Author Interview: Kari Holloway

Interview Cobalt

Hi folks! Today I’m chatting with Kari Holloway, an American writer who grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. She dabbles in southern romances filled with iconic components of sexy cowboys and firefighters, explores the unexplained in her paranormal series, and has found her way to the battlefields of the Civil War, and to love’s first kiss under the weeping willow through various anthologies.Head Shot__Reduced Size

Hi Kari, it’s great to have you here.

Hello! Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

You’re most welcome. I love meeting authors and talking about books. Tell me, what inspired you to write?

Truthful answer? I was a social fringe kind of kid. Screwed up bell-curve grades and preferring the uncool styles of country music and anime kept me there. I remember writing in school, but teachers wouldn’t allow students to bring notebooks on test days, so I brought books instead. Then in 2015 I went back to writing and haven’t stopped.

That’s the way! Don’t stop!

Absolutely!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Only one? There are scenes in Cracked But Never Broken that hurt my heart, Behind the Lens has those tantalizing moments of unsure requited love, Mark of Cain has my MC standing up for herself.
Trapped by Design is one of my favorites. It’s a paranormal short story set in the realm of my Devil’s Playground series. I haven’t published it yet. I’m shopping it around to publications. It starts off with Ava playing a game of peek-a-boo with her kid.

Oh, make sure you let me know when it’s out, and I’ll spread the word.

Hey, thanks!

No problem! What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks if we’re talking new school. If we’re talking in all of modern time, Sackett Series by Louis Lamour.

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

I got to see a sneak peek of the stories in A Contract of Words. They are amazing, and some leave me in awe while others just creep me out. I think that’s a good hallmark of a well-balanced anthology.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m trying to rein in my muse. She’s trying to start me on book 5 in the Devil’s Playground series while I’m under deadline for a group release in October.

Those darned muses certainly have a mind of their own, eh.

You got that right!

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

No. I tend to write while drinking a glass of sweet tea, but the tea’s the only thing I drink.

Who designs your book covers?

Steven Novak of Novak illustrations did my Laughing P series. German Creative is the designer on my Devil’s Playground series, and the short story covers are my handywork.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Country with some 60s, 70s, and 80s of Pop and Rock.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Depends on my mood. I live in a fairly rural place. Lots of woods merged with rolling farmland. The beach would be nice—watching the storms roll across the ocean, the fresh breeze, and shell collection. I couldn’t live in a city like Atlanta or New York, but small-town suits me just fine.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Scuba diving in the Florida Keys or off the coast of Panama City in Florida.

What’s your favourite TV show?

To be honest, I can’t think of the last show I didn’t catch on DVR. The two I do try to catch with regularity is Doctor Who and the Graham Norton Show.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

You’ve Got Mail. It’s hopeful and sweet.

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

I wanted to be a veterinarian.

I like you.

Awww! I like you, too!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring. Seeing the birds return in a slow migration of robins morphing into cardinals, the first few flowers determined to bloom, and it being warm/cool enough to have the windows open.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.”

That’s very thought-provoking!

It sure is!

What does a typical day hold for you?

I enjoy spending my evenings writing. During the day, it’s chasing my kids around, laughing at their sassy ways and the depths of their curiosity.

Sounds busy! What’s your motto in life?

Show the world the best version of you, for our actions of today make tomorrow.

Oh, I really like that.

Thanks!

Where can we follow you on social media?

I have a website, and an author page on Amazon. I’m also on Facebook and Tumblr.

Fantastic! And where can we find your books?

My books are all on Amazon, although not exclusively. The anthology ‘Love, Lust & Scary Monsters’ is in other stores as well.

Laughing P

 

 

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Author Interview: ML Sparrow

Book Squirrel chats with ML Sparrow, author of sci-fi, fantasy and romance for both YA and adult readers.

Interview Purple

Book Squirrel chats with ML Sparrow, author of sci-fi, fantasy and romance for both YA and adult readers.
Hi, ML. It’s great to have you here.

Thank you for having me, Book Squirrel!

Why don’t you start by telling us what inspired you to write?

From a young age I loved writing, so I can’t actually remember what inspired me to start; I’d scribble stories about animals in notebooks and draw pictures to go with them. Thankfully, I stopped doing the pictures when I realised I’m awful at drawing! I guess I wanted to write stories like the ones I loved to read, since I’ve always been a bookworm!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

ML Sparrow No Rest For The Wicked

That’s such a hard question! My stories are so different, not just different genres but different character types and writing styles, so it’s hard to choose a favourite because I like them all for different reasons. Sin, from Ghetto, is my favourite hero so far. Red Days and A Tangled Web are important to me because of all the things I learnt whilst researching them, since they are based on true events. However, No Rest for the Wicked holds a special place in my heart since it was the first story I ever completed, so I’ll go out on a limb and say that one is my favourite so far.

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

So basically you’re asking me what my favourite book is? I both love and hate this question, because I can never answer it but at least I get the chance to talk about books!
My favourite authors are Nalini Singh, Cherise Sinclair and Kresley Cole. I’m constantly re-reading their books and I mark upcoming releases on my calendar so that I can dive straight into it the day it comes out.
In classical circles, The Iliad is one of my favourite books, but I also like Wuthering Heights, though not for the reasons most people like it – I DO NOT think it’s a romance, I just enjoy how horrible all the characters are.

I could go on and on, but I won’t! If you want to know more about my favourite books, I talk specifically about them in my interview with Ryan Lieske.

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

Since we’re just a few months into 2018 and I’ve only read a few books so far, I’ll let you know about my favourite books of 2017 instead.
I read loads of great books in 2017, the ones that really stick out are Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole, Cress by Marissa Meyer and the Captive Prince trilogy by C.S Pacat.

For a full list of my favourite books from 2017, check out this blog post.

Hey, that’s great! I’m going to follow your blog!

Oh cool! You’ve really got it all going on, don’t you, Book Squirrel?

The most bookish – and technologically savvy – squirrel in the forest, at your service.
*takes a bow*
What are you working on writing now?

ML Sparrow PlayerI’m currently working on two things at the moment. Primarily I’m focusing on Flirt, the second book in my What Happens on Campus Series. It’s a NA contemporary romance which starts with Player and is set at a university in Texas. However, I’m also working on Raw, which is a sexual, psychological thriller.

I like how varied your books are. I’m sure you never get bored that way!

Very true.

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

Food and drink are my nemesis whilst I’m writing! I love to snack and I’m addicted to fizzy drinks, so I’m trying to cut that out whilst I’m writing, because although I enjoy it, it’s really not very good for me!

Who designs your book covers?

I’ve worked with several cover designers for my books, but my favourites are Damonza and Deranged Doctor Designs; they create amazing covers and are really great to work with, both professional and friendly. Their prices are on the more expensive side, but it really is worth paying for a professional cover for your novel. Despite the saying, people really do judge books by the cover.

Yes, I think that’s true.
What’s your favourite kind of music?

I’m sure everyone probably says this, but I listen to all kinds of music, whether it’s classical, rock or pop. It really just depends on what mood I’m in! Currently, I’m going through a country phase so I’m listening to lots of Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Although I’m living in Tokyo, I’m really more of a country girl. I love a nice, hot beach holiday, but if I have to choose somewhere to live and money was no object, I’d pick the country, near a forest for long walks with all the dogs I plan to rescue. 🙂

That’s lovely, although I hope you’ll train them not to chase squirrels.

I’ll do my best!

Much appreciated!
What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Most people my age seem to hate going on holiday with their family, but I absolutely love it. I’ve been travelling by myself and seen some amazing places such as Japan, Mexico and Sri Lanka, but nothing beats going away with my parents and sister, whether it’s a short beach break or camping, I just enjoy being with my family. For me it’s not about the location, it’s who you’re with that make the holiday special.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Asking me what my favourite TV show is, is almost as dangerous as asking me about my favourite book! Some of my favourites are One Tree Hill, Poldark, The Vicar of Dibley, Supernatural (although I stopped watching after the 6th season, I still love the earlier ones) and The Big Bang Theory. Also, I’ve recently discovered Grey’s Anatomy and am totally hooked!

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

I’ve always wanted to be an author, except for when I was very, very young and I wanted to be a farmer. I’m beginning to think becoming a farmer may have been more lucrative than becoming an author, but I just love writing too much to stop!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love summer, for the simple reason that it’s hot. Having lived in England until recently, the weather is pretty unreliable and it rains even in summer, but at least there’s a chance of sunshine!

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

I have the quote ‘Decide what to be and go be it’ by the Avett Brothers tattooed on my arm. It’s one of my favourite quotes because whenever I feel like giving up, or I feel like I’m getting nowhere with my writing, I look at it and it reminds me to keep going until I get where I want to be.

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

Being an author (whether it’s Indie or otherwise) is a vocation; much like working with animals and children, authors write because they love it, not, for the most part, because they make lots of money!
Therefore, leaving a review, even if it’s as simple as ‘I really liked this book’ makes such a difference. Not only do reviews increase the chance of other people buying the book but they are also great for the author to read. Personally, I love all the reviews I get, good or bad. I know not everyone is going to like my work and if a bad review is constructive I know where I went wrong and what to improve in the future. I recently had someone comment on one of my Twitter posts that she loved the book in question (A Tangled Web) and that simple comment made my whole day!

Understandably so!
Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

  1. Getting up in the morning.
  2. Editing; although it’s necessary I really, really hate editing!

Where can we find copies of your books?

My books are all on Amazon, and there’s more information about each of them on my website.

Where can we follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Gooodreads.
I also have a great website where readers can contact me, and everyone is more than welcome to visit.

Book Review: ‘Out Of The Sands’ by S.A. Gibson and Safa Shaqsy

A fascinating steampunk adventure short story.

SA Gibson Safa Shaqsy Out Of The Sands‘Out Of The Sands’ is a fascinating steampunk adventure short story of political intrigue set in Egypt during a time of social reconstruction.

Aaleyah has been hired to survey the nation’s antiquities; Sunil is her engineer and balloonist. They are immediately very likeable and well-crafted characters, and develop more fully as the story progresses.

The plot unfolds at an exciting pace, with lots of action and movement to keep the reader engaged throughout. The steampunk elements are subtle and well-designed, adding elegance and depth to the story.

This is a very enjoyable and interesting read, finished comfortably in an hour, and includes libraries, history, and sword fighting. What more could a reader want in a story?
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Out Of The Sands’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: (Almost) Average Anthology: Tales Of Adventure, Loss and Oddity by Jason Nugent.

A collection that displays the range and power of Nugent’s dark imagination.

Jason Nugent Almost Average AnthologyThis interesting and varied collection opens w ith an astounding personification of death that challenges the reader to confront their fear and think more philosophically about death as an entity rather than an event.

 

Once he has the reader’s attention, Nugent carries them from scene to scene, ranging from bleak to grim, to macabre. Each story delivers a thought-provoking punch or a clever twist that takes the reader by surprise.

 

I chose to enjoy these short stories individually rather than one after another in close succession, and found each one to be very well executed. As a collection, they display the range and power of Nugent’s dark imagination and his ability to deliver each story with a profound effect.

Acorn Award II Silver

This book has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

 

Book Review: ‘Thoughts of You’ by Anthony Beddis

An expressive collection of honest, passionate flash prose. .. but it’s not poetry.

2018-03-11 13.54.55This collection of honest, passionate flash prose is rich in imagery and high expression of the author’s love and desire for the object of his affections. The writing is quite poetic, taking the reader deep into the thoughts and emotions of the author as he expresses his innermost thoughts and feelings.

 

I was bemused, however, to see this book listed as poetry. It is definitely intimate and expressive, but it is also definitely prose as it is written in the form of full sentences, in paragraphs, arranged as such. Use of imagery, regardless of frequency or consistency, does not in itself define one’s writing as poetry.

 

The reader does develop a profound sense of intimacy with the author, sharing as one does in his most personal and honest moments with his beloved. His thoughts and feelings are highly relatable and his absolute honesty is disarming.

 

This is an enjoyable book that fulfils the purpose revealed in the title: these are the thoughts that fill the author’s mind and soul each day, demonstrating his adoration of, and also his commitment to, the lucky person who consumes him so powerfully. Acorn Award III Bronze

 

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Bronze Acorn because while the writing really is lovely and I did enjoy it, it’s not actually poetry and should not be marketed as such.

 

 

Book Review: ‘Tainted Waters’ by Lucretia Stanhope

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.

It is often said that light drives out darkness and that loves drives away fear. Such proverbs may be mostly true most of the time, but not without exception.

Lucretia Stanhope PPK 1Tainted Waters

‘Tainted Waters’ is a book full of such exceptions. It is a story of shadows and illusions, doubts and deceptions, and of clouded thoughts and emotions. In her youth, Alice desires security, truth and a sense of belonging, but enjoys none of these. Trusting nobody and belonging nowhere, her world is one where, time and time again, she has to choose the least terrible option and learn to make the best of it.

Stanhope has woven a tale in which conflict, distrust and obscured truths come into sharp contrast as the powers of light and darkness battle with one another for supremacy. As Alice discovers who and what she is, and how to make use of the resources available to her, the reader sees those same contrasts in her character: naïveté and inherited knowledge, vulnerability and power, weakness and strength.

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it hard to put down.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Tainted Waters’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Chartreuse Spirit’ by India Emerald

India Emerald The Chartreuse Spirit
This is an intriguing story which appears at first to consist of separate and quite distinct observations and reflections from Verity and Peter during a time in which they are separated by Peter’s investigation of a case. The reader does not understand these recollections to be convergent at all until, at some indistinct point, they realise that the two characters’ accounts both relate to the same mystery.

 

It’s very cleverly constructed, and while it does work as a standalone, the reader can gain considerable understanding of the context of this story and its central characters by reading ‘Hope’s Well’ by the same author.

Acorn Award II Silver

This is a great short read that can be enjoyed in the space of a lunch break. Book Squirrel has awarded it a Silver Acorn.