Author Interview: Lissa Dobbs

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The Book Squirrel sat down recently to talk with Lissa Dobbs, fantasy author extraordinaire.

Lissa, it’s great to have you here today. 

Thank you! It’s great to be here.

What inspired you to write?

We did a project in the fourth grade that required us to write, illustrate, and put together a book. I was hooked from that moment on.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I’m not sure. I think my characters are more realistic in my YA work in progress, but there’s something about the Ethan Grimley series that I love.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Raymond E. Feist’s Midkemia books will always be my most favorite.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Coraline.

Oh cool! I love Neil Gaiman!
What are you working on writing now?

I have several projects going, probably too many. I’m working on a YA novel, several short stories, and the ‘story that never ends’, which is a trilogy I’ve been working on for almost three years that just doesn’t want to cooperate.

What is your pet hate?

Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing? I’m not a fan of lying and cheating, and, yes, it does sometimes show up.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Hobbit trilogy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dr. Strange. The Harry Potter movies. The Smurfs (the real ones).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An author. Ever since the fourth grade. There were times that other things got in the way, and they still do, but that’s the number one dream. I’m just glad I can take some time to work on it now and again.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love winter most of all, when we get one. I prefer the cold because it’s easier to adjust your own temperature. Once you get to skin, it’s over, so I’m not a fan of hot weather (says the person born and raised in the US Deep South). There’s also a peace about the winter months, a feeling of rest, that doesn’t exist in the other months.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Raymond E. Feist, H.P.Lovecraft, and Nathaniel Hawthorne

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

Being an Indie author is actually pretty cool, though there are parts of it that are extremely difficult and time consuming. It’s nice to have complete control over my creation, even when what I create isn’t perfect.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I wish it was a little easier to learn graphic design so I could make the covers I really wanted, and I wish it was a bit easier for me to have to confidence to really promote my books.

Where can we follow you on Social Media?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shadowwalkersofgrevared

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LissaDobbs

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lissadobbs/

Author Central: http://amazon.com/author/lissadobbs

Where can we find your books?

All my books are available on Amazon, though the short stories are not appropriate for children.

Rise of the Mad Gods: The Slave’s Caress: https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Mad-Gods-Slaves-Caress-ebook/dp/B06XCT53HB/

Rise of the Mad Gods: Broken Treasure/For Love of Her: https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Mad-Gods-Broken-Treasure-ebook/dp/B06W59CBNZ/

Aradia’s Secret: https://www.amazon.com/Aradias-Secret-Lissa-Dobbs-ebook/dp/B06XSRKCXV/

Wolf in the Shadow: https://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Shadow-Annals-Walkers-ebook/dp/B01HNNEHQE/

Yuletide Sparkle: https://www.amazon.com/Yuletide-Sparkle-Short-Story-Grevared-ebook/dp/B01DIR26RG/

The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-III-Book/dp/B06XCV2S6L/

A Walker is Born: https://www.amazon.com/Walker-Born-Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-ebook/dp/B01E9A4LVK/

Cronus Attacks: https://www.amazon.com/Cronus-Attacks-Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-ebook/dp/B01ENYSHOE/

Revenge of Cronus: https://www.amazon.com/Revenge-Cronus-Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-ebook/dp/B01MFD4CF5/

Toasty Hands: https://www.amazon.com/Toasty-Hands-Fingerless-Gloves-Crochet-ebook/dp/B00U7L39YQ/

Soft and Fluffy: https://www.amazon.com/Soft-Fluffy-Simple-Crochet-Washcloths-ebook/dp/B015CWA0V4/

A Friend for Me: https://www.amazon.com/Friend-Me-Cuddly-Crochet-Heart-ebook/dp/B00U77G0SW/

Daddy’s Little Man: https://www.amazon.com/Daddys-Little-Man-Crochet-Heart-ebook/dp/B00VKPIBMI/

My Cross to Bear: https://www.amazon.com/My-Cross-Bear-Crochet-Centerpiece-ebook/dp/B015ANTRNW/

Great! It’s Pumpkin Time!: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Its-Pumpkin-Time-Decoration-ebook/dp/B016N8JUP8/

Simple Charm: https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Charm-Crochet-Pendant-Necklace-ebook/dp/B00UF0NUN4/

Bootie Slippers for All Ages: https://www.amazon.com/Bootie-Slippers-All-Ages-Crochet-ebook/dp/B00UG33RXS/

Little Purses for Little Things: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Purses-Things-Crochet-Heart-ebook/dp/B00UFXC28A/

Whoa! You’re prolific! And terrific! And… and…

Aww thanks, Book Squirrel.

You’re welcome, Lissa. Thanks for chatting with me today. 

Thanks for having me!

 

Author Interview: Mackenzie Flohr

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Today I have the privilege of interviewing the wonderful Mackenzie Flohr, author of the incredible YA magical fantasy novel ‘The Rite of Wands’. 

We had a very cosy chat, and we’re now the best of friends.
Here’s the interview, hot off the press. 

What inspired you to write?

I don’t really have anything per say that inspires me to write. However, what motivates me to write is being told I won’t succeed. I know that sounds odd, but I’ll elaborate.
Back in 2006, I was at the airport in Orlando waiting for the plane to arrive to take my Dad and I back to Cleveland, OH. I was working on a scene, which happens in a later book in the series. There was a young girl who looked about my age with her Dad sitting across from us. They asked what I was writing about, so I mentioned a little bit about it. Afterward, my Dad smiled and told them that I was writing a fantasy series, and that I would never finish it. I was shocked, embarrassed and hurt by the outburst. Even as I am recalling that moment now, it still angers me! But that’s where he went wrong. Not only did I write it, not only did I finish it, I found a company to PUBLISH it!

Well done you! That’s the spirit!
What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

To answer this question a bit more specifically, I really enjoyed writing the scene in The Rite of Wands between Queen Anya and Mierta when the queen was trying to convince Mierta to help her. It felt like they were an old married couple!

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

The Carrigan Painting: Mysteries of Billamore Hall Series by BJ Richards

I’ll have to look it up on NutBooks!

NutBooks?

Yeah! You… haven’t heard of NutBooks? 

No… but I’ll go look them up when I get home!

Good idea. What are you working on writing now?

I am releasing a special hardbound edition of The Rite of Wands this June.

I also just finished writing a short story for an anthology, which I am still waiting to hear if it’ll be accepted. I am also working on the beginnings of the next book in The Rite of Wands series and a new futuristic sci-fi series.

Wow! You’re a busy lady!
What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Back to The Future trilogy.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Apparently for the garbage company LOL! My mother is notorious for saving papers I have filled out throughout my childhood, so even though I don’t recall ever feeling this way, I’ve seen it on paper!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Summer. I love having sunlight till 9 PM and warm temperatures. Living in Michigan, it is rare to have sunlight all year round, and I honestly really dislike snow and cold weather.

Yeah, I try to sleep through most of that, too…
Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Michael Ende.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

A lot of people have this belief that Indie authors get their marketing taken care of for free, but this is far from the case. Indie authors have to do their own marketing and pay for services, too. The best method of marketing for an Indie author is word of mouth.

So, if you know an indie author and have read their book(s), leave a review! Many times this leads to at least 4-5 additional sales for the author.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Selling books internationally

Juggling time between my outside of the home full-time job and writing

Like I said, you’re one busy lady!

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I sure am!

 

Where can we find your book?

You can find The Rite of Wands through all the major retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Kobo, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, iTunes.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Author Interview: Debbie Manber Kupfer

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Hey everyone, your favourite squirrel is back with another fabulous author interview!

Today I’m talking with Debbie Manber Kupfer, author of some great books all about paws!
Hi Debbie! Obviously I’m all for promoting great paws… tell me about your books?

Hi Squirrel! P.A.W.S is a series of Young Adult fantasy books, which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis.

Oh. Not about actual paws then… that’s a little awkward.

I also have stories in several anthologies, including FauxpocalypseStardust, Always,
Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past, and I’ve published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with my son Joey.

Hey, that’s awesome!

Thanks!

That’s a cool accent you have there. Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?

Well, Squirrel, I grew up in London, but since then I’ve lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis.

Hey, I’ve got a cousin in St Louis! What do you do there?

I work as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. I live with my husband, two children and a very opinionated feline.

Cats, huh?

Yeah.

So, Debbie, you sound busy! When do you find time to hoard your food for winter?

*laughing* I believe that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything. I’ve been writing ever since I was small and find that many of my everyday experiences end up in my stories. Also I’m an avid people watcher and often write interesting folk I see into my books.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Probably P.A.W.S. As it was my first published book it definitely holds a place in my heart. It was where I first was introduced to my characters who have since become old friends.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

E.A. Copen’s Guilty by Association, an awesome urban fantasy. I’m currently on book 2 of her series.

What are you working on writing now?

I’ve got book 4 of P.A.W.S. which is going to be called Londinium out with my beta readers at the moment, so in the meantime I’m getting a start on book 5. I wrote the first 30K words during Camp NaNoWriMo and hope to continue writing at least 1K words a day.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

The best, but also the saddest, was the last time I traveled with my father before he passed away. My daughter and I traveled to London (where I grew up) and met my parents there. (They lived in Israel at the time). For my dad it was his last hurrah. He knew it too and he loved that trip and especially getting to spend time with his granddaughter.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a journalist. I went on to do a gazillion different things including teacher, secretary and market researcher, but writing was always in the back of my mind. I never did work in a newspaper, but I’ve been a puzzle editor for Penny Press and today divide my time between writing fiction and writing puzzles so I’ve sorted ended up in the field I wanted as a kid.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring and autumn. Not fond of extremes in either heat or cold. Missouri’s weather this year has been rather odd though. We didn’t have much of a winter and have had some really hot days in March and April. Global warming, I guess.

That climate change stuff is bad news.

It sure is!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

JK Rowling, Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It takes a village to publish any book. You need an editor, beta readers, a cover designer, and a support network of friends to keep you grounded. You can’t do this on your own.

It’s fun, truly it is. And really rewarding too. I started off traditionally published at a small press. It was a good start, but switching over to indie was the best decision I could have made. I love having control over my work. Release dates, prices, covers, sales. Everything. Yes it can be frustrating too, but it’s truly worth it.

Plus the indie author community is beyond awesome. I’ve made so many good friends since I started this journey. Writing can sometimes feel like a lonely pursuit and it’s true that a lot of the magic takes place behind closed doors. But once your books are out there having a network of author friends to cross-promote with is invaluable.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Getting more readers and getting more reviews!

If I had a nut for every time I heard a writer say that, I’d be a happy squirrel!

I hear you.

 

Where can we find your books? 

The P.A.W.S. Saga – P.A.W.S., Argentum, Umbrae

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N34LR1F

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N34LR1F

And paperback everywhere – if they’re not in your local store or library, you can ask them to order them.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Paws4Thought: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor

Twitter: @CiciCat42

Book Review: ‘Souls Discovered’ by Miranda Brock

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Ohmygosh. What??
I’ve just finished this book and I have no words.
It’s SO good though. Extraordinarily good.
Highs, lows, plot twists, and every emotion conceivable… this is your fate if you pick up this book.  And if you do… you won’t be sorry.
You will love the characters, you will love the story, you will scream and cry and try to slam on the brakes as you ride the rollercoaster of this plot. And you’ll read, and read, and read, until it’s done. And then you’ll have no words either.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and curl up in the corner and rock until the sequel is delivered.

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‘Souls Discovered is available as a paperback or eBook from Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Call of Sunteri’ by Missy Sheldrake.

Missy Sheldrake’s wonderful magic continues in this second book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series.

‘Call of Sunteri’ has multiple narrators whose stories and perspectives blend seamlessly to tell the tale of the Sunteri fae and their struggle to survive, alongside the continued story of Azaeli Hammerfel and her companions as they seek truth and justice in the face of the powers of evil.
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So vivid and compelling is the storytelling that the reader is fully engaged in the action as it unfolds, with a strong sensation of being confronted with questions about personal integrity and the nature of truth alongside the characters. There are some absolute heart-in-your-throat moments, and some that fill the reader with dread.

The ability to conjure such powerful effects on the reader is a true sign of masterful writing.

‘Call of Sunteri’ delivers action, magic and quest by the bucketload in this book. I can’t wait to finish reading the whole magnificent series.

Author Spotlight: India Emerald

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India Emerald writes fabulous stories that blend imagination and magic with Fantasy, Magical Realism, and occasionally Science Fiction.

She is the author of The Mages’ Stones Complete Set (2016) and as individual books, Hope’s Well (2016), The Tale of Rigby Hall (2016), Water Lilies (2016), The Battle for Goblin Bridge (2016), and Paxton (2016). She has even written a space opera!


You can read my review of The Mages’ Stones here. It’s available on Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee, and is great reading.
In fact, all three of India’s books represent fantastic value for these great stories. They’re all on  Amazon

India has a great presence on social media, where she frequently indulges in any fun that’s available. She loves hashtag games on twitter, and is an active member of the Indie author community on Facebook.

You can follow India on:
Twitter: @india_emerald
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IndiaEmeraldAuthor

Author profiles:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15046207.India_Emerald
Amazon:https://smile.amazon.com/India-Emerald/e/B01CH630LU

Book Review: ‘Call of Kythshire’ – Missy Sheldrake

Holy moly. I started this book with absolutely no idea what was going to happen to me as I read it. Now that I have finished it, I find that I am completely and utterly in love with the characters and places that I encountered in this magical, mystical fantasy tale that has woven its tendrils around my heart.

It’s taking most of my will-power to write a missy-sheldrake-1review before I pick up the second book. And that’s not the worst of it. I have work to do. And there are other things I have committed to read.  Drat you, Missy Sheldrake! Because of you, I am in the clutches of a bona-fide “I don’t want to adult,  I want to stay in the world of the book” dilemma. It’s a very good thing  for us both that there are sequels!

The first book in the “Keepers of the Wellspring” series, ‘Call of Kythshire’ is completely enchanting. It  has been on my TBR list for a while, looking completely innocent and unassuming while sitting on the shelf, but as soon as I opened it, my fate was sealed.

Missy Sheldrake began to work her magic on me from the first chapter, drawing me in until I was fully invested in the journey that my imagination and emotions were being taken on. It’s a beautifully crafted quest through faraway lands that become very real and much closer to our own world as one reads, accompanied by some of the most feisty and determined yet loveable characters I have ever met. I travelled with them, stood by them as they faced challenges from others who sought to misuse their powers, and encouraged them to conquer their differences and internal conflicts to overcome them. I’m not even sure I would have made all the same decisions, but then I remember Rian’s words: ” “Who are we to decide who’s worth saving and who’s worth punishing? What would you have done in such a desperate situation? Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t do everything in your power to help the ones you love?” and I know he is right.

Reader, beware. You will get hooked, and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it. Except read the next in the series, that is.


Big News! As it turns out, and completely unknown to me until I had already written this review, book #4 comes out on Friday, March 3! On that day, the first three ebooks of this series will be ABSOLUTELY FREE on Amazon! It’s true!

There’s also a short story, ‘Snowberry Blossom’, that fits between books 2 and 3 of the tetralogy.

You can see for yourself on Missy Sheldrake’s own blog, which you should probably follow because you’re probably going to end up being a huge fan, just like me.