Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 3, 2019

The months continue to march forward. Seems like it wasn’t long ago we were looking forward to summer, yet now we’re in November. Gone are the long hours of daylight as the sun rises earlier and sets sooner each day.

A couple of days ago, we watched a gray squirrel taking care of its winter food requirements, running back and forth with hazel nuts, which had fallen to the ground. Meanwhile, the local hedgehogs continue to fatten themselves up for their winter nap.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 3rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Lucan, Latin poet (Bellum Civile); Renatus Rapinus [René Rapin], French Jesuit theologian and poet (Hortorum libri IV); August Gottlieb Meißner, German Enlightenment author who helped develop the detective story genre in German literature; William Cullen Bryant, American poet (Thanatopsis); John Esten Cooke, American novelist (The Virginia Comedians) and Confederate States Army; Apie [Adrian P] Prince, Dutch author (Me Own Way); Samuil Marshak, Russian-Soviet writer, translator and children’s poem poet; Nat Fleischer, American boxing writer (established Ring Magazine); André Malraux [Berger], French novelist and art historian (La Condition Humaine); James Reston, American journalist (New York Times); Hallgrímur Helgason, Icelandic novelist (Höfundur Íslands); Jesús Blasco, Spanish comic book author (Cuto); Dieter Wellershoff, German author (Minotaur); Anna Wintour, English-American editor (Editor of US Vogue); Joe Queenan, American writer; Massimo Mongai, Italian writer; Felix R de Rooy, Curacaos poet/sculptor; and Hal Hartley, American film director and writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know anyone in today’s group. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

With the change in the weather, outdoor activities are coming to a halt, so I had more time to devote to writing. Over the past week, I completed chapters thirty-six through thirty-eight. The action continues to accelerate as we head toward the story’s climax. Another tweak to my outline was also needed as the story heads towards its conclusion. 1541181671

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 494, an increase of thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

The twenty-two-year-old twins performed a celebratory dance while seated, arms above their heads.

“Now I realize why I don’t invite you to meetings with Lintstone,” AJ smiled at the twins’ antics. “Anything else?”

“No, boss lady,” the twins sang as they left AJ’s office, followed by Phil and Walter.

“What a team.” Javier shook his head as he laughed.

“Their shenanigans can be a bit much at times, but they always come through with relevant information.” AJ glanced at the clock and stood. “We better head for our meeting.”

A few moments later, AJ knocked on Lintstone’s door before entering.

Feet propped on the edge of his desk, a phone pressed to an ear, he motioned them toward chairs while he completed the call.

“Fill me in.”

AJ nodded. “We’ve confirmed the sea route of an Liberian-flagged container ship called Barwal, the same freighter shown in the imagery you provided earlier. After leaving Haiti, it’s scheduled to drop four containers in Colon and six in Turbo. According to the manifests, the cargo is machine parts.”

Lintstone laughed. “The terrorists haven’t realized we’ve caught on to their euphemism for weapons. So what’s your plan?”

“The colonel and I are flying to Haiti tomorrow. We’ve made arrangements to meet with the station chief, so we don’t disrupt any of his operations. We hope to board the ship, plant trackers on the containers in question, and follow them to their destination.”

AJ paused. “We might require additional assistance to track them.”

“Four additional people. Either from the colonel’s group or some of your friends.”

“Perfect, boss. We’ll set up the usual contact arrangements. Anything else?”

“AJ, this is an off-the-books recon mission, nothing more—no kidnapping, no killing.” Lintstone ground his teeth. “Am I clear? These countries are our friends.”

“Yes, boss.” Like I go around killing everyone. Although I can think of a couple of people the world could do without.

“Your mission is sanctioned.” He waved a hand in dismissal.

After they left the office, Javier turned to AJ. “What did he mean about no killing or kidnapping?”

“Well, sometimes shit happens. I grabbed a person or two in the past and tapped some others.” She shrugged. “No problemo—they got what they deserved.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Genevieve, Blair Howard’s latest story in the Lt. Kate Gazarra series, will have you on the edge of your seat as the plot unfolds. Far from being a simple murder case, the situation is exacerbated by Genevieve having married into one of the area’s most influential business families, who want to keep their secrets from prying eyes.

As always, we catch a glimpse of the Kate behind the badge. One who enjoys a glass of wine, tries to keep physically fit, and seems to survive on good coffee. The comparison between the private and professional Kate makes her more realistic as she leads her small team through the morass surrounding Genevieve’s murder.

I don’t like to spoil the ending of any story, so you’ll have to grab a copy to finds out what happens. Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed with the results. I can’t wait for the next installment!

I also finished Deadly Secrets, the first in the Lambeth Group Series by Gordon Bickerstaff, is a well-written story which will keep action-adventure aficionados. He’s created an intricate plot, which if successful, could potentially doom countless numbers of people to death as they unknowingly ingest harmful protease enzymes.

Follow Gavin Shawlins, a dedicated scientist and a member of the secret Lambeth Group, as he unravels the sinister plot. There is something for everyone in this exciting thriller, even a bit of rekindled romance. With plenty of twists and turns, Gordon has forged the opening novel of what should be an exciting series. I look forward to reading more!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 27, 2019

Last night, the clocks went back and hour–another sure sign time is marching on. Leaves continue to fall and the temperatures are dropping. We’re marching through the seasons in what is a natural phenomenon.  There are at least two hedgehogs hanging out with us, fattening themselves up for their upcoming hibernation. Their houses are ready, with fresh straw inside, and a pile of leaves and twigs nearby for them to take what they want.

Yesterday we attended the monthly ‘makers’ market’ in Kirkcaldy. A couple of sheets of Sylvia’s poetry sold, along with five of my novels. Needless to say, we’re delighted!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Christopher Columbus Andres, American diplomat, newspaperman, author, and Brevet Major General (Union Army); Emily Post, American authority on social behaviour and writer (Etiquette); Henry Tate, Australian composer and poet; Enid Bagnold, British novelist (Chalk Garden, 1956 Award of Merit); Graciliano Ramos, Brazilian author (Vidas Secas); Victor E. van Vriesland, Dutch poet (Mirror of Dutch Poetry); Johan G Dancer, Dutch poet (Meetings); Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet (Child’s Christmas in Wales); Kazimierz Brandys, Polish essayist and writer; Warren Allen Smith, American gay rights activist and writer; Nawal el-Saadawi, Egyptian feminist writer and activist; Sylvia Plath, American poet and novelist (Colossus, 3 Women, Bell Jar); Maxine Hong Kingston, American author (The Woman Warrior); John Kane, British actor and writer; Fran Lebowitz, American author and actress (Resident Alien); Jaq D. Hawkins, British author, occultist and lecturer; and ade Arcade, American comics artist and writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although there are some recognizable names, including Emily Post and Sylvia Plath. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

I continued working on A Cartel’s Revenge when time permitted. Chapter thirty-five 1541181671is now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use, and chapter thirty-six is almost ready. The action is speeding up as we head toward the story’s climax. I also made another tweak to my outline as the story heads towards its climax.

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 481, an increase of twenty-two in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

A stranger sat opposite her. Silver eagles of a full colonel adorned the epaulets his uniform. He had black hair, piercing green eyes, and olive complexion. His nametag read Smith.

“There are indications the Islamic State is attempting to gain a foothold in our territory. They’ve already infiltrated a number of countries around the world. We’re trying to ascertain the validity of the intel before we make a move.”

“What’s the source?” AJ scribbled on a notepad while her boss spoke.

“Two sensitive contacts, both unconfirmed. One reported Islamic State purchased an old freighter from an Iranian corporation through a cutout. They’re using the Liberian-flagged ship as a floating command post. The other stated IS training camps are being set up in Colombia and Panama.” He shook his head. “It might be a smart move on their part since would anyone believe they had willing conscripts in these countries.”

Lintstone slammed a fist on his desk. The civilians flinched. “Dammit, people! We need collaborative intel. Fast! Someone check with NSA and Homeland Security. Find out if they can help. Call State as well, but I doubt they’ll be of any use.”

A tall, thin man with receding gray hair vaulted from his chair. “On it, sir.” He ran from the room before Lintstone added any further instructions.

“Contact the British and the Canadians. Perhaps they’ll share with us, although there’ll be a quid pro quo.”

A bald man, on the heavy side, lumbered to his feet with the use of a cane. “Will do, chief.”

“Don’t offer any more than necessary.”

“Yes, sir.” The man limped through the doorway, banging the door shut behind him.

Lintstone glared at two women sitting at the end of the table. “Well, what are you waiting for? An invitation? Back to your computers and analyze. Contact NGA—see if the geospatial folks know more than they’ve shared. Find me something—anything to point us in the right direction.”

The women nodded and left.

“What about us, boss?” AJ gestured toward the colonel to include him in her question.

“This is Colonel Javier Smith, First Special Forces Operational Detachment, better known as Delta Force. Colonel, meet AJ Bruce, my troubleshooter.”

Both stood to shake hands. The colonel dwarfed AJ’s five-foot-ten-inch frame by six inches. AJ noted a thin scar running from his left ear to his chin. After a firm squeeze, both returned to their seats.

“You’ll be working togeth—”

AJ pursed her lips. “Sir, I work alone.” Oh great. Just what I need—a special forces guerrilla tagging along.

“Not this time. Orders from above.”

“Don’t worry, AJ, you won’t slow me down.” His bass voice resonating, Colonel Smith smiled.

“Excuse me, Colonel, I don’t want you to be in my way.” AJ crossed her arms. A frown etched across her face.

“You two finished?” Lintstone glanced at both of them. “Good. You’re working together—no debate.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

D.L. Flynn’s Red Eyes in the Darkness is a gripping suspense guaranteed to leave you thinking–where is evil lurking, and why? This is a well-written story which will give you pause to look at people differently, just as Cass and Will found out when they were under suspicion of killing Cass’ sister.

Friends and family members want nothing to do with them, yet they haven’t done anything wrong. Even when the cause of their problems meets a predicted but untimely demise, red eyes appear elsewhere. Hold onto your seat as you read this one. An excellent story and you won’t be able to put it down!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 14, 2019

It’s been sunny the past few days, although still a bit chilly. However, this gave an opportunity to get some weeding done in the back yard, which hadn’t been tackled yet. Things are looking better, but plenty more to do!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Abraham Elsevier, Dutch book publisher; James Branch Cabell, American novelist and essayist (Restless Heads); Ernst Robert Curtius, German literature historian; Arnold J. Toynbee, English historian (A Study of History); Martin Kessel, German writer; Frank Daniel, Czech-born writer, director and teacher; Bob Grant [Robert St Clair Grant], British actor, comedian and writer (on the Buses); Tom Monteleone, American writer (Dark Star & Illumination); Bruce Sterling, American sci-fi author (Involution Ocean, Schismatrix); Vebjørn Selbekk, Norwegian journalist; and Peter Gibson, American writer.

How many did you recognize? There’s one or two who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Although I’ve completed four edit passes through the manuscript of my third novel, Carnage in Singapore I did some skimming this week and caught a couple of things I wanted to improve before submission. Here’s another snippet:

Gesang Anwari jumped to his feet. “I disagree! We should remain in a Muslim country and not cower among the infidels.”

“Sit down.” Kali seized Gesang’s arm. “Who are you to disagree? How long since your group last carried out an operation? Years ago.” 1539534550

He lashed out at Kali, striking him in the face. Two men stepped between them before further blows were thrown. They grabbed Gesang and Kali, pushing them back into their chairs.

“Enough!” Abu Zeze slammed a fist on an end table next to him. He stared at the two men. “Save your hatred for the enemy. We are brothers in arms. We do not fight among ourselves like the infidel dogs.”

***

After the others departed, Abu Zeze and Isagani moved to more comfortable chairs. A servant wheeled in a small cart with tea and an assortment of pastries and fruit. He served the two men and departed, closing the inner doors to ensure privacy.

Isagani sipped from his cup and placed it on a table near him. “I must speak my mind. I don’t trust Gesang. I’m not sure what it is about him, but something isn’t right.”

“I agree, my friend. Once efforts are underway, we plan to tip off the Indonesian authorities about Gesang being the mastermind behind the attacks. We’ll ensure he no longer poses a threat.” Even if I must take action myself.

***

In another part of the city, one of the attendees at Abu Zeze’s home dialed a number. He waited for two rings before disconnecting. Moments later, the man’s phone rang.

“You called?”

“Yes. The meeting went as expected. They identified several targets. If they aren’t stopped, the streets will be stained with blood.”

“Protect yourself but keep me informed. We cannot allow them to succeed.”

Perhaps more next week.

I’ve halted work on the next novel in the series, Ultimate Escalation. Originally, I planned for this to be the final in the series. However, upon reflection, I believe there is scope to extend the series. Just have to make a decision on this before continuing.

1541181671In the meantime, I’ve dusted off another WIP, A Cartel’s Revenge. Originally, this was to be a stand-alone novel, but now this will be book one of the Bruce and Smith series. It’s been awhile since I posted the synopsis, so here it is:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she forms an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin, and will post my review shortly. I just finished book one of The Northminster Mysteries by Harriet Smart and will provide my comments as well.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 18, 2018

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been receiving evening visits from a hedgehog looking for its supper. Since the numbers of hedgehogs are rapidly dwindling, we purchased a house for our visitor. We’ve named him Henry but if it turns out to be a female, we’ll change it to Henrietta.

The house was placed in a sheltered location on Thursday. I also purchased a trail camera, which arrived yesterday. This morning, we had a number of photos and videos of Henry, along with a cat who has been missing in the area since August. We’ll show the video to the cat’s owner to verify, although we didn’t get a face shot. However, it’s distinctive markings on its legs do show up.

A few adjustments to the camera and we should be able to see if anyone else visits.

As always, we’ll check out those associated with the writing world who celebrate birthdays today (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Cornelius Broere, Dutch priest/poet; William Schwench Gilbert, English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator (Gilbert & Sullivan); Dorothy Dix, pseudonym of US journalist Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer; Richard Dehmel, writer; Clarence Shepard Day, American author (Life with Father); Wyndham Lewis, English author/painter (Tarr, Apes of God); Howard Thurman, theologian/author (Deep River, Deep in the Hunger); Jorgen Nielsen, Danish author (regional novels); Klaus Mann, German/American author (Mephisto); Halldis Vesaas-Moren, Norwegian author/poetess; Attilio Bertolucci, Italian poet and writer; Viktor Afanasiev, editor (Pravda); Vassilis Vassilikos, Greek writer and ambassador; Frank Joseph Kofsky, teacher/writer; Rodney Hall, Australian author; Margaret Atwood, Canadian author/poet; Alan Dean Foster, American sci-fi author (Midworld, Flinx in Flux); Justin Raimondo, American author; Alan Moore, British comic book writer and novelist; Seán Mac Falls, Irish-born poet; Steven Moffat, Scottish TV writer and producer (Doctor Who, Sherlock); and Jorge Camacho, Spanish poet.

Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

 News About My Published Work

DA-3D-coverDangerous Alliance received another five-star review this week: “I liked Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak, from the first sentence of this book which reads: “In the moonless night, the target floated in the harbor’s dark water, anchored fore and aft. A faint hiss broke the silence as climbing ropes and grappling hooks sailed into the air from Plummet NS50 Silent Launchers. Within moments, a sharp tug secured each hook to a quarterdeck railing on the cruise ship, two each on the port side, the starboard, and from the stern.”

Needless to say, I was hooked. This brilliant author not only captures you with strong dramatic action brimming with suspense but also excellently and creatively weaves this intriguing story to keep you guessing and wondering what is going to happen next. His previous book, The Kurdish Connection was amazing, and I was even more impressed with the mind of this writer after reading Dangerous Alliance. Highly Recommended!”

Dangerous Alliance will be featured in the International Thriller Writers’ February 1st edition of The Big Thrill. More to follow on this as the information becomes available.

 My Work in Progress

Much of my writing time this week was devoted to social media marketing of Dangerous Alliance. However, I did manage to complete another chapter of Carnage in Singapore. The manuscript has now received 454 chapter reviews, all assisting me in improving my writing and tweaking the story.

I didn’t have time to work on Ultimate Escalation, but I did create a plot and write the first 500 words for a 10,000-word short story. The tentative title is The European Caper. I haven’t completed the synopsis yet, but perhaps I’ll have it ready for next week.

1541181484Another story working its way forward is A Cartel’s Revenge. A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

1540055887I’m also expanding a short story I wrote into a novel. Now called Trek For Survival, Twins Maddison and Michael Jones both enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities—biking, climbing, kayaking, running, skydiving, and spelunking. Although they maintained their competitiveness throughout all pursuits, they shared another common theme—each was the other’s best friend.

After they working a multitude of odd jobs to pay for college, they graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in molecular biology, and both acquired positions with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). At first, the job dealing with humanitarian crises taxed their abilities, but as their skills improved, they sought new and more rewarding challenges for their leisure time.

Since their personal pursuits took place in North America, they decided to take a two-week vacation in Kenya after their latest assignment, hoping a change of scenery would reenergize them. Little did anyone know, but the excursion of a lifetime might end up as a one-way trip.

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t expect The Patmos Enigma: An Archaeological Thriller by Ken Fry, to let me down. It didn’t. I kept reading late into the night, turning page after page to follow the efforts of an archaeological team trying to uncover hidden secrets. This is an excellent blend of biblical archaeology and fiction, with a cast of characters who thrive on searching for clues in various nooks and crannies. Six of the seals mentioned in the Book of Revelation have been uncovered. Will the team find the seventh or will unknown elements work against them? A great thriller and I look forward to reading another of Ken’s novels as soon as possible.

Blair Howard’s new Kate Gazzara novel, Sapphire, is another thriller crafted by a master storyteller. Just when I thought I knew where events were leading, a new twist came along. Filled with larger-than-life characters and a plot destined to keep readers on their toes, stand by for plenty of action and intrigue. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, but suffice it to say Kate and her partner Lonnie, are tasked with working a number of cold homicide cases. You’ll have to grab a copy to see how things turn out. I look forward to their next adventure.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the author and was not compensate for this review. I will happily continue to read Blair’s novel as they become available.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Books by Ken Fry. Check out more information about Ken’s other books here.

Blair Howard. Check out more information regarding Blair’s books and his blog.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

An Interview With Author Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender banner - Facebook

This week, I’d like to introduce you to author Marie Lavender. She lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty-four books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are: The Heiresses in Love, The Eternal Hearts, The Magick, The Code of Endhivar and The Blood at First Sight.

Marie Lavender LogoSo, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest, professional or hobby.)

I wrote the Heiresses in Love Series (a Victorian romance trilogy), as well as some of the books in The Magick Series (lighthearted fantasy), Blood at First Sight Series (paranormal romance) and The Code of Endhivar Series (science fiction romance). All of them were released through Solstice Publishing. Besides that, I have standalone works. I have been writing since the age of nine, but I’ve only been published since 2010.

I host three blogs: Writing in the Modern Age, the I Love Romance Blog, and the MLB blog. With two of those, I often blog about the titles of other authors and accept guest posts.

One of my recent writing accolades is the fact that I reached the TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog.

What are you currently working on and what is it about?

I am working on a romantic comedy that lightly covers the topic of body-shaming. I think it’s important that we realize how much damage it can cause to our self-esteem. Approaching it in a more comical fashion might take some of the dramatic edge off the problem while still getting the point across. Anyway, it’s something I’m trying out.

What drew you to write in this genre? Blood Instincts - eBook Cover - Marie Lavender

I’ve always been drawn to romance novels, both as a reader and a writer. But now and then, the muse really surprises me. That’s why I label myself multi-genre, since I published a children’s fantasy a few years ago, and some of my works in progress include mysteries, psychological thrillers, dystopian and time travel tales, even horror.

How much research do you do?

I do what is necessary, but I also go a bit beyond that. I don’t want to bog the story down in details, yet I try to aim for authenticity.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

A little of both, actually. I let the muse take me to a point, and then when I get stuck I write a full outline and try to fill in some of the blanks to bring focus back to the story.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Blood Instincts is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy with a futuristic angle. I guess I struggled with the time difference between book one and two. But once I figured out the reason for it, the story just fit.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Tough question. It usually depends on the book I’m working on. Some take longer than others, especially if they’re more detailed and part of a series. A regular novel often takes a year to write. But historicals take a lot of time, since I do extra research.

BLOOD INSTINCTS promo9For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I am still a bit of a Luddite in that sense. I like the accessibility of an ebook, but I prefer a physical format over anything else. I love paperback because it’s more compact on the shelf, but hardback is one version I’ll always have a lot of respect for. I think that’s because it makes me think of the times when I used to hang out at the library and comb through the stacks, worshipping the spine of each title. What can I say? I’m a total book nerd!

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I will never send my work out into the world unedited, at least on some level. I keep it really close to the vest until there have been numerous passes at it. I edit my own book as much as I can, then I hand the manuscript over to a trusted proofreader and some beta readers. After it’s as clean as possible, my publisher has the book and they assign their own editors.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

A month is preferable, but on a time crunch? I’ll let it sit for at least two weeks before looking at it from a different angle. You don’t want to be too in love with your own story.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Oh, yes! It is essential to help potential readers make a decision. Not that the blurb isn’t also important; it certainly is, but I think a lot of factors go into the buying method, a great cover being imperative to the whole. Yet with certain publishers, authors have very little control over the cover.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

Listen to your characters. Don’t plan it all out so much that you can’t keep an open mind for a few surprises.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work?

I think they’re helpful as a sales tool for readers. They offer a glimpse into the book without giving too much away. I make a book trailer for every release. You can discover them all on my YouTube channel.

BLOOD INSTINCTS promo1BWhat is your favorite quote?

This one both thrills and inspires me as a writer. Natalie Goldberg said, “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

I think it is apropos for the situation. With the act of writing, we delve so deeply into our inner selves, and it can be a little terrifying at first. But it always results in something magical.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Some of both. It can feel like a gift most of the time, this rampant need inside to express yourself, to go out and tell your characters’ stories. But now and then, when the muse isn’t working with you, or whenever the outside world doesn’t understand you as a writer, a dark cloud comes over your rainbow.

Marie’s accolades include: Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 3 years. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

You can find out more about Marie’s work and follow her progress via the following:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/Blogs: http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

Stay tuned for another author interview shortly!

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Blogging 101

Blogging 101 -The End Has Come

We’ve had a great journey over these past three weeks.  Many thanks to the following for great support:

@michelleweber
@chrissiepollock
@chrisrudzki
@susanrnet

There is also someone else who needs to be thanked:  YOU! 

Without your interest in learning and sharing, as well as helping others, a course like this would not be successful.  You have made it a success and I will be checking on your blogs to find out about the latest writings, travels, cooking, make-up (not so much for me, but you might be hearing from my son for an interview for his blog), general musings, and great inspiration.  Thank you!

Now, as I look out to the water, I can hardly see–must be getting some offshoots of the East Coast Storm! 

Time for a coffee–until we meet again.

Blogging 101, Cultural Omnivore

Are You a Fashion Afficionado?

I know a lot of my fellow blogger 101 classmates are very interested in several aspects of the fashion industry. So is my son, Craig, who’s taken his interest to new heights, publishing a blog called The Cultural Omnivore.

Over the past four years, Craig has interviewed 102 individuals associated with the fashion industry, including models (male & female) and those who work behind the scenes.

Learn how careers were established, what made them successful, how they’ve branched into related areas, and more.  Check out The Cultural Omnivore at:

http://theculturalomnivore.wordpress.com