Tag Archives: Reading

BookFunnel Giveaway!

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Searching for a thrilling selection of new reads? Why not pick one of the Amazing twenty-four FREE novels from this Paranormal Reads Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends August 3.

This Giveaway includes Book 1 of the Suckers Trilogy

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

BookFunnel Giveaway!

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Searching for a new Kick A** Heroine to love?

Look no further! These authors have teamed up to help you discover your next Urban Fantasy obsession. Nearly 50 FREE books with new heroines to root for!

You can find them here, but only till the 31st of July…

Meet the Author… Mark L. Fowler

Blue Murder Blog Tour

Welcome to Mark L. Fowler’s Blog Tour! As mentioned in my interview with him last March, I’ve known Mark L. Fowler for a few years now. We both joined One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Group (on Facebook) when it only had a few members. Of course I said ‘yes!’ when Mark asked me to be a beta reader for his new book, Blue Murder, book 2 of the Tyler and Mills series. As I’m part of his blog tour, I’d love to give him another boost 🙂 .

Mark L. Fowler

Mark_Fowler

Biography

Mark L. Fowler has five published novels under his belt, and he recently contributed one of his many short stories to the Dark Minds charity collection. Mark’s most recent book, Blue Murder, is the second in a police detective series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills. The first book to feature the detectives, Red Is The Colour, was published by Bloodhound Books last year and shortlisted for the 2018 Arnold Bennett Book Prize. Mark is also the author of The Man Upstairs, featuring hard-boiled detective Frank Miller, and Silver, a psychological thriller. His first book, Coffin Maker, continues to defy any attempts to categorize it. All of his books can be read as stand-alone works.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Peter James. I met him at the Winchester Annual Writers’ conference many years ago. I attended his workshop and was lucky enough to have a one: one session with him, during which he looked over the opening chapter of my first novel and gave me some sound advice.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love setting off on new adventures, not always certain of where they will take me. I love exploring new characters, watching them develop as I work on them, and finding what makes them tick.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Mark_Fowler_RedIsTheColourFor me, being a writer is absolutely a gift. Yes, it is hard work, yes there are frustrations getting your books out there, but the creative part of the job, the putting pen to paper, developing storylines, creating settings, sharpening dialogue – I just love the whole business of writing.

Do you outline or just write?

A little of both. I like to have a strong idea of my main characters, and a vivid sense of place, of where the story is happening, before I begin writing. I will usually have a clear idea of the primary situation or conflict that will need to be resolved before the story can reach its ending. But detailed plotting is not something that I like to do before beginning the writing. If I had too much plot before I started the book, I would feel constrained and my characters would not have sufficient room to develop. I know writers who plot intricately before they begin a book, leaving little or nothing to chance, while others just go for it. It is whatever works for the individual writer. I’m somewhere in between.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I read more crime fiction than any other genre, and my writing has increasingly moved that way too. I have always loved detective stories, both on the page and on screen. Most of my published work so far has been in the detective genre, one way or another, most clearly in my Tyler and Mills books and The Man Upstairs. Whilst Silver is more a psychological thriller than a classic detective novel, the main character, the writer and journalist Nick Slater, is effectively playing the role of detective, trying to get to the heart of a baffling and intriguing mystery.

What genre do you consider your latest book and have you considered writing in another genre?

Blue Murder, like its predecessor Red Is The Colour, is a British police detective novel. But the books are also historic crime, set in 2002-2003. Part of my reason for doing this was my interest in a style of policing that is a little less dependent on technology, and more about detectives going door to door, face to face. The action takes place on the streets of a North Staffordshire city, not in forensic laboratories and on computer screens. I have also written in other genres, Coffin Maker being a good example. It’s just that no-one, including the author, can quite nail the elusive genre that can define it! A lot of people really love that about the book.

What is your book about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Mark_Fowler_Blue_MurderThe sub-title of Blue Murder is: Fame. Fortune. Murder. And here lies the first clue to what the book is about. Johnny and the Swamp Seeds are a local band on the cusp of success when the singer Johnny Richards goes missing. Then the body of a young man is found in the local canal. The detectives, DCI Tyler and DS Danny Mills, not only find themselves trying to solve a baffling mystery, but at the same time their efforts appear to be doing nothing more than catapulting a now singer-less band to fame and fortune. What a lot of people most enjoyed about Red Is The Colour was the relationship, strained at times, between Tyler and Mills, and in Blue Murder I have worked hard to develop these two characters further. So the book is as much about the detectives, and also about the city in which they live and work, as it is about finding out what happened to Johnny Richards.

What gave you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for Blue Murder? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

I suppose that the inspiration for Blue Murder initially came from being in a band many years ago, though I have been careful to write a work of fiction and not an autobiography. I had the initial idea about the singer going missing at the point at which he and his band were about to break into the big time. Then I began to ask questions about why this might happen, and who might stand to gain. But once I had the basic ingredients, I didn’t want to plot any further. I wanted my detectives to do the work for me. I wanted Tyler and Mills, rather than the author, to dig into the mystery and find the truth. As far as possible, I handed the investigation over to them. After all – they are the detectives!

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I wouldn’t say ‘hijack’ exactly. While giving the story over to my detectives, in one sense, I still retain the last word. This is why I like to have some idea of the shape of the story from the outset, and why theme is important – to stop the book from veering off course. Some plot developments would seem inappropriate to the story I want to tell, and this comes through experience. The more I write about Tyler and Mills, for example, the more I know when I’m on track. If characters start to act in bizarre ways that give no meaning to the story and for no good reason – if their behaviour ceases to support the theme of the book – then I know I’m getting off-track and need to pull things back. For me this would be one of the dangers of just writing a book completely from scratch, without first getting to know my characters a little bit, and where they come from and where they are heading.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Have you written any other books that are not published?

Mark_Fowler_SilverI have at least half a dozen completed, unpublished novels and quite a number of partially completed books too. In some cases I am simply still not satisfied with the books, and need to return to them afresh to bring them to publication. Others may never see the light of day for one reason or another. In some cases I may have set off writing them too early, without thinking about the characters, the locations and/or the basic plot sufficiently, and then getting into more of a mess than I know how to get out of. It’s all experience though, and I have learned a lot from writing some books that I know may never be read. But these days I would rather set off on my writing adventures with the knowledge that I have enough to get me through to a satisfactory ending. As a writer you never stop learning.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Publishing my books has made me think differently about the whole writing process. I am more aware these days of writing for a readership, an audience. It has made me more disciplined in my approach, asking more questions at an earlier stage in the development of an idea, and a lot less self-indulgent. When I began writing short stories, a long time ago, I used to just let my imagination soar. These days I only allow that once I have a solid base beneath. I do the groundwork first and then allow the imagination of my characters to soar. And on good days they always seem to do just that. Bless them.

Thanks again, Mark, for sharing more about your writing with us. I loved reading Blue Murder and can thoroughly recommend it to anybody looking for a good crime story to read during the holidays!

For those of you who’d like to know more about Mark L. Fowler, you can follow him via:

UK Amazon Author Page

US Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


BookFunnel Giveaway!

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Searching for a thrilling selection of new reads? Why not pick one of the Amazing twenty-four FREE novels from this Paranormal Reads Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends August 3.

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

Blog Tour: Mark L. Fowler – Blue Murder

Mark L. Fowler with his new book Blue Murder

Mark L. Fowler with his new book Blue Murder

Today is the day that the Blog Tour of Mark Fowler starts, promoting his new book Blue Murder, second in the DCI Tyler and DS Mills series (but can be read as a standalone)! Check it out, follow Mark on Twitter (@MFowlerAuthor), and drop in if you can on the 30th of July 😀 .

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BookFunnel Giveaway!

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Searching for a kick-ass heroine to love? Why not pick one of the Amazing FREE Paranormal Romance Prequels, Novellas, or Novels from this Women of Urban Fantasy Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends July 31.

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

BookFunnel Giveaway!

Dragon_Deals_Giveaway.pngIn the mood for some paranormal romance? Why not pick one of the Amazing FREE Paranormal Romance Novels and Novellas from this Dragon Deals Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends July 21, so hurry!

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

BookFunnel Giveaway!

AmazingFantasyGiveaway.pngDon’t know what to read? Why not pick one of the Amazing FREE Fantasy Novels from this Amazing Fantasy GiveAway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends July 20, so hurry!

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

Meet the Author… Charles E. Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz is the author of the Legends of Windemere novels (fifteen books already!) as well as various other novels. The covers of his Windemere books attracted me as I retweeted them on Twitter, but, being a vampire-lover, his new WIP War of Nytefall – Loyalty made me contact him for an interview.

Charles Edward Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz

Biography

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Legends of Windemere is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

If I want to be technical, it was in 2nd grade and I wrote a picture story called Hunt for the Ruby Monkey. This was heavily based on King Kong, but I was trying to show characters and build tension without knowing it. This was a gift for a friend, so I don’t have it anymore. Prior to this I was writing little books that involved jokes, my week, or animals.

Charles_E_Yallowitz_ImmortalWarsSince I didn’t really know what I was doing during this attempt, I would say the real first story of mine would be Immortal Wars: The Summoning. I was in high school and decided that I was going to be an author. One of my favorite things to do was read comic books, so I went with superheroes. It was about four teenagers who discover they are immortals and need to protect the universe from a band of evil immortals who are about to return. Each character had a magical weapon built on one of the nine planets. This was in the 1990’s, so Pluto hadn’t been downgraded at this point. I had an entire series planned out with the weapons switching hands, deaths, births, and any twist that came to mind. I only wrote the first book, which was ‘The Summoning’, but then I moved on to fantasy.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s the cursed gift that keeps on giving.  The curse part is that authors can find it hard to explain things to other people. You become very aware of spoilers, so you have to explain stories without going into the details. This can lead to confusion and the sense that nobody understands you. The gift side is that you develop this drive to create and explore worlds that you’re helping to nurture with your words. There’s a thrill to the building of a story from nothing to an intricate world that can draw others into it.

What is your writing Kryptonite? Have you ever gotten writer’s block?

My mood can be my personal Kryptonite. Once I’m annoyed or flustered, I lose the ability to focus on my creative thoughts. It isn’t that I have to be in a good mood to begin with, but I need to have a clear mind. Otherwise, the issues of the real world will get in the way of fiction and that doesn’t always match up. This is really hard for me because I don’t have an office or anywhere private to write.  So, I’m constantly running the risk of being distracted. As far as writer’s block goes, I’m lucky that I’ve never really hit a creativity wall. If I have a problem, I walk away to work on another project and it comes to me the next time I sit down.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

All of my books are exciting action adventures that can take the reader out of reality. They’re pure escapism, especially since I write in third person present tense.  It’s not a common style, but it means my books read like tv shows and movies where you see things unfolding in real time instead of them being past events.

Charles_E_Yallowitz_QuestoftheBrokenHeartedMy most recent book is Quest of the Brokenhearted, which is on sale for 99 cents until the end of July. This is a spinoff of my series, Legends of Windemere, and it shows the fate of a supporting character named Kira Grasdon. Over the course of the previous adventure, this merchant house heiress lost everything and now she is struggling to survive on the streets. She learns about warriors going to Lacarsis, the City of Evil, which has begun to move. Deciding that she will either find a new reason to live or meet her death, Kira heads into the monster-filled city. This is an exciting, action-packed adventure, but it also looks into the psychology of a hero who has already been broken.  Mentally, Kira is hanging on by a thread and I think this is a state that many people can understand.

Do you have any difficulty writing characters of the opposite sex?

I don’t feel like I have any difficulty writing female characters. I only use their gender to designate clothing to some extent, pronouns, relationships, and physical appearance.  Beyond that, the abilities and personalities for a man can still be used for a woman.  Both can be brave warriors, cunning thieves, or sadistic villains.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’m trying to find a middle ground for most of my books. Each book and series tells a self-contained story, but they take place in the same world. Every entry adds to the depth of Windemere and builds it into a playground for future heroes.  This would be similar to Middle Earth or the various comic book universes.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Charles_E_Yallowitz_War of NytefallI’m currently working on a fantasy vampire series that takes place in the world of Windemere.  It’s called War of Nytefall and it’s my current ‘core project’ for the next 3 years. After that I have about 30 other series and one-shot stories that I’ve been outlining over the last 15 years.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing I learned when it came to writing was that I had to write what I loved. If I enjoyed the story that I was working on then that would come through and the readers will have a better experience. The most destructive lesson that I learned nearly cost me the first book of my Legends of Windemere series. I let a lot of people read it over the course of ten years and I tried to implement every suggestion that was given. This made a mess out of the entire story and even caused trouble for future volumes. It required a lot of rethinking and rewriting before I felt comfortable publishing it.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

There are a lot of common traps, but there are two that come to mind. First, there is always the temptation to respond to negative reviews. Not everyone gets the warning that you have to take the lumps in silence. This means a new author can build up the reputation of being a ‘spoiled and combative’ person. The other is the ‘Pursuit of Perfection’. I’ve known many aspiring authors who refuse to publish until their work has met this ideal of flawlessness. They will read every book they can find on the art of writing and tear their work down at the slightest mistake. In the end, they enter a cycle that they can’t get out of that seems to stop at the first draft stage at best and they eventually give up. The truth is that every story will have a flaw of some kind because it’s a human writing it.

How do author friends help you become a better writer?

Charles_E_Yallowitz_LegendsOfWindemere15Discovering the large community of authors online was like wandering into a place that feels like home. You get a level of support and insight that people who never considered being an author can’t give you. Criticism is given in a more palpable method and discussions are allowed instead of the blunt tearing apart that non-authors think are necessary. There’s also a lot of sharing of experience and tools, which helps new authors avoid some of the pitfalls. Honestly, the whole community functions better as a support structure than a pit where everyone is out for themselves.

Where can we find you online?

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Tumblr

Amazon Author page

Anywhere else where your book(s) is/are for sale:

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Thanks so much for you time and chatting with us, Charles. I’ll be looking forward to reading your vampire stories!

All Charles E. Yallowitz’s books are available on Amazon. Take your pick!

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The Watson Letters – An American Werewolf in Londen

I’m afraid I haven’t got a ‘Meet the Author’ interview for you this week as I’ve been too preoccupied with my trip to Dublin. However, some of you may remember Colin Garrow’s interview from 2016. Ever since I met Colin, I’ve been a great fan of his work. I’ve read his books The Demon of Devilgate Drive and Death on a Dirty Afternoon. I have, as well, read several of his The Watson Letters blogs.

Just now, Colin has started a new blog series, titled An American Werewolf in London. Holmes, Watson, and the witty and clever Mary, Watson’s wife (love that woman!), will tackle a new paranormal phenomenon in the UK capital. Get a bite of this one, and many more as Colin will continue the story in fortnighly(-ish) additions.

Read An American Werewolf in Londen, by Colin Garrow!

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