A Book to Relax With: I recommend it.

Five Minute Vacations by Cindy Tomamichel

Review by Katherine E. Soto

Quick vacations that only take five minutes spawn memories of places where one has been.  That is what the book Five Minute Vacations was written to do.  It gives short vignettes that reminds one of home or a place that means something.  The writing carries the reader to the place through its vivid imagery.  The long creative sentences calm the reader down; allows the reader to calm their heartbeat and join the scene. The picture that precedes each piece give the reader an idea of what is to come.

I liked the Garden piece where memories of laying on the grass after gardening with children joining in, brings back the memories of times spent with my children playing in the dirt, attempting to plant green things. Island left me wandering through the place in my mind.  Memories are triggered in each place as the author roams through descriptions of calming places.  Use this book to walk your memories or read it aloud to someone else to allow them to hear the calming words flow over them.

I would keep this book on my coffee table to share or for visitors to pick up and read. I want to have it as part of my own library so I can visit beautiful, peaceful places time and time again.

To buy book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bjFJ14

Featured Author: Amy C. Beckinsale and her book One Night Forever

Interview with Amy C Beckinsale

Author Interview

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?
    I have only cried once when reading a book, and it was happy tears. My favourite book, which I have read many times is ‘The Shakespeare Secret’ by J L Carrell. I don’t want to spoil it, but I was so excited when a character came back into the story I started sobbing. If you like Shakespeare, like I do, I highly recommend the book and it’s sequel ‘The Shakespeare Curse’. 
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite?
    SOCIAL MEDIA! It’s such a pain, but we need it to help advertise our work. My parrot, Buddy, too. He’s such a cutie pie, but also a massive distraction. He has a habit, when he’s out, of biting my laptop screen and going after things he’s not allowed. Yet when he’s in his home (we don’t like calling his home a cage) he’s a noisy lad! He makes it hard to concentrate. Gorgeous little feathered boy. (Buddy is A Congo African Grey) As I’ve been typing this, he’s just landed on my head! 
  3. Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
    My fellow writer and friend, Thomas A Lay, who introduced me to RhetAskew Publishing. I wouldn’t be where I am if we hadn’t been introduced by a mutual friend. So thank you Tom. We have had many coffee dates talking about writing techniques and the best practices. 
  4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
    It doesn’t matter if it’s not right straight away, you can edit later, just write for yourself. You’re telling yourself the story. Editing comes later. Just get the damn thing on paper! Don’t give yourself such a hard time, you are your own worst critic, but one day someone will read your work and give you the praise you deserve. Keep writing. 
  5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
    I learnt a lot from editors and understood that I don’t need to write long exclamations in scenes, as the power of the readers mind will take over as they read.
  6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it?
    A new laptop for sure to start! As some know, I began writing on my phone. In fact I still have those files in my notes. Yet when I bought my MacBook my writing progressed at high speed! Secondly, I have to say investing in a professional editor, who performed a full line edit, and proof read including highlighting grammar and errors that I as an author had overlooked. How many authors can say they are sure they have checked their work and it’s perfect? I know I can’t! Investing in an editor, I feel, is really important. Liam J Cross highlighted sections that I hadn’t even noticed. And to add, sending your work off can be scary, but it is the best thing you can do if you want your work to shine and stand out. They are there to help you be the best you can be. 
  7. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
    I would have to say a hybrid of a sloth and a squirrel. It all depends on what time of the day you catch me. I could be sleeping, about to have a nap…OR I’m a hyperactive crazy nutter who is running around overly excited about something! Remember that squirrel from the movie ‘Over the Hedge’? Yeah, that’s me! 
  8. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
    I have the second two books in the One Night Forever series, which are in edit. Yes, there are three! Maybe even four?
    ‘A Christmas Miracle’; a short story, with guest characters from One Night Forever (I’m not telling you which ones!) ‘Meet Me Again’; a suspense/romance crossover, based in a hospital. And I also found notes about a thriller idea that I wish to co write with my husband. I have titled it ‘Shadow People’ 
  9. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
    I am going to go back to ‘The Shakespeare Secret’. Only because after I read it, I fell in love with Shakespeare all over again and enrolled in a course with the Open University to study his plays. I even looked into moving to London to try and land a job at The Globe, on Southbank. Needless to say, money was an issue, as London is rather expensive, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the learning process. Fast forward a few years and I can say I passed the course and played ‘Hero’ in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. 
  10. How do you select the names of your characters?
    It’s funny you ask that question as my name male lead in ONF was not named by me. My husband (Geraint) came up with Aidan, as I didn’t want him to have generic name. As I have a ‘little’ thing for Aidan Turner (Vampire in the UK’s version of ‘Being Human’), he suggested that particle name and I found the character’s personality matched the name. As for surname ‘Costello’, I was at work and my friend was serving a customer who was giving her her email for the receipt of her goods. When she said Costello, my friend (Kirsten) and I just looked at each other and grinned. Poor woman was probably wondering what in hell was wrong with us. Therefore, Aidan Costello was named by my Husband and my friend. As for the name women in the book; Megan, Clare, Lucy, Emma and Daisy… Without realizing what I was doing, I had named them all after my cousins! You’re welcome ladies. 
  11. What is your favorite childhood book?
    I read, reread and reread ‘The Little Ghost’ by Otfried Preußler. Along with ‘The Worst Witch’ series by Jill Murphy. Both are still favourites of mine and yes, I do still have original books at home. 

http://www.amycbeckinsale.com
Available on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/3d89Nhj

Author BiographyAmy C. Beckinsale

What would you say if we told you Amy C Beckinsale began writing her debut novel on her phone? Well, that is exactly how her writing career began. After a discussion about their futures in the shop where they worked, one of her friends mentioned she could see Amy writing a screenplay one day. Thinking nothing of it, Amy carried on her day, only to find herself randomly typing about how the day was dragging on her phone and how she had found herself in a career she really didn’t want to be in. Low and behold, she had the opening sequence of One Night Forever. Finding that she had stumbled upon something special, she began exploring, developing and building a world that had been stuck inside of her. Creating the story and characters that she now couldn’t not live without. A third of the novel (the very first drafts) are still on her phone to this very day! Amy also has a love for acting, enjoys movies and has an extreme addiction to Armani and Adam Ant!

“Excerpt From One Night Forever by Amy C. Beckinsale. This material may be protected by copyright.”

Book Blurb for One Night Forever

Megan envied her friends, all in successful careers and living lavish lives while she careered into her thirties with little to show for it. One night while drowning her sorrows and gritting her teeth through her friends’ success stories, a mysterious businessman takes an unexpected shine to her. Handsome, rich, successful, he was everything Megan had ever dreamt of, but this whirlwind romance will not come without a price.

http://www.amycbeckinsale.com
Available on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/3d89Nhj

Book Review

One Night Forever by A.C. Beckinsale

Reviewed by Katherine Soto

One Night Forever is a romance novel written by A.C. Beckinsale. A one-night chance meeting turns into more for Megan and Aidan.  The past raises its ugly head a few times in the story, but the two lovebirds manage to make it look easy to keep a relationship together. They seem to be the perfect fit for one another. The relationship happens fast. Both had past relationships that raise their ugly heads in the middle of the story.  Aidan is a likable multimillionaire. He acts like a down to earth man who has major responsibilities.  Megan is a character in her own right, a strong woman who is a sales rep. She was  brought up in a poor town outside London, her friend offers her a better job in London.  She has a past that catches up with them toward the end of the book. 

This is a cute romance between two people who love one another.  It is not G-rated due to the swearing that happens in conversations.  I waited for the typical romance where: girl finds boy, something happens, girl leaves boy, they get back together, but this book is not written as a typical romance formula book.  It was a pleasure to read about a different type of relationship- a happy one that seems to work for both people.  I hope I get to follow this couple again.

http://www.amycbeckinsale.com
Available on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/3d89Nhj

Learning about How to Build an Author Platform Part 4 in a series of 4

Learn everything you can as you approach becoming an author and having a platform of your own.

Take Classes on everything. Blog building, writing, business class, publishing, The internet has access to information on everything and someone has a class on what you need to know. I have taken classes from http://www.RuthSoukup.com. She has classes on saving money, writing a blog, budgeting, and organizing your life. I participated in the launch of her book Do It Scared. I have also taken writing classes from Cathy Mazak, who is an Academic Women’s Writing Coach at the college level. She has good idea about managing your writing time. https://www.cathymazak.com/ She has free masterclasses available. I have taken classes in business areas, publishing classes, and writing classes.

Improve Your Writing Skills Read, write, and communicate. These are the basics in any MFA- Master of Fine Arts program you will find.

Read Read from the masters’ to contemporary. I often use teacher notes, lesson plans, or Cliff Notes to use as a literature study in books I read. I read books of all genres. I do concentrate on what I write in- Fantasy. They are my favorite books to read anyway. Read to learn about writing. I suggest reading the book DYI/MFA by Gabriela Pereira. She has a huge website devoted to writing and learning how to write. I read it and took notes throughout. I learned a lot about writing a book from her.

Write Write every day. Write on anything and everything. Sit in your chair and write. A book does not write itself . It takes effort, it takes planning, and it takes you putting int he time. Write in other genres. Write sort stories, flash fiction, piece of your ideas for books. Write reviews of books. Write, write write.

Communicate Talk with other people about writing. Join a class, a writer’s group, or find a group online. Share your writing if you want to. Talk about your ideas. Ask questions. Answer questions. A writer cannot be solitary up on their loft all alone working on their book.

Be part of three communities- business, writing and publishing. Learn as much as you can about and from these three things as you write your books and ready your author platform. The business part will help you when it comes time to sell your book. You should know about Click funnels, Kindle and Amazon selling of books. Publishers often have events like PITMAD where they ask for a brief twitter about your book. Publishers who are interested will let you know. This happens twice a year. The writing part you have already seen in the above paragraph. Learn all you can from the people who know more than you do.

Ask for help when you need it. Don’t just sit there, not knowing what to do because you have a question or writer’s block. Go to your communities and ask questions. Go to your author friends. Read a book for answers. Write about it.

Keep your information together. Use a notebook or computer There are so many place you have to be aware of in building an Author Platform. It can get confusing. Keep your websites and passwords in one place on your computer or in a notebook. Be able to access your sites in an instant. Have one email address for your personal life and one for your author life. Keep lists of things you want to remember. I have a website where I put my links to every site that I have a profile or are part of my Author Platform on https://linktr.ee/ It keeps all my links together in one place. https://linktr.ee/KatherineESotoAuthor My linktree

I also have folders on my computer with my interviews, promos, pics and writings. I try to keep everything organized so I can put my hands on it in an instant. My books are separate from my other writing. My publisher things are in a folder.

Build your Author Platform one part at a time. It doe snot have to happen overnight. Use a part of your day to do business things.

Write your books. Enjoy the process.

Stay Calm. Follow your agent’s or publishers advice for your Author Platform when you are under contract.

Having an Author Platform before you publish a book will help you become known as a writer. Above all else it will help you be ready to sell your book. The Author Platform is set up for you to be able to sell your books.

Building an Author Platform Series Part 3 of 4

Working with Other Authors

An author must work with other authors to be successful. You are not alone in your struggles to write something you want be published.

Build your Author Platform

ARCs– Advanced Reader Copy These are actual advance copies of an author’s book that authors want people to read for reviews so they have reviews posted on book sites. This is one way authors gain prestige and get to number one bestseller status when their book first comes out. If you read an author’s ARC they will return the favor and read yours and give you a review. Keep track of people you do ARCS and review for.

Newsletter Swaps There are newsletter swaps and promos on storyoriginapp. Use it. There are Facebook pages full of Newsletter Swaps for authors. What is a newsletter swap? It is not swapping newsletters with one another. It is placing their promotion of their book with a link in your newsletter; in return they place your book or promo into their newsletter. Keep to your book’s genre in newsletters.

Interviews Plan to interview some authors as you get to know them. If you make your questions interesting you will have interesting interviews to share. I have a Featured Author of the Month that goes out of my blog on the 2nd of the month. I include a pic of their book and them, a brief biography, a blurb about their book, and my book review.

Book Magnets These can be previews of your book, a short story you wrote, or a picture book you developed to use with your books. Calibre and Designerr will help you make book magnets to use. Share these with other authors. Let them get to know you. Ask for your book magnet to go onto their websites and newsletters. You can use your book magnet as a freebie to draw more subscribers and readers to your newsletter or website and blog.

Freebies Design several freebies to give away. Calendars, Writing Tips, pamphlets, business things, a book magnet, a promotional event. or a class. Be creative. A freebie for you.

Writing Communities Find a good writing group where you fit in, Start one of your own if you can’t find one. You can have a writer’s group you meet with weekly or monthly in your town. You can also have access to writer’s groups online. You can type in writer’s groups on Facebook and look for one you like. There are some communities that charge to belong, but they have many more resources available. It’s up to you to be proactive and involved in a Writer’s group. Think about what you want to get out of it.

How do I learn about all of these things in an Author’s Platform? That is part 4 of this series.

Author Platform Building Part 2 in a series of 4

The Writer Stuff

Welcome to Part 2- The Writer Stuff of the four part series on Building an Author Platform. This piece will be on some of the Writer sites an author might use.

Build your Author Platform Part 2

Emails Set up two email addresses through whatever email server you want. The first is your personal account. This your account to do what you want. The second email is your author account. This is your professional email account. This is where you email authors, publishers, queries, and any writer email you do.

Mail Chimp/Constant Contact or any list builder, email maker, landing page company that you want to use. This where your main list of people who have subscribed to your newsletter or website will be kept.

I use MailChimp. It’s free for your first 500 subscribers, then you go pro for a fee per month. I use Mailchimp to write my newsletter; post a landing page to get new subscribers; and above all grow my email list of subscribers. These are the people who know about me and receive my once a month newsletter. Mailchimp is easy to use after a steep learning curve. It has tutorials throughout.

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26099092-katherine-e-soto This a place for book reviews and for your own books to be posted. I believe it is partnered with Amazon. You can put up a profile about yourself along with a picture. You can also write reviews about books you have read. When your book is published it will have a turn to be listed here.

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/2940138082 This the booksite that will list your book on a regular basis when you get over a certain amount of followers. It is free for your profile and to put review of books you have read. It costs for your book to be listed. Join BookBub giveaways online to increase your followers.

Storyoriginapp https://storyoriginapp.com/pricing This place is the most helpful place I have found for list building, doing reviews, contacting other author and writers, doing newsletter swaps, and keeping up with it all. It’s free and the creator says it will stay free. He has great tutoring on it so you can figure it out.

Designerr https://designrr.io/ This is a mini book creator for book magnets and book excerpts. It is easy to use and will help with ideas.

Calibre https://calibre-ebook.com/download_windows This is a book making app also. It will take word documents and put them into mobi, epub and PDF formats for you in seconds. You need the three formats on storyoriginapp to post a book magnet to use in the swaps and promos.

fiverr https://www.fiverr.com/ This is an online website where you can find other people to do work for you for a price. I have had worksheets and four logos made for me by fiverr folk. Be careful and always contact them first then agree to the job you want.

Free Photo Sites These have photos that you can use on your sites without having to pay for them. https://unsplash.com/ https://pixabay.com/ https://www.pexels.com/ For a one time fee I bought access to https://scop.io/ Use photos wisely on your sites. The three photos below are pics I have used from these sites.

There are places you can get videos to use. You can make your own videos to post too. Youtube.com is a good place to start for information on videos.

There are many more sites an author can use, so keep your eyes open and be aware as you build your platform. What works for me, may not work for you. Keep your eyes open and be aware.

Building an Author Platform: Part 1 of 4

I have been building an Author Platform over the past two years. Why? The world of publishing wants the new author to be known so when books are published they will be reviewed by other authors, ARCs can be read, and above everything else, books will sell. This is Part One of my four part series about Author Platform Building.

Building an Author Platform Part 1 http://katherineesoto-author.com

I began my Author Platform with this blog you are reading. I bought my domain name through godaddy.com , found free website hosting, joined WordPress (I was lucky enough to have someone put my website up for me on wordpress.org. and host it for free.) I learned about Word Press features and began to build the pages and blog seen today. It takes time to learn how to use Word Press features. I spent many hours discovering what worked and what did not. I wrote a few blog posts to introduce myself to the internet.

What do I write about on a blog? I use my blog to write about my Adventures in Writing. I update my readers on my books and publications. I have a featured author every month. I will post book reviews on books I have read. I put up notes about books I have read. I put up notices of free books and promotions other authors and groups are doing. I also write informational articles like these four on Platform Building.

Social Media Sites

After my blog was established, I went on to put up my author Facebook page up. This is where I post about my blog articles, author interviews, promotions and newsletter. I also use Facebook to belong to several author/writing groups. Having a community to ask questions in , as a newbie author, helps your writing. I also paste landing pages on Facebook to build my newsletter subscribers.

Twitter https://twitter.com/KatherineesotoA

Twitter is an excellent way to get fast news out to a lot of people. You can follow people and they can follow you. There is a limit to how much you can post in each twitter post. Hashtags should be used in each post. I currently post other author book promos, my newsletter, and writing updates on Twitter.

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/katherineesotoauthor/

Instagram is a site much like Twitter, only it is done with pictures and videos. Many people begin their platforms on Instagram. They use videos and promos through pictures to build their audience. I’m not a good Instagram user. I have a page with my author name. I have posted a few pictures, but I need to use it more and figure out how to use it better.

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/KatherineESotoAuthor/boards/

Pinterest is a treasure trove of pictures and quotes you can pin to your own boards. Posts from a blog can be put into a pinterest picture and be posted to a board. I have a writing quotes boards, a writing tips board, authors board, and my own board for my blog and books. It is easy to waste time on pinterest looking through everything on the site.

A Book Collage made in Canva

This is a basic beginning of an Author platform. It takes time to build each item. It also needs careful nurturing. The blog needs to be update at least once a week. Daily posts should appear on each Social Media site. I admit, as of this time, I am not keeping up with my sites of it as often as I should. I have to balance my writing and learning with my Platform Building, Life can get in the way, too.

Reader Notes on a Short Story

I read a short story for someone on line this last week. I have permission to post my notes about this short story on my blog.

There are three ways I read things sent to me.

  1. Content- This means I read it for content errors or continuity problems. I read each chapter. I give a short synopsis, then ways to improve the chapter and overall writing.
  2. Review- I read the entire book, often taking notes on it. I write an overall book review. I tell about the book, then tell what I thought about it.
  3. Grammar/spelling check- grammar and spelling checked. Errors are discovered. Content is not the primary importance, line by line mistakes are the main reason the document is read.

An example of my Reader Notes

Content Reader notes for short Story (Jason Raids) by Master Light James on Facebook Shared with permission 4/14/ 2020 Story Content C. 2020

from Katherine E. Soto  (http://katherineesoto-author.com)

This is a fairly good story. It has story line that follows a story plot outline. It takes place over a night and into the evening of the next day, so time is well spaced out in the story.  The settings are fleshed out somewhat.  I liked Jason and Chrissie as Characters in the story. 

Consider:

Fleshing out your characters more.

Finish your resolution of the story.

Flesh out the settings a little bit better.  Is it a pawn shop he went to?

My Opinion

I have read similar stories in books before. This is not a new idea. It reeks of the crime formula story telling. It needs work.

I have given you a synopsis of each chapter, then notes to consider from each one.

Chapter 1 Chrissie goes with her friend Hannah to a party.  Hannah leaves her.  Chrissie is abducted.

“Are you down yet?”  Down from where, you never say. Setting is weak here.

Take the first paragraph and turn it into the phone call with the invite out.

Show what her father caught her doing.

How is her aunt the worst person to have watching her.  Give an example.

Your conversations feel contrived.  If that Dad found his daughter missing he would be frantic, esp as an FBI agent.

This chapter would be better if you make the Dad more frantic and the aunt frantic, too.

Adverbs and helping verbs need to be looked at and either make the go away or change your sentences.

Watch telling not showing.  Your first two big paragraphs would be better as little vignettes.

Chapter 2   Chrissie wakes up in a small room or box. Clyde come is with food. Takes her to Mr. Alvarez.

Chrissie should be in a panic not having all these thoughts in her head.  Have her und on the box to get out.  Her thoughts would be a short jumble of sentences here, not long sentences.

Is she in a box or sitting in a room?

What is a technical looking bungalow? Describe it.

This a teenager, right?  She is acting and thinking like and adult as he walks her to Mr. Alvarez.  She should make a grab for the phone, pull against him, refuse to go. She’s a kid. They think they are indestructible.

If Clyde works for criminal element, he will not talk to her at all, much less give names of his sisters out or where he lives.

Chapter 3  Jason gets  to the party. He gets a phone call from Carlos wanting to exchange his brother for his daughter.

Jason better get out of the bar when he takes the phone call. It’s loud at this party. He would not hear on the cell phone. You have him standing up after he was already up in this scene.

Chapter 4  Jason goes to buy equipment in a pawn shop. HE has someone onhis FBI team looking for Carlos. Calls him.  Finds Carlos on property in California through his FBI buddy.  Hears from Carlos and speaks to Chrissie. Chrissie finds Clyde’s phone in her box.  She calls her dad through the FBI phone number.  Dad reassures her.  Jason picks up his equipment. Chrissie is told they killed Clyde.

Again, show do not tell.

Chapter 5 Jason goes after Chrissie. There is a gun battle.  Carlos escapes.

Again show don’t tell in long paragraphs. Action in the scene.

Stay in past tense or present tense in your writing, do not mix them.

Where is the guard staying, a guard shack? Make this clear.  It seems he is guarding the box room where Chrissie was held.

Rounds by themselves to not explode in hay.  He must put the gunpowder out of them or have a lighter to use to set hay on fire.

Gain more action instead of long sentences.  These should be short active sentences.

What happened to the fire?  If in SO. California that fire would break out and spread into the dry grasses.

Ch 6  Jason chases Alverez.  Chrissie stabs him with a piece of metal. Jason shoots him three times.  He is dead.  Chrissie and her father are reunited.

Show how Chrissie gets the piece of metal at the fence.  It’s important to the end of the story.

No ending yet.  Need to wrap it up.

End of story

What happens to Jason and his job? Clyde?

What happens between Json and Chrissie, as well as the aunt?

Is Alvarez alive or dead?

How is Chrissie’s behavior after this adventure? Does she change her ways?

What happens to her friend Hannah? Does Chrissie ever go out with her again?

What did Chrissie and Jason learn about their relationship.?

I offer my services to writers for short stories, books and any author who needs an ARC reader. We can discuss a trade or price for the piece. I will trade Arc for Arc book review when my book comes out. If you need anything read contact me at katherineesotoauthor@gmail.com . (My resume is on this site, as are my publications.)

It’s a Take Over this Week with Ben Rose

I’ve been taken over this week on my blog. Welcome Ben Rose, another author with a different look at Living with the the Corona Virus.

In the rooms of recovery, one of the first messages laid upon a newcomer is that isolation is not a healthy option. Addicts have a natural tendency to isolate. Perhaps not at first, the barroom and parties being enjoyable social atmospheres, but given time. Once people begin to notice our inability to drink like others, and our propensity for causing trouble, they attempt to limit our drinking or drug use. What addict wants that? Instead we isolate and feel justified in doing so.

People who suffer from clinical depression also have a tendency to isolate. There is a comfort in being alone with our pathologies. Psychology suggests that this is the wrong approach in dealing with depression. It is considered better to socialize and force the depressive reverie into the light.

In our current national and international situation, as pertains to Covid19, the traditional wisdom is reversed. Isolation is called for and even demanded. This presents a problem for the two aforementioned groups. To coin a phrase, there is a solution.

Zoom is a handy app that allows one to attend recovery meetings in a teleconferenced setting. One can also meet with one’s doctors, teachers, clergy, etc. This being so, one could also meet with friends, family, and other colleagues. I have heard recently about Passover seders, birthday parties, and even weddings conducted using zoom. In the same category as Zoom is Skype and other such apps. It is a matter of looking online and determining what works best for the individual. Isolation can be virtually broken. True, we lack the physical contact and presence of others. It is easy to imagine conducting all our affairs remotely going forward. That isn’t a good idea once this health crisis abates, but for now it is better than nothing.

Another way to help combat the urge to isolate and engage in unhealthy behaviors is to stay creative. I write and edit daily. Chapter one of a free serial novel I create can be found here. https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/0fe93940-4da9-11ea-a65e-37c2b0511a13 I am also in the process of final edits on an upcoming novel, Everybody But Us, being published by RhetAskew Publishing. Reading is a wonderful way to pass the time. Cooking can be enjoyable, and what better time to prepare dishes which we normally don’t have time to prepare. Exercise is actually encouraged at a distance of six feet apart. Bicycling, walking in the neighborhood, doing aerobics in the yard, this will keep the mind vital and healthy in this time of social distancing. In short, there is no excuse to let our minds return to the vacuum of total isolation. There are healthy ways to engage and we must seek these out. Do keep a physical distance from others, and wash your hands often. This won’t last forever. If you need someone to talk to, hit me up at the newsletter mentioned above.
Stay healthy,
Ben Rose

Ben Rose- Author



Feature Author Interview with A.J. Mullican

Interview

  • What is the first book that made you cry?

Is it narcissistic to say my own? Honestly, only one book has made me outright cry, and that was while writing a scene in Whispers of Death. I’ve never been one to cry at movies much, either; my mom used to say I had no soul because of it. But I proved her wrong when Guardians of the Galaxy came out, because Rocket had me bawling and sobbing out loud in the theater!

  • What is your writing Kryptonite?

Gerunds and “showing vs telling.” Even after all these years, I still struggle with those.

  • Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Angelique Jordonna, another author I met through RhetAskew Publishing who has a psychological thriller coming soon, has become my author BFF. She challenges me by holding me to a higher standard than perhaps I hold myself to, which is both uplifting and humbling at the same time. We’re also in the process of co-authoring a horror novel, and the process has been a great learning experience.

  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t give up. You’ll get discouraged, you’ll feel like a failure at times, and you’ll be frustrated beyond belief, but don’t give up.

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

I learned a lot about storytelling and characterization while writing Whispers of Death. During the writing process, I was in a critique group I stumbled upon on Facebook, and in this group of authors we traded chapters back and forth and provided critiques and minor edits for each other’s work. Though I have lost touch with most of these authors over the years, that experience has been invaluable in furthering my writing style—and it got me in the door with RhetAskew.

  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it?

The best money spent was a loss in the end, but I purchased booth space at a nearby pop culture convention and sold paperback copies of my book. Between the booth fees, the tax fees, the books themselves, and food at the convention, I didn’t make any gains, but I enjoyed the experience and dream of once again attending another con, either as a vendor or as a guest.

  • As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Some kind of cat, definitely. I’m a bit of a loner for the most part (unless I like you; then I get obnoxious), I tend to keep odd hours, and I’m easily distracted by shiny objects or bits of string.

  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Currently book two in the Abnormal series, Escape the Light, is in preproduction, and I’m in the process of writing book three. I have at least three more novellas brewing in the back of my brain, but they’re taking a back burner to completing the third Abnormal book at the very least. I plan for the Abnormal series to consist of five books, with another five-book series as a spin-off. Two of my short stories, which take place in the Abnormalverse, are slated to come out in future Askew Anthology publications through RhetAskew Publishing.

  • Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I’ve read some atrocities, to be certain, that made me question my value as an author simply by their existence. If these books can sell (and sell well), then why can’t mine? Haha. Seriously, though, I think the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones is hands-down my favorite fictional series, because the main character is so brass and ballsy, such a fierce force of nature, and that’s not something I’d seen in previous tropey characters.

  • How do you select the names of your characters?

They kind of name themselves for the most part. My characters come to me almost fully formed, though they evolve as the story goes on. On occasion, though, I will head to a baby name site or google the meanings of certain names to find just the right one.

  • What is your favorite childhood book?

That’s a tough one. I read a lot as a child, but I don’t remember much of my childhood, to be honest. I remember more of the books that I read as a teenager, and I’d have to say that L. J. Smith’s Secret Circle series of teen fiction novels (I’m forty now, and I don’t think “young adult” existed as a genre back then) had the biggest impact on me as a person.

Book Blurb

“I didn’t mean to kill them”.

In Heaven’s Light, the difference between a genetic Gift and an Abnormality is determined by the number of credits in your parent’s bank account. Gifts are reserved for the wealthy, and Abnormals are terminated – in the parent’s best interest, of course. Clare Rhodes is used to life under the radar.

She uses her abnormality on a stranger at the club and finds an oil-slick of nightmares. The horrific visions invade her mind as she slips deeper. …[Knives. Fists. Fire]… He knows more about her than anyone should. He even knows her Norm-ID is a fake. She didn’t mean to kill him. On the run and off the grid are Clare’s only options. Too bad she’s being tracked.

Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/3dEsni7

Biography

              AJ’s writing career began with her 2015 self-published supernatural thriller, Whispers of Death. Less than one year later, one little word changed everything: Abnormal. From this word a whole world blossomed and grew into what is now known as the Old U.S. With novels, novellas, and short stories spanning multiple books and anthologies, the Abnormalverse is a rich sci-fi dystopia with a diverse cast of characters.

              When not writing, AJ spends time in her southern Arizona home sewing and embroidering historical garb for the Society for Creative Anachronism, where she also fences with a rapier. Her SCA life keeps her busy, but thanks to her Maine coon mixes, Rory and River, she’s sure to be awake in the wee hours to find time to write and market her books.

Book Review

Abnormal By A.J. Mullican

Review by Katherine E. Soto

This book is an adventure and a half. It takes the reader from the opening where Clare, the main character, is caught up in a fight for her life. She is helped out of the bad situation by Eli. Chased by squads who want her for the murder of two people, Eli takes her on a run outside the cities on the telepath underground. They go house to house until the arrive in the first dead city, Clare meets unusual people with various telepath powers as they stay in a dead city.  They attempt to leave the city and are caught up in the final battle.

I enjoyed reading a book with an adventure that pulled me into it.  This is an Adult science fiction/Fantasy novel. There are a few scenes not fit for teen and below readers. A.J. Mullican writes a novel that will keep you on your toes. Look for a cliffhanger ending.

Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/3dEsni7