Posts Tagged ‘indie writer’

Summer Splash Blog Hop

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Shameless Plug:  The Summer Splash Blog Hop is just around the corner, from July 23-31.

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The Dockland Murders

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Today, as part of the Indie Writers Unite! Blog Tour, I have indie author Alan Place in the house, to talk about his new book, Pat Canella – The Dockland Murders.

Pat Canella Book Cover (more…)

Starlight now available!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Starlight (Pact Arcanum #4) is now available in ebook format from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Smashwords.com.

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Predatory Ethics

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

As an aside, please check out this blog post by Heidi Cullinan, author and president of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT chapter of Romance Writers of America: http://heidicullinan.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/rwa-shouldnt-be-in-the-business-of-discrimination/.  She’s fighting the good fight, and deserves your support.

Now, on to more pleasant business.  Today, as part of the Indie Writers Unite! blog tour, I have author Athanasios in the studio to say a few words about his Predatory Ethics series of books, beginning with Mad Gods, a story about the Antichrist and a quest to change destiny.

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Blue Bells of Scotland

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

As part of the IWU blog tour, I have author Laura Vosika in the studio, author of the Blue Bells Chronicles.

Laura is also working on several other novels and a non-fiction book on raising a large family. Past publishing credits include an essay in Glamour magazine. Laura grew up in the military, visiting castles in England, pig fests in Germany, and the historic sites of America’s east coast. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music, and master’s degree in education, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, private music instructor, and school band director. She currently lives in Minnesota with her nine children, and assorted menagerie.

Let’s see what she has to say:

 

Q. Tell us a little bit about your book.

Blue Bells of Scotland is the story of two men, polar opposites but for their looks and love of music, who trade places in time. Shawn, a celebrated musician and philandering, gambling, drinking, self-centered scoundrel, finds himself caught in medieval Scotland with the fate of a nation on his shoulders, while Niall, a devout Highland warrior, must navigate the roiled waters of Shawn’s life–amorous fans, angry mistresses, pregnant girlfriend, and a conductor ready to fire him (an ominous notion to medieval ears!)–trying to get back to save his people.

Q. What excites you most about your book’s topic? Why did you choose it?

That’s a hard question to answer, because I can’t narrow it down to just one thing. I have loved researching the time of Robert the Bruce, and learning about the remarkable people of the time–the Bruce himself; James Douglas, or the Good Sir James as he was known by the Scots; Angus Og, Lord of the Isles; Isabel MacDuff who defied her husband and the king of England to crown Bruce king; Elizabeth Bruce, Robert’s queen and so many more.

I also love the aspect of time travel, but I think what interests me about time travel is the question of who we would really be in different circumstances, a different world, among different societal expectations and beliefs; the question of what happens when an individual is thrown out of their element and their whole world turned upside down.

So, I suppose if I had to narrow it down to one thing, it’s really the character exploration of how and why people make the decisions they do, become who they are, how they grow–or devolve–and change over time.

Q. How long did the book take you from start to finish?

Ignoring the many months I let it sit, before I really got serious about finishing it, maybe two years.

Q. Did you seek the support of a writer’s group or class?

Yes. I was lucky enough to be teaching music lessons at a community center which was also home at the time to the Night Writers. Each week, I’d walk out of my studio and see the notice, on the wall directly opposite my room, for their meetings. I called once in 2005 and never heard back. In 2006, I finished teaching at exactly the same time their meeting started, so I just walked down the hall and introduced myself. It’s been a match made in heaven. They’re a great group of people who know how to encourage, pick out the good parts, and also help move a piece of writing to a higher level.

Q. What surprised you the most about the book writing process?

As I wrote a book years ago, I think nothing new really surprised me this time around, but I think it’s always a little disconcerting how deeply our minds get sucked into the world we’re writing about. In The Minstrel Boy, someone talks about the disconcerting feeling, when he spends a great deal of time researching the past, of realizing these people are long gone. I suspect it’s similar for all writers, that we sometimes feel a little disoriented shifting into our ‘real’ lives, as as if we have literally just stepped out of the world we spent the morning writing.

Q. Did you have any favorite experiences when writing your book?

Without a doubt, traveling to Scotland for on the ground research was the best part of writing. I loved every part of that trip, from my unplanned stop at Linlithgow Castle and my discovery of the tiny ruin of Finlairig, hidden away in a copse, to exploring castles Urquhart and Tioram about which I’d read so much, and climbing hills myself in medieval-style leather boots.

I really enjoyed meeting people there–Judith at Eden Court Theatre, who gave me a full tour of the place where Shawn’s orchestra plays, Joe at the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, who showed me some of the highlights of the museum and took me around the battlefield, telling me all about what it’s like on the day of the annual re-enactment, and Wendy (I hope I’m remembering her name correctly) at the Loch Ness Backpackers where I stayed.

I loved trying haggis, walking around Inverness, and seeing Highland cattle. It’s an incredible experience for a suburban American to hear over and over that ‘there are no no-trespass laws in Scotland,’ and to be told we can go anywhere we like, as long as we shut the gates behind us and don’t let the sheep and cattle out. It’s a little intimidating, for someone who’s whole close-up experience with big animals is a Golden Retriever, to walk into a field with those big, shaggy cattle with their large horns, but I found they were more scared of me than I was of them. That experience also made its way into future books.

Q. What do you hope your readers will gain from reading your book?

I hope they’ll take whatever they like from it. If they want just a fun time travel and adventure story, it’s that. If they like history, I hope they’ll take an appreciation of the times of Robert the Bruce and the amazing Battle of Bannockburn from it. It’s also a story of change and redemption, for those who like that aspect.

Q. What projects are you currently working on?

I’m in the very final stages of putting out The Minstrel Boy, Book Two of the Blue Bells Chronicles. All that’s left is formatting and waiting for the new cover, as the title was changed from The Blue Bells Trilogy to The Blue Bells Chronicles.

When The Minstrel Boy hits the stores, so to speak, I’ll be editing the next three books. After that, I have another novel set in a Scottish castle, with dual storylines in both medieval and modern Scotland; however, this one doesn’t involve time travel, but rather an old mystery that needs to be laid to rest. I have a completely different novel, written years ago, set in Boston in the 1990’s, more contemporary-style fiction, which needs to be published, and I have two non-fiction books in progress, one on the history behind the world of the Blue Bells Chronicles, and one on raising a large family.

Q. Is writing your sole career? If not, what else do you do?

I was a freelance musician on trombone for many years, and later switched to harp. I still occasionally perform on harp if I’m asked, but rarely. In addition to writing, I currently teach music lessons on harp, piano, guitar, and wind instruments.

Q. What tips would you offer to anyone writing fiction for the first time?

Research, re-write, capture all the senses, use realistic dialogue, re-write, join a writers’ critique circle either in real life or online, and did I mention–re-write.

Q. Did you do any research for your books, or did you write from experience?

Both. I have very little actual experience with time travel or medieval Scotland. But the world of music in the Blue Bells Chronicles is largely my own personal experience from years of playing in orchestras

Q. How did you come up with your title?

Blue Bells of Scotland is taken from the title of a theme and variations, written by Arthur Pryor, to show off what a trombone is capable of–much more than people thought at the time he wrote it. His piece is, in turn, based on an old Scottish folk tune. Not only is Shawn Kleiner, one of the two main characters of Blue Bells of Scotland, a trombonist known for playing this piece at the end of his concerts, but the story also incorporates the ideas of streaming banners and noble deeds as per the lyrics of the song, and the idea that we as people can rise to the occasion and be so much more than what people think we’re capable of.

Q. What can we look forward to in your next book?

It’s rather hard to say without giving away the ending of Blue Bells of Scotland, but The Minstrel Boy we’ll see Amy become a much more major character, and we’ll see a minor character from Blue Bells come to the forefront. We’ll see much more of the thieving MacDougalls, including Duncan, the son. Both the modern and medieval storylines will take us to MacDougall’s dungeons, gallows are built, and whether they are used or not will ride on the timid shoulders of a terrified scullery maid.

That’s all the time we have.  Thanks for coming in!

For more information on this author, check out the following links:

 

Web Address
www.bluebellstrilogy.com

http://bluebellstrilogy.blogspot.com

Book purchase links
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Bells-Scotland-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B002T460DG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1308762525&sr=1-1
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-bells-of-scotland-laura-vosika/1102513903?ean=2940011060083&itm=1&usri=vosika
itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blue-bells-scotland-blue-bells/id450416815?mt=11
smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16271

Other Social Media addresses
www.facebook.com/laura.vosika.author
www.twitter.com/lauravosika

 

Respectfully,

Arshad Ahsanuddin

New Year’s Eve Update

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Sunset 2nd edition print coverSo 2011 draws to a close, and 2012 looms: a brand, spanking new year, full of potential! I can’t wait to get started.

This was an amazing year, full of challenges. I published my first three novels in a whirlwind of eagerness, and finished my fourth. I learned my lesson about moving ahead too fast, though, so I will be holding off on publishing the fourth novel until my editors have a chance to look it over in more detail. I am aiming for a release date in March, but we’ll see how their schedules work out. In the meantime, I am working on upgrading Sunrise and Moonlight to improved second editions.

After redoing all the formatting of the 2nd print edition of Sunset, the finished proof looks great, but it’s significantly longer than the original book. Although the new edition is somewhat shorter in actual length, the formatting choices I used make the book another 50 pages thicker, topping out at 502 pages. I don’t want to tinker with it at this point, because I’m afraid I’ll mess up the cover alignment, so I’ll probably go with this version. If I choose the wider distribution option, however, the cost of the book skyrockets due to the increased length. In order to offer it for sale at a reasonable price, I will be restricting the sale of the print edition to Createspace and Amazon.  It should be available January 1st.

For similar reasons, I have decided to discontinue the sale of the print editions of the two novellas, due to the relatively prohibitive cost of producing such short books. In their place, I will be producing a single combined edition, which is a more reasonable buy at 174 pages.

The third novella, The Red Wind, is turning out to be more complex than I envisioned, so I am putting that project on hold until I can decide whether it would work better as an entirely new novel in the series.

And that’s all my news in a nutshell.

Thank you for your support, and I look forward to 2012.

 

Respectfully,

Arshad Ahsanuddin

 

Sunset 2nd ed. now live

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Sunset just got named one of the best vampire fiction releases of 2011, by the Barnes and Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog.  So, why did I feel the need to have it re-edited?  In part, because after two years of writing as a second profession, I learned how many elementary mistakes in sentence structure, cliched expressions, word choice, passive voice, etc. I made by writing from my gut, without first educating myself in the craft of writing.  As an exercise in intuitive writing, Sunset is outstanding, but there was a lot of refinement that comes from experience.

So I found a new editor, Karin Cox, who went through the text line-by-line and highlighted areas that could be improved or fixed.  The result is a much stronger novel, in my opinion.  Jason, my proofreader, said the changes were like reading an entirely new book.  Which makes me happy that there was so much room for improvement.  It’s still not perfect.  It never will be, in my jaundiced eye.  But it’s a fair ways closer to that goal than it was before.  Thank you to those who encouraged me over the last few years while I found my footing in this massive undertaking.  I hope the updated work earns your favor.

The revised ebook edition of Sunset is now available from Amazon.com, BN.com, and Smashwords.  The Smashwords edition will be further distributed to some of the next tier of e-retailers over the course of the next month.  The print edition of Sunset will be updated in the next few weeks, and hopefully, I will be able to start on the revised editions of Sunrise and Moonlight by the end of January.  Starlight, the fourth novel, is still planned to have a March release, but I want to make sure it’s properly edited beforehand, so that an updated edition won’t be necessary, and my editors have their hands full with the first three novels of the series.

In the meantime, I am continuing to work on The Red Wind, the third novella, which tells the story of Luscian Firstborn.  I will keep you apprised of new developments, and thank you for your support.

Respectfully,

Arshad Ahsanuddin

Mesmerized

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

As part of the Indie Writers Unite! blog tour, I would like to give a shout out to indie author Julia Crane on her new book, Mesmerized.

Mesmerized by Julia Crane & Talia Jager

Seventeen-year-old succubus Lily Anderson can’t have a normal life: She isn’t allowed a boyfriend, she has no friends, and school is just one mess-up after another.

Lily’s parents send her away to the prestigious Emerson Academy. It doesn’t appear to be any different from the others. That is, until she meets her roommate, Hannah, and a blue-eyed boy named Jake.

Lily makes an almost deadly mistake, and Jake has a mysterious past that has come back to haunt him. Together, they must go on the run from things neither of them understand in order to save the people they love—and each other. But, Jake’s foe is more dangerous than they realized, and it will take the help of friends and family to save the man Lily loves.

She must learn to use her powers for good before it’s too late.

WARNING: This is a mature YA. Due to sexual content and some language it is not recommended for younger teens.

Approximately 44,000 words


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mesmerized-ebook/dp/B006G24V7E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323753260&sr=8-1

 

Respectfully,
Arshad Ahsanuddin

The Last Way Station

Monday, October 31st, 2011

And now for something completely different. In honor of Halloween, I have indie author Jon Riesfeld in the studio today to talk about his novelette focusing on one of the great monsters of history, a villain all the more terrible for the fact that he was completely human.

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Guest Post – Camelia Skiba

Monday, October 17th, 2011

This week, as part of the Indie Writers Unite! blog tour, I answered a few questions by author Jennifer Rainey at her Independent Paranormal blog.  Meanwhile, I have indie author Camelia Miron Skiba in the house to share a few words about her personal experience growing up in the shadow of the vampire legend, Dracula.

Growing up in the land of Dracula

As my biography states I was born and raised in Romania, or Dracula’s birthplace. Since Arshad loves vampires I thought my blog should be about vampires and how I grew up with them. Literally.

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