Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Author Interview – Lucas Salmon

June 30, 2022
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1. My inspiration for “Sounds Fishy” just came from jostling ideas around in my head. I tend to come up with some odd, humorous ideas with relative ease, so this concept was pretty tame by most standards. However, when I thought about a space crew flying around, it only seemed natural to make them fish!

2. My initial idea for characters was somewhat foggy and ambiguous at first; but when I thought about how they were going to be astronauts, it made sense to me that I should name them after actual astronauts and cosmonauts. Cally Wide for Sally Ride, Fuzzy Baldwin for Buzz Aldrin, and Journey Grey Area for Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space. I enjoyed the play on words that their names have become. 

3. In the book, the three crew mates face off against the galactic shark mafia. Once victorious, they scoot off and make the statement that you never leave a friend behind. I’d like kids to think about that concept of loyalty and dedication, and to consider how they would look after one another if presented with a dangerous situation.

4. Why sci-fi? I love sci-fi. I think this is the genre that allows for the most creativity and the greatest allowance of the imagination. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun when a bit of whimsy is added. 

5. Being that this is my first book, I learned about the whole process of constructing a story and illustrating it. I also learned what it’s like working with a publisher and the methods of advertising. There’s definitely more to it than I thought!

6. This is the first in what I’m planning on making as a three-part series. I am currently working on the sequel, “Smells Fishy Too”. It’s already written, and I am working on the illustrations at this time. I hope to have it out soon. 

7. I need a quiet place to write, but the world is a noisy place, so I typically put on my music and block it all out. Plus, music helps me get my first ideas to the forefront of my mind. 

8. Well, I love Steinbeck and Dean Koontz. I was never much into comic books,  but one of my favorite illustrators is Todd McFarlane. He has a very Hogarth-inspired look to his work.

9. I don’t belong to a writers group, but that is something I may become part of. As a new author, this is still all new to me, so I’m sort of taking it a day at a time. 

10. Readers can find me on my website at lucassalmonfineartwork.godaddysites.com, or on Instagram at lsfineartwork2021. I hope to see you there!

Book trailer for him on YouTube. It’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NaVihtVgf8

eBook on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Sounds-Fishy-Lucas-Salmon-ebook/dp/B09SVZXC49/?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=cxbUV&content-id=amzn1.sym.bbb6bbd8-d236-47cb-b42f-734cb0cacc1f&pf_rd_p=bbb6bbd8-d236-47cb-b42f-734cb0cacc1f&pf_rd_r=KFRJHJE0EDF9DV8ZQS78&pd_rd_wg=Qxdfr&pd_rd_r=bc459990-d24f-4f9c-973a-12cdb7c60984&ref_=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mi.

Paperback on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Sounds-Fishy-Lucas-Salmon/dp/1948804255/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

BIO:

Lucas Salmon is an independent artist with over 35 years of experience in drawing and painting. These days he’s focused mainly on painting with watercolors. His style can be called “Realistic”, or “Photo-realistic”, depending on the subject matter.

In his early 40s, Lucas lives near the east coast where he continues to hone his skills as an artist, always seeking to improve his craft. Inspired by science and nature, he continues to experiment with different styles and subjects.

Lucas has found writing to also be rewarding. He has written, illustrated, and published his first book, ” Sounds Fishy”. He is now putting the finishing touches on his second book, “Smells Fishy Too”, the sequel. Both books were inspired by his great love for science fiction and remembered ideas from his childhood as he would create imaginative characters and worlds in his mind, just to keep busy!

Creative Edge Author Interview – DC Gomez

June 16, 2022
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1. What differences are there between writing urban fantasy and children’s books?

While most of my books have common themes, like redefining families and finding their own tribe, children’s books and urban fantasy are quite different. Charlie’s Fables, my children’s book series, is focused on providing life lesson to little ones. With only 800 words to work with, the pictures in the book are just as important as the words to convey the messages.

My urban fantasy stories are more action-packed and a faster paced. They are full of quirky characters and magic to keep you turning pages. I add social commentaries throughout my books, but it’s not the focus of the stories. The books are entertaining and designed to provide the readers with a delightful adventure to escape from their everyday world.

2. Which genre do you enjoy writing the most?

This is a hard question. I’m a huge fan of all the genres that I write in, so I have a blast writing in them. To not get burned out in any one genre, I have switched genres after each project. That is probably the reason each book just feels exciting to me and full of new possibilities.

3. Where does your inspiration for your stories come from?

It is a huge blessing that inspirations come to me from everywhere. A song, movie, or just a conversation with a friend has inspired the background for a character or a book. My nephews were the inspiration for my children’s series. When my oldest nephew was born, I knew I wanted to create a book that help him see himself as a talented and amazing child. I did not want him to be 35 and wondered what he was good at. With that idea in mind is how I created Charlie, what’s your talent?

4. You state you help with encouraging people to overcome their self-limiting beliefs. Is this through your stories or motivational speeches?

I’m able to help individual overcome their self-limiting beliefs and overcome their fears both through my non-fiction books and my speaking /coaching services. The Dare Collection is a series of self-help devotionals designed to aid readers in working through their own beliefs system and the things holding them back.

As a motivational speaker, I’m usually hired to give presentation or seminars both to adults and youths. This is one of my favorite parts of my business. To connect with individuals and be part of their transformational journey. I understand feeling stuck in your life and knowing there is more out there you can be doing. Providing people with tools on how to achieve their dreams, and encouraging them is critical for their success.  

5. What incident sparked you onto your writing career path?

After years of working in the corporate world, I found myself miserable and hating everything. I always considered myself a storyteller, with a very active imagination. My undergraduate degree is in film and television. After college, I joined the military to learn more about people and to create characters people could connect with. Unfortunately, while I was finishing basic training, 911 happened. My goals and dreams changed completely. I still had the dream of creating stories, but I focused on my career instead. I’m a genuine believer we all should follow our passions and gifts. Because I wasn’t living my creative purpose, nothing I did made me happy. At the suggestions of my spiritual director, I agreed to take a chance and write my first novel. My entire world changed. I was hooked on this form of storytelling, and just kept on writing. 

6. Do you have a work in progress at the moment? Can you tell us something about it?

At the moment, I’m working on developing a new series called The Order’s Assassin. It is a spinoff from my Urban Fantasy series, The Intern Diaries. One of our side characters in the Intern Diaries, Eric, has left Texarkana to join forces with the Order of Witches. They have hired him to find the people who betrayed them and bring them to justices. This is an action-packed series with lots of crazy plots, and even a love interest for Eric. I’m super excited to be working on this series.

7. Can you tell us about your latest book? Where did the idea come from?

My last Urban Fantasy Novel was Judgement Day. This is book 5 in the Intern Diaries series. The series is based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it’s the story of Isis Black as she becomes Death’s Intern in North America. The book introduces Isis to the wild world of the supernatural, and all the powerful being that lived around her. Death’s Intern is book 1 in the series, and readers start their journey here. Isis is just a normal girl, who is an Army vet and a musician. She doesn’t have any supernatural powers, which is the fun part of the series. This is her journey, learning about the horsemen, saving her friends, and in book 5- the world.  

8. How can readers find you?

Readers can find me in many locations. They can start with my website at http://www.dcgomez-author.com. There they can download the free novella, The Origins of Constantine. I’m also easy to find on social media at:

www.facebook.com/dcgomez.author

www.instagram.com/dc.gomez

www.TikTok.com/@dcgomez_author

Many of my books are also available in Kindle Unlimited, so readers can take advantage of that as well.

9. Do you write every day?

I would love to be the writer that sits down every day to write. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’m a bit of a binge-writer. I’m either writing nonstop for days/weeks, or I’m not writing at all. This is probably not the most efficient habit, but it works for me. After years of feeling guilty for not writing every day, now I gave myself permission to be me. The system works so far. When it stops working, then it’s time to make a drastic change.  

10. Is there a message you would like to say to your readers?

To all my readers, and future readers, the first thing I would like to say is Thank you! Thank you for going on this magical journey with me and loving these characters as much as I do. I’m super-blessed to create this book and have so many people enjoyed them. Second, follow your dreams, my friends. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to be happy. Take a leap of faith and go for it.

Bio

D. C. Gomez is an award winning USA Today Bestselling Author, podcaster, motivational speaker, and coach. Born in the Dominican Republic, she grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. D. C. studied film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

D. C. has a Master’s Degree in Science Administration from the Central Michigan University, as well as a Master in Adult Education from Texas A&M- Texarkana University.  She is a certified John Maxwell Team speaker and coach, and a certified meditation instructor from the Chopra Center.

One of D. C. passions is helping those around her overcome their self-limiting beliefs.  She writes both non-fiction as well fiction books, ranging from Urban Fantasy to Children’s Books. To learn more about her books and her passion, you can find her at www.dcgomez-author.com.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Book & Movies Relationship Tropes – Bad Boy & Sweet Girl

June 9, 2022
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As we all know the definition of a trope in literary terms is a plot device or character attribute that is used so commonly in a genre that it is commonplace or conventional. I’ve recently been intrigued by the bad boy-good girl trope of romance books and movies, especially trilogies. It may have something to do with a draft manuscript I have on the back burner, which has a bad girl – good boy (you know me I like to switch things up!) It is interesting to see this specific relationship scenario played out, and the complexities of the plots. (Some better and more believable than others!)

I have researched three such movie trilogies/series and have found the basic characters and their flaws and/or strengths to be the very similar in each. Obviously, the plots and character lives are different, but the basic character structures are easily identifiable.

  1. The Kissing Booth
  2. Twilight
  3. Fifty Shades

Each one has a damaged, aloof, unattainable male character and also an innocent, charming, loving female character. The love aspect of the relationships are played out with various obstacles, misunderstandings and heart break scenarios. The characters go through intense, fractured and profound changes. The females become stronger and more capable of ‘controlling’ and understanding their love interest, while the male character’s go through a realization process that this specific woman can, in fact, love them for who they are.

So, why go to these lengths, you may ask? Well, there is that draft manuscript languishing in the pile, but also I am working on a trilogy and it is the character development, I am most interested in. Readers want to ‘see’ a character develop and change, overcome obstacles and have some sort of resolution. With trilogies, or indeed, any series, this is the ‘draw’ for a reader. How will the character overcome, manage and ultimately succeed?

With Christian and Anastasia in Fifty Shades – he is emotionally and physically damaged from childhood trauma and he ‘copes’ with punishing his mother look-a-likes in the playroom. Ana shows him there is another way to love and forgive.

With Elle and Noah in The Kissing Booth she breaks the rule of having a relationship with her best friend, Lee’s brother. It is a forbidden love full of secrets, guilt and at times an unattainable relationship. Elle risks her life long friendship with Lee to pursue Noah. The trilogy follows the characters through high school to college.

With Edward and Bella, again there is the unattainable relationship, this time between a vampire and a human. This is the ultimate taboo. Bella is convinced she is destined to be a vampire, but Edward will do anything to protect her from such an existence. The third player is Jacob, a werewolf, which adds to the complexity of the relationship as he is also in love with Bella. The two male character’s have a instinctive, historical hatred for each other, but both will do anything to protect Bella.

As you can see the similarities are obvious with each story with conflicts between the two main characters and their connection to each other, no matter the obstacles.

Can you name another series with this bad boy – good girl scenario?

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Feast or Famine of Story Ideas

May 26, 2022
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As writers we are used to juggling many writing projects at the same time or the complete opposite – nothing! (Although, I have to say my mind is crowded with ideas most of the time in MUSE central!)

These opposing states come with their own problems, each unique and as frustrating as each other. Firstly, ‘feast’ has us worrying which project to do first. Which one is the most strident in it’s demand to be written? Is it the right one to pursue? Will another story ‘vanish’ if we ignore it?

Secondly, ‘famine’ when ideas may be circling in our minds, but none of them ‘stick’ or have the ‘legs’ to form a longer narrative. Or there is a void. This is a frustrating feeling, leaving us grasping for elusive or fragments of ideas, or something to write!

So what can we do to organize the jumble or utilize a fragment?

Let’s look at the multiple ideas first. Write down as much as you can for each idea – lay them out on separate pieces of paper or word documents. Organize each idea into genre or categories and then plot, character or scene and any other components of each particular story you do have. Separating the stories in this way allows us to focus on them, if not objectively, as least with a clearer vision. Once you have them in an orderly list you will see which idea has the most content. Now, comes the difficult decision – which one do you pursue? It might not be the one with the most detail, but another that attracts you to it for whatever reason. Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If one starts to ‘grow’ within your minds eye, or the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then that is typically your direction.

Now comes the void. How do we spark our Muse? There are many reasons for this dearth of ideas, illness, relationship problems, work commitments etc. As a writer we know that the act of writing is not only satisfying, but a real need. Our creativity requires it. This is the time to look at those filed away short stories, or fragments of ideas. We always have inspirational quotes, sentences, even whole paragraphs, that have languished somewhere in journals, notebooks or electronic folders. Take time to read through these, after all we kept them for a reason. Utilize writing prompts – writing anything helps us get back on track. Fifteen minute bursts of writing from a word or picture prompt can refresh our minds, spark our creativity and set us on a new course. Your prompt response might only be short – a poem, a paragraph, even a word association list, or it can develop into something. I recently used an image of a dragon’s egg to spark my Muse. It was going to be a short story but grew and grew into a three thousand word story! You never know where an idea can lead, and that is the beauty of story writing.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”     Dee Hock     

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Author Interview – Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait

May 19, 2022
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1.     What drew you to write your first fantasy story?

Believe it or not, it was a picture I made from a picture application of me with a dragon next to me. I wrote a short catchy phrase that I only later learned was a ‘blurb’ I still use on what became my first fantasy novel. It all started with a picture I posted on my Facebook page and people kept saying they wanted more of the story…there was no story! So, day by day I wrote more and posted to my Facebook page for the first 30 days, at which time I discovered I was writing a book!

2.     Did you plan a series or were the characters/worlds too fascinating to leave behind?

This tickles me pink! Since I had no concept I was writing a novel in the beginning, I just keep writing and the characters took control. When your characters are dragons and they talk to you all night long, you awaken and start writing! There was/is so much about these characters that a series developed.

3.     Why did you create a dragon’s world in particular?

This is a great question. The answer stems from that picture we spoke about, but what I didn’t say was that at one time I found out a few people liked to speak behind my back, calling me a dragon. Well, when people cast stones… you build a castle and that’s what I did with my dragons. They are highly intelligent beings and are the protectors of those who cannot protect themselves. 

4.     What is your writing process? Planner or panster.

I’m a pantster all the way. I’m a visual writer. I see the story in my head. Sometimes it is only flashes or glimpses of a moment, but when my hand hit the keyboard, it pours out.

5.     Do you only write prose?

My first outlet in writing was through poetry. I used it as a way to describe my feelings in a more powerful way. Gradually, it morphed into a way of telling stories.

6.     Are you a lifelong writer?

Thankfully, yes. I recently turned 64 and the first I remember writing was a poem to my grandmother when I was eleven or twelve, so with more than fifty years behind me, writing is one of those things that has always been with me.

7.     What are you working on now?

As writers, we always stretch. My first stretch outside of fantasy came last year when I decided to write a contemporary romance novel. Which, wouldn’t you know it, developed into a series. I’m writing the fourth book in this series currently. I actually have three books I’m writing. One is the fifth book in my current dragon series, The Spires of Dasny, one is the one I mentioned, the fourth in the Hope Falls series under my pen name, C.H. Eryl and the third book is one for a romance anthology I was fortunate to be asked to contribute. It will be a starter book for a companion series to the Hope Falls romance series.

8.     Where do you see your series going and for how long?

I have to laugh at this question! I really don’t plan on a series, but they just grow and expand and sometimes make me mad when a character acts up near the end of what ‘should have been’ the last in the series… like now. The Spires of Dasny should have been a four book series, and here I am writing book 5. But wait, not only that but now the same character has stretched beyond his boundaries and now new books will come as a result. At the present I’m unsure if it will carry the same series name or if it will have a new series title.

9.     Where can readers find you?

The best place to find me will be on Amazon. I have two author pages there. https://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Rush-Cowperthwait/e/B078HTLP5X

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