First Book Chat With Casey Hays

How long did it take you to write your first book?

About three months, but it wasn’t very good. In fact, I’m rewriting the story now. It will be released in 2020 with a new title and cover. Now, it takes me 6-8 months of writing to bring a book up to standard for publishing.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was a high school English teacher for 11 years, and I really wanted to write a book for my students. So… I did.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

I can’t even remember, it’s been so long. And I’m one of those writers who stops to revise as I go. I never get through even one draft without revising it. But if I had to guess, I’d say I wrote roughly 5-7 drafts and a dozen revisions of my first book (working closely with my editor) before I felt comfortable with publishing.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

I was elated. I wrote the book in 2008, but it was not published until 2012 because I was in a queue at the publishing company and had to wait my turn. Impatience set in, but finally, it was my turn! I wanted to be published by my 40th birthday. I turned 40 in April and the book released May 15. Close enough!

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

Now, I take my time. I’ve learned how to slow down and develop my characters, my setting, my storyline. I let these elements lead the story rather than forcing a plot. I still revise as I go (I can’t seem to break my self of that) but I’m what you’d call a sculpting author. I shape and perfect the story bit by bit as I go. Then I go back and do it all over again two or three or ten more times with my editor. I still only release 1 or 2 books a year. I’m a stickler for doing my best to present a book that is error-free for the most part and satisfying and relatable for readers who enjoy my genres. I’ve learned the fewer books I publish within a year’s time span, the better they will be. So I’ve never published more than 2 in a year. I’m also my own publisher now with my own company, Whispering Pages, LLC, so I get to work at my own pace. It’s refreshing.

How many books have you published since then?

I have a total of 10 books published in two genres: dystopian sci-fi and paranormal romance (all YA books expect for A Heart of Flesh – it’s New Adult Dystopian.)

Magic Harvest by Mary Karlik Book Review

I really enjoyed this story a lot. I’m convinced that if I hadn’t had training and studying for certification, I’d of finished this book in one sitting. It was entrancing! I was rooting for everybody! I do have to disclose that there is a minor bully trigger warning. It’s brief but it’s there.

The characters were, for the most part, very relatable. There were times that they came out a tad bit robotic. But that was very rare. I was rooting for all the good guys!

The narrator did a fantastic job with this book as well. Her accent was a bit distracting. In a good way of course. It was very entrancing. I believe she added to the story very nicely! I hope she narrates the rest of the series!

First Book Chat With Christina Lanier

How long did it take you to write your first book?

From August 2018 to April 2019. I had actually started it in 2017 but was involved in a car accident which put it off.

What Inspired you to start writing?

When I was a kid, I read ALL the time to escape an abusive household.  I always dreamt of offering a temporary respite to other people while at the same time giving them hope for the future.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

I think I did 3.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

It was such an emotional high! It took me a few days to even come to terms with the fact that I finished the book. The sense of accomplishment was amazing.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

The writing process is a lot easier, I think because I have more confidence in myself after publishing the first one.  Now I know the process, instead of fumbling through it.

How many books have you published since then?

I’ve only published one, but I’m working on my second. *Fingers crossed*

Buy Slated Here:

Interview With MK Mancos

Where do you get your inspiration?

So many sources. I can read a reference book or magazine, watch a documentary or see a billboard. Most of the time it’s the ‘what if’ questions that grab me. My most recent story ideas spawned from seeing a premade cover and I decided I had to buy it and start a YA/NA line. I just never really know where and when they’re going to hit me.

Can you tell me a little about each book?

I’ve written and published over 30, so that’s going to be hard to do in the space provided. I will sum them up to say, I always like some kind of twist, whether it’s churning a known myth or piece of folklore for my use, or leading readers on a merry dance suspecting one character of wrong doing when it’s in fact another. I like mysteries in my books, and find it hard to write when there isn’t one. These rules apply no matter the genre or name I’m writing under.

What inspires you to write?

I don’t think it’s as much inspiration as it is compulsion. I’m an author, I have to write. It’s who I am. I don’t know how to not write. However, there are days when the words simply don’t come. On those I do something different; make jewelry, read a book, play with art, anything to take my mind away from it and refill the well.

Tell me about how you got started as a writer.

I’ve been a storyteller all my life. As a child I had horrible nightmares and it was so bad my mother asked the pediatrician what to do about them. He suggested that I have a story time before bed each night to put a good suggestion in my mind before sleeping. Well, the fight ensued. My mother only wanted sweet stories, and I insisted on the unadulterated Brothers Grimm and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Needless to say, she hid my books on me and refused to read after to me after a few espisodes where I’d find the hidden books and pull them out again. This left me to tell my own stories to myself after going to bed. I’ve been doing that same thing for almost 50 years!

When did you first publish? How did publishing make you feel?

First published a short story in a magazine in the early 2000s. After that, I was published an erotic romance in one Red Sage’s Secrets editions. Getting that first call is like everything you’d imagine. Euphoria, disbelief, the fulfillment of a dream. It’s incredible.

What advice can you give future authors?

Keep at it. Don’t give up, but don’t sell your soul either. There are so many more avenues available to authors now than there were when I started writing.

What was the easiest book for you to write?

It’s really a tossup between two of them. Solarion Heat (the version that was published by Samhain, not the one I’m re-releasing soon) and High Octane. Both of those books were written in probably a month’s time and really wrote themselves. It was an amazing experience for the words to pour out so fast and actually make sense. I don’t know if it was because both of them are space opera and my voice seems strongest in that genre, or I was just in a groove at the time.

What was the hardest?

Emotionally, it was the 3rd book in my Alchemist and Elemetals series under the name Cassie Sweet, Kiss of Death. That was a redemption story where the main character had done something especially heinous in the previous book. Trying to make him a sympathetic character, show his growth, his redemption, and the ways in which he was as big a victim as the people he’d wronged was a delicate balance. That damned character made me cry more than once writing him.

Physically, I’m having a really hard time with the 2nd Pine Barrens book, Corpesetti. The first half of the book that I wrote back in 2007 went very quickly. Even with the outline in front of me, the second half isn’t going so well. I have to drag every single word from my brain and down to my fingers. I’ve gone off the tracks so many times that the rewrite is going to be even more painful.

What is your biggest challenge as you’re writing?

  1. Finding the time to write. – I work full time outside the home, so that’s always a challenge to balance my work schedule with writing time. Then there’s time I need to edit, rewrite, revisions, plot new books, and it goes on.
  2. Having so many projects I’ve lost count.

What do you think of promoting your work? Do you find it easy or hard?

I’m terrible at it. I need others to do that for me, but I’m poor so I can’t afford to pay someone to get on the social media and scream my name into the void. I hope my writing speaks for itself and my readers tell their friends how great they think my books are.

How would you describe your writing style to people who have never read your work?

Depends. I can do very dark, or I can do light and fun. However, no matter what it is there is a stream of sarcasm that runs through it that comes straight from me. One of my coworkers read my book, Hattie’s Spirit, and said she heard my voice all the way through as if I was telling her the story. Since that was a book I’d written in 1st person I did pour a lot of my own feelings into the text.

Have you ever participated in Nano? If so, did you make the goal?

The year I participated I wrote both Hattie’s Spirit and the second in the Doran Witch series, Rewind, during that month. (well, a good bit of Rewind.) I ended the month with over 70K in words and made NANO my bitch.

How supportive is your family of your books?

Very. My hubby is my biggest cheerleader. My mother has read a lot of my books. (She doesn’t read so much anymore at her age) – My biggest regret is that my father never lived to see me published. I know he’d have read ALL of them too. So many times, when I still lived at home and spent my summers banging away on an old electric typewriter, he’d ask “When are you getting those published?” I think he’d have gotten a thrill out of knowing it happened.

Have you ever had anybody in your life ever try to discourage you from writing? How did you cope?

No, but I did have an agent once tell me they wished I had the death penalty placed on me for spelling his name wrong, though the way I spelled it was wrong in 3 of the 4 places I’d found it. Yeah, so there is that. Jackwagon.

Do you have a team that helps with your writing process and promotions?

The writing part is all me. The promotions…what I do are all me. However, I can’t take any credit for my awesome covers, or the edits on my books. (Well, you know the edits do need my participation, but it’s more a collaboration.) My covers are done by the magic of Victoria Miller, Fiona Jayde, Stella Price, and now Cheryllynn Dyness.

How many drafts do you write before you are pleased enough to publish?

Some I have been lucky enough to get correct the first go: Dragon Tamer, Solarion Heat, High Octane, Immorati, Bad Religion, Sacred Sacrifices, Echoes in Stone…this list is going to be long, so I’ll stop there. Others have taken me try after try to get right.

Are any of your books in audio? If not, is it something you eventually want?

None in audio as of yet. I do want to try. My husband is a VO actor who has his own studio, so realistically I could do them here myself. Which I might try one day. I used to do radio in college, but it’s been a long time. At the moment, I’d have to do a royalty share scheme and I’m not sure all the pros and cons of that arrangement.

What are some of your favorite books and authors?

I have so many, but the short list is: Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaimen, Robyn Carr, Anne Renwick, Tal Bauer, Michael Creighton, JAK, Nora Roberts, Tami Hoag, Kate Elliot, Jennifer Roberson.

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming books?

Right now, I’m working on a YA called Into the Pink. It’s about a fae girl adopted by human parents and she’s coming into her own. I’m also working on Corpesetti, the second in my Pine Barrens series. Malice in Wonderland, is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a steampunk bent and those magic mirrors can take you more places than just our world and theirs. Then there is Amplified. This is under my Cassie Sweet name and takes place on a space station where magic and tech meet. It’s the first in my Mage Corp. Inc. series. – As for releases, I have a lot pending in the next few months. Stay tuned.

Where can we find you on social media?

Facebook at MK Mancos or my reader group there Mystic Kat Readers

Twitter @MKMancosKScott

Instagram mk_mancos_author

First Book Chat With Evelyn Lederman

How long did it take you to write your first book?

From when the voices in my head began, it took just under 6 months to write/publish my first book (‘The Chameleon Soul Mate’).

What inspired you to start writing?

I attended my first romance novel convention as a reader in 2010. At that convention, I had an intimate session with Christine Feehan. She mentioned her characters talked to her. I thought she was crazy, but it was a common theme that weekend from other authors. On February 23, 2014, a real conversation that took place outside Sedona, Arizona played in my head. Then 5 women started to talk to me…telling me they were orphaned girls who grew up in our realm, but their parents were dissidents from a parallel dimension. One by one, the women travel to the Troyk universe and discover their telepathic abilities and their soul mates.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

I went through several drafts before I blew up the beginning of the novel. It’s a common mistake for first time writers to put too much backstory in the first chapter(s). Since I knew a number of indie authors, I did some research and reached out to an editor. The editor asked to read my first chapter and agreed to take me on. After Tina’s first read thru, I retooled the beginning of the book and added more conflict. Tina went through the manuscript 3 times and I enhanced the manuscript with each of her edits/critiques.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

I spent 33 years working for an insurance company, but never felt so emotionally invested in a work product. It never gets old when a reader tells me how much they enjoy a given book or series.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

I believe my writing has evolved with each book. I’m told there is a huge difference between my first book and my second (‘The Crystal Telepath’). Over the years, I’ve taken craft classes to enhance my writing.

Today, I format my books, rather than paying someone to do it. I also do my first books in Scribner, rather than Word. Once the book is ready to go to my editor, I move the manuscript to Word.

How many books have you published since then?

Completed series:

Worlds Apart Series (5 books, 1 novella)

Nightshade Saga (5 books, 1 novella …Work In Progress)

Zaratan Trilogy (3 books)

Outer Worlds Passion Series (3 books)

Magic’s Destiny (3 novellas)

On-going series:

Shifters of Eclipse/Warriors of Eclipse (WIP) (2 books, 1 novella)

Laurent’s Blood Legacy (1 book, 1 novella WIP Jan/Feb: New Book, March: New novella)

Pick up a copy of The Chameleon Soul Mate Here:

Irresistible Jerk by Mira Stanley Book Review

I just can’t believe that it’s going the way it’s going. Not sure how to even explain how and why I like this book so much. Both books have been incredibly easy reads. They’ve been wholesome as well as steamy. My only critique is that I feel both books could have really been combined into one book. But it’s cute they were made into two.

The characters are completely easy to get attached two. I wish I had more of the other characters other than just the main two. Especially Rico. I hope I’m saying that name right. Bringing his point of view in is very intriguing. 

The narrator did a great job as well. I really enjoyed it. I’ll always be picky about men doing female voices. But he did a pretty decent job with it! Most male narrators kind of make women sound like ditzes. I’m sure it’s not on purpose though. I think it’s just how deep they sound naturally.

Getting Messy by Mira Stanley Book Review

Insane how the story is progressing! I am invested now and need more! The one thing I want to restate is that I feel these could have been condensed to one book. I do get why it was done this way though. I really like the story! I’m shocked I do, but I do! I want to read the next one!

The characters are pretty impressive still too. I was hoping that I would get to see more of Rico in this one with him having a part at the ending of the second book. I was disappointed there. But there are some hints that he might have more of a role in the fourth book! We shall see!

The narrator is still fantastic as well! I want to go find all the books he’s narrated before and listen to them all. He has a very good voice. He has quickly made h8is way to the top of my favorites list for sure! He definitely pulled me into the story!

Good Girl by Mira Stanley Book Review

I have to be honest, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I thought there were parts that would make me a little uncomfortable. I was wrong. Very wrong. There’s a chance that I have also added a new narrator to my ever-growing list of favorites. The narrator of this book was very great! He made the characters very relatable!

First Book Chat With Artemis Milchon

How long did it take you to write your first book?

It was in my head for a while, so The Last Dragon, first book in my pnr Omega Clan Lords series, took a week.

What inspired you to start writing?

I kept seeing these smoking hot Omega Clan Lords in my head. They were telling me what it was like being immigrants from another world, dealing with angels, living with the last member of the dragon clan, having the air and water clan lords try to get along. I couldn’t get enough of them, and realized others might feel the same.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

Three, and then had a great editor who gave me space to write the story the way the characters demanded. I’ll be going through a rewrite soon on the first book.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

My dream came true. I felt so much relief and joy at finishing the story, I was instantly addicted. I couldn’t wait to tell the next Omega Clan Lords story.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

It took me a while to understand I am the Mom of these characters. I’d better protect them just as if they were my child. I’ve also learned to listen to my own voice over everyone else. If you don’t love your book, if the characters don’t make you openly weep, the reader will feel nothing when they get a hold of your work.

How many books have you published since then?

Six books published. 2019-2020 I will release an additional ten titles, launching an entirely new series!

Buy The Last Dragon here:

First Book Chat With Cheryllynn Dyess

How long did it take you to write your first book?

                4 months for the first draft!

What inspired you to start writing?

                My husband! The story was inspired by wanting to let young women know its okay to be different and to be themselves.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

                I’d say 4 on this one, that was seven years ago so its hard to remember exactly!

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

                Weird to be honest. I was scared to death that no one would like anything I wrote and I was be seen as a fool. When I first held the book in my hand I was blown away that I had actually done it. It’s a very surreal feeling.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

                Now, I understand the book industry more. I still write what I want and never write to market but I’ve learned how to do so much more and have total creative control over what I put out. I now have a better flow of the process and that helps a lot.

How many books have you published since then?

                I now have a total of 15 books out, so 14.

Buy Calastan Here:

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