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

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.

Catchy, no?

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.

Check her out more here:

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Instagram

Interesting Reads and Related Content

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.

Check him out more here:

Website: www.falstaffbooks.com
Website: https://johnhartness.com

Interesting Reads and Related Content

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.

Check him out more here:

Project Entertainment Network: https://projectentertainmentnetwork.com/

Website: http://armandrosamilia.com






Interesting Reads and Related Content

Over the years, I announced different projects. Works in progress that never seemed to come out. Things that readers requested either by pm or by email. Sometimes these requests would come in the form of questions that gave me inspiration such as Whatever happened to Eshu or Will we ever get information about the other past lives of Lilith? Some questions were answered if you knew where to look, for example Eshu from The Blasphemer Series appeared in Chasing Shadows by Kindra Sowder. He also misbehaved from what I was told.

Stories were announced and were written on, but never made it to publication. Sometimes this happens in the writing industry. Now, with that said, I fully planned on publishing many stories. If I hadn’t planned on it, I wouldn’t on some level mentioned or announced them. The Lives of Lilith and more on Maxwell were both written, but I had never finished them. Maxwell’s book was written with Lilith/Adele telling the stories to their youngest family members, so they would learn along with the readers. Martel, the prequel work of The Painting of Martel also got worked on, but I put a pause in it to work on more pressing matters.

I even worked on a more children friendly work, but it never came to light. My feelings on it were that it wasn’t feeling finished when I wrote all the stories for it, so feeling it incomplete I didn’t want to move forward on that project.

The Mephistopheles Chronicles a co-authorship project between me and Kindra Sowder was put on pause as both of us got busy with work projects. It’s a crossover of The Blasphemer Series and her Van Helsing characters. This project is paused, but not permanently as I’m aware, so it remains a work-in-progress between the two of us.

Many stories, upon their writing being finished, felt better in a short story format and were and are being polished to be in a series of releases, by whom I’m not fully sure, now of writing this. I can say, with full confidence, some of them are being cleaned and polished to be included in Little Lunacies. I will cover this fully in an official announcement.

This post was inspired when I began digging through older files. I then realized all of my ‘back-burner stories’ reminded me of a story I read: Fiction by Ryan Lieske. The tagline of that book is ‘Sometimes, a character is so strong, it refuses to be buried’. I highly recommend every reader check this out. All I kept thinking about was all the stories that were not finished, characters that had personalities and lives and how they were ‘living’ without being given life.

With this update I will say, in some fashion or form all that I have worked on will eventually make its way to all of you. I will make an announcement when something from The Unwritten Stories log comes to life, perhaps even a book dedicated just to the unfinished but becoming finished. The sky is open right now for me; I have no limits on my creativity, and I will take advantage of this new spark fully.

Last night, my kid and I were talking about my website and content ideas I’ve been having lately. He then suggested what is now becoming this post. He wanted to send a challenge to all writers. Understanding what a prompt is he decided to go that route for his challenge. Below are three!

  1. Write from the perspective of a tree. Every ring of the tree is a lifetime. Your challenge here isn’t just to write from the perspective of a tree, but to write about each lifetime. Are you a young tree or a very old one? What have you seen while you have been here? What did you see as a seedling until now?
  2. Life of a cat. With some many abandoned animals in the world and so many in need your challenge is to write something dramatic and serious. What can you write about the life of a cat. Where you a street cat that was saved? Were you caught up in medical testing? Where you a posh-living kitty that was abandoned one day?
  3. Write about a fallen angel. This can be first or third person. Why did the angel fall? Was it an epic battle? You don’t necessarily have to have them fall to Hell, but they could’ve fallen to Earth instead. Were they once a guardian angel?

There they are. The challenges to all writers my son has given. Think you’re up for it? Think you can come up with something for his challenge?