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Monday, March 31, 2014

Interview with YA/NA Author, Cherie Colyer

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Today I'm interviewing YA and NA author Cherie Colyer.

You have two books out, Embrace, and Hold Tight (Embrace Series) and another coming out this year, Challenging Destiny (Challenging Destiny Series).  Tell us about your Embrace series and what can we expect from Challenging Destiny.
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The Embrace series follows sixteen-year-old Madison Riley as she learns about the paranormal world around her. We meet Madison in Embrace. She’s your average junior in high school, but her world spins out of control when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.  She discovers supernatural powers and needs to embrace these powers to save her friend.
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Hold Tight picks up a couple months later. Madison is learning to control the magical powers she embraced. Only instead of spending her free time practicing magic, she’s stuck watching her kid brother and doing chores. Madison decides to do a spell to conjure help around the house. Only her idea of “help” invites trouble of its own. She finds herself caught in the crossfire between two dashing but deadly creatures. She must figure out which one to trust and how to rid her world of the other before one of them destroys her and everyone she cares about.
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In Challenging Destiny, eighteen-year-old Logan Ragsdale and his younger sister Ariana must outsmart both Heaven and Hell if they hope to remain human and avoid being pawns in a coming war.

My publisher surprised me by releasing Challenging Destiny early on Kindle. J










What would you say makes them stand out from other books?

Even though my books have a paranormal element they’re set in modern day.  My characters could be your neighbor or classmate. They have families to deal with and homework to complete, all well battling supernatural threats.

What current books would you compare them too?

Readers who enjoyed Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater are likely to enjoy my books.

How long have you been writing fiction? What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve been writing fiction for about ten years. My husband was the one who encouraged me to start writing. We like to go on long walks. I’d go on and on about ideas I had for different stories. He’d tell me that I should write one of them.  Finally, I did. I enjoyed crafting my own story so much that I looked for ways to improve my writing. I joined SCBWI, joined a critique group, discovered I was breaking too many rules when it came to writing for teens and children, attended conferences, and took a writing class through ICL. My husband, who recognized my passion for all of this, bought me my first laptop and the one I have now when that one broke. 

I see that you are also a mother, do you feel this has any bearing and/or impact on your writing?

It certainly helped me to know what is and isn’t popular. While I try not to use a lot of slang in my writing, I want my characters’ dialogue and action to ring true. Writers are always observing the people around them, and you can get great ideas from a group of teens hanging out at your house.

How do you balance, your writing career, and family? 

I’m not sure if my family would agree that I actually do a good job of balancing family and writing, but I do try. Basically, any free time is writing time. With my boys being older, I usually can find time each day to write.

I see that you also blog. With regards to social media, what do you feel has benefited your writing career the most?

This is hard to answer, because I think the different social media work together. If it weren’t for my blog, I wouldn’t have met many of the wonderful book bloggers, readers, and fellow authors that I now keep in touch with. Twitter allows me to give quick updates about me and my books and also keeps me up-to-date on what books others are reading. Facebook lets me keep in touch with those who don’t blog or follow twitter. There are other social media options out there, but these are the three I use the most.

Your agent is Jordy Albert with The Booker Albert Literary Agency, how did you get your agent and what has your working relationship been like?

When I was ready to query agents, I stopped by Writer’s Digest and saw Jordy was there and she enjoyed books similar to mine. I had heard good things about The Booker Albert Agency from fellow writers, so I hurried to send her a query. Jordy has been wonderful to work with, and my newest YA paranormal romance is stronger thanks to her insightful feedback. That’s important to me, because I’m a firm believer that it takes more than just one person to write a great book.

What tips or recommendations do you have for aspiring authors?

Read everything—the genre you write as well as other genres. Join a critique group—the feedback you’ll get will help you see what you need to focus on in a particular scene. Attend conferences—the information shared on the publishing industry and on writing is invaluable. Keep working on your craft and never give up on your dream.

Author Bio:
Cherie Colyer is the author of  YA and NA paranormal thriller/romance, EMBRACE (available now), and HOLD TIGHT from Omnific Publishing, and CHALLENGING DESTINY from The Wild Rose Press (2014). Check out her website and blog for news on her books and bonus material. Follow Cherie on Goodreads, Twitter and/or Facebook for updates on writing, book and special offers.

You Can Follow Cherie Here:
Website: www.cheriecolyer.com
Blog: http://cheriecolyer.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5288487.Cherie_Colyer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherieColyer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cherie-Colyer-author/250631921629169

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Interview with Speak of the Devil Author, Shawna Romkey

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Today I'm interviewing author Shawna Romkey (a fellow Darkly Delicious YA blogger) and asking her all kinds of tough, hard hitting questions about her books, her writing, and her life (okay, they're not that tough or hard hitting--but it's always interesting to learn about a fellow author!)

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Her book, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, is currently on sale for its birthday at 2.99 from March 15th through March 22nd. Don't wait!!

You have one book out, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, and another coming out this year, THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.  Tell us about SPEAK OF THE DEVIL and THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.

Both of these books are young adult, paranormal novels focusing on Lily, the main character. Speak of the Devil starts with her getting into a car accident where she and her two best friends are killed. Somehow she comes back to life and her adventures begin there. She has to overcome some serious grief as well as guilt for surviving. She ends up in the middle of a war between angels and demons where God is lost.

The Devil Made Me Do It releases in September, and is the second book in the series. It takes Lily on a journey to Hell. Literally.

What would you say makes them stand out from other books?

I would say that the first book especially, deals with serious grief and depression issues initially. It’s very real and seems to have touched people who have experienced the loss of people they love. It’s based on something that happened to me actually, in high school. I lost three of my friends in a car accident, and still almost thirty years later, I’m affected by that loss. Speak of the Devil goes to some dark places.

They also deal with religion and spirituality, but I think it is respectful. I don’t think Christians would be offended and I don’t think non-Christians would be offended. It is a story about questioning faith and then establishes the parameters of what is real, religiously, in the fictitious world of the book. I think a lot of popular angel books out today omit the religious aspect of angels. They simply treat them as a paranormal being. But angels are religious creatures, and I think to leave that part out is the easy way.

What current books would you compare them too?

I think they’re pretty different, but I haven’t read a lot of current books either. I would say they are more of a cross between Twilight for the love story, the TV show Supernatural and how it deals with God and angels in a non-religious way, and Buffy, in having a strong female character. Not that Lily ever totally kicks ass yet in that way. Maybe a fight or two in The Devil Made Me Do It, but I wanted her to be a survivor emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

Are these books stand-alones or part of a series? 

They are a trilogy. Speak of the Devil is the first. The Devil Made Me Do It is the second. The third, The Devil You Know is in the works.

Can you tell us about your personal background?

I’m married with two sons and two dogs. I live in Nova Scotia, but I’m from Missouri. I teach at the community college level and have taught everything from seventh grade to university courses in English, communications, business and literature. I do marketing on the side from time to time and volunteer for a dog rescue organization in my spare time. Ha!

How long have you been writing fiction? What inspired you to become an author?

I wanted to write after the first trip I took to the library at school in kindergarten, and started then. Wrote through elementary, junior high, high school, and university. I published in university publications and had a play I’d written produced at a community theater through one of my university courses.

I see that you teach at the university and secondary level, do you feel this has any bearing and/or impact on your writing?

I’ve taught people from age 12 – well older than me. I feel like teaching high school and college level keeps me in touch with the age group of my demographic. I interact with them daily and it keeps me in touch with them. I  like those age groups and think I can still relate to them.

How do you balance your professional career, your writing career, and family? 

Very carefully. Ha!  It’s hard working full time, and I tend to over extend myself as you can see from the earlier question. On any days off I try to write first then when the family is out of the house or preoccupied, but when I’m working, writing takes the back seat. Things are extremely busy right now, so I don’t anticipate writing for another month or so, but being off for the summers has its perks. I will write like a madwoman and try to finish at least one project before September.

I see that you also blog. With regards to social media, what do you feel has benefited your writing career the most?

Social media is all smoke and mirrors. I was just talking about twitter on my FB page the other day and how I hate the DM. Most of them that I receive are spam. I think if you use your social media in an honest, sincere way rather than say “buy my book”  fourteen thousand times a day, you have a better result.

Some of the best successes I’ve had have simply come from asking. I sent out a press release inviting local media to my book launch and was featured in an article in the paper about paranormal authors. I put some bookmarks in a local new age bookstore. Someone saw them and invited me to do a book club meeting at the big box bookstore chain in my area. I asked to do a presentation at a local sci fi/fantasy con, and was featured as a guest author along with Terry Brooks and Robert Sawyer. I’ve also had a lot of bizarre success simply by having an author signature on my emails. Everyone from my dentist to marketing clients have commented and looked into the book from that.

What are your thoughts about the publishing industry today? Can you speak a little about your experiences with traditional presses?

I have no thoughts.  LOL! I’m afraid by the time I have a thought and then write it down, it will all change, so why bother? I’m with my small press through the third book and don’t multitask with writing projects. So until I’m done with this trilogy, it does me no good to wonder about the rest.

I think self-publishing, traditional publishing and small press publishing is all a personal decision and each individual needs to choose what works for her/himself. I think I will attempt to submit my next project to a larger publisher who has more distribution than what I have with my small press now. It would be nice to see my book on box chain store shelves. I am also going to try to self-published because I’m a control freak. Then I can see what works.

Right now, I’m building my backlist and seeing what happens along the way.

Tell us about your path to publication. 

It took a very long time.  LOL!  It took me close to twenty years to get a publishing contract. I wanted a traditional press to publish my first book rather than to self-publish because I needed that validation. If I self-pubbed my first time out, I’d always wonder if I was good enough. But I also came across a phoney agent in those twenty years and stopped writing for a long chunk of time where I gave up.

I was laid off the year my youngest started school, so I had all day home alone and figured it was now or never. Write a book, try to sell it and see what happened. I had no excuse not to. That worked out for me.

What tips or recommendations do you have for aspiring authors?

Write. A lot of people who want to write don’t write or don’t write enough to finish. You can try to sell something if it isn’t done, and I’ve always heard it takes about five books before your writing is honed enough to publish. So write something. Write something else. And again and again. Have people read it and give you feedback. And after four or five attempts when you start getting good feedback from friends and family who’ve read your work, send it out. And don’t give up!

Shawna, thank you so much for coming by the blog today and sharing about your books and your writerly life!

Don't forget, you can buy Shawna's book here for 2.99 until March 22nd!

You can also follow Shawna here:
Website: www.shawnaromkey.com
Twitter: @sromkey
Facebook: Shawna Romkey
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/shawnazon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shawna-Romkey/e/B00BOBTOXI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1