Tuesday, June 25, 2013

EYE CANDY is Now Available in Paperback

My latest novel

is now available
in paperback!

Hot new release!

Premiere science fiction from the mind of Top 20 Amazon seller Ryan Schneider, award-winning author of The Go-Kids series.

Imagine a world in which air pollution is a thing of the past, cheap renewable energy is commonplace, and robotics is a daily reality as ubiquitous as mobile phones are to us today.

In the future people still go to work and to the gym and to the sports bar to watch Monday Night Football. They still take the kids to school and pick them up in the afternoon and have to figure out what's for dinner. And they still fall in love and dream of living happily ever after.

Eye Candy is a story about all this and more. It is a story about what it means to be a human being, with characters so real you feel like you know them.

In this near-future Los Angeles, roboticist Danny Olivaw finds himself on a blind date with a beautiful robopsychologist named Candy. But the next day, strange things begin to happen. Little do they know what fate has in store for them. Brilliantly conceived and executed with delicate precision, Eye Candy is a complex, endearing tale for mature readers that’s as fast-paced and uplifting as it is fun.

The book has received entirely 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon thus far.

You can grab your paperback (or Kindle edition) via Amazon* at the link below:
(*Note: other retailers/ebook formats ie iTunes, Kobo, B&N, Sony coming soon!)
Paperback                  Kindle


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 Questions with Dark Fantasy Author Kate Jonez (@K8Jonez)

This Author Spotlight
Dark Fantasy Author

Kate Jonez

author of

Kate Jonez writes dark fantasy fiction. Her debut novel Candy House published by Evil Jester Press is available at Amazon in print and ebook.

She is also chief editor at Omnium Gatherum, a small press dedicated to providing unique dark fantasy fiction in print, ebook and audio formats. Three Omnium Gatherum books have been nominated for Shirley Jackson Awards.

Kate is a student of all things scary and when she isn’t writing she loves to collect objects for her cabinet of curiosities, research obscure and strange historical figures and photograph weirdness in Southern California where she lives with a very nice man and a little dog who is also very nice but could behave a little bit better.

1. How did you get into writing and why do you write?
I originally wanted to be a painter, but for one reason or another that didn’t work out very well. A critique I received fairly often about my painting was that it seemed like I was illustrating stories. After hearing that so often, I realized that I did, in fact, want to tell stories. It took me a several years of hard work to get from that realization to actually producing a novel. I’ve always believed it’s better to be good than fast.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing? 
I especially enjoy planning a novel. Nothing is more exciting than opening up a blank page and roughing in an outline. Anything can happen! The part I like least is the three quarter mark. This phase of writing is especially hard if what’s already on the page shows promise. This is the part where all the doubts creep in. What if I screw it up now? What if the ending sucks? What if I’ve dropped a thread? What if this and what if that? It’s torture.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc? 
I always start with an outline. I like to move the story elements around as though they were note cards until I have a story structure that makes sense. Once the outline is in place I get to know the main characters as well as I can. I have a list of 60 questions or so that I ask about each one. Things like: What kind of relationship does the character have with her mother? What kind of car does he drive? What’s her favorite song? etc. I’ll often take a Myers Briggs personality test for the characters so I learn even more about how their particular personality types react to various situations. Myers Briggs tests are fun to give to your friends http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
My favorite writers lately combine the darker tropes of weird fiction, dark fantasy or horror with a literary sensibility. I especially enjoy the recent releases of Caitlyn Kiernan, Paul Tremblay, Benjamin Kane Etheridge, Laird Barron, Cat Valente and far too many more to name. It’s an exciting time in fiction.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Outside for Brits; inside for Yanks.

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma? 
I would like to know what Oxford has to do with this issue. I suppose I could look it up. In general I prefer as few commas as possible.

7. What is your book Candy House about and how did it come to fruition?
Candy House is the story of a brilliant young scientist who moves back home with his parents because his explosive temper has ruined his career. His neighbors, a family of witches, imps and demons, are charged with keeping science under control. They must, by using their debauched and twisted magic, stop Roland before he fulfills his destiny and makes a deadly discovery that will change the nature of humanity forever.

The folks at Evil Jester Press have helped to make my debut novel as good as it can be.

8. What’s your current writing project?
I’m putting on the finishing touches to my novella X. If all goes well, it should be coming out early next year. X is the story of two petty criminals who decide to do the right thing for once in their lives. Their decision unleashes some seriously messed up demon activity and turns out to be a really bad idea.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading? 
I’m working on reading this year’s Shirley Jackson Award nominees. I’m incredibly lucky that two books I edited (Delphine Dodd by S.P. Miskowski and Twenty-Eight Teeth of Rage by Ennis Drake) have been nominated in the novella category. I’m working on reading the competing novellas I’m Not Sam by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, The Indifference Engine by Project Itoh and Sky by Kaaron Warren

Hopefully I’ll also be able to read the novels I haven’t read yet too, The Devil in Silver, by Victor LaValle, Edge by Koji Suzuki, and Immobility by Brian Evenson.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
Writing isn’t really optional for me. A life lived without writing would be a life wasted. If I analyzed my motivation, I suppose it would be that I’m fulfilling the desire to turn my thoughts into tangible artifacts. I’m immortalizing myself the best way I can. Now that doesn’t sound like I’m full of myself at all.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
You can find me at:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/k8jonezauthorpage
Twitter https://twitter.com/k8jonez
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17905797-candy-house
website http://katejonez.com

Thanks, Kate, for visiting with us. I like the idea of giving characters a personality test. Thanks for that. And for citing writers you're enjoying, particularly Benjamin Kane Ethridge, as he's been featured HERE and HERE.

Check out Kate's new book and visit her website today!

Kindle                       Paperback

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Meme - Shadow & Steel by James A. West (@JWestBooks)

The Next Big Thing
(Blog Meme)

James A. West
author of
brand new epic fantasy novel


James states that he "will write for chips & salsa", but his fiction is worth a great deal more.

James is a talented writer of fantasy novels.

His latest work is Shadow and Steel (Heirs of the Fallen Book 3).

I've read James' work and enjoyed it a great deal.
I read Reaper of Sorrows (Songs of the Scorpion - Volume I).

It was quite good. Great fantasy, with a strong hero reminiscent of Maximus from the film "Gladiator", great action, and some pretty effed-up dark magic.

Take it away, James!

1. Title of your book:
Shadow and Steel

2. Where did the idea come from for the book:

My brain. Sorry, couldn’t resist! Actually I got the idea for this series 10 years ago. I love epic fantasy, but one day I thought to myself wouldn’t it be cool if the hero failed at saving the day? Or, even better, what if the world ends right at the beginning and there isn’t even a chance to save it? I have always been fascinated by survival situations. How would people survive? How would they cope with a destroyed world, and the aftermath that ensues? So, I started writing Heirs of the Fallen.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Epic fantasy, because fantasy is awesome.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

This is the hardest question! I honestly don’t know. I will give it my best shot…

Leitos – I think Taylor Kitsch would be a good choice. Leitos is a warrior, and after seeing John Carter and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I don’t think Taylor Kitsch would have any problem at all playing a warrior.

Ba-Sel  – Djimon Honsouj (because he is an amazing actor who can play any character!)

Belina – For Belina, the criteria is dark-haired, strong-willed, and feminine. She is beautiful, but also powerful and not afraid to speak her mind. I think Selma Blair would be great! 

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Former slave Leitos Valara has spent the last year in hiding, training for vengeance, but now destiny has forced him onto a treacherous path of shadow and steel; and the Faceless One is waiting.

6. Who is publishing your books?

That would be me! All of my books are self-published. I like taking the adventurous road in life, although some would say another name for that is doing things the hard way :)
I don’t regret going the non-traditional way at all. I am having too much fun!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took 2 days and 15 cans of Red Bull. Just kidding! My brain would explode if I tried something like that. Shadow and Steel is about 70,000 words. It took me about 6 weeks, but that is just the first draft.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I tried really hard to make the setting and plot as different from other epic fantasy as possible. I mean no disrespect to “traditional” epic fantasy, I love that stuff! But I wanted something different. Instead of the medieval setting, mine has more of an ancient Mediterranean feel. There are no dwarves, dragons, elves or heroes that save the day. In terms of writing style, I’ve had people tell me it is similar to A Game of Thrones, and the Sword of Truth series. I hope that is true, because I love George R.R. Martin and Terry Goodkind! 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In some ways a lot of my inspiration comes from Stephen King. I read The Talisman when I was 13, and it blew my mind! I wanted to write a series that dealt with an apocalypse, but I also wanted to capture the humanity of that struggle. How people cope, act, treat each other, etc. Stephen King does that so well in his stories.

10. What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?

I am hoping to pique the interest of people that are looking for something a little bit different. It is fast-paced fantasy. The book is shorter than most epic fantasy books, but there is a lot going on. It is non-stop action. I wanted to write something almost like an action/adventure story but mixed with fantasy. I hope people enjoy it!
Shadow and Steel is available now, so I invite you to give it a try. It just received a 5-star review on Amazon, which made my day :) I'm also excited to say this is now a best-selling epic fantasy series!

Finally, I am pleased to introduce the two writers I tagged for the Next Big Thing Blog Meme:

First, author Tom Bielawski.

Tom is an extremely talented science fiction and fantasy author.

I am currently reading A Tide of Shadows, and I am enjoying this book immensely. I am really looking forward to reading more of his work.

Please go visit his blog to learn more about him and his work, and check out his Next Big Thing Blog Meme!

Last, but definitely not least, I tagged writer Wanda P. Smith.

Wanda is an exciting up and coming novelist, and Summer Winds is her debut.

I enjoyed reading about Sunshine, and I know you will as well.

Please go visit her blog to learn more about her, and be sure to check out her work!

Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to stop by! I hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 Questions with EVERVILLE Author Roy Huff (@EvervilleFans)

This Author Spotlight
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Young Adult
writer Roy HuffMS, MAEd
author of

Roy Huff is the author of Amazon's #1 international bestselling epic fantasy novel, Everville: The First Pillar. This is the first installment in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old. He is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience. Roy Huff's background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.

1.How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I have a lot of experience doing technical writing as part of my various degree programs. I’ve also had to do a limited amount of creative writing as well. The initial concept for the book came about as an assignment for a creative writing paper for an English class.

2.What do you like best (or least) about writing?

The thing I like most about writing is a combination of created something new as well as making a contribution to the world that influences others and leaves a lasting mark on society.

3.What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I don’t really have much of an organized approach. I write when I can in fits and starts. I don’t use an outline until later in the story, but I do take notes so I don’t forget certain elements or plot lines.

4.Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

I have largely been influenced by the great science fiction and fantasy writers such as Tolkien, Orwell, J.K Rowling, Jules Verne, and the like.

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

It should go inside the quotation marks.

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

When in doubt, use a comma.

7.What is your book Everville: The First Pillar about and how did it come to fruition?

It was the name of the world created for the initial paper, which later became chapter 1. The First Pillar was added as the story evolved and I decided to serialize it.

8.What’s your current writing project?

I’m currently writing Everville: The City of Worms, which I hope to have available in August.

9.What book(s) are you currently reading?

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.

10.Who or what inspires your writing?

Life inspires my writings as well as my hopes, dreams, and fantasies of the present and the future.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

I am currently running a signed paperback giveaway on Goodreads ending June 14th. http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/51905-the-first-pillar The audio book will also be released shortly on Audible, Amazon, and Itunes.

Twitter @evervillefans 
Instagram @owensageblog
Google plus https://plus.google.com/106301367068236802191
Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/Evervillefans

Thanks, Roy, for sharing Everville: The First Pillar with us. The cover art is fantastic and the book already has more than 80 reviews on Amazon.

Come back and visit with us again when The City of Worms is ready.

Be sure to visit Roy's website and follow him on Twitter.

And pick up your copy of Everville: The First Pillar at the links below:

Kindle                             Paperback

Monday, June 3, 2013

10 Follow-Up Questions with RomCom Novelist Elle Lothlorien (@ElleLothlorien)

This Author Spotlight features a return visit with Amazon bestselling author
Elle Lothlorien.

This is a follow-up interview, but for people who are not already familiar with your work, tell us what kind of books you write.

Currently, I write what has been described as “smart contemporary romantic comedy.”

As you can probably tell by the titles, all of my novels are modern retellings loosely based on fairy tales and children’s stories: The Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty, the “alternate-ending version” Sleeping Beauty WAKES UP! and Alice in Wonderland. Yes, it’s difficult to drop them into one specific sub-genre of romance—at one point I thought “mysterious, contemporary romantic-hoot” would work swell but was told that the category didn’t exist—but it keeps things interesting for both writer and reader since the stories are very different from each other.

What these stories have in common is that they’re definitely stories for grown-ups, not children! Despite being categorized on Amazon in the adult fiction section, every once in a while a review will pop up by a disgruntled reader who bought one or the other of them for their kids or grandkids!


What should readers expect from your stories?

Readers can always expect unique love stories with fun, funny and interesting protagonists, lots of humor, and, of course, romance. Since my books are all “loose riffs” on children’s stories and fairy tales, I try to infuse the adult, modern versions with the flavor of the source material. As a result, The Frog Prince is magical and royally fun and Alice in Wonderland is delightfully disorienting (at first anyway). 

Rather than using the “cleaned-up” Grimms Brothers or Perreault versions of what we now know as “Sleeping Beauty,” I elected to go further back to Giambattista Basile's account “Sun, Moon, and Talia.” And trust me: the originals were nothing that Disney would recognize. Instead of a beautiful princess being awakened with a kiss, Basile’s version tells of a nobleman who takes advantage of a beautiful princess while she sleeps (or is even dead, in some retellings). As a result, my version is equal parts funny and dark; formulaic and daring; a hint of sexy with a pinch of erotic.

I read on GoodEReader.com that you were working on an enhanced content project. Can you tell us anything more about that?

It’s done! In fact, if your readers are interested in seeing what the fuss is all about they can download a copy of Sleeping Beauty which is FREE in the Kindle Store today through Wednesday June 5.

Here’s how I describe the project to those who haven’t heard of enhanced content: Imagine you’re reading a book where all the characters are gathered around to watch a memorial service video and that this video not only contains a photograph montage of the deceased but also impromptu eulogies from two friends—all of it synched to the song. Like anyone can tell you who’s been to a memorial service in the last ten years, video montages of the deceased are all the rage…rightly so. There’s a reason that “a picture is worth 1,000 words.”

Of course, you’ve probably read this type of scene in a book before and I can tell you that as an author it’s one of the most difficult types of scenes to write. Why is that? Well, describing one photograph is simply a matter of one or two sentences of prose. When you’re talking about describing twenty-five photographs that flash by, one after the other in a video montage, what’s an author to do? You can’t very well expect a reader to choke their way through multiple paragraphs of photograph descriptions.

And as for music, well, you know what they say about that: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Prose simply can’t capture the emotion, the essence of music.

But imagine that instead of reading a description of the video, you are able to watch the video and hear the music with everyone else at the memorial service. This isn’t like any other enhanced content you’ve seen before (if you’ve even seen it before, though there has been precious little to compare it to with the exception of “how-to” nonfiction books).

This past December, I decided that, given the improvements in tablets and e-readers—and especially with Amazon’s announcement that it will soon release updates for the Kindle Fire that will enable video to play within the e-book itself—it was time. I found the best directors, producers, and musicians and pulled them all together for an experience that will, I think, surprise you.

Of course, there are readers who are not excited about the prospect of anything besides the written word invading their reading experience, and I get that—I really do. Fear not, because I’ve anticipated the needs of those readers as well. If a reader would rather not access the enhanced content, they can simply click a link that skips the video and allows them to go on and read the prose version of the video. The reader misses no part of the story by skipping the interactive content and everyone wins.

What is your latest novel, Rapunzel, about?

Rapunzel, which comes out later this month, is about Amberlie Fairfax, a ward of the ultra-wealthy wig magnate, Dame Gothel. Now in her late 20s, Nima yearns to escape her Jane-Austen-in-training lifestyle and create her own life, preferably one without a single wig in sight. When she finally works up the courage to confront her, her guardian’s rage is severe. Still, Amberlie thinks that “the Damn Dame” took it rather well…until the next morning. That’s when she finds she’s being held prisoner in one of Dame Gothel’s elaborate re-creations of the year 1770, complete with Julius Cavendish, a man who looks like he wandered off a Hugo Boss photo shoot to take part in the farce. Amberlie plays along with the ruse even as she plots an elaborate escape. But when it’s time to put her plan into action, she finds that there may be something besides her guardian’s insane machinations or her feelings for Julius keeping her from leaving Gothel’s eighteenth-century fantasy world.

What was the duration of the writing process for Rapunzel?

Rapunzel was a longer process than Alice in Wonderland. The latter was completed in a whirlwind thirty-seven days (literally—the last few chapters were written in New York City, where I got trapped by Hurricane Sandy!). I started Rapunzel in the fall of 2011 and meant it to be my third book. However, I got sidetracked, first by Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up, and then by Alice in Wonderland, which I was inspired to write after a two-week trip to Australia in August 2012. As a result, the novel has been in progress on and off for over a year-and-a-half! I am confident that it will be out this month.

When Rapunzel is adapted to film, and the producers ask for your dream cast, what will you say?

Ah, hell, I’ll share all of them with you if you want. My fans have always been very generous with suggestions (even for books that haven’t come out yet).

The Frog Prince (from top left)
Roman Habsburg von Lorraine: Colin Egglesfield
Leigh Fromm: Ashley Green
Kat: Candice Accola
Princess Menen Salassie: Judith Shekoni
Princess Isabella of Denmark: Olivia Wilde
Jason Stiebler: Ian Somerhalder
Elfriede Habsburg von Lorraine: Frances Conner

Sleeping Beauty (left to right)
Claire Beau: Hayden Panettiere
Dr. Brendan Charmant: Jamie Bamber
Davin Wibbens: Kevin Zegers
West Beau: Chord Overstreet
Lt. Colonel James “Gray” Grayson: Dove Meir
Revnor “Rev” Carlin: Tyler Cook

Alice in Wonderland (left to right)
Alice Faye Dahl / Marilyn Monroe “Munny” Dahl / Marlene Dietrich “Dee” Dahl: Emma Stone
Lapin “Rabbit” Montgomery: Alex Pettyfer
Souris “Mouse” Montgomery: Jennifer Lawrence
Haimeko “Queenie-baby” Tanaka: Isabella Leung
Clark Gable “Gabe” Dahl: Kellan Lutz

Rapunzel (left to right)
Amberlie Fairfax: Amanda Seyfried
Julius “Jules” Cavendish: Taylor Kitsch
Dame Gothel: Dame Judi Dench
Cosmo: Lindsay Lohan (if she can stay sober and stop getting freaky stuff injected into her face; luckily it’s a small part)

I love actors who are able to show chemistry and also really portray whimsy because there are a lot of hilarious things going on in these novels. Being a gorgeous face and figure just isn’t enough.

Stephen King often makes a cameo in films adapted from his work. Stan Lee is also enjoying doing so these days. What supporting role would you like to play in the film adaptation of Rapunzel?

Oh, wow, I don’t know. Maybe I could be one of the dancers at the ball hosted by the Duke of Devonshire in Rapunzel. I love ballroom dancing! As long as it’s a role without a whole lot of talking, I’d be fine with it.

For a writer, word of mouth is everything. What was the last book you read that you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it with everyone you know?

Oh, my God, I loved, Loved, LOVED The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

It is one of those works of art that everyone wishes they could create. This book is going on my literal bookshelf, it’s that great. Normally, when I finish reading a paperback novel, I will give it away so someone else can enjoy it. This time, I’m selfish enough to keep the book for myself.

In fact, here is the review I wrote for it (on Goodreads):

"The circus arrives without warning."

This is the first line of Erin Morgenstern's truly magical book THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and I don't know whether to cry tears of joy that a story this exquisite and wondrous exists in the universe or scream with envy that however gifted a writer one may be, there is always--ALWAYS--someone better than you, and you must simply accept that however you might further develop your talent and craft in the coming years, you will likely never reach the heights that this artist has reached in her debut novel.

Would YOU like it? That's hard to say. I am a child of fantasy, a dreamer, a Rêveur, raised on Through the Looking Glass and nursed on Lord of the Rings. Anyone with a Chronicles of Narnia heart, a Dragonriders of Pern mind and a Harry Potter soul will adore this book. Everyone else should probably just keep on browsing...

Oh, how I wish someone would invent Le Cirque des Rêves! I would become a Rêveurs as quick as you can say, "Would you please hand me my red scarf?" If you decide to take a chance, you may just decide that magic is real and everything else in the world is the illusion. As the last line of THE NIGHT CIRCUS reads: "You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream."

As of this writing, the trend in publishing is toward series novels as opposed to stand-alone books. Is Rapunzel part of a series? If not, do you have a series you’ve written or plan to write, and if so, what is it?

Series work out well for many authors. I find that I tend to prefer a more direct story and a satisfying finish—all wrapped up in one book. My novels are sometimes erroneously referred to as a series because of the “loose riff on a fairy tale” theme, but they’re not. Each novel is a standalone story with new characters. However, I did recently decide to begin two unusual projects (for me, anyway) after Rapunzel:

1. Turnabout is fair play.
Since The Frog Prince was published in July 2010, I’ve received hundreds of requests for a sequel but I’ve always believed that no sequel is better than a bad sequel. Frankly, I just couldn’t think of an original plot or conflict for a Book 2 that would be worth writing about.

That’s when a fan on my Facebook page suggested that I do a Midnight Sun-like project for The Frog Prince. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Midnight Sun, it’s the Twilight story…told from Edward’s point of view. Stephanie Meyers abandoned it about half-way through after one of her friends leaked it on the internet but she put it on her website so you can still read as much as she wrote before she quit. I actually enjoyed Midnight Sun far more than I did Twilight. Reading about the man’s motivations in courting the woman was far more interesting to read about than the other way around.

When I read her suggestion that I re-write The Frog Prince from Roman Habsburg von Lorraine’s point of view—well, let’s just say that I sat up a little straighter and I was DEFINITELY interested! In any case, I will plan to begin that project (so far untitled) after Rapunzel is out later this month. (I jokingly refer to it as Prince Frog The, but I’m pretty sure that will not be the final title.)

2. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

After I finish the Frog Prince re-telling, I plan to write (gasp!) a sequel to Alice in Wonderland called (naturally) Through the Looking Glass. I hope to have it out by the end of the year. I really had a great time writing Alice in Wonderland and since there was a sequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, it doesn’t feel contrived, just natural—like planning a reunion with old friends.

Saul Bellow said “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Where do ideas for your books come from, and where are you and what are you typically doing when inspiration strikes?

Strangely enough, the very first book I ever started to write (but never finished) was a literary novel. I woke up in the middle of the night while I was living outside Aspen, Colorado with an idea that was so clear and an urge that was so powerful that I got up, wrapped myself in a down comforter, opened up my laptop and started writing it right then. That turned out to be a one-time thing and there were plenty of things about that novel (including the part I wrote in the middle of the night) that needed to be changed.

My ideas come to me mostly when I’m driving, believe it or not. I was listening to a story about Sleeping Beauty Syndrome on NPR while driving home from work one day when I came up with the idea for Sleeping Beauty.

For Alice in Wonderland, I remember I had just dropped my daughter off at some high school away game and was driving home when I came up with the idea for it. I was just kind of daydreaming and began thinking of playing cards, which made me think of the playing cards in the Disney animated movie Alice in Wonderland—which made me think of poker! Voila! A plot.

I was dating a guy who lived in Boulder a couple of years ago and was on Highway 36 to meet him when I thought of the idea for Rapunzel. I’d just watched the movie “The Duchess” at home a few days before and I was recalling those enormous wigs the women wore then, which got me to thinking about wigs today and boom! By the time I reached Boulder, I had a main character and the beginnings of a plot.

I think the reason ideas come to me while I drive is that my mind is in more of a passive, receptive mode, especially if I’m driving on open highway. It’s very much like that extremely lucid state you are in the micro-second before you fall asleep.

Saul Bellow said, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write”? Well, Elle Lothlorien says, “You never have to change anything you plot while driving.”

Brett Easton Ellis once said, “Do not write a novel for praise. Write for yourself; work out between you and your pen the things that intrigue you.”

Indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has said that it messed with her head a bit when she realized so many people were going to read the books she’s now writing.

Now that Elle Lothlorien is rapidly gaining recognition in the publishing world, has an established fan base anticipating her next novel, and is being talked about in the highly-reverent third person, will reader expectation influence how and/or what she writes? Or will she hold to Ellis’ suggestion?

Speaking only for myself, the difficulty with self-publishing is that once you get a taste of full creative control, it’s really—really—hard to give it up. Of course, like any author, I want readers to enjoy my novels, but I can’t do anything but purge the stories from my head in the most honest way I know. Do I think about what readers might or might not like as I write the next one? Hell, no! If I did that, the books would never be finished. Like a good author friend of mine once posted on his Facebook page: “People think that I’m not working because I’m just sitting here staring at the computer screen. In reality, I’m just trying to figure out what the @#$% happens next.” Agreed! Look, it’s hard enough to relax enough to let the story flow through you without trying to decide what a majority of tens of thousands of readers might like.

The world of self-published authors is the new slush pile. What are you going to say/do when a traditional New York publisher and/or agent contacts you and asks for a meeting?

Well, my self-publishing successes have already led to agent offers. Janet Reid (aka “the Query Shark”) with Fine Print Lit was my agent from September 2011 through December 2012 when we amicably parted ways (I love her to pieces and she actually took the trouble to query her agent buddies on my behalf to find me a new agent!). In January of this year, I signed with Kim Lionetti at BookEnds, LLC. The books are all out on submission and we’ve already heard positive things from one Big Six Publisher.

The strange thing is that five years ago I would’ve sold my soul (or at least pawned it) for a Big Six traditional publishing deal. Now, after having successfully self-published for almost three years, I no longer have a Day Job (also known among authors as “backup income”). It’s a little difficult to just walk away from your income stream to sign a traditional contract that is unlikely to cover your living expenses until the time you pay out your advance. Additionally, once you sign a contract, the publishers own your e-book rights and they will immediately remove your e-books from Amazon and every other retailer where it may be for sale until they’ve worked the novels over, changed the cover, etc. That can take over a year! In that time, a self-published author runs the enormous risk of their fan base simply melting away.

Ideally, I hope to negotiate a print-only deal, which will allow me to retain my e-book rights but will give me access to the distribution channels via a Big Six publisher that will get my books into brick and mortar bookstores.

Where do you want your writing career to be in five years’ time?

Once upon a time, I spent a long, hot summer locating underground utilities. The grandfatherly man who trained me said something that has stuck with me until this day: “Plan your work and work your plan.” Although my business plan changes (sometimes daily!) as the world of publishing undergoes a revolution, in five years I hope to be one of the self-published authors leading the way for other authors to retain, manage and monetize not just their print and e-book rights, but their extremely valuable subsidiary rights –foreign, audio, entertainment and merchandising—rather than signing them away once their books become bestsellers.

Finally, because no artistic endeavor is a solo flight, would you care to share the names and contact info for your supporting players, namely your cover designer, editor, proofreader(s), research assistants, hairdresser, dog groomer, chauffer, maid, butler, etc?

Cover designer:

Me. Turns out I’m pretty good at it (and it’s hella fun).


See editors above. Oh, and you forgot beta-readers. I ask five random friends or fans who I can trust to criticize to beta-read each novel before it makes it to my editors.

Research assistants:

Me. You can pry my research out of my cold, dead fingers. It’s the main reason I love to write!

Hair dresser:

I’ve cut and colored my own hair since I was 20 years old. I’ve had too many unfortunate mishaps, even at high-end salons, to take any more chances.

Dog groomer:

I own a miniature, short-haired red dachshund named Bacon Bourgeois, Legendary Wiener. He is a hero on my Facebook page. I bathe him and cut his nails myself. I leave the expressing of the anal glands to the vet. (Hey, I can’t think of a better use of $18 than that.)


Me and my 2001 Honda CRV


Elle Lothlorien (infrequently); her son, The Boy (even less frequently) and Elle’s mother (who cleans more than the two of us put together, bless her heart).


No thanks. When I see creepy semi-strange men lurking around the doorways of my house, I think “restraining order” not “man servant.”

Thanks, Elle!

Great work on your novels and congratulations on your success. Continue planning your work and working your plan.

Best of luck with Rapunzel. I'm sure it will be a success.

Be sure to follow Elle on Twitter, check out her website, and read the first interview we did together HERE

And purchase her books in both Ebook and paperback below:

Note: Sleeping Beauty and Sleeping Beauty WAKES UP! are FREE for Kindle through Tuesday 6/4/13. Download your free copies now.