Monday, August 27, 2018

Calling all Patrons of the Arts

My author friend Mark Gardner is married to an up-and-coming children's book author named Erika. She has written a trio of rhyming stories and an illustrator friend of theirs has been working hard on bringing her characters to life. You can get in on the ground floor by contributing to their Kickstarter, even just a few bucks would be a big help. And as a sponsor, you would get one of the few digital copies of the stories. It will only be available to the public in soft cover.

So for those of you who believe in the patron model of artistic support, why not click over and take a look at the page. Maybe you'll be inspired to help make this project a reality.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Author Interview - Joan K. Lacy - Author of A Shadow Away

From a young age, author Joan K. Lacy loved travel, meeting people in other countries, and learning to speak their languages. This interest led to leaving UCLA to live a year in Europe, where she got excellent practice with French, Spanish, Italian, and German. Joan is intrigued with myths and legends from all over the world, and now is happy to combine all she's learned, researched, and experienced into exciting and entertaining adventure stories with a magical twist.

As an artist, the wild and domestic animals she loves became her subjects for drawing, painting, and sculpting. Science, from quantum physics to the cosmos, piqued her interest and broadened her scope for storytelling. In her free time, Joan enjoys playing the banjo, bossa nova guitar, and Irish fiddle, and spinning alpaca fiber into yarn. Her other artistic interest is creating silk floral arrangements within unique glass vases.

Her first novel, A Shadow Away, is the first in the Alex Cort Adventure Series, where she combines research, imagination, and personal experience to create exciting stories filled with metaphysics, folklore, mythology, quantum physics, and archaeology. In a world where time and space are not always what they seem, Joan shows readers that anything is possible if they just believe.

In A Shadow Away, archaeologist Andrew Seaton discovers a jewel-encrusted golden statue and realizes he may have uncovered the key to the lost city of El Dorado. The statue disappears before he can verify his findings, and Andrew must rely on private detective Alex Cort to recover the prized artifact. The two men find themselves caught up in a dangerous race against a corrupt colleague and a ruthless art thief who will stop at nothing to claim the statue for themselves.
 As each new clue leads them up the Amazon River and deeper into the jungle, they soon discover things are not quite what they appear. When all seems lost, the mystical powers of a beautiful woman guide them out of danger and ultimately to the ruins of an ancient city, where Andrew must right the wrongs he committed in a past life and Alex discovers a secret of his own.

Who are your influences?
I love Mary Stewart’s books The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. Her books started my love for Merlin and the legends of King Arthur.
All of James Herriot’s books, beginning with All Creatures Great and Small. I love the way he tells a story, and I encourage everyone who loves animals, and a good story, to read his books.

When did you begin writing?
I didn’t start writing until later in life. The benefit of that is I can combine all I’ve learned, experienced, researched, and imagined into the adventure stories I write now.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
First, I’ve always been interested in myths and legends, archaeology, and science. My characters evolve from the story I want to tell. My three favorite characters appear in every story of my “Alex Cort Adventures” series, starting with A Shadow Away. First is Alex, he loves adventure, has a curiosity about this world, and isn’t afraid of danger. Dr. Andrew Seaton is an eccentric British archaeologist who gives me the chance to write about everything from science to superstition. Angel calls herself a witch and has her own kind of magic. With her I can write about fantasy and the supernatural. They named themselves, and each has their own point of view to add to the story depending on the scene.

Do you work from an outline?
I first decide on which myth or legend I want to write about. That determines what country the story will take place in. Then I start my research, and from there start to develop ideas for the storyline. Those ideas become plot points which I arrange in an outline then transfer to a storyboard for additions and shuffling—which I find very helpful.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
I love every single scene in A Shadow Away. It is an exciting adventure that still sweeps me away into the world of my imagination.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
Write about what you know, because that will add depth to your story. Also important, is to write about a topic that interests you. Because if what you write is interesting to you, it will likely interest others who read your work.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I’m writing exactly what interests me: adventure, mystery, and magic, blended with what I know about science and archaeology. I’m in my happy place!

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
My stories are fun to write! After I set the next scene I want to write for the story, I let my imagination go, and the characters “take over.” They come alive in my imagination, and they usually have something to say if I want to take the story in a direction they don’t want to go, or if there’s a glitch I need to work out. Their ideas are usually better than my original thought, so I don’t try to stop my imagination—I let it go, and write down what they say as fast as I can!

Please visit me at to learn more about A Shadow Away and future books in
the “Alex Cort Adventures” series.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Author Interview - Ricardo Alexander - Author of Bollywood Invasion

Ricardo Alexander is a descendant of the Great Yyu, a.k.a. the first king of China. He lives in Massachusetts and enjoys experiencing all kinds of cultures around the world. After obtaining his doctorate in science, he became fascinated with time-travel. As an aspiring writer, he loves to write time-travel fictions that blend fantasy, science, and real history together. 

In 2017, he published his debut time-travel novel Dragon Tomb, the first book of his TLR (The Last Resistance) pentalogy. This history science fiction series starts from World War II, during which a young archaeologist discovers the true origin of Chinese civilization and saves the world from Armageddon.

Bollywood Invasion 
A fantasy novel about a modern-day American boy who wakes up in 1958 India as the reincarnation of John Lennon. Bollywood Invasion opens when the protagonist, a sixteen-years-old boy from Brooklyn, finds himself with riches and power beyond his wildest fantasies in India, thirty-five years before he was born. Brooklyn is readily forgotten. Life becomes a constant stream of debauchery, coming to a stand-still only when he meets “the one.” However, love doesn’t come easy. He must become a better man, a pursuit ignited by his memories of Beatles songs on his iPod. Will these legendary songs change his life? Can he escape Lennon’s eventual tragic fate? Will he ever find his way back to Brooklyn? His fate will unfold in Bollywood Invasion.  
 Who are your influences?
I believe that my writings are heavily influenced by my favorite author, George R.R. Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire would certainly keep me up all night reading. The most valuable lesson I learned from him is that the most beloved characters should die once in a while.

 When did you begin writing?
As a scientist, I was always fascinated with time-travel fantasies. However, I have not felt the compulsion to write till I am in my early forties, which was about five years ago.  

 How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
My dreams. All my stories are based on the dreams I have had at some point of my life. I don’t know how I can explain this. Many of my dreams are bizarre. Sometimes, I even woke up with sweat on my back and felt like I just experienced a life time in my dream. Bollywood Invasion was a perfect example.
In 2013, I, a Beatles fan, stumbled into a YouTube video. In that video, a tribute band played Let It Be, my favourite Beatles song of all time, with traditional Indian instruments. That very night, I had a strange dream. In my dream, I woke up as a singer in 1958 India, which I was always fascinated by. What are the odds?
The next morning, I scribbled down my lingering memory of the dream. Then, a question came to me. If John Lennon had been born an Indian—with the same talent—could he still conquer the world? This is the very question that I kept asking myself during my writing of Bollywood Invasion. Something extraordinary had to happen if the Indian (British) Invasion was to take America by storm, as the world back then was not even close to be as multi-cultural as we are today.

 Do you work from an outline?
I am an outliner writer; there is no question about it. Before I officially start writing a book, I'd like to have the ending of the story in my mind. As far as the character development is concerned, I typically don't think too much about them in the beginning. During my writing, I always imagine myself as one of my characters, talking to them, listening to them, putting myself in their shoes. As a result, they naturally come to life as the writing progresses.

 Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
My favorite scene in Bollywood Invasion is a scene that I call "Hey Raj". After the protagonist wakes up as a young prince named Raj in 1958 India. His life becomes a constant stream of debauchery, coming to a stand-still only when he meets “the one,” a girl named Ankita. However, she despises him. Raj decides to become a better man and sing his way into her heart with the songs based on his memory of vintage Beatles music. One night, Raj comes to the lawn outside her dormitory building to ask her out, for the last time…by singing "“Hey Raj, don’t make it bad …”, a parody of Hey Jude. The scene ends with Ankita agrees to go out with Raj just once in the chorus of "Na nanana" from all the girls in the building while the matron trying to catch Raj with a large broom.

 Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
Like I said, my stories are mostly based on some weird dreams that I had. I just follow my heart in my writing. 

 Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
No. I have not. I prefer to stay in Fantasies.

Ricardo's book is available on Amazon

Find Ricardo at his website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.