publishing. I really respect the women running Three Furies Press, so when I saw they were accepting submission and I actually had something in a genre they publish, I just had to submit Gifted, the first book of the Harper series.

Reading that I’d been accepted . . . I cried. Happy, ugly cry because people I respect  found value in my work.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading really interesting urban fantasy by Yvette Bostic, called Call of the Elements, which is the first book of her Magister’s Bane series. It’s really good.

About Rosa

Rosa Marchisella is a prolific author and the creator of the animated series, Zomb-Eh? Rosa also writes non-fiction under the name Rosa Arcade. She has written and co-authored over 50 publications, stories, screenplays, and scripts. Her poetry has been featured in anthologies and websites. Her other written works include 200+ articles, marketing and media projects, as well as promotional and educational tools.

Social Media Links

Website:                     www.RosaMarchisella.com

Facebook:                  www.facebook.com/iamrosa.fanpage

BookBub:                   www.bookbub.com/authors/rosa-marchisella

Books2Read:             https://books2read.com/ap/8Z2MY8/Rosa-Marchisella


Interesting Reads and Related Content

Where did all of this begin for me, you might ask? Well─ in an unlikely way. When I was a child, my imagination was a wild one, and much to my satisfaction, I’ve managed to keep most of it. Living back in South Florida, we lived in a neighborhood filled with other kids, and we spent the majority of our time outdoors thinking up ways of keeping ourselves entertained. As the years went on, I was the one that most kids wanted to come hang out with, because I always seemed to come up with the best games to play. Video games were still in their infancy, so we weren’t as chained to our television screens as later generations would learn to do.

            Much of my imagination stemmed from watching multitudes of films as a child, and I still remember the first time that I watched Night Of The Living Dead when I was around seven years old. I recall in detail being afraid to look out the windows at night because I was sure that I was going to see a horde of zombies staggering toward our house.

            It wasn’t until my brother and I started going to movie theaters on our own that I realized that storytelling was something that I longed to do, whether it be vocally, visually, or through the written word. Not knowing exactly where or how these movies came to fruition, I assumed for many years that it was the movie directors who wrote them. I never really had a desire to be an actor in film, but a movie director? That’s something I could get behind. Well, as the years went on, those dreams of mine began taking a back seat, but my love for the film never subsided.

            In my adolescence, I began having an affinity toward movies that intentionally dug around inside your head; movies such as Fight Club, Requiem For A Dream, Memento, and Seven. Those types of movies began setting me on a path that I would not take for quite some time, because life and other responsibilities take precedence.

            Fast forward to August 2016, the month I took the plunge into this whole writing life. My stepson accidentally pulled his PS3 off his bedroom dresser in the middle of the night, and that was the death of it. So, instead of fighting him over the PS4 in the living room, I took a step back and allowed him to have it. I retreated to the back of our apartment, opened a word document, and started pounding out words.

            Now, I claim to be a fairly intelligent person, but at the time when I started, I knew very little about the actual craft of writing. While we went through school, we had our assignments and whatnot, but creative writing was one of those things that were more or less water under the bridge. I had no real formal experience in writing, and I really wasn’t that big of a reader either. Also, I wouldn’t consider myself to be too much of a horror buff. I mean, I have watched pretty much all the scary movies over the past twenty-five or thirty years, but I never really saw myself as one who would be defined as a writer in the horror genre.

            The idea started out simple. I work in a creepy old warehouse, which used to be a textile mill in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds. I kept getting these feelings as though something was watching me from the dark spots, which felt like eyes everywhere because much of the warehouse is unlit. Some of my co-workers decided that it would be fun to prank me and began tormenting me with elaborate schemes. They even pulled things overusing the fishing line. Once I found out, I was pretty pissed off, but it also sparked something inside of me; a story that brewed deep down that I knew had to be told. As much as I wanted to punch those guys, I must credit them with getting my cogwheels moving. The rest is history for another day.

            If there’s anything that I learned from writing my first book, Passenger, it was to never be afraid to learn or to seek new information, because there are many techniques and methods to getting a novel completed. When I first started out, I wrote my first five or six chapters without knowing practically anything about creative writing. So, to avoid stepping into a bear trap, I took a walk backward and learn as much as I could about the craft before proceeding again. It ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in all my life. This was also the time when all those years of watching film became more relevant because storylines stay relatively the same across the board, regardless. These movies also helped me learn when to dive and when to pull back because it’s a delicate dance of difficulties.

            Here’s the best advice I can give. There are two enemies with writing or producing anything of emotional or monetary value. One enemy is your distractions. The second enemy is YOU. When you sit down to do your work at the end of a long hard workday, unplug yourself from the social media notifications. I would say to keep your phone as far away from your station as possible. In your browser, the only thing that you should have open is the dictionary. As far as enemy number two goes, give yourself a break, and a much-needed pat on the back. You’re doing something that is dreamt of by millions of people who make millions of excuses for never doing it. Take the time to be proud of yourself, because if you don’t believe in yourself, it will be tough getting other people to believe in you. One of my mottos is to be helpful, be humble, and be kind.

            Lastly, within reason, I say that you should be a “yes man.” Have a can-do attitude. If someone asks you for a favor, do your best to be reliable and dependable. Try going out of your way and dip your toes outside of your comfort zone. When the first live show I was ever a part of aired, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and this thing called anxiety was exploding through the ceiling of my apartment. It terrified me, which is strange because I’m an extrovert. After being on a couple more shows, it was like taking the dog out on a walk, and that feeling of dread was old news. Here’s a quote I heard somewhere, and don’t know who it’s from, but I’ll try to recite it as best I can ─ There is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the growth zone. Best of luck to you, and happy writing.

            If you would like to know more about my debut horror novel, Passenger, I will release it in October 2020 with Three Furies Press. I look forward to meeting and talking with each one of you. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my journey.

https://www.facebook.com/mickferia – Main

https://www.facebook.com/MikeFeriaWrites/ – Author Page

https://twitter.com/MikeFeriaWrites – Twitter

https://www.instagram.com/mikeferiawrites/ – Instagram

thrilliterature.wordpress.com – WordPress

I’m a work-from-home mother. I have been for more than five years now. I have been a writer in various forms, graphic artist, formatter, mentor, blogger, and done whatever I had to do to help my family using my God-given talents. I’m a survivor, love my family, and do what it takes to remain anything but a burden. I’ve paid my taxes and continued to do the best with what I got. With all that I do every day it certain has become a balancing act. Years ago, I posted my schedule that I knew at that time with timeslots included. Of course, this was a flexible schedule that always changed day to day or even week to week.

I’ve been asked in the past how I handle everything. That was part of the inspiration for the original Facebook share of my schedule in truth. I’m always curious how other parents handle their schedules with working from home as well. I’m in awe of others making it work too. Some days it feels like I’m spinning too many plates waiting for them to crash down upon my head with a miracle they haven’t yet. I’m lucky to have a supportive husband and we’re a team. He understands I’m scheduling the chaos and I know he appreciates all my efforts. My Mother’s Day gift is usually a hug from my son and a ‘thank you for all you do’. Which means so much. It feels good to be appreciated.

I am my family’s secretary. I handle it all. I am the one answering the phone calls, making the meetings, scheduling the appointments, and working. I spend long hours at the computer and on phone handling calls. I am not sure if my restless nights due from my insomnia help me, but it gives me something to do when I can’t sleep. I take in consideration the dates and times of everything. When things just simply cannot be done and when things simply need to be handled. These help me in devising the scheduling.

The most important things to me for scheduling are that of what my family needs coming first. When things end, begin, when things are due. After knowing those things are handled, I start filling in the gaps with other things like my work hours. I take my working, graphics and writing, seriously so I schedule them as a any other job would. I give myself x-number of hours with breaks included. I am an agenda planner queen since high school.


An example of my schedule without insomnia

  • 6am – wake up
  • 6-7am – breakfast
  • 7-8am – check emails/phone calls/social media
  • 8-9am – cleaning/check social media/work begins
  • 9am-12pm – work/chores/answer any incoming emails/calls/social media
  • 12pm-12:30pm –lunch/chores
  • 12:30pm –2:50– handle more chores if any/work
  • 3pm – 3:30pm – finishing up anything that hasn’t been done earlier in the day
  • 3:30pm-4pm – another break/begin dinner arranging/finish up work for day
  • 4pm-5pm – catch up with spouse/check mail/deal with social media again
  • 6-10:30pm – family time

Coffee is happening throughout my day. If I have deadlines, I tend to drink more coffee.

Now if my insomnia has flared up most of the chores, emails, and online things have been handled in the middle of the night. For example, my blogging happens most at night. I have even been known to get a lot of work done in these quiet hours as my family sleeps. Work can consist of anything from writing to graphics and anything in-between.

My advice is balancing what’s important. Schedule time for your writing when you can. I’m not saying you won’t be tired. I’m also not saying that you must follow in my footsteps the way I do things, it’s what works for me and may not work for you. I know may freelancers, like me, work a day job along with freelance. More power to you and you have me in awe. Freelancing is my day job, my night job, and my whenever I have time job.

Tips I recommend:

  1. Loyally keep a calendar or agenda book to write down everything and keep dates organized.
  2. Prioritize what’s have to, need to, and want to do’s.
  3. Stick to your schedule as best you can daily, but don’t restrict yourself so much if emergencies happen you can’t recover when you’re able to return to the schedule.
  4. Set goals. Make a word count or page count, whatever it is you can handle and meet it. Even if it’s as small as just a few sentences or words. Something is better than nothing and it all keeps moving forward.
  5. Don’t be hard on yourself if you drop one of the balls you’re juggling. It happens to everyone. Remember to pick yourself back up and keep juggling along.
  6. Do not burn yourself out. Schedule yourself breaks. Too much time at a computer is bad for you. Take a walk, read a book, or even take a nap.

I’m sure many of you have traveled because you’ve published a book. You must do signings, conventions, and appearances to help push your products to audiences and hopefully gain some new readers at the same time. I have done events in the past, probably more, but the biggest worry I had was how to prepare. What should I have with me? What would I need? How can I make sure I’m as ready as possible.The questions can mount quickly, especially for a someone doing their first event. Here are some tips to help you accomplish an event prep.

Plan Ahead

Before packing I highly recommend making an inventory list of everything that you can mark off as you’re packing. A single convention can take months to prepare for. Buying copies of your book, merch, and everything you’ll need to simply take with you.

Also before you start packing I recommend checking out the hotel’s website. See what they offer you, look closely at the rooms’ pictures on the website to get a good feel for what you may need. I brought my own coffee after finding out the coffee wasn’t very good or strong once.

Know your event’s schedule, what you will have to pay out of pocket for (like parking), and addresses to put into your GPS device.

Be Santa Clause

  • Make a itemized list of everything you’ll be taking, every item of clothing to every tiny piece of merch. You’ll be checking it twice if not three times.

Luggage

  • There’s a saying that the more totes, the bigger the truck, or if there’s a trailer behind a vehicle the bigger the vendor. From what I’ve witness it’s true. The more you have to pack the more you’ll use to haul the luggage and bins around.

Recommended Items to Pack/Don’t Forget

  • Three outfits per day. Some may call this much, but you never know what could happen. Hate to be the person walking around with the breakfast spill on your shirt all day. You’ll need one for event and if you feel like you need to change before dinner it’s best to have something different. Vendors sometimes have dinner together after a day of convention work.
  • Big bins are your best friend.
  • If you’re going to a convention or signing event in another state, the best advice I ever was given was to take no less than 50 of the first in a series with 25 or 30 copies of the rest of the books in the series. 50 copies of every other book you plan on taking with you. You may not sell everything or anything, but the best plan is plan to have more than you need just in case.
  • Take a laptop, its cords, its charger, and anything you need to have that laptop function. Whether its to play a book trailer on it, for someone to shop online for a book you may not have, or for you to use a laptop is key.
  • Bring a power strip. Sometimes you’re only given an outlet near your table, a power strip is the best thing to maximize its usages. Do remember not all places will provide power for your space, but if they do this is a must have.
  • Make sure you have a folding table. Some places will provide a table for you, but most of the time no. Make sure you take your table as a back-up.
  • Remember your ‘swag’ or your merch. Either to sell or to give out.
  • Don’t forget your tablecloth and/or signage. If you have a table cloth to fit the above mentioned table, great! Sometimes you don’t need it, but it’s always to get one. Sometimes the tables, if they supply, are rough and you want to make your spot ideal as possible. Signage is great to tell who you are, what you’re selling, or where they can get freebies! Also a table cloth is real handy in hiding any big blue colorful totes you used to haul your items indoors before the convention or signing began.
  • Bring display cases or book stands! This is option depending on what you want your space to look like. Shelving helps hold many items, especially if you have a lot of things and a small bit of space up front. A table can have books laying down on them, but a stand that’s upright can beautifully showcase your work.
  • Bring your business cards and their holder!
  • Phone and charger.
  • I’ve been told 50-100 petty cash, lock box for your money, a receipt book, and whatever device you need to make online sales through your phone or laptop.
  • Any table decoration you want to liven up your book displays, hold your swag on, and things that draw attention.

It seems like a lot, good because it is. Over time it’ll be routine though. You’ll be alright.


Quick Reminder Tips/Final Advice

What I did before traveling was to pre-pack everything in my tote and bags. This gave me a good idea how much room I was going to need before packing my vehicle. It also allowed me to head out first thing in the morning without worrying. First timers may not have much, I had a single tote once with two suitcases that held my clothing and my important items.

Remember as you’re packing to mark off your itemized inventory list (the thing mentioned earlier before the list here) and don’t get rid of it, pack it too. When you go to pack up to go home you will then have the list of everything you packed and reuse it as a checklist to make sure you pack everything up and nothing is left behind.

My first convention I ended up taking my table, one big blue tote with everything in it, two large bags of clothing (my husband/helper came with me) my laptop, and all my other items. I did an event locally to raise money for a school nearby. Took my tote, table, tablecloth, and all the books and items I had at the time. I also asked other indies to send me some of the swag they give out for free so I could help them spread the word locally.

After the event ended I got some sleep, and then was up again working on a story in the middle of the night ignoring the sounds from the hallway. I was posting on my social media through my laptop since I didn’t have a better phone at the time. As my husband was driving I also caught some more sleep.

Some authors give out candy, I don’t recommend it. I have talked to me that tried this and discovered that people would come up to grab the candy and keep going. It brings people to the table, yes, but not to stay, not to buy, and not to talk for longer than it takes to get themselves a few pieces. I’m sure some would disagree with me on this though.


Worried how to get hold of some of the items mentioned, like swag items? Don’t worry I’ll be doing another post about swag/merch help.

Did this piece help you? Let me know in the comments! I knew this was something I was going to eventually post. I haven’t done many events, but this mainly what I do, advice I’ve been given and practiced, and recommend. Got a piece of advice I forgot?Let me know!

Digital Camera

I am from north east Arkansas. After college and moving around many years I returned to the area. My career was in music and music education. It remains a major interest for me. Science fiction and some fantasy tales held my interests from childhood. I got to view many of the 50’s grade B sci-fi flicks as they first came out. As a teen I enjoyed several of the genre’s short stories.

My writing experience is regarding graduate schools and career needs. My preference is the Chicago Manual style. So, I would certainly urge all aspiring authors to learn the fundamentals of writing/language usage.

Next, writers should expose themselves to the wide variety of styles that exist. I think that, as in my chosen field of music, the more styles you can be versed in the better your chances of success. It hurts nobody to read a poem or two, some old/new style novels and short stories, and folk tales of various cultures. I believe everyone should read some of the Psalms in the Bible. David and Asaph were great in that style and knew how to write expressively.

I told myself the stories I have published several times in my head before I wrote them. Inspiration comes from different places for all of us. I have composed two novels that need revising, of course! The first began with a scene that came to mind while on a long walk during a winter night. Colors and sound often grab my attention. I envisioned a snowy scene of a bright blue flag, the image panned downward to a line of people with a primitive and brassy fanfare sounding. Then I began wondering: who were they, why were they there, where were they, and why? The second book built on the first.

Most places and characters I use are based on who/what I know. My first story, “The Night at Amos James’ Cabin”, is rooted in a family story passed to me by my maternal grandmother.

The second one. “Glork”, reflects my interest in what would happen if alien visitors desired to become Christian. Something would surely go wrong, and it does.

Write so that you show what is happening, rather than just telling it.

Study some history like the events you wish to write about. I can’t imagine writing on warfare without knowing about the World Wars and the Civil War, etc.

Write a lot. Consider it as practice, which everyone needs.

Finally, find an editor you trust, as well as accurate beta readers. Edd Sowder of Burning Willow Press has been such an editor for me, and one of our sons, Ben, is a creative writing graduate and helps when needed. My wife, Cindy, is also a valuable “sounding board”. It is often mentioned to not use family in
such projects, but since mine have the credentials, I do not mind doing so.

Check Out David Online:

Amazon Author Page

I’ve been popping by Twitch here in the last few weeks. I go through fazes. I’m there watching art and gaming and next, I’m gone. I was told there was a new podcast/Twitch channel that focused on being creative, for writers, the industry of writing, and it featured actual authors, publishers, and even you guessed it…writers!Of course, I had to check this out. Here’s a list of reasons why you should be checking it out as well.

  • It’s new. Giving a new podcast or form of media like a Twitch channel is a really good way to connect live with others.
  • It deals with writing and things that go on within the writing/indie/self-pub community. This is great for those that are interested in this field or are currently in it!
  • You can ask questions and get answers! Sometimes we have questions we just can’t find answers for or while watching something we develop questions and want instant information, this provides just that.
  • Features persons from the writing industry. That’s right, not just writers. I’ve already seen publishers. I’m sure I’ll see all reaches of the industry the longer its on.
  • You could be on it or see someone you know! They have openings to be a guest. Find a date that is full? The perks of this and others like it being new or in the beginning is there’s always plenty of options for booking. I couldn’t find one for myself so I’ll have to wait, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see me down the road!

Here’s what they have to say about themselves:
Writer Imperfect will be launched in 2019 as an expansion of the #Author365 hashtag that Joshua Robertson began in 2018 in hopes of shining the spotlight on the vast talent and knowledge of other writers/creatives in the industry. Taking place up to three times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), Joshua will be hosting a live broadcast on Twitch with writers to speak about the craft, the industry, and their own personal journeys. While some shows might have specialized topics, Writer Imperfect will be focusing more on natural conversation and interaction–which may prove to be as imperfect as the name suggests. It might also prove to be rich with content. You will have to tune in to find out!

Click here to go to the Twitch Channel