Witches, angels, and reincarnation? The series I’ve been publishing the last several years has a wide range of subjects, creatures, and topics discussed and even merely mentioned, but what are the origins? Where did I find inspiration to create the world that became The Blasphemer Series? There will be a new series here on the website covering and diving deep underground into the research that went into my writing of these hauntingly beautiful tales and together we will discover where I kept true to the lore, where I went into my creativity to create something new, and even why I wrote the things the way I did on a deeper more investigative level. Did any of my creative writing predict outcomes in the world? You’d be surprised!
This series will cover the following creatures and lores:
This is a new specialized blog series starting March 12th, 2021.
All proceeds from this book sale will go to the charity group Feed the Movement, a Charlotte, NC based “small group of individuals based in Charlotte who provide hot meals, snacks, and drinks to all our people fighting for justice.” You can find them on Facebook at Feed the Movement CLT if you want to learn more about them.
Echoes drift not just backwards, but forwards as well.
Following the funeral of her husband, Yvonne takes a walk as she reflects on her life, her decisions, her joys and sorrows, and her legacy. Like echoes across the water, each step causes a ripple, moving forward and back but always changing, and diminishing.
Rosa Marchisella 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 Insanityseries, 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 Insanityseries. 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.
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 herMagister’s Bane series. It’s really good.
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.
I’ve credited this author in the past with helping me along my own career. Teaching me things that I should’ve known, but wasn’t aware. For example, until she got a hold of my own book, Maxwell Demon, I had no idea I was writing in the horror genre because the things I was writing didn’t scare me. Silly, I know. She gave me one of my earliest attempts of podcasting when I was a fresh-face.
Beyond all that she has helped me learn along the way she is a great writer and editor. She is usually a busy person, but she gave me some of her time and I got some answers to some things I had been wondering over the years.
For those that may not be familiar with you or your work, what can you tell us about yourself?
I’m the author of Heart Song and the Nepherium Novella Series and founder of Sunshine Editing.
You have been a part of the writing business for a long time now, how did that begin for you?
A very long time ago. I’ve always been fascinated with writing, but never really took it seriously until I was an adult and had children of my own, though I don’t write children’s books. Still, writing, in essence, has always been apart of me. Whether it’s poetry, songwriting, fan fic, or just my own imaginative musings, it’s engrained in my soul.
Is there anything about the business that gets you excited? Perhaps the convention going or meeting new people? Maybe just writing the story?
Always the new idea, first. That’s the most exciting of all. Then, the writing. That’s the delicious part. Finally, publishing. There’s just something about freeing my stories into the world for others to enjoy that gets my heart pumping a little harder.
I am always interested in how fellow parents manage work and family, what is the balancing act like for you? How do you find the time?
What balancing act? I don’t know of this. Please tell me more…
Seriously though, I have what about two to three hours in the very early morning I keep to myself for just writing. Lately, with all the virus stuff going around, that’s been a bit difficult, plus I wanted to revamp my brand and my business, so I took a little break off writing to get that finished. But mostly, the first few hours in the morning is what I use for the writing part. Once the kids are up, the show is over for the most part.
Being a mom of special needs kiddos, even older ones, still comes with its fair share of challenges, and one of them is being needed for EVERYTHING. I’m trying to teach them to be somewhat autonomous, but it has yet to really stick. For example, just responding to this interview, I have been interrupted THREE times. But it’s not always bad.
I just invested in desktop so that while the kids are working on their schoolwork (my youngest has to use my laptop), I can still get some work done and maximize the time I have available. Sometimes, that means I get a few extra hours to work, and so long as I have YouTube (I don’t get the obsession with Minecraft vids) or the Xbox running for them after their school stuff is done, I am at peace and can work.
Essentially, at the end of it all, it’s taking every moment I can and using it to my full advantage. It doesn’t always work the way I hope, but that’s okay. Flexibility is the key here. And always knowing I can come back when they are watching a show or playing a game helps as well.
Every author has their favorite program or must-have for their desk to help them either organize or just get in ‘the zone’. Do you have anything like that?
Yes, and no. It really depends on the mood. Here lately, I’ve been more productive with the peace of the mornings. But sometimes, I play either a favorite music list of Pandora or Spotify. Sometimes, I even have my favorite game playing in the background. GuildWars2 has incredible music, btw.
Coffee is definitely a must. I can’t do anything without it.
I’ve recently been using outlines to keep my stories on track and avoid the numerous rewrites to fill in plot holes that I used to do. So far so good. The program I use is Plottr, and once it’s finished on there, I import it to Word and copy and paste into my document for writing on a chapter by chapter basis. A lot of steps for sure, but it’s something that I recently learned really works for me.
I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head, even though I know there is more.
Have you ever resuscitated a project you had shelved? What helped it work better the second time around?
I’m glad you asked! Yes! I had a story called Dark Ones, and it had it’s own cover and had spent over 1 grand having it edited only to realize that the story was just NOT right. So, I shelved it and had recently come back to it. I outlined (using the program I mentioned before) and fixed any issues within the original story and now it’s a lot better than it was. Maybe not perfect, just yet. But so much better. I’m loving it even more! It’s even got a brand new title: Darkness Rising.
Are you writing anything new? Can you tell us about it?
Just Darkness Rising! Since my accident, I can’t focus enough to work on multiple projects anymore. So, that’s it. I can’t share an excerpt just yet, but I can tell you a little about it!
The story centers around Georgianna Peterson who knows demons exist, but no one believes her. On Halloween, she’s attacked by another demon and saved by her best friend and the handsome asshole, Detective Elijah Delapsus. From there, she’s thrust into a world of daemons, magical worlds, and uncovering a secret that changes everything, including discovering what she truly is.
In the indie-world there is a struggle for many on what marketing strategy works best with the conclusion being it differs from author to author. What has worked best for you?
I’ll let you know when I find out. So far, being organic has shown much more interest and progression than mass, spammy posts that I was taught by a fellow author and had lived by for years with little to no result. I think being truly connected and showing that I’m a real person is what the readers really crave.
When not writing and editing for authors is there anything you enjoy doing when you have downtime?
Playing video games like GuildWars2, Skyrim, and Fallout, or watching shows like The Blacklist, Little Big Lies, and Vikings. I love doing my own nails and experimenting with new designs and taking long bubble baths. Showing myself just a little bit of that attention keeps me focused and centered.
John Hartness is an award-winning author and publisher. As a brilliant and hard-working man I was surprised that he found the time to indulge my questions, but he did! This Fallstaff Books publisher has not only answered my questions, but gave me an inner look into his company and his life with every question he has answered for me. Known for his comedy horror books Bubba the Monster Hunter works and the Quincy Harker books his talents have brought him hardcore readerships and fans, even including well-known names.
I first learned of you as an author, but quickly learn thereafter you are the publisher at Falstaff. What came first for you? Where you an author first or a publisher that then continued as a writer?
I started out writing. I published my first novel, The Chosen, in 2009, followed by Hard Day’s Knight later that year. I self-published and worked with an indie press, Bell Bridge Books, until 2016, when I founded Falstaff Books. I still publish The Black Knight Chronicles through Bell Bridge, Tantor Audio publishes the audiobooks of several of my titles, and the rest come out currently through Falstaff. So I still write, something in the neighborhood of 3-4 novels and 4-6 novellas each year.
A shift is beginning within the indie world of more virtual attendance and appearances due to social distancing, how has it affected you? What are you doing different now, work wise, to keep moving forward?
At Falstaff, we typically appear at over twenty conventions in a year, so losing the entire spring and summer so far has been a big blow to our business. We’ve lost six conventions so far, and I expect more to follow. So I’ve shifted a lot of our focus to YouTube, creating author interview shows, doing video and audio readings, and as much other content as we can generate. I feel like YouTube and video is a largely unexplored space for authors, and the people who can plant their flag there first will have a marked advantage.
You have written so many things as a novelist and promoted so many of your Falstaff authors’ work, do you have anything new coming out? Any new work coming out of Falstaff?
I pretty much always have something new coming out. I released Snatched: Grandma Annie and the Cooter of Doom, a comedy horror parody novella on May 1. I’ll be releasing a new Bubba the Monster Hunter novella later in May. I have a new Black Knight Chronicles novel coming later this year, and there will be a new Quincy Harker novel coming in July.
As for Falstaff, we have new releases pretty much every week, if not multiple releases in a week. So people should pop over to our website at www.falstaffbooks.com and sign up for our newsletter to get notifications of all our new releases. Or they can join our Facebook Group, The Misfit Toys of Fiction.
One of the first things visitors can see when they go to your website is a really interesting quote; “Quincy Harker – demon killer, monster hunter & kin to Dracula. Yeah, this is who I want protecting the world! I love these books.” Whoopi Goldberg Academy Award Winner. I remember when you spoke about that happening on social media. How has life been after such a large endorsement? Has it changed at all?
It sells a few books when people see Whoopi’s name on the cover, and it makes for a great conversation starter, but nothing huge like a Netflix deal or anything. It’s very gratifying and surreal when someone like Whoopi, who I’ve grown up watching on stage and screen, reaches out to you out of the blue and endorses your work. That was a really cool moment.
On your blog you did something I have not seen done very much; you shared many chapters from a story entitled Raptor. What inspired you to share so much? What can you tell us about this story?
Raptor was a divergence from the norm for me. It is a military sci-fi novel, near-future, and the tone and style are pretty different from what I usually do. So I knew the book was a risk. So I put parts of it up on my blog to keep me accountable for continuing the book. Plus, I knew I wasn’t going to try to shop it around to other presses, and since I own the publishing company, I don’t have to worry about my publisher getting pissy about me sharing too much.
From YouTube to publishing and so much in between how did you get started? What was that moment like for you when you realized you were about to be published novelist?
I wrote my first novel just to see if I could write a novel, honestly. I’d been writing feature articles for websites for several years, and blogging, and I wanted to experiment with long-form storytelling. So I wrote a book. Then I put it in a drawer for about a year, and I studied the process of getting a book published. I still made plenty of mistakes, but since I self-published that book, there wasn’t really that moment of “I did it!” Now, when I sold The Black Knight Chronicles to Bell Bridge, that was pretty awesome. It was a vindication of the several years of hard work I’d put in up to that point, that someone saw something in me and my work that was worth the investment of time and effort.
Many writers are also heavy readers, when they have free time, to help them develop range and stay active with literature, is that something you do as well?
Of course. I read all the time. I joke that whatever I’m currently reading is “what’s on submission,” but that’s not true. I read all the time. I’m not as voracious as some folks, but I usually go through about a book every week. Writers who tell me they don’t read worry me. I don’t believe you can stay abreast of current trends and styles if you don’t read, and read current literature. How would you know that prologues are out of favor in urban fantasy right now if you don’t read urban fantasy? How would you know that head-hopping POVs is out of favor in high fantasy right now if the only high fantasy you read is 30+ years old? You have to read to stay current, and to stay creative.
One last question, a literary pilgrimage, ever thought of doing one?
No, it’s never occurred to me. I like to go places, but there’s no place that my books make me want to go, or that I feel like I need to go because Shakespeare wrote there, or because Anne Rice lived there. That’s cool if people get inspiration from trips like that, rock on. Take inspiration anywhere you can find it. Just not my thing personally.
The Interviewer is a mysterious figure that has contact with the characters of The Blasphemer Series and thus interviews them time to time. In this interview you will see them interacting with Imogene, a female character from book two Harvest. Imogene is a gifted Seer of the Present.
This particular interview happened before tragic events that unfolded in The Blasphemer Series. To understand better it is recommended you read The Blasphemer Series: Harvest.
The Interviewer: When you’re introduced into the book you’re struggling with withdrawals, do you wish you’d been introduced in a different way?
Imogene: It’s how the story went. I can’t change it or how I was living my life at the time. You’d try and find an escape too if you have my curse they call a gift.
The Interviewer: Can you share with us something we may not know about you?
Imogene: I liked cheesecake and coffee.
The Interviewer: Is there anything that upset you about the book?
Imogene: It seems I was almost forgotten except for Margot and Isiah. I miss him.
The Interviewer: Will we see you in future books?
Imogene: Perhaps. Not all of the stories have been told yet. It’s up to the author to discover a way to bring me back into the fold. I’m not sure how I would or my purpose. It’s not like I had much of one in the first place.
The Interviewer: Well that’s just not true. A lot of people like you. They wanted to know about you, your relationship with Isiah, and some even asked the author to do a book of just you. As a side-story type of thing.
Imogene: Interesting. It’d be interesting to see what the author would have to say about me in a side-story book. What would that even be called? A companion novel?
The Interviewer: Yes, that’s what those books would be called. So, Imogene, we know what happens near the end of the book. So is there something you wish all the readers knew that perhaps got left out of the story?
Imogene: There is something, but I’m not sure how well it would’ve done. You see the writer writes in a certain style that may leave out things. If the main character can’t witness it then sometimes it doesn’t make it in. It’s a mix of third-person narration and first-person. I’ve personally never seen a book written like it. I wish she would’ve left how I fought hard. How even when ingested I was kicking, screaming, and fighting.
The Interviewer: Do you feel you were given no justice?
Imogene: In some ways yes and in some ways no. I don’t want to really go into it. There’s nothing that can be done now.
The Interviewer: Since you’re on the other side is there any knowledge you can give us that those still living may not know?
Imogene: There’s a spy among them, but he’ll get his. He’ll flip and ultimately help them.
The Interviewer: Will you say who?
Imogene: I’m not allowed to.
The Interviewer: Is there anything you’d like to say to the remaining Seers, Briar and Dante?
Imogene: Dante’s going to be just fine. I am not allowed to say too much, but without him the world would truly fall apart. Briar is in good hands even though she doesn’t realize it, being possessed by anyone else would destroy her.
The Interviewer: Is there anything you’d like to say to readers or potential readers?
Imogene: I’m gone, I pass in this book. That’s no secret, but what many don’t know is I can now live on because of them. The author’s a bit weird, but she has done good by me by telling my story. If you read it I can live on in your memory and thoughts. I do hope you’ll read it. Please read.
The Interviewer: Is there anything you wish to say perhaps to Margot or Isiah if they read this interview?
Imogene: I am sorry Margot. I did love you and still do. You didn’t have to take me in and you did. You were a mother to me and I never appreciated you. To Isiah, I guess I’d say, I miss and love you.
Margot has gotten to read the interview and it helped her with her mourning. Isiah was too busy to read it. Read The Blasphemer Series: Harvest when it re-releases to understand all of this better.
The Interviewer is a mysterious figure that has contact with the characters of The Blasphemer Series and thus interviews them time to time. In this interview you will see them interacting with Maxwell, a the main male character of the book Maxwell Demon from The Blasphemer Series.
This particular interview has a history that it happened to be ‘found’ in the ‘archives’ from The Alexandrian vaults. It takes place after the first book published. No-one knows where it came from or who The Interviewer is.
The Interviewer: How do you feel about your story being chronicled for mass readers to get a hold of and read?
Maxwell: I think the story must be told. It’s an important endeavor to open your mind to a new possibly.
The Interviewer: What do you think of L. Bachman being the one to write your story and the stories of others?
Maxwell: She’s alright, she’s good people. I like her tattoos.
The Interviewer: Whatever happened to Eshu?
Maxwell: :chuckles: Gabriel took care of him about as much as someone like Eshu could be taken care of. You must understand Eshu is a guardian and a very powerful spiritual being. He learned his lesson, which is all I can say about that.
The Interviewer: What’s your biggest regret?
Maxwell: In the book, it’s listed as never getting to Lilith in time, but truth be it there is a bigger regret that I have and that is defying The Mother and The Father.
The Interviewer: You witnessed reincarnation first hand with following Lilith through her many lives, what were the best life and the worse that you saw her go through?
Maxwell: The worse life she lived I witnessed for a brief period was that of her as a child. You must think of things in the time frame of which they happened. At one time in history to be red haired was thought of as a bad thing, a sign of a witch. We all know that Witches come in all shapes, colors, backgrounds, and countries, but in this particular life she had been hidden away for a very long time. Her hair had been sooted and changed colors with dyes of the time. In the end, she had been murdered by a mob worried she was going to bring bad upon the land.
The best life she lived I can remember was that of peace. She was in Scotland living on the outskirts. Her hovel overlooked a valley and a river. It was quiet and peaceful. Sadly, like most of her lives she had either been killed or died tragically in ways I couldn’t do anything about. In this one, she had gotten sick and died. I couldn’t heal her. When she saw me for the smallest of moments I could swear she recognized me, but by the time I had gotten to her she had been sick for a very long time. I still don’t know what she died of.
The Interviewer: We only get a taste of a few of her lives, can you elaborate on others? Why is it so hard for you to find her? The compass worked in the published account why not just do that earlier?
Maxwell: She had been a male in several lives, a warrior or soldier that led to her death in those lives. She had been just about anything you could be, must remember she had been around a very…very long time. A monk, a cult leader, a housewife, and even a school teacher are a few that are coming to mind. She’s been every color variation, a wide range of ages in her lives, and involved in most religions.
I simply hadn’t thought about making a compass, the idea never came to mind until later years after struggling for many lifetimes of never finding her. I had my own struggles as well giving me problems and diverting me. Goodwitch Anya also found out about me and contacted me. Things went smoother after that.
The Interviewer: Have you spent more time on Earth since the book has been released?
Maxwell: I have no comment.
The Interviewer: Your Enochian tattoos, how do they work? I’ve read that some, that got early copies of the story, wished they had a compass like yours.
Maxwell: :chuckles: Yes, I can see how a compass would work for many. Simply having something right there literally on your hand pointing you to whomever or whatever you need. I can’t begin reveal the magic of my etchings, I got in trouble once before for sharing too much knowledge with mankind.
The Interviewer: Is there anything you wish could’ve left into the story that was taken out?
Maxwell: The story written was specific, it was to launch a series that would talk and discuss many other lives and others stories. This one was specific to me finding Lilith, but I have plenty of stories. Perhaps she’ll write them down as well in a book for others. I have dealt with Raphaim, Canaanites, and have stories upon stories I’d love to share.
The Interviewer: What do you see happening with The Blasphemer Series?
Maxwell: There is a great evil coming. There are many stories to tell.
In the world of independent publishing, self, and hybrid we know of a great deal of authors that are considered ‘success stories’. They’re the ‘bigwigs’, but what they all are is very hardworking writers that haven’t stopped since they began. They’re the group that are making a living, successfully, as writers in the industry. One of these very inspirational people is named Armand Rosamilia.
This writer, for as long as I have known of him, hasn’t paused. Working hard online and offline continuing his career. Over these years he’s interviewed me many times, inviting me to show up regularly every year since I first heard of him. He’s captured powerful moments in my career. With all that he’s done not once had I gotten to interview him in return and that’s how this interview began.
Armand, you’ve interviewed me so many times I’m thrilled you’re letting me interview you this time. From what I know, you’re a bigwig in the indie world for your zombie fiction. How did that come about? Why zombies?
Bigwig? You’re going to make me blush. Writing about zombies started as me wanting to write a zombie story, just one story, and then move on to something else in horror. I wanted to write a lot of different things horror-related. I ended up writing a short story with a female lead, Darlene Bobich. Figured I was done. Then a publisher posted they were looking for an extreme zombie novella. The idea for Highway To Hell was born, and that eventually lead into the Dying Days series (with Darlene Bobich as the lead). It’s been nearly ten years, nine main books and just as many side books in the Dying Days world… and it really put me on the map for zombie fiction.
Are you working on anything new? Future plans?
Always working on something new. I have 14 open projects on my whiteboard right now. Crime thrillers. Horror. Contemporary fiction. Noir crime fiction. Nonfiction. All in various stages and many with deadlines I need to get to, so I can add more to the list.
What inspires you when you want to write? Is there anything specific that helps the words flow?
Yes. Fear. Fear of having to go back into retail management, which I did for over twenty years and hated every second of. I’m blessed to be going on my eighth year of writing full-time and making a living at this, but I haven’t gotten comfortable enough to not look over my shoulder at what could’ve been my life.
What’s difficult for you when it comes to writing?
Some days finding the time to actually write. There is so much promotion and learning about selling books and the business changes so frequently. I feel I have to keep up. I also have two podcasts and own the group they’re on, so that is a full-time job in itself. The writing itself is the easy part.
You’ve been podcasting for a long time, how did you get into that?
I was on AM and then FM radio for a couple of years. I saw the writing on the wall. People were listening to more podcasts. I felt I had more control over content and what I could do. I started Arm Cast Podcast in 2014 and have over 300 episodes so far. I interview cool authors (such as yourself!) and get to pick their brains. I’ve also been co-hosting The Mando Method Podcast with Chuck Buda for four years. We talk about writing and publishing.
What do you like most about podcasting and interviewing other people?
Selfishly, it’s all about me. I want to know the author’s tricks. How they deal with the changes in publishing. Who they like working with and who I should steer away from. I can also see where I stand in the specific genres by whether or not I have read them or whoever they are reading. It keeps me honest in that I have to stay on my game.
Most writers declare they cannot begin work without a cup of coffee, but for you what is it? What fuels your work machine? Any habits you’d like to share? Mediation, perhaps?
Umm… coffee. Lots and lots of coffee, in fact. I am a huge fan of three kinds: Dunkin’, Death Wish and Reapers Brew. I figured out I drink over 1,400 cups a year. Why did I figure this out? Because I had a nice burst of high-octane coffee in my system. It helps me to keep going and focus.
Your wife and you have a wonderful dynamic duo of creativity, how do you separate work and home life?
When work is over we might talk a bit about our jobs but it’s usually during dinner or dinner prep. We then don’t dwell on it, especially if either of us has had a bad day. With the quarantine, she’s now working from home. She’s set up in the bedroom and I have my office. We meet in the kitchen for lunch every day and catch up on what’s going on at work, and about six each night we stop working and spend the evening together without work stuff. She is my biggest supporter. She handles the money, the contracts and keeps me in line when I spend too much time doing non-writing things.
When you were younger did you want to become a writer or did this develop later on?
When I was twelve I started reading Dean Koontz. That was it for me. I wanted to become a writer and never looked back, although it took another thirty years for me to make enough to do this for a living. I’d love to someday meet Mr. Koontz, shake his hand and tell him what an inspiration he was to me and still is.
I really could ask you a million questions, but I’ll ask a very common interview question, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Read. A lot. Not just in your genre, either. You can learn from reading in other genres, especially nonfiction. Watch the sentence structure. Characterization. All of it. I am not a fan of romance but when my wife watches Hallmark movies I follow along to see the beats in the story. I drive her nuts when I announce ‘end of act one’ or something like that. I can appreciate the writing in any genre and try to incorporate it into the way I look at writing and my work. If I only read horror books my work would suffer.
My name is Katie, and I’ve been an author
my entire adult life. I published my first novel in 2006 with a large
mainstream publisher. In 2009 my second came out with another. Five more
followed, and everything seemed set.
But by 2015, everything had changed. eBooks had been a thing for some time, and book sales were down across the board – even for bestsellers. The big publishing companies had chosen to invest heavily in the eBook market, a move which did not pay off as well as they likely hoped it would, as many readers decided the format did not suit them and for some “electronic books” appeared to have been nothing but a passing fad. On top of that Amazon had cornered the eBook market and few other platforms survived for long. By now hemorrhaging money, the “Big Five” stopped renewing contracts with many of their mid-level authors and many editors and other publishing professionals lost their jobs.
I was one of the many people to lose out.
In 2015 both of my publishers told me they weren’t going to publish the next
installment in the series I had begun in 2009. I was effectively out on the
street with a half-published series, fans asking when the next book would be
out and an agent shrugging helplessly as every other mainstream possibility
turned us down on the grounds that they did not want to pick up a series
halfway through (or in one case, went into receivership before they’d even read
I had no idea what to do, so I turned to my
friends. Their advice – go indie.
There has long been something of a class
system in the publishing world, which to my regret I must confess I once
ascribed to myself. “Real” authors got their books out through big shiny
corporate publishing companies and that’s it. Self-publishing was for
untalented losers who couldn’t take no for an answer. Indie publishing was for
cults and conspiracy theorists. Certainly, when I became an indie author
several people I had thought were friends suddenly began acting as if I didn’t
exist, or began making passive-aggressive remarks about my “failed” career.
But the landscape has changed and is still changing. If those stereotypes were ever so they no longer are. I entered the independent publishing world hopelessly naïve and unsure of what I was getting into, and as it is in any business I learned a few painful lessons along the way. What I found was a world where many others are still finding their feet, but were, for the most part, everything was less impersonal, and there was far more creative freedom. The companies I’ve begun working with are not owned by faceless bean counters, but by other artists, for artists. There’s less money invested, of course, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. Too much money on the line makes any company overly conservative and averse to taking risks, which is why so much mainstream fiction tends to be rather samey – blockbuster movies even more so. Diversity is encouraged and there is far less preferential treatment shown toward white male authors, which was an issue I had to deal with many times as a mainstream author. The experience is more collaborative, and as the author, you feel less like a supplicant and more like a partner.
Some people are now declaring that
independent publishing is the way of the future, and perhaps it is. Time, as
always, will tell. I for one am
I began planning out some things to do in 2020 in October, a month of Preptober for Nanowrimo started a fire of prepping for the coming year very early. I discovered quickly that I spend a lot of time writing ideas, scribbling thoughts, and questioning everything and nothing all at once (a thank you from my anxiety riddled mind).
I knew I’d never be able to plan an entire year of blogging, but I broke things down month by month. Doing this pre-planning I wanted to revisit ideas I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure if I could manage. In 2019, I did some mini-events for poetry and book recommendations. The poetry one seemed to draw a little to no attention, so it ended early. One thing I never got to was book reviews.
Enter stage left, my personal challenge of book reviewing. I decided in 2020 to post, weekly, a book or story review. I’ve read many books in my time. I slowed down, but then eventually found myself back at it at a slower pace. I carved time out to enjoy reading again over the past year. I wrote 53, the amount of weeks in 2020, titles I wanted to cover. Many are books or stories I’ve read, some are newer reads I’ve devoured.
The one thing about reviews I’ve noticed about myself is if I don’t like something or downright hate something I won’t finish it and won’t leave a review somewhere for it. I won’t want to give attention toward anything negative nor will I move forward doing just that. So, these reviews are things I finished, liked, and wanted to share.