Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Interview With Author/Teacher: Robin Woods

Photo courtesy of: Robin Woods


Robin Woods loves vampires and English Literature. She enjoys the latter so much she studied the subject at college, taught it to her high school students, and has penned eleven books with more on the way.

A former high-school educator, her dedication to her students prompted her to write for teens and young adults. Born and raised in California, she still lives there with her husband and two children.

Now that I've introduced you to Robin let's get to know her a little better.


Pin Me Please!

Hello, Robin, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.

Why did you become a teacher?
When I was fourteen years old, I decided I wanted to do two things—teach and write. I’ve been focused ever since. I taught right out of college and never looked back. That is, until this year, where I’ve made a huge change in my life. I’ve quit my day job. Eek! After two-and-a-half decades of teaching English (literature and writing), I’ve retired from teaching and am writing as a career (with the support of my fabulous husband).

What grade did you teach?
I taught one year of junior high. Bless all of you who have that gifting because I do not. I spent the rest of my career teaching high school (junior and seniors) and college. Mostly American and British literature. My editors tease me because I often get my British and American spellings mixed up when I write because of my twenty-three years of Brit. Lit.

How has your teaching experience influenced your writing?
My students are actually the ones who spurred me on. I had my incomplete manuscript for my first novel (The Unintended) on a table. One of my students picked it up and asked if she could read it. I nervously said yes. She sat there and read for forty-five minutes without getting up once. When she had to leave, she asked if she could come back the next day and continue. Long story short, one student turned into a group of students, and they wanted new pages each day. They pushed me until I finished. That group stuck with me through all six books in the series and pushed me to write faster and to be better. I am forever grateful.

Additionally, my creative writing workbooks are a culmination of my three loves: teaching, writing, and photography. I enjoyed writing bell activities and story starters for journal work. I channeled that love into my non-fiction.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I fell in love with Hobbits and dragons and vampires at a young age and wanted to create my own stories.


Photo courtesy of: Robin Woods

Which genres do you write?
I’m published in both young adult (urban fantasy) and non-fiction (creative writing workbooks).

What do you find most challenging writing for your genres?
Honestly, I think finishing is the hardest thing. I believe most writers struggle with this. It’s easy to get started, but it isn’t always fun to write the transitional scenes.

What are you working on now?
I have several other projects in the works. I’m toggling between two more Prompt Me Workbooks, co-writing a Rom-Com (with author Tamar Hela), a film script, and a Beauty & the Beast mash up (with Vikings). I don’t have enough hours in the day.

How many books have you written?
Currently, I have eleven books out. Prompt Me Romance will be out in early February just in time for Valentine’s Day.


Photo courtesy of: Robin Woods

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
I love that my creative writing books have helped some teens grow closer to their parents. I’ve received multiple thank you messages from readers who write with their kids.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Write often. Read often. Don’t worry about editing until you finish. Hire a professional editor. If you don’t write for a while, don’t beat yourself up—just get back to writing.

What message are you sharing in your books?
I try not to have an agenda, I personally hate being preached at when I read fiction. But I do have strong themes. The theme that runs throughout The Watcher Series is redemption. Some of my characters have to struggle to find not only goodness in the world, but in themselves. I also do my best not to glorify horrible behavior, but show them as destructive and have a positive alternative. Though obsessive behavior can seem romantic, it is ultimately damaging.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?
Traveling has always been a passion. My parents dragged my brother and I all over the country in a camper since we could crawl, so I think it’s hard wired. As a teacher, I would live like a pauper all year and save my money so I could travel all summer.

What are your favorite books?
I always feel that this is a cruel question. Ha. Here are a few I recommend to people: My Lady Jane (Princess Bride style snark and adventure), Shatter Me Series by Mafi (swoon worthy dystopian), Clockwork Angel by Clare (book boyfriend heaven set in Victorian England), Whine with Cheese by Wayne (smoking, hot rom-com), and The Scorpio Races by Stiefvater (one of the most unique books I’ve ever read).

What are your favorite TV shows/movies?
TV: Firefly, Friends, The Office, The Walking Dead, Suits, and Stranger Things.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
Sorry, here is my shameless plug. If you love writing or need a gift for someone who loves it, check out the Prompt Me Series. They are all under $10. Happy writing!
Where to find more about Robin Woods


Thank you, Robin, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!


Photo courtesy of: Robin Woods




Sunday, November 25, 2018

Interview With Author: Bonita Gutierrez

Photo courtesy of: Bonita Gutierrez



Bonita Gutierrez is a storyteller through and through. She began her storytelling journey as an actress, then utilizing the narrative skills this profession provided, transitioned into writing with relative ease.

Don't let these creative outlets fool you into thinking Bonita is a sedentary creative. She is quite the opposite, practicing martial arts and jogging regularly.

Now that I've introduced you to Bonita let's get to know her a little better.


Pin Me Please!

 Hello, Bonita, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
Funny, I wasn't always (at least in my own mind) a writer. I always had stories in my head but took the acting route. My husband is a screenwriter, and from time to time, I would pitch him my ideas.

He always thought I had a unique voice and encouraged me to write my own scripts and get my work out into the world. I eventually dipped my toe into writing with my short film Cantar.

I even did the festival circuit. But it wasn't until my friend (and Empyrean Press collaborator), Camilla Ochlan, approached me with The Werewolf Whisperer idea that I began seriously writing.

Is writing your full-time profession?
Right now, I split my time between writing and running my entertainment business Nemesis Kitten Entertainment. But, I am feeling the acting itch again.

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first screenplay (unproduced) over fifteen years ago. But I've only been in the author biz since 2012.


Photo courtesy of: Bonita Gutierrez


How many books have you written?
Under the Empyrean Press banner, I've co-authored five books (two main novels and three novellas) in The Werewolf Whisperer series with a sixth on the way.

Which genre do you write for?
I write urban fantasy with a bit of science fiction and humor mixed in.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
The wonderful thing about fantasy is that you can let your imagination run wild, create worlds that never existed. But when you add in elements of reality — which to me is what defines the urban fantasy genre — you have to build a world that the audience not only recognizes but also relates to.

In The Werewolf Whisperer a virus is unleashed in Los Angeles, giving rise to the werewolf apocalypse. Of course werewolves are fantasy (or are they?), but the premise of a bio-agent causing cataclysmic events around the world is steeped in reality. It's a fine line to draw. One that requires a lot of research… and believe me, we do a lot of research.


Photo courtesy of: Bonita  Gutierrez

What are you working on now?
Camilla and I are feverishly working on Blood & Bones: The Werewolf Whisperer Book 3. And as an exclusive to our BEASTY BITES newsletter subscribers, we just put out a six-part serialized novella about one of our favorite characters — KAI.

And we've heard our readers' many howls for a hard copy of The Werewolf Whisperer. So, we're excited to announce that Book 1 will be available in paperback this December!

How has acting influenced your writing?
For me, acting and writing go hand in hand. They're both forms of storytelling. My years of training, performing and reading countless scripts have taught me how to analyze characters and breakdown stories. And it's through acting that I've learned the importance of good dialogue.

For a character to be relatable, he or she needs to sound real. When I'm creating a character, I have to hear that person's voice to understand how he or she thinks and feels. Once I know that, I can write their story.

How long have you been practicing martial arts?
The martial arts are an essential part of my life, and I've been training off and on for almost two decades. I started out in Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu (Bruce Lee's art), and recently earned my Black Belt in Kickboxing-MMA. I also train in Kali Eskrima (stick and knife fighting).

Does this also influence your writing? How so?
Absolutely. With The Werewolf Whisperer, our main characters are formidable women who are able to handle themselves in very dangerous situations. My firsthand knowledge in martial arts allows me to create exciting action-packed scenes that are still grounded in reality.


Photo courtesy of: Bonita Gutierrez

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
I never thought I'd be a writer let alone an author. The Werewolf Whisperer gave me the confidence to grow in new ways as an artist. And finding this once untapped, creative part of myself has been extremely rewarding. That fact that readers like my work and call it "exciting," "compelling," and "fun," is icing on the cake.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Write and keep writing. And when the words don't come (which is an inevitability), write down anything that pops into your head.

Read books; listen to music, clean house, or exercise (I get some of my best ideas jogging down the street.) to get your creative juices flowing again.

You never know where your inspiration will come from, so be open. And above all, relax. Don't be so hard on yourself if you're not spewing out 2,000 words a day.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
I'm a huge Sci-fi and Fantasy fan. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Wars are my jam. Mix in a little Kung Fu and you've got my blog — Bonita's Geeky Blog-Fu!

I write regular movie recommendations, highlight my favorite books and feature a little butt kicking for good measure. If you're into all things geek-a-licious, you can find me at: https://bonitasgeekyblogfu.wordpress.com

And if you're in to SF&F, Camilla and I have our Empyrean Press Facebook page where we share our favorite movies, T.V. shows and books. Come join our community. https://www.facebook.com/TheEmpyreanPress/

What message are you sharing in your books?
The overall theme of The Werewolf Whisperer is, "Evolve or die." You must be able to adapt and never, never, never give up. And when you get down to the nitty-gritty the thing that keeps you going is family.

What are your favorite books?
I love to read. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn and Shakespeare's Hamlet (I know it's not a book, but it's my all-time favorite play.) are tops on my list.

I also love listening to audiobooks (especially when I'm walking my dog Loki). I just finished Pierce Brown's amazing Red Rising series on Audible.

 I‘m also digging Greg Rucka's comic book series, Lazarus, and Kieron Gillen's The Wicked + Divine.

And in the spirit of supporting my fellow indie others, I try to read as much of their work as I can. I just finished Vanessa Ravel's "deliciously demented" horror anthology Demon Dance.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
To quote the great Bill Murray, "Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars!"
But really, I have so many: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Alien, Terminator, West Side Story, To Sir, With Love just to name a few.

When you're not writing where can we find you?
If I'm not writing, I'm training at NoHoMMA or jogging down the street.


Photo courtesy of: Bonita Gutierrez

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
I love connecting with readers and my fellow authors. Find me here:
Bonita's Geeky Blog-Fu! Blog: https://bonitasgeekyblogfu.wordpress.com

Where can we find your books?
The Werewolf Whisperer series:

THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER series is available on Amazon. Free on Kindle Unlimited.

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
The Werewolf Whisperer (Book 1)

The Alpha & Omega (Book 2)

Novellas
BEAST NAVIDAD

BEAST OUT OF HELL

NO BEAST SO FIERCE

Sign up for the Beasty Bites Newsletter and get a FREE Werewolf Whisperer novella: https://mailchi.mp/60e8dc19ce80/beasty-bites

Thank you, Bonita, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!


Photo courtesy of: Bonita Gutierrez


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Interview With Author: DC Gomez

Photo courtesy of: DC Gomez



What inspired you to be a writer?
I grew up watching my parents always reading and having books all over our house. From a very early age, I fell in love with books and storytelling. I knew from the time I went away to college I wanted to tell stories to people.

Is writing your full-time profession?
No, it isn’t. I usually joke with people that I’m a writer that moonlights as a federal employee to help pay the bills. I’m very blessed, since I love both of the day-jobs I currently have.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for over 20 years, but I have only been writing novels for over a year now. It blew me away when I realized that I have been writing for over half of my life.

Have you won any awards?
Death’s Intern recently won a 2018 Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention.


Photo courtesy of: DC Gomez


How many books have you written?
I currently have two published books in the Intern Diaries Series with the 3rd book coming out in January. I also have one published children’s book out with the second one coming also in January.

Which genres do you write for? 
I write in several genres. I have an urban fantasy series that crosses over with thriller. This winter I will start a romance/dark comedy series, and I do educational children’s books.


Photo courtesy of: DC Gomez

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?
For me the hardest thing about writing in any genre is making sure I’m meeting the reader’s expectations of the genre while creating an entertaining story. My goal is to pay each genre its proper respect. If I don’t feel I can do that topic genre justice then I won’t even try to do it.

What are you working on now?
It’s probably a blessing and a curse, I have more outlines of books than the time I have available. Right now my hot project is an origins story for my urban fantasy series. After that I plan to start on my romance novels and a fun high magic trilogy.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
A lot of my characters are a combination of people I know or traits that I admire in people. My goal is to create characters that have personalities readers can relate to.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 
Connecting with readers has been the most incredible experience of my life. When someone has read one of my books and they enjoyed it- that is a huge reward. There is something really exciting when readers have questions about characters or they have a favorite one they want to tell me about it. I feel like a little kid on Christmas.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
I would recommend any author starting out to take a leap of faith and publish their book. Create the best manuscript you can, work with a good editor that will help make your work shine, and then put it out there. Sometimes we want things to be perfect, and we never publish the book.
 
Is there anything else you‘d like your readers to know about you?
I’m originally from the Dominican Republic and English is not my first language. One of my goals is to encourage people to dream. If your dream is to write- then do it. If your dream is to become a chef- then go for it. Life is too short for us to be miserable. If a little girl from the Dominican Republic can make her dreams of writing novels come true, you can do it too.


Photo courtesy of: DC Gomez

What message are you sharing in your books?
One of the common messages in my books is the search for a family/tribe and belonging. As prior military, I learned that we all can create our own support system and families. Those families don’t have to be related by blood, but they are just as strong and connected. That is something I want readers to find, a support system that loves them just the way they are.

What are your favorite books?
One of my all-time favorites is The Alchemist. Probably because it‘s the story of a dreamer that makes his dream come true. Right now I’m crazy about Jim Butcher’s books and Sarah J. Mass.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
When it comes to movies and TV shows, I really enjoy action and superhero movies. I’m crazy about all the Marvel Movies, but my guilty pleasure is The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. TV series- I loved the BBC’s Sherlock Homes Series.

When you're not writing where can we find you?
I have a low-key life style, so you could find me either cooking or reading.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
My website is www.dcgomez-author.com and readers can sign-up for my newsletter from there.

Where can we find your books?
Books are available in print on Amazon/Barnes and Noble or eBooks on Amazon. Death’s Intern is also available on audiobooks.

Thank you, DC, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success in the future and lots of luck!


Photo courtesy of: DC Gomez



Thursday, November 22, 2018

Reader's Choice Awards Nominates Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully





I'm so excited because my book was just nominated for the 2018 Readers Choice Awards contest by TCK Publishing!

The book is on page 11/16 at the bottom! Thanks a bunch! Please vote for it here:

Reader's Choice Awards 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Interview With Author: Jennifer Zamboni



Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni


Jennifer Zamboni has dabbled with various creative media over the years. A hair stylist and cosmetologist by trade, she enjoys adding a splash of color both on and off the page.
Currently a stay at home mom, Jennifer uses her spare time to write and spread the word about Indie Authors.
Now that I've introduced you to Jennifer let's get to know her a little better.


Pin Me Please!

Hello, Jennifer, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
I’ve always been in love with books. My parents read to me nearly every night as I was growing up. I also had (and still have!) an active imagination. In writing books, I get to explore that what if, before anyone else does!

Is writing your full-time profession?
Not yet, but it is definitely my goal. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom.

How long have you been writing?
Little things when I was just a kid, but I became more serious about it in junior high school and wrote my first full-length novel in high school.



Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni

How many books have you written?
Just one, so far, but I have two rough drafts ready for edits in the same series, and I’m hoping to publish book 2 next spring/summer.

Which genre do you write for?
Urban Fantasy

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
Hm… probably coming up with the rules and how they interact with the real world.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently taking part in NaNoWriMo and working on a series of young reader books for my kids. In December, I’m jumping straight into edits for book two.



Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
Oh, all over the place. My main girls are hairdressers, and I worked as one in a salon for about eight years, so I had lots of experiences to draw on from there! I initially wrote the basics of who they are, and as the story developed, I could fill in the blanks and add things to round them out.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
Honestly? Just the fact that people are reading (and liking) my story!

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
I’m just getting started myself, so take this with a grain of salt: Get to know other authors. Read a lot. And read all different types of books, don’t just stick with your specific genre. Read horror, read romance, read women’s fic, read fantasy. 

At least try a few books outside of your comfort zone, there is so much to learn from different genres. Support authors: review their books, message them and tell them how much you loved their books. Send them something (a meme or something is good!) to make them smile. And don’t get discouraged by the timing. Every bit adds up.



Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
Hm… well, I am a cosmetologist and an avid reader. I love reading just as much as I love writing! I live in the boondocks of Maine and I’m hoping to write full time soon!

What message are you sharing in your books?
I didn’t put deliberate messages in (I wrote to entertain myself and my readers) but it can’t be helped that some of my personal beliefs snuck in here and there, specifically about not judging people based on their looks, background, or gender.

What are your favorite books?
I’m a huge Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan! I also reread all of Patricia Briggs’ books regularly as well as Kim Harrison’s Hollows Series. Francine Rivers (Pretty much all of her books), The Chronicles of Narnia, Ilona Andrews Kate Danials Series, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King…


Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions!) (See a trend?) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Scrubs, Bones, Criminal Minds… um… Teen Wolf, all the Marvel movies, Reign of Fire, Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly version), Harry Potter, The Princess Bride (are you regretting asking me this question yet? Because I could keep going!)

When you're not writing where can we find you?
Watching movies, reading, chasing my tiny tornadoes, playing with critters.



Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
I do!

Where can we find your books?
http://bit.ly/beautyisthebeast (paperback and ebook) or you can order signed paperback straight from me here:https://jenniferzamboni.blogspot.com/p/store.html

Thank you, Jennifer, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success in the future and lots of luck!


Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Zamboni