FLEEING MADNESS

This is a piece I wrote back in 2009. Obviously, I was in a bit of a cynical place back then. While I honestly don’t feel this way anymore, I do think there is nevertheless an element of truth to what I had to say back then. See yeah … this was me, in ’09. – V

‘I never knew what changed you… Did they paint your dreams?’

                                                            – Nevermore Lyric, from ‘Dreaming Neon Black’

Art is insanity.

?

My better half asked me the other day why he never sees me drawing pictures anymore. He loves my old paintings, and he shows them off proudly when our friends come to visit. He often prods me to play guitar for him, too. Sometimes I do, because I love him and I like seeing him smile. Thankfully, he’s not much of a reader; he seldom delves into my old writings, and that’s probably a good thing. He would see far more of me in them than he’d want to, and he would come to know me far better than anyone should wish to know their lover.

From time immemorial (or at least as far back as I can remember, immemorial or not) I was an artist. Childhood crayons turned into pencils, which became ink pens, and then evolved into paintbrushes. Schoolwork essays became short stories, which matured into novels, which then blossomed into epics. Head-bobbing to hard rock led to guitar playing, that …

And there I stopped.

Rather suddenly, actually, for I learned something over my short little lifetime:

Everything has a price tag.

Everything has a price tag, and you will pay it. No one cheats death, for instance; it is the price tag attached the unavoidable act of living. The price of love is loss. The price of finding God is the abandonment of self. The fee for freedom is the unholy carnage we know as war.

Every eternal constant is paid for by its own polar opposite, creating a pell-mell kaleidoscope of endless juxtaposition. Those who think that they can avoid paying the price end up paying double the price, reeling as fate deals them its hand in gleeful vengeance. Everything has a price …

And the price of art is madness. The more you seek of one, the more of the other you will find, until at last you cease to make coherent sense. The world around you becomes a surreal fog, scarcely more than an evanescent haze that irritates you at best. The only thing that is real to the artist is himself … and his fantasies, without which ‘himself’ would soon become a meaningless concept.

His self-inflicted poison might be visual imagery. Or maybe it’s music, and he despairs that the rest of us will ever understand the messages conveyed by his notes. For notes speak in a language that transcends the mundane-ness of words, but alas … only a few can translate their whispered messages.

Perhaps his self-destructive muse is the written word. I don’t mean the ‘written word’ as it pertains to the journalist, or the random scribbler. No, I am talking about the ‘written word’ as in Poe, Twain, and Mary Shelley. Perhaps he wallows in tales best left unspoken, and views the world through the multiple personalities that he’s conjured from his own fractured being.

I myself leapt into a mystical pool of self-obsessed thought, first jumping from the diving board of visual media. Thirsting for more, I swam toward the deeper waters of the written word. I scrambled out of the pool before Music consumed me … but in the years prior, I sold my soul in exchange for gifts that enriched my life no one whit.

Artists are a broken lot, a twisted breed that redefines ‘narcissism’. Without exception, the artist—more so than anyone else—lives in two worlds: The one into which he was forced by ignominious indignity of birth, and the one he himself has created.

The problem is, no one was ever meant to play god save God Himself. With every nibble from the Tree of Knowledge, a burning flare is tossed on your behalf toward the Tree of Life. Artists feel pain like no one else, and consequently they fear it so badly that they cannot pull their thoughts from it. Artists see life more clearly than anyone else ever could … and they run screaming from it, diving into maudlin, feverish creation until life at last offers them some relief by becoming a bit blurry.

As every fantasy—every picture, paragraph, and note—becomes clearer, life becomes less clearly defined. And the better the artist becomes at art, the more he fails at life. The more he grasps the transcendent, the less he is able to handle the humdrum. Careers fail, marriages fall, addictions form, relationships strain, and the only relief for the artist is more of the same behavior that caused his melancholia in the first place.

This cycle is breakable.

But only barely, and relapses are quite frequent …

Artists have a lot in common with alcoholics, I think.

SEVEN FORBID presents: PARAMOUR by Virginia Wallace (A Preview)

The girl sat up in bed, stretching her arms wide as she yawned herself awake.

This, she thought as she lay back down with a smile, was a good way to spend her nineteenth birthday. Holed up in her lover’s tiny lakeside cabin nestled deep in the woods of the Adirondack Mountains.

It was a welcome respite from the last few days’ turmoil.

Her affair with the old man had begun as soon as they’d met, at his daughter’s graduation ceremony … the ceremony at which his future mistress was also graduating. While she’d been appalled by the old man’s advances, she was also drawn to him.

Or at least, to his money.

But the old man had been unwilling to leave his wife, and insisted on maintaining his relationship with the young lady as it had begun: an affair. He made her send him a video of herself taking her birth control pills every single morning.

But the girl was an ambitious thing, and became deeply embittered by having no power over the old man, no angle from which she could manipulate him. And so she finally pulled the trigger, and told his wife about the affair.

She’d hoped for a monetary settlement, some ‘hush money’ to keep her from talking to the press. That, she assumed, would have been the end of it. She would have preferred to go on as a newly minted trophy wife, an undeserving heiress. But alas, such was not to be.

Somehow the old man had seemed strangely ambivalent about the tattling to his wife. He’d brushed off the explanations, the self-righteous declarations of ‘wanting to be honest,’ and invited his young lady love here for the weekend. He’d made sure that his ‘love’ had her birth-control tablets and he his erectile dysfunction pills, and thus they were off.

The girl sat up, adjusting the top on her gauzy nightgown as she finally began to perk up. It suddenly struck her that something in the room smelled very enticing.

She smiled as she saw the spread laid out for her on the nightstand. Fresh pancakes with cinnamon, whipped cream, and sliced bananas—her favorite breakfast. There were crisp bacon slices laid out to balance the sweet pancakes with their salty, savory goodness, and a tall glass of ice-cold milk.

The young woman ate her breakfast with gusto, thoroughly enjoying the meal. The day would come, she knew, when she’d have to count calories, when she couldn’t just eat whatever she wanted. But for now, she was still a teenager. The whipped cream and bacon would have no effect whatsoever on her long, lean legs and taut stomach.

As she finished up, she could hear the old man puttering around the kitchen. Dishes clinked here and there, and the faucet ran every once in a while. Smiling, the girl gathered up her dishes and climbed out of bed, padding down the hallway toward the tiny kitchen.

“Hello, love!” she chirped.

Nothing.

There was no one there.

She set her dishes in the sink, looking curiously around. Where had the old man gone?

He’d just been here, that much was certain. Hadn’t she just heard him loading the dishwasher?

The girl opened the dishwasher; it was empty, and dry as a bone. The cabinets were still full of dishes, and the sink wasn’t even wet.

Had she drifted off from the carbohydrate-heavy pancakes, and begun dreaming again? Perhaps the old man had left her breakfast and gone into town for a while.

The young woman looked out the kitchen window. No, the old man hadn’t left; his luxury sedan was still parked in the gravel driveway.

She began to feel nervous, restless.

Then she laughed at herself, as the hallway toilet flushed. Smiling, she headed back down the short hallway.

“Hello?” she whispered, tapping on the bathroom door. “Love?”

She waited a moment, and then opened the bathroom door.

There was no one there.

Surely, she should have seen him exiting the bathroom door, yes? The girl frowned, feeling a strange sense of nervousness again.

Then she heard a dresser drawer shutting in the bedroom.

Internally laughing at herself, she headed for the bedroom. “Hello? Love?”

Nothing.

But the girl took a fearful step backwards, nonetheless.

The bedroom trash can lay overturned on the floor. Scattered upon the bed were dozens of empty pill packages, which the girl recognized as once containing the old man’s erectile dysfunction medicine.

And scattered all throughout the torn packages were birth-control pills, intact, uneaten, as they always had been during her affair with the old man. She’d been popping aspirin in the videos she’d sent to him, calming his fears while ever hoping that he’d get her pregnant, that he’d give her some means of wreaking a campaign of extortion upon his estate.

The girl jumped as she heard the riding lawnmower starting up in the garage.

She ran into the garage, suddenly frightened. The old man knew about her attempts at getting pregnant. This she knew now. Was he angry with her? Had he brought her up here to threaten her—or even worse?

She threw open the door to the attached garage, and jumped over the steps.

“HELLO? LOVE?”

Nothing.

The lawnmower sat idle, covered with spider webs. The garage didn’t even smell of exhaust, as it should have if the lawnmower had been started within its plywood walls.

Terrified, the girl yanked open the garage door and ran outside in her nightgown.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” she screamed at the trees. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

The trees, resplendent in their autumn glory, hung as still as hanged bodies. There should have been a breeze causing their leaves to rattle. The morning shadows should have been dancing on the forest floor while the birds sang merrily.

Nothing …

TO FIND OUT HOW PARAMOUR – AND OTHER STORIES – END, YOU CAN ORDER SEVEN FORBID AT: Amazon.com: Seven Forbid eBook : Wallace, Virginia: Books

TO CONNECT WITH ME: https://linktr.ee/VK_Wallace1378

MEET KEREN HUGHES!!!

It’s not often you meet a novelist as accomplished as Keren Hughes …

Keren lives in the UK, and is one of the veterans of Black Velvet Seductions Publishing. She’s a wonderful teammate in addition to being a literary veteran, so let’s get to KNOW her better!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I first started writing when I was 15. I was an avid lover of Point Horror and Point Romance books at the time. I wanted to be a Point Horror author, so I concocted a story about a woman who babysat for people and stole their children’s souls. I write it in pencil, by hand on A4 lined paper and illustrated a cover for it (badly, as I sadly lack any artistic skills). My mom was the only person who ever read it, and she gave me feedback. Then when I was 16, I wrote another. Nobody ever read that one.

Years passed and I never thought I’d actually get published. But when I had an operation on my spine that left me permanently disabled at the age of 29, I had plenty of time on my hands, so I tried my hand at another story. I was a book blogger/reviewer at the time, so I asked a couple of author friends to read it and tell me what they thought. They loved it and encouraged me to pursue getting it published.

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

My first published book was called Stolen. It was a paranormal romance, and played with the idea I’d had at 15, only a bit more refined. It was published in 2013. I got the rights back to it after 5 years and signed a contract for it with a different publisher, but after a while, I concluded that I didn’t want it to be published again. The fact as I see it is that my writing has come a long way since then. I stopped writing PNR after that one and found a love of writing contemporary romance. I’ve written many books since that one (I’m now on my 18th) and I see each one of them as a learning curve. A chance to learn more about myself as an author, about my voice, what I want to say and how I want to say it. So now I look back on it as the book that opened a door for me into the writing community, but no longer wish to see it published as it isn’t my best work.

How do you balance writing with your personal life?

I am permanently disabled, so I have a lot of time on my hands while my teen son is at school or on holiday from school. I am a single mom, so I juggle trying to be the best parent I can be to him and the best friend I can be to those I love, whilst still taking time to cultivate love stories for people to fall in love with.

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Yes and no. The Jagged Scars Duet (Safe and Home) are based on a real-life once upon a time couple I knew when I was in my 20’s. I gave them the happy ending they never got in real life.

Other than that, I take personality traits and/or physical traits from people I know and combine them to make characters. I’ve used my best friend on more than one occasion. I base any grandmothers on my own late grandmother Pat. I’ve also used both good and bad traits from my own exes to make love interests or bad guys.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

I don’t have any family. My late grandmother used to help financially. She bought an exclusive model image for me to use on one of my books. But she also helped when I did my first signing, in that she helped me get copies of my books and things to make swag until I could afford to pay her back.

My friends help me out a lot by sharing teasers and excerpts, by posting in book groups and getting the word out about my books on social media.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

I have an idea for another MM story that I want to write, which I intend to get to after the MF romance that I’m currently writing.

Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?

Possibly FF. I have a small comfort zone––­­or should I say I did have. Once, I. only wrote MF contemporary romances of differing sub-genres. I was thinking that I wanted to try my hand at writing MM but wasn’t 100% sure I could pull it off. Some people say to “write what you know”, and obviously, I know nothing of being a gay man. I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, but I did it. Then I wrote another and another. The most recent of which being an enemies-to-lovers story, which I feared writing in case I didn’t get it right. But I have valued alpha and beta readers, with whom I entrusted that story, and they were all of the opinion that it was one of my best books yet.

In that story, I had an FF couple. I was asked if I. would give them their own book, as people wanted to know what happened to them. But I declined because I fear stepping out of my––albeit expanded somewhat––comfort zone.

Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?

Not really. I would say my books are 18+ but are received well by both younger and older readers.

Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?

In short, no I haven’t.

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

I would like to think I am normal. But what really is ‘normal’ these days? It’s all about perception.

Do you drink? Why or why not?

I do. I like whiskey especially. But I’ll also drink beer, wine, gin and vodka. I don’t drink a lot, as I am on medication for my ailments.

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

Honestly, I don’t think I’d like to see any of them made into a movie because I fear that they’d want to change things about my story. I see too many movies that don’t stick all that closely to the original story. BUT, if I was consulted about changes and had influence, then I would have to go with Whiskey Lullaby. It’s one of my personal favourites. It’s about a country music star who is tired of the limelight. He’s jaded. The music he once held so dear no longer seems to call to him. So, he takes a break (mid-tour, much to the chagrin of his manager) and ends up in small town River’s Edge. There he meets a feisty pink-haired single mom. I won’t say much about their story but suffice to say that sparks fly and although he didn’t go looking for love, it found him anyway.

How does your life experience influence your writing?

There are things that happen in real life that I take to the page. It might be a person I’ve met that becomes a character, or it might be an experience that I, or someone I know, has gone through. I like to write about realistic things, relatable people and things that could happen between them, whether those things be good or bad.

Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?

I don’t think of myself as writing to tropes. Yet in the end, they mostly end up in one. It’s subconscious though. Except for when I wrote my MM enemies-to-lovers. That one, I wanted to prove to myself that I could write ETL, so I did. But normally, I will just write the story that comes to me, no matter what sub-genre/trope they end up in.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

A big fat YES. Music is a big influence for me. I used to play a little guitar and a little piano as a teen. I’ve grown up with a love of a lot of genres of music, and a lot of different artists. I am a fan of 80’s/90’s stuff mostly, but if pushed to choose, I am actually a country girl at heart. I love country music with a passion.

As for writing, I have separate Spotify playlists available for all of my books. I’ll add songs to them as I write. Like, this one I’m working on now has mostly 80’s/90’s––almost cheesy––music on it. I’ve got a lot of boybands from my youth on there like Westlife, Boyzone, A1, but also female artists such as Lisa Loeb, Shakespeare’s Sisters, Meredith Brooks (the song ‘Bitch’) and Alanis Morrisette.

I usually include some sexier songs for when I’m writing sexy scenes, romantic songs for when I’m feeling mushy, and a lot of the playlists end up having bands like The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, Depeche Mode… I have eclectic tastes, but they’ll always come back to country 😉

Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?

I have. Admitting this takes a lot, but the duet I talked about before––Jagged Scars Duet––was based on me and an ex-boyfriend. In the story, Elise is a disabled single mom, the same as me. Drew is a paramedic she dated in her 20’s and they meet up again when they’re older and fall in love all over again. I gave them the HEA that my ex and I never had. It was intended for me to only write SAFE––I tend to write stand-alone novels––but ‘Drew’ asked me if he’d get a story. At first, I said no. But the more I mulled it over, the more I liked the idea, so that is where the book HOME comes from.

Their story is not written the way our story happened, but it isinfluenced by our past. I would say it’s about 70% made up.But then the other 30% consists of real-life experiences, such as being in a DV relationship for years prior to meeting ‘Drew’––which I was, for around 4.5 years, and the fact that Drew had demons of his own.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

I write when I feel inspired. I won’t force the words to come. I learned the hard way that doing so only ends up in me having a bad case of writer’s block. I used to approach writing very goal-oriented and cared about the word count for the day/week/month. But then I tried a different approach that’s now stuck. Instead of writing for the word count, I write for the words themselves. It doesn’t matter how much––or little––I add in one go; it matters that I make those words themselves count. They matter to the story and that’s what matters to me. So, I could add 1K one day, but 10K another.

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

There are several things that are rewarding about being a writer, but my two main ones are getting my stories out there for people to read, and readers loving those stories. When I am emailed by a reader, or they message me on social media to say that they loved a certain story or a certain aspect of it, that really makes me happy.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

Oh my goodness, I have so many. Too many to name really. I would say at the moment, I am loving reading books by CM Albert, Casey L Bond and Rue Volley.

Which character of yours is your favorite? Why?

It’s most likely to be between Tyler and Zach (MM enemies-to-lovers story called Love This Pain, which is under contract) and Houston and Culhwch (another MM under contract, about a rockstar and a firefighter, called Tempting The Rockstar and will be my next release).

Why? Well because as flawed as they may be, those characters mean a lot to me. Houston is a rockstar who isn’t ‘out’, whilst Culhwch––which is easier to pronounce than it looks––is a firefighter who is ‘out and proud’. They meet and quickly fall in love, but because of how he believes he’ll be perceived by his bandmates and fans, Houston is reluctant to admit that he is gay. Sometime after they split, they meet again and––not without difficulty––try to start afresh. This time though, Houston knows he has to come out to everyone and live his truth.

As for Tyler and Zach, well, that’s another story altogether. They meet on a dating app because they both come from neighbouring small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business. They fall for one another, but Tyler has been hurt before. He was bullied throughout high school for being gay––having been out since he was 15––and he finds it hard to trust people to love him the way he is. Zach has his own personal demons and it’s up to the two of them to try and find love in the last place they expect.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

I read a lot of different genres and tropes. Mostly, I stick to MM, contemporary romance and PNR/supernatural.

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

Quirky? Try my whole personality LOL. Ask anyone in my ARC group, my PA, my alpha/beta readers and my friends in general. They’ll tell you that I am definitely quirky.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

City of Angels. I cry every damn time the candle goes out, right up until the end.

But there are also a lot of other films I love, like Dirty Dancing, Grease, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, The Lost Boys, IT, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Corpse Bride, UP, The Little Mermaid…Also Iron Man, most Marvel films (except Black Widow and Captain Marvel). I am a big Disney nerd, and I love Disney and/or Pixar films. Then there’s Harry Potter. My favourite of those being Prisoner of Azkaban.

Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?

I have anxiety and social anxiety, so I have only ever done two signings. One was at my old high school, set up by my old English teacher-turned headmaster. The other was a huge event in Birmingham with other authors such as Jodi Ellen Malpas, Sophie Jackson, Charlotte Fallowfield, MB Feeney, and many more.

The main place I interact with my readers is in my ARC group.

What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?

Umm… I don’t think there are any really. But I’d like to thank you for the chance to talk books with you. I do so love to talk, a lot, about a variety of things. But there’s nothing like talking about the fictional world and our contributions to it.

THANK you for joining us, Keren! It was an honor to have you!

myBook.to/SafeKerenHughes

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myBook.to/OutofTheAshes

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CONNECT WITH KEREN!!!

https://facebook.com/authorkerenhughes

authorkerentshughes.wordpress.com

On Twitter, look for Keren_Hughes (Sorry, the link made my page go all buggy.)

instagram.com/keren_hughes

MEET LJ DARE!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present author LJ DARE!

LJ’s writing is very near and dear to me. Her tales are reminiscent of the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and Jane Austen. What I love best about her is how ‘PG’ she is; I was perfectly comfortable giving her stories to my teenage niece to read. The historicity of her tales – combined with her strong sense of good taste – makes her work read like it’s straight out of the nineteenth century, my favorite era in literature.

So without any further ado … LJ DARE!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

Blurb for The King’s Blade

After surviving a massacre, Lady Megan MacKelloch intends on seeking sanctuary with the Poor Claires for herself and her young sisters. That is until Lord John Lindsay, known as The King’s Blade, is ordered to find her.
As the Crown’s chief criminal investigator, Lindsay metes out justice as he deals with murder, betrayal and intrigue but never has he encountered such female resistance. Life has taught John and Megan not to believe in love. So, when forced into marriage by a Royal Decree, can they set aside their differences and learn to trust their hearts?

Burb for A Bride for the King

Accompanying her twin sister who is marry the Barovian King, Lady Belle Bradford agrees to switch places with her sister until after her twin has met her future husband. But when rebels surrounded the village, Belle is whisked away to safety by the King’s military commander.
Prince Nikolai Orsini, heir apparent and Supreme Commander of Barovian Forces, recognizes his only duty is to get his future Queen safely to the church on time. What he hadn’t counted on was falling in love with her. Deceived, betrayed and hunted, can these two learn to rely on love?

Blurb for The King’s Spy

Working undercover for the monarchy as the King’s Spy, Baron Donovan Forbes investigates rumors of possible abductions, espionage and treasonous plots. That is until he encounters the unpredictable Lady Eileen Fraser. Eileen will do anything to escape her older sister’s scandalous reputation. Even if it entails stealing a horse, donning a disguise, organising a rescue, or spying on Forbes’ clandestine activities. So, when forced into marriage by Royal Decree, will Novan and Eileen discover that while love at first sight is blind? But will it conquer all?

Meet LJ!

When did you start writing? What made you first heard decide to try your hand at it?

I’ve always written-poems, lyrics, skits, and have been curious about everything, asking ‘what if, why?’  I kept a journal with words I didn’t know the meaning of, then added bits of conversation I had heard, descriptions of people, places, emotions, expressions, new ideas and unusual situations. Then in college, I took a playwriting class.

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

The King’s Blade, novel #10 (the other eight are contemporary) & it was my 2nd historical. I am very proud of the story line that is based on historical fact.

How do you balance writing with your personal life?

I run my errands, do lunch prep, housework, gardening, laundry in the mornings. I spend my afternoons  writing, working on correcting the edits I receive, researching and/or doing social media promotion. In between this I pick up my great-grandson from school, drive my brother to his appointments, assist my husband in the office. & most important of all, I always take my clipboard with my writing on it with me.

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Not normally but in Book #6-Whispers of Deceit that is currently in the editing phase, the two little boys are a combination of my younger brothers, John & James and my Great-grandson, Brayden.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

I would like to write about Hadrian’s Wall& the Roman occupation of Scotland. I was very impressed with the artifacts that are housed in the Roman Museum, near the archeological site of Vindoland west of Hexham, England.  

Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?

Not an entire story but I’ve used actual life experiences I’ve had. We are retired military and have been fortunate to have traveled the world. Both my husband and I love history so we naturally gravitate toward historical places and museums. My most memorable, is in my Civil War Spies Book#3, Web of Intrigue  (which I’mwriting now) was standing on Little Roundtop at Gettysburg. I used the vertical climb of dark uneven stairs of the Drum Tower in Beijing in A Bride for a King. The storm we encountered crossing the North Sea from Copenhagen to Harwich, England in Civil War Spies Book #1, Deadly Secrets. The borderlands and St. Margaret’s Chapel  in The King’s Blade,  the grounds of Edinburgh Castle in The King’s Spy and the area of Loch Lomond in The King’s Ladies.

Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?

When I write, I am very aware of how I portray all of my characters. We all have positive and negative traits. I do try to treat all with respect.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

I am a planner. I create the plot and characters so that when I sit down to write I know what I’m writing and where I’m going with it. Now, does that mean that sometimes my writing doesn’t take a curve ball?  Of course it does. I don’t fight it, I go with it to see where it leads and thus far, it is better than what I had first planned by giving me more twists and turns in the plot.

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

For me its sitting down and creating an imaginary world that ‘lives’ for me. Since I write transformational, my goal is when readers finish my novels, they have a sense of hope, that through all adversity, love, kindness and respect conquers all.   

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

I write everywhere, while sitting at the bow of a boat traveling down the Amazon River, The Nile, The Mekong, & the Yangtze. On airplanes, buses, autos, trains , in restaurants, on a park bench, and even once during Father Charlie’s Sunday sermon. I always carry a note pad and pen.

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

When we were stationed at Ft. Riley, KS, I taught Speech and Drama in Junction City. When we moved to Arizona, the state wasn’t hiring out of state teachers, so I went to work at the local hospital. Central Processing & Central Sterile was attached to the Surgery Department. I often worked the weekend and that meant I often times was pulled into surgery in case the surgical team needed additional supplies. Thus I became very interested in the practice of medicine. Which I’ve also had helped in my writing. When Arizona opened their hiring doors, I changed from secondary to elementary and returned to teaching. I’m short, so at least this time I was a bit taller than most of my students.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

Gone with the Wind. The sheer scope of the subject, action, cast and characters still leave me breathless. But the fall of 2019, our Granddaughter gave us tickets for the stage play, Hamilton. Both my husband and I were blown away with the plot, talent and music of the play. 

Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?

Tomorrow, I am giving a presentation at a charter school in the area. On the 9th, I will be appearing at the Aquarius Casino’s Girls’ Day Out event in Laughlin, NV. I’ve done that event since 2017 but when Covid struck it was cancelled last year but has resumed this year.

Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?

I love researching, so I look forward to finding the quirks and little-known facts. For me that is what makes history exciting.

THANK you, LJ, for gracing the pages of virginiawallace.com today! Thank you for your endearing, pulse-pounding tales, and here’s wishing you all the best in the future!

LJ Dare’s books are available on Amazon.com. (Sorry, no link. Amazon tends to hijack my page and drive my security programs bonkers.)

To read more about LJ Dare on virginiawallace.com: https://virginiawallace.com/2020/10/02/the-kings-blade-by-l-j-dare-a-review/

MEET GERRY (ALAN) SOUTER!!!

Today, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to host a living icon upon my humble page: The one and only Gerry (Alan) Souter!

I’ll let him introduce himself in his bio, but let me tell you… you’ll never meet a funnier, wiser, or more accomplished person. I’m honored to call him my teammate at Black Velvet Seductions Publishing, and I’m beyond honored that he often makes time bestow both his wit and wisdom upon me.

So without any further ado, friends…

I give you GERRY!!!

Gerry (Alan) Souter Biography

“A Thread of Sand,” his debut novel, reflects his wealth of knowledge and empathy with the characters he has created as a professional author.

Gerry was an artist before he was an author, making his first clearly identifiable drawings of the steam trains that passed by his crib window at age three. From there, came a statewide-winning painting at age 13 sending him to the School of the Art Institute—his eventual alma mater along with the University of Chicago where he earned a bachelor of art education degree with graduate honors in photography.

A career as a photojournalist followed for thirty years traveling around the world on story-telling and award-winning assignments for newspapers: Chicago Tribune, Sun Times, magazines, world travel, and industrial collateral. He turned his story-telling to filmed documentaries, producing 14 award-winning video productions. With much of his photojournalism, he wrote the accompanying text, mentored by experienced editors.

His quality writing impressed a major publisher to request a non-fiction book: “The History of the America Firehouse.” It received rave reviews and went into four editions. More book requests were offered: American histories, military histories, biographies, fine arts, auto racing, a memoir. Gerry—and his Art Institute sweetheart, Janet, also an award-winning author—criss-crossed the United States and foreign locations doing research for their new company: www.avril1.com.

His world travels and experiences from the Arctic Circle to equatorial Venezuelan jungles and the desert sands of Egypt. Paris in the spring, sailing up the Nile, free ballooning over the Rocky Mountains, breaking the sound barrier in a jet fighter, astride horses over fences in competitions—all these experiences and many more are available to his fiction writing. “A Thread of Sand,” his 57th traditionally published book and debut novel, amzn.to/2L4WHHU  reflects his wealth of knowledge and empathy with the characters he has created as a professional author.

A Thread of Sand blurb –

In 1891, a young gifted British artist, Lady Julia Carstairs, travels to the Wild West. She learns more than a young lady should about life as she survives the rigors of a Texas brothel. Julia escapes and flees the US to find work as an artist in Egypt. Follow her journey as she avoids the clutches of sinister Dervish rebels. Feel the temperature rise, as she is passionately seduced by both men and women on the way, finding true love in the arms of a British Lieutenant.
A seductive erotic story that spans half the globe. Can Julia’s love survive the turmoil of these perilous times?

A Thread of Sand review, by Virginia Wallace –

‘Her terror froze her into immobility as her sanity dangled by a single thread of sand…’ – line from Gerry (Alan) Souter’s A Thread of Sand

A Thread of Sand is a major favorite in my household. It’s the first novel I read from Black Velvet Seductions when I was hired on, and I was pretty well blown away by the fast-paced, breath-taking narrative.

Now, let me be clear here: A Thread of Sand is not a romance novel. I think it’s important to clarify that, because I’ve learned that bad reviews don’t come from bad writing. Rather, they come from disappointed expectations. It’s best to be clear about what a story is—or isn’t—right out of the gate, so the readers know what to expect.

So no, A Thread of Sand isn’t a romance novel, in the sense that the story doesn’t revolve around the pursuit of a single relationship. Rather, it’s a rollicking action/adventure tale with heavily erotic overtones. I think it’s best compared to a lot of pulp-fiction novels that were published in the thirties and forties. And therein lies its utter genius; you just don’t run across many stories like that anymore.

The tale revolves around a well-bred, English Countess named Julia Carstairs. She’s intelligent, artistic, strong… and very, very damaged! She’s certainly one of the darkest heroines I’ve ever read. What’s brilliant about the tale is that we’re told right from the get-go that she was once sex-trafficked in a ‘Wild West’ brothel, so the reader immediately gets a firm grasp upon that side of her character. It also explains her wildly promiscuous behavior, which would otherwise have been very unusual for the turn of the twentieth century.

Julia’s story is one of internal conflict, with the talented, genteel Lady ever struggling to overcome the traumatized creature within. I think that’s very relatable, because—as I’m fond of saying—we’re all a bit of the Walking Wounded.

The action and historical details are both gripping and engaging, certainly on par with writings from the likes of Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs. I really enjoyed the fictitious portrayal of Winston Churchill. Some of us history buffs might view Churchill as an overweight lush with dubious leadership abilities, but he wasn’t always like that. It was fun to see him as the fit, competent soldier that he was as a younger man.

A Thread of Sand is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, action/adventure, and erotica. The tale just roars along from beginning to end, relentlessly dragging the reader pell-mell toward a thrilling climax and satisfying ending.

When you’ve finished reading, you can almost close your eyes and feel the desert wind on your face…

AN INTERVIEW WITH GERRY (ALAN)!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

Age 4. I did a drawing of a locomotive – three cars and a caboose-underneath it, I wrote  “Train”

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

“The DISConnection” 1990  About all manner of discs from Videodiscs to CDRs and their hardware. Very good—In print for 10 years

How do you balance writing with your personal life?

I don’t. I have no personal life. My wife has a life. I tag along with her. She’s also a prize winning author.

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Pieces of them. A bit of bone and a hank of hair

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

They flee when they see me coming

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Yes, but they sit in my head and scream to be set free

Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?

No, I’ll embarrass anyone and I don’t owe anyone money

Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?

All the time. YA, Veterans, women… I’m an all-purpose author. No one is safe.

Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?

I’ve written 56 non-fiction traditionally published books, almost all histories, biographies, or one memoir

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

I left “normal” when I graduated grammar school. I am a complete story-telling loon. I have a beat-box mouth, I shoot all manner of weapons, I used to jump horses over fences for ribbons. I write books and magazine articles about everything I’ve done. I paint and draw every week for four hours. I’ve broken the sound barrier in a jet fighter. I’ve traveled all over the world as a photojournalist. I love popcicles. Driven? I’ve driven an Indy race car an average of 111 mph at the Joliet Speedway.

Do you drink? Why or why not?

I drink about four ounces of Rye whisky every two weeks. I would drink more, but my kids will only buy me so many bottles a month. Same goes for pot. My wife’s a wine junky.

Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?

Yes, No and No

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

“Thread of Sand”. It has everything in it a good movie in today’s market requires Second would be “Kilgore’s Colt”

How does your life experience influence your writing?

My life experience is my writing. I’ve experienced great bags of life experience. I once drank snake blood for Christ’s sake!

Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?

I write for the reader

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

I need dead silence. I used to play the viola.

Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?

Virtually all my stories reflect in part my personal experiences (except biographies of course.)

Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?

The closest I’ve come to world events was the “Troubles” in Ireland when I was arrested for being a suspected terrorist.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

I always start out with a plan and structure and I am always surprised.

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

The look on people’s face when I say I am ”an author.”

Who is your favorite author, and why?

Ernest Hemingway . He had basketball-size cojones in his life and writing until he eventually let all the air out.

If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?

Anyone without a lisp

Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?

Lady Julia Carstairs OBE Countess of Ashford I would pick any good actress under 30

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

I dissolve on vacation and usually write poetry.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

Different types. Who wants to read better fiction then I can write?

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

I have a crush on Virginia Wallace

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

Citizen Kane. I identify with Kane.

Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?

You mean face to face?  Jan and I are always at book fairs. We see them then and are always pleased with their good taste

Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?

All the time. That’s what history writers do

What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?

My shoe size is 11-1/2

THANK you, Gerry, for gracing the pages of virginiawallace.com! Here’s to your success thus far, and may you find more in the future!

A Thread of Sand is available on Amazon.com. (Sorry no link, but a title search pulls it right up. Amazon’s links are CRAZY invasive, and play hell with my page!)

Gerry’s impressive career in both fiction and non-fiction can be viewed here: www.avril1.com

To see more of Gerry on virginiawallace.com : https://virginiawallace.com/2020/08/23/eating-bugs-and-drinking-lava-by-gerry-souter/

Meet Author K. Rose!!!

Blurb for The Prophecy of the Water Sprite:

Our kind has been enslaved by the Fae for as long as this kingdom remembers. They need us to keep water in their kingdom flowing, without it, their kind would surely all perish, as not even the powerful Fae have control over the waters that feed life to everything. Somewhere along the line, they all lost that ability, as if that element revolted against them.

For over twenty-one years I’ve been kept in the dark about my true heritage, being raised as a witch, like my auntie, that can wield water with spells. Soon I would be old enough to leave my childhood home and go beyond the protection spell that has kept me safe all these years to seek out my destiny.

A vision—perhaps even a prophecy, in the castle where I was born caused my parents to secret me away under the cover of darkness. I was saved by an unlikely partnership.

For the first time in thousands of years, the elements are set to combine into the greatest power ever known, and somehow I am the center of it all.

The power of the elements are told to bring about peace in the lands and restore life in the realm to a greatness more than it has ever been before.

No more struggles for food, no more starvation. No more taxation with penalties of death. No more hatred and fear of the rulers of the kingdom. Only prosperity, health, and maybe even something more?

And now for an AUTHOR INTERVIEW!!!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?
I started writing April 2021. I wrote a blurb for what was supposed to be a fake book and
an April Fools Day joke.


What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?
The Prophecy of the Water Sprite is my only published novel, and I think I did really well
for a debut novel… and really a first story ever written. Even in high school I drew a picture instead of writing a 1000 word short story in English class.


How do you balance writing with your personal life?
I don’t really balance it well, I go all in on the writing when the muse is working. I
remember I had a 14 hour day during the first drafting of The Prophecy of the Water Sprite.


Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?
No, I didn’t make anyone I know into the fictional characters, though I think there are
traits that I pull from them.


Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?
No, I wish I had even friends that helped. But I currently just have a few acquaintances—
that are working their way to friends I hope— that I have met from being on ARC and Beta teams, they help with random questions that I don’t seem to be able to find answers for on my own.


Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?
Yes. I currently have ideas jotted down for at least 5 stories. One of which I have already
started writing! And two that are not ‘in my lane’ but I will write them anyway!


Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?
The 3rd story I had an idea form for is contemporary, and I am a bit afraid of not hitting
the mark with it. Without having magic and fantastical things to keep from painting myself into a corner, I might have a hard time with the realism of it all.


Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?
I am not targeting anything. I figure there are enough other writers already doing that, if
I keep mine the way my brain produces them, I hope the originality will win over everything else.


Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?
No. Never actually wrote a story—at all—prior to The Prophecy of the Water Sprite.


Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?
Pretty sure I am not normal, but I don’t feel like I am the latter of that either.


Do you drink? Why or why not?
Rarely. I have too many alcoholics in my life, and I see the damage it causes.


Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?
I am not married, but I have been with my guy for almost 20 years. He is constantly
jealous of the time I spend writing and promoting the book with the social media community.


If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?
Well of Course I would choose The Prophecy of the Water Sprite, but not just because it
is my only story. But because it would make a great movie! It is written in multiple POV so it would be easy to change over to a screenplay script.


How does your life experience influence your writing?
I enjoy nature and animals, and I feel like that is conveyed in the story. I also have a deep
sense of empathy, which I feel is a strong character trait, that I shared with the fictional characters in the book.


Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?
I have only been reading for fun for a bit over two years, so I am sure I have some things
that aren’t exactly to genre expectations. I would have to say due to this fact, I write my way.


Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?
No. I find it hard to concentrate with more than the sounds of nature and my pets.


Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?
Not yet. Though it does sound like a good idea to use personal experiences while
writing.


Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?
My story is set in Earth of another dimension, so I would have to say there is a
disconnect in that aspect.


Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?
Definitely Benders. When the words flow, I get them out as best I can.


What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?
The most rewarding aspect is the finished story. If people read and like it even better,
but I don’t expect the praise of it for myself. i would much rather they not know who wrote it specifically and just like the story itself for what it is.


Who is your favorite author, and why?
I don’t have a favorite author. I read a lot of different authors and they each have
different styles which I like. I would get very bored if I only read one all of the time. That being said I do enjoy the way Shel Silverstein has creativity in his poetry, the graphic descriptions of Steven King, and all of the Amazing Indie authors that write in the Reverse Harem Genre, there are such diverse stories and styles there is no way I could choose just one.


If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?
I would have to choose two to cover the male and female voices. But aside from that I
really don’t know. I personally would give it a try if I could get the right program and microphone.


Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?
Oh, well…that is like picking a favorite pet. They are all my favorite for different reasons.
Skyy because she is so Kind and innocent. Vale because he is intimidating in size, but that just means his heart is equally as big. Elio because of his determination and overbearing nature. Enlil for his playful attitude, and deep feelings. Morfran, because he is so good at being bad. Lastly Araminta because she is like every mother, aunt, and grandmother in a way.


Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?
I only have staycations! But if I were to take an actual Vacation I would not write, I might
read … or I might not even do that.


Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?
I personally have a very eclectic reading selection. I am a member of so many ARC Alpha
and Beta teams that I rarely choose a book to read anymore. I don’t mind that one bit either, since half the battle is choosing what to read next!


What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?
I am sure they haven’t had the chance to get to know me too well just yet. But anyone
who has a question for me is welcomed to ask. I don’t bite, unless you want me to.


What’s your favorite movie? Why?
My Favorites are The Princess Bride and The Labyrinth. I can recite them from memory
and word for word while watching. They are just what I grew up watching, and absolutely loved the story they portrayed. A third place runner up would be Spaceballs, because it is absolutely ridiculously hilarious! (V’s note: K. Rose has impeccable taste in movies!)


Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?
I have attempted one live book signing, and I plan on doing more in the future. I just
don’t know where to start with signing up for them and all of that hot mess. Plus I should probably have more than one book published before I commit to them.


Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?
Not as of yet. But I have the type of personality that I would want to make sure there are
more things at one hundred percent correct than not.


What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?
I always find it fascinating that the majority of authors I ask say they do in fact talk in
their sleep. I personally didn’t start doing this until I started writing, and I haven’t figure out why either. But I think it is pretty cool that I share that affliction with other authors.
My Next project is already under way and will be a mash-up of Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and
Paranormal Reverse Harem. I hope the originality of the characters and the story line will be a breath of fresh air so to speak.

THANK you, K. Rose, for appearing today! It was an honor to host you!

K. Rose’s novel The Prophecy of the Water Sprite is available on Kindle Unlimited and in paperback. (Sorry, no link. Amazon’s links hijack my page, and then cause my computer to freeze due to fist-fighting with my security programs.)

You can also join her FaceBook group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/174766784549375

MEET JAN SELBOURNE!!!

Jan Selbourne has become one of my favorite authors. I first read her work in the anthology Desire Me Again, published by Black Velvet Seductions, in which her story A Convict’s Prayer appeared. She was also featured in Cowboy Desire, where her story The Long Paddock quickly won my award for ‘Best Ending’. She’s also the author of numerous full-length historical romances.

So without any further ado… JAN SELBOURNE!!!

BIO –

Jan Selbourne was born in Melbourne, Australia and her love of literature and history began as soon as she learned to read. After graduating from business college her career began in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, working in Victoria, Queensland and the United Kingdom. On the point of retiring, she changed course to work as secretary of a large NSW historical society. Now retired, Jan is writing historical fiction. She has two adult children, a lovable dog and lives near Maitland, New South Wales.

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I’ve always wanted to write but growing up, career, travel, marriage, children then back to career kept the urge on the back burner. When I retired it was time for me to get serious. I sat down ready to go and had no idea what to write about.  It was a small article in a magazine that gave me the inspiration for my first book.

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

Perilous Love, published in 2015, set in England and Belgium during the early days of World War One. Two people whose marriage is over are caught up in the invasion of Belgium, sparking WW1, however a lot of events in the story are based on fact.  It’s a special book for me.

How do you balance writing with your personal life?

I’m retired, my time is my own and I can write when ideas are jabbing at me and stop when I run out.

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Not people I actually know – but a few of my baddies are based on some well-known unpleasant people.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

My daughter’s ideas and opinions help me a lot. My newsletter partner Dee S. Knight’s help was invaluable while finishing the last chapters of The Woman Behind the Mirror.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Definitely. My fifth book, set in England and colonial New South Wales, Australia, is almost finished and ideas are niggling at me for the next story.  

Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?

A Convict’s Prayer, in the Desire Me Again anthology, is the true story of my Irish ancestor who was set up by her brother for stealing and transported to the harsh Van Diemen’s Land Penal colony (now Tasmania) Australia for fourteen years.  Her life was very hard but she gained her ticket of leave in less than seven years, which allowed her to marry again and apply for her son in Ireland to join her. (Virginia’s note: HIGHLY recommended tale!!!)

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

Laughing.  Of course I’m normal, well, I think I am.  (Don’t ask my kids)

Do you drink? Why or why not?

Alcohol?  Yes, white wine.  Why?  Because I like it.

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

Perilous Love. The idea for this story came from an article on how a person’s real character emerges when faced with extreme danger or life changing events.

BLURB –

In Perilous Love, Adrian and Gabrielle can barely stand the sight of each other until they are trapped in Belgium as war looms over Europe. Plunged into a nightmare of lies and betrayal, they flee for their lives as the German forces cross the border. Narrowly evading capture, witnessing death and atrocities, they discover more about each other and themselves than in the eight years of marriage. But the tentacles of treachery have spread to England where Adrian faces charges of treason and a woman who’ll stop at nothing to see him dead.

How does your life experience influence your writing?

I’m sure life experiences influence all writer’s scenes and characters.

Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?

I write historical fiction and try to provide an accurate as possible background for that period in history. We can create our characters any way we want, good and bad, gorgeous and ugly, but we owe it to our readers not to throw our heroes and heroines into an era or situation and hope for the best.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

I love music, lean to musical theater and classical but find it distracting when I write.

Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?

The closest to real life events was Perilous Love.  My grandfather was in Belgium and France during WW1 and some of the dreadful events he witnessed are in the book.

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

Not structured at all.  I write when I can and stop writing when I’m running dry.

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

Writing has been incredibly rewarding from holding my first book in my hand, the lovely reviews and comments on my books and meeting fantastic, talented authors.

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

I write when I’m on vacation.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

I like variety, historical and contemporary.

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

I’m don’t think I have quirky habits—but don’t ask my kids.

Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?

Yes, writing historical stories requires research and I’ve found people and organizations very generous with their help. For instance, after visiting the Commonwealth War Graves in France, I asked London’s Imperial War Museum and the Australian War Memorial if it was possible for WW1 soldiers to swap identity tags with fallen comrades. Both replied yes it was possible but extremely unlikely because the chances of being caught very high and the penalties harsh (a hanging offense). Good enough for me to write The Proposition. (My character wasn’t caught).  I was a bit nervous contacting the prestigious Bank of England for information on banking in the 18th/19th centuries. The archivist was incredibly friendly and helpful, giving me confidence to include the bank in The Woman Behind the Mirror.   Research takes a lot of time but it’s worth it.

Perilous Love is available on Amazon.com (Sorry, no link. Amazon fights like hell to hijack my entire page, and then causes a computer freeze as it furiously battles my computer’s security settings.)

Jan Selbourne Author links:

Website: https://nomadauthors.com/JanSelbourne/index.html

Blog: http://nomadauthors.com/blog

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JanSelbourne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jan.selbourne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14661584.Jan_Selbourne?from_search=true

Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h8t2y6

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jan-selbourne-2817b6140/

One Year in the Trenches: The Life of an Author

As of June 4th, I have been a traditionally-published author for an entire year.

That was one helluva a fateful email, lemme tell ya! After years of ‘Thank you for considering such-and-such publishing for your manuscript, but this is not the story we are looking for at this time,’ I finally hit the jackpot with ‘Congratulations on such a well-written romance novel!’

In hindsight, I suspect the only other phrase that alters someone’s life that much is ‘Congratulations! You’re pregnant.’ I wouldn’t know, though.

While I am new to being a traditionally-published author, I’m no stranger to seeing my work in print. I’ve been around the writing block more than a couple times, with all the headaches, hard work, and hiccups that go along with it. I thought that I had a grasp on things, that I knew what I was doing.

Yeah, right!

Shortly after getting that fateful email, I found myself sitting at my laptop being trained for ‘marketing detail’. Times have changed drastically for authors in the last few decades, mostly due to social media, which creates the ability—and therefore the need—for authors to be more visible, and the increased ease of self-publishing, which creates more competition. (NOTE: I myself was once an ‘indie’ author. I know and admire a great many self-published authors. I’m not bemoaning the fact that self-publishing has risen up to challenge the traditional publishing industry. I’m simply pointing out reality. Technology has changed the game for everyone.)

I managed to settle into a routine after a while. It felt very, very alien at first, because the change in my lifestyle was so sudden. But I got used to it, or at least I thought I did. I even got through the launch of Desire Me Again (an anthology featuring one of my stories) with flying colors. I was on a roll, or so I thought.

And then my full-length novel When the White Knight Falls launched…

It was then that I realized my new lifestyle was quickly becoming unsustainable. I couldn’t handle the workload, and I was exhausted. February of 2021 was a very rough month for me! I felt like I was going to crash. (If you’d like to know what a typical book launch looks like, read Anatomy of a Book Launch, the blog posted immediately below this one. It’s a minute-by-minute log of how mine went.)

So I asked myself, ‘what if you went back to the way things were before?’

I was absolutely aghast at the thought! Writers write so that people can read their stories. Period. Without readers, writing is an utter waste of time. I was overwhelmed and stressed out, true, but I was also exactly where I wanted to be.

So I paused, and re-assessed the situation…

The first thing I did was count my blessings. Gratitude is the antidote for discontent; this I learned very, very young. I had a publisher who believed in me. That’s HUGE!!! Some authors—ones far more talented than I—go their whole lives without finding a suitable publisher. Even better, Black Velvet Seductions is the most author-friendly romance publisher out there. Most publishers these days put it into their contracts that authors need to help with promotions. And that’s it. That’s all there is. A contractual requirement, but the ‘how’ of the matter is entirely on you.

That’s not BVS.

We have a training director, a wonderfully talented and patient fellow author who directs our promotional efforts and keeps all the authors working together as a team. She’s become one of my absolute favorite people, and I owe her a lot.

In addition to having a great publisher AND assistance with marketing, I was also blessed that my life experience has led me to this point. Some authors find themselves in print a mere few years after they start writing. That’s not me. I have decades of experience. I’m also computer-savvy, with a background in graphic design. (I didn’t realize how useful my PhotoShop skills were until I had to start cobbing up ads on a weekly basis.) Not only that, I spent years working as a sales-person; I read people well, which comes in handy when assessing one’s readers and target demographics.

Once I thought about all that I had going for me, I felt a twinge of guilt. Why was I so miserable and overwhelmed when I had so much working in my favor?

Because I’m human, that’s why. There are only so many hours in a day.

So I took a step back. What was I willing to do because it struck me as fun, and what did I need to escape because I hated it? I slowly but surely began the process of farming out the chores that were stressing me out (publishing assistants are WONDERFUL people!), and getting a better handle on managing my literary affairs.

I’m in a better place now. About the only thing I have to do that I can’t ‘sub out’ is author proofing, which I hate. But that just is what it is. At the end of the day, they’re my stories and it’s my job to go over the edited manuscripts with a magnifying glass, making sure they’re ready for print. Other’n that, I’m more or less back to behaving like a literary four-year-old, because for me that’s sustainable. I put in an average of thirty hours a week into my writing chores over and above my day job. If it’s fun, it isn’t work and it doesn’t stress me out. If I don’t like doing it, it wears me out and I start to hate my life.

So now I can focus on growing both my body of work and my reader base. It was a long year and a couple of months in Hell, but now I seem to be moving forward. I’m so excited to see what the future holds!

So what did I learn over the last year?

Ha! How much time do you have…?

#1 – Listen to your publisher and their marketing staff. If I knew everything, I wouldn’t need a publisher, would I? Sometimes you disagree with an editorial decision. Sometimes you don’t understand why you’re being asked to do something that you’d rather not. That’s how it goes. It’s funny, I have a pretty easy time with that one, but I know a lot of other authors who don’t. I think it’s because I’m lazy, honestly. If I just do exactly what I’m told, then it’s not my fault if it doesn’t work. Easy-peasy.

#2 – It ain’t always about you! Jesus said to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. If God in the flesh said something is important, then I suppose it’s best to take His words at face value. Review others’ work when you can. Got a blog? Feature other authors. We’re all in this together. And we should always remember that ‘loving your neighbor’ is never a quid pro quo. It’s not about ‘hey, I’ll do this for you so now you gotta do that for me’. Rather, it’s about doing your part to foster a positive, helpful environment in which everyone can flourish.

#3 – Swallow your pride. ‘Pride goeth before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction’.  When it comes to writing books, ‘destruction’ might be too strong a word but ‘failure’ is definitely not. Sometimes you thought you had your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed, only to be rejected, or hit with a request to do re-writes. Some people say ‘you can’t win all time’. I say, the fuck you can’t! But not every victory is easily won. The Battle of Petersburg was a turkey shoot for the Confederates, but Normandy wasn’t so easy for the Allies. And that’s how it goes sometimes. Clinging to an over-inflated ego just makes everything that much harder.

#4 – Work with others.  Everyone has a different skill set. Some authors are aces at marketing, while others struggle with it. Others are fast and efficient writers, while others move more slowly. Some authors are good at graphics, while others struggle with them. Whatever your talents may be, bring them to the table so that you can assist others, and seek help from those who possess skills that you do not. A wise writer knows that we all either stand together, or we go into the ‘slush pile’ one by one.

#5 – Mind your graphics. In a social-media driven world, graphics are everything! A spiffy book ad catches the eye in ways that even a blurb does not. If you’re good at PhotoShop, wonderful! If you’re not, find a way around the deficiency. I’m always deeply appreciative when someone sends me a copyright-free image that reminded them of one of my characters, and I always try to reciprocate. No, it’s not fair that now we have to be artists in addition to being authors. But that’s how it is.

#6 – If you hate doing something and you can afford to hire it out, do so. Odds are that none of us are getting rich anyway. In the meantime, the key is sustainability, not burnout. ‘Nuff said!

#7 – Love thy day job (if thou hast one). My day job is the backbone of my entire writing operation. It allows me the luxury of recruiting paid help when I need it. It allows me to keep my creative integrity, rather than simply chasing the next buck with my stories. It allows me a respite from writing—and yes, I do need one. I can only spend so long in my head before I feel myself slowly going insane. My day job funds my passion, and allows me to regularly engage the real world. I need it, and I give it the same care and attention that I do my writing.

#8 – Love thy reader. It is so tempting to insert one’s own opinions into stories, like some dipshit actor spewing political bilge while they’re accepting an award they earned by entertaining people. Don’t. That alienates readers, and it’s not worth it. Watch your reviews, zero in on your demographic, and give ‘em what they want. Having readers is a blessing, and we should never lose sight of that fact.

#9 – Think of your work as a calling. My writing took off in 2020. Contrary to popular belief, that was not the worst year in American history. But it wasn’t a good one, either.

I have a policy of never commenting on social issues, but sometimes you just have to point out the obvious: Never have I witnessed such un-bridled Fascism as I’ve seen recently. Never did I imagine that governments would write themselves the authority to put entire populations under house arrest. Never did I imagine that political leaders would high-handedly order lawfully-operating businesses to close, stripping legions of workers of their livelihoods. Never have I seen houses of worship ordered to close. That brazen tyranny led to a catastrophic rise in depression, suicides, addictions, spiritual malaise, and poor mental health in general.

My point is this: while the over-arching solution is to follow God and His teachings, people in the meantime need a break! A sedative, if you would. Authors are more important now than they ever were. As our world begins to crumble—as it periodically does, because all social orders rise and fall—storytellers become an invaluable source of comfort and encouragement. The Roman Empire rose and fell, and now it’s gone. The Hellenistic world is no more…

But what they left behind were their stories. We still have those. They survived even the iron fists of history, and social change.

We are the ones who write those stories. We matter.

Never forget that…

Cheers! – V

CONNECT WITH ME ONLINE:

https://linktr.ee/VK_Wallace1378

Callie Carmen’s ‘Michael’: Review and Author Interview!

Olivia had spent enough time on memories of her ex-boyfriend’s abuse. She was going to put all of her efforts into her new business career. And try to convince her boss, Vice President Michael Evans, that the woman he’d been dating was nothing more than an opportunist and that she’d climb into bed with anyone that could get her to the top. 

Michael, who lost his younger sister to an abusive relationship, was falling in love with Olivia. He kept his distance from her and waited patiently for a sign that she was ready for his love.

Michael is the sixth and last novel in the Risking Love series. The stories chart a group of friends through life and love. These steamy stories will have you laughing, crying, and your heart racing.

Blurb from Callie Carmen’s Michael

It’s FINALLY the release day for Michael, the grand finale of Callie Carmen’s Risking Love series!

It may shock you, my dear readers, to learn that I don’t often read contemporary romances. Oh, I do love me some heart-wrenching stories, now, being a romance writer and all. But I tend to lean toward fantasy, sci-fi, and darker stories. So it’s high praise when I tell you that I have always found Callie Carmen’s writing to be captivating. It’s powerful enough to pull me out of my blackened little fantasy bubble, and that’s saying something.

Callie writes in the first-person tense, and alternates between the hero and the heroine’s respective points of view. It’s a very clever way of telling a story, because while first person creates more intimacy than third, it can also limit the scope of the story. Using dual narratives fleshes out different aspects of the tale, making it more complete than it would otherwise be.

Another earmark of Callie’s writing is her leading men. They are amazingly complex, and very life-like. Her heroines are also complex and engaging, but hey, let’s face it: Risking Love was custom-tailored for the ladies. (I mean, seriously, check out the covers!) From the assertive Patrick to the reticent Anthony to the smart-yet-somewhat-clueless Joshua, Callie’s cast of male leads makes for great storytelling.

And now there’s Michael…

Michael’s a corporate exec. He’s smooth, suave, handsome, and possesses an uncanny ability to read the people around him. He’s also the perfect gentleman, with a courteously deferential way of treating women that’s very endearing. It’s obvious from the opening chapters that lovely Olivia is head-over-heels for him. There’s just one problem. Well, two, actually…

The first is Veronica, the conniving ‘dragon lady’. She’s cold, ambitious, and a rather daunting romantic rival.

The second is Braylon, Olivia’s stalker.

Those twin threads of suspense—the personal angst, combined with the element of danger—make Michael an absolute page-turner. It’s a worthy ending to the series that began with the explosive Patrick, and I suspect that many readers will be sad that the ride has finally come to an end. I know I am.

But that means we get to look forward to whatever comes next!

Michael, by the amazing Callie Carmen. Check it OUT!

BIO

Callie Carmen is a tormented artist who drinks way, way too much! Fueled by a steady diet of booze, caffeine, heavy metal music, and horror films, Callie is often so addled that she doesn’t even know what day it is. She’s also prone to mixing up her days and nights, and is more than a little obsessive/compul…

Uh… Hold on… Waitaminit…

Dammit, that’s MY bio! Sorry, y’all. My bad. Lemme just open the correct file, here… just a sec… Okay, here we go!

Callie started in the book business as a bookstore manager which was the perfect place for her since she was an avid reader. After two years, she moved to the corporate office as a buyer and eventually became a senior book buyer. This was a rewarding career that she loved.

Along the way, Callie became a stay home Mom but couldn’t give up working around books altogether. She volunteered to run the book fairs in her small farm town. At the same time, Callie started and ran, A Child Oasis Company, with the sole purpose of placing a small book library in the homes of all the needy children in the nearby city.

As her children became teens, Callie found she needed more in her personal life than the volunteer Mom for the schools. She sat down at the computer and began to write. To see what she’s been up to go to Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07BN5PXDF

INTERVIEW

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

Enemy That I Know, a mobster romance as part of the Craving Loyalty Anthology. It is a wonderful book. My story takes place in the nightclub my grandfather had owned. It was my first attempt at a short story and at the time I found it difficult to tell an entire love story in 10,000 words. If I had a larger word count, I would have included the rescue battle scene. With that said, I think it’s a passionate second chance at love tale and I’m proud of being able to accomplish it. Since then I’m been working with a different publisher, Black Velvet Seductions and have learned a great deal working with their staff.  

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Yes. I’m a firm believer that you need to watch what you say or do in front of an author or you may end up as a character in their next novel. Each of my stories includes the personality of at least one person who I know well, or even a casual acquaintance. Like my five college friends, that appear in my Risking Love series.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

They don’t help with my marketing, but they come up with some great villain ideas like the serial killer in my novel Patrick. My husband reminded me of a rather disturbing date I had gone on with a man when I was in my twenties. The man had given me a serial killer vibe. He was a perfect role model for the serial killer that was after Jaq in Patrick. Or my friend’s creepy ex-boyfriend was the perfect person to be my muse for Olivia’s betraying ex-boyfriend from my latest novel Michael.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Yes, I keep toying with writing a Greek Family Series. It would feature the sexy brothers and cousin of Nicolas, from book two in my Risking Love series. Especially Damon. So many women that read that novel wanted to date him. My own daughter put dibs on being Damon’s love interest. Lol. I’m also working on an alien love story for the upcoming Dark Desire Anthology from BVS coming in 2022.

Is there a story you’re afraid to write? Why?

I could never write a BDSM story. I know nothing about that type of relationship, and I think one should do their research on the subject before attempting to write about it. To me those that write BDSM have a responsibility to the reader to get it right. There are a few BVS authors that write that genre well.

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

I would not do well as a person who is a tormented artist. I attempt to be a cheerful person who lets pain roll off my back after a few minutes.

Do you drink? Why or why not?

I have a jumbo frozen margarita with I go out to the Mexican Restaurant. And at Christmas when I’m with my entire family in upstate New York I have a fancy drink with them all.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

There are too many to name them all, but I’ll mention a few. As far as a children’s movie goes it was always the Disney original version of Cinderella. That movie and my mother’s teachings about being kind to others, even the bully stayed with me. My mother would say, “You never know what’s going on in their life to make them act that way.” It has always worked for me in my life. Later it was the movie Ever After, which is an adult version of Cinderella. I love how she continued to show her kindness, but also her wisdom, strength, and passion for the man she loved. Other than that I have a long list of fantasy or science fiction movie that I love so I’ll only name a few: The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Trek, etc.  

Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?

I’ve had to do research for each of my stories, from the history of dream catchers to the world of rodeo life on the road. However, you did say exhaustively so hold on to your hat.
When I first started writing love making scenes, I wanted to be accurate how men felt when they made love. So I grilled my husband, and that got me nowhere as he didn’t want to discuss it.
So I hit the internet. I read first-hand accounts from many men describing the physical aspects of sex. What it does to their body, how it feels before, during, and after the big moment. Many of them also got into the emotions of making love, too. I took all of that information in.I found that even though no two people are the same, there were several common things that went on for men while making love. I had what I needed to make my passionate scenes realistic.

Thanks for gracing our pages today, Callie! It was an honor to host you, and here’s wishing you all the best in the future! – V

How can we stalk you?

Social Media Links

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011326206882

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/CallieCarmenAuthor/

Twitter

Search Twitter for Callie_Carmen (Sorry, the link hijacked my page)

Amazon

https://amazon.com/-/e/B07BN5PXDF

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC884L9_4lE3Mclj6yNmMZkg

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/calliecarmennovel/

MeWe

https://mewe.com/profile/5aea84c00dc9f110e68a9373

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17829431.Callie_Carmen

Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/callie-carmen-72ba98156/

Tumblr

https://calliecarmenauthor.tumblr.com/

Pinterest

Search for calliecarmennovel (another link hijack with this one)

Website

https://www.calliecarmen.com/

BookBub

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/callie-carmen

Meet Niki Trento!

My friend and fellow author Niki Trento is the creator of the ‘Seasons of the Wolf’ paranormal romance series. The latest book in the series, ‘Spring of the Omega’, was released recently.

The blurb and links to buy are available after the interview. Take it AWAY, Niki!

(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)

When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?

I initially began writing (bad poetry) when I was in my early teens. It had been a dream of mine to be the next Stephen King. However, I never had the patience to write more than a couple of pages. When I was in my late 30’s I decided to write a shifter romance novel. Two years later, I was talked into releasing it.

What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?

My first book baby was Summer of the Alpha. I released him on my 40th birthday. Although I still love the story, it is a bit on the soft side compared to the ones that followed.

How do you balance writing with your personal life?

I’m a stay-at-home mom with teenagers. When they aren’t at school, they do their own thing and I do mine. I write when I can, when the inspiration strikes, or when I’m bored.

Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?

Oh, yes!! In the Seasons of the Wolf series, there are aspects of some of the characters that bleed over from my real-life people. I also have characters sprinkled around who’s names are versions of my support team.

Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?

To a degree, my brother will retweet some things. I have friends in the writing community that are sounding boards and help when I’m stuck. They are often referred to as my Trifecta, the Devil on my shoulder, and the Demon under my bed in my dedications.

Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Loads of stories dance around in my head. I have some that are in the works right now, and some that are planned.

Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?

My autobiography! Haha!  Seriously though, I have plans for a reverse harem that I am a little hesitant to write as all of mine so far are not rh. However, I am getting over that by making the first in my next series RH. The reason reverse harem is a bit daunting for me to write is because there are so many incredible authors out there. The way they write the…steamy scenes…are pretty believable. I’m not sure I can measure up, but I am going to try anyway.

Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?

Definitely 18+.

Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?

Only for school projects.

Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?

Honestly, it depends. There are certain scenes or storylines that I write that require me to dig deep down into my darkness. Overall, aside from being a bit weird, I am a ‘normal’ person. (Virginia’s note: Everyone answers ‘normal’. They’re often fibbing. Just sayin’…)

Do you drink? Why or why not?

Nope. I had my fun in my early 20s, but except for an occasional wine cooler, I don’t have the desire.

Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?

I have been with my mister for nearly 20 years. He is fully supportive of my writing. I would say that all of my relationships affect the way I write love stories. Of course, my mister is the epitome of ‘fated mate’ in my life.

If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

Oh! I would LOVE to see Seasons of the Wolf made into a movie! Shifters, drama, love, magic? Yes, please!

How does your life experience influence your writing?

I didn’t have a glitter and rainbows life. I’ve seen darkness, death, hatred. However, I’ve also seen love, light, and happiness. All of those things are in my writing, without a doubt.

Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?

I don’t really think too much about it, honestly.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?

Sometimes. I really have found that listening to Celtic music gets my blood pumping while writing. I like to sing (even if it’s done badly) when listening to music, so having something with lyrics going messes with my writing. I’ve caught myself typing lyrics instead of what I intended a couple of times. I wouldn’t say that it influences the story. I know a lot of authors who legit have playlists that go with their books, but I am just not that talented. Haha

Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?

Like I’ve said before, my real life tends to bleed into my stories to some degree. For example: the relationship between some of my shifters and their fathers. Mine passed when I was almost eleven years old, so I tend to have a soft spot for that relationship.

Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?

I have mentioned some things from the real world in my stories. References to Harry Potter movies, Punky Brewster, and even books from fellow indie authors!

Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?

What is this planning and structure you speak of?? (Virginia’s note: Fuck if I know…)

What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

People enjoying my imagination. Hands down. When someone says to me, “I love your books!” or “I need more Axel!” then I know my job is done. Or rather, just beginning!

Who is your favorite author, and why?

That isn’t fair! As I mentioned, I’ve always been a fan of Stephen King. As I got older, though, my library has broadened. I adore Angela Roquet, Kory Shrum, Patricia Briggs, Kevin Hearne, and all my amazing indie author friends.

If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?

Sam Elliott. I don’t care, that voice is just everything!

Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?

Promise not to tell the others? Barin and Axel are my top favorites. Barin was inspired by Brock O’Hurn, so he would have to play my alpha. Axel…I would have to look into that. In my mind, he is an Italian with blue eyes…

Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?

Vacation? Another of those words that is not in my vocabulary. Writing is relaxing to me, so I probably would write on vacation.

Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?

I try not to read wolf shifter books often while I am writing so as not to be influenced. I love just about anything paranormal, so that’s the stuff I tend to read.

What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?

I am a packrat. I’ve gotten better, but I will never throw away the three inch gummy bear that I bought the year my son was born.

What’s your favorite movie? Why?

Another tough question! Gosh…okay, I love the Harry Potter movies, Disney movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and The Blind Side. Back to the Future, Frequency, League of Their Own…the list really is long. I love movies that make me cry. I told you I was weird               

Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?

 I’m an online personality. Lol Maybe some day it would be cool to meet up with readers though.

Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?

I’ve done research on wolves and other animals and how they compare to humans. For example: gestation periods, running speed, etc.

What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?

Yes, I would like the winning lottery numbers! (Virginia’s note: BEST answer I’ve gotten to that question thus far!!!)

THANK you for gracing virginiawallace.com with your presence, Niki! I’m honored to host you. Here, my dear readers, is the blurb for Niki’s latest literary masterpiece:

They say when you’re at the bottom, you can only go up. But when you are the omega, is that really true?

Cash is an omega, and his Mother never let him—or anyone—forget it. He had one job under her rule, to gather intel from other packs. Until one day when he left and never returned after finding his way into the heart of the Silver Lake Pack, always looking over his shoulder and counting the seconds until he had to run again.

Pandora lived on the streets after she discovered her foster parents hunted her kind. Shifters. Thankfully, they didn’t know what she was.  Her life changed for the better when she found her place with the family that is Silver Lake Pack.

When both Cash’s and Pandora’s pasts collide, will they both go on the run again? Or will they make a home for themselves with the Silver Lake Pack?

Niki’s latest book can be purchased here:

https://books2read.com/u/mZekrR

And y’all can stalk Niki here:

linktr.ee/nikitrentoauthor

THANKS again, Niki, for appearing today!