Author Interview: Mackenzie Flohr

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Squirrel and Mackenzie Flohr_edited-1

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!

Rite_of_Wands_M_Flohr_coverart_2250pxL

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

Bookbub

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

Author Interview: Leah Hamrick

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Welcome to the Book Squirrel’s “Nuts About Writers” series of author interviews.  

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview Leah Hamrick, author of ‘Spell Caster’!

Leah Hamrick Spell Caster

Hi Leah, it’s great to meet you

Hi! It’s great to meet you, too.

Thanks! Shall we get started?

Sure!

Okay… Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Well, I’m addicted to wildlife.

*gasp* You mean… you eat them?

No! I just love them! I love anything that crawls and moves and makes noise…

Phew! That’s a relief!

…but, my favorite is the whole other world that is below the water surface.
Hey, sorry I gave you a scare there. You’re a cute lil’ thing!

Nawww shucks! It’s okay. 
So tell me, what does “being creative” mean to you?

Being creative to me means to just do what you do best. Draw a stick tree if that’s all you got, LOL!

I wonder if stick trees have stick nuts… probably not much food on those!

And cute little stick squirrels!

What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

Things that have happened in my real life. I love mixing that in with my writing.

That makes the writing much more meaningful, I agree.
Do you have any current or future projects?

Oh hell yeah. Tons. I am currently rewriting my five star novel, Frost on my Pillow, which is a New Adult Paranormal Romance. Then, after that, I have to finish the second book in the series, not to mention write all these short stories for my amazing publisher’s numerous anthologies!

Leah Hamrick Frost On My Pillow

That sounds like it keeps you busy!
If you could just feature one title, what would it be?

‘Frost on my Pillow’… but sadly, it is not for sale at the moment.
It will be soon, though, so hopefully y’all decide to check it out, and fall in love with it as many already have.

Okay! I’ll have to make sure I follow you on Amazon and social media so I know as soon as it’s out!

Great idea! You’re a clever squirrel!

But your other books are totally great, and the cover of Spell Caster… wow! It’s gorgeous.

Aw, thank you! That’s so nice to hear. And yes, my other books are all on Amazon, too.

What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?

LOL! I just got asked this yesterday, I swear to everything that is holy. I see my speaking voice as how I write. How I write is in first person past tense… BUT, I do NOT have two POVs in a chapter. Let’s say… like if I wrote “He said, leaning back onto the couch.” that is just solely what my character is seeing. There is NO TWO POVS in my work. It may seem that way, but that isn’t how I write. If I want two POVs, I’ll just label another chapter and start with another person’s POV.

Labelling it is a great way to keep things clear.
What is the best advice you have for other authors?

Don’t let bad reviews get you down! They help sales, because it’s going to make others curious about why they feel that way, when the rest of the reviews are four to five stars. Sometimes, you will get someone jealous and they’ll mark all your books one star. I had it happen to me. But, just think of it this way. Are they really–after buying one of your books and hated it–going to go out and get another one?

No, I didn’t think so either.

Who is your favorite author? And why?

I love Jennifer Armentrout! Her writing is so amazing, and she knows how to add paranormal with romance and suspense and a mixture of different things that make me squeal. If anyone asked who I am inspired by as a writer, it would be her.

If you had to pick one book to live inside, which would it be?

Obsidian from Jennifer Armentrout!

What is the biggest flaw in your writing?

Total LOL moment. But, sometimes I switch tenses throughout the paragraph. I never catch it either.

That can be tricky! Thank God for editors, eh?

Where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kookycharacters

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spellbindingbooks/

Amazon Page: Author.to/LeahHamrick

Author Interview: M Pepper Langlinais

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The Book Squirrel was excited to sit down recently and chat with multi-genre author, M Pepper Langlinais. 

M Pepper Langlinais The_Fall_and_Rise_of_Peter_Stoller

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?
I think my favourite is still The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller, maybe because I spent the most time on it. Almost three years from start to finish.

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

I’m not sure I can pick any one favourite. I can say Watership Down by Richard Adams had the greatest impact, though.

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

Well, we’re only to April, but I think the best thing I’ve read so far is Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I wish I could write like that.

What are you working on writing now?

A lot of things! The sequel to my YA fantasy Manifesting Destiny, another Regency romance, and a YA contemporary retelling of Hamlet.

Ooh! They both sound great! I’ll have to follow you on Amazon and Goodreads so I know when you release them. 

Great idea!

Yeah! I wish more people – and squirrels – did that!

Me too!

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My friend Abby and I went to London, and that was a lot of fun. But that’s tied with a really great family vacation at Disneyland. I don’t think I could choose between those two.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a lot of them, but Young Sherlock Holmes will always be my favourite. I can watch the Indiana Jones movies over and over, too.

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

I actually wanted to work in film or television. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, though. I just knew I wanted to be part of that industry.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I like spring. I like that it’s getting warm and the flowers are blooming but the kids aren’t out of school yet.

Mmm. Spring… yummy flowers, juicy buds, and fresh fruit! Spring makes me a happy squirrel! Oh… erm… right. 

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Well, I know I was inspired by John Le Carré when writing Peter.
I’d say I’ve been influenced by Neil Gaiman a bit, even though I don’t write the same genre. (Well, someone did call The K-Pro “Neil Gaiman for girls.”)
And I suppose Sir Arthur Conan Doyle inspired my Sherlock Holmes stories.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Losing weight and avoiding traffic.

When you find the answers to those, let me know, eh?
And speaking of finding things… where can we find your books? 

The easiest thing would be to visit either my site at http://pepperwords.com and look under the Books tab for all my books and places to purchase, or go directly to my Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/M-Pepper-Langlinais/e/B008FBOSPE/

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Social Media Logos Cutout.png

I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mpepperlanglinais
Twitter at http://twitter.com/sh8kspeare
Instagram as http://www.instagram.com/p_stoller 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MPepperLanglinais

 

Thanks again for joining me in my tree today! It was great getting to know you!

You’re welcome! Thanks for the chat.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts About Authors: J.P. Cawood

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Welcome to the Book Squirrel’s “Nuts About Writers” series of author interviews.  

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview J.P. Cawood, author of ‘Love from Mars’ and ‘Sam & The Secrets of the Universe’.


What inspired you to write?

I felt I had to tell the stories of my first two books, Love from Mars and Sam & The secrets of the Universe. Love from Mars came to me in a dream, but I was already fascinated with all the news about potential manned missions to Mars. For Sam, I’m fascinated with the big questions in life like why we’re here and what’s the meaning of it all? I started tying these questions together through a 15 year-old’s journey through a black hole. What better way to find yourself than by getting lost?

What are you writing now?

I am currently outlining my third book, a science fiction for young adults. I’ve also recently had some ideas for short science fiction stories, so I plan to write a compilation of shorts as well.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I love Switzerland. Hiking up Mont Blanc, visiting the Mer de Glace, horseback riding in the Alps. There’s so much nature that is breathe taking and awe-inspiring. The food is also incredible, similar to French cuisine. My favorite is raclette and tartiflette.

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

I wanted to be a lawyer from the time I was in kindergarten until about junior year in high school. My senior year, I took theatre, photography, and creative writing. Around that time, I started my own public access TV show in my home town Milwaukee. I started realizing that I needed a creative job, so I went to USC film school.

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

I’d like people to give indie books more attention. I understand that it’s easier to consume the entertainment products that are heavily marketed and therefore, easy to know about. But if more people dug a little deeper, I think mainstream media would be much more diverse and interesting. Creative content with big marketing budgets might not have the best stories because it’s a business and is therefore vetted to be “safe” to turn a profit. More unique ideas will exist in the indie realm.

Name two things in life you wish were easier.

I’d say the two things that we can’t avoid. Death and taxes.

 

Where can we find your books?

You can find Love from Mars and Sam & The
Secrets of the Universe in paperback and ebook on Amazon:      www.amazon.com/author/jpcawood

Love from Mars is also available through Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-from-mars-jp-cawood/1125378755?ean=9780998378619

Where can we follow you on social media?

www.facebook.com/jpcawoodbooks

www.twitter.com/jpcawoodbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16202670.J_P_Cawood

www.jpcawood.com
Thanks for chatting, J.P! It’s been fun!

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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