Monday, October 31, 2011

This week's interview is with author, Viki Lyn. She's giving away one ebook copy of The Hunter Within. After you read the interview be sure to enter for a chance to win!

Hey, Viki, it’s really great to meet you. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been writing for a few years now and don’t see myself slowing down any time soon. I especially enjoy writing paranormal/fantasy romances because it’s just too darn fun to create new worlds! I write the occasionally contemporary, because that’s my favorite genre to read J. I was pleased to win the Rainbow Award last year for the 2010 Best Paranormal for Last Chance. This is the first book of my vampire series published by Loose Id. Fighting Chance, the second, was released this summer. I love to travel and just returned from a tour of Eastern Europe – Hungary, Austria, Germany and Czech Republic. I spent a week in Prague which was so cool because I set a part of Fighting Chance in Prague. My favorite color is red and so I treated myself to a red (white top) Mini Cooper for a milestone birthday! My best times are spent with family and friends, which come first over my writing career. I truly feel blessed!

How did you get started?

Ah, well, I started with fan fics and found I really enjoyed writing stories, but that was limited. I wanted to create my own characters and settings. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, making up stories in my head, creating whimsical mermaids, princesses, explorers with time machines. That sort of thing. I didn’t pick up a pen to seriously write until a few years ago. It’s been quite a learning curve, and, always challenging. I hope to keep improving and writing better books year after year.

I have been enjoying reading up on all your books! How many do you have out there and how long have you been publishing your work?

My first book was published in 2006 under another pen name. I wrote hetero historical romances for about three years when I decided to change genres after seven books. My first gay romance was published in 2009. I just wrote and published my eighth m/m romance! I love writing in this genre and have plenty more tales to tell. Series, sequels, stand-alones.

What drew you to gay erotica?

I’m an avid Japanese yaoi reader (boy’s love). I’ve collected over 400 books for my library! Crazy I know. I feel comfortable writing gay characters, having lived in the San Francisco area and having close gay friends since my college days. I love the idea of two men in love, and the courage it takes for them to be openly gay in a society that at times is very intolerant of people’s differences. 

What can you tell us about Hunter Within and can you give us a little blurb of it?

This is the second book in my White Tiger shape shifter series. It's a continuation of Antoine and Jack's story.

Here's a short blurb: Jack is shocked to learn his wife is engaged to another man. She believes Jack died during the war, and has no idea he was altered into a soldier of super human powers. Now he's a Sentinel agent fighting supernatural beings. He remains dead in her eyes. But now he wonders if he should tell Alice the truth. All he wants is to have his old life back and to be normal again. Alice can save him from his crazy life and his sexual need for men; especially his burning passion for a shape shifter who claims his body and now wants his heart.

Shape shifter Antoine Fortescue travels to New York City to find out why Jack went AWOL. What he discovers disturbs him. Jack has traveled to California to spy on his wife's fiance. Was Jack going to confront Alice with the truth that he is alive? Or the real truth - that he is gay? Antoine will stop at nothing to capture Jack's heart.

What inspired this book?

There was so much left unsaid in the first book – The Tiger Within. It’s a novella and I see it as an introduction to the characters and their situation. Jack didn’t come to grips with his sexuality and his attraction for the tiger shape shifter, Antoine. So book 2 focuses on Jack and his struggles to come to terms with his homosexuality and his deep need to reconnect with his wife. He believes he wants his old life back – his wife (who thinks he died in the war), a home and family. This means leaving the Sentinel and his French tiger. But love does crazy things to Jack’s heart, and it’s not so easy to leave Antoine behind. There’s a lot of angst and conflict in this story!

What can you tell us about Jack and Antoine that we wouldn’t know by reading the book?

Jack is a great cook in the kitchen. He loves to cook, garden, and is quite the homebody. This isn’t brought up in the books. Antoine wears his emotions openly and is a romantic, but he is very forceful and pragmatic when dealing with politics and business. He can be quite hardnosed in his liberal views. We haven’t seen Antoine in action when he’s fulfilling his ‘princely’ role as the alpha of his demesne.  

Where can readers purchase your book?

Several places have my books – the publishing houses, of course. Amazon sells the Kindle versions and All Romances Ebooks has all my books for sale. My books are in several digital formats but not in print.

Where can readers connect with you on the web?

I’m all over the place – Facebook, Twitter, blogs…you can find all my information at my website: http://www.vikilyn.com. If readers want to know the latest news about my books they can join my Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VikiLynNewsletter/join. I love to hear from my readers so I encourage them to send me an email.

May we read an excerpt from the book?

I thought you’d never ask. *g* Here’s a short excerpt:

Unedited version of The Hunter Within, copyright Viki Lyn, 2011:
Lowering his gun, Jack kept his gaze on the beautiful creature. A sleek tiger wrapped in snowy white fur and chocolate stripes. Le Tigre stopped a few feet from where Jack knelt, icy blue eyes blinking. Then the body shimmered, and before Jack could stop him, Antoine transformed into his human form.
Naked, on all fours, licking his lips, Antoine grinned. A dazzling smile lit up that aristocratic face, a face belonging in the past.
“Darling, it’s been too long,” Antoine drawled, then sat cross-legged on the ground.
Jack averted his gaze from that too-tempting thatch of dark curls. He stood up and put away his gun, swallowing the lump in this throat.
“What are you doing here?”
Antoine’s mouth puckered into a sultry pout as he rose to his feet and brushed off pine needles from his body. “I’ve missed you.”
Jack rolled his eyes as he slipped off his coat. He walked over and draped it around Antoine’s shoulders. If he stared at that sleek, strong body for much longer, he’d do something rash, something totally foolish.
Returning to his surveillance, he could hear Antoine stir behind him. Then a moist, hot tongue licked the curve of his ear. Shivers raced along his arms and legs. He parted his mouth, yet his breath caught in his throat. A groan formed, but he held it back, afraid if it escaped, he’d be lost to Antoine’s charms.
“Antoine, stop.” Jack twisted and pushed away the roaming hands. He looked Antoine over and noticed how his coat hung like a sack on him. Had the shifter lost weight? He’d always been slim, but his cheekbones were more pronounced, and there was a hint of fatigue in his eyes. “Where did you leave your clothes?”
“Near the highway, safely tucked away in my suitcase. It’s lovely here.” Antoine inhaled deeply and swept back his tousled curls.
The man insisted on keeping his hair in the style of his youth. Unfortunately the eighteenth-century do screamed flaming poof. But the truth was, Jack loved the springing chocolate whorls, how soft they felt when he buried his fingers in their thickness, and the long hair, much as he hated to admit, looked devastatingly sexy on Antoine.
Now if he could just talk him out of his frilly shirts…
Wait -- what did he care? He should end the absurd relationship between them. If he could just concentrate on his task and not be lured by the temptation Antoine presented…naked under the coat…willing…
“You haven’t answered my question.” Jack scowled to cover up the nervous excitement coursing through him. Already an uncomfortable swelling fought against the confines of his pants.
“I’m here to help you,” Antoine said.
Jack narrowed his eyes. “How did you find me?”
“Ricky. He’s a lovely young man. He misses you. He doesn’t like to go to the cinema alone. You really should send him that postcard you promised him.”
Jack turned on his heels, away from Antoine’s prying eyes and dripping sarcasm.
Antoine turned Jack around by the shoulder to face him and slid his hands around Jack’s waist in a viselike grip. It always surprised Jack how such a slim body held such strength. He had seen it -- experienced it -- firsthand. This silly fairy could wrestle him to the ground and completely overtake him if he so desired. And the way Antoine looked at him -- passion leaping from those ice blue eyes.
God have mercy.
His cock stirred as he breathed in Antoine’s scent.
“I’ve longed for you, my khalid.”
Jack stiffened and pushed away from the warm embrace. He missed the companionship of holding a man who he cared for, but the comforting sensation was the problem. He refused to acknowledge Antoine’s belief that he was the shape-shifter’s khalid. They were not soul mates.
***
Hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you so much for having me today. Happy Reading! Viki Lyn

If you'd like to read Viki's books, you can find them through the following links:

A big thanks to Viki for letting us interview her. If you'd like to win a copy of her ebook, just leave your name and email in a comment below, and we will announce the winner on Sunday. If you'd like to learn more about Viki, then tune into our Blog Talk Radio show this Wednesday at 3:30 PM PST. Click here to set a reminder for it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Winner Announcement

This week we were giving away copies of Sebastian and the Afterlife by William J. Barry. And the winners are...

Anna
Wuflie

Thanks for entering, and stay tunned for tomorrow's interview for another chance to win a paranormal read!

A PYN Review of Sebastian and the Afterlife

A PYN Review of Sebastian and The Afterlife
SJ Byrne, PYN Reviewer

Like any other afternoon he would pick up his girlfriend, Sebastian crossed the front lawn on the way to his car, except this time he died. Following the silent directions of the Grim Reaper, he's led to a stone archway. Instead of stepping into the brilliant white light filling the arch, he chooses to follow a glowing orb that leads him over the edge of a cliff, into the undeniable revelation that he is dead. The orb takes him to Sapentia, a school for recently deceased teen spirits that have unfinished business in the mortal world.
      With guidance from their teachers, the young spirits bond together and learn how to navigate the realm they will call home, for however long it takes to achieve inner peace. Each student is given certain articles to aid them on their personal mission: glasses that allow them to view any moment of their past life, tablets that record their every thought without a writing instrument, and a compass to guide them between the realms.
Positive his unfinished business pertains to receiving one last kiss from the girlfriend he left behind, Sebastian makes his first jaunt to the land of the living, to discover his loved ones haven’t handled his death very well; his sister has stopped playing her beloved piano and hides in her room while his best-friend has quit the soccer team to become the dutiful student. Bent on getting his kiss, Sebastian embarks on a self-destructive journey that could jeopardize his very soul.
Sebastian and the Afterlife is an entertaining look at what 'life' might be like for a young spirit who leaves the living world behind before they're ready. Though the authors writing style wasn’t entirely to my liking, I really enjoyed the ingenuity of his imagination; intrigued, I wanted to read on and see the story through to the end. As a big fan of novels in a series, I anticipate there will be more fun adventures of this kind from William J. Barry.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Death Trap or Escape Route? The Paris Catacombs, Guest Post by Melissa Jarvis

An escape route or tomb for the dead?  The catacombs beneath Paris have been used as both since the eighteenth century and have inspired writers ever since.  Who could forget Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera taking Christine down to his underground lair, housed in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House?  Or Victor Hugo’s John Valjean descending into the sewers and using them to hide with Marius after the failed revolution attempt?  Napoleon also made use of them, as did French Resistance fighters during World War II.  Like those before me, I also incorporated their blend of mystery, death, hope and escape in Past Her Time.  But for those of you who have never explored the dark depths, beware, these aren’t your mother’s Roman catacombs.

Originally built to quarry stone, this maze of tunnels and caverns were largely forgotten until the city of Paris started to stink, literally, from the thousands of dead bodies buried on top of each other in Saint Innocents.  The city’s solution was a macabre yet practical one, to use the catacombs, which up until then had been sort of an “unofficial” sewer system, to house the dead.  From 1786 to 1789, all skeletons were exhumed and transported to three different underground chambers.  The site must have been a strange one; parades of black covered, bone laden wagons followed by chanting priests, and thousands upon thousands of bones being deposited into the catacombs, where skulls were separated into piles and other bones were dispersed by workers.  And then, on July 14, 1789, the French Revolution began with the overthrow of the Bastille prison, and the systematic execution of the nobility and traitors to the new Republic.  But thanks to the widespread use of the guillotine, separating the bones became much easier. (Yes, this is a pun, and a bad one. There’s a reason they say “don’t lose your head!”)

In 1792, victims of the prison riots were also dumped in the catacombs, albeit with much less ceremony than just a few years prior.  For a lucky few, familiar with the layout, they became an escape route for those destined for Madame La Guillotine.  In Past Her Time, I used the catacombs several times to get my heroine out of a sticky situation.  And in one scene, despite the rats and human remains, the catacombs are witness to a tender, bonding moment between my heroine Alex and hero Gabriel.

But it wasn’t until 1810 that the then Inspector of the Quarries decided to turn the mass of bones into something that would outshine any mausoleum.  The inscription above the entry says it all, “ArrĂªte, c'est ici l'empire de la Mort” ('Stop, this is the empire of Death'). Beyond are halls and caverns featuring walls of carefully arranged bones. Some of these are almost artistic in nature, such as a heart-shaped outline in one wall formed with skulls embedded in surrounding tibias; another a round room whose central pillar is done in a 'keg' bone arrangement.

To this day, not all of the catacombs have been explored.  Who knows what lies waiting in their twisting, murky depths?  After all, we don’t really know what became of the Phantom.  There might be another story there for the writer brave enough to explore them (and get past the rusted gates that aren’t part of the official tour.)

Past Her Time by Melissa Jarvis:
Agent Alex Raines takes no prisoners, in her job or in her personal life. But all of that changes when the time travel organization The Lineage sends her to 1793 Revolutionary France. Used to a "get in, get out," modus operandi, she finds her heart and will tested by local English nobleman Lord Gabriel Huntington, whose reasons for being there are as deceptive as her own. In the midst of revolution and betrayal, can these two learn to take off the disguises and trust each other? Or will the fate of the world and time travel rest on Alex's ability to betray the one man she has come to love?


Chapter Excerpt from Past Her Time:
Alex paused and stopped as they came to a turn in the alley and a faded sign with only the letters C and G still visible. Keeping her gaze to the ground, she spotted their means of escape.
She knelt down and lifted aside a metal grate set in the stone, the sound louder than the beating of her heart.
“You cannot possibly be serious. That would be suicide. We could be lost for years down there.” Gabriel tried to pull her away from the black opening.
“Only if you do not know the way.” She prayed she did, that this time Banderan’s taunts about her sense of direction would not prove true. The tunnels ran deep underground across the city, and there was a reason they inspired stories and legends. Many who went down never came up. “Do you have a better suggestion?”
Gabriel released her, his eyes wary. “I do not. However, ladies first.”
She nodded and lowered herself through the grate then dropped the few feet to the ground to land in a splash of water. Gabriel followed and vigorously brushed his coat off.
“This should lead us out close to…close to the park where we first met.” She waited for him to say something, but he didn’t. “Do you have a match by any chance?”
Gabriel handed her several matches from his coat pocket, obviously missed by the guards when he’d been patted down. What he intended using them for she didn’t know and didn’t ask.
“We’ll save these for where the light does not reach.”
Their progress was slow, owing to Alex’s intense dislike of the myriad of rats that Gabriel was forced to chase away by waving his coat. Moonlight filtered through at various spots, reflected in the water their feet constantly splashed through. The air was stale and sweet and left a musky taste at the back of her throat.
The tunnels twisted and turned, following the streets above, and Alex could feel the incline of the ground under her as they descended deeper. She braced her hands against walls that were damp and rough. The only sounds were the scuttles and skitters of various animals, the plink and rush of water and her own labored breathing.
She stumbled as her foot connected with something in the path. Gabriel grabbed her arm to steady her. “I think we need to light one of those matches.”
She struck one against the box he handed her and gasped at the object that had nearly tripped her. She closed her eyes briefly.
Gabriel looked at the white bones, long picked clean, that gleamed in the light of the match. “It’s just an animal.”
Alex nodded mutely.
“Come on.” Gabriel urged her forward.
“I hate it. All the suffering, all the executions. I’ve always wished I could do something about it.” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“So have I.”
Alex looked up at him, at the face that wavered in the red light. “But you are.”
“Yes, but it never seems like it’s enough. No matter how hard I try.”
“Believe me, it is. Especially to the people you save. I know what it’s like to be up there, thinking this is it, there’s no hope. And everyone around you believes the same thing. All you hear are the screams of the crowd and the slice of the blade.” She shuddered.
“It apparently did not bother you too much before.”
She knew he was referring to Auguste and understood the confusion he must be feeling.
“I’m sorry.” She reached out to place a hand on his arm, and thought better of it. He wouldn’t want comfort from her right now.


A mild-mannered Public Relations executive by day, and action-packed writer by night, Melissa Jarvis lives in celebrity-friendly Southern California with her husband and son. For over 14 years, she has worked in the public relations industry, doing press releases, bios, newsletters, media campaigns and more for clients ranging from the Playboy Jazz Festival to the Los Angeles Mission to JVS. And she's survived with most of her mind intact! An active member of RWA, she writes both paranormal romance and urban fantasy, as well as spicy paranormal under the name Melissa L. Robert. She is currently working on the sequal to Past Her TIme, featuring agent Banderan's story. You can find her on http://www.melissajarvis.net/. Past Her TIme is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BookStrand, and other bookseller sites.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A PYN Review of Shattered Glass

A PYN Review of Elaine Bergstrom's Shattered Glass
Jennifer Bacile, PYN Reviewer
 
This was an extremely long novel that often seemed to drag, but just as it would almost become unbearably slow, it would take off and gallop away.  The characters were interesting, but I found it difficult to remember the time setting as I was reading, particularly with some of the police work.  Reading the remainder of the series would probably help me better understand the family dynamics at play in the Austra family.  I found the concept of vampirism combined with alien origin to be an interesting combination. 
3/5

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A PYN Review of Spirit Seeker

A PYN Review of Jamie Haden's Spirit Seeker
SJ Byrne, PYN Reviewer

'Spirit Seeker' is a YA novel that delves into the paranormal side of the Native American culture. Talisa Santiago is a teenager of Native descent who's been denied the knowledge of her birthright by a mother insistent upon relocating every couple of years. When they move to the remote island of Silence, North Carolina Talisa begins to discover the truth of who she is, through the fast friendships she acquires, entering a world full of legends, ritualistic ceremony and shape shifters.

An unusual girl for her age, Talisa prefers converse sneakers and jeans, detests shopping and gossip, but becomes plagued with teenage angst as she enters into her first romantic relationship with Jag, the schools bad-boy. Suffering from the consequences of being deserted by her father, Talisa is repeatedly unable to trust the new boy in her life, thus creating a see-saw of romantic upheaval. Add in a mother who appears to be somewhat solid in her own flighty way, but turns into a heavy wine drinker as her own romance heats up, and you've got the typical dysfunctional family a lot of young readers can relate with.

'Spirit Seeker' pulled me in from the very start, urging me to read on and discover what was, in Talisa's words, "the most horrifying thing I had ever witnessed." Some of the passages were descriptive in a way that transports the reader into another realm; "The two male dancers began stomping their feet, waving their hands, and chanting foreign sounds only the spirits could understand."

Though the book is riddled with technical and grammatical errors the editor should have caught before sending it to publication, I was so enthralled by the storyline that I couldn’t put the book down; I had to know what the end result was going to be. It's a fun read that leaves the reader wanting more, with the promise of a sequel.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Interview with William J. Barry


Welcome to our interview with William J. Barry. Don't forget to leave us a comment at the end of the interview for a chance to win one of five copies of Sebastian and the Afterlife...

Hey, William, it’s great to meet you. I did a little research and I found your book! It sounds fantastic! Why don’t you tell us a bit about it?

            It’s a young adult dark fantasy about a 17-year old boy named Sebastian that has just died.  He wakes up in a surreal spirit realm that is between the mortal world and the afterlife.  It is a place that is ruled by the Grim Reaper and his agents.  Sebastian has been given the opportunity to find peace for his soul before ‘moving on’.  He ends up at a school in the spirit realm where ghosts can learn about their new abilities.  He makes new friends, but longs for his lost love, Sarah, back in the mortal realm.  Sebastian tries to connect with her, thinking that he will find peace by saying one last goodbye.  At the same time, soul pirates threaten the spirit world.  They abduct innocent spirits to harvest spirit energy.  Axis Red, the leader of the pirates, has a plan to take over the entire realm.  Sebastian and his new friends get caught in the middle of everything.  
             

In one of your reviews, the reviewer called Sebastian and the Afterlife  A Harry Potter-esque ghost story.” Is that what you were shooting for?

            Not particularly.  I love Harry Potter, but I don’t think the book is overtly similar.  It’s just an easy heuristic to use because those books are so popular and Sebastian has the same kind of dark feel.  Sebastian does exist in an enchanted universe and attends a surreal school where students have special powers.  Onyx is also a very strong female supporting role.  But I think someone could have as easily considered it a Percy Jackson-esque story if that was their point of reference.  I wasn’t shooting to be like anything else.
            I really like dark teen fantasy, and that’s what I was shooting for.  The story actually started with the characters Sebastian and Sarah.  I knew that they were in love, but some enormous obstacle had come in between them.  I tried to think of what that could be.  Then I realized that it was death; at that moment I knew that I was going to write a ghost story.  It was going to be a love story, but one that had plenty of adventure as well.   



What were you trying to capture when you started writing this story? Was there a meaning? A moral?

            When I started I thought I was just telling an imaginative story… which I did.  Looking back with introspection I realize that I was also coping with my own fear of mortality.  It was my way of coming to peace with it.  As with life in general, people will read their own meaning into it.  I don’t have any hidden agendas.  If the book had a moral, it might be to open your mind and enjoy your existence.


How did you come up with this take on the Grim Reaper?

            My mother has claimed to have seen a strange ‘shadow’ in the room on two separate instances right before someone has died.  I think that helped facilitate my interest in the idea of a Grim Reaper character.  The Grim Reaper gets a bum rap because he is so closely associated with death (oftentimes used synonymously), and people are afraid of death.  I wanted to give him his own character.  In general, the book tends to strive to take the fear away from thought of death, and I think that rolled over to the reaper as well.  I thought: what if he wasn’t bad?  What if he was just misunderstood; just a guy that was doing his job?   I also knew I needed a hierarchy of authority in the spirit realm and it made sense to put the reaper on top.

There isn’t a whole lot about you on the web, which makes the interview a little more like a treasure hunt. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have two versions of this answer (you can use either one)–

Short Version:

            I was born in Newton, New Jersey.  I moved to Florida and then to Georgia at a young age.  Ever since grade school, I have enjoyed penning original short stories.  I grew up in the Augusta, Georgia area, and then moved to Athens, Georgia.  I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Georgia.  After college, I returned my focus to writing (both screenwriting and to my first novel).  My hobbies include acting and writing/recording original music.  'Sebastian and the Afterlife' is my first novel, the first in a series of books.  I’m married and currently live on the outskirts of Athens Georgia.


Then I have a ‘Good grief, too much information’ version:

                        I was born in New Jersey, but moved to Florida and then Georgia at a young age.  I attended a private christian school (predominantly catholic) in Augusta, Georgia, for elementary through high school. 
                        I wrote short stories ever since I was in grade school.  At the age of 12 I started taking classical guitar followed by classical voice lessons at the local college.  I continued to write short stories on occasion.  In the 10th grade I checked out a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete works from the school library.  I was really inspired by his stories and to this day he is still my favorite author.  In high school I played soccer and a little basketball for the school.  As a junior I was a starting fullback on the varsity soccer team.  I was also involved with drama and music both at my high school and at the college.  I graduated receiving the ‘Excellence in Fine Arts’ award from my high school.  
            After high school I moved to Athens, Georgia and focused on my music.  I also began writing screenplays in my spare time.  I bartended to make ends meet.  After some years of recording and playing shows, I was still not able to get a recording contract; I returned to college.
            In 2005 my girlfriend and I bought a house on the outskirts of Athens, Georgia (we closed on it on 5/05/05).  We got married in December of 2006.  She is a research biologist and avid knitter.
            I graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in psychology in December of 2007.  I was a recipient of the ‘Presidential Scholar Award’ and a member of PSI CHI (the psychology honor society).  I was accepted into an experimental psychology graduate program in 2008, but had to decline for logistical and financial reasons.
              I always had hopes of penning a novel, and on March 24th of 2009 I began writing Sebastian and the Afterlife.  I finished the first draft on August 6th of that year.  I ended up doing 4 more drafts of the novel.  Soon I was shopping it around to agents and publishing houses. 
            After nearly a year of queries, the book was picked up by TWCS Publishing House (I signed the contract on 10/10/10).  The book went into editing that winter.  My 96,000 word manuscript was whittled down to around 87,000 words.  I learned a lot in the editing process.
            The book was released February 24th of 2011.  Before the release day I was already contracted to read the audio book and write the sequel. 
            I’ve been busy since then.  I have been doing book signings, speaking engagements, interviews, and posting on blogs on top of keeping my sites updated.  It’s almost overwhelming to keep up with it all.  I barely made my deadlines, finishing the audiobook August 15th, and turning in the first draft of the Sebastian and the Afterlife sequel on August 31st.  I also still bartend two to three nights a week to supplement our income.
           Right now we are in the middle of editing the Sebastian and the Afterlife sequel, which will be coming out in February of 2012.  It’s really dark and edgier than the first book.  I love it.  There is already an agreement with the publishing house about the third (and likely final) Sebastian book slated for early 2013.  I’m not sure when the audiobook will be released.
            In spite of how busy I have been with my writing, I still try to make a little time for my other interests (music and film).  A little while back I wrote and recorded a couple of new songs (which can be heard on the Sebastian and the Afterlife website).  As for film, I was able to play a zombie in an independent movie called ‘Pushin up Daises’ that came out in 2010, and I am already signed on as an extra in an upcoming Vince Vaughn/Ben Stiller movie shooting in early November.  I’m also trying to film one of my recent screenplays, hopefully that will happen this winter.
            In 2012 I will be promoting the second Sebastian and the Afterlife book, while working on the third.  I have also been threatening to start a blog about writing… that may happen in 2012 or sooner if I find the steam.  I really love being an author and plan to keep doing it as long as I have stories worth telling.


What types of hobbies do you have outside of writing that may or may not shape how you write? Personally? I love science. I’m a totally geek about it. So when I world build, I world build. You?

            In addition to writing, I really enjoy recording original music and acting/filmmaking.  I had written a few screenplays before writing this novel.  One of my readers commented that I write my action sequences very visual.  I think that could be the screenwriting coming through.  But really I am just transcribing a movie that I’m watching in my head, trying to keep up with it.  But some bad habits come through from the screenwriting too.  My editors get on to me about explaining too many character movements - things that would be mentioned in a screenplay but assumed in a manuscript.         
            I love to world build.  That was one of my favorite things about writing this book.  I felt I had plenty of freedom and control because there doesn’t seem to be as many standard conventions to adhere to with ghosts as opposed to some other supernatural beings, like vampires.  The science aspect is one of the great things about world building in a fantasy story.  It’s fun to create the rules, and then analyze what would and wouldn’t be possible.  In this story I not only got to play with the spirit realm, but I also did a lot with energy and even managed to sprinkle in some time travel as well.

What attracts you to a particular story?

            The characters attract me to a story; that’s the most important thing to me in the beginning.  If I don’t care about them, then I don’t care what happens to them.  But I like having an interesting setting and situation too.  Like I mentioned before, I knew my two main Sebastian and the Afterlife characters before I knew absolutely anything else about the story.  If my characters are good, I feel like a lot of the book writes itself.


How do your personal experiences shape the way you pen the stories you tell?

            I am a chronic overanalyzer; probably partly my nature, other part psychology degree.   I enjoy observing subtleties in peoples’ interactions with each other.  I think my logical assessment of people making emotional connections helps me to understand it when I write characters.
            Beyond that, sometimes I find my nostalgia creeping into the story.  Little things like Sebastian playing soccer.  I played soccer in high school.  Two painters are mentioned in the book, Van Gogh and Dali.  Those are my favorite artists.  There are little pieces of me scattered randomly throughout the book in that fashion.

Where can readers purchase your book?

Amazon.com
BarnesandNoble.com
The TWCS Publishing House
Foozago


Where can readers connect with you on the web?


A bunch of places -

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Good Reads


May we read an excerpt from the book?

Sure, here is the prologue.  A decent sized excerpt from chapter 1 is also available on the book’s website

Prologue

            Somewhere in a spirit world that existed between mortal life and the afterlife, a curious young student had lost her way. She took a deep shaking breath. Tori stood in a dark forest at the foot of the ominous mountain chain that resided at the far eastern edge of the spirit realm. Her teachers and peers had warned her numerous times that the area was infested with soul pirates, the evil harvesters of the innocents’ spirit energy. She did not know how she had gotten there; perhaps there was something wrong with the compass she was using. All she knew was that she had to get back to her school as soon as possible.
            She held the compass out in her hand. A quiet noise like that of a snapping twig pierced the silence. Tori glanced around but saw nothing. That instant the compass was whipped from her fingers and flew into some nearby bushes. Tori jumped back, startled. The frantic student looked around while shaking her stinging hand.
            Sally, an all too infamous pirate spirit, made a casual entrance out of the shadows. She wielded a glowing energy whip flowing from her hand.
            “My, my, little girl, it looks as if you’re lost,” Sally spoke in devious tone.
            Another pirate spirit emerged, floating out from behind a nearby crooked tree. Then, on the other side of Sally, another pirate appeared. Tori darted up, flying into the air in the opposite direction to make her escape. But Sally swung her whip, and it wrapped around Tori’s right ankle. Sally gave a violent jerk to the whip, yanked Tori out of the sky, and slammed her down onto the ground. She lay there, stunned and shook her head.
            “Where do you think you’re going?” Sally questioned the terrified student. “You’re coming with us, sweetie.” She laughed.
            The weakened Tori stood up. One of Sally’s accompanying cohorts smiled as he produced a set of spirit shackles. He walked toward Tori, and the young student regretted this venture out on her own.
            Out of nowhere, a large barn owl swooped in, flying between Tori and the approaching pirates. There was a flash and blur, and the owl took the form of Alexander, a good and loyal agent of the Grim Reaper. Alexander threw forth his hand, and a glowing charge of spirit energy shot out across the air and hit the shackle-wielding pirate in the face. He was thrown head-over-heels, spinning backward through the air until he crashed into a nearby tree. He dropped to the ground, unconscious.
            The other accompanying pirate rushed Alexander. The agent pulled back his arm as he drifted up off the ground. He struck the charging pirate in the middle of his chest with a forceful open-palm hit. The attacker flew back, the heels of his boots dragged across the ground as he flew into some nearby brush, toppling into it. Sally’s glowing whip swiped through the air and wrapped around Alexander’s neck. She pulled back and swung the agent through the air. He came to a harsh landing on the side of a large boulder. Alexander pulled the whip off his neck as he took a breath and stood to his feet. He turned to Tori.
            “Get back to the school!” he ordered.
            The agent’s demand brought Tori out of her bewildered state. She came about her wits and scurried around to find her compass in the bushes. She located it and held it up in her hand.
            “I think there’s something wrong with this compass,” Tori yelled to the agent. “It belongs to my friend; we swapped them.”
            “You can’t use someone else’s compass,” Alexander explained, “It doesn’t work that way!”
He then pulled out his own compass from a side pocket and drew his arm back.
            “Follow this back to the Sapientia campus!” The agent launched his compass into the air within a glowing ball of energy.
            It flew out into the western sky. Tori took flight, following Alexander’s compass as it flew back to the school.
            Sally turned back toward the agent. “Why did you have to go and do all that?” she complained. “The girl seemed pretty spunky. I bet she was loaded with spirit energy!”
            “You know how this is going to end, Sally,” Alexander retorted. “I am going to take every one of you pirates down until I get to Axis Red.”
            Sally took a few steps to the side as she spoke.
            “I know that’s what you intend to do,” Sally mused, “but first you have to catch us!”
            Sally swung her whip at Alexander, but he jumped up into the air over its glowing sweep. Alexander drew back his arm to throw an energy blast at Sally. Another pirate jumped out from the bushes behind him and threw a spirit cocoon trap into the air at the agent. Alexander flung an energy shot at Sally. She jumped out of the way, just missing the blast that snapped the tree behind her in half. The cocoon trap hit Alexander in the back, and its sinister energy started to wrap around, confining him.
            “Let’s go!” Sally yelled to the other pirate.
            She turned to Alexander. “Until we meet again, darling.”
            Sally blew Alexander a sarcastic kiss. She and the other pirate dashed off into the air and were lost in the dark cloudy mountain chain.
            The energy formed a cocoon that moved up and around Alexander’s body and had almost reached his shoulders. The agent focused his energy. With a flash of power and light, Alexander destroyed the cocoon trap. The remnants of the evil snare soon disappeared, dwindling into nonexistence. Alexander looked off into the distance where the pirates escaped.
            “Next time you won’t be so lucky,” the agent threatened.

~ * ~ 

We'd like to thank William for stopping by the blog for a terrific interview. Be sure to listen in Wednesday when we chat with him on Blog Talk Radio, 3:30pm PST. 
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