August 31, 2012

Bullying: Never Suffer Alone

 A lot of the stories I write about have bullying in it. 

Okay, maybe not a lot, but it seems to be a topic I can't seem to dance out of. I write about it constantly. I think about it alot. 

And as the school year approaches, I know that I will probably see it right in the hallways. It's practically unavoidable.

It's such a weird and awkward role for me to now be holding the power of bullies.

For so long I've been tormented by bullies and now, as a teacher, I can actually be a powerful enforcer of a zero tolerance policy.

And I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels that bullying has forever changed their lives. I just never knew how big of an impact it can have.

For years, I've hidden the pain and suffering of being bullying. But just as suddenly, it appears in my writing. The dark past I've forever ran away from has come to the forefront. It has overloaded my senses with memories I wish I could bury for good.

And yet I know that my story (along with a certain family member's) needs to be heard by others who may be victims of bullying. They need to know that they are not alone. And that they will make it through tough times.

I just hope being a teacher will be the change the other students need.  

If you saw a student being bullied, as a teacher, what would you do?

August 29, 2012

Author Interview: Stacy Eaton

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the lovely author, Stacy Eaton!

When and why did you begin writing?

In October of 2010, a story came to my mind. Other than being in school and writing essays and such, I had never written anything in my life that didn’t need to be written.

I got an idea one night while I was driving around at work, and the story just grew until it took over my mind. I came home, sat down and wrote 5 chapters immediately. When my husband asked what I was doing, I told him I was writing a book, he raised his eyebrows and said, Okay.

Nine weeks later, the story was done and the creative juices of my mind were on fire with other stories!

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

“Whether I’ll Live or Die” is a very intense novel dealing with domestic violence. There were times when I would write scenes and have to get up after a paragraph and walk away from the computer. The emotions were raw at times, and anger or pain would well up in me and I would need a break.

I also wanted to make sure that I showed the emotions and the pain as authentically as I could. It was important that I portray Amanda (the young victim) in the correct light and show the strength that Nicole (the Police Officer) has to have in order to deal with everything that happens.

The easiest part of the whole story was the plot line. It came to me in about thirty minutes while I was driving. When I got home, I sat down and wrote the first two chapters and then the last. I knew exactly where I wanted this story to go, it was putting the words to the emotions that was the hard part.

What music do you listen to while you write?

It depends on what I am writing. If the scene is dark, painful, mysterious, intriguing then I listen to bands like Within Temptation, We are the Fallen and Evanescence. If it is fun scene, I switch up to some other upbeat music.

I have playlists for my moods, so when I get to a scene, I pull up the playlist and let the music relax my mind and move me forward.

What inspires you?

Life. Plain and simple. If you open your eyes and look around you there are so many things that can inspire you. There are things that can inspire you to write or things that can inspire you to be a better person, you just need to open your eyes and look around.

Sometimes a picture can inspire me, sometimes a feeling. My first book was born on a feeling and something I sensed one night at work. I used the feelings to let the story flourish in my mind.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Lol… I am a type A person and if you know anyone like that, then you know they do everything and try to excel at even more. I have always been up for a challenge, and do the best that I can at everything I do. Some things I do much better than others, and when I suck at something, I will be the first one to admit it.

I guess maybe one thing a lot of people don’t know is that I love photography. I love looking at life through the lens and take photographs of animals and landscapes whenever I can.

What are your current projects?

Now that “Whether I’ll Live or Die” is now finished, I am working on book 3 of the My Blood Runs Blue series. There will be one more book for this series when this is done to tie up all the lose ends.

I have a contemporary romance that has been sitting idle for almost a year that is about two-thirds done that I would like to dust back off and finish, plus a novel on Guardian Angels that I just started.

I also have another paranormal novel that I am toying with and have a few chapters done to work the plot line.

What book are you reading now?

This changes daily. I read fast, really fast. If I am not feeling well, I will climb in bed and read. I can read 1-2 books in a day – so my kindle has a ton of books on it and I go through them quickly.

I will rotate between romance, crime, drama and my favorite paranormal depending on my mood.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Vampires…. No doubt. I am a night person… I love the night… love the mystery… love the dark. Good thing since I work a lot of night shifts at my police job!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Professional Editing. Yep – I said it. I know it can cost a small arm and maybe a leg depending on the type of editing that you do, but it is worth it to not have readers comment on the horrible writing and grammar issues.

In the My Blood Runs Blue series, I had the books copy edited by Outskirts Press, Inc. the self-publishing company I was using. With Whether I’ll Live or Die, I started working with a professional editor, not only on copy editing, but on content editing. She pointed things out that I had no clue I was doing, and showed me how to write something with more action and less words.

It was a stressful process at first having someone tell me what to change and how to change it, but I listened to her and with each round of changes, I watched my story grow to something I could have never imagine possible. I was originally worried that she would try to change my writing, but she made a point to keep my voice and just enhance it!

Worth every PENNY and then some!

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

First I’d like to thank you! Thank you for the opportunity to visit with your readers and for helping me to get this new story out to others.

Second, I’d like to thank your readers for stopping by and taking the time to read this interview! I love doing them because I always get to meet so many great people! Lastly, I’d like to make sure readers know that Domestic Violence is a real problem in our society and there are many people who do not know how to find the help they need. If you are one of those people, or you know someone who is, get help! I will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

August 27, 2012

Excerpt: Savage: The Daughters of Jaguar by Willow Rose

Savage: Daughters of the Jaguar (Volume 1)

The year is 1983. Christian is 22 years old when he leaves his home in Denmark to spend a year in Florida with a very wealthy family and go to med-school. A joyful night out with friends is shattered by an encounter with a savage predator that changes his life forever. Soon he faces challenges he had never expected. A supernatural gift he has no idea how to embrace. A haunting family in the house next door. A spirit-filled girl who seems to carry all the answers. An ancient secret hidden in the swamps of Florida. One life never the same. One love that becomes an obsession. Two destinies that will be forever entangled.

Savage is a paranormal romance with some language, violence, and sexual situations recommended for ages sixteen and up. It is the first in a family saga that covers three decades of the character's lives. The sequel is expected to be published in September 2012.


I removed my clothes and followed her into the cold water that sprang from the center of the earth in a spring somewhere further north and therefore had the same temperature all year around.

“Are there any animals in this water?” I asked as she carefully took me by the hand and led me in.

“There might be manatees,” she said with a shrug.

“What about alligators?" I asked and turned as I thought I heard something move behind me in the water.

“Someone told me that there are alligators in all waterholes in Florida.”

She laughed. “There might be, but we rarely see them. Besides. It just makes it that more exciting, right?” She pulled my hand and drew me close to her. Our bodies felt warm against each other, her skin was soft, and touching it made me forget about animals in the water and the sounds of nature. I even forgot about my concerns as to hurting her and disappointing her parents. All I could think about was her and me, here right now in this water that was caressing our bodies. I kissed her again and held her naked body close to mine while allowing the passion to rise in me. Suddenly she pulled away from me. “Stop,” she whispered urgently. I looked at her and saw that the expression on her face had suddenly changed.

“What’s wrong?” I asked sensing that my voice was shaking slightly. If it was out of fear or caused by the arousal I didn’t know.

“I thought I heard something.”

“Like what?” She shook her head while her expression cleared. She smiled. “It was probably nothing.”

August 24, 2012

5 Reasons Why Dystopian Novels Resonate with Young Adults: A Guest Post

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the fabulous blogger and editor, Debra Johnson!

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of nanny housekeeper. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

5 Reasons Why Dystopian Novels Resonate with Young Adults

Dystopian novels have been around for decades, and every few years there is one stand out novel among the rest; however it is just recently that the genre itself has exploded past one best seller at a time, and book after book dissecting different dystopian societies have been published and devoured by young adults everywhere. The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Mockingjay are all stand-out examples of this obsession that young adults have with dystopian societies. So what is it about these novels that make them so widely appealing to young adults?

1. Young adults identify with the discord. As people enter the young adult phase of their lives they are just beginning to understand the confusion and discord in our society. Before entering young adulthood they saw the world through rose-tinted glasses, relying on parents to make decisions for them and trusting that everything would work out. Now they are finally forced to make their own decisions regarding life and are beginning to understand that everything isn’t as black and white as they previously thought.

2. The heroes are almost always teenagers. The protagonist in all of the popular dystopian novels is almost always a teenager who is on the brink of entering adulthood and is forced to grow up much too quickly. Young adults are also teenagers on the brink of adulthood, or adults who have just left the realm of being a teenager, and it is easy for people within that age group to intensely identify with the struggles the protagonist encounters.

3. Dystopian novels force big questions. Every dystopian novel forces the reader to ask themselves really big questions: what would you do for freedom? Would you blindly follow society or are you willing to question the general public’s beliefs? Does society really have your best interests at heart? What is the bigger picture? These, and many other deep questions, are the root of these novels, and are questions that young adults are just beginning to encounter in their real lives.

4. Dystopian societies are always intensely monitored. This is in direct correlation to the world we currently live in, where we never know who is actually monitoring our movements and tracking what we do. In each dystopian novel there is always someone who is keeping a very close eye on what is happening within the society and is pulling the strings to spur events.

5. The protagonists always take the road young adults want to take. The protagonist in the popular dystopian societies always rebels against what is expected from the people in charge, bucking against expectations and forging her own path. This stance against conformity is one that many young adults yearn to take, and they are able to live vicariously through the characters as they read these novels.

Dystopian novels offer young adults more than just a good romance or a thrilling mystery; they offer the idea that you can be different and that you can change the world. It is this very idea that makes them so vastly appealing to young adults everywhere.

August 22, 2012

Vampires: Love them or hate them?

Vampires. I have a love hate relationship with vampires. 

On the one hand, they are interesting characters to play around with. They have this dark but sexy vibe that is pumping through the veins of (western) culture right now. Vampires have allusion of portraying human characteristics but at the same time, they are monsters. Bottom line, point blank.

It doesn't matter how much sparkles you put on a vampire, they are creatures of the night. They hunt, prey and consume blood. Now whether that blood is animal or human (or if it has to be human or no) that's a whole other matter.

Either way, vampires can be used pretty interestingly in books. And they have been. Which brings me to the loathing part of our relationship.

On the other hand, vampires are literally everywhere. You can't walk into the romance section of Barnes and Noble without seeing a vampire book staring you right in the face.

And let's not talk about the Young Adult/Teen section. Vampires are literally everywhere.

Which is exactly why I won't write about them. Currently.

I say currently, because I like vampires. I like seeing them in their non glorified state. I like seeing them in the purest, oldest form possible. I like seeing them as monsters and killing people.

And maybe I like to see the internal struggle between being a monster but looking human and still feeling like a human. Just without the overly dramatic, "I want to taste your blood (but I can't because I love you SOOO much)!" part.

Additionally, I've written short stories about vampires (which is in Everblossom 2, so you'll have to wait and read it!) and I would like to take it a step further and write a YA paranormal romance novel about them (notice, it's not going to be a series!). However, I just don't want to become part of the vampire teen section thing.

I guess I'm conflicted and confused. 

As a writer, I know there's a story behind these characters but would I really want to become part of the thing I rebel against the most? Do I want to be part of the vampire crowd?

What do you love or hate about vampires? 

August 20, 2012

Author Spotlight: J.A. Campbell

Please welcome to Feed My Need, J.A. Campbell!

Julie writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side. You can find out more about her and her writing here

Senior year is supposed to be fun: boys, dances and graduation.

It’s significantly harder to enjoy it when you’re dead.

Truth or Dare is supposed to be fun too. It’s not even close to dangerous, so playing
at Steph’s house didn’t seem like a bad idea. My dare? Spend the rest of the night in
the graveyard next to her house. It was only a couple of hours until false dawn, my
proscribed return time, so no big deal right? Right.

I survived the attack, but it took me a few days to figure out what was going on. I mean
vampires might stalk pop culture, but they’re just myths. Yeah. Not so much.

School is a lot more difficult when you’re a nocturnal creature of the night. I was
managing, but I couldn’t keep it hidden from my friends for long. After I managed to
accidentally save one of our cheerleaders from her drunk and ill-intentioned boyfriend.
Steph decided that we should be cool, like superheroes, and fight crime.

Only I’m a vampire, not a hero, and we live in a sleepy New England town, so crime’s a
little harder to come by. At least it is until a serial killer moves into the area. He’s got
the authorities stumped, but then again, the cops don’t have a teenage, blood-sucking,
non-hero on their team.

August 17, 2012

Angel Diaries Volume One is Published!

Yes, you read that right! Angel Diaries: Volume One is finally available in stores.

You can get it:

Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott

Everybody loves KJ. Especially the geeks. See, KJ Miller is super nice, smart, pretty, the stage manager of her high school's spring musical . . . and a total geek magnet. She's like the geek pied piper of Washington High, drawing every socially clueless guy in a five-mile radius. If only Cameron, the hottest guy in school, would follow her around and worship her the way her entourage of dorks do. Enter Tama Gold, queen of the popular crowd, and solution to all of KJ's problems. KJ is too nice, and the nice girl never gets the guy. Tama's ready to help KJ get cruel, ditch the dorks, and win Cameron's heart. But is KJ?

My Thoughts:

I fell hopeless, deeplessly in love with this book. I finished this book in 24 hours and that's only because I had to run a few errands.

I really love this book because it's so different, because this author took risks in areas where other authors haven't. I really appreciate the fact that she didn't make stereotypical choices with her characters since it's too tempting to do so. 

I also love this author because of the real depthness that she gave each character. The only thing that I was slightly surprised and saddened by was the fact that we didn't know more about Tama. I wished Kieran Scott would have delved deeper into her character and what was going on.

Now, onto the dissection. 

August 13, 2012

Determinant eBook Giveaway!

 Yes, you heard it right folks! It's time for Giveaway Madness August once again! The book that is being given away is Determinant by A.M. Hargrove.

Determinant, a YA Paranormal Romance (Book 3 of The Guardians of Vesturon)
January St. Davis, on her own since the age of sixteen and struggling to stay in college, thinks she’s scored in a major way when she lands a paid summer internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. One evening, after working an especially long shift, a chance encounter with a group of mysterious men alters the course of her life.

Rykerian Yarrister, a Guardian of Vesturon with unearthly powers and impossibly gorgeous looks, finds himself at odds over the human female he recently saved from certain death. When it seems he is on the verge of winning her over, she is ripped from his hands by a strange and powerful being, threatening to destroy her if his demands are not met.

Do Rykerian and the Guardians have the ability to meet this fierce barbarian’s ultimatums, or will January suffer a horrid demise? 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 11, 2012

Everblossom is Available at Feed A Read and Everblossom 2 News!

That's right folks! Everblossom is currently being sold at Feed A Read! Here's the link!

Hopefully, soon I will have Everblossom available at Kobo again and I'll have Angel Diaries published (at least print wise) very, very soon (hopefully in the next few days)!

Additionally, I got some more news. I have the official cover for Everblossom 2!

I know! Gorgeous! It wanted to be stubborn, but I finally got it looking like I want it. :) Anyway, enjoy your weekend!

August 10, 2012

Skins by Jess C Scott

Skins (flash fiction mini collection)

A 5000-word mini collection for animal lovers by author/artist/non-conformist, Jess C Scott. She will work at developing more stories with the subject of "animal rights" in mind.

Includes Savion (of a young hunter coming face to face with a prized red stag), Hachiko (based on the true story of a dog's loyalty), and Skins (featuring "Laer," the dark elf from Jess's Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy).

My Thoughts

Before I start this review, I should forewarn you that PETA and I do not get along.

Okay, that's a slight lie. PETA and I do not agree on some things, but we agree on the basic concept that animals shouldn't be abused. However, this is where we disagree: People should be able to wear what they want (this includes wearing animal fur or skin). 

There's the source of our arguments. Now you have been warned. If you do not want to read my review based on my partiality against animal rights (ish) then I understand completely.

Now that we cleared the air, I have to say this book wasn't my favorite. I expected that the author would approach both sides fairly, and unfortunately she didn't. 

I understand that animals have rights (of sorts), however, I think that in order to be fair as a writer, you should address both sides. Obviously, bambi doesn't have dreams of being a painter. Additionally we can assume that bambi doesn't want to be dinner either. 

What we all have to think and remember is that everybody has their reasons behind their beliefs. PETA members have their reasons behind why they don't want animals to be worn as trophies. On the other hand, hunters and people who wear animal skins have their own particular backstories as well.

Now I'm not saying that I think one or the other is wrong. I think we should all have the choice to choose what we want to do and belief. We shouldn't be discriminated or ridiculed because of what we choose. Some people choose to side with PETA, others choose to shoot animals or wear animal skins.

I'm sorry this is coming off like a speech or something (that is not what I intended at all), but I had to say it. I've been burning to say all of this while reading the book. So now I got all of that off my chest, it's time to get a little bit more nit picky and dissect this collection of poems and short stories.

August 9, 2012

Praise of Motherhood Excerpt

Praise of Motherhood Excerpt

Please enjoy this excerpt from Praise of Motherhood, a touching memoir by Phil Jourdan. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book.

It was Veterans Day; the Pope spoke into a microphone so the thousands around him could hear his weary voice. And in the airport lounge my sister and I waited for our flight to take off, trying not to listen to the televised broadcast of the Pope’s solemn speech. I held my sister’s hand and heard her say fuck for the first time.

“fuck, do you think she’s going to be okay”

and I said “I don’t know”

and she said “but why aren’t they telling us what’s going on”

“I don’t know”

“I don’t want mom to die”

“I know”

“I’m so scared”

“I know”

and the Pope went on, speaking of the dead, the men whose lives had been lost in a terrible war, and he praised them, their families, for the courage they’d shown. He spoke of Christ, but not much. Sometimes he closed his eyes and paused. From the airport lounge, sitting in front of the television screens, I had to rely on the cameras for a sense of what being there was like. Safe and comfortable and mourning out of patriotic or humanistic duty, in a spirit of contemplation. The Pope did not know that my mother was dying in a little hospital in Portugal. Neither did the lady who announced, on the intercom at the airport, that out of respect for the men who had lost their lives during the war however many decades ago now, we were all invited to stand for two minutes of silence. Everyone else in the lounge stood up, but my sister and I remained in our seats and hugged each other.

As far as I knew, my mother was dying or dead, a small, tanned Portuguese woman with curly dark hair and two dogs, two kids, a lovely loving wonderful lady, all of that sob-story stuff. It turned out that when we were waiting for our flight, she was still alive. She would only die in the evening, after the Pope was done speaking and everyone was having dinner and no longer thinking about the veterans. But nobody had warned me. Nobody had warned anyone. Everybody was on the way to Portugal, my uncle, my grandfather, me and my sister, all of us trying to protect someone. They didn’t tell me what had happened until I arrived in Portugal. I didn’t tell my sister everything I knew, which was next to nothing, because I wanted to think I could protect her. I spoke to my father on the phone and he was in tears: “I will be there when you land,” he said,

and I said:

“but why, what’s going on”

“I’m not sure, I’m not sure, but if I were you… oh, Jesus, if I were you I would brace myself for the worst”

And he broke into tears and hung up. They had been separated fifteen years.

On the plane my sister and I spoke little. I told her it’d be okay. I told her even if the worst happened, I’d be around for her. You’re my little sister. Tell me about Denver. How are classes going? She gave short, bored answers, and she asked me about my life. I told her I’d been about to take the train to Paris from London with a friend when I found out something was wrong with our mom.

“but what’s wrong with her” my sister said

“I don’t know”

“why don’t they just tell us”

“because they’re trying to keep us sane”

“how can I be sane when my mom is dying all of a sudden”

“I really don’t know”

When we arrived in Portugal, and I saw my family standing together waiting for us — my grandparents, my father, my aunt — I knew at once there was no hope.


As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Praise of Motherhood eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes isRIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
Purchase your copy of Praise of Motherhood for just 99 cents
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About the book: Praise of Motherhood is a son’s tribute to the woman who not only gave him life, but helped him live: through various psychotic breakdowns, tumultuous teenage years, and years of feeling out of place in the world. Get it onAmazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Phil Jourdan fronts the lit-rock band Paris and the Hiltons, runs the fiction press Perfect Edge Books, and occasionally works on a PhD. Visit Phil on his blog,music site, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

August 8, 2012

Power of Fiction: A Guest Post by Russell Blake

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the incredibly talented author, Russell Blake!

The Power of Fiction

When fiction is well written and executed, it has the ability to transport the reader to a different reality - the one that exists in the author's mind. It can excite, alarm, amuse and titillate.

And occasionally, it can teach.

One of the hardest things to do with a fiction novel is to leave the reader with more information than they came in with and get them to think about things differently. And I'm not talking about hackneyed morality tales or thinly-veiled social commentary or agenda mongering. I'm describing where a novel shifts the reader's paradigm and forces them to confront difficult issues - issues they might not have been aware of or cared much about before reading the book.

My name's Russell Blake, and I've just released a new police procedural thriller. Silver Justice features a female FBI agent heading up a task force that's hunting a brutal serial killer who is killing financial industry bigwigs. The plot has all my usual twists and turns and the characters are three dimensional, but what makes the novel a departure for me is the underlying subject matter. Silver Justice tackles an explanation of why the 2008 financial crisis that continues to devastate millions, actually happened.

It's couched as fiction, but many months of in-depth research went into developing the theory that is the basis of the book. Readers will either love it or hate it, depending upon their worldview coming in. I understand that some will despise the conspiracy that is set forth in its pages because it challenges deep seated convictions about how the world works. Others may find it provocative enough to do their own research. Still others will nod and think, "I knew it."

However readers react, Silver Justice attempts to be that rarest of fiction books - one that imparts a chunk of meaningful information in entertaining fashion couched as make believe. My hope is that it will touch most that read it and spur a sense of outrage. If it does, then I've done my job.

Writing thrillers in the Robert Ludlum vein isn't the most weighty of careers, I know. It is creating diversions, little bits of surrealism to make a plane trip or a late night at home more bearable. But Silver Justice is different. It explains without being preachy and hypothesizes without being kooky. And in the end, entertains.

Russell Blake was named one of the most popular indie novelists of 2012, and is the bestselling author of the thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, the Zero Sum trilogy (Wall St. thriller), King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher and Silver Justice. Non-fiction includes the international bestseller An Angel With Fur (animal biography) and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated) parody of all things writing-related. Blake lives in Mexico and enjoys his dogs, fishing, boating, tequila and writing, while battling world domination by clowns.

Thirsty for more info? Learn more here.

August 6, 2012

Author Interview: Jefferson Smith

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the interesting author, Jefferson Smith.
When and why did you begin writing?

I first received critical acclaim for a recurring fantasy adventure serial I wrote throughout the sixth grade. My teacher and principal both loved it. I submitted my first story to the short-fiction market while in the tenth grade, thus securing my first official rejection. 
But to be honest, I started writing at about the same time I learned to print and I've been doing it ever since. My career as a special effects and animation consultant in Hollywood got in the way for a couple of decades, but I finally found my way back to telling my own stories about seven years ago.

Why do I write? I’ve oftened wondered what it would be like to be a fictional character. Suppose you were a great international spy character, but you were living in the head of a high-school janitor who was working a second job as a night-watchman at the local auto parts factory, so he never had time to write. 

Wouldn’t that just twist you up? I mean, here you are, the intended heir to James Bond and Jason Bourne, but this stupid jerk has you trapped inside his head and won’t take the time to let you out where people can meet you and fall in love with your greatness? What a bummer.

Anyway, the answer to your question is that I write because there about 200 such characters living in my head and they’ve taken my wife and children hostage. If I don’t write, they’re going to raise the baby on disco music and Care Bear cartoons.

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

The easiest part came as a bit of a surprise to me: the ideas. When I first started writing, I kept huge note books where I recorded all kinds of stuff: things to have characters say, cool turns of phrase, funny situations, whatever. I was terrified that I would lose those ideas and that my writing would suffer as a result, so I was obsessed with recording every fragment and whimsy that came my way. But then a really awesome thing happened – I forgot to refer to those notes. 

When I finished Strange Places, it was full of all those kinds of things – weird, funny, heart-breaking. All of it. And not one of those bits came out of my stupid notebooks. I learned that I can trust myself to be creative when I’m writing – to come up with the bits I need, when I need them. Sure, sometimes I go back in a 2nd or 5th draft and have a great idea that didn’t occur to me the first time around, so I add it. But I don’t have to horde my ideas when they happen. The fountain is right here inside me, and it shows no signs of running dry any time soon.

Of course, I’ll be hanging onto those old notebooks though. I still live in fear that one day the fountain will run dry. And if that ever happens, I like to think I’ll still be able to work based on all the stuff I’ve crammed into the notes.

The hardest part of writing for me? Coming home. When I’m writing, I spend days on end, deeply immersed in fascinating worlds filled with strange and intriguing people and situations. I create characters – fully enfranchised people, from my point of view – to populate these worlds; people who fascinate me and whose circumstances intrigue me. 

And then I spend week after week conceiving grievous calamities with which to beset them. In the process, I fall in love – with the people, with the places and with the cultures that they reveal to me, and yes, even with my villains. My journeys with these new companions are not always pleasant – much of the time I spend in their company is filled with stress and anxiety – but those experiences are always rich and I learn a great deal along the way.

So at the end of a writing day, when it’s time to return to my mundane life, filled with bills and grocery shopping, yard work and home repair – I find myself reluctant to go back. I love my wife and my children, but I know that they can exist without me. My story worlds, however, cannot. When I leave for the day, they freeze in place, their sun goes out, and not a single breath can be drawn among them until I return.

It is an awesome responsibility to bear.

What music do you listen to while you write?

Actually, it may seem a bit odd, but as part of my background “research,” I compose musical scores for each culture and major event in my books. So this becomes the music I listen to while I’m writing scenes set in that culture. I find that creating a musical theme for each specific society helps me to get a feel for their world. This process helps me get inside the emotional center of what’s going on. By the time I get to actually writing that chapter or scene, I’ve already experienced the emotional arc of the events and I am much more able to convey the experience.

What inspires you?

There’s a quote from Strange Places that I think says it all: “Magic is wonder, wonder is magic. To use it, one must maintain an aspect of delight in all the nuances of a thing’s existence. … It is this wonder at the world around us that nourishes the tree of magic within us. That is why the words we sing are called ‘charms.’ We truly allow ourselves to be charmed by the beauty of the world.”

I live every day in a world filled with such beauty, and these daily magics are the things that inspire me. Children laughing in the park, wet coffee grounds sliding down the garbage pail, the knocking of tree branches against my window when the wind blows. Life is magic. All of it.

Do you have any hidden talents?

No, but only because I’m too shameless to hide them. In fact, I have a habit of putting them on display, even when they aren’t actually “talents.” I earned my spending money in highschool working as a syndicated cartoonist. I spent some time doing stand-up comedy when I was in university, and I then worked for 10 years in the Hollywood special effects software industry, helping to create some very memorable scenes in a number of very popular films. I have also dabbled in music and song-writing since childhood. 

A few years ago, I took all of these interests and went back to school, where I completed a PhD program in Computer Science, researching ways to design computer software that would help people be more creative when they are using computers in artistic ways. My latest challenge in this area has been to find ways to help writers be more creative when they are writing fiction. And of course, aside from all this researchy stuff, I still write a lot.

What are your current projects?

When my oldest daughter was first born (20 years ago), I wrote a fantasy book for pre-schoolers. I read that book to all four of my kids as they were growing up and it has become something of a family tradition. Last year, I put a call out on Twitter and found an amazing young artist to work with, and we are now almost finished the art that will go with my story. 

That book is about an only child who lives in a subdivision where every family is royal and they all live in castles, with little white picket fences around them. Very bizarre, but a lot of fun. But being an only child, Princess Brinnameade is very lonely. The story is about the rather unusual way she solves her loneliness problem. It should be released this coming winter.

And of course, I am working feverishly on completing the second book in the Finding Tayna series, called Strange People, which is also due out this winter.

What book are you reading now?

I have been reading a lot lately. I recently got caught up on Rothfuss’s excellent Kingkiller Chronicles, and devoured Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations series. I also read an awful lot of unpublished work, since I now help out my own publisher, Indie Ink Publishing, by assessing some of their fiction submissions.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

I’m going to be unpopular and say “neither.” I totally understand that readers fall in love with particular types of characters and then want to fill themselves up on as many different versions of those characters as they can find. And I also get that where there’s a demand for these kinds of stories, there will also be a ready army of writers who are interested in supplying them. 

But I personally can’t get enthusiastic about placing those kinds of limits on my imagination or my writing. Having to follow the rules established for those character types, and being constrained by the backstories and cultures that come with them? I would much rather explore the weirdness in my own imagination and maybe one day, contribute a character that is so strange and compelling and new that other writers jump on my bandwagon.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Assuming we’re talking about writers who are just getting started, yes. Accept the fact that you suck. This is normal. When you are starting, you are supposed to suck. It is the process of embracing your suck-a-delic-ness, recognizing it in all it’s technicolor glory, and laboring to do something about it, that makes you better.

To put it another way, until you can see how badly you write, there is no way you can get better. Have you ever tried to mow your lawn with your eyes closed? It’s nearly impossible to do well, and even if you do happen to luck into a good grass day, you have no idea how you did it, so you’re entirely unlikely to be able to repeat it.

The answer is obviously to open your eyes – to learn to see your work critically. To that end, you need to seek out feedback. Critical feedback. Harsh feedback, even. Who cares if the feedback is over-critical? This is a good thing. It brings all the flaws, near flaws and potential flaws in your work into sharp relief, making it easier to see what you need to work on, what areas to improve.

The only feedback that is useless to you is the cheerful positive feedback of well-meaning friends. You can’t learn anything from “Hey, this is great!” and worse, it gives you a false sense that your lawn is in order and ready to be featured in Gnomes & Gardens Quarterly. Cultivate those critics who will be honest and specific with you. It is they who will make you great.

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

Yes. Please give Strange Places a try. I promise you’ll have fun. Tayna is a cocky and wickedly funny heroine that I’m just dying for you guys to meet. Imagine that you had lived your entire life in a gloomy orphanage run by cruel nuns only to discover in your teen years that you might not even be an orphan at all. You’d freak, right? “You mean I’ve been washing your laundry and scrubbing your floors all this time, and somewhere I might have parents who actually love me? I am so out of here!”

Well, that’s exactly what happens for Tayna, my razor witted maybe-orphan. But leaving that orphanage proves to be just the beginning of her troubles. Not only does she know nothing about the world outside the walls, but she quickly learns that her family (if they really exist) are not even in our world at all, but in another, mythological world – one she’d never even heard of before that day. How is she supposed to find them there?

So you’ve got this funny but lonely teen, searching for where she belongs, and kicking butt along the way. If she only knew how much her fans loved her, she probably wouldn’t be so miserable, but then again, I wouldn’t have a book, either. (Note to self: don’t tell Tayna how many people out here love her. It would get weird.)

Learn more about Strange Places and the Finding Tayna series here.

Raised as a modern-day kitchen slave in an orphanage run by child-loathing nuns, and now stalked by disturbing strangers, thirteen year old Tayna gambles everything on a desperate journey of self-discovery that will lead her to the far corners of two strange and unfamiliar worlds: one filled with shopping malls and televisions, the other with brownies, Djin and magic.

Strange Places is the first book in the Finding Tayna series — created for those who want their fantasy to be fun and fantastical, but who need more than just an empty adventure story left lingering on the palate once the action has concluded. Follow teen orphan Tayna, self-proclaimed queen of rejection and protector of the helpless, as she sets out to uncover the truth about who she is and where she comes from, no matter who gets in her way.

And plenty of people do.

August 3, 2012

A Review of Same Sun Here: A Guest Blogger

A Review of “Same Sun Here” by Melissa Miller
Same Sun Here


Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner s son. The unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts on their lives and, as their friendship deepens, on larger issues such as activism, immigration, racism, and prejudice. Meena s family studies for citizenship exams, faces harassment by a landlord, and experiences the death of Meena s grandmother in India, while River s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, propelling him into a protest march and confrontation with the governor. This glimpse into the lives of two very different youths who find common ground in their everyday lives makes bold statements about cultural misconceptions, the power and powerlessness of the individual and community, and the great value of being and having a friend.

Her Thoughts

Authors Silas House and Neela Vaswani have collaborated to write this short novel for middle-school-aged children. The book includes several themes that are beautifully interlaced; themes of environmentalism, family, understanding, equality, culture, freedom and growing up. A beautiful book that is full of wisdom, “Same Sun Here” can easily be read and understood by children ages 11 through 14, and is perfect for classroom use.The book is a collection of pen pal letters written by River, a young boy living in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and Meena, a young girl who just emigrated from India to live with her family in New York City’s Chinatown. What is expected to only be a trivial class project quickly turns into lifelong friendship.

River opens up to Meena about how his hometown is being destroyed by mountaintop removal (MTR), a method of mining that blows up mountains to get to coal, and how his father had to go all the way to Mississippi to find work after being laid off from his coal mining job. He speaks of his deep connection with his mamaw (whom he lives with), and how sad his mom is about his dad living so far away. River loves to play basketball and has never been to a big city like New York, so he asks Meena a lot of questions about people who “aren’t like him.”

Meena opens up to River about how she lived in India with her grandmother until her mother and father could save up enough money to bring her to the United States. Feeling uprooted and scared, Meena tells River about how her family is living in their rent-controlled apartment illegally (only the previous tenant’s immediate family is allowed to live there), and how her father must live in New Jersey during the week to work as a server at a hotel. Meena’s parents are studying for the citizenship test, though, and Meena helps them memorize the answers to the test every evening after school.

Although the two children live so many miles away, they are allowed to get to know one another on a very deep level through their letters; writing many things they would never have the guts to say in person.
Throughout the second half of the book, several events unfold in each child’s life, which lead to a very bittersweet yet exciting ending. It will leave you questioning our purpose in this world and if there really is a place we can call home. Or are the people we choose to befriend and help our “home”? Is culture important for highlighting the uniqueness of people, or does it hinder us from seeing just how similar we are…or is it a bridge for discovery?

You will grow a profound connection to River and Meena when you read this book, and learn more than you could ever imagine learning from two twelve-year-olds. The language and voice of each character is very true to age, and there are some moments that remind you of the natural awkwardness of the child-to-teen transition. These things come together to create a book that is very real and will hit close to home for many.
And, although the book was written for young readers, it is equally interesting for adults (hence, why I read it)! You can find this book at several storefront and online bookstores, including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Melissa Miller is a freelance writer and blogger who loves to give education advice. Her articles often aim to help you on your way to landing associate degree jobs. If you have any suggestions or comments, shoot them to

August 2, 2012

Sales Report: 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
April: 2
May: 1
June: 3
July: 1

Here's the breakdown:

Amazon US:1
Amazon UK, DE, ES, IT, FR: 0
Smashwords: 0
Barnes and Noble: 0
Print Sales (Createspace):0

Not really surprising since I've been in the middle of a crazy overhaul of my life here. Moving, getting a job, and a new hairdo. 

Yes, it's been one of those awesome months. 

Anyway, I am hopefully going to get Angel Diaries published in print next week. I think. 

It all depends on Createspace and Feed A Read and of course the cover fitting the guidelines. Anyway, that's what been going on. 

August 1, 2012

Author Spotlight: Vanessa Morgan

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the fabulous author, Vanessa Morgan!

When Vanessa Morgan’s first novel of supernatural suspense, Drowned Sorrow, came out in 2009, critics all over the world praised her as the ‘female version of Stephen King’. In 2010 followed a short YA story: The Strangers Outside. Both books quickly became Amazon bestsellers and are currently being turned into movies.

Suko’s Notebook called her writing “Everything horror fiction should be: creepy, scary, suspenseful, and yet also touching”, horror director Lucky McKee said Vanessa is “a startling new voice in horror”, and author Scott Nicholson has hailed her as a “talent of pacing and spookiness”.

Vanessa Morgan was born May 24, 1975 in Vilvoorde, Belgium. She graduated from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and she first worked as a freelance journalist, a language teacher and a pet supply store manager before becoming a full-time writer. Her native language is Dutch, but she loves to write in other languages such as English and French.

Vanessa Morgan lives in Brussels, Belgium, where she is at work on a French vampire screenplay for Radowski Films and a comic book series starring her beloved cat Avalon.

Louis Caron is a good man. Vegetarian, he feeds the homeless, takes
care of animals and is concerned with the ecological future of the
planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge - he's a vampire - and
local detective Taglioni is becoming increasingly suspicious. Louis'
attempts to escape the police will take him on a journey into his own
private hell where he will not only forced to confront his worst
fears, but also to destroy the lives of those he cares about most.

Want to learn more? Check out her website here.
Want to buy her book? Buy here and here!