Friday, August 26, 2016

Author Interview with Lesa McKee

Today I have a guest post from the author of Operation Space Cats, Lesa McKee.

First a little bit about her book.

Furry crew to the rescue! When Tebbs, the curious cat discovers part of his human family is missing in space, he plans to go on a rescue mission with Granny. But first he must recruit a team to help locate them. Problem is, he’ll be sneaking the small crew aboard, and hoping Granny won’t find out. Enter the space cats … A mixed bunch of furry felines who have many lessons to learn about what it takes to make a team great. Bravery, teamwork, and most of all faith! When mishaps occur, and danger lurks ahead, they’ll need to rely on each other. Will the team falter? Or can they pull together to make their mission a success?

Operation Space Cats is now available on Amazon. A cute "tail" of kitties in space that children will love!

And without further ado! *turns on spotlights* Lesa McKee!

Kristen - Which writers inspire you?

Lesa - Other Indie writers. Those who are doing it right. Taking all the steps by getting their work critiqued, beta read, and then hiring editors, cover designers, etc.

Kristen - I love that! It is truly amazing how inspiring people can be when they're dedicated. And I'm sure you inspire other writers as well.

What’s your views on social media for marketing, and which will you try?

Lesa - It’s right up there with writing the book. An Indie writer wears many hats. Writer, editor, marketing extraordinaire, etc.
I’ll use each social site I can to some degree, facebook being #1. I have a fb author page, and I’ve joined several writing groups as well as starting a few myself. I’ll probably have a fb book release party. I’m on Goodreads and pinterest. I got excited the other day when I learned to create my own pins. Yay! I turned my book cover into a pin. Twitter is on the table, but I’m not a big fan so far. 

Kristen - I am right there with you on Twitter! I'm hoping to find a way to manage it and make it more enjoyable. Right now it feels like an overload of information.

Would you say being a writer is a gift or a curse?

Lesa - A gift. God doesn’t make mistakes.:)

Kristen - Amen to that! And it's amazing that we each get to use the gift in different ways.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Lesa - Paperbacks, always. But ebooks are cheaper, and sometimes my fellow Indie writers (who I love to support) don’t offer a print version. So I read some of both.

Kristen - I love paperbacks. Nothing beats the feel of an actual book in your hands, though with some authors(as you said) not offering them I imagine I'll be attempting to read ebooks soon enough.

Would you use a PR agency?

Lesa - I don’t at this time, but that’s something (budget allowing) I would be open to in the future.

Kristen - What’s your protagonist’s favorite drink? 

Lesa - Milk!:)

Thank you, Lesa for answering a few questions! If anyone wants to know more about Lesa or would like to check out her pawsome Space Kitty stories, stop over at any of her social media sites!

Lesa McKee grew up at her Grandmother's knee, listening to the french folk-tales her animated Grandma Ida shared. A love of stories was born and her imagination took off!

She’s now living her dream as a Christian Indie writer of feel-good fiction, including a short story series of far-out space cats, titled 'Operation Space Cats'. These purrific feline adventures are filled with faith, friendship & fun!

Check out Lesa's website and blog!
Buy Space Kitties 1 or 2 on Amazon!
Check out her Facebook!
Follow Lesa on Twitter!
Follow her on Pinterest!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Reading Challenge Update #2

As the year is ticking down, I've been feeling the pressure to finish this challenge. Mostly it's pressure to finish at least one of my two challenges for the year and this one "should" be easier to complete since there's less books on it.

So I kicked it into gear and started power reading. I'm now halfway through my classic reading challenge, though this update will only have 2 books on it(this way I can keep my updates evenly split with 2 books each).

First up is book #3 - The Count of Monte Cristo.

My husband started reading this close to the same time I did. So we had to share it(and consequently renew it several times). The book itself looked like it was holding onto life by a thread. I think it's high time they got a "healthier" copy.

I absolutely loved this story, though! I thought I might, but it's reassuring to actually enjoy a story I set out to read. Books I don't care for are a real drag. Here's a clip from my review, which you can see in full here.

I loved how at first the Count was determined to ruin everything connected with those who’d done him wrong, but he made allowances for good. He allowed his prejudice to be challenged and looked with new eyes on certain members connected with the villains and realized they weren’t defined by their relations.
I loved the wide cast of characters, the dialogue, the Count’s careful planning and intelligence. I loved the way the pace picked up as things started to fall into place and there ended up being this speeding bullet feeling all the way up to the end. I love how the pieces to help put together some of what the Count was doing or feeling where there for us to catch.

And we also see him softening as a person, but also understanding that his self-proclaimed role in the universe is just that. I really don’t want to give it away, but there’s a powerful message near the end about how things can go too far. Like lighting a fire and accidentally burning down more than you intended.

All in all, I gave The Count of Monte Cristo 4 stars(leaving one off for the rather long slump in the middle). This is a book I definitely plan on adding to my personal library.

Next up we have book #4 - We.

To balance out my love of the Count, I was faced directly after with the evilness that is We. I hope that I have become more articulate in expressing both my likes and dislikes of books since I started reviewing at the start of 2015. Especially around the time I find myself hating a book that I know has garnered a lot of love(and hate, which goes hand-in-hand with any famous book).

It is hard putting myself out there(believe it or not) and leaving a less than glowing review. I've made it my policy to always be honest because I want people to know I mean it when I leave positive reviews. So despite the ranting, and humorous(I hope) edge I put in my negative reviews, please understand there's a certain amount of trepidation I feel that I will run afoul of some fan or the author themselves. 

And on that note, I give you my thoughts on We. Also to be seen in full on Goodreads.

I can see the potential behind the story, but unfortunately it was never recognized. I'll start with the easily worst part of the book for me. The author's writing style. Does the author not understand . . . I mean why am I constantly expected to . . . I don't think there was a single page . . . And that's not even touching on the subject of . . .

Open the book to a random page. Stare at the number of sentences saturated in dashes and sentences where Zamyatin went to take a bathroom break partway through the sentence and then came back, couldn't remember what he was writing, so he just moved onto the next line. No really, that's how it seems. I get he's trying to show D's constant broken thoughts, but come on. It was annoying.

Then I want to know why he ever thought writing a book in first person while naming the FMC I was a good idea. I saw I but I didn't approach I. Really? Yes, there was a ~ or something after the character I, but it's not like my mind reads it as I-dash. No, there was two I's and it was confusing.

The character descriptions. I swear D just hated people. Rosy O with her big fat lips. I imagine a doughnut with chubby arms and a big gaping mouth to match her body shape. And I? I imagine her having a joker smile and the most ridiculous X eyebrows. That's not even going onto the wing-eared, double-bent S or the spattering R who you needed an umbrella around. Or the old lady with a thing for D and her fish gill face. Eww.
As you should be able to tell from that snippet, I was thoroughly annoyed with We and rushed through the last half of it just to be done and move on.

And there you have my books 3 and 4! My next update will cover my reviews of The Little Prince(which I have read at this point) and Wuthering Heights(which I've only just started).

See all of the books on my challenge here.
And my 1st challenge update here.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Interview with Lynn Miller

This month's interview is with paranormal writer, Lynn Miller, who's working on her series The Sons of Rebellion.

Kristen - Thank you for joining me today, Lynn. When writing The Witch's Pride did you come across any specific challenges? What would you do differently the next time?

Lynn - I’ve learned so much about story structure over the course of writing this book. I’m hoping things will get easier with The Angel’s Wrath and later books. Placing the backstory and world-building became an integral part of the learning curve for me and something I hope to take forward into future stories.

Kristen - What do your family and friends think of your writing?

Lynn - I have the most supportive best friend around. She goes around introducing me as her author friend. I think she may well be more excited than I am for me to finish The Witch’s Pride. My husband is my proof reader at the moment and very supportive. Though, he does give me that blank stare when I talk about Point of View and Character Arcs. My daughter’s a teenager, the story is not about her, she has no interest.

Kristen - Don't you love the kind of friends who are more excited than you(or just as excited) about your book being finished! And I laughed about your daughter. 

When did you decide to become a writer?

Lynn - I never decided. I’ve always loved telling stories and making up worlds and characters. I would set up scenes with my Barbies every night before I fell asleep, then play them out the next day. I started committing my stories to paper in my teens but only decided to start taking it seriously in the last few years.

Kristen - We didn't have a lot of Barbies as kids, but we did have these paper dolls that we played with all the time. They had complex stories and all of this extended family. 

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Lynn - Well, I’ve actually met Nelson Mandela. That experience was as awesome as everyone says. (I have an anecdote here, but it’s lengthy. Let me know if you want it) I would like to meet Joss Whedon. I think him and I could have a thing or two to talk about.

Kristen - Of all the characters you’ve created, who has been your favorite.

Lynn - Jet’s brother Adi. He will get his own book later down the line and his is probably the one I am most excited about. Adi is common theme in all the stories I’ve written. Sure his name and details change with each story, but there is always an Adi. Annoyingly intelligent and awkwardly caring.

Kristen - Some personalities you can't help but fall in love with and it's so cool that you've found a way to work one of your favorite's into a new character for all of your stories!

Thank you for answering some questions for me and good luck with your writing!

Lynn Miller lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her love for storytelling started before she was able read or write but she only found the time to pursue this lifelong passion once she sold her software business. Her magical tales weave the blurred grey between good and evil with love, family and friendship.When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a cup of coffee and her kindle. She has always enjoyed both Romance and Urban Fantasy, and she writes in the genre that encompasses both: Paranormal Romance. She’s an outdoorsy city girl - comfortable at a campsite with her family or enjoying cocktails with her girlfriends.

Don't forget to check Lynn out on social media!

Check out her website!
Follow her on Twitter!