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

Bookbub

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

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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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Book Review: ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco

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Just the right proportions of history, secrets, adultery, passion, and rivalry are mixed together to form the wonderful sensation that is ‘An Enlightening Quiche’.
Rich in detail and sassy narration, Eva Pasco paints a portrait of small-town life that rings true for anyone who has lived in such a place.
On the surface, everything is clean and just right, but underneath there is a surging, heaving mass of emotion, ambition and self-interest that immerses the reader in the
characters’ lives.
Eva Pasco‘s writing is descriptive and quirky, reflecting the French-Canadian idiom of the fictional town of Beauchemins, Rhode Island. The reader is drawn into the story through the parallel narrations of the lead characters, making them them feel as though they are a one of the townsfolk and leading them to decide for themselves who is honest or justified in their actions as the story progresses. Pasco’s humour comes through, resulting in chuckles and smirks as one reads. Yet there are also moments of shock and sadness, and of a strong sensation of more than one character wishing things had been different.
Having spent some time in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the French-Canadian nostalgia for all things Quebequois has been beautifully captured by Pasco. The occasional exclamation of “Tabarnak!” and the consistent use of French names for even the most mundane of foods – “un croque-monsieur” for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich –  adds authenticity and depth to the characters. Beauchemins actually made me a little homesick for my own part of French Canada. Would someone please deliver me a poutine?
This honorary Canuck gives ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ 5 stars, not only for it’s fabulous story, but also for its charm and authenticity. Beauchemins – ca vaut le visite!
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See the book and read the reviews on Amazon.

April Reading List Challenge

March didn’t quite go as expected. How on earth is it April already?

Needless to say, I didn’t get through all the books on my list for March. It was a combination of factors, being an action-packed month at work which meant taking more work home, and getting distracted by my own writing and  organising a new release!
The books still on the pile have been carried over to April, with a couple of others added.

In March, I read all of ‘Call of Sunteri’ by Missy Sheldrake, and half each of two other books: ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco, and ‘Sediments’ – the poetry of Lyra Shanti.

‘Call of Sunteri’ is a beautifully written, magical adventure tale for YA and older.
You can read the official Book Squirrel review for more information and links.

Lyra Shanti’s poetry is beautiful and vivid. It winds tendrils of love, desire and angst around your imagination and forces it to paint pictures for you. I’ve not finished reading it, so keep an eye out for that review this month.

‘An Enlightening Quiche’ has a lot more depth and profundity than one might expect from a book titled after quiche. I’m really enjoying it. The review will happen soon!

Which brings us to my April reads.

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

These twin novellas blend humour, small-town life and unexpected romance. I wonder, though, if the romance is the only thing that will take the reader by surprise? I suspect not.

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‘Souls Discovered’ by Miranda Brock. Fantasy, adventure, mythical beasts and a quest. It already sounds like a winner to me!
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‘The Dying of the Mother Seed’ by India Emerald. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by this author so far. I’m looking forward to this.

At the time I wrote this, The Dying of the Mother Seed was still listed as free on Amazon. I don’t know how long that will last.
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‘Snowberry Blossom’ is a short story/novella that fits into the Keepers of the Wellsprings series right after ‘Call of Sunteri’. I’m sneaking it in because it’s short, and because I can’t wait to keep reading this series.
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If you’re looking for something new and different, you could try ‘Stained Glass’ by Joanne Van Leerdam.  This new release was featured on the Book Squirrel blog last week.
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This is a collection of  22 poems for and about women, by a woman who is striving to live, love, work and make sense of the world she lives in.

Available now in your favourite eBook store, and permanently priced at $0.99.

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.