I received a message from a happy reader of the vampire paranormal romance novels, the Suckers Trilogy!
Meet the Author...
I was looking for paranormal authors on Instagram and came across Hashmi’s account. I immediately sent her a message and was excited when Hashmi contacted me back, saying she was thrilled to participate in an interview. I was thrilled, too, especially because she’s a fellow ‘Scotsman’ and I may get to meet her one day, and, of course, because she’s a vampire novelist as well! Let’s get to know Hashmi Gor.
What do you do in your free time?
I rarely get free time to be honest. I work as a full-time, self-employed optometrist. However, when I do get time off, I can be found pottering around my garden which I find very relaxing. There’s a certain joy in watching a plant/seed/bulb you have planted flourish and grow. If, however, it is raining, which it often does in Scotland, then a movie or a documentary on wildlife would be on the agenda. I also dabble in henna tattoos hence my Pinterest name of GORgeous Henna.
Where did your love of reading come from?
I have to say it all stemmed from my Mum. She loved to read and had loads of books lying around the house. When I was you, there were no mobile phones and TV had two channels. If you weren’t playing outside, then you were indoors reading. It passed the time and opened up amazing new worlds you could escape into.
What is your all-time favorite book?
Wow, there are so many to choose from! The first adult book I read was Rage of Angels, by Sidney Sheldon, which was amazing. His writing style just pulls you in. One of my go to books when I want to be happy is Love in the Doghouse, by Molly Douglas. It’s a short book, but I absolutely love it. Bein a dog lover, it pulls at your heartstrings and makes you laugh and cry. In the classics, it has to be Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, for its wittiness and romance. Two other books that fall into my favourites category have to be See Jane Run, by Joy Fielding, for its brillian storytelling, and The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer, again for its witty heroine.
What do you love most about writing?
I love letting my imagination loose. You never know what your mind is going to create next. It could be literally anything! A simple object can start to have magic, and when characters turn up, they can go places and do things you have only dreamed about. I think a lot of authors get to live the lives they want though their characters. Things that are impossible in real life become not only possible but real in your make-believe worlds. I think I love the feeling of almost being a child when writing because children don’t have the concept of what they can and cannot do and become. Everything and anything is possible when you are a child.
Which three people would you want on a deserted island with you?
The one character I would want from my books would be Samantha Lewis from Rules of Fate, my newest book. She is someone who always finds a way out of problems and has a wicked sense of humour which keeps everything light even when faced by crazy odds.
A character from another book would be Dirk Pitt from the Clive Cussler books because he is also a genius at improvisation, and I love the banter he has. I think Sam would get on well with him.
A famous person would have to be either David Attenborough or Lawrence Anthony, author of Elephant Whisperer, because I find both of them fascinating, and their lives are so diverse. Their experiences would keep me happy for months on end.
Tell us about your most recent book and why it is a must read
Rules of Fate is my newest book which is going to be released in the next few months. It is a sci-fi fantasy which is a completely new genre for me. I usually write vampire fantasy and African adventures. This book challenged me in so many ways that initially frightened me. I also write it in the first person which made it very exciting.
I love the characters that have come to life in the process. Samantha is one of the funniest characters i have created. She does, says, and thinks things that I somethimes feel I have no control over! Often she has made me laugh out loud until tears have literally rolled down my cheeks, which is why I don’t edit this book in public. Her banter with the other primary character is fascinating and hilarious by turns. It is difficult to brand this book in a traditional manner, but I think anyone who has a good sense of humour, enjoys fantasy, and wants lots of twists and turns would absolutely love it.
What gives you inspiration for your books?
Anything, really. I have found myself driving on a long, boring road at the end of the day when a scene just pops into my head. I think music has a lot to do with it. I tend to see my books as movies, with a soundtrack. For example, the soundtrack for Rules of Fate was Don’t you worry, Child, by the Swedish House Mafia, and Breathe, a song from Grey’s Anatomy’s soundtrack. The Blood Series was predominantly some of the Twilight soundtrack and Cold Water, by Major Lazer, while Edge of Dawn played out to Clint Mansell’s Boat Montage from the movie Sahara and other African tribal sounds.
What is your favorite part of Rules of Fate
There’s a scene where Sam gets shot at, and she’s trying to figure out why this random person has decided to shoot at her and her partner. Her partner doesn’t seem to find it unusual, and she’s getting frustrated by his blasé attitude. Here’s a small snippet:
‘...you sure you’re OK? I mean you were shot at.’
He shrugged like it had been a walk in the park. ‘I didn’t get hit.’
‘You sure?’ I wasn’t. Maybe the bullet had hit him in the head. That would explain his current blasé attitude and why he was smiling like an idiot.
This is one of the many scenes that made me laugh out loud.
Tell us about a favorite character you have written, and why it is your favorite
Muskaan Bajaj from Edge of Dawn is quite close to my heart. Her life is loosely based on mine, and her job as game ranger/tour guide is what I would love to do if I wasn’t an optometrist. She has the fire and tenacity needed to deal with the hard choices she has to make in Edge of Dawn. In fact, she may be making a re-appearance in a sequel at some point.
What would the main character have to say about you?
I think all my main characters would question my judgement and probably want to kill me! I make quite a lot of them suffer ordeals. Nichalas Rayne from the Blood Series would definitely have something to say about that. I have made the poor man go through a lot, from losing his love to almost dying and having to live in a cougar. I’m really sorry, Nick, but I don’t think the ordeal is over. There’s still a fourth book in the Blood Series that needs to be written!
Thanks so much, Hashmi, for the insight into your writing. It is a joy to read your writing gives you as much pleasure as my own writing gives me. I think we’re both very lucky that we’re able to enjoy one’s work so much.
If you like to know more about Hashmi Gor and/or want to follow her online, you can do so via the following social media contacts:
All Hashmi Gor’s books are available on Amazon:
Love will find you!
You can run, but you can’t hide… Love will always find you!
Kate tried to hide. She tried to run. Love still found her when she bumped into the handsome sucker called Caleb. But an apocalypse is not a good time to fall in love…
Read the interview with Jacky Dahlhaus by book blogger Kerry Parson to find out more about Jacky’s writing. Read Living Like A Vampire to find out about Kate’s love adventure.
#Paranormal #Romance #Suspense #Vampires
Does he really love her?
Kate is smitten with Caleb, but does he love her?
Kate moves heaven on earth to find Caleb after he mysteriously disappears. When she finally finds him, he sends out mixed messages. Does he love her… or not?
#Paranormal #Romance #Suspense #Vampires
Who do you love?
Did you go for the sexy stranger or the not-so-sexy good friend? Think about it. Who do you love?
Kate bumped into a sucker when she was running for her life. He was funny, handsome, and… a vampire. Why the hell did she fall for him?
Listen to an interview with Jacky Dahlhaus by Angelina Kalahari about Living Like A Vampire.
Read all about how Kate struggles with falling for this mysterious guy in the novel!
#Paranormal #Romance #Suspense #Vampires
Kate wasn’t looking for love…
But she found it anyway!
Kate was running for her life. People were being killed, chaos was all around. This was not the time to be looking for love. Yet… love has a habit of popping up at the most inappropriate of times.
Read more about this suspensful, funny, romantic, paranormal novel here.
#Paranormal #Romance #Suspense #Vampires
Meet the Author... Caroline Davis
It’s been a while, but I’m back with some interesting author interviews again! I met Caroline Davis on Twitter. She has a book out called Night Vision: An Oupire Romance. She is a vampire fiction writer who writes about ‘oupires.’ I actually had to google what oupires were as I’d never heard of the word. I read that vampires are mythological creatures, and oupires are the real thing, but it appears that Caroline has worked with completely different info. Let’s find out more about Caroline’s oupires!
I didn’t start out wanting to be a writer, although I became interested in vampires early on through the TV soap opera Dark Shadows. It was while I was at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York that I started writing down my vampire fantasies with another student there. After I left Fashion Institute to study fine art and then library science, I would try my hand at writing vampire stories now and again. To be honest, most of them were abysmal and best forgotten! I had better luck with my nonfiction efforts. An academic article I wrote on the reburial of Native American human remains in New England was published in a regional archaeology journal, a highlight of my academic library career. During my last few years in the library world, however, I finally found time to write fiction again, and so I began work on a story about (what else?) vampires.
What is your book about?
I like to write about undead characters (vampires and oupires—I’ll explain) in situations where unresolved issues from their past come out. My novel Night Vision has what’s really a cold case murder mystery from 1913 mixed in with a love story. Undead characters are great for this kind of story because those involved in the crime are usually still around!
The difference between vampires and oupires in the book comes from the variety of characteristics ascribed to blood sucking revenants in folklore and literature. So, for example, the vampires are alive from sundown to sunrise, but the oupires are alive from noon to midnight, something which comes from certain eighteenth century accounts of Polish and Russian vampire activity. The two groups aren’t always at war, but there is a lot of friction between them and sometimes violence erupts. That possibility is always there, and it’s a problem for the two main characters in Night Vision, since the heroine, Lily Schmidt, is an oupire and her lover, Carl Eckhart, is a vampire.
How did you come up with the idea for Night Vision?
As I mentioned in my bio, I got interested in vampires through Dark Shadows years ago but got involved in other things and only turned to writing on and off. However, during the vampire craze of the early 2000s, it happened that my father passed away. At his wake, I encountered a female cousin, someone of whom I was very jealous when I was a child. I started thinking about writing a vampire story about two cousins, but I didn’t want it to be just a simple novella about how they investigate this supposed “vampire murder” from 1913. So the murder became part of the backstory, and I expanded from there.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Well, I was a librarian so you can imagine that I spend a lot of time on research both in constructing a book and while I’m working on it. For example, in one scene in Night Vision the vampires play a card game, so I needed to find a game they would be likely to play. Eventually I figured out that since most of the characters in the scene are German, they might play a game called Skat. This led to my trying to learn how to play Skat, or at least understand enough of the game to realistically show it in the scene.
Are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I don’t want to write a series with the same characters appearing in multiple books because I like to catch a character at some sort of emotional turning point. Then I want to write about another character who is facing a different issue. However, I do intend to use the preternatural “world” that I established in Night Vision in other books, which might occasionally share a character or two. I also intend to keep the settings in the Northeastern U.S. (Night Vision is set is Pennsylvania) and to work with similar plots and themes going forward.
Do you outline or just write?
I make a detailed outline—the more detailed, the better—because I want to find a coherent way to present the backstory and the clues to the mystery. I also want to be sure that there is plausible motivation for whatever a given character will do that moves the plot forward. Of course, as I write I understand the characters better and then new ideas occur to me and some things get changed.
When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
As I mentioned, I understand my characters better as I go along. But I do start with a fairly good idea of what the main characters are about, basically. It can happen that I understand a character’s psychology, but I’m not sure how to present the character, that I don’t have a clear idea of his or her “persona.” It’s difficult at first, but when I can hear a character talking in my head, I know I’m on the right track.
Do you have any difficulty writing characters of the opposite sex?
Frankly, yes. Although I believe that men and women share the same mental and emotional processes on a deep level, there are all kinds of subtle differences that make it challenging for me to portray someone who is not a heterosexual woman. Just to take a simple case—in my experience most men do not readily admit they are depressed. So, I can have a deeply depressed male character, and I doubt that he’s going to talk about it with a friend the way a female character might. A related problem is that many of my characters were born in the nineteenth century, sometimes abroad, but they have lived through the whole twentieth century into the twenty-first. I go on the assumption that they are not going to be the same people they were years ago, but they aren’t just like people now either. I struggle with these kinds of issues in my writing, but I’m not sure how successful I am in dealing with them.
Music or silence?
This is a fun question. Night Vision has a lot of music behind it, and I even describe a concert in the book. So, yes, I do listen to music much of the time when I am writing, although not always. To write some types of scenes, I need a sharp focus that is better achieved through silence.
Are you working on another book?
Yes, I am writing another book, the working title of which is Blood and Water. The main character in this book, Jan Martínek, is a vampire who, under pressure from his estranged wife, reluctantly agrees to investigate the disappearance of his detested uncle Otakar. Jan holds a grudge against Otakar because, many years before, Otakar made him a vampire against his will and later forced him to marry his ex-wife. But when Jan goes to the old spa town in western New Jersey where Otakar was last seen, he encounters the beautiful descendent of a long-dead medium, a woman with whom he was in love in the late 1890s. Trouble ensues, as they say.
What motivated you to become an indie/published author? How did you break into publishing?
When I first finished Night Vision I tried sending it out to about a dozen agents and a few traditional romance publishers, but, as you would expect, no one was interested in it. It was a particularly bad time to send out a vampire love story because the market for such books was saturated by then, and I was an unknown author with no social media presence at all. So, I put the story aside and worked on the second book until last year, when I was able to retire.
At that point I decided to self-publish Night Vision on Amazon, which took a while as I had to learn to use Kindle Create and make a cover. I finally got the book out last November and since then I have been learning to use Twitter and connecting with other authors. That’s been a lot of fun! Now I’m glad I decided to go the indie route and plan to self-publish Blood and Water on Amazon when it’s finished later this year.
Thank you so much for your explanation of oupires, Caroline! Your story sounds very intriguing, and I hope to read it one day. It’s a pleasure to have met you on Twitter 🙂
You can contact Caroline Davis via the following social media:
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Would you go back to school?
Think about it. If the world was ending, would you go back to school?
The world is in chaos. People are being chased and killed by vampires. What does Kate do? She goes back to school…
Listen to a podcast interview with Jacky Dahlhaus by Máire Brophy on the Irish Writers Podcast. Read Living Like A Vampire to find out why Kate goes back to school…
#paranormal #vampire #suspense
I tell you all I did to finish NaNoWriMo and my new paranormal romance
I did it! I finished the first draft of The Stranger, previously called The Extra (although the second is by no means now final). As you can see in the graph below, I began writing seriously on the 5th of November for NaNoWriMo, and it took me exactly one month and a day (excluding the first 3K words I wrote earlier in the year). The final word count stood at 63.861. This number will be going up as I will go through the next few edits, and I’m hoping to reach the 70K again.
So, how did I do it? Let me tell you.
Did I start writing the story from scratch? No, I didn’t. I finished Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy in March 2018, and just after that, I wrote the first few chapters of this book. I didn’t know it was going to be another trilogy, but the more I thought about it, the more ideas I had. I didn’t have time to continue writing, however, as I decided to do major cover edits on the Sucker Trilogy books. This took me a couple of months (next time I’ll let someone else do it!). I then needed to work on promoting the trilogy in October. In between the scenes, so to speak, I jotted down notes on my cell phone. I used the Samsung Notes app every time an idea for the book popped into my head. I have two pages of them (the Note app has a limit on how much you can put on each page). Some notes I have used, some I haven’t, but you never know when they’re coming in handy, so I’m not deleting them. I still have two books to write :).
My book plays in Alaska. Why? Because I needed a place where paranormal creatures could live in relative obscurity. Werewolves need to be able to run unseen. Vampires need to be able to drink blood without being caught. And Alaska is a pretty remote place. One day, I Googled the map for Alaska and found this lake called Deadman Lake. I had found the perfect spot for my story!
The Real Research
Now I knew where my novel was going to take place, I tried to read up and watch documentaries on everything Alaska. What were the daylight hours? How cold did it get in winter? What animals live there? What is it like for humans to live there? A mistake I make when writing my first Suckers Trilogy book was that that I assumed what country towns in Maine looked like. I had no clue. I actually made a similar mistake in The Stranger. A typical house in the UK has an upstairs, and I assumed this to be the case in Alaska as well (like in Maine). Only halfway did I realize this was so wrong, and I had to rewrite certain passages.
One of the ‘in-depth’ researches I did was when I contacted another writer who had lived in the area. We had an online, live conversation, and she could give me a lot of answers to questions I had. I also bought Nora Roberts’s book Northern Lights, a story which also plays in Alaska. I haven’t finished it, but it very much regurgitated all the things I had learned so far about living in Alaska. I was on the right track!
The Actual Writing
As mentioned earlier, I only began writing on the fifth day of November, and by the time it was the fifteenth of the month, I only had written for six days and hadn’t even passed the 20K word mark. I was running behind big time and needed to up my game. Competitive as I am, I set all other things aside and began treating my writing as a full-time job. This did it the world of good. I limited my time on social media. I even turned off the notifications on my phone. Sorry, I lie. This was actually a remnant from my filming session with Aberdeenshire Film Productions late October, and I simply forgot to turn it back on again. I don’t think I will, to be honest, as I don’t want to be a slave to Facebook and Twitter anymore.
Writing At Last
What was it like to actually write after half a year? Awesome! Even though I had been thinking about this story for months, I refused myself to think up an ending already, literally going LALALALALA in my head when my mind even hinted going into certain directions. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made with Book 3 in the Suckers Trilogy and spoil the fun. I sort of had an idea of what the moral of the story was (oh yes, it has one), but I kept an open mind on how to put it in there. I preferred to let my characters take me on their journey, leaving all directions open (north, east, south, and west). And during all of my writing, I have faced many, many directions. Sometimes I turned into directions that I immediately backtracked and erased. Most times, however, I just took some time looking around at the crossroads and chose the option that was the most interesting.
This story is different in that it definitely complies to being a romance. The Suckers Trilogy is rather dark whereas I kept this story reasonably light. I’m not sure yet if the next two stories are going to stay this light, but romance lovers are certainly not going to be disappointed with this one. There’s (only) one semi-descriptive love scene in it, and I had to change the age of the main character from 17 to 18 to keep everybody happy. No, this doesn’t make it erotica. I had to look up what the difference was to make sure for you, but this story still holds if you take out the loving, so no erotica.
At one point, something happened that I didn’t anticipate at all. All of a sudden, this character appeared, out of the blue, knocking me off my feet, throwing a spanner in the works, so to say. But it made it so much more fun, giving the story so much more depth. It’s going to be one of the red lines that run through all three of the stories. I just love it when things like this happen!
Having an Editor
The first draft is done, and I’ve actually already finished the first edit. I love this story so much that I couldn’t stop working on it! 😀 I’m trying to make this production the most professional one I’ve done so far, so it’s going to be interesting how much time it will take. Being more professional also means I have an editor booked in January (which is pretty organized for me). I have the next two weeks to polish the story and get it ready for the editor. She already told me I’ve got a habit of head-hopping (a remnant trait from my first-person point of view writing of the Suckers Trilogy) before I started writing this book, but I’ve caught myself still doing it. So quite a few scenes need to be re-written.
I’m hoping I can find some alpha/beta-readers in my email list (but if you’re not, I’ll still welcome you!). I already have one person who has put his hand up for being a beta-reader (yay!). As I write ‘on the fly’ or ‘pantsing’ as they say, my story has no pre-checked structure. I go with the flow and hence some sections may be too slow, too fast, or perhaps not necessary at all. I need someone to tell me this to make the story better.
My editor will do a light edit. She already told me my writing isn’t bad at all (You have a firm handle on voice, style, grammar, and punctuation), so it will mostly be a vocabulary and possibly a little grammar improvement here and there, plus help with my POV and chapter changes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed she won’t find any plot holes. As I’ve changed directions so many times in the story, I hope I can correct any wrong assumptions I had at the beginning of the story. Once I’ve gone through her notes and made my changes in February, she’ll proofread the work, and it can go to beta-readers to be read in March-April. So, if you have some time in your schedule and would like a free book, put your hand up! (and email me: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the meantime, I need to organize a cover. At first, I was thinking about a cartoon-style cover, but now I’ve written the story, I don’t think that’s the way to go. It’s not that funny. I still don’t have any idea for a cover, so I’m open to any suggestions (cover or cover designer). Let me know if you know of a great designer.
All-in-all, I can’t wait to get this story on the market and to my readers. I just know they’re going to love it as much as I do!
Meet author Sandra Bass Joines and learn about how her new release ‘Shoe in the Road’ came about.
Sandra Bass Joines is a sweet lady I met through One Stop Fiction. Sandra has written a book on spine surgery recovery and a romantic suspense novel called Tears of Sand. Earlier this year, she has published her second romantic suspense novel called Shoe in the Road. It’s a story about a woman finding a shoe in the road. Oh, and about finding true love after leaving a cheating husband and a suspenseful road trip. Let’s talk to Sandra to find out more about this strangely titled novel!
Sandra Bass Joines
Thank you so much for affording me the opportunity to share a little about my latest novel SHOE IN THE ROAD and how it came about.
It’s a strange title. Can you tell us how you got it?
Titles come to my mind before stories do. The title for this last novel, for instance, popped into my mind one day when I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. I thought that would be an interesting name for a book – shoe in the road. I had no idea what it would be about or anything regarding characters. I sat at my computer one day and typed Shoe in the Road on the first page. I then closed my eyes and listened (I try to listen, not think). At this point, the idea presented itself to have a shoe influence the lives of the heroine and hero.
So, after you had the title, how did you come up with the story?
The story pretty much wrote itself. Well, I have to give some credit to the heroine’s conversations with her deceased grandmother’s ashes (don’t worry, they were in an urn) and an ornery cat who invited himself into the story. I’m a southern girl who can spin quite a yarn. Therefore, it seemed logical that a girl running from a controlling, cheating husband would certainly be more interesting escaping in a 1960 Coupe de Ville convertible named Gussie than in a traditional vehicle.
Why did you use this setting for your novel?
A showdown between Boston Calbreth, the heroine, and her husband made sense to happen in a place I have heard scary stories about all my life. Tales of people going into Tate’s Hell Swamp and never coming out have been passed down from one generation to the next.
How long did you take to write the story?
It took six weeks to write the novel and a year for revising and editing. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write. I plan to put as many as possible on paper.
How did you experience the launch of your book?
I did a launch using a four-day free promotion and a four-day ninety-nine cent promotion before raising the book to full price. So far, everything has been running smoothly. Each time I make a scheduled change, I am afraid of doing it incorrectly or concerned that Amazon or one of the promotion companies will not come through. I am enjoying the ride, and am grateful to all the wonderful people who are supporting me.
Sorry everybody, as Sandra’s book was launched in February 2018, the discounts no longer apply. I’m sure Sandra will bring the price down now and again, though 🙂 .
Sandra Bass Joines’s books are available on Amazon.
You can follow her via the following social media: