April 30, 2012

Author Interview: Christopher Profeta

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, Christopher Profeta!
I am an independent writer trying to share my book, Life in Pieces, with as many people as I can. It’s the story of An unemployed stay at home dad who opens the paper one morning to find he is running for congress, a young man struggling to hold onto a life that is slipping away while meeting the love of his life, and a crazy old man who couldn't care about any of this. All these stories cross paths to show that we are never too old to come of age.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing this book because I had something to say. It’s as simple as that. As is always the case, the story I was using to say that grew and took on a life of its own while I was writing. When I was finished with it, I remember looking at my wife and saying, “This book is everything I’ve wanted to say about everything for a long time.”

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

Life in Pieces follows three disjointed narratives as they slowly become one, so there was a lot of continuity stuff that I had to keep straight. Ultimately, I’ve found the best way to deal with that is to just write where the story takes you, then just double check that it all makes sense when you’re done. I’m not a big fan of trying to force a story or a character to be something it isn’t just because that’s what I want it to be. One of the reasons I’m proud of this book is that I was able to let go and just enjoy writing. That’s really one of the major themes of Life in Pieces, that you can’t always be in control.

As for the easiest part…It’s all enjoyable, I love every minute of writing and publishing, but there is no easy part.

What music do you listen to while you write?

There is a scene at the end of Life in Pieces when the politician character goes into an empty diner and gets recognized by the waitress who then forces him to act the part of the public persona he’s created, which he comes to realize is not at all who he really is. Actually, what he realizes is that he may have actually lost who he really is.

This scene is inspired by the Bob Dylan song “Highlands.” I think if there were ever to be a soundtrack for Life in Pieces, this would definitely be on it. The pain and anguish of the speaker in that song, the way he knows how good of a person he really is, but just can’t seem to be it is very similar to the main character in the book.

What inspires you?

My ideas come from the things I see around me. I don’t write about life experiences, but everything I write is shaped by my experiences. What really inspires me to write, however, is when I see the great work that others do. Oddly, my biggest inspirations come from the music and film worlds. I always feel a strong urge to write whenever I listen to Bob Dylan or watch a Woody Allen movie. I don’t know what it is, but I find their work very inspiring.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I try to make it a habit not to hide my talents. They’re all on display in this book. Just kidding. I don’t know if I have a talent for it, but I like landscaping my front and back yards.

What are your current projects?

Life in Pieces was released in February, and all I’m working on for at least the rest of the year is taking it on tour and trying to share it with as many people as I can.

What made you decide on self-publishing?
I tried to find a publisher and an agent, and I’m still open to the idea, but I didn’t really try that hard. I like the idea of doing this outside of the traditional means. I know there is a stigma about it, but I’ve always found that to be a little silly. I mean, independent bands and artists are like the coolest people in the business. People who record for major labels go out of their way to try to appear to be indie bands. Yet, when it comes to books, we’re supposed to be ashamed of it. To me, indie cred is indie cred, it doesn’t matter if you write a book or a song.

I think what’s going on is that the book world tends to be dominated by somewhat pretentious writers and readers in tweed jackets and pipes who, in spite of how liberal they may call their arts, don’t really like to have their norms challenged. I think it’s unfortunate that those people have as much influence as they do.

Did you have a professional editor?

I did not hire anyone, but I have a good friend who is an editor and I had her take a look at Life in Pieces. I don’t have anything against editors, it was just not something I could afford, so I had to do it myself.

Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished?
It is an extremely bad idea to edit and write at the same time. It would be like trying to build a car and repair it at the same time, it isn’t really possible. You can’t edit a draft until there is a draft. Like I said, I am a big believer in letting the story be what it wants to be, letting the ideas that pop in your head while you’re writing find their natural place in the story. You can’t do that if you’re constantly worried about editing. It is definitely possible to think about things too much. The actual act of writing the story out isn’t a thinking task, it’s a feeling task. If you let your brain get in the way, the results will not be good. There will be time to think about it all later.

What book are you reading now?

“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

I’ll say Vampire only because I don’t know what a shapeshifter is.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Like I said, don’t try to force things or think about them too much.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Only that I hope they had as much fun reading Life in Pieces as I did writing it. The book deals with a lot of complex issues surrounding unemployment and economic hardships. I think writers can play a big role in helping make sense of these issues. My hope for Life in Pieces is that it will help people put together the pieces of their own lives.

April 27, 2012

Author Interview: Renee Pawlish

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie Renee Pawlish!

Renée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the first in the Nephilim trilogy, the Reed Ferguson mystery series (This Doesn't Happen In The Movies and Reel Estate Rip-off), The Noah Winters YA Adventure series (The Emerald Quest)Take Five, a short story collection, and The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

ée has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder/mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller”. Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado. When she's not hiking, cycling, or chasing ballplayers for autographs, she is writing mysteries, thrillers and horror. She loves to travel and has visited numerous countries around the world. She has also spent many summer days at her parents' cabin in the hills outside of Boulder, which was the inspiration for the setting of Taylor Crossing in her novel Nephilim: Genesis of Evil.

Visit Renée's website http://www.reneepawlish.com or her blog http://tobecomeawriter.com.

When and why did you begin writing? 
I started writing as a kid, then wrote a lot in high school, but it wasn't until I got out of grad school that I started my first novel.  It's not published because, frankly, it wasn't very good.  But I've kept at it and now I have numerous published novels.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest? 
I don't write from an outline so sometimes I can get stuck, where I'm not sure where the story is going.  That's very frustrating.  But when I wrote The Emerald Quest, my new middle-grade novel, I had the story all laid out.  That was fun because I saw where everything was going and it was easy to write.  I wish that happened more often.

What music do you listen to while you write? 
I listen to a variety, depending on the book and the characters.  I love Elvis, Sheryl Crow, Dwight Yoakam and U2 so those play a lot.  I have very eclectic tastes so it varies.

What inspires you? 
That's a tough question as many things do.  I might be watching TV or reading a book and something will pop into my head and I'll think "there's a story there".  I have an idea for a book that came to me while I was in Maui, walking along the beach at night.  Sometimes just a kernel of information will turn into a full-length novel.

Do you have any hidden talents? 
Does being able to get sports autographs count as a talent?
What are your current projects?
I just released The Emerald Quest, the first in the Noah Winter adventure series for middle grade/young adults, and I'm taking the third Reed Ferguson mystery to the editor, so I'm in a bit of a lull.  On my plate is the next in the Nephilim trilogy, and the next Noah Winter adventure.

What made you decide on self-publishing?
I went with self-publishing after I kept hearing from agents that they liked Nephilim Genesis of Evil but they didn't think they could market it.  I finally decided to release my own books and it's been a fun journey.  My novels get great reviews and it's very fun and flattering to hear the feedback.

Do you have a professional editor?
Yes, I have two, one for structural content and one for content and grammar.  The biggest mistake I see indie authors make is that they don't get great editing.

Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished? 
I edit as I go. Thank goodness for the computer or I'd be lost.

What book are you reading now? 
I'm reading a Richard Benson Bond book right now.
Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why? 
Vampires - I just like them for some odd reason.
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Don't publish too soon.  Too many indie authors fall in love with their work and think it's good/great when it's not.  It takes time to hone your craft and figure out how to tell a compelling story.  Get feedback from impartial parties to see if you've really got something publishable or not.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
I write in a lot of genres so there is something for everyone.  And please let me know what you think of my books.  I love getting feedback.

April 26, 2012

Technical Difficulties!

As you can probably already guess, I'm having some technical difficulties on my blog. So please bear with me as Blogger fixes them. I'm sorry for the inconvience.

April 23, 2012

The Best Ways to Approach Online Dating as a Woman: A Guest Post by Ellie Stevens

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, Ellie Stevens!

Ellie Stevens is a guest post author who enjoys writing about dating and relationships.  Ellie also owns senior dating sites where she focuses on educating seniors about safe and effective methods of online dating. 

The Best Ways to Approach Online Dating as a Woman

These days, it’s becoming more and more rare to hear of romances that began when fate crossed the paths of two single strangers in the organic produce aisle of the grocery store.  Instead, we are hearing more love stories that began when two people clicked their way to one another due to an eye-catching picture and similar interests outlined in a very detailed online-dating profile. 

So if you are a single woman who is fed up with conventional methods of dating and the genius marketers behind Match.com have done an effective job in convincing you to give online dating a try, before you do, be sure to check out the best ways to approach it in order to achieve a success experience…and hopefully find a great guy:

#1:  Be safe.  Online dating is a great way to meet the Prince Charming you’ve been dreaming of your whole life—but because of the anonymity that comes along with using the internet, online dating is also an unfortunate method of coming face to face with some real monsters.  For that reason, it is imperative to make safety your number one priority by practicing the safety tips below:
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  •            Don’t share personal information too soon.  Keep things like your last name, phone number, email address, home address, place of business, financial details, etc. to yourself until you really get to know and trust the guy.

  •          Be aware of the signs of predators and con artists. 

  •           Plan first meetings with safety in mind.  Always let a friend know where you are going, use your own form of transportation, meet at a public place, keep an eye on your possessions, and skip alcoholic beverages. 

  •          Trust your intuition.  If your gut is telling you that a guy you thought could be Mr. Right has some seriously wrong intentions, listen to that feeling and end the communication/ date immediately. 

#2:  Keep a positive attitude.  No one wants to hear about your loser of an ex-boyfriend who cheated on you and left you with loads of baggage at the train station in Broken-Heartsville.  Keep all the depressing stuff to yourself in the beginning.  One of the most attractive things about a person is a happy, positive attitude—so be sure to reflect that through your dating profile and online interactions.  Keep the subjects light and show off the fun, charming side of you that cyber-men won’t help but be drawn to like moths to a flame.

#3:  Be honest.  Sure, that bikini shot of you on the beaches of Mexico during that college spring break trip could rival those featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition; but if that picture is a good 10 years outdated or 30 pounds under your current weight, then opt instead for a picture that is a more accurate representation of your looks.  When you stretch the truth about anything (no matter how small it seems—about your appearance, job, education, etc.), keep in mind that you might really hit it off with a guy online—and think of how embarrassed you will be when you meet in person and it is revealed that you were being dishonest with him. 

#4:  Take it slow.  If you go into online dating expecting to meet the man you are going to marry after just two weeks, you are just setting yourself up for failure when guys flock in the other direction after hearing the wedding bells you are ringing.  Don’t rush into anything.  Be realistic about your expectations and look at the opportunity as a fun and exciting way to get to know like-minded singles while learning more about yourself and what you want in a partner.  And hey, if you don’t find the man of your dreams, at least you may get some delicious, free meals and fantastic dates out of it! 

#5:  Keep your options open.  Just because the first guy to give you a wink via your online dating service is handsome and meets the majority of credentials you’ve outlined for a prospective partner doesn’t mean you need to cancel your online dating membership tomorrow.  Until you are in a committed, monogamous relationship, there is nothing wrong with talking to/dating as many men as you want.  Get the most out of your online dating experience and don’t limit yourself by putting all of your eggs in one basket. 

April 20, 2012

Unfurl by Cidney Swanson

Against all expectations, Samantha Ruiz has survived attacks by two of Helmann’s deadliest assassins. She’s alive, but she’s far from safe. Helmann is planning a second Holocaust and wants Sam to play a starring role. Will, meanwhile, separated from Sam by an ocean, seeks a way to prevent Helmann’s apocalypse. Along with Sir Walter and Mickie, Will plays a deadly game sneaking into Geneses’ facilities, discovering unsettling clues as to Helmann’s plans. The clock ticks down as Will and Sam discover just how much they must be willing to sacrifice to stop Helmann. UNFURL, the powerful conclusion to The Ripple Series, will leave fans breathless.

My Thoughts:

Well, this is definitely an interesting series. I've been through some ups and downs with this series and I'm slightly sad to see this series end. I'm sure though that the author has some more book sup her sleeve. Maybe some paranormal romance books. 

Anyway, since I don't want to give the entire series away, I'll list some positives and some negatives. I think some of the negatives will seem the same, since the same issues I had before were still prevalent in this third book, but I'll list them anyway. 

Oh, and if you want to read the other reviews in this series, check it out here and here

Okay, so here are the positives:

1) Nice ending

I have to say, Cidney Swanson ended this series with a nice and light touch and even alluded to some future books. She ended it with some hope and promise. I liked it a lot. 

2) Will and Sam

I loved the fact that we got to see both perspectives of the characters. For so long, we've seen everything through Sam's eyes but now we get this last book through a fresh perspective.

3) Fast Paced . . . At least, after the climax

At first, the book moved a bit slow for my taste. However, as I progressed through half of the book, it seemed that the pace picked up. But once the solution to the problem was solved before the final fifty pages, it slowed back down. But for a while the book did move pretty fast and I wish there was more of that fast pace movement int he book. 


1) Same old bad guy

"I will rule the world!" Yeah, so not my thing. I just get so tired of the same plot, same story, same execution. I would have loved something new here. Any new twist that would have re-freshened this old plot. 

2) Convenient solution to problems

Solution to the problem was way too easy. There was no thought to it at all. And it wasn't an easy solution to just one problem in the book, but multiple times this happened. 

There were many times where the author could have delved deep and made her character really think and change because of a choice. However, the author chose the easy way out and kept all of the characters the same and not dynamic at all.

You would think over the course of three books the main characters would change or find something major. Sure, Sam found out she could ripple (a.k.a. disappear into thin air) which is awesome.  However, I still                                                                    think something else should have happened. 

I guess after all of these adventures and discovery, I would expect a character would go through some changes. Instead we get the same characters throughout. I expected some change in some characters but ALL of them stayed the same. To me, this is just unrealistic. 

3) Predicable

Like I mentioned before, the same plot, same story to me. I could tell what was going to happen after the first few chapters. Now the climax did throw me. But the solution of the problem was predicable. So some parts were easy to see, but the climax threw me for a loop.

Overall impression: Would I recommend this series?

I would say yes if a predicable plot wouldn't bother people. It would bother me. A lot. However, I know some predictability in novels is okay for some people.

I would give this book definitely to my middle school readers since it's a clean young adult fantasy book for them. 

Anyone else is fair game, just dependent on taste. 

Anyway those are my thoughts about this entire series. Tune in for the next review!

Called Home: Two Hearts Answer  
Emma Benson's view of life was crafted by the death of her brother as a child, abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry, until David Schlosser-back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels-threatens her neatly tended life. Romance blooms. Emma and David eventually persevere in the face of tragedy, refusing to leave their dreams behind.

April 16, 2012

Author Interview: Elise Stokes

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, the lovely author of the Cassidy Jones Adventure Series, Elise Stokes!

Please tell us a little about yourself. 
I’m the author of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula and Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, the first two books in my superhero-themed series for middle grade and young adults, Cassidy Jones Adventures. I live in the Seattle area, with my husband and our four children. I was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. My teaching experience and children inspired the creation of this series. My goal is to motivate tweens and teens to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence while enjoying a fun, fast-paced, action-packed story.

When and why did you begin writing?
Trixie Belden gave me the writing bug. I devoured that series in fifth grade, and then decided to write a mystery series of my own. I still have the first book written on lined paper in pencil, a proud 150 pages front and back. I wrote a couple short stories for my high school newspaper and a couple more my freshman year of college, but then got caught up in the busyness of life and put my passion to write on the back burner. 

Twenty years and four kids later, I read an article about Stephenie Meyer and learned that she had written Twilight with three little boys underfoot. Right then and there, I decided if Stephenie could find the time so could I. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula is the result of that decision. It’s amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

The easiest part of writing my series is when I have a few uninterrupted hours to sit at my laptop and actually write. Having said that, the hardest part will come as no surprise: finding a quiet moment to do it.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I don’t listen to any music. Not only do I have a lot to distract me from writing, I’m easily distracted. If I were to listen to music, it would probably be my “Elise’s” track that my husband created for me. On it I have a variety of genres, from Queen to Adele.

What inspires you?

All of the stories tumbling around in my head. Aside from numerous Cassidy Jones storylines, I have three other novels I mentally write before falling asleep every night. Someday, someday.

Do you have any hidden talents?

None, and I certainly wish I did!

What are your current projects?

I’m working on Book 3, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant. It has been a blast breathing life into characters that I’ve thought about for two years now. I’m chomping at the bit to get this one wrapped up and out for Cassidy fans. It’s a fun, fun story.

What made you decide on self-publishing?

Like most new authors, I was completely naïve about the publishing industry. I thought I would send out a few query letters and get snapped up immediately. I couldn’t fathom an agent not falling in love with my story. Foolish newbie.J Eight months and two hundred query letters later only three agents had read the manuscript. Two enjoyed it but not enough to rep me. When investigating the agent who did want to sign me up, I discovered the publishers she had gotten contracts from were ones that accepted un-agented manuscripts. So what would be the point? I didn’t need her.

Before I had begun down the Traditional path, my entrepreneur husband had encouraged me to start my own publishing company. After researching the publishing business model, he declared it broken and not worth pursuing. Eight months and two hundred rejected query letters later, I had to agree with him. So I went for it, started JACE Publishing, and had my book on shelves a few months later. I have no doubt if I hadn’t found a way around the roadblocks I would still be sending out query letters. Like the music industry, the publishing industry is a mess.

Do you have a professional editor?

Yes, William Greenleaf. I can’t recommend Bill more highly. The greatest disservice a writer can do to his/her novel is to not pass it off into the capable hands of a professional editor. From my observation poor editing is the major criticism that indie writers who had decided to skip this crucial step receive. So give your novel a fighting chance. Invest in a reputable editor.

Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished?

I usually go through a chapter after writing it and do light editing. My goal is to keep the storyline tight, and I find it saves time in accomplishing this to edit as I go along as opposed to waiting until I have completed first draft.

What book are you reading now?

I read very little when I’m writing, due to lack of time and the fact that my writing style isn’t set in stone yet. It can be easily influenced by what I’m reading. When I do get a moment to read, I’m working on Noah Of Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease. It’s a fantastic sci-fi for middle grade readers. The protagonist, Noah, has a wonderful sense of humor and is handicapped. He doesn’t let the fact that he can’t walk hold him down, however. Noah is a very courageous, “real” character and a great role model.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Shapeshifter, hands down. Having the ability to shift into another species would be so cool (Mystique is one of my favorite Marvel characters). As my eight-year-old puts it, “Who wants to be a vampire? That’s gross!”

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Whether you’re Traditionally published or self-published, you quickly learn the easy part is writing the book. The real challenge is driving awareness and sell thru. With this in mind, do not disregard the power of teamwork. In other words, make friends with fellow authors. My writer friends have been a tremendous blessing. Trying to get traction in this competitive industry is daunting and depleting. Like most situations in life, the people who understand what you’re up against best are the ones in the trenches with you. 

To find other authors, join writer groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads, and follow writers on Twitter. To find writers who really understand the spirit of teamwork, read Alan McDermott’s post, Authors Helping Authors, (http://jambalian.blogspot.com/2012/03/authors-helping-authors.html) and participate on Derek Blass’s #AmazonLikes thread on Twitter. Alan and Derek are both fantastic thriller writers and men. It’s amazing how their efforts have helped build a community where a writer who is new to the world of social networking can find support.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Where do I begin? I can’t express how much it means to me that you’ve joined me on Cassidy’s journey. Your words of encouragement, feedback, and reviews are so appreciated. Don’t think we writers are unaware of your efforts to support our work. Our days are made when we learn another reader enjoyed what we pour our hearts and soul into. So when you discover a great read, please write a review. There is no better way to root your favorite authors on.

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

After exploring her newfound abilities, Cassidy learns that the geneticist, Professor Serena Phillips, is missing and that foul play is suspected. Terrified that her physical changes and Professor Phillips' disappearance are somehow connected, Cassidy decides to keep her strange transformation a secret. That is, until she meets the professor's brilliant and mysterious fifteen-year-old son, Emery. An unlikely duo, they set out to find Emery's mother, who is key in explaining Cassidy's newly acquired superpowers.

Their lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous, action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything - including murder - to reach his own ambitious goals.

April 13, 2012

Cover Revel: Angel Diaries Plus Some News!

Ready to see my cover!? Drum roll, please!

After a lot of work from the lovely cover artist, Char (check out her website here for more information), I have to say, I heart this cover. I would definitely recommend this cover artist. Even though I'm very picky when it comes to covers (I think she will agree), I really enjoyed working with her. 

Anyway, this cover has helped propel me forward in my editing, and thanks to this lovely Spring Break from student teaching (THANK THE LORD!) I can now catch up on editing and writing my books again. And promoting. And playing on my Wii.

Blurb: Coming soon! :) 

Which bring me to another big chunk of news: I'm going to be published in an anthology. Well, actually two! The first one is for Fantasy/Science Fiction. Remember Iwishacana/Acanawishi? Well, I took the prologue and entered it into the contest and it won! I'm so glad to hear that Iwishacana/Acanawishi is savable (and has a great concept) and hopefully, I'll get it back on this site and back online. 

I don't know when this will happen, but I have the feeling it will be before Christmas. No promises though! At least you guys will be able to buy the prologue and see what's it like!

Anyway, the other anthology is inspirational. I took some of my old poems and entered it into a contest. As you all know, I'm a very religious person so when I get inspired by the Bible (the whole struck-by-lightening concept rings a bell), I write poems. So I picked the strongest two poems I have and they both got selected!

It's just nice to see that my work (poems, short stories, novellas, and novels) are getting the recognition they deserve.

Anyway, there's my bit of news and my lovely cover. :) Yippee skippee!

April 11, 2012

Raised by Wolves: White-Only Paranormal Fantasy or PNR

Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves, #1)

At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn’s been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.

But the pack’s been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum’s direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them ....

Topic of Choice: Whites-Only Paranormal Fantasy Genre

Now before we begin, this is not just an attack on any single author. I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes for her fresh ideas and her writing style. Same thing with a lot of my favorite paranormal romance or paranormal fantasy authors which include Andrea Cremer and Stephenie Meyer just to name a few. 

However, I do have a problem with the fact that no author (except for Dia Revees and maybe some select others) have minority characters in this genre as the lead character. It's almost like there's a rule about not having any minority there.

Now of course, some authors have minority characters as side characters which is okay. Except it's like not getting the lead role in your favorite play. You want the lead role, but at least you're included int he play int he first place.

What I seriously don't get though is that a lot of kids that read these genres are minorities. I'm not saying that European American males and females don't read these books. They do also. However, as an African American female reading these types of books it's discouraging (to say the least) to not find any minorities in the books at times as the lead or even minorities as the side characters.

Am I saying all of the famous authors should now suddenly rush to put minority characters in their books? Absolutely not.

I'm saying that more authors should consider that the lead in paranormal romances don't have to be white. They can be Hispanic, African American (or even African, that would be fascinating!), Asian, Native America, Samoan or any other type of minority or even mixes of all different types of races. 

Let's even take it a step further: How many reader's of Jennifer Lynn Barne's books are represented in her novels?

Is it not fair that Hispanic American females read her books constantly yet they are never represented in her books? Sure, it's nice to get a thank you for reading my books from an author. But how awesome would it be to have a character named after a reader? Or even have a character inspired by a reader?

Or even take it at the very base value: How cool would it be to have strong minority role models that are not stereotypical in paranormal fantasy or paranormal romance books?

Now let's take a step back. I know some authors might be intimidated by the huge weight this puts on their shoulders. They may wonder how they write an Asian American character without making her or him stereotypical. 

And you want to know the answer: Research.

Authors do research all the time, especially paranormal romance or paranormal fantasy authors. Why? Because they need to know the original origin of these myths and bring them back to life. How much harder would it be to research a culture?

How hard would it be for Becca Fitzpatrick to go into a community of Native Americans and ask them a few questions about their culture? Or to simply talk to them or even at the basic level, visit them every weekend?

I can't say for  all minorities (since I'm only part of one minority group) but for the most part, if you ask me how it is to be an African American female, I'll tell you. I welcome questions, as long as it's not taken as a joke or even a big fat waste of time. If I can see that you are at least trying to understand African American culture, then I am more than welcome to answer questions.

Additionally, the African American community is pretty wide open to talk about experiences being African American, especially about discrimination. All you have to do is ask or even say hello once and a while. 

Anyway, I'm veering off into another rant or even another topic altogether. My main point of this whole discussion: Authors need to consider including minority groups into their works.

I think sooner or later, minorities will eventually figure out that the character isn't like them at all. There are huge cultural differences between African Americans and European Americas. Just on the basic level on speak and tone. Then some will simply walk away from an author.

It's just that simple.

After a while, I get tired of reading about white females always getting into trouble with some mysterious white hero. I do. I seriously get tired of seeing the same people in novels. Where are the black heroes? Where are the Asian heroes (other then ninjas)?

And I'm not the only one asking these questions or simply walking away.

A student of mine, Javon, simply walked away from a novel because he couldn't identify with those characters. At one point, I was mad at him because I gave him one of my favorite series, Time Warp Trio. He was so into the book that he didn't speak the entire time of MIRP (Monitored Independent Reading Program). 

Then the next day, he didn't want to read it.


"Because it's boring!"

"Why is it boring?!"

"Ms. Hinton!"

"No really, Javon, you were so into it yesterday. Why do not want to read it?"


"Okay, Javon, I'll tell you what. Write me a letter (that has to be at least six complete sentences) about why you don't want to read this book."

And he did. He basically told me he didn't want to read the book anymore because it didn't pertain to him or his culture (African American). So he picked up the Bluford Series instead which features African Americans.

You see what happened in a matter of a day!?

Authors may not want to see this change occur, but I'm right in front of the students who are constantly hungry for books that feature characters like them. Characters that speak like them, run into realistic problems like them, and relate to them.

I wish some authors could come in and see what's happening, but instead they write with characters who are not relating to students who are different. Who aren't the drop dead gorgeous girl but can throw a mean right punch. Girls who may not be the prettiest or even smartest, but they can dress better then any celebrity.

Where are the authors who relate to them?

Where are the role models in paranormal fantasy and paranormal romance for minorities?

April 9, 2012

Author Interview: Carol Cassada

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, the fabulous romance author, Carol Cassada!

I'm just a young woman from the small town of Ringgold, VA who's living her dream of being a writer.

In December 2008 I started my first book Going Home Again, which was released February 24, 2010 by Romance Divine. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt, to have my work published was a dream come true.

Now my second book Westmore, the first in a line of volumes is about to be released. This time I went the self publishing route with Createspace. I'm currently working on Volume 2 of Westmore and hope to have it out by the end of the year.

Aside from my love of reading and writing, I enjoy spending time with my supportive parents, my two brother who love to tease me, and my three dogs and two cats.

Check out her website for more info here!

When and why did you begin writing?

I became interested in writing during high school when I took creative writing classes.

My teen years were tough, I didn’t feel like I fit in, I made bad grades, and plus my parents were splitting up. So I used writing as a form of escapism, it helped relax me, take my mind off my problems. Once I started writing, my life changed. I was happier and my grades improved. I loved it so much that I decided to make it my life’s dream.

I went to college, took more writing classes, and earned a degree in Professional Writing. Originally I wanted to write for the newspaper, but then I switched gears and choose to become an author. After graduating in December 2008, I began writing my first book Going Home Again, then a year later it was accepted by Romance Divine and released in February 2010.

This past year, I went the self-publishing route and released the first two volumes in the Westmore series, which I describe as a combination of romance novels and soap operas.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

The easiest part is thinking of the characters and the plot. The hardest part is revision. When you first finish the manuscript, you assume everything’s perfect and it’s ready to turn in. Yet, when you read through it again, you notice spelling and grammar mistakes that you missed. Then another problem is you realize a scene’s not going to work and you cut it out, then it can end up affecting the flow of the story. That’s the way it is with me. I had a list of ideas planned out for each volume of the Westmore series, yet when I started on the sequel I realized some of the ideas weren’t going to work, and I switched them to a later volume. Sure it’s a pain, but in the end I think it works out in the long run.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I always listen to music while I write because it gets me in a creative mood. I’m a rock n’ roll girl, and each day I’ve got a different band playing. Some of my favs are Ted Nugent, Ozzy Osbourne, and The Eagles.

What inspires you?

Soap operas helped with the Westmore series; I’m a huge fan of them, that’s where I got my dose of romance and drama. At one time I thought of being a screenwriter for the daytime serials. I had a notebook where I wrote characters and storylines. Then I was trying to decide what to write for my second book, I pulled out my old notebook and decided to turn my soap opera ideas into a book series.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I sometimes sing, although I don’t have that great of a voice, so you won’t be seeing me on American Idol any time soon. I usually sing when I’m alone.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on volumes 3 and 4 of the Westmore series, which will be released later this year. Plus I’m working on a paranormal romance story involving a vampire and a vampire hunter.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading two books at once, Animals and the Afterlife, along with Haunting Illinois. Next it’ll be Afterlives of the Rich and Famous by Sylvia Browne.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

I like both, but I’d lean more towards vampires because there’s something romantic about immortality.

And plus my brothers say I sometimes act like a vampire, cause I’m up all night and sleep most of the day.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The important advice is don’t give up. When I first started out I got rejected numerous times by publishers, and I felt like calling it quits, but I pressed on and got my book published. Another piece of advice I’d like to offer writers is to consider self-publishing. I was the type of person who never thought I’d be an indie author, but now I am and I have to say it was the best choice I ever made.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for your support and I hope you’ll continue to be there with me on my journey. Enjoy my books and stay tuned for the drama.

April 6, 2012

Author Interview: Liz Grace Davis

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, my dear friend, Liz Grace Davis.

Image of Liz Grace DavisAuthor Bio
I was born in Angola, grew up in Namibia, South Africa, and Germany. I now live in Vienna, Austria. My mother was a diplomat. That’s why I got to move around so much. On one hand I loved it, getting to know new people, experience various cultures, and see beautiful countries. On the other hand, I didn’t like it so much. 

Every time I made new friends (which usually took me a while) and got comfortable, I had to leave again. I changed primary schools five or six times and high schools 3 times. I’m finally settled in Austria and am married to my best friend. I studied international business consultancy, worked for the United Nations for a while and am now studying towards my master’s degree. I should graduate next year. That’s my life in a few words.

When and why did you begin writing? 

I really don’t know. I think I started writing when I started reading. I started with writing short stories and poems and wrote my first full length novel in high school. After that, I just wrote one manuscript after the other but I never showed my work to anybody. I wrote because I enjoyed it, I wrote because I had to in order to be myself. When I don’t write for a long while, I start having withdrawal symptoms (seriously). I just feel as if something is missing and a little depressed. As soon as I get back to writing, I just feel so much happier.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

Chocolate Aftertaste wasn’t too hard to write. The only problem was that during the time I wrote the first draft I was doing so many other things. I was busy writing my bachelor thesis, doing a full time internship, and organizing my wedding (for over two hundred guests). Another hard part was editing the manuscript. I hate hate hate editing. But like I said, Chocolate Aftertaste as a whole wasn’t too hard to write. I chose the title and found a story to match. But it was a little hard to have to make my main character suffer over and over again. I hope she forgave me in the end.

What music do you listen to while you write? 

Country music. When I was growing up my father passed his love for country music over to me. I love how the songs always tell a story and I’m a writer, we live for stories.

What inspires you? 

Life. There are so many stories around us— interesting people, breathtaking places, dirty dishes, tragedies, pain, miracles, love. The weather is also inspiring. I especially love the rain and thunderstorms. Inspiration is everywhere for me. I don’t really need to go looking for it. Sometimes all it takes is a delicious meal which could end up being prepared by one of my charactersJ. But I try not to wait for inspiration before I write. I just start and often inspiration follows.

Do you have any hidden talents? 

I was actually hoping that writing is my talentJ. Okay, let me think of others. I love creating things with my hands. Half the jewelry that I own was created by me. I also self-taught myself how to create digital scrapbooks and also the supplies and elements needed for them (unfortunately I haven’t had much time to design lately). If you’re interested, you can take a peek at a few of my designs here: www.tangidesigns.blogspot.com. I designed everything on the blog from scratch (including the pearls and the sweet little baby shoes). Okay, enough about me. It’s making me a little uncomfortableJ.

What are your current projects?

Now that Chocolate Aftertaste is published, I’m going to start editing another manuscript that’s collecting dust in the basement. Like Tangi’s Teardrops, it’s also based on a true story, a very bittersweet story about the power of true friendship. The genre is women’s fiction.  

What made you decide on self-publishing?

I had enough of writing synopses and query letters. I also wanted the freedom that came with self-publishing. I love knowing that as soon as I’m done writing a novel, my readers will immediately get to read it. It’s such a great feeling. I might pursue traditional publishing again at some point in the future, but right now I’m happy with how everything is going.

Do you have a professional editor?

I do have a professional editor, Nicholas Ambrose, but I’m so picky and paranoid about errors that I still end up doing quite a lot of editing, once the editor sends back the manuscript. I hate those pesky errors that just pop up from nowhere. I think it’s really important to have someone else look at our manuscript because after a while we become blind to our own mistakes. When we read our own manuscripts our brains automatically correct the errors without us being aware of it.

Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished? 

I hate editing so I postpone it as much as possible. I wait until I’ve finished writing and then I have no choice but to edit. I could never edit while I’m writing or else I’ll end up hating my writing and story. I tried doing it with one of my novels and it ended in a disaster. I’m still learning to love that story again.

What book are you reading now? 

Amethyst Eyes by Debbie Brown. It’s  a wonderfully written YA/Middle grade sci-fi novel about a teenage boy who loses his mother too soon and has to start a new life with a father he doesn’t know, a father who lives on another planet. I highly recommend it.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Vampires, only because right now I’m hooked on Vampire Diaries. It took a while for me to start watching it but after so many great reviews I gave it a chance. Thanks to that series (and Pretty Little Liars), I lost a lot of editing and writing timeL.
Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Write what you love to read not what everyone says you should write. Readers are very smart people. They will know whether your heart was in it or not.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

Dear readers. Thank you so much for making me an author, for making my dreams come true. I promise to watch less Vampire Diaries, Revenge, The Secret Circle and other series that keep whispering, “watch me, watch me, just one more episode” so I can bring out more novels for you. You keep me typing that next sentence. Don’t forget to check my blog for updates on my upcoming novels www.novel-moments.blogspot.com.

Larissa, talented author and my wonderful friend, it has been a pleasure being interviewed by you. Thank you so much for giving me a spot on your blog today. I appreciate it.

Thank you Liz! I'm so glad to have you on my blog and introduce you to my lovely and loyal followers!

At her pre-wedding dinner, Nora Darkin, the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur, discovers her fiancé is not the man she thought he was. As her father hoists his glass to toast them, she makes an announcement: there will be no wedding to her father's right-hand man.

Due to the fresh rift driven between her and her father, Nora escapes to the quaint town of Dreara. Determined to live her life her own way, she makes new friends and pursues her lifelong desire of becoming a chef. Ethan Danes, a neighbour with his own broken heart, helps soothe hers. 

Just as Nora discovers what it means to be happy, and she begins to fall in love with Ethan, a woman from his past re-enters his life…

April 4, 2012

Sales Report for Everblossom!

It's the most wonderful part of the month: Sales report! I think this is an interesting report of all, watch this:

Now here are the sales for Everblossom so far:

October: 1
November: 4
December: 3
January: 3
February: 3
March: 2

Here's the breakdown:

Amazon US: 2
Amazon UK, ES, IT, FR: 0
Smashwords: 0
Barnes and Noble: 0
Print Sales (Createspace): 0

Not really surprised my sales are tanking, but this is why I will pick up my marketing strategies and hopefully, the boost of sales thanks to the release of Angel Diaries will help me out. But I know there's no guarantees, especially with sales. It's a finicky little thing! :)

Anyway, those are my results. However, I just noticed, that I I'm selling in the two digits now!

Happy day.

Total amount of sales: 16 sales!

Soon I'll be in the triple digits and getting my first paycheck. I know you guys are wondering why I haven't gotten my first paycheck yet, and that's partially because of the low price. It's only 99 cent eBook and I only get 35 percent of that, so I only get 35 cents or 40 cents (depending on the distrubutor) per book sale. So let's do the math!

16 X 0.35=5.60 bucks!

Woohoo! Half way there towards my first pay check.

I know some people may wonder: Why don't you simply raise the price!?

I don't raise the price since it's just a small collection of short stories and poetry. So I can't raise them in good faith. However, the combined collection (Everblossom 1 and Everblossom 2) will be between 1.99 to 2.99. I haven't decided yet, so I'll let you guys know when the second one will be available along with the combined edition comes out.

Should be very interesting. I think I'm like halfway there to getting Everblossom 2 out. So hold on to your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, it's going to be a bumpy ride. 

April 2, 2012

Author Interview: M.C. V. Egan

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, the author of The Bridge of Deaths, M.C.V. Egan! For more information, check out her website here.
Or follow her on Twitter here!

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing very long letters at the age of 12. I wrote before that and enjoyed it, sometimes I wrote stories or kept a diary, but my passion for writing stemmed from a desire to communicate. My family was relocated to Washington D.C. because of my father’s work. I had a $5.00 dollar a week allowance (which I earned by helping take care of a two year old boy after school) most of which was spent on postage stamps and stationary.

I had left the city and country of my childhood behind, but not my friends. My letters were long and full of details about how different my life was. I wrote such long letters that I had to find the lightest weight paper. The older I got the longer my letters got, I must have written in an interesting fashion as the only time I got a complaint was when I sent a quick card with no letter enclosed.

I miss the art of letter writing, and e-mails are no substitute for the feel of a paper, the look of a handwriting and the interesting stamps from pen-pals, I still sit down and write a letter here and there, less and less as stamps now cost so much, and the information super highway has made us so accustomed to get a reaction to our writing almost immediately. When I do write a letter, I usually get a very nice e-mail thanking me for the wonderful surprise, ‘gift’ in the mail.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

The Bridge of Deaths is based on a true story about a plane crash in 1939. Real people died that day and amongst them was my Mom’s father. The two most difficult parts in writing the book were getting access to the right files in Denmark and England and bringing up such a painful event from my mother’s life, she was only thirteen when he died. The easiest (and most fun) part of writing The Bridge of Deaths was creating the fictional characters that tell the story. Fiction gives the writer so much freedom!

What music do you listen to while you write?

I usually write without music. If I do have music on it cannot have lyrics; as that would distract my train of thought. So on the few occasions I do listen to music, it is calm classical music, or what some would call ‘elevator’ music.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration in everything, absolutely everything all the time. From my dreams when I remember them to the smell of my morning coffee. When I walk my dog in the morning the way the wind moves the branches of a tree, or the stillness of another day. The writing and creations of others also inspire me. Conversations, movies, television or radio shows. Life, daily living and everything that I am exposed to inspires me.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I am quite good at learning languages, and I have been very fortunate to live in several countries. I am fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish. I enjoy talking reading and writing in those four languages, but I am also pretty good at memorizing phrases and key words in other languages and can sound as if I know far more than I actually do. I am also a pretty good cook.

What are your current projects?

I am working on a book that I hope to finish in a few weeks. I am working for the first time with a co-author, her name is Jolie DeMarco. This book is far more paranormal than historical and it is so much fun to work with Jolie. Our writing styles are very different so the book has two very distinct voices and we feel it is very unique.

What book are you reading now?
More than reading I am ‘studying’ books related to what I am writing about. So I have a huge stack of books I am working with and they are all related to espionage for our book 4covert2overt by M.C.V. Egan and Jolie DeMarco.

Quick: Vampires or Shape-shifter? Why?
Shape-shifter! It leaves a huge realm of possibilities and my shape-shifter would know no boundaries and could become anything or anyone. It could even become a Vampire!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Know your subject and your characters well, very well. Make it a point to know as much as possible about what you are writing; if you create fictional characters give them (even if you do not use it in your writing) a very detailed life. This way you will know how to make them react, converse and act. If anything you are working on can be researched, do it, it will pay off and it will show in your work.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I have been so honored and humbled by the feedback from reader and from reviews that I have received. I have learned so much about the different ways in which The Bridge of Deaths has impacted different readers. I am so glad that people have found it an enjoyable as well as informative book.

M.C.V. Egan

Join Bill and Maggie in 2010 London as through their love and curiosity they unravel the secrets from known and little known events in the 1930s. Journey to Denmark on August 15th 1939, at the brink of World War II where a British Airways LTD airplane crashed and sunk. Five deaths were reported: two Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, a German Corporate Lawyer, an English member of Parliament, and a crew member for the airline. The reader walks away with his/her ultimate conclusions.