Official Aletheia Book Trailer by Author Megan Tennant

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!!

 

 

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Official Aletheia Book Trailer!

 

 

 

 

Awesome trailer! What do you think? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

Book Review: Elderhaus by Anne Carmichael

elderhaus

 

 

 

Gertrude spent the better part of her adult life scouring Europe for Helmut Klingenfelter, the father who vanished not only from her life and that of her mother but had forsaken everyone in his past.
With midlife looming on the horizon, Gertie made the decision to stop chasing the ghosts of the past and return to her childhood home of Pitch Pine, where she purchased a century-old house at 1211 Castle Lane sight unseen.
Elderhaus, as it came to be known, had a mysterious past of its own, one that would threaten more than Gertrude’s desire for finding happiness.

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

 

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There is something about this book that draws you into it’s story. Who is Gertie Klingenfelter? And what happened to her father Helmut? It takes you down a path discovering her roots and mysterious family history. Finally she decides to return to her home town, Pitch Pine.

I found the setting of Pitch Pine with it’s characters to be very endearing ! There’s something about them that sticks out begging you to find out more. Gertie’s family history is heart wrenching but makes the story that much more resonant.

Quality writing with good characters. What else can you ask for? Recommended!

 

 

 

 

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Anne Carmichael

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Amazon

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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My Advice for New Writers by John W. Howell

 

 

Today’s post from Mystery Thriller Week

 

I was at a book signing the other day, and a person asked me a question that caused me to have to think a little before blurting out an answer. The question was, “What should every new write…

Source: My Advice for New Writers by John W. Howell

Book Trailer: Death by Diploma by Kelley

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

 

 

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Goodreads

 

Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelley Kay | Website | Amazon

 

Kelley is also one of our participating authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week celebration!

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a reading challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Great Interview with Marc Rainer Author of the Jeff Trask Crime Series

 

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Everyone Please Welcome

Marc Rainer Author of the  Jeff Trask legal thriller series

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:


Marc Rainer is a former prosecutor in the federal and local courts of the District of Columbia, and a former circuit prosecutor for the U.S. Air Force’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he has more than thirty years experience in the prosecution of major cases. He is married to a former Air Force OSI Special Agent, and lives in a suburb of a major American city.



A Winter of Wolves will be available via Amazon and in select brick-and-mortar retailers as of October 2016.




 

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According to Goodreads

Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask and a team of investigators are on the trail of what they believe is a lone wolf terrorist who is murdering law enforcement officers in the nation’s capital. Their investigation leads them into a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists who have something much more terrible in mind. If successful, the terrorists’ plan will threaten the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. The fourth book in Marc Rainer’s Jeff Trask crime drama series is a contemporary historical novel incorporating issues associated with many current events.

A Winter of Wolves is also the 4th volume in the series.  Check out the first three volumes on Goodreads.



          Let’s begin….

          What led you to become a writer?

          After 30 years of service as a federal prosecutor, I had collected hundreds of professional “war stories” from cases. Told correctly, these are also known as “plot lines.” My wife kept saying, “You should write a book,” so I did.

          There’s no better fuel than life experience. Excellent!




          Which authors inspire your writing the most?

          If any served as inspiration, it would be the W.E.B. Griffin  father-son team and series, since it showed me how characters could be developed over the course of a series of novels. I also love the way Michael Connelly writes.

          Haven’t heard of W. E. B. Griffin, but I also love Michael Connelly. Great source of inspiration! 




          inspiration




          What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

          I honestly just wanted to see what I could do. Nothing beyond that. The modest success (about 40,000 sales as a self-published author) has been a pleasant surprise.

          Wonderul. I believe it’ll only get better. The reviews are great!




          What three things have hindered your writing?

          I don’t have three. The only obstacle before I retired was the day job; in other words, having enough time. Since then, the retail bias against self-published authors may have hindered sales, but not the writing itself.

          Having enough time is always a struggle. 




          time-clock




          What keeps you motivated?

          I just like to write.

          That’s good enough motivation for anyone.





          “Good writing is clear thinking made visible.” -Bill Wheeler




          What is my antagonist?

          I don’t allow those, don’t have one.

          Oh, I love that attitude. Excellent.




          Compared to my previous work, what’s it like being a writer?

          First, I like my boss a lot more. Second, since I was a career prosecutor, I miss the cops and agents – real-life heroes – with whom I had the pleasure of working for years. Third, my schedule is my own now, and being comfortably retired, there’s no pressure. I’m very fortunate in that way.

          This sounds like a very sweet experience. I wish I had it! 







          home




          What would I say to a writer who has given up?

          Find something you believe in enough to NOT give up on. Examine yourself. Why did you give up on writing? Lack of financial success? Self doubt? One can be overcome with perseverance. The other is a sign of some deeper issues. Identify them and start to deal with them.

          Perseverance is the name of the game. I needed to hear this myself. 





          What are the key elements to a legal thriller?

          I try very hard to avoid formulas. In real-life legal work – especially in solving criminal cases –  formulaic approaches can lead to “tunnel vision.” By that, I mean that if you approach a case the same way every time, trying to solve a case using the same method that happened to work the last time, you can miss a lot of clues, make a lot of serious mistakes. Each case involves different people with different motivations. Some criminals act without rational motivation at all; they are creatures of impulse. A crime-based legal thriller by definition has to involve a crime, or series of crimes. After that, I climb on board with my characters for the investigative “ride,” to see where that leads. The solution can occur in or out of the courtroom.

          I agree wholeheartedly. Formulas can be quite boring.  






          justice





          Introduce us to the Jeff Trask series.

          Trask is my fictional alter-ego. A lot of my plot lines are based upon actual cases, and I use trial transcripts from actual cases in the books, with the usual name changes “to protect the innocent” (and guilty). While Trask and I share a lot of experiences, he probably learns faster on the job than I did. I strive for realism. There aren’t any Hollywood gun fights where the good guys snapshoot someone off the roof of a building a hundred yards away with a handgun, then outrun a string of machine gun bullets. I also try not to use the hackneyed lone, tortured soul, alcoholic detective approach. Complex crimes are not solved by rogue superheroes acting alone. They are solved by teams of good people – cops, medical examiners, forensic specialists, and then prosecutors and their staffs – all working together. I’ve been fortunate enough to earn praise from professionals in these fields who say,  “Finally, somebody got it right.” Some critics have said that Trask is “too perfect,” in that he is NOT the typical tortured hero. We all have some demons, but I don’t seek readers who have to look down on a character in order to feel better about themselves. I don’t write literary fiction, and don’t have to apologize for that. The series is about how real teams solve real cases, facing criminals or criminal organizations posing real threats. It also has a lot of dark humor in it, which is also real, in that the guys and gals who do this work for a living have to have that sense of humor to do their jobs without going nuts.

          I love the whole team idea to solving crimes. Not conforming to the typical hero complex is a great way to step outside the box. 





          Outside the box.jpeg





          What are the chief characteristics of Jeff Trask?  

          Smart. Occasionally a smart-ass, in fact. He does not, however, talk down to anyone or use his brain for anything other than finding solutions. He loves classic rock, and always has a jukebox playing in his head, usually providing a theme-based tune to any situation in which he finds himself. For example, in one book, he encounters a crime scene with about a dozen victims – gang members – shot to hell by a rival criminal element. Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” starts playing in his mind. Trask works well with others as long as they are interested in being part of the solution and not the problem.

          The characteristics of the protagonist help readers fall in love with them. 





          Any planned releases for 2017?

          The next book in the series has already started to take shape in my head. It will find its way to a keyboard some time next year.

          Looking forward to it! it’ll give me some time to catch up in the series.





          coming-soon-1604663__340





          Favorite quotes:




          “Government’s never react well, but they over-react superbly.” Robert Lassiter, Trask’s fictional mentor.





          Connect with Marc Rainer

          Facebook | Goodreads | www.marcrainer.com | Amazon




          Thanks Marc!

          Begin 2017 with a challenge. Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge.

           

          Join the Goodreads group: Book Hoarders Bucket List Challenge.

           

          A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

           

          Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

          Thanks for ridin’ the Train folks!  Come again!

          toy-train-2

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

          Autumn’s Cascade

          A Short, short story

           

           

           

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          It started on the darkest night of fall’s unyielding autumn breezes. Where the far countryside of Adam’s county was seized by blindness of nightfall. Even the moon took refuge amidst the clouds that night, turned its back, and refused to lift up her countenance. The night flexed the might of its grip denying every shred of light. No one really knew what happened to the power that night, but the people wandering in the streets took the black into their eyes, let it trickle up their spine, and whisper fear in their hearts.

          They say the shadows keep their own, and what they don’t possess return to the light. Some never realized the essence of human nature is bound within the perpetual cycle of day and night. And some who never put off the works of darkness would never see the light of day.

          That night the slow howl of wind was grinding, sifting all through Hartsville under its own hungry volition. Where it came from, or where it went nobody knows, and certainly no one really knew what it brought with it. Because in that solemn night; there wasn’t an inch of light, except in the house of Old man Bill.

           

           

          OTHER BLOGHOP PARTICIPATES:


          1. C. Lee McKenzie Beautiful
          2. Erica Damon Penance’
          3. J. Q. Rose Sorry
          4. Elise VanCise Lady In The Woods
          5. Barbara Lund Spooky Space
          6. Angela Wooldridge Quiet Neighbours
          7. Katharina Gerlach Australian Dream
          8. Karen Lynn The Waves at Midnight
          9. Sherri Conway Ants
          10. Elizabeth McCleary Over James Henry Wilcox Dead Body
          11. Canis Lupus The Picture
          12. Peg Fisher All In the Fall, a Fractured Fairytale
          13. Bill Bush Trapped
          14. Crystal Collier Emily’s Ghost
          15. Viola Fury 911
          16. Benjamin Thomas Autumn Cascade
          17. Juneta Key Shiny People

           

           

           

           

           

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

          Home by Thriller Writer Harlan Coben

           

           

           

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          Home by Harlan Coben

           

           

          • File Size: 1005 KB
          • Print Length: 397 pages
          • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0525955100
          • Publisher: Dutton (September 20, 2016)
          • Publication Date: September 20, 2016
          • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
          • Language: English
          • ASIN: B01COJUGOE

           

           

          HOME  according to Goodreads

          Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s next gripping thriller, to be published in September 2016.

          A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

           

           

           

           

          MY RATING

          Four golden stars isolated on white background

           

           

           

           

           

          In this book, internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben delivers quite a punch. He really knows how to weave a tale with intricate plots that flex their muscle. There’s clearly some major biceps in this one! Largely entertaining and jam packed with suspense. It’ll keep you guessing until the end.

           

           

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          PLOT MUSCLE

           

           

           

           

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          MYRON BOLITAR

          I really enjoyed spending some time with Myron Bolitar, who seems to be a normal level headed guy with an itch to learn the truth. He’s seems like a calm, yet determined person. Which makes him perfect for solving crimes!

           

          WIN

          The book actually begins with a character named Win, who showcases his skills in the opening scenes. If you like a mysterious no nonsense assassin, then you’ll love Win. Together with Myron they make a great team.

           

           

          Wildly entertaining and jam packed with suspense!

           

           

           

          Home is available now

           

          Add it to your Goodreads account

           

          www.harlancoben.com | Twitter

          Facebook

           

           

           

          Have you read this book yet? What was your impression? Tell me in the comments!

           

           

           

           

           

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

          A new Political Thriller by J.C. Peters

           

          Everyone please welcome J.C. Peters!

           

           

           

          peters

           

           

           

           

          The Dog and its Day

           

           

          There has been only one assassination on a Presidential Candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, in 1968. Has the time come for the next serious attempt? Legal Philosopher, historian and author J.C. Peters uses this scenario in his first political fiction novel, The Dog and its Day (Odyssea Publishing), available now on Amazon and major online retailers. As the United States comes to elect the next President in the coming months and with the first debate completed, Peters is compelled to depict the main characters in the book off current political and presidential candidates.

          In The Dog and Its Day, two conservative billionaires decide to hire the best assassin $10 million can buy to kill Republican presidential candidate Ronald Drump, realizing any other candidate would have a much better chance of winning against the notoriously unpopular Valery Clayton. The assassin, an American, is meticulous, methodical and he never fails. As a rule, he does not operate stateside, but the chance to retire in style, with a legendary campaign season swings into high gear, the killer chooses his time, place and method. The hour is fast approaching. One main can change the course of history. The question: who will it be?

          To learn more about the book and author J.C. Peters, visit www.JellePeters.comTwitter, or LinkedIn.

           

           

           

           

           

           

          *How did you go from writing historical nonfiction to fiction?

          After finishing my latest nonfiction history book, World 2.0: A History from Enlightenment to Terrorism and Beyond, which had taken me more than three years to write and research, I was actually planning to take a small break. But as I watched Donald Trump rise in the Republican primaries, I began thinking about how incredibly high the stakes would be if he actually became the Republican nominee, how the entire country could be swayed into one of two very different directions and how the course of history is often determined by just one person. Truth is, I had come upon many Donald Trumps while writing World 2.0. Of course, if one man can change the world, it also takes just one man to stop him. And that is how the story of The Dog and its Day was born.

          It’s amazing how one person can affect the world and turn it upon its hinges.

           

           

           

           

           

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          *Can you note the differences you experienced?

          Interestingly enough, the difference between fiction and nonfiction was far smaller than I had expected. In the last six months of working on my history book, I sometimes fantasized about finally being able to throw off the constraints of having to research and double-check every single fact. In fiction, I thought, I could do whatever I wanted, I would finally be the king of my own universe! But when I started writing The Dog and its Day—actually even before that, when I was still just thinking about the story—I realized that for me at least, the main difference would be to recalibrate reality a few degrees. When it comes to thrillers, I was never that interested in outlandish stories where the villains do unspeakable things. In The Dog and its Day, I wanted to explore how an assassination plot on Donald Trump would be conceived, planned and executed. That turned out to take quite a lot of research as well, but at least I didn’t have to name sources, write footnotes and create an index anymore.

          That’s awesome. I’m writing a my first fictional piece and hope to pen nonfiction one day. 

           

           

           

           

          FICTION REVEALS TRUTH THAT REALITY OBSCURES -RALPH WALDO EMERSON

           

           

           

           

          *Does your book explore a particular theme?

          One man can change history. Nothing is set in stone and history does repeat itself.

          This is very fascinating. I guess it all depends on who is changing history and how they’re doing it. 

           

           

           

           

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          *What can you tell us about these two billionaires and their relationship with one another?

          They are lifelong friends who together founded a coal-mining company 30 years ago and expanded it into a global empire in the decades that followed. They have had people standing in the way of their business interests eliminated before. When one of them suggests to have the Republican nominee assassinated, the other first recoils, but then he realizes the time for moral objections has long since passed.

          Sounds like a great premise! Two power hungry billionaires with their own agenda.

           

           

           

           

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          *Tell us three things about Ronald Drump. 

          He is the Republican nominee for president. A New York real estate developer without any political experience. He is brash, arrogant, notoriously unreliable and far behind in the polls when the two billionaires decide to have him eliminated.

          Well, may the odds ever be in his favor.

           

           

           

           

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          *Tell us three things about Valery Clayton.

          She is the Democratic nominee for president. Her husband, Richard Clayton, was President in the 1990s. She has vowed to close all coal mines in the United States if elected.

          I’m surprised they the billionaires wouldn’t have her assassinated instead. Especially if she’s trying to close the coal mines!

           

           

          *How meticulous is this legendary assassin? 

          He is the kind of man who, if he had an unforeseen chance to take out his mark with a 9mm handgun in a dark forest with nobody else around, would still do nothing more than mumble a greeting and walk on, if he had planned to take him out a day later with a .300 Winchester Magnum from 800 yards away.

          I’ve always thought assassins were cool for some reason. It must be the nature of the job and how they manage to get away with it, or not.

           

           

           

           

           

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          *If you were Ronald Drump and realized an attempt on your life what would you do?

          Probably the same as what the real Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has done. Hire extra private security—much to the dismay of the Secret Service.

          Yikes! Sounds like a high stress job. Whew.

           

           

           

           

           

           

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          *If you had opportunity to change the world as Drump, Clayton, the billionaires, or the assassin which person would you be?

          The billionaires and the assassin can only stop someone else from becoming President of the United States. I would prefer to be in power myself.

          Good answer! 

           

           

          *What is your favorite time period in history?

          I find that once you start digging and are transported back in time, each period has its own unique stories to tell and adventures to share. Fourteenth century France might seem less interesting than World War II at first glance, but once you start exploring the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and it all comes to life again, it quickly become another favorite period in history.

          It would be adventurous to be a time traveler and go back to observe how things unfolded personally. 

           

           

           

          If you think you have it tough, read history books. -Bill Maher

           

           

           

          *Will you write more political thrillers?

          I already have a new plot. One that strikes at the heart of the presidency and puts the President in an impossible situation. So yes.

          YES. More political thrillers! Keep us posted!

           

           

           

           

           

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          THANKS J.C. PETERS!!!

           

           

          THANKS FOR RIDIN THE TRAIN!!!

           

           

           

           

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          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

          Watch “Adult Books I Want To Read!” on YouTube

          TELEVISION TUESDAY 

          Book Recommendations with Sasha Alsberg: Branching out to the New Adult Genre 

           

           

           




           

           

           

           

          THE WINTER SEA

          ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

          THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND 

          BROOKLYN 









          Have you read or heard of these books? Tell me in the comments!!




          Benjamin Thomas 

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com 

          The Core Elements of Storytelling and Writing Great Fantasy with Marya Miller

           

           

           

          Please welcome  a talented and inspirational fantasy author, 

          editor, copywriter and ghostwriter 

          MARYA MILLER

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Marya forest

           

           

           

          Welcome Marya! 

           

          Marya is a Fantasy writer; copywriter; ghostwriter. Harpist. Scot. Lover of forests, mountains and horses.Completing the Dragonish Trilogy. Marya is also a fellow Wordplayer on K.M Weiland’s Facebook group.

          Find her on twitter @Marya_Miller and check out her awesome website Marya Miller Writer.

           

           

          Somebody roll out the red carpet!!!!

           

           

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          *Are you originally from Ontario Canada?

          I’m originally from Glasgow, Scotland. We emigrated to Ontario when I was twelve, at the start of Grade Nine. It took me a LONG time to get used to Canada, but then I discovered Algonquin Park; plus I moved up to Northern Ontario four years ago and I love it up here: There are actually little mountains around Thunder Bay, and it stays light till 11pm in summer, the way it did in Scotland. So now I have the best of both worlds.

          Here’s a shout out to all the awesome writers in CANADA!  

           

           

           

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          *What is it about forests you enjoy?

          The peace. The light. The scents. The wind rushing through the trees. And the fact they can also be a little bit haunting, and scary.

          Being in a forest always makes me think something magical is going to happen. I’m going to see elves at any moment, round the next bend in the forest trail. Or bears. Or both.

          That would be quite a sight—elves and bears rounding the corner. Let’s hope the bears would be nice. 

           

           

           

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          *How long have you been a writer? 

          Since I could write. I wrote my first “novel” when I was eight, a gripping drama about my teddy bear being abducted by two evil henchmen called Grimm and Ghastly; both wearing rather Victorian-looking top hats draped with black crape. (At eight, you think that is highly original.)  I actually still have it–complete with illustrations. 😉

          I wrote four young adult/children’s fantasy novels in my twenties, and gave up too early in their rejection cycles. One almost got published by Scholastic–but my editor left and the new editor wasn’t interested.

          My first published fantasy story was “Deus Ex Machina” in the early eighties, when computers were just being birthed. It’s very dated now–I wrote about (*gasp*) a sentient computer that started reading the books it stored. That story got me a job at TPUG Magazine (computers) and I was promoted to Assistant Editor and Managing Editor there. I’ve worked in various editorial and production positions at various magazines; both salaried and freelance. I had a stint as General Manager of “The Independent News”. And I invented my copywriting job when I ended up in a wheelchair, trapped in my house, back in 2008, when I ended up having to support my husband. I have been with the same major client now since 2009, and really enjoy it–but it kept me away from fiction till last year, when I joined Holly Lisle’s free “Flash Fiction” course and the fiction bug came back, full force.

          Wow, it’s amazing you have that much writing experience, and your first novel sounds great! I’d totally read that.

           

           

           

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          *What’s are the best things about being a copywriter?

          The chance to help people–and I’ve enjoyed my clients’ successes too. I also like the anonymity. I am actually pretty shy and don’t like being in the public eye. I’ve always liked being “behind the scenes”. Plus it allows me to work from home.

          The thing I like most about copywriting (apart from the flexibility and the ability to work at home) — it teaches you discipline. There are always deadlines: There is no such thing as writer’s block and you learn to produce and be efficient about it. I’ve found this enormously helpful in my fiction writing. 

          This sounds it helps produce the solid character we all need to be efficient.

           

           

           

          *What’s it like being a ghostwriter?

          Very similar to my days as a magazine editor. It’s all about long hours, research, proofing, deadlines and deadlines. When I hear people I admire raving about something I wrote (not knowing I wrote it), it’s a very weird feeling.

          Sounds like hard work! You’re doing all the heavy lifting, but no one knows your’re the muscle behind scenes. 

           

           

           

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                                         The heavy lifting of ghostwriting

           

           

           

          *You have an awesome website! You stated “Communication is my passion” Can you elaborate on this?

          Thank you. Communication has been the common thread running through my life, right from when I was little. I came from a dysfunctional family and a rough neighborhood. I always found myself in the middle at home and school, doing my best to get people to understand each other and be kind. I think there’s a lot of loneliness and disconnection in the world. I would love it if my stories made someone forget loneliness and feel connected while reading one of my books.

          I love this because it’s so true. That’s a great aim for your books!

           

           

           

          *Do you have professional storytelling experience? 

          I’m a graduate of the Storyteller’s School of Toronto and participated during the eighties and early nineties in several Storytelling Festivals and ran workshops. I was also lucky enough to have the great Irish storyteller, Alice Kane, as my teacher. She became a dear friend and the most moving milestone in my career was Alice choosing to tell a story I wrote for her, “Bonnyton Moor”, as the final story on the last CD she ever made before she passed away. That too was a very weird feeling.

          My father and big brother, Stephen, were both amazing storytellers, and I got my love of stories from them. In addition to telling stories, Stephen also read us just about every fairy book in existence, his favorites being the Andrew Lang series. My sister and I still remember gorgeous illustrations by the likes of Edmund Dulac, Kai Nielsen and N. C. Wyeth.

          And, of course, the Rupert Bear annuals.

          Wow your experience is impressive!  Would love to pick your brain more about the storytelling experience. Perhaps at a future date.

           

           

           

           

          *What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a writer?

          Being able to write out of deep values you hold, but being able to have fun too. Being able to lose yourself in another world, in your characters and cultures. Stories are nothing more than a way of making sense of real life, so you have to be brutally honest with yourself when you’re writing. Every flaw you have screams out at you from your writing–and I’m not talking about technique. You need to be brave and face yourself, otherwise you have wimpy, shallow characters. So in a way, it’s like therapy–which, in itself, is not much fun, but it’s worth it. You feel like you’re growing–particularly important when most of your life is lived between four walls. I’m never lonely when I’m writing. 

          I also love the way characters take on a life of their own and sometimes totally upset your plot structure and march your book off in a completely unexpected direction. I don’t always let them steer me off course–but most times, they’re usually right.

          I also love the fact that I can write non-fiction as my “day job”–my bread-and-butter–and slip away into the forests of Dragonish when my workday is done. It’s having the best of both worlds.

          YES, love it. This resonates deeply, and has a  lot of wisdom to it.

           

           

          ************

           

          “I’m never lonely when I’m writing.” -Marya Miller

           

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          *Give us a summary of your current WIP or most recent publication.

          My flash fiction anthology from the world of my upcoming Dragonish series–“Tales of Mist and Magic”–is about to make its debut. (There’s a sample story from “Tales of Mist and Magic”, plus a bonus story you can download that won’t appear anywhere else, on my Original Fiction web page: http://maryamillerca.ipage.com/dragonish )

          My last story published was “Block Magic” (no, that’s not a spelling mistake), which appeared on Day 23 in the Indie Author’s Advent Calendar. Before that, my last mainstream print published piece was “Too Happy to Die” in the anthology, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life”.

          I’m sure you have tons stories waiting to be revealed, keep writing!

           

          *In your opinion what are the elements of a great fantasy book?

          To me, the characters are the heart and soul of the best fantasy books. They make or break them–if I don’t care about at least one character deeply, I won’t invest in the journey. In addition to this, there has to be something that makes me feel that there’s a magic door or curtain somewhere that will transport me to a world where magic is real. You can find those doors in all the greatest fantasy novels: Not literally, but you step through and suspend disbelief; and it’s both much safer than the world you’re in and more terrifying; and infinitely more beautiful.

          There were moments in my childhood–for example, when I was three and my big brother saved up his pocket money and took me and my sister to Rouken Glen. We sat in a forest in a hovering mist of bluebells. He put a bluebell flower on his pinkie and told me it was a fairy’s hat, and I totally thought that was real! The beauty of that forest, the magic of the sunshine; the feeling that wonderful things could happen any minute–that’s what fantasy novels are all about for me. To give it a bit of context: We traveled to that forest on a tram, coming from the heart of Glasgow, which was grey and grimy in those days–there were still coal fires. We lived on the edge of the Gorbals, and life was pretty grim, so for my brother to transport me to this magical world… well. I can’t describe it. It was my first forest, and I was hooked.

          My brother died when I was seven, and I’ve been trying to get back to that world ever since.

          So for me fantasy novels are all about loss and hope; being surrounded by darkness and finding a way out through a combination of core values, courage–and magic. And if there are dragons, wizards and elves to reassure you that you’re not alone, so much the better.

          Very touching story! 

           

           

           

           

          “To me, the characters are the heart and soul of the best fantasy books. They make or break them–if I don’t care about at least one character deeply, I won’t invest in the journey.” ~Marya Miller

           

           

           

           

           

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                                                  Invest in the journey….

           

           

           
          *Can you give us 3 critical components of storytelling? (you can list more if desired)

          Universality, truth–and not getting in the way of the story.

          A good story is universal. It needs to make people care about the outcome. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know that world–you need to be able to relate to the main character’s journey, care about it. A good story has to be true–even when it’s fiction. Pick a story with all these elements, and don’t get in the way of the story when you’re telling it–and you’ll be a great storyteller, whether you’re writing it or telling it.

          EPIC. That’s great! I love absolutely love this. You need to put this on a t-shirt.

           

           

           

           

          *What are you experiencing right now in your writing journey?

          What I’m experiencing right now is excitement. I’m living for and through my Dragonish series, and I wish there were thirty-six hours in a day and I could spend them all writing. I feel that after years with fiction on the back burner, I’m finally reaching my zone. My own story arc is becoming clear, and the goal’s in sight.

          Right now, I’m thrilled to be experiencing the wisdom of other writers through writer’s groups on Facebook. I took a smattering of real-world writing courses in the past, and for the most part, with the exception of one single course, I found them discouraging. I came away with the feeling “I may as well give up fiction: Everyone else is so much better at it than me”. But online groups like KM Weiland’s “Wordplayers”, Dave Lynch’s ePub Scene and the forums I’m on in Holly Lisle’s site have totally broken that curse. There is such generosity and professionalism in these groups from writers at all stages of the game: I’ve had feedback, inspiration, encouragement–and I’ve learned a lot.

          I think you need real feedback and real interaction from other writers who understand the process. Without it, you’re stuck in a vacuum. That’s the place where all storytellers tend to wither and die.

          This is so encouraging! I’m so glad you found a good source of inspiration and encouragement. One less storyteller in the graveyard. This is a HUGE reason why I started conducting these interviews in the first place. 

           

           

           

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          *What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?

          My goal is to be able to work full time on my own writing–not that I don’t enjoy copywriting, my day job: But for that I need to be three people! I want to see the Dragonish series in print before I die.

          You’ll do it, Marya. I know you will. 

           

          *What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

          Nothing stops me from completing client projects. I owe it to my clients to give them #1 priority, so I do.

          With my fiction, though (1) literally not enough hours in the day is my biggest obstacle–that, and (2) being completely intimidated by the technology end of uploading books to Amazon. (3) I would also like to invest in some professional editing on my books before I release them to the world–I need to increase my income first for that to happen.

          (That being said, the nice thing about obstacles is that it’s fun looking for ways around them.)

          I hope one day you can be a full time writer with your work as the top priority! 

           

           

           

          *What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

          What keeps me motivated is caring about my world and my characters. I want them to have voices, to be heard. I want to bring some magic back into the world, so that people can tackle the darkness safely, through the pages of the Dragonish stories. And my characters are fun to write–Granny Maberly, Ushguk, Anno, Morwen, Leith–I love them all. And a few of them are pretty funny. Though whatever you do, don’t tell Granny that!

          I love that you want your characters to have a voice and be heard! That’s awesome!  

           

           

           

           

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                       Give your characters a voice 

           

           

           

           

          *What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals? 

          Wanting to be a better writer. Though I think ALL writers struggle with that. You have this wonderful, vibrant, rich story in your head, and you read what you’ve written; and you feel as if you’ve only captured a glimpse of it.

          I think writing “better” or “good” can be quite elusive, just as it is deceptive. We should focus more on telling the story. No one ever feels good enough.

           

           

           
          *Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

          I think a lot of writers give up because there’s no one in their corner to say “keep going”. They question the value of their stories. They don’t receive feedback. They start to feel like voices in the wilderness–you know; the old “if a tree falls in the forest, will anyone hear it scream?” In traditional publishing, the world I’m from–and I had an actual, professional background in editing and publishing–the odds are stacked so hugely against you as a fiction writer. There are many horror stories about publishers from even successful authors. It’s a world of rejection as routine; and if you’re accepted, that’s only the beginning of the obstacles. Plus many writers have people telling them what they SHOULD be doing instead of writing. It amazes me that writers keep going at all, if I’m honest.

          But being isolated as a writer … that’s like standing up in a darkened auditorium and telling a story to a chair (which I’ve done, by the way). It’s like sending a transmission out into space and knowing the odds of anyone ever hearing it are a gazillion to none. When a story isn’t heard, it tends to wither and die.

          WOW. This is therapeutic. There’s the matter of someone being in our corner, surviving rejection, and overcoming isolation. These are all very critical elements to our success. Thanks for sharing. 

           

           

           

           

           

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                             Every writer needs a cheerleader!

           

           

           

          *What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

          Your stories are important. They’re real. If you blow on all the stories that have withered and died, some of them will spark and come to life again–no matter how long they’ve lain in the darkness.

          You are important. And the publishing community has changed, thanks to ePublishing and the internet. There’s never been a better time to be a writer! 

          If you’re really feeling down or discouraged, read KM Weiland’s “Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration”. Join Holly Lisle’s free Flash Fiction community and get your confidence back sharing 500-700 word stories with an informed, encouraging and honest group. Take her “How to Think Sideways” course (or ANY of her courses. My favorite, besides HTTS, is “The Secret of Page-Turning Scenes”). If you’re stuck at the business end of writing, visit Joanna Penn’s site and read her books too.

          These are three authors–KM Weiland, Joanna Penn and Holly Lisle–who inspire, not flatten. They share incredibly valuable knowledge born of real-world experience, obstacles and success. They’re like a good fantasy novel: They give you the weapons to tackle the monsters with, and teach you how to use them. They’ve got your back, and you can trust them. Plus they’re fun to read.

          And do join a good writer’s group–one without ego; where the emphasis is on the writing, not the personalities.

          Exceptional. This is very inspiring! Thanks so much! When I do these interviews, I’m the first to get inspired! THANK YOU. 

           

           

          BONUS:

          *Who are the best authors of the century?

          That’s such a broad question, I’m not sure how to answer it.  All I can do is give you my own personal choice…

          Ahhh, I’m going to get nailed for choice number one: JRR Tolkien. He’s my first love. In spite of what Peter Jackson and an ocean of imitators have done, you can’t beat Middle Earth.

          I also love Terry Pratchett’s writing–his Discworld series in particular. He defies genre. He can go from low comedy to advanced philosophy in a blink–and it works.

          Finally, John Bellairs; just for his book “The Face in the Frost”, which exuberantly defies every rule about adjectives and adverbs. It’s also the book I would memorize and become, if I was a character in Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”.

          Yes–all fantasy, I know; but each of these three authors defied genre and they gave their worlds and characters unique voices. They wrote books that changed lives, healed wounds, comforted. They’re like old friends to me now, and I still reread them.

          Lovely, simply lovely.

           

           

          THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION MARYA!!!!

           

           

           

          *******

           

          There is no friend as loyal as a book ~Ernest Hemingway

           

           

          *******

           

          Somewhere there’s a book to be written, and somewhere there’s a book to be read. ~Benjamin Thomas

           

          *******

           

           

          When your eye hits the page there’s magic, staying magic. ~Benjamin Thomas 

           

           

           

           

          The power of a great story is the remnant of character, keep writing. 

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com