Author Interview: Lyra Shanti

Interview Purple

Hi folks, welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview! Today we chat with Lyra Shanti,  author of the brilliant space epic series Shiva XIV and a number of other incredible works. 

Hi, Lyra. 

Hi, Squirrel.

I confess, I’m a little star-struck. 

Oh, you sweet thing!

Right, where was I? Ah yes. Here we go! What inspired you to write?

Where to start? So many things inspire me! Great films, books, plays/musicals, music, anime/manga, poetry, laughter, sex, love,  rain, moonlight, the ocean, tall ancient trees, mountains, lakes, and so much more!

Truthfully, everything affects me.  I’ve been writing poetry, plays, and songs since I was a child of seven, but I didn’t start seriously writing stories till I was in my late 30s. I always wanted to try novel writing, but was terrified I wouldn’t be good enough. Then, one day, I felt the urge to try. I stared at the blank white screen and suddenly envisioned an infant, held up at an altar by a priest. It was Shiva XIV I saw, but I didn’t know it yet. Slowly, the story came to me, and the rest is history.

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

I’ve read a few good ones, though I haven’t had a ton of time to read (spending most of my time writing and editing!) But I loved Sweet Vengeance by Aliya DalRae. Can’t wait to read book 2, Sweet Discovery! It’s such a fun, sexy paranormal series!

Oh, I’ve read those! They’re great!  What are you working on writing now?

Lyra Shanti Shiva XIV 4 The River Of Time

I just finished book 4 in my sci-fi series, Shiva XIV: The River of Time. Yay! I’ll be promoting that for a while, but my next book will be The Artist, a complete departure from sci-fi and fantasy.

It’s a story about a man named Apollo Antonius Vidali, an artist fighting his madness in search of true love. It will be a cross between historical romance and erotic freeform poetry! I can’t wait to get that done by next year. I think my fans will be totally surprised, and that’s exciting!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I have a strange aversion to whistling. Not so much when a person does it on key and it’s a song they know well… but when it’s meandering and slightly off key. I can’t explain why, I just hate it so much. I’ve yet to write that into a book… I may at some point. Maybe if I were to write a thriller or murder mystery. I could see a murderer whistling right after he’s killed someone. Terrifying!

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lord of the Rings. All of them…The extended versions. Not even kidding! Lol

I would also repeatedly watch Close Encounters, Back to the Future (all 3), Titanic, The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, the original Star Wars movies.

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

Basically what I am. 🙂 From the time I was 7, I wanted to be a songwriter… and playwright. I never envisioned myself as a novelist. That’s new, but feels right!

Sometimes you just have to run with what life brings you, eh?

Absolutely right!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter… especially in S Florida. There really aren’t weather changes here, like, at all… so winter is the only time it isn’t hot and humid. I love cooler weather! I love sweaters and snow and holidays!

Autumn is a close second. If I were living where I grew up (in Bellingham, Washington), there would be beautifully warm colors in the trees and a crisp, cool breeze in the air. It would be heaven! Plus, Halloween!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Growing up, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I think Lewis Carroll had a bigger influence on my already wacky brain than I realized. Then, Shakespeare plays made my heart and mind swoon! And of course, I loved Tolkien and J.K Rowling. But my biggest influence and inspiration would be Hermann Hesse. Books like Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narcissus and Goldmund had a huge impact on me as a young adult, and as a writer. His stories were full of philosophical “East meets West” ideas, but also romantic relationships with flawed characters I deeply related to. I have to say, without his writing I would never have been a writer myself. His stuff was poetic and brilliant!

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

It’s hard work. A lot harder than some might realize… all the writing, editing, promoting, and worry over if anyone will like the story.

Ultimately, though, it’s worth all the pain. At the end of the day, I get to see my worlds born into a virtual reality where it will live on forever. And I can say I did it my way… like Sinatra. 😉

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Editing books! And a second thing? Hmm… Driving a car in the city. Driving itself doesn’t scare me, but other people in their cars do! They’re nuts!

Wait! Nuts are good!

Okay. I guess you could say they drive me crazy!  *makes Fozzie Bear face* Get it?! Wakka wakka!

Moving right along…

Ah, I see what you did there!

*laughter*

So tell us, where can readers find your books?

My books are all on my Amazon page and my website at www lyrashanti.com.  

Awesome! Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Lyra! You’re incredible! 

Awww, thanks! You’re pretty special too, Book Squirrel!

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Author Spotlight: Lyra Shanti

Lyra Shanti is a most accomplished author, poet, songwriter, and musician.

Lyra is the author of the amazing magical science fiction Shiva XIV Series and a number of short stories that explore the same world at different times in her characters’ lives.


If you’re looking for something in the realm of sci-fi/fantasy with a gripping storyline, you should definitely grab Lyra’s Shiva XIV series. It has been reviewed as “brilliant, epic space opera” and “the next space epic you need to read”. It’s really that good.

The short stories that further explore the world and characters of the Shiva XIV series are well written and add greater dimension to the characters and their experiences. The opportunity to see further into their lives and see what has helped make them who they are is always a bonus. They’re great stories that are also able to stand on their own quite successfully, although they will leave the reader wanting more.

Lyra has also published two books of poetry and a novella, ‘The Rainbow Serpent’, in which Lyra recreates the story of the Garden of Eden as told by the serpent.

Lyra Shanti Rainbow Serpent
According to one Amazon review for ‘The Rainbow Serpent’, this book is “Flawless in composition … plainly, yet eloquently written with beautiful imagery that reflects the universal truths of life” so that “the reader is left to ponder the extent of predestination vs. free will to execute one’s choices along the spectrum of morality since Creation.”

Lyra’s poetry is rich and sensory, full of imagery that draws the reader into the emotion and depth of the poet’s mind. It’s a definite must for any poetry lovers, but also shows the extent and versatility of the talent of this wonderful author.

Lyra Shanti Sediments

Lyra has author profiles at both Goodreads and Amazon.

You can also follow Lyra on social media:
Instagram: lyrashanti
twitter: @LyrtaShanti

website: www.lyrashanti.com

You can support Lyra’s work at Patreon where Lyra’s patrons have access to exclusive material and previews.

New Release: The Passing Of The Night by Joanne Van Leerdam

People experience all kinds of night: loneliness, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, pain, and countless other darknesses. 

This newly released collection of profound lyrical poems explores the poet’s own experiences and observations of both dark and light, revealing her determination to not only survive, but to conquer whatever tries to overcome her. 

At the end of it all, the poet demonstrates that the smallest sign of light is enough to help a wandering soul find hope in the passing of the night. 

The Passing Of The Night is available on Amazon and all other major digital stores.

Introducing: Literature Lemur

Today the Book Squirrel introduces a great friend who loves to read and write reviews, which she wants to share with you here.

Literature Lemur Leaf

Book Squirrel is excited to introduce to you the Literature Lemur and her first guest review!

True confession: I’m not much into poetry. I’m probably not the first reviewer to admit this, and I’m certain I won’t be the last. That being said, I found the verses in Leaf to be heart-touching and compelling.

Van Leerdam has taken tiny bits of her soul and used them to paint words of such intensity that even the hardest of hearts can’t help but be moved. Her poetry is real and now, and it speaks to everyone on one level or another.

So even if you don’t think poetry is “your thing”, maybe give Leaf a try. You’ll find that you might just be into it after all. I know I did.

Blurb:

“This well-written poetry collection is filled with love, loss, betrayal, sadness, and ultimately, rebirth. My favorite poems included are The Artist, Observations of a Traveling Pluviophile, Misery, Pharisee, and Old. Best line from Pluviophile: “There are no rainbows without rain.” Love that.

Many gems can be found in this lovely collection. I recommend it for anyone who likes melancholy, deep, thought-provoking poetry.” – Amazon Review

‘Leaf’ is the first collection of poetry published by Joanne Van Leerdam.
Lyrical, often metaphorical and always unashamedly honest, these poems are expressions of the poet’s own experiences and observations about life, love and human nature.

“With this collection, the poet offers us a glimpse inside her thoughts. At times intimate and raw, Leaf has a dreamlike quality that resonates with the reader covering themes of love, loneliness, disappointment and despair” … “Van Leerdam’s poetry is beautiful and lyrical, poetry to be read aloud.” – Amazon Review

You can find all things Joanne Van Leerdam at www.jvlpoet.com

Order Leaf here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2W0HV6/  

Author Interview: Betty Mermelstein

Interview Red

Hi folks! I’m back again with another fantastic Indie author interview. Today, I’m chatting with multi-genre author, Betty Mermelstein. Welcome, Betty!

Thanks, Squirrel!

Tell me, Betty, what inspired you to write?

I have always loved to read and was interested in learning vocabulary and grammar even in elementary school, so I decided I wanted to tell my own stories with the written word.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Gone With the Wind: oh, the drama!

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

Since I was nine, I wanted to be a teacher because of my love of learning. I kept that desire and got my college degree in teaching. I retired after having taught preschool, elementary, and junior high.

Wow! Kids of all sizes!

That’s right!

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

You have to be willing to find the support as you struggle to format your books to get them self-published (especially as an ebook), find a means to advertise your books, and work your way through technology as you set up and maintain a website/blog. However, you don’t give up!

That’s right! Don’t give up!

*Betty and Squirrel give each other high fives*

What’s your favorite season?

It’s a toss up between Fall and Spring. I was born in the Fall, and it feels comfortable to me: the smell of leaves on the ground, the brightness of the foliage, the crispness in the air (of course, I haven’t lived in a climate that supports that for many years, but the memories make it palpable!). Spring makes me shiver inside with anticipation of newness and opportunities. It shows its beauty in its blooms and rejuvenates my soul with its breezes.

Oh! I love fresh blooms! It’s like… every bush is a salad!

Right…

Yeah. Back to the interview…
What the best book you’ve read this year?

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I love historical fiction, and this one is set in WWII in France and New York, following characters who are part of the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

What’s your favorite thing you have written?

That’s a hard one. I also write poetry and short humorous essays, some of which have been published. I guess I feel most accomplished in putting together my collection of short stories that deal with relationships, entitled Seven for Reflection.

What are you working on now?

I mostly continue with my short humorous essays for my blog on Tumblr. There’s always something I experience in my life that I can poke fun at.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled in Canada, Europe, and around the U.S. One of the best trips was last year when I returned to our family’s summer cottage on a lake in Michigan with my husband and sisters. We connected with extended family and proved that you can go back!

What are two things in life that you wish were easier?

I wish my expectations (which covers a wide range of situations) could be met more than they are. I always tell myself my expectations make me delusional! I also wish I could learn things more quickly, especially in technology. In my twenties, I thought I could learn anything: again, delusional!

Thanks for joining me today, Betty! 

Thanks for having me, Squirrel!

Betty Mermelstein’s books can all be found at Amazon, and you can follow her blog on Tumblr

‘The Truths We Tell’ by Sarah Northwood

Sarah Northwood gives voice to thoughts and feelings commonly experienced, but often not so thoughtfully expressed, by people in all walks of life.

Divided into three sections – fear, contemplation and love, The Truths We Tell explores the ways in which we respond to the situations and feelings that challenge us and those things that fill and complete us. The reality of being haunted by regret and the “what ifs” of life is contrasted with the whimsy of fleeting happiness and the irresistible, transforming power of love.

Through all of this is the reminder that life is what it is: “Feeling the breeze on her cheek she knew, the wind can never be the sun.” (Unique)

Without the fear, we cannot fully feel bravery or confidence. Without grief, we can fully experience neither love nor joy. Life is the sum of all its parts.

That is the truth that these poems tell. 

New Release Books.

Hey, readers!
There are some fantastic new release books that you need to know about.

‘Sweet Discovery’ by Aliya DalRae.Aliya DalRae Sweet Discovery

This is the second book in the Jessica Sweet series, featuring paranormal romance, vampires, and some excellent writing. ‘Sweet Vengeance’ introduced us to Jessica, Raven, Piper and a bunch of other great characters in a story that made us laugh, cry, and hold our breath.  Sweet Discovery promises to deliver more of everything!
Read the Book Squirrel review of Sweet Vengeance.
See the Book Squirrel author spotlight on Aliya DalRae.

Sweet Discovery is available on Amazon and free for subscribers to Kindle Unlimited.

Promo Stained Glass Cover

‘Stained Glass’ by Joanne Van Leerdam.

The poems in this book are powerful and thought-provoking,
giving the reader the distinct impression that this woman has
lived, loved and lost but come out stronger at the end of it
all. The poems are well-written and easy to read.
Given that it’s National Poetry Month, this was a timely release.

It’s a small collection of 22 poems, but well worth the 99c price
tag.

It’s available in your favourite digital bookstore.

‘Titans of Ardana 2 – Battlefield’ by Jesse Frankel   Jesse Frankel Titans of Ardana 2 Battlefield.

This humorous YA sci-fi-style book is a sequel to ‘Titans of Ardana’ in which we met Martin and Dana, a crime-fighting teen couple with superpowers and personality a-plenty.

Frankel writes fabulous YA books that are engaging and thought-provoking reads for teens and young adults.

‘Titans of Ardana 2 – Battlefield’ is on Amazon, alongside the other titles by Jesse Frankel.

COMING SOON! Available for pre-order.

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.

Avid readers of the Landon Miller mystery/thriller books can pre-order their copy of ‘Bound’ today, so that they can read it as soon as it’s released.

‘Bound’ is listed for pre-order on Amazon and will be free for subscribers to Kindle Unlimited.