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

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

I read this book for the first time in the fifth grade as part of a project on the author Mary Shelley. I admit, back then I really didn’t want to do anyone else. I had never read her work but heard of her and her work in classes. I never knew that this author would become one of my favorites as I grew up. To this day, she along with Poe, Lovecraft, and Rice have become beloved writers to me.

This book, specifically, took me into a world of darkness that I could relate. The character of the monster spoke to me. He was an outsider, and I often felt that way. Misunderstood, the monster, and never accepted. These were all things I could relate to as a young girl new to the area and from a different part of the country. It taught me that ‘the monster’ wasn’t a monster, the true monster was how we treat people different from ourselves. It’s a life lesson I’ve always carried with me and seen, sadly, repeated. The true monster is how cruel people can be and how judgmental people can be.

Shelley’s words were dark and romantic and this style, over time, became one style I favored and cherished most in a book. I love words, the romantic way they can flow; perhaps I can consider her one of my earliest influences on molding me into a writer.

Not wanting to be a book snob here, but there has never been a movie or television version that has captured me the same way as this book has. If you only know this book because of a movie I highly recommend reading the book. Sometimes, I admit, a movie or show can give a book justice, but I have not come across one on this title.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

Many people struggle with writing, I get it sometime it gets hard, but never give up! Here is a list on how to improve your storytelling! These are tips I have shared for years to help everyone wanting to write stories or even improve their literary role-playing and storytelling. It’s time to bust out your thesaurus or your online dictionaries for what they were meant for!


5. Research

The saying goes: write what you know. I agree fully, but what about everyone else that love writing new things, things they may not know? To that I say: write what you know because research will teach you. If you’re unsure of something fully exhaust yourself researching about a subject. Of course, go fully legal in your research and harm no one.

4. Comparing

The best way for a writer to explain something is to compare it to something more familiar. Recently, I wrote a short story and inside of it I described a UFO as a ‘silver donut’ Seems very simple, but you now know exactly what I’m talking about right.

It’s good to be descriptive, but sometimes simple gets the job done. If you’re writing descriptively enough throughout the story comparing something unfamiliar to something that is recognizable is a great way for the reader to see in their mind what you’re trying to convey.

3. Know Your Characters/World

The best way to write a character or world is to fully flush them out. It may be tedious, but it can help very much during writing. This is also where the jokes authors make of ‘my character wouldn’t let me’ or ‘they told me how they felt’ come in. It’s from, I hope, them flushing out personalities, histories, and all of that before hand.

Ask yourself questions and answer them. Who is this man or woman? Did they overcome what they went through? Did it damage them in anyway? This is also good for world building.

Fully flush out everything, enough of everything at least. I’ve met writers that have gone above and beyond creating interesting worlds and some that have done enough.

2. Pull From Your Own Emotions

This seems easy enough, but sometimes isn’t utilized properly. I have become well known for my ’emotionally driven writing style’ and the secret is this. If I’m writing something more horrific than what I’ve been through I use how I felt to write what it is and try and add upon it.

For example: I’ve never been possessed, but I’ve written about it (Human Ouija, The Blasphemer Series: Harvest, and The Painting of Martel depict different styles of possession). I imagine the worse possible feelings I’ve gone through, wrote them, and then thought more about the character’s situation. Feeling invaded, feeling overwhelmed, and perhaps confused.

1. Remember Your Five Aristotelian Senses

The key to really pulling someone into your story and improving your own writing is remembering the 5 ‘traditional’ senses (also known as the Five Aristotelian Senses). These are touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell.

Ask yourself questions.

Touch/Feeling – Is it cold? How does this character feel about that? Can they feel the warmth of their coat or perhaps they feel the chill because they’re not properly dressed. Perhaps your character has picked up something, how did that object feel. You can even describe simply if it was heavy or lighter than expected.

Tasting – Is the food salty or sweet? Did that cause them to moan enjoying the flavor? Say they were hit in the mouth, what did the taste of the blood against the taste buds of their tongue taste like? Perhaps they expected something to taste delicious because it appeared that way, but sadly it was disgusting. You can describe the disgusting flavors, why it was disgusting to that character. How did the food look before they tasted it?

Hearing – If the scene is ‘quiet’ can the character hear the buzzing of the air against their eardrums? Perhaps they do and it’s interrupted by a sudden noise. How did they react to it? Was it a familiar sound of another character coming home or a stranger breaking in? Did they hear glass shattering of a window or a door’s wood breaking when it was kicked in?

Seeing – So much of the story can be based on what is seen or describing a scene in such a way the reader can see it too. Things can be bright, blinding bright, or dark and dim. It is, for me, one of the first descriptors as it puts color to the moment.

Smelling – Smell is said to be the strongest of our senses linked to memories. They can take us to our grandmother’s house because she baked a lot or even to a sad memory of losing someone. For example: After a funeral many bring food to the family that has lost someone. Perhaps in this situation your character cannot stand the smell of pies because they remember losing their mother.

There are all kinds of scents. Sweet, nasty, or something that reminds me of our favorite memories. Apply those to your writing. Did the apple smell delicious or has it rot? You can even mix smelling with feeling and go the route of the air smelt clean and cold. You see? Mixing the senses creates a dynamic surrounding for your character and will add to the world they’re in.

You can even go into how the smell made your character feel. Did the burger joint’s smells make your character hungry or sick because it was overpowering? Use this!

There are more senses, you can learn about them here and here. I recommend this as it can help even further!


YOUR TURN

What did you think? Did this help? Have anything to add to the list above? Do you want me to do more examples? Perhaps show these tips in action?

The Official description is: Women in Horror Month (WiHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. (This is taken from the official website.)

My understanding of it is:  Women in Horror Month is a month-long celebration that occurs every February. It celebrates women in all areas of horror. Why? Well, many have different thoughts but from my understanding, from the writer’s aspect of it, it’s to celebrate women that love horror and create it. Many believe that again from my understanding, that women ‘just can’t write horror very well’, but I believe that to be such an outdated and misogynist outlook on writing and other creative avenues in this day and age.
There are many that love horror and want to celebrate. Whether talking about their loves of the genre or sharing someone they love that creates in it whether officially jumping on the bandwagon or unofficially. Official? Unofficial? What does that mean? Well, there is an actual website that talks way more about all of this, more than I could post here.

A bit more personal: I personally have grown to love this genre. I began my writing career not realizing I was writing horror. My mindset was, it wasn’t scaring me so this isn’t horror but turns out through talking with other authors/writers, it was horror/thriller in many ways. Now, I don’t just write horror, but I’ve come to accept that my art and my writing can fall into this area more often times than not.
My mindset was, it wasn’t scaring me so this isn’t horror, but turns out through talking with other authors/writers, it was horror/thriller in many ways. Now, I don’t just write horror, but I’ve come to accept that my art and my writing can fall into this area more often times than not.

The Women in Horror Month Website

It is great. It even links to events, meetups, and all the ways to find a horror creator that is a woman or men celebrating the women! Ain’t that great? I was invited many years ago to take part in this and in some shape or form, I have done just that.
This year marks the tenth year of celebrating! Go to the link above and find out how much is going on and perhaps find something to get involved in…I highly recommend it.