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

New Release Books!

Here are six great new release books that you should really get your hands on soon!

‘Bound’ by R.M. Gauthier.

Avid readers of the Landon Miller mystery/thriller books can finally buy and read their copy of ‘Bound’ today!

Renee Gauthier Bound

‘Bound’ is the sequel to ‘Control’ by R.M. Gauthier. Readers are keen to know answers to their questions about Landon Miller, and they’re dying to know what happens in Lexi’s life.
“Whatever happened that fateful night – the night Landon walked out on her – it’s not something Lexi is willing to let go. Determined, she will do whatever it takes, harass Landon’s employee’s, stalk the FBI, even alienate the people closest to her. Anything to solve the mystery of Landon Miller.”

You can find ‘Control’ and all of Renee’s books on Amazon, where they’re free for Kindle Unlimited readers.

 

 Two new releases by J.S. Frankel.Jesse Frankel Wink

Jesse was featured in an author spotlight on the Book Squirrel blog last month.

Wink made its debut on April 4th, and poses some really interesting questions.
“Imagine fading out from a world you know and fading into a world you don’t. That’s what happens to teen Virgil West, a resident of planet Earth who is soon about to become a resident of…somewhere else. “

Jesse Frankel Star Maps

Star Maps landed on earth just yesterday! It’s brand new, and offers some thought-provoking YA reading.
“Carl Thornton, seventeen-year-old stargazer and total nerd, resides in Reno, Nevada, and lives for watching the night sky. His dream—discover a UFO. His mantra—“Seeing is believing.” 

He meets Grace Paxton, and finds out through a series of circumstances, that she, her family and friends, aren’t exactly from around here.”

All of Jesse’s books are available on Amazon.

 

A new short story title from Safa Shaqsy.

Safa Shaqsy is an exciting YA sci-fi writer from the Middle East. Her stories are interesting and her book covers are incredible!

Safa Shaqsy Asrinia 2

Asrinia Part Two came to life on April 26th. This is a continuation of the cyberpunk story, Asrinia, that Safa released in February.

In Part One, Asrinia had run away and found herself in the Forgotten land where she met a boy who challenged her to get out of her comfort zone. Together, they began the search for her father.
In Part Two, Asrinia continues her adventure with Roma and Kiram to find her father, after he was kidnapped by cyborgs. The race is on to find Asrinia’s father before he is murdered.

All of Safa Shaqsy’s books are available on Amazon.

 

Another great short story read from India Emerald.

India has featured a number of times on the Book Squirrel blog: in an author spotlight, new release updates and book reviewsIndia Emerald Sparks In The Sky

‘Sparks In The Sky’ promises to deliver more of the intriguing mystery and beautiful storytelling that we have come to expect from India Emerald.
“Every day is a battle to the death for the Rubis and Ombris Elementals. It doesn’t matter how it starts, it always ends the same way, every morning they awaken reset. So when Flavia discovers a shift within the two tribes, she must act quickly to save them all.”

You can find all of India Emerald’s books on Amazon.

 

Another great read from Alan VanMeter. 

Alan Van Meter Pipeline Through Purple Mist‘Pipeline Through Purple Mist’ is a paranormal/ scifi story of racism, hatred, and close encounters on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico.
“He had just recently gotten married, and now he was heading out of town to do a job making more money than he had in his entire lifetime. It wasn’t right for newlyweds to be separated so early in their marriage, but money talks and bullshit walks. Little did Alfonso know that this was the beginning of the worst times in his life.

If sci-fi is your thing, check out all of Alan’s books on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle in July’ and ‘Christmas Miracle on Valentine’s Day’ by R.M. Gauthier

I have decided to write one review for this pair of novellas because they fit so neatly together.
Each of these short stories provides a lovely diversion from a busy day or week by drawing the reader into the fictional world of Christmas Town, where the spirit of the festive season lingers all year round. Each is short enough to read in one sitting, but long enough to conveniently put down at the end of a chapter and resume reading later.  They’re both great stories for all year round, and certainly not limited to the seasons in which the titular seasons occur.
The main character, Jack, is well developed and quite likeable. The air of mystery that surrounds his arrival in town over summer is intriguing, and definitely hooks the reader into the story.  Gauthier cleverly plays on the unresolved questions he brings with him, drawing the reader further into the story at the same time as further entangling Jack with every development and surprise in the plot.
Charlotte is an intriguing character – she appears to be open and easily read, but there is always the sensation that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. As Jack is surprised to discover, she’s just the person to keep him guessing and on his toes.
Other characters are less thoroughly developed, as is completely normal for shorter stories. One does sense, though, that there are more stories to be told in Christmas Town, and that Bill, Christian and Hope may feature prominently in those, too. This reader certainly hopes so!
These novellas are a complete change of pace for R.M. Gauthier, who has featured on this blog as the author of the spicy mystery thriller, Control, and the related novellas ‘Longing’ and ‘Waiting’. The second full novel in the Landon Miller series, ‘Bound’, is due for release on May 1st.

All of Gauthier’s books are available on Amazon, and are free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

I’m giving these great stories 5 stars each. At $0.99, they are the bargains you don’t want to miss out on!
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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: ‘The Gift’ by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis The Gift

Narrated in the first person by the character of Gemma Harding, ‘The Gift’ keeps the reader guessing right to the end. This story draws the reader into a complicated web of deceit and carefully constructed appearances that leave Gemma able to trust only  herself and her gift in her search for the answers she needs.

The reader is drawn into Gemma’s character in the first chapter by a  narration that is almost a stream-of-consciousness passage, through which Landis reveals Gemma’s special ability and how it has impacted on her life thus far. The reader, familiar with Gemma’s thoughts and feelings, follows her through this story sharing her thrills, fears and questions as events unfold.

This is a brilliant read. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys the mystery/thriller genre, particularly with a psychological edge to it.

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