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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Author Showcase: C.B. Pratt

   This week I'd like to introduce C.B. Pratt, author of Hero For Hire. I loved this story, and I'm not even sure why. It's not because it made me smile, not because of the expertly balanced action and adventure, nor was it the perfectly detailed scenery, creatures, and fight scenes Eno would find himself in. It could have been Eno's easy, assured manner, his dry wit and humor, or even his admirable skills as a hero, but it wasn't even that. No, for as great as all that was, it's not what grabbed me. It was the magic this story wrapped me in the moment I started reading, seeping under my skin completely unnoticed until the very end. When I had closed the book, I realized that I had just read a perfect example of one of those rare authors that puts pen to paper and creates magic. I walked alongside Eno from the very start as he told me his story, and laid out his world before me. I watched as he dispatched one mythical creature after another, and talked with the gods as if he were perfectly comfortable in their presence. All of that and more is the magic that is this story, and the storytelling abilities of author C.B. Pratt! - Chameleon

(No Book Trailer Available)
Q. Cynthia, Hero For Hire was such a fun read. I loved Eno. How hard was he to bring to life for you?
A. Very easy. He just popped into my head, sword in hand, attitude in place, looking for an adventure. Once I figured out that he should tell his story from his own point of view, I never had another day's trouble with him. It's now a matter of remembering that he's bigger than I am, stronger than I am, and much, much more male. As a barbarian from Thrace, he has an outsider's view of the society in which he lives and, as a hero for hire, his adventures can be as wide-ranging as I choose. Because the Gods and the monsters aren't just stories, they're real and have actions and emotions all their own. Eno finds himself involved in their issues whether he likes it or not.
Q. Mythology of the ancient world can present its own problems. Though you have a ton of reference materials, was there any of it that you found most challenging?
A. The details are the tough part. What *exactly* would he eat? How far along is the architecture? Was this king the same as that king but with a different spelling? What were the lives of women like? There's not a whole lot of concrete detailed information on 1200 B.C., give or take, even though there are many scholarly works about this part of the Bronze Age. And of course, if I have to stretch a historical point for a good joke, I'll do it. I'm always amazed though when I come across a historical fact that was recently discovered, and it turns out that I imagined something quite similar.
Q. I really enjoyed the ease in which your story flowed. It never stumbled over itself, nor did it ever get bogged down in details, you always gave just enough. Where did this precise ability come from? Inherent, or through education?
A. Though I can't say, like Elmore Leonard, that I don't write the parts people skip, I do try not to 'info-dump' my research. If I do, there's usually a joke in there somewhere. I figure that most people have at least a visual idea of what Ancient Greece or Ancient Egypt was like, if only from the movies. So I don't need to do long descriptions. As to where it comes from...darned if I know! Practice, I guess, and reading the works of writers who are much better than I am. There's a lot of those.
    Interviewer response: *smile* Better than you? Well, that's a matter of opinion, I assure you.
Q. Hero For Hire is the first book in your trilogy of Eno The Thracian, I hope I got that right, with the second book, The Stone Gods, on the market, and the final book, Dark Mountain, due out soon, where will you go from here?
A. Dark Mountain is actually the third book in a 5-book series. There's lots more Eno to come! I intend to send him to Babylon and then to the Shang Dynasty in China. He's a well-traveled hero, to say the least. I wanted to explore myths of the Ancient World, when they weren't just stories but deeply held beliefs. In his time, everyone knew there were living gods on Mt. Olympus, who meddled in mortal lives. Everyone knew someone who had a cousin who'd seen a harpy or a chimera, much like our own urban legends. The hardest part has been resisting some of the cooler myths of, say, India and Scandinavia. Maybe there will be some shorter works about his adventures in those parts later on. I think Eno and Thor would get along.
     Interviewer response: Can you even begin to imagine how happy I am to hear THAT? Here I am thinking I'll only have one more book with my darling hero, Eno, and you tell me it's not a trilogy but 5 books? *happy Snoopy dance*
Q. Care to give us a sneak peek at Dark Mountain? I can't wait to read it!
A. Sure, here's a snippet:
     Six beautiful girls, each dressed in a wisp made of overlapping leaves, stood before me, smiling remote, dreamy, rather silly smiles. Though each had slightly different features or individual hair color, they were alike enough to be sisters. Their skin was fresh, their eyes bright, their lips inviting. On closer inspection, however, they also had in common the fact that they didn't have legs. All were floating mysteriously in mid-air.
      I'd become a little leery of strange women at this point, whether seated in a hut, drifting weightlessly in a wood or lying in a lake. Still I am not the kind to be needlessly insulting to anyone, let alone supernatural females. It's too dangerous if they take offense.
       "Good day, my ladies. May I ask if I'm on the right path to see the Great God?" My voice seemed hardly loud enough to reach even the nearest of them but after a moment they nodded, one after the other. It was like watching a ripple of wind move among the leaves of a willow tree.
       One of them reached out an incomparably graceful hand and brushed lightly at the braided rope that held my bag of necessities on my shoulder. "Oh, yes," I said. "Nothing of craft."
      Again their heads bobbed in sequence. "Turn your backs, my ladies, for I'll have to take everything off, kilt, belt and boots."
       As they drifted slowly around to face the other way. I got a shock. They were completely hollow when seen from the rear. Their human-like forms were no deeper than a wooden veneer applied to make a cheap piece of furniture look luxurious. Yet their heads moved and their arms, even though I could see that these were nothing more than hollow tubes, empty of muscle, bones and blood.
Q. Are they crazy? I wouldn't have turned around! :D Any parting comments you'd like to leave us with?
A. The great thing about independent publishing is that an author can bring a book they believe in to an audience. I would encourage anyone who wants to do it to try. Even if you don't make a ton of money, you'll find a great community of writers and readers. I have met so many wonderful people in the 'indie' world that I wouldn't trade for a really sweet publishing contract...of course, that's easy to say *now*! Many thanks for having me.
      Thank you for joining me, Cynthia, and for that sneak peek. It gives me something to cling to! Stay tuned next week, folks as I present C.B. Pratt and her second book in this series, The Stone Gods.

Hero For Hire (Eno the Thracian) Click Here to Purchase From Amazon Chameleon Author

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Author Showcase: Bryan Miller

   Today I'd like to showcase William Bryan Miller, author of Kyrathaba Rising. This is an excellent story, and refreshingly original. Set 300 years in the future, humans have been forced underground due to an alien strike that has left the surface of the planet poisoned by radiation. Aliens, masquerading as humans, are determined to finish off the small population of humans left, and have infiltrated the base known as A3. Sethra and his companions are forced to take drastic action. With their advanced technology, they are able to transfer their conscious minds into an RPG like world called Kyrathaba. Though they escape the deadly radiation poisoning, they face other dangers in this new world. Meanwhile, the dwindling population of A3 they left behind continues to move deeper underground to avoid the ever encroaching radiation, and outsmart the aliens.
  This was a wild ride for me, and I enjoyed it a lot. Kyrathaba Rising is tech heavy and incredibly imaginative. Though the story involves numerous characters, Sethra and his companions keep center stage for me, and it's their plight I was most concerned with. This is a real gem for the true sci-fi reader, and even something for us hardcore gamers who have killed more than a few thousand orcs in our time. William Bryan Miller's great character development and world creation will keep you turning the pages. If you love sci-fi / fantasy with a dystopian feel, you will really enjoy this story, and will definitely get your fill of droids, aliens, and gadgets of all kinds.
(Book trailer not available)
Q. Bryan, Kyrathaba Rising had a lot of pretty advanced technology. True, it takes place 300 years into the future, but how on earth did you come up with some of this?
 A. I’ve always had a rich imagination. Add to that the fact that I’ve read hundreds of science-fiction novels, and watched scores of science-fiction movies, and I guess you have the basis for this creativity.
Q. I know you have a long list of academics to your credit, but what specifically- aside from a great imagination, qualifies you to give such details about this wondrous technology?
A. Truthfully, I’m not qualified. I’m not a scientist or technologist. In fact, my Masters degree is in counseling education. I tried to give plausible descriptions of technology that I imagined might be developed in the next few centuries. If it came across believably, then I succeeded.
Q. You certainly did! This is the first book in a trilogy?
 A. Well, maybe. It’s definitely the first in a duology, and perhaps the first in a trilogy. After that, I have an idea for a series of Dean-Koontz-like novels.
Q. As intense as this book was, I can't imagine how you could maintain such intensity through even one more book. Care to give us a sneak peek at what we can expect?
 A.  Ah, you have seen behind the curtain :) It is difficult to maintain such intensity. Right now, I don’t have the creative juices flowing. I’ve learned, as a hobbyist computer programmer, to wait until “the bug bites me” to start on a project. When the “I want to create something” urge is upon me, I’m able to produce creative things like this. When it’s not, I’ve learned to hang it up for awhile.
Q. Believe me, I know that feeling. I'm looking forward to the next book, and I'm sure anyone who has read Kyrathaba Rising is as well. Do you have a launch date yet for the next one?
 A. I’m hoping that I will become inspired to write it sometime this year, 2014. My hope is that, with the launch of a sequel, the set of books may sell better than the lone novel has. That being said, I haven’t spent much money promoting the novel (less than $50.00 in half a year). I have found proofreading others’ self-published books to be far more lucrative than my novel has been. I wrote Kyrathaba Rising at a time when I was on leave from work and bored out of my skull. I thought, “I need a project. Hey! I’ve always wanted to be an author...”
Q. If that's what comes from being bored, I can't imagine what you could wow us with when you actually try, lol. Any closing comments you'd like to leave us with?
A. I so appreciate your willingness to shine a spotlight on my book, and I love your blog, The Write Place! I plan on sharing it with friends on Facebook, Google+, and other social media sites. All the best to you!

Thanks, Bryan! I wish you great success and look forward to showcasing you with your next book!

Kyrathaba Rising (Kyrathaba Chronicles) Click Here to Purchase for Kindle Chameleon Author

Friday, January 17, 2014

Author Showcase: Jalpa Williby

   As promised, the first author I'd like to introduce you to is Jalpa Williby, author of Chaysing Dreams.
   I really enjoyed this story. The author has a great imagination, but more importantly, the ability to lay the story out in a solid way that never let's it get bogged down in descriptive text that doesn't add to the story. Tess, the main character, is a loveable young woman. She's bright and athletic, has a great family, and a good life. The author rounded her out so well, that you can literally see her as a real person. Her volunteer work at The Angels, and interactions there, are touching. Seeing her grow up before your eyes is also done so seamlessly, there was no jumping around, it flowed perfectly.
   The supporting characters are perfect here, they don't get in the way with unnecessary information. They carry out their supporting roles perfectly, but you know enough about them that you really like them, and appreciate the love they have for their friend, Tess, and each other. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say the main male character is a hottie, and very...energetic! As mysterious as he is, you get such a sense of him from the author so that you know him just as well. His motives, however, are suspect, and this gives you cause to keep a suspicious eye on him. For me, he was the whole source of the suspense.
   This book does exactly what a good book should: you smile a lot, all the while the suspense is building- delicately, at first, and you find yourself trying to second guess the story, but you wont figure it out, and that's what makes the ending even better, and all the more shocking!
   A good read for all ages, but I think it will be particularly loved by the YA crowd, they will be able to connect with Tess on an even more intimate level, and so much of her life will resonate soundly for them - Chameleon
Chaysing Dreams Book Trailer

Q. Jalpa, Chaysing Dreams is a great story, and it really took me by surprise a few times. Tell me what drew you to write this story.

   Thank you for the compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the story. Yes, there are a lot of unexpected surprises in there. As far as what drew me to write this story? Since I’ve always been a big reader, one day I decided to try to write a story- more for fun and as a personal accomplishment. I’ve always had an imagination out of this world, so I decided to challenge myself. Once the story developed and I started becoming attached to the characters, I knew I had to share it with the rest of the world. I felt that I’d be doing my characters a disservice if I didn’t at least try to get them out there. Luckily, many readers are becoming attached to the characters and the story as well.

Q. Is this part of a trilogy?
   Chaysing Dreams is the first of a trilogy. The sequel, Chaysing Memories, should be out in a few more months. I’m still going through all of the edits and making sure I’m completely satisfied with the final product.

Q. Care to give us a sneak peek at what we can expect in the next book?
   Sneak peek? Well, the colleagues who have read it have told me that it’s even better than the first one- and they loved Chaysing Dreams. So, I guess that’s a good sign. I would say it’s completely different than the first book. Tess is no longer an innocent young girl. She is now an adult, stronger and more confident. Although she doesn’t remember some critical events of her life, she rises to the challenges that are thrown at her. As far as Chayse goes? Well, he is a mystery isn’t he?

Q. It's said that everyone has at least one story they could write. Do you have any stories left in you after these?

   Oh, I’ve always been a storyteller. My brain is always on the go… I’d love to continue with other stories after the trilogy is done. But for now, I can only focus on the Chaysing Trilogy. I’m honestly incapable of thinking about any other stories- can only do one at a time. I become so invested in the characters that I’m working on- probably obsessively so. Not sure if that’s healthy, but I’ve always been like that. I’m that person who falls for fictional characters!

Q. You've traveled a long road getting Chaysing Dreams out. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
   You know, this entire experience has been a learning process for me. I literally jumped in it, completely blind. Even after all these months, I’m so na├»ve about so many aspects of this new world I’m discovering. But I do love to challenge myself, and it's never too late to learn. Would I do anything differently? Well, I hate the marketing that goes along with this. I probably don’t even do that right. So, I think it would probably be wise to research more regarding what’s available for indie authors. It would be nice to have more resources to utilize.

Q. Any parting comments you'd like to share?
   First of all, thank you so much for having me. Secondly, I’d like to say that as intimidating as this literary world may seem to be, I’ve met some pretty amazing people. I’ve met some great authors, bloggers, and reviewers. They’ve guided me and helped me along the way. It’s nice to meet people who are genuinely trying to help you. So, I want to send a shout out to them. (And you’re one of them, Chameleon!)
I also want to thank all of the readers who have read Chaysing Dreams. Honestly, it’s your support that keeps me going. I’m humbled by the kind words I’ve received.

   Thank you, Jalpa! And thanks to everyone who stopped by, I hope you'll join me next week as I showcase yet another great author, and excellent book. Until then, have a great week!

Chaysing Dreams (Chaysing Trilogy) Click Here to Purchase From Amazon Chameleon Author

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Authors Love To Read, Too...

    How fortunate are we? As authors not only do we get to write incredible tales of all sorts, but we also enjoy reading them from others as well. My resolutions for the new year are pretty simple, and ones I am sure to be able to keep: read more books, and help Indie authors in what ways I'm able. Becoming an official reviewer for Reader's Favorite is allowing me to read absolutely all I can handle, and what a joy it's been!

    It's amazing to see the wide range of stories within genres, and all the ways new authors are taking tried and true premises and elevating them to new heights. With fresh characters, traits, locations, and tweaks, I'm never left feeling like this is a story I've read before- with a different cover.

    Part of my effort to help Indie authors will be showcasing 4 and 5 star books on my blog. These will be books I've read and enjoyed. Why the 4 star ones, you may ask. Well, a book can get 4 stars- and not a 5, for many reasons, the least of which is because it's a bad story. But not to fear, in my details about each book I show here, you'll know exactly why it ranked 4 stars and not 5. Any book I put here will be well worth reading.

    So, with my resolutions in place, I hope you'll all join me here when I showcase a book that I feel deserves a closer look by others. I read just about all genres, so I don't doubt you'll come across something that will catch your eye.

Have a great day! Chameleon Author